“Gotsun, I’m bored.”
“That’s nice, get off me, I’m trying to play--”
“I’m bored. Like, really bored. Like, I have an idea bored.”
“Does this idea include stealing Nagase’s clothes from the shower room again? You remember that didn’t work out so well?”
“Hey, every plan can’t be a winner! No, no, this is a much better idea. It’s been a little too peaceful around here lately, don’t you think? The senpai are feeling so nice and calm, and us kouhai have been good and resisted the urge to have food fights or leave frogs in their beds?”
“...yeah, it is pretty boring around here...”
“Let’s stir them up! Get them all passionate and annoyed and most importantly, interesting!”
“So, what, provoke them into a fight?”
“No! Prank war.”
“You have the best ideas sometimes~”
“I’m telling you, I didn’t touch your lava lamp, Leader,” Nagase grumbled, shoving Joshima off of his shoulder, “why would I want that stupid thing?!” He was sitting on the counter of the tiny dorm kitchen in his underwear, a bowl of rice in his hands and a plate of sushi next to him.
“It’s not stupid!” Joshima squawked, though of course it was--”I found it on your desk, Tomoya, don’t try to pass this off on someone else!” He put his hands on his hips. His squawking had brought a crowd, mostly the older members of TOKIO, and while Tatsuya looked patently unsurprised, Taichi looked bothered.
“But I don’t want it! I prefer my day-cor with a little more nudity!”
“Is that where my copies of Playboy went?!” Taichi looked horrified.
Nagase pulled a face. “I don’t share porn,” he said, looking insulted, “what kind of monster do you take me for?! Anyway, it wasn’t me.” Nagase turned away from them both and began shoveling more rice into his mouth, making it clear this conversation, at least, was over.
Sakamoto got up at his usual time that morning. 6:00 am. It was a little earlier than most, well, all of the others in the rooms around him, but he didn’t mind because that meant he had the shower room all to himself. And if there was one thing Sakamoto liked, it was having the shower room all to himself. He enjoyed spending ample time getting himself ready in the morning. It was necessary, wasn’t it? As a member of Johnny’s, one’s personal hygiene was an exceedingly important part of one’s general make-up.
After his shower, he spent a good part of his time in front of the mirror, giving his face an extra wash, brushing his teeth, using an ample dose of his favorite after-shave, and then he walked back to his room with a little extra skip in his step so he could dry and brush his hair.
Nagano was still asleep when he came in, one arm hanging off the side of his bed and a highly unbecoming bulldozer-like snore drifting annoyingly from his nose. Sakamoto’s eyes narrowed, but he didn’t let it get to him too much, as the first thing he did once he’d placed his toilettries back on his shelf was plug in the hair-dryer and turn it on full-blast.
Nagano promptly fell out of his bed.
He could see him in the mirror, all confused and bothered as he attempted to right himself, but Sakamoto didn’t say anything, just calmly blow-drying his hair, and giving it a few extra little poofs to get it in just the right style. At one point, Nagano came up behind him and glared at him in the mirror, saying something near his ear, but Sakamoto couldn’t hear it and didn’t care. He turned the hairdryer towards Nagano and promptly blasted hot air into his face.
Ten minutes later, once his hair was perfect, he painstakingly wrapped the cord back up and checked himself out in the mirror.
Yeah. He was ready.
Nagano was still grumbling while making his bed. Something about “no one in their right mind would get up this early”. He gave his pillow a slightly more violent pat than normal as he placed it on the top of the bed.
Sakamoto just whistled to himself as he packed his bag to get ready to head out. Ah, the sun outside the window was indeed beautiful today, wasn’t it? The weather would be wonderful on his walk to the train station. He was already in the greatest mood!
Once he was ready, he cocked his head with a little grin and looked back over his shoulder. “Have fun fighting the young’uns for the showers this morning.” And then he made his way towards the door.
Upon arriving, however, he noticed something slightly amiss.
There was something underneath the door.
He raised an eyebrow, kneeling down to get a closer look. An envelope? It appeared someone had slid some sort of manilla envelope halfway beneath their door.
“Hey, did you put this here?”
“Put what where?”
Nagano blinked in confusion, bumbling over to stand behind him. “...no. Why would I put an envelope under our door?”
“Well, it wasn’t here when I went out earlier...”
Sakamoto chewed on the inside of his cheek. Then an idea popped into his head.
“Maybe it’s a fan-letter! Maybe... maybe I have a secret admirer~”
“Maybe you have someone who secretly hates you. Oh wait. It’s your roommate.”
“Now, now... don’t get jealous just because I have more fans than you! Maybe if you just spent more time focusing on important things like getting yourself ready in the morning, you could have the same amount of fans I do.” Sakamoto wiggled his fingers in the air in anticipation. “Now... let’s see just what this is...”
He lowered his hand to grab the envelope.
And suddenly everything went white. There was a strange splatty noise and the envelope erupted in front of him, and then white globules of sticky foam went flying all over the room, all over the walls, all over the countertop, and most importantly, all over Sakamoto’s face.
Neither one of them moved for a second.
Nagano blinked in bemusement, bringing a hand up to wipe a finger in a large splat of the foam that had landed on his cheek.
Sakamoto felt a fury build inside of him until it erupted into a firey rage and he flew to his feet.
“ALRIGHT WHO THE FUCK DID THIS?” He yanked open the door in one fell-swoop, eyes red with unbridled anger.
There was no one on the other side of the door. Only the other half of the envelope, complete with one giant shoe-print gracing the top of it. Sakamoto dashed outside, looking to the left, then to the right. There was no one there.
Nagano was laughing inside the room now, one hand to his chest and still wiping at globs of the shaving cream that were splattered across him.
Sakamoto stomped back inside. “Nagano. This is no time for laughter!” He grabbed the front of Nagano’s shirt and shoved his face up against the other’s.
“B-But... your hair...”
Sakamoto ignored the comment and just shook the other man again. Nagano jerked back and forth. “Who would do such a thing? It must be someone jealous of my appeal and dashing good looks.”
“I’m sure it was...”
Sakamoto finally released Nagano’s shirt, bringing his hand up into a fist as he continued to shake with rage. “This means war...”
Nagano raised an eyebrow bemusedly.
“...Nagano. Gather the troops.”
“And then Sakamoto-kun came in and started insisting that we knew something about the ‘infamous shaving cream accident’ from this morning--was there a shaving cream accident this morning? I’m sure we haven’t heard anything about it!”
“Ken-kun, I was there when you did it. What’d you do?”
“Huh? Oh, I told him I don’t wake up before eight if I can manage it, but he might want to try talking to somebody who did--you know, like Okada or something. Turns out he and Tsuyoshi-kun were on another one of those early-morning nature walks they always do--where is nature in the middle of freaking Tokyo? Those Kansai guys are all crazy. Anyway, they’re in trouble now~”
“I’m just saying, we can’t let the senpai walk all over us,” Ken declared, “they can’t go around threatening everybody willy-nilly! I bet it was Taichi-kun or something, getting Sakamoto-kun back for mentioning that Taichi-kun’s dancing has gotten, uh... you know.” They’d gotten everyone mostly behind their crusade. Okada and Tsuyoshi were the unknowns in their equation, so to speak. Sure, Sakamoto had blamed them for the foam explosion, but both were notorious for doing exactly as they pleased. That said, they both liked causing trouble in their own little ways, so Ken was hoping the ‘fiery motivational speech’ would tip them both off something they should want to get involved in was up.
