The Gundam Beauty Pageant|
by Charon the Sabercat
There's too much going on in this chapter to summarize. There is a lot of poking and nakedness, though.
It's time to appreciate the outside, and develop a few plotlines!
Chapter 25 - Chapter 26 - Chapter 27
The Gundam Beauty Pageant|
26. And a lot of stuff happens, outside
It was beautiful outside. It was sunny, with light, fluffy clouds scattered across the sky. The grass was rich and green, the air was crisp and full, and the pool was filled with happy Gundams and humans. Some Gundams were sunning in the pool chairs. The Dark Axis bots had gathered around a stone fountain and were diving for pennies.
Madnug leaned deep over the edge of the towering, layered fountain, elbow deep in crystal fountain water. He felt the bottom of the stone basin for big change. “Okay… nickel, penny, penny, penny, dime- oo, dime!”
He fished out the dime and placed it in his pocket. He began to feel the bottom again, slowly circling the perimeter of the fountain-
Until he bumped into Grappler, who also had his arm elbow-deep in the water. “Move, Grappler, I got the bottom.”
“Bull honky. Move over.” Grappler shoved Madnug with his shoulder.
Madnug shoved back. “Move it, ASCII face, I called the quarters.”
“Well, you couldn't have called the quarters,” Grappler responded with a characteristic sneer. “Since I called the quarters, now move, before I de-rezz you!”
Grappler slammed his shoulder into Madnug's face; the black Gundam countered by grappling Grappler by the head and dunking him in the water. Grappler flipped Madnug over his head and pinned him in a leg-lock, but Madnug jabbed him in the gut and threw him out of the fountain.
As their wrestling match continued, the other Dark Axis bots watched, sighed hopelessly, and went back to collecting pennies.
Meanwhile, at the pool, Gundiver and Melady popped out of the water at the same time, facing each other. “Da dum- damnit.”
They re-dunked and came back up, still facing each other. “Da dum- damnit!”
Gundiver frowned disapprovingly. “Stop trying to do the Jaws thing at me!”
“You stop doing it to me!” Melady splashed him, laughing all the way. The resulting splash fight hit Captain's waist several times, so he scooched a little farther to the left to avoid the water.
Guneagle was watching from a pool chair, his mischievous gaze hidden by a pair of sunglasses. He scanned the area for Maxine, spotting her eyeing Captain from the other side of the pool. His chest burned with jealousy.
Okay, he schemed. Captain is standing right next to the pool. I'll say I'm gonna jump in, warn him to move. I'll say it too fast, and he won't. I'll knock him in. Then, I rescue him from drowning, make a big show out of it, Maxine's bound to pick me over him once she sees that. Okay… let's go.
“Hey, Captain!” Guneagle jumped out of the chair. “Move, I'm gonna get in the pool!”
Without waiting for a response, Guneagle began to run full force at Captain-
Captain moved. Guneagle tripped over the edge of the pool and fell straight in.
“Guneagle!” Captain reached into the water in a frenzy. Gundiver swam beneath the sinking Guneagle and pushed him towards the surface, allowing Captain to grab him and pull him back into the air.
He didn't quite know what was going on, all Guneagle knew was that he was coughing like crazy and felt like he was about to be sick. When he finally screwed his eyes open, he saw Maxine standing before him, looking worried.
“Are you okay, Guneagle?”
“Yeah…” His eyes slowly morphed into little pink hearts. “I'm good…”
Maxine sighed, relieved. Her face then looked to his left. “You're amazing, Captain.”
Guneagle was finally aware that he was slung over Captain's shoulder like a baby being burped. Captain was holding him like a teddy bear, softly patting his back.
And then he heard the laughter of the Musha Gundams.
“G-j-w-g-GAH! Get off me!” Guneagle pushed himself off of Captain's shoulder-
And went backwards into the pool again. Gundiver pushed him to the surface. Captain pulled him back out. The Mushas, and now the Dark Axis, laughed.
Kibaomaru and Genki both slapped their knees, doubled over in laughter. “He-he-he's an idiot!”
