It's fun and games as Mille, Gateau and Carrot investigate the usual suspicious disappearances in an unusual place. (Male/male, extreme silliness and Carrot molestation.)
The hunters looked up from where they were playing gin rummy. Marron had little to say usually, and that was certainly an odd greeting remark.
Then they saw the outfit.
Mille Feuille was wearing navy-blue spandex that left nothing to the imagination. As if there were any chance of the tight pants falling down, black suspenders ran over his shoulders and across his ultra-frilly white mini shirt. He had on thick black boots covered with superfluous belts, chains, studs and spikes, which matched the bracelets of a similar goth nature. Gold barrettes shaped like Mars' symbol weaved through his hair as the final touch. He was sporting a suspicious grin, and three identical copies of the outfit.
"Ready for your next assignment?" He presented the outfits in a way that suggested they had better damn well be ready. He handed the largest outfit to Gateau, the smallest to Carrot and laid the third nearby Marron, who refused to take it. "The crime reports are from a town of an... uh... unusual nature. You'll have to wear these to fit in. And the girls will have to sit this one out."
"Huh? Why?" Carrot looked over the poofy frilly white thing in his arms as if trying to figure out which way was up (which he was.) He retreated to change, and Tira caught Chocolat around the waist before she could follow.
"I am not wearing that." Marron sat down, taking out his thickest book and reading it with a concentration that dared Mille Feuille to interrupt him.
"Now, now, if I can, you can..."
Gateau was staring at the thing, in shock at the idea of being stuffed into it. Mille Feuille pushed him behind a few trees.
"That's fine for you, you're a weirdo anyway." Mille Feuille ignored this statement in favor of stealing Carrot's underwear while he was trying to figure out how to put the thing on. "Hey!"
"It'll look bad if you wear underwear, Carrot dear! It'll be all bunchy."
"I don't think you can stop it from being bunchy." Gateau came out looking sick and trying to cover himself up. "It's fine to stick the twerp in this, he looks like an idiot in anything..."
Carrot grumbled. The frilly thing needed instructions.
The girls debated for a while as to whether it was worth letting anyone else see Carrot underwear-less so that they could. After a moment, Tira tossed it back to him.
"This isn't one of your mad plots, is it, Mille Feuille?" said Chocolat, waiting.
"Cross my heart and hope to never get in Carrot dear's pants. Or spandex, in this case." Mille Feuille grinned appreciatively as Carrot finally emerged, without the accessories and not trying to hide his attempts to cover up his crotch. Marron looked up long enough to stare at his brother with absolute pity. "We're off, boys! Girls, enjoy your vacation."
"Darling! Behave yourself!"
"All right, so what's this place anyway?"
They were getting along better now that they were traveling to the town. No one had shown up on the path to ogle them, and Mille Feuille was allowing Carrot some breathing space for once.
"You'll see once we get there, Carrot dear."
"What's the case, then?" Gateau crossed his arms. He'd taken to walking in the far front, since Mille Feuille wouldn't allow anyone to usurp his position in the back and he really didn't mind showing off his ass.
"Mysterious disappearances. People who go to this town seem to get lost on the way or while they're there. Most of the people are travelers, so it's very hard to find out exactly what's going on."
"So, what are we s'posed to do?" Carrot's arms were getting tired from covering his rear.
"The only way we'll find out what's happening is if we're captured ourselves. Which is why we're lucky to have you here, Carrot dear." Mille's grin made Carrot bound ahead a few more strides.
Gateau grunted. "Yeah, that'll be real easy for him..." He blinked. "Is that it?"
The town ahead was in constant motion, filled to the brim with people milling around. There were men dressed in every seductive and silly outfit imaginable, some in tuxedos, military uniforms, animal designs, dresses, bondage wear or clothes even more revealing than the ones the Hunters had on. Several made Chocolat look conservative.
"This is Single Serving, the best town in Spooner for male mingling." Mille's eyes glittered with a sort of maniac glee.
Gateau oooh'd appreciatively. Carrot didn't seem to get it.
"That means," said Mille Feuille, suddenly close, breath in Carrot's ear, "the gay man pick-up town."
