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[12:53] <PersonaGM> [Saturday, the 14th of April.-
[12:54] <PersonaGM> [Friday had been rainy, and the rain had stuck around until saturday morning. By the time Ai arrived at Cafe Okumura, however, the rain had dissipated, leaving only damp humidity in its wake.-
[12:58] <PersonaGM> [Fortunately, the cafe itself was pleasantly cool. In fact, the whole cafe had a relaxing aura around it. From the slow tinkle of soft, pretty music to the fact that every chair was a big squishy sinky armchair, to the cute little white lattice tables that sat in the middle of each cluster of seats, to the menu, which had a little message from the founder- a very pretty fluffy-haired girl- trying to sell her vision of relaxation, romance and rejuvenation over lovely cofee to the world.]
[13:04] * Suzune came in with the intention of meeting Reiko here, actually… she had sent a simple text on the lines of it having been a super hard week, and she wanted to decompress with a classmate she liked, so it sounded like Cafe Okumura was the right place, and Reiko was the right classmate. The girl had come with a(n unused) umbrella, but otherwise was… surprisingly fashionable today. -
[13:04] * Ai came in with the intention of meeting Reiko here, actually… she had sent a simple text on the lines of it having been a super hard week, and she wanted to decompress with a classmate she liked, so it sounded like Cafe Okumura was the right place, and Reiko was the right classmate. The girl had come with a(n unused) umbrella, but otherwise was… surprisingly fashionable today. -
[13:09] <Ai> She had a short woolen coat in white on as her top garment, with those little spiral textures going up and down it, one that was sort of heavy but ended up fluttering around you with big round swathes of fabric. And from its collar and the edges of its open front, dangled these small fuzzballs on strings, that she sometimes played with. Under that, an airy-light, sort of ruffled in how it folded here and there, but mostly
[13:09] <Ai> sleekly-matte-colored blue blouse that accentuated the white… and below, a somewhat shortish, but still ultimately not a mini- or god forbid micro-, skirt of light khaki with a slit on the left that didn't leave it too open, but gave a bit more freedom to what would've otherwise been almost to a pencil skirt. And… the last piece was a stylized sakura-petal design hairclip that shimmered with a slight metallic sheen, worn to keep a
[13:10] <Ai> bang out of her hair that she would've normally added to her twintails.
[13:14] <PersonaGM> [Reiko arrived only a little after. She wore the fashionable and practical Sophia map t-shirt, an airy, fluttery red silk summer jacket, and a pair of jean shorts.-
[13:19] <PersonaGM> [She looked around- caught sight of Ai- and did a cute little run over. Reiko smiled. "Hey, Ai! I like your outfit…"]
[13:21] * Ai almost immediately blushed red, before giggling brightly. "Yay, thank you~" She nodded, happy that the preparation seemed to pay off! "So, how're you? …I'm feeling a bit better today, to be fair…~"
[13:33] <PersonaGM> ["Me? I'm looking forward to coffee!" Said Reiko, pumping her fist firmly across her chest and unfurling a bright grin.]
[13:36] * Ai smiled broadly right back, nodding! "Yes~ They have cute novelty coffees too~" She chirped, before moving over to gesture Reiko towards a table! …One a bit further away from, say, the main street - but she'd try to still pick a window or other nice spot if possible.
[13:54] <PersonaGM> ["Oh, nice!"-
[13:54] <PersonaGM> [They found a seat with a good view of the outside.-
[13:55] <PersonaGM> [There was a decent crowd in Cafe Okumura, although not so much that it felt crowded.-
[13:55] <PersonaGM> [… Ai would definitely notice that most of the guests came in pairs. … or 'couples'…-
[13:56] <PersonaGM> ["So how are you doing?" Asked Reiko. "You said you're doing a bit better, but in your text you said you needed to decompress…"]
[13:58] * Ai nodded, settling in. And. …Realizing how uh. On the nose this place was. So it was with a surprisingly nervous waver that she replied. "…I mean, yes, but a bit isn't a lot, is my point. …I was kinda saving up for the big drop of money on something like this, but uh… yeah." She said. "Monday was kinda bad. Sunday was terrible…. Or was it saturday…?"
[14:08] <PersonaGM> ["What happened…?"]
[14:20] * Ai frowned. "…I've been trying to figure out what to do about the Asaka problem, and… uh. Actually, there was like. Someone who wanted to talk to me and some others at night. …But I… I don't know what happened, it…" She shook her head, sighing. "It was like… I think someone was stalking us, that's why it was at night - uh, and I'm not saying who all was in it, y-you know - I just wanted answers, 'cause I'm starting to
[14:20] * Ai get surrounded by people involved in it." But she looked out the window. "…It was really scary. I heard a fight somewhere, and we got lost in the old temple school running away from it… Or well, I got lost? I dunno what some of the other people did. …Even the ones that just, were hurt too and trying to find answers." But, a pause. -
[14:22] <Ai> "…So monday, I ended up actually running into Adrien while asking one of the supervising teachers about club day, and I… I think even though he acts kinda dumb, he thought I was really upset and scared and tried to 'protect' me 'cause Asaka was in the room. …They got into a shouting match, it was awful to watch…"
[14:26] <PersonaGM> ["Geez… It sounds like you can't really get away from the Asaka thing." Said Reiko sympathetically.]
