No Title Set

Date: 2018-08-09
Pose Count: 19
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-09 17:57:29 94006
It's a hot hot hot stupidly hot day again, and the air conditioner in the conbenie isn't built for this nonsense, so it's definitely the temperature inside that makes chocolate things melty, which means the little old lady that owns the place has set Kyouko to jamming chocolate things in the refrigerators.

Mamoru's voice sounds, as it has, rather like Kyouko's wearing really high quality headphones and is listening to an audiobook he narrated. "I guess slightly mushy cookie sticks is better than the chocolate sticking all together and making one giant many-sticked pocky youma."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-09 18:00:08 94007
    Some things are important to Kyouko- important enough that even in the middle of a crisis, she'll still attend to them. Her family and her oath. Naru. Momo. And, as it happens, her job. The conbenie has an almost sacred place in Kyouko's heart, despite the fact that most people would consider being a store clerk a low-tier job. Because this is where she started to turn her life around. The old lady gave her a shot when she was nobody and had nothing, and supported her through a lot of crap, never asking questions. Which is why Kyouko views this as her store, and why she'll show up for her shift even if fire is raining from the sky.

    It's why she's here now, despite everything else going on.

    That isn't to say, however, that she is not thinking about other stuff. Jamming things into refridgerators which are already pretty full is not an activity which requires a lot of brain-power, which leaves Kyouko's mind to ramble down the typically convoluted paths that it prefers, as she jams. And jams.

    And then jumps, when Mamoru speaks into her ear. "Jesus christ, dude," She exclaims, resting a hand on the cool fridge door to try and calm her heartbeat. "Being a ghost doesn't give you permission to scare the piss out of a girl while she's tryin' to work."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-09 18:06:36 94009
"It's not my fault if ghosts scare you," Mamoru says huffily, and then adds slightly more apologetically, "It's not like I can make a sound to announce myself. Sorry."

Of course he's in his tux, and is barely visible in the light, and is faintly glowing, and has completely washed-out colors. Not necessarily of course, he's literally sitting on top of a bunch of bags of potato chips on the top shelf of the aisle stand behind Kyouko. "I came to see how you were doing. Sorry about making fun of your teleporting. Neil wasn't joking about ending up underground. When I was first trying, not only did it make me throw up, I also couldn't get verticals right and I ended up half-buried in the dirt."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-09 18:12:35 94010
    "Ghosts don't scare me," Kyouko corrects, going back to moving boxes into the fridge a moment later once her breath has calmed down again. "People speaking in my ear from what sounds like 2 inches away when I was pretty sure I was alone scares me." She normally has a reall good 'presence-sense' and is hard to sneak up on, which makes it all the more unnerving.

    She glances back at him when he apologizes, and gives a little smirk, lifting a shoulder in a half-shrug. "Nah, I mean.. it's pretty funny. Look, I might be proud of my abilities but I'll freely admit that I suck just as much as anybody else when just starting out learning something new. Doesn't mean I like looking like an ass in front of the kids though." Kyouko, thinking she's so grown-up at the age of 17. 17 going on 40, to be fair.

    She falls silent for a few moments, still jamming stuff in the fridge, then rather abrubptly says, "So.. am I even really a Puella anymore? Like.. I knew I was changing. My magic, the way it works. But this past week or so has really brought that lesson home. Not healing after I got banged around, and then this whole teleporting thing. I guess I hadn't really thought about it before. I mean, big-picture-wise."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-09 18:18:40 94012
The ghost-prince is startled into silence, and there's a thoughtful sense from him in the back of her skull somewhere. "I... don't know? I mean, the guys all had their specialties in magic before they were Shitennou, but it was all the same kind of magic? Earth-based magic, I guess? I mean-- I know after a while we started being able to sense each other, to a degree, before the impostor started messing everything up. So that was changing, a new thing. I didn't really think about it after you henshined into a uniform for the first time..."

He trails off, and then shifts tracks. "When's the last time you talked to the weaselrat? You could probably ask it, it would know better than me if you still are."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-09 18:25:32 94013
    "A long time ago." Kyouko admits. "I mean, not like I ever sought him out, but I don't think I've talked to him directly since.. gosh, almost two years ago? ..shortly before you gave me my new Name, I guess. Huh." She shrugs. "I don't really want to talk to him. I guess.. well, it's not that it's important, in a critical sense. Like, whether I am or I'm not doesn't change what I would do."

    "But I've noticed I don't need to purify my soul gem with Grief Seeds anymore, like, hardly ever. It's been slowing down for a while. I noticed, but didn't really think too hard about it. Y'know.. not many Puella live to be 17 to begin with, maybe it had to do with that. But now, the not healing thing, and now the teleporting thing, and I'm wondering if said weaselrat.. cut me loose. Conflict of interest, y'know? Or maybe the Earth Magic pushed him out. It's the same in the end, I guess."

