Structurally Sound

Nagihiko and Kukai meet with Sailor Mercury for help. By which we mean, Rhythm REALLY wants to pet mooncats.

Date: 2017-05-03
Pose Count: 23
Nagihiko Fujisaki 2017-05-03 02:19:15 75653
Nagihiko may as well be forcibly pulling Kukai along. "When we're done here I'm gonna sit on you until you fall asleep." And of course, pulling someone forcibly meant bumping into other people, which led to little squeaks as Nagihiko pressed against Kukai for a second or more before he became increasingly frustrated with himself and it was a vicious cycle.

"Is she here? I don't--What does she look like?"

He should have asked for a picture. Would Mercury show up to a place like this?

Mercury must be a very hot place to live being so close to the sun.

Dammit. Maybe this was why the tour was cancelled.

"Is she here? Short blue hair? Is that her?"
Kukai Souma 2017-05-03 02:23:37 75655
Kukai is practically staggering at this point, following in behind Nagihiko. The exhaustion is evident in his movements. Still, he rallies and manages to follow the purple-haired boy into the Crown. "I... uh. Jeez. I don't see her. I mean..." He rolls his eyes. "I mean, maybe I do, but she was in disguise at the time. Maybe she's up at the roof or something. Or in the back of the arcade. Where..."

Kukai sighs, rubbing his head. "All I know is that she wanted to meet us here. I..." He looks at Nagihiko for a second. "I don't know. I just don't. She might have blue hair but..." He scans the Arcade again, trying to keep a yawn from his throat, just barely.
Ami Mizuno 2017-05-03 02:34:39 75658
There's more than one girl here with blue hair, although they're less common than other hair colors. Probably because the hair color just isn't that common. But none of them--not one!--looks like Sailor Mercury, to Kukai.

This is probably because Sailor Mercury isn't actually there, right now. Instead, Ami Mizuno is seated in a corner, sipping on a cola and reading a book. Lying down on the table before her is a black-coated cat, purring gently as Ami strokes her fur with one hand. The pair are definitely not here for the video games.

It is, ironically, the cat who notices Kukai and Nagihiko, nervously searching for Ami. Luna opens her eyes to peer around, then noses Ami's hand. "Ami-chan," whispers the cat, "your guests are here."

Ami glances up over her shoulder, then nods her head and scoops the cat up into her arms. She dumps her book in her leather tote bag, then carries the cat over to the Sailor V video game. While others are playing, she quickly runs her way through the levels, and opens a doorway into nowhere. Very few seem to notice the doorway--something about it just seems to distract them from watching.

But to Nagihiko and Kukai, it is very clearly visible. Especially to their charas.

With the doorway open, Ami darts quickly inside, taking Luna with her, and transforms into Sailor Mercury. At most, they'll see a glimpse of blue hair disappearing down the passage before she's out of sight. But maybe that will be enough to encourage them to follow her in.
Nagihiko Fujisaki 2017-05-03 02:42:43 75659
It's Rhythm who notices them first. Actually, it's the cat he notices first.

He's tired and has little bags under his eyes because Nagihiko's been needing him more and more, but that's okay because he's helping! He tugs on Nagihiko's sleeve. "I want to pet the kitty."

"Hmm, what?" Nagihiko looks up and tilts his head in some confusion.

The door opens and...Nagihiko thinks skipping the whole meeting thing is a good idea. Before he can say anything Rhythm is off, dragging Kukai's chara along with him. "C'mon, Daichi! There's a kitty!"

Nagihiko's grip on Kukai tightens as he goes after the chara. "Wait, no!"

He's on the stairs leading down before he can think any better of it and the door closes behind him before he can try to run.

Rhythm, however, has snuggled up against Luna's side, humming and rubbing his little face against her shoulder. "Such a pretty, pretty kitty. If you scratch me, it'll be worth it!"

Because this isn't the first time he's snuggled random cats. And most of them have scratched him.
Kukai Souma 2017-05-03 03:13:15 75664
Daichi blinks, looking over at Rhythm from Kukai's shoulder, as he sees Rhythm tugging at Nagi's sleeve. "Kitty?" Rhythm blinks and then yelps as he's yanked away, zipping off towards the kitty! "Hey!"

Kukai swears, just a little, and with nerves and stress energizing him, follows after Nagihiko and Rhythm and Daichi. "Hey, where are you guys going?! What kitty?" He dips into the staircase just in time for the door to slide shut behind them, then blinks at Nagihiko. "... Uh. Is this... where we're meant to go?" He looks around inside the room, a little surprised and amazed, as he sees Rhythm snuggling in against the strange cat. "...Well, let's try it. ...Mercury? Are you here?" He seems to be ignoring the cat, though...
Ami Mizuno 2017-05-03 03:14:41 75665
The stairway seems to lead down into nowhere, descending through the depths of brilliant stars. And at the bottom, a wide open platform made of some strange blue material that looks something akin to plastic.

And there, seated at a very confusingly futuristic computer, is Sailor Mercury.

