Disclaimer: I do not own Full Metal Panic! I just play with its world sometimes.
It was the last straw. The very, very last straw.
She had not slept well this last night and then had woken up well before her alarm at the crack of dawn. Unable to return to sleep and merely wishing to relax and watch the sunrise, she had stepped out onto her balcony and…all hell had broken loose.
There was a flash, which she had come to recognize during Sousuke's tenure with her as belonging to a flash grenade. That was followed by a gatling gun aimed directly above her head firing a round of rubber bullets, no doubt as a warning. Lastly, a bucket of bright orange paint was dumped upon her head drenching her nightgown completely.
Using the word "angry" to describe her mood was erroneous. Angry was a severe understatement. Kaname Chidori had long ago passed angry.
Not giving a damn about her appearance, she marched over to the building opposite her own, still clad in a sticky orange nightgown. When she reached the door of apartment 505 she did not so much as knock.
With one well placed kick, the entire door went flying off its hinges. She marched in, and was rewarded when another bucket of some mysterious substance, this time an acid green color, was dumped upon her head in the process.
Yes, angry was fast becoming an even more vastly inadequate word to describe her mood.
Perhaps, deadly, would be a better description. Her level of rage was swiftly outstripping even that.
She marched straight into her errant bodyguard's bedroom and bellowed, "SOUSUKE!"
At the same moment there was a noise and Sousuke suddenly rolled out from under his bed and pointed the gun directly at her. He suddenly realized what he was doing and dropped it cold from his hands. As it landed, it misfired and a bullet whizzed past within inches of Kaname's knee and embedded itself firmly in the wall of the apartment. His eyes went wide.
By this time, she was trembling with rage and despite the two colors of paint a clear red pigmentation managed to show through.
Sousuke stood up and put the offending firearm in his pocket.
"SOUSUKE WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU DOING?"
Obviously he hadn't been accustomed to rolling out of bed, well out from under the bed, and almost killing the girl who he was supposed to protect. Let alone the fact that the girl was still wearing her nightgown that was mysteriously covered with two different colors of paint.
It dawned on him. He began to sweat profusely when he realized belatedly exactly why a rather enraged Kaname was standing in his bedroom.
"Uh…Chidori...I can explain!"
Kaname apparently did not wish to have anything explained to her. Another excessively powerful kick was made to Sousuke's head, followed by a drop that would have made any American pro-wrestler envious. She did not stop pummeling the unfortunate soldier until she had worked up a sweat from her early morning exertions.
Only then was Kaname Chidori ready to listen.
"Now…Sousuke…explain." Each word came between deep breaths.
Sousuke stood as tall as possible for one who had just taken as severe a beating as he had.
"I saw suspicious individuals marking out your apartment last night, so naturally, I thought it would be best to give them a warning should they proceed to attempt to execute their mission."
"You thought it would be best? What part of that is best?" Finding a new spurt of energy, she landed an uppercut firmly under his chin. "When did you think it best to tell me this?"
"I apologize, Chidori, it was very late. I was merely up because I was studying for Classical Literature." In order to prove his point he reached under the bed and extracted Kaname's own notebook. "Your early morning routine does not usually entail a trip to the balcony, so I decided that I would inform you of my security measures when you had safely arrived at school."
She glowered at him, following through with a high kick to his head just to vent the balance of her pent up frustration.
"And how do you explain your behavior this morning?"
"Ms. Chidori, when I made the security measures for my apartment I did not take into account your possible entrance by force. From now on I will make a contingency plan to take this scenario into account."
He looked thoughtful for a moment, probably devising the aforementioned scenario in his head. She punched him in the face for looking so damn…otaku-like.
"And….?" She tapped her foot impatiently.
"Upon your entrance into my sleeping area, I decided to stay in my tactically superior position underneath my bed. It is my habit. I was not aware that it was you who had assailed my apartment until you loudly announced your presence."
The word "assailed" sent her into another fit if pummeling. The beating intensified at his referring to her as "loud."
"What kind of normal person sleeps underneath their bed?"
"I have learned through experience that such a position is more tactically advantageous than sleeping on top of one's bed. Thus, when I heard someone enter my apartment by force, I thought it best to maintain the element of surprise. As I stated before, I had no warning that it was you."
At this point, however, no explanation would suffice on a level that would have allowed Sousuke to escape further conversation unscathed.
"That is not what normal people do, Sousuke! So I will ask you again, why on earth are you sleeping under your bed? Normal people sleep..,in…the…bed."
She emphasized each of the last words with a succession of slaps across the cheek.
In thinking about it for a moment, Sousuke realized that his rather interesting sleeping habits had always been a sort of a joke around the Tuatha de Danaan. In fact, most people simply assumed that the behavior dated back to his childhood with the Mujahdeen, where there was never any indication of when an attack or assassination attempt might occur. And it was for this reason that it was postulated that he slept in a most peculiar location…underneath his bed.
