Birthdays and Lemonade

Akari meets Mikoto and lets slip that she hasn't had much of a birthday before. Mikoto starts making plans, and Akari finds herself surprisingly touched.

Date: 2018-08-06
Pose Count: 15
Akari Hayabusa 2018-08-06 01:19:24 93673
Ever since the term ended, Akari has been putting a bit more force into practicing her kendo moves. When school was in session, she was eager and interested, but now there's a kind of determination that wasn't there before.

(Well ... it's not as though Bell has anything else to do, aside from her efforts at learning to dusk-step, which she mostly only wants to do under supervision; figuring out the best way to control her emotions, which is much easier as Akari; and twiddling her thumbs while Dr. Murano is in the hospital and Lacrima is trying to get in touch with Riventon. For reasons she doesn't know about yet, that last one is going to take a while.)

Even if her living-magical-program biology is fake, it still works well enough that she needs to drink lots of fluids after she's had a heavy workout, so the tall foreign-looking girl has now dropped by the Game Center Crown, dressed in a red tank top, dark blue capris, and red sneakers, and with her sword-bag (she bought her own shinai and bokken) slung over one shoulder. She orders four tall glasses of lemonade, and then goes upstairs to find a place to sit.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-08-06 01:24:13 93675
Waiting up there - having finished her own practice session somewhat earlier - is a familiar face - Mikoto. She's sitting alone at a corner table, calmly reading through one of her textbooks and occasionally making notes - using a stylus on a tablet-PC, by the look of things.

(Of course, the tablet is actually bluetooth-linked to Carnwennan, but that's not something she advertises.)

She pauses briefly, taking a sip from a tall glass of something fruit-punch-esque, and catches a glimpse of Akari's arrival. She sets the cup down, then waves cheerfully to get the girl's attention.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-08-06 01:30:52 93677
Akari brightens, and heads straight over to Mikoto! "Hey, Mikoto-chan!" she says, and in her fairly winded state, she sets the tray down heavily, causing a little bit of the lemonade to spill. "Whoops!" She blinks as she sits down. "Uh, how's it going?" And then without further ado, she grabs her first cup of lemonade and gulps one quarter of the entire thing at once.

(As usual, Rubindorn is hiding in pendant-form at the bottom of her sword-bag. She has things she can connect it to, she's just had other activities in mind for today.)
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-08-06 01:42:10 93681
"Ahh, Akari-chan. Good to see you again." Mikoto smiles warmly and sets her glass aside, making room for Akari's tray. "Been doing a bit of extra training, I take it?" She gestures at the sword-bag with an empty hand.

She closes the book and sets it aside, placing the tablet on top of it. Wouldn't do to be rude to her friend. "Must've been hard training to work up that kind of thirst. Well, can't say no to that... hard training's the best way, after all, especially when you're getting started. You've got to ingrain everything into your reflexes."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-08-06 01:51:18 93683
Akari nods and smiles. "Yep!" she says, and pauses. "... You know, the afternoon after school ended, I met a girl named Hisakata Sora, the star of Seishou's volleyball team." She shakes her head. "She had some ... choice words to say about what she thought my level of ambition and enthusiasm was, and it just sort of stuck with me, y'know? So I've kind of just been going all-out ... uh, pretty much every day I haven't been busy with other stuff." (She was surprised at the time how much she actually felt it, instead of just being an affectation for the purpose of Akari. She's still not sure how she feels about how many other times this has happened in the past couple of months.)

She downs another quarter of her first glass, and smiles over at Mikoto. "How about you, Mikoto-chan? What's up with you?"
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-08-06 02:00:53 93685
"Things have been going mostly well," Mikoto agrees. "Glad to see you're taking things seriously and enjoying it." She pauses for a sip of her juice, then continues.

"It's been a good day. Got in a spar with Sagara-kun. He's pretty good at it... caught me a nice one on the shoulder." She reaches up to rub her right shoulder, then gestures at the book and tablet she just set aside. "Been getting a start on the English homework. Don't suppose you've ever read Kipling before?" The English class had been told to pick a poem in English, from a list of prominent authors, and translate it into Japanese.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-08-06 02:11:34 93687
Akari nods, peering at Mikoto's shoulder. "Nice," she says. "I've watched him spar, he's good." She nods, glancing at the book. "I've ... read some of it," she says. "The syllabus for my English class said we were going to touch on Kipling next term. My English homework was focusing on Keats. I did ... a lot of my homework at the beginning of break, heh ..." She shrugs.

