“I had a terrible dream, Yui.” The wizened old man said, as he kept trimming the bonsai with care. “It was weird… You know those morning shows Aoi liked…” He said, pondering as he caressed his facial hair.
Yui had always been her confidant, so it was okay to show a bit of softness here and then.
“I was one of those characters that did magical barf beams and shit. It was super pink.”
Yui let out a snort, and reeled with laughter, as she eyed the old man.
“Don’t be so silly, love.” The gentle caress of her seemed to soothe the embarrassment as she drew closer. “That’s not a bad nightmare to be in.” She chided. “I bet you were super cute.”
She drew even closer, as her lips closed on Sakura’s. How long since had he felt like this? It was like a dream coming true.
Actually, no. It was just a dream.
Sakura opened an eye, alarmed. She was still in her form of a young girl, bandaged like the world's cutest mummy, and kissing someone else.
“You again!?” Sakura screamed as she shoved one of the Aurelio clones out of the way. “How come you appear when I’m reminiscing about Yui-- owowowowow!” It was then when Sakura realized how badly damaged she was, and slumped back to her bed. If the wounds did not kill her, the embarrassment would.
Sally giggled on the bed next to hers, also wrapped in bandages, though not as heavily as Sakura was. “Oh, Sakura, you’re awake! And I see you've taken a liking to Aurelio's clones. That's so cute.” She was turned towards her, an arm supporting her head in a casual manner. She then noticed how she was in pain. “Looks like you got really hurt out there. How did it go?”
The shoved clone let out an annoyed sigh as he was forced back into his seat. The real Aurelio, who was sitting next to Sally, simply chuckled at his clone's turn of luck. “Not sure who Yui is” The original would start “But it might have something to do with me being an Empath” The clone would continue on.
“Some people just react to some magics stronger than others” Another Clone would pipe in as it walked by, and looking around they could spot at least another half dozen copies of Aurelio in the area helping out where they could. “Not inherently a bad thing.” The original would chime in again “Especially since Love is the first emotion that keeps being drawn out.”
Sakura tossed a withering glare at the real perp who had been creating these ninja clones all over. The tiny girl crumpled her sheets, fighting the stinging sensation to get a better position to talk. "Says you. Yui is...well, was… my wife. And for some reason I keep seeing her whenever I'm almost dead." Sakura ventured forth. "And I bet that answers how did it go, oppai shooter-chan, I don't fucking know. All I know is that I put my all into the attack and it connected."
Sally sat up and gave a bright smile. “Sounds like you’ve had quite a fight. It’s a shame I had to retreat early from there, but I’m also glad we survived with zero deaths, looking by how all of you got back. Aurelio, do you know what happened there? Did we get Mariette?”
Aurelio would run a hand through his hair before answering “I know I’ve got most of the information floating around but I’ve not called back all my stage assistants yet so not one hundred on everything” He would lean back in his chair and look toward the ceiling as he explained what he could “Mariette got away. For whatever reason Dan showed up with an escape route, Alicai might know more about that she was closer to that area. Justine got jumped on, but I’m not sure if she was taken out either. Your attack left her at least unconscious, but last I saw she was also taken through the portal to Dan’s beach I would guess.” He would explain gesturing towards Sakura. “Jenna had poured a potion of some kind on Justine before, some of Mariette’s allies grabbed Justine and fled. Last I saw Jeena also was through the portal, but I’m not sure how or why. Was busy keeping Leena stable.”
“Sonia, got evac’d a different way, taken away by some dark knight looking guy that Justine had summoned. Same one that hit you with that spear.” He would add, before going quiet to mull over what else he could talk about before shrugging. Nothing else that seemed relevant, plus he wanted to keep that tiny samurai’s goal quiet for the moment. Lots of hard feelings flowing around at the moment after all.
“Oh” He would say, snapping his fingers “That pocket dimension also collapsed! Leena’s void spell destabilized it shortly after you, Kimble, and Hyun all got pulled out. So at least partial victory since Mariett lost that base of operations.” He would add pointing at Sally
“That’s all I know about the assault.” He would say with another shrug. “Glad to hear that none of us ended up dying though. Was really worried about some of the girls that Justine forced along with us.”
