Title: Days of Our Wings, Chapitre 5: The Moment of Fundamentalism
Disclaimer: not mine
Summary: In which Uakari blatantly abuses MK Rayearth characters and attempts to pull off a joke about fundamentalist yaoi-fangirl culture and fails miserably. The Holy Book of CLAMP must never be denied.
Notes: this was inspired by accidentally reading the message boards at MangaFox and laughing my ass off for an hour at the shipping wars... I hope I pulled it off with enough tact to not come off like a homophobe (I really try not to be, but I know everyone fails now and again). Please don't hesitate to let me know if I've gotten out of line :-D
Chapitre 5: The Moment of Fundamentalism.
To keep on fighting…to see the Holy Book of CLAMP revered. Until that day…
The clearing was silent apart from the crackling of the fire, punctuated only by the occasional chirp of a cricket. The night air was warm and muggy and, curiously, filled with the stink of week-old socks. In the three hours since the group had landed in this world they had managed to set up a half-way decent camp, but were still struggling to find any sign of human life and had been thus far unsuccessful in convincing their rabbit-eared companion to spit out more for dinner than a suspicious-looking package labeled "Oscar Meyer."
"Are you sure this is actually food?" Kurogane tentatively sniffed the limp cylinder hanging from the end of his stick.
"Oh, don't be such a spoil-sport. Put some ketchup on it and you'll barely notice the charred bits."
"I'm not sure that's really food either." The ninja eyed the red bottle with malice. "Food" should not need to be slathered with other "food" to be edible. And "food" certainly shouldn't piss out a stream of angry vinegar because you forgot to shake the bottle properly.
"They're made of lips and brains! Lips and brains!" Mokona sang, bouncing along a fallen log they had set around the fire. "And toes! And snouts! And ea-!"
Kurogane noted with satisfaction that he had indeed shaken the bottle well enough to land a nearly-juiceless tomato-splot directly on the manjuu's forehead. He grinned and doused his hot dog with the vile red glop. "Theef tafe bether whem eaten in filence."
"Waaah! Kuro-rin is such a bast-!" Mokona was cut off by a rush of cold water pouring down its head.
"What was that?"
"Waaah! Kuro-rin is thirsty!" Mokona quickly corrected, coughing a magnum of sake.
"That's better. Have a cookie."
Mokona quickly snatched the morsel of hot dog Kurogane threw at it, then jumped to the safety of Fay's shoulder and made an impressively rude gesture for a creature with no fingers.
"You're in quite the mood tonight," the magician chuckled, snuggling his face against their furry companion. "What's got you so worked up?"
"Hmph." Kurogane uncorked the bottle and tipped it back.
"Well, I suppose there's only one way to make Kuro-sama more comfortable…" Fay cooed, batting his eyes.
The ninja raised an eyebrow. "Oh yeah?"
"Yep!" With a quick motion the magician plucked the bottle of sake from his surprised companion's hand and danced away from the fire.
The mage's maniacal laughter pierced the quiet night as Kurogane slowly got to his feet.
"Manjuu, my sword."
* * * * *
A loud crash from outside the tent shook Fay out of an otherwise pleasant sleep. He opened his eyes to see Syaoran sitting bolt upright, also awakened by the noise. The ninja was nowhere to be seen.
The wizard rolled his eyes and crawled slowly toward the door flap. Pulling himself half-way out with his elbows, he turned his head to look upward, squinty-eyed and still groggy with sleep. "Seriously, Kuro-rin, it's too early for this shi…"The green-haired man staring back at him did not look amused.
* * * * *
Kurogane grunted as he slung the goat over his shoulder. He was still in a bit of shock at how difficult it had been to take down – it was only a goat after all, but it had run faster than any goat he'd ever seen (which, to be fair, hadn't actually been that many, but he was fairly certain they weren't supposed to go that fast or scream that loud…). He headed back toward the camp.
He had been woken hours earlier by a disgustingly bright pink light burning through his eyelids. After opening his eyes to an even more disgustingly bright pink tent canvas over his head, he had decided that going back to sleep wasn't an option. It was only as he had crawled out between the two halves of the damned cat's face printed on the door flaps that he'd decided he needed to kill something.
At least now they had something for breakfast that wasn't a pasty meat-like-substance packed into little tubes.
A loud clatter caught his attention, and he picked up his pace. He had hoped to have the goat on a spit and roasting before the mage woke up and started interfering, but if he had to physically restrain him, he was well warmed-up from the hunt.
He didn't like the look of the green haired man standing in front of the tent.
