Profile 21: Etiquette in the Ballroom
Fuhai smirked and hugged his two grandchildren close. To him Tsukune was just another grandchild to him. So full of power and potential. After losing the eldest grandchild to sickness he had been thankful to his ancestors for having brought to him this child so he could try again. He had failed his precious LingLing and was unable to save her. His spells in suppressing the inevitable death were useless. With all his magic, with all his youki he could not will his youjutsu to save her. That was why he poured everything he had into sealing Tsukune's youki. He was given another chance to save the child he lost.
"And such an ingenious child! To find your grandfather such a prize!" Fuhai laughed and reached his hands into his sleeve to retrieve his pipe from it resting place.
He pressed the narrow end of the pup onto his lips and reached out his hand. Tsukune looked to Kokoa who gave a solemn nod. It was going to be messy, but sometime her aunt needed a little sense knocked into her head. She would grant the old man full permission to released every lock on that Holy Chain of his. Tsukune mouthed a thank you to his sire and reached his arm to his grandfather. The others watched in awe as the man's sleeve was slowly rolled up. While Kurumu looked on with worry, Akuha and FongFong glittered with admiration for being allowed to witness such a spectacle.
For Akuha she was going to see the man she fancied fight for the love of her neglected baby sister. FongFong was limelighted by the beauty of his aniki's finely sculpted body. He was built to carry the ideals of the Triad on his shoulders and the love of Moka in his arms. He cheered on his brother's goal. Kurumu worried, she always worried. Tsukune was like her little brother, even if they were the same age. She never wanted to see him hurt or come upon rough times, but he suffered. Tsukune always seemed to suffer in spite of her possessiveness. When he got his new job with the presse Tsukune changed. He had something to work for, someone to protect. She only wanted to see him happy.
Fuhai slowly brushed the pads of his thumb along each lock. He quietly chanted in Mandarin as each seal would be undone by his words. The black smoke and ominous cracking sound that escaped each chain would send a shiver down one's spine. Tsukune's arm began to grow. It took on a leathery texture and the tanned skin would become a char black wrap around the cursed limb.
Gin watched with intrigue as his friend slowly unleashed his can of whoop ass. Go figure. With all the patience his kouhai had, you talk bad about his number one idol or try and take her from him and he gets downright vengeful. Maybe he should be glad of his friend's one path focus. It saved him a lot of grief. His phone rang, the silent vibration shaking his back pocket. The wolf took a step back from the ceremony and picked up.
"Yo." He greeted lazily.
But nothing answered. Silence hummed on the other wolf perked up his lycan ears trying to listen carefully. Was this some sort of prank call?
"Stupid dog , did ya hear?!" Haiji's shrill shout came, causing Gin to lurch back.
The werewolf dropped his ears back down and would motion to shout into the phone, but earn glares from Kurumu and Akuha. It was best to keep silent during such a profane ritual it seemed. He cleared his throat and turned his back to the bewitching women.
"You twisted karate-freak! Da hell is wrong wit'chu?!" The wolf angrily snorted in a hushed whisper.
"Well, someone's got their panties in a bunch, or they would, if they weren't failing at their attempt to constantly ravage the older femmes. Maybe if you spent your time admiring the youthful beauty of the younger class..." Haiji professed.
"You lolicon you lis-" There was a low, white noise that stabbed through the wolf's ear and caused him to cough up blood. "S-Sun-senpai..w-we's gettin' along, I swears."
Haiji was on the ground, blood spurting from his ears, while the small, round-faced loli sat behind her desk, a face full of smiles and holding her desk's phone receiver over the desk's edge. She parted her mouth in a cheerful smile. As Haiji smiled and gave a thumbs up, a bit of blood trickling from his mouth. Sun was very glad to see her precious kouhai getting along. It made her so happy. The siren let go of the phone nad allowed it to smash into Haiji's face as she turned back to her little black book. Today was the day, and even if Akuha-sama was off playing games with the others, work was still getting done! Sun would see to it!
Haiji blushed at the adorable faces being made by the loli, so exhilarated by the chance to prove her worth in the workplace! "Ah senpai I so happy Gin no baka." The lolicon smiled.
Gin arched a brow and glanced back to the ritual. Just a few more chains. "What do you mean?" Wait... "You mean the magazine? The one with Tsu's article? Did Sun-senpai really run it?!"