So that's what those suspenders are for, thought Gateau as Carrot unsuccessfully attempted to escape.
"Now, listen, Carrot dear," Mille Feuille whispered, dragging him into town, "This is a place where everyone can be themselves. I know you're used to Gateau, myself and others who don't care, but in some places people face horrible prosecution for who they are. They can be a bit uptight, so you wouldn't want to start screaming or insulting anyone and upsetting the whole town, would you? A whole town of angry gay men, just think of all the things they'd do to you..." Mille trailed off on that thought, looking entranced for a moment. "....what was I talking about again?"
"All right, all right, let me go already..."
Gateau glanced around appreciatively. There were a lot of beautiful men to be found among the outfits with no sense of taste, like his own. It would be a great opportunity to show off, if Mille Feuille hadn't thrown him into such an embarrassing getup. He was wondering vaguely if Mille had done it for that reason when Carrot yelped.
"Mille Feuille! Don't!" Carrot was pinking, his hands over his rear.
"Don't what, Carrot dear?"
"Don't act like you--"
Gateau was about to tell Carrot to shut up when someone goosed him, and he hit a pitch that almost matched Carrot's.
"Oh, that," said Mille, grinning wickedly. "That's just their way of saying hello. This town is specifically for, uh, certain purposes, so no one would come here if they minded."
Gateau's low, whispering voice was like distant thunder. "I mind."
The pink and most of the rest of his color had drained from Carrot's face. For once, Gateau agreed with him. Mille's antics had really gone too far.
"Look, I'm sorry, but someone's got to do it, and you're our best team. Well, what we have left of you." Mille was trying to look reassuring, but the attempt was somewhat put off by his squeaking mid-sentance. "Carrot, get back here!"
"Nononono! Why do I have to be here! Marron isn't here!" Carrot's whispers died to whimpers as he was re-captured. They were trying to be quiet, but Gateau had the itchy feeling they were standing out.
"Look, the sooner we take care of this, the sooner we can leave. Now try to look snaggable, would you?"
Gateau leaned in. "It would help if we knew why they were being taken."
"Sorry, no idea. Anyone with a need for Parsoners might try this town--as I said, it's easy to get away with."
"So are a lot of things!" Carrot was prancing back and forth on his feet, still covering his rear.
"Carrot dear, stop being so terminally straight."
"But I am..." Blink. "...terminally?"
There was a series of ripping noises. Gateau had turned his spandex into a speedo, discarding the shirt, boots and accessories. Feeling much more at home, he parted the crowd.
"Come on, you two." He turned his attention ahead of him. "Everyone... LOOK AT MEEE~!"
Once into the town proper, sadly turning down men at every turn, the Hunters found a lot more space and markets which looked a lot more like they were used to, except for the occasional display. Carrot stared at these with the apprehension of someone who didn't know gay sex toys, but who knew what he didn't like.
"Getting ideas, Carrot dear?"
"I... I don't know what that is, but I think I'm gonna puke." Carrot squeaked again, his face more red than green. Now that Gateau was no longer leading, he got the impression most of the people saying hello to Carrot were Mille. He had a surprisingly long reach. Gateau knit his eyebrows and, when they hit a thicker patch of people, tried it. Carrot made a combination whimper-yipe that sounded like "whyyiipe!" Gateau chuckled. Mille gave him a slitted look.
"This isn't funny..." There was a crowd up ahead, apparently gathering around to see something, and Carrot was indecisive between hiding between the other two for protection, and trying to get away from the one person most likely to molest him. He'd given up on trying to cover his tush, although he occasionally brought his hands up, as if to check that no one'd stolen it.
Mille was still giving Gateau a quiet, serious look. Gateau raised an eyebrow at him--he couldn't possibly be pulling morals on him, Mille was the biggest pervert he knew. Still holding Gateau's eyes, Mille skillfully got a good grip on Carrot's rear, from such an angle that Carrot leapt toward him, looking in the other direction.
"Poor Carrot dear, you seem to be awfully popular." Mille winked at a random man over Carrot's head, as if to give him credit.
"I don't want to be popular! I want to sit down!"
Mille opened his mouth, but Carrot amended, "Not like that!"
