Not a Regula

With Neph.

Date: 2018-01-22
Pose Count: 15
Nephrite 2018-01-22 01:54:49 88279
Every once in a while, Nephrite, aka Neil Burke, remembers that he occasionally goes by a third name. Though Masato Sanjouin has more or less disappeared from the map, some of his business interests remain. Sometimes they must be dealt with. Like, for instance, the manager of his incredibly overpriced restaurant getting into some kind of pissing contest with the assistant manager, requiring actual face-to-face conversation to mediate instead of Neil's usual method of sending emails and writing checks.

And so, on a Sunday, when first year university student Neil Burke should be studying for his exam tomorrow (or more realistically, taking a nap), instead Masato Sanjouin is in a neatly-pressed suit and tie, greeting waitstaff who have no recollection of who he's supposed to be and senior staff that can't bow deeply enough.

Hoshi 54, is what this place is called. A posh restaurant in the 54th floor of the Midtown Tower, boasting spectacular views of the Tokyo Tower, especially at night. By day, its sleek black-and-red decor is a little less impressive, but the large windows still provide a great view.
Sailor Earth 2018-01-22 02:22:12 88282
Sailor Earth, on the other hand, is here on a different sort of business. The business that is only relevant because Masato Sanjouin is here. And that's why in the middle of the day, there's a young adult female with black hair and eyes like the blue ocean, walking through the area like she owns the place, no matter how mean Michellin stars it might have.

She makes a bee-line for Masato, and smiles. "Still have a taste for the finer things, even in this era?" she whispers just enough to be heard by him but not so much as to be heard by the staff, twirling a hair idly in her fingers. That walk, that tone, the movement with such purpose - if it is not Mamoru's directly it is an expert forgery.
Nephrite 2018-01-22 02:38:21 88284
Masato Sanjouin turns slowly toward the newcomer. If he is surprised, he does not show it. His rust-colored eyes stare at those familiar blue ones several heartbeats longer than necessary. Searching, maybe, for the source of the familiarity behind them. "Always," he replies. He turns to the staff. "Forgive me. I'm afraid I must trouble you for a private table in the back, and two glasses of red. I trust you to choose a suitable one."

In a matter of seconds, they are being led to a private alcove. He turns to Earth, offering an arm for her to take, as if they were on an ordinary date, and smiles. "Shall we?"
Sailor Earth 2018-01-22 02:54:06 88286
Earth grins, a sort of cheeky grin. "And still contributing to my deliquency." she notes, in a playful way, as she takes his arm. "You certainly haven't changed." As though he should be as familiar with her as she seems to be with him.

"And I am sure you have an telescope, or sizeable orrery not too far - ah, perhaps far away enough to be isolated but close enough that you can continue to help out and keep your hands in projects like this place."

"It's very nice, by the way. Very upscale. Very you."
Nephrite 2018-01-22 03:07:02 88287
"You know me so well," Nephrite says smoothly, as they reach the table and are seated. "Alas, I find the light pollution in this city so stifling, don't you? The skies were different in the old days. The stars felt closer."

He glances around the restaurant at her compliment, looking pleased, but there is a sharpness to his smile. "Is it? There are some who would say that this place represents the worst of me." He shrugs. "What can I say? I'm a sucker for fancy hors d'oeuvres."

The wine is served. Nephrite smiles at Earth across the table. "I'm told you've been to see my sister already. Should I be hurt that you did not visit me first?"
Sailor Earth 2018-01-22 03:31:55 88289
Mirai - Sailor Earth - regards Nephrite - Masatou Sanjouin - for a moment. "Not really." she says, after a pause. "I like cities and people. This one isn't as nice as the one of gold though, is it. Just a pale immitation, still, of the one I hope you remember as well as I do in it's perfection. There, no lights would stop us from seeing the stars..."

"You are a hard person to find when you're not aware you're being sought. I can bump into most of the others. If you hadn't passed so close by me today that I could sense you I would've missed you today, too. Since... someone else is using that ability to feel you too."
Nephrite 2018-01-22 03:46:29 88291
Nephrite takes a sip of his wine. It's a rich red, sweet and heady. "Hmm, perhaps my memory is not as clear as yours. Was it of gold? Well, I spent much of my time glued to a telescope then, as well. I'm sure I was just as hard to find in those days. I have always valued my privacy"

He leans his elbow on the table, continuing to eye her. "What is it like, sharing your powers with him? Is it a connection that you feel?"
Sailor Earth 2018-01-22 03:52:28 88293
Earth takes the tiniest sip of the wine - almost a non existent one. But she smiles, until Nephrite asks the question about Mamoru. "It's like a speck on your glasses, or on your telescope. Even when it's small it interferes, but whenever your attention is called to it, it becomes an obnoxious source of personal annoyance." She looks at him firmly.

"Only instead of in a telescope or spectacles, it's carved across my very soul, aching and sore and stealing things that should be mine and memories I should have and out there being me, but the wrong me."
Nephrite 2018-01-22 04:11:26 88295
"Hmm, and so you seek to rid yourself of this speck, is that right? Another life, another soul, it's all just an annoyance to you, something to dispose of?" Somehow, Nephrite is still smiling. And yet his eyes are beginning to promise fire. "You know, there are lots of things that come from this planet, and not all of them are good. You see, I've heard that sort of line of reasoning before, but not from him. You look and act a little like the prince I knew, but the way you talk sounds positively Beryl."

