Ah, this is a classic, makes-no-sense-until-you-read-the-story title. And it looks a bit funny. But please, enjoy the story anyway. The story was inspired by LadyLadington, with whom I was having a conversation about Marui.
Yay! A pretty, pointless, and plotless story! The three P's. The key to success! The heart of writing! The vital—okay, I'm done.
It was a gorgeous day. So gorgeous that the sun was hiding behind a cloud, birds were cowering in their nests, and trees were trying to move their immovable roots to run. All because:
"You're my SADASS partner," Akaya announced, jabbing a finger in Marui's face.
Marui barely blinked, while the rest of the team crowded around him. "Huh?"
"I think you mean 'fat ass,'" Niou snickered, and promptly received a kick in the shin. "What? You know it's true? Man, you might have fast metabolism now, but once you reach age thirty . . ." He began laughing again, and quickly ran into the clubhouse. "Be right back!"
"Kirihara! We do not tolerate inappropriate language during practices!"
"Calm down, Sanada. I think I know what our sweet little Akaya is talking about." Yukimura beamed. "It's an eighth grade project, right? I heard my sister talking about it."
"Right!" Akaya beamed right back at him. "It's Spend A Day Annoying Some Senior Day! And I pick you, Marui-senpai."
"Isn't that SADASSD, then?"
"What, like SADASS'ed? Past tense?" Jackal asked, confused. "How do you SADASS somebody?"
Yanagi stared. "That doesn't seem to make much sense."
"I think it should be SADASSéD. Like, French!" Yukimura averred brightly.
Marui cleared his throat. "Anyway, why me?" He blew a bubble and put a hand on his hip. "Why not Niou, or Yanagi, or Jackal?"
"I'm very happy with this situation," Jackal said. Well, of course he was. He was usually the one stuck taking care of Akaya, and he needed time off. At Marui's expense, of course, but he didn't really care at the moment.
"But why me?"
"Because you don't get enough screen time, Marui-senpai," Akaya insisted. "Plus I never get to hang out with you anymore. You're always busy, or being made fun of by Niou-senpai or eating cake or beating some talentless team member at tennis."
"I think it's a wonderful idea," Yukimura chimed in. His eyes shone. "This is the perfect chance for Akaya to learn how being a senior is really like. He'll be exposed to so many opportunities. He'll learn so much, and I'm sure this will be an educational experience for you too, Marui. You'll be able to understand what taking care of a child is like, and how to manage your responsibilities."
"Buchou, I have two little brothers. Don't you think I know that by now?"
Yukimura's smile widened and Marui gulped.
"I mean, this sounds great. I don't mind having a whiney thirteen year old boy tag along and pester me all day at all."
"Yay!" Akaya cheered, ignoring the insult and opting to stay positive instead. Jackal, Sanada, and Yanagi went back to practice while Marui frowned and leaned against the changing room door. Yagyuu frowned too.
"What's taking Niou-kun so long? We're supposed to play against you and Jackal-kun, remember?"
Just then, the door opened and Marui was flung aside. Niou emerged with a giant pillow stuffed underneath his shirt, singing, "I'm Marui. I eat a lot and I'm fat and I'm totally not wearing a pillow beneath my T-shirt."
"You're not funny!" And a round of chasing began.
"You're boring, Marui-senpai."
"It's your fault for wanting to tag along!"
They were walking along a cobblestone path, on their way to the nearest bakery. The walk was quite long, and Akaya grumbled, "Well, you never said the bakery was so far."
"Don't worry. It gets more exciting later on."
"Really?" Akaya asked eagerly.
"No." Marui checked his schedule. "Come on, we're already late. We need to get to the bakery in five minutes. Getting the cake will take about four hours, and then—"
"Four hours?" Then Akaya's expression cleared. "Oh, I see. You always eat the cake on the way home, so you have to keep going back, right?"
"No! I have more self control than that. You'll see why it takes so long eventually." He sighed. "Although, with your help, instead of four hours, it might take . . ." Marui gave Akaya a look. "Nah. It'll probably take five hours with you here."
"That's not fair! I'm a lot stronger than you, not to mention taller—"
"We're here." Marui opened the door. "Hey, Hiro-san."
A middle aged man grinned at him from behind the counter. "Marui-kun! The usual?"
"Gotcha." And off he went.
"How much does it cost?" Akaya asked, tugging at his senior's sleeve.
"Not much. About two thousand yen. I pay him six thousand, in advance."
"Because I buy about three a day."
"Because they end up getting ruined."
"Because thirteen year olds like you won't shut up!"
Akaya fell silent. "That makes sense."
