As the scene unfolds, the camera pans over a rushing river set in dazzling golden sands. Near the river, a game show set has been assembled, presided over by a herd of reluctant-looking red-skinned oni. Four veiled booths face the audience, which is composed of assorted bishonen and excited-looking fangirls. The stage is set....the audience is ready... the contestants are present.... It looks like the only thing lacking is...the guest hosts!
The upbeat strains of "Hohoemi no Bagudan" start up in the background. The curtains rustle, then still.
"Oi~!" Sorata yells out, "Where ARE they? I think I want my money back..."
A laden oar goes whizzing over their heads, narrowly missing the rushing river. It bobs, wobbles, then plunges for the ground.
"WAHHH~! Botan!! This is the last time I ride with you!" A spate of cursing ensues, then a brown-haired young man falls to the turf with an inglorious thud.
Botan alights neatly, brushing off her pink kimono, giving a kitten face and a "V" to the audience, then stowing her oar away in...well, you know.
"Koenma-sama!" A harried-looking oni rushes to the brown-haired man and helps him to his feet. Koenma glares at him, then glares at Botan, then finally straightens himself and looks around. "...already off to a bad start..." he grumbles in his squeaky voice.
"Minna-san, genki desu ka?" Botan beams at the audience, giving them another enthusiastic "V."
"Haaaa~ai!" the fangirls cheer. A sizable contingent seems to be from CLAMP campus. The bishonen in the crowd begin to look trapped.
"Welcome to the CLAMP Newlyweds Game," Koenma begins without preamble, all business. "Since I have paperwork to get back to, let's make this as fast--OW!" He rubs his head defensively where he appears to have been smacked.
Botan, all kitten face, covers her mouth with a fold of her kimono sleeve. "Ufufufu."
"Ano....Botan....tell me again, why are we hosting the game?"
Botan puts a finger to her chin. "Eto.... because half of our contestants could cause sizable damage to any other place the game might be held?"
Koenma sweatdrops. "Why me?"
Botan beams. "The Reikai is very resilient."
"That's not what I wanted to hear..."
Botan is already continuing. "It's time to meet our contestants!" she says brightly as the music cuts out. She pauses. Her rose-maroon eyes slide over to her co-host. Finally she elbows him.
"Koenma-sama, you're supposed to say..."
"Oh, yeah. Obviously, all of our contestants today are from the CLAMP manga and anime. Since it's the name of the show, I didn't even think I needed to say it--ow!" Koenma pauses and glares over at Botan, who appears the picture of pink sugary innocence. Then he appears to think. "Wait a minute, why is *your* name first? I'M the god here!"
"And modest, too," Botan says demurely.
"Anyhow!" Botan forges onward, expression brightly determined. "It's time to meet our contestants!"
"Matte, matte, *matte*, MATTE!"
Botan and Koenma blink in utter confusion.
The audience looks on, bemused, as a little sandy-haired chibi climbs out of hammerspace and flops onto the turf. He bounces up, then flicks sable-black wings, pats his little devil tail, and his little black panther-ears twitch. "KOITSU~~ I'll GET her!" the violet-eyed chibi vows, bouncing up. "Look at all these bishonen! LOOK at them!" The chibi is looking. And drooling, too. "How could she try to write me out of this fic, with all of these hot men!" The chibi bounces around until Botan firmly grabs him with both hands.
"Stop right there, Touma-kun!" Botan pinches one sable ear. "You're not going anywhere!"
"WAH~!!" Touma looks around, violet eyes huge. "I'm CHIBI~! NOOOOOO~!"
Somewhere, a blonde girl chuckles viciously.
"Anyhow," Botan says determinedly, "we were introducing the contestants."
Koenma is eyeing the ecchibi with suspicion. "Botan, keep it away from me."
"Hai~..." The perky blue-haired ferrygirl stuffs the Touma-ecchibi into the crook of her arm and whips a deck of prizm cards out of the sleeve of her kimono. She looks at them quickly, divides them in half, and gives a stack to Koenma. "Hai, Koenma-sama."
Koenma takes the prizm cards with a pained expression, then holds up the top card, labeled "CONTESTANT" across the back. "Our first couple... just one minute here!! This couple is both MALE!"
"Aren't you quick?" Touma's bat-wings flick. "This is a yaoi fic. Brain trust."
"It is!?" The first beginnings of panic enter Koenma's expression. "I haven't been in one of those yet..."
The ecchibi takes one look at his sincerely outraged expression and bursts out laughing.
"Ahh...Koenma-sama, please just introduce the contestants."
Koenma gives a sigh of resignation. "Our first couple is....Imonoyama Nokoru and Takamura Suoh, from CLAMP Gakuen Tantei Den!"
To the peal of many screams of "Imonoyama-senpai~!" and "Takamura-senpai~!" the curtain lifts over the first booth, displaying two handsome young men, one blond-haired, one blue, engaged in--
"STOP THAT!" Koenma hastily averts his eyes.
Botan giggles and blushes.
"I give him an eight for effort, a six for form, and a three for taste," Idomu-kun remarks sourly from the sidelines. "Nokoru should be with ME."
Ijyuin Akira blinks over at him. "Idomu-san, hidoi! Kaichou and Takamura-senpai make a perfectly lovely couple! It was a very nice kiss!" He sparkles encouragingly. "Kaichou! Takamura-senpai! Ganbatte!"
Nokoru faces the audience, smiles engagingly, then snaps open a white fan that bears the legend, "True love waits for no place." Suoh sighs and puts a hand to his head.
"Next," Koenma says hastily, as Suoh straightens his tie with impeccable dignity, "is a pairing from...." He peers at his prompter card. "Card Captor Sakura."
The second curtain parts to reveal a teenage couple, one of the boys sparkling and surrounded by the flowers of a typical shoujo manga. The sparkles and flowers fade slowly...
"Kinomoto Touya and Tsukishiro Yukito!" Koenma finishes up, gritting his teeth at yet another bishonen pairing.
Touya is a dark-haired boy who looks up from his partner, blinking, and gives the audience a neutral, level stare. Then his eye catches on a little ginger-haired girl in one of the front rows, yelling "Ganbatte, oniisan!" at the top of her lungs, and he turns red. Yukito is a pale-skinned, gray-haired boy with glasses and a gentle smile. Unobtrusively, he clasps Touya's hand.
"Ganbatte, Yukito-san!" Sakura calls out, waving madly.
Yukito smiles and lifts a slim hand in acknowledgment.
The third curtain begins to part, and Botan clutches the drooling ecchibi to her bosom as a spray of sakura petals swirls across the booth.
"Seishirou-san..." an alto voice whispers reprovingly.
"I didn't do it!" The deeper voice is all innocence.
"No, I mean your hand is on my thigh."
"Eh, well, at least you know that *is* me."
Botan giggles. "Our next couple has found love in the most unlikely of circumstances... hailing from the grim "X" timeline, this next couple has been fated to be the deadliest of enemies! They're Sakurazuka Seishirou and Sumeragi Subaru of 'Tokyo Babylon' and 'X!'"
The curtain rustles.
The ecchibi flicks his wings again, wide violet eyes eager.
Finally..... "Stop it, will you?? Mataku! Can't you leave me alone for five minutes!?"
Botan giggles again, nervously. "Well...they *are* newlyweds, minna-san..."
Finally the curtain rips apart completely, revealing the dark-haired Seishirou leaning precariously off of his stool and bracing himself over Subaru, who is shrinking away into the far corner of the booth, one hand planted in a 'stop' position on Seishirou's chest. Seishirou is a man with dark brown hair and predatory eyes, one milky glass, the other clear and dark. Subaru is slightly smaller, his frame more spare, and his hair is jet-black and close-cropped, his eyes an extraordinary blue-turquoise which can provide either windows to his soul, or become total enigma.
"Woo! Woo!" Kazumi Karen the soapland girl holds up one end of a huge banner, "Seishirou/Subaru 4-Ever!" The other end is held up by.... Nekoi Yuzuriha, grinning and cheering at the top of her lungs, complete with kitty ears.
"M-minna..." Subaru says weakly, looking mortified. His expression says, *I have been deserted by my comrades.*
Even Kamui is waving a small red flag.
"And the last pairing..." Botan declares, her enthusiasm unflagging, "is from Magic Knight Rayearth!"
"...more....more pretty boys..." The Touma-ecchibi is trying to wriggle free. Botan puts him in a headlock.
The third curtain rises.
"Lantis and Eagle!" Botan gestures with her cards.
"Kirei..." Touma-ecchibi drools. His little ecchibi body twitches of its own accord, stretching with a longing air towards the fair-haired man with a gentle smile, Eagle Vision. "CLAMP boy.... kirei..." he gushes, and Botan exclaims with disgust as a thread of drool lands on her kimono.
"I knew it!" announces a blue-haired girl in the audience, wearing a blue sailor fuku to match her long hair. She looks over at her seatmate and snickers. "Stop sniffling, Hikaru."
"I can't," the pink-haired schoolgirl sniffles. "I just can't believe they're both gay -- I mean, at least with Eagle I had suspicions, and always thought he was a little too friendly with Geo, but Lantis--"
"Is boinking another man," Umi supplies, blunt.
A third girl, blond with emerald eyes, stares. "Since when did you get over your homophobia?" Fuu inquires.
"Since I found this great slash site on the Internet..."
