Final chapter... Sorry for the wait.
Hiroki smirked as he placed his last letters onto the scrabble board.
"Let's just add up the final scores, shall we?" he suggested, raising an eyebrow at Nowaki and allowing a small, self-satisfied smile to brighten his face.
Nowaki said nothing. He merely leaned back on his hands and smiled indulgently at his know-it-all partner. Hiroki always won. Nowaki expected nothing less, and besides, he wasn't bothered about losing. It was worth it to see his lover happy. No matter how hard he tried to keep his cool, Hiroki could never fully stop the radiant glow that would flush his cheeks whenever he won a word game.
"Nowaki, you scored two hundred and fifty three. I'm sorry, but it looks like I've won, again! I scored three hundred and twenty four."
"Well done, Hiro-san!" Nowaki congratulated him heartily.
"Yeah, well, you know… It's not your fault, Nowaki, I am a literature professor… It would be pretty poor if I didn't win more often than not," Hiroki tried to reassure Nowaki magnanimously, though not quite managing to hide his boastfulness.
Nowaki grinned suddenly. "I don't mind losing, Hiro-san. After all, it means that I always get a consolation price to cheer me up."
And with that, he pounced on the unsuspecting uke, a devilish leer on his face.
The following day was Monday, and Hiroki carefully dragged his thoroughly abused rear into his office and tentatively settled into his chair.
"Rough weekend, eh?" Professor Miyagi winked, noticing his subordinate's fragile state.
"Could say that…" Hiroki mumbled.
"What did you do to deserve that?"
"Beat him at scrabble again."
"Of course! I always win," Hiroki looked up indignantly. "Even against the great Usami Akihiko, I've never lost a game! I do try to take it easy on Nowaki, he's obviously very intelligent but he hasn't studied literature the way I have… But it's not fair on either of us if I were to throw the game just so he has a greater chance of winning."
Miyagi chuckled at Hiroki's overwhelming pride. Ah, the temptation to squash it was just too great.
"Say, Hiroki, how about you give me a game? I've been schooled in literature longer than you, I betcha I can be the one to finally beat you!"
Hiroki stared at the bold man in front of him. True, behind that silly, childish exterior, Miyagi did possess a keen intellect, but surely he was still no match for Hiroki, the Grand Master? Sneering slightly, confident of the man's impending defeat, he quickly accepted the challenge.
"But how about we make it more interesting?" he dared.
"Hmm? In what way?" Miyagi enquired, his mouth perking up at the corners.
"You said you bet you can beat me – let's make a bet then. If I win, you will… Treat me respectfully and professionally with no teasing or jibes, you'll turn up on time, do your own work, and not let that brat burst in here… Oh, and you'll take over my last lecture every Friday so I can leave early. All that, for an entire month. I think that's fair, after all I've done for you and all I have to put up with on a daily basis."
Miyagi's eyes narrowed as he considered Hiroki's demands.
"Tough, Kamijou, very tough… But fine. On the condition that if I win, you will wear the costume of my choice next Monday on the university's annual fancy dress for charity day. That's not too bad, is it – it's just one day, whereas you've demanded a month of service from me!"
Hiroki's face whitened and he almost balked at the thought of having to wear fancy dress at work. But he really had never lost a game before… And the smarmy, self-confident expression on Miyagi's face was goading him into rising to the challenge. If he lost and he had to wear whatever ridiculous costume Miyagi came up with, his pride would suffer a terrible blow… But if he gave in now, Miyagi would tease him about it forever. And he was sure he could win.
Steeling himself, he met Miyagi's sparkling eyes with his fierce ones and nodded.
"Fine. Tomorrow lunch time, make sure your brat's not around, and we'll get it on."
As he was speaking, the door crashed open and a furious blond caught the end of his sentence. He pounced into the room, hackles raised and claws ready to strike...
The atmosphere in the Literature department's office was tense. Two men, one tall and dark, a cigarette dangling from his mouth, the other more petite with crease marks on his forehead where he bore a permanent frown, were staring intently at a board spread out on the table before them. The board was already covered in little plastic, lettered squares.
