NFG Season One - Are You Friend or Foe?

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Description: Djamila wants to talk to Ichika and won't take no for an answer. Ichika entertains her. Does any good come out of it?

It is getting late at night by the time Ichika returns to Sunshine City. She doesn't like being out after dark. She had to set off early in the morning to catch the first ferry for her journey to the Naughty Fox, and now she's finally getting off her bus and walking through Inner Sunshine, back to her hotel. It has been an intense few days. She's tired down to her bones. Her injuries have mostly healed, but emotionally and mentally it has been an extremely taxing weekend. Her fight with Nixie, the revelation as to Lyraelle's Truth, and now her mind won't stop whirling around the possibilities that Rei had opened up to her.

Unfortunately, she has more to deal with than just that.

"N-no, mother, nobody is MAKING me wear these things." She stammers down the phone, "I, yes, there was a team involved, it's, it's a kind of uniform, you know, like for school? No. Of course. Yes. I understand that no school would let me... please, please calm down mother. No, I didn't lose one, they're mismatched for fashion reasons. Yes, I know there's two belts. Yes, I know. I know. I know, mother. They have mirrors in America too. Please calm down. Please."

The girl could not sound more exasperated. Maybe if she weren't so emotionally drained she would be doing a better job parrying what sounds like some fairly intense criticism from her parent, but as she walks through the city streets and tries to ignore the attention she is garnering, it is all the girl can do to stay on task. It won't be long until she is back at the hotel. And sleep. Blessed sleep. Just rest and let her mind soak in the bliss of unconsciousness. That is what she needs right now.

It is not what she is going to get.

Djamila is out late at night, coming out of the hotel. Because sometimes it's hard to sleep. The dreams are there. Sometimes, she just has to ignore them. Sometimes she has to get up. Like right now.

She's trying to get her mind on other things. She misses stripping. She can get into that so easily, and think of nothing. Just going fluidly from one movement to another and removing her clothes. It's so easy. She's also thinking of the fight with Chevy she had. Good fight. She would have lost without her training. She's thinking about what she told Chevy. She needs to do some introspection.

She might be jealous. But it's not exactly it. She's worried... Maybe. But she's a little brat too. Suddenly she says out loud. "Ugh. Who goes in Sunshine City at night anyway." Trying to distract herself.

Then she hears footsteps. Someone is coming toward her. It's. oh. Well, might as well say something right now. This was unexpected. "Hello, Ichika. Fancy meeting you at this hour of the night." She curves her mouth a bit. "Well, do you have time to talk?"

Maybe Djamila doesn't have a sense of 'Not the right time.'

She still has her staff with her. It seems she never goes without it. Otherwise, she's wearing black jeans today, an orange halter top, her hijab, and her blindfold. If there's something never leaving her at all, it's her blindfold.

"Mother. Please. I am almost sixteen years old. I am capable of dressing myself. Mother. *Mother*." The exasperation in Ichika's voice finally seems to cut through, and then -- she's distracted. She hadn't even noticed Djamila coming closer. Her expression turns immediately sour, and she sighs. "I have to go. Please. Call me again tomorrow if you wish to berate me further. Right now there is Project business to attend to."

She hangs up her phone, and after a moment's though... turns it off. Sliding it into one of the pockets on her leather jacket, the girl rubs her eyes. "I have nothing to say to you." Is what she opens with. And then she's looking back at the taller woman. She sighs.

"... but, I am going to find a coffee so I can make it safely back to my hotel. If you wish to talk to me whilst I do that, that is your business."

And then she's moving back through the streets. Surely there must be a StrikeBucks or a Fightgers around here somewhere. She doesn't doubt that Djamila will be able to follow her; whatever strange means she had of tracking people without seeing them had certainly worked well enough in their fight.

Djamila shrugs her shoulders. "You have nothing to say to me. Alright. I can do the talking while you have your coffee." She shrugs her shoulders. It's not like she always minds her business anyway.

