This Too Shall Pass 3 4 6

[22:05] <@Minaplo> ["… You don't seem to be doing anything important. You should tag along, you might learn a thing or two."-
[22:06] <@Minaplo> [These words, spoken to Sera over a breakfast table at Blue's (even if Blue wasn't here) by Asari Keita, would decide his fate. At least for the next few hours.-
[22:08] <@Minaplo> [And so, he had for whatever reason decided to take Keita up on his offer.-
[22:11] <@Minaplo> ["Have you ever played basketball before, de Pteres?" Asked Keita as they headed for the gym.]
[22:14] <Sept> "Of course. I went to school, you know."
[22:15] <@Minaplo> ["I wasn't sure what sports they played in France." Said Keita. "I assumed it would be something like fencing or rugby."]
[22:18] <Sept> "We play regular sports, okay?" Sera said. "But yeah, I was in the fencing club."
[22:18] <@Minaplo> ["What else?"]
[22:20] <Sept> "What other sports are popular?"
[22:20] <@Minaplo> ["In France?"]
[22:22] <Sept> "You know, football and yeah, rugby, but it's not much of a school sport. Tennis? I don't know."
[22:23] <@Minaplo> ["Hhn."-
[22:23] <@Minaplo> ["Were you any good at basketball?"]
[22:24] <Sept> "Probably not, right? I never played it before or since."
[22:25] <@Minaplo> ["Hhn."-
[22:25] <@Minaplo> ["Any sports you were good at?"]
[22:26] <Sept> "I was in the Track club, but never competed?"
[22:27] <@Minaplo> ["Hmmm."-
[22:27] <@Minaplo> ["… What about baseball?"]
[22:28] * Sept shrugged.-
[22:28] <Sept> "Played even less. It seems like fun."
[22:30] <@Minaplo> ["Hmmm."-
[22:30] <@Minaplo> [A few minutes later, they'd arrive at the gym.-
[22:32] <@Minaplo> [The gym complex was spacious and well-equipped. It had nearly a dozen rooms dedicated to sports, made with cleverly-designed floors and holoemitters that could be reconfigured at a moment's notice to change, say, a basketball court to a European handball one within a minute.-
[22:32] <@Minaplo> [It also had changing rooms and showers.-
[22:33] <@Minaplo> [As they entered, Sera would see the rest of Fox Squad sitting around on benches along the edge of one court, which was currently set up like a tennis court.-
[22:33] <@Minaplo> ["Hoy." Shouted Keita. His teammates turned.-
[22:33] <@Minaplo> ["Hey, Asari." Said Hikari. "… Oh, hey de Pteres."]
[22:36] <Sept> "Hey," he said with a wave. "Okay if I join you for today? I'll be as invisible as you want me to be."
[22:37] <@Minaplo> ["Uh… Sure." Said Hikari. "I don't see any problem. You remember all my squad, right?"]
[22:42] <Sept> "Yeah, um." Sera pointed at them in order, starting with her. "Horaki, Suzuhara… Aida, Lee, Yamagishi. Asari. Right? Are those names alright?"
[22:50] <@Minaplo> ["Musashi's fine." Said Musashi Lee Strasbourg- a tall, wiry young man with short, straight black hair and ruddy skin.-
[22:51] <@Minaplo> ["Yeah, that's okay." Said Yamagishi Mayumi- a rather short bespectacled girl with long black hair and a rouhdish face.-
[22:52] <@Minaplo> ["Yo, Sera. Where's your lancedude?" Asked Suzuhara Toji.]
[22:57] <Sept> "Couldn't tell you. He's around, likes to work. Sort of a short attention span with who he's helping," he smirked.
[22:59] <@Minaplo> ["Sounds familiar." Said Kensuke, nudging Toji.-
[22:59] <@Minaplo> ["You bein' a wise guy?" Snapped Toji.-
[23:00] <@Minaplo> ["Anyway, we were about to play some team sports, but we hadn't decided on what to do yet." Said Hikari. "Did you have any ideas, Keita?"-
[23:00] <@Minaplo> ["Since de Pteres is here with us, I decided it'd be best for us to play something accomodating for him." Said Keita. "But he doesn't seem to really have much sporting expertise…"]
[23:04] <Sept> "What? No, I'll be fine. You can't even out the teams with me, anyway."
[23:18] <@Minaplo> ["It'll be fine." Said Hikari. "We'll just even it out with training holos."]
