Author's Note: First and foremost, this is kind of a spin-off of Juvenile Orion: the main characters are almost all original; however, the original cast of J.O. as well as the faction system has remained intact (though the original J.O. kids play smaller parts). You should also know that this is a link in a never-ending chain of The Nuances of Toast fanfics. You should also know that I'm not the only one writing these. My good friend KalliopeStarmist has written a Nuances fic called What Happens in Weiss, Stays in Weiss which is a crossover with Weiss Kreuz. There are also three other writers who haven't posted any of their Nuancely writings (all five Nuances of Toast are based on the five writers)… Anyway, I've bothered you all enough. Enjoy.
The Nuances of Toast
"Damnit! Janet!"Written by Bono Von Bono in association with the other Nuances Part One
All was quiet as a pleasant, late spring breeze blew through the gaping hole in Michiko Izumi's classroom (installed by Cyrano Ando and her massive car, partnered with poor motor vehicle operation). No one had said anything for nearly twenty minutes, not even Michiko herself. Many students had fallen asleep, lulled by the warm zephyr and the rustle of the leaves in the trees. Others felt oddly uncomfortable with the silence and the apathy of their instructor, and everyone else.
"Michiko? Are you gonna teach us anything today, or what?" Amaya asked.
"No, there will be no teaching or learning in this classroom: I forbid it." Miss Izumi replied monotonously, not even glancing up from the trashy, romance novel—purchased for eighty-nine cents at the local supermarket—which she had been reading.
"Umm… Why?" Asked Bono.
"Because I'm a horrible excuse for a teacher! My life is hell! The rest of the faculty hates me still and are hazing me by not fixing my wall and they probably won't get around it until well into winter and we're all going to suffer! This is your punishment for having such a worthless sack of crap for a homeroom teacher, kiddies!"
There was an excruciatingly long moment of silence, before a random, no-name girl broke out in a fit of sobbing. The sound of the highly emotional, unnamed girl's wailing went on for another, longer, more painful moment.
"Will someone please shut her the fuck up!" Cyrano exclaimed, rising from her seat.
Suddenly the door flung open without warning, silencing the crying girl, Cyrano and anyone else that had begun to make commotion. All eyes turned to the threshold of the doorway.
"Uhh… Is this English Literature with Miss Izumi?" An oafish-looking fellow with long, lusterless, black hair asked. Behind him stood three others, none too savory-looking. Michiko said nothing, nor did anyone else; and they all remained perfectly still—Cyrano didn't even sit back down—all somewhat thinking that if they stayed motionless, these frightening aliens to the classroom wouldn't be able to see them.
Finally, Amaya dared to speak up. "… Michiko… I think somebody wants to talk to you…"
"Oh! Yes! Of course! I'm Miss Izumi, and this is my class… English Literature." Michiko responded, snapped out of her trance-like state.
The apparent leader of the little group stepped up to her desk; his three lackeys followed. "Uhh… Yeah… We're the new, foreign-exchange students from Janet."
"Janet!" Michiko repeated.
"Oh… Okay… Umm… There are some empty seats behind Bono and Amaya… We're not doing anything today… so I hope you brought something EXTREMELY QUIET to keep you busy… I'm having an all-too-frequent emotional-breakdown and I don't need any excess noise."
"Exchange students, eh?" Cyrano whispered to Rainbow (who sat at the desk in front of her), as she finally sat back down. "Wonder what we exchanged for them."
"I'm guessing another season of One Piece that they'll just slaughter like everything else they touch." Rainbow angsted. "I hate the English language."
"… Then why did you take this class?"
"I didn't, I've been skipping Japanese Current Events all year to be in here."
"Because I got all angsty thinking about how I was the only Nuance not in English Literature right after lunch."
With peace restored to the room, finally, Bono fell asleep facedown on his desk, not even the noticing that the suspicious new students had surrounded he and Amaya, who sat near the back-left corner of the room, due to an unfortunate seating chart on Michiko's part, which separated them from Cyrano and Rainbow. The supposed "leader" of the four at in the corner, and other tall, brutish one with a blonde ponytail sat beside Bono (who, of course, didn't notice, being unconscious); it was the two who sat behind she and Bono, that made her the most uncomfortable; although, they were quite a bit less intimidating than their cohorts (the one behind her being tall and lanky, with glasses and all-around goofy-looking; the one behind Bono was barely five feet tall… and of questionable gender… If he was a man, he was a very feminine man; if he was a woman, he was a very unattractive woman).