"Weeeell," said Mille, mouth turning up coquettishly, "You could pretend to be my boyfriend."
"It'd be poor manners to squeeze an ass that already has an owner."
"It has an owner! It's me!"
Gateau stifled a noise arriving automatically in his throat as someone brushed him by with a light caress. He wouldn't mind being acquainted with them. But, sadly, he was on a mission. Although he was beginning to feel less and less like tramping sorcerers, and more and more like joining the festivities. The sly glances at his muscles, or Mille's features, or Carrot's blush even, were not helping. He squirmed a bit as someone looked them over, hiding a grin behind his hand at Carrot's embarrassment. The man touched lightly on Carrot's shoulder and smiled kindly as Carrot faced him without having seemed to turn.
"H-- h-- h-- hellooo..."
Gateau almost bust something not laughing. Carrot looked like Tira having one of her moments.
"Would you like to take lunch with me?"
"Well, I-- I'm -- and, I'm w -- er, I--"
"He looks shy, doesn't he?"
Gateau glanced left at the murmur. "Yeah."
"No one would believe he's straight." Mille smiled slightly. "I sure don't. The blush means 'I can't admit I like this.'"
"So, see, I, m" Carrot wrung his hands and finally pointed one at Gateau and Mille, looking down. "--with them..."
"I see, that's wonderful, it's so hard to get multiple partners to work out. It was nice meeting you," The man swept up his pointed tail and bowed to kiss Carrot's hand. Carrot looked about to faint from lack of blood to the brain.
"That was so sweet," said Mille, sidling back up to Carrot.
Carrot didn't respond, except for more tiny squeakish noises.
"Come on, stop tormenting the twerp already," said Gateau, trying to make some headway. Although, once Carrot's blush had reduced to a non-life threatening level, and he was looking the other way, Gateau gave into temptation and copped a feel. He could get ahold of whole cheek at once, and the fact gave him pleasant ideas. Besides, he was amused by the idea of Carrot finding out. Insults were one thing, but this was a whole new and promising way to torment him.
But Mille seemed to take this groping personally; after all, it was his idea, his Carrot. Waiting until the crowd was right, and making sure Gateau saw, he goosed Carrot with both hands and then quickly appeared in front of Carrot, asking him what was wrong.
Dammit, he was good.
Gateau mulled it over and finally decided that his large hands were a giveaway. This time, he just slid a single finger up from Carrot's knee, teasing the thin netting between his legs and cheeks. It was hard to cover the stooping this required, and Gateau grinned triumphantly towards Mille at Carrot's complete confusion.
Mille remained unmoved. He stretched his arms out, cracking his knuckles, raising one shoulder then the other, like a pianist before a song. With the precision of a master, he slid his hand around the front of Carrot's thigh, near the joint, breathing softly in his ear, his touch gone even as it was felt. Despite Carrot's quickness, all he glimpsed was air. He shivered and began looking around in a paranoid manner, as if for horny ghosts.
"Is there something wrong, Carrot dear?" Mille said innocently, or at least with as much lack of innocence as he usually had.
"Did you see anyone...?" Carrot's heart was thumping, and he swallowed. He'd totally forgotten about covering either his ass or his crotch from view; instead he was leaning up on his tiptoes like a prairie dog, trying to find the source of all the groping. Mille and Gateau and several random people all got an eyeful; it seemed like the thing to do at the time.
"Er..." Carrot fell back on his heels, his eyebrows knit. Mille had been there barely an instant, and he seemed to be unsure if he'd imagined it. Gateau was wondering how to top that--Mille was looking indecently smug. But if Gateau tried getting anywhere closer to Carrot's crotch than Mille just had, Carrot would have one of his characteristic bouts of energy and not stop until he reached the next continent.
Well, it wasn't as if he had to get away with something worse. Just something harder to get away with. He squirmed with ideas.
Finally--making sure there were several large men in the area to take the fall--he lifted Carrot right off his feet, easily enough, Carrot's back to his front, hands up in his shirt, tongue lapping from shoulder to jaw and tugging momentarily at his ear. He hadn't thought he'd get away with it--but Carrot's shock gave him time to retreat and reappear, laughing to his face.
