Commute


Train tunnel cave-in! Massive amounts of dark energy! Helpless prince! Double Cross lives up to his name, and it's Sailor Jupiter, Nephrite, and Kunzite to the rescue of Mamoru and a bunch of hapless commuters in the wee stupid hours of the morning.

Date: 2018-04-02
Pose Count: 32
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-02 07:44:35 90046
The train ride from Uminari to Keio's Hiyoshi campus is usually about 45 minutes. During busy times, it's much longer by car or motorcycle, and one also cannot read on the trip unless someone else is driving. By teleport, it's roughly four hops for the Shitennou, and with Mamoru's powers as inaccessible as they are, he actually doesn't get teleport sick, so that's been a thing some days.

The plan Mamoru and Rashmi have concocted to draw Sailor Earth out and get her to spill her guts to Rashmi hasn't gone off yet, which means Mamoru's current condition also hasn't been outed to the entire world yet, which means the guys have been particularly tolerant of his desire to spend a fair amount of time unsupervised before it's Babysitting Mamoru 24/7 Time Again--

--so since his first class is at stupid o'clock in the morning, and the other guys don't have class until later, and hanging out on campus waiting for class and not getting to spend that time with Mamoru, when you could be in bed or getting things taken care of that make Mamoru cranky if he sees them, is an unappealing prospect.

Especially since it's only like three hours. And it's raining out. And cold. And he'd encouraged staying at home in bed to the point of dispensing forehead kisses.

So it is that Mamoru Chiba in all his expensively fashionable yet gloriously questionable clothing is folded up in a window seat near the back of one of the front cars of the train to Keio's Hiyoshi campus, utterly engrossed in a thick novel. It's in English and has faces on the cover, making stoic expressions. His wire frame glasses occasionally get pushed up on his nose with an absent gesture, and his glossy black hair partially shades his face; no one's taken a seat next to him yet. This may have something to do with the argyle sweater, the embroidered denim jacket, the pegged skinny jeans, the socks with roses on them, and the five hundred dollar dress shoes.

Or maybe it's the Star Trek novel, who knows.
Michio Mori 2018-04-02 08:05:58 90048
    'Go to the tracked carriages and seek out the regal Telluric dandy, there you will find what I seek. Drink deep from the well and give what is his unto me, for then you shall then be granted your deepest desire.'

    The blood red gem glowed fiercely from within, it's voice echoing in Michio's head more powerful and demanding than he had ever heard.

    "I don't understand. You mean a train, but how will I know which one to take?"

    'GO!' roared the voice in his mind, 'You will understand everything in time, but you must go now. There is no time to be wasted!'

    Never before had the Zenkaitenki spoken to him with such ferocity, or with such directness. That alone was enough to set Michio running, pulling off his school jacket and tie and tossing them in a corner of the room. Hina started to yell after him but cut herself short when she caught a glimpse of his face. She knew what that meant- he was going to do something for her, and shouldn't be bothered.

    Transforming and teleporting would be faster, but he could feel Zenkaitenki's influence there in the back of his mind, where he usually resided, a quiet but looming presence warning him to wait- not just yet. The time for that would come. So instead he ran as quickly as his legs would carry him to the train station. Had it been any father he'd never have made it on the right train.

    Zenkaitenki was right, of course. Ever on the hunt for the energy of others Mamoru shone like a beacon in the cold stormy night, calling this way, this way. Though he had to rush Michio made it into the train car just before the doors closed, bent over and taking in big, deep breaths, his button down shirt and Seishou issue navy pants rumpled and out of sorts, wet from the rain. Lucky for him this and his heavy breathing were the oddest thing about his arrival, but stranger things were had to be seen, especially here in Tokyo.

    He sat several seats away from Mamoru and across the aisle, facing him but looking at him only once. He took only a single look at the college student, because /what the hell was he wearing/?! It was so confidently terrible as to defy description, and further glances could only result in staring- gawking even. Regal Telluric dandy indeed.

    Luckily Michio didn't need to look at him- the blue haired boy could feel Mamoru's presence, almost oppressively so. It was as if a bomb were primed and ready to explode in the train car, but no one but him could notice.

    No one but him and Zenkaitenki, that is, because that feeling in the back of his mind had turned to hungering, slavering for the unimaginable power it felt, an energy unlike any it had encountered for a very, very long time. Energy here before it and ripe for the picking, if only plucked when the time was right.

    'Soon. Soon...'

    Beneath Michio's rain soaked shirt, the faintest of crimson hues could be seen.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-02 08:21:48 90049
One really does need to be wildly self-confident to wear an ensemble like that-- not only wear, but rock. The regal Telluric dandy is rocking the hell out of the look. He probably has his own lookbook. Unless he's an actual model; he could be an actual model, he's certainly pretty enough.

His eyes, an unfair shade of blue that precisely mimicks the color of the Earth's oceans as seen from space, glance up over the top of his book when he hears the great gasping breaths, and he leans over to see if there's someone just got on the train actually having trouble breathing, but it's some high schooler who barely made the train and is now just trying to catch his breath.

Mamoru leans back and goes back to reading, but his attention's split now, the reading slower. He waits until the younger guy's just drenched and cold and finished gasping for air to lean down to his bookbag and take out an unopened water bottle, bookmarking his place and leaving Spock's World on his seat, then hauls himself up and into the aisle.

It's with a friendly and rueful smile that he offers the drenched boy the bottle. "Bad idea to try and drink your jacket, but you've got to be thirsty after running like that."
Michio Mori 2018-04-02 08:39:27 90050
    An athsma attack isn't especially likely in the rain, any released pollen knocked down into the city streets and swept into drains. Far be that the only reason one might gasp for air, however, and Mamoru shows enough concern for these other cases to check. Michio catches the ocean blue out of the corner of his vision and deliberately pays it no heed, minds his own business to try not to draw the attention of the model pretty college boy rocking the hell out of his own special... what do you call a disaster that some how just works because of who is wearing it?

