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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.

21,371 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 [286] I'm a boy, I swear! R-really... (Stats up to date)
Shiori Kitogawa [239] I don't have a lot of time.. they hate me.. I need to change. (Stat update)
Yuuki Fujioka [237] This may be a new school, but my goals haven't changed. Don't bother me. (Stats Updated)
Ryou Giou [236] "They say I need a distraction, what do you think?" (revamped)
Gen Fukui [236] You'll have to bare with me a bit longer, darling~ <updated>
Rhys Browning [231] "I'm trying to hold back." Stats Updated 24/03
Bishop Trander [221] "Well, it looks like I'm going to be at this school longer than the others... Things will be different this time. Right?" EDITED
Johnny Farelli [219] "I will get stronger. I have to... for everyone's sakes." (FridayStatsUpdated!)
Aeon Shirokami [213] "For me, it will always be business as usual."
Kazuki Miyamoto [206] "Here's the deal, try to keep up. Because, there's no way I'm slowing down for you pal." (stat)

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3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Devone Kim Character Portrait: Ryou Giou Character Portrait: Hiro Oshiro
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xxxx"Garbage." Devone waved her personal stylist away before sitting down with her legs crossed and crossing her arms too with both impatience and disappointment. The personal stylist was a new hire as the usual one Devone employed was inconveniently on vacation overseas. She was a timid looking girl by the name of Tamaki, Itsumi who did not carry herself with the grace and poise expected of someone in her chosen career path but there was that saying Devone heard of that went something like, 'pick the hairdresser with the worst haircut at the salon because they're the reason everyone else looks good.' Devone rolled her eyes reflecting on it because she couldn't recall the source but hoped there was some truth to it. When she last minute hired the Tamaki girl, she didn't quite expect...her. Itsumi returned again and again with more recommendations for the outing later that night but Devone would reject them again and again.
"Yikes."
"Bigger yikes."
"I wouldn't wear that even if I was dead."
"Ugh, are you even trying?"

xxxxUnlike Devone, Itsumi had the patience of a saint and wasn't deterred. "Well." She began. "I never asked but what is the occasion tonight Miss Kim?" Devone's gaze wandered over to the windows of her bedroom and the cloudy uncertain skies. "I don't know." she answered, her tone of voice much softer than the harsher comments she spat out before. "Wear something comfortable with pants. That was all he said." Devone relaxed her posture, resting her cheek atop her fingers as her red eyes returned back to the only other individual in the room like a target. "Is that a tall order?" she taunted. Itsumi remained silent for a time before clasping her own hands together and asking more probing questions that she believed would help her understand the task better. "Who would this man be to you? A family member? A friend? A romantic interest?" Devone tilted her head so it rested on her hand more unsure how to address that particular query. Part of her wanted to say it was none of the Tamaki girl's business but she did come to realize the question wasn't completely uncalled for. The stylist would like to know her relation to the person involved at the event in order to best tailor her attire for it. What a lady might wear around a family member could greatly differ from what she would wear around a possible suitor.

xxxxDevone sighed at how tiresome this whole ordeal was. It wasn't like she really needed a personal stylist. What she was currently wearing was considerably fashionable enough, accentuated her body's figure nicely and she hadn't even left the house. For some reason or another, she just hired one. It felt like a reassurance towards something so unclear. She was still dumbfounded that Ryou requested her time as a Christmas present because she was so sure nobody in their right mind would with her worrying reputation as the prestigious school's Ursula. "He's..." Unintentionally, she pictured both Ryou and Hiro next to each other. Her ex-boyfriend Hiro with his long silver hair and cunning smile contrasting with Ryou, short dark hair and a straight face. Devone closed her eyes and smiled to herself before simply saying, "Different. I want to dress to impress."

3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rocco Murray Character Portrait: Kei Watari Character Portrait: Mao Nozomi
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Aware that he was approaching her, Mao resolved to not give away that she had noticed. Pretending that she wasn't paying attention she continued her warmup as if the presence of the two boys was inconsequential to her. Under the surface, Kei and Rocco showing up did tear away a bit of her focus, but she had spent years working on her poker face. After taking up the identity 'Zen' she had to build her ability to lie and act cool or she would have been found out ages ago by her parents or the media as she has been asked about her opinion of the artist in interviews. Awkwaaard. Though no one seemed to be suspicious of her having a connection with the artist so she assumed she honed the skill well enough. As such, despite her slightly elevated heart rate and fatigue from her injury, Mao appeared to be as cool as a cucumber.

“Hey, not bad."

Hearing him, Mao looked to Rocco with a raised brow. She knew that she wasn’t 'good' either at this point. She had a lot of catching up to do if she wanted to keep up with the rest of the team. The whole reason she was practicing on a day off was to prevent herself from being deadweight during a real game. The last thing she wanted was to drag her team down, “Thanks...” she responded skeptically, not sure that she believed him. Mao wasn’t one to judge a book by its cover, thus she held a healthy level of skepticism toward nearly everyone she met. No one was exempt, not until she felt she had a proper read of them. She held a huge secret, she couldn’t trust just anyone, letting them close would potentially expose her nighttime activities and that could easily get her a criminal record, possibly earn her expulsion from Airdalen to preserve the school’s integrity, and if it made the news that she was Zen, the artist openly opposing her father’s political views... she would bring immeasurable shame to her family.

Instead of looking to see if Rocco’s shot made it, Mao did not avert her gaze. It would imply discomfort, looking away would make her appear to have a submissive nature and that was not the impression she intended to give. With one hand on her hip, she awaited the result of his cocky move, her own golden eyes sharp and unwavering, although she had to admit she was a little surprised by how quickly his personality shifted. This, people like him were the reason she refused to accept others at face value. Although she’d give him credit, he revealed this darker side of his personality rather openly, he wasn’t making a huge show of hiding it from her.

"I can't wait to see the rest of you."

However, her composure broke when his words left his lips, the echo of the basketball hitting the shiny gymnasium floor. Biting her bottom lip, at first Mao appeared nervous, but not even a second later it became apparent that she was fighting laughter. Her hand came to her stomach and she bent her torso over slightly, her short dark locks falling over her features, but not especially so as her hair was on the longer side of a pixie cut. Composing herself, Mao smirked this time, “The rest of me? That’s easier said than done.” She responded confidently. She wasn’t the type of girl to shy away from bold flirtation despite her inexperience. It only became difficult when she felt singled out, but his choice of words was more sexualizing than it was genuine. She could handle that. Despite her shitty luck with boys, the media had been sexualizing her for a little over a year. It was to be expected given she was the daughter of a politician and she had to learn to overlook it.

...Not to say she wasn’t a bit flustered, but she was raised in a body-positive home, Mao was confident in her appearance despite her lack of romantic experiences. With that, she motioned for his friend to get ready to keep score, and the game began. Mao gave it her all despite her injury, working even harder than she had on her own. She doubted she would best him, but that didn’t mean to half-ass it. W-Why am I suddenly getting hit on at this school?! I wasn't hit on by the boys at my other schools!







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ImageHaving lost the game with Rocco the day before Mao was in a bit of a mood when she woke up. When that happened she often ended up at the skate park, although today that wasn't the brightest of ideas given her road rash. It was pretty irritating, but Mao wasn’t a sore loser about Rocco besting her at basketball and she took the loss with grace. After the game she even offered her hand out for him to shake despite her reservations about him. It was just engraved in her muscle memory to show good sportsmanship due to her parents drilling it in over the years.

Just as she landed to take a break, Mao hissed a bit, sore as hell after pushing herself too far the day before in an attempt to at least put up a fight in her impromptu match against her teammate. So she wasn't thrilled when his buddy appeared before her. Mao was clad in a long sweater and baggy pants, both dark in color. She wore old tennis shoes as she was simply going to abuse whatever shoes she wore to skate in anyhow.

It's not like there was anyone in attendance that she felt the need to impress anyhow. She didn't plan to run into any of her fellow rich kids over the weekend... so what the hell was this one doing here? She noticed that he was carrying stuff, her head tilting curiously. Was he seriously spending his weekend on charity? Now you've got my attention, rich boy. Mao smirked to herself, looking him over. She could tell despite how much he tried to hide it. The high-quality fabric that his clothes were made of immediately gave him away to her trained eye. Despite their casual first impression, she was certain his outfit cost a hefty penny.

”Hey! We sort of met yesterday, well, you met my friend, Murray-san. I never really introduced myself. I am Watari, Kei. Nice to meet you. Do you come here a lot?”

Sitting her skateboard aside, Mao rubbed her shoulder very gently as she deliberated on his question. If she answered honestly, he might come around more... or he could tell his friend about it... but if she lied and they began bumping into each other regularly... ugh. Honesty is the best policy, right Dad? Mao thought to herself sarcastically before brushing her messy dark locks out of her eyes. Despite the chill, she'd worked up a light sweat, “Yeah, you could say that. I'm Nozomi, Mao. Nice to meet you, Watari-san. Officially, anyway." With that she began to walk toward the building across from the skate park. She doubted he would get the door open with everything he was carrying and he already recognized her. She was stuck with him for the time being, else she'd risk being rude and causing a scene in front of her skater friends, "I'll get the door for you." Mao mumbled softly, sighing afterward. It was her idea, but she wasn't the best when it came to openly expressing her kindness, she often came across as if everything she did for others was a huge pain in the ass and she couldn't be bothered.







Athleticism: +1 to Mao







4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Devone Kim Character Portrait: Rhys Browning Character Portrait: Bishop Trander Character Portrait: Fuyuki Hakuryu
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The explanation from Fuyuki was of no help, they lived two entirely different lifestyles. She was practically a princess and was treated as such, compared to her kouhai who was entirely just a commoner. Her explanation of maids dressing her was very strange to him and her show of hospitality was very kind but- also very strange and borderline inappropriate. When she relented, he sighed in relief keeping his knees to his chest to hide a certain inconvenience.

"Don't worry about that standing up." Bishop nearly jumped when he heard his senpai whisper in his ear and felt a pair of lips touch his cheek, opening his eyes to see that Fuyuki had stealthily closed the gap and leaned in to kiss him. Was this appropriate behavior for a senpai? Especially in her junior’s room!? “Eh?-ah!” The short flirtatious lick sent a jolt of electricity up his back and Bishop did in fact jump. "That's perfectly normal for a healthy boy." Her last comment was too much. Simply too much. The blonde flopped back as Fuyuki said good morning as if nothing had happened, placing a pillow over his head to try and hide. Teenage hormones having completely overtaken him, his young mind was spinning as wild as his blood pressure was. ”It’s not fair~!” He cried into his pillow, now alone in the room. What was he to do. He glanced to the side where his cupboard was, knowing what was inside and very thankful that his senpai hadn’t found it. No, it’d be too obvious and everyone would be waiting on him. That’d be even MORE embarrassing. He needed a cold shower.

Bishop stood up out of bed, feeling the cooler air from out under his sheets. He did sort of miss being close to Fuyuki, she was warm. With a grunt, he shook those ideas out of his head and grabbed the boxers he was brought and a change of clothes heading to the bathroom. He peaked outside of his room, suspecting that she (Fuyuki) might have been stalking outside of his door waiting for him, she was strange enough to do that sort of thing. He only heard the women talking downstairs and only feared the worst.

In truth, the women were all hoping for a longer ‘wake-up call’. They all very much liked Fuyuki and began to have pleasant conversation, asking more about her personal life and so on. They asked how he had been treating her at school, if Bishop was making any friends. His grandmother was pushy and asked Fuyuki to go upstairs and ‘make sure he’s alright’ to which his mother and aunt laughed, berated their mother and told their new favorite guest that she didn’t need to and it was best to leave the boy alone before he exploded. During all this Bishop took a quick very cold shower, coming out shivering and dried himself off. The tactic worked and he got dressed and came downstairs to the delight of everyone. <Oh man, they were talking about me weren’t they.> It was almost a dead giveaway seeing that his mother and aunt were giggling like school girls with Fuyuki. After he sat, breakfast was served. ”Ohayo~” He greeted and tried to play it all off. His mother and aunt had these tiny little smiles while they ate. ”So~! Fuyuki-chan, what are you and my son going to do this weekend? Spend lots of time together? Hmmmm~?” Her sister, Bishop’s aunt ate quietly but was listening intently. Bishop kept quiet and his head low, now that he thought about it he wasn’t sure if his senior had any plans this weekend. Lord knows he didn’t he was going to just try and swim at the school for a few hours. He still wasn’t over that Rhys kid being labeled captain, probably because he was cool or something.

Bishop would zone out thinking about that, this wasn’t the best week at school for him and he hadn’t really told his family about it. From his happenings with his former senpai (Arietta), the discovery of his long-lost friend Devone, who didn't seem at all happy to see him. Being snubbed with the swim team, not that he completely wanted to be captain necessarily. This overall feeling of being looked over and pushed aside to make room for everyone else. The status complex of Japanese school was proving to be difficult to adjust to. He'd glance to Fuyuki who was a shining example of that, she was in a place he'd never be.

When breakfast was nearly finished the phone began to ring and his mother excused herself to answer while his aunt gathered the dishes to wash up, leaving Bishop, Fuyuki and his grandmother who was idly reading the morning paper and sipping on some coffee.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________

#, as written by Stiles
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"If it isn't Miss Shorty pants."

Shorty pants? Is he referring to me? Shiori thought to herself, quirking a brow. Somewhat offended, Shiori delayed responding as she understood that his teasing words only stung because she knew them to be true. She was... very small in comparison to the majority of their classmates, but honestly, for a Japanese woman she was only just under average height. Both of her parents were Japanese and of shorter stature, "I am short for a girl by Airdalen standards, but if anything you're simply well above the national average while I am slightly below for a Japanese woman." She returned in a nonchalant tone, confident that she knew what she was talking about. Besides, she felt more in control taking her time and keeping her cool, she didn't have to stoop to his overly excitable level.

“Waiting for a date?"

That question made her entire form stiffen, As if!. The mere thought of being caught dead on a ‘date’ with her fellow senior... it earned a shiver. Her reputation with other classmates was bad enough, besides... his rule-breaking and womanizing ways were not something she would ever condone, let alone find attractive! This was business, she didn't have much choice in this matter, "Definitely not." She stated with a bit of venom, although her discomfort and apprehension was evident by her furrowed brows, telling a different story than Shiori wanted. It thwarted her attempt to appear calm and composed, but she wasn't aware of it.

Discerning that he did not seem to realize she was the one that called him to meet, Shiori stood, smoothing out her dress before speaking, “I was the one that called. I am your Kris Kringle." Leaving it at that a moment to let him process that it had not been a call from one of his paramours, Shiori tried to smooth out her ruffled feathers. She couldn't let him get under her skin too much.

"The reason I called is that I don’t know you well enough to buy you something that you’d enjoy on my own. Price is not an issue, so if there is anything you come across in the mall I will get it.” She spoke matter-of-factly. Her family was well known for their generosity and for holding charity events, she couldn’t afford to come across as stingy, even toward a classmate she would prefer to not take up her weekend, “We can do this quickly if you like, I doubt you want to spend your weekend like this or with me.” She added, but it was more because that was how she felt and less so a display of concern for the enjoyment of his weekend. As Shiori wasn’t accustomed to guys like Kazuki, her posture was quite reserved, her body language giving her anxiousness away. All of her was drawn in toward herself, making the already small girl appear even smaller, especially with her arms crossed over her chest.

With that said, Shiori began to leave the food court, only briefly glancing over her shoulder to see if Kazuki intended to cooperate, “Just let me know if you see anything you want.” She stated in a serious tone, doing her best to keep this about her responsibility and to leave no room for his antics. She was class president, hanging out with the school hellion on the weekend didn’t look right, nor did it feel right. They were from two entirely different worlds and while she promised herself she would be civil, or as civil as she could manage, she had no intention of getting to know him.

Even so, Shiori assumed if Kazuki didn’t have an opinion of her already, he would come to loathe her company soon enough as she was not the type of girl he was used to either. She had no intention of fawning over him, regardless of his good looks or 'bad boy' charm. She liked to believe she was above the artifice, immune. She always thought the girls that fell for guys like that were stupid. You can’t change someone no matter how hard you try... they have to want it... she thought to herself closing her eyes, her burnt hand still stinging, but she ignored it, simply flexing her fingers now and then as she explored the mall, hopefully with Kazuki still along for the ride. If not, she’d buy him something cliche and move on. She extended an olive branch, it was quite temporary as she intended to go back to avoiding him entirely, but abandoning that tactic for the moment seemed beneficial for both parties, at least if he wanted a gift he would actually like.

It was a shame that Shiori was so preoccupied with getting this entire ordeal over with, she didn't even notice the gorgeous Christmas decorations adorning the entire mall. Giant trees with what appeared to be highly expensive glass ornaments hanging from their branches, sparkling lights, and glittering garland. Mistletoe was strung up over several entryways, couples were everywhere, kissing, laughing, arms interlocked as they traversed the indoor winter wonderland the mall had become.

A girl on a mission, Shiori instead was focused on what to get her siblings, her parents, and... would it be inappropriate to get Rhys a present? He was her junior, that wouldn't be weird, right? Biting her bottom lip, Shiori noticed a stand in the center of the large open hall. Walking over to it she examined the phone cases, one catching her eyes. Looking through all the models it came in, Shiori snatched up the appropriate one before quickly paying.

After getting one gift out of the way, Shiori figured it was best to see if her unfortunate companion was still with her, "Well? Anything yet?" She asked, her recent purchase in a small cute gift bag in her hand as she inquired if Kazuki had seen anything he wanted her to buy him or if they needed to keep looking. She had no idea what his interests were outside of philandering with women. Does he even have other interests? Okay, maybe that was harsh, he has to have other interests... right? Now she couldn't help but wonder.

"Maybe it would go better if you tell me a bit about the things you like after all." Shiori added, doing her best to maintain an air of disinterest, but nonetheless she seemed to be going to great lengths to keep her physical distance from him as well as her emotional guards high. She had no intention of entertaining his mischief, doing everything in her power to avoid becoming one of his victims. Her only possible mistake was not keeping a better eye on the Christmas decorations. We don't fit in with this atmosphere. Neither of us is like these sickeningly in love people strolling by... We must look pretty odd to them. The thought hit her before she could dismiss it, suddenly feeling pretty insecure about what the people around them thought. She could practically see the wheels turning in the mind of the man running the stall, he was trying to figure out what their relationship was, "I-It isn't like that!" She assured the stallkeeper, shaking her head to firmly deny any connection to her classmate. She wanted this over, before anyone from school, anyone that mattered might see them together and get the wrong idea. Besides... she could still remember how angry he got with Devone, if he knew that she was the one that told Devone what Fuyuki did... she imagined things would get much worse between them.

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"I made a reservation for 6PM sharp."
"Cancel it."
"I don't cancel plans... not even for you. Get dressed."
"Cancel it."
"You're insistent on this."
"I am."

Hiro turned around from the full length mirror to direct his attention to his girlfriend who was refusing to cooperate with his dinner plans. This was problematic but he did not act much concerned as it was not a regular occurrence. Perhaps it was a mood swing of some sort or that time of month. Usually, she was very cooperative and supportive of his agenda. 'Behind every great man, there's a great woman.' his father would often say while doting on his mother. But Hiro had heard another version, an alternative that was more along the lines of, 'Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.'

"Since when do you give orders to me? Get dressed." He reminded her of their roles and returned to facing the mirror to fix his collar, although able to view her figure and blood-colored glare in the background. She did not desist as she picked up the most fragile object from his desk, a shot glass and threw it to the wall on his right. He noted it was the first time she had thrown such a fit in his presence. However, he didn't flinch or turn around, continuing with his routine for the night out and slipped on a classic suit jacket. "That was my father's." He stared matter-of-factly, adjusting his sleeves and checking that the length settled comfortably around his wrists. "I know." From her response if it were truthful, it must mean she really wanted a go at him or sought such attention but it would prove to be a waste of time. He had plans. "Whatever it is that you're feeling, put it aside." He left the mirror to cross the room, sweeping aside the glass shards temporarily closer to the wall using the side of his shoe. When he was satisfied, he took steps towards the object of his affection and analysed every inch of her emotionally flawed being. "You're being emotional. Whoever upset you, that's what they want. They want to see you suffer. They want to make you weak. Don't fight with me and get dressed." He gazed into her eyes that were consumed with all this unnecessary emotion. It was for her own good that she toss it aside at the least, for tonight.

