What? No! I'm just... visiting

Kunzite finally manages to track down Unmei and have that long awaited call and... once again, she breaks down. And he discovers she VISITED HER PARENTS. Lacrima was there. It was cool(it was not cool.) But... maybe she'll be okay.

Date: 2019-01-13
Pose Count: 27
Unmei Tama 2019-01-13 00:54:04 102567
Unmei Tama had a nice, clean little apartment across town... Where most of her stuff was.

All she had here was like... some clothes, a few books, dvds. Most her stuff, her toys, her games, all of it was over at her apartment. Untouched since the attack except when she got things. Unmei, had, fortunately, made sure to toss the food that'd go bad out, take out the trash, went by every so often so the place wasn't a mess...

Any yet she was staying here, as a guest. Leaning back, in bed, face bright red and hugging a pillow to her chest as she read a manga. Yes, it was a bit echi(nothing too scandelous), but mostly just one of those silly, gooey, over romantic ones that made Unmei get super EEEEEEEEEE!
Kazuo Takeba 2019-01-13 00:58:18 102569
At least Unmei has had warning. At least there's that.

Which means that there's a small chance she might not be entirely surprised when a knock sounds at her door.
Unmei Tama 2019-01-13 01:05:08 102570
Unmei Tama blinked and... "One second!" she called. Oh my gosh, noooo. But what about Aura-chan and her romances?! Will she choose Toka-kun or Moro-kun?!!! She put her book mark in and, groggily, crawled her way out of bed. And walked over, opening the door.

"Hey Lacrima, feeling bett--" And froze when she saw him.

And her cheeks turned red and she stared. She didn't expect him. She expected LACRIMA. And so she wasn't properly DRESSED. She was wearing a thin nighty that was JUST enough to NOT cause any nightmares for the poor guy. And her hair was a mess. And she wasn't wearing makeup. And she DIDN'T have her gem in. But, hey. Lacrima was just 'one of the girls' so she didn't so much mind her seeing her a bit... messy. Kun, on the other hand?

She shrieked and closed the door and... "I'm not home!" A BIT LATE FOR THAT! Oh my gosh she wanted to die. He could practically HEAR her blush from there as she covered her face and tried NOT to die of shame. Nope. Definitely going to. She wondered if she could sneak out the window.
Kazuo Takeba 2019-01-13 01:12:02 102573
Kazuo's voice, from outside the door, suggests his usual deadpan tone. "Ah. Well. If Unmei isn't here, I suppose I'll have to wait to give her the Puff Puff Lafluff pins later. Pity, it's already well past the holiday."

Yes, he says those words with a straight face.

Yes, there is not even a little bit of mockery or disbelief hinted at in his naming of the show.
Unmei Tama 2019-01-13 01:17:12 102574
Unmei Tama blinked and... didn't respond. But after a few seconds he'd hear shuffling about and... A few minutes, he'd hear the door open, and SEE it open and... Unmei. Bright red. "Hi Kunzite, sir..." she mumbled. "It's not the ice cream ones, is it?" yes, the ice cream ones were FAR superior to the train ones and don't even mention the cheap, knock off animal farm ones. Those were just a mass sell out. She looked better, at least. Gem on, fully girl, wearing a skirt and blouse, her manga HIDDEN UNDER THE PILLOW. And she sighed and moved to sit on the bed. "Please come in..."

And then she sat on the edge of the bed, watching him and... "So... err.... Lacrima told me she... told you I was staying here. I uhhh... I mean... I've ummm.... just been kind of lazy moving back, I guess," she lied. "I really meant to. I just, you know. One thing leads into another, another day passed. And with schools. And patrols... you know..." she lied, unable to meet his gaze, her eyes lowered.

'I don't want to go home because I don't want to live alone'. Like. How could she really explain that? Heck, after everything they'd done for her, how could she be so ungrateful? Ignore their kindness to live in a guest room with Lacrima? How selfish was she?
Kazuo Takeba 2019-01-13 01:29:21 102576
Kazuo steps inside. He's carrying, in one hand, a flowered and feminine tote bag, that from the bulge contains rather more than a couple of pins; in the other, a brightly decorated envelope. The tote bag is set on the bed within her arm's reach. "You'd appear to have been having a busy life lately," he says. "How are you getting along with Lacrima and Lamya? And with your classmates?"

