Ink on Porcelain
I do not own Petshop of Horrors. I only own my original characters.
(Keep your claws out of me!)
This is Alternate Universe so I don't have to worry about the actual plot.
I'm writing this for the purpose of weird idea-getting-rid-of. It's been haunting me and driving me mad. Absolutely. I'm going to be doing some pretty weird stuff in this fic.
There is no Chris in this story. Sorry to all you's who's Chris-fans, but I couldn't find a niche for him so he's not here.
I refer to the Tou-tetsu as Tet-chan because I like it better than T-chan, even though I am sadly unable to read Japanese so I have the English translations of manga volumes one through eight. Go me.
This will alternate between Leon-POV and D-POV! Doo-doo-doo! Game boy noises.
There was a steady ringing. The kind that makes your head spin. It wasn't natural; it was like...like...something not explainable. A train wreck inverted and turned into a noise that was above human hearing. The ocean flipping itself over to bring all the water from the bottom up to the surface at once, throwing all the fish and the whales and everything into the air, just for a second the sky is the sea. Unpleasant and unnatural, but captivating; you can't stop staring in amazement at the chaos, it's hard to believe something like this could happen and you can only wonder why.
I shook my head, trying to clear it out. Just bizarro half-memories from the middle of a dream, my head trying to make sense of what weird experiences it had put itself through late at night after I'd finally managed to get to sleep. It had taken a bit of work; tossing, turning, muttering, getting up and realizing I had nothing to do to distract myself from my sleeplessness, laying back down, and repeating the process for four hours until, finally, I had growled, "fuck it," and just sat there, light on, staring at nothing. I don't even know what all went through my head during the half-hour I just sat there, glazed eyes fixed to the wall; I just know that I fell asleep that way, and woke up on the floor with a pounding headache and weird, disjointed images and thoughts. The kind that, normally, flee once you've woken fully, abandoning you, leading you to simply forget your dreams entirely, like they'd never been. Only these ones were being stubborn, which was probably due to the fact that I was still tired enough, after awakening on the cold, hard apartment floor, to drop off three times so far while I was trying to dish up an incident report. I kept having to stuff my fist into my mouth to keep myself from cracking my jaws yawning, and my eyes unfocused with perturbing regularity. The most recent time I'd dozed off, Jill had had to hit me across the back of the head with a heavy stack of files to wake me up, and then I'd started and demanded to know why I was being harassed.
Now, of course, I think it was happening a fourth time, as I suddenly could not see what I was typing at all. Blinking, rubbing my eyes, shaking my head—nothing made the words any clearer, a distorted fuzz. God damn I was tired. It was so tempting to just close my eyes...just for a second...just so they started working right again...
...a second apparently turned into ten minutes, as I was pulled abruptly from my sleep when Jill swatted me again with her infamous stack of files, which was even heavier this time than it had been before.
"Gees, Leon!" she exclaimed, looking at my face, which I knew must look terribly haggard. "You haven't been getting any sleep at all, have you?" I shook my head dumbly, too groggy to even come up with a verbal reply. Her frown was slightly worried. "Man, look at you. You're a right mess, Leon. Maybe you should call sick and go home. You're really not looking good." I shook my head more violently at that, rubbing my exhausted eyes.
"No," I grunted, my voice a bit hoarse, "I'll just lay awake again anyway. 'Least this way I can get something done while I'm stricken with insomnia." She rolled her eyes, and I glared, though I was too weary to work up a good temper.
"Leon, look. What work you have gotten done has to be done over anyway; look at this! It doesn't make any sense!" she pointed at what I had written, and I tried to focus. Gradually the blurred words resolved themselves into decipherable language, and I growled in frustration. Indeed, what was written there made no sense, at least not to anyone else.
—why to turn everything inside out, three seven, hold, three seve—
God damnit. I'd been typing out bits and pieces of my dream, just scattering them liberally along the page at perfect intervals amongst the actual report to render the entire thing a nonsensical mess. Snarling, I slammed my head down on the desk. I was too fucking tired for this. Maybe I should just go home...
The decision was taken from me, when Jill suddenly reappeared—I hadn't even been aware she was gone—and grabbed me by the shoulder, bodily hauling me out of my seat.
