Dark Corners of the House of the Rising Sun
The Date Auction
A/N: Orgs at my college do this as fundraisers. It's not this sketchy.
Birthday fic for the twins. (And, no, it doesn't fit in the Dark Corners timeline. They're older in this.)
"Hizashi? I've been looking for you. What are you doing in here?"
Both young men looked up at their father blankly from Hiashi's bed, where they were halfway through a game of Battleship.
"I'm dutifully awaiting any orders that our clan's heir might have for me," Hizashi answered glibly. "F4," he added in the same tone, his eyes still on his father, who was twitching with the audacity of the lie.
"You should show Hiashi more respect," his father muttered, which was in his repertoire of last-resort comebacks when he couldn't prove Hizashi was being anything but obedient.
"He's letting me win, isn't he?" Hiashi asked, going back to carefully counting his obsessively-composed chart of his opponent's ships. "No hit." He glanced briefly at his father, still standing in the doorway looking unamused. "Did you want something?" he asked.
"Not with you," Mr. Hyuuga snapped, turning to Hizashi, who was still watching him with mock politeness. "Your Aunt Helga's Ladies' Society is having a date auction to raise money for an endangered animal breeding program."
"Are cougars endangered? I didn't know Aunt Helga was such a rare woman," Hiashi asked sarcastically. "C7."
Hizashi shook his head without taking his gaze from his father, who glared irately at his other son.
"Your Aunt Helga is an important woman in Konoha society," he said sternly.
"Branches are allowed to be important?" Hiashi asked scathingly, raising his eyebrows as he placed another white peg in his game board.
"I don't think that's something either of you need to worry about," their father replied without missing a beat. "Hizashi, your aunt needs someone to put up for auction. I volunteered you."
"What?!" Hiashi exclaimed, suddenly focusing on the conversation at hand. "You can't do that!"
Hizashi, however, only nodded politely, even forcing a slight smile. "I'm not stripping," he said.
"You'll have to take that up with your aunt," his father shrugged. Hizashi's expression suddenly changed to something more closely resembling his brother's.
"I was joking," he said. "We're not really supposed to strip?"
"Have you ever met Aunt Helga's Ladies' Society?" Hiashi snapped at him. "Why do you think they're auctioning off twenty-year-old men?"
"What exactly am I supposed to do with the winning bidder?" Hizashi asked slowly.
His father shrugged again. "Have dinner with them, I think. I'm sure she'll tell you. And I think it goes without saying that this is not an optional event for you. Your aunt and I are both expecting you to be on your best behavior... lacking though it is."
"Of course, Father," Hizashi said, hurriedly reverting back to a semblance of politeness.
"Hey, what are you doin' Friday?" Chouza asked Fugaku when they ran into each other dropping off mission reports.
"Well, I was going to research my clan's history and see if there are any interesting jutsus I'm missing out on," Fugaku said in the braced tone of voice that one employs when one doesn't want his friends to point out how nerdy his hobby is.
"Not anymore you're not," Chouza said. "You're coming to the Ladies' Society Date Auction to help us defend Hizashi's honor."
Chouza giggled. "I know, right? Apparently Old Man Hyuuga is trying to sell him into prostitution. Hiashi says he's supposed to either wear a dress or strip."
"Really?" Fugaku snorted. "My mother's in that club. She started to ask me to be in the auction, then stopped herself. Said it'd be too awkward for her if one of her friends...well, she said bought me, but I don't think that was the verb she wanted."
"So you see why we've got to show up and buy him?"
"Oh, yeah. The Ladies' Society is terrifying," Fugaku whispered with a shudder.
"I'm only going to see 'Zashi in a dress," Chouza admitted, beginning to giggle again. "Anyway, bring a little money, just in case."
"In case Hiashi runs out?"
"I was thinking more in case you see someone cute," Chouza shrugged. "I mean, seriously, it's just a date. Nobody's gonna break the bank."
"Are you sure no one's gonna break the bank?" Fugaku questioned under his breath later, as the boys slunk into the dance hall where the auction was being held. "They all seem pretty drunk."
"Yeah, Fug, isn't that your mother dancing on the punch table?" Inoichi asked, pointing through the throng of excited bidders to a table decorated with a large punch bowl and a respectable-looking woman head banging. She was being cheered by several of her friends and not a few men of her generation or younger.
