Title: Movie Night (Part 1?)
Characters: Gekkou Hayate, Uzuki Yuugao, Hagane Kotetsu
Notes: I refuse to discuss what went on, here. No, it's not all fiction, but nor is it all true.
It had been a shitty few days all around.
Kotetsu was barely off the painkillers from the broken teeth he'd had removed, and his face was still a little swollen. He'd been dealing with paperwork and morons all day, and looked like he was ready to skin the first asshole who said something stupid, no matter how innocent.
Izumo was playing dead in his room with the door closed and his head stuffed under a pillow. He'd caught something infernally nasty and wasn't going to be getting up for a couple more days, but he swore he'd be up and moving for next week's movie-watching extravaganza.
Hayate was still sore from the night before, which he'd spent dancing in a smoky club, despite the fact that he knew better from personal experience. His lungs were spoiling for a fight, and it would be days before he could laugh without coughing up lung chunks.
And Yuugao, unknown to anyone but Hayate, was avoiding her parents; apparently, they were less than thrilled that she'd decided to go into ANBU. But, for unknown reasons, it had taken them two years to get around to the patronizing 'honey, we need to talk about your decision'.
Kotetsu, in his infinite wisdom — or maybe it was infinite drunkenness — had decided that what they all needed was a movie night. Some time to kick back in front of the silly movies of their youth and heckle like magpies. Izumo had muttered smething incoherent and pulled the pillows back over his head, but Hayate thought it was a brilliant idea, and announced he'd be bringing his girlfriend. Kotetsu made the obligatory smoochy noises and laughed, before telling Hayate that was fine, and he'd see them that night.
Despite the fact that the door was open a few inches, Hayate knocked. It was wholly unlike Kotetsu to leave a door open, even if he was expecting company — the cat would get out. "Looks like it's just us, tonight." Kotetsu opened the door the rest of the way, staring confusedly at it.
Hayate gathered that his day had been worse than he'd mentioned, and reached up to ruffle the tall chuunin's hair. "Ah, it's alright. Shit happens. Rough week all around, I think." He shrugged apologetically and stepped into the apartment. "Ko, this is my girlfriend, Yuugao. Yuu, this is Kotetsu."
Yuugao bowed politely and smiled. Kotetsu took a moment to admire her. "You're not kidding, Hayate. She's cute."
Thankfully, one doesn't make ANBU if one can't hold one's shit together just as well without a mask as with one. Hayate's fumbling response also made a brilliant cover for whatever she might have thought about that fairly tasteless remark. "Well, ah, you know. She's … I mean, I…"
The microwave beeped, putting an end to the stuttering. "Popcorn," Kotetsu clarified, removing a bag of it from the microwave and pulling it open. "Hn. I'm pretty sure a popped bag is supposed to be more than half full. Here, you take this one — I'll try again." He handed the bag to Hayate, and pulled another bag from the box on the counter. "I'm afraid there's nothing to drink but water and milk. The beer is for me, because I really need it."
"Ouch. That bad?" Kotetsu submitted to having his hair ruffled again by the little tokujo, before he walked back to the living room to pick up the two DVDs that were tonight's choices from the coffee table.
"Worse," he grumbled, holding out the discs. "Here, pick one."
Hayate, having more than the sense the gods granted a turnip, promptly passed the discs to Yuugao. "You pick one, hon." You'll be the one to sulk if I pick the one you don't like…
She looked at the discs for only a moment. "Ooh! This one!" She waved the copy of Dragonslayer at the guys. Kotetsu took it, without a word, and went to fiddle with the DVD player.
After an excessive amount of cursing and threatening various electronic devices, they managed to get the movie to come on. Half a beer down, Kotetsu was nowhere near calm, yet, as he slumped into his chair, petting the kitten as it appeared from under an end table. "Yeah, so Izumo's trying to die in the other room. I just hope I don't catch it — the last thing I need is another infection in my mouth. I haven't been able to work for almost two weeks, and today I get the stupid from the minute I walk in until the minute I walk out. I don't think I got in breaths between demands, and they were all idiotic demands."
Hayate reached out to pet him comfortingly, as Yuugao sat stiffly on the couch beside her boyfriend. She didn't seem to know how to handle that he'd had Kotetsu for a friend for more years than anyone wanted to admit, and that she'd never met him until now. Or maybe it was just that she'd been unprepared to see him quite so physically comfortable with someone other than herself and Genma, when his standard response was to break fingers on first contact. The uncomfortable moment was disrupted by the sound of the microwave.
"Another minute and a half," Hayate declared, retrieving his hand, "it's still popping."
Kotetsu grunted in agreement and wandered into the kitchen while Hayate and Yuugao watched the first couple of minutes of the movie. He came back holding another beer. "This movie is so 80s. It's not so obvious until the dragon shows up, but after that…" He shook his head.
Hayate laughed and then coughed, earning looks of concern from both sides. He waved his hand dismissively and concentrated on remembering how to breathe in a way that didn't feel like swallowing sandpaper. "It looks like one of the old barbarian movies. I miss those; they were really great. Cheesy as anything, but simple and heroic."