"… I donno about my brother…" Maria Von Bono expressed to Amaya (her baking partner) as the two of them sat at a table in Home Economics, the next period, with aprons on, sleeves rolled up passed their elbows and their forearms covered in flour. "… I think he might be a little queer."
"Maxim? Of course he's a little queer; he's the littlest queer I know." Amaya replied. "Haven't you heard about him dressing up as his alter ego—'Maxine'—and going out at night to exchange sexual favors for money?"
Maria stared in shock for a moment. "… No, but thank you for the lovely visual, Amaya!" She then took a large drink of water from a nearby glass and wiped the perspiration from her forehead with a rag. "… Besides, I'm not talking about Maxim; I've know he's a little queer since he was born."
"Fjord's not gay! He gropes my ass every time I stop over… By the way, tell him to stop that!"
"Will you let me finish a thought! … I'm talking about… you know…"
Amaya stared at her for a moment. "… You don't mean… you know…?"
"I know… do you know?"
"Wait, what! You've got me all confused!"
"I'm talking about Bono!"
"… The guy from U2?"
"No, my brother. What's up, Amaya? You seam so out-of-it."
"Oh lord, it's these foreign-exchange students from Canada… or Janet, I don't know… They're just giving me a really bad vibe."
A buzzer on the stove went off, signaling that their baking project was finished.
"The bagels are done; I'm gonna go get them out of the oven." Maria said, rising from her chair. She came back moments later with two plates, balanced on her left arm and cream cheese in her right hand. She sat down and spread some of the cream cheese on it before taking a bite.
"Mmm, they're not bad, Amaya. You should try some."
Warily, Amaya picked up the other bagel and took a bite. "I guess they're alright… but what are these little, gritty things?"
"Those are the poppy seeds."
Amaya immediately stopped chewing and stared, petrified. "… Did you say 'poppy seeds'?"
Amaya spat out a large bite of chewed up bagel onto the tabletop and let out a blood-curdling scream.
"What's the matter?" Maria asked, very concerned.
"I can't believe you let me eat poppy seeds!"
"Well, what did you think was gonna be in a 'poppy seed bagel'!"
Amaya let out another scream, grabbed her purse and dashed out of the classroom.
On the other side of Sushi-Teriyaki-Sake High School, Rainbow was making her way back to study hall from the library, where she had been harassing her "friends" the librarians, who she believed had been plotting against her for years… though there was really no evidence of this, other than their utter hatred for her, which was no different than their utter hatred of all teenagers, especially ones with punk-ass hippy names like "Rainbow" and "Bono" and "Cyrano". "Damn western names!" The traditional, crotchety, old librarians thought.
Suddenly! "Secret Agent Rainbow!" Was heard from behind her, in an eerie voice that made her jump a little bit.
"… Yes! … Who dares to call out my fake name!" She answered as boldly as she could manage, without turning around to see her addressor.
"… 'Tob'? … Do you have a cold?"
"… So you're name is really 'Tob', and you're not just mispronouncing 'Tom' due to a stuffed-up nose?"
"… How odd…"
For a moment, the two stood there—Rainbow's back still turned to the person she was speaking with—and said nothing.
"… Well, I have to go to study hall, bye!" Rainbow said quickly and started to run off, when she felt a hand grab her by the shoulder and push her up against the wall. Finally, she was able to get a good look at the mysterious "Tob": it was the leader of the creepy, foreign exchange students from Canada… or Janet… whatever; and he was standing uncomfortably close to her, so as to insure that she couldn't run.
"AAHH! Don't rape me! I've seen after-school specials strangely similar to this and they never turn out well for victemous heroines like me!" Rainbow exclaimed.
"Shut up! I'm not gonna rape you!" Tob replied.
"Oh… okay… Do you have any gum?"
"What do you know about Janet?"
"'Janet'? Nothing. Who is 'Janet'? Isn't that where you're from?
"… Then why did you tell Miss Izumi you were from 'Janet'? … Is Janet somewhere in Europe? In fact, is it an obscure, European nation? My friend Bono is from one of those and I've been trying to get him to tell me the name, but he always says the same thing: 'Rainbow, you tell me you're real name and I'll tell the name of the obscure, European nation that I rule'." She rambled. "… Sassy bastard."
"… Can you even hear yourself!"
"Of course I can."
"… Just tell me what you know about Janet."
"I'm tellin' ya, I don't know any Janet."
Tob glared for a long moment and then stepped away from her.
