New Years Bash

Hotel Augusta throws a new years party! Come for the dancing, stay for the drama, and live for the Chara and Koi.

Date: 2016-01-01
Pose Count: 122
Madoka Kaname 2016-01-01 23:00:39 20217
    The Grand Ballroom of the Hotel Augusta is all decked out for the New Years, which is to say it looks much as it normally does except with a large tasteful 'Happy New Years!' banner across the railing of the upper balcony because the Grand Ballroom is already furnished and decorated for events.

    A lavish display of hors d'oeurves has been set out on the tables; crackers with various cheeses, crab cakes, deviled eggs, bite sized pieces of exquisitely cooked meats on toothpicks, each of which has a little red 'A' at the top, and all kinds of others. There is also a good selection of deserts cut up and placed onto small plates, including various cakes and candies in a wide variety of flavors. And yes, there is tiramisu.

    Table service for proper meals is available from the hotel kitchen is available for those who want more than the complimentary snacks, but the prices run fairly high.%r
    There is Champaign for adults and various sparkling ciders for minors is being offered by nicely dressed hotel staff, along with an enormous crystalline bowl filled with punch likely large enough to last a whole night. No one guards it, but there's enough volume to it that anyone with the intent to spike it might need more booze than they bargained for!

    A small orchestra from one of Tokyo's various universities seems to be taking the stage tonight, their music upbeat and festive that gives the whole room the feeling of celebration and happiness. Already people are beginning to filter in with minglers hanging around near the food and up on the balcony, while the most courageous among the guests slowly filter to the large dance floor while it's relatively empty.

    People seem to be evenly split between wearing formal ball gowns and white tie tuxedos and the semi-formal attire of suits(with or without jackets) and less elaborate dresses and outfits. A small minority have come completely casual with jeans and sweatshirts and the like, and these are tolerated but given snooty looks by hotel staff.
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-01 23:06:58 20218
Amu Hinamori is in the middle category of dress: semi-formal, but not completely elegant. Her dress is a black, simple-strapped a-line with a red ribbon tied under the bust, and little red bows on each of her hips. Knee-length, it has a white petticoat that just shows, and a black leather case on her right hip. The outfit is completed with a pair of black strappy kiddy-heels, a choker about her neck, and a black X-shaped hairclip to hold her hair in a side pony (so in style).

Perhaps more interesting than her dress, however, is the fact that Amu Hinamori does not arrive alone. Her 'date' for the evening is the blonde boy next to her: Tadase Hitori, and judging by the way her hand is tucked gently into his arm, 'date' should not have quotes around it. Someone's going to be the talk of Seiyou, soon.

The pair arrive 'early' (which is to say just as the party gets started), rather than fashionably late, and Amu waits patiently while Tadase presents their tickets.

"Do you think I dressed formally enough?" Amu asks concernedly, when she spots some of the ballgowns being worn. "Mom said a little black dress is the right thing for a New Years party, but some of these people look so elegant."
Madoka Kaname 2016-01-01 23:12:24 20219
    Madoka Kaname arrives early in the night and in semi formal attire, a nearly white blue dress with darker blue vertical stripes and a blue ribbon wrapped just under her chest and tied in a large bow at the back. It has a collarbone revealing square cut neckline with lace along the inside and a sewn in set of ruffles over the chest. The sleeves are short with more blue ribbon at the end and lacy cuffs. Her hair has been carefully brushed out and is being worn down, her trademark ribbons tied into her hair at the sides, gathering only a single small lock; just enough to stay in place. Matching blue shoes with short heels completes her outfit.

    She comes in at the side of one of her friends, Homura Akemi, and the two seem to be decked out in very similar outfits. It's either a horrible case of 'that's the same dress as mine!' or the two went shopping together. Judging by the smile on her face it's the latter!

    "I'm excited! This is going to be a lot of fun, Homura-chan. Thanks for coming with me." She looks around the room with a wide eyed expression, soft pink eyes going first to the dance floor and then to all the appetizers set out. She starts heading over to the food unless Homura objects, "Maybe a snack to start?" Along the way she leans in and whispers, "This is the first New Year you'll have seen in a long time, isn't it?"
Ataru Touya 2016-01-01 23:15:50 20220
Ataru Touya saw there was a dance. Ataru and Naota didn't go to the last multi-school function dance because things got hectic one night and it may or may not have involved terrible mirror-masked monsters. Regardless! That has not happend tonight!

Ataru is dressed in a stylish 'Not Tuxedo'. It's a fancy suit- but it doesn't reach the audacity of full ballroom attire. It is not some garish color of red or other 'primary color'- it's black- with white undershirt-

Look, you're a boy going to the dance. You wear black and white.

He knows these things!


He is waiting, patiently, for Naoko to arrive.

He looks at his watch.

Man, he's going to be so /mad/ if she's out there fighting a stupid thing all by herself and he's stuck here stagging a fancy party.
Tadase Hotori 2016-01-01 23:18:23 20221
Tadase presents the tickets to the person at the front door, smiling at him and thanking them as he walks in, hand in hand, with Amu. He's fully on presenting himself as the dashing King. This is because it keeps him from doing anything odd like panicing or clamming up. Retreating back into what he absolutly IS good at.

This works approximately until the girl who has his hand actually asks him a question, at which point he's back to Tadase Hotori rather than King Hotori. He turns and blinks, and looks into her eyes. "I don't care what any of them are wearing." he says, after a long time of mentally searching for the words to say. And managing to do so without a stammer or dropping his train of thought! "You look great."

Tadase himself is wearing a black suit with a whiteundershirt and blue tie, with golden buttons. It's not entirely perfectly fitted (maybe a little big on him) but it also somehow still suits him. "And no, I don't think your underdressed for this dance at all, either." he adds, realizing that maybe the question wasn't entirely just about how he felt.
Naota Uneme 2016-01-01 23:22:28 20222
If Ataru wants to find Naoko he may want to start looking behind pillars, because she's hiding behind one. Not hiding WELL, mind you: it's a party with lots of people and so mostly this just means that there are people who can't see her and other people who are wondering who this girl is and why she's braced up against the pillar like that. The fact that she's blushing almost doesn't need to be mentioned, but it's going to be simply for the sake of completeness.

Her dress definitely puts her in the latter category, but it's cute: a ruffly cotton dress in lilac of vaguely lolita-ish aspirations with puffed sleeves, calf-length, decorated with a bow on the waist and buoyed up with a white petticoat. Not QUITE right for the party, but she's happy to have it. And okay a little bit terrified to be seen in it.

Why couldn't there be a mirror demon this time?
Homura Akemi 2016-01-01 23:23:28 20223
    Homura Akemi arrives next to Madoka, wearing a matching white dress with blue stripes. From the way she smiles at Madoka (and arrived with her) it's pretty easy to guess that this is intentional. Homura's hair is in a very different style, tied up in a bun in the back, with some of her bangs brushed aside to hang in front of her ears.

    "I'm always glad to spend time with you, Madoka-chan. Yes, let's go get some treats." The purple-eyed Puella is happy to walk with Madoka to the appetizers, keeping to her side as the two of them walk. When Madoka leans in and whispers, Homura whispers back, "That's right. It's been a very long time for me."

    Homura's eyes get a little harder when they stop focusing on Madoka, scanning over the food. Mischevious thoughts cross her mind when she looks at the punch bowl, but it's not like there's a way to hide much booze under this outfit. Maybe if she could henshin...

    On the other hand the prospect of spending time with Madoka is probably enough to distract her from such plots and schemes.
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-01 23:28:23 20224
Tadase's compliment earns what for any other boy would be the expected response: Amu's cheeks redden brightly, and she looks down towards the ground, embarassed and flattered at once. "Thank you," she says to him, then gently squeezes his arm.

She glances back up at him, then smiles as he answers the questions he was really asking. "The music's nice, though," she says, as she follows him into the ballroom and starts hunting for a table to claim.
Ataru Touya 2016-01-01 23:29:27 20225
Ataru Touya sighs and decides that, when Naoko actually gets here- she'll text him. He goes on ahead in and scans the party! and----



They were supposed to meet outside! Though. It's possible. Naoko did wanna hide. SO Throughout all the pondering and passing a boy who was about to approach Naoko- (Naoko can see this coming.) Ataru appears- stage right- and places a hand on Naoko's shoulder.

'You doin okay?' he whispers a little. 'Come on, if anyone recognizes you in that, imma gonna eat my outfit. With ketchup.'. He offers.

'No salt, I'm on a diet.'. He adds with a coy smile.
Mikoto Nakajima 2016-01-01 23:35:45 20226
    The last time she attended one of these big public events, Mikoto Nakajima showed up on the arm of a quite well-dressed Ikuto Tsukiyomi. She was seen with him several times thereafter on social occasions, but it's been nearly a month since their last sighting together. Rumors of a breakup abound, although there has been no confirmation.

    Except that tonight, she's shown up alone. Dateless. Just a single girl, perhaps looking to hook up with someone, or maybe just to spend some time meeting people. Either way, the breakup rumors are sure to explode after this.

    At least she's taken the time to dress nicely for the event, instead of joining the jeans-and-casuals crowd. A black pencil-skirt is held to her hips by a wide leather belt in her favorite royal blue, and she saunters in on three-inch-heeled ankle boots. Above, she's matched a daring halter top with wedge-shaped cutouts with a fitted tuxedo coat and a double string of pearls. Maybe she is looking to replace the cat-boy.

    She lingers, briefly, at the entrance, handing over a long black duster at the coat check. Looking at her watch, she stays there for a minute more, then gives a long, dissatisfied sigh. "He was supposed to be here fifteen minutes ago," she mutters to herself. "Well, if he shows, finding me is his problem." Finally she heads in, mingling with the crowd.
Naota Uneme 2016-01-01 23:37:05 20227
Naoko manages not to jump or scream or slap Ataru when the hand happens. "Oh! A-ataru! I'm fine, don't worry about me. You look nice! I mean," she says, wringing her skirt, "your suit. It looks nice. It's a nice suit." The approaching boy gets a GLARE and then Naoko turns back to Ataru, all brittle smiles and her usual twitchiness.

"I d-don't think anyone's going to recognize me either. Just... you know." She looks around. "Lots of people here, right? For a party. Lots of people here to party. Party people. Partying."
Madoka Kaname 2016-01-01 23:42:43 20228
    Madoka slips her arm into Homura's and speeds up a little to bring them over to the appetizers, giving said arm a squeeze when she's whispered to in return. "I really like the way you did your hair tonight, Homura-chan; it's very elegant." It definitely gives her an air of sophistication that Madoka doesn't think her own does, but she's fine with that.

    Once at the appetizers she gets herself a small and loads it up in a slightly greedy manner, eager to try all the different tastes available to her. She's not on a date tonight and she doesn't have to impress any boys; she's much more free to enjoy the food than she's felt at previous events!

    She catches Homura looking at the punch bowl and hums softly. Misunderstanding the look due to Homura's well practiced even gaze she slips over and pours two cups, walking back and offering one to her friend with a smile.
Tadase Hotori 2016-01-01 23:47:08 20229
Tadase smiles. "It's a nice dance. Hopefully nobody crashes this one." he says, thinking in reference to the Halloween dance. "...sorry I guess that wasn't the most positive thing." he adds with a half smile.

He takes Amu over to a small table for two just off the dance floor. He's stuck for a moment, looking at her, and having to go and dig for words to say. He already told her she looks nice. If he says it again it'll be wierd. He's wracking his brains for a moment - and that's where Kiseki comes in. Of course, Kiseki is here somewhere. Even though Tadase told him explicitly not to be. He doesn't take orders well. And he leans up and whispers into Tadase's ear.

"Tadase. It's a dance. So you should be dancing!" Tadase blinks, and nods. There will be time to yell at Kiseki later. He extends his hand out to Amu now that they've claimed the table. "Since this song is so nice, why don't we go out onto the dance floor?"
Ataru Touya 2016-01-01 23:47:51 20230
Ataru Touya slips a hand, down to Naoko's hand and smiles. "Well that's a pretty dress. So let's let it not go to waste." he says, more confidently. He softly begins to guide Naoko towards the side, away from the pillar, more out in the open. He's not swinging her to the dance floor yet. That'd be mean. For now. He makes his way around the edge, towards the punch bowl and other refreshments. He looks around.

"Just relax." he says vaugely since they're not in the relative privacy of a pillar anymore.

"Relax, and enjoy yourself at this partying party with party people. Just dancin'. o/~" he offers. He passes by Amu and Tadase close enough and offers and smile and a nod. "Nice outfits." he offers as he passes by.
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-01 23:53:52 20231
Amu blushes all over again as Ataru compliments her outfit, but she finds her hand in Tadase's almost immediately. "But no one's really dancing yet," she mumbles concernedly, yet still she's already walking in that direction.

Oh dear, they're going to be the first ones to the dance floor, and everyone is going to be staring at her. Amu's cheeks grow redder with every step, until--at some point--she just stops being embarassed at all. It's an odd moment when she just snaps back into the Seiyou's spiciest schoolgirl, and raises her chin defiantly. "You know what, you're right. Let's dance," she says to Tadase.
Homura Akemi 2016-01-01 23:54:52 20232
    When Homura looks at Madoka, their arms linked together, her expression softens again. "Thank you, Madoka-chan. I'm glad you like it. I think your hair looks very lovely, too. Those really are the prettiest ribbons." Homura may look sophisticated, but Madoka looks beautiful. For a moment Homura wishes she could look that cute. No one would probably buy it from the way she blankly stares much of the time, though.

