2014-04-24 - And Then It Got Worse

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Title: And Then It Got Worse

After his horribly-ending conversation with Mai, Tuxedo Kamen runs into that girl who tried to flatten Vega in the dance-battle Starfall. Oh god Utena cast why won't you stop being Ohtori for five goddamn minutes. Hearts are wrung. Mamoru is pretty sure today is just the worst invention. Shiori's not too happy either.

Warning: Contains a non-consensual forceful kiss.


True Feelings, Tuxedo Mask


Somewhere in the Shitamachi district!

OOC - IC Date:

4 January 2014 - 4/24/14

<Pose Tracker> Tuxedo Mask [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

For early January, it's a relatively mild night. The air's still cold enough that breathing clouds it, the wind still creeps through fabric to leach warmth from skin, and old snow from the night before is piled in the corners of everything.

Mere moments ago, a fierce and wordless battle ended in an empty parking lot between buildings; now, the surviving participant's leapt upward to one of the rooftops that overlooks it, and leans heavily on the low wall at the edge, looking down at the dissipating dust and foul mist that remain of his opponent.

He's breathing hard, and his white-gloved hands grip the concrete lip of the wall, steadying himself. It's not more than you can handle if you're still alive at the end, right?

Hunched over like that, Tuxedo Mask's glossy midnight cape is pooled on the silver-painted tar, and he's half in shadow-- facing away, his brilliant white mask isn't even visible. His heart's still pounding in his ears.

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

There have been other battles, of course. But a particular hunter did not find everything she was looking for. No, somebody else covered at least one of them, perhaps more; the foul mist is something Shiori's seen a few times already tonight. Her Tuner work has kept her busy, after all, which is good--without school, it's terribly easy to just get /bored/. But... Something interesting has happened, at least.

One interesting thing.

The purples and greens of Shiori's outfit blend easily into the shadows; they're largely dark colors, and her own mask (covering about her eyes and nose, largely) only helps to conceal her a little. She doesn't have a cape, as usual. Her bootfalls are soft against the concrete of the roof.

Her dagger is pointed downward, away from tender bits of person. "...My, my," the magical gardender says as she steps out of the shadows. "Someone's worked up a sweat, hasn't he?"

<Pose Tracker> Tuxedo Mask [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Perhaps satisfyingly startledly, the boy in the mask stands and turns, cape whirling around him; the adrenaline from his fight had already begun to wear off, but it's all of a sudden slammed through his system again, and his gloved hands are in fists at his sides, posture defensive. Oh indeed it's Tuxedo Mask, looking somewhat ragged about the edges, narrowed eyes barely visible behind ghostly white lenses.

When he sees it's the girl who attacked Sailor Vega at the end of the dance battle (seriously, dance battle? maybe he's just remembering it incorrectly), he remains wary, but straightens. His mouth's a thin, tight line. "It happens."

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

The girl in the other mask leans against the wall that marks a door back down into the building, arms crossed. She smiles over at Tuxedo Mask. It is not really the same sort of smile that, say, Sailor Moon might offer. It's different from that. She carries herself with something like confidence, though, and looks to him with the same.

It was definitely a dance battle.

"Oh, someone's polite. After all that, you can't even manage to say 'hi'? And after you get in the middle of my hunt, too."

<Pose Tracker> Tuxedo Mask [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Tuxedo Mask lets out a fairly plainly vexed sigh and just sits on the ledge, not making any pretenses about the fact that he's tired and in a bad mood. It's a kind of confidence in and of itself; he's not bothering to posture, after all. "Hi," he says grudgingly.

He hasn't looked away from Shiori once, and he doesn't do so now-- she took him out once already, and he has no doubt she could do it again if she wanted to. After a second, he adds, frowning a little, "Look. I don't know who you are, I have no idea what your beef was with Sailor Vega, I didn't mean to interrupt any hunt you have going here, and I just need to catch my breath before I go home. So-- I'm sorry if I cost you something. And I don't want to fight you."

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Shiori, in turn, displays no particular evidence that she /cares/ that Tuxedo Mask is vexed. She is the cool monster hunter, after all, in her element and where she ought to be. He says 'hi', and she smiles back, the expression this time a little more pleasant.

"I don't even know who Sailor Vega is," the Tuner replies blithely. "Or who you are, really. I mean, I know you like to meddle. But I don't even know what you call yourself." Beat. Shiori pushes off of the wall, and steps a little closer, footstep by footstep. "The hunt doesn't matter. I mean, now the monsters are gone and they aren't going to hurt anybody. That's the whole point, right? Sure, I could've made a little money, but that's not what really matters. Right?" Headtilt.

