Nobody Got Punched

Homura and Kyouko have a chat after Homura's return.

Date: 2018-04-27
Pose Count: 23
Kyouko Sakura 2018-04-27 16:35:23 90852
    It's later in the evening. The sun is setting, but hasn't fully set yet, the orange-red orb hanging low between the tall buildings of downtown Tokyo. Atop the roof of the ECFH, the gardens have started to bloom. It isn't a full bloom yet, but the grass is green, the trees have buds or small leaves, and some of the flowers are showing color. Amidst this, on a patch of green grass, a little faux-lawn, Kyouko is working out.

    She has her regular weekly training sessions with Mako-chan at the gym, but sometimes she just wants to get her heart-rate up, to work off some steam, and this is one of her favorite places to do so. It's (relatively) private, quiet, and open. She's wearing a workout top and leggings, and in place of a spear, she has a long wooden pole of approximately the same size as her weapon, in its default state. It whirls around her in a blurr as she moves through a series of forms and excercises.

    Kyouko has no formal training, is a student of no martial art except for 'life'. But there's an economy to her motion, a machine-like efficiency that speaks of the fact that her regular training with Mako-chan, with Kunzite and others over the past few years have had an effect. There's no magic involved, not in this. Just accumulated experience and a desire to get better. A knowledge that she has to get better. Has to be better.

    A final strike with the pole, and she freezes for a moment, then lets out a long breath, twirling it back to rest against her shoulder and looping one arm over it as she relaxes, reaching up to wipe sweat from her forehead with the sweatband wrapped around her opposite wrist.
Homura Akemi 2018-04-27 16:50:52 90854
    It has been a very long day for Homura, and she didn't get that much sleep last night. Going home with Madoka to find a much older cat and a desperate bawling mother did very little to calm her nerves. Madoka had to go back to her own family, and Homura's attempts to sleep alone resulted in a few hours of 'actually I'm just going to stare at the ceiling for a few hours straight'.

    Homura has had worse days, but she's had a lot of better ones, too. At least she was able to shower and clean off all the salt water.

    Lost in thought, and unsure if she wishes to visit Madoka and face the potential wrath of Junko Kaname right this instant, Homura instead wanders the city. She's not hunting, just... thinking. Walking and thinking and taking in fresh air. It's been a long time since she's ever had to go anywhere alone, and she isn't quite sure what to do with herself.

    Her eyes are drawn towards Mamoru's apartment as she passes by, and she pauses to consider. A visit to the rooftop, at least, wouldn't be that bad right? A quick duck into an alleyway, a quick henshin, a few rapid jumps to scale the building from balcony to balcony, and soon she's landing on the roof to find...

    The slightly older and somewhat different-looking Kyouko.

    She might never get used to seeing a Kyouko who made it past 15.

    Homura dehenshins, wearing a black sweater with a white skirt. She watches for a moment as Kyouko exercises, noticing just how far she's come in a year. Homura can't say she's surprised. She tucks her hands into the front pockets of her sweater and walks a little bit closer to the red-haired Puella, not getting nearly close enough to interfere. She remembers this kind of exercise from her time working at WPS.


    Yeah, that's all she says, before her eyes find something else to look at. A plant perhaps.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-04-27 17:06:06 90855
    Kyouko is going to be 17 in less than two weeks. If you had told her even as recently as two years back that she'd live to see that age, she might have laughed at you. She's aware of Homura as soon as the other girl leaps onto the rooftop, of course. One thing that certainly hasn't changed is Kyouko's near sixth-sense when it comes to sensing danger. A relic of her time on the streets, when everyone was an enemy. Homura isn't an enemy, at least right now- but that doesn't mean she isn't dangerous.

    Kyouko jams the bottom of her pole into the soft turf, the wood sinking in an inch or two, enough to let it stand, as she turns to face Homura. She wipes at her face again, eyeing the dark-haired Puella as she's greeted with an expression which isn't exactly welcoming, but isn't hostile either. "Hi." She returns, after a moment. "You're not here to deliver some further dire warning or something, are you?"

