2022-09-06 - Nervous! A Tomboy Goes Dress Shopping!

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Title: Nervous! A Tomboy Goes Dress Shopping!

Kyouka reaches out to Yumi for help buying a new dress. Along the way they also run into Eri.


Kyouka Okazaki, Yumi Ohzora, Eri Shimanouchi


Kyouka's House (Shitamachi), Easter Department Store

OOC - IC Date:

September 09, 2022 - Sunday, Jan 10, 2016

.************************* Tokyo - Yamanote High City *************************.

  • +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Easter Department Store +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
 Japanese department stores ('depaato') have only a slight resemblance to      
 their Western counterparts. Resembling classy vertical shopping malls, they   
 are committed to imparting a feeling of prestige to their customers. Easter   
 Depaato is a classic example of this type, with all the traditional touches.  
 Customers are greeted frequently and personally by formally dressed           
 salespeople, and 'elevator girls' ensure customers don't need to exhaust      
 themselves pressing buttons. Most purchases are placed into packaging         
 prominently displaying the carved lettering and orbiting star of the Easter   
 Corporation, so everyone knows they came from a fine department store.        
 The stores available in this ten-story, silver-ribbed black building are      
 diverse. The basement is home to a full grocery store, the ground floor       
 hosts accessories. Three stories of women's wear, two of men's, and a kimono  
 store follow in succession, then the stores diversify, with toy, book, and    
 ceramics shops sharing floors. Finally, the top floor and roof boast upscale  
 restaurants, with the latter surrounding an open-air terrace garden.          
  • +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Players +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.


Pots and pans in the kitchen were bubbling and sizzling as Kyouka rushed back and forth preparing dinner, dressed in shorts, a tank top, and an apron. Wolfy watched lazily from the fireplace, but a noise at the front door made him get up and rush over to bark at it excitedly.

"Hi, Mom!" Kyouka called. "Dinner's gonna be ready in a little bit!"

Yuki Okazaki leaned down to pet Wolfy after taking off her shoes and outer jacket, revealing a matching dark green skirt and blazer, then walked into the kitchen to set her briefcase down. "Good evening, Kyouka. How was your day, dear?"

Kyouka was still moving back and forth through the kitchen, paying more attention to the ongoing cooking instead of turning around to face her mother. "Oh, you know, school's school." Kyouka paused a moment after checking a pan. "That still feels weird to say. Oh, but I managed to take another second off my personal best in the hundred meter dash today, so that was some good news!"

"Well, congratulations! Are you first on the team yet?" Yuki asked with a playful, lightly teasing tone.

"Pft, I wish," said Kyouka with an exaggerated eyeroll. She looked over her shoulder at her mother with a grin. "You should see some of the other girls on the team, Mom. They're amazing. I've been working really hard to catch up, though! How was your day?"

"Well, I'm glad you're enjoying yourself, dear." Yumi paused as she considered her daughter's question. "Well, I've been invited to a formal dinner. A sort of welcome reception, of sorts, along with a few of the other teachers that have joined recently. I've already talked to your father and he'll be attending with me."

Kyouka turned back to manage her dinner preparation. "Oh, well, cool. Let me know when that is so I can plan dinner around that. Maybe I'll see if I can go meet some friends or something."

"Actually, I was hoping you'd attend with me. The Headmistress asked after you. She wanted to see how you were adjusting to life in Japan."

"Well, you can tell her I'm doing great. Fantastic even!" Kyouka peered into a pot and give it a stir, then replaced the lid. "Besides, I'm busy that night."

Yuki's voice took on a slightly sterner edge. "Dear, you don't even know what night it is. Also, you just said you were going to see about making plans."

Kyouka winced. That was why she hated lying. She wasn't terribly good at it.

Well, not for stuff like this, at least.

But she also considered it a form of disrespect, in some ways. "Sorry, Mom, but you know I don't really enjoy those types of things I never know what to say."

"Dear, you've literally been around the world. Multiple times. You have plenty to talk about."

"Yeah, sure, but nobody wants to hear how I freeclimbed a church or played football in six different countries at a fancy dinner party like that. I just I just don't fit in there." Not that she was terribly convinced she fit into Japan in general yet, but she didn't need the extra pressure.

The air was silent except for the sizzle of a pan.

"You're not the only one trying to fit in, Kyouka," said Yuki quietly.

With her back turned to her mother, Kyouka winced as her heart seized up. Okay, that one hurt. After a moment she turned to face her Mom again, offering a quiet, "I'm sorry, Mom. I keep forgetting this is an adjustment for you, too. Still, I dunno" Kyouka felt slightly guilty now, and her natural inclinations to help and made amends were warring with her desire to be anywhere but a fancy dinner party.

"Apology accepted," said Yuki gently. Then, after a moment she took a deep breath. "I'm invoking our agreement."

Kyouka blinked. After a moment, she said, "Seriously? This early in the year?"

Yuki met Kyouka's gaze evenly. "I'm sure, dear."

Kyouka went silent. Yuki simply waited patiently as she watched her daughter resume tending to dinner.

After a lengthy amount of time, Kyouka said, "Okay. If this means that much to you I won't argue." She sighed softly. "I don't have anything to wear, though"

Yuki stood up and started heading upstairs. "I'm sure you can figure something out. If you want my help we can go shopping tomorrow. Otherwise, feel free to use the credit card."

"Yeah, yeah, got it. Dinner'll be ready in ten. I'll call you down."

Later, after dinner was over, and the dishes washed, Kyouka stood before her closet. It was... pretty bare, she had to admit. There was one dress that might work, but it was from two years and a whole growth spurt ago, so she wasn't holding out much hope. And... it was definitely a middle schooler's dress, too, not a high school student's.

Still... She plucked it from the hanger and held it up to herself in the mirror.

She winced. "That's... yeah, that's not great." It was too short, and she honestly wasn't even sure if it'd fit anyway, even ignoring the length.

She hung it up again and threw herself onto her bed. "Auugh... If I go shopping with Mom, that's going to be the whole day... But I don't know any of the stores around here..." She frowned. Though... She pulled out her phone and scrolled through the contacts.

Yumi Ohzora.

She did say she was in the Fashion Club at Infinity. Maybe... there was a way the dress could be salvaged? Or at the very least, she could offer some advice on stores to go to...

She opened a text message window and started typing.

"Ohzora-san, I know this is kind of sudden, but I was hoping I could ask you for some advice..."


Kyouka's family is currently inhabiting a modest two-story house in the Shitamchi area in a quieter neighborhood. Yumi's arrival is heralded by the excited barking of a dog from within the house, and a shout of, "I got it!" A moment later Kyouka opens the door, her slightly anxious expression quickly replaced with a smile. "H-hey, Ohzora-san, thanks for coming! Please, come in! C'mon, Wolfy, give her some space." She grabs the collar of a very energetic Siberian Husky trying his best to get around Kyouka and pulls him back, allowing Yumi entry. Kyouka herself is dressed in an old pair of jeans and a baseball jersey at the moment.

The house is nice, though perhaps a bit sparsely decorated--probably understandable, considering the constant moving. Once Yumi has made it inside properly, and had a chance to remove her coat and shoes, Kyouka lets the dog go. "This is Wolfy. Wolfy, this is Yumi Ohzora." And true to Kyouka's word, Wolfy is nothing but friendliness as he runs up and starts sniffing the other girl, happily barking and trying to jump up on her. Kyouka's quick to pull him away if YUmi looks flustered or overwhelmed by the attention, though. "Sorry, he loves everybody but he can be a bit overeager meetig new people sometimes. He'll settle down in a moment. Do you want something to eat or drink? I made some cookies this morning. Oatmeal raisin with walnuts." She trails off and frowns. "Wait, I forgot to ask about food allergies. If that doesn't work I can whip something else up..."

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

Yumi is generally pretty prompt about texts. It's a good thing, too! Because today...

ark bark bark bark bark. Yumi is a little nervous at first because she's so used to worse experiences with animals, but she can't help but smile back at seeing Kyouka's expression change. A smile gets a smile! "Oh hi there!" she asys to Wolfy, and once she's in, removing coat and shoes... "Wolfy!" Yumi is a little unsteady when he jumps on her, but she doesn't fall, instad reaching down to pet the dog. She is only a little flustered, mostly happy. 

"That's great!" Yumi says. "It's nice to be welcomed. Tama's never this affectionate..." She laughs. "I was worried I'd make Wolfy nervous."

Then, a beat, "Oh, I'd love a cookie! Walnut and oatmeal's just fine. I can give you the list later."

She smiles. "And then we can have a look at your closet, right?"

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka is very relieved when she sees you show up--this is, in fact, the first time she's had someone over, though she doesn't make it a point to tell you that. She's got a bit of a combination nervous and excited energy about her, though.

