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No-Go AA+

Airdalen Academy

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a part of No-Go AA+, by Victorant.

None

Victorant holds sovereignty over Airdalen Academy, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

13,729 readers have been here.

Setting

Default Location for No-Go AA+
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Minimap

Airdalen Academy is a part of No-Go AA+.

30 Characters Here

Akira Blake [284] I'm a boy, I swear! R-really... (Stats up to date)
Yuuki Fujioka [236] This may be a new school, but my goals haven't changed. Don't bother me. (Stats Updated)
Gen Fukui [235] You'll have to bare with me a bit longer, darling~ <updated>
Ryou Giou [232] "They say I need a distraction, what do you think?" (revamped)
Shiori Kitogawa [232] I don't have a lot of time.. they hate me.. I need to change. (Stat update)
Rhys Browning [229] "I'm trying to hold back." Stats Updated 24/03
Johnny Farelli [219] "I will get stronger. I have to... for everyone's sakes." (FridayStatsUpdated!)
Bishop Trander [218] "Well, it looks like I'm going to be at this school longer than the others... Things will be different this time. Right?" EDITED
Aeon Shirokami [213] "For me, it will always be business as usual."
Sora Harigae [206] "If the sky is the limit, then I am at a disadvantage because I can't be more than what I am." [stat 25/03]

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gen Fukui Character Portrait: Tadashi Kiomine
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Tadashi Kiomine

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It wasn't very hard to sneak up on Tadashi when he was in the midst of making music. It was almost a laser focus he had when the process started and notes seemed to flow out of him delicately, like a gentle stream. Nothing was forced and every movement was graceful and meant to be. For Gen to see him in this state, it couldn't be called anything less than natural. He went on and on, brushing the keys and transitioning his hands and fingers expertly without looking. He wasn't actually looking in any particular direction, but his head was tilted down mostly with the occasional rise- his body mimicked the flow of the melody, the both of them connected as he went on playing. He was light, graceful and free. This was his escape. There was nothing in this world he could equate to quite this feeling. It was when he found this escape, that Tadashi had truly found himself during his time away.

As the melody came winding down, he momentarily checked back in to reality to find his friend Gen dressed in her usual manner, standing as gentle as flower to his side. All the while, he never actually stopped playing. Nodding in thanks when she poured him some tea, he delicately took the cup and small plate idly hitting some key's in a repeating hold before he set the cooling beverage down needing it to cool. When Gen sat beside him, he moved over to give the lady some room beside him. Both hands back on the keys, he very lightly struck some chords; it was incredible he seamlessly he could play from both hands, to one, then back to both hands again without a single bump or off key disturbance. He got the hint when her hands moved over the keys, she wanted to play.

"It seems we still have one way to communicate still." Tadashi hadn't said a peep until then, partially because he didn't want to put pressure on his dear friend to speak. He may not understand the exact reason for Gen's sudden muteness, but he knew far too well how a shock could make someone's body and mind react in strange or extreme ways. Stress could be rather destructive. He let his dear friend play a sheet of music, which was well done- if not, a little disconnected on the notes. Tadashi however gave her the kindest and most understanding smile he could muster, trying his best to project his acceptance and care for her. "Follow the chords I play after I play them, I have something special for you." With the upmost patience, Tadashi would play chords for Gen to repeat which was slowly turning into a song. He hoped she knew it. His dear friend was religious he knew and this song was a perfect blending of the both of them. No matter how long it took, Tadashi would build her confidence with the simple set of keys. When she was ready, he would step away to grab his guitar and pulled a chair next to Gen.

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"Alright, now it's time to put everything together. If you get lost, that's fine. Do what feels natural... 1. 2. 3. And."(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Uw8mIcQJn8)

Tadashi would begin to sing. He had a soft smile on his face, letting Gen hear his beautiful voice. This was a safe place. For the both of them. He had been through so much, turning himself to the young man before her, singing for her (Gen's) benefit. A personal concert from one friend to another in their time of need. He truly cared. Tadashi's eyes shifted from purple to mostly red as he went, carrying on so easily and powerfully without being too loud in the space. He didn't need to belt out as if he was in front of a crowd, the audience was of one- who happened to be his playing partner. The lack of people present did not take away from the heart in every word he sang, he embodied the lyrics and personified them for Gen to feel in her heart.

The smile on his face, the conviction in his voice and how light he was. This was a whole new person in front of Gen. No one else knew him like this. From the downtrodden boy in her past, to this individual living with his scars and living passionately. During the last chorus, he looked to Gen as light peaked into the room. This beautiful intimate moment just between the both of them, with Tadashi making himself vulnerable through his music and Gen to do so as well if she pleased. But he didn't expect that, this was for her sake. She didn't need to be strong here with him, she could be herself. He would be her light for her when she was dark, like when she was for him. Things were on a head to come full circle between them.

When the song was over, Tadashi gently exhaled and smiled to Gen- hoping she liked playing with him. At last, he'd reach for his tea which was more than cool enough to drink. He was giving Gen a bit of time before he spoke, not one to hog conversations for his own voice. "That's one of my favorite songs. I'm glad I got to play it for you- with you. You're always welcome in here, you don't need to say or explain anything. If there's anything you need of me, I'll be here. I won't hesitate." Tadashi set his cup down, satisfied that their musical therapy session had made some sort of progress withGen. He would be ready for whatever she wanted. More music, a walk, dinner, conversation, late night cartoons- anything. It's what friends were for.
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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shiori Kitogawa Character Portrait: Devone Kim
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xxxxxxxxThe atmosphere at the Kim household was suffocating because too much was going on for Devone to really handle. Everyone was quiet about Chey, her bodyguards had a poke of fun at her about Ryou, her ex-boyfriend Hiro had visited unexpectedly and she was preparing to go out with someone from the school later that night to fulfill her Kris Kringle obligation. She couldn't remember the last time she had attended a social event because someone asked her to and not because of business and it would be a lie to say she wasn't feeling uneasy about it. She was but she couldn't really verbalize it so she settled for what any wealthy teenage girl might turn to. Retail therapy. "Goro, prepare the car. I need to get out of here." Sitting around and waiting for nightfall was not her style and she had no work left on her desk to keep her occupied. Her emotions were driving her insane and she needed a diversion.

xxxxDevone didn't really set out with a plan when she arrived at the mall. Her outfit teased her curves and features but remained a little classy. Her black heels click-clacked, her hips swayed in her tightly fitted red skirt, and her long black hair flowed gracefully down along her back. Despite her inner turmoil, she was confident in the way she carried herself and garnered some attention from the opposite gender as she sashayed past them. "Kim-san?" She looked over her shoulder hearing someone call out to her. The last thing she expected was another social encounter at such an ordinary place. "Doing some shopping for that ridiculous gift exchange as well?" Devone spun around, face-to-face with the female senior class president she had been fortunate enough you could say to run into now and then given their different attitudes towards school. Shiori's choice of clothing was different from hers, conservative and covering as much skin as possible. Her lavender sundress and deep violet jacket while fitted, were not tight enough to show the curves that Devone had on display. It was on the cutesy side but suited her classmate she had to admit. "Kitogawa-san, funny seeing you here." Funny in the sense of how unusual and coincidental it was. She was definitely not laughing because it meant that she would have met up with 2 classmates in one day and 2 was one too many. She wasn't used to this at all. The last time she saw that many classmates outside of school were back when she had friends.

xxxxShe also wasn't sure how to answer the question. Ryou's requested gift was her presence later that night for some unknown occasion and it sounded awkward out loud. She wasn't even sure if Shiori would believe that considering both her and Ryou's demeanors to keep to themselves. They had started to make the rounds in the school rumor mill but meeting outside of school together suggested there was more going on. Devone didn't know if she wanted to imply that there was more going on. She barely even understood what was going on, to begin with. "More or less." She replied with a closed eyes smile. "So you find it ridiculous as well?" She asked a bit curious at the class president's description of a school-related task. It wasn't what she expected to hear from the lips of someone so studious but being studious in itself didn't mean everything about the school was fantastic she supposed.

xxxx"I've finished that work I offered to take off your hands, I can either email it or we can meet up before class on Monday, but I was hoping to find a way to pass things off seamlessly." Devone tapped her cheek in thought because she had almost completely forgotten about the assignment. It wasn't high on her priorities but it was good to know that it was taken care of and out of the way. "Email is preferable. I do like to look over things before submission and I'm sure it would be easier for someone in your position. Save paper while we're at it." She said lightheartedly, somewhat accustomed to the process. It wasn't often that Devone would actually devote time to take her studies seriously. It wasn't like she ever failed a grade to cause concern and there were other matters that stole her attention quite often. Although, it was peculiar the lengths Shiori was willing to go through when she stepped in to diffuse the situation with Harigae-san. She didn't peg the girl for being tight on money. The Kitogawas were well off in that department. So, what did Shiori hope to gain from her? Devone was naturally skeptical of any act that resembled kindness without a price. There was only one way to find out really and it would take time. Conveniently, she had a lot of time on her hands right now until nightfall.

xxxx"Since we're both here and shopping, allow me to show my gratitude for your efforts. Starting with those shoes, perhaps?" Devone was perceptive, noticing the girl's discomfort quite quickly. Shiori had done well keeping her composure but from one girl in heels to another, it was discernible. "There's a really cute and popular brand here. I'm sure you'll find something to go with your current outfit. I know we aren't here to shop for ourselves but we can't go far like that. We'll walk around and browse as much as we want after. " Devone's voice was friendly and accommodating. She sounded a lot like she did back when she did have a normal social life and friends to go out with. Deep down, however, it hurt her to revisit those days and she had to keep reminding herself that the pleasantries were fake. This was all fake. "Let's go, I know the way." Devone motioned for Shiori to walk with her and lead the way to the bustling store that targeted the upper class with designer shoes, bags, and other luxury items. Although the store was busy, very few in the store were there to buy. Most people in the store were just inside to admire and gawk at the price. Stepping inside, Devone already had her eyes set on the prize as she located a pair of strappy sandals. She picked up the display and enthusiastically showed them to Shiori. "How about this pair? It's violet, comfortable, and goes well with a sundress." Typically, the salespeople of the store were not keen on customers picking up the displays due to the price but they made an exception for the girls seeing as they did appear to be of the upper class and able to afford it. "What do you think? We could keep looking.." Devone was so used to shopping and touching everything she wanted that she was oblivious to the exception and general rule of thumb. She behaved a lot like a child let loose in Willy Wonka's factory but behind those eyes, she was devoid of joy. The more she behaved this way, the more she tasted the bitter memories of failed fake friendships but she had to keep going. She had to find out and prove what the class president really wanted from her while she had the chance. Only then would her curiosity be sated and she could relax again.

Popularity +1 Shiori

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tsukiko Kitogawa Character Portrait: Chase Kaufman
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#, as written by Tinkers
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⌠ There’s no way that it’s not going there,
With the way that we’re looking at each other. ⌡

Lauv ft. Julia Michaels - There's No Way

【ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя: #FF5733
тнσυgнт cσƖσя: #FFA500

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Chase wasn't a mind reader but he didn't need to be to see that Tsukiko was also changed after the events of last night. His usually daring, bold and flirtatious friend was blushing and self-conscious. The red tint on her cheeks and her restless amber hues a dead giveaway between friends who used to be very comfortable with each other. The closer he advanced towards her while recalling the night, the more Tsukiko appeared to tremble from her lips to her fingers gripping the bedsheet. Thumb over her lips, he could feel the trembling for himself and it wasn't stopping. The longer he lingered, the more Tsukiko reacted nervously. Chase didn't know what to make of it. It never occurred to him that she would be so affected by a kiss. He wasn't in denial about the effect it had on him but he was prioritizing her by trying to figure her out and if he had done anything wrong.

"I'm...I'm sorry. I didn't mean to put you in a situation like that..."

He removed his thumb and lowered his hand to the bed to let her speak freely and listened patiently. In all their years of friendship, he couldn't remember the last time Tsukiko apologized like that and in such a serious way. It wasn't their first party and they had attended some pretty wild ones together. As members of the entertainment industry, partying was almost essential as a way to build and maintain connections and celebrate success. They had seen and partaken in their fair share of silly party games too. This just happened to be the... first time they crossed the line. As far as their show of affection went, they had always been affectionate maybe even over the standard but they were just both affectionate people, friends. They hugged, they kissed on the cheek a few times, they held hands and called each other sweet nicknames like, 'Ku‘uipo', 'Aein' and it was all fine and dandy so long as nobody got hurt like significant others. They had a mutual understanding of the generously sized comfort zone within their friendship and it had never been challenged until now. Neither of them was acting the same or undisturbed over a fleeting, delicate, tender kiss on the lips...