"On with the show!" Botan progresses, clutching the ecchibi to her bosom and nearly smothering little Touma, who was reaching out with desperation now for the demi-god beside them.
Koenma eyes the row of male contestants with something less than enthusiasm. "They're all MALE."
Botan sweatdrops. "You're still trying to process this, I see."
"Let's just get this over with."
"Hai~ ... for time considerations, we have already asked each separate set of spouses their questions in advance, and hold the answers on these nifty prizm cards," Botan continues.
"Nifty?" Koenma interjects.
Botan shoots him a quelling glance. "Do you want to do this?"
"Do go on," Koenma flaps his hands.
"Anyhow!" Botan says brightly. "Instead of differentiating by anything like age of spouse, length of hair, or even height of spouse--"
"They can't," Nagisa whispers to Utako, "because most of the guys are pretty much the same height and hair-length, and some are really close in age, too."
"Or sex of spouse," Koenma interrupts Botan.
Blank looks from the audience.
Botan coughs behind a fold of kimono. "Ano, Koenma-sama..."
"Reality check!" the ecchibi shouts, gleeful. "Both spouses are MEN!!" He makes a break for freedom and pretty boys and is hauled back by a firm pinch on one tiny ear.
Koenma looks perplexed. "How does that work?"
Touma opens his ecchibi mouth.
Botan stuffs a fold of pink kimono in it and ignores the choking noises.
"Anyhow!" she hurries on, "we're differentiating by 'seme' and 'uke' partners. Okay?"
There is a crashing noise not unlike the roaring surf throughout the ampitheater as half the audience keels over.
"Ooh," Kudou Yohji says, pleased. "It's just starting to get interesting." He leans over and grabs Ken's shirt to pull him back into his seat.
"Any questions?" Botan continues. She attempts to order her cards while keeping the ecchibi clasped to her bosom. IF the ecchibi had been anything resembling straight, his nose surely would be bleeding by now.
A slim white hand lifts.
Yukito blinks and gives Botan his sweet smile. "Botan-san, what are seme and uke?"
The other half of the audience keels over.
"Tell me I didn't hear that," Dee Laytner gasps as Ryo helps him up.
"I'm kind of curious," Ryo blinks.
Thea was staring in shock at the still-smiling Yukito. "But he's H!" she repeats for the third time.
"Well then, he's mocking you, oneesama," Priya tells her.
Touya leans closer to his spouse. "Demo, Yuki, you know perfectly well--"
"Shh," Yukito cautions, same gentle smile in place. "I have an image to maintain."
"Seme," Yanagi is lecturing a shell-shocked Takeo-kun and Otaru-kun, "comes from the verb 'to attack,' and ukeru, 'to receive...'"
"Darling!" Aburatsubo pops up behind Takeo-kun, who shrieks.
"Darling!" Hanagata pops up next to Otaru-kun, who falls off the bench scrambling away.
Aburatsubo and Hanagata spark-glare at each other.
"MOU~!" Botan stamps her foot, threatening to dislodge Touma from her bosom. The ecchibi strains towards the CLAMP boys again, and is squelched. "Enough! I am going to start the first round. Are there any other questions? I believe Yanagi-san covered the first one."
"Did she ever!" Touma snerked. "I think Takeo-kun is traumatized for life!"
Another slim hand raises.
Everyone stares at the barely-smirking, handsome countenance of Sakurazukamori Seishirou.
"This had better not be a question about seme or uke," Botan mutters, looking frazzled.
"Just think, the real questions haven't even started yet," Touma says, all supportiveness.
"What if we take turns?" Seishirou asks.
Koenma falls over.
"Seishirou-san," Subaru protests, "we don't--"
Seishirou shushes him.
Karen, Yohji, Ranchiki, and Urd whistle their loud appreciation of his methods.
Botan glares at him. "Well," she blinks after a dismayed pause, "do you?"
"No," Seishirou's smirk is open now, "I merely ask for the possible benefit to the other contestants."
"You merely ask to be difficult," Subaru mutters beside him.
Botan acquires a desperate expression. "Koenma-sama?"
"I'm not touching this one," Koenma declares from his prone position. "Bad enough that I have to ask *these*." He waves around his sheaf of prizm cards, which he had been flipping through.
"Mataku," Touma-ecchibi pipes up. He lifts his tinny ecchibi voice. "Do any of you trade off? Raise yer hands!"
No hands raised this time.
"Thank goodness," Botan sighs, and plows on. "All right! This first round of questions is for the seme partners of the couple. Seme partners, please raise your hands."
Suoh, Seishirou, Touya, and Lantis raise their hands.
"Well, there's a big surprise," Dee Laytner remarks to Van Fanel, who gulps and tries not to look too confused.
"All right," Botan flourishes an arm, and Touma-ecchibi clutches for dear life -- to avoid sailing into the Acheron. "Koenma-sama, this first question is yours. Seme, you answer with what you believe your spouse has answered."
"Why me?" Koenma squeaks, eyes rounding.
Botan sticks her tongue out. "You made ME do the build-up."
Koenma rallies, and flips up the first question. He sighs with relief. "Not so bad," he mutters, then waves his card around, clearly labeled 'SEME' across the back.
"Wait a minute," Seishirou lifts an elegant hand, glowering impartially. "Just a minute. I heard about the results of the last game. Isn't it true that the Newlyweds game was moved to the Reikai because that psycho kid from Gundam Wing blew up Cefiro?"
Koenma looks edgy. "Uh...the details of the previous Newlyweds game were not disclosed to me."
"Cefiro blew up," Nokoru translates, wide-eyed.
"Why do you think we're HERE, you dolts!?" Umi cups her hands to shout.
"Let's get started with the seme questions..." Botan hurries on.
"I've got a question," Suoh raises a dark brow. "I heard about the *prize* from the last game. $5 worth of Sailor Moon merchandise, and no one won..."
The other men facevaulted. "Ano..."
"Hei, hei," Koenma sighs. "This Newlyweds contest is better organized, and better funded than the last one. I have it on reliable authority that..." He gulps, looks queasy, and casts a frantic look to Botan for support.
Botan shakes her head frantically. "No way!"
"The prize for the game is a lemon written just for the winners!" Touma shouts out gleefully. "Yay! Sex! CLAMP boys!! And more sex!!" He makes a flying dive for freedom and manages to tumble Botan to the turf in the process. Somehow, the blue-haired ferrygirl maintains her deathgrip on him.
Seishirou turns to his spouse. "Subaru-kun."
"Hai, Seishirou-san?" The liquid blue-green eyes are endless.
"We ARE winning this contest."
"As if you two don't already get enough," Eagle scoffs. "Lantis and I need our private time."
"Please!!" Koenma inserts, eyes wild. "We really need to be getting on with this."
Nokoru nods firmly. "Suoh... we'll do it." He snaps his fan open. Black kanji proclaims, "Nokoru and Suoh; CLAMP's #1 Couple!"
"I came up with that one," Nagisa beams shyly.
"The first question for the seme~!" Koenma rushes on. "What is your favorite food?"
"Favorite food?" Suoh looks over at his golden-haired spouse, hiding his expression behind the white fan which now bears the legend 'Thinking Evil Thoughts' in messy kanji. His own expression grows reproachful. "Well, I *thought* it would be an easy answer..."
"Evil thoughts," Koenma echoes aloud, looking at the fan. "How could a question on food..." He claps his hand over his mouth and turns bright red.
"He went there," the ecchibi smirks.
"Why does EVERYONE end up THERE!?" Mil-chan shouts, startling half the audience. "The only one in Onenisama's pants should be ME!"
"Where did *that* come from?" otoko-Maze blinks.
Priya looks at him. "We decided one day on IRC that *there* was your pants, Maze-kun." She cackles.
Maze-kun looks smug. "....and *everyone* goes there, sooner or later, so that means..."
"Moving on!" Botan segues hastily. "Koenma-sama--"
"Suoh-kun, your answer please," Koenma says, pulling himself together with remarkable aplomb.
"My answer *was* going to be simply a popsicle," Suoh says, glancing sidelong at Nokoru, "but I think I must amend that to a popsicle melted onto *me.*"
"Bo-ring," Touma-ecchibi pronounces.
Botan and Koenma turn bright pink.
"Nokoru?" Koenma squeaks.
The blond flips over his card. *A popsicle, melted onto Suoh's _censored_ and his _censored._*
Koenma uncovers his eyes. "Did we maintain the PG-13 rating?"
"Get over it!!" Touma-ecchibi topples off Botan's arm, black wings fluttering. "That was only the first answer!" He looks around, blinks huge H-sparkling eyes, and throws himself at a CLAMP boy. There is a muffled "K'so!!!" from the audience.
"Moving on," Koenma ignores the defection of the ecchibi and points his prizm card at the next couple.
Touya's normal composure is unsettled by a flush. "Do I have to say it?" he asks in a low voice, swiveling towards Yukito. "Yuki..."
"It's only the truth," Yukito pats his arm.
"I still think that jerk isn't good enough for Yukito-san," Li-kun slouches in his seat.
Sakura pats his arm. "At least you have me, ne?"
Li-kun glowers. "But *he* is your brother. Besides, I have to share you with Tomoyo."
"Touya-kun?" Koenma prompts.
Touya mutters something inaudible. The audience strains to hear.
"What was that, Touya-kun?" Koenma queries.
