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All The Birds and the Beasts Were There

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All The Birds and the Beasts Were There

Post by Ayaka Nanakorobi on Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:07 pm

Bristles as soft as those from an antique brush slipped through thin, dark hair, the ends tugging slightly before bouncing back up into a slight curl. Tonight, there were no wigs, and very little makeup, however, Ayaka's mask would be painted on as thick as she could possibly manage it. Light colours and just a little eyeliner, and only enough concealer to brighten her face and cover the shaded, puffy circles under her eyes. Tonight, and the whole weekend, there would be no sound of Pipa singing to cheer the girl, and no rubbing purr from Kai to comfort her. Ayaka was away from the safety of her grandfather's home in Kyoto; far from the sanctuary of her temple garden. For a moment she squeezed the wood of her hairbrush's handle, her knuckles shaking briefly before she signed and put it down, surrendering.She'd much rather be sweeping the veranda right now, or in the temple's little kitchen making tea.

Tthis weekend, Ayaka was her father's. As much as she tried to tell herself and her friends who knew she was away this weekend that she was just visiting and that it was only this weekend that her time was Ikuto's, Ayaka knew better. From the moment the black car pulled up and she was ushered in, she herself belonged to the imposing man. Ayaka was merely ornamental, and this weekend especially, she would be shining at her father's side to make him look better. Thin fingers lifted upward, pushing delicate gold and white jade earrings into her ears; the man was charismatic enough that he could probably convince the legions of Hell to follow him and let him line up for the throne. Why on earth did he still need her? Ayaka glanced up at her face in the mirror, unable to even push up her hollow practice smile. It was always the same. Put on a pretty dress. Smile. Don't say anything. School is fine. You're popular and have lots of friends. Yes, you have recovered nicely from your accident. Yes, you're so blessed to have a father as devoted to his family as Ikuto Nanakorobi. Let Ikuto pull the conversational spotlight back onto himself in order to get whatever contract or funding or favor or demon he needed after his beloved little girl behaved and baited them.

Long lace sleeves in a light periwinkle stretched down to Ayaka's wrists, one tinkling with her charm bracelet. The same lace layerd over her skirt down to just past her knees, and was swishy and welcoming of spring, and a convenient length for covering any marks she knew her father didn't want the public to see. It was a pretty dress, if not a little old-fashioned looking, but Ikuto had picked it out just for this function tonight since the CEO of the company that made it would be at the banquet. It looked better if the teenage girl was wearing something of theirs with that big, pretty smile of hers. Ayaka liked the lace it had and how swishy the skirt was, but it reminded her more of something one of those trained dance teachers would wear instead of a teenager, but, whatever made Ikuto relatively happy was good for her.

Ayaka stood, looking at the embossed invitation on her vanity. Tonight was a fundraiser to Edo's newest additions to the zoo. It wasn't that exciting on its own, but the zoo had made a new deal with the children's hospital in that after the new features were added and the zoo was updated, a portion of the zoo's admissions would be donated to the children's hospital. It was a very friendly, shiny affair that had made a splash in the news and had brought several important people to the table for the event. They would be there to congratulate the two company heads for the wonderful deal, as well as to make their own generously tax-deductable donations to give the whol thing a push in the right direction back to their own pockets. Charity started at home, after all.

The little screen of the pink cell phone faded to black, powering off; it wasn't allowed to come ot the party tonight. No phones, no pictures, no unsupervised updates to the internet about who is there or what was said, that's what their PR people were for. For a moment, Ayaka thought about sending a last message to Umeko, just to say hello, or joke that her friends should all come crash this party, or that she'd bring her some jasmine jelly... but that urge was suppressed, folded in the drawer like her lacy handkerchiefs that cushioned the phone and its dangling charms. A message to any of her friends this weekend would have seemed odd, anyway- they knew by now that the girl didn't respond or say anything when she was home visiting her father. She was just having too good of a time to notice her phone.

Invitation in hand, Ayaka left her bedroom and ghosted to the front door and the waiting car, Ikuto trailing behind the smaller girl. His suit was tight, using a cut and style that was lacking vents in order to look more sleek and imposing, unlike the Cretan suits that had vents in the back of up the hips. For a moment, the girl looked up at Mr. Sato; he wasn't smiling, but that was normal, but even he seemed slightly dressed up. How nice, even the bodyguard was pretty. He held the door silently, the look on his face giving a rather firm hint for Ayaka to get in the car and just behave tonight. She looked away, sliding into the car. Sato-san was just as congenial as always.

The ride was far from quiet, Ikuto talking and Ayaka staring out the window of the car, just waiting for Monday to hurry up and get there. "It's for the good of the company," he'd said at a moment where her attention tuned back to the man briefly. "And since it's in conjucntion with the children's hospital you should be there." Right. Because she hadn't spent enough time at that place growing up. She merely nodded, silently agreeing to whatever his terms were. Over the course of her life Ayaka had learned that on these "family occasions" to always say yes and do whatever she could to be civil because knew her father well enough to know that if she didn't do what he wanted and behave, she'd have to go to work and school wearing new accessories to keep from having to explain how her weekend was.

"Don't make me look bad." With a dark tone, that was the only warning she'd needed. "And try to smile, Ayaka." ....A warning AND a sugar-coated threat. Always the best way to start the evening off before a big event, the girl only replying with a distand "Hn." It was gonna be a long night.

---

There was something to be said for these big galas and functions. They were almost always the same; long tables off to the side would hold small finger foods and punch bowls and thigns that looked pretty; tables all around the room would have pristine table cloths and at peak moments certain foods would be brought out for display before serving; there was almost always a long, boring, and completely artificial speech with all the sincerity of a game show host. And yet, as many of them as Ayaka had been dragged to, they were always at least kind of pretty to look at. Party planners always seemed to have a flair for style at these things, and as the teenager painted on her happiest hollowed-out smile and clapped lightly when the models of the zoo additions were brought out, she could only amuse herself by imagining that the zoo was really in this room.

