Metaphorical Cats
by buongiornodaisy

Author's Note: Please don't ask why. I just. I don't even know. I was talking to yarbling LiveJournal about things and this idea popped into my head. Some of the dialogue is in fact inspired by things that she said. Otherwise this is all on me. Warning for extreme, eye-searing crack.

Everyone and their mother's trying to get into Akihiko Sanada's pants, and you're no exception. You like the way he looks, you like the way he talks, you like that he's got it together and is going places besides. You don't like how he holds his cards to his chest and how he's cagier than a zoo. Heaven knows if you're trying to talk to a guy it'd help if he talked back. But all this means for you is patience. You have to build up your charm and your courage, maybe even your book smarts, because Sanada won't go out with any old ditz. Then again, you aren't any old ditz to him. In Tartarus you're his leader, and he hasn't sang anything to the tune of not liking it yet.

Still, time goes on long enough that you're wondering just what you have to do to get him to talk to you. Whenever you pull him aside at the dorm or at Tartarus he gives you some loaded, I'm-a-tough-guy-and-you-should-be-too line that doesn't bring him any closer to your bedroom. You start to wonder if he's as available to you as a statue. That's a damn shame. He's a fine piece of ass and you'd like to tap that like an oil well.

Then one day you spot him on the roof staring at the sky as if it's done him wrong. You wonder why that is. You throw caution in the wind and ask him about it. He doesn't respond with anything you can use. That's okay. You ask Mitsuru and Shinjiro about it, but they don't give you anything you can use, either. They're about as cagey as Akihiko—Mitsuru less so, and Shinji more so than a prison. If he's angry about something, they say, that's his business.

You're back at zero.

You see him on the roof staring at the sky again. You feel like you want to punch something as much as he seems to want to, because his fists are clenched and he's madder than mad. You know he won't say why. You curse your luck and go about your business and wonder just when this guy's ship is going to come into your harbor. If it ever will.

The next evening you're in the dorm without any plans to go to Tartarus. You have to study, after all—but before you do, you need to grab something from the fridge. Mr. Ask Many Questions And Get No Answers is hovering nearby, so you offer him a bottle of water. He eyeballs it like it's some guy offering expensive watches on the cheap. You tell him it's just water, but he backs away and goes to his usual seat closer to the door and you wonder what the hell that was about.

Then there's the next evening. You've walked through the front door ready to ask Mitsuru-senpai if everything's clear to go to Tartarus that night, and that's when you notice it: Akihiko standing in front of lamp. Staring at it. Leaning in close to it. You forget all about Mitsuru and walk up next to it, leaning your ear in the way he is.

"Can you hear it, too?"

You jump almost five feet in the air. When you land back on your feet you see he's staring at you intensely, and your mind is gone. When it comes back he's still looking at you, and in its post-God-that's-a-sexy-look vacation daze your brain informs you that you ought to respond: "Hear what," "Yes," and "..." are your options. Choose wisely, because this could be your moment.

"Hear what?" you ask him.

"The..." He looks distressed. You wait eagerly for an answer. You don't get one: he walks away without saying another word. You could just about demolish that damn lamp.

By tomorrow you're ready to give up. He'll never talk to you, he'll never be available for you, and you should waste your time chasing lesser mortals. You eat your lunch with a storm cloud over your head and don't realize until a minute later that he's sitting next to you.


You nod your head.

"I'm sorry about running away like that last night. I was you...are you doing anything after school?"

You damn near choke on your food. And of course you say your availability is as open as the clear blue sky.

The first few dates, you know, aren't much to worry about. He's gonna drag you to his favorite hang out and eat his favorite food and talk about how much he likes cats or some shit like that. Whatever. You just smile and nod and don't say anything to upset him. You need the personae as much as you need his sweet loving.

You know you're getting to the good part when things start to get a little tricky, when you have to spend long hours walking home or training or devouring beef bowls while talking about cats. Metaphorically. One day the two of you are on the roof. You have a feeling this is going to be one of those important events. You have a feeling this is going to be g--

"Do you hear that?"

You look up at him blankly. He's doing that thing where he's staring angrily at the sky, and you get to your feet and stand next to him, staring out at the city skyline and the wind turbines that border the shore. Nice view. What was it you were supposed to be hearing.

"She was not a whore!"

Whoa, hold up. Press rewind and play again. You pry your eyes away from the nice scenery in the distance and look at the nice scenery right next to you. Boy he's pissed. He looks like he's about to go Godzilla on Iwatodai. Pity you don't now what the hell it's about.

"Who's not a whore?" you ask.

He looks at you like you're crazy. "Don't you hear that? They're calling my mother a whore!" He looks back at the sky line and clenches his fists. "The wind turbines...they're calling her a whore!"

Okay, now. What the fuck. What the fuck. Nobody said anything about him being nuts. It was all Akihiko-senpai's a dreamboat and he's such a great boxer and such a strong fighter and a bit gung-ho but who cares, he's hot! You feel like you've been duped. You want a refund.

But then he turns to look at you all hurt and it's so cute and you just can't...damn. You're sprung.

Though you wish this shit had been bought to your attention around level one or two—but when you think back on it, he was listening intently to a lamp.

