Tabled In Favor of Curry

Mamoru drags Jadeite and Nephrite out to Korma Chameleon to bribe them not to get mad at him with the magical goodness of food while he tries to argue sort of in favor of the guy who inadvertently and indirectly killed him two weeks ago, or maybe to argue in favor of keeping the apology alcohol that said guy sent. It's very emotional. There was almost a group hug in public.

Date: 2018-08-19
Pose Count: 22
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-19 18:59:20 94954
"I get it," Mamoru's saying as he doesn't quite drag Neil and Saburo behind him toward Korma Chameleon. They're so lucky. It's so close. Technically they could even just jump off the balcony or teleport into Mamoru or Neil's cars in the parking garage and then walk out the bottom floor instead of taking the elevator forty-seven floors down, and then it's just, like, two blocks away.

"I mean, I really get it. And you don't have to forgive him. That's why I'm taking myself out of the vote. But he actually legiterally feels bad about it and he didn't actually mean for her to kill me, so even though you don't have to accept his apology, I want to."

Then he slows down and stops, right there on the sidewalk outside the restaurant, and he sighs, letting go of them to drag his hands down his face and look defeated. "Except that I'm backing whatever you decide to do about it, and I don't want to give you guys the idea that just because I personally forgive him, you're obligated to or something. So... dammit. Can't we just check it for dark energy and then donate it to some stranger's wedding? I hate to waste it."
Saburo Yukimura 2018-08-19 19:20:03 94959
He isn't quite being dragged - it's more that he is very aware of the fact that this food is a bribe of sorts, to a conversation that he's reluctant to have. It needs to happen though - a decision has to be made, and soon, because this has gone on far too long. This being many things - Sailor Earth, who was only far too recently defeated, Takashi Agera, who has wrecked havoc large and small for years now, and the booze - crates of which are now getting in the way in their home. So he understands that they have to talk about it, and he understands Mamoru's perspective, even if he doesn't like it.

"I think we all know that you want to forgive him. That isn't in question so much as why we should forgive him. A crate of booze doesn't erase what he did to you or to Makoto with his experiments, and it doesn't erase what he did to all of us by hurting you... and booze is a cheap substitute for a true apology."

"I'm still not in favor of chucking the booze off the roof though. Someone walking by could be hurt."
Nephrite 2018-08-19 19:34:23 94965
Bribery can get you everywhere with Neil. Food is a particularly effective motivator, and his love of the entire menu at Korma Chameleon is well-documented. So he is, surprisingly, not as moody as this conversation might generally make him. Even outside on the street, the enticing smells are too distracting to focus on being angry.

Normally, alcohol is equally motivating for him. But not this alcohol. Not today. "Okay first off, I really, really doubt that Takashi Agera feels any actual emotions in his tiny husk of a soul, legit or literally or legiterally or whatever. Secondly, who sends alcohol as an apology for accidental murder? This is like, the kind of apology you'd make for busting someone's car up."

He snorts at Jadeite. "Okay, but like, what if we got Kunzite to stand on the ground and bubble anybody walking by? Then could we talk about chucking it off the roof?"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-19 19:58:17 94968
"Well first off in this corner, I'm not asking you to forgive him. I'm not dumb. I'd really prefer it if you didn't throw potentially broken glass at his face. Or take him out behind the shed. Or whatever. But if you do, yeah, I'll go to jail with you," says Mamoru, maybe a little exasperated. He goes to pull the door open, sticks his head inside, doesn't see Rashmi, and proceeds to gesture the two of them in. After you. (So he can keep talking to them in a lower-ish voice and not have to crane his neck and possibly walk into things. Of course.)