"Janet is watching you!" He said menacingly, as he walked off in the direction from which he came. Rainbow stood where she was, not moving, for a moment, when he came back. "… I was going in the wrong direction… I'm really not that dumb… Really…" Rainbow remained motionless and silent. "… SHUT UP! JANET'S WATCHING YOU!"
"AAAAAAHHHHHHH!" Amaya screamed as she darted into the girls' bathroom and over to the sink. She quickly opened up her purse and pulled out a toothbrush and travel-sized tube of toothpaste. She clumsily and anxiously smeared the paste on the brushed and scrubbed her mouth until her gums began to bleed. With her sanity restored, she rinsed her mouth and gazed at herself in the mirror. She felt guilty for yelling at Maria: it's not her fault, she didn't know of Amaya's unexplained, irrational fear of poppy seeds.
"I'm watching you Amaya Takehiko!" An unsettling voice said from behind her.
Amaya shrieked and whirled around to see the top of the head of the short, androgynous exchange student, poking up from a nearby stall. When she… or he… "it" (I guess), saw that he/she/it had gotten Amaya's attention, he/she/it jumped down from the toilet he/she/it was standing on, and exited the stall.
"… Who are you?" Amaya asked with fear in her voice and expression.
"They call me 'Groundsquirrel'." It replied.
"… I donno."
"… I guess you do look a little like a rodent."
"Hey! … Fuck you!"
"… Did you want to talk to me about something?" Amaya asked, her feelings of disturbance with this funny, little creature subsiding.
"Yes, actually." Groundsquirrel replied. "You're gonna tell me everything you know about Janet!"
"Janet? Who's that?"
"I think you know."
"… You do?"
"Well… You won't get away out of this so easy Amaya Takehiko." Groundsquirrel walked over to the door, blocking it. "We're just gonna wait here 'til you 'remember' something about Janet! Groundsquirrel is not a man to be trifled with!"
"… You're a boy?"
"You know what, fuck you! FUCK YOU!"
"… I have to get back to home ec. and convince my baking partner I'm not crazy… I'll… see you around or something, creepy, little man who lurks in the girls' restroom asking them about 'Janet'." She paused a moment. "Is Janet an ex-girlfriend? Are you being the 'jealous ex-boyfriend' type and going around asking everyone about her because you're afraid she might have a new significant other because you're insecure about your manhood? … That's not very attractive, you know?"
"No! I'm not Janet's girlfriend!"
"… Fuck you! Janet is all-seeing and all-knowing and… really cool!"
Amaya had had enough. "Alright, fine, whatever, I don't care! I have to get to class!"
"No you can't! Not until you tell me about Janet!"
Amaya said nothing more to him. She walked right up to him, pushed him on the floor, then walked overtop of him and out of the restroom.
"Hey! Janet it watching you!"
Michiko spent every planning period in the teachers' lounge, lying on the couch with her arm over her eyes to block out the light. She would pop a few benadryl, pass out and wake up refreshed enough to make it through her last two class (the latter of which featured Fjord Von Bono, Sushi-Teriyaki-Sake High School's resident hell-raiser and Bono's younger brother by two years, though, due to the screwy system for putting students in their grades, he was only one year behind him in school).
No other teacher ever used the lounge anymore, not even the valiant math instructor, Tomonori Nakaura. The students had been given the freedom to come and go from the place as they pleased ever since the year before, when a violent rebellion over the use of the lounge's soda machine by the students was ended by the signing of a secret treaty between the principal, vice principal, dean of students and the school's most notorious chaos-inducing couple: Naoya Itsuke and the Nuances' very own Secret Agent Rainbow (of course this was well before the Nuances of Toast was formed, not to mention before she knew any of them, save Amaya).
It was for this reason that Bono Von Bono simply walked into the teacher's lounge, stuck a dollar in the machine… kicked it a little… cursed… a lot… and finally received his soda… which turned out to be diet, which he hated… causing him to curse more.
"Piece of shit."
"Huh!" Michiko muttered, as she was jolted from her slumber on the sofa beside the soda machine.
"AAHH!" Bono exclaimed. "Michiko! I didn't see you there! Did I wake you up?"
"What? … No, it's fine; I was just resting my eyes. What are you doing here?"
"Getting a soda so I can stay awake during Nakaura's class." Bono replied, ever the left-brain thinker, who could not comprehend algebra to save his life or anyone else's. "But the goddamn machine gave me caffeine-free, diet… so basically I'm fucked and out a buck-twenty-five… You want it?"
"No thanks Bono… Never mind, I changed my mind." Michiko replied, snatching the carbonated beverage from his hand. "I could use the sugar for a little pep."
