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Akita's Seasons Return

Akita's Seasons Return

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Four odd teenagers arrive in town, stirring summer vacation up for for normal teenagers. Will the Star Guardians be able to control the teenagers - the Seasons?

7,264 readers have visited Akita's Seasons Return since Kura Ravengade created it.

Copyright: The creator of this roleplay has attributed some or all of its content to the following sources:

based on a previous roleplay.

Introduction



Game Master: Kura Ravengade
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Once upon a time ... Thousands of millions of years ago ... There were two beings known as Sun and Moon. The two met and fell in love instantly, despite their obvious differences. The being we call the Sun created the Earth for a home for him and his new, lovely bride. Over time, he noticed his wife's nature for caring for things and since he wasn't sure of how she would react to a child, he made animals and humans to live on Earth so that Sun would warm them up and Moon would check on them almost every night to make sure they were safe. This ended in the creation of a perfect harmony on Earth.

After many years, Moon gave birth to four children, each different from the last. Two were named after their father for their warm nature; they were called Spring and Summer. The remaining two were named from their mother on how she would use her cold nature to survey the land; they were named Autumn and Winter. The four never left the sides of their parents, leading them to believe that they were the best beings in the universe.

The children began to grow restless, so their parents gave each a fourth of the planet that they looked after as a family. Each crafted it into their own design and the humans began to adjust to the changes in their section as the Earth was slowly turned by their parents so as not to have the humans suffer in one place for an extension of time. The seasons were happy, but would often attempt to get too near to the planet due to their curiosity, leading Sun and Moon to create Stars. Stars were the guardians of the people on Earth and, more specifically, the four children, and their main priority was to keep them safe and away from Earth.

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A small town called Akita has just entered their spring semester of high school. All of them are excited about the upcoming year - but something very strange is happening in the small town. It has been separated into four sections, each divided by a miniature season. It's almost as if it was that time of year within that area. Four odd teenagers have arrived and are living in a house that they have rented out for three months, but they are only seen together on rare occasions. Some are led to believe that they are antisocial freaks, while others think they're simply strange and want to get to know them. A select few have even said they are falling in love with the four.

Now, what is actually happening. The seasons decided that they wanted to see the world up close and personal, leading them to decide to secretly escape to Earth. They made it there easily but found that their seasons had followed them to the small town they had picked. Each decided that they would divide up the land as best as possible and would go there if they needed a bit of seclusion. They all picked a fake name and then decided on Orako as the last name so that they would all have a cover name for the duration of their stay on Earth.

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Each of the Seasons controls a certain element. Take your pick of the different abilities that join with their element, and please put them in your character's skelly. This only applies to those who will control a Season.

Pet
Rodent
Feline
Bird
Canine


Enhancement
Increased Smell
Increased Sight
International Languages
Interspecies communicationp


Music Type
Strings
Percussion
Wind
Vocals


Element
Water
Air
Earth
Fire


People who are compatible to your character
Sweet people
Confident People
Aggressive People
Quiet people


Image
Name
Age | Gender | Attraction | Face Claim
Element | Pet | Enhancement | Music
Status/Player

*Note: All characters with an asterisk (*) beside their Face Claim are up for negotiation on their given Face Claim.
*Second Note: All Characters with an asterisk (*) beside their Role Name (I.e. Spring, Summer, etc.) are required in order to begin the RP.


Spring*
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Aurora Hellena ❀ Kazumi Orako
Appears 17; Claims to be 21 | Female | Confident People | Inori Yuzuriha; Guilty Crownv
Earth | Canine | Interspecies Communication | Wind Instruments
Portrayed by Zodia195

Summer*
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Pheobus Leon ☀ Natsuo Orako
Appears 20; Claims to be 20 | Male | Aggressive People | Kuroh; K
Air | Bird | Increased Sight | Percussion Instruments
Portrayed by Zodia195

Autumn*
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Harmonix Auravale ღ Velonix Orako
Appears 16; Claims to be 18 | Female | Quiet People | Natsume Asako; Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun
Fire | Feline | International Languages | Vocals
Portrayed by Kura Ravengade

Winter*
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Halcyon ❅ Kazuyuki Orako
Appears 19; Claims to be 17 | Male | Shy and Sweet People | Lu Guang; Link Click
Water | Rodent | Increased Smell | Strings
Portrayed by sunnelore

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Name | Age | Gender | Romantic Interest | Face Claim

Popular and Confident Character/Role 1*
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Mafuyu Hanazawa
20 | Male | Lange Hasegawa; SK8 the Infinity
Portrayed by sunnelore

Sarcastic and Aggressive Character/Role 2*
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Iphianassa Lykaois
20 | Female | Rin Tohsaka; Fate Stay Night
Portrayed by Kura Ravengade

Dark and Quiet Character/Role 3*
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Kazutora Miyato
17 | Male | Mahiro Fuwa; Zetsuen no Tempest
Portrayed by sunnelore

Shy and Sweet Character/Role 4*
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Reiya Goertz
16 | Female | Mirai Kuriyama; Kyoukai no Kanata
Portrayed by Zodia195

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Name
Appeared Age | Gender | Face Claim
Abilities
Status/Player

Senior/Merciless Star
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Astraea Menodora
Appears to be Mid-20's | Female | Violet Evergarden; Violet Evergarden
Memory Suppression, Pathokinesis, Sonic Blast, Time Manipulation, Supernatural Condition, Telekinesis
Portrayed by Kura Ravengade

Junior/Merciful Star
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Pavo Etoile
Appears to be 23 | Male | Rin Matsuoka; Free
Astral Projection, Psychometry, Dream Control, Persuasion, Telepathy, Element Spirit
Portrayed by Zodia195

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Code: Select all
[center][img]Character name - use Fontmeme.com or bannermaker.com please.[/img]
[img]Image/Gif[/img]
[font=font here][color=color here][size=150]"Quote from character."[/size][/color]
[url=]Theme Song Here[/url]

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[img]Image/Gif[/img]

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[b]| Full Name |[/b]


[b]| Season |[/b]
{Only if playing a season}

[b]| Role |[/b]
{Only if playing a towns-person or a star}

[b]| Nicknames and Aliases |[/b]


[b]| Gender |[/b]


[b]| Age |[/b]
{NOTE: All seasons are the same age, despite their different birthdays. However, for this particular spot, please put the age that your character appears to be.}

[b]| Birthday |[/b]
{NOTE: If playing a season, each season was born in a month of their season}

[b]| Sexual Orientation |[/b]


[b]| Scent |[/b]


[b]| Accent |[/b]


[b]| Nationality |[/b]


[b]| Romantic Interest |[/b]


[b]| Ethnicity |[/b]
{NOTE: If playing a season, what race of people do they appear to be?}

[b]| Social Class |[/b]


[b]| Occupation |[/b]


[b]| Place of Residence |[/b]
[url=http://i.imgur.com/oAB61ZE.png]Shared House[/url]

[b]| Oddities |[/b]


[hr][/hr]

[img]Image/Gif[/img]

[hr][/hr]

[b]| Hair Color |[/b]


[b]| Hair Style |[/b]


[b]| Hair Length |[/b]


[b]| Skin Tone |[/b]


[b]| Complexion |[/b]


[b]| Eye Color |[/b]


[b]| Height [/b]


[b]| Weight |[/b]


[b]| Body Type |[/b]


[b]| Build |[/b]


[b]| Tattoos |[/b]


[b]| Piercings |[/b]


[b]| Birthmarks/Scars |[/b]


[hr][/hr]

[img]Image/Gif[/img]

[hr][/hr]
{[b]NOTE: This section is for a Season Character's Usage ONLY.[/b]}

[b]| Season |[/b]


[b]| Pet |[/b]


[b]| Enhancement |[/b]


[b]| Music Type |[/b]


[b]| Compatible People |[/b]


[b]| Abilities Gifted by the Season |[/b]


[hr][/hr]

[img]Image/Gif[/img]

[hr][/hr]

[b]| Personality |[/b]


[b]| Morals |[/b]


[b]| Likes |[/b]


[b]| Dislikes |[/b]


[b]| Talents |[/b]


[b]| Flaws |[/b]


[b]| Weaknesses |[/b]


[b]| Hobbies |[/b]


[hr][/hr]

[img]Image/Gif[/img]

[hr][/hr]

[b]| History |[/b]


[b]| Other |[/b][/color][/font]


[b]| Face Claim |[/b]
[/center]

Toggle Rules

1.) Absolutely no God-Modding
2.) Swearing is fine, but ONLY within RP posts.
3.) Reservations will last for ONE {1} week, at which point I will PM the person that had originally reserved that position. All that is required for submission is to at least have a work in progress put in with about half of the sheet done. If there is no reply, I will automatically reopen the position. If an extension is requested, I will give the person another 72 hours unless otherwise specified/requested to get in a WIP sheet. At that point, I will reopen the position without a second thought. Please place your favorite physical trait in a person at the bottom of your request as your first password, so that I know you have read the rules.
4.) If you have any questions, take them to the Questions and Answers Forum.
5.) All reservations will be taken in the Reservations forum. First come, first served. I do, however, reserve the right to deny a requested reservation, whether I have RP'd with you in the past, or if I have done some investigation in how you RP and do not find you suitable to join this RP. In order to reserve a character, make sure to put your favorite personality trait in a person at the bottom of your request as the second password, so that I know you have read the rules.
6.) At least three to four paragraphs per post. Make sure to leave enough for the person included in the post to go off of.
7.) If any problems arise, take it up with me or a GM (if I assign any)
8.) Rules may change, so keep an eye out. I will announce if I add or change any rules, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem.
9.) CS Outline may change, and I will post in the General Conversation forum and Group Discordif it does.
10.) This is a LITERATE and ADULT roleplay. If you cannot handle R rated scenes, do not join. If you cannot handle posting in length with each post, please do not join.

Use the follow formats to request a character:

Towns People/Stars
Code: Select all
May I request [b]Insert Role Name Here[/b] with face claim [b]Insert Face Claim Here[/b]?

[img]Gif of Face Claim Here[/img]

[b]Insert Password 1 Here[/b]
[b]Insert Password 2 Here[/b]

Seasons
Code: Select all
May I request [b]Insert Season Here[/b] with face claim [b]Insert Face Claim Here[/b], with [b]Insert Enhancement Here[/b], [b]Insert Pet Here[/b], [b]Insert Music Here[/b], and [b]Insert Relation Here[/b]?

[img]Gif of Face Claim Here[/img]

[b]Insert Password 1 Here[/b]
[b]Insert Password 2 Here[/b]

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 3 authors

Setting

4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kazumi Orako Character Portrait: Iphianassa Lykaois Character Portrait: Mafuyu Hanazawa Character Portrait: Natsuo Orako
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

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”Pretty words are not always true,
And true words are not always pretty.”
~Uknown

Speech Code ~ #8A0808
| Thought Code ~ #045FB4




"Because no one deserves to be treated that way Miss Iphianassa. If there's one thing my siblings and I don't like, it's those who prey upon others." The sentiment was nice, but it was hard to believe. It would be amazing news to know that there were still people out there with such a high moral peak, but it was also extremely unlikely and doubtful. She found herself giving him an incredulous glance, and it didn’t help that he had called her Miss Iphianssa. What was with this guy and his formalities? Must be a culture thing? I’m sure he means well but come on - guy’s making me feel old as hell, calling me Miss.

"What are you talking about Iphi?"

The sudden voice jerked Iphignea from her thoughts and she whipped around, almost spilling the remnants of her lunch onto the ground. She just barely managed to catch it in time, but was unable to hide her blazing red face. What she had asked Natsuo had been a private rant; she had lost her control for a minute and begun to demand these answers from him, but she had never intended for anyone else to hear them. Embarrassment of course ensued, engulfing her features. She wasn’t upset with Kazumi for listening to their conversation. It wasn’t like it had been an intentional thing; she had simply overheard, and clearly Mafuyu had. Hopefully the other woman hadn’t heard the beginning of what she had said.

"Miss Iphianassa here seems to think that by being around her, our reputations will be shot." Oh Gods, can this get any more mortifying? Now I sound like a whining pre-teen looking for attention! Here I go, fishing for some attention, tossing my metaphorical hook into the water, she groaned internally. It was the last thing that she had wanted to be seen as by anyone, and hear there were now three people who had witnessed her inadvertently admitting to her own insecurities. How humiliating.

"Oh my, it's sweet of you to worry, Iphi, but the last thing we ever worry about is our reputation. And we could care less if you have limited means when it comes to currency, which I always never liked, it causes more problems than solutions. Seriously, the day humanity decided to put a cost on something was the dumbest decision humanity has ever made. Also, as for you not being pretty? Girlfriend, have you ever looked in the mirror? You're very attractive. Isn't she Natsuo?" Okay, wow, that was a lot to take in all at once, her azure eyes blinking blankly as she soaked in her response. At least Kazumi had said that she didn’t care for material things, and apparently Natsuo didn’t either. Whether or not she was telling the truth was an entirely different situation altogether, but for now, Iphignea decided to take her doctor’s advice and try to look on the brighter side of the situation - that Kazumi was telling the truth, and that she definitely wasn’t lying. But boy, oh boy, that last part of what she said - and why would she ask Natsuo! Instantly any color that had begun to fade from her cheeks was back, her naturally tan skin helping to hide the flush only a bit. Her hands shot to her uniform’s lapels, lifting them as much as she could to hide her cheeks, and she dropped her head slightly so that her hair could help shroud her face, her sudden shyness evident in her demeanor. She couldn’t help it; something about these two new students just made her feel less aggressive, more demure. In an effort to cool herself, Iphi snagged her water bottle and began to take a drink from it, enjoying the cool liquid as it passed her parched lips.

"Yes she is.”

A series of coughs escaped Iphignea as she choked on her water. As she fought the liquid going up her nose - the last thing she needed was to spew water from her nostrils in front of these people - more coughs racking her chest, she waved her hand as though to try and convey that she would be okay in a moment. She was completely caught off-guard by Natsuo’s response to his sister; he thought that she was attractive? What was this, a joke? There was absolutely no way, in either Hades, Earth, or Olympus, that a man who had looks that were so akin to that of the Greek God Adonis would ever find her even remotely attractive. This definitely had to be a joke. What, did they decide that on their first day that they would find the weakest link in their classes to target and make a mockery of that person? Iphignea’s had tightened around the bottle at the thought, her anger sizzling a bit under the surface. Just who did they think they were?

But then there was that little voice, buried so far underneath her surface of ice. She could see this little voice in her own mind and it was as though she were there as well, hands curled into fists as she battled over whether or not to chip at the ice, at the solid block of frozen water, her eyes locked on a doppelganger of herself only feet away in the solid substance. It called out to her, begging her to listen to reason, begging her to remember what her parents had taught her over the last decade; begging her to remember what her doctors had tried - and failed many times to - instill within her.

That not everyone was evil, and not everyone was out to get her. Not everyone had an ulterior motive in approaching her.

As the reasoning slid through her mind, she calmed herself once more and let out a breath, but her mind immediately returned unbidden to what Natsuo had said. Yes, she is. He … He thought she was pretty? Another blush entered her face, but behind her hands was the ghost of a small smile at the thought, and uninvited, another thought crossed her mind. He thinks I’m pretty … Unable to think of anything else to say in this situation, and knowing that it had been long enough that she really should respond, she managed, ”I … Thank you,” she said softly, to both of the siblings.

“See? If you're not feeling comfortable about your looks, maybe I can help you out there. I do great make-overs. Anyway, let's eat before we need to get to our next classes." Iphignea jumped, almost guiltily, but she quickly fanned herself and returned to her normal resting bitch face expression. At the offer of a makeover, Iphignea made a sound with a shrug, but whether or not it was one of agreement could be argued. The offer sat with her though, and she was definitely tempted to take Kazumi up on it. If anything was obvious with a first glance of the new student, it was that she had a sense of style - something that Iphignea was sorely lacking in. Her closet consisted mostly of black or deep red items, a majority of such were pants and tops, with maybe two or three ‘fancy’ pieces thrown in there. She snorted a bit at the thought of her current wardrobe; it left quite a bit to be desired.

"People can like you even without material things, you know. It's not all about money, in the end, and people shallow enough to only stick to a pretty face aren't worth your time anyway. Not that you aren't pretty, Iphi.” She found that pretty hard to believe. Money made the world go round, and if it weren’t for money, you couldn’t survive. Anything worthwhile costs money, and if you didn’t wear the latest clothes or carry the newest bags, you were considered an outsider. He wasn’t wrong, though, in his last statement. It was simply a matter of finding the people who didn’t care about materialistic things. Those people, though, were hard to come by.

With that, she returned to her meal which was now luke-warm at best. Oh well, might as well enjoy what I can of it.

"Miss Iphianassa, was something troubling you earlier? I saw you looking at your phone and I can only assume you got a troubling text message." Ah, here he goes being nosy. Good things can’t last forever, can they? Iphignea really couldn’t stand nosy people - those who put their noses into other people’s business. Plus, there he went calling her miss again. But she also couldn’t deny that both Natsuo and Kazumi had been pretty helpful and nice to her so far; and he had just said he found her to be pretty, so it was unlikely that he was asking with nefarious purposes. Still, it wasn’t exactly her business to be sharing, so she would have to pick and choose her words carefully.

As she began to pack up her empty lunchbox, she spoke.

”Well, first of all - stop calling me miss. I’m sure you’re saying it with the best intentions, but damn, you’re making me feel old,” she rolled her eyes, tucking the box into her bag. With a flick of her arm she zipped it shut and dropped back to sit beside it. She threw up her hand to hold up two fingers. ”Second of all, you’re a bit nosy now, aren’t you?” she tilted her head to the side, almost seeming to be teasing him. ”You should tread a bit more carefully when asking people that you’ve just met questions that could be seen as personal; it may be a cultural thing, but here in Japan, people tend to be fairly reserved and prefer to keep most matters to themselves and within a tightly knit circle.” A third nimble finger flicked up. ”And last but certainly not least; to answer your question, I simply received a text message from a close friend of mine who’s in the high school about a rather disgusting pest infestation that they have in their classroom,” she said this with a sweet smile, but her eyebrow twitched, betraying her underlying anger just at the mere thought of Kenji. ”But don’t worry - it’s nothing that a little bit of ass-kicking can’t solve.” Her smile seemed to darken a bit, a small chuckle escaping her. ”That little ****** is gonna wish he never saw the light of day. I’m gonna cut off his **** and shove it up his *** until he ***** his *** and wishes he ******* his ***** instead,” she happily delivered, cracking her knuckles as she spoke. A somewhat maniacal laugh escaped her as she envisioned exactly what she was going to do when she got a hold on the nasty little vermin that Kenji was. Oh the fun that she was going to have kicking his ass into next week and shoving his head up where the sun didn’t shine for him.

Realizing that she had slipped back into her naturally aggressive self and exposed her easy rage to the trio, Iphignea suddenly laughed sheepishly, relaxed her hands and used one to rub at the back of her head. ”But you guys don’t need to worry about any of that. It’s not like Kenji's going to tell anyone about getting his ass kicked by a girl, and I won’t hurt him badly enough to send him to the hospital. I know my own strength,” she reassured them, flapping her hand in their direction.

Setting

4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kazumi Orako Character Portrait: Iphianassa Lykaois Character Portrait: Mafuyu Hanazawa Character Portrait: Natsuo Orako
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Code- #FF1493

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Code- #0000CD


Kazumi was enjoying Iphi's reactions thoroughly. It was obvious she got easily flustered and it was endearing. The added bonus was seeing Natsuo get caught off guard, which was rare, so Kazumi relished in it. She would have rubbed it in more, but she wanted to focus on eating since she was legit hungry. At least she had time to savor her meal. Kazumi saw her brother's meal. She could only handle a tiny bit of spice, certainly nothing like Natsuo. What she called spicy; he would call bland.

Iphi started talking again, firstly telling Natsuo to drop the 'miss'. This caused Natsuo to raise an eyebrow at her. Since when did saying the word 'miss' imply someone was old? From Natsuo's understanding, the word was always used to women who weren't married. Plus, it was another way he showed respect to the female race. Only women he didn't use it on were his sisters, Astraea, and his mother, but that's only because they were on very close to him.

"I make no promises, but I'll try to drop the miss."

After that Iphi made commentary on how nosy they were, about cultural differences, and then finally talking about what was bothering her. The mortal kind of contradicted herself there about warning them to not be so personal but having no issues talking about her problem. Even Kazumi noticed that. She was also aware she still had to answer Mafuyu's question too. So when Iphi finally stopped talking, Kazumi was the one to answer.

"Yes, it's pretty obvious we're not from here. Natsuo and I in particular are the most direct compared to our young siblings. We're all adopted. Originally, we're from Scotland. Well, our adoptive parents are from Japan. Sadly, after their death . . ... we wanted to live in the land of their birth so it's why we came here. We're not quite use to the customs yet."

It was agreed on that Kazumi and Velonix would be the ones to remember the details of their cover stories. Kazumi did not like lying but would rather lie than put her siblings in any kind of danger. Kazumi could definitely put on an act if she wanted to. It's why she sounded sad when mentioning their 'adopted parents'. She conjured up one of her saddest memories to get that kind of effect, which happened to be right after what happened with her sister after her last trip to earth.

"Now as for this Kenji you mentioned, I am sure you can handle him just fine, but I would recommend you be careful with not getting in trouble with the school. Natsuo and I went to check on our sister this morning, who apparently was getting harassed by some bullies, but a nice young man got into a fight with them while protecting her. Unfortunately, that poor boy seemed to be in trouble with one of the teachers, but our sister made sure to tell him that he wasn't the one to cause trouble initially. Vel seemed to really like the guy, but our introduction was short. Vel makes friends pretty easily too. What was that young man's name again, Natsuo?"

Natsuo rolled his eyes. His sister wasn't the best at names at times unless they were pretty original or unique. She would get them eventually.

"Kazutora Miyato, Kazumi. Maybe you should work on your memory more, your head is up in the clouds too much."

Kazumi created a puffy face before saying, "Better that than to be a stick in the mud like you."

Smirking, Natsuo got the last word in, "Sister, if I was a stick in the mud, I wouldn't be able to do this."

Suddenly, his kendo sword, which was originally laying on the ground next to him, was instantly pointed at Kazumi's forehead, before back on the ground a split second later. Kazumi didn't even flinch, not like she used to. Natsuo use to play these kinds of tricks on her as a kid and it did use to get her, but she long gotten used to it. Kazumi frowned at her brother. She would get him back for that later, but not now in front of other mortals. She would definitely remind him to be careful with his abilities too. Natsuo loved showing off as much as she, but they still had to be careful.

Setting

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kazutora Miyato Character Portrait: Velonix Orako
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”A lack of boundaries
Invites a lack of respect.”
~Unknown

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"I tried to hide, turn my eyes from you;
I'm about to lead a lonely life,
But I'd change my mind for you."

















Kazutora Speech Code ~ #853232 | Kazutora Thought Code ~ #035d63
Velonix Speech Code ~ #B43104 | Velonix Thought Code ~ #FE9A2E
Phoenix Speech Code ~ #FF0000 | Phoenix Thought Code ~ #DF0174

Relax Your Mind ~ As you read



”Sure, since we share home ec together, I wouldn't mind." A small part of her couldn’t help but flitter in excitement over his agreement as Velonix beamed with gratitude. To know that he was willing to walk her to class was promising; it meant that he was at least willing to tolerate her, given the fact that they had all spent lunch together as well. She plucked up the note that he had handed back to her and tucked it into a small pocket on the outside of her bag, zipping it shut for safekeeping. It almost seemed as though it were to treasure the small, insignificant note, Kazutora's own gaze wandering to where it had been shoved away for a moment before it was cast back aside. His promise to at least try to not hide himself anymore safe and secure, she moved out from her desk and slid her seat in. It would be a lie to say that she wasn’t pleased with the progression between herself and the humans that she had met so far, and she was almost giddy with joy over the prospect of actual friends. Yes, she may have had her brothers and sister growing up as well as the countless stars that had been reborn, but something felt different to have a friend outside of said immediate circle. Someone who wasn’t family or another godly creation; someone grounded, outside of her norm and who held the promise of laughter and wonderful experiences.

"Orchestra, that's what I've got for my club." Velonix tilted her head. Of course her brother would choose something such as orchestra as it suited him well. Despite his quiet nature, the passions that he held for his hobbies and skills were loud and pronounced. He may not walk around bolstering about said accomplishments, but one need only hear a few notes from his strings to be brought under his chilling spell. "Oh, sure it'll be no trouble to show you where our next class is. I also have Orchestra as my club, so I can show you the way to that too. Can you give me a second though?” At Reiya’s interruption, the girl suddenly turned to face Velonix, clearly intent on speaking to her with Kazutora wincing slightly as she began. A quirked eyebrow was Vel’s reaction to the smaller girl’s words that followed.

"Miss Velonix, about your earlier question - Kenji bothered him again, but he didn't hurt him. Don't worry though, a mutual friend of ours who's in college will watch over Kazutora after school in case anything happens. Oh she also mentioned having a few classes with your older siblings. If they’re anything like you and Kazuyuki, I wouldn't be surprised they have caused a stir too. Oh, I don't mean that in a bad way either, you and your brother are very nice, it's just so rare when someone moves here, especially with no connections to this place. Well, I'll let you two go to class. Shall we go Mister Kazuyuki?" For someone who was so evidently shy, Reiya could definitely talk once she had become comfortable enough to do so. It was a nice surprise to Vel, though, as she seemed to be great for conversation and had quite a bit of potential in that department. The girl’s words caused her pause, however; the mention of Kenji’s ongoing and continuous harassment and abuse of Kazutora was becoming increasingly more aggravating by each passing moment, to the point where she wasn’t sure how much longer she could simply ignore it. It was not only a simple annoyance at this point; the foolish mortal was inkling to royally piss off a young, unstable goddess. She covered her emotions with a false smile, despite the fiery storm brewing beneath it. ”I will take it as a compliment then, that we were able to cause ‘quite a stir’, in your words. You are kind as well, and I hope that we can become close friends, as well as your friend that you mentioned. It seems that she has fantastic taste in people, at the very least, so I am certain that she has a beautiful soul.”.

”Would you be alright showing me where they meet for their club hour too? After creative writing, of course. I still haven't figured everything out here." At her brother’s words, Velonix cleared her throat and tilted a bit to peer around and up at the tall snowy boy. ”It seems as though you will be in good hands with Miss Reiya, so I suppose that we will see one another after school. Make sure that you are on time as I would prefer not to dally. I start my new job today, after all.” A pointed look up at her brother conveyed her message to contact her if need be and she cast a sweet smile at Reiya after. ”Please, take good care of my brother. He may seem to be a bit of a lost cause when it comes to discussion, but I promise that there is a great conversationalist hidden underneath all of those pesky layers. Think of him like an onion,” she teased. On that note, she gave one last glance in their direction as the two made their way from the classroom, leaving Velonix and Kazutora almost alone, save for the few lingering students.

Of course, one of those students had to be Kenji, loitering at his desk with his small gang of what she could most describe to be as mindless minions. His mere presence was enough to annoy her, let alone the glares that he was tossing in Kazutora’s direction - though the blonde seemed to not notice it, or perhaps he just did a good enough job ignoring the looks - and she found herself biting her lip to hold back her words. Nothing that she could say right now would make any difference anyway, so she might as well wait until after school was over. That was when Reiya had said that their ‘friend’ was to watch over Kazutora - obviously this meant that something was bound to happen once the final bell rang. Thankfully, they had the same classes throughout the day. With a side glance at the boy in question, she contemplated her options, the primary idea in her mind being to ask him to go with her to the front gate, at the very least, so as to meet Kazuyuki. It would be in our best interests to attract as little attention as possible while here … I cannot be seen using my inner strength. She bit her lower lip contemplatively, mulling over her thoughts. The best option would be to have Halcy present to intervene if necessary. A tall male having underlying body strength is not nearly as surprising as a small female. My skills would be a bit surprising but explainable; my strength, however ...

"Gardening club, actually, but I can show you the classroom they hold art it in." Kazutora’s words jerked her from her thoughts, and only then did she notice the subtle pain in her palms. Her hands were clenched - a bad habit that she had formed since the incident whenever her feelings were too much, whenever she felt overwhelmed with irritation or anger. The ache subsided a bit as her fingers unfurled, small crescents left in her palms as a reminder of her previous bubbling rage, blatant even through the pretty fabric of her gloves. It was something that she hadn’t noticed, the slowly building fury, and that gave way to concern as she idly rubbed her palms together to subside the ache. If she was not even able to identify when she was growing angry, then how was she to discern when she was slipping away? The anxiety at the mere flippant thought of it, the fear that she felt over losing herself once more - it was indescribable.

"...wanna head to home ec with me, Velonix?" Just like that she was back, panic attack halted in its tracks at the mere sound of the soothing hum that was Kazutora’s voice. Having become sidetracked once more, lost in her thoughts as she often was, Velonix jumped a bit where she stood at her newfound companion’s sudden request. ’Wanna head to home ec with me, Velonix?’ Such simple words, and yet she felt her heart skip a bit, almost lodging itself in her throat. Why was it that such a simple sentence could cause her heart to want to fly up, so far up that it threatened to escape her chest and enter the outside world. Her free hand lifted to touch lightly to the area between her breasts, as though the mere action could calm the flutter that resided within. It was only then that she realized how long it had been since he had asked the question, and that she had been simply staring at him blankly with a growing flush in her face. Kazutora's unease over the silence grew with the passing seconds, apparent in the slight shifting and averted gaze once more. The loss of his eyes prompted a sudden awareness, embarrassment blooming inside of her and causing her to turn slightly away in an effort to hide the ever-expanding red in her cheeks which only grew more intense in color when she pinched them in an effort to bring herself back to reality. Get it together, Harmonix. You are behaving like a child! He is a mortal and nothing more; there is no reason to become so frazzled!

After she had gathered herself once more, Velonix turned a bashful look in Kazutora’s direction. ”I would appreciate the gesture immensely. For the oddest of reasons, I feel a bit less than comfortable so far here.” Her voice, generally sweet, held a dripping sarcasm - because who could have possibly guessed why she didn’t feel comfortable in this school? It was so blatantly evident why, from the animosity coming off in waves from their classmates, to Kenji’s insistent harassment of Kazutora - it was surprising that she was having as nice of a day as she was between everything.

With her bag clasped before her, she followed behind as he began to walk, ignoring the snide looks that Kenji gave them as they passed. Thankfully, and it was more than likely only because of what had happened last passing period, he did nothing to them. He simply sneered and muttered amongst his friends who cast leering glances in their directions as well. It was a series of actions that left her with a foreboding sensation within her, as though this was not going to end as easily as she had originally hoped, and she only fully relaxed once they were in the hallway and out of his unnerving sight. What a childish rat. Perhaps I will need to speak to the others later about this … pest issue.

To Kazutora, finally getting out of the classroom was a relief. Away from the stares, the whispers of Kenji and his group of friends, all faces that were burned into his memory after past…encounters. His own words so stupidly spat out in the hallways earlier - ”after school” - bring a faint grimace to his features for a moment, moreso after seeing them all gathered and conversing amongst themselves. Were they planning something? Discussing what they’d do once he parted ways with Kazutora’s atypical crowd of…classmates lingering around, once Velonix was gone? Or was it just regular conversation?

The way they stare at him until he can’t see them anymore doesn’t really reassure him that it could be the latter.

Still, once their eyes are no longer burning into the back of his skull he lets out a soft breath and releases some of the tension in his shoulders, letting them sink just enough to feel comfortable again rather than alert and on edge.

She noticed the subtle change in his demeanor almost immediately, as though he had relaxed at least a bit now that they were no longer engulfed by those who held such unreasonable disdain for him. It is nice to know … That he feels somewhat comfortable around me. It was impossible to fight her own relaxing state as they moved further away from his tormentors. It wasn’t until that moment that she realized how much the human boys had truly gotten under her skin.

