Memorybeans II: Son of Memorybeans

Mamoru decides that in the wake of Kunzite's dad finding Kunzite, and in light of Nephrite technically still being a minor, that the brunet's run out of time for putting off regaining his memories of his life before the Dark Kingdom. (Warning: This scene took place in email between Oct 2016 and May 2017, so continuity in it may be a little hazy.)

Date: 2016-09-30
Pose Count: 20
Nephrite 2017-05-29 03:05:08 77419
There is something satisfying and oddly meditative about sorting through a multicolored jar of candy. What seemed daunting at first settles into an easy rhythm. Colors finding their places in separate dishes--bright little marbles glistening invitingly for someone to try them. Each one containing a stolen memory, frozen in a candy shell.

Not everything that had its memory stolen was human. There are the pure, simple thoughts of animals, in whites and creams and earthy browns. They probably taste like clouds or vanilla or simple sugar and light. And there are the darker thoughts of youma--black curdled with sickly greens and reds. Nephrite imagines those taste either the way the twisted slimy corridors of the Dark Kingdom smelled, or like licorice. It's a toss-up which would be more gross.

But there will be no tasting of anything, for him, except the dishes directly in front of him. One dish contains a little spheres in a dark, black cherry red. The other an earthy green. Two colors. Well, that's not entirely odd. Nephrite jade can come in all kinds of varieties, after all.

The sorting of the little gumballs has been a slow, ongoing project. Mostly because, frankly, Nephrite has been dragging his feet on it. But for once, he is working on it unprompted. Now that Mamoru has worked out the pattern, it's easy enough to sort out the remainders. Of course, that's the easy part.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-05-29 03:07:26 77420
Unprompted. Mamoru's almost afraid to come in, or even breathe in the vicinity of the doorway to the room Neph's in, because Nephrite might stop. But-- he wants to help. He's determined to be as much help as he can, and the look on Neph's face is the most positive version he's seen regarding the subject matter in quite some time.

So he vanishes briefly. Only briefly. Hopefully unseen.

A minute later, he comes back with two mugs of coffee, and he sets the one that is clearly Neph's down in front of him, and the one that is clearly his own down right next to it. And then he drops himself onto the couch next to Neph and reaches for a bowl of animal memories, dragging it closer to him. He picks one up and takes his glasses off, holding it in front of his eye and unfocusing. "You know, Sayaka came over not too long ago and said she was still missing some of her marbles."

A beat because he never doesn't enjoy that joke.

"So if you run into any more that look like blue raspberry, she's definitely on the hunt for 'em. Oh my god, I dare you to eat this. It's a moose admiring itself in a pond."
Nephrite 2017-05-29 03:13:03 77421
Mamoru does indeed go unseen on his first appearance, so intent is Nephrite on deciphering whether this particular shade of green is really his green or somebody else's green. Only when Mamoru makes himself known with the presence of coffee does Nephrite glance up from the jellybean in question at the offered mug.

"Any whisky in that? Never mind, probably shouldn't have any yet." He drops the memorybean into a dish with the others and reaches for his coffee.

If Nephrite were prone to embarrassment, he might be a bit sheepish at being caught at something he's made such a big deal about protesting for so long. Of course, embarrassment is generally reserved for people whose t-shirt does not feature a picture of a pickle with the caption "I'm kind of a big dill."

"Maybe she should check in Neverland," he says in-between coffee sips. "But yeah, there's some blue ones floating around in there, may or may not be her particular shade of blue. I'll start a pile for them and she can take a look." Even though psychometry is not strictly necessary for peeking into the little orbs, Nephrite is still doing as little of that as he can. Not only for his own memories, but for all of them. It feels like an invasion of privacy to go digging through other people's captured thoughts, even though it might prove necessary to return them to their rightful owners.

But he smirks at Mamoru's suggestion. "Are you serious? Are you sure we can't find a way to YouTube this shit? Think of how many views we'd get."
Mamoru Chiba 2017-05-29 03:14:13 77422
"...I could put whisky in," offers Mamoru after a very long moment.

He initially completely ignores it.

It's not until after the youtube comment that he actually says it, see. "But hurray for making a pile for Sayaka. She'll probably be coming around more often, and I'm sure she'd be able to recognise them."

