Disclaimer: So what, I don't own Yami no Matsuei. No biggie.

Notes: Just another fic in a sea of many. Read if you wish. PG-13

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Tsuzuki was having one of his more melancholy moments. That was obvious. His face was flushed, his eyes highlighted in an unhealthy red. Hisoka sighed. The man's slow circulation allowed him to drink a great quantity of sake before the affects became visible. He had just consumed that infamous "great quantity" in a half hour and was still taking more.

No wonder he's broke, Hisoka thought crossly as he watched his partner drink. There was a dazed grin hinting on the man's pale lips, giving him the faint air of some idiotic joy in his mind's eye. Hisoka knew how abruptly this demeanor could change. Irrational and drunk, Tsuzuki could be distant one moment, and wistfully reflective the next. He could grin just as easily as he could hit his head against the counter. It was a delicate process, dealing with such an unstable personality change, but Hisoka required it of himself to accompany his partner on these escapades. Someone had to keep Tsuzuki safe, and not just from other drunks.

"Want a drink, Hisoka, to get your blood flowing?" Tsuzuki asked loudly. Hisoka knew he was trying to speak well above the dizzy gyration distracting his thoughts. The question was unreasonable. The boy hardly needed help with his circulation. One small drink and he was in over his ears, a mess of rationalization under the table and soon blissfully unconscious.

"Iya," he snapped, handing the drink back to the dark haired shinigami next to him in disgust. Tsuzuki blinked at it a few seconds before accepting it.

"I'll get you something else." Tsuzuki suggested, grabbing the attention of the bar tender. Before Hisoka could stop him, the drink was forthcoming. Hisoka looked at the minute glass furiously with the dark swirls boding of the powerful liquor it held.

"Tsuzuki-san…." He consciously let his voice trail in irritation. The warm sake was too much for his usually plentiful patience in times like these. Tsuzuki was delightfully oblivious to the comment, letting it break over him and fall back into nothing. Hisoka sighed and slumped over the counter, staring at the cup resentfully.

"Well, if you don't want it, fine…" Tsuzuki started a bit peevishly, reaching for the untouched drink. Hisoka didn't hesitate to slide it out of reach.

"Awe, you actually want it?" Tsuzuki grinned happily at this, though Hisoka wasn't sure exactly what he had to be glad for. Who was twisted enough to be proud at the sight of a child defending his liquor?

"No," Hisoka corrected him, "I don't want you to have it."

Tsuzuki frowned slightly, though his face still appeared grotesquely amused as he said, "Well, that's no good. What are you going to do with it—stare? A sip isn't going to kill you, you know."

Hisoka glared, knowing perfectly well what the purple eyes were saying. They were waiting for him to cave and hand over the glass. He was angry, and decided to defy this. Accompanying Tsuzuki was one thing, helping the baka inebriate himself wasn't on the agenda.

"I'll take if off your hands, Hisoka. It's getting cold."

The boy looked once more at the drink decisively and, in an oddly threatening gesture, brought it towards his mouth. There was a sharp intake of breath from Tsuzuki who unreasonably seemed to be not quite so drunk as he appeared. Hisoka agreed, the man could probably still walk and avoid cars. His circulation was the salvation of any bar.

"You wouldn't," Tsuzuki breathed, clearly shocked and uncertain. His exaggerate light-headedness was starting to crumble incase Hisoka acted on his threat and had to be taken care of. The boy could see this as the fundamentals of a continuous strategy took root.

Hisoka watched out of the corner of his eye his partner's expression of disbelief in what was happening. Hisoka drinking was something easy to imagine at first meeting, but hard to believe as one began to understand his youthful susceptibility to tipping over in a drunken comatose for ten hours. Frankly, Tsuzuki didn't care what his partner did, that was Hisoka's business, just as long as he was able to keep the boy from knocking himself out without anyone who could take care of him nearby.

