And I thought chapter three took me a while! Sorry, I got stumped, really stumped. I was stumped beyond salvation, really. It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted out of this damn story. Also, there was a two week period where I completely died, because someone did the other kind of dying. Yeah, anyway, I still don't know how it's going to turn out. Oh well, on to my replies. Yaw!
Rose Kitsune: Yeah, I always saw Laika as the sound-of-mind-with-an-extreme-twist thing, but I'm messing with his head in this chapter (among others).
Chiming Softly: Thanks for the review, though I'm guessing you meant to say a bit more?
My Big Sister: I miss you (again! Hehe) Got to love gangsters… yo… hehe…
Blues Lover: You'll learn how Rockman became more Saito in the next chapter. You'll have to wait; sorry (I'm inserting a smiley face here)
Nakarame Scarlet: Yaw! Can you wait a bit longer for your prize? I'm working on a piece of art to apply for a job right now.
Mystical Midnight: That's okay! Thanks for your comment! I give you hugs!
Darkloid Blues: I love Laika-chan, don't you? Not sure Enzan would be making fun of it, but I'm sure he'd be snickering in the corner! Hehe… Blues has a lot of funny expressions even WITH his visor! Have to love him!
Random Irony: You have to wait for your prize too. I'm really sorry. I personally think that Laika would be an awkward therapist, but a good one none-the-less! In this chapter, he doesn't play much of the therapist role yet, but you'll see!
Kodoku Sukai: Oh my, you changed your name! I was going "I don't remember this reviewer…" Hehe… Yes, there will be awkward silences. Thanks a lot for your review!
Now, on with the show! We're ready to go!
Chapter 4- Session One, the pressure and questions about SEX!
"I see…" the soldier said nonchalantly, mind blank as he watched Enzan in awe across him, carving the side of his coffee table off with a knife; it looked like a crappy inclined plane by now. It had only been five minutes.
"Yeah…" Enzan said equally dull. "I told Blues I couldn't see him anymore, maybe for a long time. I—…" he stopped in his tracks, his heart jumping as the carving knife fell through a hole in the table. It made a clatter, startling him. Less than a second later, his hand dropped into his lap, and he was motionless as he spoke. He lowered his head down, words barely audible. "I can't see Netto, either… I…"
"I love him."
Laika flinched, and felt his face heat up at the prospect. He knew there was… but it was… it couldn't…
Quick! Think like a psychiatrist! Psychiatrist: equivalent: shrink—no! What would a sh—psychiatrist—THERAPIST—DOCTOR—WHATEVER say!
"Uh—Aha, but how can you be so quick to say that? I mean, you're still young! You're only—!"
"I'm old enough to know what I'm feeling, Laika. You know this better than I do."
"I—uh…!" Laika froze, caught in the act.
Enzan smiled silently, slouching. "I don't know… why you came back, Laika…"
Said soldier flinched. Is he mad at me for coming back? His mind blanked when he'd realized why Enzan had slouched so low.
He was bowing.
"Uh… I… wa—?" he said elegantly.
"You came back Laika… I don't know why… but I'm very grateful that you did…"
"…duh… you're welcome…" more words of grace, Enzan smiled some more to himself as he raised his head. Laika flinched as he glanced into the younger boy's eyes.
"...If I may ask… why are you my… counselor…?"
"Well that's… because I got…" Laika's face heated up; lowering his head he muttered things inaudible to the human ear.
"It's nothing! Nothing at all!" he burst out, Enzan arching his back in surprise. "Ahem… In any case, I guess seeing as I'm already a friend, I can't be your counselor." Enzan gave him a disappointed look.
"Why?" He said pleadingly. "Why? Why can't you help me here?" Laika flinched at the look Enzan was giving him.
"B-Because…" he stammered, "Counseling can't be on such a p-personal level. It'd get in the way of progress, it's—!"
"Actually a lot better, in this case." Laika jumped completely out of his skin; his endearing cousin had decided to pop up behind him
"S-SEMPAI," He burst out, arms before him "what—what are you—!"
"If you see both points to this predicament, it'll be a lot easier to have this issue dealt with. Don't you think?"