With that she follows Ichika. One could wonder how she could walk with confidence during those times. Of course, the night should mean nothing to her, but still, right now, she's just walking and keeping a good pace. She's even dodging a lamp post that would have been a good laugh had she crashed into it. "It's not easy to please family while finding yourself too." She says while walking.

She staff clangs at one point against another lamp post. intentional or not, it's hard to say. "I heard you lost your match again. I was sorry to hear that." She's trying to say empathically. as she continues to follow.

Ichika may be setting a few traps here. Lamp posts, crowds of people, trash and puddles. There's plenty of obstacles to work your way through even in Inner Sunshine. But Djamila seems to deal well enough with them. Which doesn't really upset the girl, but it doesn't improve her mood any either. "I suppose I should have expected that you'd hear that." She mutters, as she pushes open the door to a StrikeBucks and ducks inside.

As she waits in line, she tries to get her emotions under control. But, she can't. She's had a lot of time to watch the footage on her phone today, going back and forth on public transport and ferries. It's an unseemly thing. The second time in three days that she finds the words coming before she can bite them back.

"I saw you win yours." She says, "I was sorry to witness that, as well. Chevy deserved to beat you."

It's a nasty, cruel and unsportsmanlike thing to say. And there are better places to say it than here, where a few people are already starting to murmur. She'd said at the draft that she didn't want to bring her 'teenage drama' to Team Thunder, but... it seems like she may not be able to keep that promise after all.

Djamila keeps the pace well enough, and besides her staff hitting the lamp post, she manages to navigate things. She does speak like there was no one else around though. She could have gotten the door in her face, but that too she catches. There is something about Djamila's blindness. Something that most other blind persons do not have.

She puts herself behind Ichika, perhaps not far enough from her personal bubble.

"Yeah. She's nice and able to fight. She did deserve the win. At least Chevy will keep growing stronger. So you might have your wish come true on that end.

She shrugs her shoulder. "Now on your end though. I don't have high hopes right now." She shrugs. "It's nice you had something to say to me after all. So it won't be a one-way conversation." At that, she ends up smiling.

"Oh, would you like me to get us a table? Or are you going to be having your coffee while walking?" She adds.

She sets her staff down while waiting and undulates her hips slightly. Because dancing is in her genes.

There's a low grunt from Ichika as she acknowledges that she has, in fact, immediately been drawn into the conversation she didn't want to have. "Fine." She says, tersely. "Get a table. You obviously aren't going to leave me alone until you've said your piece."

She waits in line, and as she does, she considers just leaving with her coffee when she's done. Maybe Djamila wouldn't realise. But. Something stops her. As angry as she is with Djamila, as much as she might dislike the woman, she doesn't... want to use her disability against her. The obstacles had been a test, of sorts. Reassuring herself about the fact that there's definitely more going on here than she knows. But, if she'd actually succeeded in hurting the woman, well. She'd have felt even worse for using such an underhanded method.

Soon enough, she is sitting down opposite Djamila. She hadn't taken a drinks order, but she does put a glass in front of her. "Water." She says, before sipping her own coffee...

... and immediately making a disgusted face. How did people drink this stuff willingly?

"I will start with the obvious question." She says, "Why should I care what you think about my development?"

"Yeah, you read me right. I won't leave you alone yet. A table it is." In return, she gets a table that will be the most private one that can be in a cafe. So that they don't have to air any dirty laundry to everyone. At least if the tone is low enough. Yelling on the other hand will be a different matter. She takes a chair and waits.

Whether Djamila expected Ichika to leave her there or not doesn't show, as she is at the table and she looks relaxed considering what is going on.

"I didn't expect you to bring anything. Thank you for that. I was going to go without.I didn't need anything." But she takes a sip of the water. Both to show she is indeed grateful for the gesture and perhaps to show she isn't worried Ichika put something into it.

"You know, that's the thing. You shouldn't. Why do you care about what I think of you? That precipitated your loss when we met. " She takes another sip. "I mean, I am nothing to you. Just a blind girl trying to make her marks in this. You don't like me, and I can't say you are my favorite person in the whole world. So why do you care what I think?" She sighs as if releasing some tension she did have inside her.

