No Title Set

Date: 2018-12-31
Pose Count: 20
Mamoru Chiba 2018-12-31 00:43:34 102102
Tomorrow's New Year's Eve, and Kunzite had his miserable breakfast with his dad this morning, and he's hauling Neil with him to make a delivery to Rei later, but this particular errand does not ask for any help whatsoever from anyone, even though Naru probably would have been more than happy to come, or Mako, or Usagi--

Maybe Mamoru's foolish. Maybe just masochistic. Maybe he's full of hope. Maybe there's not much of a difference when it comes to dealing with Hiroshi Takeba.

It hasn't been forever since he's seen Takeba Senior, just a couple of weeks, so his showing up might not be a huge surprise-- but his arriving here alone probably is. The bag he's bringing looks fairly sturdy, and it's hanging a little heavily from his hand, but not hideously so.

He knocks cheerfully.
Hiroshi Takeba 2018-12-31 00:59:42 102104
There was, some months ago, a certain problem with the availability of a certain kind of rose-honey. There wasn't so much of a problem as to curtail the provision entirely, but Takeba Senior took certain quiet steps to avoid being a drain on its supply. Namely, he stopped taking the risk of seeing ... certain things.

That he's continued to avoid making more than the mandatory visits since then may have had more to do with cowardice than courtesy, granted.

Kadomatsu stand green on either side of the door, a startling note of life against the normally terminally bland home, welcoming the spirits of the incoming year. Possibly even welcoming Mamoru. Certainly Hiroshi Takeba answers the door in remarkably short order. Mamoru is greeted with a bow, a good-evening, an invitation to enter, formal deprecation of the unsuitability of his home for guests, and the quiet discovery in passing that Hiroshi has added to the collection of slippers intended for guests. One set fits Mamoru. (Another's size is suspiciously similar to Naru's shoes.)
Mamoru Chiba 2018-12-31 01:15:06 102108
That really was an awful problem for all concerned. And it was for-ev-er. But Mamoru and Makoto have been busily re-stocking since he's been back -- enough for him to be able to give Lacrima A Lot Of It and Hiroshi a full quart. It, and the other things in the bag -- one of which is top-shelf sake, and the other of which is a Perfect Giant Apple in a gift box, lovingly padded, but wrapped by Mamoru instead of a gift shop person and therefore the wrapping is not a work of art, even if the paper is very pretty and the bow is very nice. It's perfectly acceptable! Just not... crazy pro. Or even pro.

That's all for later, though. Currently the only thing out of order in the greeting ritual is Mamoru blinking at the slippers in the genkan and then looking-- much softer, somehow, around the eyes. He removes his coat to reveal sedate winter clothing under it, grey and white and black, even if his scarf and toque are red as a fire engine. And then he offers the bag with a sheepish little laugh, also self-deprecating, but to the usual comment he adds apologetically, "I was going to bring you oyechi ryori but I ran late and the stores were too crowded."
Hiroshi Takeba 2018-12-31 01:41:00 102110
The bag is accepted with the usual protests and effusive thanks; the polite dispute over who is more greatly honoring whom may never be dispensed with. "Stores almost always seem to be too crowded this time of year," Hiroshi agrees. 'Especially for a psychic' is left without mention. "Were you at least able to find enough for your own family?"

That may be the first time that Hiroshi has referred to the bizarre collection of people Mamoru has around himself as a family.

It is not a thing that is marked out with any ceremony; Hiroshi simply fetches the bag inside, and adds in straightforward inquiry, "And may I provide you with some tea? The evening's a little chill." Not snowing. Not cold enough to snow. But not exactly comfortable, either.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-12-31 02:16:22 102115
The lack of ceremony other than the requisite custom is, in fact, always the quickest way Hiroshi has of putting *Mamoru* at ease; at the question about his family, phrased like that, something small and tense in his shoulders vanishes, and he gives the older man a reserved but very real smile. "Luckily, they don't make me shop for the household. Kazuo tends to be the one to put the order in exactly on time, and the other guys add things while he's putting together the standards."

