Fine. Everything is fine.

Mamoru and Naru discuss being fine, not being fine, and painting.

Date: 2018-09-04
Pose Count: 28
Naru Osaka 2018-09-04 23:41:04 96976
It is after school, after dinner even, and the light is starting to fade. Still, that's what work lights are for, and Naru is kneeling on the floor, getting out paints and brushes and consulting her sketchbook as she considers what damage she has to fix on the walls. Corners are destroyed, they need redoing. A few touchups all over the place, honestly. She has a t-shirt that likely was stolen from Kyouko, and has seen better days, certainly it's had paint additions to it over the last year that probably didn't come on the t-shirt to begin with.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-09-04 23:49:31 96978
It's probably not a terribly big surprise that Mamoru comes in not long after Naru's set up shop, nor is it surprising that he's come bearing tea with rose honey and the kind of little cakes that you can eat with a fork and not look funny. Also unsurprising is that the King of Laziness is back to his yukata and bare feet, even in the construction zone. What might be at least mildly startling is that he's not over at Usagi's, or she here, at this time of day.

He sets them down and crouches next to a dry and undamaged section, putting fingertips to surface. "Do you think coating it with anything would help? Like the way we coated the floor with magic laminate to keep blood out of the grout?"
Naru Osaka 2018-09-04 23:55:08 96980
"Yes and no." Naru turns towards him, watching him run fingers over the wall. "And hi. How're you?" She provides token pleasentries before returning back to the conversation at hand. "I did coat it, but just with a mundane sealant. Mostly to keep it from wearing off when you say.. wiped the wall, with the assumption that the walls would need cleaning at /some/ point." She runs her hand over a damaged, and now repaired section. "But if the drywall gets crushed, the paint gets crushed too, which is the challenge. And it does't do anything for little gouges." She stands, reaching up to indicate a spot where /something/ dinged the wall and mucked up the edge of a tree. "I'm not sure how to prevent that, and suspect that touch ups are just going to be a reality."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-09-05 00:01:17 96983
"I'm fine," Mamoru answers reflexively, giving a tiny little twist-upward of a half smile as an acknowledgement that he forgot to do pleasantries. "Hi."

Then he sits on his heels, drawing his hand away to push up his glasses. "The drywall wasn't supposed to collapse like that. I imagine it's a good thing it did, else we'd've had partially impaled dragon to deal with, but I'm wondering if I can ask Homura to look at whether there was spell failure or just overload." He glances aside at Naru. "I certainly don't mind keeping paying you to fix it if you don't mind keeping fixing it. I just thought you might've been hurt by its taking damage in the first place."
Naru Osaka 2018-09-05 00:11:20 96987
"Are you fine, or are you /fine/?" Naru asks, well aware that about half of the time, 'fine' has nothing at all to do with actually being fine.

"I was some /pissed/." Naru admits with a rueful smile. "I was all ready to stomp back in and give the whole damn room a piece of my mind, and dude a piece of my flamethrower.. but it was all over by the time I got back." She sighs and shrugs. "Super unsatisfying personally, but that's just me being selfish." She considers a moment and then settles down to start mixing paints. "It never occured to me that it being injured might do me actual physical hurt though. It didn't. Or nothing I noticed." She pffts softly at the mention of being paid, with a shake of her head. "I'm pretty sure this is part of the warrenty."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-09-05 00:23:51 96992
"Believe it or not," Mamoru says with a laugh, "I'm actually for-real fine, I just don't want to advertise it in case something objects. I'd like to be actually fine for a while." Then he sits on the floor instead of his heels, and crosses his legs, and takes one of the two cups he'd brought out and sips it as he listens.

"I'm glad it didn't. I wasn't sure," he says into the cup, then glances up at Naru, and his eyes glitter behind his glasses with something very like vengeful mirth. "Actually, I was planning on billing him."
Naru Osaka 2018-09-05 00:27:31 96994
"I'm glad." Naru glances up and smiles at that. "I'd like you to be actually fine for a while /too/. You were not fine for an irritatingly long period of time, the balance is off." She turns her attention back to her paints, taking possibly unreasonable care in getting her colour mixes just so.

"Would he care?" Naru asks simply enough. "I mean.. I'm all for it, especially for the balcony doors, but it struck me as he doesnt have enough nuance to find it properly insulting. Although the arrogance of it .. and him.." She hrms and then laughs. "I can write you an invoice, but only if its going to him. Not for you to actually pay."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-09-05 00:37:17 96997
"I'm half-tempted to send it to his parents, but that would be putting them in danger." The prince takes another sip of his tea, then glances at Naru sidelong. "You realize that I should have done the intelligent thing and had it insured. You shouldn't have to go without pay for work done just because some asshole messed it up. But I suspect we can argue that until the cows come home and it's only Kunzite who'd be able to find the right argument to get you to concede. Would you accept a donation to charity for the amount of the invoice? I'm sending it to him either way."