Ichika takes another sip from her coffee and, after a moments, begins to add sugar to it. Maybe that will make it more palatable. It is horribly bitter. But it is at least helping her feel more alert, if not more awake exactly. Maybe that's the point of the horrible stuff.

"I don't." She says, easily. "Nor did I care about your opinion when we fought. But it is not because you are 'just' a blind girl. Fad--." She catches herself. She had been about to use the woman's surname. But this is not Japan, and she is trying to acclimatise. "... Djamila."

She sighs, and pinches the bridge of her nose. Tries to steady the roiling storm that is her thoughts. It's difficult. This is not a good time to be doing this to herself or to Djamila. But, when does she ever get to pick the perfect time? "You infuriated me in our fight because you said that I could not beat you. That is a challenge to *me*. Then I failed to overcome it, proving you seemingly correct. But you were not right then and that has not changed. If we had fought, I would overcome you. In spite of how amazing you are, not because of how weak you are. If you were weak, we would not be having this conversation."

Djamila finishes her water, quiet as she hears the packets of sugar getting opened and then the sugar sliding from a solid fabric to liquid. She lets Ichika do her thing on this.

No? You don't? You didn't?" She sighs. They are not on the same page right now. Of course, she could be reading Ichika wrong. Why did she even care anyway? This is something the blind girl doesn't know. Why does she care at all? It is not her business. She isn't very fond of her. So if she is right, let her fail. if she is wrong, stay better than she is.

"I will piss you off, but you couldn't beat me in that fight. There was no doubt about it." She shrugs. "This is a nasty thing to say. But I don't know how else to say it. You can believe I wasn't right then. But we can't redo the past. I was right at that moment." She cracks her knuckles a bit, more out of stress a bit than anything else. "Now, I highly doubt you could beat me now. But this is something that words alone will not prove, and I am not trying to make you angry. I do not believe you are weak either. I just think the way you are going about things, you're heading straight into a wall." She rubs her head a bit. "But honestly, you should tell me it's none of my business because that's right, it isn't. I don't know why I am telling you all this." She goes silent after that. She's trying to think what it is about Ichika that makes her not fond of her. Does she even know?

Ichika tries more of the coffee. It's still bad. More sugar. More stirring. Another sip. No. It is only making her more and more angry, and listening to Djamila talk with that oh-so-confident assertion gets right under her skin.

"I made a poor tactical decision." She says, bitterly. "Perhaps more than one. I will allow you that. But I was more than capable of beating you then, if I had chosen another path. You are not Ariastra-sensei. You are not Rei-sensei. You are not so far beyond me that victory was not possible. You were not then. You are even less so now. How DARE you say otherwise?"

Okay, only one of those names is even likely to mean anything to the woman, but the anger in Ichika's voice is unmistakable. Raised enough to attract more attention, though she does her best to bring it back down. There's only so much that a corner booth can do when eavesdropping is so tempting.

"I am a member of the Super Elite." She hisses. "I have the faith of immortals and champions. Lightheart-sensei herself said that she can see me as a peer. And you, you PITY me? You. Pity ME?" She shouldn't be talking like this. She's actually shaking. The stress is starting to get on top of her.

"I should fight you here and now. Is that what you want? Is that why you tracked me down?"

It's a terrible idea. She's an exhausted mess. She's in no condition to fight anybody. But her pride is wounded, she can't let it go. She just, can't.

Djamila sighs. "You know, if you hate coffee, you don't have to drink it. It's not for everyone. Not everything is for everyone." She didn't need to say that, perhaps, but she didn't understand why Ichika kept going with it. Is it what Djamila herself is doing right now?

"You were capable physically to defeat me in the right circumstance." She doesn't add to that. She goes to something else. "I don't know who they are. Well, I think the former is one of Team Thunder. I am no sensei. I just felt something about you, and.." And what, what does it matter, why. She could just stand and leave right now. Ichika would be happier that way too.

