Description: With Southtown covered in snow and all of the local schools closed, the pond in the park has become an ideal skating location. Both Brett and Hinata seemed to have the same idea, and after this chance encounter, the two get to know a bit more about each other as they discuss inter-school politics and motivations behind fighting.
Winter may not be for another month or so, but the way Southtown is covered, it may as well be already, Fall being skipped over for the most part it seems. And while the sudden snowfall didn't seem to cease the hustle and bustle of the city too much, it has slowed down the pace of things still, as some stayed indoors, some struggled to trudge through the snowfall, and some just allowed themselves to take it slow.
For one Brett Neuer, it was just like being at home. After all, Minnesota tended to get some deep winters, so the Gorin student was already well accustomed to this kind of snowfall. This is especially noticible in how lightly dressed he is compared to most. He's bundled up, of course, and knows the benefit of good snow boots, but as used as he is to cold weather, he doesn't need too many layers. And as the weather is cold enough to freeze over the various lakes around the park, it was nice to just....skate.
No blue line drills, no laps, no puck handling drills, just...skating. For skating. While he was alone out in the park, unlike some who were skating with either family or significant others, he just seemed happy to be and enjoy the familiar weather. Eyes closed, he just slowly lapped around, skates feeling like a natural extension of himself, unlike the usual rollerblades he had to use. As weird as getting used to living half-way across the world, it was nice to reconnect to the things it shared with home....
One thing about Southtown is that when schools are let out on account of weather, it's still not really enough to keep all of the teenagers inside. Sure some of them were content to enjoy the time playing video games or watching TV or reading, but Southtown is an active city with plenty to do, and it can be difficult for some students to stay stuck inside.
High on the list of teenagers who can't stand being forced to just sit around the house when there's things to do is Hinata Wakaba. It was hard enough to get her to sit still for a school day with a teacher standing in front of the class. When the snow's most immediate threat of doom had passed, and her mother had given up trying to keep the energetic schoolgirl indoors, she'd immediately headed out for the park.
Now dressed (surprisingly light) in a yellow cableknit sweater and plaid skirt, accessorised with white earmuffs, a plaid scarf, and black leggings, the energetic Taiyo girl sets loose onto the frozen pond with a pair of white skates.
Opening his eyes again after taking in the feeling of winter again (after all, skating blind is a good way to have an accident...), Brett looked around again, making sure that he wasn't about to run into anyone before kicking off the ice again. Hands behind his back, he idly cut around the lake as the crowd upon it thinned out a little. He made sure to slow down enough to avoid a handful of kids being taught to skate for the first time, knowing how important such a lesson could be.
Of course, as he slowed, he ended up scanning the rest of the lake, catching sight of a familiar face. Freezing up a little, the hockey star found himself staring a little bit TOO much...to the point he ended up catching the edge of the lake, upon which his skate blades dug into the snow and send him pitching forward. "Who-whoaaaa!!" Falling face first into a snowdrift, he quickly pushed himseflf off and dusted off. "I'm ok! I'm ok, sorry!" he quickly apologized, in case he startled anyone or caused any snow to dust onto them by accident.
Sometimes, it didn't pay to not pay attention to the ice.
Certainly there were a few familiar faces on the ice for Hinata. Aside from just being well known to pretty much everyone who payed attention at Taiyo by now, she also happened to spend some of her time teaching local children some of the fighting moves she'd picked up. There was quite a lot of friendly greetings and waves being thrown around on her side of the lake.
Right up until a new commotion started. While Southtown was hardly a pillar of Japanese purity, Brett was managing to stand out. Certainly they'd only seen each other two times so far, but the slightly awkward clumsiness had managed to stand out.
Cutting a quick line across the ice, with a fair amount of gracefulness that seemed slightly at odds with the overly energetic way she'd usually move, Hinata didn't take much time to get over to Brett. "Do you need a hand there or were you just practicing how to do shoulder checks on an imaginary target?"
For someone who got a scholarship for such a prestigious sports school, Brett did have his moments of amazing clumsiness. But then again, this was less him lacking coordination than it was a lapse of judgment. Not that he'd admit WHY such a lapse in judgment happen as he tried to pull himself up.