"Oi," he growled, swinging the goat down next to the fire to land with a thud.
"Um, Kuro-sama, before you go all angry ninja on this guy…" Fay began, quickly packing supplies into Mokona.
"We need to leave here. It's not safe," Syaoran finished, collapsing the tent with a swift movement .
"This is a dangerous place to camp," the green-haired stranger supplied, stretching a hand forward, "I'm Ferio. I'll escort you to our compound, where you're welcome to stay."
Kurogane narrowed his eyes and wondered just what this Ferio could have told the other men to make them pack up and turn tail like scared kittens.
Ferio lowered his hand and stared at the goat the ninja had dropped. "You didn't eat any of that, did you?"
"Good. Don't eat that. Never eat that."
* * * * *
The "compound" seemed to be little more than several dome-shaped pod structures surrounded by a barbed wire fence, Kurogane noted with more than a hint of distain. He was, however, impressed by sheer number of weapons littering the lawn. It wasn't every day you ran across a hovel defended by 16 Gatling guns, several dozen swords, and what appeared to be cartons upon cartons of grenades.
The collection of what appeared to be cars resting on cinder-blocks wasn't what he would normally classify as "impressive," but was intimidating nonetheless.
"What did you say the name of this country was?"
"Toyota," Ferio replied, leading the travelers into the largest of the pods, "Though I wouldn't really call it a country. Not anymore."
Kurogane had reached his breaking point. "Can we cut the cryptic bullshit already?"
"Of course, of course," the green-haired man replied, "Welcome to Toyota – lord knows how you got here without reading the road signs." He opened a door and gestured, "Please, feel free to relax a bit and I'll get some food prepared. We can talk more then."
"WAAAK! I'M COMING!"
The travelers' attention was drawn toward a four-winged bird perched in the corner of the room. Ferio rolled his eyes.
"This is Windam," he grunted, throwing a stray rock at the bird, "He has the unfortunate habit of repeating the last thing anyone says back to them. Do try not to kill him," He turned to leave the room, muttering "though I won't miss the little bastard if you did…" under his breath.
Fay looked closely at the bird. It seemed…familiar somehow.
* * * * *
Lunch was a casual affair, with all the participants seated cross-legged around a round table. Bowls of cooked greens and beans were passed around with loaves of bread.
Despite the casual atmosphere, Syaoran felt himself creeping closer to the brink of a full-on panic attack. His "admirers" from Nihon had returned to torture him. The bizarre colors of their hair made them impossible to mistake; though fortunately this familiarity appeared to be one-sided. The blue-haired one was returning his look of utter terror with faint amusement, while the blond appeared worried that he might keel over. The pink-haired one, however – Hikaru, she had called herself – was casting a death glare in his direction.
Syaoran stared at the plate in front of him and tried to ignore the dark-haired man seated next to her and the aggressive way she yanked at the chain attached to his collar.
Fay cleared his throat. "So, you're the last women in the area…"
"Yes," the blond girl said sadly, blinking back tears, "thanks to that…that…yaoi-worshiping cult."
"Don't cry, Fuu," Ferio carefully wiped away a tear from her eye, "This is still our home." He rubbed her shoulder affectionately.
Kurogane felt he might lose his appetite.
"Our ancestors worked long and hard to build this country," Ferio continued, "It was damned hard to build an economy completely around auto racing as well. It required a careful mixture of hard work, faith, and left-hand turns. And then they showed up, claiming to understand the true will of the almighty and slowly converted most of the men with their fancy cardboard signs and promises of tantric salvation." He scoffed. "They drove the women away and then turned toward the goats."
No, Kurogane was certain he had lost his appetite.
"Tantric what?" Fay asked.
"Salvation," the blue-haired girl supplied, feeding a piece of bread to the small blue lizard sitting near her plate. "Bad Celes!" she screamed as the lizard spit a stream of water out onto the table. She continued, dumping the reptile unceremoniously onto the ground, "All of their nonsense started during the Great Shipping War of '07. They're splitters with funny ideas about pairings. And don't get me started on their 'holy book.' A woman would have to be insane to stay here."
"But you're still here," Kurogane noted.
"Yes, well, it's difficult to leave when your entire source of income is tied to auto racing as ours is. There really isn't anywhere else where we could make a living, much less uphold our current standard of living."
"And besides, we'll either breed them out of existence or bomb them into next Thursday."
Fay swallowed forcefully. "I wonder which is more likely?"
