Fortune Favors the Bold


Date: 2015-06-20
Pose Count: 26
Makoto Kino 2015-06-20 23:20:05 2471
Makoto's gone back and forth with herself a few times over this whole idea, but in the end, fortune favors the brave, right? A simple Google search was enough to tell her that Masato Sanjouin, among many other interests, serves as a tennis coach at Infinity University; armed with this knowledge, and the reassurance that there's nothing odd about a teenage girl visiting a school, the tall girl makes her way across the Infinity campus with brisk, purposeful strides. Carrying an unlabeled white paper bakery box, she's headed for the athletic courts, after a brief stop for directions confirmed that Sanjouin-san should in fact be holding practice at this time of the day.

Nearly there, Mako finds herself hesitating a little, wondering if she's going too far. They've only met twice, after all, and as pleasant as he was toward her, surely someone like Masato Sanjouin has more important things to take up his time than herself... right?

Catching herself, Makoto squares her shoulders in determination, shaking off the feeling of doubt. She just wants to thank him for what he did for her at the Crown, she reminds herself, and to make sure that it wasn't anything bad that kept him from making their appointment at the (sadly trashed) bridal shop. There's nothing wrong with that.

Besides, she's already come this far. "Whatever happens, happens," Mako says aloud, and strides forward toward her destination.
Nephrite 2015-06-20 23:50:19 2476
The Infinity tennis students are being disappointing today. Not that he truly cares about the mortal sport, mind; his identity as the famous tennis coach is merely a cover, a diversion that keeps him occupied while his true plans come to fruition. Logically, the varsity team having an off-day shouldn't bother him much.

"Nakazawa-kun! I served that right to you, you have no excuse for a swing like that!"

...It *shouldn't*, but it *is*. Perhaps Nephrite is doing a poorer job of keeping his mission-related frustrations out of his everyday life than he thought.

Scowling, the man picks up a ball and looks over the faces of his players, every one of them flushed, panting, while he has yet to break a sweat. Truly pathetic that these so-called 'cream of the crop' mortals should have such weak constitutions. "You all will represent Tokyo at the upcoming Nationals. Or have you forgotten already?" He tosses the ball up and down a few times, his face an implacable mask of impatience. "Will you truly be content with such a subpar showing as this?"

"Sanjouin-san, we've been at this for *hours*--"

"Silence!" The tennis coach barks, showing a bit more of Nephrite-the-Shitennou than perhaps he should. In an unnaturally fluid motion, he serves the ball toward the impudent student and waits to see his miserable failure when.

He's distracted. By a very familiar energy that tugs at his senses.

Unable to resist, Nephrite turns his head to see the approaching form of Makoto Kino. His eyes widen just slightly. Fortuitous, to be sure, but...why has she come here?

In his reverie, he misses his target actually connecting with the serve and sending it flying towards him. Only at the last second does he pivot and hit it back, with a superhuman force he's too distracted to restrain. The boy leaps out of the way, the ball bouncing off the pavement and over the chain link fence to parts unknown.

"Practice amongst yourselves," Nephrite commands, breaking the brief, awed silence. "Let me know when you're worth my time again." With this, he slings his racquet over his shoulder and leaves the court, on a direct path to intersect with the Kino girl. If she's here to see him, she'll be the one to let him know. He's sure.
Makoto Kino 2015-06-21 00:04:33 2478
Nephrite's certainty is not disappointed. As his path brings him in her general direction, Makoto steps forward to meet him, tucking the box she's carrying carefully under her arm as she hurries to catch him before he passes by. "I'm sorry if I'm interrupting you..."

She wasn't quite close enough to hear his sharp words to his students, but she did see the brief exchange of the ball and how it ended, and she can still see the students dutifully practicing on the courts behind him. "Do you have just a few minutes?" she asks, trying not to look as eager as she feels (and probably not doing a very good job of it.)
Nephrite 2015-06-21 00:20:50 2482
Ah, so his target has indeed returned to him. Nephrite barely holds back a sinister grin, pleased that Masato Sanjouin has so easily ensnared the girl, even after what he told her at the bridal store -- before that *unfortunate* interruption. He hasn't quite forgiven her for managing to toss him over her shoulder, but he supposes that unexpected strength has given him another reason to investigate her.

