2014-05-14 - The Effect You Have

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Title: The Effect You Have

Mamoru wants to talk to Usagi. Unfortunately, Zoisite wants to 'talk' to Mamoru.


Usagi Tsukino, Mamoru Chiba, ZOISITE OMG


Uminari Seaside Park

OOC - IC Date:

15 January 2014 - 05/14/14

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

It's a clear and beautiful sunny day with a blue, blue winter sky, and the white winter sunshine sparkles off the frigid grey waters of the bay and off the snow that fell the day before.

There's a park sort of midway between Juuban and Ohtori and it's after school, and earlier, Mamoru texted Usagi to please detour there on her way to the arcade because he wanted to talk to her and had cupcakes from the Linden Baum to make it worth her while.

Now, Mamoru's sort of scrunched down in his coat and scarf on a park bench near the entrance, easily seen, with the promised small takeaway pastry box. There's no one really around, it's cold. He'd've been ridiculously easy to follow from Ohtori, since today was not a motorcycle or car day, it was a bus and walking day.

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Usagi's return text was not articulate, nor was it especially fawning, but it did seem to be affirmative. Mamoru sits alone for a few minutes past the agreed time before he gets a sure answer.

It's the blonde girl's chance to do the sauntering, and she does a passable job at it. It's not the first time she's done well at mimicking someone. For having been promised cupcakes, Usagi is playing it with remarkable nonchalance.

She's still in her uniform, though concessions have been made to the cold: a pink scarf (knit bunny faces at the end) and a school sweater. It's a little baggy on her, but not quite so large as the one Ami favors.

Usagi stops several paces away from the bench, turning to look out into the forlorn sea. Her voice is gravelly. She cannot sell a gravelly voice.

"Do you have... the package?"

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

When the unmistakeable blonde is spotted-- sauntering-- Mamoru does his utmost to maintain a poker face. She's so goddamned cute it's difficult. But he feels as though he is somehow in the wrong, which always helps maintain gravitas.

He has to fight the impulse to stand up, and ultimately loses, doing so as soon as she's getting close; at her question, the corner of the upperclassman's mouth twitches upwards. So very briefly! And he may, in fact, be able to hide it in the motion of bending to pick up the pastry box.

He's solemn again as he offers it to Usagi. There is, once more, a bunny head scrawled on the box-- presumably to differentiate it from his own, which isn't even here, so whatever.

Most of his uniform's hidden by his coat, and what's left isn't identifiable as such. He's a cheater.

"Four different kinds," he says quite seriously. "You missed the rest of the story. But la Sirene's not my girlfriend, either. Just so you know. Since you didn't ask this time."

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Usagi plays it real cool, taking the box without even looking. So smooth. The perfect crime. She does get a little furtive opening it to check what's inside after hearing about the four different kinds, but it's the flaws that make things interesting.

(usagi tsukino is very interesting)

"La Sirene's a nice person," Usagi replies, looking back out to the sea. Her gaze sweeps the shore, settling on a rocky outcropping. "Whatever you might think about her, remember that."

The shorter student turns to look back over her shoulder, blue eyes bright in the chilly light. "Is that what you wanted to talk to me about?"

COMBAT: Zoisite transforms into Zoisite!

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"No, I know she's a nice person. I talked to Mai about being worried about her. I didn't know you knew her," Mamoru says, missing exactly what the question was, misreading it entirely. He stuffs his hands in his pockets. "I wanted to talk to you about what you said about distance and closeness--"

<Pose Tracker> Zoisite [None] has posed.

A hand -- white-gloved, slender -- interposes itself between Mamoru and Usagi as the former speaks. It reaches around the latter's puffy sleeve and, with a surgeon's delicate precision, strikes not at Usagi herself -- but at the parcel cradled in her arms.

If she's not quick, it'll be gone before she knows what's happened.

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Usagi Tsukino is not quick.

Because she is not looking directly at the box, she continues holding nothing for several seconds before the difference in weight registers with her. Her attention goes to where the box isn't rather than where it is, which leaves her standing shocked and with not a single answer.

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Violent startlement: before he knows what's going on, Mamoru's already in a defensive stance; he spins to face and put himself between Usagi and whoever just ran rampant over the feelings of a young girl and her delicately and painstakingly refined palate!

"Hey!" he yells in outrage as he moves, quite cleverly.

<Pose Tracker> Zoisite [None] has posed.

