Fic: Haggling

Sunday, April 29th, 2012 07:23 pm
uakari: (Saiga)
[personal profile] uakari
Title: Haggling
Characters: Watanuki, Yuuko, Kakei, Saiga
Rating: M for nudity
Warnings: Blatant sexual harassment
Summary: There is no crying in strip mahjong.
Notes: I don't even know what's wrong with me anymore. *throws this at the wall and runs*

Haggling wasn’t, strictly speaking, a practice that Watanuki was terribly familiar with. Yes, yes, he might have been able to talk the green grocer down a few hundred yen on some less-than-verdant stew vegetables, and once he’d managed to talk a cashier into an extra punch on his frequent shopper club card after a display of fresh fish had crashed down over his head and spattered his cart with its contents (well, okay she had actually insisted, but he still felt he got the better deal in the end, so he was counting it), but apart from that, the art was lost on him.

For certain, it wasn’t a skill that was particularly in demand at his current job. The price was the price, and if it wasn’t paid in full, then the whole of existence would come crashing down like the shopkeeper herself after her 26th bottle of sake for the evening. Or so he had been allowed to believe.

It was, of course, entirely possible that this was all a farce. Yuuko hadn’t been what anyone might have called “forthcoming” with the calculations that went into this sort of thing, just as she had neglected to be at all explicit (or anything more than vaguely equivocal in her usual, ethereally annoying way) about the repercussions if equivalence wasn’t maintained. “There will be mishaps.” For all he knew, the worst that might happen is that someone would end up with a nasty headache (besides himself), and then she’d probably just insist they break out the sake to drink that all away. Typical.

He wasn’t especially in the mood to…test this, however.

Particularly not now, as Yuuko’s usual lazy expression continued to harden with each unyielding return from the man seated across from her. His smile was unwavering (even in the face of her mounting protestations), its corners turned up in a calculated display of smugness, more than mirth. He was, by all measures, a small man, but nonetheless radiated an air of mystery mixed with danger mixed with an obscene amount of sake (that Yuuko had been all too happy to provide, Watanuki noted with a grimace). Like a yakuza boss, he decided, if yakuza bosses were prone to being slight and slippery rather than lean and haggard.

Yuuko sighed, tapping the bowl of her pipe against her glass, and frowned. “As always, Kakei, your prices are exorbitant and will no doubt be your undoing.”

“Nonsense,” the man – Kakei – smiled and nodded toward his tall dark and gruesome companion (bodyguard?) lurking against the door frame, “Unlike yourself, I have employees to think of. Overhead costs. Do you have any idea what it costs to keep three full time employees? Some of us are still constrained by silly things like reality and local ordinances and can’t get away with keeping indentured servants.”

Yuuko grinned wickedly at this. “Clearly, the loss is yours.”

“Perhaps.” Kakei wove his fingers into a platform to rest his chin against. “Of course,” he continued, “That doesn’t even begin to account for the amount of research that will have to go into finding the object, or indeed the danger my employees are likely to face in its procurement. By all measures, I’d say you’re getting a fine deal here, especially as you refuse to trade in hard currency.”

“And since when have you been concerned with hard currency?” Yuuko countered. She drew in a deep breath on her pipe and leaned back in her seat.

“Oh, I’m certain I could find a use for it-”

“And you already know where the object is,” smoke billowed out around her words, curled into languid tendrils, and seemed to wrap itself directly around Kakei’s head.

He coughed airily in response. “Naturally.”

“So all you really need compensation for is your henchmen.”

“Employees, my dear,” Kakei insisted, fanning the smoke away from his face, “Henchmen just sounds so crass.”

“Oh, I am sorry,” Yuuko laughed, “I thought we were insulting each other’s shop boys as part of the bargaining.” She paused to refill their glasses, “Speaking of which…”

Watanuki slunk back against the wall and she rounded on him. He had hoped (fruitlessly, pointlessly) that everyone involved would just forget he was there and that he might be able to slip out for the night while tensions were high and no one would miss him (not that they would miss him anyway, but he might have been spared any…unsettling errands or, worse, being sent into that mess of a storehouse to retrieve some dusty old trinket that would probably try to kill him thrice over on his way back). He fidgeted and gulped down a breath that was too big for his throat.

