Okina City is something of a misnomer. A shopping district erected around a highly successful train station otherwise situated in the middle of nowhere, it boasts easy and fast routes through many cities. The transit service is so good that some delinquent students can skip some classes, come here for a while, and get back before school ends.
Surrounded by large multi-story strip malls as far as the eye can see, with benches and fountains along the way to offer places to relax, Okina City has a lot to offer whether you're an overseas immigrant going to Lunarvale, a carrier of the latest gossip from Sumaru, a Port Island tourist, or a simple country resident of Inaba. Okina City attracts all sorts of people from all walks of life.
Many stories and paths begin, diverge, and end here. Like a fool's choice to reach out towards the world through its many challenges and detours, perhaps you will have a story of your own to tell from here... the odds of you never setting foot here in your life are very slim, indeed.
Summer break! And the living is easy. At least it is if you're Shirou. He's still running off the high of being second place in finals... He's reconsidering his options now, really, thinking about following in his Uncle's footsteps...
And he's lost in his head as he steps off the train in Okina City, having called Fumiya to meet him there... he had also texted Thora, but he didn't seriously expect her to show up though.
In fact, just thinking about her made his face go a little dour, that smile dieing off a bit. "Well, least we're here now..."
Exams are over, and while Fumiya didn't exactly do well on them he feels he has earned his time off. On this particular day he had nothing planned, and was originally just going to tear around Inaba on his skateboard again until he stumbled upon something to do. But the LAST time he did that he got into that mysterious motorcycle accident that he still has a hard time remembering properly. So it's probably a good thing Sekigawa called him when he did. Fumiya's been wanting to make a trip out to Okina anyway.
Fumiya is already there, leaning against a wall and waiting for Shirou having gotten an earlier train. "Hey bro." He says with a nod. Folding his arms he regards his fellow student. "So, second place, eh? I'm impressed." And he means it, it's not just empty praise. He certainly couldn't pull that off, especially not with how little time he puts into his studies compared to Shirou.
"So what's your plan, preppy?"
The buzzing of her cellphone followed by the blue illumination of it's screen had been like a beacon within the darkness of Thora's room. Crawling from her bed, she fumbled about, pawing for her phone until a big meaty hand captures it with a decisive swipe.
With a groan, she looks at the message, then sits up. "...what the hell?" she rumbles, "That kid doesn't know when to quit, does he? Nggh..."
Thora is here but she doesn't show herself, sticking to the shadows and actually honest-to-god stalking Shirou from a distance. Just what was that kid up to? And why the hell is Fumiya here too?!
The relief of exams being over seems to be a recurring theme. It wasn't just tne end of incessant studying and testing, however. To quote the philosopher Alice Cooper: School's out for summer! No more pencils! No more books! No more sensei's dirty looks!
Which also brings about the question: Now what?
For the DDR-obsessed there was only one place to go: The video arcade in Okina had not one, not two, but a full half-dozen of the machines available! There were even rumors of a DDR tournament to be held later in August! And what tournament would be complete without at least one Itoh competing?
This is what brings the youngest of the clan to the city, along with her good friend and classmate Aigis. These days its not a good idea to travel alone. Hinata follows Shirou shortly off the train, eyebrows lifting as she remembers seeing him from somewhere. The shrine, wasn't it, with Tomonari-san and that creepy kid with the crowbar. She's about to call over when she catches who he's heading towards...
Sweet Odin, she hasn't seen that much neon since Mom showed her Aunt Bethany's Jem doll collection.
Aigis is following along behind Hinata. Her thoughts are mysterious but she is keeping her eyes open and focused, looking around the city as if hoping to find someone in particular, but she doesn't actually say anything. It is hard to miss Fumiya and her eyes widen slightly as she sees him, but he doesn't exactly rush off to say 'hallo'. Instead she gives another glance Shirou's way, eyeballing him for a moment, and then back to Hinata. "That is Fumiya-San." She tells her. "He calls people babe."
That is everything that one needs to know about Fumiya.
Shirou feels... he doesn't know, a presence watching him? Whatever it was, it does cause him to look over his shoulder as he walks over to Watanabe. "Don't call me preppy. And... yeah, thanks for that. Too bad that kid beat me even still." He grumps a bit, sticking his hands into his pockets, smirking just a bit as he tilts his head back.
