2019-04-24 - Messy Feelings

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Title: Messy Feelings

Rei catches up with a friend to see how she's feeling, but Setsuna isn't very good at describing her feelings.


Rei Hino, Setsuna Higashi


Tama Outer City - Yotsuba Clover Town

OOC - IC Date:

2019-04-24 - 2015-06-01

.****************************** Tama Outer City *******************************.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Yotsuba Clover Town +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
 On one horizon, there is mountain and forest; on the other, city and sea.
 Here there is Yotsuba, a town named for its clover-carpeted hills. It's hard
 to say if it's any luckier than neighboring towns because of it, but it does
 feel a little easier to smile around here. Yotsuba is a town for families,
 with no real pretense of hipness, and enthusiasm spills from every store
 awning, town council meeting, and local festival. Streets are broad and
 brick-paved for walking, and the architecture and decorations are
 birthday-cake pastel against the rich green shrubbery and hills.

 Like so many Japanese towns, Yotsuba is built around its shopping district.
 Clover Town Street runs straight down the middle of town, marked on either
 side by large archways bearing its name. Greenery, lamp posts and benches
 cut down the middle. Shops of all kinds line both sides: florist, tofu,
 candy, supermarket, and accessory, to name a few. Most of the businesses
 here are locally owned, and their proprietors live on their upper floors.

 Yotsuba Park is the social center of the town. With broad pavilions and
 famous donuts, it is popular enough to be lively and spacious enough to
 avoid crowding. Its amphitheatre regularly hosts performances, as well as
 the beauty, dance and idol competitions that have become popular among
 locals lately.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Players +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

It's finally happened - the Sister Schools have finally traded in too-warm Winter uniforms for short-sleeved Summer fare. It's something the youth of Tokyo revel in, this afternoon after classes end and clubs release their members.

Not least amongst the revelry is one Rei Hino, who is no stranger to suffering for her art, but who can nonetheless appreciate a break in the form of lighter fabric. She wears Ohtori's high school uniform, now, an exclusive badge of achievement and worth. Well - that's what they say, in Ohtori.

It is no mistake that Rei is far away from Academy grounds, after school.

All pettiness aside, she has sent out a text message to one of her friends to meet her, now - over snacks, of course. Perhaps that's why she's quite so far away from Ohtori's island: there are few places who do donuts better than this park.

It's not that she's specifically angling for something Setsuna likes best, it's just...

Rei has a feeling this might be a tough conversation.

She's found a private corner of the park this afternoon, a bench shaded by a willow tree. A box of donuts rests in the middle of the wooden seat, Rei to the left of them. She leans back, hands coming to rest either side of her as she looks up at the drooping leaves.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Of all the things Setsuna is getting used to about Earth over time, one should be easy and isn't a problem exactly... but is curious. Maybe even welcome. After all--it is getting warmer... But uniforms that change for reasons besides size changes?

...But she, too, is far from campus by this point, though in this case not for avoiding her school so much as responding to a text. As is her way she didn't actually say very much through her messages; she's on the way, though.

So, tough conversation or not, Setsuna Higashi is here, in uniform, sans the extra vest because it just doesn't quite mesh with her style. Things have really gone far from Labyrinth, though--she has acceptable but non-uniform dark tights on along with the rest, and just now walks, turning her head back and forth until...

There she is. "A bit out of the way for you," she comments, tilting her head Rei's way, looking her over thoughtfully--before she steps close, turns around, and sits down, setting her bag by the bench.

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

There are a lot of things Rei might never understand about Setsuna's experiences, though certainly she would listen if she spoke of them. But having to perform to a standard has a certain universality to it...

... even if it's a different sort of scrutiny.

"What's wrong with a little walk now and then?" Rei asks, chin tilting up with the questioning rise of her brow. "I may not be part of Track and Field, but I'm not about to balk at a stroll." Here her scepticism dies to a smile, as she shakes her head and opens up the box beside her. "... anyway, this place has good snacks."