"What's wrong with you? I'm upset and you don't ask why? You don't even question it?" She was shorter than him and physically inept but her tongue hissed like a serpent and her eyes, her blood red eyes that he so adored were burning bright and spreading like fire.
"Feel something."
"Feel something!"
She banged on his chest making more demands. Hiro already reminded her that it was not her place to issue orders. He warned her but still she disobeyed. He would not have it. 'Revelation 3:19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.' He instantly made a move, grabbed her and pinned her to the wall with his own body. It was loud as he used his strength only holding back some and their shoes mixed with the glass underneath. His eyes never left hers but they did change, the amber sharper as they aligned and challenged her red to a duel. "I feel pity for you. Look at you in such a sorry state. You want to cry a river but you can't afford the tears. So, you resort to anger and you take it out on me whom is the closest to you. You want to push me away. Now, why would you want to do that? You need me." His voice was lower and breath heavier as he leaned in close, their foreheads touching. Although touch between partners is generally used for expression of affection, their relationship operated unconventionally where touch was also a tool and threat no matter how sweet it looked on the surface."Pity... that's all you feel." She mumbled under her breath as confirmation that she heard correctly. "You're upset but it's not me you're upset at. It's not about us." She was venting and he had not done her wrong so he was confident in his words. "Go and get dressed."

"It is now. We're through."

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Hiro slammed down on the brake pedal and swerved the car. He had been driving above the speed limit lost in his memories when a mindless pedestrian decided to freeze on the spot right in front of his oncoming vehicle. He had managed to stop the car but missed the person barely as they were positioned by the side window of his driver seat, still frozen stiff. A line of cars behind him hit each other as a result. He looked in his rear view mirror and could identify that one of the drivers was already taking initiative to report the road traffic accident. Hiro had no interest in spending the rest of his day speaking with police over such a trivial matter. His car was not damaged and he had not hit the pedestrian but he had been driving over the speed limit. His amber eyes turned to eye the pedestrian who had brought such trouble. A stranger, female of average height or slightly above, dark violet hair and green eyes... shining emeralds. She must have been crying.

Hiro's hand was ready to honk the car horn at her but stopped himself. He could hear the footsteps of one of the drivers involved in the accident from behind approaching and it would not look good. Hiro stepped out of the car, his long white jacket flowing behind him as a gust of wind picked up and sent his hair in disarray. He stood right in front of the female pedestrian then broke the comfort zone by stepping even closer to analyze what he was dealing with, what he was working with... "Excuse me. Oh, there was a pedestrian." The driver in his late 40s commented aloud, looking from Hiro to the girl then back again. "Yes. Appears not injured but I'm taking her." Hiro replied assertively, bending down to lift the girl off her feet and into his arms in a bridal carry. The driver stuttered with obvious disapproval but Hiro made his way for the car and his tone of voice was unkind, impatient, perhaps even intimidating as he had no desire to stay and this man was delaying. "If you care for this girl to have medical attention as soon as possible, open the car door and let me take her. Do not waste time." The male driver sighed but gave in, opening the passenger side door for Hiro to place her. "Alright but I will note your car plate if anything happens." The driver then left to talk with the other drivers. Hiro's hand reached for her seat belt and buckled it, then slid all the way up the top to check the tightness was not suffocating. In the process, the back of his hand had lightly brushed inappropriately over her chest area but he didn't react or say anything.

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He closed the door and resumed his place in the driver seat, next to his new passenger. There was more room for her at the back but he could keep a better eye on her if she was closer and beside him should she cause any more trouble. Beep His car was connected to his phone to keep him updated while driving. Once he stepped on the gas and voiced confirmation, the notifications poured. He did not expect any personal messages and his passenger might as well have been comatose with how frozen she was when he discovered her. She wasn't a threat and he was also in no rush to make conversation. Silence was comfortable to him no matter who he was with so long as he was in control of the situation. "Proceed."


Nakajuma, Asahi
(1) Missed call
(1) Voicemail message


Airdalen Academy
Oshiro, Hiro.
Welcome to Airdalen Academy. Please be informed that as per your successful enrolment and nearing the festive Christmas season, we have assigned you a Kris Kringle/ Secret Santa assignment that is due this coming Monday. Students are encouraged to be creative and generous in selecting a gift for their assigned fellow student as is the tradition and spirit of Christmas. As we are well aware of the last minute arrangement, we have attached a general file of the student you have been assigned to ease the process for you. We look forward to your attendance.

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kei Watari Character Portrait: Mao Nozomi
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#, as written by Strix
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The girl from school seemed to be deliberating over how to respond. He couldn’t blame her, no one liked to be ambushed by a random classmate on the weekend. Having no idea that it had very little to do with him, he could only spiral. What the hell was I thinking? I’m an idiot. This. This is why I don’t do stuff like this. Kei reminded himself, wincing, finding his choice to be nothing short of cringeworthy. Approaching her because he chickened out from interacting with her alongside Rocco the day before... did he really believe things would change after one pep talk? That he could forget how easy it was to lose one of them? That he’d lost the most important girl in his life chasing another that now totally hated his guts? And for what? What did he have to show for his past efforts? Nothing. He’d lost both of them. How stupid could he be? It didn’t matter how moving Rocco’s speech was, his trauma was too deep for him to move past overnight, even if it did serve to give him a brief sense of courage. Only enough to find himself in his current predicament it seemed. His false courage had evaporated all at once leaving him to fend for himself. How he'd survive to get out of it, well, he was on his own to figure that bit out.

Unfortunately for Kei, the girl’s face did not give much away either, but he figured that the awkward silence spoke volumes. At least that is what his oldest friends paranoia and anxiety had assured him. He’d made her uncomfortable or she was soon going to be laughing at his expense. If that wasn't bad enough, the box in his arms had become a bit heavy after holding it in one position for too long. Things were already embarrassing as it stood so Kei had no intention of making his aching arms known to her. He couldn’t, he was in the presence of a girl he would see around school. He didn’t want to be known as a creep and a weakling.

There was a ton of canned food in the box, so it wasn’t especially light, in his defense, but he wasn’t looking to make excuses. He only hoped that she wouldn’t be able to tell that he was losing feeling in his right arm and the left wasn’t far behind. He had this at least at surface value, right? He shifted the box ever so slightly, doing his best to be discreet as he tried to redistribute the weight without making it known to his classmate. Unsure of how many ‘cool’ points he’d lost, Kei felt he couldn’t afford to lose anymore.

“Yeah, you could say that. I'm Nozomi, Mao. Nice to meet you, Watari-san. Officially, anyway."

Well, now I know her name, but... what do we do now? I didn’t think this through beyond introducing myself. Fuuuck. Kei nearly groaned aloud, but he managed to keep his distress to himself, clipping off the temptation just in time. However, he wasn't completely in the clear as his facial expressions, unlike that of his classmate, gave everything he felt away. Kei was quite often a completely open book. Wishing to kick himself repeatedly for going out on a limb without proper preparations, Kei began chewing on the inside of his cheek. What should I say now? Umm... Think dumbass, think! What exactly he was trying to prove to himself by approaching this girl he didn’t really know, but it felt like a disaster. He should have pretended that he didn’t notice her, could have moved on without all this awkwardness he now felt, but no, for some reason after the chat with Rocco the day before he had the bright idea to work on his issues with girls, but he wasn’t entirely sure what came next in his rehabilitation after ‘introduce yourself to the girl from school’. He suddenly wondered if he was becoming the king of half-baked ideas. Was there a crown for that title or was it simply honorary? There should at least be a few perks to the title if he had to look like an idiot, some sort of compensation for his humiliation.

ImageFortunately for Kei, his panic was cut short, the girl began walking the way he planned to go. Following behind her with silent dread, Kei readied himself for some sort of ridicule. Surprisingly, it never came. In fact, she held the door so he could pass through without fumbling to do it himself, saving him from making himself look like an even bigger idiot. An appreciative smile crossed his lips, steel blue eyes locking on her for a moment before actually passing through the doorway, “Thanks, Nozomi-san.” Kei shot her an appreciative smile, albeit a small one. He couldn't get past his nerves, his paranoia, it felt like he was walking through a minefield. The worst part was, he could remember clearly how it felt to never worry about this sort of thing. He resented himself for letting himself feel this way, but he resented himself for a lot of things since her death. It seemed his primary emotion was regret, and it was utterly exhausting. It was no wonder that Kei was tired all of the time.

His relief was almost palpable, but he was left wondering if she was doing that to rush him along, a subtle means of escaping him sooner, or if she was genuinely helping him because he didn’t fuck the introduction up as bad as he’d thought. A pessimist at heart, Kei found it difficult to cling to hope with the latter. Heading inside and finally placing the box on the appropriate table, Kei was hesitant to look over his shoulder. If she was already gone, he had his answer. However, if she was still there, that was equally terrifying. That meant he had to think on his feet and say something else to her. Why didn’t he just stay in bed today? Ugh.

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The party was lively despite the days gradually growing colder, there were enough bonfires to keep everyone warm, and if not, the expensive booze certainly fooled everyone into thinking they were. No stranger to alcohol despite being underage she wasted no time in downing a few jello shots while saying hello to a few familiar faces. Despite moving straight into networking upon her arrival, Tsukiko kept her arm firmly hooked around the arm of her companion, Chase. It was true that the pink-haired idol was a lot of things, but one thing that she was not was shallow enough to forget her dear friend in the crowd.

Anyone else would likely have been a passing thought as soon as her peers from the music industry caught her eye. In her line of work, it was extremely important to network, even at functions such as the beach party. It came naturally to Tsukiko to work a room, but Chase was a valued friend, and he was high profile in his own right. Knowing that, Chase was still one of the few people in this world that she had no interest in using as a pawn to get a leg up in regards to her career. The thought may have crossed her mind when they first met, as she was a very fresh face to the celebrity scene, but as she got to know him all thoughts of using him to her advantage had vanished. He truly helped her through a really dark time, whether he was aware of just how much he changed her bleak worldview or not. She knew she was good at faking a smile, she'd spent a long time perfecting that art after all, but he also had an uncanny ability to see through such things. Not only that, he proved in the car that he could say extremely touching things effortlessly. Tsukiko wasn't sure where exactly they broke even in ability, but it kept her on her toes.

Just as she thought the two of them could tear away from her fellow pop idols for a peaceful moment to themselves, a Japanese pop idol grabbed her arm, a senior in the business, therefore her... senpai? I think that is correct... The older girl invited them to join a game that all of the older idols were playing. Tsukiko wasn’t interested but knew it was incredibly rude to decline an invitation from one's senior. The media always caught wind of such things, so with a sigh, Tsukiko smiled weakly to Chase, “Up to a game?” She slowly joined the circle, still loosely holding his hand as the Japanese idols made room for them. Had Tsukiko known what the game would be, she might have been less inclined to keep Chase by her side.

“The game is Suck and Blow, so I hardly believe I have to explain the rules,” the Japanese girl that invited them announced in English, then continued in Japanese, “Be careful not to drop the playing card as you pass it.” She winked to the group, demonstrating how it is done with a girl beside of her. Tsukiko’s eyes widened a bit, realizing that if she or Chase dropped the card it was very likely they would kiss. Accident or not, that thought brought her quite a bit of anxiety. They’d never kissed before. On the cheek? Plenty of times, Tsukiko and Chase were both highly affectionate people, especially when partying. Still, regardless of how wild their adventures got, they never crossed the boundary, not once! Their relationship had always been innocent.

Was this karma finally catching up with her? What were the odds that the game would involve potentially kissing the person beside of you after her confusion earlier that day? Tsukiko assured herself once again that she only saw Chase as a friend, that wires had simply crossed and it would pass, but knowing how close their faces would be, watching as people passed the card, she felt as nervous as she was the day she lost her virginity to Mikoto. Taking a sharp breath in as the card grew ever closer, Tsukiko felt as though every ounce of experience, every drop of her confidence had been expelled from her body. ...Why? What the hell was wrong with her? She couldn’t tell if she was feverish, after drinking it was futile to even try to guess. Still, she wasn’t the type to back down, she’d do this, she had to. Her reputation was on the line. Too many of her peers were playing. She was the youngest idol there. She couldn’t lose face and she refused to insult Chase in front of them. He was great, but gossip would not care for fact, the truth was irrelevant to these people. Truth... what exactly is the truth...? Tsukiko asked herself, unsure of her situation. Was she seriously starting to crush on Chase? As in... Chase, her best friend? Did this feel different because unlike the vast majority of the guys that she consorted with, Chase was genuinely a nice guy? Finally, it was their turn, Tsukiko accepting the card without issue from the guy before her, sucking it tightly to her lips as she turned her head to transfer it to Chase.

As honey eyes met gorgeous oceanic eyes, the normally confident girl felt her heart pounding at her ribcage, threatening to burst right through. Leaning in she tried to focus on the card, everyone in the circle fading away...

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Waking up with a start, Tsukiko could feel the cold sweat on her skin. The events from the night before having replayed in her dream. As her head was pounding like it was being continuously struck by a hammer, the idol quietly slipped out of her bed that Chase still occupied, rubbing her temples. What happened next? She couldn't even remember how they got home... Taking a drink from the glass on her nightstand she took the Tylenol beside it, smiling to herself. There was a second set prepared, and if she had to guess, Miyuki prepared them for the two Airdalen students. Putting her knuckles to her lips, Tsukiko was touched, nearly giggling at her uptight manager's display of kindness. She knew that he did not approve of the mischief that she got into, or that she let Chase spend the night, especially in her bed, but the fact that he extended his kindness to him regardless of his personal feelings warmed her heart. Just a big softie, eh Miyuki-sama?

ImageAs Chase was still asleep, Tsukiko slipped away to take a shower. Discarding her new swimsuit and tossing into the hamper, the hot water felt so amazing on her skin that Tsukiko softly hummed. Once she had run out of hot water, Tsukiko slipped out and into her clothes, putting on a long, satin nightgown. She located Chase's school shirt on her way out of her personal bathroom, smiling to herself before slipping it on over her gown. She could smell coffee brewing, aware that he was not particularly fond of the stuff... but she couldn't thrive without it. Tiptoeing out of her room she sought out the intoxicating smell until she almost bumped straight into Miyuki, "A-Ah, sorry Miyuki-sama." Tsukiko laughed, startled but glad that they managed to not spill from the tray in his hands. One tall glass of orange juice and a mug of coffee, "I love you." the idol blurted out to her manager. He was obviously taken aback, but the idol simply took her coffee from the tray before taking a long desperate drink, humming again as caffeine fired up her senses. She was unaware of how much she flustered her manager, placing her coffee back on the tray. Taking it off of his hands, she took it to her room, placing it on the nightstand before crawling back in the bed with Chase.

Unintentionally, she took a moment to just take in his peaceful, sleeping form. With the light trickling in from the curtains, he looked practically angelic. Color surfacing to her cheeks, Tsukiko shook her head banishing those unwelcome thoughts, the mischevious girl finally leaning in, but blew on his left ear rather than waking him by shaking him awake, where was the fun in that?

"Wake up~" she practically sang. Her hair was in a high, messy ponytail and his shirt unbuttoned over her nightgown, but she wasn't concerned about the state of her attire. Chase had always been one of the few people that had seen Tsukiko without a full face of makeup and wearing designer clothes. She didn't feel like she had to doll up in front of him, she always felt safe when he was around... and that was absolutely terrifying.








Popularity: +1 to Chase








2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sora Harigae Character Portrait: Haruhi Morinozuka
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#, as written by Tinkers
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⌠ Don't go to war for me
I'm not the one that you want me to be
Don't call me up at 2 A.M. tonight
Can you stomach the doubt?⌡


【We Won't - Jaymes Young & Phoebe Ryan】

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“Kissing is as far as we are allowed to go with a client while offering our services. You could be banned from ever using the service again and I would be fired if we were to do more than that.”

Sora nodded along to his hired girlfriend's stated rules. He expected such restrictions because the nature of the service was not of the adult industry. It was a service more appropriate for companionship at social events such as this one or for the general lonesome. Well, it suited his current needs anyhow so he had no qualms about it. "I understand." His bangs fell over one of his eyes briefly as he gazed at her in a serious manner, as if genuine eye contact could serve as the signature to the spoken contract between them that he would not break the terms. Sora was resolute in his responsibilities so he knew this agreement was a certainty but the two barely knew each other and he wasn't the best at communicating or first impressions. He was trying, at best. He wasn't all too worried about the banning or eager for the services to continue in the near future. He had the simple intent to follow the rules just because they were the rules. Haruhi possibly losing her job in the aftermath was also duly noted.

“Also, knowingly revealing the nature of this transaction to either of our social circles is frowned upon... so unless someone else from school is in attendance, we are both expected to present this as an actual date when questioned. The details of how it went are up to you, however and I will go with whatever you choose to present outside of the truth of my...profession.”

It did occur to him as unusual that a fellow student of a high school as renowned as Airdalen would employ themselves in such a business but flipped the other way, it might also be considered unusual that someone of his standing, especially as a senior president, was entertaining such services provided by one of his fellow peers. Either way, decisions were made on both sides that lead them here and it was likely they would cross paths again whether in classes, clubs or in the halls of the school. He closed his eyes as a sigh escaped his lips. It was all a bit complicated socially but that wasn't what concerned him most. "You've presented me with a problem." he confessed his ill-feeling instead of brushing it aside. "I don't like to lie." Haruhi said it was frowned upon to be honest and while Sora did not care much for his reputation in comparison to the truth, it didn't go in one ear and out the other. He was new to this girlfriend for hire process and like anyone trying anything for the first time, accepting that he did not know everything there was to know. Perhaps there was a good reason it was frowned upon he would come to realize in time. "I'll think of something as per our agreement when the need arises but..." He noticed a smidge of makeup out of place and slowly extended his hand to reach for his date's face, gently brushing his thumb over the corner of her rosy lips to even it out. His touch in that moment was pure and delicate as he focused his attention, cyan eyes tracing the curved lines of her mouth. He leaned toward her closer to inspect the spot and only pulled away assured that all was fine. "Nevermind. I've lost my trail of thought." he mumbled.

“Shall we?” Sora looked at his date then himself, combing his hair back with his fingers. He still had an uneasy feeling sitting in the pit of his stomach and in the back of his mind about lying that made him hesitate. He was usually much more confident but this exception was breaking one of his principles. “Oh, one last thing... should I address you as Sora-kun or Harigae-kun this afternoon?” She whispered into his ear, her breath tickling. "Neither. I prefer an endearing nickname reserved for romantic partners." He smiled but it was gone just as fast that it was hard to catch. It had been a long time since someone had called him by a personal nickname so he was looking forward to it. "Actually, that reminds me. There are some terms of my own." He pulled out a piece of folded paper that was tucked inside his inner suit pocket and handed it to Haruhi carefully. The contents were written in his hand in fancy cursive as a list under the title, 'As my girlfriend' that totaled 54 during the uneventful drive over to the restaurant. Some examples:

13. Don't associate with the number 13. It is unlucky. Don't bring me bad luck. This is rule 13 because skipping this number entirely would make this list incorrect and at least all the 13s are grouped together for memory purposes.

27. If there are prawns, peel them for me. I don't know how to.

And the very last rule 54. If I do anything that makes you uncomfortable, the safe words are, "I love you." I know you don't so I will remember this easily.


“Looking forward to the gift exchange at school?”

