It's Tanabata, the Summer Festival, and Kyouko and Makoto are both determined to enjoy the matsuri at Hikawa Shrine despite being on their own. Luckily they run into each other! And then Kazuo! And then Mamoru!

Date: 2017-07-17
Pose Count: 42
Kyouko Sakura 2017-07-17 23:30:00 80541
    Tanabata is a traditional Japanese summer holiday. You write your wish, whatever it may be, on a little card (called a tanzaku) and tie it onto a bamboo plant. Supposedly, then, your wish will come true- or at least, it can't hurt. Most people have a little bamboo tree festooned with wishes at home, or in their classroom. However, on the evening of Tanabata itself (the 7th of July), many shrines hold matsuri, or festivals, which attract crowds of locals to wander amongst the stalls and watch fireworks and all that good stuff.

    Hikawa shrine is no different, and tonight the grounds outside the main building is home to a decent-sized matsuri, a few rows of tent-like stalls and all sorts of people wandering about.

    One of those people is Kyouko. Although at first blush this might not seem like the sort of thing she'd be into, she seems enthusiastic enough- in fact, she's even wearing a yukata. It's a soft red with big white flowers on it. She's wearing it loosely, which is to say that her obi is tied loosely enough that the yukata sways open to the knee or slightly abovewith every step, and her sleeves are wide and airy. Its sort of a questionable way for a young lady to wear a yukata, bringing the term 'delinquent' to mind, but she pulls the look off well (which might surprise nobody). In truth, it was less a conscious fashion choice and more a decision that wearing something as restricting as a traditionally-tight yukata was not something Kyouko was comfortable with. What if they got attacked?! No, that would never do.

    In the moment though, she seems to be quite enjoying herself. She has a little paper tray with some dango on it, and is standing to one side of the lantern-lit path through the booths, chewing away.
Makoto Kino 2017-07-17 23:44:28 80542
Makoto's wooden sandals clack gently as she walks up the long stairs to the shrine and into the bustle of the festival. The mincing steps that a yukata requires don't really suit her, either, but the yukata in its pale green and paler pink is one of the loveliest pieces of clothing that she owns and she's determined to wear it correctly.

It's hard to decide what she wants to do first... even just trying to narrow it down to which of the food vendors she wants to visit is difficult. Mako is surveying the booths (and keeping a practiced eye out for Grandpa Hino, just in case) when her gaze catches on the familiar face in the red yukata. Brightening with recognition, she clack-clack-clacks over. "Kyouko, hey!"
Kyouko Sakura 2017-07-17 23:52:43 80543
    For her part, Kyouko seems to be wearing much less traditional normal sandals, of the 'probably sold for a few bucks at the conbenie' sort. Tradition was never something she much bought into, which is why it might be somewhat of a surprise to find her here, at least making an effort to get into the spirit of things, at all.

    She's just pulling the last dango off its little wooden stick when she hears her name being called, and perks up, glancing around and quickly spotting Mako-chan clack-clacking towards her. She grins, lifting a hand to wave, then noticing that it has some of the dango sauce on it and turning the motion into licking it off of her finger before completing the greeting. "Mako-chan! Heya." She returns, happily.

    "I didn't know you were gonna be here." She glances around. "Going solo this evening?" She makes a bit of a face. "Naru has cram school.. you'd think they'd let her off on a holiday, but apparently not! I gotta admire her dedication." A brief shake of her head.
Makoto Kino 2017-07-18 00:03:00 80544
"Yeah." Mako's head bobs in a little nod of confirmation as she reaches where Kyouko is standing. "Neph might make it, but he's been dealing with a bunch of stuff lately so it's kind of iffy, you know?" The twist of her mouth as she says it is sympathetic, rather than regretful.

"It's too bad about Naru-chan. But I guess that kind of thing is why she makes such good grades." Makoto, who is mostly in a state of acceptance regarding her own not-so-good grades, hitches her shoulders in a shrug. "I'm glad I ran into you - it's more fun to do this kind of thing with a friend if you can."
Kyouko Sakura 2017-07-18 00:08:50 80545
    Kyouko nods her head in return to Makoto's statements about Nephrite, at least peripherally aware of his travails. "Yeah. And yeah again to Naru and her good grades." She makes a little face, slightly less sympathetic, but only in the 'I am bitter my girlfriend cares more about grades than spending time with me' way that is more of a token greivance than serious one.