"Fuck. Cunt deserved more." Sakura said, her gaze at Aurelio's. "She drank my teammate dead. Silver baka got on my nerves but she did spacey shit and was not a bad girl." She paused. "That and that jerk. He revels on it, the sick fuck." She folded her arm as if on reflex to touch over the place she had been stabbed.
She then paused. "Also who is that Dan dickwad? Sounds like an idiot."
Aurelio grimaced at Sakura’s declarations, partly due to the vulgarity but mostly due to learning that it hadn’t been a completely bloodless operation. “I’m sorry to hear you lost a teammate” He would console wondering if one of his clones had seen it and he just wasn’t aware he knew already. “You might have seen him before that hydra showed up. He was the inflatable dolphin.” He would go on to answer “He’s a Patron, a lesser force I think, a fair amount of the magicals here in Penrose kinda got abducted by him a few months back.”
"But it wasn't all bad!" Sally interjected. "Dan's place provided plenty of R&R, not to mention some great drinks. It was like winning a tropical vacation in a lottery! But he did need an intervention before he let us leave; hopefully he's learned by now not to be so escapist." She stretched her arm and then stood up from her bed. "Anyway, I think I'm gonna go grab a li'l bite. See you later!"
"What." Sakura said in a deadpan expression, eyes trying to process what she had just heard. Hydrangeas were poisonous, but they were just a flower. How come Beacon could not beat a flower??Sakura's disbelief was made patent as she rolled her eyes at apparently the magical version of an inflatable Hugh Hefner.
Of course, there were more pressing matters. Like staring at Sally's rear side as soon as she stood up, unabashedly. Her blatant staring would be swiftly interrupted, however, by a top hat a size too large dropping onto her head, courtesy of Aurelio.
"Dick" She then eyed Aurelio as she discarded the hat.
"So what now? I am not going to apologize for teaching a titty leech not to bite teammates."
“Not sure really” The now hatless magician would reply with a shrug. “There are a lot of people who need to recover, and Mariette is in the wind again so likely just normal Beacon stuff, or normal magical stuff on your end. Alicia might have some idea of what’s the next move but it might be a while until anything comes of that.”
"Hmm. Yeah that could be it. Think I'm going to see that Alicia gal." She said. Block guy was really getting on her nerves. Whoever that Alicia was, she sounded kinda alright. At least much better looking. Had she met her before?
So, Sakura tried to spring back into action out of the bed, however her small body was far too injured to respond properly, so she ended catching her foot with the bedsheet, sending her face first against the floor, ass up in the air.
Or she would have; had both Aurelio and hatless Aurelio not nearly jump out of their chairs to make sure she didn’t face plant onto the vinyl flooring.
"Fuck." She muttered.
“Easy there” He would say as they carefully set her down. Not on the bed, as neither of them assumed she would be willing to sit still, regardless of what the doctor ordered. “Alicia is off with Rachel at the moment so not sure she’s open to talk just yet.” He would add after making sure that Sakura could stand on her own, though he would linger nearby just in case.
“But I can send a clone to find out and we can go get some food from the cafeteria in the meantime if you want”
"Just buzz off, Killjoy". Sakura said, trying to get a semblance of dignity. It was not that easy, that with being a pink haired girl still bandaged in some cutesy underwear and pajamas… all of them pink. She then tried to take a couple of strides, but failed to do so, falling on her butt.
“Aurelio” He would introduce himself “Though I doubt you’ll stick with my actual name” He would add as one of his clones came over and threw an arm over his shoulder before vanishing in a small puff of smoke. “And leaving you on your own doesn’t seem like a good idea.” He would extend a hand to help Sakura up “Especially if I want to stay on Heather’s good side.”
Sakura let a piercing glare at Aurelio and pondered for a brief second to just snub him, but she really felt weak at the moment, so she grabbed his hand to hoist herself up, wincing at the phantom pain still coursing through her body. "Whatever, Oreo lion." She averted her gaze as she did so, trying to hide her awkwardness. The perp mentioned food. "Food sounds good. I need a bottle of sake too." She added. "But I'm not acting all cutesy for it. Not into guys."
Aurelio would let out a soft chuckle at being called ‘Oreo lion’, that had the potential of becoming a personal favorite way of mangling his stage name. “Not sure if we have sake in stock” he would say, letting Sakura assume she had been successful in hiding her awkwardness. It was a doomed endeavour due to his specialization, but people often forgot about that. “Plenty of food though”
“And hey that just means there’s more guys for me” He would add on with a charming grin. He would put a hand on Sakura’s shoulder as he started leading the way to the Cafeteria. partly to help Sakura balance, but mostly to sooth the aches with a touch of magic.
