Pre-Practice Chat

Akari and Millie have a chat about feelings. By the end, things are back to ... well, about as normal as they get at the moment.

Date: 2019-02-03
Pose Count: 23
Rosalie Janus 2019-02-03 00:19:31 103280
It's a relatively chilly afternoon, school is over for the day, and Akari has texted Millie asking to meet her in the park ... in English! She knows the language, she's been "learning" it at school, but she mentioned that she hasn't had very many opportunities to practice it outside of school.

Of course, Akari ended up feeling a bit ... antsy, and slightly on edge. She's now pacing back and forth at the north entrance; she's wearing her usual blue track suit, with Rubindorn hanging around on her neck and the bag with the two training swords on her back. Occasionally, she glances around. Is she looking for Millie? Worried about a youma-attack or Lacrima coming after her in broad daylight? Or just plain nervous for no reason? Probably the first and last of those.
Millie White 2019-02-03 00:35:04 103284
School had ended on this particularly chilly afternoon, which meant that training was not far off. Millie couldn't help the easy smile that split her features when she read the text from Akari. It was in English, something she hadn't been expecting, but it was a pleasant surprise for her. The Cure responded, also in English, before pocketing her phone and hurrying out of the dorms to meet Akari.

Despite the chill, Millie wore her usual t-shirt and jeans, complete with her favourite faded green overshirt. Did Akari or Millie actually own any other outfits? The world might never know. Millie's pace was brisk; she didn't like the idea of Akari wandering around alone, not after getting linker ganked. Her friend had been recovering, but if it hadn't been abundantly clear before, Millie White was a worrier. Akari usually chose the North entrance and, sure enough, she saw the familiar blue track suit come into view.

"Hey there, Akari-san!" Millie called out with a wave and a grin as she made her way over. Sneaking up on someone in Akari's situation was a bad idea, so Millie made sure she saw her from at least a few feet away.
Rosalie Janus 2019-02-03 00:40:49 103287
Akari immediately relaxes, and smiles weakly over at Millie. "Hello, Millie!" she says in English. "How are you today?" She's a little stiff, and there's a faint Japanese accent, but overall she sounds fairly fluent. "I ... thought I would go out alone, but I ended up just getting nervous, ahaha ..."

She leads Millie into the park. "I found another spot," she says, then looks around to see if anyone's there, and lowers her voice. "Ruby found it."

Her pendant lets out a soft ping. <<ICH SPRECHE IN VOLLSTANDIGEN SATZEN WIEDER!>> Rubindorn's volume is still lower than normal, but it's clearly getting better.

Akari chuckles. "She says she is speaking in complete sentences again."
Millie White 2019-02-03 00:55:42 103291
Akari was even speaking in English? Millie let out a short bark of happy laughter before grinning at her blue haired friend.

"I'm doing alright, thanks! Are you feeling any better?" Millie responded in English, making sure to keep her sentences a bit slower and keeping the pronunciation clear for the Japanese native. If she could help Akari in learning English, you'd better believe she'd jump at the chance! At the news that she had gotten nervous while out alone, Millie shook her head and offered a smile as the bluenette led them to the new area of the park.

"It's alright Akari-san. I know what that feels like... but don't worry! If anything shows up, I'll take care of it." The Canuck said reassuringly. Even if Akari hadn't been there to protect her when she herself had been in the same situation, Millie wouldn't mind guarding the device user while she recovered. But she had, so Millie would make sure to be extra careful.

"I'm glad you're feeling better too, Rubindorn!" It had been a while since she had heard a complete sentence in German. It was a relief, honestly, because it reflected that Akari too was getting better and growing stronger.
Rosalie Janus 2019-02-03 01:06:03 103293
Akari's native tongue and ethnicity are both technically Belkan, but Japanese has definitely supplanted both.

Rubindorn pings. <<DANKE!>> Thanks!

Akari shrugs as she walks along. "... Ehhhhhhh," she says. She holds up her hand, and there's a brief rose-red flicker of light. "Won't be long before I can use magic again -- and I said before, I'll be able to use it in this form -- so I'm just getting better in that regard every day."