"You bet!" Haiji laughed and gave a thumbs up to Sun, who returned it cheerfully. "She's in charge of the end product that is our magazine after all. She was proud of that idiot's story. She found it really romantic, but if that's Sun-senpai's tastes..." He would have rather his segment on the under appreciated, youthful figures of lolis.
"When does it go out?" Gin questioned.
"It should be hitting stands in less than twenty minutes!" Haiji looked over to Sun who was waving him down. "Ah, got to go wolf. It seems we're going to Headquarters! Later." He hung up.
"No, Haiji wai-... damn." Gin snapped his phone closed and hurried over to the others.
But it seems Gin was too late. Akasha stepped outside just as Fuhai unlocked the last seal. Tsukune's right arm was now completely black. The youki had twisted and mutated the limb up to his neck. Spines shot from his elbows and proto, vestigial wings twisted from his shoulder blades. Solid carapace forms grew over the critical muscles of his arm: the bicep, triceps and over his right chest. Akasha pulled her hand over her mouth in horror. Inside the headquarters, behind the perfectly polished glass walls over her card house, Moka watched in horror. She could not believe how bad this youki was. She could feel the glass pulsating under its very force. He was becoming a monster. The dragon that kept the princess trapped in the tower.
She tensed up, but relaxed when she felt a strong hand on her shoulder. She would look up and see the warm expression of her father. She rushed into his arms, softly sobbing. "Daddy..." Moka was pulled into her father's strong embrace.
"When did my child become so weak?" Even though his word were harsh and cold, he continued to warmly stroke to top of his child's head and comfort her so. "Moka. You cannot turn away." Moka looked up to Issa in question. "That boy is going to destroy everything... to get you into his arms. This is how a man should earn his woman: not by the force of his brawn: but the ability of his mind." At Issa's words Moka looked out the window.
"W-what is the meaning of this!?" Akasha demanded. "This is the furthest thing from beautiful I have ever seen!" She seemed disgusted by the very sight.
Kokoa opened her mouth to speak, but Tsukune held out his human arm and looked to his sire with a smile. "Let me handle this...please?" He requested of her. Kokoa chuckled dryly and shrugged.
"There's no stopping you when you're determined. I guess..." She paused and grinned at him. "That was why I felt bad for you in the first place."
Tsukune smiled. "I am glad you did." He nodded and marched toward Akasha with intent.
Kokoa looked to Fuhai and crossed her arms over her chest, the older male still fawning over the image on Tsukune's PDA. His prize would be well worth it. He peered over his sunglasses and toward Kokoa, who seemed reluctant to trust his methods. Fuhai cleared his throat and stood tall, with purpose.
"Don't worry." He brushed it off before becoming a little serious. "I trained Tsukune myself in these sorts of situations." Fuhai seemed very focued on his second grandson, the first dallying about, cheering his comrade on.
The young red-headed nodded in understanding. "Combat?" Kokoa questioned.
Fuhai motioned his hand. "Goodness no that was TimTim, FongFong's mother. No... I taught him to use his mind." The older male laughe and Kokoa nearly face faltered.
"You old bat!" Kokoa spouted, Koumori chirping in a dejected manner.
Akuha stepped forward and sat her hand on Kokoa's shoulder. "You know Fuhai-sama had not taught martial arts since..." Since LingLing died. Akuha was his last student and she did not even complete her training. She grew rather jealous when she heard Tukune had been taken in by Fuhai and taught things she never had access to. The boy really made everyone around him love him, pity him and seek to protect him.
"He's like the plague..." Akuha wistfully sighed.
Kokoa looked over to her sister, Kurumu having the same twitchy-eye. "D-did you just compare him to the plague aneue?" the red head was really just at a loss with her family sometimes. Was she the only normal one?
Though she was not really the normal one, thinking on it. Tsukune had made her feel normal. She was the veritable outcast in her house. The smallest, the loudest, the weakest in terms of youki. All she had was her brute strength. And while her family all drifted toward the family business of modeling: she had never felt herself beautiful enough to try. Tsukune had encouraged her all those years in school to sing and be beautiful in her own way.
"Tsu!" Gin called out, waving his phone. "Sun-senpai gave you the green! Fifteen minutes!" The wolf called.
