The Ground Beneath Their Feet

Kunzite catches Nephrite up on Walpurgisnacht and also Endymion. Zoisite shit-stirs.

Date: 2016-01-25
Pose Count: 14
Nephrite 2016-01-25 03:14:12 24551
The trees are eerily quiet despite the breeze that rustles through them, undisturbed by any sort of life, wild or otherwise. The sky unfolds into a purple dusk above, and Nephrite has not stopped watching it for two days. After months of being shut away in the darkness of a witch's labyrinth, he cannot get enough of the sky.

The small table he leans his elbow on is set with a bottle of whisky and two glasses. The second glass is a matter of courtesy, even if he does not expect Kunzite to take it. For his own part, Nephrite has been happily demolishing his glass. He has not stopped drinking for two days, either.

"How big are we talking, exactly? I'm sure I don't need to remind you that the last witch we fought was a planet."
Kazuo Takeba 2016-01-25 03:31:23 24563
Kunzite has let Nephrite be, for those two days. Time for them both to recover. He himself has little use for alcohol, or any other normal kind of food or drink; what he consumes is light, heat, electricity, magic, life. He's taken enough of it in that time that the outward signs of injury are gone. Whether anything's lingering under the surface is another question - but not one he's as likely to answer.

The second glass is untouched, then. But he's actually taken a seat opposite Nephrite, if half-turned away from him - appreciating the silence of the trees, and the undisturbed shadows between them. By his standards, it's a social gesture.

"This one doesn't need to generate its own world-fragment to make itself that size. It's strong enough that it moves in the open instead of hiding. Throws skyscrapers, reportedly." Kunzite's expression shadows with irritation for a moment. It's not directed at Nephrite. "So it's a choice of taking the thing down, or sifting rubble for leads on the Silver Crystal for the next hundred years."
Nephrite 2016-01-25 03:50:44 24577
The civil gesture is not lost on Nephrite, though it pains him that he has in his hand a glass of whisky that is older than even Kunzite (at a guess), and he cannot even brag about it. At the mention of sifting through the rubble, he grimaces. "Noted. And the threat must be significant if you would consider an alliance like this. I can't say that is something I saw coming." That fact irks him a little. He has been cut off from the stars too long. The entire future has shifted before him, and it will take ages to sift through every change in the stars' patterns.

He sips the whisky, the rich tastes of oak and spice lingering on his tongue. "In fact, it seems like there are all sorts of alliance shifts that occurred while I was gone. Working together with our enemies, recruiting Chiba" he idly spins his glass in his hands. The presence of Chiba had been unsettling him ever since that day, and he is uncertain why that is. Perhaps simply because the boy appeared when he'd had all those visions? Perhaps.
Kazuo Takeba 2016-01-25 04:08:22 24587
"You're not alone in that," Kunzite comments about Nephrite's momentary lack of foresight. "The Akemi girl - that's the one Endymion brought with him, with the hair, and the artillery - claims that the thing has a cycle in time that it adheres to. And that it's manifesting here outside of that cycle. It surprised her enough that she asked us for the truce. Looked more like an attempt at a trap than anything else, but she's had good opportunities to try to take him back already, and passed them up."

Kunzite's mouth turns up at the corner nearer Nephrite, then. "Working with them on this has its advantages for us. One of Sailor Moon's hangers-on is angry enough that in another incident or two she'll be calling for pistols at dawn with her own teammates. But it's not my preference. I'd have let them wreck themselves against the witch, first; Endymion is the one who decided to work with them." Alliance shifts thus related, one to the other. And the smirk's gone when Kunzite glances Nephrite's way. Not studying his face; watching the glass in his hands. His tone's untouched by emotion or opinion, stripped down to raw fact: "Queen Beryl favors him. Claimed him as her consort. Set him over us."
Nephrite 2016-01-25 04:27:48 24596
Nephrite tries to remember the student he had been tracking. The kid with the unnaturally high levels of energy. But he hears that name, the name Endymion, and his mind travels back to the witch's labyrinth, and the things he is not sure he can call memories scratching at his mind. Unbidden, the hand that is not holding his glass curls around the arm of his chair.

There is something that Kunzite is not saying. A /why/ presses at the tip of Nephrite's tongue. Why is he favoured so highly? Why is he here? Why is his name Endymion?

