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Girls' outing

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Lina didn’t interact with other humans often for many reasons. She had no particular interest in activities that required going outside; she was perfectly content enjoying tea and reading books. When she did venture outside, it was primarily to deal with MINDs. Dealing with other humans was, frankly, overwhelming. However, she did understand that to be a better teammate, to take on stronger MINDs and deal more effectively with their enemies, she needed to spend time with her teammates and get to know them better. She was also curious about the way common people lived. Thus she expected that their group shopping trip would allow her to see how average teenage girls did their shopping and what they found fashionable. She didn’t expect to be their fashion guinea pig instead.

“I’d think you would look cute in that, though,” Sana frowned, when Lina balked upon seeing the skirt that was entirely too short to be decent. The t-shirt they picked out earlier would probably be fine, though Lina wasn’t too sure about the design emblazoned on it, but the skirt would definitely not reach her knees.

“Yeah! With a pair of sneakers you would rock that sporty cute look,” Shizuku added enthusiastically.

“I do not need to look ‘cute’,” Lina replied, shaking her head. “Nor do I need any new clothes.”

“But you won’t know if you don’t try, right?” Kotone said with a gentle smile.

Lina sighed. She wasn’t surprised by Sana and Shizuku, who were outgoing and fashionable, asking Lina to do this, but If even Kotone was going along with this… “Fine, I’ll try it on.”

Shizuku cheered as Sana dragged Lina towards the changing rooms. “I can’t wait to see how it looks!”

Lina stood behind as Sana got the shop clerk’s attention. This whole system of tags and rooms…all of it was new to her. Lina supposed that understanding this was a useful exercise, at least, if she were ever to go clothes shopping again.

Lina noted the mirror in the small enclosed space, but she had no interest in prolonging this experience. The clothes did fit but as expected, the skirt was uncomfortably short, only reaching halfway down her thighs. She stepped out of the room as they had asked her to but couldn’t stop the urge to keep her legs locked together.

“Everyone—”

“Oh, you look so cute!” Shizuku exclaimed. Kotone smiled and nodded in agreement and Sana gave Lina a thumbs up before whipping out her phone and snapping a photo.

Lina scowled. “Don’t you dare…” But it was too late.

“I shared it with Kei and Leo!” Sana said cheerfully as she showed the photo to the others. Lina had to admit that maybe it wasn’t so bad. It was not her style at all, but she had seen other humans dressed something like this and she could fit in with the crowd...

“’She doesn’t look like Lina at all!’ Leo says,” Sana added when her phone beeped. “What an asshole.” She furiously typed something back in response with Shizuku helping to contribute choice phrases.

Meanwhile Kotone put a hand on Lina’s shoulder. “Are you okay?” She had noticed that Lina had not relaxed at all, even after the compliments.

“It isn’t horrible…” Lina conceded. “I just rather have my old clothes back on.”

Kotone nodded and helped usher Lina to the dressing room while the other two were still distracted. Lina changed back into her old clothes quickly; yes, it felt much better to be in her usual dress. When she exited the dressing room, she found Sana and Shizuku pouting.

“Aww, you changed back so quickly!” Sana exclaimed. “I wanted to take another photo…”

“One photo is sufficient,” Lina declared. Looking specifically at Sana she added, “The next one should be Sana in a Victorian dress.”

“What? No!” Sana shouted as the others laughed. Shizuku seemed especially eager to have this done, dragging Sana out of this store enthusiastically. Lina smirked. If it was truly a girls’ day out, then everyone should share the joy in some way, right?