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CASE FILE: Civilian
”When you're born, they carry you. When you're gone, they bury you. In between, you're on your own.”
CASE FILE: Civilian
”When you're born, they carry you. When you're gone, they bury you. In between, you're on your own.”
→ Ayaka Nanakorobi
→ Edo, Aerugo
DATE OF BIRTH:
→ March 13, 1995
→ 115 lbs
→ Long, super-straight blonde hair with pink streaks and bright blue eyes. Raven-black hair pressed into huge, perfect curls and reddish-brown eyes. Brown hair that hangs almost to her ankles and kept in high pigtails with goldenrod eyes. Ayaka has about a dozen different wigs and sets of coloured contact lenses that she can and will mix and match any night of the week when she's not at work or school. Quite a lot of money and time are invested every day into Ayaka's appearance, never leaving the house without at least a little makeup on “because she likes feeling pretty.” Wigs and contacts are always chosen carefully to coordinate with Ayaka's mood and her outfit or its accessories, Ayaka sporting a rather large closet of lolita dresses. She's not into it as much as she appears to be, however, only wearing the doll-like clothing because it's popular and many groups of her friends do. She dresses as they dress, and goes where they go, depending on which group she's with.
Even when she's not dressed up for a night out, Ayaka still does her best to look nice. Without the presence of her wigs and “kibble,” her hair is naturally dark brown with a few lighter highlights from spending so much time outside, falling to just above her shoulders. Her bangs have a side part, framing her face and falling just past her eyebrows, a long lock of hair pulled in front of either ear. Her dark brown eyes border on black, and despite the smile they're set above, her eyes are often very distant and seem disconnected with whatever she's doing. Ayaka is notorious for her makeup collection and usage, and though going from school to the temple will show her wearing less than usual, there's still foundation and some eye makeup present. There is a small scar cutting into her right eyebrow, but this is often either covered by her hair or concealer. Her powder finishes are often chosen a lighter shade than her skin really is in order to seem more doll-like when she's dressed up, but she spends enough time outside that it has a more healthy colour to it. Not that anyone ever sees her to say so, or that she'd believe them, but Ayaka is a girl who really is prettier without the makeup, wigs, and all the distracting things she hides under.
On the exceptionally rare occasions Ayaka isn't dressing as an act and she's not in her uniform, her hair is often down, and her clothing is typically very loose, plain, and rather conservative, as though she's still trying to hide into the background, becoming invisible in a crowd. Though usually covered by sleeved shirts, there is a more recent crescent-shaped scar on her upper right arm that happened the same night the little one on her eyebrow happened. She'll blame the one on her face to falling or some accident, but will quickly change the subject and work to hide either scar as best she can. The almost eternally-present smile is just as synthetic as her wigs, the gesture hollow and lacking any real feeling, but taken completely face-value by those around her since the only person left who knows better is Yakumo, but he doesn't press it, either. The only thing that remains a constant with Ayaka's looks is her charm bracelet. A few of the charms change out, and several are attached all over her purse and backpack, but the ones she wears have the most meaning and never leave her.
”Inside my heart is aching, my makeup may be flaking, but my smile still stays on.”
→ Attitudes, moods, and personalities change with a wig and are just as easily accessorized. With superficial acts pushed to the forefront and slathered on thickly, it becomes very hard to tell when Ayaka's acting and when she really is showing you small snippets of who she really is, or even hints of who she might be. Ayaka is a girl who is a chameleon, adjusting her personality and behaviour to suit the situation and people she's around in order to blend in best and conform to what's acceptable. The presented image is all that matters.
Typically around friends and classmates, Ayaka is warm, bubbly, personable, and very socially interactive; she's a girl who gets good marks in class and conforms well, teachers often commenting that she's a good example for how girls her age should act. Popular and generally well-liked, she is often seen with a large number of friends who all seem to stand equally with her, nobody in her groups closer to Ayaka than another person; they're all kept at the same safe distance. Ayaka is a walking paradox and she knows it, and even though her bluff has only been called once, it's not an act she's willing to let go of. She's a social butterfly who surrounds herself with friends and activities, and always has a short list of things to go do or people to spend time with (and often does), all the while never letting anyone in close enough to see past the mask of what's considered socially okay. It's not herself and she knows it, but that's what people want and expect, and not adhering to the rules of society just seem to cause more problems than not. Even around her boyfriend- whomever he happens to be that set of weeks- the facade does not drop, and every smile as she holds his hand to every sulking pout is an act. Ayaka is a girl who on the surface will go through the motions of whatever is called for with no real attachment to much of any of it.
