2021-12-03 - Rainbow Bridge, Rainbow Heart

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Title: Rainbow Bridge, Rainbow Heart

As Christmas Eve approaches, Mikoto asks Setsuna for relationship advice, and Setsuna shares the story of how she and Lera came to date each other.


Mikoto Minagi, Setsuna Higashi


Rainbow Bridge

OOC - IC Date:

2021-12-03 - 2015-12-23

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

It's DECEMBER 23RD, the night before the night before Christmas, which is, allegedly, the most romantic day of the year. It took Mikoto a while to clue into that, but it's okay, she's friends with people like Eri and Nao. Now, maybe Mai is just harried because of university entrance exams, but, what if...

She's been thinking about THAT...?!

Mikoto, who could just ask her, they live together, it's not difficult, has instead elected to go and take a walk after dinner. This time of year -- and more to the point, this time of night -- the shining Rainbow Bridge is all lit up in festive reds and greens, offering sparkling contrast against the white of Mikoto's pale winter coat.

But do you think Mikoto is satisfied just walking along the pedestrian's path of the bridge? You shouldn't, because about midway through, she all a sudden hops up onto the handrail, and from there springs up and up, to grasp a section of those suspension cables. Her arms support her weight entirely for a few precarious moments, as she lifts the rest of her body-weight up to bring her feet onto it. From there, it's just a matter of committing to a balancing act upwards, it's not long until Mikoto is safely hidden... atop one of the towers which hold up Rainbow Bridge. It is both a deeply complex and incredibly simple process.

She likes hanging out here. No one thinks to look up, and she has a great view of the bay.

Mikoto unslings her sword-case from her shoulders, and lays it down on the concrete, sitting down beside it. "Miroku... Christmas is nice now we're paying attention, right?" The blade offers no reply, but that's okay, because Mikoto wasn't expecting one. She's just leaving the door open for the possibility it might be better, in case Miroku wants to come in, too.

"Hmm hmm," she hums, upbeat, as she looks over the dark waves. She rocks back and forth in her seating as she contemplates the nature of THE MOST ROMANTIC DAY OF THE YEAR, weighing it against Mai's known flighty tendencies around anything affectionate. Her brow knits in concentration. She thinks REAL HARD...



She's got nothin'.

Mikoto pulls out her phone from its crafted cosy, and taps out a message, an invitation to the most colourful bridge of the city.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Setsuna Higashi already has Christmas Eve and Christmas plans, and now, thanks to Mikoto, she has Christmas Eve Eve plans, because of course whn Mikoto invites her, she replies...

>I'll go.

She has been to this particular view many a time, and right now, in the chill, bracing air at the top of this tower...


On the perch Mikoto's on pops into existence a girl named Setsuna, dressed for the cold and holding her Linkrun. Akarun twirls around her and trills happily as she looks around, and takes a seat next to Mikoto. She could've climbed, or jumped, but...


Her coat is a deep blue, her scarf red, her skirt dark andher tights dark. It is a great view of the bay, and this bay has been important for her in the past.

"Hello," she greets Mikoto with a small smile she remembers to add.

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

Blip! Mikoto's nose crinkles up as she looks towards the sudden filling of space, noise where there was no noise, all traits of teleportation. She always looks a shade pertubed at that trick, but then, Mikoto was never one of those Dark Generals who teleported away from a fight. Sure, she opens portals, but she takes things out of them, it's different --

ANYWAY, she brightens up a moment later, because weird adjustment of reality or not, it's: "Setsuna!" Mikoto beams, the sun rising in the middle of the night. "Setsuna, Setsuna!"

Once she remembers how verbalising her thoughts beyond bubbly appellations works, she gestures to Setsuna, down where she's sitting. "Can I ask something?" Mikoto asks, completely forgetting the pleasantries of smalltalk in the process.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Setsuna didn't do much teleporting back when she was Eas, either. That's a more recent(ish) development in fact. But she's certainly taken advantage of the ability. Akarun floats away and fades back into wherever she was before after a moment in a little flash of sparkling red light, and Setsuna looks to--

"Mikoto," she retorts. It is important to say the other person's name when they say yours. She's pretty sure.

