01 February 2010

Minatodai Dorm, 3rd Floor, Midori's Room

Early Morning

"Midori-san, please wake up." If it was possible, Aigis would have sighed at the sight before her.

"I dun wanna!" The tired voice came from under the blankets the completely covered Midori, herself curled up into a ball in the middle of her bed. "SVD WLD! SLEEEEEEP!"

"You still have to attend classes." Aigis, for a moment, admired Midori's ability to be understood even when not enunciating her words correctly. "Everyone else is awake." She neglected to mention the conditions everyone else was is. They were all, save herself, in various stages of exhaustion. Midori, already not being a so-called 'morning person', was the worst off.

"If you do not come out from under there, I will have to drag you out" Aigis hoped that she had made her threat in a suitably teasing tone of voice. Humanity was hard. Especially in the details and social conventions that she was still learning.

The blunt tip of Midori's weapon poked out from under her shroud, causing Aigis to re-evaluate her position. "Don't try," Midori managed to mutter a bit more coherently – a sign that she was actually waking up, "or else I'll hit you."

"Violence is not the only answer" Aigis reprimanded her junior even as she was certain that Midori had handed in her weapon along with everyone elses at their return home last night. She checked her internal clock, and made some adjustments to her predictions. "I will now begin to count down to my removal of your protective sheets." "Four." "Three." "Two." "One." At the termination time, she bypassed Midori's blind counter-thrust and whipped the sheets off the bluenette.

Midori, it seemed, didn't change into her sleeping clothes when she went to bed last night. She was still in her tattered and damaged school uniform. Knowing it was against policy to attend classes in such a state, Aigis ignored the protestations of Midori and cast about with her eyes for a replacement uniform. She found one hanging from the inside of the closet door, and went to retrieve it.

"WAKE UP!" She commanded one more time, already worried that she may have to initiate some of her contingency protocols.

'You're not my daddy!" Midori complained as she shut her eyes tightly against the light and wrapped herself into a tight foetal position.

"No, but I am your dorm mate. Your actions will reflect poorly on the rest of us. She considered getting Yukari to help, but that would require going downstairs, requisitioning her assistance and returning to this room. She judged the time frame as too long. Mitsuru had already left and Fuuka was unlikely to be of proper assistance.

"Is she still not awake?" Chidori said from the doorway, still in her own pyjamas. "Girl, if you're not up and out the front foor in five minutes, I'm going to dump a bucket of water on you."

Midori rolled over and dropped herself out of bed in a most pathetic manner. "Come on!" She groaned, eyes tightly shut. "We saved the world. I deserve a break."

"Sleep in class for all I care!" The older girl grumbled. "Now move it!"

Aigis watched in barely contained awe as Chidori verbally man-handle Midori into wakefulness. It was quite enlightening.

1st Floor Lounge

After School

Minato came in, announcing his arrival to any who listened. After switching shoes, he went into the lounge only to find Midori spread out on one of the couches, gently snoring. He smiled and decided to let her rest as much as she wanted. They all deserved that much. There was not sign of Apathy Syndrome around town, and things were looking like his victory was real.

Maybe he should take a nap too.

Tokyo

Evening

FROM: Dolly

TO: A-Bel

RE: Thanks!

ThankyouThankyouThankyouThan kyouThankyouThankyouThankyou ThankyouThankyou!

02 February 2010

Gekkoukan High School, Classroom 1-B

Lunchtime

"At least the weatherman said that the weird fog Sunday night won't be coming back again." Midori's ears perked up at the conversation about the current rumours that still surrounded the Dark Hour's appearance past midnight. Mitsuru was on the verge of pulling her hair out trying to figure out the hows and whys, leaving Midori in the know but unwilling to reveal the truth about the King of Bel. Instead, she had simply suggested that the presence of the Appraiser and Nyx had something to do with it, a simple not-truth that seemed to placate all but the most detailed examination.

And seeing as how only Mitsuru and Aigis were capable of that, Midori would let it slide in the interest of the common good.

"Hey, hey! Midori! Did you see the green fog?" A classmate asked of her from a couple seats away.

Midori nodded, "Yep. I think that man from the Health Bureau was right. It smelled weird, so it had to be pollutants from those factories."

"I heard there was this weird tower seen on the island! An that it was right here where the school was!"