    Another change which is probably noticable to Homura, but is less-so to Kyouko herself, is the way she speaks. She's lost a good deal of the street-slang accent that used to characterize her speech. Not consciously, and touches of it remain, but spending so much time with Naru and Kunzite who both speak very properly has worn off on her, made her sound less like the street kid she used to be.
Homura Akemi 2018-04-27 17:16:15 90856
    It's true. Homura is dangerous, and she's used to Kyouko seeing her that way.

    It's just... everything else she isn't quite used to. Even if this isn't another world, in some ways it may as well be.

    When asked about dire warnings, Homura just shrugs. "No. I don't have anything else to add on that front. There really isn't that much more to say about all of that."

    Homura studies Kyouko for a moment. The lack of street slang is noticeable, but Homura isn't surprised considering the company she assumes that Kyouko has been keeping. Well, she's still shocked. Not surprised, but shocked, because from her perspective it all happened so suddenly. A wind picks up, playing with Homura's silky hair for a moment and making it wave in the breeze.

    "Not gonna lie. I'm just wandering around. Probably should've gone to school today but I didn't." After a moment or two of considering what to say, she brings up, "Kazuo-kun said something about Grief Seeds and Kyubey and White Flower, but we didn't have time to talk about it."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-04-27 17:26:33 90857
    "Do they just let you go back to school after being gone for a year and a half?" Kyouko asks, as she turns and walks over to a small metal garden table where she has a plastic bottle of water, her red-and-white sneakers quiet on the paving stones. The question isn't meant to be barbed or sarcastic. She's just curious. She takes a long drink of the water, then regards Homura again.

    "It took me a while to notice." She says, with regards to Grief Seeds and Kyubey. She gives a faint shrug of her shoulders. Almost uncomfortable. "Kyubey doesn't really talk to me anymore. And I don't.." A pause. "I don't really need to use Grief Seeds and stuff the way I used to. Momo does, but she doesn't henshin, doesn't use magic very often, so it wasn't super apparent. But yeah.. apparently they don't work as well as they used to. And apparently Kyubey thinks the White Flower is causing the problem, somehow. But I don't know much more about it than that. Not because I don't care but just because that's all anyone seems to know about it right now. She's good at hiding herself, and we've had other things to worry about as well."

    She puts the now-empty water bottle back down. "Did you really think you were only gone a week?" Red eyes examine Homura's face. It looks exactly like she remembers it. It takes a moment to realize that that is actually what's strange- a year and a half might not be long for an adult, but for a teenager, a lot changes in that time. Or it should, anyway.
Homura Akemi 2018-04-27 17:39:37 90858
    "Well, there's usually some paperwork. It's not a simple as just showing up. All the more reason why I don't want to deal with it today."

    Homura's had to deal with that kind of thing once before, but really her parents handled most of it and she remained fairly ignorant of the whole process. It's almost strange to think of it now, with Homura being as self-reliant as she is.

    Homura tilts her head and considers Kyouko's words regarding the White Flower and Kyubey. Huh. So that's how it is. "That creature tends to not stick around when it doesn't want anything from you. It got what it wanted from Madoka and myself already. Still, the White Flower could be an issue if she's reducing our supply."

    She flips her hair, being the same old Homura she's always been. "I wonder what her goals are. Is she trying to starve us? It doesn't seem that effective."

    Homura finds a table edge to lean on, planting her hands on the tabletop as her purple eyes watch Kyouko. "Yeah, for Madoka-chan and I, it's been a week. I remember every moment of it, for better or worse." Homura certainly looks like her old self, and her tan isn't deep enough to be 'over a year of exposure at sea'. She really looks significantly younger than Kyouko now.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-04-27 17:45:28 90859
    Ironic really, since if you consider her mental age across timelines, Homura is still significantly older than Kyouko. Maybe if this happens a few more times, Kyouko will finally catch up.

    Kyouko looks mildly annoyed for reasons that aren't entirely clear. All she says, however, is, "You might want to try talking to Naru if you want some insight into Hana Shiroi. She's talked to her the most of any of us. I don't really know what she's planning, but I don't think it's starving us. The impression I've gotten is that we don't really matter to her- which is part of what's making it so hard to deal with her. It's easy to fight an enemy who comes after you. Less so when they're content to pretend you don't exist."