"Figure we'd hit up the arcade first, grab something to eat and maybe a movie? I... kinda was hoping someone else had shown up too, but whatever." He turns a bit, and then spots Hinata and Aigis... it takes him a moment to match Hinata's face to a name, but once he does, he gives her a bit of a nod and wave. "I think I know that one" He mutters to Fumiya... this is going to end badly, he thinks in the back of his mind.
Saying to Fumiya 'don't call me that' is pretty much a sure-fire way to get him to remember to call you that. He might not do it right away, but he'll remember. For now, he just smirks. He's not the slightest bit familiar with the guy who got top marks, but he's heard people talking like it was expected. Maybe he'll meet the guy someday.
"Sounds like a good time, I'm up for it." He's not sure what's playing, and he somehow doubts the theatre will be showing movies from the 80s, so he'll take whatever.
As soon as Shirou mentions 'someone else', Fumiya jumps to the obvious conclusion. "What, is Thora-babe not coming?" It's an obvious conclusion to Fumiya, since Thora is the only other person he knows Shirou hangs out with. Though he puts that thought on pause when he sees Aigis arrive. "Yo, Aigis-babe, escaped from the clutches of high school too?" He says, making it abundantly clear to Hinata that what Aigis said about him was absolutely right. Regarding Hinata, when Shirou mentions he might know that one, Fumiya straightens his collar and grins. "Going to introduce me, then?"
Stealthily like some kind of gigantic infiltrating...giant (Solid Troll maybe?), Thora stalks after the pair, vying to edge closer so she can hear what they're talking about. She knew Fumiya had plenty to gossip on about her given their last set of encounters. Shirou too given their last...uh, talk. Yes, this is an information-gathering mission for /herself/.
As she nears, a familiar smell assails her, gaze inorexably drawn towards Aigis and thus Hinata as well. Not only that but they seem to be gravitating in the direction of Fumiya and Shirou.
Thora frowns, immediately jumping to certain conclusions. "...well.." she murmurs, "...it /is/ for the best." How they'd pull of dating Aigis is anyone's guess. She doubts Aigis really understands the full implications of 'dating.'
"Babe?" Hinata's still trying to make her head wrap around that such colors actually exist, so Aigis's wisdom doesn't catch on at first. There is the notion that she should do more than just smile at Shirou, and she gives him a quick wave even as she's stills staring at his companion. And there are those who call her wierd for keeping her hair a natural auburn!
The two groups converage, which rather does appear that they possibly could be double dating. A closer inspection will notice the crease crossing the ponytailed girl's brow, however. "'Aigis-babe?' I guess you were right," she nods to her companion. Fumiya is just fortunate that Anna Itoh isn't here to massively facepalm before delivering motherly justice to Robert Dowannabe Junior. "I'm Hinata, Hinata Itoh," she introduces herself with a cheery, if awkward, grin.
If Aigis is dating, she's doing a poor job of it, but a poor job is one would expect of Aigis when she's dating so, who knows. She hasn't seen Thora yet because Fumiya is rather distracting just by being Fumiya. She doesn't tell Fumiya to stop calling her babe, nor does she show any emotional reaction to the term. She may still yet be undecided with how to react to such a thing and so defaults to 'nothing'. "It is Summer." She says, glancing to Hinata for a few moments and nodding to her simply. "Hinata-San is a friend of mine. Please be nice to her, Fumiya-San." She may not have said that if she knew what 'nice' meant to Fumiya, but.
Shirou's eye twitches a bit, as he punches Fumiya's arm just a bit, not intending to hurt, but to sting just a bit. "Shut up Watanabe." Nail on the head, but he wasn't about to admit it. "That's -yeah, Hinata-san, right? Nice to see you again, 's been a while"
He gives a reserved bow, but really he doesn't seem to be /that/ happy to see them. He's also kind of spooked by Aigis' voice, as he shrugs a bit. "Err, so... you guys must be off of school now too, huh?" He tries at the small talk, but is quickly feeling out of place.
Shirou's punch just earns a another smirk from Fumiya. He knows when he's right, and he loves it, but he lets it go for now. Thora still hasn't appeared on Fumiya's babe-dar, so he remains oblivious to her totally effective stalking of them.
"But I'm nice to everyone, aren't I Aigis-babe?" Fumiya replies, telling a little white lie. As far as he's concerned he's nice to everyone, but not everyone sees it that way. Still, the day was shaping up to be pretty good, so he decides to restrain himself for the sake of making it last. He doesn't drop the 'babe' thing though. "Pleased to meet you, Hinata-babe, I'm Fumiya." He knows Aigis already introduced him, but you have to do those things yourself.