Kyouka pulls Wolfy down pretty quickly and holds him in place. "He's friendly, he just wants to get to know you better. Go ahead, give his ears a pat. He'll settle down once he's gotten some petting." Indeed the dog, aside from beind held in place by Kyouka, seems to be eagerly awaiting something from Yumi, with his tail furiously wagging. "Yeah, Wolfy's pretty agreeable, thankfully."

"Good!" she says, when you say oatmeal and walnut are okay. "Yeah, just text it to me or something and I'll make sure to make a note of it when I'm planning things." She remembered Yumi had mentioned health issues, and is glad she at least remembered to check before serving any food. "Yeah, definitely," she says to looking at the closet.

She lets Wolfy go and gestures for you to follow. The ground floor has a pretty open plan living room and kitchen. An older Japanese woman dressed in jeans and a blouse is working at the kitchen table, with papers spread all over it. "Oh, Mom. This is my friend, Yumi Ohzora. She's a student at Infinity. Ohzora-san, this is Yuki Okazaki. She's a teacher at Ohtori."

Yuki stands up and smiles, "Oh, how lovely to meet you. Kyouka, you didn't tell me you had guests coming over. Can I get you something to eat or drink?"

Kyouka's already moving into the kitchen area, loading up a couple of small plates with a few cookies each and then going for the fridge. "Already on it, Mom." She opens the fridge and looks to Yumi. "Want some milk?"

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

"I like him," Yumi says, and scritches behind Wolfy's ears, patting and petting. "You have such nice fur..." He is pretty agreeable. Yumi is glad of that! But she's a little entranced by the dog for a momen--until they talk about cookies.

"Sure, will do." For Yumi it's... well, it would be awkward if she were new to her health issues, but keeping up with them is just business as usual for her by now. She waves at Wolfy and then continues after Kyouka, until they reach the woman with the papers. "Hello, Okazaki-sensei! You have a lovely home." Her greeting is perhaps a little formal, especially with the bow, but Yumi has had politeness drilled into her in such situations for many years now. Then a smile. Kyouka's got it.

"No thanks," Yumi answers, since she and milk don't get along too well. "Just the cookie's more than fine. I appreciate it!"

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Wolfy barks happily and wags his tail harder as he gets affection from Yumi, and eagerly follows along with her when the other girl moves further into the house.

The elder Okazaki smiles and offers a small bow in return, "Oh it's lovely to meet you dear, but no need to be quite so formal; we aren't at school, after all. And thank you, I'm glad you think so. How did you and Kyouka meet?"

That gets Kyouka's attention, her head snapping around from where she's pouring a glass of milk for just herself. "Uh, we met at the parade." That's true enough, though the look Kyouka exchanges with Yumi is a semi-panicky one. Telling her mom how the full details would be... problematic. She tries to cover by picking up both plates, one nestled in the crook of her arm, and then her own glass. "We're gonna be up in my room." She gestures with her head for Yumi to follow.

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

Bork bork! Yumi is generally happy to be around Wolfy.

"All right!" Yumi answers. "Of course! We..." Then there's that. Kyouka glances at Yumi and Yumi glances back--with a smile of reassurance. "Mm-hm," she says, and migt elaborate somewhat but Kyouka has made her need... for speed... clear. "It was nice to meet you!" Yumi says, with a wave this time instead of a bow, and she follows Kyouka up that way.

She'll take a plate if that makes it easier, but otherwise she just keeps walking for the moment. It's not hard to imagine meeting her at a parade; she stands out. Not just from her bright colors and layered dress, but also from the fact that she's extremely tall.

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Yuki responds with a "Oh, I heard about that on the news. I hope you were alright with that gas leak that happened." She raises an eyebrow as Kyouka seems to rush the conversation along, but doesn't say anything about it. "Oh--, well, okay then. You girls have fun!" She offers a wave in return and then sits back down at the kitchen table to resume her work.

Kyouka lets Yumi take the plate on her elbow if she wants, and leads her up the stairs to her bedroom, sighing softly as they get inside and outside of earshot of the staircase. "Sorry, I just... need to plan for that next time. That was a really obvious question, too." She frowns a little, contemplating that.

Her room is... actually pretty neat and tidy. One wall seems taken up by various sports ephemera--various martial arts belts next to a few different plaques, a bat, a hockey stick, a wooden practice sword, plus a multitude of photographs--various nature shots, and several that include an older American gentleman with blond hair--probably Kyouka's father, plus some family shots visiting various places. There's a small desk with just a laptop on it and a small stationary set. It's neat, and decorated as best as she can manage, but it still looks freshly-moved in.

The very astute might notice the plaques all read Kyouka Channing, not Kyouka Okazaki.

"Sooo... welcome to my room." She makes room on the desk for their plates and her glass. "And here... is the closet." She slides open the door and takes out the dress. "... and the dress." The closet itself is pretty sparse--a few different gis and dance outfits, but nothing that looks wearable now, probably mostly sentimental. "So.... what do you think?"

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

"Yeah!" Yumi answers. "I didn't actually get the worst of it anyway." Which is true! But she leaves it at that, and soon they are... up! Kyouka frowns, and Yumi says, "You get used to it," she says, though she looks a little sympathetic at that. "...For better or worse. I guess it's easier for me, since I live in the dorms. Mother doesn't ask a lot of questions about day to day things..."

Yumi notices all the various sports things and nature shots and the gentleman and--hm. The name...

"You've got a lot of cool stuff!" Yumi decides, not calling her out on the name because it's not really her business--if Kyouka wants to talk about it, she will! She can sort of guess at the reason it would be different. But having taken the plate, she sets it down on the desk too, and then... Ah, that's...

"That is..."

She opens her mouth, and closes it. "So, the good news," Yumi says, "Is this is a great excuse for a shopping trip!"

A beat, and then, "...Yeah I don't think that dress is even going to fit you. And these things, while great, aren't quite right for this kind of occasion. So I think I'm gonna have to take you out to the city!"

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

The cookies, incidentally, are actually still a little warm--it's a good thing Yumi is so punctual! They're also pretty thick, and chock full of raisins and walnuts, to boot.

She sighs a little when you say it gets easier. "I really don't want it to be easier... but the alternative is... freaking her out." She gives you a little nod. "Ah, I see. I guess that could be handy for that, then..."

She beams a bit when you declare her stuff cool. "Thanks!" She takes a moment to point out a couple of her favorite things, including one with her and the man--confirmed to be her father--holding up two very large fish on strings, freshly caught.

Kyouka winces. "I... was afraid you'd say that. I kind of figured it was a long shot." She didn't even ask about anything else in the closet, just that one dress. "This dress is two years, two countries, and a growth spurt ago. I wanted to toss it sooner but my mom made me keep it."

"Alright, so... you know the city better than I do. Where should we go?" She hangs the dress back up, and then sits at her desk. There's a second chair next to it, that she offers for you to sit while we work on the cookies.

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

Mmmmm, cookies. Yumi takes a bite! "These are really good!" she says once she's done chewing.

"...It's up to you," Yumi says, "But for most of us... if we told our parents what we got up to, they wouldn't let us keep doing it. So it's just sort of... necessary."

But the cool things Yumi is happy to spend time with--big fish. "Ahah, Tama would like those," she says of the fish. "Don't tell her you fish unless you're willing to bring her some now and then. She's already got Mikoto working on it..."

But Kyouka winces and... well. "Yeah, I can kinda tell. It looks like it was great... two years ago, but..."

Hm. "The Easter Department Store is the best place to go. It'll have all kinds of shops with different things in them, and it's a fun place on its own anyway. We can get lunch up on the top floor if you want, too, once we're done."

She moves to take the seat where it's offered, "It'll be good for you to know where it is anyway; it's a really handy place."

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka grins, "Thanks! I'm really glad you like them!" And she is glad. It's nerve-wracking putting your skills out on display like that, but having them be appreciated is a nice feeling. "If you want, I can pack some up for you to take home."

She nods glumly. "Yeah, we... well, we kind of have this agreement. She gets to request a certain number of appearances a year, and the rest of the time she tries not to nag me too hard. I... don't think magical girl stuff is within the scope of that agreement, though."

She laughs a little as you mention bringing fish to Tama, "Well, I do like fishing, though most of the time I'm not bringing it back home... usually we cook it there while we're camping. Look forward to freshly grilled fish if I ever get a camping trip organized, by the way. Guess we could always bring an ice box, though..."

"Easter department Store, huh...? Alright..." she's already pulling it up on her phone, waiting for it to bring up a map view with the public transit. "I'll buy lunch, since you're doing me such a big favor by offering to help me out. I figure it's the least I could do." She considers a moment. "Well, lunch and the cookies, I guess."

