Disclaimer: Positively not mine.
A/N: Request fic for grandlarseny, who asked for Yuugi Mutou and the prompt 'a turned-on character'.
A Terrible Fate at the Summer Fete
© Scribbler, September 2008.
"Man, this bites." Jounouchi lounged against the wall doing his best impression of a disenchanted youth. He was pretty good at it by now. He had, after all, had years of practise in getting just the right angle of slouch, just the right amount of pursed lips in his pout, and had spent more hours than he would ever admit peering into a mirror positioning his hair so he had the perfect fringe through which to glare at the world.
He even had different gradients of slouch. This slouch, for example, was the one he reserved for when Anzu kept them waiting outside clothes shops, and was completely different than the one he used when waiting for Honda outside detention, or the special one he used to drive away anyone who might give him trouble when his dad locked him out of the apartment late at night.
"It's not so bad," Yuugi offered, trying, as ever, to placate his friends and keep the peace.
"Uh, Yuugi? Yes it is."
"We did say we'd help -"
"Yeah, but that was when I thought we'd just have to run a stall or something, not all this lifting and carrying with nothing but a bunch of bossy girls yelling at us all the time." Jounouchi removed one hand from his pocket enough to mimic a mouth with it. "'But that's all that hoodlums like you are good for, isn't it? Tee hee hee hee.' Anzu's gone too far this time. She should've warned us we were the only guys stupid enough to sign up for this. It's embarrassing."
Yuugi sighed audibly, unable to disagree that they were the only boys around, and had been all week – and while being surrounded by girls sounded like a good thing on paper, it didn't factor in the fact that working together on a big project turns a pack of girls into domineering, officious, workaholic maniacs. It gave Jounouchi no pleasure to hear that even Yuugi thought he was right.
They'd offered to contribute to the Summer Fete because it was a fun time of year when everyone was trying to distract themselves from exams with other school stuff, and they were no exception. The choir had never had so many members, the number of musicians taking lessons had doubled, and the sports teams were swelling with so many wannabe athletes trying their hand at track, field and archery. Now Jounouchi wished he'd followed his gut instinct and gone for javelin instead. At least then, even if he sucked, he could hit Mr. Ishida in the butt and claim the sun had got in his eyes.
Instead, when Anzu mentioned to Yuugi that she'd signed up to the Summer Fete Organisation Committee, the rest of them had just fallen into step behind her – Yuugi because his crush had grown exponentially in the time since they got back from Egypt, and he genuinely couldn't pass up a chance to spend time with Anzu. Honda, Jounouchi and Otogi were taking bets on how long it would be before the little guy finally broke and fessed up to her how he felt, though Jounouchi also wanted to run a mini ring on how clueless Anzu actually was about the whole thing. He wondered whether she was actually as oblivious as she seemed, since Yuugi couldn't be secretive to save his life. So concerned were they with their odds on these things, Jounouchi and Honda followed Yuugi's lead into the Fete because it was easier than chasing up other options and gave them a chance to observe their investments.
"Rather you than me, guys," Otogi had said, excusing himself from extra-curricular activities because of prior responsibilities with his company. Jounouchi had wondered at the time what he meant, and now was convinced Otogi was in on the big secret of what turned rational girls into Scary Organised People.
"They just want to do a good job," Ryou had said after the first day.
"That's easy for you to say," Honda had groaned into his desk. "You're all safe and warm in the kitchens preparing food for this thing. Why couldn't we have done that?"
"Because you didn't sign the list for that -"
"We know. We know."
Curse him and his laziness, Jounouchi thought as they stood in their overalls and waited for Anzu to arrive with today's schedule. For three days straight now, she'd collared them after school and herded them into the quad to help – 'help' meaning anything from painting boards to lugging heavy trays of cola cans, shifting pieces of a cotton candy machine, and heaving bags full of old wood chippings through the school, down the path and out to the truck from the recycling centre. Jounouchi's arms ached, his shoulders throbbed, and he was in no hurry to find out what Anzu had planned for them today.
"Hey, guys, have you noticed?" Honda murmured, looking around at the other Committee members and their helpers. There wasn't one boy among them.
"Yeah, we're alone in the land of hormone imbalances again," Jounouchi griped.
"Not that. I mean, have you noticed what the ones from our class are wea-"
"This wouldn't be as bad if Anzu hadn't been put in charge of us," Jounouchi interrupted, too wedded to his gripe to listen to what Honda was saying. "She's only working us so hard because she wants to look good in front of those other girls on the Committee."
Yuugi frowned. "Anzu doesn't even like those girls."
