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Old 06-28-2017, 08:57 PM   #1
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Meanwhile...
...at Aoyama Sudao's Estate...
Let loose, have a little fun, you deserve it.

Shut up.

It’s your party, relax.

Someone has to make sure it’s perfect.

You should have hired someone.

And have them mess it up? You’re joking.


Sudao was alone on his balcony, save for Otohime. In truth, he was hiding from his partygoers. His older siblings were in attendance, along with numerous shinobi and business clients. He was supposed to be celebrating his promotion to jounin, in addition to his 20th birthday, and he had paid no expense. His estate, normally decorated with ornate golds, whites, and royal blues had been done up even more so for the special occasion. Balloons and swathes of heavy cloth hung from the rafters, a catering company dressed in tailored clothing tended to the guests, and several borrowed servants of his parents raced one another to refill drinks. The center room served as a kind of gathering point, like a lobby for an expansive hotel. Spare bedrooms had temporarily been converted into dens and lounges. Every room was full, save for the boathouse and his bedroom. He had taken special care to keep the latter guarded. It served as his single refuge.

Are you really thinking about leaving?

Yes.

But why? It’s perfect here. You could be having a great time, if you just got a bit more he–


Sudao cut Otohime off, and the jewel on the back of his neck glinted angrily. He had gotten good at silencing her as of late.

Still, she had a point. Despite all his misgivings, rage, and passive aggressiveness, he still hadn’t seen two of the people he had offered a VIP pass too. As much as it pained him to do so, he had offered Masami and Kaori a chance to celebrate their promotions as well. He wasn’t sure if they would attend; part of him even hoped that they wouldn’t, but he still offered them a single token of good will. Their reunion near Jondori had been difficult. A lot of things had been said, and a lot of things had been done.

For once, he figured that if anyone was going to be the adult, it needed to be him.

He looked down at the crystal glass in his right hand. The other one clasped onto the edge of the balcony, with a bottle of bourbon held tightly between his ring and small fingers. He took a step back and refilled the glass to the brim before chugging it down. He let the last gulp burn the back of his throat for an extra few seconds before letting out a sigh and turning towards the entrance to his room.

He figured he had a hunt on his hands.
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Old 06-28-2017, 09:48 PM   #2
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Far in the depths of throngs of happy partygoers stood an impressive totem of a man, built tall and strong, like a prized stallion. And very much like a horse, he was currently stamping his foot and whinnying, letting loose a loud, joyous laugh as men and women around him laughed along. He hadn't made a joke, someone else had, but Kaori had laughed with such enthusiasm (despite not getting the joke) that everyone had laughed along, slapping their hands together or cheering the jokester on. Kaori had an ability to share enthusiasm.

The party invite still sat folded in his pocket. If he were a sentimental type he would have framed it, but the thought hadn't crossed his mind. He looked around quickly during each lull in conversation to check for the glum or moody face that would most likely belong to Sudao, but so far Kaori only so people who looked like they had a lot of money, paid a lot of money, or needed to make a lot of money. Sudao was probably in his room talking to potential investors or murdering a diplomat in the garden somewhere. Otherwise he'd be out entertaining his guests and coyly maneuvering the social machinations he set in motion, wouldn't he?

The big, yellow buffoon grabbed a fourth cup of punch and downed it, thirsty from all the talking. Noticing his cup was empty, he grabbed another, this time full of water and downed it again, registering only a second later the burning hatred slipping down his throat.

That was pure vodka, you poop.

Yeah, I know, Kaz. I have taste buds, too!

Before he could register, an angry server swooped by, clicked his tongue at Kaori, and took the cup, muttering about how this was his job and guests could at least let him do it. Kaori reach out to apologize but another server, female, stepped in front of hand and placed a cup in it. She smiled and blinked a few times before ushering Kaori over to a table of hors d'oeurves. He stood along for a second, nimbly taking what looked like a snail shell and popped the thing into his mouth.

"Wow. That's really crunchy," he said to no one in particular.
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Old 07-11-2017, 09:37 PM   #3
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"Are you sure you should be going to a party in your current state...?"

