Mamoru offers to go into Lacrima's emotional realm with Kunzite acting as a filter of sorts to see if they can't return some sort of emotional capacity. They do some landscaping in a emotionally representative courtyard!

Date: 2017-07-12
Pose Count: 43
Lacrima 2017-07-12 15:18:02 80336
Poof. That's the sound of a dusk step onto the roof of the ECFH. Lacrima always kind of tries to step into an outside area, as not to pollute the inside with dark energy, even if the amount released by a dark step is a miniscule amount, all it takes is someone having a bad day for that miniscule amount to grow into a lot- and she has no clue if Mamoru has taken time to ward or otherwise protect his place. SO. It stays outside.

THUSLY, she is the one having a bad day as she steps down the stairs into the main room as she looks around and frowns a little heavily as she takes a deep breath. She really needs to text or call. It's sometimes after whenever school is at least- as she flumps onto the couch and then kind of curls up as she looks down at her phone.

Tap tap tap. 'Hi. In the living room.' is all she texts. No. 'Hello Kunzite.' or anything. It's short and curt. Un-characteristic.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-12 15:34:09 80337
There are certain things built into the place these days, it's true; nothing that's ever reacted badly to Lacrima herself, but ... there's a convenient roof, and a convenient balcony, and sometimes it's better not to learn the hard way.

The return she gets is 'On way.' Nothing else, no ETA. Probably because the ETA is less than a minute, or at least that's when the actual arrival time is. Kazuo steps in from one of the hallways, accompanied by just the faintest whiff of the faint antiseptic-and-plastic smell that usually accompanies packaged first aid supplies, and regards Lacrima. "Not bleeding," he says. "That's a start. What happened?"
Lacrima 2017-07-12 15:53:54 80339
Lacrima blinks as she smells things and... looks around a moment. "No. No I am not. Besides. If I was bleeding. I'd be in the Dusk Zone absorbing energies to patch it if it was bad enough. Not like it's fatal to me. Just a nuisance." she says. "Also it's rude to probably bleed...not blood onto someone elses things." she mutters.

She shifts a bit and keeps her sort of curled up state.

"I dunno. I'm an idiot." she seethes.

"I met. That dream. Samurai. Not. Akashimaru. The other one. The blind one from. That night we fought the Nightmare Prince on that bridge." she mutters.

"She said. She could help me. With my current family problem. So she. Did. Something and showed me... The... cords of fate? That bind everyone together?..." she says lowly. "She said that the ties to my family are so weak... and the one to my brother is almost about cut.. that... she said that fate says I don't belong there and that. I'm better off. Trying to ... find a new family... that.. it was... was... /so easy to do/." she seethes.

"I mean. Beyond the. Wasting two years. Trying to keep what my little of my life together that I could to find out that. Fate or destiny or whatever wants otherwise. And.. that... and.. just...."

She sort of just squeezes her teeth together.

"I /can't take it anymore!/" she just buries her head into her knees and just takes a deep breath.

"'It's so easy to not feed on people! It's so easy to live without positive emotions! It's so easy to just.... summon a fucking new family from the ******ing ground. I don't know." she takes a stuttering breath. "Everyone thinks it's so easy and I hate it."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-12 16:02:20 80340
"Lacrima." The word's not a reproof. Not even commiseration. It's only a statement: a few syllables to focus on, perhaps, in between the roiling feedback of pain and grief and rage and despair, all of which are tempting in their various ways.

"Norie." Both her names, separated by a breath.

And it's after he's said both that Kazuo crosses toward her, crouching by the couch and laying a hand on the cushion beside her knees.

"I don't think you're the idiot here."
Lacrima 2017-07-12 16:19:21 80341
Lacrima is just kind of having a mini-breakdown. She's had a lot over the past few days that this one isn't too impressive, but it's easy to see happening and why she's hiding her face. "Yes I am." she says. "I spent two years on a pipe dream that I thought I could have something resembling my old life back with my family. If I had known this stupid thing I wouldn't had even bothered messing with it. At least I could been in my own /home/." she mutters.

Yeah it's clear she's crying now. "I feel so lost right now. I feel like I'm back to my first day of this thing. Not knowing anything and just hurting and not understanding and I hate it!"
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-12 16:29:10 80342
"You've taken someone else's inexperienced and flawed assessment and processed it as fact," Kazuo says, and that isn't a reproof, either. Not even a correction. Just a notification, as routine and lacking in emotion as her phone telling her she has a text. "That's why you feel lost as well as hurting. It's not easy to extricate yourself from that, either." He considers for a moment, then risks laying his hand on her shoulder, lightly, over fabric. For humans, contact helps. Crying helps. The slower rhythm of breathing after crying helps. For Lacrima... there's no telling. "Do you need a shoulder?"
Lacrima 2017-07-12 17:02:38 80343
Lacrima shifts uncomfortably. "I'd believe that. Except she showed me. Showed me how bad it was. How everything was a mess. Says she's been fighting Nightmares for a while." she says quietly. "I dunno how that's inexperienced or flawed." she shifts.

She shakes her head. "I.. I dunno. I just don't know who to go to. Who can help. I've talked and I asked and there's just no one able to help me."

"Ri--riven-sama said he's going to try to bump his research to try to restore some of my emotions. But that's all he can do." she rubs her head a bit beneath her legs.

"I just want to break down." she mutters. "Usually I find comfort in stupid things like food. or phone games. But those aren't really working for this." she says.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-12 17:15:38 80344
"Taking her word as an expert in matters of fate because she's been fighting nightmares," Kazuo says, "would be like taking my word as an expert in matters of high finance because I've been doing the grocery shopping. The two aren't the same thing; nightmares show fears, not fates. She is best acquainted with the worst possibility, and therefore that is what she told you."