    After he sits down Michio does need some actual time to recover, having been somewhere between a run and a sprint to catch this serendipitous train. He lowers his eyes and focuses on just breathing, resting his hands on his knees and letting his breaths calm and shallow, even as his heart rate picks back up. He can feel Mamoru's eyes on him, and not from the energy shining within him, that warm comforting amber glow bright enough to dazzle the senses as gold, or the sun.

    No, it's a social sense that tells him he's caught the college student's attention, and despite himself he tenses as Mamoru gets up and walks in his direction. He tenses almost like a spring, ready to act even if that action is yet unknown to him. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, a water bottle enters his vision. His eyes widen in genuine surprise and his head lifts, cobalt blue meeting ocean blue as Michio Mori looks into Mamoru Chiba's eyes. The friendly, rueful smile, the genuine kindness to help a stranger showing in his eyes, it takes Michio a second to respond. "Almost didn't make it," he replies somewhat stiffly. In the back of his mind he can hear Zenkaitenki. Laughing. It's almost too good to be true.

    He reaches out and accepts the bottle with more ease than he feels, "Thanks. This'll taste a hell of a lot better." Half beat pause as he twists open the cap. "Than my jacket." Gulp, gulp, gulp.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-02 09:24:06 90051
'Too good to be true'-- there's got to be a catch, somewhere. Got to. Maybe this college student is bait or something-- but why would Zenkaitenki lead Michio this way just for a trap to get sprung? No: the smile's real as anything, and the college boy's sitting alone. "Much better," he agrees with a laugh. "Sorry I don't have a towel."

Mamoru considers making a Hitchhiker's Guide reference, but he does enough laughing at his own jokes when people who actually get them are around that he doesn't think he'll take the risk. Instead, the soaked stranger gets a slightly uncertain smile after an awkward pause, and then Mamoru straightens his glasses and starts to turn to go back to his seat.

He pauses again, almost says something else again, then stops himself again.

Mamoru gets almost all the way back to his seat this time before he turns around and comes back, shrugging out of his embroidered denim jacket, and he crouches next to the seat and leans in and says really, really, really quietly, "Your magic is showing. You might be able to pass it off as shitty Iron Man cosplay, but better not to have to, right? I'm going to Keio Hiyoshi, I'll be back there again tomorrow, same train, same time, so you can give it back then. I've only got a short walk from my stop to my destination, so I'll be fine."

He is literally offering Michio his coat.

And he knows about magic.

Maybe that's the too good to be true part.
Michio Mori 2018-04-02 09:50:38 90052
    That Mamoru has an enormous well of magic within him and that he's a kind, helpful person is almost certainly true, so that isn't the catch. What may well be the catch is that he's well aware of the magic in the world around him- including the blatantly magical artifact resting against Michio's chest beneath his shirt. The soaked through white cloth certainly doesn't help keep the blood red gemstone hidden.

    Perhaps if that well of energy within him were tapped and usable he might recognize something more, the darkness locked away inside the stone, locked away inside Michio just beneath the surface.

    The comment about the towel gets a laugh from the high school boy, who shakes his head, "No, that's fine, really. You've been kind enough to a stranger already." He waves off the suggestion of the older young man having the tools perfectly suited for helping him in his soaked situation. "I'll dry quick enough once I get somewhere warm." The train could afford to pinch a few less pennies and turn up the heat, he muses to himself.

    Then, he freezes, blinking somewhat dumbstruck as the regal young man calls out what no one previously had. And so openly, so blatantly at that. His magic is showing. Michio's eyes flick down to his chest, and sure enough Zenkaitenki's outline is plainly visible. Shit, he thinks, should have kept his jacket on even if it'd give him away. Or pulled on a hoodie, maybe, not that he'd had time to grab one.

    Thinking this would be a cakewalk, that it would be stealing candy from a baby was clearly too good to be true, but the jig isn't up yet, because Mamoru isn't running away, or readying to attack him. Instead he's... offering further help? This guy is just too much. Not knowing what else to do Michio shakes his head while resting his left hand against it, clearly taken aback. "You're serious about this? That looks valuable enough to half pay my rent." Awkwardly he accepts the jacket and pulls it on, closing and fastening it in front with a bewildered look on his face. "Yeah, tomorrow. I'll be here." For some reason, unknown to himself, he actually means it when he says it, though it'll make him a liar.

    The train travels along it's track, going clackity-clack with rail noise, the same familiar beat on the same familiar path, day in, day out. Up ahead is one of several tunnels along the way, closer and closer as the two young, magical men speak. But when the train enters and the outside is plunged to darkness, the inside of the train suddenly is as well, the lights going out perfectly in time as if the land overhead somehow cast a shadow through the train itself. A brief moment later comes harsh motion, the trains emergency braking systems coming online.

    If it weren't for the fact it was now covered by Mamoru's denim jacket it would be easy to see that blood red gem glowing black as pitch.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-02 10:27:08 90053
"Eh, unless you're renting a cardboard box, nah-- the shoes are egregiously expensive, but the jacket was a thrift-store find. If I don't show up tomorrow, you can keep it," Mamoru tells the younger man with a bright, crooked little grin as he straightens up standing again. And then he nods in satisfaction as Michio fastens it, and one more time starts back toward his seat--

--and then the lights go out literally as they're going under a mountain, and amid the scattered cries of irritated commuters in surprise at the sudden dark, there's Mamoru muttering a muffled curse. Cellphone screens are lighting up all over, but they're under a mountain, nobody's going to get reception here. But then the train stops short and Mamoru, still in the aisle and bringing a glowing circle on his wrist up toward his face, gets thrown forward and catches himself on the seat backs closest to Michio. "Kuso! What are they doing? Did it just lose power? Of all the idiot..."

Any one of his Shitennou would, were they here, be able to tell him that this is not a mundane problem. Were he his usual self, he'd've been able to tell that from the get-go, though it... honestly wouldn't have changed his behavior. After all, Lacrima's been such a sweetheart and was actually made of dark energy so like--? Be nice and people are nice back? Sometimes? Maybe?

