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Snippet #2816488

located in Airdalen Academy, a part of No-Go AA+, one of the many universes on RPG.

Airdalen Academy

None

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kei Watari Character Portrait: Mao Nozomi
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Things were going fine, at least, it seemed so in Kei's opinion. Quiet was good, right? Kei wasn't sure anymore, but it most certainly felt better than his relationship with Kaori, whatever you could even call it. Still, it was pretty awkward as Kei and Mao didn't know each other. Well, aside from their run-in at school, but this was their first actual interaction. Trying to focus on his duty to the food line, Kei closed his eyes. This day was turning out to be a lot more complicated than he had expected. Helping out those less fortunate than himself always made him feel better, but he wasn't even sure if he felt better right now or not.

With Mao standing so close beside him, he felt nervous more than anything. Her presence was distracting, which was nothing personal, but still quite distressing. Mao seemed like a cool enough person. It was her gender that made him uneasy, and whatever way he looked at it, she was interfering with his peace. Yet wasn't that was the point of asking her to come along? The only way to work on his issues was to face them head-on. Sure, this was a baby step because there was no real risk of touch, no flirting taking place, but it was a step, and that is what mattered in the end. Did he feel a bit guilty for using her as a prop for his rehabilitation? Definitely, but there was no way he was going to therapy for this shit. He could barely explain it to Rocco, let alone some stranger paid to listen to his problems and pretend to give a shit.

Things were loud, bustling, not that Mao minded that. She spent a lot of time in places louder than this. There were a lot of homeless and low-income families coming in, something Mao had never really seen in person before. Sure, she read statistics, researched these issues, but seeing it up close, made it personal, made it heartbreakingly real. The more she thought about it, Mao unthinkingly clenched her fist tightly around the ladle in her hand as her anger grew. Mao's jaw tightened, knowing that her father was in a position to change things, to make the lives of people in that situation better, but his view was that homelessness was a sign of laziness.

Lost in their thoughts, neither of the two teenagers noticed when the other reach for the paper towel roll. Their fingers brushed simultaneously and retracted as if they had attempted to take a hot cake pan out of an oven with their bare hands. Kei's cheeks flushed as Mao cleared her throat, no one wanting to address it, moving on as if nothing had happened. Mao was first to try again, retrieving one after their little blunder, pressing on with her volunteer duties. Kei took quite a bit longer to recover, but the complaining of those in the line that he was holding up brought him back to reality.

"Do you come here and do this a lot?" Mao finally spoke up, curiosity getting the best of her. Both of them were financially well off, so there wasn't a need for either of them to get their hands dirty when they had other means of contribution, and yet Kei chose to come in person? It was unusual, not unheard of, but certainly unusual for someone of their monetary status.

Giving it some thought, unsure if he should answer honestly, Kei nodded his head. Finding words to explain why he chose to come here was difficult. Many of the people that walked through those doors had an odor, and others had mental deficits, things that would usually make people uncomfortable and want to avoid them. Kei was a little put off by those things as well, but it was more about the feeling it gave him to do something for someone that could not repay him, doing something that he knew was right with no incentive.

Until now, Kei had kept it a secret from everyone except his parents. It didn't help his reputation at all, "Yeah, I've been coming here for quite a while. Most people are disgusted... I get it if that's what you're thinking, but I see people that could use a little compassion. It just feels better than spending my weekend at home playing video games all day. It feels like I've done something, something that genuinely matters, ya know?" Kei spoke frankly, his eyes softening a bit as he thought back to his earlier days coming to the shelter. He had met a lot of amazing people here, and despite their misfortunes in life, they were somehow inhumanly positive about it. He came to admire it so much that he couldn't help coming back week after week.

His answer seemed to be enough for Mao, as it earned a smile. As awkward as it was, perhaps things truly were going well after all? brushing her fingers through her short hair, Mao gave that some thought, "Wealthier people tend to feel that way, but I get what you like about this place. What you do here, well, it's really admirable." Mao stated in a mumble. It was a compliment, it did not slip off the tongue very well, but those were her genuine thoughts however grumpily she presented them.