Your Own Pace

After the events of 'LOCKed Away' and 'One Bad Night', Tuxedo Kamen comes looking for Sakura, and finds her at the Gullwing Cafe's secret room with Haruna! Tuxedo Kamen knows best, though!

Date: 2017-08-25
Pose Count: 20
Haruna Kurosawa 2017-08-25 22:52:34 81782
Haruna Kurosawa just got Sakura-chan to lay down after a turnover and some milk and now she was back up in the store scurrying about trying to get everything all ready for tommorow and also cleaning up blood trail off the floor with bleach because she needs this to not look like a crime scene tomorrow.

She called up Corvus to help and he got here quick enough via flight and then he turned into his human form to help out because she'll need to check on Sakura for a moment.

The door is unlocked. Kunzite told her to expect potential company so she's making sure they can just come in. The lights are dim enough to get the question to the usual customer that they're closed.

"Corvus-kun thank youuuu." she sings.

Corvus sighs and waves a hand off as he gets baking items ready for turn overs tomorrow. Tomorrow's Turnovers.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-08-25 23:02:03 81783
Tuxedo Kamen is on the edge enough, right now -- the triple edge in the middle of not knowing whether, at any given moment, one might start laughing, completely shut down, or break a lot of things -- that for a half-second on the roof of Gullwing he finds hilarious the consideration of foregoing the front door in favor of picking the lock in the back.

He just breathes for a second, then drops down to the alley soundlessly. Once there, he checks the street quickly before just... going in the unlocked front door in full cape, mask, white tie and tails. And he locks the door behind him.

His voice is quiet as he calls in, "Haru-chan? ...Sakura-chan?" A beat. "Corvus?"
Sakura Kinomoto 2017-08-25 23:12:13 81784
Sakura Kinomoto was laying in bed. She wasn't asleep. Not yet. She was... really. She was feeling miserable. She was tired, and hurt, and didn't know what to do. And she was numb. So, so numb. She felt like she was going to throw up. Or worse. All she felt was fear and pain and misery and it was all inside and she didn't know what to do. She wanted to run, and hide, but she could still see them. Still FEEL them. The blood. She wiped at herself and shuddered.

It wouldn't ever go away, would it?

Tomoyo had, being the mature young lady she was, allowed Mamo to tend to it. And told him to please take care of Sakura, since she was trusting her with him.
Haruna Kurosawa 2017-08-25 23:18:54 81785
Haruna Kurosawa looks up from her cleaning and gives a wave. She lets Corvus finish it and Corvus gives a little half-hearted wave. More from the fact he'd been woken up from a dream by the Cure-line call.

She tip toes over and peeks out the door and re-locks it and pulls the blind down again. She turns back to Tuxedo Kamen. "Lil sis is downstairs. I got her to laydown after some talk and a shower and some turnovers and milk." she says. "It was really bad." she frowns.

"Kunzite told me Nephrite is physically okay. Which I suppose is all I need to know about that given the qualifier of 'physically okay'." she says with a frown.

"I'll visit him later. But he's a bigger guy and has you guys for help so I'm not so worried about him. Sakura though..." she frowns. "She was begging me to let her quit. It was so hard." she sighs a bit.

"So lets go into the closet!" she says.

Wait what? Haruna taps the door three times and opens it and there's a stairway there and she leads Tuxedo Kamen down. "I had The Contracters- Homu and Maddy-chan! build this little magically accessible room for me! So I can help people running away from stuff. It's like a lil magical bunker. Sakura is laying down a moment..."

She peeks in. "Sakura-chan?" she asks. "Tuxedo Kamen is here~ Like I thought he might be! Can we come in?" she asks.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-08-25 23:29:22 81786
Nephrite, physically okay. "Yeah, he, uh-- he has really incredibly bad labyrinth PTSD. He was stuck in one, alone, fighting for his life, for five months." A beat. There's a strangely thready quality to the young man's voice. "So it's-- I'm really proud of him. That he could get past that long enough to get them free. I would-- give him a few days before trying to visit, though. Mako-chan's... she'll take care of him."

Blessedly, they're on to the next weirdness. 'Let's go into the closet?' "But I don't want-- oh. Oh a real clos-- oh. Oh that's really helpful to know about," the masked prince whispers to Haruna as he follows after her, footsteps silent; only the silk rustle of his cape marks his passage. "We just had them reinforce the frat house so we wouldn't have any more balconies fall off..."