Zapper swayed back and forth. “Aw, is Captain's widdle baby all wet?”
Guneagle screamed and ran back inside. Maxine's attention drifted to Gundiver. “You're so calm under pressure, Gundiver…”
Gundiver sighed and sunk back into the pool.
Cobramaru sighed and stared at the sky, oblivious to everyone around him except for Hoshiko. Hoshiko sat on the grassy knoll next to him, leaning into his chest and trying to get him to cheer up.
“Come on, sweetie…” Hoshiko pleaded. “It's just a loss. Don't get so worked up about it.”
“I don't understand it, Hoshiko…” Cobramaru leaned back on the hill and rested his body in the grass. “Why does fate keep throwing me these chances to make a name for myself, only to shoot me down and make me look like a fool?”
“You're overreacting…” Hoshiko snuggled up to Cobra and threw her arm around his neck. “I don't think you did anything to make you lose. People pick who they know-”
“I appreciate the comforting words, but that's not what I'm talking about.” He sighed again and looked to the clouds. “I feel so insignificant… No matter what I do, I'm always going to lose…”
Hoshiko was silent for a moment, quietly musing. He finally grabbed Cobramaru by the “ear” and pulled him sideways, forcing him to look at her. “Cobramaru, I haven't known you for that long. I don't know what you've won, and what you've lost…”
She leaned in close. “And frankly, I don't care.”
The ninja almost gasped, catching his breath before he could. “What?”
“You're you.” Hoshiko touched her v-fins to his. “That's all that matters to me.”
Cobramaru was very quiet, never breaking eye contact with her. It was like he was scared of her, or rather, what she had said…
That was gone quickly, though. He then tackled her and held her tightly, claws raking her back. A breath of relief spread across Hoshiko's face, making Cobramaru smile again. She picked her head up a little. “Kakkoii.”
Hoshiko smiled and kissed him, and they lay back on the grass together and watched the clouds roll by.
Britainmaru tiptoed through the tulips (Me: (laughing), on the lookout for anything remotely beast-ish in the garden. Gunpanzer stood behind him, wrapped up in the thrill of the mock-hunt. “See anythin', yet?”
“Not… oh!” Britainmaru pointed to a disturbed patch of flowers in front of him. “Gunpanzer, quickly, remove those flowers!”
Gunpanzer loaded a blank into his bazooka and blew the flowers away with a blast of air. What was left was a large patch of wet, brown earth… and a huge paw print.
Gunpanzer was frozen in awe. Britainmaru jumped up and down in surprise. “I found it! I found it, I knew it was out here somewhere!”
Gunpanzer put his hand over the strange print to size it. “It's huge!”
“It only proves my hypothesis, comrade!” Britainmaru announced, standing upright and proud. “There is a beast near the compound, and together, we shall hunt it, track it, and strike it down!”
The ground rumbled with Gunpanzer's voice, as if the earth itself had to cover its ears. “Ya shoulda told me we wer' goin' huntin', Britty! I'll go get mah huntin' gun!”
“NO!” Britainmaru screeched back, although his voice was pale in comparison to Gunpanzer's. “We're on a true hunt, my friend. We must become one with the animal, relying on our natural Gundam instincts to hunt it like a real predator and give it an honorable warrior's death suited to a noble beast.”
“Okay…” Gunpanzer was a little confused…
“Then I'll go get mah compound bow!”
Britainmaru smiled. “That's it, my friend!”
“What are you doing?”
The two Gundams jumped, spinning around to face Commander Sazabi. The psuedo-Gundam rolled his eye, expecting an idiotic Gundam reaction, but not this big of one. “Morons…”
“What we are doing is none of your concern!” Britainmaru snapped, pointing a harsh finger at Sazabi.
Gunpanzer nodded, crossing his arms. “Besides, we're huntin' anyway, so get!”
Britainmaru eyed the oblivious Gunpanzer out of the corner of his eyes, smoke pouring from his forehead. “If you were not my friend, Gunpanzer…”
Sazabi looked past the Gundams to the print in the ground. “You're hunting mechdog?”
