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Really Quite Absurd

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Motoki loved his wife.  But being married to an ass-kicking, thunder-wielding, Amazonian warrior woman who knew as many ways to kill a man with a popsicle stick as she did to roast a chicken was not always awesome.  Because sometimes that warrior woman found an occasion when she had to ride off into danger, leaving him to twiddle his thumbs and worry if she would come back all right.  Sometimes, everyone went with her, and he worried about them too.

And sometimes, one of them broke their leg and had to stay behind.  On those occasions, Motoki had to worry about himself.

"So," Motoki sighed.

"Yes," Neptune concurred, her voice smooth like blood spilling from a wound.

For most of his life, Motoki had prided himself on his ability to get along with everyone he met.  Neptune was the glaring exception to his otherwise spotless record.  He had no idea how to relate to her.

Mainly because she was terrifying.

"Here we are," Motoki said.

She nodded slowly.  Too slowly.  "Indeed."

Motoki shifted.  "And they're not."

"That does seem to be the case."

He shifted again, fighting the urge to scratch his backside.  He could leave, but.  Well.  Makoto hadn't ordered him to get over 'this ridiculous fear of Michiru' (her words, obviously, because his fear was not ridiculous it was well-founded and possibly instrumental to his continued survival) per se.  But she had strongly suggested it.  He felt he had to at least make an attempt.  "Coming back though."

"One does hope."

Motoki exhaled until his lungs were completely depleted of oxygen.  Then he tapped his foot for awhile.  Then he gave up and scratched the itch, hoping she didn't notice.

She did.

"You do think they're coming back, right?"

She looked at him - directly at him for the first time possibly ever - and he felt about ready to piss himself.  "You are a very nervous individual."

And you're an extremely pretty nightmare, but I don't go saying that out loud.

"I know," he admitted.  She wasn't actually wrong.  "Once I was stuck here with Rei - er, Mars - and... well, body parts had the potential to be flambéed."

"She tends to overreact."

You don't react at all.  You're still waters and stone.  You came from the bottom of the sea to devour us all.

"That she does."  Rei hadn't scared him, even when she was pacing and snarling and threatening to set him on fire.  He'd known her for years, and he knew it was all bluster born from frustration at being left behind.  She was never actually going to set him on fire.

But Neptune would calmly slit his throat without staining her clothes if it suited her, and they both knew that.

There was a mirror on the table.  Nervous and needing to hold something in his hands to fidget with (or to shield him from any oncoming knives), he reached for it.  The moment his hand was about to touch the intricate carvings, Neptune halted him with a look.

"What do you think you're doing?"

Trying not to cry.

"Er," he said, the picture of eloquence.  "Sorry.  Is that yours?  I just wanted to see--"

"There is nothing for you to see," she said.  Her voice was like ocean currents rattling over the bones of drowned sailors.

He missed his wife so damn much.

He said, "But, it's a mirror, of course there's...."

Neptune passed her hand over the glass.  There was no reflection.

You're the actual fucking sea witch, and I am going to die.

"Huh."  He marveled at his calm.

"It doesn't show you reflections anymore," she explained, sounding a bit wistful, which he hoped boded well for his survival.  Somehow.  "It used to.  Years ago, before the fall.  But when we woke up, I looked into my mirror and I could not see myself anymore.  Only hints and portents, dead whispers and the forgotten."

"Ah," Motoki said knowingly, as if he had the slightest clue what she meant.  "Why do you think it stopped?"

Neptune shrugged.  "It never told me.  I think maybe it got lonely."


"I mean, there was nobody for it to reflect," she explained, as if he were a child.  "We were all sleeping.  Almost dead.  Maybe a part of it died too, robbed it of the knowledge of bending light, turning it back.  Perhaps with nothing to do it just... lost something."  The corner of her mouth quirked in what Motoki hoped was a smile.  "Or maybe it just didn't want to waste anymore time on me waiting for me to check my lipstick."

He practically brayed with laughter.

Neptune just looked at him.  "It wasn't that funny."

"...I have no idea how to safely respond to that."

She rolled her eyes elegantly (which should have been an oxymoron, but then again, Literal Sea Witch).  Then she struggled to her feet, balancing on silver crutches.   "I do wish you would stop acting as though I'm liable to toss a knife into your chest at any given moment."

Funnily enough, that was one of the few ways he hadn't pictured her killing him.  He did now.  "Ah.  Noticed that did you?"

"It's alarmingly evident."


"The idea is really quite absurd."

His entire body sagged in relief.  "Really?"

"Of course."  She flashed a cool smile, light glinting off her teeth.  "If I were to kill you, I assure you that you'd never see it coming.

Then she hobbled away, leaving Motoki by himself.  He sat there for a good long while, his stomach somewhere in the vicinity of the floor, the taste of thwarted bile in his mouth.  And then Motoki, an actual grown up adult person, curled into a fetal position in his seat, shaking like a ramshackle in a tornado.

"I want my wife."