    Then she smiles at Makoto's final statement, nodding her head. "Yeah, it is. When Naru said she couldn't go, I thought about just skippin' it rather than goin' by myself but.." She blushes just a bit, glancing down and fidgeting with the edge of her yukata sleeve. "I never got to do this sorta thing as a kid, y'know? My dad was a real zealot for Christianity, wouldn't let us go to any 'heathen' festivals.. and then once he was gone I was on my own and I had bigger things to worry about.. and.." She trails off, then laughs, shaking her head and banishing bad memories, concluding with, "Now that I have the chance and nobody to stop me, I really wanted to come. So I did."
Makoto Kino 2017-07-18 00:19:49 80546
Mako listens quietly as Kyouko explains her reasons, and meets that final declaration with a warm smile. "It's good that you did," she says, reaching over to give Kyouko a friendly pat on the shoulder. "It'd be a shame to miss out. We can go around together!"

A step back, and she plants her hands on her hips in a way that doesn't really suit the elegance of the yukata, lifting her head for a look around. "The only thing I don't like about festivals is I always run out of room before I can try all the food I want to try." Laughing a little at herself, she looks back toward Kyouko. "How about it?" she asks. "What do you want to see?"
Kyouko Sakura 2017-07-18 00:22:56 80547
    Kyouko beams happily at the invitation to wander the festival alongside Makoto, laughing at the comment about never having enough room for all the food. She waves the empty paper tray which had previously contained dango. "I already got a head start on you there. It's hard to fill me up but..." She glances around. "This place might have what it takes. Guess there's only one way to find out." A toothy grin.

    She falls in beside the taller girl, waving towards the nearest pathway between rows of booths. "Let's see what's down there! I think I smell grilled squid.." She then adds, "Oh! And I wanna try the goldfish scooping game. Momo would be happy if I brought her home a goldfish, I bet."
Makoto Kino 2017-07-18 00:30:54 80548
"Sounds like a challenge worth taking on," Makoto replies with a grin as the two of them start off. Keeping pace with Kyouko with her strides contrained by her yukata isn't easy, but after several yards she manages to work out a gait that doesn't have her getting left behind or force Kyouko to rein herself in too much.

"I have never been good at goldfish scooping," she confides as they walk. "Your reflexes are better than mine, though, I bet you can do it." Especially if it's for a present for her little sister.
Kyouko Sakura 2017-07-18 00:34:44 80549
    "Well, I doubt anything here will be as good as your cooking, Mako-chan." Kyouko says concilliatorily, "but there's something special about festival food." She grins, and as she says it, pauses at a stall to purchase one of the aforementioned grilled-squid-on-a-stick. She offers one to Makoto as well, chewing contentedly before continuing on. She does note how the other girl's yukata limits her stride, and does her best not to rush off too enthusiastically to make things difficult for her.

    "Maybe." This to the idea that Kyouko might be better than average at goldfish scooping. "But I might be too enthusiastic and mess it up." She grins. "But if we can find one of those shooting gallery booths, y'know where you use the pop gun to try and knock prizes off? I bet I'd be pretty good at that."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-18 00:41:38 80550
There are, of course, other solutions to that kind of problem. Some people opt for jinbei. 'Some people' includes Kazuo, apparently; either that or there's some other too-tall white-haired individual who's allergic to color in the area. Dressed in loose gray, he's threaded himself into the crowd drifting around the vague epicenter of food-related stalls, and keeping a silent and quiet eye out.

Honestly, it's fifty-fifty whether Mamoru dragged him (and is thus somewhere around, who knows on the specifics) or whether he's at the festival solely in case something tries to spread some energy-draining or youma-creating contaminants. Tries being the operative word, because pulling that stunt at the Hikawa Shrine is a terrible idea.