    She's still working, still putting boxes in the fridge as she talks. "It's less a question that's important in a practical sense as it is just like.. something I need to reconcile. Being a Puella Magi has always been such a big part of who I am, how I think of myself. Before I was one, I never really lived.. just a scared girl in the shadow of her father. I only really started becoming Kyouko Sakura when I became a Puella Magi, so being one is.. was.. central to my sense of myself. My identity, I guess. Even after I became Apatite, it was still like.. Apatite is who I am, but a Puella Magi is still what I am. Or so I thought, anyway."

    "Might not be true anymore. Which.. again, not like that changes anything, really. Just means I need to change the way I define Kyouko Sakura again." A faint smirk. "You'd think I'd be used to doing that, by now."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-09 18:34:46 94015
Once again, there's silence from Endymion, but this time it's accompanied by him changing the location to which he's projecting his image: there's a soundless swish of cape and moving feet next to her, and then the prince lowers himself to 'sit' on the floor with his back to the next refrigerator over. "You're always changing the definition of who you are," Mamoru says quietly. "But the core of you never changes. Fiercely loyal, inherently honest, and deserving and frequently commanding respect for who you are and what you do. You always put your whole heart into every endeavour, and you count family as the very most important thing of all, no matter who you put in that family. I think-- what you are has always been Sincerety and Respect, which is why those were the attributes I named."

A brief silence with the feel of a pause, which would normally be accompanied by the taking of a careful breath, and Endymion ventures, "Isn't everything else of the 'what' kind of window dressing?"
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-09 18:44:13 94019
    Kyouko never stops working while she listens to Endymion, her expression not embarassed, or pleased, but rather thoughtful as she transfers one box after another from the stack of cardboard cases at her side into the glass refridgerator. She gives a snort when he finishes listing off her virtues, saying, "You forgot stubborn, reckless, violent, and not terribly smart," She says, but there's humor in her voice. It's not often she's has people list off the things that are good about her, and it feels nice, which Mamoru can probably tell from the way she feels more than from her expression.

    "You're not wrong. But that doesn't mean it isn't important, either. Y'know, for a real long time I thought that I wouldn't live to see 18 years old. Puella just don't. I had made peace with that, I was fine with it. Not like I deserved much more, or at least that's what I thought then. But now.. I dunno anymore. I'm less than a year from eighteen. More than that, I'm not fine with it anymore. I have you, and the guys, and Naru, and I've made promises, oaths, big ones and small ones, that I want to keep. And to suddenly have this presented to me like.. hey, maybe you don't have to die young because you made a stupid choice when you were ten years old.."

    She smirks, glancing over at Endymion where he now sits. "It's dumb to make assumptions and get my hopes up, but y'know, I'm only human." She pauses. "-ish."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-09 18:59:18 94022
"Oh come on, don't give me that 'not smart' thing, you know perfectly well that there are different kinds of smart," says the prince with the most long-suffering tone since Kunzite's face. "I could sit here and list all the ways you're smarter than all of us put together, but that's not the conversation we're having. I still can if you want me to, but..."

He shakes his head, stretching his intangible legs out in the aisle in front of him, feet disappearing into the aisle stand. "You're right. It is really important. The puella average lifespan's been something I've refused to look at for a long time, despite the ones I've met and gotten attached to who then proceeded to die. I don't want to lose you. It's easy for me not to think about it if I keep doing enough stuff, and let myself get distracted by everything, but it's always ice in my gut when I remember."

He looks at Kyouko, seeing her face in her refrigerator door reflection when she looks at it instead of him. "There's a really dumb way I just thought of to find out," he says after a moment. "See what happens if you hand your soul gem to Kunzite or somebody and walk away. If it works like the other guys' do, then-- it shouldn't be on the outside. So nothing'll happen. Maybe the one you wear as a ring, that goes on your uniform when you henshin, doesn't have your soul in it anymore."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-09 19:08:22 94024
    "Said the college student to the middle-school dropout." Kyouko replies in a acerbic tone, but she's still smiling. "Look, I ain't saying I'm dumb.. half the time I think I'm the only one with any brains out of the lot of us." She finishes with one box and puts it aside, rising herself up onto her haunches and resting her forearms on her knees as she looks at the ghostly Prince all leisurely reclining on the tile conbenie floor.