    Glancing over the food items, Homura takes a plate and starts putting a few pieces of food on it. She's being rather conservative relative to Madoka, not to impress anyone but just because she's naturally a bit reserved.

    When Madoka offers Homura a cup of punch, Homura blinks at it for a moment, before a smile replaces her surprise. "Thanks, Madoka-chan."

    Taking a sip of her punch, she looks around the room, trying to see if she recognizes anyone. She knows a few of these people, but not very well. "It's a big party, isn't it?" she asides to Madoka.
Ikuto Tsukiyomi 2016-01-01 23:54:55 20233
Ikuto is indeed late. But one look at him will confirm that he was not late because he couldn't figure out what to wear. He has been incredibly lazy about dressing up. Because he's wearing a black blazer and slacks, and a navy blue turtleneck. He at least had the decency to wear dress shoes, though.

As Mikoto goes into the crowd to mingle, she might see him-- a flash of short, shaggy blue hair here... a glimpse in profile here, gone when someone passes in front there. Surely just her imagination, right? But no, as someone passes in front of her, there he is. "Yo," he greets.

He hasn't come empty-handed, either. In the one hand that's not stuck in a pocket on his pants, he holds a small, clear plastic box. Inside it is a navy blue wrist corsage. The flower matches his turtleneck.
Naota Uneme 2016-01-01 23:56:44 20234
Naoko 'meeps!' but lets herself be led out away from her Hiding Pillar. She nods and smiles shyly. "Sure. I think I can manage that. Maybe not the dancing, though," she adds. "We'll see."

Amu and Tadase get a skittish wave from Naoko. "Y-yeah, you two look great." She blinks, then looks again. "Don't I know you two?" She WAS in elementary as recently as last year, after all.
Ataru Touya 2016-01-02 00:06:05 20236
Ataru Touya stops along with Naoko and head tilts, smiling at the two as Naoko seems to want to stop and talk. Wait. Naoko is talking familarity. He does frown a little at this. He hopes Naoko doesn't give enough information to connect dots if he knows these two people.

He seems to idly scan the crowd. Blue haired boy... pretty dressed girls... two girls linked arms. Some jerk over there trying to kiss his obviously not intrested date. Another jerk not kissing his obviously intrested date. Someone dressed in an actual tuxedo.

The last one seems to make him re-evalutae his choice of wear. Man. He should had worn the 'actually a tuxedo'.

He looks back down to Naoko and hrmmmms. "Who are your friends here, then?" he asks down to Naoko with a smile.
Mikoto Nakajima 2016-01-02 00:08:08 20237
    Mikoto circulates through the crowd, her eyes sharp as she looks for faces she recognizes. Homura and Madoka get a little smile and a wave from her, as do Amu and Tadase, when she sees each couple. Still, there's someone else she's looking for, and her gaze keeps drifting back towards the entrance.

    Waaaait a sec. That's a rather familiar-looking shade of hair, over by the punchbowl, isn't it? She lets the crowd waft her in that direction, but by the time she gets there, she catches another glimpse, elsewhere in the room. Another one of those little sighs slides out of her mouth, and - after filling one hand with a champagne-flute of sparkling cider - she sets out to circle the room.

    Eventually, of course, it happens exactly as one might expect: she chases him about until he catches her. That's always the way it is, with cats. "Ikuto-kun," she greets him, her tone lacking entirely in the chill of one who is upset with the other's presence. "Is that all you have to say for yourself after the last month? 'Yo'? What does that even mean, anyway?" She tips her drink to him in salute, then sips from it.
Madoka Kaname 2016-01-02 00:10:43 20238
    The softening in Homura's expression results in a brightening in Madoka's. "I've tried a few others out in stores, but I think Mama really did a great job picking these out for me," she comments, reaching a hand up to gently touch at one of her ribbons.

    She knows that Homura is always on guard, always ready to act at a moments notice in case some danger may come. She's also becoming aware that she herself is one of the only things that gets her to relax. True, there is always the chance of a witch appearing and needing dealt with somewhere in the city, or some Youma crashing their party, but they're here for fun tonight and she wants to try and get Homura to relax and have fun.

    The surprise at being handed the punch gets a giggle from her, and she takes a drink of it. She walks over to a table to set her food and drink on but doesn't actually sit, instead happily eating a few of her appetizers. "It is! I didn't know this hotel had such a large ballroom. It's really amazing."

    She does her best to be polite as she points out several of the nicely dressed people, "And everyone looks so nice!" Naoko specifically gets a mention as Madoka grabs onto Homura's arm and gestures excitedly, "That's such a cute dress!" Madoka then notices that she's being waved at and lifts her hand in a quick friendly wave to Mikoto. A moment later her head tilts, 'Do I know her?' She thinks to herself, 'She looks a little familiar, maybe.'
Ikuto Tsukiyomi 2016-01-02 00:13:48 20240
The smile doesn't fade at Mikoto's chastizing. "It's a greeting," he states. "You know, 'hi'?" He offers her the plastic box. "I wasn't sure if you'd want to match or not, so I picked this up on the way here." No apology for being late, of course. Ever known a cat to apologize? Not in public, anyway.

Oh yes, Yoru is here. Those who can see him might catch him near the refreshment table. Yoru think with his stomach most of the time, after all. So wherever there is food, Yoru will be there.
Tadase Hotori 2016-01-02 00:27:19 20246
Tadase takes Amu with him and steps out to the floor. On the way there, he smiles as he's stopped for a moment by Naoko. He looks at her for a moment, trying to place the older girl. "I'm Tadase Hotori..." he says, and there's a bit of a surge of sureness in the would-be-King. "And this is my date, Amu Hinamori." The girl who stopped him looks familiar, and he'll have to talk to her more after the dance. He inclines his head politely - they are still, after all, on their way to the dance floor - and Tadase needs to get there before one of them drops their outer character and runs or worse.

The music is elegant, and the two of them probably look far more elegant and fabulous to any onloookers than either of them feel, Amu's chin raised and Tadase looking down at her. With her hand in his they begin to dance, the two of them finding their outer characters - a King and a Cool and Spicy Girl - shielding them against any embarassment or ridicule they might feel at being the first onto the floor like this.

Tadase smiles at her. He doesn't know what to say. What he should say. And then he realizes... maybe he doesn't always have to say something. So for now, he just dances with her.
Naota Uneme 2016-01-02 00:30:44 20247
Naoko does a bit of a double-take when Tadase mentions his name. "Oh, right! You're the king!" Naoko looks to Ataru to explain, not sure if he attended the same elementary or no. "He's part of the elementary school council. And she's..." she blushes, "sorry, I mostly just remember you being popular and not why." She curtseys (trying to ignore the bubbly feeling welling up when she does that, but she's definitely giddy) "It's nice to meet both of you, though." She gives them a wave as Tadase leads them off to dance.

And someone compliments Naoko's dress. More blushing occurs. "Th-thank you! You look great too!"
Homura Akemi 2016-01-02 00:31:08 20248
    "Your mother gives the best advice," says Homura, tilting her head as she smiles. "She has really good taste." It's not really a surprise to Homura that Junko picked those out. Junko has picked out those same ribbons in like vast majority of timelines that Homura's been in.

    It's more than relaxing, for Homura. Madoka is one of the few things that actually makes Homura actively happy. When she's with Madoka the usual self-hatred and misery doesn't bother her as much anymore. Madoka's smile pushes all of that away, more and more every time they meet.

    Homura moves next to the table along with Madoka, placing her own food down and turning to look at the others. "I didn't know either. It's very nice, though. Everyone's dressed so fancy, too."

    Homura looks at the outfits that Madoka points out, giggling and saying, "Yes, I know right? It's really nice."

    As at least one couple begins to dance, Homura watches for a moment.

    "Parties like this are a lot of fun when we can have them, aren't they, Madoka-chan?"
Ataru Touya 2016-01-02 00:41:20 20252
Ataru Touya grins down at Naoko with a toothy grin because he gets this vibe. Yes that giggly schoolgirl vibe. He leans down and whispers conspiratorily. 'Maybe you can ask to cut in later.' he asides. 'I bet that'd be fun.' he insists.

He stands back up proper and clears his throat. "I'll go get us some punch." he asides.

Off he goes. To get punch. That's a nice big bowl. He still gives it the sniff test as he begins to dish out cups. He peeks over to the snacks...mmmmmmm.

Later. They haven't acquired a table yet. He walks back.

"No fights yet. That's good." he smiles. Usually, there's at least one. "Sometimes emotions run high at these types of events."

He begins sipping his punch. Slowly.
Mikoto Nakajima 2016-01-02 00:45:23 20254
    Mikoto pauses, considering Ikuto for a long moment. She didn't really expect him to apologize, she knows him better than that. Still, it would have been nice if he'd actually been on time. "Well," she finally says, "As long as you're not just here to spike the punch and run." She steps in closer, giving him a quick hug.

    She looks down, considering the corsage he selected. At least it's a fairly decent quality one. And it's a nice shade of blue. "Come now," she murmurs, "You certainly know you don't just shove the box at me." She chuckles, light and warm, and switches the glass to her right hand as she holds out her left for the corsage. "Go ahead and put it on me, like a gentleman."

    She lowers her voice, so as not to be overheard even by the closest, and adds, "And keep an eye out, your pink friend and her prince are here."
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-02 00:45:42 20255
Amu smiles when she is introduced as Tadase's date. Not girlfriend; 'date'. It's not as good a word, but it's better than 'joker' by leaps and bounds, so she is definitely not going to argue.

When they reach the dance floor, Amu hides even deeper in her outer character. She takes Tadase's hands and allows him to lead. It might be a little intimidating, how intently the girl stares into Tadase's eyes. Don't worry, it's just because she's terrified to look anywhere else and see how many people are watching them dance.
Ikuto Tsukiyomi 2016-01-02 00:55:31 20259
If Ataru is looking over at the snacks, he might see the floating chibi catboy over there stuffing his face. Particularly if they have those little cheese puff balls-- OMNOMNOM! But pretzel sticks too. Yoru likes salty snacks! He's doubtless getting cheese powder and/or salt all over his face and paws.

Ikuto chuckles at the mention of spiking the punch. "No, that didn't work well last time. I doubt it'll do any better here," he states. He accepts and returns the hug, pulling his free hand out of his pocket to loop in around Mikoto's back.

And he smirks when she offers him her hand. Oh he knew. He was just messing with her. He does that. But, as Mikoto offers him her hand, he opens the box and puts the corsage on her wrist. Now, he has to lean closer to hear her-- but it'll just look like he's being the romantic sort.

But once he does hear her warning, he nods. "I saw them on the way in," he confirms, just as quietly. "That's why you probably didn't see me come in." Oh, so he was avoiding Tadase and Amu? "They ought to be able to enjoy this, and they can't do that if he knows I'm here."
Madoka Kaname 2016-01-02 00:57:08 20260
    "She really does," Madoka agrees eagerly, "She's never given me any advice that hasn't turned out well. And even when it's not perfect she always warns me about it." Something occurs to her and she looks over to Homura. "You... haven't met her this time yet, have you?" she asks with a small tilt of her head. "You should!" she says in half excitement, half panic, "You talk like you know her, so I'd forgotten I hadn't introduced you. She likes meeting my close friends."

    After eating another few of her bite sized appetizers she looks over to Homura, "Have you tried the crab cakes yet? They're really good!" Her eyes then follow over to where Homura is looking, swaying lightly to the tune of the current song. She might even hum a few notes along.

    "I used to feel shy and embarrassed at parties like this one. I'd always ask Mama to get me dresses that didn't draw very much attention. But I don't really feel that way at all anymore. There are a lot of people, but I don't get scared when people look at me because I'm not as worried about how I'll look." Having a boyfriend that tells her she's pretty goes a long way for that, but so does wearing nicer things and being stuffed into the limelight like at the charity ball at Infinity. "Now I'm just happy to be here and having fun! I feel like I'm just another person here at the party instead of someone who doesn't belong standing at the edges."

    She ponders a moment and looks over all the well dressed people. She giggles a little when the girl that waved to her, Mikoto, seems to be acting slightly huffy towards what Madoka assumes is her date. Her eyes then turn towards Homura, looking over the girl beside her. It's a long look.

    A playfully whiny sigh escapes her, "It's no fair, Homura-chan. You look beautiful and elegant in dresses, and beautiful and stylish wearing a suit. I haven't seen you in very many dresses so I didn't notice before now; I'm a little jealous."
Naota Uneme 2016-01-02 01:01:55 20262
Naoko's stomach rumbles. Loudly. "Snacks! That sounds like a great idea. Excuse me." She works her way through the crowd towards the snack table... and sees the little cat-boy-ghost-thing. "! You've got a lot of nerve, showing up here!" She says, ponting an indignant finger at Yoru. "Especially after the thing with the kid the last time I saw you!"

Sanjuro Morimoto, second year middle school student at Juuban and relatively blameless member of the Classics Club, blanches at the sudden accusation. "...what?"

Naoko turns bright, bright red.
Ataru Touya 2016-01-02 01:06:42 20265
Ataru Touya oh.. oh god. Did Naoko just...

Oh god. She did.

He cutes in suddenly. He bows apologeticly. "Yes, yes I do, I have been shamed!..." he says melodramatically. Clearly. Naoko was talking at him- and not a catboy that no one else here can see.