That is, until the reason for it came up rather suddenly to his side. "Huh?" Looking up, he sees who's offering the hand and suddenly sputters a bit. "Um, that's o-ok. I'm fine. Just zoned out a little!" he says, the timid American hastily pushing himself up to his feet with an apologetic nod out of habit. "I...er...didn't expect to see you out here, Hina...ta..." he says, feeling self-conscious as he realizes he doesn't know her last name. After all, he'd been trying his best to use more Japanese conventions while he's been here.
One of the nicknames that Hinata has managed to collect in her time at Taiyo has been sunshine girl. Partially it's due to the fact that whenever she agrees to help out with an outdoor event, somehow it managed to be a bright day, no matter what the weather report says. Anothing reason for that might be that she tends to be a rather bright spot to be around, considering all of her energy and the open friendliness she tends to present.
"You should probably watch where you're going. You're tall enough that you might accidentally run someone over, y'know?" Hinata grins as she looks up at Brett once he's standing. "As for coming out here to skate... the city's sort of a mess right now, there's not too much that you can do in weather like this except skating."
Rubbing the back of his neck, Brett looks down, as if properly chastized by Hinata's warning. "Yeah, yeah, I know that well enough, trust me. Just...you know, lost myself for a bit." It's a good thing the cold already colors his cheeks, hiding what else might be coloring them as he looks down to the Sunshine Girl herself. "Yeah, it's really coming down. But...you know, I'm kind of used to this kind of weather. It's like...home," he says.
He looks across the park again, smiling softly a bit, before turning back to Hinata. "Ah...right. Ayuhara said you were good at just about anything, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised if you skate too," he says, rubbing the back of his neck a bit more. Small talk really was kind of struggle for Brett most times, as naturally timid as he was.
"Oh that's right, you're from the really cold parts of America." Hinata pulls that little fact back out. Where exactly she'd heard it is anyone's guess, since they hadn't exactly had very in depth conversations in the past. "I guess that's why you like ice hockey so much. It's probably pretty weird living in Japan now. I hear a lot of foreigners are overwhelmed by the humidity in the summer."
It also seems that Hinata is more than willing to let topics drift a bit. "Well, I'm pretty good at most sports. Probably not as good as everyone at Gorin who puts so much time into training, but it's a lot of fun to help out the sports teams at Taiyo."
Brett wouldn't be surprised if Natsu told her, considering how close the two girls are. As a matter of fact, he was somewhat hoping they'd have talked as it is. "Yeah, something like that. We lived close enough to Canada that...you know, kind of that bleedover. And honestly, I never was fond much of sports like football...er...American Football." Again, reminding himself that 'football' and 'football' are different depending on the country. "HOnestly, I haven't been here long enough to feel the summer yet. I'm just not good with summer in general. I guess heat just really isn't my thing."
As things go back to sports, Brett relaxes visibly, even as he tries to dust off hhis skates rather than let the snow build on the blades too much. "So...er...what kind of place is Taiyo, anyway? I kind of imagine it'd a lot different than Gorin, but...you know. I kinda feel like I should learn more about things here." He suddenly frowns, as he remembers something. "Especially if other schools aren't exactly on good terms with us..."
Rather than just stand around, Hinata begins to skate in a slow figure-8, holding her hands behind her back as she leaves the famous pattern on the ice's surface. "Oh, well... Taiyo's pretty normal for a Japanese school. Not too fancy, not too focused, and not a giant mess of gangs..." She doesn't seem to have any real problem talking while skating, her balance never seeming to waver a for a moment. "One of the big things at Taiyo is that we've got tons of clubs, and you can probably find one for nearly anything you might be excited about, much less a focus on sports than Gorin."