A glance down the hallway in the direction of the home ec classroom, he let out a short hum before turning back to face her again, "It's not too far, but it'd probably be best to get there a little earlier for you, right?" A slight tilt to his head, the question didn't linger for long before he'd taken the first steps, a direction similar to the way they'd gone to eat on the roof. ”If you are early, you are on time; if you are on time, you are late; and if you are late, you are doomed,” she joked, a skip in her step as she went to catch up to his stride, her excitement over their next class evident in the glow of her features. She felt herself wanting to be near him, but at the same time battled inwardly with herself over how close she could be without causing him distress. Considering how narrow the hallways were for how many students they contained, this left little room for extra space between the two of them, putting her a mere few inches away, their shoulders nearly brushing as they walked. This alone was enough to make Kazutora's gaze drift, muddy red eyes twitching to their shoulders each near brush. His mind wandered to the lunch hour when they'd held hands through Velonix's glove even just for the time that they'd made their way up to the roof. The contact had been…nice, and he found a part of him still yearning for it, but it's shoved away just a moment later. What's going on with me today? I feel like I can't settle on anything…

Even out in the hall the stares and whispers didn’t cease, even if they're lighter than they had been earlier in the day. Confused over the two of them still walking together, still alone together? Creating assumptions out of thin air? Who knew at this point, a mortal teenager's mind seemed to know no bounds. It would be a lie to say that she did not notice them, the nosy children that littered the walls, murmuring between themselves like a flock of ducks. How incredibly childish - is this how all human children are, or simply in this town? This is even more disappointing than I had expected. Something … Something is off, and it cannot be anything good...

A mostly quiet walk to the home ec room if only because Kazutora seemed even more worn out than he had earlier, as if the adrenaline after lunch and mid-class had finally settled away and drained him of any remaining energy. Still he walked, glanced to Velonix every few steps to be sure she was still at his side. She respected the comfortable silence between them, as she herself had little to say given her dark thoughts, but enjoyed the ambiance that had settled between them nonetheless. That quiet was interrupted by him after a moment regardless, slowing his pace as they neared another sliding door, and it was a quiet breath before his words arrived.

"Ms. Hanagaki…she's over home ec here," is spoken after a bit, "she's…er- she's nice, though. Maybe you'll like her." There's hesitation at the part of his lips again, Kazutora's brows furrowing slightly, Do you think she'd want to… His gaze lowers slightly, voice struggling to push up past his throat. "Maybe…ah, nevermind." A questioning look is garnered by this half-sentence, as though she knows that there is something on the tip of his tongue - something he wants to so desperately say - but that there is something else there that is stopping him just on the verge of that leap. I can not help but feel something is wrong here … From the treatment of our peers and teachers, to his overall presence, something clearly happened to him. she had suffered through her own trauma and understood the process of healing was not easy. She just needed to have patience.

Patience? What a joke; you know that we have none. Don’t make me laugh.

Choosing to ignore Phoenix, the door was pushed open a breath later, Kazutora stepping in first with a glance back at Velonix as he waited, quiet as always. It seemed as though he were waiting for her to join him so after a pause she accompanied him through the door, blinking at the brightness of the fluorescent light's reflections off of the multitude of gleaming surfaces against her sensitive eyesight.

The interior of the classroom was simple, but perhaps that's expected of a home ec room. There's eight, maybe ten countertop surfaces, each one containing a stovetop, oven, and sink, lined with drawers that likely contained the kitchen utensils and tools. The back was lined with windows, several slightly cracked to let in fresh air. The only lingering scent was that of something sweet, a dessert perhaps. Along the front wall rests a large writing board, the date scrawled in fancy letters and surrounded by colorful illustrations, little flowers and a small chibi character nearby, likely done by a student by the looks of it. The final wall was adorned with several cubbies neatly stocked with what appeared to be different types of materials and crafting objects, but she decided against studying the random objects too closely.

And in the back corner, a somewhat larger desk that seemed to belong to the teacher, only further confirmed by the woman settled there writing away at papers on the top of her desk, though as they both stepped in, her gaze moved up, warm brown eyes spotting the two of them just a breath later. This gave Velonix little to no time to study the woman, something that she much preferred to do before approaching any new person due to her own past experiences, as the woman was instantly alert at the sight of the pair.

A small, "oh!" as she stood up from her seat, slightly heeled shoes leaving quiet clicks on the tiled floor below. She wore a simple blouse and skirt, her hair tied up neatly into a bun, and she stopped just a step or two away from the teens, hands clasped in front of herself as her expression brightened. Her approach gave Vel a moment to study the woman’s features and aura, the gleaming pink, yellows and oranges with dashes of white a comfort to her rising anxiety.

The woman's expression was bright, seeming pleased with seeing him with someone, and it made him feel almost unsure. Sure, Ms. Hanagaki had always been kind, but she had also never quite understood his situation fully. Well intentioned, no doubt, and he appreciated that at least, but there was still a disconnect. Trying to pair him or put him in groups, occasionally giving extra attention, trying to get him to branch out and talk with the others more…without seeming to realize that it almost always backfired and brought out his peers' ire towards him even more. He at least appreciated that she tried, though. It was more than he could say for most of the staff at the school.

"Kazutora! It's so good to see you with a friend!" The beaming smile found a spot on her lips, the blonde nodding rather sheepishly in response. She continues hardly a breath later, giving Vel little time to process the absurdity of the statement, "and you must be one of the new transfer students, probably…Velonix Orako?" A soft pink slid into Vel’s cheeks, but why she was embarrassed was beyond her. Perhaps it was better described as nervousness? It did cause her to giggle a bit as the woman tripped up on her first name, apologetic smile soon after, but she didn't give much of a pause before continuing, "our headmaster gave me a little tip that I'd have one of you in my class. I'm thrilled to finally meet you! You can call me Ms. Hanagaki, alright? I'll be sure to take good care of you while you're in my class, dear. No worries or stress in my classroom; as long as you try your best with our assignments, you'll get a quick and easy A." In response, Velonix simply smiled up at the woman, giving her a thumbs up in response. ”Trying my best is all I do, nothing less is acceptable after all. You have to give it your all every time, no?” It was laughed out, but she meant it; why do it if you weren’t planning to give it your everything? It helped that she loved cooking and baking, though, and the sweet smell that filled the room reminded her of the kitchen when her mother and Astraea would bake her siblings and her sweets.

Other students begin making their way into the classroom at that point, pushing past Kazutora and Velonix to some of the tables nearby. She quickly found herself shoved to the side, unintentionally bumping into Kazutora, and the flush that seemed to be ever-present today rose once more into her cheeks as she scrambled out a quick yet quiet apology, one he returned with a quiet stammer of his own. Ms. Hanagaki quickly regained hold of the pairs' attention even with her having turned away to her desk. Velonix noted that the students who arrived all immediately chose tables and seats with one another, almost as though they were already paired together, and when Ms. Hanagaki spoke it further confirmed her suspicions. "I'll get you assigned to a group so you aren't the odd one out. We did assign partners at the beginning of the class, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to fit you in. Give me juuust…a moment." As her new teacher looked over the seating - and therefore pairing - chart, Velonix peaked over the woman’s shoulder, thanking her stars for her somewhat enhanced vision as she quickly skimmed the names listed and scattered across the page. Before the woman could even finish deciding on what to do herself, Velonix had made the decision for her, a soft snort escaping her; what could be more obvious, after all? Kazutora was the only person in the entire class without a partner, the only person seated alone at an entire table. Did the woman think that she was forced to be shown to this class by him? Was partnering with him not an option or something? This was a joke, right? What had she been doing up until then? Having him sit alone unless it required multiple people and then throwing him into the metaphorical tank of ravenous piranhas? No wonder he had such difficulty finding people to relate to; even the faculty fascinated this ostracization of the boy. It left a sick, burning sensation coiling within the depths of her chest, but knowing herself all too well, she pushed it down deeply within her until the flames were but mere embers.

So before Ms. Hanagaki could even speak, Velonix gathered her courage, shoved her anxiety as deeply within her as she possibly could, and with an air of confidence that only a goddess could exude, her dainty gloved hand had shot out and easily pinched the end of Kazutora’s tie. Muddy eyes stared wide down at the hold, blinking once before his lips parted to say something, a panicked, what is she doing this time!?, but they're moving before he can say anything. With a light tug, she brought him into a slight stumble behind her as she pulled him along, her stride bringing them across the room in seconds. It was only then that she released his tie, allowing it to gently slip from her fingertips, and dropped her bag a bit loudly onto the floor beside one of the stools that sat alongside the table. The particular table that Kazutora was assigned to, as it was the only currently empty table in the classroom. Before she lost her bravery, she said as boldly as possible, ”I would actually much rather prefer to be partnered with Kazutora over anyone else. He is my best friend, is he not?” she tilted her head and quirked a brow at Ms. Hanagaki as she withdrew a notebook and pencil, lightly dropping them onto the table before her, clearly intent on settling into her chosen spot.

Ms. Hanagaki blinked as though surprised, before a small, delighted smile twitched across pink lips. Kazutora himself quickly slipped down into the seat next to her a little awkwardly as his bag dropped on the floor, eyes staying downward. He knew they were all staring even as a hand moved up to rest against the side of his head, was beginning to realize that's just what came with being around Velonix, though he can't help the discomfort of burning eyes into every part of him. They come from every corner of the room, without care of how he might feel, though that's nothing new. The stares from their classmates were amusing and annoying at the same time, but she paid them no mind, instead dropping confidently onto her stool and easily flipping open to a blank page. Several moments of intense silence throbbed by, and when only stunned stillness welcomed her proclamation, she glanced up once more, a somewhat irritated expression on her normally happy face. Without any of her family there to reel her in, she felt her bravery swell, almost giving her something akin to an energy boost in the process.

”Does anyone have anything to say about that? Anyone who has a problem with my being friends with Kazutora, feel free to speak up now.” A hand waved flippantly in their general direction, a somewhat inquisitive look on her face shrouding the inner hostility broiling beneath. Kazutora can't help the quiet - but sharp - inhale at her question, or rather challenge to the others, begs the world to not let anyone take that chance to make this moment even more tense and uncomfortable, but Velonix doesn't seem keen on backing down. Something about how they treated him … It simply pricked a nerve of hers that should not be touched. It had been all day with this - whisper here, stare there - and she was sick of it. Deeply below the surface, she could feel Phoenix bristling, yearning to pummel the immature human children until they saw reason. This was something that she obviously could not do, however, so she opted for a single clenched hand, hidden beneath the table before her. It warmed within its fabric, just shy of the degree to burn the delicate cloth, but helped her to maintain her budding fury. When only further quiet was the response to her dare, she waved her free hand once more, her face growing more annoyed by the second. ”If no one has anything useful to say, please, do take a picture as it will last longer than your feeble attempts at intimidation. Class will be starting in a few minutes, so I would personally recommend that you use what is left of your free time for more important matters - such as preparations to cook whatever monstrosity you lot will somehow create,” she finished with an eye roll, and despite the somewhat offended looks of the students scattered throughout the room, a gradual sheepishness mixed with guilt began to cross their features, almost as though her combination of a challenge and lecture had, to some degree, gotten through their impossibly thick skulls. A soft, "oh dear," could be heard from Ms. Hanagaki not so far away, seemingly surprised by how much the classroom dynamic was already shifting with the addition of just a single new student.

When they all finally turned back to one another, murmuring amongst themselves like scolded puppies, Velonix relaxed a bit and leaned forward against the table so as to be a bit closer to Kazutora. With her notebook raised to hide her face from their peers, she gave him a sly smile, a mischievous sparkle in her eyes, and when she did speak, her voice was filled with giddy excitement. ”Shall we make something delicious together, Kazutora?” His gaze only turned up at her leaning in then, unease in his eyes softening for a moment; their peers' gazes were turned away, a relief, and…if he was honest, he did look forward to getting to work with someone in this class for once. Or at least, someone that didn't despise him. A new experience. A welcomed one. "I guess we'll try our best." The subtle shift, the ever so slight change in the way that he looked at her, sent her heart hammering into her throat. If he could make such an expression within only a few hours of meeting, what others could he possibly make in a few days - a few weeks … Or even a few months? Unbidden, Velonix found herself yearning to see those days sooner rather than later, but why, she could not say.

"Alright, students!" Ms. Hanagaki's voice, a gentle clap to gather attention quieted the classroom with ease, save a few that continued whispered chatters, but she paid them no mind. Her steps to the front from her desk each carried a small click of her heels before she stood by the markerboard, popping one of the more colorful marker's caps off. In an instant she'd written the word over the board, a simple "strawberry roll cake" in a slight flourish. "I've finished a few of the longer tasks for you, like the milk and preheating the oven, but we've still got a lot to do in such a short period, so let's be sure to stay on task and use our time wisely!" Facing the class again, Ms. Hanagaki gestured to everyone at once, "in the small fridge, you'll find the ingredients and instructions for this dessert. Everyone should know where to find the necessary tools, but if not, I'd be happy to assist." A glance to Kazutora and Velonix's station, "Kazutora can show where everything is, dear," before continuing shortly after.

"I'll be walking around the room to make sure you're all staying on task and making good progress, but otherwise, you're all free to get started. Good luck!"

Slipping off the stool and intent on getting first pick before others crowded, Kazutora moved towards the fridge, his foot absently pushing the seat back and out of the way as he did. Hands pushed open the fridge door, reaching in to pull out the familiar baking sheet with the table's number, weighed down by the ingredients on top. She watched him as he went about his tasks, using the excuse of learning in order to truly study him in his entirety. It was undeniable at this point; the human fascinated her. In what way was still to be determined, but given the facts of how her body alone was reacting to him, there was clearly a lot more to be discovered between them. A lot more for her to look forward to.

She found her lips turning up into a soft, wistful smile, chin propped in hand and elbow on table as she inspected him. Despite his obviously low self-views, he moved with an air of unestablished confidence, lending a litheness to his movements - a certain natural grace that cannot be taught but was instead innately learned within oneself. He was lean and although not considered to be buff by any means, he had a certain underlying tone to his body that hinted at at least some type of muscle that did not come from laying around all day. Sandy-blonde hair that shimmered different tints and shades depending on the lighting drew her gaze upwards until they landed on his face - a face that matched his body in leanness but outweighed it in attractivity. That wasn’t to say that his body wasn’t attractive - the complete opposite really, even down to his long, slender hands, equal to hers in prettiness but larger and less soft looking with little scars scattered about. It was his facial features, his emotions and expressions, that truly caught her eye. It drew her towards him, wanting to learn everything she could about everything that face could do or show. The different ways that he could look at not only the world and others, but also at her. His aura, which was rather quickly becoming her favorite mixture of hues, swirled around his body in a soothing stream, lulling a good portion of her worries by simply watching it dance.

The sudden clatter of tray to counter brought her back, forcing her to tear her gaze from Kazutora so as to avoid causing him further discomfort. She hoped, at least, he hadn’t noticed her staring once more.

A sudden thought made her entire body still, however - a thought that had not occurred to her throughout all of the time that they were planning this ‘excursion’ to Earth. Not during their choosing of classes, nor during their enrollment process itself. Something that she definitely should have taken into consideration when choosing this particular class. She had thought of physical education, as the changing in a locker room could lead to accidental physical contact, which made her to drop that as an option. She thought that she would be safe should she choose a cooking and sewing class.

Harmonix had not, however, taken into consideration the fact that in order to cook and bake a good portion of the dishes that they would be required to make, each assignment would involve the usage of her hands - her bare hands.

A worried look turned down onto said appendages, her fingers curling towards her palms as her anxiety soared. A flickered glance in Kazutora’s direction and she turned slightly, her back to him so as to hide her inner battle. The turmoil that raged over how to progress in this situation was immense. If there was one human so far that she had met that she did not wish to use her abilities on, it was Kazutora. Whether intentional or not, she did not wish to take advantage of him in such a way. Memories … Are a sacred thing. Things to be cherished and held dear to oneself, but also to serve as a reminder of who we are. They are not flippant experiences to simply be tossed around for each and every person to see and hear; they are something to be locked into a box and held for safekeeping for when they serve their best purpose. During times of hardship, or simply when one wishes to recall memories in particular, or even when the memories will somehow serve us indirectly - they are all so very important.

And also so incredibly private.

To force him to share those things, knowingly or not, intentionally or not, was simply something that she did not wish to force Kazutora into. Besides … These were all things that oddly enough, she found herself wanting to learn from him naturally. She wanted him to trust her and feel comfortable enough to share such things with her, not because he had no choice in the matter, but instead because he trusted her.

A momentary clench of her hands before she relaxed them and wearily began to remove her gloves, tucking them into her bag’s zipper for the time being. Her dainty fingers finally revealed for the first time all day, she almost immediately held them as closely to herself as possible without looking like a complete lunatic. The long, slender phalanges curled in her skirt fabric, an effort to keep herself from moving them and accidentally brushing him. Her anxiety at a near all-time high, her thoughts swirling around her hands and Kazutora and her abilities, she could feel herself spiraling. A slight dizziness overtook, nausea creeping up, but she forced slow, deep breaths in an effort to combat the rising panic. Dark eyes landed on her for a moment at the sound of her uneven breaths, brows furrowing slightly at the sight of pale face and tense expression, though words fail him for a moment at the sudden change in her demeanor, so unlike the high energy and non-stop confidence she had carried herself with the entire day thus far. Is she…starting to have regrets? Rethinking her situation? I…

You just need to make it through the class. Just through this class. This is the only class like this. You can do it, Har.

Slowly the color began to return to her face, her fingers loosening in the now wrinkled skirt ends, hand idly rubbing at her exposed knee to combat the slight chill that was assaulting her skin. As though none of the thoughts or emotions she had previously felt had ever happened, she found herself pushing her body up so that she was leaning across the table, on her elbows to gain a better view of the supplies and instructions.

”Ah, the instructions are easy enough. Luckily, I also made these before as my sister is obsessed with anything involving strawberries. This will be a piece of cake,” she joked, the pun hurting even her. With a soft giggle, she continued, ”Sorry. I am often told that I have the humor of an old man.” In one movement she had quickly pulled back her hair and snapped the ever-present ponytail from her wrist around it, tying it easily. Once that was done, her hand moved, reaching out in the direction of the instructions for a closer look.

In an instant she seemed to be back to her usual self, and Kazutora couldn't help but wonder if he'd just been imagining it, however obvious that changed demeanor had been. His gaze stayed steady on her, worried - worried? He hadn't worried over someone in a long time, at least not anyone at this high school, even less someone he'd only met for the first time that day, but it was shrugged off before he'd thought too deeply on it. It's all been a lot today, I need to stop thinking so hard about all of this.

Still, he blinked once at her words, debated over the pun-joke for a few seconds, then nodded, reaching to peel back the saran wrap that covered the ingredients on the tray to keep them there and uncontaminated while they'd been waiting to be used. A quiet, slightly curious question; if she's made this before, then maybe she… "Do you like baking then, Velonix?" The plastic is tossed in the side garbage, hands moving to pull the eggs closer to himself alongside a bowl to crack them in, "if you've made these before, then I guess today's class won't be too hard." Easier too, if he didn't have to worry about finishing everything entirely on his own, a small stress that sometimes came with these classes and the bigger recipes that they were assigned. She watched him do all of this with an odd sense of fascination; he made the movements look as though they were the most natural thing in the world, like a master violinist running their bow along its strings. It piqued her interest, to say the least, that he could move so fluidly - for a human, that was. He seemed more comfortable performing the basic tasks of baking than doing anything else that she had seen the entire day.

”I love to cook. I would say I am fairly proficient at it, but baking is something I have yet to garner much experience in. My aunt and uncle would frequently encourage me to learn how to bake, since they thought my creations would be delicious, but I was far too focused on other things. My mother would often have me cooking by her side back on-ah, back home, I mean,” she fumbled a bit over her words at the end. It confused her, as she wasn’t one that was easily frazzled. It wasn’t often that she lost her sense of wording, and for a moment she wondered if she, too, was comfortable, despite her absent gloves - too comfortable - and from what? Baking? She cooked all of the time, so why would baking be any different? A flickered glance in Kazutora’s direction and the matching flip of her heart was all of the answer that she needed; the answer being Kazutora was the difference. The thought had her turning her face quickly away to hide the rising flush in her cheeks.

Scanning over the tray once more to try and figure out what to do next, his attention landed on Velonix shortly after, briefly to her hands, gloves gone. Ones that he'd wondered about, why she never seemed to take them off, but placed nicely away now. Is that the source of discomfort he'd caught a glimpse of? But what for? There doesn't seem to be any scars over her hands, nothing striking him as being necessary to hide away or be embarrassed about.

Which only brought him to his own dilemma. He did have something he'd rather hide, but if they were cooking, then leaving down the long sleeves of the winter uniform would be awkward, potentially leaving him in a mess with his cuffs with still a club hour to go. He stared for a brief pause, heat rising to his face as he thought through it: the embarrassment of having her see those scars and trying to explain it all. How he would rather avoid that even if it meant sacrificing his jacket for today. He'd make it a habit to keep them covered like he did in the summer from now on with this shared class given that it seemed Velonix would be sharing this table here with him from today forward.

Hesitating, he ignored the uncomfortable feeling of working with the food with sleeves so close and did his best to take his mind off it with fingers curling around the first egg to crack. "I'll go ahead and start with the eggs, I think, uh…" He'd gotten too used to working alone in this class, "you're…good to start wherever else. Maybe…the flour?"

Not one to want to disappoint, Velonix immediately set to work on sifting the flour, and once done, went about the tedious nature of measuring the ingredients. Of course, her speed made her naturally faster than a human and helped her a bit, but she did try to make herself somewhat less than perfect - no need to raise any suspicions in any of the humans nearby, and who knew how observant her Kazutora could end up being?

The thought gave her pause. She wasn’t one to hold a possessiveness over anything or anyone, but then again, he was her first true friend outside of her family. Perhaps it was perfectly normal to have these feelings?

’Normal’? The sudden intrusion startled Velonix, causing the salt to slip from her grip, and instinctively she shot her other hand out to catch it - momentarily using her godly speed. Hah! Don’t make me laugh, little Moni … Here, surrounded by these humans, you are anything but normal - we both know it.Panic instantly surged through her, her eyes darting in several directions to ensure that no one had seen her momentary lapse in control. Stop kidding yourself and just let me have my fun. With a slightly shaking hand, she set the salt down on the work table, hand remaining on the container as she attempted to collect herself.

That is never going to happen. Stop trying to take over my life! Vel wrenched the milk bottle off the table and began to pour, grinding her teeth at the budding headache throbbing at her skull. Phoenix continued her screams of anger, threats and obscenities ringing in Harmonix’s head. Her brain felt like a punching bag, being knocked around without a care for the repercussions.

Setting

4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kazumi Orako Character Portrait: Iphianassa Lykaois Character Portrait: Mafuyu Hanazawa Character Portrait: Natsuo Orako
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mafuyu hanazawa.
dialogue ; #7f9f91. – thought ; #bb7e8c.
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This group is turning into a lively bunch, no doubt. Mafuyu isn't sure if he's been surrounded by so many strong personalities in a long while, not with the weight of school and its coursework or the multiple jobs on his shoulders. He'd occasionally had a few outings with his other friends, but those were getting fewer and farther between the longer this semester went on. For most, they'd probably look at the gathering and quickly think to avoid it - too tiring to even consider the amount of different energies - but for Mafuyu, this sort of higher energy gathering and talking was more energy rejuvenating than depleting. Social things like this lifted his spirits and mood, little lifesavers and breaks from work and more work.

God, he misses the weekend parties he went to all the time his first few years of university. Silently he hopes that he can start going to them again, once the first wave of coursework and the like die down and his professors chill out on their classes.

So he's happy to listen to the conversation going for awhile, still trying to adjust to the sibling's odd behaviors and snickering a little when Iphianassa tells Natsuo to stop addressing her like she's old. He seems slightly taken aback by that, like it's strange for a young adult in college to not want to be referred to like she's already an old spinster or something at the age of twenty. Maybe where they come from is crazy conservative, but most of the social pressure to marry so young here is only held onto by the grandparents who cling way too much to traditions.

And then a pointed comment on nosiness. He knows it's directed at Natsuo and Kazumi for their continued questions, but he's sure there's a bit of intent towards him as well; he'd certainly prodded at her more than usual this morning, and he takes that as his cue to remind himself to be more careful about that.

His worry over his prior nosiness is whisked away in an instant when Iphianassa suddenly dives into a full tirade of obscenities towards - presumably - a high schooler at the local high school in town. Knowing her, he's not overly surprised by the language she spews in an instant, and to get her so riled up the kid must really be a nightmare.

Still, her clear intention to follow through with her threats gets him to raise an eyebrow. Wasn't that risky? If he ended up going to any authorities, or even just told his parents who no doubt would, couldn't she end up in some deep shit for that? Kicked out of the university, legal trouble, too many things to count on one hand. But she reassures them that they don't have to worry about him going to anyone. Does she know this from experience? Has she gone after this kid more than once? Or was this just her assuming he wouldn't?

While his mind is wandering, Kazumi is speaking, and she pulls a name out despite Iphianassa having given none. Kenji. His brow quirks slightly at that; he knows that name. But there could be more than one Kenji, couldn't there? Even for a small town, repeated names are still possible and plenty common.

"Kenji...Onizawa?" He questions after a moment, pointed glance at Iphianassa who clearly seemed to have some sort of "history" with the high school boy, however seemingly violent it was. "If that's who it is, I know him. His parents have hired me to tutor him for awhile now." Wealthy family, they paid well. Well enough for Mafuyu to stick around despite the teen's behavior; not listening, screwing around, mouthing off and an overall distasteful personality. It seemed he felt like he could do and say as he liked when Mafuyu was just some lower class "beggar" in his eyes that he was "paying" for even though it was money out of his parents' pockets, not his. He knew plenty from what his little sisters would complain about to him too, of the boy none of them shared a class with yet still had to deal with anyway. Apparently Ran had gotten his attention on her in the past once or twice, but she claimed her boyfriend had been enough to get the older boy off her when none of the school staff would do anything about it.

"He's a real piece of work. I don't...blame you for how you feel about him, he's a spoiled brat." Mafuyu would certainly like to have a go at him for harassing any of his sisters, after all. I like to hope that people can change, but something tells me Kenji's already set in stone far too much to do so at this point. It wasn't like he knew all the details of the kid either. How far did he go with his antics? It sounded like too far at this point, but money in a small town usually meant you could get away with just about anything.

Maybe he'd end up a rich version of Mafuyu's own father one day, at the rate he was going.

Another name is mentioned; Kazutora Miyato. He'd heard it tossed around a once or twice vaguely by his sisters, though the only one who knew him more than "just a sort of scary upperclassman" was Miyako, who'd spoken to him briefly when she'd swung by to talk to a friend in the gardening club. "Really quiet and kind of hard to approach," she'd said, "but he seemed a little happy to tell me about what he was growing and let me take some of the ripe strawberries from his box, so I think he's a lot nicer than everyone else always says."

It seemed the teen had a new friend, if Natsuo and Kazumi's sister had apparently taken a liking to him.

A soft sigh, he lets himself relax a little more, glance at the time on the watch that rests on his wrist. Their lunch break would be coming to an end soon, though he didn't want it to. But what could he do?

"Like Kazumi said," he offers after a bit, "I know you said he'd never tell a soul, but it's still kinda risky. I wouldn't want to see you kicked out of university or in legal trouble because he goes and cries to his parents one day. At least make sure to cover your tracks," a half snort, "though I imagine you probably already know that."

He startles slightly, cutting himself off at the sound of something whipping through the air and the sight of the kendo sword pointed at Kazumi. Odd. Concerning? He doesn't know.

It seems like it'll take a lot of getting used to, being around these two.

Setting

4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kazumi Orako Character Portrait: Iphianassa Lykaois Character Portrait: Mafuyu Hanazawa Character Portrait: Natsuo Orako
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”Being protective of someone,
Is also kind of love.”
~Unknown

Speech Code ~ #8A0808
| Thought Code ~ #045FB4




Finally, it was someone else’s turn to speak, instead of Iphignea’s scrambled, embarrassed excuses for her childish behavior. Kazumi was the one who took over, giving Iphianassa time to finally pick at her food - it was considerably cooler now but still just warm enough to be enjoyable - and she ate eagerly. Despite this, she did listen to the bubblegum girl speak, taking in the information about her and Natsuo’s past. Their history together, their shared loss, their shared life - it was sweet, in a way, and it was nice to know that the two had had one another and their other siblings as support.

All Iphignea got from her sisters were snide looks and the occasional kick.

A head shake cleared the thoughts from her mind, bringing her back to the conversation. "...dle him just fine, but I would recommend you be careful with not getting in trouble with the school. Natsuo and I went to check on our sister this morning, who apparently was getting harassed by some bullies, but a nice young man got into a fight with them while protecting her. Unfortunately, that poor boy seemed to be in trouble with one of the teachers, but our sister made sure to tell him that he wasn't the one to cause trouble initially. Vel seemed to really like the guy, but our introduction was short. Vel makes friends pretty easily too. What was that young man's name again, Natsuo? The sudden onslaught of information was a lot to take in all at once - what a wild morning these two had already had, and it was barely noon - but she was thankfully able to keep up with the woman. She would be lying if she said that she said she was surprised; it came of no shock to her that their sister had already encountered issues with some of the school bullies. The headmaster was a nice enough guy, but he was a sucker for a smile and apology, and rarely upheld any serious disciplinary action. Something that had been made very clear to her over the years of not only her own torment, but now her little Zuzu’s as well.

”Kenji … Onizawa? If that's who it is, I know him. His parents have hired me to tutor him for awhile now." Even the mere mention of the boy’s name brought a sour look to her face, as though she had tasted something incredibly foul. ”"He's a real piece of work. I don't...blame you for how you feel about him, he's a spoiled brat.” That’s a freaking understatement if I’ve ever heard one. ‘Piece of work’. He’s the whole freaking piece.

"Like Kazumi said, I know you said he'd never tell a soul, but it's still kinda risky. I wouldn't want to see you kicked out of university or in legal trouble because he goes and cries to his parents one day. At least make sure to cover you're tracks, though I imagine you probably already know that." Clearly, Mafuyu found the situation at least somewhat amusing, and she’d be lying if she said she disagreed. She knew how ridiculous she more than likely came off, ready to pummel an underclass high schooler, but she was really getting sick and tired of the guy going after her precious Zuzu. The Gods know he’s already been through so much. He really did deserve better, and it pissed her off to no end that the school still refused to take charge of their bullying ‘issue’.As if on queue, Natsuo’s flippantly answered Kazumi, jerking Iphignea back in with the first words he spoke. "Kazutora Miyato, Kazumi. Maybe you should work on your memory more, your head is up in the clouds too much." Iphi’s mind went blank after that, envisioning the different scenarios on what could have prompted Kazutora to get involved in something like that. "Better that than to be a stick in the mud like you." She barely registered their voices, zoning out over her lost thoughts. "Sister, if I was a stick in the mud, I wouldn't be able to do this.”

Sudden movement wrenched her attention back to their small group, and in her eyes it was almost as though Natsuo’s hand and kendo sword - why was he carrying that with him anyway? - were pointed at Kazumi’s face in an instant teleportation. Her eyes couldn’t keep up with the movement, and when he suddenly dropped it once more, also at such an insane speed, she found herself interested in what it was he actually knew how to do - and if she could learn it, too.

Unable to stop herself, Iphi leaned forward, worry instantly bubbling up inside of her as her mind returned to the current situation. Kazutora was in another fight? And for some random new girl he probably didn’t even know? That was so unlike him. Yeah, he wouldn’t stand idly by while some girl is being harassed, but he also wasn’t one to go out of his way to draw attention to himself - especially negative attention. Why would he help some random girl he doesn’t even know? And put himself in danger in the process?