Gone, yes! Gone, and now in the clever hands of a young man sitting against all probability in midair some few feet above the couple, one slender leg crossed over the other. The silk-trimmed grey military uniform is likely familiar to both, even if its wearer isn't; yet they may never forget the fiery curls captured at the nape of his neck, the way they spill over one shoulder and down his porcelain cheek--

"Hey yourself," Zoisite teases back, waving Usagi's fruit tart (the sunlight gleams tragically across its glazed surface) lightly. "I hadn't thought your taste so diverse, Chiba-san," poison-green eyes linger on the blonde girl even as the tart gets another wiggle, "yet here we are."

He takes a bite. Puff pastry crunches softly; custard and fruit flesh readily give way to perfect teeth, and leave neither crumbs nor sugary smears around the Shitennou's cupids-bow mouth.

"Ahhh~ Linden Baum does make such lovely sweets, doesn't it? Pity I'm on a diet." Zoisite's hand flicks -- and the tart flies behind him to land with a small splash in the bay.

Buoyed by the airy crust, it drifts, profoundly forlorn as only partially-eaten pastry can be, by the concrete retention wall.

He dips his hand back into the bedoodled box. "What else did you bring her, hmm?" the redhead muses aloud. "Ah- I /love/ red velvet~!"

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Mamoru is moving and then so is Usagi. She whirls and skips lightly backward, bringing her hands up in case there's something coming for her faster than she can think. But there isn't, and she has space to breath, and so she does.

There is also a Mamoru in the way. Usagi's fierce look turns slightly annoyed as she inches over to the left so that she can join in facing the cupcake thief.

That uniform. The blonde girl makes a soft noise of disbelief, involuntary and short. Her hand strays toward the brooch hanging from a chain around her neck, but she catches herself and squeezes her fingers into a fist. She can't betray everyone with such a reckless move.

Instead, she follows the arc of tart, lips pressed thin and cheeks flushed red. It splashes, and Usagi looks up to Mamoru. Does he know something?

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

For a moment that feels like an eternity-- the entire length of Zoisite's talking, in fact-- Mamoru's attention is almost wholly caught by the redheaded Shitennou. He's aware of Usagi moving up alongside him, and on another level he's going through logistics; on a very low priority indeed, there is indignation over the pettiness.

Mostly, he's straightened up, and is frowning up at Zoisite distractedly. Mamoru's only half-listening to the words and ignoring the tone; he's caught--

by unsettling


Abruptly, in time with Usagi looking up at him, the eleventh-grader looks down at her and shakes his head, jaw setting. He looks back up at Zoisite with a scowl. "What the hell? Why do you know my name, and what's your damage?" And then he flings a hand out and looks aggrieved, to boot. "And you're FLOATING! Why are you floating?!"

<Pose Tracker> Zoisite [None] has posed.

It's small, but small is enough: Usagi's strangled squeak pulls the bow of her tormentor's shapely mouth taut, pressing dimples into his fair cheeks. Up there, and as satisfied as he seems to be, he might out-Cheshire the Cheshire cat.

This time, a swipe of cream cheese icing does stick to the corner of Zoisite's lips, but is soon fastidiously licked away.

Over the *plop* the barely-eaten cupcake makes in the water below, the Heavenly King of Europe remarks, "For someone as insufferably clever as you, you truly are /dense/. You have no idea -- or if you do, an appalling lack of concern for it -- how you impact the world around you. The /people/ around you, Mamoru Chiba."

Despite his casual manner, Zoisite's words spill out faster the further he gets, each one more acidic than the last. By the time he's bitten off the blue-eyed boy's name and spat it back out, he's seething with a nearly palpable heat; abruptly, he flings the pastry box back at Mamoru and Usagi. Superhuman strength elevates cardboard to steel the way distance turns water to stone.

He's too proud to give Mamoru any direct answers, and too angry to pay the snakes in his gut any mind.

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

With every word that comes out of Zoisite's mouth, dripping with condescension and venom and-- frustration? No, can't be-- Mamoru's hands clench tighter and tighter; his whole stance is defensive, as if the things Zoisite's saying are physical blows that he's trying to weather.