The hospital chairman and the zoo's CEO were like large predatory animals; the stationary guards like baboons in suits. By the punch bowl was a rather rotund woman that Ayaka thought reminded her of a hippo in a purple knit skirt suit. She'd do what she could to get out of being forced into direct conversation as long as she could, silently hoping that maybe an elephant would escape, walk from the zoo to here, and feel the need to sit on Ikuto. She knew it wouldn't happen, but it was nice to think about (in a morbid way). For now, all she could do was scoot away from the table as people dispersed to mingle and make her way to the side to guard the punch bowl, or find a pot of flowers on the wall and see if she could blend in with it.
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Ayaka Nanakorobi
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Re: All The Birds and the Beasts Were There

Post by Ryuu Sato-Chiba on Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:54 pm

This was not what Ryuu had been expecting when he agreed to go to a fundraiser for the zoo and children's hospital in Edo. He had been hoping the event would be AT the zoo or there would be some kind of fanciful decorations. Yet here he was in a ballroom surrounded by politicians and businessmen and rich elite. At least the food looked delicious. That was a definite bonus. Ryuu was here as the head of the police force. The entire country's police force had their own small fundraiser and Ryuu was here to submit their donation. It wasn't extremely impressive, he supposed. But it was the people doing something for beautiful animals. And Ryuu didn't mind that at all.

He was very glad that he looked so well though. The tailor who had fashioned his dark red velvet suit had done a fantastic job. He was wearing it tonight, looking very classy. He had complimented the suit with a black button-down shirt and a silver tie. The silver complimented the streaks in his hair, which was (per usual) tied back at the nape of his neck. His shoes were polished to a black gleam. He was earning a few admiring glances from the various women at the event, but he shrugged them off. He settled with making small talk and then breaking out of the conversations to walk around, ideal to avoid more small talk. He spied the punch bowl and made a definitive bee-line for it.

Chuckling to himself, he poured a heaping glass of punch. Well, it wasn't really “heaping.” Those glasses were tiny. Irritating, but it would have to do. Ryuu was half-tempted to get himself something a little stronger, but decided it was still a little too early in the evening. He was glad to just look around and spotted a young girl standing near to him, trying to blend into the wall. She had to have been one of the only children there, so that was extremely strange. Ryuu was curious and more than that, he knew that teenagers were not nearly as scarier as politicians. He approached her slowly, giving her a polite smile. “Hello, miss. You appear to be having a splendid time.” His smile broadened a little, letting her in on the fact that he was obviously joking.

.....................................................................................................................................



Speaks fluent Aerugese (purple) and Cretan (orange).
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Ryuu Sato-Chiba
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Re: All The Birds and the Beasts Were There

Post by Ayaka Nanakorobi on Thu Mar 28, 2013 11:30 am

Lace swished lightly around thin knees, the girl they belonged to swaying lightly from foot to foot. The music was pretty, if nothing else, even if it only was background noise for people to talk and gloat about how important they were and how much good they were doing like it was a competition. Even though she'd watched it all her life, Ayaka could only further conclude that she'd never understand business or politics since they, like everything else, were entirely superficial and no more genuine than artificial sweeteners. Sure they had a lot of promise and sounded good on paper, but in the end, they'd probably make you sick or kill you.

Ayaka looked around, glancing from one clutch of people talking to the next, seeing who she recognized. One was the chairman of the hospital, and she knew his face since it had been all over the news for this event, and there were a few select doctors chosen from the hospital to help represent. She recognized a few of them from her stays, but didn't act on the nonexistent urge to say hello; few conversations could start with saying hello to someone who'd cut your brain open and not go awkward. She sanned more politicians, mostly local ones and a few running ones, some legal people.. There were only a few other people who looked close to her age, but it was entirely possible they were university students and either tagging along to make someone else look impressive like she was, or were trying to look impressive themselves as they were primed to take over for whatever, like her brother was.

Yakumo was so damn lucky. This wa the kind of event he should be going to. He was the family's only son, nnd their father's bragging rights. Even if he didn't like their father (though it was getting harder and harder to tell), he was still being primped and trained to come up on the man's heels, so this was the sort of thing he should be going to, not her. Yakumo was busy with studying for exams and couldn't be disturbed. They were critical to pass, and therefore, he'd been excused and left Ayaka to be their father's unwilling date. Not as fine a trophy to show off and bait monsters with, but she'd have to do.

At least for now Ayaka was alone and safely guarding the table of finger foods and punch and the tall fern that wasn't doing so well at hiding her. Sipping casually at his own glass of punch and in a red velvet suit that was to die for, a man noticed the girl. While that wasn't entirely uncommon in the world, and especially not when Ayaka was dragged to shindigs like this, usually they only noticed her when she was being offered up. Her attempt to become a chameleon and become one with the ballroom's wallpaper had failed. His golden eyes stood out, as did the silver streaks in his hair. “Hello, miss," he said. "You appear to be having a splendid time.” Ayaka tensed up slightly, but his broad smile was the least menacing that she'd seen so far that night, letting her relax a bit. He was teasing, and seemed to have about as much interest in being here as she did; why else would he be hiding by the punch bowl?

Empty hands fell to Ayaka's sides and fidgeted lightly with soft lace. Charming, she reminded herself. You're supposed to want to be here. But given that the man seemed to pick up on how thrilled she was, the teen wondered just how much of a pretense she needed to display at the moment. Instead, she only smiled faintly and gave the softest of nods. There was an exit door somewhere around there, and maybe she'd get lucky and could do her best imitation of a lace-clad ninja and sneak out. Surely, nobody would notice. "It's a lovely party," Ayaka replied, glancing out at the muffled mass of stuffy people. "I'll never understand how they don't get bored..." It really was like watching animals try to flash their colors and make themselves look more impressive to see who'd win, except at least animals came by it all honestly. Human pissing matches were really just that. Her tiny smile hollow, she turned her gaze back to the gentleman. "Are you having fun, too?"
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Ayaka Nanakorobi
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Re: All The Birds and the Beasts Were There

Post by Ryuu Sato-Chiba on Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:15 pm

"It's a lovely party. I'll never understand how they don't get bored..." Ryuu shrugged his shoulders, “Too busy puffing out their chests and sounding important.” He had a small amused smile on his lips as he looked around the room. Yes, men and women both were puffing out their chests. Different kinds of reasons, but the importance was obvious. Or at least, the attempt at importance. "Are you having fun, too?" Ryuu shrugged his shoulders again. “As much as can be expected at these events.” He sipped at his punch, a little thoughtful. “It'd be better if there were dancing.

