Don't Blow It

Masato Sanjouin finds out Mamoru's in the hospital and goes to visit. They piss each other off a lot and then things get weird, because when don't they. Then Nephrite busts Tuxedo Mask out, I guess. LUCKY BREAK.

Date: 2015-07-14
Pose Count: 13
Mamoru Chiba 2015-07-14 02:09:49 4470
It's nearing the end of Mamoru's second full day in the hospital, and single room aside, he's starting to get desperate. He'd been positive he would be able to convince them to let him out; he'd persuaded them to take him off the painkillers after last night's fracas, and he already felt better, and Hiroko eventually had to go home, and Homura had jetted out of there like a cat on fire and not told him why which meant he JUST KNEW something horrible was happening he couldn't help with, and now he's in his jeans and he's pacing and they don't want to let him go because they SAW what kind of damage he had and it's UNREASONABLE that he should be better already--

He's totally pacing. He's already packed up all his homework and the remains of the food people brought him and his huge stack of get-well cards (like sixty percent from Usagi) and all the flowers and even the air freshener, and he even made the bed, and now he's just pacing. They told him maybe tomorrow. He's considering just henshining and jumping out the window, but he's still too low on energy for that.

He pauses by the window, gets out his phone, and starts bitching on tumblr.
Nephrite 2015-07-14 02:27:14 4472
"A visitor for you, Chiba-san."

The (slightly annoyed) voice of the nurse comes through the door following a sharp knock, and whether the young man responds or not, the door to the room swings open, revealing a tall, long-haired fellow that is not exactly a friend to Mamoru, but one that should be familiar to him all the same.

Masato Sanjouin.

He stands on the threshold, hand on the doorknob, for several moments, taking in the scene in front of him. It's not hard to tell that the boy is stir crazy. His things are all packed, the bed made, and the energy in the room is crackling with anxiety, something he might be able to sense even without his magic. The Dark General had come here on a whim -- to see the extent of Mamoru Chiba's damage, and to maintain his facade of friendly concern -- but seeing the tableau of this sad little room, another idea begins to form in his mind.

He gives the boy a small smile, then walks inside, shutting the door behind him.

"Good evening, Chiba-san," Nephrite says, taking several steps toward the window, though not getting terribly close to the unhappy patient. "I came to give you my well wishes, but it seems you are plenty recovered without them." He makes a show of looking around the room, as though he hadn't immediately upon entering. "Were I a betting man, I'd wager that you're not terribly fond of hospitals."
Mamoru Chiba 2015-07-14 02:37:17 4474
The flat look Mamoru gives the door, and would give the nurse if she stuck her face in the room (which is undoubtedly why she doesn't) is almost gone by the time the door's pushed open, replaced by a look of extremely tired-of-this forced politeness.

That's wiped away in an instant by pure shock. "Sa-sanjouin-san?" he stammers, almost stepping back toward the wall in his startlement, but managing to keep it restrained to his expression. And then he recovers, though not without a fairly deep lack of balance. His phone, he shuts off and sticks in his pocket.

"Um-- hello! Thank you? Yes. I mean-- no. I mean, yes, I'm a terrible patient, ask anyone on the floor." He waffles for a second, then remembers to bow in greeting, a quick little thing. He's not unnerved so much as incredibly flustered, a rare sight indeed. Vanishingly rare, and something that feels like it ought to be treasured, for some reason.

What those magical senses will tell Sanjouin is that while the boy's aura is as maddeningly familiar as ever, it's significantly dimmer than its usual incandescent glow. Whatever hit him really DID do a number on him, and it IS pretty suspicious that he's already this much better. What did the rumors say? Hit by a truck? Gang beating? Fell out of a helicopter? Something.

"A-ah, I'm afraid I can't be much of a host; I'd been hoping to be discharged tonight so I packed everything up..."
Nephrite 2015-07-14 03:15:28 4478
There's something about this boy that he just can't place.

Nephrite narrows his eyes as he looks around the room, more closely examining the boy's aura as he does so. Dim, much dimmer than before -- almost to the level of a normal mortal, which is highly concerning. Such a drop in radiance would indicate a near catastrophic level of energy draining, and yet here he stands, petulantly awaiting his discharge and flustered at the sudden arrival of a guest.