She has specifically brought donuts Setsuna would like. It was probably an accident. Picking up one and taking a bite, she says: "Seriously - these things are brilliant."

And, you know, for a few moments she's just eating a donut.

But eventually the donut disappears, and the looming spectre of smoke-shape remains.

"Secchan..." It's a deliberate sort of code-shifting; at times Rei has teased Setsuna-chan, but she would rarely admit that she, too, uses Madoka's ultra-cute nickname sometimes, in complete sincerity. "Look, I..." Know enough to be worried; it's obvious enough, in the way her brow knits in concern.

"... are you doing okay?" She finishes, finally, and finds herself wishing again that she had Usagi's daft gift for this sort of soft touch.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Really, life in Labyrinth, while it is strange, is comprehensible from the right perspective--that's probably part of why opposing Lord Moebius is so clearly important. ...On the other hand, Setsuna would call the sort of standards there are here very different, in an emotional sense...

"Oh, you know. Too much sun might alter your complexion," Setsuna answers amiably, in that way of hers--absolutely teasing back. But... Well, there are donuts, and that is the first thing that gets Setsuna's attention.

"...Kaoru-chan's donuts," Setsuna identifies them immediately. "The particular mix, the texture, the unique heart molding..." Setsuna, too, takes a donut. Or, rather, in an instant she has a donut, and in the next instant she is taking a delighted bite of it. Her eyes are practically just slightly curved lines here, a sigh her answer to how brilliant they are.

And then it, too, is gone--and at this point, Setsuna looks to the side, towards Rei, noting her change in tone... she thinks. She can't immediately be sure--until...

"You're concerned," she answers, and it is hard to tell if Setsuna is asserting it or asking it. Her expression is harder to read; thoughtful, but quiet. 'Reserved' has a whole new meaning when it comes to Setsuna Higashi.

"..." She glances down, and then forward, for a little while. It may drive Rei nuts, her silence, but it's what she does; she stops, thinks, then speaks. And so, after a little time stretches on...

"I am," she answers. She pauses, and her lips twist in frustration, actual emotion showing through for a glimmer. "I don't..."

"I don't know what to say," the purple-haired girl admits. "I don't know... what I should say, what I can say. So often, we get our miracles... But what is there to get, in this?"

"...I don't understand. I don't know what I'm supposed to be feeling, or... or if I'm allowed to..."

Her shoulders slump, and she says quietly, dry-eyed, "...I don't understand."

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Yeah," Rei answers, when Setsuna assert-asks, because Rei is not always great at telling which it is, but she has learnt that being plain with her intentions is helpful for both of them in that sort of situation. It's true that she needles Setsuna a lot - but she knows that sometimes Setsuna has trouble telling, and she has no interest in making her feel bad for that.

She'd be a liar if she said it didn't agitate her a little, the long lag-time between question and answer, but this too is something Setsuna has to do - and she's gotten better at waiting, over time. Her eyes cast over Kaoru-chan's donuts as as she waits for her to get her thoughts in order, finger tapping at the fabric at her knee.

It's not just that it's the anticipation - she really is worried. And every second which stretches by is another second to worry just how bad it is for her. Rei's stayed on the outskirts of the misery which has taken Tokyo, in deliberate fashion: if she gets involved, she knows, Usagi would get involved. And sometimes protecting Usagi isn't as simple as just - getting in the way of youma...

... sometimes it's not even possible.

But she still tried.

And because she was trying so hard, she'd left Setsuna and the others to deal with it, and now...

Finally the other girl speaks up and Rei looks to her, surprise flickering over her own face as she sees the way her lips twist. Rei has no such difficulties showing emotion; the sadness and worry is writ plain on her face.