But she is patient, and does not require small talk. It is not at all a problem to go straight to, "Yes."

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

Mikoto hums cheerful acknowledgement when Setsuna acknowledges her in turn, and rocks back in her seat, legs all folded, hands clasping about her ankles. She rolls a sound in the back of her throat, as she puts the words together.

"Setsuna likes Lera different to everyone else, right?" She asks confirmation, finally, looking over to her. "You're, um... sweet together!" That's not exactly how that expression works, but it's not like she's on good terms with Kozue to go clarify the slang right now.

Mikoto grunts, looking back over the back. "But," she adds, "Setsuna used to fight Lera, too... so, how'd you get there after hurting her? I can't figure it out." There's a beat of silence, before she glances back up to clarify: "Um, with me."

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Setsuna sits with her hands on her knees, calm and fairly comfortable. She tilts her head at that sound, the putting the words together...

"Yes," Setsuna answers Mikoto at her question, because she can confirm that very well. That is not the expression or how it works, but she confirms again with another bright nod. She could say any number of things to elaborate on the matter, but Mikoto seems to get it well enough already, so she just leaves it at that, because she is a girl of few words. However... that beat of silence, that... question...

"Mm," Setsuna answers, and peers down at the ground for a moment. "...That's..."

She thinks back, and remembers. "...Back when I was still Eas," Setsuna explains, "I hid my identity from people and acted like 'Setsuna'. ...Lera and I got to know each other when I was just 'pretending' to be Setsuna. And she knew me as Eas. And she didn't know they were both me..."

"...But also we..."

She bites her lip. "Ah, we um..."

"...I didn't actually... Ah, we got 'together' before I actually... stopped... being Eas."

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

Setsuna hid her identity when she was fighting them..? That's strange for Mikoto to think of; her identity was revealed to the magical world at large a year ago, thanks to SEARRS, and it wasn't like she was particularly protective of it even before then. But then again, she knows plenty of girls who do hide their identity, on both sides of the aisle, so Mikoto might be the outlier here.

"So you liked the you from Tokyo better," Mikoto summarises the way the other girl chose Setsuna over Eas, and perhaps it's no wonder she'd put it like that. "But..."

Mikoto folds her arms, brow creasing in thought. "How'd Setsuna get sweet with Lera while you were fighting..? Eri said girls don't like being, umm, intimidated. But," her head cocks to the side, expression baffled, "Lera liked Setsuna anyway?"

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Setsuna was accustomed to hiding a lot of things. She still does, actually, though she wouldn't think of it as 'hiding' so much these days, really. It's just... different.

"Kind of," Setsuna says, "But it's more... 'Eas' was a title Mobius-sama gave me while I was working for him on Earth. Before that I didn't have a name. And Mobius-sama sent Northa to tell me he didn't want me around anymore, so.." She shivers a little, not because of the cold, at that memory. "But Lera liked Setsuna. ...My friends liked Setsuna. So... I let myself be 'Setsuna.'"

She then pauses, and says, "...Um, it was kind of..." She considers. "Some of it is that we had nicer interactions as Lera and Setsuna, instead of Lera and Eas. Some of it's that we talked about things even as Lera and Eas sometimes... I always tried to push her away, but she never got it, I guess. She just kept wanting to talk to me. So she knew me a little more even then..."

Pause. Then she flushes red. "And she was--I mean--Lera was always... really pretty..." Pause. "A-and when I learned about romance, I started... noticing more."

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

"Setsuna is Setsuna!" Mikoto reaches out to pat Setsuna's shoulder, when she talks about how Mobius-sama rejected her; no matter what it's like working under him, she can imagine it's still very complicated. ... and Northa is scary. She tried not to talk to her too much at their meetings, as a rule. (It wasn't hard. Not many people talked to a girl not grown in the first place, in Dark Fall, regardless of who she spoke for.)

Her hand drops to her lap, as she nods, considering what Setsuna has to say about what is no doubt her favourite topic. (Isn't that how it works for everyone?) They talked together as enemies, and when Lera didn't realise they were enemies, too...

Mikoto grunts, curling a hand to her chin, as she wonders whether it was so different after all. She didn't know, either, but that's why it worked so well. Too well, perhaps, from their perspective. After all, her friends saved her.

