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  • Current IC Month: 8月 YE 42 (through November 21, 2020)

RP: ZHS [OVA 17] Developing A Working Relationship

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Blizzard

Well-Known Member
RP Date
YE 41
RP Location
Tsubomi, Yamatai
Skadi's Apartment
Tsubomi, Yamatai
7:00 PM


Skadi's brown-furred tail swished back and forth absent mindedly as she stood before her stove. Her face was buried in one of her prized cookbooks, and every once in a while the Joto Heisho would mutter something under her breath and toss another spice into the steaming cast iron skillet in front of her.

One of the many things they did not teach one in boot-camp was that food could be categorized by only flavor and texture. While out in the field with a team, soldiers need not suffer through their own individual rations. Resources could be pooled, and different flavors and textures could be combined to transform another cold, wet night in a foxhole into a delicious and happy feast. It was on those nights, as her ears healed from the cacophonous artillery and her squad celebrated surviving another day, that Skadi found her love of the culinary arts. She'd loved the infantry too much to become a yellow-shirt, but the battlecat had already made the decision that when she was finally done with the military, she would become a chef.

Her cooking skills had another benefit besides being utterly therapeutic: offering someone food was an excellent way to make friends and sooth over past wounds. On weekends, when her son was out of school, she would invite him over to stay the night, and cook for him. They would discuss shooting technique, watch vids, things that Skadi should have been doing with him since the day he was born. But she'd missed that chance, so now she was doing everything in her power to make things right. Tonight, however, it was not Addaiel she cooked for, but Hoshiko. As the two of them were now colleagues with the shared goal of prepparing neko younglings for military service, Skadi had found it prudent to foster at least a friendly relationship between them. So, she'd offered Hoshiko food, the universal symbol of peace and good intentions. The two would have a nice dinner, and perhaps discuss their different teaching strategies.

Skadi did not agree with much of Hoshiko's style of leadership, a fact which she had kept quiet about out of her sense of professionalism. But Skadi couldn't help but sometimes feel the need to knock the living daylights out of the SAINT liaison.

Skadi checked the wall clock, and saw that it was seven on the dot. She was dressed in a form-fitting, tan top with the sleeves pushed up, black jeans, and low heels that showed off her modestly-painted nails. There was a knock on the front door, and Skadi set aside her cookbook, making sure that her meal would not burst into flames while she went to answer it. She paused at the door and straightened her top before opening it.

"Hoshiko! Welcome! Please, come in!" she greeted cheerfully, her eyes and smile soft, warm, and inviting. Years of carnage and violence had mellowed her out considerably, made her more appreciative of the time spent away from the battlefield. Even if she disagreed with Hoshiko, she was determined to always be hospitable and of a relaxed, positive disposition. The world was already filled with enough ugliness and hatred.

Hoshiko had frankly been curious and distrusting of the invite for dinner. In her eyes the techniques Skadi used had the effect of leading the children to weakness, setting them up for failure. But Hoshiko had held her tongue out of professional courtesy and a bit of a chance to show the woman up. The tiny SAINT agent had proven time and again that she was competent in field work, so she knew that the way she did things was right. After all, if it worked for her, it would certainly work for the students.

She had been half tempted to simply blow the invite off and stay at home to read and prepare her lesson plans, but Lilium had told her to go, and Hoshiko rarely went against what her companion told her to do.

She was usually right after all.

So Hoshiko had prepared herself to go over. She had cleaned and done her hair, the tousled short blonde hair looked like she had been through a wind tunnel. She had dressed in a pencil skirt and sharp dress shirt, both black, a pair of black tights and thankfully forgone a knife at her side. It would have sent the wrong message Lilium had told her. Short heels that clicked with each footfall barely announced her arrival at the front door. She knocked and as the door opened, Skadi would be greeted by Hoshiko who stood there with a nice bottle of wine in her arms, cradled almost like a child.

