A/N: I try not to do to many author's notes, I swear. It's just they end up appearing...anyway. First fanfic in a while, the others are on hiatus. Not discontinued, not taken down, I just have to find my Muses again. In any event, I will post the next few chapters based off reader's feedback. So the more reviews, the happier I am. And, without further ado, my newest fanfic. Please, enjoy.
"Tell me, do you love him that much?"
For a moment, Kyouko didn't respond, too shocked to react, or even hear his words. Her mind was still reeling from the loss of her bargaining chip to gain back her doppelganger. The chocolates were smashed in the road, her precious apparition potentially lost forever, and so it took a moment for the question to sink in.
But when it did, the grudge demons, having hung back in surprise at Sho's sudden appearance and the destroyed chocolates, came out in full force.
The entire army burst from her body, chaos swirling around in a dark force. The very air was permeated by her righteous fury, and unlucky bystanders in the floors above and below the two had a sudden urge to flee the building, the city, even the country. It would take years for any talent or full-fledged star to be able to walk down that corridor without shuddering violently. The memory of her anger, burning oh so very brightly, would remain imprinted in the walls around her, able for any medium to see into this moment of passionate fury. Only Sho, protected by his own dark magic, was left unaltered by the destruction. But no power could stop him from feeling it.
"Love?" came Kyouko's voice, pitched low and seemingly indifferent, if you didn't know her very well. If, however, you were Sho, who had known her since childhood, the lack of emotion shown was infinitely more frightening than any passion. "The Beagle?" A cold, humorless chuckle was echoed by a thousand demons, all bent on wreaking revenge on their master's enemy. "I think you forget, dear Shotaro," He stiffened at his birth name, but kept silent, "that I have forsworn love. And if any man could tempt me from that vow, it would not be that bastard Reinou!" At that, her emotions got the better of her control, and Kyouko's voice and face twisted in disgust and anger. "He's a thousand times worse than you! How could I ever love him? What girl would?!?!"
"So…" said Sho, trying to accomplish a two-fold mission. Mission One: Learn everything he could about Reinou and Kyouko's relationship while he had the time. Mission Two: Escape with his life. "So…you don't love him?"
"NO!" Kyouko nearly screamed. Her demons danced around the two, working themselves up into a frenzy that would devour Sho. More than a few looked like they were about to leap through the leashes that held them back.
"So the chocolates were for…?" asked Sho, keeping cool while assessing possible escape routes.
"Blackmailed!" Kyouko spat, "He stole one of my grudges and is holding it hostage until I give him chocolates baked with my feelings for him! Why else would I give him chocolates for Vain Day? After the hell you wrought on me, I'll never again give any man honmei chocolates willingly!"
Hell I wrought you…? Sho wondered, but didn't say that. Instead, he said: "Grudges? You mean these things?" he gestured around him, knocking a few of the closer ones out of the air. They shrieked and fell on him, attacking and harming every part of them they could find. He paid them no attention. "How'd he do that?"
"Tricked me. How else?" Kyouko said, her eyes narrowing.
"I don't know, maybe you gave it to him?" Sho shrugged, brushing off the demons.
Kyouko's face scowled as she answered. "When will you get it out of your head? I am not in love with Reinou. Never have been, never will. But now I will have to bake more chocolates tonight, thanks to you!"
Sho took a step back, nearly into the embrace of a hundred smirking grudges. "Why?"
"Because if I don't he'll love my doppelganger!" Kyouko said, exasperated. "And any emotion he shows that thing will work its way through to me! Not to mention the hell it'll put the innocent grudge through! Honestly, what did it ever do?"
What indeed, though Sho sarcastically. But he knew better than to say that out loud. Kyouko might very well murder him for that, and that would be before the security guards came. He rolled his eyes and said; "Look, I'll make it up to you."
Kyouko, who had continued ranting about the infinite sins of the Beagles, most notably Reinou, stopped dead when she heard him. Her mouth closed, and her eyes narrowed in suspicion.
"You're going to make it up to me."
"Yes. I will. I'll give you the money to buy new ingredients, and you can use Shouko's kitchen to make it. Problem solved."
"…uh-huh…" Kyouko still stared, or a more fitting verb would be glared, at Sho while trying to think of the various ways he could manipulate, torture, or embarrass her. So far she had come up with two hundred fifty-six.
Sho held up his hands in a peace gesture. "It's an offer. Take it or leave it."
"What's in it for you?" Kyouko said, her demons breaking off to form committees to discuss exactly why it would be best to turn down the deal.
"Nothing, really. But you know I wouldn't want to leave things as they are. I'll even drive you home. Or have Shouko do it, anyway." Now that the words were out of his mouth, he couldn't help but to wonder: where did she live anyway? Another mansion of an apartment? With a friend? With Tsuruga?
It was Kyouko's turn to assess possible escape routes. She knew that look on his face. The look of a man who had hurt someone and was now trying to repay it. A man with broken honor and pride. She had seen that look on him before when he arrived on Dark Moon set to give her bandages. Despite his words that she could leave the deal, he would not let her walk out of the building without some way to make it up to her. In some ways, Kyouko hated the values his parents had imparted on him. He had abandoned everything else old-fashioned, why didn't he abandon this? Along with his idiotic notions that women were delicate and couldn't stand physical pain, which was borderline hypocritical in her eyes. His rejection and betrayal had hurt much more than that slap he gave her at TBM. But now was not the time to think of that. Now her only task was to remember any of her many excellent reasons to not accept his invitation to Shouko-san's, and by extension, Sho's, apartment.
Sho, having long since acclimatized to Kyouko's many facial expressions, saw the defeat in the set of her mouth and the way her eyes glared. He smirked, and recognized his victory. He turned away from her, so she couldn't see the real joy in his face the way he saw her defeat in hers.
"So. When're you getting off work tonight?" he asked.