The silence was all it took. Sazabi sighed and rolled his eye, again, and pointed out the track. “It's larger than a Gundam hand, but smaller than a Gundam foot. It has four fingers and an opposable thumb, with pads on the palm. There are little marks above the fingers, meaning it had claws. It's a mechdog.”
Sazabi proudly tossed his hand as the other two continued to be confused. “Mechdogs are all over the place where I come from. They get to be huge.” He leaned in close, lightly drawing the others closer to him. “Rumor has it that they can eat a whole Gundam in under an hour, and they need at least three Gundams a day to stay sane…”
“Okay, I heard enough.” Gunpanzer stated, straightening his back.
Sazabi smiled. “What's wrong? Did I scare you out of it?”
“Nope, ya talked me into it!”
Britainmaru made a great leap and landed on Gunpanzer's shoulder. “Oh, this is going to be fun, Gunny!”
The two ran off into the distance without another thought, leaving Sazabi to groan even louder. “Stupid WRITERS! Can't even scare anybody since I died!”
Shute was in the middle of filling a water balloon when-
Shute turned off the faucet and stood before Hanako, bowing politely. “Hello, Hanako-san.”
When he was upright again, Hoshiko began to lean in uncomfortably close. “You know… Baku-san has told me a lot about you hyu-mans…”
Shute's face went white. Not again!
“Um, I gotta go now, so-”
Too late. Hanako had already grabbed Shute by the cheeks. The boy braced himself, preparing for the worst…
Instead, Hanako softly stroked Shute's cheeks, much like Bakunetsumaru did the first time they met. The Gundamess ignored the bright red hue of Shute's cheeks and started to move her head away.
“Aneko-san!” she cried, not taking her eyes off of Shute. “Come and see this!”
“What?!” Aneko jumped to Shute's side almost immediately and, without even asking, yanked Shute away from Hanako and began roughly rubbing his arm. “Wow, this feels weird.”
Needless to say, Shute was a little freaked out. “Captain!”
“I know, he's so soft…” Hanako silently asked for Shute back; Aneko pushed the boy into her arms full force, shrinking back in the process.
“It's disgusting!” she shuddered. “You touch him, and he… squishes…”
“I think it's nice.”
“Hoshiko-san! Come look at this!”
Shute struggled in Hanako's arms. “Captain, help!”
Hoshiko was there in an instant, followed by Cobramaru. Hanako nudged the human towards her. “Hoshiko, touch this, it feels strange.”
Shute was pulled away from what would have been an I'm-not-an-animal tirade, and Hoshiko traced his facial features with her finger. Left helpless, and surrounded by Gundamesses, Shute pleaded to Cobramaru. “Please help, Cobramaru…”
A wry smile crept across the ninja's face. “Touch his hair.”
Hanako pushed his hair tuft, and then gasped at the resulting wiggle. “It's stringy!”
Aneko backed away further, a look of terror coming across her face. “EW! Stop touching it!”
Shute spied the opening and went to run-
But Ashuramaru soon filled the gap. Shute would have face-faulted if he had room. “Oy…”
“You know, I've never touched one of these things…”
He pointed his finger and JAB! Right in Shute's stomach! The tiny boy doubled over in pain! He'd never been hit that hard in his life!
The pain was enough to set off Captain's Shute-dar. The Neotopian Gundam was in the middle of the group in the blink of an eye, pushing the Mushas away. “All right! That's enough! Leave him alone!”
Hanako shot Ashuramaru a dirty look. “You hurt him!”
Ashuramaru's face was a mix of surprise, anger, and regret as he slowly backed away. “I-I barely touched him! I barely touched…” He then turned entirely around and began to run. “Run away! Run away!”
Captain patted Shute's back, encouraging the boy to breathe (Ashuramaru's jab had knocked the wind out of him). Hanako bowed to Captain as an apology. “I'm sorry, I didn't know he was so fragile.”
The human boy gulped. “I'm glad we're in separate buildings…”
Aneko trudged up the small hill, looking for her brother. It was a long walk, a long way from the compound, really (well, not that far, but she was going to tell Baku it was when she found him). She looked back over the hill to check how far she was. Standing where she was, Sazabi was roughly the size of her hand.