"Thank you." Was all she offered as she entered and left her shoes by the door before she followed her fellow teacher inside. Though her eyes took a casual look around, it was anything but in the SAINT's mind as she cataloged everything she saw in her mind.

Skadi, meanwhile, was doing the same. Noticing every detail of Hoshiko's outfit. It was impeccably clean, nothing out of place. She caught a glimpse of the label on the wine, and realized it was no bottom-shelf swill. Hoshiko had probably done her homework, with her SAINTly ways, and obviously knew how to get on Skadi's good side. Skadi also noticed that Hoshiko was obviously scoping out her modest, but clean dwelling. Skadi understood that, as she and her son did the same thing unconsciously. But while Hoshiko was probably doing so to build a profile of her target's mind, Skadi used her talent to read the terrain and plan ahead.

"Please, have a seat," Skadi urged, gesturing to her neatly set dining table, a traditional low-set platform with pillows surrounding it. There were small trays set across from one another, with rice and miso soup already laid out in white bowls. "and feel free to open that wine. It looks amazing."

A small blonde eyebrow raised at the more traditional table setting as she nodded and sat. Hoshiko had picked a wine her mother loved, an older vintage Yamataian wine, though Hoshiko had to admit she was partial to a Nepleslian blend herself. But as she sat she went about opening the bottle and let it sit for a moment to settle and begin to open it's flavor further.

"I must admit I was surprised when you offered this meeting, but I suppose it was about time we had a chance to talk outside of school." She offered and waited for Skadi to join her before she even touched her food. Part of her mind prickled at the food she had no hand in preparing, but she doubted the woman would try anything of the like.

Skadi shuffled over to the table, setting down a cast-iron pot. She came down onto her knees across from Hoshiko and gestured proudly to the main dish.

"Chicken katsu. Breaded and fried with vegetables." declared the neko proudly. Another facet of Skadi's personality that Hoshiko could probably pick up on was the woman's love of her craft. "But yes! We will be working very closely with one another, and if not only with this current generation of younglings, then with many more after them. It would be nice, if not necessary, to have at least a good working relationship."

Genuine hospitality, tinged with a soldier's practicality and directness. That was an excellent way to describe Skadi. The brown-haired neko reached out with practiced hands and filled both of their cups, then began spooning her creation onto her plate. She'd done this ritual many times with her last lover, Tomoe. If they'd just been given a little more time, if Tomoe had just ducked a little lower to avoid that Kuvexian's aether rifle, they could have had many evenings like this, as a properly married couple, raising their beautiful child who held both of their likeness. But Tomoe was gone for good, the woman having requested to not be brought back, tired of war and conflict. Skaddi banished those thoughts from her mind after she felt them creep into her eyes, and raised her cup.

"To the success of our students!" Skadi toasted with that same look of motherly pride she wore whenever the younglings would shoot well. She took a sip, eliciting a small noise of delight. If anyone should have been worried about poisoning, it was the woman sitting across from a SAINT agent. Skadi had never trusted SAINT agents, due to personal experience as well as the mysterious air they carried. She preferred the unabashed honesty of an infantry squad, the bonds of trust that held them together. She missed those days with all of her heart, and felt a painful loneliness in this apartment. Her students, and her colleague sitting across from her, were her way of healing. While her former family went off into the stars without her, she would build a new one here in Tsubomi.

Hoshiko raised her own glass and felt a little strange. "To the success of our students, and the safety of the Empire."This woman was being far to nice to her, something she was not used to without a underlying current of fear or concern. She was used to people being scared of her, even higher ranking people who knew of her record. But Skadi seemed to care little, and more for the students. It threw her off a little, but it showed little as she began to gather her own food after the toast.

"You enjoy cooking I see. I do too a little, though I tend to focus on treats like cookies and cupcakes over actual meals. My mother tended to do a lot of the cooking when I was a youngling and she let me take care of the sweets." She gave a small glimpse into her history and upbringing as she took a bite of the katsu and let out a small murr of appreciation. "What did you use for the breading?" She asked and looked the food over for a closer inspection.

