2014-07-06 - My Friend Had Some Good Advice

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Title: My Friend Had Some Good Advice

So Puella Magi Eri, Princess Runealy, and Tuxedo Mask were looking for a witch, and never found one. Defeated, they ended up going up to decompress a little up on Tokyo Tower, because when one can superjump, that is the sort of place one hangs out. Decompressing would have worked much better if Mamoru weren't brooding.


Tuxedo Mask, Eri Shimanouchi, Princess Runealy


Tokyo Tower

OOC - IC Date:

8 February 2014 - 07/06/2014

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

It is a beautiful clear winter night, and the tower's lit up in all warm oranges and reds and golds, and the moon is full and gloriously luminous--

Tonight's denizens are stage-lit with deep shadows and a mix of sunset on one side and blue-white monochrome on the other, creatures of contrasts and sharply delineated edges.

One such is standing on a cross-beam next to another, arms crossed and leaning against a support. He's tall and slender and dressed in black and white and red, but the black isn't matte, and reflects the colors the lights paint over everything; his white mask is bright even when his face is shadowed by his hair.

They've only been there about a minute; it's been a wild ride through the night, chasing a witch that someone else got to first, and then a side trip for consolation funnel cake. "No I really don't want confectioner's sugar on my jacket," the dramatically caped international boy of mystery says, though he sounds uncertain, because funnel cake.

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

While perhaps she looked the most mundane of those who sat in the pleasant winter night, one could say that heightened the mystique more.

She would have laughed herself silly if someone called attention to it as one 'could' say that, but it didn't make it true.

Crossing her heavily covered arms to ward off the feel of the wind's bite, she looked at the powdery sugar on her mittens with a hint of chagrin, before reaching over from her seat upon the crossbeam, legs dangling, one arm extended as if she intended to really wipe her hands on Tuxedo Mask's cape. The hand dropped harmlessly to her side and was crossed again before she could actually carry it out.

"This isn't a terrible place to hide from your adoring fan club, Tuxedo-sama." She looks out over the skyline, "Unfortunately for you, I'm a card carrying member."

Looking sidelong at Rune she offers an affectionate smile, "So what so you think, Hime-chan? Did you have views like this back on your world?"

<Pose Tracker> Princess Runealy [Ohtori Academy (7)] has posed.

Rune had been extremely easy to convince to come along for this. The mere prospect of accompanying Eri to help out with something wasn't met with complaints, or 'I will be ready in five minutes.' No, she completely dropped everything else she was doing and was ready to join Eri and Tuxedo Mask the very instant the topic came up!

It made the lack of results disappointing to her, but that gave Rune a sort of 'edge' to focus on... and then relax as they went up here for a snack. Eri's humor calmed Runealy down quickly, and now she too was sitting up here. "I think I'm 'a member' too." Her gaze sweeps to Tuxedo Mask, "This makes two friends of mine you've been helping, and for all I know it might be more than that! So..." Politeness takes hold, "Thank you very much."

Then a few bites of her own food follow as Eri speaks of Rune's home. "The closest we'd get would be... maybe the roof of the Barrier Shrine if I ever went up there, or the towers to the castle. Even those aren't /this/ tall, though!" Formal politeness has given way to wide-eyed wonder as Runealy stares down, awed by the height they're at. "No, the only way any of us would have seen something like this would be to fly somehow, or maybe climb a really tall mountain."

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

"Given the frequency of monsters and magical jerks attacking it, it's actually a kind of terrible place if you want guaranteed alone time," Tuxedo Kamen says with a crooked grin down at Eri, before his eyes widen and he drops an arm to flick his cape away from the toothless threat of powdered sugar on black silk. Then he lifts a white-gloved hand to tilt his top hat rakishly. It is a deliberate act, done to slide attention away from the fact that Eri's 'card carrying member of his fan club' comment just made him blush fiercely.

It doesn't help him not blush when Runealy chimes in. He can't deny her allegation of helping her friends, though, so he takes a half-step forward on the narrow strip of metal in order to flourish a bow. "It's my pleasure and privilege to help."

