2014-08-07 - Plans, Pastry, and Catharsis

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Title: Plans, Pastry, and Catharsis

...Not necessarily in that order. Things have been tough on the Sailor Senshi recently; seems like a good time for Mako to have Usagi come over for a baking experiment.


Makoto Kino, Usagi Tsukino


Makoto's apartment.

OOC - IC Date:

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014 - 8/7/2014

<Pose Tracker> Makoto Kino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Makoto didn't mention, when she first suggested the idea of coming over to help her with some baking, that she's been worried about Usagi. It's only part of the reason, anyway; the apartment she occupies all by herself has seemed a little emptier than usual lately, for all that it's still as clean and tidy and full of good smells and pretty things as it ever is.

She wants to spend some time with her friend, that's all.

She's already made tea and put out some snacks - it's practically a reflex, she can't help it - and with her apron tied on and ingredients and kitchen tools lined up neatly on the counter, Mako clearly means business. "I haven't actually tried this before," she admits as she sifts flour into the bowl that's sitting on her countertop kitchen scale. "So I'm counting on you to tell me if it comes out okay or not, Usagi-chan!"

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

Usagi hasn't been terrible.

She's always been a girl of big ups and big downs. One day she'll wake up early enough to eat breakfast and she'll be floating on a cloud, the next she'll have a fight with her mom and be nearly comatose. The only thing that's changed, really, is the frequency. There's more things to feel bad about these days.

Fortunately, it seems to be just as easy to cheer her up as it was before. This baking thing is a good idea.

Usagi has already made herself a nest. She always does this, especially when she's feeling tired. She's often tired (more than usual) when she's at an extreme of emotion. It's harder for her to sleep (more than usual). It consists of a few gathered pillows and blankets on Makoto's couch, on the side nearest to the kitchen. Only her head and hair poke out of the plush armor. Her tea is balanced on a pillow near her chin. Usagi holds onto it through one of the blankets.

"Even your mistakes taste delicious," murmurs Usagi, distracted by an errant thought.

(more than usual.)

"Mako-chan," says the blonde girl, turning to look over into the kitchen. "Do you, um, want to stay at my house for awhile? I can ask my mom."

<Pose Tracker> Makoto Kino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Makoto pauses momentarily at the question, looking up from what she was doing, but she finds she doesn't have a quick answer to give. Instead, with a little "hmm," she finishes measuring out the flour, taking the brief interval of time to contemplate what Usagi has asked.

When she's done with the flour, she sets the sifter down in the sink, dusts her hands on her apron, and wanders over to pick up the cup of tea she poured for herself earlier and mostly hasn't touched thanks to being absorbed in setting up the kitchen.

"I don't know..." she says at last, a little hesitantly, brows drawing together a little as she watches Usagi's expressions for some better clue as to whether Usagi is asking more for Mako's sake or for her own. There's no denying that the idea is an appealing one - not being on her own, having a real family around her, even if it's a borrowed one. But at the same time she can't help but think, with things as they are, if she took the invitation... it might be awfully hard to come back to her little apartment before she wore out her welcome at the Tsukino house. "I wouldn't want to impose," she adds with a lopsided smile.

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

Usagi looks hopeful. She's trying to appear neutral, but she's also terrible at hiding these things. She makes up for it by busying herself finishing off her tea. At least she's learning some tricks! Usagi drinks for way too long, holding the cup up after she's finished. Her eyes get steadily wider as Makoto considers.

When it looks like the taller girl is simply on the fence rather than trying to find a way to say no, Usagi hurriedly lowers her cup--dropping it into the pillows, but there's nothing to spill--and leans forward. "You wouldn't! You could stay in my room and you could finally read all my manga and we could wake up and go to school together in the morning and then we'd be able to walk to the arcade together and--and--we could--"

What started as excitement ended up as sorrow. She chokes on her last words, wracked by a sob. Her eyes shimmer, and she squeezes them shut to hide her tears.

<Pose Tracker> Makoto Kino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

'If we're not there for each other when it counts...' she'd said to Mamoru just the other day.

"Usagi-chan!" Suddenly horrified with herself, Makoto puts down her cup so hastily that tea sloshes over her coffee table. She doesn't care. She's in too much of a hurry to get to Usagi and throw her arms around her friend, enfolding Usagi and blanket and pillow-nest and all in a powerful, reassuring hug. "I'm sorry, Usagi-chan, I didn't mean I don't want to. I do, it sounds great."

Mako's eyes are tearing up now, too; she closes them tightly, leaning her head to rest against Usagi's. "I'm sorry," she says again, in a whisper this time. "I'm just being dumb."