They didn’t disappoint. “I don’t know what the hell you two are up to,” Tsuyoshi said, “but I’m in. As long as Nagase does the grunt work.”
Okada stretched his arms over his head, eyes scrunched up in thought. “Let’s do this,” he said, finally, “Sakamoto-kun keeps giving me nasty looks.”
Not having anything pressing to do that afternoon, Joshima’d taken to working on a few sets of guitar tabs he’d been mulling around in his head for the last couple of weeks. They were finally starting to let him use their own compositions in some of their music, which both excited him yet also set his nerves alight, because this put a lot more pressure on their own shoulders. There was no way he was going to half-ass something like this, and he wanted to make sure everything was perfect before even suggesting it to some of the higher-ups.
He’d spread everything out on his bed, pencil above his ear, papers and blank music scores littering the futon comforter, and guitar standing up against his bedside table for easy access whenever he needed to go over a new set of chords or try out a melody. Nakai was out most of the day, so he didn’t need to worry about noise complaints or general bitching about music quality, which set him quite at ease and allowed him to think in peace. He’d even shut the door to his room so he wouldn’t have to hear the general idiocy coming out of the common room in the form of Taichi, Tatsuya, Sakamoto and Nagano’s new “war room”, complete with white-board, name-plates, pointers, and Sakamoto’s general’s cap.
They’d told him five times now that he needed to get out there as it was “his war too”, but he really didn’t give much of a damn about the entire situation and had told them he wasn’t up for playing kids’ games.
Sakamoto’d said he would be their “reserves”.
Scratching his chin with his pencil, he studied the scrawl he’d just marked down on the paper beneath him when the phone on Nakai’s desk rang. It was technically both of theirs, given that it was the room phone, but Nakai had insisted they keep it there as he was constantly expecting a lot of calls from “chicks”. Joshima suspected it was actually calls from his mother.
Giving a little sigh and pushing up from his bed, he wandered over to the phone, bringing the receiver to his mouth.
“Is this the residence of a Nakai-san and Joshima-san?”
Joshima blinked. “Yes, may I ask who’s calling?”
“We’re incredibly sorry for the intrusion. This is the phone company calling on account of an increasing number of black-outs that have been occurring in your area.”
“Black-outs?” Joshima scratched the top of his head.
“Surges in electricity have rendered many phone lines inoccuous, and we’ve had to sever a few lines entirely. We’re calling to inform you that over the next half hour a team will be working to fix the problem, but during that time there will be a high risk for all customers using their telephones.”
Joshima’s eyes widened in concern and he held the phone in both hands. “High risk?”
“Yes. Due to the mechanical work, we’ll need to open all electrical lines, which will leave residents using their telephones at a high risk. There is a high chance of electrocution via the telephone wires.”
“Electrocution?!” Joshima’s eyes grew as wide as saucers.
“Yes. Therefore, we are advising all customers in your area to refrain from using or answering their telephones for the next half-hour. Doing so could connect the currents and electrify the person on the other side of the line. Do you understand?”
Joshima’s heart was beating loudly in his chest and he regripped the phone. “Ah, y-yes... I understand.”
“I repeat, do not pick up your phone during the next half an hour. Doing so could electrify the person on the other line.”
“I won’t, I won’t!”
“Thank you, have a nice day.”
There was a click as the line was cut off. Joshima swallowed hard, waiting a few moments before putting the receiver back down. He chewed on his bottom lip nervously. He continued to stare at the phone for another minute, not quite sure if he was half-expecting bolts of lightning to come shooting out of it or something, and then finally tried to shove the thought away and walked back over to the bed.
He re-organized the papers, picking his pencil back up and attempting to remember where he’d left off before the phone had rung.
Ah, yes. The F#-diminished chord. He hadn’t been quite sure if it had been right or not. He’d need to actually get his guitar.
He reached over towards said object, and right when his fingers touched it, the phone rang again.
His eyes were wide as they stared at the now ringing receiver.
Forcing his breathing to calm back down, he waited patiently until the phone stopped ringing. He hadn’t gotten a call all morning, but he supposed it was almost inevitable that now with the risk of electrocution everyone and their mother would find it necessary to call his phone.
Once it stopped, he reaffirmed his grip on the guitar and pulled it up into his lap before starting to pick his way carefully through the succession of chords he’d written down haphazardly on the paper in front of him, stopping every once in a while when a chord or note just didn’t sound quite right.
After a short while, the phone rang again.
He stopped playing, eyes turning towards the phone once more.
How long had it been? He checked his watch. Only about fifteen minutes. They’d said half an hour, hadn’t they? He chewed on the inside of his cheek and simply watched the phone until it stopped ringing again. He didn’t really know why he was so nervous, but he felt a tiny drop of sweat roll down his temple and towards his chin.
Once it stopped, he went back to playing, though it was hard to keep his concentration as he kept thinking about the phone, thoughts of lightning-like bolts of electricity shooting out of it plaguing his mind. He pursed his lips as his next chord came out sour.
When another fifteen minutes passed and there were no more calls, he felt the weight off his chest lift slightly. It was over now, wasn’t it? It had been half an hour? He had the pencil back out now and was working through another series of chords. After even another few minutes had passed, he felt the relief spread through him even more. He might have still been worried to get a call if it was right on the mark, but now it was nearing forty minutes, so he should be fine, right?
He wondered if the phone company would call to tell him the repair work was complete.
Almost as if on cue, the phone rang again. Joshima couldn’t help the slight pick-up in pace of his heart as he looked up. Furrowing his eyebrows, he slowly made his way off the bed and over to the phone. Maybe he shouldn’t answer it? Was there still a possibility that it wasn’t complete yet? But what if it was the phone company? If he didn’t answer, then he’d never know if they were done and he might stay stressed the rest of the night.
His hand went to the receiver, fingers shaky as they grasped the smooth plastic.
He was going to answer it.
Yes. He could do it. He had to answer it.
He took a deep breath. Then picked up the receiver and brought it to his ear.
There was a horrible, ear-shattering, heart-wrenching scream.
Joshima’s eyes shot open wide as his heart jumped out of his chest. He screamed too. His voice went up three octaves as his shriek echoed throughout the entire room. He threw the phone away in absolute horror before running, still screaming, towards the door and yanking it open.
All four of the others in the next room were staring at him as he came racing through the door.
“Leader, what the fuck?!?”
Taichi was sitting closest to the door, and Joshima fell down to his knees in front of him, chest gulping in deep, wracking sobs as he grabbed onto the fabric of his shirt and pushed his face into his stomach.