The masked upperclassman's pretty quickly leaning against the support beam again, though, because he really does want funnel cake and the smell of it reminds him. Honestly, he should just get it over with: it's not like he has to /clean/ a magical white tie and tails. But... Runealy is a princess and for some reason he has an aversion to looking messy in front of a princess, especially one being so formally polite. Even if he's not /his/ princess-- Sailor Moon said so.

Sailor Moon...

Tuxedo Mask, leaning there, looks up at the moon and frowns while Runealy and Eri talk about the view of the city. He's being a whole lot of silent and distracted, which makes the whole damned profile-by-moonlight thing happen, and the set of his jaw pairs with the silence to cement the visual (and correct) impression of brooding he gives off.

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

The end of Eri's scarf whips suddenly aside from a cross wind, forcing her to actually do something about that, wrapping it more decisively about her neck. Putting her mittened hands upon her knees, she finds her legs swaying in response to 'living on the edge.' More accurately, living like a Mahou Shoujo and loving it, it did in fact have it's perks.

And it's downsides, she looks vaguely abstracted, smile briefly vanishing as Rune thanks Tuxedo Kamen. It returns, reaching her eyes as she responds, "Well from the way you and Rose-chan talk sometimes I wouldn't be terribly surprised if you did climb a mountain, or learn to fly."

A beat pause, "That shrine was something though, I still can't get over the anatomy of some of the plants on your world. It sure would make for a breathtaking view at dawn, when the light catches the electric blue xylem just right."

Tuxedo Mask's formal treatment of Rune doesn't surprise her so much, after all, she used to treat her the same way, even if she'd certainly become a lot more casual. However it's the brooding silence that causes her to regard him for a while with silence of his own, stilling her movements before she finally offers, "Alright, you have me convinced. You /do/ look exceptionally striking by moonlight."

The impish tone doesn't cause her to smile, as it's a lead in to a more serious question, "What's wrong, Tuxedo-kun?"

The honorific shifts fluidly, as if suddenly he was Mamoru Chiba, not Tuxedo Kamen in how she perceived him. "If you don't mind talking about it, up here pretty much is the perfect place right now given it's fortuitous lack of jerks."

<Pose Tracker> Princess Runealy [Ohtori Academy (7)] has posed.

Rune starts looking around before realizing Tuxedo Mask was probably making a bit of a joke about the tower; there doesn't seem to be any immediate danger. Then he's bowing, and the display causes her to make a wondrous 'ehh...' noise, impressed by his presence. It's only when he goes silent and Eri speaks up that Rune is jarred out of this. "No, I can't fly. I can jump pretty high, and maybe in some ways that's kind of like flying for a few seconds, but I can't /really/ fly. Not like Mai or others can." Talk of the plant-life, especially when Eri begins using fancy words like 'xylem', ends up making Rune just give a sort of overwhelmed "Mm" in vague agreement. "One of these days, I'm going to try to bring all of you back to see it at a more quiet time."

Then the princess is suddenly fired up, with nothing to obviously provoke it. She stares at Eri. "Listen, there's something I've wanted to tell you. I've tried to say this with gifts and awards and stupid speeches, but I've never really just /said/ it so I'm going to do it right now." A breath, then, "You're one of the best things to ever happen to me. There are a lot of reasons I have to be here right now, but you're one of the reasons I /want/ to be here!" A sharp nod over to their silent companion: "That's the kind of person you're helping, and that's how much it means to me! So if there's something on your mind," she's trying to follow up on Eri's offer to him, "If there's some way to help you with whatever it is..." Rune's voice fades out, but a nod finishes things instead.

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

He just doesn't know Rune well enough yet, to be completely honest. When he does? Yeah the formality has a tendency to just sort of flutter away to reveal a teenager who is also a tremendous dork.

Right now, yeah: striking by moonlight, and formal and aloof and mysterious-- at least to poor Runealy.

Not even that lasts, though, because Eri calls him on his brooding and attaches a 'kun' to his codename, of all things, at the end of a /tease/. The only reaction he can possibly have right there is to stare incredulously down at the Puella Magi, then reach up to pull his hat down a little as he rolls his eyes and huffs.

For a second -- a blessed second -- he thinks he's saved from having to a) answer, b) pretend he's fine, or c) be rude -- by Rune's heartfelt verbal appreciation of Eri Shimanouchi.

Seconds are so short.

