Rest and Reprieve

Makoto comes by the ECFH roof, where Nephrite has been searching the skies for any explanations that the stars might offer, and they both take some much-needed time out.

Date: 2016-10-23
Pose Count: 27
Makoto Kino 2016-10-23 20:13:25 58608
She did answer his text, though not right away. She needed to cool down a bit first. So it was rather later Sunday evening, by which point Nephrite was probably absorbed in watching the stars, before her reply came through:

    TXT: sounds good. after I punch some stuff.
    TXT: sry

The mad lasts until school on Monday. The rest of the tangled feelings stick around longer. Even after she's talked things out with Usagi, Makoto still doesn't feel settled. So, as the last of the daylight is fading over Tokyo on Tuesday evening and full dark is settling, a rush of wind carries Sailor Jupiter to the roof of the guys' building, bypassing the apartment altogether in a way that Makoto rarely does.

The transformation fades the moment after her feet touch down, sailor fuku giving way to street clothes as Makoto's eyes turn towards where Nephrite's arranged his stargazing setup.
Nephrite 2016-10-23 20:40:20 58611
She was right to check here first. Nephrite has been more or less camped out on the roof ever since Faux Earth made her appearance. Opinions on the ground of the angry imposter are all over the map, and Nephrite isn't really sure what to think himself. What he does know, though, is that it's freaking out Mamoru. And maybe Kunzite? Kunzite's been more reclusive than normal lately. So if checking with the heavens will lay some of those fears to rest, then it's worth some lost sleep. Now if only these meteors would cooperate...

He's got his eye glued to his telescope when he feels the crackle of her power behind him, moments before her transformation fades. He turns to grin at her--a sleepy, distracted smile, but still glad to see her. "Hey!" He pulls some stuff off the chair beside him, making sure to drape a blanket over the back if she wants to cozy into it. "I'm glad you're here. I need to look at something closer than a billion miles away. Also prettier. How are you doing?"
Makoto Kino 2016-10-23 21:03:53 58614
Seeing his smile helps. Makoto smiles back, ruefully, one hand coming up to rub absently across the back of her neck as she crosses the roof to join him. "I'm not exactly sure," she admits. "I still want to punch that girl in the face the next time she shows up, but..."

With a heavy sigh, Mako drops into the chair he cleared for her. "It's really complicated this time, huh? What about you?" She takes a moment to look at him from the closer vantage, frowns just a little. "You look kind of tired. How much time have you spent up here since the weekend?"
Nephrite 2016-10-23 21:20:48 58616
His smile matches her rueful one. "You might just get that chance. There's still hope."

He shrugs, making a point of not glancing at the empty Red Bull cans stacked on one of the coolers left behind from the last barbecue, and instead picks up the thermos of coffee at his feet. It's still fresh, and obviously filled with cream and probably sugar as he pours out a cup and hands it to her. "As much as I can, really. I don't know if it's an urgent issue or not, but the whole apartment is spooked over it. Mamoru's freaked out. I'm pretty sure Kunzite's hiding, which is super weird. Kyouko's been over a lot for guard purposes, which is helpful."

He rubs an eye, yawning. "But I don't have much to report, except this damn meteor shower. I hate meteors, they're so capricious. They usually mean 'weird stuff is going down' but that's not really helpful. Weird stuff is always going down around here."

He settles back and looks at her directly. "But really, tell me how you're doing. The Terra Faux incident really got to you, didn't it? I'm sorry I wasn't there to walk you home right after."
Makoto Kino 2016-10-23 21:40:01 58618
The face that Makoto makes says 'bleh' as clearly as words. "Not if the prince and princess insist on playing nice." A beat, before regret and a hint of shame flash across her face. "--sorry, that wasn't fair."

Gratefully, she takes the cup of coffee, curling her hands around it and taking a careful sip. It's a good opportunity to try to sort through her feelings before she says anything else.

"Mamoru-niisan needed you more," Mako says at last. "It's okay. She just - made me so angry. Talking down to everyone like that, acting like it's her right to do that stuff. She's been in the news, you know? A girl delinquent, mugging people in the street. Half my school thinks it might be me doing it."
Nephrite 2016-10-23 21:58:14 58621
"It's okay," he says. "I get the frustration. I think I get their reasoning, too, but it's hard, just offering peace to someone who obviously doesn't care to offer anything in return. And what she did to those cops..." he shakes his head. "Even if she were exactly what she claimed to be, it still wouldn't be okay."

Nephrite's eyebrows shoot up. "Wait, your classmates think you'd do something like that? Do they know you?"
Makoto Kino 2016-10-23 22:06:19 58622
Mako's shoulders hitch; she looks down into her coffee. "There were a lot of rumors when I transferred last year. That I got kicked out of my last school for fighting, stuff like that. It mostly died off after I made friends with Usagi-chan, but..."

