uakari: (Kamui)
[personal profile] uakari
Title: Something Rotten Act III
Rating: PG/13
Warnings: alcohol, drugs, colorful language
Summary: There is something rotten at the Academy of Horitsuba, but is it the doomed festival play, the chairwoman's pilfered alcohol, or the threat of a malfunctioning Mokona costume hanging over the faculty's heads?






Yuui moved quickly through the hallways, darting around corners, throwing open the steel doors that thwarted him seemingly every hundred feet, and pointedly ignoring the blaring alarms that sounded every few seconds. Fire, his ass. He knew damned well where the alarm had started from (or at least who had pulled it) and hell if he was going to pony up the cash to pay the fine for another one his twin’s little misadventures. Kurogane followed closely behind him, cursing his stocking-clad feet as they slipped and skidded against the asbestos tiling, and eventually slammed directly into his back as Yuui caught the doorframe of the chemistry lab and slid to an abrupt halt in front of it.

Goddamn it.

“I knew it was a bad idea to let that moron come in today,” Kurogane growled, surveying the damage. At least the idiot had managed to put the flames out before running. Even if it did mean the better half of the room was covered with extinguisher suds. “I’m gonna kill that nurse…”

“I’ll help you,” Yuui grumbled and tugged at the ends of his hair, “Still…at least there was an actual fire this time.”

”This time?” Kurogane demanded and rounded back on the more sensible of the Fluorite twins, “What do you mean this time? You failed to mention that this sort of thing was a habit.”

“It’s not a habit,” Yuui insisted (they wouldn’t be able to afford the cost if it were), “It’s more like a…” he trailed off, searching for the words.

“A hobby?”

“A symptom,” Yuui said finally and nodded to himself. That seemed the best way to describe it. He had no idea just what that sociopathic bastard of a school nurse had slipped his brother the night before, but the pattern of behavior it seemed to be producing was familiar enough that he was forced to give himself a good mental thrashing for not gleaning on to it sooner. He had known from the moment he had woken up to a half-empty bed (before the first alarm had even sounded) this morning that something was off, it had just taken him a disappointingly long time to place exactly what that something was. In retrospect, he supposed his willingness to write off the burst of cold water waiting for him in the shower as bad luck (or at least bad plumbing on the part of the academy) and the emptied bottle of body wash as a nuisance had been a bit naive. Fay’s later complaints that his breakfast cereal was as cold and soulless as himself probably should have raised a few flags, but they had paled in comparison to some of his more colorful diatribes on the exact texture of oatmeal and Yuui had been unable to muster the inclination to do more than roll his eyes and fob him off with the plastic submarine in the bottom of the cereal box.

He supposed it really wasn’t his fault that liberal application of eyeliner fit in so well with Fay’s normal antics that he hadn’t suspected anything until said eyeliner began to run in streaks down his twin’s face. Of course, that had only happened because the jeans he’d ransacked the closet to find were now two sizes too small (instead of the very stylish one –size-too small he had intended) and had split down the back when he’d bent too quickly to lace up his long-abandoned purple converse. And there was really no excuse for him not stopping the fool from hiding the split beneath an enormous hoodie rather than finding a new pair of pants.

Yuui sighed. Most people divorced their teenage angst and never looked back; his brother seemed intent on stoking the fires of romance every few years.

“A symptom, huh?” Kurogane sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose, “So what’s the cure?”

Yuui snorted at this. “We’ll probably need to talk to Seishiro for that,” he muttered, “But for now, we should focus on finding Fay.” He drummed his fingers against the counter and wondered if this was going to turn out as badly as the time their dog had died while they were away on a school trip. If that was the case, he was going to need to invest in copious amounts of Vaseline (and probably some bacon as well, but he hoped it wouldn’t come to that). “And if I know him, he’s probably…” he slapped a hand against his forehead and sprinted back into the hallway.