The prince plunks the moosebean back in the dish of 'animals and probably animals', then sips his coffee. After a second he says contemplatively, "Probably vine, actually. Six second videos of completely inexplicable animal point of view stuff. We'd have to manage a completely anonymous account. No idea if Ami would agree to helping set that up, it's possible it's ethically unsound-- or at least a ridiculous misuse of magic-- but bet you Zoi would."

A beat. "We could get Jadeite to provide the backing music. He's good at picking things like that." He glances sidelong at Nephrite. "Not, you understand, for the potential of getting rich off it. Just because the world needs it. Besides we have too much money anyway."

Finally, Mamoru puts his coffee down and reaches for one of the earthy green memorybeans in one of Neph's two designated dishes, but he doesn't move to look in it yet. Instead, he gives Neph a serious look, eyes bright and intent. There's nothing of the weightedness of Elysion behind it, only his friend -- his friend Mamoru, his friend Endymion. They have the same expression, despite the difference in skin tone, the slight differences in everything. They have the same expression when they look at him with that very particular affectionate understanding with something that brooks no argument behind it.

"I can start looking again," he says gently. "Looking for repeated faces. Looking for repeated locations. We already know it's somewhere in Canada near where your palace lets out, but we haven't got much else to go on besides that. I can look to see if there's anyone who views you with kindness or love, or I can look to see if there are people who'd be glad to think you're dead, and therefore wouldn't come looking for you, wouldn't still be looking for you after all these years."
Nephrite 2017-05-29 03:18:38 77423
Nephrite smirks over his coffee cup. "Vine. Definitely. Of course no ads. We'd be doing a public service. Bringing moose-perspective into the world. And hopefully creating one of those unsolved internet mysteries about how the videos could even exist. I see nothing ethically unsound about that."

It's hard, even though he's still smiling, even though Mamoru gives him such an understanding look, not to feel the internal flinch when Mamoru touches one of his own marbles. Like seeing the dentist reach for the drill, the fact that he put himself here doesn't stop the impulse.

He glances back down at the two dishes. "I think I've figured out what the two colors mean," he says, not entirely changing the subject, but not answering the question either. "I thought maybe they meant past life and present life, but that didn't feel right. For one thing, if I had enough memories of the past to fill a bowl, I think she would have dealt with me like she did Jadeite." She. Not naming names when his tone is otherwise so light. "And also, separating who I was in the Dark Kingdom from who I was in the past isn't entirely accurate either. I think some of those," he nods to the red bowl, "probably are past life stuff, mixed in with evil dark energy stuff. Because that's all connected, in weird and unpleasant ways."

He picks up the bowl of green ones and gives them a shake, making them clink against the sides. "And these are before. Or between. When I wasn't awake yet." The fact that the rules don't seem to work that way for anybody else doesn't really matter. It was his own monster, digging in his own head, so of course it's going to follow a logic that makes sense only to him.

He glances back up at Mamoru, working around to his question. "So these will be the ones to look at, if that's what we're looking for. Thing is, I don't think we should stop there."

He plops the bowl back on the table. "I started thinking, after we ran into the Not a Sailor of Anything but Definitely Not of Earth. Even though she was full of obvious bull excrement, the reason she could sew any doubt into our ranks is because we've all got holes in our memories. Enough holes for someone with bad intent to come along and fill them with the wrong information. And maybe with her that's not such a big problem, because there's enough contradictions in her story for us to recognize she can't be for real. But maybe she won't be the last one to try it. Maybe someone smarter, or more subtle, will come along."

Nephrite sits back on the couch, his red-brown eyes bright with clarity. "I'm supposed to be the one who sees the threats before they're here. I'm supposed to be the one who puts all the pieces together. I can't do that when I refuse to hold the pieces. I can't serve in my full capacity like this."

Nephrite always has the capacity to talk for extended lengths of time, but usually he breaks up any serious discussion with a few jokes. He looks at the marble Mamoru is holding. "I still don't really love the idea of doing this for me. But I can do this for you. I can fill in those holes in our intel before anybody else tries to take advantage of them."
Mamoru Chiba 2017-05-29 03:19:00 77424
Mamoru's quiet, and he's meeting Nephrite's eyes, and his own are such a frank mixture of pride in Neph, and guilt born of the brand of humbleness and deference that this life bought him, and deeply heartfelt appreciation-- and the blue is bright right now, like sun shining through tropical seas, rather than the darker shade of the oceans viewed from space; there's gold lightening them, glittering. His free hand reaches to take one of Nephrite's, and the contact says everything he can't find the words for, and he places the green marble in Neph's hand.

