(A/N) - ...I have no clue. Really. This concept hit me out of nowhere. ...Lord above, I'm really sorry.
"It won't be so bad! You'll be among friends."
"Is that all you can say? Come on, they're waiting for you."
Shishido levied a glare at the white-haired man standing next to him. Ohtori gave him a pleading look, and Shishido turned away, snorting. Damn that stupid puppy-dog look. Damn Ohtori. Both were too cute to resist.
"...For me?" Ohtori entreated.
Shishido grumbled and scuffed his foot against the pavement. A curse, then he threw his arms up overdramatically.
"Fine." he spat. "I'll go." He paused, regarding his partner with a frown. "...Would you turn off that look?!"
Ohtori obligingly turned off the puppy-dog look, and put on a sheepish smile. Shishido sulked a bit, crossing his arms over his chest. Ohtori wrapped his arms around him in a hug.
"We'll meet at my house when both our groups are over, alright?" he asked.
Shishido still sulked, and gave a 'Hn,' in response. Ohtori seemed to take this as consent, and tugged lightly at the brim of Shishido's hat.
"See you later tonight!" he chirped, adjusting his bag on his shoulder and walking down the neatly landscaped path to the sidewalk.
Shishido watched Ohtori walk away on the pathway, then as he turned the corner to the street, toss a grin and an airborne kiss over his shoulder. Shishido sighed, and glared at the house in front of him. He wanted so badly to just walk away, go see a movie, then meet Choutarou afterward for se--practice. Practice.
But noooooo, conscience won't let him do that, will it? Ohtori's voice echoed through Shishido's mind.
Stupid cute Ohtori and his stupid cute voice! He did that on purpose, oh yes he did. It was all a plot to get Shishido, he was sure of that.
Shishido crammed his hands into his pockets, and scuffed his way to the front door of Stupid House. Laughter and muffled voices chimed from the walls. Shishido glared at the doorbell for a minute, before that pleading voice came to his head again. He sighed and jabbed the doorbell with his finger.
Almost immediately, he heard a shriek of 'I'LL GET IT!!', then thundering footsteps. The front door swung open to reveal a somewhat familiar face to the be-capped Hyotei boy. Shishido blinked, trying to place this strange figure. Mussed rust-red hair, immense blue eyes, energy that would power a small African country for several decades...
"Well, finally!!" Kikumaru chirped happily, yanking Shishido into the house by the wrist. He proceeded to drag the violently protesting boy further into the house while he called out, "Guess who's here!!"
Shishido found himself being dragged into a room filled with vaguely familiar faces. The room itself seemed to be a living room or parlor of sorts, elegantly decorated. Bookshelves lined the walls, and the well-worn pages and bent spines assured Shishido that the books set onto them weren't merely for show. Slender-necked lamps sent their light throughout the room while they sat on polished oak tables. A large window opened the end of the large room to a balcony, with a spectacular view of the stars in the night sky.
Kikumaru flung Shishido into a plush armchair, causing his hat to slide over his eyes. He grumbled and pushed it back up; ready to give the red-haired menace a barrage of Not Nice comments.
"Well, well! We were wondering when you were finally gonna give in and visit us!"
Shishido crossed his arms, and snorted.
"...It wasn't of my free will. Chou--Ohtori. Ohtori convinced me to come."
Laughter erupted from the gathered boys. Shishido's frown deepened.
"Denial; how classic!" crowed a rather rosy-cheeked boy. Shishido recognized him as a rather quiet boy from the Catholic boys' boarding school they had played once. He supposed that there was plenty of booze here to loosen one's personality.
"Don't worry, you're among friends here." said a gently smiling young man that Shishido remembered as being Seigaku's Kawamura. "We get lots of boys from Hyotei; I guess it's just part of--"
"Having a diva as a captain?" a familiar voice slurred. Shishido whirled around, only to be met with the sight of Gakuto, a wineglass in his hand, flopped full-length on the couch. Gakuto gave Shishido a kind of drunkish salute with his wineglass before he drained it.
"Zzzz..." added a familiar snore.
Shishido settled back in his chair, frown lightening a bit to a thin line. He let his gaze roam around the room, trying to pick out any more familiar faces.
The freshman from Seigaku--Echizen Ryoma or something, if he remembered correctly--looked about as thrilled as Shishido was to be here. Another that Shishido recognized as a part of the doubles team from Seigaku that he and Ohtori had played against was leaning against a wall, seemingly content in his solitude as he hissed lightly at intervals. Kikumaru gave Shishido a friendly punch on the back before bounding back to his chair. Kawamura gave Shishido a sheepish grin at his comrades' behavior. Jiroh was having pleasant dreams in a nearby armchair. Gakuto had abandoned his wineglass in favor of the actual bottle.