It stops being about metaphorical cats. It starts being about those damn turbines and the insulting things they say to him from across the water. They say he's never been good, that he's a two-bit boxer and his persona skills suck, because if they didn't he'd be leader, right? They call him a freak because that cut on his forehead still hasn't healed. They say his taste in music is bad and he should feel bad. They also disagreed with his most recent literature essay and strongly suggested that he should re-read the book and reassess his interpretation of it. You can only reassure him that his interpretation was the correct one and that you're certain he has made a profound analysis of the novel at hand. He thanks you for your kind words and you part on amiable terms. When you regroup in Tartarus, he's walking on air. Finally, someone he can talk to about those vile, cruel turbines!

You discreetly discuss this with Mitsuru and Shinjiro. You are concerned that their close friend and classmate is veritably insane and that they should try everything in their power to get him to see someone. They blow you off, saying you're doing him plenty good. He's happy! He's smiling! Shinjiro notes that Aki hugged the television set last night, he was just that happy. The television set is one of his best friends, you understand. You're about ready to punch the bastard. He knew about Akihiko's unhealthy relationship with electric things and he didn't tell you? And now you're stuck with the crazy fool.

Well, okay, whatever. You'll just steer him away from the wind turbines. Tell him not to listen to what they have to say about his mother, his health, quantum physics, whatever. When he starts arguing with a vending machine about who's the greatest boxer of all time, because the damn vending machine interrupted him as he was celebrating his victory of acquiring two bottles instead of one, you let him. Then you wonder why he didn't buy water. Athletes like him live on that shit. So you decide to buy some bottled water for yourself, just to see what his reaction is.

Same as last time: deep suspicion.

You ask him what the hell the problem is—delicately, of course—and he gives you this long, complicated tirade about old water that you tune out about a quarter of the way through to the tune of your favorite song. Oh, yeah, you've gotta burn that dread—except that doesn't apply to you because you're a girl. Carrying on. Seems like he's done. You thank him for the enlightening lecture on old water and he smiles, all overjoyed, and asks you if you'd like to come to his room sometime.

Well. The boy's crazy, but. But. You say yes.

The inside of his room hurts what little sensitivity you have for interior design. It is overcrowded with trophies, which, you remind yourself, are not electric and thus cannot talk to Akihiko. There are a smattering of books which, you remind yourself, are not electric and thus cannot talk to Akihiko. Then there is the television set, to which Akihiko has announced your presence, and which he advises to, well, um, just look the other way if anything happens. Akihiko says the television set says hi. You wave to it. It does not wave back.

You sit down on his bed (not electric, not verbose) and talk about metaphorical cats again, then he lays it on you: "You probably think I'm weird."

No, you say. You don't think he's weird. Why would he get that impression? If anything he should believe you were merely tolerating his eccentricity just to get where you are now: in his bedroom, waiting for him to have his profound personal epiphany before you and him got it on 'till the break of dawn.

"I think I'm weird."

That was unfortunate. You debate the wisdom of putting your hand over his, but decide against it. Let him tell a little bit of his story before you go and do that.

"Ever since I could remember, these inanimate object have been talking to me. I tried to ignore them, but sometimes you get lonely. And sometimes they're the only ones there."

Now you place your hand over his. "But I'm here now," you say. You want to gag. Oh, well. It's better than laughing at him or saying nothing.

"I know. You and my friends." He smiles. It fades. "Except those damn turbines...I'll get them one day, I swear I will."

You pat him on the hand and hope he's done talking about his friends and that it'll soon be time for the bumping and grinding. It actually takes you half an hour before you realize you have to initiate that yourself.

In the end, you wonder if you wouldn't have been better served talking about metaphorical cats.

One day Akihiko pulls you aside, all excited-like, and says he wants to show you something. You agree, because you know you have one more step to take with him before you're done. You have been thoroughly disappointed with this special bond. All you have learned is that the boy is crazy and deeply inexperienced, and yet when he asks you cannot say no, because there is something sweet in the way he looks at you, talks at you—and talks at his "friends". He likes that he thinks you've accepted him for who he is, and Shinjiro has said he appreciates the wonders it's done on his friend. Now Akihiko doesn't bother him to do good in school and be an upstanding citizen to society. Because he's in love. That's what Shinjiro said: Akihiko's in love. With you.

You go with him to this place, not expecting anything outstanding in return, not expecting him to get any saner. You could just about curse when he takes you to this place. You're at the foot of those damned turbines! You don't dare ask "what the hell" for fear of breaking this bond forever and ever, so you just sit and wait for him to explain himself. Which he never does. He just stands there staring at the turbines with a manic grin on his face for hours on end. Your stomach starts to grumble. The temperature starts to drop. You start to wonder if everyone thinks you're dead or kidnapped. Your head starts to droop. You fall asleep.

You are awakened by what sounds like the most epic thunderstorm in the history of thunderstorms—end everything is green. And white, painfully white, the white of a thousand thunderbolts descending from the sky.

Akihiko is maziodyning the wind turbines.

Okay. You know what? Fuck this being nice shit. Fuck this telling people what they want to hear so you can rank up and fuse more powerful personae. Fuck this all to hell and heaven and everything in between.

"Akihiko," you say, rising to your feet, "what the hell are you doing?"

"Getting my revenge!" he cackles. "I have to defend my mother's honor!"

You want to point out that his mother is dead, but even in your rage you find that a touch callous. Suddenly the thunderstorm stops, and he turns to look at you and asks, "Do you have like a soma or something?"

"Dammit, Akihiko!" you bellow, and throw the damn thing in his face.