What Does Nephrite Have Against Shoes Anyway

Makoto and Mamoru are exhausted, drained messes, and Mamoru's "skill" at aiming teleports doesn't help. Nephrite is also a mess, in a completely different and much, much angrier way. Kunzite helps pick up some of the pieces -- in Mamoru's case, literally -- and they manage to put together something like a plan. 'Collapse now' is actually a plan, right?

Date: 2016-04-13
Pose Count: 21
Mamoru Chiba 2016-04-13 01:09:49 38207
It's not a fun ride for either Makoto or Mamoru, teleporting with him. Mamoru because wow does he ever hate teleporting even if he's on antiemetics all day every day since Fiore's in town, and Makoto because he is so hilariously bad at it. So bad.

So bad.

They apparate roughly half a storey above the roof, which is better than half a storey up and over the street, but it's also worse because there really isn't time for Mamoru to henshin for a soft landing before they hit.


At least it's only about five or six feet, and even without superpowers, Mamoru's good at landings usually-- okay, also not normal circumstances or reflex time. So it's pretty jarring. Mamoru's got Makoto (in her pink PJs) in his arms and is holding her against him shieldingly with slightly embarrassingly desperate tightness, she's on super low energy reserves, he's not great on energy himself, and--

So basically it's loud and it kind of hurts and Mamoru kind of hopes Kunzite thinks it's a large bird with steering problems.
Kazuo Takeba 2016-04-13 01:21:44 38209
If Kunzite thought that was a large bird with steering problems, then apparently he's had to cope with stork youma. Because before Mamoru has time to really get his breath back after impact, there's a surge of shadows half across the roof where shadows have no business being, and then the two of them have company.

Who takes the pair of them in in a glance, concludes that they're not immediately fleeing anything else about to hit the roof, and is on his way over to give them a hand up. Second glance says the same thing. "Nephrite?" Shorthand question, quick and sharp; it's faster than 'what the hell happened' or 'why is the one who is terrible at teleporting carrying Makoto, instead of the one who ought to be glued to her side about now?'
Makoto Kino 2016-04-13 01:32:10 38211
Unfortunately, Makoto's not much in a state to provide helpful answers right at the moment. Mamoru the human crash cushion shielded her from the brunt of the impact, and even before they were falling her body was already mostly slack, but nothing changes the fact that falling half a storey onto a rooftop really kind of hurts.

Fumbling, shaky and uncoordinated from exhaustion, she gets her hands under her enough to push herself off of Mamoru and let him breathe. "...dammit." Her fist thumps against the grit of the roof, not hard enough to mention. Tears of frustration sting her eyes. "Damn it."
Mamoru Chiba 2016-04-13 01:49:25 38214
Mako pushes away from him and Kunzite's offering them both a hand up, and Mamoru takes it-- the first thing Kunzite can tell is that his prince is walled up, nothing emotional leaking out whatsoever; all he can tell is what's on his face, and that's just a sort of pale, pinched look. Added to that, Kunzite of all people can tell how low on energy he is-- not quite as bad as those times before, when he'd been the sole target of sustained energy-draining, but there's very little left. "Blowing it up with Mercury," he answers, breathless and short, then still more strained as he pulls himself up with the offered hand, "be here soon."

But as soon as he puts his weight on the other foot, he flinches and stumbles, catching himself on his guardian, white-knuckled. Instead of healing it right away, he just shifts his weight to the first again and keeps answering, voice a little more faint. "Triffid, swear to all the gods it was a fucking triffid..."
Kazuo Takeba 2016-04-13 02:02:56 38217
Addition to the questions-not-asked list: 'what the hell is a triffid.' All right. No-one actually dying, then, at least not this instant. "We should get you inside." Before Nephrite hits the apartment and finds it empty. Instinct says: Mamoru first. Instinct is overruled, fairly harshly, in the interest of avoiding arguments. To Mamoru: "Can you manage for a few seconds?" Followed immediately by: "Kino-san, may I assist you?" ... because she does not, for once, look capable of standing on her own. Let alone moving.

If the answers are yes -- well. The balcony is as ever convenient; and he can ferry them down, exhausted and injured, one at a time. Ensconce them in the apartment; the furniture's at least part returned, enough to be useful. It won't take long.
Makoto Kino 2016-04-13 02:17:04 38221
Mako doesn't have an answer for Kunzite in words; she glances toward Mamoru, brow furrowing in worry and faint guilt, before she manages an unhappy nod. She hates this helplessness, hates knowing that it's her own carelessness that's created the whole situation, but it's not a time to be stubborn. There's not much she can do but let Kunzite move her down via the balcony and into the apartment.

"Niisan," she says quietly, when she and Mamoru are in the same place again. "Your roses... I'm so sorry."
Nephrite 2016-04-13 02:38:17 38224
Nephrite's entrance is not quite as dramatic as the other two. He is the better teleporter, and he is not fleeing in panic, so the half-storey drop is thankfully avoided. Still, it's not for lack of trying. He appears in the middle of the apartment's barely furnished living room and immediately dumps both his and Mamoru's school bags on the floor--very nearly throws them--with a loud thump.