Very quietly, he says, "When you look inside the red ones, you should be able to tell which life they're from. It's not a good idea to take back the ones from the Dark Kingdom. You remember enough. You don't need to break all over again."

But then there's a faint little smile, tilted and wry, showing mostly in the softening of his eyes. "It'll be good to have company in remembering more of our kingdom. And yeah -- you probably remember things I don't. Filling in gaps -- that won't hurt, Neph. Remembering things isn't always fun, but they take their place, they lose their immediacy after a bit. It's good to be human, because we have the capacity to forget until we need to remember."

He lets his hands fall, then draws himself up so his feet are up on the edge of the couch, and he wraps his arms around his legs. "And the green ones-- they won't be foreign things to fear like a change you're not ready for, once they're back where they belong. You'll wonder how you could have forgotten. It's good to be whole, I promise." A beat, and the wryness is back. "That's also for me, and for all of us, you know. If your family were to see you-- you are still a minor."

And then there's something strangely diffident about his tone as he looks away, though he tries to keep it light. "I saw faces smiling at you. Faces that looked a bit like yours. It'd be nice to know them. For me and Mako-chan both."
Nephrite 2017-05-29 03:21:16 77425
The hand on Nephrite's confirms the clarity of his decision. The tangle of conflicted feelings has given way to a clear path, unfettered by doubt. He is Endymion's seer and advisor. His true identity, his true purpose, beneath all the other ones he wears.

The marble drops into his hand, and Nephrite laughs carelessly at Mamoru's caution, bright amusement playing in his dark eyes. "Weren't you the one who told me you wouldn't ask us to do anything you wouldn't do yourself? That goes both ways. You remember everything from that. I can't sit here and pretend I have a pass on it when you don't." But maybe he won't worry about those ones just yet. Maybe he'll see where the others take him first.

He flips the marble around between his fingers, looking at the pale green veins patterned along its dark surface. Yes, even this part is for Mamoru, and for everyone else. If only so nobody has to hear his broken German again.

A punch to the arm, probably hard enough to shove Mamoru to the side a bit, though nowhere near bruising, comes in response. "If I've got family, and it's family I want and it wants me, then it's yours and Mako's family too. You can count on that."

He sighs as he holds up the marble. "This better not actually taste like bacon grass." Without further preamble, he pops it in his mouth.

It doesn't taste like bacon. Or grass. But it is a green flavor, tart at first. Wild crabapples, crisp and ripe, a flavor so bound up in childhood that it hits him as hard as the memory itself does--

He's fidgeting in the button-down shirt they made him wear, those Sunday Best kind of clothes that are starchy and constricting and he's not allowed to get dirty. The judge is talking--and he knows what a judge is. Judges tell you if you're going to jail or not. This judge is here to tell him if he gets to go home or not. Home with his auntie, whose hand seems to grow tighter and more tense with each passing minute, or somewhere else. With strangers, far away.

The judge's words are an incoherent mumble to his young ears, but tears are in his auntie's dark eyes (they are darker than his, and her hair is straighter than his, but there is something about the shape of her face that looks very much like him), and then she is hugging him close. "We did it. We did it. You're ours now..."

On the couch, in a high rise apartment in Tokyo, he fumbles for Mamoru's hand.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-05-29 03:22:06 77426
Mamoru laughs, rocking with the punch, but there's still something solemn and bright in his eyes for all that. Of course he wants to spare Nephrite reliving horrible things he's forgotten-- and of course Nephrite's refused the pass, and for that reason -- one he knows Mamoru can't argue. And the shining's there for Nephrite's 'of course' regarding his family and Mako, and himself...

...but he's silent, watching, through Neph's consumption of a memory. There's only the slightest flicker of a smile at the callback to bacon grass, and then the prince waits.

He sees Neph's expression, and--

--on the couch, in a high rise apartment in Tokyo, Nephrite's fumbling hand finds the one meeting it halfway.