He shifts, settling down onto one knee: a more stable stance. "If a damaged connection like that one were the end of all possiblity, then I would not be here; would not even been a spirit in a stone. I would have been dissolved in the darkness and gone. It may in fact not be possible to repair matters between you and your family. It may be as difficult as it was for Mamoru to repair matters between himself and me; it may be more so. It may be too difficult for you to find it worthwhile. But it is not a guaranteed impossibility. Or else no strangers in all the world would ever have become friends."

That, of course, is only addressing one half of the problem. The half about emotion, about comfort, about breaking down ... that one is even farther from Kazuo's areas of expertise than high finance is.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-07-12 17:42:28 80346
There's a figure lingering in the doorway leading to the stairs to the roof-- Mamoru, dehenshined from his arrival, wearing his starry blue yukata and a pair of Birkenstocks instead of geta. "...he's right. Rebuilding connections is hard, but they can be brought back, sometimes even stronger than before." He takes a breath and steps in, and his voice is gentle. "But I find that even if a connection is so attenuated that it looks severed, it isn't ever truly so. It may be dormant, but the bonds you form with people never really go away. Even if the memories are gone."

Then the prince steps around the sofa-- he's not going to crowd Lacrima, but he's in easier view, no neck-craning necessary. "I might be able to help you with restoration of your emotions. Or at least help you build a framework that Riventon can work with more easily." A quick glance at Kunzite, then his attention's back on Lacrima: not the full, weighted focus of all of it, so no intimidating Presence, but enough that it's clear to her that he's evaluating her like a doctor might. "It would require contact, and you letting me into your mind. And so I'm not in danger of accidental drain if any restoration overwhelms you, contact with Kunzite also, so he can monitor and manage energy flow while my concentration's elsewhere."

A beat. "Is that something you might want to try?"
Lacrima 2017-07-12 17:54:25 80347
Lacrima frowns a little at Kunzite. She shifts a little uncomfortably, but she just mutters. "What's the point?" she asks quietly to Kunzite. "Of trying anymore? Anything I do will just destroy more. I even went with a friend at the last attempt and it didn't help anything and now he probably thinks Rashmi-chan is a witch or something and that'll be on his next stupid message board posts." she mutters.

Then there's Mamoru suddenly there. Well. Not suddenly, but the fact she didn't sense him creep up is probably a testament to how distracted and messed up her head is suddenly.

She frowns a little at Mamoru skeptically as she looks back to Kunzite and back to Mamoru. "You know. I'm not human, right?" she asks quietly. "I mean. I'm all. For trying anything really." she says quietly. "But I'm not promising anything bad will happen. As it is, I've had Ariel's mom tell me that my dreams probably aren't my own. So I don't know what's not my own either." she says.

"So for all I know there could be a backlash or something. Or maybe it'll go just fine and happy. As long as you both understand that...." she says quietly.

"Tha.. that if there's. An attack. It isn't on purpose. Or anything." she says even more quietly.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-12 18:04:14 80348
"It depends on whether the damage to your emotions is a passive effect or an active one, I suspect," Kazuo says quietly. "If it's a passive effect -- if they were severed, or something placed between you and them, or if they simply were somehow not taken with you into this form -- then what Mamoru is proposing has a chance of working. If it's an active effect -- if something is preventing you from having them, moment to moment -- then the chances decreased. There may be backlash. It may fail. There may be pain. There may be further damage. In any case, however, success or failure you may learn something more about your condition."

He shifts his weight back, giving Lacrima a little more space, and then says -- still quiet, as she was -- "In either case, the determining factor is whether the effort is worthwhile for its own sake. Regardless of the results."

Unspoken: if someone's family, one doesn't reach out to them because one expects success. One reaches out because they are family. And they cease to be family when that is no longer a good enough reason.

Which may be all that the strings Takara saw showed.

"I understand the likelihood of setting off an unfortunate reflex, or waking some aspect of your curse we didn't know of or understand. If you choose this route, I'll make certain people won't charge in in alarm if things go poorly, this time." Like, oh, say, he did last time.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-07-12 18:19:08 80349
And that last thing Kunzite says-- that's what makes Mamoru come the rest of the way around the couch and put his hand atop the man's white hair, fingers threading through to displace the silky bone-white strands and rest, momentarily, on his scalp. Warmth. Gratitude beyond the sheepishness of the prior incident, still present. Pride.

It's only momentary, because then the prince's hand trails away as he takes a seat next to the Lacrima-bundle and arranges his yukata. "I know," he says gently. "And you know that's not something that bothers me. I've wanted to do anything I could to help you since we first met-- and you letting me try means a lot to me. Even if it's hard, even if there's a backlash, I don't care. We'll handle it."

He offers one hand to Lacrima and one to Kunzite, and just waits for them to be taken. There'll be warning before he opens the connection; he's starting with his psychic defenses up so there are no surprises. "If it looks like further damage may result, I'll stop and withdraw-- but you'll be working with me, with us. Kunzite will be able to tell much more easily if there are... uh, load-bearing blocks or problems that I shouldn't touch, and you'll be able to tell me if there are things you don't want me to touch."

A pause. "Whenever you're ready."
Lacrima 2017-07-12 18:24:43 80350
Lacrima frowns. "I think it's an active effect. It acts like one. It moves to intercepts a lot." she says quietly. She shifts a bit uncomfortably. She nods. "Well. I mean. You may want them to charge in. But I think it'd be obvious if that point if it was needed." she says quietly. "When I turn into a black tentacle beast or something." she mutters.

She sighs a bit and shifts. "Still. Like I said. I'll... try anything. I just don't want you. To... be scared of me. Or not... let me visit if. Like I... hurt any of you during the whole thing." she says.

