Description: Mitsuru returns to her dorm at Seijyunn after a lengthy absence, only to find that she's now rooming with the mercurial blonde who triggered it. Positions are quickly established in this new ecosystem, to nobody's relief.
'Oh, but you tried your best!'
The words rattled like bones inside Mitsuru as she rushed through the hallways of Seijyun High. The lanky, meanspirited student with the auburn eyes didn't look at anyone. Anything. Not one person, not one face. Mitsuru was dressed in her Seijyun High school uniform. Long skirt, blue sailor uniform, with a little ascot, and everything very modest and feminine. She did it because mommy and daddy had a very, very long talk with her. It almost a month of talking. They talked and talked to Mitsuru and had all kinds of professionals and expert talk with her, and made it very clear: she was only going to have talking, for the rest of her life, unless she put on the uniform, and stayed the whole day in it at least for the first day, so they could all prove she was a normal, respectable member of the Tokugawa clan and not a liability. That why Mitsuru was gone for so long.
Mitsuru had to take 'sick leave.'
Normally extended leaves were grounds for expulsion. But Mitsuru needed to go away for a while. She needed to go away from the school. Her parents let her go away for a while. Because she was sick, she was very very sick. Mitsuru didn't think she was sick at first, but her parents made it very clear she was sick. It wasn't a vacation, it was 'sick leave.' Mitsuru was too sick to go to class. There was a doctors note and everything. Mitsuru wanted to pretend it was a forgery, that her parents were rich and powerful and had a doctor forge a note. But there was no forgery. Just plenty of talking. That's why she was let back to school. Because she was made very clear how sick she was, and how her disease was risking to spread not just through the school, but through the very Tokugawa family. And the family talked and talked to her, on how they were going to make sure that her sickness wasn't going to spread.
There was still talking.
'Oh welcome back Mitsuru' was how it started. Smiling faces from her peers. It's like the entire incident with the Neo-League didn't really happen. Even members of the Garden club were happy to wave at her. Hundreds of eyes were on her, with dozens of smiles, masks dancing around her as she went through the day. Not from the teachers, never from the teachers. The wouldn't look at her. They wouldn't call on her for class. But the students were always nice, always gentle, always smiling. She made it all the way to gym.
ANd then she opened her locker.
It all spilled out there, all over her, all around. And there was nothing, nobody around then. Nobody would be around. Mitsuru saw it all fall on the ground, every single one. She swore she could hear the tittering, she could hear the laughter. It was all mingled in her clothing. There wasn't enough garbage cans on the floor. There wasn't -any- garbage cans on the floor. They were all removed from the locker room. She needed to get out, she needed to sort everything, she would just be late and-
And the fire alarm goes out.
Was it a drill? No, there was smoke now. A cigarette? Something to start a fire. No garbage, now a fire. It was a set up. It was all a setup, as every single one of them were on the floor. She drops her balled up school uniform. There was no time. There was never any time. She didn't even have the wrappings now. She had to get out, the smoke was there. She wasn't afraid, she was never afraid. But she was panicking, confused. And as she rushed out of the locker room, crying out 'fire fire.' There, there was everyone, filing out in neat rows in the wake of a fire, as Mitsuru staggered out. There, all the eyes were on her again, all the smiles, as Mitsuru covered herself with her hands. She stared at them, she- she tried to scowl in the wake of their penetrating eyes and searing smiles.
And then the teacher found her.
It was a blur now, as Mitsuru finds herself in a daze. The teacher furiously scolded her, holding the fire extinguisher. Now, the teachers were recognizing her. As a troublemaker, as a gangster, as a thug. That they would tolerate her sullen and useless ways, but not if she was going to put students at risk. Right there, in front of the eyes and smiles of the students. The teacher told her she was excused, that she had to go back and pick up her personal belongings strewn across the floor, that those things needed to stay in her room. A garbage bag is stuffed in her hand, and she was told to clean it up. Mitsuru could only stammer as like a doll, like an automation, she just... desperately turns around. 'And put on some clothing, have some diginity' Was the parting shot. She didn't even know what was the -things- and what was her stuff and everything was all mixed together. She wanted to die again, she wanted to die and die and maybe everyone would be hurt by it too. % R
And all the eyes were on her. % R
Every smile had burned like a brand on her naked back. Her stomach wrenched and knotted. She wanted to punch someone, anyone, maybe she could have fought the teacher, and she would banned from the school forever and ever and she could just stay at home and be tutored and never ever have to see another person her age ever again. Maybe she could fight everyone, and just keep fighting, until someone shot her down like she was a rabid dog or a disgusting animal.
But there was no enemies.
Only shapes and shadows and 'Oh welcome back' and 'Oh, but you tried your best' and 'Oh I didn't even notice Mitsuru, don't worry.' With everything in the bag, with her uniform messily back on, Mitsuru returned to the dorms. She reached the door. At least, in her dorm, she would be alone. Her parents pulled strings to make sure she wouldn't be sharing a room with anybody, not directly. The student was also on indefinite leave; she was 'sick' or something Mitsuru didn't think about it. Her useless, worthless parents thought she was defective anyways. They wanted to humilate her, by making her stand out and be different. It was even on the door now. 'Welcome Home, Little Deputy'. She struggles with the door, as she clings to the garbage bag. She struggles with the key, her eyes transfixed. She wasn't crying. She was too angry to cry. She unlocks the door, and opens it. She couldn't cry. And the eyes wouldn't be off her until she was all alone in the darkness again.
There, she could be sick again.
She was beginning to get used to being sick.
Bonnie Beatrice Hood hasn't been seen at Seijyun since her first meeting with Mitsuru, but flagrant absences are the norm for her. Normally, extended leaves are grounds for expulsion: if Seijyun lacked standards, if it didn't seek to uphold them with the utmost of strictness, what would be the point of it...?
"... about it: all those sweet, innocent," Bulleta murmurs with an audible grimace, "virtuous young women? In one place...? Principal..."
The shiver's not so audible, but the space - that uncomfortably pregnant pause - it creates is important. The modulator has its benefits: it drags her voice down even lower than its norm, half an octave or so, easily; it introduces hints of resonance and other assorted artifacts, making her voice distinct in a way that has nothing to do with /her/; and it does neither thing aggressively enough to make itself obvious: the woman pitching Seijyun's principal could easily just have a two pack a day habit and poor service. The drawback: all that processing means a flattening of the dynamic and emotional range of her voice, leaving her to rely on things like dismayed noises and empty moments to support the narrative.
Bulleta tucks her phone against her collarbone to give this particular moment its due time-- and ensure she's muted when she hisses, "Kenmin's optics have -- /maybe/, on a good day -- a sixty, sixty-five percent chance of working out of the box, and you wanna keep him on re/tai/ner...? Fuck /off/; /no/, I don't /care/ how long he's been with us, it's time to move /on/," to a tableful of Hunters twice her age. A manila folder's shoved towards the middle; a sharp wrist-flick directs all the /looks/ coming her way towards it for more insight. "Look at the fuckin' numbers! I'm /busy/."
She takes a deep breath. The phone returns to her ear and she empties her lungs in a slow, tremulous sigh.
"... we're in a post-Metro world, now," comes in a pained whisper. "You aren't running a /school/ anymore, you're overseeing a /buffet/. I-- yes. Yes, I agree, it's-- those /are/ dire terms, aren't they...? But it's a dire world; a /dark/ world, and I just... I couldn't live with myself if I didn't at at least /offer/ my services. They..." another, much briefer hesitation, "... they aren't /free/, it-- there are /costs/ involved in maintaining the kind of security you'd need, much as I wish there /weren't/... but I'm willing to make a deal..."
The girl's chin dips as the woman on the other end speaks. Her bottom lip is drawn and tightly restrained; sure, the principal can't /see/ a smirk, but that's no excuse to break character. Eventually, there's another sigh, and:
"Thank /god/," she murmurs. "Thank-- yes. Yes-- no-- no, that won't be necessary at /all/, I-- I don't want it for /me/, Principal, I-- I have a /niece/. Old enough for senior high-- old enough to start learning how to come out of her shell and be a /real/ woman, she's-- she's /delicate/, and sensitive, and she may need some extra allowances to make sure she's comfortable around-- well-- other /students/... but I really do think she'd benefit from an education at Seijyun. A scholarship would..."
The woman speaks again, and this time Bulleta allows herself a broad, fleeting flicker of a smile.
"... yes," she softly says once it's her turn. "Yes, that-- no, I can-- I can get her /there/, and-- the /dorms/ might be a little much for her, but that won't be /your/... ... of course; she's a sweet girl, she's just... mm, /shy/. She'd be a /wonderful/ addition to the student body; trust me. Her name is Bonnie..."
