House Call


Runealy knows Mamoru is friends with Miss White, and Miss White is off her rocker. She comes to visit, hoping he can shed some light on her madness and her methods. Mamoru is a little salty about this.

Date: 2015-08-19
Pose Count: 45
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-19 23:13:58 8115
He'd been in the middle of typing up some glowing editorial in praise of Sailor Moon on tumblr, little takeaway carton of Chinese food on his desk next to the keyboard, when there was a knock on the door.

Obviously the first door he looked at was the balcony door, because that's actually where he gets the most visitors and he's not expecting anyone or anything, but there are no magical girls out there. Slight frown, and the boy picks himself up (save draft) and closes the carton over, then pads toward the actual door, the one leading out to the little elevator and stairwell lobby.

Mamoru opens the door, pleasant expression on his face, and freezes.

His hand tightens on the doorknob. "Yes?" he asks cautiously.
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-19 23:18:39 8118
When patrolling a certain spot in the park didn't yield signs of Tuxedo Kamen, Runealy took to other measures... and eventually discovered that modern societies have all kinds of lists of people and where to find them. Perhaps a necessity when you have /millions/, instead of a few thousand, packed into Earth's major cities. Still, it guided her to the front door - not the balcony.

When she knocked, she had a fairly good idea of what to expect. He might slam the door. He might throw something at her, slam the door, and flee. Or he might just be very tense, as the case actually seems to be.

Now she stands here in full magical garb facing Mamoru, mood and voice very low. "We need to talk. There are things I need to know as soon as possible, or people are going to get hurt." She immediately realizes how bad that sounds, and quickly adds to it: "Not by me. I'm not threatening anyone. I'm here to prevent something, and you're the best lead I have. Not the only one, but the best. So..."

Her head lowers, especially when faced by skepticism. "I want to believe you're not quite like the company you keep." None of the air of mystery or melodrama she usually tries to project when working to intimidate or impress others - possibly a misguided effort to begin with given her visage - is in effect here. She's rattled and making little effort to hide it.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-19 23:27:23 8119
He can't possibly be: he's too full of hope and belief and forgiveness, himself. Yes, Mamoru's eyes definitely narrowed when that which sounded like a threat happened, but as Runealy continues, he relaxes. She's always been honest, even when it cost her dearly.

So the upperclassman opens the door wider and steps aside, gesturing. "Come in, then," he says reasonably. "Please take your shoes off, and close the door behind you."

After all, she's European or whatever, she probably doesn't know better. Not with the company she keeps.

He lets her handle the door and heads unceremoniously for the kitchen. "Do you take tea or coffee?" he calls back. "Keep in mind that I keep all sorts of company, and have, on multiple occasions, been accused of fence-sitting. I think you know my primary loyalty already."
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-19 23:32:07 8121
The alien princess has been dishonest on many, many occasions... just perhaps not in view of Mamoru. His request is however met with skepticism. "My boots are part of how I move. You're asking me to leave myself very, very vulnerable here." Hypothetically she could just untransform and re-transform to bring her boots back to her, but this would reveal her identity in full... which she's not willing to do.

So she doesn't immediately comply, remaining standing outside the door. "Can I trust that having helped Sailor Moon fight a spider-monster at night a few weeks ago will be enough to let me enter here under truce, and leave safely even if you don't like my questions? That your ultimate loyalty to her will be enough to hear what I have to say, as it may affect her as well?" She makes no answer to the offer of a drink just yet, notably.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-19 23:39:20 8123
Mamoru pauses inside the kitchen door, giving Rune an unimpressed look. "You can enter under truce anyway. We both know the deal's off but you came to talk to me. You look like someone just ate your pet cat or something, you're worried, and you're scared, and you're not putting up a false front. You may consider this information a clue as to why I keep some of the company I do. You may also consider that I walked ahead of you, untransformed, showing you my back. You're perfectly safe from me. You can even leave the door open if you want, though you'd definitely get away faster if you jumped off the balcony, de-transformed, and re-transformed on the way down. I have it on good authority that that's not only possible, but apparently kind of fun."

