Operational Efficiency

Nephrite shows up at the Sakura apartment in the middle of the night with a hard-won gift.

Date: 2017-08-21
Pose Count: 48
Nephrite 2017-08-21 22:44:39 81607
It is uncommon for this particular balcony to host unexpected visitors at uncivilized hours. That sort of thing is usually reserved for the one ten floors above. Much less an unexpected visitor whose uniform is torn and bloodied, who holds in his hands two trinkets of power (one, perhaps, significantly deadlier than the other).

Nephrite appears like a horror movie extra outside the glass balcony doors of Kyouko's apartment. His shoulder is bleeding, but that does not actually account for every bloom of red on his uniform. It's late--much later than normal people are awake, and perhaps that includes anybody inside the apartment at this moment. He lifts a fist that is closed around a corner of his cape--or is there something else balled up in that corner of his cape?--and bangs on the glass.
Kyouko Sakura 2017-08-21 22:54:09 81608
    If there's one thing which differentiates the Sakura apartment from the ECFH, it's this simple fact- the Sakuras have a dog. Dog, in fact, sleeps on a doggy bed in the living room. Dog is a good dog, and therefore instinctively protects the apartment. Though, truth be told, he's never really had occasion to actually do so before. There aren't many intruders on the 37th floor of a high-rise.

    Perhaps, then, it is excitement more than alarm which causes Dog to raise his head from where he rests on the doggy bed, and peer at the peculiar figure on the balcony. After a moment.. he barks. Whuff! It's not a terribly loud bark (Dog knows we have neighbors and he needs to be quiet), but it's definitely a bark.

    Meanwhile- Momo is passed out in her bedroom. She sleeps like a log and is unlikely to be woken by something as minor as a bang and a whuff.

    Kyouko, on the other hand, is an incredibly light sleeper. Ask Naru- the two have been sharing a bed for nigh-on nine months now. Kyouko routinely wakes up multiple times a night, when her partner so much as shifts. When a water droplet in the bathroom falls. When a particularly low-flying jet passes overhead. This isn't to say Kyouko doesn't get enough rest- it's just to say that long years living on her own, on the street, have given her a heightened awareness of her surroundings that refuses to be dimmed by something so petty as sleep.

    Which is why, a bang and a whuff is more than enough to have her sitting up in bed, instantly alert. There's a moment of perplexity. Something woke her up, but she isn't sure what, as the noises haven't repeated yet. Her eyes flick around the dim bedroom.. settle briefly on Naru, curled beside her. Everything seems normal. Then, from the living room, another 'whuff', and the sound of dog scratching at something (in this case, the balcony door). Kyouko's eyes narrow. This is Unusual Behavior. Her Kyouko Sense tingles. Something is Unusual and Unusual normally means Bad.

    All this has taken mere seconds. Kyouko slips from the bed- she isn't quite in panic-mode yet, but she's in Caution Mode. A moment of rooting around finds a long t-shirt, which finds its way over her head, and then she's peeking out of the bedroom door.. creeping along the hallway with finely honed stealth. Peering around the corner towards the balcony...
Naru Osaka 2017-08-21 22:59:23 81609
Naru is very well familiar indeed with Kyouko's awakeness during the night. She barely notices when Kyouko tosses, turns, gets up, comes back to bed. She decidedly notices when the covers get stolen, but that's a different situation. The thump and woof, however, are different and unusual enough to bring her to almost sort of kinda awake. The sort where you aren't quite certain if you just dreamt it, or if there's something. The fact that Kyouko got up slowly percolates through not quite awake brain, as Naru listens for further signs that Something's Amiss.
Nephrite 2017-08-21 23:01:30 81610
The sight that meets Kyouko through the glass doors is a tall, caped figure with long hair a wild mess. It may or may not be easy to see the blood through the darkness. The figure pounds on the glass again.
Kyouko Sakura 2017-08-21 23:08:33 81611
    It's really the fault of the moon. It's bright out, and shining from behind Nephrite on the balcony. Kyouko can't make out who it is- just that there's somebody pounding on the balcony door in the middle of the night. On the 37th floor.

    She knows plenty of people who could accomplish this. But she doesn't, upon quickly considering it, know anybody who would. Mamoru or Kunzite would knock on the front door, or just come in (they both have keys). There's a spike of alarm, a spike surely strong enough for Mamoru to feel, ten floors above. It's not quite panic. But it's definitely alarm.

    One thing that Kyouko has learned is caution. If this was an attack, the figure would probably just have smashed the door. But it could be a trick. In a flash, she henshins.. and then melts into the shadows, vanishing entirely. Those seldom-used but potent illusion powers of hers, finally getting a bit of a workout.

    There are other doors to the balcony than just the one in the living room. Naru might find herself mildly surprised when the balcony door in the bedroom opens by itself, wind blowing in along with the drapes that normally cover it.