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

Usagi doesn't actually cry until Makoto hugs her. Even then, she tries to hold it back for a few tense moments. It doesn't work. All that sorrow comes out over the next few minutes. Usagi holds onto Makoto tightly. By the end of it, she feels like a doll with her strings cut: small, limp, and motionless.

"Don't say sorry," Usagi murmurs, her voice raw. She speaks in a high, wavering tone, as if she's uncertain of her own ability to talk. "You're not dumb. Dumb people can't bake like you can."

She rests in silence for a moment, just to breathe and gain strength, and then explains: "I just--I just thought that--Ami-chan practically lives alone, and she--"

Usagi doesn't start crying again, but she does go silent.

<Pose Tracker> Makoto Kino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

"I know." Makoto's voice is low and quiet, and even after Usagi has stopped crying Mako's in no hurry to let go. The strength of her arms relaxes a bit, but she stays close, snuggled in against the softness of the pile of pillows and blankets.

Usagi doesn't need to finish that thought. Mako understands well enough where it's headed.

"I'm okay," she promises. "Even when I'm by myself, I know I can call whenever I need you, right?" Another brief little squeeze of a hug. "It'd be great to stay over at your house for a little while. And--" Mako's voice catches a little, but she presses on with determination. "--and we're going to get Ami-chan back, too, so we can make it up to her for letting her forget."

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

Makoto holds on. It really helps.

Some life creeps back into Usagi. She adjusts her position, laying her head on Makoto's shoulder and staring off into the distance.

"Luna-chan said we shouldn't go near her apartment. She said that the people who did this to her would probably be watching. But, maybe if I--"

Usagi's hand goes to her brooch. There's a silvery glimmer of light, and then she is holding the crescent-tipped wand that appeared so suddenly in her life all those weeks ago. She looks at it in exhausted wonder.

"Maybe we just need to heal her."

<Pose Tracker> Makoto Kino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

A spark of hope lights in Makoto's heart at Usagi's words. "It's worth a try," she agrees in the most confident tone she can muster. "I bet whatever they did, you can undo. We'll just have to get her to hold still long enough for you to heal her, that's all."

Which may be easier said than done - but it's at least the first steps of a plan, and that's more than Mako had to go with her determination before this moment. She's not much of a planner. She'll take what she can get.

"And if any of those guys shows up and tries to mess with her any more," she declares firmly, "I'll punch their faces in."

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


Easy down, easy up.

Usagi laughs, starting with a giggle, but then it's one of those laughs that makes you laugh at the laughing, and the you can't believe you're laughing at something as stupid as your own laughter, so you laugh at that, and then it all loops around and around and around--

--and eventually it ends up with Usagi tired again, just like before. There's a glow in her cheeks when she's happy, though.

"Thank you, Mako-chan," the blonde girl murmurs.

Something in the kitchen starts beeping really desperately.

<Pose Tracker> Makoto Kino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

When Usagi starts laughing, it's infectious. Before long Mako is giggling, too, and there they are in a tangle of blanket and pillows and silly laughing girls. It feels good. It feels really, really good.

Mako's wiping little tears of mirth from her eyes when Usagi thanks her; she shakes her head, smiling. "Mm-mmm," she says, a cheerful little sound of denial. "It's what I'm here f--"

'what I'm here for,' she was going to say - because after all it is, hugs and delicious food and smashing jerks in their jerk faces - but before she can finish the sentence she hears the beeping from the kitchen and jerks upright with a yelp. "--oh no, the oven!"

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

This is why Usagi gathers the pillows and blankets unto her in times of trouble.

"Waaugh!" exclaims the blonde girl, flailing desperately in a bid to get out of Makoto's way. It's all mixed up with an impulse to go to the kitchen and rescue things herself, so it's not helping at all.

<Pose Tracker> Makoto Kino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Makoto flounders up onto her feet, scattering a few pillows in her haste to rush to the kitchen. Somehow she manages not to pitch headfirst into the coffee table, and as soon as she's upright she races to snatch open the oven, only just remembering to grab a pair of oven mitts before she reaches in to pull out the baking sheet.

Disaster averted. Letting out a deep breath, Mako sets the baking sheet down on the top of the stove, closes the oven door, and finally reaches to shut off the incessant shrilling of the kitchen timer. "...Good thing this was just the test run," she says ruefully, surveying the half-finished eclairs-in-potentia. "Although it looks like they might be okay."

A little wobbly, though. She'll have to try to make the next attempt a little more neatly.

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

The pillows Makoto knocks away free Usagi from a terrible fate of being blanket-trapped while an oven disaster was in progress. The blonde girl staggers to her feet and lurches after Makoto, coming to a stop only when she collides (not painfully) with the counter top. Breathlessly, she inspects the damage.