He disappears into the warmly lit kitchen, then calls out from inside, "I just don't want you tracking dirt on my carpet. It's gross and besides I just vacuumed. Since you didn't vote, I'm making coffee."
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-19 23:43:21 8126
That's a very long list of good points. When it's broken down in that level of detail, Runealy looks down at the floor and feels rather foolish. She nonetheless steps inside, then removes her boots and walks to follow after Mamoru... and stops near a couch once she realizes he's heading into another room entirely. "I would normally say 'tea', but I'm not sure I should be taking hospitality from you with my history being what it is. Still... when you get back, I'll start asking about what I need to know." Scared is a good word for it; she's controlling the shakes and sobbing from last night just fine by now, but Runealy is still very unnerved even as she takes a seat. A quiet comment is offered, "This looks like a nice place."
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-19 23:54:52 8129
"I don't care," Mamoru calls, "about your history. This is my home. I invited you inside, and you entered, which means you are already taking my hospitality. Don't be so fractious; we both know the rules, so please--"

Something clicks in the kitchen, and there's a kettle sound. "--follow them, and please allow me to. Civility matters." A half second later, Mamoru steps back out of the kitchen and leans against the wall by its door, hooking his thumbs in his pockets and regarding the magical princess. "Thanks," he says, glancing briefly around the suite he knows so well. "So what are you going to tell me? Or--"

His tone's already gentled, getting a better look at the girl sitting on the couch. "--do you want to wait until you have tea? Because that's all right too."
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-20 00:01:37 8131
More good points. There are a lot of rules Runealy doesn't care about and will gladly break to pursue her goals, but ignoring civility about hosts and guests brings her no closer to saving her world... so she goes along with it. "Alright... thank you. And no, I don't think tea is going to change what's on my mind. Sitting here thinking about it until then isn't going to help either. Tell me something."

She's having trouble meeting Mamoru's gaze, instead finding 'down and aside' a better place to be looking as she betrays ignorance of certain topics. "I had to look this up, apparently there's a word for it. 'Execution'. A public celebration of killing criminals? Is that a thing that's done here in Tokyo?"

She makes it sound like an alien, wholly unheard of concept that only Earth does. Of course, her homeworld isn't perfect and squeaky-clean despite her belief that it is so. A century ago, such things were indeed done. Only extensive censorship of history, and an utter distaste for such 'legal measures' by her mother to the point of having never used them or discussed them around the princess, leave Runealy having just now discovered the idea and presently talking about it like a child asking their parents what something new and unknown - that they just heard about - is. It's an idea consuming most of her thoughts at the moment. "Before I say anything else, I need to know that."
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-20 00:36:21 8136
"A public--" Mamoru begins to repeat, looking startled. He pushes off the wall, alarmed. "No. I mean-- there are public executions of spies during wars, but the last war we were in was a long time ago. There is capital punishment here, for dire crimes -- I don't approve, by the way -- but it's not... it's not public. Did someone tell you it was?"

He's taken a step closer, but there he stops: she won't look at him, and he won't force it. "This world is a hurtful place. There's still genocide, there's still slavery, there's still war and bloody feuds and terrorism. But we're trying to make it better. There are a lot of governing bodies and they don't all agree, and some of them are evil, and all of them are corrupt to some degree, because they're all made of individuals. But public execution is not a thing that civilized nations do, and we like to think we're civilized."
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-20 00:54:36 8139
Runealy starts to say something back to his initial explanation, but stops to blink and stare, wide-eyed, at the rest of what Mamoru has to say. Many of these things are novel to her as well, concepts hidden by well-meaning parents who intended for her to inherit a 'clean slate' to rule over... or in some cases, these ideas are legitimately unknown on any meaningful scale to her homeworld. She's trying to mentally process and understand very new, very bizarre ideas that run completely contrary to her understanding of how reality works.

Mamoru will get to see her visible confusion throughout this; she is looking at him as if he just explained - with compelling evidence - advanced science to a primitive tribe still in jungle huts. In the end, she chooses not to address most of them. They're distant concerns as far as Runealy can tell. She instead focuses on the immediate one.

