Internal Screaming Ice Cream

It does, in fact, start in an ice cream parlour. The ice cream never stops. Neither does the internal screaming.

Date: 2018-04-21
Pose Count: 70
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-21 17:28:02 90386
"--the floor remind you of Naru?" Mamoru's asking Kyouko as he stands on line, obstinately waiting to get his rosewater-cardamom-pistachio ice cream cone; he has a really smirky look on his prettyboy face. He's also entirely too tall. He's also in pegged skinny jeans, argyle socks, fancy shoes, a Threadless(tm) t-shirt with a silhouetted girl-head-and-shoulders in profile with vines and flowers and lights and trees and city bits flowing from her head instead of hair, and has a pale purple cardigan draped over his shoulders. And glasses. So So hipster. So paying for Kyouko's order.

"Anyway before you hit me, I'm changing the subject; I might go to Paris to avoid the party instead of staying at your place. The further away the better."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-04-21 17:34:16 90388
    Kyouko stands next to Mamoru in the line. She is wearing a pair of loose-fit grey cargo pants and a white tanktop, with a sort-sleeve varsity-style jacket over it. The jacket is white and red and has a stylized red A on the breast, although she doesn't have it zipped up. Her order is three scoops of butter pecan ice-cream in a waffle cone which is about the size of a small child's head. She would protest Mamoru paying for it but she knows that won't stop him so she doesn't bother.

    She has opened her mouth to snap something at him when he interrupts her. Pausing, she says, in a much calmer tone than it appeared like she was just about to unleash, "Paris is nice. If you need someone ta go with you, I'll go. I ain't got much reason to be at that party anyway."
Miho Kagami 2018-04-21 17:40:59 90392
And behind them, a source of source of darkness in equal measure looms!

... Or more accurately, Miho Kagami walks in with that perpetual air of a newcomer, wearing a plain purple T-shirt, a black skirt, black buckled shoes, and an aura of general shyness. She perks up slightly when she sees Kyouko, though, but the fact that she's with a stranger kind of puts a damper on her enthusiasm.

She settles for giving an awkward wave once she's given the opportunity to catch Kyouko's eye, then just gets into the back of the line and starts pondering the menu.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-21 17:48:27 90396
"Naru figured I'd be going with Kazuo and Izumi. I don't want to steal you from your girlfriend," the tall tall tall boy tells Kyouko with arch amusement. "But it's not like Paris is hard to get to. We'd be going via Izumi's place." Wait, what?

He's standing sideways in line, and then they're up, and he catches the motion of Miho's wave at Kyouko from the corner of his eye-- and flashes her a quick, reserved little smile before starting their order and getting his wallet out. "Large cone, rosewater-cardamom-pistachio, two scoops, and whatever she wants, and whatever she wants too," he says to the boy behind the counter, gesturing back at Miho-- then giving her a come-here gesture like playing it off like she's part of their group and just late getting there.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-04-21 17:52:38 90398
    Kyouko shrugs her shoulders, not terribly put out. "I was just offerin'. Doesn't really matter to me, 'long as you got people goin' with you. Just I don't really even know this chick the party is for so I got no real reason to be there. But you're right, annoying Naru is not high on my list of things to do. Though honestly, she loves Paris, she might rather go." She snorts. "Maybe we'll go and then just go do our own thing once we get there."

    Kyouko actually hadn't even seen Miho's wave, which makes her blink a few times when Mamoru adds another 'she' to the order, turning her head to look back and only then catching sight of the reserved girl. Once she does, she raises a brow. "Oh, it's the chick from the park." She asides to Mamoru. "Naru and I met her on the way home the other day." Then to Miho, "'Sup, kid?" At which point she then gets around to telling the clerk her order.
Miho Kagami 2018-04-21 18:01:18 90400
Miho just barely manages to suppress a twinge of Vague Introvert Panic at that smile, so she completely fails to notice anything odd being talked about. She just takes a deep breath and walks over to the pair, managing a faint smile, and with her arms crossed with her left hand grasping her right in a way that would probably be ominous if anyone actually knew what it meant (Miho herself included).

"Hi, Sakura-san," she says awkwardly, her voice as scratchy and faintly androgynous as ever. "I'm doing okay, I guess. Who's your friend?" She peers at the menu, and something catches her eye! "Ooh! I'll have a waffle cone with one scoop of ginger, one scoop of coconut, and, and rainbow sprinkles." Whew!
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-21 18:05:20 90402
All these noted, Mamoru pays for the ice cream and then steps off to one side, nodding to Kyouko and making room for both her and Miho over where he is, waiting for the order. Since Miho looks so nervous, his first inclination is to smooth things over himself and try and make her feel welcome, but it's Kyouko she knows, so he just sort of stands there awkwardly and hopes Kyouko actually does an introduction and that it's not explosively weird somehow.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-04-21 18:12:48 90405
    Kyouko takes her ice cream cone and moves over to stand by Mamoru, digging her fangs into the sweet treat and taking a chunk out of the side while Miho makes her order and then steps over to join her. She's so used to Mamoru handling the talking, and so generally bad at talking herself (at least, talking good) that she looks genuinely startled and has a mouth full of ice cream when it becomes apparent that Mamoru actually isn't going to speak up for himself and that she has to do it.