He’s a fucking idiot, that’s why. ”Wait, wait, wait, hang on, just hold on for just a second.” Iphi waved her hands to get their attention, her focus solely on Zuzu. ”You said Kazutora Miyato? As in, little blonde guy, looks like an ankle biter but actually has the jaw of a pitbull Kazutora?” At their response, Iphi slapped her forehead, letting out a rough sigh as she did so. ”That kid is gonna be the death of me one of these days.” With a flickered glance over at the siblings, she dropped her hand and groaned. ”Kazutora is like a little brother to me. He’s … Complicated, but he’s a good kid. He’s the one who I’m going to have to help deal with … The issues I mentioned before.” A pause, and she fixed a look on Kazumi. ”Kazutora is a good guy who gets a lot of shit that he doesn’t deserve. I know I don’t have any right to, but if you guys see trouble brewing up around him, you don’t have to step in, but if you can just let me know so I can take care of it. I would be extremely appreciative. And …” She paused, torn over her next request but, with Zuzu in mind, she let out another huff and shouldered up her courage. ”If it isn’t too much to ask … If your sister really does seem to have taken even a little bit of a liking to him, could you try and encourage, or at least try to not discourage, a friendship between them?” A pause and she bit her lower lip, mulling over her thoughts and trying to figure out how best to turn them into sentences. ”There are things that … Aren’t my place to say, when it comes to his life. Just …” Gods, why was it so hard to just spit it out? ”Just try not to judge him too harshly, especially off of baseless rumors, okay?”

With that issue out of the way, Iphi turned and leaned towards Natsuo, excitement evident in her features. She’d rather not sit and wallow in her own embarrassment any longer than she’s already been forced to, and it was rare that she got this worked up over anything other than something involving fighting. While a sword wasn’t exactly that far off from hand-to-hand combat, it was still something new.

”What you did with your sword there was insanely cool! How did you do it? How much have you practiced? Is it a specific move that has a name? Or was it something that you can just do that’s cool? Can you teach me how to do it?” Her words came out fast, excited, almost meshing together with her accent - something that tended to happen when she got worked up in any way. Her tongue would sometimes meld her words, unable to keep up with the foreign words that had yet to become second nature to her, but she prevailed nonetheless, not allowing it to damper her thrill. ”Is your sword a real sword or is it a wooden one? Will you ever get to use a real sword? Could I use a real sword at some point? Maybe I could even be better at it than you,” she challenged, though a small, playful smirk tugged at the corners of her lips. It had been a long time since she had been able to have friends in general, let alone friends her own age, and these new students seemed so promising to her future of overcoming her insecurities and inner demons. She could barely contain her own excitement over the idea of it.

However, before Natsuo had had much time at all to answer any of her questions, or even really a fraction of them if we’re being honest, her phone began to chime its familiar little jingle, signaling her alarm for the end of lunch break. With her issues, the last thing she needed was to be tardy for all of her responsibilities, and she found that setting alarms helped to keep her at least somewhat on track - even if she did occasionally run a little late.

A movement silenced the phone quickly, and it was returned to her bag which she also collected. Once everything was packed up, she rose to her feet and, rather awkwardly, gave the trio a little half-wave. ”We’ll have to continue our conversations some other time. I’m not sure about your schedules, but I do have a class that I need to get to, and I need enough time to hit the locker rooms and change. It was nice to meet you both, and surprisingly enough, I did enjoy eating lunch with all of you. I hope the rest of your first day goes well.” With that, and a small bow, she was gone, her rising sense of discomfort pushing her to rush away and off to her next class - Physical Education, her favorite.

Setting

4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kazumi Orako Character Portrait: Iphianassa Lykaois Character Portrait: Mafuyu Hanazawa Character Portrait: Natsuo Orako
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Code- #FF1493

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Code- #0000CD


Looks like Mafuyu knew this Kenji also. Both Kazumi and Natsuo were familiar with the term 'tutor' for it was how they got taught things originally. Definitely better than this 'school' situation they found themselves in. It was after Mafuyu spoke that Natsuo did his 'little stunt'. Both looked at the reactions of the mortals with them. Mafuyu was obviously startled, but Iphi looked . . . excited? Both reactions were amusing. Still, Kazumi hoped Natsuo would be more careful.

Iphi started talking again, firstly about the boy named Kazutora, asking to confirm if it was him by describing him. Both Seasons nodded and Kazumi would have said more, but Iphi continued on and on, acting very much like a concerned older sibling, something both of them could relate too. Natsuo may not like it, but Kazumi would worry about him too. She took to being the eldest very seriously. He may not realize it, but Natsuo wasn't the only one to have something follow his siblings. Being the 'animal talker', she also had birds follow her brother.

"You don't have to worry about me judging your friend, Iphi. Plus, our sister is a good judge of character, so we always trust her opinion."

Natsuo remained silent. He'd be lying if he said he never judge a book by its cover because he didn't trust humans because they always made the same mistake. He once heard the phrase, "History repeats itself", and he fully agreed with that. So while he could be grateful for this Kazutora boy for helping his sister, in more ways than one, it didn't mean he wasn't going trust him. He obviously had issues. But Velonix's 'issues' were way worse.

He thoughts were interrupted when Iphi suddenly asked Natsuo about his kendo and skills asking if she could learn how to do that skill. Instantly Natsuo knew she'd never be as fast as him. He glanced at his sister to see her smirk at him as if to ask, How will you get yourself out of this?. He definitely messed up there for he did use a bit of his power doing that move. One thing was sure, the girl enjoyed fighting, especially when her accent deepened. Finally she stopped. Before Natsuo could answer any of her questions, Iphi's cell phone rang. After answering it, she got her gear together and stood up and said she had to get to her next class before walking away. Natsuo looked at the time and saw he also had to leave soon. Finishing his own meal, he turned to Kazumi.

"I have to get to my next class, Kazumi. I'll see back at home. Try to stay out of trouble,"

"That goes double for you. Try not to make the other students look like weaklings."

Kazumi knew all of her siblings' classes and knew Natsuo had P.E. next. Natsuo also knew his siblings' schedules.

"And you try not to outperform the others. You're too much of a drama queen already."

"Hmph! I am a better actor then you brother dear," Kazumi said before switching to Latin, ~You're lucky that girl left when she did. You need to be more careful.~

She was 100% serious for once too and Natsuo knew it. Merely nodding, Natsuo left heading to P.E.

When he got to his next class, he heads straight for the guys' locker room. Even though eyes of other guys followed him, no one dared approach him as he got ready for class. Putting things in his locker, he overhead a couple guys talking. Sounded like they were on the other side of the lockers.

"Hey have you seen the new college students yet?"

"Yep! Only from a distance, but the pink hair one is a hot one for sure. Man, I sure I'd to get to know her better if you get my drift."

Natsuo slammed the door of his locker and quickly confronted the duo.

"Which one of you wants to get to know my sister?"

The two looked freaked out and quickly left the scene. Satisfied that he scared them off, Kazuo got his kendo and headed out to where his class was and saw Iphi there. He groans but doesn't bother approaching her. He was never the type to start regular interactions.




After Natsuo left, Kazumi turns to Mafuyu.

"Sorry for my earlier rudeness. If you're curious, that was Latin I just spoke. I basically told my brother to be careful. Anyway, I am done eating myself so I am going to check on my dogs. They're right outside of campus. Sadly the school wouldn't allow them to accompany me, even though they're thoroughly obedient. They were raised to be with me all the time, so they would be depressed if I left them at home. My next class Drama, but it's not for another hour. You have a nice afternoon and thanks for your assistance."

Standing up, she bows to Mafuyu and leaves. Once she makes it to the entrance, she sees both Dawn and Eos, still where she left them. Knowing they needed exercise, Kazumi walks them to a nearby pet park and runs them for about 20 minutes before heading back. Giving them a snack, she heads for her drama class. She makes it with 5 minutes to spare and the first person she sees to her surprise that Mafuyu is there. Excited, she bounces right up to him.

"Hi Mafuyu, I didn't know you had this class too! I am definitely looking forward to this class, but I think my fav class I signed up for is Dance since it's something I've been doing since I can remember."

Setting

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Iphianassa Lykaois Character Portrait: Natsuo Orako
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”Those who are busy discussing your life,
Probably aren’t happy about theirs.”
~Unknown

Speech Code ~ #8A0808
| Thought Code ~ #045FB4


Relax As You Read ~ Center Your Thoughts




The gymnasium was a separate building from the main academy, and was actually split into two buildings as well. One for the university, and one for the high school. Both had their own pools, changing rooms, exercise rooms, and training rooms in addition to the stereotypical open gym. Two tennis courts rest behind the buildings, and a large track that measured a quarter mile, surrounded by bleachers, an announcer’s box, and a concessions stand were just on the other side of the courts. The inside of the buildings were easily converted into basketball courts if needed, but for the most part remained as open rooms for activity. Each building had its own supply closet, which sat just outside the doors to the full gyms, and there were even two archery zones on the opposite side of the university gymnasium.

Having grown accustomed to the expansive setup, Iphignea didn’t even bat an eye when she arrived, instead shoving in through the doors to the university gymnasium without a care in the world. She ignored the scathing looks the women gave her - she wasn’t well liked by girls her age - and the amused snickers of the men. An internal reminder, that it could always be worse. That she could be in Kazutora’s position, relentlessly hounded and beaten on a near-daily basis. Even her intervention did nothing to stem the bullying he received, so how could she possibly protect herself if she couldn’t protect him?

So, instead, she chose to ignore them. They would get bored eventually, she figured, so despite the whispers causing slithers of red to make their way across her vision, she made her way to the women’s locker room. Taunts shoved aside, her main focus being to throw herself into her workout, she was excited; exercise always made her feel better, no matter what the issue was.

The whispers didn’t end when she left the hallway. No, for the moment she entered the changing room, they picked up once more. But she had grown accustomed to this. She would be more confused if they didn’t mutter amongst themselves about her. People were like chickens, clucking away any little thing they heard just because they could, and as soon as one of them had seen, they all had seen. She had been careless as a child, newly adopted and settled in Japan. Having wanted to only make friends, she had trusted the wrong girl - or rather, girls. A sleepover gone wrong, memories that she wished to not recall; it all led to the inevitable discovery of her disfiguration.

As though in response, her back began a slight burning ache. It no longer hurt, no, for it was long healed. But the memory of the pain was something that Iphianassa would never forget, not for the rest of her days. Her hand idly rubbed at the back of her shoulder, as though to somewhat soothe the sting of memories past. It did little to stem the reminder, so with a little shrug and shake, she continued to her locker. Thankfully, the other women had decided to leave her be for the day and it was in its normal state, and they even allowed her to change her clothes in peace - aside for the shit-talking, of course. It didn’t matter that they knew; she refused to give them the satisfaction of seeing her scars. She could make due with a sweatsuit for her workout while at school.

It used to make her angry, the way that they spoke about her. She used to fly off the handle and wish to beat them senseless, and if she was being honest, it was something that she still would find great satisfaction in. But she was older, wiser, and she knew better than to simply attack them. She needed this school to work. She couldn’t afford to go to any other university, what with her free housing at the temple. She had to behave, even if that meant putting up with the immaturity of her classmates.

Her locker slammed with a slight echo, causing her peers to stop their chattering in surprise. The air grew awkward and tense when she simply tilted her head, revealing a viscous glare in their directions. The changing room echoed only with the sound of a dripping faucet, all the way up until she had left, and only when the door was swinging shut did she begin to hear the tittering pick up once more. What an ugly bitch. Stuck up whore. Slut. Bacon backed bitch. It was endless, and try as she might, it still stung a little.

Her mere existence was such a nuisance to those around her.

A head shake, clenched fist to accompany it. She had a class to attend, and she would be damned if she missed it because of some snooty plastic wannabes.

The gym was where they would always meet before dispersing to their own workouts, so with a quick tuck of her water bottle under her arm, she leaned slightly to the side to begin pulling back her long hair into a ponytail. It wasn’t until she had come to a stop where the rest of the students were gathered that she finally turned her gaze up, immediately landing on one of the last people - or perhaps first people? She didn’t know how to feel anymore - she wanted to see. Natsuo Orako.

His tense expression changed when they made eye contact, as though he too had only just spotted her, and the face that he made wasn’t really one that made it seem as though he liked her. Maybe the whole interaction at lunch, even his disconnect, was a facade, and he actually couldn’t stand her already? Had he already heard from the other college students what a psychotic bitch she was? Possibly. At this point, she wouldn’t put it past them to key in on the new students and immediately start their little charade of pretending to be their friends.

So, with her small amount of confidence dashed by that look, Iphi decided it was best not to approach him, at least for today. Instead, she gave him a slightly uncertain smile and a small half-wave. Just because he didn’t seem to want to be friends didn’t mean she couldn’t at least still be nice. He was Kazutora’s new friend’s older brother after all. If it meant more protection for her Zuzu, she’d do anything.

Class passed by in a blur. She focused mostly on stamina for today, opting to go for a run at the track. She self-timed, of course, and was proud to see that she had knocked off three seconds from her mile run by the end of class. It had been hard work, but she was finally in a position where she felt as though she were ready to begin training for the next competition.

Before she knew it, her peers were dispersing. She lingered, if only to have access to a fully empty locker room, and fanned herself to cool down as she waited. The room eventually emptied, leaving her to be able to shower in privacy. While it was something they knew about, she still didn’t want to risk anyone seeing them; she was ugly, and she knew that. She didn’t need anyone else to confirm that for her. It was why she only owned one mirror, which was used for the sole purpose of ensuring her hair wasn’t entirely crazy.

When she finally left the building, it was a relief to step out into the fresh air. School was always so stifling for her, no matter how much she tried to love it, she would always have a mixed relationship with the establishment. Thankfully, she had the next hour to herself before temple duties. She would miss Zuzu, as he got out of class when she already had to be at the Temple, and that worried her tremendously, but there was not much she could do. Today was a major ceremony and she couldn’t be late. All she could do was hope against hope that he’d be okay without her. He was a tough kid, so he’d be okay, right?

Iphignea spent the next hour, well, bullshitting to say the least. She made her way back to the temple and took care of her dog before preemptively changing into her ceremonial gown and headdress. Afterwards, she settled in to wait, killing time studying for her Spanish quiz that would be held the next day.

Setting

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kazuyuki Orako Character Portrait: Reiya Goertz
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"Overjoyed that you've gotten to the flat spot -
In the field and you're starting to feel -
That it's hearkening to something heartening."

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"When you play,
Never mind who listens to you."
- Robert Schumann

















Kazuyuki Speech Code ~ #a59bbd | Kazuyuki Thought Code ~ #aec8f3 | Reiya Speech Code ~ #d66b70


.
School days never seem to end here. After every hour of one subject, Kazuyuki finds himself faced with another teacher who has another subject ready. Once they've finally left their homeroom, there's still another classroom, with another teacher, with another subject, for another hour. He feels both restless and exhausted, leg bouncing through the entirety of his fifth period class while his head aches for another nap and a break from so many unfamiliar scents - too many unpleasant ones, if he's honest - that the school held. At least he's mostly left alone through this hour besides the stares that still burned into the back of his head. Were they good or bad? He wasn't sure, but either way they were impolite.

Harmonix - Velonix - doesn't join him for this class, off in home ec apparently. None of the others he'd met thus far were in this class either, though; Kazutora shared home ec with Velonix, and Reiya was in creative writing. The classroom's location was one he'd memorized and was approaching now after they'd parted ways earlier after a brief meeting with her enthusiastic cousin. She'd pointed him in the direction of his fifth period before, but now he'd need her help getting to orchestra.

Halcyon had been slightly surprised over the fact that the school had one in such a small town. Typically a small town meant a small high school, and that often left schools underfunded. At the very least, western schools seemed to cut out the arts quite swiftly when funding was low, but maybe it was different in Japan? Either way, he was relieved to find it to be the case for this school; while there were one or two other clubs that he might've been alright with joining, orchestra is the one he knows he'll excel in.

The creative writing and literature classroom eventually comes into view again and Kazuyuki takes in a few small breaths as he approaches the door, left slightly ajar from careless students who had probably left just moments before he'd arrived. His hand moves to take hold of the edge of it and fingers lightly rest around the back before it's pushed open, low rattle of the door against its track quietly announcing his arrival to the room. It's somewhat emptied already by now, a few of the students heading for their club activities or hanging around with friends in the class for awhile longer, though he doesn't pay much mind to those still left in the room beyond searching for one familiar face. Reiya was still here, right? Small as she was, she sort of blended in with the others, but Kazuyuki's height let him get a better view over the heads of classmates at least.

Eventually he spots the peachy colored hair of the girl still at her desk and a faintly relieved smile graces his expression; being back to familiar faces - no matter the fact that they'd just barely met; a vague acquaintance was better than a complete stranger in his eyes - let his heart rest a little more than it had been for the last hour.

It's a few easy strides over to the girl's spot, head tilting slightly as he approaches with a, "Reiya? Are you still alright with helping me get to orchestra?"

Reiya had been relieved when Japanese and English were over because as much as she loved her cousin, she’d been a bit too exuberant today, mostly due to the new student being there. Plus, Yuki was pretty distracting, even though it was no fault of his own. So she definitely welcomed the break from him for her next two classes of P.E. and Creative Writing. She still pointed Yuki in the right direction of his next class though. Time flew by and by the time her last class was done, Reiya made sure to stay put since she had promised Yuki to help him find Orchestra. Sure enough he did show up. He seemed happy to see her. Reiya returned the grin and hoped she would be able to focus on the club they both shared.

”It’s no problem, especially since I am in that club too. It’s in the auditorium near here.”

Standing up, she got her things before leading him out of the classroom and building. Thankfully it didn’t take them too long to get to their destination. All eyes centered on them, more specifically Yuki, when they came in. Reiya chose to ignore the stares and just went in, not expecting Yuki to follow her.

Yet despite her expectations, Kazuyuki does exactly that. With no one else familiar in the room, he finds himself sticking with following quietly behind her, much better off keeping pace with someone he feels slightly comfortable with than trying to settle into a spot on his own. He wasn't sure how this hour would go - he'd never been in an orchestra before, only ever played alone in his room, though he'd done a bit of research and watched some videos before now just to be sure he wouldn't make a total fool of himself. But all the same, what should he expect? How were things handled here? Was there assigned seating? Surely each instrument would be specific to their own space, but where was he? Violin, though when he'd played for the high school's conductor to determine his level and placement, something about being the orchestra's soloist had been mentioned practically as soon as he was done. Would he sit with the rest of the violinists, or would he have a spot somewhere else?

So he trails behind the peach haired girl, brown-grey eyes taking in the rest of the orchestra room at a leisurely pace. It was set up like all the ones he'd seen in videos and pictures, chairs laid out in a half-moon shape with a music stand placed between two at a time. The front, with a slightly raised platform where he imagines the class's conductor will stand during practice and rehearsals. A white board with remnants of music notes and symbols that haven't been fully erased. Cabinets and lockers line the walls, likely for storing each students' instrument for the day while they're in class. He wasn't really sure where his had ended up; the teacher had taken it for him so he wouldn't have to worry about crossing campus again to get to class. There's a larger closet, possibly where extra instruments, sheet music, and more lay. The most attention grabbing is the grand piano set off to the side, meant for an accompanist he assumes. And if he was assuming right, it was where Reiya was headed.

He can't help the slight pique of curiosity that comes with that. She'd crossed him as potentially a violinist, but was it piano she played instead? For how long? How well? Would he get to hear her play much today?

"Are you the pianist for the orchestra, Reiya?" He gets himself to vocalize the question for his curiosity, hand running lightly over the glistening black body of the piano as they get close enough for him to reach, "how long have you been playing?"

Reiya turned to Yuki when he asked a question. Looking at the piano, she was reminded of her mother, who loved the piano. She had her own piano at her home, even though it wasn’t a grand piano like this one. Trying to keep a straight face, she replied to Yuki.

”Yes, I am. I learned by watching . . . . my mother.”

While reading was her main source of escapism, when in the past she wanted to outwardly express her grief, she always played the piano. Wanting to not dwell on the past, she decided to ask Yuki something.

“What’s your instrument?”

Kazuyuki listens with a quiet hum as Reiya answers his question, a quieter tone taken when she mentions her mother. It leaves him tilting his head slightly; he's curious now, but knows better than to pry on sensitive matters. Especially one involving parents. Trying to dig over someone else's might lead to them asking about his, and beyond the general story of he and his siblings adoptive parents having died, he's not entirely confident in spinning more lies about the sort of people they were.

The conversation of instruments pulls his attention back a moment later though, a glance around to see if he can spot the case of his, still not in sight, "I play the violin." He shifts to lean against the piano a little more, heavy enough that it doesn’t budge even with his weight, "but I…could probably do fine with the cello and viola, too. The violin is just what I prefer."

He's not able to get much more in before the teacher for their club arrives. Mr. Sakurada was his name, a taller man with a friendly personality. Unlike many of the other teachers who are dressed in business casual to business formal, the orchestra conductor is in much more casual wear that gives him an even more lax aura: a loose t-shirt with a jacket worn over the top, and a pair of jeans.

As Kazuyuki's gaze turns downward, he spots a familiar case held in the man's hands: his violin. No wonder he couldn't find it; it seemed like their conductor had kept it with him for the day rather than dropping it off here. Maybe he just hadn't had time to swing it by? Who knows.

The man scans the room for a second before he spots Kazuyuki, easy enough with his height and hair color, and in just a few strides he's made it over to where he stands with Reiya, eager smile on his face.

"Afternoon, Reiya. I see you've made friends with our club's newest member?" Casually he turns to face Kazuyuki next, holding out the case he'd been carrying with him until now, "sorry I didn't get this back here sooner. Things got a little hectic today, but I made sure it was safe and sound while it was with me." He pats the top of the case, and Kazuyuki takes it out of his hands once it's held further in his direction, a comfortable weight back in his hands. "I'm sure you're wondering about placement and whatnot; no need to worry. For now, I'll let you stick close to Reiya since you two seem to have hit it off." Kazuyuki can't tell if the man is joking or not by the tone of his voice, but he doesn't dwell on it. "Once you're more situated and comfortable I'll get you a proper place up front as our soloist, but until then…" He takes a few steps over to snag a collapsed music stand and a chair, placing it just a few paces away from the piano bench, "this spot'll work, right?" He pats the top of the chair, sparing a glance to Reiya as if to gauge her reaction, and then to Kazuyuki again.

"Anyway, I've got to start getting things in order for us to get moving through another practice, but all the sheet music is tucked in the sleeve of your case, so feel free to look through it if you want." A pause, "though you did say you already learned the full concerto a year or two ago, so I'm sure it won't be too hard to pick up again." That was a lie he'd come up with on the spot; it was more like he could just play anything put in front of him given his own proficiency with stringed instruments, so he never had to worry about learning new songs from the beginning like any human would.

Mr. Sakurada is off to the front where his stand is after that, sorting through papers and talking with the other students. Kazuyuki himself settles into the seat he'd been provided, his case on his lap as he does, and he pops it open to reveal the violin inside in the same condition he'd left it. It doesn't take long to go through the motions of getting it ready, having done it thousands of times already before. So instead he's turning his attention back over to Reiya as he attaches the shoulder rest, reaching for the bow and rosin next. With the both of them seeming to be people of few words and barely a step above strangers, conversation is a little difficult, but Kazuyuki tries his best. Trying to make a friend was difficult; given his own tendency to just stay alone and really having only interacted with his immediate family for…only the gods - or, well, his parents - know how long, trying to speak with and get to know a stranger feels a bit over his head.

Should he try channeling Harmonix? He feels as though he'd just make a fool of himself, if he did.

Sucking in a small breath, he lets the bow lay balanced in his lap once he finishes drawing the amber colored resin over the strings a few times, "I guess I'll be sticking by you for now, then. Will that be a bother for you? I'll do my best to not get in the way of your work." A pause, he shifts a bit in his seat, "I…look forward to hearing you play."

Reiya remained silent as Yuki spoke. So he could play several string instruments? That was talent. He must really love music to want to learn several. Soon the instructor appeared and made commentary on her and Yuki, which for some reason caused Reiya to blush. She had noticed the stares they were getting from other students and several of the girls gave her looks of envy. She chose to ignore them of course. She was used to them by now since she still got stares from people in general due to her light colored hair. Anyone who didn’t have dark hair stood out in Japan, especially in a small town like this. Even Reiya knew this before moving to Japan.

When Mr. Sakurada asked her about putting Yuki near her for now, Reiya simply nodded.

”It’s no problem.”

She hoped that would be true. When their instructor left, Yuki spoke up again and said he hoped he wouldn’t be a bother.

”It’s okay,” she said automatically.

Technically he was already a bother, but she wasn’t bound to say because it was pretty rude and Yuki had been nothing but nice to her. Still he was too attractive for his own good. She wondered if he was aware of that. She blushed a little when he said he looked forward to hearing her play. Thankfully before she could respond, Mr. Sakurada started things up.

"Alright, everyone!" The man is standing on the platform at the front now, several papers laid out in front of him as he gathers attention, "as usual an hour is barely enough time to practice, so let’s do our best to keep on task so we can get through everything we need to today." Another paper shuffles over the top of the stand in front of him, and he glances over it, "let’s see… We still haven’t finalized a date for the concert, but plan on it being held during the last week of this semester. As always, you can invite friends and family to watch, but please remind friends to not get rowdy, thank you." A slightly sarcastic remark, it seems mostly joking at least with the few snickers that follow it, and he continues down the paper. "Not important…not important…don’t need to cover that… Well! Onto the final announcement already then!" The paper is discarded in a tiny trash bin right next to his stand, "We have ourselves a new member and a new soloist! I know we’ve been trying to figure out who to put in that spot since Musuda graduated last year, but it looks like our problem has gone ahead and solved itself. Kazuyuki Orako’s going to be filling in that position from here on out for the year, so please be sure to give him a warm welcome!"

Kazuyuki finds himself hesitating again slightly when his classmates turn to look at him again, a small hand raising to wave in an awkward greeting as some whispers start up again. Hopefully people would start getting used to him, sooner rather than later.

Mr. Sakurada pulls back attention easily enough, "and now, let’s dive into our practice, shall we? Since we’ve already run over the spring and summer movements of Vivaldi’s seasons," he briefly remembers the unexpected laugh that he’d barely managed to stifle when the man had told him the pieces they were playing, "let's go ahead and start our playthrough of autumn for this week. Everyone ready?"

To say the least, the first few times trying to run through it is nothing short of a mess. Perhaps this was to be expected; he knew the sort of effect he and his siblings' musical focus had on mortals, and he should have been more prepared for the way so many of them seemed to startle to a halt in their own playing once he began. So much attention once his solo parts of the pieces rang through clear in the air, flawless and hypnotizing, and he manages to keep it as such despite the stares as the sound of his violin fills the room. It's not until several attempts later that most of the students seem to have calmed down over it, settling back into playing somewhat well without coming to a complete halt when Kazuyuki's portion came around again.

Needless to say, he's relieved when the hour is over. At the very least he hopes that it will only get easier from that day forward so he doesn't regret his decision, but changing his mind at this point felt far too late, and he wasn't about to cause any stress or difficulties for those around him on day one.

Besides, he'd rather enjoyed being able to stay near Reiya for the period of the club. If she would eventually be alright with it, he hoped they could become friends.

Until then, it seems that was where they would part ways for the day. It's a briefly shared goodbye before she's disappeared out the door, mixing in with the rest of the students of Higashi-Naruse's high school, and Kazuyuki finds himself alone in the quiet again.

A sigh and he's gathered up his things, heading in the direction of the school's gates with a yawn.

Mm…a nap once I get home, definitely…

Setting

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Character Portrait: Kazumi Orako Character Portrait: Mafuyu Hanazawa
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mafuyu hanazawa.
dialogue ; #7f9f91. – thought ; #bb7e8c.
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It seems everyone is keen on going their separate ways sooner rather than later. Mafuyu gives a small sigh as they all begin to disperse, rising up onto his own feet after offering a small wave in Iphianassa's direction first, and then the sibling's when they depart soon after. He still has a bit of time before his next class, he notes, and as such finds his way to a different spot on campus.

The fountain area is where he settles, a small table situated under one of the pergolas surrounding it, a little structure that keeps it shaded and cool. It's nearby the building his next period is held in: drama. He'd never really been overly interested in that form of the arts, not quite seeing much talent for himself when it came to acting, but it was one of the generals he was required to take and as such he'd just hoped he could make it through the course quickly and call it good.

He's shuffling through his backpack at his spot now, a quick work of trying to pick out his laptop, any paper homework he could work on while sitting here, and eventually he pulls out a few of the papers from his English class. His professor was already assigning out essays, lucky him.

Trying to write multi-page essays in English was always a struggle; second languages were never easy, and the rules of the typically western language always had far too many exceptions. It meant that anything from this class would take practically double the time it would if he'd been writing it in Japanese, so trying to get a head start was a much better choice than putting it off for as long as he can.

In the half hour he has left to work, he finishes around half a page. Good enough for him, though. It only left about three-ish more pages for his rough draft, and he could try and write a little more before crashing tonight if he had the energy after triple tutoring shifts.

Gathering up his things and tossing them back into his backpack, he swings the strap around his shoulder and lifts the skateboard off the ground, making way for the arts building just a short walk away. It's busy as usual, full of students from all different departments: fine arts, design, fashion, acting and more. He knew a fair few of them at this point, familiar from high school or just having eventually gotten to know them over the course of the few years he'd been here. Most of the art students were nice, if not sometimes a bit eccentric, so he found he didn't much mind the environment that this building held.

As he steps through the doors of the classroom, he finds himself immediately greeted with the head of pink hair from before. They hadn't been apart for very long since their last goodbyes; who would've thought they'd share a class together too?

Kazumi has run right over to him in an instant, a little hop to her step as she goes that makes her look light and chipper on her feet, her hair settling to lightly frame her face once she's made it to him. Mafuyu supposes he shouldn't be as surprised about her approach; compared to her brother - Natsuo? - she seemed far more eager to meet new people and socialize, and perhaps even make friends. It was a welcomed change of pace, of course; why wouldn't Mafuyu want more friends? Especially one as pretty and bubbly as she was. Not that Mafuyu was shallow, or at least he didn't consider himself as such, but that didn't mean he couldn't acknowledge someone else's appearance, right?

"Hi Mafuyu!" Comes her greeting, and he offers a smile and a wave in return. "I didn't know you had this class too! I am definitely looking forward to this class, but I think my fave class I signed up for is Dance since it's something I've been doing since I can remember."

"I guess it's a surprise for both of us; I hadn't expected you to be here either." He lets his head tilt slightly as she talks, "dance, then? You must be an art major, by the sounds of the classes you've picked for your schedule." He laughs lightly, glancing around the room to their classmates settling into the seats scattered over the open room, the professor making her way to the front of it, likely to begin getting things in order so they can get going.

Taking a step forward, he begins his inching towards the usual spot he'd settled into for the last two weeks, a few other regulars gathering around it in their own seats as well, "if we're going to be sharing this class for the rest of the semester, wanna sit with me? We could help each other out with classwork and homework too." A little forward, but he still leaves it open for her to reject if she doesn't actually want to. It doesn't hurt to try, though. Making a new friend, and if they hit it off well enough, maybe he could gather the courage to ask her out on a date?

He'd have to wait and see, though. They'd only just barely met and he hardly knew her; that would be moving things way too fast.

Regardless, their professor begins the class in short order. As early in as they are, the class is still largely lecture-based, note taking and listening as she goes over her lesson, watching a few clips of examples from past plays, both professional and ones that had been held by the college itself. The instructor had mentioned that an option for the class's final project would be taking part in this semester's play, whether a main part of just an extra, so long as they participated and made it to all the practices and rehearsals, they'd get an A. He still wasn't sure if he wanted to take that for the final, or if it would be too much on top of his already busy schedule.

If Kazumi liked the arts so much, would she end up checking out the play? Tryouts were in just a week, after all, so she still had a chance even if she was joining the semester late.

The very end of class is a bit more involved for the lot of them. While not everyone participates in it, and Mafuyu very much hangs back, other students take to practicing improv, monologues, and a bit of other acting practices that seemed to mainly be used as a passtime for the rest of the class, given the professor was finished with her lectures for the day. Even if he's not participating, he does at least find entertainment in watching the others, and it closes the remaining fifteen minutes in short order.