Sora pondered over the school activity as their point of conversation now that the temporary boyfriend/girlfriend arrangement details were out of the way. "I don't know." he answered honestly. He had received gifts before but none were thoughtful or to his tastes. He always received gifts that were empty of meaning and in return, he didn't comprehend what was so great about the very act of gift-giving. "What is there to look forward to?" he asked, not sarcastically but earnestly. He remembered that his Kris Kringle was Akira, the junior president. Even though Sora failed to understand the purpose of the tradition of Christmas, he was going to participate in seeing it as a school-related activity and thus a responsibility to have. He had to be an example to the other students by not slacking off. Their conversation was interrupted as they walked further inside and were greeted by a waiter who asked Sora if any reservations had been made. Sora turned to the slightly taller gentleman and nodded, providing the name of his uncle Harigae, Kenta.. Another waiter approached to guide them inside with a bit of a tour, pointing out the aquariums filled with a variety of crab and fishes ready to be freshly cooked and impressive live demonstrations of the chefs with their fast-paced yet professional handling. Sora did look around a bit but was seemingly disinterested because the restaurant wasn't new to him. He looked more at his date, Haruhi and her reactions to everything as the bigger mystery to be solved. The waiter stopped at one of the private rooms, opened the door and gestured for them to enter through. However, it was not what Sora was expecting. Inside was just one man and it was not his uncle or any of his associates.

Image"Hmm you've grown so much." The man said, gently nibbling on his thumb in thought. He sat relaxed and undisturbed, as if he expected their arrival or maybe even counted on it. He dressed plainly yet the space around him complemented him. It did not look like he didn't belong. On the other hand, Sora was the opposite. Sora was well dressed and more proper and there was a frantic beating in his chest despite the deadpan expression. He felt sick but he couldn't verbalize it and couldn't express it. This person out of the blue, shocked Sora too much that his senses were overloaded. "Sorry to bother you. We're clearly in the wrong place." He took an initiative and bowed courteously, ready to turn away and leave. It would have solved the dilemma but the older man in the room did not allow it.

"Are you a female friend of his or something more? Tell me, can you guess who I am? Do we have a resemblance?"
The man drew attention to his date and put Haruhi in the spotlight. Sora wasn't going to abandon her. He invited her and this was his ordeal and in a sense, made him responsible over her and the circumstances. He returned to Haruhi's side and was trapped in this distasteful situation as the waiter closed the door shut behind him. Sora's cyan eyes began to glisten confronted by this figure of his past. He was already terrible with emotions but this emotion he was holding in that moment in particular, he could not place what it was. The closest description he could think of was, fight or flight. "What do you think? The man continued poking Haruhi to talk with a playful tone. his wispy locks of hair falling over his slouched shoulders. "Why don't you both sit down while we play this guessing game hm?"


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2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuuki Fujioka Character Portrait: Rocco Murray
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It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Rocco was interested in everything else but studying. However, he wasn't accepted into the prestigious Airdalen Academy out of sheer dumb luck. He studied diligently once upon a time to get to where he was at and if his carefree life was to continue, he would have to continue to earn it. He mucked around with Kaito, Tsukiko and Kei back in English class but on his own without social distractions of any kind, he was actually able to focus on schoolwork and get things done. It was a shame that his diligence was a lot like a secret as it contradicted his rising school reputation as many things; a flirt and pyromaniac among them. His attention only left the paper in front of him when his phone buzzed. Dropping his pen to attend to his phone, he hoped it was not another false alarm.
From: x (xxx) xxx-xxxx
If you're still going, I'll be at the station in roughly fifteen minutes. Let me know if you're in or out. - Yuuki


Rocco leaned back in his chair with a weight off his shoulders as the awaited text message was finally received. He had been up, studying and waiting for about 2 hours he noted as he glanced at the time in the corner of the screen. He was slightly frustrated about it but he didn't want to make it obvious he waited or that it bothered him. She didn't really need him to go with her and he didn't want to lose the invite so he sucked up his pride.

From: Headache
To: Prez
I'm in. See you there.

He set her contact to 'Prez' not knowing he had been set on hers as 'Headache.' The text he sent was straight to the point compared to his usual playful self, equally matching her serious tone. He hadn't forgotten the last time they saw each other at school and he doubted she had either. They didn't part ways on the best of terms but in his opinion, it also wasn't the worst. He'd have to go and meet up with her to see the damage for himself.
He was already packed, dressed and ready to head out. 15 minutes was more than enough time but he had nothing better to do staying home than work on the English assignment some more. He grabbed the books off his desk and shoved them into his backpack just in case he did manage to round up some spare time to work on it during his stay with Yuuki's family. After a quick look about the room that he didn't forget anything, he locked the door behind him and headed out. The neighbors barely recognized Rocco and some even began to gossip that morning, that he was his own twin.

Rocco still had a few minutes left by the time he arrived at the station. He didn't have any elaborate plan of how to talk to Yuuki again like everything was normal between them but when he spotted her, leaning against a pillar with her hand on her heart and in a girly pink dress... It didn't feel good enough to be with her empty handed. "I dropped everything to get into a good school. My friends. My hobbies. Everything." He ran a hand through his hair beginning to get frustrated at himself. As if giving her advice and offering to go with her isn't enough. He couldn't shake the feeling so after checking that the train schedule was fine, he ran off to the nearest book store.

Rocco returned and didn't waste another second to appear in front of Yuuki. He was a little out of breath with his backpack hanging over one shoulder but more noticeably, sporting a studious and gentle appearance; white cardigan, striped loose fitted shirt and light grey trousers. The glasses were optional, having the frame of standard eyeglasses but the lenses replaced. He had no occasion to wear them and decided today to be one; to surprise her and impress the parents mostly.
"Ohayou, Prez." He greeted, his voice more recognizable than anything else. Standing in front of the junior class president, offered him a better view of her own unexpected fashion. Never in his wildest dreams could he have imagined that the prez would wear something that girly willingly. Sensing she was nervous about her attire, Rocco circled her like a shark. "Hmm..." He'd murmur over and over until they were face to face again. "You're really cute." He leaned down to compliment her, his brown eyes glistening with the usual mischief. "And I'm glad you kept the glasses." He added with a wink, remembering he mentioned in gym class that he prefers her with glasses over contacts. "The train will be leaving soon. I'll get that for you." He picked up the duffle bag beside her on the ground without waiting for her approval or disapproval. It wasn't as heavy as he expected, leading him to think she didn't pack all that much. "Oh and here." He casually handed her the book he bought last minute from the bookstore before walking ahead. He didn't want to make a big deal out of it and he was semi embarrassed at all the trouble he went through this morning. It was harder than he thought it would be to pick a book for Yuuki. He didn't want to accidentally gift one she had already read before but he also didn't know what genres she would like to read. So, he picked the book that was made into the movie they were potentially going to see.

Intellect +1
Popularity +1 Yuuki

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Misaki Serinuma Character Portrait: Hiro Oshiro
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#, as written by Stiles
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Misaki never quite understood why car accidents that were filmed for tv shows and movies were often presented in slow motion. The cars were often going impossibly fast and as someone that had never seen a real accident for herself until now, it didn't make sense. Never in her life would she have believed that the way they depicted it was so painfully accurate if she had not witnessed it for herself...by running into traffic. I-I did something really stupid didn't I...? While it felt like time had all but come to a complete stop, Misaki was still too terrified to realize the full extent of what she'd caused.

Subconsciously she knew enough, knew that she'd caused an accident, but it wasn't fully registering that in a slightly different scenario, many different scenarios, she wouldn't be walking away from this at all. It didn't quite hit her that she could have easily died over something that in hindsight was so insignificant. Confronted with her own mortality, she was in complete shock, unable to form coherent thoughts, let alone words as her brain went into overdrive as it tried to process what happened through the adrenaline and her emotional state.

While logically she was aware that anyone could die, as her baby sister had died so young in infancy, she never imagined that anything dangerous would happen to her. Recklessness like this was not like her, it was dumb, she should have gotten a better hold on her emotions, she knew that but in the moment it had felt like all the air was being stolen from her lungs and escape was her only chance to inhale again.

As she wasn't dead yet, did not feel an impact, Misaki took a shaky, dee[ breath, the best attempt she could muster to reign herself back in. She was surely in a lot of trouble, the police would be called. Would she have a record after this...? More importantly, was anyone hur- Oh dear god... what if someone in the cars got hurt, or...what if... what if they...-d-died? She'd never forgive herself if her stupid outburst of emotion had gotten someone killed. Life was too short, too precious.

It wasn't until she was approached by one of the drivers that Misaki somewhat snapped out of her thoughts. Words. She needed to use them, but none were coming out. Her head lifted to at least make eye contact, but with tears still clinging to her lashes and pooling in her eyes, her emerald orbs couldn't make him out very well. G-Get it together, Misaki! She scolded herself, fully aware that she had put his life at risk. Sure, she was bad with guys and this was hard enough on a good day, but she had to apologize. Still, no words came out immediately. She'd scared the shit out of herself, and it was going to take more than willpower, she was choking on anything that she tried to say to him. She was a wreck all on her own today, her issues with guys be damned.

Her first reaction was to take a step back when the very white stranger approached. No! That was not a race thing, he was just...literally in all white, like a monochrome photo, save his pants. She wondered how he managed to keep all that white clean, impressed honestly, she was not mindful enough to wear white. No! That's isn't the point. Back up! Just as she managed to put one foot a step behind her, an older man approached as well. Well, if her day wasn't distressing enough already, it seemed it was only going to get worse. A lot of people were rightfully angry, worried, or a blend of the two. She didn't want to go home, but she didn't want to be there any longer either. She didn't want to explain herself to absolute strangers, to the cops, to her parents.

Taking me? Did he say he is taking me?! Misaki immediately panicked. No, no, no! Leave me here! I change my mind, I'll talk to the police! She wanted to scream, but before she could gather herself enough to will her voice to breathe life to her thoughts he'd already swept her off of her feet. With a loud gasp, she instinctively steadied herself by holding on to him. She wasn't sure what was scarier, the prospect of being dropped or staying in his arms. Her soul was SCREAMING, nearly escaping her body. Her brain was frying, so many scary things were happening all at once that she was beginning to wonder if this was all just a very odd nightmare. The Fujoshi couldn't recall a single time she'd been carried in such a manner. In her younger years, she was too invisible, too pudgy, no one wanted to. She doubted they could have, and if they did, it would have had a more comical tone than anything. It would not have had the same effect.

Medical attention? Why did she need that? None of the cars had hit her!! Though when both men assured she made it into the younger one's car, Misaki thought immediately that she might die. Why was the older man letting her get in the car with this terrifying person!? Who let something like that happen to a young girl?! Taking his license plate would be useless if he was a serial killer, she'd be long gone by then! Why was this happening to her!? No one saw her until she lost weight. Ever. Misaki Serinuma was a total wallflower, as far as she could tell, no one from school remembered her despite her attending Airdalen for several years. She wasn't bullied, which she was eternally grateful for, but she just didn't exist...which was arguably just as bad and lonely. After so many years of being invisible, being seen was a new kind of hell, she didn't have the social skills or immunity that others had built. Her facial features always gave her away so easily that it was practically painful. Her entire existence had become about shyness, embarrassment, and trying to not stand out.

It wasn't until she felt the young ivory haired guy's hand graze her chest that Misaki jolted. Leaning back in the seat, her emerald eyes once again locked on him in her surprise, her cheeks turning red. He was getting by with a lot more with her than most, "I-I- You didn't have to- I-I'm sorry..." Misaki stammered, unsure of what tangent of thought she was going to stick with.

This... this was uncomfortable. Not the car, she was perfectly comfortable in the passenger seat, but... she was in a vehicle with a perfect stranger, it did little to ease her nerves. They were moving, her head turning slowly, looking out the window. Still shaking, Misaki couldn't quite figure out why he'd brought her along, but her tears were easing up as they left the wreckage she'd caused behind them. When he accepted the message, Misaki wiped her eyes. It had nothing to do with her, so she kept her eyes on the happenings outside, however, she couldn't help overhearing the name of her school, and as a result, his name.

ImageQuickly wiping her eyes on the pink sleeve of her jacket, the violet haired girl forced herself to focus on the moment. So...he's a student at Airdalen like I am... but he's new... so that information doesn't actually help me... He wasn't saying anything either... it didn't really bother her all that much, well, except for the fact that she owed him a proper apology. A lot of people could have been hurt, or worse... including the two of them, "I... I just want to apologize for dragging you into my problem." Misaki began, taking things slowly because she was still quite overwhelmed. The last thing she wanted was for her voice to break mid-apology. Taking in a quiet breath, she slowly continued what she finally decided on, I don't intend to make any excuses for it... so, uhm, I'm sorry. She chose not to address him by the name she'd overheard, it would totally give away that she'd listened to the email, and she had made a horrible first impression thus far. If there was going to be a risk of bumping into one another she wanted to backpedal to a more neutral zone, "I don't need a hospital...and my house was back there... I can just call an ube-" Misaki stiffened a little, staring down at her lap as she slipped her hand into her pocket only to realize she had forgotten her wallet...and her phone.

Worst. Day. Ever.

Shaking her head rather quickly, like a dog shaking off water, Misaki dismissed her thoughts, refusing to sink into a humiliation spiral, "N-No matter, I can call from a gas station... I've already imposed far too much." Misaki wasn't sure where he was going, but she was trying to escape this situation as politely as possible. Alone with a guy...it was impossible! She couldn't do it! She couldn't even pull her gaze up to look at him, this wasn't going to work!
Knowing she had held onto him, that he'd picked her up a few moments ago, she couldn't relax, not even a little bit.

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Character Portrait: Misaki Serinuma Character Portrait: Hiro Oshiro
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"I... I just want to apologize for dragging you into my problem."

Hiro didn’t respond even as his silent passenger began to speak, stuttering with her words to try to resolve the situation or at the very least, ease the tension that was possibly building within the vehicle and space between them. The violet-haired girl had already apologized before when he was buckling up her seat belt but it seemed she felt the need to apologize again with more thoughtfulness but with the same amount of stammering. He was driving beyond the speed limit at the time but she didn’t seem to know that and he wasn't going to enlighten her. If she believed it was her fault, he would let her believe that. The truth held no benefit.
She was out of sorts, shaking as much as the words but it was a natural reaction considering the circumstances. Hiro didn’t even know this girl’s name and he had bridal-carried her into his car without consent. He was well aware of what he had done was a little bizarre but that little bizarre option was preferable to the others. If he was going to have his time wasted inevitably, he would waste that time on his own terms.

"I don't need a hospital...and my house was back there... I can just call an ube-"

Hiro’s gaze turned to the side briefly as the girl reached for her pocket. It occurred to him that as timid and apologetic as she seemed, there was always a chance she'd reach out to someone about his questionable actions. She was struggling to speak, aloof, and shaken that made it look highly unlikely that she would attempt to physically overpower him especially after her frozen statue display but that didn’t mean she was incapable of surprising him overall as a stranger.
That concern faded rather quickly as the girl’s hand came up empty and he returned his focus to the road ahead. It was laughable really how bad her luck was to almost get run over by him and find herself empty handed with him. He was giving her room for doubt but at this rate, she was at his mercy if he willed it. Amused as he was, he didn’t show it. The girl was panicky enough already.

"N-No matter, I can call from a gas station... I've already imposed far too much."

It was clear to him that she wanted to escape, another normal response to being taken in by a stranger of the opposite sex. However, he had no intention of giving her what she wanted. There were multiple reasons why but Hiro hadn’t fully realized that list as of yet. It wasn’t like he orchestrated that car accident. Life had thrown him a curveball and he was dealing with it. So long as he remained in control, he could deal with anything.

“Take deep breaths and try to relax.”

He opted for a typical approach as an opener with a soothing gentle voice. People often found comfort in familiarity and predictability. There was nothing he could do to transition from stranger to familiar in such a short span of time but he could work with being predictable after such a series of unpredictable events. It was the best course of action in the meantime to calm the poor girl's nerves and make his plans sound more agreeable. He was going to have this situation dealt his way and hopefully for her sake, in a cooperative fashion.

“What happened back there was... a close call but as far as I could tell, no one was injured, my car wasn’t damaged and my car didn’t hit you but I saw the way you froze up in the middle of the road. Whether it was by mistake or on purpose, I’m escorting you to get psychologically evaluated and I won’t let you go until it is conclusive.”

Gentlemanly but assertive with a touch of impulsiveness. That’s the impression he was aiming for.

“I’m Oshiro, Hiro. You don’t have to tell me your name if you don’t want to. I understand this is a strange way of introductions and perhaps, you may wish to forget this ever happened afterward.”

Stopping at a red light, his arm reached over in front of her to open the glove box. He pulled out a handkerchief that he kept there for occasions when his suit jacket pocket was looking boring and bare, not the type of guy to wear a flower. It was an old fashioned white handkerchief, the kind you’d expect to be passed down from generation to generation with its fancy embroidery and initials in the corner. Hiro offered it to her, seeing as she had been crying and it would be a softer alternative to her sleeve. If she didn’t take it, he would leave it on her lap. His hand returned to the steering wheel, waiting for the traffic light to change.

“Once you’ve been evaluated, you may do as you please. If there’s any trauma caused as a result, I’ll see to it you are made comfortable and compensated as much as possible with or without my direct involvement. I understand that trauma victims may prefer not to have any contact with sore reminders.”

Understanding and only meaning to be helpful was the next impression.

“Now, I am imposing but I feel as responsible about what happened as you do and I’d prefer to deal with the matter as I see fit than leaving it in the hands of the authorities who have no personal obligations in what happens next.”

It wasn’t entirely true. He didn’t feel responsible for what happened but empathizing was important. It was true that he wanted to do things his way and not leave it to the authorities but the actual reason was much simpler - because it was his way and not someone else’s. However, there was no way the girl could know any better. Distrust in authorities was a common enough reason, they were strangers and his lies flowed as smooth as silk with feigned passion in following a moral compass that he didn’t possess.

“I rambled, didn’t I? My apologies. Well, I hope you feel a little more at ease. Feel free to ask me any questions or we may travel in silence.”

Cool, calm, and collected exterior but nervous on the inside was the last impression.

Hiro had spoken a lot, more than he would have liked. He didn’t like to run his mouth but it felt necessary. Talking allowed connection and talking a lot would make it look like he had dropped his guard. It was a nervous practice for some. It wasn’t one of his. He vocalized some of his plans, although not the entirety. He had introduced himself, but also not the entirety. He didn’t like to give everything away just like that. It would spoil the fun.

Greenlight and he continued driving for a few more minutes. His speed was safely under the speed limit the whole journey to their destination as if he had learned from the morning’s incident. Hiro spent the majority of the time appearing concentrated on driving alone although if his mind could be read, it would appear otherwise. He was rattled. Once upon a time, he had lectured his ex-girlfriend about her unbridled emotions but today, his emotions had grabbed a hold of him. If he hadn’t been affected, he wouldn’t have been speeding, almost hit someone, and be here. Being here wasn’t a problem but what led up to it, was. It would imply he still carried a torch for Devone and going to see her about what was stolen, an excuse. Hiro did not want that to be true. More than anything, he didn’t want that to be true. He couldn’t afford such a weakness and he was certain the red-eyed devil would devour him if she found it.

“We’re here.”

Hiro said softly as the car turned left and parked right outside a hotel called, 'The Royal Lion'. He stepped out and tossed his keys to the valet standing by like a habit. The valet caught them and moved to open the door for his passenger but Hiro stopped him, opening the door for her instead. Alerted of his arrival, it wasn't long before the car, and they both were surrounded by at least 20 of his well-dressed subordinates. There was nowhere for his guest to run. The moment he carried her to the car and drove to his place, he had ensured it.

"I already had plans before meeting you and I would like to see my schedule through without further disruption. Shall we?”

He asked her before leading the way. Her acceptance or refusal was irrelevant now that they had arrived at the place he controlled the most. His subordinates stayed close covering all sides the whole way. He owned the penthouse and as he had too many subordinates for the elevator, only 3 remained and the rest took the stairs.

ImageIn the middle, Hiro stood with her, analyzing her emerald green eyes. He wondered if she was intimidated, scared maybe. It must have been an emotional rollercoaster to go from a car accident to this but for him, this was just another day. He boldly moved to stand closer to her in that small space, his height more apparent.

"I will arrange for your psychological evaluation in one of the meeting rooms then meet with you after to see how it went. Answer truthfully."

The softness in his original voice from the start had vanished, replaced with apathy as he relayed her instructions. Hiro was no longer required to keep up with a charade or exert more energy. He was in charge here and comfortable. She was but a mouse caught in his cage for as long as she kept him entertained. He took off his coat and placed it over her shoulders, leaning down to whisper in her ear.