He waits with her outside the door, pulling his gloves off. He'd already de-henshined and re-henshined to get rid of the blood from the cleanup, but the gloves are a barrier Sakura can't afford.
Sakura Kinomoto 2017-08-25 23:32:03 81787
Sakura Kinomoto glances over and then... doesn't answer. Instead she lifts the blankets over her head.

Oh dear. Sakura wasn't even talking to them. She was just trying to hide. To bury herself away and hope they'd leave her alone. Hope with all of her heart. Why wouldn't they just let it go? She was.... she wasn't okay. She'd never be okay again. No matter how hard she tried. Why couldn't they just leave her alone?

She gave a little sniffle. But didn't respond.
Haruna Kurosawa 2017-08-25 23:40:06 81789
She nods at Tuxedo Kamen. "Yikes." she winces. "Yeah... yeah I'll wait a bit. Just. Ya know. Neph-kun. I worry about him extra. Cuz of the Scorn stuff? and all that." she says. "Yup! Safehouse!" she says. "Under a coffee shop!" she says.

Haruna Kurosawa sighs a bit and opens the door and slips in. "Sakura-chan..." she says with a soft frown as she places a hand on the lump hiding underneath the blanket. "I know it really stinks what happened." she says. "-and Mamoru-kun is here to visit you after all that!" she says as she sits on the bed.

"Can we at least come on out and say hello? I'm sure he'd be really relived to see your face." she says. "-and I bet he'll give you a pretty rose too if you ask super nicely." she winks at the lump. Not that Sakura can see it.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-08-25 23:53:43 81790
Coffee is, after all, inherently safe-making.

The masked boy glances down and aside at Haruna, then shakes his head a little, holding a finger up to her. Trust me, he seems to imply, and underscores it with a brief touch to the back of the girl's hand. Trust me.

Then he glances up and says matter-of-factly, "I'm not here to make you keep going if you want to quit. No matter what anyone says, including Clow, you *can quit*. That is a decision that's yours to make-- yours alone." A beat, just to make sure she's listening, that he's got her attention.

His voice is a little less matter-of-fact now: gentler. Compassionate, but not pitying; understanding, but... there's some element of doctor in there, and that this is bedside manner. "I came to help you get past the worst of it. Even if you quit, it won't erase what happened, and you're going to want to go home eventually. So I'm here to help you get to where you can. Will you let us in?"
Sakura Kinomoto 2017-08-25 23:57:21 81791
Sakura Kinomoto was quiet for the longest time. Curled up in her little ball. Then... finally... "Haruna-sempai won't let me quit..." she finally mumbled. "But I can't... I just... I... I couldn't do anything. I was in the middle of..." And then the sobbing started. And the words. But they were no longer elligible. They were just words, mixing together in a flurry of sounds and sobs as she shook under the blanket, curling up as tight as she could as the misery flooded her.
Haruna Kurosawa 2017-08-26 00:08:41 81793
Haruna Kurosawa frowns and wraps her arms around herself. "Running away from your problems... hiding from them. Not. Talking to people Sakura-chan. Not. Trying to confront things. And move forward anyways..." she says softly. "That's the kind of stuff that lead to me becoming Scorn. Cuz all it did was alienate me from everyone else and all I felt was bad stuff and that's all I could feel for a long time." she says.

"That's why you can't give up, Sakura-chan!" she says. "...bad stuff happens all the time. Sometimes it's stuff like. Being brainwashed by a jerk. Or having your sister stolen from you because some creep thinks collecting magical girls is an acceptable hobby..." she says. "--and sometimes. People get hurt really bad. and I've seen that kind of thing too before. And it does stink a whole lot. And I wish I could make it okay with just a shower and an apple turnover and stuff." she says quietly.

"But Mamoru can help you calm down a little, okay?..." she asks. "Can you come out, and let him help, Sakura-chan? Please? I know you'll feel a little better, even if you don't wanna do things anymore..." she says meekly.

"Can he come in? Please?" she asks.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-08-26 00:20:25 81795
The mask is still there-- but there's something Haruna might notice at this point. Just like when Scorn only knew Tuxedo Kamen, not Mamoru Chiba, there's a different quality to him when he's wearing it. He's not a different person, but-- it's almost like Mamoru Chiba is just a different mask, and so is Endymion. Tux is the guy who dealt with horrors while he still didn't know what he was doing, dealt with insane things while he didn't even know who he was.

