Preparatory Forgiveness

Rashmi and Mamoru conspire to pull the wool over Sailor Earth's eyes! Full cloak and dagger style! Rashmi is unsure of the lockpicks.

Date: 2018-03-21
Pose Count: 28
Mamoru Chiba 2018-03-21 18:04:21 89666
It's the middle of the night! Under cover of darkness and Very Likely Invisible Zoisite, Mamoru didn't even take the Chibatmobile^H^H^H&c Tesla: he walked. Well, skulked, wearing his tracker/communicator. The convenience store that Runealy and her court used to use is, after all, in the Juuban section of Uminari, close by both his highrise and Korma Chameleon. Additionally, the trust fund kid -- in his nondescript ugly brown hoodie and dark jeans and dark sneakers -- has his lockpicks actually in his pocket instead of the subspace pocket he's been having trouble accessing.

So he's picking the lock of the back door by touch when Rashmi gets there.
Rashmi Terios 2018-03-21 18:06:17 89667
"Isn't this illegal?" Rashmi whispers as she approaches, wearing the only thing with a hood she owns; a slightly-worn puffy green winter coat, her hair pulled over her shoulder to swing free in front of her.

Honestly, if Rashmi looks for all the world like a nervous, sheltered kid trying to skulk his way through his first drug deal.... that's not far from the truth. Wide-eyed, constantly looking around as though the police will materialize at any second, the redhead is putting off a practically visible 'don't-arrest-me-bro' aura.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-03-21 18:11:16 89668
To his credit, the older boy doesn't jump; he's paying attention to his surroundings. "Maybe? Unsure. I have the key somewhere but I couldn't find it. I think I had Neph buy the place after the Waldians joined Virtue, but I don't remember if he managed it or not," Mamoru whispers back. There's a *click* and his hands still, then he turns the knob slowly and grins at Rashmi over his shoulder.

The picks get sleight-of-handed away as he silently pushes the door open. "Either way, nobody's actually used the building since before D-Point."
Rashmi Terios 2018-03-21 18:27:10 89669
Following Mamoru into the store, Rashmi doesn't look much less nervous, and occasionally steals a glance at the boy's pockets; lockpicks? Lockpicks?? Abandoned or not, this is A-class Crime!

"Okay.... so.... Sorry I haven't gotten back to you, just Koji-kun's been seeeeeriously busy lately. I haven't even had time to discuss the plan with him, much less get it set up."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-03-21 18:39:07 89671
Even with spotty or no access to his innate powers, Mamoru's always been sharp, perceptive. He's always paid attention. He doesn't miss Rashmi's preoccupation with their occupation and his tools of the trade, as it were. Closing the door behind them, the university student pushes back his hood and laughs. "You didn't know I started out as a gentleman thief? A phantom jewel thief, in fact! I never actually stole anything, though, just broke in and rummaged through priceless stuff looking for something that wasn't there."

Blue eyes are sparkling in the dim light from the street through the windows, and Mamoru moves over to the futon by the wall and digs, then pulls out and dusts off a space heater. "If I plug this in and the electricity actually works, then Neph bought the place and you can quit worrying."

Then he sits on the futon himself, waiting to see if the thing warms up or not, and looks at Rashmi, seriousface. "It's okay. I'm afraid he might actually be too uncomfortable with it anyway, so I've been thinking-- maybe you can actually have a staged fight with me."
Rashmi Terios 2018-03-21 18:43:10 89673
"No, I-- seriously? What were you even-- No. Okay, that's a fascinating thread to pull, but this is seriously not the time. Or the place. Definitely not the place." The space heater is given a curious look, but that largely so she can process the plan that Mamoru has suggested.

