2021-06-20 - ...And Into the Fire: Take 2

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Title: ...And Into the Fire: Take 2

Fumiko invites Niramo over for a study night and intent to ask her burning question. Niramo notices when Fumiko loses her courage, and while encouraging her friend, ends up learning a lot more about one another.


Fumiko Inoue, Niramo Umokeshi


Shitmachi Low City - Inoue Residence

OOC - IC Date:

2021-06-20 - 2015-12-03

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The condo complex that Fumiko lives in is by no means an opulent mansion, but compared to many of the low-rent apartment complexes within the vicinity, it certainly stands out. It is either newer than most of them, or was recently refurbished and taken care of very well. It even had what could almost be considered a front and back yard, though it was communal property - the price of living in a condominium rather than a house.

In the front yard sat an increasingly nervous and impatient Fumiko in a small 'cushion' of snow. Footprints dug a trench around the mound, a rut formed by her earlier nervous pacing. Despite the cold, a drop of sweat runs down her face, which she quickly wipes off. "Okay... this is it... she'll be here soon. This is going to be tough but... I need to know! And...." She sighs, her head drooping down. "I need to be able to bring friends over without too much issue from... her."

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Heading over to a friends house for the first time is always a trip into the unknown. Will it be as something as fancy as a restored mansion, mysterious as a beach house or as stylish as a bakery with housing above the store? Or is it as homely as Niramo's own house? Tokyo has quite the wide spread of housing available that is as exotic as the next, yet it tends to be limited when someone who lives there goes to Juuban.

This seems to be the case with Fumiko's home, but even then it manages to stand out from the surrounding condos just for being newer. That, and Fumiko herself seems to be standing in front. Walking up the sidewalk with an unmarked paper box in hand and bookbag slung over her shoulder is Niramo now, who can be see smiling over her beige scarf. "Hey Fumiko-san! Thanks for waiting out to make sure I know what's the right building."

As Niramo gets closer though, it's easy for her to see just how nervous Fumiko is, and the ravenette raises an eyebrow. "Is everything okay?"

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Fumiko sighs, appearing as if she is deflating. "Hi... Niramo. You're late to being early." She flashes her friend a quick grin, then sinks a bit. "It felt like you took forever to get here and that you weren't ever going to come, but... you arrived exactly on time, so it's just me."

Fumiko stands up, looks around suspiciously, and then offers Niramo a hug. "Yeah... things are okay. Just... never invited a friend over, and my mom's kind of... well..." She chuckles nervously, crossing her arms. "I don't know, actually. She's gotten better recently about things. I don't... want to say anything bad about her because, well, she's my mom and she cares a lot about me, but... she can be a bit overbaring, and used to be... judgmental about my friends." She then looks towards the entrance as the subject of the conversation comes out.

Fumiko's mom looks a lot like Fumiko, but older and more 'perfect'. Her hair and makeup look as if a professional studio artist had perfected their craft on her, and her dazzling green dress and heels were shining and spotless. She looks over Niramo for a second, blank-faced, then slowly smiles and nods. "You must be my dear Fumi's friend," she says, voice dripping with honey. "You are..." she pauses, considering her next words carefully. "You are quite welcome here. You may call me Miss Inoue, dear. I'm sure you are an amazing person, as my Fumi surely has a great taste in friends.

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Niramo shrugs her shoulders lightly. "I honestly thought I was going to be late there, but the train was actually ahead of schedule for once. Things just worked out for me, that's all!" Setting the box down on top of a nearby banister, Niramo quickly hugs Fumiko with a grin on her face. "I think it just means that she really wants the best for you, that's all. I'll be on my best behavior, I promise."

But as she turns around to collect her box again, out comes the subject matter herself. Niramo's first impressions of her were someone dressing to impress, and she speaks in a way that reminds Niramo of a majority of Ohtori students. "Pleasure to meet you, Miss Inoue! I'm Niramo Umokeshi, and thank you for letting me come to visit your daughter at your home." Wanting to give off a good first impression, Niramo reaches for the box and opens the lid, showing off some homemade baked goods, mainly fudge brownies and frosted Christmas-themed sugar cookies. "I brought some snacks I made earlier to help us study, but you can have one!"

Niramo shoots Fumiko a nervous look behind the thin cover of the lifted box lid. Despite presenting herself clearly and confidently, Niramo seems to be worried that she'll mess up somehow.

