Practice in the Park

Akari and Sora meet in the park while practicing their respective sports. Sora gives Akari a bit of extra encouragement.

Date: 2018-07-20
Pose Count: 21
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-20 19:48:12 92803
It's in the late afternoon, a little while after the last day of the first school term ended. Akari is in the park next to one of the main paths, dressed in a red tank top, dark blue capris, and red sneakers, practicing kendo maneuvers with a wooden bokken; a water bottle, backpack, and kendo sword-bag sit behind her. At first, it was more difficult than using the bamboo shinai she used in the first couple of weeks, but the foreign-looking girl has been slowly building up her strength.

(... which works because Nightbell is literally superhuman and her true form is bigger than Akari, so all her Infiltration Mode needs to do is to regulate her "biology" a bit. Rubindorn is hidden in the depths of the sword-bag in pendant form, out of sight of prying eyes but still more-or-less within reach if necessary.)

She's counting off the maneuvers under her breath, looking generally like she's enjoying herself. "Eighty-four ... eighty-five ... eighty-six ..."
Sora Hisakata 2018-07-20 19:55:51 92804
Not too far away there's a girl in a seishou gym uniform hitting a volleyball against a tree over and over, trying to keep it going as long as possible. With the tree being relatively rough and circular, it's hard to predict where the ball will go and this in turn means she has to run around a lot to keep it going. "Fifteen." Thud, "Sixteen." Thud, "Seventeen." Thud, and then the ball hits a really awkward corner and begins sailing towards Akari, with Sora running behind and not quite keeping up.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-20 20:00:08 92805
Akari keeps up her own practice. "Eighty-nine ... ninety ..." She blinks and stops as she sees the ball and the other girl approaching. She hurriedly but gently sets down the bokken and runs over to catch the ball, but it bounces off the tips of her fingers. "Ow!" On the bright side, the actual rate at which it's moving away from Sora is now much slower ...!
Sora Hisakata 2018-07-20 20:03:41 92806
And thus, Sora manages to catch up to her ball and collect it, placing it beneath her arms as she returns to Akari. "Hey. Thanks." She greets with a casual smile, looking Akari over once, "Sorry about letting my ball fly off like that. Shouldn't have happened." There's a pause and then a cheesy line, "Then again, if it hadn't happened I wouldn't have run into you, and that'd be a tragedy."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-20 20:10:04 92807
Akari giggles at the cheesiness and rolls her eyes; life as an ordinary schoolgirl has been full of amusements and interests she never realized she'd enjoy unironically. "Well, it's nice to meet you too," she says, giving a graceful bow. "I'm Hayabusa Akari, Infinity's kendo team's rising ... newbie, sort of. What's your name?"
Sora Hisakata 2018-07-20 20:16:47 92808
"Sora Hisakata, star player of Seishou's volleyball team." That boast is stated without excessive pride, just as a flat statement of fact. Then she gets out a business card which she hands to Akari, "And if you ever need help with your homework, I offer tutoring for reasonable prices." That too is stated without a hint of bravado, "Where are you from?"
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-20 20:21:21 92809
Akari nods, "Nice!" She and accepts the card and shrugs. "I don't know that I've ever needed any help homework that I couldn't get from other friends, but I'll keep you in mind!"