"Well, that's very gallant of you. But if I wanted to fight you, why would I walk over all nice and pleasant to chat? You didn't know I was here," she points out.

<Pose Tracker> Tuxedo Mask [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Everyone. Is. Lecturing. Him. Every. Day.

Mamoru's jaw works, and he sits forward a little, bracing his arms at his sides with his hands around the edge of the low wall. Now he just looks unhappy. "Not so much gallant as tired. And I don't know: the people I've run into who made mention of their hunts with an emphasis on the possessive--"

He's a masked nerd.

"--have gotten somewhat violent over it. I'm glad you're focused on the end result. It's the important part to me." He finally looks away, but he keeps the girl within his field of view; he hesitates for a second, because he doesn't want to tower, but-- it's another thing he can't help, and she's being really confusing and talking about manners, so he takes a wild guess and stands up to bow slightly. Nothing fancy, just the greeting variety. "I'm Tuxedo Kamen. Sorry I'm in a rotten mood."

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Well, of course! What better way to aspire to confidence than to tell someone else what they're doing wrong?

"You don't /look/ like you're about to fall over or something, so there's that?" Shiori asks, and then laughs a little in return as he talks about /possessiveness/. "I guess that's fair. Besides, you aren't even my competition." Though to say she's actually as calm as she's pretending to be would be pretty false. Just the reminder of that entire situation is enough to gnaw at her, a knot forming in the pit of her stomach that slowly ticks onward like water dripping from a leaky faucet.

She's being confusing, but she's confusing herself a bit, too. It's only fair.

She looks up at him as he towers. And then bows. And she bows back, in fact. "I'm the expert Tuner agent, True Feelings. You can call me True."

"I don't mind that you're in a bad mood. It's pretty natural, isn't it? The world isn't exactly a fun place all the time, right?"

<Pose Tracker> Tuxedo Mask [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"True," the older boy repeats with a little nod when Shiori introduces herself. He's not moving away, but he does turn a little, and his eyes do finally leave the girl at her question. He looks out over the city, considering it for a moment before answering.

That answer is quiet and thoughtful. "No, but what is? If everything were fun all the time, it wouldn't be fun, because there'd be nothing to compare it to. As much as it's tempting to wish for peace and joy forever, you only get the former if you're dead and the latter if you're a dead saint."

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

That could be the point at which Shiori takes the knife and drives it right towards Tuxedo Kamen's back, using her other hand to steady him a bit to make sure it really goes through, instead of sending him over the railing. He's tired, after all, and she's strong, and the weapon is very sharp. She can move it very quickly. And that would be a good payback for before.

...That /doesn't/ happen. Instead, Shiori also walks to the railing, setting her palms down and looking out over the city as well.

"You shouldn't be so cynical, Tuxedo Kamen-san." There's a hint of a smile in her voice. "There are beautiful things, too. And you shouldn't underestimate wishes. If you truly believe..."

She turns to look at him, "Then you'll see your miracle, one day."

<Pose Tracker> Tuxedo Mask [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Blissfully unaware of the standard method of operation in these situations, Tuxedo Kamen only half turns his head to look at True Feelings sidelong, and give her a little smile. It's the first one of the evening, and it's small, but--

--it's thoroughly genuine, and his eyes are fully visible behind the mask, now, and the feeling's echoed in them. In his face there's relief; she's just brought to mind what's not wrong in his world. Preoccupation ruled by affection.

"You're right. There are. For all its faults, this planet is beautiful, and it's home to endless wonder in addition to all the pain and suffering."

He looks out again, and he doesn't laugh, or smile harder, but he's more relaxed-- and the the little smile's still there. "Thank you for reminding me."

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Relief, is it? Shiori, still masked as True Feelings, looks to those now-visible eyes, processes the relief in them. Her smile remains, and her head even tilts slightly, eyes closed as she seems to accept that feeling and appreciate it for herself, too.

They fought, last time she saw him. She wanted to hurt him. She still wants to show him how pointless what he was doing was. But now, she's helped, instead. Did she mean to? ...What did she even want, talking to him? She thought she was...

"Faults make things beautiful, I think," she says.

The faults are all she can see.

"Nothing completely flawless can really even be very interesting, right?"

One can. Just one.

"And there's nothing like the view of the city at night to remind you about all the different people here."

They'd hate her, if they knew. They should. It's the right way to feel.

Shiori, too, looks out again, sighing lightly as she rights herself, a happy expression that shows her own way of relaxing. He thanks her, and she nods, a little, and only responds after a few moments' silence. "Oh, you're welcome," sh answers. "I think it's important to never give up hope."

