2020-07-06 - Seeing Past The Danger! Friends Reconcile!

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Title: Seeing Past The Danger! Friends Reconcile!

Mikoto and Natsuki are similar in a lot of ways, but maybe not quite as many as before.


Mikoto Minagi, Natsuki Kuga


Ohtori Academy - Dormitories

OOC - IC Date:

2020-07-06 - 2015-09-10

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Yuki Kajiura - Mysterious https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-7VBKF5LHU

The end of class..!

Retreat for Mikoto means coming back to THEIR DORM. Key in the lock, and she collapses down, right on her face. A finger twitches. Her backpack and sword-case are still on her back.

"... hungry," she mumbles.


There, on the table...!

It's a snack bar...!

Did someone realise that Mikoto would slump in exhausted after a long day of actually going to class and leave it there for her?

Mikoto, at least, seems to know it's there: after a few more moments of lying totally motionless on the ground she finally summons the strength in her arm to fumble in vain along the edge of the table, until she finds the flat of it, and finally, the snacks.

Another minute of getting it open, and HOMPH, it disappears into her mouth.

Finally she roll-roll-rolls over, shedding backpack and sword-case so she can sit cross-legged on the ground, rubbing at the side of her head. Her hair is all messy, but it's kind of hard to tell; Mikoto's hair is in a constant, natural state of dishevelment, as if there were no other way her hair could possibly be.

"Maiiii," Mikoto whines, but there's no reply. "MAIIIIII," Mikoto whines, again, louder, just in case Mai got back early and was taking a nap.

Still no reply.

"Not back yet..." Mikoto sighs, and flops back down on her back, arms splayed across the floor.

Is her plan to just lie here until Mai trips over her or something..?

<Pose Tracker> Natsuki Kuga [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Natsuki had ditched class...again.

She had promised Shizuru to try harder to avoid have to do it, and she did for a week until one of her contacts dug up a lead that was too big to ignore.

Unfortunately, the lead turned out to be a huge loss. Natsuki had grumbled all the way back, snagged an apple and and energy drink attempted to make it back for her morning class but she missed it.

Natsuki bite into her apple as she leaned against the wall, debating if it was worth attending any of her classes until a black blur caused her to jump.

Natsuki held up her fists in reflex, but then froze as she spotted Mikoto scarfing down a snack bar someone had left behind.

Natsuki lowered her arms as she straightened her posture. She hadn't seen Mikoto since...well they were yelling and fighting then. She knew Mat and Mikoto were on better terms now, but that had all happened while Natsuki was out of town on a lead.

Natsuki rubbed her neck. There was no point in avoiding it now. Thus, Natsuki cleared her throat to catch Mikoto's attention. She then raised a hand and waved. "Um...hi?"

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

Mikoto looks up, as she works out in her mind the process of getting up, going to the fridge, and getting some of the food Mai left for her. A snack bar... is a stopgap option.

Sniff, sniff. There's something about the dorm that's different, but...

(There's something about Mikoto that's different, too. She came in with total trust; she didn't check the corners before she collapsed; she didn't even lock the door behind her. It was fair to call her suspicious even before that long July, given the war, but now...)

A grunt rolls from the back of her tongue to her lips as someone clears their throat, and Mikoto knows immediately it's not Mai because Mai sounds different. Her gaze snaps over to the wall Natsuki's colonised, eyes widening a little with a more surprised noise, as she pulls herself up to a sitting position again.

"Natsuki," she finds her words, after a moment. "Back again..."

She'd heard she was out of town, certainly, but she didn't really know when she'd be back. Mikoto scratches at the side of her face, glancing down, humming uncertainty through her lips.

It's not really a sound which needs translating. Universally, that sound means: BOY THIS IS AWKWARD

"I'm okay now," Mikoto settles on, after a moment of looking anywhere but Natsuki. "I came home." And then Mikoto looks around the dorm and realises that she has said something entirely obvious, and puffs out a breath, before she looks up to the taller girl who frankly has even more of a height advantage on her now she's sitting on the ground.

"Okay?" She asks, a little nervously. Last time this happened Mai was there to broker the peace between them; Mikoto isn't really used to doing this sort of thing on her own.

But she doesn't really want to fight Natsuki.

(And she really doesn't want to fight Natsuki.)

<Pose Tracker> Natsuki Kuga [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Natsuki does her best to offer a smile. "Yeah, I uh heard." She gave a cough. "Sorry, I came here without thinking." Natsuki wasn't certain why she had wandered near Mai and Mikoto's room, her caffeine deprived brain likely put her into autopilot mode and before she had realized it she had drifted here.