"Do it for me."

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuuki Fujioka Character Portrait: Rocco Murray
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The text that she received... at least let her know that her intended companion was coming along as agreed, but Yuuki could not particularly say it set her mind at ease. Their situation was... complicated. He’d weaseled his way into her life despite all her intentions to keep her distance from anyone deemed “unnecessary” to graduate. The school assigned her to her senior, so it made sense that she cooperated. It was academic and he seemed to take things seriously, he even corrected her before when she let her emotions slip and begin to dictate things rather than her logic. He was valuable, knew French, and was very professional in their interactions... but Rocco? At face value, he was definitely a distraction from her studies. Digging a little deeper, he had gotten her out of a few tough spots, namely during Archery practice when one of the girls nearly struck her. He’d convinced her to visit her family... to do something normal... but it didn’t feel like she deserved to act normal when her father was getting so, so much worse.

Regardless of her father's insistence that she live her life to the fullest... Yuuki felt an obligation to save him and she couldn’t do that by going to the movies and making friends. It was a waste of her time when there was so little left of his if he didn't get better, she couldn't lose him. So...why did it brighten her spirits, even a little bit, when Rocco made these plans...? Moments before the plans were made he was determined to intimidate her, had done... some undeniably questionable things to her at the time and since... then there was the interaction between her senior and this said classmate.

Did he have a problem with everyone? First Sora then Aeon, it seemed he had some sort of altercation whether physical or verbal with everyone else she had come in considerable contact with thus far. Her hand against her chest began to tremble so she once again tightened it. The mess she had found herself in... she wasn’t sure how to deal with it. She wasn’t accustomed to interpersonal relationships, especially ones as unusual as she found herself in. Yuuki always avoided involving herself with others since her father’s illness turned her life upside down, but it seemed Airdalen refused to let her get by as she always had, refused to go easy on her. It was just so much easier to not get attached to others, to get distracted. She would only disappoint them, and in turn, get hurt by them. Friendships, hell, relationships in general... they only broke your heart in the end. Everything is finite, uncertain. It can slip through your fingers without a moment's notice, when everything seems fine, great even. Life... it is cruel, and this was her sense of control. Controlling who could be close. Her friends from her hometown, from before the illness... they hurt her. A lot. I just won't mistake this for anything. No expectations, no attachment.

So when Yuuki realized Rocco was standing before her, she jumped a little, having gotten too lost in her thoughts. H-How long has he been there!? After her initial shock, Yuuki noted that his breathing was a bit labored... did she not give him enough time to arrive? Oh crap. She didn’t know where he lived... maybe she really hadn’t! Pressing her lightly glossed lips together, Yuuki did her best to suppress the guilt that was building up. Apologize or not to apologize was truly the question. She was still ticked at him for his behavior during the fire... but he seemed to have winded himself.

Actually... wait. Eyebrows raising a bit, golden eyes locked on him. Did he wear glasses? Reading glasses? She didn’t feel like they were prescription... she’d never seen him wear glasses at school, not once. Not that she was particularly looking of course! It looked— actually, never mind how it looked! Closing her eyes, Yuuki took in a small silent breath as if she could somehow reset her mind. She wasn’t actually a robot, couldn’t truly force herself not to feel things, but she never wanted the ability to do so more than in the days since she had met this headache.

Image"Ohayou Gozaimasu, Murray-san." Yuuki responded calm, and collected. It certainly was not the case, but she wanted to present herself as prepared for the trip. Okay, he was staring quite a bit. Feeling her shoulders tense, Yuuki turned her head to avert her gaze momentarily finding it difficult to make eye contact, but her nerves leaped as he began to completely assess her, "I-Is this necessary?!" Yuuki hissed, instantly unnerved. She didn't feel comfortable in the outfit, and being stalked by a land shark made her even less comfortable. His attire was certainly not what she imagined to find him wearing outside of school either! She wasn't entirely sure what she actually expected, but it certainly wasn't this and she couldn't help blushing a little.

"You're really cute."

Chewing on the inside of her cheek, the small girl slightly glared at him, but it didn't last as she was avoiding looking at him as much as possible... for reasons! They were in public, she liked to blend in with the crowd, didn't like being noticed, so this outfit her mother chose was just as much of a headache as Rocco was, "Not nearly as much as you think you are. Would you stop joking around?" she mumbled in the end. There were naturally pretty girls like Shiori who looked like living china dolls and popular girls like Cassiopeia that could work a runway, but she wasn't either of those.

"And I'm glad you kept the glasses."

"Wanted to match did we?" She shot back, indirectly calling out he did not normally wear them himself, and deflecting. She didn't forget the comment he'd previously made about her glasses either, but she wasn't going to justify her choice to wear them instead of contacts. It had nothing to do with him! Without saying anything he could potentially draw out of her words as incriminating, she managed to respond, at least, she hoped her words gave nothing away. She was choosing them very, very carefully.

"The train will be leaving soon. I'll get that for you."

When he grabbed her bag, Yuuki's lips parted to protest, but upon being presented with the book, she just as quickly closed them. A present? ...Why...? She was baffled by it. They weren't a couple, and their last interaction was certainly unpleasant. While she regretted how she handled it, she wasn't the only one that had a sour attitude that day. She didn't think he was going to come along anymore after what took place, let alone gift her the book that inspired the movie they planned to see. As much as she was trying to stonewall him, to bottle up any form of reaction he could amuse himself with, she did smile at this, and it wasn't the forced one she practiced to get by at school, "Arigatou."

Don't think too much into it... Don't. Yuuki scolded herself before making her way toward their train. They needed to get going. Stepping inside, Yuuki noted the ticket, then found their designated seats. The smaller blue and grey seats were not entirely what she expected. She was used to large seats that resembled pews in a church, they weren't nearly as boxed off from other passengers.

Rocco had her bag, so Yuuki sat down, the book he'd gifted her settled on her lap. Suddenly her heart was beating much faster, and she couldn't really decide what the cause was. Going home... was she worried she would run into old classmates? Scared to see the state her father was in? Or was she concerned that Rocco would do something inappropriate? Perhaps something else? She...couldn't place it, but she was quite uneasy all the same, staring down at the pink flats she wore for a second. What was she even supposed to say? Any compliment to his appearance would only lead to teasing... and she wasn't even sure if they had any common interests. She highly doubted it, but it wasn't polite to completely ignore a travel companion either.

He... wasn't straitlaced and nerdy like her, but his choice of clothes made him look approachable and above suspicion. Now she really did believe documentaries that claimed superficial appearances of serial killers fooled people. Her mother would totally fall for this. While he was no Ted Bundy, well, that she was aware of, Rocco was still far more dangerous than his current image gave off, He is a total wolf in sheep's clothing right now. He almost looks harmless, wholesome, or maybe he actually does and I just know better now... Yuuki thought to herself, giving him the briefest of glances with a sigh. She could already tell this was going to be a difficult trip. "So... do you ordinarily dress like this, or just trying to charm my mother?" Yuuki asked, unable to actually deliver a proper compliment on his appearance, even if he did deserve it. He looked nice like that, anyone with eyeballs could tell, but given their short but telling history and his mischief within it, it wasn't going to happen!





Charm: +1 to Rocco
Popularity: +1 to Rocco





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Character Portrait: Akira Blake Character Portrait: Rhys Browning
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Akira burst into laughter and Rhys did too at almost the same time. It was a good game and a lot of fun. He reveled in the moment of victory, spinning the basketball on the end of a finger before letting it drop into his hands. It was just like last time with the balloons if not better because they played a real game with no distractions and had all the space they needed to work with. There was only so much they could do to compete with balloons in a crowded auditorium and this time, they didn't need to go to sick bay.

”It isn’t always going to be like this you know.”

"I know. You almost had me beat but so far..." Rhys held up two fingers like a peace sign but instead to count the 2 games he had won with a smirk. Akira was a great opponent and Rhys didn't think that his friend lacked anything despite their differences in size and physique. There was more to sport than that like skill and experience but there was one thing he wanted to bring up. "You play a mean game but you don't take your shirt off." He stated bluntly, pointing at Akira's chest and carrying the basketball loosely, pressed against his side. "Less restrictive movement if you did." Rhys rubbed the back of his head as he remembered Misaki's comment. "I thought it was very cute how Blake-san always keeps his baggy shirt on when he plays, even when he's burning up. He must be very shy." He hadn't seen Akira play a game until now and as it turned out, the girl was right. "It's your call though. Just thought I'd mention it. The photography club has picked up on it too." Rhys wasn't a tattletale so he wasn't going to give Misaki's name away or what was spoken but Akira was a friend of his too. Akira deserved to know that people were talking. Rhys played the game without a shirt on out of habit but also to try to prove a point. He was the captain of the swimming team and his tattoos would be exposed but he didn't let it hinder him. He didn't know Akira's reasons. Maybe the guy was shy like Misaki assumed. Rhys wasn't going to ask.

”There’s something I gotta tell you though, working together or not, you deserve to know the truth.” Rhys looked at Akira, giving him his full attention. He could tell what Akira was about to say was very serious and he guessed that it would be connected to the reason he doesn't take his shirt off during sports. He had a few thoughts of what the reasons could be in the back of his mind but he was not prepared for the actual truth that came next.

”I’m a girl... I... falsified my records.”

Rhys' eyes widened in surprise. He began to doubt his hearing, then doubted his understanding and then doubted himself. Did Akira say...? No, maybe, it wasn't literal. Does he feel like a girl? Shit, did I say too much about the shirtless thing? No, maybe we should talk in English instead. Rhys was perplexed, his thoughts going in circles like a dog chasing its tail. He didn't even really hear out the second part, stuck on the first part about Akira being a girl. He looked to Akira again to read expressions or to ask for a repeat in English but Akira was looking away and pulling it off effectively.

”I ended up in a bad way back in Britain. Lots of fights after my parents died. I gave it up but the lifestyle doesn’t really allow that. I was attacked and he got really hurt by accident. I just pushed him... but I didn’t want that following me, ya know? One google search and everyone thinks they know your story. One accident deciding how everyone looks at you.” Akira finally looked back at him, appearing nervous and distressed as she frowned. Rhys listened attentively although his mind was failing to keep up as her story continued. He was slower than he was back in Science class. It was a lot of information to take in and he had to register that mentally along with all that had happened so far. He figured the more he listened, the more he'd understand.

”Miyamoto figured it out. The dude freaking groped me. He’s blackmailing me with the potential of being expelled and legal charges for the crimes I committed to get a fresh start. Stealing and burning my old records... Falsifying documents... I just wanted to warn my friends here, so you guys can make your choice before this potentially explodes.” Rhys groaned aloud once Miyamoto was mentioned because he had run into that guy before. They had bumped into each other resulting in the mess of Shiori's club's stall. That was the only encounter he had with the senior but Akira's encounter sounded a lot worse and a lot more troublesome. It was easy to peg the guy as a delinquent but groping and blackmail was a whole different level of its own. He was starting to really detest the guy the more he heard about him.

”I’m sorry for being misleading up until now, I was just tired of people being scared of me for things they don’t understand. It was self defense, but with my past... no one believes that. So... I am Akira Blake, but I am a girl. Everything was true except for the gender bit. I don’t expect you to be okay with it, I just didn’t want to lie anymore, at least not to people I consider my friends.” Rhys was almost as stiff as Akira was. His posture had straightened up like a solider standing at attention and at some point during the talk, he had dropped the basketball without noticing. Nothing was making downright sense to him. It did, but it didn't. Was he being pranked right now?

”Also I could get you on at a cosplay cafe part time. It isn’t the best job in the world, but Chiyo-sama is really flexible with hours and she wouldn’t care about that either...” Dealing with his financial problem was so far away from his mind in that instant that he just nodded in agreement like a dumbfuck. The 'cosplay cafe' bit and all the stuff that would come with it was omitted for the time being. He was still stuck on everything else. He was really struggling to comprehend all of it even though Akira was giving him the run down detail by detail. He appreciated and acknowledged what Akira was saying but he wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed.

”I swear none of it was for perverted reasons! I-I’m not like that! A-And I didn’t kill anyone. Just please don’t tell anyone, I-I really like Airdalen!” Akira held out her phone with a photo of herself allegedly, in a different school uniform and longer hair. He could see the resemblance and it was undeniable but it was just... so.. much. Akira sighed and Rhys knew that it was a truth harder to say than to hear but he really didn't know how to react. He had never dealt with a situation like this before. He'd heard of the term 'traps' before especially when he was temporarily working as a model but he had never ever been so confronted by one until now. Akira was his friend, his friend!

Rhys turned around, his back to Akira as he tried really hard to absorb everything he'd been told into his thick skull. Today was not what he expected. He thought it was going to be a nice and relaxing weekend, a break away from the school drama and stress he had undergone in the last week. Instead, he found out his closest guy friend in Japan was a girl all along. Fuuuuuck! He wanted to throw his hands up in defeat and scream to the heavens.

Rhys messed up his hair, sighed and turned around when he felt he had regained enough sanity to form sentences. "That's a lot, Akira." He began, his eyes angled downwards as if looking at the ground was going to help him stay grounded. "I don't know if I... fully understand everything yet." He admitted, his hands out in front of him giving distance and his words slowed at the same pace of his line of thought. "You motherfucking idiot..." He mumbled angrily in English at himself because it wasn't the time to be selfish. He shook his head, pounded a fist against his chest before clearing his throat. He continued to speak the rest in English to avoid miscommunication and confusing his words more.

Image"Look, Akira."
He approached closing the gap between them, his hands reaching out to hold hers firmly but softly to convey his sincerity and that he was present. "Everyone makes mistakes in life. Don't let your mistakes define you. You have to separate yourself from your past. Accept that it happened but move forward to be a better you. What you did back then doesn't have to be part of who you are now. You don't have to pretend. You don't have to hide. Screw Miyamoto and everyone else. Screw them all."

His hands covered hers more and he accidentally pulled her closer as he spoke his opinion more passionately. His situation was different but he also had a past, he also had shit of his own to deal with but he wasn't going to stand by on the sidelines and let a friend, girl, or guy deal with more or less of the same shit.

"I'm not the smartest, I don't know fuck all about law and the mess you've gotten yourself into but you have me, okay? I'm not going anywhere." He declared with unwavering confidence and resolve. His brown eyes stared back at Akira's blue and if eyes were really a window into the soul, then all he said was a promise set in stone. He wasn't sure of anything else but that. He was going to be there for her no matter what.

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tsukiko Kitogawa Character Portrait: Chase Kaufman
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  1. I used - - to separate flashbacks from the present happening.

    by Tinkers

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#, as written by Tinkers
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⌠ Waking up by your side,
Thrown in the deep end,
Why, why, why ⌡


Studio Black, Emily Burns - Friends Don't Kiss Friends

【ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя: #FF5733
тнσυgнт cσƖσя: #FFA500

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"Wake up~"

Chase's eyes slowly fluttered after warm air tickled his ear and a cheerful voice encouraged him to wake. His tired eyes showed Tsukiko as a blurry image. He could identify her voice in a crowded room, in the dark, and that's why it wasn't hard for him to recognize her now even as his head was throbbing in pain. Hangovers were one of the less likeable repercussions of attending a party that continued so late into the night and involved alcoholic beverages. He wasn't a light weight by comparison but he was a people pleaser who didn't find it easy to turn down offered drinks from those who went through all the trouble. He closed his eyes for a few seconds more, rubbed his temples before revealing his dreamy ocean-colored orbs and winning the fight against the urge to go back to sleep. "Good morning, Ku‘uipo." he greeted in the best energetic tone he could but unable to hold back all the sleepiness. He did not actually know if it was morning or if he had slept in and it was afternoon but he did know that it must have been one hell of a night. Not only did he have a hangover but he was still wearing the same clothing, a white hoodie undone and board shorts not absent of sand that he dragged in bed with him. The hoodie stuck to his skin from a mixture of sweat, alcohol and the beach waters. He was in complete disarray that he had surprised himself.

He hummed the Hawaiian tune of Aloha-Oe as he waited for his eyes to get used to the brightness of daylight. He had stayed the night at Tsukiko's place before that it was a comfortable routine in their friendship but back then they were younger, dating other people sometimes and he wasn't this untidy. When he saw her for the first time in a long time at Airdalen, he believed that their friendship would be resumed and nothing would change but it was naive of him. He realized that shortly after he had brushed back his hair with his fingers to see Tsukiko better. She was wearing his school shirt over a nightgown and leaning over him. Tsukiko had always been bold and flirtatious that he had come around to expect nothing less but this setting between them was out of the ordinary. They were very close physically, their faces and bodies. They had been close many times before but it was indescribably different somehow like something in the atmosphere had shifted. Chase was acutely aware of how much space had been closed and taken up, Tsukiko's cleavage teased him and his breathing was slightly heavier. He swallowed, his adam's apple bobbing.

It's fine. I'm fine... I just need to get rid of the headache. He did have a hangover after all so decided he was not thinking straight. He pulled himself up a bit without moving Tsukiko, to reach for the Tylenol on the nightstand. He popped it in his mouth hassle-free and drank the glass of juice thirstily until it was empty. Chase still Chase, remembered to prioritize the comfort and happiness of others first. He didn't want Tsukiko to feel neglected even though he was not at his best. "Did you have fun?" He asked with a charming smile, genuinely curious. He did promise that as her plus one, they would have the time of their lives last night. The more he tried to remember last night though, the more confused he felt. There were only glimpses, like scenes in a movie that he recalled.

He remembered a Japanese pop idol had invited them to join a game of Suck and Blow. He was sitting next to Tsukiko at the time and Tsukiko received the card from the boy on the other side of her then turned to him...

Chase sat up more, the pieces slowly coming together.

- That night, that game, he could sense that Tsukiko was nervous. They had been friends for long enough that the subtleties that went unnoticed by others, became a telltale sign to each other. He was under the influence but still for the most part, Chase. It was his personality to observe others and cater to them. He always wanted people around him to be happy and Tsukiko was part of that. "Is something wrong?" he asked her but his voice was drowned out by the other partygoers and the commotion the game stirred. In no time at all it was all but too late as Tsukiko accepted the card from the boy on the other side of her. Then she turned to him.

The two friends had been inseparable all night long joined by the hip. There were many beautiful and famous people who he did not really care for but he knew that Tsukiko did. In his eyes, this was her party, her scene and he came along because she invited him and it was a touching reunion. He wanted to spend time with her and get to know her all over again, just like before, just like old times... Face-to-face with Tsukiko with a small card pressed to her lips was not anything like before and old times. It mentally smacked him in the face as he delayed in realizing the predicament but there was no time to delay more. People were staring and they were their peers. Tsukiko was the youngest idol there and striving to climb higher. He knew very well how important losing face was to her and he guessed that as the reason behind her nervousness. Her manager's voice was ringing in his ears, "As both of you are aware pictures are quite damning. Please exercise caution for both of your reputations, but Mae Seung Jin, unfortunately, has much more to lose as a woman.” It was about shopping not partying that day but he had a responsibility nonetheless. He had to decide and act quickly, while tipsy! -

Chase leaned closer to Tsukiko on the bed still in a bit of a daze and his hand reached up to caress her cheek.

- The memory continued to replay. He had to be committed to the game. He had to because Tsukiko was. Chase licked his lips to be prepared as maybe it would help the card stick better. He turned and lowered his head to accept the card from her but it wasn't as simple as he hoped it would be. He applied pressure, trying to get the card to stick more before the suck and blow step but in the fumbling, the card slipped and was blown away by a strong gust of wind without a chance to grab it. Maybe it was the alcohol setting off the balance, maybe it was nerves or maybe it was fate that was responsible. It could have been a combination of all of the above but Chase felt his heart leap out of his chest at the exact moment the card was gone. The circle's players erupted in unison and were restlessly chanting, "Kiss, kiss, kiss!" Other party attendants joined in as it stole their attention and some were beginning to put up their phones ready to take a photo. Social media was just a click or press away. The chanting was getting insanely loud that he couldn't hear anything else and he suspected he'd go deaf in both ears if they didn't stop. They had to do something to comply but also keep Tsukiko's reputation intact. -

His thumb brushed gently over her bottom lip.

