In Which Our Heroes...

...discuss matters over coffee that should really involve a bunch of other people. But as alike as Koji and Mamoru seem to be, it's a -VERY- good thing that Kunzite is around to try and keep the sanity on a reasonable keel.

Date: 2017-06-07
Pose Count: 21
A Siberian cat 2017-06-07 03:09:28 78062
It's evening, a bit after the rooftop conversation had left one person present leaving in a bit of a hurry, but around the Earth Court Koji tends to act in spurts. But since Gullwing is close, and it's a Tuesday, he resumes his normal schedule. Which in this case has his homework spread out over one table, and his phone out and playing some remixed jazz into one earbud in.

A message pops up on his phone, getting his attention to read, and he types something quickly back before swiping it away once more and going back to where he seems to be making very little progress in getting through math. Thankfully there is a fresh cup of coffee next to him that smells of caramel, and a sweet roll beside.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-06-07 03:23:06 78064
"--like him," comes a familiar and faintly peevish voice from the door as it opens, chiming to announce new arrivals to the coffee joint.

Mamoru Chiba's back is pushing the door open, and he's giving Kazuo Takeba the evil eye as the latter follows him in. He's wearing a gently ugly tweed blazer over a Threadless t-shirt and skinny jeans, and his shoes probably cost more than a semester of textbooks; his glasses, he shoves defiantly up his nose, and his hair looks like he's spent a couple of hours making sure it looks like he woke up that way. "Anyway I'm thinking about asking Naru if I can borrow her pen, maybe I can sneak in if I'm unrecognisable--"

But then they're inside and the college freshman's giving the place a cursory once-over, and he spots Koji at a table with homework and homework facilitation. He grips Kazuo's arm. "I want a coffee flavored thing with chocolate and caramel," he demands under his breath, then brushes his fingertips against the taller boy's hand as he drops his arm and heads for Koji's table, then looks over his shoulder at the homework. "Oh right, do you want help with that?" he asks cheerfully.
A Siberian cat 2017-06-07 03:30:40 78066
Looking up from his homework as the voice filters through one ear, Koji reaches over to tap off the music and then roll his headphones up into a neat wrap. They go around three fingers, and then into a small leather case, zipping it up before he finally says to Mamoru, "Oh, hello Mis-... Chiba-san." Skipping the americanized honorific he was using previously, proof he's learned or remembered at least a little.

On his phone, the image blips away, and is replaced by the face of Tyrfing, who texts onto the screen so that no one can hear it, <<Turn me around to face him.>>

The young man sighs and turns it enough so that the feline face is going towards where Kazuo is currently ordering coffee. Now that the table is set, as it were, he closes a couple of the books to make space for their coffee, and shifts his own closer to him, "I'll be fine... with the homework, that is. I'm sorry I missed you earlier today." But the question he WANTS to ask sort of hangs in the air.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-06-07 03:32:34 78067
"Yes. The world in general and I in particular demand unreasonable things from you far too often." Kazuo is dressed as Kazuo has been dressed, so far, everywhere but the hospital. "Did I remember to tell you I sentenced Kyouko to team sports? And that I'm considering making Neil organize them? You are not allowed to break either ankle if he demands ice hockey. The pen's a good idea." The chocolate and caramel, maybe less so, but Kazuo inclines his head to Mamoru and detaches to fetch it anyway.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-06-07 03:39:45 78069
"...I can't tell if you're being sarcastic," the prince tells Kunzite, eyes narrowed. But then the ninth-grader at the table is greeting him--

"Silvia-san," Mamoru says, straightening, face mild and pleasant, but honest delight at the honorific dancing behind his eyes. "And Tyrfing-san, hello. It's okay, I was doing stuff. And then taking a nap. And then doing other stuff. But I'm here now, and I hope you're not wishing you'd kept missing me," he teases, but only a little.

Glancing over his shoulder at Kazuo-at-the-counter, he calls, "Break my ankles or his? Because if he tries to make me play ice hockey without a cape, his are in jeopardy."

