Ice Cream Is Not Inherently Evil

Kunzite takes Apatite out for Dark Kingdom Halloween bonding. Tuxedo Kamen and Sailor Moon show up. Which will conquer, desserts or JUSTICE? Need you even ask?

Date: 2015-11-02
Pose Count: 23
Kazuo Takeba 2015-11-02 01:06:29 13147
There are some things that did not originate in Japan, but have been adopted enthusiastically. Excuses to dress up in fancy and/or silly clothes, for instance. Sure, it's a Western thing, but who cares? Have a night of costumes and parties! Have a week of costumes and parties! Have a...

...night when the people embodying and marshalling the forces of evil can wander around on the street and nobody notices, let alone cares.

Ice cream, for another example. America loves sugar in all forms. Italy prides itself on gelato. Japan pats them both on the head, steals their good stuff, and runs with it.

And all of that is how, on Halloween night, there is a flicker in the shadows in a corner of a labyrinthine shopping center, unnoticed among the noise and the laughter and the occasional shrieking of costumed and bewigged people either children themselves or taking a night to pretend to be children again. A flicker in the shadows, a glinting of light as the boundaries between the Earth and not-quite-the-Earth are broken again, and then two figures are standing in that quieter spot.

Which happens to be just opposite a shop all tiled floor and plastic displays, whose screens are dancing with advertisements for ice cream. Chocolate? Vanilla? Green apple? Sesame?

Nine flavors of soft-serve piled precariously on a single cone?

Either Kunzite is pleased with the Dark Kingdom's newest General, or he's sneakily poisoned the entire supply in advance. But there aren't any corpses lying around on the floor, so maybe it's not the second one.
Kyouko Sakura 2015-11-02 01:12:43 13148
    If there's one thing that Apatite has in common with her former self, Kyouko Sakura, it is a love of junk food. Well, all food really, but junk food in particular. Being nearly starved due to poverty as a kid tends to have that effect on you. She might not remember all of that right now, but that doesn't mean she's any less enthusiastic about stuffing sugary treats in her mouth.

    "Oh man, I'm gonna eat so much ice cream." The redhead enthuses. It may be hard to remember sometimes, when she's leading attacks or throwing people off bridges, but she's actually only fourteen- for realsies, no reincarnation or nothing here. She acts older than she is a lot of time because her life has forced her to grow up quick, but sometimes the fact that she's a middle-school-aged teenager comes to the surface. Like when she's promised ice cream.

    Although she's wearing the white and red long coat which is her Dark Kingdom uniform, she doesn't stand out too much from the crowd on this night. People probably just think she's dressed up as some kind of anime character or something. So she attracts little attention as she darts out ahead of Kunzite towards the ice cream parlor. "C'mon, already, move it Kunzite-nii!" She calls back over her shoulder, flashing that one-fanged, lopsided grin of hers.

    This is the same ice cream parlor where she first met Sayaka, for the record. Hopefully she doesn't remember that.
Kazuo Takeba 2015-11-02 01:21:32 13150
Hopefully, because Kunzite has absolutely no idea. If he did, he'd have picked somewhere else - but Apatite's history before she became Apatite is something he has no idea of. And no idea that, or why, he hasn't noticed he has no idea of it. Blind spots: the Dark General's best friend and worst enemy.

"Some of us are old and creaky," Kunzite calls back, the corner of his mouth turning up despite himself. "I'm sure I'll catch up by the time you've finished ordering." He's following, but at a walk. It's not slow by any means; it's just conserving energy. Letting him linger near a half-dozen costumed children armed with far too much sugar. They slow down a fraction as they pass him; it's barely noticeable, and their parents will probably be relieved rather than worried.
Kyouko Sakura 2015-11-02 01:28:44 13152
    Subtlety isn't really Apatite's thing. Nor is she particularly concerned about the whole 'draining energy' thing on a moment-to-moment basis. Kyouko has always been much more about the thrill of the fight, about proving her strength in combat, than about efficient but quiet operations like sneakily siphoning off energy when nobody is looking. She doesn't even notice what Kunzite is doing, nor does she think to do anything similar herself.

    "You'd think that." Apatite laughs as she enters the parlor and marches up to the counter. "Gimme the Sunday Special." She declares, as if by instinct. It's her favorite thing to order, even before, and she doesn't pause to think about why she chooses that. It's also a giant glass dish with like.. 30 scoops of ice cream in it, and bannanas and cones sticking out and sprinkles and chocolate syrup. One of those things you're supposed to share with a table full of friends. But she only brought Kunzite.