"What Umi is trying to say…" Ferio began, but was abruptly cut off as a large, firey red wolf galloped into the room and began humping his leg to a surprisingly steady tempo.
"Goddammit Rayearth!" Hikaru threw her fork down on the table. "How many times do I have to tell you that we do NOT hump in the kitchen?"
"You know," Umi muttered, rolling her eyes, "you wouldn't have this problem if you'd just get him fixed…"
* * * * *
"Alright, manjuu," Kurogane growled once they were alone in their room, "This place is too weird. Get us out of here right now before something goes wrong."
"Mokona isn't taking Kuro-jerkface anywhere until he apologizes!"
"This isn't helping," Fay sighed, grabbing the ninja's wrist before he was able to take a swing at Mokona. "Please, just apologize. This place is…eerie. Guns, cars, and religion should never be this closely intertwined. And, I think their little 'pets' are somehow related to the Kudan we had in Hanshin country. I really don't want to find out what they're capable of if they're upset."
"And did you notice the dark-haired guy at lunch?" Syaoran joined in.
"Yeah," Kurogane grunted, "What the hell was that about?"
"I didn't even mean the chains. We've met him before. In Infinity."
"Lantis," Fay grumbled, carefully suppressed memories bubbling to the surface. "Please Kuro-tan, just apologize, and let's get out of here."
"That's not a real apology."
"DAMMIT MANJUU!" Kurogane lurched for the rabbit-eared bane of his existence and missed.
"Now you have to apologize TWICE!"
"Oh for fuck's sake…"
"WAAAK! DAMMIT MANJUU!"
"And now there are two talking fuzz-bags I'm going to kill."
* * * * *
Dawn had not yet broken when the sirens began to wail. The three men bolted up from their beds, searching in vain for any clue as to what was happening.
"What is this?" Syaoran barked.
"WAAAK! NOT WITH THE CAT WATCHING!"
Kurogane was tempted to be amused at what he knew very well must have been the kid's sleep-talk, but had more pressing matters to attend to. Fay was currently half awake and in the process of conjuring a string of characters he recognized as an attack capable of blasting through a rock wall. Kurogane, however, had enough sense about him to suspect that they would be buried by the rickety pod structure once the blast hit.
"Not in here!" he screamed, knocking the mage's arm down a moment too late. The blast ripped open the wall into the hallway.
"WAAAK! GOODNIGHT SNOOKYWOOKUMS!"
Kurogane froze, momentarily torn between throttling the bird and escaping through the hole Fay had just created.
"In here! I can hear the damned bird!"
The trio stared as a familiar looking tall man and what appeared to be no more than a boy ran in through the blasted wall.
"Dammit," the kid cursed, "He's not in here."
"Oi!" a third voice joined the fray, "I've got him! Let's get out of here!"
The last thought Kurogane had as he face-planted was to wonder how that bird had gotten so damned…big all of a sudden.
* * * * *
"You always have to get on the bad side of the animals, don't you?"
Kurogane barely had one eye open, but didn't even need that to know that Fay was less than happy.
"What?" he looked around, "Where the hell are we now?"
"Well, considering the door is locked and the windows are barred, I'd have to say we're in prision, which you should be well-acquainted with" Fay laughed, "And I have no idea how we got here. The last thing I saw was the parakeet's fiery friend lunging toward my head."
"And you couldn't just break us out of here? Where's the kid...?"
"He's over there. Still knocked out, before you ask. It's a bit difficult to sling you both over my shoulder, you know, especially when Mokona is hyperventilating and sucking most of the oxygen out of the air."
"There's no need to get pissy."
"You have no idea what pissy looks like."
"I think I have a vague idea." Kurogane rubbed his head, fingers closing protectively over a newly-formed lump. He wondered why, if the mage was so concerned, he hadn't simply transported them out of here.
Fay sat down. His head ached from the concussion he'd sustained when the fiery red wolf, responding to the enraged parakeet's cries, had torn into their room and repeatedly slammed his forehead against the floor to a surprisingly steady tempo. His hands were shaky; he didn't trust himself to write a spell to boil eggs, much less transport them across dimensions. "I figured it was better to just wait here until we knew what we were dealing with than to accidentally turn us all into newts."
As fate would have it, the prisoners wouldn't have long to wait to know what they were dealing with. Within minutes, a familiar trio entered the room.