Yuuko grinned at him (which was probably meant to be soothing but was anything but). “Be a good little indentured servant and make us some snacks, would you?”

His fist clenched as the words “I AM NOT YOUR INDENTURED ANYTHING.” formed and died on his tongue. His eyes darted between Scary Man #1 at the table and Scary Man #2 hulking in the doorway… Somehow…somehow this didn’t seem like the best time for-

“Don’t be ridiculous, it’s far too cold for you to take your rightful places as pool boy, no matter how-”

“I AM NOT YOUR POOL BOY!” Every goddamned time. How did she do that? It was beyond creepy – her ability to pick through his thoughts like that. It was as if-

“-charming you look in the Speedo,” Yuuko finished before he was able to finish the thought, “So, indentured servant it is.”

Watanuki slapped a hand over his face as a chorus of “INdendured, INdentured!” erupted from just behind him and the pitter-patter of tiny feet across the mats announced Maru and Moro’s entrance into the front room.

“Mistress’s tiles!”

“Her tiles!”

They set a gold plated box on the table and skipped back Watanuki’s side. He balked for a moment. “…tiles?”

“And sake!” Mokona bounced once off the back of his head before landing in the middle of the table. It did a little twirl with the bottle that was probably meant to be endearing, but only served to make Watanuki’s blood boil-

-wait. Something was wrong here. Since when did Mokona ever get sake for itself? And why were Maru and Moro’s grips on his wrists feeling more and more like shackles with each passing moment?

“Watanuki,” Yuuko said sharply, “Didn’t I just send you to the kitchen for some snacks?”

“No, you didn’t. You called me a pool boy and-”

“Well I’m sending you now,” she insisted, “Maru, Moro, see that he finds his way there without any mishaps?”

The shackles around Watanuki’s wrists grew unbearably tight. (Which was completely unnecessary – the kitchen was his sanctuary, his castle of quiet.) “No mishaps, no mishaps!” they sang as they dragged him face first into the doorframe. They realized their mistake after a few attempts forward and back failed to dislodge his face from the wood paneling and altered their route accordingly. “No more mishaps, no more mishaps!”

“Thank you, Watanuki,” Yuuko trilled after him, “Don’t be stingy now – something warm and salty for our guests! And be nice to Saiga.”

“I’m going, I’m going,” Watanuki grumbled as he half-limped, half allowed himself to be dragged into the kitchen. “Would you two let go? I can walk on my own you kno-WHA!

(This last exclamation was the sound of an over-worked and under-paid pool boy/indentured servant realizing that in his haste to be free of his soulless escorts, he had neglected to register that Scary Man #2 had not only followed his footsteps to the kitchen, but was now securing the door thereof.)

Watanuki swallowed audibly. “It’s, uh,” he stammered as he yanked the refrigerator door open (mostly for something to hide behind, though the cool air did wonders to settle the growing discomfort in his gut), “It’s fine. I’ll take care of this. Why, uh, don’t you…” his words faded to nothing as Scary Man #2 selected the longest and sharpest blade from Yuuko’s considerable collection and brandished it rather worryingly in front of his face.

“Hm?” Saiga grinned, “I thought we’d let those two sort out the details.” He waved the knife haphazardly. “Messy stuff, you know.”

“I, uh, yeah.” Watanuki stared intently into the refrigerator. He was going to die. All the miserable spiritual mishaps and humiliations he had suffered across the course of the years and he was going to die a horribly boring death at the hands of a blade-wielding yakuza thug. What the hell was Yuuko thinking? And oh god, oh god the big brute was leaning over him to peer into the refrigerator and clapping a hand across his back like this was a completely normal thing to do and oh god…

“What’ll it be, boy-o?” Saiga laughed, and somehow managed to fit his entire upper half into the fridge, “Doesn’t look like you’ve got much to work with.”

“Just, uh,” Watanuki leaned back as far as he could in hopes of finding a better vantage. What the hell was he doing, anyway? Edamame. There were probably a still a few sacks stashed in the cupboard; he really ought to just steam those and be out of this impending murder scene in minutes…

“Oooh, chicken.”

