Description: After what Coco did to Chevy, Ichika asks to meet Djamila.
It had not been an easy thing for Ichika to reach out to Djamila. She wasn't sure the older woman would even want anything to do with her. She was still sketchy on the details of what had actually happened, but she'd definitely been through a lot lately. She would hardly blame her if Djamila had declined the offer completely. Instead, she'd asked to meet back at the beach, and of course Ichika has accepted.
The cleanup efforts have gone down well. People are starting to use the beach again. Ichika herself looks well enough; dressed in her fighting outfit with the addition of a freshly-bandaged left hand. The girl is pretty sure that Djamila will find her. She seems to have an uncanny knack for it.
It's midday, the sun is high in the blue sky, the weather is good and the surf laps at the sand. There's plenty here to enjoy. But even though she's sure she's doing the right thing, Ichika's stomach feels as though she has swallowed a stone. To try and let go of her own pride like this is ... challenging.
But there are things she must do, and that wounded pride threatens to send her down a path she has seen and does not like. She has to do it. Whether she likes the thought or not.
Djamila doesn't know what Ichika has in mind. That has been going through my mind ever since that email. She's not worried that Ichika is going to try to kill her or anything like that. They might not be each other's greatest fans, but she doesn't wish deep harm to Ichika and she's pretty sure it's the same for Ichika toward her.
Right now Dwayne and Marcus are driving her. She is with her bodyguards. Again not because of Ichika, but with what happened before, Mint wouldn't let her leave without them. She also promised she wouldn't try to ditch them. She doesn't want to repeat what happened before.
The car finally arrives at the beach parking. They all get out of the car together, but then Djamila turns toward them. "Stay a good distance away. What Ichika wants to say might be private. So let's not make it weird." The guards nod at Djamila and let her walk ahead of them. They are a good distance away by the time they start walking.
Djamila makes her way to the beach. She even turns toward Ichika at one point. Almost creepy. She walks toward her until she's in front of her. "Hello, Ichika." She gives a bow. "Of course, she also has her staff, but she rarely goes without. She isn't sure what else to say. "I was surprised when I was told you wanted to see me. But I couldn't say no." After that, she goes silent so Ichika can speak if she wishes.
Ichika observes the bodyguards, but she doesn't seem too perturbed by them. "Hello... Djamila." She says, forcing herself to use the woman's given name. With her, in particular, it feels sour. Other cultures didn't feel this way, she knew, but she can't shake the intimacy that it is supposed to represent. But it isn't Djamila's custom, and it isn't America's either. She has to try and show willing.
"Yes. I imagine you would have been surprised." She says, turning to look back out over the ocean. "I've been very clear that I have little to say to you. This is something of a change of heart, but. I've been doing a lot of reflecting lately."
She takes a deep breath, sighs, and pinches the bridge of her nose as she closes her eyes. "I am bad at this sort of thing. I apologise if I ramble too much. But I am grateful you came. You have no obligation to me, but you chose to give me your time anyway. Thank you, for that."
"It's not like I did a lot for us to not have a lot to say to one another, Kasumoto-san." She tries. If Ichika can force herself the other way, Djamila can try this way, when she thinks of it. "Is that right? This is so weird to me. Because of my self upbringing."
" She takes a deep breath. "I am surprised and curious but not afraid. I need the bodyguards with me, but they are not because of you. I do not fair for my life." She tries to explain without adding any powder to their history.
She waves her hand "You take the time you need. I will do my best to not upset you either. This looks important. I also had my point of view kind of moved around lately. So, yes." She kind of is walking on eggshells. She also knows what happened to Chevy now, but she's not mentioning it right now.
"Mm. I will try to get right to the point."
Ichika takes a second deep breath. It's a funny thing; she had thought this might be easier in the aftermath of her first official victory. But in truth, that had no bearing on this. It had been a good fight. She had learned some good lessons, and found a new appreciation for Brian Storm. But it didn't make her feel any more confident about this at all.