"Yeah, Conan and Red Sonja — those were awesome." Kotetsu continued to ramble, but Hayate had become distracted by Yuugao's obvious distress. She was clearly bothered by something, and it took him a minute to place that it was probably that he was draped over the arm of the couch, lavishing attention upon the angry chuunin on that side of him. In other words, she was some kind of jealous, even though he and Kotetsu would never…
On his other side, Kotetsu asked a question, but Hayate hadn't been paying attention. "Oh, yeah. Absolutely," he tossed back, hoping there didn't need to be more of an answer than that.
"Of course! But you try to tell that to people…" Kotetsu shook his head sadly and went to retrieve his popcorn, which had apparently finished while Hayate was spaced out.
Kotetsu sat back down with his popcorn and started on another beer. Might as well get too drunk to fuck while there's nothing to lose by it, Hayate thought, but avoided saying it for fear of offending Yuugao. Kotetsu probably would have just rolled his eyes and laughed — if he was far enough gone, he'd have called a toast. But Yuugao was already displeased, and it would be folly to anger the ANBU he was dating.
The three finally began to pay attention to the movie as the old sorceror was stabbed in the chest. And, lo, the heckling did begin.
"Oh, fail!" shouted Kotetsu.
"No fucking way!" Hayate croaked. "He's not really dead!"
"He totally planned this. Just watch." Yuugao sounded smug.
And, later, Kotetsu asked, "How is it that the hero is always clean-shaven? I mean, they're on the road, and it's like the middle ages. Where is he finding the equipment?"
Hayate raised an eyebrow. "He's a sorceror. There's gotta be some magic for that."
Later still, the hero fought the dragon, breaking his spear off in its throat. "Man, the next time you make the sharpest blade in the known world, make the haft out of metal." Kotetsu sounded exasperated.
As the dragon breathed in to blow fire, Hayate interrupted. "Ano sa! Ano sa! Didn't he just poke holes in the dragon's throat? If it breathes fire it's going to …" He gesticulated futilely.
"Leak?" Yuugao offered, and Hayate nodded, eyes glued to the screen to watch the glaring fallacy of physics that would indubitably occur. Much to his disappointment, the scene cut before it got that far.
By the time the dragon was slain and the hero had made off with the beautiful girl, Yuugao had become somewhat more comfortable. Unfortunately, that only lasted until Kotetsu turned on the lights.
"Here, start the second movie," he said, putting the disc into the player. "I gotta go take a piss."
Hayate managed to cough in agreement as he reached for the remote. Leaning back onto the couch, carefully, so as not to disturb his lungs, he looked over at Yuugao, who had pulled her hands back into her lap and was clearly poised on the edge of making his lungs the least of his worries. "Ah, having fun yet, love?"
"I'm tired, and we still have to get home." Her voice was carefully neutral, and it raised the hairs on the back of his neck.
"Well, ah, we could go. Or if you're really tired, you could sleep through the next movie and then we could go. I mean, if that would help. I'm sure Kotetsu wouldn't mind."
His raspy attempts to defuse the situation failed — she was staring at him as if speculating on whether his head contained brains or mashed turnips — but he'd at least avoided saying something to make it worse. "I think we should go now. If I go to sleep, I'm not getting back up."
"As you wish!" He jackknifed up from the sofa, moving like he had a spring-loaded ass, intent on telling their host that they had to go home.
Turning the corner out of the room, he slammed directly into Kotetsu's chest. "Sorry! Sorry…" He stumbled back, coughing.
Kotetsu reached out to steady his friend. "You alright, man?"
"Fine —" cough "— it's nothing —"cough He clutched Kotetsu's wrist for balance.
"You sure you're not going to leave a lung on my carpet? 'Cause as awesome of a cat toy as that would be, I think Izumo would shit a brick." Kotetsu looked down in mild amusement, knowing that Hayate really was as alright as he was ever going to get.
There was a choking gurgle as what might have been a laugh slid back down into violent coughing. "Fuck you. —" coughcoughcough "— Don't make me —" coughhackgagcough "— laugh, cocksucker!"
"Takes one to know one…" The tall chuunin waited for the hacking spree to pass. "So, what did you need? I assume you weren't just wandering pointlessly."
Hayate walked back over to where Yuugao sat on the couch and draped his arms around her shoulers, resting his chin on her head. "Yeah, sorry, I think we have to go. Yuu-chan's getting really tired."
They both looked at her for confirmation, but she just stared straight forward into Hayate's zipper, and said nothing. Kotetsu widened his eyes and tilted his head down, looking at Hayate — Do you really know what you're doing? the look asked.
Hayate closed his eyes for a moment and shrugged very slightly. I don't know. It doesn't matter. "Case in point," he said, gesturing at her head with one hand, before he stepped back to offer her a hand off the couch.
Leaving was the usual awkward affair in which no-one was wholly certain who was supposed to actually say 'goodbye' and open the door, and people kept saying foolish things, waiting for someone else to take the initiative. Finally, Hayate pulled the door open.
"G'night, tall, dark, and freakish." He hugged Kotetsu, patting the chuunin on the back. "I'll spot for takeout, next week."
"It's been fun." Kotetsu hovered in the doorway as the little tokujo made his way down the stairs behind the tall, regal, ANBU girl. He shook his head, wondering how long that was going to last. As he closed the door, he could hear Hayate sticking his foot in his mouth one last time: "See, I keep telling you my friends aren't scary! You never believe me."
The door clicked shut, and Kotetsu was certain his friend had just bought himself a night on the couch.