Title: Days of Our Wings, Chapitre 9: Mage Induced Delirium
Disclaimer: not mine
Summary: Fay makes the mistake of touching a half-sleeping Kazahaya. Syaoran gets lubed.
Chapitre 9: Mage Induced Delirium
Especially if it's inappropriate, then for sure, the empath will absorb the emotion.
The kitchen of the cramped apartment was definitely not big enough for both the burly teenager and himself, Fay decided as he ducked beneath another elbow careening perilously close to his nose. He shuffled sideways and leaned as far over the cluttered counter as he could in an effort to locate the tea kettle he had been informed was lurking somewhere in one of the two dusty, overflowing cabinets. This, however, left him completely unguarded against the rice pot which pummeled into his head in short order.
Rikuou looked embarrassed and muttered an apology. Two active bodies in the kitchen was a rare occurrence; usually the tasks of cooking and bitching about said cooking were split evenly between himself and his roommate and conducted from opposite sides of the apartment. While their roles generally switched from meal to meal, there had never been a need to coordinate as intricate a tango as was presently proving necessary to allow both his and the magician's bobbing and weaving forms to occupy the same limited space. Exasperated, he grabbed the tea kettle from its perch in the cabinet next to the one the wizard was searching and handed it to the blond.
"It's really ok, you know. I can take care of breakfast for everyone. You're our guests, after all."
Fay felt as though he might collapse from happiness. The kitchen may have been his domain, but this particular kitchen (if it could really be called that – the entire apartment was nothing more than a large open space divided by several curtains) was proving hazardous to his health; he'd always held it as an unwritten rule that the simple act of cracking eggs should never result in a fresh welt on his forehead because he'd forgotten to ensure there was no obscenely tall man mashing miso within arm's distance. Not that he'd ever had a reason to actually write the rule out, as help in the kitchen from obscenely tall men was a novelty in his case. Still…while he was grateful to their hosts (and to their bosses/landlords who had offered to put them up free of charge even after the "incident" with the brownie), he had no desire to become a professional, if accidental, punching bag. He carried the tea kettle over to a corner outlet and plugged it in, skipping as he went.
"Do you think you can wake Sleeping Beauty up?" Rikuou called over his shoulder, "It takes a bit of effort, so you might as well get an early start…"
"Sure." Fay waltzed past Kurogane and Syaoran folding up their futons and drew open the curtains to Kazahaya's "room." "Rise and shine!"
The snoring tangle of blankets did not reply.
"Come on," Fay insisted, motherly instincts kicking in. He shook the bed frame lightly, "You've gotta get up for work."
"Just throw something at him," Rikuou instructed from the opposite side of the apartment, "Works wonders."
That seemed a bit extreme to the magician, so he opted to shake the sleeping boy's shoulders instead. "Wake up!"
Kazahaya groaned loudly and turned his face fully into the pillow, pulling it tightly against his head. Fay, however, was not so easily deterred and only shook the teenager more roughly. When this appeared to have no effect, he resorted to grabbing one of the pillow-clutching hands to drag the snoring lump out of bed (this being a technique Kurogane had perfected for use on the magician, Fay was both well versed in the technique and painfully aware of its efficiency). Muffled groans turned into gurgled moans as Kazahaya was dragged, inch by inch, toward the edge of the bed.
"Oh come on," Fay begged, cursing himself for accepting this task without question, "Just get…wait, are you…crying?"
Kazahaya's moans had solidified into loud sobs that convulsed through his chest and erupted from his lips with alarming vigor. Fay dropped the boy's hand and knelt at the side of the bed, gathering from the sock-muffled sounds of hurried footsteps that they were now gathering an audience. "Hey! What's wrong?" He placed a hand on the quaking forehead to check for a fever.
Sobs stretched into screams. At a loss, Fay gaped helplessly at his companions and moved to cradle the
screaming teenager in his arms. He was about to suggest one of them go fetch Kakei, the owner of the drug store below them and the boys' current employer, when he heard the door to the apartment fly open and slam loudly against the wall.
"What kind of kinky games are you playing up here this morning? We can hear you all the way down-" The smile disappeared from the burly man's face as he took in the scene. "Ah, shit…"
"You'll want to let go of him." A second, more feminine man pushed his way past the imposing figure and quickly crossed the room.
