Disclaimer: Here's a random fact: Brazil is not always hot. Here's another random fact: I don't own Prince of Tennis, or any of the characters. :)
Rating: PG to be safe
Warnings: Shounen-ai/yaoi, utter crack
Summary: Rikkai and Hyoutei have… a joint day out to the circus! You just know that that's not going to turn out well… CRACK, in case you didn't guess. xD
Author's notes: Another Rikkai drabblething. You don't have to have read the ones that come before this, but it might help a bit. The drabblething list goes:
Times of Stress
Passing the Time
How to ask out Marui Bunta
Four Days Later
Because I Love You
Kind of… the same
100 Word Challenges
Driver in a Hurry, Child in a Coma
The Woes of Solomon Grundy
I'm Not Going
The Little Things
I Had To
Operation: Christmas Party
Once Upon a Time
My Brother Bunta
Dear Diary: Living with Niou-senpai
A Morning at the Pool
This is Love
And So It Begins
This Is March 5th
No Small Wonder
The Last Day Of A Stage in Life
Back to Basics
Blame it On the Damn Vodka
The Stuff of Myths
Dear Diary: Beginning the Third Year
The Collective Threads
A Minesweeper Kind of Mind
Sanada Hates Random
Time Will Tell. Probably.
The Way of the Jinx
The Hottest Fire
The Name's Metaphor. Blatant Metaphor.
Cirque du Rikkai
Guess Who Fate Doesn't Like Much?
Eep, Crayons, and Parrots with Problems
The Waiting Camel
Requested by EvennexSoul: "Request..request so hard to choose. Howsabout Rikkai and Hyoutei have a joint day out to the circus, where chaos happens and Hyoutei discover the meaning of tensai, borderling insanity...if that makes any sense :D Can't wait for it!"
I'm assuming you meant borderlining? n.n;; In any case, this is what you get. And I hope you love it. xDD
Oh, also – this is taking place at the same time as 'The Hottest Fire'. So on Saturday 18th. Of August. Just so you know. n.n Lord, I'm bad at speedy chronological updates…
Update: There were some problems with the uploading of this fic o.0 A massive thank-you to everyone who pointed it out to me, and I hope you can all read this now. n.n;; And then after the uploading problems there was my laziness and then there was the absolute desertion of the writing bug and my plot bunnies… So that's why I haven't been updating. n.n;; Forgive meh?
"Where's 'Haru?" Marui asked. His eyes tracked down the road as though expecting the Trickster to spring out of the air holding a 'GOTCHA!' sign.
"If you let go," Akaya said, heavily muffled, "then I'll tell you."
"Heh. Oops." Marui let go of his suffocating boyfriend and grinned sheepishly at him. "I haven't seen you for like, three days. Gimme a break. So where's 'Haru?"
"Niou-senpai's out somewhere." Akaya gave a shrug that clearly said 'I would care, but… you know, I have to wash my hair'. "I don't think he's coming."
"Aww, really?" Marui looked disappointed. Behind them, every other member of the group looked incredibly relieved.
"I think that cuts the danger probability down to about sixty percent," Yanagi murmured. Sanada nodded fervently.
"Alright," Yukimura clapped his hands, "that's us assembled. Let's set off, shall we?" Turning, he started off down the road, chatting amiably to Jackal in between discussing the day's plans with Yanagi.
Tugging along an unashamedly clingy Marui, Akaya reached Yukimura's side and tapped him on the arm.
"Ne, ne, ne? Where are we going, Mura-buchou?" he asked. "Are we going to the swimming pool again?"
"God, I hope not," Marui muttered. "I have no desire to see that Kabaji kid in swimming trunks, thank you very much."
Ignoring him and the mental images that popped up through sheer force of will, Yukimura shook his head and said, "No, not the swimming pool."
"There's a European-style circus staying on the outskirts of Tokyo," Yanagi said. "It doesn't open until tomorrow evening, but we thought that we'd go along anyway and see if we can't have a look round."
Yukimura blinked and stopped walking when he realised that Akaya was no longer next to him. "Akaya?"
"… Circus?" Akaya looked dazed. "We're going to a circus?"
Yukimura smiled. Evidently Akaya had stopped before Yanagi'd finished the first sentence. "That's right."
