2019-05-03 - Rain On His Parade

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Title: Rain On His Parade

On a rainy day, Mai neglected to bring a lunch. Takeo has one for her, which is a nice gesture for someone wracked with guilt.


Mai Tokiha, Takeo Akamizu


Ohtori Academy - Gardens

OOC - IC Date:

2019-05-03 - June 3rd, 2015

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Ohtori's gardens are quiet, this time of day.

They shouldn't be, on principle. Hard work from landscapers and florists both have restored the sprawling greenery to its former glory, and the month of June is home to countless blooms in riotous colours. If not for the weather, countless youths would surely be romancing each other amid the blossoms.

If not for the weather. It's been raining for days, and there's no sign of it stopping any time soon.

The classrooms are warmer. Full of friendships, full of life, full of cheer to ward off the damp chill of this endless June rainstorm. Voices there, suggesting games or after-school activities or just a chance to pretend everything's normal-

Mai begged off, claiming she needed to work up an appetite for her lunch.

She didn't have a bento with her when she left the room.

Mai's footsteps down the garden path are slow, meandering, ignorant of whatever puddles might be present. It's a lazy gaze that passes over the arrangements, the tableau - she isn't an expert, she isn't an artist, but it's beautiful to behold. The gardeners did amazing work.

Eri did amazing work.

She didn't bring an umbrella, didn't even bring a coat - Mai has only her summer uniform against the elements, and the rain that pours down is rapidly soaking through. Nonetheless, her pace remains slow, finally drifting to a halt by a recently refurbished gazebo. It's not exactly cover against the storm, it's just close to where she met...

Where she first met...

If nothing else, the gazebo is something for her to lean a shoulder on, to try to find her strength or will or anything - anger burnt bright twice this week, and now she just feels so empty.

Empty, and alone.

<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Somebody knew what was happening, because for whatever reason, and somehow, this somebody was observant. He walks slowly through the gardens, wearing his student council jacket, and an umbrella. In one hand he has a bag held close to his body. He enters the gazebo behind Mai and quietly stands there behind her, silent as he contemplates her.

The look isn't creepy, or stalkerish, it's caring and full of compassion. he too looks wounded and hurt and he finds his cheeks also suddenly wet as he realizes where the two of them are. Takeo sighs softly and sets the bag down. He takes off his jacket and drapes it lightly over Mai's shoulders before he sits down beside her, holding the umbrella over the two fo them.

Takeo is silent for a very long moment before he says softly. "I brought bento and cake. I bought both." He reaches down and picks up a bento box and hands it to Mai with a slight smile. "I know things have been ... hard ... recently." He looks into Mai's eyes and gives her a soft smile. "Just .... You feel alone, but you're not. I'm here Mai. I'll do my best to always be here, no matter what."

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

There's warmth on her shoulders, shelter from the downpour, compassion for a dampened soul. Mai doesn't react when the rain stops falling on her, nor when the jacket is draped over her - it's only when Takeo speaks that she looks up, looks at what's here instead of what used to be.

"...lunch? You - you didn't have to do that. I'm not-" Her protests are interrupted, abruptly, by a snarl from her stomach. It's absurd, she probably had something to eat...last night? Maybe?

Mai's face reddens. Whether embarrassment over her body or whatever effect Takeo's words might have had, none can tell.

"...I'll see how the bento looks before I risk fighting the cake." It flickers there, the faintest ghost of a smile, before Mai sits down next to Takeo. She sets the bento in her lap, unwraps it, but doesn't lift the lid just yet.

She's looking in her lap, not at the boy next to her. She starts to speak a few times, toying with words of gratitude or compassion, and yet - and yet when she finally finds her words again, her voice is stern.

"...words are cheap. You can't - you can't promise that lightly. I can't promise that, that 'no matter what', I'll be there. There's always something, another danger, another monster - " She swallows heavily. " - another Alyssa Searrs. How do I know you won't disappear, next time?"

<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Takeo is silent for a very long moment. He too looks down at his lap, his expression filled with thought. Finally he reaches under his shirt and removes the Knight's Amulet there. He turns it over and over in his hand as he examines it. Finally he offers it to Mai. "You're right. I can't promise that. I can swear to defend the innocent, and swear to defend you, and swear to never leave your side, but the truth is I'm human." He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath.

