kinky boots

"She's wearing leather," Ban complained, not for the first time. "It's -- unnatural."

Shido looked up from his drink. He had been resolutely and publicly ignoring Ban beforehand, to the point of sitting next to him at the bar in order to ignore him even more obviously. "Did she kill it with her bare hands first?"

Ban winced. "I don't know."

"It wouldn't be unnatural if she had," Shido said helpfully. "It'd be perfectly natural. Cycle of life. The wolf gives up its hide to the hunter, the eagle its feathers, the --"

"The silkworm its cocoons for a bandanna?" Ban added.

"I don't see," Kazuki said calmly, while Shido growled, "that you've really got anything to seriously object about. Granted, her new leather costume is . . ."

"Cool!" Ginji said enthusiastically.

"Really daring!" Natsumi added, eyes wide and admiring.

"Predatorial," Shido commented, with a smirk.

"Shows off her lack of figure." Hevn inhaled.

"Not what a brat her age should be wearing," Ban snarled.

". . . makes something of a statement," Kazuki gracefully negotiated. "But I don't think it's really any more, mm, well, it doesn't really show any more flesh than her previous outfits did. Less, if anything. And it's less likely to be damaged if she falls off her motorcycle."

"Or if it gets ripped off her in a fight," Hevn said unhelpfully. "I think that girl goes through more outfits than I do!"

Ban put his head in his hands. "This is Makubex's fault!" he declared.

"Oh, come on, Ban-chan," Ginji cajoled him. "How can it be Makubex's fault?"

Ban raised a finger. "Makubex sent the two of them on that mission. And if they hadn't gone on that mission, they wouldn't have been retrieving those tv recordings. And if they hadn't been retrieving those tv recordings, they wouldn't have been stuck hiding for a week with nothing to do but watch those tv recordings. And because they did . . ."

He fell silent as the door creaked open. Akabane stood there, a cold wind playing with the skirts of his trenchcoat, an umbrella in his left hand. With his right hand he held the door open for Himiko. She entered calmly, in that serenity of mind which comes only from wearing a perfectly fitting black leather catsuit and boots.

"Lady Poison," Akabane murmured from behind her, "we're needed."

---