You And A Blueberry Muffin

Makoto and Kunzite catch Nephrite up on what he's missed, particularly re Fiore. Mamoru helps. Sort of. Makoto is learning all kinds of things today...

Date: 2016-05-01
Pose Count: 39
Kazuo Takeba 2016-05-01 20:03:23 40165
The smart bet would have been for Usagi to be the one of the girls over most often. For some reason, that hasn't been the case -- it's not that nobody's seen her, it's just that they've been going out to visit her more often than not. She's been tired lately.

(A lot of students have been tired lately.)

But no. Usagi's been there off and on, true. Venus turned up, once, before the place was really reoccupied. Ami's made a visit, and her housewarming present, a clock encased in glass so that the mechanisms are visible, has been ensconced in the most visible place least likely for it to get casually broken.

But the one who's been visiting most often has been Makoto.

For some reason.

Hint: a larger kitchen is not, in fact, it.

"He's still there, as of this morning," Kunzite is saying to her at the moment. "Apparently his brothers are looking after him. Mamoru's worried about Fiore following him there, if he visits, but the rest of us shouldn't be a particular risk." Especially if no-one brings flowers.
Makoto Kino 2016-05-01 20:14:31 40166
The larger kitchen might not be the reason Makoto finds her way around to the guys' place once or twice a week, but that doesn't mean she hasn't been making regular use of it. Today she's been baking and this whole end of the floor is fragrant with it; she's listening to what Kunzite is telling her as she slides a muffin tin of oatmeal-brown-sugar batter in to replace the rack of blueberry muffins that just came out.

"He keeps helping us out, and I don't think I've even had a conversation with him or anything," she says regretfully, reaching up to push a stray curl away from her eyes after she straightens from closing the oven door. "I'll have to take his brothers something." Conveniently, muffins are good keeping-watch-at-the-hospital fuel.
Nephrite 2016-05-01 20:24:52 40167
"Take who something?" Nephrite shuffles in rubbing at his eyes, his hair truly a sight to behold. Late-night stargazing is not the sort of activity that gels well with daily school attendance, but he is bound and determined to try and fit the two together anyway. The trade-off, of course, is that now he sleeps at the most random times throughout the day.

Luckily for both inhabitants of the kitchen, he is still making an effort at keeping up appearances for Makoto's sake, and actually bothered to dress in jeans and yesterday's t-shirt before being drawn out by the smell of muffins. Unluckily for Kunzite, this is not always the case. He leans against the kitchen door frame, yawning. "Not all those muffins, I hope."
Kazuo Takeba 2016-05-01 20:35:30 40168
This is not a time of day when it's auspicious for Nephrite remembering names of anything that's not a star or a constellation. Kunzite supplies instead, not actually turning to face Nephrite, "The one with the sports craze, that Mamoru dragged back here a week or two ago." Kukai Souma, aka Sky Jack. "He landed himself in the hospital; I don't know what he was fighting, yet." Or whom.

He does not speak for the disposition of the muffins. That is entirely Makoto's business. And may possibly depend on what state Nephrite emerged from his cave in this time.
Makoto Kino 2016-05-01 20:39:25 40169
"Well," Makoto answers brightly, turning a smile towards Nephrite where he's leaning in the doorway, "not all of them. Probably." That 'probably' was teasing, but as soon as she's said it a question flashes across her face and she looks toward Kunzite, brows lifting. "Did Mamoru-niisan say how many brothers?"

This might require some recalculation, depending.
Nephrite 2016-05-01 20:46:20 40170
Nephrite's eyebrows draw together in concern. "Oh that guy. Nice guy. Weird power. Hope he's alright."