"Ah, Mura," Marui sighed melodramatically. "You know, I can rarely make him this happy. Have some sympathy for me, would ya?"
"WE'RE GOING TO A CIRCUS! WE'REGOINGTOACIRCUSOHMYFREAKINGGODSTHATISAMAZINGANDBRILLIANTANDYOU'RETHEBESTMURA-BUCHOU!!"
Yanagi unblocked his ears and said, "But you have to behave, Akaya. We've invited the old Hyoutei team along for the day too."
"So be on your best behaviour and don't let Rikkai down," Sanada said firmly.
"Oh, leave him alone," said Yukimura, patting Akaya's head. "I'm sure he'll be good as gold. When is he ever not?"
Jackal coughed and Yagyuu adjusted his glasses. Sanada just stared.
The clouds finally dissipated a little, letting the sun out for the first time that morning. Oshitari yawned and looked a little enviously at the blissfully snoring Jirou, propped up against the side of a caravan.
"Ah, to be so carefree," he murmured to no-one in particular. "To have such a sense of contentment and easiness of life. What innocence lets him sleep so soundly under the clouded skies, surrounded by his teammates…"
"It's called narcolepsy," Gakuto snorted. "Get over it."
"Where's Shishido, anyway?" Atobe demanded, looking impatiently at his watch. "Rikkai Dai are going to be here any moment now. Choutarou?"
The silver-haired boy started and then shrugged. "I don't know," he said apologetically. "Maybe he isn't coming? He'd have phoned or texted or something if he was going to be late."
"He should be phoning or texting to say he isn't coming too!" Annoyed, Atobe waved a dismissive hand. "Ore-sama will be having a very firm word with him next time he shows his face."
"Well, I suppose this means there won't be any opportunity for Shishido and Niou-kun to fight," Oshitari said placatingly. Choutarou looked reproving.
"They haven't fought properly in ages," he defended. "Well, I mean, not really. I mean, they do occasionally… but that's not really… What I mean, is…"
"That there won't be any opportunity for them to fight."
Choutarou gave in. "Well, yes."
The Hyoutei group turned as one to see Marui waving madly at them.
"You really don't need to yell so loudly," growled Sanada. "They'll spot us in their own time."
"Aww, is someone cranky because they haven't seen their ex-boyfriend in a while?" Marui teased. He quickly raised his hands in a truce gesture as Sanada, Yukimura and Yanagi turned as one to glare at him. The power of the three combined might have killed him on the spot if he hadn't instinctively produced sunglasses from thin air. "Sorry, sorry. Not allowed to joke about it yet. Good to know, good to know…"
"Smart," Akaya snickered. Marui cuffed the back of his head automatically.
"Good morning," said Atobe grandly as soon as Rikkai was near enough in earshot for him not to have to shout. "I trust I find you all in good health?"
"Perfectly, thank you," said Yukimura with a little bow.
Atobe tilted his head a little to the side questioningly as his subconscious informed him that there were only seven people in front of him. "You appear to be missing someone… Oh, Niou, it seems. Where is he?"
"He's not coming, I'm afraid," Yukimura said. "We don't really know where he's gotten to. Possibly he just didn't want to come, which is fair enough."
Gakuto frowned and leant up to whisper to Oshitari, "I didn't want to come! Neither did you, or Hiyoshi. How come Niou gets to stay off?"
"I suppose if he wasn't allowed to do what he liked then he might cause havoc," Oshitari whispered back. "Possibly with cabbages. Either that or Yukimura-kun is just more lenient with his team's comings and goings than Atobe is."
"It's the latter," Yagyuu said. Oshitari and Gakuto turned to give him surprised looks.
"You know, I was whispering," said Oshitari.
"I do apologise. Only I have very good hearing, you see. It comes with the job."
Gakuto blinked. "Job?"
"Of staying alive near Niou. And of keeping my general wellbeing well around Kirihara. Your hearing has to be good enough to hear boredom."
"Boredom has a noise?"
Yagyuu nodded calmly as though he was talking to someone not particularly in tune with the facts of life. "Would you like me to demonstrate?"
"Um… No, that's alright," Gakuto said, backing away slightly.