And then he gets the impressions of it -- of the moment, of the auntie; of being small in a frightening place, but being held to, having that tenuous comfort there for the moment, even if the judge? That's a judge -- might be about to take it away. And then the incomprehensible verdict, but it's so swamped with emotion because his aunt is happy, so happy she's crying as she hugs him--

Mamoru holds Neph's hand just as tightly, and does not otherwise intrude.
Nephrite 2017-05-29 03:22:22 77427
It's grounding--Mamoru's hand, the direct channel through him to the solid Earth below. That was all Nephrite needed, that stabilizing force, an anchor in the tidal wave of thoughts and feelings he never knew he had.

--But that's not true. He has felt this before. When Endymion called out to his heart in the labyrinth, when Makoto held him in a field of forget-me-nots. A feeling of acceptance, of home. Of being wanted, even when he has little understanding of why.

"Those things pack a punch," he laughs breathlessly, offering either apology or explanation or thank you for the hand squeezing his. He feels giddy as he pushes his hair back. "Her name was Sandra. Aunt Sandra. Is. Probably still is."

That's a name. It's not his name, but it's a name that belongs to him.

"That was English, right? She was speaking English. So that narrows it down to like, what, fifty countries? Give or take?" In his head, the words Aunt Sandra spoke were simply words he understood, their message filtered almost automatically for Mamoru. Now that he has a moment to review the memory, he can see it more objectively, recognize the language. He knew that he knew English, but he also knew that he sort of knew German and French.

"So," he reaches for another green marble. "Want to make a bet on how many of these I get through before I get my full name?"
Mamoru Chiba 2017-05-29 03:22:38 77428
All that rush-- yes, Mamoru grounds Nephrite through it, and he can't help but feel what Nephrite is feeling throughout. He lets out a juddering little laugh on the tail of Neph's, and doesn't let go. He scrubs at his eyes with his other hand. "She was hugging you. She was so happy," he says, smile as bright as the glistening in his eyes. "I'm not betting anything, I have no idea..."

He pulls himself further up onto the couch, folding his sock feet underneath him, and holds that broad hand close, talking fast. "But you're obviously Canadian. I mean, okay, Zoisite swears in Italian when he's not paying attention even though his palace is connected to France, but I don't think you're American and there aren't a lot of options over there..."

"...I could google Aunt Sandra but I don't think it would help. Go go go. Another! Do it!"
Nephrite 2017-05-29 03:23:37 77429
"I'm /obviously/ Canadian? I haven't worn a single lumberjack shirt yet!" Okay, yes, the thought may have crossed Nephrite's mind that his palace just happens to reside in Canada, and the laws of magic and destiny and all that may have conspired to put him close to his seat of power. But that pattern did not hold for Kunzite, who apparently bribed both magic and destiny to put him a little bit closer to Mamoru.

But that's something to puzzle out later. There are a lot more marbles to get through first.

"No googling! Spoilers." He rifles through the bowl, mixing the green marbles around like he's picking a raffle ticket. He pulls one, the lucky winner, and pops it in his mouth.

A different kind of judge is staring him down now. The immediately recognizable look of a school principal looming authoritatively from the other side of a desk. He's slouched down in his chair, and his face hurts and he's /angry./

Aunt Sandra isn't holding his hand this time. She is not even looking at him. Her glare is reserved for the principal alone. "And what about the other boys?"

The principal's look is awfully condescending. "The ones he gave a bloody nose to?"

Her look is steel. "The ones who used a racial slur in reference to my son."

The principal squirms for the first time. Through his haze of frustrated anger, the smallest sense of reassurance loosens the tenseness of his fists. She didn't have to call him her son.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-05-29 03:23:48 77430
"Like googling 'Aunt Sandra' will come up with anything remotely useful," scoffs Mamoru, shifting on the couch again; he slides up so he's actually sitting on the back of it, then leans forward -- all of which he does without letting go Neph's hand.

And then there's another memorybean in Nephrite's mouth, and the images-- the event-- flies swiftly to the forefront, the prince allowed front-row seating to the replay. His hand tightens again around the bigger one, indignantly protective...

