Still Totally Not Panicking

After Unmei's encounters with the new Clotho, she really, really needs someone to flail at. Kunzite has a lot of practice being someone to flail at. And once she's breathng normally again, Unmei comes up with the next thing to do on her own.

Date: 2017-06-10
Pose Count: 23
Magical Girl Clotho 2017-06-10 23:30:49 78338
Unmei Tama came pounding on Kun's door. Something she... actually hadn't done in a while. A long, long, while, actually. and then when he answered it, she practically tackled him in a hug, crying. "It was horrible she was there and pin was there and there was this boy who's a girl and he was okay but he seemed a bit weirded out and then she attacked me and I panicked and said if I told anyone she'd hurt me but I have to tell you because I know you can save me but there's going to be bad things because of all this and it's all my fault!" she wailed at him.

Welp, a good thing kun was good at grabbing detail from ABSOLUTELY NO HINTS, cause otherwise that'd be a confusing exposition dump.

Oh, and hey, unmei was crying into his chest. Fun.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-06-10 23:43:13 78339
... let's face it, it's a confusing exposition dump anyway.

If he needed some contrast to get his mind off of dealing with his father earlier, though, this would definitely be it.

Kazuo lets out a breath, considers steering Unmei out to the living room, considers the possibility of Zoisite encountering her in this state and something or someone being set on fire, and turns to maneuver her into his room instead. The door is left open. The bed is, as ever, precisely made; there are a few books and one inexplicable rabbit-shaped eraser on the mostly-empty shelves, there are one painting of Naru's and one piece of calligraphy on the walls, there is ink and paper and an abandoned brush on the desk. And there is nearly nothing else in the room. For all that the apartment that Kunzite and Zoisite share is the most lavishly and elegantly decorated in other respects, Kunzite's own room looks less inhabited than some of the guest bedrooms.

He seats Unmei on the bed and sits next to her, given that unlatching her right now would probably only make things worse. One arm stays around her shoulders; the other hand strokes her hair. "Breathe," he says, not unkindly. "You can tell me in a few minutes. It's all right to cry. And all right to lean on me. Only remember to breathe, that's all."
Magical Girl Clotho 2017-06-10 23:47:23 78340
Unmei Tama nodded, sobbing into his chest, hiccuping, and... after a few minutes of clutching him, she finally, slowly, lets go and pulls back. "I... I'm sorry. I know you don't like it when I... I-I'm sorry," she mumbled, wrapping her arms around herself.

She then looked up. "It's... it's Pin. He... he's..." And then started mumbling something through more sobs. "And it's all my fault!" ... She then shook her head. "My step sister! He's made her clotho and she tried to kill me, I think! She said if I tell anyone, she'll break me and all my friends but I know she can't break you but she's stronger than I am and I think she's falling into it, entirely!" she said, before sobbing again and shaking her head.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-06-10 23:57:01 78341
"It's all right," Kazuo repeats. He tousles her hair, very lightly. "Something you need is different from something you do without thinking. It's all right."

He says that a lot, with her. And he's careful, very much so, never to say it when it isn't true.

'It's Pin' wins a nod from Kazuo, regarding her steadily. 'It's all my fault' wins a lifted hand, indicating that he has something to say about that -- but he lets her continue, not interrupting.

And when she slows to a half, it's that sentence he addresses first. "What Pin does," he says, "is neither your fault nor your responsibility. What whoever he's working with does is not your fault. They will try to claim it is. This is a lie. Their choices are their own; their actions are their own. Trying to put the blame for them on you is a falsehood designed to manipulate both you and the new Clotho: to make her feel superior, and to make you feel terrible and lock yourself into a role as their victim. You are not obligated to listen. You are particularly not obligated to embrace it. Does that make sense?"
Magical Girl Clotho 2017-06-11 00:02:10 78342
Unmei Tama nods, sniffling. "B-but... but if I hadn't... if I hadn't lost the Clotho gem, it wouldn't have gotten to her. If I had just controlled it better. Like... like all of you do. I mean, you all have powers. You and Ko and Usagi and Mina and Mamo and... and none of you succumb to--" Then blinked and blushed. "W-well, to your powers. They never took you over and made you go nuts," she said quickly.

