Ain't Bad but Worse.

It was supposed to be a fairly simple reconnaissance mission. Nai had said he had heard Karoku at the city they had been, but among the people he hadn't actually seen him: no-one ever doubted Nai's hearing abilities, so Gareki was going because he wasn't going to leave Nai to go alone and Yogi was going to protect them.

However, everything had turn wrong way too fast: instead of finding the mysterious Karoku they had found defective vargas: not quite as strong as the ones in Kafka, but strong enough that they were more than a match for just Yogi. And there were, also, hired guns protecting the creatures.

They barely made it inside some sort of theater that, luckily enough, was having a show, the backstage left open. The music and the noise was too loud for Nai. Gareki and Yogi shared a glance. They could easily outrun them and fight if they needed to, but to do so with Nai there...

"Here," Gareki said, opening a cupboard. It was too small to fit either he or Yogi, but it should be just big enough for Nai to hide. "Nai, get in here."

"But... Gareki and Yogi..." the kid said, his hands still half covering his ears.

Yogi held the boy's shoulders, pushing him a little to walk. They barely had enough time.

"We'll come back for you when it's safe, little Nai," Yogi added with a soft smile. Nai still seemed about to cry.


"Please, Nai?" Yogi asked, a hand to Nai's head. "I promise, okay?"

Nai looked up, over Yogi's shoulders at him. Gareki nodded, and, with a little sniffle, Nai crawled inside the cupboard. It wasn't easy even for him to stay there, having to hold his legs and keep his head down, but when Yogi put the dirty blanket on top of him, he was invisible.

"We'll be back as soon as we can, little Nai," Yogi whispered before he closed the doors. Gareki put a few boxes covering part of the cupboard: not completely, in case that somehow they got trapped, at least Nai could still run away, but enough that they wouldn't think twice about checking there.

And then they had to run away, fast as they could, before that scenario could come true.

Gareki had, more or less, kissed whatever dignity he might have had before goodbye after he had picked up Nai, who ended up not only being a wide eyed pretty kid, but actually an animal: his badass score had pretty much died a fluffy dead at that.

But, somehow the fact that he and Yogi were hiding among silk dresses and lace undergarments was even worse.

"I am NOT," he muttered to Yogi, hand closed tight around Yogi's shirt, "Staying here. You can hide if you want to but I'm--"

Yogi, who had been looking apologetic, as if he was going to try to calm him down, suddenly froze and moved a hand to cover Gareki's mouth, frowning a bit. After a few moments, he nodded.

"You're right, we can't stay here." He took his hand from Gareki's mouth, still crouching as he moved around a bit among the boxes and trunks.

"Who said anything about 'we', you can stay here," Gareki muttered again. He missed his gun, or any gun, really, the independence he had when working on his own. If he was working on his own he wouldn't have to worry about Nai making some noise and getting himself killed, or Yogi believing he was responsible for him because dammit, he was not a kid to be handled.

Either Yogi didn't hear him or he had pretended he didn't hear him. He had been probably distracted by the clothes, since he turned around, beaming at Gareki as he waved a pair of wigs, one of them pink and curly haired.

"If you even think I'm going to dress up as a woman..." Gareki started, trying to think of a good enough threat about what he was going to do even at the suggestion.

Yogi, however, was already combing his hair out of his face, ties and hairpins coming from his trouser pockets to keep it away.

"Just choose one," Yogi said, almost giddy. Gareki had seen him act like that before a Circus show, as if he was a kid himself going to see the entertainment. "And some clothes! I think they're doing 'The Sand Thieves' so there should be more than enough extra wardrobe. We have a show based on the story at Circus, and you should see all the costumes it needs"

Gareki rolled his eyes but he started undressing as well, muttering about idiots and about his own luck that seemed to get him involved with them.

Yogi seemed completely at ease with the costume changes, while Gareki thoroughly missed his jacket. Apparently 'The Sand Thieves' costumes involved loose pants that tied around the hips, open vest in vibrant colors and more bracelets and bangles than Gareki cared for. Used s he was about trying to go unnoticed, the sudden change was grating to him, especially considering the blue wig he had had to wear to hide his black hair. He decided to resent Yogi, who had chosen to wear the pink wig, tying some of the complicated curls into a ponytail. There wasn't, really, much point to the costumes, since the fabric was almost completely see through as it was.