When he opens his eyes there is a deep sadness there. "I want to keep that promise. To always be there. To make sure you're never alone. But I have so many memories that tell me that simply put I'm..." He pauses. "I'm just human. I can summon lightning, I can sword fight against anybody and win, but I'm just human. I could die. I could fall ill. I could simply misunderstand something and be late, or miss a clue to be there to help you."

He looks out into the rain. "But I can promise that I will do my best. I can swear to defend you as best I can, and not because I believe you need it, because frankly your Dragon can beat me without trying, but because I want to stand beside you against anything that could threaten ... us." He reddens deeply. "And. Not jsut ... You and me. Any of "us", like Kassagami, or your brother and my sister. I can promise you that I'll simply do my best because I care for you."

He then opens the bento and snaps the chopsticks carefully. "I can promise that if you'll let me, I'll be there as long as I can." He looks at Mai and gives her a weak version of his roguish grin. "I can also promise to never make a cake again and only buy them, for the benefit of everybody's health."

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

When it's offered, Mai stares at the Knight's Amulet for a very long time. Stares at it, through all of Takeo's honest words of devotion, of promising to do his best to protect...her. Like the title of HiME means she's a princess worthy of a knight in shining armor.

There's a hint of a smile on her face, a hint of a blush - but she pulls the jacket a little closer around her shoulders, and that warmth dims all too quickly.

"You're...you're a good person, Takeo. Probably the best knight in shining armor I can name. Whether or not it's for...an 'us'...you're someone I can believe in." She lays her hands on the bento box, a faint laugh sounding more like raindrops than sunshine. "I just can't...I'm worried you're putting too much faith in me. My own brother realized he can't trust me any more, so why should anyone else?"

If she lets him, he'll be there...Mai turns to meet that grin, but doesn't answer in kind. Can't bring herself to answer, searching for words and finding none - and then, finally, she turns away to lift the lid of her bento box.

"I think not making any other cakes might suit both of us for the better. So what exactly did you pack for a bento - I'm not picky, I'm just wondering if I should expect rice topped with bacon and a side of bacon..." Her smile as she peeks under the lid is weak, but maybe it is returning.

<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

It's not too elaborate, as Takeo is not the food master that others are. He definately can not claim to be a master at food organization. He's more of a food destroyer. However despite this it is clear that the purchased items were packed with care. Hot Dogs cut into Octopi, along with chicken Terriyaki with steamed vegetables and rice are in both boxes. A simple fair, but again, lovingly packed as the Chicken is to one side, and the Octopi appear to be marching (Crawling?) toward the chicken. He smiles at Mai and shrugs a shoulder. "No bacon." he says simply, and perhaps shockingly.

He takes the packaged cake out of the bag and cuts it in half and sets the bigger half toward Mai. It's a simple chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. Then he takes his chop sticks and lifts an octopi from the box. "I'm ... Not a good person Mai." He says as he looks into the rain. "I've made mistakes. Big ones." he eats the hot dog octopus and stares into the rain. "But I want to be better." He says after he swallows. He doesn't elaborate, he doesn't explain. He just sits there beside Mai and goes for another piece of food. "We, as in people, are .... Interesting things. Especially siblings. I should be there for my Sister. I can't. I can name a hundred excuses as to why I can't, but none of them are real. She's my sister, and I love Mika. The truth is, I'm scared. I'm scared I've been a terrible brother. That I somehow caused this, and I'm scared that I can't help her, and she's going to die. I don't see Mika because I'm selfish. Because I'm a coward. I'm a Knight because I have the memories of some French guy, and I have memories of that guy destroying a whole Kingdom because he was an idiot. It terrifies me that I'm going to make those same mistakes."

He stops talking and eats another Octopi. He stares out in the rain. Swallows and looks into the bento box. "I'm not a good person Mai." he Looks at her and nods once. "No matter what you think of yourself, You are." He smiles weakly at her. "We're human. We make mistakes. Even super ninja soldier Mikoto is at her core, simple a scared little girl who has no idea what she's doing. She's just human. You however are a GOOD human. You care. It's why you're out here, in this place." He gestures with the chopsticks. "You always find the good in people. You always put others first. You took care of your brother for the longest time and then you took care of Mikoto as well. You watched over Eri, and you fed a lost idiot when he forget his lunch. Multiple times. Sometimes on purpose because he missed your cooking." He blushes slightly. "You're more of a Knight than me Mai."