Within the last year - ever since her banned from TV encounter with the actress formerly known as Lightning Spangles - Bonnie's absences went from 'sporadic' to 'constant'. Seijyun's seen a blessed lack of gnawed on, drained, or otherwise brutalized bodies over that year; technically, the deal has been upheld to the letter...
... but Seijyun has /standards/.
A shy, delicate, girl breaking out of her shell with pay-per-view violence and melodrama is /not/ the Seijyun way... but a deal is a deal, isn't it? And deals can be renegotiated; terms can be added and adjusted to better suit the needs, the standards of one or both parties, especially given a period of years to observe their practical effects.
Teachers can be told to keep a closer eye on a student who's been little more than background deocration.
Counseling sessions can readily be arranged to keep tabs on a sensitive young woman staggering from an emotional train wreck.
Dorm life could easily become mandatory for someone who seems - /finally/, three painfully reserved years in - to be getting the hang of being around others.
The old deal was perfect: it meant a legal(~) identity firmly rooted and established in the hunting ground of Southtown, one that could be picked up and dropped at will without bringing parents and permission slips into the picture. The /new/ one...
Mitsuru opens her door. She's greeted by boxes surrounding her and C.R.E.A.M. leaking into the living room from one of the bedrooms. The biggest one's just a few feet across from the door, labeled 'KITCHEN' and taped (and taped, and /taped/, tightly sealed and secured) along the top and down the sides, and it's /heavy/; it doesn't so much clink, if jostled, as it /clangs/. Another clanging, tightly sealed box ('MOM'S ROOM') sits near the sofa; another still ('POOL STUFF') rests on a small table near the sofa, long and flat. Yet another ('BOOKS') waits near the TV, nearly as large as 'KITCHEN'; it's open.
If Mitsuru were to look inside, she'd find glass cat's eyes staring back at her, violet and subtly luminous and set in a forever-roaring lion's luxuriously furred face. The mane's full and lush enough to make casually spotting whatever's sitting beneath it impossible.
Several large, folded maps; and a small pile of papers, coloured threads, and note cards lie a sofa cushion. A velvet Twilight Star banner's draped along the back and one of the arms. There are a couple (/expensive/, if Mitsuru can tell) bottles of scotch and several significantly cheaper liquor options scattered around whatever kitchen counter's closest to its entrance.
A few seconds after the door opens, the music goes dead. It is momentarily replaced with a barely audible *klik!*, then-- silence, until:
The skirt and ascot must be somewhere else; old jeans, an older Judas Priest shirt, and a bright red bandana wrapped around shoulder-length blonde make for better unpacking attire. A deceptively strong hand falls an inch or so to hang properly instead of subtly curling towards a denim waist. Red sneakered feet shift silently, fully rounding the corner of a bedroom door. Big, blue eyes sweep up the length of Mitsuru, then dance about her general vicinity for a beat before settling on her face. Unclenching teeth make full cheeks a bit less prominent; unpainted lips part from there, but no sounds come.
After a beat, those eyes snap towards the open door. They linger for another before returning to Mitsuru.
B.B. Hood doesn't say a word-- not yet.
She has to share a dorm with the bitch who's at least a /little/ responsible for her being here, sure, but that's no excuse to break character.
It's the music that breaks through Mitsuru's haze first.
Going into her sanctuary, she As she throws the bag on the sofa, right on top of the brick a brack. She scans, trying to tie the music to what was happening. Was it a prank? A new prank? the dawns on the girl that there are boxes. Boxes that should not be there. Instinctively, Mitsuru goes over to the boxes, pulling it open. It was gifts from mommy and daddy. It was how they said sorry to her. Sorry for having to talk to her and talk away the sickness and make her clean from the sickness that Mitsuru had because she made everyone sick.
The gears in Mitsuru's head whirr as she dissects the bottles.
Each of the boxes were... were labeled. Like if someone was moving in from somewhere. Moving in. She actually grabs one of them, Pool Stuff. Pool Stuff. Like swimsuits? She shakes it briefly, trying to decide if she wants to rip it open, before her eyes cast on the bottles. ANd she sees them, the liquor. She knows there, that it isn't hers. None of it is hers.
Because they didn't want her to drink.
Oh, they talked to her about it. What happens to girls like her who drink. What they move to next. What they do for the next drink. They showed her the movie, about 'her Spangles' that she grew up with. They wanted her to see what alcohol would do. Would shape her into. What it would happen her into if she let her sickness run away. Her mother and father didn't love her. THey just didn't want her to make other people sick. And if she made herself more sick, then other people would get sick. She was just a checkbox to take care of. But no, no, no no no no. She looks over to it. Violet Star Circus. Someone was here. A -roommate-. It all clicks, as she puts the box on the counter. "Of all the f-fruity pieces of shoot, they can't even manage to give me some privacy." She turns around, looking towards the door.
And she freezes.
It's like a great swelling that comes over the lean, messy-uniformed girl. Her pupils become pinpricks. It would- it would be familiar to Bulleta. She probably killed creatures with the exact reaction. Wave of hostility burst forth from Mitsuru. Everything in Mitsuru, every frustration and every humilation flows into her hands as she balls them into fists. There is stomping as she awkwardly, slowly strides at the girl. There is a deep breath, as her insecurity, her daze is gone, as everything the girl has comes transfixed. She actually reaches her hands out, as she hoarsely snarls.
THE LION'S HEAD:
* Life-like fur.
* Pristine canines.
* On the small side for a mature male lion.
* Pretty light.
* Tightly packed.
* Emits dull clanging noises when shaken.
* Scotch (Bowmore, 25 yrs.) x1
* Scotch (Glenmorangie Signet) x1
* Vodka (Absolut) x1
* Rum (Kraken Black) x1
* Whiskey (Jack Daniels) x2
* Very toned arms.
* Trying really hard not to swear.
Smoke practically billows from Mitsuru's nostrils. The tiny blonde does what comes naturally when a predator's stomping towards her with murder in its eyes:
Approach, confident and without fear. Her eyes don't waver an inch from those pinpricks as the two young women close in on one another. The blonde's hands clench after a couple steps; darting beneath Mitsuru's reach, her right extends towards the taller girl's belly--
-- applying enough force to shove her aside and no more.
Her pace quickens once she's on the other side of Mitsuru--
Bulleta has killed many things with burning eyes and murderous intent. That might be why she thinks little of letting /this/ one see her back as she tilts far enough to touch her forehead to the door, shuts her eyes tight, and sharply draws a breath through her nostrils.
"Me," she utters through the exhale, low enough to approach a growl. "That /bitch/. 'We'll start you off nice and slow, dear,'" her voice shifts on a dime, spiking up into the principal's register, miming her rhythm closely. "'We want you *comfortable*, so you'll get to share a dorm with someone you're already friendly with. What do you think about that...?'"
A quick turn - Mitsuru's a relatively solved threat, but a /threat/ just the same - leaves her back pressed against wood and reveals the broad, taut edge of a smile. She folds her arms and cants her head a touch. "Gosh," another shift, minutely lower-- much closer to 'fangirl' than her natural mezzo, "/someone/ sure has rich parents, don't they?" Her eyes flick from Mitsuru's towards a couple pricy pieces of furniture, and there's a tiny wince then they return. "Obviously not rich /enough/, if /I'm/ here, but /wow/!"
And just like that, the smile's gone so she can resume glaring.
Mitsuru-- Mitsuru's /seen/ her. She has /heard/ her. The bully and her team efficiently isolated one of the softest points in B.B. Hood's persona and struck it mercilessly, until she /snapped/-- until the woman within had little choice /but/ to emerge for a vain attempt at clearing the wreckage left in the wake of their collision. She was so desperate to spare herself the hassle of putting down another ego-driven monster that there were /hugs/. Hugs from /her/, with nice words and hair-stroking and /everything/--!
She didn't actually expect to /see/ Mitsuru any time soon. Even when the writing was on the wall about having to reign the absences in or lose her cover, the grapevine was pretty clear on Mitsuru having vanished from Seijyun's halls after her encounter with Fumiko. If anything, she figured the girl'd transfer somewhere /else/, just to spare herself the embarrassment.
"I'm not going anywhere," she finally states as eye contact is reestablished, low and intent, "and I bet that Mommy and/or Daddy wouldn't be too pleased with their darling daughter getting herself in a fight on her first day back. Right? So:"
She spreads her hands, vaguely indicating clanging boxes and liquor bottles. The voice is all her now, complete with a hint of smoke.