"I shall leave in shameNaokobemorecarefulimmediatly....." he says as he melodramatically takes off into the mass of the dance floor for a moment to see if he can't find a partner for a moment to dance with.
Mikoto Nakajima 2016-01-02 01:11:02 20267
    If Mikoto is paying attention to Yoru's antics, she seems to give little evidence of it. Her attention is on Ikuto himself, right now, as he slides the corsage into place. It looks good with her outfit, fortunately, although fashion pedants might have suggested white, or a paler shade of blue. She certainly doesn't comment on it at the moment. (She does, however, reserve the right to chide him later. It's a girl's privilege.)

    "Thank you, koibito," she murmurs, sliding her arm around him again. "It's very good to see you again. I've been feeling lonely, of late." That ought to put paid to any rumors of a breakup! Or at least suggest that they've made up. Well, people will talk about what people will talk about.

    "An excellent point. I'll keep an eye out, and we shall avoid them. Most proper. Shall we dance, then? Or rescue the buffet from your little friend?"
Homura Akemi 2016-01-02 01:12:04 20269
    Homura turns her head to Madoka as she talks about Junko. "I don't think I have. I think I came close to seeing her when I stayed over that one time, but I actually think I left before she could see me. I would like to meet her again, though. She's someone I have a lot of respect for, and she's actually pretty easy for me to talk to. Most of the time."

    Homura looks at her plate. She did manage to get one crab cake. Upon being asked, she pops it into her mouth. "It tastes delicious. They really do have the best treats here." Her eyes go Madoka, and then back to the dance she was watching earlier.

    "I think most of the people who look at you think you're very cute, or pretty. Though I can understand the anxiety." She giggles for a moment, saying, "I actually enjoyed going to these with Mamo-kun. He was a lot of fun at them."

    Homura doesn't notice Madoka giving her a long look, but she turns her head when Madoka whines. What Madoka says next makes Homura blush. "What? You really think that about me?" Her face is getting... very red.

    Still blushing brightly, she smiles and says, "I don't think you should be too jealous of me, Madoka-chan. You look devastatingly gorgeous. If anything I should be jealous of you."
Ikuto Tsukiyomi 2016-01-02 01:17:03 20270
Yoru had been peacefully stuffing his face, when suddenly he's being pointed at! "Nya!" he yelps, crumbs and bits of salt still clinging to his paws and face. Thankfully, the confusion over who was being talked to gives the little feline Chara enough time to zip underneath the table! With a crab cake of course!

Sure, a lighter shade of blue for the flower on the corsage might have looked better. But it wouldn't have matched Ikuto's turtleneck, and he figured that was more important. Not that he knows much about fashion trends. Which is probably pretty clear anyway, given what he's worn. The question gets a smirk. "It'll be all right, he won't eat eveything," Ikuto replies. "I'd rather dance with you, if that's okay." The smirk becomes playful.
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-02 01:18:19 20271
Beneath the food table, a trio of multi-colored Charas are peering out past the legs and the dancers towards the dance floor. Miki, Ran, and Su all turn as one to stare at Yoru, but it's Miki who points at him first.

"Yoru!" she squeals, and literally leaps towards the cat-Chara, seeking to grapple him in a hug. "Happy New Year!"
Naota Uneme 2016-01-02 01:23:56 20274
Naota Uneme manages to calm herself with Ataru's help. "S-sorry, thought you were someone else. Bye!" She gives the direction she suspects Yoru fled to one last glare before dodging away from the table, towards the dance floor. "S-so," she says to Ataru, nonchalantly, "you think you're going to dance? I mean," she continues, "you ARE a dancer and all."
Tadase Hotori 2016-01-02 01:24:39 20276
Tadase leads for Amu, and the two of them dance happily. Kiseki hasn't noticed Yoru - not in the sense of seeing him. But Chara's can sense each other, and the little King is on guard, since Tadase is obviously somewhat distracted.

"You dance very well, Amu-chan." Tadase says, finally finding something to break the silence. And they both do - perhaps because hiding in their shells has made them less self-conscious about it. He doesn't find her glare intimidating - because that shell prevents him from answering all those concerns about wether or not he's done something wrong. At least, for a moment. Finally he asks. "Is everything okay, Amu-chan?"
Madoka Kaname 2016-01-02 01:38:36 20278
    Madoka giggles, covering her mouth since they're in polite company, "She's very easy to talk to unless she doesn't want to be. Then she can be really scary!" The fact that this is said with such a light tone suggests that Madoka has rarely, if ever, been the target of the overwhelming presence her mother can give off when she wishes to. Maybe that's why she grew up to be such a careful, kind, child? Though Tatsuya doesn't exactly get glares and he's as naughty as a little boy can be.

    Madoka smiles brightly as Homura tries one of the crab cakes, "I'm really glad they have so much! I'd be a little worried about eating a whole dinner when so many people might be watching but there's enough of these that they'll probably be enough for all night." For as slim as she is food is very important to Madoka! But maybe that plate full of appetizers is actually intended for all night? Ok... not with how quickly she's eating them.

    The faintest blush touches her cheeks when she's told most people probably think she's cute or pretty and she giggles alongside her friend, "Thanks, Homura-chan." Her eyes widen a bit at Homura going to dances with Mamoru, "Oh! You two must have looked wonderful together! He's got the best fashion sense of any boy I know."

    Now her head tilts a tiny bit as she considers Mamoru in his tuxedo and Homura in a long black dress being swept about the dance floor. She almost feels a little bad about being so happy to meet Usagi, AKA Girlfriend-chan.

    She doesn't voice this opinion. Instead the pink haired girl's head lifts a little as a starry-eyed look fills her face, only to drop back down in a childishly pouty manner.

    Luckily Homura provides a wonderful distraction by blushing at her own compliment, and she leans in and hugs onto her arm while giggling, "Yes! I'm surprised you wouldn't know that. Every girl in class is jealous of your hair, not just me."

    Then the compliment is returned in such a fashion that renders Madoka stunned and speechless. Her pink eyes blink twice and her face slowly changes to a shade of red even darker than her hair. She fidgets in place, "D-d-d-" She tries to repeat the compliment skeptically but instead just stammers.

    So much for not being as self conscious at the dance! She turns around quickly as both hands slap up to her cheeks and one could almost imagine steam rising out the top of her head.

    To anyone who finds embarrassment cute she probably looks adorable right now.

    Devastatingly adorable?

    That's in the eye of the beholder.
Mikoto Nakajima 2016-01-02 01:41:20 20280
    Mikoto nods, and smiles softly. "Alright, then. Dance we will." She sets her drink on a passing waiter's tray, and leans into Ikuto gently, one hand in his, the other around his waist. "Do lead on, my dear."

    She's going to enjoy this, she's determined on it, and follows where Ikuto leads. At least she knows how to dance more than a waltz, unlike about half the people on the dance floor.
Ataru Touya 2016-01-02 01:44:33 20281
Ataru Touya turns around to face Naoko and raises a brow. He thought she didn't want to dance...

He smiles a little bit. "I was going to." he asks. "Were you thinking on joining me? Also. What's with the tiny cat? Is that someone you knew? You were very upset at them." he asks. He offers a hand with a smile.

If this is an invitation to dance.

Naoko might not know this! Or maybe Naoko does, and doesn't WANT to dance with Ataru. Ataru won't feel put off either way. Probably.

The two dissapear off...somewhere. Maybe.
Reiko Touyama 2016-01-02 01:46:29 20282
Reiko Touyama is here- having arrived sometimes in the past fifteen minutes- and right now she's sitting in a seat sort of glaring daggers at Tadase and Amu. This is a look of sheeeeeer and utter rejection here. She had a feeling. She had a hunch. Having it verified is another thing. She just looks grumpy and down and one of her magical koi friends is joining in this, looking also rejected and fins crossed in front of it in a comical manner and eyes closed snootily.

Why she'd ever belive in the powers of a MAGICAL LOVE ROSE. MAGICAL LOVE ROSE!: ...the wiltening?

Yeah, Tadase will find it finally did that after tonight. oops.

She is however, covering the emotional wound with what is a slice of chocolate cake. Cake ALWAYS makes things better.

Maybe'll she get the courage to do something else in a bit. Why'd she even come!? Ugh.
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-02 01:48:32 20283
Amu doesn't dance ''that' well, but letting Tadase lead helps a ton. Thankfully, Tadase does dance relatively well, so she can just follow, and stare, and not pay any attention to the people watching the pair of them.

The question, though, catches Amu a little off guard. "What?" she asks quietly, then shakes her head, "I'm fine. Nothing's wrong. But until the other people started dancing it was just the two of us out here. I was nervous," she admits privately, where only he can hear.
Ikuto Tsukiyomi 2016-01-02 01:52:10 20285
"Whew. That was close-nya," Yoru notes. He sighs, ears flattening to the sides. But then he brightens, because CRAB CAKE! And he's just about to finish it in one big bite when suddenly TACKLE! "NYAAAA!" Yoru yelps, flailing, and dropping the crab cake. "I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING THIS TIME-NYA!" he declares. The plop of the crab cake registers before Miki's words do, actually, and his ears droop sadly.

He registers he's being hugged when his AIR SUPPLY is starting to run dangerously low! And he struggles. "Hey, lemme go-nya!" he whines. When he can breathe again he gives a mischievous 'hehe' and rubs an ear. "Happy New Year!" Then he notes that there's ALL OF THEM there, not just Miki, and blinks. "Oh uh. Hi?" hopefully this is not about to turn into a beatdown...

Ikuto, for his part, smiles and leads Mikoto onto the dance floor. He'll keep them to the edges of the dance floor, hopefully out of Tadase and Amu's view. Though if they see him, as long as he's far enough away, maybe it won't be too bad. He wants there to be a day when the thought 'There's Ikuto' isn't immediately followed by 'I hope he doesn't do something bad'. But not today.

Fortunately he knows how to dance too. One of the benefits of having a father who was really into music. So he's not going to be stepping on Mikoto's feet. He is, however, going to enjoy dancing with Mikoto. It's not often he smiles and it's not when he's trying to be evil or when he's not teasing. He does that here. But it's still lopsided, even if it's honest.
Homura Akemi 2016-01-02 02:09:40 20289
    Homura giggles. "I don't think I've ever made your mother mad at me, but then again she and I never interacted much at any one timeline. I hear a lot about her from you and your friends, too." A part of Homura wonders if Madoka will be as amazing as Junko when she grows up. If Homura succeeds in protecting Madoka, she might get to find out some day. Though, in many ways, Madoka as she is now is already amazing. Maybe a bit too amazing for her own good.

    Homura glances down on her own plate, and back at the apetizers. "I don't think people are really keeping track of how much you eat, Madoka-chan. The food is meant to be enjoyed after all."

    At the thought of dancing with Mamoru, Homura stares off, and then shrugs. "He is a good friend. I think I mistook that friendship for something else, but that doesn't stop me from appreciating it for what it is." With a smile, she adds, "He does have quite the sense of style though, doesn't he?"

    Homura reaches up to touch her bangs as Madoka says that the girls in class are jealous of her hair. "You really think so."

    As Madoka blushes more and more, there's a sinking feeling in Homura's gut. Did she say too much? There's such a thing as being too honest. She tries to recover.

    "Sorry, sorry, you were making me blush. I had to have a little revenge. Don't get me wrong though, I do think you're quite beautiful."
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-02 02:12:50 20292
Miki doesn't let Yoru go. Instead, she manifests a mistletoe above their head, and starts trying to kiss the poor cat-chara. Luckily for Yoru, Ran and Su are quick to rescue him, grabbing Miki and hauling her off. "Miki, be nice!" Ran says with a giggle.

Su, however, gives Yoru a smile and a wave. "Hello, Yoru," she says pleasantly. "Happy New Year. This party is so pretty! Are you enjoying yourself?"
Mikoto Nakajima 2016-01-02 02:17:55 20294
    Mikoto follows Ikuto's lead into the dance, stepping gracefully along. She likes dancing with him, it's certainly more fun than most of the boys at Verone ever were. And she has yet to even consider the boys at Infinity. Most of them have, so far, been booooooring.

    "So, how have you been? Sleeping well, lately?" That's what brought about their more recent meetings, the nightmares that have hit people across the city. She still has trouble sleeping through the night.

    She keeps an eye out for Amu and Tadase, in order to steer the dancing couple away from the young Guardians. She really doesn't want to get in a fight with the younger set today. It would spoil what's finally going to be a pleasant evening.

    "I've missed you."
Tadase Hotori 2016-01-02 02:18:55 20295
Tadase laughs a little. All of the other people dancing surely has helped. And he nods. "I was too. But then I thought... all of them probably felt the same. They didn't want to be the first ones out on the dance floor. They were nervous too, I bet." he says, looking down at her.

"So it was up to us then. The King's Chair and the Cool and Spicy Girl... to break the ice for everyone. Don't you think?" he asks with a wink.
Ikuto Tsukiyomi 2016-01-02 02:25:09 20298
Yoru starts to bat at the little green sprig until he realizes what it is. Oh crap, mistletoe! And a look of utter horror crosses his face. Oh no! It looks like Yoru is doomed to COOTIES! Truly the cruelest of fates! And then Ran and Su drag Miki away, and Yoru sighs in relief, flopped back on his back in the air. That miiiiiight be his soul there, floating just above his face there.

Mikoto's question of his sleeping pulls that smile down somewhat. "A bit," he admits. "But still having nightmares. Though at least I'm not having them where Easter can see." Hopefully not, anyway. But that smile does come back in full force as mikoto says that last comment. "...Same. It's good to see you again," he admits.

