Hisako: Rolling backwards and pushing herself up, amber armor glowing around her, Hisako threw her arm to one side, summoning another bright force-blade. She hadn't been injured in the fight so far, and she hadn't over-exerted herself yet. Focusing on defense was her way of gauging her opponent.
Hisako: And Ichiki Hisako was a good analyst of combat. Every movement, every relentles attack, every furious cry. Her opponent was masking hurt. Fighting with a broken resolve.
Hisako: "You want to continue?", Hisako asked, the sentence sounding more like a statement as she readied her blade.
Melati: "Did you really just ask me if I got tired of fighting?" Melati huffed, catching her breath as she regained her position. Even though she wore a grin on her face, her voice carried a tense edge. This was more than just a friendly brawl to her.
Melati: "If you believe you're going to get me to back down, you don't know me well enough yet." She rushed in for another attack, a fierce leap attempting to overcome Hisako's defense with brute force. "Others have tried and failed!"
Hisako: Eyes narrowing, Hisako stepped back, swinging her blade around as if preparing to draw it. Her armor grew in size, its own blade priming itself as she waited for Melati to get close enough.
Hisako: At the last moment, Hisako cried out, "Zan!", as she bought her blade upwards, the sword of her luminous avatar striking home on her opponent and knocking her aside. She looked up, frowning - glad that she'd made the larger force-blade flat-edged.
Melati: Melati was taken off her feat, sent flying through the air like a puppet, until abruptly stopped by the wall. She fell to the floor, lying in a curled up heap. It took her longer than usual to get back up on her feet. "Nice one," she complimented the other girl, fully aware that if this had been a serious fight, such a blow might have cut her in two.
Melati: "It's the eyepatch," she explained, jogging back to the training area. "I can't see anything on my left side. Totally throws off my balance." She told herself this was the only reason for her sloppy style.
Hisako: "Kusuma-san...", Hisako started, lowering her glowing blade as the armor above her faded away, "Stop a moment..."
Melati: She cracked a grin, her hands still raised in an offensive position. "What, need a beak already?" Nevertheless, she lowered her guard. "It's okay, just say if I go a little hard on you, yeah?"
Hisako: Hisako sighed, shaking her head, "You want it to be hard on yourself...I know that look, that attitude.", she let her sword fade away also, "Kusuma-san....I mean...Melati....", approaching her, she let her sadness show, "Talk to me..."
Melati: "Hey, I am talking, alright?" She didn't mean to snap at the girl, but she already knew where this was going, so her response came out too brash and quickly. "What do you want to hear from me? You know I don't do this soul-searching attitude." She balled her fist again. "Now, less talking, more fighting!"
Hisako: Stiffening at her words, Hisako crouched backwards, her sword re-appearing as her armor flickered back to life, flat-blade ready, "Come forward..."
Melati: Melati didn't need to be told twice, putting all her strength into the lunge. She pulled back her arm for a fierce swing, sacrificing accuracy for force. She actually wanted to repay Hisako for hitting her before.
Hisako: "Kougei, Armor!", the Japanese girl stepped back, raising her sword up and around in circle, flicking the blade upwards and thrusting forth. Her armor sent its flat edge to meet her foe.
Melati: The glowing blade came down on her, and Melati cursed herself, an instant before it smacked her to the ground right in front of HIsako's feet. The scars on her face stung as they were ground against the training mat.
Hisako: Armor fading, Hisako held her force-blade to Melati's neck, face hard, but betraying her empathy, "Stop, Melati...for youself.", she sucked in a breath, "...I know what it must feel like. I know..."
Melati: "The hell you do," Melati growled, her gaze firmly fixed on the claws of her hands as she lay on the floor. "You have no idea how I feel."
Hisako: Hisako's sword disappeared again, "Wrong. I do.", she looked away, "When you came to....to get me, that's what Taku...", she took a deep breath, finding the words hard, "...that's what he tried to... do...t-to me."
Melati: Melati looked up at Hisako, a part of her anger evaporating to make for... she couldn't even tell what she was feeling. Sympathy came close, however. "I had no idea," she replied, pushing herself off the floor to kneel on the mat instead. "I'm sorry." She bit her lip.
Hisako: "Don't be.", Hisako breathed, a little bit too early not to betray her hurt on the topic. She knelt beside Melati, looking back at her, "It is....hard to talk about. But easier if I do. I-I have....I have never felt scared and hurt like this before. But...Cessily Kincaid has...she has told me that it is alright, not to be ashamed of being hurt."
Hisako: She looked away again, "I won't preach you. You deserve more respect than that, but you must confront how you feel...if you run, it will eat at your heart."