The sound of "probably" from Makoto's lips turns his concerned frown into the biggest pout that a fully grown stubbled teenager can muster. "Mako! My darling! Can you not see how I'm wasting away? I'm fading, Mako. Only you can save me. You and a blueberry muffin."
Kazuo Takeba 2016-05-01 20:52:24 40171
'Weird power,' says the one who has realtime conversations with unthinkably distant points of light. Not that Kunzite has any ground to stand on for that one, either. On the brighter side, Makoto is teasing Nephrite, which probably means that Nephrite has clothes on this time. Kunzite gives a glance over his shoulder less to check on this than to make sure that he's not actually in the shortest-distance path between the pair of them, and then says, "'Serious but stable' is the official report. He should be, given time."

Makoto's question just gets a shake of his head. No, Mamoru didn't say.
Makoto Kino 2016-05-01 21:08:48 40173
The headshake gets a nod from Mako in answer; she'll figure it out. Or ask Mamoru, or something. Maybe make another batch of muffins.

In the meantime, there is the more immediate danger of Nephrite wasting away right there in the kitchen doorway. "Yes, yes," Makoto replies with an appalling lack of concern for the possibility, and leaves the oven to cross the kitchen toward him. "Do you think you'll survive long enough for them to cool a little? You'll burn your fingers, otherwise."
Nephrite 2016-05-01 21:25:32 40176
It is so thoughtful of Kunzite to always ensure that he is not an impediment to Nephrite getting to Makoto. Thoughtful, or self-preserving. Either way, it is best for everyone involved, that he has a clear path to stride fully into the kitchen and wrap her up in a bear hug from behind, only just barely considerate enough of whatever she's got in her hands not to swing her off her feet. "I could wait an eternity for your muffins. Or five minutes. Somewhere in between those two."

He relinquishes her, only because if he does, more muffins might happen, but leaves a hand resting on the nape of her neck. "Anything else I've missed?" The question is somewhat broad, but keeping up on the day-to-day changes in who has an alien stalker or who's been possessed generally falls by the wayside for Nephrite in favor of the slow patterns of starry voices. And Kunzite is here in the kitchen, so obviously Mamoru is safe.
Kazuo Takeba 2016-05-01 21:35:47 40180
Always best to choose one's battles carefully. Those one can't actually win, one had better have a very good reason for getting into. As Makoto is not actually possessed by anything liable to kill or corrupt Nephrite on contact, and not much less would qualify as a 'good reason' -- well.

Definitely no attempts at conversation until after the two of them have let go of each other temporarily, though.

"Kyouko and another of the Puella Magi decided to solve our alien problem for us," Kunzite supplies in answer to Nephrite's question. "It went as well as could be expected. No long-term injuries on our side," probably courtesy Mamoru, "collateral damage limited to one building, and we did come away with more information."
Makoto Kino 2016-05-01 21:47:46 40182
Fortunately, any muffins in the process of happening are doing so in a stage that is largely hands-off. It means that Makoto is free to lean into Nephrite's hug with a pleased humming sound without having to be preoccupied with rescuing anything that she was working on. When he lets go of her, she twists abour to slide an arm around him.

There are dishes, but cleanup can wait for a short while.

Kunzite's brief recap draws a very indignant face from Mako, right around the point at which he says 'one building.' "A building that fell on me," she complains, and then the breath goes out of her in a sigh and she shakes her head. "Mamoru-niisan got a look into his head," she elaborates further. "Those plants are controlling him, or something like that. We're hoping if we track more of them down, we can figure out where the energy they're stealing is going, and that'll lead us to the real enemy."
Nephrite 2016-05-01 21:56:39 40185
"Nice of them to try," Nephrite comments at the mention of Puella Magi. Hard not to have a soft spot for them after one helped extract him from labyrinth hell. "Too bad our alien friend is like a cockroach. Creepy and impossible to eradicate."

He looks down at Makoto, arm moving to tighten around her back. "Alien creeper dropped a building on you? Were you hurt?" Past tense, of course, because she's baking muffins now and Mamoru is around. But even if the hurt is gone now, it still matters whether she was.