They're so short and Rune's passionate earnestness is so fiery and so familiar a thing...

The mixed light, putting fire colors at his back and ice colors at his front, make the tall black-clad youth almost look like a drawing, a poster, some stylized image with a limited pallette. His stillness only aids that visual. He's quiet for a moment, not ignoring the extradimensional princess and their mutual friend, but undecided in how to respond.

He likes them. He can't be rude. But if he tells them, they really might actually try to help, and...

A sigh. "I don't think there's any help for liking someone who doesn't like you back," he says with a small, rueful smile down at the two girls. "And that's all it is. No emergency or anything."

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

Rune's spontaneous outburst takes Eri so off guard that she's suddenly glad that she inadvertently borrowed Mai's scarf technique. She reddens so fiercely that she's afraid she's going to burn it away. Even if she was better at taking a compliment, how does one respond to such heartfelt praise?

She has no idea, which is why there's such lingering silence afterwards. Her first thought is to hug her, but while sitting on a crossbeam this high up, she thinks better of it. She steals a look over at Tuxedo Kamen's thoughts, but right now he almost looks statuesque and as mysterious as the dark side of the moon, she can't read that. Looking back at Rune, she finally clears her throat, managing a smile, albeit a chagrined one, "Right um.. I really have no idea what to say to that. You mean a lot to me too Hime-chan, but I'm so bad at this sort of thing that I think I'd stumble and bumble all over it if I even tried to follow that. So I'll just say you're an amazing friend, and pretend that I don't sound like a total, awkward, dork right now."

As Mamoru speaks up though, she loses her tongue, looking towards the bright lighthouse in the sky, shining down from the glittering sea of stars. It's tough to respond to that one too, "Well, Tuxedo-sama, I have this friend, who gave me this great advice on being friends first. You know, acting normal, doing normal things, because if you can't be friends, then how can you expect for it to ever be more."

Holding up a mittened hand to ward off the obvious answer, "You don't call people sama unless you hold them in high esteem. And she pretty much told me that for all the frustration you give her? She can ignore that because of how much she likes you and remembers all of the positive experiences. So why don't you try being normal around her for a while, don't.. don't try too hard, and maybe it will turn out to be something more. If not, then friendship isn't settling, you know?"

<Pose Tracker> Princess Runealy [Ohtori Academy (7)] has posed.

"Huh?" Rune's mood deflates in the face of such a vague explanation from Tuxedo Mask. Yet she does relent. "Okay. I can imagine that even if there was, you wouldn't want to talk about something like /that/ with a stranger like me." Her tone is low, yielding... robbing the princess' words of any possible passive-aggressive edge; she really is fine with not prying too deep into his business. She's still a little concerned, but not enough to push it. Not when there are so many unknown things involved.

Eri ends up providing just the tiniest glimpse into what may be going on. It's not enough for Runealy to begin pinning names to concepts, nor even to guess, but the advice framed around it is stirring to hear. The princess starts to say something about it, gets a syllable in, then reconsiders. She tries again a few times, then just settles for a mix of smiling at Eri and being visibly impressed by the simple wisdom of what was just said. It was directed to Tuxedo Mask rather than her, but Rune is taking some insight from it anyway.

Now it's her turn to just deflect conversation with something. In this case, Runealy settles for returning to munching on her snack.

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

"I just don't normally talk about this sort of thing with anyone," Tuxedo Kamen tells Runealy, tone actually gentle for it. "You remember when we met-- I really was upset, then, and I still didn't explain." He nods in Eri's direction. "Second time we met, too. But you're a best friend of two of my best friends -- don't think I consider you a stranger."

There's at least honest amusement at Eri when she throws his words back at him; the absurdly tall boy reaches up to take his hat off, then spin it idly on a fingertip. He's gracious as he listens, letting her finish without interruption, and takes a moment to formulate his thoughts before speaking them aloud.

"We are friends, she and I. And I value that so highly, so very highly. I am myself with her-- but I thought she surely did like me back, and let myself get invested in the idea. I'm not even sure why I thought she did; I really should have known better. I just-- can't shrug off the loss of that dream so easily. I will, but it'll take time." The answer's calm, at least, and maybe a little rueful; he looks contemplative, rather than still brooding.

He vanishes his hat into nowhere with a quick, fluid movement of his wrist.

