Dedicated to Fluffychans and Lola Apple, wholesome and hentaish RESPECTIVELY.
Lyserg Diethyl paced back and forth nervously. He had sinned, oh good Lord, he did! And against someone as holy as the iron maiden even.
It was unthinkably, unacceptably, unbelievably shameful of him to commit such a grave sin. For the nth time, he cursed himself.
Then remembered what happened again.
Cursed himself again.
"Lyserg, my man, are you ok?" asked Horo Horo, a little tipsy already with the rounds of beer passed around the table.
"Yeah, yeah," he managed to mutter. Yoh looked at him, puzzled.
"You told us that you were going to unwind awhile ago when you said you were going to the park," began Yoh gently. "How come you look much more tensed when you returned from your walk?"
He exhaled, gathering himself. It wasn't really much, what he saw awhile ago. It would have been easy to say that it was all perfectly normal, and he was the only one adding malicious meaning to it. But then…
He looked at his buddy, then noticed that Yoh's attention was on Horo Horo, who was starting to tease poor Tamamura Tamao.
"What's wrong with your love life, Tamao?" The ainu was asking her. "I mean, you're cute. You're…so nice! How come you don't have a boyfriend yet?"
"Horo Horo!" groaned Yoh, who was particularly thankful for the fact that Anna wasn't around to see how his friend was terrorizing her friend.
The girl hugged the tray to her chest tightly. "Um, Horo-kun…you had too much drink…"
"Nonsense!" roared the boy, wiggling his fingers. "Me and my wits…they're still here, see?"
"That's what you think," muttered Ren Tao, sipping his drink. "They never had been there in the first place."
Lyserg noticed that his eyes were subtly on Horo Horo's sister, who was fast asleep on the living room. She had earlier given in to the call of intoxication and had fallen into slumber.
The dowser smiled. The Chinese shaman may not be too subtle about his concern for the ainu girl, but he knew that Ren sneaked out awhile ago to place a blanket on her.
Yoh turned his attention to him once again when Horo Horo had scrambled outside; he seemed to have given in to the call of nausea too.
"So what happened when you walked awhile ago, Lyserg?" he asked, shifting his position towards the Londoner.
"Nothing much," he heard himself say. Only everything else.
His mind flew back to what transpired just some hours ago…
Lyserg stretched lazily. "There! Finished my discourse with Descartes. Later, I'll go over the guide questions and-"
"Lyserg, are you there?" asked the familiar cheerful voice of Yoh Asakura.
He smiled. "Yup. Come in."
Yoh waved and entered his hotel room, bringing bags of groceries. "I passed by here when Ryu told me you will be in town for a week."
"I will not miss the birthday of Yoh Asakura for anything in the world," he said, grinning.
The shaman grinned back. "Gee, thanks, Lyserg. Dakedo…" His smile weakened. "It's aniki's birthday too, you know."
"Yeah well…" He knew that too, only so well. "I guess the fact alone that you existed in this world because of this date would suffice to erase that thought from my mind."
Yoh laughed. "That's a nice way of looking at things." He snapped his fingers. "By the way, Horo Horo suggested that we try a drinking session tonight, since Anna…" He sighed. "Anna won't be around."
His eyebrow rose. "Now that's a first."
"Grandma calls," he said simply, as if it would explain everything. "But she said she would be back in Funbari as soon as she can."
"Then why don't you just celebrate your birthday in whatever place she's going?" he asked curiously.
"Grandma says I'm not an itako," he explained sheepishly.
"Oh." He patted his friend's shoulder. "Cheer up. Anna did say she would come as soon as she can. Maybe she would be back tonight even."
"Yeah maybe…and I guess it will work out too, because I don't know what Anna will say when she finds out that I will be having you guys over for a little drink. You know that she doesn't trust Horo Horo."
Lyserg shrugged. "I guess that's alright. I don't trust him either."
"I…I wanted to invite aniki, but…he declined," confessed the Asakura.
Lyserg smiled faintly. Simple Yoh, he would always insist to see the goodness of a person, no matter who the person was. He wished he had a heart like Yoh's, who had already forgiven Asakura Hao for trying to dominate the world.
Or the heart of Jeanne-sama, who had already disbanded the X-Laws and had announced that Hao mustn't be destroyed, but redeemed.
