Title: Playing House

Author: Amethyst Hunter

Rating: PG (implied m/f relationships)

Warnings/Spoilers: None

Notes: Oneshot drabblefluff. Many thanks to you, wonderful readers, for your continued support! :)

Disclaimer: GB isn't mine, we just play for fun.

Summary: Shido has a dilemma; Himiko has the answer...even if it's not quite what he wants to hear.

"You did the right thing, coming to me," Himiko told Shido as Paul served them each a cup of his finest java. "This situation calls for a professional, and an inexpensive one at that."

Shido inhaled the steam for a bit before drinking some of his coffee. "I tried Hevn first," he admitted, "but she quoted me thirty percent." He paused, then grumbled, "Don't ever tell anybody I said this, but maybe - just maybe - the snake bastard might be - "

"Even a stopped clock is right twice a day," Himiko said. "But don't mistake me, Beastmaster. I'm going to charge you plenty for my advice. I'm just not as interested in bleeding you dry as some people."

"Bad choice of words," Shido muttered, his eyes shifting over to the tall dark shadow who sat just behind Himiko, purple eyes alight with mischievous merriment and the ever-present sly smile hinted at by his lips.

Himiko just shrugged. "I'm surprised you haven't figured it out for yourself, actually. You being able to communicate with animals and all."

"I just don't get it." Shido drank more coffee and stared at the remainder in his cup.

"Of course you don't, and you never will, because you're a man," Himiko explained patiently, as if she were talking to a four-year-old. "Men have never understood women; that's why we make the better rulers. We get things done."

Shido frowned at that. He was by no means well versed in the social systems of humans, but something in her self-confidence riled his own inner beast. "I understand Madoka perfectly fine. I've been living with her for a few years now, remember?"

"No, you don't. You think you do, but trust me, you don't have a clue." Himiko looked for a second like she might start laughing, but her petite features quickly smoothed over into calm alertness. "If you want to make it up to Madoka for your earlier argument, you just need to lay on the sugar. Watch."

She turned around and called Akabane closer. He obliged, curling his lanky body around her and tucking his head next to hers with a contented purr.

Himiko looked at Shido while she stroked Akabane's cheek. "A man's house might be his castle, but a woman's house is her keep. Let her decide what goes on, when and where, and she'll feel more secure knowing that you've accepted her authority - "

Shido frowned again. "She tells me what to do all the time! I take out the trash, I do the dishes - " He stopped, staring at Himiko's consort as he tried to make sense of the steady noise still issuing from the man's throat. "Wait a sec. Doc purrs? Just like a cat?"

"That's not all he does. Check this out."

Himiko moved her fingers upward to scratch a spot just behind Akabane's ear. The man's eyes slipped shut and the purring grew louder, and then a thumping sound joined in.

"What is he, part wolf or something?" Shido watched as Akabane's leg bumped repeatedly against the side of the stool, the bottom of his foot tapping out a rhythm that increased when Himiko scratched him faster.

"Just a little tidbit I discovered one night when we were - " Himiko coughed suddenly, remembering the real reason for their meeting. "But anyway. Back to business."