"I guess we can get going as soon as you're ready." She's working through her cookies and milk diligently, but not trying to rush--they deserve to be savored, after all.

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

"Oh, that'd be great! I know Mikoto would love one, and she's over all the time..."

Agreement. Hmm. "That's... nice," Yumi says. "A way you can settle things like that. So this one's important to her, huh?" A beat, "Probably not."

"Oh, we can just bring her!" Yumi answers brightly about the cat. "She's better in the wilderness than I am, for sure. She talks about how she remembers when this area was a nice fishing village..."

Public transit gets there easily; it has its own stop! "Oh, you sure?" Yumi says. "Well, if it's no trouble, I can accept that. But you really don't have to. This kind of thing is fun for me!"

Yumi is not a very fast eater, so Kyouka has time to savor, for sure. And soon... Well. The store! "Just let me finish this and..." She'll be ready!

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"Hopefully she'll like them as much as you do! I'll pack them up when we head downstairs."

She nods, "Yeah, it's..." she looks contemplative as she stares at the door to her room. "It helps," she says, without clarifying exactly how. "Though, I'm considering giving this one to her for free. She's been working really hard to make...." she gestures vaguely at the house, "All of this work for me, and it's hard on her too... I'd feel kind of bad if I wasn't supporting her too, you know?"

She blinks. Bring the cat along. Well, that certainly makes fish delivery easier. "Oh! Well, that'd work. Uh... unless my dad joins us... Do... non-magical people hear familiars talk?"

Kyouka nods, "I'm sure. Like I said, it's the least I can do since you're taking time out of your day for this."

Once the cookies are finished, she gathers up the plate and glass and heads downstairs. Once there she's a bit of a whirlwind, soaking the dishes in the sink, moving over to pack up a generous helping of cookies, and all the while keeping up a stream of chatter. "Hey, Mom. Ohzora-san and I are going to head out. I'll be out for lunch but I'll probably be back by dinner--" at that she glances to Yumi to double check her time estimate. "There's enough leftovers for lunch, and dinner--don't wait up for me if I'm not back in time, I'll eat when I get in. The washer and dryer'll be ready in about thirty minutes, can you advance that for me? I can deal with folding everything when I get back." And now she's got a box all wrapped up and is heading for the door now. "Oh! And please make sure to feed Wolfy if I'm too late in getting back? Thanks!"

Yuki barely has time to get a word in edgewise, but while Kyouka is getting her well-worn parka and boots on, she stands up from the table and heads to the door to see the two off. "Dear, don't worry, I think I can manage without you for a few hours. You two go and have fun and don't worry about things here." To Yumi says, "It was very nice meeting you. You're welcome over at any time."

Next stop... department store!

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


It helps, Kyouka says, and Yumi imagines it must. But... "Yeah. You're both in a new place, huh?" Yumi asks. "New situation... I think it's cool, that you can think of things that way. It's too easy to forget that our parents have their own issues, too."

But--Oh!! "Well, she can just not talk," Yumi says. "She's good at pretending to be... normal? I guess. Though she'd look at me cross if I told her she wasn't normal. But you know what I mean, right?" That answers by implication, at least.

"Sure," Yumi answers. In point of fact the restaurants on top of the department store are pretty nice... so Yumi might try to slide her card into the check last-minute anyway, in the eternal battle of Who Pays For Friend Time. But that's for the future! For now--

"Yeah, should be!" Yumi says of being back by dinner. She smiles, watching the two of them together. Somehow, Yuki will manage on her own...

Yumi thinks she likes her.

"Thank you," Yumi says. "I look forward to coming back, then."

Next stop...! Public transit, and then the crowded streets of Yamanote, full of people moving about their days. The building itself is huge, ten stories and done up in silver. There's a lot of stores in it, and a lot of people with fancy bags and boxes from them. Three stories of womens' wear should be enough to find something for Kyouka.

For her part, Yumi pauses once they get there to show the place to Kyouka. "Here we are! Probably third floor has what you want, but we can look around any of them if something catches your eye. It's just a matter of seeing what's there, and seeing what works for you!"

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

It's always strange for her, the idea of meeting a new Magical Girl. Even with how universal law changed, there's a vague sense of guilt. After all, she used to consider herself someone who gave them a wake up call to brutal reality. Better her than...

... she tries to shake off that vague feeling, even as she steps off a separate bus. Eri waits for the hum of it departing before she starts moving again. She's wearing a nice grey winter peacoat, over a green jacket. A dark skirt, leggings, and sensible flats.

Up through the department store, she checks the small soul's egg (rather than text) for a minute trace of familiar (Sorry Tama) magic, up towards the third floor, before it becomes a ring again.

When she does come upon them... "Yumi-chan! Tama-san!" She calls out from behind, with a small wave, before smiling at Kyouka, her green eyes sparkling with faint mischief behind her glasses as she glances back sidelong at Yumi, "Is this who you wanted me to meet?"

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"Well... my Mom's from Japan originally, but she emmigrated to the U.S. a long time ago, so... It's not all new for her, but..." she looks a bit guilty for a brief moment. "Yeah, I... There was something she said last night..." She shakes her head to clear it. "Anyway."

"Oh, well if Tama's fine with not talking, then I'd be more than happy to catch her a fish or two. ... As long as she's fine with Wolfy being around too," she adds quickly. "Guy loves the outdoors probably more than I do."

Kyouka gives a low whistle when we arrive at the store. It's not like she's never seen a large building before, but the way it's done up in silver does make it a sight to behold. Still, the thought of going through all those stores is a little intimidating. "Y-yeah, sure. I'll follow your lead, I guess." Though the thought of looking around...

"Maybe I should pick up a few new things to wear when I'm hanging out," she muses quietly. "We, uh... kind of try to pack light, as best we can. Makes the moving easier."

She herself is dressed in a dark purple parka, jeans, and a pair of hiking boots--they're insulted and warm, even if they might be a bit unconventional as city wear.

She blinks as she hears someone calling Yumi's name, but then-- Wait, isn't that Yumi's familiar's name? She frowns as she glances to Yumi--Did she bring the cat and somehow she didn't notice until now?--and then over to the newly arrived girl.

She gives a half-wave at being acknowledged, but is looking at Yumi as she says, "... friend of yours?"

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

"Oh, yeah?" The rest of the pieces fall into place for Yumi, she thinks. "That's even harder some ways, coming home after a while." But something she said? Well, if Kyouka doesn't want to say...

"Oh, Tama's fine with dogs," Yumi says with a little wave of her hand. "I bet they'll even get along!"

And at the store... "That's a good idea,"she says. "You don't want to run out of clothes, and new stuff is always fun, right? Especially if you're hoping to be here for a while." For her part, Yumi's in a long green dress, a pale color, with a layered shirt under the sleeves in light cyan, and flat (definitely flat) boots.

And... Yumi remembers what Eri was like... kind of? A part of her doesn't! A part of her has no idea why she used to be like that. It's all very complicated. However...

"Eri-chan!" Yumi greets cheerfully, and Tama peers up at her. Where did Tama come from? It's a mystery. She is here nonetheless, and she says, as Kyouka looks around, "I'm keeping out of sight because I don't want the children to bother me," she says, huffily. "...But I wanted to come check on Yumi's new friend. You... do not immediately trouble me."

That's about the best someone's going to get out of a cat.

"This is Eri Shimanouchi," Yumi introduces, "A very dear friend. She taught me a lot about... well, the kind of stuff we were talking about."

"But that's right! This is Kyouka Okazaki." Then a laugh, "Be nice, OK?"

Tama says, "Hmmmm," as if she's dubious of Eri being 'nice' in that particular way.

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

"That's a word for what I am to her." Eri replies to Kyouka, wryly. Even as Tama appears. Despite wanting to be unbothered, Eri leans down and scritches Tama's ears once, assuming she doesn't leap out of the way at once. "I'm wise to your ways after so long, Tama-san."

Pause, Eri examines Kyouka for a moment, as if trying to get a sense of who she is, then her face splits into a grin, "Nice to meet you. Don't let Yumi-chan fool you. I didn't really teach her all that much."

With a wink towards Yumi she allows, "Unless you count the wrong lessons. I taught her plenty of those."

Without explanation for that remark, she quickly switches to, "Anything in particular you two are looking for here today?"

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"I mean, I like trying new things, but clothes isn't usually on that list..." She pauses. "Though... I guess if I'm shopping with a friend and not my mom maybe that's better...?" Maybe! maybe not! We'll just have to see how the day goes. There's a definite blush on her cheeks as she very quietly admits, "Yeah, when I was doing the laundry earlier I definitely noticed that, uh... some of the stuff is getting a bit worn..."

