2020-02-22 - Progression! My Favourite Delinquent Needs Civilising?!

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Title: Progression! My Favourite Delinquent Needs Civilising?!

Mikoto and Kasagami reunite properly, and Mikoto suggests that sometimes friendship weighs more than family. Kasagami objects to Mikoto's hunting practices, and tasks Mikoto to Animal Care club.


Mikoto Minagi, Kasagami Araki


Ohtori Academy - Gardens

OOC - IC Date:

2022-02-22 - 2015-08-09

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

It's hard, getting back in touch with everything. There is school, of course - she missed so much school - but it's not just school. Friends, too...

It's a little overwhelming - to try and see everyone at once.

Luckily, everyone has been very understanding with Mikoto. And she really is trying her best, after all. She's even been using her phone..!

She ate lunch with Chie and Aoi, the other day. Neither of them are trudging through the indignity of summer school, but they showed up in support of their disappeared kouhai regardless. Where she went, why she acted like she did when she showed up, well - they knew better than to ask indelicate questions like that. Instead, they asked when she was planning on seeing the new Majestia movie. ('What new Majestia movie?' was apparently the wrong answer - or perhaps, given the way they insisted on showing her sometime, precisely the right answer.)

And with the help of her apt summer tutors - this is Ohtori, after all, with only the best offered even to wayward or delinquent students - Mikoto is even starting to understand some of the work she missed. It wasn't just after her Lord Brother grasped her, after all - even before then, school was a distant last priority to Mikoto, between maintaining Eri's hunting grounds, meeting her obligations with a reconciling war, and keeping her promises to Mai and secondarily everyone else. It just... got a lot worse, when she took her place in Dark Fall. There was no room left for her grades to drop before she just started failing. Correcting something like that takes time, and it takes effort, and it's both hard and frustrating.

Even so - she's happy. Schoolwork is awful, especially when no one else has to do it, but it's normal. For the first time in - perhaps ever - Mikoto can throw herself into normal girl things, like worrying about grades, because one day she'll grow up and her path is no longer prescribed to her.

She has no clue what she wants to do, but now she can actually think about it.

But Sunday - Sunday has always been a day without classes, and even Mikoto doesn't have to worry on Sunday. She doesn't have to go home and change out of her school uniform - without that long-sleeved magenta shirt beneath it, because it's summer and Mikoto is warm - into clothes Mikoto likes, instead of clothes given to her. Today it's a loud yellow t-shirt, a big light pink heart printed across the front, and pale cream jean-shorts. Her cat-faced purse over one shoulder, clearly - and, yes, Miroku's case sitting on the other.

Today, she can do anything she likes. And she doesn't have to get up on time! That last part really is appreciated, after what happened yesterday.

And not just yesterday. She still wants to check on the Mages - she's worried, and regardless has so many apologies to make - but there are a great number of people Mikoto loves, loves and has wronged, and she thinks of all of them often, even if she is not quite brave enough to find them all in quick succession. But there's one girl who's been messaging her, since her recovery...

Mikoto has mostly been reading those messages - some of them she doesn't fully understand, but the spirit is appreciated - with a few short replies of her own, but now she sends out a small barrage of messages herself, at the mercy of her phone's auto-correct.

> Do you want to meet ip
> O mean up
> I
> Anyway I want to see you if that's okay

Mikoto is much worse at text messages now she isn't scrutinising her missives.

And even though they don't have to be here today, reformed delinquents and the Student Council have something in common - they're on campus, even after everyone else has left. Maybe that's why the place Mikoto suggests is one of Ohtori's innumerable gardens. She finds herself a bench, tucked away between two rose bushes, pink petals drinking up the sun. She shrugs off Miroku's case and props it beside the bench, before she perches down, too. Her legs swing under the wrought iron - she is still rather short, even with how she's grown - and her fingers splay beside her, as she leans back and looks at the edges of Ohtori's old, old buildings.