"Here, move in, I should get my backpack but it'll keep," the university student says in the pitch blackness next to Michio. "Let me call my friends, they can come make sure nothing's actually wrong wrong. Because I think something is off, but hell if I know what--" And if Michio does, in fact, slide over toward the window, Mamoru will literally sit down right next to him and make the thing on his wrist start glowing again.
Michio Mori 2018-04-02 11:11:34 90054
    Not being what one would call a fashonista or a hipster, Michio has no clue what parts of Mamoru's clothes are expensive or cheap until it's explicitly pointed out to him. Somehow it all seems to work together-- and besides, he's heard the tales of 'artisan' designs and pre-ripped jeans going for over ten times what they should reasonably be worth in upscale shops. It's far from lost on him, though, that Mamoru is literally giving him the coat off his back. It's not his shirt, but somehow he gets the idea that he'd offer that too if he thought it warranted. "Well, okay. If you say so, but I think you should show up tomorrow. Looks better on you, anyway."

    The train goes into the tunnel and is plunged into darkness. People already have their cellphones out, but the shadows are deep and oppressive. Deep enough for one whose given himself to darkness to disappear in them and dissolve, metaphorically in this case, into their depths and move unseen and undetected away from where he last sat. There in the dark the boy that is Michio is overwhelmed by the pitch black pouring out from Zenkaitenki, dark energy cloaking him and rendering him invisible in the black on black of the tunnel bound train, only for it to wash away and leave Double Cross standing where he ones stood.

    The artificiality of the darkness retreats, cell phones and watch lights illuminating properly once more. Mamoru says he'll call for his friends, but Michio isn't there beside him where he might be, no sign of him left at all, not even Mamoru's denim jacket. Standing in the aisle himself, Double Cross responds. "It's too late for that. You won't be calling anyone, down here." Something is definitely wrong wrong, it seems. It just goes to show: not every dark energy wielding citizen of the night is as safe to be around as some.

    Double Cross extends his arm towards the back of the train car and darkness pools around his palm before firing away, crashing through the door and through every one succeeding it in a cacophony of clang-clang, clang-clang as the paired exit and entrance doors between cars are torn free, ending in final single crash and finally a deafening explosion and a rush of wind, accompanied by the clatter of rock and dry, oppressive scent of dirt and dust thrown into the air. Ten meters behind the train, the tunnel collapses.

    Before the first shot has made it through the train Double Cross adjusts his aim and fires straight through the front to similar effect, only much shorter in duration given their location, followed by the sound of shattering glass and another deafening explosion, pebbles and dust falling from the roof of the now heavily compromised tunnel and rattling against the metal roof of the train car.

    "They'll have a hard time getting to you now, wont they? Your friends- I hope they know how to dig." A young man with a black hood pulled up over his head, hiding his youth and his face, wearing mixed black and white and effusing a power made up wholly of the former. He raises his sword in a menacing if not threatening gesture, a large, blood red gemstone set into it's crossguard and almost shining with a deep malevolence.

    If Mamoru sets his eyes, as blue, blue as oceans from space and envied by all, upon it he might even feel it calling to him, crying out covetously for what is rightfully his, his very birthright. Double Cross' face tightens, because he can hear Zenkaitenki, screaming in desire and lust for a power the likes of which even the ancient artifact couldn't dare dream about, now so wholly within grasp.

    Double Cross extends his arm, hand held towards Mamoru as if beckoning and carefully tugs at what feels like and endless wellspring of power.

    'NOW!' He hears, raging in his mind, 'Take it! Take it all! Take every last drop.'
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-05 21:27:29 90115
There's a laugh, brief, at Michio's comment about 'be here tomorrow', but Mamoru doesn't really have a chance to respond to it before the lights have gone out and everything's gone haywire and he is, of course, trying to help. Always, always, trying to help.

But there's a fluxing through the car of dark energy, and as magically blind and deaf as he is, the energy that's in him still reacts to it, shies away, grips his insides with dire warning tension-- and then there's that voice in the dark. It's too late, it says, you won't be calling anyone down here.

But there's a moment where Double Cross is shooting through the train -- oh let there please not have been any people standing in the aisles, standing in the way, please please -- and Mamoru's ducking his head in the aisle seat, and he jams his thumb down on the emergency beacon of his subspace Senshi communicator. The emergency beacon, and as long as his thumb's on it, transmitting his voice.

"What the hell! Did you literally just collapse this train tunnel and-- and probably kill a bunch of people-- just to goddamn attack me?" he bursts out, incredulous and letting his horrified indignation spill out in his voice so it doesn't affect his thinking, his judgement. He just has to buy time. He only has to buy ti--

Oh shit. He's caught sight of the gem. His eyes widen. Even as Double Cross is menacing him with the sword, holding his hand out and starting to tug at his energy, Mamoru stares at the glowing gem. "That's-- that's Zenkaitenki, isn't it? What did you DO to it? To make it evil! It was supposed to heal-- you stole it, didn't you?! It was all over the news! Did YOU fill it with darkness??"

He's asking these questions with increasing desperation, increasing worry; he's gotten up out of the seat again, and is casting about -- there's so much screaming, there's sobbing, and he doesn't want to get these people in any worse trouble, but he has to buy enough time, but if lets this guy and his corrupt magical stone take his energy, he'll only be able to do that much more damage.

That gloved hand is pulling, making Mamoru's chest glow gold, brighter and brighter, and it hurts-- it always hurts, why does it always have to hurt? But Mamoru literally can't just stand there and take it, and this isn't his first powerless rodeo, nor even remotely his first time getting energy drained. He has practice. So sword or not, he lunges forward to make a grab for Double Cross's wrist and PULL, legit trying to pull off a headbutt in the narrow aisle while he's having his magic and life pulled from him and is struggling to catch a breath through the awful sensation.
Michio Mori 2018-04-06 00:55:23 90117
    It's a double threat for Mamoru, having such an incredible excess of energy while also being so constantly eager to help. Normally Double Cross goes around draining the energy of helpful people without any magic to power Zenkaitenki, the intensity and volume of Mamoru's energy while also being perfect for it's use made him the largest target the blue haired magical boy had ever encountered. Though the power within him might tell Mamoru to shy away, it makes it impossible to hide or escape his focus.