"Because I do try to obey that rule sheet on the wall as best as I can. Even when it's hard to." she admits.

She gently looks around. "We should probably do this somewhere where I won't break a lot of expensive things." she offers. "...t..the roof? or...? Another. Room?" she asks hesitantly.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-12 18:35:14 80351
Kazuo tilts his head toward Mamoru's touch, in that moment, but there's no other outward sign of his reaction. The nod toward Lacrima's statement about it being an active effect is more pronounced.

He glances toward Mamoru's offered hand, but pauses as well. "People wander onto the roof," he says. "And I'm more concerned about someone shaking a shoulder than about expenses. There's one of the guest rooms that might do if you don't want to risk valuables. Raskoph has used it occasionally; I doubt he'd mind sharing, not with you. Or I can volunteer mine; clearing it of items at risk would take less time than saying it."

He glances down, then, reaching out his phone and thumbing out a couple of texts. There are four people not here who sometimes react to Mamoru being surprised and in pain. Better to have all of them only wary, not potentially murderous.
Lacrima 2017-07-12 18:38:02 80352
Lacrima nods. "The guest room is fine then." she says softly as she shifts a little as she looks around. "It's... that way. Right?" she asks as she points somewhere to one of the doors where she thinks it is. She isn't quite right, but same direction. She watches Kazuo send out texts as she makes a face a little.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-07-12 18:47:27 80353
Mamoru gets up, then, a wry smile on his face. "And this is one of the reasons I always need an outboard common-sense brain," he says, amused, and then gestures in the right direction. "It is down that hall, just a little further on. Come on, then--"

And it really is only a couple of doors down that hall that he stops, opening the guest room -- which currently has a sign on it that says 'The Jacket'. It's comfortable; the bathroom's not far from it, there's a bed and a desk and a nightstand, and the closet and several cupboards on the wall near it; the floor's also tile, and there are throw rugs where cold feet might touch the floor on getting out of bed. The window has a lovely view of the cityscape, and there's an inoffensive print hung on the wall of some impressionist's art in blues and greens and whites and yellows. There's only the bed and the desk chair for seating.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-12 18:53:16 80354
There are several texts back; Kazuo glances over them, thumbs out a reply to exactly one, and silences his phone before following Mamoru and Lacrima. The jacket denoted by the sign, it should be noted, is not actually currently in residence. Neither the boy nor the garment. This is a positive change from over the winter.
Lacrima 2017-07-12 19:05:43 80355
Lacrima blinks at the sign. The.... Jacket? She squints at this but then enters anyways without problems. She walks over to the bed and has a seat on it as she places her hands against it. "She sighs a bit." at least the room is pedestrian. It makes her feel less like she can ruin someone's life here right now.

She sighs a bit and then says. "I guess I put out my hands if there's conact." she offers. "Unless it's somewhere else like my head or something. Then do I just lean forward?" she asks softly, and hesitantly.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-07-12 19:24:22 80356
"Hands are fine," Mamoru says cheerfully as he defies convention and moves the bedside lamp to the floor so he can sit on the night table. It at least looks sturdy enough. Again, one hand's flourished toward Lacrima -- a touch of the theatricality that amused her at the takoyaki stand -- and the other, patiently, toward Kazuo, after nodding pointedly toward the eminently movable desk chair.

"Kunzite, I'm going to wrap myself in you so you can metaphysically capetank for me, since I imagine you'll be less twitchy that way~"

Yes. Yes, he ended that on a singsong, since he's a dick. An affectionate dick, but a dick nonetheless.

He waits until a moment after contact, and after he's settled into whatever configuration with Kunzite, before edging open the door in the wall between himself and Lacrima. He doesn't know what to expect as far as her mindscape goes-- whether it's organized, chaos, organized chaos, dripping with venom, made of tentacles, a dusty soul-ruin like a wrecked city, an overgrown jungle of Zoisite's old prized man-eating soul-dissolving plants, or an empty room with blank dark spots on the walls where pictures used to hang, dust on the floor, and an uncomfortable chair in the middle of it. He literally has no idea.

He himself is a dark-skinned prince in beautiful embroidered clothing of an ancient cut, dark blue and gold: a long coat and loose trousers, leather shoes, also embroidered, and all with repeated motifs of stylized leaves and vines and suns. His hair is the same that she knows, his eyes are the same that she knows; his expression is calm and his demeanor confident without being arrogant. His voice, in her mind, is his own; the words, while able to be understood, are in a fluid and elegant tongue that hasn't been spoken on Earth since before modern science reckons time. "Lacrima, I'm here. Will you show me your heart?"
Lacrima 2017-07-12 19:49:58 80357
Norie's mental landscape is a small patch of mostly dead grass that appears to be lit up like a spotlight in a wide area- though there's no source of light above- and outside of the small 60 foot radius spot- there appears to be nothing- just black and non-existance. The grass looks a little long, and a little unkempt.

There appears to be the walls of a courtyard with elegant windows on the edges- but they'll inky blank and you can't see in- that suggests some sort of manor or castle encloses the coutyard.

Sitting in the middle are four trelis that hold up some sort of elegant canopy that appears to be made of wood and decorated in the typical spanish style of elegant curved metal vines along the edges and lined with wooden slats. Large, dead almost tentacle like vines grow up the side and around the trelis, making for some unerving protection from above. If you could even call it that. Smaller plants line the edges- unidentifable plants and flowers that bloom at the edges. At the center is a small circular path with which a bench sits in the middle, surrounded by two large plants that end in long stalks and two rather large flowers that seem to be.. alive. Probably the only living plant here.

The coutyard speaks of some old, noble past long forgotten and Overall, a pretty creepy and dour place.