Sakamoto was to his feet instantly. “What happened?!”
It was hard to understand Joshima through the blubbering mess that he’d become. “I... I killed someone... oh my god... I killed someone... wh-what do I do? I-I.... oh my god oh my god what have I done?”
Tatsuya got to his feet as well, one eyebrow raised as he walked towards the recently vacated room and peeked inside. Nothing seemed amiss besides the fact that the phone appeared to have been thrown against the wall and was now lying over by the window.
Taichi patted Joshima’s head awkwardly as Nagano came to stand behind Tatsuya, a finger beneath his chin.
“I’ve seen this before...”
“Eh?” Tatsuya turned towards him.
“The old ‘electrifying phone’ gag. One of the oldest in the books.” Nagano nodded morosely, jaw set tight.
Tatsuya looked completely bewildered. “How the fuck do you even know that?”
Sakamoto, meanwhile, was now fuming, one fist clenched and shaking in anger as he grit his teeth together.
“They’re getting clever...”
Nagano and Tatsuya turned back towards him, identical questioning expressions on their faces.
“...we’ve lost a man now, but we can’t give up. We’ll never give up. The enemy is strong, but we’re stronger. They may think they have the upper hand, but they’re under-estimating us. Oh... they’re under-estimating us greatly.”
Nagano and Tatsuya glanced at each other awkwardly.
Sakamoto walked over to where Joshima was still sobbing in Taichi’s lap, taking a hold of the other’s hair and lifting his head up, Joshima’s face soaked with tears.
“Your death will not in vain, soldier. Trust this... and be in peace.”
“Sakamoto-kun, he’s not de-”
Sakamoto hushed Taichi with a hand to his mouth. “Hush... hush. You don’t need to say anything.” And then he abruptly flung Joshima’s head away so that the other man landed sprawled out on the ground with a painful-sounding thud and sharp squeak. “Gentlemen...” he got to his feet. “...gentlemen, this time we’re going to hit them, and we’re going to hit them hard. We must retaliate hard. Fast. Strong. We must show them just who exactly they’re up against. Make them wish they’d never thought they could possibly go up against Sakamoto Masayuki and his glorious troops.” He stepped on Joshima’s chest, making one hand into a fist and holding it resolutely upwards as he gazed at the ceiling.
Tatsuya turned to Nagano. “Is he always this tenacious?”
“You should see the war in our room that happens every time a fly happens to come in.”
Joshima’s face took a sudden downturn, eyes fuzzy. “I don’t feel so good...”
And then he threw up on Sakamoto’s foot.
Koichi was looking forward to a night of catching up on Formula One races on the tiny television he and Nagase shared as he hauled himself through the front door, followed by Tsuyoshi, Mabo, Nagase and the younger half of V6. It had rained all afternoon, and they were all a little damp now as they shook off their shoes and stumbled into the foyer.
“I’m hungry,” Nagase mused, loudly and pointedly.
“You’re always hungry,” Mabo complained, “you had a snack in the van.”
“I’m a growing boy!” Nagase said, sounding hurt, “aren’t you hungry?”
“Well, yeah,” Mabo admitted, “dinner time!”
A cheer went up from them all--nights when Mabo made dinner were awesome, and delicious--as they walked through the hallway and into the living room.
Behind them, the door slammed. Ken and Okada moved immediately to the couch to claim the video games, and for a moment or two all that echoed through the house was the Street Fighter theme and Taichi and Inocchi arguing about throwing a party for the older kids in their section of the dorms. Then Nagase’s screeching started.
“GUYS JOHNNY IS COMING TONIGHT,” he shouted, and they all looked up, surprised, “HE’S DOING AN INSPECTION!!!”
That started the general pandemonium. Johnny-san liked everything to be in their place. The common rooms were kept clean--no one left anything around, for the sake of keeping the scarier senpai (read: Nakai and Sakamoto) from yelling about a mess--but there hadn’t been room inspections in ages.
“Does it say when?” Koichi asked, weakly, thinking of the stack of Nagase’s “vintage” Playboys on their nightstand.
“It says 8:30, what time is it now? Guys?”
“8:20,” Okada said, dully, from where he was flopped face-first on the couch. A lot of things could be said about Okada, but he kept his room clean.
“OH MY GOD I’M GOING TO DIE,” Nagase screeched, which was followed by a thump and a crash. It was followed by a dim ’I’m okay!’, and then the panicked sounds that could only be Nagase cleaning room his echoed through most of the floor.
The dorm was a flurry of activity after that, all of them trying to get as much shoved away or folded up or shut as soon as possible. Taichi could be heard groaning over the six-pack of beer he was keeping in the bottom drawer of his dresser, and Inocchi and Mabo got into an argument about who, exactly, had skipped their vacuuming duty for the week.
“It’s eight thirty,” Okada called, “we should probably be downstairs to meet him.”
Nagase looked at the last of the stack of Playboys. Most of them had fit under his dirty clothes in the closet or in the dresser with the rest of them, but the last half dozen were strewn all over the nightstand. Nagase looked from the pile to his futon and back. He grinned, and peeled the futon covers back, then pulled them back over the last of the magazines.
Then he scrambled up and followed Koichi and Tsuyoshi out into the hallway. “So where’s Johnny-san?” Nagase asked, as they gathered in the foyer with Mabo, Okada, Go and Ken, “and where’s the rest of our senpai?”
“Probably still cleaning,” Mabo answered, “oi! Inohara! Where are you guys, Johnny-san is coming!”
“I’ll be down in a minute,” Inohara bellowed back, “stall him!”
Mabo rolled his eyes. Outside the dorm was the sound of someone walking up the steps, and they all turned toward the door as the lock clicked open. Then the door swung open, and--it was Sakamoto. As one, they all sighed.
“Thanks for the warm welcome,” Sakamoto said, shutting the door behind him, “what are you doing, anyway?”
“Johnny-san is coming and we are all going to die,” Nagase answered, and Sakamoto blinked.
“What are you talking about, Johnny-san is in Costa Rica right now,” Sakamoto answered, looking confused as he passed through the room and toward the kitchen, “you guys knew that, right?”
Nagase made a strangled noise as he collapsed onto Koichi.
”Oh my god I wanted to kill them that was evil.”
“I dunno, it was pretty clever.”
“No, Go, putting up a sign to say that Johnny-san was coming back wasn’t clever. It was evil. I am going to be putting stuff back on the desk for, like, half an hour!”
“Get your hands off my hair you asshole--hey!”
“Excellent craftsmanship on that sign, Nagano. I knew having you on our side was a good thing.”
“It’s not like I asked to be on one side or the other, it was just kinda thrust on me.”
“A simple, ‘I try to be all that I can be, General Sakamoto’, would have sufficed.”
“I hate you as much as I can hate, General Sakamoto.”
Sakamoto punched Nagano on the top of his head.
“Aw... they’re fighting again.” Tatsuya sat back in his chair with his arms across his chest.
“So adorable~” Joshima clutched his hands together and tilted his head to the side with a smile.