"Okaeri nasai, bitch; let's figure this out, huh?"
At least she sounds more tired than venomus.
See, Mitsuru might have understood what to do if she was really a thug.
Free booze? A cool tough roommate? A party room? It's all the makings of something good. But as she stampedes towards Bulleta like a raging bull, she is deftly evaded and neatly comes short of being pinned against the door. Mitsuru is actually stunned, confused by the sheer courage. Weakness. She was treating her like she's weak and pathetic. She was dazed, with everything that happened, it was an endless daze. She tries to struggle; but for all her unrefined strength and size... this was a trapping pin, meant for larger prey. When she is released, and eye contact is made, Mitsuru breathes hard. Her eyes seemed watery. She -looked- like she wanted to fight.
But what frightened animal didn't?
"You think I care what they think?" Mitsuru spits out, taking a very hesitant step towards Bulleta. "You think I care about it? You think you're funny, huh? You think you're cute?" Right in her face, right up in her face, so much that she was -spitting-. "You- YOU AREN'T- MY LIFE! I- IN MY LIFE!" She takes another step, hands in fists, trying to get as close as she can.
But not laying a hand on her.
"What the heck is all this, what the heck is wrong with you? Why do you have drugs? OR the Lion HEad? A-and listening to that angry black man music! Why are you a student here, why are you following me? Why are you stalking me? Are you- Spangles- I- are you going to- what- I-" Misturu's mind was shredding itself. Her face was turning bright red, as she points at the door. "Why did you scrawl it on the door outside? Why did you stuff my locker with -that-?!" She points at the garbage bag. "Why? WHY WHY WHY!" She was actually stomping her foot at the last piece. She brings her hands up to push Bulleta... but doesn't. Just threatens it. She wasn't touching Bulleta. She wouldn't touch her. She spasms, bringing her hands into fists.
"WHY ARE YOU MAKING MY LIFE HORRIBLE!?"
Bulleta didn't leave herself any room to back away. There's space to slide along the wall and give the encroaching bully the slip, but she doesn't do /that/, either, not even when the spitting starts up.
She just glares.
And tugs the collar of her shirt up to clean her face, because - acidic or not - it's spit, and it's gross, and she doesn't have to put up with it if she doesn't want to.
Otherwise, she weathers the storm of Mitsuru's rage without much of a stir. Her jaw visibly flexes throughout, and her eyes drift from Mitsuru's, still considering. Clearly, the nerve's still pretty raw; trying to soothe her after their last fight was a patch job at /best/, a long shot of a risk taken in the hopes of averting a disaster. Maybe she'd have checked up with Mitsuru /eventually/ - once the emotions had a chance to cool nicely - but overall, she'd been content with her improvisation, /especially/ given the circumstances.
In hindsight, with Tropical Storm Mitsuru raining anger upon her, it's hard to see /why/.
She doesn't answer that final boom of a question at first, because the string of accusations just before it have both deepened her glare and sparked a little genuine, head-tilting bemusement. A garbage bag...? A /locker/...? The Hunter is /not/ above taking credit for her deeds, even (/especially/; branding) the cruel ones, but /this/...?
After swallowing a shout, she reaches to clap a hand firmly over Mitsuru's mouth, hoping to buy herself a few uninterrupted seconds.
"I watched you and Ayane in detention, Mitsuru," she states, low and deliberate. "I saw you swagger around this place like you owned it-- not /often/, but enough to know who you /are/; I've been here for /years/, but don't feel bad: you weren't /supposed/ to notice. I think you care a whole /lot/ about what /everyone/ thinks; I think you ran away from Seijyun because you /knew/ what they'd be thinking, the next time they saw you..."
She licks her lips for a thoughtful moment, head lightly bobbing back and forth.
"But I guess we're kinda inconclusive on the Mommy and Daddy point; I don't know you /that/ well," she allows.
Another, slightly longer beat passes as she grits her teeth.
"The door was shitty, but don't be /stupid/," she murmurs, a bit softer, "just because you're /mad/: why would /I/ want /that/ on /my/ door?"
Her hand falls and both arms refold across her chest. "I didn't /do/ anything to you except /beat/ you, Mitsuru." Savagely, she doesn't quite say. Her right hand suddenly comes loose so she can jab her finger into the other girl's ribcage, hard.
"/You/ made me show my ass on TV," she quietly spits. Another jab comes with, "/You/ let your cunt friends dig up dirt to to rub my nose in, so /you/," as another jab strikes and venom builds, "could feel /good/ about dominating a helpless little waif. Because that's what /you/," jab, "/do/, right? Big, /strong/ sukeban, doesn't give a shit about anything but making sure everyone knows how big and strong she is... and look, I /get/ it. You have a rep, right? You need to /build/ it, maintain it, and that takes /work/. It means being willing to go the extra mile-- whatever /that/ is."
Another smile just as humorless, as pointed as the last flickers into place.
"I'd have done the same thing," she admits, leaning in for a whisper. "I just would've done it /better/."
If she hasn't already been batted or otherwise deflected away, /now/ is when her finger finally falls.
"/I/ might'a known my mark wasn't all that helpless."
The /next/ smile's just as sharp, just as fleeting, but she seems to have found her sense of humor.
"You didn't even play /yourself/, Mitsy, you let /them/," a sharp, angry gesture towards the door, "play you. /That's/ why you're mad; /they're/ who you should be mad /at/. It's not /my/ fault you couldn't take me." Her chin tips towards one of Mitsuru's hands as she folds her arms again, sinking back against the wood with a brisk sigh.
"Fucking principal assigned me to to your dorm because she thinks we're friends," she quietly explains, then. "I could get away with living off-campus, but last year /fucked/ me. That fucking--" She hesitates for a moment, then drops her eyes with a grimace. There's no need to bring Jezebel into an already tense situation.
"/You/..." Her gaze lifts for another brief appraisal, then she shrugs a shoulder. "... I mean, the knives were still in the kitchen when I got here, but I still have my theories on why /you've/ suddenly got a roomie. Anyway." Her head tips back to rest against the door, which leaves her eyes squarely on Mitsuru's.
"I haven't had a roommate since I /moved/ to Southtown, but here we are: stuck in each other's lives. You wanna fight me over it, fine, but if not..." Ice creeps into her voice in the brief space between words, but there's there's something else there, too: "Knock it off with the posturing. You /know/ I know you; you're wasting your time."
Advice, lurking a layer below.
Mitsuru shuts up as the hand comes on her face.
She could fight, and struggle, but her psyche was cowed. Bulleta had her wound around her finger. If she tried to fight her... then she would be humilated even worse. And as Bulleta peels apart how clear Mitsuru's facade was, the school girl trembles. She could feel it, she could feel everything falling into place on what was reasonable and rational. And how it was everything that WASN'T what Mitsuru wanted. Even as she flinches at every curse word. It was reasonable, it was advice, it was a strong personality on a weak one.
But Mitsuru was beyond reasoning.
Mitsuru finally blurts out. "Of course the principal thinks we're friends! That's your game, isn't it? That's always your game! You are so smart and clever and TWISTING EVERYONE! That's why you let everyone think you are a SPANGLES fan! So when I screwed up, everyone would think that we BOTH would be SPANGLES FANS! Nobody's scared of Lightning Spangles! Nobody's ever scared of Lightning Spangles, there's not a darn thing scary about her! It's what babies do! And now everyone thinks I am a big dumb baby instead of a tough badass! And you broke it! You broke it apart, not me, but -you-! And why?"
"So you could sell yourself out!"
She gestures at the lion. "Look at this! Look at that stupid lion! Look at that booze! You are trying to be a kogal, o-or something! Just look at what you did! It's gaudy, it's- It had to be Kogal, Kogal must be what those stupid gangsters do here, it's Seijyun High it's Kogal." Mitsuru was ranting and mumbling, but backing off from Bulleta, holding herself. She was melting down. Everything on her first day back was becoming too much. She paces towards the sofa, averting her eyes as she keeps talking. "You didn't just beat me, you blonde bimbo Kogal bi-bimbo." She mutters. "You ruined my life, because of what, because you could? Because you wanted to keep ruining my life? Look what you made everyone in this school DO TO ME!" She grabs the bag, and rips it open.
It all spills out on the floor.
Lightning Spangles 'My First Deputy' Training Bras. Lightning Spangles 'Lil Bloomers' Training Pants. Lightning Spangles 'Thirsty As A Cactus' Pads. More and more, countless and random, stuffed to the brim. A mess of countless Lightning Spangles products, spreading across the floor. Mitsuru, for her purposes, kicks an deflated Spangles doll across the floor,. "You want this. YOU WANT EVERYONE IN THIS SCHOOL TO LAUGH AT ME! This is now -my- future in Seijyun High! I wanted to be a badass, I wanted respect, I wanted to have the real Gedo High life in this place. And now it's gone, all gone. And you -like- it."