She had plan to eat her apple and wandered back, but... Perhaps subconsciously, she wanted to come to speak to Mikoto and clear the air.

Natsuki shoved her hands into her pockets. "You doing okay? I heard only bits and pieces but..sounded like you had a bit of a rough time with that 'lord brother' you always called him." She swallowed, not knowing if this was not a sore topic to dive into. Natsuki had only heard small bits of it, but she has to know.

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

"It's okay," Mikoto says, shrugging a shoulder as she looks to the lock on the door, as if to say 'you have a key, obviously you're invited'.

(Of course Natsuki has key to their dorm. Sure, the window's kept open habitually, but Natsuki is better at approaching the dorms like a normal person, unlike some girls here the narrative will not deign to name, Mikoto.)

That's about the time Mikoto realises it's still ajar after her grand flop inwards, so she rocks forward on her knees to boop it shut. There. Fixed it!

Give her another second, and she'll realise she's just kind of chilling out on the ground and that's not a normal place to have a conversation. And so: she hops up onto the couch. Which is much more normal. It would help if she wasn't sitting up on her ankles, but it's important to have reasonable expectations for Mikoto Minagi when it comes to civilised discourse.

"Umm..." Mikoto looks up, and on her higher perch it's more obvious, now: there's no pendant around her neck, any more. "It was hard," she settles on, eventually. "I couldn't really let myself care about anyone... even though I love Mai!" It's as plainly spoken as she always is; she doesn't have the sense to be embarrassed. Perhaps that's because: "And I love Natsuki, and I love Eri, and I love Takeo... but even though I had all those feelings, I had to be really mean."

She pokes at the edge of her skirt, teeth pressing in against her bottom lip slightly. "I don't really like being scary..."

Mikoto might seem like a strange contender to dislike frightening people, the way Mikoto tends to act in a fight. ... nevertheless, she doesn't sound like she's lying.

<Pose Tracker> Natsuki Kuga [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Seeing Mikoto relax slightly, Natsuki quietly enters the room. Between going to class or talking with Mikoto, this seem more crucial.

She sat on the couch as she slumped forward. "It was scary to watch you, truth be told, but I know you were doing what you thought was right."

She sighed and she offered a small smile. "We are glad to have you back with us though. Mai was worried about you."

Mai had tried not to bother Natsuki with it, but the dark rings around Mai's eyes gave it away. The last time she saw Mai they were fading hinting she was finally getting enough sleep.

Natsuki then frowned as she stared at the floor. "While you were with them, did you learn anything that we should known to keep Mai and everyone else safe?"

It had been knawing at Natsuki since she heard of Mikoto's return, but didn't want to poke at it until Mikoto and Mai were more settled. Mai wouldn't have likely wanted to push Mikoto, but Natsuki felt that was her job to do so.

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

"Mai..." Mikoto trails off, before she smiles back to Natsuki, with an affirmative hum. "Yeah." Sometimes when people do what they think is right, it's worrying. Choices are complicated like that...

She slumps back down into the pillows of the couch, when Natsuki asks... what Mikoto honestly expected her to ask. Eri hasn't broached this subject, not really; but Natsuki, Mikoto thinks, approaches things a lot more directly.

She thinks this even though she's seen the board where Natsuki tries to connect all her dissonant leads, in their myriad complexity.

"I want to help," she says, finally, a little deflated. "But... I don't remember a lot. Um... it was... we lived in a dark place," she says, pressing her fingers together as she tries to think back. "And it was cold... but... I don't remember how to get there. Or who we were working with... it's, um..."

Was there someone else there? Were there other people who helped her in her schemes? How were they connected, in that brutal tapestry of Dark Fall?

"... I don't know," Mikoto says, again, looking down.

"But I was fighting... for our future. I really think my Lord Brother believes that." Her gaze shifts to the side, as her hand comes up to brush a braid behind her ear. "That it's up to us... to make it better, no matter what it takes. To make a place... we could be happy. That's why I had to, gather suffering. That's why..."

Her throat tightens, and all a sudden she finds tears springing to her eyes; she scrubs at her face with the back of her hand, face scrunching like a squeezed sponge.

... that's why she had to suffer.

<Pose Tracker> Natsuki Kuga [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Natsuki's quiet and doesn't speak a word as Mikoto talks. She craves to ask more, to poke more. Maybe she can get Mikoto to remember something if she did, but the expression on her face.

It's clearly hurting her.