Kurogane nearly collided with him once again as he screeched to a halt in front of the men’s room. There was a definite racket coming from inside, and Fay did have a certain fondness for barricading himself into small spaces when he got into these moods (the brightly lit mirrors were a bonus for eyeliner reapplication, provided he could summon the strength of will to stare into his “cold, soulless eyes” for the requisite amount of time). Yuui pressed his ear against the door; whoever was inside seemed to be having a very…spirited argument with himself over the merits of his wardrobe…

It had to be Fay. Yuui threw the door open and dragged Kurogane across the threshold, only to force him bodily into the nearest stall a second later and slam the door shut behind them.

”What the hell are you doing?” Kurogane growled.

Yuui clapped a hand across his mouth and nodded over his shoulder. “That’s not Fay,” he hissed.

“Why would you think it would be?” Kurogane spat out against his palm.

“Because he-” Yuui sighed, “Nevermind. Just stay quiet for a minute.” He craned his neck around to peer through the narrow gap between the stall and door.

Kurogane wrenched his face away from Yuui’s grasp to follow suit. “Aw, hell,” he groaned quietly, “Is that Subaru?”

“I think so,” Yuui whispered, “But what is he-”

“To cede, or not to cede – that is the question,” Subaru moaned loudly, leaning over a sink with his face buried in his hands, “Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the fuzz and zippers of that outrageous costume, or to take arms against the undirectable little bastards and, by directing, end my career.”

“Oh goo-” Yuui jerked his head upward to smack into Kurogane’s jaw and cut off any further complaints.

“To resign, to quit – no more! – and by resignation aim to end the heartache, and the thousand suffered humiliations that I am heir to. ‘Tis a quandary unfairly constructed. To resign, to quit-” Subaru’s face lit up here as it lifted from his palms, “To quit – perchance to acquire some of Sei-chan’s ‘aspirin…’ Aye, there’s the rub: for through that haze of pills what dreams may come as we shuffle off the springy end of this mortal coil are surely terrifying and full of fuzzy mascot suits…”

“He’s flipped,” Kurogane breathed and reached to unlatch the door, “Lemme outta here, I’m going to talk some sense into him.”

“No!” Yuui hissed and slapped at his hand, “Who knows what he’ll do if he knows he has an audience? Just wait here for- OW,” Yuui quickly slapped a hand across his own mouth, though it was obvious at this point that Subaru wasn’t paying any mind to the sounds coming from the stalls, “What did you do that for?”

“Do what?” Kurogane huffed, “Get out of the way, he needs help and I’m- AH! What the hell are you pulling my hair for?

“I’m not pulling your hair,” Yuui insisted, rather indignantly, “You’re the one pulling mine…”

Both men turned away from their stealthy viewing positions to face the back of the stall. From his perch upon the tank of the toilet, the school nurse grinned back at them.

Kurogane had him in a headlock only moments later. “Start talking, asshole,” he glanced back at Yuui, who seemed to be silently pleading for the entire situation to not blow up in their faces here, of all places and added, “Quietly.

“It’s lovely weather we’re having, isn’t it?” Seishiro said, almost conversationally.

Kurogane slammed him (quietly) against the wall, “Lovely isn’t quite the word I’m looking for. What the hell is going on here?”

“Well, I think that should be obvious,” Seishiro coughed.

Yuui debated running off a list of things that seemed “obvious” about grown men lurking in bathroom stalls (especially ones who appeared to have test tubes secreted away in their vest), then swallowed it wholesale – it was all too likely that it would just be misconstrued as praise in this particular instance. “What did you slip my brother last night?” he demanded instead.

“Slip?” Seishiro seemed genuinely confused by this, which worried Yuui more than he cared to let on, “I only brought you a few cocktails. Unless…oh dear.” His face grew distressingly red as laughter caught in his throat.

“Spit it out,” Kurogane growled.

“It’s a bit difficult with your elbow pressed into my windpipe,” Seishiro coughed again. When Kurogane showed no signs of backing down, he continued on in a hoarse voice, “It’s entirely possible that he’s having a reaction to the extract of hagfish-”

“Extract of what?

“It’s an aphrodisiac, my dear muscle-bound friend. Though I suppose with two such fine specimens you’re never really in need of one-”

“You sick bastard.”

