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Persona: ID Tabletop Drabbles

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The first time she notices it, Magnolia holds off saying anything, as she's unsure if what she deduced was correct.

The second time, she goes to bring it up, but the timing is just off, and she misses the chance to lead the conversation to the worry hidden behind her composed smile.

And the third time, well, three time's the charm, and Magnolia finally puts her thoughts into a single line:

"Ivory, you aren't enjoying your time at school, aren't you."

Her sibling, caught in the middle of drinking a cup of tea, nearly spits out their drink. "I...that's not...."

Magnolia simply waits for Ivory to continue, eyes fixed on the other.

They habitually adjusts their glasses. "...alright," They sigh, "Perhaps i do wish i was somewhere else. Where I'm at isn't bad...it's just..." pausing, they make up for their loss of words with a grandiose gesture of their free hand.

One that Magnolia has learned to equate to 'boring,' or possibly, 'too easy.'

"Have you considered other options?" Magnolia suggests. "Which schools were you able to apply for?"

Another gesture, this time for 'a lot.' Impossible be counted one a single hand. Which, for Magnolia, both surprises her and doesn't -- she always knew that Ivory was smart, but to know that they had that many options....

She rests her chin in her hands. "Ivory, what's holding you back?"

Her sibling doesn't make any eye contact. Magnolia waits. The room is painfully silent, save for the gentle chatter coming from the nearby TV.

Another minute passes.

Their parents are the ones to speak up, calling them both to dinner. The topic is put on indefinite hold.

But Magnolia knows how to be patient.

 


 

Several months pass. Summer turns to fall, then to winter. Communication is sparse, but Magnolia blames herself -- work in Tokyo keeps her away from home, leaving the bursts of interaction restrained to the occasional phone call and chain of texts.

December hits. New years draws close. And a fortunate Magnolia is able to take some time off from work, taking the next shinkansen all the way to Hashima.

Waiting there is her family. Ivory's the one who ends up driving them all back to Kaizu; it's not a long drive there, but the the change in atmosphere is surprisingly fast. No longer was she in the busy city of Tokyo, and very quickly, she was taken away from the mass of buildings that surrounded Hashima station. And Kaizu, well....

Calling it a 'city' was being kind to it. Especially where they lived, far past what Kaizu considered lively.

As she stepped out of the car, Magnolia couldn't help but recall how long it was since she last had a star-filled view like this. One that wasn't engulfed by the busy city lights, one where she could see the constellations...

She was happy to be home.

 


 

"Oh, there you are!"

It's the night after Magnolia returned. Several relatives have migrated down from Takayama to help celebrate the new year, and all of them are eager to hear her tales of the big city. She's a bit overwhelmed by all the attention, if she were honest -- but family is family, and Magnolia didn't want to upset them, right?

Still, she finds herself sighing in relief when her sibling calls her.

"I've been looking for you," Ivory says -- no, bluffs, she knows them far too well -- and puts a hand on her shoulder. "Sorry, mind if I borrow my sis for a moment?"

Their relatives nod, resuming idle chatter.

"Follow me," Ivory speaks softer, quieter, as he brings Magnolia to her feet, guiding her outside.

It's another beautiful night, a sky decorated with glistening stars. The air is frigid, but Magnolia doesn't mind. She already knows where her sibling is taking her. And she knows why.

"Mmm, remember when we came out here to go fishing one summer?" Ivory starts off the conversation. They take a few steps forward, letting their hand slip from Magnolia's own.

"And you thought it'd be a good idea to use that bow of yours?" She teases, a rare smile parting from her lips.

"Hey, I did catch one fish!" Ivory retorts. It's hard to see them in the moonlight, but she catches them huff, their breath visible in the cold air. "I'm very proud of that, you know."

Magnolia chuckles. Ivory follows with one of their own.

"...I..also remember when we came out here to watch the stars."

Magnolia nods. "I do, too."

But she knows it's more than just for that. Her eyes meet her sibling's own. She can tell that their hesitating, using every sort of conversation topic to worm themselves out of it.

Still, she waits.

"...I.." Ivory's voice eventually picks up, after several failed attempts of speaking. "..I've considered what you said last time.There's a lot of reasons I can think of for why I didn't, but it all really boiled down to being...scared." they admit. "Like, what if I wasn't good enough, you know? What if, all this time, I just skimmed on by through pure luck?"

Magnolia hears a sniffle, partly obstructed as her sibling brings a sleeve to their face.

"But you're...right, I shouldn't let these things hold me back..." They conclude; "That's why I, uhm.."

Ivory pulls their phone from their pocket, unlocking the screen and tapping on it a few times. Then, slowly, they present the screen to Magnolia.

Her eyes glance downward, then to Ivory, who avoids direct eye contact.

Until Magnolia embraces them, that is.

"Hey, hey, I might, I might drop this-" They bluff, through Magnolia sees right through it, knowing all too well that she's overwhelmed them from the sudden contact -- especially given how much it took for them to speak. Magnolia's arms relax, and she takes a step back to view her sibling again.

"I'm really proud of you." She states, gently applying a hand to their shoulder instead. "This looks more like the place I expected you to pick."

She looks back to their home. "Family knows, right? I mean, where you're going...that's even farther than Tokyo."

"They know," Ivory confirms, "And I...know, too. But it's ok! I'm honestly, truthfully ready for it..." their voice rises, confidence they didn't know existing reaching their words. "And I'll show everyone. You, mom and dad, the relatives....I can work hard, even at a place like this."

Magnolia doesn't say anything, but there's no need -- her sibling already knows that she's rooting them on.