... is he buying her story, not disputing it to let her get away with it, or just waiting till later to prod her verbally? Excellent questions.
Unmei Tama 2019-01-13 01:42:12 102578
Unmei Tama was silent, her heart pounding. Oh gosh he was going to call her out. Yell at her. Ask why she was bothering Lacrima. Instead... She nodded. "Yeah. I ummm, started some projects and.... well. I've written into some programs and... you know. See if I can be a teacher's aid... see if I can go further on in my journey..." she mumbled.

"Honestly? I really like them. Lacrima is adorable. Lamya is wonderful and kind. They're really great," she said with a sheepish smile. "It was really kind of them to let me stay here. I've been trying to be a good house guest."
Kazuo Takeba 2019-01-13 01:46:55 102579
"Good. Good. I appreciate Lacrima a great deal, and Lamya is interesting, and you need to be around people whose company you enjoy and vice versa, and who show you more of the breadth of opinions in the world." Kazuo crouches down, forearms resting lightly on his knees, the envelope dangling. "I take it that whatever your parents have been shouting at you about in your head, then, it's not how you've been getting along here."
Unmei Tama 2019-01-13 01:52:40 102581
Unmei Tama blinked and... "Okay, is the envelope for me or is it just something you're caring? Because if it isn't, I don't wanna do something stupid and end up assuming and just take it. But I get the feeling I was supposed to and now I'm not sure," she said sheepishly.

"And yeah. Lacrima is nice, she's just... I wish I had known her and like.... NOT been terrified of her when I started. You know? I might not have hated Eclipse as much. Heck, I wouold have had at least someone there I could turn to." Then urked. "Not... not that I MIND that you saved me. I could never, ever thank you properly for all you did, I just mean..."

She sighed and then closed her eyes. Oh, her parents. That subject was enough to make her freeze, as all the new wounds she'd inflicted on herself rose up. Cut into her like a knife. "No... Some of it's not true... I think some of it is, though..." she mumbled gently. "It's... getting better, I think... though.... maybe...."
Kazuo Takeba 2019-01-13 01:56:33 102582
"It's an otoshidama. A New Year's present. Our custom, as Christmas presents are an American custom. The bag is your Christmas presents. So you're right, they're both yours; but you're also right not to take them just yet. Because if you accept them right now, and any of the guilt you're trying to pretend isn't in this conversation has to do with me or with Mamoru, then they'll only make you unhappy. So let's deal with the guilt first, and then you'll be able to accept them with a clean conscience." Kazuo tips his head back a little, because with him crouched down and her sitting on the bed, he actually has to look up at him. "So. What's troubling you?"
Unmei Tama 2019-01-13 01:58:56 102583
Unmei Tama blinked and then gave a smile. "What? Guilty? Oh, I'm fine!" she said, shaking her head. "A bit stressed sometimes, but I'm fine, really! Totally good!" she said with a smile. Oh she was a terrible liar...

Although, judging by this reaction, he'd likely see a close idea as to WHY she had been dodging him so much lately. And was always 'out with friends' when it came time to schedule meetings. Visits. Why she hadn't ever come to the ECFH...
Kazuo Takeba 2019-01-13 02:01:41 102584
"Yes. I'm certain you're at least as 'totally good' as I am," Kazuo says dryly. "The problem of course being that I'm in therapy. What's wrong?"
Unmei Tama 2019-01-13 02:10:10 102585
Unmei Tama blinked and then sighed. "You know... this is why I've been avoiding you," she mumbled, moving back to the wall against the bed. She leaned against it and watched him. "I visited my parents. Twice. They want nothing to do with me..." she mumbled. "Or rather, nothing to do with Unmei. They'd loooooove to have their son back. In the mean time... I'm just... a selfish, stupid, useless..." Deep breath. "Who does nothing but drain everyone around her and only causes people pain and... They're not altogether wrong..." she mumbled.

"I'm not... blind. I know I'm not wanted anywhere. I'm accepted. I'm even welcomed. But I'm not... wanted. My parents don't want me. Even as Clotho nobody wants me and..."