“Now, now,” Seishiro grinned, “I assure you it was an accident. Without my glasses, it can be very difficult to differentiate between that and Crème de Menthe. I thought it would go nice with the cocoa.”

“You brought us cola.”

“Either way!” Seishiro insisted, “It should wear off by the end of the day. And if it doesn't, I'm sure I can whip up something to help take the edge off. Now, if you could please let me down I think that we-”

“Shut up,” Yuui said suddenly and waved his hands madly as the door to the washroom banged open once again and Subaru’s steady stream of not-quite-iambic pentameter was interrupted by a high-pitched greeting.

“Yuuko says you should come to her office,” it was saying. Yuui had to squint with one eye and maneuver his neck into a creatively painful configuration to make out that it was Soel perching on the sink next to Subaru making the request. “She says it’s very important.”

Subaru did not appear to be taking this request very well. The garbled stream of quasi-Shakespeare had been successfully quieted, only to be replaced with an even more garbled stream of…garbling. And rocking back and forth. And keening.

“It’s just Yuuko,” Soel continued, “There’s nothing to be afraid of…”

“Out, damned bunny-thing!” Subaru cackled, “ Out, I say! One; two; why, then ‘tis time to do it! This bathroom is murky! Fie, my mascot, fie! A teacher, and afeard? What need I fear who knows it, when none yet can get that damned Doumeki to emote? Yet who would have thought the old chairwoman to have had so much sake in her…?”

“Kurogane,” Yuui murmured softly, turning his attention back to the struggle still going on at the back of the stall, “Let him down. Someone needs to deal with this, and I don’t think you or I have the skills necessary.”

“You think he does?” Kurogane demanded, looking vaguely horrified.

“No, but he has a personal interest and experience,” Yuui sighed, “And we still need to find Fay.”

“If it’s Fay you’re looking for, I may be able to be of some assistance,” Seishiro offered, “Perhaps we could come to some agreement.”

“No,” Kurogane grunted, “I’ll go out there and beat some sense into him myself.”

There was a quiet, yet sharp shattering noise, and Yuui turned to find himself face to face with what appeared to be the remains of a test tube. Seishiro pressed the jagged glass to Kurogane’s arm, “I don’t think that will be necessary.”

“Cute,” Kurogane scoffed and tightened his hold, “Spill it. Now.

Seishiro dropped the test tube. “You’ll want to check the third floor men’s room. That’s where they usually smoke, at any rate.”

“Smoke? Fay doesn’t like cigarettes.”

“Who said anything about cigarettes?” Seishiro coughed, “Now let me down.”

Yuui rolled his eyes. There wasn’t going to be an easy way out of this mess anyway. “Come on, Kurogane,” he sighed, “Let him worry about Subaru and we can find my idiot brother.”

There was a long pause before Kurogane finally relented and released Seishiro from the headlock. Seishiro slid back to rest on the toilet and blinked a few times, readjusting the lapels of his white coat. “Well?” Kurogane demanded, “Get out there.”

“Well, what?” Seishiro wondered, fiddling with a button, “He’s perfectly fine, you know.”

“He certainly doesn’t sound fine,” Yuui scoffed, “He’s gone the full Macbeth!”

“Yes,” Seishiro grinned, “He recites with such…gusto.”

“Gusto or no,” Yuui seethed, “What the hell kind of nurse would let him keep carrying on like that?”

“One who knows his propensities for angst and the inexplicable rush of serotonins they bring.”

“What the hell does that mean?” Kurogane barked.

“It means,” Seishiro continued with a grin, “That he’s an emotional masochist and can never be fully happy unless he’s on the verge of a breakdown. In other words – he may appear disturbed, but in reality, he secretly likes it.”

“You’re sick,” Kurogane gripped the collar of Seishiro’s coat and hauled him toward the door of the stall, “Just get the hell out there.”

“And keep him away from the chairwoman’s office,” Yuui pleaded.

“Yes, yes,” Seishiro waved this away as he unlatched the door and squeezed out the narrow gap between Yuui and the wall, “It’ll all be taken care of.”

“Do you really think that was the best idea?” Kurogane hissed as the door closed behind Seishiro once again, leaving he and Yuui alone in the stall.

