Out Of The Woods

Date: 2016-02-23
Pose Count: 14
Makoto Kino 2016-02-23 01:36:42 30623
She is tightly knotted up, still at war with herself, and when Nephrite's arms come around her at first Makoto stays as she is, unresponsive and trembling with the effort of trying to hold back her tears.

But only for about a heartbeat.

Then, like a drowning person grasping for a lifeline, she uncurls and turns toward him. Clutching at his suit, she presses her face against his shoulder and stops fighting it, just lets the sobs rack her until the tempest of crying blows itself out and she can breathe without shuddering.

It takes a while.
Nephrite 2016-02-23 02:26:32 30636
He holds her through the storm, lets her cry for as long as she needs to. His hand moving in warm circles along her back. The way that she did for him when the first wave of memories hit.

He doesn't know what he is to her now, but he can be this, at least. A pillar, something warm and solid to cling to. As she cries, little blue forget-me-nots begin to spring up amidst the ferns.

When at last her sobs begin to subside, he gently brushes a coil of hair from her face. "Maybe it's not all fine, but this is a start, right?"
Makoto Kino 2016-02-23 02:40:11 30645
"...yeah." Though calmer now, Mako is not in a hurry to stop hiding her face, and her voice, a little raw from crying, is muffled against Nephrite's shirt. She's stopped clinging quite so hard, at least; her fingers uncurl from the fabric of his clothes to let her instead wind her arms hesitantly around him.

She draws in a breath, lets it out again in a shaky sigh. "I never bought that whole 'medicine's supposed to be bitter' thing, either," Makoto complains, still muffled. "things that are good for you shouldn't suck this much. But... yeah. You're right."

Now, finally, she's composed herself enough to dare to look up at him, turning her head a little so that it's just her cheek resting against his shoulder instead of her whole face. Her eyes are red-rimmed, but clear. "You know... I was happy, too. Even if it was all based on a lie, you still made me happy. If we're not going to pretend the slate's clean, then... that's part of it, too."
Nephrite 2016-02-23 03:03:39 30656
He meets her eyes for a moment, still brilliantly green despite the redness that now rings them, but then he glances away. "That's because I wanted to win your trust. To probe you for secrets. I was manipulating you, trying to be the charming, fascinating man you wanted." He prods at a forget-me-not, not really sure why it showed up. It's not a rose, but flowers, all flowers, remind him of her.

"But even with all my ulterior motives, I..." he looks at her again. "You made me happy, too. And all those schemes of mine, the reasons I told myself for prolonging our meetings, they were excuses, more often than not. I couldn't justify my feelings for you to myself. If I admitted that I simply liked you, that I wanted to see you for no other reason, I might have had to put a stop to it. That was why when I saw who you were, that you and Jupiter were the same... all those excuses fell apart. Because I couldn't justify simply meeting with you anymore. I thought I was losing you."
Makoto Kino 2016-02-23 03:42:50 30670
Makoto's eyes close briefly at the reminder of her final gamble. "I didn't know what else to do," she admits quietly. "It felt like we were about to lose everything. Thinking about it now, I guess we could've gotten the piece of the key back somehow, but..."

She's a little bit tempted to hide her face against his shoulder again. Instead, Mako lets her gaze drift away and settle on the blue flowers scattered amidst the ferns where none were before. Pretty, she thinks.

"...I remembered." She says it quietly, barely more than a murmur. "What happened to the other me. The Jupiter before. All I could think was that I didn't want to end up repeating the past."

She drags her eyes back from the flowers to look up at him again, cracking a helpless little smile. "I didn't want to lose you."
Nephrite 2016-02-23 04:08:04 30686
At the reminder of how things ended, his own eyes close briefly. Despite the warmth of the sunset, the little alcove that insulates them, he shudders slightly. "I don't remember everything about that, but... I remember enough. Too much. Before I thought it was confirmation of how we were meant to be enemies, but... no. It only shows how it all went wrong. I don't... I'm still not sure about everything. About why it happened the way it did. But you're right. We can't let the past repeat itself."

He takes a breath. "You were so brave. You let yourself be that vulnerable in front of me, knowing what I could have done to you. If you hadn't... you were the only one who really got through to me."
Makoto Kino 2016-02-23 04:40:00 30708
Her arms around him tighten just a little when he shudders, trying to give back some of the comfort that he's offered her. "It was worth it," Makoto says, and there is not a trace of uncertainty now in her quiet voice. "I don't know how things will go from here, but - it's not going to be like what happened before."