    That focus have a knock-on effect, however. Being focused on Mamoru and his energy means he isn't paying much attention to what the seemingly mortal man is pressing his thumb against. Mamoru's words cause the hooded young man to pause, looking down through the destroyed traincar aisles. "Did I kill people? Hm. I hadn't considered that I might. Maybe I did." There is a mild curiosity, and a complete lack of concern. His arm raises towards Mamoru regardless, the accusation of possible murder bouncing off of him like it's nothing.

    Ocean blue eyes make contact with the blood red gem, and Mamoru actually seems to recognize it. Unlike the accusations, this gets Double Cross' attention. "So you know of it? You're right, it is a powerful healing tool. You've got it wrong though. It isn't what I've done to Zenkaitenki, but what Zenkaitenki has done for me." Why is he saying that? Michio really has no reason to engage with his target, but it'd be a lie to say he wasn't curious to know more about the artifact, especially after what it's enabled him to do. What it's allowed him to do for Hina.

     That's right, all this is for Hina.

    Despite his struggles a few sparkles, trickles of energy draws out from Mamoru, a tiny hint for what's to time. The amber energy twinkles as it draws towards him, towards his outstretched hand, twisting around his arm and body in a spiraling dance before flowing directly into Zenkaitenki itself.

    'Quit this foolishness reverie, and bring me more! More!'

    Just as Double Cross is about to refocus his efforts Mamoru does something no one else had previously, and moves on the attack while being drained. Is that even possible? Apparently so, and Michio isn't entirely sure how to handle it. He's caught off guard enough that Mamoru gets his wrist and yanks him forward, momentarily ceasing the drawing of his energy and letting him slam his head right into Double Cross'. Even in henshin it's enough to draw a curse from the young man, who starts to stumble back while clenching his teeth.

    Double Cross can think on his feet too, however, and the pain in his forehead and nose are enough to shock him into action. He reaches out to Mamoru and grabs him by his argyle sweater, dragging him along for the ride and using the momentum to turn the tables, slamming him up against the window on the opposite side the aisle from whence he came, completely ignoring the terrified passengers scrambling to get out of their way.

    "I shouldn't be surprised you've got some fight in you, but I won't be letting you get away." With as little as that, he jams his sword right up against Mamoru's chest. He doesn't actually run him through, but to Mamoru it might feel that way, because that blood red, corrupted gem Zenkaitenki is now touching him. Double Cross usually draws the energy himself, but this is much more direct. The force that would have felt like a ten ton press pulling at his energy is now the weight of a mountain. Double Cross is also showing just how serious he is, the blade of his sword resting very near Mamoru's neck.

    "I need your energy, but your life is useless to me. Play nice and I might let you keep it." From under his hood, cobalt blue eyes stare coldly at Mamoru.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-06 01:35:11 90122
His reflexes are near peak human, but that's all they are-- for all the energy in Mamoru Chiba, for all the power it contains, he can't even pull a rose out of dreams or a hat out of subspace, nevermind henshin-- nevermind fight on fair footing with a magical villain. He's already shown he's willing to fight unfairly, but now he's against the wall, has the wind knocked out of him, and has terrified civilians all around him that he doesn't want to further endanger.

And then there's the sword against his chest, and it's not just his breath he's fighting to get back-- it's his ability to move, to think. This is...

He's been hard-drained before, certainly. He's been hard-drained before and been able to move. But not like this. Not like this, and him without his feet in the dirt, as underground as the train is. He's also been run through the chest with a sword before, and you know--? It does feel astonishingly familiar, to the point that he's surprised he doesn't also feel the warmth of blood running down his front, soaking his nerdy argyle sweater. But he's not surprised a second later, because then he feels the cold sharp edge of it so close to his neck, and he's frozen.

He can't heal it if he moves and slices himself open on it. He can't heal it if he moves and Double Cross decides to just take everything from him while he's still bleeding out.

But he can sass.

"You-- better-- run," he gasps out. "You're gonna-- gonna be so fuckin' sorry-- no matter what you think that damned gem's d-done for you. If-- if you run, you might-- live--"
Nephrite 2018-04-06 01:38:00 90124
It's not supposed to be high alert time yet. No more than usual, at least. Surely not enough to interrupt the morning coffee ritual. Neil is on his feet in the kitchen, but barely woken yet, still blinking blearily at the world like a newborn puppy, his hair disheveled. He leans his arms around Makoto's shoulders to retrieve the sugar -- and then just plain leans on her, burying his face in her hair. "Mmmmlet's not do school today. Just naps instead."

The sudden shrill beeping of both their wrists has him jerking upright. "What the hell! Did you literally just collapse this train tunnel and--"

Nephrite is awake now, his eyes locking with Makotos. "Oh sh-- okay, okay, the train, he was on his way to class, I think -- we can jump there, but by now he'll be outside the city, we might have to teleport a few times to get to him." He transforms in a flash and takes Makoto's hands. His voice is jittery but his hands are steady. "Everyone would have heard that right? Yeah, of course they would. Okay." He waits for Makoto's assent that she is ready before he teleports them both.

One, two, three jumps across Tokyo, following the familiar route. The last one is close enough that they can pinpoint the underground devastation and massive drain of energy emanating from within it. In one final leap, Sailor Jupiter and Nephrite appear in the midst of the chaos and screaming. And Mamoru against the window with a sword at his throat.

