Disclaimer: not mine
Summary: Fornication galore! Hot Mokona on Mokona action! Roof-top squelching! AND, Syaoran finally talks Watanuki out of his shorts...
The Extra-Special, Abominably Smutty, Astoundingly Cracked-Out Omake (Part Deux)
Kurogane felt he could lie like this forever. It was fast approaching two in the morning – at least according to the neon light flashing on the alarm clock across the room, which he wasn't entirely certain he wanted to trust anyway – but he was fighting back sleep. All the bizarre worlds they traveled to, all the infuriating people they encountered, the AMS bouts, the Sanrio MegaCorp nonsense…everything seemed worth it to be able to lie here like this – blond hair pooled across his chest, a pale leg curled up over his own, warm breath tickling his skin as the man settled in the crook of his arm murmured in his sleep.
He smiled. Yes, all of that was definitely worth it.
He let his eyes drift closed. Slumber was fast overcoming him, and though he would have liked to savor a few more moments of peaceful silence nestled next to the wizard, he found he wasn't able to hold off the inevitable slip into unconsciousness any longer.
"DON'T CALL MY NAME, DON'T CALL MY NAME, ALEJANDRO – JACKASS!"
Kurogane's eyes snapped back open as he felt Fay twitch against him. A thundering herd of musical elephants appeared to be making their way up the staircase outside.
"What the hell…?" the magician murmured, rolling away and rubbing his eyes. "I thought they said they were spending the night at the shop…"
Kurogane grunted as he pulled his robe on – just in time for the apartment door to slam against the wall and a staggering quartet of songbirds to flutter through the opening.
Kurogane drew his sword.
Syaoran gulped. "Shhh!" he hissed, desperately trying to silence his overly-excited comrades.
"DON'T WANNA KISS, DON'T WANNA TOUCH, JUST SMOKE ONE CIGARETTE AND HUSH!" Kazahaya screamed, paying Syaoran as little attention as he was able while skipping around the kitchen and continuing to sing. "DON'T CALL MY NAME, DON'T CALL MY NAME, KURO-PUU"
There was a whisper of movement, and several locks of brunet hair shimmered in the moonlight as they floated to the floor.
"It's Kurogane. And next time it'll be more than your hair."
Kazahaya stared, horrorstricken. "My…my…my…"
"What? At least it's symmetrical now."
Fay frowned. The ninja had a point… "Where's Mokona?" he demanded instead, "I thought the three of you were going to Watanuki's to collect it and pay a visit."
"We were…" Syaoran said, staring guiltily at his feet, "But…we got kind of…lost on the way." He really didn't want to explain to the wizard how they had arrived just in time to catch Doumeki as he was hurled out the front gate amidst a barrage of broken bottles and dripping bags of garbage. He really, really didn't want to explain how they'd had to spend the next few hours sneaking through back alleys searching for clothes to hide the young man's, er, shame… "We'll go back tomorrow."
"That's fine." Fay was too tired to argue. He turned his attention toward the argument festering in the far corner of the kitchen.
Kazahaya was indignant. "Do you have any idea how long it took me to grow that lock out?"
Kurogane raised an eyebrow.
"That was my signature look!"
"Well, it was-" Kurogane meant to say "stupid," but was silenced by a pale hand clapped over his mouth and an insistent tug at his elbow. The wizard had already collected their futon and blankets and was pulling him toward the door.
"Come on, I have a key. We can sleep in the office downstairs."
* * * * *
"Did you hear that?"
Syaoran cracked open an eye. The room was painfully bright and he groaned as he rolled onto his side to seek out the owner of the voice.
"There it is again!"
Syaoran stared at the trio in front of him, vaguely concerned that they were experiencing some sort of psychotic break with reality or wallowing in the aftermath of some particularly potent brownies. At any rate, if their muffled cries hadn't jolted him out of his sleep, the sight of the three of them clad only in boxer shorts, tube socks, and what appeared to be cricket pads certainly would have. "What time is it…?" he mumbled, trying not to stare.
Several loud cries sounded through the window. This was followed by several muffled thuds, which stirred the already giddy trio into a full-on frenzy.
"It's on the roof!"
"No shit! What are we going to do about it?"
"What's on the roof?" Syaoran demanded, getting to his feet. 5 am? He scowled at the clock.
"It's the monkey!" Kazahaya hissed, eyes darting across the ceiling tiles as if he expected the beast to come crashing through at any moment.
Another loud cry echoed through the room.
Rikuou grabbed a cricket paddle and headed for the door.
