2014-10-24 - Do Not Put On a Brave Face

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Title: Do Not Put On a Brave Face

Mio Kuroki scrapes Tuxedo Mask off the floor and patches as best she can.


Mio Kuroki, Mamoru Chiba


Juuban Public School Theatre

OOC - IC Date:

1 April 2014 - 10-24-2014

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

It's maybe only forty-five minutes after play practice; everyone but Mamoru, who'd been sweeping up after, was well cleared out as of probably half an hour ago. After all, it's spring break: who wants to hang around in school when they don't have to?

Maybe Mio left something inside, maybe she hadn't gone far and came to the realization that there was a lot more sound in there than there should have been; maybe she saw the shock of blue hair belonging to one Ami Mizuno on her way off-campus, later than everyone else.

Whatever the case, inside the theater is unevenly dark, and dripping wet. The water's evaporating pretty quickly, but some of the chairs are going to be damp for a while. There's a sodden black cloak hanging off the stage, red on the inside; there's a crumpled hat in the middle aisle; there are dress shoes haphazardly dropped on the stage behind the cape.

Way down front, there's a crumpled black mass on the floor, visible between the legs of the chairs that make up the audience's seating, between two rows.

<Pose Tracker> Mio Kuroki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Mio Kuroki had had what is probably the most fortunate teen cigarette in the history of Tokyo when she'd realized she'd left her marked up copy of the book at the theater. So it is that she opens the door inside, and immediately smells the water, clinging and faint though it is.

Mio frowns. That's not supposed to happen. A pipe breaking? A roof leak?

The entranceway into the theater creaks shut behind her. Mio does not turn on the lights. Her eyes gleam in the dark.

Her foot bumps a light object. She crouches down, collecting it. Her feet do not press wetly on the carpet of the aisle.

She comes round the corner, towards that crumpled mass. It is often said that people have eyes that 'gleam,' or burn, and this is typically mere rhetoric, terms to describe a rather striking stare, or perhaps a light and contrasting shade of the iris. For Mio Kuroki, though, it is subtly - but undeniably - true, at least for that moment.

But the subtle illuminance dims faintly, and she lets one foot squash on the carpet - then another - as she draws closer.

"Is this yours?" she says, as she taps the hat back into its proper shape.

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

The crumpled mass does not, in fact, move. In the dim light, it's just possible to see shallow, labored breathing. Closer still, and the mask knocked askew gleams in the dim light, brighter by far than its massively bruised and bloody owner, tattered and sodden, in sock feet and tattered regalia.

Just as Mio's squelched nearly close enough to touch, the boy starts to fish his way up toward consciousness and immediately wish he hadn't; he starts to curl in on himself further, then stops, because that hurts too.

"B-bit of-- a mess--" he whispers, not opening his eyes. "M-mio-- ch-ch--..." Yeah that's enough of that. His jaw's killing him.

<Pose Tracker> Mio Kuroki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Mio speaks with more authority. "How badly are you hurt? Do not put on a brave face."

Her shadow falls over the shivering mass, but he may appreciate that. Setting the hat on a nearby seat, Mio continues, "I can feel the cold on you - and I am not the warmest person. If nothing else I will bring you a change of clothes."

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

"Unno," Mamoru's voice floats up as he tries not to move his face. "Hurts. Have c-clothes. Henshin. P-please... just. Don't tell her."

For a second, he hesitates-- not because of his identity, no, Mio's known that for quite some time now. But because he's not sure if he'll be worse off if he changes back. But he's shivering, and shivering hurts too-- so with a soft, dark breaking-apart of the remains of the formalwear, hat and shoes and cape melting away no matter how far from him they are, Tuxedo Kamen lets the transformation go, and it's a dry beat-up mess of a human being on the wet floor.

The swelling visible where he was kicked in the face isn't very attractive, it must be said. And yet-- the eye that'll open is looking up at Mio with a silent plea, belying the words he forces out. His breathing's still carefully shallow. "In... convenient. Think's broken. Need-- to get outside."

<Pose Tracker> Mio Kuroki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

He leaves his form, right in front of her. It is a show of trust and vulnerability, perhaps - or of desperation.

Mio puts a hand on her hip. Her expression is, momentarily, strained, though the details are vague. Worry? Irritation? Maybe it's just how her forehead and cheekbones are shaped.

"Chiba," she says, firmly. "You are speaking in broken sentences. What is broken? Gesture if you must." Her voice gets a note softer. "Once I have tended to you, we will decide what to do next." And now that harsh look /is/ weathering quickly, though it still looks rather stern.

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Trust, certainly-- Usagi trusts her, and Mamoru's come to like her rather a lot over the months, during the play and in those weird social situations that turn into pitched battles. But is it vulnerability, or is it honestly just being out of damns to give right now, combined with the logic of dry clothes? He's certainly miserable enough.

He closes his eyes again and shifts, wincing, freezing when something moves in a way it shouldn't. "Rib." Breathe. "Arm maybe. Kicked head... can't tell."

He looks like he wants to say something else, but flounders, and just exists for a minute.