Lacrima always appears to be sitting on the bench in the middle there when she appears here in her dreams to talk to Ariel.

Lacrima herself looks like. Herself. As Lacrima. There are some differences. The hair is still purple. So are the eyes. But her skin is not pale- and looks more alive. She is in the elegant dress that Kunzite has seen her wear before- but it looks more authentic and period in the dream, and less like a modern recreation.

She also still looks absolutely miserable.

"I..like this?" she asks. "You're in. Already if. You mean. That... I..." she sort of bites her lip a moment.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-12 19:59:01 80358
In the real world, Kazuo has shifted into henshin, and Kunzite has pulled over the desk chair and seated himself in it, one hand in Mamoru's, one resting on Lacrima's. In the mindscape --

It's not as simple as an image, for him. From Lacrima's point of view, Kunzite's manifestation is a pale shimmer that sometimes shows about the dark-skinned prince, a hint of white trim layered into the blue and gold of that long coat, a shadow following him that persists despite any angle of imagined light. Enough to indicate presence, and to suggest that Endymion's wrapping himself in Kunzite might have, in its way, been literal.

From Endymion's point of view, Kunzite's presence is implicit in his empathy, in his awareness of his guardian's reactions; and explicit in the way he can shift focus from his own perceptions to the patterns of energy-flow in the substance that makes up Lacrima's being.

Part of Lacrima's curse is wound in with dark energy. Part with emotions and identity. There are other parts. But maybe between the two of them they can perceive a little more of how it functions.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-07-12 20:20:02 80359
Endymion's breath catches at the sight of the place -- as dead and lonesome and neglected as it seems, it's beautiful; he finds it beautiful, and with the connection open as it is, Lacrima can feel his appreciation, his aesthetic approval, his feeling somehow at home in the design. "Yes," he confirms, a hint of gentle amusement in his voice, "like this. Do you know, Teardrop, that you are beautiful as you are? Whether these are Norie's dreams or Lacrima's memories, they are yours. They are part of who you are."

He walks forward, and the leather shoes vanish, letting dark feet surrounded by the pale shimmer touch the surface upon which he steps, and there's no release of energy yet. Only a further opening of perception, a search for connections and patterns, attention split between the symbolism contained herein and the energy flows that Kunzite can sense. "And your windows, though dark, are still here; your foliage, though withered and dry, has roots which seek nourishment even still."

The Prince of Earth approaches, one hand reaching to touch, tentatively, one of the wooden trellises that hold the dead vines. "Your structure remains. The dark energy which sustains you enables negative emotion; as a curse with an active, ongoing element, I can see that it's not just that you're unaware of capability for other emotions with effort-- it's chokeweed, it latches on to things and strangles anything that is not of itself."

A beat.

Endymion's smile is understated, and it twinkles with a quiet, conspiratorial mirth. "But I've seen you nearly laugh. I've seen you blush. I've seen you entertained by jokes-- making them, even. So there's a way around that binding, that choking. The curse, I believe, only needs to think that positive emotions-- and that any connections you forge or retain with other people-- belong here as well. Do you know which symbolizes which? Can you, for example, find the affection you have for Raskoph--? Or for Kunzite?"
Lacrima 2017-07-12 20:42:56 80360
Lacrima frowns. "This place always breaks down when I get upset. It's... do you remember. When Ariel stared at me scared, during. New Years? The day after?" she asks. "It's because I forced her out when this.... mindscape started collapsing in on it's self." she says quietly. "I didn't know it was a 'big deal' to do that to a dream traveler like her. So it's why she acted that way." she says.

She sort of squirms in a way that isn't uncomfortable, but maybe out of embarrassment of the terms Mamoru are using. 'Teardrop' for one. She takes a deep breath.

"I know. And it's experiences like that, that I know it's active. It shuts things down. Never hard. It just does." she says.

"I don't know." she says. "Like I said. This isn't mine." she says. "This is a representation of a place that exists in reality I've never been, in Spain. It's his manor's courtyard. Albeit. A very dead one. In the dreams. There exists an actual alive version. I don't know why a dead version is... my. mindscape? heartscape? It's just always is." she says softly.

"Besides. Everythings too dead for me to figure what things are. Except these two bench plants." she says quietly. "This is always where I appear when I enter this place." she offers.

"S--sorry I don't know if. Any of this is relevant. I do know. It doesn't resist change. If I do something. It tends to stay and stick." she says.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-12 20:56:11 80361
It shut things down. Never hard. It just does.

"The questions are why, and how," Kunzite says, and his voice is half his voice, and half the whisper of wind-driven sand shifting over sand. "You'll need that in the long run. If you're to stay the one who masters the curse, and not it mastering you."

Nothing new, no. And there's a certain sense of speculation; considering possibile similarities and linkages between this place shutting down when Lacrima's upset, and her need for others' sense of identity. Only possibilities. He keeps them largely out of Endymion's way.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-07-12 21:07:27 80362
"It helps, it's all relevant when it comes to you and your feelings and your mind and memory," Endymion assures Lacrima. He crouches down in front of one of the living plants, glancing up at the girl again. "Who is 'he'? That owns, or owned, the manor? Is he, or was he, important to you or to the one who originally held the jewelry?" And then there's a lopsided little smile. "And maybe you don't think of it as yours, but it's the landscape of your mind -- and changes you make stay. So in here, inside yourself, your heart and mind, this place is yours. If you have the power to change it, it belongs to you on a deep level-- and you can change it to suit you."

He looks down at the plant, and reverently, respectfully reaches to lightly touch its leaves. Making that symbolically physical connection is an indication of his examination of it, his looking for the feel of it, the significance that Lacrima knows-- and maybe what she doesn't know. "Can you tell me about this? And about the other one? If I can make a comparison between these two and the dead ones, I might be able to determine what they're supposed to be, and what should be prioritized to let others begin to gain sustenance."

