The game was... interesting I guess. I can't fathom the reluctance to bring guns into the disputes though. Had I used my brand new tranquilizer loaded beauty the other contestant would have been out of the run before they could say 'stockbroker' (that word is actually horribly difficult to remember when you're semi-unconscious and wearing tights-don't ask, just take my word for it). People just can't see the advantages, the shine of metal in the fluorescent lights, the satisfying click when you fire,
the way the Sakano's eyes focus on his nose as he says 'oh, not again K' (I think that's what 'uhg' means anyway) and the time it would save. Minimum input, maximum output. We could spend the rest of the day playing scrabble. (Something Yuki would actually have a chance at winning at, sucker.) Or maybe even do a surprise publicity stunt, the surprise ones are always much more scandalous...
As it was it was a quiet event. Well, rather, as quiet it can ever get in an environment containing that bunch. I went there with Sakano, and Judy met up with us just outside the dojo, Michael at her side. I can't believe how happy I was to see them. I spend a lot of time away on business trips, I have late days and tough assignments-I admittedly do not spend enough time in their company, but I always talk to them over the phone every day I'm away, and the loss of that, not hearing their voices often enough... it's started to wear me down.
Judy was looking impeccable as usual, dark red lipstick coating her lips, shining hair curling softly around her face, spilling over her shoulders. Michael was dressed in a little brown suit with a green spot from grass on one knee, and he was scuffing his foot into the ground, pouting and rubbing his hair with one little chubby hand, the other clasped firmly in his mother's thin manicured one. I hugged Michael and gave Judy a peck on the cheek, but even though she took off her sunglasses and smiled at me she looked uncertain, a glimmer of nervousness lingering in her eyes.
I had to placate Sakano while we walked inside and sat down with ample view of the interior of the room, including the big whooping bunny (whom I recognized as Ryuichi as soon as he spun around) which amused Michael greatly. He sat curled up in Judy's lap, his hand still curling around her fingers. He turned around and whispered in her ear, but it was such a loud whisper that I could hear it where I was sitting in the next seat.
"Have you and Daddy stopped doing the angry thing?"
Judy's warm "Yes Sweetheart" was spoken in a normal tone, but very lowly.
"Can I sit with Daddy then?" the words were hesitant, and he pulled back to look up at her expression with big pleading eyes. She smiled.
"If you want to."
I quickly averted my eyes from the pair as Michael turned towards me, his little shoe nudging against my knee.
"Yes Michael?" I looked at him inquiringly, smiling softly.
"Can I sit with you?"
"Of course you can." Michael let out a little whoop and climbed over to me from Judy's lap, and settled on my right leg, leaning his head against my shoulder.
"WE SHOULDN'T BE HERE WE SHOULD BE WORKING WORKING ON THE MUSIC THE MUSIC IS IMPORTANT!!"
Michael jumped at the exclamation, eyes widening, shrinking back to my chest, shaking slightly. I glared at Sakano for scaring Michael, but he didn't see it from where he was staring over at Tohma and Mika, hair sprouting in wild tousles from his head, a panicked look in his eyes. I wanted to calm him down, but I also wanted to pay back for scaring Michael, and if Sakano squeaked maybe, just maybe the little kid would find it funny. Plus, I had gotten the peanut-shooting gun as a party trick, but I had as of then not tried it out-Sakano's as good a test person as anyone, right?
He makes so many amusing noises that one.
It was very funny to see him flopping his arms like a bird as he fell the few feet or so down onto the floor. He looked quite startled. Like a big fainted drooling Sakano bird. Somebody came running to check if he was alright, and I leaned over his vacated seat to see if he was indeed fine. Sometimes Sakano's escapades turn a bit dangerous. He should be more careful. It did make Michael laugh though.
A second later Michael sat up straighter in my lap, pointed towards the entrance and called "There's Maiko!" and indeed, there she was, wearing a shirt with the words 'Go Yuki!' on it, and just as I looked over she tripped over her feet and tumbled to the ground. "Look, she's hurt!"
Judy had pushed her sunglasses into her hair and was also looking at the girl on the floor. "She looks like she hurt her ankle..." she mumbled.
"Can we go over there Daddy?"
Just as I was about to agree to Michael's request Suguru arrived at the scene, and seeing the gentle way he tended to her I decided that it would be better to leave the two to themselves.
"We can go check up on her later, ok?"
Michael pouted up at me, doe-eyes on full blast. "Ok Papa." He mumbled and burrowed his head into my shirt.
I glanced over at Judy and saw her looking at me. She bit her lip and made to turn away, but I reached out for her hand, twining her fingers with mine, rubbing my thumb over the inside of her wrist. She smiled and I couldn't help but think that she looked a little relieved as her fingers flexed and curled tighter around mine. We sat like that for the rest of the event, even as the grip of our clasped hands became slippery we held on, the sensitive skin touching somehow intimately, a kiss of hands. For the first time in several weeks-even with the duel taking place in front of my eyes-I felt peace.