The words are, some of them, the ones Mai's been drilling into his head for weeks now. They hurt coming from this familiar stranger in the Dark Kingdom's uniform. And his name, bitten off and thrown in his face like a knife, turns the boy's gaze and expression to ice. Zoisite's anger is fire--

and the Prince's was so very cold

and Mamoru straightens up again; the beautiful Heavenly King's arm's hauling back to throw, and the projected trajectory's the two of them. Abruptly he shoves at Usagi's shoulder and side, pushing her away and trying not to knock her over in the process. At the same time, he's using that push to launch himself in the other direction. His voice cuts through the air toward Usagi, quick and clipped-- "Get out of here!"-- and then he hits the ground and rolls to his feet, facing Zoisite again.

And oh, god, his face is full of scorn, imperious and annoyed. "I'm aware. What I don't know is why you care. There are probably at least a hundred ways I can think of, right now, off the top of my head, that you could go about trying to resolve your problem with me in a constructive manner. The first step of all of them is telling me what the hell I did to piss you off. I don't think I know anyone who can fly."

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

His look. He doesn't know.

Maybe he really doesn't know. He doesn't know the uniform, the sharp heraldry of the Dark Kingdom. He may be in more danger than he realizes.

That's impossible, right? Tuxedo Mask is always on top of the situation.

Usagi spends too much time looking at Mamoru and lost in her thoughts, and so the shove comes from the blue. She is slight and surprised, and stumbles backward, feet moving quickly to barely catch her as she threatens to topple over. An Usagi of weeks ago would have fallen immediately. Today's Usagi slides a foot further backward than she feels that she needs to, trusting herself. She falls to a crouch, one hand brushing the ground for balance.

His look. Just like Ami's. She won't waste his trust.

The blonde girl bolts into the underbrush, disappearing from the path and leaving the battle to the men. That's what maidens do, right? With her gone, they're free to exchange harsh words and harsher looks.

All that's left is harsh actions--PING

"How shameful! Is the Dark Kingdom so poor in feelings that their officers have to rob pretty boys out for a stroll?"

The gleaming tiara that slashed between the two ricochets from the ground, off a tree, and then back into the hand of a platinum-haired girl standing upon a convenient boulder! She slides it back onto her forehead with a practiced gesture.

"Maybe you'd be richer if you learned how to care for each other, instead of relying on theft!"

She spins gracefully, hair twirling around her!

"I won't forgive anyone who accuses others of cruelty while enacting cruelty themselves! I'm the sailor-suited pretty soldier of love and justice, Sailor Moon! And, in the name of the moon--"

She gestures accusingly, directly at Zoisite's heart.

"I will punish you!"

COMBAT: Usagi Tsukino transforms into Sailor Moon!
COMBAT: Sailor Moon has used In The Name Of The Moon on Zoisite.
COMBAT: Sailor Moon has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Zoisite narrowly dodges Sailor Moon's In The Name Of The Moon, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  
Sailor Moon is Psyched!  Zoisite's Fade ability activates!  Zoisite's Flash ability activates!  

<Pose Tracker> Zoisite [None] has posed.

"Then I suppose you'll have to remain in the dark until you can come up with the answer yourself," Zoisite snaps, glaring daggers down at the man who was his brother and Prince. He's never been one for explaining himself, and now that venom has lent spiteful urgency to that instinct mandating his cards be kept close--

A metallic cry startles the Shitennou out of his furious trance, the *ping* of the Moon Tiara as effective as a slap to the face. Reflexively, he leaps back a few feet. "Wh- Sailor Moon?! How did you-"

He's not stupid, but even inveterate romantic Zoisite can't quite imagine a world where whiny crybaby Usagi Tsukino and beautiful soldier Sailor Moon are one and the same.

Personal vendettas are one thing, defenders of justice quite another; the threat analysis visibly ticking away in his mind slots a mortal teenage boy some distance beneath Sailor Moon herself. So -- though it takes some doing -- Zoisite trains his poisonous emerald gaze onto the noble senshi, all but shutting Mamoru out of the sphere of his attentions.

He's rewarded with a speech and an accusing finger -- which jumpstart a tic in the pale skin around his left eye. "Your pretty boy isn't so innocent, Sailor Moon." Only Zoisite could make such a noble name sound like an insult, the way he spits it out at her red-booted feet. "Why don't you go hunt down some youma and stop wasting my time with this nonsense? I can assure you he deserves this." Sneering, "Here, let me speed you on your way!"