Ayaka's real emotions, however, are a more closely-guarded treasure, and she will often fight every step of the way to get out of talking about anything that's really on her mind, clamming up more and more until something said finally hits a nerve and her answer snaps hard. Despite the time and money invested into her looks on a daily basis, she's not self-obsessed or incredibly vain, knowing that everything she does is just for show. She enjoys the time with her friends, even if the things she buys or does while with them she finds little real meaning in, knowing that the parts she takes and treasures aren't the things that anyone else would care about. Ayaka is incredibly insecure, and holds little to no faith in the people around her, knowing (believing) that they only like the Ayaka they see and would ditch her if they ever felt the need to look more closely at her. She knows that's just how society is. There are no close bonds anymore, no more late nights on the roof with her older brother and talking openly with him over ice cream, and life is just a set of roles in a game with a score and rules that you have to figure out as you go.
She is an unwilling actress who performs for someone else's sake, even though Ayaka will do anything in her power to avoid having to be near her father. There's more than a little resentment toward him, and toward her mother, even though she still hopes that one day her mother will come home. For most of her life the only person Ayaka has felt any real connection with has been Yakumo, but now that he's so willingly accepted playing the part and loving the perks, there is a rift between them that Ayaka doesn't know how to bridge, leaving her feeling more alone. She does her best to keep up the act at all times, but it is exhausting, and periodically Ayaka will have to slip off just to have some alone-time and catch her breath. Yakumo knows each of her hiding places, but rarely comes looking for her anymore. There is no connection or sincerity between Ayaka and her friends, no affection between she and her father and grandfather, the relationship between her and Yakumo is frayed at best, nothing that resembles love of any kind between her and her boyfriends, and the only love she knows she feels she buries to keep it from being exposed and shredded. Ayaka is a girl almost completely disconnected from everyone and everything, but forces up a pretty smile to keep everyone from asking why she would be anything but happy.
”We are all connected to each other, but if we're not connected to ourselves, then what is there?”
→ shrimp chips, crackers, anything crunchy, adorable socks, having her hair brushed, her cat Kai, quiet, summer nights, cake, her starling Pipa, water fountains, hot chocolate, lolita, working at the temple, magazines, masks, cute stationary, flowers, gardening, her motorbike, charm bracelets, listening to the rain, her brother Yakumo, alone time, her hiding places, long rides alone, hiding around the temple, butterflies, swimming, ice cream, stargazing, nighttime
→ Her father, shallowness, things only being skin-deep, her collection of wigs and accessories, herself, dating boys, projected image, dances and loud parties, whipped cream, high-pitched noises, flashing lights, her mother, the distance between her and Yakumo, her father's lackey, Twizzlers, being touched, her headaches, bright lights
→ Before she went to live with her grandfather in Kyoto, Ayaka climbed over the fence on an overpass and tried to jump off into traffic. A stranger grabbed the back of Ayaka's shirt and helped her to climb back over, saving her from dying, and telling her that if she didn't like a situation she had the power to change it if she dared. To this day she still has no idea who the man was, and never got a good look at his face.
→ When Setsuna married Ikuto, it seemed like a promising marriage; Ikuto was young, very charismatic, and was a man who knew exactly what his goals in life were. Nothing would deter him from the perfect life he'd decided would be his, and he would shape the world around him as he wanted it. Setsuna was the perfect wife. Young, good-natured, knew when to say “Yes, Dear,” and often took the surly glares she'd get for saying “no” as Ikuto just trying to fill his idea of a stern, strong, and stoic husband. Image was incredibly important to him, as was climbing up to be more successful in business and in the eyes of his peers. With the birth of his son, Yakumo, life was complete as far as Ikuto had planned. His future was moving upward, his wife was quiet and devoted, and he now had a son to to brag about and prime for future success.
When you like everything to be routine, planned, and decided on before it happens, your wife telling you she's pregnancy again out of the blue isn't something that is always taken so well. The uncomfortable argument led to the first time Setsuna said no, put her foot down, and meant it, determined that they'd have a little girl. Ikuto wasn't thrilled, but in the end decided it would look bad if he didn't allow his wife to keep the baby after she'd excitedly told his coworkers “accidentally” about how thrilled they both were. Nobody else seemed to notice the dark look the man gave to his wife when she'd mention it, but nobody ever seems to notice the slow venom. Everything Ikuto did was for his career and image. Publicly the man was the picture of perfection, his career shining with success and promise, and the family he was seen with so often always happy and supportive.