“No…” Yuui admitted, staring at the floor. There were probably a million better solutions, but his mind was elsewhere at the moment and Kurogane hadn’t exactly been forthcoming with ideas that didn’t include beating one or more parties into the floor. “But it’ll do for now,” he picked at the latch on the door, “Now let’s get out of here and find Fay before he gets himself into even more trouble.”

“Right,” Kurogane agreed and pulled the stall open.

He slammed it shut a moment later as a rhythmic sound wafted in through gap.

Yuui grimaced, but gripped Kurogane’s wrist tightly. Apparently Seishiro wasn’t the only member of that party with a penchant for hair-pulling. “Close your eyes and run for the door.”




Kamui carefully ripped a page from his master script, scraping his fingernail down the binding and folding it precisely to achieve a pristine edge. He peeled the page toward him slowly, grinning with maniacal glee as the fibers split and tore with relative ease. Perfect. He ran the pad of his finger across the torn edge as it loosed itself completely from the book, then smiled as he wadded the sheet into a ball and chucked it full force at the hulking idiot down-row from him. “Oi,” he hissed, making no real effort to quiet his voice, “Why the hell is Doumeki in heels?”

Fuuma cocked an eyebrow as the ball of paper bounced from his brow and landed in his lap. He plucked it back up and tossed it to himself casually, “Is it a problem?”

“Of course it’s a problem,” Kamui growled and impatiently ripped another page from the script, not bothering with the niceties this time and leaving a jagged edge down its side. He debated whether to chuck it at Fuuma or at the obnoxiously seething Watanuki seated the row ahead of them (normally he wouldn’t have been bothere, but the mouth-breathing was really doing his head in). “It’s pulling me right out of the scene and-”

“Well aren’t you particular,” Fuuma smirked, “I had no idea you were actually into theater, Kamui. Surely, since you’re such a connoisseur, you’ve heard of a wardrobe malfunction?”

“They’re not malfunctioning” Kamui wadded and whipped the paper at Fuuma’s face once again. “They’re functioning disturbing well,” he grumbled, noting the none-too-subtle clicking and clacking as Doumeki sauntered (well, sashayed was probably more accurate, but that just upset Kamui on an entirely different level), “What the hell is the point of them?”

“I felt the scene would really benefit from him towering a bit over Ophelia. You know, give him a bit of menace,” Fuuma said with a grin that was not so much irritating as it was disgusting, “And since Himawari is still out sick…”

“He’s not supposed to be menacing,” Kamui spat, refusing to look that bastard Fuuma in the eye and continuing to direct his glare toward the stage, “You’re the only one that would even think something like that would be appropriate-”

“Anyway,” Fuuma continued, blatantly ignoring him, “Since out little understudy Yamazaki is about the same height, I gave Doumeki a pair of platform heeled boots to really stress some of the domineering-”

HE IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE DOMINEERING-

“But the entire sole broke off,” Fuuma laughed, “Can you believe it? Cheap stage clothes.” He sighed loudly and cast a longing look back at his co-director, “I had to give him a pair of Sakura’s heels. The props seem to help though, don’t you think? You almost don’t notice the monotone. Maybe I could get him some glass shards for him to heft threateningly…”

Kamui stared at the stage, willing Fuuma to burst into flames and only becoming more irritated when his telekinetic pyromania failed spectacularly. They had only hauled in that little Yamazaki monstrosity (who was now fabulously messing up all of his lines) to save his poor twin from bursting a blood vessel at the prospect of listening to Doumeki argue with himself as both Hamlet and Ophelia all morning. He’d have been more vocal in his opposition if he had known the upshots of this would leave him just as flustered as Subaru. No, he reminded himself firmly, I am not as crazy as Subaru.

“Well, that’s debatable,” Fuuma smirked, and Kamui realized with a grimace that he’d just said that out loud. “But even a crazy person has to admit that at least the heels add a certain…something to the scene that makes it more bearable.”

Kamui snarled, “And I’m sure that Watanuki kid’s seething is not that something?”