The same flick of the wrist that sent Usagi's pastries into the sea now calls up a terrible storm of pink petals, each sharpened to razors -- all slicing through the air straight toward Sailor Moon!

COMBAT: Zoisite has used Fragrant Razor Onslaught on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Zoisite has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Sailor Moon narrowly dodges Zoisite's Fragrant Razor Onslaught, taking 5
Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Zoisite is Psyched!  Sailor Moon's Flash ability
COMBAT: Mamoru Chiba transforms into Tuxedo Mask!

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

'On top of the situation' frequently means 'has been watching the senshi deal with it for a minute, and by the time he shows up, he's put together what's going on'. This marks the first time that Mamoru's faced a threat with Usagi when they weren't in henshin-- and that the focus not just on a civilian identity, of all things, but on Mamoru's.

So this time 'on top of the situation' does, in fact, equate precisely to 'best guess and buy time for the powerhouse to put on her face-stomping boots'.

God damn but Mamoru's heart sings when Usagi runs away; as Zoisite responds with venom and pissantery, she changes somewhere out of sight and the boy grins, all teeth and ferocity and confidence.

And then Mamoru Chiba misses roughly half of a Sailor Moon justice speech, because his processing's hung up on 'pretty boys out for a stroll'.

No, basically, on 'pretty boy'.

He stares at Sailor Moon, and this time his usual pride in her and faith and trust and et cetera are confused by the presence of 'I don't know how to feel about being called pretty but it's okay from her I guess'.

There's an odd look on his face for a while, sort of 'abort, retry, fail?'. He's paying attention again by the 'in the name of the moon', which means he's using Zoisite's sudden focus on insulting Sailor Moon to do his own bolt-and-henshin routine. Just as Zoisite's hauling back to hurl razor-petals at Usagi, Tuxedo Mask's measuring speed and distance and angle and grimacing, because he can't get her out of the way of that -- but the speed, distance, angle, and relative positions help a whole hell of a lot with--

Behind Zoisite and below him, there's the whisper of silk and the tap of dress shoes that come with a boy in a glossy black cape, dashing formalwear, and an insouciantly upturned white domino mask-- who whips a rose at him from ten feet back and continues running at full tilt. Right beneath Zoi. Toward Usagi. Who he's gesturing frantically at to smack Zoi with something while the effect of 'tap on the wrong shoulder' is in place.

COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has used The Sharpest Stem on Zoisite.
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Zoisite fails to counter Tuxedo Mask's The Sharpest Stem, taking 17 Fatigue damage!  Tuxedo Mask is Psyched!
COMBAT: Zoisite's counterattack, Thousand-Petal Snare, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Tuxedo Mask!

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

It's the villain's turn to speak now, which means that it's Sailor Moon's chance to lean forward and look concerned! She really is concerned--not as much as she was--but it feels good to play up the part. She clenches her raised hand into a fist of defiance.

"You're worse than the youma you command!"

Today's Usagi has seen enough evil magic to not be enchanted by a storm of pretty pink petals. She is ready for them, so ready that she surprises herself, but all the training and experience in the world doesn't matter when you're up against someone better. Zoisite is clever with his cruelty, and the pretty soldier of love and justice is left with no good way to escape but certain injury if she stays.

She barrels through.

Sailor Moon moves with such speed and grace that it's not a bad plan. With how bold she is about it, the platinum-haired girl is able to dive through the storm with such speed that it barely has time to rip at her. Tucking into the landing, she rolls to the side and springs to her feet.

"Moon stick!" she shouts, reaching out with a flourish that summons up a spinning pink wand from a burst of silver sparkles. She runs as she does so, circling Zoisite while accounting for the newly arrived Tuxedo Mask. If the dark general doesn't have a way out, he may have to expend some effort to avoid being outflanked.

The wand in her hand is familiar.

It's the same wand that Queen Serenity held as her palace fell.

It was most definitely not called the 'moon stick.'

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has used Juri Arisugawa's Contentious Positioning on Zoisite. COMBAT: Sailor Moon has finished attacking.

<Pose Tracker> Zoisite [None] has posed.

And now Mamoru takes off. A small part of Zoisite is tempted to crow "coward!" at his back, but there's only so much talking you can do in a single free action and he's currently otherwise occupied.