Just as Shishido began to settle in (seeing how there was really no escape) and contemplate how a group of junior high students could have gotten into such a large quantity of wine, two more guests entered the parlor.
"Taichi! Fuji the second!" chirped Kikumaru happily. "Took you two long enough."
Taichi stumbled his way from the door to the parlor's center table, looking much like an ant carrying an Oreo with his immense bag of groceries. Yuuta scowled over at Kikumaru.
"Either call me 'Fuji' or 'Yuuta', not 'Fuji the second', not 'Fuji's little brother', not 'Senor Fufuko', not anything!" Yuuta growled.
"If I'm not allowed to call you anything, then how am I supposed to talk to you?" Kikumaru asked with a large grin, feigning stupidity.
Yuuta plunked his share of the grocery bags on the parlor table.
"That is entirely the point, Kikumaru-san," was his sole remark, as he turned away to unpack the groceries.
Kikumaru stuck out his tongue at Yuuta's back, pulling down his eyelid. Taichi poked Kikumaru with a baguette ganked from the grocery bags.
"Um...maybe you two could stop arguing? So we can start the meeting?" Taichi asked shyly, bringing the baguette away from Kikumaru's shoulder.
Kikumaru stuck out his tongue cutely. "Senor Fufuko and I weren't arguing, we were having a psychological discussion!"
"No, we were arguing." Yuuta corrected, stashing a bag of Skittles into his pants pocket. He added with a glare, "And don't call me Senor Fufuko!"
"You should be happy, I call your brother Senor Fufu."
"How is that better than--"
"I call this meeting of the Kanto Region Uke Support Group to order!" Taichi intercepted the brewing argument and sat down in yet another armchair, this one near Shishido's seat. He cleared his throat, and grabbed the clipboard that had been leaning against his chair. "I would like to thank Fuji Yuuta for allowing his home to be used as the house for this meeting."
"Eheh. Anyway! Roll call! Echizen Ryoma!"
"You mean Monsieur Fuji le Petit?"
"You're onto French now?!"
"Hmeeeh." slurred Gakuto from behind his wine bottle.
Shishido shifted his eyes over to Jiroh. He nudged Taichi discreetly. Taichi merely blinked at him.
"Mm? What's wrong, Shishido-san?" Taichi asked.
Shishido flushed as attention became centered on him. He adjusted his hat.
"...I was just trying to tell you that you forgot Jiroh." he stated quietly.
Jiroh snored in response. Taichi smiled crookedly.
"Oh, Akutagawa-san isn't a member." he clarified.
Shishido's lips turned down in confusion. "Then why is he here?"
"He comes here for the Scrapbooking Club meeting Aniki holds here just before this group," Yuuta explained boredly. Reaching into another grocery bag, he pulled out a white bakery box. "He never wakes up and he's too heavy to carry out the door, so we figure just let him stay for this."
Shishido nodded, apparently not surprised in the least. "Never thought that Jiroh was into scrapbooking."
"He does make awfully nice scrapbooks. They tend to lack variety, since most of his pictures are of Aniki or Atobe-san, but hey." Yuuta paused as he tore at the tape on the box with his fingers. "What're you going to do?"
Shishido blinked. "I...see." Pause. "...Does that mean that he's a--"
"No, doesn't belong to that group either."
"...Then he's an--"
"...Then what the hell--"
Shishido seemed to be satisfied by the answer, or was perhaps still trying to wrap his brain around it. Taichi stuffed his clipboard in the fold of his chair. Rearranging himself on the cushion (his legs still dangling around an inch or three from the floor), he gestured to Shishido.
"As president of the Kanto Region Uke Support Group, I would like to introduce and welcome our newest member, Shishido Ryou. He's from the Hyotei tennis team, like Mukahi-san and Akutagawa-san--"
"You don't know me!" Gakuto drunkenly outburst at Taichi, gesturing angrily with his wine bottle. A sympathetic snore followed this remark.
Taichi sweatdropped. Extending his tiny hand to Shishido, he gave him a smile. "I welcome you on behalf of the Support Group, they can be a bit..." He glanced around nervously, chewing on his lower lip. "...Excitable at times."
Shishido gingerly shook Taichi's hand, frowning. Taichi blinked.
"Well...how'd you get to be president?" Shishido looked away. "I mean, didn't mean it as an insult, it's just you're awfully young for such a job."
Taichi smiled crookedly, sweatdropping. "Eh, well, it's a long story really--"
"Well, don't you think that he's the uke-est one out of all of us?" Kikumaru interrupted, noting a point.
Shishido scanned the room. He then looked back at Taichi.
"...Suppose you're right." he admitted.
