Fencing with the Air

<Kioku> Red hair? Check. Blindfold? Check. Épée? Wait, what? Aiko's in the gym, moving as if in a dance with some invisible opponent, movements precise though not terribly forceful. Occasionally a spark of electricity jumps off the end of the fencing sword.
<Endorb> Malissa is in the gym. She didn't go there often, but- Woah, a lightning sword! She walks over to the blind woman. "Hi!" She remembered she'd seen her before, but not anything else…
<Kioku> Aiko's ear flicks a little at the voice, but it was entirely expected following the footsteps before it. Feminine, tall but lithe by her estimation. Recognizable voice… an Aiko never forgets. She turns toward her and nods, lowering the epee to point to the floor. "Malissa," she acknowledges with a slight nod. "Am I in your way for something?"
<Endorb> "No, I saw someone shooting lightning out of a sword, and thought I should talk to them and make sure I'm on their good side~" Malissa says in a half-joking tone. "I know we've talked before, but that's about it."
<Kioku> A very tiny smile accompanies Aiko's head tilt. It's quick, prcise like everything else she does, coming to a calculated angle. Not that most anyone would realize that, it's just the way she operates, the way that feels correct to her. "We have, however briefly. Minami Aiko, if you've forgotten. And I dare say it'll be a trail to get off my bad side." Eep, and this is her in a good mood? Or rather, trying way too hard to cover up melancholy.
<Endorb> "Alright. So now I just need to work on getting pretty far down on your good side~ I see you're fencing with Invisible Jimmy~ You two make good rivals~" That was a bit of a social gambit. Either it'd make her laugh, or offend her. Hopefully the tone and aura lead to laughter.
<Kioku> Aiko snorts, but it's amused. Close enough to a laugh, right? "I'll have you know that Jimmy is one of the most visible people at this school. Just not from an optical standpoint. He'd make a terrible partner for this."
<Endorb> "Hey, can't blame a girl for making a joke~ Do you need a partner?"
<Kioku> Aiko shrugs. "Are you offering? And do you know what you're doing?"
<Endorb> "Well, I haven't really done much, but it can't be too hard, right? At least, not if you're helping me."
<Kioku> "I haven't the experience nor talent to be much of a teacher in this. I've observed it, I've practiced with… a friend, but I could only keep up with her in dodging, never striking. And even then not if she tried her hardest."
<Endorb> "Well, at least it won't be too hard to get an okay level compared to you, then. Where do I get mine?"
<Kioku> Aiko gestures to a bag near one of the side doors in the gym that goes to an equipment room. "In there. The one with the triangular blade, if you want to match."
<Endorb> "Okay." Malissa goes and grabs one, not really caring which, and getting a Rapier, if there is one.
<Kioku> Nothing sharp in that bag, just foil epee and sabre. Ah well! "We… should probably get masks if we're taking this seriously. Full outfits too, even, unless we want to visit medical. These won't pierce skin unless you actually try, but it's pretty possible to bruise or put out an eye." Which would be a serious problem, except that… yeah.
<Endorb> "Well, better safe than sorry, right?"
<Kioku> "Mm. Masks it is then, I really don't want to change into an outfit I wouldn't realistically enter a fight in." The equipment bag had a few of those too, actually.
<Endorb> "Alright." Malissa grabs them, walking back. "Alright. Too bad it covers my face. Nothing fun about that. So, how do we do this?"
<Kioku> "Isn't that the point of a mask?" Aiko gives a small laugh and takes a mask, pulling it on too. "Well, let's see how you are first. Might be better than me already, who knows? Try to get a touch, and so will I." She takes up a stance, one that will let her flick the sword forward at any moment as long as she doesn't care about making any reasonable impact.
<Endorb> "Alright. Just give me a second to get the hang of it." Malissa flicks around her foil a bit. "Well, let's go, then." Malissa's stance isn't the best for this.
<Kioku> Aiko brings her epee forward somewhat slowly, as if testing the waters. No lightning sword this time.
<Endorb> Malissa holds the sword wearily, ready for any sudden movements.
