"Sen-paaaii," came the familiar whine.
"Ushishishi. What is it, Froggy?"
"Remind me why I'm here again?"
Stab. "Because I said so."
"Isn't that a movie title?" Fran reached up to tug a couple of knives out of his hat.
For some bizarre reason, Lussuria had decided to take the Varia out to a strip club. Xanxus had forced everyone to go after he realised that Lussuria would be paying for their drinks. Unfortunately, an unforeseen storm had caught them unawares, and now they were all drenched from head to toe.
Xanxus was blatantly ignoring the busty pole dancers in favour of chugging his tenth bottle of tequila, while Squalo was busy glaring at anyone who came too close to either of them. Ah, middle-aged love.
Levi, with eyes for no one but Xanxus, similarly ignored the performers and instead was challenging other patrons to arm-wrestling matches. He incapacitated six patrons, broke four tables and was kicked out of the club and never seen again in this story.
Lussuria was busy ogling the male performers and chatting up a few patrons at the bar. Sadly he was getting nowhere, as nearly everyone was creeped out by the soaking wet guy with weird hair who wore sunglasses indoors at night, and those who weren't were off their heads on a full evening of alcohol and under the impression that they were talking to a Cyclops-peacock hybrid.
Which left only the babies of the squad. Fran was huddled in a corner of the club, dripping rainwater on his bar stool and impassively studying a spot of mould on the wall. It was shaped like a spot of mould. Fascinating. Meanwhile, Belphegor was flicking knives at him at random intervals, downing shots of some strangely coloured cocktail that probably had a really intentionally-awkward-sounding name.
"Ushishishi. Nothing like Sex on the Beach, followed by a Screaming Orgasm," Bel sighed in contentment as he downed his oddly-named pineapple drink. Fran shot him a weird look, which he ignored.
"Butt Sex or a Blow Job?" He waved two different glasses under Fran's nose, which wrinkled in distaste.
"No thanks, senpai, I don't feel that way about you." Belphegor shrugged and sipped his drink. Fran had only had soft drinks, but he could have sworn he heard an odd "Kufufufu" coming from the piña colada as it slid down Bel's throat. Which led to very strange and possibly perverted mental images. Fran could hear the clearly audible gulp as Bel finished the cocktail in one. Make that very bad mental images. Maybe he really did need alcohol after all.
"Vodka tonic on the rocks." Bel looked surprised, then grinned.
"Froggy's finally coming out of his shell," he said approvingly.
"Frogs don't have shells, senpai." Fran ducked neatly as another knife soared past his head and buried itself in the spot of mould. He ignored its shrieks of agony in favour of reaching over and retrieving a pack of yoghurt from Lussuria's man-purse.
"Ushishishi. Only you would come to a strip club, ignore the strippers and eat yoghurt," Bel snickered, now nursing something called Suck, Bang & Blow!
"I didn't want to come in the first place, senpai," Fran pointed out. "And the peacock does have good taste in yoghurt." Bel pondered this.
"Let the Prince try some." Fran briefly considered dumping his vodka tonic on Bel's head. Not that he needed to get any wetter. His shirt hadn't yet dried and was still clinging to his skin-stop. Stop right there. He handed over the yoghurt-smeared lid instead.
To this day, Fran blames Lussuria for the yoghurt and the biggest mistake of his life.
Belphegor's long, pink tongue darted out to slowly lick his lips, eagerly lapping up the creamy white globs from the lid. Fran told himself he wasn't affected, no, he didn't care in the least. Then Bel fucking moaned in appreciation, and all of Fran's dreams of being happy and straight and normal were dashed to pieces. He didn't know what was so sexy about a grown man ravishing a yoghurt cup lid. He just knew that it was.
Bel grinned, droplets of white flecking his chin. "Lussuria needs to get more of this stuff." He looked over at Fran. "Ushishishi. Something wrong, Froggy?" Fran just blinked at him.
"You eat like a pig, senpai. Wipe your mouth before people get the wrong idea."
