"The Menace from (Another) Earth!"
by alyssa tay tanoko
Sturdy gold-toned hands worked in steady rhythm, topaz eyes intent upon
the task, tip of the tongue wedged in the corner of his mouth as Koganei
Kaoru labored away. His eyes flickered up in assessing acknowledgment
as Tokiya entered the kitchen, a lean length still decked in sleep-rumpled
but the hands didn't pause. Koganei was busy.
"Up so early on a Saturday morning?" Tokiya twisted back the mass of his silvery-grey hair as he put forth the sleepy question. "And so industrious? Which is it, Koganei -- feverish, or possessed?"
Koganei stuck his tongue out and wrinkled his nose. "Neither, baka. We're going to a picnic an' I'm makin' something to bring."
"*You're* making sandwiches?" A shade of horror colored Tokiya's voice. Then he rubbed his eyes, shaking his head a little. Suspicion. "...*what* picnic!?"
Now Koganei really gave him a raspberry. "I can make sandwiches, koi, even if I'm not good for putting together much else," he said, pulling himself up indignantly. "And we're going on a picnic with Recca-niichan-dachi. Didn't tell ya 'til now 'cause I knew you'd schedule somethin' else for today."
Tokiya merely scowled his reply. Koganei knew him too well.
"What?" Koganei angled a mischief-filled topaz eye at him. "No protests? No spluttering about an afternoon with the monkeys? No--"
"I have to finish my calculus homework," Tokiya put in swiftly, desperately.
Koganei put aside the sandwiches and waggled a finger at him. "Uh-uh, Tokiya-niichan. That won't wash. I saw you finish it last night before you tossed aside your book bag and fucked me stupid."
Tokiya choked on his morning coffee, then took great, tearing gulps of air. "Ko-Koganei!"
"*Now* you're spluttering," Koganei snickered, packing the sandwiches into a bento box.
"I -- I think I've got errands to run," Tokiya tried again, setting down his much and resolving to think his way out of this.
"Nope!" Koganei patted the box, turned, and flung himself at Tokiya,
literally leaping into the older boy's arms. Reflexively Tokiya caught
him, hands clasping the convenient shelf of Koganei's rear as his little
koi's legs wrapped around him with steely strength. "C'mon, I'll make it worth your while, later." His tone turned wheedling and Tokiya grimaced. Koganei too many ways to be...hem...persistent.
The doorbell rang and Koganei peeled away from him, dropping to the
floor and scrambling eagerly to meet it. Tokiya sighed and passed
a hand through his mussed hair. Looked like there was no way to get
"Ah! Reinforcements!" Koganei's gleeful cry reached his ears.
With the air of the doomed, Mikagami reached for his mug of coffee and drained it in a few swallows.
"Mi-chan! Terrific! You're coming to the picnic too, aren't you?"
Tokiya puffed out a sigh. No. There truly was no way to get out of this.
"Surf's up!!" Recca yelled out with enthusiasm, lifting the ball above his head.
Mikagami shot him a disgusted look. Yanagi looked embarrassed, then giggled. Kagero, on the sidelines, shook her head and put a hand over her eyes.
"Ano niichan -- you mean 'serve's up' ne? I don't see any beaches around here," Koganei told him, jiggling like a little maniac near the serve line.
Recca scratched his head. "Ah sou ka. Well, I'm gonna serve the ball now."
It was a nice cloudless afternoon to be in the park, sunny but not too hot. They had settled on volleyball because Tokiya and Koganei were wary of Domon's concept of tackle football -- and Yanagi was too delicate – and ultimate Frisbee was no good because everyone knew in advance that Koganei would trounce them. To a boy who had flawlessly wielded a razor-sharp boomerang, Frisbees were...well, child's play.
Mikagami retied his cumbersome length of hair for the fourth time and squared off to meet Hanabishi's serve. He and Koganei had ended up on Fuko's team -- smart girl; their team was winning.
"Yoshi!" Recca exclaimed. "This time we'll get a point, Hime, I swear it!"
Sidling up to him, Koganei gave Mikagami a poke in the ribs. "I can think of *lots* more fun ways to get sweaty, niichan," he stage-whispered.
The ball came sailing over the net.
"Koganei!" Mikagami sputtered, turning on him, as the golden-eyed boy scampered back to the serve line laughing his head off.
The ball bounced off his silvery head.
"Shi-shimatta." Mikagami fell to the grass with a thump. "K'so! I missed the ball!" He glared at the culprit, still snickering. "You're not supposed to sabotage your own team."
