Description: Following her fight - no, not the one with Genie, the one with her parents - Ichika is clearly not in a great place. Luckily, Chevy knows how to deal with that! Sweet treats and a gentle heart to heart with just the right about of good-natured ribbing ensues. With friends like these, it's impossible for even the most intense teen drama to threaten real problems!
Texts between midnight and six a.m. better have a good damn reason behind them. The text Ichika receives, at face value, might not seem to have a good reason behind it. It seems downright disruptive, really.
It's a picture of three crepes. A perfect golden brown in color, dusted heavily with powdered sugar, and garnished with three strawberry halves.
The text that follows a minute later is cryptic, but not unparsable.
> you still awake? if ur hungry get over here :3
The next door down from Ichika's hotel room is Chevy's. If Ichika happens to meet the stated criteria, she would find that door held open by the security device in flagrant violation of hotel policy -- cracked open just enough to see that the kitchenette light is on, just enough to hear the sound and smell the aroma of sizzling batter.
Appropriate for the early-morning hour, Chevelle is modeling the latest in fashion from that fancy boutique shop she'd found in Southtown - a set of pajamas with a cute, stylized Shiba-inu print. And fuzzy slippers which really don't match, and hair that could -really- benefit from a brush.
There are times Ichika really wished she wasn't so smart. If she were a fool, she could look at the beautiful picture and just think that her friend wanted a midnight snack and had made her favourite by complete coincidence. Instead, she knows immediately that... she's made a scene. And now she's put Chevy out. And Chevy was too good a person to ever feel like that's what had happened, but here it is.
When the door to Chevy's room opens, Ichika is there. She's wearing her pajamas as well; black and orange, naturally, and a truly shamefaced expression. Her left hand clasps the elbow of her right arm. Her eyes are very red, and she definitely can't look right at the older girl right away.
"Ah, I'm... I'm sorry, Chevy. I didn't mean to wake you. You didn't have to go through all this trouble..."
What Ichika will not find is the crepes that Chevy had just taken a picture of. Rather, not in the same photogenic form -- for what's left of that poor set of crepes is little more than a crime scene, with only one-third of the victim's body remaining, framed with a powdered-sugar outline of what once was. It would seem the redhead's appetite does, in fact, extend beyond poptarts.
Chevy is still cooking, though -- frying up a new batch of crepes, from the looks of it. She turns to the door as it cracks open. This may be a nice hotel and all, but hinges and door-closer pistons still creak. "Ichika!" She seems impervious to Ichika's chiding, beckoning her closer with a sweep of her hand. "Pfft, naw, c'mon in! I'm still jet-lagged. I don't think I ever rightly got off Eastern time." She takes a peek at the clock on the stove: "So ta me, it's like... seven-thirty."
Chevy seems, at the moment, unwilling to leave the crepe unattended. She gestures to one of the rolling chairs just outside the hotel kitchenette. "C'mon, grab a seat! Shouldn't take too long." She then 'happens' to notice the plate again as it comes into view. And puts on a guilty half-smile. "... I... wasn't sure how soon you'd be over." Beat. "Or if you were even up."
Ichika isn't going to resist. Right now, everything feels very tender and raw - and she's glad to have a friend like Chevy here. She's never had anyone make crepes for her in the middle of the night before. And much as Chevy tries to play it off... she's still pretty sure that's what happened. The girl nudges the makeshift doorstop out of the way with one foot and lets it close behind her as she walks up to the indicated chair, settling down and trying not to feel too self-conscious about. Well. Everything.
"Ah, congratulations on your fight!" She says, glad for the topic of conversation to just, not, address what has obviously gotten her so worked up. "It was amazing. You both really gave it your all. I wish I could have been there to cheer you on..." She gives a nervous little laugh, "My fight was over, much more quickly. And Bouvier-san is, something special. But ... but I am proud of my performance. Truly. It was a loss that I learned a great deal from."
