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Big Eyes, Small Mouth (BESM): Monster Academy - Repercussions

z-Skye Angelus

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She was careless. That was the only excuse that Skye could offer herself later as consolation. She’d been here for three weeks, and though she’d had to put up with petty comments and stares, she really hadn’t had to deal with any attacks. She’d spent the first week ready for them; the second week she’d been hoping for one; the third she finally started to think that it wasn’t coming at all. So when it did finally happen, she wasn’t ready for it.

Someone grabbed her hair and jerked her to the side. Skye slammed into the shoe locker hard enough to send shoes rattling. A couple of doors even popped open and spit out their footware, but Skye didn’t have time to notice that. She was getting her ass kicked. Skye’s head rang as she impacted the lockers, but all the half-celestial could think was, Finally! One of the Schwanzlutschers has started something! And I get to finish it! She was all smiles as she shoved herself off the locker, fighting against her opponent. She still wasn’t sure who had grabbed her, but she heard a feline growl and felt claws scrape at her scalp. Ficken Hengeyokai!

Claws raked at her back, tearing her uniform and skin alike. Twisting, Skye pushed herself off the lockers and swung her elbow around, aiming for the head she barely saw. The head covered with bone-white hair ducked, and then the lithe, feminine body behind those claws side-stepped the foot that Skye aimed at her abdomen. “What the ficken Holle is wrong with you!” Skye snarled as she brought her hands up to protect her face.

A crowd was gathering; there had been much speculation about the mysterious blonde student. No one really knew what she was, among the student body. Many of those gathered were watching intently for a sign as to her identity (which was mostly agreed to be succubus, after the ease with which she had bewitched the cold Kurosoroshiimaru). Most of what was known was that she was very good at holding her human guise.

Priti on the other hand was not good at playing human. Her red cat-ears lay back against her hair and her fangs were apparent as she snarled angrily. Pale claws tipped her slim, delicate fingers, dripping with Skye’s blood. A red tail lashed the air behind her. “Stay away from the Hengeyokai Prince!” she snapped and jumped at Skye.

The nekojin was insanely fast. Skye found herself with twin claw strikes down her arms, skin and muscle shredded. Skye’s counterstrikes were just not enough; her hand-to-hand training had always lagged behind her swordsmanship because no demon-hunter in their right mind went hand-to-hand with a demon.

Priti came in for another strike and Skye braced herself for it. Even with the knowledge that it was going to hurt, she flinched as more of her uniform was destroyed and more skin cut into meaty strips. But this time Skye repaid Priti, hitting her in the sternum with a closed fist. The nekojin was thrown into the window on the other side of the hall, bouncing off the tough glass. Through a trickle of blood leaked from the cat-girl’s mouth, she was back on her feet and dashing forward to deliver another blow.

Skye threw up her guard again, but this time, Priti wasn’t alone. Two human-looking boys, identical in appearance, stepped out from the watching crowd and flanked Priti. Drugon and Ennon were warlocks in one of Skye’s classes; she knew nothing more about them than that. Together, they drew their hands back and thrust them forward, each sending a jet of fire at her. Skye dodged Drugon’s easily, but Ennon’s caught her in the stomach, burning a small hole in the shirt and painfully darkening her skin.

Priti didn’t relent; her first claw swipe caught Skye in the thigh, slicing her skirt along with her flesh. The next strike from the nekojin was desperately blocked; Skye got both of her arms up to send the overhead strike sliding away to the side. Outnumbered… even the odds. First though, the blonde teen needed to regain some ground. Skye touched her crispy stomach and sent a flow of power through her skin. The cool touch of Tsukuyomi, her patron god, filled her with hope as it banished the pain from the fire and reduced the bleeding from the cuts on her body. Then she lashed out at Ennon, trying to take him out of the fight – and missed. She slipped on her own blood, the soles of her dress shoes providing no purchase. And once more, the warlock brothers threw fire at her. Her school uniform was trashed but she didn’t care so much about that as damage to herself. The burns were less dangerous than the attrition from the claws but they hurt worse.

