2020-08-25 - That Day, This Day

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Title: That Day, This Day

Mai takes Mikoto out to Linden Baum on the anniversary of SEARRS' invasion. It's not quite that day, but now they have this day.


Mai Tokiha, Mikoto Minagi


Linden Baum diner

OOC - IC Date:

2020-08-25 - 2015-09-23

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

Ohtori Academy is still standing this week. Ever as before, ever just as sure, as the sun will rise. The buildings still stand, the gardens are lush, the lawns are green. The school exists like something out of a fairy tale, unmarred by tanks or soldiers or orbital lasers.

But there are reminders. Flyers, slipped under doors, reminding about upcoming memorials, about the ever-open Mikage Seminar, about paranoid theories about what really happened...

Those flyers have upset the wastepaper basket in Mai and Mikoto's dorm room, and no one is there to right it.

"...so as gorgeous as they might look, I don't recommend these sundaes. If you have the right people in the kitchen, then at least the aesthetic works - but the flavours really don't." Mai mutters something under her breath about too much pineapple, and then taps another part of the menu. "I'm still working on practising the parfaits - some people are far better at them - but this, this, and this might be up your alley..."

She's dressed casually. Maybe that's the jarring yet mundane thing about Mai today - she's not in her school uniform, not in her work uniform, but rather in a nice blouse with jeans. More to the point, she's not on duty, yet she's in Linden Baum willingly - immersed in the aesthetic, occasionally waving to one of the staff she doesn't hold a grudge against, and helping pick from experience the better items on the menu.

She has a coffee, of course. On her second cup, even.

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

Mikoto's idea of casual dress is, of course, appalling. Her t-shirt is OBNOXIOUSLY yellow - not the muted autumnal yellow of Ohtori but something far more neon - with outrageously blue stripes. The only reason her shorts manage to avoid being a true fashion disaster is the fact that they're black, and not even Mikoto's fashion sense can ruin black.

How she manages to dress like this and yet the orange-white striped scarf she got Mai that one time she went shopping for a blender was actually decent, the world will never know.

(Oh, come on, it's pretty obvious.)

Mikoto is not on her second cup of coffee because she has not had a first, because both of them know what happens when she does that. Instead, she has her nose in the menu - to be specific, Mai's menu, which involves leaning over into her space to peer down at the laminated offerings, but somehow she's managed to avoid dangling her braids into that coffee-cup so far. "Oooh..."

There is a moment of SERIOUS, CONTEMPLATIVE SILENCE, because Mikoto has to figure out what she wants to eat, because the answer can't just be 'all of it'. This is the tragedy... of the budget.

"I want that!" She declares, finally, pointing victoriously to an apple strudel with ice cream layered on top. She's not going to try and pronounce it because there are too many consonants layered together, and Mai has surely heard the monster she makes out of those words.

And if her hand jabs with a little more force than is strictly necessary - she must just be excited about snacks.

And if her foot happened to find the waste paper basket when she spied those fliers - she must just have been a little clumsy.

It's okay. They won. It's okay.

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

Fashion disasters, fashion visionaries - who can tell the difference, really?

(Somewhere, the AoAka models are screaming.)

The effects of excessive caffeine on Mikoto are, sadly, documented; given the choice between it and capsaicin, Mai will grudgingly serve Mikoto the coffee, but the line is narrower than it should be. Linden Baum's green tea isn't great, sadly, but it's technically on the menu.

Also on the menu is Mai carefully checking which items count as 'premium' and ineligible for her employee discount - a subtle little restriction slipped in in the past few months as part of the latest Very Important Customer program. She lets Mikoto's emphatic choice push the menu to the table without fighting - all the easier to see, all the better if she has a clear view of her - companion.

They're fine. It's fine. And -

Her finger taps an item of her own. "I think I'll try this, then - I've been meaning to give it a try, and it does look good." The black forest cake, decorated with plenty of whipped cream. Sure, it's not her birthday, but that's not a requirement.

(It's not her re-birthday either, not quite, and the reminders she's trying to bury say that today is cake day out of spite.)