"Mommy?" Fugaku whimpered.
Hiashi glanced over in the direction Inoichi indicated. "If your drunk mom lays one hand on my brother, I will cut your eyes out," he growled. Fugaku did not look nervous or upset so much as relieved that the threat had given him a reason to look away from his mother.
"Geez, relax," Chouza muttered, punching Hiashi lightly on the arm. "What's the absolute worst that could happen? He'll get picked up by an appreciative and experienced older woman and go around telling everyone that he's gotten more action in one night than you will get your whole life?"
"My father wouldn't have signed him up if it had even the remote possibility of turning out well for him," Hiashi muttered grimly, weaving his way through the crowd towards the front of the room, where a small stage had been set up and an auction was currently in progress, the sound lost over the blaring metal music. "Now hurry up and let's find a place to sit. We need to be able to see when he-," Hiashi turned around, to find himself talking to nobody. "Guys?"
He backtracked through the crowd and found them talking to a semi-attractive woman slightly younger than the aunt who even now was no-doubt forcing his brother into an underwire nightdress. "What are you doing?" he hissed into Inoichi's ear, only to be waved away like an oversized mosquito.
"You boys want something to drink?" the woman half-slurred. "Here, I'll go get you some punch. Wait here," she added, pinching Chouza's cheek and winking. She squinted a little at Hiashi before leaving for the punch bowl. "You're supposed to be backstage," she told him.
"And that's why we have to go find a seat," Hiashi muttered when she had left. "Come on, let's go."
"It's rude to ditch a lady like that. You go on and hold our seats, we'll be right over with our punch," Inoichi replied, yanking his arm back from Hiashi, who was attempting to drag him away.
"You're not drinking tonight! This is important! Anyway, she'll probably slip you some roofies, don't you know anything about safe partying?"
"You can't invite us to your aunt's stupid thing and then expect us to be sober," Inoichi snapped. "Go grab us seats."
Grumbling about loyalty and friendship, Hiashi pushed his way through the crowd and threw himself into a row of folding chairs, glaring at the girl in fishnets on top of the table.
The Ladies' Society MC was announcing, "Sold for two hundred! Ladies and gents, the lovely Tsume Inuzuka!"
"What?!" Hiashi sprang to his feet again, trying to get a better view. Indeed, the half-dressed woman on the table was his spiky-haired colleague. She noticed him looking indignant and winked at him, a gesture that would have been more reassuring if it hadn't lead to catcalls from the rest of the audience.
The rest of the guys, sporting plastic cups of punch, filed in, all looking mildly-interested in the proceedings.
"Is that Tsume draped off those two drunk women?" Fugaku asked, handing Hiashi another cup and not sounding particularly concerned.
"Yes, our friend has just been sold to a group of lecherous cougars, thanks to your philandering! I hope you're proud of yourself."
"I'm pretty sure those are cousins of hers," Chouza said. "And why didn't you make a bid on her, if you were concerned?"
"This money is for my- look, when we're done here, we'll go spring Tsume free."
"What makes you think she needs help? It's a date auction, isn't this kinda what she signed up for?" Inoichi asked.
"We don't know that she signed up!"
"She's not a Hyuuga, she's got a little say in where she spends her Fridays," the Yamanaka pointed out, taking another swig of his punch. Hiashi glared at him.
"You know, that hurts."
"Yeah, well, I'm here at Midlife Crisis Fest on an evening that would better be spent-,"
"Drinking?" Tsume, having sidled her way into a chair behind the group, poked Inoichi the back of the head. "You seem to be doing that just fine here."
"Tsume, I'm sorry I didn't get to you on time! These idiots,"
"Hey, Hiashi, that hurts," Inoichi muttered. "If I'm not allowed to state simple facts about your family, you aren't allowed to call us-,"
"Get to me on time for what?" Tsume interrupted.
"To buy you, of course."
"Buy me?" Tsume punched his arm. "You creeper!"
"I know we're cool and all, but it gets kinda inappropriate when you start buying dates with your female friends, you understand."
"So having us buy you would look bad, as compared to having some drunk old guy buy you?"