And yet all the stars have been showing to him in regards to Makoto Kino is the Summer Triangle. Whatever that's supposed to mean. The heavens are not always inclined to give him easy answers, it seems.

At the polite interruption, the disguised General turns his head, feigning a second of confusion, then fond recognition. "Oh, Kino-san. What a pleasant surprise," he says, finally letting out the smile he'd been concealing. "I'd been meaning to get in touch with you, but the past few days have been rather...busy." His eyes shoot back over to the tennis courts for just a moment, then back to Makoto. "I suppose I owe you an apology or two, don't I?"
Makoto Kino 2015-06-21 00:29:18 2483
"An apology?" Surprise flickers over Makoto's face for a moment, before she smiles and quickly shakes her head. "Oh, no, not at all. If anything, I think it's the other way around."

Not that the destruction at his shop was really her fault, or that she could explain it if it were. "At least," Mako amends hastily, "for looking you up like this, without being invited or anything. It's just that I didn't ever get the chance to thank you for helping me at the arcade that time. And when you didn't make it to the shop like planned, I got a little worried." Although, she does not say out loud, it was undoubtedly for the best that he hadn't been there.
Nephrite 2015-06-21 01:01:04 2488
"You're too kind," Nephrite says when she declines his apologies, then proceeds to deliver one of her own. Of course, he's not upset at all that she came looking for him; if anything, he's glad -- glad that his mortal identity holds such prominence in her mind. He's played his cards right, so far, and he intends to continue, though he's admittedly not quite sure what his plans for her are just yet. Simple energy draining seems...wasteful for a target that blazes brightly enough to merit direct Senshi protection and extraction.

The man waves away her explanation for not contacting him ahead of time. "It's no trouble. I'm no stranger to being approached by students, as you can probably guess. And I, in fact, would probably have sought you out soon as well," he says, strolling over to a nearby bench and beginning to pack away his tennis supplies in an (expensive-looking) duffel bag.

"You were nowhere to be found after the paramedics showed up, and when I heard about the break in at the bridal store, I was quite afraid that you were there at the time. Looking back on it, I guess the traffic I ran into was quite the serendipity." He looks up and over his shoulder at the Kino girl, then smiles once again. "I'm very relieved to find you unharmed, Kino-san. I'd have never forgiven myself if you were hurt on my account."

He plays up the romantic sincerity of it all, in the hopes that it will hide the bald-faced lie.

Idly, Nephrite's eyes drift down to the white box in her hands, which he hadn't noticed until now. "Did you need to deliver something? I can give you directions within the school, at least."
Makoto Kino 2015-06-21 01:59:45 2493
It's impossible for Makoto to restrain the sparkle that comes into her eyes when he says he would've looked her up, or the flush of pink that rises into her cheeks.

Or the moment of breaf, flailing internal panic when he mentions a break-in at the shop and Mako realizes that she has not remotely even begun to prepare an explanation for where she was and what she was doing at the time.

She is, thus, more than a little flustered by the time he looks her way again. That smile isn't doing anything to help her get her thoughts in order, either, but fortunately for Makoto he takes the problem out of her hands when he notices the white box and reminds her of the rest of why she's here. "Oh!" she says, flushing a little more brightly in sudden embarrassment at herself-- "No, there's no need for that. Actually, this is for you." Closing the rest of the distance between them, she offers out the box, held between both hands. "As a gesture of my thanks."
Nephrite 2015-06-21 02:37:15 2498
Nephrite, for the most part, manufactures his outward emotions when he's in the company of mortals, especially those 'lucky' few who've captured a greater amount of his attention. When Makoto closes the distance and holds out the white box, however, the surprised eyebrow that arches up is completely genuine. He can't say for sure what he was expecting, but a gift from the Kino girl certainly wasn't it.

"I see," he says, still holding that charming smile as he finishes packing his things and slings a towel around his neck. (He's not sweaty -- but he has to keep up mortal appearances, right?) "That's very thoughtful of you; and after I was so callous as to not ensure you were safe after the break-in." With a flash of what hopefully looks like guilt in his eyes, Nephrite hoists the bag onto his shoulder and gently takes the offered gift.

