2019-04-25 - When We Had Fun

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Title: When We Had Fun

Mikoto thinks she knows the truth. Ye-jin thinks she can fix it.


Mikoto Minagi, Ye-jin Song


Yamanote High City - Harajuku Trendy District

OOC - IC Date:

2019-04-24 - 2015-06-01

.***************************** Yamanote High City *****************************.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Harajuku Trendy District +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+
 A street like Takeshita likes to warn its visitors what they're getting
 into. Mounted on chromed gates, LED displays draw rainbows and flowers over
 and over, cheerfully welcoming one and all, and beneath them the road has
 just enough downward incline to appreciate just how many people have
 accepted the invitation. This street is the heart of Harajuku, street
 fashion capital of Japan and a world-famous mecca for youth culture.

 Daring, experimental styles compete and combine here in a free-form paradise
 of sartorial Darwinism. There's a place for frilly gothic lolita, glam-rock
 visual kei, and even interpretations of Western styles like punk rock, and
 only the boring is forbidden. Particularly on Sundays, young people treat
 Harajuku like a catwalk, inspiring and inspired by the hip local designers
 who run small shops here, all looking to create the next big thing. The
 corporations moved in long ago, and so plenty of big international chains
 have thrown their hat into this lively arena.

 Harajuku is rare among the elite fashion districts of the world, however, in
 that it is still genuinely youth-driven. Where Paris's Trocadero would have
 an expensive cafe, Harajuku has a famous McDonald's. Cutesy candy shops,
 crepe stands, and kitschy tee-shirt stalls combine with a whimsical
 aesthetic to make Harajuku's target audience clear. This district is good
 for wasting money fast, but it's mostly allowances and part-time paychecks
 it's gobbling, and so the prices it demands are surprisingly -- dangerously
 -- reasonable.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Players +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Richard Gibbs - The Storm And The Dead https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-CJx1yp5RI


Summer comes on a teardrop, pitter-patter plat-plat-plat against the pavement. A hundred feet clatter-pound as youth caught without umbrellas rush from awning to awning, while those who had the foresight to watch the weather channel sweep open cheery prints and elegant patterns. The sky opens without a care for which is which; it pours down in waves of intensity, shudder-stopping as one dark cloud passes and a lighter one takes its place.

The rain cools the air, but in the summer air it cannot truly make it cold; rather it ends up warm and wet, a truly unpleasant combination. The one point of relief in this muggy shower is the change in uniform: with the advent of June, students have finally been allowed to switch to short sleeves.

There is one girl still wearing long sleeves and a long black case, as she darts between the crowd to slip into a side-street. She does not have an umbrella.

Of course, in Harajuku, students have come to find alternatives to the uniforms which keep them visually locked to their peers. It's long enough after school for enterprising youth to have gone home and changed before hitting the town -- but there are still plenty of girls in summer uniforms, dropping in after a busy afternoon in their various clubs. Much of the damp, damp crowd are wet behind the ears in more than the literal sense; this is a district for the young, and it is abuzz with activity.

And with girls comes gossip, especially when Ohtori Academy is close at hand. One is as downcast as the weather, as her friend hurries along to make sure they're covered by a fox-print umbrella. (They say kitsune have weddings, when the sun shines during rain. There are no weddings, now.) "Genki, genki," she encourages her to keep her chin up, concern lining her face. "You couldn't have known something like this would happen..."

"I just always admired her," sighs the blonde girl in Ohtori greys. "I should have said something. You feel the same way about Tenjou-san, right..?"

"E-ehh?!" The brown-haired girl's eyes go wide. "I'm not interested in sports like you are--!"

"If you don't say anything," her friend says, with a heavy heart, "she'll never know you're a fan."

Her reactive classmate puts a hand on the handle to steady the umbrella, as another sheet of rain falls down. "Ah, hang on a tick - there we go. No, you're right..."

They are two voices amongst hundreds. Some talk about the boys they like - some about the latest hot AoAka debate - some about the teachers who assign the toughest classwork. All of them are interrupted in some way as the rain drills down in another wave, some hurrying to the nearest cover of a storefront, others bracing under their umbrellas.

There have been rumours in class too, of course.

Mikoto Minagi has not shown up in school since last Wednesday, and even then she left early, as she does more frequently now. Thursday, she did not show up at all - neither was she in attendance on Friday, or Saturday, for that matter. And now, the following Monday, she's still not here. The teachers of eleventh grade are starting to express concern, asking her friends amongst class if they've seen her. Yes, she often skips class -- but not this harshly, not this often.

She has not been seen at her dorm.

Summer comes on a thousand-thousand teardrops, and they pour over the fire escape and down through the grating in bulging drips. There is a girl in winter sleeves long since grown damp, who presses herself against the side of the building to try and escape the shower. She looks too wild to be accepted in these nice, neat shops, hair askew from days without a comb and dirt smudged on a cheek. But youth gather here, during the afternoon. It is the most logical place to search right now.

And then, as soon as it starts, the rain stops again. Mikoto unfolds from the tight little ball she had compressed herself into, head tilting back against the brickwork; a braid slicks to her cheek, rather than falling back with its fellow. She knows she has to will herself up; she knows she has to keep going. She has to... she has to...

