Yoji didn't think he could get any more bored. Maybe he had to cut back on his going out, because it all felt the same lately. Every dance club seemed like every other dance club, and every woman could be the same woman everywhere. Okay, it might actually be the same music. He couldn't see any point in it.
Thus, she made an even bigger impression on him when she walked by just as he'd started to leave. She made all the other girls look gaudy, tricked-up, and fake. He didn't think she was even wearing makeup, yet she looked stunning. She was like a calla lily, simply and purely beautiful. Most of the women here wore tight outfits and accentuated whatever cleavage they had, which Yoji didn't mind at all, but she just bared her creamy shoulders and let her flowing blouse make you wonder about the rest. If he wanted something different as he apparently did, maybe he could do without the big, often fake breasts for once. Her long dark hair, bound by hair wraps, whipped him as she quickly swept past. Woman on a mission.
But something else about her walk nagged at him, even despite her grace. Something was off....
Yoji followed. To his surprise, he lost her in the crowd. Although he had a talent for tailing people, she'd somehow slipped away from him.
Okay, now he had to wonder what she was up to.
He finally saw her again near the door at the back of the club having an apparently intense conversation with a guy who didn't deserve a beauty such as herself. Yoji knew he didn't when the man grabbed her arm and dragged her through the exit. There was no way he could stand idly by while this happened.
He'd wanted to leave the club anyway.
Getting out meant fighting his way free of the crowd, occasionally getting fondled along the way. Under different circumstances, it could have been fun. Right now it stopped him from rescuing his damsel in distress, his flower.
When he reached the alley he heard the sounds of struggling and cursing... and the faint sound of bells. Once he turned the corner, he saw that his damsel wasn't the one in distress. She had two men tangled in long, shimmering wire not unlike his.
"I asked politely, and you treated me rudely," she said, her voice low yet full of authority. "I've decided that it's time to be more forceful. You know what I'm looking for. Where is it?"
"Fuck off!" Then the man yelped as the wire tightened.
"That's very rude."
Yoji noticed another man off to the side sneaking in, where she wouldn't notice. He reached for his watch, but the woman reacted first, tangling the attacker Yoji hadn't thought she'd seen in another wire with her other hand. Damn, she was bad-ass.
"We really don't know anything!" one of her original guys said.
"I think you might be telling the truth after all. What about you?"
"You're not getting anything out of me," the newest guy answered.
"Then no one else will either." And in a few moves she stitched their mouths shut and hung them up on the wall, making Yoji feel awed and much less amorous. How the hell had she done that? Telekinesis? And what kind of person would...? "I see you, you know," she said, glancing in Yoji's direction.
Eep. Trying to save his ass, Yoji talked. "Hi. I thought you might need some help, but it looks like you didn't."
Dark eyes nearly twinkling, she smiled and walked over with a melodious peal of bells. "Thank you. People underestimate me."
At that moment, Yoji suddenly realized that she wasn't actually a she. Shit. "Yeah, I can see how people get the wrong impression of you."
"What? Oh." That voice could pass for a woman's. "This is just who I am. It's also traditional for my family and a long story. I'm Kazuki, an annaiya. You caught me in the middle of an information-gathering job."
Yoji hadn't guessed until he really noticed her... Kazuki's walk. Even willowy men had a different center of gravity than women did, and Kazuki's walk showed it a bit. Now that Yoji looked, he noticed other physical signs, although Kazuki was beautiful no matter what gender you pinned on him.
But Yoji had seen other men who strove to pass for women, and Kazuki didn't fit his experience. Kazuki's shirt wasn't something a guy would try to wear, but it wasn't really a woman's either, and he wore simple pants and plain shoes with it. He didn't use makeup, nor did he put on overdone women's airs. The hair could throw a guy off, but men used to do the long hair thing all the time, and he'd mentioned belonging to a family steeped in tradition.
Kazuki simply radiated serene femininity. It was deeply unsettling. Especially when you considered that he'd just stitched some guys' lips together with a few graceful waves of his hand.
Even more unsettling, Yoji still felt an attraction. He had to get out of here right now. "I'm sorry I bothered you, Kazuki-san. I'll be on my way."
Somehow Yoji got the impression that Kazuki knew why he wanted to leave so quickly but didn't judge him badly for it. "Good night. Get home safely."
"Uh, yeah. Good night." This was a strategic withdrawal. Really.
"You're up late," Yoji said when he walked in and found Aya standing at the kitchen counter making tea.
"You're back early," Aya replied.
True. "I didn't see any interesting girls tonight." Again, true, unfortunately.
"Hmm." Aya raised his cup and took a sip, somehow graceful even in that simple movement. He really was very pretty, in his way.
Oh. Shit. No way. He'd been infected somehow. He would not start to see the Ice Prince as attractive. Hell no. Sanity would return by morning, right?
Yoji bolted for the steps. "Good night, Aya! I have first shift tomorrow so I have to get my beauty sleep." He'd be sharing the first shift with Aya. Shit! "I have to look good for the girls. I do it all for the girls!"
"Idiot," Aya muttered. For once, Yoji completely agreed.