The scent of baked good gives the box's contents away before he opens it, but open it he does, and finds that only more genuine surprise awaits him. Several eclairs -- picturesque, clearly professional -- sit inside, somehow still perfectly iced despite the summer heat. A wave of self-satisfied pride overtakes him as the sight sinks in. So, the Kino girl is so desperately infatuated that she would buy gifts of this quality for Masato Sanjouin?

Very well. He'll oblige her with a most convincing performance.

Nephrite looks up from the eclairs with a jovial, yet demuring smile. "Kino-san, these look delicious, but I can't ask you to spend money for my sake." His words are of polite abstention, but the tone of his voice, his relaxed and open body language, all suggest that he *wants* to accept. He just needs a bit of convincing.

Nephrite wants to see if she will try to convince him.
Makoto Kino 2015-06-21 03:10:51 2501
Makoto's eyes widen in momentarily surprise - but then she laughs, looking far more pleased by the polite attempt to decline her gift than it really seems to call for.

"That's okay, then!" Unconsciously raising her hand to the back of her neck, she smiles brightly at him in slightly self-concscious pride. "I made them myself, so it didn't cost anything. Even the ingredients, I mostly had already."

...That didn't come out right. Flushing again, Mako lets her hand drop, looking up at him with earnest eyes. "Anyway, Sanjouin-san, please feel free to accept them. I really do owe you for making sure I was safe, so..."
Nephrite 2015-06-21 03:31:32 2505
She *made* them?

Nephrite's initial reaction is that she's lying to seem more impressive. Mortals are wont to do such things, after all. Stretch the truth, tell stories for their own gain. He's lived among them for this long -- he knows them too well. But there's something so earnest in those green eyes, something so sincerely complimented by his words, that the only logical conclusion is that she's telling the truth.

Incredibly strong, yet an incredibly talented chef. And such bright energy, with a possible link to the Sailor Senshi. /Just who are you, Makoto Kino?/

He once again looks down at the eclairs, as though verifying that they're truly there, when an idea strikes him out of nowhere. A perfect plan, one that could keep this girl in his sights for quite a while, until she has proven what she's made of. Visibly impressed by her words, the man returns his gaze to hers. "You made these yourself? I apologize, then. I mistook them for a professional's work, but if you took the time and effort to make these yourself--" He smiles. "--how can I refuse?"

Closing the box, Nephrite looks at his watch, more for show than anything else. "Would you walk with me to my car, Kino-san? There's something that I'd like to discuss with you, if you have the time."
Mamoru Chiba 2015-06-21 04:05:58 2507
That's when one of the campus prettyboys at Infinity -- an athlete, but not in the Tennis Club; kendo and track for him -- walks up casually, hands in his pockets and glasses sitting comfortably on his nose. He's in uniform, so he's at least not In a Tuxedo in the Afternoon, but it looks just as stylish on him as probably anydamnthing he wears. He looks like his shoes cost an entire service industry month's paycheck, and his non-regulation tie is dark red silk, a gash of expensive color down his chest, striking and unapologetic.

He calls out as he approaches, "Kino-san, I thought I saw you! Hello, Sanjouin-sensei. Kino-san, I meant to look you up, I heard from Ami-chan that you'd been nearby that bridal shop when it got wrecked, and I wanted to make sure you were all right."

Liar.

Sort of. He just didn't hear it from Ami.

He's also acting as mildly as he does toward Ami-- does he know something? Let's see-- he's certainly as tall as Nephrite, and he's certainly usually a bit of a jerk...
Makoto Kino 2015-06-21 04:40:45 2508
Unaware of the direction of Nephrite's thoughts, Makoto smiles again, fairly beaming with beatific satisfaction at his response. Asking her to walk with him gets her flustering again, but even from a distance, it's plan to see that she's all but sparkling.

"Oh," she says, and quickly nods, curiosity quickly coming over her face; "sure, I don't mind. I'm not really in a hurry, but I didn't mean to take up your time if you have someplace to be--"

And then Mamoru walks up, calling out to her, and Nephrite gets the interesting experience of seeing the way Makoto's shoulders stiffen and her chin lifts at the sight of the older boy. The corners of her mouth pull in a little as she looks toward Mamoru - calling it "hostility" would be an overstatement, but there's definitely something there. Annoyance, suspicion. A mild degree of dislike.

