So Elite

Ami and Takashi and Makoto and Nephrite go on an ice skating double date. It goes exactly as well as you'd expect.

Date: 2016-04-08
Pose Count: 81
Makoto Kino 2016-04-08 01:18:08 37479
Today has not gotten off to a great start for Makoto.

She's gotten plenty of rest since Monday evening's adventure in energy drain; she should be completely recovered by now, but this morning she'd barely managed to drag herself out of bed. It was like she hadn't slept at all, and only the knowledge that Ami had been looking forward to this outing and the heartening prospect of Nephrite's company had kept her from making an excuse and going straight back to bed.

Breakfast and a chilly shower haven't done a lot to make her feel more human, but a careful application of a little makeup at least keeps her from looking haggard. She can get through this. If nothing else, physicality has always been her strong point, and while it's not much of anything for a girl to be proud of it at least means she's confident that she can manage an afternoon of skating on fumes and stubborn willpower.

The real challenge is going to be not punching Takashi Agera in his smug face if he forgets himself and starts running his mouth.

"Here's the thing," she's saying as she steps out onto the ice, dressed in her own simple but flattering green skating outfit (mercifully, it still fit). The skating rink isn't on the top of a lot of people's lists of places to go during the spring holiday, not when the weather's fine and winter's cold is still fresh in memory; they mostly have it to themselves this afternoon, save for a couple of burgeoning athletes engaged in practice on the other end of the rink. "I know how to do this stuff, but I don't know how to explain to somebody how to do it. If you're the type that learns from observing, we'll be golden. Otherwise I might not be a lot of help."

She's turned backwards to face the others, gliding unhurriedly and with ease as she talks. "Anyway, we'll want to warm up before we do anything, so we might as well go around the rink a time or two and see how you guys are on your skates."
Nephrite 2016-04-08 01:36:44 37484
One of two things could have happened when Nephrite stepped onto the ice. One, he could immediately settle into muscle memory, his body recalling exactly what to do with itself when poised on a pair of narrow blades sliding over frozen water. Or two, he could immediately fall on his face.

He is most pleased that the latter option did not happen. The skates have a familiar tightness to them, like something he has worn many times before. He glides lazily behind Makoto, a casual confidence in his movements.

"We'll try and keep up, Kino-sensei," he says with a grin.
Ami Mizuno 2016-04-08 01:38:13 37485
Excited is a bit of an understatement. Ami has been practically buzzing for this trip, and even her mother has noticed. Which is why when Ami woke up this morning, she found a gift waiting for her: wrapped in a silk blue ribbon was a white leotard with long-sleeved ruffled wrists, with seafoam ribbons and bows, and a matching white skirt to wear overtop it. The perfect outfit for ice skating! "Thanks mom!" Ami had called out to the empty house. Of course Doctor Mizuno was off to work, but it never hurt to say thank you.

Out of Henshin, Ami isn't the graceful and powerful skater she presented at Madoka's end of the world party. She's certainly athletic, and knows her way across the rink, but she's no expert. Still, she's smiling as she finishes tying off her skates. Pulling off the rubber guards, she tosses them into her gym bag, then walks towards the ice and steps out carefully onto it.

"Don't worry, Mako-chan," Ami says happily. "I'm sure you'll be an amazing teacher." She pushes forward and grabs her friend's hands, turns a full circle with her once, then turns to skate away. Warming up with a few laps is something this girl knows well, and she's eager to get the warm-up part out of the way so she can get to the actual fun part of the day.
Takashi Agera 2016-04-08 01:44:44 37487
Takashi, on the other hand, has been trying to prepare himself for this for a while. Lately, he's been having more than a few issues not making a jerk of himself in front of Ami's friends. Or around people Ami knows. Or at swim meets. He's come to terms with the fact that he may, in fact, need to be very very careful about this. One might say he is on his best behavior. It remains to be seen how good that really is.

So he's here, beside Ami, nodding. "A lot of what I know, I'm self taught - the internet, and all that - so I've learned a lot largely by watching." he says.

This, naturally, would require him to be paying attention to Makoto - which is something he is not doing a good job at, because Ami's here. And there's something about Makoto's friend that prickles at the edges of his mind, too.
Makoto Kino 2016-04-08 02:08:24 37491
Mako laughs as Ami catches her hands and the two of them turn about together. Yes, this will work. She can already feel the heaviness in her body loosening as her blood gets going; her head might feel gritty, but muscle and ligament know what they're doing even though she's out of practice. It'll be fine.

As she straightens out of the rotation, she flashes a grin over at Nephrite, loops around to pace him. "Hey look," she quips, "mystery solved. I think it's safe to say you actually do know how to skate."

'Keeping up' may or may not be a different issue. It isn't long before Makoto is literally skating circles around the other three, looping casually around them as they traverse the ice. "Your balance seems pretty good," she observes to Takashi after watching him move for a short distance. "How are you at stopping?"
Nephrite 2016-04-08 02:25:45 37495
Nephrite is content to watch Makoto easily circle them. He laughs. "For all you know, I'm just faking it extremely well." Unlike Ami, he did not dress specially for the occasion. He tossed his jacket onto a side chair before getting onto the ice. If he happens to fall, then he'll just have to deal with it.

He grins appraisingly as she passes. "Of course you're amazing like I thought." He casts a glance over at Takashi. If the guy even begins to think about making this afternoon un-fun for his possibly-girlfriend, then Nephrite may just have to suddenly un-learn how to skate. On top of him. At high speed.
Ami Mizuno 2016-04-08 02:33:26 37497
As they finish a few laps, Ami puts just a tiny bit of distance between herself and the others, then puts her arms out. "I'm sure Takashi is just fine at stopping!" she says absently as she concentrates on her own feet. She hesitates a moment, then jumps into the air and turns. Once, half again, and she lands ... backwards.

Ami pinwheels her arms to try and maintain her balance, but it's innevitable: down she goes onto her bum, sliding across the ice to a stop. With a shiver, she looks around confusedly. She's so much better at this in henshin.
Takashi Agera 2016-04-08 02:41:26 37499
Takashi starts to try to move faster to keep up with Makoto - but soon, he gets a chance to answer Makoto's question rather rapidly, as suddenly, Ami falls over just next to him - and he does come to a rather rapid stop - after he skates over to her and thrusts a hand out to her to pull her up.

