2014-06-19 - In the Dark

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Title: In the Dark

Mamoru's conscience finally overrules his desire, and he goes and tells Luna about Zoisite, hoping that he might be able to convince her he won't break anything and that a limited armistice is not only possible, but good.


Mamoru Chiba, Luna


Ajiro Park, Ichi no Hashi, Azabu Juuban

OOC - IC Date:

31 January 2014 - 6/19/14

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

It took him a couple of days, but finally, after lots and lots of thinking about it and weighing various forms of consequences and things that could go wrong and misinterpretations that could be made and contingencies being put into a holding pattern...

...Mamoru called Luna on the limited communicator she gave him. 'We need to talk,' he'd said, 'and you're not going to like it. So-- pick a place, I'll be there.'

It's a show of faith.

The cat picked the park.

About a minute after calling her, while he was getting ready to go meet a terrifying space cat who, he remains certain, could call down the combined fury of heaven and hell and five teenaged girls with more superpowers and feelings than even the staunchest of the mighty (of which Mamoru is certainly not) would quail...

...he sent Mai a text. 'Going to tell science cat. If you don't hear from me in six hours call Sailor Moon, Eri, Kagutsuchi, and the national guard.'

Now? Now he's sitting on a different park bench from the one Westar assaulted him at, but it's the same park, and he's been reading the same paragraph for the past ten minutes. His stomach hurts and there are so many things he's afraid of, so very many. Luna herself, more disapproval or even disdain from the Senshi, being cast out completely-- but most of all, having no idea at all what Usagi would think.

Hope is, indeed, a dangerous thing.

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

The great thing about having a secret conversation with a cat is that talking to a cat is a really great alibi if you're overheard.

What were you talking about? That sounded serious. I'm really concerned and curious about why you said that.

I did say those things, but I was also talking to a cat.

Hmm, that's true.

Luna hops up on the bench next to Mamoru. Her being good at surprise entrances isn't anything new, but it's still a dangerous authority figure appearing near the feet of a stressed individual. She turns around in a circle and then sits down, staring off into the distance. She doesn't say anything.

It's definitely her though, and not a regular cat. The moon symbol is a total giveaway once you realize what it means.

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

As soon as Luna hops up on the bench, Mamoru closes his book and reaches up to adjust his glasses. His hands aren't shaking, but he feels like the air is actively touching his skin, and every sound around them is in sharp relief outside their bubble of stillness and silence.

Not just a dangerous authority figure, but a silent one, bearing the inscrutible face that only a cat can muster with such casual intensity, and not even looking at him.

She already knows, he's thinking.

"Whoever I was, I'm sure I knew Zoisite," says Mamoru, and he tries to say it calmly but he blurts it out in the quiet winter blanket of air. "And I'm sure he meant a lot to me, and I think we might have been friends."

He's not so much watching Luna as being desperately aware of her in their shared space and keeping her in his extreme field of peripheral vision. He looks down at his book, turning it over in his hands, and he keeps talking-- talking very fast, trying to get it all out before he's interrupted or loses his nerve.

"The other day, he kept me from getting my head caved in by some super ripped weirdo who wanted to destroy something important to me for some villainous plot or other. Randomly showed up, judo-flipped the guy, took a hit for me. I could have run while they were fighting, but I didn't. When the guy left, we talked. His theory is that he wants to kill me because I give him a stomachache from all these inconvenient emotions and feelings of nostalgia I give him. I can't argue with that: something about him makes me feel homesick, no matter how petty and cruel he is, no matter how clever and how bound to the Dark Kingdom he is."

Mamoru's book is on his lap, now, and his hands are clenched into fists, digging into his knees; he's also looking straight forward. "I've spent my life not knowing who I am, Luna-san. Not really connecting with anyone until I met Usagi-chan. Feeling like an outsider, incomplete. She was the first person I've ever met that felt familiar, that felt like home. For a long time I thought it was just her, just something about her. How accepting and forgiving and loving she is, toward the whole world."

Then he looks down at his book again, more tense by far than he was in the car during his initial 'interview'. Mamoru says evenly, "Then I met someone I thought was the Princess, but she wasn't, obviously. She marveled that I don't remember, even though all I thought I was missing was my childhood. She made it clear there's a lifetime of memories I'm missing. I talked to one of the Perfume Warriors, and to my friends, and apparently having past life issues is a fairly common thing in this business. Suddenly what I was vaguely worried about regarding Zoisite was perfectly clear, and I started being afraid that maybe I used to belong to the Dark Kingdom, to their Queen. That maybe that's why you keep me at arm's length, but agreed to let me help-- that it's so you could watch me, make sure I didn't betray the Senshi, the Princess. But that can't be it: if that were the case, you'd have been trying much harder from the onset to keep me away from Sailor Moon, from the rest of the Senshi."

Finally he looks at Luna, brow furrowed, old and buried scars of pain burning brightly again in his dark blue eyes. "I want to know who I am, and he wants to know who he is, and we agreed not to explicitly go after each other until we'd figured it out. I didn't agree to meet him anywhere, and I said I wouldn't tell him anything that would compromise my loyalty. But I said I'd try to find out who he is and where he comes from, and text him what I find out about him, and he agreed he'd do the same for me. And I'm telling you because I don't want you to think I'm a traitor, and because I don't want to act behind your back. And I'm frankly terrified you'll cut me off. But I need to know."

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

Sometimes you can be a complete fool around a cat, or even at a cat, and they will act like you don't exist.