    Hastily swallowing, she clears her throat and then says, in a bit of a rush. "Oh, this is Mamoru. He's my brother. I mean my boss. Sorta both? He's a prince but don't let that bother you, and don't be afraid of socks, I'm pretty sure they're not evil. Also he's like, totally rich so don't feel bad about letting him pay."
Miho Kagami 2018-04-21 18:20:35 90407
There's ... a pause. However, Miho has already experienced some of Kyouko's explosive weirdness, so even if she's not used to it, it was definitely at least expected. She gives Mamoru a somewhat stiff bow, but manages an actual genuine smile, or at least a knowing one. "Pleased to meet you," she says. Her tone of voice sounds like that of someone who's already experienced Kyouko's ... Kyoukoness, too.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-21 18:31:12 90413
The look of resigned uncomfortable social horror on Mamoru's face at Kyouko's introduction is pretty comical, actually; his return bow to Miho isn't stiff, per se, just still somewhat awkward. "Ah," he says to fill space, then rushes out a, "Chiba Mamoru, yes. I'm just a med student." He gets handed his ice cream over the counter and it's a relief because it's something to do with his hands while conversing. A shield.

Shield in place, he's able to study Miho's reaction a little better, and glances toward Kyouko, eyebrows up. And then there's a lightbulb. "I'm very sorry, I didn't catch your name? But all the same, it's a pleasure to meet you as well! You should come by the apartment sometime, it's a--" He lowers his voice. "It's magical Doctors Without Borders." His voice goes conversation volume again. "And there are always delicious baked goods. And quiet places."

Then there's a grumbly mutter before he fills his mouth with ice cream. "Unless there's a party going on, like there will be the Monday after this coming Monday."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-04-21 18:34:34 90414
    Kyouko scowls at Mamoru, seemingly able to sense his horror without him having to say anything. "You know what happens when you want me to talk, baka." She mutters in his direction, before glancing back to Miho. "That's what I meant. Med student. Totally nothing else. Except the rich part, so still don't feel bad about that."
Miho Kagami 2018-04-21 18:47:44 90417
Miho picks up her own ice cream. "Oh! Sorry, um, my name is Miho Kagami!" She then descends into a level of awkwardness which ... doesn't quite rival Mamoru's own, but it's noticeably in the same neighborhood, before righting herself as she takes a bite out of her ice cream. "Oh, wow, this is good!" she says hurriedly.

She manages to affect a more neutral expression as Mamoru talks about himself, which goes completely neutral when he briefly lowers her voice. She remains silent as Kyouko butts in, and there's a pause, which goes on just a little too long.

"So what was that you were saying about monsters the other day, Sakura-san?" she says finally.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-21 19:01:54 90423
"Wait," Mamoru blurts, "I thought you-- kuso. Sorry. Gods." Suddenly he's gripping Kyouko's sleeve in his ice-cream-free hand and pleading urgently, "Don't tell Kunzite? I feel like everything's liable to make him irritated right now. After the train thing. I just. I misread the--"

Ocean-blue eyes wide behind his glasses, he turns to Miho and holds his ice cream in front of him, suddenly wishing he'd gotten a cup because it's going to mellllt if he blushes any harder. "Maybe let's go outside and start walking? I mean. If you really want to know. You can say no. You can still say no."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-04-21 19:07:57 90424
    Kyouko responds blithely, "Oh, I was just sayin' there aren't nearly as many monster attacks in the park these days than there used to be." Then she pauses as Mamoru grips her arm. "What?" She looks genuinely mystified for a moment, then narrows her eyes, perhaps wondering if having some kind of dirt on Mamoru might be parlayed into more ice cream.

    Only when he makes an offer to talk while walking to Miho does she seem to understand the problem. She doesn't seem nearly as upset about it as Mamoru though- for her, the magical world is the only world and sometimes she forgets it isn't that way for everyone. "You don't have to explain anything if you don't wanna, Mamoru." She points out, taking another bite of her ice cream. "You ain't obligated just because somebody asks." She adds to Miho, "No offense or anything. It's my job to make sure he doesn't put himself at risk, is all."
Miho Kagami 2018-04-21 19:17:32 90427
"I, uh ..." Miho actually takes Mamoru's comment seriously, and considers this for a moment. She subconsciously transfers her ice cream to her left hand so that she can grasp her left arm with her right again ...

(The Death Curse is putting in an effort, but to its slight surprise, Miho isn't actually scared or worried, so it doesn't have any cracks it can even attack through, and it is completely held in check by the life blessing.)

... but then immediately drops it. "If it helps, I really can't say no, I don't think," she says. "Anyway, Sakura-san, you just pretty much said half of it yourself, I think."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-21 19:32:27 90432
"No I just-- it's my fault, so," starts Mamoru, looking jittery, "so even if you say I'm not, you know I feel like I am." He shakes out one ice cream hand, then licks around the bottom because it really is starting to get soft, then shuts his eyes. "Not having a choice doesn't make anything better, Kagami-san. Let's go outside."