At the very least, he was better about lying than Yogi would ever be. When they were questioned, he just muttered that they were new there, dragging Yogi before he could ruin it by opening his mouth to add anything. Of course, it meant that they were taken inside the house, but Gareki had noticed the people that were following them moving through the crowd. It would be easier, he thought, to escape through the front, and then come back for Nai.

And then, as they were walking behind stage, he got a glimpse of the show. By the way Yogi had frozen, he did the same, and unless he was very mistaken about Circus' shows, Gareki was sure that this was quite different. Circus' show probably involved keeping the clothes on, and much less moaning and gasping.

"You got us into a whoring house," he hissed at Yogi, whose blush was rolling down his neck towards his chest.

"I didn't know!" Yogi whispered back at him, raising his hands. "It seemed just a normal theater!"

Before Gareki could either yell at Yogi some more or something (which would, more likely, involve more yelling) he noticed the two men that had been chasing him striding forward. There really wasn't much to do: Gareki grabbed Yogi's vest, dragged him up close against him so that Gareki's back would be against a wall so that he could still be aware of their surroundings and he kissed him.

Yogi's shock was instant, and Gareki never liked having to distract people like this: for starters, it always gave the wrong idea, always causing more problems than he cared to deal with. But considering that their options were fighting and thus probably injuring a lot of people, most likely including Nai who would, undoubtedly, run out of his hiding spot once he heard they were in danger, and this...

Gareki's wish for temporary telepathy were, apparently, granted when Yogi unfroze, apparently having heard the two gorillas' voices. He unfroze from the shock, pressing Gareki more against the wall, a hand to Gareki's hip, thumb rubbing the skin above the pants, his other hand moving behind Gareki, so that it seemed he was caressing his ass instead of looking as if he was getting ready to call his sword if they ended up needing it.

He pressed a hand to the wall, eyes half closed, keeping track of the two armed men. Yogi moved as if he couldn't wait to get closer, a leg pressing between Gareki's, the silk of the pants almost tantalizing. Now the way the costumes were made made sense to Gareki. They were supposed to display the body without showing it completely, offering whispers of sight, hints of an erection, of a leg. Dancing costumes, in a way, but with more intent than simply seduce.

They were, most definitely, going to show that he had an erection if Yogi kept moving his leg like that. Gareki cursed being a teenager silently, biting a bit at Yogi's lip as a warning for him not to get that much into this role.

Over Yogi's shoulder, Gareki saw one of the two men talking to the security guards, and he saw that guard pointing towards them. He felt Yogi tense and he got ready, too, because the fight was about to start and he had to start thinking about what he could use to run away, now or sooner.

"Get ready," Yogi whispered against his lips, not moving yet. The man's hand was under his jacket, ready to bring out his gun.

But then an explosion outside, and one that Gareki had not prepared before hand, was enough to distract the man even for just a second.

"Now!" Yogi yelled, his sword ready. Gareki ran towards the exit, Yogi behind him.

It had been Nai, in the end, who saved them. He had gotten worried and had run away from the cupboard ("I told you not to do that, dimwit!" "Ouch! Gareki don't do thaaaat!") and since they had missed their cue to return to the ship, he had run into the person who had been sent to make sure they were okay.

Of course, it couldn't be Tsukumo the one who was sent for them, oh, no. Tsukumo would have frowned at them and then she would have scolded them for giving Nai a bad example, but that would have been all. But no, it had to be Eva, from all people, who saw what they were wearing and broke down laughing even while they fought, and kept on laughing after they managed to catch the two gorillas. Gareki was sure that by the end of the day, everyone was going to hear about it.

"At least we didn't get hurt," Yogi said, cuddling with Nai, who was poking at the curls of the wig that Yogi hadn't taken off yet.

Gareki glared at him, thought about the kiss, about how Yogi had felt up close and refused to answer at all.