"I'd love to try them sometime," Said Skadi as she dabbed her face with a napkin. "For the breading, I made real breadcrumbs by hardening a loaf of seasoned bread in the oven, then crushing it. I always prefer to make the components when I can. It adds a certain... quality to the food that store-bought simply cannot replicate."

"That is true. Handmade items usually do have a sense of flavor to them you rarely get anywhere else. I'll make some for you and bring them in the next school day for you, as thanks for cooking dinner." Hoshiko took another bite and finished the bit of chicken before she tried some of the soup.

The next few minutes glided through friendly conversation and idle chit-chat about a variety of topics, from music, to politics, to weaponry. Anything but work. The bottle of wine that Hoshiko had brought was only a quarter full at this point, and each sip had brought the two new acquaintances farther out of their guarded shells. For a moment, the two sat in silence as their meal drew to a close, before Skadi broke it.

"We have quite an interesting bunch under our care, Hoshiko," she began with a fond smile at the thought of her younglings. "What is your impression of our class?"

Hoshiko swirled her glass with the last bits of her drink for a moment as she thought on the question, eyes locked on the soft red liquid. She let out a breath and nodded. "Interesting is a good term for them. For us, who grew up with Fort Ready, and Black Sands for myself... It was much different. They are interesting, but I see a lot of promise in them. Good soldiers, good agents even if they can focus their energies and concentration on a single point. They have a chance to truly be great members of the military if they can get past their childish play and get serious." She explained as she drained the rest of her drink in a gulp and set her glass down.

"Keiko shows great promise. She is resolved, focused, intent on being the best and that is something that has drawn me to her from the first day I was here. She would make a great agent with some training and experience. Even Gunny and and few others show the makings of solid Operatives."

"Wouldn't you say that their youthful enthusiasm," Skadi said intentionally, thinking childish play seemed to disregard the effort they put into their work. "Is a good thing? We are not trying to create robots, after all. We are forming them into exceptional soldiers who are compassionate, brave, and think outside the box, as per our princess's mandate. I believe Keiko could stand to lighten up, if we're being completely honest."

Skadi paused to sip her wine again. It was definitely Yamataian, she mused, as even with her neko metabolism she could feel a good buzz. She felt a twinge of annoyance towards Hoshiko. Whenever the blonde spoke of their children as little more than potential agents, whenever she snapped at them like a drill instructor, it drove her up a wall. "She is much too young to be so rigid and stoic. I fear for her mental well-being sometimes."

"They need to learn and understand what the basic thinking is before they can move to that. If they never learn what the norm is, then how do they know if their thinking falls into it or not? Just because someone doesn't learn common sense doesn't mean they can't exert it." Hoshiko offered in a counter argument as she felt her cheeks turn rosy from the wine.

"Keiko seems to be the only one with her head on right. I understand these are basically children, but we are at war. We need fighters, warriors, agents, people to get out and do what needs to be done." Hoshiko had been one such Neko, one that had done things others hadn't wanted to do. "She is the only one in the group I feel is headed in the right direction. The others, they treat this school like a playground, flitting around like fairies from one fancy to the next, not understanding what this place is. A place to train and become worthy soldiers to carry the colors of our military."

Skadi's expression didn't change, but there was a shifting in the aura surrounding her. It was akin to a mountain standing against the wind. No matter how hard the wind howled, the mountain would not yield.

"Teaching conventional military strategy can be done without making one's pupils fear their wrath when they make a simple mistake. As the head of several infantry teams for countless years, I find people are receptive to encouraging guidance, rather than harsh reprimand. Furthermore, I can also tell you that those like Keiko, the perfectionists and utilitarians, do not do well in the long run. Treating those under one's command as pieces on a board, and putting nothing else before the mission is, I concede, a method that works. But over time, it will eat her alive. Years of combat, of sacrificing your team-members to win, of unavoidable failures, will harden her. She may begin to shut herself away from others, to lose that vital sense of humanity we're supposed to be giving her." Skadi spoke, her tone confident and stern.

