After dinner, Joker excused himself to join a couple of friends for a drink. Neon simply nodded, happy to get away from her arrogant companion if only for a few minutes. She was about to get up to go to the ladies' room when a man took a seat opposite her.
"Hi." he reached out a hand. "My name is Kaidou Gozairu."
Joker sauntered off to the bar to join a couple of his old high school buddies. They laughed, having a drink of expensive wine when one of the men piped up.
"Look out." Yoshihiro, one of the men, said. "Here comes Satsuki."
All men turned their heads to the direction the former noted. And indeed there she was, Satsuki Narazaki. Numero uno class b*tch. Joker swallowed. The girl had been running after him since they were in diapers. She was severely persistent despite his innumerable rejections. Now as she approached them, Joker felt his skin crawl. Satsuki wasn't exactly ugly, but her face could certainly do better. It wasn't her appearance but her attitude that pushed all the wrong buttons. She would make even the likes of Mikoto desirable.
"Hello boys..." she spoke in a sultry voice. She put an arm around Joker's waist. "Hi Hiro-chan. Long time no see...." she said in a more amorous tone. "Long time no touch either." she ran a finger vertically across his chest, teasing.
Joker moved away. "Nice to see you too, Satsuki."
"I know." she whispered. As if on cue, all the other men disappeared, leaving the two of them behind. Joker was furious. "So how about you and me have some catching up to do, hmmmm?" she whispered, standing on her toes and licking hie earlobe.
The Uruha assassin gently pushed her away. "I'm sorry Satsuki. I'm a committed man." he said firmly.
one of her tattoed eyebrows raised, "To whom? That little Tokyo tart you
brought along?" she inquired
"Neon-han is not a Tokyo tart." he corrected sternly. "She's a beautiful, sensible, sweet woman." And he meant every word that he said.
"We'll see about that." Satsuki said venomously and left.
Joker breathed a sigh of relief when the other woman left. He was about to return to his table when he saw Neon speaking to Kaidou. The Kaidou. The one rival he had in high school and he could most certainly do without. Joker made a sound in his throat when he arrived at the table.
"Oh, Hiroji." Kaidou acknowledged his presence. "I was just talking to your lovely date here."
"She's not my date." he corrected. Neon's eyes widened. "She's my fiancee."
Thankfully Kaidou didn't notice that Neon's jaw had dropped and she was staring at Joker as if he had grown an extra head.
"Oh." was all he could say. The other man shrugged and bid farewell. "You're a lucky man, Odekomono." he patted Joker's shoulder before leaving. "She's an incredible woman."
"YOUR WHAT????" Neon raised her voice. "This wasn't in the agreement!"
The fanged assassin hushed her. "Keep your voice down, Neon-han. We don't want to make a scene."
"I am to going to make a scene." she protested vehemently. "I agreed to come here only because Kurei-sama told me so, and that is as your escort, date, companion. I didn't come to be...."
"Excuse me, Hiroji-san." one of the ushers interrupted. "The host asks if you and your fiancee would like to lead the evening's first dance."
"Sure." Joker obliged. Neon took a couple of seconds before accepting the hand he reached out to her.
"As I was saying." she spoke as they began gliding on the dance floor to the lazy tune of Unchained Melody. "I came here only to be your date of sorts...your woman of the moment...not to be introduced to every freaking classmate of yours as Mrs. Odekomono!"
The fanged one sighed. "Look, I....apologize Neon-han. I only said that to ward off some very persistent admirer."
"That dumb-looking brunette who was crawling all over you a while ago?" she snorted. "Looks like there are a lot of desperate nutcases in your school. Hmmmp."
Something flickered in Joker's unseen eye. "Oi....is that jealousy I hear?" he teased.
"Don't flatter yourself!" Neon exclaimed, her veins popping out. "If you ask me, you deserve each other."
"And what about Kaidou-han taking interest in you? Don't you think that would be traitorous to your fiance?" Joker asked.
"Kaidou is a gentleman." she remarked. "Unlike some men I know...who pretend to be what they're not."
"Whose side are you on anyway?"
"Mine." Neon snarled. "The earlier I get out of here the better. I am beginning to become bored and pissed and...umph..."
Neon could speak no longer as her lips were sealed by Joker's mouth. He had taken her lips in a kiss so quick she never knew what hit her. She closed her eyes instinctively, initially resisting but having her barriers break down in a matter of seconds.
His kiss was warm, tender, gentle....and she could feel the thrill down to her toes.
Just like last time...her subconscious spoke...how long was it? Four...five months ago? And yet it was as potent and as mind-numbing as it used to be....
She opened her eyes when he lifted his lips from hers. They were met by a soft amber gaze, looking apologetic if anything else. "They were beginning to look." he explained. And the red-haired Uruha said nothing.
After trotting to three tunes, Neon excused herself and went to get a drink at the bar. She was on her third Subzero when Kaidou approached her again.
"Hi." he said.
"Oh, hi." Neon greeted back. She was beginning to feel tipsy.