Yuuta finally had gotten the tape off of the bakery box, though he had had to resort to using his teeth. He opened up the box with a grin of accomplishment, which transformed into a frown of confusion as he looked at the cake inside.
"...I think we got the wrong cake." Yuuta announced.
The attention of the room centered on Yuuta. Taichi blinked.
"Did I pick up the wrong one?" he asked worriedly, a slight blush beginning to creep up his cheeks.
Yuuta slid a hand under the box to tilt it up. "I think that little Horatio will be missing his birthday cake."
The blush turned darker, and Taichi rubbed the back of his head.
"...Oops." was the sole comment he could think to make.
Yuuta sighed and shrugged, standing up.
"Oh well. We've got his cake; he's got ours. No harm done. I'll go get a knife from the kitch..."
He trailed off, looking at the pale faces around the room. He paused for a moment.
Nodding, he stated, "I'm missing something, aren't I?"
Kawamura gulped and looked over at Kikumaru. "Eiji...you ordered the cake, right?"
Kikumaru stared at his hands in his lap, playing with his fingers.
"...Yeah..." he answered quietly.
"...How did you ask the bakers to decorate the cake?"
Eiji lowered his head, trying to hide his face in his bangs.
"...Not in a way that would scar a small child for life..." he said in a whisper.
The members of the group remained dead silent, slowly turning their heads to look at each other.
At Little Horatio's Seventh Birthday Party, somewhere in the Kanto Region...
"Mommy, can we open the cake now?"
"Of course, sweetie, Grandpa will open it for us!"
"Here we go, little...oh my god..."
"Mommy? What're those two boys doing to each other?"
"...Um...they're...telling secrets to each other."
"But that one boy's ear isn't anywhere NEAR there...and Mommy, what happened to their clothes?"
"...Sweet lord, I need a drink..."
Back at the Uke Support Group...
The guilt in the room seemed to have dissipated, and members were happily devouring their cake. Taichi was continuing with the meeting's introduction.
"As you may have noticed, some of our members didn't make it today..." Taichi stated, swallowing a bite of cake. "Ibu Shinji and Kamio Akira were injured in a small accident at their school, and, although they are not seriously injured, the doctors advised them to remain in bed for a few days."
"I told them that those hammocks won't hold more then three people. Did they listen? Nah." Kaidou muttered under his breath.
Seemingly not hearing or perhaps ignoring Kaidou's comments, Taichi continued.
"And Kisarazu Atsushi is still in the mental ward at Kanto Hospital after his 'da ne' breakdown. If anyone manages to see them before the next meeting, please give them a recap of events. Now, we shall open the floor for new business. Who will the floor recognize first?"
Yuuta stood up. "I've got a complaint!" he stated, crossing his arms.
Taichi pointed to Yuuta. "The floor recognizes Fuji Yuuta!"
Yuuta cleared his throat, setting his plate down on the coffee table.
"I resent the fact that Taichi and I are always the ones making snack runs!" he declared, crossing his arms.
Taichi raised his hand shyly. "I-I second that. Yuuta-san, please go on."
Yuuta nodded and continued.
"We're not even the youngest members, or the newest members!"
"And those grocery bags are really heavy and the balance between what you guys give us to pay with and what the total actually comes out to be has to come out of our own pockets and usually you guys don't give us enough even though I'm sure you guys don't do that on purpose and I asked my parents to raise my allowance but they--"
"Taichi. May I finish?"
Taichi halted in mid-babble, and blushingly nodded.
Yuuta put on a confused look for a moment. "...I actually don't even know how we got stuck with this job. But that's beside the point! I propose that we should rotate turns with snack run duties!" he finished, plunking back into his seat.
"I second that proposal!" Taichi stated. He looked around the room at the gathered members. "Yea or nay?"
He was again met with blank stares.
"...Which one means 'yes'?"
Taichi massaged his temples, fighting the urge to sigh. "'Yea'."
"Nay!" came a chorus of voices.
Taichi and Yuuta were taken aback.
"'Nay'?!" they shouted in unison.
Kikumaru snickered, sliding a finger into his mouth to lick off the icing that covered it.
"It's unanimous! Fufuko and El Presidente are still our snack bitches!" he declared happily, clapping.
Taichi looked ready to cry. Yuuta looked ready to kill something.
"Why US?!" he shouted angrily.
Crickets chirped from around the room. A tumbleweed rolled by.
"Because the rest of us don't want to do it." Ryoma stated simply, sipping at his drink.
Taichi turned a tearful look onto Ryoma. "But I'm the PRESIDENT!" he cried.
"And you're serving your people. The system works."
Taichi sniffled, wiping at his eyes with his sleeve. Yuuta fumed silently in his chair.