Touya mutters a bit louder.
"I knew it!" Thea exclaims, "I knew he really was H!"
"They're *still* plotting against you, oneesama," Priya informs her.
"I know," Thea says, crestfallen. "Why do you think the voices have been so active lately?"
"What did he say? What did he say?" the question ripples through the crowd.
"His favorite food is a Touya sundae!" Touya finally bursts out, gone tomato-crimson.
Yukito's smile is as sweet as ever as he flips over his card. *A To-ya sundae, mochiron.*
Sakura keels over. Li-kun helps her up. "That is on my top ten list," she grits out, "of things I NEVER wanted to know about oniisan."
"Ten points!" Koenma declares. "Next?"
Seishirou smirks at his spouse. Subaru looks steadily back.
"Ecchi! Let there be H!" Touma-ecchibi calls out, flicking his velvety black bat wings.
"Get back down here!" Botan stamps a foot.
"LIKE HELL!" Touma-ecchibi clings tight to Kamui's neck. "I've got my arms yoked around a beautiful CLAMP boy, and you'll have to self-destruct us, first!"
The Dragon of Heaven sweatdrops.
"Seishirou-san..." Subaru's expression is one of offended propriety.
"I hope you wrote the right answer down on your card," Seishirou purrs.
"Eto--" Koenma is befuddled. "Aren't *you* supposed to guess *his* answer correctly?"
"Not if he knows what's good for him," Seishirou's hand glides up Subaru's milk-white throat.
The schoolgirls from CLAMP campus shiver and *ooh* in appreciation.
Kamui looks murderous. Touma-ecchibi squeaks as his windpipe is nearly crushed.
"His breakfast," Seishirou murmurs, leaning perilous-close to his spouse, "is this, myself."
Now Subaru looks murderous, but he flips over his card. *My breakfast is Seishirou-san.*
"HEY!" Hanagata shrills, "he stole my line!!"
Seishirou looks up, and there is a lethal glint in his good eye. The blond fop withers.
"Ha-niichan no baka," Priya scolds, "you're *both* Koyasu Takehito."
"Ten points," Koenma concedes, "let's move on. Lantis-san?"
"That's easy," Lantis rumbles.
"Please, nothing ecchi..." Koenma prays.
Eagle's expression holds a hint of wickedness.
"He likes those picnic baskets that the Magic Knights bring from their world," Lantis says.
Eagle blinks. He flips his card. "Strawberries from Lantis' fingers and champagne from his-"
"Enough!" Koenma interjects, "We can guess the rest."
"Those picnic baskets are *your* favorite, itooshii," Eagle says reproachfully to his spouse.
Lantis looks chagrined.
"And now," Koenma says with relief, "I turn it over to my co-host. Botan!"
Botan jumps, looking up from where she has been constructing an ecchibi-retrieval device with the help of Jim Hawking. "Ahh...hai!" She flips through her prizm cards; pulls the top one labeled 'SEME.' "Ara. What is your most common method of demonstrating affection?"
The audience goes into an uproar.
Koenma's choked noise indicates he is contemplating convulsions.
Touma-ecchibi makes a few obvious, blatant suggestions. Kamui punts him into the audience, where the bat-winged chibi lands in another CLAMP lap.
"WAI! Kamui!" ecchibi-Touma cuddles up to the Dragon of Earth. Dark "Kamui" smirks down at the ecstatic miniature Touma.
"The card clarifies!" Botan continues with haste, "that 'affection' is to be construed in a **non-sexual** sense!!"
Half the audience makes noises of discontent.
"Where's the fun in that if they don't go there?" Dee says, disappointed.
Maze-kun looks frantic. "They're MEN!! I don't want *them* going there!!"
"Suoh-san?" Botan turns to the first set of contestants.
"Let's see," Suoh began to tick off items on his fingers, "there was the time he had the Campus blimp trail a twelve foot high banner; the time he paid Idomu to hack into the electronic billboards all over Tokyo to flash 'Nokoru loves Suoh,' --"
"That was one of the worst mistakes I've ever made," Idomu announces loudly. An irritated look crosses his face. "Miko-san, *please* unhand my ankle."
"Yaddesu." Kristi clings tighter.
"--the time he had it written in 20-foot high fireworks; once he had Akira bake a cake and put him inside of it--"
Nokoru's grin has been widening with each point until he resembles the Cheshire cat.
Koenma buries his face in his hands. "So which is it?"
"All of it," Suoh blinks. "Rijichou likes showy displays of affection."
"So true," Nokoru beams. *I express my love for Suoh in ostentatious, often public displays.*
Now Suoh buries his head in his hands. "Yes, and I wish you'd stop."
"Next?" Botan prompts.
Koenma looks with suspicion at Touya and Yukito. He has learned to fear the facade of innocence.
Touya ponders. "*Most* common?"
The blue ponytail bobs.
"All right," Touya says slowly, "he cooks for me."
The audience looks doubtful.
"That's not affection!" Li-kun starts to yell, "That's just good mann--umph!"
Sakura sweatdrops and gives her oniisan and his spouse a wide smile, while struggling to maintain her grip on Li-kun.
"Well, it's very affectionate for him!" Touya contends. "It takes him a great effort of will to wait for me to come home, before eating! He *is* eating for two!"
This time nearly the entire audience keels over.
Mil-chan looks quizzical. "Is Yukito-san an Onenisama, too?"
Yukito waves his hands. "Iya, iya, not like that! I'm two people!"
"Not that the concept of a winged bishounen having babies isn't intriguing," Thea murmurs.
"Yukito-san, your answer?"
Yukito holds up his card. *I cook for To-ya, and wait for him before eating.* He gives his spouse a dazzling smile, which Touya returns slowly.
"I'm going to puke," Li-kun gags.
"Shush!" Thea tells him. "They're about to sparkle!"
"Oniisan never sparkles," Sakura asserts.
The Sakurazukamori begins to chuckle darkly, and everyone commences to look nervous. At last he lifts his head, freeing his eyes from the shuttering fringe of dark bang. His good eye holds a peculiar gleam.
The words burst from Kamui's lips before he can control it. Horrified, he claps his hands over his mouth. Priya, Thea, and the blonde seated near them rock with laughter.
"What was *that!?*" Touma demands.
"Shh. Seiyuu joke," Talya shushes him. "To understand, you'd have to watch the Gluhen tour for a month straight, and a lot of anime featuring Koyasu Takehito and Tomakazu Seki."
"Together," Priya adds.
Touma shudders. "I'd rather be boy-hunting..."
"Let's see," Seishirou muses, ignoring the outburst from the audience, "Candles.... fire.... the scent of blood on the air..."
"That's *you,*" Subaru tells him, expressive blue-green eyes gone flat.
"Hm." Seishirou looks as if he'd pounced on some hapless bird, and lacks only the proof of feathers at the corner of his mouth. "Usually, he tries to kill me."
"Is that your answer?" Botan gasps.
Seishirou's smile is enigmatic. "We have a....complex....relationship."
Silently Subaru turns over his card. *I try to kill him every now and then.*
"That's how you show your affection!?" Yuzuriha squeaks. "You--you--"
"You're kinky!" Touma shouts gleefully. "Go on then; give him the little death!"
Dark "Kamui's" lips twitch. He plucks the struggling ecchibi from his lap and flings him into the crowd.
"YATTA!" Touma-ecchibi glomps Li Shaoran's leg.
Li-kun's eyes go wide. "Get it OFF me!"
"Someone," Botan implores, "capture that chibi and put him on a leash!"
"He'd like it too much!" Koganei calls out, "just have one of the Seals stuff him in a kekkai!"
Li-kun purses his lips, frowning at the clutching ecchibi. "There's an idea."
Touma-ecchibi catches the murderous glint in his eye and scrambles for safety.
"Eto...Lantis-san?" Botan quavers, hurrying onward.
"Ahh..." Lantis looks embarrassed. He looks to Eagle with imploring eyes. At Eagle's small -- but implacable -- nod, he gives a sigh of resignation. "I, ah, tell him he's an idiot, then confine him to his quarters."
"That's not very romantic, either," Umi notes.
"Maybe they're not right for each other," Hikaru perks up.
"Ano...Hikaru-san, you *did* vacillate between them and refrained from making a choice," Fuu reminds her.
"Sou desu," Hikaru droops.
Eagle's expression is a mix of amusement and chagrin. *He calls me 'kono bakayarou,' fusses over me like a mother hen, and sends me to my room. Then joins me.* He dangles the card from slender fingers, a smirk developing. "Don't you, koibito?"
"Ten points," Botan pronounces, and turns to her co-host. She smiles sweetly. "Koenma-sama, it's your turn again."
Koenma looks at his stack of prizm cards, glum. He looks up at the expectant audience. A sweatdrop develops. "Fine," he mutters, "if I must."
"Waaaa~ai," Touma-ecchibi wriggles himself happily against the loose robes covering Kujaku's lean chest. The beautiful black-winged bishounen looks at the ecchibi in bemusement, then pats Touma's sandy head.
Botan rolls up her sleeves, looking businesslike. "Stop groping the audience members!"
"Yaddesu!" Touma sticks out a tiny tongue.
Koenma draws a card, takes a breath, and reads it. "What is the most frequent nickname your spouse calls you?" He blinks. "That's not so bad."
"Don't be too sure!" Touma calls out, his entire small face leering.
