2014-05-19 - At Least You Didn't Kiss Sailor Moon, Right?

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Title: At Least You Didn't Kiss Sailor Moon, Right?

Eri and Mamo texting in school; Eri, Mamo, and Mai on the way off-campus. Mamoru's conversations with his friends seem to frequently end in some kind of trauma. Maybe that's why he's avoided having friends for so long.


Mai Tokiha, Eri Shimanouchi, Mamoru Chiba



OOC - IC Date:

17 January 2014 - 05/19/14

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

SOMEONE has a free period he isn't using to study, for once.

Last class of the day, and Eri's phone buzzes quietly. It's a text from Mamoru: 'Even though Mai said you two were all right, I'm still really sorry that happened. It's never happened before.'

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Someone is in full form today. The chatter of the teacher has devolved into the Charlie Brown equivalent of Waa-waa waa-waa wa-wa-wa-wahhhh, as she dramatically leans back in a chair, telling her latest anecdote. Eri finds it a relief when her phone buzzes, surreptitiously taking it out.

TXT | To Mamoru Chiba: Oyamaa! TYVM for the interruption, Saotome-sensei is on another tirade about a guy who made her pay for lunch. Don't worry about it. It's not like you meant to do it. I'm not angry. <3

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

Mamoru's textbook sits open in front of him, and he's slouched in his desk chair, ignoring everyone and everything going on around him, which is half studying and half quiet Ohtori discussions which he really doesn't want to overhear anyway.

His thumbs move idly across the fake keyboard on his touchscreen.

TXT | To Eri Shimanouchi: She sounds terrifying. I say that every time I hear about her.

Five seconds later, another text starts with the usual '...' but then goes away.

Five seconds after that,

TXT | To Eri Shimanouchi: I'm sorry anyway. That's twice I burned you. It's okay if I'm fixing something wrong, but that's it. And you guys made it easy to forget.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Eri's English textbook is also open, she's sitting near the back row, by the window. It's her preferred seat, one where she isn't noticed or bothered by her classmates. Staring out the window, she imagines Kyubey rolling around in one of the few sunbeams on this dreary winter day, knowing he's more likely with her friend Madoka, across the classroom. As the cell phone buzzes again, she looks back at the message.

She starts typing right away.

TXT | To Mamoru Chiba: She's mostly harmless, really. I hope she finds someone who treats her well one day, she's been through a lot of disappointments.

The buzzing of the subsequent text buzz puzzles her, as nothing comes through except the ellipses.

When it buzzes again, she stares at the screen for a bit. It takes her about a minute to put herself in the proper frame of mind.

TXT | To Mamoru Chiba: Mamoru-kun, look. We're 'magical'. We all knew friendships would have their own unique challenges. I have some of my own, but I'm getting better at it all the time. You're a good guy alright? Terrible too but I'm going to just going to chalk that up to 'being Mamoru Chiba'. Pretty sure that'll be a film some day. :P :P :P

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

The answer to that one comes right away, because Mamoru's brooding in the classroom and Eri just gave him a giant opportunity to be terrible.

TXT | To Eri Shimanouchi: There better not be. I might have to talk to people.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Eri's smile becomes lopsided.

TXT | To Mamoru Chiba: Are you sure? I know this girl named Minako Aino who wants to be an actress. I could probably get her signed on to play your love interest in a heartbeat! She's all about the 'dokidoki'. <3<3

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

A moment of silence while Mamoru's brain breaks in interesting ways, half of them related to indignation and the other to frustration.

TXT | To Eri Shimanouchi: You're kidding right?

Then the dawning moment of 'oh okay.'

TXT | To Eri Shimanouchi: Wait, who would you cast as me?

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Frustration and Indignation. Eri would probably think it's a little bit of poetic justice there. She decides to be exceptionally silly.

TXT | To Mamoru Chiba: Maybe.

It only takes her about ten seconds to respond.

TXT | To Mamoru Chiba: Touga Kiryuu. He'd look pretty good in a tuxedo.

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

Instant response.

TXT | To Eri Shimanouchi: omg i think i hate you right now

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Another instant response.

TXT | To Mamoru Chiba: What? You think he'd be too busy? We could always go with Kyouichi Saionji if Touga isn't up for it. He's your Kendo Captain after all.

