2021-11-27 - Bauble Belles

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Title: Bauble Belles

The Sisters Schools' Cooking, Gardening, and Art Clubs -- plus friends -- get together to make ornaments for their tree, and then some.


Mikoto Minagi, Yumi Ohzora, Nori Ankou, Eri Shimanouchi, Steven Universe


Infinity Institute - Art Room

OOC - IC Date:

2021-11-27 - 2015-12-22

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Toby Fox - Snowdin Town https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYyLL9QstbI

It's nearing Christmas! In Japan, holidays don't start until after Santa's special day -- but with final exams finally done (probably, they're probably all done), the last few days before Christmas are an astounding way for the youth to celebrate their newfound freedom... or escape feelings of impending doom as they await their dreaded TEST SCORES. (They'll be posted on the bulletin board as soon as they're available. Please wait warmly!)

Because classes are still going, club activities are, too -- and a great many of them have taken on a festive bent, this time of year. There are plenty of cross-club activities to choose from, this time of year; the various Archery clubs, for instance, are holding a super-long-range targeting exercise 'to protect Santa's sled', and the dancing clubs are currently combining their power to figure out the most bombastic performance they can give. And as for activities between clubs...

Well, Ohtori's Gardening Club, Infinity's Art Club, and Juuban's Cooking Club have settled on a rather simple approach to the season.

Make a tree, and make it pretty.

Ohtori has grown a national icon -- the Japanese black pine tree, kuromatsu -- carefully groomed and cut to perfectly resemble the triangular icons imported from the West. (This pruning is entirely fitting to the black pine, as it is, after all, one of the classical bonsai trees.) This tree is NOT HERE, YET... primarily because the clubs have collected in Infinity's art room, and there simply isn't enough room for a majestic Christmas tree in here with everything else as spread out as it is.

There are blankets spread out over the floor, with an entire smorgasboard of art supplies therein. Unpainted baubles sitting invitingly next to glitter; bare tinsel by glue; little unpainted elves; fuzzy balls of fluff which may one day become snowmen. Infinity Art Club's very own Takahiro Yamashita helped to set everything out, with thoughtfully-written cards explaining how to use various paints for people who aren't part of the club themselves. (He's much quieter when speaking, but the cards say more than enough.) He's stepped out to get some more acrylics, but really, it's not hard to see why he's so popular.

There is, of course, still a table or two on the side -- and here's where the Cooking Club comes in. Not only have they made SNACKS for this affair (and have been keeping the club conflux well-fed in all meetings up 'til now), the Cooking Club has baked up some much sturdier cookies, suitable to be decorated and hung on a tree for yuletide snacking purposes. There are also little marble-bags, just waiting to be filled with various less-hangable snacks that the Cooking Club prepared, like roasted chestnuts (they eat them in winter overseas, not autumn!) and a variety of candies, carefully dolloped out.

The decoration cookies have been thoughtfully separated from the snacking cookies. For... reasons.

Reasons like Mikoto Minagi, who is NOT part of any of the clubs getting together today, but who knows enough people who are to have been recruited for the monumental task of making enough decorations for a whole tree. (She is not alone in this recruitment; the more the merrier is the official tagline for this endeavour.) Still in her Ohtori uniform -- which isn't uncommon, given everyone came here after school -- she arrives a little late, and promptly bounds over to hold up one of those bare bulbs, a Christmas bauble currently lacking any bel to speak of.

"So," she asides, to Yumi, resident Art Club member and therefore clear expert, "we paint these, right..?"

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

It's nice that the Cooking Club is collaborating with them, but probably for the best that it's Juuban's rather than one of Infinity's for one Yumi Ohzora, still a terrible cook despite her efforts. She also helped with setup, and is indeed on hand partly to assist people in actually carrying out the instructions Takahiro left. For instance... a Mikoto!!

"Yep," Yumi confirms for Mikoto. "Painting! And we've got a lot of paints for it, too. It's OK if someone isn't very good at it," she says for the benefit of others who might be feeling less confident. "If we work together, we'll end up with something great!"

She is by the snacking cookies, for some reason. Mysteriously.

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Nori Ankou is here, not so much for *herself* as because she was invited by someone from the Gardening Club who had seen one of the painted-shell ornaments from the festival that were connected to that Jamaican restaurant that Nori really liked and etc. etc. it's a friend of a friend thing.

Nori doesn't think too much of this kind of thing. But two years ago, it would have been nearly unthinkable...