Tsukune reached out to touch Akasha. "This is all your fault Bloodriver." Akasha took a step back in horror. As Tsukune explained the details of how he came. The be the Red Queen felt her heart sink...
If he revealed any of this she was ruined. Tsukune grinned, knowing that he had the advantage, but he wanted to take it and crush any hopes Akasha had of standing in the way. He threw out his hand, causing the vampire to flinch. She was far more powerful than Tsukune, but if a battle raged in the streets and she was in the midst of it, Issa would be angry. It would bring all the wrong publicity to the agency! Fuhai set his PDA in the mutated hand. As quick as lightning the former secretary slid his home page to the news. It was everywhere. Pictures of Tsukune's arm in public.
Tsukune smirked. "I figured I would have problems sooner or later so I allowed a few images to leak." Everyone assumed he was human. Because of Fuhai and Hokuto his past was safe from being scrutinized and persecuted. He could be himself without being afraid. He shrugged. "And it seems that whispers and rumors are circulating about me being in a relationship with Moka. Now normally Akuha has a tight leash on these things, but being fired an all..."
Akuha dumbly blinked at the realization. Tsukune drops off her radar when he is no longer on her payroll, but worse still it made him a target for Vultures. Vultures like... Akuha slowly turned to see a familiar, pastey faced demon bandaged up and wheeling toward them on a wheelchair. The ginger curled his lips into a grin and tapped his digital camera. Kurumu whirled around and sparkled in excitement.
"Nagare~!" The succubus squealed and leapt into his lap, settling his camera against her chest.
Nagare blushed and cleared his throat. "When Shuzen Kokoa bought ANTI-THESIS . . . she fired me so I became freelance again. The pictures I got while in Hawaii were free to be sold to the press." The slug demon grinned when Kurumu pushed back his bangs. "So I sold them to Otonashi Sun as apology." Nagare looked to Kurumu. "I'm sorry. I got jealous and greedy." Kurumu pulled Nagare's head into her chest and giggled.
"It's okay!" The bright-eyed night temptress cheered. "You made it all better!" As she suffocated him.
Tsukune found himself annoyed, but he had texted Nagare and promised not to salt the slime when they crossed paths again. Tsukune smiled to Akasha but she crossed her arms over her voluptuous chest and smirked a wryly grin.
"Oh please, just words. How can you prove any of this? Who would say otherwise against me?" She demanded.
Fuhai stepped forward and proudly placed his hand on Tsukune's shoulder. "I have lived too long with that shame." The older man spoke. "I have lived this life too long. So help me Akasha." He spoke familiarly. "This boy did not deserve that life, because you refused to take responsibility for your mistake." Fuhai furrowed his brows. "You knew humans and youkai were not ready to mix, yet still, you forced Mikogami's hand and threatened him with the Shinso and your Ancient Pact. So many more have died, Tsukune was not the first to suffer, but he was the only one I could save." He too had to live knowing he was responsible for the deaths of these children unprepared to live among demons.
The Ancient Pact decreed that so long the vampires were provided for they would remain in hiding and not cause war. Humans had forgotten their promise and Akasha used this to her advantage. She wanted to change the world for her child, her nieces. She had to make it better. Living in poverty was no longer a choice. Getting jobs that provided next to nothing for their livelihood could not remain. With Issa and her family at her side she built an empire.
Tsukune smiled and looked to his PDA. "It's nearly time." He stated and reached out to touch Akasha, who smacked away his hand. The male chuckled and gripped his claws. "Afraid?" He mused. "Or worse..."
"I-I'm not scared of you!" That filthy hand was anything but beautiful. "You are just an abomination!" She snapped.
Moka listened as her mother denied the very existence of the man she loved. "Father, why?" She looked up to Issa sadly.
Issa chuckled and settled his hand on her shoulders. "Because she has grown greedy and has forgotten what it's like to lose." He brushed his hand through Moka's hair and smiled at his baby girl. "Don't worry. Go to my car."
"But father!" She tried to protest. "I can't leave him... he has done so much for me." Issa turned her completely around to face him and smiled.
"I know, which is why I need you to go to my car." The male spoke again and handed her his keys. Moka nodded and did what she was told.