"Fine...any more new business?" Taichi quietly asked, voice a bit wobbly.
Yuuta stood up again. "And you know what else? You!" He pointed at Kikumaru. "Stop calling me by your stupid nicknames!"
Kikumaru grinned. "Heh! I don't know what you're talking about, Yuyu-chan."
Yuuta suppressed a scream of frustration, albeit not very well.
"My! Name! Is! YUUTA! FUJI YUUTA! Capital f-u-j-i, space, capital y-u-u-t-a!" He pointed his finger at Kikumaru's nose. "Now say it!"
Kikumaru nodded solemnly, closing his eyes. His brow furrowed in concentration, and he winced.
"I can see it forming in your head, just say it."
The crickets came back again, and a forest of tumbleweeds rolled by. Kikumaru opened his eyes suddenly, looked up at Yuuta, and shouted,
"Monsieur Fuji des Petits Boucles de Tenis!"
More silence. The crickets apparently had gone on strike, and were supported by the Tumbleweed Labor League. Yuuta's hands began to shake. Kikumaru sweatdropped, his hands slowly going up to protect his face.
"H-hey, Yuuta, I was just kidding arou--"
"Chat stupide! Tu ne parle pas français, donc pourquoi m'appelles-tu 'Le Petit Frère de Fuji', 'Monsieur Fufuko', 'Monsieur Fuji le Petit', 'Monsieur Fuji des Petits Boucles de Tenis'?! Si je peux, je voudrais toi déchirer un nouveau--" Yuuta began to rant, as Kawamura slapped a hand over his mouth.
"Yuuta! There're young ears in here!" Kawamura chastised, gesturing to Ryoma and Taichi. He then gestured to Shishido. "And! Do we want to send a bad message to our new member?"
"As if I haven't heard it before." Ryoma mumbled against his glass.
As if I haven't heard worse., thought Shishido.
Yuuta growled lowly, but relented. He slumped back into his seat, crossing his arms. Kikumaru looked down at his hands, embarrassed. Taichi coughed.
"A-any other business? That doesn't involve ranting in French?"
Taichi blinked, then shook his head. "Alright, that concludes new business." He clapped his hands. "You know what this means!" he said happily.
Shishido looked hopeful. "Meeting's over?"
The other members didn't seem to hear him. They all jumped up happily.
"SLUMBER PARTY!!" they shrieked, bouncing around and clutching each other's hands like a pack of teenage girls.
Shishido paled as a hand yanked him up from his seat.
This was going to be a long night.
He just hoped Ohtori was all right.
At an undisclosed top-secret location where the Kanto Region Seme Support Group was being held...
"Alright, that concludes all new business. ...Time for makeovers!!"
"Ooo, I've been wanting to try this new nailpolish out on you! You've just got the PERFECT complexion for pearly pink!"
"Oh, flattery'll get you nowhere, you tease you!"
Back at the Uke Support Group...
In an amazingly short amount of time, the gathered members of the Uke Support Group had changed into their jammies and had dismantled the parlor from a snack-stacked disaster area to a snack-stacked, sleeping bag and pillow-strewn disaster area. Shishido hugged his knees, glaring at the giggling mass around him.
(Being that he hadn't expected to be invited to a slumber party, Shishido hadn't brought his pajamas, his pillow, his toothbrush, or even his stuffed Keroppi. Thus, he was wearing a spare pair of Yuuta's pajamas. Shishido was thankful that Yuuta was the one who volunteered to lend him sleeping clothes; he shuddered to think what would happen if that redhead had lent him pajamas. As for Keroppi...Shishido could sleep without him if he really wanted to. Really. He could.)
He hated being here. He just wanted to leave, go to Ohtori's place, and snuggle up to his Choutarou and get some rest! Was that so much to ask?!
Taichi stood up in the middle of the semicircle that members had formed with their sleeping bags.
"Okay! Now it's time for confessions!" he cried.
The room shook with high-pitched squeals of delight. Shishido paled, and looked around frantically for a means of escape--doors, windows, sleeping pills, anything. His eyes locked quizzically on a fort in the furthest corner of the room, made of armchairs, blankets, and a couch. Ryoma poked his head out of the front of the fort, and madly gestured for Shishido to hurry inside. Shishido happily obliged, and upon entry, found himself holed up with Ryoma, Kaidou, and Yuuta.
"Just stay quiet," Ryoma whispered. "They do this every meeting, and we do THIS every meeting."
Moving further back into the fort, Ryoma continued.
"We figured from your personality that you were one of us. Just think of this as our own little support group for the support group."
Shishido nodded, frowning. "They don't find you?"
"Normally Kikumaru-sempai talks so much that they tend to forget about us." Kaidou replied, in his quiet hissing whisper.
