Breaking and Art Critic-ing


Tuxedo Kamen and Kunzite investigate the contents of Naru's art closet. Without Naru's knowledge or permission. It's not such a good sign.

Date: 2017-10-03
Pose Count: 20
Kazuo Takeba 2017-10-03 00:51:42 84262
Some things are more subtle than others. Skulking in to the corridor that gives on to the apartment above OSA-P Jewelers, while the store is open and Naru's mother could in theory come upstairs at any moment, is both more subtle than some and enough less subtle than others to have Kunzite nearly holding his breath.

Still. That Tuxedo Kamen still remembers enough from his semi-career a couple of years ago to pick the lock is not a surprise to Kunzite. That he remembers specifically what the alarm code for OSA-P is, and that it's presumably still the same downstairs, and definitely the same upstairs? That makes him look more pained than the risk of intrusion did.

The door is closed and relocked behind them; Kunzite has added completely mundane gloves to his uniform for the occasion, and the white hair is tied back to keep extraordinarily telltale strands from being left behind. And they are most of the way to their target before he lets himself murmur to his prince, "You did that specifically to see what happened to my heart rate, didn't you."

Once in the bedroom, he lifts hands and lets his power flow through the room. Just a hint of deepening shadows, just a breath of cooler air. Just a taste of what's waiting in the closet.

And how much worse it's gotten since the time he slipped in alone and ran this test a few weeks ago.
Naru Osaka 2017-10-03 01:01:07 84263
It is clear that Naru's stuff lives here more than Naru strictly lives here. The facade that she doesn't live at Kyouko's is paper thin, especially in her bedroom. It looks more like a studio, at this point, truthfully. There's an easel, with a current painting leaned upon it. Only barely started, settled in the afternoon sunbeam, a wash of blues over the canvas.

The closet is locked, a purely token padlock that discourages the unmotivated. Behind that locked door there are flows of energy. Some good, certainly, and oh so many that aren't any flavour of good. There's more than weeks ago, but not dramatically so, certainly not exponentially so.

At least from this side of the closet door.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-10-03 01:16:56 84264
So it is that for just a moment, one white-gloved hand reaches over to rest on Kunzite's jacket, over his heart, and blue eyes sparkle with mischief behind the luminous outline of a slender white mask. "I could hear it before," he breathes back, letting neither the hum of a voice nor the sibilants of a whisper carry.

When they're at their destination, Tuxedo Kamen's doing his best to Not Actually Look At Naru's Bedroom Except For The Closet because it's just rude, whereas breaking and entering and specifically trying to get at Naru's potentially really dangerous secrets is just good sense and how one looks out for a friend's best interests.

And there's a padlock on her closet. It's like Godiva set out specifically to lure Mamoru Chiba.

He theatrically stretches his hands against each other and cracks his knuckles all at once, then half-crouches, half-kneels in front of it and takes out his lockpicks once more; he gets to work. That he does this in kid gloves is literally just bragging.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-10-03 01:25:52 84265
There may, perhaps, be some reason that Kunzite says nothing between that answer and their presence at their destination. Perhaps.

"Nothing on the lock, I think," he murmurs after. "But there's something inside. Several things. Different flavours; it's hard to get a read. More since the last time I checked. Which was about the beginning of September." Which he did not tell Mamoru about at the time. "Not enough to suggest anything's out of control, though."
Naru Osaka 2017-10-03 01:31:46 84266
At the very least, Naru's bedroom/studio is obsessively neat and tidy. It makes Not Looking somehow easier, as there's not stuff /everywhere/. Her desk has a couple of books stacked on it, including old sketchbooks, and a brand new one, still in the package.

The padlock isn't any sort of match for Tuxedo Kamen and his lockpicks. It was literally purchased at the hardware store, hardly a bastion of stunning security. It snaps open with a satisfying click after an almost irritatingly short period of time.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-10-03 01:35:38 84267
Mamoru's masked face turns slowly to look up over his shoulder, completely incredulous, and stare at Kunzite. The lock comes open with that click while he's not even looking at it (he doesn't need to look, lockpicking is all in the hands, and it was fast enough that he had to do something to let him tell himself he's still somewhat impressive). His expression is clear: 'you were breaking and entering without me? you tremendous jerk!'