He scowls at the mention of plants. "Plants like that flower? We can't just set them all on fire?"
Kazuo Takeba 2016-05-01 22:04:59 40189
"Less creepy when nothing has its tendrils in his head." It would probably help if it were anyone else saying that. "Endymion broke him loose for a few seconds."

Kunzite takes a pass on discussing the plants proper for a moment, however, because the question Nephrite addressed to Makoto more directly is likely to take up rather more of his attention; and at this stage of waking, Nephrite's attention is likely to have ... certain limits. He moves quietly to collect the aforementioned dishes, instead, while Makoto's attention is elsewhere.
Makoto Kino 2016-05-01 22:17:30 40195
"Just annoyed," Mako assures Nephrite, leaning a little closer for a moment as though to assure that she is indeed all in one piece. "It takes more than that to stop me."

On the subject of the plants, though, she makes another stinkface. "We can set those flowers on fire if we can find them, but even if we search the whole city there's no way to know we got them all, unless we find where they're coming from. From what Mamoru-niisan saw, they'll kill the whole planet if they're not stopped. --Turns out I did take a picture," she adds, this as much to Kunzite as to Nephrite. "I'll get a post up to HeartNET soon, so at least maybe we can have a few more eyes out."
Nephrite 2016-05-01 22:24:42 40199
Nephrite wrinkles his nose. "So if we find one, we have to let it live long enough to analyze it, even though we know they're all over the place and wrecking the planet? Seriously. Cockroach."

And if Endy breaks this guy loose and he turns out to be one more friendly alien addition to the family, he'll just have to deal with Nephrite using that as a nickname for a while.
Kazuo Takeba 2016-05-01 22:34:01 40201
"If they were capable of wrecking the planet by themselves," Kunzite says, "they'd have drained Fiore for his energy as soon as they were distributed far enough to feel safe. So. There's still some central point they need. We give Mercury a chance to try to find it. Then we set that on fire." No particular change in his lack of expression, or in his tone, not from the topic and not from running water to start in on cleaning up after the present muffin batches. No contrast here.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-05-01 22:39:43 40204
"The main power is conscripting the local flora, as well. And we don't know where the plants are coming from. Presumably space since that's where Fiore's from and they've drained and collapsed other planets," comes a new voice from the door, even less awake than Nephrite's. Mamoru's scrubbing at his eyes, glasses nowhere, hair every which way, and this morning's clothes spectacularly wrinkled. "Wiping them out on Earth won't work until we can cut off the source. Wiping them out will delay it, for sure, but not wholly until-- yes, fire, lots of fire, lawnmowers and napalm and weedwhackers-- after Mercury has gotten some kind of trace on the direction of the energy transf--"

He yawns massively, padding across the kitchen to wend between the Makoneph Gestalt and Kunzite and brushing against everyone in the process, like a cat. "--transference." He automatically goes about getting coffeestuff together. "I mean otherwise we'll never find the thing. And screw that. We didn't save the planet just to have some apocalyptic alien botany experiment version of Metalia decide it's an aperitif."

He is not looking at anyone. Just putting grinds in a filter.
Makoto Kino 2016-05-01 22:56:49 40209
"What they said," Makoto adds in the wake of the explanations from both Kunzite and Mamoru. Still leaned comfortably against Nephrite, she reaches out as Mamoru brushes past to let her hand skim over his shoulder. "Morning," she says pleasantly, for all that it hasn't been morning in a few hours at least. "There's muffins. They're probably cool enough now. I'm going to take some to Souma-kun's brothers later."

Her smile fades a little into a more troubled expression as she reflects back to the main topc at hand. "Also," she notes, picking that thread back up, "even if the plants still need Fiore for now, there's no way to be sure that taking him out of the picture would stop them if they've gotten widespread enough. I'm starting to feel it a little." Her eyes flick towards Mamoru, oddly guilty. "Not as bad as you are, but... I kind of can't believe I didn't notice it sooner, except that I was so tired for a while there because of that one plant."
Nephrite 2016-05-01 23:15:30 40215
The fact that Nephrite is not the only one around here sleeping in the middle of the day makes him look slightly smug. Not, of course, that it would deter him if all present were disapproving early risers. "Alright, have proper plan, gather data, and then fire. Understood."