There is no thought from Nephrite. There is a wordless bellow, and he is charging like a bull.
Makoto Kino 2018-04-06 01:53:50 90127
Just like that, Makoto's morning took a sharp turn from 'really rather nice' straight into 'what the actual hell.' Nephrite doesn't even has to ask - she grips his hands firmly when he takes hers, and at his 'okay' she's nodding. "Let's go."

"Wh--"

Anything that Sailor Jupiter was going to say upin arrival is pre-empted, because Nephrite's already on the attack. The sword at Mamoru's neck makes for half a dozen worst case scenarios flashing across Makoto's mind; making a snap decision, she throws out both hands and sends a rush of wind and petals blasting at Double Cross ahead of Nephrite's charge, buffeting at both him and Mamoru and pushing them apart. "FLOWER HURRICANE!"
Michio Mori 2018-04-06 02:15:59 90131
    The effect of Zenkaitenki is about what Double Cross expected, the golden glow within Mamoru pouring directly into the blood red gem and seeming to disappear. Even so the energy that flares around Mamoru is enough to light up the train from within, causing several of the passengers who hadn't realized running to a different car right now is a good idea to wince and avert their gaze. Someone looking closely might see a dangerous, dark glow coming from the gem, hidden in the brilliance.

    Double Cross himself seems satisfied with Mamoru freezing in place. As for the sass? "If I run I might live? If you had put all this energy to use maybe I'd be worried, but now the tables are turned. It's you that needs to be wor-"

    And then all at once it becomes clear. Two people decidedly more able to make manifest the power within them appear, and with them a localized hurricane of wind and petals. Almost immediately they're forced away, the sword pulled away from Mamoru's neck. The fact remains, however, that he still has a firm grip on Mamoru's sweater, and in this moment Double Cross is feeling a little spiteful. Especially with Zenkaitenki shouting in his mind.

    'All, damn you, I said take it all!'

    He turns and twists, swinging his arm backhand and dragging Mamoru along for the ride while a calculated gamble. If these people are here for the kind, helpful young man who's energy he's draining, they may care more for him than they do harming himself.

    That's how Mamoru becomes a living missile heading straight at Nephrite.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-06 02:25:45 90134
This is not the kind of fastball special Mamoru likes.

On the other hand, he's not entirely at home right now, swinging by his sweater-front from Double Cross' fist like a ragdoll, and now only vaguely aware of what's going on. He hears Neph yelling and feels the wind and the petals and Mako's attack, which is great, both of these things are great, and Flower Hurricane must be why everything is still so super windy, right? Maybe that's why his sweater isn't digging into his neck and armpits anymore, maybe they got blown apart. But, he thinks dimly, he should be falling down. He certainly isn't holding himself up.

But the people on the train--

They must have scattered. Maybe they're in other cars now. When Nephrite starts yelling people run away.

He's already close to passing out; slamming into Neph isn't gonna make a hell of a lot of difference.
Nephrite 2018-04-06 02:35:25 90137
Jupiter's flowers spur Nephrite on. He's running at full-sprint, prepared to body-slam the guy who's got a hold on his prince. And suddenly, Mamoru is flying at him.

Nephrite grabs at the nearest subway seat to pull himself to a skidding stop. It's barely enough time to get his arms up to catch the projectile prince. He awkwardly catches him, falling back onto the floor to absorb the blow with a pained "oof!"

Nephrite pulls one arm around Mamoru. He has him. They're not out of danger yet, but he has him.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-06 02:43:48 90139
Mamoru mumbles into Nephrite's jacket, in a faint and somewhat vague and thready voice, "I hope the kid with my jacket is okay, he's giving it back tomorrow."
Makoto Kino 2018-04-06 02:45:16 90140
A little rougher a landing than they might have wanted, maybe, but it's done the job: Mamoru is safe, or at least as safe as anyone down here in this tunnel can be at the moment. Success!

And hey, bonus: with Nephrite and Mamoru both down, Sailor Jupiter has a clear line of fire on Double Cross.

Her hands are already raised in front of her from the Flower Hurricane, and the angry glare she's shooting Michio over them is as bright and sharp as green glass. "Big mistake," she says - and with no more words wasted, sparks already spitting at her fingertips, she makes a half-step shift of stance and jabs two fingers forward, a sharp thrust that sends a lance of electricity racing towards Double Cross. "HAH!"
Michio Mori 2018-04-06 03:18:53 90147
    The distraction of Nephrite goes a well as Double Cross could have hoped, but Jupiter is quick to take advantage. Ruffled and blown by her wind he's only just getting his footing when she sends him that angry glare, and the lance of electricity along with it. The glare doesn't effect him, but the same can't be said for the electricity, which hits him full on in the chest and sends him skittering backwards by the force of it alone. Electricity arcs over him and he lets out a cry of pain.

    It was strong- she's strong. Much stronger than he expected. It hurts. He can feel his flesh seared below, the jolt blasting straight through his jacket... but why doesn't it hurt a hell of a lot more? Somewhere in the back of his mind there's rumbling laughter not his own. Double Cross takes heavy breaths, surprising himself when they're not as haggard as they should be. Cobalt blue eyes turn to his own hand as his fist opens and closes without shake or jitter. He begins to look to his other hand as well, and that's when he notices it. A core of pure darkness set in the center of Zenkaitenki. And then he feels it, the power the gem had absorbed, already mutated into something entirely more sinister.

    That energy was supposed to be for Hina... but she'd never see it if he didn't make it out of here, would she? He wasn't going to come this far for nothing, that's for sure.

    There's a sudden surge of energy from Double Cross as he taps into the new wellspring power, enough to fill the entire scene with a sickly, wrong darkness radiating out from him. Double Cross' own black energy can still be felt, but it's now enveloped deep inside another dark power, one that feels eerily similar but not quite the same as Dark Endymion.

    He dashes forward faster than he remembers his legs being able to carry them and swipes hard at Sailor Jupiter while running past sliding to a halt and turning around to aim his palm at Nephrite, seemingly oblivious to the prince in his protectors arms. Something... something just feels right about bathing him with this energy, and so he fires. He expects to release a simple blast, and instead releases a firehose, the darkness streaking from his palm and engulfing the side of the traincar with enough force to send him staggering back, unused to his 'own' power.

