2021-07-07 - Implied Distance! The Dignity of Tradition

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Title: Implied Distance! The Dignity of Tradition

When Takahiro Yamashita leaves his fellow Art Club member to handle his weariness, Yumi shares her artwork with Mikoto, instead. Mikoto finds, and celebrates, the common ground they share.


Mikoto Minagi, Yumi Ohzora


Infinity Institute

OOC - IC Date:

2021-07-07 - 2015-12-07

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

Infinity Institute has many specialised classrooms, and after school, the clubs move in. This, for instance, is its art room, just as state-of-the-art as the rest of the Institute. There is surely a specialised artist's track in their Gold Crown program, but art is as important as the sciences to any student's life, after all.

Infinity's Art Club is here, currently merrily painting away with acrylics. Well -- two members of Art Club are here. Well -- two members of Art Club, and...

"He's at window!" Mikoto explains, helpfully, pointing a brush at a bright scene with the kanji for 'cat' front and centre, in a square box. There's sunny yellow inside the box, and cream outside. "And wants to come in!" The last trailing stroke of the kanji has been expanded out into an entire crooked tail; those two vertical strokes up top have been neatly joined with the horizontal stroke about their middle to suggest ears. The closed box of its body is a sunnier orange to the yellow outside. There aren't really any figures of note, in the painting; it's all straight lines, colours, and kanji.

It's... very metaphorical..?

Then again, the afternoon sun is merrily shining through the windows here, too, a blatant lie about how cold it is out there without state-of-the-art reverse cycle air conditioning. Maybe the metaphor is closer than they think.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Yumi Ohzora, of course, is a fixture in the art club--not the most popular member exactly, but well-known if only for all the paintings of hers that end up on display around--and the occasional Real Display hers are included in. She's one of the points of pride for Infinity's club...

And just now she happens to be walking through the club room on her meandering way towards Mikoto, coming to a stop along the way at the spot of a boy with dark hair, who also happens to be a friend of hers.

"Hi!" Yumi greets cheerfully, "I wanted to show you--" Pause. "Gosh, you look tired."

"...Yeah," Takahiro Yamashita replies, shaking his head. His canvas is... actually just a few lines here and there, the ghost of something that will be a painting later, before he sets down the brush. "...Sorry, Yumi-chan, I'm... pretty tired. I think I'm just going to go sit down for a while."

"Oh, um... Yeah, maybe you should. You okay?"

"Fine. Just can't sleep. Weird dreams. Don't worry about it."

"Oh... okay."

Yumi looks a little disappointed as he leaves, but slouches her way over to Mikoto and her own work.

Yumi's work is less abstract, this time unusually having a couple of figures in it--but it's hard to tell what all it is at the moment, at an early stage. There's a sense of disconnection between the figures already, though, facing away from each other in a dark background.

"...Aww, yeah," Yumi answers, putting on a brighter face for Mikoto despite the moment. "I'd want in too on a day like this..."

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

Mikoto's nose all wrinkles up with her frown, as the boy in the club finally speaks up. She's noticed how he hasn't, but she wasn't paying too much mind to it, not until Yumi actually asks him about it. (Maybe it's awkward for her to talk to a boy when Yumi's just gotten back.) She hums through her lips, and opens them to say something --

And then she realises that her best advice for fixing weird dreams is just to find someone to sleep beside. This is advice which is apparently different for boys. She falls silent, and watches him leave, with faint and faintly complicated concern.

Yumi's coming over, though, so Mikoto smiles for her. "Yeah!" She agrees, with subtle nuance, looking over to the window. "It's cold out there..." She'd know! She got on the train and came out here after school! Right after school, apparently, judging by the Ohtori uniform she's still in.

Let it not be said that Mikoto doesn't respond enthusiastically to Yumi's suggestions.

She tilts her head, looking over to Yumi's own painting in progress. (Mikoto's seems largely done, in much the way that amateurs rush forward with their ideas before they fade from existence forever. There are several points on the canvas where the pocked white below still shows through, on account of her too-generous strokes.) "... what about Yumi's?" She asks, toned down a little when she looks back to her. She tries not to assume; regardless, she invites.

Well, Mikoto might know the signs of a complicated painting. She does love painting the concept of cats in any catlike situation, but...

... there are some other ones tucked away in Ohtori's studios, too.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Takahiro notices Mikoto's frown only vaguely, waving her direction as a sort of general reaction on his way out. And then it's just Mikoto and Yumi (and the rest of the room, but there's a little distance there, at least a couple yards). But Yumi picks up on the nuance despite her preoccupation. "...It was nice of you to come over anyway!" she says. "I know it's kind of out of the way..."

But it being that cold out, Yumi going to Ohtori would be a little more of an ask today anyway, considering how much walking around she'd have to be up to. For her part, she of course is still in her Infinity uniform, jacket still on since even with the AC it's a little chilly for her in here.

Yumi likes Mikoto's style; she finds the abstraction fun, for one thing. But hers? Well...

"...I've just been thinking about Mother," Yumi says a little, looking over to it and shaking her head. "I dunno. I feel like I'm getting somewhere, but..." With the painting, that is. "Mm."