    She tosses her head, clearing sweat-slicked short hair back out of her eyes. "Hardly the first time you've messed with time, I guess. I can't say I gave an eff where you were but.." She pauses, glancing away. "It was hard on Mamoru. You mean a lot to him, you know."
Homura Akemi 2018-04-27 17:54:40 90860
    "So, what, we're irrelevant to her?" asks Homura, a little bit of tenseness in her voice. She's not being tense at Kyouko persay, but she doesn't like being brushed off like that. Well, maybe it's for the better. Homura doesn't really want a fight right this instant, but Hana is a Witch, or something like it, and Homura has to hunt.

    "Well, I'll ask Naru about it later."

    Homura frowns further at the mention of Mamoru, and she also glances away. "I've spent years by myself, and even as a child I felt neglected. Suddenly having people care about me is weird." She looks down, and seems to be sulking. "I never should've gone on that trip. I was arrogant, dealing with powers I didn't understand. I never meant to leave Mamo-kun behind, but I guess life wouldn't be life unless it kicked us in the shins once in a while. Aside from Madoka, he's one of the most important people in my life."

    It's strange for another reason. Homura has only missed him for a week, not well over a year.

    "I guess I'm used to that kind of time travel bullshit by now, but that doesn't mean I like it."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-04-27 18:09:54 90861
    "I think that's what she thinks." Kyouko says, with a shrug that says she doesn't like it either but as she said earlier, doesn't have time to worry about it right this second. "But from what I gather, that's what she thinks about most people, regardless of who or what they are."

    She listens to Homura's words about Mamoru, and being alone. She scowls. "You think I don't realize that? I know what it's like more than most. So does Mamoru. But he's not as good at hiding it as you or me. What's done is done.. I just wanted to make sure you knew. I don't care where you are or what you do, as long as it's not hurting me or my family. But Mamoru cares. So be careful. That's all I wanted to say."

    She sighs. "Sometimes this whole 'caring about what other people feel' is so damned inconvinient."
Homura Akemi 2018-04-27 18:18:44 90862
    Homura notices Kyouko's scowl, and hears her words. "No, I'm sure you know that as much as I do. Maybe even more." Homura doesn't go that much further, because as long as Homura went without her biological parents at least one of them came back.

    Homura nods. "Yeah... I get it." She gets oddly quiet, even for her. She's frowning and maybe a little angry with nothing immediate to blame that anger on. She doesn't want to show weakness in front of Kyouko, so she's keeping up her stony face and crossing her arms.

    "It really is. It was so different when I could go off and do whatever without caring what anyone thought. I can't say that it was better, but I had less to deal with."

    She glances to one side, searching the horizon for... something. "Still, I can't deny the benefits."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-04-27 18:28:17 90863
    "No.. I can't either." Kyouko agrees, thinking of Mamoru and Naru, and Kunzite and Nephrite and Zoisite and Momo and Mako-chan and everyone else she considers family, or as good-as. All the people who stop her from doing whatever she wants- but whom she loves for it, because she knows that most of the time, what she wants to do isn't actually what she should do. Most of the time.

    She walks back over to where she stuck the pole in the grass and yanks it back up. The back of her workout top is open, with just two crossed straps of black fabric above mid-back, so Homura can see perhaps for the first time, at the entirety of her back is covered with what appears to be a tattoo of a phoenix, a firey bird with its wings stretched upwards in flight onto either of her shoulderblades. (It's not a tattoo- it's water-resistant bodypaint, a creation of Naru's. But it looks like one to the casual observer).

    She turns back to face Homura again with the pole resting on her shoulder. "So I guess the real question is what are you gonna do now?" She asks. "Vacation's over. There's work that needs to be done. We could handle it without you." A mild challenge in her voice. Then, "But as long as you're back, I won't say no to your help."
Homura Akemi 2018-04-27 18:38:53 90864
    Homura smirks slightly at Kyouko. Homura isn't a big smiler except under very specific Madoka-related circumstances, but this is one thing that Kyouko and Homura can agree on. She raises an eyebrow at Kyouko's back tat, or at least what she assumes is a tat. A fitting bird for Kyouko, who really has risen again from the ashes.

    "I'm not going back to the Contractors. They don't exist anymore. All the momentum my salvage and construction companies has is completely gone. They're surviving, but many of the people who work there don't even know me anymore. It's barely even the company I made, and my dad has taken over so much of it."