Before Mamoru can react to the news of muffins that are cool enough to eat, Nephrite reaches over and snatches one up, shoving half of the top in his mouth. The prince doesn't get to be first for everything.

"Well they're subtle," is more or less intelligible through a mouthful of muffin.
Kazuo Takeba 2016-05-01 23:27:07 40220
They should put up a sign at the entrances: 'beware critical lack of combs (and sometimes pants)'. Mamoru is saved any gestures on Kunzite's part largely because of dishes. He does at least get a glance over a shoulder, though.

All he says out loud is, with a nod to Nephrite, "All things in their proper order." Flower extermination, for one. Coffee, for another.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-05-01 23:41:12 40225
With the coffeemaker finally burbling away, Mamoru turns around to lean against the counter in a slovenly fashion. And yawn again, though this one's covered by his mouth and also involves a return glance at Kunzite with an eyebrow faintly raised in amused challenge. But then Mako's indicating muffins, and Mamoru looks torn for a second... until Nephrite stuffs way too much of a muffin in his mouth at once, and then he just closes his eyes. "I'll wait to have one with my coffee. You are, as ever, a brilliant beacon of light, civilization, and criminally delicious baked goods, Mako-chan. Maybe you can make sure Neph remembers pants even when you're not here. Work out an incentive system. And logic. Pants aren't subtle."

He cracks one blue eye open-- are the shadows under them due to overstudying? Stress? Or the paleness? Probably the above, and lack of sleep. He doesn't seem tired in the way that the energy-drain victims seem to be, at least. "And don't worry about not noticing it earlier. I was keeping my walls up; *I* didn't even notice how bad it was until I went looking, and now it's hard to filter out. Whatever though. Naru gave Zoi her present~ It was a painting she made of one of his flowers in the Dark Kingdom, so it was as uncomfortable as it was beautiful. But it was really beautiful and he got pretty passionate about arguing with her over the value of her art. It was adorable."
Makoto Kino 2016-05-01 23:50:53 40228
"You're welcome," Makoto says, laughing a little. Her eyebrows lift in surprise and curiosity at his comment about Nephrite and pants; she takes a moment to process, glances questioningly to - for some reason - Kunzite, before she cranes her head around to look up at Nephrite with an expression that could best be interpreted as 'pants? really?'

Surely he wouldn't. Surely - oh, damnit, now she's blushing. Hastily Mako finds somewhere else to look. "I'm only one person, you know," she protests. "But I'll bring a couple of hairbrushes with me next time. Is Zoisite hoarding them all or something?"
Nephrite 2016-05-01 23:55:29 40229
Nephrite pauses in his demolishing of the hapless blueberry baked good to look at Mamoru with utmost betrayal. "Really man? Is nothing sacred? Should I tell Usagi all your dirty secrets too?"
Kazuo Takeba 2016-05-02 00:04:35 40232
Kunzite's attention is, at this point, fixed firmly on the sink. Whether this is due to Nephrite's muffin-mauling, to Mamoru's chatting about Zoisite's flowers in the Dark Kingdom and Naru's painting of one of them, or to Makoto's questioning glance in his direction, is unclear -- as is whether the answer is 'all of the above.'

That Nephrite is likely to find a pocket dictionary by his door, with the entry for 'secret' tabbed and the phrase 'unseen by others' highlighted in the definition, is pretty much certain.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-05-02 00:13:54 40233
Mamoru waves a careless hand as the coffeemaker makes Darth Vader porn noises while it finishes percolating, then reaches up to grab mugs out of a cabinet. Those, at least, he has found. "I think everyone's got pretty good control of their hair situations here," says the guy whose hair is sticking up on one side, "unless brushing hair's not what--"

He's just gonna stop there; he reaches up to pinch the bridge of his nose. "You know... Usa probably knows more of my dirty secrets than I do. But if you figure any out-- especially if they're the kind that threaten the mental health of your flatmates-- you're welcome to tell her."

