The Late Night Train to Nowhere

Ariel meets someone who seems like they need to be reached out to, but is rebuffed. For now.

Date: 2017-04-30
Pose Count: 21
Kokoro Akakuma 2017-04-30 06:11:51 75441
    It's late in the evening, on a commuter train out of the heart of Mitakihara. Very few people are on the train at this hour, something for which that girl way over on one of the corner seats is grateful for. It means she can sit and play her smartphone game in peace, with the few other passengers that had considered sitting closer deciding to hastily reconsider after one look from her.

    She's been in town all day keeping herself distracted. Keeping herself from going home. At this point she's just tired enough to want to crawl into bed.
Ariel Theodore 2017-04-30 06:19:14 75443
    Ariel is usually not out so late. But a combination of handling things with her myriad clubs, and handling a few errands both mundane and magical, means that it's looking pretty dark by the time she can even think about going home. Of course; Lucky, as faithful and protective as ever waited for her to get out of school and deal with everything; one particular incident putting her fairly far off in a neighborhood she's not used to. Which means, with the time of evening, there was a bit of a hassle.
    "Um. Lucky where are you going?"
    The answer was a 'WURF' and continuing to pad into the nearest train station with the silver-haired girl on his back, much to Ariel's bewilderment and chagrin.
    This means that when the train comes to a stop and a reasonably empty car rolls along into view, they pair get on. With Ariel still on the gigantic dog's back. "A-ah, but I'm not sure what stop to even get off on."
    Yes, she's talking to the dog. Yes the dog is padding over, and plopping down, allowing her to get off and try to get a look at the train map.
    Which happens to be on the wall. Behind Kokoro.
    "Um! Excuse me!"
Kokoro Akakuma 2017-04-30 06:27:26 75445
    As soon as a dog and his girl are on the train, what few passengers can be found there are staring. Even that one far over in the corner, though the way her hair falls makes it hard to discern her expression properly. Scorn? Confusion? Dull surprise? Whatever it is, the one easily-visible eye tracks up to Ariel, then slides down to Lucky; the visible half of her mouth pulls into a tight line for a moment, and then her attention slips back down to her pho-

    There is a girl and her dog. Right next to Kokoro. Trying to look at the map.

    That eye slides up again, simply... /staring/, for several long seconds.

    And then Kokoro wordlessly leans, just enough to be out of Ariel's way, as if she expects this not to take long.
Ariel Theodore 2017-04-30 06:37:37 75447
    And Ariel is staring the whole time; eyes wide, lips almost permanently locked in a slight, soft, smile, while politely waiting for a view of the map. Lucky lets his jaw hang, tongue lolling out to catch his breath somewhat. Though Ariel is tiny and weighs near nothing, there has been a significant amount of walking done all day. Which means the silver-haired foriegn girl climbs off the hound's back and off his... Saddle.
    That is a small saddle. It has SERVICE DOG scrawled on it. Lucky is, essentially, untouchable and can go where he pleases.
    Without Lucky's boost to her height though, she has to scootch closer, and up on the tips of her toes; and it looks like she's trying to be quick, so she doesn't disturb Kokoro too much.
    "Maybe it... Ah but no that puts us... But then... No that can't be right..."
    The poor girl can at least Japanese, even if she struggles with the map. A sigh and she gives up after a long moment.
    "I'm sorry but you wouldn't happen to know what stop I'd need to get off to get back to Seishou, would you?" It's a bit late to be going BACK to school. But the truth is, she knows that neighborhood better and can ride Lucky home more easily from there. Her manner of speech might be odd though. It's staggeringly out of date; listening to her speak is like watching a jidaigeki samurai flick. Very polite though.
Kokoro Akakuma 2017-04-30 06:43:40 75448
    Kokoro's eyes pass over the saddle. Her brow furrows faintly, briefly. Then she resolutely goes back to trying to read dialogue on whatever game she's playing.

    That lasts about fifteen seconds.