"That... would definitely put me in her good books, but I don't know. I mean, it's one thing to hedge around a topic about a third party, but... Are you sure, Chiba-kun? I mean... I know what this whole thing has been doing to you, and I do not want to pile on top of all the doubts you've probably been having already, y'know?"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-03-21 18:54:28 89676
Mamoru also eyes the space heater. It's not getting warm yet. Maybe it won't. Or maybe it's broken. Or maybe it's just crappy and takes a while. But then he blinks up at Rashmi. "Oh no way, I mean, I never once doubted that I am who I am. The only doubt I ever had was that maybe she was telling the truth from, like, another dimension, but at this point I'm positive that she's just a fake doing a terrible job at trying to make people believe her because her source info is shitty," he says, waving a hand around. "And I know you wouldn't mean any of it. We should probably discuss what should stay secret though, since you basically know... uh, almost everything."
Rashmi Terios 2018-03-21 18:57:31 89678
"I do?" Rashmi blinks, eyes wide behind her glasses. "I mean it doesn't seem like it, I could have sworn there was probably a couple dozen hundred things I'm just not supposed to know. I didn't even think about it," she murmurs, fiddling with her braid.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-03-21 19:05:33 89680
Holding a hand out over the top of the space heater, Mamoru frowns a little bit. "Is that getting warmer or are my hands getting numb? I can't even tell." He gestures at it, then scoots back away to make room and regards Rashmi and her case of nerves. "Well, you know I'm not nearly as smoove as I like to make people think I am on first impressions," he says with a straight face. "You know I have an awful sense of humor, but that's not a secret at all. You know I'm wildly introverted, and that's kind of a secret but it's also fair game for this because whatever, it's not very imperial is it? You know I'm bi, but that should probably remain semi-secret because oh my god Usagi's dad..."

He starts squinting through the darkness across the store, tapping his chin. "You know I'm kind of a manipulative jerk sometimes, you know I lean on Jadeite's Pokemon Go dev account to sit on the building's gym for too long-- wait, you knew that, right?" Side-eye.
Rashmi Terios 2018-03-21 19:23:04 89683
"Yeah all I know about phone games is Chandra won't stop trying to be the best Fruit Ninja player like ever," Rashmi murmurs, sliding over to the space heater and crouching down, holding her hand out to test the air. "Um.... no I don't think it's getting warmer... it could be broke, but if it does work we'll know sooner or later. This thing's old enough it's gonna have to burn a lot of dust before it's clear to heat the air.."

She looks up, considering these revelations. "I'm pretty sure most of those aren't disqualifying, but... If you're really really sure about this I can probably use some of that for ammunition, but probably it'll be better to have a fight like.... Hm."

After a moment's thought, she stands up. "What do you mean you think she might actually be me?!"

She takes a step to the right. "Look Chiba-san just... if they were your powers wouldn't you be able to take them back?"

Step to the left. "You know it doesn't work like that!"

Right. "No I actually don't, I've only been at this for like a year and all I know about magic I got from a talking book!"

"And so on and so on."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-03-21 19:32:25 89684
So the first indication it might be working is the smell of burning in the air. Good thought. Mamoru wrinkles his nose at it, then looks up at Rashmi. And watches.

He starts out with his mouth in a small 'o' when he gets it, and in pretty short order is leaning forward, propping his chin in his hand, eyes sparkling once more.

"Oh don't let me stop you from arguing with yourself," he says when she looks at him after the 'and so on and so on', but quickly holds his hands up in mock-defense. He is grinning, though. "No I'm definitely sure."

For a second he abstracts, searching his memory, and he hits something, face clearing: "I even know which me to lean on. When I first started I didn't know who I was at all, and half the time I was pretty sure *I* wasn't real. But that was only because I was alone and my dreams seemed more real than my real life, and over a third of my life was a blank. I can still pull on the uncertainty for an act, even though it hasn't actually been topical since... uh, well, since late 2015."

There's another pause, and Mamoru grimaces a little bit. "Just don't hit me with dissociation or gore at the same time and I'll be fine."
Rashmi Terios 2018-03-21 19:41:45 89687
"Debate club," Rashmi says, as if it explains it all. "You kind of have to pick up the skill of thinking in ways you wouldn't normally. One time I almost managed to argue for more American-like gun laws, but lost it halfway through and ended up yelling at the guy who came up with the idea."

"Anyway. If you can pull up that uncertainty from the beginning you talked about, that would probably help. Like... Was this all a dream, and are you going to wake up alone again?' But, y'know, if you can do that without getting actually messed up by it."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-03-21 19:59:53 89690
Mamoru looks incredibly impressed, sitting back, eyebrows up. "I'm actively shocked you managed to maintain it halfway through..."

If you can do that without getting actually messed up by it.