"Th-that's not funny, dammit!" Carrot wiped the wet off with his shirt, glancing backwards. "Who was that?"
Gateau couldn't reply; he was laughing too hard. Really, he was so clueless. Pfft, he'd like to see Mille Feuille top that.
Gateau got a hold of himself. Actually, he'd really like to see Mille top that.
Carrot muttered, tugging at the damp shirt. "Really, what's the point of coming with you guys, you're no damn help..."
Mille left Carrot alone, to Gateau's disappointment. They were already coming back round to the place they had started out, without seeing anything suspicious.
Of course, Gateau thought a little guiltily, they were too busy with the game to look. Feeling he should take this more seriously, he almost missed the next play.
As they rounded a bend, Mille covered Carrot's eyes with one hand and his wrists with another. Easily pinning him against the wall with his hands above his head and his legs off balance, Mille delved into Carrot's mouth. Gateau wished he'd had a way to time it. People were starting to stare. Mille was obviously doing a good job, and Gateau felt jealousy and a voyeuristic surge to the libido in one. Mille disappeared, and Carrot fell halfway over forwards, panting, disheveled and red-faced. Unfortunately for Carrot, most of the crowd was staring at him, waiting for his reaction, rather than watching Mille. Glancing wildly about gave him no clue, for Gateau and Mille looked as surprised as the strangers.
Some of them are catching on to the game, Gateau thought. But what he said was, "Maybe you better let us body guard you, twerp, since you can't take care of yourself."
Carrot looked furious at this despite the fact that, a moment before, he'd probably been furious at them for not helping. He was also glancing suspiciously at Mille, who appeared not to notice.
A little belatedly, Gateau remembered it was his turn. But what else could he do? He didn't have Mille's speed; he was surprisingly quick, but Carrot's movements defied physics. He often appeared in a different place without seeming to pass through the space between. Besides, Carrot was wandering farther from them now, leaving Gateau unable to take advantage. Well, it could wait. A kiss--that would at least be fun to attempt. It wouldn't win the game though, as Mille had managed it, and alone it would be hard enough to get away with, never mind trying anything else on top of it. He liked the idea of full body contact; Carrot's shoulders, back and behind against him, for just that moment, had been a horrible tease.
Perhaps the game had been a bad idea--now he was frisky, but with no outlet. He should have been cozying up to Mille Feuille, but now the weirdo'd disappeared somewhere. And Carrot was--
Carrot was still harrassed, Gateau realized with surprise. The crowd had flowed with them, and others had watched and been tempted into the game as well. Gateau and Mille had proven it was easy to get away with--Gateau swallowed, standing on his tiptoes a moment, glad of his height. As they had played off each other, those surrounding Carrot were upping the stakes with each move. They didn't bother with the pause between, just as they didn't bother hiding their identity much; each time Carrot swerved to confront one, he was set upon from behind. He tried a flurry of energy, but he was blocked by the crowd, and was soon beset again. A flailing arm was caught, and Carrot's face disappeared under long, draped hair. Gateau stared, mouth growing dry, as the silly shirt was pulled away, hands running like water over Carrot's lean build, dipping between his thighs, more and more daring than even Mille had been. Gateau sidled closer, his eyes never leaving the scene. One man was sucking at Carrot's fingers, another hugging him from behind, and, more and more dense, hands obscured Carrot's form. Gateau sucked in his breath; but then the man kissing Carrot turned away, and Gateau was jolted from his voyeurism by Carrot's expression. His eyes were wide and panicked, face not blushing, but stark white.
Gateau leapt forward instinctively, but before he was anywhere near enough there was another flurry of energy, and Carrot was the only one standing. Those surrounding him were hunched over their stomachs or groins, or clutching sudden marks and bruises on their faces. One had caught Carrot's heel in the chin; he put his hand to his mouth, blood seeping between his fingers. Carrot glanced around, still looking panicked; the crimson attracted eyes like moths to flame. In a moment there'd be various stories of what had happened running the length of the town. At this point, Gateau's hand came down on Carrot's head.
"Hey, what do you think you're doing, hitting on my boyfriend?"