He's being way too nice.

"Thanks, Mamoru-san," she says, with only a grudging sort of gratitude for his concern, "but as you can see, I'm fine. There wasn't any need for you to be concerned."
Nephrite 2015-06-21 05:16:16 2509
Perfect. Makoto's all a flutter, clearly eating out of his -- or more accurately, Masato's -- hand. All he had to do was put his proposal on the table, and then--

He feels it before he sees it. Like a shock to his senses, another burst of blindingly bright (familiar?) energy. The man tenses up noticeably, his free hand clenching into a fist. This isn't the girl. This is someone else, someone approaching. But who?

It appears his question is answered fairly quickly, as a young man's voice pierces through his reverie and attaches itself to the supernova at the back of his mind. Nephrite forcefully relaxes himself, then turns to see an exceedingly well-dressed Infinity student. One that is far from unknown at the school, in fact.

"Hello. Chiba-san, if I'm not mistaken?" he says, and of course he's not mistaken. The head of the class in a school of geniuses would be known by all, but seeing as they've never properly *met* before, acting too familiar would be a mistake. And mistakes are to be avoided when interacting with potential persons of interests.

(How has he not noticed this before?)

It strikes the General that the boy must known Makoto, from the way he addresses her; surprisingly enough, however, she does not fall into the infatuated, flustered mess that he has become accustomed to. Odd -- a pretty face and a sharp wardrobe are all it takes for most women, in his experience. What exactly has Chiba done to offend?

It's of no consequence. His plan is being stalled, and remarkable energy or not, the interruption has to be dealt with somehow.

"I take it you two are acquainted," Nephrite says. "Your timing is really impeccable, Chiba-san. Kino-san here has just demonstrated to me a prodigious culinary talent, and I was going to ask her if she had ever considered admission to Infinity." He looks toward the girl, all impressed smiles and compliments. It would have been better to bring up the subject alone, but perhaps the presence of another student of the school could pressure her into giving the idea more consideration.

After all, where would she be more under his thumb than at Infinity?
Mamoru Chiba 2015-06-21 05:33:38 2511
"I'm glad," Mamoru tells Makoto, and there's honesty in it, in his face, in his stance. Almost like he does actually give a damn-- and like he knows exactly what happened.

The tall boy adjusts his glasses, then looks with interest at Sanjouin as the man addresses him. At the recognition, he gives a deferential little bow. "Yes, sir." Then the tennis coach goes on, and Mamoru's focus shifts to Makoto again, eyebrows up. "I see! If you would like a tutor, Kino-san, I'd be willing to do so: I do sessions on Fridays, but can fit you in my schedule on other days as well, barring--"

The pause is not for dramatic effect. It's because he's realized his glasses are smudged. He takes them off and polishes them on the hem of his jacket as he finishes, "--lightning striking."
Makoto Kino 2015-06-21 05:58:08 2512
Makoto's face is, to put it mildly, a study. She goes nearly bug-eyed with surprise at the suggestion that she enroll at Infinity... but before she's really had the chance to process the idea, Mamoru is offering to tutor her, in a heartbeat taking her from boggled surprise to strangling back tooth-grinding aggravation. If Sanjouin-san weren't standing right there looking at her expectantly--

Because he is, Mako throttles back her temper and forces out an awkward laugh. "Thank you for the compliment, Sanjouin-san, but what Mamoru-san is trying to say is that there's no way I'd qualify to be a student here. It's a flattering suggestion, but I think I'm probably better off where I am already."
Nephrite 2015-06-21 06:26:36 2513
Well, Chiba-san proved to be about as spectacularly unhelpful as he could have been.

Nephrite hides it fairly well, his face a model of polite (if cold) composure; on the inside, however, he is *fuming.* As a teacher at the damned school, he is perfectly aware that not every talented student in Tokyo can cut it academically at Infinity. As a General of the Dark Kingdom -- soon to be the foremost power in the world -- he's perfectly willing to pull some strings to ensure that one of his targets got in, regardless.

