2014-08-23 - So Be It

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Title: So Be It

Makoto and Mamoru have news and intel they need to give to Luna. Mamoru expects the Spanish Inquisition. Instead, there is Usagi. Then there is the Spanish Inquisition. THEN THERE ARE MAKOTO AND USAGI. In other words, Sailor Moon saves Tuxedo Mask again!


Makoto Kino, Mamoru Chiba, Usagi Tsukino and Luna


Seaside Park

OOC - IC Date:

Monday, 3 March 2014 - 8/23/2014

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

"I have to tell her about Nephrite, it's important," Mamoru's telling Makoto, there on the parkbench in the afternoon, maybe an hour after school and an hour before either study groups or senshi meetings might take place. He swirls his can of coffee around, facing ahead and keeping his sunglasses on. "I mean, if you want to tell her, that's fine, but after the business at that concert, even Rune-chan is worried for you. It's not even just probably important, it *is* important."

It's sunny out, at least. The warmer weather of the day has Mamoru only wearing his uniform jacket against the breeze; his motorcycle jacket and helmet are on the bench next to him, on the other side from Makoto, and his school bag's at the bottom of the pile. "But either way, we should operate under the assumption that he doesn't know who you are unless there's actual proof otherwise. I mean. We can be as careful as if he does know, but never ever call attention... I don't think Mizuno-san would have told, even now."

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

"It's not like I wasn't planning on saying anything." Makoto's got her hands behind her head in that way she does, leaned back on the bench and looking up at the sky. "But Nephrite being scary isn't really news... Don't you think that it was probably just because I'm one of the Sailor Senshi? That last time at the symphony, I mean. He said some stuff about trying to lure us out before, when we fought him at the Infinity Pool - I was just the one who happened to show up."

Bringing her arms back down, she straightens a little to look over at Mamoru. "Anyway," she says, "I feel like you're right that he still doesn't know. If he'd figured out that Makoto Kino and Sailor Jupiter were the same person, I don't think he'd have been able to keep from gloating at me about it. And I'm sure that Ami-chan hasn't spread anything around."

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

Long ago,

"It is because of the Earth. We were never meant to have contact. Not like this."

It's like the silk of her dress is all there is to her, Luna thought. Even slumped into her arms, there was so little weight to Princess Serenity. She really was a fey creature.

"This is why the queen regulates contact, princess. The Earth is so vulnerable. It is a dangerous place."

Speaking of evil and pain to the younger Serenity, even in these mild terms, raised Luna's hackles. At least, it would if she had them in this form. Humans were so strange. More than any of her people, save perhaps Artemis, Luna loved them. When she left the service of her home's people to stay forever by Queen Serenity's side, Luna did so without doubts. She ran her hand across the princess's silvery hair.

"It will be alright. After this, the queen will surely set our worlds apart again. Princess Jupiter will not cry anymore--"


Luna paused. This was a new feeling in the princess' voice.

"Pardon me?"

Serenity lifted her head, her crystalline eyes shining with an inner light. "I will not let her. I must see them again. Why should we ever be apart?"

Luna's throat clenched tight.


"I know it hurts, Usagi-chan," says Luna. She wiggles her paws. Usagi insisted on carrying her in her arms, and that ended up with her being in the most undignified position of having her belly and feet upward. It's not so bad, really. "It really is necessary. Think of everything at risk."

Usagi walks the path slowly. She still had time. Or maybe she didn't. She is too nervous to check her phone for the hour. It doesn't matter. People expect her to be late.

"I know, Luna-chan."

Luna-chan. Luna really did feel like a Luna-chan sometimes.

"You saw what they did to Tokyo that night at the tower. They'd do it to the entire world if they could. That's their goal."

Usagi squeezes her arms tight. Luna makes a squeaking noise. She saw what they did to Tokyo. She was almost the only one left to see.

Luna squirms. "Let me up on your shoulder. We're almost there."

Usagi smiles. The two emotions combining feels weird. She had felt sad and happy many times before, but it was so extreme these days. It's like she's waking up. "Luna-chan, you'd look fierce no matter how I carried you!"

Luna finds her balance on Usagi's shoulder, running a paw over her whiskers. "Years of practice."

"Aaaaa, that's such a cool answer," Usagi croons in wonderment. They both turn the corner and stumble upon Mamoru and Makoto.

