Fighting Oneself

Kyouko talks to Kazuo about her frustrations, and feels better for it.

Date: 2018-12-03
Pose Count: 24
Kyouko Sakura 2018-12-03 01:30:39 101316
    It's evening, but the ECFH is pretty quiet. Not unusual, of late, at least when events aren't converging to turn it into a maelstrom. Kyouko is here though, sitting barefoot at the table with a cup of tea, and looking pensive. She's been in kind of a Foul Mood since her encounter with Signum a few days back, as the new dent and spider-web of cracks in the wall can attest (thankfully on a part of the mural where it's rather difficult to notice). Nobody else seems to be around at the moment, which seems to suit her just fine.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-03 01:33:51 101317
Kazuo, like Odysseus, is clearly Nobody. He's not making an effort to be audible, but Kyouko's likely to pick up on the presence in the internal hall before he emerges into the room. He pauses to regard Kyouko and her expression, inclines his head toward her whether or not she's bothered to look in his direction, and moves onward toward the kitchen.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-12-03 01:40:04 101318
    Kyouko is indeed looking up and towards the hallway when Kazuo emerges from it, having flicked her eyes in that direction a moment before his appearance. Upon seeing who enters the room, she glances back down to her tea a moment later, clearly unperterbed. She might not be in the mood for boisterous good-cheer, but Kazuo is unlikely to try and inflict any of that on her, so she doesn't resent his presence. Instead, she sips from her tea without saying anything, and after a moment glances back up towards the kitchen to watch his progress.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-03 01:46:43 101319
Progress appears to be doing something quietly in the kitchen for a few minutes, going into the refrigerator once or twice while the coffeemaker functions. After a little, he emerges with a cup in one hand, and a plate of onigiri in the other. This is set on the table before he takes a seat of his own. Kyouko's pensiveness is still not directly interrupted.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-12-03 02:09:38 101321
    Kyouko glances up as Kazuo re-emerges from the kitchen, and her eyes dip to and track the plate of onigiri. No pensiveness is too deep to be uninterruptable by snacks. As he sets the plate down on the table, she reaches out and takes one, assuming this is her due and not an intrusion. She chomps into it, chewing for a moment, then taking another sip of her tea, before she says, "Hi."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-03 02:14:20 101322
It is indeed a due sacrifice. Kazuo takes one as well, but only after Kyouko has. "Good evening," he says. A moment's pause, and rather than saying anything about not intruding, he says, "You mentioned a girl named Millie the other night. Is she a friend of yours?"
Kyouko Sakura 2018-12-03 02:16:39 101323
    Kyouko's onigiri has vanished in a few snapping bites, leaving only a few grains of rice to be licked off of the corner of her mouth before she answers the question. Her brows draw together at first, as if contemplating the question, but finally she shakes her head, giving a little shrug. "Nah, I mean, not really. She's a kid, new in town. New to the mahou business. She's a Cure, apparently. I met her while I was out fightin' some random Familiars a week or two back. Saying she's a friend would be an overstatement, I barely know her, but she's somehow gotten in deep with all this Wolkenritter stuff."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-03 02:24:47 101325
"Ah." Kazuo settles back, leaving the rest of the plate open to predation. Since Kyouko and Millie are apparently not close, he doesn't put effort into making the next words anything other than casually informative."She fell foul of something yesterday that seems to have temporarily damaged her magical ability, but it was not, apparently, Wolkenritter. An incident with some Eclipse scientist or other that went badly."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-12-03 02:27:52 101326
    At first, Kyouko's frown deepens, anticipating yet another consequence to her inability to finish Signum off. Upon hearing it was not the Wolkenritter but someone else, her expression actually lightens somewhat, though it remains a frown. "That's.. unfortunate." She says, meaning it but seeming otherwise rather indifferent to the subject. "I suppose if Eclipse is taking notes from the Wolkenritter that means we've got another problem on our hands. Wonderful. She's okay, I guess? Millie, I mean. Other than her magic."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-03 02:30:54 101327