    Nephrite might be mildly surprised when a spearpoint appears, seemingly from out of nowhere, under his chin- followed a moment later by Kyouko seeming to emerge from the stone of the wall. "What are you doing?" She asks, voice low. She still hasn't registered who it is- as usual, acting before thinking. Plus it's really dark out.
Naru Osaka 2017-08-21 23:13:39 81612
Another thump of banging upon balcony doors, and then the bedroom balcony door opens. Naru frowns, awake for certain now, and awake enough to drag herself out of bed and into something slightly more respectable for visitors, tugging a robe on. Naru moves to peer out the bedroom balcony door, first one way, and then the other before moving back inside and closing that door. If she's up, she might as well go check on Dog in the living room.
Nephrite 2017-08-21 23:22:50 81613
The moon could be blamed, and also his disheveled appearance, and also the fact that, were Nephrite thinking clearly, he would have called first. That's what you do when you show up at somebody's place in the middle of the night. You warn them.

Kyouko, at least, has the presence of mind to give him the warning he neglected to give her. When he feels the spear at his throat, he sucks in a breath, his raised fist freezing in place rather than hitting the glass again. But then Kyouko herself appears and he coughs out a laugh. "You want to watch it with that thing, sis. Might take someone's head off."
Mamoru Chiba 2017-08-21 23:31:49 81614
A moment ago, Mamoru awakened from an uncomfortably nightmare-ridden sleep, alarmed. It took him that muzzy moment to determine that it wasn't his own, it was red-orange-- and that there were echoes of aftershocks of something terrible coming dimly from an earthy green direction he'd blocked on request.

He's on his feet in a hot second, slamming that connection open and grabbing hold of it, his henshin, and his power. He hasn't really come awake entirely yet. This means that, locked onto that alarm and the feelings that he just started swimming in (that green is full of shaky sickness and disorientation and a blinding fury), in three more seconds he's teleporting. It's not casual, it's reflexive and fierce, like when Sailor Moon was having the life drained out of her in Makoto's apartment--

--and so it follows that there's abruptly a third person on Kyouko's balcony, already powering up an attack.

And he's facing in the wrong direction, a space-black shape, too tall and indistinct in the darkness, looming behind Kyouko with a glow building in his hands, making him even more of a silhouette.
Kyouko Sakura 2017-08-21 23:44:03 81616
    Kyouko blinks when she hears Nephrite's voice. Still with the speartip at his throat, she finally starts to relax just a little bit. "Neph-nii?" Her voice, still tense, sounding mildly incredulous. "What the hell are you doing he-"

    At about this time, she senses something teleport in behind her, building up magical energy in what can only be an attack. In an instant, she'd recognize the presence as Mamoru's. The problem is, Kyouko's reflexes respond well before her brain does.

    She spins on the spot, cape flaring, spear whipping away from Nephrite to be re-directed. It's already speeding straight for the back of Tuxedo's mask when the presence's identity finally registers in her brain, and desperately, her muscles attempt to re-direct the blow.

    Her spear smashes into the stone wall a fraction of an inch from Tuxedo Mask's ear with a crash. Stone chunks and dust filter down. There might be a couple dark hairs that got trimmed floating down with them.

    Kyouko, for her part, looks suitably horrified. I mean, it's not exactly kosher to stab the person you're sworn to protect.
Naru Osaka 2017-08-21 23:48:22 81617
There is a kafuffle on the balcony, and Naru peers in that direction as she emerges out into the living room. People arriving via teleport isn't all THAT unusual, but it IS unusual to have spears flinging and CRASHES of spears into stone walls. She pauses a moment and then heads towards the kitchen to put the kettle on. Someone's going to need a cup of tea, and that someone is likely to include her.
Nephrite 2017-08-22 00:01:57 81619
There is a lot happening on this balcony now, and nerves are very, very frayed. A black shadow appears on Kyouko's other side, and Nephrite yelps. That is the extent to which he is helpful against the sudden presence of an intruder powering up.

Worse still, he realizes the intruder's identity at the exact same moment she does. With a cry, he does the only thing that he can think to do at that moment, even though it is already too late. He tackles Kyouko to the floor.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-08-22 00:04:45 81621
He's motionless until there's that whiff by the side of his head, and he's a fraction of a second too late in his own reflexes for it to have done any good at all-- but he does drop down below what's presumably bullet height and pivot on his heel, crouched, like a breakdancer. The pivot brings the building brightness of Tuxedo la Smoking Bomber into direct view of Apatite and Nephrite, probably not at all helping their night vision; it's extinguished almost in that same instant because wow does it make him a target in the dark.

