Description: Pao Pao Cafe is host to a post-victory party for the successful Gorin High Girls' Volleyball Team! And while the celebration was sweet, it was nonetheless marred by the arrival of a dark shadow from the team's recent past.
The Gorin volleyball team is on fire! Even with the injury of their third-year captain, the team's resolve and fortitude in on the court was unquestioned -- and with their new captain, Natsu Ayuhara, it seems the team has become even more galvanized than before. The past two games have seen great improvement in both veterans and rookies alike. For now, they've shut out their last two opponents; it may be quite some time before the rival schools are able to develop a counter-strategy.
And now... tonight, Natsu is able to take the team out for a special celebratory event. It being a Monday night, it's pretty sparse here at the Pao Pao Cafe, so the team has plenty of space to distribute themselves around a large circular table. Natsu is seated next to Kayoko, the former captain, who's unfortunately bound to a wheelchair at the moment. They've been here a good... hour or so, and the table's already been cleared of all but a few of the dim sum sampler trays -- right now, it's all pleasant conversation! This is a good night to celebrate!
Every good thing had to come to an end. A small group of party crashers come in : loud and obnoxious punks who struts into Pao Pao Cafe with that arrogant air, like they owned the place and everyone owed them everything. Four thugs and delinquent looking males : one had piercings and studs, another had tattoos like flames around his neck, one had sun-glasses and spikey hair. They all had the noticeable traits that generally came with prejudices. Their leather jackets and clothings were all meant to make them look like tough guys.
Another one also walks in with them, taller by a few inches and who seemed a bit more calm and less loud than all of them. The group makes their way for tables in the center of the room, as if they wanted to be the center of attention. They didn't seem to care for the presence of the other who were already enjoying themselves there. At least, except for the tall man who took a second to assess the persons present in the room.
It doesn't take long once the boys are settled down at a table nearby for the spikey hair young to glance over to the girls on the other table, "Heheh! What a bunch of cute chicas like you all are doing up here, huh? Want to have some fun with us tonight, eh?"
Unsurprisingly, the arrival of a pack of wild punks is enough to tighten Natsu's jaw, as her eyes follow the group as they enter. Sure enough, they're heading to the large table.
Eyes look first to Kayoko. Then to Natsu. Both authorities shake their heads -- let them do as they will, so long as they don't cause trouble -- that's all that need be said, especially since they had the decorum to seat themselves at their own table.
Bunch of cute chicas, eh? A few of the first-years giggle and blush, shying away from the advances of the interlopers.
It's not long before she notes the presence of the tall one amongst the bunch. It's to him she speaks -- none other.
"Girls' night out, I'm afraid," rings Natsu's voice over the hushed snickering and whispering. With an edge of finality, she states, "The phoenix claws are amazing, you should all try some," before pointedly going back to the long-ignored, half-eaten meat bun before her.
As if the girl's reactions encouraged him, the boy leans back on his chair, getting closer to the girls, staring at their gang, "Huh? What do you say? Why don't you join us? Big Johnny here got all sort of whacky stories, I'm sure you'd love it," He says, gesturing with his thumb to the guy with the sunglasses.
Answering the call of his name, he leans in a bit closer, a wicked smile on his face as he pulls his sunglasses down, wiggling his eyebrow at the girls. The sort of space-invading attitude... At least, they definately didn't lack the confidence.
The attitude of his friends cause Daigo's lips to curl into a faint smile. Some fooling around never hurt anyone after all. Daigo sits down at the table and folds his arms against his chest, watching the scene unfold, his smile fading away as he glances at the girl in a wheelchair.
The guy who fist spoke to the girls glance to Natsu, "Oh? Aww, come on, what would be a girls' night out without a few boys, eh? Or what, you don't like our non-conformist looks so you shaun us away like that? Awww, that's really awful,"
"Thank you, I think I'll try some," Daigo replies to Natsu, his deep and powerful voice actually causing all of the guys who were staring lewdly at Natsu's group to glance back at him, as if they were surprised he actually said something.
As Daigo may soon find out, "Phoenix Claw" is a fancy name for "chicken foot," and the Pao Pao Cafe is certain to provide the East Asian delicacy if he so requests.
Wacky stories. Big Johnny. These are all carefully targeted distractions which Natsu and Kayoko would both be more than happy to ignore if the younger, less street-savvy among the team weren't falling prey to each and every lame come-on. Natsu, for her part, focuses calmly on eating her meatbun, peripherally minding each word spoken, right up until the mention of girls' night is made once more.