“Wata-who?” Fuuma looked scandalized, “Surely you’re not suggesting I kept him in the dress just to provoke another student? Especially when your seething is more than adequate.” He paused, stroking his chin, “Speaking of Subaru…I haven’t seen him since the alarms went off.”

“He’s taking a nap,” Kamui snapped, though he was only mostly certain of this. This morning’s rehearsal had been particularly rough and Kamui had been forced (out of the milk of brotherly…no, that wasn’t right…out of brotherly something, at any rate) to suggest a rest backstage after his brother had slipped into his third profanity laced, iambic pentametered rant of the morning. (And if his “suggesting” took the form of frog marching and mild sedatives, it was only because he had been concerned.)

“In the nurse’s station?” Fuuma smiled sweetly.

“Go to hell,” Kamui crossed his arms and stared down the stage. No, he was fairly certain Subaru was still backstage. The pile of blankets he’d left draped over him had still been intact when they’d come back after the fire alarm – he’d double check after their next break. If they ever got to their next break. The way things were shaping up… “Goddamn it, Doumeki,” he shouted, springing to his feet in the aisle, “You are contemplating suicide – not trying to drive the audience to it!”

“Kamui-”

“And Yamazaki,” he continued, shouting over Fuuma’s warning tones, “You are supposed to be lurking off to the side, looking horribly distraught. You look like you’re having a goddamned seizure.”

“I’m sorry, Sensei!” Yamazaki called back, “I was trying to use my body to convey my distress. Did you know that the universal sign for an impending burst aneurysm is to waggle your fingers like this under your nose and then circle your hips in a figure eight?”

“What the hell are you going on about aneurysms for?”

“It’s true!” Yamazki continued to waggle his hips around, swishing and swirling the skirts of his costume obnoxiously, “It first started as an American military drill during the first Gulf War. The soldiers couldn’t call out from their stations, so they needed a means of visual communication that would stand out against the desert background. So they wiggled like this when they felt the aneurysm about to burst-”

“You don’t feel an aneurysm, you little-”

”Kamui-”

“They added the fingers under the nose later on, so that it wouldn’t be confused with the signal for a spider crawling up their pant legs-”

”THAT’S IT! EVERYONE SHUT THE HELL UP AND GET BACK TO YOUR MARKS. WE ARE GOING TO RUN THIS FROM THE TOP OF THE SCENE WITHOUT ANY INTERRUPTIONS OR SO HELP ME I AM GOING TO RIP YOUR THR-”

He found himself abruptly cut off and the wind knocked from his lungs as Fuuma’s backside crashed into his gut, pummeling him backward into his abandoned chair. The rest of Fuuma followed in short order, pinning him to the seat and effectively blocking his view of the stage. “Relax, Kaumi,” he hissed out through clenched teeth, “There’s no sense in losing your job over something so silly.”

“Get off me, you goddamned hulk.”

“I think everyone is safer this way,” Fuuma grinned over his shoulder and swung his legs to the side, crossing them over the seat next to them, “Yourself included.”

“I’m going to kill you,” Kamui seethed as an arm wrapped behind his shoulder, “Get the hell off.”

“Later,” Fuuma winked, then turned his attention back to the stage, “Alright – let’s try this again from Ophelia’s entrance. Then we’re going to take a nice long break so that we don’t have to worry about any sort of aneurysms.”

There was a muffled agreement from the cast, who shuffled back to their marks on the stage and waited for their cues. Kamui drew in a deep breath and sanki further into the chair as Fuuma took it upon himself to direct the whole of scene without budging from his lap. Doumeki was reciting in more of a monotone than usual, though he at least he had the sense to thwack his heels against the stage floor where Fuuma directed to accent some of his harsher declarations of un-love. Maybe the glass shards weren’t a terrible idea either…

What the hell was wrong with him that he was even entertaining these thoughts? Kamui would have smacked a hand across his face if Fuuma’s ass weren’t so terribly effective at pinning them to his lap. Deep breaths, deep breaths. You are not Subaru, you don’t need a nap…