Mikoto's lips curl with the upward movement of her cheeks, pushing her eyes to an anguished squint as her brow creases. Her chest shudder-hitches, and she does not push herself standing - does not go to scan the crowds anew. It is not rain which dampens her eyelashes now.

<Pose Tracker> Ye-jin Song [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Harajuku is the favorite haunt of the fashionable and young, and Ye-jin is another one amongst their number. Many days after school have been spent wandering down the long central street, browsing the latest styles and trinkets available in shops behind artfully graffiti'd metal doors. Today is another such day, pilgrimage made despite heat and rain.

She's had enough time to change out of her student council uniform, now clothed in bright scarlet dress and thin white jacket. She'd taken shelter from the rain in one of the building along the line, and as she emerges from the cafe she accepts her folded red umbrella and shopping bags from a well-dressed man in formal attire. Those nearby might make the mistake of thinking the man is her own servant, if they didn't turn their eyes to see the butler cafe's sign nearby.

Now that the rain has cleared-for now-and a snack has been had she has time to resume her wanderings. She steps down the sidewalk with the determination of a Harajuku native, striding through the crowd and on toward her next destination.

At least until she spots the slumped figure off down one of the small streets. It's luck that her gaze wanders, and even more that she spends more than a second to look at the wet and miserable lump of Mikoto Minagi.

"Mikoto-chan?" She asks, a step taking her off her designated path. Her voice rises, enough to get the attention of the girl. "Is that you?"

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Harajuku has a hundred fun little shops to delight girls; it pulses with youth culture.

But there is one girl who left without her wallet.

It's easy to overlook a small little thing in a side-street, which does nothing to call attention to herself. But the case which rests beside Mikoto is distinctive, after all, and to her classmates perhaps she is as well. She startles as she hears a voice, gaze flicking over to the side of the street Ye-jin approaches from.

For a moment she stiffens, as if she's considering running.

'Don't make this mistake. Please. Don't... do this to yourself.'

She remembers.

She does not stand, and she does not flee.

"Yeah," Mikoto says, instead, a miserable little mora as she glances down. "It's me." And the way she says it - being Mikoto is the worst thing to be. With an uncertain little noise at the back of her throat, she looks back up. She realises she has not seen her for a little while - with all the things which have happened. She has not seen many of her normal friends at all. She has not even managed to reach out to the cats like she did. "Hi, Ye-jin..."

Her name is yobisute; it always is. Mikoto has not once used the honourifics of her fellows. And in this context it expresses the sort of friendship she extends to all the people she likes, affectionate and plainspoken and familiar. But Mikoto has always tried to encourage her friends, and now her words ring hollow, as if all that energy has been hollowed-out and replaced with something dismal.

<Pose Tracker> Ye-jin Song [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

When Mikoto confirms that she is in fact Mikoto Minagi, Ye-jin has to give this some thought. Rarely has she seen the other girl in the state she appears to be in-never so despondent. That and the fact that she's been missing for the last few days is enough to indicate something may be seriously wrong.

"What's wrong with you?" It's not exactly the most gentle way to pose the question. Ye-jin is not the most empathetic of people.

Heels click against the sidewalk as she steps into the small street where Mikoto is resting, closing the distance between the two. Dark eyes focus down on the girl, though she does not kneel to inspect from close-up. Instead, Ye-jin's peers down from on high.

"You're wet."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

What's wrong with Mikoto Minagi..?

She does not protest the harsh question, though her gaze drops down again as she asks. Ye-jin draws closer in a way which leaves her standing high above, and Mikoto hears the click-click-click of heels and does not try and draw herself up to meet her.

It's not that she's ignoring the question; it's just that she's not sure how to answer it. Ye-jin is a normal girl, in Mikoto's reckoning - just another Ohtori student unaware of the riptide which is tugging their students under the sea. In the end it is her second statement she answers first, a discontent little hum of acknowledgement as she nods.

At least the phone Yumi brought her has a waterproof case.

(She has not answered it for some time.)

One hand comes up to grasp her opposite arm, the motion brushing against a bead which has been freed from the confines of her shirt. "I..." The sound starts uncertainly, slowly. "... I did... lots of stuff wrong. Hard to explain... but... Mai cuh-- can't deal with me no more," the word hitches in her throat, "'cause I'm no good." Mikoto looks down; she can't bear to look at Ye-jin, admitting she is not really good, because she has always thought that Ye-jin was good.

It's what's wrong with her, and it's why she's all wet.

<Pose Tracker> Ye-jin Song [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"You're overreacting." Ye-jin's response comes after a moment of thought. It's more than a shade dismissive, though followed with a more assuring: "Whatever it is isn't that bad." She couldn't know, after all. Yet whatever problem Mikoto has, Ye-jin does not spare much thought to the idea that whatever she did wrong could be so momentous that the girl she loves so much might reject her.

"Stand up." Ye-jin's request is softer than a proper order, indicating at least some consideration for the girl below her. She doesn't offer a hand to help--they're full, between her umbrella and bags--but she assures: "We can find something to dry you off with."

