Disclaimer : I don't own Claymore.
"Could anyone please explain what is going on here?" Miria asked confusedly as she stared at her assembled friends.
Deneve was leaning back against the wall, arms crossed over her chest. Helen was next to her, hands joined behind her head. Tabitha merely 'eeped' and turned away in embarrassment. Yuma and Cynthia were both blushing and trying to cover themselves.
And none of them was wearing a shirt, which left them quite exposed due to Claymores usually not wearing any form of undergarments, upper or lower. It would have been obvious if they had missing their pants/skirts too.
Deneve rolled her eyes. "Apparently the author decided Raki needed some desensitization practice." she said as she pointed at the male in question. Raki was sitting in a corner, his back to them and holding his hands in front of his eyes. Even from here, Miria could see his ears were red.
And to keep things fair, he was shirtless too, much to Helen's unabashed viewing pleasure. Not to mention the sneak peeks Cynthia and Yuma were giving him. Deneve was somewhere in the middle, overtly looking but expertly hiding her enjoyment.
"So come on sis! Take it off and join us!" Helen cheered. Unseen by anyone, Tabitha sneaked a glance at Miria and discreetly wiped a drop of blood from her nose.
"I'll pass, thank you." Miria replied with a raised eyebrow while her hand subtly moved closer to her sword.
Helen pouted but didn't insist. No one saw the disappointed look in Tabitha's eyes.
"But what exactly brought this on? The author has already given Raki plenty of practice in past chapters or stories." Miria asked.
"No one here ever complained." Helen laughed, drawing a round of blushes.
"You can thank Deneve for that." Cynthia glared at the short-haired warrior.
"Hey, don't pin the blame on me."
Surprisingly even the mild-mannered Yuma seemed annoyed. "For years the author has speculated how Raki would react if he ever saw our bodies. Sure he assumed he would be shocked, but wouldn't reject us because of that."
"I swear, I am not rejecting you!" Raki butted in sheepishly.
"Aww, then why are you looking away?" Helen purred as she pressed herself against the man's back, causing him to jump away. "It does look like the view is disturbing you." she added with a fake sob at the end.
"What? No!" Raki spun around only to turn away again.
"Then why won't you look?"
"Because you're all half-naked!"
"Then you do mind our bodies."
"ARGH!" He slapped his hands over his ears, clenched his eyes shut and chanted, "La la la la! Not listening!"
"Helen, stop teasing Raki." Miria snapped. "Continue, Yuma."
"Right. The difference is that now, Raki actually knows. So with those speculations answered, the author decided he needed to get used to it."
"So I don't see why you're blaming me." Deneve snorted.
"And whose idea was it to flash Raki and be so dramatic about it? Who went up to him and ripped off her own shirt, with no warning whatsoever, and in front of a bunch of children to boot?" Cynthia asked sarcastically.
Deneve shrugged. "Helen voiced her concerns if Clare comes back naked, I took the matter in my own hands."
"And you couldn't have handled it differently? I don't know, ask to talk to him in private, tell him the problem and then calmly take off your shirt to show him." the pig-tailed warrior challenged.
"I'll admit Deneve, even I was shocked. Sure you're no stranger to clothing damage, but ripping off your own shirt… I'm still amazed it was still wearable after that, heck I distinctly remember scraps of fabric flying around." Helen admitted to her friend. "And honestly, for what? Just so you could ask him to hug Clare when she comes out. There had to be an easier way."
"And now because of you we're all forced to stand here topless. Sorry Raki, we have nothing against you, but the situation is making us all very uncomfortable." Cynthia finished.
"It's okay, I understand." Raki flashed her a grin before blushing and turning away as he got an eyeful.
"I don't mind that much." Helen objected.
"Besides even if I had handled it differently, do you honestly think the author would have wasted the opportunity?" Deneve snorted.
"It would have happened either way. At least he didn't make us do it completely naked."
Unseen by anyone, Raki wiped away a drop of blood from his nose.
"Damn it Deneve! Don't give him ideas!" Yuma shrieked, fully expecting to have their last remnants of modesty removed.
Coin toss : heads, I go with it. Tails, I give them a break.
Tails. You got lucky.
"Thank you God." They all breathed a sigh of relief.
There's still next time. Raki may need that one too you know.
"If I had know it would get like this… Clare'd better thank me for this." Deneve muttered as, despite what people may think, she was not an exhibitionist.
"Oh, and how exactly do you expect her to thank you?" Helen grinned evilly. "Ask her to let you borrow her hunk once in a while?"
Raki coughed loudly while Deneve blushed.
"This is so messed up." Miria groaned.
"Tch. Not more than some of the things you ever came up with." Deneve snorted.
"Like cutting me up, Captain..." Tabitha chided.
"And charging the Organization alone." Yuma finished.
"I'll never live that down, will I?" Miria whimpered.
"Or your more recent 'carebear Miria' moment, hiding the truth Rimuto revealed from us." Helen stated, watching Miria shrinking a bit.