"All I know about her is that she has a reasonable pain tolerance," Kazuo says. "It may have been a completely unrelated incident; the results don't seem, as usual, to have been what the ostensible scientist intended. I wanted to mention it only so that you knew it was in a different category." He doesn't ask about Millie's magic. He only studies Kyouko for a moment more, before glancing away.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-12-03 02:34:29 101328
    "Well. If she ain't dead, she'll be stronger for it." Kyouko says, feeling a bit harsh, perhaps even though she finds Millie a lot more tolerable than some of the other younger mahou, at least from their brief interactoins. Kyouko eyes Kazuo as he looks at her, then sighs when he looks away. "I should have been able to put a stop to this." She says, her fingers around the teacup idly moving on its surface. "All this Wolkenritter crap, Rashmi getting hurt and stuff.. if I had been good enough to beat Signum, none of that would have happened. All I keep thinking about since then is what I coulda done different, what mistakes I made, how I could have come out on top and nipped this whole situation in the bud. It's been getting under my skin something fierce."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-03 02:37:36 101329
Kazuo is preoccupied by his coffee cup, apparently. For several seconds after Kyouko finishes speaking. When he does answer her, it's at an angle. "Other than the use of dark energy. What is Riventon's mistake?"
Kyouko Sakura 2018-12-03 02:40:09 101330
    "Never learning his godamned lesson. Pulling the same crap over and over again and expecting to be forgiven when he gets caught." Kyouko answers without hesitation, eyeing Kazuo, his expression clearly asking how this is relevant.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-03 02:41:04 101331
Kazuo lets his eyebrows twitch upward. "And which lesson, exactly, is it that he isn't learning?"
Kyouko Sakura 2018-12-03 02:41:40 101332
    Kyouko growls low in her throat. "Not to fuck with me or my friends."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-03 02:48:26 101333
The twitch at the corner of Kazuo's mouth is tiny, but it's there, and it might possibly be approving. Still, he says, "That's a single case of a more general problem. Riventon's mistake is that he presumes that he should be able to win. That he should have been able to win the previous time, and therefore should be able to win this time. That he should be able to be better than everyone who might oppose him. He forgets that no one person can take on all possible opponents. And he forgets that there will always be people who are stronger. Thinking about what we could have done differently in a fight is a good thing. Working to become better is a good thing. Blaming ourselves for not being strong enough is the first step in making Riventon's mistake."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-12-03 02:53:03 101334
    Kyouko listens to this advice, and her lips twist to the side in what is clearly an unhappy expression. She's opening her mouth to speak before Kazuo has even completely finished. "That's not.. it's not that I think I'm some kind of super-badass, or that I can take anybody all by myself. It's just that I had her. Y'know? She was right there and I was this close. I could have won, I know I could. And if I had more people wouldn't have gotten hurt." She sighs, toying with her tea cup. "It's just.. y'know, this is what I do. You and Naru do all the smart brain stuff, Nephrite can see the future, Jadeite has al kinds of plans and stuff, Zoisite is.. well, Zoisite, and Mamoru heals people. And me? I fight. I'm the fighter. I'm not good at anything else so I gotta be good at that or else what use am I? Just.. this time I wasn't good enough. I was almost good enough, but not quite." A scowl. "And I don't like almost being able to do what's expected of me."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-03 03:00:36 101335
What use is she? Kazuo's eyebrows lift again. "You're quick," he says. "And smart. And in tune with the city in a way the rest of us are not. You come at problems from unexpected angles. And you hold on to problems for longer than anyone expects, and in ways that take people by surprise. You burn as brightly as Zoisite, only in a different way. If some bizarre deity came down and decreed that you would never be able to fight again, you would remain endlessly valuable simply for your mind and your heart -- in the interlude before you worked out how to work around the ban and how to stab a god."