Which meant he had about forty-five minutes left before he had to be to the tutoring lab for the university for his first shift of the day. It never felt like enough time, given he liked to run back to his apartment for a little bit to gather things first. So he doesn't waste much time in heading out, a final goodbye to Kazumi and a hope to get to talk again tomorrow, a casual mention that he'd enjoyed getting to know her and chat for a bit today and then he's off, the only things on his mind tutoring and pink hair.

Setting

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kazutora Miyato Character Portrait: Velonix Orako
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”Being alone is good,
But being lonely is the worst.”
~Unknown

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"I feel lost here; is this what it seems?
Hoping you can show me -
what it really means."

















Kazutora Speech Code ~ #853232 | Kazutora Thought Code ~ #035d63
Velonix Speech Code ~ #B43104 | Velonix Thought Code ~ #FE9A2E
Phoenix Speech Code ~ #FF0000 | Phoenix Thought Code ~ #DF0174
Dual Speech Code ~ #D102E2 | Dual Thought Code ~ #E27FFA

Relax Your Mind ~ As you read




The rest of the class period seemed to go well enough. With Velonix's earlier demand for their classmates to essentially leave them alone, he found the hour passed relatively peacefully compared to how the rest of the day had been. No burning stares and no whispers, everyone else too focused on getting the lengthy recipe for a roll cake out of the way so they could be done with the class, and maybe get to take a slice or two to eat during club hour or bring home. He found it refreshing, despite still being with the girl who had been an extreme change of pace for him.

Sharing a cooking station and working together with someone who didn't hate him was...nice, he found. Not so lonely. Maybe he was starting to get used to Velonix's presence?

Or he had just been worn out enough to not have the energy to panic over it like he had been all day.

All the same, working together with her made the time pass by faster than it had these last few weeks in class on his own. Even with her slightly odd behavior - she avoided contact with him now, so unlike how she would snatch up his hand or arm without a second thought before - Kazutora was content working through the list of steps and ingredients with her with a little bit of conversation here or there as they progressed. He was only slightly impatient to see the way the dessert would turn out in the end. Velonix found herself relaxing into an oddly familiar comfort, one that reminded her of when she would cook with her mother. They never needed to eat, of course, but earthly food was so delicious that it was a shame not to, and her mother had always been keen on ensuring health. A soft pang of homesickness hit her chest, but she shook it off, focusing instead on the dessert and Kazutora.

By the end of the hour they'd finished their roll cake. It was surprisingly pretty for a first attempt, and silently Kazutora wondered if he should take a few slices. He knew better, though. There was no way they'd make it home in one piece. Avoiding getting caught up in anything was always the hardest after school, after all.

And he had...probably gotten himself an inescapable fight after what he'd said to Kenji.

Shaking his head a little, he washed his hands off in the sink of their table, most of the dishes having been cleaned up and stored away in between times they'd had to wait for the food in the oven or for the cake to cool. There's little disposable boxes to the side - one for each of them if they want to take any - but if not Ms. Hanagaki was apparently confident she'd be able to find staff or other students that would enjoy a free treat. Not wanting to prolong her hands' bareness anymore than necessary, Vel found herself scooting in to wash her own once he had slid away, hurriedly, as though anxious to have them covered once more. A security blanket, in a way. Kazutora's gaze drifted to it for a second, the way she seemed to relax so quickly once they were covered back up. His mind was no help in trying to solve the reasoning behind the gloves and her behavior, the only thing it could come up with a simple, germaphobe?

His hands dried off with the rag nearby, he set it back on its hook before turning back to Velonix, head tilting slightly as he gave a small hum of thought. "I guess this is where we part ways for today?" He paused briefly, "I can show you to the art room for your club before I head off to mine though, er, if...you'd like?" Her movements slowed as she rubbed her hands dry, towel gripped tightly at the mention of no longer being in a class with someone that she at least somewhat knew. Everything about Earth, while a bit familiar, was completely foreign to her. Not that Kazutora or any of the other humans would know or understand that. The closest thing she could find to explain it in a way they would comprehend was to simply say that it was a major adjustment to move to a new country - not an entirely new planet.

Retrieving her gloves, she tugged them on gently as she began to speak. ”I suppose you would be right, as unfortunate as that is. I would be appreciative if you could show me the way. Otherwise, knowing my sense of direction, I more than likely will be lost until the end of school entirely.” A soft laugh escaped her, and before she or Kazutora could say anything else, Ms. Hanagaki clapped her hands from the front of the room, drawing the attention of the entire class.

”Amazing work as always, class! I loved seeing all of the different ways you each implemented your own personal touches into this dessert! I’ve finished grading them all, and final points will be posted tomorrow before class, as usual. Don’t forget to make sure your stations are set the way that you would want them to be if you were the next ones coming in, and leave the remainder of your dishes on the table if you don’t wish to take any with you. Other than that, you are free to disperse.” As though on queue, the ring of the bell signaled the end of class, and opting not to take any of their dessert with her - she had enough sweets at home as was - Velonix simply scooped her bag and turned an expectant look up to Kazutora, who returned the gaze a little easier this time than he had the rest of the day.

”Shall we?”

They fell in stride with one another, Velonix easily keeping up with Kazutora, but after the day that she’d had so far, she could feel her own energy levels dipping. The blonde couldn't help but notice the slight shift in demeanor; a little quieter, a little less…springy with her step. He'd honestly doubted it was possible for her to ever get tired, but maybe he was about to be proven wrong. It had been a rollercoaster, that was certain, and her emotions were slowly reaching a level of exhaustion that she had not felt in a long time. The highs, the lows, the anger - it was a lot. But she shoved down her fatigue and easily kept up with her new friend - her heart still flittered a bit at the word - and found herself once again in an odd sense of comfort. Perhaps some humans could have that effect on her, just as she did them. Who knew? This excursion to Earth could possibly reveal so many new things that none of them even had an inkling about.

Before she knew it, they had reached the door of the art clubroom. The trip was far too short, leaving her with little to no time to mentally prepare for an entirely new classroom full of new students. A sense of anxiety washed over her and she absentmindedly chewed at the thumb of her glove. What if none of them liked her? What if she did something to embarrass herself, or even worse, show her ‘true’ colors, so to speak? What if, what if, what if. The words ran in circles through her mind, filling her with an unexplained wave of frustration and apprehension. After a moment of mulling everything over, she forced herself to focus again - now was not the time to get lost in the clouds. Everything would be perfectly fine.

A beaming smile - she had gotten disturbingly good at covering her emotions with a false grin - and she stepped back towards the door, giving Kazutora a somewhat shy look, an unfamiliar sense awkwardness sliding across her. ”Well, thank you - for showing me the way, I mean. I suppose that we will not see one another until class tomorrow morning.” She paused, debating on what to say next, before mentally shrugging and simply spitting it out. What did she have to lose, anyway? ”I look forward to it.” Despite her false bravado, she felt a bit embarrassed, her own forwardness being followed by a subtle shyness. With that final bit slid out, she scampered into the room - in all honesty, it was more of an escape - her embarrassment over her own words quite clear in her swift departure.




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The clubroom was much of what one would expect from an area devoted to the arts; several individual work desks, one large work bench, and countless easels filled the center of the room and were scattered throughout. Tubs upon tubs of supplies lined the walls, along with paint buckets and even more endless necessities to have within a room that would be made up of those who thrived off of creativity. Two doors aside from the one that led to the hallway sat on a single wall, undoubtedly leading to a closet and the actual art classroom itself.

Velonix didn’t stop to study the room for long. It wasn’t the building that she was interested in, but instead the people, and with her currently favorite human not within immediate proximity, she found herself feeling like an odd duckling, out of the group and on her own. It was something that she had only experienced on earth, for whenever she was with her siblings, they were always together. It was rare that she had much time wholly to herself, and she wasn’t quite sure how she felt about the isolation in a normally social setting. Was this what Kazutora had been feeling, every single day of every single year of his schooling? Treatment like that did not just start out of nowhere. Even a few minutes of it filled her with vast discomfort, and as a result she could only internally scream at the injustice of it all. What had he done to deserve what she had seen today?

”You’re Velonix, right?”

The sudden intrusion wrenched her so violently from her thoughts that Velonix actually jumped - because of a human, how funny was that? - and her frantic glances landed on a familiar girl. It took a moment for her to remember why she looked so familiar, but once she had, she simply tilted her head a bit. ”Yes … I am Velonix.” She knew she spoke in a way that the teenagers of Earth would describe as uncomfortable but she could not help it; years of conversing with Astraea had made her manner of speaking too robotic for her own liking. She could only imagine what the humans thought, and she cleared her throat in an effort to dispel some of her self-consciousness. ”Was there something that I could help you with?” Internally, she prepared herself for another onslaught of insults and warnings over Kazutora, because at this point, she would not put it past any of the students here to act so irrationally.

The blond smiled, and something in the way that her sharp yet gentle features upturned, mixed with the gorgeous blues and silvers of her aura, sent a wave of calm over Velonix. This girl exuded relaxation and kindness, but also loyalty and ferocity, and Velonix found her interest piqued over what other possibilities that this human girl could possess.

”I didn’t really get a chance to say so earlier, but my name is Aoki, Kaori - but you can just call me Kaori.” A hand held out, as though expectant, but when it garnered only a stare in response, the girl retracted it, seemingly unperturbed by the new one’s peculiarity. ”I just figured you could maybe use some company. I know you’ve been hanging out with the mons-Miyato,” she quickly caught herself, as though she had seen the way that Velonix’s expression twisted at the beginning of the word that was becoming ever-clear as Kazutora’s ‘nickname’, disgusting as it was. ”He’s not in this class, so I figured that you could use someone on your side. Considering who you’re choosing to be friends with right off bat, you’re really gonna need the support.” When Velonix returned the girl’s words with yet another blank stare, the blond quirked a brow, as though unbothered by the blandness in the new one’s reaction. Her hands did go up defensively, as though trying to say she meant no harm. ”What? Don’t give me that look. You know just as well as I do from being near him all day just how the people in this school see him. If you’re really going to insist on being his friend, then you’re going to want to find the less aggressive people here to fill in the rest of the gaps when it comes to that. You can’t only be friends with him, after all.” According to whom? Why can’t I be friends with only him? But she already knew the answer to those questions, and when she gave no verbal answer, Kaori’s expression softened a bit.

”Look … Miyato has a bad rep, but I for one don’t think he’s a complete monster. He’s just … Weird. Maybe a little bit of a freak - but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!” she scrambled to cover herself, as though sensing Velonix’s budding reaction to the slight. ”The people in this school just suck, and that comes with living in a small town. But if you’re willing, I’d like it if we could become friends.”

Velonix paused, looking the girl up and down once more. Her hesitation obvious in her face, she mulled over the options. Spend club- and ultimately every art club - bored and alone, or try not to look a gift horse in the mouth? Perhaps not all of the humans here were a lost cause.

At that, Velonix cracked a small smile, one that bespoke her remaining uncertainty. ”Sure … Why not? One class could not hurt.” And with that, art began.

Kaori spent the period catching Velonix up on what they had covered so far and what they were currently working on, as well as where a majority of the supplies were. She thanked her luck at her good memory - other than the incident, of course - because there were a ridiculous amount of places for different types of art stock. Their club advisor, a young man not much older than they were who went by the name of Mr. Kutsuki, was patient and kind - perhaps almost a bit too kind - but Velonix shrugged the small bit of chill that prickled at the back of her neck when he came too close. She was too on edge after such a long day, and a normal human shouldn’t have bothered her so much with his presence, but then again, the sensitivity could be due to emotional overload. She chose not to think too hard about it, for she was already incredibly tired and still had a shift to work even after school had finished. Instead, she rubbed the feeling away, idly smoothing her hand across her neck, and gave Kaori a smile when the girl glanced her way.

By the time class had ended, Velonix found herself more relaxed than before. The task had been simple, a floral painting of any type, and she had ended up with a rather simple water color piece that she was quite proud of.Creating anything always filled her with a sense of familiarity, and despite being so far from home, she couldn’t help the comfort that was beginning to slither its way into her bones.

A quick farewell after trading phone numbers and promising to ‘text’ - human technology was fascinating! - Velonix parted ways with Kaori once the final bell had rang, eager to make her way to work early enough to leave a good impression, and also possibly begin learning the ropes sooner rather than later. She was excited, after all - it was her first job, and in a lovely little bookstore no less, so of course she couldn’t contain her thrill. Not to mention, another new friend candidate, for she had been informed that there was only one other employee - and it was someone she went to school with, no less! Thankfully, while the campus was rather large it wasn’t obnoxiously so, and one could cross the entirety of it within ten to twenty minutes, so she was able to leave the property of the school with no disturbances. The students she passed on her exit were strangers, none of their faces striking her as someone she knew, so she paid them no mind just as they did her.

The moment that she had rounded the corner upon leaving the school gates, she felt a gentle warmth slide over her. A glance up and to the side revealed Dusk and Mio, easily keeping up with her along the wall that followed her path. They said nothing, for truly there was little to be said, but simply stayed close, happy to be within reach of their mistress once more. They could ask her of her day later; right now, she was still out and about, so they did not wish to disturb her more than necessary. They knew what this ‘trip’ meant to her; it wasn’t some silly vacation decided upon a whim. It was a matter of life or death at this point, at least for their Oni, and they were taking it just as seriously. They had spent the day exploring the different nooks and crannies that the school offered, intent on learning their way around it by heart, but hadn’t found anything of note - at least, not yet.

As Velonix walked, she began to hum to herself. Her hand idly retrieved a granola bar from her bag. While she did not necessarily feel ‘hunger’, per-say, she did feel ‘cravings’ that were somewhat similar, and right now she had the inkling for something sweet but not too much so, making the chocolate bar just right. Her steps never faltered and as she chewed and walked, she observed the areas that crossed her path. There wasn’t anything that stood out to her - a few families and couples here and there, the occasional solo expeditioner, either walking or biking, and maybe a few people walking their dogs. Mio and Dusk, although not bound by normal cat behaviors, did know better than to approach an unfamiliar animal on Earth, so instead kept their height, barely noticeable unless they were being looked for. A few shops, a library, a gas station - it was what one would expect from any town.

Having mapped her route before school, Velonix knew the quickest way to the bookstore. She had made sure to memorize it before she left for the day, because as she always said, it was better to be early than on time or even - just the word made her cringe - late. With that thought in mind, she peaked up, counting the store numbers that she passed until she had reached a small mom-and-pop convenience shop. Just on the other side of the building was a slight turn, one that led through a block-long alleyway just wide enough to fit two people side-by-side which, if followed, would break out into another street, with Zwemmer’s Books just on the other side.

Mio and Dusk hopped down as they neared the corner, finally able to be at their mistress’s feet, but the moment she turned the corner, her footsteps came to a sudden halt. It caught the pair off-guard, causing them both to stumble a bit in their four-legged trek, and after a look of confusion passed between them, they glanced up at her and then followed her gaze. For, as she had rounded the corner, a horrifying sight came into her view.

About halfway between the entrance that she stood in and the exit on the other side was Kenji, hunched over and hyper-focused on someone slouched on the ground before him. One hand was twisted roughly in the front of the boy’s shirt, the other in the motion of pulling back as though to land a strike. It was that movement that she was finally given a better view on the boy who had found himself on the receiving end of Kenji’s fury - Kazutora. Despite the clear beating that he had suffered, he was still holding himself up surprisingly well. His hair was a mess, as was his uniform which was torn and dirtied, but her main focus was the blood. There wasn’t an obscene amount of it, but for someone who found herself unable to maintain composure over the sight, even the smallest of it could send her over the edge.

But Kazutora. Those two words alone were enough to keep her from spiraling. His bloodied face, still recovering from helping her earlier, was quickly swelling and beginning to show signs of bruises, and it was clear it had only been a few minutes of this at most. Undoubtedly the pain was excruciating, especially given it was the second physical assault he had gone through in a single day. The mere sight of his state was enough to send her insides boiling over the edge, much akin to lava creeping over the openings of a volcano. Violent, raging, uncontrollable.

The echo of laughter in her head momentarily drew her in, the chuckled out words that followed far too compelling for her liking.

Burn him alive, until there’s nothing left but charcoal and smoke!

Nails dug into her palms, her body self-consciously trying to draw her fury back, away from the human who could not survive it, and Kazutora by possible default. She could not lose control, especially not here, especially not in front of Kazutora. So instead, she flicked a glance at the ground beside her. Mere seconds had passed in the amount of time it took her to process all of this, and at that point, Kenji was in the process of bringing his fist directly at Kazutora’s face. No! Before she could stop herself - would she if she could have, though? - she had moved, caring naught for any prying eyes catching a glimpse of her godly speed. In a mere blink, her fingers curled around the large rock at her feet, and just as quickly it had left them. Soaring, it whistled slightly in the air over the speed at which it was launched, and a mere millisecond later it connected - hard.

Kenji reacted much as one could have expected. His head snapped violently to the side, drawing a loud shriek almost instantly when it made contact. A sickening thwack echoed in the alley, and a splatter of blood flicked across the pavement, along with the soft clatter of a tooth. Hand clutching his face, Kenji writhed on the ground in pure agony, garbled sobs escaping past the stream of red dripping down his chin.

Velonix gave him no time to react. Instead, she paid him no mind and was at Kazutora’s side. She knew he was not in a state to run, but they had to move - now - before anyone else came to investigate the screams. Instead of waiting for a reaction from the boy, she crouched, grabbed his arm with a quick apology over the pain she was undoubtedly causing from the motion, threw it over her shoulder, and hoisted him up. She made no effort to conceal her strength - would he really even notice in this state, anyway? - and urged him to move quickly as they left the alley, Kenji’s screams growing quieter the further they moved away.

One look at his face as they broke into the full sunlight, and she knew that they needed to go somewhere out of the public eye. There was no way she would let him suffer through being around other people like this. So, with a quick glance around - it’s not like they could go very far with how he was - she half-led, half-hobbled Kazutora across the street to the park. It was second nature at this point for her to pretend to have human qualities, so a faux stumble-walk was nothing. It wouldn’t be the most private, but at least there were areas that were more secluded than most, and the convenience store that she had passed was directly across from it, so she could easily go and get him supplies.

Which was exactly what she did. As soon as she had found a quieter area with a large tree, she helped Kazutora sit beneath it in the shade, mumbling a few words in an effort to reassure him she would be back quickly, before hurrying off to the store. Thankfully, she had shopped a few times since coming to Earth, so she at least knew the process by now. Medical attention, on the other hand, was always something that she struggled with when it came to complex treatments. If anything was seriously injured, she would have to help him to the hospital. She could only do so much while charading as a human.

Dusk and Mio, ever the support system, held off to the side. Everything had happened in a matter of around thirty seconds, leaving them essentially useless. Their mistress sure was strong! They were so proud of her! They still wished to be near, though, in case anything happened, so they easily found a good bush close to the tree to take residence in, cuddling up with one another in the shade.

Bag clutched tightly in hand, filled with supplies and a pair of strawberry popsicles to boot, Velonix practically ran back to where she had left Kazutora, relieved when she saw him still there and still breathing. Humans were so incredibly fragile, even the smallest of things could break them.

She practically fell to her knees before Kazutora, she was in that much of a hurry, and had popped out the small package of towels she had bought, tore them open, and laid one on the grass before she had even fully knelt down. It was difficult to tell how well he was keeping up with what was happening, given how thorough of a beating Kenji had managed to give him before she arrived. For what - who knew? I doubt it was even anything that warranted such treatment … Disgusting excuse for a human. Only then did she remove the rest of the contents from the bag, placing them all on the cloth. Painkillers, a bottle of water, and more were scattered there, and once the bag was empty, she dropped some of the liquid on a towel before turning her gaze up to fully study the extent of his injuries, at least to his face.

To say it was unpleasant was being kind; blood was smeared and mixed with dirt, a rather dark black eye was already beginning to shine, and his cheeks were both swollen as though he had been stung by several bees. Her heart clenched; how was this fair? This was the way of life that her parents had preached so willfully to continue to protect? This was what they wanted to keep ‘pure’? At what point did they intervene? She knew the answers to all of these questions, but that did not mean that she liked them. Why did they have to be that way? Why could they not intervene to ensure the humans receive the wonderful quality of life that they deserve? For what purpose did they, as gods, remain idle? She forced herself to push away the thoughts; now was not the time to get angry, or to get even, either. That could come later. Kazutora was clearly in a great deal of pain, and it was not as though there were anyone else around who could help him. So, she set to work, focused solely on helping him and clearly not a care in the world for how he appeared or ended up this way.

It was difficult, though, to look at him like that. The sight made her heart clench, and tears of sympathy and something else that she could not name pricked at her eyes, threatening to fall. Eyelids fluttered to push them back; she had no right to shed a single tear. More than likely this was due to her, given how furious Kenji had been with her interactions with Kazutora throughout the day. But why? Why did that human care so much what she did, and for that matter, what Kazutora did? Kazutora. A shimmery-eyed glance up at his battered face and she felt her chest clench further. Would he have been better off if she had just let him go about his day, without her nuisance of a self clinging to his side? But … I want to be close with him ... Am I … Allowed to be selfish? Just this once? She bit her lip, swallowed hard. Her selfishness had cost so many people so much, so did she even dare?

A head shake to rid herself of the thoughts. She needed to focus. It was not the time for such idle self-reflection. One hand moved up, wet towel clenched within. First things first was to at least clean him up enough to see the full extent of his injuries. As the cloth made gentle contact with his skin - she could only be so tender in her touch, for she still needed to accomplish something with it - she winced sympathetically at the sounds of agony that escaped his cracked lips, words of pointless apologies for the pain slipping past her own. Velonix forced herself to look into his eyes, or at least as much as she could given his wounds. The depth of pain and sorrow that she saw reflected back caused an indescribable ache deep within her.

If this was life, then what was the point?

Her hand paused for a moment, and against her better judgment, two clothed fingers extended from the towel to gently touch his cheek, closer to his hairline so as to avoid any of the tender spots. She may not remember much, but she had been allowed to view some of her stolen memories from childhood through the Vultus Vitrum - the Looking Glass. While it had not been the same as remembrance, it was as close as she would ever get to having those echoes of her past life become a part of her once more. In one, she had seen herself as a child, clumsy as always. Her young self had fallen and become hurt, and her mother, ever the doting caregiver, had swooped in to soothe and kiss her wounds. It may not be a feeling that she could recall, but the look of instant relief and comfort on her young face had been obvious enough. Physical touch, while some may be averse to such as her, could bring solace in certain circumstances. Now, knowing when to do it and when not to was another thing. This may not be one of those times, but if it was something that could help Kazutora, she would try it.

Before she could stop herself, the words were already escaping. ”I am so sorry, Kazutora. I am incredibly sorry … That life is so unfair to you.” She truly meant it, too. The one day that she had spent near him had shown just how awful of a situation he was forced to endure. There was little else that she could say, especially considering that her family was a part of orchestrating the horrible excuse of a life experience that they had given him. They may not have directly set it up, but they were responsible one way or another. How would he feel, if he were to learn such a thing? Would he be angry? Would he hate her? Would he still be willing to be her friend?

The thought chilled her to her core.

He can never know.





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"I suppose that we will not see one another until class tomorrow morning... I look forward to it."

Velonix's words are her goodbye at the door of the art room, too quickly said and too swiftly gone for him to respond, nothing more than a half whispered, awkward, "ah- me…too…" that barely makes any noise in the busy hallway.

The words dumbfound him for a moment, but they had come out of his own mouth. I'm looking forward to it, too...? He'd practically been dying for this day to end, to be able to get away and be free from everything; when had that changed?

When had he ever looked forward to seeing someone again?

Letting out a low sigh, Kazutora forced himself out of his own self-inflicted shock with a step to the left, down towards the stairs that would lead him to the doors outside. While Velonix had her art club - one that was apparently regularly led by a teacher, though Kazutora wasn't really familiar with him - he had gardening. It had been difficult to find a new one after being practically tossed out of the track club, but in the end gardening had been the best pick; the fresh air and quiet helped calm his nerves after any day, though he was sure it would be extra relieving today.

The little fenced off area and raised, wooden boxes come into view soon enough, some students already getting to work. His own box was in the corner, picked out himself when he'd first joined. Initially it had been with the intention to keep distance, but he eventually found that during the club hour, most of it was shaded by one of the many trees on the school grounds - an added bonus that helped keep him cool when summer heat began setting in partway through the semester.

Slipping past the others kneeling at their boxes, Kazutora made way for his, eyes scanning the healthy dirt waiting to be watered. There was no sign of sprouts yet, but he was sure they'd make their appearance soon when they were ready.

As always, a few more minutes pass and the others begin to arrive. It brings a slightly livelier atmosphere with it, but nothing so bad that it bothers him. The breeze carries most of the noise off well enough, anyway.

Or maybe he was just good at tuning things out, with the way he feels someone lightly tap his shoulder and barely catches the last half of his name, a confused, "Miyato?". Dull eyes move up then, arms resting limply over the wooden border of his box to keep the dirt-covered hands from making a mess outside of it. Ayaka - the president of the gardening club - looks down at him for a moment, though she lets out a hum when he finally responds, a faint, unsure smile crossing her lips, "I wasn't sure if you were hearing me or not for a second there."

"Oh... Sorry, I didn't realize." It feels like a lame response, but she doesn't seem to dwell on it, "that's alright, I'm sure you're tired after the day you've had, um…" She's putting her hands into the pocket of the small bag that's hanging around her hip, usually full of the tools she uses in the garden boxes, "the seeds you requested at the beginning of the semester arrived, though," and she pulls out five packets, smaller and decorated with illustrations of what they would grow into. "I wanted to make sure you got them as soon as they arrived, so you could get started on growing them right away. So…here you are." Another faint smile, she holds them out towards him a little further, and he takes them into his own hands a moment later. The girl offers a small bow in his direction with that, and then makes her way towards another student, seemingly delivering any seeds they had requested too.

Glancing down at the packets in his hands, he tilts his head slightly, sifting through them to catch a glance of the names, each one he'd asked for earlier when they had just started: flowers he'd wanted to try growing this year.

Eventually, club period ends, seeds planted and watered and perfectly fine for him to leave for the day and head for his shift. It's a little earlier than normal that he goes, maybe a little hopeful that he can dodge Kenji somehow when he manages to slip out through the gate unnoticed - could he make it to Zwemmer's without a dirtied and scuffed up uniform for once? - but obviously that would never happen. Kenji was...far too consistently efficient when it came to Kazutora.

He normally takes a shortcut on his route to the bookstore, just a small alleyway that cuts through two buildings and arrives right out to Zwemmer's. It tended to help him dodge any of the other high schoolers coming this way after their school day too, in the rare case that anyone left as early as he did.

So he enters it like any other day, getting halfway through before there's any sign of something being off. It's the sound of hard, fast footsteps grating gravel between shoe and concrete that tips him off, and he only turns around in time to see a fist heading directly for his head, too fast and too close to give him time to try and move out of the way. It connects with the side of his head hard, leaving him staggering a few steps forward until he can catch himself on one of the walls. His ear is ringing again, head turning into a splitting headache that leaves him feeling a little unsteady on his feet, but he knows better than to just stand still and wait when he clearly has a target on his back.

He hears the sound of movement again, and when it's close enough he shoves himself off the wall, half stumbling over his own feet, but it works well enough to get out of the way of Kenji's second hit, instead leaving his fist to connect with the brick wall he'd just been leaning against.

Kazutora should have expected this. Of course he'd come after him, Kenji was far from merciful when it came to him. He practically followed after him like a hound dog some days, and it seemed this was one of those.

Kenji only lets out a faint, "tch," when he pulls his hand away from the wall, shaking it by the wrist and showing off the somewhat bloodied knuckles he'd given himself by missing. His blue eyes settle on Kazutora after, holding that disgusted glare like he's staring at the scum of the earth.

"You seriously fucked up today, Miyato." His voice carries the sound of a growl with it, clear rage bleeding into his voice, "the fuck were you thinking? Did you actually forget your place just because some bitch gave you a little bit of attention?"

"Don't call her that!" It's snapped out before he can even think through it. And he must've not been thinking at all, because since when did he go out of his way to defend someone like that? Let alone someone he's just met?

It only seems to piss Kenji off more with the way his disgusted glare turns to full-blown rage and hatred, and he's charging up on him once again, but with nowhere for Kazutora to back up to when he's already against the wall, all he can do is shield his face with his arms and brace himself.

Moving his arms to protect his head leaves him open everywhere else, though. He pays for that oversight with a hard, burning pain that explodes in his stomach and the rush of air from his lungs. Despite his efforts to keep upright, one of his legs buckles and he finds himself on his hands and knees, violently retching as he tries to catch his breath, barely managing to keep himself from puking his guts out all over concrete.

Kenji doesn't give him time to recover, of course. A foot connects with his side in another spike of pain, and Kazutora finds himself knocked back against the wall, again when Kenji kicks him twice, three times, and a fourth. His vision swims with each hit, most colliding with his middle, but a final one knocks against his head, sending it to slam back against the wall he's pinned against, and he thinks he blacks out for a moment.

When he comes to again, Kenji is crouched in front of him, holding his half limp body up by the collar of his now ruined uniform shirt. His head is pounding and his face aches, the cause of that quickly explained when the other's fist connects with it once again. He barely has time to pull himself together with each punch, trying to get himself more upright against his hold, to try and get his own hit in and get Kenji off of him, but all he manages is his nails digging into Kenji's wrist, the other hand moving to try and shove against him, as if that might put enough distance between them to keep him out of his range.

It doesn't.

Each hit gives a loud thwack that echoes through the alleyway, and for all Kazutora wants to scream out from the pain, he can't. Not with the way he can barely catch his breath before Kenji draws his fist down again. All he manages are low gasps, a groan when the assault pauses for just a breath, just long enough for Kazutora to realize he can taste blood. Was it from his nose? Or maybe he'd bit his tongue at some point?

He's not sure how much more he can take at this rate. His own attempts at fighting back barely seem to faze Kenji, slamming his knee up to the other’s side or back where it can reach, his nails drawing blood from the other's wrist as they dig deeper every time he's hit.

Was he trying to kill him?

When his fist raises again, all Kazutora can do is try and brace himself, take it once again like he had all the rest. But this time it doesn't reach him. There's the sound of something slicing through the air, and then it hits, and this time the one taking a new injury is Kenji. His head snaps to the side abruptly, knocking him over as he writhes on the ground, a gush of blood from his mouth spilling out past his hands and onto the concrete. He sobs, seemingly too caught off guard over his new injury to care about the fact that he'd stopped beating Kazutora senseless.

Without Kenji's hold on his shirt, Kazutora finds himself slumping over onto the ground with a thud, painful coughs mixing in with the sound of the other's crying. Where the hell had that rock come from? And why was someone attacking Kenji? Who would-

He gets his answer just seconds later when Velonix appears, barely paying any mind to their classmate as she crouches down in front of him. He's still confused over what the hell she's doing here, a half mumbled, "Velo-?" that's cut off when she reaches for his arm and forces it over her shoulders, devolving into a hissed, "ah- agh!" once he's forced up onto his feet. He barely catches her short apology before she's moving forward, and though he does his best to keep pace with her, he finds himself being dragged and stumbling along more than anything. Keeping his head up is difficult as they walk, and maybe it's for the best that it stays down anyway; he imagines it looks like quite a mess if the way it burns with pain means anything. So when concrete and asphalt turns to grass, he's a little caught off guard, feet nearly slipping underneath himself at the change in terrain.

Eventually her pace slows, and Kazutora finds a bit of relief when they make their way to a shaded spot, a large park tree keeping the place cool and providing plenty of cover too, helping him stay mostly hidden from the view of passerby.

She lowers him into a spot right by the tree with a few brief words that he doesn't quite hear or process before she's running off, gone to do something she might have mentioned, but he can barely think straight.

When she's disappeared from view, he finds himself slumping backwards, letting his back fall against the tree and his head soon after, though that leaves him flinching, tensing up and hissing out in pain again.

