Death Is Just So Full and Man So Small


Jupiter finds Nephrite being put back together from near-death after his attempt to trick Fiore. Kunzite and Mamoru don't make her any less angry about this. The eternal lesson: don't get emotionally attached, they'll only wind up teleporting into space into a tuxedo.

Date: 2016-06-12
Pose Count: 24
Mamoru Chiba 2016-06-14 19:46:47 44957
Thirteen minutes ago, Nephrite left, in disguise as Tuxedo Kamen, with Fiore to get intel on the asteroid and then teleport back with the supercharge he'd received from his brothers and his prince.

Twelve minutes ago, the boys started worrying because he wasn't back yet. They knew the illusion Jadeite'd put on Neph wouldn't last long once Nephrite was out of range.

Eleven minutes ago, Mamoru started to have to suppress panic.

Ten minutes ago, both Mamoru and Makoto got a punch directly to the heart as Nephrite started getting seriously beat on-- the difference being that Mamoru knew exactly what it was, and where it was happening, and was paying close enough attention to Neph's mind that he had some of the details, some of the emotion involved channelled through to him. Suppressing panic stopped really working very well. At that point, Zoisite left somewhat grimly to go collect more supplies from wherever he'd been getting them for Mamoru, in the hopes that they'd be needed instead of unnecessary.

Nine minutes ago, Fiore arrived with what absolutely looked like Nephrite's corpse and literally dumped him on the carpet in front of Jadeite and Kunzite and Mamoru, still in a blind rage, and left to the sound of Mamoru screaming Nephrite's name.

Six minutes ago, with Mamoru having been moved from the couch to the floor next to Nephrite to start pouring what energy he had left into bringing Neph back from the edge of death, Jadeite was panicking hard and getting underfoot and screwing with the empath's already-distressed concentration; Kunzite sent him the hell out of the apartment to go help Zoisite in acquiring more medical supplies, and stay on alert to call in either Asclepius or Pretty Doctor Iris Shelby in case Mamoru couldn't handle it alone-- but not to immediately call them, because this whole thing was still supposed to be under wraps.

Five minutes ago, Zoisite teleported back to drop off some more painkillers, a couple of epi-pens, a defibrillator just in fucking case, and a bunch of random assorted first aid stuff. He got sent back out to get material for making a cast and to keep Jadeite out and occupied.

Two minutes ago, stuff for making a cast was dropped off, and Zoisite went back out to continue keeping Jadeite occupied.

Now:

Mamoru is literally being supported in staying sitting upright and half-leaned-over Nephrite on the floor, both hands flat against the brown-haired Shitennou's bared chest and glowing flickeringly more dimly in a slow progression; Neph's battered-looking and has clear marks on his neck and his shoeless foot's twisted at a horrible angle, and god knows what else the white-tie tuxedo he's wearing is still covering. He's breathing steadily, but that's unlikely something that would be obvious on initial flashbulb view of the scene from the balcony-- which, for magical girls, is still the very fastest way to get into the boys' apartment.
Makoto Kino 2016-06-14 20:24:54 44961
There is a truth that Makoto knows that most of her classmates, maybe even her friends, do not. Not in the same way. They know it in their heads, a hypothetical only occasionally applicable to their lives, not quite real and often forgotten completely. Mako knows it in her heart, as she has since she was ten years old. Most days she pushes it aside and doesn't think of it; sometimes she even forgets for a little while. But it's always there.

That truth is this: that life is uncertain and fragile. No matter how powerfully you love, every time you part from the ones you love might be the last time.

Wind gusts in from the balcony in a sudden rush, blowing curtains wildly about as Sailor Jupiter makes a heavy landing just short of inside. She hasn't even fully straightened up from her landing when her eyes fall on Nephrite, and just that quickly she's frozen, taking in the sight of him, the state that he's in.

'How many people get this many chances?'

That truth grips her heart again, as it did five years ago, ten minutes ago when she was seized by a feeling she had no name for, nine minutes ago when the voice of the wind carried the echo of that cry to her and she knew.

"Nephrite." Her voice cracks as she says the name.
Kazuo Takeba 2016-06-14 20:49:47 44962
Kazuo is on his knees beside Nephrite, holding Mamoru up -- Kazuo's body, out of uniform. The set of Kunzite's shoulders. Kunzite's expression, hard and cold and unyielding. He is not watching either the fallen man or their weakened prince. He's watching everything else, as if at any moment he expected it to occur to Fiore that he could return and try again.