"It must have been a lot of pressure, especially as we were drinking."

He thought he heard Tsukiko's breath hitching in her throat before she laughed a little. Chase let her words seep in as he watched her form quiver in front of him. He still didn't know what to think because he'd never seen her behave this way before. He always aimed to make and keep people happy around him. When he promised her they would have the time of their lives, he meant it but this outcome wasn't what he had in mind. He was confused. What should I do? What should I say? Chase's blue eyes looked away as he took a few seconds to gather his resolve. Tsukiko decided not to ignore what happened and bring it up. He owed her a response. If she wasn't going to ignore or dismiss the situation, then he wouldn't either. It would only be rude to and he cared more than enough to not run away.

"It wasn't your fault. You know how... parties can be." He touched his chin thoughtfully, struggling to think and process the right words when he was still recovering from a hangover. "Hmm.." His hand moved upward from his chin so that his index finger rested over his lips and he shut one eye as a sharp pain hit him on that side of his head. This is difficult. Why won't the medicine kick in already? It wasn't a conversation that could wait and be postponed until their hangovers had passed. Putting off the difficult topic might make it worse. Tsukiko was already shaken up and he didn't want to leave her and their relationship in that state to worsen over a longer period of time. "I was the one who made the first move and if you say... sorry then.." He gazed into her eyes and felt drawn in, his body moving on its own as his lips parted slightly in the middle of talking. He was about to kiss her, again. It was like a craving, a temptation, an awakened impulse. They were so close together alone on her bed in minimal clothing so the setting was perfect to be intimate.

However, he reigned himself in that he shouldn't and changed course. Chase instead lowered his head to lean on her shoulder, nuzzling her bare neck acting exhausted. --then it means I made a mistake. He finished his sentence in the safety of his unreadable mind. "Don't be sorry, Tsukiko.. okay?" Chase exhaled and wrapped his arms around her like he had many times before as a friend, gently rubbing her back in an attempt to comfort her and ease her trembling. He could feel her heart hammering in her chest against his own but he wouldn't say anything about it. He didn't want to lose her so he pulled her close before the distance could grow. "It was a lot of pressure but it's over now. We'll be okay. I'm here for you." He relied on what she said about pressure and decided to agree. He'd say anything to make her feel better again. He just didn't know what she wanted to hear.


Stat Summary

+1 Charm [Tsukiko]

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rhys Browning Character Portrait: Akira Blake
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"I don't need one."

From his confused expression to his answer, Rhys' response to her offering to be his wing-woman earned a chuckle. The fact that neither Rhys nor Shiori seemed to notice their chemistry amused her quite a bit and a smirk soon followed, "Sure, sure~♫" Akira practically sang, clearly entertained by his answer, her mood brightening back up considerably. It wasn't her place to meddle, but she definitely couldn't help seeing that more was going on than simple friendship. Where it would go was anyone's guess, still, she couldn't resist teasing them whenever she got the chance, These two are adorable, they're so clueless. Akira mused, her smirk widening a bit. They certainly were fun to tease, that much was certain.

"I just need you to be.. you."

"I mean, there are a few rumors, so I suppose I could believe you." Akira continued her trail of thought before completely registering what he had said next. It felt like it was best to not think too far into that last bit. Letting her arms swing back and forth casually, Akira shifted closer to the hoop they were going to use for their game of horse. It was equal parts to dispel the nervous energy she was feeling and to loosen up her muscles a bit for the next round of their seemingly endless competition. It was... how was she even supposed to respond to that? Wracking her brain, Akira just grinned, "I don't know how to be anything else." Brushing it off, not allowing herself to overthink anything seemed most beneficial, it kept things simple. As simple as it could be, given the circumstances, at least.

"Oi! Y-You know I wouldn't have... if I had known."

Though it didn't last, All was better in Akira's mind the moment she saw how he responded to being called a pervert, a Cheshire grin forming on Akira's face, "Hahahaha! I dunno~ I've heard some stuffff on you, Reese..." Akira teased further, purposefully taking care to not go into much detail. This was normal, what they did before she told him the truth, and it helped return the heaviness to a more manageable situation. Well, for her, she wasn't even sure how the teasing made her friends feel. It was all in good fun, at least, that is what she hoped.

"And what do you mean too bad you're not...? Fuck, do I need to say that I am straight?"

Referring to the rumors about him and Sora, given the pool and the azure haired boy's knack for drawing attention every other time he's found with Rhys, "I support you, either way, ~" she continued dismissively, waving her free hand as she held the ball, nearly crying from held back laughter. It was too fun to lean into the rumors, regardless of what she had observed between him and Shiori, or her support for the two. Rhys' reactions made it too sweet to stop poking fun at him, but there was a game to get to, and she was determined to beat him at least once!

"Never."

Her rival's response to her jab that he might now be afraid to play, lest she wins the next game made her feel better, as she was concerned her gender would slap on an undesired handicap. It did not always happen, but it did on occasion, Not afraid to lose to a girl? Good. As long as he doesn't start throwing games... this seems to be fine, better than I ever could have expected. the mere thought made her pout a bit. Her brother and his friends never let Akira win, ever. Her competitive streak was nurtured over the years as a result of having to keep up with guys her entire life, but hatred of losing just came naturally. Having someone purposefully lose, felt more like Akira had lost in the end. Being faced with kid gloves, it was a handicap she never wanted, "Good, I'd have to kick your ass if you started going easy on me." She mumbled a bit, passing him the ball when his hand extended for it.

"I'm shooting behind my back."

Nodding, Akira began to chew on the inside of her cheek. She'd done that shot before, she wasn't a stranger to this game, it was her suggestion after all, but it wasn't a shot she had a high success rate with. Maybe it was her stature working against her, or she just wasn't great with her consistency, Akira wasn't sure as she was bad enough at math and science especially. As things stood, Akira was a little nervous about attempting the shot, but she didn't plan to back down or complain. This game was her idea and there was no room for excuses. She would do her best, and that was all there was to it. She hated people who made excuses all of the time for their lack of knowledge or skill, she was a shit student, but she owned it. What was the point of lying about it?

Trying to blame others or circumstances for failure was only an excuse to not better oneself, and Akira...she wanted to become the best version of herself. She didn't have money or fame to lean on, just her character. She wasn't the smartest girl in the room, or the girliest, she didn't want to be, what mattered most to Akira was how a person treats other people, especially when they think that no one is looking. Anyone could pretend to be nice for a reputation boost. With the shot in mind, if anything, Akira only made the shot about half of the time, maybe a little more or less, "Show off~" She rolled her eyes playfully after he made the shot, shaking her head. She was a good sport, one of the many things her parents had instilled in their children from a young age, and she felt by remaining one, it honored their values. Everyone hates losing, but what matters is how one responds to losses. Inspiration to do better, learning material. As bitter as it was, as much as she wanted to win, each loss was a lesson, so she clapped her hands at his successful shot.

"Your turn."

Swinging her hands to shake off some of her nerves, Akira retrieved the ball. Waving her left hand in a 'shoo' motion, Akira waited for Rhys to surrender the spot he shot from. Running her free hand through her hair, Akira closed her eyes. She wasn't going to let her grandmother and her teasing throw her game off again. Refusing to let anything mess with her head this game, Akira did her best to clear it, like she practiced the few times she volunteered at the local dojo. Taking the ball in both hands for a moment, she attempted to push her focus onto it. To picture a successful shot. Peering over her shoulder one time, to ensure her body angle was correct, Akira faced forward, the hoop to the back of her head. Then she just went for it, for better or worse. It felt like the shot went in slow motion, but Akira let out a breath she didn't realize she had been holding when the ball edged the rim and fell inside.

Retrieving the ball, Akira bounced it a few times, "Since we both made it... how about a reverse layup next?" Akira smiled almost ear to ear. It was one of her favorite shots, one of the ones that she practiced the most, and one that she was less likely to fail. As they both had made the shot, it was her turn to decide after all, and so she took off toward the baseline, dribbling the ball until it was time to prepare for her shot. Scooping up the ball a little later than one normally would for a regular layup, with a flick of her wrist Akira drove the ball into the air and subsequently, the hoop. That shot always boosted her confidence, even if it probably looked a little funny with her modest height. It wasn't that she thought the shot would be difficult for Rhys, it was just one she had a lot more experience with. There we go. Back to burning off steam. As things should be.





Charm: +1 to Rhys
Athleticism: +1 to Akira





Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sora Harigae Character Portrait: Haruhi Morinozuka
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#, as written by Tinkers
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⌠ The chemicals inside my brain
Never let me feel the pain
Pushing me to see the truth
My heart is like a hand grenade
Pull the pin and detonate
Ready, set, I'm about to blow. ⌡


【The Score - In My Bones】


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Haruhi seemed to know his half brother/half-cousin better than he ever could within the span of a few measly minutes. Koichi was practically a stranger to Sora with how much time had been spent apart. Sora didn't understand as quickly as her, what Koichi wanted to achieve, and by what lengths. He listened to her every word with eager ears and his brain ticking away like clockwork. She knew Koichi's motive, methods, and weakness deducted from a single introduction. She also knew exactly what Sora should do if he wanted to win. That knowledge came so naturally to her what would take Sora days, weeks, months maybe even forever to conclude.

”You’re something else... I said that in case it would surprise you. It is difficult for me to ask you if you are okay with something in front of an audience... but I’ll do my best to act natural~"

Sora double blinked as Haruhi explained her initial intention in telling him to act natural. He nodded, allowing her to laugh at his misinterpretation just satisfied to know better. "It surprised me a little. Although I am not used to affectionate gestures, it doesn't affect me greatly. I can still function normally." He responded with his honest thought on the matter. Sora had never experienced the 'butterflies in the stomach' feeling and the other sensations of having a crush. He could recognize attractive people and attractive qualities but he still had a long way to go in terms of developing his emotional maturity. Instead, he advanced and exceeded intellectually. That world was much simpler and more reasonable to him which served as a comfort.

“Ready when you are.”

Sora observed as his girlfriend for the night prepared herself for the rest of the evening. She was tossed into this family mess of his but she had the confidence to take on the world. He sighed aloud, feeling freer than usual to express himself in that room of two. He could breathe again, the pain in his chest alleviated. Sora stood up and walked over to Haruhi, looking her over in case she missed anything while she was fussing with her appearance. He noticed a few strands in disarray and tucked them gently behind her ear with his fingertips while complimenting her. "You're so smart. You can understand people so quickly.." He stared into her eyes with great admiration then whispered more to himself than her. "I can't." He closed his eyes and sighed again because he had always avoided and run away from his family. Now he was confronted, cornered, and forced to face it one way or another. It was really not his idea of the perfect weekend or date.

"But I have to change." He admitted. Sora learned that running was not the answer. He had never run from anything else. As difficult as this obstacle was, he had to face it the same as anything else. He had taken school beatings without hesitation and he needed that same courage and strength to stand up for what he believed in even facing off his own flesh and blood. They were just people too and they didn't have to get in Sora's way. He had to learn and to grow. He had depended on his uncle and the maids to baby him long enough. He wanted to become a man, a man that could compare to Haruhi's smarts and strength. Staying as he was, he would always be inadequate. He opened his eyes again, the blue hues sharper. "I'm ready."

He offered Haruhi his arm to hold while he led the way back to reception. The same waiter stood there who had previously asked them for their reservations. This time, Sora spoke first and gave a different name from his uncle's. "Reservation for Harigae, Sora." The waiter nodded and directed them to take the lift to the upper floor. After thanking the waiter, he led Haruhi inside the lift and pressed the button to close the doors. Alone again and on their way up, he informed her more about the situation. "Are you familiar with the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant crisis demonstration in Tokyo on the 24th of October 2010? That's when it all began." He swallowed as a lump formed in his throat. Haruhi wasn't family and what he was about to tell her, shamed them all. "Mass media became known as masu-gomi (mass garbage) because the reports were inaccurate or simply wrong. Hizumi, Kazuo a journalist turned lawyer wrote a book with a theory that a complex network of institutions, such as elite bureaucrats, judiciary, education system, law enforcement, and large corporations, all of whom stand to gain from maintaining the status quo, shapes the mass media and communication in a way that controls Japanese politics and discourages critical thinking..." Sora turned to look at her to check she was listening and understanding. "My family is that network and that's why... I hate to lie."

