Nightmare Followup

Kazuo shows Seishi the rest of his problems - the broken henshin, and the broken palace. (The caracal approves of Seishi.)

Date: 2017-11-12
Pose Count: 18
Kazuo Takeba 2017-11-12 23:57:35 86482
Ginger milk tea is finished, anything to-go acquired; out the door of Gullwing Coffee, and into one of the more convenient alleyways, following its windings around to a particularly sheltered spot, well out of where pedestrians wander. Kazuo lets Seishi know that he'll be changing to Kunzite to take her to where he needs to show her some of the things --

The first thing is obvious the moment he changes.


A number of moments. 'In combat he would be a sitting duck' number of moments.

The replacement of his clothing by his uniform is achingly slow; the gleaming light of the crystal that manifests itself at his forehead lingers long enough that if they were hidden any less far away, it'd risk drawing attention from the street. The jewel itself fades only slowly, as if reluctant to settle back into whatever place it hides in.

Kunzite opens his eyes when it's finally gone. "Early last summer," he says quietly, "we interceded to stop a certain person from stealing ... certain things that act like magical organs, enabling some kinds of mages to interface with the items that make them use their powers. I was hit by the effect; it pulled that jewel loose from me, and it took a little time to bring it back into place. Since then, my change hasn't functioned quite right. It is probably at least in part a psychological or emotional issue, and possibly dream-related. And it seems more likely that it's related to the extant problems than that it's entirely new."
Seishi Tamashige 2017-11-13 00:05:44 86483
By the time Kazuo's transformation to Kunzite has crawled itself to completion, Seishi's expression has turned slightly grim, and it's clear that she doesn't need any help in understanding why this is a problem. Her head dips downward, a very small nod.

"I'll admit I don't quite follow how you figure it's probably psychological," she says, voice quiet and grave, "but it's your power we're talking about. I imagine you'd know best on that. You said this was only part of it?"
Kazuo Takeba 2017-11-13 00:14:25 86485
"A year and a half ago," Kunzite says, "we united that jewel and my body and everything worked. The jewel hasn't changed. My body hasn't changed significantly. So if there's a problem this time, either there's outside interference; or we did something wrong, in which case the question becomes why it worked at all; or it's me. One of these we already know something is wrong with. So."

He exhales quietly. "And -- yes. This is only part of it. I can take you to see the rest, if you're all right with that. Either by taking you through a direct transit, or by going on foot, whichever you are more comfortable with. On foot will take longer, but might be more comfortable."
Seishi Tamashige 2017-11-13 00:19:38 86486
The breath that Seishi exhales is just a little too quiet to be a laugh; the corner of her mouth turns up, wry and brief. "I can handle some uncomfortable," she says. "I'd like to see whatever I can about what I'm dealing with. The more I understand, the better our chances of actually helping it."

She lifts her hands a little, palms turning upward as though to say 'by your leave'.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-11-13 00:45:22 86487
Kunzite covers her hands with his, adjusting only slightly to give her a better ability to grab and hang on. It's a less unnerving transit, as he put it, than it once was: blackness curls up around them in a column, there are a couple of seconds of growing chill and darkness not entirely relieved by flickers of cool pink energy, and then the blackness recedes and they're elsewhere.

Elsewhere is, apparently, midafternoon. The air is dry, but a comfortable temperature; the sky a shockingly bright blue above. They stand in a courtyard that is undoubtedly intended to be a rich garden bisected by a wide channel for water, with a fountain at its center; the white stone of the pillars and building should be a pleasant contrast against the blue and green. Instead, it catches the sun glaringly, stark and barren. The soil is dry, but not entirely dead; a dozen or so small plants, in patches of darker earth, stand stubbornly upright. Tiny little scraps of evergreen ranging from 'barely above the earth' to, in the case of the largest shrub, 'could be covered by a mixing bowl.'

The place is not, in and of itself, a dream. But it has something of the feel of one.
Seishi Tamashige 2017-11-13 00:51:21 86488
The bright sunlight is shocking to the eye after traveling through such darkness; Seishi finds herself wincing, eyes narrowing against the glare, and her hands pull free of Kunzite's so that she can lift one to shade her face a little. It takes some seconds of blinking before her vision adjusts enough to see details.

Even after that she's quiet, taking in the sight of the place. It seems vaguely familiar, for all that she's sure she's never been here before. More like maybe she's seen a reflection of it in a dream. The more she thinks about it, the more that seems quite likely.

"Where is this?" she asks eventually.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-11-13 01:18:17 86489
"A long time ago," Kunzite answers her, "back before the events you saw in Mamoru's dream, this was my home." He gestures outward. "There were a set of these places created, bridges between Earth and the place that Endymion's family used as their seat. Each one of them was attuned to the person who would watch over that part of the Earth for Endymion, would deal with smaller issues and alert him to crises. The other three -- well. Endymion's family's home isn't there anymore. But Earth is, and the other three still connect to there and to each other; they gathered dust for a very long time, but once restored, they're intact and thriving. This one ..."

Kunzite shakes his head. "It connects to the other three bridging-places. But its connection to Earth is either damaged or gone. And I can't get it to grow. Anything else here, I can change; I can repair the stonework, rearrange the architecture, whatever needs doing. But no matter how hard I try to bring the water back, it doesn't work. The plants that are growing here, I bring water for from Earth. I'm not much of a gardener, it turns out. Maybe one in four of them's lived."
Seishi Tamashige 2017-11-13 01:29:46 86490
Seishi's gaze settles on one of the little shrubs, struggling to draw life out of the dry ground it's rooted in. The look on her face is a meditative one. "...And you figure that this, also, is tied to your emotional state." Not really a question. Unlike the issue of his transformation, it's not at all difficult for her to suppose that the problem he describes is tied back to the same thing that's at the root of his dreams.

