Description: Random encounters in the Gorin Cafeteria! In this episode, Brett comes to Natsu with questions about his recurring nightmares.
The ring of the familiar Westminster Chimes marks the end of another class for Gorin, and that means, at this point midday, that it's time for lunch. And everyone knows how important a proper diet is for the future athletes of Japan (and the world, by extension).
Of course, Brett finds himself a bit distracted, much like he has been for the last few days. His head has been fuzzy, and with the recurring...he's not sure he can call them nightmares, but they're not sweet dreams for sure...he's not been able to focus at all the last week. And while he's out of the Inter-High tournament, he can't stop thinking about it for some reason. Just some gut feeling, considering these dreams only started since his loss there.
Even with promises of food finally, after a day of a skipped breakfast, he can't help but zombie his way toward the cafeteria.
Natsu, on the other hand, has had a perfectly -clear- mind for the past week. The past few months had been extremely stressful for the first-year athlete, due to all the chaos happening on the Gorin campus. But with her sempai Kayoko being more or less healed back to her proper state, and having given her best shot against Daigo Kazama in the tournament... well. She's got a blank slate.
Miss Ayuhara is also here just a few moments before Brett -- partly due to her class being closer, partly due to others clearing a path for the minor celebrity. In one sense, Natsu is nervous at all the attention she's getting, but in another she's appreciative that her hard work has paid off, to some degree.
Not to mention, it's vanilla cake day at the cafeteria. Natsu was having an alright day before, but once she got to place that cake on her food tray, her smile grows measurably.
As she exits the lunch line, she catches sight of Brett -- and tosses a hand in his direction. "Neuer! Hey, sleepyhead, don't miss out on the best part of the day!"
Perhaps she shouldn't have drawn so much attention to the entrance of the near-somnabulist, but Natsu is concerned for his health! Walking around like that -- he might get hurt!
Still looking quite dead on his fight, Brett looks up when he hears his name. It takes him a bit to shake the cobwebs out of his head before he finally registers who's calling to him. "Ah....Ayuhara?" Then something flicks on in his head, eyes widening. "Ayuhara! You were in the tournament, right?" he asks, in a hushed whisper.
It's strange, actually, the sudden shift from nearly asleep to awake and...well, a bit squirrelly. "YOu didn't have anything strange happen to you after any of your fights, did you?" he asks, rather directly, looking rather....worried, actually. Whether it's for his own well being, Natsu's or what, but something is clearly bothering him now.
Natsu's eyes widen, as Brett's demeanor takes a violent shift from sleepy to paranoid in but an instant. "Yes...?" Yes, she was in the tournament, of course! Her food tray is held before her, but it ranks a distant second when placed on her priority list beneath the well-being of a close friend like Brett.
Strange happening after her fights? "... Well, there was a bunch of people who wanted -really badly- for me to go visit the Atelier tents, but... uhm... no, nothing -that- weird... I mean, there was the one blonde-haired girl who actually -fought- me over it. But I mean..."
She pauses for a moment, starting to raise a finger as she tries to recollect more information about that strange girl. But the moment passes, as she notices Brett's without any food at all. "... Anyway, you really need to get something to eat!" As quickly as Brett's mood passed, Natsu's tone shifted from that of a concerned friend to full-on matronly. "You look like you could pass out at any moment. I'm not going to talk to you until get a full tray!" She softens the blow with a friendly smile, but from the abrupt straightening of her spine, it looks like she's serious!
She even wanders over to the spot in line Brett vacated, making a hand gesture as she starts to ask for his place back. What a friend, right?
Blinks come, Brett becoming more and more awake as he listens to Natsu. The worry was enough that he completely skipped the lunch line, and the sounds of his growling stomach is kind of unmistakable, despite how much he personally ignores at this point. A hand comes up to his head, shaking it a little more as if struggling to remember something.