To wit: "You say 'worse' like it's a bad thing," the General smirks, jerking his hand backward to widen the path of the rosy hurricane attempting to tear Sailor Moon apart--

His ear catches the rustle of silk and the clatter of patent dress shoes soon enough to avoid a bloodied cheek, but is not otherwise lucky. He turns, hurriedly, in the air- and tendrils of material fire whip around in his wake as they're loosed by Tuxedo Mask's rose, which has sliced through the band taming Zoisite's mane as collateral of the gash it's just left in his back. The living silk floats on the currents of air and magic he commands, following the path of his desperate gesture; weaponised petals split away from the storm around Sailor Moon and seek out their master's second opponent, intent on capture.

None of it succeeds. Zoisite's magicks are strong, not infallible, and pain clouds his concentration -- to say nothing of his foes' own strengths, fueled by strength of heart.

"Don't you heroes know two against one isn't fair?" the beleaguered Shitennou demands, beautifully feral in his fury.

-eh? 'Moon stick'?

(It /is/ familiar, a familiarity that presses on the back of Zoisite's eyeballs until he sees sparks.)

They're coming, both of them, and they'll flank him if he's not careful. His only way out is--

--up, it turns out, as Zoisite launches himself higher into the air over the warriors' heads. His hands clench as he flies, and the cloud of petals surrounding both Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask explodes into a cloud of flame.

This is not going as planned. Time for a new strategy.

COMBAT: Zoisite fails to dodge Sailor Moon's Juri Arisugawa's Contentious Positioning, taking 31 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Tangle applied to Zoisite!
COMBAT: Zoisite has used Versatile Elemental Suzerainty on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Zoisite has used Versatile Elemental Suzerainty on Tuxedo Mask.
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask fails to dodge Zoisite's Versatile Elemental Suzerainty, taking 37 Fatigue damage!

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

Background awareness: the yell, the magic. Foreground awareness: it's hard as hell to dodge out of a perfect firestorm when it begins all around you. So it's a decidedly singed Tuxedo Mask that sweeps out of the fire with a flare of his burning cape. He's instantly checking to make sure Sailor Moon's getting out of that mess first, but that action holds the preparation for another:

With a graceful motion, the boy twists his cape off and spins it in the air, end of it still flaming as it whips around.

She has her BFG out, she'll be more than all right; his attention snaps back to Zoisite at the same time as he snaps the cape like a whip and lets go with precision timing. The burning silken black rope slings through the air toward Zoisite, unfurling like a parachute at the speed of superhuman strength. Burning cape hitting like a suffocating cloud of confusion's the idea here: distract, occupy, buy time.

Oh, and insult.

"Are you WHINING?" Tuxedo Mask demands incredulously, glancing Usagi's way again like 'omg can you believe this guy'.

COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has used Tuxedo Mirage Hurricane Sting on Zoisite.
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has finished attacking.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

It's working, just like Juri showed her! Sailor Moon grins fiercely, twirling her wand and spreading her feet to adopt a fighting stance with some flair.

Across from her, Zoisite prowls and preens. He looks different now, and it's not just the painfully beautiful hair swirling around his patrician features. The pretty soldier narrows her eyes, cheeks flushing red. She does not answer his taunt.

She does spare a moment to find Mamoru's face. Hers is lit by flame as she watches him, not the danger. The furious inferno engulfs her before she has time to react--

--and when it is gone, Sailor Moon still stands, though she has been forced down to one knee. Her scepter is raised high, still trailing pale fairy-lights that even now wink out from a perimeter around her. She isn't hurt, at least, not physically.

"T-Tuxedo-sama!" Sailor Moon calls out, her words clearly forced. "He's getting stronger! We can't--"

Her eyes widen. It comes back to her: when an enemy will surely defeat you if given time to plan, then the best option is to not let him plan.

(the best option is rushdown but that doesn't sound as wise!!)

"Let's show him how fair love really is!"

Springing to her feet with renewed energy, Sailor Moon traces a half-circle above her with an outstretched finger, slashing her finger inward to suggest a crescent shape. Her hand ends the motion near her tiara, where she grasps its gem between her thumb and forefinger.

"Moon Twilight--"

There is a glimmer, and then a gleam, a searing brightness dancing in the depths of her crown's jewel.


The park erupts into elegance. It is the soft shadows of a gentle night, cast by the luminous whiteness of the brightest moon. For an instant, it seems like there is only black and white.


Usagi Tsukino stares up at her bedroom ceiling, covers pulled up to her chin. Sweat forms on her furrowed brow.