A brief bolt of white-gold light strobed from the sky. The former members of team Hokage glanced wildly about, assuming fighting positions, ready to face unknown attackers -- even though most of them were unarmed in any case.
Even though he'd missed the serve, Mikagami Tokiya abruptly fielded something else.
In a dazed sort of bemusement, everyone watched as a long-limbed, oddly-dressed bundle stirred in Mikagami's arms. The boy - that was what it seemed to be, at any rate - clutched at Mikagami, wildly-colored head lifting. There was purple in his hair, and green, and gold; a vibrant mixture that left its original color a mystery.
His eyes opened. He blinked. Then he gave Mikagami a long, casing glance while a grinding noise came from Koganei's direction.
The boy's face lit up and he collapsed into Mikagami's lax grip, hands stroking over flat muscular planes of pectoral. "Oh, you're my *type!*" he declared in a joyful treble on the verge of adolescent change. He nuzzled Mikagami's cheek adoringly. "This must be the Love, too!"
Mikagami Tokiya turned utterly blue.
"Na-na-na-NAN DA TOU!?" Koganei yelled, hands fisted into dragon claws. "KORA! Get away from him, you--"
"Who *are* you?" Recca broke in, eyes wide. He looked up at the sky. He looked at the kid. He repeated this several times and a question mark formed over his head.
"...and what're you doing with Mi-chan?" Fuko added, covering her mouth to disguise the snickers.
Domon blinked. "Another fruit."
"I'm Ranchiki!" the boy chirped, maintaining a grip on Tokiya's tank top as he fluttered his eyelashes and sparkled. "And I'm expressing the depth of my passion, which means this, and that..." Ranchiki inscribed vague motions in the air -- near Tokiya's chest -- with gleeful hands.
Mikagami's eyes rounded. "Not another one," he mumbled.
Koganei was bristling like a cat wetted and hissing. He launched himself at the two. "Kono yarou! You get away from MY Tokiya!"
Ranchiki's eyes widened as he took in the furious approach of the teen. He pulled his hands away from Mikagami -- and cupped them outward, facing Koganei, fingers curled. "Figa!"
A blast of white-explosive energy seared through the air.
Now Koganei's eyes rounded. "Hot damn!" he yelped, as he skittered aside in preference to losing dignity rather than frying himself to a crisp.
The molten ball sizzled through the volleyball net and knocked Recca off his feet, black-faced and smoking.
"Recca-kun!" Yanagi exclaimed, kneeling beside him.
Kagero's white brow puckered. "I don't recognize that one," she murmured.
Koganei continued his lunge after dodging and rolling to his feet, and yelled at the top of his lungs. "Hands off my koi!" -- undoubtedly enraged at the sight of Ranchiki making to slip his hand into Tokiya's shirt.
Fuko crashed to the ground. A fate Recca might have shared had he not already been knocked flat. Yanagi looked up, eyes wide, and put a hand to her mouth. And Kondo danced around enthusiastically, eluding Ganbo's attempts to contain him. "I kneeeew~w it! I kneeeeew it!"
Domon pursed his lips. "Who's a carp? Where? I don't see any fish..."
Kage Houshi put a hand to her forehead and sighed.
Koganei struck Mikagami at barreling top speed and the three boys went down in a tangled pile -- Mikagami still looking as blue and frozen as the sword he wielding. Looking as if hoping someone, anyone, would be merciful enough to put him out of his misery.
"Hey, get off!" Ranchiki squealed. "I won't let anything get between me and my Love!" At the same time he rubbed his cheek against Mikagami's, who was shrinking away.
Koganei glared at him and clung tight to his half of the slender body, throwing a leg over Mikagami's. "He's mine, you jerk! I was here first! So go find your own love, yarou!"
Recca pushed himself upright. "Someone tell me Koganei is joking, too."
"I don't think either of them are joking, Recca-kun," Yanagi clasped her hands. "Mikagami-sempai...ganbatte!"
Mikagami tried to get up, both boys clung harder, and he fell back to the turf with a little 'oof.' "Both of you," he gritted his teeth, "get OFF of me!"
Ranchiki stuck like a burr, giving him woobly eyes. "Now that I've found you, I'm not letting go!" Then he gave Koganei a sly glance. "At least...not until *he's* gone."
Fuko rallied. "Branching out, Mi-chan?" she called out, then nearly
collapsed in howls of laughter at the look of death he leveled at her.
Its effect was rendered somewhat flat when delivered from a prone position,
with two squabbling teenagers pinning him to the grass.
"Fuko," Mikagami growled, "omae o korosu."
Fuko clutched at her chest above the heart. "I'm hurt."