"Hold on," Syaoran groaned, "I'll go."
"It's fine." All he wanted was to go back to sleep, and he didn't trust the others to deal with whatever was lurking on the roof in a manner that didn't involve sustaining grievous injuries which would require hospitalization and only keep him awake longer in the end. "Besides, I have a sword…" he murmured, drawing his blade from his hand.
"Holy crap, did that just come out of his arm?"
"What the hell?"
Syaoran rolled his eyes and flung open the door. He stomped up the staircase to the roof, muttering to himself about the clear need for walls between rooms and cursing the primate's general existence as he did. He reached the top and huffed angrily, searching for any sign of the little pink menace.
A flicker of movement from the far corner of the rooftop caught his eye. He gritted his teeth, preparing for the onslaught of furious groping hands and angry simian protests, then felt the blood drain from his face and his jaw fall slack as he realized what he was looking at.
Slowly, as his wits returned to him, Syaoran turned and began the long, tortuous climb back down the stairs. He tossed his sword haphazardly into the corner as he entered the apartment, eyes glazed over and unfocused.
"It's not the monkey," Rikuou informed him, hefting the still-sealed statue in his hands.
"Sorry – it was buried under some newspapers on the counter… What was it? A squirrel?"
"No. It definitely wasn't a squirrel." Syaoran climbed back onto his futon and pulled the blanket up over his head.
"Are you okay?"
"Don't talk to me right now."
* * * * *
Kurogane sighed as he arranged sandwiches onto a platter and tried to avoid eye contact with the sullen pile of grump currently huddled against the far wall. He wasn't certain why the kid was still here – everyone else had disappeared downstairs to work hours ago – and he was growing evermore annoyed by the way the kid's eyes fixed blankly on the wall, seeming to take in everything and nothing at the same time.
"Oi," he grunted, lifting an eyebrow. Doumeki's gaze rose to meet his own, then fell to rest on the floorboards. This disturbed Kurogane, who was well versed in the primeval language of Gruntstompandscowl, but sadly ignorant of its lesser-known Sulkwhineandbitch dialect. He abandoned the platter and crouched next to the dark haired boy. "Oi!" he growled, with emphasis.
Doumeki's eyes lifted once more to meet the ninja's. His upper lip pulled toward his nose and without warning began to tremble.
Kurogane grunted. Mostly out of solidarity – he wasn't particularly eager to encourage this little display of…emotion…but couldn't deny the bonds of manliness that had always tethered him to the archer. He stalked back to the counter to grab the plate of sandwiches, pausing only to fish the remnants of a case of beer from the depths of the refrigerator before plopping onto the floor next to Doumeki.
Doumeki stopped scowling long enough to nod his thanks before tentatively picking up one of the sandwich quarters. He inspected the both the morsel and the ninja thoroughly, as if he expected one of the two to suddenly pose an imminent danger to him, but in the end only shrugged and stuffed the sandwich into his mouth.
Kurogane sighed, folding his arms across his chest. "Bad day?"
Doumeki snatched a second sandwich quarter.
Doumeki huffed, crushing his sandwich into his fist and nibbling at the edges of the resulting pellet.
"He chucked you out with no clothes?"
Kurogane twisted the cap off a beer and gulped heavily. "Why?"
Doumeki broke the neck of a bottle against the wall and hurriedly sucked away the foam as it threatened to spill over the jagged edge.
Kurogane slammed his bottle against the floorboards. "The cut-offs again?"
Doumeki gave a curt nod.
"Sorry, I didn't catch that last."
Doumeki sighed and looked Kurogane directly in the eye. "What would you do if a person you really cared about was slipping into a terrifically angst-filled depressive episode because they were obsessed with a dead person?"
Kurogane considered this. "I imagine I would smack them upside the head a bit, and if that didn't work I would slice the dead person in half right in front of them to get my point across."
"Of course," Kurogane added thoughtfully, "I'd probably chop off one of my arms or something so they'd know I only did it because I cared…"
"Oh, yeah. Fangirls eat that shit up."
Doumeki eyed the ninja suspiciously. "But she's already dead. Gone. Disappeared. There's no body to slice in half. And I like my arms."
Kurogane shifted uncomfortably. "Look, I'm not very good at this sort of thing…"
Doumeki waved a hand. "It's fine. It's just some days-"
He was cut off by the door creaking open and a mop of blond hair peeking through the crack.
"Kuro-pon! We're starving and you're up here bogarting lunch and drinking beer?" Fay closed the door behind him. "…ooh, I want a beer too…" He plopped next to the two men on the floor and fished a bottle for himself.
