Doctor's Orders

While recovering from being gutted on a scribble, Makoto and Nephrite come to cheer Ami up a little. Unfortunately, Ami's into some pretty deep thoughts, and neither of the stars-blessed lovers have any reason to convince her to avoid them.

Date: 2017-01-10
Pose Count: 27
Ami Mizuno 2017-01-10 02:36:15 66805
Ami Mizuno has been laid up in the Frat House for at least twenty-four hours, now. She's kindof lost track of time, but not being here is a pretty high priority, given tests are later this week and she has a lot of studying to do.

Still, there's not much she can do about it while anemic and being treated for blood loss. Luckily, there's an IV set up dripping fresh blood into her system, and she is at least starting to look healthy again.

The teen is set up in one of the spare bedrooms. Tablet in lap, she is still studying, as best she can, while tied to a bag and set in a bed. Hopefully, though, someone will bring her a change of clothes for going home, soon. Ahh! Tests are so close!
Makoto Kino 2017-01-10 02:48:55 66808
By now Makoto has been filled in on the basics of the witch encounter and the damage done. There are a few specific ways that Makoto generally reacts to stress and worry, and since the witch is already deal with, that leaves the other one - which means that Mako's been in the kitchen.

Again. Instead of studying. Everyone deals with these things differently.

More immediately, though, someone needed to make a trip to Ami's and pick up a change of clothes and a few other personal things for her, and that's not the kind of task you leave to the guys. "I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to be sitting up doing that while we're still putting blood back into you," she notes as she comes into the spare bedroom where Ami's been installed, carrying a duffel bag.
Nephrite 2017-01-10 02:59:15 66811
For the Earth Court to play host to someone in recovery is nothing new. Aside from an occasional party house, it also sometimes doubles as a hospital. Usually not at the same time. Usually.

Neph is not the resident healer, but he would be a poor host if he did not at least lend a hand and check on their guest once in a while. He follows Mako in, carrying some of her baking. He obviously helped by not eating them all before they made it here. "You can tell her that, but I can tell you from being around Mamoru that the medically-inclined ones are always the worst at taking their own advice."
Ami Mizuno 2017-01-10 03:12:18 66816
The sound of Makoto's voice brings a brightness to Ami that's been lacking since her arrival at the frathouse. She lights up like the moon, and raises her head to smile at Makoto warmly. The tablet gets discarded almost immediately in favor of opening her arms in an almost childlike request for a hug. "Mako-chan~!" she greets happily.

Hugged or not, she explains, "The medically-inclined are bad at taking our advice because we know exactly how much of the advice is overcaution for those who don't know the exact limits. I'm not straining what Mamoru-kun did, and the exercise is good for me."
Makoto Kino 2017-01-10 03:22:44 66817
The look of faint disapproval doesn't entirely leave Mako's face, but she does smile wryly in silent acknowledgement of Nephrite's point even before Ami proves it. Setting the bag down near the bed, she moves to give her friend a careful hug. "Uh-huh."

She'll let it go at that, anyway. "Man," she says as she steps back, gently teasing, "just can't stay out of trouble, huh? You barely get back to Japan and now this."
Nephrite 2017-01-10 03:38:38 66822
Nephrite laughs. "I'm sure you know this stuff better than us. But I suspect that in his case, he just forgets that self-care is a thing."

He sets the baking down on a nightstand for easy reach. If they give you cookies when you donate blood, surely you should also get cookies when you need to receive it.
Ami Mizuno 2017-01-10 03:42:27 66823
After the hug, Ami sinks back into the bed properly, like a good patient, with only a little bit of a grimace. The excitement at seeing Makoto fades, and she closes her eyes, softly sighing to herself.

"Mom's not happy I'm here," she notes. "I told her I was spending the night with a friend to study ... not exactly a lie, but I'm so tired of lying to her."