Shiori feels like she's going to throw up.

<Pose Tracker> Tuxedo Mask [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Faults make things beautiful: like being a crybaby, or laziness, or klutziness, or zero restraint while eating in company--

Nothing completely flawless can even be very interesting: a truism.

The city at night: in the moonlight, or lit only by artificial light, it's a testament to determination and creativity just as much as it is to greed and competition.

All the different people in it: every one of them means something to someone, and even if he didn't connect, he saw them. They're all important. They're all real. They all have feelings. Feelings he has to be more cautious of in the future, but that's part of the price of having friends.

The preoccupied smile plays at the corner of Tuxedo Mask's mouth, throughout, and at Shiori's very last statement, it turns brilliant and he focuses on her. "That's part of why I do this. I don't want other people to give up hope, either."

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Shiori says all of these things as if on autopilot, really; they're the things she's supposed to say, the things she ought to believe so that people will like her and want to be around her. Her friend Sailor Moon would approve if she said these things. Sometimes, she even believes them herself. One, in particular, she clings to.

But everything is just getting too far out of hand.

This isn't the perfect person Shiori wanted to talk with. The people out there are frightening. And faults only remind her of how worthless she is, if anyone really knew. And yet...

Tuxedo Mask /smiles/ at her, brilliantly like the morning through the trees. He wants to help others, to give them hope. He can recover so easily, just like that, just from some things she said because she had to say something.

The knot in her stomach has grown worse. She feels sick. It's all /wrong/, and it feels like something is trying to tear itself apart within her--

"..." She says nothing. She just looks up into his eyes, and smiles. And then, she's in motion. She leans upward, and slips her arms around his neck, pulling him down toward her in turn. The purple-haired girl's lips press against his, and she kisses him with the force of her fractured feelings.

<Pose Tracker> Tuxedo Mask [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

It's sudden and fierce, and it's a complete and total shock to Mamoru.


b) noooooooooooooooooooo

c) panic because

oh no

he doesn't even have time to break out of his frozen shock and the fact that he's being kissed before his mind and heart flood with a cacophony of tragic feelings and confusion and hurt. Self-loathing, hopelessness, worthlessness, fear, sickness, an inherent feeling that things are so very unnervingly wrong.

And zero sexual interest.

It's a desperate thing this girl is doing, not one full of the kind of desire he instinctively withdraws from-- but broken, so very, very broken.

And he feels every single piece of that pain as if it were his, and Mai told him-- but, no, no, in this case Mai is wrong, because this girl doesn't want him. He's there and he's somehow safer than other things.

Something fractures in Mamoru Chiba's heart.

It's a second, two seconds, and Tuxedo Mask thaws from his tense startlement, and is coming to a decision as he swims determinedly upward through the echoes of Shiori's feelings-- and then it's very quickly made as he feels her mouth open under his.

His hands come up to gently detach True Feelings' arms from around his neck, which doesn't work very well; he does pull back from the kiss, at least. And if Shiori looks at his eyes, in that moment, they literally mirror her pain and emotional turmoil.

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Shiori does not understand his thoughts, of course. She has no particular pipeline to them, and for all that she speaks of understanding someone's feelings... well, she doesn't understand /his/ at the moment. She's just going to change them a little, redirect them, that's all, and then everything will be fine again. It will be something she can understand.

She does understand that he's pulling back, however. That much is plain. His hands find little; with the power of her magic, she's stronger than a girl of her size and apparently frailty should be expected to be by far. Still, she does not look at first; her eyes are still closed, and she does not look like she's feeling any of those things. "What's the matter? Are you shy? It's all right."

Her eyes open, and she sees it. Her eyes lose the facade of slow relaxation for a moment.

Ah. No, that must be it; that's fine, that look is perfect. He's really looking back at her, really understanding. It's not some familiar thing that should make her recoil, it's--

"Was I too sudden? ...I have to admit, it's a little cold up here, don't you think? And there's no one here, since you found the last of the monsters." She leans closer agan, with a sigh. "I think we could be much better friends than we are. It's lonely to fight on your own, isn't it?"

<Pose Tracker> Tuxedo Mask [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

It's reactions he's expecting, more or less, at least for the moment. That doesn't make them any easier to deal with, that doesn't make it any easier for Mamoru to figure out what he should do, or how. He's tired, it's been a hell of a week so far, and his mind is still on overdrive trying to separate his own complicated feelings from Shiori's.

Also, his face is red.