"I'm not even trying to argue for letting me keep my crate anymore, because if I keep mine and you don't keep yours, then we're not showing a united front. So I won't keep mine. But I still think it's practically sacrilege to waste it! Why can't we find a wedding to donate it to?" He jams his hands in his pockets as he follows them in, then takes one hand out again to adjust his glasses, and then pockets again. His shoulders are a little hunched up. "You know how I'm pretty good at telling whether or not people are lying to me? Lacrima said he feels bad about it. I mean, despite him being a gigantic dick, he's never actually killed anyone before, even by accident. I am more than willing to talk to him myself to see in person if he's actually sorry, but somehow I doubt you guys want me anywhere near him."
Saburo Yukimura 2018-08-19 20:14:01 94971
@emit "Sure, you aren't asking us to forgive him, but if you forgive him and we don't at least vaguely tolerate his continued existence, there will be sad sighing and brooding looks and attempts to help Agera find some sort of common decency regardless. So it's important that we know why you think wes should - or even could forgive him," Saburo explains calmly, stepping through the door first and craning his neck to look back at the other two, decidedly uncaring about the risk of walking into anything. This is probably why he walks into a table, but he doesn't mind. Pain is a temporary state of mind.

He does cock his head at Nephrite's suggestion, humming as he thinks it over. "You know... that might work. I like the idea of that. Kunzite might even be convinced to try it. And I like it a lot more than I like the idea of you going anywhere near Agera, Mamoru. We can stop people from geting hurt by falling glass, and we could probably avoid jail time for it. We can't avoid Agera pulling another stupid stunt, whenever he gets over his regrets."
Nephrite 2018-08-19 20:27:26 94973
Neil actually pauses to savor the mental image of broken glass flying at Agera's face. "You know, it would make for some really amazing news headlines if Sanjouin Masato got arrested for smashing a bottle on a guy's forehead. Hey, it's not like we can't afford bail."

His scowl returns at the thought of the actual contents of said bottles. "Look, you know how I feel about nice alcohol. You know I'd agree with you 99% of the time that it should never be put to waste, no matter where it came from. But I don't trust a thing that guy has touched. What if he's used some kind of substance in it that we don't know how to detect? What if this is part of some other scheme to--to get us super-drunk and lower our defenses? I feel even worse about passing it off on some innocent civilian.

Mamoru's suggestion that he talk to Agera personally is met with a derisive snort. "Yeah, no. You guessed right."

Saburo is being reasonable as always, but at least he is willing to indulge Neil's fantasy of chucking the bottles off the roof. He appreciatively slaps him on the back. "See? It's a clean solution!"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-19 21:00:37 94975
"No. Listen," says Mamoru, now actually frustrated enough for it to start turning into tension in his hunched shoulders, tension in his jaw. "There won't be sad sighing and brooding and whatever." He gets on the line to order takeaway and scowls at the shoes of whoever's more in front of him. "The vote I'm talking about is what to do about him. I haven't managed to get everyone in one place at once and I want to tell all of you what I told Neil before we tell the Senshi, and I don't want to leave a note on the fridge. Whatever you guys decide, I won't question, and I will back you up. You decide. I go along with it. Because you know what my vote would be, but I am not actually the injured party here except for being mad he made you guys hurt with what happened to me, which really is kind of--"

Here's where his voice raises a little bit, going up up up in an upward inflection like he's incredulous and getting loud about it. "--reaching?? Like. How many degrees of separation is that? And I'm mad about what he did to Mako-chan, yes, absolutely, and what he's been doing for literally most of the time I've known him? But he also *literally jumped in front of a christmas-tree-sized lance? basically? To save my life? At D-Point?* And I still--"

He shuts himself up and closes his eyes. "You guys... you know how much that messed me up. Trying to save him. Maybe, I don't know. Maybe I'm just still trying to save him. We-- you're already safe. You're safe."
Saburo Yukimura 2018-08-19 21:18:54 94976
Saburo bites his lip to keep himself quiet, listening intently, because the frustration, the tension in Mamoru's voice and body language is enough to silence him, enough to make him leave all joking - and not so joking - threats behind, so that he can hear his prince. Perhaps he's been too flippant, in trying to keep his cool. Mamoru is trying, as he always does, to see the best in those around him, to offer them another chance. He isn't surprised by that - that same capacity for forgiveness had knocked him off his feet once, when it had been offered to him, but it was who Mamoru was. Who Mamoru is. That capacity for forgiveness is why the mere idea that this decision is in their hands, entirely, is such a surprise. Mamoru was kinder than all of them, more willing to forgive, and he knew it. But the idea that he himself isn't the injured party here...