"Well—no! No I don't!" Laika stammered, receiving a clock to the head.
"I wasn't asking you, silly!" Elizaveta smiled graciously, and looked at Enzan, who flinched when his eyes locked into hers. "Enzan-kun, what do you think?" Said boy blinked quirking an eyebrow.
"I think it's helpful…." He said thoughtfully, smiling his best. He felt like storming out the minute the woman spoke to him; it snapped him back into the reality of what was really happening. Ijuin Enzan—child prodigy, Ijuin Enzan—top net battler, Ijuin Enzan—president of IPC, Net Savior, hero to the cyber world and real world countless times. Ijuin Enzan, handsome, calm, collected, intelligent, stylish and loved—in no particular order…
…was in counseling.
Counseling is for people with issues.
Counseling is for those who can't handle themselves well.
Counseling is not for people who are at the peak of academic and physical perfection.
Counseling is not for those who can handle any problem in the blink of an eye.
Counseling is not for Ijuin Enzan.
Letting those thoughts run through him long enough had forced the corners of his lips down, and his fake smile turned negative. The two blinked curiously at him.
"Enzan, what's the matter?" Laika asked, perturbed.
"…I don't belong here…"
"I beg your pardon?" Elizaveta blinked and stared curiously at the young Ijuuin.
"I said, 'I don't belong here'; I don't need counseling." He said it as calmly as possible, which through the eyes of the soldier, seemed as he wanted it to be. However, through his cousin's…
Enzan was crying…
"You were the one who agreed to this, didn't you? Your friend told me that he asked you. He did, right?"
"Well yes, but right now, I think it was a mistake…"
"I see…" Elizaveta slouched, and leaned against the coffee table. She pulled a silence out of her pocket, watching as the two younger boys eyed her curiously. She chuckled, "You'd think I just pulled a rabbit out of my rear…" She remarked and sighed. "Well, I'm not forcing you to stay; this is a refuge, not a hold. But…" She tilted her head to the side "what was it that made you want to come in the first place?" Enzan blinked, and gave a thoughtful look.
"I… guess it's because at that time… I was feeling very…"
"Very…?" The woman urged.
"Uncomfortable… I…" He took a quick glance into her eyes, and realized she was looking for something vivid. "I felt desperate and…"
"You mean you felt vulnerable."
"No!" He snapped. "That's not it! I was—…" He cut himself short in the mind, coming to one conclusion—he really was vulnerable. Maybe this whole time, he needed somebody to talk to, somebody outside of the triangle.
Maybe… he just needed some help…
Ijuin Enzan does not need help from another individual. He is independent, and relies on nobody for anything.
To actually think of going to counseling, to actually think of leaning on somebody's shoulders, to run away…it was unforgivable.
"…NO!" He stomped his foot hard on the ground, making the two jump. His hands shook at his sides, and he stood like he was about to pick a fight.
"Enzan-kun, you're shaking. Sit down, let's talk about this before you do anything rah—"
"NO! I don't need your counseling, I don't need refuge, I don't need help…" he turned and pointed a finger towards the reticent soldier, now out of place, "and I certainly don't need you!" before responses could be made, Enzan had already spun around and ran out the door.
"E-Enzan, wait!" Laika hollered, preparing to run after him, instead, got near strangled as his loving cousin grabbed him by the collar. "OUF!" Was all he said, losing all oxygen he had left.
"Let him be." She said cheerfully, smile on her face. "He'll come back."
"H-how do you know that?" Laika asked slowly, the counselor giggled.
"Laika, do you really think that Enzan-kun can face 'I choose you, over you' on his own?" The soldier on the forced hiatus shrugged.
"He appeared as confident as ever. Not to mention rude." His cousin sighed and slapped her forehead.
"That was a tantrum, Laika! He's not even confident, he was just mad. Every person reaches that phase where they don't want to be normal. They want to be the only independent person in the world. They want to be on the top, and with people like Enzan, it's even harder to face defeat. He's been at the top all of his life, hardly ever needed any help, and with something like love that he considers so simple stumping him… he's just downright pissed. You were like that when you were that age."
"What—NO I WASN'T!" Laika fumed. Elizaveta giggled.