Kurogane was not pleased. Eagle Vison ,Geo Metro, and the enigmatically named Lantis (though Kurogane had a sneaking suspicion the man was part of the Mazda family…). He knew the tall guy that had burst into their room earlier had looked familiar. He hadn't been particularly fond of the trio when they had met their dopplegangers in Infinity, but the look of pure lechery coming from the bushy eye-browed man made him appreciate their "hospitality" even less. "Are you part of the cult they told us about?" he asked flatly.
"Cult?" Eagle seemed genuinely taken aback, "We are followers of the one true Nanase, author of the Holy Book of CLAMP! They're the heretics that refuse to adhere to scripture!"
"They get all of their teachings from the watered down rantings of animated television preachers!" Geo exclaimed. "They have no idea the true teachings of the Holy Book of CLAMP!"
"So you weren't raiding their compound to steal their women?" Fay asked carefully.
"What? No!" Eagle sounded indignant. "We just wanted Lantis back! He's on our team after all! Those bitches keep stealing him!"
"And you haven't…you know – with the goats?"
"With the goats…? What? Geo sings to them every morning before he milks them. He has a beautiful voice."
"Whatever," Eagle grunted, "They're always accusing us of doing something with barn animals. They know they can't win against us logically, so they spread around filth."
"Not that it matters," Geo added sullenly, "Even though we got Lantis back, we're still short on team members. AND we can't count on him not to switch teams again." He eyed the dark-haired man standing in the corner, looking bored.
"They made me a very reasonable offer," the other countered.
"We found you wearing a dog collar, chained to the bed."
"Yes, but you didn't ask my opinion."
"It is WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF CLAMP that you will play for our team."
"I think you might be digging a little bit too deep into the subtext."
"Whatever, you're on our team for sure," Eagle snipped.
"Um, could I ask why we're here?" Fay asked, almost too tactfully.
"Oh, um, yeah."
"We thought you looked out of place there, so we brought you with us."
"And the locks…?"
"For your own protection. Seedy bunch of sinners that live around here."
"They really shouldn't lie," Lantis said, stepping forward, "They need a pit crew and cheerleaders and thought that you looked like the type to help them."
"So they locked us in a room. With bars on the windows."
"No one ever accused them of being subtle."
"Look, you all seem like you'd make great additions to our team…so would you consider joining us?" Eagle gasped, working his face into a surprisingly lippy pout.
"I don't know about that kid," Geo said, eyeing Syaoran suspiciously. "He's not giving off the right vibe."
"No, you're right," Eagle agreed, turning his attention back to the ninja and the mage, "but you two certainly seem to be an excellent fit for our team. We can overlook your friend's shortcomings if it means victory. Will you assist us in defeating the heretics?"
"We don't know anything about your vehicles and really…" Fay started.
"That's fine," Geo interrupted. "We can teach you."
"Ok…" the magician trailed off. He wasn't sure if this compound was as heavily armed as the last, but he was fairly certain that participating in a race would be less work than escaping through a rain of heavy artillery fire. He knew for a fact that it would be less work than transporting the four of them to a new dimension would be.
Kurogane grunted. His memory of a weakened Fay requiring far too much assistance and being far too exacting with his cooking instructions after the last time he had transported them to a new world without the help of Mokona was far too fresh to ignore. Surely no one could be expected to boil that number beets a second time. Against his better judgment, he agreed.
"Yes!" Eagle shouted, adding a skip in his step, "Now we are assured a victory!"
"Here, take this," Eagle pressed a thick volume into Fay's hands. "Read over it well tonight, for it shall surely guide you in your devotions."
Kurogane exhaled a deep sigh of despair.
* * * * *
"No, that's still not an apology," Mokona insisted, hopping away from Kurogane.
"What do you want me to do?"
"Give me a kiss and tell me you'll never be mean again."
"I'm not kissing you."
"Then we're not leaving."
"Fine," Kurogane grumbled, "Stupid manjuu."
"Can you read any of the text, Syaoran?" Fay asked, leaning over the other's head.
"I can read it, but I don't have a clue as to what it's supposed to mean…"
"Well, it's all written in verse, and it's some of the strangest stuff I have ever read. And, it seems that more than half of the pages have been torn out," Syaoran turned to face the wizard and the ninja. "Listen to this: 'Chapter 10, Verse 6: Woe to ye who be a woman with discernable sexual agency, for this shall all end in tears, I just know it.' Or 'Chapter 10, Verse 18: Deny ye not the Church of Man Love, lest the almighty be forced to pluck another eye.' That last is cross-referenced to the book of Bowie, psalm 'Moonage Daydream', Verse 2, which I can't actually seem to find in here. And then, the last couple of pages just read 'KAWAII! KAWAII! KAWAII!' I have no idea what to make of it."