"Fuck!" It's sharp, frustrated, he can't help it. "Fuck- shit…!" A heel digs deep into the grass below as if to ground himself more, to try and deal with the pain, but it's difficult when it seems like every part of his body aches or burns in some way or another. He doesn't doubt that he looks awful, that there's probably a myriad of bruises and cuts that litter his body now, all because…he'd mouthed off to Kenji during lunch? Or he'd shared a conversation with someone new? Or maybe it was just because Kenji felt like it?

God… This fucking sucks… He looks awful. Etsuko and Kenta were going to kill him when they caught sight of the state he was in. What about work? Would they even let him do his shift looking like this? How could he even show his face there? Not to mention his uniform, in complete tatters. Wasn't this the last winter one he had? There's no way he could ask for a new one, but he didn't have the money to pay for another himself right now, not until he got paid next anyway. And what about Velonix? It's humiliating, thinking about how she'd probably seen all that. It hadn't even been twenty-four hours since they'd met, and already she'd witnessed him getting beaten senseless, even helped get him away in the end. What the hell was she going to think of him now?

He doesn't have much time to think about it, not before she's returned from the convenience store by the looks of the plastic bag in her hand. It’s set down a moment later, and Kazutora only half watches her unpack things from it: towels, water, pain meds, bandages? Had she gone to buy things for him? Why?

When her gaze turns to face him again, Kazutora finds himself averting his own, turning his eyes to the ground, to the other side, anywhere else but her. If the rumors and gossiping all day while they'd attended classes together wasn't enough to get her to change her mind about him and run, then surely this would be, right?

Apparently not quite yet. She's wet one of the towels she's just bought, and as gentle as she'd been this morning with his lip, she starts wiping away at dirt and blood, and anything else that had stuck to his skin while he'd been trapped in the alleyway with Kenji. He winces, bites back the slew of obscenities that nearly escape him at the touch, and does his best to keep still as she works to gently clean him up.

Why? Why? I don't…I don't understand, I don’t understand any of this. I don't understand…her. Interactions while in class had been confusing enough, but this was definitely the final push over the edge for him. Anyone else would have run by now, looked at him with that same disgust as everyone else. Why wasn't she?

The towel against his wounds pauses for a moment, and Kazutora lets himself loosen some of the tension, a little break from bracing for more pain. That brief reprieve, however, is interrupted by the sensation of a gentle touch against his cheek, one that brushes closer to his hairline that managed to remain somewhat untouched. He flinches at first as if expecting that contact to turn to pain, can’t help the practically instinctual reaction he’d always had to touch; when nearly every hand laid on him carried the intent of violence, it was hard to not expect it. Yet it’s careful, so soft and warm against his skin that he almost finds himself leaning into it without thinking, barely catches himself and freezes up before he can embarrass himself anymore than he already felt he had. It’s gentle, kind. Something he’s not used to.

And then she's locked eyes with him, and he finds he can't look away this time as she talks, short and quiet, ”I am so sorry, Kazutora. I am incredibly sorry … That life is so unfair to you.”

He stares blankly back at her at that. An apology that she didn't owe him - she hadn't done anything wrong - and-

Unfair. Unfair?

Kazutora doesn't know what to say back, dumbfounded for the hundredth time today, but this time he really has no idea how to deal with what he's just heard. No one…no one has ever said anything like that to him before. He doesn't know if it should hurt, like he's being confronted with the reality of his life or like he's being pitied and looked down on, or if it should feel relieving, like he's been validated somehow, like maybe she might understand him a little.

Instead, he shakes his head - a mistake, his head is still pounding - and moves his hands up to wrap around himself, curling in a little tighter as he tries to find his voice again.

"Don't apologize," he manages after a few shaky breaths, "it's not like any of this is your fault."

Setting

6 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kazuyuki Orako Character Portrait: Kazumi Orako Character Portrait: Iphianassa Lykaois Character Portrait: Reiya Goertz Character Portrait: Mafuyu Hanazawa Character Portrait: Natsuo Orako
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Code- #D66B70


Reiya felt some sympathy when Mr. Sakurada introduce Yuki. Already she could tell he wasn't a fan of attention. Unfortunately with how things were in this town it was likely he would get attention everywhere he would go, and that included his sister. Reiya had yet to meet these older siblings that Iphi had mentioned so she wondered how those two were handling college.

Soon the session started and Reiya dived right in, but before she could get lost in the music, she heard the clear melody that Yuki was playing and found her eyes drifting towards him as she became memorized. He was . . . . amazing. However she was so distracted that she found herself stumbling. Blushing a bright red, she realized she wasn't the only one having issues for everyone seemed to be messing up too. Not wanting to let Yuki get the best of her though, she tapped into her German stubborn nature and keep at it, but the music didn't flow from her like it normally did.

Her tenacity paid off and she was able to end on a bit of a satisfactory note. Wanting to get away from Yuki as quickly as possible, but not wanting to be rude either, Reiya quickly packed her things and came up to Yuki.

"That was beautiful. I really need to go so I'll see you tomorrow. Sorry you had to put up with my own playing though, it wasn't my best."

She bows and makes a quick retreat. She almost runs to her locker to get things she needed to take home, which wasn't too much. Reiya didn't drive a car since she couldn't drive until she was 18, so she just rode her bike to school. By bike her home was only 10 minutes away. She contemplated going to Iphi's temple, but knew she had a performance today so decided against it. Plus she wanted some alone time. She did think about Kazutora and hoped he was going to be okay.

Riding to her place, she was forced to pull out her coat as it started snowing. The weather was very strange lately. It was like winter decided to return to the part of town she lived in. She had a lot of questions, but since she couldn't come up with a single answer, she merely enjoyed it since winter was her favorite season for she always preferred colder weather to warm. Maybe it was because she grew up in Germany. At least Akita was in northern Japan. When she did arrive in Japan, she did land in Tokyo in late February. The weather felt great at the time.

Once Reiya got to her home, she decided to do her homework before playing her own piano since her club session left her unsatisfied. After playing for almost an hour, she fixed herself dinner and contemplated all that happened today. It certainly had been a bit crazy. She wondered what tomorrow would bring.





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Natsuo wanted to curse at himself when he saw the look in Iphianassa's eyes. She tried to come off as strong, but he could see the slight hurt in her eyes. He knew now he would have to apologize to her. His father taught him to be more respectful than that. He would have done it right then and there, but she just merely gave him a sad smile, waved, and left to do something.
Yeah, Natsuo knew he really screwed up there. What was worse he found himself getting distracted by her throughout class because he behavior bothered him that much. Due to feeling frustrated, he did do the very thing Kazumi warned him not to do, he ended up outdoing male students in the class and ended up with an audience of giggling girls as he did weight training. He generally enjoyed this kind of attention, but for once he was annoyed by it. Didn't these girls have anything better to do? Soon class was over and before Natsuo could get a chance to speak to Iphianassa, he saw her entering the girls' locker room. He found himself taking a quick shower and waiting for her, only to realize he was late meeting Kazumi. Cursing he left and met up with his sister.

When Kazumi saw her brother near the college entrance with Eos and Dawn, she asked, "What's your problem?"

"Miss Iphianassa was in my P.E. class and I ignored her. I never got a chance to apologize. It's going to bother me until I get a chance to apologize."

"Well, I am sure you'll get your chance. For now let's find a place to do our homework."

Natsuo nodded and they left the dogs at the entrance again. They finished their homework in record time and Natsuo found himself heading to his last class. Next to Psychology, Natsuo found this class to be the more humorous because of how wrong humans got their history wrong. It had some consistencies, but it was obvious the perceptions of the past were not clear. At least it cheered him up somewhat.

All that changed when class ended. He knew Kazumi's dance class wouldn't end for another 15 minutes and was going to wait for her, but all that changed when Shadow appeared before him. The bird told him what happened to his sister at the top of the hour and he was instantly angry.

~Why didn't you come for me the instant there was trouble?!~

~Sorry master, but you were inside at the time and I couldn't get in.~

~Where are they now?~

~At the boy's house. I'll show you the way master. Or do you want to wait for Lady Aurora?~

Natsuo immediately order the crow to show him the way, but he made sure to have the birds on campus let Aeolus tell Kazumi where he was heading. He had the bird tail his older sister. Finding his car, he was instantly off.





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Kazumi smiled at Mafuyu's inquiry about being an art major. In all honesty she had no major at the moment since she knew she wouldn't be here long enough to get a degree. If she did get a degree it would be art related since she loved interior design, sadly that wasn't a course she couldn't take yet it seemed until she took some pre-req classes. So Mafuyu was close.

"Oh, I love a few science related things. I have a huge green thumb and have my own garden at home. My mother told me I have a knack for growing things."

That was true, but it did help she was in charge of Spring after all. Still even when she wasn't helping things bloom in her Season, she did love growing things for it was one of her parents' biggest blessing she felt, the ability for people to grow their own food and to decorate the world with such beauty.

When Mafuyu asked if they could sit together, Kazumi was tempted to smirk, but didn't. Oh he was a sly one. Being the excellent actress she was though, she decided to play along and just act a bit naive.

"Sure, I am just fine with that."

The class soon started and Kazumi became quickly invested, especially when she heard about the play they be doing, one based around a famous Japanese folktale, the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. The leading role was that of a Moon Goddess, Kaguya. There was no way that Kazumi was going to miss out on that, especially if she could avoid taking a regular final test. She knew instantly she would go for the main role. After all, who better to play a goddess than an actual goddess? Making a mental note of when tryout were, she soon found herself getting involved in class by seeing what others did first before getting involved. As usual, she left certain guys a befuddled mess and ended getting a combination of admiration to jealousy from other girls. Even the professor became enamoured of her skill, so she was pretty sure this would help her get the main role. She acted very humble though. No need to gloat after all. These people were mortals after all, there was never going to be a chance for them to compete with her level. She did try interacting with Mafuyu at times. Soon though class came to an end.

Turning to Mafuyu she said, "It's been a lot of fun, but I am going to meet with my brother to work on homework. I hope to see you tomorrow, Mafuyu!"

She was honest too. Mafuyu seemed to me one of the few guys that didn't lose his tongue over her. She was tempted to see what it would take to get his mind to melt, but decided not to do it yet.

After meeting with Natsuo, Kazumi couldn't help but feel bad for her brother. Natsuo might be blunt, but he never liked hurting someone that didn't clearly deserve it. Kazumi would definitely help Natsuo rectify the situation. For now it was time to head for Dance Class. If Drama was fun, Dance was an obsession. The professor wanted to access her skill and she had no problem showing off in front of the entire class. Needless to say she melted the brains of everyone in that room, professor included. She didn't even use her powers like she had a habit of doing when she danced at dawn. Immediately she was asked to be a part of the Dance recital at the end of the Semester. She did make sure it didn't happen at the same time as the major play and it didn't so she agreed. Feeling great, Kazumi quickly took a shower, but as soon as she exited the building, she was pretty much ambushed by Aeolus and several other birds he'd been talking with. The crow quickly told Kazumi what had happened.

~Please tell me you know the way, Aeolus or if Phoebus told you where Kazutora and Harmonix were?~ Kazumi asked them as she headed for the entrance.

~Only at the boy's house my lady.~

Kazumi groaned as she made it to the entrance. Sending out her energy, she caught traces of Natsuo's energy, they were faint, but she managed to pick up on it. Knowing her brother, he probably was already there. Wanting to let Yuki know what was happening, she texts him because knowing her baby brother, he was probably at home asleep by this time.

Yuki, Vel ran into some issues. She's okay now, but Natsuo has already left to go find her since he had Shadow following her. I am going after Natsuo before he does anything rash. We'll be home as soon as we can, but I wanted to make you aware of things. I'll let you know when I've found them.

Calling for Eos and Dawn, she has them get into her own car and has Aeolus follow her.

Setting

3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kazutora Miyato Character Portrait: Velonix Orako Character Portrait: Natsuo Orako
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”You have to live through the worst parts of your life,
So you never take the best parts for granted.”
~Unknown

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"What's the point when I know what'll happen?
Same mistakes all end with the same outcome.
And I hate the way that I let it get to me,
I fuckin' hate the way that I let it get to me."

















Kazutora Speech Code ~ #853232 | Kazutora Thought Code ~ #035d63
Velonix Speech Code ~ #B43104 | Velonix Thought Code ~ #FE9A2E
Phoenix Speech Code ~ #FF0000 | Phoenix Thought Code ~ #DF0174
Dual Speech Code ~ #D102E2 | Dual Thought Code ~ #E27FFA

Relax Your Mind ~ As you read




As Kazutora sat before her, hugging himself so tightly, Velonix felt her heart ache. She too had done the same thing over the years - the act of comforting oneself. It was something that he had clearly done often throughout his life. The self-soothing; it was something that only those who had either not felt enough love, or had ostracized themselves entirely could recognize. She, of course, fell into the latter, and after the day they’d had, she was beginning to see that Kazutora fell under the prior category. Why? She did not know, but she was determined to, if not find out, perhaps make a difference for him, if only by a little bit.

More tears pricked her eyes, and this time she did not bother to fight them back. Instead, a few freely escaped and trickled down her cheeks. The pain she felt for him was something that she had not experienced before, aside for the times where she had watched her brother struggle with his powers. Was this empathy? Or something more? It was so difficult to say, as she was vastly unaccustomed to this amount of emotion in any form, human or goddess, towards a human especially. Who knew it was possible to care this much this quickly? Was this what the scholars meant by true humanity?

”Don't apologize … It's not like any of this is your fault."

But it is. Directly or indirectly … I could have helped … Somehow. Of course, this was not true; even if she had known of him and had wanted to help, her parents would have never allowed it. Speaking that aloud, anyway, would make little sense to him, so she bit the words back and instead focused on his injuries. As much as she wanted to help lessen his pain, there was only so much that she could do without revealing herself.

So, with a quick rub of her eyes and cheeks to rid them of the itch that always follows the tears, Velonix gave him the medication and water, hoping it would kick in quickly, and set to work. Kazutora accepts the medication well enough, a slight struggle in keeping a stable hold on the water bottle with bruised knuckles and aching fingers, but in the end he's able to swallow them, however much the motion leaves him wincing. Little else was said as she dabbed and prodded, checking that nothing was broken or in need of further examination. As she moved over him, she did expel a bit of her magical energy towards him. The soothing scents of cinnamon and other autumn breezes moved around him, enveloping him like a warm blanket, a small attempt she could make to at least give him a bit of solace. The scent is odd to him; it seems to have come out of nowhere. There aren't any nearby plants that could give off this scent, and as far as he can tell, none of the local shops are making anything that might let these smells drift out into the air either. Where had they come from? Maybe he took more hits to the head than he'd thought? If she was being honest with herself, it was the first time in a while that she had actually looked at someone and felt the urge to wrap them up in a hug. Of course, she fought the feeling away; not only was it risky, but undoubtedly would only cause Kazutora more discomfort, and that was the last thing she wanted to do.

Despite how gentle she worked, she knew she was hurting him by the strangled noises he made. He can't help the noises, the wincing as he digs his nails into the dirt below him to try and bear pain. He was clearly trying to muffle his cries and the fact that he was doing so only made her feel more sorrow over his situation. Was it pity? No, not quite; she had pitied humans before, and this was not the same. Similar, but different. Her hands slowed a bit as they began to softly run through the hair at the back of his head, careful to avoid touching his skull directly. The motion leaves him tense, though something in the back of his mind wants to lean into the touch, the odd way it leaves a tingling sensation as it tugs lightly at his hair. He resists that feeling again all the same. She had seen the end of the attack, so she knew exactly how brutal Kenji had been. Better to check that he lacked a concussion than to risk it. A goose egg had begun to form and would undoubtedly hurt, but when she dropped back down into a crouch and moved her finger slowly before his eyes, his reflexes were enough to her liking that she saw no need for an emergency clinic.

It took less than ten minutes, and by the time Velonix had finished, he looked better than she had expected. It was still clear that he had been through a thorough beating, but the bleeding had stopped almost entirely and, although swollen, his face could have looked worse. The black eye was the most concerning part, but all of his teeth were accounted for and he could still speak, so that was always a good sign. None of his ribs were broken and from what she could tell he wasn’t suffering from any internal bleeding, so fortunately, he had escaped the worst outcome of what had happened.

Her gloves, however, had not survived the process, and now covered with blood, came off and were tossed into the pile of bloody rags. They could easily be replaced; she was only mildly concerned about possibly coming into contact with Kazutora, but that was something to worry about at a different time. Right now, he simply needed support, and she was the only one who seemed willing to give him any.

So, strawberry popsicle in hand, she peeled open the wrapper and popped it up in front of his face. He blinks once, a slight twinge of unease at the offering. At his look of what she read to be skepticism, she simply gave him a small smile of reassurance. ”Strawberry. Sweets have a tendency to make anything better, especially when enjoyed with a close friend. It may not be much … But I hope it can help, if even only a little.” Not awaiting his response, she grabbed his sleeve and pulled his hand up, careful not to touch him directly, and slid the popsicle stick between his fingers. ”It will rejuvenate you a little. At least try to eat it, okay?” Her voice was soft now, coaxing, but not forceful. She unwrapped her own, and as if to prove to him it was safe to eat, she made a rather comical show of lifting it and shoving it in her mouth. When she pulled it away, half the popsicle gone, she made a face and let out an exaggerated whimper. ”Just … Do not eat it .. Too quickly … Or it will make you have … The freeze of the brain,” she panted, rubbing the center of her forehead. A giggle escaped her at her own antics, but she was also simply trying to at least lift his spirits, even if it was just a bit.

Kazutora isn't sure what to make of the popsicle. He hasn't had one of these since he was tiny, those rare occasions when the orphanage he used to live in would get donations for a "treat," or when primary school teachers had gotten them for their students during the summer season classes. The red dyed food sits between his fingers all the same, waiting for him to eat it - at least before it melts everywhere - and Velonix only encourages that more, an exaggerated show of eating far too much at once and paying for it with that familiar sensation of brain freeze. His brows quirk slightly at the sight and he almost asks her if she was okay, but bites back any words and instead turns his gaze back to his own popsicle again. It seems it had been enough to get him to finally take a small bite off the top of it, though whether it's out of guilt over the idea of wasting what she'd gotten him or because he really wants to, he isn't sure.

Once she had finished - Kazutora takes a bit longer than her, struggling with ache of his injuries - she found the silence between them to be comfortable, but at the same time, a yearning to learn more about this boy who had already come to fascinate her so much. She lifted her knees to her chest, arms wrapping around them and face coming to rest atop the mounds they made in her skirt. Now was not the time to quiz him, so instead she focused on the most important question at hand. He finishes his soon enough, the little wooden stick discarded to the side for the time being; he isn't sure where to put it otherwise. Despite himself, Kazutora finds that it really had been slightly enjoyable, even if his mood hasn't improved much. How could it, when he'd just been beaten half to death in the middle of an alley? He's…exhausted.

”I will take you anywhere that you need to go. Just name the place, and we can go there.” She meant it, too; she was not about to abandon him when he was as hurt as he was, or in the mental state he was undoubtedly in. So, without another word, she simply waited for him to feel comfortable enough to answer her.

For Kazutora, she would wait however long he needed.

The question surprises him a bit, and Kazutora finds himself almost shifting inward to close off again. Where could he go? The last thing he wanted was to cause Etsuko and Kenta more stress, so it wasn't like he could just waltz through the front door looking like this in case Etsuko was there waiting, typically home writing most of the day. Going to any sort of medical center isn't an option either. He's still a minor, they would no doubt have to call his guardians with him visiting, especially given the state he's in.

He hated the idea of having to sneak around them, especially in their own home. The very one they had opened to him, too. But where else could he go? Sitting here in this park for too long looking the way he does might have someone calling the police on him, and wandering around town might attract other aggressors; he isn't confident that he can fight them off at this point. While he figures Kenji probably won't be going after him again with the hit he'd taken - how had Velonix managed to hit him that hard with that rock, anyway? - he still doesn't want to risk running into him again either. He probably really would kill me…if he saw me again so soon after that.

But does he really want to tell Velonix where he's living already? And…she'd end up having to take him to his room. Does he really want to risk giving that up, too? The only place in the world at this point that is safe for him, that is his own. Still, even though they haven't known each other for more than twenty-four hours at this point, he figures she probably won't give up or take no for an answer.

Can he trust her with this? It's just one time, and by all means she hasn't done anything to make him feel like he has to worry about her turning on him. She's even helped him, dragging him out of that alley and buying things to patch him up with.

Velonix watched as he seemed to have the internal struggle of a lifetime. His uncertainty was written all over his face, if the wariness in his expression was any indication. Who knew that such a simple question could be so difficult to answer? She had figured he would simply tell her to take him to the hospital, or even home. Surely he would want his mother’s comfort at a time like this?

He swallows, uneasy, fingers pulling at the grass below him, a few pieces breaking from their place in the dirt. "There's…a place a ways away from here. Er…" He hesitates again. It is technically home, but…only for now. That could change in an instant, just like every other one had. "It's where I'm living…right now. If you could just get me there, I'll be fine…" Eye contact breaks again, and he stares down at the ground, "I can't go through the front door though. I…if anyone's home, I don't want them to see me. My room has a side door I can get through, so just…when we get there, just to be safe, if you can take me to it…"

If she wasn’t confused before, she certainly was now. Where he is living right now? As opposed to where he will be living next week? A month from now? A year? What does that even mean? His stuttered response, as though he wasn’t quite sure how to answer her, was puzzling. Why did he not want anyone to see him? Would it not be a comfort to have his family’s love and reassurances? As much as the questions bothered her though, she knew it was not the time to attempt to get answers from him. Instead, she pursed her lips thoughtfully for a moment before she withdrew her cell phone, adorned with a case that not one of her siblings had been surprised over her choosing. ”What is your address?” Upon his response, she nodded and pressed a few buttons on the device. ”Just a moment,” she motioned with one finger at him as she rose to her feet, taking a few steps away once fully standing.

Velonix kept the call brief, returning to Kazutora’s side within less than a minute. The taxi company that she had called was one that had quickly grown familiar with her, seeing as she had used them to the full extent during her first week on earth. She was constantly coming and going to ensure that their stay would go as flawlessly as possible, and had come to be on a first name basis with most of the drivers who worked there.

When her gaze returned to the blond human who sat huddled below her, she felt yet another tug at her heartstrings. Before even she knew what she was doing, she had removed the coat to her winter uniform and dropped into a crouch before him. A shake and it was draped lightly over his head, just enough so as to shade his face from most viewpoints but not render him incapable of sight. He can't help but startle slightly as it's placed over his head, hand moving up to take hold of the edge, but he settles a moment later with a low breath escaping him. Just a jacket. Velonix's…jacket. It seems to carry that same scent of cinnamon that he'd caught earlier. With that, she rose once more, but this time remained bent over a bit at the waist, her hand held out to him as an offering. Hopefully, with enough concentration, she would not be completely annihilated by his memories, because there was no way he would be able to stand up or even walk fully on his own.

”Come on, I will take you home.” Whether he wanted to refer to it as home or not, to her, if he was staying somewhere, then that was his home. So she kept her words simple and to the point, finding it easier to simply call it how she saw it to be. ”I already phoned a taxi. They should be here any minute now.”

Kazutora can't help the way he stares at her hands, ungloved for the first time since he'd met her. Sure, they'd come off during home ec, but the entire time she'd seemed on edge, like she was afraid of touching anything. Now, she offered it so freely to him despite the state he was in. So…not a germaphobe…? Useless mind again.

And home. Home, if he could even call it that. He hadn't used that word to describe it, perhaps out of habit. When that "home" could change overnight, it was hard to consider it one, even if Etsuko and Kenta reassured him that he would stay as long as he wanted, that it was his home. Others had said that too, until they deemed him too much and gave him back to social workers. Or, until people found bruises and other signs of abuse and he was forcefully taken back by the workers. No place he's ever been has been permanent. But even with his hesitation, and perhaps his avoidance of calling it a home, it seems like Velonix assumes it is as much, and he doesn't have the energy to correct her or to answer questions that would probably follow if he did say anything. So instead he nods, a small, "…okay…" leaving him before taking her hand - a small wince at the movement - but he's grateful for the help up. He doubts he would've been able to get back on his feet without it, after all.

It was difficult - the first willing flesh-on-flesh contact she had had in over a decade - so much so that she could not even take a moment to enjoy the sensation. When she saw him reach for her offered hand she preemptively tensed against her own accord, a visible flinch, and as soon as the soft warmth of his palm met hers, the uncontrollable flash of images was instantaneous.

Many of them were made up of both Kenji and Kazutora, and all of those which were, were unpleasant to say the least. The ones that were not were fewer, showing Kazutora being scolded as a young child by a rather grumpy looking pair of adults, and the next a younger, gentler couple with kind smiles, but this one was more recent; he was older. The ones with Kenji and his friends were the worst - of them pinning Kazutora down and laughing as they rubbed still-lit cigarettes into his skin, or cornering him in a bathroom where they then held his head in a toilet nearly to the point of losing consciousness. The reel that was fed to her was horrifying, and she found her breath knocked from her body almost as though a great force had slammed into her.

A whirlwind of images and sounds pumped into her mind, bringing forth a slight wince, but she pulled him up swiftly, perhaps a tad less than gentle, unable to find the concentration to hide her strength. A slight stumble when she had him up but she managed to catch herself. He can't help but startle slightly at suddenly being lifted, surprising strength from Velonix as he's on his feet in an instant. The sudden movement leaves him tensing up all the same, hissing out in pain as his vision almost goes dark, foot awkwardly shifting underneath to catch himself from falling. Fighting off his memories was difficult enough and the grimace on her lips was impossible to hide. She found herself squinting ever-so-slightly against the pain that had made its way into her eyes and skull. As soon as he had found his footing, she jerked her hand away quickly, clutching it to her chest for a moment as she struggled to gather herself, her breathing a little faster than normal. A dizzy nausea swept over her; the assault of moving pictures combined with the content had been overwhelming, and her body simply was not used to the change in energy.

As her hand is torn away from his hold so suddenly, he finds himself half staring, confused all over again. So she is…a germapho- He cuts his thoughts off quickly, an internal scowl of sorts at himself over his mind's persistence with following that idea. Rather, it would make more sense that she was having second thoughts about helping him, or about coming into direct contact with someone as…dirty as he was. Brows furrow, and he finally looks away, I need to stop getting my hopes up.

After a few moments had passed, the ill sensation had subsided and Velonix found herself left only with the remnants of what she had seen. It made her heart feel heavier than it had in a long time. She had realized that Kazutora had it bad, especially given the brutal beating that she had witnessed, but she never could have guessed how long it had been going on for. From what she could gather, life had never come easily for him but instead hit him like a train.

Once she had gathered herself she glanced up, her eyes snagging on the sign of a car approaching the arch for the park - their taxi. Thank the Gods. She made quick work of tossing their trash into one of the bags she had been given from the store, leaving the rest of the supplies she had grabbed in the other. ”Come on, our ride is here.” Despite her obvious wish to leave sooner rather than later, she waited until he was ready to move and when he did, she walked at his pace - something he's silently grateful for as he limps alongside her, difficulty in picking his feet up off the ground when each step sends another flare of ache and pain through his body. She had already gotten a fairly good feel of how Kazutora was as an individual, and she doubted he would want her help walking anymore than was necessary. Her own stride brought her close to him - if he lost his footing or stumbled, she would need to catch him, of that she was sure - and it was easy enough to toss the trash bag into a can as they passed through the exit to the area. When they neared the car, she popped open the door for him and offered her arm for stability - at least that was still covered by her shirt. He's hesitant to take it again after the last time she'd pulled away so suddenly, but he does in the end, white knuckled as he tries to lower into the back of the car. At least the seats were probably more comfortable than the hard ground of the park. It takes a bit for him, but eventually he's in, and as the door is shut he lets his head roll slightly towards it, a heavy sigh escaping through parted lips as it presses against the window with Velonix's jacket working as a slight cushion against the glass. Stress, exhaustion, and he's barely letting himself let go of tension from bracing against pain now that he was settled somewhere again.

Once he was in, she scampered around the back of the vehicle and slipped in on the other side, knocking on the window separating them. ”Drive carefully, please,” she requested with a sweet smile. The older gentleman gave her a smile in return and with a slight nod he slid into traffic, the GPS on his phone leading the way.

As the car rolled along - they had about a ten minute drive give or take until they reached Kazutora’s home - she took the moment to look the human boy over once more. It required her to lean forward a bit, her jacket still shrouding his features in the shadows. Now that he had been forced to move so soon after such a beating and treatment, his skin held a pale color and beads of sweat lined his forehead. Unable to stop herself, she found her hand sliding her long sleeve down just enough to cover her palm. It stretched out and softly wiped the sweat away, and she cared naught for the fact that it soiled her shirt. She could always wash it. ”We will be there soon and then you can rest, alright?”

He startles again - god, he couldn't stop. Everything she'd done up to this point had caught him off guard, and with nerves as fried and frayed as his were, every unfamiliar touch and action left his body reacting on its own. Still, her touch is gentle, wiping away the cold sweat that had broken out over his forehead with the bottom of her sleeve. It embarrasses him a bit; did she really want to get her shirt dirty like that? All the same, he tries to settle back into his spot soon after, eyes stuck on the floor mats of the car. His response is nothing more than a noncommittal, "mhm…" He did hope he could rest soon, process everything that had happened today in the quiet of his room. Alone.

Seemingly satisfied with her work, Vel sat up once more and withdrew her phone. It was clear at this point that she was not going to make it to her first day of work on time, if at all, so she may as well give her new boss a call and let him know, she supposed. A swipe brought the screen to light, revealing a cute picture of Mio and Dusk - who were currently making their own way to Kazutora’s address, having overheard everything - and within moments the sound of ringing was heard followed by the quiet voice of an older man. Vel perked up immediately, not wanting to allow the sour mood to carry over into the old man’s life.

”Hello, Mr. Zwemmer? This is Velonix Orako.” Kazutora can't help the way he's suddenly a little more alert at that name. Zwemmer? There was no one else with that name here; why was she calling his boss? Before she could say anything else, the man let out a small chuckle. ”Are you calling to double check your schedule?” ”Ah … Not quite. I know that I am supposed to be there tonight, but unfortunately I have a family emergency, so I do not believe I will be able to come in.” Family emergency is an odd thing to call this, Kazutora thinks. They weren't family, and they hadn't even known each other a full twenty-four hours yet. She paused once more as he spoke and let out a soft laugh at his words of concern. ”Everything will be fine so please, try not to worry about me too much.” He cleared his throat and she could hear the rustling of papers through the speaker. ”Well, that is most definitely a shame. I’m sure that Kazutora wouldn’t have minded some company tonight, but I’ll be certain to let him know when he arrives that he’ll be on his own.” Another pause followed by a look of surprise which flicked onto the human beside her. ”Did you say ‘Kazutora’? You do not happen to mean Kazutora Miyato, do you?” Are they talking about him now? Mr. Zwemmer coughed a bit and when he responded his voice had a hint of curiosity in it. ”Actually, yes - Kazutora Miyato. Did I say something weird?” This time when she stopped for his answer she began to laugh. Who knew they would be thrown together so much? She saw it as lucky; now she would get more time to spend with her new friend!

”Oh no, no, it is nothing that you said, sir. I just found it extremely funny, because I have already met him.” It was her turn to cough, this time in an effort to cover the giggles that still remained. ”Actually, he is the family emergency. We can explain more tomorrow, but sadly, neither one of us will be able to work tonight. I hope you can understand?” The sound of a stack of books being placed on a table was heard followed by his final words of reassurance to not worry and that they would sort everything out the next night. She nodded despite the old man not being able to see. ”Thank you for understanding. I promise to work any extra hours that you may need me to over the next few weeks to make up for it.” With that the call was over and her phone returned to her book bag. Only then did she return her full focus to Kazutora. ”So, it looks like we are coworkers, too. Who would have guessed?” Her voice was lighthearted, perhaps teasing even. ”It seems as though we will be spending quite a bit of time together.”

Blinking once, he's staring again, dumbfounded. Coworkers? The word echoes in his mind before he suddenly remembers what the older man had mentioned to him his last shift. A new hire, one he'd help train. In the chaos of the day, he'd…completely forgotten about that.