    After ordering and being told it'll take a few moments, she turns and claims a booth near the back, sliding into it and sitting with her arms spread over the back of the bench as she waits for the older guys to join her.
Kazuo Takeba 2015-11-02 01:37:48 13154
They all have different techniques. Nephrite, for instance, would have casually enchanted the slightly-overwhelmed woman behind the counter. Jadeite might've charmed her into thinking he'd paid with words and personality, rather than with magic. Kunzite pays cash, and meets the woman's eyes when he touches her hand; and if something slithers between his hand and hers when they make contact, nobody else notices, and before the woman can do anything more than start to take a breath, she doesn't care that she noticed anymore.

Nothing that will cause uproar tonight. After all, why do anything that would make Apatite show two fangs instead of one?

He joins her a moment later, carrying a dish with a single serving of ice cream. It's /almost/ white. The faint shading of pink might not be entirely a surprise by now.

"I wanted you to know," Kunzite says calmly, "that you've already been getting better results than the rest of us. She doesn't always tell people that; I wanted to make sure it wasn't missed." The faint emphasis on 'she' is enough to make it clear, without ever using a name.
Kyouko Sakura 2015-11-02 01:45:46 13156
    "Aww, well," Apatite says, still grinning that easy-going, lopsided grin that tends to be her default expression when she's in a good mood, "I wouldn't have gotten the job if I wasn't talented, right?" Actually she doesn't remember why or how she got the job, only that she's new. That should probably trouble her, but it doesn't, and she doesn't think too hard about it.

    A few minutes later her giant boat of ice cream is delivered, and her red eyes light up as she seizes the spoon and digs in with terrifying efficiency. She's good enough at eating that she can carry on a conversation while doing it though.

    "Still, s'nice of you to say," She responds around a mouthful of something green-pistachio maybe? "I ain't even got started yet. Go out, make a ruckus, steal some energy. Man, sounds like a good saturday night to me."

    She laughs again, and takes another bite. "Still, I'm sure you've done pretty well in your time too, Kunzite-nii-chan, else you wouldn't still be around, right? Ol' Queenie don't strike me as the type to keep useless dudes around." Yeah, respect for authority has never been one of Kyouko's strong suits. Still, there's no sense she's being disrespectful, just that formality isn't something she values highly.
Kazuo Takeba 2015-11-02 01:56:47 13157
That giant boat of ice cream? All hers. Entirely hers. Kunzite watches in fascination (and perhaps in wondering whether the green is pistachio or matcha, or whether the table itself will survive intact), and tastes that tiny, lonely scoop of rosewater as if judging it and all its ancestors, from the grass the cows ate to the soil the roses grew in.

"We all have our duties, and our specialties," he agrees. Apparently informality and challenge aren't about to make him stop taking her seriously. Then again, he's the one that wears his collar open; maybe they incline him to take her /more/ seriously. "I harvest the Middle East." There's a sentence that most people are happier not to examine the implications of too closely. "And I take the long view, something that our brothers don't always remember to do. But --" there's an almost-imperceptible pause in which he manages /not/ to ask how that spoonful fit in her mouth -- "you... you've already very nearly managed to accomplish one of her goals single-handed. I believe you would have, if outside forces hadn't interfered. And I've been working on ways to remove that interference, so that it can't trouble you in future. Well done."
Kyouko Sakura 2015-11-02 02:05:50 13158
    Apatite pauses with another heaping spoonful of ice cream almost to her mouth as Kunzite brings up that particular incident. She knows exactly what he's talking about, of course. A shadow of... something passes over her face. Regret? No, not really. Confusion, perhaps. Although she did what she did, it left her feeling upset, as if some part of her objected, although she can't come up with any reasons that should be so.

    Still, she knows better than to show weakness. Showing weakness gets you killed. Her lapse is momentary, although if Kunzite is a sharp-eyed enough observe he can still spot it. A moment later that spoonful of ice cream is in her mouth, and her grin has returned, even if its just a bit more subdued than it was before. "Aw, c'mon. Yer flatterin' me, nii-chan. One person is hardly the equal of an entire part of the world, ne? Anyway, you know what they say. Almost don't cut it. Sailor Moon is still alive. I failed."