Funny how the picture in the frame is always what people are most eager and willing to believe, even when it's the furthest from the truth. Home was never comfortable to be in. Ayaka's earliest memories are fuzzy, and Yakumo won't talk about them much, but the night the three-year-old girl was crying from a fever is one her older brother tires to forget. They had been fighting. Again. As usual. It ended with Setsuna storming off to go have a drink or ten, Ikuto trying to calm himself after yelling so much and shaking from anger, and a little girl that was crying (partially because she was uncomfortable from a fever and because people were yelling) walking into the kitchen at the wrong moment. It was the straw that broke Ikuto's temper. He didn't mean to grab her arm so hard. She was a baby, and she'd only reached up for him. But the way she pulled at his pockets to try and climb her towering father... Ikuto must have apologized a hundred times to his Ayaka and his drunken wife; he must have looked so sheepish at the hospital as he came up with clever excuses as to how her arm broke when she fell off the counter. Ayaka doesn't remember what Yakumo watched from edge of the door.
Life was almost pre-constructed for Ayaka, rules about everything she did being applied. In public, smile big. Home life is wonderful. Always do well and better than well. Be popular and have popular friends, it looks better. You don't want to make us look bad, do you? Smile, dammit! Strive for more. You're not really wearing that out with your friends, are you? Wear this instead, we just took a big investment from this company. As far as Ayaka could tell, life had a split personality, and what was projected was what was more important than what was really going on, much like the magician working an illusion; nobody wanted to know how he walked through glass that was still solid, they just wanted to see him do it again. The only peace that came was how close she became with her older brother. He was the one person she could openly talk to, the both of them sneaking out of their windows to lie on the roof late at night and talk without worrying about their father overhearing and starting a fight. Yakumo was the one person she didn't have to pretend around because he already knew the truth.
There was a strange dualism in everything, Ayaka noticed. Over the years growing up, the lives they painted for everyone to see were nearly inversions of the truth; Ayaka's popularity in school didn't matter since none of her friends were really her friends outside of school and activities. She withdrew more as Ikuto's career rose. As much as she hated it that dualism was in herself, too. Friends who knew and liked the Ayaka they saw; the one that was bright and playful and klutzy and adored cute things. None of them knew the Ayaka that snuck out of her window to lay on the roof and watch the stars at night, or that talked about changing her name when she was an adult, and of moving away and never looking back. They didn't know the Ayaka that wanted to escape the drunken fights, the bruises, and the violent, aggressive domination that controlled their lives. The only one with any safety was Yakumo; he would never be hit, and he was often the only reason most of Ayaka's injuries weren't as bad as they could have been. No, no. They only knew her smile that hid under curls and layers of frilly lace and doll-like costumes.
There was one person, however, that made the days worth suffering. Her name was Uzuki. Uzuki was sweet, friendly, and more assertive than Ayaka was, and in most of her classes. Ayaka was fourteen, and it was just a little crush. You always felt that way talking to your best friend. You always sat that close to them, or wrapped your arm around theirs. You always leaned your head on their shoulder when you were having a bad day. You always let them sneak a very soft kiss like that. Finally in a world where everything was washed with gray, there was something to be happy about. Something real. Ayaka kept it to herself, but her happiness didn't go unnoticed, especially not by her brother who prodded until she finally confessed that she'd met someone wonderful. Even as her home life quietly fell apart with the silent but massive force of a white dwarf becoming a black hole, there was something to hold onto that made Ayaka honestly happy.
Setsuna said she'd be home late. Dinner was in the fridge. It was Yakumo's turn to do the dishes. They'd do something for Ayaka's birthday on payday. So coming home to a quiet house after clubs wasn't anything uncommon, and it was a nice departure from screaming fights and the heavy smell of alcohol. But as the night wore on, Setsuna never came home that night. Or the next. Her phone was off. Her small suitcase was gone from her closet, and more than a week's worth of clothing was gone from her dresser. Setsuna wasn't coming back. She'd never look back. Ayaka's dream had been realized but with the wrong person, or did they have the same dream all along? Was her mother just brave enough to make it real and that was why they were all still chained there to Ikuto's career? He was livid. Yakumo found friends to stay with for a few days to weather the storm. Ayaka hid in Uzuki's arms and let herself be comforted as she opened up to the only other person she had trusted. It was just a small kiss, and nobody was out. Clubs were over, and it was dark. Uzuki was dropping Ayaka off at home since she couldn't stay the night. The next kiss good night might have lingered a bit more than it should have, but it still felt so harmless. Neither of them saw angry eyes watching from the window.