"My cousins buy me every year, Hiashi," Tsume explained, less-than-patiently.
"Hey, Hiashi," Fugaku interrupted. Tsume glared at him.
"Hey, I'm the one talking to the moron right now." She turned back to Hiashi. "I've been doing this auction thing for a while. It's for a good cause, and it's fun. We have a little bit to drink, I get up there, do a little dance, and try to see how much I can go for. Then me and the cousins have a girls' night out. No big deal. Please tell me you didn't come running out here to defend my honor," she added, raising an eyebrow.
"Nah, we're here for Thing Two," Inoichi threw in.
"I figured as much," Tsume said.
"Hiashi," Fugaku tried again, "If you're done offending Tsume-,"
"Yeah, yeah," Hiashi absently handed over his untouched cup. "Not sure why you gave it to me in the first place."
"He'll be happy to see you, I imagine," Tsume was saying, "I told him it was a bad idea to sign up for this thing unless you have someone on standby to buy you."
"Yeah, about why we're here," Fugaku started once more.
"Did he not realize we were coming?" Inoichi asked over the sound of Chouza giggling uncontrollably at something on stage.
"He said I was overreacting," Hiashi muttered.
"He changed that tune when he got a look at the crowd," Tsume said. "Pretty common, really. Guy signs up, thinking it'll be all in good fun, then realizes how very, very creepy a date auction is when you don't know who's buying you or to what end."
"And that's why we're spending our Friday night here," Hiashi said self-righteously, with a glare at Fugaku.
"Then you might want to make a bid on 'Zashi before that dude in the corner wins him," Fugaku said, pointing at the makeshift stage.
"What?!" Hiashi's attention snapped back to the auction fast enough to break the sound barrier. A very upset Hizashi in a pink, lacy nightdress was hunched protectively on top of the table, ignoring the suggestions from the audience that he 'show a little leg! Come on!'
"Sixty, do I hear sixty? Come on, ladies, not all guys look this good in a slip,"
"Sixty!" Hiashi yelled over the general noise. The woman nodded at him.
"Sixty, we have sixty, do I hear seventy?"
"I tried to tell you, but you were busy talking about the sociological aspects of blah, blah, blah," Fugaku said, taking an unconcerned sip of Hiashi's drink as his friend sat back down.
Chouza, still giggling uncontrollably, gasped out, "Pink's a good color on him. You two should wear it more often."
"Well, crisis averted, despite your best efforts," Hiashi muttered.
"Seventy! We have seventy, do I hear eighty?" the announcer shouted.
"Eighty!" Hiashi stood up again.
"Eighty! Do I hear ninety?"
"You'd better not hear ninety," Hiashi muttered to his friends, "Eighty's all I brought with me."
"What?" Tsume gasped. "Are you serious? These are drunk middle-aged women with steady jobs! You're with the high rollers, now, boy."
"What? It's a charity auction!"
"I went for two hundred this year," Tsume said. "It wasn't my record."
"And Hizashi has much nicer hair than her," Chouza added. Tsume pinched his ear viciously.
"Ow, hey, that hurts! Leggo! Tsume!"
A man in the corner, the same one who had bid the seventy, stood up.
"Ninety, I have ninety!" the announcer shouted. "Do I hear one hundred?"
Hiashi leaned over Fugaku. "Chouza, lend me some cash. I know you brought a little extra!"
"Okay. But I only have fifty, so..."
"That'll be a hundred thirty," Tsume said. "You may get away with it, but..."
"Well, here, I've got seventy-five," Inoichi said, reaching for his wallet.
"Okay, two hundred and five, that should,-"
"Going once-," the announcer started.
"One hundred!" Hiashi jumped up, placed his bid, and shot back down to the huddle.
"I've got seven and..." Fugaku rooted through his pockets. "Forty... no, forty-three cents!" The others looked at him. "I wasn't planning on buying anyone. How creepy would that be?"
"Mikoto's got an aunt in the Society," Tsume said offhandedly. "So, two hundred twelve."
"Actually I think I'm keeping mine, just in case..." Fugaku started to put his money away, but Chouza grabbed it from him and handed it to Hiashi.
"Seven forty-three is not enough to buy a date with her, even outside auctions."
"I have one twenty-five, do I hear one fifty?"