"Blonde girl....attack....nnghh...I remember...." He looks up to Natsu. "I....think I was attacked a few days ago as well. I can't remember it clearly but....blonde girl...." He rubs his face, frustration unlike him bleeding into his voice as he struggles to remember.
"....wait....you said she fought you over...the Atelier thing?" A connection hits him. "...I refused that too. After my first fight and my elimination. THey were....really insistent about me doing the check up." He tries his hardest to make some kind of link between that and the mysterious blonde girl. "I....nghh...."
"I haven't slept very well at all the last few days, because I keep having this dream about being attacked on the Green. Then being shoved into....something...." He groans a little more, even as he follows Natsu back to the line. "Wait, I need...." Then his stomach growls LOUDLY again, almost embarrasingly so. "....can I talk to you once I get food?" he asks, sheepishly. Yeah, food, now.
Natsu doesn't -really- want to dwell on her fight with the blonde NESTS operative. The details are hazy, but in all actuality, if she hadn't talked with Kayoko afterwards, she'd have even less details to fill in the gaps in her memory. "... Yes."
And that's about all she's willing to say, as she takes a hand and gives Brett a light push back to his place in line. "Get your food. We'll talk about it," she agrees, not willing to press the point that she'd told him to do what he just suggested a moment before. "Growing boys and all that, we'll talk in a moment!"
By the time Brett's done getting his food, Natsu's already seated at a table for two. Yes, this would tick off Shoma, if he were here and not eating lunch in detention today. Her meal's already been half-devoured -- and it was a -lot- of food, naturally -- and she's sipping on her milk as Brett returns. "It was some sort of medical device. The thing you were talking about. Healed your wounds." She pauses a beat, before continuing. "It healed Kayoko's too. Did it help you too?" Whatever trauma Brett seems to have gone through, it doesn't seem like it Natsu's experienced the same thing.
Pushed back into the line, Brett looks rather....worried. But he's not going to press the point, since he definitely does need food at this point.
After the few minutes it takes for him to finally fetch food, the hockey kid brings his tray over toward where Natsu's settled, taking a place opposite her. Frowning, he does his best to break apart the disposable chopsticks given to him....and snapping them JUST wrong, the top of one breaking off and remaining stuck on the other. Sighing, he does his best with the lopsided ones anyway.
"....help? he asks, fronwing a little. "I....are you sure?" he asks, rubbing his face. "It seemed a lot more....nightmarish, honestly. And why would they go through that if it's just healing? It feels....wrong. There's something really wrong with it," he says, shaking his head out before finally taking up the beef soba he had gotten.
Natsu had considered teaching Brett the real trick to snapping the chopsticks apart, but really, that's something better left to when one has an actual pair to snap apart. She guesses that the school ran out of clean plastic chopsticks, but, again, neither here nor there.
She seems a bit confused at Brett's notation that the healing chamber would have actually hurt. Nightmarish? "... Huh. No... I didn't catch anything like that. But then again, I... kinda stopped -fighting- the girl once I made my point." She pincers some rice away, thinking on it for a moment before adding, "Kayoko went first, and she told me it didn't hurt at all, so I figured, why not?" Downing the little lump of rice, she ponders aloud, "Eh... you know, maybe they're just misunderstood. Tensions were running so high from Daigo and his gang running rampant through Gorin, we were probably just predisposed to think -everyone- was bad at that point..."
There comes a point when Natsu frowns, but shaking her head for a moment, she looks back up to Brett with a comforting smile. No sense in bothering him with -her- insecurities about the matter, right?
"... But, uh... did you want to talk about what you'd felt? I mean, I'm not trying to brush off your experience or anything, not really..."
Groaning, even through a mouthful of soba, Brett tries to find a way to get his muddled memories cleared up in some way. Though as Natsu speaks up, he realizes a key difference in their experiences. "....You stopped fighting her?" he asks, frowning a little, silent as he takes up another mouthful, chewing, and swallowing again. "....I think I lost when I fought her." He rubs his face again.