Koganei paused in his voltage-crackling deathmatch stare with Ranchiki to give Mikagami a disgusted look. "Koi, you're mixing up your serieses again."
"Someone help Mikagami-kun," Kagero raised a brow, when it looked as if no one else would.
"Can't; I'm having too much fun watching this," Fuko chortled.
Mikagami gave her another flat unfriendly look.
Domon scratched his head. "WHAT carp!?"
Recca was eyeing the tangled pile of boy-limbs warily. "I ain't getting within five feet of that menace," he decided. "What if he decides I'm the Love, too?"
Koganei growled at him, looking as if he were a hair away from gnawing off Tokiya's arm to free him from Ranchiki's clutches. Ranchiki gave him a smirk and a 'hee' and nuzzled Tokiya's neck.
"That's it!" Mikagami snapped, tolerance fraying. "Get off me – and Koganei, get your hand off my thigh!"
Recca dropped like a stone again, in danger of dehydration from sweatdrop.
Koganei went ballistic. "That's NOT my hand! I'm gonna kill you! Ya little creep, you're toast!" But instead of leaping up for battle, he slipped a hand into Tokiya's shirt.
Tokiya's eyes bulged.
Ranchiki stuck his tongue out. "Look who's talking! Not if I get you first! Beeeda!" His hand crept up Mikagami's thigh.
All the blood left Mikagami's face. "Yada..."
"He'd never get turned on by a scrawny, girly little thing like you!" Koganei flared, then buried his face in Tokiya's neck. A brief flash of fangs could be seen, then Tokiya's body went rigid.
Domon looked *really* puzzled. "Is the carp inside Mikagami's clothes? Is that why they're trying to tear them off?"
"Oh yeah!?" Ranchiki snipped back. "We'll see about that--"
"*Oh* no we won't!"
Fuko descended, her fingers clamping onto two delicate ears and hauling. "That's enough, chibi-tachi! This has gone beyond public indecency!" She dragged the two yelping, wriggling -- violently cursing -- boys off of the felled Mikagami and dumped them by the ruined net. "Now if you can't play nice, neither of you get dessert."
"I think I feel sick," Recca mumbled, shielding his eyes as he sat up again. "Are you sure they're not joking?"
"Ano chibi has competition!" Kondo snickered, worming free of Ganko's firm grip and the fingers pinching his yap shut.
Tokiya gave him a vicious glare. "Urusai."
Koganei and Ranchiki glared at each other and bared their teeth.
"Mine," Koganei stated definitively.
"You can't get between me and my Love," Ranchiki told him in a maddeningly smug tone.
Koganei growled and started for him, hands outstretched. Ranchiki rolled up nonexistent sleeves.
"Minna-san!" Yanagi called out, voice firm. "Lunch-time! Now or never."
There was a long, laden pause.
Finally, Ranchiki said, "I'm hungry."
"So am I," Koganei admitted. He gave the other boy a wicked fang-studded grin. "I'll whup your ass later."
Fuko reached for their ears again. The boys scrambled for the picnic tables.
Tokiya stood, swatting at the seat of his jeans to dislodge bits of grass. "Next time, I'm bringing an elephant gun to the damned picnic," he grumbled.
"Tokiyaaaa~a! Let me feed you!"
A shudder rippled through Mikagami's body.
“...and so, onna-Maze the man-stealer was resurrected, the five crystals began to glow, and a big arcane Gate opened up in the sky. Next thing I knew, I was landing in my Love’s lap!” Ranchiki concluded brightly, inching over the bench in the direction of a wary-eyed Mikagami.
The wide eyes of a fascinated team Hokage greeted the conclusion of his tale. Everyone seemed impressed with Ranchiki’s story – except Koganei, who was planted on Tokiya’s opposite side wolfing his food and making disbelieving noises of derision from time to time.
“Obviously the boy is from another Earth,” Kagero observed.
“Ka-chan, could we maybe find an elemental weapon to get Ranchiki home?” Recca suggested, renewing his attack on a burger now that the story was over.
“Perhaps, but it might be easier to reunite him with his compatriots – they have the five crystals and, it seems, the power to open another heavenly gate,” Kagero replied.
“Sou desu yo,” Koganei nodded vigorously. “Un. Un. Why bother going out of our way for this loose baggage?”
“KORA!” Ranchiki leapt up onto the bench and took aim. “Figa!”
With a yelp, Koganei scrambled off the bench and fell on his arse, a smoking crater only inches from his gold-skinned legs. His expression was chagrined. “Abunai, abunai...” He shook his head.