The elevator doors dinged and opened to reveal the upper floor. It was time to press on. He didn't know what Haruhi thought of him and his family now and if it would change anything but his mind had been made up. He was not running away this time. The family reunion had already started as the doors were closed but he opened them up himself. The doors screeched and banged against the walls upon impact. The attendees were plentiful and eyed them both at the late and loud entrance. Sora could see Koichi standing at the front with a microphone midway through a speech. "Makasete da-rin (Leave it to me, darling)." Sora said softly to Haruhi, patting her hand and helping her locate a seat next to his uncle Kenta before letting go and making a beeline for the front, adjusting his tie to look more professional. He would have felt better with Haruhi by his side but this was his responsibility to live up to. Koichi scoffed into the microphone as people around started to whisper and gossip, none of them able to recognize Sora as the last time they had seen him he was a very young boy. He might as well have been dead. One of the elderly Harigaes seated at the table next to Kenta's was angered by the intrusion, stood up from his seat, and addressed it. "Just who are you to think you can waltz right in here?! We're in the middle of a very important family meeting!" Kenta Harigae was about to stand up and defend his nephew but Sora turned around and beat him to the punch. "Harigae, Sora. The legitimate son of Harigae, Hoka!" Sora proclaimed, hand on heart and fire in his eyes. It was like the ground shook at that moment. Nobody knew what would happen next.


Stat Summary

+1 Charm +1 Popularity[Haruhi]

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tsukiko Kitogawa Character Portrait: Chase Kaufman
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0.25 INK

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As his hand returned to the bed, Tsukiko took a quiet breath in. It made it a bit easier to think, she didn't blame Chase for the situation, hell, she didn't even blame herself. It was a party, things got out of hand, it was bound to happen sometime. Honestly, it was a huge surprise that it never had in the past, it was probably a miracle or just dumb luck, but the fact was that it did happen last night and she was unable to forget it. She could remember a lot of issues in their friendship over the years. Insecure partners that didn't understand their special brand of friendship, paparazzi drama, running from the police after a wild party, and each had their own personal issues with family and the like, but they always got through it. Nothing they had been through together had been nearly this tough for her to navigate. She felt like she was grasping at straws, and she was terrified of losing her best friend, well, her only friend. She wasn't an easy person to get along with given how she held a general hatred toward other girls, how she had to be the center of attention with guys, Tsukiko was a handful that most wouldn't want to touch with a ten-foot pole. While she was a generous spender when it came to her paramours, she was pretty needy in regards to affection and attention, starved for it really.

It was a problem, her behavior, it was risky, she knew that. Tsukiko wasn't entirely proud of herself for how she behaved, but it filled a void she couldn't address, one that was too painful to admit she even had. Rather than talking about it, healing, Tsukiko chose to drown it out with parties, with guys, even if none of it ever lasted, even if she wasn't interested in the guy at all aside from him being a distraction from her pain. It wasn't healthy, but it was working, more or less. She didn't have to face the real issue as long as she kept her loneliness well fed. However, this time, it wasn't simple. If things got too real, if she felt herself even remotely catching feelings, Tsukiko would drop a guy just as fast as she plucked them out of a crowd and she felt no remorse doing it. Chase wasn't someone she could simply discard like that. Even if she could, she wouldn't be able to move on about her day as if nothing happened. She would feel guilty, and in all honesty, she didn't want to do it.

This was hard on Chase as well, Tsukiko knew that. He was a people pleaser, he always put others first, to a fault, she often would scold him for it, but it never changed anything. It was who Chase was, and honestly, it was part of the reason he was so difficult, why he was such a threat to her version of the status quo. He's...always been too nice. Like... No! Don't think about him. You can't. Tsukiko harshly reprimanded herself as her thoughts dared to veer to her relationship with Makoto. While Chase was his own person, the two boys were both insanely kind, understanding, warm. Makoto wasn't ridiculously attractive like Chase, she'd met him before her time as an idol, but they had that much in common. Enough to trip her up like this, to dredge up the painful memories and trauma that kept her from ever having a meaningful relationship, meaningful friendships, or anything worth true value really.

"It wasn't your fault. You know how... parties can be."

Nodding ever so slightly, Tsukiko agreed. Parties were their own entity, and it was unpredictable what turn a party would take. They were volatile, and they quickly got out of control in the wrong hands, or the right ones, depending on one's perception and tastes. As she saw his facial features tighten, Tsukiko noted he was still struggling with his hangover. This was horrible timing, the conversation should have happened later, when they were both prepared, less hungover, but it had already begun. Shutting it down now, it didn't feel like an option, she wasn't sure what would happen to them... but it also felt like it would do them no service to not be at one hundred percent.

"I was the one who made the first move and if you say... sorry then.."

He's going to apologize... it isn't his fault either though. It was impossible circumstances! This is a mess... Tsukiko thought to herself, torn from her thoughts as he grew ever closer, much like the night before. Her body froze, her heart beating so hard she thought it might explode if their lips did happen to make contact. Wetting her lips, her breath hitched again in her nerves. The thought of kissing again wasn't unpleasant, she wanted to do it as well. Chase wasn't alone in that regard, as much as real intimacy terrified her she wanted the same thing, but she knew she shouldn't. Couldn't. It would only make things messier, make her relationship with Chase harder, it would complicate her friendship in ways she didn't feel she was ready for. She wasn't girlfriend material for a nice guy like Chase, she would only hurt him. She wasn't equipped to be a 'good' girlfriend. He was too good for her in every way. Still, logic was not in the room, so Tsukiko closed her eyes. She was the farthest thing from a model of self-control. She was impulsive, selfish, childish, so it came as a relief when Chase shut the moment down, as she didn't have the discipline to do so herself, or the heart. The last thing she wanted to do was reject him in such a delicate moment, but it felt like either choice would damage things. If she pursued this with him, she would undoubtedly hurt him, she was no good, a flirt and a tease. She enjoyed attention of men far too much, she was hardly ever faithful to her 'boyfriends' after Makoto, purposefully choosing bad boys because it was easier to do as she liked. They seldom cared what she did, and if they did, it was for their pride or reputation, not because they genuinely cared for her. Chase...he cared too much, too deeply... and she would surely make mistakes that would rip him apart. She would ruin it. It was the only thing she knew how to do.

"Don't be sorry, Tsukiko.. okay?"

ImageThe hug was too reassuring, Tsukiko felt unsanctioned tears sliding down her cheeks. The girl seldom cried, but she was so relieved, and his embrace was too comforting, her emotions got the best of her. She was sorry, regardless of his reassurance that she had done nothing wrong. He was too good, too nice. She didn't deserve him, even as a friend. How in the world did she get so lucky to have such a person in her life? Even as a friend, she felt unworthy of the person holding her. As much as she wanted to say something, to reassure him too, there was a knot in her throat. She couldn't get words out through her tears, so she simply returned his embrace, her long slender fingers releasing the sheets to wrap her arms around him. With one in his hair and the other shoulder blade, Tsukiko clung on tightly, as if he might fade away if she let up even a little.

"It was a lot of pressure but it's over now. We'll be okay. I'm here for you."

Biting her bottom lip and releasing it, Tsukiko let out a weak laugh, "Me too." she agreed. It was scary, they'd pushed beyond her comfort zone, but she couldn't let go of him. He was too important. She knew she wasn't being fair. She had kissed back that night, hadn't tried to shut it down... She had been feeling a kind of way for some time but lied to herself that it was normal. I'm the worst... how could I catch feelings... He deserves a lot better.

Tsukiko reminded herself. She ruined one amazing guy, she wasn't going to let herself destroy another one, "O-Oh, we should go back to the mall. I have some shopping to do for my Kris Kringle, and well, Christmas in general. The bathroom is over there. I'll grab you something to wear." Tsukiko stammered, trying to get them out of the current atmosphere. If they were among people again, perhaps they could start putting what happened behind them that much quicker.




Charm: +1 to Chase




Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shiori Kitogawa Character Portrait: Kazuki Miyamoto Character Portrait: Devone Kim
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#, as written by Stiles
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It came to Shiori's attention as well just how different her own attire was to that of Devone's choice. It did not shake Shiori's confidence, she chose the clothes she did because they made her feel good, but she had to admit that the outfit the other girl was wearing complimented her body quite well. Devone, despite having a similar, if not much worse, reputation than her, was undeniably a beauty. Shiori wasn't equipped to give a seamless compliment however, she was much too awkward for it. It made her nervous, and when she grew nervous she oft said hurtful things. This was not something she intended to let happen. She needed the company, female energy, and there was none to be found at home. Kazuhiko would not make the situation better. He would either be amused or want to fight Kazuki, neither of which would lift Shiori's spirits. Running her knuckle over her lips, the petite girl let out a soft sigh. She was a bit out of breath, rattled, and admittedly nervous.

They had gone to school together long enough for Shiori to know that Devone had a sharp tongue of her own that she wasn't afraid to unleash if someone was bothering her. Still, something about Devone made her want to try, she couldn't place her finger on it, but she felt something she didn't feel with the other girls at school. It was hard to describe, but she was drawn to the equally dark-haired female. Maybe her soul sensed something that she couldn't? Regardless of her reasoning, Shiori felt compelled to reach out. If friendship was possible for the two of them, she wanted to try. It wasn't often that Shiori went out of her own way, to stick her neck out, but there was a first time for everything.

"Kitogawa-san, funny seeing you here."

It was a pretty big coincidence, Shiori did not leave the house often. Kazuhiko did the bulk of the shopping, she only left when she had a specific errand, and in this case it was the Kris Kringle event. Kazuki had been an intentional meet-up, but this was the first time she had ran into a classmate outside of school by chance. She didn't spend enough time outside of the Kitogawa estate prior to moving out, but now she was slowly being drawn out for this or that, "It certainly isn't an ideal place to be, in my humble opinion. Malls are certainly noisy, but I'm here for... Shiori's eyes averted for a second, darting as she tried to settle on what to call it. It wasn't personal, she had no personal connections with Kazuki, Business, I suppose you could call it.

"More or less. So you find it ridiculous as well?"

This earned an exhausted sigh, "I was given the task of finding something for one Miyamoto, Kazuki. It couldn't be any more ridiculous than that. Though the notion of giving a random classmate a gift is strange in itself. It's not like we are all friends because we share a class." Shiori stated bluntly, but in more of a matter-of-fact manner than a rude one. To Shiori, this was fact, it made no sense to give gifts to someone that you had no meaningful relationship. Hell, if it was business-related at least, she would understand, but she never once interacted with Kazuki before the gift exchange results were delivered. It was nonsense that brought her nothing but drama and a bad taste in her mouth.

"Email is preferable. I do like to look over things before submission and I'm sure it would be easier for someone in your position. Save paper while we're at it."

Nodding her head, Shiori retrieved her phone from a small purse she held, "I prefer email as well, documents can be lost or ruined in a number of ways, email is more reliable. I don't blame you for checking one's work, my partner was useless." It didn't insult Shiori to know that Devone would look over it, she would be more concerned if the girl simply turned in the work without any suspicion. People...were cruel. Her own mother made sure that she understood that from a very young age.

"Since we're both here and shopping, allow me to show my gratitude for your efforts. Starting with those shoes, perhaps?"

So Devone's offer to reward her in some way earned a quirk of her brow. It wasn't necessary, but she wasn't going to turn down the offer to accompany her. A gift on the other hand... Shiori did not plan to accept. The heiress still had access to her family's money despite moving out of the family home. I don't need a gift, I was just trying to be nice... was that unclear? I mean I'm not exactly the best at saying what I mean, so perhaps something was lost in translation. Besides, who knows, perhaps she would find something for the people she had in mind other than Kazuki. She was making friends, as such, she had some gifts to buy for those individuals as well, even if they couldn't get her anything in return. In fact, receiving nothing in return was favored, she felt more comfortable giving gifts than receiving them.

"There's a really cute and popular brand here. I'm sure you'll find something to go with your current outfit. I know we aren't here to shop for ourselves but we can't go far like that. We'll walk around and browse as much as we want after. "

There was no way for Shiori to deduce that she was being tested, but it kind of benefited the Kitogawa heiress to be the way that she was, at least where Devone was concerned. Shiori did not feel comfortable accepting gifts, so her classmate was not going to be pleased with the outcome of their trip for shoes. While Shiori did not possess money that she had earned with her own two hands, she preferred not to take from others. Her parents instilled within her from early childhood that being greedy while having so much already was not becoming.

"Let's go, I know the way."