"I just...I was worried. I wasn't sure if whatever happened to me might have happened to you, or..." He pauses, scowling a bit. "...do you know if Hinata had the same thing happen to?" he asks, brow furrowed even more. "....it just feels like....if it's really those Atelier guys doing this...why do they need to attack people just to get them to use the tube if its harmless?"
Natsu nods her head slowly in response to the query. "Yeah... she kept saying I was stupid for resisting her, so I stopped." Lowering her chopsticks, she looks up at the ceiling -- it wasn't that different from when Tiffany asked her to stop, come to think of it. "She had a point, I mean...?"
Her shoulders shrug. Natsu offers a comforting smile, "I guess it's just not something that occurs to us competitive types very often. Especially not if we have the chance of winning, right?"
She pauses for a sip at her milk, nodding slowly. "... I'm sure they followed her, but Hina-chan's pretty fast, I doubt they'd catch her if they even tried." She gives the question of 'why' a bit more of a pensive look though, staring down at Brett's hands. He seems... -really- worked up about this, Ayuhara realizes.
"Hmm. That is a really good point, but... I don't feel any different. And there've been lots of tests done to prove that the injections are totally safe, there's nothing -bad- in them." At least that's what the media want the kids to believe...
Brett continues to eat...and eat fast, apparently, considering that by the time Natsu finishes speaking, his soba is completely done. THen again, from the growling of his stomach, it was clear he was pretty hungry. Even with a full belly though, the winger doesn't seem to be very satisfied. He does have a sigh of relief as Natsu assures him that Hinata could outrace anyone after her, but he still looks rather perturbed.
"It just feels really...pushy. I mean...I allowed them to do the initial physical and tending. I'm not really sure why they're....it feels like making us guinea pigs for something," he insists. He pokes at the bottom of the disposable bowl with his chopsticks, still looking rather upset.
"...I know it sounds really weird and paranoid, but I was thinking about asking other people in the tournament if the same thing happened to them at all."
Natsu smiles faintly at how fast Brett has eaten. She's glad he got his food into his stomach at any rate!
"... It... /was/ kind of pushy. Did you hear that they even fired the nurse at Justice High for protesting everything that's been going on?"
Still... she feels bad for having volunteered -this- particular bit of information, with how worried Brett seems to be. With a resigned sigh, she nods slowly. It does sound weird and paranoid, but the volleyballer can really find no fault at all in any of the theories he's forwarding. "... Well, Neuer, I... I think you're right, but at the same time, I'm not exactly sure what we can -do- about it. Go to our parents, maybe? It's not like we really have a -principal- to go to at the moment, but maybe the Parent-Teacher Organization would be able to start some kind of formal protest, maybe demand some more information from them. But short of that, we'd... we'd pretty much all have to stage some kind of student protest to get any answers, y'know?" She smiles hesitantly, not sure ifshe'd just added even -more- fuel to the fire.
Rubbing his head, Brett just looks even more upset and uneasy at the entire situation. "Yeah, the principal thing." he mutters, realizing the mess with the whole principal trade still. "You're right, I guess. But...that's kind of why I wanted to ask the other people in the tournament if they ran into the same thing. If it ends up a pattern of something then....you know, it might help even if we can't get the parents on board with anything.
After all, it's not like HIS parents can do anything all the way back in Duluth.
"...thanks for hearing me out, Ayuhara," he says, looking back up to the interim volleyball captain. "And I'm glad you didn't end up running into anything like I did. It's hard to get to sleep thinking your friends might have ended up in the same thing you'd been having nightmares about all week, you know."
Natsu nods slowly. She keeps forgetting that not -everyone's- parents are local to Gorin High, and rubs the nape of her neck in a somewhat embarassed gesture. "Yeah... I... there's lots of people both in and outside the tournament who have been... well. Encouraged to stop by the Atelier facilities. Really, I... if you can find that nurse, I really think she might know the most. Uh. Dr. Minazuki, I think it was..." She shrugs faintly, poking at her rice. Normally it would have been devoured long ago, but Brett's worry seems to have been a bit contagious.