Koenma turns red with fury. "You just *had* to spoil it for me, didn't you?"
"There, there," the ecchibi grins, rubbing a cheek against Kujaku's chest, "we'll find you a nice bishounen, too."
Koenma's face turns crimson again, then purple. He blinks. His mouth moves noiselessly, then his eyes roll back in his head and he passes out cold.
"Koenma-sama!" George the oni rushes to his side.
"Ara! Taihen desu!" Botan squeaks, then musters herself. She summons up a smile, fixating on the first couple. "Nokoru-san and Suoh-san?"
Suoh himself blinks a few times, then he starts to blush. "Eto... eto... do I really have to?" he stammers, very much embarrassed.
"Ahhh~! Kawaii!" several members of the audience -- mostly female -- shimmer at Suoh's reticence.
Idomu sticks out his tongue, then makes throttling motions with his hands. "Suoh -- tsubushite!!" *I will CRUSH you!*
Nokoru pokes Suoh with his closed white fan, eyes sly. Suoh's frantic expression deepens, as if looking for escape.
"He calls me... he ... he... he calls me..." Suoh hedges.
"Spit it out!" Touma encourages, squirming in Kujaku's lap. A hand firmly prevents him from burrowing into the filmy robes.
Poor Suoh's face is beet red. "He calls me.... Suoh-chan."
Several bishounen perched on the edge of their seats keel over. Touma falls off Kujaku's lap. "That's it? That's IT!?"
Suoh looks as if he's trying to sink through the floor. Nokoru whips out his fan in lieu of card. *My darling Suoh-chan.*
"If Nokoru were with me," Idomu smirks, "he'd call ME 'Master.'"
"Eheh..." Botan titters faintly. "Moving on..." She turns to Touya and Yukito.
The dark-haired boy turns to his spouse. "Yuki--" he says, unbending in an *almost* pleading manner.
"Just say it, To-ya," Yukito smiles.
Touya grits his teeth. "He calls me "Arrow-chan," he says, beet red.
Yukito blinks. "To-ya," he says reproachfully, "That's what I call your pe--"
He is drowned out by a roar of whistles, catcalls, hoots, and improbable offers or suggestions. Touma is leading the roar of tribute. Li-kun has toppled over with a nosebleed and Sakura is hiding under Kagetsuya's wings, the tall blond angel seated in front of her.
Botan cautiously removes her fingers from her ears. The roar is dying down. "Yukito-san, the proper answer?"
Yukito flips over his card, still smiling. *I call To-ya my Peach-san. I call To-ya's member my Arrow-chan.*
"Is that...is that really PG-13!?" Poor Koenma, nearly revived, is on the verge of hysterics.
"Apparently," Botan says, helpless.
"That's the best answer so far!" Touma proclaims.
Li-kun is on the verge of passing out from blood loss. Thoughtfully, Sakura plugs up his nose. She already has ear plugs firmly in place.
"Koenma-sama? Can you resume?"
Koenma is standing once more. He glares murderously at the ecchibi, who flicks his bat wings and snuggles Kujaku contentedly.
"So how do we score that?" Koenma scratches his head.
"Uh...five points?" Botan ventures. "He was only half right."
Koenma nods. "Seishirou-san, your answer please." His voice is level and calm, lovely eyes steady. Lacking his fuukuman, the edge of a prizm card creeps into his mouth.
"Let's see." Seishirou looks thoughtful. "Was it 'you bastard?' Or maybe 'bloodsucking wizard.' 'Fiendish devil?'" His mild brown eye turns a disapproving look on his spouse. "That one doesn't show much imagination, Subaru-kun."
Subaru gives him a level look in return, one brow hiked.
"Then there was 'stupid idiot' -- redundant and childish, lover," Seishirou chides. "But I think the most frequent one is 'Sei -- oh!'"
Koenma has stuck his fingers in his ears.
"You sure let him know who's boss," Touma smirks.
Subaru's fair skin is aflame. *Sei -- oh!!* From his embarrassed squirm, it is clear he isn't calling Seishirou a king.
The audience once again tenders appreciative whistles and hoots.
"Ten points thank you Lantis-san please the next answer!" Koenma belts out in a single breath.
The audience watches, bemused, as the big sorcerer-knight squirms in his chair, a faint blush suffusing his cheeks. "Eagle?"
Eagle Vision gives his spouse a faint smile that can only be interpreted as wicked.
"He calls me his dark Angel," Lantis mutters. Eagle takes his hand and presses a kiss to the palm. The female audience sighs. Eagle flips over his card with the free hand.
*My dark Angel.*
"Mou!" Hikaru stomps a foot, "I came up with that!" She quivers her lower lip.
"Ten points and yokatta! We're done with the round!" Koenma flops back and George is there propping him up with a chair, placing a drink in his hand, fanning him with a broad Chinese fan. "Tally the scores, please."
Botan blinks in confusion. "Ara?" Hand to mouth. "Was that me? I haven't been keeping track..."
Touma looks scornful. He flits to the center of the ring. "Yosh'! Nokoru and Suoh, and Seishirou and Subaru, are tied for the lead with thirty points each! Touya and Yukito lead up with twenty-five, and Lantis and Eagle are lagging with twenty!"
Nokoru cheers and whips out his fan. *IchiBAN!* Suoh is nearly knocked off the seat by his enthusiastic spouse. "Wai! Suoh-chan, dai suki!"
"Not in public, you don't!" Suoh sputters.
Seishirou's smile is lazy as he hooks an arm around his younger lover. "We'll win this yet, lover."
Without changing expression Subaru smacks his arm. "Don't call me that."
Lantis is muttering something quiet and frantic under his breath as Eagle nuzzles at his ear.
"Don't worry, Yuki," Touya pats his lover's hand, "We'll pull ahead in the next round."
"TAKEO-KUN!" Aburatsubo-sempai glomps a shrinking Takakura, who turns red and tries to extract himself. "We should get married, too!"
"Zen zen dame!" is Takeo's fervent response.
"Can we please have a commercial break?" Koenma implores.
*The screen is lit up with bright-colored lights and sparkles.*
*Voice-over, Japanese-accented English: "From GLICO!"*
*Cut to: a generic living room set, two kids reminiscent of Asuka and Shinji from Neon Genesis Evangelion chasing each other around the coffee table, flailing and yelling.*
*Asuka's red hair flies behind her as she lunges for Shinji.*
*Shinji manages to dance out of range, blue-green box clutched in his fist.*
"No, it's not; it's Men's Pocky! It's MY Pocky!"
*They make another circuit around the living room coffee table. Asuka skids to a halt and stamps her foot, and Shinji nearly bangs into her as he runs around the coffee table again.*
"If it's Men's Pocky, then it's *definitely* not for you!" *Asuka tosses back her red hair, eyes glinting with challenge.*
*Shinji blinks at her.*
"Are you saying you're more of a man than I am?"
*With a screech, Asuka launches herself for him. Shinji yelps and scrambles back. Not in time. Asuka slams into him and they begin to wrestle for possession of the box.*
"It's MINE, you whiny bitch!"
"If you're a man, then you should share!"
"You're not a man, then, either, because you're not sharing!!"
*The Pocky box goes flying. It lands on the living room floor and Asuka and Shinji continue to wrestle, growling, voltage crackling.*
*Pen-Pen waddles up to the box, noses it open, and begins to munch on the chocolate-covered sticks.*
*Asuka and Shinji stop, stare at the penguin, and begin to howl.*
*Misato appears in the doorway, glowering. She tosses a few red and blue-green boxes into the room, then begins to stalk off. She notices Pen-Pen gorging and stops.*
"Pen-Pen, you can't eat that. You'll get sick.*
*Under her breath: "Look at _them_."*
*The kids hold up double handfuls of Pocky, mouths already smeared with chocolate.* "Thanks, Misato!"
*The logo appears in a swirl of pastel and English lettering: POCKY!*
*Voice-over, Japanese-accented English: "Pocky, it's not for penguins.
*sparkles and the backdrop of the river Styx predominate the screen*
Botan *POPS* up VERY close to the camera, wearing a kittenish face, bewhiskered and little ears wiggling.
Touma’s piping chibi voice drowns her out. "Yoooosh'! Minna-san, welcome to round two of Botan and Koenma's CLAMP Newlyweds Game!" Touma gives an enthusiastic mid-air wriggle, then resumes drooling at the audience-full of bishounen.
Botan and Koenma are glaring at the ecchibi.
"If it's our Newlyweds game, why are *you* doing the introductions?" Koenma asks, sour.
Botan makes a grab for the ecchibi and he works his wings furiously, flitting out of range.
"Just go on with the questions!" the chibi urges blithely.
Botan sighs and gives up. "For round two," she says with a perky smile, "our Uke spouses will be answering their questions!"
Koenma glances at the contestants, grabs a card, flips it over, and does a double-take. Surreptitiously he slips it to the bottom of the deck.
"Now," Botan gives a flirt of her kimono hem, facing the audience with a bounce, "we begin round two with Koenma-sama asking the first question for the uke spouses!"
"Why me!?" Koenma wails. "I started the questions in the LAST round! And that means I end up asking more questions!"
Botan giggles. "I know."