She tries to smile when she looks up again, but it doesn't quite work, turns into a helpless twist of her mouth. "It's not like there's a good description. A really tall girl who wears an out of town school uniform - how many of those do you know? I guess people are remembering the stuff that was going around before."
Nephrite 2016-10-23 22:19:43 58623
"Ugh, who would start a rumor like that? Want me to beat them up?" His arm wraps around her back, warm in the sleeve of his hoodie. "Okay, that would probably do the opposite of helping. But your school sucks if they'd believe that about you. Anybody who talks to you for five minutes can see you're one of the sweetest and most genuine people around. And you do also kick ass, but you've probably protected their ungrateful asses more more than once."

He kisses her temple. "I'm sorry you're dealing with that. Bad enough she's impersonating Mamoru without you dealing with the fallout of it all." He hums thoughtfully. "Maybe the news needs some anonymous tips with a more accurate description. I could put on my best innocent bystander voice."
Makoto Kino 2016-10-23 22:33:48 58624
That gets more of a real smile from Makoto, as she snuggles gratefully in against him. "It was a little better today. I think Usagi-chan yelled at some people or something. It'll die out again eventually, we've just got to make sure and deal with what's-her-face somehow or other." She's avoiding using the name 'Sailor Earth' any more than she can help.

She pauses for a little while, musing over his suggestion. "...It might not hurt anything?" she says, though she sounds uncertain. "I mean, if people knew more about what she looked like, maybe it'd be a little harder for her to find people to mug for energy. That'd be something, right?"
Nephrite 2016-10-23 22:53:09 58625
Nephrite chuckles. "I would absolutely not want to be on the receiving end of Usagi's wrath in that case. Hurting her Mako-chan? The nerve!"

He nods. "I'll check with Mamoru, but I don't think there's any reason to keep that much from the public. I wonder if snapping a few photos would be too much." His hand, still wrapped around her back, strokes soothingly up and down her arm. "Anyway, you know you've got people who know you better than that, right? So many that it's a pain to fit them all in the Earth Court. You're nothing like her, and everyone sees that."
Makoto Kino 2016-10-23 23:05:00 58626
"I do know," Makoto acknowledges, speaking more quietly now. "It helps to be reminded, though. It's almost funny - it used to be I was used to people looking at me like that, but then Usagi-chan came along. I'd almost forgotten, until this whole thing started. It's not like it was back then, though. You guys all know who I really am."

She sips her coffee, is quiet for a little while. A trace of a frown comes to her face, as though she's thinking hard. "...Hey, Neph," she says after an interval of quiet. "Can I ask you something? Honest answer." Her eyes seek his, earnest a faintly anxious. "Was I out of line back there?"
Nephrite 2016-10-23 23:31:04 58627
Nephrite pauses. "I mean, I'm probably not the best person to define what qualifies as out of line. I chucked a book at Mamoru the other day. I wasn't aiming to hit him, obviously, but that still would have been a capital offence or something back in the old days."

He takes a breath, glancing at his scattered notes and charts as though they contain some answers to this specific question. "I think, maybe, it probably hurt them a bit to hear you say that. Especially Usagi. But I also don't think you're wrong. They do throw themselves into danger way too much, especially when they think they're fighting someone that can be saved. And even though it's our job to trust them, maybe it's also our job to shake some sense into them. Or at the very least, get them to slow down and explain their reasoning so we can prepare for whatever they're getting themselves into."
Makoto Kino 2016-10-23 23:45:34 58628
Makoto listens, seeming to deflate a little as the breath go out of her. "...I could've found a better way to say it, at least," she murmurs. "Instead of yelling like that. Ugh."

More coffee, a long slow sip to let the sweetness take the bitter aftertaste out of her mouth. "I already apologized to Usagi-chan. We'll talk to the other girls and try to come up with a better plan than letting her turn herself into a juicebox." A soft sigh. "I should apologize to Mamoru-niisan, too. I'm still kind of mad at him, though."

Beat. Somewhat belatedly, she looks up with brows lifting, distracted. "You threw a book at him, really?"
Nephrite 2016-10-24 00:25:30 58629
"It was the heat of the moment. A lot was happening. You can't be faulted for coming off harsh under the circumstances. And--yeah, maybe you and Mamoru should have a talk." He squeezes her closer. "Tell him why you're mad at him. You're his sister. You know you can't stay mad at him for long."

"In my defense," he adds, "it wasn't a very big book."
Makoto Kino 2016-10-24 00:55:30 58630
"He could've at least let me hit her once," she murmurs sulkily. "Maybe it wouldn't have helped anything, but I'd have felt better."

Cradling her coffee cup in her hands, she leans fully against Nephrite. "I'll talk to him. Just wanna... figure out how to put it into words, I guess. Be a little less annoyed so I don't start yelling again. What'd he do to make you throw a book at him?" Mako can't resist asking. "Or was it just one of those goofing off kind of things?"
Nephrite 2016-10-24 01:21:25 58631
"Maybe he'll let you get a freebie in," he suggests. "You know, I'm pretty sure the official rulebook says we're allowed to punch people before showing mercy if they're rude. I think if they use civilians you get at least three before you have to be nice to them."