"I talked to the chief. You're going home, Leon, and getting yourself some sleep before you just collapse on the floor," she informed me, leading me out the door and towards my car. I swatted her away, furrowing my brow in annoyance, and managed to unlock the door to my car and get the thing open. Driving might be a trouble; I didn't know if I would be able to keep my eyes focused for the entire trip back to my apartment, and if I fell asleep at the wheel...
I set off anyway, homeward bound. My hands kept slipping on the wheel, and I imagine I ran several stop signs and more than one light, but at least I was getting somewhere. Unfortunately, I had no idea where. Until I pulled to a stop automatically, looked out the passenger-side window...my jaw dropped, and I was surprised it was even still attached. Outside my window was a familiar sign, announcing my current location as being outside the front door of Count D's pet shop. Goddamnit. How the Hell did I wind up here?! I wanted to go home and sleep, not harangue some idiotic freak that refused to do anything but smirk at me over his fucking teacup!
"God damnit!" I announced aloud, slamming my fist on the steering wheel hard enough to make my hand hurt. "Of all the fucking places—!" I didn't bother to finish whatever it was. I was too tired to even try to make it home; for all I knew, I'd just go in a circle and wind up back here again. Goddamn place must have something weird about it, that whenever I happened to leave a place without an exact Point B I intended to reach, I almost always ended up right here. I guess it was habit. I'd been going there so often, so certain every time that I would finally crack D's fucking confusing mysteries and land him up the river, I guess the directions to get here—from anywhere in the fucking city—were just sort of engraved into my brain.
I locked the car's doors and folded my arms across my chest, letting my head drop. Fine; if I wasn't able to fucking drive myself home, I'd just sleep in the car awhile until I was clear-headed enough to do so. My eyes fell closed, and within seconds I was out, though not in a very deep or restful sleep.
Turn me inside out too, I'll just join the rest of it. Everything's inverted, don't you see? Turn it all into noise and it'll all just sorta blend together, becoming one universal humming, and we'll send it out on the radio, and everyone will sing along. Doesn't matter if they have a radio; they'll hear it on someone else's, it'll overwhelm every station, and it'll circle the globe. A song for the world, I'll give it to them and turn it inside out and then they'll play it backwards too. At the same time. See what happens when the song of the universe meets its opposite. Will everything end? Or maybe it'll finally begin...
I forced my eyes open, and I already knew I wasn't where I'd gone to sleep. I couldn't remember exactly where that had been; cramped, not usual, uncomfortable...right. My car. I'd fallen asleep in the car, sitting on the curb outside D's shop. So where was I now?
I pushed myself up, looking around blearily. Well, at least now the grogginess I felt was just the aftermath of intensely deep sleep, and not the gnawing, hanging exhaustion that weighed me down before. Hum. Wherever I was, it was a ritzy place; draperies on the walls, a big, thick bed, carpeted floor...but how the Hell did I get there? And where, exactly, was it?
Question number two was answered the moment the door opened. A monstrosity of reddish fur and bright teeth and small claws and curling horns with big, ferocious eyes leapt on me, snarling and attempting to remove a fair chunk of my flesh from my body. I shoved it off with a yelp, holding my arms up in an attempt to defend my face and throat from its small—but wicked—fangs. It was followed by a very familiar fellow, tall and slim and wearing something that looked remarkably like a dress—it even had flowers on it, for Chrissakes!—with two-tone eyes and perfectly tamed, glossy black hair. D somehow managed to turn his perfectly neutral smile into an arrogant smirk, and I glared at him.
"D," I addressed him simply, "why the Hell did you put me here? Hoping your damn goat-thing would maul me in my sleep? And how the fuck did you get into my car? I know I locked it." D tsk-tsked at me, shaking his head ever-so-slightly in that way that only he had perfected.
