No Title Set

Date: 2018-08-28
Pose Count: 13
Nephrite 2018-08-28 23:51:33 96338
A lot has happened in the past few weeks. A prince's soul displaced, an illusory ball, a powerful clone dispatched, a stakeout, a prince and princess engaged, the ECFH ruined (again), Jadeite's past ambushing him on the street and the resulting emotional fallout that has resulted in Mamoru wandering around the apartment clutching a blond-haired plushie. There has barely been time to breathe, let alone process the torrent of conflicting emotions.

And so, Nephrite is outside Makoto's door with a big bouquet of colorful dahlias. He's got his sunglasses on his head because he's peering at his phone screen. Pokemon Go has sucked him in again.
Makoto Kino 2018-08-29 00:06:37 96339
Makoto has a few tried and true methods of de-stressing, and she can only clean house for so long before there's nothing left out of place and it becomes an exercise in wasted energy. So it's maybe not a big surprise that, when she opens the door to Nephrite, she's wearing one of those big brightly-colored clothes-covering aprons and her fingers (and a smudge on her cheek where she swiped at an errant hair without thinking) are dusty with flour. There's golden-colored muffins cooling on a rack on the kitchen island, a lump of half-kneaded dough on the kitchen counter beside the stove, and the whole apartment smells like a bakery.

"Hello there," she greets him with a smile that only gets bigger at the sight of him standing there with the bouquet in one hand and his phone in the other. "Catching anything interesting?"
Nephrite 2018-08-29 00:15:11 96340
A bright grin crosses his face when he sees her. "Nah, just another natu. I swear, there's a flock of them that just follow me around." He shoves his phone in his pocket so he can the flowers to her properly. "For you, my lady. To make up for my absolutely boorish manners at the grand ball a few weeks ago."

He catches a glance at the counter inside, and the amazing smells wafting around. "I hope it's not a bad time. I can sit in the corner and keep out of your way while you focus on your projects."
Makoto Kino 2018-08-29 00:21:49 96341
Mako hastily dusts her floury hands off on her apron, with middling success, before she reaches to accept the dahlias from him. "I don't remember you doing anything bad enough to call 'boorish,'" she says with a little laugh, "but if it gets me such beautiful flowers, who am I to argue with you about it?"

She's already stepping back to wave him in, and she shakes her head quickly at the suggestion that it might not be a good time. "Don't be silly, you're never in the way. It was probably about time for me to stop beating the crap out of that dough and give it a chance to rise, anyway."
Nephrite 2018-08-29 00:31:38 96342
"I seem to recall my rudely chasing away all of your admirers. Though since I got a dance with you out of it, I only feel a little bad." He follows her inside, removes his shoes at the door, and makes his way to the non-kitchen side of the island to lean his elbows against it. He chuckles at her mention of beating the dough up. "Did the dough have it coming? Did it insult somebody?"
Makoto Kino 2018-08-29 00:42:56 96343
"Not at all," is Makoto's reply, rueful but still smiling. "It was a totally undeserving but convenient target. You can have a muffin if you want one."

The dough gets left alone a little longer while Mako fills a vase with water for the dahlias. "I haven't really had a chance to ask," she comments as she takes a few moments to arrange the flowers in the vase, "and I should have... are you okay? I mean - it's been a heck of a time, lately."
Nephrite 2018-08-29 01:04:32 96346
Neil has very clear etiquette, where Makoto's baking is concerned. That etiquette is: only steal what she won't actually mind getting stolen. Which means that contraband with ambiguous intended destination goes untouched until she says it's okay. So the muffins get inspected with deep interest before she finally gives her assent for him to pounce on one. "Ooh, still warm!" He breaks a piece off and shoves it in his mouth, chewing slowly to savor it. "Wonderful, as always."

He takes the time to chew through a second piece before he answers her question. "I'm... I don't know. Conflicted. I mean, we won, and Mamoru's okay again, and everything is fine now, so that should feel like a victory. And it really doesn't, to me."

He carefully sets his muffin down on the counter. He wouldn't want to accidentally crush it. "I'm sure you heard. About the sake cases. And how we're keeping them. I was against that. I'm still against it." He sighs, pushes his hair out of his face, and looks at her earnestly. "I... wanted to know how you feel about that. Honestly. Because Mamoru said... when he was a rock ghost and could talk about this without getting too worked up about it, he said he thought you felt pressured to keep the peace over Agera. And it doesn't feel fair to you. Any of this."
Makoto Kino 2018-08-29 01:37:03 96354
It's Makoto's turn to go quiet for a space, to consider her words in silence while she fusses absently with the way the dahlias sit in the vase. "...I did hear about the sake," she confirms after a brief silence. "I hadn't heard - what the decision was going to be." A beat passes before she adds, "He sent us candy. Me and the other senshi. I gave mine to Kyouko... I was going to send it back, but it seemed pointless to let it be wasted."