Kyouka has apparently had a busy morning. Doing most of the luandry, baking cookies, and she hasn't even mentioned her regular morning workout yet.

And now Kyouka suddenly has an audience of 3 for her journey into shopping for a dress. That's... well, not ideal, but on the other hand, meeting more people! Including one apparently very old cat. Not how she predicted the day going, but she'll roll with it.

She looks between Eri, Tama, and Yumi, trying to get caught up on all of the introductions. To Tama she says, "Oh, uh, it's an honor to meet you, Tama-sama," she says, trying to offer as discrete a bow as she can in the middle of a crowded grocery store to a cat trying to hide from children. "Ohzora-san's told me about you." She blinks at the proclamation of not being 'immediately troubling.' "Uh... thank you?" She glances to Yumi. Are these the right things to say?

"It's nice to meet you, Shimanouchi-san," says Kyouka to the other new arrival.

Kyouka is friendly, though a bit nervous. Though at Yumi's asking of Eri to 'be nice', she quirks an eyebrow and has a bit of a grin of her own. "What, think I can't handle myself?" There's some confidence.

At the mention of the wrong lessons, though... "That sounds like there's a story, there," she observes.

"Well, I'm shopping for a dress, actually... My mom got invited to a dinner party and is making me go with her, and... I need a new one." She doesn't sound terribly happy about that state of events.

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

"Maybe this is your chance to add it," Yumi suggests amiably. "Clothes can be a great form of expression. And you're gonna be wearing them anyway, so you might as well have fun with it, right?" But she doesn't tease her about the blushing. Busy morning indeed...

"There is!" Yumi says, and doesn't use it for the moment. She grins at her, though. Tama accepts these pettings for the moment. It's fine. Super fine. But when Eri talks about fooling, "Hey, if some of what I learned from you is what not to do, that's still plenty to learn, right?" But she won't pursue it, even if she does insist on saying 'some'.

Tama replies, "This one knows respect." She looks pointedly at Eri, "Many could stand to learn from her example..."

Yumi gives Kyouka a big thumbs-up.

Then she laughs. "Well, if you want the full Eri," Yumi says, "Don't say I didn't warn you..." But that's fine, too. "Yep. Shopping trip. Should be fun, right? So, we're gonna need to know what kind of colors you like, so we know where to start. Do you know what works for you, or do you want to just try a few thnigs and see?"

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

"That's yet to be seen." Eri says to Kyouka with a sort of easy confidence that was likely earned the hard way. Though Eri doesn't look like much to speak of on her own. If not for the confidence she'd be downright mousey in those glasses, with that bob cut - but the presentation counts.

"Yep." She says of there being a story there, without offering more to it, just like Yumi.

With a turn towards Tama, Eri snorts indelicately at her, "Only Queens of Dark Fall demand people -sama them Tama-san. You need to temper that ego a bit." She holds her fingers up, "Just a smidge."

The idea of the dress though, and Yumi's words, causes her to examine Kyouka critically, "Fair enough, if you had to put a word to your general style? And 'none' is a fine answer. Also do you happen to have an Aohime or Akamira membership card? Might help if you're on a budget."

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"Hmmm..." she looks thoughtful as Yumi mentions expressing herself. "I really haven't looked at it that way before... Usuaully I guess I just look at function first, and then how it looks second..." It sounds like she's seriously considering the idea. "Though... I mean, I guess I don't know... how to express myself. With clothing, at least. Or like... what says what here, I guess." And there she goes from contemplative to slightly insecure again.

Kyouka gives Yumi a reliefed smile when she gets Tama's approval and that thumbs up. She really didn't want to make a wrong impression upon meeting her first (friendly) magical creature. Especially one tied to a friend of hers.

"Oh, colors. Well..." She glances up at her dyed hair and down at her parka. "I mean, I guess black and purple? Though maybe going all purple might be overdoing it... probably more a fan of darker colors overall, though, I guess, but... I'm willing to trust your judgement."

Kyouka's grin gets a little wider as Eri pushes back against the idea of her being able to handle herself. "Oh yeah? And what makes you think I can't?" If there's one thing she's learned, it's that unexpected things can come in all sorts of packages, mousey or no.

Eri's mention of 'Dark Fall' has Kyouka shooting Yumi a quizzical look. Another term she's not familiar with, though at a guess it doesn't sound pleasant. "... should I be asking what that is in..." she glances around, "... the middle of a store, or should I save that question for later?"

She straightens up a little when Eri looks at her critically. "I mean..." She gestures to herself. "This is the type of stuff I normally wear." There's a baseball jersey under that parka. "But I don't really think about it so much as just... kinda wear what works and is handy. Though... I... might be interested in trying new things...?" As a clarification she tacks on, "I move a lot, and I just moved to Japan a couple months ago, so my wardrobe's not very extensive." Her Japanese is basically fluent for someone who just moved, though.

Kyouka looks puzzled. "Aohime or Akamira...? Oh! Is that that AoAka thing you were mentioning, Ohzora-san? Either way I don't know what those are, so... no. How would I go about that?"

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

"The secret is that how it looks is part of the function! If you get stuff that suits you and fits, it makes you more confident, and people looking at you can tell. It's why you dress up for a big interview or something, right?" A smile, there. "That's okay. You've got an advantage in that whatever you wear is gonna be the cool transfer stdent thing... so you can afford to experiment!"

Tama rolls her eyes at Eri. "And you should respect your elders," she says, though she doesn't actually sound all that mad,if at all.

"Purple's great! You can do a couple shades if you want to go all-in on purple, or... Hmmm. Nice dark jewel tones generally might be good for you, too. They're dramatic without being loud, and I thnik that's something you'd like."

Dark Fall... Tama fields this one, "An organization of individuals who wish for the doom of the world, all in their own ways. Be wary of them."

Yumi says, "Yeah that. We can't go into detail out here, but... that's enough for now."

This stuff... hmmm. "Well, good clothes can also be workable and handy. We can get you stuff that's like that but sturdier, say. I think for you... Yeah, Eri, what do you think? I think she's more of an Aohime. Sporty, you know?"

She'll let Eri handle the 'how.'

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

Kyouka just exudes insecurity when she talks about style, and something close to sympathy flecks in those green eyes of hers. Before she looks towards Tama, "Yeah yeah. Name one elder that gets a -sama out of anyone, unironically."

Tama fields Dark Fall, and Yumi says they can't go into detail, Eri just shrugs, "Most people would just think we're really intense cosplayers or something. Recognition Inhibition generally takes care of anything inconvenient people overhear. But sure, no reason to let eavesdroppers think anything embarrassing of us.."

As it all comes together on her style, Eri slowly nods, "Yeah, definitely an Aohime, a little on the goth side too maybe? That's more Akamira, but Aohime has some soft punk that might fit without scandalizing your mom too much."

There's a pause though as Kyouka challenges her on the remark of how she knows how to handle herself. And Eri just gives her an amused look, and a thin-lipped smile, "Hm. Cheeky. You're going to be fun."

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka nods thoughtfully as Yumi explains the form is part of the function. "I suppose that makes sense..." But then Yumi mentions Cool Transfer Student Energy. "Aww, c'mon, I'm doing my best to fit in, though..."

"Dark jewel tones... Tones like...?" Though the mention of jewel tones gets her thinking. "Oh, and I guess I should plan for at least one... 'accessory'." She wasn't going to make the introduction in the middle of the store, but considering they have a talking cat in their group and Recognition Inhibition has been mentioned (a term she hadn't heard before, but recognizes from having its effects having been described to her before), she pulls back the sleeve of her parka to reveal Strike Wolf's standby form, a black leather bracelet around her right wrist with a small, five-sided purple gem seated atop it.

"Right," she says, "Say no more." One more question on an ever-growing list.

She does perk up when Yumi mentions 'sporty'. "I mean, that definitely sounds like me." Her room decorations should make that pretty clear to anyone.

Kyouka is totally insecure discussing style. But give her the task of jumping between rooftops without injuring herself and she won't blink twice. (Yumi's seen it! She can vouce for that.)

She frowns and looks down at herself. "Wait, goth vibes? How'd you get that?" Then she looks up. "Is it the hair...?" she wonders aloud. "... Yeah, soft punk sounds like it might work..."

She looks at Eri's reaction and tries to read that expression. "Hmm." She glances to Yumi. "Should I be intruiged by the challenge or worried? I can't quite tell." She's still grinning a bit as she asks that question though, so she's clearly not too concerned.

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

"Harumph," Tama dismisses Eri's concern. It is a very old-fashioned noise.

"I mean, yeah, but there's no reason not to be a little careful," Yumi points out to Eri. "Especially if some of the people in question are around, which, you never know..."

"Hmmm. I think Aohime can do it," Yumi says.