    "Anyway, it's not.. it's not like there's a ticking clock inside every Puella that suddenly just stops and they keel over. It's just that it's a hard, dangerous, lonely life and most of the time the girls who get sucked into it are too young to really be able to handle it. And all that builds up over time and people can only take so much. So I might be.. I don't wanna say beyond that, but like, I'm not alone, I have reasons to live, and maybe I could just keep going on indefinitely even if nothing magical had changed about me." This is her trying to reassure him, she doesn't like the thought that he might stress over her potential death.

    Then she looks at him at his suggestion, quirking a brow. "Y'know, I'm not really sure what I think about that.." She looks down at the ring on her middle finger, silver, with the bright red oval gem set into it. "For all its downsides, I've kinda gotten attached to this thing.. even if its a Shitennou rock and not a Puella rock anymore." She laughs. "I mean, it might be worth trying anyway, although it's not exactly something I'd want to try right now since there's nobody here I trust to hand it to." She eyes him. "With tangible hands, I mean."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-09 19:29:13 94027
"Ha," says Mamoru, grinning crookedly. He reaches his hands up to link them behind his head and look even more liesurely. "Well that's why I said hand it to Kunzite or somebody. And look," he adds, sitting up and looking all earnest, "I know you're really used to your soul being something that can be taken away from you, but just having had it happen to me, I really kind of hope your soul's inside you now."

He's about to say something else when the old lady's voice comes from the back of the store. "Who are you talking to?" she sounds cranky, which is reasonable given the temperature. "I didn't hear the door chime. Are you on your speaker ph--"

She cuts off when she comes around the end of the aisle, and stares. At Mamoru. And then Kyouko. And then Mamoru. "Ah," she says. "Sou."

And she turns around and walks back away.

Mamoru's wide-eyed.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-09 19:35:51 94029
    Kyouko's just opened her voice to respond to Mamoru when the old lady's voice comes, and she flinches, perhaps more out of habit than anything else. She half-turns, about to make some excuse, and so she clearly sees when the woman comes into the aisle and sees Mamoru. Then backs away. Kyouko's own eyes widen, and then she raises a hand and scrubs it down her face. "Figures. Maybe some of my magic is rubbing off on her. Ugh, last thing I need is for her to have a heart attack because she thinks the store is haunted." Muttered under her breath.

    A moment more of grumbling, but then the returns to the conversational topic at hand. "I mean, it's not that I'm against having an innie soul." She says.. "I'm just kind of fond of the gem, that's all. Never really made much sense to wear it on the outside, anyway..."

    Another pause. "Hey, so like.. I know Earth has you up at D-point, but the Caracal called it a 'fifth Palace'. Maybe he just meant like.. another Golden Kingdom relic, like as a general term but.. you don't think that has anything to do with me, do you? It's just the wording was weird.." She starts moving packages again.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-10 02:38:21 94060
"... m-a-y-b-e she could always see ghosts...?" Mamoru suggests, still wide-eyed. He looks vaguely uncomfortable, then distracted, then looks at Kyouko again. "Uh. Anyway, there's no reason you shouldn't keep the gem even if it's not where you live anymore? I mean really."

Then she's talking about the fifth Palace business, and he shrugs. "When I was there and brainwashed, it was familiar, and the stones remembered me. It felt like a living place that had been filled with Dark Energy, but hadn't always been so. And the parts of it that Beryl built had been constructed out of the souls of my kingdom's citizens, stolen when they died still corrupted by Metalia, through no fault of their own. When they were freed, all that was left was the original fortress. It's in a pocket dimension. He didn't say it was a new Palace, only that there was another. I can't help you make a new one, not these days, we just don't remember how or have that much control over the Earth to do anything like that."

He's smiling faintly now. "But... if one should accidentally have been made, by virtue of a place with a guardian having been stolen and shoved into its own pocket dimension, and therefore living through hundreds of millennia-- and if I should happen to have another Shitennou without a Palace of her own..." The smile widens. "There's a reason I wanted to send you looking for that guardian."

The old lady stomps back in with a stick and a saltshaker, and without warning, starts shaking the salt hard in Mamoru's direction and waving the stick at him, chanting something. She finishes it off with "Akuryo TAISAN!" and then looks expectant.

Mamoru looks confused, and then his face clears. "Don't worry, obaa-san, I'm not an evil spirit, I'm a friend of Kyou-chan's. She's still putting the chocolates in the fridge and there haven't been any customers! I'll disappear if there are." He clambers to his feet and offers a very formal bow. "My apologies for making you think there was danger."

The old lady squints at him, then eyes Kyouko, then asks accusingly, "He is not influencing your mind??"
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-10 02:59:50 94062
    Kyouko looks over her shoulder to where the old lady had vanished into the back room. "Is that.. a thing? Normal people who can see ghosts I mean. Are ghosts real?!" She looks back at Mamoru with a rather worried expression. "I mean real dead-people ghosts, not rock-ghosts. Cuz honestly that's kind of scary."

