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Frills and Folds

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“Did you see the saniwas today?”

Midare rushed into the huge Awataguchi room, mildly breathless but excited about something nonetheless.

“Oh, Midare-kun!” Nakigitsune’s fox piped, uncurling itself from its corner of a small mound of pillows. “Is something the matter?”

“Where is everybody?” Midare asked, crouching down to let the tiny fox perch on his shoulders.

“Most of your brothers are out on expeditions, Midare-kun! The rest are out doing fieldwork at the moment, and it would take a while for them to finish farming. Honebami-kun, in the mean time, is the secretary for the day,” the fox replied dutifully, its shrill voice rather curious. “Has something ruffled your fur today?”

“Aww, bummer,” Midare complained, flopping onto the sofa. “Tsubaki-sama and Ren-sama went out today for a meeting with government officials. They were gonna give a status report or something…but that’s not the point here!”

The fox swore that Midare’s eyes started to glimmer rather unnaturally. Maybe there’s something with the lighting in the room.

“Tsubaki-sama was wearing a really dapper suit! The red accents fit him so well, and he looked so handsome in it too. And Ren-sama! In a black and pink dress! They looked absolutely stunning in it too!”

“The saniwas are rather fashionable siblings, don’t you think?” Nakigitsune’s fox said.

“Mhm, definitely,” Midare said dreamily, sighing and reclining on the sofa. He closed his eyes, and rested his cheek softly against the fox.

“…Midare-kun?”

“I wonder…who among my brothers would like, or even appreciate, a dress?”

.

.

.

“Dress or suit. Take your pic.”

Midare looked rather comical, clutching a whiteboard to his chest, and adjusting Yagen’s extra pair of glasses every now and then.

“Midare, what’s this?” Ichigo asked. The brothers were all gathered in their room, resting from their day duties.

“Crowdsourcing!”

“What for, though?” Namazuo piped, checking the whiteboard Midare was holding. There were two columns drawn crosswise, the left side saying “suit”, and the right side saying “dress”.

“I saw Tsubaki-sama and Ren-sama leave earlier, and I got curious.” Midare giggled a little, before putting back a rather serious countenance. He adjusted the glasses for extra effect.

“Let’s start with…Ichi-nii!”

“Ah, I’d rather with a suit.”

“Okay, then…Nakigitsune!”

“A suit would look good on Nakigitsune-kun rather well, no?” (Behind his mask, Nakigitsune flushed a pale pink, but didn’t say anything else though he scratched the fox’s chin in gratitude.)

“Honebami-nii?”

“…A dress sounds nice.”

“Ooh. Namazuo-nii?”

“A dress for me too! Honebami and I can be twinsies!”

“Ahaha, considerably! Yagen?”

“I’d rather a suit.”

“Classy as ever, of course. Gotou?”

“I’d look cooler in a suit.”

“Wow, the Suit Team’s starting to outnumber the Dress Team. Shinano?”

“Hmm…maybe a dress for a change?”

“Atsu?”

“I’d look cool in a suit too!”

“Maeda?”

“Dress!”

“Ooh! Hirano?”

“If…If Maeda’s choosing a dress, then I’m going for suit!”

“I see, I see. Gokotai?”

“Ah! A dress…”

“Hakata?”

“A businessman must always look presentable towards his clients, so I say suit!”

“Mouri?”

“A dress seems rather nice.”

“Houchou?”

“A suit! If I wear a suit then maybe a married lady would come approach me!”

“And finally, Akita?”

“I’m curious as to how a dress would feel…I’d say dress!”

“Mhm,” Midare said, scribbling down the results on his whiteboard. “As for me I vote for dress, so now we have…”

Midare counts the names on both of the columns. His eyes widen in mild amusement at the results.

“We’re evened out on both sides, it seems.”

“But aren’t dresses too frilly or something?” Atsushi piped in. “They could hinder your movement in battle. Plus it would be such a waste if a part got torn or something.”

“Yeah!” Gotou added. “At least in a suit you get to look badass too!”

“Um, no?” Midare retorted, putting the whiteboard and the glasses down. “I’ve seen Ren-sama fight in a dress before, and they didn’t have any problem whatsoever! Plus I look absolutely adorable in a dress, thank you very much.”

“Are you sure you saw Ren-sama fight in a dress, or were you just dreaming about it?” Yagen teased, crossing his arms in assured victory.

“Don’t be mean, guys,” Shinano said, waving a hand. “You just haven’t tried it yet, so your judgement’s misaligned.”

Ichigo smiled, as the rest watched the older tantou’s bickering in amusement.

“They seem to take this rather seriously, don’t you think?” Mouri said to the younger tantous. They nodded sagely. This was probably a regular occurrence—debacles over the smallest things like food, the saniwas’ habits, or which of Yagen’s developed fertilizers work best on the plants.

“Now, now,” Nakigitsune’s fox said, bounding up to them.

“Though…” Hakata started, “Atsushi-nii has a point too.”

“Yeah, yeah!” Houchou said. “They’re big and heavy and it’s hard to walk in them. Plus, you shouldn’t look prettier than married women. You have to let their mature beauty shine!”

The younger tantous blinked in confusion. Akita opened his mouth to retort about how dresses don’t need to be heavy and overly decorated when the older tantou debate started escalating.

“OH YEAH? YOU WANNA GO ATSUSHI? YOU WANNA GO?”

“HELL YEAH I WANNA GO MIDARE!”

“Should we stop them?” Nakigitsune asked, leaning into Ichigo’s ear, not bothering to whisper anymore, seeing that the older tantous were already heading out to the door to extend their debate.

“Ah…I don’t think so. They seem to be having fun,” Ichigo said, though judging by his face he seemed just as concerned.

“I’LL SHOW YOU SHINANO, JUST YOU WAIT!

“WELL I’LL SHOW YOU GOTOU!”

“Yagen’s easily the neutral party in most things, don’t you think, Nakigitsune?”

“Certainly.”

The five suddenly storm out the door.

“Did…did they say where they were going?” Ichigo turned to Hirano and Maeda, suddenly mildly (just mildly) concerned.

“They were going to the saniwas’ office.”

Ichigo raised an eyebrow.

“And?”

“They were…gonna…borrow their clothes. Tsubaki-sama’s suits and Ren-sama’s dresses.”

Ichigo sighed deeply, before bolting out the room at mach speed, Nakigitsune right on his heels. Take it upon big brother Ichi-nii and Uncle Naki to calm things down.