With that in mind, Shiori followed along, she did need to change her shoes after all. She chose them with not having a lot of walking in mind, she never planned to still be at the mall. In Shiori's gameplan, she would have been there no longer than it would take to walk to a shop Kazuki liked, checkout, and then she could be home. It did not go as planned, that was evident by her throbbing feet. Running in heels was never a good idea, but walking barefoot in the store was disgusting. The floors were surely not adequately cleaned given the daily foot traffic. She was above it,and thus she accepted the discomfort. Looking around the store, she deduced that she and Devone at least had very similar taste in footwear. While she had no intention of letting her classmate buy her anything, she genuinely gave the sandals a look.

"How about this pair? It's violet, comfortable, and goes well with a sundress."

She had to agree. Sandals were very comfortable, and they were a cute, simple alternative to her pinchy heels. Writing off the fact that no one interrupted the two of them to the expensive brands they already wore, or that they were recognized by the ladies working there, Shiori didn't feel uncomfortable that Devone plucked up one of the displays, as she was doing the same. The heiress was not accustomed to the word 'no' or others questioning her during her shopping. Either they knew who she was or they could at least sense she was an elite of Japan by how she held herself, how she dressed.

"What do you think? We could keep looking.."

This was favorable, her mother often advised to look at three items before purchasing to ensure you aren't being too hasty and do not overspend. After looking, Shiori waved over one of the women working the floor, asking fo the first pair that Devone had pointed out, and a pair of simple suede flats. It wasn't very sensible giving the weather was growing colder, but it wasn't like she spent much time outdoors. She would hail another taxi, she seldom walked anywhere. Retrieving her card tied to her trust fund, Shiori paid for her own shoes, "No offense intended toward your genorosity, Kim-san. I prefer to buy my own things, it's nothing personal. Your gratitude is enough." she explained. Switching into the sandals to honor Devone's suggestion, she stood, "Now shall we get the dreadful responsibility the school has given us over with?" Shiori inquired, smiling a bit. A gold digger Devone would not find here. I've...never gone shopping like this with another girl before... It's kind of fun.




Popularity: +1 to Devone




Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaito Miyuu Character Portrait: Kaori Himewari
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0.25 INK

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The day began normally for the Himewari family, but Kaori was still high strung from the day before as she was still unsure about who sent that annoying text to Rocco. It wasn't a huge deal, they were in a fake relationship, an aquarium visit as a 'gift' was pretty tame. It didn't even really require doing anything particularly couply anyway... but that wasn't the point, this was a matter of principle.

To make matters worse, her father had the bright idea of going out as a family. There was a traitor amongst them and he wanted to hang out and pretend someone hadn't invaded her privacy? Kaori suspected one of the twins, but she couldn't figure out which one was the culprit. They couldn't be trusted, they were always playing childish pranks. She didn't know what her father saw in them, why he wanted them in the first place. Unaware of her own adoption, Kaori was lacking in the sympathy department, she found her new siblings to be more of a burden than anything else, that she wasn't enough for her father, that she was lacking so he needed 'replacements'.

Grabbing her coat, Kaori felt the immense dread already washing over her. They weren't even out the door and she was already done with her father's idea of a 'fun family event'. No such thing existed in their family. They weren't family. The twins were outsiders, at least to Kaori. She refused to accept the children that turned her world even further upside down. She despised them, almost as much as she hated Kei.

The drive was awkwardly quiet, aside from the annoying chatter between Naoki and Naomi. They were quiet enough, but Kaori had zero tolerance where the twins were involved, regardless of how unfair her hatred for them truly was. They had not done anything to earn it, at least not as Kei had, yet they were treated in a very similar manner.

Kaito on the other hand was just about to be on his way out when he was approached by the Himewari family, whom he did not know. The father greeted him kindly, which was odd, because if he had any relationship with the girl in front of him, he didn't know it. She looked a bit familiar, but he wasn't really acquainted with any of his classmates all that well, so it was anyone's guess why they approached him. Kaito sure as hell had no fucking idea, until he was addressed verbally.

"Funny running into you again, Blake-san!" The father cheerfully stated, turning a light on inside of Kaito's brain. So, he was being mistaken for Akira, well, that made a lot more sense. His sister was the more approachable twin, that much was evident before even speaking to them, but Kaito decided he would play along.

Laughing awkwardly, he raised his hand to wave as they came close enough to not shout. He recognized the girl as someone who was often found with Rocco between classes. A girlfriend perhaps? It was possible, but he wasn't going to bank on it given how flirtatious his most recent enemy was. Regardless of what she was to him, it did make bumping into her outside of school a lot more interesting than his previous company. As deplorable as this place was, perhaps he would stay at the amusement park for just a bit longer.

"Wait a second, this isn-" Kaori began, recognizing Kaito as the boy that nearly fought Rocco during the group assignment. However, before she could out his true identity, a pale index finger pressed to her lips, Kaito winking at the small girl. It was a signal to keep her mouth shut, he wasn't about to let the girl ruin his fun, "It isn't a surprise, Himewari-san told me that she was going to be here. I just happen to live closer so I arrived first. Kaito lied seamlessly, his smile not too hard to fake given his genuine amusement in the current situation.

Kaori on the other hand brushed his hand away, frowning a little. He might have looked like Akira, enough for the two of them to be brothers, but the two boys behaved nothing alike. Kaito made her feel uncomfortable whereas with Akira she was mostly at ease, despite her worries about being too vulnerable with others. Either way, the way that Kaori saw it, the boy standing before her was as good of an opportunity to escape her family for the evening, as any. She could always ditch him immediately after and catch a cab to take her home. So, instead of calling out that Kaito was practically Akira's doppelganger, it was like a bad sci-fi movie.

Nodding her head, Kaori gave her father her best pleading eyes, who reluctantly relented to his eldest's big brown eyes, as he often did, "Fine, fine. Have fun you two..." the older man chuckled, ushering the twins along, but not before they already had wide, satisfied grins on their faces, as if they had just been let in on a juicy secret.

Alone for the first time, albeit in a highly crowded place, the two were left simply staring at one another. Kaori's arms were crossed whilst Kaito adopted a more confident stance. With his hands in his pockets, arms loose and relaxed, he smirked down at her, "I was almost certain you were going to ruin the fun. You've got the look for it." Kaito teased her, ruffling up her feathers even further by the looks of it. Her cheeks were puffing up and everything.

Scoffing at his reply, Kaori rested her hands on her hips, closed into fists, leaning forward just a little, her sassiness given away in her posture, "I did not do it for you, so don't flatter yourself. The bottom line is that I was looking for an excuse to bail long before you showed up. she retorted.

Image"Ah... Is that so?" Kaito asked with a quirk of his brow. A wicked idea entering his brain at just the right moment, Kaito seized her by the wrist. Before Kaori could say a word, she found herself being dragged along. Blinking several times in disbelief, she used her free hand to pound her fist into his back, but he was unperturbed by her attack, or the next one, or the next one, Let go!" she snapped at him. He wasn't hurting her, it only hurt when she attempted to dig her heels into the ground to yank her wrist free, but he certainly had his fingers locked, they wouldn't budge at all!

"Are you stupid? Hard of hearing? I said let go! the brunette huffed trying to express her anger in a stern manner. This only made Kaito more amused, "I don't feel like it. You seem to spend a lot of time with that guy, so you're coming with me for a bit." Kaito explained, chuckling once again as she huffed and puffed to no end. He found it cute that she thought she had a choice in all this.

Finally, they arrived at the spot. With Kaori's wrist in his left hand, Kaito used the right to dig into his pocket producing a wad of cash to the man running the Ferris wheel, "You're reserved for the rest of the day. Do not let anyone else on, do not stop the ride, got that?" Kaito ordered as if he owned the entire park. His father did not, but it did not deter his rich boy mentality. The man nodded his head, opening a carriage for the pair to enter. Kaito seizing Kaori's shoulders, ushered her inside, following close behind to ensure any attempts to escape were futile, "You can't be serious! I don't want to be here all day!" the small girl hissed, Kaito finally releasing her now that she effectively had nowhere to go.

Kaori was fuming, panicking, they would be trapped like this for hours! What on Earth was this guy thinking!? He could see her displeasure, but Kaito didn't care. Sitting down casually, as if he had done nothing wrong, he made himself comfortable, "I'd take a seat, you'll be here quite a while. It isn't even dark yet. He reminded her, a mischievous grin on his features.

Begrudgingly sitting across from the ivory haired male, she growled in annoyance, You're a psychopath!. What guy was he even talking about?! She couldn't believe she once found the thought of riding a Ferris wheel with a guy would be romantic. She clearly only attracted the mentally unstable kind. Psychopath? He broke out into laughter at that one. This girl was too much. It's not like he actually planned to do anything to her, well, aside from question her a bit, perhaps poke fun at her a little if he grew bored, but he didn't have harmful or deviant plans for the small brunette. He wasn't a monster, he valued consent and privacy. This didn't turn out as Kaori would have hoped though, it seemed that she was not fated to make it back home any time soon, regardless of her choices. Maybe there was such a thing as Fate and it just hated her.







Notoriety: +1 to Kaito
Charm: +1 to Kaori

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sora Harigae Character Portrait: Haruhi Morinozuka
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#, as written by Strix
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"It surprised me a little. Although I am not used to affectionate gestures, it doesn't affect me greatly. I can still function normally."

This made Haruhi's brows furrow. As broken as her own family home was, neither her nor Alexei was left wanting for affection from their parents. Even though they decided to send her to Airdalen instead of paying for Alexei's surgery, they loved their son. Haruhi's parents did what they thought was best for their little family, even though Haruhi did not agree with their decision. As the healthy child, she seemed like a better investment, but in her eyes, a new public school would have been just as good. They loved both of their children, in their way.

The thought of not having that at the ready when she walked through the door made her stomach twist in knots. While she knew home was not always the best place for others, hearing Sora say it so casually was a little heartbreaking, and it kind of brought his personality and behaviors into perspective, especially his tactlessness.

"You're so smart. You can understand people so quickly.."

He didn't have any way of knowing why she had to be able to assess others so quickly, nor could she tell him, but years of running from the Russian side of her family, years in hiding, she was taught by her parents to pay attention to others. People gave away a lot more than they realized, you just had to know where to look. Still, it wasn't quite that, she was basing a lot of her theory on Asian dramas she had seen. Haruhi's Russian family was quite rich, but she was a small child when she was torn away in the dark of night. That world, its politics were lost on her. A little surprised when Sora brushed her hair back, Haruhi's eyes lifted from fussing with her clothes to meet his gaze. His words took her by surprise, she wasn't sure what to say to that. Laughing a bit, feeling awkward herself, Haruhi tried to take his words lightly, "A bit of practice, a bit of theory. I'm not that smart." Haruhi assured him.

With subpar grades and little time to devote to studying, Haruhi did not feel that she was. While there were different kinds of intelligence, not just book smarts, Haruhi didn't feel that she had any particular skill. She was kind of good at a lot of things, but even though both of her parents were ice skaters, they did not believe she was Olympic medalist material. It was a huge blow to her pride, seeing as she always wanted to compete like her parents.

"I can't. But I have to change."

This earned a smile amidst her less than pleasant thoughts, Haruhi nodding in agreement, "There is always room for improvement in ourselves. It's good for us to grow." Smiling when she saw the determination in his eyes, Haruhi was glad that he was recovering from the psychological assault that his brother ambushed him with. Power moves like that... didn't sit right with her. It was a really slimy thing to do, and it was just another bullying tactic. After her own time as a victim of human cruelty, Haruhi detested people who derived pleasure from beating others down whether physically or mentally, it was a sign of a weak person seeking a cheap dose of strength. It never lasted, and more importantly, it wasn't strength at all, it was a clear sign of a defective individual.

"I'm ready."

Accepting the arm of her date for the night, Haruhi made herself cozy, definitely planning to put on more of a show this time around for his family. It was mainly out of spite at this point, but it was also the best way she could show Sora her support. They weren't friends, she didn't know him at all, if they were being frank. The affection she could do, she was trained for it and had a lot of experience selling it, but she didn't know how to comfort him with words. For the night no one needed to be any the wiser, and because they pissed her off, she was more than happy to accept another appointment to maintain the illusion.

"Are you familiar with the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant crisis demonstration in Tokyo on the 24th of October 2010? That's when it all began."

Giving it a moment of thought, Haruhi shook her head. At that time she was not living in Japan at all. Explaining that her family had moved quite a few times over the years to protect themselves from her mother's powerful relatives was a lot more baggage than she was ready to place on anyone's shoulders. It was a lot to take in, a secret she had only shared once, when she was a bit younger, and certainly a lot more naive. Nothing came of it, at least, as far as she knew her secret had been kept... but she felt that it put unnecessary pressure on others. In hindsight, it was a very thoughtless thing to confide in another child, "My family has moved around a lot." well, at least she explained why it didn't ring any bells without lying.