"You still are!" she prodded at his nose gently.
"NO I'M NOT!" Before he could pull a lawyer and conjure evidence, Elizaveta turned around and gave a thoughtful look.
"…Didn't he sprain his ankle…?"
Enzan ran as fast as his legs would carry him, the last thing on his mind the small things he brought with him to the counsel refuge whatever, as he so professionally named it. One thought raced on his mind as he ran.
I want to see Blues, again…
Searchman flinched at the noise as he helplessly watched his companion smash his head into the marble counter. The only un-dented objects in the kitchen were the rice-cooker and the sink by now.
"Searchman… It's all over… I'll never see Enzan-sama again…" said Navi soldier twitched, uneasily patting his ex-colleague on the back.
"Uh… There, there?" He forced out a smile. Laika-san, I want to kill you, he mused inwardly. "It's going to be fine, Blues; I'm sure he'll come back in a matter of four weeks—err…" Blues head shot up instantly.
"Four weeks? Why four weeks?" he eyed Searchman curiously.
"Oh! Well—uh… err…Because…four… is a lucky number! Yes! That's right! Four is a lucky number!" It's a shame they never covered excuses in the Navi Soldier's training manual, he thought, feeling that his little 'cover-up' would be a bust.
"Searchman… do you—uh!" Before the conversation could continue any further, the door slammed open, and as the two turned their eyes to the open door, a dramatic light began to glow, revealing an equally dramatic silhouette. "Could it be?"
"No!" Searchman gasped. "It can't be you!"
And in an uncanny event, the two blurted out the very same name in a unison you would only observe in an over-cooked soap-opera.
"ENZAN!" said the two, as his silhouette transformed into his colors. His face was drenched in sweat, and his hair a mess.
"I'm—b" he swallows hard and pants some more, "I'm back!"
"Enzan-sama…" Blues said softly, letting his mind take more than a sample of what'd happened, he smiled widely and jumped up. "Enzan-sama!"
The two raced to each other in such a way, Searchman had almost seen a garden of vibrant colored flowers grow beneath their feet. He rolled his eyes as they ran, even as Enzan took a leap towards his red Navi, who caught him at the upper body, wrapping his arms around him. Enzan's arms folded over Blues' neck, it made the green Navi wonder if it was a lover's quarrel or a father-son reunion. Either way, he rolled his eyes double.
"Enzan-sama, I missed you so much!" He mumbled in the shorter boy's shirt.
Searchman slapped his forehead, "It's been six, bloody hours…"
"I missed you too; I felt so far away from you while I was gone!" Enzan whispered back.
Searchman face faulted, "You were five blocks down!"
"I thought you were going to be gone forever!" Blues said shakily, as he put Enzan down, and stroked his shoulders gently.
Searchman could only twitch, "I said four weeks!"
"Let's never fight again!" Enzan wailed.
Searchman's face heated up, feeling like steam was about to come out of his ears. "YOU GUYS NEVER EVEN FOUGHT FOR CHRIST'S SAKE!"
"Okay! That's a promise!" Blues agreed.
Searchman sighed, "You guys aren't even listening…"
The two breathed in content, looking at each other happily. After about twenty seconds of lacking nonsense, Blues finally decided to break the silence.
"So…?" Enzan blinked.
"'So' what…" the Ijuin replied bluntly. Blues frowned somewhat.
"So… you really chose me over Netto?"
"…" Enzan turned his back, pulling the largest dishtowel he could find—seemingly an ultra-large towel—draped it over his shoulders, and formed a hood over his head. He opened the door, which again glowed the soap-opera glow of a man long-since dead, and the wind blew strong into the household, newly formed cloak flowing nicely in the wind. "I'll see you in four weeks…"
The door closed slowly with a creak, every wisp of light vanished. Blues ran to the window, to find Enzan nowhere in sight. "ENZAN-SAMA, WHERE WILL YOU GO?" He screamed, as he opened the window with a slam. Hoping that, like most dramas, he'd reply with an echo of his voice, he waited for a moment, but found nothing but the shrill yapping of a disgruntled poodle that lost her pups to the pound. He again, slammed the window shut, twice as loud, screaming. Searchman walked up to him, scratching his flame-red hair.
