Makeover, Makeover - A Krory/Miranda One-Shot
"He's staring at you again." Lenalee observed at dinner. She smiled at the deep blush spreading across her companion's cheeks to match that of the man two tables across.
"He's staring because I spilled my drink on you. I'm sorry for that by the way."
"You've apologised three times now, Miranda, and I told you, it's not your fault. I didn't warn you that the cup would be hot. It's fine really." Lenalee put her arm around the woman's tense shoulders.
"Then he's looking at you. They always look at you." Lenalee was surprised at the lack of bitterness or jealousy in Miranda's voice. "You're pretty. Why on earth would Master Krory stare at me? Unless I've done something wrong." She started to fret, running back through a list of their recent encounters in which she could have messed up and caused this uncomfortable staring session.
"...but I apologised for screaming then... but on the stairs... didn't think anyone would be in the onsen then."
Lenalee raised her eyebrows at her friend in exasperation. "But you are pretty, especially in your uniform. In fact you're more than pretty, you're sexy!" She observed quietly to herself that Johnny may have missed his calling in the fashion world if he was designing uniforms like this. Obviously he got out more than she had previously thought.
The older woman looked like she was about to choke. "..mer.." she squeaked, staring at Lenalee as if the girl had cheerfully told her that she planned to blow up HQ.
"You should make the most of it," Lenalee continued over the top of her panicked murmuring. "No one is going to say no to you when you look like that."
"Say no to what?" Lenalee glanced sharply down at Miranda. The woman was older than her for goodness sake, was she that innocent... She was greeted with a small smile and laughed. At least Miranda's time at Headquarters had developed her sense of humour a little.
"You do like Krory though don't you?" Miranda's eyes dropped and the blush jumped to her cheeks again.
"Yes." Miranda whispered. She realised that Lenalee wanted something more. "He always says thank you to me and helps me carry things. He's a little scary on missions but he always apologises for scaring me."
"Why don't you talk to him?"
"I do but it always feels awkward... I never know what to say..." Miranda fiddled with the dial on her wrist.
"I'm sure you have plenty to say. What you really need is -" Lenalee suddenly found the hopeful face she'd been looking at replaced by breasts, their owner in the process of being yanked upwards. She tried to cover a small blush of her own. She would really, really have to talk to Johnny. She glanced up to find her brother holding Miranda up with a look of slightly menacing delight on his face.
"What you need is ME!" Komui beamed at the scared Exorcist. "Let Komui help you, I know all about love!" He started to pull her away from her seat and towards the door. Miranda was too stunned to really struggle but the look of pleading despair she flung at Lenalee said it all.
Lenalee stood up with a sigh and followed the pair from the room. "Don't worry Miranda," she smiled at the woman frozen under her brother's arm. "I'll help too." And the first thing I'll do is tell you to ignore everything my brother says.
Across the hall, Allen, Lavi and Krory watched Miranda's exit with various expressions of amusement and worry.
"So Krory, I notice you've been staring at Miranda a lot lately..." Lavi leaned across slyly and casually turned the man's book the right way round, enjoying his friend's flustered gaping. "Got a thing for her eh?"
"I, uh, I just, um, wondered what the Supervisor wanted with her, that's all." Krory tried to hide his face behind his book again. Lavi pulled it down and babbled into his face.
"Do you want to go out with her? Do you? Are you going to ask? Did you? Is she going to?" Allen placed his hand over Lavi's chattering mouth and pulled him back.
"What do you think of her?" Allen asked curiously.
"She's very pretty. And she was very kind to me after I explained about my teeth and she stopped screaming. She was very sorry that Kanda had to get involved... and she's always smiling and..."
"And that uniform, STRIKE!" Lavi burst from behind Allen's shoulder. "So ask her out!"
Krory shrank back into his chair. "I couldn't do that, it wouldn't... I mean she wouldn't... and I don't think I'm really her type... I don't think women usually scream at potential..." his gaze flicked everywhere, trying to avoid Lavi's grinning face and think of a more appropriate word. "Partners."
Allen refrained from saying that that normally happened after the partnering, not before.
"Then we'll just have to make you her type!" Lavi bounced in his seat with excitement.
Allen placed his hand on his friend's shoulder in restraint. "Lavi, don't you think it's better for Miranda to like him as he is?"
"Someone like her wouldn't like me as I am... what kind of man do women usually like?" Krory asked Lavi hopefully.
"Women like bad guys." Lavi nodded in self-affirmation. "Look at all the women who like me!" Allen coughed slightly behind him, earning himself a dirty look.
"A... bad guy?" Krory's face settled into a contortion of confusion. "I think you're quite nice really..."
