Description: In light of her increasing suspicion toward Gedo High after their recent actions, Tiffany decides to follow one of the school's more suspicious members home after class. ... She definitely came to ask her some things and not to confront her about her own weirdness, right? Yes. That's definitely the reason.
People tend to follow patterns from one day to the next. It's... just something that tends to happen. Sure, some days might take longer than others, but once the best route is found from point A to point B... well, people just... take it.
Miko Kobayashi is not one of those people. Well... not when it comes to the path she walks. Sure, she leaves school not long after the final bell. Sure, she leaves out the front gate like normal people. But when she leaves today, it won't be along the same path she walked yesterday, the day before, or the day before that. The young woman knows her freaking way around Southtown, that's for sure.
Today... her path takes her northeast, along the path to the downtown district. And she's not alone -- that in itself is another new thing about her journey today. Three students with Gedo uniforms in varying degrees of conformance -- two guys, one gal -- are walking and talking alongside Miko -- but not necessarily -to- Miko. Curious, that she seems to be walking ahead of them. Leading them, even.
Recent actions coming from Gedo High have drawn Tiffany Lords's attention in that direction. Though she's a little worn out from her recent Neo League fight, a nice, long bath has cleared up the worst of it; sometimes, you need to pamper yourself a little before you can face the rest of the day. Besides -- it's not like Pacific takes attendance, so Tiffany can just sort of arbitrarily take a day if she wants.
About halfway through her /intended/ bath, she remembered that she was going to try to catch up with one of those Gedo weirdos! ... in ten minutes, she tells herself, in the bath.
Fortunately, she manages to catch up with Miko Kobayashi before she manages to slip out of town. Her gaze rests on the trio behind Miko for a moment... but sure enough, she manages to get her focus on the girl herself before too long.
Deciding to try to play it cool, Tiffany slips into the formation behind the girl of the trio. She injects herself into the conversation, whether she's wanted or not; she's sure Miko will notice before /too/ long.
The girl calling herself Miko noticed right away that something was different. Her fellow students from fourth period History class have gotten to know the mysterious new transfer student pretty well over the past couple weeks -- heck, the class's collective test scores took a major upturn over the past week. That, in fact, is what the trio is talking about now.
But Miko just keeps on striding on, seemingly oblivious to the new addition to the roster.
Partly because this is the block where Kazuhito lives. "Ja, see you later then!"
Miko raises her hand in a passive wave. When she glances over to Kazuhito, it's with a bored, disaffected look -- like she's performing the exact bare minimum necessary to honor the social contract of 'being a friend' to the young man. Rough! But necessary.
The other boy and girl wave as well, with a bit more enthusiasm -- and when they turn, that's when they notice the blonde.
Saya snaps, "Who the f--?!"
Touji turns as well, raising his fists.
The general atmosphere in a nutshell: What's this Pacific chick doing, just walking like everyone -knows- each other?! But of course, that isn't verbalized well.
Miko chuckles softly to herself. She'd only caught a glimpse of Tiffany out of the corner of her eye as she'd looked to wave to Kazuhito, but, unperturbed, she keeps her back to Tiffany, continuing to walk forward. "It's a public street, you two. If you're not going to step up, step off."
The two behind her share confused glances, but swallow their pride and continue onward as if Tiffany wasn't there -at all-.
Miko's unstated thought: Your move, cheerleader.
And Tiffany does, indeed, take her opportunity to move. She slowly moves herself toward the front of the pack, gaze resting on Miko; she doesn't even /really/ register the other two. They're present -- and Touji's stance is even a little threatening -- but really, she's interested in the leader of the pack, rather than these new hangers-on.
She continues along with her for a little while, mentally preparing herself for the possibility that this, too, is going to turn into a fight... but after a few moments of thought, decides that that's not actually as likely as she thinks it is. Then again, this /is/ Gedo -- and isn't Roy always saying how the Japanese are generally a bunch of barbarians?
Not that that's /her/ experience -- but Roy /might/ be onto something...