Masami shrugged, trying not to move too much as her sister helped with her makeup. "I don't like doing that without people I trust around, and Uncle Toshio is busy for a few more days so I have free time, its fine." Admittedly, her sister had a point, it had been quite a while and she still hadn't restored her subjects. A decision that came with certain risks, even the clans own history began with the tale of their founder living a life of almost crippling pain and sickness till he managed to separate his first subject. She was stalling, she couldn't help it; she didn't understand it fully, she'd spent the better part of the last days trying to, but she felt better without the brothers following her around. Not physically better, as the tales of the progenitor were sadly not exaggerated, but she felt mentally more... free. None of the uncomfortable nauseous feeling when she looked at them, and none of the feedback from whatever dark feeling she couldn't put her finger on that they felt when they looked at her; in a way even they felt better being in her head instead of their own.

"If you're sure- hey, hold still."
Izumi put a hand under Masami's head to steady her as she spoke too much. "I just know what dad says happens if you don't all... you know. And remind me again why I'm doing this for you? You've not needed my help doing any of this since the academy"

"I can't do it in mirrors... my face looks all backwards and weird"

"What are you talking about? Of course you're backwards, its a mirror, that's how everyone sees their..." She put down the brush as it dawned on her what Masami must have been up to all these years. "Wait, so you've always made your subjects do this for you. So... you can actually see your face if you want. Like, for real-real"

"Yeah...?" She didn't sound like she understood why that was weird. She had extra pairs of hands to do it for her, face on, not all reversed and strangely. Plus, it'd been how she learned, she watched her sister do it, she'd watched videos and read magazines on how to do it, every source she had was third person, so she did her makeup herself in the third person because she could. It was only right now, in these awkward circumstances, that she couldn't.

"I hate that you don't even get how crazy big a deal that is for us non-shinobi non-bloodline people..." She sighed as she put the last couple touches on Masami, "There... you look annoyingly perfect, as always"

She grinned and gave Izumi a hug as she got up and started running for the door, since she was slightly running late. "Thankyou, love you, you rule!"

"Wait, you can't go like that? What about a dress or something?"

"Its fine, I'll make one on the way!"


"Make...?"
Izumi sighed again, as Masami darted out of sight. She was worried, even if she didn't show it openly. She knew full well Toshio was not busy, and that under normal circumstances Masami would have never gone to a party hosted by... him. The delaying the ceremony, the vague comments about the kind of day she'd been having when they talked earlier... She knew her sister well enough to know something was going on in that overcrowded head of hers, she just wished Masami would talk about it. Still, she understood, sisters shared a lot but there were also things that one just didn't talk about with family. She hoped that maybe whatever it was was something she'd feel comfortable talking about with friends... except Izumi knew how things currently were between Masami and her friends.

-----

Despite her fears, she'd actually made good time to the soiree, arriving some point between perfectly on time, and just fashionably late. Not that anyone had exactly seen her arrive. She knew that at some of these posher events, people always got announced at the door, and she wasn't really in the mood for that. Especially since it would be quite the awkward conversation explaining where her "plus three" was. She imagined the invitation writers had enjoyed quite the confused conversation about that unusual addition to hers. So, instead of using the front door, she'd simply spotted a fairly vacant area in the expansive grounds as she'd approached the manor and merely stepped there before anyone could bat an eyelid, nor even blink one. She figured it would be ok, after all, if any of the staff did question where she had come from all of a sudden, she had the invitation tucked in her dress anyway.

And what a dress it was; she hadn't been kidding when she'd said she'd be able to conjure up something perfect on route. It clung to her in all the right places, perfectly tailored, and in a fabric that looked almost like white gold... because it was white gold. The precious metal, conjured out of thin air with chakra and moulded into the tiniest loops she could imagine, hooked together almost like the finest chainmail possible so to anything but the very closest inspection it acted like a thin, sparkling fabric cut into an exquisitely elegant evening dress. That, however, was where her upper class graces ended, as she was currently laying atop one of the tall hedges in the courtyard, her heels having been dropped haphazardly down on the ground beside it, and a plateful of as many entrees as she could stuff upon it laying on her stomach, taking sips from her fourth, fifth? glass of... whatever cocktail Sudao's people were serving as she watched the evening stars come out. She may not have really liked parties. But she could appreciate a good view, and this place had that in spades.