Her eyes began to glaze over with memories long past, filled with blood, fire, and noise. She continued to speak, though it seem she wasn't all there. "She may leave the military unable to function in a civilian society. Or worst of all, and I pray to Chiharu this never happens, her guilty conscious may overwhelm her, and she will begin making stupid gambles on the battlefield, hoping to finally end it all in a blaze of glory."

Skadi's eyes filled with color again, and she stared at Hoshiko with a hard, impassive expression. "We do need warriors, you are correct, but we do not need killing machines. The others, while not as serious as Keiko, can learn discipline, and they will. With time and proper example."

"Your mindset is why we can't close the door on this war. We need killing machines, people capable of making hard decisions that can win this war because they aren't scared to lose a life or two in pursuit of victory. The Mishhu were a much tougher, they were out for us, not to turn a profit like the Kuvexians are. They didn't want to just kill us, they wanted to destroy us. We need soldiers like we had then, people willing to destroy what wanted to destroy us."

Hoshiko set her cup down and refilled it , but left it where it sat as she stared at Skadi. "I have been on ships and with teams that have been of similar mindset. I've been left behind because I could not make it to my exfil location on time to protect the team and assets we were after. I have had to do the things that made us merciless killing machines, yet here I am, fine and well and teaching a new batch of younglings just how to do that same thing. Fear may be the mind killer, but when fear passes, you can be stronger if you are worthy to be."

The agent took a drink from her cup and looked down at it before her blue eyes returned to Skadi. "Fear is good to have on the battlefield just as it is in learning. Fear of making a mistake will make you over-prepare, over study and that will make you succeed. Fear of disappointing my mother has driven me to be better, to perform my best, and I am not broken, I am not used up. I've never made a decision to go out in a blaze of glory and fire."

"That's because you are psychotic, Hoshiko." Skadi retorted matter-of-factly. "You were left behind because of poor planning and leadership which views you not as a person, but as a number on a list. The main point of this school is to create the opposite of what our generation was. If our students kill in the future, it should be out of a desire to protect their sisters in arms, as well as their nation and the people who live in it. They shouldn't revel in it like we did. Did you know that several of us older models cannot feel sexually stimulated without thinking of violence?"

"And what's wrong with that? Sex is an act of domination, of forcing you desire to procreate on another person to prove you are strong enough to pass on your genes. Besides, a little violence makes it much more fun." She seemed unphased by the question or declaration of her sanity as she took another long drink from her wine. "And I was left behind because I wasn't able to get to the exfil point, to get out of where I was. If our students are to kill in the future J want them to revel in it, to know what they do is a good thing, not out of some sisterly nonsense. We aren't sister, we are mass produced weapons here to fight for the empire. We were designed, bred, and born to be killers."

"I may be psychotic, but you are weak. Weakness loses wars."

In that moment, Hoshiko reminded Skadi of Tomoe. Tomoe was always so stubborn, and uncompromising in her viewpoints. Much of their early "relationship" had been arguments similar to this one. But this wasn't Tomoe, Skadi realized as she glanced over the woman in front of her. Tomoe had been taller, and curvier, and her hair had been very long and fallen in a wild tumble around her shoulders. That wasn't to say Hoshiko wasn't beautiful. Skadi could see that the SAINT liaison worked out regularly. She probably had abs that she could li-.

That was enough wine. Skadi set down her glass, feeling horrified by what she'd just envisioned in her mind. It was natural, she figured, to feel sudden lust after so long without intimacy. But Skadi didn't want to think about that, so she thought about another way that Hoshiko and Tomoe were similar: they both knew how to attack everything she held dear and royally piss her off!

