It had been depressing few weeks for Tomo. First her ears got all fucked up and now she couldn't hear as well as before. Doctor had said her hearing was actually half as good as human's, so that sucked pretty fucking much. Tomo's other senses had gotten a power-up but that didn't do much to console her, Tomo relied on her hearing a lot.
And then there was all the shit with Lucas, and that was all another can of worms in itself. All in all Tomo had realized just how stupid and childish and downright useless she was because of this mess with the 12 gods. She hadn't been able to help Shiro, or Lucas, and then there was Dalia. Tomo hadn't been able to even console or talk to her properly after that incident with the pool in that party, all Tomo had been able to do was start a fight with that fish princess. Even if Dalia had thanked Tomo in her valentine Tomo still felt like trash.
In the middle of that swirl of self-doubt and depression the only place Tomo found solace in was the violin. She couldn't hear its sound as clearly anymore, but when Tomo let her bow glide on the strings she felt at peace. That was what she was doing right now, standing in the middle of an empty music room and playing Nightwish covers. She felt like playing something bit darker, and Tomo needed the practice. She had let herself slip from her usual training routine. Kikuko would've been mad at her.
Just thinking of her foster mother made Tomo smile a bit, and she wondered how the woman was doing. The last time Tomo had heard of her Kikuko was in Osaka, living with her son.
Maybe Tomo should go pay a visit sometime...
Something was off lately. Dalia could feel it. She didn't know what it was, but the air tasted different. Cheer practice was tiresome even when it was fun. She found her mind wandering while hanging out with her friends. Even sparring with her mother wasn't as satisfying as it used to be.
It wasn't that she wanted to be alone right then, but she had no idea what to actually do with herself. Staying, going, they all seemed so tiresome. So she just wandered the halls, thinking to herself. She had passed by the classroom where she'd had her final confrontation with Argenta what seemed to be forever ago. Now as she passed closer to the older music rooms, she paused as she heard music.
It was dark and deep and somber: just the way she herself was feeling in that moment. Curiosity took control of Dalia's feet, steering her towards the sound of the music. She paused at the door, reluctant to open it and make whoever was making that gorgeous sound stop. But she wanted to know.
Quiet as she could manage, Dalia pushed the door open gently and peeked her head in, her eyes scanning the room until she saw Tomomi. Dalia's eyes lit up briefly and she grinned, slipping quietly into the room so as not to interrupt.
When the song was finished, Dalia cleared her throat gently and broke the silence that followed. "Sounds good. Almost like you know what you're doing there."
Tomo had always hated violin recitals, ever since she had first become human. Why did other people have to judge how good or bad she was at playing violin? Tomo didn't play for other people, she played for herself, and those she cared about. So every time Kikuko had suggested Tomo took part in a violin recital Tomo had declined instantly, and instead she had held a small, private recital just for Kikuko. Because Kikuko, back then, was the only person whose opinion Tomo cared about.
These days there were more people Tomo wanted to play for. Her siblings, and friends, and even some adults. It felt like a miracle honestly. But...
These days Tomo's playing had been so dark she didn't want anyone to hear it.
Tomo also didn't hear someone open the door, and then further come is, and she finish Sleeping Sun in a slow pace. She played the song on a lower note than usual, because in this moment it felt right. And as Tomo lowered the violin and opened her eyes someone cleared their throat, and it wasn't Tomo. Tomo's eyes widened a bit and her head whipped around to look at...Dalia. The girl's familiar scent entered Tomo's nose a second later she saw her, and Tomo didn't know if she should relax or tense up. Tomo decided to relax, as Dalia joked a bit and made a small smile rise to Tomo's face.
"What, that? That was nothing, first try."
Tomo answered with a casual tone, and though she couldn't really bring herself to a full grin she still did have a smile on her face. But after Tomo answered the smile faded away a bit, she was feeling somber after playing that. And the things she had been thinking about just now, about Dalia, just rushed back.
What was she supposed to say now...?
"I bet. You're pretty talented with that thing." Dalia said as she crossed the room and took a seat up on a desk. She kicked her feet slowly, smiling at Tomo as the two of them faced off awkwardly. They were friends now, something that hadn't been the case when they'd first met. But like most people Dalia came in contact with, she had come to respect the other girl is they had gotten to know each other.
"That music was a pretty big mood though. Like, I felt that. You, uh..." She paused a moment, scratching at her cheek absentmindedly. Should she ask? The strings connecting her to Tomo had gotten more complicated lately, but then again most of them were.
"How have you been? I mean, since all the uh..." Dalia gestured vaguely at the air. "Ya know."
As Dalia sat down on a desk Tomo did the same, leaving one desk width between them. She didn't want to be the only one awkwardly standing, when the mood was a bit awkward in the first place.
Tomo's first impression of Dalia hadn't really been that good. She remembered thinking she was an annoying blonde brat, even though back then Dalia had been dying, and had still looked more like a spider. Jesus, so much had changed since then. Had it already been almost a year? Time had no fucking right to go by so fast...
Tomo was kinda snapped out of her thoughts, when Dalia spoke further about her music. Tomo knew Dalia wasn't okay, that much was obvious. Guess a depressed person could recognize another depressed person. But Tomo didn't know the exact reason, or maybe it was a bunch of smaller reasons like with her. In any case Tomo couldn't bring herself to ask.
"Yeah. Guess it's one of those days, ya know."
Tomo said with half a shrug and let out a lifeless chuckle.
Ah, Dalia asked first. That was good, it gave Tomo a reason to ask as well.
"Ah, yeah, that."