    And where the excess of energy sprays over the walls of the tunnel? One could swear those walls were moving.
Nephrite 2018-04-07 02:30:38 90160
"I'll keep an eye out," Nephrite grunts as he pulls Mamoru to the side of the car and props him in a corner created by the wall and a seat. As far as cover goes, the seat is probably worth little more than cardboard, but he'll take what he can get. "Which jacket is it? Is it the ugly one? I'll look for a guy in an ugly one." Jupiter is strong, and so he thinks he has time to ensure the prince is settled before he moves to join her. He should have moved faster.

There is no time to dodge, not if he wants to move both himself and Mamoru out of the way in time. All Nephrite can do is turn his back to the oncoming force, brace his hands on either side of Mamoru's head, and take the full impact of the blast. The roar of the dark power nearly drowns out his shout as it strikes him.

When the stream of energy finally fades, he is still there. Kneeling over Mamoru, arms trembling where they are still braced against the wall, breathing labored.

It's always there, lurking in the corners of Nephrite's mind. The memory of that particular kind of darkness, how cold it is and how familiar. He literally fled from that memory once, and the horrors he still associates with it. It's a small mercy, that Mamoru cannot currently read his thoughts right now, as he shudders against the remains of the dark energy. His lips are moving rhythmically, a chant whispered through clenched teeth that perhaps only Mamoru can hear, if he is conscious enough to be aware of it. "...8 9 7 9 3 2 3 8..." A trick they practiced together. Talking through the darkness with math.

Nephrite's fingers dig into the wall, and he does not seem to notice the way it twists sickeningly when he does. He whips around to face Double Cross with one hand outstretched. "Four." A thin, sharp stream of starlight streaks across the length of the subway car.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-07 02:53:50 90161
"The-- the denim--" breathes Mamoru, trying to stay conscious. He's so tired. He's so tired. And everything hurts. "--with embroidery-- flowers--"

And then Nephrite's in front of him and dark energy is spilling everywhere and he's filled with pure icy rage. Rage: how DARE this villain throw something like that at him, at Neph, in the train.

The fury overrides the exhaustion, burning up what little energy Mamoru has left, and he reaches inside until it hurts; he reaches inside past thorn and bramble, past ice wall and the most tenuous of connections; the walls are wobbling, are moving. One of them touches the train. He can't teleport, he can't heal, nearly all his energy is stolen, but there is rock touching the train and Nephrite and Jupiter are still fighting and surely, surely, he can do something.

"Six," he croaks, and the energy making the rock wall move is his-- but it was twisted, it was made wrong, and it burns like cold fire as it creeps up his arm when he tries to pull it to himself. He lets it go and he leans on the tensile strength of the connections he can no longer feel, but that he knows, knows, the Shitennou can. They can still find him. So it's there. It's there, and it's what he blindly reaches for through senses suppressed by the machinations of Sailor Earth, through the absolute cold, through his own memories of that darkness, his own memories of another cold and another hopelessness--

Mamoru reaches inside his shirt. He won't watch Jupiter and Nephrite sacrifice themselves again.

He pulls.

Red and velvety-perfect, holding the scent of a golden age and a kingdom of secret magic below the ground but sharing the sky with the surface, with thorns that bite and a stem that can cut through steel, through concrete, through chains, through enchantments. "Two," he says, and gulps in a breath, still draped against the wall like a ragdoll, sweat plastering his hair to his head and skin unhealthily pale. And he throws it.

"Six."
Michio Mori 2018-04-07 03:26:30 90162
    The sad truth is that everyone present with knowledge of magic probably knows more about what he's flinging than Double Cross does. It isn't exactly the same as the power of the Dark Kingdom, but it's without a doubt the subverted power of the Prince of the Earth Kingdom. The subverted power of Mamoru Chiba, the so-called 'regal Telluric dandy'. Both Mamoru and Nephrite both would know it well, and perhaps Jupiter too. But this specific form of corrupted energy is new to Michio, and in it's way it's a bit more... disturbing than that which he possesses himself. He certainly isn't expecting the wiggling walls himself, and he also isn't expecting the difficulty Nephrite has recovering from the blow.

    Of course he's even more surprised Nephrite can stand after that, having released a far larger burst than intended. Double Cross is honestly perturbed- would his original intent have done anything at all?

    "...numbers?" Maybe he was wrong. Maybe something about that blast of energy broke something in the protectors mind. He straightens up and prepares for a dramatic exit, just in time for Nephrite to whip around before him, hand outstretched. Recognizing the gesture for what it is he pulls his sword up defensively in front of himself, preparing to meet magical blast with magical weapon. His stance is good, the angle is right--

    A flash of velvety red and rich green. A sudden cry of pain and shock from Double Cross. His head whips around towards Jupiter- she had flowers in her winds, right? But no, that's not where it came from. It takes a brief moment for his eyes to find Mamoru slumped in the corner of the traincar, arm outstretched and looking like shit. But he follows the line of that arm to his own where a beautiful red rose stands, embedded in his bicep digging deep to bone, blood welling up around the wound as the thorns dig in like arrowheads.

    "Kisama!"

    He doesn't have long to be angry, as a potent blast of starlight streaks out from Nephrite's hand towards him. The rose does the job, and the precise blast strikes Double Cross and streaks straight through him, the magical defenses of his henshin and the immense infusion of dark energy doing nothing to protect him from the Shitennou's power. His curse turns into a scream of pain and fury, breath ragged now like he expected from Jupiter's blast of lightning. He drops to one knee, reaching over to clutch his arm near the wound as it hangs limp, only to look up towards Mamoru and Nephrite with a rage of his own blazing in his eyes.

