The Gundam Beauty Pageant|
by Charon the Sabercat
The strong family Baku once had is slowly falling apart, but at the same time, it's getting even closer.
Happening concurrently with the previous chapter. Bakunetsumaru, whether he knows it or not, bonds with his siblings. I feel I must apologize now; some chapters will not be funny.
Chapter 15 - Chapter 16 - Chapter 17
The Gundam Beauty Pageant|
16. Baku's Family Ties
Aneko scooped Baku up from the kareoke machine and hugged him, grunting as she put extra effort into the squeeze. Bakunetsumaru sighed. "Hi, Aneko."
"No more avoiding me, Baku-kun!" Aneko poked Baku in the nose. "We are gonna spend some quality time together as a FAMILY with Hoshiko and Hanako!"
Bakunetsumaru groaned. "Aneko, please, I wanna sing!"
"Then you are gonna SING with the FAMILY! Ever since I pledged to my master and Hanako got married, I have not seen any of you!"
"If you had just joined Himahoumaru with me, you wouldn't be out of touch with anybody!"
Aneko's eyes fired, and she threw Bakunetsumaru into the ground. "Don't tell me what I did wrong, tiny man! I'm older than you, I'm taller than you, and I can smack you into oblivion!"
Baku jumped back to his feet, his fists clenched and his face mirroring Aneko's. "Are you threatening me?! Need I remind you that I am the only man in the family?!"
"Men do not get beaten up by their older sisters!"
Baku and Aneko charged at eachother and hit the sofa, Aneko holding Baku in a headlock. Baku reached for something to flip over, but Aneko dodged every swipe. "You cannot get me! You cannot get me! Nya-nya nya-nya NYA-nya!"
"Aneko, I am gonna kill you!"
"Not if I get to you first, doofus!"
A soft sigh fluttered past both their ears. They stopped their wrestling for a moment.
Hanako sat next to the two siblings, shaking her head but smiling calmly. Hanako barely resembled the two; her armor was a deep purple with pink accents. Even though she was barely any smaller than Hoshiko, she radiated a feeling of fraility. The way she clasped her hands and tucked her legs together made her seem so small, so helpless, that the mere presence of her was enough to make Aneko and Bakunetsumaru stop their bickering. She was especially small at this moment; her shoulders were lowered and she was leaning forward, with a hand protectively placed just under her soulstone.
Bakunetsumaru slipped out of Aneko's grip. "Hana-chan! Hey, where have you been?"
Aneko shoved Bakunetsumaru onto the floor. "Hana-chan! Oh, I missed you! Where have you been?"
Hanako waited until Baku had recovered and was back on the sofa. "I've been on the phone with Yasuomaru."
Baku flinched at the name's mention. He immediately snapped, "Is he treating you nice?"
Hanako rolled her eyes. "Yes, Bakunetsumaru."
"Because you know-" Baku punched his palm. "He gives you any trouble-"
"You'll kill him, I know."
Aneko yelled, "If I don't kill him first!"
"I know." The youngest sibling rubbed her chest. "He's very nice to me, very loving, and very dependable, thank you."
The Blazing Samurai chuckled. "And boring as hell."
Hanako giggled as well. "Well, that's the trade-off, Baku-san."
"So..." Aneko leaned forward, laying an elbow on Hanako's tiny shoulder but avoiding putting any weight on the tiny Gundamess. "What are you going to tell us?"
The tiny one startled a bit, clutching her chest tightly. "How did you know?"
Baku and Aneko shared a glance, then laughed uproariously. Baku gave Hanako a lightheared, but gentle, poke. "Hana-chan, we both changed your diapers, don't think we don't know you."
"You want to tell us something!" Aneko grabbed Baku by his shoulders like an excited teenaged girl and squeaked. "What is it?"
After a blush, Hanako whispered. "I... want to tell the whole family all at once..."
Baku returned the girly squeak and jostled Aneko, making them both laugh. Aneko couldn't help but chirp as she asked, "Where is Hoshiko?"
There was silence.
"Where is Hoshiko?"
Grappler Gouf was suddenly spread across the collective laps of the siblings, with a huge clawed arm around most of Hanako. "Wooooooooofalldown... Hossshi- sshe'sh he green onme, righ'? Sshe'ssh withb the purpl' one!"
Aneko blinked stupidly. "Purple one?" Her eyes darted across the room, from Destroyer Dom to Hanako. "Which purple one?"
The answer burned one like a match in Baku's mind, and like a match, it quickly began to consume his entire body in a fiery rage. "Cobramaru..."
Aneko gasped. "The ninja!"
The oldest sister rose to her feet, throwing Grappler to the ground. The fall jostled Hanako slightly; Bakunetsumaru and Aneko both steadied her before getting up. "Where is that lowdown ninja? Tell me, for he shall suffer the WRATH of the older sister!"
The room didn't answer, partly because Aneko was already well-known for the whole "hot tub" incident, but also because they didn't know either.
Well, one knew...