Kurogane stared. "What's on your lips?"
"Hmm? Oh, nothing. I was just playing with some of Kakei's new products. Look – it sparkles!" He pursed his lips.
Kurogane rolled his eyes and swigged his beer.
"Oh come now," Fay chided, leaning in closer, "You like it."
"I-" he was cut off as the wizard's lips pressed against his own.
"Now Kuro-sama is sparkly too," Fay giggled. "Anyway," he said, getting to his feet, "I'll take these downstairs if you two are going to be a while."
Kurogane rubbed furiously at his lips as Fay disappeared back through the apartment door, smearing the hateful, sticky, sparkly, cherry flavored (…hmm, maybe "hateful" was too strong a descriptor, he'd always had a fondness for cherries…just not the sparkly variety…) goo across the back of his hand.
Doumeki snorted. "Ever miss that arm of yours?"
"Some days more than others."
* * * * *
Syaoran approached the shop cautiously. Watanuki may have been his other self, but, for the life of him, Syaoran could never figure out exactly what was going on in the other's head. This inability had been amplified recently, as Watanuki had grown out of his normal spazziness and settled comfortably into a permanent state of…well…bitchiness.
Syaoran had always blamed himself for this; he'd had an inkling all those years ago when the two of them had been trapped in Fei Wong's nothingness that Watanuki had chosen the wrong price. At the time, however, he'd had more pressing matters to attend to and had decided that Watanuki was more than capable of taking care of his own damn self. He really wished he'd known more about the effects of being a shut-in for the rest of one's life at the time…
Well, it was too late now. He took a deep breath and strode purposely through the gate.
He was surprised when he found the front entrance empty – generally by this point Maru and Moro should have attached themselves to his legs in greeting or he should have at the very least been the target of one of the black Mokona's (none too) stealthy dive-bomb glomps. He kicked off his shoes and hurried in, now worried about exactly what he was going to find inside.
He froze halfway through the receiving room as a loud crash rang through the shop, followed by an impressively long-winded stream of cursing and squealing. Syaoran tip-toed toward the kitchen – the apparent epicenter of the commotion.
"…goes in there! FOOD! You know, the stuff you whine and bitch for me to make and then stuff down your gullets with no appreciation of how hard I've worked! Now I have to bleach the entire refrigerator! Twice! Probably three times! What the hell is wrong with you two? Did you think I'd like eating food sprinkled with essence of Mo…oh hi Syaoran!"
"Um…hi…" Syaoran managed as he gaped at the struggling Mokonas suspended in Watanuki's clenched fists by their ears. "I hope I'm not interrupting…"
"Oh no, but I'm glad you're here. That means this little hussy can go home with you later." He jogged the white Mokona up and down for effect.
"Mokona is not a hussy! Mokona is-"
Watanuki cut off the protest by dumping both Mokonas into a cabinet and slapping a padlock across the handles. "That's about enough of you two for the day." He turned toward Syaoran. "Are the others with you?"
"No…" Syaoran looked at the floor. "I needed…some alone time."
Watanuki raised an eyebrow. "This sounds intriguing. I'll get the snacks and tea."
Muffled bangs and shouts were becoming slowly more audible, and Syaoran turned to look at the rattling cabinet where the Mokonas had been stashed. "Is it okay to leave them in there…?"
"It's fine. I was going to throw all that stuff out anyway."
"Throw it out…?"
* * * * *
"Kuro-tan, have you seen Syaoran?" Fay stumbled backward into the storeroom, nearly dropping the oversized cardboard box he was barely managing to maneuver.
"No, he disappeared after lunch…give me that!" Kurogane quickly snatched the box away from the wizard before the other tipped over, but was surprised by the weight and was forced to set it down just as quickly. "What's in this?"
Fay chuckled. "It's pomade. At least now I understand why your neck is so huge – having to hold up that amount of weight in your hair day after day must be tiring even for a ninja."
"Hmph." Kurogane narrowed his eyes. "Speaking of hair, what is that thing?"
"What?" Fay fondled the large barrette holding his hair messily at the nape of his neck. "It was getting in the way…"
"It's very…pink. And floofy."
"Well, it was the only one I could find in the back room. The others all had tags on them."
Kurogane sighed and went back to emptying cardboard crates.
* * * * *
Syaoran stared blankly at Watanuki. "You do realize that I don't believe a word that just came out of your mouth, right?"
