Disclaimer: I make no claim to the series, ideas, or characters of Full Metal Panic.
Author's Notes: Well, I figured that since people seemed to mildly enjoy the snowball fight I included in chapter 12 of "Defining Normalcy", I figured I would play on that for enjoyment now that I have all the time in the world to write for about the next two weeks. This one-shot can stand by itself, but I would recommend it be read right after chapter 12 of the story mentioned before. This is meant solely for humor and nothing more. Reviews would be highly appreciated. I need all the feedback I can get on this one since it is an attempt at humor coming from me, a person who comes up lacking in a sense of humor. Thank you, and I hope you enjoy.
Snowball Fight Round 2: Kalinin vs. Sagara
By Adam Lakewood
"I… am… soaked!" Kaname's shivering voice yelled from the closed bathroom door of Sousuke's apartment.
"Yeah! T… t… thanks a lot… S… S… Sousuke!" Jin's sarcastic remark accompanied the sound of her chattering teeth behind Sousuke's closed bedroom door.
Sousuke sighed as his gaze continuously alternated between the two doors at each displeased remark that was uttered. He turned his attention around to his one-time superior for possible support. He was becoming a lot better at the… game… but he still hadn't mastered exactly what to do when women went into what he had aptly named their 'Apocalyptic Mode.'
Kalinin only gave a humored smirk accompanied with an unneeded shrug.
"Don't look at me, Mr. Sagara. It's your fault for releasing an unlimited flurry of snowballs on them. I would really suggest…" he started before he was interrupted by the voice behind the closed bathroom door.
"Don't act innocent, Mr. Kalinin! Half of that 'unlimited flurry of snowballs' was from you!" Kaname snapped.
Kalinin held up a single finger to the closed door as if to run a point home.
"Yes, that is true. However, my actions were justified where Sagara's were not."
There was a moment of intense silence that followed his prideful statement. The tension congregating inside the bathroom and bedroom threatened to send the doors flying off their hinges.
The calm of the storm was upon them…
"How exactly… was unmercifully attacking us… justified?" Kaname's misleading, calm voice innocently questioned.
… but it was rapidly dwindling.
"Please… answer us that question?" requested the innocent voice of the young Korean woman in the bedroom.
Kalinin let out an amused grunt.
"Too naïve." he simply stated, adding pressure to the already unstable volcano.
The calm before the storm was about to become the eye of the storm… and Kalinin was the warlock conjuring it.
"Sagara was…" he said, once again raising a finger as if to make an obvious point.
Everyone held their breaths, even Sousuke, in anticipation that he may have actually had a way to peacefully smooth things over.
"… outnumbered." he said with a tone which suggested that it was the most obvious thing in the world.
The loud 'thumps' of what sounded like bodies falling to the floor resonated from behind both closed doors. Even Sousuke raised an eyebrow.
"What?!" both voices questioned at the same time.
"But, Sousuke has been a trained professional for the most of his life! So have you! But, we… have… not!" argued the voice of Jin from behind her barrier.
"It does not matter…" Kalinin retorted while raising his finger once again.
"… for numbers can make all the difference…" Sousuke continued for him as he stepped up closer to the door with his finger also raised, eyes shut, and nodding his head in contemplative, wise manner.
"… in the battlefield." concluded Kalinin as both men dropped their fingers and folded their arms in an accomplished manner.
Both contemplated the words fully as they stood in a moment of silence.
"That's why battles should be fought one on one." Sousuke whispered while closing his eyes once again.
Kalinin took a surprised look as he looked over at the young man standing next to him. He nodded his head, fully understanding the statement. Neither of the men heard a single one of the barrage of crude words being directed at them from the ladies behind the doors. The hall was what separated the real world from the battlefield.
"Yes. Also, all battles must come to an end." he added, leaving his open-ended statement to float on the wind and be taken however it may.
"I fear our battle never did." Sousuke suggested.
Kalinin smirked and pointed his finger toward the front door of Sousuke's apartment.
"I will give you the advantage since I have been at this much longer than you have. It would only be fair. I will give you two minutes to prepare in the fashion of improvised guerilla warfare only. These are our standards as they were all those years ago."
The stoic look Sousuke once possessed returned to his face at that moment as he pivoted on his heel into a right-face to meet the gaze of the older man next to him. He sharply saluted.
"Then, I will take this advantage without hesitation, sir!" he said raising his voice in an affirmative manner.
Sousuke turned around and walked out the front door.
Two minutes later, right on the second, Kalinin walked outside into the parking lot turned battlefield. He grunted slightly as he slowly reached down and scooped up a handful of snow. He packed it tightly together and held it at his side.