She's talking, she was afraid for a second, but she's not now, and she's talking, and the words wash over the teenaged boy before he goes back to pin them down, parse them properly.

The pain is still there in his eyes, blue and a little too bright. "We can be friends," he says very very quietly, "and if you need my help, you can call me. You don't have to fight alone."

One gloved hand comes up to somewhat awkwardly pat Shiori's back as she leans up against him. "I'd offer you cocoa to warm you up, but I was a jerk and didn't think to bring any."

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

His face /is/ red. Shiori, of course, takes this largely as an encouraging sign. She is having less trouble moving ahead, because 'slowing down to parse things' is exactly the /opposite/ of what the purple-haired Tuner is wanting to do just at this moment. She would rather forge ahead in a direction that seems safer and more sensible.

Besides, he's in pain, somehow. She can help about that. Nevermind that moments ago she wanted something entirely different than to help him, and nevermind that he got this look /after/. That wouldn't make any sense anyway. This is simple; it's predictable.

"We can?" she asks back, sounding relieved. "I'd like that. I know we got off to a rocky start, but..." She trails off, and her back is patted slightly. Well, it's something.

"That's fine," she says. "Cocoa's bad for my diet anyway. I can think of other ways to warm up. ...Why don't you sit down?"

<Pose Tracker> Tuxedo Mask [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

O-other ways. To warm up. Uh.

Can a smile be strangled? Yes, yes it can. Tuxedo Kamen looks, in fact, wildly uncomfortable. He is familiar, intellectually, with the concepts of 'casual sex' and 'friends with benefits' but wow, woah, no way. He's tense again, and he moves to pull away further, to detach completely.

"No, I-- I'm not available," he manages to get out. "Like that. I have to go home. But I meant what I said-- about if you need help, or if you need a friend-- do you know how to get in touch with Sailor Moon? I fight with her, she knows the quickest ways to contact me--"

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Anything can be strangled if you're willing to work hard and get creative.

This time, however, Tuxedo Mask /is/ able to pull away, as Shiori's grip is not so tight as it was. "Oh... You're with someone else?" she asks. "...I should've expected as much. Probably the girl from before." She hesitates for a moment, seeming...

Well, seeming /something/; she maintains the same body language as before, but her voice sounds thoughtful, as if going through some old records and seeing what she might find.

"You should--" Pause. What he said, sure, in fact that actually keeps her a little steady, considering. He's acting like he's supposed to act. "Sailor Moon and I are good friends, actually."

Shiori smiles, then, and this time it's more distant but also a bit more honest. "There's a lot I'd do for her. ...But I'd hate to worry her like that. It wouldn't make me much of a friend."

<Pose Tracker> Tuxedo Mask [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Tuxedo Mask doesn't correct True Feelings; if she wants to think he's involved with Vega, it's not a problem. The fact that he's not actually with Sailor Moon makes any kind of correction more confusing anyway.

Besides, Shiori's still talking-- and, well, she's talking about his favorite subject. WHO'S A FRIEND OF HERS.

There is immediate relief, and he looks tremendously less stressed all of a sudden. Brighter, too. His reaction to the last parts of what she says, it's another brilliant smile at 'we're good friends', and then amused affection. "She does worry a lot. And she loves her friends so much-- you couldn't have a better one."

This time, it is most definitely a sweeping bow he flourishes, as he takes a step back. "True Feelings, I'm glad we met properly." He straightens up, then, still smiling. "I'll ask Sailor Moon how to contact you so I can give you a number to call if you do need my help, but with someone like her--"

He laughs as he steps up on the ledge. "You really don't have to fight alone." One hand to where the brim of his hat would be if he were wearing it; panto hat-tip. And then he drops off into the shadows and vanishes.

He is going to go home and have nightmares for a change of pace.

<Pose Tracker> Shiori Takatsuki [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

It's not a problem yet. It might become one in the future. ...But it's true that any other sort of correction would get awkward quickly.

He feels better from just that? From--ah. Of course. The affection in his voice is plain, the smile obvious. Shiori smiles back, of course, since she is talking about her good friend, after all.

He makes his grand bow, and she covers her mouth with a hand as she giggles a little over the drama of it all "Me too. It was fun to meet you," she says. "No hard feelings, right? ...I still bet we can be good friends, too."

Usagi loves her friends. Usagi's like her, though, isn't she? She's not so different. Shiori's seen it. She's...

Tuxedo Mask drops into the shadows, and Shiori looks after, vaguely, in the darkness.

Sailor Moon is like her. She has to be. There's no way that...

Shiori feels sick again, as she takes to the other side of the building, and starts making her way down.