He starts walking, goes out the door. It's not until they're on the sidewalk and can notice if anyone starts following them or watching them that he speaks again, and it's to ask between ice-cream maintenance, "What do you mean, you can't say no?"
Kyouko Sakura 2018-04-21 19:37:13 90433
    "I what?" Kyouko says to Miho, looking mildly dismayed. "No I didn't. I was just sayin' about the-" She pauses, considering her words. "Ah shit."

    Sighing, she turns to Mamoru. "I know how you feel," Kyouko says to Mamoru, truthfully, "But what you feel and what's actually true ain't always the same thing. That's all. But I ain't gonna stop you.. just making sure you know you ain't trapped even if you feel like you are." She puts her hand on his arm for just a moment, then takes it away again before following him outside.

    Mamoru does't have to worry too much aout keeping watch- he can talk. Kyouko has the keeping watch part handled. If her ears were capable, you can bet they'd be perked, and she keeps a careful eye on the people nearby on the street even as she strolls along chomping on the remains of her ice cream cone.
Miho Kagami 2018-04-21 19:40:53 90434
Miho blinks, and giggles nervously at Kyouko's brief expletive. She wordlessly follows them both out, making sure to put some effort into her ice cream, which clearly deserves some of her attention.

"Oh ... I, uh, mostly just meant I'm curious now," she says to Mamoru's question. "I, I didn't mean literally, it's just ..." She shrugs, floundering for words, and eventually just sighs. "So, uh ... monsters, huh. And you guys fight them using magic?" She doesn't sound remotely shocked or unbelieving.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-21 19:47:27 90435
That is some massive relief-- both at the contact and explanation from Kyouko, which make him relax ever so slightly, and at Miho's clarification. Mamoru's shoulders un-tense, and he focuses on his ice cream while Miho starts asking her questions. "Well--" he says, able to sound contemplative now instead of stressed and awkward, "you've seen the Sailor Senshi urban legends and stuff, right? And you know about the Sailor V videogames and movies, and crimefighting stuff in the papers a few years ago? The urban legends are true, and the crimefighting wasn't generally human criminals."

A beat, and he finally finally relaxes enough to smile again, even if it's sidelong and lopsided; it comes with twinkling in his eyes, but that could just be light reflecting off his glasses. "And the tuxedo-wearing masked gentleman thief from around the same time never actually stole anything, and yes, he is dating Sailor Moon. But--" Serious again. "There's not just Sailor Senshi, and there are all kinds of monsters."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-04-21 19:52:37 90437
    "We fight anybody who needs to be fought." Kyouko says, rather grimly. "Not all monsters look big and scary on the outside." She has always had a rather pragmatic approach to the whole 'hero' thing. Then again, that's probably why Kunzite is so fond of her.

    Beyond this comment though, she doesn't interrupt Mamoru's explanation, just keeps walking along and eating her ice cream while keeping an eye out.
Miho Kagami 2018-04-21 19:59:05 90443
Miho listens, thoughtfully eating her ice cream. "I've only been in Tokyo for a week and a half, I've only heard about, about some of those," she says. "But, um, yeah." She looks at Mamoru sidelong, crunching into a bit of her cone. Well, she supposes dressing absolutely atrociously is an excellent cover for a dashing-and-handsome gentleman not-thief.

She chortles slightly at Kyouko's interjection. "Yeah," she says. "I just ... never thought that might be literal monsters. Though I haven't met any of either kind, as far as I know ..."

Some detail is poking at her subconscious, some faint "idea" that isn't quite fitting together in her mind, but she isn't quite sure what it is.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-21 20:21:15 90447
He's unfortunately pretty enough to be able to make clothes like these actually work on a daily basis, though it's usually only days he actually has classes to attend or events to go to-- but Mamoru is, in fact, a rich stylish hipster, which means he wears clothes that a lot of people go 'are you f'ing kidding me' at. It's a terribly sad story, really.

"Yeah... it's a good idea to avoid monsters, generally. And to avoid getting in fights with them if you have no magic, or no magic and no backup and not even any flashbangs," he says, then glances aside to Kyouko. "Should I start carrying flashbangs, you think?"
Kyouko Sakura 2018-04-21 20:26:32 90448
    Even Kyouko thinks Mamoru is pretty, and she's not even interested in dudes. Though since he's also her brother (at lest, adoptive) she's not about to go and tell him that.

    "Definitely avoid monsters if you can." Kyouko says. "The problem is that it ain't always so easy. But if you haven't run into any so far, you're probably fine." She shrugs. "For some reason, sometimes they get a 'taste' for people and then you can't seem to stop running into them."

    To Mamoru, she says, "Maybe. Or like, bear spray. But for monsters."
Miho Kagami 2018-04-21 20:32:06 90449
Miho nods slowly. "Got it," she says, somewhat nervously. "I mean ... don't have to tell me twice." She grasps her left elbow as she takes another bite from her ice cream.

And then it clicks with her as she gets a poke from her common sense, which she's starting to think has been a bit slow on the uptake lately. She frowns. "I just realized I'm not actually, um, surprised by any of this," she says. "Like ... it ... you guys are just telling me that monsters and magic exist, and I'm just ... accepting it. Somehow. Like a part of me is just saying 'oh, that makes sense'." She subconsciously gives her left elbow a squeeze.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-21 20:39:05 90450
Mamoru's finally noticed Miho's attention to her elbow, and first tells Kyouko, "Both. Both is good," then starts to reach for Miho's elbow reflexively and ask a question, but then lets his hand fall and has another big mouthful of ice cream to drown his sudden bad mood before speaking again.