TXT | To Mamoru Chiba: You know that's not true. <3

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

By now people are whispering about wtf is making Mamoru Chiba so completely engrossed in texting. And who he's texting with. One girl 'casually' walks past, rubbernecking, and Mamoru shows that he is not as completely unaware of his surroundings as he seems to be, because he switches apps to some zombie game he has loaded in memory and glances up with a 'can I help you?' expression that hints at 'there is no help for you'.

Finally he texts back.

TXT | To Eri Shimanouchi: sorry, rubbernecker. no it's not true. BUT YOU ARE SO PUSHING IT. those guys are such assholes.

TXT | To Eri Shimanouchi: you ever have the feeling that a cat is keeping really important secrets from you?

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Eri for the most part goes unnoticed. Out of those in her class she could probably only imagine Madoka and Sayaka looking her way. Maybe Asagao too, especially now after she found out she's Sailor Vega! The topic in class shifts to something about a backhanded compliment from the jerk she'd just dated. Eri feels a little spike of anger that people could act like such jerks, but then shrugs it off. She actually liked learning in class, so even if she could empathize it got annoying as a cover.

TXT | To Mamoru Chiba: A rubbernecker? Lemme guess, girl wanted to see if you're texting someone you're dating because you don't date and omg Mamoru Chiba is texting in class so it must mean he is now. Sounds annoying to deal with.

The next text however has her staring at a screen, before she glances reflexively across class for a while before the response comes.

TXT | To Mamoru Chiba: Not from a cat. Maybe a magic fairy space ferret sometimes but I'm probably imagining things. Something going on?

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

A glance up at the clock. Mamoru shuts his textbook and sits up to shove it in his case, then leans both elbows on the desk top and keeps a close watch-- no, actively glances around the room to make sure no one's got binoculars or is pointing their phones at him-- while he texts back.

TXT | To Eri Shimanouchi: don't know. either she thinks i'm really stupid or i should be more worried than i am about the redheaded jerk that isn't kiryuu.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

This comment baffles her, and she leans forward at her desk to stare down at her phone.

TXT | To Mamoru Chiba: Whoa slow down. The cat does or the person rubbernecking? And what redheaded jerk?

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

Two minutes to go until the bell rings. Mamoru is at the point of looking at anyone who comes close to him with the most appallingly disinterested expression he can muster, which is pretty hardcore.

TXT | To Eri Shimanouchi: the cat. and the one that broke kaoru-san's hand. she said 'stay away from him' like that was even a question.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Now Eri is looking out the window. It wasn't that far away that the attack actually happened. She remembered that day, the red-haired man was like a force of nature.. and she had just been so foolish. It takes her a few minutes to tap a response.

TXT | To Mamoru Chiba: She sounds like she's holding something back but it's good advice. That man is extremely dangerous. He wasn't even fighting seriously and he was holding us all off like it was nothing.

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

By that time, the bell's ringing.

TXT | To Eri Shimanouchi: with all due respect, a-duh

TXT | To Eri Shimanouchi: i am getting the hell off campus and going home. except there will probably be pushy cats there. gdi

TXT | To Eri Shimanouchi: ugh i want to talk about this but it's probably a bad idea, he knows who i am. like for real. probably where i live, etc. so annoying. SO ANNOYING. i am going to lay low for a few days because he's already shown he's willing to be a dick to whoever i'm hanging out with. gtg.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Caught up in the text messaging spree, the ringing of the bell catches Eri off guard, as she jumps in her seat. "WEHHH!?" Suddenly everyone is looking her way, she's blushing and frantically putting up her phone in her bookbag, "Eheh.. um. Yeah." She grabs her bookbag and makes a hasty retreat to the hallway, cheeks burning. Once in the hall, she was texting again, not even looking where she was going.

TXT | To Mamoru Chiba: Look, I'm just looking out for you. I worry too, okay?

TXT | To Mamoru Chiba: Does she come to your apartment? Geez. Tell the cat you need some personal space. Either that or keep a supply of catnip to run interference.

TXT | To Mamoru Chiba: Okay. Look, I recommend you tell Mami Tomoe. Tell her I sent you if you need to, I'll deal with the repercussions if she gets upset. She's fought him before, she's good enough to at least keep up with him, she might have some ideas on how to keep him out of your life.