His eyes flicker to Jupiter as she sets foot. For an instant he can't parse her presence, can't understand why she's here. How she's here. Whether it's actually her, or another attack; that's the explanation he leans to by reflex, searches for signs of --

Then she speaks, and something human returns to his eyes.

"He's breathing." That first. That first forever. How will she react? If she panics like Jadeite, it'll get in Mamoru's way, and they can't afford that. Does it matter --

No. No, it doesn't.

"Come here."
Mamoru Chiba 2016-06-14 21:31:55 44967
Mamoru, eyes closed and so absorbed in his task that he doesn't parse the wind in the door, the step on the threshold--

--but he flinches when Jupiter speaks, and his eyes open and look in her direction, far away and unseeing yet.

He's breathing.

"Come help," the prince says, voice a little hoarse, a lot tight, preoccupied and halting. "It'll be faster and steadier." Unspoken: he hasn't got a lot left to give. Unspoken: he's shut everything off but patience, method, and unflagging will. His eyes finally focus on her, bright blue and burying terror and pain under crumbling mountains and violent seas. "If you can remain steel and fire-polished oak, put a hand on him and one over mine; it will help the focus. Otherwise only touch him-- hold his head and remind him you hold his heart. Either way, your heart is already making it easier."

The glow has stopped flickering, even just with her presence in the room. Mamoru closes his eyes again, too pale; he swallows involuntarily. Coming closer will reveal the trembling of his hands, as held up as he is and as flat as they are against Nephrite.
Makoto Kino 2016-06-14 22:12:15 44970
'Come here,' Kunzite says. 'Come help,' says Mamoru, but Sailor Jupiter stands frozen. Right now she isn't steel and fire-polished oak - she's a hurricane, she's thunder and lightning, she's drowning. She can't block it off the way that he does, can't keep the storm from spilling over--

Nephrite is breathing. Focusing on that, she crosses off of the balcony and into the room, movements tight with the effort of controlling her panic.

When she gets to them, she slides down onto her knees by Nephrite's head, hesitates in the act of reaching for him before, very carefully, she cradles his head with both hands and eases herself into a position in which she can pillow his head in her lap.

She doesn't dare touch Mamoru, not and risk the storm within flooding through all of them. "What happened?" she asks, very quiet now.
Kazuo Takeba 2016-06-14 22:27:36 44971
They're all in contact. If they weren't, Kunzite would never risk what he does next -- but they're already in contact. No charge to jump. He spares a hand for a moment, reaches across to rest it for a moment on Jupiter's forearm. So much as a warning glance from her will stop him midmotion, if she gives it.

And he draws his hand back again before he says a word.

"We needed information on the asteroid," he says quietly. It's an ambiguous 'we.' The Shitennou, the Senshi, Nephrite and Kunzite alone -- no telling. "Nephrite came up with a plan to trick Fiore into taking him there to get it; we figured out a way to give him enough to keep him from being stranded. The first part worked. Getting back went bad."
Mamoru Chiba 2016-06-14 23:40:35 44975
Mamoru doesn't say anything: he'd add things, details, clarifications-- but he's gone back to pouring all of his flagging concentration into mending what he can while primarily just funneling his own energy into Nephrite, the way he did for Makoto after the flower drained her, the way he did for Usagi...

...but those times, he had energy to spare. Those times, he wasn't already half-dead himself. Those times, he hadn't already given Nephrite half his power, combined with that of the other boys, to fill him to brimming with energy to come home from so far away. There are still marks on him, though they're faded; he's breathing much more easily than he had been.

With Makoto's stabilization, with her heart in her throat but all her worry's energy bent toward the boy they're healing, there's enough left after Nephrite's replenished to do something for the hideously broken ankle. Not much, but something.

Endymion slides his hands off and slumps against Kunzite, shaking. "Ankle has nerve damage. Kaz-- set it. Getting nerves before it starts." A swallow, and he flexes his hands, over and over, eyes suspiciously bright. "He'll be okay. Is safe. Mako-chan he's safe." At the tail end of his talking he's started trying to pull himself up enough to drag himself over toward Neph's feet.
Makoto Kino 2016-06-15 00:18:46 44981
There's no warning glance to forestall Kunzite when he reaches to touch Jupiter's arm. From this vantage she can see much more clearly the marks that ring Nephrite's neck, and she's watching with horrified fascination as they fade under the influence of Mamoru's power. Fade, but not disappear.

All her attention is for Nephrite; she hears the other two speaking, but she doesn't look up at either of them, for a little while only halfway parsing what they're saying. Partway, but enough.