Then, "Sorry. You look like you've hurt your elbow, the way you keep squeezing it. And normally I can heal people. I would have asked first," he says, biting off a sigh and not looking at her. "That could just mean you have an open mind. Or it could mean you're youma-bait, like me." His lips compress. "Kyou, do you have any ECFH cards on you? She should be able to call for help. Probably going to need it."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-04-21 20:43:53 90451
    "'Course I do, boss." Kyouko says smoothly, licking the last bits of ice cream from her fingers before reaching into the inner pocket of her jacket. She pulls out a business card- it has the address and phone number of Mamoru's apartment on it, and says EFCH. She presents it to Miho with a flourish. "There ya go, kid. Hopefully you never need it, but, never hurts to be safe I s'ppose."

    Then she subtly rests a hand on Mamoru's arm again to help quell his bad mood about not being able to heal. She'd normally put her hand on his shoulder, where he anybody else, but he's just too damn tall to do that without it being super awkward so he'll just have to deal.
Miho Kagami 2018-04-21 20:45:55 90452
Miho blinks. "Huh?" She glances down at her arm. "Um ... I dunno. It feels fine to me ..." She sounds genuinely confused, but she accepts the card. "... I'll put that one with Sora's," she mutters. "Um, what does 'ECFH' stand for? And what's ... is 'youma' some particular term I should know about?" She laughs nervously. "Wow I have too many questions ..."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-21 21:04:26 90453
Mamoru switches his ice cream to his other hand while he's licking it so he can put his hand over Kyouko's hand on his arm: so appreciated. "I'm glad," he tells Miho solemnly, "that it doesn't hurt. Youma is just what we call a lot of the monsters. There's a bunch of kinds." Then he coughs in faint embarrassment. "ECFH is... an acronym for the nickname that stuck, which someone called my apartment when most of my guardians started moving in. It, uh. It stands for Earth Court Frat House. But only one area is a pit and nobody goes in there except the guy who lives in it? There are guest rooms for emergencies and hangovers, and we do have another healer, one whose healing actually works, and almost everyone who lives there can teleport, so we can do emergency evac if you get really hurt, too."

There's a pause, and he blinks. "Wait, did you say Sora? Sora Hisakata?"
Kyouko Sakura 2018-04-21 21:08:26 90454
    "Mamoru lives with like four other guys up there." Kyouko explains to Miho, after taking her hand off of Mamoru's arm a moment later. "My nii-chans. They're all kind of asses, but in a good way. Anyway, don't let that intimidate you though- it's a huge penthouse suit and the main living area is sort of a.. common hangout place for people like us." Her gesture includes herself and Mamoru. "It's also sort of a command center? But you can see why people'd call it a Frat House. Buncha young dudes live there."

    She falls silent when he brings up Sora, looking at him curiously.
Miho Kagami 2018-04-21 21:13:16 90455
Miho nods. "Oh, I see," she says at the explanation for the acronym, glancing at Kyouko as if expecting it to be partly her fault, but finds herself actually satisfied by Kyouko's elaboration.

"Oh, uh, yeah," she says to Mamoru's question. "I met her a couple days after I moved here ... and her friend Maria, um, Hanazawa. And Sora gave me her card." (She has not actually contacted Sora yet.)
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-21 21:23:00 90456
"Oh, cool. Well, she's the reason there's gonna be a party there and most of the people who'd be able to help will be out of town," says Mamoru, then glances toward Kyouko. "I'm trying to get Saburo to cover the party in disguise. If Naru doesn't want to go out of town and feels obligated to go, hell, maybe he'll even illusion himself to look like you. Which would be hilarious, considering your me-disguise..."
Sora Hisakata 2018-04-21 21:26:12 90457
A shadow moves across the sky. Yes, shadows don't work that way, but the shadows made by certain shadow witch do; it's a bird of some kind, but its shape is vague and unstable, the magic that made it no longer helps sustain it, and it is hungry. It circle above just long enough for it to spot Mamoru, a juicy seeming target full of magic to replenish its strength.

Unfortunately, it had not been aware of the witch on its trail. As soon as it dives the witch lands on a nearby roof and sends a gust of wave to force it off course, smacking into the ground rather than Mamoru, and then another gust of wind keeps it in place. Kazeko lands next to it, and holds up a book, leatherbound and wrapped in silver chains that end in a crucifix. She hurriedly recites an incantation, dissipating the spell that binds the shadow into a familiar.

Only then does she turn around, "Chiba-san. Sakura-san." Blink, she suddenly recognizes Miho, "Who's your friend?"
Kyouko Sakura 2018-04-21 21:30:26 90458
    Kyouko scowls faintly at Mamoru. "I'm not sure I like the idea of Saburo pretending to be me with Naru.." She starts to say.. when she's suddenly interrupted by her danger-senses going off. Kyouko's instincts are second-to-none, and before her conscious mind is even entirely aware of what's happened, she's spun around to look up into the sky, a blinding flash of crimson light enveloping her and clearing a moment later to reveal Apatite in her Shitennou uniform, spear in hand and levelled at the spot on the road..