“Yamazaki, that is ‘I, of ladies most deject and wretched,’” Fuuma snorted out above him, “While letching is a particularly astute description of the face you’re making, it’s not really what we’re going for. Now, Doumeki,” he shifted, digging his tail bone premptively into Kamui’s gut to drive out any remaining air that might be used to form a complaint, “You could hover more menacingly. Maybe lick your lips a bit? Just try not to-”

BAM

It didn’t especially matter that Kamui was unable to put voice to his rage at this set of instructions, as it appeared the stage was intent on doing it for him. Or maybe that was a stage-hand. Either way, something had dropped a bucket of purple paint from the rafters and splattered the entirety of the stage and cast with its contest. The resulting shock and awe bought him enough of an opening to wriggle his way out from beneath Fuuma’s monstrous ass and bound up to the stage before he could be trapped or pinned or otherwise molested once again.

“I told you to keep Yukito out of the rafters!” he bellowed toward the hot-lighted catwalks, “If we lose one more cast member to a falling tool or paint or what-have-you, am I personally going to put out each and every one of your eyes. Now get the hell down from there and- WHAT IS SO GODDAMNED FUNNY?

He had to admit that he was a little surprised when the chemistry teacher flipped down to land in the middle of the paint puddle on the stage. He was more surprised when Fay fell completely out of his graceful and cat-like landing crouch to roll, splashing and howling and laughing, around the paint.

“It’s not my fault!” a disgruntled voice called from overhead. Kamui shielded his eyes to squint overhead to find Yue glaring back down at him, his long ponytail drenched in purple and dripping onto the lights. He held two other students against the railing to either side, fingers flexed firmly around the scruff of their necks – Kazahaya and Rikuou if the lights weren’t playing too many tricks on his eyes – both of whom were shaking with laughter and making intermittent “Wooo~” noises.

“What the-”

“I caught the three of them up here digging through my supplies,” Yue continued, “Nearly chewed through my entire collection of mixing palates.”

“We were just trying to cheer Fai-sensei up,” Kazahaya cackled, “He wanted a pizza, so we thought we’d find him one.”

“In the catwalks,” Kamui ground out.

“We got a bit lost.”

Kamui bit his lip hard enough to fill his mouth with an iron-y flow of blood. “Get them down here,” he managed to bite out with some modicum of control, “And get your supplies out of the catwalks. What the hell do you have them up there for in the first place?”

Yue’s eyes narrowed, “If you would prefer a backdrop with Yukito’s face print on it, I can certainly arrange for that.”

Fine,” Kamui growled, “Leave them there. Just get those two down here and…” he trailed off as a sharp set of fingernails dug into his shoulder and slowly turned his head. “Ms. Chairwoman…”

Yuuko’s eyes practically sparkled with glee as they took in the chaos around her, and Kamui held back a shudder. “Looks like you’re having a spot of trouble here this afternoon,” she said with a grin, “You know, I was just telling your brother that I am still in need of mascots for the fair, so if you’d like to call the whole thing off-”

No,” Kamui said quickly. His memories of Subaru’s zipper-burns from last year were still too fresh. “That won’t be necessary. Wait – you just talked to Subaru…?” This did not bode well…

“Oh yes,” Yuuko carried on, striding across the stage to crouch at Fay’s side and wipe some of the purple mess from his face, “I thought you were the one who placed him on extended bed-rest in the nurse’s station…?”

Goddamn it. “Er, no,” he said, “That sounds like a medical decision.” He flexed his nails into his palm; he was going to kill Seishiro. He knew he should have double-checked backstage. Now god only knew what that bastard had been up to-

“It’s a good thing the school keeps such a well-qualified staff employed then,” Yuuko hummed and pulled Fay to his feet with a flourish. “Well,” she continued, “Do keep my offer in mind. But for now, I’m afraid that I just need to borrow Fay-sensei for a moment. I have some unfinished business with he and his brother. And that brute of a gym teacher.” She grinned wickedly and hefted Fay upwards as his knees buckled and he nearly collapsed cackling something that sounded like “Kuro-pissy.” “Best of luck to you,” she waved with her free hand as she maneuvered the both of them toward the back of the auditorium.