But then he looks back down at Koji and tilts his head a little, jamming his hands in his pockets. "You're looking at me like you want to ask something. You won't get an answer if you don't."
A Siberian cat 2017-06-07 03:48:11 78071
The lack of sleep being suffered by some shows on his face, but Koji also has that 'soldiering on' expression under it, showing more in his eyes. He closes up another book, and settles it into a neat pile to one side, each topic in the order that he takes them in school. His hand rests atop it a moment as he considers the weight of the question. Still stalling, he takes a sip from his coffee, and then closes his eyes while swallowing. Eventually though, he has to look back up, "I'm... not sure if I should ask what's on my mind, Chiba-san."

Another sip from the coffee, and he settles back slightly.

Tyrfing on the other hand texts out, <<Hello, Sir. You're looking well. That's the thing you say in places like this, right?>>
Mamoru Chiba 2017-06-07 03:54:20 78073
Mamoru's eyebrows lift, and he finally pulls a chair out at the table and drops himself into it, so he's not overwhelmingly tall and somewhat rude. He gives Tyrfing a quick, crooked smile, fleeting and amused, but not in a mean way. "Yes, more or less. Thank you. You're looking a little two-dimensional, but I'm pleased you can both participate in conversations."

Then his ocean-eyed gaze falls back on Koji, and his smile's even smaller, but it's equally real, and even-- gentle? Possibly affectionate. "If it's something I can't, or won't answer, I'll tell you so, and I won't be offended either way-- and I'll do my best to give an answer."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-06-07 03:59:17 78074
A cup whose contents are invisible underneath whipped cream and chocolate shavings is set beside Mamoru. There is probably a several-to-one sugar-to-caffeine ratio in play, there. Kazuo inclines his head gravely to Tyrfing, seats himself at the most convenient-for-the-nonphysical remaining location, and keeps his own cup (black, unadorned, boring) between his hands as if he were feeding off the heat more than the coffee itself.

Given what Norie said, maybe that's true.
A Siberian cat 2017-06-07 04:03:23 78075
Inevitably, it feels like social pressure having both of these two here, and Koji cannot seem to must up the ability to speak for a little bit longer, which leaves it to Tyrfing to 'talk'. On the screen, and under his visage, the words appear on the smartphone's small screen, <<We're sure that you've been told about Koji's plan by now, but we didn't completely say why.>>

As if he can hear what the Device can say, Koji looks down in his coffee with half-n-half and caramel, a little bit of cinammon on top, contrasting with both the other young men's choices before he says, "What... are all of you?"
Mamoru Chiba 2017-06-07 04:22:02 78079
Glancing toward Tyrfing, Mamoru shakes his head. "I know there's a plan and Kunzite doesn't like it, but he doesn't like most of my plans, either, so..." He shrugs and takes the cup of what's basically hot ice cream and pulls it toward him. There may be coffee in it but he's not calling it coffee and anyone who does is a liar. "Probably start with why and I'll catch on."

Then he blinks at Koji, and reaches up to rub the back of his neck, and glances aside at Kazuo for help. "Uhh... I'd love to tell you that," he says to Koji, "but I don't think I have the answer you're looking for? I'm-- the reincarnated Crown Prince of Earth, and the Shitennou-- my knights-- the guys and Kyouko-- are my guardians, and we're all part of what I think is probably the planet's magical immune system. Uh-- Kazuo thinks I'm actually Earth. In some ways. Maybe. Like I said, I really don't entirely know? But what we do is definitely related to what the Sailor Senshi do, and they're all planetary guardians--"