Dusting his hands off, Ranchiki took Tokiya’s arm. “Ah, darling – now we can be alone together!”
Koganei leapt to his feet. “Over my dead body!”
“Ne, ne,” Yanagi inserted in a pacifying tone, “we need to find Ranchiki’s friends, but first – where will he spend the night?”
“In the park,” Koganei responded promptly, latching onto Tokiya’s other arm.
“Koganei,” Mikagami reproved, tone sharp.
“Nandaaa~a?” Koganei sulked. “How c’n you scold me when HE’S got a deathgrip on your arm?”
“Koganei, *you’ve* got a deathgrip on my other arm, and right now I’m not feeling particularly charitable towards either of you.”
“Darling, hidoi!” Ranchiki protested.
Koganei snapped. “He is NOT your darling!” His voice verged more on growl.
Mikagami threw a very thin glance at Recca. “Your parent is here. *You* take him home for the night.”
Recca raised his hands in defense. “I’d rather be dead.”
Mikagami looked at him, temper on an obviously short leash. “It can be arranged,” he replied between clenched teeth. Koganei began trying to peel Ranchiki off of him by main force and the boys began a tussling match.
“Mou, Mi-chan, you’d think you were a magnet for oversexed young teenagers, or something,” Fuko put in, a finger tapping her lips.
Mikagami was unamused. “Shut. Up.”
“Ara, he can’t stay with us,” Kagero hastened to say, as Ranchiki clung to Mikagami’s neck like a dead albatross and Koganei pulled at his legs, growling. “Not with all our fireworks and that Figa blast of his.”
“Yeah, bad enough that dad smokes,” Recca nodded vigorously. “So we can’t take the kid.”
“See, darling?” Ranchiki beamed, smug. “Our love is proved. You’re the only one who can take me!”
Mikagami choked. Koganei turned a brilliant shade of purple.
“Kaeshite!” Koganei howled, latching onto the boys shorts and hauling. “Mikagami o kaeshite yo, temee!”
“My,” Yanagi said faintly, “what an...unfortunate...choice of phrasing.”
Recca looked as though he contemplated passing out. “Hime! You don’t really know what that means!”
Yanagi averted her eyes and blushed, giggling slightly.
“Well, Mi-chan, looks like Ran-chan is going home with you,” Fuko drawled, a wicked glint in her eyes as she delivered the verdict. “I’ve already got Ganbo-chan...”
“Absolutely not!” Koganei launched his opposition. At the top of his lungs. “I forbid it! No way!”
Ranchiki stuck his tongue out, inciting another round of tussling for the possession of Mikagami’s lap.
“No way! Niichan, if he comes home with us tonight, ain’t no way in hell you’re getting lucky!”
Everyone pretended devoutly not to hear that. Except Domon, who honestly didn’t.
“I had assumed that would be the case,” Mikagami muttered, expression dour.
Domon finally blinked and focused on the tousled, multi-colored head. “That fruit is not coming home with me.”
And so by unanimous consent – or nearly so, considering Koganei’s violent opposition and Mikagami’s extreme displeasure – team Hokage abandoned Mikagami to the tender services of the leggy boy from another Earth.
“I swear,” Mikagami said, very quiet and calm, Ranchiki’s arms still shackled ‘round his neck, “I will get you ALL for this.”
“Darling!” Ranchiki chirped, “I hope you have a big, big double bed!”
It was going to be a torturously long night.
“Darling! Darling, matte-o!!”
“Niichan!! Wait up!!”
When faced with two hormonally-turbocharged, undersized, gay young males, Mikagami did the only thing possible to save life, limb, and sanity.
He fled for his life.
“HIDOI!!!” two voices screeched as he slammed the door shut very nearly on their noses, locking it before either could turn the handle and begin the never-ending tussle for possession of his body. He was starting to think Fuko had something right. How else could he be attracting such determined, amorous pursuit if he were *not* a magnet for oversexed young teenagers?
“Neither of you are sleeping with me!” he shouted. “Let’s make that clear, right now!”
Mikagami felt unease stir in the pit of his stomach when, instead of full-voiced arguing behind the door, he heard some urgent whispering. Like that of two conspirators.
“I have a sword, and I will USE it!” he added loudly.
A giggle. “So what? I’ve got one too.”
More naughty giggling. “My weapon is bigger than your weapon, Mi-nii-chan.”
“Don’t call me that!” Tokiya exhaled in a strangled sort of gasp. He’d perfected the sound from long practice.
“Reeeeally?” a hushed, awed alto. “Yours is bigger than his??”
“Well, my Kougon Anki is.”