Somewhere, a long, portly fur-tube weeps silently in joy, and perhaps in the early stages of feeling like a real success. HOW LITTLE HE SUSPECTS!


Nori Ankou's arrival came with a small box of scallop shells, cleaned and with holes drilled through the foot to make them suitable ornaments. The shells are in all sizes - the strings must be provided out of one's own resources - but that was what the girl in the Gardening Club had hoped for, and it wasn't like it was a hard dream to fulfill, right?

(Now you know why Batiste is portly.)

As she comes in, wearing a wine-red sweater and a long woolen skirt (dark grey, decorated with thin wedges of cool orange material that suggests a winter sunset), Nori Ankou says, "Good afternoon~" to Mikoto and Yumi on her way to place the box down.

And when she has come back to talk to Yumi and Mikoto, she has a cookie too!

But she didn't get it off the snacking table.

"This is very festive. And it's nice and cozy up here, isn't it, despite the height? I always expect it to be chilly when you're up high," Nori says, as she raises the Christmas Tree *THAT IS NOT MADE FROM THE EDIBLE COOKIE DOUGH* towards her mouth...

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Eri's here as a representative of the Gardening Club. After all the love - and possibly the addendum of a small amount of magic - that went into the tree they lovingly took care of for the occasion, she's invested.

Right now she's wearing a loose fitting, old T-shirt with the telltale stains that it's been used for work, over it a pair of denim overalls that was used for jobs that relied on getting more than one's hands dirty.

She'd shed her coat at the door and her uniform was folded up in her gym bag she'd brought for the occasion.

The only thing she's taken from the snack table is a mug of cocoa. "It's been a while since I've done anything like this." Before calling out to Mikoto, "It's best to get started with a project that catches your eye I think."

Taking her space, she sets out something from her bag, two different shapes that look like ornaments and sets them carefully off to the side.

She then picks up a small felt ornament in the shape of a sun with a face, with a particularly cute face stitched on, "Hmm." Holding it up to the light, she turns it around, and smiles nostalgically. "It's missing... a little..."

Looking at the assorted supplies, she grabs two circular pink felt patches, and lays them across their cheeks - to add a blush to its smile. Picking them back up again, she pokes holes into them to add dimples, or freckles perhaps.

"There. And yes I think you're right Ankou-chan..."

Eri notably does not stop Nori from putting a non edible tree in her mouth. Instead she just watches, while taking a long sip from her cocoa.

"... this place is quite cozy." Eri says quite agreeably, as she sets the cocoa back down.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

Oh thank goodness... somewhere inside!

THe winds during winter sure do make Tokyo Bay feel colder than expected! Perhaps keeping a hold of all those ridiculously sized coats was a good idea. Even if a certain someone insisted he wore two all the time.

The best way to describe how Steven Universe enters the art study is 'waddling' for lack of a better term. It takes a good deal of strain and effort to pry himself out of the first layer of jacketry. "Augh, hot...!" Some stumbling is involved, but no crashes. Once the first jacket is off, the second comes off with a flick of a zipper.

The boy's main attire consists of a blue sweater with yellow starts around the midsection, and a dark tan scarf, snugly tucked around his neck. Even still, the boy is sweating from the vertiable burrito a certai nresponsible guardian packed him in. "Okay! Now that that ordeal is over... Hi guys!"

He had heard there was a decorating event of sorts (and the lad stamps his name on every event he can see that eh qualifies for.) "So! What's shakin'? Hi Mikoto!" he calls out first of course, being the last person he recently saw.

The crafting supply spread is impressive; the Schools go all out where the ycan to put their best foot forward! Some of these types of finishes and ribbons Steven hasn't seen before! Like some sort of super rare hobby store loot!

"Oh! Are we going for some kind of special pattern or anything? Like a theme? Back in Beach City a lot of people had Christmas trees with themes! They were all great; except the Fish Stew Pizza one was all about... uh, pizza. That one was kinda strange."

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

Mikoto nods, cheerfully, to Yumi, and looks back down to the pile of baubles. "Instructions..." Is her comment, on Takahiro's notes. She tilts her head to Eri, and bobs her head, again. "'Kay!"

And so, she proceeds to grab a few more baubles...

"Nori! It's not windy here!" She comments, cheerfully, on the height of the tower. "But, the windows don't open easy, so maybe it is..." Mikoto just can't figure out the trick for how to make those windows let her out, which is probably for the best, because Mikoto's attempts to parkour up Infinity Tower has thus far been... lacking.