"Sir, sir!" A woman called after Moka was out of sight. "Daddy!" Issa turned to face Kahlua as she made her way up to him with her usual bright smiles and excitable manner. She held out a magazine for him and nodded. "It arrived daddy, but are you sure its okay? Akasha-sama would be troubled if these were released...Moka-chan isn't supposed to have a boyfriend right?"
Issa took the magazine and slowly turned through the pages. His lips turned up in a dry smile, his larger hand moving down to pat Kahlua's head. He was very proud of his girls, but his mate needed a lesson. She and Gyokuro had gotten into quite a fight that caused their company to split. He felt it was about time they learned. The magazine article detailed the love a man had for a Fairy and the Wicked Witch craved the man for herself. This would certainly rile Gyokruo into action and teach Akasha a lesson on humility.
It was not long before the magazines were delivered. The paparazzi swarmed the headquarters and the group found themselves surrounded. Akasha backed up as the flashes of lights from the cameras blinded the light-sensitive vampire. She moved to hide behind Tsukune and hissed. A limo skidded up to the sidewalk, nearly taking out half the paparazzi with them. On that note Akuha dove behind Kurumu. A beautiful woman, comparable to Cleopatra herself with dark, desert skin and silver-blonde hair. Her body was form fitted by her clothing: a silk dress that was worn like a second skin and her hair did up in a tight bun. A belt of gold hung from her waist and gold bangles on her wrists. Her fingers were decorated with rings and her lips painted with gold. She strutted toward the group, specifically toward Tsukune, who hid a annoyed Akasha behind him.
"Gyokuro-sama." Tsukune spoke sharply. The dark-skinned woman smiled and moved to take his face into her hand, raising his chin to better inspect as the curse crawled along the underside of his jaw. "You seem radiant today. Have you been out in the sun?" He questioned, only to have his cheeks roughly pinched and smooshed.
"Ara, you are only gone for the weekend with Moka-chan and you've grown some disrespect child." She huffed and released his face, the young man readjusting his glasses.
"G-G-Gyokuro-san~!" Akasha stepped out from behind Tsukune, her hands clasped in from of her and her face as red as her nickname incites. "What are y-you doing here, you traitor!" She accused.
Gyokuro pulled her lips back into a sneer and settled her hands on her hips. "Haaaa?" She questioned before leaning forward to face the woman with her own intimidation. "Excuse me?!" She hissed out and snapped her jaws together, causing the Red Queen to back away from Issa's Desert Queen. She reached up to pinch at Akasha's cheek and pull her to a proper standing position. "Listen here you haughty little fox, I should slam my heel so far up your backside. I leave you alone for one weekend and you lost control of both our kids and Akuha! She's usually the obedient one too!" The woman glared over at Akuha who whimpered and slunk back behind Hokuto.
The man pushed up his glasses and sighed. "This is partially my fault as well..." Hokuto admitted as Akuha latched herself to his arm fondly. The executive looked to Gyokuro as she stood with her hand on her hip and her other hand pulling on Akasha's ear in reprimand.
"Explain yourself Kaneshiro-san." Gyokuro demanded.
Hokuto bowed and cleared his throat. "I was a bit pushy and before agreements between our two companies could be completed, it seemed we lost our little Tsukune to Moka-san, who was seducing him. Right Kurumu-chan?" He asked.
The succubus blinked and crossed her fingers over her heart. "Yup!" She agreed.
"Ara?" Gyokuro sneered and pulled Akasha's ear up, causing her to cry out at the pain. "We were so close to making a super company, but noooo~ you had to be spoiled and refuse to share the glory and your daughter! This is your fault!" Gyokuro worked for Hokuto's company after all. She left to work with him when she could no longer stand for Akasha's whining and desire to be number one while acting so innocent and pure.
Issa had allowed it, for a time, but it was enough and he sought to merge the two companies, allowing Akuha to lead negotiations with Kaneshiro Hokuto, but he was not expecting Aono Tsukune and his daughter Moka to follow along a text book fairy tale. It was rather amusing and something he could use to his advantage and fix the mess his wives made and the competition of the other companies all at once. After all a father's legacy was the empire he left to his kin and the men he allowed to care for his daughters.