- Chase made the first move. He pulled Tsukiko closer by wrapping an arm around her. His hand touched her lower back and glided upwards, stopping where her bikini was tied. He stared at her for a few seconds to make sure she wasn't afraid or against it before he angled his head. The camera flashes were blinding even in the darkness of the night with how many observers there was but Chase had in a knick of time, linked their hands together and raised them up to cover the actual kiss from view. As far as anyone could tell from just a photo at that viewpoint, they could have faked it. Only Chase and Tsukiko knew... -

We.. kissed. It was soft and light when their lips touched and no more but what did this mean for their friendship? What did it mean to Tsukiko? Chase said nothing else now that he remembered everything. He wanted to hear Tsukiko's thoughts. They had a lot to discuss or ignore.

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Stat Summary


+1 Charm [Tsukiko]

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akira Blake Character Portrait: Rhys Browning
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It was both relief and sting when she was met with her friend’s back. On one hand it gave her a moment to loosen the reigns on her composure, to let what she was feeling seep through the cracks without him actually seeing it. The moment she took in a breath, Akira’s form shook. She refused to cry, she wouldn’t. Even though she felt like it, she knew that guys had a complicated relationship with girls and tears after so much time hanging out with them. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, Akira didn’t want to manipulate a single thing right now, she wanted his choice in this moment to be untainted by her influence. Regardless of her baggage, her pain, Akira had to keep it together. She was resolved to just keep it together. I am glad I waited until after the game. It was too fun to jeopardize not playing it... Even if I let that woman get in my head and cost me the win... Ugh. Stupid old hag! the ivory haired girl mentally cursed her grandma, closing her pale eyes. She had to focus, relax, as impossible as that felt in the moment.

Rubbing the back of her neck, Akira said nothing, giving him a reprieve from her rambling. As stressful as the first week of school had been, she felt guilty for adding something else on her friend’s plate. He already mentioned needing work... was it selfish to drop this bomb on him regardless of her intentions? While she wanted her friends to hear it from her first, instead of Miyamoto or school faculty after she’s been charged and escorted off the school grounds, maybe it was too selfish... It certainly felt selfish in hindsight,Should I apologize? I haven’t given him time to speak though... I’ve ranted enough probably... Dammit. I hate this! I liked it better when I didn’t have to think about this. It was easier when no one knew!

"That's a lot, Akira."

When she heard his voice, Akira swam back to the surface, to awareness, out of her descent into paranoia. Nodding her head in agreement was all she could manage. She wasn’t going to defend her reasons any further than she already had. She wasn’t going to make an effort to convince him of anything, she told her truth already, “It is.” She acknowledged. The fact that they weren’t making eye contact didn’t feel comfortable, but she wasn’t sure eye contact would feel any better, it would surely be worse. It was a mercy to not have the pressure of whatever emotions his eyes would have given away weighing on her, or the memory, if this went the way she expected. However, the same could be said about herself. She wasn’t going to pretend she wasn’t on the verge of tears, that if she wasn’t painfully accustomed to bottling herself up, forcing smiles, pushing along at school pretending she is fine, she would have already been crying. She didn’t want to be remembered that way, or to have it affect how he processed the confession. Her favorite memories of her mom were the moments she smiled... so Akira had resolved to smile as much as possible even when she didn’t feel it a long time ago. It was pleasant, put others at ease, and her baggage was her own responsibility and no one else’s. She didn’t like burdening others like this, she preferred helping. This was far from helping though...

”I don't know if I... fully understand everything yet."

Shaking her head, Akira chuckled weakly, ”I wouldn’t expect anyone to. It’s insane, admittedly.” she reassured him. What was she even thinking in the first place? How was she going to pull it off for the entirety of high school and what would she do in adulthood when college rolled around? Jobs? It was definitely the half-baked plan of a desperate teenager that watched too many stupid movies and read a manga or two without considering the long-standing dangers or consequences of her actions. It was reckless, stupid. Humbling. She was reminded that she was indeed a teenager. A kid. She had nothing figured out and she was making a proper mess of things. Colossally.

”Look, Akira."

Right. She was looking at the chainlink fence. He probably didn’t mean his statement literally, but she didn’t want to pry her eyes off of it all the same, Must I though? I-I’m quite fond of the fence now, I must say its rather grown on me... We’ve developed a rapport I mustn’t endanger!, but when he grew closer she reluctantly tore her eyes away

...then she was reminded he wasn’t wearing a shirt. Guys and their bloody lack of shame!!!

Tilting her chin up to meet his gaze quickly, Akira locked her eyes on his. They were friends in her eyes regardless of their genders, but it was so much easier to act natural, like a ‘guy’ when he actually believed it to be true. There was a certain vulnerability in telling someone she was a girl, she’d felt something similar when Kazuki abruptly found out, but that was terrifying in a different way. Akira knew Rhys wasn’t domineering like Kazuki. She didn’t feel like she had to be hyper vigilant, he wouldn’t do anything to her remotely in the realm of things Kazuki had already done, she was certain of it... but she still found herself unintentionally holding a breath when his hands claimed her own, blinking a few times in shock.

"Everyone makes mistakes in life. Don't let your mistakes define you. You have to separate yourself from your past. Accept that it happened but move forward to be a better you. What you did back then doesn't have to be part of who you are now. You don't have to pretend. You don't have to hide. Screw Miyamoto and everyone else. Screw them all."

Pastel blue eyes widened at his words, her lips parting before she pressed them together tightly. What was she even supposed to say to something like that? It was touching, too touching. Dammit. Dammit Dammit. Akira cursed inside of her head, shaking again as she fought with all her might to maintain control. She knew he would notice, would feel her hands shaking in his, and she tried everything she could to will herself to stop doing it, but her body wouldn’t follow her desperate commands. She didn’t want anyone to see her like this. Kaori had witnessed a bit of what she looked like when the carefully constructed mask crumbled, but... she didn’t want to show him this face, ”What kind of idiot... Akira whispered, lowering her head to allow her hair to afford her facial features some degree concealment, ”Aren’t you mad at me? Who doesn’t yell at someone that deceived them, everyone, from the start...?” Akira choked a quiet laugh. She was relieved, but she struggled to believe what she was hearing. Is he going easy on me because I’m a girl? Or is he simply forgiving to a fault? If it is the latter I am deeply concerned about him. That’s dangerous! Akira mulled it all over, trying to decipher his reasoning for such a mild and accepting reaction.

ImageDrawn just a tad further in, Akira’s cheeks lit up a rather brilliant shade of crimson. Regardless of his intentions, she did flinch. Maybe I am too used to acting like a guy... b-but why does the rest of this conversation have to be so close?! Her ears were just as red despite the chill of the air, she knew it without the solid proof of seeing it herself because she felt the familiar burning sensation. She blamed her grandmother for the nervousness this all caused her, always asking inappropriate things when she made plans that remotely involved guys or talked about her day at school.

This was Rhys, a rival, a friend that she was growing rather close to, but there was really nothing else to it. She wouldn’t allow there to be. Akira supported the bond that was building between Shiori and Rhys, they suited each other, all eyes could see it at the dance. The prickly Senior didn’t seem to open up to anyone else at school, at least no one that Akira was aware of. They were both her friends, at least Akira wanted them to be... and she wasn’t blind to Shiori’s feelings like she suspected Rhys to be. Nonetheless, it wasn’t her place to tell him. As a friend to both individuals, she had an obligation to keep Shiori’s secret... that wasn’t much of a secret to those on the outside looking in. The friendships assured her that she was only embarrassed because it was a guy that knew she was a girl. She’d gotten embarrassed with Kazuki too, she hastily reminded herself. Friends. Rivals. Rhys knowing her actual gender didn’t have to change anything. That’s what she told herself, like a chant, until she could convince herself it was an indisputable fact.

"I'm not the smartest, I don't know fuck all about law and the mess you've gotten yourself into but you have me, okay? I'm not going anywhere."

Nodding her head, without opening her eyes or raising it, Akira smiled a bit. It went a lot better than she had expected, even if she had no idea why he chose to remain standing by her, she wasn’t alone in this, and at least one person knew everything and accepted her. It felt like someone had begun to slowly lift bricks off of her that had once been placed on her chest, ”Same here. I might not be the wingman you thought I was, but wingwomen still exist too.” Akira joked, trying to lighten the atmosphere around them before she became any more embarrassed. First thing first, she had to stop acting like such a girl and in order to do that, Akira had to swat away the unfamiliar atmosphere that had consequently built between them.

This was a moment she doubted would have happened so intimately if she had been a guy sharing an equally dire secret, and while she appreciated his sincerity and acceptance, Akira was far too embarrassed to continue on like this. She wasn’t going to outright say it though, that would only make her embarrassment all the worse. The crawl under a rock and die kind of worse. She fully intended to pretend she hadn’t blushed at all. She was desperately clinging to their rivalry as the foundation of their friendship.

Gently removing her hands from his own, Akira put a little space between them and wiped her eyes discreetly while pretending she had leftover sweat on her forehead and face to wick away. Despite all efforts, she did cry a little, and she didn’t want him to know. Aside from a few drops on the asphalt, there was little evidence, ”Though... I guess maybe that makes you a perv after all, trying to talk me out of my shirt under the guise of advice. There are rumors about you and Harigae-senpai and the pool. Too bad I’m not a guy after all, huh~? I support you anyway, Reese.” Akira teased, poking fun at his suggestion that taking her shirt off would help her performance in their match while simultaneously referring to him as a candy with a similar sounding name. She knew that perversion wasn’t the case, but poking fun at him had become a bit of a habit. She stuck her tongue out and pulled down her lower eyelid, just as added evidence that she was just trying to rouse a reaction out of him and lighten things back up. Akira didn’t feel comfortable showing weaker sides of herself, especially to her friends. She wanted to contribute to their laughter, not their stress. Unless it was from a prank, she was perfectly okay with being the source of that kind of stress.

She would explain away any redness that potentially remained as the chill of the air. Grinning, Akira retrieved the ball that Rhys dropped, “How about a game of Horse?” Akira bounced the ball, trying to detract from everything that happened and return their weekend to the peaceful day of blowing off steam that it was meant to be, “Unless now you’re afraid to lose?” she taunted, as she normally would. This felt more comfortable, even if the moment prior had been reassuring and alleviated some of the fear she felt in disclosing the truth about herself.




Charm: +1 to Rhys




2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sora Harigae Character Portrait: Haruhi Morinozuka
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#, as written by Strix
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Things seemed to be going smoothly, but it also wasn't particularly going like the 'dates' she was used to. It...truly felt like a business transaction. Well, granted this was the first time she had someone from school order her services, perhaps things were going extraordinarily well given the situation? She had nothing to compare it to aside from quite a few rich boys that felt rules need not apply if one simply has enough money. She often had to remind them of the rules, and in select instances, had to file a report. The fact that Sora so quickly agreed to behave and not seek out more than what she was legally allowed to provide eased her mind, but after the situation at school where she had given him advice, she was beginning to suspect he was a bit like her, someone that did not quite fit the mould. They were considerably different, each in their own regard, but she was beginning to understand that this date would likely be less stressful than ones in her past.

"You've presented me with a problem."

Well, that is what she thought until he spoke up. Problem? What part of it? Haruhi's brow quirked as she awaited Sora's explanation, hopefully, it wasn't something they couldn't figure out on their own, or worse, something that would require a refund. Alexei...er...Yuuto...needed medical treatment and it was expensive. He depended on her not to screw up her gigs.

"I don't like to lie."

This created a crater inside her stomach. Memories of her last school, the bullying, the messages telling her to die, to disappear, calling her so many names she would never speak aloud... let alone direct at another person. The female students were so cruel, but it was the boys that made her life complete torture. The inappropriate requests she received daily and the vandalism to their previous home...that was the last straw. Her failure to be truly discreet led to her family relocating her at Airdalen, and her brother at the nearby middle school. It had all become too much for their family, especially as Alexei was already quite sick before the new stress entered their life. Looking to her heels for a moment, Haruhi took a small breath in, brushing hair behind her ear. She understood... she hated lying too, hated there was a double standard about girls spending a lot of time with different guys, but boys would typically get an 'attaboy', "I get it... 'Tell a lie once and all your truths become questionable.', right? I've...just seen this occupation nearly ruin lives due to the lies of others, the bullying is intense, girls have gotten death threats... " Haruhi trailed off, being a little more honest than she would have liked, but her reasons for lying, there was a good reason behind them. She couldn't quit her job regardless of how bad things might get again, not until Alexei got his surgery, but she also wanted to protect herself in the meantime. Sora didn't need to know that she was one of those girls, this was business and she was hired to make the event easier, not more difficult.

When Sora's thumb grazed over her lip, Haruhi's gold eyes widened a bit and her lips ever so slightly parted, What is he doing? She'd kissed boys before, quite a few, but something about less blatantly flirtatious actions such as this was still rather effective. It was one of those 'moves' that guys made she had thought to be reserved only to cheesy romance flicks, and even if it wasn't, she didn't expect him to have the move in his tool kit. He handled the situation at school quite awkwardly, but he managed to conjure a pale blush from her all the same. Huh. Who are you, Harigae-san? Haruhi thought to herself, her interest piqued. As all signs pointed toward a kiss, Haruhi did not withdraw from him, despite her slightly elevated heartbeat. This was her job, if they kissed, it only sold the impression that they were truly an item. She had become accustomed to falling into the 'role' of girlfriend, even if she had never had an ACTUAL boyfriend before. Between moving around so much and taking the profession of girlfriend-for-hire as young as she could, who would want to date her? No one wanted to know their girlfriend was kissing someone else, many different someones, to be frank.

"Nevermind. I've lost my trail of thought."

Giggling a bit when he withdrew and admitted he no longer remembered what he had to say, Haruhi genuinely smiled at him, "It happens to the best of them." the sandy blonde chimed in a friendly manner. Haruhi felt bad that she lied to him, but she had to keep this job to afford Alexei's treatments that would lead up to his surgery, but she also knew she wouldn't survive the isolation and bullying that she endured at her previous school.

"Neither. I prefer an endearing nickname reserved for romantic partners."

Blinking a couple times, Haruhi chewed on her lip, the gears turning inside of her head as she began to formulate her approach. She had called quite a few guys things like 'baby', 'darling', 'love', 'sweetie', whatever they liked, using cutesy variants of their names as well, but it was always best to ask. She didn't want to make her dates uncomfortable in a situation where they couldn't correct her. Once in front of their host or family, it was too late to discuss terms and limits. She'd learned from trial and error, and she was attuned to what worked for her and what didn't.

"Actually, that reminds me. There are some terms of my own."

Accepting the letter, Haruhi smiled as if she had received a love letter rather than a list of instructions to keep anyone that was potentially watching from realizing what was truly going on between them, "How thoughtful. Thank you, koibito~" Haruhi chimed, giggling as she read the 13th rule. It was cute, even if she didn't share the sentiment. The fact that he thought of an escape term without having discussed the need for such yet, it impressed her.


"I don't know. What is there to look forward to?"

Pressing her lips together, Haruhi tilted her head thoughtfully as she did her best to compose an answer. She never really thought about it before, but she enjoyed the aspect of gift-giving, perhaps because people were always so temporary in her life, "Maybe because I've always moved schools so frequently, but it serves as a reminder of the person that gifted it, and harmless surprises are always a bit exciting in my book." Haruhi settled on the best answer she could form into words.

Her arm linked with Sora's, Haruhi followed his lead, noting the different fish that served as menu items in the tank as well as a tropical spectacle. She felt kind of bad seeing the actual living creatures, but she wasn't a vegetarian either. Seeing their faces...it just conjured up guilt as a living thing would for her to enjoy a meal, and she likely saw it face to face just now. She had a conscience! Still, she kept going with a pleasant smile, her expression giving nothing away. What did impress Haruhi was the skill of the chefs. She admired those that were talented cooks, and if they could make a show out of it, it was all the more impressive. She could cook rather well, but she couldn't do anything fancy with it. While she was not a stranger to fancy restaurants either, Haruhi still valued when people could perform a job and also entertain those watching.

"Sorry to bother you. We're clearly in the wrong place."

Upon seeing a man that looked much like the one she had her arm linked with, Haruhi nearly released his arm, but instead, she clung a little tighter. How was it the wrong person? They could pass for brothers! Haruhi said nothing, her eyes focused on the man before them. Is that what Sora would look like more grown-up? She had to admit it wasn't exactly unpleasant on the eyes... Ahem. Reel that all back in. Haruhi reminded herself that she had to be professional. When Sora moved to bow, Haruhi released his arm, following suit. Her duty was to Sora, and if he said this was the wrong place, she had no arguments. As they were about to leave however, Haruhi found herself addressed, stiffening ever so slightly.

"Are you a female friend of his or something more? Tell me, can you guess who I am? Do we have a resemblance?"

It was an odd question, but not one she hadn't been asked once or twice by an older brother or father of a client. The question itself didn't make her nervous, but there was never a situation where she was asked this question while trying to make a smooth exit with her client, "I have a guess or two." Haruhi responded politely. If Sora kept walking she would follow his lead, but she was now put on the spot. Would snubbing this person be better or worse now that she had been acknowledged? Then the door shut behind them... Damn. Looking to Sora for some sign of how to proceed, Haruhi took a quiet breath in. Well, I guess this isn't just going to go away.

"What do you think?"

A smile returned to her features as Haruhi did her best to keep herself afloat in this uncertain situation, "First I would say, classmates. We met at school, right Koibito? As for what we are, I'm not rather fond of labels, I'm simply very intrigued by him. Isn't a date, by design, to find out such things? If there is something more?" the word could mean a number of things. It was often used to address a lover, but also could be translated as 'sweetheart'. Haruhi didn't want to force him into a lie by saying they were actually dating, but whether she was paid to attend or not, they were on a date. That was factual. They also met at school, she was just weaving her own truth through manipulation of her warm expression shot Sora's way and those facts. Though, she did have a growing interest where he was involved, whether Sora was aware or not.

"Why don't you both sit down while we play this guessing game hm?"

Letting her hand caress Sora's shoulder, Haruhi leaned in toward him, "It's up to you, Koibito. She whispered intimately into his ear. She was ready to make a dash for it if he was, but if he chose to stay in the shark tank she was willing to wade through the waters with him. And here I thought things were going to run smoothly.




Charm +1 to Sora




2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sora Harigae Character Portrait: Haruhi Morinozuka
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#, as written by Tinkers
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⌠ Where we choose pride over character
Where they spin lies into fairy dust
Make no mistake, I live in a prison
That I built myself, it is my religion
And they say that I am the sick boy ⌡


【The Chainsmokers - Sick Boy】

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Airdalen had been troublesome recently. Sora had gotten himself mixed up in fights, injured even. Regardless, he always held onto his truth. He didn't hold back his words as much as those bullies didn't hold back their punches. In all those scenarios, he always stayed through the pain to speak his truth. He never ran. However, his family was an aspect of his life he had always run from. He didn't feel for them, think about them or have any contact with them until this very moment forced upon him. All he had was a distant memory and his uncle. He would have liked to keep it that way. His family was too painful a subject to crack open. It was so painful it caused him to be the extreme he was. It was the only way Sora could shut out the pain and continue living. This figure from his past just from sight alone invited an intense pain, like banging on his rib cage in an attempt to reach his fragile heart. His heart beat was in a frenzy that it was all he could hear until his date's voice grounded him.

"It's up to you, Koibito."


The door was closed but doors were meant for opening and closing. They were trapped but they could walk away, run away, scream and pound on the door. He still had his phone if he wanted to call someone. He could speed dial his uncle and his uncle could recognize their voices. Sora was not out of options. He just had to decide what he wanted to do. Was it fight or flight tonight? Haruhi's hand grasped his shoulder and the warmth of her body leaned towards him was comforting. His anxiety slowly yielded, surrendering to the comfort. Sora was a pacifist but he was not a coward and a beautiful girl by his side, fake girlfriend or not did wonders for reminding him of his confidence. It made him feel like a man.