But all of that is for naught if this impertinent genius boy is here to convince Makoto that she's not smart enough.

"There are, of course, students who attend this school for reasons other than academics," he says. "Excellence and talent come in many forms, and we acknowledge that lightning rarely strikes twice when it comes to genius." He's not intentionally mirroring Chiba-san's statement; perhaps lightning is just prominent in his subconscious, at the moment.

Mamoru gets a look that's startlingly close to disapproval before the disguised Shitennou once again focuses more on Makoto. "I would beg you not to write yourself off so quickly. Many Infinity students seek out tutoring themselves, a fact with which Chiba-san should be familiar, seeing as he so *confidently* offers his services."
Mamoru Chiba 2015-06-21 06:34:46 2515
Mamoru puts his glasses on, then sticks his hands in his pockets again in a comfortable semi-slouch. He gives Makoto a relative of the smile she MUST have seen him give other people -- a little aloof, but genuine. "I didn't actually mean that, Kino-san, I meant I really would tutor you if you wanted to transfer. I'm sure your grades aren't abysmal, you're very bright and determined when you want to be. But seeing as I'm probably the only person you'd know here, and I'm not very good company, I can understand if you didn't want to transfer."

He only nods pleasantly to Sanjouin before he agrees in good humour, "I did say I ran sessions Fridays." Then he glances back toward Makoto, eyebrows up. "I'm also starting up an inter-school study group with Natsume-san and Sharpe-san, we're set to go Tuesdays in the evening after clubs. I was going to invite Ami-chan to that as well."
Makoto Kino 2015-06-21 06:57:23 2516
Agh, this whole conversation is set to drive Makoto to her wits' end trying to keep up with both of these guys at once. It's not helping Mako feel very charitably disposed towards Mamoru for having intruded in the first place, even if he is being (to her mind) unusually pleasant for a change.

And both of them have mentioned lightning, and damn it, Mako's not good at reading between the lines well enough to guess whether it's coincidence or if one - or both! - of them is trying to hint at knowing more than they're letting on.

Makoto is getting really flustered, here.

What she'd really like to do is flail in frustration and maybe shake Mamoru Chiba until he rattles, but she manages to restrain that impulse and honestly think about what he's suggesting. Her grades could use the help, but... "I'll think about it," she says, before turning a rueful look back toward Nephrite. "Mamoru-san is right, though... most of my friends go to Seishou. Even if I qualified for a scholarship, I don't think I'd really fit in here."

Feeling abashed at having to admit it like this, she looks down at the ground in front of her feet, reaching up to rub the back of her neck again. "I really am flattered that you'd think enough of me to suggest it, though, so... thank you very much."
Nephrite 2015-06-21 07:32:22 2517
Nephrite's a General. He recognizes a losing battle when he sees one, and he's never been one for hopeless causes. Damn Mamoru Chiba and his timing; left alone, who knows what he could have convinced her of?

Let's just say Makoto isn't the only one who's getting harried by this conversation. Pure necessity is the only thing letting him hold it in any better.

(Always protective, the prince -- even when it was reckless, even when he didn't mean to be. To the very end, protecting.)

The older man forces out a rueful smile to match the one aimed at him. "I'm sorry to hear it. I, for one, think you would fit in just fine, though I obviously do not want to separate you from your friends." Oh, he would never *dream* of it. He shifts, readjusting the bag on his shoulder. There doesn't seem to be a way to make it out of this encounter victorious, not with Chiba-san breathing down his neck like some kind of watchful guardian...unless.

Another idea. This one, he thinks, she will be more receptive to.

"Perhaps there is a different way I can thank you for these eclairs, then," Nephrite says, his disappointed air evaporating away. "I'm hosting a masquerade ball in a few days' time -- a charity gala, to benefit the victims of the mass coma disease. Forgive me if it is rather sudden, but," he flashes a debonair smile, a single step short of kneeling and taking her hand, "I would be happy to offer you a personal invitation."

Almost begrudgingly, his eyes shoot to Mamoru. "You as well, Chiba-san, though I'm certain such events are commonplace for such an esteemed name as yours."
Mamoru Chiba 2015-06-21 07:46:34 2518
And oh, Mamoru looks inordinately pleased at just the thought of Mako considering joining the Tuesday group. "Please do," he tells her honestly. "And see if you can get Tsukino-san to come, too, I think she'd enjoy Sharpe-san a great deal, and maybe she'll actually study. I promise to try not to set her off."