She draws in a long, slow breath, holds it a moment, then lets it out again. Finding a place for the vase of dahlias, she sets them out before coming over to lean against the side of the counter next to Neil. "It's not like anyone's been pushing me to give in or anything," she says. "Ami-chan is an important friend to me. I don't like arguing with her. Anyway, what am I supposed to do, tell her and Usagi-chan and Mamoru-niisan that they shouldn't try to save people? I hated it when Minako-chan did that about you guys, back when - and she had good reasons, but she was still wrong."

Moody, she reaches over to break off a little piece of the muffin Neil's started in on. "I don't know what to do. About any of it."
Nephrite 2018-08-29 02:06:39 96367
Neil catches her hand as she pulls it away, bends down and plants a kiss on it before releasing it. "That was Mamoru's plan. To pass it on to someone else. Then Agera gave his apology--like an actual apology, with his own mouth--to Jadeite face-to-face when he was made to look like Mamoru, and Jadeite made the call. And I wasn't going to tell him no after that--Usagi must have told you all about the engagement now, right? They did that during the conversation with Takashi," when we were all psychically linked." A smile pushes its way past the frustration on his face. "Those kids. Can't keep from being an adorable couple even during a stakeout."

The smile fades again, and he sighs. "I know. Ami's your friend, and that's so important. That's why I didn't want to dump my frustration about this on you. But I can't stop hearing his smug voice after what he did to you. I can't stop being angry. I know, Mamoru and Usagi's eternal capacity for forgiveness is exactly what makes us all love them so much. I know it's why I'm standing here. But this time... I wish they would just switch it off."

He shrugs, glancing away. "But they won't, so... there's not much we
can'' do. I've told Mamoru what I think. I've told him that we at least need to keep an eye on him. I don't want that guy getting the drop on us ever again."
Makoto Kino 2018-08-29 02:34:40 96383
The kiss to her hand brings some of the smile back to Makoto's face, enough to chase away the gloomy cloud that had some over her expression. She listens as he explains, nodding a little at points; mention of the engagement and the particulars of how and when it went down brings a quiet laugh out of her in spite of herself. "I heard," Makoto confirms. "Usagi-chan's been about fit to burst."

She occupies herself with eating the piece of muffin that she stole, and then she leans lightly against Neil's arm, a point of contact to reassure them both. "You don't have to feel like you should spare me, you know," she says. "Really, it helps knowing I'm not the only one who's frustrated."

Frowning, she lets her gaze drop to the countertop and the half-demolished muffin. "We do need to keep an eye on him. It's not just us - he keeps doing this stuff, and the mess gets bigger and bigger every time. Maybe this time it finally blew up in his face bad enough that he's learned his lesson... but if he hasn't, how much longer until he breaks something so badly that nobody can fix it?"
Nephrite 2018-08-29 03:09:05 96397
Nephrite snakes an arm around Makoto, leaning his head against hers. "I know. You're a tough girl. I mean, you sucker punched that giant Fake Earth Witch in the face! I just don't want you to ever feel like you have to mediate between me and your friends. But I also didn't want you to feel like there's no one in your camp. At least we can share in our frustration."

He reaches for another chunk of muffin. "So, want to plan out Agera's inevitable demise, whenever it comes? I know we were always planning on punching him, but lately I've been dreaming about pushing him into a vat of acid."
Makoto Kino 2018-08-29 03:21:51 96399
It's easier to relax with his arm around her. Harder to stay frustrated, at least in the moment. Making a pleased little sound in her throat, Makoto snuggles in against his side, curling her arm around him in turn. "You are the very best boyfriend, and I couldn't have suckerpunched the Fake Earth Witch if it weren't for you giving me a leg up." Her arm around him squeezes a little one-armed hug, and the lightness of her voice gives way to a quieter sincerity when she adds, "Thank you. Really. It means a lot."

Sneaking another bit of the muffin for herself, Mako hums for a moment in consideration. "Acid, really? Honestly, I've always figured that sooner or later he'd get himself eaten by one of his own terrible ideas. You know... something karmic like that."
Nephrite 2018-08-29 03:38:37 96400
Neil grins fondly at the memory. "That was the coolest thing I've ever seen, and I'm saying that after having seen a real, breathing dragon in our apartment." He holds her closer, a big soft wall of heat. "Only because you deserve the best boyfriend. So don't hesitate to come vent at me. You've certainly put up with enough of my ranting."

Makoto reaches for another piece, and he dips his head toward her hand again -- this time to snatch the piece of muffin out of her hand with his mouth. He stands back up with a smirk. "Oh, I like the karmic retribution. I hope it's something giant with tentacles."