    "I was going to let you live, but now I'm angry." He pulls his hand away from his arm and his white glove shows crimson. Far from being deterred by this he rises back up, reaching down to wipe down the side of his blade with blood before carefully transferring it to his left hand. The blood boils and ignites, a flaming darkness surrounding the weapon as he lifts it to his arm and slices the rose in two, the base of it's stem still dug deep into his muscle. "I only need one arm to beat all of you, anyway."
Makoto Kino 2018-04-07 03:58:58 90163
It's a rush of sickening cold up Mako's spine, the feel of the dark power that Double Cross unleashes. Farther back than the guys, she has just enough warning to dive away from the worst of the torrent, but it's impossible to avoid it entirely.

Worse still is seeing it engulf Nephrite and Mamoru, with nothing at all she can do to stop it.

"You--" Her voice is harsh as she regains her footing, bright little sizzles of electricity arcing over her fingers as her hands clench into fists. "Doing all this, and expecting people to, what, just roll over for you?" One booted foot slides back, a preparatory shift of weight. "I don't want to hear about pissed off!"

With no other warning, the Senshi of Thunder is suddenly hurtling fist-first at Double Cross, hands trailing lightning.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-07 04:15:27 90164
Looking like shit isn't actually something even Mamoru can turn into a fashion statement, but the sheer gratitude he radiates at Jupiter probably... actually is probably entirely missed, even if he was totally looking kind of stoned-ly past Michio and at the Senshi of Whoopass behind him even while Michio was losing his temper. "Now you've done it," he whispers, head thudding back against the wall, looking pleased as well as in a world of hurt. "You pissed off Sailor Jupiter. Probably run."
Nephrite 2018-04-07 04:52:21 90165
The sight of the rose spurs Nephrite to his feet, swaying only slightly. "Four."

And then Jupiter is rushing in, her hands glowing like an avenging angel. He strides after her, gathering starlight in one hand, and releases another streak of it past her, aiming to at least throw him off balance while she charges in with the heavy guns. "You've got this, Thunderbird."
Michio Mori 2018-04-07 05:02:46 90166
    The difference between the tiger and dragon in mythology is control. Both have incredible power at their command, but the tiger's power is unwieldy and unfocused. It's the dragon that has perfect control over themselves and their power, and that's why the dragon would always reign supreme over the tiger.

    In this instance Sailor Jupiter is the dragon. Double Cross has an unbelievable amount of power at his disposal, but he has only just come into it and it isn't even his own. Even Nephrite with his pinpoint accurate starlight and Mamoru's fateful rose leaves Double Cross' ability to control his power wanting. It's hard to say who's angriest, but the sheer ferocity with which Jupiter comes at Double Cross makes her a strong contender. No fool, he tries to evade, but his trapping of Mamoru in this caved in tunnel leaves him little room, now finding himself trapped here with the Senshi of Thunder and no room to maneuver. Even worse than facing her alone is her backup, Nephrite's starlight catching him and the leg and forcing him to stumble, not having the same effect as when the rose protruded from his arm but doing the job, throwing off his balance and cornering him.

    Jupiter's fist connects with the side of his jaw and smashes him back to the sound of a thunderclap that resounds and rumbles through the tunnel as she unloads her focused power, shaking the earth and causing fresh debris to rattle free from the ceiling, tinkling against the roof of the train. Double Cross goes screaming back, flying through the opened doors of the traincar he himself removed, not even starting to recover before he's bounced through two of them.

    Then the sickening sound of metal on metal as he stabs his sword into the ground beneath him, Double Cross the sword slicing straight clean through the frame of the car, axels included, until he twists it sideways to allow friction to drag him to a stop, coming to a rest at the rear of a third car which promptly collapses inward under the stress, it's roof bowing upwards to another sheik of metal.

    Once more Double Cross stands after having been laid low by those who should, by his measure, be beneath him with this much raw energy at his disposal. Still he rages, but now that rage has gone icy cold, his sword clenched in his hand while his other hangs limp and useless at his side. The side of his face is now covered in an enormous welt and blood trickles out of the corner of his mouth, only to boil inky black once more and sizzle away into more raw energy. Even his breath now oozes with dark energy as he exhales through his nose, telling of the damage that must have been done to his mouth and nasal passages.

    Now it's his turn to charge at Sailor Jupiter, because just as he's trapped down here with her, she's also trapped with him. He charges similar to the way he did when he slashed at her before, only this time for some reason he's even faster, swinging once, twice, thrice and then stabbing straight for her chest with the tip of his blade, plant his feet and wheel about. His sword swings out away from him and he slashes with all his might, already expecting Jupiter to have dodged back, an enormous blade of raging black energy erupting from the tip and massively extending his reach. It slashes crossways through the entire traincar, the energy blasting through metal and rock alike, corrupting and frying everything it touches rather than cutting and leaving deep rents of wrongness along the tunnel roof and floor where it passes.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-07 05:34:25 90167
Mamoru used up the last of his everything pulling that solitary rose, now cut in half, its blossom and half its stem dropped to the floor of the train car that Double Cross just got blasted clean out of. He's more or less in the state, energywise, that he was all that long long time ago when he had less magical potential than your average citizen of Tokyo, and he went to check out Go club. Every second is a fight to stay awake. Nephrite says four.

Jupiter punches Double Cross out of the car while Nephrite starlight blasts his leg, and Mamoru whispers, "Three. Three."

There's the shrieking of metal, and his own energy all around and he daren't pull it back even with the stone of the tunnel touching the car, not after he got a taste of dark energy creeping up from where he tugged. He closes his eyes and focuses on breathing. "Eight."
Makoto Kino 2018-04-07 05:43:03 90168
She didn't honestly expect him to stay down. It would've been nice, though. Jupiter is waiting when Double Cross emerges from the wreckage of the train car, but the sheer ferocity of his assault very nearly catches her off-guard all the same. She has to dance back from the flurry of sword strikes--

--and then drops to a crouch, a few trailing strands of her ponytail sizzling into nothing in the wake of the massive blade of dark energy that sweeps just over her head. She knows Nephrite is behind her, ssaw the flash of starlight a moment ago, but there's no time to do more than hope he got out of the way himself; as metal and stone cleave and buckle in a cacophony behind her, Sailor Jupiter rolls forward under Double Cross's blade to surge back up in an uppercut aimed for his chin. "--Stay DOWN!"
Kazuo Takeba 2018-04-07 05:51:11 90169
That third car collapses inward, but there is only metal screaming. There are no people in it, aside from Double Cross himself. There is only darkness beyond it; there are more cars, undoubtedly, but they are invisible in the gloom.