"Yeah," Mikoto agrees, at length. "It took me a while after I figured out how it worked, but..." She perks up, smiling to Setsuna, as she realises the credit she can give. "Seeing you both helped, too! I look up to people like you and Lera, and Eri and Kyouko, and Haruka and Michiru, and Garnet." That last one makes sense in context. "Ohtori don't say so, but girls can have girlfriends, too! It was a big surprise!"

She scratches at her cheek -- itself a gesture she's borrowed from her roommate -- glancing away, a shade embarrassed. "The, the girl I like's real pretty, too. Chased me down when I was mean... but I wasn't very nice to, her." All those little hitches tell a story of how strange it is for Mikoto to try and talk around who she's talking about, when she's normally so direct. "I hurt her lots... I almost hurt her little brother, too. I think Eri saved him... I don't remember too good." Mikoto frowns, as her mind glances off of things which went by too quickly for her to grasp. "We're friends again, but I don't really know what to do. I want her to look at me, all the time..."

It must run in the family, but Mikoto doesn't quite notice the similarities, from where she's sitting.

Mikoto sighs, looking over to Setsuna, a shade plaintive. "How'd Setsuna say it without making Lera run away?" She asks, as if that's how it always works.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Setsuna nods at Mikoto. "...Yes. I'm Setsuna." It was, and is, very complicated. It's easy not to talk to Northa though... unless Northa wants to talk to you. Then it's not very easy at all.

Lera does happen to be a favorite topic of Setsuna's, that's true. And then there is... that.

"Mm! I didn't understand why I felt like I did until after Kozue explained it to me," she admits. Well, 'explained'. "And even then I thought... I don't have time for this kind of thing. But whether I had time or not I felt like that..."

She smiles. "...Ohtori..." She pauses. "Ohtori confuses me," she admits. "I learned that you can like boys, too, but some people are together who don't even seem to like each other very much..."

But Mikoto looks embarrassed. That's okay. Setsuna smiles wider when she says the girl she likes is pretty. "It's hard for you to remember," she acknowledges, nodding along. "...Hm... I..."

How to make her look at her all the time...?

"I... didn't," she admits. "...Lera's the one who said it first. But she was always teaching me about human things."

"...The first time she told me she felt like that I cried," Setsuna admits, though it's a fond memory even if difficult. "Because... I knew I couldn't 'have' something like that..."

"But I'm Lera's girlfriend, now. I'm... allowed to be."

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

"Kozue told me, too!" Mikoto chimes in, only for her crest to fall a moment later. "But, I can't ask her stuff right now..." As far as Mikoto is concerned, she had better leave that particular beehive unkicked for a while. She seemed rather cross.

She nods, with a firm affirmative grunt, when Setsuna speaks on Ohtori. Ohtori is confusing, and some of the people there don't like each other very much. "Ohtori says I better get a boyfriend, since I'm not looking for my Lord Brother no more," Mikoto grumbles, "but I don't wanna. Ohtori boys make me feel weird." That sort of presumptuousness is uncomfortable to see, from another angle.

Instead of boys, she's preoccupied with girls. Or, well: one girl. She listens, looking entirely bamboozled, when Setsuna says that Lera was the one who said it. Even though she's a fire girl who was doing the right thing..?!

"Sure is different..."

She bobs her head, cheer returning with a bright grin. "But, Setsuna's allowed!" She agrees, brightly. "It's nice!"

Mikoto sighs, again, looking into the crisp sea breeze; it's not cold enough to snow tonight, at least, but it's still terribly nippy at night. "I always say I love Mai, but..." Here she claps her hands over her mouth, and her exclamation -- "Ah!" -- paints a picture of how bad she is at keeping who she cares about under wraps. Well, of course. She sings her praises day and night! It just so happens that with this context...

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"She's very helpful, isn't she?" Setsuna asks of Kozue. Brightly. "...Hmm. I see. Well, I'll try to help!" She uses extra words to show that she means it! But the matter of Ohtori, well...