Gateau clamped his second hand over Carrot's face before he could shout "YOUR WHAT?!" loud enough to tilt the world off its axis.
"I'll have you know, this sweet boy is taken." Gateau kept Carrot's mouth covered, but shook his other hand at them. "You ought to be ashamed. There's a difference between friendliness and molestation, you know. Shoo. Shoo."
They looked up, up at Gateau, assessing the situation. The kicked man nodded, shaking several drops of blood off his chin. He and the rest made appropriately humble and apologetic gestures while backing away. Once the crowd had dispersed into normality, Gateau removed his hand from Carrot's mouth.
"This sweet boy?" said Carrot, his voice utterly flat.
"Well, as long as we're already lying..." Gateau grinned and started walking off. "Anyway, you started the boyfriend thing. Really, Milphey and me both? You've got an awful mind."
"What?! I never said that!" Carrot followed. He was not, Gateau noted, pulling his shirt back up. Hanging around his waist, it covered him better than the spandex ever would.
Gateau himself was still light-hearted, but, thinking he'd feel a cad later, he apologized to Carrot for taking so long to save him.
"Who said you saved me?"
"You were about to start a riot. Really, seems to be one of your few talents." Gateau wondered vaguely if he'd broken the rules of a different game.
"Anyway, I guess I shouldn't have laughed at you. If we'd done something, it'd have probably ended there."
Carrot ignored this. Which was wonderful, because Gateau had a clear conscience at no expense. Although, after that, he wasn't too keen on admitting what he'd been up to, and that was a kicker. Gateau wouldn't have done it if he weren't about to admit it, but in retrospect it looked a lot worse.
"Where's Mille Feuille?"
Gateau looked around. "Who knows? I lost track of him at the same time I lost track of you."
That at least he would lie about. He wasn't going to admit to being fascinated by anything that put that expression on someone's face.
Carrot knit his arms behind his head. "Maybe he's looking for clues. Or off humping someone."
"What?! I hate that guy!"
Gateau laughed deeply. "I meant, jealous he gets to hump someone!"
"Oh." Carrot turned slightly red.
Yes, something new to torment him with. "I'm beginning to think Milphey's right about you."
Carrot groused, "What are you talking about..."
"Really, why didn't you fight off those guys earlier?"
"We're not supposed to be making a scene!" Carrot hit a hushed whisper.
"And suddenly you're Mr. Conscientious?"
Carrot slid Gateau a cold look. "I. Am. Not. Gay."
"Then what on earth are you doing here?"
That voice was curious, and higher pitched than Gateau's. They slowly turned in unison; the man behind them had an angel's outfit, complete with slightly messy blond hair and little plush wings.
"A... we... we're with a friend."
"That's not very good, is it?" The man tilted his head. "The roads have just opened up again, and everyone's very... hm..."
"Frisky?" supplied Gateau.
The man nodded.
Gateau crossed his arms seriously. "I know how they feel."
Carrot rolled his eyes and jerked a thumb at Gateau. "He's bi."
"Oh, so it's just you? You must be very good friends."
"Not really. I just don't run fast enough."
The angel was not sure how to take this. "It's at least nice to see such support and open-mindedness."
"Weeell," said Carrot, scratching at his cheek, "Gateau's a jerk, and Mille's a complete nutter, and nobody's done anything but grope me since we got here, but, I suppose," He continued virtuously, "Somewhere, there must be at least one nice faggot."
The angel worked his jaw for a moment. Gateau took advantage of the silence to pull Carrot away, quick as he could.
"Are you out of your mind? Saying stuff like that?" Gateau shook his head. "You really will start a riot."
"What? It's the truth."
"He doesn't want to hear your version of the truth, kid."
Carrot raised an eyebrow. "Well, ya never know. He could've been that one nice--" Gateau clapped his hand over Carrot's mouth again, and kept it there until they found Mille Feuille. He was triumphantly spinning a key around his finger.
"The inns are full, but a couple rooms just opened up and guess who got them?"
"Does it matter?" Gateau finally let Carrot go--he was starting to gnaw on the palm of his hand. "We're used to the ground anyway."