Mamoru Chiba spills out his story with furious, fearful intensity. Luna studies the distance.

Weeks ago:

Usagi brings her hands up to mimic cat paws. "Wouldn't it be super cute if Luna-chan had a weird way of talking? Like, instead of Mamoru-san, you'd be Meowmoru-san! No, no, Mamoru-nyan! It can't be both, that'd be too much!"


Mamoru finishes speaking. Luna is silent. Her tail remains curled around her feet. For a time, no part of her is moving.

"You're working with one of the leaders of a group dedicated to ending the world. A group that has fanatic, immutable loyalty. Whatever you give them, they will use to further their ambitions."

Luna turns her head to look up at the tall boy. Her eyes are bright and clear.

"Mamoru-san, how badly do you want to gamble on this? The entire world will be covering the expense of your bet."

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

Mamoru-nyan keeps his hands where they are, heels of them digging into his knees; he looks at Luna for a second longer after she speaks, and his eyes are as cloudy and dim a dark grey-blue as the ocean on an overcast night. Then he looks away, ashamed, but less than he could be. Possibly less than he should be. "I still dream of the Princess every night. She still begs me to find her, and to find her Crystal. Why? We've found her. More properly, she found us. I begged Sailor V to join Sailor Moon and her Senshi, I begged her to become an ally. More than once. And she said it wasn't safe yet. That she didn't want to put them in danger. That her joining would set off a chain of events she wanted to spare them from."

Now he looks at Luna again, and his eyes are still dark, but the sky in his heart is roiling, calling up a storm-- or maybe, no longer trying to prevent it. His gaze is sharp and hard. "I don't think their loyalty is immutable. I know he'd throw me under the bus in a heartbeat if it meant saving his own skin, and I know that-- since he knows I'm at best bait for the Senshi, as Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask opposed him when he came to pick a fight with me-- I know that the thing they'd do that'd be easiest on the rest of you is use me as bait. But I don't make friends easily, and I don't love easily, and people on the whole rarely make lasting impressions on me. It's like there's not enough of me to make room for them. So why would someone so evil evoke such feelings of grief and loss, of such sharp longing, in someone like me?"

He finally moves his hands, and it's to brace his arms against the bench to his sides; he half-turns to look at Luna, direct and present and full and engaged. "What is it about who he is -- that he doesn't know already -- that could give them such an advantage over us? He was already interested in me, he was already focused on me. He might already know what I don't. Was I one of them? I'm gambling less now for having told you-- I'd be gambling more if I told Usagi-chan instead of you, and you know it. She loves her friends. She believes more easily than I do, and against all reason, I believe Zoisite. What is it that's making me feel like this, Luna-san? Who is he? Who am I? And why don't any of the facts I have add up?"

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

In a dream,

Her eyes are diamonds. They shine in the light, infinitely multifaceted. She reaches out with a pale hand that has never known the sun. She is still too far away. Something is keeping him back.

Or, something is keeping them both back.

In the waking daylight,

"Oh, you think you can sway them? Another gamble. I hope you know what you are doing, Mamoru-san," says Luna with cold mildness. She has turned her head away by the time Mamoru looks at her again.

"I am telling you precisely what you need to know. The Dark Kingdom will end the world if they are given the chance, and you want to bring something like this into the situation."

Last week,

Usagi leans over the railing, bracing herself with her arms while standing on her tiptoes. Her voice is quiet. She can get that way when she's talking about serious things. "Sometimes Luna-chan can be so unfair. I don't like how she wants me to treat other people. But... I get the feeling she really cares about everyone, and what she's doing is just how she shows it."

Right now,

"If you'd put personal satisfaction above a mission of utmost importance to the continued safety of the Earth, then I don't see why you should continue being involved. Your goals are totally different from ours. I think what you are doing is dangerous and will destroy you while empowering the enemy."

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

"If they were," says Mamoru flatly, somehow unable to bring even an echo of Luna's coldness into his own voice, "I wouldn't have told you a damned thing."

He wants to get up and walk away.

He wants to cry.

He wants to throw up.

"Hope," he says instead, his tone quiet and hopeless as he turns his head away, "is a dangerous thing." The boy's body language has shifted again: instead of leaning forward, desperately reaching out and pleading with the universe that he'll find some kind of handhold, he physically closes off and focuses inward. Defensive, but a shield instead of spikes. "I told you once I'd give everything up-- any hope of finding anything out about myself, about what I'm for, who I am-- if it meant I could contribute instead of hindering. I think that's the only true thing about our conversations."

Finally he does get up, and he collects his book, and he adjusts his glasses, and he doesn't look at Luna. "I trust Usagi, and she trusts you. You don't trust me, and I don't think you will-- but for her, I won't tell him even if I do find out who he is."

The hope and intensity are gone, leaving the taste of ashes and bitterness in his mouth, but Mamoru doesn't feel like throwing up anymore. He's just cold. His heart is spiraling chaos and his mind is as numb as his fingertips.

"Maybe the Princess will have a miracle for Zoisite when we win," he finishes, face blank to keep the stabbing hurt a secret, and he starts walking, because his empty apartment's waiting for him.

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

Mamoru talks to a cat.

The cat's tail lashes back and forth, steady as a clock.

She keeps time even after he's walked away.

"I do trust you, Endymion," murmurs Luna. "I trust you to do the exact thing you did last time."

Luna tilts her head up to the sky, watches for a moment, and then hops down from the bench and makes her way home.