It's one that makes her look very unsettled as she mentally relives last night's events in the Lost Logia's maze, and now she does it with new context. "By the Barrier, she's out of her mind! Yes... yes, someone did tell me. Miss White did, laughing about it and talking about how she'd do it to my friends afterward, then tried to show me how it works. Firsthand." A sharp breath is let out as she realizes what all of this means. "As far as I can tell, I was about two seconds away from having my neck snapped! And if that's not something people here are actually okay with, then..."

She reaches a coherent conclusion, finally: "Then I need to know what I'm up against. How that ability of hers works. Because if she's willing to do that to us, if she thinks that's fun and wonderful... I don't think she'll stop with just us, and she's way worse than what we're doing. You sounded like you know something about her, so I'm here. I'm asking for answers from you, so she doesn't do that to my friends or yours. Please, if you have anything I need to know..." She's scared enough that this request is not made with any real bargaining, posture, or logic; it's pretty much the tiniest bit short of terrified begging.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-20 01:41:28 8146
At Rune's exclamation and subsequent explanation, Mamoru looks taken aback, and then-- then he's scowling, but not in Rune's direction. More like at the window. More like in the direction of WPS. He's still listening, but he's thinking at a million miles an hour. "No," he agrees, tone firm even if his expression's preoccupied. "It's not something people here are okay with. And she is out of her mind, yes."

He looks back to Rune, chewing absently on his lower lip as she continues, and as the kettle in the kitchen begins to hiss and seethe.

"Have you gone near any normal people with the violence you're doing to this world?" he asks, dark blue eyes focusing on her. "I know you've gone after children-- child soldiers, but children nonetheless; I met one in the hospital. That, by the way, is bullshit. Don't do it. But have you gone after any non-combatants, or put any that she knows in harm's way through your actions? Because that is her primary motivation, and it is also her trigger for ruthlessness."

He's calm; he's reason and order; he's got the businesslike authority of a first responder. He's not quite brusque, given how terrified she is, but there's no lingering sentimentality to his face or his voice. "If she nearly actually killed you, publically, and laughed, then that confirms my suspicions that she's rapidly losing control of what she's doing to herself. She's corrupting her own soul for more power. The threat to your friends is likely because they, too, have been attacking people, and are therefore as fair game as you are."
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-20 01:55:07 8148
"So you know about that." Runealy states this as a flat acknowledgement. She could argue that fighting 11-year-olds isn't too different when they're 'not that much younger' than her, but to a 14 year old they're 'kids', in the same way a 14 year old insists they themselves are not kids. "I can't promise that. You're asking me to limit my options when I need as much energy as I can. Even if I did promise it, I might break that promise. I'm good at that, you know." She's not proud of any of this.

"As for who did what to who... that depends on who you ask. From my point of view, no. She saw me protect Mitakihara Hospital, that should say... something, at least. If you ask her, yes, asking one of her friends," she opts not to name names, "to be one of the healers who picks up and tends to..." What's the word for it? Honesty is perhaps best here, "...my victims. I stopped when she stopped answering my calls, but for a time I was. I know, that's why she's out to get me. Fine! I have it coming, I know that! But my friends haven't gone near her and she was very, very clear about starting fires and snacks and moving on to them too, before showing me how the whole idea worked!" ...Well, she /started/ that sentence calmly. It didn't last.

It's possible Miss White was bluffing on that last point, of course. Perhaps inflicting emotional pain on the alien princess was the idea, not setting up some actual promise to move on and murder her friends too. Yet Runealy is utterly shaken by the idea nonetheless, and insists: "She's losing control? It's not just her, she has a whole team of friends who will back her up on those things. I can't just ignore this... right now, I really am the lesser threat to Tokyo. Something has to happen about this, and I'm not just... going to sit here and let it go on!" She almost sounds defiant. Almost. Being terrified is doing a lot to dim that. It works out to something more like desperation.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-20 02:20:48 8152
"No she doesn't," Mamoru says, shaking his head. "She has associates who would look the other way if she got off-track, as long as she got past her personal vendettas and did her job. She has friends, but they're trying to get her to stop this without betraying her. If your guardians are worth their salt, I imagine you know something about that, too."