"I'm fine." he says, to Makoto, but he's still really rather focused on the falling Ami. "Are you okay, Ami?" he asks, once again forgetting the honorific.
Makoto Kino 2016-04-08 03:03:31 37504
"How exactly do you fake that?" Makoto wonders, even as she turns a little pink in faintly embarrassed pleasure at Nephrite's praise. "Is it one of those centipede's dilemma things, you can only do it when you're not thinking too hard about it?"

She can see it coming, is wincing as Ami lands from her jump even before her balance gives out and she takes the fall. A quick, change of direction starts to turn Mako toward her friend, but she pulls up short as Takashi gets their first and just watches closely for a few seconds to satisfy herself that Ami's not injured.

Only when she's sure that Ami is okay and on her way back up from her spill does Makoto crack a lopsided smile. "Knowing how to take a fall is also an important part of knowing how to skate," she observes ruefully. "Honestly, I didn't see us trying to get into jumps today. We should maybe start a little easier - you wanted to be able to ice dance with Agera-san, right?"
Ami Mizuno 2016-04-08 03:05:42 37505
Ami looks more than a little embarassed, blushing as she takes Takashi's hand. "I'm okay," she says, as he pulls her back up onto the skates. She bites her lip and looks anywhere but at him. She's supposed to be good at this stuff.

For Makoto's benefit, she says, "Well I was hoping we'd skate like we did at the party. We were both so good." And in henshin. "It was fun. I though Takashi," no honorific, "would enjoy it, too. And it'd be something we could do together."
Nephrite 2016-04-08 03:12:56 37507
"Exactly!" Nephrite chirps. "I make it a general policy not to think too deeply about anything." Never mind the hours that he spends lost in thought while staring at the stars. Nor that he has purchased a book on flower language. No no, he is shallow and easily amused by the cute way her brow crinkles slightly when she's focused.

And somehow, he is not the first person on the ice to wind up on his rear end. Unlike the others, Nephrite opted for hockey-style skates, and he skids to a stop beside Makoto by way of turning against the flat of his blades. He rests a hand on her back. "Aw, I thought I was gonna get to see some flashy tricks."
Takashi Agera 2016-04-08 03:22:42 37512
Takashi nods at Ami. "I'm a little better at skating in henshin, too. Or at least, a little more agile, nimble." he says, nodding to Ami, giving her a little bit of an out.

"I would like that, but honestly, I'm happy doing anything with you." he says, before remembering there are -two other people- here, and he coughs. "And it's nice to meet both of you, too. On better terms this time, Kino-san." he adds, hastily.

"I'm sure there will be time for flashy tricks and such once we all get the basics down." he adds, to Nephrite.
Makoto Kino 2016-04-08 03:35:24 37518
Makoto just lifts her eyebrows amusedly at Nephrite's claim of not thinking: uh-huh.

Takashi, now - what Takashi says actually surprises her, mostly because she didn't expect to hear him saying something she actually agrees with. After a moment of looking like she really doesn't know what to think about this, she nods. "Trying to skip ahead without giving enough attention to the basics gets people hurt. But," she adds, a little more brightly, "there's nothing saying we can't work up to it."

Her hand rests against Nephrite's shoulder for a moment, purely because he's there, and then Mako pushes off to cross the short distance between herself and Ami. "Really, a lot of ice dancing is footwork," she says, holding out a hand. "More importantly, you have a partner to rely on. Wanna try a demonstration to show Agera-san what you had in mind?" A beat, and her eyes flick back toward Nephrite, taking on a teasing glimmer. "Or we could test out whether Neph's skating skills extend as far as a waltz. That might be exciting."
Ami Mizuno 2016-04-08 03:42:07 37520
Ami blushes at Takashi's words, but she smiles at him anyways. "I know, I know," she says. "I just had something specific in mind," she says with a sigh. When Makoto skates towards her, though, she smiles and takes the small slide away from Takashi to accept her friend's hand.

"That sounds nice," she admits with a grin, "but ... I'm worried I'm going to suck. I mean," she motions to the ice behind her, "That little one-and-a-half was easy to me," she notes. "So ..." she trails off, then shrugs. "Maybe," she leans in and whispers something into Makoto's ear, glancing at Takashi amusedly.
Nephrite 2016-04-08 03:49:58 37523
Nephrite's deep laughter echos over the rink. "I'd happily be your demonstration prop." He can't quite bow at her while maintaining his balance, but he dips forward in the closest approximation to one.

"But I hope you're not hoping to teach them anything other than how to wind up back on their butts, because that's about all that's probably going to happen to us if I try to waltz."
Takashi Agera 2016-04-08 04:08:18 37528
Takashi tilts his head when Makoto offers her hand, and when Ami accepts it. Not in a hostile way - but in a curious one. "Sure, I'd love to see what you've got in mind. Maybe after you demonstrate, I can put my own spin on it." Takashi says, trying to seek a way to be himself without... making an ass out of himself. Harder than it sounds.

"I'm sure you'll be fine - anyways, this isn't a competition, so don't worry about it. We're just here to learn, right?" It sounds as wierd to himself to say those things as it probably does to anyone else.

He looks to Nephrite. "Well, maybe we can make that some sort of long-term challenge - the Waltzing, I mean."
Makoto Kino 2016-04-08 04:18:02 37531
"Mean," is Mako's response to whatever it was Ami whispered to her, after a quick glance toward the guys. "And would probably end with blood on the ice. Let's try and avoid ending the day with a trip to the hospital, okay?"

Nephrite's laughing and Mako grins over at him, playfully - "Come on, how do you know until you try?"

She might have said more, but then she hears the words 'this isn't a competition' come out of Takashi's mouth and now Makoto is staring at him like he's randomly begun talking like the Swedish Chef. Briefly she leans in to whisper to Ami, before she straightens. "Anyway, you won't suck because you can leave the tricky stuff to me. Let's show the guys how it's done."
Ami Mizuno 2016-04-08 04:19:57 37532
Ami watches Takashi and Nephrite interact with widened eyes, but it's Makoto's words that draw a giggle. "True," she says. "But it'd be fun to watch until it reached that point," she notes, grinning wildly. The whisper earns a wink, then she wh ispers something in return before nodding her head.