He rubs idly at the base of his thumb and adds, sheepishly, "Regarding my fine-ness, though-- yes. Sometimes I feel like since getting into this business, I'm not fine more often than I'm fine. I don't know if that's actually true or just my self-esteem talking..."
Naru Osaka 2018-09-05 00:43:19 97001
"I thought his parents were mostly in the know?" Naru hrms softly, thoughtfully and then uncurls to go and get some water for washing brushes in while she works. "Although getting them involved.. yeah.. too dangerous. He's basically a complete psycho."

"You can insure a /mural/?" Naru blinks at him, puzzled at the very notion. "It feels wrong to accept payment for doing what I'd do anyhow.. and for what feels like my own therapy, so to speak. It's not much extra work, and I get to fix some stuff I didn't like the first time."

Naru wets one of her paint brushes and then paradoxically dries it again, because it matters before daubing into paint to get a baselayer down. "I front loaded all of my not-fine, and apparently got it all.. mostly.. over with at once. I'm not sure if that's a better choice than spreading it out over years. It sucks either way, and totally messes with the self-esteem, yep."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-09-05 00:57:02 97004
"According to Norie, they're not," Mamoru shrugs. "They don't even know where she is or what happened to her. But she also said they can't be told about him unless he dies, because they'd obviously disagree with him, and disagreeing with him is what gets people targeted. So what you said, yeah. He's a complete psycho. Who's also utterly OP."

He finishes his tea and sets the cup down, then picks it back up to start turning it around in his hands, looking at it. "You can insure just about anything. It's common to insure original artwork and houses, so I don't see why not a mural..."

Finally he glances up again, and he chuffs out a not-really-funny laugh. "I was pretty sure I was pointless until I had a point, and even then I was certain I was useless even when I was doing this stuff alongside other people. I know better now, but it's still hard not to feel that way in the dark, you know?"
Naru Osaka 2018-09-05 01:07:02 97008
"Right.. I'm not sure why I thought they were in the know." Naru hunhs softly and then shrugs. "He'll probably target them /anyhow/, cause I dont think facts are terribly high on his priority list."

"Yeah.. you're certainly not pointless. Nor useless." Naru gives him a look from her basecoating, and then turns back to what she's doing as she works the edges in carefully to the existing mural. A new skill, to be fair, repair work. Not quite the same as working from scratch. "But I utterly and totally get where you're coming from. I skip the pointless and settle into lonely and isolated, immaterial of reality, or rational. Useless, I'm pretty sure that's most of us who don't have Kyouko level confidence." She smirks a touch, fond, even while jealous of skipping /that/ bit of brain stupid. "And it's ten times worse when you know you want to help, and can't. Awful feeling."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-09-05 01:17:28 97013
"Neither are you, for what it's worth to hear it from me," says Mamoru ruefully, then nudges Naru's tea closer to her, even though she's busy. "And yeah. It's the worst feeling," he says fervently. "I'd rather get a broken leg re-set at the same time as a root canal without anaesthesia than be helpless even to defend myself again, nevermind other people..."

There's a small sound of almost-amusement from him, and he shifts so that he can put his cup down and hug his knees to his chest. "I should have gone to spend more time with Hiroshi when I wasn't bleeding magic everywhere."
Naru Osaka 2018-09-05 01:26:31 97015
There's a few moments where base coat needs to dry and Naru is swishing her brush in the water, and she reaches for her tea then. Never mix up one's tea cup with one's waste water cup. Bad idea. Tea cup.

"I'm still pretty narrow focused on being able to do much by myself. I support others, by and large." Naru gives a shrug. "Has all of its own hangups, right there." She drinks from her cup. Mmm. Rose honeyed tea.

There's a flash of a smile and Naru points out. "Were you really in the right frame of mind to spend more time with Hiroshi at that point?"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-09-05 01:31:27 97016
"Probably," Mamoru says, leaning his chin on his knees. "I was still me, just without magic. And so much of his problem with me has historically been that I think of magic mundanely. It's just part of my life..."

He starts picking at the hem of his yukata, turning Naru's words over in his head. "I get that. It took me a while before I could do anything other than support what other people were doing, and I still value doing that above trying to take on monsters by myself, but it was also a lot easier to think of myself as a liability, or getting in the way."