So it was…her? Velonix was the new hire? He doesn't know if he should be relieved or even more stressed than he already has been. She'd practically gotten what could be considered the full dosage of what it was like to be around him, his daily life. Not to mention, she'd even caught a brief sight of his typical interactions with Kenji. Yet she sounded lighthearted, maybe a little happy despite all that. Was she…crazy?

All he can really manage is a nod, and he hopes he can blame it on the pain if she asks why he's barely speaking. Not that he'd talked much throughout the day anyway.

"I'll…try not to cause you any problems at work." After a few breaths. At least Kenji and his followers didn't tend to bother him while he was at work. He was grateful for that; returning Mr. Zwemmer's kindness by attracting in people who would only damage his shop and the books within was not something Kazutora ever wanted to do. The words brought a somewhat sad smile to her face, and in an effort to keep herself from reaching out to him, she brushed her hair back and tucked it behind her ear, her head slightly tilted. ”You are not a problem to me at all, Kazutora.” She felt as though the entire day had been spent defending and reassuring him; was this going to be the basis of their entire friendship? She truly hoped not, but if it did end up being something that they could not escape, she honestly would not mind helping him. He was her friend, so she would do whatever he needed her to do.

The rest of the car ride seems to be quiet, nothing more than the sound of the car itself and what he thinks is the driver's radio, but he can't find it in himself to try and listen in closer and see if it's a song he recognizes. Instead, he lets his eyes slide shut, a little relief for his pounding headache to not have to focus on taking any sights in for a bit.

Before he knows it, they've arrived. The house is hard to miss with its size and location, settled in what could be considered the outskirts of Higashi-Naruse, quiet and peaceful. An old, traditionally Japanese home, apparently it had belonged to Etsuko's grandparents before they'd passed away, and in their will gifted it to their granddaughter. It's pretty, kept in good shape, and though they had performed a few renovations and the like, it was only for safety and upkeep reasons; the building retained its original look. The yard all around it is decorated in a traditional style as well, lush greenery and some small sculptures and figures dotted throughout it. A stone path is laid to lead up to the doors of the home, ending once the wrap-around porch takes over, something that lines the entirety of the external walls of the building with occasional shoji doors scattered along it. The second floor balcony's balustrades have several sheets laid over them, perhaps laundry that's been left to dry out in the open air.

The stone path has several spots that curl out from the main one, and one of those leads through the gardens to the side and back of the house. His bedroom's door is there, an exterior one that Kazutora had always been grateful for, especially now. Though he doesn't spot Etsuko's car anywhere nearby, he still doesn't want to risk being found out if she or her and Kenta's kids are inside the home by some chance.

With the taxi at a full stop, he forces himself to sit up more fully, hand moving to force open the door with his foot, a small wince at yet another of the endless waves of pain. Velonix hasn't quite made it over to his side of the car by the time he's forced himself up onto his feet, though he finds himself leaning against the car once outside it to catch his breath anyway, another searching look around the property to make absolutely sure that there really isn't any signs of anyone being home.

Just him. And Velonix.

Once Velonix is back at his side, he spares one more glance, brows furrowing slightly, "It's just…a room on the side. If we follow the left path, it'll take us right to the doors…"

The house was pretty, but then again, she had always enjoyed looking at pictures of Japan and the culture there. Wallet withdrawn, Velonix slipped out a wad of money and slid it through the window separating the cab with a quick thanks to the driver. By the time she had made it out of the car, book bags in one hand and plastic in the other, Kazutora was already up as well, albeit appearing rough. A little heft sent the straps of both bags over her one shoulder and she moved over to him, this time not waiting for his agreement or protest. Free hand moving out, she snagged his sleeve and pulled, careful to be gentle this time, and moved his arm up and over her shoulder. The arm between them then snaked around his back, as soft yet firm as she could get it without hurting him too much.

She felt like a broken record at this point, but nodded her head in the direction of the path, a simple, ”Come on,” seemingly all she can come up with. The day had her at a loss for words from the very start. Between nearly being assaulted by two boys at the beginning, attracting unwanted attention from a borderline psychopath, and defending Kazutora, she was truly at a loss at this point. She really needed the night to process everything. And maybe a strong drink.

Or five.


It was one of the few times that Phoenix actually amused her with something that she had said. The tiniest of upturn at the corners of her lips, barely noticeable, was the only thing that gave away her humor over it.

The trek around the house was shorter than she had expected and soon they found themselves on the side and presented with a door. A slight shift of the weight of the bags and she had freed her hand enough to slide it open, her foot darting out to catch it. Somehow, through the grace of the gods, they managed to get over the threshold without falling, and she would be lying if she said she was not grateful when the door slid shut behind them. Velonix was far from coordinated, so it was a feat in and of itself that she had managed to accomplish what she had in the last thirty minutes - at least without falling flat on her face.

Shaking the thought away, she half-hobbled with Kazutora over to the bed, pausing only when they reached the side to slowly lower him until he was sitting. Only then did she drop the bookbags and plastic bag on either side of his feet, taking the opportunity to study her surroundings as she rose back up. His bedroom was quaint, in a way, seeming to channel a lot of what she had seen in older images and playbacks of Japanese history. It was definitely a more modernized version of what one would expect for classic Japanese aesthetics, but it still held the same charm of the culture. Sparse in decorations, she found it lacked something, yet at first could not quite put her finger on what. After a few more moments of curious observation, it dawned on her; not only was it missing decorations, but it was missing the sensation of it being someone’s ’home’. One would normally expect pictures, or perhaps figurines, maybe even a poster - this was a young adult’s bedroom, after all. Kazutora’s room, however, seemed to have the most basic of objects, most of which were simply furniture. It was cozy, but at the same time it almost felt chilly. It felt …

Lonely.

The thought caught her somewhat by surprise. Lonely? Well, she knew how that felt, unfortunately better than most. One could feel lonely even while surrounded by hundreds of people. It was not difficult to imagine why Kazutora’s living space would strike her as such. She had already come to the realization that his life was far from picturesque.

Was being the operative word.

She would be damned if she let this treatment continue.

With that thought at the forefront of her mind, Velonix lowered herself into a crouch before him, grabbed the plastic bag, and carefully shook all of the items onto the floor. Painkillers, ice packs, gauze, antibiotic ointment, bandages, hydrogen peroxide, medical tape, two water bottles, and the few remaining towels came rolling out, all of it resting in a small pile before them. It's…far more than he expects; had she gotten all of this for him? No one else had…or, would everWhy… For me…? He could definitely use more than what she had gotten, but their resources had been limited to what the shop sold, so at least he could freeze and reuse the ice packs as much as he needed. So, without further delay, she began to crack the packs and set them by his side, ready whenever he was. He hesitates, before the hand closest to them moves, fingers curling around one, though he doesn't move it up to press against anything while she works. Her movements were done wordlessly, for she honestly had little to say, but it was also under the assumption that he could use the peace and quiet. Any of the places on him that were exposed and had begun to bleed through were removed, cleaned once more, and replaced with a new piece of gauze and tape. She worked from the bottom up, careful not to come into direct contact with him - she definitely wanted to avoid a repeat of what had happened in the park - and before she knew it she was standing and messing with the patchwork she’d hastily done on his head wounds.

Velonix spoke as she worked, moving around his head and face, gently adjusting the bandages at the same time. ”Rest, ice, and hydration. Those are the three most important things for you ri-” Her words cut off abruptly as she realized how close their faces actually were. Kazutora's own gaze is averted, and he can't help but stop breathing for a little bit. She had been fiddling with a bandage on his cheek and without noticing, had leaned in quite close, until their faces were mere inches apart. Her breath hitched a bit; she had never been this close to a human, let alone a human male, of her own accord. Or at least that she could recall. It was … Pleasant. Her hand, previously frozen on the gauze, relaxed, and for a moment she felt as though she could not control her own body, as the limb opened and moved. She managed to stop it just shy of brushing Kazutora’s cheek, instead settling with lightly brushing his bangs from his face. His hold on the ice pack tightens a bit. He needed a haircut, or at least a trim, and she found it amusingly adorable. He reminded her of a feral kitten, afraid of people and feisty yet sweet and cute once comfortable. Despite everything, she found a small smile to be lifting her features. Forcing herself out of the momentary stupor, her eyes flicked away and her cheeks rapidly grew red. She cleared her throat, needing the time to steady herself enough to speak. ”Right now … Despite how it may feel, I do not believe you broke or fractured any bones.” She could hear it in her voice, the shaking, the wavering. Was she nervous? Scared? Uncertain? She could not place what she was feeling in that moment, but what she did know was that, for whatever odd reason, she … Liked the way it made her stomach flip and her body tingle.

She shook her head, attempting and unsurprisingly failing to clear her thoughts, and turned back to Kazutora, forcing herself to focus. Hands came to rest on either side of his shoulders, a gentle push following that was closer to an urge. He tenses slightly at that, free hand moving back to stabilize it and winning another wince through gritted teeth; his wrist? Probably just…bruised, if Velonix was sure about nothing being broken. ”I will get out of your way as soon as I am sure you are settled in,” she almost teased, as she could tell that he could use a break from her. Being around gods could be exhausting for humans, so it was difficult to blame him for the feeling. ”Here. Once you have laid down, you will be free of this nuisance.” Her voice was lighthearted, joking, but deep inside she still worried it to be true, that he did find her annoying or bothersome. At least if she was irritating, she could be useful as well. He's surprised at her words, almost self deprecation hidden behind humor. Why would she be a nuisance? Even if he was exhausted, and…yes, he could use time alone, she wasn't…anything of the sort. She had helped him, something no other would be willing to do. Still, he can't find his voice to tell her otherwise. So, she simply smiled kindly and slid her one hand to the center of his back, almost as though she were guiding him. The movement sent another wave of whatever it was she was feeling through her stomach - it reminded her of when they would step through the portal to travel between realms - but she tried to force herself to ignore it and how close their proximity actually was.

Despite the discomfort and burn of injuries as she helps him lower, eventually his back settles into the soft comfort of the mattress that was his bed, the cover cushioning the spot a little further. Once he lays down, he can feel certain places of tension and strain begin to settle, perhaps finally relieved to be in a position that no longer needed him to carry his own weight anymore. There's still the underlying unease of Velonix being right next to him, the fact that they were still both on the bed in his room, alone, but his mind is past the point of exhaustion, a sort of fatigue settling in quickly now that he was laying down that let the thoughts settle in the back of his mind for now. A hand moves to his head then, and fingers carefully move to brush through his bangs, running back to push them back and out of his face before his hand and arm fall open to his side once they're free of tangled, blond strands. Another soft sigh leaves him, eyes opening again as his gaze drifts towards Velonix, still perched at the edge of his bed.

It was a lie, though, to say she was successful, given how small of a distance separated them, especially when they were alone together for the first time ever, and to say that it was not distracting. She knew what it meant to find someone physically attractive, at least to some extent, and it would be yet another lie to say that she did not find Kazutora to fall under that category. He was, in earthly terms, ’cute’, and it was difficult to maintain her composure around him. He made her feel a way that she never had before, and it was a fight to not lose her train of thought around him. She felt another hitch in her breath, this one accompanied by a sudden hammering sensation within her chest; the feeling was foreign, but not necessarily something that she disliked. When she raised her gaze once more, she found it unintentionally catching Kazutora’s, and the moment it did, she was at an utter loss for words. Her brain screeched to a halt, her eyes blinking a bit more rapidly as she attempted to regain her train of thought, but his dark gaze, intense in so many ways, made it impossible. All she could think about was the repetitive thud, thud, thud, slamming precisely where her heart was.

Of course, all sweet things must come to an end, it seemed. Velonix was broken from whatever spell seemed to have been cast over her at the sudden, rapidly rising energy of someone she - unfortunately - knew too well.

Damn it all, Phoebus!

It seemed that even Phoenix was on her side with this one; her brother could be such a grandfather sometimes, with how much of a nosy busy-body he was. The wind could be heard picking up outside, causing some of the windows to tremble with the building ferocity. Muddy eyes moved up at the sound, brows furrowing slightly; it had been completely clear skies when they had arrived here, how could wind be picking up like this so quickly? A storm? Such a drastic change in weather in such a short time isn't really possible, is it? Her hands balled into fists against Kazutora’s shirt. Why did her brother have to be such a pain in the ass? She let out a breath, attempting to release some of her budding anger; it would not do to have an all-out gods fight in his bedroom, after all, and clearly Phoebus was furious. Best to try and calm him first and then lose her mind on him later, at home. Her attention moved back to Kazutora and she bit her lip. ”So … I apologize for what is about to happen here,” she managed to sigh out, unable to muster anything else up, and even if she wanted to, she would have been cut off by the relentless banging that suddenly began to shake the door that they had just entered through, a sound that has Kazutora nearly jolting up in his spot, a budding panic building in his chest at the sound - all too familiar from past memories.

Phoebus had arrived, and he definitely was not happy.

Setting

4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kazutora Miyato Character Portrait: Velonix Orako Character Portrait: Kazumi Orako Character Portrait: Natsuo Orako
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Code- #0000CD

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Code- #FF1493


Natsuo might be in a bad mood, but he wasn't bound to break the driving rules of this city. Natsuo might not like how humans relied on monetary means to get things now, but he was glad they could easily afford the luxuries they were simply use to. He was very much aware that most of humanity couldn't afford such things. It was why during his season he tried help left than fortunate humans with his abilities to make sure they got enough rain when he could. But even his parents told to be careful with his abilities because humans had to take responsibility for themselves too. At the moment he wasn't being as careful as he normally did because the wind had picked up.

It felt like ages to get to his destination, when it didn't take too long. Shadow was indispensable and made sure to stay out of the way as he watched his master get out of his Toyota Lexus LS. Using his eye powers, specifically his 'X-ray vision', he quickly saw his sister and the boy she was with. Moving fast, he totally forgot to remove his shoes as he opened the door. He glared at the pair of them, he first looked at Harmonix to make sure she was fine before looking at the blonde from this morning and he did indeed looked to be in bad shape. However, his temper took over and he instantly launched into Latin.

~Gees, Velonix, care to tell me what in the blazes happened? I was told what happened but I want the full story from you. This boy should be in a hospital! You really need to be careful with your abilities too. . . .~

Natsuo keeps on rambling in Latin for several minutes, all of the while Kazumi finally shows up, having speeding slightly. She was also concerned for her sister and her new friend, but also wanted to get there because she knew Natsuo would make an ass of himself and wanted to prevent Vel from losing it. Sadly, she hated being right as she heard Natsuo's voice as she pulled her Lexus LC 500 Convertible. Groaning, she turned to Eos.

"You know what to do, sick him boy."

Eos jumps out of the car and makes a mad dash for Natsuo. Natsuo was still rambling when the 120 lbs. dog tackled him to the ground and literally sat on him. Natsuo's head hits the floor hard and it momentarily knocks him out. By this time, Kazumi makes her appearance, having removed her shoes. Dawn comes in and sniffs at Vel to make sure she's okay while rubbing up against her and then sniffing at Tora.

"Oi, sorry for the disturbance. Mr. Miyato, these are my two dogs, Eos and Dawn. Dawn's just checking you out. She's pretty nice. Eos is too, he's just making sure our brother stopped acting like an idiot."

Natsuo regain conscience and realized where he was quickly.

"Eos! Get off of me you big oaf!"

"You know he only listens to me, Natsuo. I swear with how you act sometimes, you'd think you were the youngest instead of Yuki. Have you calmed down now?"

Looking at Vel, Natsuo realized his messed up big time. Today overall was just a crappy day. First Iphianassa, now this. He was definitely going to have a lot to make up for. Maybe the stress of living with mortals was going to be harder than he thought.

"I'm . . . . . sorry, I'll make up for what I did today."

His sisters knew it was rare for him to apologize.

"Yeah you better. Okay Eos, you can get off him."

The dog gets up and goes right next to his mistress, remaining alert. Natsuo get's up and immediately bows.

"I am sorry again for my behavior Mr. Miyato. I easily get concerned where my sisters are concerned, especially Vel for several reasons.

"Natsuo, you look a mess, so why don't you go home. I've already called Yuki about the situation. I'll be leaving soon too.

Natsuo nodded and left, feeling drained for once. Once he left, Kazumi turned to her sister and Kazutora.

"Natsuo had a rough afternoon and this incident was basically what broke the camel's back. No excuse for his behavior of course. I'll get out of your hair soon, but I want to check both of you out myself."

Kazumi looked at Kazutora out and had to keep her own temper in check seeing what happened and saw her sister had already started helping him and did good work.

"Hmm, you're lucky. I make something for you to help the healing process and give it to Vel so she can give it to you tomorrow. This will help you avoid the doctor since you didn't see one right away."

Kazumi might suck when it came to cooking, but herbology was something she did great in when it came to making healing stuff and other things from plants. She soon turned to Vel and looked her in the eyes as she cupped her face with her hands. She brought her face closer and whispered Latin into her sister's ear.

~You can tell all of us what happened later if you feel up to it sweetie. Very proud of you today.~

Pulling back, she backed up and smiled gently at them both.

"I'll be leaving you two now. Take your time getting home, Vel."

With that, she finally left, the two dogs following in her wake.

Setting

4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kazutora Miyato Character Portrait: Velonix Orako Character Portrait: Kazumi Orako Character Portrait: Natsuo Orako
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”No one is useless in this world
Who lightens the burden of it to anyone else.”
~Charles Dickens

Speech Code ~ #B43104 | Thought Code ~ #FE9A2E
Phoenix Speech Code ~ #FF0000 | Phoenix Thought Code ~ #DF0174
Dual Speech Code ~ #D102E2 | Dual Thought Code ~ #E27FFA

Relax Your Mind ~ As you read





Leaving home had been a drastic effort to try and escape the stifling nature that came with being the child of actual gods. The seasons were gods, yes, but their parents were on an entirely different level. Harmonix had meticulously planned this entire escape to Earth in an attempt to find some freedom - and maybe even herself in the process, if she was lucky. Of course, she had expected a few snags here and there, for nothing was ever truly perfect. Life happened and hiccups occurred, and she had predicted such, but to have her own brother cause one of those bumps in her trail was frustrating, and that was an understatement. Not only was he butting directly into her business, without a care for the repercussions, but he was just barely holding it together enough to not reveal his abilities. Luckily, the rattling could have been passed off as a random uptick in the wind, something totally normal if not slightly uncommon, but as she glanced from the door to Kazutora, she felt her expression turn from irritation to concern. His own face was ashen, a sheet white, and if she had been given the time she would have asked if he was alright, but of course she wasn’t so lucky.

Instead, the door was flung open with a loud thwack, revealing a somewhat disheveled - That’s a first, seeing as he takes such pride in his appearance - and livid Phoebus. Before she could get a single word out, he was already launching directly into a tirade in latin - yes, that is so inconspicuous, Phoebus. Great job - consisting of not only how she chose to help Kazutora, but also her own powers. At first, she was mad, enough so that her hand clenched into a fist and she took a step towards him subconsciously, as though ready to do something. However, by the time he managed to get through that and onto other annoyances, she had begun to tune him out, a natural thing she had learned over the years. His voice faded out, becoming more of a buzzing sound, and she reached a point where she simply ignored him, turning back to Kazutora and acting as though Phoebus was not there.

A grimace, as she could tell how stressful the sudden arrival of Natsuo had been. ”I am so incredibly sorry. I know there is little point to apologizing after causing you so much trouble all day, but … For the record, I really am - sorry, I mean,” she managed to fumble out, the embarrassment over her brothers behavior evident in the fiery red of her face, which she currently held tucked down and as hidden as possible. Gods, she was absolutely mortified! How could Phoebus do this to her? Just showing up out of nowhere! She understood he was concerned; hell, she appreciated him looking out for her! But had the man not thought to call her? All of this could have been avoided if he had just picked up his phone and rang her!

Instead, here they stood, in Kazutora’s personal space, with Natsuo borderline yelling at them both, Kazutora sitting on the bed in a less than preferable state, and Velonix standing beside him on the verge of tears - whether from embarrassment or rage, she couldn’t say, but all she knew was that she just wanted to go home and cry and try her best to process the rollercoaster of a day she had just experienced.

Suddenly, Natsuo’s voice was cut off by a startled cry and a resounding thump. Only then did she lift her head to look in his direction, internal battle over whether to cry or smack her brother around a little bit interrupted. The man in question was currently on the floor and ’taking a nap’, one could say, with a very happy and very proud looking Eos atop him.

Velonix may love cats, but she adores all animals; suffice it to say, she had never been so happy to see a dog. With Natsuo finally shut up - she was sure he would be fine when he woke up - she felt herself relax a bit, Dawn’s appearance and the soft fluff of her fur in Vel’s hand helping to further calm her anger. When her sister appeared in the doorway, it was almost as though an angel had been sent for Velonix and Velonix only. She could have cried at the sight of the woman. When she looked at her, she felt her face switch into one of those looks - the Thank God You’re Here Look.

Thankfully, Natsuo came to almost immediately after - their healing abilities were a force to be reckoned with - and rather meekly managed to get out an apology, not only to her but to Kazutora, as well, much to Velonix’s surprise. Her brother was nothing if not prideful, and while not narcissistic, he held himself to quite a high regard. For him to apologize at all was a feat in and of itself, but for him to apologize to a human was utterly shocking.

She never thought she would see the day.

Drawing in a breath slowly in an attempt to rid herself of her remaining anger, she let it out in a long, exaggerated puff. Her arms crossed and she gave her brother a somber look, her annoyance over the entire situation clear. Instead of Japanese, however, she gave him a Latin response. The cat was already out of the bag anyway, so it mattered little if they spoke to each other in their mother tongues in front of Kazutora. He had already seen them do so. <”We will speak of this later, brother. I understand your motives, but I disagree with your execution, and would be lying if I said I was not upset.”> He left shortly thereafter, leaving her alone with Kazumi and Kazutora.

The knowledge that Natsuo had a difficult day did stem her anger towards him a little, but she was still beyond annoyed. Instead of texting or calling her, he had gone to the extreme again. Not only did it interfere in her trying to live a human life, but it also put them at risk. He did not think entirely rationally while emotional, and this often led to a laxness in concealing his abilities. She worried for the sake of their entire family. If any human were to discover their existence, there was no telling what could happen.

Kazumi had made quick work of inspecting Kazutora and when she offered to make him a serum to aid in his healing process, Velonix felt the tiniest bit of a smile prick at her lips. At least her sister understood that he was not someone to be weary of. At least her sister somewhat trusted her. Even if it was not fully, even if none of her family trusted her fully, she could not blame them, given her track record. Instead, all she needed was that little branch, with the smallest of olives on it.

Even with that, she could be happy.

Warm hands suddenly cupped her cheeks, and it was all she could do to not give into the wave of memories that assaulted her over the contact. Her eyes squinted against the images, attempting to focus solely on her sister, and it would have been a sweet moment if not for her horrible ‘gift’. What a joke, to call it a ‘gift’. Her mother was wrong, and she always would be.

It was nothing but a curse.

She was nothing but a curse.

Kazumi’s sweet words resonating in her ears, Velonix attempted to shake away the hatred she felt eating away at her insides. She knew logically that her family loved her and more than likely did not think of her as a burden, but deep within her brain and her heart was a parasite. One that was hell-bent on worming its way deeper and deeper, until it had complete and utter control of her entire being. So she nodded, the best that she could do as an answer, and bit her lip to fight back her pointless words of self-deprivation.

With that, her sister was gone, leaving the two of them alone once again. The room was quiet with their absence, so quiet that she could have heard a pin drop, and the awkward sensation she could feel was deeply settled within the air. It was a dread, thinking about turning to face Kazutora after all of that nonsense. More than likely he would never speak to her again after today. She had done nothing but cause him trouble, over and over again.

Tears stung her eyes, and despite everything, despite reminding herself repeatedly that now was not the time to have a pity party, despite reminding herself that Kazutora did not deserve the burden of her anymore than he already had, despite reminding herself not to be a problem, she could not stop them. Once one had escaped, another followed it, and then another, and another, until there were warm rivelets trickling down her cheeks. Her day had been nothing close to what she had expected of it, and while she was not necessarily disappointed, it had been stressful and long, and not to mention overwhelming. She had forced herself to brave the crowds of people, as massive groups of bodies was a major discomfort for her, given the likelihood of accidental contact with others, because she had been so excited to finally attend a school - not just any school, but a human school. She had been excited to make friends, discover new earthly things, and receive the experience of a normal girl just once.

Of course, with her luck, that was not something that could happen.

Instead, her day had begun with being assaulted by a pair of human boys, resulting in the injury of someone she already considered a close friend, who she then came to realize was made out to be worse than the scum on the bottom of her shoe by their peers, despite not being even remotely true, and all of those things had culminated in the same boy being beaten relentlessly before having her brother completely explode on him, in his own home. She was mortified, angry, disappointed, hurt - she was so many things and everything all at once and it was just too much.

Hands lifted to wipe at her eyes, rubbing them in an attempt to stem some of the liquid, but it did little to help. Instead, when she went to breathe next, it was accompanied by a loud and obvious sniffle, and on the following exhale a small choke escaped her. She bit her lip, but knew it was too late; she had been loud enough in the quiet room that it was impossible for him to not have heard. So, somehow even more embarrassed now, she hesitantly turned back to face Kazutora, still attempting to rub the tears away from her eyes and cheeks. She found herself a mere few inches away from where he sat on the bed, but even that was not enough to distract her from how she felt at that moment.

”Kazutora, I am so, so sorry,” she managed to get out, her voice wobbling a bit in emotion. ”I have done nothing but cause you trouble all day … Trouble that you do not need, nor deserve. I-” She cut off, her voice cracking in uncertainty. When she found that words failed her, she simply lowered herself into a crouch before him and dropped her face into her hands, wanting to do nothing more than hide away and let her tears run free. ”Gods, I am just so damn sorry.”

Setting

4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kazutora Miyato Character Portrait: Velonix Orako Character Portrait: Kazumi Orako Character Portrait: Natsuo Orako
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kazutora miyato.
dialogue ; #853232. – thought ; #035d63.
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There's the sound of someone else on the other side of the door so clearly now, and as the door suddenly wrenches open he can't help but jolt up in his spot despite the pain and aching feeling that runs through his entire body incessantly. Just like all those times a foster parent or sibling had forced their way into his room - if he even had one - violently, no doubt with the intent to cause harm-

Though it's Velonix's brother that enters through, the same seemingly ill-tempered college student who had been accusatory of him this morning, looking like he'd just run through a storm the way he was all unkempt and undone. Kazutora can't help the almost owl-eyed stare at him once he's inside, fingers curling into the sheets of the bed until bruised and red knuckles are taking on shades of white, only worsened when the other is suddenly yelling at the top of his lungs in-

Is that Latin? What? Isn't that a dead language? Why would they... Not that he has long to think about it, or the right headspace to dwell on something that isn't quite as threatening as a livid man yelling in words he can't understand, but clearly directing that anger towards- him, probably. Fight or flight is kicking in again, another adrenaline rush, but with everything today it's practically completely worn down, and pain and exhaustion are too much to get him to stand and run, let alone try and attack the other. Not that he...really wants to fight Velonix's brother, anyway.

Velonix turns to look at him next though, almost completely disregarding her brother's presence as if the volume of his voice was something that could be shrugged off and ignored. And then she's offering an apology, like she's the one at fault for any of this. He doesn't get it - she hadn't even done anything wrong. If anything, she had done everything right or with good intentions. Velonix had tried to defend him even if he doesn't really feel like he deserves that, had tried to cheer him up, had even gotten him away from Kenji and out of that alley, not to mention spending her own money to buy anything that could be used for first aid. And even after all that, helped him get back home. It was his fault that she kept getting dragged into bad situations, and her brother's fault for charging into a stranger's home and yelling. It wasn't like she had asked him to do so.

All the same, it feels as if his voice is caught in his throat, the only sensation his racing heart as he struggles to make any noise beyond the half stifled sounds that can't even be heard over the continued yelling even with Velonix ignoring her brother. He wants to say it's not her fault, to try and reassure her somehow, yet-

Just a breath later and Natsuo is tackled onto the ground by a far too large dog, cutting off his yells and really...any sounds he could make at all, if the way he goes limp after the sound of a hard thud means anything. Had the dog knocked him out? Where the hell had it come from?!

The other sibling is here now, pink hair and a second dog soon making its way in. It's all too much to process, enough that her apology only gets a blank stare out of him, gaze drifting when she mentions the dogs, apparently both her own. He hadn't seen any of that size quite literally ever, but at least it seemed like he wouldn't have to worry about them turning on him.

As if Velonix and Kazumi's apologies aren't shocking enough, once Natsuo is up he's offering his own as well. He blinks once or twice in the other's direction, tension clear in his shoulders and expression, or the way he finally averts his gaze away, only managing to give a weak nod in response, voice still lost to nothing over the entire situation. He should at least accept Natsuo's apology, given he did technically have something to be sorry for and he seemed...genuine enough, but hopefully the nod would be enough to make that clear from him.

After some time and a few more exchanges between Velonix and her older sister - again in what seems to be Latin, but he's not even familiar enough with the language to pinpoint it for sure - the older two finally leave, their absence settling the room back into the quiet it had held before, though this time it's far more tense and uncomfortable than the somewhat oddly okay way it had felt before. Discomfort and awkwardness over the whole situation, but how would anyone recover from such a development? He doesn't know what to say, and the way she seems to almost refuse to turn to look at him it seems she doesn't either. He struggles through his mind; just telling her thank you again felt a bit odd after that. Saying goodbye might just make it seem like he was trying to kick her out and was angry. He'd been angry earlier, but at this point he was far too exhausted to feel much else besides a growing numbness and fatigue, and even then it wasn't like his anger was directed at Velonix. He doesn't know if he really wants to ask her about her siblings after that, and any form of small talk feels ingenuine, or too strange. Everything feels...wrong, and his anxiety rises until-

He hears the sound of her sniffling, and it spikes. Oh god, is she-? Crying? Definitely. Once she turns around he spots the tears in an instant, hard to miss with the amount and the way she kept trying to wipe them away to no avail. She gets closer and he takes in a slightly shaky breath, no voice as he half stares up at her from his spot on the bedside, lips parting and closing over and over again as he tries to muster something up. Once again he doesn't quite force something out before she's speaking, another apology that leaves him confused for the hundredth time. Why? She doesn't have anything to apologize for I- I don't understand- What trouble had she caused him? Sure, there was more attention on him than usual, but it was normal for people to look at him with disdain or disgust or hatred, it wasn't like she had been making it much worse than it already was. Rather, she'd been the first person his age in ages to even offer something kind to him. She'd helped him when he'd been under Kenji's fist, how was that causing him trouble? And defended him against Mr. Iwao, and...

She's suddenly dropping into a crouch next to him soon after though, face shoved into her hands as her voice cracks through her emotions, still apologizing. He feels like he's suffocating, trying to figure out what to say or do; it wasn't like he'd ever comforted someone before, not really anyway. Why would someone come to him for comfort? Usually he was the one making others cry, and-

Shit, is this my fault? Did I- I'm the one who made her cry, aren't I? Fuck, I'm such an idiot-

He wracks his mind for ideas, for something to do or say. What did Kenta or Etsuko say to him when they caught him in a state like that? What did they do? They'd hugged him before, but he's only known Velonix for a day, and he's not sure if that's appropriate. Patted his shoulder, but that feels more like a dad thing to do. Sometimes Etsuko would give soft words of comfort, but he's not really sure if repeating what she's said would sound genuine or robotic or odd or-

Instead, a bruised and rough hand moves out, and before he knows it it's on top of Velonix's head, an awkward pat or two before it settles in the spot, like he's freezing up. Her hair's soft, His mind notes so uselessly he almost wants to scream, forces down the sound to try and draw out his voice. It's awkward and strained when it comes out, stuttered and half words initially before he finally manages at least a somewhat coherent sentence or two.

"Don't...don't cry, it's...okay." It comes out a little hoarse, weak, "you don't have to apologize, you haven't caused me trouble, I- I promise... I'm not mad or anything, so don't...don't worry about it, okay...? You helped me a lot today, I should be thanking you instead..." A pause, his brows furrow slightly as he tries to force through his words, "everything's fine..."

