2014-10-04 - If She Made a Mistake

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Title: If She Made a Mistake

Teenagers being really defensive and touchy and accusational and full of feelings, but on a rooftop in the middle of the night, between looking for witches. This particular iteration is Eri and Mamoru getting in a fight over-- well, kind of over Mai? But also really more like other stuff? And anyway they're mad at each other now.


Eri Shimanouchi, Mamoru Chiba


Juuban District Public School, the roof

OOC - IC Date:

10/04/2014 - 23 March 2014

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


It was a day of freedom for many. It was a day of disappointment to few. Another day, another trek halfway across the city and back, and no luck to be had.

It left her early evening free, however, as she sat upon the hut housing the stairwell, legs covered by denim jeans dangling off the edge. School was out, and decidedly closed, so there was little risk of someone coming out into the fenced in courtyard below. She cradled a jeweled bracelet in her hands, no longer upon her wrist. It was a rather lavish piece, though perhaps not by Ohtori standards, gold and sapphires mainly. "So." There's a pregnant pause or three that hangs in the air before she asks, "What's going on with Mercury, really?"

Given her actions, there's probably some unusual context there, but she's not speaking on it yet.

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

Mamoru, also back in his street clothes, is a little tired-looking and a little more quiet than usual, which is an on and off thing anyway. He'd been gazing absently into the distance for a little while when Eri spoke up; now, he glances aside and down at her, head tilted a little. There are a lot of ways he could react to the question, emotionally, but in the end he doesn't pick any of them.

"Labyrinth happened. She felt alone and neglected, and they took advantage of that. Now she's brainwashed and trying to hurt her friends, and working for the people who legitimately try to cause misery so they can harvest it," he finally answers, looking away and slouching a little bit. "Every time one of them tries to talk to her, she fights them. If they don't want to hit back, she fights them harder. I don't know what she's done to other people, and I can't think of anything I can do for her."

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

"Labyrinth happened?" Eri straightens up just a touch. Looking extremely confused, she thinks on it for a while, thinks back to her past with badly dubbed Western movies. "Please don't tell me that guy that's after Madoka-chan is also the Goblin King, or my life just got a whole lot stranger."

She puts a hand to her head and groans. "Well that explains what she was talking about when it comes to finding new friends. She didn't fight me though, unless trouncing me in the Sailor V game counts as fighting."

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

Giving Eri something of a side-eye there, Mamoru starts to say something, then laughs -- and it's not a happy laugh, but it is a real one. "No, it's some bad guy organization answering to some person they call Mobius-sama. Just-- don't ask anyone you don't KNOW is magical about it, because that can get attention dropped on you too."

Finally, Mamoru sighs and hunches over, elbows on his knees and face briefly in his hands before he takes a deep breath and rests his chin on his fists, looking out over the city again. "Yeah. She found new evil friends. Hey-- I didn't know you knew her secret identity." Glance sidelong. "That makes things slightly easier."

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

There's a tick on her expression, when he mentions the word Mobius, just a twitch of the eyebrow. The honorific doesn't seem to blunt the blow any, but soon her facial features smooth out. "How many evil organizations are there anyhow?" Eri rubs a hand to her face, "Life was simpler when I thought there was just 'Dark Fall' as a whole, and monsters which just appear out of nowhere." Like witches. Born from people's despair. So straight forward and complicated at the same time.

Eri looks sideways, her expression showing a small amount of irritation, "And I told you I did, when you sent me that text on staying away from her, remember? I just don't say speak on her secrets out loud." A beat, "Guess I didn't follow that recommendation either, but I don't tend to take advice on staying away from friends well."

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

At least the guy looks chagrined. "I forgot," he admits. "I was kind of preoccupied at the time-- because I have the same reaction, even when I know they're not my friends."

He starts kind of massaging his hand between thumb and forefinger, like he has a cramp there or something, but it's more a distracted thing than anything else. Fishing for good news, he is. Finally he brightens. "Me and Mai-chan are okay, by the way. She thought I wouldn't want to have anything to do with her, but god, that's just--" He shakes his head. Sometimes, Mamoru is crap at words. Usually those having to do with feelings. "Anyway we're cool and!! She's seeing someone."

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

Something stiffens in her shoulders. She takes a moment to clasp the jeweled bracelet around her wrist, staring at it again, before turning to face him fully. Bespectacled green eyes look at him unblinking for a moment, before she offers, "Shiori, right? I haven't met her yet. She sounds nice."

Both eyes shut, then open again. It was just a quick blink. "And I don't blame her for that. It's a pretty logical fear, isn't it? You said it yourself." Her voice takes on a slight edge to it, "You wouldn't have, if it wasn't magical possession. You'd be gone, if she'd just erred. Made a mistake."

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

A nod, slightly rueful, about Shiori. And then the upperclassman blinks, both at the 'it's a pretty logical fear, you said so yourself' and then at the sharp tone Eri takes on. There's an immediate denial on the tip of Mamoru's tongue, but he frowns and holds up his hand. He's thinking about it, clearly.