"Aaa, they look good," she says.

Usagi edges closer. She tugs on the side of Makoto's apron.

"Mako-chan," she begins, her voice a little lower. "You're also here to be happy. I, um. I like it when you're happy."

<Pose Tracker> Makoto Kino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Looking aside toward the tug on her apron, Makoto meets Usagi's eyes and smiles - the warm, glowing, heartfelt smile of one reminded that she is loved.

"I know," she says, and without hesitation she slings her arm around Usagi's shoulder (hand still stuffed into the oven mitt) to give her friend another companionable squeeze. "And you know, Usagi-chan," she says, with the air of someone about to impart a very important piece of information. "What makes me the happiest is when you're happy, too."

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

Usagi smiles, too. She yelps when Makoto gathers her up in a sidehug, but slips her arms around the taller girl's waist in return.

"I'm glad we're friends," she says. It needed to be said. Not because Makoto didn't know, but because it feels good to say it to someone. For Usagi, being able to put words to her emotions is a powerful thing.


Usagi perks up, adjusting her position so that she can look up at Makoto. There's surprise on her face. "I forgot! Mamoru-san said that the Dark Kingdom thinks Sailor Moon is dead! Do you think we could--" she gets briefly shifty-eyed and devious. "--do some kind of--cool trick?!"

<Pose Tracker> Makoto Kino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Of course Mako already knew... but it's always nice to hear, and her expression gets that much warmer. "I'm glad, too."

Her brows lift a little in curiosity at Usagi's exclamation - and then Makoto grins. "Oh yeah! I heard about that, too. I bet we could!" Her eyes fairly sparkle with enthusiasm at the thought. "I don't know what exactly," she admits. "But there's got to be a way that we can pull a fast one on them, especially since they probably think Tuxedo Mask is out of commission, too."

For a moment, remembering that recent battle, a trace of a hard look flickers across Makoto's face. She's still angry. She pushes it aside quickly, but when she grins at Usagi again it has perhaps a slightly fiercer edge. "I want to see that guy Nephrite get the smug look wiped right off his face."

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

"Aaaa! They got Tuxedo-sama too?!" Usagi wails in jest. She wilts into Makoto's arms, which means that she misses that hard look of hers.

"'Nephrite'..." she says, letting the name linger. "He's been really active lately. Maybe we can draw him into a trap. I bet Luna will know how! If we can beat him, the Dark Kingdom will think twice about coming after the princess!"

<Pose Tracker> Makoto Kino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

As sturdy as ever, Makoto supports Usagi in her mock-swoon without the slightest hint of a waver, and nods in eager agreement. "Let's ask Luna about it while I'm staying over," she suggests. "I'm sure that she'll have some ideas about what we could do."

Really, the thought flickers across the back of Mako's mind, this is the sort of thing they need Ami for - but as soon as it occurs to her, she resolutely pushes the thought away. They're going to save Ami as soon as they can. Until then, it's no good moping. The Dark Kingdom certainly isn't going to wait around.

"Maybe I could be bait or something," Makoto thinks aloud. "If he thinks I'm all by myself... something like that. And then you could turn the tables on him."

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

"Yeah! I like it!"

Usagi wobbles up from Makoto's support. She moves over to more closely inspect the baked goods.


<Pose Tracker> Makoto Kino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

...Right, the eclairs.

"Don't eat them yet," Makoto laughs, gently teasing. "Not until we get the filling in them!" Which she... has not actually started yet, whoops. Ah well, taking care of her friend always comes first.

With a little shake of her head, Mako moves to open the fridge. "What do you think, Usagi-chan?" she asks. "Vanilla, chocolate, coffee, or green tea? Or, well--" tiny lightbulb moment "--I guess I could do some of each, since this is a test batch. There should be enough for about two of each flavor, if I divide it up, and then we could see which one's best before I make the final version."

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

Usagi fidgets. This idea of waiting when they already look delicious is honestly getting to her. Out of respect for Makoto's culinary brilliance, she holds herself back. It is a bloody battle and her self-control is badly wounded. It will have to retire at some later point to recover.

"Yessssss," is her answer to Makoto's plan. "Can we do chocolate coffee?! I didn't like coffee but then I started getting it with another friend of mine and now I like it lots! But, it has to have a good flavor."

Her mind goes to that friend. Shiori and her, laughing on rooftops and drinking coffee. That's the same Shiori as the one who screamed and yelled and cursed her, and that is the same Shiori as the one who later bought her ramen.

Maybe everyone has these moments. Maybe that's why Ami was hurt like this.

If that's it, they're going to be okay.