After a few moments, she says, "HEY, YOU. Wanna answer a few questions about Gedo High?" Her eyes narrow a little, and she appends, "I think you guys are up to SOMETHING. Especially you, given you're always sneaking off..."
Evidently, the young Ms. Lords has done her research on her target -- if only in a kind of cursory way. "And why aren't you talking to THESE people, anyway? It seems like it's just YOU in front, and them doing their own thing IN BACK..."
Touji and Saya exchange another pair of meaningful glances as the blonde outpaces them. What difference does it make? They -are- just walking alongside Miko, after all.
Miko? Well... she keeps walking anyway. For a good few seconds after Tiffany poses her question. In fact, Miko has a fairly good guess, based on the cadence which Tiffany's established, to predict exactly when Tiffany will get frustrated enough to ask another impertinent question.
And one second before she would have done so, Miko says, "I'm going to the grocery store to pick up food for my mum and pop. Saya's got a discount card, she was gonna hook me up." Deliberate pause. "I know my way around Southtown, but I'm new to Gedo. I... probably won't know what you're asking about, but they might."
Still... she keeps her back to Tiffany. The midafternoon sun seems to be getting to her, though, so she reaches into her overcoat and retrieves her pair of purple-tinted sunglasses, and places them over her eyes.
Touji and Saya glance at each other again... and break into peals of riotous laughter. They need to stop for a moment to catch their breath, actually. Who -is- this chick anyway?!
How is it people are supposed to act when they're accused of acting suspicious, again?
A frown crosses her face as Miko totally preempts her; is this girl psychic, good, or just weird? Tiffany isn't sure she has an answer -- and when she gets laughed at, a big frown crosses her face. Her gaze turns back to Touji and Saya, feeling herself getting upset on reflex.
Once the laughter dies down a little, Tiffany says, "No, I'm serious! YOU GUYS have been vandalizing other schools, getting all weird about Taiyo..." That one is only a rumour -- but it tracks with everything else she's seen, such as Himeko 'Not Even A Real Journalism' Kashiwagi, so she's accepted the possibility. "I want to know what's up!"
It takes her a few seconds to wrap her head around what she's asking; she takes another step forward once she gets over the initial urge to throw a temper tantrum at being laughed at. Taking a step up to Miko's back, she taps her on the shoulder before asking, "Wait a sec... how new are you to Gedo?"
Touji and Saya compose themselves -- but it takes a few moments. Tiffany is just -way- too serious for these two, and her accusations are -way- off base. ... Well, until the mention about vandalism, which earns another snicker out of the pair. Weird about Taiyo... well, yeah, when your -mascot- goes missing.
While the two stooges are busy cutting up, Miko just keeps on walking. 'Want to know what's up' isn't a question, see.
Tapping on the shoulder isn't a question either -- but it's akin to a bullhorn in Miko's ear. The young woman wearing the men's uniform jacket over her own uniform stops -- abruptly enough that if Tiffany weren't paying attention she'd run squarely into her. But the young woman is not going to let herself get bowled over -- she's stopped. Seriously. STOPPED.
She tilts her head to the side, using the minimum number of muscles necessary to look back at the Pacific student, blue eye to blue eyes.
She doesn't answer Tiffany's question, but instead, introduces a new not-a-question question of her own, in an icy cold voice dripping with venom, as opposed to the level-headed responses of earlier. "Please... tell me if you're going to be touching me again. I need to know how to plan my day."
"... Oh, jeez, sorry," Tiffany says, quietly; she's immediately cowed by that forceful response, her eyes a little bit wide. Usually, she'd just bull through -- but the Gedo student's fierce, forceful response almost totally cows her. Something about her sheer presence forces her, simultaneously, to straighten out her posture and to recoil back.
Taking a few deep breaths in through her nose, she tries to get her footing again; she glances back to the stooges briefly before walking forward a little further, trying to form up /immediately/ behind and to the right of 'Miko.' Her silence continues for a few moments, and she gnaws at her lip for a second until she realizes she's tasting a /lot/ of lip gloss and promptly stops.