He really, really thinks about it, retreating a little into his own mind, like he's so very good at doing. Part of it's going back and examining what his feelings were in Crown, and part of it's examining his feelings afterwards, and then his feelings at the ill-fated karaoke event.

Slowly, the tall boy shakes his head, and then brings himself out of the reverie and locks eyes with Eri. "No. If she'd made a mistake, I'd have forgiven her. If it had been a bad day to make her say the things she did, I'd've forgiven her. I would have been angry for a while, but I'd have gotten over it."

He shifts, half-turning so he's not quite fully facing Eri -- to do that he'd more or less have to sit crosslegged on top of the stairwell hut, but he's still sitting sideways enough that his legs are dangling off the edge. His face is earnest, his body language open: these, too, are things few people see. And he's not looking away. It's not quite like he levies that weighted attention, but it's related.

"I knew something was very wrong even at the time-- she grabbed my tie and forced it, and I could feel what she was feeling, and it wasn't right at all. Not even a little. Nobody gets rid of a lifetime of guilt in a week, nobody. There wasn't any inside her at all, not for anything. Someday I'd like to see her able to do that for real, but it's the kind of thing that takes time, and the desire to do so. And then Usagi-chan came in-- and things got very... loud. And Mai-chan said some really awful things. But-- I was angrier about Usa, her reaction-- and the situation, and I already suspected Nephrite because of Rune-chan and the others."

He exhales through his teeth, then, and finally looks down and away from Eri, lacing his fingers together and sort of distantly looking at them. "And the night of karaoke... I was still raw, and Usagi-chan was there too, and it was awkward and I hate awkward and Mai-chan was... if it hadn't been Nephrite, and the things I felt from her when she kissed me were really real, then she wasn't... what I said to you was I couldn't talk to her until she was civilized. And people who take without concern over consequences, or take without consent, and who have no compassion or worry for anyone but themselves-- that's not civilized, is it?"

Mamoru looks back up at Eri again, and his lips are thin and a thousand emotions are making his face tight and pinched. "That's not right. If it's an external force doing it, they can be healed, helped. If it's not, they might still be convinced, if something gets through, wakes them up. If they do it and enjoy it and are never sorry, that's-- I can't forgive that. But that's not Mai. That was never Mai."

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

There's a lot of things that could be said, there. She watches him a raise a finger. She listens to everything he states, expressionless. While she may not have the best social skills, she's a rather good listener at least. And when he's finished, her expression is the same. She holds up a hand of her own. Asking for a moment to frame her own thoughts after a minute of silence, she puts the hand down. "Not all of us have the benefit of being an empath you know. People like me need to be told things. And Mai-chan has told me things, like why she has that angry guilt wound up inside of her like a gnarled root. It's not my place to tell you that, and it's not your place to ask either."

She huffs out a breath into the still chill spring air, leaning forward to clasp her hands together, "And I'm not saying you shouldn't be angry about it either, especially if it wasn't magically coerced. It was a violation of trust and boundaries and all of those things which are important, but..." She let's that word linger in the air, perhaps as a preview of things to come, "...if she thinks even for a second that the people in her life that she cares about are going to leave her over one mistake, then she's never going to get over it. Ever. You're just going to contribute to her staying like that forever, and she's going to run herself to the ground some day, because she'll think she can't let up even a little. So saying you're angry when she makes up, that's fine. Setting ground rules? Also okay. Saying you're /gone/ if she makes a mistake? That kind of undermines saying you care about her. What happens if she makes a mistake the next time she drinks. Are you going to say that her when she's drunk isn't her either, that it was never her?"

Her expression has a 'come on' sort of look to it, as she rolls her eyes. "People can let go of something like that at any moment, for any reason, then let it seize hold of them again at a moment's notice. People are complicated like that. They're not some sort of robots that always have to follow set programming just because something shitty happened to them once." She may not be talking about just Mai there either. It might be a tad more personal.

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

As Eri goes on, Mamoru's face gradually closes off. She started off expressionless; he ends up that way. But he also doesn't stop watching her, reading her, throughout.

It may not be the best of signs when he takes a moment to speak again once Eri's finished-- a moment where he's still not looking away, where he's still studying her face, her body language.

Finally, he looks away from her and braces his hands against the edge, leaning forward a little. "First," he says quietly, "if it's a benefit, it's because I choose to use it as such even when it hurts. I wouldn't wish it on anyone." That last word is bitten out, the only sign of emotion he lets go, right this moment. "Second, what makes you think I said anything like that to her? What makes you think I would? When it happened, all I could say to her was that I knew something was wrong. I was too busy getting yelled at by a tiny, violent blonde to even think of getting into any more of a conversation than that. Third, what the hell makes you think I hold grudges? Even when I said what pissed you off, what I said was conditional. All she'd've needed to say was sorry. Even if she wasn't."

Finally, he looks at Eri again, and he lets a little of his own anger and hurt show in his eyes-- and it's not cold. It's not. He can tell there's something else going on there. She's not JUST making assumptions. He can see that much -- and with some of the things Mai's said to him, he also suspects she's projecting somewhat. But it still hurts, it's still insulting, he's still angry. He's just not cutting her off.