Tokiya sat down on the floorboards with a thud. He winced. He really was too bony – er, back there – to take any sort of fall comfortably, unless it were on a mat. Did their minds NEVER leave the gutter? Then he remembered the part about oversexed, teenage, and MALE. Three reinforcing terms if there ever were any.
*Wait,* Tokiya considered, *I’m teenage and male and... technically, being with Koganei could be considered oversexed... considering how often we do it...* Then he realized he was mentally babbling and concentrated his efforts on detecting the latest schemes of the two terrors. They had fallen suspiciously silent once more. Did Koganei have lock picks on him? He tried to remember.
“The sooner you go to bed,” Tokiya tried, “the sooner you can torture me in the morning.”
“MY LOVE!” A thud hit the door. “Can I shower with you in the morning!?”
“Baka!” Another thumping noise, probably Koganei’s fist on Ranchiki’s head. “You’re supposed to jump him when he *opens* the door.”
“You HIT me!! FIGA!!”
Tokiya winced at the subsequent shattering sound. Koganei was very adept at dodging. Unfortunately, certain items in his home were not graced with that ability.
“Koganei! Stop baiting Ranchiki!” It was difficult indeed, he mused, to be an effective authority figure when one was hiding behind a sturdy, locked door.
“See!? My Love prefers me above all else!” Ranchiki was blowing a fat raspberry at Koganei, from the sound of it.
“And Ranchiki! STOP blowing up parts of my house!”
“Oops,” came a very small, chagrined voice. “But it was that lump’s fault...”
“You’re the one who blew it up,” Tokiya said mercilessly. “You didn’t have to try to hit Koganei with that blast of yours.”
“Sou da, sou da,” Koganei said gleefully.
“I’m going to bed now,” Tokiya said, loudly and pointedly. “If you’re half as mature as you both THINK you are, you’ll go to bed too.”
“With you!?” two eager voices chimed.
“Alone!!” Tokiya snapped, his last nerves going through the shredder. After what he’d been through today, he needed to sleep by himself! He loved Koganei. Truly he did. But there were times when the boy made his back teeth ache, making up for his usual poise and maturity with displays of unbelievable childishness like *this.*
“Fine,” said a sulky voice. “I’ll go if he goes, too.”
“Ranchiki,” Tokiya said in a dire warning tone.
It was amazing. He thought he could actually hear the *sound* of a 500-gigawatt glare. “I’ll go too,” Ranchiki said at last.
“Fine,” Koganei growled.
“Fine,” Ranchiki shot back.
“So GO already!” Tokiya exploded, moving away from the door. He got dressed for bed, swiftly and efficiently, in the rattiest old sweats he had. They were ones Koganei had condemned to death quite some time ago which he’d hauled out again. The boy never let him wear them to bed. Tonight, he didn’t have a choice. Tokiya smirked to himself. He got to be comfortable, and *alone* in his quiet bed, unmolested, unkicked in the face.
Maybe there was something to Ranchiki staying over, after all.
Mikagami Tokiya slept the deep sleep of all righteous who barred horny minors from their person with the expedient of a locked door. He should have known, however, that a locked door would not be much of an obstacle to aforementioned horny minors. When a teenager decides he’s going to do it, he DOES it – and only Defense Force-class measures would be sufficient to keep Tokiya out of peril.
Some time late in the dark silences of the night, he found a small body snuggling up to his, one hand working into his sweats. Tokiya mumbled something incoherent, coming half-awake, unsurprised to find the pest busily stimulating him by hand already. “Now, Koganei?” he murmured, hands drifting to familiar planes of chest and thigh. And finding he had to readjust the measurements shocked him fully awake.
“Dare!?” Tokiya inquired harshly, ripping away the unfamiliar hands and drawing the coverlet around him defensively. The leg had been a bit too long and slender, the chest sporting less musculature than his young lover’s.
“Hidoi,” someone sniffled. Moonlight gleamed off multi-colored hair.
“K’so,” Tokiya flinched. He remembered now... the visitor from Another Earth. Finding Koganei in bed, he could tolerate. Finding an overdramatic, infatuated hornball between the sheets with him was not his idea of fun. Besides, Koganei was SO the jealous type. “Baka!! How did you get here!?”
“Picked the lock,” Ranchiki sniffled. “Are you MAD at me, my love!?”
“YES!!” Tokiya flared. *Koganei is going to kill me...*
“Well, I had to get you when you were away from the Lump...” Ranchiki rubbed the back of his hand over his eyes, then gave Tokiya a glistening hopeful look. “So...”
“And it’ll be a hot day in Hell’s skiing slopes before this Lump lets you touch his koi again!!”