She stirs a little within the circle of Nephrite's arms, lifting her head from his shoulder and sitting up enough that she can look him more properly in the eye. "We'll change it. We've already started. We just have to see it through."
Nephrite 2016-02-23 05:13:48 30728
There is not much that Nephrite knows. What kind of person he is. Where he fits into the world. Whether he really has any right to continue to hold Makoto in his arms.

What he does know is that when she says it, he feels... hopeful. He holds her more tightly. "You really make me believe that. I don't know what happens from here. But you're right. Things have changed already. We can keep changing it. I would like to see it through with you. If you want."
Makoto Kino 2016-02-23 05:35:45 30739
Makoto smiles, a small thing at first but it grows by degrees until her whole face is lit up with it, eyes shining. It's more than just hope, although that's there, too - it's the affirmation of hope, of the small inner voice that's been telling her all along, in spite of doubt and in the face of all reason, that she's been right to hope, to risk, to trust.

She doesn't have to think about her answer at all. "Yes," she says, and nods once, firm and decisive. "That's what I want."

And then a moment later she lets out a breath and kind of deflates, sinking in against him and settling her head against his shoulder again. "Ugh, I'm so tired. Aren't you tired? It's been such a stupid few weeks."
Nephrite 2016-02-23 05:56:17 30752
He chuckles, sighing against her. "Exhausted. I may not move from this spot for days. But I expect you want to be getting home." He is reluctant to end this. To let go of the comfortable way that they have become entwined. But he still feels shaky and brittle, and he can imagine how she must feel the same.

"I understand if you need some time, now. There is still so much going on. And I think I need to figure some things out. But I will be here. If you ever want to talk."
Makoto Kino 2016-02-23 06:34:56 30776
There's no immediate response to that from Mako; rather than make any move to start pulling away from him, she subsides into quiet, thinking.

He's probably right that she should be getting home. There are still things to do, to try to prepare for, and Ami will want the details of what happened here. She should give him the space and the time that he needs to think things through himself.

And yet... her body feels heavy, and she's warm and comfortable in his arms. Right now--

"I kind of don't want to move," Makoto admits quietly. "I... guess I should, though."

Letting out a sigh of her own, she begins mustering the willpower to disentangle herself from Nephrite and get up. It takes entirely too much effort, and she's barely begun to withdraw before she stops to look at him. "...Do you want me to bring you anything?"
Nephrite 2016-02-23 06:50:55 30786
Things. Always, he has needed things. Cars, clothes, food, booze. Things he could hold onto, sink his fingers into and hold himself in place. Like he thought he would simply fade away without something solid nearby.

He is presently wearing the most expensive suit he owns. The red Brioni was hand-tailored to his measurements. In Italy. And he has been sitting in the dirt in it. The knees of his trousers are soiled with damp earth. The front of his shirt is damp from Makoto crying into it, and there are actually grass stains.

And yet, he cannot bring himself to care. In this place, the ground beneath him feels solid. The plants feel more tangible and real than anything he could have bought for himself. Perhaps, when he leaves, he will again take joy in such things. But for once, right now, he does not feel pressed to retrieve all the precious stuff he left behind.

"I don't suppose chocolates are still an option?" He asks with a quick smile. "But Valentine's Day is well past now."
Makoto Kino 2016-02-23 07:09:55 30795
Whatever Makoto was expecting, if she was expecting anything in particular, that does not seem to be it. Surprise flashes across her face for a moment, followed just as quickly by a sparkle of mirth and a laugh that bubbles up out of nowhere.

"I can probably come up with something," she promises, turning a bit pink in the face even as she's still laughing quietly. "Even though it's not Valentine's Day any more."

Slowly, reluctantly, she straightens herself out enough to get her feet under her, taking a little longer than is strictly necessary to be sure of her balance before she begins to stand. And, on an impulse that she doesn't stop to examine, leans in over Nephrite to place a light, chaste kiss on the top of his head, much as she did for Ami not very long ago.

She's blushing brightly as she straightens up and starts to turn away. "I'll see you soon. Okay?"
Nephrite 2016-02-23 07:21:00 30801
Her laughter washes over him, leaves him feeling lighter and better than he was. The little kiss on the top of his head is unexpected, and he is grinning as she stands. "Okay," he answers. It's not quite a promise, but there is hope in it. "And please, take care of yourself."

He watches her retreating form as she leaves, never taking his eyes off her until she vanishes into the thick foliage. Though he does not physically walk her to the edge of his realm, the occasional forget-me-not blossoming in her path accompanies her there.