After flagging down Kiri-chan and placing their order, Mai takes a moment to lean back into the seat. "...the gardens certainly looked nice this summer. Is there anyone besides Eri-chan we even want to give the credit?" She gives a teasing smile to Mikoto, because this is a safe topic, right?

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

No, not quite.

It's not quite that day.

It's not quite that day, and Mikoto is still waking up startled in the middle of the night.

It's not quite that day, and Mikoto is still losing her patience with the omelets.

It's not quite that day, and Mikoto is still trailing off to check the sky.

But no - it's not quite THAT DAY.

"Yup!" Mikoto chirps, cheerfully, as Mai points to the black forest cake. "It's good!" And it is good, because Mai decided to take Mikoto to Linden Baum, and Mikoto gets to spend time with Mai, and Mai is alive, and they won.

She settles back down, too, and sips her tea - the green tea might not be very good but that's really more of a bonus, because Mikoto has had fine-quality tea and for some reason, these days, she doesn't seem to like it when it's fancy. ... she never quite gets to saying why, but it doesn't seem like she's trying to make Mai feel better about the cheap stuff.

She brightens over the lip of the cup, as Mai mentions the gardens. "Nope!" She says, with just as much cheer. "It's all 'cause of Eri!" Mikoto, of course, knows full well that the Gardening Club is a team - there was a point she even helped the others by uprooting all the weeds in their flowerbeds and planting them in Eri's plot instead.

(Mikoto still doesn't realise just how bad that scheme was. Let's be fair: Mikoto was never very good at schemes.)

But because she knows that, she puffs her cheeks out, gaze tilting up to the ceiling for a moment. "Wellll," she adds, finally, on sufferance, "I guess the others helped."

It's something like progress, anyway.

"..." is deliberate elision, as her eyes find the lights high up, and Mikoto looks back down to Mai again, her expression a little muted. She recovers in an instant, though, smiling again: "It's nice to be here without working!"


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

Mai has, on occasion - by virtue of having become friends with Natsuki Kuga - had good-quality cocoa and coffee. Under duress, mind, and on Kuga's bill - but she knows the flavour.

Seeking out the cheap stuff is as much spite as it is frugality.

But it does help the budget, and even with how many shifts she's been picking up lately she can't help wanting to keep that ledger in the black as much as she can. Keeping ledgers in the black is setting a good example, right?

...there's a lot of her friends' lives she really tries not to actively think about. Take right now, where she's sipping her coffee and grinning along with Mikoto's failed attempts to write the rest of the Gardening Club out of existence.

"It's a little strange, I'll admit - I keep glancing at the clock to see how much longer my break is, before remembering that it's as long as I want." She tilts her head back, closing her eyes in peace. "But you're right. We don't have to even set foot in the kitchen - I don't need to assemble parfaits or fix burger toppings, and you don't have to...."

She trails off for a moment - then returns her gaze to Mikoto, grinning in challenge. "...did you want a job here too, Mikoto?"

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

"Eh?" Mikoto asks, blinking owlishly at Mai. Her head cants this way. Her head cants that way. Back and forth and back and forth, and eventually it's like she remembers how the motion actually works and shakes her head properly. "If I was working, I couldn't be with Mai!"

Even if some of her fellow waitresses are liberal with the concept of work ethic, Mikoto knows enough to know she wouldn't be able to just latch onto Mai if she was also on shift.

These are Mikoto's priorities. They are very good priorities. Just ask Mikoto!

"Nope! Let's relax!" Mikoto concludes, cheerfully, beaming anew. "We're customers! Customers!" The cadence is too excited to really be demanding - like it's an amazing novelty, even though it's hardly the first time they've ever patronised a venue.

Mikoto's enthusiasm is unvarnished and eternal, because she is with Mai.

(And Mai is alive.)

She glances down to her tea, and she's still smiling, though it's a little quieter now. "Coming out here... it was really a good idea," she says, because the waste-paper basket is forlorn on its side and there's crumpled-up paper falling out of it. "I'm happy we can get cafe snacks, Mai. It's good!" Oh, there's her brightness. It didn't go far.