"Mass media became known as masu-gomi (mass garbage) because the reports were inaccurate or simply wrong. Hizumi, Kazuo a journalist turned lawyer wrote a book with a theory that a complex network of institutions, such as elite bureaucrats, judiciary, education system, law enforcement, and large corporations, all of whom stand to gain from maintaining the status quo, shapes the mass media and communication in a way that controls Japanese politics and discourages critical thinking..."

Taking in the information, Haruhi raked her teeth over her bottom lip, sorting through the information he was presenting her with. Business, politics, those things didn't make sense to her, she was honestly in over her head, but she would do her best to keep up, "I think I am following so far." She nodded to him to verify she wasn't entirely lost. The media...regardless of what country she was in, made Haruhi more than a little suspicious, but that was because lying almost always held more benefit, more profit, than telling the truth. Well, at least in the short term, liars often were those who preferred instant gratification, after all.

"My family is that network and that's why... I hate to lie."

Taking a breath in as the elevator signaled it was about to open, Haruhi gathered her resolve. Given her own family history, Haruhi thought nothing of Sora's family, did not judge him for it, because you couldn't punish the child for the parent's crime, "We are our own people, we aren't defined by the mistakes of our family unless we choose to be. If anyone says differently, prove them wrong." Haruhi whispered under her breath. Upon entering the dining area, it took every bit of Haruhi's self-control to not smile at their boisterous arrival. So... what did you do this weekend? she asked herself, a bit taken aback. The arranged date had taken an unexpected turn, becoming quite a bit more intense than she originally anticipated. Was it just the difference between private and public school.

"Makasete da-rin (Leave it to me, darling)."

Finally allowing a smile to grace her glossed lips, Haruhi closed her eyes for a moment, "’не пуха, не пера~’’ [Russian: Ni pukha, ni pira! Literally: ‘neither fluff nor feather’. Similar to 'Break a leg'] Haruhi replied. As Sora left to take care of business, Haruhi took the moment to quietly greet his uncle. Ignoring him or behaving awkwardly would look more suspicious, not to mention it would be rude.

"Just who are you to think you can waltz right in here?! We're in the middle of a very important family meeting!"

Speaking of rude, there was always one in every family, wasn't there? Haruhi held her tongue, rolling it behind her teeth. This wasn't her fight, she was already in over her head. She had crossed many lines already by speaking her mind so freely, her disrespect to Koichi, but she couldn't press any further than she already had, as much as she wanted to be a protector, he had this. He wasn't quiet and petrified anymore, he could do this, she had to believe in him, even if she had only faith to rely on.

"Harigae, Sora. The legitimate son of Harigae, Hoka!"

A smirk crossed her lips, Well that is one way to get everyone's attention. Really is starting to feel a bit like a K-drama. but then she blinked a bit. If this was a K-drama...no. No. This date wasn't real. They were pretending, perhaps a little too convincingly. This would all end soon, she had a profession and he had his own life. This was a transaction, not some cinderella fantasy K-drama. She had to stop comparing the two. She wasn't looking for anything like that. Boyfriends were too complicated, a headache she wasn't searching for whilst trying to fund her brother's experimental surgery. Boyfriends got jealous, jealous meant she could be fired if they actively interfered with her work, or broken up with if they couldn't come to terms with it, and neither were good for business.

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuuki Fujioka Character Portrait: Rocco Murray
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Yuuki was on edge the moment she realized Rocco was present. He could tell. There were scattered nervous tics if one paid enough attention. She pressed her lips together and he noticed the briefest of shimmers. Lip gloss? It really was starting to feel like she dolled up for a date. He did convince her to go on this trip and see a movie with him but he expected the opposite reaction after his mischief. Did I read her wrong? He was confused but it was a welcomed surprise. Yuuki looked cute just like he said. She looked even cuter when she stared at him directly then closed her eyes noticeably. It seemed like he wasn't the only one confused. It took all he had not to laugh. He still had the urge to laugh when closed eyes turned into glaring ones.

"Not nearly as much as you think you are. Would you stop joking around?" Rocco stopped circling after he heard her say that. It reminded him a bit of when they first met. She thought he was dared to talk to her or pull some kind of prank. He clicked his tongue unsatisfied with that response. She hadn't accepted that he wasn't always saying things for the hell of it. "To set the record straight? I wasn't joking. You're going to turn heads, prez." He said matter-of-factly then groaned. "You're going to get me in trouble." he added with a wink behind the glasses as the latter part was more of a joke. "Wanted to match did we?" Rocco whistled feigning innocence and ignorance as he shrugged his shoulders and looked away a bit. Taking her bag a gentlemanly act and giving her the book, a distraction from answering the question. He did want to match to get in with her parents' good graces and surprise her but she had unexpectedly surprised him too with the pink dress. "Arigatou." He looked over his shoulder in time to catch her smiling down at the present. It was so pure and genuine that it was contagious and made him smile too before continuing on their way to the train.

Yuuki had their tickets prepared. He was ready to pay his own and found himself surprised once again. He did peg her as the responsible and prepared sort especially as a class president but there was another layer of meaning he took from it. She wanted to go on this trip with him, maybe? He closed his wallet and tucked it in his back pocket, following behind her as she located their seats. He turned to her and asked, "Need anything from your bag first?" before stowing her bag away in the overhead space and taking his seat beside her. He relaxed his posture and put his arm up on the armrest. He noticed quickly there wasn't a divider between their blue and gray chairs but he didn't push his luck and squeeze in against her. It wasn't the time for that. There was a little gap left between.

Yuuki looked nervous, again. The book was sitting on her lap and he remembered she smiled about it so signs were looking good. However, she wasn't making a move to read it and was avoiding looking in his general direction. She looked once but sighed straight after. Rocco would normally shrug it off and goof around the way he wanted but the way things were left after their last encounter back at school, he was a bit more guarded. It had bothered him that she took the other guy's side when he was the one who escorted her out of the burning building and he didn't want to admit it. It would just be more of a pain to act as nothing happened. He figured he'd get over it as time went on though.

"So... do you ordinarily dress like this, or just trying to charm my mother?" Rocco snapped out of his thoughts, pushing his glasses up as he felt it fall a bit off his nose. "I don't ordinarily dress like this but these are my own clothes." His guardian back in Australia being a teacher the main reason he owned decent studious clothing. He didn't like or dislike the style. He was neutral about it really. Clothes were clothes and conveniently for a trip such as this, people often judged clothing. "Do you want me to get changed? I might have packed a heavy metal shirt and leather jacket..." he said in a serious tone but was fishing for what she really thought of his clothing because he pinned the word charm. He wasn't letting that go.

Rocco browsed the selection of train ride reading in the seat pockets. There was even a bible that he picked up out of curiosity. He hadn't seen one of those things since he was in Australia. "What’s on your mind, prez? It’s a long trip so let’s talk. You can vent at me or whatever." he offered a listening ear. Ever since they met up, she was acting nervous around him. "I'm not saying that just for me. Let's get it all out in the open before we arrive and see your parents." He was venturing into dangerous territory because he knew it was an open invitation to get angry about the school fire or how he talked to the senior she admired but he could be off the mark. Maybe she was thinking about something else. He held the bible up and said, "I shall give the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." and returned the book to the seat pocket ready to listen and answer. He wasn't religious so it was more of a symbolic gesture that she could relax. They had a lot of time before reaching their destination so might as well make use of it. It wasn't going to help his first impression on the parents if she kept avoiding his gaze and acting uncomfortable in his presence.

Popularity +1 Yuuki

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gen Fukui Character Portrait: Tadashi Kiomine
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"It seems we still have one way to communicate still." A faint smile appeared on her lips at his words as she then proceeded to attempt to play a little. She knew the music didn't sound as smooth as it was supposed to but she forgave herself for her mistakes as a beginner. Trying to play the piano tested her hand-eye coordination as her eyes darted between the keys and the sheet of music in front of her. She was familiar with how to read the notes but balancing that along with the feel of the keys underneath her fingers was a different story and she stumbled. It didn't feel right yet. "Follow the chords I play after I play them, I have something special for you." Gen nodded, observing closely as Tadashi demonstrated. It was easier to pick up on the notes mimicking the way he moved compared to interpreting the sheet of music on her own. Although she was new to the piano, she was not a stranger to music. It wasn't long until she started to understand where she was going wrong and how to play better.

Tadashi moved away to get a guitar and a chair positioned next to her while she remained seated at the piano. She took a deep breath in, quickly assuming what he had in mind next. "Alright, now it's time to put everything together. If you get lost, that's fine. Do what feels natural... 1. 2. 3. And." It was just the two of them in his music room but she was nervous as if it were a performance. She always did like to perform and perform well. She played the notes she was taught to the best of her ability. Tadashi started to sing, the song starting to ring familiar. Gen listened to her friend as she continued to play, his voice flowing calming down her nerves. She really resonated with the lyrics, brief glimpses of the past that led to her present life swimming in the depths of her mind before solidifying into something real, something shareable, something like music.

As her confidence grew, she started to glance here and there from the keys to her music partner. Tadashi smiled and she returned it as light filled the room. The timing was almost poetic as despite her current inability to speak, just as he said, they had found another way to communicate still. It was not the same as dancing or singing which Gen so much enjoyed but sharing music and playing together, was just as equally meaningful. If not, a little bit more precious as they shared this moment as good friends who had come so far and grown to be brought together again. They were not the same kids they used to be, but all the more talented and wiser for it. As the song drew to a close, her heavy heart felt a little lifted and lighter. She was not as lonely as she was before when she entered the room.

Gen pressed the last key of the song and her finger lingered atop it. We did it. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath as peace settled in. "That's one of my favorite songs. I'm glad I got to play it for you- with you. You're always welcome in here, you don't need to say or explain anything. If there's anything you need of me, I'll be here. I won't hesitate." Gen turned to Tadashi as he spoke and enjoyed some of her brewed tea. She wanted to compliment him because that may have been the first time she had heard him sing before and it was lovely. However, she could not express that thought vocally. She also wanted to ask if he was a member of the music club at school, another thought she could not vocalize currently.

Gen faced the piano and pursed her lips poutily. Reaching a dead-end of sorts, she turned to their new way of communicating. She flexed her long, slender fingers in preparation and started to play a different song from memory. It took a few tries but she was persistent and eventually achieved the sound she was after as a song she had sung many times. Brave shine. Her lips parted as she played to sing. No voice was heard from the small girl but the way she silently poured her heart out with tears lightly staining her rosy cheeks, you could swear she was singing after all. Thank you, dear, for reminding me what this feels like...

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shiori Kitogawa Character Portrait: Yuuki Fujioka Character Portrait: Cassiopeia Argyris Character Portrait: Rocco Murray Character Portrait: Kaori Himewari
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With her eyes closed and finally on the train, Yuuki tried to reset her mind. Rocco Murray was not the first guy to hit on her, it happened a lot on the train to school and there were several pranks where boys were put up to approach her by their friends due to her reputation for being cold and robotic. It was a lot easier when people assumed that she didn't have emotions, but at least at school, she knew that reputation was slowly fading and would only continue to do so the longer that she spent time around guys like Sora and Rocco. It was smartest to avoid the two of them altogether... they were distractions and had turned her entire world upside down. They were a reminder of a time in her life she preferred to forget. A reminder of freedom, when she lived for herself.

"To set the record straight? I wasn't joking. You're going to turn heads, prez."

"You're going to get me in trouble."


What was he even thinking saying stuff like that... The violet haired girl's brows furrowed a bit. He wasn't a stranger on the bus, nor was he particularly a friend, she didn't want friends, but he was in that complicated zone, a limbo of sorts. She didn't know what to call this boy, but he was constantly putting a wedge in her expectations for a quiet and uneventful high school career. As if I would believe that. I am plain, all the other girls at Airdalen maybe... Yuuki noted to herself, regarding girls like Shiori, Kaori, and Cassiopeia almost immediately when the thought of head-turning girls came to mind. ...Girls like that...

"Need anything from your bag first?"

It wasn't until Rocco asked if she wanted anything from her bag that Yuuki jolted back to reality, Just my water bottle." She replied after a second of thought. Yuuki hadn't packed anything she felt she wouldn't need, she wasn't the high maintenance type. What would she need for such a short trip? Her apartment was pretty minimalist, she didn't have guests over and decoration seemed fairly unnecessary to her, especially when she was the only person that would see it, I really only have my clothes, water bottle, a bit of money, and the lip gloss in there anyway... It was a trip to her hometown, not a trip to Aspen.