The packaged meat landed on the counter with a dull thud and quickly commenced gurgling pink juices onto the countertops. It took Watanuki another few seconds to realize that this was the result of its being skewered with the longest and sharpest blade in Yuuko’s considerable collection and flung with all the grace and strength of a yakuza-trained elephant in sunglasses.

Watanuki shuddered.

The package gurgled in response.

“Alright,” Saiga neatly skirted Watanuki to the side with a swish of his hips, “Yakitori. You make the sauce, I’ll grill.”

“You’ll what?” Watanuki stared in open-mouthed horror as the big brute continued his assault on the chicken packaging, stripping the abused plastic wrap from the surface and neatly folding it into a triangle before disposal, rinsing each individual cutlet before skillfully slicing each down the center and…

Wait, what?

Saiga grinned at him for what had to be the hundredth time that evening (Watanuki was beginning to suspect that he was nothing more than a ridiculously over-sized set of teeth fitted with a pair of sunglasses and an uncanny ability to wield a kitchen knife) and continued his delicate deconstruction of the cutlets. Thankfully, Watanuki was spared the chore of agonizing over this new little bit of cognitive dissonance too much further by a series of thumps and shouts from the front room.

“You, sir, are a knave of the most vile sort-”

“I think, my dear, that you will in fact find I was wearing them when I entered your none-too-humble abode and am therefore neither vile nor especially knavish. However, if you inisist-”

Watanuki hesitated, though his better instincts were insisting he immediately barrel through the door as the scuffle became increasingly louder. He was fairly certain he could hear the words “pants” “hit” and “floor” being repeated in worryingly close proximity-


The bottle of soy sauce, already balancing precariously in his palm, slipped and managed to shatter quite spectacularly across his feet. He kicked the shards aside with an irritated scoff and tiptoed around them to the door.

Saiga cut him off with a good meter left to the door. “Just let them play.”



Teeth gleamed.

Watanuki shuffled back to the counter, barely managing to avoid the glass shards.

It was probably better to just concentrate on the measuring utensils.

The scuffle from the front soon faded into nothing more than a dull roar, punctuated occasionally by a chirrup of laughter. Watanuki breathed. And measured. And breathed. Occasionally his overdeveloped sense of self preservation yelped and flopped inside his head like a dying fish, insisting that he turn and double check what that big brute was doing to his counter, but eventually even this stilled until there was nothing but the quavering measuring cup in his hand and the quiet thwapping of Saiga’s blade against the counter.

Thwap. Thwap. Thwap.

Thwap. Thwap.


“Gimme the sauce.”

“Huh?” Watanuki wrenched himself from the rhymic, butchering hypnosis he’d been lulled into. He blinked, trying desperately to focus on the immaculate pile of neatly trimmed chicken strips settled on the counter and not on the juice-streaked knife positioned above them. “Shouldn’t we, uh…marinate them or something?”

“No time,” Saiga laughed and snatched the bowl from his hands, leaving the whisk to drip-drip-drop mournfully on the floor. Watanuki grumbled and tossed the desolate jumble of wires into the sink, fully intending to grumble about the state of the floor as well, but stopped dead in his tracks as he spun to stare down the target of his complaints.

He’d never seen chicken skewed or dipped with such proficiency. Clearly he was going to have to ask for tips, but how do weasel such knowledge out of such a blatant thug…?

The stove kicked onto high while he pondered this. Within minutes, his musings were infiltrated by the succulent aroma of tangy grilling chicken and he was left wondering instead how he kept slipping in and out of this cuisine-induced coma…

Maybe he needed to sort out his priorities.

“Nah, they’re fine the way they are.”

“What?” Watanuki stared at the steaming platter of yakitori being thrust toward him.

“Nothing,” Saiga winked (and it was only slightly less upsetting than the grinning), “You better take this out there, though. Wouldn’t want your employer to think you were laying down on the job.”

”I wasn’t laying anywhere!”

“That’s what I’m saying!” Saiga laughed and shoved the door open, graciously stepping back to allow Watanuki room to pass. “Hold onto that tight.”


“Because Mokona is hungry!” the dive-bombing bag of fluff announced as it ricocheted off the edge of the plate and landed on his shoulder. “To the table, slave!”

