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[X] “Uh, do you mean, right now? I, er… I've got quite the mess in there, so let me clean it up a tad first, okay?”
–[X] Try to figure out what the hell happened.
You have flirted with Disaster latterly.
What is more, you even took Disaster out on first date, found that she was too fat and scary, then tried to kill the relationship, doing at the same time your very best not to hurt her feelings. Subsequently, without her hair-rising gaze to bore bolt-holes in your nape at every given moment any more, you unwounded for a couple of days, confident that she had given up on her terrible, daunting advances. Disaster, however, proved to be a naughty, naughty girl, and returned with her two hulking brothers – Cock-up and Catastrophe – to put the boot in.
Oh, how smug she must feel.
“Tiger?” Mokou presses on. “I asked if you were going to let me in.”
“Uh—” you cough. Your throat seems as arid as a riverbed in draught. “Uh, let you in, um… Do you mean, er… now?…”
“Yes, now would be nice, Tiger.”
“Does it have to be right now, love? Cause I've, er…” you jerk a quick glance over at Reimu. “… looks like I've got quite the mess going on in here, actually.”
Mokou stamps her foot impatiently. “So? I don't mind a mess.”
“Sure, but I happen to do,” you retort. “So let me spruce it up a tad and I promise I won't be long, okay? Give me just a tick or two, I'll be done before you know it. Please, sweetheart. It's all I ask. One minute, all right? I'll be right back.”
Mokou blocks the door before you can shut it.
“What sort of a mess is it?” she questions. “Something serious?”
“Oh, the ordinary sort,” you fib quickly, “you know, the usual farrago – crumpled sheets, clothes on the floor, niffy air, puke in the sink, bottles out of the bin—”
“—and a nude shrine maiden in the bed?” Mokou chips in, her voice testy.
“Is that it, Tiger?” she pushes. “Did you think I wouldn't find out? Honestly? Where do you think I was last night? Bollocks,” she swears, backing away. “Why do you do this? Why do you keep trying to hide things? Why can't you be honest with me?”
“Mokou, please,” you rasp, “this is not what you think—!”
“Then what is it?!” she yells, throwing her arms out. “What, you are going to tell me you didn't screw her? Oh, maybe she was only sleeping in your bed naked because it was too stuffy to leave her clothes on?”
“Mokou, please, I—…” shite, what are you supposed to say? “Mokou, I beg you, we were both—we were all pissed like skunks last night, you and I—and Kaguya too, and Adel and Elly, and Delaney, and Reimu, and—bloody hell, I can't even remember who—!”
Mokou stares at you in wide-eyed disbelief. “… and you suppose making excuses is going to make it better? Surely you can't be serious, Tiger.”
“Yes, I am serious!” —and don't call me—ah, blast it! “I can't recollect who I was with, I can't even recall what happened after we—!”
“Do you think I care?!” Mokou cries, retreating ever so slowly. “Do you think I give a shit? I don't, Tiger, I don't give a—!… —It doesn't matter if you shagged her! I don't care! I just—” she shakes her head, “—I just wanted to—… I thought—!… Nyargh!” she lets out something between a curse and an incoherent scream, then touches off down the hallway.
“Mokou!” you call after her. “Mokou, wait!”
“Piss off!” she snaps. “Go snog your bloody shrine maiden!”
‘Not blooming likely,’ you hiss, scrambling to retrieve your part of the garderobe. It's in a rather miserable state, but bloody hell, so are you. Mokou may have been using words, but they felt like needles in your ears. Reimu remains in bed, insistent on lounging around with the confused look unwittingly devised to drive any watching men insane. “Sorry,” you tell her, and mean it for a change, “I've got to go. Stay here, understood? Smarten up or something, I don't know. Sorry!”
Not waiting for her response, you shoot out into the hall and home in on the fading staccato of Mokou's steps.
“Mokou! Hold up!”
“Bugger off!” comes from the stairway below. “Let me be, you nonce!”
“Not on my sodding watch!” you vault over the rails. “Hold up, I say!”
“Over my dead arse!”
How did this come to happen?
It was only yesterday, and should clearly remember it as such. Delaney's betrayal, remanding Reimu to the Village, the Princess's lovely lecture, and then the successive piss-up with the lot of your team, as fireworks launched and erupted overhead. When in the devil did you lose the notion of your surroundings? Why, instead of a clear picture, or leastwise a suggestion of what it may have been, is there only this white, unintelligible noise? Is your mind playing tricks on you, or are you playing tricks on it? Disorganised lines and deeds are everything there is, all but barely discernible memories… as well as the premonition of something, something gravely important, slipping yet again the range of your baffled thoughts…
“No! Bug off!”
… and you sense, bitter, that whilst gone now, the turncoat mirage has since done its slice of harm. It had haunted you, ever from the start of yester morning, throughout the game and the following events, and even though you had learned to dismiss its prying presence, now that it has vanished from your side at last, you realise the illusory voice has been with you al̴͟l ̵̨͜d̵a̵̶͝y̸̵ ̢l̛͝o͢͟͠n̢g͜.
Mokou yaws off the flight nearly at the bottom of the building, taking into one of the side-passages you haven't yet had the chance to explore. Until now. You leap past the last set of stairs and tail her into the shadowy back-bowel of the Clinic.
“Mokou, please, slow down!” you plead. “I'm starting to see double!”
“Let them both flip you off, then!” her ratty-eyed glare looms merely twenty-odd yards ahead. “Stop following me! Leave me alone!”
“No bleeding way!” you shout back. “What do you want me to say? Oh, that stupid shrine maiden can't compare to my sexy, little Mokou? I can't even remember what we did last night!”