“Never got your name by the way.” which was a lie, but still a good place to get conversation flowing potentially.
Sakura gave Aurelio a somewhat puzzled expression when he mentioned his actual tastes, before shaking her head in denial. Yes, apparently some people swung both ways. Would he even make a pass on people that looked like her? She began to harbour suspicion as she witnessed, partly aghast at how he was invading her personal space.
Well, she could probably fall on her face if she kinda slapped his hand so she let herself endure. “Sakura. Don’t ever call me otherwise, even if that rat bastard tells you I’m Mahou Shoujo Sparkly heart.” You never knew, with the rat bastard. And this guy seemed to get an info on everything.
She really needed that sake, though.
“Ouch” Aurelio would commiserate with a chuckle “Take it you’re with a solo Puchuu then?” He would ask as they were the ones who seemed to like to try and sell the whole Mahou Shojo image to people.
“Yes. But for reasons he’s throwing the lot with you guys.” Sakura added. “Can’t know what half of the time that fucker is thinking. Seedy bastard.”
“That’s some puchuu sadly” Aurleio would say with a half shrug as they rounded a corner and entered the Cafeteria. It looked a lot like a school lunchroom. large open space with long tables dominating most of the floor with sections of smaller round tables scattered about as well.
There were a few lines where one could pick up a tray before getting a small, but varied selection of food based on the line one entered. It was mainly in the food being offered where things skewed away from the school lunchroom aesthetic. The food here wasn’t low grade school food but rather high quality meals of various types. “Ooh, seems to be our lucky day” Aurelio would say gesturing towards one of the lines “As it seems we have Japanese as an option today. If you’re going to get Sake I’d assume that would be where”
“...Feh.” Sakura said. “Might give it a try.” She went to ask about the sake and the food at the counter. It seemed palatable, but no upright Beacon member would sell alcohol to a magical 9 year old, so Sakura understandably got really angry, did a glare at the people, and asked for whatever grub they had at hand, before stomping off and sit down to eat.
Aurelio was not far behind Sakura, both due to help sooth any ruffled feathers and having gotten some ramen for his chosen meal. It was much more apparent that Aurleio was a people person here in the cafeteria as plenty of people would call greetings to the guy and he would reply with a greeting of his own.
Shortly however they would find a place to sit at one of the round tables that dotted the place. “So” Aurelio would say after they got seated “How long have you been a part of the community here?”
“I’m recent.” Sakura grunted, as she focused on her meal. Why did she have to put up with this Oreo guy? I wondered if she could have someone sexier, like Rachel or Alicia? Those sounded good.
Aurelio let out a soft sigh before digging into his own meal. He wasn’t blind to Sakura’s annoyance and discontentment with him being her escort around Beacon HQ, nor did it seem like she was willing to meet him halfway at the moment in trying to become friends. It was sad, but not terribly surprising. Besides could be due to her lingering wounds.
Still if it was privacy they were expecting, they were both in for a surprise.
“Really Aurelio? Taking patients out of the infirmary now?” A young, but stern, voice would say from the side. One which would make the boy in question flinch.
“N-not at all Heather” He would reassure the voice as he turned towards the new arrival. “Sakura here just wanted to get some food, and she wasn’t willing sit around waiting for it”
The new arrival was a young girl with medium length pink hair, some of which was pulled up into a side ponytail. She had soft pink eyes and her outfit was a mix of a school girls outfit and a nurse’s. Mostly white, with pink accents and the occasion bit of Navy.
Heather let out a humph as she turned an unimpressed eye at Sakura. “You should take better care of yourself. Most people don’t stand back up when hit with a Killing blow.” She would say as she set down her chicken and fried rice bowl. “You might have been lucky this time but that is no excuse to leave while you’re still healing.”
"I will lie down when I'm dead, nurse-chan." Sakura bluntly said as she scarfed down her food. "Besides, I am not part of the popo club. Just a temp, if you understand. Bitch totally deserved being decked in the face. Nobody fucks around with comrades even if they are stupid broads."