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

There's no answer for a little while; apparently Mamoru's waiting until he's someplace private-- or at least moving and unlikely to have anyone looking over his shoulder as he does so-- to answer the insistent buzzing of his phone. Finally...

TXT | To Eri Shimanouchi: we're on good terms, tomoe-san and i. i need to talk to s. m. first though. but i think she thinks i'm avoiding her or something. it's complicated. mai can tell you, she justice-speeched at me. anyway you can't stop space cats from doing what they want to. hell you can't stop cats, period. man i don't want her mad at me.

TXT | To Eri Shimanouchi: i'll be okay. i'll talk to mami.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Eri walks out through the alabaster and gold arches that lead to the path off Southern Cross Island after bundling up. She had to do more searches for new territory today. She was okay in the short term for the moment but she needed a long term solution. She was especially conscious of this after fighting Hotaka the other day. Her next witch fight would be with a half-dirty gem and she wasn't looking forward to it. On the way off the island she texts back.

TXT | To Mamoru Chiba: Good. I don't really want her mad at me again. And you could try calling her? Do you have her number? I wouldn't think a guy was avoiding me if he called, not that I ever really have guys calling me. Wait wait, 'Mai' threw you a justice speech? She's getting really caught up in this. I only ever hear Sailor Moon doing that. I tried once but I'm really bad at thinking them up on the spot, so I usually end up just hitting them with a whip, or a tree. Working on both of those things right now.

TXT | To Mamoru Chiba: Hey is this space cat visible at least? Can people see her? Does she talk inside your head? Have long floppy ears? I'm kind of curious.

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

And there's Mamoru leanIng against the side of the bridge as Eri's texting, thumbing in a response to her first one. "Yo," he calls over, then pushes off and pockets his phone, slinging his school bag backward over his shoulder and taking his glasses off. "It wasn't Mai, it was the girl that usually does them. You know, the one I help out? She did it at me. Uh, and yeah," he fishes his phone out again and squints at the screen as he gets closer to Eri, close enough to talk without worrying about being loud and saying stupid things. "Other people can see her and she doesn't talk in my head and she has regular cat ears. I like her, but I don't think she likes me much."

As soon as his phone's back in his pocket, so's his hand. He's got those gloves that let you interact with touchscreens, but still. Paranoia. "And I can't call her. I mean she barely answers my texts. And she justice speeched me. This was before the redheaded attack, and I haven't seen her since the -- thing. The other night." He doesn't add the parts that he doesn't need to. Keep it light.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Eri almost walked right past him, she looks up, startled, then puts the phone away. Adjusting her glasses she walks on over, moving close enough that they shouldn't be mutually overheard. "Oh her. Did she do one of her carelessness with a young maiden's heart versions? If so then the only appropriate response would be..." She grins at him before teasing, "...Oooo you're in trouble! But nah, you'll be okay. Sailor Moon is good people. I doubt she holds grudges." Eri looks at the screen too, before offering, "Okay good, that rules out a few things. I can actually talk in people's heads but only if they're 'like me'. It's kind of uncomfortable really, I don't do it often. There..." The grin turns into a more easy smile, as she stuffs her hands into her pocket's overcoat, "...one secret to exchange for all the ones I accidentally got the other day."

She still seems pretty easy-going about it, despite all the emotional trauma, perhaps she's scared of what he'd think if she shyed away from him. Or maybe after all of the prior trauma.. well, it just didn't take so long for her to at least get past the initial stages of depression. "Why not? Did she tell you not to call her or something? And if you haven't seen her since then, she'd probably appreciate that you were checking up on her. It shows you care."

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

There's a slightly uncomfortable silence during and following Eri's teasing and secret-sharing and suggestion. Mamoru takes his hand out of his pocket to reflexively run it through his hair, but it's gloved, so it ends up in tragic static.

"It was a version of that, yeah. It sure sounded like 'distance is bad and closeness is bad'. I don't want to crowd her."

It's hard when you always want to see someone and have the side bonus of always knowing where they are if you want to. Unspoken, but quite possibly understood. Possibly. It was only that moment of danger, after all.