He's not trying to be anything he's not here. He's not trying to pretend he's evil, he's not trying to convince someone he's not who he used to be. Right now, he's just Ikuto, and he's enjoying that opportunity. They don't come around very often.
Reiko Touyama 2016-01-02 02:26:19 20299
Reiko Touyama spends about the next fifteen minutes glaring daggers. It's a good thing she doesn't manifest daggers. It is however, unfortante her koi reflect her current state of mind. Tadase, over Amu's shoulder- and Amu, over Tadase's shoulder will each see a tiny orange koi that pulls itself into an Akanbe-- pffffbbbbbbt! Then pop in an orange pop. Reiko's eyes go wide and then she blushes in embarrasment because /she didn't will that it just happened/.

She gets up and marches over towards the food table and looks at the food. Look at the food. Yes. Food right here! Food good!---huh..?

She peeks underneath the table and blinks at the whole mess under there. "Huh...." she says. "Eh--Hap-Happy New Years guys..." she says to the Charas before she just releases the tablecloth and stuffs a plate full of food to the point she does a balancing act to keep it all on there.

Food = Mental Distrction = No Renegade Emotion Koi! Duh!
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-02 02:34:21 20301
Ran and Miki almost get into a fight, but Ran manages to dispel it by hugging the blue Chara tight and saying, "We're missing what's happening with Tadase and Amu-chan!"

Miki, ever the shipper, is absolutely mollified by this. She rushes back to peer out from the tablecloth again, with Ran and Su in tow, leaving Yoru to safety.

Meanwhile, out on the dance floor, Amu blinks in startlement at the sight of a koi giving her an akanbe. Did she just see that? No, surely it was just a figment of her imagination.

"Hey Tadata," she mumbles quietly, "I think I want to sit down for a minute," she says, then steps in a little closer to give him a hug. "Can you go and get me something to drink? Just some punch or something. I just need to rest my feet for a few minutes, and then we can dance some more."
Madoka Kaname 2016-01-02 02:36:37 20302
    Madoka stands there with a very red face for a few moments. It's one of those situations where she's blushing hard enough for her face to feel hot so that even after the initial embarrassment is gone the blush itself becomes it's own source of bashfulness. "No, no, it's okay!" she replies to Homura, lifting a hand and waving it dismissively. It's probably less effective than she'd like, given she's still facing away.

    After a few moments of taking deep breaths and mentally telling herself that she's being ridiculous and maybe even causing a scene she turns back around. Her hands reach out as she tries to take each of Homura's in her own in a light and friendly grasp. "I'm the one who should be sorry. I was very surprised, but I don't want you to ever think you have to hide your feelings from me. We're friends! Best friends... so we should be able to tell each other anything."

    After another moment she adds, "I'm glad you think I'm beautiful. ...but yes, it's true, if you started a Hair Care Club I think it'd be the most popular at school. I know I'd join!"

    Now she smiles at more fond memories of Mamoru. "He has a way with women, doesn't he? He's always been very kind to me. I'm happy you're not upset about that, Homura-chan, I can see how that could have hurt badly." Especially with how Homura reacted when she thought the worst had happened. Madoka looks upwards for a brief moment. She's glad Mamoru isn't dead.

    Her face falters slightly. That's such a weird thing to think.

    It's about then that she notices someone in a dress under one of the tables, watching Reiko for a few moments curiously. When the young girl piles her plate extra high with food and manages to keep it from toppling she watches on in admiration. "Ganbatte!"
Mikoto Nakajima 2016-01-02 03:01:50 20308
    Mikoto nods briefly, then rests her head on Ikuto's shoulder while they dance for a bit. It's so very good to be in his arms again. To not have to worry about eggs or youma or crazy puellae or rants about how he can't be nice to anyone because it puts them in danger. She's been in danger more than some might care to think. She isn't worried about Easter at all.

    "I'm glad," she murmurs to him. "It's been... a crazy few days. I really needed this." She casts a brief glance at Tadase and Amu, angling Ikuto so that his back is to them. This turns her gaze on Madoka and Homura, which elicits a little smile.

    "Sometimes I wish it could be like this all the time. Just being normal people, no weird stuff. But if it wasn't for the weird, I'd never have met you."
Homura Akemi 2016-01-02 03:10:29 20312
    'I don't want you to ever think you have to hide your feelings from me.'

    Homura feels a stab of guilt. That is exactly what she was doing. She almost feels like she's just been called out. Maybe she has been. She looks down and kindof away. "I have been... a little... I'm not sure I want to really spell that out right now, though. I told you before that my feelings were intense, and that you were the most important person to me, but I don't want to put any pressure on you."

    At the mention of a Hair Care club, Homura giggles. "I think that'd be kindof fun. We could brush each other's hair more."

    At the mention of Mamoru, Homura shrugs. "I don't know. I mean... If it had gotten romantic, it would've been very unfair to him. I would've loved him dearly, and I still do love him as a friend, but he would've always been second place."

    "When I learned there was someone he loved, I was a little jealous for a while, but that feeling wasn't nearly as strong as everything else I was feeling at the time, so I guess it never really became a thing." With a low laugh, she adds, "Actually, what really made me mad was the fact that a man I had a lot of respect for seemed to be two-timing, but... haha, that actually turned out to not be the case."

    "Besides. His girlfriend's really cute. Who can blame him? By the time he actually had formally introduced me to her, I wasn't really jealous at all. I was just happy for him. He finally found his princess."

    At this point, at least, she's being completely honest. This is how she sees it. Whatever romance was there wasn't nearly as big of a deal as it could be. "Of course, I've also been dealing with feelings like that for 12 years, so maybe I have a bit more experience in that area. People our age tend to think it's a much bigger deal than it really is. I mean, love is only a big deal if it works out." She shrugs, adding, "The bomb that goes off has meaning, but the bomb that fizzes out is nothing more than a dud."

    Turning to Madoka with a smile, she tilts her head. What is she looking at? She follows her gaze to the girl stacking food maybe a bit too high. "Wow," is all she has to say to it.
Ikuto Tsukiyomi 2016-01-02 03:11:47 20313
It is pretty loud under that table. Fortunately most people can't hear it. Reiko can, however, and as she peeks under the table, Yoru recovers. "Fish-girl!" he declares. While Amu's Charas go watch Amu and Tadase like a certain crustacean, fish, and seagull, Yoru picks up that crabcake. Yes, it's been on the floor, but he doesn't care. He nomfs it anyway! And then he gets out from under that table because it's INFESTED BY GIRLS!

Ikuto actually blushes a bit when he finds Mikoto leaning her head on his shoulder. Just a little, mind you. He'll deny it if anybody points it out! It's just a trick of the light! He does chuckle at her words, though. "Weird can be good," he notes. "It's just when the weird gets bad that things start falling apart. Unfortunately there's no predicting weird."
Tadase Hotori 2016-01-02 03:11:48 20314
As Tadase dances with Amu, and for a moment nothing else can really phase him, he starts to say something. And then a flash of orange catches his eye, and his eyes break their contact with his partner.

And it's a fish. A koi. A very ORANGE Koi. Giving an akanbe. It's clear who this koi belongs to - unless there are TWO magical girls in the city who can create them at will. He'd look around for Reiko, but...

And Amu says 'Tadata' and she might as well have grabbed him by the collar and yanked all of his attention to her with the force of a cute black hole. And then she's giving him a hug. He squeezes her back. "Sure, I'll get you some punch. Go ahead and sit at the table. I'll bring us back some appetizers, too." he says.

Tadase walks her to the table, and then walks to get the punch - and that's convinently where Reiko is. "Oh, I thought I saw one of your koi friends!" he whispers and then smiles at her as he gets two glasses of punch.

No, he has no idea what he might have done wrong to cause the fish to make a face. For all he knows they just DO that. Prism Keepers aren't something he understands like Chara Bearers.
Reiko Touyama 2016-01-02 03:34:49 20320
Reiko Touyama can create them on will. But when you emotions are high and you try to hide them but the koi bubble them to the surface anyways... well! She has a bunch of crab cakes- some desserts on here. She looks over to Homura and Madoka as Madoka exclaims 'Ganbatte'!. She blinks a bit...isn't she. Familiar...? OH! She's the girl... she helped saved from Riventon one time. She beams and smiles. "Eh!? Oh--I'm probably overdoing it, huh? Well--well they say---a stomachache is better than a hearta-----"

Oh. Then Tadase comes up from behind. Then two koi appear over either side of her and they are----

Death glaring.

At Tadase. That much is ENTIRELY clear and this is happening before Reiko can even turn around to /face/ Tadase. They actually begin to hover toward's Tadase's face to try to 'get in his face' about----something wordlessly.

Homura and Madoka might see this happen. Reiko turns around and the two koi dissapear before she can see them. She looks dreadfully not very happy but at least she's doing her best to not utterly make it seem like it's directed directly at Tadase.

Unlike her true heartfeels koi friends.

"Hello, Hotori-san." is all she can mutter under her breath. Not her usual vibrant orange self.

Whoops, there's goes a crabcake rolling off her plate.
Madoka Kaname 2016-01-02 03:45:54 20323
    It actually was a type of callout, but it was mostly an apology. Homura was trying to spare Madoka's feelings because she reacted so strongly, and so she felt bad about that. "It's okay, Homura-chan. I've also told you I understand if you have to keep some secrets, too. I just think you shouldn't have to try to cover up your true feelings because of me!"

    The idea that a hair care club might involve brushing and styling each others hair as well as their own must not have occurred to her because her eyes get big and sparkly and suddenly her voice is much more excited as she says, "You're right! You really should start one, Homura-chan!" Homura just talked about not wanting to put any pressure on Madoka, but right now Madoka is putting pressure on Homura.

    It takes a short moment for her to realize what's meant by it'd be unfair to -him-. Then Madoka realizes Homura means her, and she blushes again, though faintly this time. "I suppose that's true, if you've always made me your first priority, over everything else." Saying that out loud makes her just the teensiest bit more shy as well. It -sounds- romantic even if she's thinking about the words Homura used the other day.

    'My very best friend.'

    Not knowing the entire situation Madoka actually laughs out loud at the thought of Mamoru two-timing a girlfriend, "Mamoru-kun? I don't think I could ever believe that about him! Maybe he'd have trouble if two girls tried confessing to him at the same time, but he's so kind I can't imagine him risking hurting a girl's heart so much."

    Her pink eyes meet Homura's as she talks about love being a bit overemphasized. Her expression turns thoughtful, maybe surprisingly so, but her head slowly nods after a moment. "That sounds a lot like something my mother would say, Homura-chan. It sounds right."

    The thoughtful expression stays as she tilts her head, "And yet... there's something about romance that changes you. It can make you feel like you've found something you didn't know you were missing. I'm not sure how we're supposed to tell it's a dud before it doesn't explode."

    She looks to be back into a happy mood as Reiko beams her smile at her, even giggling a little as she starts to explain about her food. And then suddenly deathglare koi.

    Uh oh.

    "Homura-chan!" she squeaks out in a quick exclamation, "I think it's time we had a dance, don't you?" She hooks her arm into her friends and begins moving quickly away. She peeks back over her shoulder and then hisses quietly into Homura's ear, "I think that 'bomb' is about to explode, and in all the wrong ways!"

    The pink haired girl then suppresses a giggle. It isn't as if she didn't want to dance tonight anyway.
Tadase Hotori 2016-01-02 03:53:42 20326
Tadase blinks, hands both full of punch, as two Koi glare at him. Okay, that's now twice that Reiko's koi have given him some sort of negative reaction. The problem is... he's not entirely sure what, if anything, to make of that.

"Touyama-san..." he says, blinking a bit. This isn't her normal reaction. "Are you feeling okay? I keep seeing your koi-friends, and they seem upset. And you don't look like yourself."

"Did something happen to your crystal?" he asks, perplexed. Hands still full of punch and food for two.
Mikoto Nakajima 2016-01-02 03:56:29 20328
    Mikoto nods, and slides her hand down along Ikuto's back, holding him close while they dance. At the very least, she doesn't have a tiny partner to actively contribute to the mayhem going on behind the scenes. If she did they'd probably be another cat, given her proclivities. And probably partnering with Yoru. Or Miki. Miki would, she's thought a few times, make a good cat.

    "You've got that right," she murmurs, agreeing with Ikuto's thoughs on 'the weird'. "If it wasn't for this, I'd never have met... anyone interesting at all." She thinks back through all the 'interesting' people she's met. Ikuto... Hannah... Nanoha... Madoka... and more. Several of them already right here in this room.

    "I suppose we should embrace it, then, and not regret. Not look back. Leave the ordinary behind..." She flashes him a brilliant grin. "To heck with normality. This is fantasy!"
Ikuto Tsukiyomi 2016-01-02 04:03:28 20329
FREEEEEEDOOOOOOM!, declares the crab cake.

CRAAAAAB CAAAAAKE!, Yoru mentally declares, as he sees it falling! He arrests the crab cake's break for freedom, with a quick swoop! And then summarily devours it! Poor crab cake never stood a chance, not with Yoru around. Let that be a lesson to the other crab cakes on Reiko's plate. And on EVERYONE'S plates! Your purpose is to be eaten and make people's tummies happy! No jailbreaks!

Ikuto smiles at Mikoto's comment. "That's true. Besides, it's here anyway. We've already seen it, we can't unsee it," he replies. "We're part of it, and I don't think we're about to get out of it anytime soon." A pause, and he looks up at a window. If it's dark enough will he be able to see stars? Probably not, the lights would be too bright. He sighs a litle. But there will be time to wish for the stars later. He's got someone in his arms right now that shines as brightly as a star.