"He said four weeks, didn't he?"
"Yes… but… where…" Blues hands lay on the rim of the kitchen sink, and his head hung low, his shoulders shook with worry. The green hued Navi blinked, and placed a hand on his friend's shoulder.
"Blues… What's the matter? You're shaking crazily."
"It's… nothing…I'm just… being paranoid." Blues muttered under his breath.
"Eh, what about?" He asked slowly.
"Searchman… do you think that Enzan-sama fell for Hi…Hi…ka…r…ri?" Searchman jerked his hand back at Blues malicious tone, and the twitch at every syllable. "What if he left because he chose him? What if he's living with him?"
"D-don't be ridiculous, Blues! I'm sure he loves—c-cares for you deeply!" I wouldn't know, I better keep it cool. Blues head slowly careened, and he groaned. "B-Blues, what's wrong now?"
"His ankle…" Searchman blinked.
"His ankle… Ah, he sprained it yesterday, didn't he?" Blues nodded. "…How'd he do all that running?" Searchman thus, leapt five feet in the air, when he heard a scream of utter confusion and agony from the red Navi. "WHAT NOW!"
"Enzan-sama, are you lying to meeeeeeeeee!"
"Achoo! Whoa—ow!" the dual-haired boy hit the sidewalk with a thud, and felt the ache rush through his leg. "Ah… my ankle…" He gripped his leg tightly, gritting his teeth and inhaled. "With that kind of adrenaline rush, my mind must've completely erased the thought of it… but now…" He muttered, head resting on his knee. He sat silently for a moment and sighed. "What am I going to do…?"
"…Maybe I should take the program. After all, how many times would you, by chance, get a friend as a…" He blinked as a hand came into site, in front of his eyes. "Huh?"
Following the arm, it lead to a white shirt, which lead to a rectangular black spot on the white shirt, which led to an orange vest, which led to…
Well, the vest gave everything away.
"N-Netto!" Enzan breathed, taking the hand slowly. "What are you doing here?
I can't see him right now! What do I do?
Said brunet frowned, "You're welcome…" he mumbled. "I'm heading home, just got back from the Science Labs. Rockman wasn't…feeling well, to say the least." Enzan blinked. That's why…
Just go with the flow then…
"Is he okay? Did he catch a virus?"
"N-no… It's nothing like that. He suddenly changed… sort of…" Draping Enzan's arm over his shoulder, he scratched his head thoughtfully. "Where to?" He asked cheerfully. Enzan's eyes widened, realizing 'To the therapist down Broadway Street!' wouldn't quite cut it. He needed to get close, but not let Netto know what he was doing.
Excuses, excuses, these days…
"Uh…down the street," He pointed in the direction of the 'down the street', "the president of a very small company and I; he's taking me to lunch to discuss some business."
"Really? What does he do?" Netto said curiously.
Damn Enzan cussed mentally. "He's… into fashion." His mouth twitched as he quickly saw the light in the Hikari's eyes fade (sorry, bad pun).
"That's… great…" he smiled bitterly. "What kind of fashion…?"
Err..."Navi fashion, much like Yaito, he's a big fan of customizing into something… ugh… cute." Well, the more irritated, the more he'll believe me… Netto gagged.
"Okay, EW; I like Rockman just the way he was…is…" Netto's mouth twitched, confused with what to say exactly. "In any case, anyone who comes up with the word 'fashion' on the spot ought to get their head examined—OUCH!" before he could go further, he received a violent clock to the head. "Ow! Enzan, what was that for?"
"I do not need my head examined!"
"But I wasn't talking about you! I was talking about that… that guy!" Enzan withdrew, and laughed awkwardly.
"Uh… Sorry, I was…" But I do need my head examined. "Let's just go." Netto sighed, and the two continued walking.
"So what's his name anyway?"
No more questions, damn it! "Primrose…" Enzan said as blankly as possible. "…Alan…Primrose…" Netto, at that instant, gasped.
"The Alan Primrose; the famous dual-screen programmer?" Netto breathed out.