"Ugh, people are complicated. And I like being alone. You remember when we became friends? In the library. What I was upset about-- it was him. The redhead. But I didn't know it was him, it was a fake identity he was using, and he was playing the piano, and it was so-- it was something that sounded so familiar, and it reminded me of so many things I can't remember--"

He shakes his head, grimacing. "He ran away from me, and he was crying too."

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Eri leans forward on the side of the bridge on her elbows, hands folded lightly, staring off over the bay waters. "Right. Being linked to someone would make that awkward." She huffs out a breath, which fogs immediately in the chill, "The best advice I can give you is to just help her understand your situation. You're not trying to smother her or avoid her, you're just there to help and your 'sixth sense' makes you worry."

She looks sidelong again, that explains a lot of the context of that day. "They are. I have a lot of trouble with understanding people. Or at least I did, I think I'm getting better at it, maybe a little. Hard to say. It got to the point where I just stayed away from anyone that wasn't my family. Cloistered myself away from the world and my classmates because I thought I'd be better off alone but..." She shrugs her shoulders, "...after all of this happened? You know with magic, I fought my first witch, had a rough time with it. I realized that death is a real possibility, that life is too short. Especially when I learned that there were a lot of people that thought I was 'pretty cool' for doing what I do. I've regretted some of it, but I think I'd be so much worse off if I hadn't started letting people in. Probably would have snapped like some dry twig. Especially now that I can't even see my family."

Her voice turned rather bitter at that last point, "Anyhow, that was a real tangent there. This guy? He sounds almost like those stories on stalkers. Like they're obsessed with you for some real emotional and personal reason. I don't know why a General of the Dark Kingdom would be, but.." Her gaze lingers, "...for as powerful as he was, he's still a person, not some monster. At least I think so. That might make him even more dangerous. People can really suck when they're doing something against somebody else for personal reasons. No idea why that might be? Why you recognized the song?"

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

"I know I'm wrong, but most of the time I still think it's easier alone," Mamoru says, shrugging one shoulder. He waits until Eri's looking at him before he tilts his head in the direction of 'off this godforsaken island'. "Let's keep moving. I don't want to tell her that, she really will think I'm some kind of stalker."

Not to mention he's not just there to help. Not just.

The upperclassman scowls and looks away, hunching his shoulders a little and shoving his hand back in his pocket, shifting the school bag on his shoulder as they start walking again. "Sorry about your family."

There's silence for a second, and then Mamoru says tiredly, "I know he's a person. I know they're people, the Dark Kingdom guys. He's at least angry because I shut him down at the dance, and probably because of a talk we had in Hokkaido before that, and probably because I got him as upset as I was."

For a moment, Mamoru Chiba isn't really there-- he's not really talking to Eri, even though he is. Even though it's the daytime, even though there's no moonlight to frame his face starkly against the dark of night, there's a quality about his features, about his person, that's entirely adrift in a dream of the legend of a myth that no one properly recalls. Timeless, or as ancient as the worn-down hills of long-settled lands.

His voice is quiet and abstracted and lost. "I remembered it. He swore it was an impromptu piece. I called him a liar and told him to finish it, and he did, and he finished it correctly. I told him later it should be called Sehnsucht. It felt like home."

He smiles a little, looking down and aside to Eri, and shifts his school bag to the other hand, the other shoulder. "Sounds strange, doesn't it? That a General of the Dark Kingdom should play a song no one knows and it should feel like home. Sometimes I get that feeling, at the oddest times. Things I almost remember."

That sense of identity he's missing, that overwhelming sense of loss and loneliness. It was all there in that shared confusion of secrets and feelings.

There's a dismissive laugh, finally. "At least him acting like a complete psychopath doesn't feel like home, so I know I'm not from the Dark Kingdom or something. That'd be awkward."

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

"It is. And it isn't. Frustrating how that can be, huh?" Eri divests the bridge of her gangly elbows and starts following after him. "Well /I/ don't think you're a stalker, not that my opinion likely counts for much to her."

The 'Sorry about your family.' comment gives her pause, and she remains mute during the next few seconds, before she speaks again, every single word dripping with bitterness "Don't be. They're still here, I just can't see them. My Dad is kind of a jackass."