Tuxedo Kamen hisses out, "Good!! Stay down! Whatever it is just shot at me!" at the two of his Shitennou present. "Don't worry Kyou--" apparently he registered her sudden horror "I'm okay-- are you guys okay?? Neph what did it to?!"
Naru Osaka 2017-08-22 00:10:12 81622
As one who isn't in the midst of it all, Naru gets the perspective of noting that there doesn't seem to be more than two of them out there. Now three of them out there. Just three, and she gets out three mugs, just in case as the kettle waits to boil. She moves closer to the balcony window to peer, not actually trying to make it four out there. Kyouko getting tackled isn't so unusual as to cause distress, but she looks beyond the trio to try and find others. And fail to do so.
Kyouko Sakura 2017-08-22 00:16:55 81623
    "Oh my god Mamoru, I didn't-AWK" This is what leaves Kyouko's mouth after she nearly stabs her boss/best friend in the face, and then immidiately gets tackled from behind by the balcony's second-least-effective bodyguard. She ends up flat on her face, her spear still stuck into the wall and protruding from it like a tree-branch, with Nephrite's considerably larger frame on top of her.

    For a moment, silence reigns. Then, still-face down, her voice muffled, "Don't tell Kunzite about this please."
Nephrite 2017-08-22 00:32:49 81624
"Oh for--everyone stand down! Put the weapons and smoking bombers away!" Nephrite bellows, likely waking up a neighbor or two. The fact that poor Apatite is currently squashed beneath his considerable bulk, and therefore no longer counts on the list of 'everyone,' does not register.

He snorts as he pulls himself upright, un-squishing his sister. "You keep this away from Zoisite's ears, I will definitely not tell Kunzite."

"We're fine," he grunts belatedly. "There's nothing here. Let's go inside before anyone else shows up. We're almost out of balcony."
Mamoru Chiba 2017-08-22 00:45:14 81625
"...oh," says Tuxedo Kamen after a second of incomprehension. "Uh." He looks up at Kyouko's spear in the wall right in the path of where his head had been.


And then he straightens, pulling a Picard Manuever and tugging his tuxedo jacket's front down where it should be. That's completely unnecessary because he de-henshins a half-second after that.

The Prince of Earth, shirtless and in blue cotton pajama bottoms and bare feet, has all the dignity in the world as he slides the glass door open. "I'm not telling anyone," he says under his breath. "But Neil-- you're hurt and you're going to let me heal you, and you're going to have to live with me not blocking you anymore. I don't like waking up after missing the party, champ."

As light as the words are, there's something really tight behind Endymion's voice.
Naru Osaka 2017-08-22 00:47:26 81626
"Who wants tea?" Naru asks as door opens and the potential of the party coming from the balcony into the living room actually exists. She, wisely, doesn't ask exactly who was stabbing who and why, but her expression as she watches the three of them speaks volumes to how much she knows. "There's cold drinks too."
Kyouko Sakura 2017-08-22 00:52:32 81627
    Kyouko climbs back to her feet, looking suitably chagrinned. She pads into her own living room after Mamoru, and Dog whuffs again, wagging his tail. Excited to have company and ignorant of the rather unfortunate circumstances.

    Seeing Mamoru de-henshin, Kyouko follows suit a moment later... forgetting that she literally only threw on a long t-shirt before coming out to confront the intruder. It's plenty long enough to preserve her modesty, but it takes her a moment to realize why it feels so breezy in here..

    At which point she looks down at herself, then turns scarlet. "BERIGHTBACKINEEDPANTS" The words trail after her already-vanished form.
Nephrite 2017-08-22 01:07:09 81628
Nephrite follows last. And does not de-henshin right away. He's still holding the corner of his cape in a death grip. And since Kyouko has walked away, it's going to have to stay that way just a little bit longer. He glances over at Naru. "Don't suppose you've got anything stronger than tea."

He turns to Mamoru, then glances at his shoulder, as though he forgot he was hurt. Maybe he did. The stakes that protruded from it before vanished with the witch that hurled them, which means both that the wounds will be easy for Mamoru to deal with, but also that they're still bleeding freely. "Right. Okay." There's an edge to his voice that is not normally there. "Would've gone home first, but... " he gestures widely with his closed hand. "Had to deal with this first."
Mamoru Chiba 2017-08-22 01:17:31 81629
"Tea sounds perfect," Mamoru calls back toward Naru, shutting the door behind them-- even as Kyouko's distressed about her lack of pants for some reason. There are too many more important things for him to sort out right now to worry about states of undress in the middle of the night. Like bleeding and rage and that disconnected shocky thing Neil's got going on. "Thanks."

