A Small Favor

 /====================( - Inaba - Samegawa Flood Plain - )====================\ 
|                                                                              |
|  Sometimes the quiet city isn't quiet enough. A long river runs through      |
| Inaba, and the flood plain is the path that goes right alongside it. There   |
| may not be much left in the way of undeveloped land surrounding this part of |
| Japan, but the Samegawa Flood Plain shines brightly for those who want to    |
| truly get away from it all.                                                  |
|  Aside from a long paved road, a couple of signs, and a gazebo, humanity's   |
| usual urban mark has not been imprinted too heavily. Many children walk      |
| along this path at one point or another to reach whatever school they may    |
| attend. Trees dot the roads and grass happily grows nearby, making the place |
| scenic no matter what the season. The river bank has a small stone 'dock' in |
| which to fish from. The river is teeming full of fish at all times of day.   |
|  It is said that when it rains, the mighty fish named the "Guardian of the   |
| Samegawa" awaits wary fishermen, larger than even those simply referred to   |
| as "huge fish." Nobody has ever caught it. Many are simply content with      |
| catching smaller, less scary fish for food, sport, or trade.                 |
|===============================( - Players - )================================|

|===============================( - Objects - )================================|
| Sekigawa Estate                                                              |
|================================( - Exits - )=================================|
| Out <O>:                 Inaba                                               |



The busy week is not quiiiiite over, but Fumiya finds himself dragging his feet on his walk home as if he were already a broken zombie. When he gets back home he has to study, so he's taking the scenic route and stopping by Samegawa to catch a breather for a minute or sixty. The past few days were hell, even studying his ass off for these things was barely enough.

The chill in the air causes him to frown, and the ground is far too damp to just sit on directly like he could in the summer, so he opts for a park bench along the path instead of down by the river proper. Lifting his glasses up momentarily to rub his eyes, he sighs deeply and stares blankly at the river for a few minutes, letting his brain reboot.

Of course, with Detective Katsuragi's fate being the OTHER thing on his mind, he doesn't get much peace. Being one of the good guys is hard.

Irony is a defining word in Yuuka's life.

Irony as in: although there are exams, she hasn't done a lick of studying.

Are we sure she's still a high priestess?

The petite teen is walking through the cool weather on the Samagewa water-bank. There is mud on the knees of her white stockings, and she smells strangely a bit of fish food. In the water nearby, swimming down the river with her is a small fish. A soft chuckle escapes from her lips. "Alright, Ponyo, you can't come home with me anymore, okay?" She finally stops nearby the bench, voice carrying as she kneels down in it.

"Not that I do much of talking to anyone, but..."

Why is Yuuka talking to a fish?

"Yuuka-babe, why are you talking to a fish?"

Apparently it was something Fumiya was wondering too as he stands up from his bench and walks closer to the river. Though there was a big stink made over the Samegawa guardian on the KDA message board, the entire debacle was something Fumiya was not involved in and thus he has forgotten most of the details already.

"What brings you to Inaba, anyway? I figured a brain like you would be studying for your exams at Gekkoukan." Then again, even Shirou has become decidedly less preppy lately, maybe Fumiya's a bad influence on people? Or maybe it's just this life of mind-demon fighting in general.

If this were a paying job they would warn you about this kind of stuff.

"Hey, Fumiya." Yuuka says, grinning over her shoulder at him. "It's Ponyo, not just any fish. The Guardian of the Samagewa? The one Aigis and everyone else yelled at Hibiki-san and me for not returning. Evidently it's helped though, the pollution is down." She freezes when he mentions studying, and admits;

"... I haven't actually started studying for exams yet this period."

Fumiya pauses, blinking vacently as he's forced to think back before he started cramming for these exams and before Shion was kidnapped. It's like anything not immediately relevant to what's going on this week was filed away to make room in the vaults of his mind.

Or, he's just naturally that forgetful.

Ping. "Oh right, yeah I remember that." Huh, all that noise over a fish? And it turned out to be true? This is one odd little town. "Well, as long aas everything worked out in the end, I guess it's alright." He hesitates for a moment, before realizing she never answered his first question. "But.. what does that have to do with you talking to it?"

Oh well. His attention is quickly taken from that query to a whole new one. "What, really? I never would of guessed. Or, don't tell me, your brain's so hot you don't even /need/ to study, right? Geez, wish I could say that."

He could ace all his exams, rescue Shion single-handedly, party every night, top the charts with a dozen hit singles, and become a billionare astronaut. And he hasn't even started thinking big.

"Oh, I talk to it because I feel like he listens to me and understands me. I've been around him since before he hatched from his egg, so..." She shrugs and finally stands back up, grimacing. "Damn tights." She mutters, dusting at the mud and dirt on the white. "Ooops, I never said I was brilliant." She mutters, even as he starts talking about studying.