"We're angry because he hurt you. I'm angry because of what he did to you. Of what he caused, and we still don't know why he did it, and a peace offering of booze isn't an explanation. It isn't a promise that he won't do it again." His calm tone breaks on the word why and doesn't quite recover before he finishes the rest of his sentences. He follows Mamoru into line to make his order, and closes his eyes, drawing in a single steadying breath. Mamoru is safe now. He's right there. They're all safe now. But that's the problem, isn't it? That they're safe now, and now could end at any moment.

"I know that you want to save him. And... I'm not going to make a judgement on whether or not he can be saved, or whether or not he should be. But every choice we make has a consequence, and I don't think we can accept his gift without accepting the apology. Even if that acceptance only goes as far as regifting it."
Nephrite 2018-08-19 21:38:04 94977
There is a marked difference in response to the question of Takashi Agera, between the human college student standing in a takeout lineup and the ghostly prince who stood on the rooftop a few weeks ago and allowed Nephrite to shout in his face. It should be a relief, in a way, that the calm dissociation of the rock ghost did not carry over into the human prince. That he has all of his heart back, all his tenderness. But it came with his trauma too, perhaps made a bit more raw for having been absent for a while. He grabs Mamoru's wrist and holds it, because that connection may have been back for a while, but they have months of its loss to make up for. "We're safe, and we're getting curry, buddy. We can actually afford to make this an academic issue for a little while and debate the moral implications behind our actions or whatever. We'll take it to the rest of the group, like you proposed"

He nods at Jadeite's words. "Look, I'm not even going to get into you not seeing yourself as the injured party here, because that's a whole other issue that I think we're going to need some not-evil booze for. But yeah, Saburo's making sense. Accepting the gift is accepting the apology, and accepting the apology feels like it's letting him off the hook just like that. Even if he doesn't face any other consequences, can he at least face the consequence of us snubbing his taste in sake? Because I bet he brags to everyone who will listen about how he has the best taste in sake, and I super don't want to give him the satisfaction of that."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-19 22:01:19 94979
"Yeah. Which is why I'm not gonna argue parting with it. It's not like we can't buy our own. It's just-- with that? It really is the waste that bothers me. See what Kazuo and Kyouko say. If they agree on smashing it, smash it." Mamoru's speaking quickly, talking half under his breath again, closed up tight. "Maybe just-- maybe just return it to him unopened. That's probably the most civilized way to refuse it, though it's also the most insulting and he'd probably use it as a justification for--"

He shakes his head, cutting himself off, glossing over Jadeite's objection to him not considering himself the injured party-- primarily because of Nephrite's reason for tabling it a moment later.

The contact-- that's actually what instantly stops him, starts calming him down, with its immediacy and its grounding and its sudden rush of right-there emotion: it's something to focus on, both physically and empathically, without the background noise of everything else. He chuffs out a ragged little half-laugh as his shoulders start to relax, and they all move up another place in line.

God knows what anyone else is thinking, overhearing them, but Mamoru couldn't actually care less about that at the moment. "Yeah. Okay."

Plus it's great when Neil calls him buddy.

He gives Saburo an apologetic look that's maybe a little sheepish. "Sorry, man."
Saburo Yukimura 2018-08-19 22:20:52 94983
A grateful look is thrown Neil's way, for the contact that Saburo hadn't thought to initiate himself. He still doesn't do it now - just shrugs in gentle dismissal of the apology. "It's nothing to apologize for."

And the look on hi face should make it clear that that isn't a platitude, that he genuinely means the words exactly as they're said. They've all been through too much for him to want an apology over something as honest and simple as feeling.

"Sending it back sounds good to me. Not as amusing as throwing it out would be, but it's still the kind of snub he deserves. Neil's right - I don't want him to take any satisfaction from this."