A brief smile touches her face at Nephrite's explanation, but she doesn't respond to it right away. Instead, she opens her eyes again and looks at him for a moment, curiously, then asks, "What's it like?" A pause, then she realises he's probably not going to know what she means so she elucidates, "Having spent so long ruled by darkness, and now ... freed. Do you regret what you lost at all? The power, the opportunities ..."
Makoto Kino 2017-01-10 03:57:51 66827
Mention of lying to Ami's mother gets a sympathetic and faintly guilty wince from Makoto - sympathetic because she can well imagine how difficult it must be to keep coming up with excuses for things like this, guilty because, well... "I'm sure the guys will have you fixed up well enough to go home soon," she assures, more from a wish to encourage Ami than from any notion of how quickly she can expect to recover. That's something Ami probably already knows better than Makoto does.

At the question posed to Mephrite, though, Makoto falls silent, eyes widening into an uncertain deer-in-headlights look. Like she wants to say something to that, but at the same time, it's not at all her question to answer. Almost instinctively, she reaches to place a hand on Nephrite's arm.
Nephrite 2017-01-10 04:28:07 66832
Nephrite pauses at Ami's question, his characteristic smile fading. Makoto's hand on his arm is warm, steadying. His other hand comes to rest over it. "What's it like? It's... " he casts around for words, finds a chair instead and pulls it over to sit down in it. "When I was under the influence of darkness, power was the most important thing to me. It twisted all of my other desires, it made me do things that were... " he glances up at Makoto. She knows.

"But I wasn't powerful," he says flatly. "Yeah, I could make terrifying monsters. I could overpower a good number of magical people. I secretly had half the city's business community eating out of the palm of my hand. But that wasn't power. I couldn't think for myself. Every decision I made, every action I took, it was always shaped by something I couldn't control. Like something was always restricting my thoughts, building a fence around them. I couldn't fully feel any emotion that wasn't somehow tainted by something darker."

His dark eyes are burning bright now. "So do I regret it? I can't even... I made a youma to make me forget. I wanted to forget, even then, so many things about myself. That's how I survived." He shakes his head. "There's nothing there to regret leaving. Now that I'm out it's like I finally know what living is. There's nothing that could make me want to take all this back."
Ami Mizuno 2017-01-10 04:34:58 66834
The explanation is more-or-less what Ami had hoped for, but it's clear from her expression that she didn't quite think it through. As uncharacteristic as it is for Ami not to think something through, perhaps she can be forgiven since it's related to people--an area Ami is traditionally not great at.

Nevertheless, she winces a little and offers a quiet, "Sorry. That wasn't ... a fair question. But thank youf or answering anyways."

She sighs again, then explains, "Takashi and I had a fight on New Years' Eve." A pause before continuing, "It's not his fault, really. I don't think it was related to the dark energy, anyways. He wanted to ... to ..." she trails off, blushing a little as she looks away from them both.

"It's stupid," she mumbles. "You guys kiss. Mamoru-kun and Usagi-chan kiss. Even Naru-chan and Kyouko-san," she mumbles softly. "But I couldn't," she says, looking back to Makoto, now. "And I want to blame the dark energy. I want to say it scares me, and that I want him to put that aside, first. But I don't even like it when he hugs me. And I don't think I'd like it if Mamoru-kun did, either. Nor any of you," she notes to Nephrite. "But when Mako-chan shows up, all I want is a hug from her, or from Usagi-chan or Rei-chan. I love hugs. I love touching. But not from Takashi. Not from any boys. And I feel like ... something's wrong with me, because I can't even hug my own boyfriend. And it's not that I'm into girls--I mean maybe I am, but it's not that I'm not into boys, because I am. I just .."
Makoto Kino 2017-01-10 05:13:32 66843
Once Nephrite is sitting down, Makoto shifts herself to lean her hip against the side of the chair and curl her arm around his shoulders, squeezing gently in reassurance. She stays silent as he talks, as Ami does, bright green eyes tracking from one to the other in slowly-growing consternation.

As Ami's voice trails off, Mako glances down to Nephrite for a moment, then back to Ami again. It takes her a while to come up with much of anything to say.