Then back to Kyouka, "Like, sapphire, ruby, emerald--rich colors." She smiles, as Strike Wolf is 'introduced'. "But yeah, like his colors."

"Totally!" about sportiness. But then, a laugh. "Eri's good at puzzling things out on a little information. Don't worry about it."

Then, "I'd say intrigued! Only worried if you're afraid of getting teased. Around Eri nobody's safe on that front..."

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

Eri gives Kyouka an amused look, "It was one or the other - your reaction decided it. And no it wasn't the hair, what do you take me for? That'd be amateur hour to decide your style that way." She says with a wink, before glancing towards Yumi.

"Alright, we're going to have to sign her up first, luckily I think you can just do that on a website now. She won't get the card today, but having your membership number should be enough."

Scrolling through the pages on her smart phone, "Let me know where I can text the link."

Eri continues to work through it, before she sideeyes the two of them, "If that scares her off, then I'll be disappointed." A beat, "But I don't think it will."

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka nods thoughtfully as Yumi explains about the colors. "Huh... Okay..." She seems like she's seriously considering something. Yeah, I guess my mom always picked way lighter colors..." Like the dress Yumi just saw a while ago. "Maybe that's why I never really gravitated towards them..." She grins at Yumi and nods about Strike Wolf's colors. "Me, too."

She then raises an eyebrow as she looks at Eri. "So just testing me, hmm? Alright then..." She scrutinizes Eri for a moment and then looks to Yumi again. "This is either going to be really interesting knowing her, or really exasperating, or both, isn't it?"

"Oh! Yeah, hang on a sec." She gives her number as she pulls her phone out, ready to pop open the link to look at the website when it comes her way. "So... what exactly is this whole Aohime and Akamira thing, anyway? New girl here, remember?"

She gives Yumi a bit of a grin, and then looks to Eri while still holding that expression. "Pft, yeah, like a little teasing's gonna scare me off. I've got thicker skin than that, so I'm not going anywhere."

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

"Ahahah." To Eri. Then, to Kyouka, "Might be! Clothes aren't very exciting if you're wearing stuff you're not into. Maybe this way you can find something you can both be happy with."

"Yeah, you can do it online," Yumi answers. "No big--the number is enough for most places." She knows these things, for some mysterious reason. Then she mentions to Kyouka, "Ahahah. It'll be interesting, I think! I like her, anyway."

"Long story short, Aohime and Akamira are two sides of a fashion coin, AoAka. They each have different qualities, and they each have a different main model. It's the Blue Princess or the Red Future. ...They're actually really great clothes--and if you're not a student, they can get pretty expensive. Well-designed, well-made..."

"I actually run tech for their shows," Yumi says, "So I'm a little biased."

Grin. "I don't think it'll scare you off either."

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

"Yes." Is Eri's response to whether she's going to be interesting, exasperating, or both - even though the question wasn't directed her way. "Just be glad you're not meeting my senpai."

As Eri starts to walk them over towards the Aohime and Akamira's aisle, Eri mutters, "The headline model of Aohime is a real piece of work." Eri asides a little more info, "The Akamira one is cool though."

If questioned on what she meant on the Aohime one though, she absolutely refuses to talk about it.

"Yeah Yumi's pretty good at that sort of thing."

Once they get there though, Eri starts moving through the aisles, and, starts grabbing different things off the racks, "With Aohime it's all about layers. Which is useful given that it's winter right now..." Eri examines one jacket with far too many jagged studs, "Nah that one would piss off anyone's mom."

As she puts it back, and keeps on looking for styles in the listed colors.

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"I mean, this trip is already way better than most of the ones I've had with my mom. You guys are actually asking me what I might like, for one thing..." She sighs a little and nods. "Yeah, I hope so... I know how important this dinner is to her."

She chuckles a little as Eri answers 'Yes' to the question, and then quirks an eyebrow at the mention of Eri's senpai. "Dare I even ask...?"

She nods as Yumi finally explains the whole AoAka concept. "Oh, that's kinda neat... But why am I signing up for an Aohime or Akamira membership, then? Why not an AoAka membership?" She's already scrolling through the website, and answers her own question a moment later. "Oh, I see. So... it's exclusive. Is that a marketing thing, or a brand loyalty thing...?" And then she sees some prices and gives a low whistle. "Damn. You weren't kidding about the cost." She finds the signup form and starts to fill it out, and a moment later her phone chimes to let her know there's a new e-mail. She opens it, and... "Ahha. There it is. I guess I'm an Aohime member, now."

She does look up when Yumi mentions she runs tech for the shows. "Oh, cool! I bet there's a lot that goes into running one of those things, huh?"

She gives Eri a sidelong glance as she takes a dig at the Aohime model, but doesn't bother to ask any followups on that one. There's only so much she can process at once.

"Huh, yeah..." she murmurs to herself as Eri comments on layers, also looking at the clothes to see if anything jumps out at her. "I guess I probably shouldn't wear this over whatever dress I'm wearing to dinner..." she says, indicating her jacket. "... wait, am I going to have any pockets? And I probably shouldn't wear the boots..." She facepalms. "Oh good lord, does this mean what I think it means?"

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

"Your senpai would require a tribute in noodles for any kind of outing like this," Yumi points out. Then she looks t Kyouka, "Well sure. You're gonna be more invested in your clothes if you get to pick them, too." A pause, there. Hmmm... "Oh, they're both cool," Yumi says. "...Akamira's nicer though..." That's something she can't really argue. But then--

"Marketing, brand loyalty. It's kinda both. By fostering competition the designer can go to greater heights... Something like that."

"Nice!" she says.

"Mm-hm," she answers about how much goes in. "Well, I do what I can, anyway. ...Which I guess is a lot! Heh heh."

Layers... "Nah," Yumi says. "Maybe on a more casual day. Let's see... This one here has a nice dramatic look to it," she says, pointing out another dress, "Might make a good base, and it's in the rihght colors. That one..."

Pause. "Ahahah. No, you're probably gonna need to carry a purse. I mean, if you wear a coat you might have pockets, but you'll probably have to take the coat off for dinner, so..."

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

"For clothes shopping?" Eri snorts at Yumi thinking the price would only be noodle tribute, "More like steak or sushi, this wouldn't be that cheap." Maybe that answers Kyouka's enough on its own...

Eri nods quickly at Kyouka locking herself in, not mentioning that she herself is an Akamira. However, she's a little more of a traditional girly girl and she's not such a brand snob that she wouldn't help Kyouka shop.

"If your mom is expecting you to put on a dress for dinner - then yeah-" She nods at Yumi's aside on the purse, "-we'll get you a pair of cheap flats. Don't worry about heels."

Eri arches an eyebrow, "Unless you wanna tell her no? Start that kind of fight. As someone who's been there I won't tell you it's a bad call - just that it can blow up on you real fast based on their image of what kind of adult they expect you to become."

There's a soft shake of her head, "Either way, if you want to fake it just to keep the peace - no shame in that. We'll help get you through it."

Eri looks over at the dress Yumi put forward, "Hm, yeah. Add it to the pile."

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Tribute in noodles makes Kyouka think... She was already planning on buying Yumi lunch, and she mentally adds on Eri to that list, too. "Thanks for the help, Shimanouchi-san. I really appreciate it." Despite the playful verbal sparring, that thanks is 100% genuine and sincere.

"I guess I can see that," she says, in response to Yumi's explanation. "Kinda like challenging yourself or something, I suppose."

Despite all of her protestations about wearing a dress, or going clothes shopping, she's actually been paying close attention to all of the conversation surrounding that, and is particularly paying attention when Eri explains about the layers. "Layers, huh? Alright... I guess that would give you a bit more versatility with each piece, too..." That's not a disapproving tone in her voice, there.

"Yeah, I was afraid of that. Still, I can put up with it for one night, I guess... About heels..." She furroughs her brow a bit. "... we'll see."

She shakes her head at Eri as she mentions telling her mother no. "No, no, it's... ugh. A younger me would've told her off." And under her breath she adds, "--and did. But we've got... kind of a truce, so she gets to ask me to be presentable a few times a year, and the rest of the year she leaves me alone. Besides, she's been invited to dinner with the headmistress, so... this is really important to her. My dad's gonna be there, too. And she's been kind of bending over backwards to make me happy, so I want to repay her for everything."

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

"True," Yumi admits about the necessary tribute. She smiles at the thanks to Eri; she thinks they're getting along pretty well, anyway. And that counts! She hasn't revealed which she is yet, for some reason. But for her explanation, "Yeah, it's like that. Applies here, too."

"That's right!" Yumi says, an expert on layering herself. "Heels though... I'm not great with them either," she admits. "Flats can be nice! As long as they're nice flats. We don't have to go too cheap, I think."