"I'd like to hear, actually," Choutarou said tentatively; the rest of Hyoutei and Rikkai had started walking briskly towards the tents, but he was lagging behind a little with Oshitari and Gakuto. "If you don't mind, Yagyuu-san."
"Not at all. Kirihara-kun, come here a moment if you please."
Akaya grimaced. "You know, Yagyuu-senpai, you're better when you're being Niou-senpai. You sound like someone's grandparents blended inside a giant formality blender."
"I do apologise." Yagyuu cleared his throat, hrumphed a few times, then, in an uncanny imitation of Niou's casual drawl, said, "Oi, bratling! Get over here and demonstrate the sound of boredom to tensai-san and co."
"Yes, Niou-senpai," Akaya said, hurrying over; he evidently wanted to get this out of the way so that he could resume exploring.
Choutarou, Oshitari and Gakuto all exchanged nonplussed looks.
"Hurry up bratling, we haven't got all day."
"Alright, alright! Listen."
The three did. Very carefully. But they couldn't hear a thing.
"It's not really working, I'm afraid," Yagyuu said, back in his normal smooth tones. "It's the excitement of the circus. It currently sounds a little like 'krrKKhhShh', when boredom's really more of a 'KRRRshhhrrf'."
"Yeah, well, if you're gonna take me to a circus," Akaya muttered. "Hurry up, Yagyuu-senpai! I wanna see things!"
"Do, um…" Oshitari blinked a couple of times, still feeling bewildered. "Does Yagyuu-kun often do that?"
"Oh yeah," Akaya nodded, shifting like a rabbit from foot to foot in his eagerness to move faster. "Mura-buchou says it's like cross-dressing, but different. Because Niou-senpai isn't a girl, obviously. Yanagi-senpai said it's more like an alter ego, or not-really-because-obviously-it-isn't-nearly-as-serious-DID, whatever that is. I don't really care."
"DID is Disassociative Identity Disorder," Oshitari said faintly, mouth working on autopilot. "It's the correct name for multiple perso-"
"I said I don't really care, didn't I?" Akaya sprung off towards the main group, passing Yagyuu and completely ignoring him.
Gakuto snorted. "Rude kid," he said disdainfully. "See, now, this is why I didn't want to come, Yuushi! The whole of Rikkai's completely insane. Remember? Remember?"
"Does it work vice-versa?" Oshitari asked.
Gakuto looked confused. "What?"
"I was talking to Ohtori-kun, Gakuto. Does it work vice-versa? With Niou-kun, I mean."
"Yuushi, don't tell me you're actually interested? Did you not hear me when I said they're all insane?!"
"I think so," said Choutarou over Gakuto's incredulity. "I mean, I've never actually seen it, but... Well, 'Haru-san's a good mimic, so I wouldn't be surprised."
"Hmm." Oshitari looked thoughtful – the bewilderment had disappeared completely. "I suppose possibly it's more of a persona for Yagyuu, and just a simple mimicry for Niou… How interesting."
"Yuushi, you've dropped you 'kun's," Gakuto sighed, giving up on trying to persuade Hyoutei's tensai.
"Oh, did I? Thank you. I meant, of course, Yagyuu-kun and Niou-kun. Come on now, let's try and catch up."
"Hey Akaya, guess what I found?" said Marui. The beam on his face suggested that whatever he'd found would make Akaya very happy indeed.
"Does it have a trunk?" Sanada asked dryly.
"An elephant! You found an elephant? A real one? Really?"
Marui's beam grew wider. "Yep! And the handler guy said you can feed him if you like."
There isn't a phrase in existence to describe the look that lit up Akaya's face. Suffice to say that even Sanada didn't protest too much when Marui and Akaya scampered off on their own in the direction of the larger caravans and animal transporters, a curious Jirou following energetically after (though he was probably more interested in a certain pink-haired hero of his rather than the elephant).
"I take it someone likes animals?" said Atobe, amused.
"Strangely, no," said Yanagi. "He utterly adores a select few species of animal, and the rest he wishes into eternal hellfire."
"He's such a sweet boy," Yukimura said. Everyone glanced surreptitiously at him out of the corner of their eyes to see if he was joking, even the Rikkai team.
"He isn't joking," sighed Sanada, correctly interpreting the looks. "It's a mystery to us all."