It's not like everything's perfect now - there are still horrible things threatening her friends, and there are problems for Mikoto, too - but even through her worries, she can still find a lot to smile about.

It really is nice, to be able to smile again.

Even though...

'For our country, for the peace of the world... ... for our happiness... ... bring me the strength to build our future. Bring me their suffering.'

'I am the greatest mind of Midchilda! I am the one who will fulfill my own Infinite Desire: the discovery, and rediscovery, of Lost Logia, Al-Hazard, and Ancient Belka! I am the master of ancient secrets and the pioneer of new ones!'

'I'll put everything on the line. If you want to doubt something, don't doubt that.'

... maybe it wavers a little, when it comes up against all the things still looming over them.

Still, things might be hard, but they're not impossible, because she's not alone.

That's why - Mikoto can keep smiling, as she waits for someone so important to her.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Miko's phone goes off almost immediately!

RoyalRose: Yes! Get me out of this paperwork purgatory!

Kassie uses voice-to-text. It puts in little sad emojis into the text. The Duelist ignores the throngs and throngs of seemingly endless stacks of papers. How did Miki get all of these done!? To her mind, likely through being a shut-in geek with no hobbies outside of music. This is likely cruel to Miki Kaoru.

Kasagami never liked him, and so allows herself to be cruel. But not to Mikoto Minagi. No, when she arrives, it's by walking up behind with a warm smile. She lifts her voice.

"Mikoto-chan! Why if it isn't my favorite delinquent! Lucky for you I'm no longer in charge of discipline, or I'd have you locked up against a desk doing all of your homework!" Griiiin. Both hands reach! One goes around shoulders, and another is going to noogie Miko into submission with her passionate care for the returned young woman!

This may involve actual lifting to do this, because darn it she wants to make sure Mikoto knows that she's back and here and that Kassie loves her!

"I'm so glad you're back Mikoto-chan! You don't have to fight except on your own terms!"

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

Mikoto doesn't know what purgatory is, but if it has to do with paperwork, it's probably bad.

A twitch-twitch of her ear is the first sign Mikoto has detected one Kasagami Araki, and there's delight in her eyes as she turns to see her. It transitions neatly to an audible 'eep' as Kasagami threatens her with all that homework, and Mikoto wriggle-wriggles as she is bodily lifted from the bench to have her hair mussed into submission.

Laughing, she finally collapses back against the taller girl, head tilting up against her hand. "Yup!" She chirps, the assent so much more casual and better-fitting, because she's made her decision - can now make that decision.

Not so different the the others, after all.

"And Kasagami's at a desk now," she points out, eyes wide. "You went back!" To the Student Council, presumably. Apparently, for all Mikoto skipped class throughout those months, she was still keeping track of certain parties.

Wriggle-wriggle Mikoto turns around, so she can actually face the other swordswoman, a hand resting on her knee. "Hey, Kasagami..." She starts, a little quieter, now. "There's - something I should say - if that's okay?"

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

When Mikoto collapses against her and she finally lets go, there's a fondness in the Duelist's eyes that warms the heart and may even ease Kassie's own ever-plaguing doubts. Particularly now, given the troubles with the powerful false-Devices and their creator! The casual chirp of a reaction and how it all seems to ooze the purity of the girl she'd tried to press-gang into sisterdom?

It's a heavy relief within her. Enough so that her confidence comes to her almost as easily as it had in more rich and powerful days at Ohtori. Arms cross, she flicks hair and coat alike into a rogue-like flutter!

"I'm a true Councilor now! Maybe not what I aimed for...but that time will come to me! And I have a foothold rather than a mere token scrap thrown at my feet! Instead I feast at the table of nobles and Kings where I should be. Power to change Ohtori and bring it to new heights!" She can do this through paperwork!? Well, maybe. She won't let it slip that she's still mostly there to serve. Her pride wont' allow it. But she does at least have this much to her name!

A taste of power to a girl desperately grasping for it as a blinding light against her trauma, fears, and desires. It's a recipie for tragedy and addiction of the worst kind. But for now things are stable as the Castle in the Sky lay far above, a twinkle ever in Kassie's mind if not in her eye.