Watanuki's face fell. He'd considered the story about Doumeki spilling Mokona's beer in the bath and subsequently being beaten within an inch of his life to be one of the more plausible tales he'd spun as of late. Perhaps he had gone too far in painting Maru and Moro as the tragically misguided, yet indisputable heroes of said tale – it really would be a stretch to imagine the two of them able to lift that hulking bottomless pit off the ground, much less chuck him out the front door…
"Would you believe me if I told you that the margarita slip-and-slide party he and the Mokonas were having on the front porch got frighteningly out of hand…?"
"No," Syaoran stiffened. "Why do you feel you have to lie to me?"
Watanuki stared into his teacup. "We were fighting."
"Well, that's normal for you two. What I want to know is why you were fighting so viciously that you chucked him naked into the street with your garbage."
"Ooooh…was he naked…?"
"You know damn well he was."
Syaoran sighed and mentally kicked himself for ever bringing this subject up. He felt guilty for prying, yet felt he was entitled to some answers from the man who was his other self. This inner conflict was giving him quite a migraine, trying to sort out intricacies of this exchange: Was it really "prying" if Watanuki was his other self? Would this whole affair somehow work against him in the grand, cosmological scheme of things; would he be eternally punished for Watanuki's violent temper? Wait, wasn't Watanuki being punished for his misdeeds? But on the other hand, hadn't Watanuki said he was grateful for Syaoran's meddling in time-space because otherwise he wouldn't exist? Did that make Watanuki's issues entirely his fault? If they were all his fault, shouldn't he be able to figure out his other self's motivations without asking? Were the answers really as terrifying as he feared they might be? He felt his eyes begin to cross and quickly blinked the barrage of philosophical thoughts away – neither of them was going to benefit from overanalyzing the implications of their bond. "Was this…a lovers' spat?"
"Why would you think that?"
"Well…it's fairly obvious…"
"No it's not! That's never been confirmed! I'm hanging out here waiting for Yuuko! Yuuko! He's just a tag-a-long! Nothing else! Nothing! My errand boy! My…" he trailed off, afraid he might be coming off as overly eager to deny whatever Syaoran was implying.
Syaoran smiled calmly. "Yes. And it's perfectly normal for men your age to be having slumber parties. Several times a week. I totally understand."
"Was that sarcasm?"
"Possibly," Syaoran sipped his tea thoughtfully, trying to phrase what he was about to say in the most tactful manner he could manage, "I just don't understand why you can't let go and be true to what you want."
Watanuki frowned. "I don't know what I want."
"Well, then maybe it's best to not keep dragging Doumeki into your confusion…?"
Syaoran's eyes widened in expectation. "Finish your thought."
"Maybe I love them both."
Syaoran let loose a long-suffering sigh and thanked his lucky stars that his relationships had always been clear cut (well, comparatively anyway – he supposed one could argue that being separated from his love by time and space for all of eternity with only brief interludes together to relieve the inevitable build-up of sexual frustration added a certain…complexity to his relationship that most did not have to endure…). "Maybe you do," he conceded, covering his eyes with his hand, "But A) that's not really fair to them, and B) Yuuko is dead."
"But she's coming back."
"Mmmhmm. I think you should work on sorting out your feelings."
Watanuki grimace. "That might take some time."
"That's fine. But you should still do it."
Watanuki leaned back in his chair, absentmindedly fiddling with his obi and fervently wishing he was somewhere else. "Even if it takes another six years…?"
"Yes…" A flash of denim beneath his other's fingers caught Syaoran's gaze and he bit back a sudden rush of anger. "Oh for f…was this whole argument about the cut-offs again?"
Syaoran growled, cursing himself for ever breeching this uncomfortable topic if this whole incident had been caused by a simple argument over Watanuki's curious choice of undergarments. "Why don't you just take them off?"
"I can't!" Watanuki was indignant. It shouldn't be this difficult to explain to his other self that he hadn't been able to take them off in…how long had it been now?
"Why?" Syaoran was also indignant. "Have you always been this way?"
"Well, no…" Watanuki trailed off as his eyes glazed over. "But, there was this incident with a video camera and…"
Syaoran's eyebrow twitched. "Mokona?"
"No, Yuuko…" He mumbled something about a "very aggressive marketing campaign" as he shifted in his seat.
"And once again, Yuuko is dead. D-E-A-D. You live alone now, with no hidden cameras. Who's going to see you? The only person who even comes here on a regular basis is Doumeki, and this seems to be putting even more of a wall between the two of you than usual."
"He never minded before."