    She doesn't seem too put out about it tough, and there's no sense it's because of her earlier regret. "That's okay though, s'no fun if the fight ends that quickly. I've always like a good challenge. I'll get 'er next time." She returns to the bowl for another spoonful. "Or y'know, whoever else gets in our way." She makes a little stabby motion with the spoon, as if its a tiny spear. "Wham, bam! No mercy!" She winks. "S'what I'm here for. You do all the plannin' and crap, just tell me who to stab. I'm good at stabbing."
Kazuo Takeba 2015-11-02 02:15:25 13162
Kunzite's job is being sharp-eyed - thus how he even knew that Apatite had fought Sailor Moon in the first place. The lapse is spotted --

-- and dismissed. That quickly. Something that must not be thought about: blind spot.

"That entirely depends," he says instead. "Leverage. Give the right person the right place to stand, and that person can move the world." A brief gesture with his spoon, and what might be a wink back at her, or might just be the shadow of a lock of pale hair crossing over an eye. "But that principle can work for us, as well. It didn't go off the first time, yes, but we learned from it. Learned enough to do better. If we can give /you/ the right place to stand ... given how well you work without it? I'm looking forward to seeing what you do then."

This time the smile isn't limited to one corner of his mouth, and his voice takes on an almost reverent tone. "It should be beautiful."
Kyouko Sakura 2015-11-02 02:22:44 13163
    "I am pretty goddamned amazing." Apatite agrees without hesitation, as she swallows and dives in for another big spoonful of some kind of pink ice cream. "I dunno what we learned from it though, other than that Sailor Moon can take a spear to the gut pretty well. I mean, lotsa magical girls can heal pretty good, but damn. Chick's tougher than she looks, lemme tell you." The ice cream vanishes into her mouth and is soon replaced with something blue.

    "Whatever, though. Makin' plans ain't my strong suit, nii-chan. I know enough to know what I'm good at. You just point me in the right direction and I'll get the job done. Or y'know, not, but heck maybe ya'll learn something else." She doesn't include herself. Kyouko isn't the best at learning lessons, at least not quickly. Just ask Mami.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-11-02 02:51:49 13171
People have been coming in this whole time, mildly energy-drained for their efforts, and leaving none the wiser. There was even a fake Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Kamen that came in earlier with super chintzy costumes, and obviously no one either of the two Dark Kingdom employees had seen before.

This time the real mccoys walk in, holding hands and looking perhaps a little mussed, holding candy bags in their free hands, laughing and talking.

Well. Tuxedo Kamen stops laughing and talking as soon as he walks in, and though he doesn't slow on their way toward the counter, he's indefinably more tense, on high alert. Sailor Moon's still chattering away as he scans the crowd rapidly and then zeroes in on Kunzite and Apatite in their booth, and though his gaze may be caught for a second, he lets it glide away again.

He never actually stops walking toward the counter with Moon, either, but he does bend down and whisper something in her ear.

("Act normal. Kunzite and Apatite are eating ice cream here but not starting anything so-- ice cream, remember, just ice cream, no justice speeching, right?")
Kazuo Takeba 2015-11-02 02:58:31 13175
They call it tension because it attracts attention. Or something. Either way, Kunzite's pale eyes flicker away from Apatite suddenly, lingering on someone in the crowd near the counter. He draws a breath in through his teeth, lets it out slowly, and then returns his attention to Apatite ... without letting the counter slip out of his peripheral vision. And, because priorities are priorities, he takes another taste of his ice cream. Which is somewhat miraculously failing to melt.

"The right direction," he says reflectively, "at the right time. I think you deserve to be able to finish your ice cream. At the very least."
Usagi Tsukino 2015-11-02 03:02:41 13177
Sometime between kisses on the roof and leaving the roof, Usagi exchanged a cheap costume for the real thing. The subtle thrum of magic along her skin kept the wind out when she wasn't using a certain someone's cape.

After the roof they enjoyed the shops. In one, she'd even asked if he would buy her a car. And that she would pay him back.

Happily, as they enter the ice cream parlor, she's chattering. About a lot of stuff. Why? Because he lets her and doesn't seem annoyed by it.

She notices his tense posture right away, but since he doesn't really say anything, she keeps talking.

"Did you think I meant an actual car? It's cute, though, you gotta admit! It's like your car got stuck in a shrink ray!"

Yup, she had found a little Hot Wheels Tesla. And it was going to go on her night stand.

As they reach the counter, and she opens her mouth to order, and she almost doesn't hear him because breath on ear. But she does, and she tenses, too.