Mille ignored this. "There's a single for you, Gateau, and a single for Carrot dear and me..."
Carrot stared at him, jaw set.
"After all, you can't expect one of us to share a bed with Gateau, at his size..."
Mille rambled on for a while more, ever increasingly aware that Carrot wasn't blinking.
"....all right, all right, I'll sleep on the floor!"
"--Of Gateau's room."
"Of Gateau's room," Mille added sadly. Gateau just shook his head--once they started having silent conversations, they might as well be married.
At least he got the bed. He stretched out on it as Carrot ran for the second set of keys and Mille Feuille, sighing, began to set up camp on the floor. The inn's linen was smooth and soft, yes, but not thick enough to pad the floorboards. There was a stretch of silence.
"...You have to admit, it was fun."
"Not exactly fair, though."
Mille fell onto the bed with a poof. "Having a bout of conscience?"
"No, I mean, you've both got unnatural speed. It's cruel to ask me to compete." Gateau grinned. "Not that I didn't enjoy trying."
"So, you admit it." Mille rolled over onto his stomach. "How about admitting that Carrot dear is cute?"
"I know he's cute. When he's not being obnoxious." Gateau shook his head. He'd been about to say that this wasn't the first time he'd noticed. Carrot had a habit of passing out at some point in battle--sometimes he woke up right away, sometimes he didn't. Gateau was the obvious choice to carry him back, and he was often surprised by the sweetness of Carrot's sleeping face. It made you run your fingers across it--but the most Gateau had ever tried then was a light, dry kiss.
He suspected the girls of similar things. With just Carrot's presence and not his perception, their private affection could surface. He could be held instead of hit and clothes need not be abandoned. But this was hardly something to brag about.
Gateau felt certain that, somewhere in all the loudness and aggression rattling through his life, there were soft, quiet, important things he could never quite get a grip of.
"You admitted it." Mille squealed. "You like him."
"I don't like him, I like his ass. It doesn't scream a thing about girls, for one. Anyway," Gateau shook his head free of thoughts again. "You won, stop pushing it."
"I only won because you gave up." Mille grinned. "And I'm jealous of your last move."
"So am I, at this moment. But I'm not trying it again."
Gateau grunted. "You didn't see. Some other guys kept it up."
"So, you'll let yourself be beaten by me and every other guy in this town?"
"It'd be different if it were Marron." Gateau stuck out his tongue. "Am I supposed to care if I lose that twerp?"
"If it were Marron, you'd never have played the game to begin with."
Gateau opened his mouth for his rebuttal, but was stopped by his own thought. If it were Marron? He'd have stopped Mille, challenged him, been outraged. Marron didn't deserve that sort of crap. The same held true of the rest of the Hunters, but Carrot? It was hard to think there was anything wrong with abusing Carrot. Really, it was the norm. He'd get over it, he always did.
There was a pause as Gateau struggled with, and finally triumphed over, this line of thought.
"...Where is he, anyway?"
Mille turned to the door, got up, left. After a while of staring at the open door with some unfathomable distrust, Gateau followed. He bumped into Mille, on his way back and not looking where he was going.
"The innkeeper said the person who reserved the room showed after all." Mille glanced over his shoulder nervously. "He told Carrot a while ago--"
"Then why didn't he come back to the room--" Gateau stopped.
Damn, damn thin walls. What had he said again? Shit.
Gateau squirmed. "Think we pushed it a bit?"
"Carrot dear needs to be pushed."
Hmphff. "Idiot's probably run off."
Mille shrugged. "Of course. How else are we going to find out what's going on? I've put a tracer on him."
"And if the sorcerer transforms him?"
"I know enough to turn him back. Besides, Chocolat, Tira and Marron aren't that far away, and if anything happens, Marron will know. It'll be fine."
"It'd better be." Gateau grunted. "Marron'll kill me if Carrot gets raped on my watch."
"We have no reason to believe they're disappearing for anything like that."
Gateau glanced at the door again.
"Are you sure," he said slowly, "That it's even a sorcerer?"
Mille Feuille's answer, whatever it might have been, was drowned out by an all too familiar scream.
