Title: The Feminine Mystique

Author: Amethyst Hunter

Fandom/pairing: Get Backers, Shido/Madoka

Rating: PG (mild innuendo and language, implied m/f pairings)

Warnings/Spoilers: Minor spoilers for the hospital episode.

Word count: 1145

Notes: Based on a fic prompt for the springkink LJ community. Prompt: marking – Madoka is the first to leave bruises.

A snakehead is actually a type of fish, so named because of its slight facial resemblance to you-know-what. But you know Shido, anything for a good insult he can use.

In case you couldn't guess it, the Duran Duran song Shido refers to is...Hungry Like The Wolf. I'm a sucker for bad puns. XD

Disclaimer: I don't own GB or DD; all fic is strictly for nonprofit amusement.

Summary: Shido isn't used to having the rules of the animal kingdom turned on him!

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Stalkers.

It seemed to be a habitual curse of the coffee. Many patrons who came to Paul Wan's often ended up fleeing there for refuge from whatever crazy person was tailing them. He was no exception.

Stalkers.

They all had 'em.

Even him. It was a fact of life he'd learned to live with, albeit unhappily. And though he could hold his own, that didn't make it any easier every time his own personal Florence Nightingale dropped by. Shido was tired of having to change his cell phone number. Initially, he'd let himself get suckered by the lonely woman's ecstatic declaration that his was the first male chest she'd ever had the joy of touching, and – against better judgment – allowed her to pry his number out of him, thinking that once her swooning wore off and he was long gone she'd come to her senses. He'd only done so to get the head nurse off his back – literally. Now he wished he hadn't.

He also wished their gossiping would quit. Pounding the snake bastard's face in on a daily basis wasn't nearly as much fun as he'd thought it would be now that the opportunity regularly came his way.

Next to him, Kazuki – nosy bastard – shrugged as he sipped his coffee. "She'll get over it," he said, annoying Shido further. Easy for him to say – his stalker was safely stuck in Mugenjou.

"When? When I'm an old dog trying to enjoy my peace and quiet? I don't feel like waiting that long."

Kazuki glanced at him. Shido was wearing his usual clothes, plus an extra, but he chose not to comment on it. "It's infatuation. Just a crush. No need to ruin her dreams. Let her run with it and eventually she'll clue in that you're a taken man and back off."

"Like she'll clue in to the fact that yours is a male anatomy and not a female one?" Shido shot back, resisting the urge to scratch his perspiring neck. This thing was itchier than he'd expected. And heavy. But it was all he could find on short notice.

Kazuki's placid expression didn't change, but his grip on the handle of his coffee mug solidified a little more than before. "I thought we agreed never to speak about that again," he said in a deceptively mild tone.

"Face it, Esmerelda's sight is about as short as her grasp on romance," Shido grumbled. "Why couldn't she have gone after the snakehead instead?"

"You're the one who saved her from falling down the stairs," Kazuki unhelpfully pointed out. "Besides, he has plenty to go around already, including his own partner."

"So what's one more? Ginji's not exactly what I'd count as a stalker."

"Try having food around him when the Get Backers are broke and on temp-ban from the Honky Tonk for their unpaid bills," Kazuki explained.

"Oh yeah."

The tinkle of the doorbell spared Shido further of Kazuki's ruminations. They both looked over to see who was entering, and Shido breathed a secret sigh of relief. It was only transporters. Unlike the rest of the bunch who gathered here, these two were content to keep themselves to themselves, and not revel in others' misery.

Sort of. After all, big bloody Js were a prime source of misery.

Shido turned back to his coffee, glowering at the brown liquid, wishing he'd picked a good turtleneck to wear instead. "Think the store'll still be open by ten tonight?"

"Don't know. Why?"

"Madoka gave me a grocery list this morning. Esmerelda works night shift on weekends. I can grab the stuff and get out without having her chase me through the parking lot."

"Go by horseback," Kazuki suggested. "As long as you don't have to get eggs or soda, it's a quicker escape. And it's perfectly legal for equestrian traffic so long as you mind the laws."

"Tried that once. Took me six hours to get all the knots out of Buttercup's mane and tail from where Esmerelda had grabbed on." Shido shook his head. "That woman's got seasoned rodeo riders beat for sheer endurance."

A female voice cut in. "No offense, but I think Madoka's becoming a better beastmaster than you are."

Shido turned around to see Lady Poison and Doctor Jackal regarding him with minor amusement. Himiko gestured to the long scarf wrapped around Shido's neck.

His face reddened. "It's cold out," Shido snapped. Beyond him, the window gleamed with rich sunlight outside as a group of children clad in shorts and t-shirts raced about laughing, kicking a soccer ball through the streets.

Himiko shook her head. "Trust me, Madoka knows what she's doing. Observe." She looked at Akabane. "Jackal?"

Without a word he smiled and began to undo his tie, then unbuttoned the top several buttons to his shirt and pulled it apart. Dotting his neck and collarbone were bright splotches of color ranging from light pink to dark purple.

"Exhibit A," Himiko continued, ever the proud professional. "Homicide aside, an attractive man." She pointed to Akabane's neck. "Exhibit B. Proof of claim. Perfect for warding away unwelcome attentions."

Shido and Kazuki blinked. Now that they thought about it, it had been a while since either of them had last seen a certain shrill-voiced high-schooler around...

"Small things can be dangerous things when crossed," Himiko finished smugly, while Akabane rebuttoned his shirt and fixed his tie. In silent agreement, the transporters continued on to their booth.

Kazuki regarded Shido with blatant curiosity, as Shido coughed awkwardly and tugged the scarf a little higher up on his neck. "Going to spill it, or do I have to put one of my eavesdropping threads on you?"

"Forget it, Kazuki."

"I never would have guessed, just to look at Madoka. She bites too, doesn't she?"

"Shut up, Kazuki..."

"You know, I thought Mozart's howling sounded a little unlike him when I walked past your guys' place the other night - "

"Will you knock it off?!" Shido shot to his feet, his face stained a bright drumbeat red. "Say one word of that damn Duran Duran song and I get Doc over there to stitch you a new one!"

Kazuki reached for a napkin and wiped his tearing eyes with it, his own face rosy from the effort it took to keep from bursting into laughter. "I don't know, Shido, I think you're passing up a golden opportunity here. Commitments aside, what's the one thing in the world that always makes us happy?"

Shido frowned. "Making the snake bastard suffer, of course."

"And – what do hickeys mean, other than a surefire way of ridding you of your nursing obsession?"

The bulb that ignited overhead seemed to illuminate Shido's entire body as a beatific smile suddenly overtook him. "That I'm getting laid...and he isn't!"

Kazuki grinned with him. "Lady Poison's right. Madoka's got everything under control."

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