"English"

/Japanese\

Cave of Evil

Piro walked through the crowd with Ping, too lost in his thoughts to notice anything around him. How much more pathetic could he get? How hard would it have been to say something like "hi, its Piro, call me when you have time"? And what had he done instead? Stood there like a lemon and said nothing before hanging up. He was such an idiot.

/Isn't this great Piro-kun!\ cried Ping, clinging almost painfully to his arm.

/Un,\ Piro grunted, not really paying attention. Then someone whispered in his ear, "I take it your little phone-call didn't go so well" making him jump with a startled cry

/Miho-Chan!\ exclaimed Ping happily. /This place feels so much more alive when it's full of people! \

/Doesn't it? \ Miho said, smiling.

"H-how did…" Piro stuttered, ignoring the small exchange.

Miho looked at him and shook her head "Oh Piro, Piro, Piro. Look at how Ping is clinging to you. It's pretty obvious that she's switched to rejection recovery mode."

"Rejection…what?" Piro asked blankly. Then he shook his head in denial, "But I--"

Miho interrupted, cocking her head at Piro "You don't know anything about Ping do you?" she said musingly. Then shook her head again, explaining. "E.D.S. units are programmed to help their end users lose their fear of rejection by easing the pain of it when it happens. The idea is that over time it becomes easier to work up the courage to ask girls out, since your E.D.S. unit will take care of you if things don't go well."

"B…but I didn't…" Piro stuttered, then got distracted by Ping saying in squeaky Japanese /Uwahh…I wish I had an English module! \ So he didn't quite hear what Miho said next. He thought she said something about Largo and easing pain. It suddenly occurred to Piro that if Miho spent any time alone with Largo she would probably come off worse for it. He was about to tell her so when some guy Piro had never seen before came over and said/Hay, Tohya, that guy you told us to keep an eye out for is here. He looks tanked. \ He was obviously addressing Miho, so Piro was inclined to ignore him. Just then Miho turned and said "Hello, Largo. Feeling any better?"

Piro looked around, startled. Largo was here? Then Piro caught sight of him. "L-L-Largo?" he said in disbelief. Largo stood before him, in a half slouch, his eyes squinted and an empty beer can somehow stuck in his hair. He reeked of alcohol and was obviously a lot more drunk than usual. "What are you…did you follow me here?"

Largo ignored the question and lurched forward, grabbing Piros' arm "We're going. Now"

What?" Piro exclaimed, shaking Largo off "No! I came here to do something!"

"Like what, die?" Largo snapped "Ya stupid idiot. Lesss go."

"No!" he was not going to miss the show, no matter how drunk Largo was.

/Piro-san? \ Miho said quietly, interrupting their argument. /You need to hurry or you'll miss Mumu's show. Kenji says he'll take you up to his office and get you set up. \ Piro nodded, then hesitantly glanced at Largo. Miho stepped between the two of them / I'll keep an eye on Largo 'till you get back\

Piro nodded and with a final glare at Largo he and Ping followed the man Miho indicated. He heard Largo shout after him but ignored him – he had come to hear Nanasawa-san on Mumu's show and he was determined he wasn't going to leave until he had done so, after all it was the only way he could offer any support to Nanasawa-san. Why hadn't he just left a message?

Piro suddenly became aware that Ping was talking with their guide.

/So, you think Miho-Chan is doing ok? \ She asked nervously.

Kenji smiled /Oh yeah. I haven't seen her this playful in ages, if ever. It's nice to see her making friends rather than driving people off in terror, \ he added with a small laugh. /She's a real trip sometimes. Almost lost her a few years ago. We worry a lot about her round here. She's a good girl. \

Piro glanced back over his shoulder. He hoped Largo wouldn't do anything stupid and hurt Miho, but knowing Largo something was bound to happen that would set him off and – drunk as he was – someone was likely to get hurt and he could almost guarantee that it would not be Largo.

/Here it is, \ Kenji said with a smile. The office was small, its furnishings included only a few chairs and a desk, and most of the desk was taken by a large radio system. /I'll get it set up for you. \

Piro nodded absently turning his mind back to Nanasawa-san. Would she get the 'messages' he had left? and if she did then what would she think of him? Probably that he was some kind of sad otaku looser. Which on reflection was exactly what he was. He hoped he hadn't messed anything up for her, calling her like that. Knowing him he probably had. /When it's done, come find me and we'll burn some CD's from the D.A.T. tape. \ Kenji said, interrupting Piro's thoughts.

/Ok. \ Piro said with an attempt at a smile. It didn't come out very well. What would she think of him? His stomach was doing back flips just thinking about it.

/Have fun. \ Kenji gave them a small smile and was out the door.

The radio was saying something about a sponsor that Piro couldn't be bothered to translate properly in his head. He waited patiently for the show to start, then a women's cheerful voice started. /Hihihi--! Mumu-Chan here! Welcome to Mumu-chans voicevoice paradise!! Ja jaaan! Today we have a little bit of old and a little bit of new! \

A mans voice chimed in with mock-indignation. /Old? \

/Yes Shigeo-san! Old! Old old old! \ The women said happily

/Uwah! Your going to make me cry Mumu-san\

/Nono, don't cry!! We still love you! How could we not? \ Came the reply in mock concern, then it became more business-like. /Chiba-san is a veteran voice actor with countless rolls that I'm too lazy to list. You've been around forever! \

/But I'm not old. \

/Yes you are! You aren't young and cute like our next guest. \

Piro listened to the banter and started asking /Ping…do you think that—hey! \ He looked up as the radio quieted and stopped. Ping was standing there her hand on the volume switch. /What'd you turn the stereo down for?? Nanasawa was just--\

/Piro-kun…\ Ping said gently/I don't think you should listen to the show. \ Piro stared at her as she approached and knelt down in front of him. Piro eyed her warily.

