One Hundred Percent Beam Free

Minako asks Kunzite to catch her up on the Situations that most need tracking. ... She's got a couple of situations of her own to address. Only one of them is Daisuke's.

Date: 2017-03-25
Pose Count: 27
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-25 20:35:16 74073
Saturday, March 25. This is an Important Day. Why? Because for the girls attending Seishou and Seiyou, namely 'all of the Senshi except Rei,' it is the Last Day of ninth grade.

When the next term opens in April, they will officially be high school students.

For the Shitennou, clustered around Mamoru in Infinity, the Last Day was yesterday. Which may, given their degree of delinquency, explain why even in Saturday afternoon the public areas of Mamoru's apartment are ... kind of quiet. Mamoru is undoubtedly indulging Usagi in something probably involving chocolate; the other miscreants are liable to be either still asleep (yes, now) or possibly nursing headaches; the guests are likely enough avoiding finding out which.

Which leaves Kunzite, who is too old to be graduating from anything this weekend, doing quiet household chores: picking up and folding a stray blouse and skirt that was inexplicably (to anyone who doesn't know Ayana) abandoned in the living room, checking on the well-being of the rosebush on the balcony and making sure its view of the city is uninterrupted, going over the kitchen's stocks and double-checking that the washing-up and putting-away that Unmei did after her last cooking lesson resulted in things both clean to Makoto's standards and put in the right place.

It's still his ancient job, in essence. It's just that Mamoru's security involves a lot less 'organize military forces' and a lot more 'oh god that is a lot of teenaged girls' than it used to.
Minako Aino 2017-03-25 20:49:40 74074
    Minako Aino uses the door like a normal person today! She doesn't knock like a normal person- she just opens the door, walks in closes and spreads her hands out and sings out, though not loudly. "I'm hereeeeeee~!". When there is no rancous appluase back she hrmphs and begins searching the apartment after leaving her shoes by the door.
    Oh look, a Mural. That's a pretty mural. She only stares for a second before she peeks into the kitchen and finds Kazuo, alone, apparently cleaning. Let's see, splay out on the door frame all enticingly, or just approach. Decisions decisions. Oh. She'll just barge in like always.
    "Hi, Kazuo!" she says. "Wow, is everyone out and about?" she says as she looks around.
    "There's like a big mural out there I didn't see! Have you seen it!?"
    Kazuo lives here, of course he's seen it.
    "How are you doing?" she asks, placing her hands around her back and clasping them.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-25 21:03:11 74075
Cabinet: closed. List: set down on the counter, and turned away from, because there is a Blonde in the doorway. Kazuo bows to Minako, straightforward; he's dressed the way he was the last time she saw him -- white shirt, sleeves rolled up and top button undone, jeans, the same earrings as always. "It's an important weekend for most of them," he says. "Speaking of which. Congratulations on your graduation." At least, he presumes she's in the same grade as the others. If not, hey, it's still a graduation of some sort.

He glances outward past her, to Mamoru's living room. Has he seen the mural? "Now and then," he says. "Mamoru commissioned Usagi's friend Naru to paint it; she spent most of the fall working on it, off and on. We needed to renovate this part of the place anyhow; Riventon made a dark-energy duplicate of Jupiter, and fighting it in here last summer did a fair amount of structural damage."

He has no idea whether Minako knows yet that 'Riventon' means 'that guy that Ami is dating off and on.' Either way, well, Jupiter's eminently reasonable grudge is something Minako might need to know about.