[23:21] <Sept> "Mm," Sera nodded. "So whatever you usually go with is fine."
[23:25] <@Minaplo> ["Let's do basketball, then." Said Keita. "Sera and me versus the rest of you."]
[23:28] <Sept> "Haha."-
[23:28] <Sept> "…really?"
[23:29] <@Minaplo> ["And some holos, of course." Said Keita dismissively, flicking a speck of dust off his sleeve.]
[23:34] <Sept> "Right. Of course."
[23:35] <@Minaplo> ["Alright. Let's go change." Said Hikari. "Be back here in ten minutes, you lot!"-
[23:35] <@Minaplo> ["You happy to play in those clothes." Asked Keita.]
[23:38] <Sept> "Well, these are pretty expendable, but- you don't have like, uniform jerseys or something, do you? If you do, I'll just look stupid."
[23:39] <@Minaplo> ["We do in fact have uniform jerseys." Said Keita. "Hikari looks fantastic in one, and I'll appreciate it if you keep that between us."]
[23:40] <Sept> "You got it. Do you have spares?"
[23:42] <@Minaplo> ["I do. You might want to borrow Kensuke's, though."]
[23:45] <Sept> "Well, I should probably run up and catch him, then."
[23:47] <@Minaplo> ["Sure." Said Keita as he headed for the changing room.]
[23:51] * Sept took off on a jog after the others, catching up to them at the changing room doors. "Hey, Aida!"
[00:00] <@Minaplo> ["Yah?" Asked Kensuke, turning.]
[00:02] <Sept> "You're probably the closest to my build, so I was wondering if I could borrow a set of clothes off you? If you've got spares."
[00:02] <@Minaplo> ["Sure. My bag's in here, c'mon."-
[00:03] <@Minaplo> [Kensuke led Sera deeper into the changing room.-
[00:03] <@Minaplo> [He quickly headed over to his own locker- the door of which was slightly ajar- and pulled out a jersey top and pair of shorts, both dark green, over toward Sera. "Here you go."]
[00:06] <Sept> "Oh, sweet. Better a bit short than super baggy if I went to your taller friends. Thanks!" Sera proceeded to find a locker for himself somewhere in the vicinity and get changed.
[00:11] <@Minaplo> [Meanwhile, Kensuke himself began to change. Sera would have ample time to notice Kensuke's well-toned body, including his firm abs, as well as Kensuke's advanced bionic left arm, joined seamlessly to his shoulder.]
[00:16] * Sept managed through his change of clothes without succumbing to bionic envy. Still, he kept the glove on his left hand. Purely because of safety reasons, obviously.-
[00:17] <Sept> As expected, the clothes fit him well enough, only leaving his ankles a little bare. "Yeah, this works. Thanks, again. You guys do this often?"
[00:20] <@Minaplo> <RETCON*>
[00:21] <Sept> <JUST LEAVE OUT THE BIT ABOUT THE ANKLES, THEY'RE SHORTS*>
[00:21] <Sept> <OR MAYBE HIS THIGHS ARE LEFT A LITTLE BARER IDK*>
[00:21] <Sept> <^.~*>
[00:23] <@Minaplo> <I WANT THIGH DESCRIPTIONS>
[00:26] <Raphael> <DON'T WE ALL>
[00:28] <Sept> As expected, the clothes fit him well enough, and mostly covered his waist, but their shortness left Sera a bit self-conscious about his toned, but pale thighs. Instinctively, he tried stretching the sleeves out, but it still didn't work. "Mm. Yeah, this works. Thanks, again. You guys do this often?"
[00:30] <@Minaplo> ["Three times a week if we can!"]
[00:33] <Sept> "Do you only do it if everyone's there?"
[00:33] <@Minaplo> ["We'll play if only one person's missing, but otherwise yeah." Said Kensuke, lipping on his jersey.]
[00:38] <Sept> "Ah, sounds cool. And other kinds of training together, too?"
[00:38] <@Minaplo> ["'Course." Said Kensuke.]
[00:39] <Sept> "Any time off after all that?"
[00:40] <@Minaplo> ["Sundays."]
[00:41] <Sept> "Is that enough?"
[00:42] <@Minaplo> ["Hell, we get more time off now than we did in school!" Said Kensuke with a laugh.]
[00:43] <Sept> "Clearly should've gone to St. Louis with us."
[00:44] <@Minaplo> ["Aw yah?"]
