|The Cocoon Gentlemen's Society
Author: Cam-Two-Sevens PM
"We, of the Cocoon Gentlemen's Society cater to their whims and fantasies-not the sexual kind Noct, don't give me that look." HIATUS.Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Romance - Chapters: 2 - Words: 8,930 - Reviews: 40 - Favs: 17 - Follows: 23 - Updated: 06-09-12 - Published: 06-07-12 - id: 8192244
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
-In which a deal is struck and unwilling alliances forged-
This chapter is dedicated to my friend Thomas, who like every other male in the world has trouble understanding women.
As a scholarship student it is my duty to report if my fellow scholarship students undertaking the same study programme as I are involved in any activity (illegal or otherwise) that could compromise theirs and the university's reputation. I understand as per conditions of this contract that it is for their own safety that I am reporting this activity. I also understand that by not reporting a fellow student I am willingly contributing to their continued involvement in this activity and as such I will inherently obey and accept the same grounds for termination as them.
~extract of Cocoon University scholarship, terms and conditions
Thank goodness the door's locked.
Light took a deep breath, ignoring the fact that the two testosterone-fueled men were trying not to make it obvious that they were ogling her. The blush on Noctis' face as he cleared his throat and tried not to look in her general direction was endearingly cute though. He's still innocent, she realized with an internal laugh. Someone like him doesn't belong to a place like this.
As for Prompto…
The lack of blush on the squire's face spoke leagues. Obviously not new to the sight of a woman in her underclothes, he looked about ready to pounce on her.
You just try, Light thought, tensing and gripping her towel even tighter.
"Can I at least get dressed first?" she asked.
"No." both men answered in unison.
Perverts, Light thought. "My name is Lightning," she grumbled, "and Cloud's my twin. He recently got involved in a motorcycle accident and is in the hospital recovering. I'm here to fill in for him until he gets better-end of story."
Prompto scratched his head. "Why would you wanna take his place?"
"Because my brother deserves it. This scholarship was his dream."
"I still don't get it."
Light didn't care. "You don't have to. All that I ask is that you please keep quiet about this until he returns. You won't ever hear from me again."
Prompto looked horrified. "Never again?" he gasped. "But you're…"
"But what?" Light glared.
"But you're-you're beautiful" Prompto exclaimed, swooping over and kissing her hand gently. "Surely a fair maiden like yourself can be convinced to stick around," he winked up at her. Light, despite flushing furiously at his words suspected he used that smile quite often, judging by the confidence in his eyes. She pulled her hand away immediately.
"Nice try" she scoffed. "And for the record Prompto, if you ever touch me without my permission like that again, it will be the last time your hand will be connected to your wrist," she growled.
"Fierce," Prompto muttered humbly as he scurried away to give her space. "I meant it as a compliment, but clearly I have vexed you milady. I apologize," he said, bowing low.
Light scowled. "Can you speak more normally? My IQ's dropping by the second," she snapped.
"Sorry," Prompto smiled, scratching behind his neck sheepishly. "When I'm in costume and there's a female in the proximity…it's what I do best."
"I have a question for you," a quiet, hesitant voice spoke up.
Light and Prompto turned in surprise. Noting Prompto's expression, it seemed he too had forgotten about the other human standing there.
"It talks," Light muttered under her breath. "What is it?" she asked.
"Your brother's also an honours student," he said. "So…what makes you think you'll be able to manage if you're simply taking his place? Rosch is strict when it comes to monitoring grades."
He's concerned? Light found herself smiling.
"I used to be an honours student," she told him.
"Until?" he prompted.
"Well, until I graduated, of course," Light smirked, enjoying the drastic change from pleasantly curious to blatant disbelief in Noctis' eyes.
A short moment of silence was observed so that the two young men could take it in.
"W-what? H-How?" Prompto stuttered.
"What do you mean how?" Light said, quite offended at his remark.
Prompto looked ready to shake her. "Already graduated and with honours-you'd have to have had no life-"
"Of course I didn't," Light said airily. "I needed to study."
Noctis caught Prompto as he staggered backward into him, their faces mirror images of each other.
"A beautiful woman like her…" Prompto lamented to Noctis "never to have experienced the rush of young love. Noct have you ever heard of something so-so…"
"Do you know how embarrassing you are right now?" Noctis hissed, shoving him off in annoyance.
Light bristled. "Excuse me, for having priorities," she said.
Prompto just about had a stroke at her comment. His voice was barely audible now, reeling as if he were in a never-ending nightmare. "P-priorities?" he repeated numbly to himself. "She said it wasn't a priority Noct!"
