Your Values Are All Shot

Jadeite's world is going slowly to pieces. Again. Kunzite makes a try at catching him; in the end, it's more that Jadeite finally finds a reason to catch himself.

Date: 2015-12-31
Pose Count: 15
Kazuo Takeba 2015-12-31 03:55:36 20010
Every so often, starting a few days after the last time Jadeite saw Kunzite, Kunzite has made an attempt to reach him. Sometimes this has taken the form of checking his more usual haunts. Sometimes this has taken the form of a contact attempt via the Obsidian Pact's crystals. (Well. It's a crystal for Kunzite, anyhow. The more flexible and more Earthside-oriented of them have generally made theirs look and behave like cellphones. Comes to the same thing, in the end.) He hasn't hunted too hard - he's left space for Jadeite to keep to himself, for a while - and the attempts haven't come more often than a few days apart.

Waiting. Testing the waters; but largely waiting for Jadeite to be willing to deal with him again.

He hasn't been surprised that it might be taking a while.
Saburo Yukimura 2015-12-31 04:01:30 20013
There has always been part of Jadeite that's a little fickle, in the sense that he's easily distracted, easily scared off from things he didn't really want to do in the first place, unless someone's tugged on his sense of duty. He's been downright coltish, lately, struggling with this feeling like his heart is /thawing/ and telling him that all of this is /wrong/. So it is that there's almost no preamble when he just kind of appears where Kunzite is, without announcing himself.

Despite how ragged he might feel internally, he's as pristine as he ever is, collar buttoned, gloves spotless. It's his /eyes/ that have all the stains. "Kunzite."
Kazuo Takeba 2015-12-31 04:11:42 20016
The turn is quick, is made before Jadeite speaks - Kunzite's on edge. But his right hand's not half-lifted to prepare an attack. It's back, instead, ready to draw his cape up and forward -- whoever he was expecting Jadeite to be, it was someone he thought he needed to defend against, but not to kill.

A safer reaction to be on the receiving end of, as a whole.

He exhales and relaxes, inclining his head toward the other general as if the previous second and a half had never occurred. "Jadeite." The brief scan of the other man's condition is visible as a flicker of his eyes. Kunzite himself is standing straight again, back in the strictly limited order he usually keeps himself in. Whatever physical damage he'd taken, he's healed. But there's something around his eyes, too, almost impossible to place - not less stress, not more, but the patterns of it are different.

And he searches Jadeite's expression, and his eyes, for a moment longer than he might have been expected to.

"There are a few things you should know, if you have the time." The tone's neutral; it might be picked up and responded to. It might be an invitation to lash out at him, given the last they saw of each other. As openings go, it's very nearly a blank page.
Saburo Yukimura 2015-12-31 04:21:31 20017
There are a /lot/ of things Jadeite should know; lately he feels like he knows none of them. He tenses for even less than half a second when Kunzite turns so quickly, but he recognizes the defensive posture immediately and never makes a gesture to make it seem as if he needs to defend /himself/. He tries to take the information and file it away, but honestly his storage buffer is full. There isn't much space to take in the subtleties of how tightly wound Kunzite is. Instead, he inclines his own head, a gesture of understanding and nothing more. "Tell me."

It's far less verbose than Jadeite tends to be, fewer words than he usually weilds. Maybe he wants to be told the 'few things', but part of him, the part he can't /allow/ to speak, the part that he chooses brevity to silence, wants to be told that /anything/ about what they've done was a good idea or the /right thing/.
Kazuo Takeba 2015-12-31 04:25:19 20020
There are several things that Kunzite could have started with. He chooses the one that, on the surface, might be the most confusing.

"He still knows us."

No explanation of who he is. Or who us might be. But somehow he suspects Jadeite doesn't need one.
Saburo Yukimura 2015-12-31 04:28:17 20021
He doesn't. Those are the last terms Jadeite actually needs explained. Instead, he knows so /much/ what Kunzite means that he feels like he's been slapped in the face. His head recoils just a little on his neck, which might as well be him taking a full step backwards. "What?"
Kazuo Takeba 2015-12-31 04:35:59 20026
"He still knows us." That wasn't misheard. Kunzite shakes his head slightly; his eyes drop from Jadeite's for the barest moment before he folds his arms and focuses again. "I found him out on his own a few days ago. He knew I was there, knew who I was." If not what happened, or those words would likely have a different tone to them, one other than Kunzite's standard-issue calm. "Zoisite came back while we were talking. Neither of us saw him; he didn't make a sound. But he" (and that he is not Zoisite, this time; not the capital-letter emphasis that She gets, but a steady clarity) "knew someone was there, and where he was, and that it was one of us. Zoisite left again rather than talk to us, and he hasn't spoken to me since - but I saw the last of his teleport signature. It was him."
Saburo Yukimura 2015-12-31 05:16:51 20038
The news that Zoisite had made and appearance, too, is almost too much on top of the knowledge that Endymion /knows/ them. Jadeite tries not to step back a second time, but he blinks far too much, as close to an expression of weakness as he hopes he gets. It never occurs to him to doubt whether or not Kunzite is /right/ about it having been Zoisite. Of course he was. He always is. Jadeite can't afford to doubt that more than he already does, his foundations are already crumbling.