"I thought this up after the fourth meeting or so." Yuuta added. "I used to do this to hide from Aniki when we were little."
Shishido blinked. "Did it work?"
Pause. "...No, no, not really."
From outside the fort, the four hiding boys heard clapping.
"Okay, Kikumaru-san!" Taichi's voice was heard to say. "You can go first!"
Kikumaru giggled happily, pulling his legs into a more comfortable position. He rested his hands on his knees.
"Heh, alright! Well, you all know how Oishi's usually pretty quiet? Well, last night..."
Censoring the audio track of this anecdote is unfortunately, very, very necessary.
However, the video track still played. One could see Kikumaru make various hand motions to illustrate points in his story. He did seem be a talented storyteller, as his audience winced when they were supposed to wince, choked when they were supposed to choke, and leaned in when the story got heated.
Kawamura was turning various shades of red, trying at every pause Kikumaru took for breath to stop his story. Gakuto listened to the story for all of ten seconds, then dove for comfort into his rapidly emptying wine bottle. Jiroh was asleep, obviously--however, it seemed snippets of the story were filtering into his consciousness, as soft whimpers came from his mouth. Taichi's eyes were growing so huge that it seemed they would pop out of his head.
Inside the fort, the hiding boys were spared from the visuals, but were still at the mercy of Kikumaru's rather loud storytelling. Shishido, feeling uncharacteristically generous, covered Ryoma's young ears.
(He would have done the same to Kaidou and Yuuta, but unfortunately he only had one pair of hands. They seemed to be lost causes anyway, considering their respective semes.)
The audio track picked up at the finale of Kikumaru's story.
"...And then he held me tight and we both fell asleep!" he finished, throwing his arms up in the air happily.
There was a moment of silence. Taichi coughed gently into his hand.
"...Your storytelling has developed more detail then last time, Kikumaru-san," he noted quietly. "...Who's next?"
At the lack of volunteers, Kawamura shyly raised his hand.
"...I'll go..." He looked around, worriedly. "T-that is, if no one else wants to--"
A chorus of 'No-no! Go right ahead!' and 'Get on with it before that idiot starts again!' met Kawamura's response. He rubbed the back of his head sheepishly.
"Ah, alright then."
He thought for a moment, then snapped his fingers.
"Well, there was this one night a few weeks back. It was pretty late; I was up working on some of my schoolwork, otherwise I would have been fast asleep. I suddenly heard something hit the window, and I was worried that a little bird or something had run into it. I hurried to check, but who should I see when I pull up the shades? Why, Fujiko!" Kawamura began to spin his story.
The majority of the room paled, as they suspected that this story was going to be in the same vein as Kikumaru's. Inside the fort, Yuuta merely snorted.
"Yeah, try dealing with that every night." he muttered.
Not hearing any of the comments from the hiding members in the fort, Kawamura continued.
"I pushed open the window and went to help him inside, of course. When I asked him what he was doing up and outside at this hour, he just grinned and pushed me down to the floor, and then he climbed on top of me and--"
"OKAY!!" Gakuto interrupted, waving his arms around. He painfully pulled himself into a sitting position, pointing at everyone's general direction with his wine bottle. "If we're just going to be telling about our booty calls, I got a story that'll KNOCK you off your feet!"
To illustrate, Gakuto flung his arms into the air, knocking himself off-balance and sending him onto his back. Unfazed, he took a long sip from his bottle.
"Y'see me and Oshitari, we were showering after a long practice. And Oshitari y'see, he was either bored or horny or something and he--"
Taichi let out a choked whimper, holding up a hand to stop Gakuto.
"Please..." he begged. "...No more stories about nighttime escapades..."
Gakuto eyed the inside of his wine bottle critically, frowning at the lacking contents.
"It was during the afternoon." he noted, patting the bottom of the bottle.
Taichi buried his head in his hands. Shishido, still in hiding in the makeshift fortress, was covering his ears with his hands and humming the Hyotei alma mater as loudly as he dared.
(He wasn't alone in this in the fort, though the songs being desperately hummed varied. Kaidou, for example, hummed a tune from Hello Kitty.)
FOREVER WE SHALL HONOR THINE HALLOWED HALLS OH HYOTEI GAKUEN!!, Shishido sang-screamed frantically in his head.
Lucky Ohtori. Shishido bet that he was having fun at HIS support group; getting to do manly seme-ish things...like really manly Scrabble or something...
At an undisclosed top-secret location where the Kanto Region Seme Support Group was being held...
"...And then...hic! And then--oh, god, I'm sorry, this...this is just a thing I do...this is really hard to talk about..."
"It's alright, we're here for you."
"Let it all out, honey."