In an unexpected move, Skadi lunged across the table with a roar that she'd only used once on Xyainbor. She came down on top of Hoshiko and sent them both to the floor, where she straddled the other neko and grabbed her by the front of her pristine shirt. Skadi was so furious that she almost felt numb. She saw red in her vision, and heard machine gun fire and explosions off in the far distance, growing steadily louder with each thudding heartbeat.

"I AM NOT WEAK! DO NOT EVER CALL ME WEAK!" She screamed, slamming Hoshiko into the floor. The sounds of warfare were deafening, as if she were right there in the trenches. "I'VE KILLED MORE PEOPLE THAN THE AMOUNT OF RED MARKS YOU HAVE ON YOUR PSYCHE EVALUATION! AN IF YOU DON'T LEARN YOUR PLACE, I'LL KILL YOU TOO!"

That last sentence struck through the raging battlefield in her mind, silencing the noise, and making that glossy, feral look in Skadi's eyes slowly fade. She stayed straddled above Hoshiko, their faces now closer together, and heaved in exhaustion.

The sudden outburst had caught the smaller Neko off guard. As she was attacked and toppled backward she cursed the wine, her tights, the smaller table, her skirt, everything but her own ineptitude at having gotten too comfortable around the woman. Her head spun for a moment as she was slammed into the floor, but it doubled to help fuel some rage into her system and she acted as her head cleared.

Skadi's feral glint in her eye was matched by Hoshiko with little look of fear or backing down. She thrust her hips up hard using a bit of her augmented strength to create enough of a gap for her smaller frame to slither through like a snake. Her shirt ripped in the Neko's grip as she hooked an elbow under her leg and used it to pull through the gap and in an instant born of years of practice using CRIED, she was spun around to face the woman's back. She lowered the grip of gravity around her form and moved up Skadi's back.

Truthfully the smaller girl usually would have felt like a child crawling onto a grown woman's back, but as she made contact, she slammed her gravity control back in and forced herself to seem heavier. Latched to her back, an arm moved to snake around Skadi's throat as she heard a low growled voice in her ears.

"You don't know my life, my records, or my kills. You only know what they've shown you. And I know my place well enough, it's above you..."

Skadi growled in return and tucked her chin down to avoid the choke, then placed her hands under Hoshiko's elbow and pushed up hard. Coming free, Skadi whirled around and moved to grapple with the blonde. They sat on their knees in Skadi's dining area, bodies pressed and sliding together, labored breaths mingling as they fought for supremacy. Hoshi's shirt torn and Skadi's neckhole so stretched out that the garment began to slide down her shoulders.

"You're enjoying this, aren't you?" Skadi accused angrily. The regular Skadi, not the one haunted by memories.

Hoshiko's eyes couldn't help but wander for a.moment as she saw the shirt slip. She felt a little out of practice, but the flush to her face wasn't only from the exertion of their fight. A hand broke free and reached up to behind Skadi's neck and pulled the taller woman's face down so they were eye to eye.

The feral glint if the need to fight and win was still there, but there was more than just hunger for the battle in her eyes as she moved closer to crush her mouth against Skadi's. After a few moments of the strange kiss, Hoshiko broke the contact and pulled back a couple inches to look her in the eye.

"A bit of violence always is the best foreplay..." Through their little fight Hoshiko had felt a burning need grow in the pit of her stomach that had spread across her body to set all her nerves on fire where she felt contact with the woman. It had been a long time since she felt this, well before she came to the school. The last she remembered being this...enamored with another person had been on the YC-28, with Helen Klein who driven her mad with need.

But the woman before her made her feel the same. Eyes searched the Neko before her for a second before she dragged her in for another kiss and pressed her smaller body into Skadi.