She looks away as he starts his speech, but when she looks back at him.. something about his profile takes her breath away. Eri doesn't draw people. She draws landscapes. She draws still lifes. Flowers, plants, shrubs and trees. For one moment, however. Just one moment, she feels like she's seeing the beautiful world she loves so much in the timelessness of those features. Art was something very personal to her, and wasn't something she shared with many people, because she feels she is terrible at setting down her emotions, and those of others on any sort of medium. For just one moment, just 'one moment' she feels like she can.

And then in the next, as he remains distant, she's looking away, blushing. Realizing how 'creepy' that would sound. 'I can't draw anyone else but I would like to try to draw you. You're special.' It takes her a while to conceal the attraction she obviously felt, but didn't 'want' to feel because they were friends. Just friends, and nothing more and she was not bitter about that. It felt like a betrayal of him, and his feelings to even consider otherwise. It felt like a betrayal of Mai and hers to do the same. Instead she tries to focus on the words she barely heard, due to these thoughts.

'Sehnsucht'. The word itself fills her with a sense of yearning even though Eri has no idea what it means, or what language it's in. All of this talk on memories gives Eri pause, as she eventually states, "You know. I have two friends who are kind of experts on situations like this. I can't say too much as I don't want to give away their secrets but..."

There's a sort of long lingering pause in the air, "...both of them say the same things sometimes. Talk about the same things you do. On occasion one of them will even speak in a language he doesn't even know, but personally I think that's because a rabbit is playing a prank on him. And the one constant between them is that they both have past lives. Maybe this is a common sort of thing amongst the magical community? One of them belongs to a magical association where they say that most people with past lives live almost exactly as their former selves did. I dunno. I certainly don't think I have a past life, or if I do, it's not one worth remembering."

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

There's a moment where Mamoru's eyeing Eri sidelong. Is it better to have a family and not be able to see them, or not to know what you're missing? Better to leave the topic be. Everyone's pain is their own. He chuffs out a breath and shifts his case on his shoulder again, off in his own world, not noticing -- like it's some kind of running theme or something -- what effect he has.

When Eri speaks up again, he glances down and aside at her, and one corner of his mouth curls up. "If you're talking about the Perfume Warriors-- Dark Amber mentioned they worked with memories, and guarded them. I sought out Cherry Blossom to see if she knew anything about, I don't know, maybe someone stole them from me. But she told me from what I was describing that it probably is a past life."

He looks ahead of them, automatically sidestepping a couple making out against the railing without even really seeing them, and frowns. "I don't know about living exactly as one's former self lived. How would that even work? Situations change, upbringings change, circumstances -- no two lives can be identical."

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

A long crimson scarf can be glimpsed, dancing like flames in a sudden wind. A bridge can have more than two people on it, and a third has just arrived. Unlike most bystanders, however, Mai actually knows the two walking along, and jogs to catch up. "Chiba-san! Eri-chan!" The two names called out equally brightly, equally informally.

She's arrived mid-conversation, and takes a moment to catch her breath when she does complete her pursuit - so only scattered words of Mamoru's comments have been heard. Still, that's enough to have some idea of what's going on, right? "Good afternoon - wasn't expecting to bump into you." She gives them both a grin - nearly pokes Mamoru in the shoulder, settles for just a smirk. "You mentioned Dark Amber, right? I ran into him earlier, he's better about not lurking than he was."

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Some questions just have answers that aren't very nice. It wasn't asked however, and after a time that vague pain and bitterness has vanished like smoke in the wind, "Well, for one of them at least. And I'm not sure, all he said is that most people pick up their new life where their old one left off. For whatever reason his didn't."

Mai's arrival takes her a little off guard, as she waves her way, "Hey Mai-chan, and yeah Dark Amber lurks sometimes. I met him originally in the Ohtori gardens, watching me from a tree. Anyhow.." Eri just a thumb Mamoru's way, "...if the movie 'being Mamoru Chiba' were made, who looks good enough in a Tuxedo to star as him?"

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

The absolute limit. Mamoru's jaw sets stubbornly. "One," he says firmly, "shut up." Then he takes his hand out of his pocket so he can SHAKE HIS FINGER AT ERI. And THEN AT MAI. "Two! Shut up. I'm not like that guy, and there's not going to be a movie, and hello."