/Uh…Ping? What are you doing? \ He asked, not sure whether he really wanted to know.

/Let her go, Piro-kun. I don't want to see you get hurt! \ Ping cried leaning forward and taking Piros' arms in her hands.

/Whu…what the heck are you talking about?? \ Piro demanded, trying to pull away. Hurt? By what? And why shouldn't he listen to the show? That was what they had come for, what was Ping doing?

/There will be other girls, Piro-kun. \ Ping said soothingly. /Girls who understand you, girls who want to play with you. For now…play with me? \ She leaned forward more and Piro leaned further back. Play with her? Wasn't that what he was doing on a date with her/I'm not real. I can't hurt you. You don't have to be afraid of me, Piro. \ Ping said gently, trying to lean closer.

/What the…! G…get off of me! \ He stood, pushing Ping away, and she fell to the floor. /What the heck are you doing?? \

/B…but Piro-kun! \ Ping exclaimed, tears coming to her eyes. /She rejected you! She--\

/She didn't reject me! I never talked to her! \ Piro was angry, not with Ping, but himself. However it was Ping he was talking to, and so that was where his anger was directed. /All I ever got was her voice mail, and when I did, I didn't even leave a message. It took me hours to work up the guts to dial her number. Then I couldn't even leave a stupid message! \ Piro took a deep breath – this wasn't Pings fault, she was just following her programming. He looked down at her. /I rejected myself, Ping. \ Piro told her, then he looked away and said softly. /You can't help me with that. \

Ping stared at him for a moment. /I…I'm sorry Piro-kun. I…I thought--\

Piro sighed. She was following her programming; she couldn't do more than that. /I know Ping, its ok. \ He walked over to the radio to turn the volume back up. He had his hand on the switch and was just starting to turn it when he faintly heard someone shout his name. It sounded like Largo. With a groan Piro turned away from the radio. /Come on Ping, \ he said in resignation /lets go see who Largos trying to kill now\

/You think someone is being killed? \ Ping asked with a horrified squeal.

Piro sighed /No Ping, its an exaggeration – Largos probably too drunk to see strait and is more likely to hurt himself than someone else. We'd better go see what's wrong with him. \

When they came back to the main room Piro headed straight for the bar and immediately court sight of Largo through the crowd, trying to walk away from Miho who was in turn trying to hold him back by his shirt. She turned him around and started to say something to him but Piro was too far away to hear her. As he began to walk forward Largo tried to pull free of Miho but she just tightened her grip, and placed his hand on her chest. Piro came within earshot in time to hear her say; "Surprised, Largo? Surprised that I'm warmer than you are?"

Furious, Piro pushed Miho aside and grabbed Largos' arm to try to keep him from falling /How dare you, \ he snarled at her, all his anger and frustration over his 'messages' on Nanasawa-sans phone and missing her show coming to a boil. /Messing with him like that when he's so drunk he can't even stand? What the heck is wrong with you? \ He didn't give her a chance to answer, he couldn't, now that he had started to let his anger out again he couldn't seem to stop it. And besides, she wasn't some innocent bystander like Ping - she was really messing with Largo. So he kept going. /I was worried that Largo was gonna do something stupid and you might get hurt. But what do I find? You pawing him up and playing some kind of sick, trampy mind game on him? Do you have any idea what he's been through today? Do you even know why he tried to drink himself senseless? Do you even care? \ Miho didn't answer /I didn't think so. \ She looked so shocked, and so upset that he almost felt guilty. She had invited him to this place so he could hear Nanasawa-san on the radio, she hadn't planned this - she couldn't have known that Largo would follow him down here. So initially at least she had been trying to be friendly, to help…but Piro couldn't take back what he'd said now - what was done was done. All he could do now was get Largo home and hope he passed out before someone really got hurt.

Piro heaved Largo's arm over his shoulders and almost fell under the weight of his friend. "Come on, Largo." He grunted, "Lets go."

Largo was leaning on him heavily. He began to speak as they reached the stairs and Piro strained to hear him over the music. "Sh'goh meh Piruh… sh'goh meh. Ahm duhhn furr…she'goh meh Piruh…"

Piro listened as Largo said the same thing over and over again and found his guilt evaporating rapidly. Miho had deserved every word of that tongue-lashing he'd given her. If he had realised Largo was actually drunk enough to slur his voice it would have been worse. What the heck had happened between him and Hayasaka? Not that it really mattered right now. He did wish he'd gotten to hear at least a little of Nanasawa-sans radio show though, between Largo and Ping he'd missed the whole thing. Maybe she wouldn't mind too much that he'd missed it. Maybe she hadn't even gotten his 'messages' and he would have time to leave a proper one before the show finished.

Maybe…

AN / this is my first story on fanfiction, so please be nice. If you hate then please tell me why so I can improve my future stories.