"He didn't think I was talking about him when I said that about love, right? It was a general kind of love. It sounded really cool! He knows that, right?"

"Go to bed, Usagi-chan," Luna flatly replies.

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has used Moon Twilight Flash on Zoisite.
COMBAT: Sailor Moon has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Zoisite perfectly dodges Tuxedo Mask's Tuxedo Loyal, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!  Zoisite's Fade ability activates!  Zoisite's Flash ability
COMBAT: Zoisite perfectly dodges Sailor Moon's Moon Twilight Flash, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!  Zoisite's Fade ability activates!  Zoisite's Flash
ability activates!

<Pose Tracker> Zoisite [None] has posed.

The thing about being a millennia-old preternaturally magical spirit in a youthful body reinforced down to its cellular matrices by the evil darkness that once lurked in the heart of the Sun is that you have a pretty decent ability to play weird, improbable games with the laws of thermodynamics. Zoisite usually employs it to keep his bathwater hot and stay awake for days while on Netflix binges; now, it's a good way to amp his threat level in an attempt to turn the tables on Moon and Mask.

"'Whining'? I'll remember that next time you complain about being ganged up on by youma!" Zoi grouses, reeling from the pretty soldier's interruption of his escape. This is why he keeps his hair in a ponytail: all this violence has thrown his seraphic mane into glorious disarray, yet for now the strands of copper-and-saffron silk that stripe his haughty cheek haven't obscured his vision--

Tuxedo Mask's smouldering cape closes around empty air, and falls to the ground several shades paler once the brilliant silver moonlight fades.

(Dodging that last one might've been sheer luck, not that Zoisite would ever admit it.)

A papery crunch announces his return some few moments later: behind them, the Shitennou's found the sad remains of Usagi's pastry box. He's standing on it.

Folding his arms, Zoisite remarks, "You know, for all you lot prattle on about 'love' and 'justice,' I can't recall ever seeing much of that bestowed upon anyone you /don't like/. But," he taps his chin with the side of a fingertip, "perhaps laughably obvious hypocrisy is just a perk of the job? Or a prerequisite...?"

Squiiiiish goes the remaining cake in the now-flattened box as he grinds his heel into it a little for good measure. "Ah well, elle est ce qu'elle est. � bient�t!"

And just like that, in a swirl of pink petals, Zoisite is gone. All that's left of him is a bootprint on that cute bunny doodle -- and a spattering of blood from the gash on his back, as red as theirs.

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

Let's show him how fair love really is!

Tuxedo Kamen can't spare the time to analyze that statement at the moment; Mamoru shelves it for later so it's not in the way of meeting those widened eyes and giving a quick nod.

When Sailor Moon slices cleanly through the divide separating day from night, every detail's set in stony monochrome, frozen in time for a split second. It's the perfect opening for a hard and fast followup, and Tuxedo Kamen, lacking his cape but none of his fluidly graceful finesse, spins on his heel and winds up to pitch his cane like a blunt javelin--

--but Zoisite's gotten out of the way of everything and isn't attacking, he's talking. Mamoru, being who he is, has this gut reaction about talking, aboutbeing addressed. He pays attention.

Eyes wideneng behind his glimmering mask, the boy's startled for a second, then looks annoyed. It takes everything he's got to put a lid on an indignant retort about Zoisite having started it, but it helps that he suspects the Heavenly King will be more irritated by a lack of acknowledgement.

Instead, he turns toward Usagi as Zoi dissolves into sakura petals, letting out a breath and trying to keep his adrenalin from crashing hard. "I guess since he was mad at me, I owe you new cupcakes."

Let's show him, she said, how fair love really is. He can keep that rush going, yeah. "Let's get out of here."

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

The light clears, and Sailor Moon waits for the report.

The report is that Zoisite really hates cupcakes.

The pretty soldier takes a step backward, shock clear on her face. She can't hide what she feels, and especially not something so strong.

Is he... different from Nephrite?

It's enough to let Zoisite get away with the entire speech without being interrupted. Sailor Moon holds her wand tightly, but its breathtaking power cannot change anything. She remains like that even after the general leaves, staring at the empty air.


Usagi turns to look at Tuxedo Mask, attentive as only someone who was not paying attention can be. "Oh, um... yeah."

She steals another look at the mangled box, and the blood upon it.

Are you like us? she thinks, eyes shimmering.