Heather didn't react at all to the minor tirade. Instead she simply leaned over and prodded Sakura hard on the arm, the same arm that she had channeled her killing blow through.
"Part of the club or not. bitch deserving of it or not. You should treat the time and effort of the people who started your heart back up with a bit more care than this." She would say sharply, eyes narrowing slightly.
Sakura made her effort to stay composed, even though the pain was nearing unbearable levels. “You’re not getting a kiss in the cheek and a thank you nurse-chan in a singsong voice.” She hissed. “Or were you hoping you’d get a reward to be buddy buddies? I am an ally, but nowhere says I have to be your friend.”
Heather just scoffed and returned to her food. "Yes because being friends with masochistic, short man syndrome suffering newbie is at the top of my priorities" She replied dryly, before taking a bite of her food and chewing thoughtfully.
"If you're that determined to piss away all my work. There is a quicker method for getting out of here" She would go on to say, a pink and white assault rifle materializing on the table between them in a poof of stars and hearts.
Aurelio, for his part, simply paled at the sight of the gun. For as much as he would have liked to be elsewhere he was still kinda stuck being Sakura's escort.
Sakura just sighed. Being put at gunpoint had once been a staple of his life as gangster. Some things never changed. Maybe she was capable, maybe she was just putting on airs but she gave the nurse a tired expression. “Don’t bring guns on the dining table. It 's bad manners. Only the worst crooks do that.” She added. “It’s souring my food. I’ll consider myself berated, and let’s not waste more time on this. I don’t think keeping patients at gunpoint is something a nurse-chan should do.”
"I see you don't like my med-kit" Heather would say with a hint of amusement. Not bothering to dismiss the weapon just yet. "And keeping some of these people at gunpoint is the only way to make sure they stay rested" She gave a very pointed look at Aurelio with that statement. Who flinched a bit at being called out.
"Besides, I doubt most crooks have guns that can shoot healing bullets" She gave Sakura another look before shrugging. "But if you're willing to to pay respect to the work me and my people did at last" The gun would vanish in another cloud of hearts and stars.
“If I had one of those in my past life, my best friend would have been alive.” Sakura commented on the absurdity of a healing gun. “Or maybe not. It was tough shit.” She added. “Don’t blame the Oreo guy, nurse-chan. He seems the type who can’t stop giving help even if it’s not really asked for.” Sakura said as she kept scarfing down. “Also, yeah respect, whatever.”
“Oreo guy?” Heather would say looking at Aurelio in amusement, who simply smirked at the nickname. “Sally’s going to love that one.” she would say shaking her head as she went back to eating herself.
Something in her mind clicked. This kind of post battle lull made her senses spring up. “I wonder how swiss-knife-chan is doing these days.”
“Swiss-knife-chan?” Aurelio would ask, a touch bemused.
"Yep, was it Penis? Or Penny." Sakura said.
“Penny” They both would reply.
“And last I heard she was doing fine. Settling in after her… Would you call it upgrades?” Heather would say turning toward Aurelio.
“Sounds fair to me” The boy in question would say scratching his head “She felt more in control, but a lot more on edge as well.” He would shrug a bit “She tends to avoid me though, so hard to say.”
"Go figure." Sakura said, rolling her eyes as she finished her meal. "Upgrades huh, can she wash clothes now? Whatever…" She added, not entirely understanding what the perp was up to. "Thanks for the meal." She said as she got up, wobbling ever so slightly and began to hobble towards the clinic once more. She had to come to the realization she was stuck with these pushy people for the time being.
“She’s back to being more human.” Heather would correct “A new look, and from what her training room scores have to say an upgrade to her hardware as well.”
“I’ll pass along your curiosity next chance I get if you want” Aulreio would offer as he stood up with Sakura, taking his ramen with him as he did, and following along. Notably not crowding her as he did on the way to the Cafeteria. “And how did you meet her if you don’t mind me asking?”
“Blew up a fucking monster turd and saved a girl who had her face eaten together. Should’ve been sent here. Kinda the fourth most disgusting thing I saw in my entire life.” She said as she stumbled her way out.
“Oh you and Penny were the ones who helped Sarah?” He would ask, his mood sobering slightly remembering the state the girl was in “Thank you for that”
“Slightly worried about what would rank higher than that, if it was only forth”
“Don’t ask, and I won’t tell, Oreo.” She said as she hobbled back to her bed.