Syaoran balked, trying and failing to push his curiosity about the mechanics of that far away from his higher thought processing centers. He centered himself with a sigh and began again. "But he minds now, so why don't we focus on making you comfortable enough in your own house to take them off."
"I thought you just said you wanted me to stop playing with Doumeki."
"I didn't tell you to play with him – I said you need to get over the cut-offs thing."
"One psychosis at a time. Now," Syaoran paused, knowing he was going to regret the next words out of his mouth, "What's it going to take to get you out of those shorts?"
* * * * *
Kurogane slammed the drawer of the cash register shut as roughly as he could without disturbing the snoring giant resting next to it with its feet on the counter. Good gods teenage girls were irritating in this world.
Rikuou popped his head up over the counter next to him. "Thanks for that."
Kurogane grunted. He wanted to complain, but couldn't fault the kid for hiding from the ridiculous, preening, prancing, strutting, giggling, tottering, estrogen-soaked band of bi…aurgh! Why was he so cranky?
A shriek rang through the store from the back office.
Oh, yes. That was why.
Kurogane grunted and shuffled past the still sleeping Saiga. The mage had formed some inexplicable bond with the creepy drugstore owner that seemed to be based mostly on a shared love of acting frivolous and drinking entirely too much during the daylight hours. Neither of these bothered the ninja on their own, as he had long ago come to terms with the more flighty and ridiculous aspects of Fay's personality, but this bond also apparently excused the magician from the arrangement they had come to with their hosts wherein they would work in exchange for room, board, and any help Kakei could be to Syaoran's quest. Work, as far as Kurogane was concerned, did not include giggling over afternoon wine while he sweated unpacking crates of merchandise. Neither did it include arguing so loudly in the back office over a mahjong hand that customers began to ask if they should call the police. It most certainly did not include rearranging all of the nail polish bottles so that "Hello Kuro-puu" was spelled out in green against a red background.
This was all going to end right now. The mage was going to start pulling his weight around here – he didn't care how many tears, moans, or "Kurger-burgers" he had to sit through – so help him, that lazy blond was not going to be sitting around painting his toenails for one more night…
Another piercing shriek broke through the air as he flung the door to the office open.
"What the hell is going…"
He turned abruptly and slammed the door behind him.
* * * * *
"I don't think I can do this with you here," Watanuki mumbled nervously.
"Well, I don't trust you to do it if I'm not here," Syaoran retorted, folding his arms across his chest. "Besides, you're me, remember? It's like I've never seen me naked before."
"Yeah, but our faces are different, so what if…"
"Oh for the love of…"Syaoran sighed, gritting his teeth. "Look, I'll go first."
The was a soft rustling as a pair of trousers fell to the floor. Watanuki grimaced. "Do you always go commando?"
"Never mind," he inhaled deeply, steeling his nerves and slowly, slowly bringing his fingers to grasp the brass button below his belly button. He exhaled, forced the button through its eyelet, and let the cut-offs fall to his feet.
"What the hell is that?" Syaoran demanded after a long moment had passed.
"That…thing you're wearing?"
Watanuki looked down. "Oh. That. I don't know what it's called. I found it in Yuuko's wardrobe and liked the way it shaped-"
"Just get rid of it!" Syaoran cut him off.
"Okay…" Watanuki removed the offensive garment. He paused, feeling the cool breeze envelop him for the first time in ages. It felt…freeing. "Hey, this feels great!"
Syaoran let loose a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. He felt an immense pride for his other – he'd made some tremendous progress today. Now he could put his pants back on, have some dinner, and push the entire afternoon far, far away from his stream of consciousness.
"Hey, look! We have the same birthmark!"
Far, far away.
* * * * *
Kurogane whimpered as the lukewarm water washed over him. He'd lost track of exactly how long he'd been sitting on the floor of the shower, but it had been long enough to deplete the hot water supply for the building. What the hell had the idiot mage been thinking? Had he been thinking?
Just how long had this type of thing been going on?
* * * * *
Fay hissed as the cool lotion hit his back and shuddered as two foreign, slender hands massaged it into his flushed, overheated skin. "Mmm…" he groaned.
"Better?" Kakei asked, flipping the lid back onto the bottle.
"Much," Fay assured him. He pushed himself up onto his elbows, but kept his position lying prostrate across Kakei's desk. "Though I can't help but think Kuro-sama is going to have an issue with this after that little interruption…"
"He'll get over it," Kakei soothed, settling back onto a sofa.