He doesn't interrupt the girls; he does nod silently in their direction as he passes the Source of Squid. (Kyouko's hair and Makoto's height may make it perhaps easier than usual to identify them in the crow, too.)
Makoto Kino 2017-07-18 00:51:37 80551
Mako accepts the grilled squid onna stick with a pleased sound. "Ooh, thank you!" Nom. She takes a moment or two to savor that first bite before she swallows it and grins over at Kyouko. "Festival food is a whole different thing," she says. "Even if I tried making it in the kitchen, it wouldn't be the same."

She's tall enough that she can see pretty well even in the crowd, and as she nibbles on the grilled squid she scopes out what she can see of the stalls for signs of the games they're discussing. "I'm sure there's one of those somewhere - ah!" Her words break off as she spots that familiar white hair. "Ku--Kazuo!"

She's really going to have to get used to saying his civilian name one of these days.
Kyouko Sakura 2017-07-18 00:57:46 80552
    Kyouko's squid is vanishing in a much less restrained manner. The girl appreciates food, but has never much been the 'savoring' type, at least not in the way that delays the consumption of said food. Doesn't mean she enjoys it any less. "Not the same." She agrees, swallowing, "But probably still pretty good." Hint hint.

    She blinks as Makoto suddenly spots, and calls out to, Kazuo. She may not be as tall as Makoto, but she's not short either- and the white-haired young man's own towering height makes him easy enough to spot once her attention has been drawn. "Nii-chan!" She beams again, and closes the few steps over towards him.

    "What luck!" She declares, "You've come across two festival beauties who have both been abandoned by their companions. Which means you have the honor of being the new (platonic) date." She grins, and threads her arm through that of Kunzite loosely, looking immensly pleased with herself.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-18 01:15:39 80553
There is the distinct possibility that Kazuo may be considering making a break for it as Kyouko suddenly closes in. At least the shadow of expression on his face looks oddly familiar to Makoto at this point. He does not, however, opt for an escape attempt.

Even if his eyebrows twitch upward as Kyouko claims his arm. "Is this a contest to see which of your partners maims me first?" he asks, duly deadpan. "Neil has the advantage of closer residence, but Naru is subtler and might reasonably get closer without betraying her intent."

Whether Makoto approaches or Kyouko hauls him after her, or whether they merely reconverge in hunting for goldfish and galleries, Kazuo does half-bow toward her at the closer approach. "I hope the two of you are enjoying yourselves in the meantime?"
Makoto Kino 2017-07-18 01:37:59 80554
Laughing, Makoto takes up the spot at Kazuo's other side, though she doesn't go so far as to latch onto his arm. "No need to worry," she assures with an airy wave of her hand. "If Neil makes it out here, I'll abandon you immediately. You're safe from him, at least." She won't speak for Naru.

The polite inquiry as to how they're enjoying themselves is met with an enthusiastic nod. "Yes! We were just making plans to conquer the games booths and as many of the food stalls as we can."
Kyouko Sakura 2017-07-18 01:43:58 80555
    There is little doubt that Kyouko knows exactly what Kazuo is thinking- there is equally little doubt that this only makes her want to torment him a little more, in the affectionate way of all younger siblings. Though the taller boy's words about being maimed by the girls' respective significant others makes her snort in a most unladylike expression of amusement.

    "If you were anybody else, nii-chan, I'd be worried. Naru is devious in ways I can't even begin to explain. But don't worry.. she might not be dating you, but I think she'd be just as traumatized if she lost you as if she lost me. I guarantee you're safe."

    "Besides," And the last bite of squid vanishes into her maw as she speaks, "Ain't nothin' wrong with a girl wanting an appropriate escort at this sort of thing, now is there?" She winks, then chuckles. "We're having fun. I want to catch a goldfish for Momo."