The schoolgirl looks up from her pattern, back toward Brett while she continues. "Honestly, there's some rough rivalries among the schools. Gorin is super competetive, Pacific is sort of a bunch of outsiders, Gedo is... well, you probably know a lot about the gangs by now. Seijyun and Justice are sort of elite, and separate. Taiyo sort of just fits into all of that." Hinata pauses for a bit, pulling a hand around to tap her chin thoughtfully. "It's mostly just Gedo who goes around getting rough, it's just a little tense for everyone else."
With his skates cleaned off, Brett jumps onto the ice and rejoins HInata as she starts to FIgure-8 around the lake. He's not quite so agile as to do so, but he's fine enough on his own, following around in a lazy circle as he watches the smaller girl. When he's paying attention, he seems to have no coordination issues on the ice whatsoever, even taking minute little adjustments to avoid anyone else on the ice as he winds around.
He frowns a bit when Hinata mentions Pacific. That was another school that came up before, but was far too expensive even with any kind of scholarship for his family. Not that he ever heard from them until he actually got the Gorin scholarship. "Gedo...GEDO! That's the name of that girl's school!" he suddenly remembers, dropping a curled hand into his open palm. "Someone from there was spraypainting our crest a few days back!"
Perhaps one reason why Hinata is so much less... overly energetic on the ice is that simple motions are rather effective at moving on skates. Certainly if she were bothering with speed skating she'd need to be more enthusiastic, but she's content as long as she isn't being forced to sit still. Besides, it would be a lot harder to keep the clean turns if she was too entusiastic.
At the mention of Gedo causing problems, Hinata starts to frown. "That sounds like something Gedo would do. They actually used to be an all-boys school, but I think this year they opened up co-ed." She drifts out of the figure-8, spitting up a light spray of ice shavings as she slows down. "Actually, this one boy from Gedo stole a monster truck from... somewhere and just drove it up onto the field during lunch and started pretending to be school security about a week ago."
The need for small movements is why it's somewhat surprising Brett could be graceful (or at least as graceful as someone his size) on it, the little minute movements keeping him on an even keel as he slipped around others along the ice. He frowned as Hinata went on about what Gedo was rather infamous for, coming to a stop when she does, though without quite the spray as he did his hockey stop. "A...monster truck?" He blinked a bit, for one not realizing Japan really had monster trucks...he doesn't think they had monster trucks back home anywhere since he was 3 or so.
"That sounds like a....geez. I guess that explains why it was a girl spraypainting our walls though." He sighs a little. "I guess they're trying to hit back at us for some reason. Ayuhara looked really mad about it when she saw it herself. Though I guess she would know about anything between Gedo and Gorin." He then pauses as a thoughtful look hits him. "Oh, right, you and Ayuhara are childhood friends, right?"
"Well," Hinata starts as she drifts into another slow pattern around the frozen surface of the lake, mostly seeming to be focusing on not getting in anyone's ways. "The thing about Gedo is that it's supposed to be sort of a reform school. I guess it used to be alright at that, but there was just a bunch of big gangs fighting." She drifts off to the side to let a slightly older couple drift past. "But then a guy named Daigo showed up and sort of took control of all the gangs... which means more of their crazy stuff is pointed out at other schools."
Eventually it seems Hinata settles into a path that runs along the perimeter of the lake, making a wavey back and forth pattern. "Yeah, Natsu and Sakura and I go way back. Although I guess you don't know Sakura. We all used to go to the same school, but Natsu ended up at Gorin because she's so excited about volleyball."
Daigo...a name that Brett will have to remember, probably. Especially if Gedo keeps trying to mess with Gorin for whatever reason. "Sounds like the school really didn't do much for reforming," he notes, deciding to step off the ice for now and just hang off the edge, idly packing the nearby snow in his hands. "I just hope they let up a bit."
He smiles a bit as Natsu comes up as well as their friendship. "Yeah, she said something about that before, and it's kind of obvious. She also said you were good enough to go to Gorin yourself if you really wanted to," he adds. "Sakura....I think I heard her name before with the big fight events, but not much past that."
Quite honestly, Hinata is a bit tired of having to deal with all the drama that's been going on between the schools lately. Gedo getting on people's nerves makes sense, they've been like that for ages... but all the trouble that's been pulled down on Taiyo by the actions of some jerks on the football team has gotten incredibly frustrating. This means Hinata is more than willing to let the topic shift to more positive things with her friends.