"Hey," she says, reaching out with that hand to rest it on Setsuna's shoulder instead. "Hey, listen to me. You're allowed, okay? You can feel overwhelmed, or angry, or sad, or -- I don't know, you know, that sort of crushing void feeling you get where you just kinda listen to loud music and feel this super underlined lack of anything for a while --" Rei grimaces, gesturing with her other hand in small loops, et-cetera et-cetera. "I'm the last person to tell you what you should be feeling, but... you can feel it, yeah?"

She puffs out a breath, looks aside at the drooping leaves as her hand drops back to her lap. She's not unfamiliar with struggling with emotions, too, and she was hoping to avoid hers. But if Setsuna is struggling this much, maybe being honest will help her. "I mean... I can tell you I've been worried. Part of me wanted to help, but I... I was worried about Usagi, too. So I've just been hearing about all this stuff, and... it's just so heavy. Doing this to each other... I don't know, I guess it scares me. It was hard for me to accept that my friends were really on my side and wouldn't turn on me, you know..? And all this..."

Rei shakes her head, the words trailing off into nothing.

"So yeah, that's me. I'm not, you know, standing above it all or anything. And if I'm allowed to feel all that standing on the outside, you've pretty much got a free pass." Her teeth press against the corner of her lip, lightly, for a moment. "... if you don't wanna talk about it, I get it. But, you know... I guess what I'm trying to say here is you've got people thinking about you."

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Setsuna needles back--but this is one of those times she needs to be sure. ...And her slowness isn't really something she's good at avoiding. She's much better than she used to be, even if it doesn't always seem that way, at fitting in--but, well...

She does make good on the unspoken intention to answer, anyway. Setsuna's frustration is plain, for a moment, and in a relative sense compared to herself it's downright obvious. But, the touch at her shoulder gets a look--a blink, a turn, and then there is that curious way Setsuna listens, directed entirely at Rei. Her expression is largely calm--but there's a quiet sadness in it that sometimes remains at neutral, and her red eyes are expansive, deep like the sea and as prepared to draw in feeling, meaning--

"I..." She pauses, and then nods, again, finally. She's allowed, is it?

Setsuna thinks, and thinks of Usagi, too. And of Rei...

"...It's strange, sometimes. To remember, that it's like that. That people are thinking, that it's more than just that they're waiting for me to slip up and use it against me."

"I feel... a little bit of an outsider, too. I felt that I didn't have the right to help, with the things I've done. By the time I stepped in, Tomoe-san was gone. I was never... friends, with Sayaka Miki, the way that the others were. Even so, I..."

"It's over, but it doesn't feel better. The same thing awaits the leaders on the other side. It's just so..."

"...So sad," she says, quietly. "It's not... It's not fair. It's not right."

And, softly, "...Even fighting each other--I could make sense of that. We should be better, but I'm proof that we aren't, always. But this...? This hopeless, awful..."

Setsuna shakes her head. "I'm... I'm not trying to keep it all to myself, or to be some kind of... To..." She can't find the word, and she frowns, then, in difficulty, in more frustration. "But I know how much harder it is on everyone else. ...How it would be on Usagi-chan, how it must be for Madoka-chan..."

"I didn't understand what hope was, until recently. I... know how, to live without it. "But I--I never wanted everyone to--to--"

"...But..." She looks to Rei, and can't quite fake a smile. "We'll go on. This time, my best wasn't good enough. But I'm going to keep trying."

"...That's one thing, though," Setsuna says with a little more assurance, "That I do know. In the end... humans come together."

"...I don't know, I just... That's... that's something to hang onto, isn't it?"

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Yeah," Rei nods, as Setsuna muses on slipping up. "... I get it."

Here her fingers worry at the edge of her Ohtori skirt.

There is much she doesn't get about Setsuna's experience - but there are little echoes she can relate to, anyway. It's important to find the ways she can understand her, with the effort she has put into integrating into Tokyo life. That Setsuna didn't feel worthy of helping -- it's something which brings sadness to Rei's eyes, because she's seen just how much effort she's put in.