Sakamoto twisted around, finger pointed in their direction and mouth turned down. “I will have order in my ranks, privates!”
“Wait, why do we have to be privates?” Tatsuya pouted.
Joshima nodded, hands on his hips. “Yeah, I’m older than you!”
Sakamoto stood up straight at attention, using the pointer in his hand to indicate the hat on his head with a crisp thwack. He cleared his throat. “Who’s the one with the general’s cap? It would do you two well to learn your place in this army. Sgt. Nagano! Mark them down for misconduct. It’ll be two days in the brig for them when this is over.”
Tatsuya rolled his eyes and brought a hand up so he could whisper in Joshima’s ear. “What, is this the navy now?”
“I HEARD THAT. Make it four days, Sgt. Nagano.”
“GUYS I’M BACK WITH HELMETS.” The door to the “war room” opened with a loud slam and Taichi raced in, thunking a pile of something down on the table.
Sakamoto seemed pleased. “Excellent work, Private Kokubun! I’m promoting you to Specialist.”
Tatsuya and Joshima got up from their seats and wandered over to the table to have their own look-see. Tatsuya picked up one of the “helmets” from off the table, twisting it around in his hands bemusedly.
“...this is a green salad bowl.”
Taichi tapped his mouth with the joint of his finger. “Well, I figured that after we won the war we might wanna make salads...”
Nagano stuck his pen in the air in-between his furious scribbles on the yellow notepad he’d acquired earlier. “Healthy thinking, private!”
“As long as mine doesn’t have anchovies on it...” Joshima’s eyebrows furrowed.
“This is no time for marine biology! Privates, don your new equipment. Our last mission was a success, but who knows what our enemy may be planning. We must be prepared for anything!” Sakamoto grabbed the bowls still sitting on the table and began thunking them down on everyone’s heads. The salad bowls had come in a special “Cooking Frenzy: Bowl Extravaganza” set that toted its convenience of many different sizes of bowls, the smallest being the size of a soup bowl and the largest being the size of a triple-order bowl of ramen. Nagano’s new mini bowl-helmet fit his head like a tiny Irish top-hat. Joshima’s bowl encased his entire face.
Joshima raised his hand. “Permission to speak, General Sakamoto.”
“Yes, yes, go ahead.”
“My helmet is making it difficult to see.”
“I see that as a personal problem, Private.”
“Gussan, Gussan, Gussan, Gussan, I’m a ram, I’m a ram!” Taichi leaned forward, sticking his fingers up around the sides of his bowl like a pair of antlers.
Gussan promptly ran at him head-first and the two of them collided with a hollow-sounding crunch before they fell to the ground moaning.
Sakamoto ignored them and turned back to his 1st Sergeant, who was currently trying to keep his tiny helmet balanced on his head while attempting to write. “Now... we need to decide whether it would be wiser to move right onto our next course of action, or to perhaps wait a bit. Heighten our defenses and lay low for a while until the perfect chance for attack comes.”
Joshima had his hands out to his sides and was attempting to feel for where his chair was so he could sit down.
Taichi recovered from his concussion and sat up, clenching his eyes as he rubbed the top of his head. Seeing that his helmet had rolled off a few feet away, he crawled over and grabbed it from the floor.
Only to flinch in surprise when beneath it was one of the biggest cockroaches he’d ever seen.
“Oh god, ew!” He immediately backed up. Checking to make sure there wasn’t another one in his helmet, he stuck it back on his head.
Tatsuya crawled over to see what he was looking at. “Grossss, cockroach!”
Sakamoto’s eyes widened in horror. “Cockroach? Cockroach? Oh my god, where? Oh my god, kill it, kill it!” He ran over behind where Nagano was sitting and ducked down in terror.
“Cockroach? Where’s a cockroach?” Joshima had somehow wandered to the other side of the room in search of his chair and was now feeling up the coat rack.
“Don’t worry, I’ll get it!” Tatsuya took his helmet off and immediately squished the cockroach beneath the bottom. “Musta come in from under the door or something...” Lifting it back up, he began shaking his helmet to get the cockroach guts and body parts off, promptly flinging them all over Taichi.
“You can come out now, almighty General. The enemy cockroach has been defeated.” Taichi started beating Tatsuya with his helmet.
“Gussan used ‘helmet’! It’s super-effective!” Tatsuya thwacked Taichi so hard with his own helmet it rendered him unconscious.
Joshima promptly ran into the wall.
Sakamoto gave a sigh of relief, wiping his forehead free of the sweat that had gathered there and standing back up. “Very good. We almost entered a crisis situation there for a moment.” He straightened his cap and walked crisply back to the middle of the room. “Now, if we all just--...” He froze, eyes wide in renewed horror. “...g-...gentleman, I thought you got rid of the cockroach...”
“Eh?” Tatsuya stopped beating Taichi’s lifeless body. “We did.”
Sakamoto raised a shaky finger to point towards the door. “Then why... is there.... ANOTHER ONE?!?!?”
Tatsuya, Taichi and Nagano all looked to the door in surprise where there was, indeed, a new cockroach, not far from where the last one had been.
Tatsuya scratched his head in puzzlement. “Well now that’s just odd.”
Taichi raised an arm from the floor. “Maybe they’re friends!”
“Maybe you killed his soul mate...” Nagano’s eyes opened wide in an especially creepy expression.
“I thought cockroaches were hermaphrodites...” Joshima came out of the closet, the others not having even noticed he’d disappeared or wondering how he’d gotten in the closet in the first place. Such was Joshima’s life.
Sakamoto turned to him in disapproval. “No, that’s snails! Cockroaches have...” He trailed off, blinking. “What am I talking about, SOMEBODY KILL THAT COCKROACH NOW.”
“Alright, alright, alright...” Tatsuya got to a crouch and bounced over to where the new cockroach was. “Heeeere, roachy roachy~”
At that moment, there was a strange rumbling noise. Tatsuya stopped, eyes narrowing. “Hey, you guys hear that?”
Taichi hauled himself back up to his rear. “Hear what?”
“Something’s like... rumbling...”
Nagano raised an eyebrow. “Rumbling?”
“Yeah, like... and I swear the ground feels like it’s shaking.”
Joshima clutched the sides of his gigantic helmet. “I can’t hear much of anything!”
“I don’t care if the world’s ending, I just want that cockroach dead and NOW!” Sakamoto started jumping up and down in little circles.
Tatsuya looked towards the door. And then his eyes opened wide.
And then hundreds and hundreds of cockroaches suddenly came scrambling their way under the door frame and into their room.
Taichi squawked. “IT’S A STAMPEDE.”
The room turned into pandemonium faster than when Joshima got made the bitch at the all-group sleepover the month before last.
Sakamoto started screaming bloody murder, running away half-crazed, anywhere, anywhere to get away from the door, and ended up on top of the bed, tearing finger holes into the faded, snot-colored wallpaper. Taichi scrambled up onto the table, losing his helmet somewhere in the scuffle and crying out in sadness as he watched it get carried away in the stream of cockroaches. Tatsuya attempted to crush as many cockroaches underfoot as he could, bouncing around with a crunch after crunch, but in only a few seconds anyone could see how useless his plight was as the cockroaches began overtaking him, all up over his legs.
