In Case of Emergency
Disclaimer: Electromagnetic interference may disrupt your yugioh patterns.
A/N: Yay! Chapter 25 is here at last. Thanks to everyone who reviewed chapter twenty-four! I appreciate it a lot. A whole, whole lot, actually. Heh. Also, in my review replies, I told anyone who was interested that I'd posted the longer scene; it would be AWESOME if anyone (else) who read it wanted to give me feedback.
Oh, also: I've noticed that it seems a lot less people are reading this. Is it getting boring? And I thought my writing was improving. I don't really get many bad reviews, so I don't get it. I plan to finish this (eventually - heh), and I'd like to post it here, and I will as long as at least one person is reading. But... meh, I really want to know if I'm doing something worse! Yeah, and if anyone likes this, feel free to rec it and pimp it anywhere, as well. Bring in new blood. Heh. Or, you know... don't. I don't know. Heh.
Anyway! Enjoy! (And sorry it's so short!)
-A/N 2 (regarding foreign language use): I do not speak the language. I spent about two hours on aboutDOTcom and an online translation site working this out, in addition to checking with a friend who has something near to conversational grasp. IF ANYONE SPEAKS FRENCH... I BEG YOU TO CORRECT ME IF I'M WRONG. I humbly apologize for any mistakes.
25: Leave This World for Awhile
They day had come, and Honda was feeling pretty damn nervous. He'd even made an effort to look presentable – and his hair, which was still, as Arisa said, in defiance of several laws of nature, was at least clean. Arisa took his hand. "Don't worry, baby. She's going to love you."
He loosened his collar, pulling a face. "Sure, you say that now... But while neither of us would say I'm anything less than charming, I just don't know if she'll see it that way." He had never formally met a girlfriend's family before, and even though it was just one elderly woman, Arisa had said enough to make Honda very nervous. She respected and loved her grandmother – while he understood the respect, he hadn't really experienced the closeness that Arisa and Vivienne seemed to share. Sure, he was used to dealing with new things, but if she disapproved enough who knew how far she could influence Arisa.
If nothing else, Vivienne's time with them would certainly prove… interesting.
Arisa rolled her eyes and sighed. "Just be yourself - charming or not, she has to love you." She kissed him softly on the cheek; he felt her smile. "I know I do."
"Hey, keep flattering me and I'll get cocky." He grinned, finding banter much easier to deal with than his own nerves. "And no one wants that."
Suddenly, a black car pulled up and after a moment of slight fumbling out stepped a frail-looking old woman. The driver got a small traveling bag from the trunk, and after a short exchange with the woman he got back in the car and drove off.
Arisa squeezed her fianceé's hand, holding back the childish excitement he – rightfully – suspected she was feeling. "Look. There she is." She smiled brightly and waved. "Vivi! Vivi! Bonjour."
"Arisa!" The woman – short but still imposing, with neatly coiffed hair and a well-made, conservatively-cut suit - walked over to them and greeted her granddaughter fondly. "Tu me manquais."(1)
"Je, aussi. Comment allez-vous?"(2)
"Bien. Tout va bien. Le vol n'était pas mauvais, mais ils ont perdu le bagage." Vivienne shook her head and sighed. "Quelle incompétence." She patted Arisa's cheek. "Mais tu es plus belle que jamais. Arisa... Tu me manquais tellemente."(3)
The women continued to converse in the very foreign language, leaving Honda totally in the dark. He had tried, on express orders, to learn a few phrases, but then he had found a link for less than everyday French, and he had spent nearly an hour looking up dirty words. His education had ended there, and suddenly he felt its inadequacy all too strongly.
He cleared his throat, successfully getting Arisa's attention. She looked over at him and he grinned. "Mind introducing me?"
"Oh! Sorry, sorry, of course." She smiled at her grandmother warmly; he hadn't ever realized before how much Arisa cared for her; at the least the visit would certainly make her happy. "Vivi, this is my fianceé - Hiroto, say hello."
He waved at her rather sheepishly. "Hi."
Vivienne looked him over in an expression far too similiar to distaste. "Hmmph. Il est trop maigre."(4)
Arisa laughed. "Maybe so," she said, and Honda suspected she was teasing him, "but I think he's cute."
He looked at her half-worriedly. "Is that up for debate?"
"Of course not, dear. She thinks you're lovely."
He looked at her with a smirk. "Sure. I don't know what you're saying about me, but it had better be nothing but flattering."