Yowling with growing excitement, Priti struck again, but Skye was ready for her. She’d seen the flaw in the nekojin’s attack; her movements were a pattern. It was a successful pattern but it only worked for so long. Skye ducked the first swipe and blocked the second with a palm strike to the girl’s arm. Then she spun away from the nekojin, her leg coming up in the air. More than a few demons hooted when they caught that flash of panty, but Skye didn’t care. Her foot was aimed at the warlock twins’ heads. Drugon was caught by her heel and dropped to the ground, blood flying from his nose. Ennon ducked the arching kick, snarling, “Drugon!” and drawing his hands back for another gout of flame. He never even saw that Skye had kept her momentum going and had come back around, picking up her other foot and lashing out again. Her heel caught him in the side of the head and smashed him into the ground.

Skye finished her spin facing Priti, wondering where the damned teachers were. If she dared to pull the Crescent Moon Shard, this would be over in a heartbeat. But that was a celestial weapon, and Skye could think of few things worse than pulling a holy weapon at demon school. I can do this, the young half-human thought, setting her jaw and lifting her fists higher. I can kick her ass.

Arms wrapped around Priti’s shoulders from behind; Skye’s jaw dropped as Jaqi’s face appeared over the nekojin’s head. “Leave Skye alone!” she shrieked before biting at the girl, her small fangs latching onto her ear. Priti yowled again, but this time with pain as Jaqi tore at her tender ear. Skye started to move forward and take advantage, but Sofia dashed forward, her head low. She rammed her skull into Priti’s side, making her stagger. The Hengeyokai danced backwards, her large eyes even larger with fear – but she didn’t run away.

Natsumi wasn’t far behind; an orange shape leapt at the stumbling Priti and bore her down to the ground. Jaqi was knocked away from the fighting girls, who weren’t fighting like girls anymore. They were caught up in a ball of motion, locked together in a tussle that looked a lot more like cats fighting than teenagers. Skye moved forward to help only to have Sofia catch her arm. “I wouldn’t,” the brunette Hengeyokai warned. “Natsumi will get caught up in the moment; she might lash out at you before she realizes it’s you. It’s not an uncommon problem with our predatory people.”

Skye looked sharply at Sofia, trying to see if the Hengeyokai was delivering a sly warning. But her brown eyes were focused on the tussling women. A groan drew her attention back to Jaqi and Skye knelt beside the young yokai. “You okay?” she asked, concern in expression.

“Yeah…” Jaqi drawled softly. “I just hit the wall.” She rubbed her head, grimacing. Skye rose and offered a hand to the girl, pulling her up.

WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?” Coach Thud’s booming voice didn’t break up the fight, but the bucket of water she upended over the girls did. The two of them jumped apart, squalling protest and shaking off the water. For a second, nothing was clear as both of them tried to talk at once. Skye raised her hand and Thud shouted, “You two! Shut up! Blondie, what did you want to say!”

“She’s lying!” Priti barked.

“I haven’t said anything!” Skye protested angrily.

“You going to tell her I started it!” Priti howled.

“You did!” Skye snapped. “You slammed me into the lockers and clawed up my back! Then you told me to stay away from Kurosoroshiimaru!” Silently, she added, Gottverdammt, but that boy needs a shorter name!

Thud rolled her eyes, grumbling, “Knew that boy was trouble. The cat-princes are always trouble.” She leveled a finger at Natsumi. “What are you doing in this?”

“I attacked to help Skye,” the tiger Hengeyokai admitted, daintily licking blood off her fingers.

Thud frowned. “You’re helping a non-hengeyokai fight over your prince?”

“I was defending my prince’s… hand-holding friend.”

“Girlfriend.” Skye muttered quickly.

“My prince’s girlfriend.” Natsumi stated the comment without fanfare, but Thud and most of the students looked at Skye, clearly surprised.

The half-angel felt her cheeks flush, but she said nothing as she watched Thud coolly. When the blonde student said nothing, the coach just shook her head. “Fighting over boys? What’s gotten into you girls!”