    So speaking, they happen to pass one of those selfsame goldfish-scooping booths, and so Kazuo's arm is abandoned as Kyouko rushes over. "Ah! I wanna try!" A coin being fished from the small purse she has tucked into her obi.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-18 01:58:47 80556
"That only means that her vengeance would be better thought-out and longer-lived," Kazuo assures Kyouko gravely. ... and then gets his arm back in a fashion that comes very close to leaving him with friction burns. The glance he gives Makoto is actually visibly amused, if very slightly so. "I wonder how many times that goldfish is going to be replaced," he says to her, lower-tone, "before Momo catches on to the lifespan of festival fish." ... namely, 'frequently less than the trip home.'

About three seconds later it occurs to him that they have a potential solution for this problem, and it's probably him. At least he manages to confine his reaction to that one to pushing his hair out of the way, rather than actually hiding his face in a hand.
Makoto Kino 2017-07-18 02:07:57 80557
"Don't look at me," Makoto giggles in response to Kazuo's musing undertone. "I'm sticking with games that can only win stuffed animals." Nibbling on the remnants of her grilled squid, she wanders a few steps after Kyouko - far enough to watch the redhead's fish-scooping efforts, not so far as to be out of easy conversational distance of Kazuo.

"Thanks for the message, by the way," she notes to him aside. "He was still a little rough when I looked in on him the other day, but I think he's getting it sorted out."
Mamoru Chiba 2017-07-18 02:12:25 80558
And a tall boy in a dark blue yukata with gold designs embroidered on it, geta on his feet and fancy tint-in-the-sun glasses wanders up, eyes glued to the screen of his phone.

And he promptly stops and actually makes a sound that could be identified as 'burbling in glee'. "TOGEPI!"

Mamoru waves his phone at the three of them. Apparently he just hatched a spiky-headed cute thing in an eggshell with 90s designer designs on it. Apparently it's Tanabata and there's festivities everywhere and he's playing Pokemon Go.
Kyouko Sakura 2017-07-18 02:14:18 80559
    "She might take it as an excuse to force her to run another couple marathons with her." Kyouko admits, winking towards Kazuo, "But frankly, she'll find an excuse for that anyway, so you might as well just resign yourself to it."

    She grins, handing over a coin to the booth operator and then asiding to Makoto, "Watch this." She takes the little wooden hoop with tissue-paper stretched over it, and squats down in front of the wooden tub which has numerous fat little goldfish swimming contentedly around in it.

    Red eyes track the motion of the fish for several moments as Kyouko holds perfectly still. Then she darts the hoop down into the water, rather forcefully, which prompts all the fish to scatter away from it...

    And directly into her other hand, which she had thrust into the water at the same time, ignoring the fact that the end of her yukata sleeve gets wet. She raises her hand from the water, grinning.. a wriggling goldfish caught between her bare fingers. "Boom. That's how we do it." She says, the stallkeeper looking at her in a rather flabbergasted manner.

    Then she spots Mamoru. "Mamoru!" She calls, happily. "I got a fish!" She holds it overhead, still clutched in her bare hand, wriggling.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-18 02:28:11 80560
"I am duly resigned to bribing her out of marathons by finding ever stranger, more complicated, and more interesting races to distract her with," Kazuo says to Kyouko. "In a decade or two I expect to need to book transportation to the site via Virgin Galactic."

And then Kyouko is fish-stalking, and he turns his attention aside to Makoto. "Good," he says quietly. "I'm not entirely sanguine about his staying there; the best way to deal with these things is to move among people, not to isolate oneself for any longer than one absolutely needs. But if it's working for him, then I won't push him."

... not even to 'innocently' inquire whether Makoto would be winning the stuffed animals for herself or for Neil. Odds are that the answer would be 'for Usagi' anyway.

There are no snarky comments about Togepi, either. Not even one. "That's the lucky one, isn't it?" Kazuo asks instead in the resigned tones of someone who clearly, at some point, lost a bet.

And may possibly also choke back the urge to tell Kyouko that her hand is not a pokeball. "Good aim," he calls instead.
Makoto Kino 2017-07-18 02:34:57 80561
Mako nods her quiet agreement with Kazuo. What exactly out of what he's said she's agreeing with may be uncertain; she's about to say something, but then Mamoru and Kyouko are both displaying their catches and she lets the topic pass with smile. It'll keep, it seems.