"That's why you humilated me at the Neo-League!"
She turns back at Bulleta. Tears? "And what, so you can just snicker and laugh as they laugh at both of us? So you can feel -better- than me? You're all like that, like mommy and daddy and Kaicho and you you you!" More stomping, with emphasis, with every person. "Because I'm slow, and sick in the head, that you all can hurt me and ask me why I am hurting myself!" She grips her head in her hands, shaking her head.
"You're all doing this to me!"
She mimes out being small and submissive, as much as she can being lean and mean. "'Oh Mitsuru we tried to help but you were too busy yelling at us, we would have told you all about her' 'Oh Mitsuru how are you going to get a husband if you can't even prepare tea right, oh but it can't be helped.' She breaks character, pointing right at Bulleta. "And now I have this from -YOU!- ' 'You didn't even play /yourself/, Mitsy, you let /them/' She repeats back shrilly and so fake cutely. "You made all this happen. You did it to hurt me! And now it's in my own room. There's no place for me, I can't- I have to change this. If everyone's scared of me, nobody's going to make fun of me, but you, YOU ruined that, and now everyone is going to think we are a bunch of SPANGLES LESBIANS shacking up, and I can't take it, and I can't take it, and I can't take it, and I can't take it, and I can't take it." There is a spasm as she shuts her eyes, her entire body tensing up. And suddenly, relaxes, as she lunges forward, eyes shut.
"You're probably not even a kid!"
There's a moment early on in Mitsuru's explosion where Bulleta's eyes grow wide with surprise. The corners of her mouth twitch up; she doesn't try to interrupt, though. Letting the other woman work herself into a lather and exhaust herself feels ideal, as long as she's too cowed to take a swing. Her fingers drum against her bicep; she cants her head, clearly waiting and weathering.
It's always nice to get notes, even for a performance she could do with shelving for a long, long while. The source might be questionable-- /ranting/, even-- but she's not entirely uninsightful: smart, cleverly twisting, ruthlessly commerce-oriented...
It's nice to be seen, too. At least, when she doesn't have a real choice /otherwise/, it is-- and she /doesn't/, 'til graduation says that little B.B.'s no longer expected to /be/ here. If they /must/ be stuck together, then it's good that they're on the same page from the beginning.
Mitsuru gives her enough of an opening to evenly say, "I--"
then steals whatever other words might've come in one decisive reveal. Wide blue eyes fall and dart; the corners of her mouth twitch up again, but a beat later her expression begins to sink. The effort, the committment-- they're /impressive/. It's all a little blunt and direct, but there's something to be said for applying sheer, overwhelming force in psych warfare. Mitsuru's strong, and stubborn, and rage-prone; if Bulleta didn't have proof screaming and spitting in her face, tearing around-- her-- living room full of paranoia, she'd /still/ have bet on something like this going a long way towards cracking her. Disrespect heaped upon disrespect a mile high, flagrant in its cruelty, a touch inelegant but brutally effective...
... all for the purpose of-- what, exactly?
Breaking /Mitsuru/ down?
The sukeban princess was on shaky social ground before she ever /met/ Bulleta, thanks to her meeting with Ayane; nevermind the way she mindfully sought to distinguish herself from the other students with her style and pushy attitude. The nail that sticks out gets hammered; the last several years of her school career have been built on the back of that premise. That Mitsuru would suffer some backlash, some ostracization for falling as far outside of Seijyun culture as she does isn't a surprise, but the /degree/ of it-- the lengths that the other girls seem willing to go to... what's the fucking /point/?
Mitsuru seems to run out of steam after a final spasm leaves her hunched and slack. Bulleta answers that final accusation by wordlessly moving past Mitsuru and Spangles Hill and stepping into her bedroom. After a few seconds, she emerges, and-- then it's off to the kitchen. If Mitsuru's eyes are still closed, it's the first time she makes /any/ readily discerned noise: cabinets open, glass and ice clink, plastic gently grinds, and liquid splashes twiceover, ever so briefly.
"I haven't been a kid since I was nine, Mitsuru," she says in a quiet, evenly toned voice once she's right in front of the towering bully, "but I'm coming up on eighteen now."
A couple of gifts are pressed into the other girl's hands: a tumbler with a scant shot of Jack Daniels for one, a student ID for 'Bonnie Beatrice Hood' - born May 11, 2001 - for the other. Once her hand's free, she sweeps it towards the heap of Spangles garbage as she says, "/This/? Not me. I only barely got /back/ here, and those girls out there... they're not my friends; they're not, I dunno, /minions/, or whatever, they're-- they're /nothing/. /I'm/ nothing to /them/, that's the whole-- it's-- nnh..."
/Her/ tumbler's closer to a double, and she takes a brisk sip from it as she rubs her forehead and grimaces.
"I-- look," she murmurs, fixing her eyes squarely on Mitsuru's, open or not. "I'm going to tell you something that you won't wanna hear, even if it's /true/:"
Again, she leans in close so she can comfortably drop to a whisper.
"You were just /points/, Mitsuru. I studied you before we fought, but I do that to everyone. I fucked with you a little, before you went and brought-- /her/-- into it: 'Oh,'" up to B.B. Hood's saccharine, shuddering range, "'my god, you're... you're as strong as /Abigail/! I-- I could /never/ fight-- don't /want/ to fight /you/...! I'm so weak, a-and you... /you/...'"
"Like that," Bulleta continues. "But that's /everyone/; that's why I /studied/ you. And even with all that studying, I had no /idea/ you had a thing about Jez-- Lightning Spangles. I'm /good/, but I'm not psychic; it's not like you were wearing merch around /here/." She reaches up to try wiping a few tears from Mitsuru's face. Her lips twist and purse as she hesitates. Why does telling the truth instead of just /using/ have to be so /difficult/?
"I didn't care about you going into that fight," she says after a moment. "I was /pissed/ at you coming out of it, but you were just a tool for those Fight Club cunts; I /knew/ that. I really didn't care about you afterwards, otherwise; maybe enough that I didn't want you to lose your /entire/ shit and just, /snap/ in six months, a year, two, but other than that...?"
"Just the points."
After a beat, she puts a small, wry smile on.
"Thanks for 'em, bee tee dubs, even if I /did/ end up pulling fuckin' Abigail in the semis."
She backs off with a sip then approaches the heap, shaking her head slightly-- and doing a brisk appraisal. How much of it's flammable? She has an /eye/ for these things...
"Your misery doesn't do anything for /me/," she murmurs while flicking a 'Li'l Dillo' water wing closer to the heap, "so why would I bother...?" She falls silent for a beat while the question bounces through the dark labyrinth between her ears on sheer instinct. After another quick headshake, she continues, "I got better shit to do; /clearly/, some of these /other/ girls /don't/. They think you're weak - they think you're easy prey... and yeah, what happened with you and me /probably/ has something to do with it, but think about it:" Bulleta turns her head from the pile to look Mitsuruwards.
"If you were /ever/ the badass you /wanted/ to be - if anyone'd ever /really/ been afraid of you - do you really think they'd have the /balls/ to fuck with you like this?" After a brief beat, the rest of her turns as her lips twist into a playful smirk. "Nice /mouth/, by the way, Mitsy."
The smirk fades as she raises her glass. Whiskey's drained until it's almost gone; by the time the glass is lowered, a relatively neutral expression's been replaced with cold, intent fire.
"Do you /still/ want to be a badass, Mitsuru...?" she wonders, low and deliberate. Her arms loosely wrap around herself and her tumbler comes to rest against one of them.
"Do you /want/ them to be afraid you?"
Mitsuru felt sick.
After her rage exhausted out, after all her rage burns out, she was just... empty. Hollow. Defeated. No punching, no real tantrums. Just that feeling of helplessnesss that's been enduring ever since middle school. She managed to stave it off before. But now, she was just a nail hunted down by hammers. A whole school of hammers. And even Bulleta, who Mitsuru wanted so badly to be her worst enemy ever, that was obsessed and focused on her... didn't even care that much in their fight. That it was nothing personal.
It was just the points.
Mitsuru wanted to be more important to Bulleta than just points. Mitsuru wipes her mouth as Bulleta mentions it. "Sorry." She says very softly, opening her eyes. Insecure, blazingly insecure. It's probably something very familiar to Bulleta, in one form another. But the rebuttal, she hasn't been a child since she was nine, hits her like a hammer. She shivers, clutching the tumbler in both hands. She didn't understand why all this was happening to her now.