...and then he looks faintly embarrassed, looking away. He doesn't seem to notice he's massaging the base of his thumb with his other hand. "That part's fine," he insists, making himself meet his younger mom-friend's eyes. "Because it really wasn't too long after I woke up from sleepwalking in formalwear for the last time that I actually made a friend, and then literally that same night, Sailor Moon awakened. It's okay. And even in the worst parts-- even at the very worst parts-- there was always someone grounding me, even a little. And this isn't even close to the worst parts. Like I said, as long as nobody throws dissociative spells around or drops someone bleeding out in my lap, I can handle it. I know-- here--"

His hand's over his chest.

"--I'll never be alone again. I was never supposed to be, and it was an accident that I ever was, and it'll never happen again. And even if I can't feel them right now, I know they're here for me. Not even just me-Endymion, but me-Mamoru, *me*. And--"

Here he grins, and it's not a very nice grin, it's an ace-up-the-sleeve grin, "--the one thing she hasn't got control of is dreams."
Rashmi Terios 2018-03-21 20:06:49 89691
The gaze is met, and held for a long moment, as Rashmi searches Mamoru's eyes for... something. Whatever it is, she finds it, and nods once. "All right," she says, settling back and letting out a long sigh. "But it's not going to be a fight if I'm doing all the attacking. So... I just want you to know that whatever comes up, whatever you say? It's not going to be held against you. And Nicomachea's a witness, he'll remind me if he needs to."

From Rashmi's bookbag comes a muffled *bing!* << ACKNOWLEDGED, MASTER >>
Mamoru Chiba 2018-03-21 20:27:39 89695
"For sure-- but I should also warn you, regarding that--? I'm really bad at being vicious," Mamoru says sheepishly, slouching again. "I can be sarcastic, I can be a jerk, but growing up an empath..." He shakes his head. "The times I've hurt feelings the worst it's been a complete accident. So-- I'll try, but you're gonna see me getting really flustered and probably just trying to turn your attacks around against you."
Rashmi Terios 2018-03-21 20:35:36 89696
"Deal," Rashmi says, smiling gently. "Between the two of us, we could probably fake a decent fight, I guess. It might help to have a witness or two, if you think that's doable, but... Just remember, this is all going to be fake, and the moment I can sneak some to you I'm definitely going to get Papi to make you guys some chom chom as a sorry-thank-you."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-03-21 20:45:00 89698
"Chom-chommm~~" the Prince of Earth says, eyes glittering and fingertips steepled, like first you get the sugar and then ??? and then profit. He lets it go with a brief relief-born laugh, and the smell of burning starts hitting the air about then. He glances at the heater, wrinkles his nose again, and reaches to shut it off. "I guess Neph bought the building after all," he says cheerily, sitting back up and dropping his hands to his lap.

"Really, really-truly, Rashmi-chan, don't be so worried. I wouldn't have asked you in the first place if I didn't trust you to have my back, if I didn't believe with all my heart you'd never mean a word of it," Mamoru tells the mage earnestly. "Witnesses might be a good or a bad idea, depending. The Shitennou are probably a bad idea, since they're really on edge from all of this and might actually-- even knowing it's a sham-- end up looking at you differently. Except maybe not Kunzite, he might be able to-- no, ahh, I don't know. We can ask him. He might be willing to attack you but not really FIGHT you over it--"

There is squirming. "The Senshi are mad about this because of me, but also because she's claiming to be their real leader? Maybe Daisuke, since he's supposed to be another neutral-to-me party, and it might lend his gambit more credence if he sided with you... maybe teleported you away if Kunzite threatened to attack on my behalf or something... but if we get too many people involved, it might blow up into an actual problem with real butthurt over fake problems, and I want to avoid that."
Rashmi Terios 2018-03-21 20:49:44 89700
"Yeah," Rashmi replies, bobbing her head. "That's kind of what I was thinking too. I guess neither the Shitennou or the Senshi are really the type to just stand there all shocked going 'Wait she said what?"

Shrugging, she leans her hip against a handy counter. "And if I'm in my Barrier Jacket, I can just fly off in a huff to a nearby roof anyway, so... Yeah. Probably best to just make it you and me."