Another look up at Lacrima, then, and the boy prince's face is solemn. "Making this place more to your liking, your comfort, more your own -- that will also help in mastering the curse, making it yours, making it work for you."

And, Kunzite can hear him put together, perhaps rebuild her own identity. Stabilizing this place...

...like stabilizing Kunzite's palace.
Lacrima 2017-07-12 21:41:30 80364
Lacrima frowns a bit. "'He', is the original owner of this power in me. You call it a curse, but it wasn't to him. He was. Some count. In Spain. He lived a very long time and when I have 'dreams', they're about him. He was like me, but he wanted to be that thing. I don't know why. Just I know he reveled in it. He didn't seem to have a loss of his positive emotions, but he also got happy from things like. Hurting people. And I've felt happy exactly once when I've been this thing and--- it's when. I felt like hurting someone was a good thing." she says.

She very non specific about that point as she shifts uncomfortably again.

"His name was Poderoso. Powerful. This. Stuff. Names you. It knows what you want or what it will do. It named me 'La Crima' so you figure that one out." she says quietly.

"His influence is enough in me that I have dreams about his memories but I also. Know things I didn't. When I was human. A bunch of old dialects of European languages. But not Italian. Old Spanish court conduct." she says quietly.

Both flowers feel the same- something strong. But each one seems to want to say different things. This one speaks of the night sky. It talks about talking to the stars. It talks of chasing her. It talks of catching up. It talks of love in an odd sideways way as if there was shyness here. It also talks about how crummy it's mother is. It talks of someone else now--- Someone that isn't alone anymore now that she's in their life. It talks of tiredness, but love in a more straight forward way. It talks of privacy and caution.

The other talks of alleys and thugs. It talks of not getting people and talks of action first, talk later. It talks of sharing a similar experience. It talks of it being her fault. But it talks of it being thankful and talks of caring. Like the other one, there's a second 'voice' there too. This one talks of understanding and caring. It talks of wanting to be a friend. It talks of not wanting to fight, and talk of thankfulness that you were there to begin with.

She shifts a bit. "I wouldn't know how to do that." she says quietly--- as Mamoru goes about putting things back together- things begin to slowly shift in the background along that wall. It mainly starts with a dead torch at one of the far ends lighting to life in flame on it's sconce built into the wall.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-12 21:52:11 80365
"One might wonder whether it was the pain that was responded to, or the exertion of power." Speculation again. Concepts can have more than one meaning, can be reoriented, reused. But speculation only. The greater part of Kazuo's attention is elsewhere: that persistent shadow bending its head, studying the plants, considering the conditions in which they thrive.

Mamoru joked about Kunzite protecting him. But if it came down to it, Kunzite is almost certain that Endymion would rather have him protect Lacrima's connections to others first. And out of all of those... recognizing Alexis is enough to tell him what to do.

Until the torch lights, and he comes suddenly alert, watching for other changes. For reaction. For backlash.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-07-12 22:14:11 80366
"We-e-e-e-ell," says Endymion dryly, sitting back on his heels after touching the flowers, "'la crima' could also be 'the crime', or 'lacrima' could also refer to the ancient grapes that made a much-sought-after Italian wine from a time period that matches the architecture here." His expression is contemplative for a moment, processing the feelings, the perceptions-- the connections. A small smile plays at the corners of his mouth again.

Then he gets to his feet and brushes his knees off, bare toes digging briefly into the dirt, making his own connection -- albeit another symbolic one. "If it were the exertion of power," Endymion muses thoughtfully in response to Kunzite, "wouldn't the feeling also manifest whenever she uses her power? Including when she has control and consent?"

Even as Lacrima's saying she wouldn't know how to do that -- to change things to be more to her liking -- that torch is flaring to life. The young prince's eyes brighten, cobalt blue reflecting the firelight and mingling with the gold flecks that dance within their depths. "You do know," he tells her, gesturing almost gleefully. "And you said changes you make-- they stick. Which means that you have made changes. That you do. That you've done it enough to notice, even if the changes were small. Kunzite is worried that changes might cause backlash-- but the power, the curse-that-wasn't-a-curse-to-him, it might also see the changes you make as nonthreatening, since they could be perceived as you accepting it as your own. Which might be the only way you can control it. This place is reflective of how it sees you and how you see it, isn't it? You see it as gripping you, stifling you; it sees you as dead, something to use as a vessel, something on which to impose itself. But blending the things that bring you comfort with the things that bring it comfort--"

He shakes his head. "That should be safe. Not a rejection of it, which it will fight, but an embrace. When you move into a place that's historically belonged to someone else, you... you bring yourself, you bring your things, your origins and preferences and wishes, your..."

There's a rueful laugh. "'Enter freely of your own will, and leave some of the happiness you bring,'" he quotes. "By the rules I expect it uses, you should be able to bring your things. Your favorite books, your bed, your treasures..."

Then Endymion moves to place his hand on one of the large dead vines gripping the trellis closest to Lacrima; he sends himself along its length, seeking its roots, seeking its dried flavor, its scent, seeking the buried hints of green that may yet be at its core.
Lacrima 2017-07-12 22:50:55 80368
The mindscape as it were, is slowly rebuilding parts of itself. It does start with the torches at the wall. One by one, lighting up. It does brighten some of that inky black darkness. One lights up a small door. A small spanish sign suggests 'gardening upkeep equipment' is stored there. Probably tools to be used for work later. The place physically looks a little brighter with the torches on high. Lacrima shakes her head. "I tried lighting those before. They wouldn't stay on for longer than a second." she offers. It's been longer than that, at least by the time she talks.