Yes. Just keep talking about fighting. Fighting is a safe topic.
"Aww, thanks! Yeah... Ayala was a tough cookie! If we'd tussled before our trip to Mt Shasta she woulda had me for -sure-."
Even with her attention divided between Ichika and the crepe, it's fairly easy for Chevy to pick up on the younger Thunderite's mannerisms. For the moment, though, Miss Beaumont is happy to let Ichika cope however she sees fit.
"Yeah? I was truckin' about town yesterday, I hain't got time to watch your fight yet. Wanna tell me more about it?"
She seems content to stand in front of the stove for the time being, but then she 'coincidentally' remembers: "Oh! If you want some of the strawberries, I done washed and cut some." She gestures towards a saucer with several sliced open, on the counter. "Glad to have company at this hour..."
Ichika scoots the chair closer to the offered saucer, and takes a strawberry. She pops it into her mouth, and finally smiles. Some of the spark comes back into her eyes.
"Thank you." She says, and then... well.
"It really was a fascinating fight. I couldn't read her at all. Even when we fought Miyama-sensei, I could tell what he was trying to do, I just couldn't... stop, very much of it. At least until he took away my connection. Then I couldn't read him any more than I could read her."
She purses her lips thoughtfully at that, and makes a soft little 'hmm' noise.
"Even when she summoned energy. Normally, I can kind of ... feel it, when it is around. But not this time. It was like trying to fight blindfolded." She sighs softly, "It would, perhaps, have made things easier if I had won. But I still came close. I could at least see that I had her barely able to stand at the very end."
"Mm-hmm?" Chevy is an attentive listener, having picked up on a number of "aisatsu" in her brief trip to Japan. "Right, I remember that..." Her brow creases as Ichika mentions feeling blindfolded; it's not something she would have expected. "Even with all that flashy stuff she does... nothing?"
Thankfully, it won't be long before the first fresh crepe is ready. Chevy slides it off the griddle onto a fresh plate, gives it a fresh dusting of powdered sugar, and hands the plate over to Ichika with both hands. "<Here you go>," Chevy says, making use of what little Japanese she knows.
But -- that's just one crepe, and they're small, so she turns back to the stove to prepare another. "Mm, so you were pretty evenly matched up despite all that, huh. I wonder how I'd do against her..."
Chevy does seem to let her attention linger on the crepe a bit more than strictly necessary. Mostly because she -is- contemplating a pivot back around to the topic that brought the pair together.
Ichika really does appreciate the lengths Chevy is going through to cheer her up. She's smiling properly, now, even if her eyes are still sore and it still feels like she's been giving a kicking. Even more of one than she had when she woke up after her fight, really. It wasn't as shattering as the loss to Nixie had been; that, she'd felt was within her grasp but for her own mistake. This loss... well. As soon as the first blow landed, she knew that it was going to be unlike any other fight she had engaged in. That she did as well as she did is something she can take real pride in.
"She does... something." Ichika says, slowly. "But I can't explain it. It doesn't, fit. At the end, she looked as though she was summoning lightning. But I've seen someone summon lightning. It looked like lightning, but it wasn't, at all. I don't know what it was. Other than, strong."
She takes a bite of her crepe, and straightens up, blinking a couple of times.
"Ah, Chevy! You're such a good cook!!"
Chevy grins; the barest hint of red tinges her freckled cheeks. "Aww, thanks! I'm glad you like it!" After what she'd heard earlier, any joy she can bring her friend is time well-spent. Chevy's own eyes seem a little less weary than when when Ichika first arrived, so there's that, too.
"Huh. ... You know, I think I -do- know what you mean. About how with most fighters you can tell when they're about to pull off somethin' nuts. Like Buck's animal parts, and your blue shieldy thingie." Such highly technical descriptions are the hallmark of Chevy's devoted field of study.
"Well, I know you'd take her in the rematch, from how you'd described it. Which might be good if, like, you fight Iris next week." She tends to the crepe on her pan, flipping it quickly, before looking back to Ichika. "They seemed to be pretty closely matched when they fought last time..."