The twilight-shrouded streets of Single Serving were absolutely uninhabited, dark and silent. The roads seemed suddenly dusty and lonely, like a bed without a lover, like a playground without children. Stillness settled on the town, blanketing the happy murmurs with tense watchfulness. The rumors had been told; the windows were full of eyes; the streets laid bare but for the dirt off Mille and Gateau's feet.
Soon they were outside it, brushing off branches and spiders, wishing vaguely that they were dressed properly. Someone had come this way before--Mille held the line in his hands. Gateau held only the knowledge that they were getting farther and farther from the others.
They burst into the clearing and a wash of moonlight. The house was a gash against the night sky, not as large as they were used to, not a mansion but a meeting-house. Here, now, talk could be heard. Rather than comforting, it itched against the skin, like the scrape of a needle cross length a record, a discordance, a sake jug in a carp pond.
"Welcome, ladies and--" There was a chorus of laughter. "Excuse me. Welcome, gentlemen and gentlemen, to the first sale of the year!"
Gateau knit his eyebrows as they shuffled their way close to the house. That voice sounded familiar.
"The first of many, all of which we hope you shall attend. First up, a beautiful blue-haired--"
"I don't see him," Mille whispered.
Gateau peeked in and raked his eyes over the crowd. At least the kidnapped men seemed all right. But they were all effeminate, small things--and Carrot wasn't among them. There was the figure Gateau recognized, hair still askew and plush wings intact. There were also some large, intimidating figures who were obviously not for sale, but Gateau paid them no mind.
"Carrot doesn't seem like their type."
"That man was following us." Mille's expression was dark. "Wait."
Gateau did, his eyes narrowing. They had to be doing this for sex--none of the men looked like good workers. Gateau felt a bit insulted at their choices, to be honest. Of course, he appreciated their beauty--but there were many larger beautiful men (like himself) to be had as well. And if this was their type, where did Carrot fit in?
He kept thinking of the moment before Carrot had stopped those men, that instant that made him rush forward as he did on missions, without the thought reaching his brain, but instead, just pure reflex surging down his spine. As he did in matters of life and death. Were those men even so bad? Carried away? Gateau and Mille were his friends, and they...
"They've been chosen for weakness."
"They're beautiful, yes, but also, easy targets." Mille whispered.
That was why? They'd marked Carrot as an easy score?
"He fought back."
"He panicked and got lucky. Obviously, no one could be that fast."
Gateau stared as people were bought and sold. It was all so sterile, a matter of business, but for the most lewd of purposes--somewhere, someone in a back room was probably--
"Why should we wait? Let's just go!"
"If we do that, Carrot dear will be taken hostage! Unless someone is in danger, we can wait."
"And finally, to round up the evening, a special contest!"
Gateau was about to argue with Mille Feuille, but was interrupted as his mouth attempted to drool and run dry at the same time.
They knew their business. They had better style than Carrot, Mille or, he had to admit, himself. Although he was aware that the purpose of sexy clothes was to reveal a bit, but not everything, that sort of knowledge was useless for a exhibitionist.
Still, this outfit proved the rule. The pants were hung low, on the brink of decency, slashed and laced up the sides. The shirt was nothing but scraps of cloth and netting--providing a thousand windows peeking at tanned skin, none quite enough to see all that was desired. Even the gag, white as the rest, seemed an accessory. The rope tying his hands behind his back must also be white, done in some fancy knot.
It's Carrot, Gateau reminded himself. He's... ah... um... a dork.
Carrot was led to his seat by a devil, who took over the announcing.
"Don't worry," said the angel, not so quietly, "You'll be fine. 'Cept maybe for a bundle of wood up the ass..."
"This man is not for sale! We would never be so devious," The devil winked, "as to sell some poor straight bastard into service. However, he might be seduced."
"For which you win ten percent off your purchases and also this lovely parting gift." The angel laid a hand on Carrot's shoulder, making him shudder.
"Everyone's stealing my damn idea," muttered Mille Feuille.
"Haven't you had enough of this yet?"
"Well, some of them are kind of cute..."
"He's not blushing, Mille."
Mille softened. "True."