Tuxedo Kamen is the one with the closest relationship to the situation Sakura's dealing with now.

It might be a surprise-- especially to Haruna, but he makes a point of making eye contact with her to re-emphasize the 'trust me'-- when he reiterates, "You can quit. No one can force you to do this. You didn't get a choice, you just got told you had a destiny, a duty, right? That you had to do this. But not even Haruna can force you. If you're going to do this, you won't be any good to anyone if your heart's not in it. You have to choose, for yourself, that you're going to."

A brief pause, and Mamoru takes a breath, leaning in the doorframe. He flicks his hand and appears his top hat from thin air, then reaches in and pulls out the cards that Sakura left behind, carefully cleaned of blood, and he regards them as he continues. "It's also not a decision you can make while you're in shock. Think of me as a paramedic. I know Gull-chan's taken good care of you, but just like she has a lot of specialties I don't, there are things I can do that she can't. Let me help you quiet the screaming so that you can go through it at your own pace."
Sakura Kinomoto 2017-08-26 00:28:03 81796
Sakura Kinomoto very slowly slid the blankets down. Slowly. Ever so slowly. She looked over to him. "I..." She trailed off. Then looked to Haruna. "Why... can't I? I haven't done anything. It's... it's always you or... or someone else saving me. Why do I have to do anything? This was the time I was supposed to do something! I tried! I tried so hard!" The tears started to fall. "I used all my magic and got through and I was in with them and then they.... they all just..." She started to full on cry.

"I just... I just want it to stop hurting... please. IF... if you can... please..." she pleaded, shaking. "I-I never wanted this. I never wanted any of this. I wanted to... I wanted to help people. But I couldn't. I just... I couldn't... I don't want to know about this anymore. I just want to go back to school and... and cheer leader practice and not... not do this anymore...."
Haruna Kurosawa 2017-08-26 00:39:04 81798
Haruna Kurosawa nods a little. "Like Tuxedo-kun says, he can help with that a little. Help you stop the screaming." she says a little. "I can't do that." she says. "I can punch things. And wind at things. And do some other stuff with the Precards but like.. Tuxedo Gull isn't a card."

She's now imagining a Tuxedo Gull card. This is such a bad idea, she thinks. But she bets she looks great in a tux.

She shakes off the thoughts and gets back to the matters at hand as she stands up and turns around to watch Sakura and Mamoru.

"So let him come help okay, lil sis?" she almost begs.

"And we'll talk about that when you're both done." she urges. "If you want."
Mamoru Chiba 2017-08-26 01:17:36 81801
There's the asking. He nods to Haruna, then slips into the room, keeping the cards in his hand just long enough that Sakura probably sees them. By the time he's come over to the bed, they're vanished; it's certainly a card trick, but whether it involves sleight-of-hand or a subspace pocket is left up for debate.

The motion's a graceful one, sinking to the floor to half-crouch, half-kneel next to Sakura. Not so terribly tall, there. His face behind the mask is kind, his eyes behind it are very blue and very, very old; he reaches to take Sakura's hands.

Should she take them, there's instantly a perspective shift in her awareness, because he's making his own available to her. The life of the entire world, its underground rivers and lava flows, its underground cables carrying electricity and data and tunnels carrying trains full of people-- they're its lifeblood, pulsing with the beat of its living heart. The vast lives in its oceans and the tall cities sparkling with the incandescence of mortality, of brief precious lives, the ancient mountains standing in majesty to watch the eternal wheel of the stars in the heavens--

--and each life is part of a greater, warmer whole: the magic of this planet, this small blue jewel in the skies of alien worlds. The awareness is solid as bedrock and as steady as the courses of mighty rivers: it is a whole that belongs to Sakura, and Sakura to it. It's home. It's where safety is, and that safety is protected by everyone who can, as much as they can. Right now, it's not asking to be protected... it's opening its arms to let Sakura be the one safe this time. There's peace, there's calm, there's open blue skies and grassy meadows, there are caves and crannies and nooks in the world in which to hide, there are the vasty deeps and the sleepy quiet glens.

There's warmth, and there's gold.

It's a place to start.