“I am not a sl-”

Yuuko’s expression was deadly serious as he rounded the corner, which put it directly at odds with everything else in the room, from the mahjong tiles stuck to the players foreheads right down to the clothing that was conspicuously absent from their bodies. “RON!”

“Ron…?” Watanuki sputtered, gripping the tray with white knuckles (and now very thankful for the reminder to hold tight). He eyed the tile on her forehead, “You don’t have-”

“I said silence, or I will rob your kong.”

“MY WHAT?” Watanuki set the tray on the table with a crash and crossed his legs.

Kakei eyed him coolly from across the table, apparently completely unperturbed by the fact that he was wearing six t-shirts and only one ratty sock. “If you want to play, you’ll have to ante in.”

“What?” Watanuki attempted to maneuver backwards into the darkest corner of the room, but found himself surrounded by Saiga in short order. He shuffled sideways, but this only introduced him to the more lateral portion of the hulk’s shoulders. “I don’t want to-”

“Mokona will ante you in!”

Before Watanuki could refuse a second time, its mouth flew open and a wadded bit of cloth burst forth to wrap itself around Watanuki’s face. He clawed at it, then though better of this and looped a finger around the smallest portion of it to dangle in front of his face.

It was small, red, and he was almost positive that the string hanging from his finger was meant to fit somewhere into the G-region.

“What the hell is this?” Watanuki shrieked, but notably forgot to drop the garment in disgust.

“Watch your language, Watanuki,” Yuuko sighed, “We have guests.” She squinted at the thing in his hand. “Looks like it’s that ninja’s. I’ll leave it to your imagination how it’s worn.”

“How did you even-”

“Look,” Yuuko continued smoothly, “If they’re going to treat my poor white Mokona as a laundry hamper, then I’m going to have a bit of fun at their expense. Really, you ought to be thankful that Mokona is willing to ante you in like this. Otherwise it’s going to have to be your shirt.”

“My shirt is quite happy where it is, thank you!”

“Yes, it certainly seems to be,” Kakei said with a frown. He crossed his arms across his chest. “And the last thing this game needs is another cheating scoundrel.”

“Yes,” Yuuko nodded, “One of you is certainly enough.”

“And what do you mean by that, madam?” Kakei’s eye’s narrowed sharply. “I think you’ll find that I was referring to you and your little partner in crime there regurgitating clothing on demand.”

”Me?” Yuuko clasped a shocked hand over her heart, “And here I thought it strange that one man could even move in six pairs of pants. And yet you still managed to shuffle all the way to my shop.”

Kakei waved this away, “And you have successfully divested me of all but my shirts. There’s nothing cheating about a little modesty-minded preparation.”

“Precognition is cheating.”

“So is whatever is holding up your breasts.”

Watanuki gaped at Yuuko (who was indeed seeming more…pert than one might expect of an unbound woman), then quickly looked to the floor.

Yuuko only scoffed. “Good genetics goes a long way in determining the natural heft of one’s breasts.”

“At your age, my dear, nature would normally have them somewhere around your knees, no?”

“Perhaps,” Yuuko smirked, “But nature works in strange and fascinating ways. Or were you interested in a binding spell for some more…nefarious purpose?”

Saiga flinched noticeably behind Watanuki. “No, I think he’s good for binding,” he squeaked out a second later, his voice much stranger and less human than Watanuki remembered from only moments before. Watanuki took a careful step forward. His cheeks burned with embarrassment and possibly fear and he could feel the water welling up behind his eyes. No. He would not flail and cry here, not in front of these two shady characters…

“Spoil sport,” Kakei mumbled, then turned his attention back to Yuuko, “At any rate, it seems we are at an impasse. You insist that I have been cheating and you cannot prove to me that your little creature companion there has not been supplying you with your forfeits.” He folded his hands neatly on the table. “So I propose a compromise. Instead of arguing over who wore what and how gravity works, we’ll let our slaves battle it out through a final hand. Winner takes all, loser goes home naked. What do you say?”

Yuuko contemplated this very seriously for all of a half second before clasping her hands together excitedly. “You’re always so judicious.”

Watanuki attempted to melt into the floor. He’d read all of the mahjong manuals he could get his hands on and several mangas as well only months ago and had come to the probably expected conclusion that he would never understand the first damned thing about the game. And there was no way in hell he was going home naked. He sprawled, listlessly. The door was so far away…

Yuuko’s expression collapsed then, “Now, now Watanuki, there is no crying in strip mahjong.”