    Up come those eyes again, seeming to bore into Ariel, or at least try to. And yet, after a few seconds of it, she finds herself relenting. She just can't muster a glare at that face. So instead she tries the irritable I-dunno approach. "I've been in the city for like a week and a half, and I go to Seiyou. Can't help you." A beat. "You talk like a samurai flick."
Ariel Theodore 2017-04-30 06:56:48 75451
    To Ariel's credit, she looks extremely apologetic for having to disturb Kokoro from her very important mobage. But where most people would instantly look away and avoid eye contact like most of the other passengers in the car, she stares right back into them with wide golden eyes.
    Though the child's hopefull expression wilts very fast when she gets her answer. Even Lucky is looking like he's having second thoughts about this being a good idea, the gigantic dog's ears drooping as even HE manages a sad shaggy dog look.
    "O-oh." She manages, nearly floundering then and there, before she musters herself. "Well- yes, I mean I saw your uniform and I thought. Well you know how Seiyou lets Seishou use its facilities sometimes, so..."
    So she trails off, about to back away, apologize for disturbing, and ponder a new course of action. But then Kokoro just out and says what so many people politely keep quiet about. The girl is kind of speaking in literal thees and thous but bringing it up earns a sudden bleat at being caught off guard with utter blunt forthrightness.
    No seriously, that was a bleat.
Kokoro Akakuma 2017-04-30 06:59:52 75452
    Once again, Akakuma Kokoro tries to go back to her mobage.

    Once again, it lasts a distressingly short time. Even shorter this time. Half a second at best.

    Brown eyes track... well, at this point it's not even 'up', because standing a foot taller than Ariel means that even sitting down she can look the girl just about in the eye. But those brown eyes track to Ariel's own face, and this time there's no mistaking the reaction in the grumpy girl's gaze.

Ariel Theodore 2017-04-30 07:05:17 75455
    All it took was that half second. Because when Kokoro looks back to Ariel, her hand is already clasped over her mouth. But the deed is done. The little foriegn girl just bleated. She knows she did it, and Kokoro's expression says everything.
    'Wat.' is a whole lot of everything.
    It's a beat before the silver-haired girl starts to put on a VERY sheepish smile. "Well ah... That's just kind of how I learned it?" She ventures, not quite clarifying if she just learned super archaic Japanese or learned Japanese by shotgunning Akira Kurosawa films.
Kokoro Akakuma 2017-04-30 07:15:03 75458

    At this point, Kokoro seems to have gotten stuck at just plain 'trying to figure out how she's supposed to deal with this'. Finally, she just mumbles a sort of bewildered, "...right." And then she tries to go back to her mobage again.

    But then she keeps glancing up at Ariel and Lucky. This time she's ready for the next distraction. She's onto your tricks.
Ariel Theodore 2017-04-30 07:24:09 75460
    Such a very tricksy one she is, this girl. but by the time Kokoro looks up once again, the girl is dedicatedly focused on the map a moment longer, tracing lines in the air with her finger and doing all manners of seriously complet map-emathic equasions in her head, before nodding to herself...
    And quietly slipping into the seat next to Kokoro with a tired sigh.
    It would seem she has managed to figure out a course. "I'm sorry, do you mind?" given politely as she occupies the space, folding hands together on her lap while the massive dog curls up at her feet. and Kokoro's by proxy. "It's been a very long day."
    And it HAS. But that doesn't stop her from trying to be friendly. "Are you from out of town, too?" Kokoro did say she was only around for a week. "I occasionally visit Seiyou sometimes because of an acquaintance or club activites; but I usually stop by Verone to go home together with a friend, and I haven't seen you around, before."
Kokoro Akakuma 2017-04-30 17:40:16 75467
    And there it is.

    There's a brief, uncomfortable shift on Kokoro's part, and she makes one last, valiant effort to try and muster the irritability that a silent 'go away' will need. But she just can't do it. So she turns her attention back down to her phone and tries to at least /pretend/ she's alone. At least if the girl doesn't bother her, it won't be too much of an issu-

    She's talking.

    Sloooooowly, Kokoro turns her head to look straight at Ariel again. Just... stares. "...Transfer student," she finally says. "Only just moved here. Probably won't be here long." This close, though, it becomes easier to get a better look at her face through all that hair hiding it, and she turns out to only be a couple years older than Ariel. Despite being as tall as a full-grown adult.
Ariel Theodore 2017-04-30 17:47:42 75468
    Poor Kokoro. Ariel is just not picking up on it. The tiny girl is all smiles. And she IS tiny; small even for girls in her age group; which means when she sits next to the older girl, even sitting, she has to crane her head to look up. With her hands on her lap, Ariel laces her fingers together, listening intently and... Staring back up with that small little patient smile.
    "Ah?" Not here for long? It illicits a flare of curiosity in the smaller girl, even making the dog peek up with one eye. "Why is that? I hear Seiyou is a very good school."
Kokoro Akakuma 2017-04-30 17:52:16 75469
    Not as planned, /not as planned/.

