Be Careful of Watching TV Before a Movie Starts

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'The Oxyura vittata is native to Chile and Argentina, sometimes migrating in winter to southern Brazil and Paraguay.'

The camera panned to show a large sparkling blue lake. Hotsuma plopped down into the sofa next to Shusei.

'The movie's going to start in a few minutes,' Yuki piped up from between Shusei and Tsukumo.

'Okay.' Hotsuma stretched his legs and crossed his arms. For all intents and purposes, it looked like he was sulking, having been bullied - and yes Shusei could bully - into watching some boring movie instead of playing a game. But really, this- this wasn't so bad. Touko was writing something on a notepad, getting some homework in before the movie started, no doubt. Tsukumo was eating cookies. Yuki and Shusei were actually watching the tv, or at least looking in the direction of the screen. It was obvious though Yuki's thoughts were miles away. Shusei was his usual unreadable self. Unreadable to everyone but Hotsuma. He knew the signs that others barely noticed. He looked for them now, and was thankful to find none. Shusei looked better these days, since he started eating properly again.

Ever since coming back. Hotsuma should-

Yuki sat bolt up right, Tsukumo choked on his snacks and Touko stopped writing. Hotsuma looked from a wide-eyed Shusei to the tv and wished he hadn't.

Touko was the first to point. 'What...is that? Is that...?'

'Looks like it,' Shusei said after a few seconds of horrified silence.

'Why-why-why why does it have to be that long? You don't need as much-'

'Touko-chan!' Tsukumo interrupted, scandalized.

'It's half as long as its body.'

'Oi, Shusei!' Hotsuma felt his ears redden with embarrassment, even though it was just a du-

Shusei looked at him. 'What's wrong? What they're doing is only natural.'

Hotsuma gaped at his partner. That tone of his as if he was talking about dairy instead of- no, no, don't think about it. Nobody should have to think about it, ever, or see it. Least of all those poor innocent households who were in front of the tv just waiting for the movie to start. And Shusei wasn't helping things, with that smile just waiting around the corner. It made the whole thing about ten times as funny, but it wasn't helping! And he knew it, damn it, behind that mask he was laughing his ass off.

'It's not natural!' Hotsuma hissed. He stabbed a finger at the tv. 'It's shaped like a corkscrew!'

'Hotsuma-kun!' Yuki yelped.

'...lasso a female who tries to escape from it.'

The accompanying visual stopped all conversation, froze all movement. Reiga swooping down on them and turning them into ice statues couldn't have done a better job.

'Is this the movie?'

The Zweilt and their charge turned as one in the sofa, flying to their feet to block the view.

'No!' they yelled.

It was a rare treat to see Luka Crosszeria caught off guard and Hotsuma would really like to savor the moment but that-that freak of nature was still going at it and there was a lady in the room, not to mention a Duras who already didn't think much of most humans. What they should do was lower his opinion of them even more, yeah!

'Sorry, Luka,' Yuki apologized, awkwardly rubbing the back of his head. 'The movie's just about to start.'

'The males often try to force copulation...'

Hotsuma and Tsukumo both dived at the coffee table. The remote got knocked off and fell on the carpet.

'...but the complex mating geometry allows the females to retain control.'

The remote casing had busted open. Two batteries lay on the carpet. Tsukumo grabbed them and started putting them back in with the fervor of desperation.

'Most of the forced copulations do not result in successful fertili-'

Hotsuma lunged at the tv. The image disappeared in a flash.

An unnatural silence settled upon the living room. It was eventually broken by the bravest of them - or at least the only one who could brave Luka without receiving the demon death glare.

'Eh...Eh, Luka...I made some hot snacks, they should be just about ready,' Yuki said. 'Can you help me get them?' He gestured at the kitchen.

'Sure.'

The Duras turned his black-clad back to them and followed Yuki. Tsukumo stood up next to Hotsuma, remote reassembled. He looked at it as if it was controlling a hellish device that would unleash untold horrors upon the world when turned on.

He wasn't far off.

'Should I-'

'Give it a few more minutes.'

'Right.'

Tsukumo sat back down. Touko rejoined him. She was still holding the notebook but Hotsuma doubted she'd be writing anything anytime soon. Hotsuma eventually settled back in the sofa too, next to Shusei.

'To think, Hotsuma, if you'd stayed in your room playing games, you would have missed out on all of this.'

Hotsuma looked at him. The smile came round the corner, a full on one, unreserved, untinged by sadness. Hotsuma's eyes widened for a moment, then he grinned.

Wouldn't miss it for the world.

'Cork it.'


A/N The title of the eppy is a reference to Gintama, and the narrator is quoting Wikipedia ^^