Pressing her lips together when he joined her, Yuuki took in a quiet breath through her nose. Especially when he was close, their brief history told her to be cautious. He was always doing inappropriate things, and while they were in public, only a few seats had a view of their own. However, when he neglected to close the distance, Yuuki breathed a little easier. It was unexpected, but a welcome reprieve, as the situation was giving her enough anxiety.

"I don't ordinarily dress like this but these are my own clothes."

He answered her question, but his words made her pause for a second. Did she imply she believed he had borrowed them or worse, stolen them off of someone? As bad as it sounded, she could almost imagine the latter actually happening, and she had to press her fist to her lips to stifle a laugh at the mental imagery that scenario bestowed upon her brain.

"Do you want me to get changed? I might have packed a heavy metal shirt and leather jacket..."

Withdrawing her hand, Yuuki turned her head to meet his gaze, "That... isn't necessary. Though she did imagine the leather and band shirt would suit his personality better, it wasn't a look that she found appealing. Yuuki was never a sucker for the bad boy aesthetic, and it was made apparent by her flat tone. She quirked a brow as she tried to imagine how her parents would react to something like that. She never really gave it any thought, she'd never really given boys much thought. Would her parents have a heart attack? They hadn't discussed boys at all... Yuuki had completely written them off years ago, "Though I doubt it matters. They both already know that I've no intention to date until after college. Yuuki explained matter-of-factly. It was something she had revealed in middle school to her parents, and thus far she had kept to that declaration by the letter. She hadn't been on a single date, well, aside from the dance at Airdalen, but her mindset hadn't changed. Dating made everything complicated, it fogged the minds of those involved and it made grades drop. Studies on this had mixed results, but she remembered what middle school was like, so many of her friends let their grades slip as soon as boys became an interest... she refused to be that person. She couldn't afford to be that person.

Brushing strands of hair behind her ear, Yuuki continued, "They probably won't misunderstand, well, my father certainly won't. My mother on the other hand... tends to get ahead of herself... hence the outfits she sent." Yuuki sighed, revealing that her own attire was her mother's doing. This most certainly was not how the shyer Airdalen student normally chose to dress either. Upon seeing a bible in Rocco's hand, Yuuki tilted her head, "I wouldn't have pegged you for the religious type." She admitted aloud. Given his flirtatious behaviors that often zipped around from girl to girl like a pinball machine, it would have been a huge surprise to her. Yuuki wasn't religious herself, perhaps at one time she prayed, when she was little, but she felt that it did little good. Her father was sick and no amount of praying fixed him. She had long abandoned the notion, relying on science instead.

"What’s on your mind, prez? It’s a long trip so let’s talk. You can vent at me or whatever. I'm not saying that just for me. Let's get it all out in the open before we arrive and see your parents."

A shiver ran up her spine as he made it clear that he knew something was up, a blush soon following. Normally girls might have been relieved that a guy was paying enough attention to know when they were upset, but the particular topic that was bothering her, she did not want to discuss with Rocco, least of all. Sora would have been pretty high up on that list as well. The two were a constant strain on her plans for high school, one always picking up the other's slack as if they were on shifts or something despite their obvious hatred for one another.

"I shall give the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."

This earned a laugh before Yuuki could make any attempt to stop herself, her hand coming up to stifle it a moment too slow, "I-I have my doubts." she replied, her voice still shaking as she fought back a full-blown giggling fit. Yuuki couldn't remember the last time she laughed like that, it wasn't her anymore, she never allowed herself to feel anything too deeply, but the closer they grew to her hometown, the more uneasy she felt, "None of it is easy to talk about." She admitted, turning her gaze to the outside as she had taken the window seat.

Then it hit her, maybe he was prying to see if she was still angry about the fire incident? It would be a lie if she said she wasn't a little ticked still, but it wasn't her main concern, "Belrose-Senpai can handle himself, so this has nothing to do with that, if that's what you mean." Her respect for her senior was evident, but she knew that he had his flock for a reason. He was admired because he was a reliable person, and he wasn't of smaller stature like Sora. While she was angry that he had snapped at someone she admired, she wasn't worried for Aeon the way she had been for Sora, if anything, she was a little embarrassed, "He's my senior partner, a fellow class president, and the captain of Kyūdō, the club I'm in. The way you spoke to him was not ideal for me, especially after I failed to dissolve the hostile atmosphere in his absence at the Kyūdōjo. That's all." Yuuki was simplifying her response, but for the most part, she had been truthful about the incident and why it made her upset. Still, there was one thing she couldn't really ignore, a repetitive theme, "No one takes me seriously as the class president, so it kind of feels like I was voted in as a laugh. Kitogawa-Senpai was the last one out of the fire because she was making sure everyone else was safe, I didn't do anything then either." It had been bothering Yuuki for a while. She had concluded that perhaps it would be better for her to resign as one of the class presidents?

Letting the runner up on the vote take the job, the responsibility seemed like a reasonable idea. She hadn't done anything to prove she deserved the title. Even when Akira stepped in to end the conflict between Saburo and Sora, Akira might have been struck, but he ultimately had saved Sora, and as one of the more athletic freshman, Yuuki had no doubt that Akira could have handled his own if the more eccentric junior named Johnny hadn't stepped in. She couldn't say that for herself, she had no self-defense training, she wasn't athletic in the slightest, she'd never been in a fight before, "The rest doesn't matter." she was referring to her confusion about Rocco and Sora, even her senior, Aeon. She didn't see how discussing that with Rocco would benefit her in any way. Aeon seemed to be just as involved with his studies as she was, he wasn't making any moves to interfere with her life at school, but there had been a few moments where she could have sworn she felt something toward her senior partner. That was all on her end, she felt she could rip those weeds out before they corrupted the garden easily enough.

Sora and Rocco were another matter entirely. They were persistent, each in their own way. The two boys were equally troubling, also in their individual rights. The only true comfort she found in regards to Sora and Rocco was that she was well aware she wasn't the only girl that either of them was behaving in that manner with. Rocco had gone on a date with Hakuryu, the girl from the gym, and seemed to be doing the same more steadily with Kaori. Sora on the other hand had emerged from the pool the day of the fire soaking wet with one of his fellow seniors as well. She didn't have to face anyone seriously, didn't have to call the dance or even this trip for what they were.

Denial was much easier, because these intricate webs, these different colored strings were already in knots. At this point, things were already too complicated and Yuuki didn't have enough emotional bandwidth to open her heart to anyone. It was too risky. Her friends back home abandoned her as soon as she became this sad, painfully devoted daughter, why wouldn't a boy? High school was supposed to be fun, carefree, not a time to take on someone else's damage, "That bible might do you some good though. Reading on one hand and moral redemption on the other." Yuuki jabbed, a little more lightheartedly than she would have at school. It was mostly to change the subject, wanting to push the conversation as far away from what she was feeling as possible. Feelings were messy and she couldn't imagine a scenario where someone didn't get hurt in this mess that was brewing between the students at Airdalen. Her guard was up for a reason, she didn't want to be the one that got hurt. By anyone. She didn't trust something as fickle as love and high school crushes. They changed like the weather, so she refused to listen to a single sign that the ignorant organ in her chest dared to give.




Charm: +1 to Rocco
Popularity: +1 to Shiori, Cassiopeia, Kaori




Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sora Harigae Character Portrait: Misaki Serinuma Character Portrait: Hiro Oshiro
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  1. https://youtu.be/6kd5D9-3-eU

    by Victorant

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The female violet-haired victim of a near car crash who introduced herself as Misa was not calming down any time soon judging by appearances. As the elevator doors closed with them inside, her reaction did not go unnoticed by him. Small balled up fists, tightly shut eyes and she stepped to the side quite quickly once he advanced towards her. She was starting to see the situation for what it really was. Was he really deemed to be a kind stranger who carried a girl into his car to seek medical attention? Preposterous. There was no such thing. It was wishful thinking at best. "That's certainly very kind of you...but I think I'm fine, more or less... though trauma will be the least of my concerns..." The corner of Hiro's mouth was tempted to shift upward. It was a poor choice of words as her concerns increased by his doing, by the minute.

He felt her shiver from his touch when he let her borrow his coat and watched as she moved away from him again. Hiro let her be. She wasn't going anywhere, anyhow. "W-What choice do I have?!" She had such a meek voice that he barely understood what she said. But before he could answer one of her better questions, the elevator doors opened and he stepped out followed by everyone else as the three subordinates in the elevator with them in particular, stayed behind himself and their guest. Once out, he looked down at Misa first as the item not originally included in his itinerary. "You seem a little red, Misa. I hope you don't have a fever or else... you might have to stay." One more subordinate appeared walking briskly towards them from down the hallway. The man stopped to bow politely then joined Hiro's side to delicately mutter, "We are running behind schedule." Hiro nodded, turning back to Misa before he goes about the rest of his day.

"Take her." He ordered the three from the elevator, pointing in the general direction of one of the conference rooms. He then directed the others to follow his lead down the hallway from which the one man came. They didn't have a psychiatrist conveniently twiddling their thumbs so he made a quick phone call to a family friend that he could trust to keep the matter contained. "Hara-san, can you come to the hotel?" She was the daughter of one of his biological father's friends who also took an interest in the field of social sciences. She was in her mid-30s, had a friendly disposition and a sharp mind. They rarely communicated but she was always dependable, and it was no different this time as she accepted the task and agreed to arrive no later than 10 minutes.

Hiro ended the call and entered the penthouse, greeted immediately with a warm embrace and a strong pat on the shoulder by his stepfather and the PM of Japan, Nakajima Asahi. "Son. You didn't answer my call. I was so worried." Son. It was an unnatural greeting under Hiro's standards. Did aunties greet their nieces by calling them, nieces? Did grandfathers greet their grandchildren by calling them, grandson or granddaughter? No. It was only natural for the younger person to address their elders like that. However, by his stepfather's standards as a man who had no children of his own, it was natural and had become a term of endearment. His stepfather always said it so proudly too. "Father, I apologize for worrying you. Everything has been taken care of." Endearment returned. It was a fair exchange for power.

Hiro and his stepfather sat on the lounge chairs across from each other with tea prepared, discussing the day before delving into politics.
"Nuclear power is still a divisive issue."
"If the polls are anything to go by, the overall favorability is low, to begin with."
"Hardly surprising. The people haven't forgotten the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant crisis."
"A result of simple carelessness. Had it not been for that, well..."
Hiro took a sip of his tea. His stepfather enjoyed talking more than the silent company and it didn't bother Hiro in the least especially as it was comfortable, talking like equals instead of letting age dictate the wisest man in the room.
"We have the Harigaes now. I hear they're selecting a new head of the family."
"Are they now?"
"Indeed. Let's hope they choose wisely."

A subordinate, the same subordinate from before who had been sent to bring Hiro spoke up after watching the clock on the wall tick away. "Apologies for the disruption Prime Minister, we must move on to your next meeting with the U.S ambassador." Asahi got up from his seat and smoothed out the creases in his suit. "If I must, take care son." Hiro stood up as his stepfather gave him another pat on the shoulder before leaving. The room was engulfed in silence as the subordinates scattered. Some left to attend to the PM and the other half, positioned themselves outside the penthouse to guard and serve Hiro. He sat back down on the lounge and picked up a book titled, 'Beyond Good And Evil' by Nietzsche for some leisure reading. “Men have hitherto treated women like birds which have strayed down to them from the heights; as something more delicate, more fragile, more savage, stranger, sweeter, soulful – but as something which has to be caged up so that it shall not fly away...” He read for a while longer until he heard his phone. It was Hara-san's psychological evaluation of Misa received as an email. Then there was a knock on the door, presumably his guest now that the evaluation had been completed. "Come in." he said, looking at his phone screen once more before gesturing the girl to take a seat. He set his phone on the coffee table face down, the notification also effectively removed before she could be in visual range of it.

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Character Portrait: Misaki Serinuma Character Portrait: Hiro Oshiro
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When the doors opened and Hiro put the matter of ruffling her feathers aside, Misaki let out a sigh of relief without even trying to hide it. Elevators were certainly not her friend, but perhaps she could reconcile with the doors. Doors opened. Doors were a means of escape, and whilst she couldn't go very far, it certainly granted quite a bit more space from the increasingly troubling stranger she found herself entangled with. It was decided, at the very least, the doors to the elevator weren't so bad. Ever since she had accidentally bumped into Kazuki on her way to gym class nothing seemed to be simple for Misaki anymore. The attention that she received from people was unnecessary, unwanted, and she was desperately searching for a return address.