Nephrite scowls. Maybe Makoto cannot see him scowling because he's hugging her so close, but she can probably hear it. "It was a pun. I don't even want to repeat it."
Makoto Kino 2016-10-24 01:35:00 58632
Comforted, whether by the solidarity or Nephrite's arms around her or both, Makoto smiles a little. "See," she says, "this is why you're my favorite. I mean, that and you're so good-looking, and all."

She takes in a deep breath, lets it out again. "It sounded like he wants us to be nice, though. I can't help it that I'm not a diplomat. It's not exactly in the job description."

She can definitely hear the scowl, even if she can't see it; she winces a little in sympathy. "--that bad, huh? I won't ask, then. Was he even a little ashamed of himself?"
Nephrite 2016-10-24 01:51:28 58633
"Aw, really? I'm more than just a pretty face?"

He shrugs. "Hey, there's a place for us in diplomacy. Even diplomats need bodyguards to stand by and look intimidating, right? We give them the chance to be nice by backing up their side. Emphatically."

He pauses to pick up his own coffee. "Is Mamoru ever ashamed of a pun? Like, ever?"
Makoto Kino 2016-10-24 01:57:14 58634
Mako has to stop and consider that for a moment or two before she's forced to concede the point, more or less. "...There could be a first time?" she ventures. "It could happen."

She's blushing by this point, but she still wriggles around enough to press a kiss to his cheek. "And of course you're more than a pretty face. It's just a really nice bonus."
Nephrite 2016-10-24 02:23:15 58635
Nephrite chuckles, setting his coffee back down to wrap both of his arms around Makoto. "I'm happy my face could be your bonus." He buries his face in her hair, reveling in the moment. So many hours of silently staring at the cold stars, and she's brought him a moment of warm reprieve.

"You're my favorite too."
Makoto Kino 2016-10-24 02:36:25 58636
The sound Makoto makes is a pleased, quiet hum in her throat. "I'm glad." She shifts to set her own cup aside before she completely forgets she's holding it and it ends up all over both of them; free of the concern, she can settle more comfortably into his arms.

"Shouldn't you get some rest?" she wonders quietly, after a short space of time has passed in companionable silence. "I can't exactly promise to wake you if the sky starts doing anything, but... it's no good if you wear yourself out looking."
Nephrite 2016-10-24 02:49:59 58639
"I guess. I just keep feeling like I'm missing something, you know? Like there's something else going on and I'm just not seeing it." Nephrite sighs. "You're right, though. If something happens, I need to not be a zombie for it."

He pulls back a little. "I'll get some sleep, only because you told me to. Are you going to be okay? I mean, on top of all this, you also have a kidlet a bunch of the time. It's a lot of pressure."
Makoto Kino 2016-10-24 03:00:32 58642
"Maybe you're not missing anything," Makoto suggests. "Maybe there's just nothing there to find. I mean, if there really was a Sailor Earth and something made us all forget, the stars would have something to say about it for sure, so... maybe this just means she's bogus like we all think she is?"

He's pulled back that little bit, which just means she can rise up the short space to kiss him, quick and light. "I'm fine," she promises. "Usagi-chan and I sorted things out, and the girls have my back. The kidlet's not that much trouble." A small, playful grin tugs at the corners of her mouth, just a little. "There's no Zoisite at my place to set her off."
Nephrite 2016-10-24 03:24:35 58647
Nephrite glances over his notes again. "Maybe," he mutters. "But that meteor shower... there's something about it." He shakes his head. "Maybe it will make more sense after I rest a bit."

The kiss is quick, but still it makes him melt a little against her. He grins at the explanation of Chibi Usa's moods. "Man, that must be nice. Maybe I need to come over and see what she's like sans Zoisite."

He returns the light kiss, warm and casual. "Tell me if it does get to be too much, okay? Maybe I can't do much other than distribute hugs in that case, but I give some darn good hugs."
Makoto Kino 2016-10-24 03:32:50 58651
"It's a proven fact." Makoto tries to school her expression into seriousness, but she can't keep the affectionate sparkle out of her eyes. "You give the best hugs. But you shouldn't sell yourself short, you also play a mean game of Mario Kart."

This time when she sighs, it's a contented sound. "I promise I'll tell you. And you can come over any time, whether Chibiusa-chan's there or not. But for right now, rest, okay? You can come at it tomorrow with fresh eyes."
Nephrite 2016-10-24 03:51:11 58655
"Okay. I'll rest up, promise." He gives her another kiss and leans his forehead against hers. "Thank you for coming. I feel a lot better after seeing you. And I'll come over soon, kidlet or no kidlet."
Makoto Kino 2016-10-24 03:56:53 58657
"Good." She closes her eyes, lets her forehead rest against his. Despite the fussing at him to rest, Makoto is making no move to get up and let him go downstairs. When it seems like he's making to get up, then she'll move - until that moment, she's fine where she is.

"I feel better, too," she says softly. "Thanks, Neph."