“I wasn’t fighting over what I already have,” Skye said imperiously; her poise would have made Kuromaro proud. “I was defending myself from this wack-job.” No one seemed to understand her slang, which was probably just as well.

“Fine, I don’t care. All five of you find mops and clean up this mess. Then report to the Headmaster.” She paused, seeing the twin warlocks. “And wake those two up, too, and same for them. All seven of you - to the Headmaster for fighting!”

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Skye was the last one called into the Headmaster's office. Each of the other girls had come out quite subdued, and almost pallid. Fear ruled their eyes, and none spoke as they walked past her. The office resembled the Study of an eclectic gentleman, a Large bookcase dominated one wall, and dozens of weapons were mounted on the opposite. They were weapons from both Yokai and Celestials, as well as some from humans. His desk was huge and seemed to be made eeither of mahogany or ebony. A picture of Mount Fuji was mounted on the wall behind him, and As was the norm his identity was completely hidden by his robes.

He sat behind his massive desk, and the door closed behind her, with the finality of a stone being rolled into place at the mouth of a crypt.

"So I've heard from everyone else. First, have your injuries healed, or been healed?"

He did seem concerned.

"I'm used to this, the students fighting, and normally I do not get involved. But with so many of you at once, and of course, the amount of injuries done, well that I cannot ignore."

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It was a long wait for the other six students to be seen and dismissed. Skye was scared – what would she tell Kuromaru if she got kicked out of school defending herself? What would her father do? But the half-angel was determined to not let her fear show. If she was to be sent away, she would do it with her head high, composed. And she wouldn’t go away without a fight, not with fists but words.

“I am fine,” Skye said, turning her arms so that the Headmaster could see that her skin was whole through the bloody shreds of her school uniform. “I heal, given enough time.” Being seen last meant that she’d had enough time to heal. She wasn’t sure she was ready for the school nurse just yet. She paused, remembered her courtesies and added, “Thank you for your concern, Headmaster.”

Skye elected to not comment on the fighting, not until she saw which way the Headmaster was leaning. Better to let him do the talking.

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"That is good then." He nodded to her, and motioned for her to sit, in a chair that matched the desk. She could have sworn that the chair hadn't been there moments before.

"Please sit and tell me what happened. Do not omit any detail, even if it is trivial. Considering the politics of what I've heard so far, and how skewed and slanted things have been, I want the truth."

His tone wasn't harsh. "I do not believe you started this fight. And thankfully you showed incredibly good judgement in not using your weapon, which incidentally is against the rules to possess on the grounds, or revealing your true form."

he waved his hand. "I'm going to allow you to keep the weapon, provided you continue to exercise such forward thinking. So tell me what happened?"

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“Thank you,” she said, clasping her hands in her lap. “I only kept the sword because… I needed it.” She hoped he wouldn’t make her actually say that she felt naked without it. The Headmaster nodded, his hidden face telling her nothing -which was creepy - and Skye continued. “I was heading toward the Newspaper Clubroom-” Where everyone is going to be wondering where I am… “-when I felt someone grab my hair. They used it to push me into a locker, and it wasn’t until I turned around that I saw it was that nekojin girl, the one with the red ears.”

“Priti Ombala.”

“I didn’t know her name,” Skye admitted and continued, filling in as many details as she could. “I don’t really know why she and the warlocks jumped me,” Skye finished, “or even why the other girls came to help. All I know is what she said, which didn’t make any sense given that she’s not even hengeyokai.” Skye bit back a question about the girl, deciding to be prudent and mind her own business.

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"I see. It is political."

He sat back and looked at her. "I don't get involved in the private lives of my students, but I will advise you to be careful. You have entered into a world somewhat unlike the Celestial Court. There's less bickering here, simply because the Yokai way is generally through Violence. The backstabbing and ambushes are less common, but the prize in this case could be worthwhile."

"Normally there's more fighting like this, I'm honestly suprised the Female Hengeyokai haven't challenged you over the Prince. They could by their laws, and if you didn't agree it would shame you, and by extension the Prince. In Theory the Hengeyokai can challenge each other for anything, position, possessions, mates, you name it. The winner gets the wager, the loser loses face, or not depending on the combat, and how they met the challenge."

