October weather in New Orleans was never very cold, but in keeping with the season, the fire in the family library was lit. The multitude of fall colors rivaled even the fire's rich glow as they rustled in the fall breeze, inaudible through the large, floor-length windows of the library. Aloysius was curled up—quite elegantly—in one of the leather wing-back chairs near the fire, wholly intent upon the copy of Macbeth that was propped in his lap.
Diogenes sauntered silently into the room, earning only a flicker of a glance from his brother as he began attentively running an elegant forefinger over the spines of the books directly behind Aloysius. A few minutes passed in this fashion, until Diogenes plucked at random a book of unnecessary weight from the shelf, and set to meandering silently, directly toward the back of his brother's chair. Aloysius rolled his eyes very lightly.
"Don't," he stated, not even halting his reading for a moment as Diogenes quickly turned on his heel, replaced the book with mild disdain upon the shelf, and walked deeper in the maze of shelves.
Aloysius sighed and laid aside his book, finally cracking under the annoyance of the perpetual rustling that had dominated the library's silence for the past 10 minutes. He tread briskly towards Diogenes' usual haunt at the back of the library, unsurprised at the silence that fell seconds before his brother came into view. An all too innocent expression hung upon Diogenes' features, completely disproving his unspoken claim that he'd been reading the book in his lap this entire time. Aloysius leaned against a book shelf.
"What do you want?" he queried in a rather exasperated tone, fixing his brother with an emotionless stare.
"'Want', frater?" Diogenes looked slowly up from his book, barely maintaining his innocent, and now, confused tone.
Aloysius raised an un-amused eyebrow. "Very well, then," he said, and turned back in the direction from which he had just come.
"Wait," sighed Diogenes, and Aloysius turned back to face him. "I'm bored."
Aloysius smiled lightly. "Bored? You? Now, I can hardly be expected to believe that. You usually seem to have no lack of troublesome ideas."
Diogenes glared. "Play with me."
"Play with you," Aloysius intoned back at him, only allowing a mild note of mocking incredulity to color his expression. "What did you have in mind, if you don't mind my asking?"
"I've thought up a game," said Diogenes, perking lightly at his brother's, albeit mild, interest.
"I don't find that a comforting thought," mused Aloysius, fixing his brother with a bemused, questioning stare. "Tell me about this…'game'."
Diogenes smirked lightly. "It's quite simple, really," he said, gesturing towards the maze of shelves. "Can you think of a better suited place for a game of Predator?"
Aloysius chuckled quietly. "I'm expected to let you stalk me through the library?"
"Scared, brother?" Diogenes mocked.
Aloysius sighed. "Fine, fine. State the terms of engagement."
Diogenes grinned. "You have ten seconds to disappear. You get touched, you loose. I can't run unless I can see you… and you can't leave the room."
Aloysius pondered this for a second. "So be it. Begin," he stated, bowing slightly; he couldn't help treating the game like what it really was: A duel. Diogenes, being of the same mind, matched his bow, and began his slow count as Aloysius vanished. He wove methodically among the shelves, wakening all of his senses to their highest level of perception, as the game demanded. His breathing slowed, fighting the quarry mentality that was signature of this game, knowing that elsewhere, Diogenes was reveling in the matching predatory rush that the game offered, with its promise of imaginary blood. He heard Diogenes finish his count of ten, and began to feel, more than hear, the bloodthirsty pursuance begin.
Diogenes trotted down the middle row of the library, stretching the periphery of his vision down the length of isles to either side of him. Just a glimpse was all he needed… the game wouldn't be as fun if the quarry were allowed to fight back.
Aloysius leaned against the end of a shelf as he heard Diogenes sweep past, merely a row away. "Such an obvious tactic…" he silently mused, rolling his eyes, before he took off again, tacking an almost pattern-less course. He wouldn't be caught by any thoughtless sweep.
Diogenes caught the merest flutter out of the corner of his eye, and calmly veered in its direction. He reached the point where he had spotted Aloysius, but he was long gone. Diogenes smirked. Leave it to Aloysius to keep it fun. So many others had made such... easy prey.
Aloysius panted lightly, attempting to hold his breath. Diogenes had stepped out of nowhere. If he moved now, it was over. Must be silent… Must be silent… He ventured a slight step back. And another…
His pant leg brushed against an out reaching book.
Diogenes whipped around, just in time to see Aloysius silently sprinting around a corner. "Finally…" Diogenes hissed, as he took off in hot pursuit.
