2014-07-01 - It Thought Itself Worthy

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Title: It Thought Itself Worthy

A turtle Orphan has lumbered into the Land of Fuuka. One HiME, hesitating to use her Child, aided by a tuxedo-clad gentleman. Is it enough, or will the water-born Orphan quench dancing flames?


Tuxedo Mask, Mai Tokiha

GM: Reika Aoki


Southern Cross Island

OOC - IC Date:

6 February 2014 - 7/1/2014

<Pose Tracker> Reika Aoki [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

It had been asleep for a long time.

Rejected long ago, it slumbered, awakening only once every three hundred years, to aid in the rehearsal for the grandest of dances. Today it had been called again to the Land of Fuuka, and it heeded that call well...

~Around Twilight~

A dark-haired girl in glasses sets upon a bench with another girl, gossiping. "For someone who works so hard, everyone keeps witnessing her in Chiba-senpai's company." Another girl leans towards her enthusiastically, "Really!? I thought he'd sworn to never date!"

Adjusting her glasses at the bridge, the first girl grins, "Ah, how I wouldn't mind cornering her for a spontaneous interview."

The water a ways out from the shore shifts, flowing off a dark shape in shifts, as two milky yellow orbs stare at the pair. Both girls rise as one, the second running off screaming, though the dark-haired girl seems to be made of sterner stuff, as she dares to try and snap a picture, before running off shouting for help.

The creature rises ponderously into the air, dripping into the ocean, it's colossal flippers outstretched as it treaded in the air as easily as in the water. Besides the two eyes and the flippers, the rest of.. whatever it is, is obscured by the dark a mass of soggy seaweed, that extends like a regal train. It starts to float langurously towards the shore, it's throaty groan resounding throughout the night.

COMBAT: Reika Aoki transforms into Youma Form Minogame Orphan!

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

It's been a busy day for Mai. Handing in a History essay that was written at the last minute, fleeing Midori's lecture to get to work, and putting in a few hours at Linden Baum. A quiet afternoon, punctuated by moments of having to clean up after that one couple, and the diner abandoned enough that Mai was let out of work before sunset. So, back to campus, hopefully to get some homework done in advance after making supper.

That's the plan. Reality, however, is harsher - head down as she walks along, Mai's attention is snatched first by the cries for help. She doesn't have some magic monster-detector, nor Mikoto's bizarre senses...but Orphans are not subtle. Cursing under her breath, she runs towards the danger, instead of away.

Mercifully, she missed her classmates. Not so mercifully, she found the monster, and there's no one else here. No Mikoto, no Kuga-san, none of the heroines she knows...just a looming, groaning monster and her. Fleeing isn't a question, because who knows who else this thing might find before it was stopped?

"At least we're on the shore..." Mai mutters to herself, then closes her eyes in a moment's concentration. Fire blooms in midair, dancing around her wrists and ankles, whirling into blazing rings that turn to gold and jade. "...if I need him, then at least there's a chance...right." She steels her nerves, and flies forward - summoning flames to dance, and build, and become a white-hot flare to the thing's face!

COMBAT: Mai Tokiha transforms into Mai-HiME!
COMBAT: Mai Tokiha has used Devoted Scintillation on Reika Aoki.
COMBAT: Reika Aoki narrowly counters Mai Tokiha's Devoted Scintillation, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  Reika Aoki's Reverse ability activates!  Blind applied to Reika Aoki!  
COMBAT: Reika Aoki's counterattack, Shell Shock!, partially gets through, doing 9 Fatigue damage to Mai Tokiha!  Stagger applied to Mai Tokiha! 

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

Because Mamoru thinks he's funny, he's got a copy of How To Train Your Dragon waiting for when he finds out Mai's birthday. Whether or not that's actually funny is debatable, of course. But he does know she'd like to keep from asking Kagutsuchi to show up until they've had a nice long talk--

--so when he hears the telltale screaming and calling for help, followed by the flashes of fire in the gathering dusk, he doesn't even consider that something else might be going on. Mamoru just drops his kendo gear out of the way and takes off sprinting.

The rooftops of Ohtori Academy's outlying buildings aren't terribly tall or terribly convenient vantage points for observation, but that's a really big monster and Mai is all alone out there, and it's doing something, it did something to her, so-- sudden castanets and a riff on a classical guitar may, indeed, be imagined.