Fay bit his lip. It wasn't like Kurogane to "get over" much. No, he was fairly sure he was going to be hearing about this for quite awhile, if the ninja decided to speak to him at all…
Still, he had to admit that the look on Kurogane's face as Kakei had ripped the final wax strip from his back had been priceless.
He sat up and brushed his fingers lightly across his shoulder blades. It was smooth. He smiled. "You weren't kidding – this really is better than shaving!"
Kakei smiled. "It's amazing the things you discover when you own a drugstore."
Fay pulled his shirt back on. "Now, if only it didn't itch so badly…"
"Oh, give it time; that goes away. Now, let's get this store closed so we can enjoy the rest of the evening."
* * * * *
Kurogane slumped from the shower to the sound of a ringing phone. His ears perked up; hope rose in his chest that Syaoran might be on the other end with offers of fantastical ways to get him out of the apartment this evening, away from screaming mages and away from the terrifying sheets of paper covered in blond curly-whirlies that had covered that office floor…
He shuddered and wrapped a towel around his waist. What had that idiot been thinking?
His hopes of salvation were dashed as he exited the bathroom and caught the end of Rikuou's conversation.
"Sure, I'll tell them you're staying. Tomorrow? All of us? Sure, I'll ask. Yep, see ya later."
"Syaoran?" Kurogane grunted as he searched for his pants amongst the clutter on the floor.
"Yeah, he says he's staying over at the shop-"
There was a decidedly dejected sounding sob from the far corner of the apartment. Kurogane looked up to see Doumeki sprawled across one of the beds.
"And that we're all invited over there tomorrow afternoon," Rikuou continued, narrowing his eyes at Doumeki, "…including you, Sergeant Sunshine."
Kurogane sighed and pulled his pants on. "Well, what's on the menu for tonight?"
Rikuou shrugged. "I was just going to go downstairs. Kakei's got a big screen plasma TV down there and it sounds like they're having a party…"
"Oooh, I'm going too, then," Kazahaya declared, popping out from behind his side of the curtain and startling Kurogane.
"Me too," Doumeki decided, pushing himself up off the mattress.
Kurogane sighed. There would be no escape for him tonight.
* * * * *
Fay settled against the sofa and poured himself a glass of wine, thankful once again for Kakei's impeccable taste in alcohol. And film, for that matter, though he had to admit he was surprised to find that this particular film existed in this dimension as well. He supposed he shouldn't have been – he'd found it in several others and had worn out its charm on his broody ninja companion through repeated viewings.
Speaking of his broody ninja companion…he hadn't actually seen him for awhile. Though he supposed it was just as well – musicals tended to make him violent, anyway.
He hoped he wasn't too put off by the waxing…
* * * * *
The off-key howling audible from outside the store had made it abundantly clear that he should have stayed away. Gone back upstairs. Read the newspaper. Made some tea. Had a bath. Gone to sleep.
Mistake number one had been betraying his instincts and continuing his march directly into the heart of the cacophonic maelstrom raging through the back office. This had placed him in the center of a crudely constructed karaoke bar, complete with idiots on tables attempting what he supposed were dance moves timed poorly to the rhythm chanted out by the drag queen on the enormous television screen behind them.
Oh, pardon. Transsexual on the enormous television screen behind them. Mistake number two had been betraying his complete ignorance on the proper terminology to use when addressing a dude in a dress. The resulting fifteen minute lecture had left him longing for the tone-deaf singing. He hadn't actually meant to be rude by calling said dude a drag queen, but he made a mental note to really put some venom behind it the next time the opportunity presented itself.
Mistake number three had been simply speaking the truth. Or at least what he had believed to be the truth: no man was able to sit through repeated viewings of Hedwig and the Angry Inch without reflexively girding his loins.
Apparently this statement couldn't have been further from the truth, and he now found himself reflexively girding his loins against six arm-chair psychologists intent on overanalyzing his troubled relationship with his manhood.
"Seriously, Kuro-sama, where is this fear of emasculation coming from?" Fay eyes burned into him and sapped the last reserves of his patience.
"What the hell are you talking about; "fear of emasculation?'" he huffed, staring at the ceiling.
"You just said you can't watch this movie without fear that someone is going to cut your balls off!"
"It's a movie about a guy who had his…equipment removed!"
"No! It's a tragic love story about a botched escape from Soviet Berlin and the heartbreak endured trying to find love in a society that won't accept you! And it also has a really rockin' soundtrack, but you can't see or appreciate any of that because you have an irrational fear of losing your proverbial manhood!"