Her hands clasped her knees. "If I had just been... stronger, I never would have lost control to begin with. Everything would be fine. I wouldn't have needed everyone to save me..."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-06-11 00:04:22 78343
"Unmei," Kazuo says steadily. "Did none of us get around to explaining to you why I had an idea what it felt like when your hunger went out of control?"
Magical Girl Clotho 2017-06-11 00:06:41 78344
Unmei Tama blinked and shook her head. "Ummm... no? Because you've never starved?
Kazuo Takeba 2017-06-11 00:35:04 78345
"If you look in the news," Kazuo says, "last year, early in March, there was a blackout that took out power over most of Tokyo for a few minutes, that coincided with a rainstorm and early flowers. I think they blamed it on lightning strikes."

He tilts his head to regard her gravely, the length of his hair swaying with the motion. "That was me. That was my power and dark energy and the lies that make dark energy stronger, all working together to convince me that the only way to save anyone was to destroy the city. To consume the life force of its inhabitants. THen to consume the life force of the world.

"That's what power based in sin and harm does to all of those who use it in time, Unmei. It begins by handing you excuses: that you're not really hurting people, that you have a right to do what you're doing, that it's necessary, that you need it to be stronger and if you're only stronger everything will be all right. And it builds over time. And finally it ends, in madness and chaos and death."

He exhales, and the arm around her lifts, only for that hand to settle on her shoulder. "So. My power and my misuse of it drove me mad -- not unassisted, but then, Pin was happily attempting to assist with your meeting the same fate. And I lost control. And I did need everyone to save me. The Senshi and the Shitennou -- all of them -- Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Kamen, Cure Gull, Frost Knight, Sky Jack, Kyouko Sakura, Naru Osaka, Prism Keeper Yellow. One girl whose name I never have learned. And to undo the harm I'd helped to do, more: Virtue's young king, the Amulet, the nameless girl, the Princess of Waldia, Miss White, Madoka Kaname and Homura Akemi, Sayaka Miki, Hagane, Firebird, the unicorn ... people without powers, too. Dozens of them. Hundreds."

He reaches and brushes a stray bit of sky-colored hair away from Unmei's forehead. "Everyone has weaknesses, Unmei. Everyone has flaws. No matter how strong we make ourselves, those weaknesses and those flaws remain. Real strength comes from learning to work with other people. To support one another. To cover each other's weak points; to care for one another, to know each other well enough to see someone beginning to have a problem and call it out, to stop it before it can go out of control. The people you're listing -- most of them look out for each other, that way.

"The best we can do on our own is have a chance of noticing when things are beginning to go badly enough wrong, and choose, instead of trying to fight it alone, to go for help. You did that. That's better than I managed, when I was in that place. Better than most people ever do."
Magical Girl Clotho 2017-06-11 00:39:17 78346
Unmei Tama blinked and then blushed. "W-well... I guess... I guess... when you put it like that, it's not so bad," she said with a small smile, grinning up at him. "Thank you, Kun. I don't know... what I'd do without you." Probably fall apart. She then reached out and gently squeezed his hand. "I... Kun... I just... I..." She whispered, before lowering her eyes.

"I like coming to you for help. You guys actually... you seem to care. And... and it's new and... and I really like it. I just... I..." She chewed on her lower lip. "Thank you," she finally whispered. "We... we have to help her though. Don't we? I mean, she's... she's NOT bad. I mean, she's always been a bit... mean. And picked on me a bit. But she's never tried to actually hurt me that much until now. And... and Clotho is my responsibility. Even if I need help. And... and you'll all help me, right?" she asked all hopeful like.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-06-11 00:48:21 78347
Doesn't know what she'd do without -- Kazuo shakes his head, not roughly. "That's why we work together," he says quietly. "None of us are good at this alone." His eyes gleam, just for a moment. "Not even Mamoru."

Then Unmei goes on, and Kazuo lets out his breath. "We're getting ahead of ourselves," he says. "Let's go back, and see what we're dealing with before we try to make sense of how to deal with it. Your step-sister, you said. Literally? From where you were born?" He does not say 'from home,' for some reason. "Or from the family that hosted you here?"
Magical Girl Clotho 2017-06-11 00:51:25 78348
Unmei Tama shuddered. "Oh, trust me, if she was someone from... back there, I would be a lot less calm." THIS WAS CALM?! "The family that hosted me here. We... weren't exactly close. Wasn't really close with any of them, though, so... that makes sense. I didn't expect... I didn't know he'd do this. I never thought he'd do this. I mean, Pin has always... Pin has been troubling. But I thought only I could use the Clotho gem. If others can..." She crossed her arms and shook, giving him a look. Awwww, she needed another hug.