Suddenly the white tie formalwear makes a sick kind of sense. Suddenly Makoto remembers, very vividly, the conversation that she had with Ami not all that long ago. If Kunzite's hand were still on her arm he'd feel the change, the involuntary surge of a static charge that moves through her body and seeks ground. He might feel it anyway. At least she's already in contact with Nephrite; at least there is no risk of the energy leaping from one to the other in the unpleasant jolt of a spark.

"What..." Her voice is still quiet. It's not the kind of quiet that comes from calm. "...what were you thinking?"

Hard to tell if she's asking Nephrite or them. Maybe all three.
Kazuo Takeba 2016-06-15 00:32:14 44984
Kunzite's not going anywhere for that first moment. Not when their healer is leaning that much harder against him. When Endymion tries to move on his own, though, there's a rather blunt response -- an arm wrapped around the exhausted prince, doing the dragging for him. Careful as he can; he knows the pain Mamoru's in. But there's not enough left in the boy to let him move on his own. "Show me," he says, while finding places for both their hands. Bones that far out of place would normally need surgery -- but Endymion wouldn't be telling him to set it, instead of calling one of the other healers, if they couldn't do it on their own.

The static charge of Jupiter's isn't something the older boy can physically perceive. But his head lifts anyhow; uneasy, though it doesn't show in more than the motion. Electricity isn't his the way it's hers. But it's close enough to his own powers that he feels -- something.

"He had the best chance," Kunzite says quietly. "Of getting what we needed. Of getting back home."

If there was more than that -- if Kunzite was thinking of the flower-youma in Makoto's apartment, and Nephrite's angry helplessness after; or of the mansion that wanted so badly to stay in its dark existence, and the voice howling her name -- if for any reason he thought, perhaps, that Nephrite needed to throw himself at something, to win something back, and it was better if they could prepare him for it than if he chose a battle they might not know about --

-- he doesn't say a word about it to Makoto. No more than he did to Nephrite himself.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-06-15 01:01:47 44995
"Wasn't," is Mamoru's very, very simple answer, dragged over by Kunzite and already placing the white-haired man's hands where they need to go, communicating what pressure needs to be where, what needs to be aligned where; he's giving Kunzite a solid mental image of what it's supposed to look like inside, and an overlay of what he perceives inside there right now. His own breathing is shallow. "Please-- please hang on Mako-chan I-- finish first-- or wake up hurting worse--"

It's the delicate pieces, the tiny threads, the shattered bone and broken axons, the tangled terminal branches, the smashed dendrites. Not vast amounts of energy to regrow them, the nerves-- nor to block them whilst pieces of bone get moved into place and uselessly small pieces have their reabsorption sped up. Not a lot of energy. But so much focus, so much patience, and that uses energy of its own.

Endymion's voice is thready. "Big pieces, can't do now. Triage. Make a cast after." So he doesn't use it anymore, he just shows Kunzite through the contact-- how to splint it, then make the cast and wrap the ankle and put it on, the vague concept of painkillers-for-Neph-too, not in any particular organizational order. The needs laid out for Kunzite to pick up because--

Tiny and difficult and delicate and impossible. Gold weaves, gold encourages, gold is patient and perseveres.

Gold flickers. Almost there, almost done-- no permanent nerve damage, no letting them grow back wrong--

--and then the prince passes out, reassurance the last thing that floods through to Kunzite, and to Makoto through their shared contact with Nephrite.
Makoto Kino 2016-06-15 01:47:27 45006
"I can't--" She breaks off before she can finish the sentence, and Jupiter does hold, somehow, by clenched teeth and sheer force of will and the understanding that her anger, for all it threatens to rise up and overwhelm her, must come second to making sure that Nephrite will heal. Her shoulders quiver with the effort of it, even as she cradles Nephrite's head in her lap, supported carefully between her hands - so carefully, so carefully.

He could've disappeared. She would never have known until after he was gone.

She's distantly aware of the wash of reassurance from Mamoru just before he passes out, but it doesn't reach her. The storm in her heart drowns it out.

"What you needed," Jupiter repeats, lifting her head blindly towards Kunzite. Not quite as quiet now, as the gathering intensity of her anger starts to bleed into her voice. "What kind of information could possibly be important enough? To let Fiore take him to that asteroid, out where nobody could back him up? Surrounded by those things?"

It's no good. At this rate, she'll hurt him - carefully, very carefully, Makoto eases herself back and lowers Nephrite's head back down to the floor. Her fingers trail feather-light along the sode of his face and over his hair before she pulls away and begins to stand.