He glances quickly around, confirms that Makoto is here, resting on the couch. Kunzite appears on the balcony, Mamoru in hand. Nephrite hovers for a moment, his eyes blazing with rage, before pulling one of Mamoru's shoes from his subspace pocket and hurling it blindly at the front door. It smacks the wall and clatters to the floor.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-04-13 02:54:32 38233
Looking rather like a wrung-out bath towel as Kunzite carries him in from the balcony, in short order Makoto's apologizing to him and Neph appears and throws his shoe and Mamoru just closes his eyes. "It's okay, Mako-chan," he says, voice a little thinned out, still kind of breathless. "It's not nearly as important as you are, it's a plant. We can be sad later. Neph..."

He just sighs, leaning his head against Kunzite for a second before rallying and trying to get down. It won't end well unless 'down' is 'on the couch next to Makoto'. "I'm sorry. Is Ami-chan okay? I mean I imagine she is, with the two of you hitting it at the same time, but..."

In bits and pieces, he's letting the wall down, too-- though not completely, he's not in any shape to listen to what he assumes must be the Earth screaming even louder, loud enough to hear if he's not digging. He hurts. He's tired. He's sort of listlessly reaching for pieces of 'thinking clearly' instead of scrabbling to collect himself. "It was draining you two, too, wasn't it?"
Kazuo Takeba 2016-04-13 02:59:25 38236
Let's amend. 'Down' is 'on the couch next to Makoto, but on the far side from where Nephrite is throwing things,' because there are only certain times that being between Nephrite and Makoto is likely to be entirely safe. No questions are added to Mamoru's. Kunzite circles around behind the furniture instead -- one hand laid on the back of the couch behind Makoto, one on Mamoru's farther-from-her shoulder. And listens, for the moment. Piecing things together, from the two who are managing words, and from the reactions of the one who isn't.
Makoto Kino 2016-04-13 03:17:30 38244
The attempt at reassurance doesn't seem to do a whole lot to make Makoto feel much better, at least not in the moment. She's curled up on the couch where Kunzite sat her, sinking into the cushions, but Nephrite's arrival and the shoe that goes flying across the room to hit the wall have her lifting her head a little to watch him anxiously through the mess of her hair.

He doesn't seem any the worse for wear - just furious. That's something, maybe.

"...did you get it?" She's trying not to think about all the ways a fight in her apartment could go wrong; there are more important things to worry about first. Is everybody all right?"
Nephrite 2016-04-13 03:35:52 38253
He is drained of some energy, of course. But not nearly as much as Makoto, who was being drained for days, or Mamoru, who was trying to replenish what she lost. So whatever he has lost, he can make up for with rage. Three shoes remain in Nephrite's arsenal. He doesn't reach for the others yet, but his hands clench and unclench like he's thinking about it. He doesn't quite look at the other three. Glares murderously at a couch leg like it's somehow responsible for all this.

"We got it. She's fine. She's scanning your apartment. She'll call if she needs help."

His gaze drifts up to Mamoru, who looks pale and unwell. That does the opposite of settle his temper. "Don't apologize. I should have worked this out. I should have thought of... planting a physical object like that..."

He turns. One more shoe joins the first. "It's what I would have done!"
Kazuo Takeba 2016-04-13 03:47:10 38260
An object. A drain. Makoto's condition, first the last few days, then now. Pieces interlock; the extent of Nephrite's anger makes sudden sense. Perfect, terrible sense, but sense.

Anger's not about to get them anywhere, though. Not by itself.

"So," Kunzite says, reactions as seemingly absent as ever. "What object was it? And who else is likely to be at risk?"
Mamoru Chiba 2016-04-13 03:58:42 38264
It's Mamoru who answers first; he's got a steadying hand on his shoulder, and he reaches to lightly put fingertips on Makoto's. It's meant to be more reassuring than words could be; from him, it often is. He knows she needs touch. He knows Neph's not in much of a condition to help with it right now.

And then the ten million yen question.

"It was a plant," he says hollowly. "It was draining all the plants in her apartment, too. They were all wilting, moreso than if they'd just not been watered. It was the only healthy one there, really, except the rose-- and it sort of... unplanted itself and ate that while we watched, while it was draining us. I was trying to give Mako-chan mine, so I didn't notice what it was doing, all I knew was it was like trying to pour water into a broken bucket. I couldn't give her energy fast enough..."

The light touch on Mako is through pajamas; she isn't subjected to the twitchiness he's suppressing.

Endymion closes his eyes. "So. Anyone seen being friendly with me, probably."
Makoto Kino 2016-04-13 04:21:09 38273
The contact does help, a little, reassuring in a way that words are not. Slowly and by degrees, Makoto feels a little more alert - enough to track what's going on, more or less. She tips her head back to try to see Kunzite, but soon gives up on this awkward angle and looks back towards Nephrite again.

"You didn't do this." Her voice is soft, still tired; the hand that Mamoru's isn't touching reaches up to try to push her hair away from her eyes, to dubious success. A glance towards Mamoru. "You didn't either. If anybody should've realized..."