"Mhm," she agrees. "I'll follow your lead." Ami takes both of Makoto's hands in her own, then toes herself backwards to put distance between them, allowing Makoto to take whatever position she wants from there. Following is so much easier than skating on your own.
Nephrite 2016-04-08 04:33:33 37538
Nephrite circles around the girls, vaguely closer to Takashi but not exactly standing with him. His grin never leaves, but neither has he stopped glancing Takashi's way. Still, despite Makoto's warnings, the guy hasn't really been rude at all. That's almost boring.

But now Makoto and Ami appear to be syncing up, drawing his attention again. "See, you don't need me to waltz. You've got a partner. I understand. She is prettier than me."
Takashi Agera 2016-04-08 04:54:36 37547
Even though Nephrite is not standing with Takashi, Takashi still manages to side-skate a little bit further apart. It appears the opinion is shared.

Now that Makoto and Ami are skating, he gives a little sideye at the prettier comment, as he's watching the two girls dance. "Well, it's not really a fair fight. She's prettier than most people. I mean, it'd be like putting you up against me." he adds, and there's not even a hint of irony or joking in this comment - it sounds like he said 'and tomorrow the sun will probably rise'.

Then he calls to Ami. "You worry too much, you know. About a lot of things. You should listen when I tell you that you're great."
Makoto Kino 2016-04-08 05:06:25 37551
"I'm kind of impressed," Makoto admits to whatever Ami just whispered to her, as she picks up enough speed to catch up with Ami and catch her hands. "And weirded out." In a moment they're in waltz position, and with a little momentum it's not hard for Mako to move them through some easy step sequences.

"Don't think you're getting out of this," she calls back to the guys over Ami's head as the pair of them sweep around through a turn. "Ami-chan is my partner for now, but I have to let her dance with Agera-san at some point. So I hope you're paying attention!"

By now they're a little too far off for her to hear what Takashi said just now, which is almost certainly just as well.
Ami Mizuno 2016-04-08 05:10:07 37553
Ami shrugs just faintly at Makoto, but continues skating backwards. This is much easier than trying to do a jump, and with Makoto leading, she finds it very easy to trust that there's nothing behind her. When Makoto starts the three-step waltzing turns, Ami still follows easily, smiling as they begin to pick up speed.

"Honestly," Ami says quietly to Makoto, "I think he just doesn't have a lot of experience dealing with people who don't immediately hate him. All that dark energy draws negativity like a beacon, even when he's not doing anything with it. And then there's everyone who's jealous because he's so smart, or so clever, or," she glances past Makoto as they turn, "so good looking." That statement comes with a blush before she looks back at Makoto.

"I know, I know he's bad with words," Ami explains for Makoto. "But he's trying so hard. He really does want to impress you. He knows how much it means to me."
Nephrite 2016-04-08 05:16:17 37555
Nephrite looks Takashi up and down before letting out a faint snort. "If that's what you wanna believe."

He returns his attention to the pair of girls and lets out a booming "woo!" at them from across the rink as though he were watching a contact sport rather than ice dancing. "I could not pay closer attention if you paid me! Teach me your ways, Mako-sensei!"
Takashi Agera 2016-04-08 05:29:21 37558
"You're damn right you need to let me dance with her." he calls out to Makoto. It's probably meant to be playful, but... it might also be easy to take the wrong way.

He almost misses Nephrite's snorting comment because of how much he's watching the girls. Okay, a girl. A blue-haired girl.

But he does, and he turns over. "Belief is weak, compared to truth." he says, calmly. Then he turns to Nephrite. "And I thought I laid it on a little thick. I see I had nothing to worry about."
Makoto Kino 2016-04-08 22:51:51 37628
"He doesn't want to impress me," Mako answers Ami, one hand releasing her long enough to guide her through the extra flourish of a short spin. "He just doesn't want to make me mad 'cause he knows you wouldn't like it. I'll give him an A-plus for effort, though." Maybe she spoke a little too soon - Takashi calls out as they're coming back together to resume the waltz, and playful though it was probably meant to be, something in his tone or the way he phrased it grates on her raw nerves enough that Makoto grimaces a little. "...His execution could use work. I'll give you the thing about the dark energy, but I've gotta say, I don't think people being jealous of him is as much of a problem as he might think it is."

Fortunately, Nephrite is there to provide a distraction and bring a smile back to her face... even if his cheering is enough to make Makoto blush and the would-be pros across the rink stop what they're doing to see what's going on. "Careful what you ask for, big guy," she calls back. "Your turn's coming!"

As she looks that way, she catches a momentary sight of Takashi - looking at Ami, because of course he is. And really normally she wouldn't blame him, but fatigue makes her less inclined to be charitable. "I bet Agera's not even watching a thing I'm doing, is he?" Makoto asks on a breath of laughter as they come around, and immediately represses the urge to look again and have her suspicion confirmed. Instead she concentrates on staying fluid on the ice, the smooth gliding feeling she's always loved. "I ought to make him spend the rest of the afternoon practicing three-turns, but then you'd be disappointed and he'd hate me. More."

There's a soft buzzing like static around the edges of her awareness, but Makoto ignores it and grins at her friend. Between Nephrite's enthusiastic attention and the distinctly more galling thought that here she is demonstrating for Takashi's benefit (okay, ultimately for Ami's benefit, but he plays a key role in it) and he's not even paying attention to what she's trying to show him... she can't help feeling the impulse to show off a little. "Feel up to trying a lift?"
Ami Mizuno 2016-04-08 23:02:28 37629
Ami glances at Takashi briefly, but most of her attention is on the dance. Athleticism is a part of the girl, but this is Makoto's stage, and she is but the apprentice. Still, there's something about Makoto's words that draw her attention away from her focus. Ami frowns just a little and glances past her on one turn towards Takashi. "You'd be surprised," she notes softly. "Even if they aren't jealous, sometimes it feels like they are. People do funny things around the smart kid to make us feel unwanted. How else should we explain it except jealousy?"

Nephrite's cheering earns a small blush from the girl, and she turns to regard him curiously. "He really does dote on you," she notes to Makoto with a smile. "I'm so glad you two are still together after everything that's happened."