Her familiar on the other hand, a spirit that looked like a kitten but was the size of a large house cat, had slinked its way into the party proper, weaving its way through the legs of various partygoers in the hopes of finding something interesting. For the most part the other guests had been treating it kindly, the soft glow of its midnight black fur gave Curiosity, or Curie if you didn't approve of Masami's macabre name choices, an ethereal charm that most found endearing; not to mention that if it weren't for the lack of an eye, they'd have been a picture perfect image of adorability anyway. As it followed its nose to what smelled like a whole oceans worth of seafood, it recognised the lumbering giant recovering from his dice with vodka and downing snails, shell and all, by the buffet table. Snaking its way around his legs, it pawed at him softly in the hopes of convincing him to pass a few of the fishier appetisers its way.

Last edited by Bass; 08-23-2017 at 08:26 PM..
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Old 07-13-2017, 03:51 PM   #4
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Before he could even step outside, Sudao found himself besieged by a number of aides. Two of them were a genin and chuunin pair, a bit too eager to finalize the last bit of propaganda that he had aided them in working on days prior. The rest dealt with his family’s business, and after a couple quick hurried signatures, he sent them away, but not before downing the rest of his bourbon and casting the bottle into a nearby maid’s hands.

He traipsed down the stairs leading from the top floor to the central room, a matching set of them spiraling down the opposite side. Several people looked up and recognized him, and yet again, he found himself attacked by handshakers, congratulators, yes-men, and negotiators. He pardoned himself the best he could as he seemed to up his pace, very nearly appearing to flee from a mob of people following after him. To the onlookers, he seemed to get lost in the sea of people coming up to speak to him, but there seemed to be a moment of confusion as he stepped out from behind a person a few feet from the edge of the crowd. It seemed that he had gotten quite adroit at avoiding people.

Still, they kept coming. And the drinks kept coming. And finally, the bureaucrat had enough. He paused for a moment and took a deep breath. And then he reached out, grabbing the attention of the nearest server girl carrying a tray of shots. Every single one threw back past his lips. Three, five, eight, nine. He stopped, stifling a burp before gingerly picking up a passing mimosa to chase with. And then he kind of just stood there, staring messily into the distance. He heard Otohime sigh. And then he turned to look towards one of his butlers. He nodded. The lights went out, replaced by colorful neon beams. The DJ’s track changed, and an MC spoke up just as Sudao collapsed in one of the VIP sections, alone, save for the bodyguards protecting the lounge room.
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Old 07-15-2017, 02:57 AM   #5
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"I'm pretty sure you'd hate these," he said simply to the cat, smiling. "They're, like, super crunchy, like eggshells."

A horrified guest covered her mouth as Kaori popped another slimy, rounded appetizer into his mouth, cracking it with his shiny porcelain chompers. She took a large breath and walked backwards, eyes wide and staring. Another man turned to Kaori, deftly pulling the snail out of the shell and dropping the butter covered husk to the tray where it wobbled, defeated.

It's a shell. I don't think you eat the shell.

Kazu was lounging on the table expertly, hand dangling the punch. Kaori knew it was a hallucination, but he also had become so accustomed to seeing the blond man that it was as though he was truly there, fingers swirling in the bowl but causing no ripples.

"No shit," he exclaimed, before remembering he was in proper company. "No crap, I mean."

The familiar was kneading Kaori's leg, vying for attention, so Kaori discretely dropped a few chunks of expensive looking tuna on the floor. That seemed to be a mistake though because the lady who had been backing away slowly in stark disgust witnessed the brute throw raw fish to the floor. She nearly fainted, turning away white as fresh snow.

"So... I'm gonna go."

He found his way to the outside, taking a deep breath in the night air of the cool courtyard. He stumbled to a hedge where a shoe lay discarded. Bending over to pick it up churned his stomach, but he fought the feeling by straightening up and taking another gulp of air. His eyes focused on the two women lounging. He focused his eyes, two becoming one for a split second before the double vision came back.