She sighs softly. "Still working out the ... emotional side, though."
Millie White 2019-02-03 01:14:18 103294
The flicker of magic in Akari's hand brought a soft smile to the Cure's face, even if it was a bit of a sad one. Akari was recovering physically, but it sounded like she was having a hard time with the emotional impact of everything that had happened. That was only to be expected... after everything that had gone down recently, she was proud of how well her friend was doing.

"I'm sorry things are still rough." Millie said softly as they walked. "Is there anything I can do to help?" If it were something physical, Millie would have a better idea what to do, but emotional? All she could really do was be there for her friend, and she was. Sometimes she felt she was being annoying with how much she was around, but she had at least hopefully proven that her heart was in the right place.
Rosalie Janus 2019-02-03 01:22:51 103296
Oblivious to Millie's worries about being annoying, Akari puts a hand on Millie's shoulder. "You've been plenty of help just being there for me," she says quietly. "Just ... knowing that there's someone who's still ..." She blinks away sudden tears. "... a constant. I think."

She shrugs. "Sailor Mars came to check on me the other day," she says. "She was relieved to see I had support from others like you, but ..."

She goes silent for a moment. They reach a small cluster of trees, the usual kind they've used to hide away from the public eye. "... I feel ... alone," she says. "Or -- lonely." She shakes her head. "It's just ... It's not being alone physically as much. Especially now that I can talk to Ruby again. But I feel like ..." She shrugs. "I only have one other person in my family. I'm not part of a community at all. I can't be around one of the people I care about who I have a lot in common with."

She leans one handed against a tree. "The only people I have who really know me, who I feel connected to, who I see regularly, are Haruna, Sakura, and ..." She looks over at Millie, and there's a faint blush there. "... well, um, you."
Millie White 2019-02-03 01:54:58 103299
Still a constant... Millie had sworn, she would remain a constant for as long as she was able to. It hurt to see her friend suffering, especially when she knew she was already doing everything in her power to help her. And forced the 'what-if' scenarios to rear their ugly heads. What if she had been there when Saint George had showed up? Could she have done anything? If she had fought a little harder against the Wolkenritter, even as a civilian, could it have made a difference? made THE difference?

"I'm glad Sailor Mars came to check on you. I've only ever met one of them, but I feel like their group knows what they're doing. You know I tend to worry, so I can relate to Sailor Mars, I think; it's good you have so many folks looking out for you." Millie said honestly as they reached the cluster of trees. As Akari spoke of being lonely, Millie's expression softened sadly. Lonely was an awful way to feel, Millie knew, especially when it was a difficult kind of loneliness to identify. One could be surrounded by people on all sides and feel completely alone. Was that how Akari felt?

"Akari-san..." Without even thinking, Millie reached out and squeezed the bluenette's shoulder. "It sounds to me like you're looking for a sense of belonging. I'm not gonna tell you the usual 'You do belong!' speech because I know you know that. I just... want to make sure you know that. Whether or not you find a community like you mentioned, you'll always belong, okay?"
Rosalie Janus 2019-02-03 02:11:03 103301
Akari nods slowly, and puts an arm around Millie's shoulder, and gives her a gentle squeeze. "I just ..." She goes silent, and it looks like she's struggling with words.

She switches back to Japanese. "I don't care what Rashmi-chan says, it's hard figuring out my feelings," she says. "But I do know that I was desperate for family. I gave away my secret identity to Sakura-imouto the day after she decided to adopt me, back when I thought I was Nightbell. It might have been why I ..." She grimaces. "... rushed into a romantic relationship much too quickly."

A brief shrug. "... I ... have probably told you about a group that's forming, called the Aces. Maybe that will help. I thought at the time that it might be ... something. It'll at least be something else I could do."

She looks Millie in the eye. "Though ... as for the other part ..." She blushes faintly again. "That ... that Puella girl, Ishin-san, who asked if we were in a relationship ... has been kind of on my mind."
Millie White 2019-02-03 02:44:54 103306
Millie returned the half-embrace warmly, proving that she was a master at both half-hugs as well as full hugs! She knew Akari knew, even if she was struggling with her feelings, and that put the Cure's heart a bit at ease. When she spoke next, it was in her usual low and slow Japanese.

"Terios-san was right, though. Don't beat yourself up about not being able to figure some stuff out. I don't think anyone is really 'good' at understanding their feelings all the time. That'd be too exhausting, I reckon. Emotions are hard to follow because they're different from person to person, y'know? It's why it's important to listen when people talk about how they're feeling... with both your ears and your heart."