"It is. Now why don't you grab her bag for her and we'll go up to the apartment. I thought maybe we could show her around the city."
"Sure, if you want to." He smiled at Vivienne and took her bag. The woman still looked vaguely disapproving. He cleared his throat nervously. Vivienne's eyes narrowed further.
"Arisa," he mumbled to her, "why does she only speak French?" He looked at her pleadingly. "How am I supposed to dazzle her when I can't even speak to her?"
"I'll help you," she replied, giving him only about half-attention. "Now I don't want any more standing around. Come on - let's go up to the apartment so she can get settled in."
Knowing it was futile to argue with her - in addition to how juvenile she had the tendency to make him feel - Honda plastered on a half-smile and followed the two women up.
Having Vivienne there would be stressful, no doubt, but that was only the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae of dress, flowers, food, and guests. And that was only the list he knew about.
The wedding could not come soon enough.
Honda had moaned and complained about being left with her grandmother, but Arisa wanted to go out and anyway, Vivienne had wanted a chance to explore the city on her own. Whether that meant just wandering around or a tour (there was always the "Notable Dueling Sites", but somehow that didn't seem to Vivi's tastes). Honda didn't know she was going out, of course, but after the little fit he threw, Arisa had decided he didn't need to know.
Really, she wished she could just put him in detention again sometimes.
"Hey there," Mai said, seeing Arisa approaching. The two women, having much in common, had slowly bonded through all the time their significant idiots spent with each other. Jounouchi and Honda had a special bond; Honda jokingly called it the bond-of-the-tall, but anyone could see that Honda enjoyed teasing Jounouchi, and he just enjoyed arguing.
Arisa smiled as she sat down. "Hello. How have you been?"
"Pretty good, actually. Not as good as you, though, I'm sure," she said teasingly. "Planning a wedding? Mmm, talk about relaxing."
"You've got that right." Arisa laughed and rolled her eyes. "It's certainly an ordeal, but nothing too bad. Things are winding down; but of course that means that something's about to go wrong."
"That's just how the world is, hun." Mai took a sip of her drink. "Though... I might have something that you need to know about."
"What?" Arisa was vaguely worried, but knowing Mai it was likely the blonde was just teasing.
"Honda's bachelor party... will feature a stripper."
"After I distinctly told him 'no'?"
Mai nodded. "Jounouchi's excited. And he seems more scared of the repercussions than Honda." Mai snorted lightly. "That may be because teachers intimidate him, though."
Arisa smiled, feeling amused. Detention was a mighty power to wield. But after she had said "no" quite definitively, Honda had gone behind her back. That just wouldn't do. "As they should. But I don't think I can let them get away with this."
"Of course not! And actually, hun, I have something in mind."
"Oh?" Arisa was intrigued, and judging from the devious grin Mai wore, it was certainly warranted. "Do tell."
"They want a stripper, right?" Arisa nodded, not quite sure where the other woman was going. Mai's grin widened. "I can't recall them mentioning anything about a woman."
"Oh. Oh, Mai, that is brilliant." If a man showed up to take his clothes off, then Honda would only be shocked into appreciating her more. It was the perfect plan. "I am all for that, but how can we arrange it? I think they'd get suspicious if either of us seemed eager to get involved."
"Hun, I think you're overestimating my boy just a little. He'd be lucky to notice we even were involved."
They were interrupted then, by the waitress taking their orders. Arisa had eaten a nice breakfast so she didn't want anything bigger than maybe a little salad, but Mai – having to subsist on the sparse contents of Jounouchi's fridge – ordered a full meal.
"Yum," she said as the waitress walked off. "Finally something with nutritional value."
Arisa laughed. "I imagine that would be difficult to find in a bachelor's fridge." She paused. "But… is that likely to continue? I know you say you're here only temporarily; have you ever thought of staying with Jounouchi permanently?"
Mai smiled wryly, an unusually sincere expression for her. "Thought about it? Yeah, I've definitely thought about it. And I know that it would make him happy. But… While the apartment is still his, while it still doesn't feel completely like 'home', I know I can still leave. Maybe that makes me a coward; but I like to keep things on my own terms. Making anything official – that official, at least – would make me vulnerable, and I hate feeling vulnerable."
"So I suppose marriage isn't anywhere in the near future."