"I know you guys don't want me," she mumbled. "I'm just... that poor girl you all decided to help. And I'm grateful for it. If not for you, I'd be homeless. Or worse. And that means the world to me. But... it just... sometimes... I know it's selfish but... I just... want someone who wants me. Someone who's... okay with me and like... wants Unmei. Not some random magical girl who fills the empty slot. Not some... weak girl who can't fend for herself. Just... me... specifically... me..." she mumbled.

She hugged her knees to her chest and sighed. "And you've all done so much for me, I KNOW it's selfist to want more and I wish I could turn these feelings off but I just can't. They keep coming up and hitting me in the face at the worst possible times..."
Kazuo Takeba 2019-01-13 02:25:37 102588
"There is nothing wrong," Kazuo says quietly, "in wanting to be seen for yourself. In wanting to be valued. Human beings are a social species. We are born to be part of a group. Some of us are more selective about whether they want to operate with people outside of their group, or how closely involved the role they take in the group will be; we call those people introverts. But even they still, in general, need connections."

He draws a breath. Lets it out. "We can't support you in the ways that you need to be supported, and we know it. Mamoru is an introvert; he can only deal with people for so long. Even me; even Usagi. You are an extravert; you prefer to be surrounded by people, to interact constantly, to have things always happening, even if they are always on a screen. What each of you needs in large doses to thrive, the other can only tolerate in small doses. I am less of one; but I am damaged in other ways. I was not joking about being in therapy. And I am not good at the kind of contact you need in a friend. That is not either of our faults, and it is not anything bad about you. It's only how the world is, sometimes.

"What we can do, and what we have tried to do, is support you while you learn to take care of yourself, and while you learn to make those connections. It is a skill. And it is a skill that your parents not only didn't teach you, but actively attacked you for trying to learn. That makes it particularly difficult for you."
Unmei Tama 2019-01-13 02:40:42 102590
Unmei Tama looked stricken. She... hadn't expected him to agree. He hadn't expected him to say 'No, it's okay, you need this. We can't be it, but we need it.'I know what Introverts and extroverts are..." she mumbled. "I'm not dumb... I know..."

She sighed and she felt tears going down her face. "I.... I didn't expect you to go 'Yes, that's normal'. I thought you'd think I was greedy or selfish or... it's just..." She lowered her eyes. "I read so many manga. I see so many anime. I watch it. The magical girl gets the girl or the guy. They are either star crossed lovers. Or they are allies. Or so often they're the anti-hero and they end up turning to join them in the end. And you know what? It's REAL. I see it all the time! I get to see so many happy, wonderful, amazing people who have these amazing loves, who depend on each other. Who love each other. Who... have families and friends who care about them and... want them and... DEPEND on them..."

"And I'm in the outside looking in. I've never really had that. You're right. My parents HATED the idea of... any of that. Anything short of 'being a man' or 'manning up' and I was being bad. I had to stop. I couldn't... I wasn't supposed to expess myself. That was what g-girls did and... now..."

"What if I can't? What if... no one will ever want me? What if... I go through life... just... being this?" she asked gently. "Just being a drain on everyone. And yes, I AM a drain on everyone," she said bitterly. "You guys give me money, and a home, and I am never able to repay it. How COULD I repay it? I don't have a job. I barely have time between school and patrols and... everything else. So instead I mooch off you guys. And it's not like... like you're my family..."

"It's not like I add anything of value to your lives. All I do is detract and... I am so thankful that you let me. But I'm so scared that's all I will ever be and I want to believe it'll get better. That I'll get off... needing you guys. But then what? I just.... spend forever alone? I don't know.... I don't even know what I'm doing wrong. I have to be doing SOMETHING wrong... people go to each other for help. But not me. Never me. I'm never anyone's first thought when there's trouble..." she whispered, her entire body shaking.

"No... that's not fair. LAcrima came to me," she mumbled softly, a smile forming on her lips behind her knee. "And... I'm happy I can finally pay her back for all the help she's offered me..."
Kazuo Takeba 2019-01-13 03:08:17 102591
"Many people don't know, even when they're not dumb," Kazuo says. He shifts so that he can get into a pocket; a moment later, a rather plain handkerchief is being offered up to Unmei. As if everything she had said, everything she had wept over, were completely understandable.

"You know," he says quietly, "when I first moved in with Mamoru, he made me read shoujo manga. As homework. To understand how people thought other people and relationships work, and to move from there to beginning to understand how they actually did. Sometimes, the manga and the anime even get it right.