While Gyokuro settled Akasha in her place, the woman in Red pleaded to be released from the death pincers. It was too much! The others tried to manage the pair lest they start something beyond this childish display. Tsukune raised his head, feeling a pair of powerful eyes on him. Looking back he spotted Issa motioning his hand to the boy before the cloaked owner turned and walked into the lit lobby. Tsukune moved to follow but was suddenly grabbed. He looked down to see that it was Kokoa.
"Hey, idiot." She warmly called up to her spawn of power. "Don't mess this up. You only get second chances once. Moka deserves more. So do you. Don't play the role of pawn anymore. Promote yourself to something greater." She encouraged him. Tsukune nodded and headed inside as the two groups sought to repair the damage that began since the two discovered their love for one another.
Tsukune met Issa in the lobby, the majority of workers have cleared out, giving the two men room to talk. The gossip faeries watched from the distance. Much has happened in the span of a month. ANTI-THESIS was bought out by Fairy Tale. Tsukune had come to terms with his nature as an otaku and his helpless fate of becoming infected with youki. The Huang House was able to break away from the Shuzen House and become their own, independent being., allowing them to dispense with the Yakuza from their territories and protect their people without fear of conflicting desires. Moka … Moka had lost her dream of ever meeting her prince.
She sat in her father's car, curled up in he passenger's seat. She watched, pathetically, watched as people walked by. It was a withering dream she had. She did not want to be a vampire. She did not want to be a fairy. She did not want to be a princess. In the end she wanted to be Moka. That was someone only her prince would know. A soft click caused her to look up and brush the tears from her eyes.
"I knew I'd find you here." Tsukune said before settling down in the car. He had opened the door and seated himself. He was not sure what Issa was up to, but the man had given Tsukune his blessing. "Moka-chan."
Moka flinched at the sound of her name and pulled tighter into her pathetic ball of self-loathing.
"Mo-ka-chan~" He exaggerated each syllable of her name. She pouted, her cheeks growing redder. Tsukune leaned in closer and removed his sunglasses before setting them on Moka's face.
She startled, but like this she was less likely to grow embarrassed looking at him directly. The model shyly looked over to Tukune. He smiled with his usual cheer. "Moka-chan...we're alone now." His words bled into her senses. The vampire shouted out and threw herself into his arms, crying. Tsukune offered her the comfort she so sought and hugged her tight. "Moka-chan, I meant it... please? Marry me?"
Her heart, it sank. Why was it always so hard around him? She loved his scent. She loved his honesty and how she could be herself around him and he always knew when she was happy or sad. But with all of this she could only weakly smile and sigh out. "I can't marry you." She buried her face into his shoulder. "That's not how the waltz goes." She assured him.
Issa watched from the distance and scoffed. He put his cellphone to his ear, long threads of black hair being pushed out of the way of the device. He breathed out. "You win. Make good on the bet. You have a week."
Miyabi watched as Gyokuro and Akasha finally made peace and shook hands, playing parade for the media. He had his cellphone pressed to his ear and Yukari perched on his lap in the front seat, watching the spectacle. "Don't I always make good on my time, Issa?" The male chuckled and brushed the back of Yuakri's head, petting the woman at the moment of his glory.
It seemed the men had preemptive knowledge of the situation, but one would have to be a naïve fool to not see the obsession Aono Tsukune held for Moka. He did everything to the spoiled girl's whim, and not once asked for anything for himself nor took advantage of her. Tsukune's obsession was pure, to the fact he would likely ruin the company if for Moka's happiness, and that was what Issa discovered over time. Tsukune had planned to destroy all three companies on his own, to ensure Moka never had to suffer another sleepless night. Tsukune had singlehandedly dripped poison into the three companies to have them fight amongst each other so he could steal Moka away upon the White Horse of her dreams, or in this case a Togezo, Yamarashi currently guarding the car they sat in from interlopers.
The boy had been turned mad with grief and Moka had been the light in his darkness. Her voice, her beauty, her personality. He had fallen into an obsessed love with the idol he could not have nor truly want beyond his selfless worship.
Miyabi had put too much time in securing Hokuto's power to let him fall so the men made a bet. The first one who could successfully get the two together without losing the companies in the process won and had a week to merge all three companies to create the greatest Modeling Empire in the World.
[A/N: Beta'd by GrrDraxin]