"Many are not pleased with how things are, and would see you removed from the relationship. To the point even that they would set a nekojin, an oft-maligned race of yokai to run you off. The nekojin would agree, simply to gain favor of a powerful or possibly influential Hengeyokai. Who then would try to gain the Prince's favor."

"Do you see the cycle? It's somewhat similar to things in the courts, just more violent and less beuracratic. Dragons have their own ways, and the Vampires have an incredibly structured Heirarchy. Demons have one that's rather loose, and there are a number of known exceptions."

He nodded. "It could simply be that she is envious of you, since you have his favor and she might desire it. I can see that being a potential reason, as it's one that has come up from time to time."

"So what should I do with you now. You aren't at fault here, and everyone expects me to come down hard on you like the others, since I actually had to get involved."

"Even my job can be political."

He sighed. "I'm going to give you three days detention, since it is only your first offense. After school you will report to the Janitor, Mr. Sakamoto. You might benefit from his company, as he's been here longer than any memeber of the faculty beyond myself, and working with him is generally seen as harsh for some reason. The others all got at least a week, generally for being idiots."

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Skye listened quietly and the only real anger he saw was when he assigned her punishment. “I see,” was all she said, to his remark about how he knew she wasn’t at fault. “I suppose that is to be expected. If Monster Academy is to mirror the human world, I guess that it’s appropriate to punish those you know to be innocent. That does happen to humans, too.”

She shouldn’t let herself forget for a second that these were not fair people. They were monsters. Skye felt, on some level, that she shouldn’t be angry at the Headmaster because this was just how monsters were. This shouldn’t have been such a great shock for her. But it was; she was letting herself forget that these weren’t people.

“Are there rules made at Monster Academy to cover personal challenges?” Skye asked, anger dancing like azure flames in her blue eyes. “I want to know my options, if any of these challenges come my way. I’d rather not be stuck in permanent detention because of other people can’t handle my choice in partners.”

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"Yes. Had this been an actual challenge, which always includes a formal verbal challenge to the challenged's face, none of you would have been disciplined, depending on how it had been done. As this was done contrary to any set of rules, everyone is at fault in some regard."

He looked at her, and she knew he could sense her anger. "Don't worry Skye, this will not go on your record, and it shouldn't interfere with your life much. It's an hour a day after classes. I know you enjoy walking around, let the Janitor show you what he knows. Be respectful, much as you have been to all the faculty, and it will be over before you know it."

He nodded. "Do you have anything you wish to say to me, off the record? I find giving people a chance to let it out without fear is often helpful. Nothing you say will leave this room, unless you choose to allow it out."

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“Yeah. This sucks der Schwanz. Kuromaru and I didn’t ask for this. We didn’t say, ‘Wow, what would be the most difficult person that we could decide to date?’ and go for that. We aren’t doing anything wrong!” The frustration that had been rising in Skye for a while now overflowed in a near-shout. Sadly, the Headmaster didn’t seem phased.

“I’m beyond angry that this place operates on the idea that traditions like arranged marriages and nobility stuck in the same old positions at the top of the food chain still exist here,” she snarled. “Not only are they in existence, but the majority of people still practice them. Humans stopped a lot of those old traditions decades, even centuries ago. Oh, you can still find them, but more and more they are seen as the relics of a darker, dumber time. And do you know why they’re fading? Because they suck!

Skye wasn’t quite done. “And your school? It needs some work. They’re ‘Big Macs’ not ‘Big Micks’. ‘Pudding’ not ‘puddling’. ‘French fries’ not ‘French fryers’. Girls do not hold hands with boys just because they walk down the hallway together! You get about three quarters right and then can’t get the last little bit. Everything here is just a hair off, and it’s really annoying.”

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"Because Only one person here is actually Human Skye. Did you expect that it would be totally perfect? An exact imitation of a human world school?"