Her last question prompts a little twitch upward of his eyebrows. "Well-behaved," is the answer he gives her. "So far, at least. May I get you anything? Given the timing, I'm afraid Kino-san's been concentrating more on schoolwork than on stopping by to cook, but some of the storebought baked goods might have survived last night."
Minako Aino 2017-03-25 21:20:03 74076
    Minako Aino answers fast. "Cookies. If there is any." she says. "It doesn't matter if they're not homemade" she almost sings. Because sometimes mass produced confectionary is just what the doctor ordered. Just sitting there eating an entire box of chocolate chip cookies. Lord knows she's ended many nights the past year face buried in one of those and also waking up in it a crummy mess.
    Minako seems aware of Riventon, because Ami made her aware, but she didn't know some specifics. She blinks. "Wait. What? Ugh. Why did he do that? Was Ami-chan dating him at the time? Was tha the first breakup!?" a pause. "Did Ami-chan try shooting lasers at him? I found that worked well."
    "Oh, thanks!" she finally catches up. "Yup! Graduated! I go to Seiyou though." she says.
    She slides a little closer to Kazuo. "Uh. Thanks for the White Day gift. By the way." she grins cheekily. "Considering I wasn't even here on Valentines!" she says. "Also yeah I noogied Artemis until I told him who sent it. He gave in. Eventually."
    "They always give in. Eventually." she says forebodeingly.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-25 21:39:23 74077
Cookies. One of the advantages of being ridiculously tall is that only Nephrite can easily raid the things Kunzite caches on the top shelves. (Okay, Nephrite and Zoisite, but (a) that's because Zoisite cheats and (b) Kunzite keeps a separate cache for him anyhow so it doesn't happen that much.) Kunzite investigates said supplies, and duly a few moments later Minako is presented with an unopened box of delicate chocolate cookie sandwiches, rich enough that he turns to heat water for tea to go with them without either of them saying a word on the subject.

"I believe that was during the first breakup; Riventon tends to have a few pent-up ideas to go haywire on when he's no longer committed to being well-behaved for Mizuno-san's sake. Also, I'm under the impression that he decided to blame Makoto for Mizuno-san's decisions."

(There's a pattern there, somewhere, of when and for whom he uses family names instead of personal. Usagi is Usagi, apparently. Makoto -- Daisuke told Minako that Makoto was teaching him to cook, and he was talking about her in reference to the kitchen; she's senior to him in that context. The moment the topic changed, the name went familiar. Ami ... Ami is 'Mizuno-san' even when they're talking about her dating habits. That's different.)

"There was an attempt to shoot lasers in the moment, yes, but one of Riventon's employees pulled him out of the target area. I'm not sure precisely how they reconciled after that one, and can't testify to the amount of laser involved." He might be joking, on that part. Just a little. There's a glance stolen sidelong at her while he's less dealing with the tea than pretending to --

-- Minako's closer than he expected to be focusing on. Hm.

"You sent cookies," he says in that typically grave tone. "It was the first opportunity after Valentine's. So it seemed reasonable to decide it counted."

There may be a private rule of thumb there, that it is always the safest course to decide in the direction that sends Minako presents.
Minako Aino 2017-03-25 21:56:43 74078
    Minako shares a few things with her cat in that if you look away for a moment suddenly she's practically right next to you. She nods a little. "Yes. That was completely as planned.". no it wasn't.
    "What decisions? To not be a huge tool of darkness?" she says. "Yeah that sounds about right based on what I know."
    She crosses her arms. "Right so! Mamoru tells me you know what's all been going down or been keeping track of things. Can you tell me what's been going on? I'm pretty sure we can help handle some of things." she says.

"Oh! I checked up on Aspiclaptus!" she says. "Oh right. Daisu." she says. "I should stop trying to pronounce the other name. I keep getting it wrong. I gave him back his diary thing. Because you know, he obviously isn't a dark agent by now." she says conspiratorily a bit- like the idea was still on the table until this moment.
    She begins to eat cookies. She doesn't seem to mind the richness. She is at least not eating them by the handful and stuffing the into her mouth.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-25 22:02:41 74079
Not be a huge tool of darkness. Given who she's talking to --

-- well, no, actually, Kazuo does the opposite of taking offense; he turns his attention firmly to pouring tea, yes, but there's something about the corners of his eyes that has something at least in common with the idea of smiling.

"I'd be pleased to," he says, offering her a cup, or possibly just setting it down by her hand if need be. "But there's a fairly long list. Is there any area you'd prefer to start by focusing on? Or shall I list out the ongoing issues I know of for you, and you can pick whichever catches our attention?"