[00:45] <Sept> "More sensible schedules, canceled half the time because of Angels or terrorists. It was great."
[00:46] <@Minaplo> ["And you got to spend that time with Evas, too!"]
[00:47] <Sept> "Hah. Yeah. Come on, let's head out."
[21:30] <Minaplo> […-
[21:30] <Minaplo> ["There might be a problem."-
[21:33] <Minaplo> [Keita was right- Hikari did in fact look quite fantastic in a sports jersey. With her lithe figure, her strong stance and her tightly-tied ponytails, she looked the very image of perky.-
[21:33] <Minaplo> ["I can handle having just Keita wearing our jersey, but with two people it might get confusing." Said Hikari.]
[21:38] <Sept> "Mm. Aren't we two the easiest to think of as enemies, though?"
[21:39] <Minaplo> ["Howso?"]
[21:41] <Sept> "Out of everyone here, who's going to end up in a fight on the street?" Sera asked, like it was obvious.
[21:41] <Minaplo> ["Keita, Toji, Musashi around Keita." Said Hikari instantly. "I don't know you well enough to say, de Pteres."]
[21:43] <Sept> "That's a compliment to me. I can change back into my stuff if it makes this easier."
[21:43] <Minaplo> ["Please." Said Keita. "There's an easier way."]
[21:46] <Sept> "Is there?" Sera wasn't going to be the one to say it.
[21:47] <Minaplo> [Keita smoothly tugged off his jersey top.]
[21:49] <Sept> "…is that okay with you? Shirts and skins?"
[21:51] <Minaplo> ["It doesn't bother me." Said Hikari.]
[21:55] <Sept> "Alright," Sera shrugged and pulled off his jersey, with a bit of struggling due to its tightness, and hung it up on the edge of the court. "Now what?"
[21:57] <Minaplo> [Aida- who was fiddling with a console on the edge of the room- gave them a thumbs up. "This!"-
[21:57] <Minaplo> [Three shapes formed out of nowhere behind Sera and Keita. Three Brothers, in full helmet and uniform, arranged into elaborate acrobatic poses.]
[22:01] <Sept> "True to life, as ever," Sera noted, stretching to warm up.
[22:09] <Minaplo> […-
[22:12] <Minaplo> [There were baskets. And balls.-
[22:15] <Minaplo> [The play, as it turned out, was fast and fierce. Keita's team may have had Sera, Keita and three holographic Brothers, but Hikari's team had training as a group; they moved with excellent coordination and strong communication.-
[22:15] <Minaplo> [Sera was at a disadvantage, and before long he found himself playing a primarily support role to Keita- who made up for his short height by being able to make almost cat-like leaps into the air.-
[22:17] <Minaplo> […-
[22:17] <Minaplo> ["Half time!" Shouted a Brother-Referee.-
[22:18] <Minaplo> ["Oh good." Panted Yamagishi. She wearily tore off the plastic goggles she'd used to protect her glasses, and wiped the sweat from her brow.]
[22:21] <Sept> "I've got my hands full trying to keep up," Sera breathed, grabbing his borrowed jersey to fan himself off with.
[21:25] <@Mianplo> ["You're not bad though, de Pteres." Said Kensuke. "Well, for a newbie."]
[21:26] <Sept> "Thanks. I guess," he replied with a wry smile.
[21:36] <@Mianplo> ["You could probably work on your communication a little." Said Hikari.-
[21:36] <@Mianplo> ["Shout louder!" Shouted one of the Brothers. The other two Brothers instantly began repeating this.]
[21:38] <Sept> "Yeah. That just assumes I know what's going on."
[21:39] <@Mianplo> ["What didn't you understand?" Asked Keita.]
[21:43] <Sept> "The flow? If an offense is doomed to fail or something, I guess. Then I could do something other than just stand where there's space."
[21:44] <@Mianplo> ["Ah. Something hard to teach."-
[21:44] <@Mianplo> ["It's something you could learn though." Said Yamagishi. "Maybe if you came back to play with us regularly?"]
[21:47] <Sept> "Hm?" Sera looked over at her for a moment before refocusing, at least superficially, on his cooling efforts. "I don't mind. Don't you have a teamwork thing to uphold, though?"
[21:50] <@Mianplo> ["It's not like we haven't been in the same battles recently."]
[21:53] <Sept> "Well, I'd love to, if you'll have me. Got to stay in shape, anyway."