"… Diet doesn't have any sugar in it, Michiko."
"… That stuff gives you cancer, you know."
"Good. I'll be sure to bleed all over the goddamn administrators of this hellhole when I catch it."
"… Are you feeling all right? You sound angstier than you usually do."
"I'm fine… No I'm not." She confessed. "I get the feeling something catastrophic is going to happen… but I just can't place what."
"Ha! Michiko, you're just being paranoid; nothing catastrophic ever happens around here." Bono replied. "… Except for that whole, rogue mind-breaker kidnaps Mana Kirihara, does god-knows-what to her, lures the rest of the original cast of Juvenile Orion to her secret hideout and then attempts to kill them… and then Kaname turns into a god and tries to kill everyone… but they all live happily-ever-after regardless of that, after all is said and done."
"Hmm… That may be so, Bono, but you should watch you back anyway… And your siblings too: don't let them out of the house by themselves."
"Why? Do you think that something's gonna happen to them?"
"No. I just think it's creepy to see Maxim walk around in that wig."
At that, Bono bid Michiko farewell and sat off for Tomonori's Time-Consuming Algebra: Grade 10 classes (which translated to "algebra for the lazy, sinful hippies, who Tomonori would beat more regularly if the Catholic priests weren't already in much hot water over various abuses of minors") which he was already late for.
Suddenly, as he was walking down the hall, his keen, Arayashiki senses flared up and he began to feel as if he were being stalked. He turned around: nothing behind him, so he continued onward. He walked on for a while before he got the same feeling once again. Again, he turned around to find no one. At this point he found himself standing in front of the entrance to the library, which had a post-it note sticking to it.
"Stupid children should stay out of the library while
Naga and Kara are out to lunch… especially stupid girls who
are named 'Rainbow'.
Love: Librarians Naga and Kara."
Since it didn't mention anything about stupid guys named Bono who wished to enter the catacombs of the library to throw off stalkers, he entered without hesitation and dived headlong into the mazes of various shelves. Using his impeccable Arayashiki sense of direction, he quickly navigated deep into the heart of the dark, musty, abandoned bowels of the school library, to the section with all the horrid autobiographies of such people as Cory Feldman, Vanilla Ice, Jenny Jones and Tyne Daley that no one would ever read. But the further he delved into the endless maze of the school library, the stronger his sense of danger came on.
Finally, after turning left the autobiography of Lionel Ritchie, he thought for sure he had lost whoever it was that had been hunting him so relentlessly; that's when he was tackled and pinned to the floor.
"AAAHHH!" He screamed, showing his brave, Arayashiki valiance.
His hunter was, of course, another of the Canadian foreign exchange students. I bet you'll never guess what he wanted to know from Bono.
"What do you know about Janet!" The large, hairy fellow barked.
"She's Michael's sister!"
"… You are talking about Janet Jackson, aren't you?"
"Oh… Well, in that case I can't help you."
"Aww damn! Ya sure?"
"Yeah, sorry… Actually, I think I have a neighbor named Janet. Is the chick you're looking for lonely, middle-aged, and an unpleasant chain-smoker, who owns a bunch of cats?"
"Umm… I don't think so."
"Oh… Then, yeah, sorry I couldn't have been of more help."
"Nah, it's okay; sorry I stalked and pummeled you."
"No problem; this kind of thing happens all the time."
"Yeah, you'd be surprised… Can you get off me now?"
"What's going on in here!" A young woman's voice rang out through the library, from near the entrance. The two "adversaries" turned their heads to see two girls silhouetted against the blinding light of the library door. A mysterious, invisible (or something) fanfare sounded and they stepped forward to reveal themselves as the suspiciously close friends from the original Juvenile Orion series: Mana Kirihara and Haruna Itsuke.
"We heard some screaming while we were in the bathroom… not making-out!" Said Mana.
"She means 'using the bathroom'." Haruna corrected.
"Oh… that would have a better lie."
"Bono, is that you?"
"Yeah. Hey what's up?" Bono replied.
"Hey! You get off him!" Mana exclaimed.
"AHH!" The Canadian foreign exchange student exclaimed, as he jumped up and sprung towards the nearest window.
"Yeah you better run, you little bastard!" Haruna exclaimed.
"Isshin Shiba's gonna kick your ass!" Mana followed.
"And he's a fifth-year senior, ya know!"
The two girls came running to Bono's side and Haruna helped him up off the floor.
"Are you alright?" Mana asked.
"Yeah, fine, sure." Bono replied.
"What was he doing?" Haruna inquired.
