Stress Vampires

Some of the Shitennou catch up on recent events: Wolkenritter for one, Akari for another, plus Virtue, Mamoru's being still on edge over a few things, and whether or not the new option for getting blood out of upholstery works. (And whether it's worth the fumes.)

Date: 2018-12-01
Pose Count: 26
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-01 03:04:45 101219
It's December Eve. And what is going on in the main living crossroads, er, room, of the ECFH? Is there studying? No, no, midterms are over and The Exam for some of the high school students isn't till January. Is there cooking? Not at this present time. Is there gaming? If there is, there's at least one person not involved.

Because Kazuo is tackling a certain chair with a damp towel soaked in whatever supposed cleaning solution they're trying *this* time. Maybe Kyouko's blood will even come out of it! Or maybe they're recovering it again.
Nephrite 2018-12-01 03:18:00 101220
Neil balks as he enters the so-called crossroads and is met with the smell of cleaning solution. "Dude! What is that, industrial strength?" He crosses to the balcony, near-winter be damned, and thrusts the sliding door open. There is a slight chill in the breeze that floods the room now.

He leans against the reinforced door frame, arms crossed. "So is it working, or is it time to replace the chairs yet again? Keeping in mind that I am specifically banned from shopping for the ECFH's furniture for an indeterminate length of time."
Saburo Yukimura 2018-12-01 03:24:57 101221
Neil isn't the first one to think of the balcony - Saburo is there too, seated crosslegged on the floor and settled against the rosebush's pot and embracing the freezing wind that's been banishing the scent of weapon grade cleanser trying to leak through the sliding door. He glances up when Neil throws open his sanctuary and makes a face. "Is he still cleaning that thing? Because if he is then I have a bad feeling about that chair's life expectancy."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-01 03:31:34 101222
"It hasn't been broken," Kazuo says aside to Neil. "At worst, we can drop new fabric on it." He glances at the stubborn rusty spot, and doesn't actually bother to narrow his eyes; the glare is merely implied. "Presuming this stuff doesn't eat through both old, new, and anyone who tries to sit there." They're crossing that one off the list, except when they need polite ways to 'accidentally' drive off unwelcome guests. It's not cleaning solution. It's now officially weaponry.
Nephrite 2018-12-01 03:35:34 101223
"If the seat doesn't melt away by tomorrow, I'll be surprised," Neil agrees, nodding down at Saburo.

He chuckles at the idea that Kazuo has finally managed to weaponize cleanliness. "How would it be best deployed as a weapon, though? Spray it into an enemy's face? Or maybe just open it nearby and let the fumes do the work?"
Saburo Yukimura 2018-12-01 03:39:55 101224
"Would it stop with just the seat though? Maybe all that will be left is a sad pile of stained dust and splinters," is the hummed response before he offers a suggestion of his own. "We fill up a bucket, and then we kick it over someone. You know, like in half of all pranks gone wrong ever."

And then, because he's been thinking about this too, actually, and now that Kazuo seems to have stopped with his reinactment of 'out, damned spot' it seems like he's found a good moment to ask, he goes, "So, what actually happened there anyway?"
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-01 03:45:46 101225
Kazuo does not argue the 'fill up a bucket' solution. Let the one who plays with ice figure out how to deliver the liquid menaces. Clearly.

He pushes himself up and steps away from most of the potential hazard, going to hunt through the kitchen for a plastic bag to repurpose for disposal of the cloth he was working on the chair with. No-one is using that thing for anything again. Ever. "Someone fought with Apatite and gave as good as she got. Woman with a sword. Something about a magic-draining book."
Nephrite 2018-12-01 03:50:31 101226
Neil frowns with all the force of a sibling who has most definitely tried pranks involving buckets and found them wanting. "The bucket thing never works like it does on TV. I feel entirely lied to as a kid."

Neil snorts. "He is slightly downplaying the drama of Apatite crash-landing in here covered in blood. But also, apparently she was pretty badass in that fight. As you'd expect."
Saburo Yukimura 2018-12-01 03:57:33 101227
"The law of comic irony has to be on our side at least once," Saburo points out, with all the innocence of someone who's never actually tried the stunt he's proposing, and dearly overestimates how kind the universe will be about it.

The innocent comedy is gone by the time he processes their answers, and he grimaces, imagination instantly kicking into overdrive as he pictures what that scene must have been like. He's impressed and disturbed, which is a given for the subject. "She tracked her down that fast? It's been like, not even a week."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-01 04:02:47 101228
Kazuo's eyebrows twitch upward. "Kindly pretend for a moment that I've spent most of the last several weeks either chained to a textbook or catching up on making sure that the bills get paid, the wards are in good shape, and we are not at risk of running out of coffee, chocolate, or the emergency Usagi ice cream stash." There are multiple supergeniuses in this apartment. Kazuo is not one of them, and is not studying something he already knows. Midterms were less than kind. "Not even a week since what?"
Nephrite 2018-12-01 04:09:03 101229
"We all appreciate you maintaining the coffee supply to keep us all tethered to the material plane," Neil assures him. "And the chocolate. Who knows what sorts of things Mamoru would resort to if that ran out."