Marui threw his hands up into the air, rolled his eyes and folded his arms. "You're impossible."
He gaped at the younger boy. "Aren't you going to throw a temper tantrum? I just dissed you."
"You did?" Akaya stared back, confused.
Thankfully, Hiro came back with the cake before Marui could really lose his mind. "Here you are, my boy. I've got the other two ready in storage for you, and an extra few just in case, eh?"
"That's great, thanks." Marui took the box and gave a small half-wave before leaving.
The two boys strolled out of the store and back onto the streets. "Prepare yourself," Marui warned. "This is where the torture really starts. I've found that there's usually a schedule to this sort of thing. About fifteen steps away—about eight seconds away—a pigeon will land on the box. A bunch of boys will crowd around it—"
A pigeon cooed.
"Look! Birdie!" The boys ran to the pigeon, who was happily perched on the box, and Marui groaned. "Birdie! Birdie!" Their chubby hands reached for the pigeon. It flew away with practiced ease, and the boys collapsed on top of Marui—and the cake. Upon noticing that the pigeon had gone, the boys left, leaving Akaya with a trampled on senior and a squished cake.
"Senpai? Are you all right?"
"No," he answered, massaging his back and tossing the cake into the trash can. "Around now, we go back into the shop and another cake."
And so they did.
"Back so soon?" Hiro asked, pulling out another box. "Here you go, all boxed and tied up for you."
"Thanks again. We'll see you around five." They left again. "Okay, junior, this time, we go the long way, into the forest. A swarm of birds will attack us, and we'll run until we cut back into the road. Halfway down the road, we'll get hit by a car and the cake will land on the windshield. The guy who's driving the car will be upset, but we're going to complain about how that cake was for our very sick cousin, who has some sort of weird, rare disease, and the guy will feel so bad that he'll drive us back to the bakery, where we'll get another cake."
"Oh." Akaya followed the senior into the forest. Trees surrounded the area, sunlight peeking between the leaves here and there. It seemed so graceful and beautiful. Who knew it was actually a death trap?
Sure enough, a random flock of birds popped out of nowhere and began chasing them. Marui shoved Akaya forward, and the two of them ran onto the street where they put their hands on their knees and tried to catch their breath, waiting to get hit by a car.
A red convertible practically flew at them, and the two boys were tossed backwards. The cake flew out of Marui's grasp, the lid came off, and the cake splattered all over the windshield, decorating the once boring tinted window into a colorful pink and white painting. "Hey!"
"Brat?" Niou made a face. "Hey, Marui. Was that your cake?" His frown turned into a wide, wide grin. "Man, you just made my day."
"Dude, that was my cake. And, uh, I was going to deliver it to my cousin, who's really sick and she can't move and—"
Niou snorted. "Spare me. You already told me about that trick, remember?"
Marui paused. "Oh, right."
"But out of pity, I'll drive you to the bakery anyway. Wouldn't want you to get off schedule!" he sang. "Hop in."
The two complied, and Akaya commented, "Say, senpai, aren't you too young to be driving? And when did you get a car?"
"What are you talking about? I'm twenty-one. I can drink, drive, and do a lot of other stuff you probably don't want to hear about." He handed them a fake ID and winked. "It's worked wonders for me. Hang on!"
"What do you me-ahhhhh!" Niou was driving at least fifty miles above the speed limit, but he clearly looked like he was having too much fun to care, weaving in between passing cars and blowing a raspberry at a police car to boot.
They were nearing the bakery, but Niou wasn't showing any signs of stopping.
"Slow down!" Marui screeched, but it was too late. The car slammed into the other parked cars, creating quite a domino effect. Smashed class, dented metal, and paint chips were everywhere. Niou cleared his throat. "I've got to get going. See you!"
They blinked. He was gone.
Exasperated, Marui barged back into the bakery. "Hiro?"
"Early again," the man said, and presented Marui with a second cake.
"Yeah, I ran into a friend. We'll be back soon."
"We will?" Akaya asked, perplexed. On their way out, he added, "I don't get it, senpai. If you know that all this stuff is going to happen to you, then why don't you just try a different strategy? Like, I don't know, go a different route instead of following the one you always do? You don't have much to lose, right?"
Marui pursed his lips and frowned. "I don't know. What if something went wrong?"
"Things go wrong for you everyday," he insisted. "You may as well try it. I'm good at this stuff, I swear! I've been listening to talk shows." He beamed.
"Well . . ."
"Come on. Please?"
"Oh, all right. But if anything goes wrong, I'm blaming you."
"Nothing will! Let's go try walking toward the park. It's usually safe there, right?" Akaya took the cake in his hands.
