Part One of Three
Spoilers: The end of Angelic Layer TV.
Rating: PG for implied silliness XD
Synopsis: A humor/romance piece in three parts. Misaki thought that she knew Oujirou pretty well, until she found out about his doujinshi habit, that is.
A/N: This fanfic assumes that there are doujinshi about Angelic Layer the sport in the Angelic Layer world. These doujinshi aren't about the anime or manga, but rather are about the real people as they exist in the AL world. I hope that makes sense. For people who don't know what doujinshi are, they are, as concisely as I can tell you, fan made and distributed manga continuing or doing side stories for a particular manga or anime. There are doujinshi about j-rock bands, so it followed simply for me that since Angelic Layer is so popular in Japan at the time of the anime, there are likely a few doujinshi about it ^_^. Thanks for all the wonderful comments on /Of Waltzes and Waiting/ ^^. Yay! I love you all :D Especially the ones who I can bribe to write Angelic Layer fanfiction.
Misaki tapped her foot in time to the song on the radio as she scrambled the eggs for the tamagoyaki. Ringo's second single was doing quite well on the charts and it was getting a lot of air time. Misaki loved the rollicking tone of Ringo's songs, and she couldn't help humming along with the music as she whisked the eggs up light and fluffy.
Today had been wonderful as a whole. Her mother had gone out shopping early and had returned with a new apron as a gift for her culinary minded daughter. Misaki had been thrilled. The new apron was soft cotton, pale pink with ruffles and a large red heart on the chest. Misaki had put it on immediately and had decided to make tamagoyaki to "try out" her present. Her mother had retired for a short nap after returning home, as her endurance still wasn't quite what it should have been. Misaki didn't mind at all. She liked cooking and the fact that she was alone lowered her inhibitions and she found herself lightly hopping from foot to foot in time with the music as she sang along.
"I don't know how to tell you that I love you. I'm such a silly girl, but someday I know that love will come true, happy end," she sang softly, careful not to wake her mother, whisking in time to the music.
His voice, when it came, was lightly amused, "It suits you."
Misaki froze, eyes widening in shock as she realized she'd been caught singing and dancing around the kitchen like a great big goober. She turned several shades of pink before she finally managed to look over her shoulder to place the source of the voice.
Oujirou was, as she expected, standing almost directly behind her, leaning casually up against the wall, looking as unflappable as always. She had absolutely no idea how he'd gotten there, as she knew he'd had to have passed right by her to get where he was currently standing. There was only one entrance to their kitchen and she was between it and the immaculate prince. She hated to think she'd been so caught up in the song that she'd missed him brushing right past her, but there seemed to be no other explanation, other than his unique ability to show up randomly at the most opportune or, conversely, inopportune times. In Misaki's opinion, despite how much she liked Oujirou, this was one of the inopportune times.
She couldn't banish the pink from her cheeks as she greeted him, speaking a little too forcefully so his name came out as an exclamation of surprise rather than a nominative, "Oujirou-san!"
"You're cute," he observed, as if it were not a matter of opinion, but rather of scientific fact, and then smiled at her, "And it does suit you."
She was completely lost as to what he was talking about. Did he mean the song, or perhaps the ridiculous little hopping dance she had been doing? She blushed a little pinker and as often happened when he was around, suddenly found her sock feet very interesting.
"The apron, Misaki-chan," he laughed softly, but not unkindly, "The apron suits you."
The mention of her new apron seemed to dispel the pink in her cheeks that had been inspired by his sudden and unexpected arrival. She relaxed somewhat and smiled, turning to show him the front of it.
"Okaa-san went out and bought it for me this morning. It's wonderful, isn't it? I'm making some tamagoyaki for her as a present."
"You're very kind, Misaki-chan," he observed again with the same softly amused matter-of-fact tone.
She blushed pink again and turned back to the tamagoyaki and busied herself making it so she'd have something to do other than stare at her socks while he complimented her. She was too shy to respond in any other way, but she did appreciate his kindness in offering his praise of her so freely.
"Cute," he repeated behind her and she whisked at the eggs like there was no tomorrow.