[14:28] * Ai nodded. "…I want to, or… wanted? To. But even my dormmates are all caught in it. Some of the people he sent to detention first day were among the three living there, so it's just. Inescapable… I'm just happy clubs and all that are starting up, and there's more time." She explained. "I guess that's why I went ahead with it when someone offered a detectives meeting in the night thing."
[14:29] * Ai then furrowed her brow. "…B-but who would want to hurt students trying to get answers… There had to have been another kid there…"
[14:32] <PersonaGM> ["W-Well, I can't answer those." Said Reiko. "But I can focus on making sure you're okay. You said you're joining clubs? They're helping?"]
[14:38] <Ai> "Yes! …If sometimes weirdly. …Archery was really fun but had some confusing moments, and I don't know what to think of pop culture club. …I'm already kinda getting called an otaku so … I wasn't sure about wandering into a club with a lot of boys into that kinda stuff. …It's scary?" But, a sheepish smile. "…The leader's so hopelessly chuuni and yet kinda dedicated to … taking the subject academically seriously? That it
[14:38] <Ai> ended up alright. …Even if I feel a bit mean for the reason being just 'wow he's worse than me there, I don't feel so bad now.'"
[14:43] <PersonaGM> [Reiko chuckled. "Chuuni how?"]
[14:46] * Ai gained a conspiratorial expression. "His idea of working out and cleaning up to look better… he phrased it as 'transforming into a bishounen'. …I … Transforming?!"
[14:50] <PersonaGM> ["Transforming into a bishounen…!" Reiko's eyes lit up. "What an amazing goal!"]
[14:52] <Ai> "It's… pretty cool, to be honest…!" She blushed. "…The way he described it made me think like, he was gonna find a potion or something. …I really just told him to like, next time say he wanted to become one or something. …Ehe."
[14:53] <PersonaGM> ["A potion that could turn you into a bishounen… What do you wish a potion could do for you?"]
[14:55] * Ai … …suddenly stopped cold, eyes widening. "… …I n… need a second… That's a really good question."
[14:56] <PersonaGM> ["Sure, I'mma get some cake."]
[15:49] <Ai> It took … minutes on end for Ai to figure out what she was doing, what she wanted… before… slowly nodding. "I'd want a potion… th…" But she hesitated, and realized something, something… she really did, now. She shook her head, before realizing it. "Hamasaki-chan, I want a potion that'll make my heart stronger. My, figurative heart. That'd let me be more honest when I had to, silent when I couldn't be. C… confident,
[15:49] <Ai> instead of scared. Happy, instead of sad. I'd want it to feel real, but I'd… I'd wanna be fixed."
[15:56] <PersonaGM> [Reiko had cake!-
[15:57] <PersonaGM> [Strawberry cheesecake.-
[15:57] <PersonaGM> ["Fixed… Is a really big word to use." Said Reiko slowly.]
[15:59] * Ai had a… serious pout on her face. Which ended up looking a bit less serious than needed. "…Er. Sorry, that's a bit intense yeah…" Soon looking embarrassed. "It's just. Even before all this stuff. Running from people scared… unable to… say all of what I mean or feel. I dunno, I. I feel like I need fixing? Or just to be stronger, yeah."
[16:02] <PersonaGM> ["Well it's okay to want to be stronger." Said Reiko. "Everyone wants to be stronger. Even Shizeng, and do you look at him and think 'There's someone who needs fixing'?"]
[16:02] * Ai lowered her head, as if ashamed for having used the word. "Well, no, he doesn't need it."
[16:03] <PersonaGM> [Reiko nodded.-
[16:04] <PersonaGM> ["I'm looking at you right now, and I think… You are probably feeling pretty weak, what with everything going on." Said Reiko. "But I don't think you'll stay like this."]
[16:12] * Ai looked up again, now. "…I … I can see that?" She admitted, turning the thought over in her head. "Thanks."
[16:17] <PersonaGM> ["Hehe. Hey, maybe you can do what I do."]
[16:21] * Ai tilted her head suddenly, with a bit of a 'derp?' kind of smile on her face. "Whazzat?"
[16:23] <PersonaGM> ["What things makes you feel strong when you do them?"]
[16:33] * Ai thought about that, briefly staring wistfully into the distance. "…When I try to help. …If someone's upset, trying to cheer them up. If someone's being hurt, make them feel better. …And stop the thing hurting them. I… I wanna be a hero. Even just the 'does nice things and maybe gets a job that helps people' kind."