...And no, he will never say that out loud. Not in public, anyway.
Homura Akemi 2016-01-02 04:10:17 20330
    Pressuring someone into doing something fun is not nearly the same as pressuring someone into choosing between two relationships. Even if Homura hates the other person in the other relationship. And considers him a direct threat to Madoka's safety and well-being. And might try to kill him. Look she's got a few problems she's working through alright?

    Homura considers as Madoka says that romance changes a person, and she thinks about it. "Yeah, but that stuff's just a part of growing up. The truth is, you really can't tell ahead of time. There's some psychology to it. Like..." Homura tilts her head and taps her chin, "Well are two common kinds of love: Passionate and Companionate. A lot of what you feel in the first few months or so is mostly passion. Passion flares up, sticks around for a bit, and then fades away." She draws a bell curve in the air, starting low, going up, and then crashing back down. "There's no avoiding that 'death'. It just happens."

    "Companionate love starts out very slowly, but it grows constantly, and has no upper limit." She draws another curve into the air, as if onto an invisible graph. It starts low, but slowly climbs and doesn't stop. "If you see two people married and in love for years, well, it's companionate love that keeps them there. It can get confusing, because you can feel both at once, but companionship is what lasts."

    She pops another snack into her mouth, chewing it while she thinks. "I think three months is like the upper limit for most cases of passion. If you're still together and in love after that fades, then you probably have companionate love. At least, that's what the psych books I read said about it."

    After that long explaination of Homura letting her nerd out, she looks over to see the 'bomb' that Madoka is talking about. "Ah...haha, and then there's cases like that," she whispers as she's being dragged away. "... but sure, let's have a dance."

    When the two girls get to an appropriate spot on the dance floor, Homura smiles, "Would you like me to lead, or would you rather?"
Reiko Touyama 2016-01-02 04:10:59 20331
Reiko Touyama doesn't seem to notice the koi infact. They seem to dissapear, and reappear out of Reiko's line of sight. She's not manipulating her crystal at the moment. She's trying VERY hard to keep her emotions in check right now. This is just exacerbating the koi issue even as it just makes her look a little more weirdly frustrated at something. She stops herself from saying 'go back to playing prince and princess.' outright- knowing full well what might happen.

She doesn't say that. Instead, she treats the concern as a valid one- she places her plate down and tugs her crystal out from under her shirt where it hangs from that band around her neck. It's there. It's glowing it's usual healthy dull orange. She gives it a tap. Nothing untoward happens. She pauses--- her eyes seem to searching the ceiling and shrugs. "Seems fine to me." she mutters lowly. "Not sensing any Shades or anything 'bad'..." she mutters again to herself as she picks back up her plate. She shrugs.

"I dunno why they'd be acting hostile to you." and that tone reeks of falseness. Tadase can /sense/ it.

She merely turns to leave back to her table where she was glaring from earlier.

A koi swims past, turns to Tadase gives him a curt '/GOD DAY, SIR!/' nod and swims after Reiko. Reiko also seems not to notice this and she indeed, isn't manipulating her crystal right now. So at least it may be confirmation enough whatever happening isn't her fault on a base level with her koi.
Tadase Hotori 2016-01-02 04:37:48 20332
Tadase looks at Reiko. It's a very confused, perplexed 'what did I even do' look. Because he doesn't know. But he can feel that she's not being honest. And that she's upset. Between the Koi and her tone, he's torn. But... he can't really stand here and try to figure out why she's upset and give proper attention to his date.

When Reiko storms off, all he can do is guess that choice was made for him. He shurgs, a little confused, and walks over to Amu.

He places both drinks down and then the plate of snacks and comes to sit with her. As confused as he is, being near Amu still just feels right, and it calms him a bit. But she might have noticed the look on his face.
Madoka Kaname 2016-01-02 04:38:24 20333
    Madoka gets pretty into the nerd out about romance and love as Homura explains. This seems to be something that she's spent a fair amount of time researching. For the most part she's standing there and nodding while listening intently. She might not pay as much attention if this wasn't coming from someone she trusted, and also someone she knows has vast amounts of experience over her. Maybe not in this specific subject, but in general.

    When Homura mentions companionate love Madoka can't help but think about her parents. The way they care about each other isn't exactly hot and burning passion, but when you're around the both of them every day you can see all the little things they do for each other and see the love in their eyes when they look at each other. It's enough that Madoka takes in a deep breath and lets it out as a long, happy sigh.

    She definitely wants a loving marriage like that some day, herself.

    Then suddenly Madoka lets out an, "Ehh?!" and takes a tiny step back. "W-when did this turn into something about me? I thought we were talking about Mamoru-kun!"

    Three seconds later she realizes that 'you're' was intended as a general one. "O-oh. Aheh heh heh..."

    Saved by angry koi glares!

    Once they're on the dance floor Madoka steps up close to Homura, putting one hand up on her shoulder while taking the other- a close dancing position but not really an intimate one. "Um, I think I'd be more comfortable if you led, Homura-chan. I think I dance much better when someone is guiding me."

    A short pause and she remembers the last time they danced formally together, Homura sweeping in as Mamoru took Takashi away for a dance. It gets a giggle from her, "And you are very good at leading!"
Mikoto Nakajima 2016-01-02 04:43:25 20334
    Mikoto nods, and smiles softly at Ikuto. "Quite true, koibito." That makes twice in one night she's called him that. Maybe she's serious. Just possibly.

    "It's okay. I kind of like the weird. ... Life before the weird was boring, anyway."

    And yes, there will be time for the stars later. Perhaps they'll visit a certain observatory, and see who might be seen there. Right now she's having too much fun dancing.

    "I was kind of hoping you'd wear your new suit," she teases him. "You looked so good in it when you tried it on..."
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-02 04:49:58 20335
Amu smiles when Tadase comes near, and gives him a brief little wave. But then she recognizes the look on her face, and reaches forward to gently lay her hand atop his. "What's wrong?" she murmurs softly. "You look like something's upsetting you."
Reiko Touyama 2016-01-02 04:52:05 20336
Reiko Touyama has sat her butt down and is now applying a stomach ache via free crab cakes-- well, free as in they came with the price of the ticket. A koi appears with a bib, a fork and a knife and begins to help eat crabcakes. How and why aren't really any concern to Reiko and she's not chasing the koi away this time like she normally does.

She probably just doesn't care right now. She's not eating like a pig at least.

She is however eating a larger amount than usual!
Ikuto Tsukiyomi 2016-01-02 04:54:49 20337
"I actually haven't gotten it tailored yet," Ikuto replies. More quietly, he explains, "Director-san's been asking questions, and avoiding Easter's goons is harder than it looks, even when you can make for rooftops." He does offer a smile, though. "You'll get to see me in it, don't worry." He smirks, and then offers a wink in Mikoto's direction.
Tadase Hotori 2016-01-02 05:05:13 20338
Tadase shrugs a bit at Amu. "I think someone's upset at me, is all. I'm not sure what I did. Maybe I didn't do anything." he says, honestly, before having some punch. Then, after another long pause.

"Look... I'm going to worry about that later. I... really wanted to have this time with you and I'm not going to let that ruin it. So don't worry either, ok?"
Homura Akemi 2016-01-02 05:14:11 20339
    Homura listens as Madoka lets out a long sigh. It's common for someone to want a long-lasting relationship, but something about that coming from Madoka gives her a bit of pause. Then she giggles as Madoka takes something the wrong way. "Oh Madoka-chan. Well, there's nothing saying it couldn't be about you some day."

    On the dance floor, Homura places a hand on Madoka's waist and takes her hand with the other. With a smile, the black-haired girl says, "Sounds good to me. I could go either way." With an amused grin, she adds, "I might be better at this particular kind of dancing, but I think you had me beat back at the karaoke bar."

    After a second of listening, Homura catches the beat of the music, and her feet start to move in time. Her lead is elegant and gentle. She makes slow, smooth, swaying steps. She does this as if it were second nature to her, purple eyes looking into pink, the two girls moving across the dance floor, slowly turning with each step.

    "I'm having a wonderful time, Madoka-chan," she says with a smile. "... but I always do when I'm with you. I'm glad we came tonight."

    It's not hard for her to keep a conversation while dancing, but at the moment she's having trouble finding something to say. For now she's just enjoying the moment, dancing with her very best friend. It's a bit of a guilty pleasure, considering how she feels about Madoka, to dance with her like this.

    She should tell her. Especially after what Madoka said earlier, about not hiding her feelings. Homura tried to protect Madoka by keeping secrets, but now she's starting to think that her real problem is that she isn't being honest enough. She wonders how honest she could be even if she really wanted to...

    But doubts like that are hard to focus on when Madoka is gliding across the dance floor with her. There's the fun of the moment, the rhythm of the music, and the best company that Homura could ever ask for.
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-02 05:15:15 20340
Amu sniffs the punch very carefully, then takes a sip. She smiles at Tadase again, then agrees, "It's okay, I won't worry about it if you don't." She glances past him towards the refreshment table, as if curious what upset him. But then she lets it go.

Another sip of the punch, and then Amu slides back out of her chair and offers her hand to Tadase. "I like this song. Want to dance some more?"
Mikoto Nakajima 2016-01-02 05:30:55 20343
    "Director-san can kiss my cute little butt," Mikoto says, grinning widely at Ikuto. "I'm going to dance with you, fight with you, and anything and everything else I please with you." No matter what her father has to say about it, either. She presses softly against his hand, signaling him to give her a twirl, and - assuming he does so - twirls about, careless and casual, whirling back into his arms to lean in close. "Together," she promises.
Reiko Touyama 2016-01-02 05:36:48 20345
Reiko Touyama is working through that plate. Crabcake heaven here. Fish are friends. SHELLFISH ARE ABOMINATIONS THAT MUST BE EATEN FOREVER. MUAHAHAHAHAHHAHA. Not really. She eats fish too. Just not koi. Koi are friends! (and probably don't taste very good to humans.).

Her koi dissapears as she leans back and ughhhhhssss. Okay. She ate a little bit too much.

At least she's forgotten about Tadase and Amu, she thinks!-----



Her mood returns.

DShe keeps her eyes transfixed on the wall to the right of her. Yes. Stare at the wall. If she doens't know where Tadase and Amu are- the fish can't ruin the evening further for her!

Sgt. Fins, a tiny koi in a military helmet appears in front of Reiko and points out towards the floor.

Reiko refuses to look!

"Go away." she mutters.
Tadase Hotori 2016-01-02 05:37:44 20346
Tadase smiles a bit. "It can be dealt with later, I'm sure." Then when Amu asks if he'd like another dance, he slides out of his own chair and takes her hand. "Right now, there's nothing I'd rather have."

And Kiseki pops up then and there. "What about World Domination?" And that's how Kiseki found himself thrown across the dancefloor, spiraling through the air until he ends up under the table with the other Charas, eyes spinning.
Madoka Kaname 2016-01-02 05:39:31 20347
    There is something anomalous about a girl whose usual fate has been to die, become doomed to die young, or something worse than death within a month of meeting Homura saying she wants to have a deeply meaningful and loving long-term relationship. Is it sad? Tragic maybe? But then who can blame a teenager for wanting the love so clearly demonstrated by her parents?

    Homura's comment does get a giggle out of Madoka though, and she smiles, "I hope so!"

    The lead is quickly followed as Homura starts them off, Madoka responding to the gentle guidance she's given. She smiles happily at the mention of the karaoke bar, "Could you imagine if we danced like this here? Everyone would think we were crazy. But this kind of dancing can be very fun, too."

    The dress she wears isn't quite made for ballroom dancing, but it does swish prettily about her legs as they turn and sway. Any quicker movements like a spins will show that it's also just long enough not to become embarrassing from such moves.

    One thing about being led is that Madoka must entrust Homura to keep them from crashing into any other dancers, and this is something she does implicitly. It leaves her free to look up into purple eyes as they make their way across the dance floor. A cheerful sort of smile is ever present on her face as the two dance, and she's quick to agree. "I'm having a lot of fun too, Homura-chan! I'm glad we were able to come together tonight."

    She was actually worried she would end up going alone and feel sad without Takashi there amongst all the couples, but being around a friend is turning out to be an acceptable substitute for a night of romantic dancing.

    That likely has a lot to do with how she spent her Christmas evening, night, and early into the next morning, though. She's danced enough with Takashi in the last week to keep any romantic loneliness from creeping in, even here on New Years Eve.

    As she thinks about it she shifts a little closer to Homura, giving the taller girl an approximation of a hug. "I'm very lucky to have someone who likes spending so much time with me like you, Homura-chan! It's so nice when you're always happy to see me and do things with me."
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-02 05:41:52 20348
Kiseki manages to bowl all three girls over, and the quartet of Charas hit the floor in a confused tangle of arms and limbs.

Miki recovers first. "KISEKI!" she declares, and tackles him into a hug. The blue-haired Chara manifests a sprig of mistletoe and immediately begins trying to kiss the king, and Ran and Su don't look like they've fully groked what's going on to stop her. Uh oh.

Meanwhile, Amu walks with Tadase back to the dance floor, and then carefully places both hands around his neck as she allows him to lead her into dancing once again.
Ikuto Tsukiyomi 2016-01-02 05:48:12 20350
Ikuto does indeed twirl Mikoto gracefully. No dipsmooching, though. This is not the venue for that. Not at all! "Imagining that is hilarious, I hope you know," Ikuto notes. He means Mikoto's comment. But, more seriously, he notes, "You still want to be careful. Easter's powerful; that's part of the reason I'm doing what I'm doing. I'm trying to keep you safe. So don't make me go to drastic measures. Well, more drastic."