Syaoran thought he heard the magician giggle, but when he brought their eyes together he noted the deadly serious look on his companion's face.
Fay shifted uncomfortably and wondered exactly what vibe he and Kurogane were giving off that made their hosts so eager to have them on their "team". He had encountered many strange phenomena and even stranger religions in his time, but he wasn't one to abide silly superstitions (not after being locked in death's valley for so long) and he certainly wasn't one abet the ritual shunning of one of his dearest friends because of the selected rantings of a "holy book." "Come on Kuro-rin, pucker up; I don't think we want to hang around here much longer."
* * * * *
The following days were spent changing tires, pumping gas, and milking goats.
Fay had been quickly selected to work with the pit crew; his swift, nimble fingers and easy familiarity with engines proving to be a huge boon to the racing team.
Kurogane, however, having banished their experiences in Piffle Country to the darkest recesses of his memory, had been relegated to the cheering squad. He would have complained (loudly and violently), if he hadn't been concerned for the kid.
Syaoran had been all but forgotten by their "hosts." Each morning, he was greeted with the requisite kindness, and quickly shuffled away with whatever reading Eagle had prepared for him that day, always under the pretense of being "cured." Kurogane wasn't sure what the kid needed to be "cured" of, but he was fairly sure that these fundamentalist nutbags had nothing to offer that would leave the kid better off than he already was. The only good part of this daily exercise was the translations the kid would report back daily.
"Chapter 18, Verse 10: Woe be to the Blondy, for to him shall fall the lion's share of despair. Whether in the form of a FUBARed childhood or chronic illness, way to go white boy."
Fay rolled his eyes.
"Chapter 19, Verse 34: Pedophilia rests in the eye of the beholder. Let no span of ages be too wide to unite your love."
"Maybe they're Catholic…"
"No, I think they said 'over-zealous yaoi-fangirls'."
"I think you mean 'fan-boys.'"
"Whatever, let the kid keep reading."
"Chapter 43, Verse 12: Seriously dude, don't make us pluck another eye."
* * * * *
Finally, after weeks of preparation, the day of the race was upon them.
Kurogane was relieved that his "cheerleading" duties were limited to holding up signs announcing how much the almighty Nanase loathed heretics. The uniform ruffled skort and mesh top was nothing to him as he scornfully eyed the miniskirts and unshaved legs of the competition. He was, however, uncomfortable with several of the signs' illustrations depicting the "correct" way to practice the faith. Although, he supposed there really was no good way to depict an empty eye-socket with finger paints...
Syaoran and Mokona, unwilling to simply warm the bleachers, had joined the ninja with signs of their own, though they had chosen their attire more carefully.
Fay was…bored. Watching cars take left turns for hours on end was nearly as exciting as watching paint dry. He racked his brain desperately for a way to convince the ninja to apologize to Mokona so they could be on their merry way out of this god-forsaken (or over-saturated, as it seemed) world.
The cars rounded their final turn, Hikaru and Eagle slamming on their gas pedals as they approached the finish line. They raced, front end to front end, toward the finish line.
From the sideline, Lantis blew a kiss.
In the resulting shouting match between the drivers over who said kiss had been directed at, both looked away from the track. Their front tires locked.
Kurogane barely had time to force the others out of the way as the cars came careening toward them. In his confusion, he tripped, falling face-forward into the manjuu.
* * * * *
"Kurogane is a terrible kisser!"
"Shut up, Manjuu!" The ninja had turned a bright shade of red.
"You didn't need to use so much tongue! Mokona almost died!"
"I SAID SHUT UP!"
"Mokona's epiglottis is very important for keeping cake out of my lungs! It's not some sort of sexy goal!"
Syaoran scooped up the white ball of fluff before the ninja could draw his sword. At least they had escaped the wreckage. And that world. That was enough for now.
* * * * *
The medical team was, fortunately, well-equipped to deal with eye injuries. They were not, however, used to dealing with so many victims of the almighty's wrath at once. The lead physician looked at the motley trio and wondered what kind of sins the red haired girl and her two male companions had committed.
"Chapter 10, Verse 18," the blond man muttered.
"But she lost her eye as well," the dark haired one answered. "What the hell is that supposed to mean? There's never been a three-way-eye-pluck-pairing before."
"I guess we're back to where we started."
"I guess so."
"Rematch next week?"
End notes: Mokona's comment about the uvula "not being a goal" is lifted from...somewhere. I can't remember entirely - I believe it was Coupling...