"Yeah, okay." Marui followed him. The park was eerily quiet and abnormally empty, but that would work to their advantage. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all—
"Ambush!" a little boy suddenly screamed, jumping up from behind a shrub. "Let's attack!"
And just like that, fifty little boys followed, chasing the two teenagers until they were out of sight. "They're enemy forces!"
"We must attack!"
"Everybody, get your weapons!"
"Hey, look! Is this a water gun?"
"Who cares? I think I found a real gun! Huh. It says Niou M. on the base . . ."
"Well, that was close," Akaya said cheerily once they were safely seated in a nearby restaurant. "At least the cake didn't get damaged, right?"
Marui glared at him. "I've got pigeon feathers in my hair and my clothes are dirty. Let's try something else."
"Fine, fine. Let's take a more mainstream route, then. Why don't we just walk down this street? It's crowded, full of pedestrians. We'll be much safer here."
The two of them exited the restaurant without leaving a tip, which left some poor waiter very disappointed, but we won't dwell on that. For the most part, this was turning out to be a big success. Nothing strange or dangerous happening at all! Marui breathed a sigh of relief. "You know, this is a pretty good idea."
At exactly that moment, some guy who was late for a meeting barged into them, muttering a quick "Sorry," as he passed. Akaya was pushed backwards and the cake did a three-sixty in the air. Marui somersaulted to catch it, earning him a several scrapes, a few funny looks, and thankfully, one undamaged cake. He stared at Akaya pointedly, and the latter mumbled:
"So, maybe this wasn't such a good idea."
"Are you sure this is going to work?" Marui asked doubtfully.
"Trust me! The plan's flawless." The two of them were taking the bus, a rather large bus with rather large, open windows. Akaya smiled to himself. He loved the fact that the windows were open, especially because the weather was so ridiculously hot. Marui wasn't as pleased.
"The wind is messing up my hair," he complained. "And I spend hours gelling it too . . ."
Again, a few funny looks.
"What? It takes effort for a genius to look this hot. Have you ever seen a genius look so awesome? Think about it. Einstein, what's his name, Benjamin Franklin—remember their hair? God, it was horrible. And then look at me, the perfect mix of preppy and boyish, of elegance and roughness—look at that sheen! See how each glamorous tendril bounces as I turn my head?"
"Marui-senpai," Akaya groaned. "You're embarrassing me."
"But my hair is—"
Marui pointed a finger at him. "Hey, don't you diss my hair." However, the gesture was so exaggerated that it sent the cake flying right out of Akaya's arms—and out the window.
"The cake!" Akaya cried, and jumped out the window to catch it. He landed gracefully—if not loudly—on a car, and ignored the driver's angry yells. However, his balance didn't last long, and eventually he fell off and onto the road, scrambling in between rushing vehicles in an attempt not to get run over. By the time he made it to the other side of the street, he looked a bit like that Jin guy from Yamabuki: freaky and separated from civilization for about a year.
Marui gaped from inside the bus while Akaya waved the untouched box into the air as if to say, "The cake's okay!"
About fifteen close calls later, Akaya had a revelation and declared, "Let's get a taxi, and just drive home. The cake will definitely be safe then."
"But that's a waste of money."
"You spend enough money buying cakes that you don't eat. The taxi cost will barely add up to half that amount."
"I guess so."
So they took a taxi and walked the short distance to Marui's house. There were only a few stairs left, and Akaya looked forward to being able to get some rest. After all, the walk home from Marui's was only a few minutes, and he'd be able to take a short break.
"I'm exhausted," Marui moaned.
"Me too." Akaya paused to examine their wounds, cuts, and their very damaged clothing. Their hair was completely matted and dirty, and while he didn't know about Marui, his own legs felt like jelly. "But it was worth it, right? The cake is still intact." He sighed, more out of exhaustion than relief, and in that tiny moment he let his guard down (man, if Tezuka were there, Akaya would have gotten a lecture), he tripped over a staircase and fell down at the last possible moment. The cake practically jumped out of the box and landed on the ground, face down. Oh, the irony.
"No!" Marui wailed, crouching over the lost dessert.
Akaya blinked. "Well, I didn't see that one coming."
"Hello, Marui," Jackal greeted during AM tennis practice. "Are you okay? You and Akaya look like you haven't gotten any sleep at all."
There were dark bags underneath his eyes, and dried tears left streaks on his face. His lips were turned into a downward pout, and he clearly hadn't bothered to take a bath for his hair was still matted and messy.
"Marui?" Jackal prompted. "What happened?"
Marui gave Akaya a long, hard glare and grumbled, "I was SADDASS'ed."