Tokiya groaned and buried his head in his hands. Koganei had arrived on the scene.
“What are *you* doing here!?” Ranchiki cried, leaping up onto the rumpled covers and whipping a gleaming silver sword from hammerspace.
Koganei looked startled, then grinned slyly, fangs peeking out. He pulled the golden length of the Kougon Anki from behind the door. “Figured you’d try something like that,” he said matter-of-factly. “As for me? I came here to get lucky, mochiron!” He raised a finger and the fanged grin dimpled.
“DIE, tart!” Ranchiki howled, launching himself from the bed and making a full-out dive for Koganei, point first.
“Taku,” Tokiya spoke to the covers. No one else was listening, for certain sure.
Sword clashed off golden madougu and the two were having a full-out fencing contest in the middle of his bedroom. “Yada!! Stop it!! Don’t break anything!” Tokiya yelped, then had to duck a wild swipe of Ranchiki’s sword. The boy was enthusiastic but unskilled, and Koganei’s expression dropped from serious to mirthful in the space of a few quick exchanges. A vase began to topple, nudged by the handle of the Kougon Anki, and Tokiya fell to the floor in a heap as he lurched from the bed to catch it. He ended up with flowers and water soaking into his hair.
And the clang of swordplay continued.
Fuming, Tokiya stood up. Water coursed down his long hair and down his marble-white skin and soaked into the band of his ratty sweatpants. He glared at the two duelling boys. They continued to fight. At last Koganei caught a slice of Tokiya’s expression from the corner of his eye and froze in chagrin.
“Ara?” Ranchiki halted in the middle of a swing, then looked where Koganei was looking. He looked immediately stricken. “Oops!”
“ ‘Oops?’ ” Tokiya repeated softly, gritting his teeth.
“Oh, shit.” Koganei began edging backwards in the direction of the door.
“Gomen nasai, darling!” Ranchiki trilled out, making to throw himself at Tokiya. He was barred by the Kougon Anki pressing against his chest. Koganei shook his head gravely.
“OUT!! OUT!! GET OUT OF MY ROOM!” Tokiya blew up.
With twin yelps of dismay, the boys scrambled over each other fleeing the bedroom. Koganei had the presence of mind to drag the door shut behind him.
Tokiya glared at the closed door, then stalked over and locked it. After a moment of thought, he dragged a chair over from his desk and wedged it under the knob. Only then did he feel safe enough to strip and go shower.
This was going to be a long, long night.
Settling down at last to his – he thought – well-deserved night of rest, Tokiya was sure that the evil duo wouldn’t dare bother him again. He should have known better. Koganei was a determined, fanged whirlwind and the newcomer Ranchiki had proved himself set on not being outdone, as well as equally amorous. Yet he’d barricaded the door, so how far could they get, right?
There was a flaw in that sleepy logic, but he was falling asleep and it got right past him.
Somewhere around two, a scratching noise assailed his senses loud enough to half-wake him. “Un?” Tokiya peered around at moon-chased shadows. He closed his eyes and the scratching noise resumed, followed up by a light tapping. He cracked his eyes open laboriously. Someone was going to die for this. There, backlit by the silver light of the moon, was Koganei on the windowsill. The startlement jolted him to sitting position. Koganei grinned and waved and motioned for Tokiya to open the window.
Adamant, Tokiya shook his head in negation.
Koganei’s eyes turned big and sad and shimmered convincingly.
Scowling at him abruptly, Koganei mimed breaking the window.
There was no appropriate gesture for ‘part-time job.’ So he responded by rubbing his fingers together, indicating clearly ‘got any cash?’
Koganei stuck his tongue out, face settling in a definite pout. Tokiya could hear the plaintive, ‘aw, niichan’ through the window, and it made him more determined than ever not to open it. All of a sudden, Koganei turned his head.
A white flare lit up the window like a comet streaking to earth, then his window was shattering and Koganei falling. Tokiya was in motion before he realized, intercepting the slight form surrounded by sharp glittering glass. He rolled, felt something cut one bare shoulder, and took the brunt of the impact. “Itai.” Koganei stirred, sheltered by his body from the fall, and sat up. With steady hands, Tokiya checked him over for injuries. “You little idiot.”
“Oi, I didn’t do nothin’, it was—”
“Urusai.” Tokiya gave him a little shake.
Ranchiki’s tousled multi-colored hair appeared over the railing. “Oops. Did I—” his expression grew stricken after seeing Tokiya sprawled in the fragments of his own window, one hand pressed to his bleeding shoulder, unmistakably disgruntled. “My Love!! Did I hurt you? I’m so so so so sorry...”