A pause and she adds, "I can talk to Tokiha for you." Because Ye-jin can fix whatever the problem is, and then she can done with it.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mikoto shakes her head, as Ye-jin dismisses her as too reactive. But she hears once again that what she has done is not as bad as it seems, and bright shining eyes turn up to her with a shred of hope nestled between all that pain.

It would be so nice to think it wasn't that bad.

Her request is gentled and Mikoto dips her head in a nod, splaying pale fingers against the ground to push herself up, her other hand grasping at the strap of her sword-case and bringing it along with her. She shrugs it on a shoulder as she straightens, and the upper part brushes up against the grating of the fire escape. It is a rather large... golf case.

As far as Mikoto knows, that's what it is, to Ye-jin.

All at once she realises Ye-jin must think they are normal problems, with normal solutions, and her expression saddens anew. It is sorrow which grows alarmed as Ye-jin assures her she can fix it, eyes widening and breath lodging in her throat. "I--" at first she feels she will choke on the words, but they pour out, "I'm scared! If Ye-jin talks to Mai - then - Mai might --"

... tell the truth, for once in her life. She's finally learning how, as far as Mikoto can tell.

"Mai was really mad," Mikoto tries to explain. "Mai... deserved to be mad. 'Cause - 'cause I - I did stuff Mai can't forgive. I don't wanna... make Mai more mad, Ye-jin. I always just wanted Mai to be happy..." Her teeth press down against her lip, and she shakes her head. "If Ye-jin talks to Mai about me, Mai won't be happy, 'cause I don't make Mai happy. I just, cause problems for Mai. I'm all twisted up..."

<Pose Tracker> Ye-jin Song [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

There's a nod of satisfaction when Mikoto rises to her feet. Getting the girl off the ground is a good first step, all things considered. She listens to Mikoto's concerns, head tilting slightly as she digests this. The admission of her fright is an interesting one-though it was already easy to tell just how important Mai Tokiha was to Mikoto.

Which makes it surprising that they're separation appears to be so forceful. Still, Ye-jin seems confident that she can fix whatever it is. "Well what do you want me to do, then?" A gesture is made back toward the street, indicating that Mikoto should go that way. Ye-jin seems to intend to as well.

"It's not going to get any better if you don't do anything." The wine-haired girl asserts. "That's not how you solve problems."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mikoto's hesitation is matched by dawning realisation, as Ye-jin makes her assertions. It's not going to get better if she doesn't...

She's right, of course. Mikoto was idle, so of course things are bad. She knows what she has to do, because she doesn't know how to fix this, but she's never had to know anything like that.

And it means that what she wants Ye-jin to do is suddenly dwarfed by what she has to do.

Mikoto isn't the type to find it funny, the contrast.

She wants such normal little things. Food; a hug; someplace dry. Even if she doesn't deserve any of it, she's always wanted things like that. She can't help it.

She needs something she has never been able to find - something she wears herself to frayed strings in finding. Something which pushes her onward no matter the weight which has settled over her jagged heart. ... she can't help that, either.

Mikoto takes a step out towards the street, with wooden, halting motions. "I..." Her voice halts in her throat. "... I want..."

Does it really matter?

"... I want Ye-jin to remember... when we had fun," she says, finally. "Putting up, posters, and eating snacks while Ye-jin set up a stage, and... karaoke..." She blinks at damp eyes, staring ahead. "I really did try. I tried - real hard. And I was happy, when Ye-jin was happy..."

It doesn't sound like the sort of thing someone would say when they meant to go with them.

Step, step, step. "Maybe Ye-jin will hear... some really bad stuff about me. And... it's probably true. But - Ye-jin's always tried to help me. I know sometimes Ye-jin got stressed and said mean things... but..." Here her head turns, with a weak smile to her classmate. "Ye-jin's a good person, right? Not like me."

She looks back ahead; she keeps walking with those sluggish steps.

"... that's all I can want, right now. 'Cause Ye-jin's right. I need to... keep going. I can't stop now..."

She is ancient in her weariness as she mumbles, in repeat: "... can't stop now..."

And she keeps walking.

<Pose Tracker> Ye-jin Song [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Did they have fun?

Ye-jin remembers Mikoto ruining the easiest task she could have given her, plastering posters all over rooftops instead of walls. The way she had to force herself to be friends, share meals, and pander to her like she'd done for the rest of Ohtori's student body. And Karaoke--

Was that fun? Maybe even a little bit?

There might be something deep down inside that recoils from Mikoto's request. From her assertion that Ye-jin is a good person, and from the way she says it with such sincerity and certaintly. Her face, however, remains unreadable.

"Mikoto." She says, her lips finally pressing into a frown as the girl continues to move without Ye-jin's guidance.

"Mikoto!" When ignored, her voice sharpens.

And when ignored once more and Mikoto vanishes into the crowd, Ye-jin snarls: "Fine. What good are you, anyway?" The pristine white shopping bag in her hand smashes into the brick of a nearby wall, exploding in a shower of bath bombs and soap.

She stalks down the street in the opposite direction, leaving the tiny wreckage in her wake.