"...AND THEN HE DUMPED ME FOR THAT HUSSY FROM FUDOMINE!!"
"Oh, it's all right, babe, you were too good for him!! You're stronger now!!"
"Sniffle...oh, I love you guys..."
Back at the Uke Support Group...
In our jump-over to the happenings of the brother support group, it seemed that the members of the Uke Support Group had briefly switched from confessions to...listening to Kaneda rant.
"...I gave the BEST YEARS of my LIFE to that bastard, and what do I get?! He just keeps looking at that little SLUT Mizuki!!" Kaneda sobbed into Jiroh's lap.
Jiroh snored understandingly. Kaneda looked up blearily.
"...No, I suppose I've been too busy with school and tennis to give him proper attention..."
"...I guess you're right, if I'm away, where should he get his jollies from?"
"That's brilliant, Akutagawa! ...But where could I get cucumbers in this season?"
"Oh, that's a lovely little store! I'll take your advice!" Kaneda wiped his eyes on his sleeve, gazing thankfully at Jiroh. "Thank you, Akutagawa; you're so understanding."
The rest of the room clapped enthusiastically. In the fort, the hiding members had broken out a deck of cards.
"Told you it was a good idea to get Shishido in here. We have a fourth for Bridge now." Yuuta stated, voice quiet to not alert the rest of the group to the fort's existence.
His remark was met with confused stares from Ryoma and Kaidou.
"Bridge? I thought we were playing Poker." Kaidou whispered back.
"I thought we were playing Gin..." Ryoma added.
Shishido looked up from an impressive multi-tiered house of cards.
"I thought we were playing Godzilla vs. the Powerpuff Girls..." Shishido mumbled to himself, moving his hand to discreetly knock over his card house.
Three hands stopped Shishido's. He looked up, only to be met with the eager faces of his fellow fort-dwellers.
"...That sounds fun. Can I be Bubbles?"
"I wanna be Bubbles! You can play Godzilla!"
"I don't want to play Godzilla, I want to play Bubbles!"
"I called it first!"
"No you didn't, you--"
The muted arguing from the fort drifted to Taichi's ears, and he looked around curiously.
"Hey, did you guys hear something?" he asked, intervening before Gakuto's monthly dissertation on how his flexibility helped his love life.
(Normally it was interrupted by Kikumaru and how his flexibility stretched beyond the bedroom--generally to the kitchen table and shower as well--then followed by a nasty catfight, broken up by the combined efforts of Kawamura's strength and Jiroh's prowess in negotiation.)
The hiding members in the fort froze. Ryoma and Kaidou slowly loosened their grips on each other's neck. Yuuta slapped a hand over his face.
"We've been found out!" he moaned quietly.
"Quick, send out a distraction!" hissed Kaidou.
"Like what?! Want me to set off flares or something?!" Yuuta snapped back.
Kaidou glared at Yuuta. "No, I meant send out someone to put the blame on! They won't look around then!"
"...That's a good idea. But who--"
All eyes fell on Shishido. He blinked.
"...S'been nice knowing you, Shishido-san. If you survive you can come in next meeting, too." Ryoma assured.
Kaidou, Ryoma, and Yuuta grabbed Shishido's arms, ready to shove him out of the fort as their sacrifice. Shishido thrashed helplessly.
"But...but--" he stammered with a mix of terror and rage.
Yuuta leaned over, whispering in Shishido's ear.
"Think of it like this--like shoving one soldier onto a grenade to save the entire squad!" he explained, with a strangely familiar smile on his lips.
Shishido twitched, scowling. "That's comforting."
"Isn't it? Toodle-loo!"
With a hard push to his shoulders, Shishido stumbled outside the fort. Safely inside, Ryoma, Kaidou, and Yuuta bowed their heads. Kaidou took off his bandana in respect.
"There goes the bravest of us all." Yuuta whispered.
Ryoma and Kaidou merely looked at Yuuta. He blinked.
"We just used him because Kaidou-sempai and you would've been too strong to shove out the door, and you two know that I would've ratted on you if you booted me out." Ryoma said.
Yuuta thought this over, nodding. "That too."
Outside the fort, Shishido's mind raced. He looked around frantically, and made a desperate dash for the door to the parlor.
"Shishido! There you are!"
Shishido felt his heart shatter as a familiar death grip wrapped around his arm. The door was so close...
"Were you just taking an extra-long bathroom break? Ah well, c'mon! We haven't heard your confessional yet!" Kikumaru chirped happily, pushing Shishido back to the sleeping bag circle.
Shishido tried to fling himself to the floor to break Kikumaru's hold, but Kikumaru merely released his grip on Shishido's shoulders and grabbed his ankles instead. Shishido clawed at the floor helplessly as Kikumaru towed him to the circle by his feet.