His eyes sparkled a little as he said it. Dancing definitely made any event less boring. In fact, they became down-right fantastic. He doubted that this was the kind of event, however. Ah well. He'd found a charming companion to chat with, even if she did seem a little... off. She had clearly lied about having a good time. She was a teenage girl at a boring function. Hiding by the wall, no less. Yes, she was definitely miserable. Realizing he had yet to introduce himself, he turned more directly towards Ayaka, giving her a slight bow of respect. “How rude of me. Ryuu Sato-Chiba. Pīsumēkā of Aerugo. It is a pleasure to meet you, young miss.

.....................................................................................................................................



Speaks fluent Aerugese (purple) and Cretan (orange).
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Ryuu Sato-Chiba
CHIEF TWINKLE-TOES

Posts : 51
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Location : Edo, Aerugo

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Re: All The Birds and the Beasts Were There

Post by Ayaka Nanakorobi on Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:59 pm

Ayaka looked around the grand ballroom at all the people standing there mingling and talking. Humans really were kind of like animals, just made far less sense. "Too busy puffing out their chests and sounding important.” She looked around; he was right. They were all trying to impress and bait each other with one thing or another. It was nice that she wasn't the only one who saw it that way. "As much as can be expected at these events... It'd be better if there were dancing.”

That got the girl's attention a bit better, Ayaka's eyes rolling back to the officer with a piqued interest. He liked dancing? Really? Most men wouldn't admit to liking such a hobby, even if it was graceful and beautiful in ways Ayaka wished she were. Ryuu turned to her, and gave a slight bow that Ayaka returned very politely. “How rude of me. Ryuu Sato-Chiba. Pīsumēkā of Aerugo. It is a pleasure to meet you, young miss.”

And there Ayaka's brain came to a screeching halt. This man was not only with the police, but he was more or less in charge of them. Ayaka's stomach knotted slightly; she'd spoken to the police a lot over the years, but only officers from certain districts. Only officers that it didn't matter what she'd said or hadn't said since they were bought off, good friends with her father, or owed favors. A man like this.... It was hard to say where he stood on such things, but god help her keep focused. For a moment, she was scared to give her name, but knew that not returning hers would be beyond rude, and the last thing she anted to do was misbehave on a night like this.

"Ay....A-Ayaka," she finally choked out, trying to return her focus to where she was and keep her head from drifting. "Nanakorobi Ayaka. It's nice to meet you as well, Sir. Her fingers fidgeted slightly with the lace of her dress; she hated these kinds of games. She didn't know who belonged to who other than herself. She didnt' know what was safe, what wasn't, or if in the end any of it would matter at all. But this man held a very important rank, which presently served as Ayaka's only warning to mind herself; she was in no mood to message Shigeru-kun to get her assignments Monday if she had to skip to recover from her weekend.

A safe toping dinged the back of her mind like a lifeline. The man said he'd liked dancing. Even if she wasnt' any good at it, Ayaka still loved it, just as much as she loved dressing in layers of lacy doll clothes and setting her hair into firm curls for tea parties that looked like paintings. She smiled up faintly at Ryuu. "Do you really like dancing?" Ayaka sounded almost hopeful. "I've always wanted to learn how to waltz... It always seemed like such a beautiful thing, and so dainty! Like that is how princesses and ladies should dance."
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Ayaka Nanakorobi
MEANINGLESS

Posts : 31
Points : 76
Location : Kyoto, Aerugo

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Re: All The Birds and the Beasts Were There

Post by Ryuu Sato-Chiba on Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:13 pm

"Ay....A-Ayaka. Nanakorobi Ayaka. It's nice to meet you as well, Sir. Ryuu was surprised a little that it took her so long to respond. Maybe she recognized the title? Not that there was anything to be at all intimidated about. At least, not as far as Ryuu knew. That name though... Nanakorobi. It rang a bell in the back of his head, if only a tiny little bell, rather than a cathedral-sized one. Some kind of uppity-up man. The first name escaped him, but that was probably okay. He didn't know much about the man really, but recalled meeting him maybe once before. He had not liked the man. Something about him was unsettling. Ryuu chose to shake it off because at the time, he was with someone of the Nanakorobi family who seemed like a much better person and did not give off that unsettling vibe.

"Do you really like dancing? I've always wanted to learn how to waltz... It always seemed like such a beautiful thing, and so dainty! Like that is how princesses and ladies should dance." Ryuu laughed, sipping at some more of his punch. A young girl after his own heart, it seemed. A desire to dance and waltz at that. A beautiful classic. “Why, it's easy as 1, 2, 3!” He chuckled again, finishing off the punch and setting the empty glass down on the punch table. He didn't doubt someone would come clean it up momentarily... they always had hundreds of waiters running around at these functions to keep everything tidy. “I would be happy to teach you, young miss. Being a lady yourself, you'll have to know.

.....................................................................................................................................



Speaks fluent Aerugese (purple) and Cretan (orange).
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Ryuu Sato-Chiba
CHIEF TWINKLE-TOES

Posts : 51
Points : 146
Location : Edo, Aerugo

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Re: All The Birds and the Beasts Were There

Post by Ayaka Nanakorobi on Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:04 pm

There was a scene from an opera Ayaka had come across once. The song was called "Monica's Waltz;" she hadn't understood any of the song, but recalled the actress dressed in her ruffly gown dancing around the stage as the boy with her said nothing the whole time, and instead was made to pantomime things that she was saying when she pressed herself behind him and sang. She didn't get it at all until a friend of hers did a rough-enough translation that Ayaka could look up a summary. The opera seemed interesting enough, but watching the girl waltz around the stage had been what stuck. It was lovely and something Ayaka occasionally tried to mimic, but Kai was never very good at leading since he'd rather purr and nip her ear or bat at the ribbons in her wigs.