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

It might not be elaborate, but it's a sight better than anything Mai's made for herself in the last few days. She lifts up the little octopus, a wry smirk on her lips as she looks at Takeo. "No bacon. I guess it really is the end of the world."

She digs in quickly. Eating in a hurry is an...acquired skill, and she's been skipping enough meals lately that instinct kind of takes over. She's about halfway through the box when Takeo speaks up again, pulling her attention from the food.

Unfortunately, he's talking about mistakes. Mistakes and excuses and fears.

There's a quiet little clack, not even enough to be heard above quiet words, as Mai's chopsticks fall from her fingers.

She can't interrupt Takeo's self-flagellation. Parts of it are too real, too personal, echoing in her ears as shared traumas do. All she can do is flinch away at the mention of Mikoto's name, hand trembling as she grips the edge of the bench.

"I thought...I thought you were going to do your best. That includes being honest, and I don't..." It's a stone bench, there's very little risk of Mai breaking it with her grip alone - but the edge of the bench digs into her fingers.

"...you should tear down whatever pedestal you've put me on. Every one of your mistakes - I've done the same, or even worse. I'm a terrible sister, I was scared to be honest with Takumi until he found out the truth on his own, and I'm not a good person." She sets the bento beside her, and rests her head in her hands. "I've been taking care of my brother because I had to make up for ruining his life in the first place, I kicked Mikoto out a few days ago, I abandoned Eri for months and didn't even know she'd died - and now you have to be the one bringing me lunch!"

There's quiet, for a moment, as Mai breathes heavily. The rain just keeps pouring down, and it's all too familiar.

"...I think this was a mistake, Takeo. Whatever image of me you have...I'm not that girl. I'm not sure I ever was." She stands up, pulling the jacket from her shoulders to lay on the park bench. "...thank you for the lunch."

<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Takeo stands setting his ow Bento box down. "Mai!" He says quickly. He doesn't reach out for her, he's not dumb, but his hand does jerk toward her before he stops himself. "Just ... Wait. Please." He says as tries quickly to stop her from leaving. "I'm sorry. I wasn't .... I just ... I wanted to ..." He sighs and pinches the bridge of his nose. "I'm not good at this. I'm sorry. Listen, I .... " He opens his eyes and looks at Mai and runs a hand through his head. "Listen. The world might end if we don't beat that Wellpur-sneezey name thing, I don't want .... We shouldn't ...."

There are so many things he wants to say. Well really just two words. He squares his shoulders and looks at Mai. If she turns to face him he looks into her eyes, if she doesn't he just says it to her back. "We're human Mai. Both of us. We make mistakes BECAUSE we're human. But if the world might end, I need to tell you," he takes a deep breath. "I love ... You ... More than bacon. I'd give up bacon. I'd eat vegetables regularly. Whatever happens in the next few days, whatever we face, I will be there. Beside you if you'll let me. I just .... Once. With no monsters ready to destroy us, I just wanted you to know that." He holds out the umbrella. "Please take the umbrella Mai-chan. I have a jacket, and you ... I just don't want you to get a cold."

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Despite her words, Mai's departure halts - halts just before she would have left the umbrella's protection. Whatever scrap of self-preservation instinct she has left seems to remind her that it's pouring rain, remind her to think twice.

She doesn't dare look at Takeo while he's talking. Her shoulders are slumped, and there's no pride in her stance. Still, she listens.

One hand comes up, slowly, to rest over her heart. Silence, before any answer.

"...I wish you wouldn't." Words from a dream she once had, echoed in response to that earnest speech, that honest confession. "I'm a terrible date, a terrible friend, a terrible person to live with, and I just seem to drive the people I care about further away. Caring about me like that...you deserve better."

A heartbeat.

"...thank you. For telling me all that."

Mai really doesn't dare turn to look at Takeo right now.

She straightens up, shoulders square, looking out into the rainstorm. "We've faced darkness on the horizon before. The Garden of Time, the North Pole, Alyssa...it's dire, but there might be light afterwards. If so, then maybe..." Trailing off, she shakes her head.

"...we'll see, okay? In the meantime, Takeo...you're a better person than you think. Keep yourself dry, I'm already drenched anyway." With that, she runs out into the rain and the fog and the endless downpour - but at least there's a spark to her step now, something to push her forward.