“I’ll bet,” Tokiya grunted.
Ranchiki climbed over the windowsill. “Can I kiss and make it better?” he asked, eager. He took a few steps into the room. Koganei made a threatening noise and hopped to his feet. They were about to go at it again, he could tell. This was a nightmare.
“Don’t touch me,” Tokiya snapped. Both boys froze and looked at him, silent and guilty. He stabbed a finger at Koganei. “You were baiting him by sneaking out to my window this late, and you know it.” He shifted and pointed a finger at the grinning Ranchiki, who was looking a trifle smug. “And *you* were out of line blasting Koganei through my window, and *you* know it.”
“I’m sorry about your window,” Ranchiki sniffed tearfully. “I didn’t want to hurt you.”
“You SHOULD be sorry!” Koganei flared.
“Well, I’m *not* sorry you went through it!” Ranchiki returned hotly.
“Kora,” Koganei growled, “I’ll *make* you sorry...”
“Listen, you little tart...”
“Freeze!” Tokiya barked. Wonder of wonders, they froze. Perhaps it was the edge to his tone that suggested he’d snap at any moment and beat them with the closest thing that came to hand. Or maybe settle for tearing them limb from limb. He glared balefully.
“It was him—” Koganei protested.
“No, *he* started it—”
Tokiya got painfully to his feet. They shut up under the dreadful implications of his stare. He rubbed at his shoulder, smearing crimson over the pale skin.
“Am I going to have to tie you two up?”
That beautiful Sunday morning, Mikagami Tokiya slept in late. He awoke feeling refreshed and peaceful. The smell of coffee from the automatic timer was in the air, rich and aromatic. He stretched, took care of the necessary in the bathroom, and padded to the kitchen in his comfortable ratty old sweats. Funny things, pajamas. Sure, they were frayed and faded, but why did Koganei put up such a fuss? It wasn’t as if they ended up wearing much by morning anyway. Might was well be comfortable when he *did* wear something.
After savoring his first cup of coffee, and not a minute before, Tokiya went in and checked on the boys, to see how they’d weathered the night. And if they were still alive.
“Well?” Tokiya said pleasantly, feeling almost social this morning. He sipped at his coffee. “Are you two ready to behave?”
Koganei’s dark-gold eyes were desperate. “Un. Un!” His dark head nodded vigorously.
Ranchiki’s were noticeably more subdued. “Mmf mmmf mf.” He blinked solemnly at Tokiya.
Tokiya peeled away the duct tape. “What was that?”
“I guess so,” Ranchiki stated, shooting a look at Koganei. “If *he* does.”
Tokiya’s eyes grew flinty. “You’ll behave even if he doesn’t or you stay tied right here.” He looked at Koganei. “Same goes for you.”
Koganei blinked guilelessly at him. “I’ll behave.”
Relenting, Tokiya untied the pair. He could hardly keep them tied up all day, anyhow. The others might drop by, and then he’d have trouble explaining certain... things. But it had been a long night that even the pleasant quiet morning couldn’t erase, so he was justifiably suspicious. “Behave,” he reminded them, and went back to the kitchen to enjoy the rest of his coffee, and the morning paper.
Koganei bounced into the kitchen and picked up the phone. Tokiya turned a curious eye on him.
“I’m calling Recca-niichan, so we can get this ba—” Tokiya’s brow winched up, and Koganei hastily amended it to “—esteemed visitor on his way home.”
Tokiya nodded slightly. The sooner, the better. This was hell on his nerves and death on his sex life.
“Darling, hidoi!” Ranchiki collapsed into the chair opposite him, and aimed wide wobbly eyes in his direction. Tokiya was immune. It was his natural antisocial tendencies *and* remembering the destruction of his window.
“What, did you want breakfast?” Tokiya sipped more coffee. Koganei usually made breakfast. It was easier, less messy, and fit his attention span better than the other meals.
“It’s not that,” Ranchiki sniffed. “I can’t believe you want me out of here...”
Tokiya suppressed the automatic response. “Pull the other one, chibi,” he said dryly. “This isn’t your world. We need to find your people.” So *they* could be forced to deal with the Menace.
“All right,” Ranchiki moped. He brightened. “Then I can be reunited with my Love!”
“Huh?” Tokiya was confused. He’d thought...
“Not you,” Ranchiki elaborated, “my other Love. Ahh, Maze-kun...” He clasped his hands theatrically and swooned and for a moment Tokiya thought he could vaguely detect a hint of roses framing his beaming face.