Midori shook her head. "Really? A mysterious tower that grows out of the school? What are you? Still in kindergarten?" She didn't want people to think too hard about what they saw either.

It was surprising how easily people accepted the rational explanation over the truth. But then again, she had to remind herself, the truth was known to less than a dozen people.

08 February 2010

Gekkoukan High School

Morning

"Aigis? Why are you hiding behind a tree like that?" Midori thought that the robot just looked sad like that. "I mean, you leave the house early just to hide behind things, and it's starting to annoy me."

Aigis didn't seem to pay her any attention, though Midori knew full well she had been heard. "I mean, it's more than you looking sad. It is kinda cute in the way you lean around the tree like that. No, it's just like you look like a lovesick girl, and that's what's really depressing."

She broke her observations of Minato to turn her full attention to her junior. She had recovered well from the ordeal a week ago, and showed no signs of ever having participated in the battles of the Dark Hour. "But they've..." She brought herself up short. Everyone except her had forgotten. She remembered everything, and she didn't want to take those peaceful days away from them.

Midori rolled her eyes in annoyance. "Oh, stop moping Aigis. We all promised we'd celebrate again at Graduation. And I intend to be there." She paused, recalling the conversation of that last evening. "Although I don't think we ever agreed on where or when."

Aigis was shocked. "You... you remember?"

"Yep!" Midori chirped as she moved up beside Aigis to watch the interplay between Yukari and Minato. "I don't know if he does though. And I don't feel like prodding, as much fun as that might be."

Aigis confronted her junior. "I remember because of my Dark hour protection technology. Why do... you..." Her voice trailed off as Midori produced the card of Frosty from a pocket and waved it in front of her face. "Oh. Black Frost's existence was tied to the efforts of the Shomankai Cult, and not directly to the Dark Hour. Therefore, your memories are stored in a manner inconsistent with the removal of the Dark Hour from existence."

"Way to make it sound so clinical and technical there, Aigis." Midori put Frosty away and hefted her school bag off the ground. "Look, let's go to class, shall we? We still have a month before Graduation. Let things happen as they will."

Suddenly confronted with the knowledge that there was someone she could share her newly developed feelings with, someone whom she didn't have to hide secrets from, Aigis found herself reaching out and taking Midori's sleeve in hand. "They..." She didn't know how to say this, but she had to find the right words. "When I left the Dorm this morning, they didn't greet me. They treated me like a stranger."

Midori didn't pull herself free, sensing that Aigis needed the contact more than anything else. "Now that's not right! I mean, we've been together in the Dorm for months! They can't just forget that we're all friends like that!"

"It may be that the memories associated with the Dark Hour are taking away memories connected to them." Aigis' conjecture struck a chord between the two of them. "That is,without the memories of Persona and the Dark Hour to bind them, what keeps us together?"

"Well," Midori said as she watched Minato and Yukari enter the school together. "I know Fuuka is still helping me with my videos. Has she helped you with your maintenance?"

"Not since the third."

"Oh, that's not going to be good." Midori blinked as a thought occurred to her. "Hey! If they forget about the Dark Hour, then what about you being a robot?"

Considering this, Aigis expressed her curiosity in silence. "You mean, the revelation of my nature could restore their memories?"

Midori didn't know. "Maybe. Maybe not."

Aigis felt like she wanted to cry, even though she couldn't. Not physically. "I don't know what to do...!" Downcast, Aigis found herself embraced in a hug from the smaller girl.

"Peaceful days are upon us. We have survived. That's all we wanted, that's all we got. Let them have their lives as we have ours. We don't need to be defined by what happened at midnight, and neither do they. We've saved the world, and that's enough for me. We don't need the praise. It's better that way."

"You speak from experience."

"Yep! So trust me, your senpai in world-saving!"

A hurting smile came to her face, and Aigis saw the shine in Midori's eyes. "Maybe you are right. I haven't given myself enough time to let things happen. Life must go on." She straightened, then picked up her bag. "Come, let us go to class."

Laughing, Midori joined her in walking into the school. "Tell me about it! You're still new to all this, so it seems like you need a friend to help you along."

"Thank you for being a friend." The words were quick and honest.

"You're welcome!" Midori bowed quickly. "Now that that's out of the way, I have a more serious question for you."

"Oh?"