She smiles when the pair finally come into view, then stands and bows to them just a little. "Hi," she says, welcomingly. "Welcome to the Command Center of the Sailor Senshi."
Nagihiko Fujisaki 2017-05-03 03:19:50 75667
Nagihiko just sort of stares for a moment. Then he blinks. Finally he manages to get something out. "Is this structurally sound? A giant cavern place beneath a building?"

Rhythm pops up into Mercury's view. "Hi!" His arm waves about a million reps per second. "Hi, hi, hi! I'm gonna hug your face! I have given you warning! I am improving as an individual!"


"What is your kitty's name? Why is this place so big? Are we inside the video game? Is it like that Police Box on that one show? Does your computer have any games?"

Nagihiko's face burns. "Rhythm..."
Kukai Souma 2017-05-03 03:53:43 75672
Kukai just looks at the starry staircase, heart beating hard. That looks a little scary, honestly. The fact that there's a platform at the bottom with Sailor Mercury sitting at it doesn't help much. Oh well.

Kukai lets out a breath and returns the bow from the staircase, looking at Mercury as he and Nagihiko descend towards Daichi and Rhythm, who're both taken with petting Luna. "Ah... Hiya, Mercury. It's.. nice to be here." He looks over at Nagihiko, then nods. "Aah... well, I suppose we go on down."

Kukai keeps a tight hand on Nagi's arm as they walk down, thinking. "So... I assume you have some information for us about the Twins, Mercury?"
Ami Mizuno 2017-05-03 04:04:50 75674
Luna seems entirely pleased with Rhythm's affections, and is happily purring under his attention.

As for Sailor Mercury, she looks just as pleased when Rhythm turns that affection on her, even reaching up to gently hug him with a palm to the back. "Hi," she says to Rhythm, then gives him a wink before looking at Kukai and Nagihiko. "Well, I have a little bit of information," she admits, "but I mostly thought we should start answering the outstanding questions."

Here, she turns her attention directly to Nagihiko, then admits, "I wish your other half was here. Both of you need to answer this question for me. But getting even one of your answers is a good place to start. Nagihiko-san," she says quietly, "Souma-kun has told me the truth of your past, and what's happened to you now. I know this has unsettled you significantly, but it's very important for me to know: how do you feel about this?"
Nagihiko Fujisaki 2017-05-03 04:35:09 75679
Nagihiko's face burns brighter as he gritted his teeth. He knew Mercury knew, but hated knowing she knew. It is an awkward thing to many people, being told that the pretty girl over there is a boy.

He starts at the question. He looks up at Kukai before turning back to Mercury. How does he feel?

"Like I've been ripped in half. That a lot of things that made me me are walking around in some other body. And things are trying to heal but there's just these gaping..." He trails off for a moment, looking at his hands as they made a wide 'o.' He looks back up at her suddenly. "My tour was cancelled. I'm a dancer. I can still dance but it's not there. That spark? That's her. And she can't, because my parents don't know. And her balance is off. Officially, Nadeshiko Fujisaki is facing medical issues. But really? My parents think I'm going fucking insane and they're right. So that' I'm feeling."
Kukai Souma 2017-05-03 05:03:03 75682
Kukai nods, then ends up looking around for a place to sit, giving Nagihiko and Mercury a chance to speak. "Well, anything's better than nothing." He finally squats and sits on his rear on the platform, looking up at Mercury and the computer.

He can hear Nagihiko's teeth grinding and rubs his chin, then shrugs at the question. "Well.. how -do- you feel?"

Kukai had known about the tour, but maybe not directly from Nagihiko. Still, it hurt him to hear Nagihiko's pain. One hand comes up from the ground to pat him gently on the hip.
Ami Mizuno 2017-05-03 05:15:28 75685
Mercury listens with an unjudgemental expression. She's certainly not going to mock Nagihiko for any of it. Instead, she just nods her head faintly, then offers, "That sounds miserable. I'm sorry you've been put in such a horrible place. I can find you the card that did this to you, and we can undo it. But there's a very important question that I need you and Nadeshiko to answer before I can do so: if given the choice to remain separate, and work out what it means to be two people instead of one, would you take it? Or would you prefer to be reuinted with your other half, and made into one whole person again?"
Nagihiko Fujisaki 2017-05-03 05:28:17 75686
His hand slips over Kukai's and he conveniently forgets to let it go. Comfort in contact and all.

The answer to Mercery's question comes to him immediately but he catches himself before answering. He is the one who thought things through, after all.

Would he want to remain seperate? If they could somehow stop the encroaching insanity? Would he be happy with that? Would he prefer that?

He glances down at Kukai as Future Possibilities, up to and including some weird form of polyandry, filter through his mind. Wait, polyandry isn't the right word. It would be something else.

No, focus.

Frustrated, he shakes his head. "I want to be me. Who ever this is, and whoever she is, we are not me anymore. Even if you could fix our heads, who we are at the core would be...gone? Hell, the only thing either of us agrees on is this one here." He shakes Kukai's hand a little. "But at least together we have the inner conflict we're supposed to have and not what...whatever this is."