"... Well. No nightmares here, anyway. I think it might vary from one person to the next, though...?"
But without too much warning, she leans across the table and bumps Brett's shoulder with her knuckles. "Hang in there, Brett. I'll ask around, okay? I'll find out what happened with Hina-chan and Saku-chan, we'll get to the bottom of this soon enough."
Dr. Minazuki...the name isn't terribly familiar to Brett, but it's a name he tries to commit to memory, since it seems like it might be important enough later. "I'll keep that in mind. It really does seem weird to get her fired from the school for criticizing something that isn't even part of any of the schools," he says, scratching his cheek.
He then looks back up at the knuckle bump against his shouider, smiling back to Natsu. "Thanks. You know, for listening." He then goes a bit red as something else comes to him. "And...um...tell Hinata I said 'hi'? I haven't really talked to her at all really, since the tournament started going.
Natsu nods slowly, not wanting to volunteer -too- much more information to Brett, now that he seems to be calm and well-fed. "Yeah, lots of... weird things. I'm trying to take a break from the investigative side of things for a bit though. All my nightmares had... pretty much been the past two -months-."
When Brett offers thanks, her response is quick: "Oh, of course! You've done the same for me, after all! Haha." Though when he mentiones that she needs to be passing messages again, Natsu leans close, elbows on the table. "Do you not have a phone? You need to -call- her, silly. I can sit there and talk you up all day and night but it won't mean anything if -you- don't call her. I told you before, now, you're gonna have to run to keep up with her." Leaning back as she takes chopsticks in hand once more, she scoops up another spot of rice, with that matronly smile returning -- along with a wink. "And I wasn't kidding about that."
Brett goes deep red at the advice Natsu starts giving her. It's clear the captain definitely wants to help him in regards to HInata, but it's still an embarrassing subject for the meek hockey star, that's for sure. "Y-yeah, I know. I...the whole thing between the last few games and the tournament, I just haven't....yeah. And the way I've been sleeping the last few days, I'm not sure I want to try and call her when I'm....you know."
He looks down at the table, looking rather uncomfortable at the subject (though in a diametrically different way from the more serious subject of Atelier). He looks up, then back down again. "...y-yeah. I hope those shuttle drills are gonna help there..."
Leaning close again, Natsu pays close attention to the words Brett's saying. If he were one of her teammates, she'd call his words 'excuses.' But he's not a volleyballer -- and he's in a rough way right now. Lowering her voice, she gives him a simple, calm tone. "Listen, Brett. Let me give you one -more- piece of advice. Hina-chan's never going to just outright gush about her feelings, okay? Ever. She might tell you she's worried, but if it's not about cake, or some new trick she's learned about in sports or fighting or whatnot, you won't hear it."
She pauses for a moment, to finish off her milk, before placing all her trash back onto the tray.
"Stop putting her up on a pedestal. Don't treat her like a holy, sacred object to be admired and worshipped. Just talk to her as you are, to be, right now."
As the bell rings, Natsu rises back to her feet, lifting up her tray. "Just call her up, and say, 'hey, let's spar or something.' She'll like that, I think?"
The bell rings as Brett tries to absorb all of Natsu's advice, prompting Brett to look up at the speaker system around the cafeteria. The feeling of 'saved by the bell' vaguely enters his mind, despite how much he knows Natsu is trying to help, and how genuinely on-point her advice to him is. It's just...still such an embarrassing subject, after all.
"R-right. I'll...try and keep it all in mind. And...thanks again, Ayuhara...." he says, smiling genuinely (if tiredly) toward her, before bringing his tray to the trash. He can't afford to be late to class after all, now that he's awake and aware enough to pay attention.
Log created on 19:53:10 01/21/2015 by Natsu, and last modified on 23:49:25 01/21/2015.