But then Makoto is pulling Ami's attention back to the dance. As they glide across the ice, she glances down at her feet again, ensures she knows exactly what she's doing, then nods. "Mmm. I'm ready," she agrees, preparing to bounce upwards with Makoto's help as soon as her friend signals.
Nephrite 2016-04-08 23:09:48 37630
Nephrite laughs at Takashi's comments, but there is an edge to that laughter, and his smile does not reach his eyes so much anymore. "How nice it must be to see the world in such black and white terms. You must be a delight at parties."

He shifts restlessly on his skates, rocking one way and another. If he had his way, lessons would be over and he could be skating with Makoto instead of hanging out with Mr. Important over here.
Takashi Agera 2016-04-08 23:31:12 37634
To be fair, Takashi is -trying- to pay attention to Makoto, in the sense that he does really want to pick up some more of the skill. There are things that can't be learned from just watching videos, even if you are clever and dedicated. It's just... not easy.

Takashi's unaware of Ami's conversation with Makoto, and that's probably a good thing - he'd probably bring a litany of actual slights and even more percieved ones he's endured. There is somewhat of a reason he's quick to fight, beyond even his special circumstances.

Takashi just huffs at Nephrite's comment - but there's one place he'd agree. He'd just as soon have Nephrite distract Makoto so he could be the one out there with Ami.
Makoto Kino 2016-04-08 23:47:52 37637
Makoto makes a little humming sound at Ami's softy-voiced question. "Defensiveness?" she offers. "Not saying it's right, just... nobody likes feeling stupid."

Their course straightens out and Mako prepares for the life, taking extra care against mistakes or misjudgments since she knows she's tired. "And, y'know, I can't say I've never felt dumb around you, but at least I've never felt like that's what you thought. I can't say that about Agera. He made what he thinks pretty clear."

And boy is that a subject Mako doesn't want to dwell any more on. Pushing it away, she glances back towards Nephrite, smiling at Ami's observations on that quarter. "Me, too," she agrees, and then-- "Okay, here we go. Up!"

On that 'up'' she hoists Ami off her skates and into the air, lifting her all the way up as the two of them fly over the ice.

If there's the tiniest quiver in her shoulders, the flash of a frown across her face, it vanishes the moment it happens, swallowed up in fierce concentration.

She holds the lift long enough to let Ami (and the observers) get the full effect, before the dull ache starting to burn between her shoulderblades prompts her to let her friend down carefully and gently back to the ice and bring their momentum to a gradual slow-down. "Okay," she says, a little too cheerfully, "we should probably rescue the boys now and let them have some of the fun."
Ami Mizuno 2016-04-08 23:59:13 37640
Ami would answer the concern about feeling stupid, but she's busy being lifted. When Makoto says 'up', she hops up with her toes, allowing her friend to lift her high up off the ice. Locking her arms, she focuses on balancing so that Makoto has less work to do. But oh how she grins, as she flies through the air on Makoto's arms, legs spread wide for balance and effect. It's over all too soon, but Ami's still smiling when Makoto sets her back down on the ice.

As the two start to slow down, Ami reaches out to hug her friend tightly. "I don't want you to feel stupid," she notes. "And I will beat Takashi-kun up if he makes you feel that way. Don't let him do that to you, okay?" she murmurs as they draw near to the boys.

Then she lets go and skates away from Makoto towards Takashi, holding out both hands towards him in an invitation to catch and arest her motion.
Nephrite 2016-04-09 00:04:51 37641
If the entire rink is not yet sick of Nephrite's whooping and cheering, then now is their chance to develop some annoyance, as his booming voice makes him a one-man crowd. If Makoto ever decides to perform before an audience, she may have to contend with the one guy in the stands wearing face paint and holding up a "I <3 Makoto" sign.

He's still applauding as the two separate, and he eagerly skates to meet Makoto. "That was beautiful. You two should be an act."
Takashi Agera 2016-04-09 00:20:05 37644
Takashi is... more than a little jealous of Makoto lifting up Ami, and resolves to at least match her. Which means, oddly, that this is the time he's watched Makoto the most - because he wants to duplicate her form, make sure he does it right, avoid making a fool of himself - or worse, hurting Ami.

As Ami and Makoto draw near, Takashi starts to clap. "That was excellent - both of you." he says with a big grin. "I admit to a little jealousy." he says, skating over and -very rapidly- finding himself a spot perhaps too close to Ami. "So... is it my turn?" he asks, leaning in a bit.
Makoto Kino 2016-04-09 00:41:03 37647
"I know," is Mako's quiet and affectionate reply to Ami, before the two of them separate. Ami aims for Takashi, and Makoto of course cruises to meet Nephrite, snagging hold of his arm to arrest her own momentum even though she could just as easily stop herself.

"Thanks," she says, slightly breathless and turning a little pink. For a moment she looks like she's going to demur that it wasn't really that big a deal - but then she glances sidelong at Takashi and changes her mind. The praise is gratifying, but at the same time it's oddly irritating as well. "Sorry to leave you guys on the sidelines to have fun by ourselves," she says, mostly to Nephrite as she curls her arm around his.

From this position she looks over at Takashi, eyebrows lifting. "Depends," she answers with a slightly-too-fixed smile, although in all likelihood he was asking Ami and not her. "You're not gonna try to rush straight into lifts and stuff, are you?"

Part of her knows she's probably being unfair - he did comment earlier about the importance of the basics - but tact and good judgement are among fatigue's earliest casualties.
Ami Mizuno 2016-04-09 00:53:23 37649
"Dep--" Ami starts to say to Takashi, then grins when she realises she was about to say the same thing as Makoto, at the same time. "What she said," she notes, nodding her head towards Makoto. "Mako-chan and I have been doing this for about six billion years, remember," she points out, exaggerating the number just for emphasis.

"We have had a lot of time to learn to trust one another completely," Ami explains. "You and I are just getting started. So let's start with the simple stuff just to make sure we move well together. Maybe if we do this often, in a few weeks we can get to the really fun stuff like lifts and throws."
Nephrite 2016-04-09 00:56:56 37650
His arm is warm against hers as they link together. "I'm glad you're having fun," Nephrite says with a smile. He leans close to mutter quietly near her ear. "I would pay money to see you show up that jerk again."