"A lot of Ohtori boys have said I should go date them instead, but I love Lera." She is accustomped to dealing with it a little. "I think you should only get one if you want to. I think boys are okay... but I already have Lera, so..."

It's very different. But Setsuna--yes! "Yes. I'm allowed," she says. "And so are you!"

Pause. "...Not to be Lera's," she clarifies, just in case. "But it sounds like you like--"

Pause. She tilts her head sloooowly to the side. "...Was it a secret...?"

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

Mikoto doesn't blush often, but it turns out it is, in fact, technically possible, because she's as red as the lights. She lowers the hands she's hiding behind, all curled together at her chin. "It's not," she says, awkwardness lending a gruff overtone to her voice, "but it is, too."

One of those hands curls over her chin, the other grasping at her wrist. "I love Mai," she says, again. "It's not a secret. But Mai don't think it means that... when I try to make her understand, she gets really nervous. She hurt herself in the kitchen last time..." Mikoto sounds a shade guilty about that, still. She shakes her head, and goes on: "I love lots of people. I love Setsuna, and Lera, too! But I love Mai different. She's the most important girl in the world... to me." There's an important classification in that statement, but Mikoto doesn't stop to explain the difference in men and girls, right now.

"But, Mai would run away if she knew. She's devoted to, something, too... not like us, it's normal, but... I don't think she thinks she can 'have' love like that, neither. I can't get in the way of what she's gotta do," Mikoto insists, shaking her head again. "So I want to let Mai be Mai, too... not just who Mai's gotta be. 'Cause, that's what Mai does, for me." Did she realise what she was doing, when she gave her such delicious ramen..? Regardless of intent, it was a haven.

Her hand lowers, to clutch by her heart. "But sometimes my chest hurts," she says, "'cause even when I say it, I can't say it. But tomorrow's a special day... so, I thought..."

Mikoto sighs, again, entirely forlorn, looking out across the bay. "... I don't know. Maybe it's too soon... maybe I'm still too twisted up."

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

It is!!! It's super possible! Setsuna doesn't even really notice the awkwardness; she smiles a little. "I understand," she says, because it is secret and not secret. It makes sense.

Even before the explanation.

"Mmm... I was like that," Setsuna says. "Getting nervous, avoiding talking about it." She finds that perhaps she is more like Mai than Mikoto in this respect. But... aw. "Yes," she says. "I understand."

Mai would run away... "Yes," Setsuna answers, and brings up her hand in thought, resting her cheek on it for a moment as she thinks. "...I think..."

"I think that even if she might run away, it's better to be honest about your feelings, Mikoto. If you can manage it--then what's important is that you can say how you feel. Then... no matter what happens, you'll have been..."

She bites her lip, thinking of the phrase. "True to your... 'self.' I don't think you're too twisted at all."

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

Setsuna was like that, too..? Mikoto files this away in her head, without jumping to the obvious conclusion.

But she tells Mikoto to be honest with her feelings, and now it's Mikoto's turn to be nervous, a hand coming over to grasp her opposite arm, beneath that thick winter coat. (Cats grow a thicker layer of fur, but Mikoto can't do that, so she has to improvise with fashion.)

"But," she protests, voice smaller, "I don't know who my 'self' is. I thought I knew... but I'm different, now. What if Mai doesn't like it..? Mai doesn't like fighting, but that's what I'm best at. If I'm still someone who fights... is that really okay..?"

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Setsuna thinks maybe Lera could help Mikoto more here... But she's going to do her best anyway! Because Mikoto is her friend.

Mikoto is nervous, and Setsuna nods. "That's okay," Setsuna says. "You learn who your 'self' is when you try to do things, I think. When you try to find it, you learn over time. I don't think most people really 'know' without doing that... Even normal people."

She pauses, and reaches out to offer a hand to Mikoto. "What Mai likes, and doesn't like... is up to Mai. All you can do is share your feelings. What she does with her feelings... is up to her."

"...But I think if she didn't like people who were good at fighting, then you wouldn't get along so well with her already."

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

In Mikoto's mind, Setsuna was the aggressor and Lera was dealing with it, so the person equivalent to her situation was obvious. Shockingly, not everyone on the planet is just like Mikoto. There are lots of big surprises out here!