"Never mind." Honda shook his head, rubbing his shin where he'd dropped a crate of crisp fresh apples yesterday. They'd been intended for the apple bobbing and toffee apple stalls, and he'd been forced to chase them as they rolled away in all directions, before blushing like crazy and handing them to the very pretty girl in charge of concessions.
Yuugi looked between him and Jounouchi. "I don't get it."
"What's to get? Girls love each other and hate each other at the same time. Why else do you think they hug all the time? So they can get a better angle to stick the knife in, of course." Jounouchi spoke with authority. "And Anzu's a girl. She had the oestrogen and the boobs and the … well, everything she needs to act crazy when she's around other girls. Just look at how she is whenever Rebecca's around, or that Vivian chick – and both of those gals are doinky." He didn't add that Anzu was at her worst when Rebecca or Vivian were around Yuugi. He didn't want to ruin the odds in his mini ring by letting out vital information that could affect the stats.
"Doinky?" Yuugi echoed, completely nonplussed.
Jounouchi was about to impart more pearls of wisdom when the subject of their conversation rounded the corner with the rest of her new posse in tow. Three other girls trailed behind Anzu like leaves in the wake of a juggernaut, listening and nodding as she spoke and waved her hands about animatedly. She was pointing at the stalls on the far side of the quad. One of the girls peeled away and went towards them with an air of purpose.
Jounouchi stared at the remaining girls' approach. "What," he said when they stopped, "are you wearing?" The phenomenon that Honda had already observed finally hit him. "Didn't you get changed after class?"
"It seemed better to stay in our PE kit, since we're going to be getting all sweaty anyway with all the hard work we still have left to do today," Anzu replied.
Both Jounouchi and Honda groaned. Not even seeing the girls in petite shorts and tucked-in aertex tee-shirts was enough to detract from the terrible words 'hard work'. If even Anzu was calling it that, it could only mean hard work for the girls, unpaid slave labour for them.
Anzu mistook the reason for their groans. "You could've stayed in your kit too, if you'd thought of it."
"You told us we had to wear these stupid overalls." Jounouchi plucked at the paint-spattered janitor's cast-off. "Remember?"
"I guess it'd be better for you to have your legs covered, since you're working with unvarnished wood planks today. You're going to help repair one of the stalls that collapsed. Be sure to wear your gloves, or you'll be all full of splinters."
"This so bites," Jounouchi said again, slouching against the wall so much he nearly fell over.
"Hey, you volunteered to help out," Anzu pointed out, a hint of steel in her voice.
"That was before I realised you're such a mini Hitler when you get power."
She opened her mouth, clearly about to reprimand him, but she turned at the sound of someone shouting her name.
"Anzuuuuuu!" yelled the girl who'd gone to check on the far stalls. "We have a proooooobleeeeem!"
"What kind of a problem?" Anzu called back.
"The kind where Miki counted out twenty mice for the Count-The-Mice-And-Win-A-Prize Contest, and now she says she has only sixteen."
"Oh for …" Anzu shot Jounouchi a look that said 'you still have work to do, but you can wait here for now, and don't think this is over' better than words.
"Yeah, yeah," he grumbled.
She jogged over to the crisis to deal with it like any good Organised Person should. Even if he disliked her methods and her habit of using her friends as cheap labour, Jounouchi had to admit that when Anzu was in charge she got things done, and that she wasn't afraid of wading in to take care of things with her own two hands instead of delegating everything.
Nope, she just delegates the jobs she doesn't like, he thought. To us. He sighed and turned to remark on their reprieve to Honda and Yuugi, but was surprised when Yuugi dashed past him and bolted towards the main school building.
"'Scusemegottago," he blurted, speaking so fast his words blended together and it took a moment for Jounouchi to figure out what he'd said.
"Huh?" Jounouchi scratched his head. "What was all that about? Where the heck's he running off to when we should be savouring the rest before Anzu gets her claws back into us?"
Honda stifled a laugh.
"For someone who claims to know so much about girls," Honda sniggered, "you sure are clueless about the effects they have when they run around looking like that – especially on a guy who already has a major crush on the girl inside the PE briefs and sports bra."
Jounouchi blinked. Then, to his eternal chagrin, he blushed – though he would forever claim it was on Yuugi's behalf and not out of embarrassment. No guy wanted to have a problem like that when there was a quad full of girls between him and a nice quiet bathroom.
"Poor guy," he mumbled.
Wanting to recapture his previous, unembarrassed mood, he readopted his disenchanted youth slouch with such vigour that when Anzu returned, nonplussed at Honda's sniggering, the first thing she said after "Where did Yuugi go?" and "Fine, don't tell me then!" was "Jounouchi, have you had a stroke?"