"I don't know if you are aware of what happened between Chevy and Constance Coalbridge." She says, "The short version is that she attacked her when the fight was already finished, and then tried to humiliate her even further. It was..." Here, she struggles to find the right words. Falters. Starts again.
"Chevy is my friend." She says, "I have few of them. Just three, really. To see one of them disrespected so thoroughly. To see her *rejected*. Especially after the beautiful display Chevy had shared with us all... it turned my stomach."
She lets the silence hang. Because there's an obvious question here, and it is one that she is having to work her way up to.
What on earth does this have to do with Djamila?
"It's ok. If you were someone else, I didn't want to see at all. I wouldn't have come in the first place. I am here, and I am not leaving until you're able to say what you wanna say." She just gets more curious.
Until Chevy is mentioned. This could go in two ways, but she makes a face because she did hear about it Chevy and Coco. Chevy helped her when she could have just let her be fucked up. She's mad at Coco. "I heard about it. Honestly, I want to get Coco for this. If there's one girl out of the three of us who for sure didn't earn that, it's Chevy." She tightens her hold on the staff but then takes a deep breath. Anger won't serve here.
"Chevy is my friend too. I mean, maybe for her, it was just the right thing to do, I am not saying I am her friend, but she's mine. If you need any help to deal with the situation you could me in, no questions asked."
As Ichika goes silent, and she isn't sure if she is right or if it's something else. "Congratulation on your win. I don't know if you will believe me, but I am happy for you." She also would like to apologize for the last time, but she decides to wait. To not make things more awkward at the moment.
Ichika nods along with everything Djamila says. She's very quiet. When she's sure there's no more to come, she makes the confession.
"What I would have done to you, if I had won when we fought, would have been much worse."
She turns back to face Djamila then, bright blue eyes staring right into the blindfold. There. She had said it.
"It would have been a mistake." She says, softly. "I understand that now. That, isn't what fighting should be. Until I saw it from the other side, I didn't really... grasp it. I spent a lot of time thinking about how I would grind you beneath my heel. The things I would make you say. To force you to acknowledge me. And, if I did that, I would be ... like, her. Worse, even. I don't want to walk down that path. If I carry on as I have been, this, hatred, between us? It will unbalance me."
Djamila takes in what Ichika says. It hurts to hear. What would have happened to her if she had lost? She could get mad right now at Ichika. Make what is between them last much longer. But Ichika didn't have to admit it. Especially not to her, and Djamila hasn't been tender with Ichika. Ichika is not all to blame for what is going on between them.
For a moment more, she doesn't answer because she's doing an introspection on herself. She doesn't think she could do what happened to Chevy or worse to someone else. Not in NFG. But that doesn't mean she has been good to Ichika at all. She has to speak.
"I don't know if Chevy told you or not. I am not even sure I told Chevy my memory is not top from the beach. But anyway... Not long before I got to the beach, my father tried to kill me." She swallows. She still doesn't like the sound of it when she says it. "I am saying this because it puts into perspective what is going on between us. You could never do what he did." She brings her head down and pauses.
What I told you before at the beach, was unacceptable. There was this anger, and I felt weak, so I had to be strong, even if I wasn't able to fight then. I took my anger out of you because you didn't matter. Because who cares, you're just that girl I hate and who hates me..." Djamila brings her head back up, almost looking into Ichika's eyes, if she didn't have a blindfold on and if she wasn't blind. "All of this, it's very wrong. I apologize for all I did to you. I know it can't erase everything. I don't know what it will make us. But I don't want to take Coco's path, or my father's path." She squeezes her staff heavily again for yet another pause.
She resumes, "Besides, if Chevy likes you, you have to be a good person." She sighs. "It took courage to admit what you just admitted." She stops after that, realizing she's like monologuing this.
Ichika's eyes widen just a little bit at the revelation. It certainly puts her own family problems into perspective. And explains the presence of the bodyguards. "I didn't know more than that you had been attacked." She says, slowly. "I am, sorry, that happened to you."