    Her smirk fades away, back into a stony, cold expression. "I can't return to that post-apocalypse world, either. For whatever reason, my attempts to reopen a portal there have failed. Not that I would want to try that a second time."

    She makes a shrug, as if this were the simplest thing in the world, "I guess there's nothing left for me but to hunt down Witches and slay youma, same as any magical girl."

    Well, nothing work-related, anyways.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-04-27 18:45:45 90865
    Kyouko nods her head to Homura's words, without comment. It makes sense to her, and she's not one to tell the other girl what to do in a situation like that, anyway. She keeps the pole held over her shoulder, not starting any new excercises but seeming more comfortable holding it, or perhaps thinking ahead to going downstairs and taking a shower in a few minutes, although she doesn't seem like she's impatient to end the conversation.

    "There's still plenty of those around. Well, not so many Witches, but Wraiths, sure. But we have two main problems, currently." She holds up two fingers on her free hand. "Sailor Earth, and the White Flower. Neither of which has the decency to actually come out and fight, which is why it's been so frustrating."

    "There may finally be movement on the Earth front, though. We're going to get Mamoru his powers back from that lying bitch." She grits her teeth. "And I'm going to put my spear through her for all the grief she's caused us." A pause, then in a more reasonable tone, "If there's any real excitement to be had in the near future, it'll be that."
Homura Akemi 2018-04-27 19:00:45 90866
    Fewer Witches around, but still Wraiths? Well, at least that means there's something worth hunting, even if neither of those are as good as they used to be. When Kyouko lays out the two main problems they're facing right now, Homura glances to the side as she considers, then nods.

    "Right. Sailor Earth. I think I remember hearing something about her before we left, too. I don't know who she really is nor do I care, but if she's hurting Mamo-kun and stealing his powers then I think I owe her a few bullets."

    She delivers that last line with a sort of matter-of-factness that has a certain smugness behind it.

    "Stealing his powers, though. What kind of person is she that she can do that? Some kind of leftover from the Dark Kingdom? She must be pretty elusive if you haven't found her yet."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-04-27 19:06:02 90867
    "Nobody knows who she really is, that's the problem." Kyouko spits. "She showed up out of nowhere, claiming to be the 'real' Endymion, claiming that Mamoru is an imposter and trying to lure us all away from him. Then she stole his powers, a little bit at a time, and now she has them and he doesn't. But she's not the real Endymion. Other people know better'n me, but there's holes in her stories and explanations. Inconsistencies. Like they were put together by somebody who doesn't know the whole truth."

    "But she's been impossible to track down and she won't stick around if she feels like she's outnumbered, which means we haven't been able to actually do anything except keep Mamoru safe while she eats away at his magic and his sense of self. She even tried to convince me to join her, and I wasn't even around in the past which she claims to remember. But I told her, I don't give a shit if Mamoru isn't the real Endymion. I mean, I believe he is, but it really doesn't matter to me. Mamoru is the one who helped me, not Endymion, and my loyalty is to him, not to some title or birthright from eons ago."

    She shakes her head, short hair whipping. "But there's some stuff afoot. Plans that Mamoru and some friends came up with to trick her. I think we're going to get a shot at her soon. And then our problems will be down to one. Unless, of course, we figure out there's somebody even more problematic behind Earth, which I ain't ruling out. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."
Homura Akemi 2018-04-27 19:16:42 90868
    Homura watches Kyouko with her usual stony blank expression, intently listening to every word she says. Showed up out of nowhere, stole Mamoru's powers, holes in her stories and inconsistencies. Someone who doesn't know the whole truth...

    Well, that last bit could describe a lot of people. Homura has learned a bit about the ancient past, but nothing compares to having actually been there.

    "I imagine she's outnumbered the majority of the time, if no one will join her. Honestly I'm with you on that point: Mamoru is the one who was good to me, and he's the one I care about. He's also the one who was desperately looking for his princess when I first met him, and that felt very real to me. It's hard to think that desperation could ever be faked."

    She stands up straight, hands still in sweater pockets as she wanders around the garden, stopping to look at the various plants.

    "I'm not surprised that someone would covet Mamoru's position, surrounded as he is by people he cares about. If she thinks she can steal that away by stealing his memories, she's mistaken. If you think you can track her down, maybe my power can buy us a bit more time to act."