"So I won that much. What is it, Miko-chan? Come on, speak. I'm sure we both have things we want to say to each other. Don't hold back! I'm not exactly perfect. Some of my reactions were..." She waves a hand vaguely.

"Well. What you have to say is what's most important right now." Is she trying to be...a little less selfish with the cat-warrior before her!?

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

"So, that's where Kasagami's starting," Mikoto considers, with a thoughtful nod. She's never really dealt with the realm Kasagami wants to enter, so who is she to say it doesn't start with paperwork? "It sounds tough... but Kasagami will be okay!" She has complete confidence in Kasagami's ability to achieve her goals...

... through...

... paperwork.

That's Kasagami's goals, and Mikoto is very glad she doesn't want to rule the world if it involves that sort of work.

But still, they're Kasagami's goals, so Mikoto can be happy for her anyway. Just because Mikoto doesn't understand it completely, that doesn't mean she can't be glad Kasagami has found a way forward.

Finding a way forward - it's important.

And Mikoto's way forward has to involve some apologies - after everything she's done. "Kasagami..."

At first her name is a little hesitant, because even if Mikoto's thought about this, it's still hard to look up at her and say it. But Kasagami clears the floor for her to speak, and Mikoto speaks up. "I'm sorry," is what she starts with, and it is not the first time she has said it and it will not be the last, but each time it is genuine. "I took things Kasagami shared 'cause you trusted me, and I used them to try and hurt Kasagami. I was - really mean, and I blamed Kasagami for telling me things which... was true," her voice drops a little more of its volume, thinking of the way Kasagami pointed out the abuse Mikoto lived through. "And, I was, really violent... and I kept trying to scare Kasagami, too... it was no good," Mikoto shakes her head, her remorse evident.

It's a melancholy which lifts, though, as Mikoto smiles to Kasagami again. "But even though I was so mean, Kasagami kept fighting for me! I - I'm really happy about that," emotion makes her trip over her mora, but it's not a bad emotion, the way it always was before. "Maybe it wasn't perfect, but Kasagami really cared, and... and I needed that. So, I'm sorry... but thank you, too!"

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Truly the pen is...well, not mightier in this case, but what King doesn't use both!? That's what the Duelist tells to herself. That this isn't still in some way the rest of the Student Council laughing at her.

"My family worked in government. Doesn't it make sense that I would conquer through both blade and my keen administrative sense!?" Of pushing papers and making things run efficiently. ...She might actually be learning from this job. But again her pride is wrankled here.

Kasagami finally sits at one of the benches amidst the beautiful garden, crossing a leg and actually letting the young woman fully speak! She's silent for a few moments, mulling over the apology as well as just how sorrowful that the girl seems. "While that was a bit of a low blow...eh. It's not like I didn't try to hurt you too when we were fighting. I ran away from you, treated you like I never knew you, like you were suddenly some monster." She still feels guilty how she acted in that cafe, proclaiming Mikoto to not be 'hers'. And really, she wasn't.

"I mean, I don't think I ever really listened to you all that much. I was too caught up in wanting things I didn't have anymore. That maybe you could make those missing, precious things hurt a little less. And I couldn't take no for an answer!" Her voice rises. Eyes mist, and her shoulders tremble.

"Mikoto-chan, I forgive you. And I get it. If Mother had asked me to do things, no matter what they were, I'd probably have done them too. When it's people that close, we can be really blind. Especially if we want nothing more than to hold onto our precious family and never lose them. You're not the one I'm angry at. Never you, not now, now when I know what's been going on! I won't let you or Fate-chan or anyone else get used like that, the sacred bond of family turned into a manipulative coward's weapon!" Her voice is angry, horrified, afraid and desperate. It's the sound of a howling, hurt wolf venting frustrations and pain both past and present. Both situations, Fate and Mikoto both, sting her greatly.

"That's why I want to be a King. So I can stop abuses like that." She snarls.