How much can a banana cost, Eri? Ten dollars?

"I think it's really cool that you're thinking in those terms," Yumi says. "Not everybody has parents they can make peace with... so people like you and me, with good parents, we've gotta appreciate it." She smiles. "You can do it! I'm sure of it."

She looks a little sad for a moment, but shakes it off. "Anyway, we'll make this work for both of you!"

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

"You're welcome." She says, just as genuinely.

However, when Kyouka gets to her mother, Eri gives her an analytical look, like she's just hanging on to every word of that...

"I think you're misunderstanding a little." Eri says with a hint of wryness, "On what I thought you'd be starting a fight over. I guess what I'm really asking is, do you like wearing a dress? Is it something you want to do the rest of your life to keep that peace? There are different ways to be presentable after all."

Eri gives Yumi an amused look, "Your mom can be, intense, Yumi-chan. It may not be a comparable situation."

A beat.

"Also Yumi-chan we've been over this. Your version of cheap is not the same as everyone else's..."

Eri looks at a certain dress, "For example." She turns around a really nice Aohime dress that's both a little gothic lolita and 25,000 yen price tag to Yumi, "How much of a bargain would you say this is?"

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka actually blushes a little when Yumi praises her for being so reasonable with her mother. "I mean, it... kind of took us a long time to get to this point, and..." It's still not perfect, but... definitely better than it was.

Then when Eri gets really into it, she has to think on it. Starting with if she likes wearing dresses. "I mean..." There's a really long pause there as she tries to sort out the jumble of feelings she has on the matter. "... I don't know." she finally says. "I've never really been that interested, I guess? Dresses and skirts didn't really help me when I was playing sports or hiking or whatever, so..." She rubs at the back of her neck. There's clearly more on her mind as she stares down at her feet, trying to figure out how much she feels comfortable saying.

There is actually a small part of her that wants to give them another chance. She just doesn't know how to explain that.

But when Eri brings up 'other ways' to be presentable, she looks up, eyebrows raised. "Oh? Like what?" she knows what her mom is expecting, though. But still, there was something Yumi mentioned too that she hasn't had a chance to follow up on...

She blinks as Eri picks up the dress and glances it over. Probably not her thing. But then she looks between the two of them trying to figure out what exactly is happening. "Is... there something I don't know about?"

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

"Of course! Something like that's not gonna happen overnight, you know?" Yumi says with a smile. Then there is the matter of Eri and what she is saying--what she likes, what she doesn't... "Hmmm," Yumi says. "Well, no judgement here. Try some things. If it doesn't work, or you don't like it, no big deal--that's why you try stuff on before you buy it."

Like what? "Well," Yumi says, "You..." She considers. "Eri, how about we show her an example instead of just explaining? I bet you can find something good."

Pause. "I mean, sure, Mother's intense," Yumi says, as always using the formal way of talking about her, "But that's just because she has to work so hard."

Something going on...? Hm. "Eh?" Yumi says, and looks over the dress. "Hmmm... Not really her style, I think. She'd go for something sleeker instead of frilly. But--" Pause. The bargain? Yumi inspects the price.

"Oh, that's not bad at all," she says of the 25,000 yen price tag. "Pretty good, even!"

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

Eri doesn't comment on Kyouka stating she's not really interested, some part of her just thinking of Haruka Tenoh - and Sayaka Miki in some ways. She doesn't seem at least like she's judging it. 'Oh? Like what?' "Well, that's for you to figure out." Eri says cooly, "You have to know what your style is, before you can figure out something presentable within it."

She doesn't precisely want to lead her to the answer. Because then it won't be her answer.

Eri doesn't respond to Yumi's commentary on why her mother is so intense, just smirking a bit, which culminates in 'Oh, that's not bad at all' 'Pretty good, even!'

Eri reaches up, moves on her tip toes and...

... pat pats Yumi on the head. Just, slow, head pats. "You're adorable. Yumi-chan. I'd have to knock over an ATM to afford this."

Slowly she falls back on her heels and... suddenly Eri turns her hand around, looking at a ring? Kyouka might get a glimpse of it, with that small green gemstone and strange runes along the side of it.

"Ah, seems I have to cut this short." She says apologetically, as she hands over her part of the pile to Yumi, "Just remembered an appointment I have to get to. Nice meeting you, Okazaki-chan."

It might confuse Kyouka at least, why Eri steps into an elevator going... up. Shortly after. It probably won't Yumi.

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka gives Yumi a little nod as she says she can try stuff on, without judgement. "Thanks," she says quietly.

To Eri playing coy with the answers, she sighs. "I mean, I guess that makes sense, I just... haven't strayed too far from... this, usually," she gestures to herself. "I guess I could look around a bit more and see if anything jumps out at me..."

She's looking at that price tag, and her eyes roll up in her head in a way that suggests that she's making some quick mental calculations (she's gotten really good at converting currencies in her head), and then she blinks, and looks down at the dress, and then up to Eri with a look that suggests she thinks she gets Eri's point, and then over to Yumi...

"Yeaahhh... Uh, that's our grocery bill for a couple of weeks."

She blinks a little as Eri makes a sudden departure, squinting at that ring. "Oh, well, it was nice to meet you too, Shimanouchi-chan." Theres a slight hesitation after she uses that -chan, as if double checking with herself that she used that -chan right.

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

While Yumi was willing to show Kyouka some things... Maybe Eri's right! Yumi decides to let Kyouka set that pace instead. So instead, she says, "Uh?" Pause. "C'mon, Eri-chan, I'm older than you even if you're my magical girl senpai..." Then she pauses. "Wait, really?" Then she looks at Kyouka mentioning the grocery bill. "Oh," she says. "...Noted!"

But there, Eri has it busy. That's that. It doesn't confuse Yumi a bit. "She's got magic business to attend," Yumi says. "She'll be fine, though--she's really good."

Then she starts picking up more dresses! "This one, and this one, and... Here, this is a couple to try..."

"And no 25,000 yen ones," she says wryly, making a little fun of herself.

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka chuckles a little as she watches Eri pat Yumi's head. And here she thought she'd be generally taller than everyone around her, but that wasn't factoring in Yumi. She shrugs a little when Yumi makes note of the bill. "At least two or three, I think? I'm estimating, and it depends on what's on sale," she adds. "We cook a lot though, so that helps."

She looks at Yumi, wondering... And trying to decide if it'd be rude to ask or not. In the end she decides to let it drop. No use making things weird or awkward. And she doesn't really care anyway, as long as Yumi isn't a jerk about being well-off.

She nods a bit as Yumi clarifies what Eri's up to. "Ahh, I see. I was going to ask, but I guess now I don't have to." Yumi had hinted at it before, but not stated it outright, but the way Eri talked to Tama seemed like a pretty good indicator, too. "... Trying to keep track of who I know and who I know knows each other is annoying," she says quietly.

She chuckles a little as she looks over the items. "Yeaaah, my parents gave me a credit card and they don't get on my case too much, but I would definitely have to answer a lot of questions if I bought something that expensive."

She's doing her best to look too, and once her arms are full... "Okay, I should... try some of this stuff on before there's not enough room for me and all the clothes in the dressing room at once." She starts looking around for the dressing rooms. "Besides, don't most places like these only want you to take so many items in at once...?"

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

Yumi is the tallest girl she knows, and is taller than a lot of the boys in her classes, too. But the bill, "Oh, yeah, I see. I stay in the dorms so I have a meal plan absent whatever snacks or extras I pick up, so I don't really keep track of that kind of thing," she admits.

She notices Kyouka wondering... "If you've got a question, I can answer. If you don't, that's cool too."

A grin at Kyouka. Then it fades. "Yeah, it's hard. But it'll get easier; most of us know each other in that kind of thing, around here."

"Ahah. Yeah."

Full arms means full load! "Good plan," Yumi says, and continues, "I don't think you're in too much danger of that yet. But yeah, they've got a limit... Probably 7 or so?"

"So you should be fine." There's a few things she's found there; dark colors predominate, especially a very nice dark blue for one, with a few different 'looks' available. Yumi, for one, didn't pick anything too daring, but she went for shapes that seem to her to suit Kyouka.

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka nods as Yumi mentions the meal plan. "Ahh, I see. That makes sense, then. My mom and I... well, we both love trying new cuisine, actually, and cooking, so we go grocery shopping together a lot. Though these days, sometimes I just pick stuff up on my way home from school, because her commute's longer than mine, so... I guess I'm more familiar with the numbers involved."

Add 'grocery shopping' to the list of chores, then.

She shrugs a little and shakes her head, "No, it's nothing. Don't worry about it."