"I um, well, I do remember most things, but not everything..." Yuukas' cheeks flush red. "It's more of a um... wanting to study, I guess...? I know I'll pass if I don't, but I won't get top scores, but..."

"I dunno, I don't care about my scores anymore..."

"Huh. Okay then... I guess." Fumiya shrugs. Girls were weird when it came to animals, even fish apparently! But he doesn't press it any further, he'd rather direct the conversation away from fish and fish-related topics. Luckily Yuuka provides that direction with little prodding.

"Really?" He asks, looking over the girl. "What happened to the girl who threw a fit when I stole her homework from the beach party?" He doesn't exactly disapprove of being less grades-obsessed (you can't let life pass you by after all!) but it's quite a change. Then again, maybe he's changed a lot too.

Scratching the back of his head, he grins. "Well, I started caring a little more about my grades, maybe we rubbed off on each other. Though I'm just doing it to get my folks off my back..." he says, freely admitting that his studying is still just a means to a rather shallow end.

Fish are about the only thing aside from Koromaru that isn't a human or a persona that Yuuka believes could be allowed in the dorms. Not that there's any room in the dorms, even as they quickly detour down onto the grades thing.

"Haha, that's sort of funny, even though I guess we're really only doing it for our parents, huh?" She mutters, shaking her head. "Hey, I'm still mad at you about that!" She starts laughing. "I had sand in my textbook for days..." She grins at him. "I guess you got the best deal out of it, though?" She rubs the back of her neck.

"Also, um, I have a couple of favors... I'll pay you back, free ticket if you need help for anything I guess..."

Didn't Shiki mention he might have to leave the dorms? Or was that resolved? Fumiya never did ask about that afterward. Maybe grades really ARE a tough obstacle to overcome in their line of 'work'. Maybe the theory that the Inaba Killer was intentionally kidnapping during exam time wasn't so far-fetched after all.

Fumiya doesn't voice these thoughts, though, as Yuuka gives him a hard time over the beach party. "Hey now, I wasn't the one who brought homework to the thing in the first place. That book probably would've gotten sand in it /anyway/." He says, suggesting it totally wasn't his fault. Which it wasn't, of course.

The mention of favors surprises him, with how abrupt it was. A 'free ticket' for payback equally surprising. "Huh? What's this about?" He asks. "I wouldn't mind helping a babe out, as long as it doesn't interfere with the important stuff."

There's not much Fumiya could do to help Shiki when it came to grades. For the briefest nanosecond he considered the thought of a study group with him and a few others, but quickly dismissed it over the fact that any group that contained him /and/ Shiki would never get any work done ever.

Though he pauses, not quite processing Yuuka's own issues. "So, wait... you're intentionally not studying so your parents /won't/ move you to a new school and you can stay at Gekkoukan?" Was that it? "Huh, I never met anyone who was moved ahead that quick."

Finally the favor comes, and he thinks it over. "Hibiki... oh, you mean Shiori-babe? Come to think of it I did see her posting on the KDA stuff. I must've missed the notice when she left SEES. Well, sure, I guess. Keep an eye on her how?" Or rather, from what?

"Karaoke?" Frown. He turns to face a non-descript rock to keep himself from blushing. "I might... it's stuff most students wouldn't recognize though."

"... that's... um... well, I - I know that sounds complicated, but, well, I mean... this would be the first time I've ever failed any exams or didn't pass really high b-but I've kind of got a fall back in that we had Mikage-Cho, so my parents have been leniant, but..." She shrugs a bit, helplessly. "If I get moved, I get moved, but that puts hell on my Persona abilities since I have to use well..." She makes a gun shape with her fingers.

"But, yeah, Shiori-san. She's part of the KDA now, Seta-san kidnapped her when she left SEES a few weeks ago... I just... in case I can't make it to any Midnight Channel shenanigans, like right now in case something goes down... make sure she stays safe? She's got low self-preservation and she's got a couple of flaws that lead into charging into any fights that she might not get out of." Keep her alive, please.

Why is Fumiya trying not to blush? "Damn." She mutters, briefly. "I'd probably know, bu-but um, I don't really ... sing that much in front of other people..." Wait what.

"Ok..." Fumiya says, suggesting he understands what Yuuka is saying but actually does not at all. Fumiya's not good at piecing together fragmented thoughts and suggested ideas. He has a very 'guy' brain and if it's not spelled out pretty clearly then it just goes way over his head. So for now he just assumes his original guess was totally right.

Oh yeah, Shiori. "I see, well I can't be everywhere the KDA is. And the last time I volunteered to help out with a big operation without fully understanding what was going on I got thrown into Mikage-cho..." He trails off for a second as more memories of that night hit him again, but he shakes it off. "Anyway, I guess I can see where you're worried since your her friend. Any time we're in a dangerous spot together I'll watch out for her." It may not be the most reassuring promise, but at least he understands?