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

"I didn't think you wouldn't tell," Mamoru says, hand moving to his pocket and then hesitating; he lifts it again, checking the time on his wristwatch. "I wouldn't think she'd make you wait. I wonder if everything's--"

Wondering if everything's all right with Luna basically means wondering if everything's all right with Usagi, which means checking with his heart, which means that Mamoru's senses abruptly blaze with Usagi's presence as the girl and the cat turn the corner.

For no reason he can tell immediately, the older boy's immensely irritated.

Long ago,

Fury and hurt crush the young prince in equal measure; affront at Beryl and her lies and magics burn in him as much as the icy, sick feeling of betrayal fluttering deep within.

And yet--

--the look of accusation on Queen Serenity's advisor's face cuts like a knife, sharp and immediate. But it's not his fault, he wants to say. It's not his fault.


"Did you have detention again?" is all Mamoru asks, his fingers tightening on his coffee can to hide the trembling; his gaze is fixed on Usagi's face, rather than looking at Luna's.

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

"Usagi-chan!" Makoto hops immediately to her feet, and leaving her own opened can of coffee behind on the bench she picks up the unopened one that was sitting next to it and goes to offer it to her friend. "Here, this is yours."

Mamoru's question gets the briefest exasperated glance over Mako's shoulder, and then she turns her gaze back to Usagi and smiles. "Don't listen to him," she assures, "you weren't that late. Hi Luna," she adds, only slightly belatedly expanding the greeting to include the space cat and looking just faintly sheepish as she does.

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

"Why would you assume an adorable girl like me has detention! HOW CRUDE," Usagi bellows in tiny fury, using her vocabulary word for the day.

"Oh thanks Mako-chan," she continues, turning sweet as she takes the drink from her friend. The blonde girl beams up at her. Luna looks mysterious.

"Makoto-san," says Luna. "You both have information, then."

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

Watching the brief glare is dangerous; Mamoru almost feels bad for a second, and his expression flickers--

--but Usagi's yelling relaxes him; if she's mad she's all right. So he rolls his eyes instead, and instead of politely getting up, he slouches a little further into the bench and sips his coffee. "You go ahead first," he tells Makoto, lowering the can and holding it in both hands. He almost says something else, then doesn't.

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

"Right," says Makoto, and suddenly restless she wanders around to the back of the bench, picking up her can of coffee again and leaning to rest her forearms on the bench's top edge. "A couple of things. First of all, I ran into Nephrite again." She's talking kind of fast through this part; it is clearly not the information she *wants* to share, but it needs to be done and she's trying to get through it quickly. "At that symphony thing - he showed up with a youma, and that other guy with the blue hair who keeps trying to steal people's energy turned up as well, and they started catfighting over who was worse and it was all kind of a mess."

Thinking back to her performance at the symphony hall makes Mako sigh, and she looks down at the bench seat. "There were some other magical girls there and we ran them off, but with two different monsters to fight - well," she cuts herself short. "Anyway, Nephrite wanted to capture me. He was pretty specific about it. He said something about seeing what 'Queen Beryl' thought of me. I gave him something to think about," she lifts a hand from the coffee can and wiggles her fingers in the air to illustrate - something-- "and the other girls ran him off."

Makoto stops there for a moment, just long enough for a quick swallow of coffee. "I don't think he was after Sailor Jupiter specifically," she says, her gaze still fixed on the seat of the bench in front of her, wavy brown bangs shading her eyes. "He's probably just looking to capture a Sailor Senshi, and I happened to be there. But we should all be really careful. I get the feeling he wont give up easily." She draws in a deep breath, and finally looks up. "So, that's the first thing."

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

Usagi wobbles uncertainty. She wants to sit down but Luna is busy looking official. She tries to take a drink while not disturbing her shouldercat. It's a painstakingly slow process.

Luna listens silently and with grave intent.

"What is the second thing?" she says with utmost neutrality. Cats have excellent poker faces.

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

As Mamoru listens, he absently watches Usagi while Usagi's watching Makoto, but he avoids looking at Luna to see if she's looking at him because that traditionally doesn't end well. But as he listens, he also starts looking a little grim, and by the time Makoto's finished with her telling of the Nephrite situation, he's looking at his coffee can again.

He stays quiet; Luna's urged Makoto on, and he spends the next minute perfecting the schooling of his expression.

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

At Luna's prompting, Makoto smiles, seeming relieved to move on from the subject of Nephrite. "The other thing is better," she says. "I found one of the people from Labyrinth - the guys who hurt Ami-chan."