There was no warning to alert Ayaka to run, dodge, or do anything she could to get away. There was nothing she could have done to get away. The hand that grabbed around her arm squeezed without caring how fast its owner was bruising already. Ayaka screamed for him to let go. The angry screams that burst out about making him look bad and ruining his reputation and ruining him transitioned from being directed at Ayaka to what he wanted to scream at the wife who'd suddenly left him alone. The wall met Ayaka's shoulder and back. The doorframe met her cheek and chest. Shards of glass from a broken cup imbedded into her arm. Ayaka screamed and begged for him to stop. The first few stairs hurt the most, her shoulder and head hitting in unnatural angles, her body fighting to keep from breaking entirely. In a rumpled, bruised, and bleeding heap at the bottom of the staircase, Ayaka stopped screaming. She stopped crying. She stopped moving. It didn't register at first that Ayaka wasn't making any effort to get back up, not because she had surrendered in the fight, but because she wasn't able to. It took a horrible minute for Ikuto to realize that as he turned her over and shook her, he'd nearly beaten his little girl to death.
He was frantic trying to decide if he needed to clean up the evidence first or call an ambulance. Setsuna leaving him would be seen as a scandal, but battery charges could cost him his career. An accident. It was a hit and run, he told the hospital. A car hit her outside of the house and kept going. She must have seen it coming and tired to get out of the way with how it hit her side like that but didn't drag her under the car. The father was crying, raw, and distraught as he ran into the hospital carrying his broken girl like some toy that could be put back together. His wife leaving was a scandal, but his daughter being hospitalized in the same week was tragic. There were fractures and bruises everywhere, and there was a lot of swelling in her skull. Ayaka was unconscious. It looked like there was a piece of her skull that had broken and imbedded into her brain. Ayaka had the room to herself, packed with flowers, cards, and stuffed toys. Police were investigating the mysterious hit and run. Friends weren't allowed to visit. Ikuto thanked everyone for their support in this; he was sure his girl would pull through. She was a fighter.
It was nearly two weeks before the swelling in Ayaka's head was down and she'd opened her eyes, hurting all over, surrounded by strangers, flowers, and her father boldly promising to the colleagues watching him that it would all be okay. Ayaka told the police it was a car, but she couldn't see the license number. She'd tried to get out of the way. They must have been drunk. She wouldn't look up and meet her brother's glare as he watched his sister lie to cover their father. It was a few weeks more before Ayaka was released, her friends never coming once to see her, her Uzuki never calling or messaging at all, or even returning them. Her friends were happy to see her back, happy Ayaka would be okay. But Uzuki was distant and cold, ignoring Ayaka, and rejecting her to the point where Uzuki suddenly had a new boyfriend. It was just something fun, Uzuki told her. It didn't mean anything. Just move on and don't think too much about it. Ayaka was numb, shot through her core. The world had flipped and spun on its head, and no matter how hard she tried and how much her father blamed it on the accident, Ayaka's smile wasn't coming back. Just like Setsuna.
The headaches were normal, she was told, and it would be months before her skull healed all the way. But it was a good thing she had wigs to wear until her hair grew back in. Ayaka withdrew even more, letting her mask slip, her friends not wanting to spend as much time with her since she wasn't as much fun to be around now and couldn't do many activities until her bones knit everywhere all the way. It was for the best that she and Uzuki stopped being friends and moved on with themselves because what they had wasn't real; it was just a popular fad like everything else was. Ayaka was numb and couldn't run, but in seeing it for herself, couldn't disagree, either. Their mother had escaped. Her bother was brooding and avoiding her. She was trapped. It seemed like a miracle when their grandfather had come to visit, finally coming to check on his family. Hatori knew his son's violent outbursts. He knew the way the pressure built up and exploded. The old man made the kindest offer he could after seeing his granddaughter force up a smile in the shape she was in and offered to take the kids off his hands. Moving them to Kyoto would be a nice change of pace and get their minds off of all the unpleasantness, and it'd let them start fresh. Make new friends. Forget.