He's silent and generally cheery as Makoto addresses Sanjouin, rocking back on his heels a little bit, absolutely not giving the older man some serious side-eye. Why is HE being so solicitous toward Mako? She's a middle schooler and he's a teacher... and the additional lightning comment...

At the grudging invitation, Mamoru lifts a hand from his pocket to wave it vaguely in the air and replies breezily, "Thank you, you're very kind. I think I may; I'll have to see if there's anything going on that night. Ah!"

Brilliant plan.

"If all else fails, perhaps Kino-san and I could help you set up? What's a gala without flowers? And Kino-san has a very green thumb."
Makoto Kino 2015-06-21 08:06:13 2519
Makoto lights up at the invitation - in an instant, all of her aggravation is gone and she looks like someone who's being offered the keys to the entire candy store. A masquerade ball! And Sanjouin-san is offering a personal inviation. It seems almost too good to be true.

Then, of course, Mamoru opens his mouth, and Mako's sparkling enthusiasm dims visibly as she side-eyes the older boy hard. Where does he get off suggesting something like that without asking her? And, for that matter, she's sure she never mentioned to Mamoru that she likes gardening, so where did he get that from?

What is he trying to get at here? The more she looks at it, the more suspicious it all seems.

"I don't remember giving you permission to volunteer me for things, Mamo-san," she informs him stiffly, before nearly kicking herself as she realizes what she's doing and looks back toward Nephrite with a sudden, embarrassed smile. "...but in this case, I really wouldn't mind lending a hand if you need extra. And either way, I'd be happy to accept your invitation, Sanjouin-san."
Nephrite 2015-06-21 08:38:25 2520
Awfully forward of the boy to volunteer himself and Makoto without asking her first, isn't it? Nephrite arches an eyebrow as the offer is made. In truth, he hadn't quite considered how he was going to decorate for the ball yet. He'd assumed he could simply conjure all the necessities into existence, though that concentration of magic would be likely to tip off a few unfriendly eyes to the event's true nature. Yes, now that he thinks about it, the mundane way is the superior option, in this case. Though that means some additional work on his part, calling florists, caterers, and the like.

Certainly not glamorous, but a Shitennou of the Dark Kingdom does what he has to. Besides, having some extra time with Makoto wouldn't be unwelcome.

"You're welcome to come help, if you'd like. It will be mostly taken care of by the staff, I assume, but they'd likely not object to an extra pair of hands or two," he finally says. "Especially if one of those hands has a green thumb." The man looks Makoto over, oblivious to the suspicious look he himself is receiving. "You seem to be a truly talented young woman, Kino-san. Perhaps we will find each other for a dance -- if you can recognize a man beneath his mask, that is."

He's not blind. He knows that it was the tuxedo-wearing interloper who removed her from the bridal store, and he knows it will not hurt his chances of gaining information on her if he drops certain hints.

But the longer they remain around Chiba-san, the greater the chance that he will find some other way to foil his plans. Nephrite squints at the skyline in the distance, gradually turning to dusk. "But it's getting late. I'm afraid I must be off. Did you need a ride back home?" he says, pointedly only offering to Makoto. It would't come off as suspicious, certainly; Mamoru likely lives at Infinity anyway. "You did come all the way out here for my sake, after all. It would be rude of me to simply send you off to the trains at rush hour."
Mamoru Chiba 2015-06-22 05:45:49 2584
"You have my most humble apologies, Kino-san," says Chiba, and it honestly sounds sincere. Maddeningly, the expression on his face matches it: chagrined. "I thought in this case it might'n't be such a bad plan-- I'll know better in the future."

Then Sanjouin continues, and abruptly, the side-eye Mamoru is giving him intensifies tenfold. 'Recognise a man beneath his mask'?

What is he trying to get at here?