Yoru pops up next to Sgt. Fins. His yellow eyes are gleaming brightly as he stares at the delicious fish. And he makes a hungry little 'nyaaaa~' at the koi. Uh-oh, looks like somebody's about to get eaten!

However, as luck would have it, right about then Kiseki comes sailing across the dance floor and under the table! Yoru looks down, looks at the fish, and then points at Sgt. Fins. "I'll eat you later-nya!" he decides. And then he slips down to see how Kiseki's doing. "Hey. Royal Pain In the Butt. You OK-nya?"

But then he sees what Miki's about. "NYAAAA!" He swoops in and tries to yoink Kiseki away from Miki. "Run, run, or she'll give you cooties-nya!"
Reiko Touyama 2016-01-02 05:54:46 20352
Reiko Touyama is just staring at the wall. Sgt. Fins continues to point every so often. She tells him to go away. She's now very obviously talking to herself to the mundanes around her and she can't figure out how to make this stupid fish go away. Ugh. Then Yoru appears.

Yoru makes due to try to eat Sgt. Fins. Sgt. Fins doesn't move because Sgt. Fins knows... KOIJUTSU- he makes some sort of ostentatious koi fighting stance!---- before Yoru goes after Kiseki. Reiko sort of just collapses into her arms as she bangs her head on the table. Ugggh this is ridicolous.

Tadase thinks he did something wrong. He didn't! Well. Not. On purpose. Reiko isn't some sort of spoiled brat. BUT there is /something/ wrong and----

She just played it off and apparently HER KOI HAVE BEEN BETRAYING HER and being all snooty about it whyyyyyyyy.

Ugh why is she so miserable at a dance she came to perk her mood up at.
Homura Akemi 2016-01-02 05:54:51 20353
    Madoka's dreams for the future are exactly the kinds of things that Homura wants to protect. It's the natural conclusion of her success, and part of why her repeated failures are so tragic. Yet, she doesn't have to succeed every time, or even most times. For her to get what she wants, she only needs to suceed once.

    Homura strongly believes that one time she will succeed. She has to believe that. It's the only thing she has left to guide her.

    Homura giggles at the image of the two of them doing such a bizzare, silly dance here. "It'd be quite an attention grabber, that's for sure! It wouldn't be quite the same without the song, though. And yeah, I do like this kind of gentle, elegant dancing."

    Once in a while Homura does add a flourish to the dance, lifting up her hand to spin Madoka around before catching her again, stepping without missing a beat. She's a very well-practiced dancer.

    Homura most certainly avoids other dancers. Someone who has the sharp instincts that she does can avoid even distant problems before they become immediate problems. People running through the crowd, or waiters delivering trays of food, people dancing a bit too carelessly... Homura gets nowhere near them, keeping Madoka and herself in their own protected little world.

    "I'm glad, too." She's also certainly more than glad to replace Takashi. Cue internal evil laughter.

    When Madoka moves closer, Homura's hand moves from Madoka's side to around her back, returning the hug in a way. "Well, how can I help but enjoy it? You always make me so happy."
Tadase Hotori 2016-01-02 06:04:38 20355
Tadase can see Homura and Madoka dancing too, and he starts twirling Amu and dipping her a bit too. There's some part of him that doesn't like to be shown up. There is no way this could result in some sort of small disaster.

MEANWHILE, under the table, Miki has tackled Kiseki, and there's mistletoe, and... and it hits Kiseki all too late for him to respond in any reasonable way until... suddenly he's yoinked away by Yoru! He looks at Yoru. Then at Miki. Then at Yoru.

As Yoru runs, Kiseki decides to run away too out of sheer reaction until he realizes what Yoru said. "Wait... what... exactly are you saving me from?"
Madoka Kaname 2016-01-02 06:18:06 20358
    "I think even I would have a hard time dancing it if the only music was in my head," Madoka agrees with a laugh.

    When the flourishes are made Madoka follows them up nicely, spinning under Homura's raised hand, her eyes sparkling from the fun of it as she's caught back in the her friends arms.

    It's also a little clear that Madoka is getting better at following even the more complicated dance moves. Between getting dances in at the charity balls and her Christmas dance with Takashi she's accrued quite a bit of experience in ballroom dancing. Not only that but she actually took the time to practice in anticipation of Takashi's present. Probably not up to Homura's level by any means, but good enough to follow.

    The fact that she's being so skillfully led and doesn't have to worry about crashing into other dancers helps. How many potential disasters has Homura avoided? Only she can know.

    She also remains blissfully unaware of any less than positive reasons Homura might be happy to be here dancing with her. The ability to keep a neutral expression and hide internal thoughts from showing in her eyes must be unendingly useful to Homura, especially around someone as emotionally in touch as Madoka.

    Homura's hand moves to her back to pull her into a hug, so Madoka releases her hand and slips it up to her friends other shoulder, slipping in for a much closer dance. In her mind they were already close and they hug all the time, so it's all harmless good fun. As Homura and Takashi are both learning quickly she's always happy to move a little closer, or hug a little tighter.

    "That's not just you, Homura-chan. We both like having fun together. Seeing you happy, making you smile, how could that not make me want to smile also?" Madoka laughs a little before giving her friend another of her happy, innocent smiles.
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-02 06:24:49 20360
Yoru's timely intervention buys Ran and Su time to recover from being bowled over, and they both hastily tackle Miki to the ground before she can give chase. Kiseki is safe! For now.

On the dance floor, Amu starts to miss more and more steps as Tadase tries to dance above and beyond her ability. "Tadase?" she mumbles uncertainly. It's not that she dislikes being dipped and spun, it's that she's getting dizzy and confused.
Reiko Touyama 2016-01-02 06:31:49 20364
Reiko Touyama watches Homura and Madoka dance at least. She smiles a little to herself. She can imagine Ikiko and Ayana there dancing. That makes her smile a little, tapping her chin. She wonders why they're not here. Well... maybe something happened. She could text. But it's late--- and she doesn't want to interupt anything. She worries too much.

She'll text a 'Happy New Year!' later at least. She sort of gets so lost in some happier thoughts that Tadase and Amu spin by her vision and---ohhhh noooo.

Noonono. She decides to just straight up take off her Chroma Crystal and shoves it into her pocket. This will work, right? Right?....

Okay. No koi appear over near Tadase and Amu. She takes a deep seated hard relived breath. She doesn't see the two mopey, frustrated angry, fins-crossed koi behind her glaring and staring. Well.

At least they're over near her and not over there making faces at anyone or trying to chase Yoru or any of the other charas or anything.

"...Stupid..." she mutters to herself. Stupid what? Probably, 'Stupid Reiko' from the tone she's using.

"...why'd I even bother letting Hiroko get her kicks off helping me be elegant n' stuff..." she mutters.

"...I bet she knew what was going to happen...shouldn't had told her it was a boy..."

Nrg, not Hiroko's fault either. But she bets Hiroko was still thinking it.
Mikoto Nakajima 2016-01-02 06:41:49 20366
    Mikoto grins impishly at Ikuto. "The only measure I want to push you to is the fitting for that suit," she teases him, running her hand over his sweater-covered chest. "Don't worry. If I can handle the things I already have, I can handle the rest of it, too."

    She doesn't go into depth about witches and renegade mages and youma here in public, where anyone might be listening, of course. But he's seen some of what she can do. "Now come on, I want to get food before Yoru eats it all, this time."
Ikuto Tsukiyomi 2016-01-02 06:45:02 20368
"She's gonna k-k-KISS you-nya!" Yoru says, horrified. The word 'kiss' comes out as if he's speaking of the most horrible thing EVER. "That's what that mistletoe's for, y'know?" He raises his paws and wiggles the digits on them like he's imitating 'jump out and scare'. And then he takes a tone like one would take upon telling a scary story. "Girls hang it in the doorways... and then lie in wait for boys to walk underneath-nya. And then when he does, she POUNCES on him like a mouse... and then POOF! Cooties!" He puts his hand-paws on his waist and relcines in the air a bit. "Now, you're a pain in the butt, but I wouldn't be doing my job if I let you get cootiefied-nya."

Over with Mikoto, Ikuto nods to her words. "Still, there's always a point where it might get to be too much for you to deal with," he notes. "So, as much as you want to help, please keep yourself safe, all right? You can help me a lot by doing that. If I'm worried I can't concentrate." A smirk, though, as Mikoto mentions the food. "Not just Yoru, but the rest of the people too," he notes. Yoru will eat a lot, but not a whole table of food. Not by himself anyway. Nonetheless, he offers Mikoto his arm and leads her to the food table.
Tadase Hotori 2016-01-02 06:47:48 20369
When the music picks up again, Tadase tries to dance in tune - and dances! Directly on Amu's foot, a combination of him leading a little too fast for either of them, much less Amu outside of a chara change. And that's enough to make him stop and slow down very quickly.

"I'm sorry, Amu-chan." he says, looking down. Maybe even blushing a bit. "I got caught up in the whole... dancing with you... thing..." yep, all of his speaking ability left right there.

Meanwhile, Kiseki looks askance at Yoru. "That really doesn't sound as bad as you're making it out to be." The tiny king says, hands on his hips. "I don't think cooties are a thing that actually exists, either." he adds, putting a hand to his chin.
Homura Akemi 2016-01-02 06:53:45 20371
    Homura makes note of Madoka's increase in dancing skills, and pushes that skill a bit harder in turn, going for more complicated flourishes. After all, there's no reason to go slower than they need to. "You've gotten better, Madoka-chan. Let's see... have you done a twisted swing before? It goes like..."

    Homura pulls away from Madoka, the hand on Madoka's back sliding down her arm until grabbing her other hand. Then with both of Madoka's hands in her own, she waits for the start of the next step, releases Madoka's left hand, moves behind Madoka, pulling her other arm over Madoka's head, so that they stand back to back. Then Homura retakes Madoka's left hand, and twists herself around and pulls on Madoka to guide her so that they're facing each other. Then Homura adjusts her hands back to the default postion, her right hand holding Madoka's left, her left hand around Madoka's waist.

    "Tell me if I'm going too fast. I'm just excited because you seem to have gotten better."

    Homura chooses to spare Madoka the darker thoughts in her mind. The stuff she occasionally needs to tell Madoka is bad enough. Homura must have some kind of conscience since she does often feel guilty, it's just time-delayed to only berate her after the fact instead of warning her ahead of time.

    Really, hugging while dancing is perfectly innocent, and Homura knows well enough to take it that way. That doesn't stop her from enjoying it.

    Homura looks into Madoka's eyes as she says that making Homura smile makes Madoka happy. "Hearing that means a lot to me, Madoka-chan. You're always so sweet. You've never failed to be anything but kind."
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-02 06:55:19 20372
Miki and Ran almost get in another fight, but Su gives Miki a hug, and Ran? Ran senses disaster coming, rushes out, and flies up to oversee the whole thing.

She's just in time for Amu to let out a yelp of pain and surprise as Tadase trods right on her foot." Open-toed strappy kiddy-heels are just not designed for being trod upon, and Amu looks incredibly aggrieved. She leans on Tadase unhappily and picks her foot up to rub at her toe. "That really hurt," she tells him unhappily. "I think I need to go sit down again."
Reiko Touyama 2016-01-02 07:11:24 20375
Reiko Touyama sort of slaps a palm to her face when Tadase trips over Amu. She wishes she was dancing. She kind of peeks around- ugh so late into the dance everyone else already has a partner. She sort of just looks down at her plate and pushes it away to the center of the table. She ate most of it at least. Of course. Now she has a stomachache.

And that hurt feeling inside, too now. Ugh. What a horrible idea to eat her problems away it just gave her more problems.

MEANWHILE Two koi kiss underneath misletoe hung up somewhere overhead. Blooooop.

She ponders how to get company over here. She looks down at a crabcake.

She looks left and right. She taps her Chorma Crystal, a koi comes up, scoops it up, hovers there on the edge of the table and holds a sign up. The sign says.

'I sure hope. no naughty cats. steal my crabcake.'

The koi looks /super/ shifty. >,>. <,<.
Tadase Hotori 2016-01-02 07:21:48 20378
Tadase carefully, slowly (possibly too slowly) walks Amu back to their table. He looks mortified - perhaps that is putting it too gently. As he helps her (if she lets him) into her chair, that face doesn't fade.

When he gets back to his own chair, he sits in it, looking downwards, and mumbling out another "Sorry, Amu-chan." He looks distinctly not-like-a-King right now.
Madoka Kaname 2016-01-02 07:24:42 20379
    Madoka responds to the increased difficulty well, keeping up with Homura as the dance steps start to get more complicated. "I've started to really like dancing," she replies, "So I've practiced a little bit." The question gets a tilt of her head, "I don't think-"

    She doesn't have time to finish that thought as Homura launches into the move. If she hadn't gotten better this would be a disaster of Madoka falling backwards into Homura and likely dragging her down with her. But she has, and so as they twist around to face each other again and Madoka is laughing.

    She shakes her head, "You're not moving too fast, Homura-chan, but if you want to do anything else that fancy tell me first. I think I only managed that because you're so good at leading!" It's true; Madoka would likely not have been able to find Homura's hand when they were back to back if Homura hadn't done so herself. But since she did, it was fun!

    Mostly it seems that she's gotten better at the steps she already knew and a fair bit better at general balance and coordination. "I'd be happy to learn if you wanted to teach me new dance steps, Homura-chan."