"Congratulations!" she says instead, looking from one to the other as she speaks to better encompass both Mamoru and Kyouko in the sentiment. To Kyouko she hastily adds, "Better hurry up and get it in water again if you want to take it home." Poor fish.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-07-18 02:36:10 80562
"Yessss," Mamoru continues to happy-sound, leaning to bump his shoulder against Kazuo's-- and then he stares at Kyouko and her wriggling flopping fish. "Put it in water!" he says, half impressed and half horrified-- and then pointing a finger at Makoto, SHE AGREES WITH HIM, SEE, FISH NEED WATER, OMG. And then he seems to notice that they're by food stalls too. "Hey did you get anything chocolate yet?"
Kyouko Sakura 2017-07-18 02:43:28 80563
    Kyouko beams at the praise from various sectors, then scoffs lightly. "Ah, it'll be fine for a minute." She says, but dutifully turns to accept a clear plastic baggie of water from the bemused stallkeeper. It seems her feat did indeed count as a victory, or at least enough for the guy to concede that she can keep the fish. Soon it is suspended happily (or as happily as it is possible for a carnival goldfish to be) in the bag, and no longer in immidiate danger of suffocation.

    Then she blinks towards Mamoru. "Chocolate? Nope. Had dango and squid. Why, is there chocolate?" She looks around, her nose visibly twitching as she tries to separate the scent of one delicious fairground treat from the next.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-18 02:50:05 80564
"Fish don't have lungs," Kazuo points out needlessly to Kyouko. "They can't hold their breath." Not that a plastic baggie is much of an improvement, granted. Also, his commentary on this is roughly in the mildly-disinterested tone he uses to remind people that the TV show they want to watch is on Wednesdays, of which today is not one. Mamoru and Makoto have actually caring about the poor fish's fate covered.

He slides a silent nod to Makoto into the flow of things -- it'll keep, yes, but it's noted for later -- and then says, "I understand that there is always chocolate." Clearly he has none, or Mamoru might already have raided it from him.
Makoto Kino 2017-07-18 02:55:51 80565
"I think I saw a stall with choco bananas," Makoto supplies helpfully, reassured now that the poor goldfish is at least in water. Somewhere in there she ate the last of her grilled squid, and now she drops the stick into the nearest trash can before pointing down the way in the direction she remembers seeing chocolate. "Although I want to get some grilled corn myself, before I start into any sweets."

Festival food priorities. They can't all be bottomless pits like Kyouko and Usagi.
Kyouko Sakura 2017-07-18 02:59:33 80566
    "They can live out of water for a little," Kyouko says defensively.. before being distracted by the prospect of chocolate bannanas. "Huh? Where?"

    Before Makoto can even finish expressing her desire for corn first, Kyouko is beelining down the row of stalls towards the promised choco, the poor fish bobbing along in the bag dangling from one of her hands.

    The lifespan of carnival fish indeed.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-07-18 03:06:26 80567
\ %rPossibly ridiculously, there is a sigh of relief from the Prince of Earth when the goldfish gets put in water. He exchanges a helpless look with Makoto, momentarily, before eyeing Kazuo suspiciously. "Are you sure you're not hiding any?"%r%rNo, actually, if he had been, Kyouko would have sniffed it out first before even Mamoru could get to it, and now she's off looking for Mako's choco bananas, and he looks indecisive for a moment. "Well..." he starts, then sighs. "I guess I can put off chocolate in favor of protein. For now. KYOUKO GET ME A CHOCO BANANA OKAY?" he yells after her, then trudges in the direction of nutritional responsibility.%r
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-18 03:18:01 80568
Kazuo's eyebrows lift as he regards Mamoru. "I have better sense than to try to hide sugar from Usagi or chocolate from you," he informs his prince. "One should never embark on an expedition one knows to be doomed."

... this is complete hypocrisy, obviously, given that he's at the festival at all.