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

"It's okay!" Mikoto assures Yumi, brightly. She doesn't mind doing more walking to get to Yumi! It's easier for Mikoto to walk than it is for her. Even if Mikoto still hasn't figured out how to climb up Infinity Tower...

(One may imagine, here, a squeegee sound effect as one very offended girl slides d o w n a sleek smooth surface.)

She rocks back on her heels, and puts the brush down, on the lip of the easel which is designed to hold the canvas. (It gets some paint where it's not supposed to, a bit of orange on the cream, but that's fine. Maybe she'll make it into a pawprint later.) "It's complicated, right?" Mikoto asks, filling in the conjunction which Yumi can't quite populate.

"It's like they can't see each other," she theorises, ambling over to the painting with big, gold eyes. Saucerlike they turn to Yumi, blink, blink. "... something like that?" Perhaps walking off to the painting was its own demonstation; Mikoto certainly wasn't looking at Yumi then. For all her sharp senses, she doesn't have eyes in the back of her head.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Yumi has definitely imagined it. Maybe not just now, but in general. She has a different approach to getting up Infinity from the outside, of course. It wouldn't be the first time if she slipped out a window on her broom...

Yumi doesn't notice the little bit of paint that goes where it shouldn't; she really must be preoccupied at the moment. But it's complicated, Mikoto suggests. "Yeah," Yumi answers, and moves back to sit down on a stool she has out. (She gets to sit down while she works a lot of the time, for reasons.)

But big gold eyes. Mikoto sees it--"Yeah," she says. "It's like that. But I don't know. I was going to show it to him," since she often shows these to her art buddy, "But I dunno... Maybe it's for the best I don't. It might be weird if I put one out that seemed like it implied..." She gestures.

"Anyway I'll probably keep this one for myself, I guess."

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

Mikoto hums consideration through her lips, as she listens to Yumi's story. Weird implications... she looks back to the painting, and considers it. She doesn't really know the extent of Yumi's art accomplishments, but she knows they like displaying her paintings in places where people can see them, which is really the important part of the calculation as far as Mikoto is concerned.

Finally she spins on a heel, and flomps to the floor beside Yumi's stool, as if sitting on the floor is the most natural thing in the world. She could have pulled up a stool of her own; she doesn't bother. "Don't want people to see?" She asks, with a tone of confirmation rather than enquiry.

She nods, looking up at those figures who can't face each other. "There's lots I don't share, too. But finish it, Yumi! Even if it's for yourself." She encourages her so easily, looking up with that big, earnest smile. "Sometimes it's too hard to say things... but, when it's painting, it's not being said. It's something else. But, it's not on the inside any more."

A hand grasps to her heart as Mikoto says: "Keeping stuff like that inside isn't always good." Despite how simple her encouragement is... there's a depth of experience to it Mikoto doesn't quite know how to express.

... she kept her secrets on the inside, too, and it almost doomed her.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Yumi generally clatters about the stool, her shoes hooking into its supports and her shoulders slouching down like she often does when she sits. It makes her closer to Mikoto anyway! But the question, "I don't want to give people the wrong idea about Mother..."

Sitting on the floor is pretty natural, but it's a farther trip for Yumi than Mikoto.

That earnest smile seems to cheer the white-haired girl up a bit though--she smiles back, if briefly. "...Yeah," she says. "You're right. I should finish it. I guess I was just second-guessing a little, since..."

Well, reasons. She waves that off, instead nodding, because she recognizes how deep Mikoto's encouragement goes here. "That's part of what I like about painting anyway. It lets me say things I don't know how to say..."

It almost did. "I'm glad I can share it with you at least. I feel like you... get it."

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

Mikoto does, indeed, have a look of understanding, as Yumi protests about her mother's image. She understands Yumi second-guessing herself, too.

She looks back to the painting, and considers it. Her head tilts back, and she considers it.

"The first time I made something... like that... I got really scared. It looked scary, and big, and it wasn't like I thought it would be when I made it. I didn't want anyone to see. I was all shamed, I guess," she supposes, a hand coming up to scratch sheepishly behind an ear. "But... it was a way I could, umm, express it. I didn't have to say anything... but..."

'Family was secret, for me. No... abuse, was secret.'

Mikoto hums through her lips, looking up at the painting. (It's higher than her, now. Lots of things are.) "I admitted it to myself. And that's important, too." She learned how to speak the secret things from Eri, but what one cannot say to the self, one cannot possibly share with the world.

"Family is complicated," Mikoto says, with a puff of air as her own shoulders slump down a little. "It's hard to know how to feel, when there's so much saying how you gotta feel." She knows Yumi comes from an old-fashioned line, herself; she can only guess that tradition weighs on her just as heavily. "But," she supposes, looking up to Yumi, "it don't just go away. So Yumi should have the right idea, right? Who cares about other people!"