"Well," she says at last, slowly, still half trying to get her thoughts in order, "to start with, it's not stupid. And," her mouth tightens a little at the corners, a familiar look of disapproval creeping into her expression, "I don't think you should be letting Agera off the hook saying it's 'not his fault' that he got mad and picked a fight with you because you didn't want to kiss him. It doesn't matter what anybody else is doing, only a dirtbag keeps pushing it when a girl says she doesn't want to."

Mako stops herself there, clearly reining in a few other choice opinions on the subject of Takashi Agera. "--but okay," she says, "you said it's not just Agera. And it's not just about boyfriend-girlfriend stuff, either." She falters for a moment, glances to Nephrite again, clearly at a loss for how to approach this problem. "There isn't any guy you can think of who you'd want to be hugged by?"
Nephrite 2017-01-10 05:29:18 66847
Nephrite's passion can be a palpable thing when he's fired up. It's good that he's sitting down, not looming, when he speaks. It's not Ami that he's angry at, and she hardly needs to be yelled at when she's in bed recovering. He takes a breath at her apology, dialing it back. "It's alright. It's... not exactly a secret."

He leans his forehead against Makoto's side, letting her ask this next question.
Ami Mizuno 2017-01-10 05:34:40 66849
Ami looks to Makoto, but not her face. It's the place where she's leaning on Nephrite that she looks; her hip and her arm around his shoulder. It's that very contact she's talking about--that contact which elludes her.

"He didn't get mad and pick a fight," Ami says quietly. "He felt hurt and went to deal with that on his own," she defends quietly. "And if he weren't overwhelmed by dark energy I would have let it end at that; given him his space. I can't afford to let him do so alone, though. Not when he's so overwhelmed by it." She frowns a little, then admits, "It's not healthy that I can't trust him to deal with his emotions safely." Yeah, that would kinda be the point Makoto was making when she told Ami not to date him inth efirst place.

"But it's not that I don't want to be hugged by guys," Ami notes quietly. "I want to feel comfortable with Takashi hugging me. And I desperately wish ..." she trails off, then sighs and looks away again. "I wish my father would hug me, especially when I'm hurting. Like right now.

"I don't think I'd be able to let him do so, though," Ami says softly. "It's not rational. Whenever a guy gets close like that, I wind up with this overwhelming, senseless tension. It's not ... normal. It feels wrong. But I can't stop myself feeling it."
Makoto Kino 2017-01-10 05:57:06 66851
Once again, Makoto hesitates, and this time she bits her lip in silent internal debate, not sure if she should say what she's thinking or not. Eventually, though, honesty wins out over tact, and Mako lets out a quiet sigh. "Don't you think maybe part of the reason you're not comfortable with Agera hugging you or trying to kiss you is because you can't trust him? Because it's not actually him you want to date, it's the guy you think he could be if you can get him to give up the dark energy? I know I've said it before, but..."

But this probably isn't helping. She subsides for a moment, leaning in against Nephrite a little more without even thinking about it. "I don't know, Ami-chan," she says, in a tone that sounds like an apology. "Maybe... maybe you're just not ready?" It sounds weak, even to her own ears.
Nephrite 2017-01-10 06:14:27 66853
"No, it's... probably not healthy." Nephrite agrees. "If you can't trust him with that, what can you trust him with?"

His voice turns softer. "Maybe it is because it's him, and you feel anxious because you don't fully trust him. Maybe you haven't found any guy that you do trust like that." He shrugs. "Or maybe you don't like guys like that. That's okay. It doesn't have to be rational. Sometimes people aren't."
Ami Mizuno 2017-01-10 06:23:53 66854
Ami purses her lips almost petulantly, for a moment, then frowns and looks towards Makoto again. "Those are almost the same words I used with him," she observes. "That I'm not dating him because it's better right now; I'm dating him because I believe it will be better later, once he's ..." she trails off, then motions towards Nephrite weakly, as if that explains things.