Mamoru touches the older dead vines. There's more feeling- like the flowers. But less happy. Feelings of regret. You remember her. She was your dance partner in the dance club. She was the first one to rush to you when you collapsed on stage the week before you became this thing you are. When you came back. You were a mess. You drove everyone away. But not her. She was the last to leave. She sought the same mundane solutions everyone else did. Not that they'd help. When she pushed you to hard to tell her 'what was wrong', you remember the feel of her face on the back of your hand. Not once. Not twice. or even three or four or even five times. The dance club instructor had to barge into the locker room to grab you off her. You didn't know to deal with it in your current state. No one talks to you at school anymore.

You follow a girl. You don't know her. You know what you need to do. You saw it in the dream. You've been shaky and now you know why. Thinking is so much harder. You keep willing the girl to take a corner into an alley, or somewhere not very populated and eventually, you get your chance as she leads into the park alone. You tail her from a further distance and she moves to the edges of the park. You slink around like a cat or a wolf trying to sneak up on it's prey. You get within arms reach and---she turns around. Her mouth moves but you don't hear. You just grab her face and scream out the word you'd been taught to use to drain someone. You feel less shaky. You don't feel better. You somehow feel worse. When you reflect back. You realize the girl was saying 'Can I help you?'. How you wish she could had.

Lacrima shifts a lot. "I wouldn't know what to do...." she says quietly. "It's just the courtyard." she says. She does stand up and try to walk around though. The light makes it easier to see. She isn't seeing anything new.

"Yes. I have. There was a second bench where the other me used to sit, but.... that hasn't happened for a long time. So I shoved it away." she says quietly.

As far as the state of the place on the metaphysical level, there's something dark slowly building somewhere. It seemed to had started when the final torch lit up. It doesn't seem to be affecting Norie heavily, rather. Feeling more like a looming stormcloud on some horizon. Like it's coming, slowly. For the moment.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-12 22:57:32 80369
"Careful." Attention is drawn to that stormcloud feeling. "We don't know what that is. It could be a reset attempt." To reset Lacrima's mindscape to the initial one, maybe, shearing the plant life to the ground. To reset Lacrima entirely to the initial template, maybe -- to Poderoso. "Or something else." Else, in Kunzite's mind, is always likely to be something worse.

Or it could, for all they know, be an attempt to build the place that this was a courtyard in. Could be an expansion of Lacrima's capacity rather than a destruction of her.

Seeing it in time to get an idea of which ... that could be important. Being ready to protect at least the mindscape they walked into, to try to make certain that Lacrima does not lose by making this attempt --

-- that's far more important.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-07-12 23:14:20 80370
Letting his hand drop from the vine slowly, Endymion glances back at Lacrima-- and listens to Kunzite. "Slowly," he agrees. "Let the place catch up; let it assimilate the changes you've made, let it get used to the firelight. Firelight's no threat..."

He seems to be speaking to the stormclouds, calmly and reassuringly, matter-of-fact and respectful. "It's there to help inform; darkness is beautiful, but even if you can see in it, there aren't any colors, depths are estimates only-- and a place as lovely as this should be appreciated for all it is, and for all it has to offer. Firelight is safe; it's not harsh like modern lights, it's not blinding like the sun, and the shadows move like liquid around it. They're not banished, they're stronger when there's a contrast, aren't they?"

He moves to another plant-- not one of the immense dead vines, but something that looks entirely unfamiliar. Something that the curse, that the imprint of Poderoso, might have layered atop one of Norie's own stifled emotions in order to disguise it so she can't find it, perhaps. "You shoved the bench away-- but she's not dead. She just doesn't need a separate bench anymore." There's a bright look up as his fingertips brush the dried leaves. "I used to have separate benches. Akashimaru met the aspect of me that looks like this before she met the physical me-- and at the time, I didn't know that he even existed. He knew I was there, that I hadn't awakened-- but now he's me. It's not a terrible thing, even if at first you think there's too great a difference to ever merge. I'm not the boy I was aeons ago, and I'm not the boy I was three years ago. Both are part of me, but I'm someone new, greater than the sum of my parts."

There's a pause. "So are you."
Lacrima 2017-07-12 23:37:47 80371
Lacrima frowns. "I know she doesn't. Because we're both the same now. It used to be. Norie. as herself. and Lacrima. As you see me in life. Now we are both the same. I have the purple hair and features. But. I have flush skin here. I look alive. and the different dress." she offers.

"I haven't had another voice in a long time. Except the one I use when I get too upset. But I don't think that's another. Identity. In so much as me just being really upset." she says quietly.

Mamoru and Kunzite talk to a darkness. The darkness slows down, but it doesn't stop. But the slowdown of build and movement from the edges may stop.

"I do. Like this place. It exists in my dreams. Ariel-chan comes here a lot sometimes." she says.

Mamoru finds some flowers with long stems, but they stand out because they're not dead--- they're just a light purple almost to the point of grey. Lavender. Touching them.....

Just five more minutes. That's all you want but he won't stop knocking. Cupcake, Cupcake, commmmmeeeee on and wake up. Ugh. Fine. You crawl out of bed like some awful kaiju and start cleaning up the bedhead and getting into clothes. Mom and Dad are going on a business trip to America. Ryo's in charge. But that's okay. It means god awful junk food for dinner for the next week. But then you get angry. He ate the last of the frosted flakes. It's awful. The worst thing you'll ever have to deal with ever in your life. Yeah. Sure.