Fumiya tries not to blush because owning a lot of karaoke CDs is something /nerds/ do. Nerds who want to practice familiar songs so they can wow strangers at karaoke bars. Ahem. "Well, if you don't then why the interest?"

It's okay, Fumiya. Yuuka sort of gets no one would really understand, not that she herself really does either. She shakes her head briefly at his interest comment. "W-well, you don't know yet but there's a party soon... I asked and got permission but I don't have a lot of karakoe-- well, I take that back, I don't really own any karakoe CDS, not for lack of trying." She chuckles.

"I mean, it's not like owning them makes you weird or anything, right...? Also, thank you, Fumiya-san. It's nice to know there's someone that will try to watch her, I just... I worry a lot."

Party? Now that's a word Fumiya DOES understand. Every possible definition of it (they all boil down to 'WOOHOOOOOOOOO'). "Oh really? Where's this party being held? When? Am I invited or do I gotta crash it?" He grins at the last part, he might be serious. Maybe.

"Well, yeah, don't worry about it, I guess." He says, regarding Shiori. Now that he's had a few moments to think back on it, he recalls the near-arguements she got herself into on the KDA board, just some of the many things Fumiya glossed over. Oops. If Shiori isn't fitting in with the rest of the KDA, maybe that's why Yuuka's so worried? "Well don't get into trouble worrying too much about other people, Yuuka-babe. You can't help anyone if you get in hot water yourself."

She starts laughing, shaking her head. "No, no. I got permission from Arisato-san to have it in the SEES dorm lobby. A winter party for our two groups, also to celebrate exams and the like and the fact we're all alive and still kickin'. So yes, you're invited, but I tell you what, show up earlier and I'll let you put up the mistletoe."

oh god what

At his second statement, she freezes, and her head drops. "... I know it gets me into hot water." She holds up her left hand, palm facing him, showing off a scar across her wrist. "... I've tried, okay?" She sighs. "But, um... watch Shiori, please."

"Oh sweet, a winter party. Man, after these exams are done and we get Detective Katsuragi pulled out we're gonna need to unwind like crazy. Mega-crazy." Fumiya is already anticpating it, darnit why do these exams still need to be done? Why can't this week be over? Siiiiigh...

Wait, mistletoe? Hmmmmmmm, smells like potential shenanigans. "I'll take you up on that." He says, his grin just a little too mischevious.

Though the reveal of Yuuka's wrist stuns him for a moment. "Geez, when did that happen?" Scars on the wrist are never a good thing to be showing off, even though he knows it's likely she got it from supernatural means given the crazies they've all met in the supernatural underworld. Though he manages to offer a nod, all the same. "Yeah, whenever I can. She won't do anything reckless if I can stop it."

"Yeah, remind me to never do anything insane again like try to put one together on my own." Yuuka giggles. "But... um... y-yeah, just show up early or something and you can help? Hinata is my other helper, I was really just trying to let everyone relax and do it all on my own..." That, and the ealier the mistletoe goes up, the earlier she can notice where not to step.

"Actually..." She pulls off her small backpack, digging into it and pulling out a small package. She flicks a package of mistletoe over at him. "There, a personal stash, Watanabe." She teases him.

Sheesh, Fumiya can't remind you not to do something if he doesn't know what you did! But he lets it slide for now, since she seems to understand. "Well I'm usually a fashionably late kinda guy, but I'll see what I can do." He'll need to think about what to do with the mistletoe to achieve maximum hilarity. Damn, why does he have to be given this opportunity the same week he has all this other stuff to worry about?

Though when tossed his own bag of mistletoe he feigns a hurtful look. "Why Yuuka-babe, what makes you think I need the help of mistletoe?" He asks, though conspicuously doesn't return it. In fact he goes to grab his schoolbag and changes the subject. "Well, I hate to say it, but I've hung around long enough." Siiiiiigh. "Not much left to exams, so I won't let em get the better of me. Once I've knocked them out we'll drag Detective Katsuragi out of the TV and then it's party time!" A three-step plan that totally can't go wrong!

"Later, Yuuka-babe!"

But that's why he's supposed to remind her -- since he doesn't know!!

... It makes sense to Yuuka, at least.

She smirks. "I'm fairly sure you could ask one or two girls I can think of and they would probably say yes to a date." She neglects to mention of them would be her just because she likes his cheerful nature. Also, she's evil and likes giving the best opportunities at the worst times for anyone.

"Don't pass too spectacularly, I think the world will stop if you get a higher score than me." She teases. "Bye, Fumiya-san." She sighs and looks back to the river where Ponyo still waits, before she continues walking down the riverbank.