"Oh Krory, Krory... women love a rebel! I mean look at how women treat Cross! They love him, and do you know why? It's because he's a badass." Lavi struck a pose reminiscent of Cross at his lechery.
Krory seemed to take this in, although the perplexed look remained on his face. Lavi turned to Allen for help.
"Hey Allen, tell Krory about your master!" Beside him the boy paled and seemed to retreat into himself.
"My master was a no-good, chain-smoking, gambling, lazy, lecherous alcoholic... why on earth would Krory want to imitate him?"
Lavi cut over his friend's complaint. "Because women like risk!"
Krory fumbled for his diary and wrote this down.
"They like danger and dangerous men! Soldiers, explorers... pirates!" Krory jumped at the last word, staring at Lavi in a mixture of awe, surprise and sudden panic. Lavi seemed caught with the idea. "Medieval moping is out, swashbuckling is in!"
Allen put his face in his palms and tried to block Lavi out. Any minute now he'd be dragged into the disaster zone because of his first hand experience of one dangerous, swashbuckling man. He groaned. His master was making him miserable even here.
Lavi flung one free hand around Krory's neck, pulling him in close to his new conspiracy.
"Krory my friend, we are going to make you into a pirate."
"See, you've already started! Try it with more enthusiasm!" His free hand latched onto Allen's collar as the unfortunate boy tried to slip away. "And with his all his experience, Allen can help!"
Allen let himself be pulled in grudgingly. At least he hadn't planned anything too important today. Besides, when this all when wrong, he could always blame Lavi. And then blackmail him over it again and again.
"Come!" Lavi pulled them upright with a scary glint in his eye. "We have a lot of work to do!"
"So." Komui leaned across the desk with an coaxing smile. "You want to step out with Krory do you?"
"I want to what...?"
"You know, how do they say it... make the smoochy-face?" He demonstrated enthusiastically with the air, much to Lenalee's distaste and growing nausea.
"She just wants to talk to him, Komui. And stop doing that!"
"Talk to him and have him pay attention though?" He winked. "Say no more! I would be happy to help, no thanks needed." He ignored Miranda's confused stuttering.
"Only I can educate you properly in all the secret techniques women use to capture men!" Behind his back Lenalee glared into his mug suspiciously before emptying it discreetly into a plant pot. There would be no convincing him to back out now, but she could at least limit the damage. Hopefully
"Yeesss..." Komui strutted around an increasingly panicky Miranda, lifting up her hair, turning her face this way and that as he did. "You have a good foundation. Nice eyes, if a bit bloodshot... your hair isn't a total disaster. That figure..." He stepped back to pass a final judgement as Miranda hurriedly tried to cover her entire body with only her two hands. "BELLISSIMO! It's a wonder he isn't fawning over you as it is. But I think I see the problem. It just needs a little more work... a little more..." he made a vague gesture with his hands "something."
"Confidence." Lenalee pushed her brother aside and leaned in to the shaking Exorcist. "Just confidence." She lowered her voice so that only Miranda could hear. "Please ignore him, ignore everything he says. You're beautiful already. Just let him get it out of his system."
"And a makeover!" Komui bounded over to the door with joy and flung it aside. "JOHNNYYY!" He turned to the shaken girls with a calculating smile. "First, wardrobe."
"First of all we're changing your name."
"Yep. To something smooth, catchy... something that says mystery! From now on I dub thee... CROW."
"You just named him after a carrion bird idiot!" Allen smacked Lavi in the shoulder.
"A black, MYSTERIOUS, carrion bird!"
"I've always liked crows..."
"See, he likes it. Crow it is!"
"Um. Could we...?" Krory mumbled.
Lavi and Allen rounded on him in surprise, making him stammer more.
"Yes?" Allen offered cautiously.
"I mean, I think she's afraid of..." Two two boys stared at him as he stumbled over the last word. Lavi got it.
"Your ears!" Krory reared back in shock. Allen wondered for a moment if Lavi was really this dumb, or just enjoying this too much.
"Don't worry about that my friend, I have a friend who can help you with just that." Lavi began to run up the stairs in front of them, whistling happily.
"Uh..L-Lavi?" Allen had been hit by a sudden, paralysing thought. "You don't mean...?" He mimed a snipping action with his fingers.
"You got it!" Lavi skidded to a stop outside a large door. "A quick cut and he won't have to worry."
Krory latched onto the same idea as Allen and began to back away hurriedly. By his face he was weighing his chances of survival with Lavi against his chances of survival by jumping the banisters and dropping three floors. Allen winced on his behalf and stepped in between him and a sadistically grinning Lavi.