"Stop acting like an idiot," Noctis growled, slapping the squire lightly on the cheek. No effect. He stepped away as the blonde sagged into a semi-catatonic state on the floor, rocking back and forth with his knees hugged to his chest.
"Oh great," she heard Noctis say. Judging by his tone, it was apparently normal of the blonde to be in such a state. She let go of her initial instinct to call for medical help.
"All my life women were such helpless maidens, waiting for their hero, their prince charming, their Romeo…" Prompto was heard saying. "But Lightning she's-"
"Romeo died in that story, just so you know," Light pointed out spitefully.
Her comment drove the blonde to cover his ears. "Nooo! She's lying, she's lying…" she heard him say, over and over again.
Drama queen, the young woman thought. Tired from standing too long she sat on the dressing table and crossed one leg over another, letting out an exasperated exhale. "Look, I've already told you why I'm here: my brother needs this. When it all blows over I'll be on my merry way and you idiots can just forget this ever happened, alright?"
"Why would you go to such extreme lengths for your brother?" Noctis asked, his voice timid as if wary he would offend her. She noticed his eyes begin to flicker downward as her legs began to prove distracting for him.
"Eyes up here playboy," she growled.
Immediately the dark-haired young man's eyes glued to the floor, for fear that she might castrate him. "Sorry," she heard him mumble.
"Yeah well you should be," she snapped.
Stupid men and their hormones.
"You still didn't answer my question," he said, still looking at the floor.
"My family doesn't come from money," Light said, her tone coming out a little more emotional than she had intended. "And the scholarship's contract has a time limit. If Cloud were somehow unable to use it…they'd pass it on to the next person down-simple as that. And you don't know how hard he's worked for this, all the people he's had to beat to get this far."
"But what about Rosch?" he asked gently, somehow seeing the bigger picture now and understanding.
Light wanted to laugh. "What about him? He fell for it, just like you guys."
"I'm not so sure that he did. Nothing ever gets past him-he's ex-PSICOM."
"Hmph." Light crossed her arms. "At any rate, my brother should recover by the time the break ends."
"And if he doesn't?"
Thanks for the support Mr. Pessimist. "Then he doesn't," Light replied simply. "Now that you know who I am, can I please get dressed?"
"Of course not!" Prompto said, miraculously making a sudden recovery and jumping up beside Noctis. "Your clothes are wet-you'll catch cold."
"It's better than standing around naked in front of you two pervs," Light retorted, shooting a glare at Noctis whose eyes had started to wander again.
"Sorry," he mumbled, clearing his throat awkwardly.
"What's with you?" Light snapped. "Expecting some sort of strip show?"
"Quit picking on him," Prompto intervened, for the first time actually sounding defensive. "He's not good with this sort of thing."
Light frowned at him. "What sort of thing?"
"Talking to girls, being around girls, interacting with females" Prompto shrugged.
Light could not decide which of the two young men was the bigger idiot.
"Are you serious?" she said, more to Noctis.
Noctis ignored her, but she could see his cheeks flushing with embarrassment.
Oh my Etro. She tried not to laugh. "Is that why you're working here?" she asked. She finally understood. She knew she shouldn't laugh, but the revelation was just too hilarious not to laugh at. When she had initially met the raven-haired boy he seemed, cool; calm, collected-she had actually assumed he'd be more like Prompto's type.
But I thought-guess looks can be deceiving.
Her hand flew to her face, trying to force away the urge. Fight it Light, fight it-oh gods…
It suddenly became too much to take. She doubled over laughing, trying and failing miserably to stop.
"Hey, hey," Prompto admonished, wagging a finger in her face "no judgement."
"I'm sorry," Light said earnestly in between laughs "but it's just-haha- too ridiculous-hahaha-to comprehend. No one should have-haha-no one should have trouble speaking to the opposite sex-it just isn't natural. Oh gods I can't believe…" she continued to laugh, and doing so continued to add fuel to Prompto's ire.
"Well it's natural for him,"Prompto replied, actually glaring at her this time.
Scary, Light thought with a mild shudder. The look he was giving her was 'just' enough to help silence her laughter by a small amount.
"Can we please not talk about me like I'm not here," Noctis muttered, his face redder than any tomato she had ever seen. "Okay you've had your fun Lightning, ha-ha I'm glad you're so amused," he said sarcastically.
Light took a deep breath and calmed herself, though a smile still tugged at her lips. "Well why wouldn't I be amused? Have you looked in the mirror lately?"
"That's what I told him," Prompto grinned, shoving Noctis playfully.
Noctis just stopped short of looking like a lost puppy. "Told me what?"