He shrugs, studiously apathetic. "Our Queen's judgement is wise and absolute. I am certain she has her reasons." His brown eyes are sharp on Kunzite's face, searching even though he knows Kunzite will give nothing away that he does not wish to.
Kazuo Takeba 2016-01-25 04:46:04 24603
Nothing. Almost nothing. Nothing that would be evident to anyone who knew him less well, to anyone who didn't spend so much of his time extracting meaning from the subtle movements of often-fickle stars. Less than a heartbeat's pause between breaths; a momentary involuntary contraction of his pupils.

Something about what Nephrite said has him angry. Furious, for it to crack the mask even that much. But the anger is not at Nephrite.

"I'm not contesting it," Kunzite agrees, and his tone of voice hasn't changed. "Half of his plans are softheaded and the other half softhearted, but some of his priorities are useful. And there are things he knows that I don't yet understand. Our Queen couldn't find you in five months. He did it in a couple of weeks."

His attention is allowed to drift to the trees again. "We turned him up while we were looking for you." None of them had been to this place, yet; none of them knew it was there. Too new a place for that, and Nephrite had been the first to narrow their search to this city. "Found out about his connections to Moon, and about his healing - there was a girl that our Queen picked up to try to replace you with; she nearly killed Moon, but Chiba undid the damage. Queen Beryl decided she wanted him captured instead of killed. It took us a little to find a way to do it that wouldn't let her track him immediately. When we did -- he changed. Looked like that. A third identity to go with his other two. Queen Beryl kept it when she took him for herself. He doesn't remember Mamoru Chiba. Press him on the matter, and you'll get an unpleasant surprise; there's something else living in his head that takes over. Startled hell out of Zoisite the first time he triggered it."
Zoisite 2016-01-25 05:05:37 24607
There's a whisper of faintly floral air where there should be no true breeze, and a delicate gloved hand manifests, connected to an equally delicate strawberry-blond General. That hand is already picking up the bottle of Nephrite's whiskey, carefully pouring two fingers into the tumbler reserved for Kunzite. "'Triggered' is such an interesting word, isn't it?"

Zoisite picks up the newly-poured glass, one arm crossing lightly over his abdomen and the other resting its elbow thereupon, holding up the glass with pinky and index finger away from its surface. He smiles from behind it. "Prince Endymion is awfully attached to you, Nephrite."

He takes a sip, rolls it around on his tongue consideringly for a half-second, looks approving. Almost as if it were an explanation, the youngest of the Shitennou adds, eyebrows up, "He knew who you were despite having no memories prior to six weeks ago, and defended you quite heatedly against experimentally cast aspersions. He does make an excellent shield."

Then the tumbler is placed back on the table, and Zoisite ghosts away from the table, twirling the end of his ponytail absently between two gloved fingers. He comes within a hairsbreadth of brushing against Kunzite in passing, but there is no contact. Only the fiery warmth of his tightly wound emotion crosses the tiny distance between them, for that fraction of a second.

Zoisite pauses by the terrace rail, his back to both of them, and his free hand drops to trace immaculate gloved fingertips over the surface of the rail. He examines them a moment later. "He's also quite broken, but I imagine that both serves Her purposes and accounts for some of the more soft-headed plans. Nothing accounts for the soft-heartedness."

Finally he turns, and regards Kunzite silently.
Nephrite 2016-01-25 05:31:22 24614
Nephrite's laugh is immediate, echoing off the walls of the mansion. "Zoisite! I don't remember inviting your pretty little ponytail into my house. Did you miss me so badly?"

His brow creases at the description of Endymion /knowing/ him. He remembers the way that he'd called Nephrite's name, in a way he never had been before, and his stomach twists uncomfortably. He quickly shrugs it off. "Seems our young prince has been doing me plenty of favors. Defending me from all sorts of /beasts./" He continues to grin over his glass. "Seems I have to thank him for his good deeds."

Nephrite decidedly ignores the tension passing between Zoisite and Kunzite like an electric wire, and instead refills Zoisite's glass. At least somebody here can appreciate good taste.
Kazuo Takeba 2016-01-25 05:53:37 24621
Everyone even peripherally involved in this conversation is quite broken, really. One of the ways that that manifests in Kunzite is his absolutely characteristic reaction to Zoisite's appearance. His expression eases, becomes more fluid; reactions actually show as they happen, rather than being chosen and placed and minutely defined. He looks and acts more like a person, when Zoisite's nearby. Most times, at least. Not even that last silent look can make this time one of the exceptions.

"Zoisite." The name's all he uses for greeting. It's enough of a welcome.

Kunzite shifts in his seat, angling a little more comfortably to be able to speak with both of them, table and terrace rail. "He knew who I was the first time he saw me. Before, I should add, he could actually see me. He can tell where we are, and possibly in what condition. I've watched him put himself at risk for each of us, sometimes before he met us." A brief shake of his head, one that lets him look from one to the other, and he says flatly and straight out: "I don't understand."