"It's... dangerous. It really is. She doesn't deserve to... suffer from it. But if... we take it from her. Won't Eclipse come after us? More?"
Kazuo Takeba 2017-06-11 00:57:31 78349
Kazuo has met Unmei. This was calm.

"The way these things go," Kazuo says, "usually only one person at a time can use them. For a while it was you, and if Pin went that far to get hold of you, he wanted it to be you very badly. It's her now. Maybe he chose her because he thinks he can control her. Maybe he chose her because she was convenient, and already allied to Eclipse. Maybe Eclipse handed it to her on purpose, for their own reasons. Maybe she stole it. Or maybe Pin chose her because he thinks her connection to you gives him leverage to force you to take it back."

He turns to Unmei, and studies her for another moment. Then lifts a hand, and still with that same gravity and solemn expression...

... taps her on the nose.

"Still getting ahead of ourselves," he says. "So. This girl attacked you, and threatened you. What did she do, exactly? And in which order?"
Magical Girl Clotho 2017-06-11 01:08:51 78350
Unmei Tama gulps and nods, taking a slow, deep breath. "Well... she ambushed me at school and threatened me. Said if I... told anyone, she'd break me then my friends. Then I went to the school and tried to find Kukai because I called but I think I might have called the wrong number. Then she attacked me, but the boy I was with was a magical boy. Err, girl. And she fought her off. And then she escorted me back here." Poor Koji...
Kazuo Takeba 2017-06-11 01:18:05 78351
"So she followed you," Kazuo says. "That, or planted a tracker on you. We can check for that in a little bit." His arm settles around her again, a little more reassuring. "We may have to do something about the school. Move you elsewhere. We know of at least two Eclipse-affiliated students at Infinity; if she's taking advantage of that, there's no reason to make things too easy for her."

Not to mention that two of the people in this apartment infiltrated Infinity staff when they were evil. They're really not trying hard on their background checks.

"All right. Did you get a name for this magical boy-or-girl?" Of course he takes it in stride; she knew he would. Not least because by now she's certainly seen Izumi treating Kazuo as a personal napping ground.
Magical Girl Clotho 2017-06-11 01:27:10 78352
Unmei Tama nodded. "Koji Silvia. She was really nice, but a bit shy," she said with a nod. "And he saved my life." She closed her eyes and nestled into his arm. "Thank you. And... wait, leave school? I... I don't know. I mean, I just... i..." She trailed off. "I just got back to school and... I'm already starting to fail as it is. After all the hard work you guys have done for me, i don't want it all to be for naught...."

She sighed. "I'm sorry. I'm really just... trouble for you guys, aren't I? I'm so happy you're all so forgiving and kind," she whispered, smiling up to him. Then... "Can... I sleep in this apartment tonight? I mean, I know it's... just a few rooms away but..." Heck, she wanted to ask to sleep on the floor. But felt that'd be asking too much. She was obviously a bit scared still.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-06-11 01:36:00 78353
"Koji Silvia," Kazuo repeats. It's not a name he knows, not yet. (The day when he'll drop Unmei a note suggesting gently that she stick with masculine pronouns for Koji unless Koji says otherwise is still in the future.)

"I'm not suggesting leaving school entirely. But if there's an opportunity for a transfer, it might be a good idea to take it. That may keep Clotho from being as easily able to observe what your schedule is and who you talk with during the school day. I suspect that Eclipse will have relocated her, too; we can take a look at your host family's residence, but I doubt they'll have been foolish enough to make it quite so easy to find where she sleeps."

The sharp glance her way suggests that he's heard that 'starting to fail,' and that there will be closer questions and more tutoring sessions in her future. But that's not now. Not when that glance gives way to eyebrows lifting at the 'trouble for you guys.' "There is nothing that we do for you," he says quietly, "that you have not earned, Unmei. If you want to sleep in this part of the place tonight, that's all right; there's a guest room here. I'll tell Zoisite, and ask Ayana not to bite your ankles. There may be a little coming and going at night; don't let it bother you. Dealing with my father leaves Mamoru unsettled, that's all."
Magical Girl Clotho 2017-06-11 01:45:18 78354
Unmei Tama nodded and then closed her eyes, nestled to him. "Thanks. I... I really like it here, Kun. It's... nice. And safe. And I feel... I'm really happy I came here." She was quite for a long moment, before... "Can you teach me self defense?"