Lacrima hesitates as she frowns and seems to think. She isn't feeling any better. But also at the same time. The place is clearly getting better.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-12 23:46:47 80372
Cupcake. Kunzite casually observes (Lacrima can, when they're linked this closely, notice him casually observing) his irrational bias toward keeping siblings together; untangles himself from the temptation of focusing too closely on those hints of her interaction with Ryo; spreads out his awareness again, watching the constant shift and flow of energy. Considering that detail that Lacrima looks alive, here. Not so much that that would draw attention to it. But that symbol ... in other people, it would have meaning; in other people, whatever blockage or drain or stranglehold that damages the capacity for emotions might be near it.

Lacrima, of course, is not other people. So there's no telling. And he doesn't distract Mamoru from the plants. Because a still better image for Lacrima, who is fascinated with the ecology of the Dusk Zone, is other living things. And Mamoru is already looking there.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-07-13 00:09:55 80373
Briefly-- so very briefly, and with a strange mixture of frustration and grief and shame surrounding it, Endymion considers and rejects the idea that Zoisite might be able to help with this even better. Certainly he might, especially given his gardens in the Dark Kingdom, and beneath Paris-- but it would be too dangerous, too cruel, to expose him to this much darkness. Too tempting.

"Everyone feels different, or sometimes acts differently, when they're upset or hungry or in pain or tired. When your basic needs aren't being met -- safety, health -- your lizard brain takes over, more or less," Endymion says distractedly, peering at the lavender plant. His fingertips leave it, and he considers.

"Take the gardening tools from behind the door," he says after a moment. "We're going to move this plant closer to the bench, next to Ariel's. The safest way to do it is to make a hole near Ariel's, but not so close it'll damage her roots, and loosen the earth around it, then dig up the one you're moving-- and make sure that the dirt all around the plant comes with it, and put it in the new hole while you crumble the edges of the dirt you've moved." He glances up. "This is the connection with your brother. It's further from the bench where you sit, further from the earth where your other connections are flourishing. So I think you should bring it closer, so it's shielded by the warmth and caring of your thriving relationships."

He pauses for a moment, looking up at the dark sky, at the storm that's stopped pushing in but still lingers and looms. "It's just rearrangement. You're not taking anything away or adding anything. But all the same-- Kunzite, do you think we can provide cover, or a distraction? Or can you shield that, and her, and her bench flowers, while I go around doing what I've been doing and poking around noisily?"
Lacrima 2017-07-13 00:22:27 80374
Lacrima purses her lips as she walks over to the door and looks back at the other two. And the storm. Those clouds are always there. But she's never seen them move to large extents like this. Maybe the torchlight is helping. She looks back to the door and opens it.

Inside, sits this snarling green creature with weird scissor/shear fingers. A hoe end for a tail. And some sort of rake snout. It 'SCREEEEES' at Lacrima unearthily and she closes the door. And makes a very straight face. She seems to consider this for a long moment as she taps her bottom lip.

She opens the door again. 'SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEE' she gets as she flinches a bit. However. The creature doesn't attack. She considers this for a moment, she makes a 'silence' motion if anyone tries to talk during this time.

"Um. Can you move. The lavender plant. Over by that man, closer to the bench?" she asks it cautiously.

It SCREEEEEESSSS and then darts across the ground like some sort of fast gecko for the plant and it begins doing it's thing.

There is a burst of thunder while this happens, and it begins to rain. There is a growth in the darkness, overhead, but it isn't terrible.

"It's never rained either." she says. It isn't putting out the torchlights. There is that sizzle associated with water hitting hot things.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-13 00:32:51 80375
Maybe the torchlight is helping. They don't know its significance, not yet. Nor the clouds'.

"I can't distract something when I don't know what it is, or what it reacts to," Kunzite answers Endymion. "Or provide cover when I don't know how or what it perceives. I can watch, and be ready."

And then the door is open, and ... shear fingers and rake snout, snarl and SCREEEEE.

For some reason, Kunzite is not inclined to speak even before any silencing motion is made. Granted, his attention is largely still upward, considering the clouds, rather than the creature. Physical things are Endymion's prob--

Damn, that thing is fast.

The thunder is his, but the thunder isn't harm. And he watches the rain for signs of arcane involvement, watches the torches for signs of going out, or for steam trying to infect something. But ...

Well. It's all right to talk now.

"I've been trying to convince it to rain in mine for more than a year," he answers Lacrima. "Let's hope it means the same thing for you that it would for me."
Mamoru Chiba 2017-07-13 01:15:04 80376
No lie, there is definitely a jump on the part of the prince at the initial SCREEEE. He shifts uncomfortably as Lacrima slams the door, then shifts uncomfortably again as she opens it and talks to him-- her? it? Rakesnout Scissorhands. He absolutely edges back in mild alarm as the thing skitterscrambles across the courtyard, but not that far. He's not scared of it, of any part of this, but he also doesn't particularly want to get slammed into. With a rake. Or scissors.

Once it gets to work, he briefly watches-- then looks up at the sky too, frowning slightly. It's only a check, it's only observation, looking to see what the patterns are, what the feel of it is-- watching through Kunzite's perception. He's only half-listening to Lacrima and Kunzite's communication with each other, he's hiding his brightness behind Kunzite's shimmering shield. "Fire and rain," he murmurs, "just as you are flush with life -- you're bringing life and movement where it belongs. And it's not dissonant..."

He focuses on Kunzite and Lacrima again, and he grins crookedly. "Make it rain in your place and the caracal will throw you a party," he tells the shadow, and then smiles, lopsided still. "Norie," he says, "all these plants I'm touching-- they're all connections. Are all of your emotions attached to people?"
Lacrima 2017-07-13 01:29:33 80377
Lacrima gently watches as the .... create. rakesnout lizard moves the plant. It digs a hole with it's tongue which is a weird tongue trowel and plants the lavender before patting it down and then swishing away back into the garden closet door. Lacrima walks up to it and taps her bottom lip and looks suspiciously back to the boys as she opens the door suddenly and!----

There is now a normal mundane gardening shed here. She frowns a bit as she shoes closes it and just rubs her face. Heartscape, why you so weird?