It's easy to tell when the compliment really sinks in, because her cheeks start competing with her hair for color. "...I'm just glad I can help, Chiba-kun. Friends're kinda important to me, y'know?"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-03-21 20:55:54 89702
There's an answering small smile to that massive blush, and the university student in the ugly brown hoodie pushes himself up off the couch and -- improper or not, his touch empathy doesn't work, and he takes advantage of that when he can!! -- leans to give Rashmi a quick, tight hug. "I think I have an idea," he says quietly, "how important friends are, yeah."

It is quick, though, and is super big brotherish in nature, and Mamoru takes a half-step back and stifles a laugh. "You sure you don't want to hear about gentleman jewel thievery in an abandoned convenience store we broke into at midnight?" he teases.
Rashmi Terios 2018-03-21 21:01:57 89704
There's certainly enough time for Mamoru to get an answering squeeze, though now her cheeks might actually be glowing. "I-- um.... yeah y'know what you can tell me that story later, over samosas. Besides I think I'd like to hear that story in a group setting. Count how many pillows get thrown."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-03-21 21:06:18 89705
"Better still, a group setting full of people who know worse stories about me," Mamoru says very cheerfully, bouncing back on his heels and graciously completely ignoring the blush. He leans down to unplug the space heater. "Okay, so, we're still not sure where and when she's showing up, so if you can at least toss Koji or Tyrfing a message and ask them to send the spy bits floating around to keep a lookout in addition to the surveillance we're trying to handle, it's probably a better idea than my asking Motoki to just call me whenever she shows up at the Crown. Because I donnnn't think we should have this fight in the street outside it."
Rashmi Terios 2018-03-21 21:07:31 89706
"Yeaaaaah," Rashmi answers. "A mahou arguing with a 'normal' outside a busy arcade... thaaaat would be baaaaad."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-03-21 21:13:13 89707
There's a grin over his shoulder as Mamoru moves the dusty burny-smelling space heater, now unplugged, away from literally any and all flammable surfaces and drapey things. "Well it's not like I have a secret identity, but more or less, yeah. Either Mamoru Chiba's arguing with a cosplayer or Tuxedo Kamen is really obviously not henshining and both are cause for picture-taking and potential alarm."

He gestures doorward, schlepping thataway and pulling his hood back up, then locking it from the inside after he pulls it open. "So yeah. Whoever spots her first, tag the other, and I'll let the Shitennou know if Zoisite hasn't already, so that after you huff off they can make sure no one comes after me. Because this'll be where the 'powerless' cat gets out of the bag for real."
Rashmi Terios 2018-03-21 21:16:44 89708
"Good call," Rashmi says, bobbing her head as she follows along. "Oh! Also one other thing. I can cast Telepathy on us both before the fight starts, and it'd probably be really handy if you wanted me to dig for something specific, to have me able to relay the conversation to you real-time, y'know?"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-03-21 21:19:47 89709
They're out, so Mamoru tries the door to make sure it's locked behind them, and then sticks his hands in his pockets-- and then looks startled. He pulls out a key and holds it up, glances back at the door, exaggeratedly shrugs with a huge dumb grin, and then looks really intrigued. "A telepathy spell? You can do that? DO THAT. Holy shit I miss telepathy. Yes do it yes yes. Please."
Rashmi Terios 2018-03-21 21:24:55 89710
"It's what I did when we were dealing with Precia, remember? Basically that," Rashmi says, peering at the key, then back up, eyes narrowing as if to say 'I know what you're doing, mister.'
Mamoru Chiba 2018-03-21 21:29:29 89711
"Ahhh that was cool! Yes do it," Mamoru says decisively, dropping the key back in his pocket and patting it, giving her an innocent look in response to the wordless callout. "This is going to suck on one level, but you know what? On another level it's going to be seriously fun because she thinks she's smarter than we are, and I really love snowing people who are complete asshats."

He pauses again, then laughs, then sighs. "I want to keep hanging out but we have to wait until it's over. So-- see you soon, Ra-chan."
Rashmi Terios 2018-03-21 21:33:01 89712
"Hopefully really soon, Mamoru-kun," Rashmi answers, grinning and pulling up her hood. Then, as if the reality of their skulky situation has come flooded back, she gives a harried look to either side. "So... how do we do this? D'you go first, do I go first?"