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Miss Inoue's smile seems firmly fixed in place. "You are quite welcome," she says sweetly. The offering of cookies does, however, bring genuine happiness to her face, moreso after sampling a sugar cookie. "Mmm... I hope that you two are studying baking," she jokes. "Fumi would do well to have you as a tutor~ Anyways, can I trust you two alone while I'm gone? I have errands to do and I don't want to come home to a fire truck parked up front."

After Miss Inoue is gone, Fumiko releases a lot of stored tension with a sigh. "Seems... okay. Quickly, before she changes her mind, I'll lead the way.


All the furnishings in Fumiko's living room and dining room/kitchen were either high-class and expensive, or faked to look that way. A large comfy couch in front of a larger television, a table with many ornate chairs in the dining room with an expensive-looking vase full of roses in the center, spotless stove and microwave... while Fumiko and her mom were not 'living large', they certainly made it look like they were at first glance. However, there were signs that some things were repainted or repurposed, or that some of the more fancy objects were knockoffs. "Welcome to my humble abode," Fumiko jokes.

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Letting a small sigh in relief as her sugary peace offering helps breaks the ice, Niramo nods her head. "Yep yep! We'll be careful, don't worry. We're both practical." It's only after Fumiko's mother walks out of earshot that Niramo feels her shoulders ease up from the tension she was holding. "Thanks, Fumi-chan. I hate to walk into the wrong apartment." Hopefully the small joke will help ease the tension a little.

Niramo is certainly impressed she first walks into the living room and how fancy everything is. Yet at the same time, she also can't help but feel like it's not quite home, more like she is at a showroom for a real estate company for a model home than Fumiko's home itself. Maybe that's one of the things Fumiko was trying to warn her about?

"I feel like I should be saying that whenever you come over!" Niramo sets the snack hoard box over on the table and sets her bookbag gently next to it as well. Feeling like it might be rude to say something, Niramo hesitates for a moment before speaking up. "I...think it was a good thing I brought more than enough snacks. I don't want you running out of brownies this time~"

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Fumiko quietly laughs at the thought of Niramo entering the wrong apartment. "I bet the people living there would have quite a surprise!" She places a hand on Niramo's shoulder. "So you survived meeting my mom. Congratulations!"

Fumiko's place was fancier than Niramo's, but.. "I like your place better to be honest. It feels more... 'real' I guess?" Running out of brownies was quite a threat, so it was a good thing Niramo disarmed it. "Thanks, that was... yeah. I don't know how that happened. I didn't think I ate THAT many last time!"

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Jokes and congratulations for surviving the first encounter certainly help to ease the mood, and Niramo smiles softly in response. "Somehow! Honestly wasn't sure that giving a cookie would work out, but I think we have to agree it was a noble sacrifice." May not have been an actual brownie, but brownie points are still worth it!

Niramo winces slightly before nodding. "I...didn't want to say anything, but...yeah. I got the same sense. It's...liking i'm walking onto a TV set?" Best not to dwell on it any further, and Fumiko did remind Niramo of her rather embarrasing mess up.

Rubbing the back of her neck, Niramo blushes slightly and looks away. "That could have gone way better, I agree. Sorry again for saying all of that. I have another friend who's really into some anime and forces me to watch it with him sometime, and just the way you were making a big deal out of asking about a brownie...that was my bad. I'm sorry." At least Fumiko doesn't have to deal with all the embarrasment herself. "Geeze, you really had me going there with that joke!"

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

"A... TV set." Fumiko frowns, pondering. "Huh, that... I can see that." She quickly 'turns that frown upside-down.' "Yeah, maybe I'm in my own TV show! I mean, I do have quite the star power!"

Then the dreaded 'brownie incident' returns. Fumiko giggles, but then takes a deep breath and sighs. "As funny as that was... I did actually have something important to ask you that day though. It wasn't about brownies, and it definitely wasn't about us dating. I mean if you asked me out on a date I'd accept since we're good friends but I really don't think you should expect it to go anywhere, and since we don't like each other like that anyways... that's a... moot point...?"

She trails off, then shakes her head vigorously. "Speaking of points, I think I lost the point again. Oh, right. Important question. Though that can totally wait as it isn't that important or urgent." Urgent, no. Important? Fumiko's heart pounds as she delays what she knows to be one of the most important questions of all time. "The really important question for now is... what should we do first? Study? Watch TV? Play a game?"