Ichika laughs just a little at the description 'blue shieldy thingie'. It is good to feel as though the world is not falling in on her. She'd meant it when she told Chevy that everything had been worthwhile just for their friendship; and she's reminded again how rare and valuable that friendship truly is at this moment in time.
"I don't know if that's true." She admits, about the possibility of winning the rematch. "Her style is... amateurish. She doesn't really know how to throw a punch or wield the weapons she summons. That is only going to improve over time. Whatever she's doing, she has so much raw talent at it that she overcame my defenses easily. I'm actually a little frightened to think what someone like that might be capable of when they are fully trained."
She takes another bite of her crepe, and begins to properly relax. Her favourite food. Her best friend. Everything is going to be alright.
"It is interesting to think how we would have fared if our situations were reversed though. You are better at acting on instinct than I am. I wonder if my sword could have overcome Feldspar-san..."
"... Oh." Chevy listens, seemingly preoccupied with the crepe, but also with that other matter. "I dunno, I mean, I -hope- you're right? I guess I do think well on my feet."
She slips the crepe onto a second plate, so as not to disturb the one Ichika's using. And continues right on for a third crepe.
"But I'm pretty sure you'd've done alright against Ayala. She was tricky, but -- wild like an animal, she still followed the 'rules' when it comes to knowin' how to handle herself in a fight."
Chevy steps back from the stovetop, scratching at her chin... and drawing in her breath. She takes one more glance over at Ichika. Smiling at how much she's enjoying the food.
"... Genie looks like she ain't even really fightin', don't she?"
"Mm. I hope I get to try, one day. But I am glad that I fought Genie." Ichika says, clearly distracted enough not to think about the names, though the food is doing a great job of keeping her spirits high - Chevy really is a very good cook. And she really did need that boost at this moment in time. "I didn't know that people could fight like that. It feels like every fight I have, I learn something new that I couldn't have known before."
She gives a soft chuckle, shaking her head, "I suppose it is only natural..." She starts, and then she sighs, shaking her head. "Chevy. You, probably know me as well as anyone at this point. Do you think... I'm a selfish person?"
Back home, cooking was something of a chore. But living as they are out of a hotel, Chevy has found that she misses the tastes of home more than she enjoys the sensation of new food in new places. And this is largely due to the fact that Sunshine City cuisine doesn't really taste appealing to her at all. So she's more than happy to share her love of cuisine.
"Yeah! That's been the most amazing part about this place. I got to talk things over..." She trails off, but after a moment, she purses her lips at the crepe and makes an adjustment.
"... I came to realize," she continues, "what my paw really loved about fighting. It was the question I never really got a good answer from him about. And it was just that... everyone 'speaks' different. Some with their fists. And some with swords and blue shieldy thingies." She grins -- knowing full well that her technical precision will doubtless be understood through nuance, if nothing else.
But, when Ichika asks her question, the girl may find that she now has Chevy's complete and undivided attention.
"Selfish?" All but the barest trace of humor has vacated her expression; her lips press into a concerned line. "Naw. Like, you took care of us when we got hurt, yeah? So naw, I wouldn't think 'selfish' applies. Why?"
Cooking is something Ichika has always approached from a purely functional standpoint. She has mostly done preparation; working in the kitchen whilst her mother serves. Her cooking is good enough, but it is basic. Functional. There's little love in it. But the more she eats this delicious food, the more she can feel the genuine care that Chevy has put into it. It's a silly, emotional thought... but it is also true, and as her friend explains the Truth that she has come to understand, Ichika can forget her own troubles for a while.
"It's wonderful, isn't it?" She asks, "From the outside, fighting looks ... unpleasant. Violent. But it doesn't have to be."