Koenma expels a long-suffering sigh and picks out a (new) prizm card labeled "UKE" clearly across the back. "May I not be barraged with Too Much Information I Really Don't Want to Know," he prays, his demeanor pious. He reads the question, and looks relieved. "What would your spouse say is your most annoying or disgusting habit?"
"The raunchier, the better," Touma adds.
Botan stamps her foot at him. "Get DOWN here, ecchi!"
"Won't!" Touma shakes his head vigorously. "You have boobs!"
Involuntarily Botan glances down, turns beet red, and huddles into her kimono.
"Ahh, Nokoru-san! Your answer please!" Koenma hastens to prompt.
Nokoru facevaults. "I...ah, I have an annoying habit?" he hedges. He smiles brightly and snaps open his fan, kanji reading ‘Flawless Man.’
Suoh folds his arms, the answer card dangling from the fingers of one hand, and regards him with incredulity.
"Ano..." Nokoru tries to look innocent, but is a terrible liar and everyone knows it. "I...well...I suppose Suoh will say... putting off my paperwork until I have literal mountains of it!"
Suoh raises a dark brow and releases the card, which flutters to the ground. *The damned fan. He plays incessantly with that damned white fan.*
Nokoru snaps the fan shut and hides it behind his back. "Gomen!"
"You see? You shouldn't have celebrated our perfect score so early," Suoh tells him, relentless.
"Moving on!" Koenma turns to the next couple. "Yukito?"
Yukito blinks disarmingly. "I have one?"
"Don't start that," Touya mutters.
"Yukito could never have a disgusting habit," Li-kun defends his childhood crush.
The glare Touya shoots in his direction contains lethal levels of venom.
"I eat more than a single part-time job can support," Yukito admits, turning a wide-eyed look on his spouse.
In spite of himself, a corner of Touya's mouth softens. Yukito gives him a full-on beam and Touya capitulates with a grudging smile.
"Kawaii," Thea notes with a grin.
Li-kun is making choking noises while Sakura smacks him on the back.
Touya has flipped over his card. *I've had to take several part-time jobs to support his eating habits.*
"Gomen," Yukito says dolefully, "I'm such trouble for you."
Touya pats his hand awkwardly. "You're worth any sort of trouble, Yuki." Yukito's smile is brilliant.
Now Sakura starts making choking noises. "Is that REALLY my brother!?"
"Ten points for the lovebirds. Moving on?" Koenma prods.
"And don't try to say you have no annoying habits," Touma flits around, wide violet eyes searching for another toothsome CLAMP boy to glomp. His eye settles on Idomu.
"Don't even think about it." Kristi, with a firm grip on Idomu-kun's ankle, holds up a can of hentai repellant to keep the ecchibi at bay.
"Hey, GIVE me that!" Idomu makes a grab for the can.
Subaru's turquoise eyes are wide and guileless. "I have an annoying habit?" With that expression, he almost manages to look as innocent as he had at sixteen.
Koenma smacks his forehead. "Another one."
Seishirou's eyebrow winches up.
"Yare, yare." Subaru pulls out a cigarette, spoiling his picture of innocence. Seishirou leans over solicitously to light it for him.
Botan and the ecchibi dive for Subaru. "NO SMOKING!" Touma gets there first and snaps it out of Subaru's fingers. The young man stares at his empty, upraised fingers for a moment then glares calmly at the chibi.
"My shikigami would probably think you taste JUST like chicken," Subaru warns.
Touma, who dropped the burning cigarette into the raging river, hears the threat and flees for Botan's bosom. "I'm *chibi,*" he sulks again. "I can't even protect myself!"
"A-HEM!" Koenma coughs loudly. "Subaru, your answer PLEASE!"
Subaru turns a jaded eye on his spouse. "Let me get something straight. We're supposed to answer what we think our spouse has said, and not necessarily what *we* think is correct?"
"Hai," Koenma inclines his head.
Subaru nods with a tiny sigh. "Then he's going to say I'm troublesome because I resist so hard."
Seishirou gives him a possessive, almost affectionate smile and turns his card over. *Plays hard to get. A bit TOO hard.*
Koenma nods. "Fine, fine." He turns to the last couple. "Eagle?"
Eagle is staring off into space counting on his fingers. "It could be that... or it could be that..." Lantis eyes him with a vaguely cynical expression. "Hmm... spending more time with the FTO than I do with him?"
Touma's little head pops up out of the neckline of Botan's kimono. She squeaks. "For those who haven't seen MKR2, the FTO is an advanced, semi-automated mobile suit." He winks and burrows back into the kimono. Botan seizes him by the ear and punts him into the crowd.
Lantis sighs and turns the card over. *Drop-kicking Primera on every possible occasion.*
"Oh, so it *was* that one," Eagle grins disarmingly, rubbing the back of his head. "Well, you have to admit she's a really annoying little fairy. And she tries to cut in on our private time. No wonder Mokona tried to eat her."
"And got indigestion." Lantis barely smiles.
“All right, no points,” Koenma says. He levels a finger at Botan. “It’s all you.”
Botan is ecchibi-hunting. “Where did it go? *Where* did it go?”
Touma clings to one of the Duklyon boys and sticks his tongue out at her. “No way!” Takeshi tries frantically to dislodge the ecchibi and Kentarou looks outraged.
She gives up, draws a card from the sleeve of her kimono, opens her mouth - and squeaks.
“What?” Koenma asks.
Botan is bright red. She holds up the card to Koenma. “YOU read it, Koenma-sama!”
Koenma regards the card the way one would regard a live god-slaying snake. “No way. It’s your turn.”
“Why me?” Botan wails, then takes the card in both hands. Her lip quivers, then firms. “How do you know when your spouse is ‘in the mood?’”
Touma howls with laughter, nearly losing his perch as Kentarou tries to sneak up on him with a mallet. The audience rustles with anticipation.
Nokoru purses his mouth, tilts his head, and looks at Suoh. Suoh looks back gravely. “I thought this game was PG-13...”
“So did I,” Botan weeps.
Nokoru smiles, a bright sunny expression. “My answer is clean, but I’m curious to hear Subaru’s.”
Down the line, Subaru is glaring murder at Seishirou, who smiles complacently back and pats his cheek. The young Seal nearly loses it right there, if not for a high, sweet “Ganbatte, Subaru-chan!” from Hokuto.
“Usually, Suoh kidnaps me,” Nokoru grins, a surprisingly boyish expression. “I don’t put up much of a struggle.”
There are a few scattered catcalls.
“Rijichou! I didn’t know Takamura-senpai was so adventurous!” Akira beams. He tilts his head. “Wait... that explains a lot...”
“Oh, so all you have to do is kidnap him?” Idomu smirks. “Ah, the potential...”
Suoh holds up his card. *I kidnap him.* He averts his face, a flush spreading over his cheeks.
“Ten points,” Botan waves her floppy sleeves, then peers at the next couple, a worried expression crossing her face. “Yukito-san?”
Sakura, with a determined face, claps her hands over her ears. “Don’t wanna know *that* much about ’niisan,” she declares.
Yukito smiles, tipping his head towards his spouse. “He cooks for me.”
“*Wait* a minute,” Li-kun bursts out, “Touya cooks ALL the ti-” He claps his hands over his mouth and topples over with another nosebleed.
“They’re newlyweds, dolt,” Touma calls out. “Of course they’re doing it all the time.”
Touya glares thunderously up at Li-kun. *I cook something special for Yuki.*
Yukito beams. Then he turns mild eyes on his spouse. “To-ya...I’m hungry...”
“Has anyone noticed yet that both of them have had answers involving cooking?” Li-kun growls, twists of kleenex plugging up his nose. “There’s an awful lot of cooking going on in that house...”
“An awful lot of *something,*” Yohji smirks.
“Later!” Botan interrupts. “Ten points. Subaru-kun?”
Subaru twists uncomfortably on his chair. “Do I *have* to answer this?”
“Do you even have to ask?” Touma abandons the Duklyon boys and does a frenzied loop-de-loop.
“Woo, woo!” Kasumi Karen calls out, flapping her half of the banner.
“Go, Subaru-chan, GO!” Hokuto cheers.
Subaru reddens. “HO-kuto-chan!”
“Subaru-kun...” Botan prompts.
He averts his face from the audience. “He....” Red-faced, he mumbles something.
Seishirou is watching him with amusement. He lifts a hand to caress the side of Subaru’s face and the younger man jerks away.
“He *mumble mumble*...”
“A little louder, please, Subaru-kun,” Botan requests with a nervous smile.
Subaru lifts his head and glares. He is having tremendous difficulty with this question. “He pins me down, okay? With all the subtlety of a bullet train. Sometimes with his powers, sometimes not.”
Seishirou’s expression is a trifle injured. He holds up his card. *Sakura blossoms. Candle light. A gourmet meal for two.*
“Wow,” Touma’s eyes are round. “They lost points.”
Subaru looks mortified. “Gomen! I didn’t account for your recent shift in tactics.”
“How romantic!” Hokuto sighs loudly. “Subaru-chan! I knew he’d make you a good husband!”
“Mou, Subaru, you’re such a prude.”
“Well,” Botan hastens onward, “our last pairing please. Eagle?”
“Usually he finds out when *I’m* in the mood,” Eagle speaks up, hand clasping that of a red-faced Lantis. He gives the audience an innocent smile.
“Ooh, this should be good,” the ecchibi smirks, seeking out Kakyou’s lap. The Dreamweaver looks startled for a moment, then unsure what to do with the bat-winged little ecchibi curling up in his lap.