    The closer dancing doesn't seem to be minded, and Madoka looks up to meet Homura's gaze. "I hope I can keep living up to my example," she notes in a slightly playful tone. She then lets out a little sigh and makes an addendum to a previous comment, "I think I'd also be happy to stay close. You get to choose since you're leading, Homura-chan."

    Being able to capitulate the initiative can be nice. Madoka gives another tiny hug as they dance. It's only due to the fact they're in public she doesn't slip her chin over her friends shoulder or rest her head against it. She's pretty sure Homura would know it was just being a huggy close friend, but the rest of the room might misunderstand!

    It doesn't occur to her that they already might.
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-02 07:30:39 20381
Amu half-limps to the table, leaning on Tadase a bit more than is strictly necessary. High overhead, Ran looks mortified. Down beneath the table, Su and Miki similarly look horrified. Woops, maybe they should have been helping Amu instead of fooling around.

When Amu finally reclaims her seat, she reaches for the cup of punch and offers Tadase a weak smile. "It's okay," she says to him quietly. "It's not your fault. I think I missed a step, and put my foot where it didn't belong. Maybe we can dance again in a bit."
Mikoto Nakajima 2016-01-02 07:31:57 20382
    Mikoto follows Ikuto's lead over to the buffet, one arm still around his waist as they walk. "If there's one thing I've actually learned from Father," she assures him, "It's to know my own limits."

    As they reach the buffet table, she starts to fill a plate, crab cakes and cheese and crackers and other bits. "It's the only way to exceed them, after all." She flashes him a wide grin.
Ikuto Tsukiyomi 2016-01-02 07:39:28 20383
"Oh it totally is-nya!" Yoru insists. "And they do so exist! Why do you think people get married? Because they get infected with each other's cooties-nya!" Prooobably not how it works, but Yoru is misinformed on a number of matters like this. He is, after all, a cat of FREEDOM, and many would argue that marriage is the opposite of freedom.

Reiko's koi wants a naughty cat? Well, here's one! In fact, it's then that he notices the crab cake is (mostly) unguarded. "Hey. Kiseki. You see what I see?" His tail is twitching mischievously. "Right! YOU--" He points to Kiseki. "--Be more careful-nya. You don't wanna get cooties. First comes cooties, then comes marriage! I have a crab cake to stea-- I MEAN GUARD." This is gonna be some serious mission impossible stuff if he can pull it off, as he creeps closer and closer to that crab cake...

Mikoto's words get a smirk. "Just, push your limits carefully," he says. "Exceeding them by too much can lead to injury." He speaks carefully, since he doesn't want to tip anybody off as to what they were actually talking about. To the casual listener, they could be discussing exercise. Or some other form of physical training. For himself, he gets cheese and crackers-- if there are those little thin multigrain crackers withjust a sprinkle of salt? Oh yes he's getting those. Some of the toothpick-speared meats, and yes, a crab cake. If there are any left.
Reiko Touyama 2016-01-02 07:47:55 20384
The koi floats there with it's sign--- then Yoru begins to sneak closer. And closer.. and closer... then..... PET!

Wait. What. Pet!? Yes. That's Reiko. Giving Yoru a pet. From behind. This is either the best idea ever, or she's gonna get a finger bit. "Yoru kitty~ If you behave I'll feed you my leftover crabcakes." she insists.


"I just want someone to stick around right now. You're still a naughty cat. No touching my koi." she insists.

"Crab Cake?" she asks, finally offering one.
Homura Akemi 2016-01-02 07:49:20 20386
    Homura giggles at Madoka's reaction to her more complicated moves. She was mindful that Madoka might not see where Homura was going with it, but that's the advantage of being the leader in the dance. Nothing has to happen faster than she wants it too, and she doesn't have to go faster than Madoka can handle.

    "Well, if you've come to like it, I'd be glad to teach you what I know." It crosses her mind that Madoka would likely use her increased skill to dance with Takashi, but Homura seriously doesn't care right now. Besides, it's a reason to dance with Madoka more, and spend more time with her in general.

    "It's more fun dancing with you like this. I wont get so carried away for now, but it'd be my privilege to teach you."

    Homura stays close to Madoka as the two of them dance. "Let's keep doing this for now, if you'd like. We can get fancy some other time." It doesn't occur to her that pushing Madoka's limits might in some way be making other dancers jealous, or that she might have just made that jealousy worse. She's only concerned with the moment she's sharing with her very best friend.

    Homura and Madoka might know exactly where their relationship stands, both having stated it in no uncertain terms. If others want to make assumptions, well, that's in their thoughts. It wouldn't be the first time Homura's had some gossip about her concerning one of her dance partners.

    Granted, this time around, she might be significantly more annoyed, and significantly less able to defend herself from those kinds of allegations.
Tadase Hotori 2016-01-02 07:53:00 20389
Tadase shakes his head. He's not letting her push that all on herself. "No... no." he says, softly. "I was... trying to push us too much. Everything was fine until I tried to pick up to a pace we weren't ready for." There's probably a lesson there, that applies to more than just dancing. "But don't blame yourself." It would be so out of character for Tadase to let anyone take the blame for anything he could, much less anything he DID. His tone is almost pleasing when he asks her not to.

Meanwhile, Yoru has escaped to crabacakes, leaving Kiseki to look around confused. "I am resonably sure that's not..." But then it hits Kiseki. Tadase and his feelings, and Kiseki has been over here. Well, maybe SOMEONE shouldn't have THROWN him. Even still Kiseki floats over to Tadase and there's a familiar tiny hand on his shoulder.
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-02 08:15:33 20392
Amu starts to protest, then stops and smiles at Tadase. "I'll make you a deal," she says to him quietly. "I won't blame myself if you don't blame yourself. Let's just agree it was an accident, and leave it at that."

She stifles a yawn, then glances up at the big clock. "Not too much longer, now," she notes thoughtfully, then smiles at Tadase. "Thank you for asking me to come here, tonight. I've had a lot of fun."
Madoka Kaname 2016-01-02 08:16:08 20393
    "Then please teach me," Madoka asks with a smile on her face. Something crosses her mind, and she decides to openly admit it. "I'm eager to learn, and it's also a good excuse for us to dance together more." Not that she particularly thinks they need one, but she's told Homura enough times recently that she wants the other girl to be open with her that she decides to share her own thoughts.

    Her head nods as Homura decides to stay close and she slides her hands a little further over her shoulders for a more comfortable position, her forearms resting against her dance partner. "I do like it, and we'll have plenty of chances for you to teach me fancy dancing." She giggles a little, "Maybe somewhere someone can't see me mess up, at first."

    Even if Madoka is far less insecure in public than she was a few months ago she's still prone to self-consciousness around so many people, as her earlier embarrassment overload proved.

    Despite the fact there were so many rumors about what had happened during the -last- dance Madoka is heedless of the potential to start new ones. In her mind that last dance ended in such a way that rumors were natural, especially when she soon after invited Takashi up to the roof for lunch.

    But now? Now she's gone to a dance with her best friend, and they happen to be dancing. There's nothing in that that even pings her social radar of being rumor worthy.

    Fancy crackers can easily be found, along with a wide variety of hard and soft cheeses to put on them. The crab cakes seem to be a hit, but they also seem to be near endlessly replenished by hotel staff. A whole new fresh platter gets set down in front of Ikuto as he looks for them.
Mikoto Nakajima 2016-01-02 08:22:10 20395
    Mikoto hmmms, looking around for a bit, and... yes, they do have those little smoked sausages simmering in barbecue sauce. Perfect. Now she just needs something with a little vegetable... and the little snack-size egg rolls will do nicely.

    "That's the point of knowing them," she explains to Ikuto. "So you know where you can push, and how far, and how dangerous it'll be." She lets him lead her over to a table, where they can sit and eat, and not interrupt Tadase and Amu. "Besides, have you ever known me to get seriously hurt in one of these fights?"
Ikuto Tsukiyomi 2016-01-02 08:31:05 20400
Sneak, sneak, sneak, sneak... and then suddenly PETTED! Yoru ducks down, putting his hand-paws over his head, expecting the pet to turn into a swat or something similar. When it doesn't, he looks up, to see who petted him. It's Reiko! "Oh, it's you, Fishgirl." Yes, she's 'fishgirl' to Yoru. But he has nothing against her. So he floats over to her. "Okay," he replies with a nod. "Truce for now on the koi-nya," he agrees. Ooh, crab cake! He will indeed accept when offered. And he actually has the manners to note, "Thanks!" before scarfing the crab cake down. Omnom crab cake~!

Ikuto does indeed find a table off to Tadase and Amu's side. Not too terribly far, but far enough that neither should see him out of their peripherial vision. Either one would have to look in his direction, and Tadase and Amu might be too engrossed in each other's company for that.

As to Mikoto's question? "I haven't, no," he admits. "But I've also only been there with intent to keep you safe. And bad things can always happen without warning." He smiles, the expression is always kind of lopsided. "I'm not saying don't take chances. I know that's kind of an impossibility withwhat we do. Just risk carefully, hm?"
Reiko Touyama 2016-01-02 08:40:05 20403
Reiko Touyama feeds the tiny catboy crab cakes as she grumbles. "Stupid party. Came here to perk myself up and all I did was upset myself. Cuz I went on a quest for a silly rose and learned to be elegant from a jerk to try to impress a boy..." she grumbles. "...dunno if it's even worth delivering my late holiday gifts now, really either." she says as she stacks another crab cake down.

"Heh, you probably don't care what I'm saying." she says.

"What's your jerky jerk koithief doin here tonight, anyways?" she asks.
Tadase Hotori 2016-01-02 08:48:53 20404
Tadase manages a small smile. "Okay. It was an accident then." he says, looking up to her. Then her yawn causes him to yawn too.

"I guess I should help you get home before it becomes too late." he says with a smile. He gets up, pulls out her chair, and offers her his hand. "I had a great time, Amu-chan..."
Homura Akemi 2016-01-02 08:50:45 20406
    "I'd like to dance with you more too, Madoka-chan. With or without an excuse," says Homura, with a wink. Homura does want to be more open about her feelings, even if things become strange between them afterwards. After all, it's Madoka's own mother who says 'if he can't say it to her face he's not worth it.' Homura needs to be able to do at least that much.

    Homura giggles at the mention of fancy dancing, and says, "My apartment would probably be the best place. I could move the couches out of the way and we could have the floor all to ourselves. We could put on some nice music, too." Homura considers the possibilities in her mind. Maybe she could even work that giant screen into the performance somehow.

    Really, technically, there actually isn't anything to spread rumors about, since they are just two best friends dancing. They probably aren't the only ones either. Granted, they also aren't doing much to draw attention to themselves, other than be a wave together in a sea of dance.

    "It could probably help me, too. I'll get rusty if I don't have someone to practice with anyways. I'll teach you, though. It'll be fun."

    For a moment, Homura wonders if Madoka will one day want to lead for Homura. For now she's content to be led, but she wonders if that would ever change. It's just a passing thought, and not one that sticks around for very long.

    Though the thought of Madoka being more confident lingers in her mind, for reasons she doesn't understand.
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-02 09:08:11 20411
Amu's eyes widen just a little, and she shakes her head. "I mean ... I do want to go home soon," she agrees. "But let's at least wait until the new year, okay?" she asks him quietly. Still, what might be nice is, "Can we step outside for a bit, though? It's stuffy in here, and I just want some fresh air. Maybe we can go for a walk until the fireworks, and then go home."
Tadase Hotori 2016-01-02 09:16:28 20413
Tadase nods, happy to acquiesce - and he smiles. "Well, we did come out here to celebrate it. You're right on that account."

And there's a bit of a headtilt from Tadase when she asks to step outside now, after he'd just offered that. He can be kind of dense at times, though - to the point where even he's aware of it. "Sure. Fresh air, the fireworks." he says, and he gets up, Kiseki floating just behind him. Kiseki wisely decides not to mention Ikuto or Yoru now. If it's important, he'll tell Tadase later. Sometimes there were just things that didn't need to be brought up.
Mikoto Nakajima 2016-01-02 09:18:14 20415
    Mikoto nods, smiling softly, and sits down with Ikuto to enjoy their snack-slash-dinner. "I do understand what 'carefully' means, yes," she agrees. At least the food is decent this time, and nobody's knocked over the table. No fights tonight. No danger, no pressure. Just a fun time with her boyfriend. And she's admitted it to herself, unlike the last time.
Madoka Kaname 2016-01-02 09:20:53 20417
    The wink draws a giggle from Madoka and she closes her eyes to reply, "Me too, Homura-chan!" Then with a teasing tone she adds, "Especially if we get to wear matching outfits!" That's been a lot of fun too. After a moment she giggles again. "I wonder if we're like zebras in these? Where does Homura-chan end and Madoka begin?" she asks, being silly.

    "Your apartment... that would be a good place! If you moved things to the edges there would be plenty of space to dance around on." The carpet would be a little different than a hardwood dance floor, but that would just take a little getting used to.

    Suddenly it occurs to Madoka that she doesn't know what constitutes 'nice music', to Homura, and she's quickly and eagerly asking, "What kind of music do you like to dance to, Homura-chan? And what kind do you like to listen to?" Her head tilts slightly and she keeps her soft pink eyes on her friends purple ones, curious and interested rather than just making simple small talk.

    The smile on Madoka's face curls further upward, "I'm always happy to help you in any way I can, Homura-chan. If it'd be help to you as much to me I'm even more excited for it!" It will be fun, of that Madoka has no doubt.

