2014-08-20 - He Was After Jupiter

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Title: He Was After Jupiter

Princess Runealy has some distressing news for Mamoru, figuring he has a handier way of contacting the Senshi than she does.


Runealy Waldia, Mamoru Chiba


The banks of the Tama River

OOC - IC Date:

1 March 2014 - 8/20/2014

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

Rune's request to see Mamoru had sounded pretty serious in texts and phone calls, and eventually arrangements were made to meet up alongside one of the more common picnicking spots by the Tama River.

So in the hours leading up to Saturday evening, she kept busy. A sufficiently wide blanket for picnic use would have to be acquired and set up, after all. And it just wouldn't do to invite a guest and friend she holds in such high esteem without having some kind of a meal ready. A few cardboard boxes rest near the blanket's center, their markings suggesting they are from the Midori-ya Bakery. That's out of the way, there were probably other bakeries that were closer... but Runealy was glad to go the extra length to do business with one of the few places that had let her buy food with obviously foreign money when she first arrived in Tokyo several months ago; they had earned extraordinary customer loyalty.

With everything in place, Rune gazes up at the sky and waits. It's not quite sunset yet, so there is still enough light out to make one's way along the riverside. Enough light to see that she sits alone, and a little anxiety is starting to take hold.

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

There's a telltale rush of silk and light tapping of dress shoes against pavement behind Runealy a little ways, and then Mamoru calls out as he approaches, "Afternoon, Rune-chan."

He looks perfectly well, though somewhat rumpled; he's got a leather jacket on over a white button-down shirt and black jeans, and he's carrying hot chocolates in takeaway cups.

It's obvious his eyes light up when he sees the Midori-ya boxes, and they're warm and amused when he turns them to Runealy, offering her one of the cups. "Did you have cake for breakfast, too?" he teases.

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

"Ah!?" Even that simple greeting startles Rune, who was lost enough in thought that she outright didn't notice Mamoru until he spoke! After a few seconds of scrambling to compose herself, she looks up to him and smiles despite - or maybe due to - his joking. "Maybe I did." She takes the drink with a quiet 'thanks', having a quick sip before setting it down beside herself.

The drink is nice, but Mamoru is her real focus right now and her eyes soon return to him. "It's good to see you out and around again!" It's possible she might have seen him in passing, but this is her first chance to really see up close that he seems to have recovered from Nephrite's assault. "Go ahead and sit down wherever you want, okay?"

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

"Thank you," the older boy says, smiling a little lopsidedly -- whether it's for the 'out and around' cheer or the offer to sit how he likes, or both, is open to interpretation. He bends to put his own hot chocolate down first, across from the otherworldly princess in the awesome jacket, then fluidly folds himself onto the blanket, sitting tailor-style.

His energy level is fairly high, too: his motions are still reserved, but they're quick and no longer stiff. He doesn't quite immediately reach for the boxes, but it's also clear his focus is split between Rune and the delicious temptation.

Hot cocoa once more in his hands, Mamoru lifts his eyebrows at the seventh grader. "So what is this about, exactly?"

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

Runealy shifts around on the blanket to give Mamoru plenty of space to sit down. She does this even if he doesn't look like he needs a spot anywhere near her, perhaps recalling his requests when they met on a rooftop one night. It wasn't a very happy meeting.

And as Mamoru asks a very good question, it's possible this meeting won't fare much better despite the hospitality that has been arranged. Rune doesn't answer immediately, looking down to sort out her thoughts. Yet after a few seconds, a response does come. "Nephrite. It's about Nephrite. I met him. Not just one of his monsters, but him too. He's... he's out for something, but I don't know what it is exactly. I wanted to tell you what I saw in case it helps someone, though. You, or Sailor Moon, or anyone else that he seems to be after. Were you at the Searrs Symphony Hall the other day?" Rune didn't see him there, but in a crowd that big that doesn't prove much on its own.

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

Mamoru is very bad at contact, it's true. In observation, though, Runealy will have found, by now, that it's not at all personal. If one were to look for it, one would see he tends to strive to avoid touching anyone at all.

Tends to. There are a few exceptions.

Noticing Rune's gone quiet and uncomfortable, the high schooler goes to give her time (among more ulterior motives, like eating cakes) by setting his cocoa down again and opening the boxes. "Itadakimasu," he says half under his breath, looking somewhat sheepish.

Then Rune's found the words, and Mamoru's expression stills and grows serious. Not stiff, at least, and not angry, but his full attention is on the girl, and that's a weighty thing in and of itself.

"I wasn't." He wasn't fast enough to get cake in his mouth before the subject settled in. "What happened?"

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

Once opened, The Midori-ya boxes are revealed to be an improvised 'variety pack'; Rune had no idea what Mamoru might like, so she picked out bakery fare at random in the hopes something in there would suit his tastes. Whether it's cake, pastries, cookies, or something else entirely... there isn't a lot of any one thing, but there's plenty to pick from. Notably, she isn't eating much right now.