The rest? Well. The rest is good to hear, but the girl's expression remains serious. "I am not a good person, Djamila." She continues. "Good people don't want to do the things I wanted to do. To you. To Constance Coalbridge. Even to Maclanky-kun. Fighting... fighting has revealed a lot about who I am, in my heart. In some ways that is the joy of it. To learn your Truth, and show it to the world, is a beautiful thing. But some parts of me are ugly. Monstrous, even. They will become more so if I do not cut them away. And so that is what I have resolved to do."
She takes a careful step forward. Another deep breath in, and then out.
"Now. There was another matter. You said you would help me with the, situation, with Constance Coalbridge. Are you still willing to do so?"
"Now you know why I have to be with bodyguards and why I am so angry inside nowadays. The rest is unimportant, but thank you. I will survive to just spite anyone who hates me." She sticks out her tongue, hopefully, it doesn't comes out as playful.
I believe you can be a good person if you wish to be. You want to do things to other people when you fight. I understand." She understands because when she loses most time. she wants to do things to herself, but why should she admit that? "With that say, may your path opens where you wish to go. May you cut anything that stands in that path otherwise." She doesn't know how else to say it. She's not perfect herself, and Ichika is younger than her. Sure she has a hard life, but she hasn't walked into Ichika's shoes either. Nor does she want to.
But now there is talk about Chevy again. "Coco needs a lesson. But you know Chevy better than I do, so I will follow you on this. I am willing to do so." She extends her free hand, seeing if there will be a handshake there, for everything they talked about.
Ichika hesitates for a second, and then she takes the offered hand, squeezing it gently. There's a little flinch from her; the sensation of the bandage against Djamila's palm ought to explain why, but it is only a small pain. She has dealt with far worse, and inflicted far worse on herself to gain far less. "Let every day be a reminder of your father's failure." She says, hoping that this, too, is taken in the spirit it is intended. These things are awkward, but, she is at least earnest in what she says.
"I fought her once before." She says, "I have sworn that I will fight her again, and that when I do, I will not just defeat her but crush her." A pause, and then she sags. "And that is the problem. She's a far better fighter than I am. I've replayed my fight with her and Kuroiwa-san many times in my head and I honestly have no idea how to break her guard or defend myself against her. I know she beat you as well but, as the only other person I know has beaten her is her own teammate, I thought I'd ask you for advice. When you fought her, did you find any weaknesses?"
She releases the hand after a few. "Thank you. Sorry for the pain, but it does tend to make us stronger in the end, like the fire and the hammer on a blade." She's not an expert in blades, but since Ichika is, it's worth trying to connect that way. "I still want a fight with you too, at some point. Though, it should happen in another city. I want to see..." She thinks for a moment. "Your truth. It ought to be epic." She can't help but chuckles. Things are changing. Apparently for the better.
"That might make me a bitch, but if you can't break her body, break her mind. She also relies on her legs a lot, even if she has moves that don't strike them directly. I am not saying to do permanent damage, but if one was to weaken her knees during the fight, it should in theory, weaken her down. So her mind makes her, do a mistake, then capitalize on her knees. That's what I would do. From the data I got in my fight.
"I will look forward to that as well."
Ichika hasn't given up on the desire to fight Djamila again of course, just because she's trying to let go of the drive for revenge that she had seen she didn't like. And as Djamila speaks, Ichika nods along with it. "I don't know that I can beat her psychologically." She says, contemplative, "I'm... not a very good liar." She flashes back in her mind to the 'promo' she had cut with Lyraelle. It had taken them so many tries to get her to look suitably upset at being spoken down to. It'd fooled her parents at least, but... she was starting to suspect that her parents might not be the best judges of how things work in the fighting world.
"The greatest success I had against her was with my ranged attack." She says, thoughtfully. "Perhaps that is the way to go. Try and wear her down from a distance, wear out her legs, and ... mm. Then again, when she took Chevy down..." There's a faintly horrified expression on the girl's face as she remembers that; the way those fists and elbows had hammered over and over into her friend's face.