...and then Mamoru's heart skips a beat, and Neph can feel the other boy's pride in this lady and deep appreciation and affection for her swelling to burst the floodgates. It's mingled with faint confusion, though, and he glances sidelong at Neph-- it's not like these memories are happening in Japan, and Neph doesn't especially look like anything but 'not Japanese' to the boy who's never lived outside the island nation. "Racial slur...?" he asks, mystified.
Nephrite 2017-05-29 03:24:32 77431
Nephrite's free hand goes to his forehead, his face scrunching up in concentration. There's words, just on the edge of memory. He can feel the shape of them, some dark with bile and anger, others shining with pride. "Well I'm not white," he says, and it's weird to say it. In Japan he just looks vaguely foreign. Exotic but rich enough to get away with it--some European aristocrat, probably. But now a different context is settling into place in his mind. A world where he's still not part of the majority, but instead of an exotic curiosity he's derided.

"Heiltsuk," he says absently. And then he blinks and he knows what the word means. "Heiltsuk, that's my... people, that's my tribe. They're--no, we're--we're indigenous. That's it. That's what we are." He's breathless, like digging those words out from the depths of his own memory took physical effort. It's still not the name that he was looking for, but it is another name. "Like the Ainu here. We were there forever, before there was a Canada."

He laughs. "Yeah, okay, this is definitely taking too long." He digs through the bowl, and comes up with a whole handful of green marbles. "This won't give me a brain aneurysm or something right? Well either way, that's what you're here for." And if Mamoru has any protests about this, Nephrite is ignoring them as he shoves the whole lot of them in his mouth.

The memories come in rapid succession, jumbled and competing for attention. He's small and playing in the snow with his cousins, snowballs quickly giving way to just shoving handfuls of it down each other's shirts. He's on the hockey rink, the sound of blades and sticks striking ice echoing hollowly in the arena. He's learning languages--bad Quebecois French, worse German, passable Hailhzaqvla that he exchanges with his aunt and his uncle but mostly his grandmother, but he's better with physics and the language of the stars. He's learning to carve the totems of his ancestors, salmon and bears and grinning frogs, but it's the thunderbird he always wants. He's never happy with the eyes, they should feel like they're piercing into his soul. He's a teen and he's angry--always angry, always in trouble, always fighting against something he can't name, taking it out on teachers and classmates because they're the closest thing to an enemy he can lash out at. He's going in a bad direction, an officer warns when they think he can't hear. Someone his age shouldn't be running into police this much. And he doesn't care because none of it matters. There's pieces of him missing and he's given up on looking for them.

The memories cease to be distinct moments, becoming a pattern. They knit together a life that seamlessly stretches back from the present. And woven through it, there is a name. Spoken on the lips of loved ones and teachers, written sloppily in pencil on test sheets and regimentally on legal forms. Neil, Neil, Neil.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-05-29 03:26:57 77433
Mamoru goes from squeezing the bigger hand, sitting up where he is on the back of the couch and leaning over Nephrite's shoulder, to finally letting go of that hand -- but not to remove contact. It's a seamless shift from holding that hand to draping his arms over Neph's shoulders and linking them in front, the side of his head pressed against the side of the bigger boy's. Everything Nephrite's feeling and seeing, he's been feeling and seeing with him, floating weightlessly alongside and immersing himself in them, only an encouraging and rock-solid presence to keep reminding him that he's here, that they're both here, and that this is all in the context of the present -- where he has more family, where he has a love like no other, where he has his prince.

His voice is quiet, low, beside Nephrite's ear; it's as much a vibration felt as a sound heard. "Heiltsuk," he repeats, careful to make his pronunciation match. It's not in a language he's familiar with, not yet. The comparison to the Ainu makes the context snap into place, and there's shared pain and an understanding that goes deeper than the intellectual: othered, through no fault of his own, because of oppressive social constructs that make no sense and have no place in a world that should.

"Yeah," he answers softly, "it shouldn't but I'm here, I'll make sure it doesn't--"

--and then there's the flood he'd not quite braced for, and Mamoru holds tight to his friend; Endymion holds tight to his Knight. Cousins, fun, so much family. An aunt and uncle who love him like a son; another piece of context that Mamoru nearly shares, raised by people who weren't his parents but loved him like they were, in a life he only remembered recently. Languages to help understand, or as obligations, but an affinity for logic and progression and a fascination with the universe above the atmosphere-- but for Nephrite, it's not only a fascination, it's a gut-level understanding, and Mamoru's filled with admiration and pride, over and over. The search for symbols that are correct and true; the Thunderbird that they've met, that guards what's Nephrite's, that has such resonance with the girl that this boy dreamt of and that this prince adopted as his sister, as the family he couldn't have, even before he found out--

--and Mamoru tries not to feel guilty about the anger, about the fight, about the missing piece; it messed with this boy's life that he wasn't there, that he wasn't findable, and knowing what he knows about what should have been makes it not his fault; there'd been a plan and it was derailed for all of them, and that was what let the darkness in, wasn't it? The pieces Nephrite was missing-- the Nephrite that Nephrite was missing, his place in the broader reality...