    She continues moving and swaying with Homura, allowing herself to be led around the dance floor and enjoying every moment of it. Nights like this are a gift, she thinks, especially when so many others are fraught with danger. Tonight there has been none of that, just a wonderful memory to hold dear to her heart for weeks, months, and maybe even years to come.

    'Nights like these are what Magical Girls fight so hard to protect,' Madoka thinks to herself as she moves in time to the music with Homura. 'It's moments like this that make the world so beautiful, and so important to protect.'

    'It's moments like these that I'd like to be able to protect, myself.'

    Her pink eyes that are usually so widely open narrow slightly to be quarter lidded, giving her a gentler and kinder expression but with a quiet strength behind them so rarely seen, the kind of tenacity few know she has within her, as of yet untapped.

    "Thank you, Homura-chan. For coming with me tonight, and for everything else."
Ikuto Tsukiyomi 2016-01-02 09:21:13 20418
See this is where leaving Yoru unattented is dangerous for Ikuto. Yoru has absolutely no censors on his mouth, and he often blurts out things he shouldn't. But apparently Yoru does care about what Reiko's saying, since he says, "Not every boy only likes the elegant and refined ladies-nya," he notes. "And besides! You're a fishgirl! You know how many fish are in the ocean-nya! And why not give him a present? Everybody likes getting presents! I bet it'll still make him feel good-nya!"

And Reiko's question of the jerky koithief? Yoru raises a handpaw and points in Ikuto's direction. "Ikuto's here because Mikoto's here-nya." It just so happens that right at the moment Yoru points in his direction, Ikuto's not smirking like a jerk. In fact, he might just look quite fetching with that soft, lopsided smile on his face. He doesn't have Tadase's 'Kira Kira Attack', but 'Ai no Bubbles' probably don't hurt!

Currently his 'ai no bubbles' are aimed mainly in Mikoto's direction! And he nods to her words. "That's true. You're strong, I know. Won't stop me from worrying, though." Unlike Mikoto... he's not admitting to himself that she's his girlfriend. That's a dangerous word. His smile falls a little as he thinks, as he wonders...

...How long will it be before the Black Cat of Misfortune means something bad for Mikoto...?
Amu Hinamori 2016-01-02 09:23:06 20419
Amu slides back out of her seat, then winces a little as she puts weight on her toes. She pauses and leans down, takes off her shoes, then carries them. Barefooted, she leans a little on Tadase, and leads him towards one of the many balconies where they can stare out at the stars and get some fresh air.
Tadase Hotori 2016-01-02 09:24:41 20420
Tadase puts an arm around her as she leans on him, and they look out at the stars. And for a little bit, despite all of the chaos that seems to be engulfing Tokyo, from within and without... everything seems okay. Or even a ltitle more than okay.
Reiko Touyama 2016-01-02 09:24:47 20421
Reiko Touyama softly sighs and head tilts. "Eh, He has a date!? ugh---that isn't /faaaaaair/. He's like a jerk and I'm not I should have--- all the dates!" she says with a sourpuss face kind of. She glances at Yoru. "Koigirl." she says softly.

Mikoto? .... /Ikuto!?/ Really!? But Mikoto wasn't a jerk!


"Meh..." is all she says. "Thanks for coming out kit cat." she says as she places the last crab cake down. She's going to leave morosely. At least her koi aren't chasing Amu and Tadase out. Infact, they're nowhere to be seen as she leaves.

Whelp. That was a night.
Mikoto Nakajima 2016-01-02 09:25:43 20422
    Elegant and refined, Mikoto's had plenty of in her life. Even if she did arrange for a bespoke suit for his Christmas present, it isn't really what she wants out of Ikuto. The Black Cat of Misfortune? So be it. She'll be the Blue Cat of .... something. Whatever. She'll figure it out later. "What do you say we slip out and find somewhere quieter?" she asks him, smiling softly. "Just the two of us?"
Ikuto Tsukiyomi 2016-01-02 09:31:21 20424
Yoru waves at Reiko as she starts to leave. "Bye-bye koigirl!" He does at least have the decency to use the name she prefers. Though he notes she's down and frowns a little. He'd have to figure out some way to cheer her up. For now though... snack table again! Because those little sausages! NOM!

Ikuto nods to Mikoto's request. "We can," he agrees. It's reflex by now that his mind protests this move. But he doesn't mention it yet. No need in hurting Mikoto, making her think it's her fault or something. "Have somewhere in mind?" he asks, as he stands, offering her his arm.
Mikoto Nakajima 2016-01-02 09:36:19 20426
    Mikoto takes Ikuto's arm, trying to smile as she steps away from the table. "Maybe," she murmurs. "I want to watch the sunrise." She leans into him, casual about it, nothing too close. But definitely enjoying his company. "Let's go up to the roof and watch from there." If she has to, she'll rent the hotel's penthouse suite for the night.
Homura Akemi 2016-01-02 09:48:04 20429
    When Madoka makes her zebra joke, and says 'Where does Homura-chan end and Madoka begin?', Homura tries not to think too hard about the symbolism of Madoka and Homura 'becoming one'. She's pretty sure she'd blush if she allowed herself to think that. She does giggle a bit, though the giggle has a touch of nervousness. "This close, who can tell?"

    When asked about her taste in music, Homura looks off to think for a moment. "Well, for dancing, I'm a bit limited in choices. What music I'd pick probably depends on what you'd want to learn, whether it's a waltz or a mambo, or... whatever. As far as that goes, there are a couple of genres to pick from. A lot of ballroom dance music happens to be either classical, latin or... well 'dance' is also a genre, but the choices aren't purely restricted to those three. I do have a preference for classical though."

    Continuing to guide Madoka across the floor, going a bit easier since her focus is on talking. "As for my personal taste in music, outside of dancing, umm... I like a lot of things. Mostly it depends on what I want to feel at the time. I mean, obviously I like Yoko Kanno, and all. I guess don't really subscribe to certain genres so much as it is that I like music that reflects how I feel."

    She returns the question, actually not knowing this too well. "Um... you know, this isn't really a question I get to ask you often. We're usually... distracted by other things... in the relatively short time we get to know each other. What kind of music do you like? I mean clearly you like Pon Pon, which is pretty unironically suiting for you."

    Then Homura starts seeing that gleam in Madoka's eyes. That gleam she's grown so used to. She knows this look, this sparkle.

    It should be a good thing, right? It should be a thing that makes Homura happy. This is a healthy look.

    So why does it scare her?

    She gulps, involuntarily. When Madoka thanks her, she smiles, a little nervously. "I'm glad, Madoka-chan. Thank you for letting me spend my time with you. Moments like these are the best moments of my life."

    She means it, too, in spite of the worry that she can't quite put her finger on.
Ikuto Tsukiyomi 2016-01-02 09:53:21 20430
Ikuto nods once more, as Mikoto mentions wanting to watch the sunrise. He looks over to the snack table. "Yoru." Then cants his head when the feline Chara looks over. Yoru grabs a bunch of the toothpick-speared sausages and puts them on a small plate, then grabs a few more things and puts them on a plate too. He hefts the plate over his head, carrying it like this as he exits with Ikuto and Mikoto.

And as he does, a hotel server pauses. What the... a floating plate? The server blinks, looks again, sees nothing. She rubs her eyes. Surely she's just been working too hard...
Madoka Kaname 2016-01-02 10:12:00 20438
    The bit of nervousness in the giggle has Madoka making a mental 'oops', that puts a hint of awkwardness in her expression as well since her silly joke fell a bit flat.

    On the music discussion Madoka can't help but nod a little when Homura mentions classical as her general preference for dancing. "It is very nice to dance to. And there's so many different kinds of classical music, too. I wouldn't know that if not for Sayaka-chan. I'm starting to see why she likes it so much." The other reason she likes it so much, anyway.

    Yoko Kanno is mentioned and Madoka can't help but smile brightly. Another fond memory; that was the night she asked Homura to be her friend. She could never have known back then how close they would become.

    She nods a little at the slightly abstract answer. Anyone who listens to enough music probably feels the same way about liking music that reflects their feelings, so she understands without further explanation.

    When the question is turned back on Madoka she gets slightly embarrassed. She's been told before that she has 'bad' or 'boring' taste in music, "Ehehe, I guess I mostly like things that are a lot like Pon Pon. Pop- or, 'J Pop', they called it in America. If I'm just listening to it myself I like cheerful and bubbly things that make me happy! It's not the only music I like, but it is my favorite."

    Homura's mask is usually impenetrable. It's usually impossible to tell what she's thinking, or feeling. But the mask is also one of neutrality, not happy smiling like Homura has been doing. So when the swallows, and when the nervousness shows in her smile Madoka notices right away.

    Her expression changes quickly to one of concern, with a dash of confusion. "I'm glad you feel that way, Homura-chan."

    A half seconds pause, "Did I do something wrong? Did I say something that upset you, Homura-chan?"

    Her arms slip around Homura's neck and now she does put her head over the other girl's shoulder, because she's giving her a quick full hug. "I'm sorry if I did."
Homura Akemi 2016-01-02 10:36:59 20443
    Homura knows now why it bothers her. That's the kind of look that Madoka has when she's a magical girl. As far as Homura's concerned, it's a mask of death, worn by her best friend. "You... haven't..." Homura can't finish the sentence. Did she make a wish? No, there's no way. Last time she saw her, Madoka was completely powerless.

    For a moment, Homura stops dancing, then her dancing stance turns into a hug as the slightly shorter girl wraps her arms around her neck. "Sorry... I just, saw something that scared me a bit. It's nothing, though."

    Is it though? Homura can't help but feel a bit guilty that Madoka's confidence was what made her afraid. She clings to Madoka tightly, for comfort, and also to assure herself that Madoka is, in fact, still here, still alive, and still well.

    Homura really could've done without this sudden burst of self-awareness. She's not really sure how to parse it.

    "You haven't done anything wrong. You've been absolutely wonderful, as you always are..."

    Then she remembers what Madoka just told her earlier today. She should share her feelings, right? She should be honest, right? Does she trust Madoka or not?

    But this is a hard thing to share... She's especially scared about how Madoka might take it, and what she might do with that information, but she doesn't want to push her away, after they've gotten so close.

    She whispers it to Madoka, because other people don't need to hear it. "I just... I don't ever see that look in your eyes, unless you've become a magical girl. But I know that's not true. I would've noticed the ring, since I've been holding your hand this whole time."

    Pulling away from Madoka, Homura looks at her, maybe a bit relieved. "... but it's good. If you can have that kind of confidence without being a Puella, then that's a good thing."
Madoka Kaname 2016-01-02 10:56:19 20449
    Madoka would look behind herself as Homura says she saw something that scared her, but she knows her friend was looking directly into her eyes. It puts a little more confusion into her expression, but it isn't visible to Homura as she pulls the other girl close.

    And as she always is Madoka is there to be hugged, and even clung to for comfort if it is wanted or needed. She's warm and alive in Homura's arms, and hugging her back. In this close hug even her heartbeat can be felt in her chest, steady and strong, as healthy as an adolescent girl's can be.

    Her acknowledgement of Homura's words come as a, "Mmm," descending in pitch in a way that expresses acceptance of the words, but a disbelief that they're the whole story. If Homura had decided to stop there she wouldn't be upset.

    But she continues, and Madoka's grip on Homura loosens a little. She relaxes, or more specifically she slouches. Her expression turns guilty.

    She isn't guilty of doing what Homura is so afraid of, but she was, momentarily, guilty of wanting to.

    "I was thinking that tonight was a wonderful memory I'd keep dear to my heart for a long time, Homura-chan. And that memories like these are why it's so important to protect this world." She pulls away from the hug. Pulls away so she can look Homura directly in the eyes as she admits, "That if I was a magical girl, this is what I would want to protect."

    Madoka has always been a good girl. She has always told the truth. Her mother has told her as much. She can't in good conscience keep something so important from her friend- not this friend.

    "...I'm sorry. I know that's not the kind of thing you want to hear me say. Please don't worry, Homura-chan; I haven't changed my mind. I'm still not willing to make any kind of deal with Kyubey."

    She looks down, still feeling guilty. Ashamed. "The time I spend with you is just very precious to me."
Homura Akemi 2016-01-02 11:22:51 20451
    Homura stares into Madoka's eyes a long time. It's her blankfaced expression. A slight frown, eyebrows narrowed. Homura listens to Madoka's apology, and her expression gets more and more stony.

    After a long silence, Homura says with a flat tone. "I see."

    She doesn't release Madoka, still having her arms wrapped around her, still holding her. Homura breaks eye contact, looking downards and away. "I promise I wasn't reading your mind."

    Is that a joke? Homura tries to crack a smile, but it falters. "You don't do as much protecting as you might be tempted to think. You always die at Walpurgisnacht. That's coming at the end of the month. That's how long you would last if you contracted right now. The only way I can save you from that is keeping you from contracting."

    Homura turns her eyes back to Madoka, with an apologetic frown. "I'm sorry, Madoka-chan. Even if you would be happy like that, it wouldn't last for very long, and you'd die in despair."

    She holds Madoka tightly, saying, "I know... I know! It's tempting. You want to help people. You always have. That's what's so wonderful about you. That's exactly the kind of feeling that Kyubey takes advantage of."

    "I know that feeling, because even if I don't care about people as much as you do, there are people I care about, and I want to protect them, too. You, more than anyone."

    Homura leans in and gives Madoka another hug, before pulling away. "I... don't want to ruin this memory with sadness. You've been very good to me tonight. Let's keep having fun, alright?"