"I can't erase what happened," the masked youth says softly. "I can't-- won't-- erase it from your mind, or bury it. Nephrite did that once, and it only hurt him, left him incomplete. He had to take the memories back, and they hurt all over again, fresh and new and raw. I can blunt the edges so you can sleep and work through some of it in nightmares. I can give you some of this energy to bolster your strength for right now, because in addition to everything else, that took a lot out of you. Your magic is tired. It compounds the problem because the more exhausted you are, the less able you are to deal with anything being wrong."

He squeezes her hands, gently pushing that refreshing golden well-being toward her. It won't fix everything, but it will help. "Real healing will take time and effort. I'm sorry this happened to you; I'm sorry this was how you had to grow up. But-- that's a choice, too. You can refuse to admit it happened, letting it fester inside, never progressing past this point in your life-- because if it didn't happen, you're stopped right here, reliving it over and over and trying to think of what you could have done to stop it. Or, you can accept that it happened, and that sometimes it's literally impossible to save everyone-- and then, you'll actually be able to grow up and let time take care of dulling the pain and grief, and you can let your actions in the future make up for what happened today. You can save people in the name of the ones you weren't in time to save."

Then he gives Sakura a small, small smile, crouched even lower so that he's looking up at her, and the thin, half-translucent and luminous white mask only serves to underline who he is, and how very well he understands it. "You don't even need to fight to do that. You could give this up and go into civil service. You could volunteer while you're still a child, anywhere you have the opportunity. You can help people, you can support them. You can make life better for people who have it rough. There are many, many ways to live through something like this, Sakura-chan. It will get better. That's something that I can promise."

Very quietly indeed, "It's been a year and a half for me. It's still there, but it's better than it was."
Sakura Kinomoto 2017-08-26 01:42:02 81803
Sakura Kinomoto nodded, staring back at him. Tears were still in her eyes, but... it made it better. Just a little bit. Nothing could really make this better. It was like... a chunk of her had been torn out. She'd been hurt. She'd almost died. Quite a few times. But this? This had destroyed a part of her. Her innocence. That part of her that said the world wouldn't, couldn't, be that bad. It had died. It had been torn out of her and left her a bleeding, broken mess. And nothing could ever fully heal that damage.

But the mountain of grief and suffering... it lost a few pebbles. Maybe that lil push had been enough. Maybe more pebbles would fall. Maybe.

Finally, though, she looked up and nodded. "I... don't want.... I don't want to do the cards now. Please. I can't... I can't face them. The cards... kero... or..." The tears welled up in her eyes and she clutched his hand. It was... different. The way she held his hand, it was a way only a child could. As if she was falling and clutching his hand to try and make the world stop falling. To make it make sense. To make the hurt just.... stop hurting. She stared at him, trembling. "Will... will t-their... familes... know?" she finally asked.
Haruna Kurosawa 2017-08-26 02:00:46 81804
Haruna Kurosawa is still trusting Tuxedo Kamen to get Sakura to realize her importance to the cards here. But she also remembers that vision of Rei's. And the importance thing Sakura is supposed to do. And... some. 'Final Judgement.'. Which sounds Final because you know. It just sounds ominounous.

Stupid clow cards.

"Just relax, okay Sakura-chan?..." she urges.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-08-26 02:36:58 81812
While it's true that part of Sakura's innocence is gone, it's not true that nothing can ever heal the damage. Time and action, like Mamoru said -- but, too, those are not things that are readily apparent, or even readily understood, this close to the event. So Tuxedo Kamen keeps holding those hands. What his feelings say through that connection, what his experience says, what his experience shows her through empathy, through psychometry, is that once someone learns how bad the world can be...?

It makes it possible to truly appreciate, to be filled with joyous wondering awe, at how good it can be, too.

He glances at Haruna, and his eyes lose a little of their intensity around the edges: it'll be all right. And then Sakura's speaking again, and the might-as-well-be-an-adult-to-an-eleven-year-old looks her in the eyes again. He hasn't let go yet, and part of what makes him himself is the granite foundation of steadiness and calm that he can offer people flailing and drowning in a storm. She can cling. He won't drop her.

"They'll know. I took care of it," he says firmly, voice low. "I'll have my Shitennou double-check over everything to make sure I didn't miss anything or anyone. You don't need to worry about them being lost or forgotten; you can relax, like Gull-chan says, and work on your recovery."

He looks, for a moment, like he has a decision to make-- and then he lets his hands slip from Sakura's with a crooked little smile. Sitting back on his heels, cape pooling around him, he twists a hand in the air; a rose is in that hand when it's visible again, and he carefully holds it out to the little girl.

