Putting Yourself Back Together

Millie comes to visit Akari in Haruna's bunker and learns the horrible truth about why Akari has been incommunicado all week. However, Akari has spent that time recovering, and is nearly ready to return to work and to patrols.

Date: 2019-01-06
Pose Count: 28
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-06 22:27:59 102342
On December 30th, Akari suddenly went completely silent and stopped answering her texts or phone calls. On the afternoon of the 31st, she texted Millie with a really terse "sorry need time to myself ttyl" and went completely silent for nearly a full week.

But now, it's a dreary January Sunday morning, and Akari has invited Millie over to the bunker, saying in the text "I need to not be alone rn."

Now, Akari is sitting on her bed in room 3, listlessly turning over the panther statue in her hands. She's wearing the simple gray dress she usually wears at work, just without her apron or name tag; Rubindorn is of course hanging around her neck.

She looks kind of ... emotionally drained and disastrous. And this is after about a week of recovery.
Millie White 2019-01-06 22:55:35 102343
To say that Millie White was worried would be an understatement. Akari almost always answered her texts and calls, especially since the whole deal with the Wolkenritter began. Immediately the Canuck's mind jumped to the worst. Had Akari been attacked? Had it been the Wolkenritter or Eclipse? So many questions swirled through her mind, and they only grew louder and harder to ignore when she received a text on the 31st.

Akari needed to be alone. What did that mean? That just raised more questions! Millie would be lying if she said she had definitely NOT paced her dorm room for hours, trying to come up with something, anything, that could help the situation. She came to the realization that there wasn't anything she could do but what Akari had asked of her. On the 31st, in response to Akari's text, Millie sent a text of her own. 'I understand. I'm here if you need anything, Akari-san. Please take care.'

Millie trusted Akari, but the next week was one of the longest of her life. The radio silence had created a vortex of concern in her gut. Combined with the holiday homesickness she had been experiencing, Millie had all but become a hermit herself during most of the holiday break. Because of this she was in her dorm when she finally received another text from Akari on Sunday. It was only a few moments before Akari received a reply text. 'I'm on my way.'

It wasn't a long trip to the Cafe, thankfully, and Millie made the trip in half the time. The Cure already knew the secret closet door trick, which was how she found herself outside Room 3 of the bunker. Millie politely knocked on the door, if not a bit quickly, before speaking up. "It's me, Akari-san."
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-06 23:02:53 102344
Akari hurriedly gets up and opens the door. "Hi, Millie-chan," she says softly. Yep, she's definitely looking and sounding completely haggard right now.

Shesets the panther statue back on her nightstand, and sits back down on the bed. "I ... got attacked by Lacrima-chan," she says. "Um ... I've mentioned Frau Doktor before, right? The Eclipse scientist who activated me after I was recovered from the Dusk Zone?" (She would have, during one of their earlier conversations while training and discussing Eclipse.) "Um ... she ..."

She sighs. "... Lacrima-chan's biological brother Ryo ... killed Frau Doktor." Her voice sounds hollow. "Who ... I ... sort of thought of as my mother."
Millie White 2019-01-06 23:17:37 102345
When Akari opened the door, it took all of Millie's willpower not to wince. Her friend looked like she had been through the wringer for sure, but she didn't appear to be hurt. Which meant that there was something else that was seriously wrong. Akari led her inside and Millie noticed her place the carving on the nightstand before her worried eyes immediately focused on Akari.

What Akari revealed felt like a punch to the gut. Not only had Akari been attacked, but someone had been murdered. Not just anyone, either. Millie knew what Frau Doktor was to Akari, and to know that Akari had witnessed it... Millie's eyes locked on Akari's and there was nothing but sadness and sympathy for someone she cared about in them.