A sucked in breath, and she quivers. The Duelist looks tired for a second, and she slowly smiles to Mikoto. "So I won't force something precious into something twisted. I'm still your friend even if we aren't blood. And one day, maybe one day, I can prove I'm worthy of being called your big sister. But I'll earn, rather than demand it like a blood tithe." It's not quite an apology. But it's close.

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

"Yup," is Mikoto's surmisal of Kasagami's conquering methods. She, at least, is perfectly happy to accept that this is all part of a King's burden.

It's not the sort of agreement which mocks the listener; Mikoto just accepts it, with good cheer.

Kasagami seems to accept what Mikoto says, too, and the smaller girl's head dips in a nod of acknowledgement at the low blows they laid on each other. All those little things they did to hurt each other, because they were hurting, too...

Her eyes aren't exactly dry, either.

"I understand, Kasagami's anger," Mikoto says, swallowing against that lump in her throat. "About that man, and - my Lord Brother. I'm... I'm angry, too. It's..."

Her teeth press in against her bottom lip, and it's all so complicated. She says she's angry, but the 'but' in her sentence is implicit in her hesitant voice: "it's hard, for me." It's hard, to express that swirling morass, the love still tangled up in her outrage - and how can she tell Kasagami why she's angry, when Kasagami is already so angry for her?

Still, she smiles, looking up to her again. "Thanks," she repeats. "I don't wanna... worry too much about family right now, 'cause I just got away from my Lord Brother, and... I guess my family's always been, bad for me. I do, want family, but... sometimes, I don't know when to stop. I don't wanna do the same thing I learned to do, back then." Mikoto does not quite know what codependency is, but looking at what she did, how he controlled her - she can at least make a clumsy attempt at naming it.

"But, I know - the friends I found here - it's the first time anyone cared about me, just for me," Mikoto goes on, and there is gratitude to her smile, even through her misty eyes. "It's the first time anyone put me first... and not my Lord Brother. My Lord Brother made me feel important, too... but, with everyone here... it wasn't 'cause I could fight, or make people hurt. No one wanted anything from me. Everyone just... wanted me to be okay, not so I could go out and do more bad things, but just so I wouldn't be so sad..."

New tears join her smile, springing up from the corners of her eyes - it's an overwhelming sort of emotion, and she sniffles, rubbing at her face. "I - I'm okay," Mikoto assures her, still with that little smile, though her voice can't help but wobble. "It just... means lots, to me... h-having friends like that."

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Kassie rubs her chin thoughtfully as she ponders the anger of one Mikoto Minagi. "You're used to channeling your anger into your sword. That's a very useful thing in battle! But you need to learn what to do with that anger outside of combat." Muses the Duelist.

She smiles, a soft thing, not something she gives to many outside of a very specific orbit of people (usually a certain Outer Senshi!). This one though is streaked with concern and care for the complicated Mikoto. Even as she's explaining, Kassie is taking out an Ohtori handkerchief from within her coat, and starting to dot out those tears.

"That's because we're your friends, Mikoto. Friends help each other, they don't use each other for their own ends. The world is cruel to people, but friends can help make it bearable. The skills we each have are for helping each other achieve our dreams! Together!" She clenches her fist and grins, flicking her hair in a fabulous manner as sparkles and roses scoot on by.

Surely none of her friends would oppose her Kingship. Not at all.

An arm reaches to try to capture Mikoto once again about the shoulders, gloved hand towards the top of her head, fingers lightly scritching. It's a half-hug, and she only briefly eyes to make sure no one is around. She has a reputation after all!

"Shh, come on, don't cry. People will start rumors! You deserve good friends. To be happy and to not have to do anything you don't want to." Pause. Glare!!!

"Except homework. By the way, you'll find the next stack of makeup work on your desk at the dorm. I expect it back in my office by the end of the week." Truly Kasagami is still evil.

