The Gundam Beauty Pageant|
by Charon the Sabercat
Despite the silly title, this is a very somber chapter.
Now, another chapter for another Gundam, Cobramaru this time. Happening semi-concurrently with Guneagle's chapter.
Chapter 38 - Chapter 39 - Chapter 40
The Gundam Beauty Pageant|
39. The J. Geils Band was Right
Cobramaru fell back on the mat, folding his arms behind his head and sighing contentedly. Hoshiko's various little sketches and paintings, which were all neatly rolled into little scrolls and haphazardly tossed on the floor, surrounded him. Hoshiko was gone, for now. She had gone to get a drink. She'd be back soon, though, and they could resume their previous activities…
Cobra laughed at the thought of it. It would be an understatement to say he wasn't thinking straight at the time; he was so in love with Hoshiko. His entire body felt like it was wrapped in a warm blanket, and his eyes never quite focused on anything anymore… except Hoshiko.
He stretched his arms, and his pinky brushed against a scroll. He stopped in half-stretch, eyeing the tiny scroll out of the corner of his eye.
Then he grabbed it, undid the rope tying it together, and opened it. What the hell?
Hoshiko opened the door softly and only closed it halfway behind her, being careful not to step too heavily. She crossed the break room and made her way to the refrigerator, carefully prying open the door inch by inch-
Aneko then rammed open the break room door with a huge KABANG, making Hoshiko through her hands over her ears. The eldest sister flew onto the sofa, throwing Bakunetsumaru, Guneagle, Daishogun, and Destroyer Dom's foot (which was sitting on the sofa while the rest of Dom was on the floor) into the armrest.
“WHAT DID I MISS?!”
Baku pointed to the television. “The girl lost her comb, ran into the desert to get it, and now some vagabond has taken her in.”
Aneko adjusted herself into her old spot, leaving just enough room for Zero to sit back down. She wrapped her legs around Zero's stomach and leaned against Baku's shoulder. “That is stupid. Why did she not just get a new comb?”
Baku began to answer, but stopped. Hoshiko had leaned over the top of the sofa and was leaning on her elbows, holding a bottle of Sunny D in her hand. Bakunetsumaru and Aneko got deathly quiet and sullen, both of them fixing their eyes on the TV.
Hoshiko's artwork was beautiful! The first five scrolls he found were pure works of art! (In his mind, of course, because they were all of him.) Cobramaru couldn't resist opening more, taking little time to re-tie the ones he had already opened and put them away before starting on a new stack.
His claws smoothed other the next few scrolls; they had been crumbled up like they had been thrown away before being rolled. They were paintings of the organics; a very angular Shute, a Charon with no spots, and the first Mel. Hoshiko had obviously practiced on them; the next scrolls were near photographic copies of all of them.
He put the practice scrolls away and moved on, grabbing one that was sticking out halfway from under the mat.
Hoshiko spoke so softly she almost couldn't be heard. “What are you all watching?”
She got no response from either sibling.
“Is it interesting?”
Zero and Daishogun knew it wasn't a good idea to break the silence. Gundiver motioned that he wanted to talk; Daishogun waved his hand, and Gundiver stayed silent.
Hoshiko stood up straight and crossed her arms daintily. “I'm not in love with him.”
Aneko let loose a loud, sardonic laugh. Hoshiko stepped back, flustered. Bakunetsumaru looked over the back of the sofa. “That's not the point, Hoshiko.”
“What do you mean, that wasn't the point?” Hoshiko shot.
“The point was, we weren't supposed to have sex with anyone until we were married to them!” Baku growled, turning over to see Hoshiko better. “The point was not to end up like Okaa-san!”
This scroll was huge, and nothing but text. Cobramaru scrolled through quickly, looking for a picture. Maybe she was writing a novel?
He spotted his name and began reading. “… Cobramaru is a wonderful Gundam, but- kuso!”
Cobra immediately scrunched the scroll shut and pushed it under a pile of papers, blushing intensely. It was her diary! But… what had she said about him?
“This won't be like Okaa-san!”
Hoshiko's voice was getting louder, almost to speaking volume, but was cracking nervously. “This isn't a romance! Th-this is just a little fling!”
“Yeah!” Aneko snapped. “So was your father, my father the second time, and Okaa-san's boyfriend after that!”
“Just because you claim you're not in love with him doesn't make it better!” Baku continued.
Cobramaru is a wonderful Gundam, but that's just my instinct talking. I might be able to get closer to him after the Most Sexy verdict is out…
This was an old entry. Cobramaru let the scroll slip smoothly through his fingers, looking for a more recent entry.
Tears began welling up in Hoshiko's eyes. “I'm not in love with him!”
Bakunetsumaru jumped over to his sister and stood face to face with her. “You're lying to me!”
“No I'm not!” Hoshiko screamed! She wrenched her face shut, but couldn't move from the spot.
He's a beautiful man. A perfect specimen. And so easy to draw! I'll have to try and miss him when I leave…
His heart stopped. “Wha- what does that mean?” He kept reading.
“Do you remember how miserable we made our mother?!” Baku screamed. “All those nights she spent crying in her sleep while we were in the other room?! Do you know why she was miserable, Hoshiko?! Because of us!”
My idiot brother has stopped talking to me. Baka-netsumaru doesn't understand the idea of a fling. As if I'm actually in love with him…
His body began to go cold, and his fingers quivered with shock. Cobramaru clutched his throat, finding it harder and harder to breathe. “No… that… that can't be me!”
He kept turning.
Baku continued, tears flowing down his face. “Because we were there! Because we ate up every bit of money or food she could earn! Because we drove away any new father that might have stuck with us! Because every time a husband left her, we were there to remind her of him!”