...and a name, a name that fits him, that fits this boy who was also Nephrite even when he didn't know it was so. A name that's real and true, as real and true as the one that Mamoru reflexively calls him because 'Mifune Wright' isn't just funny, it's wrong. "Neil," he says, and then he almost hiccups a laugh, pulling back a little but leaving skin against skin in the hand that rests partially over the collar of Neph's shirt. "Usa trying to say it at first, oh god. You're going to sound like a jacket. We'll get you Lennon glasses. Neil. NEIL."

He's grinning, he's grinning so hard, fine features pulled into something that actually dimples. "~Neil~!" That's a bearhug, or maybe a spider-monkey hug considering the difference in build. "Mako-chan's going to be over the moon!"


It's not until later, once the enthusiasm's calmed to a dull roar, that a quieter Mamoru brings something up as he leans against his Heiltsuk! guardian's shoulder, like he did back in the palaces when Kunzite was still a rock. Like but not like. He's not fretting, not picking at the hem of a too-big ugly brown hoodie. He's just thoughtful, and maybe that's dangerous.

"The red ones," the prince says slowly. "I said you didn't have to-- and I meant it-- but you're going to, aren't you? Because of Sailor Earth. Because of the holes in our intel. Because of-- everything."
Nephrite 2017-05-29 03:29:13 77434
A bowl sits empty on the table. Nephrite--Neil Burke, Canadian, son of the Heiltsuk First Nation, nephew, astrologer, guard to his prince, and Ninja Turtles fan--is still riding the tidal wave of new feelings and knowledge, but it has settled into a pleasant internal hum now. A prince leans against him, a comfortable weight to remind him of the present he still resides in.

There are more dangerous things than the prince of the Earth deep in thought. The two of them have even dealt with some of them before. But still, all of Nephrite's stargazing should have perhaps prepared him for the question that comes. He sort of hoped that amid everything else, Mamoru would have forgotten about the red ones.

He shrugs, the movement making Mamoru sway with his shoulder. "Had to get the hardest part over with, right? Family," he grunts, as though Mamoru could not sense the absolute delight rolling off him at the recalling of said family. "I mean, I just remembered buying a Nickelback album when I was eleven. On purpose. The red stuff's gotta be a cakewalk after that."

He shoves the empty bowl over with his foot and stretches his legs out on the coffee table, one crossed over the other. "I said I was gonna eat them all, didn't I? That does mean all of them. But I wanted you here for this part. The others, well... I've got my own private island with a bottle of whiskey that's slightly older than me hiding under a tree. Seems like as good a time as any to go camping."
Mamoru Chiba 2017-05-29 03:29:41 77435
"Ass. You were afraid of the family part but man, I hope-- you feel like sharing them. I really want to meet Aunt Sandra, and I already know Mako does even though she doesn't even know Aunt Sandra exists yet," Mamoru says easily, rolling with the shoulder motion, then prodding Neph-- Neil-- in the arm. "Not sure I can forgive eleven-year-old you for buying a Nickelback album on purpose, though."

Then he's just quiet for a little while after Nephrite's not-really-explanation; he's not hiding how he feels, and there's contact. He's worried; he's not insulted, but he's fighting the feeling that he's being shut out of helping with the actual hard parts, because he knows. He knows. He knows he has to let his guardians protect him from what they can, and he knows he's still not-- he's still not entirely recovered from his own time in the Dark Kingdom, and he's most certainly not ready to process what's been done to his guys, what lengths they had to go to in order to survive, what their descents or their-- what it was like.

He knows he has to let Neph protect him. And it's a bitter pill to swallow, but he can do that. He can stop himself from making things worse for Nephrite by insisting on jumping on a grenade. And he'd so much rather he was told about it than it being kept a secret--

"Go camping with Kunzite?" he finally asks, really quietly. "Please?"