"Where's Hiroji?" he inquired, eyes shifting left and right.
"I dunno. Hopping around I guess..." she said. She noted Joker was at their table, with a tequila in his left hand and Satsuki on his lap. Neon shook her head. His lap!!!!
Kaidou didn't seem to notice her discomfort. "Hey, how would you like to join the Karaoke Fest we have lined up next?"
Neon shook her head, "Oh, I'm afraid I'm not much for singing." she said, stealing a glance at Joker who now had Satsuki shamelessly crawling on him. "But Hiroji-san is." she smiled wickedly.
Kaidou's eyes narrowed. "Hiroji can sing?"
She nodded. "Didn't you know? It's one of his many unrecognized attributes." she laughed. "You should hear him do Achy-Breaky Heart. He puts Billy Ray Cyrus to shame."
"I'll do that." Kaidou said. A stage hand then motioned to him. "Excuse me, I think we're starting the Karaoke Fest."
"I am going to do what????" Joker couldn't believe his ears when his name was called.
"I believe they want you to lead the songfest." Daijirou spoke. "Err....I didn't know you could sing Hiroji."
"Neither did I." Joker echoed.
Joker took to the mike when his classmates goaded him. He sweat profusely despite the strong air conditioning, standing there in front of a hundred eager faces. Suddenly all his arrogance flushed down the bowl. He looked around and saw Neon proudly beaming behind the PA system. She was giving him a double thumbs up sign and cheering, "Go Hiroji!"
Realizing how he got into this mess, he spoke at the microphone. "I would like to invite my fiancee, Neon-han to join me on stage."
Neon grew pale. The next thing she knew she was being pushed by a dozen hands towards the stage.
"A-one, two, three..."
"Don't tell my heart, my achy-breaky heart...I just don't think he'd understand...."
Fifteen minutes later, and after a nerve-wracking performance of "Build Me Up Buttercup" and "Head Over Heels,"the two Uruha assassins sat floppily on their dinner table. Their bodies profuse with sweat and their dignity broken beyond repair. Nobody seemed to notice though, as everybody sang along drunk-happy to the tunes of "Papa Don't Preach" performed by Satsuki.
"Neon-han...I never realized you hate me so..." Joker spoke in phrases, his voice raspy from trying to disguise his non-singing voice. "How could you do this to me?"
"Do what?" Neon snarled through her panting. "You're the one who owes me bigtime." She sobbed. "Imagine dragging me all the way from Tokyo and telling everybody I'm your fiancee....and still having the nerve to perform a quickie in front of everybody with that slut in the yellow canary dress."
Joker grew quiet. It was a while before he spoke up again. "Is that why you did what you did?" he aksed. "You're mad at me because of Satsuki????" the mischievous glint returned to his eyes. "So I am right when I percieve that you are indeed jealous of that little tramp?"
He was answered by a wallop from her purse. "THAT'S NOT WHAT I MEANT!!!" she screamed. She then toned her voice down. "Look, you drag me here, against my wishes and introduce to everyone that I am your wedded-to-be. Now while I object severely to that, I still let you play your little game, because for one, I am your friend. And because another, Kurei-sama told me so. Now, if you fooled around with that annoying little weasel, in front of my eyes. Don't you think it's going to make me look stupid?" she asked. "And you know me, Joker. I do not like being made to look like the fool." Neon bowed her head, trying to keep the tears of embarassment from falling.
They were silent for a number of minutes after that. Joker was the first to break it. "I'm sorry Neon-han, if I made you feel that way." he tilted her chin and met her eyes with his. She could feel the sincerity coming from him. "I didn't do that on purpose. And Heaven forbid...you know I'd never stoop to the level of that...that woman." he sighed. "The only reason you saw her sitting on me was because she was *trying to have her way.* I would've pushed her off, but that would be very ungentlemanly." he explained. "So I just gave her a piece of my mind and she walked away."
Another eerie silence followed, interrupted only by the loud music from the PA system which was now blaring "Super Sonic."
"Sorry." Neon said.
"I'm sorry too." Joker spoke softly. "Why don't we just forget this and have a good time, eh, Neon-han?"
Joker pulled her hand and they once again joined the noisy group who were rapping along with a very drunk Daijirou who was rapping and stomping along with the dance hit.
After two hours of ear-piercing singing, the Alumni then returned to boogeing on the dance floor. This time however, they played ballroom songs for a slower pace. The dance floor was filled with couples duking it out. Joker and Neon were at the bar, each taking a sip of Scotch while feasting on some caviar.
Neon stood up and held out her hand to Joker.
He looked at her in surprise.
"Well?" she asked. "Don't you want to dance?"
"Uhhhh...okay." he answered tentatively. The music had changed from a foxtrot into a tango.
"This is one of my best dances." she told him.
"I didn't know you could really dance." Joker admitted. "As in ballroom dance...you know...."
"You never asked." she smiled sweetly.