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Niramo can easily be seen giggling, partly in humor and partly in relief that Fumiko took the TV set comment well. "Hehe, that you do! I can easily see you being the main character of a sitcom, since you're so good with thinking on your feet and joking around. As for me...hmmm...maybe 'slice of life'? Or maybe a cooking game show!"

Fumiko brings up the important question again, and while thankfully skimming over Niramo's mistake, it's obvious that Fumiko is really worried about whatever the question is. Stumbling over her words, rambling and then...wait, was she trying to distract Niramo from that question again? It's important enough that Fumiko actually seems to be scared by it, and this is the same girl who used to play entire pranks on a class just because! That's very much not like the Fumiko she knows.

Smiling a bit, Niramo walks around the table and takes a seat, but she doesn't go to take her textbook out. "Well, i'm all for studying first, especially if your mom comes in and sees us goofing off when we're supposed to be studying. But...maybe you should ask that question first?" If it's been bothering Fumiko since their last time hanging out together, then maybe it's best to take care of it now. "You know, like ripping off a bandaid instead of pulling it off slowly. So much quicker and easier instead of drawing it out!"

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

"You... in a cooking show?" Fumiko smiles sweetly. "I'd LOVE to watch that! Although you can't send me food through the television..."

However, not everything was light and jokey. Fumiko tenses up when she realizes she's not getting out of this that easily - wait, Niramo's the one about to be questioned, not her! How is this turning around on her like this? "You... aren't going to let me drop this, are you? Okay... hold on."

Fumiko reaches into a coat pocket, and pulls out a beautiful, brilliant bangle. Could Niramo tell that this was a Miraculous? It would make the question Fumiko was dreading to ask a lot easier. "Are you... are... I don't even know how to ask this, but I'll try." She takes a deep breath, closes her eyes, clutches the Miraculous tightly, and...

"Are you a magical girl?" Under her breath, though possibly not inaudible, she mumbles. "There. I took your advice and just went for it."

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Niramo is honestly a little surprised and blushes slightly in embarrasment. "I mean, I don't think i'm good enough for a show just for m-hey! You just want more of my cooking, huh?!"

Niramo's pressure on Fumiko seems to be what's needed to stop her friend from trying to push off what's been bothering her! Nodding once, the ravenette does her best to give her friend a bit more encouragment. "I mean...just seems like you really have something on your mind. Friends help each other with their burdens. 'More hands make lighter work', right?"

Then Fumiko askes the question, one that Niramo has been dreading for a while now. Fumiko has had her suspicions about Niramo for a while now, especially after those dodgeballs back at Infinity, and she can't exactly use a distraction this time. Niramo's ears start to ring and her heartbeat starts to skyrocket as she tries to figure out some way out of this. "Um...I, whaaat? That's..."

Then Niramo focuses on the shiny bangle Fumiko's currently using as a stress ball, but it's not just how pristine it is that's catching her attention. Unlike a lot in the apartment, the bangle gives off the feeling that it's completely real, and there's what looks to be what seems to be a snake engraved on it. Snake...questioning if Niramo is a magical girl...'I took your advice'...?!

Standing up suddendly in shock and a bit of panic, Niramo points a finger right at Fumiko. "Slithery?!"

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The question was asked. The hard part was over, Fumiko thought, but she was wrong. The infinite amount of time between her asking her best friend if she was a magical girl, and the answer, was the hardest part. What if... what if Niramo IS NOT a magical girl? What if she somehow knows what that Miraculous is, but is a normal person - or a villain? This might have been a bad-


No way. Only one person calls Fumiko - or Serpentina - Slithery. Her nervousness is replaced by a completely stoney expression. "What. No. Squeaks? What the heck." Somehow, she knew that it was true, and things added up, but... it just seemed too weird. Too much of a coincidence. She just stares at her twice-friend.

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Niramo's dramatic finger point and raised voice was sure to make people jump, flinch or at least raise an eyebrow. Instead...Fumiko is giving her the look of something who's not really believing what she's seeing. Hearing the name 'Squeaks' absolutely seals it as well, since only one person says that. So what does Niramo do in this situation?

She just laughs at just how absurd it is. Deeply relieved laughter coming from her gut that just is enough to shake her body.

Pulling herself together but still shaking with bottled giggles, Niramo leans down to remove something from her right leg and places it on the table for Fumiko to see. A gleaming silver anklet with a mouse etched on it.