An authoritative voice rings out across the grounds and the water. "Those who stir from the depths to disrupt the peaceful and enjoyable off-hours of hard-working students and heroines, with slovenly and oversized misconduct, are no more excused if they are kaiju than if they are simply bullies! I, Tuxedo Kamen, cannot forgive you!"

Then the caped and masked boy's gone from being 'up on that building there' to 'landed on the ground roughly below where Mai is in the air', cape swirling down and settling. "Would you like an assist, Mai?"

Why does he sound like he's teasing?

COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has used Inspirational Monologuing! on Mai Tokiha.
COMBAT: Mai Tokiha accepts Tuxedo Mask's Inspirational Monologuing!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Mai Tokiha is Cheered!  Cleanse! All of Mai Tokiha's debuffs are cleared!  

<Pose Tracker> Reika Aoki [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

One of the dancers draws near. The Orphan is called to the roiling sea of emotions within her. While she attacks with ferocity that burned on the surface, it feels overwhelming guilt that lay beneath that, as cold as the winter's night. It knew in whatever was left of its will that she would make a fine dancer, once her mettle was tested. The other.. whatever thoughts it might have had were devoured by pure instinct on Mai's first assault.

A scintillating flare of fervid flames causes it's yellowed pupils to grow small, the bellow of pain delayed with the nervous impulse taking longer to reach it's mind. Turning it's head away from that hateful light, it surges it's entire floating mass towards Mai aiming the shell at her, the mass of seaweed withering away beneath the heat to reveal a hard, jagged shell just beneath the surface. The impact against her is jarring, even if her element protects her from the worst of it.

It follows up by spinning around suddenly in the air with speed that belies it's titanic frame, showering the area with droplets of water which coalesce into what looks like a hovering ball of water barely held together by it's magic and surface tension. As it slaps the large drenching sphere at Mai, it's back is whipped towards Tuxedo Kamen, the train of seaweed slithering out like it has a life of its own, attempting to tangle him up within it and hamper his movement.

Maybe it didn't like his assessment of the monster's qualities in the speech? Everyone's a critic, even giant flying orphan turtles. Either way, while it's a huge amount of nori, it's probably nothing that Mai would like to try to cook in the aftermath, if she knows what's good for her.

COMBAT: Reika Aoki has used Dampening Enthusiasm on Mai Tokiha.
COMBAT: Reika Aoki has used Train of Ancient Nori on Tuxedo Mask.
COMBAT: Mai Tokiha narrowly braces Reika Aoki's Dampening Enthusiasm, taking 4 Fatigue damage!  Mai Tokiha is Quipped!  Mai Tokiha's Block ability activates!  Stun applied to Mai Tokiha!  
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask fails to dodge Reika Aoki's Train of Ancient Nori, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  Diversion, Tangle, and Trap applied to Tuxedo Mask! 

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

It's a tactic borne of haste - first, get the monster's attention. Second, give it something to worry about. Further planning can come after that. Mai is caught off-guard, however, when the monster plows right through her flames, slamming its shell into her - her rings chime with the impact, and she's sent reeling out of control. It won't take long to recover, but the monster's not going to give her that chance-

And then, that voice calls out. Mai looks around as she recovers, but the monster seems likewise distracted - she has this brief moment. After a moment's searching, she finally finds her target in the form of a tuxedo-clad hero.

Dork. She meant dork. She stares, incredulous for a moment. "Did you seriously just justice-speech the giant monster-" Further condemnations are cut off when the monster attacks again - a blast of water knocks her reeling again, and even as the flames boil it away she can see a tangle of seaweed enveloping Tuxedo Mask. Without further hesitation, she flies down to him, grabbing and pulling him free of the tangle - judicious application of flames dealing with the seaweed in a moment. Retreating for a second seems like a good plan.

She lets go once they're a bit further away, and watches the monster as she cuts loose. "Seriously, it's a giant monster - what are you even doing here, don't you have a heroine of love and justice to save tonight?" She glances to him - the mask is bright, the tuxedo still crisp.

...is her face red? Must be a trick of the light.

COMBAT: Mai Tokiha has used Affectionate Inferno on Tuxedo Mask.
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask accepts Mai Tokiha's Affectionate Inferno, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Tuxedo Mask is Cheered!  Cleanse! All of Tuxedo Mask's debuffs are cleared! 