    Then he's talking about the fifth palace again, and she watches him as he talked. And for some reason, even though talking about herself or her family didn't and Unmei asking her about her relationship didn't, this makes her cheeks flush, and she looks down towards the floor, the toe of her sneaker digging at it a little.

    "You keep givin' me stuff," She says, sounding a little awkward. "And not like.. little stuff. Stuff like purpose, and security, and family. And I feel like I don't give enough back. Sooner or later, you're gonna have to let me find a way to repay you.. not that it'll ever be enough, but. I want to be the giver, for once."

    Then the old lady is back, throwing salt and waggling a stick at Mamoru. Kyouko's eyes widen, and she stands hurridly, holding up her hands. "Tachibana-san, he's a friend, I promise. Not evil. Not influencing me. Look, I'll buy a milkshake for him." And eat it herself, but if she says it for him he'll be a customer!
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-10 03:07:09 94063
"Yeah, ghosts are real," says Mamoru with a little shrug. "I've met some. There aren't that many. Most of them either wander off eventually or get trapped in things or by people who can do stuff with them, which is an issue, but it's not an issue I can do anything about, so..."

Then Kyouko's getting all fidgety about him giving her stuff, and not giving stuff back, and he blinks. "But you do give back. In case you didn't notice, you're literally one of my bodyguards--? And you help keep Kunzite sane by virtue of being the one of us that has the closest mindset to his, and you are also the strongest one of the Shitennou, and you are family. In this life, you counted as family to me before I even met the other guys. So stop selling yourself sho--"

Yeah. A failed exorcism.

Straightening up from his formal bow, Mamoru looks from the old lady to Kyouko and back again, and looks hopeful.

"He is overdressed," Tachibana-san says with a disapproving sniff. "But that will do." She shakes her stick at Mamoru again, warning, "If you cause problems, then friend or no, I will find a way to exorcise you, yuurei." And then she turns on her heel again and stalks off to the back again to sit down and recover from exertion in the heat.

"I can't drink a milkshake," Mamoru says really quietly, worried.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-10 03:12:39 94064
    "I know that, asshole, I'm going to drink it." Kyouko says, equally quietly, to Mamoru. "But as long as she thinks of you as a customer she won't bother you, even if you are a ghost. Don't worry, I'll pay for it. It's coming out of your account anyway, ultimately."

    "I guess," She then says, referring to Mamoru's listing of her constributions. "But that's all stuff I'd do anyway. I protect my friends. Family doubly-so, but being your bodyguard doesn't actually mean I'm doing anything I wouldn't do of my own volition anyway." A little laugh. "I guess keeping Kunzite sane has some value. I don't know about being the strongest, though. I mean, there's millenia of experience difference, for one.."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-10 04:46:03 94065
"... okay, listen," says Mamoru in affectionate mild irritation, "if I'm not allowed to feel useless and like I'm a liability who always needs rescuing that puts the people I love in danger, you're not allowed to have self-esteem issues either. And if someone's been telling you the rest of us nerds have millennia of experience, they were lying through their teeth. Just because we had lives before we had these ones doesn't mean we've got a jillion years' experience-- I was seventeen when I died. The others weren't much older. The bulk of the experience we've got from back then--? Isn't even applicable now. You don't see us running the world."

Yet lol.

"Anyway good I'm glad you're drinking the milkshake," he practically whispers. "If I'm haunting your store. Should I do the yuurei pose and float to be extra spooky? Really sell it?"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-11 15:53:26 94095
    Kyouko sticks her tongue out at Mamoru. "It's not an issue of self-esteem. I know what I'm good at and I know what I can do. That's not what I'm doubting. All I'm doubting is the amount I contribute in comparison to the amount I get back. I want to feel worthy that's all. And yes, I know you think I am, but I need to think I am too, and that's a work in progress."

    She sighs, with a little quirk of a smile. "Not that I'm about to say no to anything. I'm not even sure what a Palace bound to me would be like.. but I'm kind of interested to find out."

    Then she cocks an eyebrow. "Um.. safer to not actually act like a ghost, I think. No sense risking another.. performance."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-11 16:00:42 94096
"Well if you ask Kunzite, probably it's annoying. He always gets aggravated with the caracal," laughs Mamoru, and then when Kyouko tells him not to act like a ghost, he sighs exaggeratedly and puts a hand on his chest, face falling dramatically. "You never let me have any fun." Then he just sort of drifts back a little bit, looking distractedly over his shoulder at something that's not there. "I should probably go, shortly. Uh, which has nothing to do with acting like a ghost or not, in case you were worried. She's up to something, and I want to see if I can figure out what the hell it is."