"You're awfully quiet. Have you learned to bite your tongue?" The older gentleman broke the silence, growing impatient by Sora's indecision to sit down or leave. He was also aware of the absence of Sora's infamously unfiltered chatter and pointing out an observation. "On the contrary." Sora replied, nodding his head to Haruhi and gesturing for her to take a seat first before seating himself. "If you must know, I was stunned. It was difficult to word how stunned I was. Put simply, I was hoping we would never meet again." Sora did not sugarcoat his dislike towards the man and the situation. Normally emotionless and blank-faced, the dislike was so great it was leaking subtley in his features. His mouth was slightly frowned, his brows slightly furrowed and his eyes were glaring. His voice remained civil but had a sharper ring to it only when speaking with him. He did not vent any of this dislike towards his fake girlfriend because they were separated well in his mind.

"Now he is being pouty. He must really like you. I'll try not to third wheel for too long." The man teased, talking with Haruhi and ignoring the younger boy's fit. Although it had been many years since they last saw each other, it never would have been guessed with how the gentleman cruised through the situation as if he was accustomed to Sora's displeasure. It did nothing to discourage him from continuing about their meal together as the waiter came in to take their orders. "Mixed Sashimi platter and Miso Soup." Sora ordered light as his appetite deflated despite the restaurant's mouth watering menu. It was very expensive for those two items with double or triple the average restaurant's prices for the exact same meal because of the reputation of the main chef they had seen demonstrating skill and tricks when passing by.

After the orders were settled, the waiter served green tea and left. An odd defeaning silence filled the room. The man had hoped Sora's thoughts would be running rampant in panic and he could work with that but instead, the highschool boy remained silent and glared daggers at him. "You said you had two guesses?" He directed the question at Haruhi, continuing their conversation from before as Sora was not talkative. "If I may, what were they? I promise to take no offense." Sora looked to Haruhi. She was handling the unpleasant situation well. She hadn't lied. It was true that they were classmates and it was true that going out together would count as a date. He was just left puzzled by when she said she was very intrigued by him.

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"He was my cousin and then my half brother and half cousin as it was discovered my father had an affair with my mother's sister and now that he can stop hiding his hair color, he's become too proud about our resemblance to our father." Sora cut the 'guessing game' short. The man laughed at Sora's blunt intervention. "The truth is never pure and simple is it?" he emphasised the word truth that strung a chord with Sora's principle then turned to Haruhi to introduce himself properly. "Harigae, Koichi. I didn't know Sora-kun wouldn't be alone today but I thank you for your patience. There are family matters we must attend to whether he acknowledges me as family or not. He still carries the Harigae name. I hope you understand that family comes first before pleasure." Sora rolled his eyes.

"Sora-kun." Koichi said solmenly after taking a sip of green tea and placing the cup back down the table. "I'll cut to the chase. Your adoption was never meant to last and in the event that it did, it was ensured that you would only be passed around under the Harigae name. Your uncle lured you here under the guise of a luncheon with his friends. It is actually a luncheon among family and deciding the successor. It comes down to you and I, me as the eldest and you for legitimacy." Sora said nothing and looked away. "Will you challenge me?" Koichi asked. "I hate you all. Liars." Sora's thought was voiced directly into aloud words. He was gullible but respected his uncle dearly. He didn't know who to believe. His fists clenched on his knees as he stared down at his lap. Koichi smirked as Sora's walls were slowly crumbling and the younger boy was starting to show more his true emotion.

Family. Family got to Sora in a way nothing else did. It was a foundation that failed him early in life. "What is the truth, really?" Koichi and Sora clashed on that subject and their approach all the time. He was trying to poke and provoke as Sora's weakness. "There are so many sides to a story. Isn't the truth what we make of it? So, why not make it pretty and neatly packaged if it comforts the many?" Sora's belief was more firmly ingrained than his body. "No. Truth is one, paths are many." he quoted Gandhi. "It's better to get hurt by the truth than comforted with a lie. Truth is not for comfort, it's for liberation."

"Just like now?" Koichi smirked, having revealed his truth and dealing Sora pain with it. "How about I give you some time to mull it over with your lady? We'll be waiting for your answer. I'm sure you'll find your way." Koichi stood up, bowed his head to both and spoke to the waiter coming in to re-direct his meal to a different room. Koichi just wanted to see Sora's hatred for their family himself to be sure that the succession would fall to him. For if Sora hated the family, he would surely want nothing to do with it. The waiter served Sora and Haruhi's orders quietly and left abruptly sensing the tense atmosphere. Sora would not speak or touch his food after learning his uncle may have betrayed him, his father must be dead and now there were talks about the Harigae succession he must face soon in a room filled with people he absolutely despised. Every single one of them.


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+ 1 Charm Haruhi

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2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kei Watari Character Portrait: Mao Nozomi
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#, as written by Strix
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Remembering that they had crossed paths as he explained his relationship with Kaori to Rocco, Kei couldn't help feeling a lingering discomfort. That conversation felt cringe-worthy enough without a reminder that it happened in the first place. Sigh. Cringe-worthy. That word seemed like it could define the most current stretch of his life. Mao raised an eyebrow at the boy as he was acting a little strange, a little too heavily lost in thought. What could it be? She'd taken a shower, she knew that she didn't have anything stuck in her teeth, her clothes while likely dirty from a few wipeouts were not in too much disarray. What could be the cause of the awkward silence? Was it about the game she had played with his best friend? Rubbing the back of her neck, Mao lowered her head. It wasn't her best game, but there were reasons, reasons that she couldn't explain to anyone, “Thanks, Nozomi-san.” the boy snapped her out of her own brief thoughts. Her head rose once again, a smile crossing her lips, "Don't mention it." She waved it off, not really one to enjoy attention or praise. Attention made it more difficult for her to blend into the shadows, to seamlessly become her alter ego 'Zen'. She received enough attention from the journalists frequently covering her family's day-to-day activities due to her father's position in the Japanese government, even though she was the child with the least media coverage. Mao made a point to not be home if reporters were scheduled to be at her house, and with the girl's controversial rebellious daughter, her father did not protest her absence. It actually helped his campaign given their warring positions on politics. He couldn't control her responses, knew they conflicted with his own and Mao would gladly speak her mind if it could cost him re-election through scandal.

Mao did not go out of her way to do this, however, at least, not as herself. Zen was bred as a less harmful way to express her political beliefs. To bring her resentment of censorship to the attention of the public in a way that no one could ignore. The news, that was boring, but graffiti is a shock, whether people like it or hate it, it stirs up a conversation in a way the news never could. It was all the scandal she needed without hurting her relationship with her family, well, so long as she never gets caught, "If I am making you uncomfortable, I can go back to skating with the boys." Mao offered, raising both hands with a forced laugh. She had no idea what was bothering this guy, but she didn't want to be the root of the problem.

Shit. She's uncomfortable because I'm an awkward piece of shit. Kei thought to himself, facepalming before he could stop his outward reaction. Pinching the bridge of his nose, the dark haired male shook his head, raising only one hand casually, "No, no. It has nothing to do with you. I'm just trash." he offered up, presenting it as a joke before he laughed dejectedly at himself. He meant it, but he didn't want to go into details. His baggage, he'd unleashed it on one person and that was enough word vomit for a lifetime in Kei's opinion. It was hard enough telling another guy, let alone a girl.

Mao blinked incredulously at Kei, she could tell his 'joke' was not entirely meant to lighten the atmosphere. Huh... So it is something he's dealing with. Low self-esteem... In a way, I get that. She thought to herself despite how her family preached body positivity to their children. Guys... they never really seemed to be attracted to her. Every time she went to dinner parties with her family she could recall all the whispers. The kids her age never spoke up, afraid of her spitfire personality, her tomboyish ways, and well, her controversial behavior. She didn't behave like your typical Japanese 'elite'. She wasn't egotistical, 'proper' to the point of insanity, she just couldn't live by their social norms, she tried and tried when she was younger, but it was suffocating.

The boys always claimed she wasn't a girl, she wasn't feminine enough for their tastes, she wasn't pale enough for Japanese beauty standards either, so both genders would laugh at her. While none of it was said directly to Mao, she could see the clusters of her fellow rich kids pointing and laughing when they felt she wasn't looking. Had they never heard of peripheral vision?

As Kei saw her expression saddening more and more, he did something even he did not expect, his hand reach out and grabbed her shoulder, squeezed it actually, "Nozomi-san!" He all but shouted, giving her a light shake. He had no way of knowing what was going on, but he recognized that look, knew she was recalling something unpleasant, he'd been in that state far too often to not recognize it. When she met his gaze, her eyes lightening back up as she returned to reality, Kei let out a sigh, "Would you like to help out today? It... helps. Seeing their optimism and perseverance despite their situation, it's nothing less than inspiring." Kei's eyes softened as he thought about the people he met at the shelter. He discovered a place like this when a teacher at his last school sent him on an errand to donate items left over at the end of the season. At first, he considered it to be a drag, that is until he saw how a few simple household amenities could brighten someone's day. He was born privileged, his family never did without anything they wanted or needed.

"A-Alright..." Mao responded, surprised by his actions. She wasn't bothered by his method of literally shaking her out of her negative thoughts, but no one had ever done something like that before. It was the last thing she expected. Kei, realizing that his hand was still on her shoulder quickly withdrew it, a blush forming on his cheeks almost instantaneously, "S-Sorry about that!" He stammered to collect himself. He didn't plan to do that, but witnessing someone else experience the depression he felt inside was too painful to watch. While he couldn't free himself of his own self-loathing, the guilt he felt, he didn't know what was eating away at Mao, nor did he deserve to. They were perfect strangers, she didn't owe him anything, but he wanted to help boost her spirits all the same.

This made Mao laugh, really laugh. The tanned girl held her stomach, as she wasn't used to boys that were this shy. Ow. Ow. Ow. It hurts! she thought to herself as her amusement began to wane, wiping a tear from her right eye. This only made Kei blush harder, lowering his head as the crimson hue stretched to his ears.

"Hey! Kei!" The woman who ran the shelter yelled at him, snapping both teens into perspective, they were surrounded by other people, yet they got lost in their conversation as if no one else was there, "I am grateful that you brought a friend, but you two need to get to work or move out of the way!" she called from the kitchens.

Bursting into action, Kei retrieved two aprons from the nearby rack, offering one to Mao, "She's right. These people are pretty hungry, let's get to work, 'kay?"

With a nod of her head, Mao agreed, slipping the apron on over her head as she followed Kei to their stations in the lunch line. The two were side-by-side, practically elbow-to-elbow. This did not bother Mao, but the grateful expressions of the homeless coming through the line, their words of thanks, it made her tense. She didn't really do anything...but even if she had, their sincerity made her uncomfortable. It was her turn to blush, and it wouldn't fade. Though... Kei was right, the warm and fuzzies she felt in her heart from helping out were overwhelming. She loved being useful, despite her discomfort with praise. It was quite the catch-22.

Peeking over at the girl beside him through the corner of his eye, Kei chuckled a bit under his breath. Despite her behavior in the gym with Rocco... Just a big softy underneath all that tough, eh?

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sora Harigae Character Portrait: Haruhi Morinozuka
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Unaware that she was providing any form of comfort to Sora, Haruhi sucked in a quiet but sharp breath. This was not really something she was trained to deal with, there was always a risk with wealthier families that drama could pop up, but she had been rather lucky up to this point, the worst she ever had to deal with was a few creeps that got banned from ever using the service again, and those incidents were quite minor, nothing traumatic enough for her to lose any sleep at night. This, well, this was so intense she felt that the air in the room could be cut with a knife. A steak knife, as it was too thick for much else. It was hard to breathe and she didn't even have context yet.

"You're awfully quiet. Have you learned to bite your tongue?"

Those words made Haruhi's jaw tighten, she wasn't Sora's actual girlfriend, she didn't even really know him, but the demeaning way that the man was speaking angered her. She had to bite her own tongue, but he could be certain that if she wasn't working right now she would have shot her own mouth off in Sora's defense. Who speaks to someone that way in public!? Haruhi hissed to herself, seething with rage she could not allow herself to channel, she was forced to bottle it up. She was here to support Sora as a date, not spew her opinions. She didn't actually have girlfriend privileges, nor did she adequately understand the situation to say anything at all. Unleashing her temper at this stage would likely only trouble her date, the exact opposite of what her job demanded from her.

"On the contrary."

This made Haruhi smile, the fact that Sora had the strength to say anything at all helping dwindle her own rage to a degree. Good job, Harigae-san. Nodding back, Haruhi released Sora slowly, unsure if she should, but it was necessary in order to claim a seat. Upon sitting down, Haruhi fixed her hair, eyes locked on the stranger in the room, fiery and just daring him to give her adequate reasoning to unleash herself upon him. The girl's expression as dangerous as that of a lion that is itching to turn on the cruel tamers at the circus.

"If you must know, I was stunned. It was difficult to word how stunned I was. Put simply, I was hoping we would never meet again."

Haruhi almost choked on her own breath at Sora's words, bringing her knuckles to her lips as she gathered herself. It was brazen, but she believed it to be an excellent jab. The other guy drew first blood anyway, so it was only fair to return the favor in kind. She would have said much worse, but Haruhi was often told that she was ruled by her heart rather than logic on most days.

"Now he is being pouty. He must really like you. I'll try not to third wheel for too long."

This made Haruhi's eyes switch between the two for a second, trying to figure out what the angle of that comment was. Was this guy just trying to get under her skin? To get a reaction out of Sora again? She doubted that he meant anything he was saying in that sentence, but if he believed they were a couple in actuality, that Sora actually had feelings for her, she was doing her job and Sora was doing a decent job acting as well, despite his issues with lying, "I would hope so." Haruhi responded with a gentle chuckle as if what he had said was basic knowledge. Reaching over, Haruhi first gave Sora's shoulder a squeeze as she leaned in, "Act natural..." she warned him, but he only had a fraction of a second before her lips met his cheek. It was the most affection she was allowed to show by the agency, but as they lived in Japan there was nothing peculiar about that. The country was pretty conservative where public displays of affection of any level were concerned. It was more alarming to see a couple kiss than to not, and it worked to their favor. Why would a girl that wasn't dating him go to that length in front of someone else? Reputation was highly important in Japan, especially for a woman.

"Mixed Sashimi platter and Miso Soup."

Tapping her cheek, Haruhi couldn't decide what to get, but she didn't linger, "I'll have the Shrimp Ankake Donburi with the Zucchini and Potatoes, please." While it was a simple dish, Haruhi had a secret weakness for shrimp. A powerful one. She was floored by the price, though she knew she should have expected as much. She'd been to restaurants of all calibers thanks to her unorthodox job, but it never ceased to amaze her how overinflated high rated restaurant prices were even if the dish wasn't complex to make. Still, she wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to have one of her absolute favorite morsels.

Taking a sip of her tea, Haruhi let out a contented sigh. Her throat was feeling quite dry due to the situation and the tea was quite soothing in that regard. The silence, although hardly a good thing was a welcome reprieve, although she knew it would hardly last.

"You said you had two guesses?"

The blonde simply nodded, taking another sip of the tea provided to them. She wasn't entirely thrilled to be the focus of the unknown man, but she would step up to the plate, she was being paid to support Sora after all and she wasn't a slacker, most notably when it came to her work.

"If I may, what were they? I promise to take no offense."

Placing her glass back down on the table gently, Haruhi closed her eyes for a moment, "Well..." she trailed off, giving herself a moment to steel herself for whatever would come next, the girl opened her honey-hued eyes, but by then Sora had interjected.

"He was my cousin and then my half brother and half-cousin as it was discovered my father had an affair with my mother's sister and now that he can stop hiding his hair color, he's become too proud about our resemblance to our father."

Haruhi found that the truth was quite a bit more complicated than she ever could have guessed. The girl shrugged off her observations. Anyone that looked at the two males could deduce that they were related, but she was hardly a detective, certainly not one with the practically psychic nature of Sherlock Holmes. She stood no chance of guessing all that, but she supposed that was the point. It was a game she was meant to lose, the cards stacked against her from 'go'.

"The truth is never pure and simple is it?"

"That is a flaw of humanity, not truth itself. Humans tend to be compulsive liars and it is a choice to butcher the truth, regardless of the intent behind it." Haruhi interjected this time, her eyes locked on the older of the two as she defended Sora's conviction despite how she voiced it could be a problem with their situation when they returned to school. She valued the truth, to an extent. She preferred it when possible, but there were circumstances where one would be destroyed if the truth came out, regardless of how innocent it was. Humans were a cruel race, there was nothing else to be said.

"Harigae, Koichi. I didn't know Sora-kun wouldn't be alone today but I thank you for your patience. There are family matters we must attend to whether he acknowledges me as family or not. He still carries the Harigae name. I hope you understand that family comes first before pleasure."

Although she was hesitant to give her real name, she did not use her real name on the girlfriend-for-hire website, so it seemed safe enough, "Morinozuka, Haruhi. I take family quite seriously." She stated fairly flat, obviously not to agree with him, it was a statement to her dedication to her own family, to Alexei.

"Sora-kun. I'll cut to the chase. Your adoption was never meant to last and in the event that it did, it was ensured that you would only be passed around under the Harigae name. Your uncle lured you here under the guise of a luncheon with his friends. It is actually a luncheon among family and deciding the successor. It comes down to you and I, me as the eldest and you for legitimacy."

Being of the middle class, Haruhi knew that there was a hierarchy, her family had ties to the Russian Mafia after all, and she could remember what it was like, albeit her memories felt more like dreams she'd had as a child and tried to recollect years later. It was distant, blurry. She'd naturally lost bits and pieces of her past over time as new memories were made. Still, her head was spinning as she tried to take in what Koichi was saying. Is he so wealthy that his family was this reminiscent of a J-drama? He was a potential heir to his family?

"Will you challenge me?"

With her breath catching in her throat, she couldn't imagine what Sora was going through. She didn't even have all the details, but she could tell that there was a lot of weight to that question. Sora's decision would be life-changing and they were only in high school! She didn't even know what colleges she wanted to apply to yet, or what career she would like to pursue and yet he was expected to make a decision like that on the spot when he was tricked in regards to the nature of this meeting altogether... Poor Harigae-san... I can't even imagine what he must be feeling... Haruhi thought to herself bitterly, unable to do much about such important family matters.

"I hate you all. Liars."

With her dark eyes flickering between Sora and Koichi, Haruhi placed her hand on Sora's beneath the table, giving it a firm squeeze, the only support she could really give him in front of his brother, she couldn't use her words much in fear of giving herself up as an imposter, "Are you so threatened by your younger brother that you must ambush him in such a way?" Haruhi stepped up to the plate, verbally challenging Koichi. It was certainly an overstep as a mere escort, but she wanted to give Sora a brief reprieve and she could certainly handle herself. She wasn't made of fragile glass, she had already been through quite a lot in her life, this man certainly could not break her, especially with words alone. It was nothing more than sticks and stones.

"What is the truth, really? There are so many sides to a story. Isn't the truth what we make of it? So, why not make it pretty and neatly packaged if it comforts the many?"

While Haruhi could agree that interpretation differed quite a bit, the truth could only be stretched so thin before it became a bold-faced lie. Truth always had the same essence at it's core, regardless of the telling, that she was certain of. She had told plenty of bold-faced lies, even one to Sora, but they were always told for her brother's best interest and her own well-being, it always came down to safety. She definitely didn't lie because she enjoyed it. Having to remember all the lies she told was exhausting work, "I disagree, lies you have to keep track of and they only pile up, becoming a mess, like yarn left alone with a kitten. When someone tells their truth, they don't have to rehearse it because it is their interpretation, not a deliberate deception." Haruhi knew she was being a hypocrite as she was trying to deceive Koichi, her job description was deception, but she respected Sora and his convictions, she didn't like that this guy was so aggressively attacking them to tear him down. It was a cheap tactic he was using in an attempt to weaken his competition and that left a bad taste in Haruhi's mouth, she couldn't just watch.

"No. Truth is one, paths are many. It's better to get hurt by the truth than comforted with a lie. Truth is not for comfort, it's for liberation."