Then he's reaching up an ungloved hand to literally stick his fingers in the bloody holes through Neph's uniform, in the shoulder there, and he's careful--

--he's careful to filter at first so he's knocked off his feet. If it's this strong just over the link, touch will... probably do to him what being around an angry Hannah does, and no one needs that. But there's the anaesthetic for Neil, at least, the healing, and the concentrated version of what he started getting from Mamoru the moment the prince shoved their connection open after leaving it blocked for weeks. Peace, safety, love, warmth, belonging, and ultimately home-- the pattern of all of them intertwined with the spinning bright world beneath them.

"Why don't you put it on the table," he suggests quietly.
Naru Osaka 2017-08-22 01:18:25 81630
Naru watches Kyouko flee in search of pants and then turns her attention back to the others, frowning as she notes the fact the Nephrite is bleeding. "Did that happen out there?" She asks, gesturing a little towards the balcony before she turns back to the kitchen in search of 'stronger'. Just like upstairs, it requires climbing on the counter to get to the upper cupboards, granted usually Naru is wearing more than a robe when she's climbing up in ECFH. Somehow modesty manages to win, generally, and she's emerging with a bottle.

The bottle might well be familiar to Nephrite, actually, having once been part of his collection, liberated at some point by Kyouko. Clearly just for such an occaision. Clearly.

Naru collects a quartet of glasses, a little mismatched, and the bottle, bringing it out to the table.

Tea can be a chaser.
Kyouko Sakura 2017-08-22 01:26:33 81631
    Kyouko re-emerges just a few moments later, now sporting blue and grey pajama pants underneath the same t-shirt. Feeling much more suitably attired for entertaining male guests, even in the middle of the night, she walks out into the living room, a frown on her face, along with the remnants of blush that might have to do with more than just pantslessness.

    She arrives just in time to see Mamoru stick his fingers into Nephrite's bloody wounds. Kyouko is absolutely not squeamish when it comes to blood (you're talking about a girl who has been partially dismembered and kept fighting), but she still can't help making a bit of a face, because it's not a pleasant sight (even though she knows the outcomewill be beneficial).

    "Mamoru.. sorry." She says, and he knows why without her having to say anymore, and he knows she'll probably sulk about it later too, but her eyes are back on Nephrite because certain issues are more pressing right now. After all, she did manage to turn the spear aside. "What the hell are you doing here, Neph-nii?" She asks, hopefully without someone teleporting in behind her to prevent an answer this time. It's not delivered in a tone that suggests he is unwelcome, but rather in one of genuine confusion.

    And then Mamoru is saying to put 'it' on the table, and her eyes are drawn to Nephrite's fist, and suddenly she gets it. She knows what he's holding- she can feel it. Likely she's been feeling it all along, she was just too distracted by other things to actually have it register.

    Naru brings whiskey. Kyouko shoots her a grateful look.
Nephrite 2017-08-22 01:42:34 81632
Nephrite lets out a strangled shout when Mamoru sticks his fingers in his shoulder wounds. "Augh fuck! Really man? Was that really necessary?" He's being louder and more dramatic than he really needs to be. Yelling about pain is better than yelling about anything else. He already knows it is going to stop soon. It already is.

It takes a moment before everything else starts to feel a bit better too. Before he sags a bit against Mamoru. He nods at the instruction--it had never even occurred to him to let it go now. "I... okay." After a beat he adds, "sorry." Nephrite glances at Kyouko, before dropping the grief seed on the table beside the glasses that Naru has so helpfully brought. "Present for you."
Mamoru Chiba 2017-08-22 02:06:49 81633
It's all part of the health insurance package Endymion Ltd. offers, 'I'll give you something to yell about' inclusive. Mamoru's not aware of the whiskey yet; he says, preoccupied, "Don't be such a big baby."

And then Kyouko's coming out and apologizing and he waves his free hand around dismissively. "I should know better than to teleport in when you've got your guard up. I thought you guys were in trouble..."

He trails off as Nephrite sags against him, and is silent as he puts the grief seed down, supporting his guardian. He doesn't catch on as quickly as Kyouko does. It's not until it's on the table in plain sight that Mamoru swallows, hard, and the tone of the moral side of the support changes abruptly. "Hey, Naru, guess you're prescient, huh?" he says, trying to stamp out the anxiety. "I think I'd like whiskey in my tea. Neil, what do you need right now?"
Naru Osaka 2017-08-22 02:10:48 81634
"Tea is on its way." Naru assures as she moves back towards the kitchen again. "Did you fight a witch on your own, Neph?" She asks as she gets down four mugs as well, ferrying them out just in case people want to mix and match their tea and whiskey combinations between glasses and mugs. The tea pot emerges with her next, along with muffins. Because carbs are handy when one is burning through energy healing.
Kyouko Sakura 2017-08-22 02:18:04 81636
    Kyouko whaps Nephrite on his uninjured shoulder. "Hey, dude, keep it down! Momo's still sleeping, and I'd like to keep it that way. I've had enough excitement for one night without hyperactive little sister added to the mix."