Charon raised her hand, a leftover habit from grade school. "I know, but I don't think I can tell you."
Baku and Aneko were beside her, eyes ablaze and heads comically enlarged in the anime style. "WHY NOT?!"
Charon hated to say it, but it was the only way to tell them. "'Cause I'm pushing the PG-13 rating as it is."
There was a second of silence while the not-too-bright ones calculated, but that was quickly and rudely broken by Zapper Zaku singing, "Rock the caz-ba, rock the caz-ba-"
"SHE BROKE HER PROMISE!" Baku was now totally red with anger, Aneko following suit. "Cobramaru'll be lucky to have his HEAD when I'm through with him!"
"Baku, Aneko, please!" Hanako placed herself between the blazing samurais and the door; there anger faded when they saw the little one in the way. "We can... wait for them to..." The words seemed to catch in her throats as she said them. "Finish... but... until then... where's Okaa-san?"
Ashuramaru's head popped up from his drink. "Oh, her!" He spun around in his stool to better see the siblings. "I saw her with Britainmaru."
Only then did he realize he made a greivous mistake. The life was suddenly sucked out of the room; even the Dark Axis drunks were silent. Aneko, Hanako, and Bakunetsumaru were giving him shocked, barren stares. Their eyes were lifeless, as if their very souls had left them... in fear.
"What..." Hanako finally asked, "Was she doing with Britainmaru?"
Ashura gulped. "Ano... they were just... having tea."
He regretted saying it instantly. It was like the room turned three shades grayer and three dozen degrees colder. The siblings looked at eachother forlornly, all of the confidence that once held them aloft silently drifting away.
"I..." Baku sighed deeply. "I need a drink. Aneko?"
"Yeah... yeah, me too." Aneko fiddled with the corner of her hair. "Hana-chan?"
"No, I shouldn't." Hanako bowed. "I'm going to go to bed. Goodnight."
Baku and Aneko each had a small saucer of rice wine. Aneko stared at her glass, lost in thought. Bakunetsumaru looked to his sister for a word.
"What happened to us, Baku-kun?" Aneko looked to her brother. "We used to be so close."
Baku took a drink. "Life happened to us, Aneko. Hanako got married, we got... samuraied... or whatever."
"That doesn't mean we can't stay close!" Aneko finished her cup and placed it on the other side of the counter. "And we need to stay close now, Baku-kun. You know what's going to happen with Okaa-san."
"It might not be as bad as when we were little," Baku noted. "Okaa-san's older now; maybe's she's grown some maturity."
Aneko took back her refilled drink. "We both know she didn't, Baku-kun." She downed the entire cup in one swig, holding her temples as she put her glass back down.
Baku nodded, "Yeah. But at least we don't live with her anymore... maybe we'll be spared from a new father this time."
Aneko sniffed. "I hope so..." She tapped her fingers on the counter, one by one. "I've had three sakes. I need to go. You know what they do to me."
"Yeah, I do." Baku patted his sister's shoulder and rested his chin on her. She leaned her head over and sideways-hugged him. "Goodnight, Aneko."
Aneko left quickly, her walk already a little unstable. Baku sighed and took another sip of rice wine. "I need someone to talk to."
He looked around quickly. Everyone was occupied with somebody-
Except for Captain, who was standing in the middle of the room, confused. Baku felt a pang of guilt; poor Captain, with no one to talk to. He was probably feeling that post-loss shock.
He called him over. Captain's body snapped to face Baku within seconds, and he leapt to the counter like a dog that had been called. The Neotopian Gundam sat faithfully next to the samurai, going so far as to grab Baku's hand when he sat down.
"If we're gonna be lonely-"
Captain picked up on it right away. "We might as well be lonely together."
It was gonna be a long night.
Ashuramaru fell into his mat with a loud THUD, throwing the blankets to the side. "I... am... so... wasted..."
Baku shut himself into his cubicle. Unlike the Neotopia bedroom, the Ark bedroom was a long hallway seperated into Gundam-sized slots large enough for the Gundam's mat and an end table. The walls were paper sliding doors, nothing more.
The samurai tucked himself into his mat and closed his eyes, waiting for sleep. He was quickly woken up by a light tapping on the wall to his left.
Baku jerked awake and opened the door... to Hanako, also snuggled into her sleeping mat, but holding out her hand. Baku smiled and took it. The other door to Hanako's room opened, and Aneko took Hanako's other hand. They watched the last door expectantly.
No hand came out. Aneko released Hanako for a moment to put her ear to the door.
She heard two people snoring.
Hearing Aneko shudder in disgust was enough for the other two siblings to know what had happened. They joined hands again and drifted into a light, unrestful sleep, unable to rest knowing the chain was broken.
Plans to go, um, farther into detail with Cobra and Hoshiko's romance have been put on hold for now. It's hard to write dialogue when their faces will be mashed together for most of the chapter. Don't worry, though, it will come to fruition soon enough.|
Chapter 15 - Chapter 16 - Chapter 17