While Haruhi did not know the source, she had heard the last part of the quote and she smiled as Sora used his intelligence to shut down his older brother. Why was she getting so involved with this? She'd seen families feud before during work, sure it wasn't quite to this scale, but she'd always held her tongue and done her job. She was legitimately getting angry over this though. I'm not his girlfriend and this is not my life, I get to walk away when all of this is said and done...I shouldn't have said nearly as much as I have already. Haruhi scolded herself.

"Just like now? How about I give you some time to mull it over with your lady? We'll be waiting for your answer. I'm sure you'll find your way."

Once Koichi had left, Haruhi released Sora's hand and let out a loud sigh of relief, "I hate that guy." she agreed, now that she could be a bit more honest. Still...she could tell that Sora was overwhelmed, and she knew she had no right to say anything about his predicament, he was the one that would have to live with his choice after all...but still she felt compelled to give her opinion, "My opinion doesn't mean anything... and I definitely don't know anything about anything regarding your family or your life... but just after meeting that guy... I would fight him tooth and nail for that spot, he's obviously threatened by you." Haruhi began, popping a single shrimp in her mouth before taking a sip of the green tea. She swallowed first before continuing, "The best way to make them pay, or to change the family is to lead it. You can do nothing from the bottom... Still, it is your life and only you can live it. It's up to you. I'll follow your lead, whatever you decide, and I apologize for my behavior. It was very unprofessional." It seemed her original intent to hold her tongue had long been thrown out the door. I just can't keep my damn mouth shut, can I? Haruhi thought to herself, exhausted by her inability to shut up when truly angered.

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Misaki Serinuma Character Portrait: Hiro Oshiro
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#, as written by Stiles
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Awkward. She was spewing out word vomit while her potential kidnapper wasn't saying a word. This was already pretty humiliating but it seemed she was intent on making it worse, so was the story of her life, really. It was kind of tragic, but she never really found a way to correct herself from vomiting words in an uncomfortable situation regardless of how much worse it made a situation rather than salvaging it.

The soundless driver was only unnerving her further. He wasn't getting violent, like the kidnappers often did with their victims in all the crime shows. She watched a ton of Forensic Files and the like, enjoying re-enactments quite a bit, they scared the crap out of her, but she just couldn't stop. It emboldened her fear of getting close to men, but it was a big part of her nightly ritual if she wasn't burning the candle at both ends to squeeze in more BL Manga.

Her situation had become all the more dire without her phone or money, but she couldn't change her situation. She was already in a moving vehicle with a stranger, jumping out would only result in injury, or death. It was much riskier to try something like that, at least she assumed it was. The stranger was an unknown in comparison to taking her chances with the road, but she'd already suffered enough trauma related to cars and the asphalt. She wasn't brave enough to try even if it was the safer option in the long run, even without the equally frightening situation she'd found herself in moments ago.

“Take deep breaths and try to relax.”

As he completely ignored her attempts to escape him, Misaki's gaze shifted nervously. She was trapped, and the destination was a mystery. She had no way of telling anyone where she was or who she was with, even after learning his name. That was useless if she wound up dead in a ditch or buried somewhere in the woods. The dead couldn't speak. When I screw up I go for the gold I guess... The violet haired girl sucked in a breath as she was instructed, but she was unable to steady it at first. The uncertain situation did nothing to help her relax, but she did accept that panicking would only make things worse. It hindered logic and interfered with storing memories. If there was any chance of making a run for it, she wouldn't find it or succeed if she didn't make an effort to calm down. Would...anyone even care if I did disappear though? Would anyone really notice? My family already considers me a burden...and school... I'm nobody... Misaki thought to herself, pretty sure that her family wasn't even concerned by her absence. They were too used to it, and probably would be grateful to have her gone at this point.

As much as she hated to admit it, he was right. If this was a BL Manga I would like this situation a lot more... He's got the looks for it, and I assume he would be a Seme... he's far too assertive to be an Uke. Misaki thought to herself, turning her head to stare out the window. In truth, she was just doing her best to hide her expressions from him. This was not the time to fantasize and indulge the Fujoshi side of her personality, but it was the only way she knew how to remove herself from a scenario, it was pacifying, her go-to when it came to coping with anything too intense to handle otherwise.

“What happened back there was... a close call but as far as I could tell, no one was injured, my car wasn’t damaged and my car didn’t hit you but I saw the way you froze up in the middle of the road. Whether it was by mistake or on purpose, I’m escorting you to get psychologically evaluated and I won’t let you go until it is conclusive.”

Emerald eyes widened in horror, but with her eyes on the passenger side window, it wasn't easily seen unless he was looking the same way and happened to be looking at her reflection, which she was gambling he wouldn't, as he was the driver and had almost been part of an accident moments prior. A psych evaluation... No! No! No! Her parents could not find out about this! She would be disowned for running away again. They wouldn't believe her that it wasn't her intention, and the accident she nearly caused? ...She would be in so much trouble... Misaki was already eighteen, her family could kick her out easily... and she didn't know how to survive on her own. She was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, she never had to work a day in her life aside from her forced exercise regimen. This stranger probably meant well, but if her parents were notified she had gone to psych, had gone so far without notifying them, she'd be in a world of shit. The road to hell was paved with good intentions. That was the quote that came to mind in the moment.

“I’m Oshiro, Hiro. You don’t have to tell me your name if you don’t want to. I understand this is a strange way of introductions and perhaps, you may wish to forget this ever happened afterward.”

While she had already overheard his name, he offered it up on his own to introduce himself. He'd hit the nail on the head when he mentioned she might not want to offer up her own to him. She certainly did not. If she gave her name it only made it easier to contact her parents, so she met him halfway, "...For now, you can just call me Misa..." She was wary of him, making sure to not give him her surname or her entire first name, instead choosing her childhood nickname. This was not because he had behaved suspiciously, well, aside from snatching her up from the scene without even asking for her consent. He was being kind enough, intrusive, but kind enough that there were not any other red flags she'd picked up on. No, the distrust was due to his gender, more than the circumstances. Any woman would be wary of a random guy kidnapping them, but Misaki wasn't just any woman, she was a different breed, for better or worse, and the internet believed it to be for worse. The depictions of Fujoshi were just hurtful, despite her having been the poster child for one not too long ago.

As the car stopped, Misaki would be a liar if she said she wasn't a little tempted to try to open the passenger door and jump out. There was one important factor she was in too much shock to remember, however... Had he put the child safety lock on? She couldn't recall for the life of her! That made it too risky to try, because if she couldn't get the door open, she was at risk of angering him. Attempting an escape without knowing if he had locked her in properly ran too high of a risk of triggering violence that the stranger was not yet displaying. His unexpected movement toward her earned a jolt from Misaki, who relaxed upon realizing his actual intent, "...Thank you..." she replied hesitantly, a little embarrassed by her hypervigilance. Sure, the situation warranted it, but she didn't spend much time with guys.

Upon inspecting the handkerchief, Misaki blinked down at it. Although she was plenty wealthy in her own right, it seemed to be too nice of fabric to be used to wipe her eyes with. It appeared more decorative than functional, "Are you sure...?" She asked, waiting a moment for confirmation before gently dabbing her eyes. She thankfully did not often wear makeup, so at least it would not be stained by anything other than her tears.

“Once you’ve been evaluated, you may do as you please. If there’s any trauma caused as a result, I’ll see to it you are made comfortable and compensated as much as possible with or without my direct involvement. I understand that trauma victims may prefer not to have any contact with sore reminders.”

His words took her aback, he'd been nothing but civil with her, at least verbally thus far, but if there was any truth to what he'd just said, at least at some point she would be free to go home. The only hitch to any of this was that she was a serial runaway and she was on her last strike, any notification to her family would likely result in her being ejected from her home and her birth father's door being slammed in her face. She would have no one to turn to, and with no idea how to survive in the real world that was a dangerous situation to be in, "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 last bit obviously had nothing to do with him, as there was no malice in her words, and she didn't cower from him any more than she had already distanced herself. She was referring to something else, but did not feel inclined to tell the unpredictable stranger her life story. The less that he knew about her, the better. That meant it would be much harder to notify her family of anything, by him, or any psychologist.

“Now, I am imposing but I feel as responsible about what happened as you do and I’d prefer to deal with the matter as I see fit than leaving it in the hands of the authorities who have no personal obligations in what happens next.”

The mention of police made the girl freeze solid, she definitely did not seem to enjoy that alternative, perhaps less than he would have. She had too many run-ins with the authorities of too many surrounding cities to count over the years and with the threat of being disowned by her entire family she was not keen to have another. Ever.

“I rambled, didn’t I? My apologies. Well, I hope you feel a little more at ease. Feel free to ask me any questions or we may travel in silence.”

With a sigh, she resigned to more casual conversation,"I am guilty of doing that often." She bit her bottom lip. Misaki was undeniably a nervous talker, he had been her most recent victim not too long ago, so it wasn't something she felt she had to hide, she couldn't. As the car continued on its path, Misaki took a quiet breath in. Did she want to talk further? Her brain said not to, but the silence wasn't favorable either, it always made her uneasy, even without a tense situation like the one she found herself in now. On the flip side, if she spoke too much she could say things that she shouldn't, divulge information she preferred to keep to herself.

“We’re here.”

Thank God. I don't have to decide. Misaki thought to herself, a weight taken off her shoulders, but a new one added on in its place. A hotel? Her brows furrowed in confusion. Didn't he say he was taking her to get an evaluation on her mental state? Misaki unbuckled her seatbelt, unsure if what anything he had said was the truth at this point, but this was potentially a moment she could run, if she was quick enough. However, when Hiro beat the valet to the punch in opening the passenger door, she begrudgingly accepted she didn't have a route of escape once again. It felt like he was reading her mind at every turn. Was she giving that much away with her facial expressions or was he just thinking of these things before she could? It was anyone's guess, she had been told she was an easy read because she struggled to not be an expressive person, but she'd done her best at certain points to hide her face at least....

"I already had plans before meeting you and I would like to see my schedule through without further disruption. Shall we?”

With the army of his subordinates surrounding them, all hope of making a break for it any time soon seemed lost, "As if there is a choice in that question..." She whispered under her breath, especially given how they were surrounded, much like a security detail protecting the president. Following along without incident, Misaki pouted a bit. Every plan she made, he managed to thwart seamlessly. However as they entered the elevator, Misaki swallowed hard. She was a bit claustrophobic. It was only bad when the space was enclosed, and until elevators stopped and the doors opened, they were essentially just a box without escape. She'd seen too many suddenly stop between floors in horror movies. Clenching her hands into fists, she closed her eyes, trying not to think too much into it. The last thing she needed was to have another freak out session. It didn't stop her throat from feeling tight or her heart from pounding in her ears. though. That was involuntary. It'll be over soon. It'll be over soon. It's okay. You're okay. she tried to tell herself, channeling her father's words when she was little in similar situations. At times, elevators were unavoidable after all.

When she realized that Hiro was looking at her, Misaki jolted, heat rushing to her cheeks. The dark-haired girl was startled, side-stepping intuitively before she could stop herself from visibly verifying that she was cautious of him and on the shyer side in general. As he moved closer, her heart only pounded harder. While she was already dangerously aware of how small the area they were in was, especially with three other people inside the elevator, Misaki was more aware of it in that moment as she had little room to move away and trying to escape him in such conditions would only be a pathetic joke. She also became aware of their difference in height, which was alarming as she was a few inches above average in that department for a girl of Chinese and Japanese lineage.

"I will arrange for your psychological evaluation in one of the meeting rooms then meet with you after to see how it went. Answer truthfully."

...Seriously... was he reading her mind or what? How did he know that she intended to lie throughout the evaluation? Her eyes averted, once again caught by what she could only guess to be his eerie superpower or that she was in fact, a pathetically transparent person. It was alarming and annoying either way! The change in his tone was not lost on her, but Misaki said nothing, it would serve no purpose, especially when she was outnumbered. The fact that he cloaked her shoulders in his coat was contradicting his tone, but if his hands were still on her shoulders he would feel her shiver as he leaned in. Every fiber of her being told her to pull away, but there wasn't really anywhere to go. He could get to her in any corner of the elevator. It was futile to jerk away, but after he whispered those words in her ear she did so anyway, quite quickly. Whipping around so her back was facing him, Misaki only hoped she was quick enough to conceal the explosion of color that had claimed her face. If her fear of tight spaces didn't have her feeling lightheaded, she certainly felt so now. It wasn't uncommon for her to faint if she got too close to a guy physically or became too embarrassed, but she didn't want to lose consciousness, not in this situation. What would he say then? That she needs a full medical check-up!? No, she was going to do her best to get out of here as quickly as possible, "W-What choice do I have?!" She squeaked out, finding the request to be redundant given the measures he'd gone to that ensured she had nowhere to run.

It was becoming quite clear to Misaki that this guy was toying with her now. Despite her efforts to conceal her reaction, her hand had come up to her ear reflexively when she had felt his breath on it and it was still covering it. Why couldn't she have been overweight again? This situation reminded her of a meme. The more you weigh, the harder you are to kidnap... Stay safe... Eat cake. He could not have carried her so easily from the scene had she not lost all that weight, nor would so many guys at Airdalen be so interested in messing with her. I was invisible until mother interfered! This is all her fault! On another note, is Airdalen full of sadists? And if that isn’t the case, why do I encounter them so often!?

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Character Portrait: Akira Blake Character Portrait: Rhys Browning
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ImageRhys gulped, his adam's apple bobbing. He felt Akira's hands shake in his and wondered if he said too much, too soon. He didn't believe himself talented at inspirational talks or with words in general. Taking action was more his forte in handling difficult situations. However, the mess Akira had landed herself in was unusual and he had no bright ideas on what kind of action he could take on it except for confronting Miyamoto about the blackmail. Everything else was beyond his means. He didn't know how strict the punishment would be if the school found out about her falsified records. Akira had some sort of idea about it bringing up expulsion and charges. The more he thought about it, the more his brain was muddled.

”What kind of idiot..." Akira whispered and Rhys silently and mentally agreed. He did feel stupid for not being able to understand everything and reach a clear cut solution. ”Aren’t you mad at me? Who doesn’t yell at someone that deceived them, everyone, from the start...?” Akira laughed a little, easing Rhys' nerves a bit that he hadn't completely messed up his wording. "Why would I yell at you for being a girl?" Rhys tossed a question back because even though it was a shocking secret, it wasn't friendship damaging in his view. "You're still Akira or aren't you?" He asked another, standing his ground that she was still the same person, classmate, a friend from the start. If he was blunter and more studious, he would have pointed out that the only difference was their biology, chromosomes, sexual organs, and all that scientific mumbo jumbo but his simple statement would have to do.

Rhys stared on as Akira's expressions shifted, eventually leading up to a smile. ”Same here. I might not be the wingman you thought I was, but wingwomen still exist too.” Rhys was confused and it showed as he raised an eyebrow questioningly. He didn't understand how being a wingman or wing-woman was relevant to the conversation. He didn't even know that Akira was pinning him with Shiori. "I don't need one." he said, almost sounding overconfident in pursuing women but that was not his intention as he continued, "I just need you to be.. you."

When Akira stepped away from him and removed her hands, he didn't force it and let her be. The intensity of the topic was slowly easing up and he was glad for that. ”Though... I guess maybe that makes you a perv after all, trying to talk me out of my shirt under the guise of advice. There are rumors about you and Harigae-senpai and the pool. Too bad I’m not a guy after all, huh~? I support you anyway, Reese.” Rhys recoiled visibly as the realization hit of how inappropriate his earlier suggestion was given the truth of her gender. "Oi! Y-You know I wouldn't have... if I had known." He rubbed the back of his head and his eyes darted away uncomfortably. "And what do you mean too bad you're not...? Fuck, do I need to say that I am straight?" Rhys rambled his thoughts aloud a little more than usual to reply to Akira's tease but mostly, to empty his noggin of all the information suddenly shoved up there. Letting it out a little helped.

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“How about a game of Horse?” Akira suggested, bouncing the basketball in front of him with a grin. “Unless now you’re afraid to lose?” Rhys smirked, his competitive nature kicking in and overriding the awkwardness. "Never." He extended his hand out to take the ball from her hands as the winner of the previous game. He knew there was that courteous tradition of ladies first but he didn't think it applied here. Akira seemed to have shared that information not to be treated any differently, but just to be honest with a friend and so he would honor that as best he could. He knew deep down though, it would change things inevitably but that wasn't worth worrying about right now anyway. He carried the ball to the three-point line and faced his back towards the hoop. "I'm shooting behind my back." He set an extra challenge because of Akira's taunting and because he wanted to try it out for himself. He used to be pretty damn good at those but it had been some time. He breathed in and out then took the shot. He heard the basketball hit the corner of the backboard, turned around, and watched it fall right in the hoop much to his relief. Rhys patted the side of his neck feeling it stiffen a bit. "Your turn." He didn't make a move to put his shirt back on despite the newly discovered fact he was playing against a girl. It wasn't comparable to the swim club where he was already prepared to be around the opposite gender because this time around, he had stripped halfway without the awareness but he decided to just deal with it. Stay the same.


Athleticism +1

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Character Portrait: Sora Harigae Character Portrait: Haruhi Morinozuka
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#, as written by Tinkers
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⌠ When I ride by myself
I don’t ever get no help
But when I roll up with her
Everybody calls me sir. ⌡


【Train - Call Me Sir ft. Cam, Travie McCoy】

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"Act natural..."

Sora didn't know what Haruhi was telling him to do per se. He was already acting natural as far as he could tell. He was as natural as could be at the very least in the presence of someone so detestable like his older half brother/cousin. He wasn't good at reading between the lines or taking the hint unfortunately due to his social ineptitude. In a flash, Haruhi had kissed him on the cheek directly in front of Koichi. Even as that happened, Sora was still clueless what Haruhi wanted him to act natural about but he did react with a small smile because of the affectionate gesture. The smile couldn't last though as the conversation jumped right back to family business after they had decided on their orders off the menu.

"That is a flaw of humanity, not truth itself. Humans tend to be compulsive liars and it is a choice to butcher the truth, regardless of the intent behind it."

Sora nodded firmly, feeling somewhat proud of his fake girlfriend's comment. Koichi was the eldest in the room but he was outnumbered 2 to 1. He was so proud in fact that he was definitely giving her a tip after this ordeal. It was certainly refreshing to hear someone else valuing the truth as much as he did. It wasn't easy in his experience especially after being bullied left, right and center. Then again, he remembered what Haruhi said about revealing the nature of the transaction. I've...just seen this occupation nearly ruin lives due to the lies of others, the bullying is intense, girls have gotten death threats... " Sora paused for a bit trying to piece Haruhi's logic together and concluded it was still true. She called lying a choice, a choice that is made regardless of intent. She requested that he lie for her and she told him the intent behind it too. He had also experienced bullying and death threats to a certain degree and wouldn't wish it upon his greatest enemy. It was still a conflicting inner battle what he'd do put on the spot about the transaction but he didn't have much time to dwell on it at the moment. Koichi was really pushing and in his face.

"Morinozuka, Haruhi. I take family quite seriously."

Sora nibbled on his bottom lip because he didn't know about Haruhi's family and what they were like. Maybe it was the top student within him but he did worry for a split second that he was going to be quizzed on the topic and not know any of the answers. That split second past of course and the topic was indeed not quizzed at all. It would have been odd if they were dating but he had no knowledge on the girlfriend's family. It wouldn't slip past just anyone and Sora in particular who was the curious sort.

Haruhi's hand squeezed his under the table. He was rattled and overwhelmed by such talks that his hand was shaking even as she held it. Her soft and warm skin was comforting but his mind was still racing, balancing thoughts that bounced off the walls too quickly for him to catch sometimes. He was trying to process all of it and treat it like studying for an exam but it was not that simple. He was personally invested in the matter and his pained heart wouldn't let him forget it.

"Are you so threatened by your younger brother that you must ambush him in such a way?"

His brain sparked at the mention of ambush, revisiting memories of books he had read. There were different ambush tactics consisting of hasty, deliberate, point, area, formation, linear and L-shaped. It was safe to say that this was a deliberate ambush conducted at a predetermined location against a specific target namely himself, for a specific purpose, most likely destroy or capture. His uncle must have intended capture but Koichi intended to destroy. Such comparison was oddly sufficient at helping him grasp the situation better.