"No. It's not." She looked at Arisa almost warily. "You know how we first really got things going, don't you?" When there was a look of puzzlement, Mai continued. "I was actually engaged. And when I saw Jounouchi at the engagement party, I got stupid." She looked down at the table, one well-manicured finger running along the rim of her water glass. "We got a little drunk and the next morning I was in bed with him. The whole thing was…" She let out a breath. "It was a mess. And needless to say, when my fiancé found out, he wasn't happy.
"Jounouchi knows I don't like being tied to anything, but… He never presses the issue, and I wonder if he thinks I'm going to leave him one day." She rolled her eyes and smiled wryly. "Probably seems like something I'd do."
Arisa wanted to comfort her friend, but knew that it was likely to only make Mai feel worse; and at any rate, she was much more adept at changing the subject than offering comfort. "I suggest talking to him; but I suspect I may be a bit more direct than you."
"Coming on to one of your students while still in class?" Mai waved her hand playfully. "Honey, I think you're more direct than just about everyone."
"Point taken," she replied with a smile. "And speaking of direct, I believe our men are disobeying my direct orders. I love your idea of hiring a male stripper instead of a female one – but how could we pull it off? I really can't think of any way we could do it without getting someone else involved."
"That," Mai said with a wicked grin, "is where I come in. I was pretty sure you hadn't changed your mind, but I wanted to double check. I got a message on our machine from Honda – saying something about hiring somebody." She winked. "I have a friend here who… let's just say has connections. I can get the name of a guy and give Jounouchi Honda's message. If I accidentally get the two people confused…" She shrugged.
Arisa laughed. "I love it! This'll teach that boy a thing or two."
By then their food arrived and with another mutual laugh, the two dug in.
"Are you all packed?"
Anzu nodded and wheeled her suitcase in front of her. "Think so. This should be all I need."
Seto made a disparaging noise, clearly unconvinced. "Where's your other bag?"
She laughed. "Hey, you told me to pack light, so I did." But then she grinned and said, "My duffel's already in the car."
"Of course." He put his laptop into the leather carrying case and zipped it closed. His bags were by the door; Mokuba was supposed to help load, but whether he would or not was really still up in the air. "I think… Yes, everything's taken care of her. Go put that in while I look for Mokuba."
Anzu nodded and with another broad smile began wheeling her bag away. Seto sighed and headed for the stairs. As he had suspected, his younger brother was in his bedroom. He banged on the door once, then stood back. A rather disgruntled Mokuba opened it.
"What, Seto? I…" He paused, then let out a huff of air. "I'm supposed to be helping you, aren't I?"
"Yes." With a slight nod, he walked off. A shuffling behind him assured him that Mokuba was following. "I'm leaving everything in your care, Mokuba, so I trust you'll be able to stomach a little responsibility long enough to insure there aren't any… incidents."
"No incidents. Right."
"If I come home and – "
"Yeah, yeah, I know the drill, Seto; if anything's damaged or out of place I get skinned alive, fed to one of your monsters, run over, or burned at the stake. Maybe all of the above."
"As much as I love your humor, Mokuba…"
"I know." He grinned. "You always carry out your threats."
Seto rolled his eyes.
Anzu had already gotten all her stuff in, so they each grabbed one of Seto's small bags and threw them in the trunk of the car.
"Have a good time," Mokuba told Anzu, giving her a quick hug. He was a little taller than she was, and he ruffled her hair affectionately. "Fly safely; and don't let big grumpy here keep you from having any fun." He winked, then cast his brother a surreptitious glance. "That is, if he even lets you out of the hotel room."
Anzu laughed. "I think I'll be fine, Mokuba. Take care while we're gone."
"Oh, don't worry. I will."
Seto brushed past him, squeezing his shoulder briefly for a goodbye. They needed to leave fairly soon or they'd miss their flight. Mokuba waved as his brother climbed in the car beside Anzu. "Have fun," he called. "And bring me back something pretty!"
-End A/N: Thanks for reading! Reviews are always appreciated! Chapter 26 is going to be just wicked crazy AWESOME and chock-full of flippin' sweet Seto/Anzu-ness.
1). I missed you (or close to it)
2). Me, too (or I did, too (I think)). How are you? (I used the proper "you", but I don't know if that's culturally/whatever-ly accurate)
3). Fine. All is fine. The flight wasn't bad, but they lost my luggage. Such incompetence. But you are more lovely than ever. I missed you so much.
4). He is too skinny.
-Once again, I apologize for any mistakes!
In Case of Emergency