He's still frustrated and whispers down to Kukai. "Is what I'm saying making sense? Are my thoughts being caught?"
Ami Mizuno 2017-05-03 06:15:40 75687
"Alright, then," Mercury replies with a faint nod. "I need to hear that from Nadeshiko, as well," she notes. "Right now, even if you don't feel like two separate people, I have to treat you as such. But assuming Nadeshiko agrees with you, which I'm sure she does, then I'll make the necessary arrangements to find the card, and figure out how to put you back together again as quickly as possible. Finding the card won't be the hard part. It's active in the city; I can trace the magic. Undoing its effects will be slightly harder, but we'll make it work."
Nagihiko Fujisaki 2017-05-03 06:24:36 75688
His shoulders droop as his head falls back and there's the beginnings of a laugh that if it went on any longer would very well be described as crazed. "Not the hard part..."

He takes a deep breath and snaps his head back up to look at Mercury. "So you can track them. It's something you can do."

Well, there's something good that comes from finding out their fruitless searches were done in vain. He cups Kukai's chin and leans over him. "Hear that? This means we can sleep for a week. And by we, I mean you, and by sleep, I mean sleep. I'll get you some comfortable jammies and a nice warm bed, set up some whale music, make you tea, even play with your hair..."

And then he remembers the first part of what Mercury said and he looks up at her again. "I can give you her number. Best not leave a voicemail and just text if she doesn't answer. She never checks those things."
Ami Mizuno 2017-05-03 06:38:31 75689
"I can," Mercury replies quietly. "And I would like her number, if you are willing to give it. B ut even better woudl be if you contact her and give her my number. That way she can reach out to me. Even if you knew me in your merged life as a guardian, I don't want to impose on who she is now. "
Nagihiko Fujisaki 2017-05-03 06:46:59 75690
He rubs the back of his neck for a moment. "Yeah. That works. But just in case because you never know?"

He squats down to use Kukai's shoulder as a writing surface. He pulls out a scrap piece of paper from his pocket, a crumbled up reciept most like, and a pen from his jacket because who doesn't carry around a pen. He scribbles for a moment before he stands back up and holds it out. Two numbers, both their names. The handwriting, at least, stayed the same during the split. It's nice and flowy and more femenine than most guys write.
"And, you know, thank you? I don't think I've said that yet, but I thought I had. So yeah. Thank you."
Kukai Souma 2017-05-03 06:47:32 75691
Kukai squeezes Nagihiko's hand, patting at his hand and then nodding a little. "I.. yeah. That's why I've been fighting so hard. I know you feel like this isn't you. So I wanted to help you. And I don't want to lose you..." He sighs and stands, hugging Nagihiko. "It is. I think Nadeshiko would say the same things too."

Kukai looks over at Mercury, then snorts. "... Finding the card isn't the hard part...?" He sighs and rubs his head. "I... man, the past month... I guess so."

Kukai nods. "Yeah. Well. I gues you call Nadeshiko and... see what she has to say." The idea of sleeping for a week emits nothing from Kukai except a giant yawn and a lean against Nagihiko...
Ami Mizuno 2017-05-03 06:50:41 75692
Sailor Mercury shrugs, just a little. "The cards have a unique energy signature. If they're active--which it must be for it to still be affecting them--I can find it," she promises.
Nagihiko Fujisaki 2017-05-03 06:58:08 75693
"Oh, and don't tell her what I decided before you get her decision, because she might be stubborn about things because she's a jerk." He covers Kukai's mouth with his hand. "Yes she is, your bias doesn't count."

It's important to note that at some point during all of this Rhythm fell asleep snuggled against the pretty kitty.
Ami Mizuno 2017-05-03 07:14:44 75694
"Of course not," Sailor Mercury says with a chuckle. "Her decision should be her own, uninfluenced by what you've decided. That's the entire point." Then, she stands and stretches out her palm, forming a bead of subspace there. It spreads outwards until it is a tunnel, leading back to an alley near the Game Center Crown. "Here. This will take you guys back out. Please have her call me soon. I'd like to help you resolve this as quickly as possible."
Nagihiko Fujisaki 2017-05-03 07:17:51 75695
Nagihiko steps forward to retrieve the charas. He offers Mercury a small smile and nods. "I will. If she doesn't, call me? I'll make sure she does."

When he reaches Kukai again he presses his hand against his forehead then his cheek. "Come on, sleepy. I'll sneak you into the attic if you want."

He's hesitant but if he goes through the portal they'll be in the alley and that's another step closer to a comfortable bed.
Kukai Souma 2017-05-03 07:19:28 75696
Kukai stands and nods. "Thank you Mercury. It's... well. You've been a big help. and maybe we can get this straightened out. See you soon, I hope." He hugs Nagihiko again and then yawns. "Attic. yeaah.. sleepy. Mmph." His feet drag slowly towards the portal as he keeps his eyes open with effort.