He looked around him to evaluate the battlefield. The surroundings were so much different than he was accustomed. Certainly, they were for Sagara also.
However, specialists such as themselves could adapt to any environment and use it to their advantage. He knew Sagara well, but Sagara knew him just the same. Not to mention he had the advantage of ambush.
There were several cars in the parking lot: cover from gunfire.
There were children gathered around making a snowman: possible casualties of war.
The parking lot was completely covered in snow: perfect for ambush and concealed traps.
Kalinin walked over to his S.U.V., opened the back up, and pulled out a small sled. He made sure to hold it at an angle so that the children patching up the already complete snowman could see it. All was going according to plan when he saw them turn to look at the glistening, brand new sled. He could see the look of envy in their eyes as he removed the plastic cover from it. He faked a surprised look as he turned his look toward them.
"Good morning. This is a Christmas present for my grandson, but I'm not sure if he would like it. You all look about his age; suppose you could ride this down that hill over there a few times and tell me if you think he would like it?" he said while pointing at a hill in the distance, far from the parking lot.
Happy laughter was the response he got from the two boys of the group as they graciously took the sled and started running for the hill. The little girl of the group paused for a moment to bow to him and state her appreciation before running after them.
Now… there would be no risk of civilian casualties.
He packed together another snowball as he walked away from his vehicle and scanned the area. He couldn't see Sagara anywhere, but began talking anyway, knowing he would be heard.
"This reminds me of old times in Afghanistan. Except, it wasn't so cold."
He walked a few paces through the parking lot, scanning the area entirely as he went. It seemed as Sagara was still up to par. All was silent except for the whistling of the wind and the steady crunch of snow beneath his boots.
"It's definitely been a long time since last we fought as enemies. Of course, I'm glad those times are over, but I've missed…" he paused as he turned around at the sound of rustling behind him.
He cautiously kept his eye on the spot from where he heard the sound.
"… the challenge." he finished.
"So, exactly how long has it been since we last met in the battlefield, Sagara?" Kalinin asked as he scooped up another snowball.
"Too long." replied Sousuke's voice from directly behind him.
Kalinin pinpointed the position of Sagara by his voice with perfect accuracy. He dropped low into a spin and fell back as he released the snowball from where he heard the voice come.
The snowball only impacted with the snowman the children had been working on.
Sagara was nowhere in sight, but his maniacal laughter echoed throughout the battlefield and seemed to come from everywhere. The laugh was unnerving to hear. It reminded him too much of the sadistic laugh of that madman, Gauron.
But, now was not the time to think about that. This was war. No use reminiscing over a dead man. That scary, dangerous, man was dead now. He had to remind himself of this to stop the unsettling feeling gathering in his stomach. There was no need to worry about him anymore. But, with that came another startling epiphany.
Sagara, not him, was the one who finally managed to kill him.
Kalinin clinched his hand to still the shaking in his hand. He couldn't lose his composure! He had much more experience than Sagara! It was just a strand of luck that had drifted his way. Look around the area. Sagara is skilled, but not skilled enough to completely disappear.
He saw a vehicle behind the snowman and smirked. Very clever.
"Hiding out near a vehicle, Sagara? I would have expected better from you." he said as he scooped up another snowball before walking over to the vehicle.
He immediately bent over to peer underneath the vehicle to check if Sagara were under or at least if he could see feet on any of the sides. As was expected, he couldn't. At least Sagara hadn't gotten that rusty.
Kalinin rose back up to peer inside of the vehicle but still didn't see him there, but what he did see inside horrified him. Kalinin's mouth dropped slightly open and his eyes went wide. It was not what he saw inside of the vehicle that mortified him, but what was revealed to him… through the rearview mirror.
The snowman that was behind him and the vehicle crumbled slightly as Sagara's arm shot out of its side clenching a snowball.
Kalinin instinctively ducked as just in time for the snowball to barely graze the top of his hair and explode with great impact against the rear window of the vehicle. Kalinin spun around with great speed and released the snowball with pinpoint accuracy.
The snowball collided directly with the face of the snowman. The sheer impact caused the head of the snowman to fall off its body, revealing nothing as the rest of it crumbled entirely. Sagara was nowhere to be found.
Kalinin gasped in surprise as he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. He looked up quickly to see the hastened movement of a shadow on one of the opposite apartment balcony. Sagara's speed was still truly remarkable. It was just as he remembered.
A snowball flew with great speed from the balcony and headed straight toward him. Kalinin instinctively thrust his arm forward and released his own snowball. The two collided with tremendous force in the middle of the air, causing snow to rain down in an expanded radius.
Sousuke squinted his eyes to see his target. Kalinin was still quite clever even in his aging condition. The condensed area of snow flowing in the air acted as a cover for him. As the snow cleared, Kalinin was nowhere to be seen.