"I don't know." she quietly informs Mamoru. She gently looks down at that lavender. And the two large unidentifiable flowers. Her eyes dart around the courtyard. She frowns. "But everything is dead. Or dying." she says quietly.

It's still raining. The rain doesn't pick up. But it's making things wet, and that wet, damp vegetation smells one sometimes gets begins to slowly fill the area. There doesn't seem to be a danger to this.

Infact, those darkness clouds haven't moved or done anything since the creature. She frowns a bit at the clouds.

"I think this place is always just going to be flooded with dark energy." she says quietly as she kicks a bit at the ground and has a place sitting back down on the bench. She sighs a bit.

".....It's a start." she says quietly. "The torches make a little more comfortable here." she says. "If the plants represent my connection to things, I'm not sure if that helps me emotionally." she says. She gently frowns a bit.

"Maybe something in here represents my emotional capacity and I'm just not really seeing it yet...." she says.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-13 01:46:16 80378
"Things can grow in the dark," Kunzite answers quietly. "Strangely, and dangerously; poisonous or predatory or unwell; but grow all the same. Some of them can even be beautiful."

People can even love in the dark, after a fashion. But that may not be parallel to Lacrima's curse, and so he does not speak of that aloud.

"There are possibilities. Underground. Lying in seed. On the far side of a door you have yet to find; in a space a door you've already seen only seldom opens into; on the far side of a wall without a door. In the sky." His eyes ought to flicker upward for that last, toward the clouds, but he doesn't have anything that focal at the moment.

There is an image then, one that leaks alongside words: the sense-memory of kneeling on cracked and barren earth, using a drinking glass to water a woefully wilted seedling. "And then again ... sometimes, when everythng seems to be dead or dying, the best thing to do is see what happens after the rain."
Mamoru Chiba 2017-07-13 02:26:01 80381
"I don't like mushrooms much, but a lot of people love 'em, and they definitely only grow in the dark," Endymion adds helpfully. "And then there are moonflowers, which only blossom at night-- and jasmine--"

Neither of the non-fungi is the same, since they do need sunlight, just... they bloom in the dark. But he's not about to bring that up. He waves a hand around, unconcerned. "This place will be full of dark energy as long as that's what sustains you. While I do still wish I could find a way to fix that, it's-- you know what it does. You manage it far better than Riventon does." There's a pause, and he glances sidelong at the shadow, and he says quietly but firmly, "You manage it the same way Kunzite did, I think. And it's another reason I told you that putting yourself in danger for someone else counts as love, even if you see it as selfish, even if you see your attachment to them as being unwilling to lose their company. Attachments, connections... they're what make us real. Ourselves in context..."

Endymion trails off, then laughs, shaking his head. "I'm rambling philosophy. Yes, what Kunzite said: wait to see what happens after the rain. Maybe it'll clear away debris, maybe it'll bring green-- if you want us to come back and help you look, or even just be a sounding board or a sanity check-- or dream interpreters-- I'd be more than happy to. But for now, we should let it be, yes. Let it find its new equilibrium. And a start is better than something drastic which goes wrong, isn't it?"

He's gently withdrawing; Lacrima can open her eyes any time and see the room, but he's pulling back so that when she does, she's not seeing an overlay.
Lacrima 2017-07-13 02:36:35 80383
Lacrima sighs and nods. "Alright." she says quietly. She does seem a little let down. Maybe she expected this to be a magic wand and everything would be okay. Things were done. Maybe she just hoped a little too much. She nods. "I handle it better than Riventon because-----" she bites her lip. "I'm sorry I shouldn't talk about that." she says. "But it has to do with the fact I'm sort of a complete dark energy being." she says. "Why I have better control." she offers.

AND THEN she's back out. She blinks a little and seems to waver. "That's just a minor woozy spells." she mutters as she straightens back up.

"I think I need to laydown a moment." she says quietly. Luckily, she's on a bed. "If. That's okay...?" she asks. She also kind of snatches her hands back when it's safe to o so.

"Um... T..thank you." she says quietly. "I'm not sure if it'll help. But maybe I'll feel different after a nap." she offers.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-13 02:44:59 80385
A magic wand would be splendid. Would be perfect. Maybe Ami would even be able to figure out how to use it on Takashi.

Kunzite's hand opens to let Lacrima pull hers out of it, almost as quick as she is. "It's okay," he confirms, eyes opening still-unfocused for a moment before drawing his attention more firmly to her as he rises. "I'll leave a tray outside your door, so no-one risks disturbing you by coming in while you're resting."

He does not mention that there is also a closet. If she needs the enclosure, she'll have it available; she doesn't need to be singled out on that, too. Besides. If she glances after him while he puts the desk chair back in place, she'll see it.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-07-13 02:58:15 80386
"It doesn't seem so insurmountable anymore, though, does it?" Mamoru asks, amiable and kind as he gets up, unoffended by her physical withdrawal. "You can think of it like going to a psychologist-- it takes a lot of sessions to work things out. Even psychiatry doesn't fix things right away-- for some people it's years and years before the right cocktail of chemicals to make up for deficits gets put together. But that doesn't mean it's hopeless." He moves toward the door ahead of Kunzite, who's moving the chair, and he lingers in the frame for a moment -- and that's actual true affection even on his face, matching what he's been showing for so long... and matching all she felt from him while they were all three connected like that. Tiny smile and a tilt of his head. "Sweeter dreams, Norie-chan. There'll be pastries later."

With that, he's gone, yukata and all.