Finally, he lets out an abrupt little sigh, sharp and tight. "Have you and Usa ever been in a really bad fight? I mean, in a fight with each other. At opposite sides of an angry argument."
Naru Osaka 2018-09-05 01:38:26 97018
"You without magic.. is not quite you anymore. Cause magic /is/ part of you, and part of your life.. and it's not actually /bad/ to think of it that way." Naru sets her tea down and there's an odd touch of expression. "It just freaks out the inlaws a touch."

Understatement of the week.

"I do a lot of stuff alone." Naru comments, as she picks up her brush. "Mundanely that is. I train alone, I paint alone. It's a real shift of mentality out of a very independant mindset to suddenly be looking for others when a fight breaks out. It's jarring."

Naru pauses at the question, her brush just above the paint, and she considers. "Not for very long. It's pretty rare that one or the other of us doesnt' cave fairly quickly due to overwhelming guilt." She pauses a moment and then admits, a touch more quietly. "Or I just dodge things that will make her mad." She touches the brush into the first of a collection of browns, touching up the tree. "Who are you fighting with?"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-09-05 01:44:19 97019
Because that's not an unsettling thought. "I'm pretty sure I was still me. Maybe just because... I couldn't access the magic, but it was technically still there..." Mamoru says dubiously, then looks away and down. He's trying really hard to be a grownup about this. He's really not being a grownup about this. "Jadeite."
Naru Osaka 2018-09-05 01:48:32 97021
"Still you, but different." Naru wrinkles her nose. "Which totally sounds like I'm contradicting myself, but it makes sense in my head. Like.. if you have something major happen, you're still you, just a different path of you. Endy with magic.. Endy without magic. Both Endy, but different path." She shakes her head and bahs softly. "This makes far more sense when I dont try and explain it.. but in /any/ case."

Naru blends the brown in, letting Mamoru look away all he wants, she's not looking at him to add the pressure. "What are you two fighting about?"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-09-05 02:04:56 97025
Silence for a moment. And yes, Endy does keep looking away.

Finally, "You know how I am about family. I didn't mean to bully him. But he made her cry and she's been looking for him for so long, she and her sister were six when he was taken. And-- now I know why he's still running, and he has every reason in the world. But it's not their fault, it's their parents'. And I can't abandon them." He takes a breath. "I mean-- one of his kid sisters found him. And-- they're really his. But he barely remembers anything-- if that-- except that their names were familiar. And he told her he didn't want to be her brother."

Now he's not looking away, he's unfolding like his ties just came unbound and he's falling apart, and he looks at his hands in the sudden lap he's been left with, and his shoulders are tight. "And all I could think of is how it would have felt if he'd said that to me. I didn't yell. But he didn't want me in there. So I withdrew and he was happy about it. And he's still shutting me out."
Naru Osaka 2018-09-05 02:10:59 97027
There are a lot of pieces missing from this puzzle. Naru listens. She paints, and she listens, with just enough 'mmm' to ensure that Mamoru knows he's not just speaking into a void. There's a glance out of the corner of her eye, as he moves, confirming that he's not going far, not fleeing.

"If someone is poking a bruise, or digging around to get out a splinter, you're happy when they stop." Naru points out quietly. "It doesn't mean you don't love them, to be happy that they've stopped hurting you. Even if the hurting is part of the healing."

There's another moment of quiet, as Naru cleans the brown off her brush, leaving that one in the water as she reaches for another. "How long ago did he shut you out?"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-09-05 02:17:29 97031
"...ten days ago," says Mamoru in a voice that's trying very hard to sound calm.

It cracks and soars on 'days', and he stops and clears his throat and finishes it with as much dignity as he can muster. "It's almost okay if I'm not thinking about it because it's not like I can't tell he's there, or where he is if I look, but there's a wall of ice between me and him. I can't feel anything from him but cold. It just-- he also leaves if I'm coming home, he leaves if I come into a room, he leaves..."
Naru Osaka 2018-09-05 02:25:22 97033
"If this was a trashy novel, you'd end up in some sort of minor peril, he'd come to his senses right quick, and then there'd be tears and hugging and probably ice cream." Naru points out, her voice as calm as it's been through the whole conversation. He's got enough emotions of his own, he doesn't need hers clogging up things, especially if he's attempting calm. She'll provide another layer of calm.