“Why, it's easy as 1, 2, 3! I would be happy to teach you, young miss. Being a lady yourself, you'll have to know.” The officer's offer seemed genuine as he finished his tiny cup of punch, and for a moment, Ayaka was left with an odd internal debate. part of her thought it would be best to back away from the offer lest her father get upset at her for... for anything at this point, but on the other hand, saying no could be just as dangerous to her health, and she really did want to say yes... After a short moment, the girl big her lower lip and then pushed up a soft, almost timid smile, like a flower struggling to bloom.

"I'd love to," she finally said, peeling herself away from the wall. The feeling in her was something mixed between dread and excitement, but Ayaka reminded herself that as long as she didn't say the wrong thing she had nothign much to worry about, even as she squashed down the little voice in the back of her head that reminded the girl that even if she did nobody would believe her. Instead, she chose to acknowledge a rather funny and almost silly thought that paraded to the front of her mind. He had referred to her as a lady, and he seemed like a much more proper gentleman from old stories since he was so polite and could dance... As she stepped a bit nearer to Ryuu, Ayaka's right foot moved behind her as pale hands reached to the sides of her lacy dress and spread them sideways, her body dipping down very slightly in a ladylike curtsey.
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Ayaka Nanakorobi
MEANINGLESS

Posts : 31
Points : 76
Location : Kyoto, Aerugo

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Re: All The Birds and the Beasts Were There

Post by Ryuu Sato-Chiba on Tue May 07, 2013 9:22 pm

"I'd love to." Ryuu responded to the curtesy with a gentlemanly bow, one hand across his abdomen and the other behind his back. Rising up, he straightened his back and encouraged Ayaka to do the same. “Your hands will go like this,” he smiled, setting his hands up to show what Ayaka's would look like. His right hand was in the air, grasping an imaginary hand while his left was palm forward, resting on an imaginary shoulder. He watched Ayaka get her hands into place and nodded his head. “Very good. I'll show you your steps before we attempt the dance together, yes?” Easily, Ryuu came up beside Ayaka, his hands again mimicking hers. Ryuu took a moment to take a breath, focusing his thoughts. Normally the leader when waltzing, he had to think backwards in order to give Ayaka the proper steps.

Your right foot moves backwards, like so.” He moved his right foot back, leaving himself in an odd pose as he watched Ayaka. “Then your left foot comes back and to the left, almost like a 'L'.” He did this step a little more slowly. Not that he didn't expect Ayaka to catch on quickly, but it was easy to fudge a step when one was excited to learn the classic waltz. “Now your right foot goes to meet your left.” Again he followed the steps. He then went through the steps of bringing the left foot back, alternating the previous movements. He went through the cycle once more with Ayaka before pausing. He glanced over at her, a kind smile on his face. “How does that feel? Think you have it down?

.....................................................................................................................................



Speaks fluent Aerugese (purple) and Cretan (orange).
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Ryuu Sato-Chiba
CHIEF TWINKLE-TOES

Posts : 51
Points : 146
Location : Edo, Aerugo

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Level: 2
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Re: All The Birds and the Beasts Were There

Post by Ayaka Nanakorobi on Wed May 15, 2013 2:32 pm

There was a buzz within the girl's abdomen that rarely came in a positive way, like tiny electric butterflies. Excitement. Something that carried an undertone of giddy- she was going to learn soemthing new and beautiful, and in a place and way her father couldn't openly object to. Dancing was a ladylike thing, after all, and dancing at a boring party like this wouldn't hurt Ikuto at all.

Ryuu moved to Ayaka's side, the girl watching the peacekeeper intently with a light in her eyes that rarely shone. “Your hands will go like this," he said, moving his hands to show her. it took a moment before she seemed to have hers mirrored to match the invisible shoulder and other hand. "Very good. I'll show you your steps before we attempt the dance together, yes?” Ayaka nodded, smiling lightly in a way that was both ernest and becoming more genuine. Usually in school her teachers understood that she was a bit...off. They'd remind her to write down things since she'd forget them so quickly and that it wasn't anything she could help, but "very good" and "Ayaka" were rarely heard in the same phrase. None of that mattered at the moment as she watched the man move the slowed steps of the waltz, watching his feet carefully.

In the slowest count of one-two-three in the world, Ryuu's feet moved backward in an L-shape, and then forward in the same. "It's like a box," she said, still watching the man's feet. She could manage a box. Her brain wasn't that addled. Ryuu moved through the slow steps again as Ayaka watched, and then paused, back at her side.

“How does that feel? Think you have it down?”

She nodded slowly. "I think so..." On her own, Ayaka raised her hands the way he'd shown her as her right leg moved backward slowly to make the first L. "One....two....three...." She moved forward, making the second L. Her count was almost painfully slow, and her head was down to watch her own feet as she mimicked Ryuu's graceful steps as best she could. "One...two... three!" Like a flower that only opened under rare conditions, and without even noticing it herself, Ayaka was opening up slightly and honestly enjoying the moment away from the world. This was now. This was real, or real enough. And she could almost maybe kinda sorta waltz a little bit. The teenager's awkward smile warmed with a slight eagerness. "Something like that?"
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Ayaka Nanakorobi
MEANINGLESS

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Location : Kyoto, Aerugo

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Re: All The Birds and the Beasts Were There

Post by Ryuu Sato-Chiba on Sun May 19, 2013 11:18 pm

Ryuu watched carefully as Ayaka mimicked his steps, a smile growing on his face as she seemed to brighten. It wasn't just a smile on her face but the girl's general demeanor. She seemed like she was coming out of some strange little cocoon. A political child didn't always have the best lifestyle, although that was a stereotype. A stereotype in this case which seemed true. Ayaka was brightening more than she had appeared when they first introduced each other. It made Ryuu feel warm inside, but not fuzzy. Fuzzy would've been silly. He was glad he could help just a little bit. "Something like that?" She looked up at him and he looked down with a warm smile. “Wonderful! A natural.” He encouraged her to increase her tempo and after she had mastered the box again, he moved to face her. “And now we'll try together.” He bowed to Ayaka again before moving closer to her.