Mitsuru didn't understand why the girls were targeting her either.
"I want to make every single one pay." She says frigidly, not sitting down, not moving. "They have no right to make fun of me. I want every single one to be trembling and scared and respect me as I deserve to be respected. Those fake plastic princesses should be afraid of me, and treat me the way I -deserve- to be treated. They all are just rich daddy's little girls, not even close to how special I am." She downs the tumbler in a single, wide throat gulp.
ANd promptly, she gags.
"Oh, oh god it burns!" She shrieks, as she claws at her throat, dropping the tumbler. "Oh god it's poison, it's poison, it's horrible! Why does it- why does it taste so bad!?" Mitsuru leans over as she gags, like a dog spitting up. Nothing comes out just yet, as her hair dangles over her eyes.
"It's so soooour!"
Bulleta /has/ had roommates; recently, at that. While she struggled through last summer, she spent an extended stretch enjoying the hospitality of a remote ryokan. The Akatsuki-gumi were good about giving her space when she needed it, however, and even better about seeing that she had whatever comforts she might want. Among criminals who weren't interested in being charmed, she could just-- /be/, without masks; without questions, without sensitive dispositions to tip-toe around.
And occasionally, she got to see one of her best (only) friends in the world. It was a /great/ experience, 'til some sadsack merc snuck in and it all had to burn.
She hasn't been in the market for replacements. Her lifestyle dictates that she might stagger through the door bleeding and exhausted at any hour of the day; she likes to get creative in storing spare gear around her home, in case she ever /needs/ to have something bigger than a razor readily at hand; there are only /so many/ places where she can be Bonnie. /Just/ Bonnie, no Hood.
If she must - absolutely, positively /must/ - spend the next few months sharing 'home' with someone else, then it /will/ be a comfortable. If that means offering her new roomie a hand to pull her out of the sad, sad morass she's wading through to keep the peace, then so be it.
"And what are you willing to d--" Bulleta begins to ask before cutting herself off and darting forward. Dropping towards a crouch, snapping her free hand up and out, she ends up with a tumbler clutched in her palm and a tight line somewhere between a smile and a grimace on her lips.
Whiskey was a /funny/ choice, but rehabbing Mitsuru's image is going to be a challenge.
She twists to set both glasses aside, slips a step back while the gagging continues, and then - once it's subsided some - steps back in and pushes the hair out of Mitsuru's eyes so they're looking at each other again. "I could help you," she quietly says while reaching, "but I can't do that if I can't /trust/ you-- if /you/ don't trust /me/. We--"
She can just about /see/ the pit beyond them, that yawning, yearning darkness begging to be filled with attention. At least they aren't /blue/.
At least Mitsuru's still young. At least there's a /chance/ she won't end up being all pit.
(-- stop /staring/, Bonnie, and--)
"-- are in this together." Bulleta tacks that brisk conclusion onto the end of her abrupt pause, then grabs the glasses and and starts towards the kitchen.
"So tell me: what're you willing to /do/, to be someone they'll never wanna fuck with again?" She smirks again, but doesn't turn towards Mitsuru to share it. "Someone who won't /apologize/ for saying - /being/ - she's the baddest-ass bitch at Seijyun?"
Mitsuru was not having fun with that choice.
The darkness around Mitsuru, the despair, was at least hot. So was the spitting up, yes, but as she eases herself, Mitsuru's psyche was enduring. Mitsuru was flailing around, she was struggling. But even in this darkest, bleakest point, dangling on the string of a sadist, she was still swimming. "Trust... Trust..." She mutters. The truth was... Mitsuru never had friends. She never had to deal with sharing a space with other people. And now... now she had a blonde alpha chick bossing her around. She hated it.
But at least she was trying to feed her ego?
"The baddest b-bimbo-" She mutters. "I just, I have to trust you, just like mommy, and daddy, and Kaicho. I have to trust all of you, because what else can I do? I can't even trust myself." She glances at the products. "How did they even get all this. THere is a Lightning Spangles tournament going on, Kaicho said that it's impossible to get anything on the shelves now. These should all be collectors items or s-something. Maybe they did a re-release, or Kaicho lied." Mitsuru rubs her temples. "Nothing makes sense. Nothing ever makes sense." And ifnally, Mitsuru gives up in defeat, falling on the sofa, limp. "I wish I stayed in middle school." There was a pause.
"Kaicho told me you met her a few times."
Mitsuru's voice was low, cold. Exhausted. "Jezebel. She's been sick recently I found out. Like, sad. I found out in middle school how sad she was. Did you meet her like you met me, or..." She looks around the room again. "Did... did you pick up this stuff from her? Is she really kind of a jerk in real life? Is this how she lives?" She looks at the lion head again, and gives a rancid swallow as her stomach flips. "And seriously, what is with the lion, that is really freaking weird, are you like part of a family of hunters or some crud like that?"
For a dumb bully, she was get dangerously close to facts.
Slowly, Bulleta shakes her head through the beginnings of Mitsuru's muttering.
"Baddest," she deliberately interjects, "bitch."
She leaves it at that, though. That, and a glance over a shoulder to try meeting the coffee princess's eyes long enough to let her know she's serious. Listening's more important than making a point right now. Listening /is/ the point, now; who else /would/? Mitsuru doesn't exactly strike her as a girl who's here to make friends.
She mostly contributes running water and drink-mixing afterwards, until she's back with a tumbler full of screwdriver poured over ice. It's heavy on the orange juice; badasses in training apparently need time to fortify their stomachs and palates. "They had a long time to shop," she suggests in a gentler tone. Given a little space from the quiet intensity of her offer, she's wearing a thoughtfully furrowed brow, pursed lips, and bright eyes. The screwdriver's offered up while she sips from her own, freshly topped-off glass. "I mean-- in /theory/, they did, right? The last NL season was months ago, and..."
And not only is Bulleta all out of pause, Mitsuru continues to be a prodigy and finding the wrong things to say to her. The blonde's left eye briefly twitches and her mouth seals into a long, taut line as she draws a slow, steady breath through her nose; her expression otherwise remains intact.
"She /did/, huh?"
That lowly breathed question's followed by a quick twist and a little folding that leaves Bulleta perched beside Mitsuru with her legs curled beneath her.
"What exactly has Kaicho been telling you about me?" she wonders, while propping her elbow on the backrest and resting her cheek against her knuckles. She leaves cold and exhausted to Mitsuru; it helps, after all, to be warm and engaged when nurturing trust. Still, her lips twist and quirk as Mitsuru /keeps/ talking about Jezebel, and how /sad/ she was. She joins in the glance around the room that-- well-- technically, she /does/ have this place /because/ of Jezebel...
Lucky her, though: Mitsuru's drawn back to that lion, and before she knows it, they're back in easy territory.
"Something like that," she says as her lips begin curling up. Her eyes fall for a brief, bashful moment and a soft chuckle rattles free. "God, Mitsuru, all these /questions/, when-- I mean-- how do I even know that I can /trust/ you, huh...?" Her eyes narrow a touch, searching Mitsuru's face for some sign of an answer... for a couple moments worth of considering, before drifting back towards the trophy. By the time she's looking-- /staring/-- at it again, she's also chewing the corner of her bottom lip.
"You're /really/ stuck on the lion, aren't you...?" she quietly asks. "It's-- well--" Another moment of chewing passes, then she downs a sip of whiskey and looks towards Mitsuru with a small smile. She leans in, and the closer she gets the harder it is for her to keep that smile tethered; by the time she's close /enough/, it's jittering with pride and her gaze is firmly pointed at the cushions between them.
"Preston and Bunny don't think it's very ~ladylike~," Bulleta's head bobs around while blue eyes roll, "but I like to hunt, and..." Her breath stays held after she trails off. She just can't /help/ beaming once the admission's made, and now that it's out... she pushes her gaze back up to Mitsuru to watch her fill the blank.
Maybe she could handle the screwdriver.
Mitsuru was drained out. She was hollow now. With all the stress and awful today, she struggles to sip the orange juice spiked. She only could handle a small sip, before sneering in disgust. but slowly. She asked about Kaicho. And she... she doesn't know... she thinks... and finally, she spills it out.