"... tch, I can see why so many fighters go to Muay Thai. Up close it's a terror."
She listens to Ichika and then says, "I should come to the match and bother her for you." She chuckles. "Then keep the legs in mind and stay away from up close. Fight on your terms. All her attacks, they are made of skins and bones. They can break if necessary. I think of this like "Do what you have to do during the fight. When it's done, then you're done too."
She takes a deep breath. "I can't believe you admitted to me what you did. It must have been so hard. But you don't want to do it. It makes you better than Coco in my book." She gives a smile at that.
"As for range, if you could do a slash at the back of her knee, I think you would be golden." She shrugs. "That's my take on it, but I am not super professional. Just I tend to take notice of some things. You probably took notice of other things."
"Anyway in the end, you can't make her drop her weapons as her body is, but if something happens to those weapons, she can't switch to another either." She shrugs. "She wasn't pleasant. I would have fought harder if my match had been after what happened to Chevy." It still pisses her off.
Ichika nods slowly. "It's a good approach." She says, thoughtfully. "Though, please. When I do fight with her, don't interfere." She doesn't feel the need to elaborate - there's a good chance Djamila was joking anyway and, well, the reason why ought to be obvious. Coco had managed to make enemies of a good portion of the Project in one single kick, it seemed. Ichika might have loudly and determinedly insisted that she wanted the first place in line, but no doubt people were going to be queuing up now that there was a real villain to root against.
"As to the rest... it's important to me that you understand why I don't want to carry this grudge forward." She says, looking down the beach and towards the arena, where quite a crowd is now gathering. "We're all of us walking the Warrior's Road. In some ways, I'm fortunate. If she hadn't demonstrated to me where that path ends up... I might have gone too far down it before we could settle things with only words and promises."
A faint smile, then, and she bows low to Djamila.
"When we fight, I will still make you acknowledge me. But I will acknowledge you as well. That, I think, is the kind of fighter I wish to be."
"When you fight her, you will have her all to yourself. But I want to be there when you do. I will have your back in case she wins again and wants to do even worse than Chevy. Though you will be extra motivated, I am sure. Just, now that I know you better..." She doesn't know what to say. "I don't want anyone to take a cheap shot at you after a fight is done. People in the real world are already so dirty, NFG needs to stay clean. Yeah?" She asks Ichika.
"Maybe that's why you lost until you saw it. Then as soon as you saw this, you won. Life works mysteriously sometimes. I need to learn more things myself. But I will be strong next time we fight. I promise." Then she bows back. "Thank you for this Ichika. We're still rivals though. Just friendly rivals." She smiles some too.
"... maybe." Ichika says, thoughtfully, "My win has... a lot of factors, I think. But it makes sense that would be one of them."
She straightens and smiles, a small, tired thing, but a smile nevertheless. "Thank you, Djamila. Now, I think Buck and Moore-san are fighting down the way. You are welcome to join me if you like, but as I doubt Chevy will be here, I ought to provide support. Thank you, again, for your understanding."
She's sure that Djamila will also understand why it is she needs to be there for Buck right now. She doesn't think that Hawksley is like Coco ... but she hadn't thought that Coco was like Coco either. This could all be part of some plot by Mitsuru and Yuri. It wouldn't surprise her...
... well, it would surprise her a little bit, but she couldn't discount it. School rivalry could make people do crazy things.
"Of course, you know better what happened. Just from the outside, with my 'observations.' I bet our mentors saw things in us back then we just discovered now." She adds.
" I will let you go alone. Just tell Chevy I am sorry it happened when you see her next. If you please. I want to also say thank you again, but I will tell her face to face on that part." She sighs. "If Hawksley acts like Coco, we will team up together and fight them both. Deal?" She smiles.
"Anyway, I enjoyed this Ichika. We're cool now. Take care of yourself, ok?"
Log created on 10:04:40 07/17/2023 by Djamila, and last modified on 19:12:03 07/17/2023.