Thankfully, he was silent after that, and she managed to finish making the tamagoyaki without incident, despite the fact that she was fairly certain that he was watching every move she made with that quiet, reserved air of his. When she finally turned back to him she was surprised to find that his attention was not on her, as it so often was, but was rather on a small paper book in his hands. She had no idea that Oujirou read manga. He always seemed too aloof for it, too mature and adult.
Her curiosity got the better of her and she finally asked, "Ano, Oujirou-san, what's that?"
He looked over the book at her for a steady moment before answering pleasantly, "It's the reason I'm in Tokyo today. I woke up early and took a morning train so I could go to the comic market."
"Doujinshi?" she asked curiously. She had certainly never thought Oujirou the type so devoted as to collect manga. She was surprised. Apparently there were many hidden sides to him.
He nodded and then turned the book so she could see the cover, "It's the first book to feature the both of us."
He spoke so unassumingly that for a moment it was easy to gloss over his words and continue to reflect on how interesting it was that he collected doujinshi, but then the precise content of his sentence slammed Misaki upside the head and she found she could do nothing but blink as she inquired in disbelief, "What?"
That half smile was on his face again, as if he were enjoying some secret joke, "It's the first doujinshi to feature both of us," he repeated pleasantly, and then went on to continue, "The first batch of doujinshi about the national tournament came out today. There are always about forty or fifty a year. It's one of the things that comes from being such a popular Deus, I suppose, but this is the first one to come out that's about the two of us."
"That doujinshi is about us?" she squeaked, still disbelieving even though she could see the cover clearly from where she stood. It had the two of them in school uniforms and he was giving her a piggy back ride while she flashed a V. She was so embarrassed she thought she was going to melt onto the floor in a little puddle of embarrassed goo.
He nodded and then offered the book to her, "Go ahead, it's safe to read. The adult only ones are always marked," he observed absently, and quite calmly, as if talking about this were the most normal thing in the world, "I try to make sure I have a copy of every doujinshi that comes out that features me. It's a simple thing, and I like showing the fans that I care about them. I think of them as an extended family," he said with a completely straight face.
That was strange. Misaki thought of his fans as an extended harem rather than an extended family, but that was really his business. He reigned benevolent and gentle with all of them, and they adored their Prince of the Layer. It was as she had confessed to him last summer: it was impossible for girls, no matter their age, to not find him attractive. She blushed a shade deeper pink, discovering new values of that rose inspired color with every stray thought that crossed in connection with the infamous doujinshi.
She found that she could not ignore the proffered doujinshi for long, and accepted it, morbidly curious as to what was inside it, despite the deep blush on her cheeks. Thankful to have something to concentrate on that wasn't her socks or Oujirou, even if it was a doujinshi that was apparently /about/ the two of them, Misaki studied the page that Oujirou had left it open to. She didn't mean to, but found she couldn't help but reading a passage aloud in disbelief.
"Oh, Oujirou-kun, I love you so much, you are the bestest ever. I love you too, Misaki-chan. Yay, let's go have a picnic!" the shades of rose varied and modulated as Misaki read through the short interchange, horrified when "Misaki" tackled Oujirou with glee even though they were in the middle of a crowded tournament ground where everyone could see her boisterous show of affection. She couldn't help but feel embarrassed over "her" blatant and public show of affection and squealed quite involuntarily, "No, I'm too shy!"
Oujirou didn't seem phased by her outburst at all, but instead offered another nugget of information about the doujinshi, "There are some nice illustrations of Hikaru in there as well."
Desperate to get away from the picnic scene, and quite unwilling to look at Oujirou as he calmly watched her reaction to the doujinshi, she flipped forward hastily and came upon a full page spread of Wizard and Hikaru in what looked to be a very compromising position. No longer content with pink, Misaki turned several shades of violet as she nearly shrieked, "Oujirou-san, I thought you said this book didn't have that kind of stuff!" she looked mortified, and felt she would never be able to live this down.
He chuckled quietly to himself over her shock even as he offered an explanation of the scene she was referring to, "It doesn't, Misaki-chan. Wizard and Hikaru were put into a bag together and just fell like that. Look at the page before."
He seemed so benign and so intent on the innocence of the doujinshi that she obediently checked the page before and saw that what he said was true, but flipping back . . . she turned purple again and then could no longer help herself and shoved the book back at Oujirou who took it with good grace, seemingly unaware, as all gentlemen should be, of her discomfort.