"Proverbial manhood? Whose manhood is proverbial? You're the one always prancing around in women's clothes, playing with make-up, painting your toenails, and wearing poofy shit in your hair! And waxing!" he shuddered at the images this last accusation conjured.
"This is exactly my point! You're so hung up on your own little definition of 'manly' that you see these things as somehow wrong for a man to do! And all because women enjoy them on a larger scale than men do! I know you don't hate women, Kurogane, so why, why, WHY do you get so upset when a man does them?"
Oh, shit. He hadn't realized he'd riled the mage up enough to spit out the dreaded full-name of doom with so much malice. "I…"
"Do you find it odd that Souma is a ninja or that women in this country by and large wear pants?"
"Because those both women doing stereotypically male things! You have your definition of 'normal' centered around 'Dude-Bro' and are afraid that any deviation from that makes you abnormal and therefore less of a man! Textbook fear of emasculation!"
"What the hell is a 'Dude-Bro?'"
"Is that really all you have to say? Did you not hear anything else I just told you?"
"I heard you just fine!" Kurogane could feel the heat rising in his cheeks, "I just don't get it! Are you saying you want to be a woman?"
"AHHH!" It had been a long while since Kurogane had heard Fay scream like that. "I can't take this anymore! I've always known you thought I was abnormal, but I can't take that you won't even try to listen to me when I talk to you about it! I'm done!"
Fay slammed the door on his way out, leaving Kurogane to gape helplessly at the other men wallowing in an awkward silence.
* * * * *
Fay found himself standing in a large room, dark except for the soft glow of a candle on a bedside table which illuminated the slow curl of smoke from the tip of an incense stick. The smoke wound about the room, folding in upon itself, stinging his eyes and filling his nostrils with the scent of…bacon…?
He stepped hesitantly through the smoke, uncertain of where he was and how he had arrived here. Through the tendrils of smoke he could barely make out the outline of a bed; canopied, curtained, and staggeringly dark against the backlight provided by the candle. He stepped closer and called into the darkness. Receiving no reply, he grasped the curtains loosely.
He hesitated, sensing a Sanrio gag lurking nearby, concealed by the heavy cloak of darkness.
Fortunately, the magician's wish to cease the bludgeoning of that particular expired equine was granted as the curtains were drawn apart by a hand other than his own and he found himself staring into the mismatched eyes of a familiar Angsty Shopmaster of Doom.
"That was going to be my question," the angsty shopmaster mumbled, groping for his glasses on the bedside table. "How did you even get in here?"
"I don't know," Fay admitted, "I thought I fell asleep on the roof of the drugstore…"
Watanuki froze. "Shit…"
Fay raised an eyebrow, unsure of which part of his previous statement had set Watanuki on edge.
"This must be a dream," Watanuki supplied, eyes darting anxiously around the room.
"Oh," Fay paused. "Is that…bad?"
Fay fought back a grin at the dark-haired figure that suddenly emerged from beneath the blankets. Watanuki grimaced and rolled his eyes. "It's just that this usually happens."
Doumeki grinned. This struck Fay as odd, and a new thought occurred to the wizard. "Is this my dream or yours?"
"Yours, of course," Watanuki answered, just a little too quickly. "How in the world would you get into one of my dreams?"
Fay considered this. "So you're saying that this dream business is a one-way street?"
"Yes. One-way. I go. You stay in your own."
"Well, that doesn't seem very fair."
"No one said it was supposed to be," Watanuki straightened his back and crossed his arms.
Fay frowned. Something about this explanation still wasn't satisfying. "Why in the hell would I dream about you in bed with Doumeki?" he demanded.
"Because you're a pervert?"
Fay chuckled. "Well, be that as it may, I'm not really into voyeurism involving an eternal teenager."
"Maybe your subconscious is trying to tell you something."
"No, I'm pretty sure that it's not my subconscious that's trying to tell someone something."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Oh, nothing," Fay suppressed a smile, "Tell me, how is Narnia these days?"
"Hmm? Oh, it's just that it's been so long since I got in past that first rack of shirts I'd forgotten what the back of the wardrobe looked like."
"Is this some sort of inter-dimensional humor?" Watanuki demanded, narrowing his eyes.
"If you like…" Fay stretched his arms above his head and allowed his eyes to wander around the room. "But, more importantly, why am I…why are you…why are we here?"
Watanuki stared. "Well, you must have a wish."
Fay considered this. "I wish Kuro-sama would stop being such a heartless putz."
Watanuki rolled his eyes and let out an exasperated sigh. "You wish that every time I see you, and every time I tell you the same thing! You can't change him to fit some little mold of your perfect man! The putzness is so firmly engrained in his being that you'd be left with a soulless, limp doll if you got rid of it."