"Akari-san that's... I'm so sorry. I ... damn him..." What was one supposed to say in a situation like this? Nothing she said would bring the Doktor back, she couldn't solve this situation. All she could do was be there for her friend. Silently, Millie took a few steps forward and opened her arms to offer Akari a hug. As badly as Millie wanted to comfort her friend, she knew it was a bad idea to force a hug on anyone, especially when they were emotional.
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-06 23:34:08 102346
A faint blush crosses Akari's cheeks, but she walks over and hugs Millie. "... thanks," she murmurs. "I've ... been doing my damnedest to, to reach out to people. A-and ... and to recover." She pauses. "Haruna-chan is giving me paid time off. I think I'll be ready to get back to work soon, though." She shrugs. "But ... I have learned that just withdrawing was a bad idea."

She sighs. "... wow. It's just ..." She shakes her head. "The worst part is kind of ... knowing that this is going to keep happening, since I'm immortal. But Sakura-imouto ... helped reassure me, I think. And Ruby's been sort of doing her best to figure out what to tell me."
Millie White 2019-01-07 00:01:13 102347
Millie wrapped her arms tightly around Akari, somehow hugging her both fiercely and gently at the same time. It wasn't a long hug, but Millie didn't let go right away either. It was just long and warm enough to let Akari know that she was there to support her, no matter what. Millie stepped back and listened to what Akari said before she nodded. The point about withdrawal hit a little close to home.

Of course Akari's apparent immortality would be an issue, especially after something like that. Millie's brow furrowed with concern. "I can't imagine what you must be feeling... but we can only do the best with what we're given. Immortal or not, you have to make the best of the time in that moment." the Canuck said softly. She knew it wasn't helpful, and that it was far from soothing, but it sounded like at least Akari had friends who were better at it than she was. That was good; Akari needed support right now.

"You just... take the time you need, alright? Don't rush it. I'll know." Millie said as she looked Akari in the eye. The Cure wasn't lying, she WOULD know. The benefit of training together with Akari so often meant that they had spent a lot of time together. Enough that Millie could usually tell when Akari was lying or not feeling the greatest.
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-07 00:14:59 102348
Akari hugs Millie close. She needs all the comfort she can get, clearly, and Millie's definitely her best friend at the moment -- definitely on her "most important people" list, at any rate.

She nods slowly. "Yeah," she says softly. "It's just ... hard to look on the bright side, y'know?" She shrugs. "Right now, it's still this big thing." She manages a faint smile. "But ... I think I have confidence that it'll work."

At the comment about trying to rush things, her pendant pings. <<SIE WIRD NICHT! ICH MACHE SICHER!>> She won't! I'm making sure!

Akari manages another faint smile. "Yeah, Rubindorn's been making sure of that," she says. "I thought I was going to be ready in a few days, but Ruby said it should be a week. And then she stopped me from going in today and said I should talk to you instead." She shrugs. "Sorry for not calling you sooner, by the way ..."

And then she laughs weakly. "Oh, man, I just realized I haven't even thought of my ex at all since it happened." She shakes her head. "I was ... planning on doing what I could to let go of her. And this business ... worked. From a certain point of view."
Millie White 2019-01-07 00:37:56 102349
Millie knew all too well that it could be difficult to look on the bright side. Akari was right, though; her feelings were valid and, right now, it WAS a big deal. Big deals needed to be dealt with at the individuals' pace... it was the only way. Rubindorn's sudden ping brought a soft smile to Millie's face.

"Thanks for taking good care of her, Rubindorn. She's lucky to have such a diligent Device." Millie said to the Device in question after Akari had told her what she had been up to. When she apologized for not calling, Millie shook her head. "Don't worry about it, I only paced a hole in my floor." Millie said with a warm smile, an attempt at a joke to lighten the mood.

The topic of Akari's ex came up and Millie's brow furrowed ever so gently. She didn't actually know what happened between them, why the relationship ended, or even if it had been a mutual split. From the sound of it, it sounded like it hadn't. "That's... technically good?" Millie mused with a small shrug that said 'It's something?'. Then, softer, she added, "...But if you ever feel you need to talk about it, don't hesitate to. I think... it's good to get this kind of stuff out. Too long inside and it festers." Millie said, almost as if talking from experience.
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-07 00:56:28 102350
Rubindorn pings. <<IRGEND KEIN PROBLEM!>> No problem at all! The Device's tone of voice suggests that she feels as though it's the opposite of a problem.