    Where the familiar had already been dealt with, rather summarily, by Kazeko. Apatite holds her place for a moment, eyeing Kazeko and the spot where the familiar had been.

    She glances around.. then dismisses her hanshin with another flash, returning to her street clothes. "Hmph. Don't scare me like that."
Miho Kagami 2018-04-21 21:35:49 90459
Miho hesitates. "So, they're magical too, huh," she murmurs, just letting Kyouko and Mamoru discuss the details of the party, which she assumes doesn't concern her. And probably even if Sora does invite her; even without whatever the two are taking about, it sounds like things will get too hot to handle.

... and then she jumps in surprise, nearly dropping her ice cream at Kyouko's sudden transformation and then the sudden witch! When the witch actually focuses her attention on Miho, Miho just ... nervously sidesteps so that she's standing behind Kyouko.

Well, so much for the lingering doubts she had about whether all this was real ...
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-21 21:39:49 90461
Mamoru doesn't have a lot of time to react, so it's a good thing he doesn't really need to-- but when it starts diving, he notices Kyouko starting to react and he doesn't even look, he starts moving, heart in his mouth. Moving in this case consists of 'trying to make a grab for Miho and run like hell'.

But it's already over, and his heart's beating again (way too hard as the adrenaline crashes).

Somehow he's still holding his ice cream.

It makes him flinch too because it finally starts melting onto his hand.

"God damn," he says heatedly.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-04-21 21:40:07 90462
Shadows don't work that way. Shadows also don't go from being more normal shadows to being a writhing darkness shot through with off-color energy, which then resolve into a tall, ghost-pale figure in a uniform resembling Kyouko's. So clearly none of this is actually happening to Miho. Right?

A lingering breath, and like Apatite returning to being Kyouko, the new arrival is simply quietly no longer wearing a uniform. Jeans, check. A white shirt with sleeves rolled up, check. A metal watch or watch-simulating smartphone gadget, a heavy gold-tone ring, silvered earrings sharp at all points, check. And as he steps out of the (yes, normal again) shadows to approach as casually as if he'd just been heading for ice cream or something himself ... six inches taller than the already-tall Mamoru: also check. "Everything handled?" he says to Kyouko.
Sora Hisakata 2018-04-21 21:49:08 90463
"And Takeba-san. Guys, you're overreacting a little, it's just a shadow witch's familiar. I can handle that on my own" Kazeko says in the tone of 'this is basic stuff' combined with 'I can handle myself in a fight, ok' She sighs and relaxes a little, floating (not walking) towards the wall so she can lean against it, "And you didn't answer my question. Who's your friend?"
Kyouko Sakura 2018-04-21 21:53:32 90464
    Kyouko glances back to make sure that Mamoru and Miho are okay, and once figuring out that they seem to be she glances over towards the approaching Kunzite, showing no sign of surprise to see him appear so suddenly out of the shadows. "All handled." She confirms. "Not by me, though." She makes a vague gesture towards Kazeko. To the witch, she says, "I'm sure that's true, but it's kinda our job to protect him." She jerks a thumb towards Mamoru. "If we just assumed it would be fine every time, we wouldn't be doing a very good job, would we? No disrespect meant to your abilities."

    She pauses then, as her phone beeps. Pulling it out of her pocket, she glances at it. "Bah. I gotta go take care of something for Naru. Mind tagging out with me for a bit, nii-chan?" This last directed at Kunzite. Assuming he agrees, she then says, "This is where I parked my bike, anyway."

    So saying, she walks over to a nearby motorcycle parked by the sidewalk- a red and white and black Yamaha. Pulling the helmet off of the back, she smiles. "See you guys in a bit. And nice chattin' with you again, Miho."

    Then she puts the helmet on, starts the bike up, and drives away down the road at possibly reckless speeds.
Miho Kagami 2018-04-21 21:55:27 90465
Miho looks from the witch to the new guy, looking bewildered and with her heart thumping in her ears. And, yep, her right hand has gone right back to grasping her left arm. Just to be sure, she pinches her elbow hard. "Ow! O ... kay ..." Her voice sounds even lower and scratchier than usual, and she immediately just clams up. She starts settling down when the witch settles down as well; she doesn't even move to hide behind Mamoru as Kyouko leaves. She gives a single, unenthusiastic lick to her ice cream.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-21 22:21:22 90468
Conversely, Mamoru's licking of his hand and his ice cream is almost sulkily enthusiastic, and he's silent all through the talk about potentially overreacting, and he straightens his glasses, and he adjusts the bling he's got on his wrist that matches Kyouko's and the Even Taller Guy's, and finally he answers Kazeko, "Miho Kagami. Kagami-san, this is Cute Witch Kazeko, and this is Kazuo Takeba. And no, not all my friends are magic, and not even everyone who comes to the ECFH is, so don't automatically assume people are unless they tell you so or they're literally flying or something..."

And more melting. And Kazuo's out of henshin, so he can't fix it, and Mamoru is too old to look this aggrieved over melting ice cream, so it's probably something else making him sound so cranky. But that's what he picks to complain about. "My ice cream is melting," he accuses Kazuo fiercely.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-04-21 22:36:53 90471
"Given some of the things going on lately, we're underreacting, I assure you," Kazuo says blandly to Kazeko. "Since whatever it was was gone before I could get here, though -- well done in any case."