"It would be a girls' night out," she restates, without missing a beat, levelling her gaze onto the speaker. "And don't confuse the issue here. I'm sure the girls would -love- to spend time with you, but I'm sure you nice gents can wait till tomorrow night. This is a special occasion."
She adds, as an afterthought, as these guys might need it spelled out for them. "For /us/."
After a moment of silence, one of the member of the group actually laughs at Daigo's answer to Natsu, "Huh, like, you do whatever you want, Boss, but trust me, you definately don't want that," The guy with piercings grin and he shakes his head, leaning over to Daigo, "Unless you like Chicken foot..." He says.
Daigo glances at his friend, and then back at Natsu. His lips curl into a smile and he gives him a shrug of his shoulder, "I'm willing to give it a chance..." He states. All in all though, this is probably something the boys will still talk about tomorrow.
The other guys who got some interest in the blushing and giggling girls glance over to Natsu and Kayako as they repeat what seems rather obvious. "Oh... Oh! I see." He glances over at the girl and winks, "Some other time then, ladies," He says, giving them a few bye-bye waves as he leans back toward his own table.
The fourth gedo boy who had been silent and staring at Natsu the whole time finally speaks, a wide grin on his lips, "Oh! I knew I recognized that girl from somewhere!" He says, his intonation similar to someone who had just gotten divine insight. He waves a pointing index in Natsu's direction, glancing over to Daigo with a wicked smile, "That's the girl at the prom! You know, before we left? The chick that said she wanted to do all sort of things with you but it wouldn't be proper 'cause you were in Gorin or something?"
This little fact seems to amuse him to no end though, and he laughs, "Yeah, yeah! I'm sure! Tall butch with short hair," He says, all of this loud enough to make it awkward, nudging Daigo with his elbow, "Ain't that right?"
Daigo glances over to Natsu and chuckle. He dismisses it with a wave of his hand, "Huh, I... No, I don't think that's what she meant.." He says calmly.
"Alright!" Says the one with sun-glasses, turning over to the guy with tattoos as they both high-five each others. "Nice. That's our boss!"
Natsu's... not kidding about the phoenix claws. But she knows they're not for everyone, and almost -every- guy she's told about the delicacy usually... chickens out.
Natsu closes her eyes. She's -very- incensed by this continual interruption to what should be a happy time for her team. It was a happy time, but with all conversation focusing on the -boys-, it's suddenly less so.
Natsu finishes off the meatbun in front of her, but... she can't help but overhear talking -about- her from across the table.
Natsu's chair legs scrape upon the floor, her shoulders pitching forward as she looks like she's about to stand -- at least, she would, if Kayoko hadn't rested her hand on Natsu's shoulder right at that moment. Ayuhara glares back at the loudmouth who'd called her butch, gritting her teeth.
"Would you mind sitting somewhere else, /please?/" As much as Natsu would -love- to flip the entire table... there's a time and place for her rage, as Kayoko notes, whispering into her ear.
This... seems to placate Natsu just a bit longer, but it won't hold for long, as she moves her glare to Daigo -- daring him to prove whether the chivalry he'd shown at the prom was just lip service or whether he actually -means- to control his unruly gang.
The sudden scrapes of the chair seems to draw the attention of two of the Gedo boys sitting at the table. They glance up at Natsu, who seems on the verge of pulling off a tantrum on them. It seems to amuse them : unlike Natsu and students in Gorin, half the students in Gedo High seems to delight themselves in little strives like this.
The student with the flames tattoos glance over at Natsu and he replies to her with an harsh tone. "Look, this ain't your restaurant so we'll..." Before he can finish his sentence though, Daigo's powerful voice speaks over him, "Tatsuo, that's enough,"
His intonation was firm and stern, enough to draw the attention of the four other students. The tall man opens his eyes and unfolds his arms. He slowly pushes himself from his chair and he raises up to his full height, though he doesn't stare down at Tatsuo : he instead glances up in Natsu's direction. "They came here to have a good time, and our presence obvious bothers them,"
The boys seem a bit atonished by Daigo's words, blinking, "But, but, boss.." One of them stammers. "No but," Daigo replies with a weary tone. "Let's move out boys," He orders his boys with a firm intonation. His eye glance sideway toward the crippled team captain a moment, and then back to his boys, frowning a bit.