"Sami?" He asked dumbly. "You look banging. No disrespect, that dress is slamming. How you holding--"

You idiot. Why don't you mention it again. I'm sure she loves hearing how much you like her brothers. I'm sure she loves that. Don't kill the vibe. It's a fun night. Make her dance, help her loosen up.

You're right.

"Let's find Broodao," he said, using the nickname he came up with originally as an insult that had come to mean much more. The red lieutenant has tempered them, and while Sudao was still a brooding man, he had come to appear almost human. Almost.

"Or we could dance? You want to dance? Let's dance!"

Are you ever going to tell her? I mean, I know it's easy to hide behind the brothers and pretend but someday you're going to have to tell her. Being bros doesn't excuse what you did. Just say it. To her. To actually really her.

Don't kill the vibe, Kazu.

You're right.
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Old 07-22-2017, 03:31 PM   #6
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The horror on the rich ladies face, didn't compare with the joy on Curie's as Kaori dropped some very high quality snacks on the ground for it. The haunting, but pleasantly melodic purring, would have warmed the hearts of any of the upper class guests, were they able to put aside their aghast stares at the adonis long enough to have heard it, but at the very least, Kaori would know that his efforts had been very appreciated, as Curie cleaned up the dropped fish with a speed and enthusiasm that'd put the hired help to shame.

Having decided Kaori was definitely a friend now, she would have followed him outside anyway, even if he hadn't been heading straight for her mistress. Purring still, she pounced softly onto him as she shakily bent down, the oversized kitten settled calmly on top of the oversized shinobi's shoulders, a match almost made in heaven.

"Oh... Hey Kaori"
Masami pushed her own plate lower down her body so she could sit up on her hands a little as she addressed the friendly giant, blushing a little at his compliment thanks to the influence of the glass by her side. "Oh, uhm, Thanks... and also 'Sup, Heyo, Bro, and Hello Kazu..." She counted on her fingers as she listed the greetings her brothers would have said if they were present physically, and of course a special one from Kei to Kaori's own gem; she knew Kaori wanted to hear from them even if he'd restrained himself from asking. Her impression of Keiseki wasn't quite perfect, a voice constrained by the rules of reality couldn't actually match the otherworldliness of the avatars speech, but it was unsettlingly close enough to get the point across. "So... first party that you've been... remembered to be invited to." She hastily added the alteration to fit the poor guys internal narrative, if it helped him cope, it helped him cope, who was she to judge. "Everything you'd been hoping for?"

His next question though made her roll her eyes and lay back flat on the top of the hedge. Of course he'd want to go find Sudao. Ok, sure, it was Sudao's party so that did make sense, but still; his obsession with their host was what had driven a wedge between them so long ago, so his continued attentions toward him, unchanged it seemed after all the years, still grated on her a little. If only he'd just- Hm?

Her internal moping had been caught off guard by his next question, one that had come so far out of the blue that she barely believed he'd asked it. "Dance?" She dropped down from the hedge to stand in-front of him and look him in the eyes. No one had ever asked her before, at least not at this type of party, and she almost suspected it was a cruel joke or prank of some kind. But, no, that wasn't Kaori's style; he was childish in a lot of ways, but one of the few ways that worked out well for him was in a sort of youthful earnestness, he'd say the dumbest things, but they'd always be from the heart. He wasn't a liar, or a prankster.

"Ok..." She held out a hand toward him, to accept his invitation when suddenly the lights streaming out of the windows from behind him all changed to disco neon, and the muffled music coming from inside moved to a much livelier beat. "Did you... plan that?" If he didn't, he had amazing timing.

Curie meanwhile, leapt down from Kaori's shoulders, seeing that she'd just be in the way if they really were about to start dancing, and instead made her way back into the main parlour. Her plan had been to scavenge more of the food from unsuspecting party-goers, but she stopped when she saw the tail end of Sudao, sticking out like a sore thumb amongst the jolly crowds, looking like he was rather inebriatedly trying to carry the whole world on his shoulders as he walked. Skulking under the tables and couches as to bypass the bodyguards, the cat gingerly approached the collapsed form in the VIP area and gently prodded him with her paws to see if he was awake, and more importantly if he was ok.