Without thinking, Natsuki remembers when she was hurting as a child and how her mother would scoop her up in her arms and it took her a minute to realize she was now doing the same for her friend.

Natsuki gives a gentle squeeze.

"It's okay, don't force it," she told her. "I shouldn't have asked you. Of course they would set it up so you couldn't remember if you left."

She gently lifts Mikoto's head up. "It's okay. You and I, we are going to protect Mai and the others."

She gave a crooked smiled. "We always did share the resolve to follow through on that. I missed that. Mai knows, but not to the extent that you and I know how serious we need to be on that, right?"

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

Mikoto just sort of slumps in against Natsuki like there is nowhere else she could possibly be, because Mikoto doesn't much notice that Natsuki isn't being standoffish right now. Mikoto is too busy being sad because her family... sucks!!

(Mikoto has utterly failed to pick up any of the interesting words of frustration Natsuki has uttered over the time they've known each other, but after two years she's finally picked something up. Perhaps in another year, she'll even utter it in Natsuki's earshot. Not today, though. Today, she's too busy sniffling.)

Her head is easily lifted; she looks up. "Protecting them," she echoes, in quiet consideration. She nods, quietly; glances down, for a moment, before she looks back up again. Her eyes are far too gold and they shine, a little too thin vertically up close, like those pupils contract in entirely the wrong fashion.

"Natsuki... I'm done with whatever it takes." She blinks, once and once again. "When I thought like that... I couldn't protect anyone. Just give her mercy," Mikoto murmurs, and those eyes are fathomless depths. "Just that."

She did what she had to do. It was unpleasant. It took a miracle to save Eri, after that.

A miracle could save Eri, after that.

"Being serious... having resolve... does it really mean we're better at keeping them safe? I think maybe, thinking like that..."

Mikoto's gaze shifts, past Natsuki, to the window.

"... we just can't see the way out."

<Pose Tracker> Natsuki Kuga [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Natsuki is quiet. She mulls over Mikotos word. They stung a bit, but deep in her heart Natsuki knows Mikoto has a point.

"Yeah....you're not wrong," she mutters quietly.

She suddenly felt tired. Natsuki had done nothing but keep her blinders on as she focusses on finding the truth, avenging her mother, but she missed out on a lot of details.

Details and connections that was only found because she made friends with Mai and connections with others.

Mikoto was one of the most driven people she knew, if Mikoto was saying this, then what did that say for Natsuki herself?

Natsuki cursed as she leaned her chin on top of Mikoto's head.

"Damn, when did you become the wise one? Or were you always this wise and I never noticed?"

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

Mikoto sinks back in against Natsuki. Her hair is perpetually messy, but it makes a good nest, all told.

(A nest... for birds?! Really, has she even heard of a comb?! You can't just leave your hair however you please because it's short, Mikoto!)

"I am who I am," she says, and somehow she sounds at peace with that, too. "Some of it's bad and some of it's good, and some of it's wise and some of it's not. I'm okay with that."

Head tilting up a little, with all the concern of a friend, Mikoto asks: "Natsuki, you okay with that?"

And maybe she's asking whether Natsuki is okay with how Mikoto is.

Or, maybe...

... maybe Mikoto's making a point about someone who she sees as direct, just like she is.

Someone else who she could see doing whatever it takes, in all that stance's wretched misery.

<Pose Tracker> Natsuki Kuga [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Natsuki gave a nod. "Yeah...yeah, I'm okay with that."

They sit for a moment, Natsuki enjoys the silence...until her stomach grumbles.

Natsuki blushes. "Stupid stomach," she mutters as she takes out her phone.

"Listen, I'm starving, so how about I order us food? My treat. We can order extra for Mai whenever she shows up."

Natsuki's mind had enough to process, all she wanted to do right now was just enjoy good food and company.

Worth ditching school. Totally worth it.

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

Natsuki says she's okay with that, and Mikoto hums affirmation, smiling. It's a relief measured in her body, the way she relaxes immediately.

If Natsuki is okay with that, she's happy, and that goes for either interpretation of her question, really.

But then --


Mikoto unfolds onto the empty side of the couch, hands to her knees as she peers at Natsuki's phone. Her eyes are quite, quite wide.

"Phones bringing food..." She utters it like it's some kind of magic spell, which - well, considering she keeps Yumi Ohzora's company, she might actually be under that impression.

She laughs, in brazen exuberance, a grin crossing over her face. "Yup!" She says, fully and totally excited over the idea of food delivery.

Also: Natsuki being back.

That is also important.

Both those things can be good.