Rubbing his hands together and blowing on them-- all this and he forgot his gloves-- the reserved smile turns into one of pure gratitude. "I'd love some, thank you very much." There's a brief pause before he adds diffidently, once more self-deprecating, "You're very welcome to come over at your leisure; we're not having an over-the-top party this year. I'd probably spend the entire thing hiding from people. This year was entirely too long."
Hiroshi Takeba 2018-12-31 02:24:07 102118
There is, therefore, a little fussing in the kitchen. Not too much fussing. But tea requires heating water. "I admit that I had the impression from the number of visitors to your home that the over-the-top party might come to you whether you liked it or not. But if it's not announced, you do have the option of delegating." Also known as 'hiding from people.'

Hiroshi does not comment on the year being entirely too long. That probably, as with his son, suggests agreement.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-12-31 02:42:27 102123
"Maybe if we leave all the outside-facing lights off and lock the roof door... or just set up the roof and make everyone stay up there-- no, that would be very rude," sighs Mamoru. And then he laughs a little, ducking his head and putting his hands in his cardigan pockets. "I delegate even when they are announced. I'm afraid it's hopeless. But at least there's always one apartment kept as a quiet place."
Hiroshi Takeba 2018-12-31 02:52:08 102127
"Perhaps you might find something resembling refuge with your lady's family?" Hiroshi suggests across the counter. "At least, it seems unlikely that their household would be quite as ... active ... as yours on the occasion. Though I suppose it is not impossible."

At the suggestion that there's an apartment kept as a quiet place, he finds something actively fascinating to occupy his attention with his hands. Shortly thereafter, Mamoru is offered daifuku. It's almost suspiciously fresh, considering the quality of what Hiroshi had on hand in the kitchen when Mamoru first visited. "I suppose that you would also find the quiet ..." There should be a word there. That verb wants something to equate its object to. Hiroshi doesn't seem to be finding one. At least it was an attempt to avoid criticizing his son. This, too, is an improvement.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-12-31 02:57:02 102129
"...calming," supplies Mamoru after a moment, with that small smile again. "I'll probably be obliged to go over, but she and her younger brother get very loud, and her mother is very--"

Here's where he falters, fishing for a word. Slowly, he says, "...motherly."

He glances at Hiroshi again and lets the man see his overwhelmed quiet discomfort with the prospect. "She's a very, very kind and loving person," he's careful to emphasize.
Hiroshi Takeba 2018-12-31 03:11:18 102131
"But mothers sometimes have a little trouble remembering that the people near them need air as well as advice." Hiroshi sets a filled teacup and saucer before Mamoru, appropriately placed off to the side of the sweets. He returns with his own a moment later, seating himself. "Or perhaps believing it."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-12-31 03:34:25 102133
"--yes," says Mamoru with a grateful sigh, finally sitting down with the daifuku, now that Hiroshi's finished the tea. "Thank you," isn't actually absentminded in this case, he starts with the tea in cold hands. "I do remember a mother, but she-- was intimidating and loving in entirely different ways," he says with a small laugh. "And then-- well. You know. I had an aunt and uncle who cared for me while they were here, but oba-san was also not... like... Tsukino-san."

This last has the faint scent of defiance lingering about it. Sometimes, he's comfortable calling her Ikuko-mama like she wants him to, and he's going to have to get a lot more used to it, but damn. Not yet. "Neil's aunt, well-- you've met her." And that has the prince stifling a laugh.
Hiroshi Takeba 2018-12-31 03:38:29 102134
Hiroshi's disconcerted look is entirely and thoroughly as expected. "She's very ... Canadian." At least he didn't say American. "Which I suppose is as is to be expected. She does explain a great deal about him, at the very least."