His head tilts a little to one side as she mentions Aspiclaptus' name. There is no smile. There must, very carefully, be no smile. Not this time. Fortunately the next topic makes that a little easier. "Dai's been catching a little attention himself. Did he mention that the self-proclaimed Sailor Earth stopped by to talk to him?"
Minako Aino 2017-03-25 22:37:27 74081
    Minako knows exactly who she's talking to.
    She takes the cip of tea and places it down onto the counter as she eats another cookie. "Hrm. Stuff that you feel needs more attention first, or you can just start rattling things off." she says. She removes a little tape recorder. The tape recorder has a little construction paper white cat head on it. This is substitute Artemis. She's getting ready for when Kazuo begins to talk about things. She presses the button when he does.
    "Huh? No he didn't!" she thinks back. "Oh. That does explain why he entered on high alert when I forgot to lock the door though. He kind of slammed it into my face because I was hiding behind the door?" she asks.
    "Anyways. No, he didn't. He talked about some other things." she says.
    "Oh! Does he have a thing for her!? Is that why he didn't tell me!?" she says with wide eyes at the apparent scandal.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-25 22:58:16 74082
Substitute Artemis it is. Kazuo doesn't actually ask whether Minako wants to go sit down; he does glance toward the living room, but there's counter here, and he is as usual as comfortable leaning against things as in any other situation. His own cup of tea he takes a sip from, in the time-honored 'not only did you see me prepare this, I did not prepare it from anything pre-spiked with poison' gesture, then cradles it between both hands. Which at least keeps his hands too busy to react to that last question. "I hope not," he says. "I ... very much hope not. Apparently she tracked him down on campus, and was unstable but conversational at him; she agreed to let him try to look into the problem she claims to have, but gave him no information that would actually be useful to do that with."

There's a little tilt of his head again, this time in Minako's direction. "Interesting points: she continues to claim she is an original whom Mamoru -- rather, whom Endymion -- somehow replaced; she says that she does not have full memories, but has feelings triggered by context; she says that she felt and was drawn to Dai as someone from that time period. Daisuke says that being around her felt a little like being around Mamoru, but off somehow."

His frown down at the cup intensifies, just a little. "Which I believe resolves the question of whether her story is the actual truth. For various reasons, it can't be. I can't yet rule out her being honest to the best of her knowledge, but mistaken, or deceived."

For various reasons that he is conveniently not looking at Minako while talking about. There is an elephant in the room and its name is probably Beryl.
Minako Aino 2017-03-25 23:26:08 74083
    "Like this is nothing against Daisu, but the fact she could pick out someone who is practically just the doctor and not any of the big main court does give credence to something, but the fact she 'feels wrong' gives credence that something else is at play." she taps her foot a bit in thought. Big overtures are made to prove it isn't poisioned. She seems to notice and appreciate but she thinks it's unnessacry. Kunzite isn't a big ball of hate and wasps or something anymore, right?
    She sips her tea as she thinks on this. "I'll get together with Daisu and we'll go on... a detective adventure! I'll put a little bowler hat on him and he will be Wastson I will be Venslock Holmes."
    "Well. If she is honest then it means she just thinks she's right for reals as opposed to lying. Which still makes her wrong. I mean. I know Mamoru is 'The Prince', Usagi knows he's 'The Prince' and you definitly know he's 'The Prince' and we're all very sure it was even a 'Prince' and not a 'Princess'." she says.
    "So she's wrong we just need to figure out why that is." she says. "Maybe she's an old Dark Kingdom plot that got out the last few months? Does anything like that sound familiar to any of you?" she asks.
    "What else is going on?". She looks to the tape recorder to make sure it's still recording. Good Sub Artemis. Good boy!
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-25 23:52:12 74084
"The Dark Kingdom plots only involved one cloning adventure that I know of, and you already know about that one," Kazuo says. "Which is how we can be certain that our memories weren't rewritten, no matter what she claims. I already interfered with the bond between Mamoru and Usagi, to convince her that he was dead. If that bond were the false one, Usagi should have been drawn to this Sailor Earth. She wasn't; it was always Mamoru. I didn't think of that last fall. Not till Dai told me about this last meeting."

The temptation to send Daisuke a bowler hat without explanation is suddenly unreasonably high. Kunzite is not generally one for pranks. Minako is a terrible influence.