While that sounded more than a bit cheesy, it was clear Millie believed in what she had said wholeheartedly, and it was moments like this that solidified why she had become a Cure to begin with. Millie wasn't the best in social situations... in fact some might describe her as a bit bumbling. Even so, it never stopped her from trying. If not for herself, then for others like her friends.

"You and Terios-san have mentioned the Aces before, yeah. I think it would be a great chance for you to connect with others and learn some new stuff along the way. Don't look at it as just something to do... I bet you'll learn lots!" The Cure said encouragingly, going so far as to softly clap Akari on the back as a show of support. Akari was already formidable in Millie's eyes, so training and getting to know the other Aces? She'd become even stronger, and more importantly, connect with others in a meaningful way. When Akari mentioned the little Puella they had stumbled across, she couldn't help grinning with embarrassment and scratching the back of her head.

"Yeah I remember Ishin-san. You've mentioned her a few times now... is everything okay, Akari-san?" Millie asked, that familiar tone of concern evident in her lower voice.
Rosalie Janus 2019-02-03 02:55:23 103308
Akari smiles faintly and nods. "Yeah," she says softly. "That's definitely another advantage ..." She thinks a moment. "But ... I really do think that once the Aces get started, it'll be ... partly helpful for finding connections as well."

She sees Millie's shuffling awkwardness. Okay, good, she's as awkward and embarrassed as Akari herself is, she's not alone in this. She smiles faintly, the redness on her own cheeks deepening. "I, uh ... I don't know if it's a good idea to do it now ... when I'm, still this little ball of turmoil ..." 'Little', even though she's taller than Millie herself. "... but, uh ..." She shrugs, and looks like she's backpedaling. "W-well, I mean, uh ... Would you ever consider, um ..." She rubs the back of her head. "... g-going out on me with a date?"

... She immediately realizes she got the words mixed up there, and her blush deepens further.
Millie White 2019-02-03 03:34:00 103312
Millie nodded, glad that Akari was also thinking about the Aces in a way that included connecting with them. Strength and what it entails was great, but what was the point of strength when you were empty on the inside? No, connecting with a team would definitely help Akari out... at least, that was what Millie believed, as well as hoped. Of course she would always hope the best for her friend. The frown of concern deepened as Akari became more and more flustered, and she couldn't quite figure out why. Was it something about Ishin-san? Or had she said something wrong? Oh no, what if something had happened?! Millie didn't have long to wonder, because Akari came out and said it. Well, sort of. It was mixed up, but there it was.

... Wait what. A date? No wait, a date with HER? For a moment, it seemed like Millie.exe had stopped working. Her ears burned crimson and this time, the colour managed to dust her cheeks as well. The Canuck, as in tune as she was with others' emotions, had been completely blindsided by the revelation that Akari potentially had feelings for her. More than anything, she was confused. Why her...? She was tall and unfeminine, bumbling and clearly not exactly the brightest. While she might be chivalrous, she wasn't anything special to look at, and she KNEW there were far better choices than her everywhere Akari could look.

"A.. A date?" Millie mumbled in English, the shock of the statement knocking her back into her native language. This had never happened before. No one had ever shown her any interest in that regard, so why now? The Cure had to stop and take a careful look at her own feelings. She cared about Akari, that was true, and she cared about her deeply. Millie was willing to fight the Wolkenritter without magic in order to protect Akari; the fact she cared was not in question. But did that equate to... those kinds of feelings? Did she like Akari, romantically...? After a few moments, she knew in her heart what the answer was.

"Akari-san..." Millie started gently, "I'm not going to lie to you. You are without a doubt the person I know and care about the most...but I don't think I have... 'those' kinds of feelings for you." Her voice was soft but she knew no matter what or how she said it, it would hurt Akari... and it killed Millie knowing that SHE was the one hurting her. "I'm sorry... but I want you to know this doesn't change anything between us. You're still my best friend... I-I mean... if... that's something you still want." Sudden fear gripped her. What if Akari DIDN'T want to still be friends? What if the hurt was too much? What if she lost her best friend right here at this very moment? Millie squeezed her eyes shut, her fists clenched at her sides, unable to deal with that sudden terrifying thought.
Rosalie Janus 2019-02-03 03:41:07 103316
Akari slowly lowers her hand; Akari's face maintains its redness. There's a moment of silence.