Light jumped off the dresser and moved to stand directly in front of him while Prompto left Noctis' side to stand next to her. Noctis stiffened as she reached and pinched his cheek.
"Told you that you're attractive, dumb-ass," Light laughed. Too cute. Cobalt eyes glanced up at her unsurely for a brief moment before hardening again. "Where does all this insecurity come from?" she wondered aloud.
"Shut up," Noctis said, hitting her hand away.
For the first time Light was amazed. "Wow," she said, studying Noctis, as if her eyes had finally opened to the world and she was seeing color for the first time. It felt as if she were discovering a whole new species of man.
"Wow what?" Noctis snapped.
"Nothing just…" she shook her head at him slowly "wow…Amazing, you're like a unicorn."
Seeing the scowl darken on Noctis' face she realized how embarrassing that sounded and stifled a laugh.
"I'm sorry-I didn't mean for it to come out that way-what I meant was-"
"Just, stop talking, alright?" Noctis snapped.
"Whatever," she said.
"And that is why he's here," Prompto said proudly, as if showing her an item on display at a museum.
Light turned to Prompto with a scowl. "So that what? You can turn him into your little douche-bag minion? He's better than that."
She saw Noctis' shoulders lift at that comment, but he said nothing.
"Douche-bag?" Prompto yelled in outrage, but she ignored him, her attention focused on Noctis.
"Listen to me Noct: If you're hoping to find confidence I guarantee you will not find it here in this shady place. If you get caught by Rosch-"
"What about you?" Noctis said, frowning slightly at her.
"That's beside the point. What if-"
"I've already signed the contract," Noctis said. "Until uni starts up again, this is where I have to be during the break."
Light glared. It was completely unacceptable. "You're putting your scholarship at risk-"
"I need the money," Noctis retorted, glaring back. "And you're one to talk, putting your brother at risk."
Instead of being angry Light smiled, satisfied that the latter actually had a backbone.
"You guys are both at risk," Prompto said, suddenly all business like as he moved to a rack where clothes were hanging and picked out a few items before tossing them at Light. "Put that on. I'll have your clothes cleaned and ready for you in the meantime."
"How am I at risk?" Light snapped, catching the clothes while simultaneously trying not to move too suddenly to cause her towel to come undone. "And what the hell is this?" she said, staring at the ridiculous low-cut peasant dress in her hands.
The blonde looked a little too happy as he explained it to her. "You're going to play a maid," he said, a mischievous twinkle in his eye.
Noctis coughed uncomfortably.
"Fuck that." Light threw the dress at Noctis' head.
"Hey-!" he protested.
Like a fly on the wall he was soundly ignored. "I have compromised my identity enough today," Light said adamantly. "I am not wearing that. I don't want people to remember or recognize me."
"Fine," Prompto smirked. "Be naked for the rest of the evening-I'm definitely not complaining. And you'd be interested to know that all the workers here are males who actually visit the dressing room every once in a while to change. Imagine the frenzy you'd drive them into with your endless legs and curved-"
"Utter one more word," Light warned, feeling her cheeks beginning to warm again. "And I'm so gonna-"
"Just saying," Prompto said.
Light glowered until she spotted a costume that didn't look 'too bad': a royal blue tunic with attached sleeves and gauntlets with a fur trimmed cape fastened by a medallion draping over its hangar. "Pass me those," she pointed. "And the leggings and boots too."
Prompto plucked the costume from the rack. "King Arthur?" he said dubiously. "Nice taste, but wouldn't you prefer something more…something that shows your figure nicely?"
At 'figure' Noctis laughed quietly.
"That's exactly the point-ass," Light said, glaring Noctis into silence.
"I didn't say anything," Noctis frowned.
Light knew it was wrong to get so angry at him at such a trivial thing, but the fact that she had been standing in a towel being ogled, and having her identity compromised had made her snap. "It's called body-language you incapable, socially inept-"
Her rant was interrupted as Prompto tossed the king Arthur costume her way, albeit grudgingly.
"No need to take it out on Noct, jeez."
Light pointed to the door, not intent on apologizing. "Out. I have to get dressed."
Prompto blinked. "But you'll need help with the-"
Not having any further requests for the evening Prompto watched the two new recruits work: Noctis as Lancelot in his dashing suit of armour pouring tea for the women at his table and Lightning in her King Arthur get-up being served by the women at her table. He watched Lightning with a raised eyebrow as the women 'got into character' and clucked and hassled over how many sugars King Arthur wanted, and whether 'he' wanted 'cream in his tea'; cream and tea being an obvious double-entendre. Lightning's answer was professional and courteous, using perfect grammar and smiling slightly like a king usually did; which should have created pouts on the women's faces but actually succeeded in making the women compete even more ardently for her attention. Their efforts continuously proved in vain however as time and time again Arthur treated them all like equals, remaining steadfastly benevolent. Prompto found it quite ironic that the table they were using just so happened to be a round one. Everything fit perfectly.