"You don't look super-elite to me, to be honest. Shouldn't you be able to at least keep your anger in check? If I am so wrong about you, if I shouldn't pity you if I shouldn't care. If I am so wrong, why are you so angry. What did I hit inside you Ichika? Is it that voice inside you that agrees with me. Is that it?"

She takes a deep breath. "If you fight me now, you have no chance. You are so battered." She probably isn't top either. "And because it doesn't look like you've learned anything. You just think I should be awed, because you're a "Super Elite" or some other bullshit." Calm down Djamila. It's ok. It doesn't matter. She thinks to herself. "It doesn't matter. You either know how good you are, or you don't."

"I think you should show me RESPECT."

Ichika's cheeks are definitely reddening at this point. And then -- then, she swallows it. All of it. The rising anger. The hatred in her. The wound to her pride. It's, eerie. All at once, Ichika's expression falls. Blank and neutral. She pushes the coffee to the side as she reinstates her mask. It causes her real strain to do this. After all she has been through these past few days, there's a tiny, dispassionate part of herself that is surprised she can even manage it. But there it is.

She feels as though she is watching herself from the outside; a cool, detached observer as she folds her hands on the table in front of her.

"You misunderstand me, Fadel-san." She says, softly. "To be a member of the Super Elite does not mean you must be in awe of me. As I have said many times, I cannot even be sure that I will emerge from this tournament as a professional fighter. Though I hope that I shall. To be Super Elite means only that I have demonstrated a level of facility and skill in my studies which places me in the top zero point zero zero zero one per cent of people on the planet. There are less than eight thousand people worldwide who are my academic peers. I have a duty to use that talent for the betterment of the world. That is what it means to be Super Elite."

Those bright and brilliant eyes of hers. That's where the real change has taken place. Something that Djamila may not even be able to see. Usually, those eyes are as shining as sapphires. In this moment, though, as she pushes down her emotion and turns it inwards, they are dark as the depths of a sunless ocean.

"If I didn't show you respect, I should have your head pinned on the table with my staff. But I don't have to think you are a better fighter than you have displayed so far." says Djamila

Then, she feels something. Ichika has gone quiet. It makes her go quiet too. Contemplating her thoughts.

When Ichika explains. "At least you were able to go to school. Well, I am guessing you are still in school. You still have parents. Probably annoying, but they are around to annoy you, at least." She takes a pause, pondering what to say next. "You're a prodigy. I don't know if you expect to stay on top because of it. Or perhaps your parents are expecting you to be on top always because of it. I felt something in you. I felt like you always have to be the best because this is what is expected of you. Truth be told, you piss me off. A part inside myself. You have all this, and apparently, you are a prodigy. You have all those advantages, and yet you're going to waste it. But I am a bitch for even telling you that. Jealousy makes me low. Telling you that you're going to waste it, whether I am right or wrong, makes me bad. If I am wrong, I am just the woman who tried to push you down. If I am right, I am just the woman who pushed your nose in it. Then how the hell am I supposed to deal with doing nothing with feel, trying to help? When I am probably not helping in the least, and it's none of my business. It would probably be better for me to just watch you crash if it shall happen. We are enemies. This was a bad idea." She takes a deep breath. This is not like the strip club. Girls in the tournament are not a family. She has to calm down, now anger is coming for her. She has no idea what she is doing.

After a moment. "Forgive me. I have no right to speak about how you feel in your head or what I think I feel. This was my first mistake. Which made me commit a lot more. Thinks shall happen, and we will see what happens in the next fight we have. You will go your path, and I will go mine. I do not know why I presumed I had a right to interfere in yours in any other capacities than those fights." She wants to stand up, but she stays in the chair. "I am sorry."

Ichika listens.

It's her turn for the wash of words to come over her. She absorbs them, picks out the relevant pieces of information. Some of it she knew - that Djamila was an orphan, that she has had a hard life. Other things, she didn't. That the feeling of distaste was genuinely mutual. That she is admired in turn. There is no outward sign of the impact that these revelations make, however. She merely lifts her hand, and gives a dismissive wave.