"I am not-"

"No, of course you're not," Yuuko drawled, "You're just rolling around my floor like a useless, empty bottle instead of being a useful servant boy and bringing us a full one."

"It's always about the sake, isn't it?"

"Look," Yuuko's face twisted into a wicked grin, "You don't have to play, if you don't want. But-" and she leaned heavily into the but, "Since Mokona already anted you in, I'm afraid we'll have to ask for a forfeit."

Watanuki's face flared hot at this. "This is blackmail..."

"Not at all," Yuuko assured him, "These are simply the rules."

He considered pointing out that the "rules" simply made the blackmail official, but decided it was a waste of air at this point. He scowled instead and pulled himself into a crouch. "What do I have to forfeit?"

"Nothing fancy," Kakei trilled from across the table, "Some tears will do nicely."


"It's a good price, Watanuki," Yuuko chastised, "You've already got them halfway started," she paused, looking thoughtful, "And you can take the day off tomorrow."

Watanuki’s ears pricked up at this. The last, dying ember of hope in his soul suddenly flared bright and he dared to lift his head from the floor, tears glistening in his eyes as he looked lovingly upon his employer. He couldn’t remember the last time she had offered him a respite like this (which, come to think of it, was pretty messed up, but he wasn’t about to let that dampen his spirits just now). His chest swelled with admiration, hot tears of joy welled up behind his eyes-

“There it goes.”

A glass vial was maneuvered quickly between his cheek and floor by an unseen hand, where it deftly collected the water dripping down from his eyelashes.



“I was certain we had him in the kitchen,” Yuuko sighed, pulling a robe tight around her shoulders, “I wanted to cry the first time I saw Saiga with a knife.”


“Truly a remarkable boy,” Kakei agreed, reaching for a pair of trousers draped across the corner of the table, “In more ways than one, it would seem.” He accepted the vial from Saiga and held it up to the light to admire its contents. “Still, an unexpected act of kindness in the face of hopeless produces far more potent tears by far. A fantastic idea. And a fine price, I might add.”

“Indeed, though I’m sorry our game had to come to an end,” Yuuko frowned, “Cheating or no.”

“Truly,” Kakei shuffled to his feet and bowed, “But I’ve left my own employees unsupervised with a storeroom full of merchandise to catalogue.” He shook his head slowly. “Speaking of the face of hoplessness…”

Saiga laughed and tossed an overcoat in Kakei’s direction. “Maybe an unexpected act of kindness is in order. Something off the top magazine shelf, even.”

“That would be too kind,” Kakei scoffed. He snaked an arm around Saiga’s waist as they headed for the door. “Don’t worry about showing us out, we know the way by now,” he called over his shoulder, “Same time next week?”

“Wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Yuuko called after them with a wave. She turned her attention to the frozen lump on the floor. “Watanuki, would you care to stop lounging? My glass is empty and it’s not even 8:30.”

Watanuki lifted his head, shock morphing and twitching into full-on rage. “You sold my tears?”

“No,” Yuuko said carefully, straightening the robe around her, “I paid with your tears. It was quite a good price too, considering.”

“Considering what?”

“Don’t be so angry,” Yuuko laughed, “He wanted the whole eye. Though what he would do with it is anyone’s guess…probably trade it away to an even worse demon.”

“He was a demon then?” Watanuki swallowed thickly. He hadn’t even noticed… ”And wait a minute, how can you trade away my eye when it isn’t yours to begin with?” Surely that had to upset the balance of…something.

“Figuratively speaking, he’s the worse kind of demon,” Yuuko laughed, “And it’s perfectly acceptable to trade away your tears if I’m buying something for you. One might even say it’s proper.”

“I get to pay for my own gifts,” Watanuki groaned, “Great…”

“This is difficult for me too, Watanuki,” Yuuko assured him with a sage nod. “But don't worry, you'll love it. It comes with it's own wicked little flower spirit," she clasped her hands together, "Now, about my empty glass.”