"Language, Detective," he said smoothly, conveniently ignoring my questions in favor of correcting my "mistake." As usual. I swear, could the man, just once, please, slip up, even a little? Just to prove he was another human? Why did he have to always fucking find a way around everything, never touching on the real issue, screening it behind a million other fucking things?! I swear, the man would lead anyone around by the nose 'till they thought he'd promised him the moon, then he'd send them home with an instrument of death which inevitably turned 'round and turned the unfortunate victim into pet chow. Not me, though; I was wise to his schemes. ...at least to the point that I didn't walk right into them face-first.
"So how did you get in my car, D?" I demanded, glaring at him. His little smile widened the barest amount. He loved infuriating me. People get their kicks in the weirdest ways.
"Why, Detective, you could, perhaps, be slightly more grateful that I allowed you to rest in my shop...? I doubt that you would have been very refreshed by sleeping in your car. I even went so far as to change you out of your clothes so you would be able to sleep more deeply. Really, Detective," he shook his head like I was a spoiled child he expected no better behavior out of, while I was busy gaping in a manner similar to that of a fish.
"Wait...D...you...?!" oh...fucking...God. The outfit I was wearing wasn't mine. Holy shit. "You...!!" He just kept that little smile in place. Fucking Hell. That...that...that fucking bastard!!! I felt my face practically going up in flames, as I stammered and stuttered, attempting to properly accuse him but unable to give voice the unspeakable horror of waking up in some of D's pajamas. I mean, they couldn't be anyone else's, unless he'd fucking stole somebody's stuff. Sure, they didn't look like the kinda thing he wore normally—he was always bound up in those dress-things—but then, who knew? The guy had more riddles in him than a fucking Sphinx.
While I was tongue-tied, D just watched. If I could read his expressions at all—I was kinda hoping I was starting to get some vague idea of the things that went on behind those mismatched eyes—he was on the verge of laughter. Or the equivalent for him, Mr. Subdued Emotion. I swear, the only time I'd ever seen the bastard really angry was when animals were involved. Or his sister. Any other time, the fucker may as well've been a shard of ice for all the better I could understand him. And I imagined he could just read me like a fucking book.
Which was why I was very certain he knew exactly how pissed I was, even if I was currently inarticulate. And it really made his day. I was willing to bet he'd picked the lock on my car and dragged me in here, done all this, just for the sole purpose of seeing me mad. Nothing else made any fucking sense. Not that anything D did made sense...
Leon was...quite an amusing sight. His face had turned a beet-like color, and for a moment I wondered if he was about to start choking on his tongue.
I suppose I did know what he was so upset about. Knowing the Detective, I'd somehow done him a great disservice by taking the initiative to help him sleep better. While I doubted sleeping in his clothes would have bothered him—it looked as though he'd been doing it for several nights, though perhaps that was part of the reason for his fatigue—especially with the incense aiding his sleep, I had been taking every precaution to make sure my dear Detective would rest undisturbed. ...of course, I had to admit, to myself, that I had further reasons for doing what I had done, but he did not need to know that... I had even gone so far as to put the blonde man in my own room, permitting him to use my bed! Well, I supposed nothing else could be expected of a human; he was too preoccupied at the thought that I'd undressed him—as though that mattered in the least—to ever think that I had done him a great favor. I doubt he would be getting any more restful slumber any time soon, especially with the childish tantrum he was having.
"My dear Detective," I said at last, cutting off his half-gasped accusations, "if you did not wish me to aid you in getting a bit of most-certainly-needed rest, you should not have gone to sleep just outside my shop. And your vehicle was also not locked; the door was hanging open when I stepped outside." He glared at me incredulously.
"It was not!" he said flatly, and he had that pout on his face that he always did whenever he tried to look threateningly angry. It was an expression that always made me want to smile more genuinely—the Detective simply looked so adorable when he pouted! "I locked all the doors, and my windows were rolled up. I'll bet you just picked the locks and let yourself in." I put on an indignant expression.
"Now, Detective! I would never do such a thing! Your vehicle was unlocked when I stepped outside," my words were the truth, and I believe that Leon knew that. He remained in silence; then, finally,
"Are you gonna give me my fucking clothes back or what?" he snapped, irritated but without much to be irritated with. Ah, Leon, as predictable as any human. I could not resist teasing him, just a bit.