"It's not a mystery," Yukimura corrected, "Aka-chan is a sweet boy. Did you see the look on his face when Bunta said that he'd found an elephant?"
"But… eternal hellfire? Hello?"
"Oh, come now, none of you can say that you've never wished an animal into eternal hellfire. Well, perhaps not you, Ohtori-kun."
"Actually, there was this time when I was seven and a hamster ate my teddy…" Choutarou said sheepishly, one hand coming up to rub at the back of his head.
"There you go, then."
"But that's hardly millions of species," Gakuto protested.
"Give it up," Yanagi advised as they headed inside the Big Top. "We've been trying and failing to convince him for over three years."
Gakuto was the first to notice the tiny but incredibly worrying calculating gleam in Oshitari's eyes as an hour passed (far too quickly for Akaya, and far too slowly for the unfortunate Jackal who'd been assigned Akaya-duty). He almost warned Atobe, but then decided that if Atobe was going to force him to come to this (yes, alright, Gakuto had enjoyed watching the acrobats practising. But that was it. Oh, and the free candy floss had been nice. But that was… oh, wait, the trapeze had been incredible fun…), then he could damn well suffer for it.
"Honestly," Atobe was saying loftily as Akaya yelled like a tiny child over the antics of the elephant, "Jirou might get overexcited sometimes, but at least he can control himself. Kirihara doesn't even make the effort."
"Why should he?" Marui snorted affectionately. "Let him be a child if he likes, I say. Come on Atobe, don't you find him even a little bit cute?"
Atobe gave him the kind of 'I won't dignify that with an answer' look that only Oshitari could match. On a good day. It was undermined a little though when Oshitari demonstrated this fact by mimicking him silently.
"I'm not in the habit of finding other people's boyfriends 'cute'," Atobe sniffed instead.
Raising his eyebrows, Marui said, "What, even the really cute ones?"
"Are you terminally stupid?" Gakuto wondered out loud. "That's not the point!"
"Well, I find Akutagawa kind of cute when he's not being crazy," said Marui. Then he added, "So, actually, just when he's sleeping around me… But anyway, you should find Akaya at least slightly cute just on principle."
"Some people aren't completely comfortable with this conversation," said Yagyuu from the sidelines.
"Oh, go marry a carpet," Marui snorted, waving his hand dismissively.
"The conversation stops until I'm not in earshot, please," said Yagyuu politely. "Otherwise Akutagawa-kun might find out that you think him cute."
"… I said kind of!! You're cruel. You're a blackmailing cruel thing. Don't you dare tell him, Yagyuu, or I swear to fukubuchou's ancestors I'll, I'll… Ah ha, I'll tell 'Haru that you, um…" Marui deflated. "Ok, fine, the conversation stops…"
"Thank you," Sanada muttered. "And leave my ancestors out of anything, please."
"Why not your own ancestors?" Yanagi asked.
"Duh. Fukubuchou's ancestors have the Voom."
"The what-now?" said Sanada.
"The Voom! You know, the Voom. The Phnah, the Whoomph, the Wrath, the Runathousandlapsordietrying."
"Oh, that Voom."
Oshitari looked absolutely, perfectly, untouchably casual as he leant against the wall of the tent next to Yanagi, who was taking a break from the group to observe them quietly from a small distance.
"I was just thinking," he said, voice absolutely perfectly untouchably casual. Gakuto would have hidden if he'd seen or heard. "You must know an awful lot about your team, am I correct?"
Yanagi glanced sideways at the absolutely perfectly untouchably casual tensai beside him. Not that you could tell. "I'm assuming you mean those of us here today rather than the general tennis club team? I would say I do. But really, that's no big deal; we're all fairly tight-knit, even Niou."
"But you must know more than, say, perhaps, a couple of them?" Oshitari persisted.
"I would say that Mura and I know them inside out, yes." Silently, Yanagi wondered just where Oshitari was going with this. It probably wasn't good; Oshitari was a Tensai. Not to be confused with a genius like Yukimura, who might have tensai abilities, but not actual Tensainess. It was the capital letter that made all the difference.
"Mm, I thought so. I wondered: Could you give me some information about Niou Masaharu?"