Being only a couple inches taller than her, they were able to stand quite comfortably, his hand barely brushing her waist and gently holding her opposite hand. He began the mantra of “one, two, three” very quietly and after two bars, he began to move his feet. He watched Ayaka carefully, glancing between her face and her feet to make sure she was moving along well. He didn't exactly enjoy squished toes and he didn't want to risk doing the same to the young woman.

.....................................................................................................................................



Speaks fluent Aerugese (purple) and Cretan (orange).
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Ryuu Sato-Chiba
CHIEF TWINKLE-TOES

Posts : 51
Points : 146
Location : Edo, Aerugo

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Re: All The Birds and the Beasts Were There

Post by Ayaka Nanakorobi on Tue May 21, 2013 1:11 pm

Another curtsy dipped to mirror the gentlmanly bow. Her hand lightly placed on Ryuu's shoulder, Ayaka couldn't really help her cheeks flushing slightly at the closeness between herself and her teacher, her brain alerting her over and over that his hand was on her waist while she tried to remind herself that it was okay, she was safe, and that it was supposed to be there. He wasn't like the boys she dated and ran from, and seemed nothing like her father at all. The tiny initial flinch was an automatic reflex Ayaka couldn't really help anymore, but she hoped the officer wouldn't notice it as she let herself enjoy something that nobody could take from her.

The music playing certainly didn't really match the tempo of a waltz, but as Ryuu set the pace for a few bars and took the first careful step forward, Ayaka took her first (somewhat panicked) step back, desperately trying to avoid misstepping. Her eyes shot down, watching her feet more than her partner, making sure she was still making the right L shapes and not just moving sloppily around the floor. She was still rough and a bit choppy, but at least she seemed to be getting it, and that made the girl infinitely pleased.

Finally growing a bit more confident, she looked up, the light in her face still shining with an eagerness to please and excitement that she was learning something special and beautful. "This is so wonderful- where did you learn to dance like this?" Talking and dancing took a bit more concentration as her brain kept repeating the 1-2-3, 1-2-3 to keep her legs going in the right way, despite her knees occasionally bumping here and there. Just for a moment, Ayaka was happy.
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Re: All The Birds and the Beasts Were There

Post by Ryuu Sato-Chiba on Thu May 30, 2013 6:07 pm

Ryuu watched Ayaka move through the steps, so clearly focused on her feet. It was quite amusing to watch a learning dancer. Especially one who seemed so enthralled. She was picking it up quite easily as well. Even better! Her face looked up at his and Ryuu felt blown away. She looked so incredibly happy. It was... slightly heartbreaking. In that moment, he wistfully thought why he never had children. He could've had a little girl and taught her to dance, or a boy to tap dance with. Or anything really, because children get to choose their interests. It's only right, after all. He smiled down at her, keeping the sad thought from his face and eyes.

"This is so wonderful- where did you learn to dance like this?" Ryuu thought back to where he had learned to dance. There was no one specific place. Instead, he began to talk in the 3-beat time of the waltz, helping Ayaka to keep her place. Yes, the tempo of the speech sounded odd (not to mention all those syllables), but better than crushed toes! “I have been – practicing – since I was – young. I took – classes and – used to watch – many old movies.

.....................................................................................................................................



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Re: All The Birds and the Beasts Were There

Post by Ayaka Nanakorobi on Fri May 31, 2013 3:49 pm

To think that Ayaka was dancing and having a good time at a function she'd been half-kidnapped into attenting seemed like a rather cracked idea, like Aya'd hit her head too hard and was just having a really really good daydream, or the planets were aligning, or Godzilla was about to attack. It was kind of funny that Yakumo was busy cramming- he'd never believe it, even hearing it from his sister in person. Like the strange monsters the girl randomly had conversations with that nobody else seemed to be able to see, surely this fluke incident was just a flight of fantasy.

Even if it was, it was at least a good dream, and Ayaka could only hope she wasn't making too much of a fool of herself where she'd hear about it later. This was fun, and she felt herself wishing there were a club after school that catered toward this sort of thing. Sure, she was part of the Lolita Fashion club, but that was mostly just where they talked about dresses and new designs, and whether or not applying lace to any old sundress made it lolita or not. This was different. This was something really ladylike. Ayaka's small smile remined, wondering if maybe she could garner enough interest from her club-mates and maybe a few boys to see about a dancing club... or maybe there was one and she just didn't know...

“I have been – practicing – since I was – young. I took – classes and – used to watch – many old movies.” Ayaka couldn't help but laugh lightly, amused at how he was speaking in time to the movements and how she was needing to look at her feet a little bit less. But taking formal dance classes and practicing for years... Many people had a passion they studied all their lives. Ayaka envied Ryuu a bit for that- she was a girl whose life had been confined so tightly that there were so few passions and safe outlets to explore, leaving her to wonder what she was truly capable of. Sure, there was the hope that someone walking by would scout her and turn her into a pop star; after all, Ayaka loved karaoke and singing along and to herself. But what girl her age didn't have that general hope, other than the ones who already knew what they were doing with themselves? Even Yakumo seemed to have it all figured out...

She glanced back down at her feet here and there, making sure she was still the right distance from Ryuu. "You dance so beautifully! I wish I had something like this to practice all the time... If something like this happened at more of these functions, they'd be so much better."
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Re: All The Birds and the Beasts Were There

Post by Ryuu Sato-Chiba on Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:59 pm

"You dance so beautifully! I wish I had something like this to practice all the time... If something like this happened at more of these functions, they'd be so much better." Ryuu let out a chuckle. “I agree.” They danced a few more minutes, Ryuu gradually stopping his out-loud counting as Ayaka seemed to get the steps more and more easily. Ryuu brought their small waltz gently to a close, stepping back to bow lightly to her. “What a fantastic dance partner I've had.” He stepped for a moment to the refreshment table near them in order to get two glasses of punch. A steady waltz wasn't anything to really break a sweat, but it was always good for a celebratory drink after a good first lesson.

He handed one glass to Ayaka with a polite smile and took a drink from his. “There are a variety of dance schools in Eto. Kyoto as well. The options are endless, if you're keen to learn more or just be able to dance when you want.” Ryuu had helped set up a couple of the dancing schools in both cities actually, primarily with free lessons and the occasional funding. He was keen on charity and teaching dance was a good charity, as far as he was concerned.