And then he falls silent, thinking over his words, long enough for them all to be able to move up another space in line, before he finaly says, possibly right in the middle of Neil's next response, "But you had a point about talking to him and seeing if his remorse is genuine. That's the crux of it, isn't it, the fact that we don't know anything about his intentions? We don't want you to do it - but I could."
Nephrite 2018-08-19 22:41:15 94987
Given Korma Chameleon's location, this is surely not the strangest conversation these walls have ever heard. Neil casually steps closer to Mamoru and keeps his hand on his arm. Yes, the connection means Mamoru can feel Neil's unmitigated loathing for Agera, but it's not like that particular bundle of emotions is a surprise, and it comes with all the rest of Nephrite. Especially his current desire for an actual mountain of naan bread.

He sighs. "Sending it back is way less fun than smashing every bottle and sending him just the pieces, but I would take that over regifting it. I... " he considers Mamoru's suggestion of retaliation. "This is like, kind of my point. If we are legit afraid that the guy might do something worse because we don't accept his apology, then how can we possibly consider that a proper apology?"

Saburo makes his suggestion, and he pauses, tilting his head thoughtfully down at the blond. "That... is not a bad idea. I'd want the rest of us listening in as backup too, but I would be on board with that."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-20 01:24:29 95014
"Okay." That first word's got grateful understanding underscoring it, quiet and real. And then the prince exhales. "Yeah-- yeah we can at least make sure there will be no getting of satisfaction from us drinking his hush money booze," acquiesces Mamoru with a small laugh, shrugging his non-Neil shoulder.

Neil starts to agree to the booze compromise, then sort of starts going a little left with what Mamoru did't quite finish saying and Mamoru's shaking his head-- but then Saburo cuts in, and the rest of Mamoru relaxes. He reaches over with his free hand as Neil's answering that, and he puts it briefly over Jadeite's to show him, empathy making it absolutely clear, exactly how much he appreciates the suggestion. And how grateful he is for Jadeite taking an active hand in participation, volunteering-- there's a hint, before he lets his hand drop again, that he's hoping maybe it means Jadeite is feeling better.

He nods, then, and offers to Neil and his stipulation, "We could ask Rashmi if she'd be willing to set up a telepathy spell again. She's been really invested in this nonsense too, and I'm sure she'd love to hear an explanation as well."
Saburo Yukimura 2018-08-20 03:06:14 95027
And the problem of what to do with the evil booze seems mostly solved, with that. They'll have to present the idea to the rest of them, but he can't see anyone except - perhaps - Kyouko having any problem with returning the alcohol, and that only because she'd surely prefer to drink it than return it. And Mamoru already looks better, more relaxed, and if he can do nothing else but ease Mamoru's burdens, then Saburo would be satisfied.

The warmth of that touch only underscores it, the feeling of peace and home, but also, gratitude and appreciation and well, is he easy? Yes. Infinitely so, especially when it revolves around praise from friends. Before Mamoru releases his grip, he'll feel Jadeite's affection, how satisfied he is that Mamoru is safe, is warm, is with them now, and how much he wants to keep him that way. A face to face with Agera is nothing if it will keep the peace and lose them an enemy.

"If she's willing, I'd appreciate it - going in with backup that he can't spy on would be a good help. And it will mean that you can hear for yourselves what he has to say."
Nephrite 2018-08-20 03:28:42 95030
The shared warmth of friendship and affection makes its way from Jadeite to Mamoru to Nephrite. Neil breaks off with a laugh. "C'mon, don't make me initiate a group hug in public when I haven't even got a drink in my hand. I need some kind of deniability here!"

They're lucky to have Jadeite, here. They're always lucky, but right now, he's grateful that somehow they've reached the end of this conversation without a real argument. "Hey, now we can see who's better at playing Mamoru. I think I nailed my justice speech when it was my turn to be decoy."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-20 03:43:38 95035
Is... Mamoru... blushing? No, it's definitely the fancy lights. DEFINITELY. THE FANCY LIGHTS. He lets out a funny burst of a self-conscious laugh, emotions reeling-- and then he's disconnected from Jadeite and Nephrite both, physically, and scrubs at his face, still laughing. "Thanks, guys." And then he punches Neil's arm for the plausible deniability, and THEN the justice speech comment happens and he chokes in incredulity. "You what. You--"