The request took Yanagi by surprise. "I'm sorry?"
"Could I have some of your more obscure information on Niou Masaharu?"
Yanagi frowned. "Why on earth would you want that?"
Reluctantly, Oshitari stopped being absolutely perfectly untouchably casual. "Well, truthfully, I have a little bet on with Seigaku's Fuji."
"A bet? What kind of a bet?"
"I bet him that I could find out more about Rikkai Daigaku's Niou-kun than he could about Fudoumine's Ibu-kun. And I'd really rather not lose." Oshitari might have dropped the casual, but he still had a poker face on.
Luckily, Yanagi had plenty of data concerning both the Tensai mentality and Fuji Syuusuke. "I see. I take it the forfeit for losing is somewhat… unusual?"
"You could say that."
"And I take it that if I don't help you out then I might find life a little trickier than I otherwise would?"
"You could say that too, if you like. Though it would be purely coincidence."
"Of course." Yanagi took a moment to review his options. On the one hand, he had Niou. Who in turn had Marui and Akaya. Who had Yukimura. On the other, he had a Tensai.
"I'd be happy to help," said Yanagi, fishing out a notebook from that alternate dimension that Marui had been trying to find the portal to for so long. "I'll have a selection of information for you by the end of out little day trip."
"That would be most kind." The object of the Gleam satisfied, Oshitari went to rejoin the group and mollify Gakuto's temper. Really, it was just cruel of Yagyuu/Niou to bait him that way.
"Did you have a good time, then?" Yukimura asked with a smile.
Nodding fervently, Akaya said, "Please can we go again? Please? I was good, wasn't I?"
"You were very good, Aka-chan." Yukimura gave him a pat on his curly head. "We can go and see the show itself when it's on, if 'Haru is willing to come."
"Aww, why does Niou-senpai have to come?"
"Because I'm not having you walk home alone after ten. I don't care if you're fourteen, Akaya, it's not happening. Besides, I think it'd be good for 'Haru."
"But he'll never come!" Akaya complained, pouting.
Marui slung his arm around Akaya's shoulders comfortably. "Don't worry," he said reassuringly, "I'll make him."
"He won't listen."
"Oh, he will. He owes me anyway."
Yanagi's and Oshitari's ears virtually pricked. "Really? What for?" the Hyoutei boy asked.
"For putting up with him as a best friend, duh." Marui winked and flashed his V sign. "You can help me out too, Ohtori."
"All in all," Sanada said reflectively, "it was a reasonably stress-free day."
"You see? It's only stressful when you make it so, Genichiroh," said Yukimura contentedly. "I for one had a wonderful time."
"As did we," Atobe said, speaking for his whole team and completely ignoring the death glower from Gakuto. "It would be a pleasure to do something like this again. Inter-school relationship building and so on. I hear-"
"- that there's a special aquarium opening next month in Chiba. Perhaps that would be-"
"Um, Atobe? Forgive me, but…" Yukimura nodded uncertainly behind them at the body on the ground, snuffling blissfully.
"Usu." The now-third year stooped to pick up Jirou and carry him in a fireman's lift over one shoulder.
"You know, I haven't heard him say that all day," Marui whispered to Akaya. "I was starting to think his voicebox had rusted into little piles of metal like a motorbike."
"Anyway, where was I…? Oh, yes. The aquarium should be reachable by bus, so…" Atobe continued as though nothing had happened.
He and Yukimura discussed the likelihood of possible dates, times and schedules the rest of the way to the end of the circus camp where the two teams parted ways.
"Thank you for your company," Yukimura said formally as they said their mutual goodbyes. "We'll definitely think about that aquarium."
"Do. We'll see you in the Nationals, eh? Well, most of you."
"Ah, yes…" Yukimura made a small bow, then Rikkai and Hyoutei parted ways.
Once out of earshot, Marui burst out, "Dear lord, they're crazy! Did you see Akutagawa following me and talking at me non-stop about lord-knows-what-possibly-teapots? And just now, when we were leaving!"
"I know," Jackal chipped in. "You'd have thought Atobe would show some concern for his boyfriend collapsing like that, no matter how many times it happens."
"I have to say, Oshitari is definitely a little on the unbalanced side," Yanagi agreed.