He takes a swallow of coffee. "This Signum is no god. Which I suspect will make that interlude considerably shorter."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-12-03 03:12:45 101337
    From anyone else, even Mamoru, Kyouko might have dimissed much of this praise as superfluous, or perhaps exaggerated. But it's hard to do that when Kazuo is the one saying it. After all this is what he does for her- what he's always done for her, since the Dark Kingdom. Reminds her that, despite her varied and myriad mistakes, maybe her reputation isn't entirely undeserved.

    There might be the tiniest hint of a blush on her cheeks, but her continued scowl precludes any mention of it (not that he would). "That's all fine and good," She says, though her tone is considerably softer than it was a moment ago. "But we're in no short supply of great minds and hearts around here. An' I mean that as a compliment to everyone in our family. You're right. Signum is no god. I know, because I put my spear through her, and she had to limp away home. But that makes it all the more frustrating. I can accept losing to a god. I can accept needing help to overcome some kind of enormous monster, or dark ominpotent being from space. But she's none of those things." As far as Kyouko knows, anyway.

    She glances up at him. "I'm glad you think so highly of me. But it's hard for me to think so highly of myself when I fail to live up to other people's expectations. And I don't mean you or Mamoru. Obviously you guys are most important to me, but.. y'know, a lot of these kids, they look at me like.. well. Like I'm Kyouko Godamned Sakura. And when I screw up and people get hurt as a result, it feels like I'm not living up to that name."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-03 03:18:17 101339
"All right, then," Kazuo says, matter-of-fact. "Trying to work out in your head what to do doesn't seem to be working for you. Let's try something else. Tell me about the fight, and talk to me about where you think you went wrong, and what you could have done better -- and which of those are things that can be practiced for the next time."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-12-03 03:26:28 101341
    Kyouko pauses at Kazuo's sudden matter-of-fact turn, and can't help the corner of her lips from turning up in a faint lopsided smile. "If philosophy is insufficient, turn to logic, huh? I guess I can't really argue with that."

    And so she does. It's easy for her, because she's replayed it in her head over and over again, so saying it out loud isn't that hard. She sums it up at the end with, "She's strong. Really strong, on par with, maybe even a little stronger than any of the toughest people we got around here. But I know I can beat her. I could feel it." She places her hand over her heart. "I could feel it. I just need to be a little bit stronger."

    She quirks her lips. "I know.. I know I shouldn't be obsessed with beating her by myself, that's why we have teams, etc etc. I get it, really I do. And if it comes to that, I'd rather we beat her and avoid more people getting hurt than salve my pride. But I might run into her by myself again. And next time, if that happens.. I want to be able to put an end to this. Or at least, part of it. She did have at least one accomplice." She admits, acknowledging that Signum is not the entire problem.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-03 03:33:16 101342
Listening to the description of the fight lets Kazuo reconstruct parts of it in his head, considering them from one angle and another. What he says at the end of it is, dry as usual: "I admit that my preference would be your escaping a next engagement without having cooked any of your own internal organs, even if it delays the solution to the problem by a little. Turning yourself into bacon might be more difficult for Mamoru to heal."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-12-03 03:38:32 101343
    Kyouko sticks her tongue out. It's a sarcastic gesture, but in and of itself proves that having talked about it, and her feelings, has put her in a better mood than she was previously. "I'm not afraid of getting hurt. And you know I ain't that easy to kill. Sometimes the best way to throw an enemy off-guard is to take a hit they don't think you will." She sighs, and gets up from the table, taking her tea cup and the now empty onigiri plate back to the kitchen to deposit in the sink. Then she comes back, and pauses by Kazuo's chair, putting a hand on his shoulder.

    "Thanks." She says, with genuine feeling. "Talking to you always makes me feel better. It's just.. people being afraid of me, I can handle. People underestimating me, I can handle. People relying on me.. it still feels like I'm not used to it, despite it having been over two years since I became Apatite.. hard as that is to believe. I don't want to disappoint people. But talking about it helped. So thanks.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-03 03:46:45 101345
That comment about throwing an enemy off-guard wins a nod from Kazuo; he wouldn't make comments like that last one to Kyouko if he didn't know she knew they were half-hypocritical. Both of them will do whatever they need to, when it's important enough. And Kyouko often sees ways to use it that he doesn't.

He folds a hand over her hand on his shoulder. "Always," he says quietly. Just that. Nothing more.

Telling her that he never quite got used to it either ... is not something he can do out loud.