"She said that you two were f-"
She halts, trying to get the bitterness from her mouth. "That you two were having- that you two were a couple." It took three passes to get there. "That you two tried to ki- kiss." Mitsuru was hesitating at first, like the dam was getting it's cracks. And now, it was breaking as she unloads all her heart. "That you are fake jailbait, like every blonde bimbo, even though you were as flat as me. You were using every fake pretend cry as an opening, trying to carve her open and take her belt. That you probably pretend to be a ditz to let people's guards down. That you were using Jezebel, manipulating her." Mitsuru was talking more frantic, opening and pouring her heart out as she feels the stress melting away. It's just like with mommy and daddy, you just talk and talk sometimes. "Kaicho- Kaicho explained to me that Jezebel, not Lightning Spangles, was mentally ill, and she showed me- she documented how she has a history of being misused by people. Usually men, but that you figured out her real weaknesses. She didn't- she didn't tell me JEzebel was a pedophile, but she suggested it. That it was my fault that I didn't listen. That she- that you were preying on me too."
"Because I am mentally sick too."
Mitsuru chokes a bit. "That Jezebel and me are, that's why you were targeting us. But not Lightning Spangles, she- she knew about it, and I pretended to ignore her because I -hate- people like that. I hate- I hate so many adults right now. Like that artist girl, like that fat Italian asshole, people are just a bunch of =phonies!=" Her voice drops; she just didn't have the energy to be rampaging anymore. But just spits out the words. "But all that, all that I know, I know..."
"She's been pretty right about you."
"Daddy likes to hunt too."
The words come out very calmly, almost light. "He hunts bears sometimes up in Ezochi- that's Hokkaido. He'll go out with a bunch of big important politicians and business men for a week or two, just up in the mountains hunting bears." Mitsuru makes a kind of paws out pantomime. "We have so many of those stupid bears all over the place. You might like it. I don't think you can come and see it though." She lowers her paws. Her lips go very tight, and she narrows her eyes.
"He doesn't like foreigners very much."
"Is Preston and Bunny your dad and stepmom, or something?"
The screwdriver's to help release stored tension. Bulleta watches it go down with a calculating eye and internal amusement when most of it remains in the glass. Hardly anything, but enough to crack stone just the same. The beaming smile softens as the river runs and runs, immersing her in the other girl's turmoil.
Her-- curiously /insightful/ turmoil.
Bulleta's grip is /tight/ around her glass, by the end. Her eyes don't leave Mitsuru's, because nothing's more important than what she has to say, even if what she has to say is dangerously close to true. /Especially/ then; regardless of how it might feel to hear, the truth is a valuable tool for an enterprising young woman who wants to make her unwanted roommate trust her. The truth limits the landmines waiting to detonate whatever tentative bond they might forge; 'close' means Bulleta just might be able to steer her away from others.
Now and again, she nods or murmurs, prompting Mitsuru to continue. The smile-- /mostly/-- persists, but regret's an unavoidable accent for the idea of dating the former Lightning Spangles; grimacing and frowning are only natural as Mitsuru tells her about herself with a bare minium of tact, and that /word/...
Engaged as she may be, Bulleta can't help looking away when those awful syllables are brought to bear. Her brow's still furrowed through the admission that follows it-- the one that pulls her attention back up and brings her propped up hand down to Mitsuru's shoulder. She doesn't interrupt beyond a light headshake and a firm squeeze.
"She told you," Bulleta eventually murmurs, anger seeping into dead silence, "that you're /sick/, and...?"
She's too busy glaring at Mitsuru's knees and/or the sofa to get excited about bear hunting. "Dad and mom," is readily offered when she's asked, but otherwise...?
Ice rattles as Bulleta slowly, steadily drains her glass so she can set it on the coffee table's box. Her newly freed hand finds Mitsuru's other shoulder and tries to guide her into facing the blonde fully.
"Jezebel was /disturbed/," she lowly states. "She fucked up early in her career, and just-- /kept/ fucking up, over and over, and the whole time..." A shiver rolls through her as her eyes briefly lid.
"The /only/ thing that /you/," she pokes her index finger between Mitsuru's eyes, "have in common with /her/ is that you care /way/ too much about what people think about you-- about whether or not they're paying /attention/ to you..."
This brings her to why she's able to pass judgement as clearly as she is-- which pulls her eyes down and away as she slowly sighs. Gradually, she turns 'til she's facing out, while her arms drape over her knees. The box with the lion's head gets a long, wistful look.
"I'm-- I can bullshit people pretty well. And I /do/, if I think it'll help me win a fight-- like I told you. I'm-- y'know--" One of her arms comes up for brisk gestures around herself. "Pretty fuckin' petite," she mutters. A fleeting grin's turned Mitsuru's way, then. "And I /do/ think I'm cute, so why not...?"
"I wanted Jezebel's belt," she continues once she's back on the box. "I was ready to bullshit her into giving it to me -- I almost /did/ -- but things just-- they got..."
She gives her empty glass a long, remorseful look.
"I-- I had a little crush on her, going in, which-- that-- that made it /easy/, when it-- turned out that /she/..."
Bulleta's eyes close.
"It-- it wasn't what you're probably thinking, it-- we didn't really-- she just talked about her life, mostly... but I saw her a few more times after that." A heavy exhale follows that admission and her eyes shut. "Like I said: she was /disturbed/, she... Mitsuru, she-- she was a /terrorist/, she-- she was working with the Shadaloo cartel, kidnapping /children/... and she wanted me to /help/ her. She--"
It sticks in her throat like it's barbed. Bulleta coughs roughly, tries to swallow, then sighs again, shuddering as she does.
"-- she-- she thought," the darkening Hunter murmurs, "that she could brainwash them into giving her all the love and attention that nobody else would, and-- and when I said /no/, she just-- she /vanished/. Stopped texting, stopped taking calls, just-- gone."
Bulleta brushes her palm roughly over her eyes a few times to clear the tears beginning to form, then wraps her arms tight around her legs. She tries her best to muffle a sharp sniffle into her palm in passing.
"I felt like a fucking idiot-- like some naive little /baby/, just-- 'oh,'" B.B's voice hits a nauseatingly sweet pitch, "'everyone /says/ this lady's a goddamn mess, but she's soo~ooo nice to /me/! They just don't /know/ her like /I/ know her~!'" After groaning, Bulleta glances sidelong towards Mitsuru as she softly explains, "That's-- that's why I lost it when we... ... you dragged all that shit out into the open, and I just-- I didn't wanna deal with it." Her gaze goes back to the box, back to another of the many monsters that've crossed her path.
"Kaicho called you /sick/-- sick like /Jezebel/," she murmurs after a long pause. "She told you that I'd-- I'd /prey/ on you... but all /I/ wanted to do was beat you in a fight, once; twice, maybe, if I /had/ to. She told you everything she could about me but the one thing you /needed/ to know, and you /paid/ for it. She runs the Fight Club, but she doesn't even..." The blonde lets the thought trail because she's already stuck on weighing the one that naturally follows:
"Are-- are you /sure/," Bulleta quietly wonders after a beat, turning so she's at least partially facing the other girl, "that you can trust her, Mitsuru? Are-- are you sure that she's your /friend/...?"
"I don't care what people say about me." Lies Mitsuru, poorly, as she denies reality in the most bald-faced and oblivious sense.
Okay, maybe two things she shares in common with Jezebel.
ANd yet, the true Jezebel is dumped in front of her. "Daddy said she was associated with bad people..." The ora ora ora fighter mutters. "That she was preying on girls and children, and shipping them to other predators too. I thought- I thought he was making that up-" Mitsuru sniffs hard, as she kicks a Deputy Put-up Pocket Protector. "I hate this. I hate every and this and... I was just so -stupid-" Another flicker, but no more temper. She just -stares- bitterly at the drink.
She turns up her nose, unable to drink it.
Still the words bubble and murmur, swirling as Bulleta talks about how she blew up when Mitsuru was hitting on B. B. Hood, hitting on her supposed weakness. How she was exposing herself, she was just... hitting herself now. Mitsuru feels a flicker of kicking the girl while she exposed her tummy. That flicker comes with a sharp pain; she was learning a pecking order. But the words still seep out, very softly as almost a whisper.
Another pause, as Mitsuru's roommate pretends she was concerned about Kaicho. "Kaicho is just like those geeky nerds in middle school. She thinks she's so smart. But once I start slapping her around and slamming her against the lockers, she gets back in her place. But she has to be my friend." Mitsuru says coldly. "She and the rest of the Fight Club. Because if I didn't, then I wouldn't have any friends. Besides, they all respect me because I am the best fighter in the club. If they didn't, then I would pound them all! It's not like you can say anything about it, or judge me. I didn't see you have any friends backing you up." Mitsuru forces the entire drink down in a single gulp. She doesn't retch this time, only wince. "I think I can handle another. Just... Just..."