Her head lifts, eyes fixing on the waterless fountain before she turns her face toward Kunzite, and she lifts her eyebrows in inquiry as she gestures in the fountain's direction. "May I?"
Kazuo Takeba 2017-11-13 01:38:08 86491
Kunzite's nod is a small thing, as barren as the soil. "It takes its shape from my dreams."

The second nod is an answer to her question, and it is not small; it flows into a deeper bow, and he gestures Seishi fountainward without another word.
Seishi Tamashige 2017-11-13 01:46:05 86492
Permission thus obtained, Seishi turns fully and makes her way towards the fountain. She stands for a short while, getting a closer look at the dry basin - if there's something in particular she's looking for, she doesn't say. Presently, though, she reaches up to untie the thin red ribbon that's kept her hair pulled back in its half-ponytail, pulling it free. Moving carefully, she bends to wind the piece of ribbon around the spout that water is meant to flow from, or as close as she can manage to find something to anchor it around.

This done, she dusts imaginary grit off her skirt and steps back from the fountain to turn towards Kunzite again.

"Is there anything else you think I should see, that might be connected?"
Kazuo Takeba 2017-11-13 01:58:40 86493
No, he wants to say, because every instinct he's got says that one does not expose that kind of weakness. I don't know, Mamoru would expect him to say, because it's true. For an instant between the two, Kunzite hesitates.

"No," says a deep, rumbling voice from behind Seishi, "because he's an asshole, and because he fixes the place without thinking about it every time he comes here, so he hasn't figured out that pieces fall off of it when he's not paying attention."

There was not a Significantly Oversized Feline on the far side of the channel the last time Seishi looked that way.

Kunzite glares at the caracal, draws a very careful breath, and speaks to Seishi. "There's another problem running, but not with me. I don't think it's causally connected. If I find out otherwise, I'll let you know."

"I like the ribbon," the cat says, ignoring Kunzite in perfect reflection of Kunzite ignoring it. "It's good."
Seishi Tamashige 2017-11-13 02:09:52 86495
The voice from behind her is unexpected enough that Seishi physically jolts a little; she looks back automatically over her shoulder, only to double-take at the sight of the megacat looming there out of apparently nowhere. Dark eyes widening, she turns and bows respectfully. It seems only appropriate to be respectful to something that looks like it could bite her in half without exerting all that much effort.

"It might be a pointless gesture," she admits as she straightens, "but hopefully it'll help me to connect back here, if I need to. Thank you for allowing me the liberty."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-11-13 02:14:28 86496
The caracal yawns, lazily tremendous, and settles down into a very large loaf. "You got the dumbass to admit something was wrong," it answers Seishi. "He ignored me telling him that for a year. Figure if you can get through that skull, you can get all the connections you want."

Kunzite pinches at the bridge of his nose. "The deeply annoying guardian spirit," he says, "was here before the problem. I'm beginning to think that 'deeply annoying' may actually be a job requirement for guardian spirits; I haven't met one yet that wasn't."

(Luna is technically not a spirit.)
Seishi Tamashige 2017-11-13 02:26:53 86497
Seishi can't help a quick little flicker of a smile. "I'd offer to trade you," she remarks wryly in Kunzite's direction, "but I think that would just get us both into trouble."

She dips her head in another, smaller gesture of respect to the world's biggest catloaf, before she begins picking her way back over from the fountain to where Kunzite is standing.

"I can't promise how much I'll really be able to help," she cautions. "I don't think this is going to be as simple as beating up your nightmares until they go away. But we might be able to at least... how to put it... to lance what's abcessed, so that you can start to heal.

"If you're okay with that," she says, watching his face very seriously, "I'll do my best."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-11-13 02:32:24 86499
"That's all that I could ask for," Kunzite answers quietly. "And I'll do my own best not to get in your way. Perhaps at least we may give your associate a little less reason to be cranky. But no." He shakes his head. "Believe me. I don't expect miracles."

The caracal makes a low sound not particularly susceptible to being transcribed in human words. "If you did," it mutters, "we might not be having this problem in the first place."

Kunzite doesn't even glare at it this time, in the course of ignoring it. "Shall I take you home? Or at least to Tokyo?"
Seishi Tamashige 2017-11-13 02:49:00 86501
Seishi's expression relaxes, and this time she does laugh a little. "I'd appreciate it," she agrees. "I think trying to find my own way back might be a bad idea... and I wouldn't want to give your guardian more reason to be cranky."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-11-13 02:51:25 86502
"You wouldn't. You've got a brain."

That Kunzite ignores the caracal almost goes without saying at this point. He offers Seishi his hand; a few seconds after she takes it, they're back in the alley behind Gullwing again, and a few seconds after that, he's back in jeans and capeless.

"Thank you," he says. Just as quiet.
Seishi Tamashige 2017-11-13 02:57:06 86504
Still smiling faintly, Seishi shakes her head at the thanks. "Thank you for letting me try," she says. "I do still think we should have Chiba-san help as well... but that's between the two of you."

An indrawn breath that seems to square her shoulders, and Seishi takes a step back, a first motion toward being on her way. "Other than that - just let me know when you'd like to start."