He doesn't actually explicitly agree to Kyouko. He merely turns to give Miho a polite bow, and straighten again. Bone-white hair falls just as straight past his shoulders as it started out. "A pleasure to meet you, Kagami-san. My apologies if my arrival startled you."

... and then Mamoru is, apparently, blaming Kazuo personally for melting ice cream. Kazuo glances at Mamoru; pale eyebrows twitch upward. "Do you want me to fix it for you?" he says in the same unremarkable non-tone he used with Kazeko.
Sora Hisakata 2018-04-21 22:45:01 90473
"Princes." Kazeko says in an exasparated tone when Mamoru complains about his melting ice cream, "I would have thought the Eternal Prince of Earth would know how physics work. Perhaps I'm having too high expectations, though." Her tone there is completely deadpan and she bows to Miho, "It's nice to meet you, Kagami-san." She turns to Kazuo, "It was one of the Shadow Witch's familiars. I've been taking care of them whenever I see them."
Miho Kagami 2018-04-21 22:50:32 90474
"Sorry," mumbles Miho in response to Mamoru's vague reprimand. ... And then he starts loudly complaining to Kazuo about the melting ice cream, and she lets out a giggle. At least for Miho, the nervewracking and mildly terrified ice has broken. (The Death Curse once again finds the metaphorical door slammed in its face.) She gives her similarly-melty ice cream another lick, followed by a sort of sip; one of the advantages of getting ginger and coconut is the way the flavors combine as they start to melt together. Then she takes a deep breath and exhales slowly.

"It's, um, don't worry about it," she says to Kazuo. "I, uh, just ... learned about all the magic stuff recently, and Chiba-san and Sakura-san were explaining things to me." She decides not to tell them that 'recently' was 'during that same conversation when they revealed it accidentally'; apart from anything else, Mamoru is clearly causing himself enough embarrassment. "I just, um, wasn't expecting this kind of, um, excitement so soon."

She bows awkwardly to Kazeko, in a manner which is probably familiar to those who know Mamoru, trying to fight back the sudden surge of 'whoops I'm gay'. "Um, pl ... pleased to meet you too," she stammers. She hesitates. "Are all, um, fights with monsters this ... um ... abrupt?"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-21 23:14:20 90505
Mamoru's silent for a moment, stuck pondering this while he forgets to glare because he's thinking at the same time as absently still looking at Kazuo, and his ice cream drips again. Then he remembers what kind of ice cream it is, and what Kunzite's out-of-henshin 'solution' to the problem is likely to be, and he takes one more determined and defiant lick before he demands, "Yes!"

And then he glances back over his shoulder at Kazeko and eyes her. "There's physics and then there's adding insult to injury," he tells her firmly, at this point clearly putting on a show. "And the universe has been conspiring against me! At least I don't have o-chem 2 this semester, I managed to put it off."

Quick glance at Miho, and he's about to answer her question, but then Mamoru's eyes crinkle at the corners because oh my yes he sure knows that particular fight and that particular bow, all lack of psychic empathy aside. He's still got regular solid peoplewatching and pattern recognition skills built up over half a life of Forever Alone.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-04-21 23:24:52 90507
Kazuo, since Mamoru has been so kind as to look over his shoulder and leave the ice cream unguarded, reaches and takes the problem cone out of Mamoru's hands. "Eat the next one faster," he tells Mamoru, and shields the cone with his free hand and arm against reclamation attempts. "I don't know why you expect anyone in this city to know how physics work normally, Kazeko, the way the last few years have gone." Miho's question is all Kazeko's to field, though. Mamoru didn't touch it. Kazuo is troubled by social obliviousness in the area, but he can at least catch Mamoru not touching it.

Besides. There's stolen ice cream to attempt to consume.
Sora Hisakata 2018-04-21 23:48:01 90513
"Depends on the monster. The Shadow Witch has been taken care of, but she made a lot of familiars. Quantity over quality kind of thing, so they're only scary in numbers. They don't have the numbers anymore. There's other monsters that are a lot tougher, or that you're more likely to encounter in large numbers." Kazeko answers Miho's question frankly, eyeing the awkward bow and coughing. "I am in a committed relationship, just so you know."

"You have enough friends that if the universe conspires against you, the universe will end up begging for forgiveness real soon." She tells Mamoru with a complete lack of sympathy, and she eyes the shenanigans between Kazuo and Mamoru, and immediately lifts a finger to tug on the stolen ice cream with her wind.
Miho Kagami 2018-04-21 23:55:08 90514
Miho manages to nod along with Kazeko's explanation. Well ... that's definitely not good news in general, but at least that particular type of monster seems to be well in hand.

The comment about being in a relationship, however, causes Miho to simply wilt. "Oh. Uh. Sorry," she mumbles. She awkwardly turns her attention onto Mamoru and Kazuo's shenanigans instead, and tries to focus on the remains of her own ice cream. Mmm, melty ice cream, definitely not a random spontaneous crush that got snapped in half, nuh-uh!