Akari nods, frowning thoughtfully. And then she leans back and flops on the bed. "... I just feel very tired," she says softly. "I've just had so much trouble in my life lately, and so much of it feels like it isn't going to stop any time soon."

She sighs. There are tears in her eyes now. "But I have no intentions of giving up. When I've recovered enough, I'm just going to keep going, because ..." She shrugs. "... well, what's the alternative really?" She props herself up on her elbows and looks over at Millie. "For you, for Haruna-chan and Sakura-imoutochan, for Lacrima-chan and Fate-chan ..." She shakes her head. "I'm just not going to give up. Which ... just means recovering first right now."

Ping! <<AH, OK,>> Rubindorn mutters.

Akari glances down at her pendant, then sighs and shrugs. "Yeah," she says softly.
Millie White 2019-01-07 01:09:11 102351
Millie watched Akari flop with a sympathetic expression on her face. Her chest became a bit tight when she noticed the tears in her friends eyes, however. Seeing anyone cry was awful, but seeing someone she held dear cry was something that Millie absolutely hated... Especially now, when she couldn't do anything to help her. The urge to hug her friend rose once more, but Millie pushed it down. Instead, she let out a soft sigh but allowed a softer grin to appear on her face.

"It's not like you to give up anyway. I've seen you fight and train. I've seen you fail and I've seen you succeed. The Akari I know doesn't even know what 'give up' means. I should know, it's not in my dictionary either." Millie said warmly, her trust in Akari on full display. Throughout everything she'd been through with Akari, not once had her friend ever suggested giving up or retreating from a tough situation. If anyone could forge ahead after dealing with hardships, Millie knew it was Akari.
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-07 01:24:53 102352
Akari stares up at the ceiling, and just listens to Millie for a moment, not saying anything. She sniffles. "... Th-thank you, Millie-chan," she says softly, sitting back up. She looks up at her, smiling weakly. "I ..." She shakes her head. "However much time we have together ... I'm ... I'm not gonna forget this, how much you've helped me."

She takes a deep breath. "... It's just ... yeah." She sniffles, then grabs a tissue and blows her nose. "... This whole situation ... is what it is, basically."
Millie White 2019-01-07 01:39:10 102353
It was sometimes a strange thing to be vulnerable in front of someone else. Strange, and often scary. The fact that Akari felt comfortable enough to cry in front of her warmed her heart as much as it broke it. When she was thanked, Millie shook her head gently.

"You don't have to thank me, Akari-san. This is what friends do, and you can bet I'll continue to do so for as long as I'm able." She said with a hint of steel in her voice. Millie was capable of being one of the warmest, most gentle people around, there was no doubt about that... but she was also capable of steel and fire, and whoever this Ryo was would come to regret the day he made Akari cry. Millie swore it.
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-07 01:49:25 102354
Akari snorts. "Of course I have to thank you!" she says. "Thanking each other is also what friends do!" She smiles weakly. "Just having you as ... as my special friend ... it really helps, more than ..." She glances down at Rubindorn. "... well, more than even I realize, sometimes."

She pauses, considering the steel in Millie's voice. "... you know, I really don't hate St. George ... Ryo-san," she says softly. "I ... used to think I could. But that might have just been the darkness. Now, I ..." She shakes her head. "I have to wonder, just what the hell happened to him, that he'd be willing to kill people? That he only sees people as things? Frau Doktor wasn't a monster, she was a human, and he ... he just killed her anyway just because she was there. I just ..." She shakes her head. "Honestly, I really just feel sorry for him."
Millie White 2019-01-07 02:11:36 102355
It was true that friends did in fact thank each other, but Millie wasn't sure she liked being thanked for something that should be automatic. When someone was in trouble, her instinct was to help them. Sometimes it wasn't even a conscious choice. The term 'special friend' confused Millie as she had no context to it, but now wasn't the time to ask about it perhaps. When Akari mentioned Ryo, her brows narrowed slightly and her gaze hardened.