Those bright blue eyes of hers lift from her plate to meet Chevy's gaze levelly. The puffy redness is still very evident. "My parents want me to come home. I told them no." And then her gaze drops, and she admits, very quietly. "I've never told them 'no' on something like that before."
"Yeah. I've been lucky that everyone I've encountered fighting has been, like, cool about it. Seein' it as a way to talk, or communicate, y'know, rather than just goin' outta their way to lay the hurt on." For the longest time, Chevy felt like the odd one out for being enthusiastic about fighting. It's nice to be able to talk through these things with Ichika, as someone who clearly 'gets' it. She simply can't help but smile when talking about her experiences with the NFG.
Family matters, though? That's... different. Serious. And Chevy blinks back, with some measure of concern.
When Ichika looks aside, she turns back to the pan. She has a few concerns to weigh -- not the least of which, the difference between her own situation and Ichika's.
And the first thing she does is turn the heat off.
She turns back -- looking towards the plate, but not right -at- Ichika until she sees the girl's gaze lift. "Well, I mean, it won't be the last time." She follows that up with a brief, mirthless chuckle. "Now, I'm not tryin' to be silly about it. Just that... it's tough, right? Saying 'no,' that's a huge step."
Chevy steps more fully away from the stovetop, lacing her fingertips together and letting them hang freely. "You think it's selfish?" Her voice is warm, compassionate, and -- she hopes -- free of judgment.
The girl runs her hand through her hair, making it spike as it always does. She's not ignorant of the fact that Chevy has a very different relationship with her parents; it makes her feel a little guilty just talking about it with her, really. She doesn't know all the details, but she's not so ignorant to have missed the fact that Chevy's relationship with her father was obviously ... complicated.
"I owe my parents a lot." Ichika says, "They've supported me. They love me. They don't always understand ... anything, about what I'm doing, but they work hard to provide for me. I can't ask for better than that. I'm so lucky."
One hand balls into a fist on the table and her gaze drops to the crepe. She's stopped eating. At least for the moment. "If I were a dutiful daughter, I would do as they ask. Go home. Study hard. Repay them for their kindness. But..."
And here, her voice cracks.
Chevy nods back in response. A nod for everything Ichika says. As a loving, caring daughter to a loving, caring mother, she's in full agreement with everything Ichika says. But even if she weren't, she'd likely be nodding anyway -- as a compassionate friend.
And Chevy is also not ignorant that the family dynamics of an Asian family are very different from those in Western culture. The child is to bring honor to their family, first and foremost. If the family asks, it is the responsibility of the child to answer in the affirmative. Not... 'no.' Chevy bites her lip, nodding. For Ichika's statement is not wrong.
But neither is the statement of intent, to the independent, free-willed American. The one who has seen everything Ichika has accomplished, and may even bear witness to what -will- be accomplished.
Chevy lifts the third crepe from the pan, sliding it on top of the second. Just to ensure it's not sitting there burning to a crisp.
And then Chevy walks over to wrap her arm about Ichika's shoulders.
"Ichika, I'm so sorry you're caught up in this situation right now."
She gives Ichika's shoulder a brief squeeze.
It's a few seconds before she steps back, still keeping her hand in place. She'll speak whenever she can make eye contact again. Her own heart is fluttering, her eyes swimming with mixed emotions. But she's able to hold it together, like a 'big sister' should.
"They're proud of you, Ichika. What had them changin' their mind all of a sudden?"
She has a feeling she knows the answer already. But that's not as important...
It is a difficult thing. Ichika has had to do many difficult things in recent weeks; she's confronted her fears and her doubts. She's spoken her piece directly to Imawano-sensei. She's even accepted that she belongs in the team, and that she can trust her sponsors to know her weaknesses better than she knows them herself. To trust that they will guide her. All of those challenges, even allowing herself not to see every loss as inherently a *failure*, pales in comparison to confronting the well-meaning love of her parents.
And the horrible things she had said to them.