And the dude is trying to get Makoto alone with him. And he's talking about masks and recognising. Granted, Makoto Kino could kick anyone's ass if they tried anything funny with her, but the familiar feeling of this guy, and the gut-level impression he has of some kind of danger, and the soul-deep impression that looking at the two of them at the same time is somehow right-- but that there's somehow something horribly wrong--

"Or I could give you a ride to Ami-chan's place, I was going to drop off some study materials for her," he offers cheerfully. "I have an extra helmet." Realizing that 'helmet' had no antecedent, he adds in explanation, "Motorcycle safety."
Makoto Kino 2015-06-22 05:54:05 2586
Mamoru's honest chagrin is obvious enough that Makoto can't quite manage to hold on to her irritation, and she sighs a little, dipping her head toward him in acknowledgement. "...It was a good idea this time," she allows, only a little grudgingly. "It's just assuming things without asking me that I don't like."

If nothing else, she does have to admit - at least to herself - that the whole thing has turned out to her benefit, since it seems like Sanjouin-san isn't opposed to the suggestion. The prospect of being able to help out has her brightening--

--and then he brings up the possibility of a dance, and that's it. Mako is gone, lost in a dreamy-eyed wash of sparkling watercolor fantasy. Did he just...? And that comment about recognizing him behind a mask...!

This time when Mamoru butts in, he gets the most indignant look possible from Makoto, a 'what the hell?' that's all but audible. He's definitely up to something, and damn if she can figure out what, but it's enough to have the back of her neck prickling.

"Thanks," she says trying to muster as much composure as she can despite the fact that she's blushing bright pink. "But I wasn't planning on going over to Ami-chan's today. And anyway," she adds, side-eying Mamoru, "I'd feel safer in a car than on the back of a motorcycle." A beat, and then she looks back toward Nephrite, eyes widening. "That is, if it wouldn't take you out of your way, Sanjouin-san. I don't mind managing for myself."
Nephrite 2015-06-22 06:11:20 2589
Nephrite doesn't usually deal in sidelong glances and unspoken suspicions; as a man of action, he is most receptive to just that: action. Silent accusations pass him by unnoticed more often than not, but as long as he remains powerful enough to keep backstabbers at bay, he doesn't much care.

Mamoru Chiba's eyes, though, he sees. Understands. Those are not the eyes of trust that look upon him, and for a single instant after he speaks, the Shitennou cannot keep up his facade. His own eyes, cold and blue as ice, flash with warning. Stay out of this, mortal, it does not concern you.

The energy of the boy is worth investigating, he supposes, as is his apparent intuition. But if he continues to interfere, there will be no mercy for him, no matter the reason.

Thankfully, his (entirely correct) distrust doesn't translate to Makoto, who seems downright irritated at the Infinity student for offering the ride. Good -- so he has won the day after all. It's all he can do not to smirk at Mamoru; thankfully, years of self-control win out, and he instead turns his smile into a friendly one, one turned towards the Kino girl. It's a bit petty of him, but it really is quite gratifying to see her so infatuated. And it will only make things easier.

"It's no trouble at all, Kino-san. Please," he gestures towards the parking lot, where they'd been walking before Mamoru's interruption, "I'll show you to the staff parking lot."

He takes a few steps, then glances over his shoulder at the younger man a final time. "Take care, Chiba-san. The roads can be dangerous at this time of night."

*There's* the gloating smile he's been holding back. And with a turn of his head that sends his hair flying out into the breeze, Nephrite walks away with Makoto, victorious.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-06-22 06:22:00 2591
Mamoru gives Makoto a crooked grin, also completely honest and strangely -- very strangely, given the givens -- somehow affectionate. He shrugs a shoulder. "I'll know to only offer if I'm driving four wheels that day. Good luck! I'll keep in touch with you both about the gala set-up."

It's possibly strange, possibly completely expected to Nephrite that when the boy's eyes meet his and see and recognise the unspoken threat, they meet it evenly, unafraid and calculating and protective and terribly, horribly familiar.

As they actually leave, though, he lifts his hand in a wave, and the gloating smile's answered with a careless smirk. He doesn't do it, but one might easily imagine him pointing to his eyes, then pointing to Sanjouin's. He doesn't even watch them walk the rest of the way away, just turns around and heads off, taking out his phone and texting someone or other about probably some stupid teenaged thing.