<Kioku> Very suddenly, Aiko's foot slaps against the ground and she lunges forward… but darts back again in nearly the same moment, blade going for Malissa's inner arm while it draws back from the false thrust.
<Endorb> Malissa falls for the fakeout, and tries to recover as quickly as possible.
<Kioku> "That would probably be frowned upon for sport fencing, you know. Except maybe sabre." Aiko steps forward and to the side, holding the blade across her body and flicking it out during the passage.
<Endorb> "What do you mean? I'm a newbie!" Malissa blocks it, and goes for a poke to her other arm.
<Kioku> "I mean what I did. In case you decide to do this more, with other people." Aiko twists so that the poke goes under her arm. For a blind girl, she's weirdly aware of what's going on.
<Endorb> "What's so bad about it?" Malissa flicks the blade inwards, hoping to hit. She then goes to draw back immediately.
<Kioku> Aiko spins away as if this were ballet. "The other styles only let you make touches with the point. The edge doesn't count for anything." She smiles a little behind her mask. "I don't do this for sport at all though. That's the difference."
<Endorb> "Alright. So, wanna talk while we do this?" Malissa holds the blade threateningly, the tip coincidentally pointing at her face.
<Kioku> Aiko chuckles. "I'm not the talkative sort. But then again, isn't that what we've been doing?" She pushes her hand up to try to shove Malissa's blade with her handguard and twist it around so that her own sword will point at the pixie.
<Endorb> Malissa's quick enough to avoid that, but she ends up leaving herself an opening that an Aiko could likely easily see and exploit.
<Kioku> See? Pah. Aiko doesn't see things, what nonsense! She does angle herself to press toward the opening though, keeping the epee between her and the foil. She's quite a bit more defensive than offensive.
<Endorb> Well, she's got a couple seconds to capitalize before Malissa completely recovers.
<Kioku> Aiko pokes into the opening. Jabs, then tries to jab two more times if she's able before hopping away.
<Endorb> Malissa can't recover in time to block the first, but she could get the third one. "Well, points to you."
<Kioku> Aiko giggles. "Not keeping track. You're taller than me, try to use your reach."
<Endorb> "Just because we're not doesn't mean I can't tell you~ So, how are you?" Malissa steps back to be near the edge of her reach.
<Endorb> "En garde~" She swings the foil around, not trying to hit Aiko yet
<Kioku> Aiko shifts on her feet, tapping the front of one against the floor in an irregular rhythm. "How am I what?"
<Endorb> "How are you doing, silly~"
<Kioku> "A few points up, by your count." Oh, the shame that they're wearing masks right now. If only Malissa could see the expression that went along with that flat, flat reply.
<Endorb> Malissa giggles. "I meant, like, how's life treating you? How are you feeling, in general? What of note is happening that you've noticed?"
<Kioku> Aiko's body language foretells sadness, disappointment, and perhaps a little anger. "In the last three months, one of my best friends here had disappeared without a trace, and the other's been moved to another country. How do you /think/ I'm feeling?" Okay, perhaps a /lot/ of anger.
<Endorb> "Oh… I'm so sorry for you… I guess we've gotta go hard so you can express your anger, right?"
<Kioku> "It won't help," she says flatly, the physical one being far from the only mask she's wearing. "It's no good, trying to vent that way. I don't need power, I need precision, and anger just makes you sloppy."
<Endorb> "Well, how do you normally deal with anger? I'll help you through it the best I can, promise~"
<Kioku> "I…" Aiko shakes her head and jabs. "It's not something I can do while I'm here."
<Endorb> "Well, any way you can think of, I'll do my best to help. Would it help if I gave you pixie dust?"
<Kioku> "Pixie…" What. "… I don't see how that would help, but it does bring something to mind. Can you fly?"
<Endorb> "Yep~ And it'd help you do what you'd want better. Or you can fly with it. I can also give you a lot of spells. I've been stockpiling too much"
<Kioku> Aiko shudders a little. "I'll stay on the ground. You practice organized magic though? Interesting. But you know, I always worry I might have to face an arial opponent… want to make things interesting?" \I just want to get my mind off that… but it'll always come back.<Endorb> Malissa starts flying just a little off the ground. "Better?" She goes in for a fake-out Jab.