Melati: "I'm not running," Melati insisted, looking up from the hands in her lap to meet Hisako's gaze. Her voice was tense with pent up aggression. "I never ran from anything, and I'm not starting now. I do what I always do - I keep on fighting." Her expression was hard, her jaw clenched. "That's all there is to my feelings."
Hisako: "Do you believe that? Does that make it true?", Hisako fixed her gaze on her peer, "If it is then look at me. Look me in the eye and tell me it doesn't hurt.", she said plainly.
Melati: The muscles in Melati's neck moved underneath her scaly skin, pulled taut by the tension as she forced her head around, returning Hisako's gaze with her one remaining eye. "It doesn't matter," she told her. "Does it hurt? What do you think?" She promptly stood up and held out her hands. "So what? I've been hurt before."
Melati: "That's what I do, after all. I hurt, and I heal." Turning away, she crossed her arms in front of her chest. "The pain will pass in time. It always does. In the meantime, I can't afford to let it slow me down."
Hisako: Standing up, Hisako sighed, "Oba-chan, watashi wa kono kon'nandatta?", she muttered to herself, "Melati, you are right. Objectively so at least; but you are lying to yourself. And that is the worst person to lie to.",
Melati: She looked back over her shoulder, then promptly over the other one when she realized it had been her blind side. "So, what do you suggest I do? Turn into one of those weak little girls who cry against each others tits in some self-help group and whimper about their feelings to some therapy? Talk about how daddy never loved me? Huh?"
Melati: Melati turned to face Hisako, taking a step towards her. "Or how I can't stop thinking about what he did to me? How helpless I felt when he violated me, and that I can't close my eyes without reliving every moment?" She gave her stern look. "I'm not that kind of person. I got into a fight and lost. Big deal. Happened to me before. I'll live."
Hisako: The words about a father birthed a plume of anger in Hisako; intentionally or not Melati had hit a nerve. Composing herself, she took a deep breath, "All I'm saying is that it is ok to admit that it hit you hard. You are bulletproof, yes, but the mind, the soul, is not so easilly healed. Ultimately, you are just as human as everyone else.",
Hisako: Hisako shook her head again, "I know that feeling. I know how horrible it is, but yes, it is worse for you. You can pretend you don't care, that this is just another loss, that's fine. I won't waste my time preaching, I said that.", she raised her hand to halt the other girl, "But I won't watch you destroy yourself. I won't be your emo-razor or your punching bag."
Hisako: She took another breath, "Because you deserve better, friend."
Melati: Silence hung between them, the seconds stretching, while Melati looked down at her hands, slowing turning them to study her palms. Several times, she started to form a reply, but ended up swallowing her words. Her teeth ground against each other as she tensed her jaw.
Melati: Eventually, she took a deep breath, looking away. "I've never felt so helpless," she said, almost under her breath. "I've been in... countless fights. Always outnumbered, always outgunned. Most often I won, sometimes I didn't." She clenched her fists. "But not once have I considered myself... beaten. This time... this time it wasn't so."
Hisako: Remaining quiet Hisako simply nodded. She could at least empathise with that much. Swallowing, she looked up at Melati, unable to think of a response she let the silence preside until the other girl was ready to speak again.
Melati: She raised a hand, balled to a fist, before letting it fall to her side again. "For a while, I was certain I'd die that night - but that's not what he wanted." Turning around, she looked at Hisako. "And that's the only reason why I'm still alive... because he wanted it, and he made damn sure I'd be aware of that."
Hisako: Swallowing, Hisako nodded again. There was simply nothing she could say back to that. With another breath, she raised her hand a little bit, "I...can only imagine...", she managed, voice feeling heavy, "...I'm...sorry."
Melati: "No need to be," Melati replied, lowering her gaze once more. "You're not to blame. I am, for being stupid and believing I'm fucking invincible." She let out a humorless laugh. Something wet glistening in the corner of her eye.
Hisako: Hisako shook her head, "I'm not sorry for you. I'm sorry it happened. I'm sorry that I didn't know and was powerless to help.", she approached Melati, "But it was not your fault. You couldn't have known. Nobody could have.", she clicked her tongue, looking away, "Not even he could have...pitiful fool."
Hisako: She looked up again, "Being sorry for you would sound like you are pathetic. And you are not. I don't care what he or anyone else has to say. Not even what you think.", noticing the tear, she felt her own eye twinge, "He can't take away who you are. You are still the same Melati Kusuma, and I refuse to believe he can take that from you."