A thought strikes her, and she's suddenly looking to Miko again. Scriiitch scritch scritch! "I know how you can channel your anger. Mikoto, you don't have a club. You can't call yourself a real student at Ohtori if you're not going to a club. And it WON'T be the Go Home Club! As a student of Ohtori, and the friend of a Student Council member, you are OBLIGATED! I won't have my reputation besmirched or yours! So. How do you like birds?" Her eyes sparkle, and she's grinning again.

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

"What to do..." Mikoto echoes, considering. "... I've been... trying art. For my feelings." Maybe she could try putting that down on paper, too.

Kasagami dab-dabs at her tears, and - and Mikoto, lips thinning for a moment, reaches up with a quick movement to take the handkerchief and rub at her own face. She doesn't quite explain the reaction, but by the time Kasagami's arm comes around her again, she's recovered enough to lean against her, head tilting up into her scritchy-scritchy fingers.

It's not like Kasagami could know, after all, the way her tears were taken.

And Mikoto smiles, because Kasagami says she deserves it and now she can finally believe she deserves it, friends and happiness and autonomy. "Yup!" She chirps, affirmatively, all sunshine, all joy.

It's a smile which fractures, a little, as Kasagami mentions more homework. "... there's more?" Mikoto asks, disbelieving, big eyes looking up at the taller girl. "How's there more?!"


Luckily, Kasagami knows just how to distract Mikoto, and her disbelief fades to surprise as she blink-blinks. "Club..?" Again, she echoes her, as if she's never heard the concept. Of course she has - many students are involved in clubs, in Tokyo - but Mikoto has never had time. Her task was finding her Lord Brother, and it left no time for dallying about with after-school activities.

But, now...

Mikoto smiles. "I love birds!" That's a good sign-- "They're hard to catch, but it's lots more fun when I do! Mai said I'm not allowed to bring them back home any more, though. No rabbits or squirrels, neither." WAIT DOES SHE MEAN SHE HUNTS THE BIRDS.

"But I can still bring fish," Mikoto says, "so it's okay!"

She definitely means she hunts the birds.

"Cats like them, even if Mai doesn't. It's good to bring them to kittens, so they can learn how to hunt good. Mother cat takes care of lots of that, but cats have all their friends help with kittens, so it's normal to join in! I mean," Mikoto clarifies, "I'm not a cat," THIS IS SOMETHING WHICH CONFUSES A SURPRISING AMOUNT OF PEOPLE, "but I'm friends with lots of cats. Cats were my very first friends... so I know a lot to help!"

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Her brow rises! "You're an artist Miko-chan? What kind of art? A creative outlet is definitely good for you. Heh, want to do a painting of me? It'd be an honor of course, for you, to paint a member of the Student Council!" Leeeean in.

"And it'd make a great present for Setsu-chan!" There's maybe a tiny beg in her voice.

Yoink! Away goes the handkerchief, and Kassie doesn't protest. No, she's happy that Mikoto is doing things for herself, even if it's something tiny like that. Besides she has scalp-rubs to give! Her heart warms as Mikoto agrees with her. And not in the ego-stroking way. Yes, Kasagami's ego shines in being agreed with, but she's also honestly happy to see Mikoto truly be happy.

Smiiiiile! "There's always more Miko-chan, when it comes to delinquents. It's divine homework punishment!" States Kasagami with an utterly straight face.

There's this slow dropping of the Duelist's jaw as it dawns upon her that Mikoto has been hunting flipping birds! One finger goes up, then down. She has to chew air in order to try to find proper words. She may even be vaguely horrified. Slowly she sinks down on the bench, practically laying over it and Mikoto, one hand covering her face.

"Mikoto..." The Duelist is audibly pained. It hurts. She loves this beautiful Mikoto, but it hurts!

"While I appreciate your desire to become as unto Sasaki Kojiro...first of all that's my job, claymores don't catch sparrows. Second of all, you DO NOT HUNT BIRDS!!! Not on school grounds, do you want people to think you're insane!? Very correct, you are not a cat, I did not need the mental image of a rabbit hanging out of your mouth while you bound from rooftop to rooftop!"