Then Akari says, "Okay." She sighs, and then laughs nervously. "... s-see, this is exactly what I was talking about. I ... really ... I really shouldn't try to ... try to follow that when I'm a desperate emotional wreck, right?" She shakes her head. "A-and ... it's ... better to cut it off right now anyway, if it ... was never going to work out. Instead of ... getting ... instead of having everything shatter after I got emotionally ... involved, or worked up. W-which is exactly what I told Sakura-imouto when she asked for advice about a boy."

She rubs her eyes, wiping away tears. She's still smiling, though. "So, uh ... it does sting a little, I won't lie, but, um ..." She shakes her head. "... yeah. See above."
Millie White 2019-02-03 04:04:34 103318
The silence was deafening. So deafening, Millie was positive that Akari could hear her heart pounding with fear. Akari had always been HER constant. When Tarnished had shattered her henshin, it had been Akari that got her out of there. It had been Akari who had protected her while she wasn't able to transform. It was Akari who met with her every day to practice their sword skills. Imagining a world without all of that, without Akari as her friend, was too much; a few tears managed to slip past her scrunched eyelids.

"N-No!" Millie suddenly blurted, her emerald eyes flying open to lock on Akari's when the device user had said her bit. Her expression was fearful but also insistent. "You... Akari you aren't..." Millie wasn't one to stumble over her words like this. It was apparent that she was taking the question and the situation seriously. "It's not wrong to want a connection like that. It's not! I... I don't care what anyone says, it's not wrong to want to give or receive love, whether you're emotionally distraught or not! I'm just... I'm sorry I can't be that person for you." Millie quickly scrubbed her sleeve over her eyes, almost in shame.

"I can't be that person, but I... I swear I'll always be there, okay? Even if it's not from me, you are worthy of that kind of love." Millie sniffled, and repeated more quietly, "You are worthy of love, Akari."
Rosalie Janus 2019-02-03 04:21:47 103319
Akari blinks, her blush returning. "I-I didn't mean it like that!" she stammers. "I didn't mean no love at all, I just meant I shouldn't get emotionally invested in the idea of a relationship with a specific someone before I even ask if they're interested!"

... She's sort of speaking from Sakura's elaborate plans for marrying Yukito. Briefly, she wonders if Sakura has asked him yet, and how that went. (... Except, nah, she doesn't really wonder at all, there's no real way it could have gone well.)

She sighs. "... sorry, Millie-chan," she says weakly.
Millie White 2019-02-03 04:41:34 103320
Millie shook her head. She knew what Akari meant... but the way she had worded it, it had sounded self depreciating. Part of being a friend was to stop that kind of thing as soon as possible.

"I meant... What I meant was, it's normal to... to want to seek that kind of thing, especially when you're going through a hard time. I just want you to know that it's normal, and you shouldn't... feel bad about the way you feel. No matter what... and you shouldn't limit yourself either. You keep saying you're desperate, like it's a bad thing, but it's not Akari." Millie paused, running a hand through her hair. When she spoke next, her voice was soft, and she was doing her best to smile softly.

"You're not desperate... you're lonely, and that's something that can be fixed. It's something that WILL be fixed. I know I haven't known you for a long time, but I do know this; you're resilient. You'll find what you're looking for.... You're Akari Hayabusa, and I have faith in you."

Millie wasn't lying. She had absolute faith in Akari. After a few moments, her shoulders eased if only a little bit. "No apologizing... I'm just... I'm relieved we're still friends." Her relief was written all over her face, in her body language, and in her eyes when she looked meekly at Akari.
Rosalie Janus 2019-02-03 04:47:36 103321
Akari nods slowly. There are still tears in her eyes, and she's still blushing a bit, but Millie is really talking sense there. "I ... yeah," she says. "I ... you're probably ... one hundred percent correct, Millie-chan."