He draws a breath, and considers the possible entries on the list. Also known as 'any other subject' -- it's not that he's fleeing that one, it's just that there's no reason to linger. He will tell himself that as much as he wants. "Other reasonably high priorities. Hana Shiroi and Madison Perry. Miss White of Witchhunter Protective Services. Sakura Kinomoto, or more accurately, her damned cards. There's a wide spread of slightly less urgent matters, but those seem to be the ones most liable to turn into disasters."
Minako Aino 2017-03-26 00:10:08 74085
    Minako listens and nods. "Yup. That's the truth. So she's wrong. She just thinks she's actually right." she surmises.
    That's enough of that then. She takes in the list. "Hana Shiori is that White Flower girl right? Madison Perry helps her. Okay I know that one I think..."
    "What's going on with Miss White, now?" she asks. She taps her chin, makes a note to ask 'runa'runa about it.
    Ugh what's with this draw to dating villians she thinks as she looks at Kunzite then immediatly thinks 'nevermind'.
    "Sakura Kinomoto and cards?" she asks. "Please don't tell me there's an evil card game. I can only handle so much stupid." she urges. "Yes I do have a limit. It's just very high." she asides slyly.
    "Just give me the cliff notes of each of those. Feel free to also name off the other stuff if you think it needs at least a check into." she says.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-26 00:35:12 74086
"Thinks it, or lies convincingly," Kazuo says. "Dai thinks she's not intentionally lying, but I'm not clear on his reasoning." ... he is not going to put more syllables than that into Dai's name because of the risk of platypus. Ducking the entire topic means that he never has to risk his sanity on trying to explain how to pronounce Asclepius.

Topic swapped. To ... Madison Perry and the White Flower, when Kunzite-under-Beryl and Sailor V ran into each other first over Madison Perry. Oh boy. "Right," he says. "I dropped most of what I know on HeartNET, after the young king let those of us interested in. Not everything's there. Usagi's friend Naru has been intermittently in contact with the White Flower. They talk about art, and power, and the ethics of using art as power. Naru told us about the contact voluntarily and without having been presented with evidence we already knew about it. So the contact isn't affecting her too badly at present. Still. If she drops out of sight, that'll be a sign that something's happening there. Since she's dating Kyouko Sakura, we'll know in a hurry even if school is out."

He glances Minako's way again, and buys a moment's time with a sip of his tea. "Miss White," he says, "was doing ill-advised experiments with grief seeds, and managed to infect a part of herself I don't quite understand -- she calls it a Linker Core, it seems to be effectively a manifestation of her magical essence -- with witch energies. This is not public knowledge. What is public knowledge is that, in an attempt to figure out how to fix herself, she started targeting other Device-using mages and stealing their linker cores. Apparently it's temporary for them. It's also been temporary for the other person I believe she's taken magic from, but crippling during that time. That's not necessarily going to be true for everyone; it seems likely to be deeply unfortunate if she tries the trick on a Puella, for instance. In the mean time, her condition is degenerative. So.

"Sakura Kinomoto is a ten-year-old girl who can tame certain bizarre and anomalous spirits that manifest, when tamed, as cards. She's building up a collection. Her having the collection is not the current problem. The problem is that, until tamed, the cards are wild; they like using their powers, and they like pulling pranks. So we've spent the last few months with a small epidemic of bizarre magical manifestations that we haven't been able to do much about, other than frantically try to bandage the symptoms until we figure out it's one of the damned cards and get someone in to deal with it.

"She's not the only one who's been able to do it. Mercury was trapped for several days by a card that generated extradimensional mazes around her; when she worked out the exit, the card went to her instead of to Kinomoto. Riventon is actively collecting the things, also, and my understanding is that under some circumstances he can take them from Kinomoto. This is temporarily better than having the damned things loose, but a terrible idea in the long run.

"Cards that are loose and active right now, as far as I know, include one that swaps people between bodies -- Kinomoto may have managed to catch that one, I'm not sure -- and one that split the one of the Seiyou Guardians into two people, neither of whom is functional. Which, according to Sky Jack's recent post, might be a terminal condition if they can't find the damned card and get the problem solved."

Sometimes the Cliff Notes are not entirely short.
Minako Aino 2017-03-26 01:34:24 74088
    Minako Aino takes this all in. She listens, but she also has the tape recorder running if she needs to re-review later. If Artemis was here, he'd be commiting it to Mooncat memory for her. "Okay." she says.