Gateau waited, watching Mille, as the contestants lined up. Then he just shook his head and stood. Simply stepping in the door, with his bulk, was an impressive entrance.
"--Excuse me, mind if I play?"
"Damon, it's his friend--"
"Yeah, that means I've got dibs." Gateau grinned and sidled up to the head of the line, staring down the participants. Mille appeared against the doorway, suspiciously close to the ethereal duo.
Carrot blinked, his expression of fear and panic disappearing into one of anger. Well, that's all right, he's supposed to be angry. That's how the game goes.
They protested when Gateau untied him, but something whispered in Mille's soft, strong voice seemed to shut them up. Carrot tugged ineffectually at the tight knot of the gag for a moment before Gateau, cursing his thick fingers, undid that too. Carrot accepted the good will with a grunt, and a sharp look that dared Gateau try to explain himself.
You forget, kid, I don't owe you anything, not even an explanation. And an apology would be breaking the rules.
Instead, Gateau ignored Mille, the contestants, Carrot's expression and all decency. With a grin, he lifted Carrot off his feet a second time, pressing their bodies together, head leaning down as Carrot's height fell short. Carrot's demand for an explanation was doused by Gateau's lips.
The room held its breath as the moment lasted. Gateau stared into Carrot's startled eyes with utter unabashedness, utter confidence, watching as Carrot slowly pinked and reddened.
Blushing means, I can't admit I like it...
Gateau finally gave up the challenging stare, closed his eyes and leaned deeper down into Carrot's mouth. Carrot's heartbeat pounding against him, his solidity, the warmth of his breath--full body contact and frenching. He'd like to see Mille Feuille top that.
"I think he's won," said Mille. "We'll take them all, but about the payment--"
Gateau eventually pulled away, but only because he thought the next bit would be even better.
"You can put me down now," said Carrot, his voice as cold as he could manage.
"Why should I? Weren't you listening, twerp?" Gateau hugged him a bit closer, adding a few more shades to Carrot's face. "I won, that means I get to keep you."
Carrot squirmed. "Like hell! You don't even like me, you just like my ass!"
Gateau thought on this a moment.
"Weeell... I like your ass because it's yours. Anyway, it wouldn't hurt you to share it."
Carrot deadpanned. "Yes, it would."
"It really belongs to me now, anyway. Won it, fair and square." Gateau gave it a few squeezes, making Carrot struggle.
"Put me down, dammit!"
"And this part's mine, too--"
Squeak! "DON'T TOUCH THAT!"
"I own you all the way down to your feet--"
"No tickling! Stop it!"
"And this too..." Gateau slid his fingers into Carrot's hair, rubbing his thumb along his cheek, pulling Carrot into another kiss. Somewhere in the background, amid the smoking sorcerers, came the sound of Mille Feuille and a group of bishounen all going "awwwwww."
Gateau left Carrot's lips only just. His voice was very soft.
"Only an idiot like you would think I mean everything I say."
When I started this fanfic, I was just playing around with fanon-ish versions of the characters. I didn't intend to wind up with this pairing at all. ^^; Gateau/Carrot is starting to grow on me, aesthetically because it's obvious they're both men, and I like yaoi because of the guys, after all. Personality-wise, I like their gruff relationship. I've had some antagonizing relationships with friends, and it's such good fun. Granted, occasionally you have to step out and say "You know, I really do like you," "Yeah, same here... you jerk!" It keeps things interesting. ^^
The phrase "terminally straight" came from the Harem House Yaoi RPG, and was, in fact, originally intended to describe Carrot. The pants Carrot's wearing in the end are known around here as "slut pants" so I thought they'd be appropriate. ;) And I'm sure Mille does have a sense of style and fashion, he's just not using it here. Recently I read something about how rude Carrot's Japanese is, which explains the faggot line. Unfortunately, the final version of this fic cuts a few things I rather liked, such as a quick bit of angst on Carrot's part and a bit of info on the villains (who are Parsoners, yes, although the buyers... well, it's not important.) I chose this ending out of three--I decided to end it on a slightly more serious note and leave Carrot's response up to you. Constructive crit is appreciated, although I was mainly being silly.
It's Carrot. He's... ah... um... a dork.