.....................................................................................................................................



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Re: All The Birds and the Beasts Were There

Post by Ayaka Nanakorobi on Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:01 pm

Lost in the moment in time, the world was a music box and Ayaka was the tiny proceail doll moving around the gears and pins. Ryuu ceased counting the steps for his younger partner gradually, and more and more Ayaka looked up from her feet, less fearful about stepping on the nice man with each step. Slowly as they made their way back to the starting point, Ryuu brought their movements to a close and bowed to the teenager who returned the gesture as she tugged the sides of her skirt wide.

The soft smile remained as Ayaka took the offered glass of punch, feeling incredibly light. “There are a variety of dance schools in Eto. Kyoto as well. The options are endless, if you're keen to learn more or just be able to dance when you want.” There were dance schools... Not just clubs, but classes to go to, just for dancing! That sounded... incredibly promising. And maybe if it didn't cost too much Grandpa would pay for it; like hell Ayaka was dumb enough to go to her father and try a "Daddy, please..." She knew better. She pondered it a moment; she worked at the temple most days after school, and only had Lolita club once a week. Depending on when classes were... the temple would live without her for one extra thing, right?

"If you know a good one in Kyoto, I'd love to see about enrollment! Maybe with enough practice I'd get as good as you someday." Someday. Someday wasn't something the girl ever put much thought into since she never really aniticipated what it might bring; all that mattered was now, and the now wasn't changing. It had changed, but things were still set in their patterns. But maybe introducing something new might... do something. Even if it just becomes another pattern, it would be something that would be just mine, and real.

A small prickle ran at the back of her neck like she was being watched. Ayaka glanced over her shoulder and turned, only to find a well-dressed man with stylish glasses. "Your coordination's improved drastically," he said, looking Ayaka up and down in observation. Ayaka withdrew slightly at the man's hand as it moved to pat her shoulder, though she tried desperately to hold onto her smile. The mask began to reapply itself. "It's been a while since I've checked your progress, but I am quite impressed."

Ayaka glanced to the man, and then to Ryuu. "Mr. Sato-Chiba, this is Dr. Ishibara, the children's hospital's head neurosurgeon. Doctor, this is Mr. Sato-Chiba. He's the head of the police force." In fact he'd been her neurosurgeon, but that was hardly something Ayaka wanted to mention, despite the fact that she knew she owed this man her life. The doctor beamed, extending his hand. The police force had made a very nice contribution to the hospital, and unlike some of the ones donated on behalf of running policitians and sticky businessmen, was less likely to have been donated simply for the hefty tax reembursement.

"The Edo Children's Hospital and staff thank you tremendously," Dr. Ishibara said. Despite Ayaka's mistrust, she did know that he really wasn't a bad man. Just one her father happened to have enough influence on to keep him from saying anything that would reach public ears about Mr. Nanakorobi. "Donations like yours make our greatest successes possible." Ayaka shifted on her feet a bit, looking at her glass of punch like a lifeline. Greatest successes. It was good to know that her life was just a little pepple in one man's jar of successful experiments.

Parties were made for mingling, and typically when the groups shuffled about you got around to meeting most of them and passing your card along. It was just always a case of watching the groups to see who was talking with whom and choosing the right moment to say hello. Those were the rules of these sorts of affairs, and Ikuto had been making his rounds and watching. Ikuto was large and impressive with a broad chest, and still rather handsome despite the onset of middle age. He smiled and laughed, shaking hands with the many attendees and making jokes everyone laughed at but nobody found funny, and yet there was no mirth in his eyes or the deepening lines around his mouth. His smile was that of a shark's.

Like a predator swimming through black water, Ikuto made his way across the floor, glass in hand. The large hand came down on Ayaka's right shoulder slowly and gently, and gave it a soft, reminding, and almost paternal squeeze. She nearly dropped her glass, her smile as artificial now as diet sweetener to hide how her stomach sank and how cold she suddenly felt. She averted her eyes directly from the doctor and Ryuu, every nerve in her body on high alert.

"Ayaka," Ikuto crooned in a tone that could almost be mistaken for fatherly. "You're not bothering these gentlemen, are you darling?" Ayaka shook her head, smiling still but not daring to look up lest anyone see the mild panic that she was swallowing down, or see the soft look of pity from the doctor. She was fine. She was fine. She hadn't done anything wrong. She would be fine tonight."That's my good girl."

"I was just... dancing. With Mr. Sato-Chiba, Father." Ayaka's eyes remained on her punch; she'd never had alcohol, especially after watching Ikuto for years, but it was moments like these that made her wonder if it would help her or not.
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Re: All The Birds and the Beasts Were There

Post by Ryuu Sato-Chiba on Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:29 pm

"If you know a good one in Kyoto, I'd love to see about enrollment! Maybe with enough practice I'd get as good as you someday." Ryuu smiled and nodded, silently musing over the possibilties. There were schools for every type of dancing. He needed to shift through the multitude he knew of and find a perfect school. Somewhere with ballroom dancing and preferably not with a bunch of seniors. This young woman needed to be around people her own age, or just a little older. Old jokes such as himself would be a little far-fetched, spending their evenings with a teenage girl.

As Ryuu's mind settled onto a few choices, a man joined their group, speaking to Ayaka. "Your coordination's improved drastically." Ryuu watched with practiced eyes at the slight interaction between the newcomer and Ayaka. She shifted away just enough to avoid his hand and her eagerness and joy seemed to be slowly disappearing. "It's been a while since I've checked your progress, but I am quite impressed."

"Mr. Sato-Chiba, this is Dr. Ishibara, the children's hospital's head neurosurgeon. Doctor, this is Mr. Sato-Chiba. He's the head of the police force." Ryuu began to recognize the man now, as he was introduced. Hard not to, as he was somewhat well-known in the higher circles. Big doctors usually are, especially when they head an entire department. "The Edo Children's Hospital and staff thank you tremendously. Donations like yours make our greatest successes possible." Ryuu felt slightly uncomfortable as he shook the doctor's hand. Yes, they had made a sizable donation, but it wasn't exactly all of his money that had gone there. He shook the hand a little more firmly, essentially responding for the whole law enforcement and judical system of the country. “All of us are happy to help.” Ryuu's polite smile grew a little thin as he completed the handshake and took a small sip of his punch. “Especially when our donations go to helping a child's life a little brighter. It's about their safety and happiness more than anything.” “Not about successes, you stupid doctor.” However, Ryuu kept that response tucked away in his mind safely.