This was a very logical assumption, however wrong it proved to be. Had anyone ever asked Sergeant Sousuke Sagara about his behavior before, he would have thoroughly and factually related the real events surrounding his strange habit.
He decided he would begin by dispelling this assumption concerning his childhood with Kaname. In a voice that sounded as if he was merely reciting his grocery list he explained, "Although it is often said that this is a common practice of the Mujahdeen, such a fact is incorrect. The Mujahdeen do not even sleep on beds at all, being primarily nomadic in order to decrease the probability of an enemy attack. Rather, they sleep on mats set upon the floors of their tents. Thus, it would be impossible for such a tactic to have originated with my former comrades. In fact, since I had the status of an outsider, I would have considered myself fortunate to even have such an amenity as a mat to sleep on."
Kaname knew very few facts about Sousuke's childhood in the Afgani terrorist camps, however, the more she learned, the more she felt awed that he had managed to remain this normal. Of course, at the moment, her feeling of sympathy was rather lacking due to her multi-colored and paint splattered figure.
After pausing for a moment to allow this preliminary information to sink in, Sousuke continued his explanation.
"The first time I discovered such a maneuver was during Mithril's Boot Camp. Until then I had not realized that more tactically advantageous sleeping arrangements existed, and I would (the next part he admitted with some degree of shame) sleep in plain view under the military issue blanket I had been given."
"One day a fellow recruit showed me my error. At the time, although he was older than me by a few years, he seemed overly boastful and I could not in good confidence say that he had a great deal in him that I would say qualified him to be a good soldier. I had only heard that he was a mediocre sharpshooter. I had no need of personal relationships at the time though, so I did not do further reconnaissance on the individual."
Kaname merely glared at him. Only Sousuke would see making friends as a matter of reconnaissance. Sometimes she imagined he was like a machine: Open brain, insert "mission," allow completely normal situations to degrade into otaku babble. Even thinking this, she did not interrupt because it was a rare thing for Sousuke to talk in this manner.
He continued, "However, during training one day, this same man, noticing that I had an exemplary knowledge of weaponry or something to that effect, sought me out and attempted to establish communications with me. It had been rumored that a Mithril representative would soon arrive to observe our progress and possibly recruit some members into the Pacific Fleet."
Kaname noticed his comment about his knowledge of weaponry. In anyone else it would be bragging, but for Sousuke it was merely a relation of facts. But they're otaku facts! She was only just managing to stop herself from venting more of her rage.
"In his first attempt at contact he grabbed onto the front of my fatigues and told me, 'Please, you have to help me. My mother is sick and I need to be chosen so that I can send money to her and my five younger siblings.' "
In suddenly dawned on Kaname exactly who Sousuke was referring to. This would certainly prove to be an interesting story. It might even make up for the fact that she had been doused with two coats of paint, shot at twice, and had to choke on the residue of a flash grenade. No, when she put it that way there wasn't much he could do to make it up to her.
That war obsessed idiot…he would definitely pay! Just after he was through with his explanation…
He continued on, completely oblivious to Kaname's varying range of facial expressions. He explained in a perfectly logical manner that, taken aback by such behavior, he had drawn his pistol and fired two shots, each landing in the ground approximately an inch away from the tips of the other recruit's boots. "This was an effective measure for detaching the man from my clothing."
Kaname blushed a little bit at that statement, because it seemed a bit strange coming from Sousuke, but her reaction again went unnoticed.
"Thus, I was able to leave without having to share another word with the man. I hoped that my display of force would discourage him from making further incursions."
How wrong he had been. He shook his head.
"The first careless mistake that I made was not being attentive enough to my evening grub, where I allowed a foreign substance, which I am fairly certain was rohypnol, to find its way into my drink. As a result, that evening I did not have my usual level of alertness during my nightly rest."
"And where on earth were you when gatling guns were going off outside of my apartment?"
He looked ashamed again.
"I apologize again Ms. Chidori. I was up very late last night studying your notes on Classic Literature because I thought it unwise to disappoint you after all of the work you have done to tutor me in the subject," Kaname could feel her face begin to glow, "As a result, I was not at my normal state of awareness this morning as well. It was a great oversight on my part, I will not allow it to happen again."
She was blushing very intensely now. In an attempt to cover it up she yelled, "It had better not you stupid, jerk, fathead!" But had Sousuke been the more observant type he would have noted that her words did not have their characteristic ferocity.
Nor did the punch to his gut that followed her words have its usual energy.
Nor did the subsequent German suplex.
Picking himself up from the floor, Sousuke continued on despite her barrage, "The next morning I found myself in a rather compromising situation…"
"Yes, Sousuke?" She prompted when he paused.