As if sensing Shirou's distress, Fumiya gives him a counter-punch on the arm. "Hey come on bro, it's the summer, we're off from school, let's enjoy ourselves eh?"
Getting closer to the group proves to be something Thora has trouble deciding if she /really/ wants to do. Why would the two invite other girls over /and/ her? Did they really expect her to be some kind of fifth wheel?
It's tempting to just shove off and leave. Shirou does look a little uncomfortable there though-and she doesn't blame him. She knows how...forward the Itohs can be.
Against her better judgement, the giant teenager emerges from her hiding spot and casually approaches from behind Hinata and Aigis. It'd take blindness to not see her coming.
He does recognize her! That brightens Hinata's day even more, "Shirou-san, right? It has been a while!" And he's not stumbling over himself on the sidewalk too! "Yeah, what Aigis said. Its summer!!!" The cheer comes with a fist pumped into the air, that may or may not have come inches from clocking Thora in the jaw. "Uh."
Said fist instantenously switches to jazz hands mode. "Sorry, Thora-san," she apologizes profusely, "I didn't see you there, uh." Did the guy in the Day-Glo jacket just call her babe too? It must be a regional dialect from some odd part of Japan. Osaka? "Hey, that's exactly what we came here for. Me 'n Aigis were off to the arcade for some DDR!"
Aigis doesn't look back towards Thora immediately. Her back is turned, perhaps she hadn't noticed, or maybe she is listening--waiting to confirm her steps to be sure it really is her, she has a particular heaviness to her walk but, of course, it could just be a big guy too. "I see, well, it is important to consider the feelings of those you are nice to, is it not?" She smiles faintly, however, and then finally turns around approaching her.
She looks into her eyes for a few moments and then walks closer and just hugs her--in fact it's a o_ohug--without any warning whatsoever. This might have something to do with that Phaeton mess.
Oh thank the Gods THora did show-wait is she getting hugged?
Shirou gawks just a bit, before recovering himself and shaking his head. "Err, I g-guess you guys know Kobayashi-san already." At least he's keeping up some sort of appereance. "And, hey, we were going to hit up the arcade too... funny that." He mutters a bit, glancing towards Fumiya.
"So, um... Aigis-san is the blond girl, right? How'd you meet her?" He doesn't approach any of the girls right now, but he is glancing over to Thora every now and again. "How about we move all this to the arcade, eh?"
Fumiya chinstrokes. "DDR eh? I'm not too bad at that. Depends on the music, of course." He doesn't get a chance to say anything else before the hug happens. It's probably for the best, since he was about to greet Thora in his usual way which would've just made this potentially explosive situation even worse.
"Yeah." Fumiya responds to Shirou's first query. As for his question regarding where he met her, Fumiya is silent for a moment before responding with "...chasing ducks." For some reason Fumiya finds that hilarious. It's too bad Souji isn't here for Fumiya to give a hard time.
"Well I'm up for hitting the arcade. You babes coming?"
"Whoah..." Thora jerks backwards so she /doesn't/ take one on the chin from Hinata. She also has to suppress the nigh instinctual urge to counterattack that. "Heya Hinata-san." a pause, "...you guys aren't here with....these guys?"
Oh, hey, that makes her feel a whole lot better! Which is crucial for when she's surprised hugged by Aigis. With a faint startled noise, she looks down at Aigis. The hug's not protested though, she actually likes physical contact in spite what people might believe. "H..hey Aigis. Nice to see you again." she says slowly, curiously. Was this about the Phaeton thing? That she could understand, even if the shadow did kind of get away.
"This are some of my out of town...friends, Shirou." Yes, this time she's finally forced to use the word 'friends' since that's exactly what Aigis is: her first and foremost friend! "We ran into each other one day when she came to town to look around."
Fumiya is given...a look. She expects him to start asking questions again but she did notice he was very devoid of -babes at the moment. Excellent.
The world stops for just about everyone when Aigis surprise strikes with the mighty o_ohug, save for Hinata. "Awwww," she mutes her fawn with a gnaw of her knuckle. Aigis is learning how to love and Thora isn't clocking her into next Saturday either! The Oni has an image to project, however, and Hina just leaves it at that. Though Aigis does get a wink. Positive reinforcement!
"Right! Arcade! Yeah, we were on our way there!" Her brow quirks again as she repeats, "Depending on the music? I'll just let you know that I can A-rank on just about /anything./" Nee-chan has taught her well! "Uh, and what's a 'babe?'"