She leans into the embrace, grateful for it, and closes her eyes. It was the right thing, to come here. Before the mountain, perhaps she wouldn't have done it; afraid to let Chevy see such a vulnerable, childish part of herself. But. It was the right thing to do. It helps soothe her injured heart.
"There are probably many reasons." She says, when she reopens her eyes. "They don't like my new outfit. They don't like that I am so far from home. They don't like the sponsors. Lightheart-sensei especially. But, mostly, it is because I am losing. If I had won every battle, there would be no question that I am doing the right thing."
She sighs, and bows her head.
"For the first time, they see me as a failure."
Chevy knows some of the horrible things. She doesn't particularly feel like asking about the rest. But she -is- glad that Ichika has chosen to confide in her -- and that she'll do anything she can for her dear friend.
She listens. And she lets her hand stay resting on Ichika's shoulder -- a tether, to assure here that it's okay. That she's here, as a friend, and listening.
She listens passively, only giving a nod here and there. Right up until Ichika mentions... losing. At which point her expression softens, her lips border on a frown.
The F word, though. That gets Ichika drawn into another, tighter, hug.
Ichika would likely feel the sigh on her crown. "Aww, Ichika..." She squeezes tightly. "Hey... do you mind if I give you another way o' lookin' at that?"
Ichika can resist. But she'll continue anyway, even as she pulls back. She'd try to make eye contact -- drooping her head if she has to.
"I don't think that's how they see you. Not one bit. -I- think they see their baby girl struggling. And -I- think they want to help you the only way that they've ever known to work."
Chevy reaches out -- and sweeps the unruly locks out of Ichika's face. She smiles, reassuringly. "-I think... they just want to give you a big hug an' tell you everything's gonna be fine. And it's breakin' their heart that they can't."
There's no resistance from Ichika as she is squeezed and hugged; not even when Chevy makes her make eye contact. The girl's gaze is stormy; a dark blue, seething with the pain and recrimination she feels. She does feel so much better to have someone to talk to. If she were on her own, trying to deal with these feelings by herself, she would be falling deeper and deeper into despair. But by now, Chevy knows very well the girl's tendency to get lost in her own mind. When every thought spirals into a dozen other possibilities, it is very difficult not to get overwhelmed when all of those possibilities are dire.
The suggestion, though, gets a wan smile from the girl. "That's... a nice thought. Thank you."
Does she really believe it? No. They had been clear. They thought she was making a mistake. They don't think everything will be fine. But it is nice to entertain the prospect that they might be acting from that place. Stranger things have happened, after all.
"I don't doubt that they have my best interests at heart." She says, softly. "But I don't know how to explain to them that this isn't, optional, for me any more. Yes, it is much, much harder than I had thought it would be. But if I stop now, I will never learn how far I could have gone. I need to know what I can do. It..."
She takes a deep breath, and - laughs. A bark of nervous, self-effacing laughter as she runs her hand through those messy locks of hers.
"It feels like I've only just begun to glimpse how wonderful, and terrifying, and impossible, the world really is. How can I go back now? The unanswered questions would drive me mad! But... they, aren't like you and me. They think fighting is just, win, or lose. How can I make them see how beautiful it really is?"
So Chevy doesn't know everything. She never really claimed to, much like she'd never win a spelling bee, or take home the quiz bowl trophy. She can tell that Ichika might not... -fully- take Chevy's alternative explanations as the correct ones. But the thoughts are there -- positive thoughts to counteract all the discordant vibes swimming about in those storm blue eyes.
Chevy's eyes are bright blue, like the boundless sky. Unclouded and hopeful, as she walks alongside Ichika through the wilderness of self-doubt.
"Then tell them that."
It's such a simple statement that it practically begs for an explanation. And that much, freckle-faced Chevy can do.
Chevy steps back, resting her hands on her hips. "The first thing you told me about your fight just now was how proud you were, right? Not because of the loss -- but because of what you -learned-, what you -gained- from it." She holds up a fist, looking off hopefully into the distance. "I'm sure some book-smart person would talk about the lessons you learned on the way or somethin', right?" She grins, turning back to Ichika. "Carry your folks along with you on this path we're on, is all I'm sayin'. All they can -see- is us goofballs tripping over our own shoelaces out there."