He stands up, though, and gets out of the way so that Kunzite can open the door, since his guardian had something of a warning about what was on the other side and Mamoru's played with Kunzite's heart rate enough today.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-10-03 01:41:00 84268
Kunzite says mildly, "I didn't look. Just tested." The padlock remained an inviolate barrier! Till now. This probably will not help in the slightest. Still, a gloved hand brushes Tuxedo Kamen's arm in passing, and he moves forward for the door-opening.

Or, rather, for the close inspection of the door from this side to check for more subtle methods of telling whether people have been nosing around. Then the door-opening. They probably share the first.
Naru Osaka 2017-10-03 01:47:14 84269
If there's been anyone nosing about, it's been someone with a key, and who ostensibly lives here.

The closet door opens, and the space on the other side is jammed with canvases. There's not any pretense of clothes trying to live in there anymore, it's got a wide selectin of canvases. Some are familiar to Kunzite, he's been privvy to some of her less warm and fuzzy works in the past, but many are new.

The cacophony of energy that tumbles over the various paintings is dizzying. So many flavours, and signatures, all muddled together with the paintings all leaning one on another. Few of the energies could be qualified as /good/ per se.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-10-03 02:05:01 84270
There's that breath-speech again, with understated sibilants sometimes completely replaced by voiceless fricatives -- probably utterly unnecessary, as it's likely that Kunzite's eating any sound they produce -- "Canvas jenga. She didn't even need to padlock this, one thing out of place and the whole mess'll come tumbling down and be more obvious than a justice speech."

Nonetheless, Tuxedo Kamen doesn't hesitate to reach forward to pick one up from the sort-of top. It's not until his gloved fingertips are touching it that he stops, and glances up at Kunzite again. "I'm sorry, I'm assuming we'd need to look at them to get an idea of her current influences, but you might be able to tell just from the energy." He takes his hand back, then sleight-of-hands his phone into sight and takes a step back too.

He takes a picture of the exact configuration of the jammed closet so that if they take things out carefully enough, they can but them back reasonably close to exactly how they were leaning. In case they do need to take them out.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-10-03 02:08:09 84271
"Too many things, too tangled. It's like trying to guess the amount of a single spice in the Chameleon's curry." Kunzite's voice has dropped, too. Much quieter. As if he thought the paintings might be listening. He waits for the picture, then reaches for the one Tuxedo Kamen had, removing it from the pile with exquisite care. Bringing it out of the closet, to get a closer look at it by itself: its motifs, its colors, its style, its corruption.
Naru Osaka 2017-10-03 02:15:44 84272
It is not an unreasonable consideration, that they MIGHT be listening.

There are a variety of sizes, although few that are truly huge. Most fall somewhere between notebook size and portrait size.. convenient sizes to bring home from the art store on the bus, even.

The painting that Kunzite and Tuxedo Kamen have selected, by random chance, is one of the larger ones. It, like many others, is more on the abstract end of things. There's streaks of oranges and beiges, browns and flicks of red mixed in, jagged across the canvas, edged in brilliant white, almost rendering them sharpened. There's a wash of emotion that comes with it, that breathy moment of adrenaline edged with fear that might come at the start of a fight. The energy swirling within the colours is hungry, pulling at the pair of them, enticing them to engage.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-10-03 02:27:20 84273
All Tuxedo Kamen can actually say in that intensely quiet voice, staring at it, is "Is she trying to eat the world or is it in the process of eating her?"

Then his hand's up on Kunzite's arm, pressing down lightly to get him to lower the painting and lean it against the wall. He moves to pick up the one next to it, then, nearly dreading what's on its surface.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-10-03 02:30:46 84274
"She's an artist," Kunzie answers quietly. "Is there a difference, to her?"

It's as he's setting the painting away, taking another photograph, noting orientation and arranging it to be most easily able to return it to its proper place correctly, that he adds, "I think there is. She understands that we need to stop the White. But she's been living in her own head much too long."