“I don't want you to say anything! Don't talk to me!”
“Oh no. Not this time, sweetheart.”
Enough dallying, you decide. Having taken a deeper breath, you give your legs a mute apology and charge up to Mokou's back, then latch on to her wrist, forcing her to acknowledge her loss in this stupid race she's led you on. On that cue, she slowly comes to a stop, panting hot, hard and quick, still unwilling to look her hunter in the eye.
“See,” you exhale, “you can't run away. I've got you now.”
“Think again!” Between one drained wheeze and another, she veers around; her arm whips back and then flashes forward with a blob of incandescent flame nestled in her clenched palm. You brush it aside with a negligent gesture, then throw your arms around her feverish shoulders. “Ah?!—“ she squeals, squirming in the embrace. “—what—let me go!”
“No,” you tighten the hold. There is only one thing you can do with a woman in the right, and that is squeeze her in your arms, telling her how right she is, adding just enough degrees of rightness to make her proud enough of herself to forgive you for whatever she's right about. “I won't let go, deal with it.”
“What—do you think you're doing? It—it hurts! Stop!”
“Understand, Mokou, please,” you say, “I was so arsefaced I can't even recall what happened back there, but I know that whatever it was, I didn't want it. Reimu, Kaguya, Delaney, whoever – I would have rather been with you, honest.”
Mokou swears again. “Bullshit! Do you expect me to just smile and forget it?”
“No, I expect you to listen to how much I love you until we're both satisfied.”
“… you're a bloody idiot!”
“Yes, you're right.”
“Don't admit it!”
“Why not?” you ask. “I'm two fools, I know, one for loving, two for saying so.”
“Lay it off! I'm not to be flexed with right now—!”
“Screw it, I'm flexing,” you clinch her tighter. “I love you, Mokou.”
Mokou struggles a few more times, but each attempt turns out weaker than the last. It's only natural, you concede – you weren't being responsible, and she'd got cold feet. If anybody is to blame, it's you. If you hadn't let yourself fly… “… Tiger,” she grunts finally, “I'm, uh… a little hard of hearing. Could you say that again?”
“I love you, Mokou,” you pet her gently. “I absolutely adore you. I love your eyes, I love the sound of your voice, I love the way you frown when I'm being silly, I love your hair, especially when you have just washed it at Keine's place, I love your breasts, I love your legs, I love all of you, Mokou. I always have, I've loved you since the day we first camped out in the woods together. I've loved you since you got me that vest for my birthday. I've loved you since forever, Mokou, I—”
“Okay, enough,” she prods you lightly in the sides and sighs. “I've had enough, Tiger, you hear? I'm appeased, you can let go of me now.”
“Yes, quite, and I can also feel the big load of frankness in your slacks.”
“Oh,” you let out. “Sorry, I, er… okay…”
Slightly embarrassed, you pull away from Mokou, making it your best effort not to let your discomfort be apparent. Content now, the tetchy girl grooms her bedraggled hair back to order, smiling thinly at her success in this sneaky operation. Gears of comprehension clack in your head, and you realise all of a sudden – it was all a kinky show of emotion, a perverted stage-play, and you've done your part in it flawlessly, without so much as a second of doubt – which only proves how well Kaguya had schooled her rebellous friend in the art.
Womankind – one, manhood – a resounding zero.
“I love you too, Tiger,” Mokou leans to kiss you on the lips, looking tickled with herself, “but I hate it when you lie to me. Stop lying. Sure, I didn't like that you shagged the shrine maiden, but it's nothing to get all twitchy over. We, uh… we've both had some past, haven't we? It's natural, isn't it? Unless you're gay.”
No, not gay, you comment inside, English – there's a difference. “Yes…” you give a nod. It's not the time nor place for witticism. “… I reckon.”
“It's not what I wanted to say though,” Mokou slickly shifts the topic. “I wanted to say, Tiger, that if you've got something on your mind, or if something has happened, or if you've got some sort of trouble going on, you can tell me—no, you have to tell me. I've been watching you these past few days, for—well, for various reasons, and you look awfully stressed out.”
“I, er… I may be.”
“It's—…” Mokou dithers, but her face is serious. “… it's nothing related to us, is it? Are you still worrying about—you know—that thing?”
By which she means your going savage on her a night ago. “No,” you assure, “it's something else.”
“Tiger,” Mokou chides, crossing arms on her chest.
“Okay. Okay, blast it,” you groan. “I'm still worried, I bloody well am, but it's not the only issue on my mind, okay?”
“Stop worrying, then,” she advises, “and focus on something else. I'm all right, Tiger.”
“Is that so?” you ask and point to a fresh scrape on her hand. “What's all this, then?”
Mokou pales. “It's—… no, it's nothing,” she steps back. “It's nothing, really, I must have scratched myself on your belt or something. It'll heal, sooner or later. Tiger, don't be silly,” she assumes a firmer tone, “we've got more important things to do. I'll want to talk with Reimu now, so don't disturb us for a moment, if you would be so nice. Reisen was looking for you, and so I hear was Eirin. Maybe you should take this opportunity to go and see them.”
1/2 [ ] Yes, and after that, you are going straight back to the Village. Keine owes you some answers.
1/2 [ ] Yes, and you shall find Kaguya immediately after. If anybody knows what is going on, it's her.
2/2 [ ] … but not before you make sure Mokou is all right – she might need a plaster.
2/2 [ ] Reisen first. If she was looking for you, it may be significant.
2/2 [ ] Eirin probably just wants to examine you, but you could ask her some questions as well in the meantime, you think.
1/2 & 2/2 [ ] No, you are going with Mokou. If it's about you and Reimu, it bloody well concerns you.