Summary: Caterina decides the Church needs to play a bigger role in the lives of the people, soooo… it's time for Vacation Bible School (VBS)!
Disclaimer: I don't own VBS (thank God), I don't own Trinity Blood; I do own this idea… I think. Oh, who knows. Just enjoy the show.
(A/N: For those who don't know what Vacation Bible School is, it's usually a set of "classes" in the evening where kids can learn about Christianity through crafts, games, and Bible lessons. It's fun for the kids, not so much for the teen/adult workers. On the other hand, we get fed now…)
Chapter One: Fun with Decorating
Esther, Tres, and Abel unloaded their decorating supply onto the plastic-cloth-covered tables, each producing their own sound of relief.
"Why are we doing this, again?" Abel asked wearily, flopping his tall frame onto a nearby plastic table.
"Don't you ever listen, Abel?" Esther scolded. "Honestly, pay attention this time!
Cardinal Sforza told us that the church needs to do more for the people. So that's why we're doing this…Vacation Bible School thing. Got it?"
Esther sighed. "Vacation Bible School. It's like religion classes for kids, or something. That's what it sounds like."
"But Leon said something about games…"
Esther looked around for her assignment papers, which were on the white Formica table in front of her.
"According to this, the theme for this year is Island Adventure. Leon's in the Recreation Department, Hugue's in charge of snacks, we're in Crafts, and…oh my." She giggled nervously. "And… Brother Petro and the Pope are in missions. Is that such a good idea?"
"Negative, my lady. Information gathered on the personalities of Brother Petro and the Pope suggests that such a pairing is not wise."
"I agree. So then the walkers are… Kate, Ion, and…Radu? I thought he-"
"Apparently not. But do go on." Abel motioned with his hand for her to continue.
"Oh, uh, and- wait, there has to be a mistake. DIETRICH is in puppets? What's Cardinal Sforza thinking?" A fiery crimson shade washed over her face instantly, though whether it was from embarrassment, fury, or crushed puppy love was hard to say.
"Well, I think everyone should be allowed to join in the fun of VBS!" Abel said cheerfully, throwing decorations like autumn leaves around the room.
"Abel!" She shook her head and sighed.
"… Never mind." Looking around, her eyes fell upon the crafts instructions and a pair of inflatable flamingoes. "You get the decorating started while I look at tonight's craft, all right?
"How am I supposed to blow these up? We don't have an air pump."
Esther picked up a flamingo in each hand. "How do we blow these up?"
Tres answered mechanically, "I recommend that my lady employ hand grenades in order to 'blow up' specified objects."
Esther crinkled her eyes in confusion.
"Oh! Tres-kun, Miss Esther wants to inflate them, not detonate them." Abel laughed, which, naturally, turned Esther into a hissing goose, chasing the gander. Tres interrupted their small spat.
"My lord and my lady, I recommend that we commence decorating, as our students are scheduled to arrive in 1824 seconds."
"Oh, that means we've only got…" Esther counted quickly, "about half an hour. Let's go!"
"OK!" Abel was quick to agree, keeping on Esther's good side. "What should I do?"
"Anything that doesn't need glue or scissors."
"Awww, why not? I'll be careful!"
"Not after last time. Oh, the Cardinal says you still have to pay for the choir robes. She said only Vegas singers have feathers on their outfits."
Abel sighed and began to pout.
"But they looked more fun my way!"
"Look, why don't you… cover these tables? I found some tablecloths upstairs." She handed him a thick bundle of red and yellow plastic sheets. "Try to be careful."
Surprisingly, he did better than Esther had expected. Even though she had to unravel him from a ball of string, explain three times what his job was, and stop him from accidentally falling into the inflatable pool, he was generally better-behaved than usual. Maybe it's the different atmosphere, she thought. Maybe he's more subdued in a different church?
But alas, it wasn't so. Out of the corner of her eye, she thought she saw Abel making mischief behind her back. She whipped around and was ready to begin an extra-long scolding until Abel fastened a cheap grass skirt around her waist. Not willing to let him on to her embarrassment, she took a deep breath.
"Father Night-…" She stopped and looked at the other priest. "He got you too, Tres?"
"'Got me'. Positive." Unless Esther was badly mistaken, she saw both men wearing a skirt identical to hers.
"Ummm, Abel? Why-"
He held up a finger, pausing her in the middle of her query.
"We can be hula girls!" he said cheerfully.
"'We'? Who is 'we'?" she asked. "So apparently I'm not the only girl around here anymore, huh?"
Abel looked hurt. He pushed his glasses up onto his nose and sniffled. Esther's bad mood dissipated immediately and she tried for an apology.
"Miss Esther, that was very rude of you."
Esther flushed nervously. "I-I..know, I-"
"You and I both know that, although he doesn't show it, Tres must feel very upset at your comment. I'm sure he's rather self-conscious of his looks. "
Before his reply, Esther was feeling very small. Now, however, she felt like the only adult at a children's picnic. A picnic of three. And the children were dressed in stylishly cut priest's uniforms.
"Father, just…just hang up the flamingo, please."
Esther felt that feeling of awkward maturity again in the enormous church sanctuary. True to her previous feeling, she was indeed surrounded by about thirty children of all ages, as well as many Vatican agents. Strangely enough, there were also members of the Rosencreuz Orden sitting in the back pew, shifting uncomfortably in the sanctified building. She could see Radu whispering to Dietrich, while another unusual pang throbbed somewhere inside.
Stop it, she told herself. Surely it wasn't heartache? Then her stomach growled. Of course, she realized, I forgot to eat before we left.
"May I have your attention, please. Everyone." Lady Caterina took the stage with a portable microphone. "Attention, please."
Naturally, simply telling a large group of children does nothing. So Petro decided to take matters into his own hands.
He rose from his seat with his Screamer in hand, a metallic squealing lance designed for the obliteration of his enemies. Therefore, it was no surprise that his appearance immediately quieted the room.
"Cardinal Caterina Sforza, second only to His Holiness the Pope, demands your undivided attention for an announcement of dire importance." All was silent as he shouted, with the exception of two rowdy Rosencreuz Orden members in the back.
"He talks so big," Dietrich said, snickering. "Yet I wonder what his weakness is. Perhaps it is something so embarrassing, he dares not speak its name?"
"Indeed," Radu replied. "What do you think it is?"
While Dietrich speculated on possible phobias, Cardinal Sforza took the stage again to briefly announce that certain members of the Rosencreuz Orden would be "so charitable as to help the Vatican" with Vacation Bible School.
"Yes, go on, fool. Believe the lies that the Magician feeds you," Dietrich hissed.
"I believe the good Cardinal grows more foolish every day." Radu snickered.
"Surely so. No one with a working brain would truly believe that we are here of our own free will…"
"Only of Isaak's," Radu finished.
Dietrich flexed his strings angrily. "Foul…Magician…volunteer requirement, my…"
Radu decided he'd rather not hear the end of that sentence.
Esther and company began the long walk back to headquarters shortly after seven that evening. Since the only other event had been a tour of the classrooms, all three were in an optimistic mood (or as optimistic as an android can get).
"Well, this won't be too bad, will it?" Esther said cheerfully.
Tres answered with his standard "Affirmative", while Abel nodded and replied, "The kids are so cute! I don't remember being that little."
Esther giggled. "I mean this is the nicest way possible, Father, but I don't think you ever were that little."
Abel crossed his arms over his chest and pretended to ignore the snickering nun.