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Character Portrait: Kazuyuki Orako Character Portrait: Kazumi Orako Character Portrait: Natsuo Orako
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Code- #FF1493


Natsuo was relieved to get home. First thing he did was refill all of the bird feeders around their home. Next he finished any homework, which was a breeze. He didn't know if Yuki was awake or not, so he decided not to bother. They had been here long enough to establish a routine and Natsuo hardly visited Yuki's living quarters back at home anyway due to just how cold it was. If there was one thing he didn't like about him being Summer was it prevented him from seeing his brother more often and he always saw his sisters more. Only time he frequently saw him was when they spent time in a place that wasn't hot or cold.

Wanting to put himself in a better mood, Natsuo knew one sure fire way to calm down- cooking. He enjoyed it so he got to working on dinner for him and his siblings, making sure to not use any meat for Kazumi or anything hot for Yuki.

Kazumi got home to smell something good and knew Natsuo was cooking. She and her dogs went into the dining room so she could also finish her homework.

Natsuo saw she was back and immediate asked, "Were they both okay?"

Kazumi smiled since he asked about Kazutora.

"The boy is on the mend and will get better when I make a healing balm for him. It's a darn shame I won't be able to make him something that can cure him instantly since that be too revealing. I plan on doing that after I finish my homework. Since it's just us for now, I have to get something off my chest. Whoever did this to that boy, they're going to have a lot of eyes on them. Aeolus didn't give me any details, but did Shadow tell you who hurt Kazutora?"

"He didn't know who the guy was, only he was a high schooler since he was wearing the same uniform as that boy. He did tell me what his physical description though. I just hope Harmonix knows who the attacker was."

"She definitely took a risk in using her powers, but I don't blame her either. I just hope no one else saw what happened. I did ask her to tell us what happened if she's able too. We're not going to force her okay?"

Natsuo nodded. He still need to make up to his sister regardless. After Kazumi was done, she went outside to get the ingredients she needed for the healing balm. They were found in the garden, which had an array of herbs, vegetables, fruits, and flowers, all in season. While gathering, her thoughts drifted to Iphi. She wanted to help Natsuo with that problem and an idea popped into her head. Smiling, she first went to her green house, where she made her goods. It didn't take her long to make the healing balm. Hopefully he would be as right as rain within a week. She didn't know the healing rate of humans, but knew it was slower than immortals like herself. After cleaning up, she put the balm in her pocket. It was in one of those containers that people put other healing creams in. The whole time her dogs followed her. She next grabs her gardening gloves, a shovel, and a small pot before going outside again. She unearthed a few purple hyacinths and put them in the pot, which was blue in color. She would put in more flower seeds tomorrow morning. For now she cleaned up and headed back into the house.

Natsuo was done when she returned. First thing he saw was the hyacinths.

"What are those for?"

Wanting to be nice this time, Kazumi replied, "They're for you Phoebus, to give to Iphi. Hyacinths mean I am sorry in the language of flowers."

Natsuo raised an eyebrow and replied, "Won't that also be considered a sign of wooing, which I have no intention of doing, Aurora."

While the idea did cross Kazumi's mind, she wasn't aiming for that . . .this time.

"It's why I put them in a pot and why I didn't pick roses or anything pink and red, brother. Purple is an elegant color, in other words, it's safe. Besides, you always give mother flowers when humans in America came up with that American Holiday, Mother's Day."

His sister had him there.

"Fine. Just leave it on the counter and I'll take it to school tomorrow. Hopefully I'll see her then. I'll have to smuggle it in another bag. Hopefully the soil won't spill."

"That's covered, it's my rich and hearty soil that stays put."

Natsuo found his first grin in ages, "Thanks I appreciate it. Can you tell Halcyon that supper is ready."

Kazumi nodded and left.

Reaching her brother's room, she knocked on the door, and called out, "Halcyon! Supper's ready if you want to eat."

Returning to the kitchen, she and Natsuo set up the table.

Setting

5 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kazutora Miyato Character Portrait: Kazuyuki Orako Character Portrait: Velonix Orako Character Portrait: Kazumi Orako Character Portrait: Natsuo Orako
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”Being a burden on someone,
Not only hurts them,
But hurts you even more.”
~Sonam

Speech Code ~ #B43104
| Thought Code ~ #FE9A2E
Phoenix Speech Code ~ #FF0000 | Phoenix Thought Code ~ #DF0174
Dual Speech Code ~ #D102E2 | Dual Thought Code ~ #E27FFA

Nightcore Music Mix ~ Vibe As You Read




Well aren’t you the pitiful sort?

The focus on emotions that was so steadily held broke at the words, momentarily distracting Velonix. What Phoenix had said was not entirely off; she did not doubt for a second that she looked pathetic, crying on the floor directly in front of someone who clearly had far more to complain about than she. Despite it, however, she could not stop the flow of warm liquid that squeezed from her eyes with each blink and rub. They were itchy at that point and her cheeks felt dry as well, and after the day she’d had as a whole, she would rather simply go home, shower, and eat some sweets until she was - hopefully - lucky enough to fall asleep for more than an hour.

Before the nightmares had a chance to claim her mind and ruin it for her, of course.

Face still buried in hands, she almost wanted to remain that way. It would have been far less embarrassing, because the moment she moved, he would see her reddened face, something that she found to be more than unpleasant and would rather avoid him glimpsing. Sudden weight on her head startled her, causing her to jump ever-so-slightly, hands reaching up a bit instinctively. His … Hand? A blink as she processed the sensation, the unfamiliar warmth of being touched without the assault of images following confusing, almost disconcerting, but perhaps in a way that could be considered good. Her hair, in its thickness, blocked him from directly touching her skin, but she could still feel the heat and weight of his palm in its nearness. Her skin tickled, despite not actually being brushed, but it was an enjoyable tickle, not one of discomfort. The sensation was enough to bring fresh tears to her eyes; it had been so long since she had felt anything close to another’s touch without the subsequent barrage of memories belonging to the person. It was different, unfamiliar, yet … Nice.

No … More than just ‘nice’ … Hands moved from her face, her worries over how swollen and ugly it may look gone - at least for the time being - and her head tilted up just enough so she could look up at the human who sat before her. Her eyes locked on his and for all her effort she could not disguise the vulnerability that she felt in that moment. Everything she was experiencing and had experienced that day were foreign, unfamiliar, frightening, exhilarating - it was all incredibly overwhelming, and at this point, the only ones that she thought could understand what she was going through were Halcy and Kazutora. Phoebus and Aurora were beautiful, confident, and true gods, while Halcy and she were sorry excuses for such. From what she had seen, though, the human sitting before her could more than empathize with her low self-views.

’Human’? He’s more than just another human. The Nile isn’t just a river in Egypt, Moni.

The words gave her a slight pause, for until that moment she had seen him as a simple human who held a few interesting qualities. Yes, she had always tended to hold more compassion and empathy towards the humans than her family. From what she could tell, Phoebus viewed them as annoying, while Aurora was interested in their creations but found them amusing, and Halcy did not really seem to think much about them at all. Her parents saw the humans as constructs used for creation to be observed, and Astraea saw the humans as pests. The only one who came close to how she felt towards the humans was Pavo, but that was because he himself was formerly a human, so in her opinion, he did not quite count. The rest of her family … All of them had been created, even her siblings and herself, despite being carried in their mothers’ womb. Their births had been magically induced pregnancies, not ones born of the lovemaking between a man and a woman. This did not negate the love their parents felt for one another or their children; the process of making their lives was simply different from how one would view a ‘human’ life coming to be.

Perhaps that was the reason why they had such a difficult time completely associating with and understanding the human species. Though, things had felt off since coming to Earth. The human form she had taken on, it was something that she had not done since her memory wipe occurred, so everything was new to her. She never knew what things like hunger and exhaustion felt like, and equally so, she never knew how it felt to experience the full effect of emotions. Yes, they could feel emotions; they loved one another deeply and could laugh and cry like humans. However, something about humanity - true humanity - just caused those feelings to become amplified, beyond anything they normally would experience. It was both a pleasant sensation, but also terrifying all at the same time. Her siblings did not seem to struggle as much as she did with processing the change, more than likely due to them still remembering their prior visits to Earth, but to her it was agony at times. Controlling herself had become far more difficult than before, when she was constantly in her goddess form. It required what some may view as a miniscule amount of effort to not allow Phoenix to take control, but combined with her goddess form having to be held, it was difficult, and it worried her how active Phoenix was already growing to be.

Kazutora’s voice, soft and rough, was all that Velonix needed to be brought back to reality. It had become so easy for her to spiral into her own mind, almost worryingly so, but she pushed back the concerns as she focused on the calming vibrato that was Kazutora speaking. I wonder what it sounds like when he laughs … When he sings. His words were comforting - was his goal to soothe her? It was working, if so - and before she could stop herself, she found her hands moving up until they stopped on his wrist, careful to hold only where the fabric of his sleeves reached, fingers lightly curling around the appendage. She did not want the sensation to end, this soothing warmth that was being touched, and after a moment of internal confliction - Will he hate it? Will he be angry? - she had pulled his arm down but not away. It almost stroked her hair in the motion, close to a gentle pet, and she found her eyes falling half closed at the lulling sensation. SHe stopped once his palm rest on her cheek, her thick locks being the only thing separating direct contact between their skin. It was something that she had never thought of before, having almost entirely avoided all contact with anyone over the last decade. There had been accidental bumps here and there, and while her family had occasionally attempted to pat her head, as one often did with younger members, she had been far too skittish in those moments to pay close attention to what would happen. This time, however, she had been so absorbed in her own shame and regret that it had caught her off-guard, giving her the time to sit and actually notice - and the new information was exhilarating. It may not have been much, but it was still a step in the right direction, or at least she hoped, to finally being able to touch other people again. She yearned for the day where she could hug her family, high-five a teammate at school, or if she was lucky enough, find someone to share her heart with and perhaps even ki-

Her thoughts screeched to a halt at the thought, a light pink tinging her cheeks. She hadn't thought it possible but she had grown even more embarrassed, for where had her mind been going? Kiss? What a joke, as if she could ever find someone to tolerate her hell-hole of a mind.

Hands still softly holding his wrist, hand still against her cheek through her hair - which was now sticking just ever-so-slightly due to the wetness of her tears - she locked eyes once more on Kazutora, finally having rid herself of the flow of liquid from her own. She attempted to choose her words carefully, and when she finally spoke, her voice was just as rough as his had been, but hers was so due to the tears she had shed. Her words came spilling out like a dam had opened, and once they began they could not be stopped. ”I know it may not make any sense, but I blame myself. If I had just taken care of those boys myself, you never would have been hurt to begin with. On top of that, there is that awful Kenji. I can already tell that there was an issue before I came here, but it seems like my mere existence has done nothing but cause him to hate you more.” She paused, but only for a second before she continued on, quickly in an attempt to keep him from arguing. ”And do not tell me that what happened in that alley had nothing to do with me, because I saw how angry he was becoming throughout today!" She had not meant to shout, but had simply been so overwhelmed in the moment that her voice had risen slightly. She instantly regretted the volume, hands tightening on his wrist, her expression stricken. "I just … I regret not being more proactive in assuming that he would do something so terrible. I let my guard down, and because of that, you were beaten. No one deserves to be treated the way that you have been, Kazutora. Not today, not ever.” There was true anger in her voice with those words. She meant them, and it infuriated her that anyone would be treated in such a way, especially someone as good as he was. She could not hide her annoyance when she spoke next, as it showed clearly in her face. ”Not to mention my brother decided to make an absolute ass of himself by barging into your home completely unwelcome. I hope you do not take him to be a threat; he is all bark and no bite, so long as you do not hurt his loved ones.” She did not curse often, but about half of the time that she did it was because of Phoebus. He may be her older brother and she may love him unconditionally, but he irritated her to no end at times.

Her grip tightened once more on his wrist, not painfully so but just enough to convey her emotions, and Velonix finally lowered his arm so that it came to rest on his knee. When she released it she found herself suddenly missing the contact - I really need to get some sleep, what is wrong with me? - but she shook the sensation off and, pushing away everything, managed to give him the smallest of smiles, one that held more to it than she could even begin to describe. Embarrassment was definitely in there, alongside a few other things she could not name. If this is being human then I’m already fed up and would like to tap out, please and thanks. An internal eye roll at Phoenix's dramatics - the woman could be a real pain - and she was speaking once more.

”I appreciate everything you did for me today. Despite everything … I had a nice first day, and most of that is thanks to you. So, thank you for all of your help, and most of all …” Another pause as she fought back how self-conscious she suddenly felt, before forcing herself to spit it out in a rush. ”Thank you for being my friend.” Once it was uttered, she pushed away the urge to cringe at the words; she knew it was childish, to thank someone for being a friend, but she wanted to make sure he knew how much it meant to her.

Internal conflict still raging - it probably would be all night with her luck - she finally pushed herself to her feet, stretching her arms above her head as she did so. The fatigue of the day was finally settling into her human form, and she found herself longing for her bed. Stretch done, she bent down and retrieved her backpack before straightening, hands rifling through the bag as she moved. When they withdrew, a pen and paper were held within and she was rapidly scribbling something across it. Her full human name, paired with her phone number and another little animal - she could only do so much in such little time - were scrawled neatly across it, ending with a small smiley face above the kitten. A swipe and a tap to top it off, she recapped the pen, tore the paper from the pad, and slid the supplies back into one of the pockets. In the same movement she withdrew two suckers, one that she unwrapped and popped into her mouth, the other she pinched in the crook of her fingers.A swift fold - she had fast fingers - and she slid the sucker into the paper, leaned forward, and placed the combo lightly atop his head. Once she straightened again, she propped one hand on her hip, other one pointed in his direction.

”Be ready at 7:15 tomorrow morning. You are going to be fairly sore given today, but I will be outside to pick you up for school.” Hand moved from her side to face him palm-out, as though to stop any arguments. ”No exceptions. I expect you to be outside waiting for me at 7:15 sharp. Like hell I will let you miss class, or even worse, walk to the campus in your state. So, you will ride with Yuki and me.” She turned and started for the door, casting a wave over her shoulder. ”Take a long bath before bed, or you will be stiff tomorrow.” She paused at the door, hand on the knob, and gave him a smile. ”Pain meds and water, too, before you sleep. Get some rest. I will see you in the morning.” With that, she popped the door open and slid through, intent on getting home as quickly as possible. The day had been long, and she could only assume that tomorrow would be the same.

A new taxi arrived within ten minutes, and she was home shortly after. Her weariness evident in her stride, Harmonix made her way up the walk to their home, ignoring the sprinklers that watered the lawn. It was already dinner time and her stomach grumbled a bit in reminder. She may not have to eat to survive, but her body definitely appreciated the food. Whatever Phoebus had cooked would undoubtedly be delicious, but she was not looking forward to the inquisition that would more than likely follow her entry.

The house was fairly quiet when she finally made her way inside. Halcyon was undoubtedly sleeping, and she could faintly hear Phoebus clinking around in the kitchen. No sign of Aurora - she was more than likely outside somewhere - so with a shrug, Harmonix made her way upstairs to her room. She had chosen one that was in a corner and had windows that faced both the lake behind their home as well as the trees beside it, giving her ample view of both sceneries. A private bath was something each of them had attached to their rooms, and she adored hers, finding herself frequently taking long, hot baths that steamed the entire room and then some.

By the time she had showered and changed, hair once more dry and pulled back into a bun, she made her way down to the kitchen, comfy pajamas and slipper padding softly on the floor.

She could smell the food before she reached it and enjoyed the scents that filled her nostrils. Exhausted nearly to the bone, she made her way in and stifled a yawn with her hand, peaking at her siblings through the tears that prickled her eyes,

”I would prefer to discuss what happened before school tomorrow. Right now, I just want to eat and go to sleep.” Snatching up the plate that Phoebus had set aside for her, she walked to his side, went on her toes, and kissed him softly on the cheek. ”Thank you for dinner.” Being mad at him did not negate her love for her brother, and she blew her sister a kiss immediately after. ”Good night, I will see you all in the morning.” Halcyon was making his way in as she was leaving, leading her to give him a slight bump with her shoulder as they passed one another. ”Sleep well, brother.”

Back in her room, Harmonix found herself picking at her food. Mio and Dusk were dozing in the cat tree in the corner overlooking the water, but even their presence was not enough to make her hungry. What she did eat of it was delicious, but her appetite, previously ready to go, was now little to nonexistent, resulting in a plate that was only around a tenth of the way eaten. Abandoned food set aside on her desk, Harmonix flopped onto her bed, eyes locked on the ceiling above her, adorned with decorative plants and a dark, starry-like sky behind them. Despite the beautiful ornaments she had placed throughout her room, her mind began to wander, mulling over the events of the day and circling around everything while repeatedly returning to one thought and one though alone - Kazutora. His dark eyes, struggling with such pain and uncertainty; his blond hair and how it shimmered in the sunlight when he appeared out of nowhere to stop the boys from that morning; his pale hands, scattered with little, shimmering scars, mixing ingredients in class as they worked, both weary of how close to get to one another. Something about him was eating away at her in a way that she could not describe. A hand stretched out, as though to grasp the stars, and when she brought her clenched fingers back to her chest, she could not stop the tears that began to spill. It was all too much, between leaving home, battling Phoenix internally, keeping her powers in check, and dealing with everything that had happened. She was overwhelmed and, unfortunately, she tended to cry when so.

”All I wanted was to be normal, just for one day. Why does this always happen?” Her voice was barely above a whisper, choking a bit in emotion.

Because we aren’t normal, and we never will be. When will you get that through your thick skull? An instinctive reaction as her hand flew up and slapped the side of her head, an action that would have been funny upon view if it were not for the fact of how hard she smacked herself. It hurt, as they could still experience pain, just had a higher tolerance for it than the humans, and she did it a second time just in an effort to send her point to home.

”Gods, will you just shut up already? You are such a pessimist and it gets old!”

An internal snort, followed by, You can fight me all you want, little Moni. You and I both know it’s just a matter of time before you can’t do it anymore.

The mere mention of Phoenix in the real world chilled her to her core. Harmonix had known the risk upon venturing to earth, but Phoenix had been manageable up until then. She had not expected that taking on her human form would weaken her, whether it was physically or mentally or both. It had only been a couple of weeks and Phoenix was already intruding on her life at least double the amount she did before, and to say that Harmoinx was concerned was an understatement. Teeth bit down on her thumbnail; what was she to do if Phoenix somehow managed to take control? There was not much she could do. Not to mention what Phoenix may try to do with Kazutora, should she manage to slip free.

Tonight was going to be long, and she definitely was not going to be getting very much sleep. And that it was, given she spent the next eight or so hours tossing and turning, slipping in and out of consciousness while occasionally getting up to pace. She usually kept her walking confined to her room so late, so as not to disturb her siblings, but on the rare times where it did not help, she would often walk the estate that they had purchased, taking in the scenery and beauty of the nature around them.

Tonight was no such night, as normal pacing seemed to pacify her enough to calm her nerves to the point of being able to lay still for more than ten minutes. It was during one of these moments, where she lay in the quiet darkness, that her phone made the faintest of beeps, alerting her of a new notification. Confused, for who would be texting her so late, she retrieved the device and slid it open to find an unknown number. Upon tapping the text, it revealed the smallest of messages - one that conveyed who it was and what he wanted to get across, despite how short. Her heart hammered in her chest, but she had no idea why she would be so - so - so what? Excited? Yes, this was similar to, if not the same as, being excited over something. Why would she be excited over a simple text, though? Velonix's fingers clenched the phone; she did not understand what was happening, and she did not know if she liked it, either.

She did like Kazutora, though, that much she knew. So, despite her uncertainty over everything as a whole, she found the tiniest of smiles tugging at the corners of her lips. With a few taps, she had sent over an even shorter response, one that was to the point but also showed her personality to a fine point. It was simple, but as she clicked send, she felt her stomach flip. How would he react upon seeing the single smiley face that she had sent him? Would he see her as childish? Would he find it annoyingly small? She found herself biting down on her thumbnail once more, a nervous habit she had begun to develop. With a frustrated groan, she rolled and flopped onto her back, staring once more up at the ceiling.

Gods, what a long night indeed.

Setting

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kazutora Miyato Character Portrait: Velonix Orako
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3.00 INK

#, as written by viirune
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kazutora miyato.
dialogue ; #853232. – thought ; #035d63.
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After his hand settles, the room is far too quiet again, a feeling that leaves him uneasy. Should he pull his hand away? Apologize for touching her without making sure she was okay with it first? He just hadn't known what else to do in the moment, never having had to comfort someone like this before, let alone someone he's just met. How could he know what the right thing to do was?

He swallows awkwardly, fingers twitching slightly in their place, but before he can pull away Velonix is looking up at him, their eyes locking together. Kazutora can't get himself to pull his own gaze away from her in that moment; if not for their pretty color, then for the emotions and vulnerability they show so clearly to him. An openness she held that confused him. Most people would caution being vulnerable with people they've just recently met, even more so when faced with someone like Kazutora himself. And yet Velonix...

Maybe she's just this way with everyone, his thoughts try to piece together an explanation, can't comprehend the idea of her already having even that amount of comfort or trust in him at this point.

Kazutora's eyes break contact when she moves a hand up towards his arm, and he tenses as if expecting her to toss it away, to force it off her head, to tell him not to touch her with his filthy hands and keep away from her. Instead, fingers curl around his wrist over the sleeve of his shirt, a gentle touch that carefully guides his hand down, keeping that contact until his hand is cupping her face, a barrier of her hair the only thing keeping him from coming into direct contact with her skin. Even with that his eyes widen slightly, his heart picking up in pace. This sort of touch was- affectionate, intimate. The sort of touch he'd seen couples give to each other, Kenta and Etsuko sometimes when he'd caught it out of the corner of his eye. He wonders if his face is burning red now, though perhaps the bruising would keep that color hidden behind the other reds and purples of those injuries - he certainly hopes it does, anyway.

When Velonix looked at him again, he simply gave into keeping eye contact again, the look in them a little more stable and comfortable now, perhaps a little more assertive if the words that followed meant anything. A continued insistance on pinning the blame on herself even though Kazutora felt it fell far from her; she hadn't done anything wrong, nothing with bad intentions anyway. Just because some people decided to take offense or irritation with that didn't mean she had to take the fall for their actions, right? Especially...Kenji's. Even hearing her call him awful is an odd sense of validation for Kazutora; besides the frustration and anger he'd caught from Etusko and Kenta after they'd caught him looking like this or been called to the high school because of similar things, no one else ever seemed to care. No one else ever seemed to blame Kenji or find fault with him. When everyone seemed to hate Kazutora as much as they did, he supposes it only makes sense.

Still, even if he wants to tell her that it isn't her fault again, she doesn't seem to be willing to listen. She keeps talking before he can speak, likely to keep him from trying to tell her otherwise, so he eventually gives up and just listens. Tells him again that he doesn't deserve to be treated this way, and part of him knows that, but another piece overrides that sentiment; after being put through it basically all his life, it was hard not to think that he did somehow. That maybe he was just cursed. He certainly wasn't innocent...

He blinks once at the mention of her brother, lips pursing more as he thought about him. This morning had been a rough first impression, and him forcing into his room certainly hadn't helped to improve that. But still, he didn't want to be rude about Velonix's brother. At least not to her face. And maybe she was right, and he really was just all bark no bite. He did apologize... Still, he feels uneasy about the older male, and all he can manage in the end is a small nod to her words, gaze averting slightly.

Hold on his hand is finally released, letting it drop down to rest on his thigh, and maybe he's a little relieved as he draws his arm back a little again into a more comfortable position, to let it rest with hopes of the aches in his wrist and fingers to settle. His heart is still racing, he still feels that heat in his face, even if that closeness was pleasant. A pleasant feeling that despite his relief, maybe he misses a little. He's too used to being swatted away.

She's giving her thanks again, and he half can't believe she's saying that at all. Thank you for the day she's had? It's been a nice first day? Is she sure? It feels like the stress she was put through might...outweigh the good. If there was much good; hadn't he just caused problems for her all day? Gotten her the wrong kind of attention, the disdain and anger from their fellow classmates?

Despite it all, and even with how rough it had gone for him, there had been parts that had been...nice for him too. Nicer than he was used to. Being talked to and treated with even the bare minimum kindness, that was...a nice change of pace.

Friend? The word startles him again slightly and his brows almost furrow, but he keeps his expression still. After all of that, she still wanted to...

"Ah, I..." A pause, hesitation, "thank you...too..." It's all he can manage, his heart still pounding and his head still spinning. Still, warmth. A good kind, blooming in his chest. Was he maybe...just, a little...happy...?

Velonix is suddenly digging through her backpack then, a pen and paper retrieved from it soon enough before she's writing something down over the little sheet, Kazutora only half watching as she does. All the same, it's eventually torn out and folded with a speed and precision he's surprised by. Did she enjoy origami, maybe? The fold it done to hold a sucker, and then suddenly she's moving to place it out at him, the soft weight of the paper and candy resting atop his head, hair that really needed to be washed out still. He reaches up to take it in his hand shortly after before it falls off itself, but before he can unfold it she's speaking again.

"Be ready at 7:15 tomorrow morning." Comes her voice, almost commanding more than requesting, further asserted by the, "no exceptions," that follows. He can't help but pale slightly at this; she wanted him to show up at school tomorrow? In his state? He'd done it before, but usually it ended with people-

Staring. Whispering. Mocking. Taunting. Typical for every day, yet worsened with this. What if Kenji showed up tomorrow as well? How was he supposed to deal with him?

He'd already been trying to find a way to get out of going tomorrow. To rest through the pain, to avoid traveling out in public with his appearance. To avoid risking running into Kenji or any of his friends, to avoid dealing with people. To hide away. Now she wanted him to come along still?

"I-" He panics, tries to say something, but she's standing and making way for the door with more commands to soak in the bath, take medicine, and sleep, and then she's gone, the sliding door clacking shut. All he can do is stare at it before letting himself fall back onto the bed, dark eyes staring up at the ceiling. Even if he ignored what she'd said and didn't get up in the morning, she and her brother would apparently be here, and if Etsuko and Kenta saw them waiting outside, they would no doubt have questions. What choice did he have?

Maybe he's a little frustrated, but he turns his attention to the paper still in his hand, the sucker dropped onto the comforter of the bed as he unfolds the paper to figure out what she'd written inside. And again he feels heat building up in his face as he reads out the name and the number below, another little sketch like the one earlier this morning in the note they'd exchanged during class, a little simpler this time. She'd given him her personal number? Why?

He sets the paper down on top of the bed soon after, arms moving to lay over his head, a long sigh drawing out past his lips. Exhausted. It had finally hit him. But he couldn't sleep yet; regardless of if it was because she had said to or just because he wanted to, he still did need to bathe, wash himself off so he could be clean before going to sleep. Maybe soothe some of the aches with heat and steam before he crashed for the night.

Forcing himself up again, he pushed into a seated position, and then standing, swaying slightly on his feet as he tried to find his balance again and ignore the flares of pain in the movement and new weight. His feet half stumble over the ground, catching himself against the wall by the bathroom door before sliding it open and moving in. If nothing else, maybe it would feel nice in the end.

The bath water is running, and he gingerly strips off his clothes, tossing them out of the door of the bathroom in a dirty, bloody mess before shutting it behind him. He would try and figure out what to do with them later. For now, soaking would be nice.

Washing off takes time, every awkward stretch or movement sending a flash of pain through his body, and as he works he slowly finds more and more injuries: a gash here, a bruise there, cuts and marks and other odd things in most spots. He doesn't look at his back in the mirror, but he imagines it's as much of a mess as his front is. At least we haven't transitioned out of winter uniforms yet. It's a tiny mercy.

He nearly falls asleep in the heat and comfort of the bath, but eventually he forces himself out, toweling off and dressing into loose shorts he can wear to bed. Nearly as soon as he gets out he hears Etsuko's voice on the other side of the door, an offer for dinner that he turns down with a weak thank you. Even if he had an appetite at this point, he didn't want her to see him like this. She seems worried, but lets him know that they'll save some for him if he changes his mind, and that it will just be waiting in the fridge for him. He's silently grateful she doesn't try to question or ask to come in.

Eventually he settles into bed, scrolling through his phone aimlessly for awhile to try and keep his mind off things. The entire day had been...out of the ordinary, but even that felt like putting it far too lightly. New students, Velonix and Kazuyuki. The latter was nice enough, though he'd been quiet and hadn't seemed overly interested in anyone. Velonix had been...

Interested in him. And being interested in him in a positive way at all was not what he had expected. Not what he had figured would happen. If anything, indifference. If the worst case scenario, he assumed the new students would join in on the excuse to harass him from the get-go along with the rest of their new classmates. Instead, she had been kind. Openly friendly and warm, excitable no doubt, energetic, but with good intentions. She had even- defended him? It felt odd to think about, the way she had told others off when they had tried to go about things as they usually did. All that for someone she had just met with enough rumors and stories floating around his head to completely drown someone. Yet she still stuck with him. Even called him her friend. Were they friends? He's not sure. Even if she said that, they had just met, and...

...Kazutora can't help the pessimism, that she'll change her mind in a few days if not by tomorrow already. That she'll realize he's not worth it. That she'll realize he's trash, that he's nothing, and maybe he does live up to some of those rumors. That he's as unpleasant as they say. That he's someone to hate just as much as everyone else does.

And yet a small part of him still hopes. That maybe she'll stick around, and maybe he can have a friend. Someone to trust, someone to rely on. Someone that he can...smile with, maybe.

Despite his exhaustion, it feels as if sleep will forever evade him. He doesn't quite toss and turn against the pain, but he stares up at the ceiling for hours, until he looks to the digital clock nearby, a simple few numbers that tell him it's already three in the morning, if not almost four. Maybe he just wouldn't get any sleep tonight?

Rising out of his bed, he gives a small groan at moving the settling injuries, but all the same he's back on his feet, taking his phone up in his hands and...hesitantly taking hold of that piece of paper with her number on it. With both in his hands he moves to the door, sliding it open quietly and stepping out onto the engawa right outside. Eventually, he manages to lower down to it, letting his legs hang over the edge and letting the rest of himself lean against the wooden post, one of the many supporting the roofing that hangs over it. There's quiet sounds outside, the sound of running water from the stream that runs through the gardens, a splash from some of the koi fish in the pond it runs through. Bugs, a few birds. Wind through the leaves of the trees and plants. Peaceful and soothing.

His gaze drifts down to the paper in his hand again. Just her number. Did she want him to call her? Text her? It would be the right thing to do, wouldn't it? He pulls out his phone after a small debate with himself, opening a new message and typing her number into the recipient line, then down to write the message.

And he stares. And stares. Types, deletes, stares. Types, deletes. Types and types and deletes and deletes. Over and over for what feels like ages. Had he ever even texted someone before? What was he supposed to say? Nothing felt quite right, some too formal, some too forward, some too much and some nothing at all. What was right?

Eventually, he forces out three simple words: Thanks for today. Hardly anything, and then he forces himself to hit send. As it goes through, there's finally nothing he can do. He lowers the phone into his lap, staring silently at the little bubble of a message, something that should be so simple and mean nothing, and yet...here he was, heart racing all over again, unease and overthinking. He almost looks up and shuts the phone off before another message comes through, blinking once at the simple smiley-face that stares back at him through the screen. She was still awake? And...she had responded?

Letting out a small sigh, he finally shuts the phone off, setting it carefully to his side before fully relaxing against the post, his head pressing against it a little more as his eyes slide shut, cool breeze and soothing sounds practically lulling him to sleep outside before he realizes it.

Setting

4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kazuyuki Orako Character Portrait: Velonix Orako Character Portrait: Kazumi Orako Character Portrait: Natsuo Orako
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kazuyuki orako.
dialogue ; #a59bbd. – thought ; #85a8d5.
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Even if he tended to complain when Harmonix accused him of being a nap fiend, Halcyon knew it was the truth. Practically as soon as he'd arrived home he'd crashed onto the couch, exhaustion over the stress of so many people - so many scents - and a new schedule all eating away the already low reserves of energy he had. As if coming down to earth and trying to blend in with humans wasn't already stressful enough, one of them had even decided to go out of his way to mistreat Harmonix. At the very least, Kazuyuki hoped his brief show of power had been enough to scare him off for good. Though somehow, he doubted it. He doesn't seem like the type to give up easy. How often will we end up having to deal with him?