He screamed, shaking around trying to fling them off.
“Gussaaaaan!” Taichi cried out in terror.
Nagano jumped from the chair he’d been on to join Taichi on the table. “We’ve gotta save ‘im! Yamaguchi-kun, catch!” And he threw his tiny helmet over to where Tatsuya was quickly being overtaken by the swarming mass of cockroaches.
Tatsuya jumped up in the air desperately, just managing to catch it and giving a mental cheer. It wasn’t until he landed back down and looked at the item in his hand that he wondered why the fuck Nagano had just thrown him such a useless item.
“NAGANO, WHAT THE FUCK.”
Nagano covered his face. “That kind of thing always seems to work in movies...”
The cockroaches were so many now it was like a swirling river in their room.
“Goddammit, I’ll get him!” Taichi clenched his fist, moving towards the end of the table.
And then all three of them seemed to remember something at the same time and turned towards the corner of the room.
Where Joshima had somehow gotten himself wedged between two of the shelves on the bookshelf.
“Guys, I found my chair!”
“Leader, what the hell are you doing?!”
“Joshima-kun, watch out for the cockroaches!”
The giant bowl that was Joshima’s head flinched in surprise. “Cockroaches?! Where?!” He shifted the bowl so he could peek down beneath it and saw the writhing mass of cockroaches below the bookshelf. “Ohhhhh myyyyy gooodddd WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?”
Tatsuya flung off the cockroaches that were getting far too close to his crotchal region for comfort. “Shit, I’ve gotta save Shige.” He turned back to where Taichi and Nagano were staring in horror from atop the table. “Guys, pull back to the bed! Protect the general and figure out a way out of here! I’ll handle things here!”
Taichi nodded resolutely, lips pursed. “Right.” Then he grabbed Nagano’s sleeve, yanking the other man up. “Hiroshi-kun?”
Nagano looked back at him with entirely less confidence. “T...Taichi-kun...?”
Taichi grabbed his hand with a firm grip, taking a deep breath. “Semper fi.”
But Taichi didn’t respond, simply dashing off for the end of the table and dragging the other man behind him. Upon reaching the end, he leaped. Leaped with everything he had. Leaped like he’d never leaped before. Beneath him, the cockroaches writhed and twisted and crawled like a giant living mass. Nagano closed his eyes as he got pulled along through the air, memories of his childhood flashing through his mind, from getting scolded by his mother for stealing sugar out of the cupboard, to his father accidentally smacking him in the mouth with a frisbee in the park, to Sakamoto shitting on his desk while he was out on a shoot... --wait a minute, he didn’t remember that last one. He opened his eyes with a start just as the two of them hit the bed and landed in a tousled pile of body parts on top of the comforter.
Meanwhile, Tatsuya was attempting to swim his way over to the bookshelf where Joshima was currently trapped. The other man was attempting to bat away cockroaches with his bowl as they got close, some of them creeping up the sides of the shelves and still others simply leaping out from the river of cockroaches like flying frogs.
“I’m coming, Shige!”
“Gussan, save meeeeee---!”
At that moment, the cockroaches had apparently decided they’d had enough, and suddenly the entire shelf began moving, rocking back and forth, and then it simply fell sideways into the mass of cockroaches with a thud.
“Shige!!” Tatsuya screamed in horror and dashed forward as fast as he could through the current of cockroaches.
Joshima’s body disappeared into the throng of brown, one hand reaching up desperately as he cried out in agony.
“General, pull yourself together!” Taichi was currently gripping the collar of Sakamoto’s shirt, slapping his face left and right as the man himself simply stared up vacantly with a dribble of drool leaking out the side of his mouth.
“Sakamoto, wake up! Sakamoto, we need you!” Nagano clasped his hands together, almost in tears as he begged in front of Sakamoto’s motionless frame. “I’ll never make fun of you again, I promise!”
Taichi grimaced, teeth grinding back and forth. “I really hate to do this, but...” And then he let go of Sakamoto, the body falling back onto the bed with a whump. Bringing his hands together with both index fingers pointing upwards, he sucked in a deep breath, and then thrust his fingers up Sakamoto’s ass crack with as much force as he possibly could.
Sakamoto shot up in an instant, tears flooding his eyes and feeling very much like he’d just been violently violated. “WHO THE FUCK JUST TRIED TO UNLOAD THEIR YOGURT TRUCK IN MY DUMP?”
Nagano’s face glowed with unbridled happiness, hands clasped as almost visible rays of sunshine radiated from his shining face. “General!”
Taichi thumped Sakamoto’s nose. “General, pull yourself together, we need you! It’s gotten rough out there!”
Sakamoto turned his head to look past the bed and promptly screamed. “C....c-c-c-....c-c-c-cc--cccc-c-c-c-”
Taichi slapped him again. “So there’s a few too many cocks in the same room, but it’s nothing we haven’t been able to handle before!” He found the general’s cap that had fallen off on the pillow and shoved it down on Sakamoto’s head. “We’re Johnny’s! And you’re our general! We’re all believing in you!”
Sakamoto took a deep breath, trying to calm himself down. After a few minutes, he clenched his jaw and looked up at Taichi with an expression of resolution. “You’re right. We won’t let ourselves fall here. We won’t go down without a fight!”
Nagano looked like he was going to cry. “That’s my general!”
Sakamoto turned his eyes towards the window just a short distance away. “Come on, men. Let’s get that window open.”
“SHIGE!” Tatsuya had his hands down in the swarm of cockroaches and was feeling around desperately for the other man’s body. “Shige, where are y-...!” His hand found something, and he instantly gripped it, pulling at it with all his strength.
And then Joshima’s body appeared from the black mass below, half-dead and half-covered with writhing cockroaches. “Shige!” Tatsuya shook him to get the cockroaches away, brushing them off with hurried swipes of his hand. He hauled Joshima up into his arms, the other man’s head lolling back weakly.
“Sh-Shige, say something!”
“Tatsuya...” Joshima brought a shaky hand up, finding Tatsuya’s and clutching it like a lifeline. “...Tatsuya... leave me...”
Tatsuya felt tears well up in his eyes, but he jerked them away. “A good soldier doesn’t leave a man behind!” He clutched Joshima’s frame tighter against his chest. “We’re getting out of here... together...”
He glanced up furtively, checking towards the bed where Sakamoto, Nagano and Taichi had just about gotten the window shoved open. Perfect. Jaw clenched tight, he hauled Joshima up onto his shoulder to free up his movement, then gave a deafening, gutteral scream as he began charging his way through the cockroaches. They clawed at him, tried to jump up onto him, tried to overtake him, but he just powered his way through, cockroaches flying as his legs pushed him step by step towards the bed as fast as he could.
There was an almost God-like glow from the window as it was finally shoved all the way open, breeze filtering in from outside and tempting them with the thought of freedom. The thought of an escape from this insect hell.
