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12 June 2011 @ 02:34 pm
Katako exudes pheromones with anti-depressant effects  
Where: Katako's apartment
When: Sometime actually this month! This week, even!

Kristen had made her way to Katako's apartment in a daze, her gaze rather blank, with an envelope clutched tightly in one hand. She lifted her hand and gently knocked on the door. "Katako-san?" she called out, her voice cracking.

"Kristen-chan?" This was precluded with a trilling chirp and a soft scrabbling at the bottom of the door, then the sound of footsteps and soft shooing noises. The door opened and the woman peeked out before opening it wide in alarm. "What happened, were you attacked?"

"Uh?" She looked at the older woman and blinked a bit, coming back into herself. "Oh. No. Why?"

Katako visibly relaxed with relief, reaching out to take the girl's hand and pulling her gently but firmly into the apartment. "You don't look well. Come on, I'll make you a cup of tea."

"That would be nice, thank you," was the distant reply. Kristen allowed herself to be pulled her, her grip tightening further on the envelope.

Guiding Kristen to a cushion, Katako pushed her down onto it. Immediately Kai helped himself to Kristen's lap, regardless if it was comfortable for either of them, as his mistress went to get the tea.

Kristen absently petted at the reptile with her free hand. Focusing again, finally let go of the envelope and put it where Kai couldn't reach. She winced as her fingers cracked with the effort.

He sniffed at the envelope curiously, but opted rather for pressing his head insistently against her chest and hand. "Kai, stop being so needy," Katako admonished gently, coming back with a tea tray and holding one cup out for Kristen. She continued to look at the younger girl with a frown as she sat close at the low table.

"No, it's... nice." She accepted the cup and took a sip, then stared into the tea for a moment before speaking up. "I got a letter from an American university. They, uh... they're impressed with how I've been doing in my mathematics classes. They want me to transfer to their school to help with a study."

"Oh?" Katako looked at the envelope on the table, then back at Kristen, gauging the girl's reaction. "That sounds very prestigious."

"It is! It would be a great thing to have on an application to graduate school, and it's in a field of study that I'm interested in, but..." She sighed and hunched over a bit, sipping her tea in a miserable fashion.

"But what? It sounds like an opportunity of a lifetime to me."

"I... I don't want to leave everyone behind here," Kristen admitted after a moment. "What if something happens to one of you while I'm gone? It'll be my fault for not being there to help."

"Oh, sweetie, nothing like that is going to happen," Katako soothed, pressing her palms gently to Kristen's cheeks. "And you know that Serenity can get you back as quick as a blink, right? You should take the chances to be happy."

"I know, but what if something happens and Serenity gets hurt or something? What if you guys are in trouble and there's no way for you to get in contact with me because I lost my cellphone and since I'm not in the city I can't see if there's anything wrong? What if people like those jellies show up looking for me and they don't know I'm not in Marin, so they attack innocent people?" She covered her face. "I don't want that to happen again..."

"Even if all of those things happened together at the exact same moment, things would still turn out alright. I'm still here, and so is Hanata-kun, Fiducius, Domani-san, and everyone else. All your friends are happy to lend extra hands. That's what we're here for."

"But if I'm not there and something bad does happens, it'll be my fault! I don't want anyone to get hurt!"

"Was it your fault when I was shot? Or when Jun-kun's eye was injured? Or when Osric-kun got thrown out a window? Or when Nikado was stabbed?"

Kristen winced. "No... I couldn't do anything then..."

Pulling Kristen's hands from her face and holding them, Katako looked into the blonde's eyes. "Bad things are going to happen, and it's never, ever going to be your fault. It's not going to be anyone's fault. Nobody blames you for all the times we got hurt because you're not the one to blame."

"But..." She looked away. "I'm still afraid..."

"It's okay to be afraid, but you can't let it stop you from being happy. If you want to go to America to study, then I want you to go. I wouldn't be happy if you stayed because we were keeping you here."

Kristen frowned. "That's playing dirty, onee-san. I can't make you unhappy."

Katako only smiled. "I've learned a few things since I moved here. I think using my powers for the greater good is acceptable."

The blonde girl sighed. "I'll tell them yes, then. God, but I'm going to have a lot to do to get ready..."

"Is there anything I can help with?" Katako asked, for the first time showing the excitement she'd been holding back. "Where at in America? Are you going to see the President?"

That got a laugh out of Kristen. "No, no, um. It's the university that I've been doing my correspondence courses from, in Vermont - they want me to transfer to their campus so they can supervise me while I work for them. Vermont is very much north of the White House, unless the President decides to visit."

"He travels a lot, though, right? So he'll definitely visit! Can you tell him hello for me?"

"If I get a chance to talk to him, then I'll definitely tell him you said hello," Kristen assured her. "Since it's in Vermont, I might be able to see if any of my father's family lives in the area... or I can see about student housing too. Or is it too late in the year?" She chewed her bottom lip. "I have to get someone to stay with Shizuka while I'm gone too..."

"Whatever we can help with, please just as any of us. Especially me," Katako reassured, smiling brightly and squeezing Kristen's hands. "Come on, promise you'll ask us for help. I know you'll try to do it all yourself if we don't."

"Um. All right," she answered in a small voice. "Let's see... I'll need to make arrangements for Shizuka, get my travel plans all organized... I should check to see if my passport needs to be updated... have to find a way to the airport, too..."

"The airport is easy, you can take the shinkansen straight to Narita International. But first you need to tell your school they can be expecting you."

"Right!" Kristen looked down at her now-empty tea cup and then back at Katako with a shy smile. "Maybe I should gt some new clothes for the trip?"

Katako gasped, lighting up. "Yes! You have to!" she breathed, nearly vibrating with excitement. "You're going to America! And something special when you meet the President!"

"Could you help me pick some things out, then...?"

"I'd love to! This is going to be so much fun, I'm so excited for you! Who are you going to tell first?"

"Um... I suppose I should tell my family first?" 'Except for Freya,' she added mentally. She didn't want her sister hunting her down when she was supposed to be busy working. "And, uh, probably Shen too..."

"Yes, definitely Shen-san," Katako agreed with a nod, sobering a little. "I'm sure Serenity would be happy to help you two visit each other. You two are still doing okay...?"

"I guess. I haven't been letting the situation with his cousin bother me so much." She chewed her lip. "That reminds me, I'll need to give a two weeks notice at the restaurant."

"I could ask Fiducius to talk to his cousin for you, maybe," Katako said, lowering her voice to a conspirator's whisper.

Kristen blinked. "Uh. Do you mean literal talking?"

"Fiducius has a very mean tongue," she said with all seriousness.

"Well, I was wondering if you meant him to pop into Baiyin's bedroom in the middle of the night. Which would be perfectly okay with me," she added.

"I'll see what he can arrange," she said, starting to giggle.

"What? Baiyin could do with a little fear in him," protested Kristen. "Might give him a healthier respect for other people."

"If Shen-san's okay with you rattling his cousin's cage, I'm not one to protest."

"Oh. I probably should check with him about it..." She frowned. "I hope he doesn't have a problem with it. He doesn't like Baiyin much more than I do."

"Well, plenty of time to worry about that later. You have a trip to plan for."

"Yeah, I do." With relief, the blonde girl smiled broadly.