She coughed. "I mean... I know... against magic people it'll be next to useless. But... it might... a little bit? At least until help arrives to safe me? If that's okay, I mean?" she asked with a little smile. "M-maybe sometime between go and chess games?" She was getting actually pretty good at those now. She might even win on occasion.... with a big handicap.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-06-11 01:55:16 78355
Kazuo studies Unmei for a few moments. "You're not the first one to ask me that," he says quietly. "And I'll tell you what I told the other one: I'm not qualified to teach you self-defense. I've never taught a woman, and it's different; you move differently, you carry your weight in different places, your center of balance changes. I'm not a specialist in unarmed combat, either. My reflexes are for magic, and for live steel. Not what you need.

"What I am is good enough to find you a teacher, if you're all right with that. And to help you adapt what you learn to the kind of fights you're likely to be in; and to help you train in other ways. You know about Mamoru's and my going running in the mornings, and about Naru's training in running and in the gym. We do that for a reason. The more fit you are in general, the better you'll be at outrunning trouble. Is that something you're willing to do?"
Magical Girl Clotho 2017-06-11 02:01:27 78356
Unmei Tama nodded. "Y-yeah! I'm getting pretty good at the jogging, too!" She even goes with him, when he lets her. Sure, she's not as good as him, but for someone who doesn't do it as often, she's pretty good. "And I..." She whispered, biting her lips.

"I don't want to be as scared. and I get scared, a lot. Even when... not around magic people. Sometimes I go to... wlel... the concerts with... and i get scared. Cause some of the people there are scary. They corner me and... I get scared and I'd like to know if something happened, I could protect myself. So... if you could... find a teacher..."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-06-11 02:10:31 78357
Sometimes. Days they arrange in advance, when he's willing to go slow and stop early, when Mamoru's likelier to stay in bed, when Kazuo's stable enough that he doesn't read the running as a predator-prey interaction. The last problem is very real -- and one that he's not willing to take chances with, where Unmei's concerned.

"I will." Straightforward as that. "I'll look for good candidates, and then I'll bring Mamoru with me, so that we have a chance of being certain about their reactions. And I'll stop in often enough to know where you are with it, what you're learning and what they're focusing on, so we can supplement it on our own." He nods to her a little, and adds, "It's a good plan in other ways, too. If you keep up the habit, it'll help with the mood swings and the changes in your musculature."

Not to mention possibly helping with punching new-Clotho at some point. That is also an important part of the plan.
Magical Girl Clotho 2017-06-11 02:17:56 78358
Unmei Tama nodded and then gave a little yawn. "I'm... getting a little tired, actually. Today was kinda rough. Need to get my school work done, too... Ummm... do you mind if I do my school work he-- err. In the other room, here?" she asked.

Well, she didn't want to invade his personal sanctuary, at least. She was getting pretty good about that. "A-and yeah. Healthy is the way to go, for now. I think Heh. Thanks, Kun. You always know exactly what to do. You're so smart! Hee hee!"
Kazuo Takeba 2017-06-11 02:25:57 78359
"Only practice." Kazuo considers her for a moment, and then says, "Give me a few minutes to finish what I was doing and clean up, and I'll come and join you for a while. I have reading to do, too."

And a glance to steal at the last assignments she was returned, and see where the slippage is starting, and whether it's something they can catch her up on. And company to keep against another bout of panic. And maybe, maybe tonight, with luck another night, explanation about what they can and can't do about Clotho.

Because the thing they've been gaining practice on suggests that they can't save everyone. And that until someone starts to want help, they can't do anything to save her at all.
Magical Girl Clotho 2017-06-11 02:39:40 78360
Unmei Tama nodded. And, as long as he was there, she did rather well. She didn't panic. And actually, she WAS doing relatively well. In fact, she should have been getting As. But, well, missing like, a month or two of school would hurt the grades a lot. She was making her way back up to decent, though. Slowly but surely.

Of course, when it came to Clotho... Unmei had no idea. She remembers the gem. Knows the gem. Knows how it can feel. A part of her doesn't believe this girl is at fault for what she's doing. A large part of her...