His voice isn't quite cold, but it's definitely pointed. In the kitchen, the kettle's hiss softens into bubbling, and he turns away from the young princess and heads for the door. "Come into the kitchen. It's better." It's more comfortable emotionally, but that's not something he'd actually spell out.

Once he's in there, whether or not Runealy follows, he says firmly, "There are plenty of older people with magic for you to victimize. I know you need, you need, you need, and you can't promise anything, but you're asking for help with something at the same time as you're refusing to follow even the basic decency of staying away from those with innocent hearts. We'd deal with Miss White ourselves, the way we do, but you're concerned and you want to team up to defeat her even as you're harming us and our ability to deal with her-- and you're concerned not because she's harming others, but because she's threatened you and yours."

He's poured the tea into a pot, and he's gotten out cups, and he's spooned out loose-leaf into a tea ball and put it in to steep. Now he turns around to see if she's taken a seat at the kitchen table, and he's perfectly audible whether or not she has; he leans against the counter. "The least you can goddamn do if you're going to make an impassioned plea for help is leave us *some* unaffected defenders. The way I see it right now is that you're hurting us, you're making us less capable, you're opening us up to more danger in addition to the danger you pose yourself. You're taking away our ability to survive in exchange for your ability to survive. You're really not any better than she is in your actions and intent; she believes that what she does is for a good cause, as well."
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-20 02:37:50 8156
"Okay, 'associates,'" Runealy accepts the terminology, rising to follow Mamoru... and her eyes narrow as he speaks. "That's not..." Not, what? Her sentence trails off as she stumbles for any real point to make. "Stop acting like I'm... nnggh!" She's reaching for some kind of response. "We have been! There are some of you we know will outright die if we touch them, we're not doing it...!" It's a somewhat weak justification. "That wasn't just the only reason I came... hh... I'm just...!"

Sentences are hard, apparently. Harder than sitting down at the table has been. She has done that much at least.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-20 02:59:56 8160
Good, she's sitting down, and this time she's not arguing. All right, she's trying to argue, but she's not actually arguing. Mamoru gives a grim nod of satisfaction and pours Runealy a cup of tea with precise, practiced motions. Then he pours his. And then he picks them both up by the rims -- they're proper, there are no handles -- and places them on the table.

As he pulls out the opposite chair and sits down, he says, "You may have some real concern. I haven't written you off. I do understand your desperation; I do understand your driving need to protect what you hold dear; I do understand the risk Miss White poses to my world. But you're putting me in a position of risk/gain analysis now, and to be quite honest, the health and safety of this planet and its inhabitants ranks higher on my priority scale than the health and safety of your planet and its inhabitants. Ideally we could save them all. In fact, I believe with all my heart that it is possible. But the way you're going about it is not the way to do it, and you are engaging in a zero-sum game. Swear off the children, and I'll tell you what I know about what she's using on herself."
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-20 03:09:40 8163
Runealy doesn't seem to be all that interested in the drink at the moment, barely looking at it. Mamoru holds her attention far better. Especially when he makes an interesting guess. One that chills her out of verbal stumbling, and into something more guarded. "Right... 'how much evil is acceptable', I think was how the question was put earlier. Risk versus reward is another thought for it, isn't it. The rest of what you're saying is way off, though."

