Mugenjou's the kind of place where anything can happen. (yaoi implied)
He never thought that he would see Sakura so happy to see him.
"Akabane-san. I thank you for coming quickly."
Akabane bowed. "Sakura-san. I admit to being intrigued. It is not every day that you request my services."
"Ah, yes...." Sakura's hands twisted, her eyes darting down the hall. "About that. I have to admit that this is not completely business."
Akabane's lips quirked in a miniscule smile. "I see. How might I help you, Sakura-san?"
Sakura gestured towards the doors that led to the heart of Mugenjou. "It's Makubex-san. He's not come out of the control room in days, and refuses to let anyone in."
Akabane lifted an eyebrow. He knew first-hand that Makubex was not the easiest man in the world to understand and could go through his occasional fits of melancholy, but something must truly be wrong for him to have worried Sakura so deeply. Akabane's only response, though, was a soft, "I see."
Sakura all but blushed in embarrassment. "I thought that if perhaps you tried to see him, that he might tell you what is going on. Since you two...are...aaah...." She blushed harder, her scarves floating a bit agitatedly in a nonexistent wind, looking as if they'd like to wrap her up like a mummy and hide her completely.
"...close?" Akabane suggested.
Sakura seized on the word. "Yes! Close. Exactly. He doesn't have to come out if he doesn't want to, of course, but he sounds a bit odd, and I just want to know that everything is all right. If you would...just try? I am...beginning to worry."
"Very well, Sakura-san. I would not want anything to happen to Makubex-kun, of course."
"Thank you!" Sakura looked actually on the verge of touching him for a moment before she caught herself. "Thank you very much, Akabane-san." She bowed, cast one last worried look towards the control room, and left him to it.
Akabane, quite intrigued despite himself, walked over to the control room doors. Doors that usually opened by themselves but which this time remained steadfastly shut. Akabane, amused, lifted a hand and knocked. "Makubex-kun?"
There was no reply, and even Akabane's sharp ears could detect no sound within. Was it possible that Makubex had left without anyone knowing? "Makubex-kun, would you allow me to speak with you? Sakura-san is becoming worried."
A slight noise, almost inaudible through the heavy door. "Go away."
"Are you all right, Makubex-kun?" Akabane's head tilted. Makubex's voice sounded throatier than usual. Odd. Makubex always insisted that he could not get sick.
"Yes. I'm fine, Akabane-san."
"Are you certain, Makubex-kun?"
Yes. He definitely didn't sound like himself. "You sound ill, Makubex-kun. Will you let me in?"
"I'm NOT ill, I just don't want to see anyone!" Makubex's voice spiralled up oddly, sliding quickly from that throatiness to a higher register. Definitely nothing like Akabane had ever heard from Makubex.
"Makubex-kun...." Akabane let a scalpel slide into his hand. "Let me in, please." His voice was firm, carrying a hint of "if you don't, I'm turning this door into shishkebab skewers".
"Fine." The door jerked open two feet, a hand reaching out and jerking Akabane inside, the door slamming shut behind them.
The room was dimly lit, mostly by the usual assortment of computers sitting in a semi-circle in the center. Still, it was more than light enough for Akabane to see Makubex's scowl.
Akabane blinked. One corner of his mouth twitched, ever so slightly.
Akabane counted to ten, slowly, schooling his face to nothing more than the usual polite smile. He'd not done anything so difficult in...quite a long time.
Makubex gritted his teeth and hissed, "If you laugh, I swear that you will never leave Mugenjou alive."
The threat, Akabane decided, would have been quite effective were it not being delivered by what looked like a fourteen year old catboy with upright ears, whiskers, and hands that were half-paw, complete with claws. And a long, sleek tail curling against his legs. All of it in soft, smoke-colored fur.
Akabane was silent for a long moment, during which Makubex's tail lashed, his ears twitched, and a low, unconscious growl accompanied the death glare from slit-pupilled, turqouise eyes. When he could trust himself to talk without betraying himself, Akabane said, "I see. What happened, Makubex-kun?"
"I don't KNOW!" The almost-screech again, now quite recognizable as a human voice at the mercy of some feline vocal anatomy. Makubex stalked over to his computers, and his tail lashed back and forth, agitated. Makubex batted it out of the way, irritatedly. "Mugenjou's systems are acting oddly. Maybe they're testing out some new program, or there's a virus, or this is some strange bug that's turned up. I can't tell because I can't do any WORK." Makubex sighed, rubbing his temple. "The visor's out of alignment for slit pupils, and typing's all but impossible. Do you realize how hard it is to type with these things?" He holds up his hands, staring at the shortened fingers, soft pads, and claws disgustedly.
There was a very small, choked sound from behind him.
"Akabane-san?" Makubex closed his eyes.
"You aren't laughing, are you?"
"Absolutely not, Makubex-kun."
"I see. Then perhaps you would be so kind as to come here and lend me those talented fingers of yours. How fast can you type?"