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Panic! at the Memory Loss

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"Do you think we might be strippers?" said cowboy boots, eyeing the velvet jacket.

They all took a moment to consider the floral embroidery.

Sneakers cleared his throat. "Really, really gay strippers?"


"Hey," said cowboy boots as he pulled his legs up under him, "do you think I'm in love with scarf guy?"

Sneakers gawked at him. "Um." He hoped he wasn't the one they always came to with their problems.

"Like, maybe we're together. Or maybe it's this long, angsty, epic romance where I look at him across a crowded room and sigh a lot. I could be pining away."

Sneakers felt he might be on safer ground here. "I don't think you're the pining type."


Flip flops drew breath.

"I swear to god," said sneakers, "if you start the next sentence with 'Do you think' I will end you." Then he paused, because flip flops was a little too cool to be hanging around with the rest of them. In his more paranoid moments, sneakers thought he might have been sent to kill them.

(Dress shoes had just rolled his eyes and said, "A ninja assassin in flip flops?" Clearly they didn't take their problems to him.)

Flip flops laughed, low and quick, his whole face crinkling in amusement.

Sneakers thought he could maybe see why they let the trained killer stick around.


"So, you know annoying guy?" said dress shoes, looking at sneakers blankly. Sneakers got the feeling this was the sort of blankly that translated to painful death if he laughed.

"Yeah." Why couldn't they whine at flip flops? He, at least, would get paid if he snapped and killed them all.

Dress shoes gave him another blank look. Blank with a hint of fear, and sneakers got the strangest urge to pull him into a hug.

"Never mind."

"Sure," said sneakers, reaching out to give dress shoes an awkward shoulder pat.


They all looked at cowboy boots in amazement.

"You can sing," said dress shoes. It came out like an accusation.

"Um," said cowboy boots. "I think I might play guitar, too." He turned his hands over, showing off the exact same calluses as flip flops and dress shoes.

"Shit," said sneakers, taking another look at his own hands.

Cowboy boots grinned. "Hey, sparkles --" Which, fuck him, sneakers this ugly had to be designer. "-- don't worry. Drummers do it with rhythm."


"He could still be an assassin," said sneakers a little petulantly. "A bass-playing assassin."

"Who could?" said flip flops, coming up behind him far too silently for someone who didn't have secret samurai training.

"Fuck!" said sneakers half a beat before dress shoes said, "You."

"Hey, I was just asking!" Flip flops threw up his hands in mock defence, not keeping his mouth from quirking into a smile. He rubbed the back of his neck. "Is that why you don't like being alone with me?" he asked sneakers.

Sneakers felt his breath catch. Fucking ninjas.


"Skinny guy and skinny guy are making out," said flip flops conversationally.

Sneakers pinched the bridge of his nose. "I'm getting the strangest urge to defend dress shoes' honour." Then, "Wait. You call them skinny guy and skinny guy?"

Flip flops shrugged. "Skinny guy, skinny guy, ninja guy and cute guy."

Sneakers took a step backwards. "Ninja guy?"

"I was straight guy, but I like your version better."


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