"Are you certain you are rested well enough, Detective? I suspect there may be something amiss..." of course, what I said was perfectly true. There was something not quite right. You see, I knew the reason why the door to dear Leon's car had been unlocked and shoved open; he had done it himself, in his sleep. I had watched him do so. Quite odd; sleepwalkers normally only did things that their bodies were accustomed to doing over and over again upon awakening late at night, and I doubted the Detective made a habit of sleeping in his vehicle.
"Just give me my God damn clothes."
Well, I suppose I would have to find out some other way, since Leon did not seem to be agreeing with me on that one. It didn't bother me at all; I was accustomed to working out secrets in a less obvious fashion anyway. In fact, it would have been unbelievable if Leon had said anything else; completely in the face of all the things I knew him to do. As it was, I just nodded, barely.
"If you insist, Detective," I said, more wandering than walking out of the room, taking my own time in reaching the place I'd put them. I was certainly in no hurry, and I saw no reason for Leon to be either, though he may have wished he had such a reason. He followed me impatiently, fending off another one of Tet-chan's attacks skillfully. He'd become accustomed to avoiding the Tou-tetsu's strikes, and appeared to do it on reflex now, without even thinking.
Out of the corner of my eye, I watched him. Just watched him walking after me down the hall, occasionally skipping oddly to the side in order to evade the flying bundle of teeth, claws, and fur that was Tet-chan's animal appearance, the blue silk outfit I'd put him in pulling tight around his form as he moved. Yes...that other reason I'd taken the initiative to change Leon into some more comfortable clothes...
It could not be denied that the man had quite an admirable physique, for a human. Rent, of course, with scars and old injuries, marring but not truly flawing his body. In the Detective's appearance, there were no flaws to be found; at least not by the eyes of other humans, and even my own standards had been met by this blue-eyed, bad-tempered police officer. No, Leon's flaws were hidden in his personality. His dogged refusal to simply open his eyes and see what was surrounding him. His innate fear, so common in humans, of things which he could not rationally explain away with facts and numbers. And, of course, his utter hatred of myself.
I had no doubt that the Detective hated me with quite a passion. The fire in his eyes told me so; the way he was so quick to anger, even for his normally short fuse, whenever I was near or even so much as mentioned; the way he persistently attempted to accuse me of things, no matter how wild or outlandish they seemed. It was...disappointing. I was certainly not about to allow myself to truly care of the opinion of one single human in this vast, seething sea of the temporary, short-lived creatures, but it was disappointing nonetheless that Leon harbored such an unfounded dislike of me. Yes, I supposed, I did have a habit of deliberately angering him, but I do not believe that was why he could not stand me. It was simply my air of secrecy, of mystery. The air of, "I know and I'm not telling." He truly was a Detective; something like that must drive him to the brink of madness, because he simply didn't know, and he couldn't seem to find out. And that, of course, was something which I would not—could not—change, not for something so arbitrary as a human being.
With that thought in mind, I contented myself with simply watching him, his golden mane and fine body. A toy for the eye, and nothing more.
Count D's shop always has that thick, heady smell; incense and old furniture, flowers and syrups. It was nearly enough to intoxicate a person, that smell, and the further we went down the hall, the stronger it became.
What the Hell had D been on about, something amiss? Who the fuck did he think he was, announcing there was something wrong with me just 'cuz I'd missed a few nights' sleep? I swear to God, that man was just astounding. The things he could come up with. And he accused me of being outrageous!
Was it just me, or was there something different about that incense-stink? It was changing into something more sinister. Something that clouded thought. I felt like I was slipping back into that dream. I hadn't realized I'd stopped walking until D looked back at me, and... I slumped against the wall. What the...Hell...
Shake them down off their high horses and make them see what you really are. Don't look back just yet; things aren't quite in the right position. If you make your move now, you'll ruin the sacrifices you've made to get here. I'll help you along if you just wait a minute. Hold onto it; it'll be turned inside-out with everything else, we'll put the sea upside down, together, it can be done. Remember; only you know the real idea, I won't share it with anyone else...
I don't know what happened.
Hn. I think I tagged Leon's personality okay, but I'm not so sure about D. Maybe a little too distanced? ...well, I've started it now, I'll just go with it the way it is.