Duran-kun and Kiyo-chan's Omake Theater

(featuring the Kuga-Fujino family pets)

"So that takes care of the Nemean Lion. What's up next?" Mai asked.

"I don't see why we have to study Classical mythology anyway," her boyfriend—one of them, anyway—groused.

"I can't argue with Tate there," Natsuki said. "I mean, shouldn't we start with Japanese mythology first? Or maybe Chinese—but our culture doesn't even have its roots in Greek and Roman civilization, so why are we suffering through it now? Not to mention the content; most of these so-called 'heroes' are just jumped-up thugs who ran around killing people and taking their stuff. Plus there's their attitudes towards women. If Medea had flambéd Jason instead of the kids, I'd call her the hero of that story."

A chorus of firm nods and "Mm-hms!" broke out from the girls at the table. The second-year friends were gathered at Natsuki's house for a study session since, in Mai's irrepressible logic, Natsuki had a house instead of a dormitory apartment. Since Natsuki's girlfriend Shizuru was off at university classes and the guests had brought food, it seemed like a decent plan.

"You getting a bit nervous, Tate?" Kazuya asked his fellow male.

"That wouldn't be very fair, if Mai sicced Kagutsuchi on Tate for dating another girl," Yukino remarked primly.

"That's not the same thing at all," Chie said. "Tate and Reito both want to date Mai; they're just letting her take her time deciding."

"Unless they've got other reasons for keeping the relationship the way it is," Aoi added.

"Ooh, I hadn't thought of that!" Yukino said. "Do you really think that's possible?"

"No, it isn't!" Tate shouted.

"Though you figured out what they meant right away, didn't you?" noted Kazuya, casting male solidarity to the winds.

"Kanzaki spends more time looking pretty than any girl I know," Natsuki put in, "so I can see how Tate could make the mistake, and—argh! What in the name of Heaven am I saying!?"

"One of us! One of us!" Chie and Aoi chanted teasingly.

"Your girlfriend's a bad influence on you," Mai played the sage. "Or maybe a good influence?"

Kazuya looked over at Akane.

"Just for the record, I really love you for being exactly who you are," he told his girlfriend.

"You too, Kazu!"

Natsuki would have made gagging sounds, but there was a distinct threat it would somehow get back to Shizuru that she was mocking the lovey-dovey couple and that was a risk no sane woman would take. Instead she rapped her knuckles on the table.

"Look, people, fun as this is, we've got eleven more Labors to get through and I want this crowd out of here before Shizuru comes home for dinner."

Chie wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.

"Oho, eager to get some alone time with the wifey?"

Much to Natsuki's surprise, the Kuga Death Glare actually wiped the smile off the gossip-hound's face. Weird, that never works on this crowd.

"Ahem, right, the second Labor of Hercules," Mai stepped in. "That was the Lernaean Hydra, wasn't it?"

Five snakelike purple heads popped up from under the table where Kiyohime had been snuggling Natsuki's feet. After a muffled thump, the third head woozily emerged to join the others.

"You need to either look where you're going or stop going underneath stuff," Natsuki advised it.

"Apparently, the Lernaean Hydra was a rampaging monster with nine heads," Yukino said, checking her textbook. Kiyohime greeted this news with startled hissing.

"Aw, she doesn't like it that the hydra is a bad guy?" Akane said.

"It's like Natsuki said about the 'heroes' being thugs and villains," Aoi agreed, but Kiyohime was shaking her heads. "Huh, that's not it?"

Several heads snaked out and, snatching up stray pencils, arranged nine of them in a row.

"You mean, it's that it had nine heads?"

Kiyohime nodded, shivering a little.

What's so scary about that?" Tate wondered. "I mean, you've got six of them already—ow, what was that for?" he yelped. Mai had reached over and given him a forehead flick.

"Yuuichi, just because you're the 'ordinary guy' boyfriend doesn't mean you have to try to be insensitive."

Natsuki didn't get it either and she lived with Kiyohime, but she was bright enough not to say that out loud while sitting within Mai's reach.

"What? I don't get it! What's the big difference?" Tate did the necessary asking anyway.

Mai sighed.

"You'd think a giant with an extra head was scary, wouldn't you?"

"Well, yeah, that would be freaky."

"And what about Cerberus?" Yukino skipped several Labors ahead. "He's not just frightening because he's a huge magical dog, but because he has three heads."

From somewhere behind her, Duran woofed in agreement, though Natsuki wasn't entirely sure that a canine made of metal with built-in cannon was really in any position to criticize other dogs' physical idiosyncrasies.

"And the Lernaean Hydra has not just one or two, but three extra heads. Think how creepy that must be for Kiyohime!" Mai finished up. Kiyohime nuzzled her, clearly thankful that someone understood.

Tate and Natsuki both looked at the hydra dubiously, not really following the logic. Frankly, to Natsuki once something had its second natural head, any extras weren't all that odd, but then, she wasn't a hydra.

"You know," Akane pointed out, "it says here that the reason the Lernaean Hydra was such a fierce monster was that whenever one of its heads was cut off, two more grew back in its place. That had to happen at least once for people to hear about it, so maybe it actually started with the normal six?"

With a sound that could only be described as a squeak, six purple heads vanished under the table.

"Not helping, Akane."

"Let's just move on to the third Labor," Chie suggested. "At least, I don't think any of you people's weird pets is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?"

They weren't, but Kiyohime bit her on the toe just in case.

~X X X~

A/N: Happy (one day late) Year of the Snake, Kiyohime!

Also, for the curious, the Drama CDs reveal that Yukino is right up there with Aoi in her knowledge of yaoi. Just in case anyone was afraid she was being wildly OOC even for a humor fic with that!

In additional news, you may notice that the Omake Theater has cover art now! Yep, Krystal of Nol did a ravingly cute pic of Duran-kun and Kiyo-chan playing with Shizuru and Natsuki plushies, completely unsolicited(!), and let me use it for the cover. The link's in my profile, so people can go look at the full-size version at DA and join the squeeing.