At least it seemed like she'd made a friend. Kazuyuki hadn't been as lucky; Reiya seemed hesitant to the idea of friends. He supposes it makes sense, though. Harmonix had always had a much easier time getting along with others. They always seemed drawn right to her without much effort. The same could be said for his other siblings, of course. He just seemed to be the one always lacking.

His sleep tended to be full of dreams, and this one was no different. Simple ones that seemed like reviews of the day, others that reflected memories of much, much longer past.

All of them interrupted by the vibration of his phone waking him up. A text message? The silence of the house meant that no one else was home yet, still alone. Had they all decided to go out to do something for the rest of the day? Or was it not as late as he thought? Probably, given the sun was still out.

Pulling the phone out from underneath the couch's decorative pillow he'd ended up sleeping on, he shifts the phone up until the screen flickers back on, Aurora's name and a paragraph of a message - typical of her - underneath it. Of course, the actual contents of the message itself had his brows furrowing, free hand's fingers digging into the fabric and plush of the couch. Trouble? What kind of trouble? Aurora says she's okay, but is she really? Phoebus was after her, but might do something rash? Had someone tried to hurt Harmonix?

Rising up off the couch, he found himself pacing, wide awake now with the supposed "issue" that had befallen his older sister's day. Like there hadn't already been several.

He can't help but worry, but at least he didn't have the short temper or tunnel vision his older brother always seemed to have. Phoebus was quick to charge into anywhere without thinking, often making a bad situation worse even with good intentions. At least Aurora could quell him and resolve things most of the time. Halcyon's own worry kept subdued, quiet, until he was sure he needed to step in and take care of something. So until he knew what was happening, he would wait. Wait until they explained, at least. Or until they called for him, if it came to it. He doubted that it would, though.

So waiting. And waiting. And waiting. It feels like ages, but maybe he's just restless, and his sister hasn't responded to his simple message of "what's happened?" Probably in the midst of dealing with whatever it is, or dragging Phoebus by his ear and chastising him all the while. He'd seen her do it plenty of times.

Waiting has him moving up to his room soon enough, pacing around the bedroom for some time, but eventually there's the sensation of something crawling up his leg, clinging to the fabric of the pants that belonged to the school uniform he'd failed to change out of, now wrinkled and unkempt. Vio was crawling her way up, and halfway through he moved down to take the small mouse carefully into his palm, the little animal looking up at him with curious eyes. Worried? "I'm okay, Vio." He offers after a moment, letting himself lower onto the bed, careful to keep the hand holding the mouse steady even as he lowered back, settling onto his back with his legs left hanging over the edge, feet just barely off the floor. The mouse moves to settle on his chest. "Today's just been long."

So long that even in his worry, he somehow ends up dozing off again. He's only roused from his sleep again at the sound of a knock on his door, eldest sister's voice on the other side: "Halcyon! Supper's ready if you want to eat."

He's not able to get back up fast enough, careful not to jolt upright when Vio is still napping on his chest. In fact, it takes a good while to coax the little rodent off and into the chest pocket of his shirt, burrowing into the warmth of the fabric as he stands again, bottom of his palm rubbing at eyes, eyelids still wanting to stay shut and get him to rest again. Gods, usually he wasn't this bad, today had really taken a toll on him.

When he opens the door to his room the hallway is empty, Aurora having no doubt headed back down to eat, the smell of Pheobus's cooking telling him that his brother was down there as well. Had Harmonix returned home yet, maybe with them? He gets his answer by the sound of utensils and a plate clinking around a bit, and her faint voice soon after, but before he can make the full way down to the kitchen she's already heading back to the hall of rooms. His lips part to say something: ask if she's okay, what happened, how she was and how the rest of her day had been after they'd parted ways. Just talk. But she's nudging him with her shoulder as she passes, a simple "sleep well," and her bedroom door is shut just a breath later.

It seems she wasn't up for talking.

Standing in the hall for a moment longer, his brows furrow slightly before he makes his way down to the kitchen where the other two are, a pot of purple hyacinths placed nearby, probably from Aurora's garden, Phoebus and her both talking over the food and flowers, mild banter and chatter as always with the two of them. There are plates already set out, Harmonix's missing obviously, and he eventually finds a spot at his own, settling into the seat and poking at the food for a moment without a word, before murmuring a small, "...thanks for dinner," managing to stifle the sigh that nearly follows. The last thing he needed to do was stress his older siblings out; they had clearly already had more than enough to worry over today.

All the same, he's relieved it's come to a close, and silently he hopes that tomorrow will be a little kinder on him.

Setting

4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kazuyuki Orako Character Portrait: Velonix Orako Character Portrait: Kazumi Orako Character Portrait: Natsuo Orako
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Code- #0000CD

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Code- #FF1493


No sooner had the table been set that Vel appeared. Natsuo wasn't aware she had returned home since she obviously got cleaned up and was in her PJs. Kazumi wondered if she got home while she was outside. She was about greet her, but Vel spoke up first, saying she just wanted to eat and sleep for now, but did promise she'd talk about what happened tomorrow. Natsuo blessedly stayed quiet. While he was known for his impatience, there were those rare times when he knew when it was time to be patient and this was one of those times. Especially since he knew he was still in trouble with his sister.

"Love you Auttie, good night," he said after she kissed his cheek.

He meant every word of it. He definitely would do anything to make her happy. Kazumi blew a kiss back at Vel.

"Pleasant dreams Nixie," Kazumi said affectionately.

Each used one of her nicknames deliberately. It was long for their youngest sibling to show up, thanking them for dinner.

"I hope your first day of school was a nice one, Hal. I am sorry I couldn't give you details of what happened to Nixie since I was in a rush. Phoebus, what don't you tell him what Shadow told you and I'll add in my perspective after Eos knocked you out."

Natsuo nodded and started telling Yuki what happened, including mentioning what the attacker looked like, and Kazumi picked up after he finished his part and ended with what Vel told them just now.

"Hopefully Nixie will be in a better mood tomorrow. Hal, do you know who this attacker was? I definitely want to find this boy and keep an eye on him. It's a good thing there's a lot of birds on campus. Anyway, we can talk about this subject tomorrow when Nixie is present."

She mood onto other subjects talking about her day and got Natsuo to talk about his day a bit. She even coaxed Yuki to talk a little bit. She smiled when he did talk about Kazutora and another new person he and Vel met: Reiya.

"Well I am glad there are a few good people at that school. I am sure the four of you will become good friends over time. We liked the new people we met today also. Just a reminder, I do have to work tomorrow afternoon. You work also right Phoebus?"

"Yes, so I'll be home late. Tomorrow before work I plan on getting something for Harmonix."

"Good idea. I plan on going to my private residence tomorrow after my last class before work since I need to check the gardens there. Not to mention I want to check on my animals."

With that they finished dinner and Natsuo made his siblings leave the kitchen so he could clean up. Finally done, they did their own things before going to bed.

Setting

5 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kazutora Miyato Character Portrait: Kazuyuki Orako Character Portrait: Velonix Orako Character Portrait: Kazumi Orako Character Portrait: Natsuo Orako
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”Hope is the last thing ever lost.”
~Italian Proverb

Speech Code ~ #B43104 | Thought Code ~ #FE9A2E
Phoenix Speech Code ~ #FF0000 | Phoenix Thought Code ~ #DF0174
Dual Speech Code ~ #D102E2 | Dual Thought Code ~ #E27FFA

Female Vocal Drum Mix ~ Vibe As You Read




The rest of the night went by uneventfully, and after some time of simply staring at her dark phone, turning it over and over and over again between her hands, Harmonix finally was able to fall asleep. Even until the moment she drifted off entirely, the image of a blonde boy lingered at the forefront of her mind. It was only for a few hours but her human body at least felt refreshed after the brief slumber. Surprisingly, for the first time in a long time, she found herself to be in a state of dreamlessness. Instead, there was an almost soothing nothingness that led to her finally being rejuvenated. When her alarm eventually rang, alerting her brain and body to the time, she awoke surprisingly well. Despite the lack of sleep she did not feel drowsy, but instead excited for the day ahead, possibly even more so than she had been the day before. Her first time at school had not gone exactly well necessarily, but at least she had made a few new friends, and she was more than looking forward to seeing each of them again.

Warmth of her blanket cast aside, the chill of the morning air assaulted her legs, bringing forth goosebumps within seconds. Feet sliding into slippers, she rose from her bed with a stretch, enjoying the early morning rays that trickled through the windows, bathing her in sunlight. Dusk and Mio continued to sleep in the corner and after ensuring their dishes to be full, she made her way to bathroom to ready herself for the day.

It didn’t take long to do so, as she only wore makeup on special occasions, and a simple brush of the hair was all she needed in that area. A swipe of her teeth with her toothbrush, a few spritzes of perfume post-dress, and she was ready to go. A cursory glance at her phone read the time as 6:45am, giving her about fifteen minutes of wiggle room to eat and catch her siblings up to speed on the events of the prior day. Not that she was looking forward to discussing everything that happened again, but she knew she did not really have a choice. She had promised to explain and they deserved to know when negative things happened, considering that it could affect them all. The last thing that they needed was to keep secrets when it could quite literally put their entire existences at risk.

A head shake and she slipped her phone into her bag which then found its way over her shoulder. Well, I may as well face it sooner rather than later. A resolute sigh and she was off, socked feet padding softly down the stairs. She could hear the clink of Phoebus in the kitchen and the soft sounds of Aurora instructing him on something to do with a flower and a classmate of theirs. Her curiosity was piqued, but unlike Phoebus she knew when to mind her own business. He would tell her if it was important, and if it was something personal, she would know when he was ready to share. So, without a word on the subject, Harmonix made her way into the kitchen, calling a quiet, ”Good morning,” as she strode, and slid her bag onto the floor beside the stool she chose to sit on. With a little spin atop it she found herself facing her brother, chin propped in her hands, elbows on the counter. As she took a moment to gather her thoughts Halcyon appeared, albeit it tiredly, and she was forced to push down a giggle at him. Always tired and always sleeping.

Breakfast was simple yet delicious and despite the unsettled, excited sensation that broiled in her stomach, she managed to choke down a little over half of the meal, if at least for her siblings’ reassurance. Malnourishment was not necessarily a thing amongst them, but a lack of appetite for the delicious foods of the human realm often was the first sign of a god on the verge of a breakdown. A breakdown of godly proportion, on Earth no less, could be catastrophic and would be best avoided. Once done, she made quick work of wrapping up some of what was left of what Phoebus had cooked, essentially building it into a bagel sandwich in the process.

A sigh and she pushed herself to her feet, ready to start on their lunches for later. It was only when she reached the fridge, intent on gathering the necessary ingredients, that she began to speak again, this time going into the details of everything that had happened the day before, starting with when they had left her after Kazutora intervened on the two boys in the morning. Not only did she tell them everything that had happened with Kenji, but she also told them of her weariness over a few of her teachers, as well as her confusion over the entire situation involving her classmates and how they treated Kazutora. She worked as she spoke, not allowing the story to distract her from her tasks. She did not have much time before she had to leave and needed to take advantage of what little she did have.

Her movements had begun to slow, the thoughts slightly taking her into her own little world. ”Look … I cannot tell you why he is ostracized the way that he is. All that I can tell you is that … He is not as bad of a person as everyone seems to think he is. His spirit is … Complicated, but ultimately pure. He has good intentions; he is not bad.” It almost sounded childish but she could not stress it enough; Kazutora was not bad, and she wanted to scream it from the rooftops after all she witnessed on her first day. Her fingers curled into a fist without her realizing, and only when a soft pain entered her palm did she notice the digging of nails into flesh. Loosening the grip she rubbed idly at the crescent shapes in her skin, the sting of the contact helping to ground her once more. A box was placed atop another and she was onto the next.

Oh grow up. If they really piss you off that much, just kill them. It’s really that easy. The words made her stomach churn, especially so when she found herself momentarily contemplating them. We do not murder people! Attempting to hide her disgust, Harmonix finished the final lunchbox and flicked it shut with a soft click, retrieved her bag and began for the doorway as she continued, ”Just … Trust that I know what I am doing, and I will call you if I need you. Please?” The look that was given to Phoebus was one of near-desperation, pleading with him to at least try to control himself a bit more.

Shoes retrieved from the entryway, she dropped them onto the floor in the arch of the kitchen door, feet sliding into them. She bent over to free the back of her left shoe and allow her heel to slip in, a soft noise of annoyance slipping out. ”I promise, if anything were to get to a point that I am worried about my control, you will be the first people I think of for help. I need to get going, though. I will see you after work later. Eat all of your lunches and have a great day.” She paused at those words, giving Phoebus a knowing and warning look. ”Next time that you are worried about me, please try calling me first. If I do not answer, feel free to go as crazy as you think is necessary. But at least give me the opportunity to diffuse the bomb that is you, okay?” She was teasing, of course, but she did mean it when she requested he give her a call next time. She really would rather avoid another possible exposure of their abilities to a human.

Halcy was ready by then and with a little nod at her elder siblings, she motioned to the front door. A skip and she had snagged the lunches meant for her and Halcy, along with an additional bag that she had bought with the rest of their bento boxes and the wrapped sandwich with a small bottle of juice. She was nothing if not efficient, always ensuring to get extra of anything they may need, and it seemed to have finally paid off.

It wasn’t until they were outside and walking down the front steps, the chilly morning air soothing on her warm cheeks - she always tended to run a bit hotter than others - that she spoke up, going out of her way to avoid looking at her brother. Who knew how he’d react to what she had planned? ”We have a stop we have to make on the way to school. It is why I wanted to leave early.” She left it at that, not wishing to explain any more. Any questions he may have developed would be answered in the next fifteen minutes anyway, when they retrieved Kazutora.

A soft beep beep signaled the unlocking of her Audi RS5, something she had picked up only a week prior. It was brand new and she had driven it a couple of times, but enjoyed the thrill of whipping around corners when on uninhabited streets. She knew, of course, that she technically could not legally be driving, but honestly, who really cared? She was a centuries old goddess, so not her, of course. She really couldn’t care less. So, with literally not a single care in the world, she tossed her bag through the window and into the back seat, lunches placed a bit more gently after it, and plopped into the driver’s side, key in the ignition before she was even fully sitting. Without another word of explanation, waiting only for Halcyon to lock himself into the seat, Harmonix followed suit and took off from their shared home, fiddling with the radio until she reached an enjoyable station, intent on reaching Kazutora’s and then school within a decent window of time.

Navigating the early morning streets of Akita was extremely easy as the traffic was minimal to none, most of it being students and the random person here and there who was walking their dog or riding their bike, undoubtedly on the commute to work. Harmonix paid them no mind, instead following the route that the taxi had taken to bring her home. Despite the entire wipe of everything she could have remembered before fifteen years ago, she had a phenomenal memory of everything since - all of her siblings did as well - so recalling how to reach his home was easy enough. Only when she pulled in front of his house and parked did she pause for a moment, turning to fully face her brother. She knew he would undoubtedly not care at all about her plans, but she still wanted to make it clear that there was no room for argument on what she wanted to do, at least in regards to this.

”This is Kazutoras’ home. I will be going to and from school with him starting today. I would like it if you would join us, but if you do not feel comfortable …” She trailed off, as though uncertain and her expression reflected her confliction. She really needed him to understand why she was doing what she was going to do, and explaining why was difficult when she herself didn’t even know the full reason. All she knew was that it brought her incredible fury and pain to watch the treatment that Kazutora had received the day before, and she never wanted to see him in the state that she had, not ever again. The sting of tears threatened but she managed to blink them back before they could truly form, instead focusing on her brother once more. ”It just … Seems like Kenji is a bigger issue than I originally thought. The only thing I can think of to help him is to not let him be alone when Kenji might have the opportunity to do something. Take away the opportunity from the pest, you know?” Harmonix hesitated, hand reaching out to touch Halcyon’s shoulder. ”Halcy, please; there is something not right here. He does not deserve this. Her heart ached with fury and sorrow as flashes of Kenji’s fist connecting with Kazutora’s face darted behind her eyes, bringing a grimace to her lips that hardened into a grim line. Fingers curled slightly in her brother’s shirt, heat emanating off of them in waves. It was difficult, controlling her anger, especially given the circumstances.

The only thing that could have distracted her in that moment thankfully appeared, albeit slowly, his gait unbalanced and a bit off. It did not surprise her in the least; given the beating he had received yesterday, Kazutora was walking impressively well. Whether it was because he truly felt well enough to do so or if he was simply trying to conceal how badly he was hurt, she could not tell, but either way her concern rose at the sight of his limping movement.

Before she could stop herself she was out of the car and had brusquely made her way over to him. Velonix gave him no time to react but instead took his bag as soon as she reached his side, stopping him in his stride by standing directly in his path. She leaned forward and to the side a bit to peek up at his face, already growing accustomed to his tendency to hide it from view. She would not let him escape her, however, and easily caught those intense eyes. Eye contact was important for her, as physical contact was a major no. It was not the same but could at least make up for the lack of touch, even if only a little.

Lips parted, words almost leaving her throat, but she was cut off before anything could be said. ”Ah, Tora!” A kind voice belonging to a pretty and surprisingly young woman interrupted them, leaving Velonix a bit uncertain of how to proceed.She had appeared from the front of the house, leaving the car between them, and seemed as though she had something she needed to say to him. They did not have much time to prepare for the woman, as she was a mere few feet away, but Velonix flicked Kazutora a questioning look, noted his somewhat panicking expression - why he did not want to speak to the woman was a loss to her - but figured that she would go for the safer route of escape and ask questions later.

With that plan in mind, her hands moved out and as one gently pinched Kazutora’s sleeve, the other rose into a kind yet somewhat hurried wave. She was not dumb; she knew what such an action could possibly be interpreted as. She figured that getting Kazutora moving faster and letting him clarify later was better than them being caught unprepared with no way to explain either his current state or her sudden appearance so early in the morning. So, with a bit of concentration and a small flick of her finger mid-wave, a ripple of the soothing scents of caramel wafted over to Kazutora’s foster mother, encompassing her in a relaxing embrace. The woman’s slightly hurried pace slowed until she had come to a stop and as though transfixed she turned her face to the sky, gazing at the clouds above. Vel could see her inhale deeply and a serene expression fall across her face as she simply soaked in the morning light, any and all thoughts prior gone from her mind as memories of herself as a young child, darting through the yard in the chilly morning air, slid through her mind at the sweet smells of caramel.

”We are in a bit of a hurry. Have a great day, ma’am!” Giving her no time to react, Velonix ushered Kazutora to the back passenger side of the car and held the door as he slipped inside. Once he had fully gotten in, she gave the woman another wave as she strode around the car, easily calling out a believable lie. It’s amazing how far confidence gets you. ”I am eighteen, do not worry!”

With that she was in the door and slipping on her seatbelt, music already running as she turned around to face the boy who had already wiggled his way into the outer layers of her heart. With a point she gestured to the sandwich and juice, and when she spoke her words were more of an order than an offer. ”My brother made breakfast and I saved you some. That is yours. It is the most important meal of the day, especially for someone who will spend most of it learning.” She did not wait for him to say yes, or even possibly deny the food, as she could tell he was not the type to easily accept others’ kindness. If all the niceties he had been given in life had come with weight or toxicity, who could blame him for being skeptical? WIth a shake of her head she made way towards the school. A glance cast in her rearview mirror to check in on Kazutora about halfway to school and when she caught his eyes she felt her heart skip a beat. Get a grip, will ya’? The words were enough to tear her gaze back to the road, but she managed to get out a few of her own. ”I … Sorry if you dislike how I handled that. It was … Difficult to discern the best way. Interacting with others is … A struggle for me at times.” It wasn’t a lie; she definitely struggled with many social interactions and how to not only read but also navigate them. From what she could tell if anyone were to understand that, it would be Kazutora.

The rest of the ride left the trio in silence, the only sound the lilting tunes of a new K-Pop song slipping out of the car speakers and engulfing them in what she felt to be a positive energy. It helped to lull the lingering awkwardness, allowing her to relax at least a little.

Parking at school was different, as she was still technically underage, but Velonix had found a work around. The school was a mere block down from where the beginnings of the central part of Akita were, which had led the city to build a small parking garage along the outskirts. It had worked out for both the government and the citizens, as those in nearby neighborhoods managed to have more street parking, and the government made money from those actually using the ramp system. Harmonix had paid for year-round passes for both herself and Halcyon and took full advantage of it in that moment, pulling into the garage with a sense of satisfaction. She loved her car and was happy to have found a safe and secure place to store it that was also so close to school.

Her seatbelt was pulled away before she had even fully parked and she barely waited for the car to be entirely off before she opened the door and stepped out. It was easy enough to retrieve the bags from beside Kazutora, who was slowly making his way out, and once done she locked it with a soft [/beep]. Velonix was around the car within moments and by Kazutora’s side, bento box outstretched to her brother as they all began to walk. ”Here is yours,” she adjusted her grip and then held out the other one that she had intended for him in Kazutora’s direction, ”And here is your lunch, Kazutora.” It took him what seemed like forever, during which time she never once wavered in her offer to him, and when he finally took it she happily lowered her arm and moved enough so that Yuki could be on her other side with her between the two.

Today is going to be a great day, I just know it.

Setting

4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kazuyuki Orako Character Portrait: Velonix Orako Character Portrait: Kazumi Orako Character Portrait: Natsuo Orako
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Code- #FF1493


Kazumi got a great night rest and like clockwork, she rose up before dawn to do her morning routine, which included dancing outside as the sun rises. It was always her way to honor her father for he was the best man she ever knew. Of course she loved her mother too and it was from her she learned how to heal through plants, but she was definitely a daddy's girl. She was done when she saw her brother come outside to do his morning kendo practice. Both siblings knew to let each other be when doing these things. Kazumi would go about checking on the animals that settled around their property before getting ready for school.

By the time Vel woke up, Natsuo was about done with breakfast and Kazumi had gone about setting the table, which include putting fresh flowers in a vase. Kazumi also made sure to have the healing balm she made.

When she spotted her sister, she smiled and said, "Good morning sunshine. Hope you slept well."

Natsuo also made sure to greet Vel, only he intentionally pulled her into a hug. Natsuo was rarely affectionate, so when it did happen, his family would know he meant it.

It wasn't long that Yuki showed up and the siblings ate their breakfast before Vel delved right in and told them everything from what happened after yesterday's morning incidents with those punks to last afternoon's incident. Both Kazumi and Natsuo stayed silent. Natsuo remained poker face, but his eyes would darken with how some of the humans acted towards his sister. Kazumi frowned hearing those parts, but smiled hearing about this Reiya, who seemed nice.

When Vel insisted that Kazutora wasn't bad, both older seasons nodded.

"Well, I am just glad you have each other to rely on. It's a darn shame your new friend doesn't get a break. Oh, here's that healing balm I said I'd make, Nixie." Kazumi said before taking the balm from her pocket and giving it to her sister.

Vel insisted once again she could things and would call if she needed them. She also asked they contact her next time.

"I'll try my best Harmonix. I trust you, I just don't trust humans and I doubt I ever will, not completely at least.
I will promise to keep working on things. I know I can do better. And I'll definitely call you first next time. I am ashamed I almost blew our cover." Natsuo replied.


"Well, Halcyon, do you have anything to add on this matter?"

After he was finished both Kazumi and Natsuo felt it was only fair to talk about their first day, which included meeting Iphi and Mafuyu. Kazumi mentioned how Iphi was a friend of Kazutora's and how both knew about this Kenji too.

"I am going to warn you both that I plan on having birds and any other animals to keep a lookout for this boy, Kenji." Kazumi said to her youngest siblings.

"You read my mind, Aurora, only I plan to extend it to the city itself. This human is clearly a problem and can be dangerous."

What neither sibling mentioned was they would find out where this Kenji lived.

"Let's end this conversation on a happy note. I am glad you are making friends, Nixie and Hal. Hopefully I'll get to meet this Reiya. Oh, you might run into my co-worker Emiko at some point, but she's a freshman so it might be hard. But if you do run into her, tell her hi for she likes both of you. Just to remind you, both Natsuo and I work today."

Soon, all siblings finished breakfast and the two youngest left soon after. When it was just the two of them, both Natsuo and Kazumi had their own quick talk.

"I am just going to say this. If I ever meet this Kenji, I am going to enjoy squishing him like the bug he is. It certainly wouldn't be the first time."

"Just be careful. I am finding I am feelings things I didn't expect to feel. I personally though would love to squash him too. I'll be sending Gust out to spread the word now that we got a name. I did talk to Shadow and he did give me a physical description."

"I might as well tell you, I plan on finding out where this boy lives. Besides the animals, I wonder if Mafuyu knows where he lives."

"Good luck getting a direct answer out of him if he does know. He hardly knows you after all. Of course, I want to know where this Kenji lives too."

"True. The animals are probably our best bet anyway. I'll still try if we don't get an answer by the end of the week, I'll start working my magic on Mafuyu."

Natsuo chuckled and said, "Try to not make the man fall for you too quickly."

Kazumi giggled before shifting topics, "How long do you think we have until they find us?"

Natsuo didn't need to ask who she was talking about.

"If mother and father sent Pavo and Astraea, not very long. I personally would prefer to go home before Summer and Winter arrive because both Halcyon and I have our season duties to perform. I think we'll be found before that happens though."

Kazumi nodded. This ended their conversation and soon the pair left for college in their own vehicles since they would be going to work later that day and both were in different areas of town. Natsuo made sure he had the flowers his sister gave him. He also made sure to get Gust to spread the word about Kenji and decided to have the birds that lived in their main home watch over the house. When Kazumi dropped off Eos and Dawn at their posts outside the campus, she would have them 'communicate' with other dogs that might pass buy about Kenji. It would be similar to the 'twilight bark' from an animated movie that came out in America in 'recent years'. By human standards it be well over 60s years, but for a goddess like Kazumi, it was hardly any time.
For now, the two older seasons would focus on their classes. For Natsuo, his first class was Spanish. For Kazumi, it was Japanese.

Setting

4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kazutora Miyato Character Portrait: Kazuyuki Orako Character Portrait: Velonix Orako Character Portrait: Reiya Goertz
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Code- #D66B70


Reiya made sure to have a good night rest. One perk of living in Japan was at her age she was able to live on her own, but she did live near her aunt and uncle's place for security reasons. She thought of staying with them initially, but she was already independent and she wanted to challenge herself to take care of things. While her mother's brother's family didn't live in Akita, they did live in a nearby town and helped her move in. They also did their part to keep her grandparents off her back. In fact, both of her late mother's siblings have told her they also are on great terms with their parents too, but put up with them.

Reiya did her morning yoga, took a shower, and made her breakfast. Having worked in the vet industry she was used to early hours. She checked the weather outside and saw it was snowing quite a bit. Sighing, she got all of her gear together before putting on her thick coat and snow boots. Seeing the time, she would just walk today since it was early. She had actually woke up earlier than usual and figured it was because she was worried about Tora, recalling what she heard yesterday.

Stepping outside, she start walking and headed for school, enjoying the silence of the morning. Then like clockwork when she got closer to school, the snow stopped and the temperature risen up. Stopping near a bus stop, she changed her shoes and took off her coat, putting them in a bag she carried.

When she got to school, she passed by the high school parking lot and saw the two new students and Tora getting out of a car.
When did Tora start taking rides? He and Velonix must have gotten on close enough terms for her to start bringing him. She was contemplating greeting them as she got closer to interceting with them, but then saw Tora's condition. Eyes widening, she makes a beeline for the trio.

"Good morning. Tora, what happened to you? Did Kenji . . . do this?"

Concern etched in her voice as a million things raced in her head.

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Akita

Akita by Kura Ravengade

Higashi-Naruse

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View All » Add Character » 12 Characters to follow in this universe

Character Portrait: Velonix Orako
Character Portrait: Kazumi Orako
Character Portrait: Kazuyuki Orako
Character Portrait: Astraea Mantrenul
Character Portrait: Iphianassa Lykaois
Character Portrait: Reiya Goertz
Character Portrait: Mafuyu Hanazawa
Character Portrait: Pavo Etoile
Character Portrait: Natsuo Orako
Character Portrait: Kazutora Miyato

Newest

Character Portrait: Kazutora Miyato
Kazutora Miyato

"Didn't ask, don't care."

Character Portrait: Natsuo Orako
Natsuo Orako

Summer Son of the Sun and Moon

Character Portrait: Pavo Etoile
Pavo Etoile

Junior Star

Character Portrait: Mafuyu Hanazawa
Mafuyu Hanazawa

"Meet me by the bridge at 9:00? We can walk to class together, that way."

Character Portrait: Reiya Goertz
Reiya Goertz

Shy and Sweet Teen with a brain

Character Portrait: Iphianassa Lykaois
Iphianassa Lykaois

"Don't give up - there's no shame in falling down. True shame is to not stand up again."

Character Portrait: Astraea Mantrenul
Astraea Mantrenul

"I am calm - whilst the storm is raging around me."

Character Portrait: Kazuyuki Orako
Kazuyuki Orako

"I don't read enough to recommend anything, but...would you like to find a new book with me, to read together?"

Character Portrait: Kazumi Orako
Kazumi Orako

Spring Daughter of the Sun and Moon

Character Portrait: Velonix Orako
Velonix Orako

"We're all born with selfish desires so we can relate to those feelings in others. But kindness is created individually by each person."

Trending

Character Portrait: Natsuo Orako
Natsuo Orako

Summer Son of the Sun and Moon

Character Portrait: Kazuyuki Orako
Kazuyuki Orako

"I don't read enough to recommend anything, but...would you like to find a new book with me, to read together?"

Character Portrait: Iphianassa Lykaois
Iphianassa Lykaois

"Don't give up - there's no shame in falling down. True shame is to not stand up again."

Character Portrait: Mafuyu Hanazawa
Mafuyu Hanazawa

"Meet me by the bridge at 9:00? We can walk to class together, that way."

Character Portrait: Kazutora Miyato
Kazutora Miyato

"Didn't ask, don't care."

Character Portrait: Kazumi Orako
Kazumi Orako

Spring Daughter of the Sun and Moon

Character Portrait: Astraea Mantrenul
Astraea Mantrenul

"I am calm - whilst the storm is raging around me."

Character Portrait: Reiya Goertz
Reiya Goertz

Shy and Sweet Teen with a brain

Character Portrait: Velonix Orako
Velonix Orako

"We're all born with selfish desires so we can relate to those feelings in others. But kindness is created individually by each person."

Character Portrait: Pavo Etoile
Pavo Etoile

Junior Star

Most Followed

Character Portrait: Natsuo Orako
Natsuo Orako

Summer Son of the Sun and Moon

Character Portrait: Astraea Mantrenul
Astraea Mantrenul

"I am calm - whilst the storm is raging around me."

Character Portrait: Kazumi Orako
Kazumi Orako

Spring Daughter of the Sun and Moon

Character Portrait: Kazuyuki Orako
Kazuyuki Orako

"I don't read enough to recommend anything, but...would you like to find a new book with me, to read together?"

Character Portrait: Pavo Etoile
Pavo Etoile

Junior Star

Character Portrait: Kazutora Miyato
Kazutora Miyato

"Didn't ask, don't care."

Character Portrait: Reiya Goertz
Reiya Goertz

Shy and Sweet Teen with a brain

Character Portrait: Iphianassa Lykaois
Iphianassa Lykaois

"Don't give up - there's no shame in falling down. True shame is to not stand up again."

Character Portrait: Velonix Orako
Velonix Orako

"We're all born with selfish desires so we can relate to those feelings in others. But kindness is created individually by each person."

Character Portrait: Mafuyu Hanazawa
Mafuyu Hanazawa

"Meet me by the bridge at 9:00? We can walk to class together, that way."


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