Mikoto doesn't know enough about the distinctions between cookies to warn Nori that she is about to bite into something VERY HARD. It's still technically edible, but it's been baked in a specific manner to keep it looking good until Christmas, which makes it... not... the best snack.

Her head cants to the side when Steven waddles in, all crinkly and warm. "Maybe it is," she repeats, obliquely, and doesn't remember to specify that she's talking about the wind out there. She smiles, again, once Steven frees himself, lifting a hand to wave broadly. "Steven! Steven!" She chirps, energetic, only to blink at him, puzzled again. "Pizza theme...? Yumi," Mikoto looks to the resident Christmas Expert (in her personal experience), "is Christmas for pizza?"

Has Mikoto NOT NOTICED the popularity of KFC around this holiday..?! Did she just presume that they were all getting fried chicken because fried chicken was tasty?!

Having gathered a section of six baubles, Mikoto proceeds to start working on hooking them together, to create a bauble chain. She looks over to Eri's own smiling sun, and beams, just as sunnily. "It's good!" She encourages her, as she picks up some paints to start colouring the baubles. It seems like each one is getting its own colour..?

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

"Hi, Steven," Yumi greets, waving his way as she talks to the others. Instructions! And Eri! And Nori! Yumi for her part is still in uniform, green non-regulation tights and all, with her jacket because even if it's not that cold it's chilly for her. "It is!" Yumi agrees. "I like how cozy Infinity gets, especially in the right places." A beat, "Oh, thos shells are really nice..."

Then. Erk. Yumi does not focus on the fried chicken, or on the baubles. Yumi focuses on--

"Erk," she says to Nori, "Wait! That's not an eating-cookie!"

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Oh, Steven, hello," Nori says to the shorter boy, smiling at him and not yet eating the death cookie.

"That's true... but the building's so close to the sea, isn't it? I mean, I don't mind in a general sense.... it would be romantic, in a way, to live in a tower by the sea. Perhaps a lighthouse, or just a house... the house I grew up in was a little like that, we were facing onto the sea of Japan! But there was a hedge and everything, and you had to go down these steps to get to the, beach," Nori continues, "and it really wasn't much of a beach. Just rocks. But we had a little dock with the people down the way..."

It may occur to Eri in particular that this is perhaps the most words Nori has said about her childhood home *including when they literally went to her hometown*.

Nori then puts the cookie in her mouth and a moment Yumi speaks!

Nori has the cookie in her mouth but has not yet bitten down. Anxiety blooms in her eyes, several interlacing facts colliding.


But... Why is it not an eating cookie?!?

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"I'm glad you like it." She says to Mikoto.

There are many things Eri might say about Nori's childhood home if they were in private. Like for example, asking her whether she still considered it home. Whether a romantic setting like that was worth the negatives of family.

Instead there's a small smile, "Hokkaido really must be like living in another world - even in Sapporo. Some days I wish I'd grown up someplace a little more inaka myself."

Perhaps the positives of living in the countryside would outweigh the negatives. It's a very grass is greener mindset, but still... it's nice to think about.

Yumi warns Nori. Eri says nothing. As Nori sticks the cookie in... her mouth. And it's there for many long moments.

An awkward amount of time honestly! Eventually though, Eri stands up, a hand in her purse as she extracts a tissue paper. Walking over to Nori... she bends down... leans in, and grips the opposite edge of it with her teeth. And simply extracts it, by drawing her head back.

The transfer has her getting close. Very close. And yet she does it, pulling it out of the model's mouth. Then facing only her, there's a wink of a single eye, as she stands up, and turns around, dropping it in her tissue, wipe wipe wipe.

"She knew that of course, Yumi-chan. Ankou-chan was just demonstrating a festive party game." She says without missing a beat, perhaps covering for her!? "It is the season for such things."

Sitting back down, Eri picks up a reindeer ornament, and paints its nose red as if it were no big thing what she just did.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

Oh no. "N-No wait! I didn't mwan--!" he says quickly, hoping this doesn't lead to a giant pizza themed black pine come Christmas. "I-It was something a family did back where I came from! I dunno if putting pizza on a tree is a tradition or not..."

"Hey Yumi!" Steven returns kindly. "How have you been? Been a while since we did anything together!" Or at least it has felt like forever, rather. Life flies by fast! "Same to you, Nori!" Eyes dart around for otter friend, if they are nearby.