"Well, he tackled me and asked me about some chick named 'Janet'." He said.
"Reno?" Mana asked.
"I don't think; the first person that came to my mind was Janet Jackson, but apparently that wasn't who he was looking for either."
Cyrano Ando skipped her last class of the day every day; in fact, she had skipped it so often that she wasn't even quite sure what class it was. Oh well, she had more important things to do, like her work for the Yakuza (Japanese Mafia). Every day, her chauffeur, Weiss Ange, came to pick her up in her massive, black Jaguar (the vehicle responsible for the hole in Michiko's wall) with a change of clothes (no sense in bloodying her school uniform), along with the vile she wore around her neck, which contained Lizaretti (the talking eyeball of one of her many victims).
On this day, everything was going according the schedule: Weiss arrived right on time to pick her up, a clean change of her scanty, black garb was waiting in the backseat with Lizaretti, and now Cyrano stood between the car and the school wall, changing out of her uniform, while Weiss smoked a cigarette, leaning up against the hood of the automobile. Just as she had slipped out of her skirt and thrown it onto the backseat, she felt something fly past her face. She turned to see a sharpened, metal crucifix attached to a chain, lying on the ground near her. Her head quickly swerved to her other side to see (bet you can't guess who) the fourth and final Canadian foreign exchange student (the goofy-looking one with the white boy afro and the glasses) standing several feet away, drawing the chain with the crucifix attached back to him. With cat-like reflexes, Cyrano snatched the crucifix from the ground before her could get it close enough for him to take back.
"Lecherous pervert! Watching me change!" She exclaimed. "When the Yakuza hears this you'll have hell to pay!"
"I want no problems with you or the mafia; nor was I watching you undress." The stranger replied.
"Oh yeah? Then who are you! What do you want!" She interrogated.
"My name is Bonaparte; and I want you to tell me all you know about Janet."
"Well, Bonaparte, I'm sorry to tell you that I don't know any 'Janet'! Now if you don't mind, I've got places to go and people to kill… and possibly eat!"
At that, Bonaparte gave a quick jerk to the chain, causing the crucifix to fly up from Cyrano's hands and hit her in the face.
"Ouch! Son of a bitch!" She cursed. Ceasing this moment of opportunity, Bonaparte took off towards the other end of the school. "Hey! You get back here!" Cyrano yelled as she dashed around to the front of the car. "Weiss Ange!" She called to her driver, who was finishing his cigarette at that time.
"Yes, Miss Cyrano?"
"Bring me my 'weapon-of-choice'!"
"The blender again, Miss Cyrano?"
"Yes, of course the blender, Weiss!"
And so, armed with her trusty blender, Cyrano took off to look for Bonaparte, dressed only in her undergarments and her necklace, which contained Lizaretti. She stealthily passed the hole in Michiko's wall… though not stealthily enough, because Michiko and all of her last-period students saw her glide by.
"Hey! That was Cyrano Ando!" Fjord Von Bono stated. "And she was half naked, carrying a blender!"
"Gawd, what's she doing now?" Michiko mumbled.
"She's so creepy!" A whiney girl with an annoyingly high-pitched voice said. "Go do something Miss Izumi!"
"No! Now shut up and read!" Michiko retorted.
Cyrano had sleekly passed the hole in the wall without so much as glancing inside; she was a woman on a mission that she would not be deterred from. She hadn't gone far passed the hole when she found the foreign exchange student, who had awakened her wrath. She approached a bush at the far-right corner of the wall that surrounded the school. All along the insider of the wall, there were many trees and bushes for one to hide in. This is where Cyrano spotted a large, puffy globe of hair, sticking out from the bushes.
"Heeya!" She shrieked as she slammed the dreaded blender down upon the dome of thick hair.
The bell rang, signaling that school was over for the day.
"AAAAHHHHH!" Bonaparte screamed in pain, jumping up from the bushes.
"That's what you get for staring at me while I took my uniform off and then hit me in the face with that goddamn cross!"
"AHH! I'm sorry!"
"Emasculate him! Emasculate him! Remove his genitalia!" Lizaretti cried from his vile.
Cyrano smiled evilly. "Sounds like a good idea, Lizaretti."
"NOOOO!" Bonaparte screamed.
She quickly took apart the blender and pulled out the blade.
"Cyrano Ando!" She heard someone shout from behind her: it was Michiko. "Get in here! We're having an emergency meeting of the Nuances of Toast!"
"Coming!" Cyrano replied. She turned her head back around to face Bonaparte, but he had already run off. "Ugh… No fun today…"