"My guess? For what its worth?" Naru adds after a moment of thoughtfulness. "Is that there's a lot of overwhelm, a lot of not wanting to deal with old stuff, and a whole lot of you being proxy for all the things that actually hurt. Which doesn't help it not hurt you." She mmms softly. "I'm sorry, Endy. Not apologetic sorry, but sympathetic sorry."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-09-05 02:31:44 97036
"Thanks," says the older boy, picking up his empty cup again and just looking at it. "And it's also... he knows I'm not going to cut them off. He knows I'm not going to just let it be. I can't. He's been incomplete for so long, and those two little girls-- they're part of what's missing. I can't just let it go. I'd never make him talk to his parents-- they-- they're the problem. But his sisters...? And he knows I won't let it go." He breathes out through his teeth, then draws himself up. "But-- I can trust Neph and Kunzite to help him, and-- and to talk to me if there really is an impasse. But if there is, I don't know what to do..."
Naru Osaka 2018-09-05 02:37:30 97038
"By the same token.. its his choice on /when/.. or /if/.. he has a relationship with his sisters." Naru points out. "He's his own person, and he gets to make that choice. Even if you disagree with it. Which has nothing to do with you having a relationship with them, or supporting them, or whatever." She looks over at him, picking up her tea again. "And what's inconceivable today, might need time for that seed to take root, and pushing it to be nowNowNOW will just make him stubborn and cranky and possibly icy and pushing away."

Naru mmms and then shrugs. "If there is, the pack of you will figure something out. But don't assume an impasse before there actually is one."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-09-05 02:41:09 97039
"I know," says Endymion, putting his cup down so he can knot his hands in his hair, elbows on his knees, hunched forward. "I know. And they're smart, like he is. They'll be hurt but they'll understand. It's just I can't bear it if my needing to support them comes between me and him for real-- I just-- I know not now-now-now, I'm not trying to, trying to talk to him about it, I'm not trying to do anything, I'm just-- I'm sorry. I'm still giving him space! It's just-- turning into a lot more space than I know how to deal with so I'm shoving it all away and trying not to think about it and then apparently just dropping it all on your head I'm so sorry--"
Naru Osaka 2018-09-05 02:48:08 97042
"It's a mess, and it's an emotional mess." Naru drops her brush into the water and settles down on the floor next to him. "It's okay. Usually I turn up all emotionally non-functional for no good reason and inflict it upon you. You have good reason and /everything/."

"I dont have a lot of suggestions. I dont know him well enough to suggest that direction. Space is hard though. And finding that line between enough space, and just forcing an intervention and getting it all out in the screaming open and done with and if that's more good than harm." Naru picks up her tea cup, to hold as she sits cross-legged next to him.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-09-05 03:02:04 97046
"And you don't know him well enough because he's been incomplete and hiding it this whole time," Endy says a little helplessly. "I need to figure it out without hurting him any more.'re right. I should..." He half-laughs, miserably. "This is one I should leave to the other guys, for real. Which brings us back to 'knowing you want to help and not being able to do anything'. I'm sorry. Thank you. I need to be an adult. I should... I should go find out what the hell address I can send Saint bloody George a bill at."
Naru Osaka 2018-09-05 03:06:05 97047
"No." Naru shakes her head. "I dont know Nephrite well enough /either/." She points out and then leans closer to offer a touch, easily avoided, an offer only. "But you guys are a team for a reason, and team means it's not always all you, even when that's the hard path. It will sort out. I have faith on that point. Clearly not without suckage, but you guys will figure things out." She quirks a rueful smile. "I'm only a text away, even if it's just an ARRRGH moment." There's a glance at the wall and then back to Mamoru. "And I'm not exactly rushing my way through painting either."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-09-05 03:12:10 97049
Now the prince unfolds properly, clearly full of ARRRGH inside if not outside, but managing to piece by piece layer the mask of 'fine' back on to the point where he can believe it himself again. He smiles ruefully, accepting that touch -- and there's the roiling hot mess of ow ow ow ow ow that's him picking at the scab in the shape of an iced-over door in the back of his soul, and there's his true gratitude for Naru and their friendship with each other, and there's the stability he borrows from Kunzite and the fire from Zoisite and the expansive future from Nephrite and the--

Ow. He has no chill. He has pretend chill put together from a lack of heat and an expanse of the space between stars.

And he has an engagement ring and that is above and beyond giddy on another entirely unaffected level.

And he's getting up, then, his hand briefly over the back of Naru's, then reaching to pick up his tea cup and leave Naru the cakes. "Obviously, if you see Jadeite wander through... he's a sculptor. You guys can talk about art stuff if nothing else."