"So Hana and Naru are buddy buddy and if she dissapears we'll know sooner rather than later. Are you sure she isn't being affected?" she asks cautiously.
    She sips her tea. "Miss White is trying to fix an infected linker core by stealing others. Well. That's a bad thing." she says. "Hrm." she seems to tap her bottom chin in thought.
    "Oh, so spirits are lose and she turns them into cards to contain them but others can do it too if they... beat them or something?" she asks with confusion as she scratches the side of her head. "Also, Riventon wants them too. Gee. I'll try to meet with this Sakura then. Does Gully know about Miss White's condition? If she doesn't, I wouldn't wanna be the one to spill the beans asking her some more about it- and maybe I can talk to Naru about what she knows about Hana so far then." she thinks.
    "I'll bring this up to the others, we're due to a serious meeting soon I think anyways! Senshi bussiness! The best bussiness!" she says. "Not during the fun meeting I think Rei-chan is having soon. I won't be a fun meeting then!"
    She reaches over and picks up the record. "This was on March 25th, 2017, don't forget future self! Tell me if jet packs exist yet, okay!?" she says into the recorder as she shuts it off and repockets it.
    Why did she cut it off? Well she has more personal things to talk about now. "So about Daisupus." she says. She added that last bit on purpose. "He and I spoke about things! I asked why I didn't see any sign of him here the few times I've visited." she says. "annnnnnnd he said he fells a little bit like an outsider. I mean. I get that and all. He isn't like you guys?" she says. "But that's not the full reason, I don't think. He said he feels like a failure because he failed to help the alien guy who had the thing for Mamoru? He said it felt like his fault he wasn't able to do anything and felt like he would be blamed n' stuff. I also told him that I thought that was silly and Mamoru and Kunzite and the others wouldn't think that and he said he knew but that it still didn't make him feel any better about it." she nods.
    "He also said that he was lonely living alone in the dorm. Since I did a lot of homework on him when Mamoru and Usagi wanted me to keep tabs on him to make sure he wasn't secretly working for the Dark Kingdom- I knew his family and all lives in Tokyo. Apparently his family decided he should live away from home because a lot of his family doesn't respect his decision to be a vet instead of what he called 'a real doctor' or something."
    "And apparently he's been having trouble on the romance front a lot. Like he thought he met some guy, Kukai? But it was his chara making the intrest and so it was a big let down for him."
    "Anyways, he knows I'd tell someone because that guy is a /reaaaaal/ stepford smiler type. I think that guy could manage to smile through the Apocalypse and still feel scared and devestated inside and be afraid to let anyone know cuz it'd make things 'worse'." she says making quotes with her fingers.
    "Kind of reminds me of Mamoru's whole mask speech to me. Anyways." she says.
    "I can try to solve some of these problems for him. Like. I mean I'm not dating the guy." she shakes her head. "But I can always look for other people who feel terrible living alone too and solve both problems, and I /am/ the goddess of love and beauty." she insists egotiscally at the end. "-and I have some ideas to help his self esteem too."
    "But the rest? I think it means more if it's coming from you and Mamoru."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-26 01:57:37 74090
Is Naru being affected? "She told us voluntarily," Kazuo repeats. "She didn't tell us immediately, no, but she told us before it became an issue. And Kyouko's close by her daily, and knows the signs of Witch influence; and if Kyouko were biased enough to overlook it, Kyouko has a sister, and Momo Sakura would start asking questions before it occurred to her it might be impolite. So -- it's a risk, yes. But it's one that's being watched for, and one that she's aware of. I think it's a foolish risk, but Naru owes no fealty; we can't just tell her 'no, don't do that.' And from her perspective ... the White Flower is the only other person she knows who can turn art into reality."

That last sentence may cast a whole new light on the mural in the living room.

"Gull knows about Miss White, yes," Kazuo says. "There are a fair number of other ongoing problems -- Naru's ex-boyfriend Alexis Raskoph having been turned involuntarily into an energy vampire, for one, but he's coping with that as well as is actually possible. The ones I listed are the ones that seem most likely to go bad."

Her shutting off the recorder is noted; the change of subject prompts him to push off the counter a little and turn to face her, setting the tea aside.

"He has an open invitation here," Kazuo says quietly. "We've reminded him of that nearly every time we've seen him. And Fiore -- none of us were able to help Fiore, not like that. Daisuke was able to keep him alive long enough for Fiore to be called back to himself, to shake off the thing that was controlling him. That's no small achievement. Dying as oneself, clear of shadow, able to start anew without the corruption -- that's a priceless gift. I'll tell him that to his face, if he needs that."

(The reason he knows that goes unmentioned-but-unfortunately-obvious, and for that reason he's glad enough that she went on to talk about the dorm.)