Tomo said back with a small grin and gestured to the air vaguely like Dalia had, except Tomo was holding the violin bow in her hand.
"I'm, uh, ya know, surviving. That's the most I could ask for, honestly. And could be worse too. I could be dead."
What else could she say, really? It's not like Dalia asked to hear anything about Tomo's feelings and shit.
"And you? Are you...okay?"
Tomo looked at Dalia from the corner of her eye, and it was reasonably clear she was referring to the incident at the gods' party. Well, that, and everything in general.
"True," Dalia said with a glance up at the ceiling. "You could be dead."
Death was a weird concept for Dalia to grasp. She'd died plenty of times already, and even nearly died back when she had gone hunting with Jax. That memory made her wince a bit and she sighed. She felt so pathetic anytime she thought about him. But feeling pathetic was better than the white hot knot of hurt she got when she thought about her. "I'm glad you're not. Dead, I mean."
The awkward pause the followed crept down her spine, making her tense up a bit when Tomomi asked her how she was doing in return. That was a question, wasn't it? Dalia opened her mouth to speak, then closed it to think of how she wanted to say it.
"I feel... lonely. And I know that's silly, cause I have so many people around me. And I feel like I nearly get past some of my bigger issues and then I slide right back into it. It really, really, really sucks." Dalia gave Tomo a tight smile, squinting a bit as she did. "I guess I'm tired. Sorry, that was probably too much..."
Dalia was a lot more honest about how she was actually doing, and Tomo felt a bit bad she hadn't shared how she was really doing. Though Dalia seemed to regret sharing that much a bit, apologizing in the end.
"No, I'm...actually glad you told me."
Tomo returned the small smile, and she felt a bit closer to Dalia at that moment. Sure, they were friends, but Tomo was nowhere as close with Dalia as Orsick or Amber, for example. And she kinda regretted that, and knew it was mostly her own fault for hiding her own vulnerability.
"It's not really silly. I think anyone can feel that way. At least I do, sometimes. And you're right, that all really, really fucking sucks."
And lately she had been feeling like that as well. Tomo thought it was because of the knowledge, that no one could never truly be able to understand how you feel. You know, that at the end of the day you are on your own. And that made Tomo feel super alone and lonely.
"You know, I tried to fix myself."
Tomo said after a small pause, in a quiet voice. And after she began talking Tomo couldn't stop, it all came out.
"I used my power on myself, one where you...make your mental shit less extreme. I thought I was fine after that, I felt lighter and, you know, normal. But I still fuck shit up and make everyone miserable and I can't do one damn thing right. If I just fuck up my own ears that's fine, but I caused Lucas and Riley get hurt and I'm just so fucking powerless and useless."
Tomo grit her teeth, and refused to let herself cry. But she was equal amount sad and angry, and her canines and nails got a bit longer and her eyes turned more feline, as her body wanted to go bakeneko and rampage the pain away.
"Now I'm sorry, you don't need to hear this shit when you've got your own problems to deal with..."
Dalia slid closer to Tomo, tentatively putting an arm around her and pulling her close into a kind of hug. She had figured that something was up, but she didn't want to press the issue. But she also knew that people seemed to have an easier time sharing their struggles if they felt like the other person was going through similar things.
"Nah, don't be sorry. This is what friends are for. Telling each other stuff so we don't have to take care of it all on our own."
She paused though, uncertain of how to respond to the rest of that other stuff. Dalia frowned slightly and shook her head. "I know what that's like too. When I got my bond powers, I wanted to get rid of the bonds I had to the people who had hurt me. And I did it for one of them, but doing it... I dunno. It took away something else. A drive that I don't have now. It's small, but I'm afraid of what it might do if I do it too much,"
"And you're not weak or useless, Tomo. You're awesome. You don't have to be a great fighter or super tough or whatever to be powerful or helpful."
Normally Tomo was all about physical contact and hugs and stuff, when she was the one to initiate it. But as Dalia put her arm around her Tomo stiffened for a moment, before she forced herself to relax. She let herself be pulled close, she kinda felt like she needed that. And maybe Dalia needed it too.
"I didn't have any friends before. How was I supposed to know I should share all the shit? Spread the misery."
Tomo let out a small bitter chuckle, she had known that friends shared things even if she never had them. But she didn't get friends for exactly that reason. Everything was easier. Your shit was your shit, and theirs was theirs.
As Dalia shared what she had been through Tomo listened, and kinda tilted her head a bit so she could look at her. Dalia always seemed so...together, somehow. Like, yeah, she was clingy, and even whiny, but that was just her. Dalia was also confident and sure, something Tomo had always wanted to be but also avoid. It was weird.
"Guess we both learned not to take shortcuts, huh?"
Tomo scoffed a bit at Dalia calling her awesome, she hardly was. She just pretended to be something she wanted to be but really wasn't. Really Tomo was just...a scaredy cat. How fitting.
"Wish I could wipe my memory. Return to being an oblivious cat. Playing with that little girl that used to own me. And never turn into a human. That messed up everything."
Tomo said all that kind of absentmindedly, staring into space, and then looked at Dalia with a kind of regretful expression.
"I'm sorry, Dalia."
Dalia gave an intense shrug, grinning somewhat wider at Tomo. "I mean if you were still a normal cat you wouldn't have met me. And that would be a hell of a shame, wouldn't it?"
It was said jokingly, and in reality Dalia was more glad that she had gotten to meet Tomo. Like all of her friends, she was important to Dalia. She kicked her legs a bit, letting them swing idly underneath the desk.
"You don't have to apologize to me for anything. But I guess I do get it. I think that's why Jax left... being a person was too much for him. I hope he's okay..."