At the other question, there's just a faint ... pause. "I was found as an infant in Tokyo, and nobody knew my ethnicity until I wasn't an infant anymore," she says, in a tone which suggests that she's had to say this very many times in her life, and that she's very much aware that she's going to have to answer it many more times.
Sora Hisakata 2018-07-20 20:26:06 92810
"Ah." And that's the 'ah' of someone who has realized this and come to the conclusion pressing for details would be rude. It's an 'ah' that should be familiar to someone who has been in this conversation as many times as Akari's tone implies. "If one of your friends needs help, you can also direct them to me. I'm not picky in my customers. Not going to make money doing nothing, after all."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-20 20:31:36 92811
Akari relaxes in a manner which only now draws attention to the momentary tension. "All right, I'll keep that in mind," she says. She goes back to her stuff, grabs the water bottle, and takes a swig. "I doubt you can help with my favorite subject, which is kendo," she adds dryly. "I sort of joined the club in the middle of the semester. I've had help from friends there, though."
Sora Hisakata 2018-07-20 20:35:36 92812
When the water bottle grabs out, Sora reaches for her own, taking a quick sip of the plain water. "Yeah I don't do the beat people up with sticks or swords things, I just punch balls." The smirk when she says that makes it clear that's a joke of some kind, "It's good to have friends like that. You a transfer, then?"
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-20 20:43:04 92813
Akari smirks back in the exact same way, indicating that this humor certainly isn't lost on her. "Yeah, although I hadn't played kendo before then," she says. "I used to go to one of the obscure smaller schools, but then I ... got shuffled into a new foster home." This is somewhat allegorical for how things really happened; the best lies have some basis in fact. She shrugs. "More seriously, as far as schoolwork goes, I caught up quick enough that I've finished the first term just fine, near as I can tell."
Sora Hisakata 2018-07-20 21:08:30 92814
"That's good." Sora starts to throw her ball from hand to hand, "I've lived here basically forever. Do you like your new school? I've heard good things about Infinity, but..." There's a pause as she considers, "Something about it rubs me the wrong way, I'm not sure what."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-20 21:14:22 92816
Akari shrugs, and picks her sword up. "Yeah, I guess you'd be right to feel that way," she says. "I mean ... I've made some individual good friends there, and it's a jump up in technology from ... well, everywhere ..." (Not that she has firsthand experience.) "... but I think it'd be accurate to say that the school itself is very stuck up." Unknowingly, she's more-or-less quoting Sora's girlfriend there.
Sora Hisakata 2018-07-20 21:20:42 92817
"That's probably it. I could've gone to Infinity, but I didn't want to." Sora explains with no lack of self-confidence, and if she feels confident offering Infinity students paid tutoring, she's either a massive fool or that confidence is justified. "Have you taken part in any competitions yet? That's the heart of sport if you ask me."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-20 21:26:19 92818
Akari smiles at ... well, all of that, really. "Not yet!" she says. "I've still got a ways to go before I'm ready for that. I half-think I'm gonna graduate high school before I catch up with the likes of Nakajima-san, anyway." Without noticing, she puts a little bit of fondness into her voice as she says that last bit.
Sora Hisakata 2018-07-20 21:45:08 92819
"It doesn't matter if you win, it matters if you try." Sora encourages quickly and adding, "How are you going to prove to Nakajima-san that you're serious about this if you don't put your all into it? If you lose, just stand back up and get ready for the next competition."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-20 21:50:59 92821
Akari chuckles, and gestures with her bokken. "I am putting my all into this!" she says. "It's the whole reason I'm here practicing. It's just that I'm also considerably less experienced than everyone else. The captain ... well, never mind her." She shrugs. "At the very least, I hope to start entering competitions before I reach eleventh grade, it's just that I'm the least-experienced member of the team right now, and Nakajima-san and the others had a head-start."
Sora Hisakata 2018-07-20 21:58:37 92822
"You're not putting your all into it if you're not trying to get into competitions. This is about who is the best, not who is the most patient. If you wait your turn you'll always get passed over by people more ambitious than you!" Sora insists with clear passion for the very concept of competition. "If any of ours had that attitude for getting a spot on the starting lineup I'd tell them to join a different club."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-20 22:02:23 92823
Akari ... blinks. Once again, Bell finds herself touched by someone's words in ways that go beyond just going through the motions of being ordinary-schoolgirl-Akari. "Well," she says, and then stops. Her smile begins to form again. "Okay, then!" she says. "... All right, Hisakata-san, in that case, I'll, I'll definitely do whatever it takes to go beyond and win!"
Sora Hisakata 2018-07-20 22:07:02 92824
"Good!" Then a phone rings and Sora rushes over to her bag to answer. "Uh-huh." Pause, "I see." Another pause, "Got it." And then finally, "Sure." She picks up her bag and heads back towards Akari. "Was nice meeting you, Hayabusa-san, but I need to be off. Sorry. Maybe I'll run into you again, and don't hesitate to call if you need my help!"
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-20 22:14:58 92826
Akari smiles and gives her a wave. "Okay!" she says. "I'll see you when I see you!" She takes another swig of water and gets ready to resume her interrupted practice. Well, at any rate, this sort of added enthusiasm won't be a problem with maintaining her civilian identity, insofar as it should make her more similar to her teammates. On the other hand, you never know when taking over the world will interfere with your civilian self's life, and she's always been ready from the start to let her civilian life fall behind as needed ...

... and so, as she gets back into the swing of things, she wonders in confusion why the idea of doing that bothers her so much.