"Damn it!" Sousuke whispered to himself as he leapt off the balcony.
A snowball whizzed past his head as he barely managed to twist out of the way. On his descent from the balcony, he managed to see where the snowball had come from. He saw Kalinin in one of the windows of the apartments.
Sousuke landed in a catlike perch. His mind immediately screamed as he heard an odd placed, but familiar click when he landed.
… made of snow.
Sousuke yelled as he was hurled several feet into the air by an explosion of snow. The wind was knocked out of him as he landed harshly on his back. How could Kalinin have predicted him so?
Kalinin landed in a crouched position beside Sagara with a smirk on his face. So, his opponent wasn't unstoppable after all!
"In a game of chess, the experienced player will predict his opponent five moves ahead. Since chess was invented as a way of strategizing wars, the same rules can also be applied to the battlefield."
He let out a gruff laugh as he rose from his position and stood, casting a shadow over the fallen Sagara.
"You put up a good fight, Sagara." he said as he began packing together the final snowball. "You definitely live up to expectations. Unfortunately, I must end this now." he said as he took another step forward with the snowball held above him, ready to let it go at point blank range.
Kalinin let his mouth fall open in complete horror, and Sousuke grinned. Kalinin looked down at where he stepped to see a slight up-rise in the snow, signifying there was something underneath. He had fallen into Sagara's trap. But, both of them would end up getting caught in the explosion.
"Really? I always thought you were supposed to plan six moves ahead."
In a quick motion, Sousuke brought his fist across the back of Kalinin's leg, thus, knocking it out from under him. As soon as his foot as off the trigger, the trap sprung. But, to Kalinin's surprise, it wasn't an explosion.
An unstoppable onslaught of snowballs pelted him from several different angles from unknown locations. One of the several hundred snowballs caught him harshly on side of the head and another even flew into his mouth. Kalinin roared in agony as he fell to the ground. He rolled onto his stomach, rose up on his knees, and supported himself with his trembling arms. He remained slouched over on his hands and knees like that and breathing heavily for several seconds before coughing up a surprising amount of snow onto the ground.
He almost panicked when he felt some sort of liquid running down the side of his head. He slowly, fearfully, brought his hand up to touch the side of his head. He moved his trembling hand in front of his bulging eyes to see the large amount of water that was on his hand. He heaved once more and coughed up more snow before falling back on his stomach.
He weakly rolled over onto his back to take in the warmth of the sun. But, there was no sun shining down upon him. Only the shadow of Sousuke Sagara cascaded over him like the closing darkness. He looked up from his lying position to see Sagara standing above him grasping his shoulder and looking at him with a snarl on his face.
"It ends now!" Sousuke said, raising his voice to a rough growl.
He pulled his knee up to him, reached into his boot, and pulled out an icicle. Its crystalline tip glistened in the sunlight as a single drop of water slid down it and dripped onto the ground.
Without further warning, the icicle was revolved in the palm of his hand into a stabbing position. More drops of water were left behind in the air as the icicle was jerked down harshly into a downward stabbing motion.
Kalinin conjured up the last reserves of his strength and grabbed Sousuke's arms with his and stopped the icicle before it could deliver its finishing blow. With one more quick burst of his reserved strength, he redirected the stab and pulled it down, making the icicle shatter against the ground. He then brought up his knee and placed it firmly against Sousuke's chest. With a quick jerk on his enemy's arms and an upward thrust of his leg, he sent Sagara into a Judo throw.
Sousuke smiled at his opponents last desperate attempts at survival as he landed in a crouched position and slid a few inches over the iced concrete. He smiled with delight to see that there was still a little bit of fight left in the old man. He looked around to realize that he was conveniently crouched near the overhanging beam of a balcony of one of the apartments. He reached up and broke off another icicle from the beam. He smiled as he licked some of the water off the icicle and began making his way back over to Kalinin.
Just as he was about to raise the icicle once more for the killing strike, he saw a snowball go past his head. He winced as he felt several more assault his backside. Sousuke dropped the icicle and fell to the ground with an anguished yell. He winced as he grasped his ribcage with his left hand and held himself up off the ground with the other. He looked behind him to see what the latest trap of his fallen adversary had been. He was thoroughly surprised by what he saw.
The children that had been building a snowman around him just minutes ago were standing around him gathering together their next wave of ammunition.
They would never get the chance.
"Mercenaries!" Sousuke exclaimed loudly, surprised that Kalinin would have stooped this low.