She tries a line she's not sure will gain much foothold here: "Europe is part of Earth too."
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-20 03:11:19 8164
Mamoru gives Runealy a flat look, then carefully and deliberately picks up his tea and sips it.
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-20 03:12:04 8165
"Say something," Runealy insists. She still has no interest in the tea.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-20 03:12:49 8166
"What do you want me to say?" Mamoru asks evenly, setting his tea down with equal deliberation. "Will you swear off the children?"
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-20 03:21:13 8167
"..." Several seconds pass in silence, before Runealy realizes that discussing this in good faith requires pointing out something she has brought up in previous situations. "You realize that even if I say yes, I can't promise my Knights will go along with it? I've said it before, and I'll say it again... they're not required to unthinkingly obey me. They're supposed to do what they think is best."
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-20 03:27:07 8168
"And that's a pretty telling reason why you can't actually claim that Miss White going after your knights is uncalled-for. They are also legitimate targets. They're in as much trouble as you are. You can tell them that that is the condition under which I will tell you everything I know about Miss White's current methods," Mamoru says mildly, unruffled. "If they agree, if they individually swear to me that they won't go after baby linker cores, for godsake, then I will tell you all. I'll meet the lot of you alone, in henshin, at whatever place you choose, and I will tell all of you. We'll have a productive discussion, and they can all raise points, and possibly think of things neither of us would think of. But they will all have to swear to me that you'll leave the children alone."
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-20 03:38:08 8169
These are all quite reasonable, fair, and moral things to ask for. In any other time, they would find easy purchase on Rune's mind. ...In any other time, she would not even be contemplating these things. "I can bring it up with them. ...That I'm not just saying 'yes' for all of us really does say something, doesn't it..." She's /really/ not interested in the tea any more. "Actually, I'm pretty sure none of them have done that. That one is all on me. Maybe I should be going."
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-20 03:48:27 8170
He's not going to argue with her.

Mamoru stands, but finally, his face is kind. "I also appreciate that you have not killed anyone, that that is a line you are willing to risk but not cross directly. I also appreciate the help you've given in dire situations, the battles we've fought side-by-side. I know that you have honor, that you have morals. I appreciate that you bring up the fact that you'll only speak for yourself, and that you came to me to inform me when the deal was off, though you knew it would pit me against you. I understand the weight of the pressure on you; you may not think I do, but I do."

He draws out his chair and steps away from the table, then once again precedes Runealy, showing her his back, trusting her honor visibly, despite the broken agreement in their shared past. He's headed back toward the door and Runealy's boots. "And I hope that your mission succeeds and that you save a lot of lives. And I hope that once it's all over, we'll have the chance to fight side-by-side with no ill-will between us. I also hope that you understand my position."
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-20 03:55:39 8171
Runealy follows, gaze low to the floor as Mamoru continues to talk. "I don't know about 'honor.' I've shown very little of that, and... I don't care about it. Morals, yes. Honor... I don't think there's any room for it in what I have to do."

She nonetheless makes her way to her boots, one foot in and then the other. "And I know your position. It's a good one. How much of what I did can you tolerate? That's an easy math question. 'Zero. None.' And if that's your position, you shouldn't compromise on it just because I'm scared."

She opens the door and steps out, looking over-shoulder to add: "It's my own fault, after all."
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-20 04:13:33 8172
Mamoru makes a face. "If you had no honor, you would have hit me in the back just now and taken my energy again," he says frankly. "And I'm already compromising my position by agreeing to sell you information for the price of partial protection against you and yours. Again. Not to mention it's information you could use against someone else I hope will recover and be the good person I know she was, and that I know she means to be. But just as there are lines you won't cross, there are lines I won't cross either."

His voice softens, and he reaches to put a hand lightly and briefly on Runealy's arm while her hand's on the door, above her glove. "Hang in there, Highness."

With the touch comes an abrupt flow of peace: the warm stillness of a golden summer afternoon, the steadiness of a sun-warmed mountain, the calm of a windless ocean with moonlight reflected on its surface and hiding the fathoms below. It's not a rush of energy that accompanies it, but a wellspring, bubbling up clean and fresh and brilliant and washing away exhaustion and distress.

Mamoru's hand falls. "And please remember that the second you ask, I will help you find another way."
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-20 04:25:39 8173
"We might be arguing semantics," Runealy suggests. "I'm willing to say one thing and do another to see this through. Because it's better to break 'I promise', than to have to say 'I am sorry.' That's my position. But... hn!?"

