Chapter 4 : Cute Little Schoolgirls
They certainly attracted their fair share of attention as they made their way through the crowds, Taiya looming over them while Ping cuted it up like a pro, the people parting slightly as the strange pair looked for their destination. Taiya's eyes searched the edges of the room before she pointed "That way. Keep close Ping, wouldn't want to lose you"
"What are we going to see Taiya-Sempai?"
"Tokyo Moonlight. I've heard people talking about them, some of my friends online say they're good"
Ping giggled and gave a big smile as she ducked someone's elbow and tagged behind the larger girl like a little duckling "Their name is pretty… AI!"
She yelped suddenly and Taiya looked round, looking down at the blushing Ping before starting forward and placing her hand ever so lightly down on the shoulder of the man behind "That was an accident?"
His eyes widened and he visibly trembled under her gaze, his eyes moving over to her large powerful hands "I..I… b..bumped into her… I…"
"Don't do it again"
He nodded quickly at her simple statement and ran like a bat out of hell, Taiya straightening out and sighing, "He's lucky I'm not Junko or Aiko"
Ping placed her hand on her behind and she reddened in embarrassment for a second more before smiling gratefully at her "You're awesome Taiya-Sempai!"
She paused and an odd expression passed across her face before settling into a slightly sad smile "I suppose I am. Come on Ping, and watch yourself, this place is just full of people like him"
Ping showed no indication that she noticed her odd reaction and continued to follow her, speaking up after a few seconds "I wonder why Ryu-San didn't come with us?"
"Ryu-San is always really nice to me, he's really helpful!"
Taiya bit her lip and looked round slightly, Ping looking back at her with her usual happy expression. Taiya just sighed and dropped her head down again, scratching her neck "Ping… you really are… a little clueless"
Taiya suddenly stopped and placed her hand on her shoulder, gently pulling Ping over the side of the room "Ping"
Ping didn't resist but looked really confused at her friend's odd behaviour, turning her head to the side, her big eyes inquisitive "What's wrong? Did I do something wrong?"
Taiya's face seemed pained, breathing deeply as she searched for the words "No Ping, it's not you. I just think you should be more careful…" She shook her head and sighed "What am I talking about? Ah…"
"I don't know Taiya-Sempai…"
Taiya laughed at this, leaning against the wall and placing her head against it "Yeah. Well Ryu can be a little less that moral when it comes to women ok?"
Ping's expression still looked very confused, trying to work out what she was trying to say "Don't you like Ryu-San Taiya?"
She just laughed again at Ping's words, a little more coldly this time before straightening out and continuing on, waving to her "Come on, we're going to be late"
Ping followed her once more, her head lowered and her eyes sad. Taiya gave her a quick glance before she rubbed her eyes and raised her head to the roof "Everyone thinks I'm awesome…"
"Yeah, Taiya-Sempai. It's nice isn't it Ping, to be respected, to be big and tough and scary. To be bigger than everyone else and for everyone to look up to you?"
Ping smiled a little, Taiya seemed to be returning back to normal at last "I wouldn't know. I suppose so"
Taiya chuckled lightly "You have no idea Ping. Junko should have been born this way" She looked at her hands and closed them into a fist "Big and strong? I've had blood on these hands before, more than once… it's a horrible thing, I detest violence. But really that's the one thing I've always been good at"
Ping's eyes became softer and she tugged gently at Taiya's arm "You were cool with that man…"
Taiya smiled at her for a moment before nodding "Yeah, I know. I'm honoured to be able to protect people. Junko always used to joke that everyone was scared of me, despite the fact that she knew I would let people taunt me for hours without lifting a finger. At least I can use that fear to protect those I care about" She grinned sadly at Ping "Are you scared of me?"
Ping shook her head "I like you lots Taiya-Sempai!" Her face became upset and she continued to tug at her arm gently "Why are you sad?"