    There's a certain tension to Kokoro's posture by this point; faint, but Lucky is probably picking it up if no one else is. She can't bring herself to be gruff or intimidating at the girl, and that just results in a lot of awkwardness. This time, she doesn't even look up from her phone, trying to keep her face neutral and her attention off the other girl. "I'm not a very good student." That would explain the transfer, at least.
Ariel Theodore 2017-04-30 17:56:55 75470
    Kokoro looks back to her phone. Ariel purses her lips when she hears that answer, brow knotting. Luck does pick up on the tension, keeping an intent eye on Korko and clearly protective of the much smaller girl, but not showing any sign that he's worried of an attack.
    "Huuuh... What makes you think that?" She asks, clearly not thinking what most other people may assume of a big gruff girl like Kokoro. Kokoro might not even have to look up this time to tell the girl is beaming. "I'm sure you could be a lot better if you wanted."
Kokoro Akakuma 2017-04-30 18:05:41 75471

    This time the silence is almost palpable, and though her expression is mostly hidden, the tension is winding tighter. "Look, what do you even care? We ain't even at the same school. My record for staying in one place is eight months. Usually it's less than four. I ain't gonna be here this time next year. I'm gonna tick someone off, or I'm gonna clean someone's clock, or I'm gonna get the whole school shunning me and leaving surprises in my locker, and then the big angry gorilla's gonna be gone and nobody's gotta care."
Ariel Theodore 2017-04-30 18:23:25 75472
    That sure is some silence. And now even Ariel is feeling it; lips thinning as she waits for an answer. And when Kokoro does answer, the girl's smile fades. She flinches slightly from the sheer intensity of the answer, but is left sitting right where she is, in a long, silent stare with those big golden eyes.
    "I'm sorry you feel that way." She finally says, very gently, without looking away. "Sometimes I feel like it's hard to fit in, too." Added as a mild afterthought. "But if that's how you keep thinking, I think you might run out of schools to transfer to, at some point. I don't go to Seiyou but... I wouldn't shun you."
Kokoro Akakuma 2017-04-30 18:30:42 75473
    "Sure you would."

    There's a lot behind those three words. Kokoro's voice wavers a little. The topic has hit what seems to be a very raw nerve. There's anger in there... and also something else. Something not too far from defeat. "...people keep tellin' me they'll be the exception. Then they realize I ain't just some grumpy gus no one's ever taken a chance on, that I got real problems." The sound of the train's brakes fills the car, as it approaches another station. That brown eye darts up to the ceiling, listening for a moment, and then she shifts her bag, a clear indicator she intends to leave. "I ain't worth your time."
Ariel Theodore 2017-04-30 18:45:06 75474
    Those three words. Where most people would blow them off, or let them slide off their back, Ariel goes still. The girl goes so very still, it's almost inhuman. Statue-like, she stares in silence as the train grinds to a halt. She has not moved a muscle, seemingly not even breathing. Something in those three words seem to have hit the child harder than any blow, leaving her with a stung and slapped look the entire time.
    Eventually, her shoulders finally do move, sagging in a slow sigh as... One small hand slides atop Kokoro's.
    "No. I wouldn't."
    Three words returned in kind with an pure earnesty only a child is capable of as she keeps that stare fixated on the older girl. Apparnetly, she has decided Kokoro is worth her time.
Kokoro Akakuma 2017-04-30 18:54:55 75475
    The simple touch causes Kokoro to jerk as if startled. For a second or two, all she can do is stare. There's conflict in that look. Some tiny part of her almost buys in. Wants to buy in. But in the space of two heartbeats, her jaw sets, and a cool mask settles over her face. Distrust for her peers wins out "..." She doesn't say a word right away; just stands up, sliding her phone into a pocket, and hoists her bag onto her shoulder as the train comes to a stop. "...don't get grabbed on the way home or whatever. Real creeps out this time of night." It's nowhere near her actual stop, but she's headed for the door all the same.
Ariel Theodore 2017-04-30 19:14:58 75476
    And Ariel still stares. Silent. Waiting. Hopeful. But Kokoro pulls her hand back... The smaller girl seems mildly surprised. Even though she probably shouldn't be, that renewed slapped look crosses her face again as the old girl rises to disembark.
    "I'll be fine, Lucky is with me." She says softly. "You be careful, alright?" She asys to the girl going off alone.
    "I'm Ariel." She at least gives, while there's still time. But once the doors close, she's going to be staring through that window, all the way off into the distance.
Kokoro Akakuma 2017-04-30 19:16:37 75477
    The tall girl comes to a stop just outside the door. There's a few seconds of silent stillness.

    A quiet, "Kokoro," drifts through the doors just as they start to close.