She goes tense as she's touched, surprised by this. Her tiara's gems light up as her free hand reaches back for her wand, getting ready to fight. "You...!"

This cuts off as she realizes he's not attacking. Not unless trying to settle her down and make her feel less awful counts as an assault. The tiara dims, hand lowering. "No... maybe there is something else we need to discuss. Maybe you've given me something useful after all. Something we can safely talk about and it doesn't matter that I haven't said 'yes' yet, not about this. Will you let me come back in for a few more minutes?"
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-20 04:26:51 8174
"Will you finally drink your tea?" Mamoru says wryly, but he opens the door anyhow, stepping back again.
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-20 04:27:56 8175
She hadn't touched it at all, had she? "Yes," Runealy answers flatly. "I think we can talk about this over that." She waits a moment, but will step back in and remove her boots if Mamoru seems to agree to let her return.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-20 04:35:17 8176
He does indeed, and he politely waits for her to finish before heading back toward the kitchen.

This time, he also opens the refrigerator, and he takes out a couple of individual slices of Midori-ya chocolate ganache raspberry torte with firm resolve. "Chocolate," he says, "is also regenerative. Plus I have so much of this frozen from the bake sale, still, you have no idea."

They are in plastic containers with plastic forks taped to the tops. "You don't have to eat it now, but since you have something else to talk about, I insist you at least take a slice home." THEN, then, he drops into his chair again and starts undoing his torte box so he can fortify himself. There's a pause. He glances up, a little sidelong. "Dropping a couple hundred yen at that thing was the smartest thing I've done in a while. A lot of magical girls drop by with astonishing regularity. But they always knock on the balcony door, you'll have warning if you need to make a quick getaway."
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-20 04:43:13 8177
Runealy follows along, taking a seat and blinking at what Mamoru offers. "I think I've seen this style in one of your local bakeries before? Th..." The words come slow; it feels weird to say this to someone she has hurt and treated rather poorly. "...Thanks." She tries out a slice, looking visibly surprised. "Kind of like some things we have back home," Rune comments quietly.

Then, she speaks about more important things. "The balcony? That's kind of rude, isn't it? I mean, I'd jump to mine sometimes, but... m..." An abrupt headshake follows, then... a spasming coughing fit, one lasting several seconds cuts her sentence off.

She tries to act like it didn't happen, moving on to another topic between heavy breaths, "You described Miss White as 'used to be a good person...", she's having trouble forming full trains of thought due to this problem, "...still trying to be', or words like that."

Another breath, then Runealy has some of her composure back. "And that's the first time I've heard anything like that about her, other than how she cares about her friend. Every other thing I've seen of her, even before I attacked anyone, has been her chasing me. It got worse from there, of course. So I want to hear about this 'good person Miss White' you know."

A bit of tea follows. "Tell me about her."
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-20 05:07:27 8178
It may be weird for Rune, but it makes Mamoru grin, however briefly, to see her surprise and her disarmament, her subdued enjoyment. He tucks in to his own slice, cutting the sweetness with his unsweetened tea. When she objects to his friends' balcony shenanigans, he laughs. "It's not rude, they do knock. And dropping in while I'm out there is a little like stopping by a front porch. Honestly, I like it. It's nice to know people think of me or wonder how I'm doing."

It's super nice when Sailor Moon drops by out of nowhere when he's feeling low, but that's still a secret, and will probably remain so forever.

Except-- Runealy's still coughing. He sets his fork down and frowns, watching her with concern. "Drink some of that tea," he urges. "I have honey and lemon, if something's irritated your throat..."

But she's trying to pass it off as not having happened, so he reluctantly obliges her and settles back. "I'll tell you about her, but it's solely for the purpose of letting you know that she's human, she's real, and she's been hurt. I care about her." This last is said firmly, his dark blue eyes seeking Rune's out to make sure she understands. "What she's doing to herself hurts me because I care about her, not just because of what it does to people around her, though that is also a big part of it."