He trails off, then says firmly, "Except Sailor Earth. She's a fake, and also a jerk."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-06-07 04:31:46 78081
Kazuo's eyebrows twitch upward, and he glances from Tyrfing's display to Koji and back again. "I don't know all of the details of what you have in mind," he says to Koji, "so I preferred not to relay them until after we'd had the chance to talk. And I preferred not to ask until you'd had a chance to have your questions answered." Gray eyes flicker back to Tyrfing's display. "I don't, after all, know that Okana-san answered the part of your question that you intended. There are too many parts to be sure. I'm a university student, majoring in history, on my second turn at freshman year after my first round of schooling was interrupted and I had to transfer on return. I'm the one who tries to keep the chaos in that apartment wrangled down to a dull roar, and the kitchen clear of anything that people will regret eating. I am one of my Prince's reborn guardians; Kunzite, the Knight of Purity and Affection." He does not pause to give Mamoru time to snicker. "I am an energy manipulator, something similar to a living battery. I am attempting to make up for certain considerable errors in my past. Are any of those what you intended to ask about?"
A Siberian cat 2017-06-07 04:43:16 78083
<<That. Is a lot to process. Even for me.>>

Tyrfing's words are almost invisible to Koji as the hands on his coffee cup shake for several moments. When he releases the cup, the drink is rippling back and forth like there's bass speaking running under it, and then he has to put those hands under the table. His eyes flick back and forth between the two, and he gulps. There's some fear there now. The same in his eyes from after his encounter with Hana.

It takes him a little longer to get himself back in order before going on, "Allright. I don't understand all this. I thought this was how it was. I know Tyrfing and I are different... but that difference is what makes my idea work." He looks around for others present, and seeing few enough to interrupt, he goes on, "There's... not enough time for me to learn how to work with all your friends... your people... long enough to earn trust, for people to get to know me well enough to make any plan you've got to work." His hands come up and shiver as they touch his drink once more, "Whatever Rashmi and your blue-haired friend are doing plays to their strengths... but it's probably something I can't do. Tyrfing's abilities are too limited. And I'm not..."

Koji sort of tapers off, but Tyrfing picks up, <<Kid's trying to say he's not combat trained. I do all the heavy lifting. But if this girl's as mean a target as you say? It needs a Mage and a Knight at full burn working in unison to get in there and do anything.>>

So he picks back up, Koji does, after sipping his drink softly, "I can be bait. Because I have an ability that no other Device User has, if what Tyrfing tells me is right. If what the dreams showed us is right. I don't have a Device. I -am- a Device. Sort of. Which means that Tyrfing can merge with someone else... and I can be put safely away in subspace. So... I can bring her out, I can be safe, and I can get away, without her touching me."
Mamoru Chiba 2017-06-07 04:58:16 78084
That-- that is a look of dismay at the fear, right there. Especially since this time, just by talking, he's causing what he helped Koji get out of, last time. "Um-- no, hey, I'm also-- I'm also a first year medical student, and-- an orphan-- and weird, and it's actually my girlfriend who's got the major firepower-- and if I didn't trust you I wouldn't have asked for your help on this anyway--" starts Mamoru, flailing a little, then gathering steam to flail rather more, but it's all kind of...

...not Koji's point. So the prince just falls silent, slouching into his chair and pulling his drink close, but not sipping yet. Not as such. Just starts to lick the whipped cream off the top of it before it melts, all at sixes and sevens. His gaze flicks to the screen as Koji trails off, and his lips thin, but he keeps listening as Koji continues.

It takes him a second to order his thoughts, and then, without straightening up, he says really quietly, "She's above all our pay grades right now. Which is why the ambush, the plan, the strategy, the zerg rush. Mercury-san already tried to offer her the easy path and she refused it. You can try, and in ordinary circumstances, it would basically just take you out of the fight; your linker core would grow back. But if it's as you say, what if she manages to take everything? What if you're subsumed? What if she manages to take your linker core and Tyrfing? She's been experimenting on herself and on others. I don't think it's a good idea to give her access to you like that, not until we've purged the damage and the corruption, and she's the person she should have been had she never gotten lost."