    She then eyes the Grief Seed for a moment before leaning over to pick it up. As soon as she has hold of it, the sense of malice it exudes becomes noticably less potent. Still there, but not quite as effusive. Pretty much the safest place for a Grief Seed to be is in the hands of a Puella. "Thanks. These are kinda hard to come by these days, y'know."

    "I thought I was in trouble, too. Still, 'accidentally stabbing the boss' is not the way I want to remember the dream job ending." This to Mamoru, contrition mixed with sardonic amusement.

    She moves over to be near to Naru as her girlfriend emerges again with tea and muffins, echoing her question, "Yeah, what are you doin' with this anyway, Neph-nii? Witches aren't exactly common right now." More than they were a year ago, but still less than in the olden days. "Although if you took it out by yourself, I have to give you props." She knows first-hand how difficult fighting a Witch solo can be.
Nephrite 2017-08-22 02:53:02 81637
Nephrite makes a face at being called a big baby, but on being swatted by Kyouko, he opts not to retalliate by increasing his volume further.

"Whisky," he says automatically, on being asked. "Whisky would be very much appreciated right now." His voice still sounds too strained. Too much like he's trying to contain a lot more than just shouting about a finger in his bloody wound. He watches out of the corner of his eye for Kyouko to take the grief seed, and only when it's out of sight does he seem to lose some of the tension he's holding.

"No," he tells Naru. "No, not alone." He's still just standing there, letting his prince tend to him, and now he can't use the hand attached to the shoulder Mamoru is taking care of. With a jerky, impatient movement, he starts trying to unscrew the whisky bottle one-handed. "You know Sakura? Not--" he jerks his chin at Kyouko. "Little girl. Really really damn young girl. Uses cards, apparently." He's not looking at them. His attention is fully on the bottle, and the painstaking process of holding it and unscrewing it at the same time. "She was there. She shouldn't have been. She saw... too much."
Bass-chan 2017-08-23 22:23:39 81647
Mamoru gently pulls Nephrite over to sit down in front of the table with the booze and tea and muffins, then sits down next to him while glancing up at Naru with a look of immense gratitude. It says without words, 'you always know how to ground people.' It says without words, 'thank you so very, very much.'

He takes the bottle from his guardian matter-of-factly, opens it, and then pours Neil whisky, neat, and himself tea with whisky in. He reaches to snag a muffin while he listens.

At Kyouko, the prince rolls his eyes and gives her a brief grin. "I wouldn't fire you for stabbing me. Kunzite and I talked a while ago about how we really need to train together-- I suggested it, and he said we should wait. It might be time now, is all. The fact that he hasn't shown up despite my freaking out and teleporting means he's probably unworried enough to still be asleep, so chill out."

He quiets down when Kyouko asks Nephrite about the witch, and briefly puts his hand over Neph's for a second as he elaborates, and then grips it as he explains that Sakura was there. "Okay," he says, businesslike, then again, "okay. I'll get Kunzite. And then I'll go see to Sakura. Where did she go, do you know? If you don't, that's okay, I'll find her."
Naru Osaka 2017-08-23 22:30:02 81648
"I know Sakura, yes." Naru nods slowly as she ensures that there's glasses, or tea cups in front of those who want each, offering Kyouko a glance as she comes nearer, but turning back to her tasks. The presence of the grief seed didn't seem to phase her much, nor does she show any real signs of relief once Kyouko has it and the sensations from it lessen.

Naru pours herself tea, no whiskey in her cup and she moves to settle on the couch and listen.
Kyouko Sakura 2017-08-23 22:39:53 81649
    Kyouko glances sideways at Naru as the girl goes about placing glasses, then moves away from her again to settle down at the couch, a faint frown touching her face before she shakes her heads briefly, grabbing the whiskey bottle, and dashing some into a glass for herself. She pounds it back in a single swig, completely ignoring Nephrite's advice to her on a previous occasion to savor good liquor.

    "It ain't you firing me I'm worried about," Kyouko shoots back to Mamoru, with a mildly amused expression. "It's the fact that if I stab you too well, the job evaporates because I no longer have anyone to guard." She seems mildly reassured, regardless, though she'll still be taking the incident to heart. "Training would be good. I mean, I train every week with Mako-chan, and we ain't even part of the same squad." Though it's doubtless valuable in numerous ways, regardless.