Sitting back down again and openly giggling at Fumiko across from her, Niramo takes a moment to collect herself. Beaming at her friend-scratch that, her partner in crime stopping, Niramo just shrugs her shoulders. "You know, when I was giving you advice for your friend, I wasn't expecting it to be me."

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Fumiko continues to stare when Niramo starts laughing. Why is Niramo laughing? Is this just some elaborate joke? Has she been tricked?

Then Niramo shows an anklet with a mouse design, and Fumiko smiles strangely. "Hm. This.... yep. This is officially weird. Someone is really doing something with fate here." She releases a couple small laughs, wobbling slightly. "Maybe this really is a set from a TV show?"

Fumiko stays wobbly and giggly for a while, but takes a seat and shakes some of the cobwebs out of her head. "Huh, yeah, I wasn't expecting to use your advice on you either. I guess we are such good friends we became friends twice! Hm... I thought you'd be taller~"

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

With her giggling fit finally starting to ease off, Niramo just nods her head in agreement. "I mean, I don't know if fate is really a thing in real life as it is in the games, but stranger things have happened." Looks like her giggling fit is starting to catch up with Fumiko! "And I don't think so, this would be a really weird show if it was."

Niramo is actually starting to worry about Fumiko since she really does seem a bit out of it. She did suspect Niramo was a magical girl, but being Sourisi must not have been it. Heck, she thought Fumiko was completely in the unknown about magic, and now she's actually Serpentina?...she could kinda see it, but...magic is weird like that.

And Fumiko comfirms it! "I mean, we really did get along pretty well with the masks on, so...yeah, you're right." And plus...maybe knowing who Serpentina is might help them work together a little be- ...waaaait a minute.

"H-hey! I just haven't had my growth spurt yet. Any day now, it's gonna happen!...a-and my boots make me a little taller." Despite knowing that Fumiko is just teasing her, Niramo can't help but pout and look away with an embarrased blush coloring her cheeks.

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Fumiko finally seems to recover. "Yeah... who would have thought a mouse and a snake could be such good friends, right? Haha... but wow, to find out your best friend is also your secret ally against the forces of evil is quite a shock. I... knew something was up but to think that I asked you on advice on how to ask you this... I'm still... wow..."

When Fumiko gets a reaction out of Niramo about her height, she giggles and gently pats her friend's head. "Yeah, you'll be taller than me, I'm sure~ And I was just teasing. And... now is the part where you find something to tease me about so I don't feel bad for 'making fun of you' when I was just trying to break the weird atmosphere of it all." She seems almost as embarrassed as Niramo, looking away from her.

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Even as Fumiko is starting to get over the shock of the truth, Niramo is starting to deal with it herself. A part of her has been hoping for this moment for a while now, and now that it's here, it's completely different than what she imagined. Sure, she has friends and people she look up to that she can count on, but Serpentina is a great friend outside of saving Tokyo during the night. They have talked with one another, shared stories with one another...and now they really know who each other is.

Getting patted on the head just makes Niramo pout all that much fiercer. "I know...and...well, you give really tight hugs, you know that? I'm just glad that i'm more durable when i'm wearing my mask!" Playfully acting like she's rubbing at a bruised rib, Niramo takes the anklet off the table and clips it back on her leg.

With that, Niramo stands up and moves around the table before giving Fumiko a tight hug. "...and...thanks for taking my advice. I'm glad it worked out, you know?"

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Niramo is Sourisi. Fumiko's friend is Serpentina's friend. While there was a tiny bit of disappointment that she didn't make two friends, Fumiko is overjoyed to be able to share something this special with her best friend. She trusted Sourisi before with her life, but... now the trust is immeasurably deeper. Friends on and off the battlefield, able to be there for each other through the supernatural disasters and the mundane struggles. This was true friendship.

So Fumiko treated it with the gravity and importance it deserved. "I give tight hugs, huh? Like THIS?" She squeezes Niramo in a hug that would make a boa constrictor jealous, then lets go and slips the Miraculous bangle onto her arm. "...well... thanks for GIVING that advice! Of all the girls who could be Sourisi, I'm glad it is you. You mean a lot to me in both forms. You really are my best friend, and now I know our friendship is stronger than youmas and akumas and everything else. I was scared to ask you today, but I'm glad I did."