And then they're actually up, and Mamoru sputters and flails his hands and looks incredibly sheepish at the person taking orders-- they all know the ECFH boys in here-- and then oh my god he sees Rashmi's mom giving them sideeye and he very definitely blushes. "Ahh-- lamb korma, please, and saffron rice, and also biryani and garlic naan? And a mango lassi. And whatever these guys are getting."
Saburo Yukimura 2018-08-20 04:00:32 95041
Jadeite just grins, not even trying to hide how happy he is. It's Mamoru's fault anyway - he was the one using his feel-good hands, he should have known how it was going to turn out. And unlike the other two, he's never felt a need to cover up his feelings, so his grin is all sappy feelings and brotherly love -

and then Nephrite mentions his justice speech, and he surprises himself with a burst of laughter, futilely covering his mouth to try and muffle the sudden fit that is absolutely drawing every eye in the restaurant to them. He can't even feel sorry about it, can't summon the sheepishness that paints Mamoru's face when he realizes that Rashmi's mom is watching them. "I forgot all about that - "

It takes a few seconds to get himself under control, but by the time Mamoru is done ordering, he's at least stopped laughing long enough to order. "Can I have the chicken seekh kabob and onion kulcha, please? And- oh, and lemonade."
Nephrite 2018-08-20 04:15:57 95045
The punch on Neil's arm only makes him laugh. The reaction he gets to the mention of the justice speech only makes him laugh more. "You guys just have no appreciation for my poetic genius. I did a fantastic justice speech. Or at least good enough to trick a bunch of alien flowers, and they absolutely count."

He grins at the person at the counter, not sheepish in the least. "Hi, please excuse my friends who absolutely don't recognize talent when they see it. I need some chicken tikka, a mountain of paneer pakora, two orders of garlic naan, and coconut rice."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-20 04:29:41 95046
"Oh my god," Mamoru mumbles at the counter around a stupid grin, and he takes his wallet out and hands over the magic card. "Oh uh. And also, uh-- whatever Kazuo, Izumi, and Kyouko ordered last. That's the white-haired one, the--"

He lifts his hands in defense, still grinning, when he gets an eyeroll and an 'oh I know who they are'. "Sorry. Yeah. Them. Those. Big order. Super sorry." He hands over the card, then casually steps on Nephrite's foot. "You can tell this idiot's a Shakespearean actor, right? I mean usually the hair gives it away. If not the hair, the expansive gesturing--"

He gives Jadeite a 'help meeee' look.
Saburo Yukimura 2018-08-20 04:37:57 95048
Jadeite sees the look, but he's still trying to get his own laughter under control, so he's not nearly as helpful as he could be. "Mamoru - Mamoru sometimes you just have to give it up," he manages finally, smiling so hard his cheeks hurt. The look he favors the pair behind the counter with is all youthful mischief and amusement, touched with the faintest, fondest hint of brotherly annoyance. "I'm sorry for all the disruption - these two have been studying for our drama final for so long that they've forgotten how to behave in public."

His angelic smile cheerfully dismisses the idea that he too could have possibly been studying for too long, and invites those watching to join in on the joke - of course nothing they've said should be taken seriously, of course it's just the ramblings of exhausted, hungry students.
Nephrite 2018-08-20 04:55:03 95053
Neil can only grin harder at the story. "Yeah, sorry for the disruption. These two are just embarrassed to be associated with a production of Hamlet in Space. They think it's beneath them or something." Because of the alien flowers. Obviously.

Either Saburo's innocent charm or Mamoru's many apologies or Neil's winning smile smooth over the situation, at least enough that the person behind the counter laughs and shakes a head. As they're loading up their armloads of food to haul back to the ECFH, Neil nudges Saburo. "Joke's on you. Now you have to do a justice speech when you look like him. Just once."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-20 04:59:08 95055
"We did NOT DISCUSS looking like me!" Mamoru says, wide-eyed as he pushes the door open with his back. "Although that'd make three of you and Minako. Maybe Izumi should go with you as Usa."

Honestly he might actually try teleporting home after that suggestion. Kyouko will save him as long as he has food to bribe her with.