"Can you use less... stuff?"
Bulleta just lets Mitsuru make whatever connections she will; all she's here to do is share the truth.
"Thank you," comes out when it should, how it should.
She's /here/, /now/ in no small part because of that fight. It was one thing when she was cutting up influencers and heroes, or shooting karatekas; semi-pro to pro fighting is embedded in the DNA of Southtown's schools, and Seijyun itself hosted Mitsuru's most recent Neo League fight-- a fight which pointedly did /not/ involve two of its students screaming and swearing and trying to brutalize each other, live on stream. That little performance and the bolder showings that followed were enough to convince the administration that perhaps more time around other students might do shy little B.B. Hood some good.
Enough to turn a nice apartment into a money sink.
Enough to give her a 'round the clock audience whether she wants it or not.
It's easier to sound concerned, so she goes with that for now. Mitsuru makes it easier /still/ by pairing bravado with bare desperation.
"Mitsuru--..." is the only thing Bulleta tries to slip into the midst of the taller girl's certainty; her squint-eyed, purse-lipped peering lingers well after she trails off. Her jaw briefly, subtly works for a moment so she can spend the rest clamping her tongue between her teeth.
What kind of amateur would she /be/ if she blew her cue to smile?
Blonde brows sharply rise. Bulleta starts to recoil from-- retching-- that-- doesn't come.
She holds herself a few feet away /anyway/, just in case--
"... good job, Mitsy," she exhales with a muted grin. She stretches forward to snatch the glass, then hops to her feet to oblige. Once her back's to the sofa, the grin is - audibly - gone as she says, "I /don't/ have any friends here, I-- god." That last syllable's uttered in a huff. "Why am I even..." is muttered afterwards.
"I was /always/ the smallest kid in class, so the other kids... they'd... y'know."
Pointed blue eyes turn and fix upon the lanky bully on-- well. It's 'her' sofa for /now/, anyway. After a beat, Bulleta's attention shifts towards mixing-- which now seems to involve claiming a seat on the counter beside her bottles.
"The thing is, though," she continues while filling the glass with juice, "we were six...? Seven? Eight?" Plastic hits the counter. She takes a second to pensively rake her teeth over her lip, then briskly shakes her head and waves off whatever she's starting to dwell on. "Older, but not old enough, like-- you know some things by that point, right? You kinda know how to act, but not /really/-- you're still a /kid/. You're only gonna think so much about calling some other kid names and dumping baby food all over her, ripping up all her textbooks because 'babies,'" finger-quotes, "'can't read anyway,' whatever, y'know...?"
Pouring, not pouring, it doesn't matter: she's loud enough to be heard, but only just. It's not something she seems eager to project. She grabs the vodka, sets it to the tumbler's lip and gently tips--
"And you're only gonna think so much about what it takes to make them /stop/," she adds with a steel edge and a bare splash. Glass hits the counter.
"Nobody really believes /you're/ the victim, the third or fourth time they've gotta call Mom and Dad over someone /else's/ broken fingers-- or sliced up face, or..." Her eyes stay down in the tumbler, which she holds against idly kicking legs. "So eventually, I just... I started doing everything I could to keep 'em from noticing me. Keep /anyone/ from noticing-- nobody's gonna fuck with you if you're crazy, but nobody's gonna fuck with you if you're /boring/, either, right? What's the /point/?"
Mitsuru was /all set/ to kick her when she was down and revel in it-- and she didn't even do the /work/. All's fair - Bulleta knows that as well as anyone - but she doesn't have to /like/ it. And if they /were/ at war, where does shackling Bulleta to a Seijyun dorm fall as far as counterattacks go? Sure, /Mitsuru's/ stuck here too, but Mitsuru already /lived/ here...
Bulleta's index nail rapidly drums against glass for a couple seconds, then it stills.
"I'm sorry for embarrassing you," she offers after a heavy sigh, low and sincere. "You /do/ care what people say, think about you-- you care /so much/. You want-- /need/-- them to think you're strong, and dangerous... and that's /okay/, but you're... hh." She lifts her eyes, hesitating briefly...
"You're thinking like a vulture when you /should/ be a lion. People /respect/ lions; they're /afraid/ of lions. Vultures - scavengers who just pick off the weakest prey they can..."
"... but that's alright," she continues without letting Mitsuru sit in her assessment for too long. "That's over now, because you can't slap me around; you can't slam me into /anything/, you can't put me in my place... and I'm gonna be your friend /anyway/. I /know/ these things, and that means /you're/ gonna know 'em too." She sweeps the glass up, full of toasting energy-- only to stop just before it hits her lips, because it's not hers. If Mitsuru's already found her way into the kitchen to hear her better, she'll just stick the glass out towards her; if not, she'll beckon Mitsuru closer with her free hand. Either way:
"Just grab some ice," she suggests, "and put it in; forgot the ice."
"But that makes it -colder-"
Mitsuru states, somehow barely concealing the whining tone. Mitsuru doesn't pout either, but it's clear it's a practiced not pout. But Bulleta's sorry seeps, as she goes to get the ice anyways. Mitsuru was... was getting on the other end of the daze. She still had to put up with the crap with the classmates, and god knows what the Fight Club was going to imply or say. But she got it all off her chest, and now... now she had to deal with her new roommate.
"I didn't say we were friends. But we are roommates, I guess." Mitsuru looks around. Suddenly, the facade comes back, as she plunks the ice in the cup. "Yare yare daze, this place is completely trashed. Were you born in a barn? You didn't even start unloading stuff. I guess I have to help you, cause you are just some dumb blonde who can't even do her own work." She rolls her eyes, and takes another tiny sip. She is transfixed on the Spangles stuff. "I'll... I'll start with that trash, and you work on your boxes."
As if she was even in charge.
"That's alright," Bulleta replies with a pearly white flash. "You've had a hard day; your first day back, and it's just /full/ of surprises."
She presses the cooling tumbler into Mitsuru's hand but hangs on tightly for a tick before reqlinquishing it.
"/I/ said it; you don't have to sweat it at all. You can just relax..."
Now that the facade's back, Bulleta fades into letting Mitsuru bark as she likes, still smiling lightly. It's an accepting, patient expression for the girl who's clearly just blowing off steam after a stressful day the only way she knows how. The Jack's in hand when she hops to her feet and heads for the living room.
"Just bag it back up," she says with a gesture towards Spangles-branded garbage, "and we'll take care of it together later. I know a place..."
The bottle's briskly uncapped and brought to her lips as she makes for the largest of the boxes. She puts her back to Mitsuru, and a couple beats after the bottle comes down, she's slicing packing tape with a razor clipped between her fingers. The bottle's set aside so she can rummage, filling the air with metal clashing. After a couple seconds, she curls a couple fingers to her lips--
-- gives Mitsuru a split-second to actually /look/, just to be sporting--
"And if there /was/ a merch shortage, I can make /damn/ sure these bitches'll have to /pay/ if they wanna fuck with you like /this/ again."
It's-- there's an apple flying at Mitsuru's chest--
-- no-- not /just/ an apple, /the/ apple. If Mitsuru's ever seen one in a magazine, a painting, a billboard, an encyclopedia... /this/ just might've been its reference. Smooth and shiny as polished glass; as vividly, powerfully red as a premiere night carpet; round, full, and heavy as a stone-- a stone with just a hint of give against prodding fingers.
"Don't touch the stem," Bulleta casually instructs while peering back into the box.
If Mitsuru cares to peek, she'll see a couple cartons of perfect apples on one side, holsters with handguns in a wide range of sizes, several sheathed knives, a couple of red hard shell gun cases, a wicker-colored satchel, and a picnic basket. It's a tight, meticulously arranged fit.
"I'll do what I can with the boxes, but I waited for a reason: we're gonna need a little more storage space in here. Maybe a couple new pieces of furniture..." she taps her chin for a thoughtful moment before reaching in. "I'll take care of the furniture, though, don't worry! My treat."
Mitsuru does catch the apple.
While she's clumsy, she was at least quick. Snatching the apple with one hand, she holds it for a moment. Even with the weight, she had the strength to pin it down. Yeah, she could relax, and be drunk. But that wasn't how she did things. Mitsuru inspects the apple, and... it looked... fake. Why did she have a fake apple. "Is this like from your grandma or something?" She scoffs, reaching out to touch the stem with her drink hand.
And then she says not to touch the stem.
Mitsuru pulls her fingers away from the stem.