He drops his eyes, eventually, searching the ground by Kunzite's feet for nothing in particular. He speaks quietly, when he does, like he's worried they might be overheard. "I don't know what to do with that. I thought he was..."

Blanked. Wiped clean. *Ruined*.
Kazuo Takeba 2015-12-31 05:52:14 20047
They always might be overheard. That crystal ball seeks in many places, to inform or to amuse its Queen. Which might explain Kunzite's brief shrug, to Jadeite's trailing off. Or that might be his honest reaction. "He doesn't remember being Chiba." Blanked. "Best that way. It would interfere with Queen Beryl's purposes for him." Wiped clean. "But he knows us. Trusts us, whether he has reason to or not. When he's left to himself, he has his sense of humor."

Not ruined?

Possibly. If trusting Kunzite after that isn't itself a sign of ruin.
Saburo Yukimura 2015-12-31 05:59:48 20049
Jadeite takes a long breath in, and something relaxes along his shoulders. It isn't much, and it isn't enough, but it's a start, in its own way. Still too-quiet, Jadeite offers a question. It's far too much of a younger brother looking to his elder brother for help, or reassurance, or any of a number of positive emotions that Jadeite isn't exactly sure he's ever really *had*. " you still think this was necessary? The best option?"
Kazuo Takeba 2015-12-31 06:19:21 20054
No. No, this was a terrible option. No, this was still something they never should have done, and never should have followed through with. No, Jadeite was right to have fled.

He can't say any of that. He can't even let himself hint at it.

"The alternative was killing him," Kunzite says instead, matter-of-fact. "Once Queen Beryl decided against that, there was no other way to separate him from Sailor Moon, even temporarily. So: yes. It was necessary."

But he puts his hand out, clasps Jadeite's upper arm for a moment, as he's saying those last words. Actually touches him. That -- doesn't happen. The strangeness might shatter any trace of reassurance the gesture gives; or the familiarity (from where?) might outweigh the strangeness. Kunzite can't be sure which it will be, not in advance. And he needs to know.

(That part is on purpose. The flicker of unreadable emotion behind gray eyes as he's speaking -- that part is not on purpose. But whether Jadeite sees it at all depends on whether he's still searching the ground.)
Saburo Yukimura 2015-12-31 06:46:34 20057
It's a rock and a hard place, except here in the Dark Kingdom, the rocks could eat you. Or worse, they eat the parts of you that you can technically live without, but *shouldn't*. More and more Jadeite is starting to suspect something similar has happened to himself, his brothers, anyone he *should* care about. It itches. It burns.

The very second Kunzite seems like he's going to actually make contact with Jadeite's arm, his head snaps up. He seems shocked to his core, unable to hold back the expression no matter how telling it is. His eyes are wide, almost watery, searching every aspect of Kunzite's face. Jadeite isn't even sure what he's finding there, much less if he's comfortable with it at all. Part of him just wants to run, because this is too much, this thing where everything around him has now become something familiar in ways he can't recall. "I don't like it." He says, without *really* explaining what 'it' is. He feels like his body is so tense it might just fall apart. "I...I should..."
Kazuo Takeba 2015-12-31 07:02:43 20064
Searching Kunzite's face -- isn't helping. Because the mask that Kunzite is wearing is a mask; it's the non-expression everyone expects from him, and most of them aren't particularly perceptive when it comes to people anyhow. Jadeite is. And that faint mismatch between the conscious cues he's giving and the unconscious ones - that's familiar, too. Not in the can't-place-where way; he knows where he's seen it. It's just that he's never seen it on Kunzite before.

He's only seen it in the mirror.

"Jadeite," Kunzite says quietly. He's let his hands drop back to his sides. "I need you to hold yourself together. Do you understand? Take time if you need it. Talk to him; see for yourself. But come and talk to me again, too, and soon. Don't go back to Earth before doing that. Too risky. We need you alive and well. Take time. Just -- not too much of it."
Saburo Yukimura 2015-12-31 07:23:27 20068
Maybe the most frightening thing in all of this is the idea that whatever is wrong with him, that causes that lag in Jadeite's ability to mask his emotions, that allows them to show through his eyes and the corners of his mouth--the idea that it might be *catching* and he might have *infected* Kunzite with it somehow. It makes the rest of the conversation, such as it is, feel much more like a punch to the gut.

Because he gets it, he really does, the constant worry that his brothers are going to do something and get themselves killed and he'll have to live with *that* too. He's never thought of himself as the unhinged one, the one who's likely do *anything* but what he's been asked to do, but a lot of things have been changing lately, and none of them seem to be for the better. So, Jadeite inclines his head, pulling himself up a little so that he can press his fist to the side of his chest, like he does when he salutes. "I will, brother. I will be careful. I will be better."

He *has* to. Kunzite *needs* it. There's simply no other option.
Kazuo Takeba 2015-12-31 07:33:40 20072
And yet -- Kunzite also said 'we need you.' We.

The gesture's answered, mirrored, angle of head and change of posture and motion of hand. Steady and straight, and the hint of relief in it only shows at the edges of his eyes. Nothing's said aloud in response. But that mirroring says everything.

For once, for just this once, maybe only for a little while - not alone dealing with this. Even if the important parts can't be spoken of. Not alone.