There's a brief moment of hesitation, and then she says, "My sixteenth birthday is this coming Saturday, by the way." (She doesn't age, and "sixteen" was the apparent-age in her predefined knowledge; she and the Doctor have various plans in place for having her appear to age over the course of the next three years until she graduates, but are just playing it by ear in general.)
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-08-06 02:23:25 93688
\Mikoto nods. "It's a good thing he has Chidori-chan to ride herd on him, otherwise that military-otaku lifestyle of his would get him into so much trouble." She smiles, rather fondly remembering some of their antics. "As for Kipling, I'm rather fond of his works, so I decided to use one of his for the translation assignment. Of course, then the question was, which one."

She takes another sip from her drink while Akari talks, and hmmms. "Sweet sixteen, hmm? An excellent time... planning anything special for the occasion?"
Akari Hayabusa 2018-08-06 02:37:35 93689
Akari chuckles, taking the time to down her first cup of lemonade. "Ugh, yeah, also true!" she says. "I mean. He's good when he applies himself to the right thing, but I mean, jeez." She nods. "Can't help you decide Kipling," she says. "You'd know better than I would ..."

At the birthday question ... she looks kind of uncomfortable. "I dunno," she says. "I haven't really ... had much in the way of consistency for my past birthdays." She pauses a moment to drink from the second cup as a delaying tactic, and then finally says, "Comes with the territory of being in the foster system, I guess. I'm used to it."

(That part of Akari's cover story is the one thing she and the Doctor had to make up completely from whole cloth, and Bell has discovered that this has contributed in no small part to genuine discomfort on her part.)
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-08-06 02:51:13 93690
Mikoto nods. "He really needs to learn when to focus on his military goals, and when to focus on school... and apply some tact." She shrugs. "Chidori will beat it into him, one way or the other. And I already picked a poem to work with."

Inconsistent birthdays. Well, neglectful parents will do that, too. Mikoto's own last birthday consisted of being handed a credit card and told 'go buy yourself something nice'. She did -- several hundred British Pounds worth of miniatures for her wargames.

"Well," she muses. "I know a few people." More like almost everyone. Except the Senshi crowd. She doesn't have with them unless coincidence brings them together. "Might be able to put something interesting together."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-08-06 03:02:33 93691
Akari blinks. "Oh, you don't have to ..." It's that moment that she realizes that she might be getting too emotionally involved in a side-identity which exists solely for being a sleeper agent and to keep her out of the way while the Doctor is doing other things, and that getting too much attention on any front would risk blowing her cover. "... I-I mean ..." Another part of her helpfully chimes in that there's no realistic in-character way of refusing her outright. "... uh ..." Then she lies to herself that it's not like she's getting in that deep, and that Nightbell, her true identity, is where her real priorities are. "... y-you'd do that? For me?"

She also realizes that she's started blushing somewhere in there.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-08-06 03:12:29 93692
Mikoto nods, not seeing the inner turmoil her offer inspires. (If she could see it, it'd just inspire her to press on anyways.) "Of course I would," she insists. She certainly doesn't see any reason not to. "We might've only met a few weeks ago, but we're still friends, yes?"

And of course there's no way of refusing. She prefers it that way. "Friends do this sort of thing for one another. On top of that, you're my kouhai."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-08-06 03:18:42 93693
Akari lets out a soft giggle of ... well, a lot of things, really. There's a bunch of emotions going through her. Some relief, and some wow, I get to have an actual birthday! among other things. "Well, yeah!" she says. "Umm, all right, sure!" She almost forgets the next part of politeness. "And, and thank you!" She blinks. "... Wow, I'm not even sure why this is affecting me so much." (She's also relieved that that's something reasonably plausible for her to say.)
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-08-06 03:25:10 93694
Mikoto chuckles softly and reaches a hand across the table. She's confident she can make it quite the occasion, really. "I guess you've never had someone who just wanted to be sure you had a good time, hmm?" She's fairly certain the orphanage people wouldn't have had the time or inclination to look out for any of their charges that way...
Akari Hayabusa 2018-08-06 03:31:01 93695
Akari just smiles. "Well, I mean ... I've had some great foster guardians." Her research has told her that Japan's laws are very particular about what kind of living conditions children should have. "It's just ..." She tries to put together a coherent realistic/in-character thought, and finds that her genuine emotions are actually not that coherent regardless. The closest it gets is it's not an actual family, and even that's not very solid. She and the Doctor certainly aren't a family.

She settles on, "... Thank you, Mikoto-chan."