    She makes an irritated sound at the mention of Sakura. "That fucking girl," She says, displaying the legendary empathy for which she is known, "Attracts trouble like a goddamned magnet attracts iron filings. But that don't really answer my question. How did she end up with a Witch then? There ain't as many Puella around as there used to be, but between me and Saya-chan I like to think we keep the neighborhood pretty clear."
Nephrite 2017-08-23 23:11:47 81651
Nephrite stiffly sits where Mamoru puts him, like a mannequin. Tonight is clearly not a night for decorum or savoring the taste of anything, because he too throws the whisky back in a single shot and immediately pours himself another. A humorless laugh escapes his throat. "Sis, on the list of things that has been done to him by one of us, that doesn't even make the top ten. You're gonna have to try a lot harder if you wanna get kicked out ahead of me."

He shakes his head, his eyes fixed on some distant point on the wall, a speck of dust or a faint shadow. "Girl that young shouldn't be out there. She should be... playing hopscotch or whatever the hell it is kids that age do." He downs his glass again, and this time it clatters a little too hard when it hits the table. "I don't fucking know, okay? I stay the hell away from those things if I can help it. It was just there like it was waiting for her and she ran right up to it because she thought it was this fucking thing." He digs through his pocket and comes up with something that he throws on the table. "The Lock," it says helpfully, beneath the drawing of a winged golden lock. "Guess what it fucking does."

Drink number three time. Probably he will be replacing this bottle for them tomorrow. He shakes his head as he pours. "She ran off. Her little flying teddy bear thing went after her. I didn't follow her since... " he gestures down at his general appearance.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-08-23 23:20:44 81652
Mamoru is off to find the missing ten-year-old, the moment that Nephrite says he doesn't know. That doesn't mean that all sign of Mamoru's presence is gone. At least Kyouko knows to expect the key in the lock, from who Mamoru said he was going to get. Maybe Mamoru even remembered what they wear on their wrists; or maybe Kazuo was already waiting outside in case of further trouble. Probably the former. Hopefully the former, because even for Kazuo the latter would be creepy.

Either way: key in lock. Kazuo relocks the door behind him after letting himself in. For a moment, he just stands back and listens, eyes flicking from Nephrite to the glass (he's using one; that's promising) to the card to Nephrite again.
Naru Osaka 2017-08-23 23:26:00 81653
Naru is quiet, she's curled back up on the couch, sipping her tea and frowning a little. She leans forward, to retrieve the card from the table, examining the words and drawing upon it more closely.

"Much like for most of us, the choice to be out there and facing down monsters isn't entirely our own, young or not." Naru points out quietly. "As much as I usually wish to duct tape her in a closet myself, thanks for looking out for her, Neph."
Kyouko Sakura 2017-08-23 23:34:10 81655
    Kyouko nods firmly in agreement, though with who is not immidiately apparent. Likely, this is because she agrees both with Nephrite and Naru's statements. "It ain't even about age." She says, after both finish speaking. "I was 'out there' at her age, y'know. Made my wish when I was 10. And look, I ain't sayin' that I was like, some kinda monster-slayin' progidy or some shit, but the fact is she just don't have the temperament for it. And she didn't choose it, like I did." Even if Kyubey is not known for representing exactly what one is choosing- the fact remains it was a bargain struck, not unasked-for responsibility.

    "I agree that ultimately the blame lays with the dude who put her in this position, but I'm also with Naru in that it might be better for everybody if we tied her up and stashed her someplace, because her being bad at her job isn't just a problem for her. It's a problem for everybody around her. And I feel bad for her too but feelin' bad for somebody don't mean you can just ignore the ramifications of the situation."

    She falls silent after a moment, glancing at the picture of 'the Lock'. "Though in this case, it's not really her fault, I guess. Anybody can get attacked by a Witch. And only Puella are really equipped to handle them." She glances back at Nephrite, a pensive frown on her face. "I know it ain't my place to say so, but you did good, man. Witches are tough. And you can't just let a little girl die, no matter the circumstances. I'll try to do better.. keepin' 'em down. There's been more the past few months. Thought I had it under control, but I guess not."

    Since when has Kyouko been responsible for the Witch population of Tokyo? Clearly, as the only Veteran Puella currently active in the city, she feels she is.

    Kunzite's entrance is acknowledged, his gaze met and held briefly, but nothing said to him for the moment since he holds his peace.
Nephrite 2017-08-23 23:51:43 81656
Kazuo has just walked in, and if Nephrite had to guess, he would say he is not here for the tea. Well, Neph's already stretched Naru and Kyouko's hospitality far enough without adding 'cleaning up the quivering hot mess under the table' to the list if Nephrite moves his 'holding it together' status from 'barely' to 'not.'

His eyes flicker to Naru. "For all the fucking good it did. There's a very big gap between 'alive' and 'okay.'"

