by the book




Shion was quiet. Too quiet. And that was freaking weird.

Usually, that little city prince was an unstoppable chatterbox, asking the meaning of a word or another he stumbled on one book too old, or telling what he was going to cook for dinner, or questioning something Nezumi had done and demanding some facts. Or whatever. And Nezumi had to scream or hit or throw his knife at him so he would just shut up.

Then, Shion would stop talking for precious five minutes before turning away and beginning another conversation. With the mice. Which never failed to make Nezumi groan and dive his head inside his pillow, asking himself, not for the first, or tenth, or hundredth time, why he had to bring that annoying brat here?

So, nobody could blame Nezumi for finding the silence strange.

Instead of feeling grateful for the long awaited moment of peace and quiet, he was becoming uneasy. There had been no signs of the door opening and closing, which meant Shion was still in the house. Maybe he fell asleep? Or maybe a book had dropped from the shelves in his head. I wouldn't be the first time.

Sighing irritably, the boy moved from his favorite place – lying in the bed, facing the wall, reading a book – turning around and searching the small place with quick eyes.

Shion wasn't far away, sitting down by the door with his legs crossed. He was reading a book very intently. Actually, there was this glow in his eyes Nezumi only saw when his guest was examining, say, the bee nymph Nezumi had taken from his neck.

Curious, Nezumi sat down, propelling his feet to the ground, and kept watching Shion's concentrated face with amused eyes. The other boy, oblivious, continued his reading, now frowning at something he found after turning the page, and bringing his face closer to inspect whatever it was.

And it seemed to be something hard to understand, because he even bent his head to the side to see the page in a different perspective. Nezumi wanted to chuckle, but was more interested in discovering when Shion was going to notice he was watching.

White eyebrows shot up in his forehead, almost disappearing under long discolored bangs, and Shion secured the book with both hands, lifting it to his eye level and turning it vertically. That was when Nezumi's very good eyesight spotted the title drawn in gold, elaborate letters over the cover.

Widening his eyes and torn between his desire to laugh and his curiosity to see which of the pictures of that book had, hmm, confused Shion so much, Nezumi got up and walked toward the other boy.

"Where did you find this one?", he asked, stopping in front of Shion with a wicked smile.

The other boy only lifted his eyes to acknowledge Nezumi towering over him, and went back to analyzing the image. "It fell on me earlier", was the absentminded answer.


"Say, Nezumi, is this kind of thing physiologically possible?", Shion said again, lifting his arms to show the opened book for inspection.

Nezumi examined the image, and then blinked. Yes, now he could see why Shion had been so intrigued. That thing seemed hard. And painful. And whoever tried that would never be able to walk normally again. Probably.

"Well, it is said the Kama Sutra instructions used to be followed by some cultures", he shrugged.

Shion hummed his understanding and turned back some pages to show another picture. "And this one?"

Dark eyebrows shot up while he understood the drawing. He bet this kind of thing would never been explained on Shion's Biology classes.

"This one is easier", he commented, taking the book from Shion to see it better.

"But they're both men," the boy insisted, getting up to look at the image, "why would they do that?"

Now Nezumi laughed openly. Shion's face got more and more confused, probably wondering if he should throw another glass of water in over Nezumi's head, just in case he was going hysterical again.

"Why, indeed." Nezumi's laugh became a smirk.

Shion looked at him expectantly, like a student waiting the teacher's answer for a particularly difficult mathematical problem. Nezumi closed the book, and threw it on the sofa.

"Want me to show you?"

Shion blinked.

"Show me wh—hmm!"

Disclaimer: No. 6 is property of Atsuko Asano, Kodansha and Bones.