Chevy pivots for a moment -- and then snags her phone from the countertop. Scrolling through it, she continues: "Better yet -- don't let them corner you into bein' proud of yourself. Show them what you're up to!"
Chevy presents her phone screen to Ichika, holding it like a framed photo in front of herself. On screen: a group selfie she'd taken of the the three atop Mt Shasta, with the surrounding majesty of northern California looking a pale and distant blue in the background.
"-We- see an Ichika who's shining like a star. Leading us into victory like the true Super Elite should. Can we show her *this* Ichika too?"
It's an interesting lesson in some ways. Ichika might not believe that what Chevy says is true, in the absolute sense of the word, and truth is very important to her ... but it is a lie she can find comfort in. Perhaps a part of the truth amplified in a bigger way? There's no doubt that her parents do care. Their constant support throughout her life has been unyielding, and that is what makes the loss of it - or not even that, really, but the threat that she might lose it - so impossibly painful. She knows they want what is best for her. She just also knows that they don't, perhaps can't, see that her pain and losses ... might well be what she needs.
If she hadn't lost so many times and in so many ways, would she even have pushed herself as hard as she has? If victory came as easily to her as it had in her dreams, would she have had the inclination to seek out her own study, ask more from her tutors, or climb a literal mountain and battle the powerful guardian atop it?
She listens, of course, to everything Chevy says. It's a simple idea, and yet a difficult one. Bridging that gulf of understanding is not going to be easy. Can she even do it?
But when the photo is shown so proudly, and Chevy actually calls her Super Elite?
Ichika's heart melts.
"Y-you really think so highly of me." She murmurs, "I... I don't know what I did to, earn that from you. But. I. Thank you, Chevy."
And of course, looking at that picture she remembers how difficult it had been; the journey, the battle, the return, all of it bound up in so many different flavours of challenge. Challenge that she had overcome, with her friends.
Of course she could make her parents understand. She is Kasumoto Ichika. With Team Thunder supporting her, there is nothing she could not do.
"I -do!- We all do! When you took charge in that fight ... sure, I had my doubts." She smiles, no longer afraid of the repercussions of that admission. "I would've given in." She stiffens her spine, talking like a wooden puppet to a proverbial figure standing just beyond Ichika's far shoulder. "Fighting Miyama-sensei would've been childish, irresponsible, and we could've really gotten hurt, aaaaah, we better not do this." Rolling her eyes, she turns back to Ichika with a smirk just brimming with smugness. "I -did- have my doubts. But I knew that out of the three of us, you had the best read on the situation, because you barked out orders to us. And we showed him how much we were really -worth-." Glancing down, she even thinks about the things that were said then.
Then she meets Ichika's gaze with her own. "We showed him our Truth, right?"
Chevy breaks away from Ichika's orbit, scooting back around to the counter, where she gives the remaining crepes a thorough blanketing of powdered sugar. "I don't know your folks. But they love you a lot, Ichika. And I just know that when they see you the way *we* see you, everything'll be all right."
Chevy slides the plate closer to Ichika. There when she's ready for it. "So how about a new mission for each of us, huh? Send home a selfie every day. Just to remind the folks at home how we're doin'."
Ichika is taken back to the fight as well. She'd been scared, too. But she'd also been determined. She wanted answers, and she knew that even if she were injured in the process - she would get them, if she fought for them. Maybe it had been irresponsible to drag Chevy and Buck into the combat alongside her... but they had gotten answers as well. Buck had developed his techniques far beyond what he thought he was capable of, and Chevy too had demonstrated incredible skill when she was put to the challenge.
"We did." She says with a smile, a genuine one this time. It even touches her eyes. "That is what it is all about. To try and show each other, who we really are. To be acknowledged."