[21:58] <@Mianplo> ["No complaints." Said Hikari.-
[21:58] <@Mianplo> ["It's good to have hobbies though, right?" Said Kensuke, nudging Sera in the abs.]
[21:59] <Sept> "Oh, I've got my hands full these days, don't worry," Sera said, waving the arm off.
[22:11] <@Mianplo> ["What do you do for fun?" Asked Keita.]
[22:14] <Sept> "Recently? I've been pretending I'm a scientist. It's stressful, but I've had a great time."-
[22:14] <Sept> "And, you know, music. But that's not new."
[22:21] <@Mianplo> ["'Pretending'?" Asked Yamagishi, at the same time Toji went "Oh yeah? What kinda music?"]
[22:23] <Sept> "Classical," Sera shrugged. "Not much call for flute and violin in anything else."
[22:25] <@Mianplo> ["What about jazz?"]
[22:27] <Sept> "Well, I guess there's a bit of that. But I feel like jazz takes more skill?"
[22:34] <@Mianplo> ["I'm not sure I'd consider classical to be easy either." Said Keita. He began rubbing some of the sweat off his chest.-
[22:34] <@Mianplo> ["Maybe we should start a band." Said Yamagishi brightly.-
[22:34] <@Mianplo> [Kensuke's face lit up at the same time Hikari's fell.]
[22:37] <Sept> "Hehe. I don't think I'm cut out for a band, sorry. That's a whole other commitment."
[22:40] <@Mianplo> ["S'alright, you can be our groupie." Said Toji.]
[22:44] <Sept> "Great. You've got your work cut out for you trying to distinguish yourselves from the other three dozen mediocre jazz bands at Blue's."
[22:47] <@Mianplo> ["Well, we could be a good band!" Said Yamagishi.-
[22:47] <@Mianplo> ["No bands." Said Hikari flatly.]
[22:51] <Sept> "You've got that kind of power?" Sera asked her.
[22:58] <@Mianplo> ["They'd have to get my permission to replace our current schedules with band practice, and without doing so they're definitely not going to be good."]
[23:01] * Sept just nodded with a smirk. "I'm getting cold. Should we get back to it?"
[23:16] <Sept> [And so they did.]-
[23:16] <Sept> [BASKETBALL 2: THE SPORTSENING]-
[23:21] <Sept> [Team Skins was hard-pressed to find opportunities to break through Shirts' much better organized defensive line, but quarterback Keita, at least, found deputy captain Sera's yelling to indeed have become louder.]-
[23:21] <Sept> "DUNK IT!"-
[23:21] <Sept> [His words carried the team onwards, uniting even the Brothers' spirits as one.]-
[23:21] <Sept> ["I'M AT HALF COURT, YOU IDIOT!"]-
[23:21] <Sept> [Goals were scored and laps completed on both sides, but in the end, Team Shirts' will prevailed, with much yelling on split screens on different-colored anime line backgrounds.]-
[23:21] <Sept> [The buzzer rang to signify dashed hopes and vindicated dreams. The Brothers… were not pleased.]
[23:22] <Sept> "Eh. We'll get them next time?" Sera's despair was evident.
[23:25] <@Mianplo> ["That… Is the hope." Said Keita slowly, his arms folded. Behind him, the three Brothers recited tragic sonnets whilst around them spread pools of holographic blood, coursing from self-inflicted knife wounds to the stomach.-
[23:25] <@Mianplo> ["Maybe we should make this excitin'." Said Toji.]
[23:26] <Sept> "Oh, I was excited. Didn't you notice?"
[23:27] <@Mianplo> ["More excitin'."]
[23:28] <Sept> "What are you thinking?"
[23:28] <@Mianplo> ["Gambling." Said Toji and Hikari at the same time, albeit the latter with a flat tone.]
[23:30] <Sept> "I don't know. Normally, I'd like to consult my advisor first."
[23:33] <@Mianplo> [("The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long…")-
[23:33] <@Mianplo> ["What, ya chicken?" Said Toji.]
[23:36] <Sept> "Brawk," Sera said flatly.-
[23:36] <Sept> "Which is to say, broke. It's. Like a play on words."
[23:36] <@Mianplo> [("I've seen things you people wouldn't believe…")-
[23:36] <@Mianplo> ["Doesn't have to be money. Best bets never are." Said Toji.]
[23:38] <Sept> "…what, then?"