From the way that boys were messing with her all the way to Devone being suspicious of her, albeit rightfully so to an extent, Misaki just wanted to disappear again. Her life as a wallflower was far more comfortable and she never meant to step out of it like this. I just want to be invisible again! I didn't sign up for any of this! I don't want it! Let someone else have this... it's just a burden. Misaki seethed to herself, growing a bit fed up with all the otome-like situations she was finding herself in. She liked PLAYING otome games, but they were Yaoi! She never ever envied them though! She did not crave to self-insert herself into one!

Noticing that Hiro's eyes were on her again when she stole a peek in his direction, Misaki nearly jumped out of her skin. You can let me go home already! It's not like you hit me with your car! What was the point of taking me hostage?! This is more illegal than anything that might have occurred on the highway! That trail of thought led to some dark anxiety fuel, her blood running cold. Selling her organs on the black market? Human trafficking? Oh dear god... It couldn't be that. Even if it was, she was damaged goods! There was no way that she was suitable for a life like that! She could barely even talk to guys, let alone... NO! Don't lose your head. You're panicking with no evidence of anything yet. Relax. Breathe. It probably isn't anything like that! She scolded herself for letting her vivid imagination get the best of her, to terrify herself.

"You seem a little red, Misa. I hope you don't have a fever or else... you might have to stay."

"NO!" the meek girl spoke up, but her attempt at firm denial came out as more of a squeak as it felt like her entire body bristled up. Great. She had the firm resolution of a mouse. A mouse riddled with crippling anxiety. A mouse that needed Xanax. Perfect. ...Ugh... Nailed it... Misaki thought to herself sarcastically, "T-That's not necessary! I—I mean... I'm sure my family will be worried." Misaki scrambled for her excuse, not wanting to be brutally honest about her true reasoning. While she had issues with all men, this 'Hiro' guy was increasingly scaring the shit out of her. If this was a manga she had been reading from the comfort of her own room, if there was a male lead in her place, perhaps it would have been exciting—dare she say an enjoyable read—but it was not exciting or enjoyable in real life experiencing it as the heroine.

"Take her."

The violet haired girl's heart skittered when he said those words, having to remind herself she was headed for a mental evaluation and this was NOT a mobster TV special. While those words were not necessarily a true sign of freedom, it was her first reprieve from her abductor. It would give her time to breathe, to calm down, and unpack everything that happened since she stormed out of the house. Time to think was good, in its own way. She quietly heeded Hiro's directions, fighting the instincts that told her to bolt for the elevator as soon as his head was turned. When it came to Misaki feeling cornered, the flight response was always her first instinct, and she often obeyed it, as her second was freeze, and that was more often than not far more costly if her time watching nature shows had taught her anything.

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Upon being deposited in a room and left to her own devices, Misaki pinched the bridge of her nose, pacing the room. Trying to slip out was impossible, as the door was guarded, and upon inspecting the window, she accepted it was a suicide mission to attempt any escape through there. Effectively caged, Misaki continued to pace as she had sat long enough in the car and it helped burn some of her restless energy.

Kindled by the unique situation she had found herself in, Misaki was little more than a purple ball of energy whipping back and forth. "Who even is this guy? Who just kidnaps someone off the street?" Misaki scoffed to herself in astonishment, shaking her head. She had an answer, but it did absolutely nothing to comfort her, "A psycho. A psycho does that..." she answered herself in a defeated tone.

As her time with this unknown headshrinker grew closer, Misaki felt the wave of dread closing in on her like the high tide. The more time that ticked by, the more substantial the slow, painful sense of drowning became. It wasn't as if Misaki hadn't been to therapy before—she had, many, many times, not that it ever brought her any real comfort. Her first appointment was a misguided attempt made by her parents. After the inevitable death of Misaki's little sister, they thought it would help her cope.

There was more than a little resistance when they announced that they were making her go to a therapist, as Misaki didn't want to talk to a stranger: she wanted her parents back together. Medication didn't feel like a fix: and talking to someone that had no reason to be invested in her wellbeing but to get a paycheck didn't help either. It felt like a bandaid. It sucked to feel like a problem to brush under the rug. Rather than her parents taking the time to treat her as if she was even remotely a priority to either one of them, Misaki was managed like a problem instead of a person.

A perfectly well-behaved and adjusted child had suddenly taken to running away, so obviously, she needed to be medicated instead of given extra love and support in the most traumatic time of her life. Her parents couldn't see that all Misaki ever wanted was a semblance of normalcy, for their happy little family to make a real effort to mend itself, but no one could see past their own grief, and drugging her required less effort anyway.

In her experience, therapy wasn't all that helpful. Misaki's issues were never directly addressed, as the therapists she met only cared about masking them for a while with drugs. They always seemed to stop working, or the side effects were more awful than her symptoms they were treating, and other times it was both. That was when she turned to her own methods, the otome, the yaoi, sinking into isolation instead of developing socially like the other kids. Her little world felt safe and she was content to be the only one in it, even to her own detriment.

Misaki finally sat down after several minutes of pacing back and forth when her legs began to tire. All she was left with after fuming about Hiro was that she had royally messed up this time. Running away had never gotten her in such a mess in the past, but after a couple of dozen times doing so, it was bound to happen.

Hearing the door finally open, Misaki steeled her resolve. She had no intention of being honest with the psych called upon by a complete stranger, but she had to play along. First came the introductions, which she of course only gave the same alias, willfully refusing to properly identify herself. Then came the questions. Fun.

"So, would you like to talk about why you were on the road?" Came the warm voice, which was a tool at her disposal meant to be disarming, calming, but Misaki had been here before.

Pressing her lips together, she had no intention of going into details about her family, about how she felt neglected by her mother, her father, and detested by her step-father, "I needed fresh air so I went for a run. I got something in my eye and before I knew it I was trapped on the road. The traffic was overwhelming. A simple mistake, a dumb one, but one that won't happen again." Misaki spoke matter-of-factly, almost combatively, to be frank. She was on the offense subconsciously, in spite of her previous intentions to charm her way through, she had a clear hatred for psychology and those who practiced it.

"Were you running away from something? A fight at home maybe? With a boyfriend? You sound like you were distracted. Upset by something. Bottling it up only makes things worse. You can talk to me."

This made Misaki scoff, "Yes. I was running from my problems—again! Does that help you pick at my brain or is it just fun? We're all running away from something. If we weren't, why run at all?" Misaki answered, growing a bit touchy as the questions grew more probative, but remaining vague all the same. Of course it is my family... isn't that always what damages us? Ruins our sense of security? Our naïveté? All parents screw up their kids in one way or another, isn't that what your books tell you?

══════════════════════════ *.·:·.☽✧ ✦ ✧☾.·:·.* ══════════════════════════


It was finally over, the evaluation at least. Somehow they always felt more like an interrogation than medical care. Perhaps she just wasn't cut out for it? There was still the matter of convincing the stranger that had picked her up to release her—preferably without notifying her parents about what happened. They were gone before anyone had the chance to take pictures or plaster their faces on the news, but it was definitely going to get at least minor news coverage all the same. If he decided to reach out to her parents she would be in a world of trouble at home, potentially not being allowed to return, but she had no intention of making that information known to him, especially as he seemed to enjoy her discomfort.

Oh right. She was standing in the hall still. She was supposed to knock, right? Well, she knew that, but her hand was frozen just before touching the door. She had seen many manga and anime scenes that had started out like this, and it was petrifying. "God, if you are listening I get it! I promise I will never ever read another yaoi starring pushy wealthy male leads again if you make him just let me go! It isn't cute! I get that now! I'm done with this trope now! Misaki was already a ball of nerves, but she had to knock—

Knock! Knock!

I DIDN'T DO THAT! I'M NOT READY! her soul screamed in horror as her assigned escort grew impatient and knocked on the door for her. Fidgeting and panicking, Misaki reconsidered making a beeline for the elevator after all, "I-I was about to do it! Misaki squeaked, glaring pitifully at Hiro's employed help. It was a bald-faced lie, as she knew she didn't have it in her to knock on her own, but surely they didn't know that! Was she just that easy to read that everyone could do it?

"Come in."

Bristling again as she heard confirmation to open the door, Misaki couldn't tell if the color was draining from her face or rising to her cheeks anymore. She had reason to be nervous, embarrassed, but she was also fairly terrified. Her hand extended toward the door, trembling but making actual progress this time. She had no choice lest his manservant might take the initiative there too, so a shaking hand slowly turned the handle and she forced herself to step in, "O-Okay." She replied as her entire soul sobbed and demanded she tuck tail and run while she still had considerable distance between them.

The heaviness she felt was overwhelming, her feet feeling as if they were encased in lead, but Misaki forced herself to enter the room one step at a time all the same. While she managed to gather herself to a point, her features were not stone, she wasn't practiced in concealing her emotions, not even a little bit, so they trembled and twitched occasionally despite giving it her best effort.

Not sure if she should sit or stand, Misaki remained standing midway between the door and the lounge area for a few moments longer than would have been considered natural, at least for a decided person and especially when she was already ushered to do so. Deciding it was best to cooperate as she was the one at the disadvantage, Misaki sat across from Hiro, quite notably as far as possible from him physically while still complying with his direction. A mild affirmation that she was appropriately wary of him now that she had properly shaken most of her hysteria. Wetting her lips nervously before speaking, Misaki decided to get to the point rather than beat around the bush, "So are you satisfied? I complied and spoke with your specialist. May I go now?" Misaki asked, daring to speak a little more pointedly than she had spoken with him before despite her undeniable unwillingness to engage properly with the therapist.

Growing tired of being a caged mouse batted about here and there on top of the fact that she had the displeasure of meeting yet another shrink, Misaki's mood had visibly soured. There wasn't a lot she could do, running was an option, but he obviously had everyone in the building under his thumb, the odds weren't even remotely in her favor. Still, she would make an attempt if she felt she had no choice regardless of how dismal her chances of success were, "...I'm not particularly disadvantaged in my own right, someone will notice my absence... It's less of a hassle for everyone involved if I leave now." Misaki added, keeping her gaze out the window rather than meeting his.

It was a gamble, but if someone reported her missing, regardless of his wealth, it would at least be an annoyance...right? She wasn't exactly a nobody, her family ran a ridiculously high-end hot spring resort that celebrities often frequented, she wasn't as rich as the person sitting before her, but she wasn't someone that wouldn't be missed either. Hiro didn't have to know that her family expected behavior like this as she was a serial runaway. I do NOT want to spend the night! I don't even know this guy! No! There are enough problems that were created by getting so much attention from guys! Devone was already suspicious of her, and she just couldn't have guessed how much worse this truly would make her life if that girl learned of this. She had no idea the two had a history, it was knowledge that she had no way of obtaining, especially as she didn't have her phone. She couldn't even google this guy in her free time! While she knew it would be bad if she was entangled with yet another Airdalen boy, that it would only make her fellow senior more suspicious of her, she just had no idea what kind of landmine she had found herself stepping on this time.

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The two were in a deadlock of sorts, fixed and raging brown eyes attempting to tear holes into considerably more carefree aquamarine. Kaito couldn't help finding her mute obstinacy to be cute, in its way. There was nothing that the girl seated across from him could do to escape this situation short of jumping out of the cart. They do lock these things nowadays to prevent such incidents from happening though, no? Kaito deliberated to himself for a moment. He was fairly convinced the man operating the ride had locked the carriage, otherwise, he had taken quite a long time doing a whole lot of nothing. It certainly would do no good if she hurt herself in his company, she was borrowed goods of sorts, after all. He had to return her in the condition that he found her, physically speaking.

This girl was not his, none were if he was being frank, and as far as he was aware she belonged to the most recent object of his displeasure. If he could get her to talk, to give him just about any clues as to how to get under the skin of his adversary, it would all prove worth it, as what he spent to secure her was mere pocket change compared to the actual funds of someone as successful as his father, "So, are you going to talk, or must we sit in unbearable silence all day~?" Kaito prodded at his involuntary companion with a smirk plastered on his pale features. He wasn't going to let their day become that boring if he could help it, "What happens when your boyfriend gets bored? I figured that you would be more fun since you date a guy like that." he added, just to add insult to injury. Kaito found no fault with her, but he felt poking a little fun at her would provoke a response. He wasn't a very patient guy, and if it meant bullying her a bit to move things along, it wasn't beyond him. He didn't care about the girl so he didn't even consider what it may do to her self-esteem.

This made Kaori visibly bristle, "MY relationships are none of YOUR business. I don't even know you." Kaori shot back, proving she did have a bit of spirit left after what Kei's careless actions had put her through. It stung though, a lot more than she was willing to admit. It hurt because Kaori knew that Kaito was right, she knew that compared to the person she used to be... this Kaori sucked. She was a shell of her former self, and perhaps...boring, just as he said.