"When I try things..?" She echoes, uncertainly. Mikoto reaches out and takes Setsuna's hand, of course, which happens to open up her body language -- and all at once it's as if a weight is lifted. The power of friendship, perhaps.

"Back then, Mai supported me," Mikoto cedes, thinking back to the time her powers were sapped by the Book of Darkness. "But I know we think different about it... Mai's really strong, and I love seeing her fight, but Mai'd rather cook ramen. I love Mai's ramen, too," Mikoto is sure to add, squeezing Setsuna's hand as if to transmit just how much, "so I'm still happy!"

She draws her lower lip in between her teeth, worrying at it for a moment. "But I don't know how to say it right. Even when I say I love Mai, Mai doesn't hear it that way, I don't think. I'm not hiding anything..." Mikoto's voice lowers to a grumble, as she glances away, saying one thing with her voice and another entirely with the rest of her.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Lots of them!!! Setsuna... was the aggressor, but Lera was the aggressor in some ways, too--aggressing against her preconceptions, maybe.

"Yes. As you try to find your 'self', you learn more about who you are. That's what I think." She nods, and when Mikoto squeezes her hand, she smiles. "Yes. She's strong, but it's not what she wants to do. That's okay."

But there... Hm. "...Maybe..."

Setsuna thinks hard about this one, but she can't be sure. "...Sometimes," she says instead, "When I heard people talk... I just didn't listen. They were honest with me, but I didn't want to hear them."

"...I think if you're honest, that's good. But if she doesn't understand... maybe there's something she has to figure out, too."

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

Mikoto hums, canting her head to the side. "Yeah... me, too." A beat passes. Another. Mikoto straightens up, eyes widening, as she looks back to Setsuna: "Wait, Mai, too?!"

Somehow, Mikoto being like Mai always comes as a revelation, no matter how many times it happens.

"Mai's gotta figure it out..." It's entirely congruent with what Mikoto told her, about how she couldn't interfere in whatever Mai's great quest is, but it hits differently to hear someone else spell it out. (This may not be the first time someone has, but it always has a sense of revelation about it.)

"So... if I ask Mai if she wants to hang out tomorrow, it'll be okay! 'Cause even if Mai don't hear it right, I said it!" Mikoto pauses, here, and scratches at the back of her head with her free hand. "But, Mai might be too busy, 'cause she's trying to get into university... but," she decides, in the next breath, "it'll still be okay!"

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"Mm!" Setsuna agrees. Mai, too. Setsuna doesn't know Mai very well, of course, but she's seen that people can be like that, not just her. She's learned a lot...

It is different when someone else says it, though. "Yes. Whatever Mai feels... she has to figure that out, too. A lot of girls aren't sure... Don't know it, yet. Boys too." It takes her time to speak, and to say this, but she does eventually. And then...

"Yes," Setsuna says. "I think so. You can only... speak for yourself. Not for anybody else's feelings." A pause. She miht be... "Well," she says, "Christmas is special, but any day can be special to you. If you can't do it tomorrow, then the day you do it will be special because you did, instead."

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

"Yup!" Mikoto agrees, when Setsuna says she can only speak to her own feelings, and doesn't quite remember all the circumstances of where she learned that maxim.

But, Mai needs to figure out how she feels, and Christmas isn't necessarily the only day for feelings...

"... I like it better when Mai's smiling," Mikoto says, after a pause, "so as long as Mai feels good, I'll be happy, too. Maybe another day would be less scary..." Frankly, another day would be less overtly romantic, because Mikoto's already said what she's scared of, but it can be less scary for Mai, too. "I just wanna spend time with Mai, all the time!"

Mikoto blinks, head tilting up, as she wonders: "But, I guess I can already do that, 'cause we're roommates..." ... is that really the same?

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Setsuna couldn't say exactly where she picked it up, either. But she has, over time. She still doesn't understand people all the time, but...

"That's good," Setsuna says. Less scary... Could Mai be scared? It's possible. Setsuna was scared, when it was her. "...Yes, but..."

Is it really the same?

"It's not quite the same," she says. "Good luck, Mikoto."

She smiles at her again, and thinks, "...I hope that she understands you."