"Let's not forget your reasoning of Cassandra being the strongest of the three new Abyssals. The killing blow to Hysteria was pure accident, and Roxanne's defeat came from her attitude more than her lack of strength." Deneve said.
"Tch, you're not much better at times, Dr. Deneve." Miria shot back.
"Still, just because Cassandra ate Roxanne does not mean she got stronger from it. This is Claymore, not DBZ." Cynthia reminded.
"Yeah, fights are not that straight here." Helen nodded.
"Still, Cassandra did look the strongest of the three once she got serious. So…" Miria started.
STOP! I don't want any Roxanne VS. Cassandra debate here, there is enough of that on the forums! Besides people have been arguing Teresa VS. Priscilla for YEARS and have yet to reach an agreement.
"You know, speaking of Priscilla, things are going to hit the fan again pretty soon." Helen said with a glance at Raki.
"Well, big sis, your clever plan is that the hunk's voice, over there, will reach Clare inside the blob. Then in theory Cassandra might turn on Priscilla and hopefully we might get an opportunity to finish her."
"I did say it was a long shot." Miria reminded.
"A long shot? Do you want to know how many things can go wrong? First the fact that Clare's boy toy has been with Priscilla with seven years so he might reach her instead of Clare! Would you take that risk if you knew this?" Helen shouted. "Honestly, he has yet to figure out that she's the Awakened we're pissing our pants about, or that her 'gift' is what was used to reanimate the former #1s."
"Hey, how am I supposed to know what Dae did with that arm? How am I supposed to put it together when you conveniently keep referencing Priscilla as the 'target of revenge', despite you hearing Clare say her name? I mean, yes I knew she was an Awakened, but I didn't know she was beyond an Abyssal." Raki shot back.
"Unless of course he has realized and is keeping quiet so we take him along." Deneve pondered with narrowed eyes.
"Oh come on, do you honestly think I'm that obsessed with Clare?"
"Possibly." A metaphorical arrow pierced Raki's heart.
"Potentially." Second arrow.
"Maybe." Third arrow.
"Okay I get it!"
Cynthia shrugged. "Anyway, what he's been up to during those seven years may be discussed during the trip. If we go by boat, we won't have much to do."
"I can think of a couple of things…" Helen grinned lecherously.
"I know it's going to hit the fan when he tells us." Deneve sighed. "Seven years with two Awakened. That's no miracle, that's sheer insanity."
"By the way, does anyone here know how to operate a boat?" Miria asked.
"Just great. Wanna bet we'll get caught in a storm or drift to a deserted island?" Deneve grumbled.
"A deserted island… with Captain…" Tabitha blushed.
"And a hot guy." Helen smirked. "I must say I kinda like the idea."
"I don't think so." Yuma objected. "Yagi will probably ignore the problem and we will make it to Rabona without much difficulties."
"Then the problems will start again." Cynthia finished.
"Yup, Priscilla will be back, best case we'll be in the middle of a fight between her and Cassandra…" Helen counted.
"More like one-sided slaughter." Deneve corrected.
"Worst case, Cassandra won't snap out of it and we'll have to deal with both of them. By the way, let's not forget Dae and Rubel are still at large." Helen counted. "Maybe we should take Rachel with us."
"I wonder if my promise to the trainees counts as plot armor, because I think the old one will expire soon." Raki mused, holding his chin in his hand.
"What do you mean?" Miria asked.
"Well, turns out that my use as Priscilla's morality pet was a big sham, so I guess my sole purpose is now to reach Clare inside the blob. Then I won't any purpose in this manga and Yagi can get rid of me, maybe to get Clare mad enough to finish Priscilla." he explained. "Look at it : Flora's role was to show the Windcutter, which became Clare's main skill post-timeskip, then she was killed. Likewise, Jean paid her debt and died. Even Anastasia, who conveniently had an ability that helped against Hysteria, was strangely absent in this chapter."
"At least Anastasia is alive." Yuma said.
"Yes, looks like Yagi mellowed a bit." Cynthia replies.
"NNOOOOOOOOO!" Everyone but Raki turned at Helen's anguished scream. "I don't want the hunk to die! He hasn't hugged me yet!" She mock-cried as she proceeded to glomp the man from behind and, considering their state of dress, give him an interesting feel of her chest.
*Purr* *Purr* *Rub* *Squeeze* *Grope*
"Helen! Your hands!" Raki squeaked.
Miria glanced at the group. "Fine, let's see if we can get this boat to work, and for God's sake, put on your shirts!" she hissed the last part. As they moved, Helen stopped near Miria.
"By the way… Hey Raki, can I ask you something?"
"Huh, sure Helen, what is it?"
"I need a man's opinion on an age old question…"
"Helen!" Miria shrieked with a mix of anger and shame, clutching her now topless torso and trying to hide her sizeable assets from view as Helen had suddenly and unexpectedly ripped her shirt off. Tabitha passed out from a nosebleed at the sight, and Raki promptly turned away, idly thinking that this desensitization practice was working at least.
"Are Deneve's boobs indeed bigger than Miria's?" Helen finished slyly.