"Friendship isn't settling. It's just-- a major adjustment to be expecting ice cream and get a cookie instead, even if it's your favorite kind of cookie."

Laughing a little bit, he brings his hands up to his face and ducks his head just a little, rubbing at the sides of his nose with one hand while the other holds his mask up and obscures his face. "I can't pretend anything around her. I tried to hide how much it hurt, but from the way she looked, I don't think I did a very good job. I know she doesn't like hurting friends. But at the same time, I'm glad she said it now, and not-- not if I ever ended up asking her out. I just-- I was so sure-- I mean, after New Year's-- I was so sure."

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

Exposition from a Shoujo manga is what Eri would swear she's listening to. A snippet of the plot from some impossibly suave protagonist, even if it was tempered with a more than healthy dose of adolescent angst; yet she had the feeling that she didn't know the whole thing either, that some watcher from on high was watching them all and laughing or thinking the dramatic irony was adorable.

She watches his chapeau, then make it disappear, propping up her chin on her hands as she considers his words with a contemplative look. Once he finishes, first she notes how cold her cheeks are, so she spreads out her hands from her chin to cover them with mittens.

Second? Well this comes much easier to her and harder at the same time. She valued truth and understanding, but it was hard to put it into words around him, especially given several experiences in the past, "Given the way you feel for her, why should you pretend otherwise? Those don't just go away. So long as you're not acting mean about it and trying to press her at every given moment."

Flicking her gaze towards him, she tries to watch his reaction with a calm look. This went against every Shoujo manga she'd ever read, but she realized in those romantic comedies that the characters were set up not to reveal their feelings to weave an entertaining story. "Are you sure she really knows how you feel though? You could always try expressing it to her. And.."

She lets fall one hand, waving it in the air, "..I know it's a risk. My friend told me you could psych yourself out doing that, or even asking how they feel, but at this point, if it's like that, then why not? If she rejects them, then what's the harm in backing off? So long as you're respectful to her feelings I don't think it's going to damage the friendship you have."

<Pose Tracker> Princess Runealy [Ohtori Academy (7)] has posed.

Rune certainly does remember when they met. What she had thought would be a perfect chance to talk to Tuxedo Mask during late-night patrols had shown that he was indeed upset. Upset enough that the princess initially thought he was about to attack her! The memory jars her, enough to show a flicker of fear even though she gets over it quickly and his remarks help calm her. "'Not a stranger'... thank you. Still, I won't pry any further than you want to talk about it."

His insights are enough that she's able to make some fairly good guesses. Silent ones; naming names might amount to engaging in gossip. Instead, Runealy leans back slightly; a symbolic attempt to try to get some distance from the topic. There's a look of some wonder in her eyes though, as talking to anyone about this sort of thing in any real seriousness is new to the princess. She ends up offering a fairly weak response: "I hope it works out." It sounds lame, it's an attempt to bow out of things without pushing Tuxedo Mask harder on any of this, and Rune has a tiny wince the moment she does it.

Eri ends up having a lot more to say on it anyway, and Rune blinks afterward. She's not shocked or scandalized... she's impressed. "Wow... I've never heard you talk quite like that before."

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

After a moment, the teenager in the mask -- feeling very unlike Tuxedo Kamen despite all appearances to the contrary -- says quietly, "Because she said she likes someone else, Eri-chan." He looks over to her and to Runealy, and gives them an unapologetically empty smile. "And in theory, those kinds of feelings can go away, given time and effort. There are some kinds of love you can't help having, or giving, but that kind-- time and effort and d-dist--"

That's where the boy has to stop, and he laughs, and it's a kind of horrible sound because it's morbid and frustrated and resigned all at once. "'Distance'."

Then he reaches up and scrubs at his eyes under his mask with one gloved hand and looks away again, crossing his arms. "No. I really can't make them go away. But they don't have to get in her way. So I can get over myself and just-- put it somewhere it won't hurt me so much, and it'll stop hurting. But it's going to take a while, and I'm probably going to be pretty annoying company in the intervening time. Sorry for that. And I'm sorry you're getting all this drama dumped uncomfortably close to you, Princess. It's a bit sordid."