Fay quickly obliged him and stepped back from the wailing figure on the bed. "I don't know what happened, he was sleeping and when I went to wake him up…" he trailed off helplessly.
"We should have warned you," Kakei said, rearranging the boy back into his bed and laying a hand across his forehead, "He's an empath, and while he usually doesn't read things unless he tries to, he's extremely susceptible when he's not fully awake."
"Emotions, the past, cravings for chocolate…" the burly man in the entrance supplied, eying the wizard with faint amusement, "Man, you must be one fucked-up…"
Kakei held up a hand to silence the other man. "Saiga, please go down to the store and bring up a cold pack and a bottle of sleeping pills. This is going to take awhile to wear off."
"Sure, sure," Saiga grinned at Rikuou as he turned to leave, "Looks like he left you all alone to do the stocking today."
Rikuou grimaced. That damned idiot…
"About that," Kakei said, glancing at the trio of travelers, "Someone needs to stay here and watch him, to make sure he doesn't do anything…stupid," he glanced back at Kazahaya who had crawled into the corner of the mattress and was gibbering quietly to himself between choked hiccups and rocking back and forth, "If the rest of you could give us a hand downstairs, I'm sure I can make it worth your while."
* * * * *
Kurogane frowned at the cellophane wrapped crate of boxes in front of him. After several well-intentioned, gentle attempts to coax the gibbering teenager into swallowing the sleeping pills on his own had proven disastrously ill-advised (just how someone who was apparently unable to stand on his own two feet had managed to simultaneously shatter a ceramic mug and ram three suppository-sized pills up his roommate's nose, the ninja was not sure he wanted to know…), he had lost patience and, somewhat regrettably in retrospect, pinned the kid down and held his mouth shut until he'd swallowed the handful of gel caps in his mouth.
This had, of course, segued directly into the "No One Likes a Violent Kuro-sama" song and dance from the mage, complete with scarcely concealed insults to his manhood and jazz hands. He had considered pointing out that the amount of blood gushing from the roommate's nose suggested that the mumbling, keening, moaning mess of a kid was the violent one (he had also savored the delicious prospect of pointing out that the kid had likely absorbed all this rage from the wizard himself), but had bitten his tongue in favor of ending the mage's angry flailing and finishing the squabble before it started.
Fucking jazz hands.
Unfortunately, he had been so distracted trying to silence the thundering parade of witty insults marching through his head that he hadn't immediately noticed when he was unanimously elected first shift babysitter for the brat. The rest of the men left him no opportunity to call for a recount as they quickly shuffled out of the apartment while the ninja coughed and sputtered his objections.
Luckily, the creepy owner with the trippy hair seemed to be feeling generous this morning and had come to relieve him after only two hours. This was none too soon, the ninja noted, as the kid had started talking in his sleep and, while he wasn't sure whether the kid's dream was his own or something he had picked up from the magician, he was confident that he didn't want to know how the surprisingly lucid narrative involving the garter belt and bullwhip was going to end.
So now he was here, assigned with unpacking obnoxiously pink-packaged feminine hygiene products in a creepy back room with an hour to go before his lunch break.
At least there weren't any creepy cats on the packaging.
* * * * *
Syaoran never ceased to be amazed by some of the objects and technology they found while traveling between dimensions. Many of these things renewed his faith in humanity; medicines created to ward off illness and enhance the quality of peoples' lives, irrigation machines bringing water to desert farms, electric boxes to keep food from spoiling – these types of inventions fascinated him and left him marveling at the sheer ingenuity of people attempting to make a life for themselves. Then there were the…less faith-affirming, but no less fascinating inventions. The box he was currently unpacking onto the pharmacy display shelves was full of the latter type of objects.
The instructions on the bottles may not have exactly been clear (he'd never been one for euphemisms, even his native tongue), but he was fairly certain that "intimate lubricant" had only one purpose. What he was less clear on was exactly what role the cherry flavoring played. And the grape flavoring. And the chocolate.
He definitely wondered about the chocolate.