He's certainly looking better than he did the last time Mai saw him -- but so are they all. So this is where the eleventh-grader gamely tries to steer the topic of conversation back to something that isn't going to make steam come out of his ears. "What do you mean by picking up your new life where your old one left off, anyway?"

Then he rounds on Mai and points, eyes wide. "YOU WERE THERE FOR IT. What did Sailor Moon mean when she justice-speeched me?"

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Taking a moment to match her pace to the other two, Mai laughs - not wanting to get between the two, she heads for Mamoru's other side. Prime poking position, if she so chooses. "From a tree? I think mine still wins - the first time he approached me, he did so by waiting in the alley behind Linden Baum until I emerged to take out the trash. Nearly hit him with a sack of used coffee grounds. So, you know, all uphill from there." She takes the finger-shaking, and just smiles in return. "Okay, I'll be fair, you were not that bad. And fair enough, the only ones I can think of who could pull off your level of dashing are both girls."

Mamoru's question to Eri earns a raised eyebrow - but there's one being thrown her way, and so she has to focus on that. "Sailor Moon's jus- oh! Oh, that. The one after you mentioned the...thing with La Sirene, right?" Mai thinks back, recalling just what was said...and her face heats up a notch. Thankfully, she has a scarf. A wonderful, blazing crimson scarf. "Bearing in mind that I am not the pretty sailor-suited soldier of love and justice, and the best answer would come from her directly...I can guess, if you're comfortable with my discussing it in front of Eri-chan here."

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Eri actually flinches. Apparently she'd hit the 'line' or was very close to it. She wasn't used to teasing yet so she demures just a little in her initial response, "Sorry." She brightens up quickly enough at Mai's statement, a sound close to a 'snerk' coming out of her nostrils, "Okay yeah, you win." Hearing her statement on two girls, Eri blinks, then makes a cat face. Apparently she has a question to ask Mai, later.

"Well, I can't give you all the details, I'm not about to give away Amber-kun's secrets. It's something like you're supposed to make the same decisions, do the same things to the best of your ability. Like it forever dominates your destiny kind of way. I don't believe that though. He's not the same person as his past life and I don't think /anyone/ has to be, even if some of the details are different."

Eri then looks between Mai and Mamoru because geez, was it really, /that bad/ that Mai had to ask permission? She may be staring at Mamoru as if wondering whether it was or not.

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

Witness: Mamoru not picking up on Eri flinching, nevermind why. He takes the 'sorry' and waves his hand a little like 'no worries', and just sort of takes, in passing, Mai's comment about the only people as dashing as he is being girls as a compliment.

Because he's dashing.

The tall boy gives Eri a quick nod, holding up that hand in a staying gesture. "I'm not asking for secrets, I don't need them. But yeah, I don't believe that either. I don't believe in destiny, even if we have past lives. I mean, reincarnation is supposed to be about doing better than last time around, right? How does a predetermined future fit in with that?"

Philosophy 101 with TA Mamoru Chiba comes to an end when Mai asks permission. "Wha--?" he asks, confused. "Of course. You two are--"

He waves a hand. "It's fine. Please? I want to ask her but what she said was so cryptic, I don't know if I even can."

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

...well, now Mai is curious about Amber's side of things. Though she's heard a couple of things from him that make a bit more sense, given this context. Not something she can really speak about, though - she doesn't have details to offer, and as far as she knows she isn't anyone's reincarnation. At least she hopes not, given Kagutsuchi's legend.

Mai gives Mamoru as comforting and warm a smile as she can before continuing. Having been granted permission, she is free to theorize - and so she does. "Okay. Bearing in mind that I was a little distracted by Sailor Moon, of all people, complimenting 'my dragon'..." She raises a finger, and looks at Mamoru directly. "She fell out of a tree upon hearing that you'd kissed someone. And her justice speech was about a maiden's delicate heart. Which is something a certain someone ranted incoherently about once before." She pokes Mamoru in the shoulder - not hard, just enough to get his attention.

"So this is me guessing off the top of my head, but it might be that she finds you attractive. Can't imagine why." A briefly flashed grin, and Mai continues. "So, hearing that you'd kissed someone else...she just needed a bit of space to come to terms with that, I think. Not 'go away and never come back', just 'I need to process this."