He leaped up onto the bed, sending more cockroaches careening off in various directions as he grunted in effort. Taichi was urging them on, calling out to them hopefully, pleadingly.
“Let’s get of here, guys.” Tatsuya pressed his lips together as the emotion almost overtook him, then he pulled Joshima down from off his shoulder and pushed him out the window.
Nobody said anything for a moment.
Then Sakamoto blinked, scratching his nose. “...you know this is the third floor, don’t you?”
Tatsuya returned the look with a blank look of his own.
Then all four of them pushed their heads out the window to look down, Joshima lying in a very awkward, unnatural angle on the grass below.
They slipped their heads back inside. Tatsuya scratched the back of his head sheepishly.
At that moment, there was a rattle from the doorknob, and suddenly the door slammed open to reveal a very disgruntled Masaki Shinya, member of the hit Johnny’s group Ninja and also one of the residents in the room next to theirs.
Upon the door being opened, the cockroaches scattered, disappearing instantly the way cockroaches always seem to do when a light gets turned on or a closet is opened.
Shinya glared at the four of them on the bed. “What the hell are you guys doing? Would you shut the fuck up? Some people are trying to catch up on lost sleep while you guys are in here screaming like banshees and slamming furniture all over the place!” He gestured towards the now over-turned bookshelf lying on the floor.
Tatsuya got up from the bed instantly, bowing down low. “S...sorry, senpai. It won’t happen again, we promise.”
The other three followed right behind him, Sakamoto taking off his cap at the same time.
Shinya continued to frown. “Good. See to it. Otherwise I’m reporting you so y’all get sent to Dorm B.”
All four of their eyes widened at this, but they said nothing, only bowing once more, and Shinya grunted slightly before turning on his heels and slamming the door behind him as he left.
They released a simultaneous sigh of relief as the door closed.
And then they all simply looked at each other awkwardly.
“...I guess we should go see if Leader’s ok, huh?”
“Halt! Who goes there?” Nagase peered through the cracked-open door.
Mabo rolled his eyes, crossing his arms over his chest. “Someone who is going to punch you in the head if you don’t move, you moron.”
Nagase’s eyes narrowed. ”What’s the password?” he demanded.
“NAGASE IS A DUMBASS,” Mabo snapped, and shoved the door open anyway. Behind him, Tsuyoshi and Okada crept in. Mabo shifted the bowl of popcorn under his arm against his hip, and put it on the table at the center of the conference room they had cloistered themselves in at the office. Koichi, Go and Ken were already around the table, discussing choreography and how crazy Sakamoto was sounding lately.
“Oi, where’s the drinks?” Nagase demanded, hands on his hips as he stared down at the table.
Mabo sat down in a chair, long legs stretched out in front of him, and looked up at Nagase pointedly. “I don’t know, Nagase, that was your job,” he answered, all pleasantness.
“No it wasn’t! I’m the mastermind of this operation!”
“There’s no operation where they’d let you be the mastermind, brainless.”
Mabo pressed his hands to his ears. “Stop freaking whining,” he said, bitterly, “dealing with you bitching about how much you had to clean up yesterday was bad enough.”
“I’ll get them,” announced Go, sounding irritated, “god, you ladies are so annoying.” He shoved back from the table and stood, stretching his arms, and trotted out of the room.
“Ko-chan, he called me a lady!” Nagase in a mood was, as always, irritating. Mabo blocked the sounds of Koichi calming Nagase down as he stared at the blank sheet of paper on the desk marked only with ‘EPIC SENPAI PRANKING PLANS’ (at least Nagase could be trusted to be straightforward?). He leaned forward for a handful of popcorn as he turned ideas over in his mind--water balloons seemed too cliche, moving Gussan into Leader’s bed in the middle of the night too easy and the senpai had already stolen anything related to Johnny-san coming home. There had to be something...
Go kicked the door open, sending Nagase into some squawking rage about passwords, and Koichi did them all a favor by shoving a handful of popcorn in Nagase’s mouth. Go had a tray of glasses in his arms, and he slid the tray onto the table, letting Ken pass them around.
“These are the ones you poured, right?” Go asked Mabo, peering at the glass suspiciously.
“The ones in the break room, right?” Mabo asked, “yeah, I just poured those. Homemade coffee milk~”
Nagase’s eyes widened, and a grin spread over his face. “Mabo, I love you again,” he informed Mabo, and knocked back the glass in two gulps.
Mabo made a face. “That’s nice, you’re spitting popcorn everywhere though.”
“Whatever! All right, guys! What’re our plans?!”
“Aren’t you the mastermind?”
“Shut up, Mabo.”
Half an hour of aimless plans later, Ken appeared to have an epiphany. “Caramel,” he said, “the melty kind. In their shoes.”
Koichi made a noise of disapproval. “No, we said no ruining anything,” he answered, “what about in their shampoo bottles instead?”
“I like that one,” Nagase said, grinning, “maybe Taichi will have to cut his hair off.”
The mental image of a bald Taichi made both Mabo and Nagase burst into giggles, full-body affairs that had them bowing over the table together. As the laughter faded, Mabo felt a familiar rumbling in his belly, and pulled a face.
“I’ll be right back,” he said, and scooted out of the room. The third floor bathroom was nearby, and he pushed his hip against the door--then froze when the door didn’t move. “What the hell,” he grumbled, and reached for the handle. He shook it, uselessly--nope, locked.
“Oh, come on,” he groaned, and took off for the stairs to the second floor.
Nope, that one was locked too, and as he went back into the stairwell he heard Nagase’s loud groaning and Tsuyoshi’s flat-footed hops down the stairs above him. Same on all three of the first-floor bathrooms. Mabo whimpered, pressing his hands to his stomach, and decided that for the safety of everyone he was taking the elevator up to the fourth floor. Crossing his fingers and wiggling in discomfort, he waited for the ding of the elevator. The ride up was torturous--and then, finally, it was over. The men’s bathroom on the fourth floor was, of course, locked, but as he crossed the hallway and made a left turn, a thought occurred to him.
“Those bastards,” he whispered, and kicked the door to the women’s bathroom with ease, “AUGH.”
Behind him, he heard a stampede of groaning teenage boys, and the bathroom was soon filled.
Groaning, Mabo stumbled out of the bathroom. “Damn them,” he said, “we have to get them back.”
“Caramel in their shampoo is too nice,” Nagase declared, punch his palm, “we need something really gross. Some thing like... like... like cottage cheese! In their beds!”
“I have a better idea,” Mabo answered, “balloons. We’ll catch them after they leave the house so they have to go back and change--and then they get caramel in their shampoo on top of it.”
Nagase looked shocked. “Mabo,” he said, “you’re a genius.”
Mabo punched Nagase’s shoulder. “Of course, moron,” he answered, “who do you think I am?”
“Their faces, oh my god, I can’t even...”
“Priceless. Utterly priceless.”
“You sure we didn’t go a bit too far this time...?”