She nods a little as Yumi confirms most of the magical girls around here know each other. "Okay, that's a relief. Trying to fit in and manage my social life is complicated enough as it is."

"Alright, then..." She spots the dressing room and makes her way over. "Can you watch my backpack and jacket for me? I'll have enough going on in there..." Her backpack is empty, at least--save for the cookies she packed up for you before leaving the house.

She definitely looks a bit nervous and self-conscious as she slips the jacket off and bundles it up into the backpack, since that means now she's dressed in jeans, boots, and a baseball jersey in the middle of a very nice store. "A-alright, here goes..."

And into the dressing room. There's some small grunts and sounds of effort as she has to figure out and wrangle some of the dresses on, and get to some zippers in places she's not all that used to having them, but soon enough she's stepping out in the first dress...

It's a deep, rich midnight blue, and if it wasn't evident before just how hard Kyouka works out to keep herself in shape, this dress confirms it in an instant. The halter neck top leaves her arms, shouldrs and the top of her back bare, showing some tone and definition, while the top part of the dress reveals that yes, she has some curves, no matter how much (intentionally or otherwise) they're normally covered by her baggy clothing. The left side is slitted up to her thigh, keeping the ankle-length skirt form inhibiting her motion too much.

The dress is studded throughout with sequins--a fairly bright and dense clustering on the right side of her torso, with uneven and rippling rings spreading out from there along the rest of the dress, getting sparser the further it goes. It has somewhat of an effect of the moon shining on the dark blue sea at night, and as Kyouka moves the skirt simulates the ripping of the water.

And her ever-faithful companion Strike Wolf is on her right wrist still, of course.

She's looking herself over, and then over to the mirror. She's blushing heavily, but she attempts to straighten up her posture when she looks at her reflection, before she looks over to you. "So..." she says quietly, "... does... this look okay?"

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

"Oh, that's nice," Yumi says. "It seems like you have a lot in common." The numbers... Tht makes sense to Yumi, and she doesn't press on whatever the question was, either. Instead she smiles with a little sympathy. "It is."

"Sure," Yumi says, and indeed watches Kyouka's stuff for a while. She is encouraging when Kyouka goes for the dressing room, and is happy enough to wait for a bit as she does. She checks her phone while she waits, and...

Yumi looks Kyouka over and claps her hands together once with a delighted expression as Kyouka steps out and looks to her reflection. "You look great!" Yumi answers cheerfully. There's Strike Wolf, naturally. "Good fit... You've got the right size. Wow, the effect of the sequins is really nice, like flowing water. And it really shows off your arms! You really do keep in shape, huh?"

"But c'mon, straighten up a little and look at yourself properly. You won't be slouchnig and blushing all the time when you're wearing it I hope!"

"...But what I think isn't as important as what you think. How do you feel?"

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"Well... we have that one thing in common, at least..." she says thoughtfully. "Well, that and, I guess she was always the one going with me when we went to take in the local culture, when my dad was busy..."

Kyouka smiles, clearly relieved when she sees your approving look. "Thanks." She takes another look at herself, mostly checking that she got everything in the right place. "Yeah, I had to guess a bit on the size, but it seems like I got it right in one go..." When you mention the effect of flowing water she does a turn for you--though she's also looking at her reflection as she does to see for herself. "Oh yeah. That's kinda neat..."

"Oh!" She looks down at her arms as you mention them. She brings one up to do a little flex. "Yeah, actually... I wake up early every morning to work out, so... Guess it comes in handy for this, in a way..."

You calling out both the blushing and slouching though, only makes her blush harder. "Okay, okay, I'm... I'm working up to it," she protests half-heartedly, before taking a deep breath. She turns to the mirror again and really straightens up this time, turning this way and that to see just how she looks. But then it's back to slouching a moment later as she uses up her temporary reserve of bravery.

And when you ask her how she feels, she draws in a deep, long breath. "... I don't know," she admits. "Or, I guess... I feel a whole lot of different things right now. Kinda exposed, but... this does look better than I thought, if I'm being completely honest... I guess I like it better than anything my mom's bought me before, but... it's just so different from what I normally wear."

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

"That's pretty nice," Yumi says.

"They had a couple other sizes I think, but it loks like you don't need to worry about it." Yumi smiles at the turn. It is pretty neat! But, that flex, Yumi gives a big thumbs-up. "Nice. It does, right?"

Yumi doesn't laugh--she's trying to be encouraging--but... It does help. She's working up to it to start, and, when she answers how she feels...

"Looking good is a good start," Yumi says. "And it's easier than you'd think, too. But... if it's too different, think of it this way; it's supposed to be different from what you usually wear. It's a special occasion! It's something for you and your mom..."

"It's OK to feel a lot of things, though. Feel free to take your time sorting them out."

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka nods a bit as Yumi suggests a way of thinking about things--how the dress is supposed to be different, because it's a special occasion. "Yeah, I guess that's a good way of looking at it... Though I can't help but think of what Shimanouchi-chan said, about how I shouldn't just do this to please her forever..."

A moment more of staring at her reflection. "... Yeah, let's... I should try on the rest, I think, and maybe we can discuss this more after." And then it's off to try on the rest of the armload.

All of them look good, of course, but when it comes time to pick one of the lot... she gravitates towards the first one--it seems to have had made the most of an impression on her, being the first one she tried.

Detours for shoes, a purse, and a leather jacket to go with the dress, and Kyouka also makes an additional detour to grab some new t-shirts and flannel shirts, and a few new pairs of jeans, then to the checkout, and after all that, lunch.

Kyouka looks introspective as she lets Yumi lead the way to a restaurant on the top floor. She perks up when the menus come out and she's looking for new things to try, but once the orders are placed, it's back to being silent.

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

"That's true, too. Is it just 'different' or is it something that's going to bother you? That's the question. It's normal to go out of your way for your parents, but... not at the cost of being who you are, right?"

Eri might say it a little differently, though.

"Cool. Have at!"

Yumi's happy to let Kyouka make the choice--it's hers, after all. Though Yumi does pick up a couple pairs of shoes for herself while she's at it, and another purse. She chats amiably enough as she does. But eventually...

"So, that should be good," Yumi says of their orders. "I'm pretty hungry..." And it's about time, too. But--

"So now that you've had some time to live with it... how're you feeling? You did a lot today!"

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka is admittedly pretty intruiged what Eri might have to say on the matter--either on the topic of parents or of alternate ways to be presentable, but such conversations will have to wait for another time, of course. "Yeah, I guess not..." is all she says on that for the moment, before heading back into the changing room.

She does her best to keep up the chatter while they're wrapping up the shopping and the ordering of food.

She takes a deep breath once Yumi prods her for her thoughts again. "Yeah, I guess I did..." even if it wasn't a lot to do physically, mentally it's been a bit taxing. She rests her chin in her head, elbow propped up on the table. "I dunno. It's just... Like, I like the what I wear normally? And the things I'm into? And it's never bothered me before, but I was also always pretty clearly an outsider too, so it kind of didn't matter what I did. But being here in Japan... I dunno."

Kyouka blows a buff of air up at a lock of hair that's fallen down in front of her eyes. "Suddenly fitting in matters a whole lot more to me. I know I shouldn't have to change who I am to make other people happy, but... it's awfully tempting," she admits quietly. Then her eyes slide over to the other girl. "... I shouldn't be bothering you with all of this stuff, though... We can talk about something else..."

She's pretty clearly giving Yumi an option out... and it's also just as clear that she wants to say more.

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

Once they're talking, Yumi nods along. After all--it had to be taxing mentally! It was something she's not used to doing. "Hmm..."

An outsider. Yumi watches, and listens to her. She considers that--changing herself, is it? Yumi looks thoughtful as she regards Kyouka, but she doesn't take the option out. "It's fine," Yumi says. "I don't mind."

"...I know how it is not to fit in," she admits, "Though for pretty different reasons from yours. It's not weird or bad to want it, I think. But it seems like you're feeling a little more than that, too."

Yumi is mostly offering the space to talk, for the moment.

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka's eyebrows raise in surprise a bit of surprise when Yuki mentions knowing how it feels to be an outsider. "Oh, huh... How'd you end up dealing with it? If you don't mind me asking." She hasn't even asked what it was Yumi was an outsider about--and really doesn't intend to, either. She's not here to pry.

Kyouka sighs, "I mean... I dunno. It's like... I don't necessarily want to wear dresses, but... I want to want to wear them, if that makes any sense?" She's silent for a long time after that, thinking, before she follows up with, "I guess there's some part of me that feels like I'm supposed to like this kinda stuff, but... it's always passed me by, somehow."

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

Yumi doesn't elaborate further for the moment; she's working on talking to Kyouka, after all. "I put a lot of those feelings into my art," she says. "I got used to thinking of myself as apart from everybody... but when I stopped worrying about it, it became kind of easier to get to know people? I guess I just try to remember that everybody's dealing with stuff."