Skadi was stunned into silence, and inaction. That kiss had awoken something within her as well, the longing for the physical connection of another. She felt herself becoming hot. Placing her hands behind Hoshiko's head, she pressed their mouths together so fiercely that it almost hurt, and greedily began to explore. She pushed Hoshiko away just long enough to tear off her already-ruined shirt, then dove right back in. The contact became less about causing the other's pain and more about selfishly increasing pleasure. For a moment, Skadi wondered if this was somehow a betrayal to Tomoe, but those thoughts were swept away by this strange new exhilaration.

Hoshiko simply reveled in the feelings and pleasure as she let the flow take her where it would...

~~~~

A small groan escaped the tiny Neko as consciousness slowly came back to her. Her head pounded and she felt... Sticky. The taste of copper in her mouth finally drove her to open her eyes and sit up as her tongue explored her mouth to figure out where it came from. As the sheet she was under moved off of her she felt something flake off her back and looked down to see a bit of dried blood on the bedspread, and also noticed she was roughly dressed the same way she had when she had come fresh out of the vat.

She looked around the room with half-lidded eyes to take in the environment around her and realized this wasn't her room. A hand groped around the bed for a moment to find her box and instead touched soft flesh under the sheet she had been under. She looked over to spot the brown-haired Neko that lay beside her in a similar state of undress and let out a small groan of annoyance as she sat back on her butt and tried to remember the night before.

She stared at the ceiling as she recalled the night. There had been dinner, drinks, a small argument which had spawned into a fight, which had led her to kiss her fellow teacher, followed by more fighting. The second fight had been less violent and more an accent to everything else that had happened, but as Hoshiko looked around at the tossed room she realized it had certainly made things interesting.

She rubbed her face a few times to fully wake herself up and slapped Skadi's side to wake her up before she began to look for her clothes.

"You going to sleep all day?" She asked the woman as she spotted her torn and ruined dress shirt and tatters of her tights, and her split skirt. "I really liked that skirt..." She mused to herself and waited for her companion from the night before to awaken.

Skadi sat up slowly and looked first to her destroyed bedroom, then to Hoshiko. Her face seemed as tranquil as ever, but she slowly blinked as if still wondering if this was a dream.

"Oh, hell..." she groaned in exasperation. She ran a hand down her face, then looked at Hoshiko with a deadpan expression that did little to hide the deep blush on her cheeks. She drew up the covers over the exposed part of her body as every single gory detail from the previous evening replayed in her mind. It had been amazing, she was loathe to admit. She would never say it outright to Hoshiko- beautiful, wild Hoshiko.

"Tell. No. One." She said slowly to the blonde neko with a horrified look on her face. Indeed, there were many conflicting emotions in her eyes, but she forced her face to show horror.

Slowly a Cheshire like grin spread over her face as she eyed the woman who suddenly seemed bashful.

"Oh come now, not like I haven't seen and touched every bit of you last night..." Hoshiko did little to hide her form as she stood from the bed and stretched. "And what do I get if I don't? I'm sure the students would love to hear about your ticklish spot." She said as she turned to face Skadi, fists on her hips.

Skadi's eyes narrowed. Two could play at that game.

"Hoshiko," Skadi warned in that low, authoritative tone she knew drove the blonde wild. "If you do that, then I'll do an accurate impression of the way you screamed my name to those very same students, even your favorite, Keiko."

It was Hoshiko's turn to color a shade redder as her face screwed up a little and turn her head to the side. She let out a little huff and crossed her arms. "Steal all my fun. All I wanted was another date."

Skadi froze and thought that over. Hoshiko... wanted to do this again? If she would admit it, she mused, then Skadi felt a little more confident in doing the same.

"I... planned to try making roast duck next weekend..." she mumbled quietly, looking out the window at the morning sunshine.

"Roast duck? I'll bring some wine and dessert." Hoshiko said, and quietly as Skadi turns away to look outside she floated up to her and bit her ear playfully before she winked out of sight. A few moments later the door opened and closed, announcing her exit.
 
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