"He murdered someone and made you cry." Millie growled, and uncharacteristically, her hands clenched into fists. Millie was usually pretty calm, and even in battle her anger was generally contained. Akari might feel sorry for him, but Millie didn't have any of the prior knowledge that she did. Millie didn't know about St.George, or Ryo who was Lacrima's brother... all she knew was that this man had killed someone Akari was close to and had made her cry. For that, she would not forgive him, not even for Akari's sake.
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-07 02:29:46 102358
Akari raises her eyebrows. "W-well obviously I'm not saying we shouldn't stop him or punish him!" she says. "I'm just saying ..." She sighs softly, and puts one hand on Millie's arm. "... Honestly ... it just doesn't feel like we should be trying to get revenge. Or making decisions on how to deal with this while royally pissed off. Y'know?"

She looks away. "... and maybe I'm thinking too much like Sakura-imouto, who's willing to forgive everyone for anything ... I mean, not that she was wrong about me. But ..." She looks Millie in the eye. "... I've been hit with the worst. There's someone who wants to brainwash me just because he doesn't see me as a person." Which still causes a slight shudder. "And someone else who just killed someone I care about for no reason."

She takes a deep breath. "And knowing that, I still choose to believe that even the worst person can change, that anyone can become a better person if they just try -- and that anyone can try," she says. "I still look on the bright side, even if everything hurts right now." She looks so serious and determined, even with lingering tears in her eyes. "I don't know whether I got this from Sakura-imouto, or from Clara Meriva, or whatever." She shrugs. "But that is the decision that I, Akari Hayabusa, have made."
Millie White 2019-01-07 03:03:25 102365
Millie stopped and listened to what Akari was saying while she tried to will her anger down. It was hard to get Millie truly and honestly angry, but someone was dead. This wasn't something they could just... forgive someone for. A life had been taken, and even though that life might not have been on the 'good' side, it had been snuffed out in a murderous act. Not to mention the law was broken, and her friend was made to suffer. Where was she supposed to put this anger? Millie's jaw clenched just thinking about trying to help a murderer 'redeem' himself...

Akari's hand on her arm brought her out out of her irate thoughts. Her friend's next words were so earnest, it made a spike of shame slowly rise in Millie's chest, shame that flickered for a split second in her gaze. Millie's eyes slowly roved from Akari to the whittled panther on the nightstand. Akari... was technically correct. They couldn't lower themselves to acts like revenge. Revenge wasn't for heroes... their job was justice, and there was no justice in seeking blood.

"Alright." Millie grunted before closing her eyes and running a frustrated hand through her hair. "I will only punch him a little bit then. Promise." The anger was pushed down for now and her shoulders eased.
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-07 03:21:26 102368
Akari gently lowers her hand, and nods. "I mean, you can and should punch him as much as is needed to stop him," she says softly. "But ... well, apart from anything else, he's tough enough that we'd need to do it as a group. And as a group, we need to be calm and level-headed, so we aren't just ... vigilantes wreaking havoc, or villains plotting or whatever."

She sighs. "... and if someone does kill him ... Lacrima-chan's going to be devastated," she says softly. "... and their parents don't ven know magic exists right now ..."

She looks away. "... For that matter, I don't know how to get him to change, in practical terms," she says. "Killing is a line you can't uncross." She laughs weakly. "I just ... feel awful on every level, basically. Y'know?" She shakes her head. "Ahhh, I haven't even mentioned how I keep thinking of things I could've done differently to prevent this ..." Rubindorn pings. "... even if Ruby has been telling me that there isn't anything I could've reasonably known to do differently at the time," she quickly adds. She shakes her head. "Or how Murano-sensei didn't even care about me, being my handler was just an annoyance that got in the way of what she really wanted to do, before we joined UMBRA."
Millie White 2019-01-07 03:54:17 102374
Ryo was Lacrima's brother, and their parents had no idea about any of this. No, killing Ryo wouldn't make anything right, including Akari's feelings on the matter. Millie made a mental note to learn more about St. George before she returned her focus to her friend.