"Damnit," Aloysius whispered to himself as he heard Diogenes shedding all attempts at stealth; setting his mind purely on speed. Aloysius did the same, but he kept his eyes open for any opportunity to escape. His only chance was to get lost again; he'd never been able to out-run Diogenes.
Diogenes smirked, effortlessly staying on his brother's tail, regardless of how sharply he darted around corners. He stopped… and quietly stalked off in the other direction…
Aloysius allowed himself a mild grin of triumph—he'd shaken him! He kept up his sprint at few rows further; he had no wish to be caught again too quickly. He rounded one last corner, and it took him a few seconds to realize he had just collided with his exceedingly smug looking brother. With a bark of triumphant laughter, Diogenes diffused the collision by slamming Aloysius into the bookshelf behind them.
Their eyes widened as the bookshelf tipped, and as the dominoes fell they both adopted a horror-stricken silence...
One rather elaborate lecture later, they found themselves ordered outside, tasked with meting out justice to the sea of fallen leaves trespassing upon their front lawn. Both, having recovered from their moment of shared dread, now glared daggers at each other as they stalked, dejectedly, through their new quarry.
"This is all your fault," Diogenes hissed at length, throwing down his issued rake.
"My fault?" Aloysius spat, turning with an expression of the upmost incredulity. "The game was your idea in the first place, and if you had just fallen properly, instead of giving me a concussion, nothing would have happened! Now: rake."
Aloysius turned away again, and with the upmost disgust, began venomously raking leaves. With a mocking sneer, Diogenes retrieved his rake; not in obedience to Aloysius, but at the thought of what would happen were he to be caught with his rake on the ground by higher authorities.
Diogenes was half-heartedly raking leaves, wishing he was raking his brother instead, when slowly an imperceptible smirk played across his lips. Silently, he stole across the lawn towards Aloysius' steadily growing pile of leaves.
One well aimed swipe of his rake, and more than half of Aloysius' leaves were once again strewn across the grass.
Aloysius didn't even turn. "Put them back," he ordered darkly. Diogenes chuckled, mildly pacified, and returned to his half of the lawn.
Aloysius was raking with more venom than most could muster, but even after a half-hour of this, the leaves were as yet insufficient to diffuse his feelings on the matter. Studying Diogenes out of the corner of his eye, he carefully made his way across the developing Berlin Wall of leaves, and stole silently behind his unsuspecting prey. Carefully positioned, and as yet, unperceived, he leveled his rake handle, and swiftly pegged Diogenes in the base of the spine with it.
Diogenes yelped as he wheeled on Aloysius, rake tines brandished. Aloysius quickly flipped his rake, affording himself the same defense.
"You're going to get it, Aloysius," Diogenes growled, as he took a trial swipe at his brother, who blocked his blow easily, then twisted his rake, tangling both their sets of tines together, and yanked his brother's weapon away. He threw both rakes aside, just in time to not be impaled as Diogenes tackled him violently into the pile of leaves.
The half-pinned Aloysius managed to free a hand long enough to grind a fistful of leaves into Diogenes' face before it was once again pinned. Aloysius suppressed the flicker of foreboding that he felt; being pinned beneath Diogenes had never ended well...
Diogenes smirked. "You've been asking for this, frater," he laughed, as he prepared to strike. Aloysius winced, but the blow never fell. Instead, Diogenes slipped quickly off of him, and kicked the vast majority of leaves over him. Aloysius spluttered, having gotten leaves in his mouth, as he scrambled out of the leaves, only to be met by another shower of them. Diogenes repressed a giggle at the sight of his straight-laced brother now quite ruffled and covered in leaves.
Aloysius laughed helplessly at the odd turn of events as he dragged Diogenes into the leaves with him, and proceeded to keep him buried. Diogenes fought valiantly, but was laughing far too hard to get the upper hand. Finally finding the opening he needed, he pounced on Aloysius, and began the serious task of peppering him with leaves.
When their father opened the door to call them in he expected many things—but not a pair of leaf-covered, giggling idiots. He stood, stunned for a moment, as he observed their uncharacteristic cavorting, then smiled affectionately to himself, and returned to the house.
"Best not to bother them…" he mused.
Thanks for reading! I'm still getting used to this whole fanfiction-writing-thing, so forgive my noobishness. :P
Many, many thanks to my wonderous Beta and Editor, Echo-Senpai!