He could even go and fetch a choco banana himself. That would give it better odds of survival. But Apatite's been given her orders, and there's no need to undermine her. And besides, this may be the only shot Mamoru has at vitamins for the rest of the day. Therefore there is escorting the woefully responsible one. Somehow he manages to match pace without trudging. Pointedly not trudging, perhaps. "Makoto says Neil's looking better," he notes to Mamoru. "He might be out soon." It might even be for reasons other than one of them losing patience and attempting to carry him. (One of these three he'd bet on being able to pull it off. The other two he'd bet on Neil being guilted into hauling them out after the failure.)
Makoto Kino 2017-07-18 03:24:53 80569
Their chances of any real nutritional responsibility out of fair food are probably not high, but Makoto is committed to the prospect of freshly-grilled corn. On a stick! Rather than join Kyouko in the quest for chocolate-covered bananas, she thus clacks along with Mamoru and Kazuo.

"I did have to remind him that talking about stuff that's bothering him isn't whining," she puts in, voice softening a little at the thought of that conversation. "But things looked promising. I think he'll just need a little bit more time to finish sorting things out for himself, probably."
Mamoru Chiba 2017-07-18 03:33:00 80570
Another shoulder-bump -- as if to say he knows Kunzite wouldn't /really/ hide chocolate from him -- and Mamoru trudges a little less trudgingly, finally turning his phone upside down and ignoring any and all pokemon sighting notification buzzes. Just clocking in the distance traveled. More eggs to hatch, you know.

"If he's avoiding coming out of there because of me," he says after a moment, "he doesn't have to. I've been keeping a one-way screen up in front of him because he didn't want me seeing or feeling what was in his memory anko, and I told him I'd trust him on that. I won't touch him until he thinks it's safe."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-18 03:41:01 80572
"There's a difference between not coming out of there because of you," Kazuo says, "and saying that in order to avoid having to go into detail on the actual problems. I know which one I think it is." And he's letting Neil get away with it for the moment. Letting Neil get away with things for a little while is often the best way to deal with him, for Kazuo. This time, though, he adds, "Sometimes there are problems that it doesn't help to talk about. Talking about other things -- that helps him, I think." Once again with a nod to Makoto. "But for the rest, we need the bleeding to stop before he'll feel comfortable. So you may have to put up with being a useful excuse." Not for too long. Not given that tone in Kazuo's voice. Probably not going to be fixed by the time they find the grilled corn, though.
Makoto Kino 2017-07-18 03:46:49 80574
Makoto maneuvers herself around the guys until she can pat Mamoru reassuringly on the shoulder. A little tip of her head in Kazuo's direction agrees with his assessment, and she smiles lopsidedly. "I don't think he'll need much longer," she says. "I'll probably drop back in again after the fireworks tonight... take him a candy apple or something." Her tone is perhaps deliberately light. "But in any case, the storm was definitely clearing when I visited him before."
Mamoru Chiba 2017-07-18 03:55:07 80577
There's a brief exhalation that could be a laugh or a sigh, and Mamoru smiles wryly, ducking his head a little. "And this is the part where I keep trusting, and don't feel hurt, because the only interests anyone has in mind are the best ones-- and the people who can help him are." He'd be jamming his hands in his pockets except yukata. Also, trudging in geta is tiresome, so he also starts actually walking properly again. "There. Corn on sticks. Also meat on sticks. I think I will have meat on a stick." Subject, changed.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-18 03:58:51 80579
They trade off. Take turns. Mamoru's will be coming around again soon enough; that, or Kazuo and probably Makoto will metaphorically kick Nephrite until it does. "A candy apple," he repeats in the mean time. He does not say what he's thinking. But the mental image of a candy apple being stuck in Neil's unkempt wildman hair is probably perceptible just from the way he's trying very hard not to have an expression.

Topics. Topic change. Yes. "Meat does have the dubious virtue of having more protein than grilled corn," he agrees. "Have you considered the possibility of both?"
Makoto Kino 2017-07-18 04:02:20 80580
"Hmmmm," Makoto draws the sound out, long and considering. "Both sounds good. I'm getting the grilled corn!" That one was her suggestion initially; she trots the few steps over to the stall and buys two, returning with one in either hand. If Mamoru doesn't want one then perhaps the extra will be taken to Neil in place of the candy apple.