He takes a deeper breath and finally sits up, then rubs at the bridge of his nose, under his glasses, sending them momentarily askew. "How would you bring her out, even? I was under the impression that Gull was going to take her camping and we'd go after her there. If you want Tyrfing to merge with someone else, don't you think it might be a better idea to merge with someone at the battle itself, rather than taking yourself out of the fight ahead of time and potentially giving Miss White another insanely deep advantage? Or am I misinterpreting something?"
Kazuo Takeba 2017-06-07 05:03:03 78085
At least the conversation's narrowed to one person on Mamoru's side, for now. Kazuo's listening, to Koji, to Tyrfing, to Mamoru. Listening to the outline of Koji's plan, to the hows and whys of it. Listening to Mamoru's answers, outlining both where and why Koji's plan is a good one and where it has its problems, giving information... he glances toward the register, once, when Mamoru mentions Gull taking Hannah camping. He doesn't interrupt; he doesn't speak.
A Siberian cat 2017-06-07 05:10:45 78087
Koji almost speaks up, but Tyrfing cuts him off, his familiar and gruff tone coming through the speaker of the phone, <<Well, a camping trip's more than we had this morning. Kid's been beating himself up, trying to figure out why you wanted him there. I think he thought you were going to ask him to be bait in the first place, so he wanted to beat you to the punch.>>

That right there makes Koji's trembling exterior break a little bit as he turns on the phone and says in a dour tone, "Why do you just blurt things out like that?"

<<Well... these guys have to trust us. You made THAT pretty clear. So why not be straight with them?>>

The youngest man at the table just lets his head fall to it, and bumps there a few times, "I... really..."

Sitting back up, he shakes it a couple times, and straightens his glasses, the physical manifestation of his Device and their bond, "Because I have two Linker Cores. Mine, and Tyrfing's. His was made, not like mine... if that's how it works. Mine's weak, and his is... unstable. We're not exactly prime targets. But we can pretend to be. And if she gets one? We still have the other." But his unsureness of the truth of that easily plays in the reflection in his eyes as he looks away again, "And wouldn't she get suspicious of a sudden camping trip? I mean.. if they love each other, that's going to come off as a betrayal. Wouldn't Hannah handle that pretty bad? And I mean pretty as in levelling the forest kind of bad?"
Kazuo Takeba 2017-06-07 05:24:04 78088
"That's why Rashmi is the only one with a specific assigned task yet," Kunzite says quietly. Almost gently. His eyes flicker over the cafe's population again before he continues, "Because she volunteered to work with Mercury on making certain that Hannah can't in fact level the forest. On learning how to fine-tune a barrier to keep Hannah from being able to simply walk out of it.

"Hannah has two primary forms of attack. She hits things, and she directs wind. Gull is a Pretty Cure: hitting things is the stereotype of what they do. And she has some wind-related capability. If Hannah gets angry with her specifically during the fight, Gull can take that -- especially if the rest of us can either assist her defense, or work on taking Hannah down a little at a time.

"After the fight -- if what Mercury means to do to heal her works, then Hannah will understand that what was happening was the equivalent of calling an ambulance, not a betrayal. This isn't the first time Hannah's needed this kind of intervention; last year she got her hands on a sword that started taking over her mind, and the two of us helped Gull and company beat her down till she could be separated from the artifact then. She didn't view that as a betraal, either."

He falls silent for a moment, regarding Koji. Then says, and his voice is only barely more quiet than it was, "The last time I fought Hannah, she stole a couple of Linker Cores during the fight. Trying to get their owners' bodies out of the way, so they wouldn't be killed while they were unconscious, took significant manpower, and left the volunteers vulnerable to an attack from outside. So one of our goals is to try not to let any Device users fall victim, this time. If we can."
Mamoru Chiba 2017-06-07 05:40:39 78089
"...and you have so much heart," Mamoru says, clear and sharp and low-voiced. "You believe in what matters. You don't stand by. The fact that you were willing to do something like that, thinking it was all you could do, only proves that-- but there's no point in sacrificing yourself even before the fight's joined. I'll tell you a couple of stories in a second--"