She straightens up a bit, bracing one hand on the back of the bench now while the other holds her coffee. "A woman with white hair, dressed in red and black. She said her name was 'Eas', and that she was the one who brainwashed Ami-chan." Although this news, Mako clearly feels, is better than the other information she had to share, her expression nevertheless grows more and more serious as she speaks. "She got away from me after I beat up her monster. From the way she talked, though, she wouldn't be able to undo what she did to Ami-chan even if I'd caught her. I don't know if that's true or not, but either way, I think it's going to be up to Moon Healing." Her eyes turn toward Usagi; the look is a determined one, but for her friend Mako flashes an encouraging smile. "So I think the best thing to do is just focus on Ami-chan now. Once we get her back to normal, it sounded like that Eas girl wouldn't come after her any more."

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

Usagi is making that face where she's trying not to pay attention to something but she totally is. Well, mostly. Drinking this coffee with a cat on her shoulder is legitimately tough and at several points her attention is absorbed.

Luna listens further. Usagi looks up sharply at the mention of Ami, more pale than usual--it's easy to tell because despite her complexion, her cheeks are very often flushed. Not so right now. By the end of what's been said, the blonde girl is gripping her brooch tightly.

"That's good work, Makoto-san," says Luna. She speaks somewhat more slowly. She must be distracted, or considering something. "It will be something to keep in mind when we approach Ami-san. Maybe we'll find more information by then."

Usagi fidgets.

"What about you?" says Luna, turning her gaze onto Mamoru.

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

Luna asks, and for the length of a heartbeat, the bottom drops out of his stomach. But one thing Mamoru's gotten good at in his years at Ohtori is keeping his face from telling any stories he doesn't want it to, and the outward deathgrip on his emotions is always an excellent focus for attempts at legitimate detachment.

His gaze only briefly flickers back toward Usagi before it fixes on Luna, and he takes his sunglasses off and folds them. He won't hide behind them, his face is a better mask right now.

"I went to Mako-chan because Zoisite finally looked up my address and stopped by. Nephrite apparently claimed to have killed Tuxedo Mask, and I guess Zoisite was checking to see if it was true."

The older teenager doesn't really stop; he just paces his words carefully. "He didn't hurt me, and I didn't tell him anything, but he could see the shape I was in. He told me to recuperate so he could see the look on Nephrite's face when he turned out to be wrong, then left. After that I left; I don't want him to be able to find me any time he wants.

"Mako-chan came to get me, we got to her place, and not ten minutes later, Nephrite showed up. Just teleported into her apartment. And he demanded to know what she knew about Mobius. We'd both been asking around, see what we could find out -- he didn't recognise either of us as anything but civilians, and-- and--"

And Mamoru falters, glancing from Luna to Usagi again, and then he reaches up to run his hand through his hair; he briefly looks away before continuing. "Anyway, he didn't find out our identities, and he just... left. The point is, Nephrite's focusing on Makoto Kino, as far as we can tell, for some reason totally independent of his hassling Jupiter. And he knows we're friends." Quick, sharp breath. "The fact that he legitimately tried to kidnap Jupiter in that last fight, was telling his youma to kill everyone but her, and was beating up his own youma for doing anything except focusing on that-- that had Princess Runealy coming to me, concerned for her."

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

Long ago,

Jupiter's princess faces Luna squarely, standing as solid and firm as the oak that's sacred to her planet. She's through with crying now - her green eyes are dry and hard and dangerous.

There will be a battle coming soon, and she knows it. There is no more time for tears.

"You don't need to worry, Luna," she says, and her voice is firm. "Whatever they were, the Heavenly Kings of Earth are our enemies now. That's all that matters."

She makes herself believe it, drowns out the grief in her heart with thunder.

"No matter what happens, I'll protect Princess Serenity without fail."


"It's my own fault," Makoto puts in quietly. Despite her best efforts, she's looking guilty now, and she can't quite seem to find a place to settle her eyes. "I should've been more careful about asking around about Mobius." The can of coffee dangles from her hand. She swirls it absently in small, slow circles. "I don't know why he's so worked up about it. But at least if he's got it in his head to focus on me, he's not getting any closer to the princess."

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

Mamoru knows exactly how difficult it is to tell what a cat is thinking.

Usagi is simple. She doesn't look well. She tries to put on a fierce face, but it's the only thing she can do to prop herself up. Her can crinkles as she squeezes it more tightly over the course of Mamoru's story. She looks away and brushes at her eyes.