"It is a an adaptation. We have as close as we can make it and still allow for the nature of our students. The ways of Yokai and human are different. This school is about changing the, but it's very slow. We're fighting thousands of years of behavioral programming. You wouldn't believe what I deal with with the parents at times."

"I'm not blaming any of this on you, or the young Prince, but there are some things that are beyond anyone's control. I don't tell anyone who to date, I don't get involved in private matters until they become public matters."

"Some students are stuck in the past, in the old ways. Many are not. I simply ask that you be patient. Things will change."

He nodded. "You belong to the most forward thinking organization on this campus, and it pleases me to see it grow. If Kuromaru and Kyra excel, their presence gives great legitimacy to the activities of the newspaper club. Even our two Vampire nobles have joined of their own volition. Add Delilah and Kyohei, Aria, and Darrik, and we have an assemblage of nearly every major sort of monster. All of you working together, towards modern goals. That is why i allow you all the leeway I do."

He speared her with a steely gaze. "You could teach them much Skye, if you tried. You could learn much from them too. I'd reccomend starting with learning how to fight hand to hand, since in a formal trial combatants often use natural forms."

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The fact that he saw the problem and was inching toward the change rather than racing for it only made Skye angrier. While their slow change was happening, she was stuck with getting jumped by favor-seeking nekojin and a grim future with several formal challenges in it. Skye, for all that she hated demons, didn’t want to have to run around fighting them all the time.

And only one person here was human. It wasn’t Skye. That didn’t help her mood.

“Wait,” she said, dismissing the argument that wouldn’t bear fruit to ask a question that hopefully would, “you said natural forms? Because I’m dealing with hengeyokai, I’m going to have to fight animals? Like if Jaqi challenged me, I’d be drop-punting a Siamese cat?” The image was funny, but Skye wasn’t in the mood to laugh about it right now. She liked animals; the possibility that she’d be fighting them, and doing so without her sword, left her in a sour mood.

She wondered, for just a moment, if this wasn’t somehow Delilah’s fault. Skye wasn’t sure if she’d be dating Kuromaru if the succubus hadn’t interfered. But she had and here they were: Delilah no doubt congratulating herself and Skye stuck with a bunch of animal-women getting ready to size her up.

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"You could be, or you could end up fighting a dragon, a gryphon, a minotaur, or any of a host of other monsters that exist."

"There is something else about this challenge system. If you defeat an impressive foe, it's actually likely that no one will challenge you again for some time."

"Kuromaru letting it out that you are under his protection, and thus it being perfectly legit for him to fight as your champion should discourage all but the most desparate."

"Before you say that's admitting you're helpless and need him to do so, consider, His loyalty looks to be towards you, and he would fight for you as it is anyway. It will also let you keep your heritage secret, and I seriously doubt he'd lose. The challenges will occur, how you choose to meet them is up to you. You're very intelligent, I trust you to make a decision you can live with."

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“No, it’s not up to me,” Skye said and there was a strange note in her voice. Her half of the conversation had sounded so familiar to her, though it hadn’t been until this moment that she had remembered why. She’d been on the other side of this discussion…

Children understand things before their parents are ready for them to comprehend them. Sex, lying, the truth about Santa Claus: all of these things are Pandora’s boxes for parents. When their children open them, they can never be closed again. Skye opened one of those boxes when she was seven, and it was well before her mother was ready to address it.

“Mommy, why do you love Daddy?” Alias looked up to see her small daughter staring at her intently. Skye had her ‘no-funny-business’ expression on, the one she used for serious conversations such as why she had to have that one blue dress or why Mommy couldn’t kiss her in front of the other kids at school. But this time, Alias knew it really was serious.

“Sweetie, I’ve told you about your father,” she said softly.

“Yes. You’ve told me he has an important job. It’s more important than us, so why do you love him?” Skye wanted answers. A logical thought had been nestled in her brain, and she was determined that her mother would see it the same way.

Alias gasped a little. “Skye… just because he can’t be with us doesn’t mean it’s more important than us.”