His neck cranes so he can look up at Neil's face without having to move, otherwise. "You helped me with his mind, by the door near the end there. You know he can-- he would. And it's-- literally his job, you know? The Knight of Reminding You To Fucking Take Care Of Yourself. I can let you protect me from that. But please let him protect you from being completely alone for this. Kind of like-- he can be the Fezzik dunking Inigo's head in hot and cold water buckets for you."
Nephrite 2017-05-29 03:32:48 77436
"Dude," Neph squirms under Mamoru and manages to shove his arm in between prince and couch, wrapping it around him. "You're my family. You and Mako and the rest of this collective of bad choices. Of course I wanna share the other half of it with you." He snorts. "Look, we were all very different people back then, alright? You want to tell me you had good musical taste at that age?"

There are many things that Nephrite does not remember about the Dark Kingdom. Things that, hopefully, are all locked in red gumballs in the other dish. But of the things he does, few moments are as hard to forget as desperate equations scribbled on a whiteboard. There is a line, between where he is meant to follow orders and where he is meant to guard, and it lies right between jade green and crimson.

But somewhere between those two, there are also compromises. He chews on the suggestion for a moment, before his head swivels around. "...Does Kazuo camp? Has Kazuo ever camped? Wait, if I'm Inigo in this situation, that means I have permission to go on a multi-day bender before the head dunking starts?"
Mamoru Chiba 2017-05-29 03:33:04 77437
"Except for the summer of 2014, I have always had impeccable taste in music," Mamoru sniffs haughtily. (No he hasn't, and Neph's seen his CDs. 2014 must have been epic.)

Mamoru trusts in the tensile strength of love more and more, every day-- and with every argument he and his come out of still intact, still together, still dedicated.

He won't question that line.

As long as he knows about it-- because love and trust are intertwined, but one never faltered and the other did, once, on both sides.

"Like you need /my/ permission," the prince says, rolling his eyes and slouching comfortably into that arm-around. "Ask Mako if you're looking for someone to give you disappoint-face pr exasperated looks. But I've no idea if Kazuo's camped. Kunzite did a lot. He might get weird about camping in a windy forest, but that's pretty specific..."
Nephrite 2017-05-29 03:33:43 77438
As long as he knows. Neph was only half-joking about the whiskey hidden in his palace, after all. Having all his vices out in the open is another way of keeping himself accountable. And it was not without reason that he left the second dish of gumballs visible for Mamoru to see. But still, all of that is getting by on a technicality, dodging around the promise he made to Endy and to Zoisite, that they would reach out when they need help. Neph makes a face. He's not going to get out of having a babysitter along for this, is he?

He snorts. "You say that now, but when I'm drunk-dialing you at 3 a.m. it will be a different story."

Well, his palace is a forest, wind optional. "Windy forest? So I probably shouldn't make whooshing noises in his ear in the middle of the night, then?"

He stirs, disentangling himself from Mamoru to stand. "I guess I have to start planning a camping trip for two, then. But that's later. Right now, I've got a few calls to make. There's a bunch of milk cartons somewhere with my face on them, and now I have to deprive all of them of my beauty."
Mamoru Chiba 2017-05-29 03:33:51 77439
"I love it when you drunk-dial me at 3 AM, I always record them. They make me feel loved and this is the only time you will hear me say so. Complaining is too much fun," says Mamoru gravely. And then he facilitates the disentanglement and watches Neil get up, wry look on his face. "Something bad that happened when I was eight the first time around. The tree roots were basically the ground, so when it got windy, the forest floor dropped us in a pit. It was a bad scene. But hey, it got me you guys, so I can't complain too much about it," he explains cheerfully. "Whooshing sounds will probably make him unhappy."

No, he's not getting out of having a spotter.

Then he sprawls dramatically across the couch. "They stopped doing milk carton ads before we were born, man. But point taken. Tell them I want to meet them. I mean once all the crying and screaming and overjoyed happy has calmed to a dull roar." A beat, and he looks serious. "If you want to go meet them again for the first time yourself, that's fine too. Or just with Mako, though you'd have to wait for the first school break to make it a worthwhile-length visit..."

Finally, Endy gives Nephrite a shit-eating grin. "But if you DON'T wanna, the other three can draw straws to see who has to stay home and you better believe you're getting an entourage to go meet Aunt Sandra."