“I’m going, I’m going,” Watanuki grumbled, dragging himself to his feet. A flower spirit...great. A wicked one, too. Just the sort of thing that he needed. He stooped to pick up the pile of discarding clothing that Kakei had left in his wake, “Might as well get this out of here too…”

“No, leave that,” Yuuko said suddenly. Watanuki stared incredulously back at her, but she only answered with a small giggle. “Mokona, would you do the honors?”

“Of course!”

The pile of laundry disappeared down its gullet.

“How about Mokona takes out the garbage too?” Watanuki snipped, staring in disgust.

“Don’t be terrible,” Yuuko chided, “That’s all going back to their laundry pile.”

“That’s awfully kind of you. You have access to their home through Mokona?”

“No, silly. Our traveling friends.” Yuuko raised a hand to hide her smirk.

“What? You mean…?”

“Yes, of course. It’s a fun game I like to play with them. Right now, the grouchy one is convinced that the driers in Piffle are eating his socks. Imagine his surprise when they dole out some extras.”

Watanuki turned on his heel and stomped toward the cellar. “You’re sick.”

“That’s all a matter of perspective,” Yuuko shouted after him, “Some might call five pairs of trousers for a single sock quite the bargain!”

Date: 2012-04-30 01:00 am (UTC)
farenmaddox: (Default)
From: [personal profile] farenmaddox
... so you know I love you, right? You have the very best Yuuko. And SAIGA :DDDDDDDD

/wipes away tears of laughter

Date: 2012-04-30 01:28 am (UTC)
zelinxia: (Kurogane - facepalm)
From: [personal profile] zelinxia
“Watch your language, Watanuki,” Yuuko sighed, “We have guests.” She squinted at the thing in his hand. “Looks like it’s that ninja’s. I’ll leave it to your imagination how it’s worn.”

I'll have you know I nearly swallowed my gum here. My eyes...they can't unsee!!!

Date: 2012-04-30 06:31 am (UTC)
jezzra: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jezzra
...the first words that come to mind are "Kurogane" and "thong".

I love you so. This made my night, thank you. XD Poor abused Watanuki.

Date: 2012-04-30 09:12 am (UTC)
cloverfield: (take it off)
From: [personal profile] cloverfield
I imagine that Fai is very relieved that Kurogane's underwear has returned safely to where it belongs- namely, somewhere in the G-region. ^^

Also, YUUKO *A* You mastermind, you~ ♥

Date: 2012-04-30 02:12 pm (UTC)
cloverfield: (don't fight it just let it wash over you)
From: [personal profile] cloverfield
it's all just an excuse to get naked and party >.>

Uh, in Yuuko's mind... what ISN'T? XD

(Meanwhile, Doumeki is wondering why "strip mahjong" and "Watanuki" appeared in the same fic and yet his favourite shop by was neither naked nor in groping distance of himself.)

Date: 2012-04-30 02:21 pm (UTC)
cloverfield: (chin stroke)
From: [personal profile] cloverfield
AHAHAHAHA how much are tears shed in a combined flush of arousal and mortification worth? XD

SEXUAL ASSAULT CAKE. God. Yuuko would probably commission one baked after the fact...

Date: 2012-04-30 10:52 am (UTC)
eijentu: (domestic kink is domestic)
From: [personal profile] eijentu
Ninja G-string. The natural heft of Yuuko's breasts. Kakei's arm snaking around Saiga's waist. Binding. 'Boy-o'.



Date: 2012-04-30 06:54 pm (UTC)
tarmachan: (Yuuko)
From: [personal profile] tarmachan
"...flung with all the grace and strength of a yakuza-trained elephant in sunglasses." PFFFFTTTTTTT

It's been so long, Yuuko! I missed you and your gravity-defying boobs!!! And the aim of the masterplan was genius- I can see the angry confusion on Kuro-laundry's face XDDDDD


Date: 2012-05-01 11:51 pm (UTC)
mikkeneko: (yuuko)
From: [personal profile] mikkeneko
I laughed so hard at Saiga in the kitchen XD I can just imagine him, and Watanuki's consternation at having his kitchen invaded... and then Saiga turns out to be a fabulous cook!

But really, the best part was Kakei's precognition vs. Yuuko's ... whatever it is that holds up her boobs XDDD Because seriously, THAT'S witchcraft!

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