"Well, with the third-years leaving the Tennis Club, Rio-senpai and I, we're starting to scout out new members. Now that you have your feet, would you like to join?" Midori asked the question she had been pondering for more than a week now. "You can't use 'medical condition' to keep you out of the athletics clubs next year, and this way you can join one, even as a manager! We can stick together! Friends forever!"

"I..." Aigis thought about it for a moment. "I would like that, very much."

From the stairs, Minato saw the two of them smiling, and he approved.

09 February 2010

Gekkoukan High School, Tennis Court

After School

Rio looked Aigis up and down, evaluating her body type in terms of possible skill. "You want to join?"

"Yes. Please." Aigis bowed politely. She was in her modified gym uniform as suggested by Midori. It was meant to cover up her more obvious inhuman and robotic aspects. "I think joining you would be good for everyone."

"Huh. Well, have to give you a chance." Rio looked around, seeing who she could pick to volley against the soon-to-be third year. And she did come recommended by Midori, so that had to count for something. "You have equipment?"

Midori jumped in. "She'll be borrowing one of my spares until she can get her own racket." She produced a racket from her bag and let Aigis take it.

Rio shook her head. Well, it was good to see more people take an interest in the club. "You're also going to have to get a proper uniform. The generic gym uniform is enough for practice, but you have to be prepared to actually participate in events and competitions, alright?" Aigis nodded in understanding. "Good, now I'm assuming you know the basics?"

"Yes, Rio-senpai." Aigis had studied the rules of the game after school yesterday, and Midori had given her a crash course in practical motions on the roof in the evening. She felt she was technically competent.

"Good! Suki-chan!" Rio called out to one of the casual members of the club. "Aigis here will be joining. Give her a couple volleys for warmup while I think things over."

"Hai!" The first year came over and gave Aigis a look over. "So, you're that second year Tokyo Transfer, huh? I heard you couldn't do physical activity."

"I have been cleared by my physician." Aigis lied smoothly.

"Cool. Well, I won't go hard on you, so don't go hard on yourself." The two walked towards one of the empty courts, leaving Midori and Rio behind.

"Thanks." Rio said.

"Oh?"

"For all your help this year." Rio shook her head. "I made a mess of things, but at least I can leave the club behind in good hands. You'll do well as Club Captain next year."

Midori did a double-take. "What? Captain? I'm only going to be a second-year! And you'll still be here, it's not like you're graduating!"

"And you're the second best player on the team, behind me. The girls respect you, even the second-years. I'm sure you'll be fine." Rio seemed lost in thought. "Besides, I have to focus on my grades and studies next year. I'll still be in the club, just not in charge."

"I... I don't know what to say..."

"Thank you, Rio-chan would be a good start." Rio offered a hand in congratulations to her successor. "I'll make sure the paperwork is in order before the end of the month. Just promise me you'll be a good role model."

"Thank you! And I will!"

On the court, Aigis faced down her opponent. It was clear that this was a practice match designed to test her basic skills and motor functions, something that brought back memories from her first activations. As Midori had explained things, this would be a simple back and forth, neither person trying hard to defeat their opponent, but to simply make them work for the return shot.

Holding the racket firmly she waited for Suki-chan to make the first move. It came as a simple lob that would, as her calculations predicted, clear the net by 2.3 feet, on a ballistic trajectory that would, if unstopped, would hit to her right and behind her by 4.5 feet. In a word, it was a perfect set up for her to simply swing her arm and hit the ball back.

She figured that a return trajectory that would respond in kind was suitable and swung her borrowed racket with ease.

Suki was up to the challenge, and made her return shot a bit more complicated.

Minatodai Dorm, 3rd Floor Sitting Area

Evening

The six girls sat in the various chairs, gossiping according to their nature. The news of interest was the Tennis Club, both in Midori's soon promotion to leadership and Aigis' joining.

"I am proud of both of you. You especially, Komaki." Mitsuru didn't bother to disguise her appreciation that one of her Dorm mates was excelling in her extracurricular activities. It reflected well on the both of them. "And you Aigis. I am glad to see you move to improve yourself in this regard."

Both accepted the praise of Mitsuru kindly. "Thank you" they both said.

"So, what about you and Akihiko-sensei?" Midori asked in return. "You're both graduating. What are your plans?"

"I will be attending Business classes in University" Mitsuru said firmly. "I have many skills I must develop if I am to take my father's place properly. She paused, almost confused. "I do not know about Akihiko. You would have to ask him directly."

The rest of the evening passed uneventfully.