Another drink. Then to Kyouko: "Can't see you as the hopscotch type, no." He shakes his head as he pours again. "This wasn't on you. You can't predict where those things will show up, can you?" He scowls at the card. "And you wouldn't have been any help anyway, thanks to that."
Kyouko Sakura 2017-08-23 23:56:11 81657
    Kyouko interjects, sharply, towards Nephrite, "There's a bigger gap between 'okay' and 'dead'. She's alive. She can be made okay. If you hadn't been there that likely would not be the case."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-08-24 00:13:58 81660
Sometimes, it's the easy problems that get dealt with first. Kazuo studies Kyouko, then says, "You're still holding up your end. Miki's distracted by one of her crusades again." And Miss White being out of action removed her people's contribution, such as it was. And the White Flower's in residence. He doesn't voice either of those aloud.

Then he returns his attention to Nephrite. "This won't break the girl," he says, and his addendum to Kyouko's interjection is not sharp. It's certain, nothng more. "Hurt her, yes. But she has the capacity to recover."

How exactly he would know this is a good question.
Naru Osaka 2017-08-24 00:17:42 81661
"What does this card do, exactly." Naru asks, a change of topic perhaps, or certainly not precisely on the topic of just how traumatized one of the younger of the magical girls is currently. She leans forward to set it back on the table and then curl back up into the couch, holding her tea in both hands. Somehow, she manages to settle on the couch in a robe fairly modestly. It's a talent.
Kyouko Sakura 2017-08-24 00:26:54 81662
    Apart from her earlier, snapped interjection, Kyouko offers this to Nephrite. "You can't, exactly, predict where a Witch will appear, no. But you can make educated guesses. They ain't stupid, you know. It's not a human intelligence, they have, it's.. alien. But they ain't stupid. On top of that, I can sense them. You probably knew that already, but. I should be able to tell if there are any lurking around, which is why I patrol. It's got a limited range, but I need to be out there so I can find and eradicate them so innocent people, magical girls or not, don't end up traumatized or dead by them. That's part of my responsibility."

    A far cry from a few years back, when her only interest was getting enough Grief Seeds to keep herself alive. Amazing how your perspective changes when you're no longer starving and alone.

    "I appreciate the sentiment. An' I know nobody can be perfect at what they do. But I'll try harder anyway, because, I don't like people getting hurt who don't deserve it. And I don't like my brothers getting hurt." She eyes him.. and may be talking about more than just the shoulder wound.

    Then she glanzes at Kunzite, and rolls her eyes slightly. "Of course she is. First Homura and Madoka fuck off to who knows where. Mami's AWOL, which probably just means she went off to play hero somewhere else figuring the rest of us had it under control here, and Saya-chan has the attention span of a small puppy. On top of that, Kyubey still ain't making new Puella, or at least not like he used to. Which, don't get me wrong, not a totally bad thing. But if I'm literally the only Puella out there putting a dent in the population, this isn't the last incident like this we're gonna see. I can't be everywhere."

    Then she too glances at the card.. then over at Nephrite, as Naru brings it up again. She's interested, and listens for the answer, if there's one forthcoming.
Nephrite 2017-08-24 00:47:23 81666
Nephrite leans his forehead against his glass, holding it in both hands. Hearing their assurances that he did not entirely destroy the life of a child in his failure to protect her, and not quite certain yet that he believes them. But he's paused in his drinking, so that's something. He doesn't question why Kazuo seems so certain: Kazuo knowing everything is just par for the course. He listens, too, to Kyouko's explanation. "We can help with that, you know," he tells her, eyes still closed against the glass. "I mean, I am going to be fucking useless if you put me in another one of those places. But finding the damn things." He snorts. "At least, in theory. I tried calling you. That clearly didn't work out."

He sits up at Naru's question, but some of the fire seems to have gone out of him, and now he just sounds tired. "Exactly what it says, I guess. It locks. It found the closest thing we had to an escape route and just... " he turns his hand, like a key turning in a lock.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-08-24 01:02:47 81669
Kazuo gives Kyouko a brief half-lidding of his eyes that might possibly be tired agreement. He's been putting time into looking for the kinds of monsters that Puella are attuned to, too, but not with much success. Not with none, either. But when it comes to finding things ... Nephrite's comment about help he echoes with a nod. He can find them short-range. Nephrite has a better chance of being actual help.

"Whatever you did," he says to Nephrite, "the card likes you, apparently. Think you can handle keeping an eye on it till we can transfer it to its longer-term home?"
Naru Osaka 2017-08-24 01:03:46 81670
"Lock can have so many meanings, and my experiences with her cards are that generally they don't entirely do what I expect, and I basically inevitably end up pissed off enough to swear at Kunzite every time I encounter one." Naru nods at the mention of the lock forcibly locking up an escape route out of the labryinth, presumably.