[16:40] <PersonaGM> ["A hero…" Murmured Reiko thoughtfully. "Interesting…"]
[16:43] * Ai gave a bit of a "Hoehhh…?!" Kind of noise of vague dismay. "W… what's … that makes it sound …unusual?"
[16:53] <PersonaGM> ["Not unusual exactly. I'm just wondering if you have a hero in mind when you say that."]
[17:02] * Ai suddenly froze up again. …And began to blush intensely, more than before. Not just the… seemingly constant bashfulness at being around Reiko she's been showing… but. As if she was nervous about something. "I uhm. …I might? …" She shifted her gaze left and right, as if she were saying something… shameful? Dangerous?!. "…I kinda feel like Mami from Madoka Magica sorta feels… right…? T-to be someone to look
[17:02] * Ai up to, who believes in justice, a-and knows what she's doing and doesn't give in to bad desires or predatory behaviors or something." …At which point it seemed like Ai was nearly vibrating for how nervous she was!
[17:23] <PersonaGM> ["Oooh, I see." Said Reiko. "I see……."-
[17:24] <PersonaGM> ["You seem kinda embarrassed." Said Reiko. "W-Which means it's ok if I say something embarrassing too."]
[17:34] * Ai stared in… rapt attention, as if almost shocked there. "…I w… won't judge… you for it…!"
[17:36] <PersonaGM> ["I have a confession to make…"-
[17:36] <PersonaGM> [Reiko took in a deep breath.-
[17:37] <PersonaGM> ["I…"-
[17:37] <PersonaGM> ["Iwannabeaherotoo!"]
[17:40] * Ai ended up looking… looking like she was at first extremely, extremely extremely tense. Like some part of her might explode if it kept up for longer than a half-minute maybe. And each additional word Reiko said just… increased the tension. Until finally, that last outburst came. And at first? Ai just deflated, as if either the air was let out of the catastrophic explosion… or maybe just out of her in general. Maybe even
[17:40] * Ai like she was expecting something she by all means shouldn't expect. -
[17:45] <Ai> …Yet. Something about that seeming moment of defeat faded away from Ai, as she sat for another full second, face sort of struggling to pick an expression to linger on. Before… before softly, she started to get a little smile, and a gentle, high-pitched "eeeeee…" began to issue from her lips. Her smile widened ever more, and.she as sort of, fixing her posture a little as if trying not to vibrate out of her seat or something. -
[17:45] <Ai> And then it happened. -
[17:48] * Ai pushed forward with a properly girlish "Eeeeeeee~ <3" And positioned herself, leaning over the table, to have both of her hands resting on Reiko's, not quite holding them, but definitely … being in contact. And she responded, leaning forward with such a radiant look in her face. "Ohmygodohmygod that's really cute~ I-I'll try my best to figure out what you can do to help people and how to make everything count and feel
[17:48] * Ai like you made a difference in life and can be happy to be around people and be less afraid and and and…!" -
[17:49] * Ai then, after the ramble, stopped with such a warm, satisfied smile on her face, a rosy red blush on her face that seemed to echo her visible emotions… and. Actually started to space out a bit to just stare into Reiko's eyes, hands on the other girl's.
[17:55] <PersonaGM> [A waitress stared.-
[17:55] <PersonaGM> [Someone at the cashier stopped listening to an order to look at Ai.-
[17:58] <PersonaGM> [The customer was too, to be fair.-
[17:59] <PersonaGM> [Reiko stared back at Ai.-
[17:59] <PersonaGM> ["…"-
[17:59] <PersonaGM> [Then Reiko laughed.-
[18:00] <PersonaGM> ["Oh my goodness." Said Reiko warmly, a little red tinge in her cheeks. "Not so weak now, are you, Ai-chan?"-
[18:02] <PersonaGM> [She grasped Ai's hands and clapped them together lightly. "You've got such a big spirit, Ai. I know you'll be just fine. And you know what? I'm really happy that you didn't think I was stupid for saying that."-
[18:06] <PersonaGM> [ Thou art I; I art thou.-
[18:06] <PersonaGM> [ Thou hast glimpsed a new path of thine heart, with which to rewrite your story.-
[18:06] <PersonaGM> [ The first draft of the Sun Arcana has been written; its refinement will bring you new power in the world to come.]
[18:10] * Ai …did release, leaning back. "…Thank you…" A brief peer elsewhere, to notice eyes on her, and her cheeks grew… …how much more red could she blush? Maybe it was just feeling like she was shrinking in giddy embarrassment. "It's something I'd feel, so I understand." She explained, before giggling nervously. "Sorry for making a scene…" And then looked at the waitress who was staring, and… -
[18:11] <Ai> "Hey, can I get a ~mocha frappe~? <3" …Before winking at her mischievously.

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