    Homura scowls at the plant as Kyouko's words repeat in her head. "Someone behind her... maybe. I wonder if she sincerely believes what she's saying. If it's an act, she's been keeping it up for a long time."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-04-27 19:22:50 90869
    "I don't think it's an act. Or I guess I should say, I think she believes what she is saying. Whether that's because she was lied to, or just because she's delusional, I have no idea. I don't think she's right, but I'm pretty sure she thinks she's right." Kyouko frowns slightly. "Which gives her the illusion of righteousness, even if it's just that. An illusion."

    "I'm not doing any tracking." Kyouko clarifies. "My place is here, where I can keep Mamoru, and Naru and Momo safe." She shakes her head slightly. "But there's a scheme going on. DOn't take it the wrong way, but I'm not going to tell you details. I don't believe you would betray us but it seems dumb to lay out a plan that relies on secrecy to somebody who just showed back up out of nowhere. No offense. But if it works, it'll be soon, and we'll know where to find her. And I'll make sure somebody lets you know."

    She bares her fangs. "As long as you don't try to get in my way when it comes time for the violence."
Homura Akemi 2018-04-27 19:29:44 90870
    So... she actually believes her own nonsense? That's... sad in a way.

    "Even if she does, I'm not sure that excuses her actions, and even if it did, she can't be allowed to continue."

    Hm. So Kyouko is staying here, and someone else is handling the scheme. Well... fair enough. As much as Homura would like to help, she still needs time to get back on her own feet, and there's no point in changing their plans midway just to fit her in. No, if anything, the unpredictability of her randomly appearing might mess things up.

    "Fine. I'll stay out of... whatever the plan is. Just don't expect me to take it easy on her if I catch her alone."

    'As long as you don't try to get in my way when it comes time for the violence.'

    "Perish the thought. She brought that on her own head."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-04-27 19:36:23 90871
    "You won't catch her alone. She's too squirrley. If it was that easy we would have taken care of this ages ago." Kyouko snorts. "That said, if you manage it, good on you. Anyone taking it easy on her is the last thing I want."

    Kyouko glances over to where the sun is just starting to finally sink below the horizon, the shadows swallowing the rooftop. It's chilly up here without the sun, in just workout clothes and still with sweat on her skin. "I'm going to go down and take a shower." She says to Homura. "I think the guys are downstairs, if you want to come in. Some of them at least." Never can be too sure exactly who is in the ECFH at any given time.
Homura Akemi 2018-04-27 19:39:46 90872
    Homura makes a quiet, annoyed grunt at the idea that Earth is never alone. Well, figures. Gears are turning in her head, but she's still missing a lot of information. "Of course. Why would it ever be that easy? When has it ever?"

    Kyouko starts heading off to take a shower, and Homura has to consider. She does want to talk to the people here, but there's something else really important that she's been putting off.

    "I might stop by and chat for a bit, but I don't want to stay too long. I'm going to need to pay a visit to Madoka's family. I owe them a personal apology for vanishing with their daughter."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-04-27 19:42:41 90873
    "Don't envy you that one." Kyouko says with a sympathetic wince, as she turns to walk over to the door to the stairs heading down. "At least whenever I vanish with Naru we tell her mom ahead of time." She sgrins a little bit, pausing by the door and looking over her shoulder.

    "Maybe you should stop by after you apologize. Neph-nii has a really great bottle of whisky I've been meaning to steal."
Homura Akemi 2018-04-27 19:46:05 90874
    Stop by after?

    "Maybe, but knowing them I'll get dragged into staying the night. Not gonna pretend I couldn't use a drink, though."

    Homura heads towards the edge of the rooftop, and in a flash of purple her henshin appears around her. "The more I think about it, the more I feel I should just go. Thanks for the updates. I'll see you around, Kyouko."

    A leap like this would be suicide for anyone else, but for Homura it's really no big deal, especially since she starts flying halfway down. This whole thing is a ridiculous mess, but that's just how it is around here.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-04-27 19:51:02 90875
    "Later." Kyouko watches Homura as she henshins and then dives off the side of the roof. She keeps watching for a moment before she sighs and turns away, pulling the door open and going inside, leaving her pole leaning against the wall in the stairwell as she heads downstairs.