"But they get it right, at best, as wish-fulfilment, Unmei. They don't deal with the problems. They dramatize the dramatic parts of the work that relationships take. They wave in passing at a symbol or two of the rest of the work, which is day-to-day and never stops. They don't show what happens when neither side of the relationship wants to do that work; or, far worse, when only one does. And they do you a disservice in that. Because they do not show you how to build those relationships, and those lives. How to bridge the gap."

Kazuo shifts again, settling cross-legged on the floor. "You are worried about owing us. About detracting from us. But you don't. You are going to school. You are exploring a possible career, carefully, in a way that will tell you whether it's good for you or not, whether it feeds your heart or drains you. You are making friends. You are learning how to take care of your own household, so that if you do need to live by yourself, you will be able to; so that if you live with other people, you will be able to do your share; so that if one day you take in someone whose family is hurting them because they do not understand, you will be able to take care of that person while they learn. You are learning how to heal parts of your own heart and spirit. It is not a steady march forward, but it is never that for anyone. All of these things are ways in which you are repaying us. Every day. As for your worrying about doing something wrong..."

Kazuo considers Unmei for a moment. "If you saw someone with an arm and a leg in a cast, shuffling along on awkward crutches, would you ask that person to carry a heavy package for you? And would it be that person doing something wrong that caused you not to ask?"
Unmei Tama 2019-01-13 03:18:24 102592
Unmei Tama took the napkin and dapped at her eyes, looking back up at him again. As hard as it was to meet his gaze. She was full of... confusion. And struggle. And just... She needed something and...

Her eyes widened. He did it too? Wow... And... "Well... maybe I just... need some more wishes fulfilled," she said gently. "Maybe I need some... ugh. I'm so selfish. I'm sorry. i just... I wish I could... just... you know. I wish I could have what it seems everyone else does. I mean, I don't even have Pin and Win any more since they ran off. All I really have is... An empty apartment filled with stuff gifted from the bank of Mamoru. And yes I know you guys don't ask for anything back but... it doesn't make it feel any less shitty and like I'm just using all of you..."

She stared and then smiled. "Well... I guess I'm learning something," she mumbled. "Lacrima says I've been a good house guest," she said with a giggle. "She's great. I love being around here. And it's nice when I can hear her or... Well. Hearing people moving around." She then sighed. "And... I don't know. I don't even know HOW to make it stop hurting? What would I even do? Once you get someone away from the bad stuff how do you make it stop hurting? How do you make... it better? It doesn't ever go away. It just... kind of numbs. The pain. And it never feels like it's healing. Never... feels like it's going to go away and I'm just going to grow up with this big gaping wound in my heart and I don't know what to do about it... And... I get it... sorta."

"But improving... growing up. Is just something I need to do. Something I'm supposed to do. It helps me more than it helps you. I want to do something to HELP for once..." she mumbled and shook her head. "I'm sorry. I'm just... so whiny."

"Wait, who? Mr. Takanawa? Of course not. I mean, he lived on the fourth floor, I don't know WHY he was trying to carry that thing. He was nice, though, and I gave him a hand. I'd have had to have been pretty..." She paused. "O-oh... okay. I... I see..." she whispered. "So... if I'm... in a cast.... how do I heal?"
Kazuo Takeba 2019-01-13 03:34:31 102593
"I'm not the one to ask how to make it stop hurting," Kazuo says. Straightforward. "I know that it's possible -- to an extent, at least; it's the nature of life to hurt at times, and we would be far worse people if we did not hurt. But how to recover from these things ... I'm working on that, too. There are people helping me. Therapy of one kind or another can be an option; our lives make that option much more complicated, but where therapy revolves around learning skills and acquiring perspective, the fundamentals remain. Learning on our own is another option. Another route, that overlaps, is to find ways to add joy, or to add meaning, to live alongside the pain. That is also not easy. But worth doing. And you have been learning to do some of it, or so that last smile says."