He also turns to Saburo questioningly. "I vaguely remember a text about this, but I forgot to ask for details."
Saburo Yukimura 2018-12-01 04:14:52 101231
And now Saburo is grimacing, because things are never going well when he's the one most in the know. "Kyouko texted me about this lady on Monday. Her name is Signum, also known as 'the General of Raging Fire', and we were not-quite-joking about Kyouko fighting her for the sake of having a cool name. And also attacking people," that last part is clearly an afterthought, but of the kind where someone knows it isn't supposed to be an afterthought and feels a little sheepish about it.

"She and a buddy of her, Zafira, broke my phone on Halloween and Millie, the newest girl, told Kyouko she attacked someone and stole their magic. I thought it would take more than a week for Kyouko to catch up wth her."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-01 04:19:15 101232
Kazuo frowns slightly in his own turn for a moment. Though not for the same reason Jadeite is grimacing."Now I'm almost surprised that Apatite fought her alone. Though only because I'd have expected Zoisite to somehow be aware of the incident and turn up to challenge this Signum for her title."
Nephrite 2018-12-01 04:27:38 101233
Neil raises his eyebrows at Saburo. "They broke your phone? Jerks!" And they were hurting people. Totally not an afterthought.

He grimaces at Kazuo. "We have way too many fire users in our group. The day they all fight for dominance is the day half the city gets burned to the ground."
Saburo Yukimura 2018-12-01 04:32:54 101234
"That's what I said," and is he grateful that someone understands him? Yes, absolutely. It was a good phone! It could have had another year or even two in it! But also, Kazuo has brought up a subject that he does not want to touch with a meter long stick.

"It is absolutely not my responsibilty to let Zoisite in on that title, and here's hoping he stays out of the loop on that little detail, if that's the first place your mind goes. I like the snow, I don't want it melted away because all the fire users are fighting for coolest title." A pause, and then, "Theere's something else, too. Either of you know an Eclipse member named Nightbell? Or Akari?"
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-01 04:42:09 101235
Kazuo gives Neil a blandly unexpressive sidelong look that probably translates to 'you call it a semi-apocalyptic conflagration, I call it lunch.' But he doesn't say anything out loud, lest Neil start comparing him to a fire extinguisher. He turns his attention on Jadeite a moment after, making no promises about not telling Zoisite, but no threats to either. "Of course. The --"

A momentary pause, and Kazuo, for once, actually looks slightly disconcerted.

"The irritating Jewel Seed clone had, in her dreamworld, knights that suited her temperament. There was an Akari Hayabusa among them."
Nephrite 2018-12-01 04:51:23 101236
The bland look is met with a crooked eyebrow from Neil. Is burning down the city a euphemism, and does he want to know the answer to that question?

But now Saburo is asking serious questions. "Doesn't ring any bells. Of the daytime or nighttime kind." His eyes darken at the mention of a certain clone and her messed up fantasyland. "Figures you'd remember something like that. If that's the kind of person she allies with, that probably doesn't mean anything good."
Saburo Yukimura 2018-12-01 05:06:56 101237
"The thing is I don't think that is the kind of person she allies with. I didn't remember that but - " his face is grim at the reminder of that fantasyland and the chaos wrecked by the creator of it, and it isn't softened by the memory of his conversation with Minako. "Minako showed up yesterday. Apparently Nightbell wants out of Organization Evil, and Eclipse isn't having it. Lacrima reached out for help making it happe anyway."

And he does nothing so obvious as glance at Kazuo when he mentions the vampire, but there's one of them here with a real soft spot for her, and it isn't him.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-12-01 05:12:41 101238
"Well if we harbor another Eclipse escapee, we're going to damn well make sure they can feed and dress themselves," comes a thoroughly cranky voice from the kitchen. Mamoru mustn't have come through very long ago. "BEFORE they end up staying here and we have to remind them that they get two weeks."