"That's a bit extreme don't you think Lavi?"
"Jeez Allen, it's just a haircut, I'm not going to lop his head off." Behind Allen, Krory sagged onto the flagstones in relief.
"We have a hairdresser here?" Allen moved to open the door curiously.
"Yeah, Lenalee insisted after the Kanda-assisted explosion of Komui's barber-bot." Lavi casually threw a fainting Krory over his shoulder. "Something to do with giving them matching perms."
"The uniform is nice. Very nice." Komui paused to look again. Lenalee growled behind him. Yes. Definitely talk to Johnny after this. A quiet little talk about the way he dressed women compared to men. She'd spent all day pulling down her skirt discreetly, wondering how she'd never noticed it before.
"But it's just a little too formal." Lenalee sputtered, glaring at him. "Yes, it says 'Don't talk to me, I'm working'. Could put a man... off his stride." Komui coughed and adjusted his glasses.
"With that in mind, I asked Johnny to take a look at some of your casual clothes. And well..." He reached down and took Miranda's hand gently. "Miranda, we're not living in the dark ages. Men like to see a bit of ankle now!" Lenalee privately reflected that they enjoyed seeing a lot more than her ankles, and clamped her skirt firmly to her legs.
"Johnny! Show her what we've got!"
Glancing nervously at Lenalee, Johnny wheeled in a rack of clothing he'd appropriated and recycled. He adjusted his glasses and stammered:
"Going on Lavi's description of Eliade, I've altered your dress into this. I think it should do."
Bashfully, he held out a black and purple dress-set. Hesitantly, Miranda took it and laid it against her frame. Silence reigned as three minds dressed her mentally. Komui became suddenly very engrossed in making a cup of coffee. Lenalee raised her hands to her face to try and cover the burning blush on her cheeks. Miranda turned towards her but what would normally have been an innocent movement was now completely ruined by the combination of Lenalee's imagination and Johnny's sartorial creation. If her uniform could 'put a man off his stride', the dress would bring him to his knees in a babbling heap. With Krory that was already likely without its assistance.
"What do you think Lenalee?" Miranda's eyes begged for assistance.
"I... it's very... pretty..." she glared at Johnny across the room "...but Krory is a bit shy... I think it may be too much for coffee..."
She rummaged through the rack, finally settling on something Johnny hadn't altered too much. At least this gave more coverage. She stared Johnny down as she handed it to Miranda, daring him to challenge her.
Komui finally broke his personal reverie as Johnny broke her stare and hurried away.
"Stage Two! Posing!"
Lenalee opened her mouth to object but changed her mind as her brother went off on an excited mental tangent again. She'd put a stop to him later, but first she absolutely had to get rid of that dress. Despite their rank as priests, nobody round here was really religious but the idea of leaving that lying around was terrifying.
"Tada!" Geraldine handed him a mirror and clapped her large hands in excitement. "Very rakish. And the curls should completely cover the ears. No girl would say no!"
Lavi shook her hand in agreement. "You've done it again. Perfect! And now for the finishing touch..." Lavi scrabbled inside his jacket for a moment. "This..." he held the results of the search aloft with pride, "...is my second best eyepatch for dates." He tied the ribbons under Krory's new shining mane. "Guaranteed to create an authentic pirate mysteriousness that will leave them clamouring for more."
Allen recoiled from the figure sobbing his thanks in the chair. All Lavi's changes had done so far were make Krory look remarkably reminiscent of Cross. Of course it wouldn't surprise Allen at all to find that Cross had a hoard of buried treasure somewhere, probably made up of all the money Allen had earned through the years. He balled his fist and silently swore revenge at the egomaniac.
"Next you need to learn how to walk." Lavi said, deadly serious. "At the moment you walk like you're trying to hide behind yourself. That'll never work, you want to be noticed! Your walk should resemble a confident swagger.!" Lavi illustrated, pacing from one side of the room to the other as Geraldine applauded and wolf-whistled.
"Pirates walk like this instinctively. Because they're pirates and know they're awesome."
"Actually I think they walk like that because of sea-legs..." Allen objected.
"Think of them as sex legs. You try." Lavi slouched beside Allen and watched in silence as Krory tried to imitate Lavi's saunter. Unfortunately Krory was not as well coordinated as Lavi and his spidery long legs had a tendency to sidle sideways and catch in between each other, repeatedly knocking him off balance.
"Well... my Master walks like that sometimes..." Allen tried to soothe Lavi's disappointment. "Normally he's a bit drunk, but that's definitely a genuine Cross walk."