Kazuo watches Unmei for a moment more. "If you do well with Lacrima, if Lacrima enjoys your company, you could consider asking Lacrima if she'd consider your staying for a while, as a housemate rather than a guest. But only if you reach the point where you can accept a 'no' answer with good grace and without resentment. If she says no, or if you don't want to ask, but you still believe you need company ... you could consider the possibility of living in a roommate situation yourself. Mundane roommates would be risky. But every so often there are people in the community who suddenly need shelter, and sometimes protection. That might provide you with both company and a way to offer help at once."

The story about Mr. Takanawa makes Kazuo's eyebrows twitch upward; that's a rather more specific illustration than he'd been expecting. And Unmei moving forward with it --

"First," he says quietly, "you are healing. Or you would not have been able to ask that question. So you are already on the right path.

"Second. You watch anime. What are the most common lessons that magical girls have to learn, to be able to unlock their powers? Before they save the world. Before they find their loves. Only to be able to be effective at all. What do they have to come to understand?"
Unmei Tama 2019-01-13 03:43:25 102594
Unmei Tama nodded, listening and... Measuring it. His words. Looking for a way to add joy... "I... used to find more joy in all the magical girl things," she mumbled. "I mean, I still like it but... It's... kind of number now, I guess? I don't read everything like I used to. I don't get as giddy. Now that... it's okay. I guess it's kind of... hollow? It mostly just makes me sad when I realize how far I have to go, how often I just... screw it up..."

"What? Why would I ever resent her for that? She's the kindest, nicest vampire I know," she said with a chuckle. "I could accept no... what... I couldn't accept... Is her being so annoyed at the idea. Of her thinking I'm just... using her. And not wanting to be my friend any more... I... wanted to ask her. I almost did. But I chickened out," she mumbled. "And that's not even counting like... is it okay? I mean, you've done so much. It seems like... a slap in the face to go 'Hey, I wanna live here now because there are people here'. It's not that I'm ungrateful, just... I'm lonely... I don't have any family or... a boyfriend or girlfriend... so having... friends nearby... just... helps... it hurt less," she mumbled.

"Most common ones? Never give up, and kisses solve EVERYTHING. And no matter what, grand gestures can solve anything, even being evil," she said with a nod.
Kazuo Takeba 2019-01-13 03:53:31 102595
"I assure you that kisses and grand gestures do not, in fact, solve everything," Kazuo says, and there's actually a twitch of his mouth to go with the tone this time. "They can help, but it's dependent on context and the right timing. No. Never giving up is a good one, granted. But I am thinking of ones that come before that. Ones that come even before loving other people.

"To be able to save the world, magical girls do have to love other people, yes. But they also need to be able to believe in themselves. They need to learn that, even if they cannot do something right now, they can learn to do it. That even with their flaws, and sometimes in part because of their flaws, they have value; they have worth; they are worthy of compassion, and of love. Before they can learn never to give up on other people, they first need to learn never to give up on themselves."

Kazuo lifts a hand to offer it up to Unmei; it's the one without the envelope in it. "You are fighting a battle, right now, that lasts longer than any season's arc. You are fighting a more insidious enemy. You may always be fighting that enemy. That is not a terrible thing, because you will learn to do better."
Unmei Tama 2019-01-13 04:04:55 102596
Unmei Tama nodded and then... giggled softly. "I don't know. I wouldn't mind some kisses from some people," she said with a laugh. "And I think it would only improve my mood some days. A lot of days I just want to lay down and cry.

She reached out and took his hand, letting him... help her off the bed, then. And... Then asked.

"...I just... how... do I believe in myself?" she finally asked. "My own parents... wanted nothing to do with me. I've never really... no one else has really seen... that value in me. Or at least it doesn't feel like it... Even my powers came to me because I HAD no value. I mean..."

"I'd been at the point where I wanted to give up. Where I just... stopped caring. Where I wanted to die. I'm not there now. I'm definitely not. I want to keep pushing forward. But... I'm... scared. And guilty. And... what if... I never hit the point of usefulness? What if I'm ALWAYS broken, always... hurt? Always needing other people to take care of me? What if I can't ever stand on my own two feet? That's what I'm scared of..."