He shook his head. Nah.
Koganei put his hand over the mouthpiece. “Recca-niichan says we can meet ‘em on the outskirts of school, an’ we’ll deal with it then.”
Tokiya nodded. Drank more coffee. The prospect of getting rid of the Menace was quite appealing. Hmm, he might even feel up to celebrating with Koganei, after. One way or another, though, Ranchiki was *not* staying another night, even if he had to foist the boy off on Recca.
The boy was subdued as they set out, and stuck closely to Tokiya’s side. Tokiya, however, had *no* sympathy for this unexpected visitor from another world, however regretful he might seem at parting from him. Ranchiki had known him for a grand total of five seconds before deciding he was ‘in love’ with Tokiya. That wasn’t love. What he and Koganei shared, a mutual emotion binding the two of them and proven with instances in word and deed, over time – that was love. So he could understand why Koganei was so upset over Ranchiki’s presumption, even if he couldn’t condone it. Ranchiki was laboring over a misconception of love, mistaking infatuation for genuine emotion, and one day he’d have to learn.
Tokiya shuddered slightly. He would NOT be the one to teach him.
“Did Hanabishi have a plan?” he asked his little lover.
Koganei shook his tousled head. “Nope. I think he’s just gonna come up with it as we go along.”
“As usual,” Tokiya stated, resigned.
A dark-haired woman with spiky tousled hair somewhat like Koganei’s – with less gel – brushed past them on the sidewalk. “Suman,” she muttered roughly, turning to apologize. She stopped stock-still, eyes widening. “Ranchiki?”
Ranchiki swiveled and stared at her. “S-Solude?”
“Found you!” the woman – Solude? – exclaimed. “Good, that means only Rapier is missing.”
“Wahh! Solude!” Ranchiki bounced over. “Where is my Love?”
Koganei and Tokiya locked eyes in mute relief. It was a totally unexpected reprieve. Without even needing to form a plan, they could get rid of the Pest.
“Maze is... ah, at school! Mil-chan was going to meet her; you could join the Princess if you want...” the woman told him.
“Hai!” Ranchiki said brightly. Then he blinked, and turned back to Koganei and Tokiya, who flapped their hands – whether waving or shooing, hard to say – and began to edge quietly backwards. “Solude, this is Tokiya and Koganei, people from this world. They were really good to me!” He beamed.
Tokiya smiled weakly back. All right, the enthusiasm was somewhat hard to put down.
“Heh.” Koganei flashed a fanged grin at him. “Nice of ya to say so.”
Solude looked at them. “Thanks for taking care of him,” she said, “he must have been a terror.”
Tokiya and Koganei sweatdropped. “You have NO idea...” They kept edging away.
“Yosh’, let’s go,” Solude told the boy, giving them a parting wave. “Thanks again.”
Ranchiki turned to go, then wavered. “WAHHH~!! I can’t bear to be parted from my Love!!” He made a flying leap for Tokiya’s waist. Koganei clenched his fists, preparing to deck him.
The boy was hauled back mid-air by a swift jerk. Solude clamped down firmly on his ear with thumb and forefinger. “We’re *going,* Ranchiki.”
“Hai,” Ranchiki said mournfully, all big eyes as Solude dragged him off. He waved.
They disappeared around the corner.
“Thank GODS,” Koganei exclaimed with an explosive breath of relief.
“I think I’m going to burn incense to Hotoke-sama,” Tokiya groaned. “I honestly don’t think I could’ve survived another night.”
Koganei touched his hand fleetingly. “Let’s go home, ‘kay?”
“We can’t,” Tokiya informed him. “We have to meet Hanabishi and the others, and tell them we’re off the hook.”
“Oh, yeah.” Koganei scowled. He heaved a sigh. “All right... but after that, THEN can we go home and screw like minks in heat?”
Tokiya spluttered. “Where do you come up with these expressions?”
Koganei grinned impishly. “Been reading too many fanfics, I guess.”
They resumed the walk to Tokiya’s, and nearly the rest of Hokage-dachi’s, school. At length, Tokiya looked at his diminutive lover. “Okay.”
Blink, blink. “Okay, what?”
“Tokiya-niichan, I didn’t hear ya.”
“Don’t call me that!” Tokiya snapped, pale cheeks mottling with red.
“Well, what didja say?” Koganei prompted, eyes full of mischief.
“I said... okay, we can, uh, do that. What you suggested.” Tokiya’s cheeks grew ever more red.
More blinking. “Why, Tokiya. I didn’t know you cared.”
An icy scowl. “You weren’t the ONLY one Ranchiki frustrated.”