"Uh…well, I found myself hanging from a tree branch, gagged, and uh, naked, I also had a rather severe headache," He paused thoughtfully for a moment, "It was not unlike the experience in art class that you'll no doubt remember."
The color on Kaname's face would have put a good deal of tomatoes to shame.
For a fraction of a second she was glad to be doused in orange and green paint.
"Perhaps more compromising was the fact that that same man who had attempted to extort my services earlier had been dispatched to free me. He did not laugh, as doing so would be as good as a direct admission of guilt, but he did have a certain smugness about him. I made a note to interrogate him in a proper fashion when given a tactical opening."
Boot camp sounded worse to Kaname than junior high school. "In this light some of your behavior almost seems normal," she caught herself, "but don't you for a moment think it is!" She gave her characteristic hmpph!
"It was not a very poor experience, certainly better than my childhood."
Kaname grew quiet again. Those kinds of experiences did certainly give a person like Sousuke some reason to be, well, Sousuke-esque. Not that she would ever tell him that though!
He went on to explain about the security measures he had implemented from then on. This began with a rather complicated ritual that involved evasionary tactics in the form of four or more complicated beverage exchanges. "And also from this time, " he added, "it seemed to be wiser for me to sleep beneath the bed with my hand securely on my gun."
If one listened merely to how he relayed that statement, a person would have thought that to be the most logical conclusion in the world.
"With all of my additional security measures in place, all I needed to do was await the return of the enemy. He was flushed with victory and no doubt would attempt further incursions against me. I made it my mission to prevent this from occurring. Indeed, the enemy proved to be rather predictable and noisy."
The anger was mounting again with each otaku explanation. By the time he finished with his story, Kaname would be wishing she had not run out without her halisen for the hundredth time that morning.
"In fact, had they been AS units, they would have been decimating the land in an unacceptable manner and, despite the stealth accorded to them by the ECS system, they would have been discovered and destroyed before ever reaching their target."
Kaname's hand twitched, unconsciously making a gesture to grip her absent halisen.
"From the number of voices I identified that there were seven targets in addition to the leader. He was the first to arrive at my bunk and loudly comment upon my absence. He had forgotten the first rule of combat."
"Chidori, you are no doubt interested in knowing what the first rule of combat is. I will explain for you benefit. It is simply that arrogance will get you killed."
"I of course was already prepared with a clip of rubber bullets in the event of a repeat attack." He went on to describe how he had performed a perfect textbook roll out from under the bed, shot five of the seven straight between the eyes, and when the remaining two, who were closest to the escape route, turned to retreat he had shot them in the backs of the knees. He came to a stop at the feet of the leader and aimed his gun directly at the most vulnerable part of the male anatomy.
"Of course, having the element of surprise to my advantage, the man was rather shocked. However, acting as a true soldier does, he took advantage of my hesitancy and disarmed me in one move."
Kaname's eyes were wide in a mix of surprise and disgust. Why was he telling her such a weird story? Idiot!
"However, I managed to upset his footing and regain the use of my gun again. This time I took no chances, I aimed at his head. However, he did not act as a normal combatant would. After raising his hands in surrender, he began laughing at me. Kurz still has not explained the reasons for that. After that, much to my annoyance – "
Kaname tried very hard to imagine annoyance on Sousuke's face. She figured it must have looked something like being serious. Of course, he always looked like that.
"- He became my comrade despite my efforts. That was about the time he began inviting me to establishments that housed women of dubious reputation."
After that comment he looked thoughtful. He dared to look thoughtful! She could not hold it back anymore.
"SOUSUKE!" She jumped and came down with her elbow making firm contact with his face, tossing him backwards against the frame of the bed. A moment later, as if the severe beating had never occurred, he stood up.
"That is the end of the explanation into my sleeping habits."
He paused. She glared.
"Ms. Chidori, am I permitted to ask a question?"
"What is it Sousuke."
"Shouldn't we both be in a more suitable state of dress before we head to school?"
For the first time Kaname seemed to notice her wet and clingy nightgown. Then her mind processed where she was. She looked up to Sousuke and then back to her clothing and then to the clock and then to Sousuke and then once again to her clothing.
She was in a male's bedroom in her wet nightgown.
Horror filled her face. Horror left her after a moment and drifted into rage.
Sousuke, thinking himself to be looking after her best interests, did not realize his own imminent peril.
"If you wish," he began, an idea striking him, "I can lend you one of my own uniforms, however, I am fairly certain that the rules do not allow for such a contingency."
He began walking to his closet, just in case she wanted to accept his offer.
It was his fault. It was all that idiotic moody military otaku's fault.
She was trembling with rage yet again.
In a moment she would pounce. The moment came.