Luna focuses on remaining still. She wants to speak up. She wants to yell and to chastise and to shove Makoto back into her room where she'll be safe and comfortable and alive.

Makoto has the right of it, though.

Effort spent trying to kill her is effort not spent on trying to kill the princess.

Luna takes a moment to quietly reprimand herself for having hoped to avoid casualties.

"I warned you about this, Chiba-san," says Luna. She does not sound angry. It's only resignation. "I'm sorry that it has brought Makoto-san so close to being discovered. I'm sure you understand the importance of making sure that this does not happen to any of the other sailor soldiers. Especially not our princess."

She fixes her gaze on Mamoru for a long moment. The implication is there. It's too bad you know this much about us so that you can do this.

"We can use this to set a trap, right?" Usagi speaks quickly and with far to much hope in her voice. "Like, we could--"

Luna lowers her head. "We need to focus on one thing at a time. The Dark Kingdom won't stop until they've discovered the location of the Silver Crystal. If they stop the princess, they have all the time in the world to finish looking for it. The easiest way to stop the princess is to stop us. So, we don't give them any more than they've already taken. We're not fighting them on equal terms."

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

"Would you prefer I stopped telling you things, Luna-san?" Mamoru asks a little coldly, after a moment's staring at the moon cat. He doesn't look at Makoto, he doesn't look at Usagi. "I'm sorry you feel the way you do, but I would think you'd want to know when they move against the Senshi."

He gets up off the park bench and calmly turns his wrist to unclasp the watch. "If I didn't have your goals at heart, I wouldn't tell you things I thought would make you trust me less." He briefly turns to press the watch into Makoto's hands, and his face is schooled into impassivity.

"Instead of fretting over what a liability I am," he says with regally graceful irony, sticking his hands in his pockets and standing with casual carelessness, "It might help to suss out how Nephrite knew where to find Mako-chan when he doesn't know she's Jupiter, and why he's interested. Aside from her almost breaking his jaw without henshining."

He can't look. He can't look at Usagi. He--

--he looks at Usagi, and doesn't just-- leave. He'd planned to stalk off. Instead, he closes his eyes for a second, then turns his head away so none of them can see his face. Even pretends he's just gotten a text, taking out his phone and looking at its screen and stuff.

It's too real, it's too-- what he has, it's too valuable to throw away in a fit of old habits. But Mamoru Chiba still doesn't want the guardian cat to see his face, not when it's so close to showing what he feels.

"If you want me to leave so you can have a proper meeting," he says after a cool second, "I'll be on my way."

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

"Hey, wait a minute--!" Mamoru is pushing his watch communicator into her hand, and abruptly Makoto is standing up straight to her full height, looking from Mamoru to Luna to Usagi and back again with a look of troubled confusion on her face. If he leaves now she has no way to stop it that wouldn't break more than it fixes - but but he's not going just yet, so gripping the communicator in her hand, Makoto turns her gaze back toward the cat.

"Luna, aren't you being unfair? We already said that Nephrite wasn't Mamoru-san's fault. I was asking around about Mobius and he found out about it somehow, so if you're going to blame anyone it should be me."

Her green eyes flick briefly to meet Usagi's, a questioning look, but Mako doesn't truly know where her friend stands on this and she can't very well ask Usagi to take sides. She can only pick her own ground.

"If Mamoru-san hadn't been there to bluff him, there's no telling what would've happened. Nephrite could've killed me - or worse. He could've found out everything, and then where would we be?"

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

Luna watches with slitted pupils. Usagi starts, beginning to move forward but ultimately stifled by her reflex to stay still.

"Mamoru-san," Usagi murmurs, looking trapped.

"I will not be blackmailed into tolerating your indiscretion," says the black cat. She leans forward, balanced with unearthly grace. Usagi wobbles. "Even if you care for the senshi, Mamoru Chiba, you can still destroy us all with your careless bravado!"

Luna stops and briefly closes her eyes. Usagi makes a small, concerned noise, turning to see the cat out of the corner of her eyes. It's difficult with their positions. "Luna-chan?"

No. Not Luna-chan. Not right now.

"When will the next time be?" Luna continues. "The next time that your personal satisfaction comes before the good of the world? How many times will you throw yourself into danger without realizing you bring everyone else with you?"


Usagi stumbles forward, reaching desperately for Mamoru. Luna makes a brief, sharp yelp, tumbling from the blonde girl's shoulder and down her back. She catches on to Usagi's sailor collar, holding on but just barely.