He studies his own teacup for a moment. "I'm not surprised that Kazuo hasn't tried to introduce you to any of his other relatives. He's never gotten along well with most of them." Disregarding entirely the question of whether Kazuo actually remembers most of them exist.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-12-31 03:44:29 102135
There's a moment where Mamoru might have said something different, but he quietly pushes the statement into a box labeled 'faux pas'; their conversation is going so well. He can't say something that would have to be explained with 'I saw memories of the reason he doesn't get along with some of them'.

Besides, he's found something much better to say, after masking the pause with a sip of tea. And there's honest interest that's not just curiosity or politeness, too: "Which ones does he get along with?"
Hiroshi Takeba 2018-12-31 03:48:06 102136
"I believe he was still on speaking terms with his mother's parents. He was always resistant to actually visiting them, but there may have been other reasons for that." Hiroshi glances across to Mamoru for a moment. Other reasons do not have to be specified.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-12-31 04:04:50 102137
The faintly uncomfortable, rueful shift in his seat is tell enough that Mamoru agrees and is still sorry, though he does manage to cover most of his rue with a daifuku, and then he has another sip of tea before asking, glad to elide the unspecific, "I don't know if he doesn't remember them or if he's avoiding them now because he feels awkward. I'll try and find out before the new year and make him call them if he does."

There's a pause, and the light of an Idea Kazuo Won't Approve Of shines brightly from the medical student's blue eyes. "Or... would you be willing to pass on the telephone number to them?"
Hiroshi Takeba 2018-12-31 04:08:25 102139
Hiroshi levels a remarkably calm and even look at Mamoru. Possibly this is also an idea Hiroshi won't approve of. But if so, well, he's used to that from Mamoru; he says, "Certainly," and sets down his teacup to rise, look up a number (by hand, in a paper book), copy out the number (also by hand), and deliver it to his guest.

It is not a Tokyo number.

"They live a few hours away," Hiroshi says. "In the mountains."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-12-31 04:15:57 102140
The younger man's clearly startled at the very Idiot Prince look that Hiroshi's giving him. Even as Hiroshi's getting up, he protests, "But wouldn't that be good for him?" He pauses, and his eyes widen. "Oh. Unless I've put my foot in it because you don't get on with them as well as he had."

He looks blankly at the piece of paper he's being offered, and then hesitantly starts to take it, looking back up at Hiroshi. "Ah. I meant if you were at all in contact with them, if you'd pass our number on to them. But I would rather not inconvenience you if it's-- not something you normally do."
Hiroshi Takeba 2018-12-31 04:20:33 102141
"It's a little late to include it in the New Year's card," Hiroshi says. "We don't ordinarily communicate very much outside it. But I can certainly make an exception in this case."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-12-31 04:29:40 102142
Mamoru looks incredibly relieved. "It might-- be better if they hear from you that he's no longer missing, for various reasons." Reasons that Mamoru leaves as non-specific as Hiroshi's reasons before. "And-- they already get along with him, right? If I were to cold-call them, I might get in the way of that."

He takes a breath, and then ducks his head. "I'm sorry, I need to stop pushing. I'm very sorry."

This is not the brand of awkward that the boy usually exhibits. There are some things he's very, very confident about. There's the magic he's confident about too (which he has been avoiding mentioning), but every so often, he realizes that Hiroshi (in some ways) has the patience of a saint, and that he himself is Asking Personal Questions and trying too obviously to arrange someone's life and--
Hiroshi Takeba 2018-12-31 04:34:13 102143
"They've heard from me that he's no longer missing," Hiroshi says. "I wrote them as soon as the investigator confirmed it." ... fortunately, that was probably a very brief letter, and likely did not involve looming figures muttering in German to their phones. "I've sent annual updates. Though without the, ah. Least ... easily believed information. For obvious reasons. More centered on what school he was attending."

There is, not unexpectedly, another little gap right around whether anyone gets along with anyone there. And another one, possibly gentler, around Mamoru's apologies.