But then...Ice Cream! She'd be really annoyed if they'd showed up at a buffet and attacked before she could get her fifth round of dessert in. "R-Right."

Her fingers tighten around hers, and she orders. And she sounds happy and carefree, because, you know, she's had practice.

That, and her company makes pretending so much easier.
Kyouko Sakura 2015-11-02 03:04:54 13178
    Apatite remains wholly ignorant of the entrance of Real Tuxedo Mask and Real Spear Target #1. This is partly because her back is to them but mostly because of the giant pile of ice cream still sitting in front of her, although said pile is getting smaller by the moment as she continues to shovel it into her mouth at frightening velocity.

    "The funny thing about ice cream," She notes between spoonfuls, "Is that it goes away whether you eat it or not. I always say ya gotta strike when the time is right, and with ice cream the right time is before it melts. So look, I'll topple any regimes you want, but not while I'm eating."

    She looks Kunzite dead in the eye. "I hate wasting food, nii-chan." If Kunzite feels the hair on the back of his neck stand up at the tone of her voice, well, he'd hardly be the first.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-11-02 03:17:19 13185

Tuxedo Kamen orders, too-- they're both complimented on their costumes, they're so *good*! But aren't Sailor Moon's boots and bows supposed to be purple or something? And doesn't Tuxedo Mask have long flowing brown hair and a purple mask? And what's the medal for? First place in a science fair? Ohohoho! (Dark Kingdom energy creates that laugh.)

Then while they're waiting for their comparative portion orders -- something enormous and improbable for Usagi, a small serving of something inordinately exquisite for Mamoru - Tuxedo Kamen smiles down at Sailor Moon, even if his shoulders don't lose their tension, even if his smile's a little tight and he's only let go her hand in order to pay. "It *is* cute. It's like a chibi-batmobile. You sure you're going to be able to eat all that while you're walking? I mean, we could sit down, but..."
Kazuo Takeba 2015-11-02 03:21:55 13186
Some things are more important than heroes at the counter. (Besides, the woman at the counter is taking care of them, ohohoho and all, and without even slipping rat poison or cleaning chemicals into their order or /anything/. What's sleeping in her now will sleep quietly tonight.) Kunzite's attention focuses sharply on Apatite. Because --

-- because /that/ tone of voice makes the hair on the back of his neck stand up, and because one pays attention to the most lethal threat /first/.

-- and because his eyes widen a fraction. Not in surprise. In recognition. And there's the tiniest twitch of dark energy imaginable, at the table. Nothing visible happens. It's just that Kyouko's ice cream won't be melting any more, either -- not more than enough to make it more pleasant to eat, anyway.

"That's why you're so effective," says the man who's been collecting energy from overexcited children tonight, who soaked up the ambient fear at the bridge, who refused to enter a fight unnecessarily or to run to catch up with Kyouko instead of walking. Quietly, utterly calmly, pleased. "You understand."
Usagi Tsukino 2015-11-02 03:22:42 13187
Sailor Moon's eye twitches a bit at the lady, but overall is all smiles. "Nope, he won first place in a Sweetest Guy Ever contest." She grins as she gathers napkins. "And maybe, who knows? But who'd wanna put a wig on his hair? It's criminal!"

And then they're waiting and she's dancing the little car in front of his nose. "It's more like an adorable chibi-kamenmobile."

She glances out of the corner of her eye, but not for long. "It's just...a billion scoops is hard to carry..." She blinks. "Do you think...I mean, they haven't exactly made a move... Maybe wave around a tiny white flag? For tonight?" And she demonstrates this by waving a white napkin. Close enough.
Kyouko Sakura 2015-11-02 03:29:52 13191
    "Damn straight." Kyouko confirms, and if she notices that her ice cream is now enchanted to prevent it from melting she doesn't show it, continuing to happily consume the now-half-gone massive pile of ice cream without interruption. "'Course, it's also partly because I ain't afraid to get my hands dirty." She points out. As if this jogs a thought, she reaches out and grabs a napkin from the table, using it to wipe her fingers where they've gotten a little too enthusiastic with the ice cream.

    "The law of the jungle, nii-chan." She says, nodding her head at his comment about understanding. "You gotta be the biggest, the toughest, or else you get eaten up. I've always-" She pauses suddenly. She had been speaking without thinking, spouting off Kyouko's philosophy without thinking about what she was saying. But suddenly she seems to realize, she doesn't remember what she 'always' does or says. She feels like if she kept talking, maybe something would have slipped out but.. now it's gone.