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

The girl looks incredibly sheepish as she steals a glance back at Runealy, stating, "Well, we've never really talked about matters of love and romance. I take them very seriously." Which probably isn't a big surprise, given that few girls her age don't.

The other shoe drops, and Eri gets the feeling that she wasn't too far off the mark on dramatic irony. The word distance causes Eri to wince, visibly. The awkward laughter doesn't feel particularly funny to her, even if it's Mamoru Chiba, laughing, at Mamoru Chiba. She waits for him to finish, but the first thing she says is, "Look, stop laughing at yourself."

Despite being sedate, her voice has a sharp edge on it, "You probably find it less funny than I do." It then smoothes out, the tone softening, "But I don't like people laughing at my friend's feelings on a bad situation."

There's a sudden flare of green light as she transforms without warning. It's quick, with no dramatic stock footage sequence. At least she feels 'warmer' in it, part of the magic of this form she imagines. Standing up, and balancing easily on the crossbeam, she first bends over and hugs Rune, because that was her reaction earlier that she thought she should and now that she's committed to transforming and expending the magic she's going to make as much use of it as she can. She still looks a bit embarassed, but her smile is affectionate, before she stalks over to Tuxedo Mask and does the same to him. "You're never annoying company, stop that. Stop putting yourself down." Her voice grows softer, "You've been alone for a long time, and you're hurting. I understand."

<Pose Tracker> Princess Runealy [Ohtori Academy (7)] has posed.

Rune starts to wonder if she should do more than just 'lean away' from the discussion as Tuxedo Mask lays out his feelings and makes that unsettling laugh. Maybe she should go? Maybe this is none of her business? Those worries play out as her eyes widen while he speaks. Then Tuxedo mask apologizes, and the princess turns defiant. "You're sorry? For what? Trying to think through how you feel about someone important to you? Most of this doesn't make any sense to me, but it doesn't sound like the sort of thing you sweep under the rug and pretend the big lump in it isn't there. So you do whatever you need to figure it out. And if that means I have to hear you shout a bit or worry a lot..."

She pauses to finish her snack and stand up to stare at Tuxedo Mask, "Then that's fine. I can do a lot of listening. And the moment we step down from here, I can do a lot of 'convenient forgetting' too. Just like last time. Calling it 'drama' sounds like a cheap way to act like what you're thinking about doesn't matter, when it does."

Eri's words bring her mood back down; Rune becomes more quiet and reserved. "Yeah... we haven't talked about that much beyond..." She trails off, suddenly realizing Eri might not want certain things said. Instead, she finishes with: "...I know it's not going come up for a while for me, anyway." As Eri continues, the transformation is met with a surprised blink... and again as Eri embraces her; the gesture is quickly met in kind, wholeheartedly! Then... a smile and tiny nod as Eri repeats that for Tuxedo Mask. Runealy doesn't directly join in, not with the footing up here being what it is, but she's quick to show approval for this softer display. "She's right."

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

He can't look. He can't look back when Eri's telling him not to laugh, when Runealy's leaping to his defense against himself; he can't let them see his expression, screwed up tight and trying to keep himself in and the world out, and failing and failing. Befitting nothing, the added irony flashes across his awareness that he can heal himself of physical pain, but not emotional. He's so wrapped up in himself that he doesn't see the transformed Puella Magi coming.

And -- perhaps unsurprisingly to Rune and Eri both -- Tuxedo Mask stiffens slightly at the unexpected contact. Probably startling but not ultimately surprising, either, is that in the first instant of the hug, there's a flickering awareness at the edge of her mind of a rush of raw emotion, and it nearly floods in a rush at her last sentence, before Mamoru clamps down on his feelings and relaxes enough to hug back.

He's awkward about that, too, and he still can't look either of them in the eyes; the lenses of his mask have gone opaque by the time he turns his face where they can see it, and he's gotten control of his expression. "I-- I have to go. Thank you-- I just, I have to go. I have to-- be better if-- I get a call. And-- your Highness-- it seems like we've only spoken when I was--"

Full of angst? Fear? Loss or panic? Emotions he can't deal with. He laughs uncomfortably, then immediately looks rueful because he laughed at himself again. "Not myself. I have to go. Good night, you two..."

And yeah: he legitimately just jumped off of Tokyo Tower.