"I'm not certain what we can do, beyond telling him that, and keeping that invitation open. It's not -- Jadeite is the one of us who understands people best, in some ways; and while we're all still walking wounded in some capacity, Jadeite's the slowest to make visible progress. I can't send him to deal with people yet. Nephrite's the next after, and Nephrite being helpful --" There's a little flick of Kazuo's hand, vaguely indicating Nephrite's height, and implying his size, and further implicit in that his capacity for bulldozing straight through people like an enormous but incredibly cheerful ox. "There's a certain extent to which we've been watching him, yes. But there's only so much that can be done for someone who doesn't want help. Perhaps his talking with you is a signal that he's coming around. We'll try again."
Minako Aino 2017-03-26 02:26:30 74093
    Minako Aino smiles. "I think there's a difference between... not wanting help and not wanting to be a problem. I dunno which is which but it sounds more like he felt he'd just be burden to do that." she says. "Yeah I'd tell him that much. The other stuff. Like I said. I dunno. I told him he needed to take a break from his usual stuff but he told me he just started one. So I take full credit for him taking a break anyways!"
    "Also I...may-have-stormed-out-of-his-room-in-an-attempt-to-make-it-look-like-he-liked-he-had-a-thing-for-girls-in-cosplay." she says in quick speech. "So, ya know if he complains..." she practically sings out.
    "So that's it then for bussiness from me..."
    Then a pause. "Wait. What. Vampire!?" she says with wide eyes. She walks to the freezer and begins digging around in it fussily as she takes a frozen steak out of the freeze and stuffs it into her jacket. She walks back and nods. "I'm ready for vampires now." she says. "I have a steak for the heart."
    She seems SUPER SERIOUS when she says this.
    "Uh. How'd he become a vampire? Is there a master vampire? We should probably kill the master vampire." she asides.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-26 02:47:31 74096
Things very, very few people in this lifetime have ever seen: Kunzite reduced to staring at someone for a couple of seconds, then slowly, slowly bending his head to lower the upper half of his face into his open hand. (In fairness, part of the reason few people have seen this is that his hair tends to fall forward too and provide a blank white screen, but that's not a big part of the reason.)

"If you give him that kind of steak," he says at last, faintly muffled, "he may think you're proposing a dinner date."

He straightens afterward. "All right. Cliff Notes. There was a girl a couple of years younger than you and the other Senshi. She fell foul of a cursed necklace; it turned her into an obligate energy vampire and removed her ability to feel positive emotions. After several months of flailing panic and the discovery that if she didn't feed she turned into a feral monstrosity, she started managing this problem as responsibly as she could manage without actually committing suicide. This is distinct from her actually being harmless or good, yes. But she takes steps to minimize the harm she does. Technically, she works for Riventon, but her primary work is essentially 'monster ecologist,' and she sometimes shares notes or coordinates efforts with us.

"She and Raskoph were both present for a youma attack. Alexis, being a bright young idiot, tried to fight it despite having no power. It gave him a mortal wound; he wouldn't have lasted long enough for her to find a healer and get them to the site. Somehow -- she does not know how, and did not intend to do this -- in her desperation, she managed to give him a measure of her power, and that kept him alive. She does not appear to have any direct control over him; he appears to be doing his best in turn to minimize the damage, including taking pains to take energy only from criminals or volunteers. It's presently uncertain whether anything can be done for either of them; if so, he may be a better candidate, since the thing doesn't appear to have physically changed him to the extent it has her."
Minako Aino 2017-03-26 02:59:24 74097
    Minako seems to take this as a source of pride that Kunzite is facepalming. She is almost beaming with pride.
    Which is a lot different from beaming with lasers.
    She does seem to somber a little. "Oh. Well hrmmm." she taps her bottom lip. "Okay so. Don't...stab her in the heart with a steak?" she asks. "I'm a little confused here now." she admits.
    "Monster Ecolgist? I knew it..." she narrows her eyes.
    "I knew Greenpeace was up to no good but nobody believe me! WELL HA!" she says. "I HAVE PROOF NOW!"
    "EAT IT INSPECTOR!" she says pointing off into the distance towards the balcony.
    Then she pauses. "Okay. So. You guys are more trying to reverse the condition then or what?" she asks.
    "How is he different from the other girl then?" she asks.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-26 03:12:48 74099
The worst part at this point is that Kazuo cannot in fact protest that Greenpeace is not in fact connected to monsters. Because one does not ask Jadeite about Pokemon Go.

Instead he draws a careful breath, finds something fascinating in the far wall about when 'WELL HA!' hits, and manages to hold his breath long enough not to make a strangled noise. At least most of the stare-at-Minako time again is when she's pointing toward the balcony.

He might still be a little wide-eyed when she looks back, though.