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

Mai is alive, and Mai is laughing. The day seems that much brighter - maybe because of the shadow looming over it, they've deliberately stepped into full sunlight - and maybe it's easier to laugh at Mikoto's antics.

She has her coffee, and it's bitter - it always tastes a little burnt when those two guys are in charge of it - but the day is nice and Mikoto...Mikoto's worries are fading away, just maybe. "It's a good idea. We should do this more often - you know, as schedules permit." School and work and that never-ending menace of dark monsters and shadowed conspiracies-

There's a dual clink as their plates arrive. Mikoto's strudel is sizzling and steaming; fresh-baked pastry cools rapidly as it vies to burn through the ice cream smothering it, while Mai's cake towers high and holds curls of shaved chocolate. It all looks good-

-but the waitress hasn't left yet. "I don't know that I remember the last time you even looked at the desserts, Tokiha-san. What's the special occasion?"

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

And Mai laughing is the best sound in all the world. Mai laughs, and Mikoto laughs, too.

"Yup!" She says, instantly and with gusto, as Mai suggests more cafes. Or more of this cafe. The details don't really matter so much as the journey, and who it's with. "It's not Mai's food, but it's still good!"

Is... is this really about the snacks, Mikoto???

Well: here's snacks. Mikoto's eyes grow three sizes and so does her grin, with a wordless giggling noise of delight. The waitress asks that question, and --

If Mikoto thought about it for half a second, she'd realise there are probably a bunch of perfectly cromulent answers Mai is formulating at this moment to properly save face.

Mikoto barrels over all of them to declare, happily: "We won! We're alive! It's okay now!" Mikoto sums up their position brightly, as she reaches for her strudel's spoon. "... we can relax!"

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

One could imagine math equations in the air, Mai desperately trying to calculate an approach to use for the situation, because there's what it is and what it looks like and what it feels like and she is prepared to admit roughly none of those.

Some of those are answers she might not admit to herself.

The cake beckons, but the question lingers, and Mikoto is already answering. Mai moves to blurt out in protest and coverup, nearly chokes on her coffee, and takes a second to catch her breath. Mikoto's answer confuses the waitress a moment, who scratches her head...

"I didn't know you played sports. I guess Lacrosse is kind of brutal, huh?" She shrugs, and gives a short curtsy. "Thanks - have a good evening, and enjoy!"

Once she's gone, Mai can catch her breath. She raises a finger for a moment, frowns, and lowers it once more.

Maybe she's right. "...it's been a while since my last big win - but relaxing does sound good, Mikoto." Have stars fallen, or is today just a day to...not be in a certain mindset?

The first bite of cake is, of course, delicious; Mai quickly gestures for Mikoto to steal a bite of her own. "I'm in no rush to head back to the dorms, and studying can wait until tomorrow. So...what do you want to do with the rest of the day? Try to find friends, or just enjoy the weather while it lasts?"

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

Mikoto was never much good at maths, so obviously she just cuts right to the heart of the problem and circles 'X' with a great big arrow pointing to it.

There. She found X. You're welcome, Mai.

Mikoto tilts her head at the waitress's reply, but doesn't interrupt her assumptions. Instead: strudel. Mikoto takes a big spoonful of it, and - GNOMPH. "This counts!" She says, on the topic of Mai's Wins, as if it's enough of a victory for her just to be able to have fun for five minutes.

(Many people think Mikoto is foolish; many people are wrong.)

NOMPH, she tries Mai's cake, too. "It's good!" She declares, brightly, and it's a different declaration to the way it was before, when it was misery trying hard to smile. Mikoto's speech has always been just as much about tone and delivery as it is about the words she uses; those two phrases might be shaped the same, but there's a gulf of experience between them. Now it really is good, and that's something to be happy about.

Her eyes shine when Mai decides they don't really need to be responsible for a day, and immediately, she responds: "Let's go to the beach! And the park! And the aquarium!" Her enthusiasm overflows, from her smile through to the world.

Someone else - perhaps even Mikoto's dearest companion - might have said 'or' in that sequence, hedging bets and hoping for the best.

Mikoto, who would have the world with Mai Tokiha, wants all of it.

... and really, on a day like this, the two of them deserve to have some fun.