"I don't know," grumbles the bluenette. "Maybe you're right. Maybe I'm not ready to be dating anyone. Except ... I like the way being with him makes me feel when he's not trying to touch me. I like going out for dinner, discussing scientific discoveries, playing chess, and comparing notes on projects. I like when he brings me presents, although I wish he'd do it more privately. I really enjoyed ice skating, despite the mess we made of it. I just ... don't feel comfortable touching."
Makoto Kino 2017-01-11 02:33:53 66960
Makoto tries, really she does, but she can't entirely keep an exasperated look from coming to her face. "Well," she says bluntly, "whatever you told him, from what you're saying it sounds to me like he didn't get the memo. And I still think dating the guy because you're hoping he'll change is a terrible idea, anyway."

She stops there for the moment, grimacing a little. Her hand brushes along Nephrite's shoulder as she pulls herself away from him to go sit down on the edge of Ami's bed. "I'm not trying to make this another argument about Agera," she says in a softer tone that more or less papers over the whole collection of 'buts' left hanging by that statement. "This sort of thing is tough, Ami-chan. I don't really know what to tell you... except that, you know, what works for you doesn't have to be the same as what anybody else is doing. Does it?

"I mean--" Mako cracks a lopsided half-grin. "--you're not me, or Usagi-chan. You're you. So there's no sense in thinking that you should be okay with Agera kissing you or whatever because of anything Neph and I do. Or Usagi-chan and Mamoru-niisan." At this thought, Mako pulls a very wry face, eyes glittering with humor. "Definitely don't try to copy Usagi-chan and Mamoru-niisan; those two are a little too much for me sometimes."
Nephrite 2017-01-11 03:00:09 66964
Nephrite nods along with Makoto's explanation. He could say a thing or two about what he thinks of Agera, and about the likelihood that he'll change any time soon. But she's surely heard it all before, and it probably should not come from him. The mention of Usagi and Mamoru earns a smile. "I don't think anybody could keep up with those two. They're in their own class." He stays in his chair--if any guy getting too close is cause for anxiety, then better to maintain that cordial space--but leans forward to rest his elbows on his knees. "But intimacy shouldn't be something you feel pressured to have. Not by him, or by society's expectations. If it's not pleasant, then don't do it. Find your boundaries and don't let anybody mess with them."

He smiles. "I mean, you're good at that, right? You figure out how things work. The laws of biology or magic or whatever. Don't worry about whether your boundaries are going to change down the line. Just establish where they are now, and let yourself have them for as long as you need them."
Ami Mizuno 2017-01-11 03:04:41 66965
Ami considers the advice quietly for several moments, then frowns just a little, but nods. "Okay," she says, accepting it when it comes from both of them. "I'll try. But it's not going to make him happy. But I guess ... if he can't respect it then maybe we shouldn't be together. The reasons for it are so thin, anyways ..." she trails off, then closes her eyes again.

"Everything's become so complicated, with him. When he's helping people--when he's willing to put himself to harm for others--he's the most beautiful man I've ever seen. Like when we went to D-Point, I kissed him myself. I wanted to kiss him," she explains. "But now that we're back ... I feel like he's backslid so far from that person. That he's not even trying to be someone I can love."

She opens her eyes again and looks to Makoto worriedly, "It's okay. You can say it."
Makoto Kino 2017-01-11 04:07:56 66984
Errrrgh. If facial expressions alone could make a sound, that would probably be what Mako's face is saying right now. She hesitates, dithers, looking around the room at nothing... but, well. Might as well drop the other shoe, huh?

"I get it," she begins, eyes darting toward Nephrite again for a moment. "I really do. But I still think being his girlfriend in order to try to save him is wrong. I think those are two different things, and you can't do both at the same time. Or at least you shouldn't."

As she speaks, Makoto's gaze drifts downward, and unconsciously she reaches up to rub at the back of her neck. "Being with someone like that, as a girlfriend or whatever... you've got to be able to trust the guy. If he won't respect how you feel when you say you're not okay with something - if he tries to push you like Neph said - or if what you love about him his more about what you want him to be instead of what he is - that doesn't work. It isn't right. It isn't fair, to you or to him."