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Old 07-25-2017, 02:54 PM   #7
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Even though he was intoxicated, he could sense Masami’s presence. He had seen the little cat that poked at him before – another set of her eyes. In truth, he wasn’t sure how she did it, what with managing so many constructs and their psyches. She saw through them, heard through them, spoke through them, tasted and smelled through them. And she definitely felt through them: The Aoyama had gleamed that much when the two of them had their match during the chuunin exams. Still, given how drunk he was, he gestured to the cat expectantly, like he wanted its attention. And then he reached over, picking up the creature and placing it against his shoulder, wrapping its paws around his neck and holding to it.

He let out a little sigh as he felt its familiarity. It was weird for him, being drunk like this. Normally he was a loner. But now, of all times, he wanted attention, but not from everyone. No, he wanted attention from specific people. The closest things he had to friends, if he could even call them that. He wanted Masami and Kaori to sit and drink with him. But he also didn’t want to bother them. He was at an impasse so to speak.

He released Curie and looked at it with drunken eyes.

“Find Masami and Kaori. Invite them over here – they’d have more fun over here anyway." He gestured towards a small refrigerator between two half-circled couches. “There’s way better alcohol over here. And wine. Lots and lots of wine.”

He giggled childishly at the familiar and leaned back against the couch, stretching out his hands and folding his hands together as he slumped further into it.

And then he looked toward the sole attendant of the section he was in. Invite only. Normal passes couldn’t get people to where he was.

“Get me wine drunk!”
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Old 07-25-2017, 03:26 PM   #8
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"Remembered to be? You don't have to feel for my lyings anymore, Sami. Lying for my feel. Feelings." He said, pulling her up gingerly. "I know how he truly felt. I know how he thought of me."

VIBE KILLER. Kazu was leaping from shrub to shrub like a banshee, screaming. He spun in pirouettes on one toe, impossibly, before toppling into a bush, disappearing from Kaori's field of vision.

"I like dancing! It's something to do and when you're looking as good as you do, you should make everyone jealous." The lights changed and the beat accelerated. Masami looked at him expectantly, so he shrugged and pulled her into the fold of people in the large room adjacent to the garden. She deserved to be seen. Kaori hadn't planned it, but that's because the blockheaded blond didn't plan anything. Planning was for boring, ugly, serious people, and he was none of those things.

He struck a pose, feeling the electric beat wash over him. He didn't know if Masami knew how to dance, but he had a priestess mother and a sister, so he had been trained to dance like a man since birth. He danced the same way he made love, he lead by intuition and let the woman direct it all.

"If it was a guy, you'd be all, if I'm here, and you're here... then who's driving?" Kazu joked, dancing with a slowly swirling inebriated man, Kazu matching his movements in a perfect mockery of a dance.

He nodded at Masami, which was standard code for Brace Yourselves: I'm Doing Something Reckless, and spun her perfectly, her shimmering dress spinning so vibrantly that the crowd collectively and audibly gasped.

And then came the cat again, brushing up against them. Kaori collected his breath, and placed a single strand of hair back in place behind Masami's ear, trying to appear friendly but finding only guilt etching on his face.

"Look. We go back a long time, and I care about you. You're such a good friend and I..." Say it. "I shouldn't... I was... I don't know how to say... It's stupid, but..." Dude, say it. How hard is it? It's two words!

The cat meowed. Kaori looked down at the black feline and sighed.

"I don't have any more tuna."
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Old 07-25-2017, 07:40 PM   #9
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She smiled sadly as Kaori deflected her attempt at looking out for his feelings, even if it had taken him a few tries. She wondered though if he really knew what Sudao thought of him, or if he just bought into the facade that Sudao had painstakingly put up over the years. Truth be told, she didn't entirely see through it herself, and when she was younger she'd misread the odd chemistry between the two boys as sexual tension and had secretly been rooting for them both to become teen sweethearts; but with a more mature hindsight she was beginning to understand properly, it wasn't hate Sudao felt...