Eventually, she manages to stammer out, "Look -- I, I just... wanted to know if you knew why things were getting so WEIRD. That's all. Can we... can we talk?" It's not hard to put her on the back foot with the right amount of force.
Touji and Saya about swallowed their tongues when Miko stopped like that. The two ... well, they don't snicker. They don't do much anything, other than stop. Nope. Ain't gonna be laying a hand on either Tiffany -or- the hot-blooded Miko after that show.
Miko draws in a sharp intake of breath as Tiffany backs down. The blonde may have started it by touching her -- one of the young Gedo student's personal pet peeves -- but having corrected the problem, there's no further point in keeping up the fearsome presence. Limit reached... situation resolved. Miko rolls her shoulders, adjusting the overcoat back to its proper position -- it never left, but don't tell Miko -- and resuming her casual walk downtown.
"Two weeks. Figured this was all business as usual. Taiyo stole our mascot, for one. And the vandalism... pff. I want no part of it. Told 'em all too."
Saya and Touji hasten their steps to catch up just a bit, now that Tiffany's walking more alongside Miko than before. Saya bravely adds, "... And yeah, girl, we just walkin' behind 'er 'cause we don't like takin' up the whole sidewalk or nothin'. Don't gotta go catchin' attitude with us."
Miko sighs irritably, shoving her hands into her jacket pockets. "What else would you consider 'weird' and in pressing need of a solution? I can't imagine anything's going wrong at -your- school..." Through it all, Miko continues walking forward, watching the world through her purple-tinted lenses, not even bothering to look back at Tiffany. She's on a mission!
"Well... not yet," Tiffany admits, when the topic turns to the idea that nothing's going wrong at her school. Come to think -- why /is/ she so insistent about this? ... because it /could/ be her school next, she reminds herself -- there's always that chance that things spill over, that they get crazy... and with that, she finds her resolve coming back, just a little bit.
She thinks for a minute about Miko's other question, glancing from side to side as they walk down Gedo Street. "There's the weird vaccines, the principal exchange stuff... I dunno. It all just seems... if it were just a couple things it'd be one thing -- some of it's not even all that weird..." Her Japanese, curiously, gets /better/ now that she's totally on the back foot; it's like being distracted makes her better at speaking, her cadence more natural.
Glancing back at Saya and Touji, she gets the dim sense she's surrounded despite not /quite/ literally being so. "... LOOK. You gotta think some part of this is weird, right? Like -- more than just HIGH SCHOOL RIVALS weird." She purses her lips a little, saying, "And we can either work together on it or you can get all weird!" Perhaps not knowing the difference in etiquette, she adds, "Look at me while I'm talking to you!!" insistently.
To their credit, Saya and Touji -were- looking at Tiffany, like, the whole time. Why wouldn't they look at the crazy gaijin who keeps demanding information, geez?
Miko keeps on walking. She is showing signs of warming up to Tiffany, nodding in response to the things she says, showing a faint smirk whenever Tiffany seems to talk herself into a logical circle. But she still doesn't look to address her yet.
Not even when Tiffany insists that she do so.
Measured pause, again. Wait. Wait. Waaaait... now. "There's plenty of space beside me. Has been since Kazuhito left. I don't bite."
She keeps walking forward at a brisk pace. "But I hope you'll forgive me, I'm on a tight schedule." If Tiffany catches up, Miko would even glance over to her from time to time. Doing just as Tiffany asked.
"No. I'm... concerned about our principal. I'm sure it's nothing, though. The principal -must- be tough to keep Gedo reined in."
Spoiler alert: Despite saying so, Miko certainly does not think the principal's badassness level qualifies as a 'nothing.'
Tiffany does indeed catch up, when it's hinted she should; despite her headstrong, boisterous nature, she's kind of easy to lead. Some of it is not knowing the customs; some of it is her natural posture; some of it is the fact that her settings include 'not thinking hard enough,' 'distracted by thinking too hard about one thing at a time,' and 'too exhausted to care.' Today, she has a rare case of all three!