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

It all happens so fast--

One moment, he's justice speeching a giant monster and giving Mai moral support, and the next, Tuxedo Mask is bowled over by clinging salt seaweed, tangled helplessly in the mess of it. He barely has time to start trying to extricate himself when he's suddenly airborne, being affectionately chided as he's rescued by the girl he came to help.

The tall boy picks a piece of roast seaweed delicately off his arm with a small smile, and gives Mai such a rakishly lopsided grin when she sets him down. "I just got out of kendo practice. And, I meant to distract it for you, but it looks like I may have distracted you instead."

Obviously it's a trick of the light, because somehow, the face under that gleaming white mask is also a little red. It's probably the last of sunset reflecting off of something.

Tuxedo Kamen briefly squeezes Mai's shoulder, then, and

golden warmth like a summer afternoon

stability and awareness

flood in with the words he says to her, suddenly earnest and quiet and firm. "I'll stop distracting you. Just focus on taking it down, and I'll do what I can to help and try not to need another bailout. If things get really dicey I'll send out texts, but I'm pretty damn sure you can handle this guy."

COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has used Mantle of the Earth on Mai Tokiha.
COMBAT: Mai Tokiha accepts Tuxedo Mask's Mantle of the Earth, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Accelerate and Withstand applied to Mai Tokiha!  

<Pose Tracker> Reika Aoki [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

It must be a trick of light. Surely carrying Tuxedo Mask out of danger wouldn't make a Mai Tokiha blush. After all, the man behind the mask has put his foot down on the not dating thing. Mai Tokiha is too busy for it. The orphan turtle may be winking at the camera, no that's definitely blinking, because Mai had blinded him and he's still kind of upset about it.

And then Tuxedo Kamen does it. Orphans are attracted to wellsprings of emotion. Whatever he just transmitted empathically to Mai reaches deep beneath it's instinct. Positive emotions, temporarily washing away the negative. This sudden change was unexpected, and brought forth a surge of power within it. As a rejected loathsome creature, it did not like happy HiME. It wanted them to suffer for its own inadequacies.

It's maw opens into a thunderous roar, the orphan surging forward quicker than it's mass would seem to allow, one of it's giant flippers attempting to slap the HiME from him.

COMBAT: Reika Aoki has used Flipper Swipe on Mai Tokiha.
COMBAT: Reika Aoki has used Turtle Power! on Reika Aoki.
COMBAT: Reika Aoki accepts Reika Aoki's Turtle Power!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Empower and Withstand applied to Reika Aoki!  

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

Distracted? If Mai's honest...yes, yes he did. But now's not the time for that honesty. "Don't worry about it - former outweighs the latter." She doesn't look directly at him, there's a monster to worry about. A monster that was threatening other students - maybe even someone she knows, that voice sounded familiar - and then Tuxedo Mask lays a hand on her to lend his support.

...sometimes you should...maybe give someone another look.

Tuxedo Mask has her back, instead of Sailor Moon's, this evening. She glances back to him, and gives as earnest a nod as she can muster. "Sounds like a plan - and worst comes to worst, you get to safety and I'll see if Kagutsuchi's up for an ocean trip." There's no time for further words, as the giant turtle-Orphan is attacking!

Spurred on by Tuxedo Mask's trust, Mai soars upwards - the flipper swipes dangerously, but today she has her confidence. Even without Mikoto by her side, even without unleashing destruction on the area, maybe she really can do this! Once high up, she circles the Orphan, flames dancing to her command. A rising inferno, great pillars of fire to wrap around the creature. It won't escape to hurt anyone!

COMBAT: Mai Tokiha has used Infernal Prison on Reika Aoki.
COMBAT: Reika Aoki narrowly braces Mai Tokiha's Infernal Prison, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  Reika Aoki's Block ability activates!  Reika Aoki's Parry ability activates!  Diversion applied to Reika Aoki! 

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

It's funny how thinking about Shiori gives different people such different upwellings of emotion. Luckily, Mamoru's not thinking about Shiori right now: he's quite grounded, himself, at the moment. Clear blue eyes are intent behind their mask, and Tuxedo Kamen darts in the other direction, watching the way the giant flying turtle monster moves, what it reacts to. It's angrier now than it was a minute ago, and he doesn't know why, but knowing that something other than pain can change its behavior is interesting information.

Mai soars overhead and moves to cage the beast with fire, and the tall caped boy reaches to take his stylish chapeau from his glossy raven hair, then spins with absurd grace to frisbee the apex of haberdashery toward the enormous creature's glowing yellow eyes.

COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has used Señor del Antifaz on Reika Aoki.
COMBAT: Reika Aoki narrowly counters Tuxedo Mask's Señor del Antifaz, taking 14 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Tuxedo Mask is Psyched!  Reika Aoki's Reverse ability activates!  Blind and Diversion applied to Reika Aoki!  
COMBAT: Reika Aoki's counterattack, Hydro Shield, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Tuxedo Mask!  

<Pose Tracker> Reika Aoki [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

Flames envelop around the enraged monster and suddenly it's focus is off the dancer, and upon the raging inferno. It spins rapidly, showering the entire area with droplets of water, as if it were some canine beast trying to dry off, instead beating out the worst of the licking flames with water and rushing air. The drenched and soggy seaweed would likely do the rest of its work.

As Mai soars ever higher, the creature continues to move after her. Floating with flippers lazily flapping in a manner which made it look slower than it actually was. It catches something out of the periphery of its vision, and it molds sea water around it out of reflexin a shield to try to slow the projectile. Unfortunately it had underestimated the power behind the apex of haberdashery, as the hat strikes it right in the eye. It halted right then and there, trying to process what happened, as humongous eyelid began to close over it's wounded orb. The roar this time sounded far more pained.

It was starting to get annoyed by these interruptions in their duel. It decided to rectify that. The only sign that something was wrong was a certain change in pressure in the air above the water. A circular vortex descends from above linking the sea of stars to it's sister, the radiant reflection within the waters.

Once joined together it looks vaguely cylindrical, though narrower in the middle, carrying salty water at increasingly heightened speeds. This, it sends spinning onto the shore, towards Tuxedo Kamen in an attempt to cut him off from it, and end his interference. As for the HiME herself, a single yellow orb stares at her hatefully, right before it's neck extends out of the sanctuary of its shell, trying to strike her with a horned headbutt.

COMBAT: Reika Aoki has used Waterspout on Tuxedo Mask.
COMBAT: Reika Aoki has used Razor Headbutt on Mai Tokiha.
COMBAT: Mai Tokiha narrowly braces Reika Aoki's Razor Headbutt, taking 11 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Mai Tokiha's Block ability activates!  Bind Break! All of Reika Aoki's debuffs are cleared!  
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask fails to dodge Reika Aoki's Waterspout, taking 31 Fatigue damage!  

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

There's no hesitation for Mai right now, for several reasons. She's fighting a monster that really is a monster. She's protecting someone she cares about. She has Tuxedo Mask backing her up...and she has his trust. In light of all that, she can forget the guilt and fury and doubt - at least for now, at least for this evening.

(Even if he shouldn't be protecting her.)

Water quenches fire - unless the fire's hot enough to simply boil it to nothing. Kagutsuchi could do that - can she? Mai pauses to take the monster's measure as it shifts its shape - and cries out in panic as the water blast smashes at her friend. "M- Tuxedo Mask!" The Orphan's headbutt is noticed too late for her to attempt to evade it - she throws up her rings as a quick defense, but the rapid blow sends her spinning head over heels.

With a shout, the fury is back. Far less elegant a dance in the evening sky - Mai comes spiraling in, gathering flames before her. A trinity of fiery teardrops appears, a symbol emblazoned on a fiery wall, and she doesn't hesitate. With heat and passion, she simply slams her strongest barrier into the Orphan's face - can it ignore this?

...and is her friend all right?

COMBAT: Mai Tokiha has used Sanctum Blaze on Reika Aoki.
COMBAT: Reika Aoki narrowly braces Mai Tokiha's Sanctum Blaze, taking 28 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Reika Aoki's Block ability activates!  Reika Aoki's Parry ability activates!  

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

Bullseye. He's earned Mai a moment's distraction, and Tuxedo Kamen grins, quick and fierce.

Given the lesson of the seaweed -- getting the monster to target him means that if it hits, Mai will be distracted instead of the monster -- he sees the attack coming. Mai thinks it's aiming for her, and Mamoru is busy doing vector calculus in the back of his head without the benefit of physics because magic:

Tuxedo Mask predicts the speed and direction of the waterspout with devastating precision! The problem is that because of the magic, he discounted physics, and that amount of mass at that amount of speed has, therefore, a metric tonne of force married to it. Far more than the ace student expected. He thought his cape would just get wet if it caught as he jumped away--

--instead, the cape catches in the stream, and it yanks him back and down like the world's most vicious undertow, and he's pushed violently along the frozen winter earth by frigid sea water, unable to breathe or move for a long second.