She's a natural, Prompto thought, smiling, before looking over to Noctis' table. It appeared Lightning had caught his attention too as the squire noticed a furrowed look of concentration on the knight's face, possibly taking mental notes of everything Lightning did that made the women swoon over her. Prompto would have looked away had he not managed to catch a glimpse of something else-admiration, per chance? He smiled, remembering how hard it was for Noctis to take his eyes off her-not that he could blame him-Lightning was quite beautiful-beautiful enough to rival Stella even. Additionally, the fact that Noctis' first impression of her was half-naked and in a towel, would definitely be hard for any male in Noctis' position to forget. And where Stella was gentle and caring and direct in a polite manner, Lightning preferred to skip the niceties and cut straight to the chase. She was direct alright; a direct kick to the groin for all men's self-esteem and confidence.
No wonder Noct's confused, Prompto chuckled quietly. He doesn't know which sort of woman he should be attracted to: a gentle and caring one like Stella, or a wild and volatile one like Lightning. Understandable, given Noctis had never met a girl with a personality quite so cold like Lightning's. Perhaps his inexperienced friend was finally experiencing what came natural to all males: the thrill of the hunt. Nothing was more arousing than the thought of victory and finally laying claim to the frustratingly elusive female species.
Aww Noct's so cute, Prompto thought, smirking to himself. Team Stella or Team Lightning?
Well personally, I'd opt for both, but I'm not sure how that'd work out…
Maybe Lightning was just what the doctor ordered: she was a woman; and what better teacher could Noctis ask for? A blunt person like her would be able to tell it straight to Noctis' face what he was doing wrong, something Prompto sometimes found difficult to say to his friend.
Yes, he decided. It's a good idea. What better teacher about women than a woman herself?
He glanced back at Lightning just in time to see her eyelid twitch in annoyance as a particularly bold customer tried to paw at her thigh. Catching the woman's hand before it could proceed further upward, Lightning fixed the woman with a stern glare and told her politely to cease her actions at once. One would think that the guilty woman would be indignant; it was quite the opposite actually. The guilty woman seemed to admire the King even more, as did the rest of the women at the table.
"He's soo tense, and strong" he heard that woman gush. Prompto sighed. Lightning was too good at this.
But how do I get her to help Noct out? Obviously she's not interested in him, so the best choice is Stella. It's good to start Noctis off slowly, with someone less likely to stomp all over him and crush his self-esteem into the ground beyond repair.
"Unfair advantage don't you think," a voice muttered, interrupting Prompto's thoughts.
Prompto turned to the glasses-wearing court-jester who was busy behind the computer screen behind the counter Prompto had been leaning on. The son of an oil tycoon, this man was Ignis: the boss' right hand man who handled the CGS's finances, administration and other things that made the CGS run smoothly. Like the other staff of the CGS Ignis was also studying at Cocoon. And like Noctis and Lightning, he was also a fellow honours student.
I'm surrounded by nerds. "Unfair?" Prompto feigned ignorance.
"She's a woman."
"How'd you figure that out?"
"Don't play dumb. We heard the scream from the dressing room hours earlier."
"We? Who's we?"
Ignis appeared uninterested as he carried on inputting more data into the computer. "Me and the boss of course."
At his words Prompto's eyes immediately flickered to the handsome jet-black haired young man dressed as a Duke in the corner of the room, sitting with his arms around the shoulders of two women who clung desperately to him. Noticing Prompto's stare the Duke gave a sly wink and casually indicated over to King Arthur before smiling.
He's always one step ahead.
Ignis' voice was almost lost to Prompto right then. "Cid says you couldn't have found a better replacement for Snow," he said. "You get to choose next week's theme if you can get 'Cloud' to stay."
"That's impossible," Prompto laughed. "Lightning'd never -"
"Was I talking about Lightning?" Ignis asked.
Prompto immediately understood, a devious grin spreading across his face as it dawned on him.
"Hop to it," Ignis said, turning back to the monitor once more.
Light uttered a silent prayer of thanks to Etro as she surveyed the now empty café with its chairs atop of the tables to make way for the steam cleaner that Noctis was currently pushing around, leaving the areas it passed over spotless and good as new. It was just them left in the café, being assigned the task of cleaning and locking up. Her thoughts backtracked to the King Arthur costume and she shuddered.