Lavi perked up instantly. "You hear that? You're almost as sexy as Cross! Good job me!" Bounding upwards with excitement he caught Krory's wavering arm and dragged him out into the corridor. "Third Lesson: PICKUP LINES!"
Lenalee didn't drink, but if she did, she thought now would be a good time to start. Miranda was getting steadily more confused by Komui's instructions for sexy behaviour, and Lenalee was feeling downright uncomfortable at her brother's knowledge.
"Ooh and you should lean forward like sooo... and this pose is always great for the coy look." Before their eyes Komui transformed into a shy princess, one arm clasping the other to emphasise his non existent chest.
"And always keep your eyes wide and open... Now, for pouting!"
The girls became transfixed in a montage of horrified expressions as Komui did his best impersonation of a stunned trout.
"Press your lips together like soo... then forward... then MWAH!"
Lenalee shoved her brother aside and faced Miranda.
"Just smile okay? You have a pretty smile." And imitating that would be bad for your health.
Komui popped up over her shoulder with a bright grin.
"And I can make it prettier! KOMURIN 4... MINI!" A scratched and dented robot wheeled forward, waving a makeup bag intimidatingly.
Lenalee decided to put a final stop to this theatre of terror. "Innocence, activate." She smiled a grim little smile and turned to face the manic makeover bot, to relieve an afternoon's pent up rage.
Five minutes later, the smoke cleared. Komui lay curled in a pile of fractured metal and debris, sobbing gently about his sister when she was young and delicate and not a robot murdering psychopath. Lenalee retrieved the scattered bottles of cosmetics and turned to Miranda.
"Just a little, okay?"
Miranda remained frozen in shock. Sighing, Lenalee went to work. She might as well take advantage of the silence and get this over with once and for all. When she was done, she grabbed her brother by the arm and gently guided a stunned and mumbling Miranda to where she assumed Krory would be. Allen had mentioned some sort of arrangement before running off somewhere. That was a start.
"Now I want you to try this on Allen first. I know he's not as pretty as Lenalee, but he's pretty girly so it should work." Behind Lavi, Allen's hands twitched towards his friend's throat. Just a little choking... just till he stops moving...
"Girls like to be compared to pretty things. Nature-y things. Y'know, hair like clouds, skin like snow? Use the sexy voice."
Krory nodded and turned to Allen nervously, apologising in advance for making him do this.
"Um... you look lovely this evening." Lavi nodded encouragement. "Your hair... your hair... is as white as bleached bones."
Allen couldn't help but break up laughing at the stunned and appalled look on Lavi's face.
"Was that not right? Bones are natural..."
Between rib-cracking whoops of laughter Allen replied for the sullen boy. "Natural yes, pretty no." He sat back, letting the shaking go down as Lavi grabbed Krory and hauled him close for some intense counselling. Allen really didn't see the point. The two would work it out without Lavi's assistance, which might actually make it worse. On the other hand, laughs were hard to come by in Headquarters, so there was no way he was going to put a stop to it.
When he looked up next, the corridor was empty. He stood up cautiously and started to look down the corridor when an arm snaked around his waist from behind. Assuming it was one of Lavi's lessons-turned-pranks, he turned over his shoulder as a dry and familiar voice reached his ears.
"Hello, baby... come here often?"
There was no mistaking that silhouette against the light. Stupid thick hair, towering profile. Allen's instincts and an apprenticeship's worth of hatred balled up behind his hand and he lashed out, catching the man on the jaw.
"ALLEN!" Lavi rushed over to prop up a fainting Krory. "He was practicing!"
Allen's vision swam with images of a mocking Master. "Serves... him right..."
"I think we should leave that lesson there. Let's get you patched up and get on with this." He helped Krory up and away, as Allen followed behind, still muttering extreme vengeance against a certain lecherous Master.
The three men crouched behind the corner going over last minute plans. On the floor in front of them lay two marbles. Lavi moved them closer together as he talked.
"So Miranda is going to walk down this corridor any minute now. You come round the corner the other way and as you do you say...?"
Krory cleared his throat and said dramatically, "Hello beautiful lady, I heard some cad declare that the moon tonight was more beautiful than you. Care to come for a walk with me and prove him right?"
Krory started. "What was wrong?"
"No, the last bit, prove him wrong. And throw in a seductive hand gesture."
Krory nodded. "And then she says yes?"
"Absolutely guaranteed!" Lavi winked. "Can't go wrong with that line, it's a bonafide Lavi original!" This seemed to worry Krory even more. It certainly terrified Allen.
"What if she says no?"
"I told you, it's impossible. You've got the hair, the mysterious eyepatch, the dashing saunter... pity you can't grow facial hair in a day, women love a beard. It says...."