<Kioku> Aiko takes the hit, moving too late to avoid it, and nods approvingly. "Be as quiet as you can. If I can hear your wings, it's more of a giveaway than your feet on the floor!"
<Endorb> "Alright." Malissa gets in a parrying pose as she starts to fly around back. Her wings aren't noisy, but they're not the best at hiding airflow.
<Kioku> And Aiko is concentrating mainly on feeling the airflow as it is. She's only human, but she's put a /lot/ of effort into paying attention to her senses, and her mind extrapolates data faster than the best computer could dream of to trace back Malissa's most likely position. She's ignoring her actual supernatural sense that picks up people for now, not wanting to become too reliant on it. She doesn't move…
<Endorb> Malissa moves to Aiko's side, before poking her with the sword and giggling.
<Kioku> Aiko shifts at the last moment and nudges Malissa's sword aside, but not quite far enough to avoid it catching her shirt and scratching her side a little. She mumbles something in Japanese about low profile weapons, but she still managed to at least read the pixie's movements to some degree. Not nearly as well as when she was on the ground.
<Endorb> "Ooh, you're good. So, any chance you want to tell me about yourself?" Malissa starts rising up, hoping that maybe she can poke Aiko in the face. She also goes to flying upside-down.
<Kioku> Aiko darts forward and ducks while thruting upward, trying to get Malissa in the bottom of the foot just before she flips herself over. "What's there to tell? I'm here, just like you are. I'm different, just like you are. I try to get by in life day by day without cracking under the pressure and pain, just like you do. I eat, sleep, go to classes, and try to avoid personal attachments."
<Endorb> Malissa kicks back in time to avoid getting hit, and flies up out of reach, just to reply. "But what about your personality, or opinions? You have to have those. Or people you know, and how you like and dislike them. Talking about yourself is easy, you know~"
<Kioku> "It really isn't." Aiko ducks further and uses her hand to aid in flipping her body to face Malissa again. That's some balance and core, to right herself from the position she ends up in after doing that without falling over backward. "I have them, sure, but that doesn't make them easy to talk about. Where does anyone start?"
<Endorb> Malissa goes for a couple tries at jabbing, her position probably giving her an advantage of angles.
<Kioku> It would be a /lot/ easier without the helmet, but with it, Aiko only manages to catch some of the jabs - perhaps even most, if one were to count those she outright dodged, but there are hits.
<Endorb> "Well, start with whatever is on your mind, and just try to keep talking about you, even if it's obvious things."
<Kioku> Aiko sighs. "There's too much on my mind to just start with something that way. Like how I'd normally be doing this with Sara, even though she doesn't fly. Or how it'll probably still be /years/ before I get to touch my best friend again. Or why the number of Japanese girls in our dorm just doubled over the last couple months, and what it means about Promethium."
<Endorb> "Okay… what hobbies do you have?"
<Kioku> "Video games. Anime. Programming. Criminal psychology." Aiko shrugs and feints.
<Endorb> "Talk about what makes you like them, now." Malissa starts rotating around, to Aiko's right. She'd play defensive for the moment.
<Kioku> Aiko slashes in Malissa's direction, a total break from the jabs of before. "What… makes me like them? I just do. Video games are fun, figuring out what I can do in them and playing out a part in a story. Programming lets me create not just something practical, but something beautiful. Detective work lets me use my talents for… for peace of mind." \Maybe if I'd known then…<Endorb> "Detective work? That sounds like a hard job. You'd need a keen…" oops… "Set of sense, to make sure you've got the truth, right?"
<Kioku> Aiko nods sharply. The sentiment came through, even if the words were a bit muddled. "Not much of it to do here though. I guess it gives more time for everything else, but…"
<Endorb> "You miss it, don't you? It was your passion, I bet. Maybe figuring out the answer was a boost to your confidence and inner satisfaction that you really needed. Or at least, one that you liked a lot." Malissa waits for Aiko to start talking again before Jabbing.