"Shishido-san!" Taichi chimed cheerfully. "We were wondering where you ran off to! Sit down, sit down, tell us a secret of yours!"
Shishido found himself plunked onto his sleeping bag (also lent to him by Yuuta). He buried his face into the material, and sighed in defeat.
"I want to die."
Laughter bubbled from the circle. Shishido snorted into his sleeping bag.
"You thought I was kidding..." he mumbled.
Gakuto, still lying on his back, held a hand into the air.
"And I mean, not many people can even TRY to do the Crouching Kangaroo, Hidden Pretzel position, but of course I can--"
His remark was met by a flying pillow, courtesy of Kikumaru. Kawamura bent down to Shishido's ear.
"Shishido, the faster you think of a story the faster this'll be over with." he whispered helpfully. A pause. "Now, you must excuse me, I have a catfight to break up."
Shishido didn't respond to Kawamura's advice. However, it was not to say that he was not listening. To the bit about the storytelling, anyway. Taichi laughed in embarrassment as Kawamura securely cocooned Gakuto and Kikumaru in their respective sleeping bags, zipping up the sides so only their heads could peek out.
"W-well! Now that that's settled, it's Shishido-san's turn to tell a secret." Taichi announced.
All eyes turned to Shishido expectantly. Shishido lifted his face out of his sleeping bag, slowly.
'Shishido, the faster you think of a story the faster this'll be over with.'
Shishido grumbled silently, but relented.
"For one, Echizen, Kaidou, and Fuji are all hiding in the corner behind the couch and armchair." he stated, holding back a satisfied grin.
"TRAITOR!" a voice snarled from behind the couch.
Shishido buried his face back into his sleeping bag. Laughter came from all around him, and he cracked one eye open to survey his fellow members.
"That's not exactly what we meant by a secret, Shishido-san," Taichi said, holding back giggles. "...We meant a personal secret; about your love life, to precise. Something about you and Ohtori-san."
Shishido frowned. "Why should I tell a bunch of people I don't know a secret about Ohtori and I?" he asked.
"You know me." Gakuto noted, scooting like a caterpillar in his sleeping bag over to his wine bottle.
Another snore came from a neighboring sleeping bag. Shishido shot a glare at Jiroh that could have melted steel.
"What Atobe and I did before I met Choutarou has NOTHING to do with this conversation!" he snarled.
Jiroh snored in a sarcastic apology. Shishido propped himself up on his elbows, obviously not planning to reveal any of his romantic secrets. A voice came from behind the couch.
"How about you tell or they let Kikumaru tell another story?" Ryoma's voice called out, the smirk on his lips weaving its way into his tone.
Shishido choked, paling. The other members smirked, and nodded to Kikumaru. Kikumaru gave Shishido a fanged grin, and opened his mouth to take a breath.
"OKAY, OKAY, I'll do it!!" Shishido spat out, pulling himself into a sitting position. He crossed his arms huffily.
Kikumaru shut his mouth agreeably. The rest of the room clapped in encouragement, and Shishido swore he could hear snickering from behind the couch. He took a deep breath, and let it out in a sigh.
"...Ohtori has...this costume that I really like." he stated.
"Ooo-OOO-ooo!" came the mature response from the other members.
"What is it? You have to tell us!"
Shishido blushed, and mumbled something. The members of the sleeping bag circle laughed hecklingly at Shishido.
"Louder then that!" Kikumaru chirped from his cocoon prison.
A twitch, and Shishido blushed deeper. He took a deep breath.
"Winnie the Pooh. He chases me, shouting that he'll get in my Hunny pot."
There was dead silence for a few minutes. A gulping snicker came out.
"...Is this only when there's a rumbly in his tumbly?" asked Kaneda, face contorted to try and hide his amusement.
The entire room then succumbed into uproarious laughter. After a few moments of this hysteria, Ryoma, Kaidou, and Yuuta tumbled in a heap out of their fort, clutching at their stomachs.
Shishido's eyebrow twitched madly, but it was not long until he too was laughing with the rest.
As his sides ached, Shishido thought to himself that, maybe--just maybe--he'd return the next month.
The next morning...
"Morning!" Ohtori waved, dashing up the path.
Shishido's lips curled into a smile at the man running across the lawn to the bench where he sat. Ohtori panted, dropping his hands to his knees. He turned his brown eyes to Shishido, somewhat masked by stray wisps of silver hair.
"I'm really sorry..." he said through gasps. "...I didn't know they'd be having an overnight. My group had one too."
Suddenly, Oshitari appeared at the gate. He waved at Ohtori.