She tried her best to rationalize this doujinshi and the fact that Oujirou had a copy, but she still had great difficulty coming to terms with the fact that it even existed, let alone what it contained. At least there was one doujinshi that had her in it, although this further led her to wonder exactly who were in the other doujinshi with him. She had almost gathered the courage to ask him how many doujinshi he owned featuring himself when her mother's voice startled her from the doorway to the kitchen.
"I see this year's doujinshi are out, Ou-chan," Shuuko observed amusedly, "You're such a good boy, spending all that money just to show your fans that you care about them."
"It's just the first batch today, Shuuko-san, and it's the least I can do. They aren't that expensive," he leaned down and fished about in his courier's bag to produce five more doujinshi. Misaki was further mortified to see that four of the five other doujinshi that he brought out of the bag either had the two of them on the cover in various out of character poses, or featured Hikaru and Wizard in similar straits. If she hadn't been ready to dissolve in embarrassment before, she certainly was now.
"Oh, it seems Misaki was popular this year," she laughed gently, also seemingly oblivious to her daughter's mortal embarrassment and taking the situation of the doujinshi as if it were the most normal thing in the world.
"Mm," he murmured noncommittally, "She is this year. There are actually more doujinshi with her in them than with Athena and 'Shuu' in this batch," he smiled pleasantly.
Shuuko laughed, taking the plate of tamagoyaki from the counter and offering a piece to him, "That's to be expected. She is the champion now and you haven't exactly made a secret of your interest in her, Ou-chan. I don't mind. It was Misaki's time to shine in the Layer. It's only fitting that there be more doujinshi about her."
Misaki had finally managed to pull herself together enough to speak again as she was offered the tamagoyaki, "I thought you said that that doujinshi was the first one," she was too embarrassed to say exactly what it was the first of, but she imagined he could follow her train of thought, "I mean, the only one."
He smiled brightly, turning the doujinshi over to clarify, "I meant that it was the first one completed according to the date on the back. There were five with the two of us this time."
Misaki leaned forward to look at the back of the book and saw that is said "Misaki and Oujirou only Love Love Book" on it as well as the date. That was it. She was going to die of embarrassment right here and now if she had to look at the thing for even one second more.
Oujirou seemed to sense that she was reaching the limits of her tolerance and innocently tucked the doujinshi back into his courier's bag. He chatted pleasantly with Shuuko for a few minutes but Misaki found herself unable to follow the conversation, her mind swimming with images of doujinshi, happy picnics, and love love only books. She felt heady, as if her mind was fluttering faster than she could follow. She needed to sit down. If she had ever had any experience with hard liquor she would have probably needed a drink as well. Every time she thought back to the doujinshi (the set of doujinshi, she corrected herself, her mind continuing to swim) she found herself deepening into a rose-hued blush again. She was preparing herself again to ask exactly how many of these doujinshi there were in Oujirou's complete collection when he politely took his leave, squeezing her hand gently and bidding farewell to Shuuko as he shouldered his bag, claiming that he had a train to catch.
Misaki hadn't come back to reality enough to respond clearly when he left. She just sat in her chair studying the plate of tamagoyaki and trying to bring the situation into clearer focus. Shuuko busied herself tidying up the kitchen, as Misaki still wasn't condition to clean up herself. Still reeling and giddy from the experience of seeing herself in a doujinshi /with Oujirou/ she had to take several slow breaths to keep from hyperventilating.
"Oh dear, Ou-chan seems to have forgotten one," Shuuko said, leaning to pick up a doujinshi, neatly sealed in plastic, that had fallen forgotten to the floor. She laid the doujinshi on the table by the tamagoyaki and then turned back to wipe off the counter.
Misaki couldn't control her curiosity for long, and even though her embarrassment had not abated, she couldn't help but turn the book over to see the title. It took a long, solid second for the words to fully connect in her brain, but when they did, it was all she could do to keep from fainting.
"Misaki and Oujirou – Wizard and Princess – For Adult Only."
To be continued . . .
Stay tuned for part two! Will Ou-chan turn out to be a great big perv? Will Misaki ever get over her debilitating blush? Will the new doujinshi feature pictures of the two of them dressed as bunnies? All this and more in the thrilling second chapter of "Public Relations"