She skipped down the side of the hill, holding herself steady on the side of the hill. As she regained her footing, a flash of white poked through the periwinkles. “Baku-kun!”
She ran as fast as she could towards the white patch-
And tripped over Zero.
She stood up as fast as she could. Bakunetsumaru got out of the flowers, angry and bright red… and naked again?!
“Aneko, how do you keep finding us?!” Baku screamed, eyes ablaze.
“Baku?” Aneko's eyes slowly drifted towards Zero. “Does that mean that-”
Zero sat erect, draping his cape over his lap. “Yes, me too…”
Aneko slapped her forehead. “What are you doing out here naked?”
Zero held his nose upward, not looking at Aneko. “Captain was in a philosophical mood.”
“Captain?” Aneko finally spied the naked Captain Gundam, lying with his head in his hands and contentedly staring at the clouds.
Baku sat back down in the grass. “Sometimes Captain gets in this mood where he thinks he has to reconnect with nature. He starts spouting philosophy and eventually sheds his armor, finds a field of flowers, and just sits there until he bleaches.”
“I think it's just a fun way to air out,” Zero admitted. With a flourish, he threw his cape under him and lied back in the grass again. Baku gave up and collapsed back in the flowers, nestling himself back into his spot.
Aneko was still. She stood tense, shoulders quivering. Her fists were clenched. She silently fumed.
And the clouds simply rolled by…
Aneko stomped her foot. “I want to be naked, too!”
Baku, once again, jumped to his feet, eyes bugging once again. “WHAT?!”
“I want to reconnect with nature!” the Gundamess whined. “I want to lie amongst the flowers and look at the sky, and I want to be naked doing it!”
“THEN GO SOMEWHERE ELSE! Somewhere without US NEARBY!”
All eyes fell to Captain, who had been snapped out of his reverie by the shouting. He stretched his arms, placing his hands back behind his head slowly. “In order to reconnect with the world around us, we must become as the world around us. We must give up our petty Gundam reservations and surrender to our more natural impulses, freeing ourselves of the chains of civilization that bind us.”
Aneko blinked. Zero nodded solemnly. Baku growled.
The Gundamess cocked her head. “Did he answer my question?”
Zero nodded. Baku shook his head. Aneko smacked her head. “I thought so.”
Captain propped himself up on his elbows and looked over his shoulder. Aneko blushed, covering her cheeks; Captain was a very handsome Gundam.
“I'll make it a little simpler.” He leaned his head back. “To be one with nature is to act like the creatures of nature. Total. Body. Shamelessness.”
He then tenderly let himself fall back into the grass.
Baku scratched his head. “What'd you say?”
Captain snuffed. “She stays.”
“Yeah!” Aneko flung off her armor and plopped herself down in the flowers next to Captain. Bakunetsumaru's shoulders fell, and he finally, permanently, lied back down in the grass.
The mechas rushed in from the pouring rain, covering their eyes and grabbing beach towels from Charon and Mel along the way. There was a bit of confusion when the Gundam Force (plus Aneko) ran into the building mostly naked and covered in pollen, but the smell of cooking barbeque distracted the rest of the mechas enough for the bare bots to sneak away and get dressed.
(Captain passed Cobramaru and Hoshiko in the hallway, coming in wet and mostly naked from a side door.
“Hello,” Captain chirped, scaring the both of them. “Were you out contemplating the universe, too?”
Cobramaru and Hoshiko shared a look.
“Y-yeah.” Cobramaru gulped. “Th-that's what we were doing.”
Through her nervous shaking, Hoshiko giggled knowingly.
Captain “hmph”ed, twitching his shoulders. “I didn't see you. Maybe I can join you next time.”
“Sh-sure. Y-you should join us… next time…” Cobramaru felt like he was going to explode. Hoshiko had to hide behind Cobramaru to keep herself from laughing.
Captain walked away and turned the corner out of sight. Cobramaru and Hoshiko burst with withheld laughter, falling over in the hallway.)