Hiashi jumped up once again.
"Right, that should do it," he said on returning. "It'd better, my knees are starting to hurt."
"You're so middle-aged," Inoichi muttered.
"One fifty, do I hear one seventy-five?"
Tsume glanced around. "I saw Shikaku in the audience, I'll go grab him," she said, sprinting off.
"Why does she think we need-," Hiashi asked.
"One seventy-five, do I hear two hundred?"
The boys glanced around at the man attempting to outbid them as Hiashi sprang up again.
"What do you mean, uh-oh?" Hiashi asked as he sat down, bid placed.
"Jiraiya's the one bidding against us," Inoichi explained.
"Sarutobi's old student. Complete perv and completely unpredictable. And he looks pretty drunk, to boot."
"He hit on Shikaku's girl one time while they were on a date, and so obviously Shikaku had to confront him, and he ended up in the hospital for two days," Chouza added.
"What's this about Jiraiya?" Shikaku and Tsume returned to catch the tail-end of the conversation.
"He's the one bidding on 'Zashi," Chouza explained.
"Shit, man," Shikaku went pale. "Listen, you guys have to win this thing, because Hiashi will die if he goes after him."
"What makes you think I'm going to go after-," Hiashi started, and quickly stopped again as everybody rolled their eyes at him.
"So you'll donate to the cause?" Inoichi asked. "Come on, 'Zash has enough trauma in his life without a Jiraiya horror story to add to it."
"I feel his pain, man, I really do," Shikaku said, "But I'm here for Yoshino. If you don't buy 'Zash, Hiashi's life won't be worth living, whereas if I don't buy Yoshino, my life will not be worth living. And I'm more attached to my own life."
"How much do you have?"
"Three hundred," Shikaku shrugged.
"Yoshino isn't going to go for that much!" Hiashi exclaimed. "Just twenty, that's all we need!"
"You don't know she won't go for that much!" Shikaku exclaimed in return, getting flustered.
"Yes I do. Tsume only went for two hundred, and she's way hotter."
Chouza slapped his palm against his face. Inoichi winced.
Shikaku sighed. "Going back to my seat now. I'll call you tomorrow to see if things worked out... assuming I'm not too tired from all the wild sex I was having the night before with my ugly girlfriend."
"Wait! Shika, I'm sorry!" Hiashi cried out desperately. "Just a little cash!"
"He looks good in that slip, by the way," Shikaku added with a smirk. "You two should cross-dress more often. See you later!"
"I have two hundred, do I hear two fifty? Two fifty?"
"You deserved that," Chouza informed Hiashi when his teammate had left.
"He's so sensitive about her," Hiashi muttered.
"'Zash would make a very attractive woman," Fugaku noted. "He ever considered it?"
"You shut up!" Hiashi snapped. "Why are you grinning?"
"Oh, nothing," Fugaku smirked with the self-satisfied air of someone who has proven a point to themselves.
"Two twenty-five? Come on, ladies, you know you want to!"
"Split up, look for people we know! Tell them I'll pay them back!" Hiashi muttered wildly.
Tsume nodded. "I'll go tell Casanova over there that he's bidding on a guy," she said. "And I blame you two's unnecessarily-nice hair for this, by the way."
She returned a few moments after Jiraiya placed a bid for two twenty-five. "He knows," she said flatly. "But, two fifty's his limit. So we just need to get to there."
"Look who I found!" Chouza came bounding up, Louise in tow.
"I heard you're having some cash flow problems?" she smirked.
"Yes," Hiashi said urgently as the announcer asked for two fifty, no, two forty. "We need... thirty?"
"I've got twenty," she said, handing over her share. "I only stopped by 'cause I heard Zashi would be wearing a dress."
"You did not," Hiashi muttered.
"It's very flattering on him. Tell you what, instead of paying me back, you can show up to training in the same outfit, it'd be worth it."
"I'm paying you back," Hiashi snapped.
"Right, we've got two thirty-two..." Tsume reached into the bikini she was wearing in lieu of clothes. "Actually, I think somebody stuffed about eight ones into my undies as a joke... yes!"
Hiashi took the money she handed him as though it was radioactive.
"Tsume, that is so..."
"Two twenty-five going once, going twice-,"
"Two forty!" Hiashi yelled.