Mai smirks. "I mean, it's not like Sailor Moon is one of the other girls you've had a kiss with, right?" She waits for an answer.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Eri shrugs her shoulders, her expression a little sheepish, "I dunno. They're both very afraid of repeating the mistakes of their past life, to the point where one of them suffers crippling inaction. I mean my own thoughts on it, that yeah, that's the point, but a lot of people who remember past lives don't 'get' that they should just learn from those mistakes and not make them this time around."

Mai then takes Eri's full attention, she points at Mai as she speaks the words 'Maiden's delicate heart' while looking at Mamoru as if to say 'See?' but then kind of let's the finger drop and rocks back on her heels, "Reasonable enough. I think I'd have to do the same if someone told me that, not judging, just saying any girl would."

Eri almost asks aloud, 'How many girls has he kissed exactly?' but she doesn't. Apparently Mamoru kind of scared her off from such brazen teasing for a bit. "Huh. Well, if he hasn't then he's almost certainly in the clear."

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

Let's just pretend Mamoru says something like 'I would never repeat the mistakes of a past life!' here, because he might as well. He just doesn't, because now Mai's answering the justice speech question that's been plaguing him for days.

Aw, and Mamoru was doing great, processing Mai's extrapolation. Even rolling with the poke at his shoulder, though he's the one flinching now, for that. He starts to open his mouth to protest that she jumped out of the tree because she dropped her moon stick, then shows that he can, in fact, actually learn; he shuts his mouth again.

Then that last question. And Eri's addendum.

Mamoru Chiba reddens to the roots of his hair and walks a little faster.

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mai was waiting for an answer, and though Mamoru didn't say anything...she just received one. The teasing smirk freezes in place as her face turns ashen, cheer extinguished in an instant. "....oh."

He's walking away. Trying to escape. Part of Mai is inclined to let him, he couldn't have thought to mention this any time before now? He's had the crush and the duty and the kiss and - damn it, the very thing that makes him as attractive as he is has led to this problem. He's a gentleman, and does not kiss and tell. Mai's pace had slowed, and she has to run to catch up - there's no blush on her face when she moves to get his attention. "Chiba-san. Mamoru-kun. Calm down. Okay, so it's a bit more of a problem, it's still...most of what I said still stands. Just, she-"

What was it Sailor Moon had said? "She didn't want you being too distant, though she needed some space, and she didn't want you too clo... what happened, anyway?" Mai reaches out, catches his sleeve to try to get him to slow down because his legs are crazy long and he's outpacing her right now.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Eri thought that Mai's tease had no chance of being reality. This is why she gets surprised rather often.

She's also generally really bad at reading people, but Mamoru leaves very little doubt. It's a little surprising, but not so much after learning the two are tied by some cosmic connection. Her mouth works at first but no sound comes out like some sort of fish, but then she speaks in a muted tone, "Oh shit."

Adjusting her book bag firmly she quickens her pace trying to catch up with the much taller, older, and long legged high school boy. Outside of a pool she's not very fast, so it takes her a bit, "Okay, look. From what I know so far, you didn't screw up. You were open and honest with her and didn't try to hide it..."

She holds her side, breathing rapidly after the quick tempo run, "...most people should appreciate that. Just give her time okay? Sailor Moon seems pretty reasonable unlike some girls you know. I mean can you imagine if it was 'Hockey Puck' Tsukino that you'd kissed?" Her tone indicates she thinks she's injecting some much needed levity into the conversation... She might be wrong.

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

His sleeve is caught, and Mai's serious; she's not teasing. If there's one thing Mamoru Chiba responds unquestionably to, it's uses -- generally rare -- of affectionate versions of his name. He slows down and stops; at least they're off the godforsaken bridge now, but he doesn't look back at either Mai or Eri. His head stays turned resolutely away.

"What happened when?" he asks in a voice of blind frustration, words shattering on the icy air like rubber that's fallen out of a tank of liquid nitrogen. "What happened to make her think I was being distant? I don't know. All I ever think is that I'm pissing her off, or crowding her, or-- or--"

Hockey Puck Tsukino.