She does manage to take note of Kazeko's confidence in Mamoru's friends, though. Good to know the good guys are in pretty good shape in general ...
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-21 23:59:20 90515
WOW KAZEKO WAY TO CRUSH A YOUNG GIRL'S DREAMS NOT EVEN GENTLY; Mamoru's too busy swallowing looking shocked to initially notice that Kazuo's stolen his ice cream, and then he's starting to turn around because he did notice, and then the wind starts tugging on the ice cream. "No it's okay I got his favorite kind and made sure I licked it all over so even if he showed up and stole it there would be--!" he blurts out, waving his hands at Kazeko to stop, and then looking wide-eyed at Miho like oops. "Uh. Second-hand... um..."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-04-22 00:08:12 90516
Kazuo was prepared to defend the ice cream, for some reason, but wind is slightly harder to fend off than Mamoru's handwaving is. "This," he says to Kazeko, hanging on to the cone and keeping it close to his body, "is fairly stolen ice cream. Consent obtained in advance and all." That white shirt is probably doomed if the wind picks up at all, granted, and that may also be part of the fun. Second-hand what? Second-hand Kazuo is pretending Mamoru didn't say anything. REALLY HARD. Ahem. Miho has time bought to recover by way of silliness.
Sora Hisakata 2018-04-22 00:13:47 90517
"Yeah, yeah." Sora's winds pick up speed, divesting the ice cream from the cone and heading straight for Kazuo's face while he objects. "Open wide." The more he resists, the messier it's likely to get. She's doing this to have fun, and Miho's response to her comment gives her pause. "I just didn't want to lead you on or anything. My girlfriend wouldn't approve." There, reinserting just a tiny bit of hope, maybe.
Miho Kagami 2018-04-22 00:19:01 90518
Miho just ... watches these shenanigans going on. She wants to feel awkward for Mamoru, but she can't stifle a slight giggle as the situation gets more and more out-of-control. She takes a bite out of her waffle cone; at least she's getting to finish her ice cream.

Kazeko brings her slightly back to reality, or whatever counts for reality now that she's had an explanation of magic. "Oh, um, th-that's all right," she says awkwardly. "I, I understand."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-22 00:23:41 90519
"Kazeko no!" Mamoru actually actively pleads, holding up his hands like stop stop staaaahp. "Please! I mean would your girlfriend approve of you flirting with my boyfriend?"

Wait. This is his idea of flirting? Wait. His boyfriend? Miho it's okay really! See? Maybe there are some ways in which the goodguys are in good shape, but 'social ability' is apparently not one of those ways.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-04-22 00:34:22 90520
There is approximately a tenth of a second in which Kazuo gets to start looking resigned. He does not, in fact, open wide. Therefore: there shall be mess. Particularly since his reaction is to bring the cone up along with the winds, half-catching the escaping ice cream against his face and mashing it partway down into its once and maybe-future receptable. That plus making him temporarily look just a little like some kind of windblown-silver-hair-haloed Lovecraftian monster, except with bonus candy colors. (Only just a little. For it to be more than a little, the question of 'is it squamous or rugose?' has to has an answer that is not 'no.')
Sora Hisakata 2018-04-22 00:38:39 90521
"For you it might be flirting, for me it's just shenanigans." Kazeko answers Mamoru with a giggle, "Besides. I don't think Kazuo-san is capable of ever thinking of you as anything closer than his favourite little brother." Then suddenly she pauses and her gaze goes serious as she gazes off in an entirely different direction. "I'm sorry. I have to go. It was nice to meet you, Kagami-san." And without further delay, she leaps into the air and flies off, a gust of wind trailing behind her as she does so.
Miho Kagami 2018-04-22 00:45:01 90522
Miho is now trying to stifle her giggles using her ice cream cone, with mixed results. She manages not to choke, at any rate, and swallows the rest of it without incident.

She blinks as Kazeko takes off. "Oh, um, goodbye!" she says. This time, a perfectly normal explanation immediately presents itself: that Kazeko must have detected another of the Shadow Witch's familiars or some such. There are other monsters, after all.

Her common sense cannot believe that that is now what constitutes a "perfectly normal explanation", but whatever.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-22 00:53:11 90523
"Note to self," Mamoru says surprisingly bitterly, "don't play in front of Kazeko anymore." He fishes in his pockets for the napkins he jammed in there earlier, and comes up with them, but wow sticky. If they were at home, there'd be hilarious ways to deal with that, but they're not, so he just trails over to Kazuo apologetically with the bulk of the napkins in one hand and one in his other. He reaches up with that one to attempt to start cleaning Kazuo's face. "Sorry I don't have a water bottle," he frets. "It's okay if we go home. Sorry, Kagami-san."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-04-22 00:59:29 90524
It is, at last, safe (sort of) for Kazuo to take the cone away from his face. Which he does not do until after he has stifled a very small choked sound at Kazeko's estimation of him. Cone is switched into the ringless hand, and he folds the other one over Mamoru's napkin-wielding one for a moment. "Water," he says, "is a lack that's easily repaired. May I have a couple of those?"