<Pose Tracker> Mio Kuroki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

"A kicked head? We shall have to trephanate," Mio says, reaching towards Mamoru's temple.

Her fingers are always cold, but cold can be a blessing. It reduces swelling. It helps with focus. It may not be the best choice, but when Mio murmurs, "Surely it won't be as bad as all of that. Breathe as deeply as you can. There is no one else here; you are safe. If you are gone when I return, I will tie bells to your collar at the next rehearsal."

After saying that, she gets up on stage and moves to where the first aid kit is. She pauses several times to glance back, and by the last time she's adding a mimed waggling of the finger. Two minutes later she is back with the case of white plastic - and, this time, she's turned on some of the house lights as well.

"What happened?" she says then: "Did a youma come?"

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

His breathing slows-- trepanning's a joke, obviously, OBVIOUSLY, once he parses the word-- Mamoru's breathing slows and his head clears a little, and the cold is on his head, not messing with his admittedly sketchy core body heat; it's lovely. He's still, under her touch, and he remains still when she makes another not-really-a-joke joke; he doesn't laugh, but he also doesn't move to get up when Mio does.

He tries to breathe more deeply, but it still hurts too much, so instead he just watches her movements with one cracked-open eye. Maybe he wishes he could fall asleep while he's waiting, but he doesn't. He just works on zenning out.

That is, until Mio asks what happened, and then his face twists, which hurts again, which means he winces again. After a second he says with a tiny sigh, closing his eyes, "Mercury. Working for Labyrinth. Wanted to make the point she should be taken seriously-- as if any of us /don't/. I-- I don't want the girls to see."

<Pose Tracker> Mio Kuroki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Mio doesn't see much bleeding. As such her first treatment is to get out some alcohol wipes and start cleaning over the bruised area.

She tsks, once, quietly. Inwardly, she reflects on the irony of the situation, before saying aloud, "How awful. I understand, of course."

After a lingering stroke, Mio's eyes turn towards Mamoru's. "You worry for her, don't you?" Which 'her' is left ambiguous, which may not be the best idea, given how many 'her's' there may be.

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

"For all of them," Mamoru's quiet voice comes, no longer stilted, merely exhausted and pained. "They're so good. They're so earnest. They protect this perfect dream none of us can touch-- but they'll make it happen. I know they will. And she's the best of all-- and this is hurting her so badly. You're her friend, too-- you know how much love she has."

There's certainly not as much blood as there'd been on the white front of his tuxedo, on the glove, smudged on the mask. He doesn't even look like he's bleeding anywhere-- anymore, maybe. Abrasions, though-- each one stings with the alcohol, but it's insignificant in comparison, so the boy on the floor just rolls with it.

"And Mercury-- she can't hear, won't hear a word. They did something to her. Labyrinth. Twisted her somehow, like those damned Seals that Nephrite tosses around. She said she has a dream and a purpose now-- but she /did/, she did, Mio-san. What could twist such love to such hatred?"

<Pose Tracker> Mio Kuroki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Mio seems to be taking matters gravely. The thought of how this is wounding Usagi makes her feel a momentary inner impotence, which she expresses externally with a new alcohol swab.

"I don't know," Mio says. "Frustration. Anxiety. Family problems." A beat. "Unrequited love. I cannot say."

"If I were an evil magician," she says as she seems to run low on bits of Mamoru to disinfect, "I would do the smallest change that I could, and I would then place it with bolts of cold steel so that it would be impossible to remove." Mio adds, "Though, my error would be to assume anything was 'impossible.'"

"Do you want something for the pain?" she asks, the first aid kit otherwise about to get latched up.

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Mamoru searches Mio's face for a moment, some of the swelling and roughness in his own already receding, and is left without answers. Perhaps he's only too tired to understand them; perhaps he's as blinded by hope as he ever is.

Instead of an immediate answer, he lifts his hand and lightly places it over Mio's. In contrast to her icy skin, and despite his earlier dousing, his hand is warm. Warmer than it should be, but not feverish: like the glow that may or may not have been in Mio's eyes when first she entered the theatre, there may or may not be something Other in that contact, as well. "No thank you," he finally says, with the smallest of smiles. "A hand up would be nice, though. Then let me get you a coffee, unless I still look like I should go to the hospital or the police."

<Pose Tracker> Mio Kuroki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Mio's hand warms quickly.

So do her cheeks.

"I," she says, before --

A window. Watching through a window. Seeing him, through a window, talking to several others. Smiling, and then seeing him look up at the sky, at -

Mio's hand draws back, slowly. "I think I can manage that," she says. But notably enough, when she rises and aids Mamoru, she grasps him at the wrist - with cloth in between them.

"And," she says, "I think you will survive, but I would encourage you to eat as well. Perhaps we can pass the Dark Burger on the way."

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

"Perhaps," says Mamoru with a wince behind his smile; he moves slowly, carefully, and the cloth between them goes unremarked, though, yes, noted. "And then I think I may sleep for a week. Mio-san-- thank you..."

Words are inadequate. But so is everything else.