“Don’t wanna know about their sex life, I *don’t* wanna know about their sex life,” Hikaru chants, fingers stuck into her ears.
Eagle continues, “I have these fine threads of wire, very convenient for tying-”
“Yamero!” Koenma yelps. He casts a frantic glance at Botan.
“Uh, that should be enough,” Botan nods.
Silent, Lantis holds up his card. *I find out when Eagle is in the mood.*
“It’s because you’re such a typical, clueless male,” Eagle laughs softly.
Botan makes a V-sign of triumph. “Ten points, and it’s your turn, Koenma-sama!”
Koenma looks up with wobbling-wide topaz eyes. “Do I have to?”
“I could do it,” Touma offers, purring from Kakyou’s lap while the Dreamweaver pets his tawny hair, “but you know what kind of question *I’ll* pick.”
Koenma swiftly selects a card. He wipes a sweatdrop from his forehead with relief. “What is your spouse’s most commonly-used phrase or word?” He turns to the first couple.
Nokoru’s brow is furrowed in concentration. “It’s a toss-up,” he ponders aloud, “between ‘Rijichou, your paperwork!’ or ‘Nokoru, don’t do that!’ ”
“Don’t do what!?” the ecchibi demands, rising restlessly from Kakyou’s slender legs in search of another CLAMP bishounen.
Suoh’s cheeks turn pink.
“There are a lot of things Takamura-senpai tells Rijichou not to do,” Akira notes.
“I’d be telling him something a little different,” Idomu smirks.
“Which is it?” Koenma prompts. He glances upward. “We *were* supposed to have a time limit, but that seems to’ve been left behind awhile ago.”
Botan snickers behind her sleeve.
“Ahh... ‘Rijichou! Your paperwork, please!’ ” Nokoru imitates his spouse’s harried expression.
Suoh raises a dark eyebrow. “You enjoyed that, didn’t you?” He flips over his card. *Rijichou! _Please_ do your paperwork!*
Nokoru gives him a sunny smile. “I hear it often enough!”
“Next,” Koenma turns to Yukito and Touya.
Yukito turns to Touya. “To-ya,” he shimmers.
Touya blinks, looking a bit shell-shocked.
“He says ‘Yuki,’ ” Yukito shimmers again.
Thea has been felled. Solemnly Priya helps her up. “Oneesama, you might want a shield of some sort,” she advises.
“Yuki,” Touya utters, card slipping from his fingers.
“To-ya,” Yukito beams.
“Niisan does NOT shimmer!” Sakura says indignantly.
“I’d say Yukito-san is shimmering enough for both of them,” Li-kun’s eyes are wide and sparkly, gaze riveted on Yukito. Sakura claps her hands over his eyes.
The answer card, which has drifted to rest on the ground, reads *Yuki, I love you.*
“I take it they do this a lot,” Botan says, starry-eyed.
“You have NO idea,” Thea avows.
“Now wait a minute,” Koenma purses his lips, “Yukito’s answer was only half of Touya’s answer.”
Botan shrugs. “Then we give them half the points.”
Koenma nods. “Okay, five points then.”
Botan beams at the second couple again. “Kawaii...”
“Next,” Koenma says, the sentimentality lost on him. Touma looks as if he’s trying to suppress a gag reflex. He hovers near Ferio. Ferio puts a hand on the hilt of his giant sword. Touma makes a mid-air revision of his glomp and changes trajectory.
“Is there a Sorata in the house?” he calls out hopefully.
Sorata hides behind Arashi.
Arashi pointedly steps aside, leaving Sorata to flounder and topple into the next row of bleachers.
Subaru looks at Seishirou and flushes. “Ano ne...”
“You have to answer,” Koenma says wearily, “no matter how bad it is.” He takes one look at Seishirou’s smirking visage. “And knowing him, it’ll be pretty damned bad.”
Subaru nods, then wipes all expression from his face. “ ‘Hold still,’ ” he quotes, “ ‘this won’t hurt a bit.’ ”
There is one startled guffaw from the audience.
“What!?” Hokuto demands. “He’s a veterinarian! He says that all the time!”
Karen coughs delicately. “Ano...Hokuto-chan, that was several years ago. “He’s not a veterinarian anymore.”
Hokuto takes one look at her furiously-blushing brother and bursts into peals of silvery laughter.
“Ten points,” Koenma says, voice strangled. “Next!”
Eagle is grinning wickedly. Botan and Koenma look nervous and crowd together for moral support. “His most commonly used phrase,” he begins, “is ‘.............’.”
Botan and Koenma look at each other. “That’s it?”
Touma looks cheated. “That’s it?”
Lantis flips over his card, expressionless. *..............*.
“Was there an extra dot in Lantis’s silence?” Koenma squints.
“Don’t be so nitpicky!” Botan smacks him with her deck.
Then they both stop stock-still and look at one another.
“Are we done?”
They both cheer and fall into one another’s arms, practically weeping tears of relief. “We’re done, we’re done...”
Touma looks up from his perch on Sorata’s shoulder. The young monk from Mt. Kouya is trying to persuade the ecchibi to assault Yuuto, sitting over in the Evil Contingent of the bleachers. “Don’t get excited! Tally the scores, first!”
Botan blinks wide rose-colored eyes. “The scores?”
Koenma shakes her. “You forgot, again!? We’ll never get out of here!”
“That’s easy!” Jim Hawking calls out from near the front of the bleachers. “It’s a three-way tie, you guys. Nokoru and Suoh, Touya and Yukito, and Seishirou and Subaru are all tied with fifty points. Lantis and Eagle’ve got forty. Ne, aniki?”
Gene Starwind blinks at Jim, attention diverted from trying to sweet-talk Urd into evil doings after the show. “Huh?”
Jim sighs. “Never mind.”
“A three-way tie?” Koenma wails, popping chibi. “I wanted to be FINISHED!”
“Maa, maa,” Botan soothes, picking up the Koenma-chibi and cuddling him. “Touma-kun promised to do the bonus question.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of!” Koenma bawls.
Touma gives Sorata’s cheek one last nuzzle, and flits to the center of the impromptu arena. “Time for the bonus question!” Sorata, making ‘yuck’ noises, sidles up to Arashi for comfort. Arashi hops down a couple of bleachers to join Karen and Yuzuriha, and Sorata topples over, clutching at his heart.
Botan solemnly hands him a couple of prizm cards labeled ‘BONUS.’ “Hai.”
“Thanks,” Touma riffles through them. His expression falls. “Hey, these are no fun!”
“Thank the gods,” Koenma-chibi squeaks.
“All right,” Touma begins, expression resigned. “This is the bonus round, to break the tie. Answers are worth twice as much in this round, so make it count!” With a flourish, he selects a card, holding it with both ecchibi hands.
“What,” Touma pauses for dramatic emphasis, flapping his tiny bat wings furiously to keep himself aloft with his cue card, “is your spouse’s preferred brand of lubricant?”
A shockwave of *thud* *thud* *thud* ripples through the audience.
“MOU! Chibi! That is NOT what your cue card says!” Botan shouts, making a leap for the ecchibi.
“Well,” Yohji remarks, trying to stem Omi’s copiously bleeding nose, “knowing Touma, we should have seen that coming.”
“It’s because we know him that we didn’t see him coming,” Tokiya remarks sourly, watching Yanagi apply smelling salts to Recca.
Nokoru is crimson. “Ano - we’re not supposed to answer that, are we?”
“NO!” Botan yelps, turning to the contestants. “Absolutely do not answer that!” She glares at the ecchibi. “The real question, now, or I’ll make sure you get stuck like that!”
Touma quivers with rage, but reads his cue card. “Fine.” After a parting *beeda* to the blue-haired ferrygirl. “What is your spouse’s favorite color?”
The contestants sweatbead. “That’s it!?”
Nokoru snaps his fan open. *Much Ado About Nothing.* Actually somehow he has three fans in his hand now, to fit all the messy kanji. “That’s easy!” He beams expectantly at Suoh.
Suoh looks hangdog. “Not so easy...” he mutters.
“Masaka!” Nokoru looks dismayed. “You don’t know my favorite color?” He flips his fan over. *Shock.*
Suoh looks everywhere but Nokoru.
“I’m very disappointed in you, Suoh,” Nokoru declares, turning his fan over again. *Crestfallen.*
“How does he do that?” Omi asks. “I think he’s turned it around three times now!”
“Don’t ask,” Utako says firmly. “I asked, once.”
“I know his favorite color,” Idomu smirks, “and since Suoh doesn’t, I can only take it as an omen that the marriage is ill-fated.”
“Oh, be quiet!” Nagisa pipes up, causing shocked looks all around her. “You’re just saying that because you’re jealous.”
“Suoh, we’re waiting!” Touma-ecchibi reminds him pointedly.
“Ack... umm... the color of my eyes!” Suoh hazards a wild guess.
“You STOLE that!” the ecchibi rages indignantly. “Take that back!”
“Too late!” Botan declares, as Nokoru flips his fan... again...
*The beautiful golden hue of Suoh’s eyes.* The other two fans are back in his hand.
“Suoh! You knew all along!”
“Err, actually I was guessing...”
Nokoru flips his fan over again and holds it up to cover their faces. *Our love - proved!*
“Next couple!” Touma prompts. “Make it snappy!”