He turned to ask his shelf-stocking companion, only to see the taller boy dart quickly around the end of the shelf unit. Oh well, he could ask him later…
The massive arm that caught him around the waist seemed to come out of nowhere and Syaoran was more than slightly disturbed to find Saiga hulking over him, cheerfully leering through his dark sunglasses.
"I prefer the citrus flavor myself."
"Of course…" Saiga continued, grinning as he reached toward the shelves, "these are fun too." He smeared a drop of the contents of one of the many tubes littering the shelves across Syaoran's cheek. Syaoran felt his face growning warmer on contact, though he wasn't entirely sure how, as he had been confident that most of his blood supply was already residing in his cheeks.
"Good, isn't it?" Saiga grinned. He flipped open the cap of a second bottle while the boy stood, momentarily frozen in terror, and quickly moved to swipe the slippery liquid onto Syaoran's other cheek. Saiga had underestimated his new target's reflexes, however, having grown accustomed to Kazahaya's well-rehearsed "deer caught in headlights" act when he was the receiving end or the older man's harassment; Syaoran turned his head quickly to avoid the coming assault…
Unfortunately, Saiga was quicker and this little maneuver left Syaoran with nearly a full face of the shimmering, slick liquid, rather than just a blotch dotting his cheek.
"It…it tingles!" Syaoran stammered. His hand automatically went to his face, trying to wipe away the stinging substance, but only succeeding in rubbing it deeper into the skin, where it continued to burn. He rubbed harder, dragging the mint (…mint? Who's bad idea had that been…?) flavored goo across his nose, lips, etc. "How do I get it off?" he wailed.
Saiga barely heard the boy above the gale of his own laughter. Oh man, this was almost as good as messing with Kazahaya…and he'd been afraid he was going to be bored with the other teenager out for the day. "Oh, that's meant to stay in place through quite a bit of rubbing, boy!" he choked out between cackles, "You've probably got a good fifteen minutes worth of action left!"
Syaoran scowled, digging his hands deep into the pockets of his green apron to still the urge to rub the offensive goo any deeper into his face. Who would buy this stuff? He considered, acknowledged he probably would have, then revised: Who would buy this stuff…twice? Saiga continued to chuckle, then clapped a hand back onto Syaoran's shoulder. "I need one of you two to man the counter. I have to leave the store for a bit."
* * * * *
"Hey look, Kuro-rin! They have your pomade!"
"Huh?" Kurogane had been grateful to have the mage's help unpacking the crates at first. After the first five minutes, however, the stary-eyed delight dripping from the blond with each new and fantastical product discovery had begun to grate.
"Your pomade!' Fay repeated, waggling the jar in front of the ninja's face. "Ooh! And my gel!"
Kurogane squinted at the bottle. "I've never seen you use that before," he said flatly.
"Yes, well, not since Piffle."
Ah. Piffle. Which they had landed in right after Shara… "Oh," he corrected hastily, "That gel."
Kurogane's reverie was loudly interrupted only moments later as Saiga burst into the back room. "I need a hand," he announced.
"What kind of a hand?" Kurogane wondered.
"Nothing too complicated," the man in sunglasses informed the duo, "But some brawn would probably come in handy."
"Well then, I believe Kuro-sama is your man!" Fay waived to the two dark haired men as they exited to the front of the store.
* * * * *
"Oh come on, don't be such a pansy!"
"I thought you said you needed some brawn for this job?" Kurogane frowned at the melon in his hand, wondering how he'd ended up in a supermarket, of all places. It wasn't that he particularly minded markets, or even shopping for that matter. It was just…
"I do – someone's got to carry all this back."
…He had the vague impression he was being toyed with.
"No, no," Saiga snatched the melon from his hand. "You have to squeeze it – make sure it gives a little bit. Then you thump it to make sure it sounds hollow."
Kurogane tentatively rapped the melon with his knuckles. Surprisingly, it did sound hollow. This was confirmed as the melon burst open, spraying its seeds into the ninja's face.
"See? Now that's a good melon."
* * * * *
"Everyone having fun back here?" Kakei called, poking his head into the back room. He was surprised to see only the blond wizard sorting through and unpacking the crates. "Just you? What happened to the big guy?"