For the sake of their reputations, each had strived to come up with the hardest or most unusual words they could think of. Avuncular crossed with ukulele, forsooth with opulent, ochre with convivial. Now that they were nearly the end, however, there was little space for long or flowery words, and they were reduced to fitting their remaining pieces anywhere they could just so that they didn't lose points from the pieces they couldn't get rid of.
"Triple word score for 'in'!" Miyagi crowed excitedly.
Hiroki pursed his lips and jotted down the score. He was seriously worried. The scores were about neck and neck, and he only had difficult letters left. Where could he put a bloody 'x'?! And if Miyagi kept squeezing in triple word scores, Hiroki might actually lose!
His palms started to sweat.
Slotting in a spare 'o', he managed to turn Miyagi's 'go' into 'goo' – but there were no special scores for that and he still had the blasted 'x'!
Three turns later, and the additions to the board of the words 'zip', 'at' and 'ox', Hiroki had finally used up all his letters, even the difficult 'x' and 'z' – but adding up the scores, he discovered that he had disastrously finished two points below Miyagi!
He couldn't believe it! Hiroki's mouth hung open in shock and he was so stunned he didn't even notice that Miyagi was cackling and jiggling in his chair, crooning a loud victory song.
He had lost. He had lost! Hiroki NEVER lost! Especially not to a giant, annoying nitwit like Miyagi!
He looked up with trepidation. He really hadn't believed that Miyagi would win. And he'd agreed to dress up in fancy dress… What the hell was Miyagi going to make him wear? And he'd have to go around the university, his place of work, he'd have to face his students in anything Miyagi picked out for him…
He groaned loudly and buried his face in his hands.
"Aw, don't worry, my sweet honey! I know how sensitive you are… If you really want, I'll come in the same fancy dress – I have the perfect thing in mind!"
Hiroki peeked out from between his fingers and winced.
Next Monday rolled around and Hiroki reluctantly dragged himself into work. Miyagi had arrived early as he was so excited about his prize for winning the game of scrabble.
He had a large suit bag spread over the couch in their office. As soon as Hiroki came in, Miyagi darted forward and locked the door behind him. He ushered Hiroki forward and urged him to strip out of his shirt and trousers while he removed the costume from its bag.
Closing his eyes in despair, Hiroki's trembling fingers tugged at his tie and started to undo the buttons on his shirt. He had desperately hoped that Miyagi would have forgotten their little deal over the weekend, though he hadn't really expected to have such luck.
His luck really had completely run out, he discovered when he opened his eyes. Miyagi had taken out a full kimono, complete with undershirt, obi, the works.
"What the hell?!" Hiroki spluttered, eying the pink and orange floral material.
"Well, we work in the literature department, Kamijou. I thought it would be good for you to dress suitably in character, so I've brought a costume to dress you as Murasaki Shikibu."
"… She was a woman!" Hiroki burst, glaring at his superior. "In case you hadn't noticed, I'm a man!"
Miyagi shrugged. "I don't see how that matters. You'll be representing one of Japan's greatest literary writers. Besides, fancy dress is meant to be a bit unusual. Look, I've brought you a nice, long, black wig and shoes too, and we've just got time before lectures begin to do your makeup. After all, Hiroki, you'll need to comport yourself properly as a refined, courtly lady!"
The office suddenly shook with the force of Hiroki's rage as it burst forth from his mouth.
Then he remembered something.
"But where's your costume? You said you'd dress the same as me, why aren't you changed?!"
"Oh, Hiroki," Miyagi laughed, "you don't really think I'm going to wander about these hallowed halls in drag, did you?! No, in fact, I'm not dressing up at all today. Didn't you know that there's a get out clause – if you donate a certain amount to the charity, you don't have to wear fancy dress at all!"
Half an hour later, the students stopped in shock as two spectacular sights emerged from the Literature department's office into the corridor: one was a beautiful, though rather cross-looking, woman in a long, trailing kimono; the other was Professor Miyagi sporting an unpleasant, painful-looking, large black bruise across his cheek and holding a bloodied tissue to his nose...
A.N. THE END! Hope you enjoyed :) Please let me know what you think in a review! ;)