His smile remains as she addresses Takashi, the private joke more than enough to sustain his amusement and keep him looking polite. "So, you gonna lift me next?"
Takashi Agera 2016-04-09 00:58:06 37651
Takashi almost looks chastized. "Not straight into it. But I would like to before everything's said and done." he admits. "Well, if you two have been dancing for that long, that means I do have a lot of catching up to do, don't I?" he says with a half-smirk.

"You know you don't have to drag it out over weeks, if you want an excuse to dance with me more you can just say so..." Yes, and that half-smirk is Full Maximum Smirk now. All the same, though, he's outstretched his hand. "But... if I could have the pleasure of a dance with the most beautiful genius in Tokyo?" he says, perhaps too formally."I promise not to try to lift you, at least not without warning."

Takashi is pretty sure Ami couldn't lift him - at least, out of henshin.
Makoto Kino 2016-04-09 01:10:51 37653
She really shouldn't encourage that kind of commentary, but at the moment Makoto kind of doesn't care. That conspiratorial whisper is a balm for the prickle of irritation she can't quite shake; deliberately turning her attention away from Takashi, Mako smiles up at Nephrite, warm and pleased.

And laughs in surprised delight when he asks that question. "I could, but I'm not gonna," she replies, still holding onto his arm. "Besides, as officially the only person I know who is physically capable of sweeping me off my feet--"

The rink tilts, seeming to turn around her though she knows they're not turning, and Mako's voice dies out mid-sentence. The buzz of static at the edges of her awareness strengthens, fuzzing the edges of her vision. Her grip on Nephrite's arm tightens a little.
Ami Mizuno 2016-04-09 01:44:40 37658
Ami grabs Takashi's outstretched hand with both of her own, grinning as they start to head out onto the ice together. "Who said anything about dragging it out?" she asks him. "This isn't about skill or intellect, Takashi," she says amusedly as she follows him. "Not even about physical ability! But we'll see." It's not like he can lift her without her consent, anyways.

"If you're up for it, though," Ami notes, "you can lead, and I will follow." Because that is the role she's used to. She doesn't notice the change in Makoto; she's too busy focusing on Takashi, and trusting that everything is fine with her friend.
Nephrite 2016-04-09 01:46:40 37659
Perhaps she should not encourage his snide comments, but Nephrite feels better for having made her laugh. And anyway, he is being a perfect gentleman. Mostly. In a sense.

"I'll be happy to sweep you off your feet, if you teach me--" he pauses as her arm tightens around his. His brow creases in concern. "Hey--you okay? Did you pull something? Do you want to sit down for a minute?"
Takashi Agera 2016-04-09 01:58:12 37664
Takashi smiles a bit. "Not directly, maybe. But you know... I -do- have practice in this particular endeavor. Not like chess where I had to pick it up all at once." he says with a laugh as she takes his hand and they skate out. He's, sadly, a bit oblivious to Makoto's plight.

"That's fine with me." Leading, on the other hand, is a role Takashi not only is used to, but the place he believes he should be. And not just in ice skating. But he doesn't make an overdramatic show of anything - he just slowly begins to skate around the rink with her - though he doesn't keep it to entirely slow for very long.

"I figured it might take you some time to match my strides, though - as you mentioned, there's a lot of ground to make up - I'm no ancient soul, at least not as far as I know."
Makoto Kino 2016-04-09 02:07:59 37667
"I'm okay." Makoto makes herself smile, blinks a few times until her vision starts to clear. Her first thought is to look for Ami - skating with Takashi. Looks like she's having fun. Good. She may not like Takashi (and oh, she really doesn't) but the last thing Mako wants is to spoil this outing for her friend.

A slow breath in and out helps her feel a little steadier, enough to turn a wryly apologetic look to Nephrite. "Sorry," she says. "I might've overdone it a little. It's been a busy couple of weeks, and I guess I'm more out of practice than I thought... I really want to skate with you, though."
Ami Mizuno 2016-04-09 02:30:43 37675
"Time to match your strides," Ami says, screwing up her face irritatedly. "Excuse you, Agera-san, but I have been ice skating for years. I do not need time to match anything!" Turning up her nose, she lets his hand go and skates on past, then turns around to skate backwards. What she doesn't pay attention to is that she's skating right into a young student who is here practicing for a competition. Ami sticks out her tongue at Takashi as she goes.

And then she hits the kid hard, and both go sprawling onto the ice with loud squeals of pain and surprise. Neither one of them noticed the other. Ow. At least there's no blood. Probably.
Nephrite 2016-04-09 02:36:16 37679
"Well you've been building a house," he reminds her. "And cooking up a storm. And on guard duty. You can't be Wonder Woman all the time." His hand shifts to the small of her back, easing them into an easy pace. His boisterousness is restrained now, his gaze glancing at her frequently as he hovers close at hand.

"Alright then, no lift lessons today. But you can bet your ass we'll try that later. You can teach me how to do it without falling over backwards, and then you get to be the one flying through the air."

And then the sound of squeals rings out. Nephrite turns in concern. Somehow he is not the one causing injuries today.
Takashi Agera 2016-04-09 02:52:10 37683
Takashi tries to warn Ami, but she's a little bit too intent on retorting to his commentary, and then she (and the student) go toppling to the ice. And now, Takashi skates a lot faster - not to show off, though it might have that effect, but to reach her faster and stop just at the end point of the two skater's combined fall - stopping just in front of her and leaning down on one knee.

He doesn't try to help her up yet - because he has no idea if she's injured, and is smart enough not to exascerbate it if it is. But there's a sudden, serious, fierce look of concern and worry on his face. "Are you okay, Ami?" he asks.

The other sprawled out injured person, notably, gets zero attention from him.
Makoto Kino 2016-04-09 03:00:28 37687
Makoto begins to nod to Nephrite, smiling gratefully - but then there's a sound of unexpected impact from across the ice and her head snaps immediately toward that direction. "Ami-chan!" Without another thought, she lets go of Nephrite's arm and takes off across the ice, picking up speed with a few long strokes of her skates.

It was really exactly the wrong thing to do. Suddenly the background hiss of static in her ears has become a roar, the rink lurching around her. It's a testament to Makoto's sheer level of physical capability and the power of her concern for her friend that she doesn't simply drop like a string-cut marionette; instead it's more of a semi-controlled collapse, one leg buckling and then the other, until she skids the last several feet to Ami's side on her knees, hands braced to either side of her legs.