The upperclassman makes a tiny strangled sound that could be a laugh; maybe it's something that reflects on his feelings about the 'friend' he took to Mai's for dinner. Maybe it's a laugh after all.

He's standing rigidly, and the blush doesn't take long to fade. He's still not looking at either of them. It's very quietly that Mamoru says, "I was caught up in the moment. She was as surprised as I was."

When he looks up at them again, his expression's one that most of Ohtori's seen, but that Mai and Eri have never seen turned in their direction. Closed off, aloof. Reserved.

As walled up in secrets and quiet, unreachable majesty as the painting of some long-dead prince of a forgotten kingdom.

"Thank you both," he says, and though his expression's remote, his voice still holds warmth and affection, neither judging nor remonstrative of whatever was just said that made him bleed. "For putting up with me. And you're right. She's very reasonable. I'll talk to her. About that, not just about Zoisite, I mean."

The tiniest of smiles lifts one side of his mouth, and he cants his head back slightly. "Keep your fingers crossed I don't make a hash of it, ne?"

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mai hadn't exactly expected confirmation either. But Eri voiced what most likely all three of them were thinking. Mercifully, he's finally slowed down enough the two of them to talk to. Mai does glance to Eri a couple of times along the way, and finally has to ask- "'Hockey puck'? You can't mean the same polite, timid Tsukino-san from the- you know what, not important right now."

Mamoru finally turns to them again, and Mai gets ready to continue her thoughts - her theories of what could be going on with him and all the girls -

But she stops. Because that quiet, perfect majesty stands before them, and a chill runs down her spine at the sight. That stony aloofness - everything the rumors say about Mamoru Chiba, finally before her eyes. Solemn as the mountain.

Mercifully, when he speaks, there's warmth again, and Mai is able to breathe a bit more easily. "...you've put up with some of my worst, Chiba-san." Warm affection in her tone in even the formality, just that slightest teasing lilt on the last syllable. "I think I can manage yours. And you know that if things get, well, weird- you know how to reach me."

She grabs the dangling end of her scarf, worked loose by that brief run, and swings it back around to wrap under her chin - leaving her mouth free for an answering smile. No further sassy comments, just a smile for her friend.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Have you ever had the feeling that you just said something wrong, but have no idea what it is?

To be fair, Mai might have said something too.. but he was opening up.. and then Eri just opened her big mouth. She can't pinpoint what it is that she said, or Mai said.. but it almost sends chills down the back of her neck as she looks upon Mamoru Chiba, one of Ohtori's kings, and nearly despairs outright.

Just from the feeling that she'd screwed up again, fretting that yet another friend had shut her out. That she's no longer in his 'court'. That they didn't want to see her again. Mercifully, this doesn't happen.

The lump in her throat fades away. She's quiet for a while, still trying to process what happened. "You'll be fine." Every bit of advice she tried to give just tended to backfire anyhow. She wished she was Mami in that moment, she'd know what to say. Mami always had some wisdom to shed on the situation didn't she? But she was Eri, not Mami, and Eri just tended to muck things up because she didn't know that she was better off tending to plants, not people.

Eri finally sighs and says, "Just keep us in the loop... On the Zoisite situation, okay? I worry."

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

"I do," says the older boy with a smile back at Mai, "and I will."

This is a point at which, were he the person he wishes he could be, Mamoru would reach to put a hand on Mai's shoulder, on Eri's. But he's not. No matter how comfortable he gets, he can't be. Trying only broke things.

It's not like sunshine, not right now, but the effort the youth's putting into reminding his face who he's talking to at least makes his expression lighter, more approachable. Not much, but it's closer to what's in his tone. Something around his eyes.

"Don't worry so much," he tells Eri, "it's terrible for digestion. You'll get a stomach-ache."

A half-step away, and his control of his own equilibrium is restored; Mamoru gives the two girls a jaunty salute. "I'll keep you in the loop. But for now, vector calculus awaits. Later," he tells them with a stereotypically dashing smile, and his long legs take him away quickly into the cold afternoon's thin white sunlight and empty trees.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Eri calls back to him, "If that were the case I'd have chronic stomach aches. Any case of indigestion I get now will be from terrible medical advice from Chiba-sensei!"

Maybe that was her way of saying no hard feelings, as she switches his name to the Japanese honorific for physicians.