"You don't. Not really. Trust me, its not as bad as you think... I think"

Thankfully he had pulled her along to the dance floor before too much of her own uncertainty on the matter had snuck its way into her attempt to be reassuring. It was nice to lose herself in the dancing for a while, even if she was honest she much preferred not to be the centre of attention; though despite Kaori's doubts she definitely knew how to dance. She wasn't perfect, or the most graceful, by any measure, having taught herself in secret when she was growing up, but with such a giving partner as Kaori the little slip ups became virtually unnoticeable.

Curie meanwhile, was feeling a little torn. The cat was glad Sudao was alive and... semi conscious, but hadn't expected him to so suddenly rise up and place his hands around her neck like he were some monster from a gothic horror story. It didn't last, thankfully, though she wasn't sure if it was because Sudao had come to his senses, or simply lacked the coordination in his current state to keep a solid grip on anything, but she happily landed on all paws and stared up at him as he drunkenly rambled about wanting his friends by his side. He really must be out of sorts.

Masami was happily lost in the music, and the company of her giant partner, almost forgetting there was anyone else present to feel self conscious around, that was until she saw Kaori's face. He had that look, his look, the 'This should never work but because its him it will', look. She didn't even have time to ask what crazy thing he had in mind before she found herself spinning round in his arms, though what truly surprised her was how softly and perfectly he put her back down afterward, he was good; you'd never guess from watching him on the field, or from hanging with his bro's that he was secretly a gentle giant all this time.

Wow...

And then he looked her in the eyes, he seemed nervous, uncharacteristically so, after all what was there that could ever scare Kaori? As he spoke she listened intently, smiling back to reassure him that whatever it was he was trying to put into words would be alright, and slowly getting more and more worried about just what he was trying to put into words in the first place; the sentence he was starting could go a lot of places. It came as such a relief when Curie wandered up and derailed his train of thought quite so spectacularly.

She laughed as she beckoned the troublesome kitten to climb up onto Kaori's shoulder again as they continued to dance, "That's not what she was saying, don't worry. She found our broody friend is all, he-" She paused mid step, looking at the cat as it spoke to her, staring at it oddly in disbelief. "What do you mean somethings wrong with him. Somethings always wrong with him, its Sudao... Oh. Oh... thats not good." She stepped back, letting go of Kaori's hands, as she turned to address him this time. "I think you were right... we should have gone to find him. He's... you'll see"

She took his hand once more, and gently pulled him along behind her as she made her way, as quickly as one could politely manage in heels, to where Sudao was hiding.

"Hey Party-Kage... You rang?"

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Old 07-25-2017, 09:43 PM   #10
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“…I rang?”

In the time that it took Masami and Kaori to get to the executive, he had downed another three shots of something, to the point that the attendant had urged him to stop. It was evident by the red coloration of his eyes that the man was drunker than drunk – he risked blacking out at any moment unless he slowed down. But in truth, he was a professional partier. And while Sudao lacked any control of himself physically, he was fully and mentally in tune with himself. He didn’t tiptoe around issues. In fact, he was painfully direct when intoxicated, to the point of people wondering if it was the same person at all.

Lucky for Masami and Kaori, he was a happy drunk too, if not a little paranoid. At least unless something bad happened.

“Oh, I rang! Happy, uh. I dunno. It’s not either of your birthdays. It’s mine!” He hiccupped as he stood, reaching his arms up to the sky rather flamboyantly before he gingerly slipped back onto the couch, knowing that if he plopped down, they’d know that he was really drunk.

“I invited you to the party because uh. You guys had something to do with it. Hang on.” His body snapped in the direction of the attendant. His words slurred. “Why did I throw this party again?”

“To celebrate your birthday, but also the three of your promotions. It was mainly a show of stature for your business asso–”

“Quite right!” He hiccupped again, patting at the couch beside him. He didn’t look at Masami or Kaori, but rather, Curie. And then he patted it again, developing a pout on his face.

“Masamiiiiii.” There was a whine to his voice as he laid on the couch, easing his back onto it.

“Make your cat give me attentionnnnn~”
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