“Too far? Those bastards broke Leader’s arm!”
Joshima loomed up solemnly from his cast, the picturesque image of pathetic.
“...that wasn’t really them, that was Yamaguchi-kun...”
Tatsuya clapped his hands awkwardly and quickly changed the subject. “Well, so, uh... we’ve got ‘em on the run now, right? What now?”
All eyes went to Sakamoto, who was currently facing away from them, huddled in the corner. He seemed incredibly intent on something, the entire aura of the corner itself fizzling with barely contained animosity.
Nagano finished scribbling notes onto his notepad, notes of which in reality were just a flip-book of stick-figure!Tatsuya with a stick-figure!Joshima bent over the table in the middle of the room (Taichi would tell him later while snickering in amusement that stick-figure!Joshima didn’t look bitchy enough and stick-figure!Tatsuya’s dick wasn’t big enough), and glanced up to stare bemusedly at Sakamoto’s back.
The aura in the corner seemed to fizzle higher.
“Oi, general man!” Taichi leaned forward in his chair.
And then a barely audible snicker came from the hunched-over man. A snicker that grew and evolved into a full-fledge laugh that echoed throughout the entire room as Sakamoto’s shoulders shook with glee.
The four at the table watched him with high amounts of worry.
“We can’t wait... we have to hit them now...” Sakamoto’s laugh faded away to more of a demonic chuckle. “And I have the perfect plan...”
Now highly intrigued, the four got up from the table and wandered over.
And then Sakamoto turned around, revealing the ginormous super soaker he’d been messing with for the past fifteen minutes.
Tatsuya raised an eyebrow. “We’re gonna soak ‘em to death?”
Nagano crossed his arms. “Childish... but I suppose effective...”
“WE’RE NOT USING WATER.”
They all instinctively backed-up slightly at Sakamoto’s outburst. But fortunately, he calmed back down.
“We’re not using water... we’re using... THIS.” And then he held up the empty bottle of tabasco sauce that he’d been pouring into the super soaker.
There were almost simultaneous “oohs” from his crowd of soldiers.
Sakamoto simply grinned demonically, holding the super soaker in his lap like a precious baby. “Yes... soon this war is going to come to an end... and then we’ll show them the kind of power we possess.” He held the plastic gun above his head triumphantly as he began laughing again, uproariously, mouth so wide his eyes were shut.
And then his spit got caught in his throat, he dropped the gun on the floor, and it accidentally discharged all over Joshima’s face.
“...oh great, now someone has to bathe Leader.”
“Okay,” Nagase hissed, as they looked at the ten large salad bowls the cottage cheese balloons were piled in, “are we good?”
“Inohara said they’re leaving to be at rehearsal at nine,” Mabo hissed back, peering out the window. They were all grouped up in a room belonging to some of the Juniors, a sleepy-eyed kid Mabo liked a lot named Ohno and his friend Machida, because their room had windows over the driveway behind the dorms. Their nemeses would have to pass by in order to get to the van and go to work, and that was when they would strike.
“You know, I kinda wanted to sleep in,” Ohno said, messing with his hair, “it’s my only day off...”
“This is a serious battle of honor,” Nagase answered, whirling to look at Ohno, “go sleep somewhere else!”
Ohno sighed and shoved at Machida’s sleeping form until Machida scooted over and let him into his futon.
“All right, guys, get ready, I hear people walking around,” Ken whispered back, and they went diving for their salad bowls.
“REMEMBER,” Nagase boomed, “aim for the heads!”
“General Sakamoto, there’s a branch in my eye!”
“General Sakamoto, this net is choking me to death!”
“General Sakamoto, your big fat butt is on my gun!”
“HUSH YOU.” Sakamoto glowered at the lot of them behind him, though he did in the end shift his butt just slightly, pretending that he simply had an itch.
Taichi looked down at his N-Strike, super-powered water propulsion capabilities all packed in one easy-to-wield case of plastic. “Are you really sure this is going to work?”
Sakamoto giggled like a weasel. “My plans never fail. When are you going to accept this?”
Nagano was currently squished up to Sakamoto’s right. The five of them fitting in the small outcropping of bushes near the back entrance of the dorm hadn’t exactly been the wisest of ideas, but Sakamoto’d insisted that this was the only spot where they’d have the best ‘trajectory’, whatever that meant. The gun he’d been given was apparently called the Thunderstorm. Nagano mused that it was supposed to make children feel strong and powerful. He just felt like an idiot.
“General, permission to speak.” He hissed, though given how close he was to Sakamoto it came out right in his ear.
“Gah! Sgt.! You don’t have to yell!”
Nagano rolled his eyes and whispered as quietly as he could. “Where exactly did you get the information from again that they had rehearsal at nine today?”
“Sgt, why are you whispering, I can’t hear you.”
Nagano stopped talking altogether.
Behind the two of them, Taichi was currently lying down on the ground, his face inches above his gun and a tiny little grin on his face.
“This is kinda fun. It’s like we’re real soldiers!”
Tatsuya was having a difficult time keeping his gun concealed in the foliage due to its enormous size and bright, neon colors. “I should have brought a plastic bag or something to protect my gun. It’s probably like a beacon right now.”
“What have I told you about always taking protection, Goose?” Taichi called behind him.
Joshima was fiddling around with his Tiny Cricket Gun and he turned his head to laugh at Tatsuya with a happy smile. “Gussan, your gun is so much bigger than mine!”
Taichi almost lost it in the bushes in front of them, having to stifle his laughter with his free hand.
‘WILL YOU ALL SHUT UP BACK THERE.” Sakamoto turned his head around with a jerk. He then realized that he’d just shouted at the top of his lungs and turned back with an embarrassed huff.
“Temper, temper...” Taichi rolled his eyes.
Joshima’s cast got stuck in the garden net. “Gussaaaaaaaaan...!”
Tatsuya glanced down at him. “Ah, here. Let me...”
“My gun’s too big. I’m having a hard time moving.”
“Ouch! Don’t push like that!”
“Well, stop squirming around!”
“You’re being too rough! Stop jerking!”
There was the sound of rustling and rolling around in the bushes behind Sakamoto and Nagano.
“The troops seem... energetic today, sir.”
“We’ll let them have their fun. Ours is a difficult mission ahead.” Sakamoto was currently scanning the perimeter for any signs of their enemy. A check of his watch informed him they still had about ten minutes, but one could never be too sure.
Tatsuya’s gun got stuck in one of the branches and he fell backwards on top of Taichi.
Taichi promptly yelped in pain. “General Sakamoto, requesting to be assigned to a different position! Privates Yamaguchi and Joshima are making me uncomfortable!”
“Hush it, soldier. I won’t have bitching in my ranks.”
Taichi grumbled and squirted some tabasco sauce on Sakamoto’s shoe.
Sakamoto himself simply starting giggling to himself creepily, holding his gun close to his chest. “I just love the smell of tabasco in the morning...” And then the chuckle changed to a full-out laugh as he wiggled his gun out so it was facing the door to the dorms. “Come... coooooome into our carefully laid web of death and destruction. We’re waiting for you.”