"Poor hygiene? Lack of access to a razor?" Allen suggested drily. As far as he was concerned Krory currently looked like a one-eyed Afghan hound in desperate need of a toilet.
"No! It says MYSTERY. Manly mystery. Who knows what kind of face lies behind a beard?"
"A dirty one. Especially if the beard is red and attached to a man named Cross." Allen refrained from pointing out that Lavi hadn't got one of these mysterious facial growths either and he seemed to do just fine.
"Ignore him Krory. This will go right, I promise you! Now go!" With a nervous smile and an audible gulp the older man stood up and rounded the corner, his shaking only noticeable to the two Exorcists behind him. Or the one that was paying attention at least.
On the other side of the corridor Komui was also fretting over his pupil.
"And when you see him, widen your eyes and pout like so!" Both the girls present drew back from this strange facial contortion and Lenalee pushed his coffee mug in front of the quivering lips.
"Just smile and say hello. Maybe tell him he looks nice today." Miranda nodded, trying to keep her eyes as wide as possible. Lenalee sighed.
"You don't have to do that all the time, just when you see him. Look your eyes are watering and your makeup's smudging." She leaned in and wiped away a smear before stepping back and giving her a grin.
"You'll do absolutely fine. Just don't think of it as something important or scary. You're just saying hello to a friend. Okay?"
Miranda nodded. "Hello to a friend."
"And if you feel confident enough you should ask him if he'd like some tea." Miranda took in a deep breath and tried to emulate confidence.
"Now straighten your shoulders and go!" Lenalee gave her a gentle push round the corner.
The two apprehensive Exorcists proceeded down the corridor towards each other, somehow managing to control themselves from diving backwards and scuttling round the corner to hide
Miranda's eyes widened without any instruction as she saw Krory. The man looked utterly bizarre, flowing black and white curls and a jewelled eyepatch slung across one eye. His walk seemed to be a pained mince, containing two steps forward and one backwards. Somehow she felt curiously attracted to him, despite these new irregularities.
Lenalee clasped her hands to her mouth, trying to stifle a giggle for Miranda's sake.
Miranda tried to form a greeting but her voice didn't seem to want to work and she just croaked. Panicking she tried to remember Lenalee's advice but the only image that came to her was that of Komui pouting and wriggling like a trout out of water. With no other option springing to mind she pushed her lips out and pouted for all she was worth.
Krory's whole body shook as he walked, trying to accurately imitate everything Lavi had shown him. Foot forward, sway the hips, slow seductive smile... Miranda did look beautiful this evening. But he really had to wonder what she was doing with her mouth. Did she have some food stuck in a tooth? Maybe this wasn't a good time, afterall he knew it took him at least ten minutes to pry Akuma bits from his mouth. He slowed his strut to give her time to deal with it and managed to make a smile break his face.
Around the corner behind Krory, Lavi gave Allen the thumbs up.
"This isn't going to work." Komui adjusted his glasses and stared at the silent pair, still advancing towards each other at a snail's pace. "Fortunately I have a plan."
"Brother! What are you doing! Let them do this on their own!" Ignoring her, Komui gulped down the remains of his coffee and assumed an elaborate athletic pose.
"Komui Love-Love Strike!" He whispered enthusiastically, before bowling the now empty cup straight at Miranda. The wind whistled as it passed and Lenalee's face dropped in horror.
"Why isn't he saying anything?" Lavi shifted nervously.
"Perhaps because you made him too nervous to open his mouth?"
"That's okay! Lavi Plan 2!" Lavi stuck his hand just around the corner and took aim. "Extend!"
The two timid lovers in front of them continued their slightly backwards journey towards each other, both completely unsuspecting of the scheming going on behind their backs. They were soon made aware.
As Miranda put her foot down, Komui's Love-Strike reached its mark. Her foot came down on the mug and slipped beneath her, pitching her suddenly forward without warning. Her hands came out and grabbed for anything to slow her no doubt humiliating fall.
At the same time Lavi's hammer struck Krory in the back, making him stumble forward into the collapsing woman. They fell together in an awkward heap, hands desperately trying to reach anywhere that wasn't a taboo part of the other person and legs at all angles trying to find the ground again. With all that to occupy them, it probably wasn't surprising that it took them both a few seconds to realise that each one's lips were pressed chastely against the other's.
Lenalee and Allen both shared an amused yet relieved sigh before rounding on their celebrating partners to try and smother them as quietly yet vindictively as possible. Behind them started a flurry of embarrassed apologies that would continue for days. But they'd made a start at least.
A/N: This is another High Seas prompt that mutated, took over my life and wouldn't let me be. It's a monster!