[23:40] <@Mianplo> [("I see now that the circumstances of one's birth are irrelevant. It is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are…")-
[23:40] <@Mianplo> ["Well, it could be favours. Or it could be somethin' only you have."-
[23:40] <@Mianplo> ["Maybe you could put up Little Aline." Offered Keita.]
[23:42] <Sept> "Nuh-uh. She's irreplaceable."
[23:45] <@Mianplo> ["You gotta have somethin'!" Said Toji.]
[23:47] <Sept> "I only have things I need!"
[23:47] <@Mianplo> ["Straw millionaire!"]
[23:48] <Sept> "What?"
[23:50] <@Mianplo> ["You ain't heard of Straw Millionaire?"]
[23:51] <Sept> "No. Maybe?"
[23:55] <@Mianplo> [("There are two ways through life… The way of nature… And the way of grace…")-
[23:55] <@Mianplo> ["Okay. Picture a fella with a straw."]
[23:55] <Sept> "Do you want a bet or not?"
[23:56] <@Mianplo> ["Yeh."]
[23:58] <Sept> "What kind of favors were you talking about, then?"
[23:59] <@Mianplo> ["Any kind."-
[23:59] <@Mianplo> [Hikari shot him a dark look.-
[23:59] <@Mianplo> ["Almost any kind." He said quickly.]
[00:00] <Sept> "I still don't think there's anything I want from you, though…"
[00:03] <@Mianplo> ["What about from any of us? We can make it a team thing."]
[00:18] <Sept> "Mmm…"-
[00:19] <Sept> "Maybe you could arrange entertainment for someone? Or multiple someones?"
[00:23] <@Mianplo> ["Like who?"]
[00:28] <Sept> "Friends of mine on the ship. And maybe… I owe both Rei and Tsubaki. I don't know if or how I could surprise them."
[00:47] <@Mianplo> ["Hmmm. Alright!"-
[00:47] <@Mianplo> ["Hold on-"-
[00:48] <@Mianplo> ["Now, what am I gonna ask from you…?" Said Toji.]
[00:51] * Sept shrugged, making an exaggerated flat expression.
[00:55] <Minaplo> ["I have it!" Said Yamagishi. She rushed forward, heedless of Hikari's dark looks. "You know Paris? Then… You know the best places to eat."]
[00:59] <Sept> "I know -good- places to eat," Sera admitted. "Maybe not many restaurants, but… if that's not a problem, I could figure something out for you?"
[01:10] <Minaplo> ["What didja have in mind?"]
[01:13] * Sept crossed his arms, pondering. "If I can't recommend an evening at a restaurant, I could… fill out the gaps with sightseeing. Grab some street food and local stuff on the way."
[01:14] <Minaplo> ["Good enough for me! Do you cook yourself?"]
[01:15] <Sept> "Barely. I'll consider it if you win."
[01:16] <Minaplo> ["Nah. Street food's fine with me!"-
[01:16] <Minaplo> ["How come we don't got a say anymore?" Muttered Toji.-
[01:16] <Minaplo> ["You snooze, you lose. You were taking forever…"]
[01:18] <Sept> "And it's the right decision."
[01:20] <Minaplo> ["Well. Not exactly the wagers I'd choose, but whatever." Said Keita. "What're you doing now, Sera?"]
[01:21] <Sept> "Huh? Aren't we going again?"
[01:24] <Minaplo> ["I have no idea if you're staying or not." He said, idly flicking a mote of invisible dust off his arm.]
[01:25] <Sept> "I've got time. Didn't we just place bets on the next game?"
[01:25] <Minaplo> ["Next game?" Said Toji. "That wouldn't be fair."-
[01:25] <Minaplo> ["I figured, eh, we could set, like… if you can beat us once in the next ten weeks, or something."]
[01:26] <Sept> "Easy. Deal."
[01:26] <Minaplo> ["So do you stay or go?" Asked Keita.]
[01:27] <Sept> "I'll stay, if that's fine."
[01:28] <Minaplo> ["Doesn't bother me."]
[01:33] <Sept> [And soon enough, the ball was back in play, figuratively.]-
[01:33] <Sept> [The day continued with the endless struggle of shirts versus skins, jerseys versus jerseys…]-
[01:33] <Sept> "TAKE THE SHOT!"-
[01:33] <Sept> [Connecting our intrepid sportspersons to the vast chain of sports ancestry.]-
[01:34] <Sept> [Through sports.]

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