Touya looks calm, Yukito complacent.
“What’s your spouse’s favorite color?” Touma repeats the question.
“Silver,” Touya replies, “like moonlight.”
“Kireee~ei,” a sigh ripples through the amassed schoolgirls.
“Is that because of his name?” Omi wants to know. “Tsukishiro?”
“No,” Eriol-kun turns around to reply, “there are... other reasons. But those are spoilers.”
“WAH!” Touma-ecchibi spots him, “Eriol-kun!”
“Bonus round,” Botan reminds him firmly, “or no de-chibi-ing.”
“Right,” Touma snaps to attention. “Yukito-san?”
“Silver,” Yukito replies, turning over his card and giving a gentle smile to his spouse.
“Twenty points,” Touma allows. “Moving along. Seishirou-san?”
Seishirou smirks. “He’s worn so many bright, flamboyant colors... let me think...”
Suburu crimsoned. “That was when Hokuto was still dressing me, Seishirou-san.”
“No hints!” the Touma-ecchibi flails, the weight of his cue card making him do a somersault.
“Recently, though,” Seishirou continues, shooting the ecchibi a dark look, “he seems to favor gray.”
“Gray,” Subaru agrees, flipping his card.
“Subaru! So grim!” Hokuto scolds from the bleachers. “I thought I raised you better!”
“It’s better than black, ‘neechan,” Subaru calls back.
“Next!” Touma forges onward. “Lantis?”
“Green,” Lantis intones immediately, with the air of one who has been thoroughly drilled on the subject, told over and over with any sort of gift or decor in mind. “His favorite color is green.”
Eagle pats his knee with a gentle smile reminiscent of Yukito. “Good Lantis.” He holds up his card. *Green, mochiron.*
“Twenty points!” Touma-ecchibi confers. “Good round, everyone. Even Suoh didn’t mess up.”
“Oi,” Suoh murmurs, put out.
“Hurry up,” Koenma grits. “I can *feel* the paperwork piling up. This show should’ve been over hours ago...”
“Try months,” Botan sighs.
“Yosha!” Touma exclaims, flapping his wings harder to hold a mid-air pose. “Next question...” He lets the first cue card fall, gripping the next one tightly as he peers at it.
“And don’t revise the question!” Botan reminds sternly.
“Yare, yare,” Touma sighs. “Just trying to spice things up.”
“They’re spicy enough!” Tira Missu stands up to shout, glasses completely fogged over.
Lina Inverse looks up sharply. “Dare!?”
“Uhm... the question!” Touma plunges on. He reads aloud. “Asked of the uke member of the couple... what is your spouse’s favorite anime? First couple.” Showing enormous restraint, he doesn’t even complain about the tameness of the question.
“Shimatta!” Nokoru’s expression turns chagrined.
“Don’t know, do you?” Suoh gives him a cynical golden gaze.
Nokoru sinks down in his seat. *How embarrassing,* his fan reads as he covers his reddening face with it.
Suoh sighs and puts a long-suffering hand to his forehead.
“Uh...” Nokoru founders. “Is it... Duklyon?”
“That’s not an anime, Rijichou!” Akira calls out.
“No HINTS!” Touma whirls, flapping furiously.
“Right...” Nokoru scratches his blond head, turning his fan around again. *Clueless.* “Ah - City Hunter, I guess.”
Suoh’s expression is frazzled as he flips over his card. “Way wrong.” *Card Captor Sakura.*
“That was unexpected,” Idomu blinks. “I thought he was the ninja shounen type, like Flame of Recca.”
“Wahh! I’m so humiliated!” Nokoru puts his head in his hands. “We’re doomed... Now we’ll never win the prize!”
“It’s just a lemon, Nokoru,” Suoh says, expression queasy. “I’d rather that sort of thing remains private.”
“Next!” Touma chirps. “Yukito, please.”
“Hmmm...” Yukito taps his cheek with an index finger. “He watches Sailor Moon S, and Yu Yu Hakusho, and Magic Knight Rayearth, and...”
“Gee, I wonder why,” Priya mumbles. “It must be coincidence that Ogata Megumi is in all of them.”
“But his favorite is Vision of Escaflowne,” Yukito concludes.
Li-kun blinks. “That’s narcissistic.”
Van Fanel glares at him. “I have nothing in common with anyone in such a shoujo anime.”
Chichiri sneezes. “My nose was tickling no da,” he says defensively when his seatmates look at him.
“Enough with the seiyuu jokes,” Touma says irritably, “your answer, Touya?”
Touya holds up his card, gritting his teeth slightly. *Martian Successor Nadesico.*
“Oops.” Yukito’s expression is chagrined. “I forgot about that one...”
“Oniisan!” Sakura cries out. “You failed Yukito-san!”
“Oi,” Touya protests, expression surly. “It was good. But I thought the character of Daigoji Gai was sadly underdeveloped.”
“You would,” Seishirou murmurs, lifting an eyebrow.
“Next,” Touma cuts off the ensuing debate. “Subaru.”
“Let me think,” Subaru says with an expression of concentration, then begins ticking off on his fingers. “He likes Weiss Kreuz, Saber Marionette J, Gundam Wing, Fushigi Yuugi, Spriggan, Slayers, Maho Tsukai Tai, DNA^2, the very last arc of Rurouni Kenshin, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Zetsuai/Bronze, Heroic Legend of Arislan...”
“Eclectic tastes,” Sorata notes, wide-eyed.
“No, just another narcissist,” Arashi sniffs.
“But his favorite is Revolutionary Girl Utena,” Subaru decides. “He’s fascinated with Kiryuu Touga.”
“He would be,” Touya mutters.
“You don’t say? Eheheheh...” Touma titters, doing a loop-de-loop. “Seishirou-san, your answer?”
“Shoujo Kakumei Utena,” Seishirou murmurs, displaying his card. He turns a melting look on Subaru, voice sliding into an even more seductive register. “You find me irresistable, don’t you?”
“Don’t start that,” Subaru growls, pushing his face away.
“Twenty points. Next!” Touma hurries on, before anyone can ponder similarity of names.
Eagle is grinning. Lantis is muttering something low and frantic, over and over, that sounds like *Don’t be honest. Don’t be honest.*
Eagle sighs sorrowfully. “Fine,” he says at last to his spouse. “I won’t let them know you watch shoujo anime.” He lifts his voice. “He doesn’t have a favorite.”
Touma looks at them suspiciously. “Oi-”
Quickly Lantis flips over his card. *I do not watch shoujo anime.* He is rigidly expressionless.
“Methinks he doth protest too much,” Fuu says, swiping blonde curls out of her eyes.
“Now I’m dying to know what he watches,” Umi complains.
“I bet it’s Card Captor Sakura,” Hikaru giggles.
“No, I bet it’s Wedding Peach!” Umi returns.
“Yeah, who would admit to watching that?”
“HEY!” Momoko yells, glaring. “You’ve got pink hair, too, you know!”
“Yes,” Hikaru admits, “but I have a sword and you have... a bouquet.” Hikaru covers her mouth with her hand to hide the giggle.
“ANYHOW!” Touma bellows, “if anyone were paying attention, they’d realize Eagle and Lantis’ answers don’t match up! Eagle’s answer implies that Lantis watches anime, while Lantis informs us very earnestly that he doesn’t watch shoujo anime.”
“No points,” Botan and Koenma decide. They give each other incredulous looks. “Is it over? Is it really, truly over?”
“Not quite,” Touma smirks.
“Kora! Touma!” Botan yells, leaping up. “Enough of your interference! *We’re* the hosts of this Newlyweds game, not some oversexed, under-”
“Excuse me, Botan-chan?” Seishirou speaks up. The glint in his good eye sidetracks the ferrygirl from her rant.
“Ah, hai, Seishirou-san?” Botan wavers. Clearly she does not trust the ‘former’ assassin.
“May I?” he inquires.
Seishirou fixes the ecchibi with a Look. “I’ve been keeping track of the score.”
Touma flicks his wings nervously. “So?”
“So, Subaru-kun and I are ahead by twenty points, chibi. Give it up.”
“Datte, datte -- !” Touma hovers anxiously. “Datte! The physical challenge round!”
“Physical... challenge...?” Koenma-chibi squeaks.
Botan pops into chibi and begins to cry. “Yaddesu!”
“Now you’ve done it,” Suoh mutters, head sinking into his hands.
“Hidoi!” Nokoru leaps up, the fire of vengeance in his eyes. “You’ve made a woman cry!” He levels his fan at Touma. “Yurusenai!”
“Touma-kun,” Seishirou adds, “I’m not as nice or restrained as Subaru-kun. My shikigami won’t bother to taste you, they’ll just tear you apart.”
Touma stares at them both. His violet eyes wobble. With a wail, he flees in a stream of crystalline tears, little bat wings flapping as fast as they can take him.
“Seishirou-san, wasn’t that a little excessive?” Subaru reproaches.
Seishirou looks at him. “Let’s see. He barged in on the game show, groped as many of the male audience as he could, shouldered the hosts out of their positions, reduced them both to chibi, and extended this whole disaster by a good hour,” he ticked the points off on his long, slender, very CLAMP fingers. “No, Subaru-kun, I think I let him off easy.”
“Is it over?” chibi-Botan quavers.
“I think it’s safe now, Botan-chan,” Eagle calls out reassuringly.