"Saiga said he needed a hand with something," Fay answered, tossing a flattened carboard box toward the door, "They left about 20 minutes ago…"
"Oh?" Kakei seemed to consider this, then grinned wickedly. "Oh. Would you like to join me for some tea before lunch?"
* * * * *
"I am NOT wearing that."
"Just put it on and stop complaining."
"The hair net was bad enough. This goes too far."
"Suit yourself." Saiga continued stirring the mixture of canned tuna, mayonnaise, and other ingredients that Kurogane didn't recognize. He saw the ninja turn his attention back to the mangled melon on the counter in front of him, trying to determine the best way to salvage the gloppy remains. Lifting a loaded spoonful, he quietly raised it, took aim…
And landed a greasy, fishy *blop* smack on the front of the ninja's shirt.
"What. The. HELL?"
"See, if you'd had the apron on, you wouldn't be a mess."
"Are you trying to piss me off?" the ninja railed, slamming the kitchen knife down onto the counter.
"That's part of it," Saiga snickered, wondering if there was any other possible reaction to being hit with canned tuna, "But mostly I'm trying to teach you to cook. You're not giving me very much to work with here."
"Ninja don't cook."
"Ninja also don't spend half an hour spiking their hair."
"This ninja does."
"I see. So this ninja is just a pretty face, then?"
"With good hair!" Kurogane growled, "Look, I can cook when I need to – this is just…frilly housewife nonsense."
"Or maybe you just aren't any good at it." Saiga sighed and set his spoon down into the bowl. "I know it's hard. Why don't you just go back downstairs and send that blond guy up here. He can cook, and you can take care of whatever 'fighting' needs to be done – I hear the shampoo really has it in for the 2-in-1 shamp-itioner lately."
"Whatever. Anything's better than this." Kurogane turned to leave.
"Poor, skinny guy like that probably needs a big strong man like you to defend him. Probably gets his ass handed to him time after time…"
"What are you talking about? He can hold his own perfectly fine," the ninja snapped.
"…Oh? So you're saying that he can fight and cook? What a man's man. How'd a one-trick pony like you end up with such a catch?"
Kurogane spun back to face his tormentor. "What are you…"
"Nothing, nothing. Just go get him, would you? There's no sense in doing this half-assed; I doubt anyone really wants to sample the culinary machinations of a kitchen n00b who couldn't tell a beet from a butt-plug if his borscht depended on it."
Kurogane hissed through clenched teeth and headed back toward the counter. "Gimme that knife."
"Put on the apron first."
* * * * *
"These look…great…" Fay trailed off as a plate of lopsided rice balls messily wrapped with what appeared to be shredded nori were set down on the backroom's table. "Did you make them yourself?"
Kurogane looked away, too well aware that his cheeks were now flushing to match the red of the frilly apron he still hadn't been allowed to take off. He grunted and set down a plate of haphazardly chopped, mushy melon.
Fay couldn't help but smile to himself as he picked up one of the rice balls. The sight of the ninja in the apron had been enough to set him teetering over the cliff into a fit of giggles, but the thought of him banging about the small kitchen next to the gigantic Saiga was making it almost impossible to swallow his laughter. He quickly bit into the rice ball to occupy his mouth.
It tasted…well, it tasted fine, to be honest. The filling was good, and the salt was just right. The texture however… The rice was undercooked and chewy, and it seemed to have been packed together with tremendous force to make up for the lacking sticky-softness of properly cooked rice. The mage chewed very slowly to avoid any crunching sounds he might be making and grinned. "Very tasty, Kuro-pon!"
"The rice is undercooked," Kakei announced, grinning from ear to ear.
"Hmph." Kurogane plopped down onto the opposite couch and snatched one for himself.
"That reminds me," Saiga said, sneaking up behind Kakei and placing his chin on the slighter man's head as his arm snaked to wrap around his waist, "They're going to need a new rice cooker up there. Someone didn't realize that the lines inside the pot are for measuring the water and not the rice… Don't worry, it was only a small electrical fire."
The ninja flushed an angry shade of red and ground his hands into fists.
"Hey now, no worries," Saiga chided, eyeing up the frustrated warrior, "We're having fried noodles for dinner, and I'm sure you'll do much better with them."
"What? You can go straight to hell if you think I'm cooking dinner as well!"