Maybe that is why the fact her parents hadn't done so immediately hurt her so deeply; her friends saw it. Her sponsors saw it when she didn't even see it in herself. Everyone she met had been so pleasant and encouraging. To face that rejection of who she believes she truly is from her own family... it was an attack from an angle she hadn't thought possible, and just like Genie's assault, it had sheared through her defenses and left her with only desperation to fuel her response.
"Aah... that is, a very good idea." She says, pulling the plate the rest of the way in front of her. She lifts up her fork again, and a slight blush colours her cheeks.
"I am going to have to apologise, though. I said some ... unkind, things to them. Being angry and hurt is not an excuse."
Chevy's been through her own trials. And her mother had been there for her in the finals. Just when she'd thought that her mother -hadn't- been paying attention, that she -wouldn't- understand... she did. And with surprising accuracy, she was able to give Chevy the support that was needed.
So she gets it. It's easy to feel lost, confused, and alone, halfway across the planet from the people you need most. But these days it's also easy to keep that connection alive.
"Sure -- I figured you would." She smiles openly, bringing her forgotten plate with the mostly-eaten crepes over, and pulling up a chair beside Ichika, as she talks. "You're passionate about what you believe in. You say what's on your mind. And folks ain't always ready for that. But your family -- they trust you'll do the right thing, just like I do."
But something that might not have been obvious as she picked up her plate was that Chevy had tucked her phone -under- the plate. And when she scoots her chair next to Ichika -- she's leaving the plate in her lap, while raising her phone overhead. And it's in selfie mode.
"So you're either gonna be happy or angry at me in three seconds. I'll trust you the same either way!"
Ichika makes a decision, as Chevy talks. It's an important one. Just as she had when Peng You had asked her to trust that he and the rest of their sponsors would know what areas she needed to improve in to become a better fighter, and that she shouldn't let herself spiral into self-destruction critiquing what she thought was wrong... she decides that she is going to trust that Chevy has a read on her parents. Not because she thinks Chevy has special insight, or because there's any real evidential basis for that.
But because the world that Chevy is painting for her is one she WANTS to believe in. And, maybe, the older teenager does know more about family dynamics than she does. She definitely has a good read on Ichika. She does have the unfortunate tendency to be absolutely earnest and true to a fault when saying what she thinks.
"Thank you, Chevy." She says, "Truly. I feel a lot better now." Though, she does look a little quizzical, glancing up at the phone then back to Chevy with a confused expression.
"Why am I going to be mad?"
Chevy's smile reaches a new level of brightness as Ichika admits that she was helpful. Though, it could be related to her latest gambit.
"Hm? Oh." She hesitates, thus -definitively- breaking the three-second contract she'd just mentioned. "... My agent said I should post more social media, and pajamas and bedhead is what we're going with."
She wiggles her phone with one hand, flashing a v-sign with the other. The screen turns white, bathing the crepe-enjoyers in light.
"So... say cheese?"
And Chevy snaps the trigger, showing off her biggest, goofiest smile!
Poor Ichika. Arguably there's simply no way she could look anything *but* adorable in the setup that her friend has so carefully concocted!
The photo will show the girl staring in wide-eyed astonishment. Which would be endearing enough with how vividly blue her eyes are; but there's still the faint hint of redness which betrays the extreme emotional rollercoaster that the evening has been (and which the fighting fans of the world are very likely to misinterpret given the context). Then there's the way the girl's mouth hangs just slightly open, the fact that she looks for all the world like she's wearing Justice High pajamas, and the delicious crepe half-eaten in frame.
When the moment has passed and it is far too late to do anything about it, Ichika's hands clasp to her face, as though that will somehow help to hide the blush radiating out from between her fingers.
"Ah, Chevy!! Th-that's totally not faaaaaair!"
Log created on 05:24:29 07/06/2023 by Ichika, and last modified on 09:15:42 07/07/2023.