“The Touma-growth is gone,” Touya adds.
“WAI!” Botan pops back to normal size and bounces to center-stage. “Are we done, then?”
Koenma steps up beside her, brushing his clothes back into place, finally de-chibified. “Seishirou and Subaru *are* in the lead, Botan. And for the sake of our sanity-”
“-and to prevent this from descending into the absurd!” Botan lifts up a finger. “Hmm, we already did *that* on the ‘Dance Mix.’”
“-we are NOT putting on a physical challenge round,” Koenma finishes adamantly.
The contestants breathe sighs of relief.
“Demo,” Botan frowns. “It can’t be finished yet. Weren’t Nokoru and Suoh supposed to be in the lead?”
Koenma makes shushing motions. “Ix-nay on the inner-way!” he squeaks.
“Are you implying that this game is rigged?” Seishirou inquires in a dangerous tone.
“Ahh... iya!” Botan flaps her pinks sleeves. “Ehehehehehe!”
“What did you mean by that?” Seishirou continues ominously.
“Nothing! Absolutely nothing!” Koenma asserts. “Let’s...have another bonus round!”
“Why are you suddenly so eager?” Lantis speaks up, tone grim. With a crackle of white lightning and a scent of ozone, a sword appears in his hand.
“Maa, Lantis,” Eagle puts a hand on his arm.
Lantis looks at him. “Are you going to try and stop me from getting to the bottom of this?”
“Oh, no!” Eagle beams. “I was going to offer my help.”
“Koenma-sama,” Botan says nervously, “I think they’re going to lynch us.”
“Not me, they’re not!” Koenma squeaks. “I have my emergency jetpack!”
“A-ano.” Botan facevaults. “Koenma-sama. That didn’t work in the Ankoku Bujuutsukai, either.”
“Botan-san,” Nokoru says gently and persuasively, “I think you should tell us if the game was rigged or not. I really wouldn’t want to benefit in a way that’s unfair to the other contestants.”
“Wahh!” Botan’s face crumples. “These things *need* to be planned in advance, you know. The prize had to be planned and written...”
“...an elephant gun needed to be acquired for Suoh...” Idomu nods, chin in hand. “Un. Un. I get it.”
“...and now... and now...” Botan quavers, “Seishirou and Subaru have pulled a surprise win... but... but there’s no prize anyway!”
“NANI!?” Eight heads turn and glare. Well... Nokoru doesn’t. Neither does Yukito. Or, really, Eagle. But the rest of them make up for it.
A small pink-haired fairy drifts up to Koenma, nearly weighed down by the envelope she is toting. She lands on Koenma’s shoulder and whispers in his ear.
“What? Oh, thank you, Randi.” He takes the envelope and she drifts off, leaving him to rip it open. “The latest development on the situation... the fic writer who volunteered the prize lemon is bogged under with work and cannot complete it until July at the earliest. She managed to fight her way to a computer for a few minutes to inform us of the situation... Ah, yes.”
“What?” Seishirou asks suspiciously.
“The new first prize being offered is a month’s honeymoon on Cefiro,” Koenma nods. “Very generous.”
“But Cefiro was *destroyed!*” Lantis, Eagle, Hikaru, Umi, Fuu, and Ferio point out simultaneously, frustrated.
“Since we abolished the Pillar System, it’s kind of hard to reconstruct it,” Hikaru says, wide-eyed, looking a tad guilty.
“Perhaps we were a bit hasty,” Eagle adds.
“Well, that’s what it says the prize is,” Koenma says irritably. “Take it or leave it.”
“I’d rather leave the Reikai,” Seishirou says calmly.
“Okay, good idea, right away...”
“In ruins,” Seishirou adds.
Botan and Koenma gulp. “Not so good.”
“But... but there’s a consolation prize!” Koenma hastens to add.
“What’s that?” Seishirou inquires, bored, already beginning to call up particularly destructive forces.
Koenma gulps. Hard. “Um. An incomplete set of Tokyo Babylon manga.”
“Which volumes?” Seishirou asks, suspicious again.
Botan confers with Koenma. “Volumes one, four, six, and seven!” Koenma announces, looking nervous. Since Seishirou appears ready to reduce the Reikai to a smoldering ruin, this is certainly justifiable.
“I don’t have those,” Seishirou muses. “Very well, I accept.” The destructive energies vanish.
“What about us?” Touya raises his voice, glaring at the former assassin. “Weren’t the consolation prizes for us?”
“Err....” Koenma sweatbeads and begins chewing on the cue cards again.
“I think we should go ahead with the physical challenge!” Yukito adds, looking cheerful. “To-ya and I would have a good shot at winning!”
“Hai! Hai! Yukito-san is good at sports!” Sakura cheers.
“Ano ne... the last physical challenge involved a ton of lime jello and a cherry stuck to the navel of the ‘female’ spouse,” Umi informs her.
“So?” Sakura is puzzled.
Li-kun has toppled over with yet another ecchi nosebleed. Eriol makes soothing noises and applies more tissue.
“Koenma-sama,” Botan stage-whispers to her co-host, cheerfully oblivious that everyone can hear her, “we had better come up with some consolation prizes. They could *still* wreck the Reikai.”
“Oh... uh... fine, if we must.” Koenma looks briefly disappointed. He’d half-hoped for a vacation.
They confer in another round of whispers. Finally Koenma striaghtens.
“Seishirou and Subaru win the game, with their twenty-point lead!”
Seishirou smiles a sleek, self-satisfied smile. Subaru doesn’t look particularly happy.
“If he gets any ideas or flashbacks from that prize, I’m lodging a complaint,” Subaru says stonily. He looks around and, seeing no ecchibi, lights up.
“What about us?” Eagle prompts. “We should get something, too. You tried to rig the game.” He gives the co-hosts a pleasant but implacable smile.
Koenma starts to say something and visibly changes his mind mid-thought. “As the consolation prize, the remaining couples get an all-expenses paid honeymoon in the Elysium region of the Reikai.”
“Who’s paying?” Botan asks, wide-eyed.
Koenma grits his teeth. “At the expense of the Reikai.”
Subaru is trying to get up from his seat, outraged. “It’s not fair! The consolation prize is better! I could visit Hokuto-chan!”
Seishirou restrains him. “Is that all you ever think about? Hokuto, Hokuto, Hokuto. That’s all I ever hear. I suppose next you’re going to say-”
Subaru whirls on him. “YOU killed Hokuto!”
“Ara!” Botan repeats, flapping her sleeves. “We should tell them it’s over before this gets out of hand!”
“Sou desu, sou desu,” Koenma chuckles. He’s been waiting for this. He lifts up a hand and yanks a bullhorn out of hammerspace. “GO HOME! THE WINNERS HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED! THE PRIZES HAVE BEEN AWARDED! OKAERI KUDASAI! WE DON’T WANT YOU HERE ANYMORE!”
Botan looks aggrieved. “That was harsh, Koenma-sama.”
Koenma grunts. “So was this.”
Grumbling, the crowd begins to disperse. Seishirou and Subaru begin to fight. Botan brings over their prize, and they resolve their differences to snuggle up with the manga. Soon, they begin to argue over who gets to turn the pages.
Sakura tries to wheedle Yukito into taking her along for the trip to Elysium. Touya puts his foot down. “Absolutely not! I’ve shared him with you at Festival. I’ve shared him with you at the school fair. I’ve shared him with you at dinner. I’ve tolerated you interrupting our study-time...”
“Because I bring you snacks!” Sakura interrupts.
“I shared him with you on camping trips,” Touya continues, ignoring her. “I’ve shared him with you on trips to the zoo and on the way to school... *this* time, kaijuu, he’s ALL mine!” And draws Yukito possessively close.
A departing contingent of CLAMP schoolgirls pause, starry-eyed, to applaud.
“At last, Suoh,” Nokoru says, taking his Takamura’s arm and snapping open the fan. *All mine.*
Suoh just gulps and looks nervous.
“I’m plotting his downfall,” Idomu says matter-of-factly, escorting a teary-eyed but smiling Nagisa to the gate. “Just so everyone knows.” Irritably he tries to shake off the Kouji no Miko still clinging doggedly to his ankle.
“Takamura-senpai can handle anything!” Akira says stoutly, escorting a starry-eyed Utako, having visions of wedding dresses, bouquets, and Akira in a tux.
“Not if I steal Nokoru out from under him.... *ufufufufufu...*”
“Goodbye! Have fun!” Umi waves, trailing after Urd.
“Have a wonderful honeymoon,” Fuu adds, using gentle winds to blow rose petals after Eagle and Lantis.
“Hmph! Traitors!” Hikaru folds her arms and flounces off. “Maybe I’ll ally with Primera...”
Lantis is silent. Eagle beams up at him and takes his arm. “Finally, alone... Primera can’t follow us to Elysium, can she, Lantis?”
Lantis’ expression turns a trifle queasy.
“Jyaaaa~a!” Botan pops up *very* close to the camera, bewhiskered again. “Owari desu yo!” She pulls a shade down over the camera.
“I hope...” Koenma squeaks off camera. “There’s not a cast party, is there? PLEASE say no! Kami-sama forbid she ever follows up with another one of these misbego-”
“Koenma-sama, you’re still on the air.”
“I am? Shimatta!”
A giggle. “Now that you’ve said it, maybe she will!”