"That's fine then," Kakei chuckled, "You can babysit Kazahaya for the rest of the afternoon instead."
Fay hoped the look of amusement on the owner's face wasn't concealing something more…sinister.
* * * * *
Syaoran had to admit that he didn't mind working retail. It definitely wasn't the most entertaining eight hours he'd ever spent, but it was certainly better than a night spent drinking with Seishiro. Probably, anyway. Definitely better than a night spent drinking tequila with Seishiro. Definitely, definitely better than drinking tequila with Seishiro with mint scented lube slathered on his face. Better than doing anything with mint scented lube slathered on his face.
He poked his head around the corner of a display shelf to ensure the behemoth of a man wasn't lurking somewhere nearby, waiting to ambush him again. He relaxed seeing his tormentor snoring blissfully behind the register, feet propped on the counter and an unlit cigarette dangling from his lips. He picked up the nearly empty box of shampoo at his feet and moved toward the stock room.
"Yoo-hoo! Boys!" a surprisingly cheerful voice called from behind the store room doors. A second later, Kakei's head popped out from between the doors. His face melted into a smile at the sight of Syaoran, his lips stained an impressive shade of purple. "I have a job for you! Come on back here."
Syaoran and Rikuou trudged into the store room and set their boxes down, following Kakei into his office just beyond. The pungent smell of fermented grapes stung their noses as they shut the door behind them. Afternoon tea had evolved into afternoon wine (the expensive, Italian kind that both turned one's teeth blue and reduced most to giggling idiots in short order), and copious amounts thereof – if the number of empty bottles littering the room were any indication.
"Um…" Rikuou began, nervously eyeing not only the empty wine bottles but also the foam separators between the magician's toes and the fantastically obnoxious shade of green nail polish the blond was eagerly applying to them. "…You said something about a job?"
"Yes," Kakei smiled as he sat back down, placing a separator between his own toes and deciding on a nice shade of plum polish. "Don't worry, it's not one of those jobs…" He trailed off as he began unscrewing the bottle cap. "I need you to take this-" he tossed a jar of pomade to the teenager, "and spike your hair. Then go upstairs and help the grumpy ninja with babysitting…and with cooking dinner."
"…You're letting him cook again after what he did this afternoon…?" Rikuou stammered, "Didn't I hear him say…"
"Oh, I think he'll be particularly eager for another opportunity to prove himself," Kakei said absentmindedly, eyes drifting closed.
"So this is something you saw then." This was not a question. Rikuou had been sent on enough bizarre missions by his psychic boss to be able to read his facial expressions with stunning accuracy. This particular expression was generally reserved for Kazahaya, and appeared most often when the older man knew the teenager had just accepted a job that would likely end in some form of embarrassment or another. He cringed.
Kakei merely smiled and laughed. "Maybe. Or maybe I just have a strong desire to eat something prepared by two ridiculously tall men with spiky black hair. Either way, it's coming out of your pay if you don't."
Fay giggled and held back a snort. Rikuou reluctantly took the jar of pomade and headed outside toward the staircase. Syaoran fidgeted, not leaving his position by the door.
"Syaoran, you should sit with us and have a drink – this wine is fantastic," the magician insited, waving the uncorked bottle of Chianti in front of him. "Did you know Kakei is a psychic? He knew were coming and everything," he babbled, "AND, he thinks he knows of something that might help you in your research."
Syaoran had not been aware that their host was a psychic, and wasn't entirely sure that knowledge improved his opinion of the strange man snickering to himself as he refilled his glass. His expression must have given him away, as only moments later Fay rose to pull him toward the facing sofas, sniffing tentatively. "Syaoran, why do you smell like sex and candy?"
Syaoran froze. Kakei merely laughed and waved his hand. "That'll be the lube Saiga got him with earlier."
No, Syaoran's opinion of the drug store owner was definitely not improving.
Fay seemed to sense this and reassured the boy, "Come on, he's more fun than Yuuko and only slightly more evil."
"Only slightly?" Kakei narrowed his eyes. "Well, I suppose I'll just have to try harder then." He patted the seat next to him on the sofa. "Come, let's discuss."