Another man was approaching them now and Ayaka did not flinch away this time from the hand that came down on her shoulder. Ryuu, being more at eye level with the girl than her taller companion, noted her knee-jerk reaction, quickly smoothed over. Her eyes now refused to look at him or Dr. Ishibara, who also appeared a little unsettled. Ryuu caught a short look of pity from the doctor before that disappeared as well. Ryuu's mind was already rolling on high alert, even before Ikuto had even spoken the first time.

"Ayaka, you're not bothering these gentlemen, are you darling?" Ryuu's insides recoiled at the man's voice. Ryuu had been on the police force for the good majority of his life. And before that, he had heard stories from his fathers. This man was an actor. One of the best. But underneath that sweet voice and cool gestures lurked someone Ryuu would rather see behind bars than out at a social gathering. "That's my good girl."

"I was just... dancing. With Mr. Sato-Chiba, Father." Ryuu had to really watch his temper. This vibrant girl he had just been dancing and speaking with had withdrawn to a shell. All because of the appearance of her father. His mind began to roll rapidly through the options. The hardest one to believe was that Ayaka was shy around her father because it was her temprament. No. It was far more likely the man had a degree of control over his daughter, as most fathers did. But this went beyond that. There was a lurking power behind this man and it wasn't a good power. Abuse seemed to be the largest bell that rung in Ryuu's mind, although he couldn't discern what kind or how long it may be going on. It was all speculation, but now he had to tread carefully.

He had come to like this young girl in the short time they had spent together. He had found a desire he didn't even realize he had: a want for a daughter of his own. And now to see her disappear because of someone who should be loving and cherishing her... Ryuu had to hold back the urge to knock the man down to size. Which would be troublesome, as the man was a bit taller and bulkier than Ryuu. But he had fought worse. However, he knew that anything he did could potentially go bad for Ayaka later. Instead he stepped to one side and extended his hand to Ikuto, a polite smile on his face. “Your daughter has been a delight, Mr. Nanakorobi. I'm afraid she was helping a old man like me out, so I wouldn't stand around with no one to talk to. I am Pīsumēkā  Sato-Chiba.” Ryuu normally wouldn't use his title in that way. It was usually more of an off-hand comment. However, in this case, he wanted Ikuto Nanakorobi on edge, if only slightly. There was power here that the man could not mess with and he needed to know it.

.....................................................................................................................................



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Re: All The Birds and the Beasts Were There

Post by Ayaka Nanakorobi on Fri Jun 21, 2013 1:44 pm

Assertiveness in the business world gained you power; power brought you money; both of those together made you more assertive over time. It was an endless cycle, and to Ikuto, it was the purest workings of the world. Ikuto was a man known through the business and political channels because it was his assertivness, his influence, and his money that decided what businesses would rise up and thrive and which useless meat puppets would come into political seats. Everyone had their price. It was a dirty business, but he had people and hand sanitizer for that. Control was a beautiful thing, and it left little room for surprises, which he hated. Things went Ikuto's way because he planned for them and made them go his way and left no other option. His hand didn't stray from Ayaka's shoulder as he firmly shook Ryuu's hand, letting his eyes meet Ryuu's in a way similar to predatory animals showing their dominance, oddly combined with a congenial smile.

“Your daughter has been a delight, Mr. Nanakorobi. I'm afraid she was helping a old man like me out, so I wouldn't stand around with no one to talk to. I am Pisumeka  Sato-Chiba.” Ayaka was silent for their exchange, trying to not intentionally hold her breath as she prayed for that convenient rampage of wild and ferocious zoo animals to burst through the ballroom. That would have been unbelieveably excellent. She could sense her father's feelings through the subtle twitches in the knuckles of his fingers- this man was not one of his. From the sounds of it, thye'd never met before, despite Ryuu's position. To Ayaka, this was both strange and somewhat refreshing, if slightly alien. Ikuto didn't care for it much. He golfed with a few police chiefs from various districts in and around Edo and Kyoto, and they were always reliable. Men like Sato-Chiba were variables that he didn't know yet, which put him somewhere between uneasy and unhappy, neither of which a man who liked control such as himself wanted.

His smile remained friendly, though, and his voice like honeyed venom. "I don't believe I've had the pleasure. Ikuto Nanakorobi. And I'm very glad my girl has been making a good impression on you, Pisumeka." Ikuto's eyes glanced at Ayaka for a moment, his hand not straying. Ayaka's hollow smile was there, painted on like a doll's face, the girl quiet as though she were simple exceptionally well-behaved when he was talking to other guests. His eyes moved back to Ryuu as his hand left the Pisumeka's. "My little girl is quite the gem."

There was a certain possessiveness in his tone that Ayaka knew very well; in Ikuto's world, everything was either his, would be his, had been his, or wasn't worth wanting. And anything that currently was his and nothing would change that. The doctor cleared his throat lightly. "I need to go speak to the director before the toast. Mr. Sato-Chiba, it was nice to meet you. Ayaka, be sure to come by my office sometime to talk. I miss our visits." With a polite bow the neurosurgeon excused himself, sifting through the crowds to find his way back to the hospital director; the department heads would all have sometime to say in thanks to everyone's support, and Dr. Ishibara never missed a chance to speak of the miracles he had helped to create over the years. One of his favorite and yet most pitied miracles had been invited to the party as living proof of his and the hospital's skills.

Ayaka twitched faintly, suppressing her urge to do the most childish thing possible and stick out her tongue and pull down her eyelid as he walked off. Stupid, puffed-up, self-important, God-complexified...! But she remained perfectly calm and still on the outside, the fake smile never faltering. Ikuto's smile also never moved as he watched the doctor excuse himself. Ishibara had far too much at stake and enjoyed his position far too much to put any of it at risk.