"Two forty! We have two forty... do I see two-fifty?"
Jiraiya stood up.
"Two fifty! Do I see two sixty? Two sixty?"
"Is that that Jiraiya guy?" Louise asked, looking slightly more serious. "Just bid on him, we'll scrounge up the money, somehow."
"Two fifty going once!"
"Nah, they want the cash up front," Tsume muttered.
"Where'd Fug go?" Inoichi asked, glancing around.
"Two fifty going twice!"
"Here, here!" Fugaku shoved a bill into Hiashi's hand. "Found it on the floor! Had to stop to make sure the owner wasn't looking for it!"
"Whatever, TWO SIXTY!" Hiashi screamed.
"Okay, okay, we hear ya," the announcer muttered. "Right, two sixty! Going once! Going twice! Sold, to the group of overly-insistent young men over there!"
"I hate it when people judge us all based on you because you're the loudest and your eyes look the weirdest," Louise muttered.
"Really?" Hizashi asked loudly when Hiashi went up to the front to pay the Ladies' Society and pick up his winnings. "My own brother bought me? How embarrassing."
"Well, if it's any consolation, the rest of the audience put up a fight," Hiashi told him, offering him a hand to help him down from the stage.
The hand was ignored. "Really, you are not the attractive woman I was hoping you'd be," Hizashi sighed melodramatically as he jumped down. Behind him, a young man who was too late realizing the wisdom of having friends in the audience was climbing onto the stage.
"Come on, the guys are already annoyed at me for wasting their Friday night," Hiashi said flatly, grabbing his brother's nightgown and tugging him toward the door.
"We were just talking about how flattering that dress is on you," Inoichi said the minute the twins emerged from the building. "With the lace edging and the plunging neckline."
"And the lobotomy-patient look is a particularly nice touch," Chouza added, pointing to the bandages around Hizashi's forehead.
"Yeah, Aunt Helga stole my headband. I thought this was pretty attractive," Hizashi grinned.
"So did Jiraiya," Louise said.
"You went for more than Tsume thanks to him," Fugaku added. "You owe us, buddy."
"Come on, guys, it was for a good cause," Hizashi shrugged. "Thanks for coming out, though. I'm gonna get going."
"Hey, we all bought shares in a date with you, and we're damn well gonna get our money's worth," Tsume said, blocking his path as he tried to weave past them.
"So we expect to see you tomorrow night," Louise grinned.
"We're thinking dinner somewhere cheap (because you cleaned us all out), party, following Shikaku and ruining his date with Yoshino, more partying..." Inoichi shrugged.
"And Hiashi chipped in the most for you, so we figure you'll probably go home with him," Fugaku said. "Hope that's okay with you."
"Or you can pay us back the whole two sixty," Louise said when Hizashi glared at them. "Come on, it'll be fun."
"Yeah," Chouza draped an arm over Hizashi's shoulder, "We wouldn't've shelled out for you if we weren't friends. So we'll see you tomorrow?"
"Sure. I'll see you tomorrow," Hizashi sighed, smiling.
"Good. Now go home and change out of that slip. You're giving me the creeps."
"You shouldn't have come," Hizashi said as he and his brother headed home.
"I wasn't going to leave you at the mercy of the Ladies' Society, no matter what you said."
"It's just weird. You buying me. Y'know."
"Weirder than having a date with Jiraiya when he sobers up?"
"You couldn't have let Louise bid on me or something?"
"She'd never have done it," Hiashi said. "What's wrong with me, anyway?"
"It's just... we're... you're..." Hizashi shook his head as if reconsidering what he wanted to say, "You're my brother. What's wrong with our other friends buying me? ...not that they didn't show up, but... I don't want a reputation with the Ladies' Society as the kid who has to have his brother bid on him. Anyway, I totally would have gotten laid if you hadn't shown up. Some of Aunt Helga's friends were all over me, you have no idea. I was doing just fine on my own, trust me."
Hiashi rolled his eyes and silently pulled his jacket off and handed it to his brother, who took it and put it on over his dress.
"Tomorrow'll be fun, though," Hizashi said, quieting down, "So I guess it wasn't such a bad ordeal."
"You're welcome," Hiashi said, smiling a little.