Reach for tea. Yes. Swallow of tea. That swallows any urge to make incoherent sounds, too. "I'm not actively involved, there," Kazuo admits. "I have to be a little careful dealing with them; Mamoru and I both have certain qualities that make us particularly attractive victims. Lacrima -- the girl -- is stable enough that she's taken steps toward reclaiming her original identity. Alexis is occasionally in contact, but mostly he's out playing loner vigilante. Mercury's been able to get some information out of him, and she's doing some analysis, but there isn't much to go on. I monitor the situation when I can, and transmit some information.

"As for the differences ... Alexis doesn't appear to have as many abilities as Lacrima does. Lacrima had physical changes; hair color, eye color. Last I saw, Alexis didn't look different. So whatever the condition is, it doesn't seem to be affecting him as much."
Minako Aino 2017-03-26 03:50:21 74104
    Minako Aino turns around to see Kunzite wide eyed. So of course she leans in. "You know it's impolite to stare are pretty girls." she winks. "Not that you need permission from me or anything~ Just noting~" She leans back with another wink.
    Minako has finished most of her tea and the cookies have been well dug into between listening and between being outrageous. She does grow more serious as she listens.
    "Well. That's good that she's trying and she knows theres problems. Still sounds like we're gonna punch each other eventually. Both of them. I think I'll keep the steak just in case." she nods in repetition.
    She then nods. "Anyways...."
    "How about a date sometimes soon!" she brazenly asks.
    Because this is the perfect time and moment to, surely.
    "One Hundred Percent Beam Free." she says. Because Kunzite doesn't need anymore of those in his diet.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-26 04:01:28 74105
"Inevitably, sooner or later," Kazuo agrees. There will be punching. There will especially be Jupiter punching, because punching is one of the things Jupiter does. Nor does he protest the steak. He's a little afraid of what she's going to do with it, but worst-case scenario, Artemis will probably lament about it to Mamoru and then he'll hear about it second- or third-hand --

Wait. What did she just say?

-- no, rewinding and thinking about it didn't actually change it any.

He hesitates, but it's not the 'looking for an escape route' hesitation. And it's not panic, because the teacup is not broken, either in his hand or on the floor. "You know about the situation," he says quietly. "That I'm already involved. With complications. You know that's not something I can or will back out of; they're my people, and I can't let them down. I'm not sure if you've thought about that. Or if you know that I'm older than I look; when Mercury solved the ghost-in-a-rock problem, her solution cut five or six years off my physical age.

"That said --" Another hesitation, a briefer one this time; and he admits, "I'd like to find out what happens when we're not talking about work."

(Trying to stage-manage other people's lives counts as work.)
Minako Aino 2017-03-26 04:33:31 74109
    It is now Minako Aino's turn to lean against things as she listens with a raised brow and just a slight smile.
    "I'm aware." she says. "Of whatever Ami called it. Because yes! Ami-chan did tell me about the... um..." that serious look totally goes away a moment. "Rhombus!"
    "Yes, she told me. And I am still asking." back to her somewhat serious cool tone. "Nor am I expecting you to drop anything or say anything and if you need to talk to them that's fine~. Maybe I just wanted to see what would happen if I did ask outright." she grins, a mischief sparkle in her eyes.
    "I know Ascelpius is very good at listening even though he lights up like a red Christmas light when talking about some stuff!" she says. Also. She perfectly pronounced that name. Which probably means she's been bungling it on purpose. Because of course she is. "He suggested that I shouldn't care about the age thing." she asides. "I don't think he knows about the other stuff because I know what should actually not be blurted out counter to popular opinion somtimes." she whispers the last part.
    "We all have duties first. I know mine, even a little more than before. That will come first. Princess first." she says. She grins and places a finger to mouth in a shushing motion.
    "Let's start with that." she says with a little grin.
    One in a million. For sure.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-26 04:42:48 74111
About that part she whispered? Kunzite will never tell. Mostly, granted, because the people he might have already have that faith.

Also, 'rhombus' is a surprisingly good term for it, really.

"Princess first," Kazuo agrees, that much not shushed. "For all of us, now." Now that they've finally found a way to fall into alignment. The boys following Mamoru, as the Senshi always followed Serenity, and now Usagi -- and nothing in the world now keeping Mamoru from following the brightest of the stars in his sky.

Duties first. But it's easier when the highest duty is the same.