"Thank you." Aigis tells Thora quietly, squeezing tighter, briefly, before stepping back, and dipping her head to her. She's still rather subdued about it all, perhaps worried she expressed her gratitude a little too forcefully by o_ohugging and, so, pulled back her emotions a tad to help limit the weirdness (and thus enhancing it). "I will not forget." She promises, turning back to Fumiya, Shirou, and Hinata. She glances up at the bigger lady and then nods, agreeing with her assessment. "We met a few months ago." She adds. It feels like it has been longer, considering the school year. Hrm.
She glances to Hinata and nods to her statement as well, agreeing with this plan of action--though of course she came by with Hinata as it is. "You have not been to Inaba very much, correct?" She asks of her.
Is all Shirou really has to say, looking slightly exasperated but at this point he doesn't care. He starts to move towards the arcade, rubbing the back of his neck. "So, yeah, let's go guys." Between all of the girls and Fumiya, his brain is starting to hurt /already/
Fumiya can't really figure out what went on between Thora and Aigis to bring about this display of affection, maybe he'll find out some day. He acts like he hasn't paid any attention to it when Aigis turns back to face them, but he filed this little nugget of info in his mind; who knows if it might come in handy someday.
Had enough with the stalling, Fumiya spins around and dramatically points a finger outward away from the station. "To the arcade!" He proclaims, loud enough that most of the people within earshot stop what they're doing for a second to give him a look over.
"DDR huh." Thora's never played DDR because really, she makes a fool of herself in public enough. She doesn't need the help of a silly dancing game for her to flail around at. She gives a sidelong glance to Shirou, the one who summoned her here, "So you wanted me to come play videogames?"
She sounds awful curious. Maybe she should have been firmer in their last meeting about contacting her. Aigis doesn't have to worry about injuring Thora, she's a resiliant one, even in the face of HUGS. "Usually when I go outta town, it's to visit Aigis." she admits to Shirou, telling the truth and both covering her ass a little. Sure, some of those visits also involve spooky crap that Shirou didn't need to know about.
"I've been to Junes a couple times," Hinata answers with a nod. "That's where me 'n Nee-chan met Teddie." She won't add the part where she met Osamu, that's something that doesn't need to be brought up in polite company. "And yeah, DDR!" A thumb jerks towards her head with a wink, "I heard there were a ton of DDR machines at the arcade here, so I came for a little practice 'n to see if there were any tournaments!"
She's not the only one fascinated, Fumiya's already headed on his way there! Hina tosses him a curious look, then starts after him though Shirou could likely hear her mutter, "He didn't even answer my question." A pause, and she turns to him with a tilt of her head. "What /is/ a babe?"
"To the arcade." Aigis says, mimicking Fumiya, though without any of the vocal cues to make it sound like an exclamation. She lowers her head as Thora explains her purposes in Port Island, smiling quietly but, at the same time, hiding it. Perhaps she and Thora do have a few things in common regarding concerns in how people see them.
"Fumiya-San once said, that babes are babes." Aigis explains in a tone that indicates that despite this explanation, she really has no clue either.
Shirou nods a bit. "Well, any friend of Thora's... is probably cool. And 's nice to meet you, Aigis-san." He bows a bit to her as he follows/leads everyone else. "And, err... babes are cute girls, I think..."
Fumiya remains oddly silent on the 'what is a babe' topic on the trip there, possibly content to let Aigis and Shirou's explanations handle it. Stepping inside, Fumiya takes a look around, trying to get a sense of where everything is. Especially the DDR machines, since it seems that's where the group is going to gravitate anyway.
"Well then, Hinata-babe, why not put your money where your mouth is? Let's see how we do." Walking up to an unoccupied machine, Fumiya begins to scan the list of possible songs, growing slightly annoying the further he goes. "Nothing, nothing... come on.."
"What they said." Thora says dismissively on the subject of 'babes'. "Fumiya thinks it seems to take the place of -san."
Thora pauses and looks to Hinata. "Oh, you've met Teddie? He's a...weird one, isn't he?" she actually chuckles a little and follows the herd into the arcade. This...isn't so bad, she realizes, spending time around people.
Unfamiliar with DDR etiquette (if there is such thing), Thora wanders over to the machine and leans on the handbar. "Lemme guess, Watanabe, you're a pro at this game too, huh?"
[OOC] Thora Kobayashi says, "And so they played DDR. 'You sense your relationship will become closer soon'"