When the water recedes, there's briefly a sodden black and white pile of Mamoru at the end of a scrapey-looking rut in the ground, and then he starts picking himself up, coughing out water and shivering. His cape's gone, his jacket is shredded, and his mask is miraculously still present. What's joined the mask on his face, however, is shiningly cold wrath. He doesn't have time to let her know he's okay with a statement on the subject, he can only show Mai, by fighting on, by hitting back harder.

Somehow carrying that weighted tone of slow, righteous and affronted fury he's shown on occasion despite the hoarseness of his voice, Tuxedo Mask calls his attack. "Tuxedo," he yells, throat raw--

The other side of that golden warmth begins to gather in the white-gloved hand the masked hero thrusts toward the monster, palm out. "La Smoking," he continues, pulling strength from somewhere he can't even begin to define--


Raw searing magic packed with force and heat and brilliant light rockets from the youth's outstretched hand toward the Orphan, and Tuxedo Mask staggers. "Kill it in the face, Mai-chan--"

COMBAT: FINISHER! Tuxedo Mask has used Tuxedo la Smoking Bomber on Reika Aoki.
COMBAT: Reika Aoki narrowly braces Tuxedo Mask's Finisher, Tuxedo la Smoking Bomber, taking 16 Fatigue damage!  Reika Aoki's Block ability activates!  Reika Aoki's Parry ability activates!  Stun, Tangle, and Trap applied to Reika Aoki!  

<Pose Tracker> Reika Aoki [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

It doesn't matter if you're an elegant dancer, what matters is passion. Mai has that in spades, as her fires blaze in a ardent riposte to the headbutt with her blazing shields. While it's head is protected by scaly skin, and horns to boot, the barrier still burns, as flesh sizzles and smokes beneath the onslaught.

Snorting through it's nostrils in derision, in pride, it doesn't cry out in agony. It powers through it by sheer hatred alone, it's hatred of all things, but most of all, HiME. It isn't even paying attention to Tuxedo Kamen, not that he's not a significant threat, merely that it believes he's dealt with.

It's wrong.

The blast has enough sheer force, that even with it's train of ancient seaweed, even with it's shell hardened by malice, the blast still blows off a significant piece of it. No hatred is enough for it not to cry out in resonating agony. This pain is a palpable thing, that feels like a thunderous earthquake.

The sea responds to this... with a hundred foot wall of water. It forms seemingly out of nowhere, and crashes down with earth-shaking force. Fortunately, while it is a creature of myth, and it's attack is equally so.. the magic of the attack dissipates before it can go any further inland. Southern Cross Island as a whole won't feel the orphan's wrath, but what about the HiME, and the man in the Tuxedo?

COMBAT: FINISHER! Reika Aoki has used Mythical Tsunami on Tuxedo Mask.
COMBAT: FINISHER! Reika Aoki has used Mythical Tsunami on Mai Tokiha.
COMBAT: Reika Aoki has used Turtle Power! on Reika Aoki.
COMBAT: Reika Aoki accepts Reika Aoki's Turtle Power!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Empower and Withstand applied to Reika Aoki!  
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask narrowly braces Reika Aoki's Finisher, Mythical Tsunami, taking 49 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Mai Tokiha narrowly braces Reika Aoki's Finisher, Mythical Tsunami, taking 71 Fatigue damage!  Mai Tokiha's Block ability activates!  

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

The blazing barrier bursts with a roar of heat, and Mai is carried away from the Orphan's hopefully-crispier shell. Hopefully that's stunned it a moment - and she clings to that moment, uses it to cast her gaze around for Tuxedo Mask. Is he-

He's standing. He's glowing. He's fighting.

Mai can only answer that demand with a grin. She turns back to the turtle, elements beginning to spin up - and she can only pale as the wave rises, towers, comes crashing down. Her Element is defence, it is flame, but the surging tide of water exists to quench that passion, that life...

...and it's a flood. A surging flood. Is this meant to be? It would only fit...