Her voice trails off and she slumps down a little more where she's sitting. "...it came up in the same pot as the rose," she murmurs. The poor rose. Her poor plants. "I moved it to its own pot to see what would grow. I didn't even think..."
Nephrite 2016-04-13 04:46:22 38285
Anger by itself will get them nowhere, it's true. Nephrite doesn't go for another shoe, but he does continue to stand there in useless, sullen fury. "The thing is stealthy. None of us detected it."

He pushes his hair out of his face, reining in some ounce of emotion. "It's weak. It was destroyed easily. Finding the things will be the hard part."
Kazuo Takeba 2016-04-13 04:55:58 38291
"Mercury's problem, and mine, I think. Though the wilting is something any of us will be able to see." Plant, or human. Kunzite lifts his hands a little, his frown growing briefly more marked; shadows chase through the room and out into the apartment, dimming the sunlight through the window by a fraction, dropping the temperature half a degree. He's silent for a few seconds before he reins his power back in and banishes it again. "Nothing here, right now. I'll check on the other girls who've visited lately. Mercury should probably cover the greenhouse."
Mamoru Chiba 2016-04-13 05:04:55 38292
Mamoru exhales, dropping his head against the back of the couch. "...yeah," he agrees with an undertone of something relatively closely tied to resignation. "As soon as I saw what he was doing to the plants on the street-- and calling them his guardians--? I made sure there weren't any in here, I just... I didn't think he'd use them to watch anyone but me, or start doing something like that. Mako-chan..."

His eyes open a crack and he glances toward her sidelong. "Maybe you want to move the rest of yours to Neph's place. If you want to stay here, or there, that's obviously doable too-- but I know you'd probably rather stay with one of the girls. Consider sticking around here until you're recovered, at least..."

He finally takes his hand back, and both of them go up to drag down his face. "I can't think like this and I have so much homework, god... recharge faster there," he must be thinking of the palaces, "don't want to teleport again ugh, my ankle hurts and I want to go to bed..."

He's complaining, he must be fundamentally fine.
Makoto Kino 2016-04-13 05:27:59 38299
The breath goes out of Makoto in a quiet sigh. "I'm sure Ami-chan's checked out all my other plants by now." The ones that are still alive, anyway. "I don't know what I want to do."

It's a conflicted feeling - she wants and at the same time doesn't want to go home, wants to see the damage but isn't ready to see it. She's put so much work into making her apartment a haven, safe and comfortable and full of pretty things, but what are you supposed to do after danger finds its way into your safe haven?

She keeps looking over at Nephrite like what she really wants to do is go over there, but knows better than to try getting up.

"You should go to bed, anyway," she tells Mamoru, with a wan little smile. "I'm sure you used up a lot of energy trying to keep me going."
Nephrite 2016-04-13 05:46:11 38303
Mamoru, one of the two primary victims in this situation, the one who is already frazzled by this creepy flower-wielding stalker, and the guy that Nephrite is supposed to be protecting, is doing a much better job at being productive at finding solutions. Shame moves in to join its friends, guilt and fury, that Makoto and Mamoru both are collapsed and exhausted on the couch, and he is across the room, throwing shoes.

But he's not the tender person Makoto needs right now. Not while his blood still rushes in his ears. Not while he's still tempted to throw the other two shoes just for good measure. He can't switch to the person who can so easily scoop her up into his arms and give her a smothering hug.

He aims for something halfway between the two. Nephrite drags himself over to the floor in front of the couch and kneels by Makoto, leaning into her, arms still crossed. "I'm sorry," he mutters. "We'll fix your place up. But if that thing was acting as surveillance, you might not want to be there right now. At least, maybe not all the time. For now... stay and rest? Both of you?"
Kazuo Takeba 2016-04-13 06:03:34 38310
Better. Nephrite's problems are still there, certainly, but he never quite let them start running the show; and he's managed to take another step back from them on his own.

Given that this is the first glimpse Kunzite's had of where that set of them might be located -- he'll let that be, for now.

"I think we can find the space," Kunzite says in support of Nephrite's plea. The problem in this place would be *not* finding the space, really.

Two of the exhausted victims, though. One of Nephrite. And the one who needs Nephrite specifically is also injured. Kunzite comes around the couch again, and without query or warning just physically picks Mamoru up again. "They're both right. Homework after you sleep," he tells the boy, before carrying him and his injured ankle in the general direction of bed.

He'll go and check on Naru and Usagi, afterward, or at least check on where Naru lives and Usagi is staying. Nephrite may have to watch out for them alone for a few minutes. But it won't be too long.

Unless, of course, Fiore takes the bait of 'anyone seen being friendly with Mamoru' out on his own. Not that likely; neither Kunzite nor Nephrite has been targeted yet. But a possibility. And if it's the possibility Kunzite's hoping for, he's never going to admit it out loud.

(Nephrite's expression of guilt and fury is probably healthier, in the long run.)
Mamoru Chiba 2016-04-13 06:16:33 38318
"I'm not five!" Mamoru can be heard protesting sulkily as he's carried out.