That might not be so bad…"
"I was just kidding. And I know. I know. He's just so…"
"Blinded by his obscene masculinity?"
"You could just leave him."
"I don't want to."
"Well, then. "
"Right." Fay fidgeted for a moment. "I guess I don't really have a wish."
"Well, make one up then, so this doesn't end up being a complete waste of a scene."
"Fine. I wish Kuro-sama would come up here and talk to me."
"Seriously? That's it?"
"Why don't you just go talk to him?"
"Look, you asked for a wish…"
"Fine, fine," Watanuki huffed. "I'll do what I can. In the future though, please remember that I am very busy and important."
"Well, I can certainly see that you're busy." Fay's eyes darted back to the spectral Doumeki nestled into the pillows. "Just to sate my own morbid curiosity; is that Shizuka or Haruka?"
Watanuki's eyes grew wide. "It's, umm…"
"Well, I don't' know what I was expecting…" Fay chuckled at the second dark-haired figure emerging from beneath the blankets. He turned to leave and waved over his shoulder as he felt himself waking, "Thanks!"
* * * * *
Kurogane roared as he severed the head of his demonic opponent. This particular demon had been more difficult than most to vanquish, and he stopped to grab the fallen head, relishing the thought of raising it above his own in victory.
He nearly soiled his armor when its mismatched eyes opened and it began to speak.
Well, scold was more accurate. He was certain he'd heard something about "stop being a putz" and "go apologize" come out of its mouth as he flung it across the field.
He tramped back over to the head, now sporting a familiar face. "What the hell are you doing here?" he demanded.
"This is kind of my gig now. It's the only way I can leave the house these days," the disembodied head answered.
"Hmph," Kurogane frowned. "What was that about apologizing?"
"Just wake up and go do it. I really don't like being just a severed head."
Kurogane sighed. "Alright…"
The battlefield faded slowly away.
* * * * *
Fay stepped lightly down the metal staircase, being especially mindful to not make too much noise at this late hour. He paused in surprise when he noticed the dark figure reclined against the wall of the third storey landing.
"Hey," it said simply.
"It's okay," Fay said simply, pulling the other to sit next to himself on the stairs. "I shouldn't have snapped like that."
"Do you really think that I don't respect you or that I think you're less of a person because you're…you?"
"You? No, it just builds up after awhile. Most of the worlds we travel to seem to have exactly the same definition of 'normal' you do, after all."
Kurogane frowned and pulled the smaller man closer to him. "Hey, cheer-up. This is supposed to be a comedy and it's turning into a hurt/comfort piece."
Fay chuckled. "This is true, and we can't have that."
"No, that would be bad. And probably more angst than I have the energy to deal with."
Fay grinned wickedly, suddenly aware of the large hand sliding slowly down his back. "Kuro-sama, you didn't come out here just for make-up sex, did you?"
"No." A pause. "But I wouldn't be opposed to it."
"Right, then. Rooftop?"
"We didn't get caught this morning, did we?"
* * * * *
"I WANNA ROLL WITH HIM, A HOT PAIR WE WILL BE! I DON'T GIVE A CRAP ABOUT WHALES SO GO AND HUG A TREE (I love it)!"
"Dammit, Mokona," Kurogane grunted, attempting to snatch the microphone away from the white manjuu, "You're messing up the lyrics!"
"RUSSIAN ROULETTE IS NOT THE SAME WITHOUT A GUN! AND BABY WHEN IT'S LOVE, IF IT'S NOT ROUGH IT ISN'T FUN!"
Fay leaned back into the ninja. "Just let them have their fun," he teased, waving at the group fighting with Watanuki's Rock Band console. He was appreciative of the quiet distraction the afternoon at the shop provided, even if Watanuki had insisted on walking around naked for the entire first half of their visit (he'd been more than slightly relieved when Doumeki had hauled him away and reemerged half an hour later with a fully-dressed host for them, though he did wonder about the lost half hour…). The pair seemed to be getting along better today, at any rate, and for that he was thankful. He wondered what Syaoran had said to calm the other boy, then decided it was probably best that he not know. He'd had enough drama last night to last for a few days.
Syaoran had thrown himself completely into the rhythm section of the game. Bludgeoning the ever-loving tar out of the percussion pad was proving far more therapeutic than he had imagined. This color represented Watanuki; that one early morning roof-top copulation. And that one over there was definitely, definitely this dimension.
It was time to leave.