For the moment, the boy eyes the types of ornaments on display for preparation. Decorating cookies look neat (Though may also go missing if he tries to do so. He ponders if they are actually even edible, even as Nori removes one from her own mouth. Hesitation sets in at seeing that; the could be made of clay or something.

"Oh, wonder if they have anyone making snowflakes! Like how you take paper, cut it in certain ways, and it looks like a snowflake whe nyou unfurl it! ...Well, they might turn to mush in the snow, actually if paper is used... Huh."

Perhaps just sticking to the provided ornaments to be painted is best.

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

"Pizza tree..." Mikoto marvels, considering the possibilities. "Christmas trees are pointy... pizza slice's pointy, too... Steven!" She puts the pieces together, entirely delighted. "Let's make Christmas tree pizza!"

Mikoto has shared brief glimpses of her home and its traditions to Nori, and so she listens with interest as Nori talks about her home, too. "Lighthouse!" She exclaims, happily, because Mikoto learned what metaphors are and now she's having a hell of a time. "Nori grew up like Steven," she reflects, a moment later. Mikoto, of course, is terribly inaka herself, but she comes from the countryside of the mountains rather than the sea. Is that why the ocean keeps fighting her..?

While she's talking, Mikoto has begun painting each bauble a different colour, and perhaps, when Nori is less distracted, she may notice something VAGUELY FAMILIAR about it...

Because this string of baubles Mikoto is painting...

Is getting painted in precisely the same manner as those braid-beads she got her, a while back.

One would be forgiven if that gets forgotten for a moment, though, because a) Mikoto pauses her painting, pursuant to b) Yumi announcing that the cookie isn't for eating. "Food that's not food?" Mikoto asks, looking dismayed. "But--!!"

Luckily, Eri comes to a daring rescue, and Mikoto -- well, first Mikoto has to parse out her immediate thought that stealing food out of someone's mouth is incredibly food-anxious behaviour only seen from the cats who have had the hardest lives, but once that's through her mind she has the sense to realise that it's a touch scandalous when done by girls. She cants to the side, tone growing sceptical. "Christmas games are like that..?"

Here, she straightens up, and wonders for a moment what Haruka and Michiru, emblematic of couples in her mind, are doing for Christmas. If they did something like that... a lot of people would be very distracted, Mikoto thinks.

She looks over to Steven, and brightens up again, reaching over to hand him... some undecorated plastic snowflakes! "Like this?" She asks, wide-eyed.

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

"I've been good!" Yumi answers Steven with a smile. "How about you?"

And then she looks at Nori, who--has. The cookie. "...See, those are for decorating, and aren't... very..."

She would talk about lighthouses. Lighthouses are nice. But instead Eri goes for the cookie handoff and Yumi quietly erupts into steam.

"Ah. Um. Well."

"Y-yes that's--ahahahahah, yeah, what a... a game..."

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Nori would answer Eri but she doesn't have the chance, not right now. Her mouth is full. It means that in this moment she is vulnerable in a strange way; she cannot speak for herself. And then she can't get away.

Nori is beginning to suspect why this is perilous. She can taste salt on her tongue. She stares ahead as the green-haired girl steps nearer and leans in to grasp the other side of the snowman-shape - for that is what it was, albeit one that was a little longer and thinner than is typical - and stay there for a moment, looking at her with an intense closeness.

Nori's face burns red against her will. A red future dawning there. But then she gets the idea - a moment later - and her jaw relaxes. There is a shifting of tension in the bread-good made into a decoration; the subtle pressure as Nori's jaw stops pressing down, and another shift further as her teeth dis-engage with the biscuit of decoration.

And after that...

"PFwah!" Nori says, raising a hand to cough into it several times, turning away. "Fooh - I think that I did make a mistake there - I had just thought the shapes were so similar, it wouldn't have as much sugar, and I suppose, that was true, but..."

A pause then as she looks at Eri, sidewise, one hand coming up to veil her mouth. It is not possible to see if she's smiling, frowning, gasping or some nuance between them with her lips. Just her eyes, which can be enigmatic.

And then Nori says...


to Steven, finishing the thought or rather starting it properly. "You should make them from leather or oilcloth or something. There is no way they'd disintegrate in the snow then. I suppose if you lost one it'd get rotten by the spring, but it would not just fall apart."

"Oh, plastic is good too," says Nori, innocent of the perils of plastic in an ocean.

"Phew! I think my head is light... I should eat something that *isn't* a decoration. Mikoto, Yumi, what would you recommend...?"