"The Prince doesn't take orders," but Bel obediently licked the mess off his chin all the same. And proceeded to drive Fran insane by slowly, tantalisingly licking the melted yoghurt off his fingers. Fran could only gape as Bel slid a finger into his mouth, making the most delicious sucking noises.
It was official. The universe hated him. Fran tried to say something other than "GUH" or something similarly involuntary and embarrassing.
"You're really creepy and gross, Bel-senpai." There. Familiar ground was always the safest.
"Ushishishi. The Prince has never seen a red frog before." Damn. Was it really that obvious?
"There are red frogs in the Amazon. Google it." Fran relaxed, now that they were slipping back into their usual easy banter, filled with insults and antagonism and nothing distracting like sexual attraction. Belphegor was about to retort when the DJ tapped the mic for attention.
"If you're not a regular, listen up; if you are, listen anyway." The crowd of regulars huddled around the stage cheered and the DJ chuckled. "Now, those familiar with our establishment will know that the first Saturday of every month is amateur night. There's still time for last-minute signups, so, ladies, gentlemen, lady-like gentlemen, let's get this party started!" And he replaced the mic to tumultuous applause.
Fran, having no interest in any of this, just wanted to go home. He spun around on his barstool to retrieve his drink, and realised that Bel was gone.
"What the-?" Oh, no. Squalo would kill him if he found out that Belphegor had been turned loose on the unsuspecting city. "Senpai?" Someone tapped him on the shoulder and he whipped around.
"Bel - oh, it's you." Lussuria pouted. "Fran-chan, that's not very nice!" He flipped his dripping mohawk out of his sunglasses, smacking a passing waiter in the face. "Anyway, he's over there." Fran's green eyes followed his forefinger to the DJ booth, where Bel was in deep discussion with the DJ. After a couple of minutes, he disappeared backstage. Fran and Lussuria headed back to where Xanxus was on his twenty-sixth bottle of tequila. Squalo had passed out long ago, his head resting on Xanxus's shoulder. Xanxus didn't seem to mind - that is, until Fran shook Squalo awake.
"VOOOOOII!" He realised what he was lying on. "VOOOOOII!" Xanxus shoved him off and he fell out of his chair. "VOOOOOII!"
"Shut the fuck up, noisy trash," Xanxus growled. Fran rolled his eyes as Lussuria hopped from one foot to another, just bursting with the news.
"Squ, guess what?" He gushed. "Bel-chan's going to become Prince the Stripper!" Squalo looked nonplussed. Fran covered his ears and waited for the penny to drop.
"VOOOOOII!" Xanxus smacked him upside the head with a gun. "I told you to shut up, shark scum." Squalo looked beside himself but did as he was told, glancing up sharply every time a new dancer appeared.
"And now, something special for the ladies - please welcome Prince the Ripper!" Fran mentally facepalmed. Only Bel-senpai was stupid enough to use a stage name that made him sound like a serial killer - which, of course, he was. He found his eyes glued to the stage in spite of himself, where the main attraction appeared.
The opening chords sounded for the stripper classic, You Can Leave Your Hat On. Belphegor strutted confidently to the centre of the stage, the light playing up his blonde bangs and leather uniform, giving him an air of seductive mystery.
Baby, take off your coat real slow
He pushed his rain-soaked leather jacket seductively down his right shoulder, licking his lips as he did so. The material caught his striped shirt, dragging it down to bare his shoulder and a glimpse of his damp collarbone. Lussuria broke into hysterical giggles while Fran gulped audibly.
Take off your shoes
The jacket having been thrown into the audience, his hands slipped down to brush against his inner thighs, his hips swaying as he tugged at the concealed zippers of his boots. As he bent over to work them down to his ankles, he swivelled around and turned towards the pole, giving the audience a perfect view of his arse. The women (and quite a few men) were going wild, screaming and tossing handfuls of Euros onto the stage.