"N-no, not that Alan Primrose, they just have the same name." Netto nodded, and Enzan sighed. Whew, I'm safe for now…
Much to Enzan's surprise, the walk was not quite as agonizing, nor far as he had anticipated; he stood a few meters away from the place he saw most recently, all that was left to do, was find a house to call "The Primrose residence". Thus, he found the largest house around and pointed.
"Its right over there…" he stated blandly, letting Netto walk him to the door. The two stood at the step, and Enzan couldn't help but smile. "Thank you for helping me Netto."
"Any time if you need a walk home, just call me." Netto grinned triumphantly. The dual-haired boy smiled awkwardly; it was entertaining. He felt bad for deceiving the younger boy.
"…Netto, I—hey what the—!" Before he could confess his dishonesty, the Hikari's hand had reached the doorbell, and the house sounded. Enzan backed away and gasped almost too dramatically. "NETTO…" he said loud and booming
"What? What did I do wrong?" The brunette flinched at the harsh tone. "I'm sorry!" Enzan sighed, yelling at him wasn't going to look good in counselor Laika's note book; what he needed now was another excuse. There was no chance of him getting away from the door fast enough, let alone coming up with an excuse as to why he ran.
The door opened, and Enzan gave the home-owner the best smile that he could muster in his condition. A short man, only a little taller than Enzan, black hair, brown eyes and a running outfit, Enzan figured he was about to go out anyway.
"E-excuse me, sir…" Unfortunately, a plan had not been plotted, and he was left a blank sheet of paper.
"You—!" Came a cry from behind. Netto's finger pointed at the man. Enzan blinked, you who?
"Can I help you kids?" said the man, scratching the back of his head.
"You're Alan Primrose! You're Alan Primrose!" Netto jumped up and down, and grabbed Enzan's arm. "He's Alan Primrose! Wow! Enzan, do you see? I can't believe I'm standing right before him! I'm so happy!" Netto seemed to completely forget that this was supposed to not be The Alan Primrose, but that wasn't a bad thing. The Ijuin smiled shyly; he was doing it again, that happy thing. He felt at peace.
At least, he was at peace for a little.
"Do I need to call security?" said the man, snapping Enzan out of his moment.
"Oh! No… Netto, can you wait here for a moment? Uh… we'll skip the lunch…" The Hikari gave a disappointed look, about to beg to attend; Enzan thus grabbed him by the collar of his vest and pulled him closer. Netto's face turned a bright shade of pink, Enzan breathed in his ear, and as quietly as possible he whispered…
"I'll get his autograph for you."
The brunet then leapt four feet into the air, cheering for the vice president, stating as clearly as possible that he'd wait there and sat himself onto the steps. The Ijuin rolled his eyes and laughed, closing the door behind him. The programmer raised an eyebrow and crossed his arms.
"What do you want?" He said bluntly.
"Uh…My name is Ijuin Enzan, vice president of IPC, I'm sorry to intrude, but…"
"He what?" Laika twitched violently, cursing at every word that came through the phone. "And then what happened?"
"Well, after his outburst, he ran headfirst into his room, and he isn't coming out! Laika-san, what do I do? 'Emotional outbursts' wasn't covered in any training I've ever had!"
"E-Elizaveta-sempai… Did you hear that?" the tired woman scratched her head thoughtfully and sighed.
"Hmm, he's madly in love isn't he?" Elizaveta giggled, "I remember a time when—"
"Sempai!" Laika moaned. She laughed.
"Sorry! Well, Searchman should keep trying to comfort him. Tell him that Enzan loves him very much or something." She waved he hand around, as she gathered a bunch of papers in her hand.
"Sempai!" Laika shrilled, "what kind of psychologist are you?"
"A good one." She picked at her ear with her pinky. Laika sighed heavily.
"T-tell Blues that Enzan l-l-loves him…"
"Laika!" Searchman said, surprised. "We don't know that!" Laika, unable to come up with a rebuttal, remained silent for a few seconds, before he could conjure anything, the phone was taken from his hands.
"Searchman, we do know. Enzan loves Blues very much, and he knows it too, he's just going through a tough choice here!"