And now --

Now there is another sword, in the darkness.

It is not black. (Not this time, at least.) It glows like sunrise clouds, a cooler pink shot through with gold -- with the same energy Double Cross is availing himself of his new and vast supply of, except this time still uncorrupt, still bright. It glows brightly enough to gleam off the pale grays of its wielder's uniform, so close to Nephrite's but colorless; the paler bone-white of his long straight hair.

Kunzite steps out from behind the black wall of his own shield, protecting that section of the train's bystanders as they try to press themselves still closer together, to put more space and perhaps a yet-mostly-undamaged car between themselves and the fight. He does not engage, just yet. He stays clear, giving the hands-on pair room to work, and waits to follow up should Jupiter send Double Cross flying again.

(He does not have the strength to engage and still maintain that shield, these days, not both at once, not reliably, not since what Miss White did to his soul gem. But there's no reason to let the enemy know that. Not when he can help back Jupiter's threat, instead.)
Nephrite 2018-04-07 06:08:50 90170
Nephrite drops to the ground to let the enormous slash pass over him -- falling seems to be what he's best at right now. He turns it into a roll, darting to the side to skirt around the wall of the train car. While Jupiter rushes in for the uppercut, he lunges for Double Cross's legs. A fist jabs at the back of his knee. "You heard the lady!"

A glint of pink and gold against inky darkness. For the first time since entering this tunnel, Nephrite breathes a sigh of relief. "Took your sweet time," he shouts. His voice is only a little husky.
Michio Mori 2018-04-07 06:23:40 90171
    Double Cross' blade is still swinging when Sailor Jupiter ducks and starts to roll beneath it and with her hand balled into a fist he recognizes exactly what she's doing. There's some chance, he thinks, of altering his swing and cleaving her straight in two for her impudence, but before he can even begin to correct it Nephrite's fist slams into the back of his knee and buckles it. Somewhere in the back of his mind is the voice that brought him to this place. 'This is over.'

    The Sailor Senshi's fist smashes into his clenched jaw and rocks his head backwards hard, the raw strength she brings to bear sending him rocketing upwards through the roof of the traincar and straight into the tunnel ceiling above, the dark energy user hitting hard enough to embed into the rock and cause spiderweb cracks to radiate away from him, only to melt away as the earth itself writhes, the result of his previously passing blade.

    Miraculously he still holds onto his sword like his life depends upon it, which in truth may be correct. Intellectually he knows Zenkaitenki is right, but another part of him refuses to acknowledge it, not when he has this utterly absurd well of energy to draw upon. It doesn't matter how much he hurts, how much his bones ache, how much he bleeds-- bleeding is even a net-benefit, in his case! That's when he sees the white haired man step up behind Nephrite, wearing a very similar uniform, doubtless another of the rose flinging young man's protectors, wielding a sword sheathed in energy of his own.

    'You'll lose. You couldn't win before, and you especially can't win now.'

    "...I know," the young man whispers, seemingly to no one.

    'They have the experience, and you do not yet know how to use your new power.'

    "No. That's where you're wrong. I know exactly what to do with it. I shouldn't even be wasting it here." His teeth clench, and again he's angry. In fact he's far angrier than he was before, but it isn't the magical heroes in front of him he's angry at. Michio Mori is angry at himself. This entire fight served little to no purpose. Mamoru was right, he should have ran. He has an enormous new pool of energy, but he needs that energy for something else, and that isn't satisfying his own anger.

    Perhaps paradoxically, this only leads to an even greater waste, but those that tap into wells of dark energy are not necessarily known for their patience and self control. The aura of inky blackness forms around him again, even still embedded in the roof of the tunnel as he is, the earth beginning to writhe around him. And he screams, screams out his anger and his rage, a single wordless vowel as all the blood he's bled churns and hisses away. This time the radiating darkness isn't even the most obvious tell, the dark energy around him building and focusing enough to be felt as a pressure of seething wrongness on everything around, even a tinge of his own inward focused anger seeping into it as emotion powers his outburst.

    The result is the least controlled and most blatantly powerful release so far, an enormous explosion of pure dark energy that erupts out from him in all directions. Perhaps mercifully most of it is actually directed upwards devastating the area above him all the way to the surface, but a not insignificant portion reflects off the stone and earth, setting the tunnel awash with corrupted energy unless something is done.

    When it's all over two things are immediately obvious; the entire tunnel is now alive with slimy, slithery walls, and Double Cross has vanished in the spectacle.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-04-07 06:52:27 90172
There is not a great deal of warning. But that's different from no warning. As Double Cross's aura intensifies, Kunzite makes a precise cut in the air with his brighter-glowing blade, fine-tuning the shift with a gesture of his free hand. And the wall of darkness behind him flows, curving out into an arc, sweeping just over the trio who preceded him into the tunnel, curving up on the far side of the shattered space -- moving to protect both his exhausted prince and the innocents on both sides of the destroyed car --

That's a large shield to manage, and even with the way the force of the explosion is distributed over the large space, the bubble of countering blackness can't withstand all of the explosion. It can reflect much of the darkness up into the stone again. Not good for the slimy and slithery part, but better than a hundred commuters being liquefied, or transmuted temporarily into youma by their mere proximity. Still. It can't reflect everything.

It can, however, make it far more easily survivable.

It's only in the black half-silence after, with the whispering of not-stone moving on not-stone, that Kunzite draws a breath and answers Nephrite. "What? You two had it handled."