"I disagree, lies you have to keep track of and they only pile up, becoming a mess, like yarn left alone with a kitten. When someone tells their truth, they don't have to rehearse it because it is their interpretation, not a deliberate deception."

Sora tried to picture a yarn left alone with a kitten but he wasn't good at daydreaming and he hadn't actually seen a kitten left alone with yarn before so it was even harder to visualize. However, he had seen kittens and yarn separately. Additionally, Haruhi indicated it would become a mess. He would have to see for himself someday. Refocusing on the subject matter of truth, he did agree that lies were messy and tiresome. He honestly did not see any benefit at all to lying besides potentially not being bullied perhaps.
"I hate that guy."

Sora couldn't agree more as Koichi finally left them alone."..." Sora wanted to say something to express his agreement but he was out of words and out of sorts as if he had used up all his strength already to keep that conversation going for as long as it did.

"My opinion doesn't mean anything... and I definitely don't know anything about anything regarding your family or your life... but just after meeting that guy... I would fight him tooth and nail for that spot, he's obviously threatened by you."

Sora stared at the ground thinking it over. He didn't feel threatening. He wasn't physically strong and brawny, the eldest, powerful or possessing any traits that he believed suited the word, 'threatening.' Had he been threatening, he might not have been bullied so much particularly by a younger, junior student (Rocco). His body was beaten up and battered and now, so was his mind. "Threatened by me?" he asked for clarity.

"The best way to make them pay, or to change the family is to lead it. You can do nothing from the bottom... Still, it is your life and only you can live it. It's up to you. I'll follow your lead, whatever you decide, and I apologize for my behavior. It was very unprofessional."

Sora was smart enough to see the logic in her suggestion. He wasn't revenge driven but in order to create change, influence is required and the easiest way would be to lead it as the rest just follows like dominoes. He just wasn't sure if he wanted to be involved to begin with to create that change. Couldn't someone else do it? Why did it have to be him? There were so many members of the Harigae family and it was just coincidence that he was the son of his father.
"Am I allowed to hug you?" Sora asked, considerate of the rules and regulations that may apply to her occupation. For the first time in forever, Sora cried. He didn't even cry as a child. It wasn't loud or noisy as he took deep breaths to hold it in and only couldn't control his tears that silently rolled down his cheeks. He didn't understand why he was crying either. He couldn't differentiate the cause but after that overwhelming sensation building inside him, he just needed to and that was the truth. After crying and hugging her tightly, he calmed down and settled gradually into his normal self. "I have to go and face them now. If you still want to continue..." He kissed her on the cheek and copied, "Act natural."

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tsukiko Kitogawa Character Portrait: Chase Kaufman
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Image

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Tsukiko did feel a bit guilty that she invited him to a party where they would be serving alcohol, she knew him long enough to know that he wouldn't turn down anything offered to him. He was far to polite to decline, even though doing so wasn't always an insult to someone, her friend was overly polite. When those oceanic blue eyes closed again she couldn't help giggling a little, "I felt pretty bad when I woke up too. Gomenasai~" she chimed her apology. While she felt bad, she wasn't entirely sorry. His company was appreciated, those parties always made her nervous attending alone. Not because she was scared that something bad would happen to her, just the fact that she knew no one was a little disheartening, she was the least popular given she was not from the country as many of the other idols were. The Korean idol didn't have any clout in Japan yet.

"Good morning, Ku‘uipo."

Right. They did playfully refer to each other that way the day before...but after what they did...it hit a little different hearing him say it, "Good morning, Aein~" Tsukiko chimed, smiling despite her nerves getting the best of her. It was more potent after the incident. It made the corner of her lips curve upward just a little, an uneasy smile threatening to cross them, an expression she didn't purposefully make. This was odd as Tsukiko usually was able to control her expressions, even under fire in some intense interviews over her scandalous behaviors and rumors that her manager always managed to make any evidence of this disappear. It was only now that Tsukiko realized the state of her bed, blinking a few times. Just how wasted were they when they got home? Well, that would maybe help a few things in regard to what happened the night before. Would he... remember? A part of her sincerely hoped he wouldn't. It would be much easier if he forgot it. Maybe, just maybe she could pretend things were fine if he didn't recall.

Although she knew it Chase's humming wasn't for the purpose of easing her nerves, it did help her relax a little. He seemed to be in a good enough mood to hum, so maybe he didn't remember the kiss after all? It was just conjecture, but it was possible and she was going to cling to even the slightest possibility. Alcohol had all sorts of effects after all.


Taking away from the elephant in the room for just a moment, Tsukiko had to admit it was refreshing to see Chase in a bit of disorder. Looking him over now was a bit dangerous, given the dim lighting and her brain being all tangled up, but it also came as a relief to know that even he was human. To see the occasional flaw in her friend was practically unheard of, but it seemed even Chase was a bit disconcerted. He typically went to great lengths to keep his appearance orderly, even when partying. It had been years so things could have changed, but it was still helpful to see a more human and imperfect side of her friend all the same.

When she visibly caught him gulping, she wondered if he was recalling the kiss, but then she remembered that her shirt was open enough to make her already ample amount of cleavage pretty visible and she was leaning over him pretty far. He'd seen plenty of her body the night before... it should have been fine, but it made her swallow pretty hard as well. A blush formed on her cheeks, Tsukiko not even sure why it was embarrassing her. She'd been in far less clothing not long ago with a certain Airdalen bad boy. This should have been nothing, nothing at all! She wasn't innocent, not by a landslide!

It seemed pretty fair to say that Chase did not forget the game they'd played the night before considering his reaction just then. Accepting that she wouldn't be able to pretend that it didn't happen, her heart began hammering in her chest. Would this ruin their friendship? They were under a lot of pressure, she was among all of her peers so it wasn't like Chase had much of a choice if he didn't want to humiliate her... He probably only did it to preserve her dignity.

As her mind raced to justify what happened, to make sense of it in a way that she could accept, Tsukiko's eyes shifted nervously. A twinge of fear sparkled in amber hues despite her efforts to rein her emotions in. To stay in control like she was in her interviews, on stage, why wasn't it working!? Fuck!

Chase raising up caused Tsukiko's heart to all but lodge in her throat. After the kiss, having him that close was unnerving, confusing, and against her best effort to steel her expression, her lips trembled as her cheeks became dusted with a much darker shade of red. Pull yourself together! This wasn't your first kiss, you've done much more serious stuff! Tsukiko scolded herself for acting like a total girl. Love, serious relationships, soulmates, she'd disregarded silly things like that a long time ago.

"Did you have fun?"

That felt like a loaded question, and as he only sat up more, Tsukiko's hand that was supporting her on the bed trembled a little, her long slender fingers gripping the sheet below them. He had been a gentleman, he didn't force himself on her, but she might have been more comfortable with what happened if he had been overly assertive. It was the nice guys that truly weakened her resolve after all. The assholes, the bad boys, she knew how to deal with them, she enjoyed it and found it quite easy to walk away. It was guys like Chase she didn't know what to do with, that were too...good. It frightened her to deal with his type in an amorous sense, especially him, he was her best friend! She didn't want to lose him, but could she face what they did? How it made her feel?

She typically avoided guys similar to Chase like the plague, but they were friends. They had been friends since before she became settled in her role as a massive flirt. Who could have guessed they would find themselves in this situation? They'd had a ton of opportunities before, it never happened. They were always just great friends...but now a line had been crossed they couldn't uncross.

The soft, almost ticklish sensation of Chase's hand caressing her cheek forced Tsukiko back to reality and her golden eyes widened considerably. He was so much closer, memories from the night before washing over her all over again, as if she even needed that reminder! She could still feel his hand on the bare skin of her back despite being mostly dressed now without Chase sparking up the memories within her. The way his thumb traced her lips the night before and he had drawn her in, it was all so fresh in her mind as if it was happening all over again. Her breath hitched between his gentle touch and revisiting the moment that changed everything. They had kissed, and in front of so many people. He'd protected their faces, her reputation, but it still happened even if there was no photo evidence, even if she was safe from media backlash. They knew.

Moreso, they still had to face this, or pretend it didn't happen... which she wasn't even sure she could do convincingly, not when he was close enough that she could feel his breath. This...This wasn't supposed to happen. He is too precious to simply toss aside like everyone else... It is what she did with her paramours when things got too complicated, but she was too vulnerable to actually build her walls back up. He was important... no one was supposed to be important, at least not romantically ever, ever again... and yet they kissed.

Even worse, she couldn't get it out of her head. And she couldn't admit it, even to herself, else it may grow roots, but the less responsible part of her had liked it, likely the culprit making it so difficult to focus with him so close. It had been tender, more than a little romantic, like something out of an epic teen romance film. Even with Makoto, they were too young to have a moment like that, the relationship with her first love was innocent, sweet, but clumsy. It was each of their first relationships, they were just learning about love... but...he died. She still couldn't admit that to herself. She couldn't face the guilt... so something pure, it terrified her.

She'd managed to avoid anything serious, to avoid getting close to a guy since Makoto, but Chase was in the friend zone... it blindsided her, the way she found herself feeling, and their intoxicated kiss... The thought of being helpless, of losing someone again, it had her trembling, the thought of losing him was just as terrifying as facing him as a man. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck! Tsukiko couldn't remember the last time she was this nervous, this embarrassed. This unguarded, "I'm...I'm sorry. I didn't mean to put you in a situation like that... She started, deciding to address it, even if it was the last thing she wanted to do. She was acting too out of character to just blow it off. She hated it, but she couldn't deny that the kiss had an effect on her behavior toward him. With her breath hitching, Tsukiko tried to avoid any acknowledgment that they had felt anything, "It must have been a lot of pressure, especially as we were drinking." Tsukiko forced a small laugh, running her free hand through her loose, waved hair. She was attempting to make light of the situation, but between her tremulous breaths, her body shaking like a leaf in the wind, and her voice wavering at times, her acting, for once, was completely off the mark. What am I doing...?





Charm: +1 to Chase




2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sora Harigae Character Portrait: Haruhi Morinozuka
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#, as written by Strix
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"Threatened by me?"

Tapping her cheek, Haruhi took another bite as she mulled over how to respond. The meal presented to her was more than delightful, as expected when made by such a talented chef, but she could not truly enjoy it with everything going on... While she knew what she wanted to say to Sora, she wasn’t exactly great with her words, and she did not wish for him to misunderstand her with such a serious matter at hand. Sure, she was doing okay before with Koichi, but a lot of that was done without much thought, it was instinct! He had triggered her protective older sister mode. As an older sibling herself, someone with a younger brother of her own, Koichi’s treatment of Sora angered her so much that she said some things without filtering herself. It was the result of a spitfire reaction. A lot of that anger had dissipated after he left, so she was now left fumbling to explain herself.

Swallowing only her second bite from her plate, Haruhi resigned to the fact that Koichi had ruined the meal and there was no salvaging it, even for her. Considering the delicious shrimp in front of her, one of her favorite foods, it was an incredible feat. It was extremely difficult to sour Haruhi’s appetite, but the older man had pretty much succeeded. Sigh. What a pity... it looks so good.

A slender hand slid her plate away solemnly, Haruhi turning to face Sora, crossing her ankles before getting to business, ”You don’t see it?" She asked first, in pure disbelief. Haruhi did not know Sora well, but he picked up on her shoes, something most men would not notice, or even comment on... "He’s tearing into you so hard to ensure you’re subdued. He wants to squash your will to fight before the true fight even begins. He is afraid you’ll challenge him and someone might think it would make sense to name you the more fitting successor.” Haruhi did her best to put her thoughts in to words, closing her eyes to steal a moment to regroup in her head. She wasn’t personally experienced in this area, so she was incredibly nervous throwing her two cents out, but she had watched enough shows like ‘Heirs’ and ‘What's Wrong with Secretary Kim?’ to have a few theories. Sure, those were fake, tv shows, but she liked to think they were based off real scenarios, or at least inspired by incidents that the elite had to deal with.

It made them seem more human, having problems of their own to overcome, ”Think about it... why take this approach if he wasn’t trying to shake you up? And why would he need to if he wasn’t threatened by your claim to the succession? Haruhi challenged Sora's deductive ability, mostly to see if this all made sense to someone who actually knew the full circumstances or if she was completely off base. Regardless, she knew a bully when she saw one, and she understood bullies more than anyone given her personal experiences, "It isn’t physical, he’s intimidated that he might lose to you, in a more intellectual sense. He doesn’t want you at your best. it serves his purpose best to rattle the competition so everyone doubts their ability, in this case, you. Bullies tend to be insecure with themselves so they abuse others to feel strong.” Haruhi genuinely hoped he could see the things she picked up on after she finished explaining, because if he asked where she learned such things the truth was pretty embarrassing. She watched a lot of Asian dramas... many of which that had situations like this, brothers fighting over who will run the family and company... and there was always a villainous brother like Koichi. Haruhi knew she could be completely off base, but his elder brother was giving her strong vibes of insecurity, she would gladly pay the price if she was wrong. This had become a lot more complicated than easy money to help her brother. An older sibling was purposefully going out to destroy his younger brother and she couldn’t sit by and watch him succeed if Sora truly wanted to fight.

"Am I allowed to hug you?"

“Of course, it’s less scandalous than a kiss on the cheek after all. Such mild affections we are afforded for authenticity’s sake, if we don’t touch a little no one will believe that I’m your genuine date, even in Japan.” Haruhi nodded with a smile. It was the first time a client had asked if they were permitted to hug, the girl both amused and finding it a little heartwarming that he was taking the regulations of her job so seriously. Typically those born with money did not have much concern for the working class, and Haruhi never divulged her status as middle class. Her smile only faded when she realized that he was crying, blinking rapidly. She didn’t realize how out of the ordinary this was for Sora as they had only met once outside of this date.

Allowing her own arms to wrap around him, Haruhi stroked his back through his suit jacket. Deciding it was best to not comment on it, recalling her own brother was pretty embarrassed about crying even if it was just in front of his big sister. She wasn’t related to Sora, and they were all but perfect strangers, he seemed vulnerable enough, she wasn’t going to say anything to force his walls back up. You don’t seem to have one like Alexei does... so I guess I’ll be your protector, for today at the very least. Haruhi allowed her free hand to play with his hair a little, her own younger brother always found it pretty soothing.

"I have to go and face them now. If you still want to continue... Act natural."

The blonde’s lips curved into a smile, about to respond with confidence, but he’d shaken her up quite a bit himself with the latter part of his response. When his lips met her own cheek, she didn’t withdraw or make any embarrassing squeaks, but color did rise to her cheeks, even through her makeup, ”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~” Haruhi genuinely laughed a bit.

Standing up slowly, Haruhi smoothed her dress out, then fussed with her hair to ensure she was presentable for whatever they were to face after leaving this room, “Ready when you are.” she stated confidently. It was better to rip off the bandaid than to stress over it. She had no idea what they would face with his family, but she planned to do everything she could to make sure Sora’s plan, whatever that ended up being, go without a hitch. She was his date and intended to support him even if she became a target of their contempt as well. For today, I'll be your shelter. You aren't alone.





Charm: +1 to Sora




3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shiori Kitogawa Character Portrait: Devone Kim Character Portrait: Kazuki Miyamoto
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#, as written by Stiles
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Heels clicked rapidly against the marble floor, but it couldn't be heard over the boisterous crowd of people doing their holiday shopping, and even worse, the holiday music blaring with no end in sight. Shiori wasn't fond of Christmas music to begin with, but even less so today, You're walking fast, too fast, people will start to stare. Ew, no! There is no speed fast enough after what that— that—! Who does he think he is!? Shiori couldn't decide how quick to flee the scene given how addled she was, but if she had the right to choose, she would have been running. Unfortunately, as the Kitogawa heiress, she had to present herself in a dignified manner in public, almost always. Regardless of what she just experienced, she had to remain in control, this was not Airdalen, her affairs could easily end up on the news if she made a scene, if anyone recognized her. In a crowded mall, that became all the more likely the more people she passed, so the heiress kept her head down. This is what I get for extending an olive branch to that— that animal! What was I even thinking!? I should have known he wouldn't behave himself even for a second! the petite girl fumed to herself, her heart pounding almost through her chest as she weaved through couples and families doing their Christmas shopping.

Her feet were starting to hurt, but she didn't care, she wanted to put as much space between herself and one Miyamoto, Kazuki. She was outraged, she couldn't even fully remember what happened in her state of pure, unbridled fury. He kissed her, that much she knew, he STOLE her first kiss. This had to be assault, right?! Regardless of if they were the same age, the mistletoe overhead, she never gave consent. In this day and age that HAD to matter for something, right!? Who even honored the tradition anymore? The practice of kissing whoever is under the mistletoe is archaic and ridiculous! A kiss... it should mean more than that! It was her first one, and while Kazuki had no way of actually knowing that, he'd taken something precious and she had no intention of EVER forgiving him for his transgression.

If anything, she was reminded of her reasoning for avoiding him the entirety of their time at Airdalen together. He was always making a scene, she always saw him with different girls...what made her think for a second that he saw her any differently? Part of her always assumed he only hit on willing participants... she had stayed under the radar until this moment, so it felt like a solid assumption to make... but it seemed she was wrong, her reciprocation did not matter.

Fine, she would pick out a gift on her own, and if he didn't like it, she didn't care anymore! Screw her reputation, her family's, this day was the worst and she just wanted it to be over already. Crawling in bed and throwing the covers over her head sounded amazing, pretending this day never happened, even better. Ow. Ow. Ow. I have to stop. Shiori took a seat at the nearest bench lining the walls, her feet throbbing. Moving so fiercely in such high heels was a bad idea, she'd walked around enough with Kazuki to make her feet sore enough.

Giving herself enough time to catch her breath and her feet the break that they deserved, the girl ran her fingers through her long, dark hair. How did she find herself in this situation? Why hadn't she been more diligent in avoiding those darn mistletoe strewn across the mall? Shiori's brow quirked. She thought she saw someone familiar, someone that she needed to catch up with before school started on Monday, someone far more pleasant than Kazuki, well, depending on who you asked. Shiori's opinion was likely the minority, but the person she believed she saw was a welcome sight, a more than welcome distraction if she was correct with her identification.

ImageStanding up, Shiori resolved to catch up, to verify if the person she caught a glimpse of in the crowd was who she thought it was, "Kim-san?" Shiori called out as she got closer. She wasn't one that enjoyed others touching her, so she did not reach out to the other girl, hoping that her voice carried far enough. While she knew enough about Devone to realize that it was unlikely the other girl would be thrilled to see someone from school, Shiori didn't know what else to do. She couldn't face Kazuhiko just yet, and she still had to purchase something for Kazuki, regardless of her feelings toward that heathen.

Taking a deep breath she did her best to compose herself, "Doing some shopping for that ridiculous gift exchange as well?" Shiori inquired, sounding exasperated about the entire thing, doing nothing to hide her displeasure for it. It was not ideal in the first place, given Shiori's problems with being kind to others in any straightforward kind of way, but her altercation with Kazuki only made matters far worse. It was an invasion, and she felt as though it brought her five steps back in her progress, "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." Shiori was a class president, she had a reputation to protect despite her reluctance.

The small girl's election was likely a practical joke, given her short stature and cold nature, it certainly wasn't a popularity vote, she knew that much, but she didn't want to get in trouble, or get Devone in trouble for cheating all the same. Detention, suspension, she didn't want that on her record, not for her family as much as for her own sanity. She had a lot going on between Tsukiko's sudden appearance, Kazuki's transgression, and still having to buy gifts for him and her... friends if she could even call the people she had met this year that yet. Despite the reputation of the girl before her, Shiori was not intimidated, she had people talk behind her back plenty, didn't have any friends, there was not much for her to lose and she had nothing to hide that she could think of. Going in with zero ill intentions, she was confident enough. If anything, Shiori respected Devone for being able to stand up for herself, the scene in class with their new classmate, Hakuryu, having earned most of it.




Notoriety: Kazuki +1