"You did what you could given the situation you were in." Millie said reassuringly, not even a question of whether or not it was true. She knew how Akari operated in battle, and she had no doubt that the Device user had done everything she could that night. Millie gently rested a hand on her friend's shoulder. "Whatever the Doktor was, it doesn't change your feelings towards her. It's okay to grieve for her..." Millie said softly before her hand fell back to her side.

"... I'm sorry I wasn't there to help you, even though I swore I would be." Millie blurted suddenly, looking up at her friend with regret. She knew her presence wouldn't have helped, not how she was right now, but just knowing she had failed to protect her friend when she had really needed it made her feel sick... Inwardly, Millie resolved to be there next time for Akari, magic be damned.
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-07 04:01:22 102375
Akari nods slowly. "I wish I hadn't frozen up, but ... even if I hadn't, I doubt I could've done anything that would've guaranteed to stop him ..." She sighs. "... no, I'm not going to get myself into that loop again," she says firmly.

At Millie's exclamation, though, she blinks, and hesitates. Then she gets up, and hugs Millie, seemingly oblivious to propriety. "... you're falling into the same thing, you know," she says. "You can't use magic right now. Until you're able to transform again ... you're just spinning your wheels about the might-have-beens." She steps back, hands on Millie's shoulders. "You're my friend, and I care about you. Remember what I told you, when you found me working here? I don't want you to take any unnecessary risks."
Millie White 2019-01-07 04:22:26 102379
Millie was stunned by the sudden hug and unable to reciprocate, her emerald gaze reflecting confusion before the tips of her ears began to burn a pinkish hue. The Cure let Akari finish and it was a few moments before she was able to formulate a response.

"They wouldn't be unnecessary." She said mostly in her defense, but offered a flicker of a smile to show she understood what Akari was trying to say. "But I'll try not to run headlong into any magical shenanigans if I can help it." To be fair, the only time something magical had actually happened while she was henshinless was that one youma attack. Their track record was actually in their favour.

"On that note, I have some good news. The other day I swore I got the faintest whiff of magic. It was quick and gone pretty fast, and I haven't picked up any mana scents since, but it was there." Millie grinned at what the implications of this might mean.
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-07 04:36:35 102380
Akari lowers her hands, a light blush on her own cheeks. "They will be unnecessary risks if you don't have your magic back," she says, sounding frankly concerned.

... and then immediately Millie addresses that exact concern. "Oh!" She smiles an actual smile this time. "Glad to hear it's starting to come back! You're starting to recover!"

Almost immediately, though, she sighs. "... But seriously, though ..." She shakes her head. "... well. Thank you." She smiles faintly at Millie. "I don't care if you think caring for me should be just a matter of course or whatever, I value it greatly, and you're still doing it."
Millie White 2019-01-07 04:49:43 102381
"Whoa hang on a second there. I don't care for you because I think it's a matter of course. I care for you because you're my friend, okay? Chivalry is great and all, but don't sell yourself short." She chuckled as if the very thought of it being anything else was comical. Of course it was the right thing to do to stand up for your friends, but it wasn't a sense of duty that made Akari her friend. The Canuck grinned up at the taller girl.

"I've been careful so far about magical stuff, haven't I? I mean, minus the whole Christmas Drift fiasco. I still feel bad about scratching the paint on the Sleigh." Millie mused quietly, almost as if to herself.
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-07 04:57:53 102382
Akari nods. "Well, yeah, I get that, I meant as 'a matter of course because we're friends'." She sighs. "But ... yeah. Okay, got it." She giggles softly. "I still can't believe that's a real thing that actually happened," she says. "I should probably meet Dengeki Shoujo again ... eventually. Very eventually." She shakes her head.