"What did you do?" This to Takashi, as though it could only have been his fault that Ami collided with the other skater. Then Mako turns her pale face toward Ami and the other poor kid, trying to bring them into something like proper focus. "Are either of you hurt?"
Ami Mizuno 2016-04-09 03:08:18 37691
Ami looks dazed, but not seriously injured. "Owwww," she moans as Makoto slides to a stop near her. She turns around to look at her poor victim and grimaces. "Sorry," she says, mumbling uncertainly. "I didn't see you."

The poor girl she's knocked into looks similarly dazed, but also not badly injured. "No, no, I should have watched where I was going," she says. Because in Japan, everyone is polite. Right? "Owww. I think I need to sit out for a few minutes, though," she notes.
Nephrite 2016-04-09 03:11:38 37694
Nephrite is quick to follow Makoto, but lack of practice and a few stray skaters in his path slow him down. Suddenly she is on her knees and he is still scrambling to catch up. "Are you hurt?" He demands, incredulous that she still thinks only of her friend's health and not her own. He comes to a stop beside her and bends down, hand on her shoulder. "You look pale. Are you okay?"
Takashi Agera 2016-04-09 03:20:35 37697
Takashi turns and glares daggers at Makoto at the insinuation. There's the boy she met outside of school the first time, the one who hurled insults, the one he's been working hard to hide. "I didn't do anything!" he says, defensively, sharply, angrily.

And then it's right back to Ami - which prevents him from actually picking up on Makoto's condition. "Ami, hey. Are you hurt?" he says, waving a hand a bit in front of her face, before snapping at the unfortunante student. "Yeah, go sit down until you can figure out how to watch where you're going!" No, not everyone is polite in Japan.
Makoto Kino 2016-04-09 03:39:20 37701
It doesn't seem like anyone's hurt. That's good. The breath goes out of Mako and she sags back, leaning into Nephrite's supporting hand on her shoulder, not quite able to find it in herself to bristle back at Takashi when he snaps at her.

For one fuzzy moment she wonders vaguely why Nephrite would ask why she's hurt when she's not the one who fell. Expressions work slowly across her face, confusion to a dawning sense of dismay and a strange sense of betrayal as she realizes she doesn't actually have an answer to the question 'are you okay?'

"I... don't know," she manages, looking down at her own slack hands. "I shouldn't be this tired..."
Ami Mizuno 2016-04-09 03:46:13 37704
Ami looks confusedly up at Takashi as the hand gets waved in front of her face. "Huh?" she asks confusedly, then blinks back to the moment. "Yeah, I'm okay. My head hurts," she whines unhappily. She looks confusedly at Makoto, then squints. "Did you hit your head, too? You look really pale. Like Takashi's not-dark chocolates."
Nephrite 2016-04-09 04:02:02 37706
Nephrite slides all the way down onto the ice now, kneeling behind Makoto to better support her.

"Really? How long have you been this tired?" Suspicion twists at his gut. But there's no reason for his mind to go back to the Dark Kingdom. No reason to think of the myriad ways that a person's energy can be taken from them. It's just paranoia.
Takashi Agera 2016-04-09 04:04:38 37707
Takashi is surprised by the fact that Makoto didn't respond to him, and he too turns to look where Ami's looking. He frowns a bit, but not in hostility, but in an almost confusion. "Today is just not our day... what's going on, Kino-san?" he asks.

There's some small part of him, too, that goes on alert, but the three studs in his ear ping softly and inform him there's no detected threats here.

He turns back to Ami quickly, though. "Your head hurts? Like, bump on the head or concussion bad?" he asks with real concern, checking the area around her and hoping she's not bleeding either. Then he whispers. "Hey, leave my chocolates out of this."
Makoto Kino 2016-04-09 04:19:11 37708
"I don't know." Frustration spikes in Makoto's voice as she answers Takashi. Her brows have drawn together in worry and she's trying to focus on Ami, but it's hard and she's fighting against the desire to close her eyes.

At least she can lean back against Nephrite and let him support her weight, because right now her body feels too heavy to go on holding herself up. Her mind feels dull and clumsy as she tries to think back. "There was that youma Monday night," she says, tipping her head back to try to look up to Nephrite's face. "Crystal thing. I took a hit. But it was beaten. Ami-chan--?"
Ami Mizuno 2016-04-09 04:20:34 37710
Ami's head is still spinning, but this is the sort of problem that comes second nature to her. "Taka-kun," she says, reaching up, "Help me up. Both of you help me take Mako-chan to the bathroom so I can look her over. Something's wrong with her, but I need someplace out of sight to look at her."
Nephrite 2016-04-09 04:32:30 37714
He bristles at the mention of youma. But Ami is the smart one, and if she thinks she knows what to do, then he's going to follow her instructions. "Alright then, let's go sweetie." He wraps his arms under hers, urging her to her feet. "We'll get your skates off and then Ami can show off her genius."
Takashi Agera 2016-04-09 04:35:17 37715
Takashi really doesn't have the time (or the available mental capacity) to question the use of 'Taka-kun' and he's lifting her up gently even as he's talking to her. "You need to answer my question. Do you think you might have a concussion, Ami-chan? If something's happened to Kino-san she's going to need you at one hundred percent..." he says, pulling her in to lean on him, looking to Nephrite in this sort of way that basically screams 'I have no idea but maybe it'll help lets let them?'
Makoto Kino 2016-04-09 04:41:27 37717
Mako's response is a little "mm" sound of indistinct agreement. Frowning with the effort, she manages to get her feet underneath her and the blades of her skates onto the ice as Nephrite lifts her up. With numb fingers, she grasps for some kind of grip on him, leaning heavily against him to keep herself upright.

"Ami-chan will figure it out," she murmurs, not a trace of doubt in it. "Sorry for spoiling the skating trip. I know you were excited."
Ami Mizuno 2016-04-09 04:48:46 37720
Ami leans heavily on Takashi as he pulls her to her feet. "I might," she admits to him quietly, "but I don't want to worry Mako-chan with that right now, and I'll be fine long enough to at least figure out what's going on with her. Just help me through this," she asks him as he helps her off the ice. Once they're there, she hastily undoes her boots and steps out of them, then resumes leaning on Takashi again until they get both girls out of sight.