The next split second actions ended the careers of the mercenaries. Sousuke didn't hesitate to kick up a batch of snow for cover. Before the snow even settled back onto the ground, each child respectfully received a snowball each to the forehead. Each fell back from the impact with a short lived gasp of surprise.
They didn't know what they were getting themselves into.
After the snow cleared, each of the three children laid unmoving in a large puddle of snow.
Sousuke fell to his knees when the sudden cold of the snow nipped at his legs. Before long, he wouldn't even be able to feel them. He had to end this quickly. He was surprised when he heard an immediate shuffling behind him.
Kalinin was doing something.
Kalinin reached into his pocket and pulled out some sort of device. Sousuke immediately stopped and looked at the device with the utmost suspicion.
"Yes, Sagara, six moves ahead is the ideal number for any situation." he said with a smile as he flipped up a cap on the device to reveal a red button.
"But, I always plan eight."
With that, he pressed the button. Sousuke immediately fell to the ground and covered his head. He looked around a few seconds later in total surprise to see that nothing had happened. He let out a relieved laugh as he saw Kalinin's hand drop back to the ground. The device fell from his hand and slid a few feet away from him. His opponent was down and out. He was still breathing, but he would soon fix that.
Sousuke clapped his hands against the ground enthusiastically and rose to his feet. As soon as he did, he heard a slight rumbling coming from above him. His eyes widened in horror as he saw every last bit of the snow on top of the apartment his was standing on the sidewalk of slide off, all coming down at him. So, he did the only thing he could do given the limited time.
He covered his face with his hands and screamed as he watched his inevitable doom slide off the top of the apartment.
Kalinin smiled when the horrified scream was ended when his foe was completely engulfed by a prison of snow, crushed by the massive weight. Kalinin took in a few deep, relieved breaths before getting back up to his feet.
He slowly limped his way over to Sagara's winter coffin.
"You have surprised me on this day, Sagara. I commemorate you as the greatest tactical challenge I have ever had to face in all of my days. So young, yet such talent. Good bye, Sagara." Kalinin said as he brought himself to be able to do a proper salute.
Kalinin fell back as he was forced back by a sudden explosion of snow. He looked up from his sitting position and squinted to make out a shadowy outline barely visible through the thick cloud of snow. When all the powder of the snow settled, he stared at where it had come from. Standing amidst the large hill of snow was Sagara, completely covered in snow and soaked from head to toe. His breathing was vastly labored and he clenched tightly in his right hand a very tightly packed snowball. Only one word was yelled from his mouth in an almost demonic growl as he threw the snowball at his enemy with all his might.
Kalinin had no time to react as the snowball sped towards him quicker than he ever could have imagined. The impact was sharp, swift, and precise. A large spurt of snow flew from Kalinin's head as the snowball impacted fiercely with the side of his head. His head jerked sharply as his body fell limp to the ground.
The old man was stubborn. He was still holding on, but only by a thread. Sousuke himself could feel his final seconds rapidly flowing out of him like the steady breeze around him. Now that his enemy was immobilized, he had to act now.
Kalinin opened his eyes to very blurry vision. He could see a shadowy outline moving about. He knew it was Sagara, but he knew not what he was doing. His vision finally cleared to see Sagara standing above him with an animalistic sneer on his face. He held his arms into the air which were trembling from exhaustion. He feared the worst when he saw what the arms were holding up.
"If… I'm going down…" he said as he too coughed up a glob of snow. "I'm taking you with me!" he yelled.
With those last words, Sousuke fiercely brought down the head of the snowman which was present at the beginning of their war. The smiling head of the snowman replaced Kalinin's own as snow splattered out from under it on all sides. Sousuke knew the killing blow had been dealt when Kalinin went limp.
Sousuke finally gave in to the utter exhaustion as he saw a golden, winter butterfly lift into the air in front of him. He reached out for it, sure he would catch it during his dying moment, but his vision blurred too swiftly and his legs gave out on him. The iron structure that was Sousuke Sagara lost its foundation and crumbled to the ground. He weakly turned his head to the side to take in the final appearance of his fallen opponent.
He looked… absolutely… ridiculous. It had the body of a large, proud, Russian commander, and the head of a smiling snowman with a carrot nose and a mouth made of sticks. The irony made him let out a painful laugh. Sousuke then looked up at his apartment where his best friend and beloved were, unknowing to what had just happened.
"Jin… I… I'm sorry." he said as he reached out a hand as if to touch something that wasn't there.
"Kaname… I… I … love…"
In that final moment, Sousuke Sagara fell for the last time. Darkness overtook his body and he no longer felt any pain. No longer did he feel the burdens of life weighing down on him.
As did the day turn to night, and the winter turned to spring…
… The snowman continued to smile.
Author's Notes: Merry Christmas, everyone.