There is the sound of irritable coffeemaking. "I take it Lacrima can't put them up out of a conflict of interest-- we should actually look for someplace to put them before putting anything else in motion. What did I miss though? Who's Nightbell?"
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-01 05:20:27 101239
"I have no idea who she is in the real world, other than what was just said." Lacrima reached out. Kazuo considers Jadeite for a moment, then steps back to do his usual part in making sure the walls stay vertical. Someplace to put them. Pity Naru's old room isn't up for rent -- no, wait, given the closet, that's something that should never happen.
Nephrite 2018-12-01 05:29:52 101240
Neil stares contemplatively at the floor, pushing his hair out of his eyes immediately after it falls in his face. "Okay, honest question. What's stopping us from just getting a spare apartment for this sort of thing? Somewhere not directly in our hair? Definitely not money. Logistics, maybe. It would mean warding and checking up on it and stuff, probably. But maybe that could save a few headaches."
Saburo Yukimura 2018-12-01 05:34:09 101241
"Love that we're all prepared to house Akari-san, but I don't think that's the thing she needs help with," and here's the thing, even this cranky has broken up all the grim and made him smile a bit, because when talking about something like this, it's nice to have such strong reminders that at least the people in his life aren't as shitty as the can sometimes be. "The thing Lacrima was going to Minako about is that Eclipse wants her to drag Akari-san back and brainwash her into working for them again."

So, yeah.

"She can't just refuse to do it, so she asked Minako to thrash her when she goes for Akari-san, for a convincing show of effort. Sounds like the kind of thing we all might want to be in the loop and look out for, right?"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-12-01 05:56:45 101242
A Wild Mamoru Appears! He tries to use Sulk Crankily, but it's ineffective! Instead, he gives Kunzite a Look, then crosses his arms and scowls in the doorway. "It's cold out. Are you gonna make me get a sweater?" Oh. His arms are crossed a little too tightly to be sheer ire. "The smell's pretty much gone. You can put the chair on the balcony instead of the talking with the door open and the heat getting out and--"

He takes a deep breath. He's not an old lady.

"Anyway, what's stopping us is that we *have* got one and can't keep track of it and Virtue literally has at least six currently unoccupied safehouses and the paperwork to deal with the liability of usually-underage runaways. It used to be only my friends that stayed here. People I knew really well, who I didn't mind being in my space for a while. Then because I have a big mouth and a tough time saying no to people in need, it turned into Let's Try And Make Up For Virtue Doing Nothing. But it's *my space*. And we have other responsibilities. And there's an organization for it. And if we give someone an apartment to stay in for a while-- look, I'm still paying Unmei's rent, okay? We don't, put together, *actually* have enough money to house all the runaways and orphans in Tokyo. And if we did, then I wouldn't want to stop at Tokyo. Need expands. Notice of need expands. We have limits, guys. I hate our limits, but we have them. I hate my limits, but I definitely have them. A lot of them."

He slouches in the doorframe, running out of steam and ire all at once and just deflating; his hair partially falls into his face, into his glasses, as he looks down and away. "And that's irrelevant to the current situation. Okay. Well. I needed to say it anyway, I guess." He lets out a breath. "Okay, sure, that makes sense. She's gotta be more careful, though. Lacrima, I mean."
Nephrite 2018-12-01 06:08:50 101243
"Of course, man. You're allowed to set boundaries around your own home. I was just thinking if this was someone we were actually planning to take in anyway, we could at least reduce the stress on our end. I get not wanting to make a habit of it, especially if there are better avenues people could be taking."

Neil pushes off from the open door frame and crosses the room to Sour Prince. "It isn't even that cold out today, you wuss." Before Mamoru can protest, and definitely risking an elbow in squishy bits, Neil sweeps him up in a deliberately crushing bear hug.
Saburo Yukimura 2018-12-01 06:18:29 101244
"I could get you a sweater," and that's a suggestion that's teasing, full of soft humor and accompanied by a smile - not amusement at Mamoru's crankiness, but an effort to drag him away from it, even as Jadeite drags himself out from the cold and into the apartment, shutting the sliding door behind him. Neil starts the bear hug and Jadeite is quick to join in, though with him it's less crushing and more of a 'an attempt was made' hard squeeze.

"It's not irrelevant if it's how you feel. This is your home and the fact that your first thought was that someone was looking for a crashpad - it's bad signs. This is your home first, mahou grand central like, thirtieth, and that's how it should be. And if Virtue isn't doing its job? Maybe they need new management. The slack isn't yours to pick up, not unless you went and got yourself elected King Virtue while we weren't looking."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-12-01 06:33:19 101245
Mamoru's going to comment on the first part of what Neil says, and then Jadeite's teasing him and Mamoru's starting to look indignant in the way that's on the road to being mock-indignant but still has about a block to go, and then all of a sudden he's COMPRESSED, and the air goes out of him in an undignified yelp/squawk and his arms are pinned to his sides and then Jadeite's joining in and--

"Okay okay!" wheezes the Prince, unable to catch his breath to laugh, but laughing anyway-- and relaxing, truly, tension drained out of him. Tension vampires. Stress vampires. They'd be so popular. People would hire them left and right, six ways to sunday.