She smiles at Millie. She's still very brittle, but really, she has plenty of people watching out for her. "Yeah," she says. "Me too, really. I was kind of half-worried that ... the conversation would go really badly." The same as Millie, in other words. She manages a smile. "But, um." She rubs her eyes again. "Thank you, Millie-chaan."
Millie White 2019-02-03 04:57:16 103322
The conversation could have ended much worse than it had. Millie had seen it all before from a distance. Between good friends, one of them admits they have feelings for the other... the other declines, and the friendship is irreparably damaged. The two drift apart... or in the worse case scenario, end up with animosity and become enemies. The very thought of that happening with Akari was... it was unthinkable. Millie wouldn't let that happen. She had been alone for most of her life, the odd duck, the one that didn't fit in... and now she had found people who didn't care, who liked her for who she was. There was no way she would let go of that feeling, not now, not ever.

"Me too. I was afraid you would withdraw or that... that you would hate me." Her words were gruff and mumbled. It was so stupid... of course Akari wouldn't do something like that. The Cure felt stupid for ever considering it, but it was hard letting go of fear, whether it was rational or not. Millie finally unclenched her hands and let them rest freely at her side, and let out a breath she didn't realize she was holding.
Rosalie Janus 2019-02-03 05:14:08 103323
Akari is considerably less experienced with watching other relationships going badly, but, well ... she knows it well enough that she did damage control as quickly as she could. She smiles faintly, and shakes her head. "I don't even hate Saint George," she says frankly. "What chance did you have?" She pats Millie's shoulder. "And honestly, I've sort of learned how bad withdrawing can go, too." She seems to be relaxing at the same time as Millie.

A soft ping. <<OK, PUH.>> Okay, whew.

Akari snorts, and looks down at her pendant. "And you can be quiet!"
Millie White 2019-02-03 05:24:25 103324
The mention of Saint George surprised her. Not because of the name itself, but in relation to the statement. Akari didn't hate him... In all honesty, Millie didn't know if she could agree with her friend on this one. What he had done... it couldn't be taken back. He couldn't just say sorry for something like this. Before, maybe, but now...? Now was a different story. Even so, Millie grinned weakly.

"I'm okay with losing against him when it comes to this, at least." She offered, before turning to look at Rubindorn when she spoke up. A genuine smile flitted across her face, and she couldn't help the chuckle that rumbled pleasantly from her chest.

"I would high-five you if I could, Rubindorn." Things seemed to be... relatively normal between the two of them. Things would likely be a bit awkward, but they could work through it. They had been through a lot so far, what was one more bump in their shared road? The Cure nodded her head towards the dufflebag that Akari held.

"Are you still good for training today? I understand if you'd rather not, but I... think it might help." Millie said quietly, but with a soft smile on her face.
Rosalie Janus 2019-02-03 05:31:51 103325
Akari looks away, embarrassed. Not the "asking out on a date" embarrassment, but more "I just compared hating my best friend to hating a murderer" embarrassment. "Y-yeah, that ... was bad phrasing."

Rubindorn pings in response to Millie's direct mention. <<HEEHEEHEE.>>

Akari smiles, and shrugs the bag off her shoulder. "Sure," she says. "I think ... going back to something that's perfectly normal between the two of us ... is gonna be just the thing!" She pulls out one of the two training swords, and holds the other out to Millie.
Millie White 2019-02-03 05:37:58 103326
Akari's smile and her words finally solidified it for Millie; the two of them were going to be just fine. It would take more than a very embarrassing moment brought on by a tiny Puella's innocent comment to break apart the friendship they had crafted. She felt a little silly for ever thinking it might, but it was done with now and they could concentrate on what came next. Millie grinned warmly before she nodded and took the sword that had been offered to her.

"I'm not gonna go easy on you just because you cried though." Millie teased gently, nudging Akari's duffel bag with the end of her wooden sword. Her smile was wry, but it held nothing but warmth. Besides... Millie had definitely cried too, even if no one but Akari and Rubindorn could prove it!
Rosalie Janus 2019-02-03 05:46:30 103327
Akari actually manages a chuckle at that challenge. Really, she's just radiating relief, for pretty much exactly the same reasons as Millie. "I should hope not!" she says, hefting her sword. She doesn't have all of her pep back, at least on the emotional end of things, but there's still some of her old self there anyway. "Besides, same to you!"

And with that, she darts forward, sword raised. Soon, the clattering of wooden swords fills the clearing. Things are back to normal between the two of them.