"A lot of things. One of the performers was drained, and a monster emerged from them! Just like it did with me." Despite her muddled memories of that week, that one thing stayed in her mind very well and recalling it here causes her to shudder. "If it was just that, I could have told you as a text message. What really worries me is that he was there, shouting out orders to it. Any time it tried to do anything to watch out for itself, he'd hit and threaten it. And he wanted it to focus on the same thing each time..."

An uncomfortable silence comes over the princess, then she gathers the nerve to say it: "He kept saying he wanted all of us dead except Sailor Jupiter. He was very clear about wanting her alive... 'nominally alive', was how he put it. He even tried to... to take her away. I don't know where he was going or why, but..."

She redirects that thought with several headshakes. "He didn't get that far. Still, he tried and it sounded like he had his eyes on doing it the whole time. It probably wasn't just something he decided on all of a sudden! I thought you should know too, since you said he was after you?"

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

All of a sudden, Mamoru goes pale, and he's suddenly not even hungry for the chocolate parts of the array of baked goods. He sets his plate down and listens, still, with all of his attention.

By the rime Runealy finishes, the boy looks sick with worry.

"Well," he says hesitantly, voice slow and low, "he's willing to kill me at the drop of a hat as Mamoru Chiba, but only-- only to hurt Sailor Jupiter's... civilian identity. Shimatta--!"

Suddenly he's curled in on himself some, and he runs a hand through his hair, leaving it in wild disarray. "Does he know who she is? How did he even know where to find her? We tried so hard to keep him from finding out--"

Was it all for nothing?

Then he shakes his head, eyes squeezed shut. "He wasn't after me. He was after her. A different Dark General's the one who's been focused on me-- I had good reason to believe he hadn't told anyone, but he may have gotten impatient. Or maybe Mercury--"

All of a sudden, he looks devastated. "I hope they'll listen. Damn it."

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

A different General? Rune often seems to be lacking one critical detail when she tries to piece together what's going on, and the confusion is plain to see on her face as she realizes the mistake. Yet she doesn't get long to reflect on this mistake, as Mamoru has introduced a whole new angle to what Nephrite might be trying to accomplish. "Wait a minute. So one of them is set on getting to you, and Nephrite is after her? I don't know what he knows about Jupiter, if you were asking me." Mamoru might have just been thinking aloud, for all Runealy knows.

"Honestly, all I know about her is she seems to be a lot like the others. Like Moon, Mercury, and Mars too... quick to stand up to monsters and do what's right. I admire that, but it's about all I know about her. Still, I didn't want any of this to take you or her or anyone else by surprise!" She shifts around on the picnic blanket; this had already been an uncomfortable topic. Learning that the problem seems to be even deeper than she first realized is unsettling, and Rune fails to hide it very well.

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

"Zoisite is preoccupied with me, and I'm hedging a lot of bets on the fact that he's sitting on the information he has on me, probably as some kind of bargaining chip later," Mamoru explains hurriedly, rifling through his pockets for his phone. He immediately starts texting as he continues to speak, fighting what's very likely nausea.

"He's why I can't stay at home right now; he knows my address, and if he tells the rest who I am, I'm a sitting duck. I went to go stay with Jupiter, but then Nephrite showed up at her house and started interrogating her. He showed up again a couple of days later, where she was-- it got ugly. Sailor Moon saved us both that time. In general, the Dark Kingdom's after the same things we are, but for evil purposes. Their hatred runs deep and ancient. It's also complicated."

The explanation, as Mamoru gradually falls into history professor mode, seems to have at least calmed his physiological reactions to the awful information; his hands are steady and some of his color's returned, and he doesn't look actively sick anymore. He looks back up from his phone as he hits send.

"Speaking of not taking by surprise: be wary of Mercury. She's brainwashed or something right now, and working for someone called Mobius. I think she only has it out for the Senshi, but god only knows." His tone is calm, his voice even; whatever his guts are telling him, the eleventh-grader's got himself under control again. Mamoru lacking his composure isn't good for anyone's morale.

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

Zoisite is a new name to Rune, and she whisper-repeats it both for memorization and to see if it brings up anything at all in her mind. No such luck, and she doesn't dare ask for more details on him while Mamoru is texting. Even the tech-ignorant princess knows enough about cell phones to recognize that action for exactly what it is, and she has to assume Mamoru is doing it to get an important message out right now; he doesn't strike her as the type to just get so openly bored mid-conversation to be texting others on a whim when someone is right there.

And as Mamoru lays out his own problem, it's Rune's turn to look sickened. Some of this she already knew about. He told her some of the details earlier. Hearing them in person, putting a face to it, just lets it impact her all over again. "That's horrible! Not being able to go home, when it's right there and it's part of who you are, because they might be watching..." The thought trails off, but it rattles her anyway; she has a very keen idea of what it's like to have to stay away from home, just for different (and somewhat more optimistic) reasons in her case. That's still enough for her voice to have been speaking lower and softer, sympathetic to Mamoru's plight.

Then he introduces yet another problem. "Mercury!?" Runealy knows her. Not in great detail, but well enough that the news causes her to lean back in wide-eyed alarm! "No way... that's..." She forces herself to stop stammering from shock, and instead ask something: "Does that need to be kept quiet, like how it was with your being away from school?"