The second time, he doesn't bother to cover the flicker of his glance with anything else. "That doesn't matter. Our Queen's been increasingly impatient for the last few months. Now her orders are going through someone who, for whatever reason, doesn't consider us expendable. If some of his plans make no sense to me, I'll take that above having to wonder who she's going to hold hostage for results next."
Zoisite 2016-01-25 06:10:55 24628
Zoisite's eyes flash bright, and a look of simple, honest pleasure crosses his face before he flips his ponytail over his shoulder and sparkles at Nephrite. "Flatterer," he says, and it's clear that he means it for both 'pretty' and 'beast'. "I wanted to see if the rumours were true, obviously," he answers, waving a hand dismissively as he watches Nephrite pour him more whiskey. Well. Now he'll have to drink it. "And he's not that young," he adds, but the huffiness is obviously for show.

He glances back at Kunzite, and the greeting -- combined with Kunzite's customary relaxation, even in the face of his accusations -- brings something warm to his face that has nothing to do with heat and everything to do with reassurance. He slowly starts making his way back to the table, listening, and there's a fractional tightening of one corner of his mouth at Kunzite's profession of incomprehension.

Nevertheless, he picks up the tumbler again, and this time when he stops moving, it's to lean against Kunzite's arm. "So," he says lightly, finally, "it's in our best interests to make sure our shield doesn't develop any unmendable cracks, does it not? Or decide we're too much trouble after all."
Nephrite 2016-01-25 06:29:56 24633
"Maybe not so young compared to some among us," Nephrite tips his glass at Zoisite with a nod, and drains the last sip of it, savoring it for a moment. Overhead, the sky is deepening into dark violet, and his heightened vision can pick out the first stars of the evening, twinkling with promise.

"So," he sets the glass down with a sharp clack. "What we have is a mystery. But a useful mystery. I've had less to go on. Good thing you've got me around to solve all your riddles for you again." He flashes the pair a smile that is not so much cheerful as it is hungry. He has a tangible goal again, something to sink his teeth into, and rest is no longer on his mind. "In the meantime, I will defer to Kunzite's assessment on how to handle this new element.
Kazuo Takeba 2016-01-25 06:42:26 24636
The brief openness in Kunzite's expression isn't solely reserved for Zoisite; the amused look that Nephrite receives is proof enough for that. Solve all their riddles? ... he's not actually cruel enough to set the man on figuring out how Venus thinks. Not unless it somehow turns out to be necessary, anyway. The comment he ends on wins Nephrite a brief nod, too. "Which means that we'll go along with his agreement." That might confirm Zoisite's suggestion, too. "And not take the opportunity of the impending witch problem to stab anyone in the back on the field, Zoisite. After that fight, or between now and then, I don't care. Neither do they; I've had to deal with three of the girls in the last two days. Speaking of which, Nephrite --"

That amusement is a bright spark, now. Not as much so as Zoisite's laughter. Still comparatively cold. But certainly notable. "Sailor Jupiter is deeply concerned about what the Dark Kingdom knows about Masato Sanjouin. Given his absence, and her concern about connections. Apparently you're memorable."
Zoisite 2016-01-25 06:49:12 24638
Glancing down at the top of Kunzite's head, affronted, Zoisite says very distinctly, "Hmph!" and then tosses back half of his tumbler of whiskey. After a moment of burn, he adds scathingly, "Just keep Moon from hitting me with that deathray again. That was after our Prince's agreement, I'll note."

He does not note that he gave them a headache first. He just looks completely offended. He's good at it.

Then the rest comes out, and Zoisite has to put his glass down again because he starts laughing. It's bright and pealing and delighted; he's got to (heaven forfend) lean harder on Kunzite just because the schadenfreude is sapping the strength from his knees so enthusiastically. "--I-- I'll miss you-- when you're dead--!"
Nephrite 2016-01-25 07:07:56 24642
Nephrite's smile freezes in place, no longer quite so big or so genuine. Sanjouin Masato has more or less dropped off the face of the planet for the past five months, and sooner or later he will have to decide what to do about that. That anybody is asking about him is cause for concern. That Sailor Jupiter, of all people, is the one doing the asking, is downright alarming.

He leans back in his chair, stretching his legs out and crossing them one over the other. "What can I say? I'm pretty unforgettable."

He shakes his head at Zoisite. "So little faith in my acting skills. A sailor soldier is /concerned/ about me? I must be doing something right."