He leans in, setting his drink down and crossing his arms on the tabletop, gaze intense--

(the full weight of his attention is something he tries not to use unless it's on purpose; exactly that which he said he was has its focus on Koji, on Tyrfing, and it's immense and ancient and it thinks in geological time and astronomical units)

--and he tells Koji, "What I need you to do is be in communication with Mercury and Terios-san, who will be monitoring, and get people out if they're injured too badly to get out themselves, and I need Tyrfing to be running battle analysis on Miss White and on the intervention team, providing oversight in case patterns become apparent or weaknesses show themselves. If it becomes necessary to unite with someone else on the field, then you'll be in prime location for it, and if you aren't overtly attacking Miss White, then she's unlikely to pay you any attention. That's valuable."

Then he sits up again, and he's just a medical student with an expensive wardrobe and a sugary drink, and he gives a half smile. "The two stories can easily be summed up as follows: One -- when I started, I was a sleepwalking jewel thief in formalwear, with very little in the way of powers, and a lot of disquieting dreams. I've had to have it beaten into my head over and over that I'm important, that I can't sacrifice myself, that I'm worthwhile, that people need me, that I can contribute, that my strengths are useful. Two -- Miss White's a friend of mine. She's never happier than when I manage to put one over on her, or when I succumb to rage and lash out at her with incredible violent fury. I put her through two walls and broke a lot of her bones, and until I made her stop because of the sucking chest wound, she was trying to cheer because I'd finally let go. I don't think she'll have any problem with Gull even if it doesn't work."
A Siberian cat 2017-06-07 05:50:06 78090
The more that Mamoru leans in, the more Kojis sort of leans back, and then comes the complete breakdown of why they've been asked here. The screen on the phone fritzes a couple times as the beastman's visage blinks, and there's a bead of sweat on both their foreheads, a droplet running down the side of the young man's face.

But it's Tyrfing who actually breaks the tenseness as Mamoru leans back, busting out in a near-viking laugh that draws a few eyes, and which causes Koji's chair to fall back and land him on his head on the floor!

<<By the Emperor's Glory, you are a profoundly interesting fellow, Mamoru-san. Profoundly. Maybe between the two of us we can make something out of the kid, right?>>

Rubbing at his head, Koji's himself back up to sitting after righting the chair, and almost looks... relieved. And turning his head to Kunzite, he asks the simple question, "Why didn't he tell me that when he invited me over?"
Kazuo Takeba 2017-06-07 05:57:57 78091
"Didn't know you yet," Kazuo answers Koji, with an amused little twitch at the corner of his mouth. "Didn't know how fast you run analyses on your own to begin with. Or how good you were at finding the critical point to shore up, and ammunition to do it with. We're all learning each other's strong points."
Mamoru Chiba 2017-06-07 06:02:59 78092
Mamoru looks startled at the laugh, and then he looks a little uncertain-- and then Tyrfing says what's so funny to him, and...

...he still doesn't get it, but at least he knows it's at neither his nor Koji's expense, so he relaxes and the corners of his eyes crinkle up a little in the start of a smile. "He'll make something of himself even without our intervention," he says, amused, "but no one ever said a little bootstrapping would hurt."

Then comes Koji's question of Kunzite and the white-haired man's answer, and Mamoru jerks his thumb at the guy. "Literally that. I had no idea what your deal was, only that you reminded me of me and you stood up against things you saw as unjust. And that was enough to start."

There's a brief pause, and a sidelong look. "Feeling better about stuff now?"
A Siberian cat 2017-06-07 06:06:29 78093
Still rubbing the back of his head, Koji admits in a moment of candor, "Much. Much better."

Embarrassed but mollified, he looks between the two, and then says with a sigh, "I still need to finish my homework, but I wouldn't ACTUALLY mind the help. I'm kinda scared Miss Haruna is going to come along any moment and try to write in 'Eleventy' next to my blank answers."