"Hmmm. Yeah, that makes sense. Whether you want to or not, you want to want to. I get it." A pause. "Hmmm... Well," she says, "Stuff like that doesn't just 'catch' people, I don't think. You won't know what you do like unless you try a lot of things. That's what I think, anyway."

"But the second part is... you have to be willing to listen to yourself when you figure out what you do like."

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyoukda nods a bit, making sure her far-off gaze is actually directed at her friend so Yumi knows she's properly paying attention. "Wow, I guess that would feel pretty isolating. I do my sports and workouts, but those aren't really outlets in the same way... At least not for expression like that." But then you mention not worrying about it anymore, and it becoming easier to get to know people. "Hmm. I guess that's something I'm worried about, just... coming off as too weird to other people. Though... you and Shimanouchi-chan seem just fine with me--you're both even kind of hinting at something, too..." she muses.

"Yeah, I guess that's true," she admits. "I mean... trying new things is like, basically my whole thing. I just don't know why this stuff is so hard for me to give a shot, I guess. I mean, I basically have to wear a skirt for my school uniform, and I can't even give that a fair shot." She glances away a bit guiltily. "I, uh... wear shorts under my school uniform. Didn't even make it out of the house the first day without doing that. How stupid is that for someone who claims to like trying new things?"

But then you mention bring willing to listen to herself about what she does like. "Yeah... I guess that's important, too. Probably the most important thing, I guess. Still, it's hard to escape the feeling that I'm missing out on something."

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

"Yeah, though there's something to be said for being able to just... do stuff. I have friends who are real into sports and exercise and I admire that." But hmm... "That makes sense. You don't seem particularly weird to me, though. And Eri-chan's pretty good at spotting weird." Pause. "Mostly because she's kind of weird," Yumi says with a laugh.

She doesn't nidicate what she was hinting at though! Instead, "Wellll there's a lot of girls who wear shorts under the uniform, so that's not even that weird. But hmm--maybe you're onto something there. It's possible you aren't willing to try it because you feel like you'll do it 'wrong', that you'll be weird about it."

"I think you just kinda learn to tell that feeling to go away. You'll always be missing out on something--every choice you make is a hundred choices you didn't make. Right? So you've just got to... value the one you do make."

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka nods, "I mean, sports and exercise are me, too. But I respect anybody who's knowledgeable and passionate about what they do, no matter what it is. Like art, for instance." Yumi declaring her not weird does get a smile out of Kyouka, finally. "Thanks. That helps." And then a laugh. "I mean, I wasn't going to say that... but you've known her longer than I have." she concedes, with a bit of a grin.

But that little factoid makes her blink and sit up a bit. "Wait, really?" She actually looks a bit dumbfounded for a moment. "I thought... I mean..." She buries her face in both of her hands, though there's a bit of a blush appearing just on the edges of her cheeks that aren't covered. "See, this is the type of shit I wish I knew about. I spent 15 years hopping from place to place, and learned a whole bunch of stuff except for like, stuff 'everybody' knows about."

She sighs again and folds her arms on the table and rests her chin on top. "Yeah, that's... definitely a bit part of it. There's a lot of stuff I didn't learn about. A lot of stuff I don't even know that I don't know about. I can pick up some stuff from my Mom, but... she left Japan before I was even born, and I learned my Japanese from her. You should've heard it when I first arrived here. I... had to pick up a lot of the current dialect on my own." She's occasinally a little odd, or a little stiff, but she's adapted quickly. "Even when I was friends with other girls it wasn't like I was really one of them... and whatever I did learn doesn't always carry over... So yeah, I'm scared of doing something wrong, or not knowing what to do, all the time."

She sighs and nods, "I suppose... as much as I might want to or think I need to, I really can't do it all."

She snorts a little, "Well, if I wanted the life of a typical teenager, angsting about how nothing in your life makes sense has to be at the top of the list of typical teenager things...

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

"That's cool." Yumi smiles back. And there, "Ahahah. It's fine. I like her that way."

"Really!" Yumi looks at Kyouka with a 'ah, yeah' kind of look for a moment. "It' easy to miss things when you're on the move a lot, huh? That makes sense."

A lot of stuff... "Oh, yeah? Well, that's fair. I think it's cool that you can speak other languages too, anyway--a lot of people have trouble with just the one!" It does make sense, of course--Yumi remembers seeing that other lst name.

"It's true. You can't." Another smile. "Hah, that's true, isn't it? ...But the secet I think is most people are like that. You're definitely not alone, you know? Like... Well. I missed a lot of stuff growing up, myself. I didn't move much, but I was in and out of the hospital a lot. So I always felt like I was missing something."

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka nods, "Yeah, I guess it's like you said. Every choice means you give up something else... being on the move a lot, I saw so much... but... there was a lot of stuff I didn't get, too." She turns her head to rest her cheek on her crossed arms. In a very quiet voice, she says, "That's why I wanted this time to be different. I pushed really hard for the chance to have a normal life this time around. I had to show I could pass all the entrance exams, do so much convincing--" she hesitates. "--I even started using my Mom's last name instead just..." she lets that thought trail off. "I made things so hard on Mom and Dad..." She sounds like she's mostly admitting things to herself, not even necessarily saying things to Yumi at the moment. "And I don't even know what I'm doing half the time..."

"Yeah, I'm fluent in Japanese and English, I know a decent amount of Spanish, and a random handful of things in a bunch of other languages. I can ask where a bathroom is almost anywhere on Earth," she says with a weak smile.

She blinks, and that tidbit gets her to sit up again and look at Yumi. "Oh, dang... That... must've been rough. How's your health these days? Tell me if there's ever anything I can do for you, or if there's anything I should know about, okay?"

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

Yumi looks sympathetic--maybe empathetic is the right word, instead. There's a lot of things Kyouka hasn't gotten. All those things she tried to do... And now, she's got all this extra stuff to take care of. Yumi doesn't weigh in on the things Kyouka's saying to herself; she just listens, until the matter of languages comes up.

"Nice! Spanish I've never tried." She doesn't talk too much about her own languages, instead--the blink gets--

"Oh, it's fine," Yumi says, waving her hand a little. "But that's why I'm so used to dietary restrictions and stuff. I'm doing a lot better! It's been over a year since I last had to stay in the hospital for a while!" A smile. "Thanks. But I just... wanted you to know you're not the only one to miss out on stuff, OK? And we can look at some of this new stuff together. That's what friends do, right?"

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Having to deal with magic definitely isn't helping any of those other concerns in the least--well, except in making new friends in one of the most unlikely ways she could have imagined.

Friends like Yumi.

And even if there are no easy answers for 'Whoops I made my parents' lives much harder for my own desires', it definitely helps to have someone to talk about it with out loud.

She nods a bit as you explain that you've been a year without a long hospital stay, "Okay, that's good... And, seriously, whatever dietary restrictions there are, and whatever help you need for whenever I get around to organizing a camping trip, I'm all over them. Doesn't do to invite someone along if you don't do what you can to make them comfortable."

But your assurance that she isn't alone in missing out on stuff... She smiles back, and seems a lot less pensive than she'd been even just a few moments ago. "Right. Definitely! If there's one thing I love, it's trying new things, if there's two things I love, it's getting to share the experience."

She sits up again, taking a long, deep breath and then slowly letting it out. "Wow. Sorry for just... unloading all that on you. I guess that's... been building up for a while." She gives you an ambarassed, even apologetic smile. "It... really helped to be able to say all this out loud, though. Thanks, Ohzora-chan."

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

"Aw, thanks. I won't stress you with a bunch of requirements or anything--I just... might need to stop and take a break more than you'd think. Mostly that."

She nods, glad that Kyouka seems to be feeling a little better. "Well, great! It works out then, because I'm sure not going anywhere just now!"

She smiles back at that apology and thanks both. "I don't mind," Yumi answers. "It's another thing friends do. And it feels nice to be able to help!" A beat, "There is one thing you can do for me, though..."

She waits a beat. Then, "You can use my given name."

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka grins, and she's definitely got her normal enthusiasm back now. "Hey, there's no such thing as taking too many breaks when hiking, you're just taking more opportunities to take in the view."

She smiels and nods at talking being a thing friends do, "Right! If you ever need to talk about anything, you've got my number." If her going this personal hasn't scared Yumi off, well... she's more than happy to help reciprocate. It's only fair.

She perks up when you mention you do have a request, and immediately says, "Name it!" without hesitating.

And then... she blinks. Her eyes open a little in surprise, but then she grins about as wide as she has all day, beaming. "As long as you do the same, Yumi-chan."