After a moment of silence, the boys shrug, "Alright!" -- "Yeah, let's see if we can find some other girls who are willing to have a good time tonight," The boys say.
Daigo slowly strides away, passing beside Natsu's table. When he gets closer to her though, he glances down at Natsu, "Natsu," He says, to draw the girl's attention, "Were you really serious at the winter prom? Or was that just some bravado to impress everyone?" He asks her.
Natsu grits her teeth. She probably shouldn't have said anything at all, and she -knows- this, but... really, is she possibly being -more- inhospitable than the Gedo boss by being so brusque? It's hard to read her expression -- because, in her fury, she's already turned her head away from the boss, looking pointedly at... the... kitchen. Yes, the kitchen. Because screw you guys.
Kayoko, however, can emphathize with the new team captain's dismay -- though her experience has shown that maybe, just maybe, this is the time to concede. "... We're finished anyway," she states quietly, "You guys sit whatever you like."
But as the Gorin girls clean up their place settings, as if to leave... Daigo walks over. And Natsu's forced to look up, by virtue of him passing in front of her. He asks his question.
And Natsu rises to her feet, fists balled up as her two eyes bore back at Daigo's one good eye. "I was -completely- serious, Daigo Kazama. You see this?" She steps aside, gesturing to Kayoko's wheelchair. "Do you even have the -slightest- bit of pity?"
Kayoko, blushing a furious red, pulls at Natsu's wrist, "Ayuhara, please--"
Natsu, chided, lowers her voice so that only the three can hear -- well. There's whispering, and there's -hissing-, which is what Natsu's doing. "Remorse, then? For some -stupid uniforms?- You -really- mean to play the -privilege- card on us? Try giving us our uniforms back. Try -apologizing-, Kazama. Then you -might- get a shred of respect from me."
The discussion between Natsu and Daigo draws the attention of the four Gedo students who seemed ready to leave the cafe after Daigo's last call. Now they were more or less stalling and waiting to see how this was going to unfold.
Daigo's stance remains unwavering even as Natsu stands up to confront him. He lifts his chin up a bit, almost in a challenging manner when she talks. He spares a glance in Kayoko's direction : if he is affected in the least, he conceals it well, his expression unphased by the sight.
It was the burden he had to bear, unfortunately -- tough decisions he had to make, an unfortunate incident. Remorse? Always -- though he could not show it. Never, nor any other sign of weakness.
He leans in a bit closer to Natsu, a few inches away from her face. His lips move, muttering something barely above a whisper -- a secret only between the two, something none others would hear.
He glances over to Kayoko and says, "I'm sorry it came to this. I hope you will recover fast from your injuries," He glances at the girls and gives them a nod, "Enjoy your evening," He says on a serious tone.
He glances at his boys and then waves his hand, "Come on guys, let's leave them some space for now. I feel like eating at Genhaten, I heard you can get a free meal if you kick some bozo's ass,"
All it needed was that simple sentence to heat up their passion and change the subject of the conversation for now... Though odds are they'll probably ask what was up soon enough... Maybe also make some fun out of Daigo for allowing a girl to 'boss him around'.
Natsu doesn't budge. Holds still as Daigo leans close. It's a message meant only for her, and she owes it to him to allow him to deliver it, rather than shove him or kick him, or do any of the things she -wants- to do.
But when he says it, Natsu's fists ball together so tightly her knuckles turn white. Her cheeks, and practically her entire -face- flush red -- but not from embarassment, but from unabiding -rage-. She keeps an eye on him, only nodding in response to his offer... but remains rooted to her position even as the fearsome Gedo Boss walks away.
This whole situation rings terribly wrong for Natsu. The offer she'd just been given -- it's only -slightly- acceptable to her. It's a bad bargain. It's a -terrible- deal. But he apologized to Kayoko -- and that's worth something in her book.
As the Gorin girls' volleyball team masses together, allowing Daigo and his four to leave, they look back to Natsu. Who has more or less frozen into position like a statue -- well, aside from the tremors of rage rippling through her.
Kayoko sighs lightly, but wheels herself back and starts to roll away. "Ayuhara. It's over. Karaoke awaits."
After a few seconds, the tall Gorin athlete finally remembers to breathe. And, as a faint smile slips onto her face, she nods slowly. "I guess it does..." She turns to follow her team out the door, stopping only to take care of the check.
Log created on 17:57:02 12/15/2014 by Natsu, and last modified on 23:30:54 12/15/2014.