A feeling nags at the back of his mind, startlingly similar to the mortal phenomenon of deja vu. Perhaps there's something he's forgetting...

The man waves the thought away, as he waves away Mamoru's embarrassment about the state of his room. It wouldn't do to dwell on something so vague, not when he's conversing with a target as high-value as Mamoru Chiba.

"Please, pay it no mind. I hardly visit the hospital to be received and entertained," he says, finally returning his gaze to the young man. Any hint of appraisal or consternation is well-hidden -- though sometimes Nephrite believes himself to be a better actor than he truly is. "I'm surprised to see you up and about so soon. And anxious to be discharged, no less. The rumors going around about your 'accident' are...concerning."

Indeed they are. He's heard everything from a mugging to a plane crash, with various levels of heroism and carnage in each tale. Of course, he's paid them no mind, given how mortals tend to prattle. He'd rather get the truth straight from the horse's mouth. Inasmuch as the boy is willing to tell him.

Masato Sanjouin casually stows his hands in the pockets of his jacket. "What exactly happened to you, if I may be so bold as to ask?"
Mamoru Chiba 2015-07-14 03:28:30 4479
The high schooler laughs, but it's a long-suffering thing: undoubtedly he's heard all the rumors by now. He comes around to sit on the edge of his bed, and he is still moving a little stiffly; judging by which muscles he's using when the stiffness comes into play, it seems to mostly be his back. "Well-- from what I've been told by the friend of mine who called the ambulance," he says ruefully, lifting his hand to rub at the back of his head--

--even that gesture has echoes of familiarity--

"There was apparently a bunny in the middle of the road, and some j-rocker on a motorcycle was gunning for it. Now, I hit my head pretty hard and I don't really remember much of what happened, but I wouldn't put it past me? I ran into the street to grab the bunny and get it out of the way, but I wasn't quick enough, and the guy hit me. It must just have been a glance or I'd be in a lot worse shape."

Mamoru's generally a horrible liar, but this story's been repeated enough times he's beginning to half-believe it, himself. "The bunny made it," he reassures Sanjouin. "It's really cute."
Nephrite 2015-07-14 04:04:12 4482
And the truth appears to be more concerning than the rumors. Not because of the story -- which is perfectly ridiculous -- but because of the manner in which it is told.

His suspicion of foul play is all but confirmed. Such amnesia is all too typical of mortals who've suffered a magical attack.

Nephrite looks pensively on as Mamoru tells his tale, moving to sit in a nearby chair as the boy goes to sit on his bed. When he finishes with a pithy comment about the 'bunny', he leans forward, resting his elbows on his knees. "You know, Chiba-san," he says, raising an eyebrow, "there are easier ways to rescue animals than throwing yourself into oncoming traffic."

Was that...a joke? Masato Sanjouin seems such a humorless individual, it's almost hard to tell.

(But yes, it was a joke. Albeit one meant to disguise his concern at the poaching of his target.)

"You're certain you feel good enough to be discharged?" the man continues, not missing a beat. "Getting hit by a speeding motorcycle would tend to leave most in treatment for months, if not years. Not even mentioning the damage to the brain required to induce a total blackout. Frankly, you're lucky to be alive, given the circumstances."

He's not threatening, per se, but Nephrite is not exactly known for his bedside manner, and his anger at the theft of his target's energy leaks through in the form of a furrowed brow and a slight frown. He leans back once more.

"Perhaps your doctors are keeping you here because they're concerned you haven't learned your lesson about bodily protecting imperiled rabbits."
Mamoru Chiba 2015-07-14 04:22:48 4484
"I don't feel any worse than I do after losing a serious kendo match," Mamoru says a little defensively, crossing his arms and scowling some in answer to the not-really-a-threat. "I had to have just glanced off it, and I guess hit my head when I hit the ground. And I must have been off my game, because like I said, I wouldn't put it past me -- but not because of recklessness, just because I'm generally quick enough to pull that kind of thing off."

What the hell is it about Masato Sanjouin that makes Mamoru feel like he's a twelve-year-old defending poor life choices? Or maybe it's just the hospital he's still stuck in. And hates. A lot. It's been an intense couple of days, and that's AFTER getting pasted by Ail. At least Sailor Moon is all right.