"I don't abandon people I care about. It's kind of the definition of caring. I stopped even being mad at her the day it happened. Stop accusing me of things you're afraid I might do because other people do them sometimes."

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

Witnessing his anger directing might have made her blanch if she were in any other statement of mind. However, right now, she was protecting someone, and that required her to be herself. Her feelings came out bluntly, without a filter. "If I thought for a moment you said it to her then I wouldn't be here having this conversation. I'd be there with her, wrapping her feelings in cotton, and it'd be completely to the detriment of my own personal survival to be doing that, but I'd do it anyhow."

Unlacing her fingers, she sits up, back straight in the face of his indignant anger, "You seem to think though that I'm basing this on more than I am. I'm just angry over what you said /to me/ and that's it. Hell." She puts one hand on her knee. "What makes you even think I think you're holding a grudge? You said it yourself! You knew it wasn't her all along!" Her other waves in the air, palm open, "That it was magic! That she felt... /wrong/."

The other hand drops to her opposite knee. "Why even say what you did to me then? That if you're wrong, and it's not magic, that you're going home until she becomes a human being? It was days later, and you're /not/ holding a grudge. You forgave her on the same day." She looks straight into his eyes for a while, judging, or perhaps not. "It's okay to feel angry and betrayed when something like that happens, and to tell people that. She'd probably even have appreciated it. Not doing so kind of undermines all of her feelings about you know, her entire life." Eventually she looks down at her hands, "It'd let her know you care, and that you wouldn't give up on her even if she'd screwed up for real."

Looking back up, she leans back on her palms, staring up into the dusk air and sighing softly, "So no, I'm not angry because I think you would abandon her. I'm angry because neither of you know how to express your feelings in a healthy way, and I know it's going to hurt both of you in the long run. Maybe I'm angry at myself too, I don't know."

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

"I wouldn't have been able to talk to her about it at all if it had been all her, not until and unless she started caring again. I was ninety-nine percent sure it wasn't, and I wasn't angry with her anymore, but I was still angry, and I was still hurt, and I had the ramifications of it staring me in the face when you brought it up," Mamoru says sharply, his expression going hard, and the chill finally creeping into it. "Of course I snapped."

Fluidly, he gets to his feet, and he stands tall and stiff and stone-faced, face turned down toward Eri, silhouetted by the cooperative moon. "I'm angry with you right now. I'll get over that, too. Since you're so worried about Mai's mental well-being, maybe you should be talking to her, not me. Maybe she knows I care because I kept trying to see her afterwards. Kept texting her. Let her explain to me why I should be angrier than I was, and then explained to her how I needed her friendship and couldn't ever cut her off, not completely, not even if she hurt me on purpose-- like I need yours, and couldn't ever cut you off."

It's between eyeblinks again: there's suddenly a cape in the wind, a hat making him even taller, and the glimmering white mask that's bright even when the rest of him is dark. "But unless there's a reason for me to grind myself into the ground, if I get hurt, I back away. I don't leave my hand on the burning stovetop, I run it under cold water and then go back when the heat's died down. So I'm going to go now. Call me if you need me."

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

There's a moment, when it looks like she's going to say something, then grunts with the effort of forcing the comment back down her throat, swallowing it as if it were a morsel of poorly cooked and ill-chewed meat. Instead she slowly stands, patting herself off, her tone taking on some bitterness, "Alright yeah. It's my fault for not being able to read the situation. How silly of me to ask whether the rumors were true, or whether you thought she was under the influence of magic or not."

Her tone takes on a sarcastic edge, "And forgive me for having the audacity to call you on something like that so you won't screw up her life in the future. You're right, I should probably be talking to Mai instead on things that would /break/ her even more if she knew."

She turns around, speaking towards the air rather than the cape, the mask, and the hat, "Which is why I'm /not/ talking to her on it, and I'm letting the two of you resolve things in your own way. I thought it would be common decency to let you know what a casual comment like that could do to her. Instead I'm just an idiot who doesn't care about your feelings for trying to protect your friendship with her. So go ahead. Be angry. I'm really good at suffering the anger of people I care about."

Fishing out an ear bud from her pocket, she places it in an ear, the other connector goes into a phone. Somehow when she brings out a gem and transforms in a haze of green light, which brings the smell of rain, and the sound of leaves rushing in the wind with her, it remains there. "Good chat. Enjoy your cold shower, I'll be out tracking horrors so I can survive past the Spring Break." With a leap, she's gone.

She pretends there's nothing in her eyes as the verse of a song plays.

o/~ How many tears must be shed...
o/~ Every Heart, Before we can become honest?
o/~ To whom must we proclaim our feelings...
o/~ Every Heart, So that we can no longer feel loneliness?

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

And one more time, Mamoru stares after a friend's retreating back.

One more time, Tuxedo Mask can't actually understand anything about a girl.

One more time, Mamoru reconsiders his decision to come out of his ivory tower.

...one more time, Tuxedo Mask just leaves.

(He is undoubtedly going to eat all of Makoto's chocolate chips again.)