<Kioku> Aiko snorts. She's mostly right, she did feel satisfied after a case. Sometimes it even dialed back her other feelings toward the whole field. \I could have done it faster. I could have saved more lives. Why didn't you do your job?\ She bats away the jab and returns one, adapting to feeling how Malissa moves. "But at least something like assembling a new program takes concentration and /doesn't/ mean someone got hurt in order to bring me the opportunity.
<Endorb> "Well, if you stopped, it's not like they would too, right?"
<Kioku> "… Iie…" Aiko whispers. "I suppose they wouldn't."
<Endorb> "Exactly. So you just have to chip in how you can to help catch the bad ones. Any help is better than none, after all."
<Kioku> Aiko shrugs. "Oh, I'll still do it when I can. It's just… it'll be a while before I really can, won't it? Since it means needing to operate in the outside, and we're stuck here." Poke jab stab. "Then again, since they finally won't get mad about some uploading and outside contact, maybe I can help remotely on some stuff worldwide. That'd be a good use of time…"
<Endorb> "Yeah. Do what you can, let others work on what you can't, right?" The third try hits. Malissa flips rightside-up, and falls to her feet, stumbling back a couple steps. "I'm too dizzy now… Give me a sec…"
<Kioku> Aiko grumbles something about fieldwork and sighs, shaking her head. "Yeah. I guess so. Be nice if there were no need for that sort of thing, then I could just build computers for people and live off donations from a video game stream and guides." That brings a small smile to her face, hidden though it is by the mask. "Not that I /would/ at that point. Probably go into some field of science for a while to save up first."
<Endorb> "Well, do whatever you want. If that means both, do both. If it means doing one only in winters, do that. If it means almost giving up one, you have to decide how to make your life works best."
<Kioku> "I think I'll find time for all of it. Less time than I'd like maybe, but I don't plan on going anywhere."
<Endorb> "Yeah. You're best to decide what you want to do, so decide, right?"
<Kioku> Aiko nods again. "Mh. And I think right now calls for food, as decisions go."
<Endorb> "Alright. Want to do this again sometime?"
<Kioku> "You remember the part where I'm /not/ looking for friends, right?" Aiko heads for the bag, pulling her mask off and patting down her blindfold to make sure it stays in the right place.
<Endorb> Malissa follows, taking off her own mask. "No, you never said that. And hey, would you rather shadow fence?"
<Kioku> "I might just stop altogether…" Aiko sets her sword and mask in the bag. "It takes away time I could be studying, or doing something useful. With Sara gone, it just… I don't know anymore."
<Endorb> "Well, maybe I want to fence with you more. Or hang out with you more. I bet I could help you feel better." Malissa puts her things in the bag. "You have to let others in, you know."
<Kioku> Aiko snorts. "No I don't. There's absolutely no actual requirement to let others in, that I have." She turns toward Malissa, zipping up the bag. "Even if today wasn't too bad, and I hope you got some ideas for arial fighting if you ever need it…" \There are other people who would be more worth your time.<Endorb> "You do. It's a basic need of people, to feel loved. And I you're hurt bad." Malissa moves in to hug Aiko. "I don't want you to end up bitter or something."
<Kioku> Aiko stiffens at the hug and doesn't speak for several long seconds, until a bare whisper escapes her lips. "Too late…"
<Endorb> "It can't be! Not unless you let it! You need to be happy and social, Aiko!" She hugs tighter, but not crushing her.
<Kioku> Aiko winces. "I'm social enough. I let… friends cuddle and play video games once or twice a week. That's social."
<Endorb> "But do you let them close?"
<Kioku> "S-sure I do." She squirms, trying to escape before she's squished. As if binding her chest weren't bad enough before. "Plenty close."
<Endorb> Malissa backs off of the hug, but still stands close. "I just want you to be happy, Aiko. And I'll help as much as I have to."
<Kioku> Aiko nods quickly, more to escape than to agree. "R-right. I'll keep that in mind. Arigato…" She edges toward the doorway.
<Endorb> "Promise to talk again soon?"
<Kioku> Aiko pauses, bites her lip, then finally nods a few times before running out the door. Fine. They'll talk again soon. Even if it's really brief.
<Endorb> - scene fenced -

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