He doesn't say anything else out loud. He only puts out his free hand, the motion kept where she can see it and kept slow enough that she can intercept or flit out of the way if she chooses to, and touches her nearer arm. Not with any purpose. Just because there's always that gut feeling, no matter how inaccurate it may be, that if someone that he touches is solid and warm and breathing, he can't possibly just be in a dream.
Minako Aino 2017-03-26 05:12:24 74115
    Minako softly holds out a hand because she wants to make sure. Double sure that yes, this isn't a dream and he's alive because maybe she didn't get a good enough test last time with all the people over the other side of the room gabbing and rumoring.
    Then her expression grows a little more soft. "I'm still glad that everyone was able to save you the other guys, you know. I mean. I was afraid I'd have to kill at least one of you all over again. And I know what that would had done to Mamoru if it came down to it."
    Then more sad. "I'm sorry I couldn't be a part of what brought you back to having a body." she says quietly. "I was away still. I know you don't hold it against me." no 'but I wish you would', which probably means she's serious. "But. I can still wish I was there." she says. "I'm allowed that." she smiles just a little bittersweetly.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-26 05:31:20 74117
The cup (still surviving) is set aside, and Kazuo covers her hand in his. Then brings the other one up, layering hers between his in what may or may not, for her, be an unexpected reminder of the cookies. Not a tight grasp, no. Just close. Close enough that she can feel a hint of his pulse in the artery that runs up into his thumb.

Real blood, now, not the too-bright memory of it. Real skin, calluses marking out the completely mundane practice he puts in for swordwork. His nails aren't all the same length. There's a scabbed-over scratch on the back of one knuckle. Little details that tell a body real and lived-in apart from one constantly held together by force of will, constantly forcing it back into the conformation with self-image.

"I'm glad you didn't have to," he says, quiet. "For as much as I'm glad you saved me the first time. I'm glad you didn't have to do it again."

Then the sadness shows, and he lifts a hand to touch her cheek, gentle, cautious. "You can wish," he says, low. "And I can tell you that, in a fashion, you were there. Not in a way that let you see it. But when Nephrite worked out the influences, the configuration of planets and stars that gave Mercury her window of opportunity ... Venus was one of the anchors that let it work at all. That drew light in. That held on to the past, and brought it forward into the future -- not confining it to the old mistakes, but creating the chance to do something new. Something no-one could ever have guessed at, before."

He tips his head down to look at her, pale hair falling across his forehead and nearly shrouding one eye. "And I can regret that you weren't there to see it. And be glad that your spirit was there. And still, to my shame, be relieved that you weren't inspired to call me a Chia Pet for the rest of my life."
Minako Aino 2017-03-26 06:06:38 74122
    Minako is somber as Kunzite speaks and she lets him speak and he talks about how she was there in spirit. She still wishes she was there in person and about to belay as much when Kunzite penultimately ends 'and I'm glad you weren't there so you couldn't call me a chia pet for the rest of my life'.
    That somberness goes away as she just begins to giggle, and giggle and she just leans into Kunzite. "Ohhh god. Now I won't just because you said it first." she laughs and just lets herself rest there for a moment and just lets herself feel that warm touch.
    "I think I better go. That steak is starting to defrost." she insists, as she gently and almost hesitantly pushes away. It's more like 'Artemis said to be back at a certain time for work' and he isn't catdad but it's important she keep schedules now. "Also Artemis is gonna be so mad if I'm not home to feed him? You think a talking cat would had learned to order a pizza by now or something shessh." she says with a grin.
    " me when it's a good time. Okay?" she asks more pleadingly. "Or I'll keep trying~" she sings out mischiefously.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-26 06:14:26 74123
Warm touch; warm arm falling loosely around her shoulders, letting her lean and rest and be easy for a moment. He does have a heartbeat now. She can hear it, when she leans the right way.

He doesn't fight it when she pushes away. (When the butterfly lands on your hand, the worst thing you can possibly do is make a grab for it.) "He could probably order the pizza," Kazuo muses instead. "It might be opening the box that gives him trouble. That usually wants thumbs." Claws can be substituted for thumbs with some things, but not so well with cardboard.

The pleading tone wins another glance from him, and quicker words, once again. "If it takes a little -- it's not because I don't want to. Our guests are fragile, sometimes, and timing matters. But you matter, too. We'll find a way to make it happen." That's a promise.

Fortunately she already repocketed the recorder. It can't be forgotten.