Neon didn't know he could dance either. And the tango! The kind of dance that needed a certain chemistry and understanding between partners. They swept through the floor gracefully, coordinately, as if they've done it a dozen times before. The rhythm, the timing, the skill...the floor was cleared of dancers just to give the two of them room. They were watched in awe by a dazzled audience. It was reminiscent of Al Pacino in Scent of A Woman. And when they finished, they were met a thunderous applause. Neon and Joker took a bow before retreating back to the bar.
"You were great, Neon-han." the fanged Uruha assassin complimented.
"You too." she admitted.
They were then mobbed by a number of alumni who all of a sudden wanted to learn to tango.
It was 2 in the morning when they finished. Neon held on to Joker for support as she was dazed with drunkedness and exhaustion. She no longer objected to him having his arm around her waist. She almost didn't notice that instead of heading for the door, they were heading off to the hotel counter.
"We're not going home yet?" she barely got the words out as her lids felt heavy.
"Not tonight we aren't." Joker replied. "I've booked a room. We're staying over."
The red-haired assassin protested, saying she had brought no changing clothes as he half-dragged her to the elevator. She had begun to come around when he opened the key to their hotel room, a luxurious suite on the 21st floor, especially when she noted there was only one bed.
"Is this deja vu all over again?" Neon complained. "I refuse to be possessed by another cursed spirit."
Joker snickered as his assisted Neon to the bed. She laid there while he took off her shoes and set them aside.
"Is this another attempt of yours trying to stick me and Joker in a lemon fic?" Neon glares at the author.
"Wai! Wai! Neon-han, of course not! Look at Joker-san over there." the author sweatdrops.
He threw a set of her Pikachu pajamas by her feet. "Here. Change into something more decent."
"Not in front of you I aint!" she declared. "Where'd you get this anyway?"
Joker held out a small travelling bag. "I asked Aki to pack you a weekend bag, complete with everything you might need."
"Whatever am I going to do with a weekend bag?"
"To spend the weekend of course." he smiled conspiratorily. "Kurei-sama gave you the weekend off."
Joker rolled his eyes heavenward. "I'm taking you to a tour of Osaka, that's what for." he crossed his arms over his chest. "I'll take you around the city, maybe a few parks, gardens...what ever tourist spots there may be..."
Neon raised her brows. "Why?"
Joker plopped beside Neon on the bed. She reflexively moved away. "Because you were nice enough to accompany me here and be my baby for a while. It's my way of showing gratitude."
She shot him a look of pure disbelief.
"Why do you think Kurei-sama allowed me to drag you all the way here? Remember that night he ordered you to come with me? That's because I told him it'd be good for you to have a little sun. You've been working too hard Neon-han, and we suppose you needed a break. I told Kurei-sama if he let me take you here to be my date for one night, I'll take you around the city. That's why he said yes."
"I thought you told him you'd bring him home a box of your Grandmother's special Osaka fudge brownies if he let me come with you." she accused.
"That and the trip." Joker clarified.
Neon was speechless.
"But that doesn't mean I'm going to sleep next to you..." she stressed, her eyes fixing on the single bed in the suite.
"Who said anything about sleeping with me?" he snickered, throwing the hotel room's key to Neon. He waved another key that he drew from his pocket. "I'll be in the other room if you need me. Good night, Neon-han."
It was a good thing he had his back turned, otherwise, he's definitely make a wisecrack about the crimson in her cheeks.
He took her around the city in the days that followed. He brought her to a 6th-century Buddhist Temple, Tennoji Park, and the recreation of Shogun Toyomoti Hideyoshi's imperial castle. Joker also gave her a tour of the museums and brought her to watch the famous Bunraku (Puppet) theater. They went home a few days after, both with smiles on their faces.
"So, how did the reunion go?" Raiha greeted when they returned.
"It was much better than I hoped it would be." Joker honestly told his friend. "Right, Neon-han?"
"Whatever." she answered briefly before proceeding to her bedroom.
"What about that rival of yours, what's his name, Kaidou?" inquired the purple-haired ninja.
"Dying of envy...as he always is." the other man laughed. Neon had told him all the lies Kaidou had perpetuated to make himself look good. While he had bragged about having a law firm, a Mercedes collection and a supermodel wife, they had all proven to be half-truths. Neon had a chat with Kaidou's wife while in the ladies room and found out the bitter truth. Kaidou was indeed working in a law firm, but only as a secretary for one of the junior partners. The Mercedes collection he had been bragging about was nothing but a Matchbox Set and his wife *was* indeed a model before, not a ramp model, but a spokesmodel for a series of dishwasher-soap commercials. Joker had nothing to be insecured about, since much of his testimony had been real and not a figment of the imagination.
"You don't have to impress anybody, Joker-san." Neon told him after revealing what she had found out aboutKaidou. "The important thing is that you please yourself. And that's all that truy matters."
How true it was.
"Neon-saaaann!!!" Kirin called from the hallway. She was carrying a powder-blue envelope in her hand. "Oiiii! That's not yours!" she told the amber-eyed Uruha who took the envelope from her hands.
"I'm only curious." he smiled, showing his fanged beauties as he read the content of the blue envelope.