"Because everyone looks up to me. No one has ever really looked across at me, or down at me. It sounds strange…" She placed her hands in her pockets and shrugged "I've been referred to as cute by those who know me best. It's true, I'm a little girl trapped in the body of... a titan of death. I was bigger than my mother at 13. My father at 14. It's a lonely existence up in the clouds"
She sighed and let out another chuckle "I want to be taken care of sometimes, to be told I'm cute, and to have my hair ruffled. To be in the arms of someone who can protect me…" She looked at Ping affectionately "…but all of those sort of boys go for girls like you"
Ping let go of her arm and looked down at the ground sadly before Taiya spoke again, her voice cheerful once more "Thanks Ping"
Ping looked up in confusion "Why are you thanking me Taiya-Sempai? I'm no help"
Taiya just gave her a big grin and placed her hand on her head, ruffling her hair softly as she gently corrected Ping "You're completely wrong there. I really like you Ping, you're a good girl to have around"
Ping looked both confused and grateful at the remark "Taiya-Sempai?"
"What do I need guys for when I've got good mates huh? Junko, Aiko, Hikaru, Akira… I have no reason to whine. But when I do, it's good to have people like you to listen to my problems, just so I know I've got people who care about me. That's a very important thing to anyone"
Ping smiled sweetly and clasped her hands together, her big eyes shining upwards "Wai… I'm glad I could make you feel better Taiya-Sempai…"
She nodded "Just call me Taiya, I hate people putting me on pedestals. I'm just a cute little girl remember?"
Ping nodded and they continued walking together for a little while before she looked up again, her face exited "What about Largo-Sensei's friend?"
Taiya blinked "Friend?"
"He stands around in class. He spoke to me yesterday, I think he's friends with Largo-Sensei…"
Taiya thought briefly before nodding "Yeah, I know who you mean. Why?"
"He's taller than you…"
Taiya gave her a widening grin and placed her hands in her pockets "Someone to look down at me?"
Ping nodded and bounced slightly "Wai!"
"Haha! You never know, maybe I'll take that up…"
Tokyo Moonlight's music drifted through the crowds, the lead singer's haunting lyrics recounting stories of disconnection and loneliness as the guitarist and drummer played an ethereal backing track. Taiya gently stroked Ping's hair as the small girl lay in her arms and though it was still daytime many of the crowd had lighters aloft, making for quite an impressive sight. Ping stirred slightly as the song finished, looking up at Taiya "That was beautiful… it's so sad…"
Taiya smiled down at her, chuckling at her continuing ability to be cuter than cute "Yeah, I'll agree with that. They're even better than reported"
A man next to them turned and gave a nod, puffing on a cigarette "That was a new song, first time the played it. Going to go far on that one" He smiled at them and turned back to the stage "I've been following them for a while, I knew Keitaro had it in him"
Taiya grinned at him before ruffling down in her pocket and pulling out some money "Hey, got one of those for me? My mom has a habit of throwing mine in the bin"
The man turned back to her and laughed as he threw her a cigarette "Take it. In appreciation of your super cute girlfriend"
Taiya caught it and grinned down at Ping, still curled up in her arms "Oh, she's not my girlfriend, she's just a big baby who likes to be cuddled. You want one?"
Ping shook her head and snuggled further into her arms "It will just make me smell funny and we still don't have a proper bathroom in our apartment"
"You don't? Where do you wash?"
"Down at the hot spring"
Taiya gave a lopsided grin at this "You have enough money to go to a hot spring for a bath but not to buy one for your house? Are your parents afraid of bathrooms or something?"
Ping gave a big smile "Miho took me, she's got lots of money. She's really nice to me, I wish she could have come today"
Taiya turned her head up and sighed for a second before lighting the cigarette and taking a drag "Miho huh? Hmm…"
Ping nodded and settled back down as the next song began to play "Yeah, Miho's always taking me nice places… I wonder if the others are having fun?"
"I'm sure Junko's keeping them amused…"
Ping/Taiya shippers, line up against that wall while I go get an automatic rifle.
Though that would be very hypocritical of me of course
This chapter is dedicated to Bruce Springsteen : Streets of Philadelphia.
Not for any real reason, I just like the song.
How seriously did she take Ping's suggestion? Haha…
Yes, she smokes. Not too much however.
You might have noticed. Taiya doesn't like Miho.