The thought of the pretty soldier in a sailor suit does wonders for making Chiba regain his equilibrium: it must seem odd, even worrisome, to Nephrite -- how the tension and anxiety instantly disperse and the strange mortal's aura brightens a little bit, glow returning by fractions, with no visible cause.

Sighing, Mamoru waves a hand, once more donning the comfortable suit and mask of the unflappable upperclassman. "Never mind. If they think they're teaching me a lesson, they should have thought about the fact that I don't remember any of it. It's silly to castigate someone who recalls no misdeed. Either way," he finishes, dropping his hands to rest loosely on his lap, "I'm more than ready to get out of here. I can't afford to miss another day of school. This'll be twice this year."
Nephrite 2015-07-14 04:59:32 4487
Such casual disregard for his safety. As though being glanced by a speeding motorist and winding up in the hospital is some small thing. Of course, Nephrite knows that there likely was no motor accident involved -- but, all the same. It's irritating, and more irritating still, he cannot put his finger on why.

Because he doesn't want all that precious, radiant energy to go to non-Dark Kingdom entities, he supposes.

"Quick enough to dive in front of a motorcycle without a scratch?" he questions, clearly not wholly convinced. "Such a feat would have to be nearly super-human, wouldn't you agree?" If he wanted to, he could press each of the story's glaring faults, draw the memory from deep within his mortal subconscious. The intel would be invaluable, to be sure, but it would be risky, both to his cover as Masato Sanjouin, and possibly to the poor boy's sanity, which he would (ideally) like to preserve. For now.

So he visibly relaxes, letting the line of questioning go. "Ah, well. What's past is past, I suppose. I am glad to see you hale and hearty, whatever the reason for your hospital stay truly is."

'Not convinced' couldn't be more obvious in his body language if he was wearing a neon sign.

"So eager to return to your studies. It's no wonder you're the top of your class," Nephrite muses, a slight note of surprise in his voice, one that could be interpreted as condescending to sensitive ears. "Of course, it wouldn't do to have you out for too long. The teachers would be positively bereft of gossip if your dating life were to stall for too long."

Another joke? Impossible.

He quirks an eyebrow, then smiles. "If you wished, I could persuade the staff to have you discharged early. Given your current state, they will have little to argue against me with."
Mamoru Chiba 2015-07-14 05:24:53 4490
Here's the thing. Mamoru's pride can be a serious thing. Like, a serious, SERIOUS thing. Can be. Isn't always, but in situations where this guy who aggravates him, has something in his aura that's super familiar and something in his aura that gives him the creeping horrors, but honestly could just be super pretentious-- where this guy is insulting him every other sentence in his tone and manner and implications--

Mamoru's pride is smarting. His cool is threatened significantly. It is an effort of supreme will that the teenager takes as his mantra the combined ideas of 'Makoto likes him and he can get me out of here'. This runs through his head, over and over. It's not a very proud mantra.

He really doesn't want to be here.


Oh my god and he's making fun of his dating life. After this weekend, that's pretty much the limit. After Homura practically accused him of two-timing-- no, TRIPLE-timing-- and isn't necessarily wrong? "I don't date," he says in a voice that's meant to be breezy and laughingly dismissive but comes out like it's sandpaper against his teeth under a thin veneer of shoujo bubbles.

The rest of it, he's not even letting himself THINK about or he'll start scowling again and that's not conducive to getting out of here.

It's a herculean effort that allows Mamoru to zen out of his massive irritation and relax, relaaax. "But yes, sir, I'd very much appreciate that. This place is making me crazy. Oh, hey, and I'd meant to ask you when your tour was coming back here," he says, getting up and collecting his things. "Are you back, or just in town for a couple of days? I'm sure Kino-san would love to see you."
Nephrite 2015-07-14 05:55:44 4494 Mamoru Chiba *angry* with him?

Nephrite is wholly taken aback when the younger man's body tenses, his teeth gritted and his posture closed. Nothing in his words is rude, but the Dark General is all too familiar with shifts in emotional energy, and just as Mamoru's energy had brightened inexplicably a few minutes ago, it now reads to him as restricted, sparking against some internal restraint that his body language reflects. He in turn stiffens, more than a little outraged that his attempts at friendly conversation are met with such disrespect. What on Earth could he have said that offended the boy so?

