Love and War (Makoto Kino)
|Love and War (Makoto Kino)|
|Date of Cutscene:||10 February 2016|
|Synopsis:||Makoto prepares for Valentine's Day.|
|Cast of Characters:||Makoto Kino|
She lays out her arsenal on the kitchen counter: measuring cups and spoons, mixing bowl, double boiler, spatula. A silicone candy mold. And of course chocolate. She splurged on the chocolate; it's dark, unsweetened, and pricier than she'd have liked, but there is no substitute for quality. Possibilities of flavor make a row of small bottles and containers beside the sink: orange oil, sea salt, cayenne, vanilla extract. There's extra of everything, enough to allow for mistakes and experimentation, for fiddling with proportions.
She rolls back her sleeves, washes her hands. When she ties on her apron she feels a little like a warrior girding for battle.
Makoto has a conflicted relationship with Valentine's Day, to say the least. For her, the holiday means the sparkling flush of hope and possibility, the familiar pleasure of making something good to share with others - and, inevitably, the crushing disappointment of feelings not returned, not even understood. By now it seems like it's always been that way, ever since she was old enough to care.
Mako can bounce back from a broken heart. She's done it countless times. This Valentine's, though, she can't help feeling like the stakes are somewhat higher.
On the moon, the image of the Queen urged her to trust in her heart, but Makoto's heart has led her into walls time and again chasing a dream. A ghost. She's only just now begun to understand what it was that she's even been looking for, the teasing hint of almost-recognition that made her heart leap anew for every guy who happened to have warm brown eyes or a lazy smile or a certain way of carrying himself. Knowing isn't much comfort under the circumstances. This time, Mako thinks with a wry twist of her mouth, her heart may very well be leading her not into a wall but off a cliff, into a mistake there'll be no coming back from.
But it's never been in Makoto's nature to back down from risk. She has to try.
She opens one of the cabinets over the kitchen counter and reaches in past the cans and canisters until her hand finds the final ingredient. The glass jar weighs heavily in her hand as she draws it out.
For a moment Mako just stands there and contemplates the jar. The thin February sunlight from the kitchen window seems almost to collect in it, glowing with summer richness on crimson petals suspended in red-golden clouds of raw honey like rubies in amber.
It started just as a whim, really. Something to do with the petals of the small potted rose that Mamoru left in her care. She's tended it dutifully in his absence, and despite everything she's ever heard about how difficult it's supposed to be to keep roses alive, it's been thriving beyond her expectations - suspiciously so. She's not entirely sure what kind of rose it is specifically, but Makoto is pretty sure it shouldn't still be faithfully putting out blooms from October all the way into February.
Maybe it's a hopeful sign, she thinks now. Maybe the ordinary little rosebush somehow picked up a tiny whiff of magic from the care and attention it's received from both Mamoru and herself, two people whose innate magic sometimes expresses itself in roses. Mako's not sure. But whatever the reason, it hadn't felt right to simply let the blooms fade and throw them out; she'd cast about for something to do with them and hit on the idea of infusing them into rose honey as the simplest possibility. She hadn't thought further than that to what particularly she'd do with the result, just that it would be something lovely and good, something she could share with the others and with Mamoru when - because Makoto refuses to consider the alternative that would be implied by an 'if' - he returned safely to himself.
Now it feels like serendipity, like her heart leading her to something beyond her ability to see. It feels like a chance.
And maybe it's laughably foolish to think that such a small thing could have any impact at all against the power of the Dark Kingdom. The power that Jupiter gives Makoto is not the power to heal or purify, to see through the lies of darkness to the thread of truth that can unravel all of its corruption; her power is direct and forceful, fists and battering winds and the sheer raw violence of lightning, the strength to be a wall for the protection of others. It suits her and she takes pride in it, but it's not a power that has any use here.
But, Makoto thinks, there are all kinds of magic. The power that makes plants grow better and more beautifully when spoken to than when they're cared for in silence, as though responding to the love and attention of the gardener. The power of smell and taste to stir up feelings in the heart linked to old, long-buried memories. The power of lovingly homemade food to connect people and communicate to them the feelings that can't be conveyed in words. The simple kitchen miracle of honey keeping for ages without spoiling, preserving against infection and rot. All of these things are hers, too.
If it's not her style to attack so indirectly, instead of up-front and head on - if it almost feels a little underhanded - well, these are desperate times. She'll take up any weapon against the darkness that she can find.
Makoto sets the jar down on the countertop next to the other ingredients and steps back, taking a moment to survey her preparations and make sure she's laid out everything she'll need. It wouldn't do to have to go looking in the cabinets for something halfway through the process; never mind that she knows exactly where everything is in her own kitchen, that kind of distraction while cooking is how mistakes happen, and candy-making, like baking, can be especially finicky.
As she stands looking over the assembled ingredients and utensils, for just a moment, her hands at her sides curl into fists. Her head bows, curls of her hair falling over her eyes, voice breathing out into the stillness of her kitchen.
- (Jupiter's princess is not normally one for prayer; she would rather be taking action, doing whatever she can do under her own power. But just this once, if someone were to peek into her private garden, they would find her kneeling with hands clasped and head bowed, as though she might somehow make the words of her heart carry across the great airless distance from the Moon to the Earth by pure strength of will.
- "Please," she whispers into the fragrant air.)
"...please, let my feelings get through."