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

The phone gets pocketed, then, and it's only a little tentatively that Mamoru picks his hot cocoa up again. But then he drinks it relatively quickly; it's starting to cool off in the chilly February air. His previous good cheer probably won't be returning today; his expression is grave.

"I don't know. It's probably delicate. You'd mentioned knowing her, so I thought you should know, but I should really talk to--" The tall, thin boy sighs, glancing absently at the pastries without really seeing them. "--the one who's calling the shots right now."

The upperclassman's silent for a moment, frowning in thought. "Anyway, you know anyone can be hurt by this kind of thing, twisted. It's not the same kind, so I don't know how to fix it, but I'm trying to find out."

Finally, he glances back up and smiles crookedly. "My home is only my home because I call it that: it's comfortable and familiar and has locks, and my things are there, but it could be anywhere else. The place isn't important."

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

Rune makes no move to push meals on Mamoru. She knew appetites might be lost in a hurry with this news, but wanted the food to be there just in case. If hot chocolate is as far as it goes for now, it makes sense; she's barely touching her own drink. Instead, she just sits and rocks about a little... an idle motion used to try to calm herself. "If you're saying it's delicate, then I'll believe that. I won't go shouting it from the rooftops or telling everyone, but I'll keep an eye on it. If Mercury's being used like that..."

It's not quite the same, she knows. Mamoru has pointed that out, but she can't help silently wondering what might happen. Would Mobius' agents - a group she knows only the most vague things about - treat Mercury like Nephrite uses the monsters made from drained energy? Like a convenient, disposable 'soldier' to use to get what they want while reducing the risk to oneself? Rune has seen how some of them are casually mistreated and threatened; how much more so for an 'outsider' like Mercury? All these thoughts bring Rune to a near-breathless conclusion: "I'll be careful. If there's anything I can do to help you, whether it's with figuring this out or getting them to leave you alone while you help her... just say it."

The correction on how he feels about his home goes without comment. She heard it, and there's a brief wince due to Mamoru's words, but she doesn't press the topic.

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

Surely he has places that mean more to him-- surely. Something inside Mamoru is trying very hard not to ache over Runealy's visceral reaction to his inability to go home, or over her reaction to his explanation.

He's glad she doesn't press; there are too many burning questions he's given up on answers for.

There is, however, a smile composed entirely of wry grace and affectionate gratitude. This is the kind of thing he had been cutting himself off from--

--this is the kind of thing Ami couldn't see. The smile fades. "I will," Mamoru promises somberly. "I have to talk to the Senshi, see if there's some kind of plan already in place. I don't want to accidentally sabotage anything. But as far as Zoisite and Nephrite go-- I'm pretty sure Jupiter's in more danger than I am. Nephrite is about as subtle as a brick coated in Greek fire thrown through a plate glass window, and as strong and tough as she is, he can't keep going after her without something giving. I don't want it to be her."

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

"In other words, he'll just try it again? He'll make another monster to throw away, and hope that gives him another chance?" While talk of 'Greek fire' is alien to Rune, she got most of the idea. "That's not fair! It's not like she did anything to deserve being... being..." Rune struggles for the right word, but eventually decides on "hunted like that. Don't worry, I'm not going to sabotage things either." She doesn't dare try to make plans about it; most of hers have gone very poorly even when she knows plenty about the situation. How much more so when she's going on second and third-hand information? Best to leave this to those who really know what's happening.

Hot cocoa proves to be a nice way to gather her thoughts, and Runealy takes a long sip to do that before setting it down. "I'm going to keep my eyes open, though. For her, and you too. I don't like how we keep meeting like this!" She's upset, but trying to channel it toward something more optimistic. "I remember when we met at the ski resort. That was pretty fun, and one way or another... let's get this taken care of, so we can do something like that again. We can make it happen, right?"

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

For all he told Hayate the other night, for all his good intentions, for all his respect, and for all he reacts to things too-- Mamoru still forgets, so very easily, that not everyone clamps down on their feelings and shoves them into lockboxes in order to deal with problems. He forgets so quickly that frequently, in the company he keeps, reactions and morale are just as important off the battlefield as on it.

His mouth twists into a small frown; he finishes off his drink. "I'm sorry. It does always seem to be bad news, doesn't it?" He looks for something to say, anything to say, to reassure Runealy, and finally, he just gives her a slight smile. "But sure, we can make it happen. It might be harder without snow, though."

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

"Don't apologize," Rune starts to respond. "You're not the one causing it, so..." She cuts off to let Mamoru finish what he wants to say, and that little piece of wit proves to be very well timed. "Wh...!" Surprise turns to a quick laugh, then a flustered but pleased "You know what I meant!" Her choice of words might be protesting, but Rune is taking this in pretty good humor.

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

A fleeting, half-suppressed grin, and Mamoru glances away, then down at his empty cup, and at his plate with the slice of chocolate cake on it. Then he looks back up at Runealy and his expression is amused, affection behind it. "I do," he admits, "but I'm not usually like that. We can fix all of this, though, don't worry."

Then he pauses and glances down again, as if discovering the pastries for the first time. "Oh man, we should eat these before they get stale!"