It didn't take long to acclimate, Yakumo quickly becoming a very cool guy in school to be around. Ayaka was mending physically and emotionally, but found there was no time to let her guard down and just be herself. These people were the same as her friends before had been. They just wanted a fun person who was like them. They didn't care about your problems or what you were really like. If they knew the Ayaka that was really there, she'd be alone; after all, weren't their problems why her mother left? Weren't Ayaka's problems and her real self why her Uzuki had left? The mask went up full-force, and nothing would make her smile falter. Just as before, Ayaka became popular, surrounded by cliques and friends, and was always out with something to do and somewhere to be. The distance from their father was a blessing, but there were still rules, however. She and Yakumo still had to do their best and not make their father look bad. Ayaka took a sudden interest in boys, loudly proclaiming how cute one was, or how much fun another looked. It made her father happy to hear that Ayaka was doing well and had lots of boys to go out with, and that Yakumo was head of his class already. Ikuto didn't care about the rift that was forming between his children, how they opened up and talked to each other less; how the late night talks had stopped, and how so many times Yakumo couldn't seem to look at his little sister for some reason.
Hatori had noticed, however, how little sincerity was embedded in his granddaughter's enthusiasm and how detached she was becoming. There would be trouble if she kept on like that. Yakumo was going to be starting university soon, and all his attention was focused on getting into the school he had set his sights on. Ayaka, however... Nothing mattered to her. Hatori saw her sigh and stare listlessly at magazine pages, suffering from the migraines that plagued where her skull had broken and healed. He saw her spend time with friends that were never invited in, and she never stayed out with them. The boys dated her for a few weeks before she'd break up with them. Thinking it would be preventative medicine, Hatori set his sixteen-year-old up with a part-time job; there was a Zen temple not far from there that he went to often. Working there would be good for her. Take her away from the distractions of her boyfriends and the strange way she'd dress with everyone and maybe, just maybe, Ayaka would let herself breathe. Nearly every day after school and on days off she's there at the temple, for at least a little while, cleaning and doing whatever she's told dutifully. Even if she doesn't know if she believes in Buddhism the way some of the people coming do, there is a peace there that Ayaka can't deny.
The crying kitten she'd found in the rain and named Kai has become her best friend, going everywhere with her and giving Ayaka the love without conditions she wants. Among her new friends there is a girl named Umeko, and even though Ayaka can't help that her eye wanders to watch Umeko and become closer to her, there will alwaysw be that safe distance that Aya will not allow herself or anyone else to cross again. Even now as Yakumo attends university and has all but given up on reaching back out to his sister, Ayaka's smile never fades, convinced that if she doesn't cry out loud eventually she will stop. As long as she acted and dressed the part, nobody would notice the doll with the broken smile.
→ Suffers chronic and sometimes debilitating migraines on the right side of her head. She keeps medicine on her always, and tries to avoid situations that will trigger the pain as sometimes they will cause her to lose consciousness.
→ Keeps her baby starling Pipa in a little pouch she wears to make sure he's cared for.
→ Prone to dizziness
→ Keeps a doodle of her name and her brother's fitted like a crossword puzzle on the back of her favourite picture of them
→ Rides a black Honda CRF230M
→ Never seems to stick to a boyfriend for more than 6 weeks, always saying “he just wasn't right for her”
→ Kai is a longhair bobtail with mismatched eyes and is often following Ayaka around or riding on her shoulders when she's at home or the temple
→ Any of her friends would call her “boy-crazy,” when in truth, she has no interest in them at all.
→ Her left arm has been broken three times, her right wrist once. Her left clavicle once. Her skull once. Her left shoulder fractured once. She's become an ace at covering bruises and injuries.
→ Her father visits once a month to keep up the appearance of them being happy, and will usually force Ayaka and Yakumo on lunch or dinner dates with him.
→ Ayaka is forgetful due to the brain damage and has a bad habit of either spacing out or forgetting what she was doing, sometimes while she's doing it.
→ Speaks Aerugese
→ Your friendly neighbourhood Shu
→ Shula, Anouk, Gavin, Cookie, Tanandra, und Gotthard
→ A box of biscuits, a batch of mixed biscuits.
"There's more to this than just black and white. The world can't be divided into that. There's reds and blues and greens and even more colors. How can you judge someone by one of two shades? It just doesn't seem fair to remain blind to rainbow, just because there's a puddle in your path."
→ Speaks Aerugese, Amestrian (Magenta), Acented Cretan (darkcyan), Knows small bits of Xingese (Jade)
Iris' theme song
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