And then her faint smile returns. "... I'm ... probably just about ready to go back to work, too," she says. "I'll definitely be ready for patrols again. And helping you around." She shrugs. "Sorry again for just ghosting on you."
Millie White 2019-01-07 05:08:38 102383
"Don't even think about apologizing. I'm just...really glad you're okay." Millie said honestly, her voice soft. Almost a full week of worry, homesickness, and general holiday blues had done a number on Millie, but she had never once been angry at Akari for the radio silence. There had only been worry. The Cure looked at Rubindorn now.

"Rubindorn, I trust you to make sure Akari-san is actually ready to go back to work. You haven't let her down yet, so I know you'll do your best." Millie fully trusted Akari, but Akari and Millie shared a trait that could get in the way logic: Stubbornness. Millie had faith that Rubindorn wouldn't let Akari go ahead if she wasn't ready, as she had already done it once before when she made Akari take a week off instead of a few days.
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-07 05:14:52 102384
Akari hesitates, then nods. "Yeah," she says softly, smiling faintly up at Millie. "I'll ... I'll try to be better about keeping in touch." She grimaces. "... y'know, the next time something happens that makes me feel this awful."

Upon being addressed directly, Rubindorn pings. <<BESTIMMT, FRAU MILLIE!>> Certainly, Frau Millie! As she says the name, it sounds just a little bit less cutesy and a little more like Akari's normal voice.

Akari nods and smiles faintly. "Right," she says softly. "I'm not great at self-reflection, and feelings are way outside what Ruby was built for, but I definitely trust her to take care of me."
Millie White 2019-01-07 05:33:56 102386
Millie let out a small, relieved sigh when Akari mentioned trying to be better about keeping in touch. It was reasurring, but she also understood the need to be alone when processing traumatic stuff. Hopefully there wouldn't BE a next time... but both of them knew that was impossible.

The term Frau caught Millie off guard and she let out a sudden bark of laughter. "You can just call me Millie. No need to be so formal." The Canadian assured the Device. She noticed the voice was a little lower in tone and inwardly wondered what that meant. Since she knew nothing about Devices, it could literally mean anything.

A small ping came from Millie's pocket and she quickly pulled out her phone with an apologetic smile. Her eyes scanned what appeared to be a calandar before her brows furrowed ever so slightly. Her phone was back in her pocket in seconds.

"Sorry about that. I set a reminder for some errands I have to run before Wednesday." Millie said, but quickly brushed the topic away. "I should actually get going if I want to get the ingredients I need to make dinner tonight." Her gaze was still a little concerned when she looked at her friend. "I can stay if you need me to though, Akari-san. Will you be alright?" The million dollar question.
Rosalie Janus 2019-01-07 05:41:26 102387
Rubindorn pings. <<JA, JA, JA.>> Which is pretty much a cognate of yeah, yeah, yeah. (The fact that her voice is a cutesy version of Akari's makes it hard to tell that she's using a modified recording of Akari saying Millie's name.)

Akari manages another weak giggle. "It's how she talks to anyone who isn't me, and even I'm 'Mistress'," she says. "Devices have sort of ... fixed ways of talking about people."

She nods as Millie talks about needing to leave, and takes a moment to consider the question. "... I think so," she says. "Rubindorn?"

Ping! <<WAHRSCHEINLICH!>> Probably!

Akari smiles faintly. "Okay," she says. "I guess I'll see you later, then!" She hesitates, then adds, "Be safe, all right?"
Millie White 2019-01-07 05:52:55 102388
Millie rolled her eyes good naturedly at Rubindorn. All that power and the Device couldn't just drop a title? Whoever QA'd these Devices needed a talking to, apparently. At Akari's hesitance and Rubindorn's choice of wording, Millie paused.

"... Text or call me right away if you need anything. Doesn't matter what time it is, okay?" She smiled at Akari's concern. "I'll be careful, don't worry about me. The only thing you should worry about right now is staying fed, hydrated, and wrapped in a warm blanket. Take care, Akari-san."

With that, Millie offered a smile to her friend before turning to leave Room 3.