Then he sighs, and continues slowly, "The two of us have something in common. We've both felt useless and powerless in the face of all the evil the world has to pour on humanity. The things that hurt the world hurt her-- natural and unnatural disasters alike. She wants the people who can't defend themselves to be protected. She wants to protect them: all of this, it all started with the desire to ease pain and remove needless suffering."
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-20 05:14:04 8179
"Oh..." Runealy accepts the explanation about sudden visits just fine, and also goes along with the idea about her cough. "Yeah... throat irritation is about right." A little more tea follows, to buy time to cover it and fully regain her breath. "It's fine. I'm asking about that part of her, so tell me about that."

She listens patiently, then turns confused. "You're describing things people do, things people care about, but I don't get it... how did she go from that, to... to... to what you've seen and what I've seen? I can think of one explanation, but I don't think de--" Abrupt cut-off, headshake, "No, that makes no sense. What's your take on this?"
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-20 05:27:25 8180
Here, the older boy sits back and closes his eyes, brow furrowing. He's sorting through memories that aren't his.

"It looks like-- she was attacked. Her friend was attacked. The people who could have helped-- either weren't there, or-- I think they got there too late? Someone blamed them for it: victim-blaming. Something she said... I'm honestly not clear on the details, I only saw pieces of it, and most of the pieces I saw are private things which I can't share." Mamoru opens his eyes, but they're still not really focused, not seeing Rune or the table or the kitchen. The corners of his mouth draw down slightly.

"Either way, it was the last straw. She knew about magic, and somehow she got her hands on some, but I'm entirely suspicious of its provenance. Her wish for strength and her ambition and determination are an easy road for darkness to travel, an easy way for corruption to invade. If you're hurt and desperate, it's easy to justify worse and worse things in the name of being good enough to fix what you need to fix."
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-20 05:37:20 8181
"Then don't share them," Runealy is in easy agreement on this. She listens, wincing every so often as some of Mamoru's words hit real nerves with her. There are no interruptions, however. No interjected questions or speculation.

It's only when he's clearly done speaking that she asks something, "Would it endanger you if I approach her about this? Approach, not fight. I think I know where this is going if she and I continue on our current course. I might win, but you won't be any better off for that and I'd probably be weakened enough that 'he' could finish me off right after."
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-20 05:58:13 8182
"It would," says Mamoru without hesitation, "and it would also endanger you, and it would also endanger her, because it would remove my ability to help her." He leans forward, folding his arms on the table and propping himself up on them, unfinished torte and tea in front of him. "If she knew I was talking about her, even with the intent to help her, she'd cut me out and neither of us can afford that. If you approach her at all, she'll fight you. She's not rational. She threw a desk through a wall right in front of me when she found out I'd been hurt again."

One hand unfolds loosely in order to pick up his tea again and finish off the cup. Setting it down once more, he says evenly, "You said it yourself, earlier. She's out of her mind. Don't count on a repeat of whatever stayed her hand last time you fought her, and don't set your knights against her. I can see the paths you're both taking, but when someone is that explosive and that powerful and that irrational, they can't be told. They can only be shown."