The hand on her shoulder gave the softest of nudges. "I should go as well," Ikuto said, not seeming ruffled at all. "A few of my business partners were wanting to see me. Ayaka, you should come with me. There are people from the hospital who'd love to see you and hear about how you've been." Fear prickled under her stomach and cheeks; she really wanted to just stay by the punch bowl and talk more to Ryuu, but given the request and getting the feeling Ryuu wasn't on her father's payroll...

Her lip trembled faintly as she drew in a breath. This was a party where everyone was watching. She was on her best behavior, but so was her father. Ayaka opened her mouth, her voice feather-soft as she said quite possibly the bravest thing she'd ever fathomed. "If I may... I'd like to stay? Just a few minutes more, Father. Please...?" It was also quite possibly a very dumb move, and kind of terrifying, and she immediately regretted letting the thought slip past her mouth. It certainly wasn't the answer her father wanted, but presentl he couldn't say anything.

With one final squeeze, Ikuto pulled away with the grace and ease of a cobra sliding through high grass. His eyes moved to Ayaka's and held them, not letting her look away. "Of course, Ayan." The emphasis in his tone made her stomach sink. "Just be sure to join me in a few minutes when you're done. As I said, there are people who want to see you. Pisumeka, it was very nice to meet you... And I look forward to speaking sometime." Silently Ikuto slipped away, the wheels in his head turning beneath his smile. A man of that position was a powerful asset or a dangerous enemy, but in Ikuto's experience everyone had their price. It was just a matter of talking through his channels and seeing if he was anything to worry about.

Ayaka stood stunned, completely surprised that that actually worked. Her mask slipped just enough for the shock to show through, the girl somewhere between thrilled and terrified about how long of a night it would be. Finally she swallowed it down and slowly turned back to Ryuu. "I'm... really very sorry about that."
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Re: All The Birds and the Beasts Were There

Post by Ryuu Sato-Chiba on Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:58 pm

Ikuto could not leave soon enough for Ryuu. It took all of his well-practiced self-control and acting skills to keep his voice calm and pleasant, his expression politely neutral. The doctor was eager enough to depart; he must've sensed the vibes rolling off of Ikuto as well, yet clearly could not stomach them. Ikuto was ready to depart just thereafter, ready to drag Ayaka along with him. Then Ryuu saw Ayaka do a very brave thing. She stood up to her father. Giving what Ryuu suspected about Ikuto, that was one of the boldest things Ayaka could've done. Ikuto seemed to accept this, but he knew that Ayaka would pay for it later. That in turn made Ryuu angry all over again. A long, deep breath and Ryuu released the anger again. He smiled gently at Ayaka's apology. “I understand. An unfortunate circumstance to be remedied in time.

Ryuu frowned a little. “I shouldn't keep you longer.” He pulled out his wallet and grabbed one of his business cards. It had his office number as well as his cellphone. He reached into his inner coat pocket and pulled out a pen. Flipping over the business card he wrote down four dance schools, two in Edo and two in Kyoto. He worked regularly with the schools in Kyoto and occasionally frequented the ones in Edo. He could easily vouch for all of them. “I'd suggest these schools, Ayaka.” He gave her a bright smile and a bow. “Good luck. Until our next meeting.” They parted ways at the same time, Ayaka to her father and Ryuu to step outside. He wasn't done at this event just yet, but he hoped to be leaving shortly. He had had enough of social gatherings for the evening.



{EXIT THREAD}

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Re: All The Birds and the Beasts Were There

Post by Ayaka Nanakorobi on Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:13 am

The feeling of pure dread bubbled in Ayaka's stomach like liquid nitrogen boiling away furiously. While she wondered if there would be some way to sweet talk her father and apologise her way out of it, the cold feeling that told her it would be a very long night after all was nearly impossible to silence, and she could only hope she'd be fine for school the next day. Ayaka glanced to Ryuu as he went quiet, seeming to silently mull over a cold boil of his own and release it all in a slow, deep breath. It was good at least that it hadn't gone any worse than it had and that neither her father nor Ryuu provoked the other, so that was something to be grateful for if nothing else. “I understand. An unfortunate circumstance to be remedied in time.” Though far less enthusiastically than before, Ayaka returned Ryuu's faint smile. Remedied in time. She wondered about that often, but even distancing herself from her father as much as she had hadn't granted the girl total safety or freedom, and some part of her was beginning to stop questioning when it would happen.


“I shouldn't keep you longer." She nodded, sad that he knew she needed to go take her place as the ornament that she was. A small white card was pulled from Ryuu's wallet, small, neatly printed kanji being penned on the back side of it. “I'd suggest these schools, Ayaka. Good luck. Until our next meeting.” Ayaka glanced it over quickly; two of the schools were in Kyoto. Slowly she looked up at Ryuu.


"I live in Kyoto now, so I will definitely see about one of these." Turning the card over, Ayaka saw two very important details that gave her a strange sinking feeling, like muddied hope that didn't know how to react with the fear that still rolled around in her stomach. These were Ryuu's phone numbers, both for his work desk, and his personal cell number. Important men often had such cards, but to give numbers like that to her... No, it was just a coincidence. Ayaka looked at them again, and then glanced behind her shoulder to make sure her father hadn't seen her take the card; if he found out she'd been given Ryuu's personal phone number, it could be bad, even if it wasn't intentional. She'd just have to make sure her father or his lackey didn't find the card on her. "I do hope we meet again, sir. I realld enjoyed meeting you. And dancing." The girl gave a short bow as the judge departed, Ayaka taking a deep breath to reapply herself and brave the rest of the night, but not before slipping the precious card into the blouse of her dress, where nobody would find it. Ayaka only had to brave the rest of the night and make it out in one piece, and hopefully if she behaved the rest of the night then it wouldn't be so bad for her later. Ayaka could only hope for now as she walked away from the punch bowl to rejoin her father, not flinching under his firm hand and not fearing the seething roils of enegy that dripped off Ikuto as he silently fumed at his girl's defiance. Ayaka's perfect doll-like smile wouldn't waiver or crack in the slightest. It would be a very, very long night, and a very sore morning that she hoped she wouldn't miss homeroom for. But maybe, just maybe, the next tomorrow would yield something a bit better.


{END THREAD}
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