Pause. "The fish is fine though. Just...not in your mouth. You are not a bear either! And you are especially not hunting the Falconry Club's falcons! They're worth more than both of our net worth combined!" Not that she has much net worth right now.

Reeeach, nosepoke! "No bird-hunting at Ohtori! Not without written permission!" Hufff. Hmmm.

An idea strikes like lightning. "In fact, I think you should do the opposite of hunting, in order to get that uncivilized idea out of your head! I know the club for you."

Smirk. "Animal club. You're going to take care of rabbits and birds and yes...kitties!"

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

"I'm an artist..?" It's a question answered with another question. "I'm good at handwriting," Mikoto goes on to explain. "But, I just started drawing stuff..."

She considers, and declares: "'Kay!"

Of course, Mikoto's portraits...

Well, Kasagami can discover the unique properties of those soon enough.

She's less enthusiastic when it comes to the homework - though, again, she repeats, "I'll do my best..." And it's not exactly pleasant, but even though Mikoto is ruffled at the thought of having more homework to do, it's also kind of relieving. It's a normal sort of thing..!

But Mikoto is not very good at being normal, as Kasagami discovers.

She makes a face, as Kasagami says claymores don't catch sparrows. Her nose wrinkles further, as Kasagami issues an edict not to hunt birds. "Uh-uh," she corrects her, folding her arms. "Miroku's not for hunting animals, I do that with my hands! And I hardly ever need to hold them in my mouth!"

Her head cants, as Kasagami tells her not to hunt falcons. "Sharp claws, sharp beak. It's a bad hunt." Is... is that why Falconry Club has been safe from Mikoto's apparent hunting tyranny? "'Sides, falcons eat meat. So they're friends, not food." A beat, and she adds: "... even if they look like food."

... maybe it's not safe to have Mikoto too close to Falconry Club.

Her nose wrinkles, again, as it is poked. "I'm not doing paperwork just to hunt," Mikoto huffs. "Hunting's normal!" Mikoto has definitely seen Kasagami eating meat, so she doesn't see why she's so horrified now.

Maybe it's just because she's not used to doing it herself..?

... if Mikoto brought her some dead things, she'd probably get used to it...

She dismisses the thought, though, because Kasagami is also not a cat, and more to the point she's moved on with an animated point about the opposite of hunting. Mikoto grunts, thoughtfully, head tilting to the other side. She looks sceptical...

... until Kasagami mentions just what club she's thinking of.

"Club for animals..?" Mikoto blinks, a hand tapping at her chin as she looks up. "... I like animals..." Some of them are tasty, and some of them are relatable!

And, taking care of them...

"... okay!" Mikoto smiles, broadly, to Kasagami. "I'll go to animal's club!"

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Kasagami may be setting herself up for artistic ruination...but she trusts Mikoto! Surely it will be beautiful! Surely her own overwhelming fabulous aura will bleed into the piece through the huntress-HiME's art!

Kassie is doomed!

This time Kassie's brows narrow, and she stares at Mikoto. "'Hardly ever' is less than zero! Now you've done it. I will not be able to get this out of my head now! I'm sure there's a French dish where you have to have the veal chewed first, but this is ridiculous! What am I going to do with you!? I think I would have preferred you hunting with the sword now! That at least shows some Ohtori style!"

Yeah, the Duelist is now imagining the Duel at Ganryu Island, only it's Mikoto versus Miyamoto Usagi, complete with dual swords and lots of bunny jumping. Kasagami lets out a sigh as her daydream pops!

Mikoto has a club! She feels accomplished, really, knowing that Miko will have something to bend her new time and efforts towards. Something that isn't unhealthy violence.

"Good. You have a lot of empathy for animals, so you'll be perfect for it. And maybe I can show you how birds hunt! Oh just one thing..." Kasagami leans in!

"The Kangaroo is banned from Animal Club for anti-Student Council activities. Watch out for him, he's a menace!" He's a jerk!