    An uncomfortable look passes over her face for a moment, before she glances away to the side. "It's like I say," She finally continues, omitting the troublesome phrasing, "Strength is all that matters."
Mamoru Chiba 2015-11-02 03:38:16 13194
The thirty-scoop sundae special and single serving of delicate rosewater ice cream arrive at the pick-up counter -- the lady glances over at the white-haired man and red-haired girl in mild confusion, then shrugs and goes off to keep filling a bajillion orders. Tuxedo Kamen picks them both up, super carefully, and says mildly to Sailor Moon, "We could, but do you really want to risk it not working? Come on, we should just go, make sure we're not followed... I'll carry your ice cream until we get someplace we can sit down. There's lots of benches inside the mall."

He can't help it: at the shiver of additional dark energy, the boy in the top hat glances back at Kunzite and Apatite's table, and his sharp eyes are clear in their recognition, and his insides hurt. He's not sure which part of his insides, only that it's inside. If Kunzite should look up, blue will meet silver, just for a fraction of a second.

Either way, he's already carrying Usagi's ice cream explosion doorwards. "Can you grab a handful of napkins on the way out?" he asks her cheerfully.
Kazuo Takeba 2015-11-02 03:50:55 13199
"There's strength," Kunzite says, "and there's how you use it. But you keep speed and positioning in your repertoire, too." A compliment that he can give without worrying about bystanders overhearing. They were at the bridge --

-- they were at the --

-- there was something burning --

It's his turn to pause, just for an instant, the same barely-perceptible lapse that Apatite had a little earlier. A shadow of something, and not a shadow of his making.

Just for a fraction of a second, he starts to look up. But he never quite meets Tuxedo Kamen's eyes. Silver meets red, instead, and Kunzite drowns the hint of memory in the present, and then drowns the memory of drowning it. "In the end, you're right. Those serve strength; they can't replace it. Without enough of it -- you're lost."
Usagi Tsukino 2015-11-02 03:51:57 13200
Well, he has a point. "Yeah, and I'd probably be too tense to get back twenty scoops... and that should be a crime." Wasting food is perhaps one of the dumbest things she's heard of. Even stuff she doesn't like much, if it's in front of her, in her tummy it goes! (Sometimes even carrots...)

And if he's going to carry the monstrosity for her!

She hesitates on following him, getting a full view of Kunzite now that she was actually facing the room. From what little she knows of him, well.

Her face is very, very confused.

Also, her tummy gets a sort of phantom stab when she looks at the red head. It's psychosomatic, she knows this even if she doesn't know the word, but she hopes it isn't something that continues. She really doesn't want to have an Old Grampa Spleen. 'Ack, my spleen's achin.' Rain's a-comin'!'

Then napkins are being requested.

She takes the excuse to tear her gaze away from...whatever was going on over there. (Was it a date?)

"Sure!" She twirls and more napkins are added to the fistful she already has. Then she turns and spins, and without looking in that (could it be a Dark Kingdom Plot to rid the world of ice cream?) scene, Sailor Moon skips after Tuxedo Kamen.

"Wait for me~!"
Kyouko Sakura 2015-11-02 03:56:32 13203
    "Now you're really flatterin' me, nii-chan." Apatite says, though cheerfully. "If I was as great as all that, I'd have killed Sailor Moon /and/ drained all the energy in the world already!" She says this super loudly, because Kyouko has never been very good at volume control /or/ tact. Though she still doesn't know that said Sailor Moon and her beau are like ten feet behind her.

    If she notices the reaction that Kunzite has, so similar to the one she herself had not long ago, she doesn't comment on it. After all, it would only highlight her own uncertainty, which she doesn't want to do. Much safer to stick with just eating the ice cream. Not to mention tastier.

    "Strength is the only justice in the world." She mutters into her spoon, more to herself than to Kunzite. As if trying to remind herself, or convince herself. "Anything else gets you in trouble.
Kazuo Takeba 2015-11-02 04:01:44 13205
"Next time," Kunzite says, unworried. It's Halloween. The only people around them likely to take them seriously just walked out; and if anyone else twitches, well, they're only humans. They can be dealt with. "Next time."

And he does not admit, either aloud to her or silently to himself, that the entire time that Tuxedo Kamen and Sailor Moon were in the place, he didn't make a try for their energy.

Ice cream. Far more important.