No. Mai Tokiha has someone to protect here. Someone she cares about, even-

Passionate fury resounds, a sudden surge of heat exploding from the crushing weight of seawater. Flames blaze and roar, and within that inferno - protective of the man behind her, of the school beyond - is Mai. Her Elements are spinning, white-hot, and half a dozen or more red pinpoints of light are visible in that conflagration. A strange, bestial cry sounds from somewhere as the heat builds to its fever pitch - and echoing that cry is Mai herself, voicing her ardent fury. Blazing orange flame, to incinerate whatever stands before her.

The Orphan stands before her.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Mai Tokiha has used Ardent Light on Reika Aoki.
COMBAT: Reika Aoki narrowly braces Mai Tokiha's Finisher, Ardent Light, taking 40 Fatigue damage!  Reika Aoki's Block ability activates!  Reika Aoki's Parry ability activates! 

<Pose Tracker> Reika Aoki [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

It had thought of itself as worthy once.

As one of the stronger Orphans, it had once been the same as all of the so-called Childs. It was just, lacking. Something. It is something that Kagutsuchi possessed that allowed it to resonate with the bright spirits of the dancers. As the inferno as bright as the daystar brought forth by her element, and the burning ardor of her child comes forth, it tries to prove to itself that it has what the hated Child does not.

Its last stand is admirable, in light of this. Incinerating flames just a fraction of the power of Kagutsuchi's annihilating light, but no less brilliant sear almost beyond all recognition. A blackened husk is what is left. Yet, it lives. Such as life, and existence can be to this pitiable creatures. One eye bursts, the humours within heated to boiling, the other, is nearly blinded.

And yet, a sea turtle, no matter how magical, and mythical, always knows one thing. It knows how to go home. Never has it felt more inadequate, than this moment, as it turns around, and descends into the sea in retreat. Then it is gone, away from the site of its renewed humiliation.

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

The flames, fuelled by protective fury, fade away as Mai comes to a rest on the shore. Her arms and legs feel like lead, she's battered and exhausted and still soaking wet - but she's alive. And that Orphan is...gone. Whether it fled or was destroyed doesn't really matter. It's not threatening her loved ones, it's not attacking people, it's not her problem right now.

The fact that one of her loved ones was caught up in that attack, however, is her problem. In spite of her fatigue, she has to make sure he's still all right - turning away from the sea, Mai stumbles over to where she saw Tuxedo Mask last.

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

Once upon a time, Tuxedo Mask would have used surviving the crushing wall of water as an excuse to leave with pain and grim determination not to be a burden. He's not nearly that clueless anymore. He hasn't been that clueless in a long time. If it's important to him that Mai is safe, it's important to Mai that he's safe.

The battered, abraded, and dripping upperclassman's achingly pulling himself back to his feet from where he'd fallen once the water receded, behind the bench he'd been hanging onto for dear life. Jacket's gone, gloves are gone...

...mask is gone.

Magic as it is, that was a magic tsunami. The mask is gone.

Red-eyed, he tries to focus on where the monster was, but it's not there anymore, and Mai is on her way over, and god almighty she looks worse than he feels. 'Let's get out of here,' he tries to say, but talking's not really the best idea when you've had seawater forcibly shoved into your sinuses and down your throat.

Instead, he makes himself straighten, and wordlessly goes to meet Mai halfway and steer them back toward the dorms. In a minute the pain will fade in favor of the beginnings of hypothermia, anyway-- better to sneak back before passing out.

Maybe Mai won't notice he needs her support as much as she does his, right here and now. Maybe she will, and it'll distract her from the fact that he's really, really close.

Maybe someday Mamoru will be thinking about something other than monster psychology and logistics when he should be paying attention to interpersonal psychology.

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

The mask being gone doesn't matter to Mai. He's shown her both faces, she knows who he is - and what he's wearing doesn't matter one bit, the important thing is that he's alive and well. Not like...

He meets her halfway, which is a relief - her Elements dissipate into wisps of flame, and she leans into him. Under the guise of supporting him, surely, as much as she needs the support as well. "Thank heavens you're alive..."

He's soaking wet, so is she, and the Ohtori mindset isn't even crossing her mind. A half dozen things cross her mind to check - the wet clothes won't help, they need to get to somewhere warm quickly, but the dorms aren't that far away. Breathing - he swallowed a lot of water, right? She did as well, though screaming out her fury in the form of flame helped there...

There isn't much she can do here, not for the friend who means so much, has done so much...so she just supports him supporting her on their way to the dorms. "...soup. I'll make us some soup." Warmth is needed, that's one way to get it. As for another...

She stays close to him the entire way to the dorms.