Speaking of subject changes: "I met your dad the other day, too," Mako tells Kazuo. "We had tea. You guys found the stuff he left for you, right?"
Mamoru Chiba 2017-07-18 04:11:12 80583
A candy apple ending up in Neil's hair is a delightful prospect, and so is grilled corn with meat on a stick alongside it; Mamoru duly takes the one that's offered, but keeps discussing as he edges off toward the stall next to the grilled corn one, which has various kinds of meat-on-sticks for sale. "Yeah, he-- he brought the slippers back," and Mamoru's trying really hard not to sound relieved all over again, "and peaches. Really nice ones. It was stupidly nice cherries the other time. I feel like such a jackass for not bringing anything the time I went to talk to him. But I was really mad at him at the time. But that's no excuse. I'm sure he's really mad at us most always. Except--"

He pauses to pay, then comes back with both sticks in one hand and his phone in his other, which he ends up tucking into his obi so he can double-fist the stick-food. "Except he had tea with you. I can't think of a better idea, diplomatically. You're the nicest person ever. Pretty sure you're nicer than Jadeite by like seventeen kilometers at least."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-18 04:20:32 80587
That is not the least secure phone arrangement in history, but Kazuo keeps an eye on it nonetheless. Being the one with free hands. "Kilometers," he repeats, and pushes his hair back even less necessarily than before. "Well." Is there an escape from this topic? Has there ever been? "I trust he managed to remain something less than threatening? I think Mamoru and Neil between them may have cured him of that, through constructive terror if nothing else."
Makoto Kino 2017-07-18 04:26:19 80589
Makoto's head lifts from her corn-onna-stick, brows rising; she seems rather surprised at Kazuo's question. "He mostly seemed awkward," she says. "He wasn't unpleasant, just... a little uncomfortable." A fact that she regrets her part in, judging by the way her gaze turns downward. "I think he's still trying to wrap his head around what we all are, and he's not sure there's any common ground for him. But he was perfectly polite to me."
Mamoru Chiba 2017-07-18 04:32:08 80592
"It's because you're a sweetheart," Mamoru insists, as his phone miraculously continues to avoid falling from his obi; he waves one of the sticks for emphasis. "And believe me, you didn't cause the awkward or uncomfortable." He pauses and glances away, flushing. "I didn't actually mean to terrify him. Or maybe I did and I'm sorry about it, even if it ended up being constructive on the grand scale. It didn't help foster any desire for him to deal with me, anyway."

He glances at Kazuo, almost apprehensive. "Has he started, um. Talking again?"

Right. This food is better hot. He starts eating.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-18 04:38:35 80594
"If he brought things back in person instead of sending them, I suspect that he's not trying to avoid you, at the very least," Kazuo notes to Mamoru. Then to Makoto: "And 'perfectly polite' is ... unusually good for him, outside of work. I'm pleased that he behaved well toward you."

Then Mamoru asks the other question and for the first time Kazuo might, to gauge from his brief pause, wish he'd picked up something at least to serve as a prop. Mamoru's phone is insisting on not falling and letting him off the hook. "After a manner of speaking," Kazuo says to Mamoru. "Etiquette is being observed again." ... so it's at least no worse than they started out, apparently.
Makoto Kino 2017-07-18 04:48:23 80596
Belatedly, Makoto is a little bit sorry that she brought up the subject. The feeling does not stop her from commenting to Kazuo, in the mild tone of one who knows she is probably butting in where her opinion is probably not called for: "Things between the two of you are difficult, but it didn't seem like it was completely hopeless. I hope you'll figure out a way to bridge the gap, in time."

With this said, she bends her attention studiously to her grilled corn, the better to shut herself up.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-07-18 04:55:24 80598
Aaaand this is the part where Mamoru, one stick in each hand, throws his arms around Makoto in a hug and finally drops his phone. "Hey you're fine. I'm the biggest buttinsky of all. I started this whole mess, all you've done is made it better." This with his mouth still full.

He doesn't even notice his phone fell. Good think Kazuo's watching.

Finally he pulls back and beams at her. "Let's buy stupid stuff for Neil."