The other Gundams couldn't peel their eyes away. Zero clutched Aneko's arm tightly, both of them feeling a tension in their chests that kept them from moving. Aneko began to shake violently and ducked behind the back of the sofa. “Baku, stop!”
“And now you're doing the exact same thing, just convincing yourself that it's a harmless little affair!” Baku towered over the cowering little Gundamess. “All I do is look out for you, try to warn you when you're doing something that will ruin your life, and you pay me back by breaking your promise and lying to me!”
I just have to keep reminding myself I don't love him. It will be hard, but come the end of the contest, I'll be back in Ark, I'll get rid of my paintings of him, and I'll never have to be reminded of him again.
That was the last one.
The scroll fell from Cobramaru's hands. “No…”
Hoshiko was quiet… then clenched her fist. “I hate you.”
Baku didn't flinch, but didn't say a word in response. Aneko made a choking noise and folded her arms to her chest, shaking so much Dom could feel it. She quietly mouthed to herself, “Baku, no…”
Bakunetsumaru stood, motionless, staring Hoshiko in the eyes. She returned his gaze, fire burning in her eyes. Her fist was still clenched and tears were still pouring down her face.
He turned his head. “So be it.”
With a swing of his shoulder, he had left the room, closing the door behind him. Hoshiko stood there, staring at the ground, unable to be read. She stood almost motionless, fists still clenched around the tiny bottle of Sunny D.
Inside her soul stone, though, a war was waging. Her conscious mind tried its best to reason out her emotions; Baku was having a temper fit. He didn't understand. The idiot had never been in love before.
The heart scored a crushing blow. It had admitted Hoshiko was in love herself.
No she wasn't, the mind countered. This was an affair, a short-term little romance while she could get away with it. There was nothing behind it. Cobramaru would get over it like she would, and find someone else. There had to be someone out there enough like Cobramaru to fill her need.
There is, said the heart. There is Cobramaru.
She didn't love him, cried the mind!
The heart chuckled to itself. The mind was in denial, and the heart was in the lead.
Cobramaru left the room stumbling like he was drunk. That… couldn't be true. Hoshiko didn't love him? But… he was so sure! She was the one! He had never felt that way about anyone before. She couldn't…
But she did. He read it himself. His soul began to crumble and burn, and he fell against the wall in a stupor. He clutched his pounding head in agony. “She… she can't…”
He pushed himself back onto his feet, determined to get somewhere with either Hoshiko or a large amount of alcohol nearby. He turned a corner and ran straight into Bakunetsumaru, who was marching back to his room.
With a roar, Bakunetsumaru shoved Cobramaru against the opposite corner with a resounding bang, making the ninja cry out in pain. The snake Gundam steadied himself against the wall with both hands.
“Get out of my way, playboy!” the musha nearly screamed. “Just because Hoshiko denies it doesn't mean I can't see what's really going on!
He narrowed his eyes threateningly. “You leave my sister alone before you ruin her life, too.”
Cobramaru stood, braced against the wall. His breathing was heavy, and his stance was vulnerable, but his eyes seemed to map out the musha in a hungry way-
Within an instant, Cobramaru was standing in front of Baku, dagger in his hand. The dagger plunged into Bakunetsumaru's chest, landing just above his soul stone.
Zero and Aneko clutched their chest in unison. “Something's wrong!”
Baku froze in place, eyes going wider and wider as the realization set in. Cobramaru looked into his victim's eyes, and saw pure animal fear.
And then the fear leaked into him. Cobramaru stepped back, holding his arms up to defend himself. His soul drive was pounding in his chest. Baku took a shallow, stuttering breath and fell to his knees, clutching the dagger's handle. His face began to go pale.
I… Cobramaru thought. I just killed Hoshiko's brother…
Within a few seconds of the sound of footsteps, Melady had run into the hallway, pushing Cobramaru into the wall and jumping over Bakunetsumaru like he wasn't even there. Cobra was dazed for only a second.
A second was all it took. The sound of Zero's voice soon met his ears. “BAKUNETSUMARU!”
Aneko and Zero ran into the hallway and fell to Baku's side. Hoshiko followed behind them-
And the two met eyes.
Baku fell onto his back, still clutching the dagger with both of his hands. Zero picked the musha onto his lap and placed his hand as close to the wound as he could. “Hang on, Bakunetsumaru!”
“Do not worry, Baku, we will get you help!” Aneko squealed. She looked around in a panic, spotting Hoshiko. “Quick, go get the cat! Quick, quick!”
Hoshiko stumbled over her feet and ran as fast as she could to get Charon. Zero held his friend's head tightly; Baku's eyes were screwed shut. Zero began to recite a healing spell, knowing it wouldn't do much as long as the dagger was in but hoping it would keep him alive. “Don't leave me, Baku, just hang on.”
Baku took a deep breath and screamed in pain.
Cobramaru heard the scream from the forest and began running faster. The rain hit his eyes like little bullets and racked his body with pain. He barely dodged the thickening trees. Branches whipped his shell and threatened to gouge out his eyes. He didn't know where he was going. He just knew he needed to run.
And he ran until a thick branch caught him across the chest, stopping him (and his breath) in his tracks. He coughed twice and looked to see what had stopped him.
It was an arm. Captain's arm.
Cobra looked down. He was on the edge of a cliff leading into a rocky ocean. One more step, and he could have ended all of his pain… one step…
He stepped back, fell to his knees, and cried. Captain sat down next to Cobramaru, hanging his legs over the edge of the cliff.
This… was a painful chapter to right. I mean, more than the last one. But hey, at least I did it in one sitting.|
Chapter 38 - Chapter 39 - Chapter 40