"Sakura's been doing a lot of fighting recently. She got really excited about it all. She's was part of the fight with the former Emperor of Muay Thai at the Halloween event... and she won a fight as part of the Metro City charity thing." She pauses thoughtfully for a moment before shifting her skating stance to be going backwards for the moment. "You were part of that too, right?" Another pause. "Oh, right, you were fighting against Sagat with Tiffany and... I don't really know the other guy."
The mention of Sagat when professional fighting comes up causes Brett to slow to a stop a bit, a bit of a far away look as he remembers just what it felt like to stand opposite Sagat himself like he did. Sure, he had 2 others with him, and they managed to bring him to his knees enough to concede, but...it was still something he doesn't want to really repeat anytime soon.
"Yeah, I was....I was on a team that fought against him during the Metro City event. IT was...." He frowns a little, packing together another snowball with a bit more verve as his nerves hit him. "I'd rather not have to look him in the eyes again. We won, but I felt like my heart would jump out of my chest afterwards. I mean...it's SAGAT...."
Quite honestly, Hinata's career in the fighting world had been rather uneventful. She'd mostly done sparring matches with Sakura, and her one professional match had been put on for a bunch of kids against one of the girls from her school (although Yuri's family did own their own dojo). She certainly wasn't as driven as Sakura, mostly having fun learning more fighting techniques and getting in the occasional match, much like how she'd never gotten obsessed with any sports.
Still, even if she doesn't quite know what it's like to face down a giant like Sagat, she at least could feel that Brett was a bit on edge. "Well... with Sagat it's really just the one eye." An attempt at humor to break the ice (not literally). "And... well, he used to be really tough, but it seems like he must be getting too old or something. Ever since the World Warrior tournament, he's just been losing all of his fights."
The attempt at a joke at least gets a small smile from Hinata, though it's tempered by the obvious concern on Brett's face. "That really doesn't help much when you're actually there in front of him, really. You stand there and you feel like even if he didn't have any eyes, he'd be something far beyond what you could reach by yourself, you know?" He drops the snowball he's making and moves on to making another one, about four piled up next to him at this point.
"I don't know about old either. It still took 3 of us to even touch him and even then, we all barely survived." He looks down at nothing in particular, brow furrowing again. "...fighting is a scary business. I know it sounds weird from someone who plays hockey, but..."
Hinata's slow, lazy path has certainly left some unusual patterns all across the ice. It's all one long, continuous line crossing back and forth over itself as she lets her whims carry her along. It would probably be possible for someone to pull out some meaning, but it would be like spotting a rabbit in the clouds.
"You know, with those special fights they set up, there's no way they're actually going to put a bunch of high schoolers in a situation where they'd get hurt for real," Hinata does her best to comfort Brett. "It wouldn't look good for publicity if they had teenagers getting sent to the hospital by some giant guy. He could be playing up the whole scary martial arts master thing for the camera. Like they do in wrestling."
Looking up, Brett considers what Hinata says, weighting it as far as how true it may or may not be far as those organized events. "Maybe. But he definitely didn't seem like he was holding back at all. It just took one hit from him before I felt like everything inside of me was broken." Tossing the latest snowball he made up into the air, he recatches it into his palm.
"....so...um...why did you start fighting, anyway?"
With all of the talk going on, it's pretty easy to get lost in very simple activities. Lazy skating and snowballs seem to have managed to top the list thus far. As Brett continues to talk, Hinata takes the opportunity freed up by her mouth settling down to do a quick twirl, skidding up to the toe of her skate as she puts out a few rotations.
That stops as Brett turns the conversation away from giants and back to her. The sunshine girl drifts out of her spin back into a simple path near the edge of the lake. "Well... we were watching the World Warrior tournament, all of us as a group and... Sakura got real excited and into it. More than normal. She saw how Ryu was fighting and was super inspired to immitate him. It was pretty exciting, but what got me into it at first was the idea of getting to go against Sakura."