That's easy for Mikoto to say, all sprawled out cheerfully on the floor without a single care for what anyone might think.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"It's not the first time I've made something that's like... emotional," Yumi says, as if she doesn't know exactly what 'like that' Mikoto means, and it isn't just emotional. "But this one... it's definitely.... I mean, I dunno, I kind of feel that way. Like it's more distant than it used to be." But family--family is complicated.

Most things are lower than Yumi, too. And she is from an old-fashioned line.

"Yeah," she says. "You..." Mikoto gets a lot of it, actually. They have this much in common; an old-fashioned family, even if it obviously can't be the same. "It doesn't just go away," Yumi agrees. That much is obvious, anyway.

"...I mean, I do have the right idea, but it matters what other people say--I have a lot I have to... Keep up with." She pauses, and then, "I mean, a lot of things I have to do. I'm supposed to keep up the family name, and all. ...Maybe I should be doing more of that anyway."

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

Mikoto scooches herself around to face Yumi, and leans over all in a topple to thonk her head against the other girl's far too long and lanky leg. Perhaps it is a fine illustration of the weight pressing down on Yumi's shoulders. Perhaps Mikoto is just, like that, all the time.

"It matters?" Mikoto asks, blinking up at her with those far too gold eyes. "I guess I get it... I was representative, too." What a strange, big word for Mikoto to use. But is it any wonder? Demon Kings don't attend gatherings in Dark Fall, let alone make appearances in Tokyo; they send their Generals to advocate for their interests. As her Lord Brother's right hand, it was up to Mikoto to fight for his suffering. Of course, Mikoto recognises the nuance, head tilting against her. "But it's different when it's just old, huh..."

Not all traditional families are secretly part of the loose affiliation of monsters seeking to destroy or subjugate the world. Some of them are just venerable!

"But if it's for Yumi, it's okay, right?" Mikoto goes on, wide-eyed. "The people who care about 'Ohzora' don't gotta know it's distant. It's not their business." It's a turn of phrase which reflects Mikoto's own thinking about traditional families; she declared her own family's workings to be none of their business so often, up here.

Mikoto hums through her lips, glancing sidelong, before she looks up to Yumi again. "If Yumi hadn't made a picture, would you have known it felt like that? I mean... clearly," she adds, because Mikoto knows what it's like to have a dark cloud of something uncertain hanging over herself. "If you don't know what's wrong, there's no way to fix it. That's what I think."

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Maybe it's both!

"Right--a representative. That's a good way to put it." Weird, of course, that it would be the same--but not that weird, is it? It is a big word for Mikoto to use, but it happens to be exactly the right word for Yumi right now so she doesn't think too much of it beyond noting that much. Instead, "We're old but we have to maintain a certain... dignity, I guess. You know how it is; you don't want to air... stuff, around everybody else."

But a traditional family is just a traditional family!

"Hmmm," Yumi says. "Yeah though, that's true. If it's too... personal... to share a lot, then it's still OK if I finish it for myself. It's not their business, like you said."

Would she have known? "Well..." Yumi thinks about it. And then she clarifies about it. "...Maybe not. I knew I kinda felt like that, but it's helping me think of how I feel, in more... like... detail."

"I dunno if there's anything to..." She pauses. "Well no. I'm sure there's something. ...Yeah."

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

Mikoto nods, against Yumi's leg. She is still all leant over onto her space. This is how a Mikoto does. She hums understanding, as Yumi trails through her thoughts, and doesn't interrupt.

She's 'Mikoto', so she's good at listening, actually.

"You can definitely do something, Yumi," she encourages her, smiling. "Yumi's really strong and smart, so the important bit is just knowing what's wrong! Maybe it's not something Yumi can do right now, but... it's okay to take time to get ready." There's a long blink, and Mikoto's tone falls a shade as she glances aside. "I'm not ready to help my Lord Brother out of the dark, neither... I've still got a lot to work out."

She looks back up to Yumi, smiling again. "But even if family's hard, and there's secrets, we're still here! I like Yumi a lot! And not just me." Lots of people like Yumi. She's very popular! Maybe even not entirely because of her family. "Family can feel like it's more important than anything else, but if I didn't have so many friends, I would've been..." Mikoto trails off, here, with a grunt to close off the thought.

Her eyes close, for a moment, as she goes from thinking about everyone to thinking about this girl in particular. When her eyelids lift, it is like opening a treasure chest full of glittering gold, brighter and deeper than any hopes or dreams.

"I'm really happy I know Yumi. 'Cause Yumi knows how it is, it's easier for me... we're not all alone out here."

It's cold out there, but it's warm in here.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Yumi doesn't mind this; it's just how a Mikoto does, and it helps with how chilly it still feels anyway. She's 'Mikoto', and she is good at listening.

"...Mikoto-chan..." Strong, and smart. Maybe the important part is just knowing what's wrong. "Time to get ready..."

Yumi reaches down and leans over to give her friend a vague hug, as best she can from this angle.

"I like you, too."

"And I'm glad you're here."

It is so very brilliant, and Yumi thinks she has a palette to use for something else, one of these days, a little inspiration for something glittering in the dark.

"...Yeah," she says. "I'm... happy too."

Mikoto knows how it is.