Once out of sight, Ami reaches up to touch the trio of studs in her left ear and mumbles, "Mercury Goggles." Even out of henshin, there is a flicker of magic as her augmented reality goggles come into view.

"Nng, headache," Ami mumbles as she starts concentrating on the words scrolling across the visor in the language of the moon. She turns to study Makoto carefully for a few moments, then grimaces. "Your energy levels are way lower than normal. Did you run three marathons before breakfast, and then skip breakfast, this morning? Because you look like you haven't slept in about a week."
Nephrite 2016-04-09 05:00:58 37722
Nephrite walks her back to solid ground, sits Makoto down, unties her skates for her. "Spoiling? Are you kidding? I got to see a show and I got to skate with you. Nothing's spoiled at all."

His cheer fades the moment Makoto and Ami vanish into the washroom, and he's left standing with Takashi. "Youma," he mutters. "Of course it was."
Takashi Agera 2016-04-09 05:03:47 37724
Takashi grimaces at the idea of putting Makoto first over Ami, but he doesn't directly resist. He does, however, whisper. "Alright. We're getting you checked over somewhere right after, then." It's a failed attempt at a stern whisper that does little to disguise the absolute concern oozing in his voice. It's a feeling he may even seriously question later, once it's gone.

As a testament to how serious he's taking the situation (of Ami's cncussion moreso than Kino-san's exhaustion, though he can't help but at least admit a scientific curiosity at exactly what happened...) he doesn't make any comments about her leaning on him - he just tries to make sure she's as stable as can be.

Although, somewhere in his mind he does consider and then choose not to make a comment about her using her energy for cooking. Once the two of them go into the washroom, he turns to Nephrite. "Well, if that's the case, it happened before she got here. I'd have noticed." he says, calmly, self-assuredly, and without a moment of explanation.
Makoto Kino 2016-04-09 05:08:56 37726
In the ladies' room, Makoto is sitting hunkered down with her arms braced crosswise against her knees, not willing to risk another full collapse. "I didn't!" she protests to Ami, voice plaintive. "I had breakfast. I've been sleeping. I've been kind of tired from all the work on Usagi-chan's house, but nothing serious.."
Ami Mizuno 2016-04-09 05:14:42 37729
"There's no foreign energy sources or taps. Nothing," Ami says with a sigh. "You're just ... exhausted," Of course, Ami herself leaning against a wall and concentrating through a concussion, so this doesn't say much.

"Mako-chan, I know you like to do a lot of extra work helping out, but I think I want you to take it easy for the next few days. Get some extra sleep. No being on your feet for more than thirty minutes at a go, drink lots of liquids and eat a little extra. I'll come by tomorrow morning, and the next day, to see if this changes anything. But you ... do not look good. Promise me you'll take it easy?"
Nephrite 2016-04-09 05:20:32 37731
Nephrite glances up at Takashi, irritation evident on his face. Not bothering to feign cheer or politeness anymore. "That's so helpful. Thanks."

Maybe not the youma. It is true that a quick energy drain during a battle would have been evident well before Makoto's collapse. But still, this feels too familiar, too much like the sort of thing he used to be on the other side of. He jams his hands in his pockets and leans against the wall. This sort of thing was supposed to be less of a problem without the Dark Kingdom.
Takashi Agera 2016-04-09 05:26:39 37732
Takashi frowns. "Hey, don't get an attitude with me just because your date's gone and nearly passed out from a little skating." he says, glaring at Nephrite. "In case you didn't notice this kinda put a damper on things here too and I was rather looking forward to this." he adds.

Without pockets, Takashi has to settle for folding his arms and resting one leg against the wall on the other side of the room, facing the door.
Makoto Kino 2016-04-09 05:32:30 37735
"I know how to take care of myself." It's not defensive or cranky, more like honestly baffled. Mako knows how to take care of herself, so how could something like this happen?

She doesn't know, but she can't very well argue with Ami's recommendation. Makoto just nods, letting out a quiet sigh. "Guess Kunzite will have to take over the kitchen for a few days. Bad timing." As though there were a good time to unexpectedly keel over from exhaustion.

Using the wall to prop herself up, she's able to slowly and carefully edge herself up onto her feet. "I'm really sorry, Ami-chan."
Ami Mizuno 2016-04-09 05:34:36 37736
"I'm the one who made a fool of herself knocking into some poor kid," Ami points out as she watches Makoto get to her feet. "You don't need to apologize, Mako-chan. Besides, I'm sure whatever th is is you'll kick it quick. Maybe just a twenty-four hour bug or something. I'll take care of you, I promise," she says with a smile.

Once Makoto's on her feet, Ami reaches up to put away the visor, then turns towards the door to hold it open for her friend, still leaning mostly on the walls as she goes. "What kitchen is Kunzite going to have to take over, anyways?"
Nephrite 2016-04-09 05:39:28 37737
Nephrite sneers at him. "Heaven forbid that something put a damper on your little date. I'd hate to inconvenience you."

Nephrite stews a few seconds more, attempting to glare a hole through the floor, before he can no longer keep silent. "Makoto doesn't just collapse from a little skating. She's tougher than anyone. And she came out here to do you a favor, so maybe you could dig into that empty pit you call a soul and find an ounce of gratitude."
Takashi Agera 2016-04-09 05:51:08 37740
Takashi's eyes narrow. "You know, I'm going to give your hostility the benefit of the doubt because I'm sure you're concerned about Kino-san - but it's not appreciated." That's an understatement, because Takashi is glaring at Nephrite in a way that clearly communicates a barely held-back murderous intent. As someone who used to deal in the Dark Kingdom, that's probably not an uncommon look.

"I'm not saying it's not supernatural - just that it didn't happen here or I'd have noticed." he says, and then shakes his head. "It's not like we wouldn't be skating without her here." he adds. He's completly missing Nephrite's point.
Makoto Kino 2016-04-09 05:59:16 37742
Makoto manages a slightly wobbly smile at Ami's reassurance. "I know you will," she says, and means it.

With neither of them steady on their feet, getting all the way to and through the door is a bit of a process, but they manage. "Mamoru-niisan's," Mako tells Ami as she slides herself along the door, helping to hold it for Ami to come through. "Cooking for the folks working on Usagi-chan's house. Kunzite got volunteered to help me. How's your head?"