She skids slightly as she alters her direction, spraying a light assortment of ice shavings. "Once I started, it was really fun to learn about all the different techniques. It was pretty cool learning the different techniques for all the different sports, but with fighting there's so much more going on. There's not a ball or something that everyone's focused on, it's just the other person, so everything is focused."
Listening in to Hinata talk about how they started on fighting, Brett looks down to his snowball, tossing it from hand to hand until it starts to break apart, catching as much as he can before packing it back together as best he can. "Yeah, I can understand starting out like that. I don't think I really caught much of the World Warrior tournament except in passing really. It's just...."
He sighs a little. "It's weird. Even in Hockey, I don't really like to hurt people much, it just kind of...you know, I get into a zone where all I want is to help the team win. Fighting...the only real reason I got into it was because I love hockey. Except it's not that big a sport elsewhere, at least not outside of Canada. Even back home, it's kind of dying." He stands up finally, tossing his snowballs back into the pile.
"All I really wanted was a way to help spread the idea of hockey about more. Gorin giving me the scholarship was great, but...you see how big fighting is. I just thought if I started on that, I might be able to help get my sport recognized more in some way."
"Well," Hinata starts, getting thoughtfully quiet as she turns an idea around in her head. "You know, fighting isn't necessarily about hurting people." She does a quick turn as she starts to skate a backwards figure-8. "I don't want to hurt people, even when I'm in a fight. And people who train, they train so they don't get hurt that bad in a fight."
"But more than that, it's about more than just learning cool fighting moves." Hinata continues, already completing her first backwards pass of the figure-8. "I like that I know how to fight because there's all sorts of jerks out there who think they can threaten people for no good reason other than that they're tough. It's rewarding knowing that I can stand up to them. Especially with all the craziness going on between the schools right now. I'd hate for a punk from Gedo to hurt my classmates."
Brett nods slowly, understanding a bit as HInata goes on, especially understanding feeling like standing up to whoever might be threatening people he cared about. "Yeah. That sounds like a good reason..." he says, smiling a bit before rubbing the back of his neck. He looks up, the lake mostly cleared out at this point as the others skating get bored of it enough to move on.
"You and Ayuhara are really alike like that," he says, chuckling a little. Looking at the sky, Brett sighs a little. "...I should probably get going back to my dorm right now. "But...um...hey. When the weather clears up, would you be interested in...I...er...lunch sometime?"
"You don't get to be friends forever without being a little bit like each other," Hinata replies, a grin on her face as she pulls her latest reverse pass to a halt. "Of course, we're also pretty different, which helps too. It would get pretty boring if the only people you had to hang around with were just like you."
As Brett announces his departure, Hinata glances around to see the scattering of people left on the lake, many of them preparing to make their exit as the sun starts to get low in the sky. "Sure, that would be fun. You could tell me more about hockey. We don't really have much of a hockey team at Taiyo, so I've never tried it out." Hinata might be a natural at a lot of sports, but it's certainly up for debate whether or not someone her size could actually hold up in the rink.
Nodding toward HInata, Brett starts to make toward the direction of Gorin again, looking back toward the Taiyo girl and smiling. "Sure. And...maybe you could help show me about Southtown a bit more, and figure my way around the city a bit more. If I'm going to be staying here more...well..." He rubs the back of his neck, still looking a bit awkward talking with her as it is. But hey, still making the effort to talk to her, even if it dances about why he's so interested in her.
"So...um...see you around?" he asks, switching out his skates for his normal snow boots before picking up his bag.
On the opposite end, Hinata seems to be completely at ease. It's as if there isn't really a social situation that would put the sunshine girl in an uncomfortable spot. "Sure, I can show you around a bit once everything's not completely covered in snow and all the shops open back up."
As Brett finally starts to make his exit, Hinata smiles and gives him wave. "Yeah, it seems like you've already made friends with Natsu, which means you're friends with me, too. Or at the very least you'll be seeing me around."
Log created on 20:19:12 11/21/2014 by Hinata, and last modified on 00:18:50 11/22/2014.