"What if everything my parents said was right?" she asked, staring at him. Latching onto him in this small storm of emotions. These meetings used to be so much easier...
Kazuo Takeba 2019-01-13 04:14:29 102597
"Unmei." The word is not a reproof. The word is, if anything, a way of reminding her of who she is. And that Kazuo has her hand -- or the other way around -- and his attention is on her. "Your parents value themselves so little that they permitted their neighbors to dictate their worth to them. And that they preferred their neighbors dictating their worth to them over their daughter's life. Why do you believe they understand anything at all about who you are, and what you can do, and what you can be?"
Unmei Tama 2019-01-13 04:20:50 102598
Unmei Tama stared up at him. And then... giggled. "I don't think my parents would have liked you," she whispered. She almost hugged him but... She knew better. She needed a hug. But... he didn't need... didn't normally want to be the one to do it.

"I don't know... Maybe... they were shitty parents. But they're the only ones I ever had... I..." she closed her eyes. "Do you think I'll be okay? If... if I try.... do you think... I can be the kind of girl... I need to be?"
Kazuo Takeba 2019-01-13 04:33:03 102599
"Not a surprise. My father certainly didn't." That's said in a lower tone, as if sharing a secret, or possibly even a joke.

In a more normal voice: "I know you can, Unmei. It's hard to keep moving forward, sometimes. But the distance that you have to travel doesn't matter. Only that you stay on the right path, and keep taking steps; and that when you fall, or get lost for a little, you get up and find the path again.

"Only that you are honest, with yourself and with your friends and the people who care about you, when you feel lost, or when you hurt, or when you've made a mistake. Lacrima is a good one to learn that lesson from. For her, that kind of honesty is life or death; if she lied to herself about her condition, if she did not reach out when she needed help, her entire existence and other people's lives would both be at risk. So she does not, even when it hurts and even when she feels ashamed. And because she does that, her friends have more respect for her, not less. And more hope for her."

Kazuo lifts Unmei's hand between them, his fingers tight on hers. "Because in order never to give up, you first have to learn how never to give up on yourself."
Unmei Tama 2019-01-13 04:37:12 102600
Unmei Tama blinked and stared at him. How could his father NOT like him? He was amazing and kind and wonderful and... oh. Huh. Okay then. That... made sense.

She nodded, smiling. "Okay. Then... I won't... fall off the path. Okay?" she said softly. "Or... at least I'll ask for help when I do..." No, she probably wouldn't. At least... not from those who didn't need her. "yeah, I really like Lacrima. I can't believe I was ever afraid of her. Somtimes she... she's just so adorable..." she said, then smiled up at him. "I'll try to learn... okay?" she said with a smile.

"And I think I'm ready for that card and... then do you want to like... get something to eat? Or... something? I don't know... I could cook us up something?"
Kazuo Takeba 2019-01-13 04:49:55 102602
"We all fall off the path. We just need to learn to admit it; if we don't admit problems, we can't repair them." Kazuo actually ... makes a face. "Which is how I wound up barely able to henshin for a year and a half. Believe me when I admit that we share trouble in that area."

He leans, and puts his other arm around her shoulders, and squeezes; but the position is awkward, so it's brief. And then straightens. "It's not precisely a card. The American tradition is to buy gifts for young people important to you, and present them at Christmas, in honor of the god the day is named for. The Japanese tradition is to honor the spirit of the New Year by presenting money to young people important to you, and letting them choose their own gifts and when in the year to purchase them." He offers the envelope. "So. I ask you to accept it for the sake of the new year. And to accept the Christmas gifts as well, for the sake of the person you want to be, and as a reminder that there are people who believe you will get there."

There's a faint crease at the corners of his eyes, then. "And I think it's been too long since we've shared a kitchen, yes."
Unmei Tama 2019-01-13 04:56:57 102603
Unmei Tama blinked a few times and... "Really? That's kind of silly, Kunzite," she teased with a small smile.

Her eyes widened when he... kind of hugged her. Though, the touched smile on ehr face told him how... well. She knew how much that meant to him. What that meant to him. To touch like that. Heck, for him that was probably like gushing. She giggled and smiled. "Thank you. I... just thank you, Kunzite." She really hadn't gotten anyone anything. granted, this was her first gift. She was so wrapped up in self misery... She sighed. "I went and saw my parents around Christmas. I thought... Well... Lacrima came with me, at least. So they didn't try and touch me. Let's... let's go get something to eat," she said, after placing the money on the gift and heading towards the kitchen. "I've gotten a lot better. I can even make home made pizza now! It's... not very good. But it's really hard to make pizza not good."