Then he twists the other hand around, and he's holding the cards she'd left behind, spreading them like he's going to pull a card trick again. "You don't have to take them back," he says calmly. "There's one other person I know with anything that even resembles the kind of knowledge you have of the cards. So I was figuring, if you really are quitting, I really should give them to Riventon. I mean, I know you can do a much better job than he ever could, but it is your choice whether or not you will."

A heartbeat's pause.

Blue eyes gaze at Sakura sidelong from behind a suddenly hard-to-read mask.

"Of course, I can also hang on to them for a little while. Like I said before, this isn't the time for you to be making that kind of decision -- this is the time for you to rest and recover." He starts to pick himself up, vanishing the cards again. "I can help you sleep dreamlessly tonight, so that you've at least got some actual rest under your belt. Would you like that?"
Sakura Kinomoto 2017-08-26 02:51:07 81814
Sakura Kinomoto nodded and took the flower. She stared at it. She didn't know about any final judgment or any of that. All she knew was that she hurt. She hurt so, so bad. Everything hurt. She wanted to curl up in a tight little ball and let it all go away. But that wasn't an option now. That might never be an option again. No. It would be. Mamo made it seem like it would be. She felt the panic, the shame, at the sight of the cards. "Yes..." she mumbled. "Give them to..." She trailed off and the look on her face was troubled.

Sakura, despite all this, was still a good kid. She was still gentle, and kind. And she still saw the cards as her friends. He might even notice, if he looked through the deck, they weren't all clow cards. One of them was a card left behind by El, or whatever the elf guy's name was. Because she couldn't leave anything behind, unwanted and unloved.

"Please... watch them. For a bit. For now. Please," she whispered. "I don't... .want to dream. I don't want to see them. Not... not now..." She then gulped. "And... please... don't leave." That was actually to both of them.
Haruna Kurosawa 2017-08-26 02:57:31 81817
Haruna Kurosawa knows that Tuxedo Kamen would not actually give Riventon those cards. This is a bluff. This is a rouse! A ballyhoo! A blunderbuss! A... um. She's running out of words in her head for farce! OH there's one, farce!

She nods. "Just relax. Don't make choices right now, Sakura-chan." she says softly. "Remember what I told you about Riventon-san." she says with a soft frown. She gently pets Sakura's head. "Tuxedo-kun will watch em. I bet Kunzite-kun will frown at them hard. Keep them in line! Just. Super super you behave frowns!" she huffs.

"So don't worry about 'em!" she says.

She kisses Sakura's forehead. "I can stay. But Tuxedo-kun has some stuff to do probably, okay?" she says sweetly. "Oh! I can let you borrow my phone and you ca---" then she squints and looks at her phone...

...and her text history to Hannah.

"I'll let you borrow the work phone and you can text Tuxedo-kun when you wake up from the nap you're gonna have okay?" she says sweetly.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-08-26 03:27:18 81822
Mamoru's eyebrows start climbing disbelievingly when Sakura starts to agree with the idea of giving them to Riventon-- but he's saved a heart attack, and, momentarily anyway, from having to SHOW HER what kind of things Riventon's gotten up to even without the cards. He exhales, then brushes his knees off and straightens his tuxedo jacket. "I'll watch them. The only people who'll know I have them are us three and... probably Kunzite because it'd be stupid of me not to tell my head guardian. And because he deserves the chance to frown really hard at them."

Then he starts looking an entirely different kind of alarmed, but Haruna's already got him covered. And actually really entertainingly covered. He manages to suppress a smile, then leans forward and rests his fingertips lightly against Sakura's temple, not far from where Haruna kissed her forehead. "Yes, text me when you're up to it. Take your time. There's no emergency, you're safe. You're safe..."

It's not a compulsion to sleep. It's not a psychic overload to knock her out. It's just a recurrence of that golden stillness, like the haziest summer afternoon in the shade, with no bugs and no hayfever and maybe a strawberry lemonade... and it's the easiest thing in the world to fall into, into a deep and dreamless sleep.

Then Tuxedo Kamen turns and gives Haruna a quick, fierce hug. "Thank you," he whispers. "She'll come around. She just needs to choose it herself. And I've got them safe."

And then... well, he's a guy, and sometimes that's just an awkward thing to be. And when he's not a guy he's a planet and they have even less social adaptability. So he just sort of leaves. Up the stairs, since there are no jumpable windows in basement bunkers.