Usagi clutches Mamoru's hand in both of hers, wrapping her fingers through his, around his wrist, anywhere she can to get a hold of him with the phone in the way. She is not strong, but she holds on with all her strength.

"Why are we fighting?! If everything we do puts everyone in danger, then that means we should all work together to find the best solution for all of us!"

Luna shifts, trying to find some sense of purchase in this new situation. She sounds bemused. "Usagi-chan?"

Usagi looks up at Mamoru, eyes shimmering as they have a thousand times before and perhaps will for the rest of her life. "Don't go. If we try, we can find a way. I'm sure of it."

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

For a half second, as Makoto's stepping in between the cat half of the argument and the Mamoru side of it, the tall boy's dark blue eyes land on her. His face, he's trying so hard to keep his face in control, his expression cool and aloof, but it's a fierce battle. His eyes are the only things that show both his tension and his gratitude: Mako has his back.

And then-- then Usagi's watching him, he can feel her watching him; he vaguely hears his name from her while Luna snaps at him, and then his eyes are cold indeed, locked on the red eyes of the moon cat. "So you think I'm trying to blackmail you?" he talks over her because she's not giving him a chance to answer. "I just want to know what you want me to--"

She's still bulling through, and Mamoru's eyes are icy, and then


her warm small fingers

fit around his hand, and Mamoru loses all of the anger, looking at Usagi. Before, Luna looked resigned. Right now, the black-haired upperclassman looks so full of emotions he doesn't know how to process, all of them, that he just looks lost.

Then the corner of his mouth quirks up a little, and his expression gentles for a second. "I won't," Mamoru says very quietly. "Don't cry. You're right. Of course you're right. I just don't know what to do."

He briefly puts his hand over Usagi's on his other hand, phone and all, then deftly extricates the phone from the grasp situation and looks over Usagi's shoulder at Luna, then to Mako. Then to Luna again. "You said if I throw myself into danger I'm throwing everyone else into danger. But the only danger I've been throwing myself into is to *prevent* harm or damage coming to the true guardians of the Princess. I wish it were bravado and selfishness, Luna-san. It would certainly be easier."

His hand in Usagi's is warm, too, and it's solid and steady. But he doesn't hold on any longer than she keeps that grip. And then he says very, very quietly, and very, very ruefully, "I was very glad to have that communicator on the bridge."

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

A frown is darkening Makoto's face, turning her eyes hard - but then Usagi moves, calls out, and it's like the ground feels more solid beneath Mako's feet. A breath goes out of her, and her expression relaxes.

She moves to join the others now, coming closer to place herself alongside Usagi and Mamoru both in a gesture of solidarity. "You're right, Usagi-chan," she chimes in her own agreement, before looking to Luna again. "It's not that complicated, is it? If you're worried about Mamoru-san's judgment, then we should be watching his back so that we can stop him if it looks like he's making a mistake. It's dangerous no matter what we do, so it's safest for everyone if we combine our strength."

She stands very straight, a squared and solid stance that says as clearly as words how she's prepared to dig in her heels about this. If she'd had any doubts before, Usagi's words have washed them all away. "The Dark Generals don't work together, right? They're competitors. Aren't we supposed to be better than them?"

And then Makoto lifts her eyes to Mamoru's, and she smiles. "I was glad, too, you know." Her hand extends, holding the communicator watch out to him. "I'd have been in a lot of trouble if you hadn't had this."

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

Luna steadies herself, and then bounds off Usagi's back. She pads a few feet away and then turns around, sitting again on the pavement. Her bright-eyed gaze cuts from one person to the other.

Usagi doesn't notice. She beams up at Mamoru. She trusts him. She can't hide something like that. The blonde girl looks from him to Makoto, extricating one of her hands to reach for her. If she still looks like she's about to cry, it's because she's still emotional. Just different emotions.

Luna bows her head in contemplation. She makes a chuffing noise. Usagi turns to look over her shoulder. "Remember that this started because you went against my advice in order to satisfy curiosity about your memories. I realize they are important to you, but trust me when I say that you may end up paying too much for what you find."

The cat looks back up. "Usagi-chan is the leader of the princess' guardians. If this is her decision, then so be it."

Usagi bites her lip and is silent for a moment. Then, turning back to Mamoru and Makoto, she squeezes them both and smiles anew.

"It is. It's the only decision I could make."