Melati: That brought a faint smile to her face. "I know, and I'm pretty sure he knows that, too, which I believe is what really pisses him off. Even when he broke my body, piece by piece, I didn't want to give him the satisfaction of breaking my mind." She clenched her jaw, sucking in the air, before adding tersely: "I tried to, anyway."
Melati: "Am I, though?" Her gaze fell back on Hisako's face. "Still the same who I once was?" Now her lower lip actually trembled. "I wish I could say that it is so, but I'm not sure myself."
Hisako: "I am.", Hisako affirmed, "Of course you are hurt, but you are not broken.", she raised her hand, hesitating near Melati's shoulder before gently placing her hand on it, "But it is alright if....if it hurts. Of course it does. And..if you need to let that out, then....I am here."
Melati: Nodding, Melati managed a pained little smile, while she quickly wiped away the single tear rolling down her cheek. "I... appreciate it," she told the other girl. "And thanks for your faith in me. At least someone's is left unshaken." For a moment, her jaw worked, grinding her teeth. "There's... one more thing..."
Hisako: Hisako blinked, "Of course; anything if you need it.", she smiled gently.
Melati: "It's something I was determined to take with me to my grave, but I feel it festering inside me the longer I keep it to myself," Melati began, her voice shaky. "When he..." She swallowed, her voice trailing off.
Melati: She brought her arms up around her chest, hands grasping her upper arms. "Parts of it... I enjoyed," she admitted, avoiding Hisako's gaze. "He knew I did."
Hisako: Looking away herself, Hisako exhaled quietly, "....understandable.", she finally responded, "We are, at our base, primal creatures. You enjoy sex, yes? Of course somewhere in your mind, the feeling of the act may have felt good.", shrugging, she threw a hand through her hair, "Maybe I am strange to talk so objectively - I think many people won't agree with me..."
Hisako: She rubbed Melati's shoulder, "But yes, maybe somewhere in your mind the idea of the sexual act was good. Not the situation, not what happened, but that is understandable. If only to me. I will not judge you for that."
Hisako: Raising her finger she added swiftly, "But I do not excuse him. And he will pay for his crime."
Melati: "Oh, he's mistaken if he believes he ruined sex for me." Melati laugh, feeling a weight lifted off her chest. "I'm determined to enjoy it as much as possible, just to spite him." Her grin faded, turning into a heartfelt smile. "Thank you, for understanding." She nodded. "I was feeling ashamed of myself. Filthy, almost."
Melati: "What you said... it helped it lot." She shrugged, offering the other girl another wry smirk. "I can only let him hurt me if I let him, right?"
Hisako: "If he hurt you, he hurt you.", Hisako explained, "But there's no shame in anything, and you are not 'filthy', Melati.", she smiled, blushing a little and looking away, "I aaahm...have some similar interests to this that make me feel like I am...a lewd woman.", sighing, she shrugged, "Ok, we can both know something personal about the other?"
Melati: "Oh, I'm afraid now I have to insist." Melati arched an eyebrow as she gave Hisako a curious look, a teasing smirk on her lips. "I share my dark, dirty secrets with you, now it's your turn. And don't tell me you fantasize about that whole tentacle thing..."
Hisako: Hisako scoffed, still blushing, but wearing a much more serious expression as she folded her arms, "Of course not! W-well...not that it hasn't crossed my mind...", she rubbed her forehead, "No, I-I mean...I...have practiced things with Danger before. This...bee-dee-es-em? With, like....whips and... things..."
Melati: "Really?" Melati cocked her head, still wearing that smirk. "Girl, I was expecting something truly shocking now. That's good, clean fun where I come from." She chuckled. "So, about those whips, you prefer to swing 'em, or like to be on the receiving end?"
Hisako: Unable to hide the awkward smile on her face, Hisako rolled her eyes again, still looking away, "I prefer to give the orders. I...enjoy the control. It makes me feel...good, I guess. It's hard to explain.", she laughed a little, looking at Melati again, "If you tell anyone, I'll kick you in the ass."
Melati: Melati stepped right up to Hisako, leaning close to give the other girl a good look at her cheeky smile. "Well, as we've just found out, the both of us would probably enjoy that."
Hisako: "W-wha...", Hisako blinked, "W-well, I-I just think that because this is so traumatic, maybe you should come to terms first! T-then again, immersion therapy mught help. Of course I would have to consult with you and Kincaid-senpai...", she bit her lip, "...maybe I am sounding too enthusiastic?"
Hisako: She shrugged, "I-I mean...it could be good. F-for you. For...getting better. And things..."
Melati: "We both know that's just how I like tackling my problems." Melati's smile turned into a lewd grin. "Headfirst with not a damn given about the consequences."
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