"Hisoka…." Tsuzuki said, with an indistinct emotion coming through his tone. Hisoka threw him a quick, irate glance as his lips timidly caressed the tepid glass. He willed himself a sip, enough to wet his mouth, and held back a grimace at the unfamiliar taste and burn. He was more accustomed to the smell on Tsuzuki.

Hisoka quietly set the glass down again, and turned back to Tsuzuki who merely blinked and goggled.

"Why did you do that?" Tsuzuki asked, his unfinished sour sliding over the counter and meeting the floor. He didn't acknowledge it, too disoriented and frighteningly impressed to care. Hisoka wasn't looking him in the eyes

"Why do you?" the boy countered. His partner couldn't answer him instantly, having to consider the explanation.

"Because that's me." Tsuzuki shrugged, "I like sake."

"Then why shouldn't I?"

"Ano…" Tsuzuki stopped.  Hisoka and sake didn't seem like a terrific union. The boy calmly watched him, waiting for the explanation. He could see Tsuzuki was trying come up with an excuse to clear himself and keep Hisoka away.

"You're too young."

Hisoka nearly collapsed at this. Too young, he thought venomously, what has that ever meant? I'm a shinigami.

"I'm not," he retorted angrily, "too young."

"You don't look very old," Tsuzuki joked. Hisoka knew the man didn't really mean it and didn't respond. "I couldn't take you down Yoshiwara at night without a damn good excuse to the authorities."

"Oh, and how did you get away with bringing me here?" he had to ask smartly.

"I'm a paying customer."

Hisoka nodded slowly at the sense this statement inevitably held. Of course they'd let Tsuzuki in no matter what, he was profitable and wouldn't leave till dragged out or broke. It was purely business for the underclass bar.

"Who's money are you using anyway, I though your pay was deducted for repair expenses."

"Watari-san lent some, he hardly needs to spend it himself—being locked in his lab all the time. I helped him test a new product."

Hisoka's eyebrow arched incredulously at this. He had to ask, "And what was this new product, Tsuzuki-san?"

"Something…."

Hisoka didn't like the vague answer. He lazy dipped his finger into the shallow sake and gave his partner a steady glare. He really didn't care where Tsuzuki had gotten his new money, but was determine to keep his partner within a semblance of sobriety. Working with the man suffering from a hangover was not pleasant. Tsuzuki with a mild hangover was slightly better than one who wouldn't get out of bed till two in the afternoon and pouted about being nauseous all day.

"Did it work?" Hisoka asked, surprised Tsuzuki still hadn't noticed his spilled sour.

Tsuzuki looked confused. "You'll have to be a bit more specific. I'm not entirely sure what he gave me in the first place."

Hisoka sigh and decide on how else to phrase his question. "Did anything happen?"

Tsuzuki considered the question for a moment. Hisoka waited patiently for him to form a reply. Eventually the man came up with an answer that was neither informative nor original.

"Not that I remember."

Hisoka felt ready to collapse. If he had taken one of Watari's insane concoctions, he would keep track of every change in his health or mood for the next five weeks just to be safe.

"Knowing Watari-san," Tsuzuki said quickly, trying to come up with a new topic,  "He might be trying to force elements to bond that naturally wouldn't."

"That's against science, Tsuzuki-san." Hisoka informed him.

"He's that crazy." The man nodded smartly to emphasize his statement. To Hisoka he looked nowhere near knowing, but just about ready to tip over. He mentally prepared himself for dragging the man out when he lost consciousness. That was Tsuzuki, and he expected it.

"I wonder where my sour went…."

Hisoka sighed and slid the sake glass back to his partner. He played every rebuttal in his mind, and all the scenarios ended in Tsuzuki still drunk and eventually comatose on the barroom floor.

"Awe, this for me now?" Tsuzuki asked almost cheerfully. Hisoka rolled his eyes and slouched with a nod.

"Knock yourself out." Tsuzuki began gulping down the glass. "Literally," the boy muttered vindictively.

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Endnote: There, I'm done.

~Ling no Yong~