"He just needs to hear it right now. Tell him forcefully that he did not run off with Netto. If that doesn't work, ask him why he doesn't trust him."
"…Blues doesn't trust Enzan?"
"He does, he does! He's just in a much pressured situation at the moment. Don't make those kinds of assumptions!" the therapist snapped.
"Ah… yes ma'am…" Searchman said nervously, and hung up. He knocked firmly at the door, regardless of his emotional disposition. "B-Blues! Open this door now!"
Elizaveta sighed heavily, and pressed the off button, and earned a rude glare at her cousin. She took no heed, of course.
"Does that Netto boy have e-mail? I figure that you guys don't have such a thing, nowadays…"
"Hmm, I think he does, why?" Laika followed his cousin to the computer, thus, guiding her way through the net. She smiled deviously.
"I'm going to send Netto-kun and Blues-kun an e-mail of course." He raised an aquatic eyebrow.
"What kind of eyebrow?" he said, suspicious of his cousin's life-threatening schemes.
"Well… It's just…"
"A what?" Enzan repeated, rather shocked.
"It's a love quiz! When it comes to matters of the heart, what you know about yourself may be your best guide to finding, and keeping, the relationship to last a lifetime." The lively therapist gave the Ijuin a wink and a pat on the back, while at the same time, shoving paper into his hands.
He eyed it conspicuously, as if it would bite him if he let his guard down. He raised an eyebrow as he read it "'you are as romantic as: a. Champagne and strawberries, b. Flowers and wine or c. Pizza and beer?' I'm sorry. Am I being Punk'd!" Laika face faulted, and Elizaveta smiled.
"It's weird, but it works! Trust me! This will clear up a bit more of what you really want." She saw the skeptical look in his eyes and frowned, "Do it." Enzan's eyes widened; he hadn't seen her not smile, and now he learned why. He took a pen from the main desk, sat down and began his… pop quiz.
Only moments later had he begun to chew nervously on the pencil; Elizaveta had left the room, and Laika was finishing some paperwork. Uneasy mumbling and cracking wood caught the soldier's attention. He thus, put down his papers and pen and walked up to the boy. It's not a quiz of intelligence, how hard can it be?
"Uh… Laika…" Enzan's face was beet red, his hand shook and his heart was pounding. The soldier saw the sweat on his face, and put a hand on his shoulder, hovering over the boy and his paper. "H-how would you a-answer this?" The aquatic-haired soldier raised an eyebrow and read where Enzan's finger directed.
"'Right now which sounds like the most fun: A. shopping, b. skiing or c…having sex!' Uh… " Laika scratched his hair awkwardly, not quite knowing what to say. "S-skiing, does that sound like fun to you?" he said nervously. He glanced at Enzan, who shook his head no. "You don't like skiing?" he nodded his head and sunk into his chair, and Laika looked back at the paper "…Then what about shopping?" The Ijuin slid even lower. The Russian's mouth twitched and his eyes focused completely horrified at the boy below him "… You want s—"
"NO!" Enzan shot up, face almost bleeding from the heat in his face, Laika fell backwards and hit the floor with a thud. "I just don't like any of these ideas! I don't like skiing, I hate shopping and I most certainly hate sex!" The Ijuin breathed heavily, and slumped in his chair again. Laika pulled himself up, and an eyebrow rose.
"You hate s-sex?" he repeated uncomfortably. "Have you even had sex?" Oh god, what a topic.
"You know what I mean!" Enzan's eye twitched, as he went back to the paper. "I can't believe this…" He thus, circled skiing.
The quiz continued with no further conversation between the two, except Enzan mumbling to himself words, answers and whatever disturbed him greatly. Enzan, being the generally sane, thoroughly thoughtful person that he is, only did it upon occasion, but when it bugged him, it ended up loud.
"…Well, I keep Blues on my desk anyway…" he said once, which made Laika spit out his coffee, until he was reminded of the 'Navi' status. Which was followed by "'what breakfast cereal am I most like in bed!' Are you kidding me?" And then…
"Sex is like…" and a nervous choke of a cracker.
"My bed manners are…" followed by the snapping of a pencil.
"What size condom do I—Oh my—"
--- End Chapter 3