Finally, Mamoru sits up again, and pours himself another cup of tea, motions unhurried and calm. "I don't want you dead. I know her, and I'm her friend. Let me deal with her. You just keep in mind that a pyrrhic victory isn't all it's cracked up to be."
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-20 06:03:35 8183
"And if I sit still in the meantime, I run out of time," Runealy insists back, stopping for only the briefest drink. "If I go out there and do anything, I'll run into her and... she..." Hesitance takes hold. "She will try to kill me again. Or them. Or someone else entirely. That's not a victory at all. I can't just wait in a shelter because of her. Letting you deal with all of this, leaving me out of it while my situation gets worse and worse..." A few headshakes follow. "I can't do that."
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-20 06:10:42 8184
"She'll know exactly where you got the information if you approach her about it," Mamoru says, scowling. "Concoct a fable. Tell her about yourself. Come up with something based only on what you've seen and the belief that there's good in her due to her wish to protect her friend. Do it in battle. Everyone yells things at each other in battle. Don't look her up and go talk to her like you've done with me: you started this conversation with the hope that I'm not like the company I keep, and I'm telling you right now that I'm not. So: talk around it in battle, and don't go into fights alone. Also, for godsake, the energy drain is a lot harder to recover from if I take a beating first, so since you're bent on still doing this, do your victims a favor and have your knights try to one-shot them so they're not recovering from third degree burns with no magic, and trying to recover their magic while they're healing from third degree burns."
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-20 06:15:22 8185
The idea that burns are classified in 'degrees' is novel to Runealy, but... the rest of his remarks seem to be taking some hold. A few points are argued, though. "Taking them down in one hit would work a lot better if they weren't able to fight back in the first place. Maybe m--" Another abrupt headshake as she cuts that sentence off and changes the topic. "So only bring it up while she's trying to murder me? Fine." Runealy says this with lidded eyes, worried about how that could possibly work. "Easy for you to say, you know."
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-20 06:34:06 8186
"It is," says Mamoru disgruntledly, "it's my usual method. I tried it on your fire guy and he just hit harder. That's why you bring your friends to watch your back. Either way, if you hit the right nerve, she could stop. If you tell her you've stopped talking to her friend, she might not even try to murder you outright. If *I* don't end up like the walking dead again, she might even chill out."

He holds his new tea, hot, in both hands and absorbs the warmth. Better believe his flat is air-conditioned, top floor that it is. "Anyway, instead of giving them speeches and time to prepare, just hit faster and harder and with more precision. You know how I was able to grab you from behind, that first time you faced me down? You tensed. You thought I was going to take you out. Don't give warning. I'm obligated to fight you all if I'm cornered, but I'll be honest: next time one of you faces me I'm running the hell away."
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-20 06:42:27 8187
"I did. I told her that her friend is 'out', and has been for a while." Runealy stopped calling upon Ao when the last several attempts to reach her had gone unanswered. "I don't think it's going to matter. But fine, I'll try it out there. As for the rest of it... why tell me any of that?" She finally returns to her drink, albeit halfheartedly so. "And it's fine if you run, I guess."
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-20 06:51:29 8189
"Because I am completely serious about the fact that if you gravely injure someone and then take their energy afterwards, you are leaving them precious little to recover with. I was out of action for over a week after fire guy got me, and I surrendered halfway through," says Mamoru irritably. "If you have to beat them down first you're doing it wrong. I'd say don't even knock them out first because it'd leave even more to recover with, but it literally feels like having your soul sucked out with a vacuum cleaner made of dry ice spikes."
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-20 06:54:49 8190
"You're really overestimating how much we can do with one hit," Runealy notes. "Or underestimating people here in Tokyo. Or both. I can't promise any of that. But... what's a vacuum cleaner? I mean, I get the point in context; this is awful, done with an awful thing, made even more awful. But what are they? I... think I have enough to go on now in any case, so I really should be going soon."
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-20 06:57:19 8191
"It's a machine. It's got a fan in it that creates suction and you clean dirt off rugs with it, space princess," Mamoru says, increasingly grouchily. "They have them in Europe." He sighs and rubs the bridge of his nose. "Yeah, go, go. Take the rest of your cake with you. It's from the Midori-ya bakery, if you're interested."
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-20 06:59:16 8192
Runealy tries to lamely insist, "Not the part we're from," but nonetheless gathers her food. "Sorry, I'm leaving... thank you, though." She won't linger, heading for the door. "At least now I have some way forward, better than just slamming against her until she's gone and I may as well be... or even the reverse of that, really." Victory isn't guaranteed, after all. "This trip wasn't a waste." She'll wait for any final responses, then head out the door.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-20 07:02:14 8193
"I would hope not. That torte is wonderful," he gestures at the cake, then gets up and wanders toward the kitchen doorframe to lean in it and watch her go. "Goodnight, your Highness."

He glances toward his computer as the door closes, then makes a face. He'll wax poetic about Sailor Moon on tumblr tomorrow. Moonie posts should contain no salt, and he's currently the Dead Sea.