"Ohtori! We made great progress with Yanagisawa's speech neurosis and Momoshiro's eating disorder this month! We couldn't have done it without you!"
Gakuto stumbled out the front door, carrying his bag over one shoulder and looking much worse for last night's wear. He shuffled his way down the path to where Oshitari stood, flopping onto his back and wrapping his arms around his neck.
"Very hung-over. Home please." Gakuto mumbled into Oshitari's back.
Oshitari complied, dragging Gakuto along the sidewalk, waving to Ohtori as he disappeared behind the gate wall. Waving back, Ohtori turned back to Shishido, head still bowed. Shishido waved it off.
"I'll forgive you, Choutarou, but you owe me a favor." he said, repressing his smile.
Ohtori's head shot up, and he nodded. "Anything! You name it!"
"Kaidou wanted to know if he could borrow the Pooh costume for a week or two."
"...Well, I don't have a problem with it as long as you don't mind going without it."
"Nah, we still have the Tigger one. I forgive you."
Ohtori grinned happily. "Really? Phew."
Shishido got up from the bench where he sat, and began to walk down the pathway with Ohtori. At the crosswalk, Shishido turned to Ohtori.
"Ever thought of playing Godzilla vs. the Powerpuff Girls?"
"...Can I be Bubbles?"
O! MA! KE! NI! WA~!
In a brightly decorated studio, Kikumaru and Oishi stood next to a glitter-bedecked wheel. The wheel itself was much like one found on shows hosted by Pat Sajack or Bob Barker. Kikumaru saluted the audience with a wink.
"To fulfill the educational entertainment requirement for this story, we've instituted this segment!" he explained.
With a flourish, he gestured to the wheel.
"The Wheel of Morality!"
Bells chimed and sirens blared, and confetti came down from the ceiling. A can-can line made up of the rest of Seigaku's team danced their way across the stage. Tezuka remained as the only one with any semblance of dignity, as he calmly followed the can-can line off stage in a leisurely walk. (Ryoma had been forcibly dragged across the stage by Momo.)
Oishi smiled weakly. "We've blatantly ripped off Anamaniacs and, hence, Warner Bros., and we hope that they don't sue us."
"Pfft!" Kikumaru waved off Oishi's comment. "They can't do anything to us! We're animated characters!"
Oishi glanced at Kikumaru. "They could always purchase the rights to our series and dub it with the same voice cast as Pokemon."
Kikumaru's eyes grew very small as all of the color drained from his face.
----------------TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES. PLEASE STAND BY. ----------------
"We're back!" Kikumaru sang happily.
He gestured to the wheel next to him.
"And with the New and Improved way to fulfill our educational entertainment segment! The Circle of Ethics!"
A hastily scribbled sign that read 'Circle of Ethics' was duct taped over the previous sign. Oishi merely had his head cupped in one hand. Kikumaru nudged him in the side with his elbow, grinning.
"You know you love me."
"I do love you, Eiji dear, you just give me horrible headaches."
Kikumaru dropped a kiss onto Oishi's cheek before bounding over to the Circle of Ethics. He grabbed the handle, and, raising it above his head, gave the whe--that is, circle, a good turn. The circle stopped on the number 5, and a printer attached to the side spat out a sheet of paper. Kikumaru grabbed the paper, and flapped it in front of him with a flourish.
"Today's lesson is: 'Brush your bicycle helmet after lubing up to cross the street'!" Kikumaru read happily.
There was silence. Kikumaru and Oishi blinked.
"...Was it just me, or did that make no sense?" Kikumaru asked, quietly.
Oishi gingerly tugged the paper out of Kikumaru's hands, looking it over. He nodded.
"I think the Wheel--" Kikumaru nudged him in the side. "Eh, I mean, I think the Circle mashed a few morals into one. It's a mix of 'Brush your teeth after every meal', 'Wear a bicycle helmet', 'Look both ways to cross the street', and 'Always use lube'." Oishi explained.
There was another pause. Kikumaru's eyes darted from side to side, and Oishi drummed his fingertips on the printout. Kikumaru broke into a grin, throwing his arms into the air.
"Well, there you have it! Today's lesson is 'Always use lube'! And what better lube to use then Inui's Special Deluxe Lube! All proceeds go to putting Ochibi through ballet school!"
"I am NOT going to ballet school!" Ryoma's voice came from off-stage.
"That's right, Ochibi, you can't be the next Kristi Yamaguchi if our viewers don't buy Inui's Special Deluxe Lube! At stores near you!" Kikumaru grinned happily, teeth doing a sparkle.
"Kristi Yamaguchi is a figure skater, Eiji dear."
"...Pff, they get what I mean."
"I'm not sure I do."
"I AM NOT GOING TO A DAMN BALLET SCHOOL!"