And then it's time to analyze the next. And the next. And the one after that.
Naru Osaka 2017-10-03 02:40:15 84276
There are plenty of paintings that are familiar to Kunzite, which doesn't make the horror any less horrifying. There's a wide collection of negative energies, of negative emotions splashed across canvas, mixed in with the paint. Pain, and terror, rage and icy cool detachment, enough to take one's breath away. The colours are almost uniformily bold, the paintings mostly abstracts, the energy and emotions evoked in implications and brush strokes rather than specific /things/.

There are exceptions, of course. Items, artifacts even, that have been rendered in such photorealistic detail as to wonder if it was a photograph, save that it's on canvas. A torc, glittery gold, with every nuance almost sparkling. The energy on that one is almost as overwhelmingly positive as the rest are disturbingly negative.

Death, doom and gloom is the overwhelming sentiment, with the energies to match, the darkness of various kinds providing quite the display.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-10-03 02:46:00 84277
It's difficult to do quickly, but given the pressures of being trespassers and doing something they really shouldn't be doing, it has to be quick. There can't be lengthy analysis on every one-- the one of the torc is like a breath of fresh air in a mine that's been killing canaries for a hundred years, so Mamoru's definitely reluctant to put that down, but they have to keep going.

The closet, so full of unpretty pictures, has not itself painted a pretty picture of Naru's headspace, and Mamoru can't help but wonder what was behind the walls that the black mold covered.

Once they're through, it's a matter of carefully and systematically putting every last thing back where it was, at precise angles and in exact places-- but that part, too, is something that the former gentleman thief who never removed anything eventually learned to do, and do well.

For some reason he seems twitchy and keeps glancing at the door.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-10-03 02:51:00 84278
Kunzite neither twitches nor glances. If someone walks in, someone walks in; if it's Naru, that's a confrontation anyhow; if it's Naru's mother, well, some of the paintings may be an explanation. Appropriately nightmarish, but an explanation.

The most important part is skimming the energies in the paintings, searching for any that aren't solely an artifact of Naru's own emotion.

Her emotion is quite capable of being an incident in the making all on its own. But that's a different problem than the one that Kunzite is focusing on.

At the end of it, he says quietly, "I don't think it's here. But there was a sketchbook she didn't want to take out in front of me -- twice. And that one isn't here."
Naru Osaka 2017-10-03 02:54:32 84279
There is no Naru. There is no Kyouko. There is no Naru's Mom appear at the door either. The apartment is quiet. Silent even, save for the occaisional muffled hum of the fridge, or whir of a fan.

Most of the energy is Naru's. Not quite all, but by and large, it's hers. A few of the newer ones have energies that don't have the feel of her, borrowed, or stolen or infused from other things and other places. None have a sense of being unstable, per se, of trying to stretch beyond their canvas frames and painted horrors.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-10-03 03:00:02 84280
It's not so much the 'someone might appear' as the 'someone might appear' combined with the paintings being full of emotional trainwreck and magic to the point that Mamoru's empathy is distinctly skittish and jumpy from discomfort at this point. "You thought it would be locked in her closet?" he asks a little disbelievingly. "She's always got a sketchbook with her. I can't imagine it wouldn't be in her school bag. Let's get out of here."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-10-03 03:08:05 84282
"It's not in her school bag. She started carrying a new one." Kunzite glances at the door to make certain the padlock is in place, but Tuxedo Kamen not only has already set that up but adjusted it so it's hanging at the same angle. He inclines his head to Mamoru's suggestion. Time to go.

It's well after they've gone that he checks his phone for texts, and shows Mamoru a photo of Naru's algebra homework. There's a chibi sketch in the marginalia of anthropomorphic numbers who are having a party on top of the fraction bar, to the dismay of the anthropomorphic numbers below who are protesting the noise.

"At least," he says, "she seems to be feeling better for the moment.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-10-03 03:10:03 84283
"I wonder if that's a comment on how audible the ECFH parties are from ten floors down."