Energy is already tingling against her skin. Nothing can touch her now without the jolt of a static shock. "What did you think was going to happen when Fiore realized he'd been tricked?" she demands, voice rising louder as her self-control begins to disintegrate.
Kazuo Takeba 2016-06-15 02:28:30 45016
This is not the first time they've done this. Only the first time in these lives. It would be more reassuring if they'd had a chance to work with a simpler break first. But Kunzite is better now than he was then at yielding to someone else's purpose, someone else's sight. At not thinking about why that is, even while he's carrying out Mamoru's unspoken instructions, calm and precise and purposeful.

Even the scars they bear of Beryl's madness can be turned to better ends.

And he comes back to himself in time to keep the prince from hitting his head when he collapses.

He doesn't say a word. Not while he's settling Endymion down. Not while he's taking the time to get at least something temporary on the damned ankle, to make sure that if Nephrite wakes uncertain of where he is he won't accidentally maim himself in the first few seconds. Then he takes the time to look up at Jupiter.

The delay is not likely to have helped her mood.

Which is why he takes his own hands off of Nephrite before he says anything at all.

"Can we divert the thing?" he says quietly. "Can we destroy it? If we can't do it with what we have, what do we need to bridge the gap? Can we do it from here, or will some or all of us, need to go there? What is it made of? Will an attack on it only spread the flowers more widely, and make them even harder to deal with? They're a hive-mind, but Mercury seems to think the core is there; can we detect where it is, and target an attack? What defenses does it have? If we do need to go there, is there some stable ground, or is it so overrun that we'll be under attack from the instant of arrival?"

Slowly, Kunzite rises to his feet, shifting a little sideways to make sure that no part of Nephrite's or Endymion's bodies is between him and Jupiter. "Too many questions. Not enough information. And we're losing ground too quickly to wait until it comes close enough that we can see the answers from here."

He can taste the hint of lightning in the air he breathes, now. His voice stays low. That won't help her mood, either, but nothing he does right now will. "Fiore reacts slowly to surprise, when it comes to Endymion. We'd hoped that would give him enough time to get out."

Was the flower-mind stronger, near its core, and Fiore's reactions faster?

Did it take longer than they'd expected to trigger the trip back?

Was the strength they'd given him not enough to cross the distance? Did the energy Jadeite had donated cause his illusion to wear off early? Did something else happen altogether?

One or more of them's a yes. And it all comes down to the same answer, in the end.
Makoto Kino 2016-06-15 03:09:01 45031
All the sense that Kunzite is making does no more to calm Sailor Jupiter than the lengthy silence did, or the low steady tone of his voice. It does not help at all to know that there were reasons justifying the risk that Nephrite took.

All it means to her right now is that something like this could happen again.

At her sides, her hands clench into fists.

"You could've at least told me!" She's full-on shouting now, not caring how far it carries or whether it might disturb either of the two who just now really need the rest. "Someone could've - so at least I could've--"

It's not even them she's mad at, not really, but Fiore is out of reach and the basic unfairness of the world is too abstract to hit, does not care that she's angry at it.

Outside, a rumble of thunder growls from a sky that had been clear not very long before.
Kazuo Takeba 2016-06-15 03:19:16 45034
Someone could've told her. Mamoru's been barely coherent. Jadeite was being kept busy. Zoisite ... is Zoisite. But Kunzite could have told her.

He watches her instead, hands at his sides, and says nothing.

Because what he wants to tell her now -- do you think he could still have gone at all, if you had? -- is not fair to Nephrite. It might be true. But there are also ways in which the seer is stronger than he is.
Nephrite 2016-06-15 03:38:10 45037
A sharp intake of breath, cut short by a wince of pain, announces Nephrite's return to the conscious world. Short, frantic gasps--a fight between ribs no longer cracked, but still not fully healed, and blind panic. His eyes stare wildly up through tangled hair, hands grappling for purchase at the floor.

He doesn't see the two people standing over him yet. Or the unconscious prince beside him. But the distinct lack of flowers or vines strangling at him slowly registers, as he stares up at the familiar ceiling. "...pink" he mutters breathlessly.
Makoto Kino 2016-06-15 04:09:51 45042
Kunzite says nothing, and in the face of his silence Jupiter's desperate wrath only builds, a dry charge crackling in the air around her, pressure mounting higher and higher with no outlet. Her shoulders hitch, fists at her sides clenching tighter; for a moment she teeters on the edge of lashing out--

--until Nephrite's abbreviated gasp diverts her attention, and the explosion is staved off a little longer. "Neph!" Immediately, she's gone down on her knees, leaning over him. She starts to reach out, but she can still feel the tingle of the charge at her fingertips, and catching herself she yanks her hand back before she can make contact.