"Hmmm." She makes a further noncommital noise, thoughtful again, and settles quiet. The conversation about who is fighting Witches, who is patroling for Witches, and the why of extra Witches, she stays silent upon. There is exactly one person in the room who would rather encounter a Witch than a Wraith.
Kyouko Sakura 2017-08-24 01:13:26 81673
    At the notion that Nephrite tried to call her, and she didn't get the message so to speak, Kyouko frowns faintly. She glances at the Shitennou communicator she does indeed wear around her wrist. "These things can't transmit out of a Labyrinth? I guess I can see why, but that's kind of a pain in the ass."

    Then she shakes her heads lightly. "You don't need to be good at killing Witches, Neph-nii. It's my department. Kunzite," (She uses his name here, to avoid confusing if she just says 'nii-chan') "Once told me that we all have a role to play on this team, right? Something we're good at. Well, that's what I'm good at. Killing shit. Somebody's gotta be, because as much as we might like to pretend otherwise, that's the kinda fucked up world we live in. Heaven knows the 'thinking' part isn't my strong suit."

    "So you look for 'em, and if you find any more, call me, and I'll kill 'em. Trying to get a stockpile of Seeds built up, anyway, so it's not like I don't have a personal stake as well, above and beyond wanting to help out." She glances down at the card them.

    "I think we should just burn the damn things. Of course, if it was that easy, I suppose somebody woulda before now."
Nephrite 2017-08-24 01:29:15 81675
Nephrite scowls down at the card again. He takes a sip of his whisky and not-so-accidentally sets his glass down on top of it, turning it into a makeshift coaster. "Just so long as it doesn't magically decide to lock me in the bathroom or something."

He gives Naru a look of horror. "There are more annoying ones?"

But now Kyouko is blaming their communicators for the radio silence. "No, that's... " And his hands are going up to his face again, dragging through his disheveled hair. He slumps back in his chair. "I choked, okay? I froze up. I didn't call because--I couldn't, and then it was too late." He takes a breath, and finishes the rest of his glass. "I will help you find them. But when I say that I would be useless to you in there, I am not joking."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-08-24 01:45:33 81676
Kazuo does not say 'yes' to the question of whether there are more annoying ones. He's unable to keep his expression from saying it for him. None of the ones he's dealt with have combined with a Witch labyrinth. But the Witch labyrinth didn't wind up with someone following them home and threatening Kunzite that they'd target Mamoru, and in Kazuo's somewhat morally flawed view of the universe, that means that Nephrite only wound up with the second-worst.

Given how much he's hated the other ones he's dealt with, second-worst is still ... impressive.

"You kept yourself and the girl alive," Kazuo says instead, quiet and steady. Nephrite didn't freeze up for that. "That's more than most would have managed. But yes. We've got other jobs for you."
Naru Osaka 2017-08-24 01:52:50 81678
"There is not a single card that isn't annooying, and pretty much whatever one is currently being a pain usually feels like the current most annoying one. With some exceptions, but yes. There are more annoying cards." Naru nods her head to Nephrite and then gives a shrug. "Flamethrower or papershredder is eternally my opinion on them, but that's neither here nor there."

On the topic of who to call for labryinths, and who does what on the team, Naru returns to her silence. She sips her tea, like the freelancer she is.
Kyouko Sakura 2017-08-24 01:59:00 81680
    Kyouko's face softens as she looks over at Nephrite upon his admission that it wasn't the communicator's fault, but rather his own hesitation that prevented her from being called in. After a moment, she puts her glass down and walks over to put a hand on his shoulder (again, the uninjured one) and squeeze it briefly.

    "You're bein' too hard on yourself, dude." She says, quietly. "So you froze up for a sec. But Sakura's alive, you're alive, and the Witch is dead. That doesn't sound useless to me." Another squeeze, then she's moving away again. "Which isn't to say that I'm going to start demanding you back me up when I fight Witches. I'm just sayin'. Any fight you come out the other side alive is a victory in my book."

    She glances to Kunzite, and nods her head in agreement as her affirms her thoughts, then shrugs. "Not sure there's really much we can do about the cards except keep dealing with them as they show up. Then again, I ain't exactly an expert." She shoots a faint grin to Naru. "At least we're on the same wavelength, there."
Nephrite 2017-08-24 02:23:13 81685
The fact that Kazuo is having an expression over such an annoyance would normally be something for Nephrite to point out and possibly make a joke over. Kazuo is saved this time around by the fact that Neph is staring a little too intently at the whisky bottle.

Kazuo's steady voice talking him through yet another labyrinth-related trauma. Kyouko's hand on his shoulder. He swallows thickly. And now, finally, Nephrite drops his henshin, reverting back to the same t-shirt he was wearing at the beginning of the night. "You know I'd still come running. Or cheer you on from the outside. You know you want to see my cheerleading skills."

He stands, taking the dreaded card in one hand and swiping a muffin with the other. "Sorry for waking you both up. I'll actually call next time so I don't get a spear to the throat."