* * * * *
Kurogane watched in horror as the dark haired teenager attempted to massage an entire jar of pomade through his hair. The wax coated his dark locks and plastered them artlessly to his forehead. The teenager grunted, annoyed. Wasn't this stuff supposed to make your hair stand up?
"You know you're only supposed to use a little of that, right?" the ninja managed through his disgust at seeing an entire jar of perfectly good pomade wasted. He had been perfectly happy resting in the corner of the apartment, devouring issue after issue of "Fist of the North Star" while the spazzy empthy-thingy kid dozed in his bed before Rikuou had barged in and muttered something about "help." Kurogane had assumed the statement meant that he would be the one getting help – babysitting could be fairly trying, even when your charge had been fully asleep for the past two hours – but was now beginning to wonder if maybe the kid just wanted a new hairstyle and for some unknown reason latched onto the ninja as the best person to help him achieve it. He frowned.
"How would I know that?" Rikuou countered, "It's not like I've ever used this crap before. Kakei just said it was necessary and I need my paycheck."
Kurogane snorted and closed his eyes, fully intending to ignore the kid. But the muffled sounds of irritation and intoxicating citrus aroma wafting from the jar of wax hair product made this an impossible task. He cracked an eye open. "Oh for…don't do that, you're just going to give yourself a fauxhawk."
Rikuou stared back at the ninja, lifting a questioning eyebrow. He certainly wasn't about to ask for help from this grumpy bastard…
Kurogane sighed. "Go get a comb and come back here – we're going to have to scrape most of that out if you want it to stand up."
Rikuou was surprised by the ninja's…concern? generosity? hatred of fauxhawks? He wasn't sure what title to give it, but he obediently brought back a comb from the bathroom and sat as directed at the older man's feet. Kurogane wrinkled his nose as he took the comb and began to scour copious amounts of the thick wax from the black hair in front of him. "Give me that bottle," he instructed, and Rikuou passed the nearly empty jar back. He wordlessly deposited the gloppy substance back into the jar, careful to pick out any stray hairs that had become embedded.
"That's disgusting. You can just throw the excess out…"
"You DO NOT waste good hair wax," the ninja insisted gruffly, yanking the comb a bit more roughly through the hair. "You just DON'T."
Rikuou decided it was best to remain silent throughout the rest of his make-over.
Kurogane had managed to remove most of the excess pomade from the kid's hair and had it standing fairly well on end when a troublesome thought struck him. "Hey, you're not going so something weird like absorb my thoughts from this, are you?"
Rikuou looked over his shoulder with a wicked grin. "Why? Enjoying this a little too much?"
"Hmph. No, I just don't want to have to babysit two of you is all." He was finished, and handed the comb back to the teenager.
"Well, you don't have to worry about that," Rikuou said, standing to check himself out in the dusty mirror. "My ability is…a bit different from his." He focused on the comb in his hand, which promptly snapped in two.
"So, what are we supposed to do? Are two people really necessary to watch him sleep?"
"Kakei said I was supposed to help you with dinner…"
"I think I made it pretty clear that I won't be cooking. Ever again."
"Then I guess I should get started on that…" Rikuou moved toward the kitchen, but hesitated as he saw Kazahaya beginning to stir out of the corner of his eye. He changed direction and knelt at the side of his roommate's bed, fully prepared to restrain him if the incoherent babbling and thrashing started up again. He was pleasantly surprised when Kazahaya's eyes opened and a smile lit up his face.
The pleasantness of the surprise gave way to terror seconds later as Kazahaya's hand snaked around his neck, pulling the dark haired teen closer to the bed. "Kuro-sama…" the lighter haired boy moaned, dragging his roommate into a passionate kiss.
Rikuou flailed, trying to pull away from this intimate embrace. Kazahaya had other plans, however, and locked his fingers through the other's newly spiked hair, falling out of the bed to straddle his roommate as the taller boy attempted to drag himself away from the bedside.
Kurogane's eyes widened, partly out of fear, but mostly from embarrassment as the babbling began once again. "OoooohKurosamaIloveitwhenyou'…" Rikuou clamped a hand over Kazahaya's mouth. The taller teen had no intention of increasing his knowledge of his guests…proclivities…without his (or their) consent. This proved ineffective, however, as Kazahaya took this as an invitation to begin running his tongue over the fingers provided to him, eventually swallowing them whole and pulling back up, dragging his tongue again around the tips and…
"I'll be cooking," Kurogane announced, stomping toward the kitchen, "Good luck with him."