Now that he's coming around, she can't find anything to say. Not a single word. She just looks at him, furious and panicky and worried all at once.
Kazuo Takeba 2016-06-15 04:16:46 45045
Kunzite doesn't change. She's that close, and he has powers that can counter her lightning, at least to an extent; he should be changing, should be moving to match her, to put them in reach. But he doesn't.

Maybe he's too worn, too low on energy, to manage it. Or maybe he trusts her more than that.

Whatever it was, it wasn't expecting Nephrite to wake up. "Nephrite?" -- the full version of his name comes a moment after the short one. He starts to glance down. Glances at Jupiter, instead, and takes a quiet half-step back. There are priorities in this.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-06-15 04:22:37 45047
"Oh good," mumbles Mamoru from where Kunzite settled him, not far from where Kunzite's splinted Neph's ankle. Seems like everybody's waking up.

The prince doesn't move overmuch, though, he just sort of curls in a little, on his side, where he can see everyone. Takes a slow breath. "Kunzite-- get him some codeine? Sorry."

He is not equipped to deal with his own emotions right now, nevermind Makoto's or Nephrite's. So that's all he says.
Nephrite 2016-06-15 04:40:24 45051
Nephrite is still clutching at the floor, fingers flexing against the flat surface. Bracing against pain, or making sure of the lack of fleshy vines beneath him, or reminding himself of the solid planet resting beneath. Or some combination thereof.

He squints up at Makoto at the sound of her voice. "Hey," he mutters through slightly more even gasps. "Sorry. Didn't bring you flowers." A few seconds of wincing pain pass. "These ones. All rotten."
Makoto Kino 2016-06-15 05:14:13 45052
A strangled noise hitches out of Jupiter, like a choked-back sob, and her expression twists as though she's on the verge of either shouting or bursting into tears - maybe both. "You idiot," she says. "Why are you apologizing for that?"

She can't do this, not right now. Suddenly Makoto understands all too well how Nephrite felt that day when all he could do to try to vent his frustration was to stand in this same apartment and throw shoes.

She could throw all the shoes in Tokyo and feel no calmer - but there is something else she can vent her fury on. In an abrupt surge of motion Sailor Jupiter pushes herself back up onto her feet.
Kazuo Takeba 2016-06-15 05:21:38 45053
No flowers in the apartment. No vines, either. Kunzite moves automatically at Endymion's request. He has yet to inquire into how any of the pain medication shows up; he's not about to start now. Directions are checked in passing, water poured from the pitcher that's been living in the room on a daily basis since Mamoru came back from the palaces --

And he stops, and waits. Because getting in Jupiter's way right now is just a method of making sure that there are three of them being medicated, and they're running low on people who can trade off keeping watch.
Nephrite 2016-06-15 05:39:54 45054
The wince on Nephrite's face just barely manages to curl up into a grin. "'Cause. Wanted to bring you a souvenir from space."

Jupiter is standing now, and though Nephrite is not entirely focused, he can sense something, somehow, is amiss. The grin fades. "Got the intel. Saw it. Can finish calculations." He takes another painful breath. "Dumb plan. My fault."
Mamoru Chiba 2016-06-15 05:58:18 45055
Endymion is very, very quiet-- and when Makoto stands, and Nephrite's voice does that, when the jollility fails and what's left is the rawness and the guilt, he wants so badly to say something, anything, to keep Nephrite from bearing the burden of it alone. He signed off on it. They all signed off on it. They all--

There's still a rose in Neph's jacket, open as it and his shirt are, maybe visible. It's not like Makoto doesn't know. Anything he says would only make it worse.

They're all guilty.

They all know it.

With Makoto this upset-- even the fact that it worked isn't something that's helping make it worth it. The way she feels--

He doesn't say anything.
Makoto Kino 2016-06-15 06:15:53 45057
Jupiter was turning away towards the balcony, but Nephrite's voice stops her. Not enough to call her back, but for a few seconds at least she stands arrested in place, shoulders hitched tightly up, head ducked a little bit downward.

"Don't," she says, quiet again and half-pleading. "I can't right now. I - I'll be back by when I'm not so mad. We'll talk then."

She shouldn't leave like this, Mako knows she shouldn't, but there's nothing she can do for him while she's so full of these terrible feelings. She has to vent them somewhere, on something that deserves to be hurt.

She starts for the balcony again, not waiting for an answer. By the time she's out under the sky walking has turned into running; a few long, fast strides and she's vaulting the railing at speed, disappearing into a rush of ozone-scented wind.