"There is nothing to apologise for, Fadel-san." She says cooly. "You wished only to say your piece. I allowed you to do so. The air between us is clear. We know where we stand. This is an improvement, is it not? Do not concern yourself too greatly about this matter. It shall not weigh on me. I promise, I have heard your concern. I do not think any less of you for it. In fact, it speaks well of you that you went out of your way to share your concerns. Thank you for your time."

She places her hands on the table and rises smoothly to her feet. "I do not believe there is anything else which need be said between us, Fadel-san? If our business is concluded then I shall return to my hotel. I am weary."

Ichika listened to Djamila without interrupting her. There is respect between them. There is just something. Something that's in the way between the two of them. They might never be friends, but Djamila feels they are not enemies either.

"You allowed me to do so. You have my respect on the matter. It would have been easy to run away. You could have let me take this table and just leave. Someone less than you would have. No matter what you do, don't drop from this tournament. Push in with all you have, and I shall do the same. Is that a deal?" She takes a deep breath. "Thank you for your time."

She raises to her feet as well. "Would you be fine another day, another time, for us to fight together in training? We can be sure we won't hold our blows." She chuckles a bit at that. "Thank you. Ichika. Sleep well once you are back at the hotel." She wasn't going back to hers the way she said that.

"I will not drop out." Ichika says, as she turns away from the woman. "You do not have to concern yourself about that. But no. I will not train with you."

Everything about the girl's body language has shifted as she starts to walk away. Exactly three paces. Then she stops, turns back over her shoulder. "What was it you said just now? If you didn't mean to show me respect, you'd have my head pinned to the table." She says, with the same tone and inflection that someone might remark upon mildly disappointing weather; as though this were no more noteworthy than an overcast day. "When we next fight, it will be for real. And I shall pin your head beneath my boot. You are jealous of me? You hate my privilege? Good. I hope it eats you up inside. You shall be a stone I step upon to reach the greatness I deserve. Nothing more."

And with that, she walks away. Her pace unhurried. Each step carefully calculated, an even, measured stride back out into the night.

She does not answer Ichika now. After what she said, Djamila keeps to herself. But she does whisper a little something. "Thank you, Ichika, I know what I must do, and I know I was wrong." She then stands up, and this time she isn't keeping her tone down. "Alright, we shall fight for real when it's time. I am going to beat you again Ichika. Not because you're bad. I am just simply better. I was better in that first round. I will always be better. I am sorry for you. Have a nice day." She said nothing more than that.

She had much thinking to do. She could help no one but herself. It was time to put her own head in order. More fights would be coming, and when she meets Ichika next. She would beat her down. She could humiliate her of course. But nan. She is a fighter. She knows her worth, and she doesn't need to put Ichika down. She whispers to herself one more time. "I am sorry for sinking so low. I will do better." With that, she walks her own way. The night is going to be long.

Ichika's path towards the hotel starts well enough. The girl's gait manages to remain calm and steady for a full two minutes before it starts to waver. She starts to breathe harder. Faster. She staggers, and without even looking to see if it is safe, she ducks into the darkness of an alleyway.

Her head is pounding. Her heart hammers in her chest so hard it feels as though it is going to crack her ribs. And then she sees that coffee for the second time. The kitsune udon she had enjoyed before she left the Naughty Fox, too (it looked so much better than the Fox Plate when she actually got there).

The girl holds herself up against the wall with one shaking hand, and blinks the tears out of her eyes. It had never hurt like that before. She had gotten out of practice. She had gotten in the habit of showing all of herself to anyone who asked. Djamila had forced her to bottle that deep inside.

"Aaah..." She breathes, looking up at the sky. Utterly black and empty thanks to the light pollution. The moon hidden by a cloud.

"Well. At least, she bought it. Now, I just need to sell it to myself, ahah, hah..."

Log created on 09:35:50 06/18/2023 by Djamila, and last modified on 18:14:27 06/18/2023.