Baby, take off your dress
His boots were tossed backstage, and he whipped his long shirt over his head and proceeded to swing it about in sync with his hips. He turned towards the Varia's table and smirked, the light glinting off his predatory grin. That was all the warning they got before the shirt was flying through the air. It landed with a resounding splap on Squalo's face, the damp material making the shirt mimic some form of heavy-duty cling wrap. "VOOOOOII!" came the muffled yell. Bel's shoulders were shaking with laughter, and Fran couldn't help but notice the way it made his abs ripple.
Come over here, stand on that chair
The Prince performed a couple of basic spins and grinds on the pole, his chest shining with sweat, his signature grin never leaving his face. Fran made an odd sort of fish-like noise, trapped in a state of helpless arousal.
Raise your arms up in the air, now shake 'em
He ran a hand down his chest, making obscene faces and toying with his belt buckle. The crescent-shaped birthmark near his navel only made him seem more desirable to his eager audience.
You give me reason to live
The belt slid off effortlessly. Now he was going around the stage, letting the audience stuff notes into his waistband. Fran felt tiny barbs of irrational jealousy as some of the patrons' touches lingered too long, or when they slid their hands in a little further than necessary.
Baby, you can leave your hat on
As the final chorus began, he unzipped the fly of his trousers, continuing to dance as he slid the waistband slowly down his hips. As the last line echoed through the club, he whipped off his tiara - crown, he always insisted - and tossed it directly at the Varia's table, where it landed neatly in Fran's drink.
The crowd booed and hissed as the song ended, screaming for an encore, or at least for him to take off his pants. Belphegor collected all of his stage tips and bailed.
Meanwhile, Lussuria was squealing in Fran's ear about him being 'the Chosen One', whatever that meant. It wasn't like he'd caught a wedding bouquet or anything. Squalo just told him to close his mouth.
When he caught sight of Bel approaching, he panicked, but managed to completely distract himself by thinking of Mammon's reaction to all the money strippers made. It was enough to calm his raging hormones - or at least, that was what he'd like to blame it on.
"Ushishishi. Like what you saw?" Thankfully he'd put his clothes back on except for his jacket, which was currently being viciously fought over by a couple of ladies in their mid-thirties. Another woman was attempting to sneak away with it while they were busy.
"You were amazing, Bel-chan!" Lussuria gushed.
"Not bad, for a brat," Squalo conceded.
"Trash, can we go home now?" Xanxus scowled. And Xanxus's word was law.
Later at headquarters, the Varia were retiring for the night. Fran was looking forward to a nice cold shower when someone tackled him from behind and pinned him against his bedroom door.
"Mind letting go, Bel-senpai?"
"Ushishishi." Belphegor looked off without his tiara, Fran realised. He still had it in his coat pocket.
"If you want your man-tiara back, just say so." He was roundly ignored.
"Froggy never answered the Prince's question." Question? What que-ohh.
"I formed no opinion of your perverted dance, senpai. Can I go now?" Bel pouted.
"Does Froggy think he can do better than the Prince?" What?
"I don't plan to take my clothes off for random strangers to see, senpai."
"The Prince isn't a random stranger." Ordinarily Fran wouldn't let himself be goaded by anyone, least of all a fellow officer, but surely he was entitled to one exception. After all, it had been a long day.
"How about this, then." He retrieved a silver knife that was still protruding from his frog hat, face flushing and eyes fluttering closed as he carefully ran his tongue along the blade, not applying enough pressure to actually get break the surface. The metallic tang pervading his mouth made him wonder if it was from the silver, or all the blood it had spilt in the past, or both. Eyes fluttered open as he considered his next move, but his train of thought was abruptly derailed at the sight of his senpai's gaping, flushed countenance.
The signature grin was rapidly returning.
"Ushishishi. Not bad for an amateur." He reached behind Fran and twisted the doorknob with one hand, nearly sending him toppling over backwards. Bel advanced on him steadily while he backed away nervously, only stopping when the back of his knees hit the edge of the bed as he abruptly sat down, head now horrifyingly level with Belphegor's hips. The Prince braced his hands on Fran's shoulders, sliding the heavy coat off as he bent to whisper in his ear.
"Let the Prince show you how it's done."
And Fran was going to hold him to that.