She never knew how exhausting women were, and she happened to be one. Was this how married men felt? She smiled at the revelation and relief that she was finally back into her own clothes and wig. Suffice to say, she had experienced being literally and figuratively naked without them.
"Thanks for helping out tonight," Prompto told Light over the loud hum of the cleaning machine as Noctis zoomed all over the café, bored.
Lightning's smile disappeared. She had been groped too many times to count, and suffered too many 'close-calls' as women tried to get their hands on her non-existent manhood. "Don't mention it," she muttered darkly.
"No really, I appreci-"
Prompto smiled. "Actually, I have to mention it."
Light was immediately wary. "Why?"
"Well, because," Prompto said, indicating to Noctis who was oblivious to their whole conversation "I believe someone like you can help Noctis build his confidence with women. You're a woman, and your performance was amazing tonight. You can give him some pointers."
"I'm not helping him to become an incurable womanizer like you are."
"I'm not asking you to. I was just asking if you could offer him a gentle nudge in the right direction."
"I thought the bright green EXIT sign was glaringly obvious and sufficient enough."
Prompto was whining now. "Please, Lightning?" a pause "Light? Can I call you Light?"
"I'm calling you Light," Prompto decided. "Much more feminine."
"I-don't-care," Light said, wishing the floor could dry faster so she could go home. She just wanted to curl up in bed and forget ever being seen practically naked by two strangers-one of which was her roommate, getting drenched in water, risking her brother's scholarship and getting molested by hormonal young women. Was it too much to ask?
"Fine," a dramatic sigh from Prompto as he shrugged nonchalantly, "I tried asking nicely, but you leave me no choice."
Light's fingers instinctively curled into a ready fist, her knuckles making a very audible and threatening crackle. She didn't like that tone of voice. "What do you mean 'no choice'?"
"You're working here, starting tomorrow," he stated as-a-matter-of-factly.
"Piss off. I'm not."
"Yes, you are-if you don't want me to report you to Rosch," Prompto replied slyly.
Her eyes narrowed dangerously. "You wouldn't dare," she hissed.
"I so, would," Prompto smirked. "And then you and Noctis would both lose your scholarships."
She tried a different tactic, seeing that he wasn't intimidated in the least. "You'd rat out your friend?"
"Actually," Prompto said, "it'd just be you who loses. You see, unlike you, I, happen to come from money and thus I have a certain degree of influence. Noctis' sponsor would simply change. So if he did get terminated, I've got his back and I'd sponsor him. You're the only one who stands to lose everything."
"Bastard!" she tried to launch a fist at his face, but he darted out of the way swiftly.
"Now now," Prompto chuckled. "That isn't very becoming of a lady."
"What's with you two?" Noctis asked, finally switching off the steam cleaner and wheeling it out back into the closet to store it.
"Nothing, I've just succeeded in making Light stick around," Prompto told him, before turning to whisper to Light while Noctis disappeared into the tiny closet. "If you really do need money-this job pays well. And I understand you're cynical of this place but at least have a heart to empathize with Noctis-he doesn't have many friends. It's not because he's shy: he just doesn't know how to talk to them and usually he ends up insulting them."
Light sighed, feeling her resolve start to sway. Noctis' social skills really were quite pitiful, reminding her of a dying dog that needed to be put down to end its suffering. "Just…tell him to be himself-that's the best approach," she said hesitantly.
Prompto's eyes lit up. "Don't you see? That's exactly why I need you: you're the perfect person to help him."
"You're blackmailing me you son-of-a-bitch."
He smiled sheepishly. "Ahh, about that-I was only kidding."
"No you weren't," Light growled, seeing right through him.
"Please?" Prompto said again, "I mean, what else are you going to do with your free time, study?" he laughed.
Light gave him a 'look'.
He stared. "Seriously?"
A loud crash in the storage closet interrupted them.
"I'm okay," Noctis was heard saying, before a loud clang "ow!"
Etro he's hopeless. Light groaned and massaged her temples. "Fine," she told Prompto. "I'll do it-but you keep your mouth shut, and your nose out of my business, got it?"
"Yes ma'am." Prompto saluted.
"Uh guys?" Noctis called. "A little help?"
A/N (set to expire when I update again):
Yep, so we've got a pre-womaniser Noctis on our hands, a Tamaki Prompto and Lightning in raging bitch mode. The perfect mix for a crack fic like this one hehe. It's fun cutting loose from writing 'serious' stuff all the time. Which brings me to our next agenda:
Currently, this story could either go PromptoxLightning or NoctisxLightning. Your feedback would be a contributing factor (but I'd still have the final say muahahaha give me REASONS)
Kiss kiss fall in love :P