"Martyr?" She offers, in passing, as she sees the frustration on Setsuna's face. She doesn't particularly think the word fits, but it sounds to her like what Setsuna was reaching for.

And then Setsuna supposes she can live without hope, and sorrow creases Rei's eyes anew.

As she states that her best wasn't good enough, when she has always tried her best.

Setsuna can't fake a smile, but Rei isn't smiling either, so perhaps it's good company. After a moment she sighs, shaking her head and scowling. "Secchan, don't give me that! It would be harder on Usagi, or Madoka-chan, so you're just going to bear up stoically because - what, you can handle it? You're right, humans come together."

She looks to Setsuna, reaching over to grasp at her hand. "And you're one of us, now, whether you like it or not! It's hard on you, too! And I haven't --" Her lips press tightly together, her eyes briefly close, and she huffs a heavy breath out through her nose. "I've just left you to deal with it and it was -- you know, it was pretty rotten of me, because you're right, none of this is fair..."

Rei takes a breath, and looks back up to her. "Sorry," she mumbles, self-conscious. "Look at me, getting my feelings everywhere... what a mess, huh?" The words run thin, and she shakes her head, looking away. "I just - I'm worried about you. So I'm coming together. Deal with it."

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Little commonalities--competition. ...And, though it's easy not to see it... an outlet for competition for Setsuna that isn't so terrible as it was back where she grew up, back when it was darker and harsher.

Setsuna does not stop to dwell on that feeling of unworthiness--she doesn't linger on it, because for her it's simple fact; it's something that of course she would think, though she's worked to overcome it now, has deemed it cowardice as much as anything. But the word--

"...Yes," she says. "That's what I'm not trying to be."

Rei doesn't smile--she sighs, and scowls--and then pauses, eyes widening slightly as she takes in the response. She doesn't stress, as a rule, because of Rei getting louder or angrier, and she doesn't pull away her hand. Instead she listens--she watches, watches every bit of that feeling there. She waits--waits just for Rei to finish, for the apology too though she doesn't need it. Instead...

"That's... that's what I mean," Setsuna settles on, and does smile this time, in the face of Rei's anger, her self-consciousness, her messy human-ness, the things that reveal a beating heart in there, the girl as well as the soldier.

"A part of me does feel that way--that I should do more, because I can. But you still reached out; you still invited me out here, to talk about your worries, to care. If I don't take care of myself... or let someone help me, then I can't help anyone else, either."

"And you reminded me of that, just now. So..."

"...I am going to try to stay positive, for the others--because I know how hard this is. I know... how I would feel. But also because..."

Setsuna pts her other hand on both of theirs, and nods. "Because I'm not alone, either. I have Rei-chan's messy feelings, all around."

A beat, "...I won't tell if you don't. ...Thank you."

"...can we stay out here, for a while? I don't know what else I can say, but... it's... nice, anyway."

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Rei gets louder and angrier an awful lot, and it's only sometimes because she's mad. Sometimes it's because she's offended, or incensed, or passionate, or hurt, or excited. Sometimes, yes, it's because she's being competitive, and Setsuna knows that aspect of her very well.

She's not trying to score points now, though, and perhaps that's the most alarming part of this.

And Setsuna explains, and as her hand lays over Rei's over Setsuna's in a big jenga pile of connection, Rei's cheeks colour in something between embarrassment and appreciation and she smiles as she looks away. "Geez... just don't forget it, okay?"

At least Setsuna can keep a secret. Even ones about Rei having emotions which are not being ultra-mad.

She's still smiling, when she looks back to her. "I mean, I did get an entire box of donuts. No point leaving them out here, right? So let's just... hang out a bit. It's been too long since we did that."

Carefully she unlaces her hand from Setsuna's, so that she can take another donut. "... sometimes you gotta take care of the little things," she supposes, as she takes a bite. "Big things get built on little things." Little things, like eating donuts and watching the willow-branches sway.