Negotiations

By: SilvorMoon

Chosaku and Shoji Manjoume were having a bit of a problem. Actually, it was more than one problem, but the full scope of the issue had yet to go to press, and they were working as hard as they could to keep it that way. The fact of the matter was that Shoji had take an few liberties with some of his banks' assets in the name of economic stimulation, and some unenlightened person had noticed his unique financial practices and had decided to report them to the authorities. And while Shoji might have had enough business acumen to persuade everyone that what he was doing was perfectly legal, and probably could have gotten the whole mess to blow over in a few weeks with his reputation not much the worse for wear, the problem was that the interest in his life had spurred an interest in Chosaku's life as well. It probably wasn't going to be long before someone figured out what he had been doing lately with some of the attractive young interns in his office, and there was nothing the media loved more than a good sex scandal. If the brothers didn't find a way to shift attention away from them and soon, they were going to find themselves facing some serious public relations issues.

What made things all the more aggravating was that the youngest member of their family had thus far been completely immune to any sort of damage to his reputation. He had maintained a flawless public front, and if there was anything going on in his private life, he was very good at keeping it private. All the world knew him as a first-class duelist (it still rankled that he was succeeding wildly using a deck full of Ojamas) and that was as far as public attention went.

Which, Shoji mused, as he mulled over the morning paper, might come in handy.

"I hate to say it," he remarked to his brother, "but we might have to ask Jun's help on this one."

"No. Absolutely not," said Chosaku. "I don't care what they print about me - I'm not asking him for help!"

"Then we won't ask him, we'll order him. It can't be that hard," said Shoji. "Tell him if he doesn't cooperate, we'll drag him down with us. I can move a few figures around to make it look like he was involved if I have to, but just being connected by the name should be enough to spoil his reputation."

"What could he do to help?" said Chosaku suspiciously.

"Smooth things over. Go to bat for us. I hate to admit it, but he has more charisma than the two of us put together. People listen to him. You've seen him on TV - people raise the roof for him even when he loses."

Chosaku stroked his beard thoughtfully. "Well, you're right about that. I suppose it couldn't hurt... All right, I'll give him a call and see if I can twist his arm."

Suiting action to words, he went for the videophone and punched in his brother's number. He had to look it up - the two of them hadn't spoken to each other in any sort of social manner since the day he had stopped them from buying Duel Academia. He hoped he still had all his contact information correct.

The phone rang... and rang... and rang. Chosaku was just beginning to think he had the wrong number after all, when the screen lit up showing, not his brother, but an astonishingly curvaceous young woman in a skimpy negeligee.

"Good evening," she said in businesslike tones. "Mr. Manjoume can't come to the phone right now - I'm afraid he's a bit tied up at the moment. Would you care to leave a message?"

"No," Chosaku snapped. "You tell him to get over here right now, or else. Tell him it's Chosaku."

Her pretty face twisted slightly into an expression of faint distaste.

"Oh, it's you," she said. "All right, I'll tell him."

She disappeared out of sight, but not out of earshot. Chosaku could faintly hear voices drifting back to him.

"Jun," said the woman, "it's your brother. Do you want me to untie you so you can talk to him?"

"No," Jun's voice snapped. "No way am I getting out of bed and getting dressed just for him. Tell him to go screw himself."

"That's what I thought you'd say."

The woman reappeared on the screen.

"I'm sorry," she said. "Mr. Manjoume sends his regrets that he's unable to speak to you at the moment. Perhaps it would be best if you tried again another time."

Chosaku snarled. "You tell him to get in here right now and listen to me or so help me I am going to make him very sorry."

"Fine, be that way," she said with a shrug. She disappeared offscreen again.

"He's not going away," she could faintly be heard to say. "Should I hang up on him?"

"Nah, he'll just call back... I'll deal with him."

There was a long pause and a few inaudible words, and then Jun himself appeared, looking slightly ruffled and wrapped in a bathrobe. He scowled at his brother.

"This had better be good," he said. "I'll have you know I'm a very busy man."

"Obviously," said Chosaku dryly. "I'll get right to the point, then. Shoji and I need you to talk to the media for us and convince them that we're innocent."

"Of what?"

"Everything. Whatever they can think of."

"No," said Manjoume. "Nothing doing. I was finished with you two clowns a long time ago. As far as I'm concerned, you were never my brothers and I've got nothing to do with you. Whatever mess you've gotten yourselves into, you can get yourselves out of it again."

"I wouldn't say that if I were you," Chosaku cautioned, grinning.

Jun raised an eyebrow. "Oh? And why would that be?"

"Because," said Chosaku, grinning more widely, "I've been recording this call, including the video. If you don't cooperate, I'll make sure someone finds the most relevant bits turns them over to the media, and everyone will know what kind of kinky hijinks you've been getting into with that blonde bombshell of yours. You can forget all about your sterling reputation then."

Manjoume began to laugh long and loudly. "Is that so? I'd like to see that! Just go ahead and try it! It would really make my day."

"Fine," said Chosaku. "Don't say I didn't warn you."

He hung up. Jun just snickered quietly and returned to his bedroom.

"What's so funny?" Asuka asked him. "You aren't usually smiling after you talk to your brothers."

"He says he's going to make waves in the media," he replied, "by letting everyone know we've been having sex. Hope it's a slow news day."

Asuka began to laugh, too. "I'm glad we never let them know we got married. Do you think they'll figure it out before or after they go to the press?"

"Knowing them? I'm thinking after," said her husband. He slid a little closer to her. "So, what do you say we give them something to talk about?"

She smiled. "I think that's an excellent idea."

The End