Kamui waited until the doors closed behind them to turn his attention back to the matter at hand. By that time, however, Fuuma had made his way across the stage and hefted him over his shoulders as he barked orders at the cast and it was all null and void anyway.

He did not need a nap, goddamn it.




Yuui fidgeted, running through exactly how they had ended up in this predicament in his head for the hundredth time that hour. They had made it to the third floor men’s room, only to find it empty (apart from a cloud of sweet-smelling smoke that left Yuui coughing and hacking and suddenly feeling a whole lot better about life) and on exiting-

Well, that had been where the whole day had unraveled. Walking out to find the chairwoman waiting for them wouldn’t have been the worst thing in the world, had it not been overly apparent that she’d been pressing her ear to the door moments before they’d thrown it open. The knowing smirk she wore as she announced (as if by some miracle they couldn’t hear for themselves) that the fire alarms were still sounding and that she was going to have to escort them out of the building for their safety didn’t exactly soften the blow either.

Yuui still wasn’t sure when “escort you outside” had warped into “escort you to my office and maneuver your backs into a corner,” but at least the alarms had stopped sounding and he could at least manage to wonder about it.

And then she had left them there to go in search of the missing Fluorite twin, laughing and heels clicking as she waved over her shoulder and warned them not to go anywhere until she returned. Depending on Fay’s whereabouts, she warned, that could be anywhere from ten minutes to two hours. If they were thirsty, they could make themselves at home with a beverage.

Naturally, she hadn’t bothered to leave out any glassware or beverages.

“We’re being set up,” Yuui mumbled quietly and rocked back and forth on the sofa, “She knows-”

“And even if she didn’t, she’d damn well figure it out with you carrying on like this!” Kurogane groaned, “Pull yourself together. Take a deep breath and puff out your chest.” Yuui managed to do this, only to have all his wind knocked right back out of him as Kurogane clapped a hand across his back in encouragement. “See? You’re fine. Now we just have to steel ourselves to whatever crap she’s about to throw at us and-”

“Kuro-peroni!”

“Oh god, it’s the ghost,” Kurogane shouted, digging his fingers into his knees and nearly jumping into Yuui’s lap.

“Now, Kurogane,” a stern, yet horribly familiar voice addressed him from the doorway, “You should know by now that there’s no such thing.”

“Ahaha…silly Kuro-sausage.”

“What the?” Kurogane stared in horror at the lump of Fay draped over the chairwoman as they waltzed in from the hallway.

“He wanted a pizza,” Yuuko explained very calmly, “Apparently you’re the next best thing.” She set Fay down at the edge of the sofa and maneuvered herself into a seat opposite. “Now,” she said with a wide grin and slapped her palms against her knees excitedly, “I wanted to talk about this afternoon’s alarms- Oh,” she frowned at the empty coffee table in front of them, “We could really use some refreshments, wouldn’t you say?”

“No,” Yuui waved his hands wildly in front of him, “It’s probably best to just get on to-”

“Nonsense!” Yuuko silenced him, “Where would my manners be? Give me just one second, would you?” She smiled devilishly, “Unless, Fay, you’d like to do the honors?”

“Oh, of course!” Fay laughed and, before Yuui or Kurogane had the wits to stop him, bounded across the office to the medicine cabinet.

Yuui felt his face fall, even as the wind from Kurogane’s palm slapping against his face tickled his ears. “Fay..”

Fay stopped, seemingly lost in thought, and turned back to Yuuko. “I’m not sure there’s anything in here,” he grinned, “Should I head down to the cafeteria?”

Yuui could have kissed him. (Probably would, later, when he was done being an idiot, but that could wait.) The crashing of Yuuko’s smug expression into ruinous despair was breathtaking.

“No,” she said, and bit at her lip, “I think I have something in the back room.” Without another word, she rose to her feet and plodded dejectedly to the door at the back of the room.

Yuui exhaled a deep sigh of relief and gripped Kurogane’s hand (still balled into a fist against his knees). Fay smiled happily and curled into a ball on the floor. Safe for another day.

Now, if they could only talk Fay out of the eyeliner…

January 2013

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