“Grossss, something’s dribbling all over my backside!”
“Sorry, my gun went off...”
Nakai Masahiro was in the worst of moods. In fact, he was usually in the worst of moods, these days--Sakamoto had gone crazy, Joshima had a broken arm so he was even more pathetic than usual (and he kept trying to tell people about how nice Nakai-chan had been, helping him with his futon and the laundry--Nakai had a reputation to carry, damn it!), and the kouhai were constantly underfoot, giggling and planning and carrying on. SMAP had spent all day doing television filming, which was always tough and long, and all Nakai wanted to do was soak in the bath and drag Taichi to play his beloved soccer game on the television. This was their first night off all week, and Nakai intended on making the most of it.
Nakai was leading the pack of his groupmates, bag across his chest and his hands shoved into the pockets of his jacket. The sooner he got upstairs and kicked the kids off the television, the better.
There was a sound like a whooping holler, and then the shocking splat of something on his head. Then a battle cry that sounded suspiciously like ’I AM GENERAL SAKAMOTOOOOOO!’, and a spray of something all over his chest and face. In shock, Nakai opened his mouth, and it got inside--oh god was that cottage cheese? And tabasco sauce? Behind him heard Kimura’s anguished squawking over his hair, and after a moment more of assault, things calmed down.
“Hey, wait, General Sakamoto, that’s...”
“Nagase? I think we got the wrong guys.”
Nakai’s eyes snapped open, ignoring the tabasco sauce-cottage cheese mixtures running down his face. “IN THE FOYER. NOW,” he shouted, and they all squeaked and scurried like rabbits toward the front door. Nakai shook his head, rubbing food out of his hair, and sighed when he saw his new shoes were stained.
Kimura, cottage cheese sticking to the waves of hair around his face, approached, and he leaned on Nakai’s shoulder for a moment in solidarity. “Don’t kill them,” he said, pleasantly, and led the way up to the baths.
Nakai cracked his knuckles. Time to get down to business.
Sakamoto felt like he’d just been violently raped in the ass. But then again, it was Nakai. The others sitting around him on the sofas in the main lobby all had similar looks of utter dejection. He felt like he needed to say something, given how deathly quiet the room had stayed ever since the SMAP members had left.
“...h-hey... it could have gone worse, right?” He lifted a hand up for a shaky thumbs-up.
Mabo, who had curled up and half-hidden behind Ken during the worst of it (a fruitless attempt to escape personal abuse), sat up now to glare across the room at Sakamoto. “And how, exactly, could it be worse?” he demanded, “I’m gonna hurt for a week. And look at Nagase!”
Nagase stuck his lower lip out quite pitifully to demonstrate Mabo’s point. “This is your fault,” Mabo summarized.
Sakamoto stood up immediately. Nakai had whacked his general’s cap off his head at one point in his tirade, so he didn’t feel quite as esteemed as he would have with it, but he still had the mind of a general and he wasn’t about to let these cretins walk all over his pride. “My fault? And who was it exactly that gave me that shaving cream present under my door?”
Nagano chuckled under his breath, reliving the moment in his head.
“I don’t know who it was,” Mabo snapped, “it wasn’t me, and it wasn’t Nagase. Maybe it was one of your groupmates. Somebody stole Leader’s lava lamp and Taichi’s porn and put them in my and Nagase’s stuff to get us in trouble. Who has that? Huh?” He stood up, hands in his pockets and a bad expression on his face. Suddenly he remembered he had his sunglasses in his back pocket--he whipped them out and shoved them on now, they made him look like ten times as badass.
Joshima wiped at his eyes. “My poor lamp... I had to go in the devil room just to get it back. It smells like moldy cheese and hair in there!”
Sakamoto’s attention went back and forth between Joshima and Mabo. “You hear that? Hair.”
Nagano stood up to join his companion in the middle of the floor. “None of us would have stolen the lamp. Soldiers don’t steal from fellow soldiers!”
“Has anyone told you guys this soldier thing is really weird?” Okada asked from the couch, rolling his eyes.
“So, what, you’re saying I stole Taichi’s porn? Like I want his weird shit? What does Nagase want with a lava lamp, he can barely work the microwave!”
“Shut up, Nagase. The point is that somebody on your side is fucking with us, and somebody on our side is fucking with you, and they’re not sharing the fun with the class.”
Mabo crossed his arms over his chest. Damn, that was a badass speech. Like Onizuka!
“Just because you don’t have faith in all of your teammates, doesn’t mean I don’t have faith in mine. My men are loyal, faithful and true.” Sakamoto stood at rigid attention and stared somewhere far off in his mind.
Taichi took this opportunity to stand up as well. “Wait, my porn is weird?!?”
The front door swung open with a slam, shocking them all, and Inocchi, grin plastered to his face, strolled inside. “Hey, guys,” he said, “there’s a really stinky mess outside, did you guys have dinner without me? Not that it matters, I went to that ramen stand on the corner with Houka-chan~” Inocchi looked pleased with himself, dates weren’t uncommon among the Johnny’s, but they had to be careful.
Mabo uncrossed and recrossed his arms. “So why the hell weren’t you around to get in trouble with the rest of us for accidentally catching SMAP in our crossfire?” he demanded.
Inocchi blinked. “Oh, are you guys still doing that?” he asked Tatsuya, “I’m sorry our leader is so crazy lately. Maybe he ate something?”
“What,so you haven’t been messing with us?” Mabo asked, eyes narrow, “why?”
Inocchi smiled benignly. “Isn’t it obvious?” he asked, dancing on over, “I love you too much to want to see you suffer, Mabo.” He batted his eyelashes, and winced in pain when Mabo kneed him in the ass.
“What was that for?!”
“You are an idiot,” Mabo answered, ignoring him to glare at Sakamoto.
“You’re all terrible,” Inocchi said, sighing, “I’ll leave you guys to your macho contest, I guess.” He patted both Mabo and Sakamoto on the shoulders, and made his way toward the stairs, humming.
Mabo watched Inocchi go. “Sometimes I really hate him,” he declared, “how is he so lucky, not being in the dorms at all and avoiding getting in trouble?”
Sakamoto’s hair stood on end as an uncontainable rage built up inside his head, eyes ablaze with anger. “INOHARA.”
Nagano smacked his forehead. “Oh great...”
“It must be him. It must have been him doing all those things! There’s no other explanation!” Sakamoto clenched his hands, staring down at the ground.
“General, please calm down...”
“THIS IS NO TIME FOR CALM.” Sakamoto flung an arm out and knocked Nagano out cold on the floor. “Mabo... you’re with me right? Something must be done about this!”
Mabo grinned, flashing his teeth. “I thought you’d never ask. I’d start with hair dye in...” slowly he trailed off, horror dawning over his face, “oh god.”
“What?” Sakamoto demanded, impatient, “what is it, man?!”
“We put caramel in all the shampoo bottles,” Mabo whispered.
The echo of Kimura’s voice shook the whole dorm.