Forming up as directed, she thinks back to her fight with the principal of Gedo once the topic is broached. It'd taken three of them, including one weird probably-also-foreign girl, to even put a real dent in him... that's a little more than just 'the strength necessary to handle a school like Gedo.' Sure enough, it's easy to draw her attention that way.
Looking up at the sky, her combative posture momentarily put off by that bit of pleasant conversation with the girl leading the pack, she says, "I think he's wearing armour or SOMETHING underneath that coat... and who has /a coat with weird training blades/, right?" She remembers getting busted open by a couple shots from those... it wasn't pleasant. "You really think that's NOTHING?"
Miko actually hadn't encountered the unusual principal of Gedo High... and due to the unusual circumstances of her transfer, she hadn't received any particular immunization. So it's here that Miko gives Tiffany a more steady look -- peering straight into the American's blue eyes with her icy blues again. "... Really. A coat with weird... /training/ blades."
But she doesn't stop walking. Nope. Grocery store's just ahead. Miko scratches her cheek for a moment, lost in thought.
"I'll ask around. Something's not right about that at -all-. " Miko turns once more to address Tiffany, stopping just short of the sliding glass doors leading into the store. "Thank you for your information. I'm... sorry I didn't have more for you." One index finger pushes the sunglasses up along the bridge of her nose. "If you want to investigate something -else- weird, though... Ask the Taiyo cheer squad what happened -there-."
Yes. Miko is fully aware of the difficulties Tiffany - of all people - might have in complying with that request. But she does not betray any sort of amusement in this -- it's a simple statement of something she'd heard that may have been interesting.
Touji and Saya seem like they might be about to volunteer information, but a look from Miko quells that notion.
"If there's nothing else, miss...?" Miko addresses Tiffany with just enough of a balance between politeness and the desire to move onward into the store.
This might get messy, Tiffany thinks, as Miko forwards her to the Taiyo cheer squad; the idea of having to encounter her /direct/ rivals -- not just 'other Taiyo students,' but specifically the cheer squad -- gets her nervous. This is an investigation that can't go anywhere good; it's going to lead to a fight -- if not with the Taiyo cheer squad themselves, then with someone else at Taiyo who sees her as 'stepping to them.' Glancing off to one side, Tiffany says, "Well... thanks for the HEADS-UP, I guess." She takes a deep breath, then sighs it out; she resolves to keep in touch with this strange fellow student, though -- at least she was honest, after a few moments. "Lords. Tiffany Lords," she says, trying to sound really, really cool, but mostly flubbing it. "... What's your name?" she asks, even as she's already getting ready to head off.
Her gaze rests on Miko's 'friends' for a moment, tilting her head to the side a bit. "... I guess Gedo has some real cuties," she adds, as a parting shot; it's totally sincere, but she /just might/ be trying to get under their skins. She also, carefully, does not tell them which -- if either in particular -- she's addressing.
Miko does not hazard showing any kind of expression at Tiffany's discomfort. In fact, she enjoys it immensely. There's only so much casual conversation that "Miko" can take before resorting to some sort of underhanded joke, and it appears that was the time. But... she's good at hiding her amusement under a mask of... the coolness Tiffany seems to be trying to achieve.
"Miko Kobayashi," is her even-keeled reply. "Charmed. Do enjoy your day, Ms Lords, and happy hunting." A smile -- honestly pleasant -- is offered to punctuate the statements.
The 'parting shot' from Tiffany, though, is met with conflicting reports. Uncomfortable laughter from Touji, and a brief snort from Saya. It seems like the louder of the two is about to say something, but a look from Miko cuts her off. Shrugging mildly, Saya follows Miko into the store, as the latter removes her sunglasses, while Touji picks up the rear. "Seeya round, Tiff!" he tosses out while heading into the door.
Log created on 23:55:44 11/28/2014 by Tiffany, and last modified on 04:49:29 11/29/2014.