He asks that question in totaly honesty and with a thorough lack of self-awareness.

Still, patience and calm are key. If he were to respond with equal irritation, his efforts to get closer to Mamoru would summarily collapse, quite possibly driving him to keep Makoto away from him as well. That would be absolutely unacceptable.

So he listens, smiles, and maintains his polite mask. Though it's probably no easier for him than for Mamoru.

(The observant will catch a slight widening of his smile when Makoto is mentioned. He is not aware of this.)

"Only a few days, I'm afraid," Nephrite says, shaking his head. "we'll be around Japan for the next week and a half or so, though I do have the means to return should an emergency arise." All too important to cover his tracks as the false Tuxedo Kamen, is it not?

"I would, of course, love to see Kino-san as well. However, barring impromptu hospital visits, most of my schedule while I'm back in Tokyo is fully booked. I leave on the bullet train tomorrow at noon," he explains, and it is not, in fact, a lie. "She and I had a nice chat about my absence before I left, however. I'm sure she understands." He stands up from the chair as Mamoru goes about collecting his things. "Do send her my regards if you see her, though."

An uncharacteristic softness comes over his countenance as he looks out the window. "She's an uncommonly spirited girl, wouldn't you agree?"
Mamoru Chiba 2015-07-14 06:17:08 4496
--this is one observant high-schooler, especially when it comes to anyone but himself. The widening of Sanjouin's smile when Makoto's mentioned, a real thing breaking through the polite mask, is noticed; it's analyzed and examined in the back of Mamoru's head; it's interpreted.

Mamoru truly relaxes.

It's not long before he has his things gathered: a little box under one arm with both foodstuffs and cards, his schoolbag under one arm, and the very pretty flower arrangement Suzuki brought him carefully de-named and refreshed, to be given to the nurses' station in the children's ward on the way down.

"That's too bad. Let me know when you're back, though, I've read the reviews and I'd really like to attend a few concerts," Chiba says mildly, much better now with the combination of getting the hell out and Sanjouin actually looking like he might not be a dick to Mako. "And of course I'll relay your regards."

He's all ready to go, now, and he looks over toward the man standing by the window, and he's very suddenly hit by an astonishingly intense wave of deja vu. Something about the look on the man's face, reflected in glass-- kinder and truer, companionable; something about the snippet of conversation, the moment. It's staggering.

The words come unbidden. "She could kick your ass to the stars and back and still have time for tea and cakes, and you love it. She's wonderful. Don't blow it."
Nephrite 2015-07-14 06:40:55 4499
In the time that he's laid low, on tour with his orchestra, Makoto has crossed Nephrite's thoughts a few more times than he'd consciously realized. Not in a *longing* way, of course. Not that he would miss a mere mortal, whose sole use to him is as a pawn in his plans. It was all pure strategy, really.

'Makoto would adore these flowers. Perhaps a tool for leverage, should I need something from her.' 'Yet again the Summer Triangle in the stars. I hope the Kino girl hasn't gotten herself stupidly into danger.' 'How I hate wasting my time like this! If she finds out the truth behind Tuxedo Kamen--'

Thought of a plate of eclairs in a French restaurant: 'Hers were better.'

It takes a good few moments for the disguised Shitennou to realize he's been alone in the room, staring out the window, and that Mamoru Chiba has said something to him. He turns, surprised, not in the least by the informality of the boy's words and the unbidden mention of 'stars.' Where did such honest familiarity suddenly spring?

Deja vu like a tidal wave hits his mind, rendering him momentarily speechless. There's something he's forgetting, something so close he could reach out and grasp it...

And then it's gone, that timeless instant vanished like a stain of breath upon a mirror. He can't remember what he'd been thinking about just then.

Some useless thing, probably.

Nephrite settles back into his typical Masato Sanjouin air, shrugging off Mamoru's comment like he'd heard nothing at all. "Come. I'll talk to the staff. You can simply walk out the door, if you wish. I can handle all the administrative nonsense of the discharge."

The man briskly opens the door, standing in the threshold as he did before, a bookend to their odd, irritating, nostalgic encounter.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-07-14 06:43:04 4500
Although he is now quite silent and red in the face, shocked at himself, Mamoru Chiba will apparently live another day.