There is coffee-pouring. One for Mako! One for Neph. One, firmly, for Kunzite; it's not too late in the day damnit. Finally his own. Cream and sugar get put on the counter next to the muffins, and Mamoru finally snakes a muffin of his own... and goes to lean against the counter next to the sink with it and his coffee in hand. "The point is, I don't care how cute the boxers Usa got you are, I really don't need to see them a hundred percent of the time there aren't guests or girlfriends present."
Makoto Kino 2016-05-02 00:23:43 40238
Ooh, coffee. "Thank you," Makoto says as she receives her mug; she waits until Mamoru has his and a muffin and the cream and sugar section of the counter is not currently being used before she disengages from Nephrite and goes to load her coffee down with enough of both that any coffee connoisseurs who might be present are likely to scoff 'why even bother?'

And then she gets herself a muffin, because the benefit of being the baker is getting to eat it fresh out of the oven. "Wow," she says conversationally, looking between the guys wide-eyed over the coffee and muffin, "I'm learning all kinds of things today."
Nephrite 2016-05-02 00:39:47 40242
She is surely a woman after Nephrite's own heart. He moves to join Makoto in her coffee ruining, allowing her first crack at the cream and sugar while he finishes the last crumbs of his muffin, before he can also dump enough sweetening and fattening elements in that "coffee" is really more of a suggestion.

"Look, I know you're all jealous that Usagi got me rubber ducky underwear, but I think we can all agree that of the inhabitants of this apartment, nobody could wear them better. Anyway, we live on the top floor. It's hot."
Kazuo Takeba 2016-05-02 00:47:25 40246
Mixing bowl is set aside to dry, either to be put away or to be ready for Makoto's solution to wondering whether there are enough muffins. Kunzite dries off his hands, then reaches for his coffee and turns to rejoin the conversation. No competition for adulterants here. Also no mentioning that Mamoru probably should have chosen a complaint that also ruled out /ninety/ percent of the time. Instead, he eyes Nephrite levelly. "Eighteen degrees is surely more than any human should be expected to endure."
Mamoru Chiba 2016-05-02 01:10:08 40253
If such a complaint had been chosen, it might have been more serious, and that is decidedly not on the table right now. (To be fair, there are no such complaints. Yet.) Mamoru sips his coffee, not quite casting shade with it. "Do you need freon canisters installed in the walls? Or for Jadeite to turn down your bed for you? Or for Kunzite to tell you bedtime stories?"

He's smirking over the rim of his coffee mug, and his eyes flicker over to Makoto, sharp with sparkling amusement. "There's a dial on the wall in every one of the living rooms. It's for the thermostats. Plural. You gotta wear pants, my brother. Or a skirt. A skirt would be fine too. It's a people thing."
Makoto Kino 2016-05-02 01:23:36 40256
Makoto tennis-matches the various comments from the guys as she nibbles on her muffin, eyes still a bit wide. "It sounds like you're outvoted," she tells Nephrite solemnly, once she's swallowed and her mouth is no longer full. "Sorry."

And she sips her coffee, as though this is a matter that she has no opinion on, really, as though her mouth is not twitching with the effort not to laugh.

It is probably just as well that at this point the timer that she set earlier dings, announcing that it's time to take the muffin pan out of the oven.
Nephrite 2016-05-02 01:35:22 40258
That sparkle in Mamoru's eyes. Pointing out its appearance (a little too rare lately) might make it fade, and so the exaggerated indignant scowl remains as he snatches up a second muffin. Makoto might just have to bake more muffins regardless of the number of brothers.