"Yeah, pft, a little! And that Wakashi kid's just weird. Muttering 'Gekokujou' at random intervals… What does he even mean by that? It's a circus, not a freaking war zone."
Akaya was too tired to talk properly having exhausted all his energy being Akaya At a Circus (he was only currently able to walk thanks to a temporary lack of gravity in the area), but he managed to say, "… Flippy… ate Jackal's… not fair… bald…"
"I know!" Marui nodded.
"I think we're all in some form of agreement," said Yagyuu.
"… and that drawing was just ridiculous. And that was without Niou! How the hell does Yukimura cope?"
"Well, they do call him the greatest captain Rikkai has ever known," said Hiyoshi.
Gakuto snickered. "Most effeminate too, I wouldn't be surprised."
"Now Gakuto, be nice. It's a mark of his abilities that he hasn't been driven insane by now." Oshitari wasn't watching where he was walking – he was engrossed in an odd little green notepad that none of the Hyoutei team had seen before, but dared not ask about. Oshitari could be odd about his possessions.
"Exactly," Atobe nodded sternly. "Ore-sama has a healthy respect for him, so no more of that kind of talk, aahn?"
"Still," Gakuto muttered. "What do you think, Choutarou?"
"Oh, um, me? Well, I guess I'm a little more used to them," the silver-haired boy said sheepishly. "But yes, they are a little… eccentric?"
"You're telling me. Circus, indeed… That was Cirque du Rikkai right there."
That made Atobe smirk just a little. "Indeed. I think we're all in agreement there."
Sandy: Argh. Madly shifting viewpoint, anyone? Hot damn, but I forgot how hard it is to do sarcastic snark without either Niou or Shishido. Poor Gakuto ended up with their shares of the ss. –Throws him a carrot- There, there. I'll make you the good guy next time.
I really hope you guys liked… It's pretty short for the type of fic that it is, because otherwise it would have exploded into another Operation: Christmas Party, which I didn't want, so… yeah… n.n;; Hope no-one minded the incredible lack of stuff that I could have put in here.
Please, please leave me a review saying what you thought? Constructive criticism and suggestions are adored, of course :D As are questions, random thoughts, blind love, scorn for the title (xD), protests about the lack of Atobe/Hiyoshi/Kabaji, etc.
Here is my mini-essay reply to KiriharaAkaya. xD Read it and weep, woman.
And after this, no more! You'll have to wait until an actual flame comes along. x3
The 'Flame': 'Why hello my idiot little author. You here are living proof that people who have had their brains run through a paper-shredder should not be allowed within a fifty-mile radius of a pencil, pen, paper, a computer, or white-out and permanent markers for that matter.'
Aren't I nice? Yup, thought so.
P.S. YAGYUU'S NOT STRAIGHT! XP Which is a flame enough in itself.
The reply: I'm not sure I'm with you on the last bit, but fair enough… Because really, he IS straight. But that's another matter altogether, anyway.
I find it amusing that I can be called an idiot by someone who fails to use absolutely one hundred and ten percent correct punctuation and grammar.
… I can't argue the "little", though. ;-;
But nonetheless, I object to the rest of it. Except the "-KA", which I feel is correct and unobjectionable.
The real issue here, however, is your highly prejudiced view on people who are victims of last year's Plague of the Brain-Eating Paper-Shredders. Perhaps your dog ignored you as a child, or perhaps it is simply that you have a cracker for a mind, but I cannot accept that as an excuse for taking out your own personal issues on such people as I. Are we monsters because of our shredded brains? No; we are victims. We could blame the Government (everyone else does), but in reality, it is no-one's fault but George Bush's.
Our shredded brains may, yes, occasionally cause us to commit unspeakable acts of violence with pencils, pens, paper, computers and the other items you listed, but does that mean that we should be restricted? Are we any more dangerous than the average Joe drinking coffee and playing with a gun? The answer is again, my dear, no.
On my ending note, I would like to point out that you tripped yourself over completely by the second sentence of your flame – "living proof" were your exact words.
WELL, I'M NOT LIVING PROOF, THANKS TO THE PLAGUE OF THE BRAIN-EATING PAPER-SHREDDERS. I HOPE YOU'RE HAPPY.
Until next time!