He smiled absent-mindedly when he thought about the young leader of the group that used to seek Hao Asakura's destruction. Aside from being merciful and compassionate, Jeanne-sama was also kind and patient, sweet and angelic…very pretty too.
The last thought nearly made him choke. Whenever his thinking starts to tread dangerously towards those things he secretly likes about his former mistress—mistress, as in someone he serves, and not mistress mistress--, he starts to feel nervous. He would feel his heart beat twice as fast, his palms sweaty and clammy, and in the whole, restless.
Seconds later, he would feel guilty for thinking unsacred thoughts about the Jeanne-sama.
Minutes later, he would feel very guilty, because he was still thinking about those thoughts on the most holy girl.
And hours later…
"Lyserg? Yu-hoo?" Yoh snapped his fingers in front of the dowser's face.
"He's out," sighed someone whose voice suspiciously sounds like Horo Horo.
Before he could react, a sound slap nearly made his teeth fly. The dowser immediately got up. "Hey, what was that for?" he demanded.
"We got him back," said Horo cheerfully, who, for some reason, he hadn't noticed had made his appearance in his room too.
"Lyserg, you're studying too hard," said Yoh worriedly. "Maybe you should take a break first from your studies and-"
"It has got nothing to do with studies," said Horo, smiling.
The dowser felt his face warm up. He could read oh-so-well in the ainu's eyes what he meant.
Fortunately, Yoh was…well…less perceptive. "Whatever you're thinking about, Lyserg, I still say you need a break."
"Right." He got up and gathered his things. "Maybe I should take a walk in the park or something." He grabbed his jacket.
Yoh grinned. "OK, and we'll see you tonight, ne?"
He nodded, smiling.
"This must be one of Yoh's brightest ideas," Lyserg thought as he walked down the brick road, feeling the fresh air kiss his skin lovingly. He could feel his spirits lifting themselves up already.
Just then, he saw a familiar man with broad shoulders walking down in his usual stiff manner. Before he could stop himself, he called out.
The man immediately looked up, frowning. But when he saw who the person was, a small smile formed on the face of the former X-Laws right-hand.
"Jeanne-sama would be delighted to see you." Marco's words echoed in his mind as he took the steps towards the north of the park two at a time.
Yoh had invited the Iron maiden to his party too, but in the last minute, couldn't make it because of her cold.
Marco told him to pay his respects to the holy girl; he told him that ever since the X Laws had been disbanded, she had been lonely, and mostly keeps to herself.
At last, he arrived in the hut, where Marco left her temporari ut thinking twice, he dashed out of the park like a madman, ignoring the bewildered and bemused glances he would receive from anyone he sees.
He saw Marco frown when he ran past him. He could hear him calling, but he ignored the man.
He had to get away—from this stupid embarrassment, from those red polka dots cotton memories…
"Shit!" He ran straight on a flagpole. Dizzily, he looked up and found himself gazing at the proud flag of Japan.
He was in that distressed position when Yoh and Horo Horo found him.
"I didn't see anything!!!" he yelled.
Yoh blinked, then grinned. "OK, we believe you."
Horo looked at him, puzzled. "What?!" The ainu was here with Yoh all that time and he couldn't understand why it was only Yoh who understood whatever the thing that the dowser didn't see.
Yoh motioned for Horo to stop talking and instead, helped Lyserg up. "Um, can I ask you one little thing without you bursting into hysterics?"
Lyserg nodded slowly.
"Where's your other shoe?" He motioned towards his left foot that was shoeless.
The dowser froze, then tried to think of what could have happened that caused his shoe to drop from his foot.
Then it him.
His mind recalled in nightmarish slow motion what he saw, and how he fell down from the stairs leading to the hut, and how he scrambled away from the scene of the crime…his crime…
…and his little leather black shoe left by the stairs…
"Oh god…"He covered his face with his hands, groaning.
The dowser blinked when he saw Yoh grinning at him. He was offering him another can of gin.
"This will help, that's what Ren says," the Asakura shaman explained.
He managed a weak smile. "Thanks." He took a big gulp of the drink, then resumed his self-damnation.
He looked at the can and silently groaned at the white can and red circle logo in the center.
What a scoundrel he was.