He glances over at Miho after a moment, and adds, with the same deadpan solemnity that is completely and hilariously out of place in the Sticky Mess of Sugar, "Are you feeling any better, Kagami-san?"
Miho Kagami 2018-04-22 01:07:29 90525
Miho lets out a nervous laugh. "Um. Don't worry about it," she says. "And, um, yes ... Takeba-san." Hooray, she managed to remember his name! "This afternoon has just been ... three different kinds of unbelievable, ahaha ..." She smiles weakly and shrugs. "Um. Any suggestions for ... for what to tell my parents if I need to come to, to the ECFH? I'm, uh, not used to being dishonest with them ..."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-22 01:15:21 90526
Hand stilled, Mamoru relaxes slightly and holds out the other hand's wad of napkins with a small nod. And then he half-turns to look at Miho again, apologetically at first, but then with a little more relief as she asks a question he's more than capable of answering. "Sure, just tell them you got invited to join a study group. I mean, it's not wrong. You should join our study group." He and Kazuo are obviously college-aged. What is this nonsense. "Most of our friends are in high school and middle school."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-04-22 01:31:36 90527
Kazuo lets go of Mamoru's hand, perforce, to take napkins, and manages to get most of the mess off of his face while Mamoru's talking. Enough of it that he can pay attention to keeping the squashed and battered ice cream from melting off the cone over his hand for a moment or two. "And there's a good deal of tutoring traded around," he says. "Math and history seem to be the common problem areas. There's quite some interest in cooking, though alas that rarely wins one a better grade or exam score. Some in art. Are there any subjects you could use help in, or particularly want to pursue?"
Miho Kagami 2018-04-22 01:39:05 90528
Miho nods to Mamoru. "Yeah, that'll probably work," she says softly. She still doesn't seem quite comfortable with the idea of hiding it from her parents, but she does understand the need for hiding things about yourself in general, and Kyouko certainly made herself an example of what not to do. "Um ... I can't really think of any specific problem areas off the top of my head, but, um, I still feel like I've been lagging behind in general, since I sort of just moved here and I went to a different school before, so ... general stuff could be it, maybe."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-22 01:40:27 90529
It's while Kazuo's talking that Mamoru has a go at biting off both some of the remaining squashed ice cream and a chunk of the side of the waffle cone.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-04-22 01:44:25 90530
"We can probably manage to cover the gaps," Kazuo says to Miho. "May I ask what school you attend? If we know someone who's been there, we may be able to get an idea of the --"


Kazuo eyes Mamoru. "That is not magically less melted," he points out, but makes no attempt to actually dissuade him.
Miho Kagami 2018-04-22 01:48:28 90531
Miho nods. "I'm at Seishou," she says. "Middle school, I met Sora and Maria at lunch."

She just ... looks at Mamoru. "Good grief ..."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-22 01:50:37 90532
"But it's more delicious now because it's not mine anymore," Mamoru says firmly, "and it's not melting on me."

He glances defensively at Miho. "Kazeko's not here anymore!" he protests, then eyes Kazuo sidelong and reaches up to poke the side of his face with one finger. "You're sticky. Water. You said it was easily remedied but I don't see any water anywhere."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-04-22 01:56:40 90533
"That would require us to actually move," Kazuo points out to Mamoru. Then gives a brief, sharp nod to Miho, pretending that the facepoking does not exist. (Which probably just makes it funnier.) "There are a few of us with a decent grasp of Seishou's curriculum. So we can in fact help." Cover story, meet actual story.
Miho Kagami 2018-04-22 02:02:13 90534
Miho shoots Mamoru a wry smile. "I can still decide that this is ridiculous on my own." She shakes her head and focuses back on Kazuo. "Okay, um, yeah, I guess this'll work, I'll ... um ... probably get in touch soon." She's a bit worried about the fact that she hasn't been able to bring herself to get in touch with Sora, but this seems just different enough that maybe it'll turn out better. "I'll, I'll see you guys around, then?"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-22 02:09:02 90535
Well, the boys' number is also specifically designed for 'if you are in trouble call this' and knowing this city, that is an eventuality rather than an 'if'. "Pff," Mamoru says regarding 'ridiculous'. But he grins a little. "You can call or drop in any time you want, it's the top floor of--" he turns and points, "--that building. The highrise sort of between those other two. I think the address is on the card, anyway, and you can call if you need directions. You can also call for emergency rescue or defense if you're being attacked. You can also text if the phone is anxiety-making, and then I can text you back with the next study group date."

Then he links his arm through Kazuo's and starts to tug in that direction. "Come on, old man who obviously can't think of me as anything but a favorite little brother, I'll walk you across all the streets until we get home."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-04-22 02:13:15 90536
Kazuo bows gravely to Miho yet again ... which means that Mamoru has an even easier time snagging his arm. He doesn't spell out that they still know people at Seishou they can ask to check up on Miho if they need to. There's helpfulness, and then there's stalking, and for some reason people get unnerved when he points out which one he's good at.

... annnnd then there's tugging. "I see you've mistaken the ice cream for a fashion statement," he says to Mamoru in the same bland tone he used to signal the theft in the first place. But he follows along anyway. Without tipping the cone down the back of Mamoru's shirt or anything. yet.
Miho Kagami 2018-04-22 02:15:54 90537
Miho gives a little wave as the two leave, managing a faint smile until they're ... well, a little ways down the road and not paying her any attention.

And then she leans heavily against the wall of the nearest building, her left arm grasped by her right. "Wow ... That was ... something."