If her relationship with Rocco had even a shred of truth to it... Kaito might have truly shattered her confidence entirely, but thankfully it was all a facade. As things stood, she didn't have to be very interesting, and if it was all fake, it couldn't hurt, that is what she kept telling herself. He wasn't tied down to her in reality, she wasn't his, it would all end soon enough. The relationship was an arrangement of convenience, no feelings involved. As much as she was trying to be logical, Kaori's entire being was becoming this volatile energy thrashing around the longer that he spoke. Every fiber of her being told her to hit him, but without anywhere to run, it wasn't a good idea. There was no way for her to flag the worker down, and even if there was, why would he turn down the cash that Kaito had provided? He had been effectively bribed.

Huffing in annoyance, Kaori chewed on the inside of her cheek as she tried to make heads or tails of all this. Why did Kaito even bother with her? Why was he spending so much money to ensure she couldn't go anywhere? He wasn't making a move to come closer... so it didn't seem that it was because he had nefarious plans for her. All he seemed to talk about was Rocc-. Then the memory from school hit her like a brick. The two had almost fought in class, hadn't they! Rocco had pulled out the boy's seat. It was making more sense, but it also made her uneasy. What was his angle? She preferred to find out now rather than later, "The childishness between you boys has nothing to do with me. Let me go."

A smirk turned into a huge grin when Kaori spoke of the fight that nearly took place between himself and her boyfriend, "So you do remember me, I'm flattered~" Kaito teased, his amusement flowing freely. There was no one to witness this exchange, and whatever she told anyone he could vehemently deny. It was her word against his, and did she really want everyone to know she spent an entire day with him at a romantic date spot while she had a boyfriend? With that in mind, he was comfortable behaving as he liked, besides, he planned to make their little 'date' known by all in due time, "No can do. I need to send a message, and it is far from sent at this stage, besides, the night is young, what's the rush?"

That is all that he took away from what she said!? Kaori was glaring daggers into him, but he obviously didn't care how she felt about the situation and her anger seemed to fuel him. Ugh! I've never met anyone this frustrating! Kaori hissed, but images of her fake boyfriend came to mind. Kaori sighed upon reflecting that it was Rocco's actions in the classroom that had her in the situation she had found herself in, I'm not nearly as important as he thinks. It was annoying, but the park would close eventually, she just had to wait this guy out.

Frowning a bit when he realized that his taunts were being mostly ignored, Kaito finally stood, closing the gap between them in no time, given the limited space. Plopping down beside of Kaori, Kaito quickly dug her phone out of her pocket. She earned a chuckle of approval when he noticed that it was locked, but she hadn't thought it through. She had a fingerprint lock, which was easy enough to force his way through. Before she could respond, Kaito seized her wrist and put her right thumb to the phone, "Since you don't want to be a good girl and help me piss off your boyfriend... I suppose I'll have to do it myself."

Kaori thrashed against him, freeing her wrist, fumbling as she tried to fight him for her phone, but Kaito's range went further. He was taller, his arm could stretch much further, "Say hello to your boyfriend~" Kaito began, but waited a moment knowing she couldn't tell if he had turned the video on yet or not with the volume off.

"What are you doing!?" Kaori panicked, remembering how angry Rocco became when she purposefully provoked him with the mere mention of a guy (Aeon), and it was one she had barely said two words to in reality. Now that she had mostly settled in her shock, Kaito turned the video on for real and leaned in toward her, backing her up into the glass as she made every effort to create space, "H-Hey! This isn't funny!" Kaori hissed, but soon their faces were centimeters apart. Her cheeks burned, kicking at Kaito's feet, pushing on his shoulders, anything to stop him. Kaito sat the phone down where it could get a good view before he took each of her hands in one of his and leaned in, kissing her just short of her lips.

Leaving Kaori stunned and frozen where she sat, he trimmed the clip to just the portion where he pretended to kiss her, and thankfully the angle was working in his favor. A retake was not possible, as the girl was already pounding her fists into his back, "H-How could you! Delete it!" Her voice was extremely desperate, but Kaito tuned her out, using her school email to 'accidentally' send it to the entire school, sans her boyfriend. Kaito didn't want him to see it just yet.

Upon her phone being deposited in his pocket, Kaori looked up to Kaito in horror, "You can have it back on Monday~ I can't have you trying to call him to make a defense." Kaito smiled. It was cruel, but he didn't actually kiss her. He didn't do anything to her really. There were no marks, and their lips never actually met... but as far as her relationship went...ahh... maybe he did cause some harm after all.

It was happening all over again...but instead of being rejected by the boy that she loved...Kaito was making her look like a 'cheater'. As she had stood up in her efforts to stop him from sharing the video, Kaori felt her legs buckling, and she collapsed to the floor of the ride. Tears were welling up in her eyes. How was she supposed to show her face at school Monday... how was she supposed to explain that they didn't actually kiss, and what did happen was forced upon her? Nothing had actually happened... but it probably didn't look that way. She had no way of knowing just how bad it looked. No...no no no no! Why!? This is... I can't believe it... Boys are the worst...

Aquamarine eyes widened when he heard the thud behind him, turning around quickly, "O-Oi... don't do that." Kaito kneeled down in front of her. He could see how she was shaking, could hear it in her voice that she was fighting back tears. Fuck. Don't cry. You're not the person I'm trying to... Damn it all! He didn't stop to think how it would affect her, and now he felt like a garbage human being. Still, it was for nothing if he didn't see it through.

He was the last person that she wanted to be comforted by, but Kaito pulled her into a hug despite her protests, clawing, punching, he took it all without saying anything, burying his face into her neck as he forced her's into his chest, "I took this too far. Gomenasai." he mumbled into her ear, a bit begrudgingly as he wasn't used to apologizing for his actions. If she had just cooperated he wouldn't have had to gone to an extreme!

"L-Let go!" Kaori shouted at him, hitting him with every ounce of her rage. He was just letting her beat him up and that somehow only made her even angrier. Why did things like this always have to happen to her? Was she so awful of a person before that karma had to strike at her this hard to make her pay for it all? Tears betrayed her as she felt her emotions overwhelming her as she tried to figure out what would happen after this, "I HATE you!"

As much as he tried to shift the blame onto her in his head, Kaito knew in his gut that his focus on revenge for Rocco embarrassing him in the classroom had caused damage to someone that didn't deserve it, a girl no less, "I'm not a nice guy by any measure. I'm keeping your phone so he'll know it was me. You...You should have jus-" Kaito continued, but quickly cut his blame short. That wasn't fair. Now he could feel her shaking, and how wet his chest was getting as she cried. It was undoubtedly against her will given how fervently she was fighting him, "Go ahead and cry. Hate me. ...I'll call and get them to stop the ride after you calm down, and you can go, but I'm taking you home." Kaito explained that he was going to cut their evening short. Tch. It was supposed to make her angry... not... this. Now I am stuck taking responsibility... This blows.




Notoriety: +1 to Kaito




Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kei Watari Character Portrait: Mao Nozomi Character Portrait: Kaito Miyuu Character Portrait: Kaori Himewari
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  1. https://youtube.com/watch?v=jRehmX3zlwE -Kaori

    by Strix

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Things were going a lot better than Kei would have ever imagined. It was always pretty difficult for him, but since his sister passed it felt impossible to talk to girls, especially one-on-one, yet he was having a solid conversation with a girl. They were practically rubbing elbows, and he was okay. He was nervous enough to vomit in all actuality, but nothing bad was happening and on the surface everything was good. A smile crept up to his features, it was only a little one, but maybe Rocco was right, maybe with time he could move past all of his unrealistic fear. After all, he hadn’t done anything to hurt her yet, and she seemed to genuinely want to be there, in the moment, with a lame ass guy like him. It... was almost nice. Almost normal. That would be too simple though, right? His phone buzzed in his pocket, interrupting his good mood. That was odd... Kei didn’t get many messages.

Rocco? His mother? His father? No, he doubted it was his father. The man was too busy to call at a time like this. He was in a meeting. Speaking of busy, didn’t Rocco have that trip with Fujioka though? Kei doubted that he would message during that, but he checked his phone anyway. After Kaiya, he was too paranoid to ignore a call or text. Anything could be an emergency. Plucking his phone from his pocket, Kei quirked a brow. A mass email? Was it spam? He tentatively opened it, hoping it wasn’t a virus, or worse, porn. That was not something he wanted to accidentally have on his screen next to his classmate.

What he actually saw on his screen almost made him toss the phone across the room. That dick! What the fuck does he think he is doing with her!? He knew that there was no way that Kaito knew his connection with Kaori, probably didn’t know that like himself Kaori had developed trauma. I don’t give a shit what he knows... he’s pushed shit too far! Kei knew that it was different than his own trauma, he’d made her scared to trust others, male AND female due to the relentless bullying he accidentally subjected her to after his public rejection of her... while he was scared of letting girls down. He caused her a lot of harm because he was lost in his own mess... and he knew that she wouldn’t kiss a guy like Kaito! Did Rocco know? The two seemed really close now... he didn’t see Rocco in the tags... was this to provoke him? To start rumors? What the hell was the motive here!? Kaori had nothing to do with their growing animosity with Kaito. She was innocent in this.

Even though his new best friend seemed to be courting several girls, and Kei had no idea why Kaori was so trusting of him, when she opened up to literally no one else, Kei supported her choices. If it made her feel better, he wasn’t going to interfere. It hurt, but he had no right to feel that way. He was the one that ruined her life because his own was crumbling apart. It was complicated, but he was happy that Rocco could be somewhat of a force of good in Kaori’s life. Who was he to put a wedge in that? It wasn’t like anything had changed. Kei was the same weak person as before, a guy that couldn’t protect her, that instead only caused her pain.

Besides, when he apologized after the fire she made it perfectly clear that she didn’t want him in her life, or to accept his apology. In spite of that... he couldn’t just sit back and do nothing about the kiss he saw. It was like what he had done to her all over again, but this time she was portrayed very flirtatious. Everyone saw her with Rocco a lot, and now ‘she’ sent out a mass email of her kissing Kaito? Bullshit. He knew her better than that. She wasn’t like that, even before.

Anger building to a point, Kei threw off his apron, ”Nozomi-Chan, I am sorry, but a friend of mine is in trouble, I have to go!” He called out as he exited the cafeteria. He waved over his shoulder without turning to look back. He didn’t have time. He had to find them. He had to hail a taxi. His form was shaking in anger, but he found the street soon enough, waving an arm to try to catch the attention of an unoccupied ride. There was no way he was going to let this go. Kaito was always looking for a fight, well now he definitely had one. He recognized that amusement park and he was going there one way or another! Even if he had to run there himself. He let her down once, he humiliated her, he wasn’t going to let it happen again. It wasn’t about winning her back, he knew it was far too late for something like that, but he couldn’t stand by and watch someone else put her in a situation he knew would cause her pain. It was... recompense for his own mistakes. Maybe he couldn’t protect her back then, and he knew he couldn’t stand by her side like Rocco could, but he definitely could break that asshole’s face, or die trying.

Finally catching the attention of a cabbie, Kei let out a sigh of relief, hopping in the back. He was nowhere near the richest student at Airedalen, but he handed the driver a wad of cash, ”Take me to the local amusement park, as fast as possible.” Kei spoke quickly, desperately. He didn’t want to lose them, he no longer knew where Kaori lived. They moved as part of their own fresh start, and he never knew where that white haired asshat lived in the first place. If he didn’t leave now, catch up to them before they left the park, he was screwed until Monday.

Just before he closed the door, a hand stopped him, and Kei looked to that person with disbelief. Why? Why would she want to help him? They didn’t know each other at all, and as far as he knew she didn’t know Kaori, it when Mao joined him in the cab, he felt his heart skip beats. Her expression was unreadable, but he knew she had to be a good person if she was willing to associate herself with trouble willingly for absolute strangers, “Thank you, Nozomi-Chan...” he closed his eyes, a big smile forming on his lips. He didn’t expect to meet someone so reliable, especially after he lucked out with a friend like Rocco. Was someone upstairs looking out for him after all? God? Kaiya? Both? Regardless of why, he was grateful. Having an ally, it felt nice, but his anxiety did build. She couldn’t get involved in what he had planned, “Do not follow Kaito and I for any reason, promise me, or I’ll leave you here.” He stated firmly, leaving no room for argument. Girls were fragile in his mind, to be protected, he wasn’t going to allow her to put herself in harm’s way. She could get Kaori home, or something.






Popularity: +1 to Mao
Notoriety: +1 to Kaito