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Christmas games from France are like that." Eri confirms to Mikoto and Yumi, "Or... so I've heard." Wait, so it wasn't confirmation?!?

Nori however indicates that she merely made a mistake, and Eri's eyes blink behind her spectacles owlishly. "I see. So it was like that?" The girl looks back over to Yumi and Mikoto apologetically and offers so casually, "My mistake."

Isn't she embarrassed at all? Well no, it was Nori's mistake first.

"I recommend a drink... if you're feeling light headed."

Either way, Eri seems to move back to the task at hand, and while everyone works, she introduces the two ornaments she brought with her in front of her for one last inspection.

One appears quite seasonal. It's a small open box of matches, with some glue in it so that it's permanently slid open. No matchsticks can be retrieved due to that paste inside the box. Evocative of the tale of the Little Match Girl, albeit with modernized matches.

The other strangely not. It is an origami moth, wings painted in browns and reds and oranges, one circular eye on each wing. How could that relate to the season?

Even more strangely, the two ornaments are hooked together so that one cannot be hung without the other.

Either way, she adds it to her pile of finished ornaments as if she were working on it while everyone else was talking, so discretely that it's probable that noone will notice.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

Steven really wants to swarve Mikoto away from this possibility, but gets a better idea. "I meeeaaaannnn we COULD make pizza shaped like Christmas trees as snacks..." Visions enter his head of making pizzas with friends, using large cookie cutters to make some sort of hodge-podge bagel bites. The idea is sound!

"...Okay I have no rebuttal, Mikoto. Let's do it sometime!"

"Been okay! Steven replies toward Yumi. "Been out of town for a little bit for the holidays! But got to get back recently. Travel is relatively fast with a cat thatt can do cool stuff!" Steven takes a stance as if surfing on the ground.

"Oh, true!" he replies to Nori with. "Shucks, wonder if there is any around here! Could paint them white if the leather or stuff isn't white already! GOod thinking - how'd you come up with that so fast?"

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

"Tree pizza! Tree pizza!" Mikoto chimes, to Steven, having picked perhaps the least appetising way to reduce that idea down. She seems excited, at least.

And so, Mikoto and Yumi are both entirely distractable by outrageous Christmas games, for some mysterious reason. For her part, Mikoto cants the other way, as Eri claims they're games from abroad. "France? Like Linden Baum..?" Linden Baum, of course, is a German bakehouse, so that's not entirely correct.

(Mikoto has no clue how broad a place Europe really is.)

Either way, it seems like it's not a game, insomuch as a disasterous mistake of food. "Food... decorations..." Mikoto muses, looking utterly betrayed as she tries to puzzle it out. Her eyes fall on the Rudolph ornament Eri just decorated, and she realises: "... oh! Are they for reindeer?" She's noticing Eri's ornaments, but she doesn't call out the moths, either. It's not like this is the first time Mikoto's experienced Christmas, but the first year she abandoned everyone to search for her Lord Brother, and the second year... well, let's just say she was distracted back then, too. Which is to say: maybe moth decorations are normal, and she just didn't notice.

Who could have imagined that the Christmas after all that bloodshed, Mikoto would be jumping up and going to the snacks table to search out snacks which wouldn't chip Nori's teeth? She hooks her baubles to her coat pocket, while she's investigating. Sniff sniff, sniff sniff, her nose leads her to the area with the edible snacks; it's easy, because while the reindeer cookies have a sharp doughy smell, these ones smell much, much more sugary. "Here!" She declares, grabbing one of those cookies, and handing it over to Nori -- with her hands, mind you, Mikoto is not French. She takes one herself, too, and bites into it, chomp-chomp-swallow, entirely pleased with herself. "This one's good!"

And once Mikoto has demolished a cooki-- oh-- two cookies, she just turned back and grabbed another one, it's a good thing the Cooking Club cooked enough for a group-- she unhooks her painted baubles, which leaves a smudge of paint on her autumnal blazer, but that's okay. "Look!" Mikoto shows off her work, with pride. She explains, brightly: "It's beads, for a tree!"

Her first thought for decorations was the same decoration she likes wearing...

... and between them all, snowflakes and moths and shells and baubles, they end up with something great. Together, this meeting of the minds makes so many decorations, they might even need to give some of them to other displays...

... but one thing's for sure: their kuromatsu is going to absolutely magical, thanks to a little gardening magic, and a lot of artistic magic.