Casually, she turns her head to look at the other cartons. Her eyes go wide, and then, she looks away, pretending she didn't see anything. She- yes she saw it. But she didn't want to see it. She didn't like guns. She really didn't like guns. Good thugs fight with hands or bokkens or chains and broom handles. But guns? Guns were bad. And as Bulleta talks about making them pay... Mitsuru felt flushed. Make them pay. Guns. Baskets.
"Don't." Mitsuru suddenly says.
"I mean, I'm okay with furniture, better than the stupid princess stuff they give. What I mean is, don't fight my battles, okay? I don't- I don't want you to do that. If I wanted people to go and solve my problems, I'd just run to mommy and daddy and wet my pantsu or some stupid stuff like that. So... so don't. If- if I had a choice between you fighting my fights, and- and having to get... all that again? I'd get that a hundred times." Mitsuru finishes bagging the spread out Spangles goods. "Don't make them pay, for my sake. But uh." She sticks a tongue in her cheek. "I dunno, Kaicho sounded like she wanted to make sure -you- get made fun of too. IF and when that happens? I don't feel bad if you think of me when you stand up for yourself." She gives a smug sneer for a moment, before it fades. She places the apple on the counter, taking another sip, before whispering.
"Don't kill anyone though. Please."
Just touch means that the stem is just a stem. A very firm, stiff stem, but all the same: just a stem.
"Or something," Bulleta idly says while setting sheaths aside. Mitsuru and the stem don't rate a look, because she trusts Mitsuru to do what's best for her and listen; also, because there aren't any soft clicks tickling her ears. Once the knives are lined up beside the box - largest to smallest - she yanks the basket and satchel free, one for each hand; they're set above the row of blades, and then it's on to a couple of sidearms--
The Gem*Star's visibly jutting from Bulleta's mouth when she peers towards that sudden syllable with an arching eyebrow. Her head cants-- --
-- her eyes flick towards the box for a tick, and /both/ brows are up afterwards.
She spares another brief glance while the razor tumbles from her lips. The hand that isn't busy catching it between two fingers snaps to her mouth, racing-- /straining/ to contain--
"Mi-- Mit-- /Mitsy/, c'/mon/," sputters amidst bubbling mirth and twinkling eyes, "don't-- don't be-- aah, /god, I meant with /money/, Mitsuru!" She clamps her jaw tightly for another second, long enough for a deep breath... and then she lets it out and lets go, still grinning. "We're gonna /burn/ all that shit!" she continues while turning to face Mitsuru fully. She stares pointedly towards the apple for a second, then shows a flash of white. "We could dump it, and that'd /probably/ work...? But if they're /really/ set on fucking with-- god, /us/? Really?" She takes a moment to rub her brow, but wincing can't quite wipe the grin away. "If they /really/ wanna fuck with us, there's a chance we'll just find a bunch of /literal/ garbage stuffed somewhere we don't want it. Thus: thermite."
After explaining, Bulleta closes in and reaches to lay a gentle - empty - hand on Mitsuru's arm.
"We're gonna teach /you/ how to fight your battles," she reminds while squeezing, "remember? Or make people triple guess battling you in the /first/ place, badass that you are." A slight pause, then she thinks to clarify: "Not in the /ring/, just-- everywhere /else/; you aren't in middle school anymore, right? The battles are /different/, now. Don't worry..."
Her hand leaves Mitsuru's arm as Bulleta seeks to pat her cheek a couple of times.
"... I wanna be your friend, but this is still /new/. You've got at /least/ a few months before me killing anybody for you's on the table."
Bulleta's mouth settles in a playful crescent as she turns back her box of tools and snags the bottle she left next to it for a quick pull.
Mitsuru holds herself. Something felt wrong. Very very wrong. She draws in a heavy breath. "Burn it, yeah, and- and teach me how to fight my battles, and... and... later on, you'd... kill..." That's what every girl wanted. Every sick girl, right? They wanted to hurt the bad people who picked on them, or made fun of them, or was in their way. Bulleta was just like what a girl like Mitsuru wanted to be, someone who was in total control of their lives and had the perfect mask to wear to control how people saw you and soon Bulleta would be making all those bad people pay.
And she stands up.
"I'm going out." Mitsuru says bitterly. She moves to the counter, and puts the half-full drink down. No more helping it looked like. "I'm going out to blow off steam, and- I'll come back late." You weren't supposed to leave campus. She didn't plan on it. She would just make people think. She had to find a place to be alone. It used to be her room. She needed to find a deep dark place on campus to hide. This was her new reality. She was an embarassment at school, and her roommate, the person positioning to be her friend, was a psychopath. And nobody was there to help her, except the psychopath, and her parents, and the butler, and the fight club, and that was all. Those were her friends. Those were her support. She doesn't slam the door. She just closes it behind her. She didn't like the darkness.
But nobody could really know that, could they.
Everyone's where they belong in this place they don't want to be in; good. The bottle's set on the empty side of the box.
Making 'home' /home/ is going to /cost/: time, energy, information... Bulleta's already tallying; the grin's fading down accordingly. She lifts a pair of holstered .45s with red wood grips, only to pause as they clear the box. Blue eyes flick over handcrafted wood and leather, then back towards Mitsuru--
Something looks-- /she/ looks--
It's back to the guns after a moment of pensive staring. Should've been more careful with the razor; /Dahlia/, with all that pen-juggling, might've gotten a kick out of spontaneously appearing, deftly handled steel, but Mitsuru is-- why /wouldn't/ seeing her new roommate playing with a blade get under the Tokugawa princess' skin?
She tentatively sets the guns beside the basket, then leans in for more. Who the hell thinks /thermite/ is cool that isn't already at a Hunter's lodge, or hanging out at certain bars? One of Bulleta's arms snakes out so she can bat and paw at the basket's lid for a couple seconds 'til it opens. Her head stays low enough to hide a painfully bitten lip.
Mitsuru's /definitely/ sounding like a girl she can relax around-- who'll relax around /her/ so she can concentrate on more important things than whether her roommate's approaching another breakdown.
"I-- hh." Her tone's lost most of its luster. She keeps her head buried in the box and the box's contents audibly shifting; plenty of excuses to avoid having to find the right smile for the moment. "I'm not /actually/ gonna-- look," she broadly indicates the partial arsenal on the carpet with sweeping fingers, "all this is just--
She could've left the slashing out. Too /much/ honesty, for once...
"... yeah, okay," Bulleta picks up after a brief beat, "sure! Uh. Just... let me know if you need anything--"
Eye contact could /really/ help right now. Then again, it didn't do much good when she was busy trying to negotiate the price of Mitsuru's friendship to begin with, did it...?
"-- anything being food, or dorm stuff, or magazines, or... ... I don't know, ears? A shoulder, or whatever..." Bulleta's voice dips further and further until it's just a murmur bouncing around cardboard.
"Just be /careful/."
The door closes behind Mitsuru.
"/Fuck,/" Bulleta hisses as two of the box's upper edges crumple in her grasp. She spends a few seconds slowly, mindfully breathing and shutting her eyes.
Mitsuru /should/ know that Bulleta's not the one to fuck around with. If Bulleta's going to share space - thus, pieces of herself - then Mitsuru /should/ behave like a person instead of a person playing a part-- at least, /that/ part; too much posturing.
Dial it back, next time-- learn when to stop pushing it! Don't show off so much next time! Don't talk about trade stuff. Not yet; maybe in a month or two, if she loosens up any. She doesn't have /anybody/, and she'd /still/ rather-- what, sneak out and look for kids to push around?
... wander around campus and wade through stares and snickers?
... than be in a dorm with Bulleta right now.
Don't tell her about the lion after all; she won't be impressed, she'll just-- run. Hide; again.
Whenever Mitsuru returns, the 'KITCHEN' box; the long, flat 'POOL STUFF' box; and 'BOOKS' are gone. 'MOM'S ROOM' has been pushed into a corner along with a couple other, unlabeled boxes; the satchel, the basket, and the rest of Bulleta's unloaded gear is also gone. Spangles Hill has been loaded into trash bags, one of which has a note pinned to it:
'Back late. I figured getting rid of this crap would be cathartic for you.
'Wait for me if you want. If not: the apple goes up to a thirty second delay in five second increments. Push the stem down until you hear the right number of clicks, drop near the bags, run.
'Sorry about earlier! I've got a pretty dark sense of humor. I'll be a little more careful, next time.
'We'll figure out how to live with each other sooner or later. Promise.
'P.S.: Please don't trust Kaicho.'
On the back of the note, there's a quickly drawn map from the dorm, through a service door that's never locked, to a dry riverbed.
Log created on 15:35:07 05/13/2019 by Bulleta, and last modified on 16:36:49 06/11/2019.