Of course, a side effect of the fact that they're holding the door wide open is that everything the guys just said was clearly audible. Mako ends up leaning against the doorframe, regarding the both of them with uncertain eyes.
Ami Mizuno 2016-04-09 06:02:20 37743
"It hurts," Ami mumbles, but it's really quiet, because she's busy listening to the brewing fight between the two boys out in the hallway. She exits with Makoto, but like her friend, Ami doesn't say anything to them. In fact, she doesn't quite come into view; just stays right around the corner in the doorframe, listening. She's had this fight with Takashi once before. She's not going to jump to conclusions again. But she's very unhappy coming out to hear him getting into another disagreement with someone.
Nephrite 2016-04-09 06:06:25 37745
If Takashi hopes to shut down Nephrite with the cold and calculating act, he is multiple lifetimes too late, because Kunzite has already been invented and he hasn't found a way to shut Nephrite up yet. But before he can get wound up any further, movement out of the corner of his eye draws his attention to what is definitely an open door with Makoto staring back at him.

He shrugs off Takashi and his murderous glare (should take lessons from Zoisite if he wants that to sting at all) with a push off the wall, and all his attention is on Makoto. "How are you? Find anything?"
Takashi Agera 2016-04-09 06:10:54 37746
To Takashi's credit (and likely because he knew this meeting was coming and prepped for it) he doesn't chase Nephrite's hostility down, he just shrugs back - an actual shrug of the shoulders, accompanied by a look of disdain. And he manages to avoid saying 'I guess annoying girls would have annoying dates' - probably to the great relief of his face.
Makoto Kino 2016-04-09 06:17:35 37747
Only when it seems like the tension is, if not defused, then at least tabled does Makoto begin shuffling her careful way out of the doorway. A glance back to make sure Ami's holding up, and then she turns to Nephrite.

"Looks like Kunzite's gonna be in charge of lunch for a couple days," she answers, reaching towards Nephrite as she gets closer. "Ami-chan says I have to go to bed and stay there. Exhaustion." Her smile is trying for 'rueful,' but she can't keep from looking troubled. Even allowing for Monday's youma, this isn't normal.
Ami Mizuno 2016-04-09 06:21:11 37749
"That's ... not exactly what I said," Ami notes as she emerges behind Makoto. She looks a little more capable of walking on her own, now that some time has passed, but she's still squinting like her head hurts. "What I said is no being on your feet for long periods. Take it easy. Rest, eat lots, and drink lots of fluids."

Pause. Blush.

"A-a-a-and," she hesitates to say, as she looks at Nephrite uncertainly, "No um. Extra ... curricular ... activities." Straight to fuscia coloured face.
Nephrite 2016-04-09 06:33:09 37751
Nephrite immediately wraps his arms around her. "That's alright, Kunzite loves playing house. Too bad his food won't be as pretty. I'll see if I can get him to cut my sandwiches into quarters."

He is still tensed for a fight, still aggravated and unsettled, when he hears Ami's stammering comment. He blinks up at Ami for a moment. And then dissolves into snickers. "Is that your medical opinion, Ms. Mizuno?"
Takashi Agera 2016-04-09 06:34:54 37752
Takashi, as per usual, begins to shift closer to Ami on sight - and then he has to stop and take an extra step because he's not sure if he heard that right. And then Nephrite chimes in, and he's absolutly sure he heard that right. He's somewhere between acting the same way Ami does, giggling immaturely - and instead, he just laughs a little bit.

"Well, you know, Doctor's Orders, nothing you can really do about that."
Makoto Kino 2016-04-09 06:45:10 37755
Turns out Mako is not too exhausted to blush fiercely at Ami's stammered warning and the teasing from the guys that follows. Which at least brings some healthy color back to her face, before she turns to hide it against Nephrite's shoulder. "Ami-chan!" she protests, flustered. "I wasn't thinking that."

But hey, at least the guys are laughing, and Nephrite's arms are warm and secure around her. For now, she lets herself lean into him and relax a little, grateful to let him take over the work of keeping her standing. "I guess we should probably go home," she says regretfully, shifting a little so she can look towards the others with her cheek resting against Nephrite's shirt.
Ami Mizuno 2016-04-09 06:50:02 37757
"Y--yes!" Ami protests at Nephrite. Because when mortified at your own blunder, it's best to just bull straight through with confidence. "Doctor's Orders! If I catch you doing otherwise, you'll wish you could regrow your body in a sarcophagus!" Ami warns him, then reaches up to cover her mouth and turns away back into the bathroom. Nope, she can't stay here anymore. She'll be back in a minute.
Nephrite 2016-04-09 06:57:10 37758
Nephrite tries, so hard, not to laugh. Because Ami is earnest and she obviously cares and he does not wish to embarrass her. But his face is immediately red with the effort, and his grin refuses to leave his face. He shouts "yes ma'am!" at her fleeing back.

He relaxes around Makoto, some of the tension eased. His hand lightly strokes her back. "We'll just have to do this again," he suggests. "With less falling, hopefully." Maybe with fewer jerkfaces. Or the jerkface can learn to keep his mouth shut.
Takashi Agera 2016-04-09 06:58:07 37759
Takashi manages to hold his laughter - right up until the things she's said have caught up to her, at which point he just loses it and starts laughing. He gets control pretty quickly, but he's probably not helping her feel any less aware of what she's just done.

He just shouts. "I'll be waiting here when you collect yourself out of the floor you're melting into." at her, snickering, and waiting a bit.
Makoto Kino 2016-04-09 07:14:36 37763
"I'd like that," Mako answers Nephrite, a flicker of a smile crossing her face. She still feels guilty about how today's outing has ended... but it's true that they can always come back another day. Sometime when nobody's falling-over exhausted.

Still a bit pink in the face herself, she watches with sympathy as Ami retreats back into the ladies' room. Makoto feels like she should go after her - and maybe in a minute she will, after the worst of Ami's embarrassment has had a chance to cool - but for now she closes her eyes and soaks up the soothing motion of Nephrite's hand against her back and the pleasant way his laughter resonates in his chest. "Poor Ami-chan."

Really, all things considered, the double date probably could have gone much worse.