* * * * *
The wok sizzled as the noodles were tossed with the pork and vegetables. The welcoming aroma wafting from the stove spoke of a battle hard-fought, but eventually won.
The ninja in the frilly red apron smirked to himself as his traveling companions and their hosts entered the apartment. He had quickly given up on the kitchen knife, finding it too short and dull to effectively julienne the vegetables or chop the pork. He wasn't entirely pleased about the idea of cutting food with his beloved Ginryuu, but it was efficient and his control of a long sword was much more delicate than the shorter blade. He would find a way to retrieve it from the countertop where it was currently wedged after a particularly powerful chop later.
The entering foresome looked pleased – and surprised. Kurogane scoffed at their surprise – if they thought this was shocking, they were in for a real treat when they discovered what was going on behind the curtains…
They didn't have long to wait; a high pitched squeal pierced the air moments later. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME?"
"That's my question," a lower pitched and far more rational voice replied.
Saiga hurried over to throw back the curtain and the group was presently treated to the sight of a half-naked Rikuou handcuffed to the wire frame of his bed, Kazahaya crouched above him like a serpent ready to strike. The smaller boy clumsily moved so that he was no longer straddling his roommate's thigh, and quickly cowered against the wall as he realized they had an audience.
Kakei merely smiled. "Next time, you might want to wait until you don't have company," he chided.
"What?" Kazahaya yelled, "I don't even know what the hell happened! This bastard must have drugged me!"
Saiga couldn't contain his laughter anymore. "Oh, I think you definitely instigated this yourself, you little pervert."
"I did NOT!"
Rikuou rolled his eyes. "Really? And where did the handcuffs come from? Under your pillow if I recall…"
"They did not! Why would I have handcuffs?"
"I told you he was kinky," Saiga elbowed Kakei who giggled.
Something clicked with Fay. "Wait, so you two aren't…?"
"NO!" the teenagers shouted in unison.
"Who would be with this jerk?" Kazahaya demanded.
Kurogane growled from the kitchen. "That's all on you, mage. He's been screaming my name at the poor kid for the past half hour. It's obviously part of what he picked up from you this morning."
Fay turned back to the ninja. "I can't help but notice that you not only did nothing to stop him, but apparently have no shame about this at all."
The ninja merely shrugged. "Better him than me."
Rikuou smoothed down his hair. "You know Kakei, the look-a-like gag is getting really old. You couldn't have thought up something more original?"
Kakei looked surprised. "Why? It worked perfectly well, didn't it?" He thoughtfully stroked his chin. "Besides, you really can't deny how remarkably similar you and our grumpy guest look. And Saiga for that matter."
Saiga snorted. "Yeah, it's almost like someone has a fetish for big, tall dark guys paired with smaller, more effeminate men with light hair…"
"Who are you calling effeminate?" Kazahaya demanded.
Fay looked confused again. "But, if you two aren't together, then what's the deal with all the bondage pictures?"
"That's all just fanservice!" Kazahaya insisted. "I certainly never consented to any sort of bondage, or dog collars, or wet sexy looks, or licking! Big NO on the licking! And the glove biting! Definitely NO glove biting."
"You sure seem to have an intimate knowledge of all of these pictures for someone who never participated in them," Rikuou sneered.
"You shut up!"
Kakei chuckled and unlocked Rikuou from his restraints with a key he had mysteriously found in his pocket. "Oh boys…" he sighed, "You just haven't developed enough as characters yet. All we can do is pray that CLAMP someday sees fit to finish our story and then we can judge whether all those pictures were just fanservice."
"That's what you always say," Rikuou muttered, watching closely as Kakei stuffed the handcuffs into the pockets of his long white coat.
"And I'm always right," the older man smiled again, "Anyway, now that Kazahaya has come back to himself, come eat something – I have a job for you two that involves something these four are looking for. We can discuss the details over dinner. And for gods' sakes don't touch anyone again."
Isn't Fanservice FUN?