"Tell ya what, I'll get you both matching shades to wear around the apartment, so that you will no longer be blinded by my radiance." He shoves another quarter of muffin in his mouth. Such radiance.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-05-02 01:49:38 40263
Mamoru makes the sort of sound that indicates mingled arch disbelief and barely-hidden scoffing, then waves his muffin at Nephrite. "You'll fade the furniture that actually has color. And make Kunzite even paler. I could take a survey, I'm pretty sure Zoi would even buy you skirts that fit. Go out shopping for them with Usa. Of course," he glances to Makoto, "you'd have to brave going with them to make sure that the skirts weren't actually floral print." Then he glances aside at Kunzite and stuffs the entire muffin in his mouth. And leans there chewing it. Barely. Then with the help of some coffee.
Makoto Kino 2016-05-02 01:56:56 40267
A quick grab for a napkin and then Mako leaves her coffee and her muffin on the counter, headed for the oven to pull it open and release a fresh waft of hot air and brown-sugar bakery aroma to the fragrance that already permeated the kitchen. Taking a pair of potholders in hand, she slides the muffin tin out from the oven rack.

"Oh," she answers Mamoru's glance her way without missing a beat, "he'd have to custom-order, probably. It's hard to find cute skirts in the larger sizes."
Nephrite 2016-05-02 02:06:13 40271
Nephrite glances from the prince who is apparently competing with him in the muffin eating department and his very supportive girlfriend. He points at Makoto. "She likes florals." He shoves the rest of his own muffin in his mouth. So there.
Kazuo Takeba 2016-05-02 02:10:21 40273
Nephrite's threat -- announcement -- whatever it is, it's enough to prompt Kunzite to glance aside at Mamoru and twitch an eyebrow. He doesn't need to say anything out loud. 'See what you've done' is effectively conveyed all the same.

Granted, that would probably have been better timed for somewhen that Mamoru didn't have an entire muffin in his mouth. It'll be a learning experience for one or the other of them, anyway.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-05-02 02:17:25 40277
This, of course, results in Mamoru trying to give Kunzite a shiteating grin but failing because a blueberry falls out of his mouth, whereupon he promptly catches it but sloshes hot coffee on himself, which means he ends up going 'AAA' and more muffin falls out of his mouth which he also catches, and by then he's already laughing, which is a huge mistake because his mouth is completely full of too much muffin, which means the coffee gets set down hard on the counter and sloshes some more, and then Mamoru's got both hands in front of his mouth basically keeping blueberry muffin and coffee from going everywhere because he's also coughing and laughing and choking and laughing, and trying to stuff the muffin back in his mouth, and it's nothing short of a shitshow by the time he literally runs away out of the kitchen so as to not waste Makoto's muffin in front of her.
Makoto Kino 2016-05-02 02:27:54 40278
"I didn't say--" Mako begins, but the rest of that sentence is completely forestalled by Mamoru's epic spittake breakdown over there with his muffin and coffee. Pan of hot baked goods still in her potholder-guarded hands, she stops short and stares, eyes getting wider and wider as the disaster builds upon itself.

She's still staring as Mamoru flees the room in a panic of coughing, choking laughter and muffin crumbs. In his wake, she blinks once.

And, finally, just sighs and shakes her head. "Well done." Because what else can you say in a moment like this?
Nephrite 2016-05-02 02:30:21 40279
Nephrite picks up his mug of coffee with an air of victory, and casts a grin around the room. "It's what I'm here for."
Kazuo Takeba 2016-05-02 02:36:34 40283
This might, indeed, be the reason Kunzite had both hands on his cup. He turned his head to keep an eye on Mamoru as the disaster began; he tracked Mamoru's flight all the way out of sight, and he's still looking that direction now. And very nearly actually smiling. He inclines his head a half-inch or so toward Nephrite. "'Not a bad influence,' I think was the phrase."