Nephrite takes another sip of his wine, and gestures broadly with his glass. "So help me out here, Sailor Earth. Mirai. Whatever you're calling yourself. Why are you so convinced that you come from the kingdom I knew, when your words sound borrowed from the Dark Kingdom?"
Sailor Earth 2018-01-22 04:31:24 88297
Her brow furrows at this. She starts to choose her words more carefully. "I don't want him dead or removed. I just want him to stop being me. I want him to stop stealing my powers, my energy. I want him to stop stealing ME. Everything that makes me who I am. My friends, my powers, my history, my NAME. I want him to give that back and then he can go off with all of my blessings and be the normal human or whatever that he is."

"I'm convinced because I remember it. I remember you helping me with the telescope to see all the planets that my friends and guardians came from. I remember the fact that you snuck me my first wine. And I remember that you looked at someone I was very close to in a way that I looked - look, at Bunny. And I bet you still look at that someone the same way, admire the strength she has."

"But you can't see inside my mind, and I'm sure you've already got three reasons to dismiss what I feel or remember so I don't know what to do. I do know, from our connection, that at one point you were... not yourself. Imagine now if that not-yourself was wandering out pretending to be you and how out of sorts it might make you feel."
Nephrite 2018-01-22 05:08:00 88300
Nephrite listens, not even attempting to interrupt, though the intensity in his eyes remains. "You know, powers, who knows where those come from. History, that's something only you can really know about. Names, anybody can take a name. I'm on my fourth, you know. But friends? That's not something a person can steal. I'm not friends with him right now because of what happened in the past. I'm friends because of what he's been to me in this life. Do you imagine that you can simply undo the past few years we've had together?"

Nephrite takes another sip, and peers at her over his glass. "The planets that your guardians came from, eh? What was I, chopped liver?"

He smiles conversationally. "How is the wine, by the way? I don't know how it compares to the sort of stuff we used to drink, but I hope it doesn't disappoint."
Sailor Earth 2018-01-22 05:20:05 88301
Even after all of this, it hasn't sucked away all of Earth's mirth. "Of course not, don't be silly. You were my important Royal bodyguards, my knights. My tutors. You were there before they were." she notes. "I guess. If you don't think of me - or Mamoru, whatever - as a Senshi the distinction might be lost? But... You were there due to my role as the leading Royalty of Earth. And they were my guardians due to my role as the leader of the Senshi. If memory serves - which I suppose is the key question - it wasn't /always/ like that. I was the first at both. So I got doubles!" she grins.

"The wine is fine. The company is far better, even if there's that very clear hint of... distate. I'm trying here, I really am. I'm not myself. But I'm also not him. And hes not me. And..." She just growls lowly, exasperated with the while situation.
Nephrite 2018-01-22 06:04:55 88304
Nephrite's dark eyebrows raise. "As leader of the senshi. Right. I guess it's hard to remember that part, what with being stuck on Earth while you flew around the Solar System with your princess."

He grins, and the look he gives her could almost be seen as friendly. Almost. "No, you're not him. You're right. But I'll tell you something that you've got wrong. That time that you referred to, when you say I wasn't me? That's the thing. I was me. A warped version of me, a me that was wrong in every way. But it was me. And you know, it would be damn nice if that had been someone else, someone who was physically walking around, so I could punch him in the face. But it wasn't, and I gotta live with that."

He leans forward on his elbows. "And for some reason, despite that, he stuck with me. So yeah, you're a little late, if you're looking to take his place." He drains his glass and straightens his tie. "And despite appearances, some of us have got school tomorrow. But I hope you've enjoyed the wine."
Sailor Earth 2018-01-22 06:33:45 88307
Earth sighs. "I guess it's hard for me to make you understand with words how physically painful it is to see him treated like me. To see you talk about him the way you ought to be talking about me."

A pause. "I would've stayed with you two. Do his acts invalidate mine? I wasn't given the chance through either his trickery or cruel fate, to be where he is. I wasn't given the chance to protect you or comfort you or be there and he was - but that doesn't mean I wouldn't have. I would've wanted nothing more than to be there."

She flips her hair back as she pauses. "That's one of the things you taught me. That you had to be more than just physically there, but emotionally there. For friends. For cohorts. For subjects. Everybody needs to feel that their heart isn't alone. And now... only mine is."

"Right. School. I'll see you around, I'm sure. Maybe you'll hate me, maybe not. But I... guess I can't make up for lost time." she mentions, walking away.
Nephrite 2018-01-22 06:54:57 88309
"There aren't any acts to invalidate. You weren't there. You can tell me that you would have been, but it doesn't change facts." Nephrite stands, adjusts his suit jacket. "I don't know whether I'll hate you. Unless you hurt him, or anyone else I love." He shrugs. "Them's the breaks, Earth. I'll see you around."

He turns and walks out, either trusting that she will not do anything dangerous like poison all his customers, or trusting in his insurance to handle any fallout.