She draws in a quiet breath before she looks up. "Usagi-chan probably wouldn't agree with me about this, or Mamoru-niisan either. And maybe you should be talking to one of them about it instead of me. But I don't think you can nice somebody out of the darkness." She's meeting Ami's eyes now, steadily. "Love, yeah. You have to love them at least a little. But hugs and trust and acceptance and not judging aren't going to do it. You've gotta be ready to beat the crap out of him if you have to, to stop him when he crosses the line. There's gotta be consequences."

She stops there for a moment, just to breathe out, and this time when she glances toward Nephrite there's a shadow of an apology in her eyes, at odds with the tightness around her mouth. "When Neph was with the Dark Kingdom," Makoto says quietly, "once I knew who he really was... I wanted to save him. You know how much I did. There were times when I looked at him and I somebody I really wanted to be closer to, just like you were saying. But we were still enemies. What we have now - that came after. And I'm not - I'm not saying it's the only way, I just--" --she's fumbling now, ducking her head as words fail her-- "--I don't see how you can do both, and not get messed up trying."
Nephrite 2017-01-11 04:41:57 66995
At Makoto's apologetic glance, Nephrite gives the faintest nod. Even as he shifts uncomfortably at the topic, finding the pattern of the blanket at the foot of Ami's bed fascinating. "After Usagi burned the darkness out of me, I didn't have the expectation that Makoto would want anything to do with me. After everything I did under the Dark Kingdom, she'd have every right to want me out of her life, and I'd have to respect that."

He sighs. "I don't know what the answer is, but I think Mako's right on this. You can't hang a relationship on who you hope someone will be."
Ami Mizuno 2017-01-11 04:54:16 67002
Makoto doesn't say it, which somehow makes it worse when she explains her point again, as if Ami weren't painfully aware. And it's all the worse because she's starting to think Makoto might have been right.

A soft sigh escapes her lips, and she lighs back against the pillow, closing her eyes again. "Yeah," she says quietly, "maybe you're right." Maybe.

She leaves it at that, not arguing the point. Instead, she mumbles, "Do you think it's worth it, to try and see my father? I keep hoping he'll come, every time he says he will. He said we'd go to the marina for my birthday, this year. I went without him, anyways."
Makoto Kino 2017-01-11 05:05:30 67009
Guilt swamps what remained of Mako's resolve; she winces a little, head hanging so that she ends up peeking at Ami half through her bangs. 'Sorry' wouldn't help at this point - she meant everything that she said, anyway - so instead of saying it, she leans toward Ami enough to reach out and gently pat a hand over her friend's hair.

At the question Ami poses, Mako sits back again a little, brow furrowing in concern and contemplation. "...I don't know if it'll help anything or not," she admits eventually. "But it sounds like a better idea to me than waiting for him to show up." A brief hesitation, and then-- "Want me to go with you, if you do?"
Nephrite 2017-01-11 05:12:57 67010
At this point, any further comments by Nephrite feel like an intrusion on their conversation. He sits back, for once the quietest person in the room.
Ami Mizuno 2017-01-11 05:13:46 67011
"Yes?" Ami replies immediately, then winces and shakes her head, "Maybe ... no ... nevermind," she mumbles, and sighs. "It's a stupid idea. Thank you for bringing my clothes. I should probably get some rest."
Makoto Kino 2017-01-11 05:17:16 67014
"Good idea," Makoto agrees with a small, affectionate smile, as she gets to her feet. Stepping back from the bedside, she offers a hand towards Nephrite as though in invitation. "We'll let you get to it," she tells Ami. "But I'll be here if you need anything, okay? Just take it easy for a while."
Nephrite 2017-01-11 05:20:24 67016
Standing, Nephrite takes Makoto's offered hand. "And eat those cookies," he tells Ami as they step out. "Doctor's orders."