“Mommy,” Skye said, crossing her arms and making her voice chiding, “you already told me that I had to make decisions based on what was more important to me. Is Anna’s sleepover more important, or is getting to ride ponies at David’s party? You told me that I have to decide what is important! So I want Daddy to decide what is important, and if it’s not us, then he loves it more. And if he loves it more, then he doesn't love you enough and you shouldn’t love him anymore.”

“It’s not that simple,” Alias said firmly. “Come here, Skye. Come here.” She drew her daughter up into her lap and said, “There are circumstances that I can’t explain to you, things that your father and I have to live with. We didn’t have a choice, on the feelings we have for each other. We love each other, and we’re not doing anything wrong by having those feelings. But reality, the reality we have to live in, isn’t quite so simple. There were some hard choices that we both had to make, and yes, you were one of them.” Alias kissed the side of her daughter’s head. “All of them were hard and believe me, we looked for better ones. But in the end, the choices we made together were the ones we could live with.”

“This isn’t my decision, alone,” Skye repeated, feeling a little numb. She rose from the chair and asked, “Am I excused now, Headmaster?”

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He nodded. "Yes, you may go. Your Detention will start tomorrow. Please try to stay out of trouble."

This round wasn't a win for anyone, and the Headmaster watched her leave. Once the door was closed, he sighed and pulled out a very old picture, showing among others, Skye's parents, and several others. "She's so like the both of you it's scary. I only hope she has the strength to deal with this, and what's likely to come."

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Skye went back to her room, her expression tired and her face pale. The students noted that she, like the others, looked like she’d been put through a ringer. Balance appeared to have been maintained and no one took it amiss. Skye said nothing, merely went to her room and changed, then walked to the Newspaper Clubroom. The club was just getting out; the others were happy to see her and eager to know where she’d been, but she just shook her head. “Later,” she told them, knowing that they’d hear about it from others anyway, well before she could explain. “Let’s just say that there was some trouble, and I’ll explain the rest later. For now, I need a hug from my boyfriend and some time alone with him.” In the corner of her eye, she saw Kuromaru stiffen a little.

“Fine,” Delilah said, sniffing, “but I wanna see this hug.”

“This is not a peep show, go rent porn if you want to see a hug,” Skye said, waving her hand to shoo them away. Kuro didn't seem comfortable with the idea; just as importantly, Skye didn't want to do PDA today. “Go on, we’ll catch up with you guys later.”

Finally, she convinced them to give her time alone with Kuromaru. “Hey,” she said softly when they were more or less alone. “Can I have a hug or is there some Hengeyokai thing I have to worry about first?”

Kuromaru paused a moment. Skye felt her eyebrows rise; her prince wasn’t usually this hesitant. “Can we go somewhere private?” he asked.

“Oh, good idea,” Skye sighed. Two hours ago, she might have wondered about whether he was embarrassed to hug her in public; today she didn’t want to be seen by most of her schoolmates, much less seen hugging her controversial choice in partners. Taking his hand, she pulled him into the empty clubroom and shut the door. “This ok? Or do we need more private?”

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"No... this is fine." Kuromaru could smell Skye's weary distress, could see how wan she looked. He moved towards her and touched his fingertips to her cheek. "I heard about what happened." he said quietly, his concern and anger evident in his tone. Another might have considered his manner cool, but Skye only had to look up to see the shimmer of emotion in the green eyes regarding her. Not human, but warm and real she told herself, seeing how the daiyokai looked at her.

"Just hold me? Please?" she asked him, blue eyes on his. "I really, really need to be hugged right now." In the time they'd been together, she'd noticed that her boyfriend wasn't really a huggy kind of guy, preferring hand-holding to other displays of affection. Normally, Skye didn't mind, but right now she needed more than warm fingers around hers. Kuromaru didn't even hesitate, to his credit.

"Very well." he said, taking a deep breath and taking Skye in his arms. He drew her close, one arm around her shoulders and the other hand stroking her hair as he held her against his chest. Skye snuggled against him, reassured by his touch and the solidity of him, reminded of their first 'embrace' in the gardens, courtesy of Delilah. There was next-to-nothing sexual about this one, however - the succubus would have been disappointed - instead there was simple affection and reassurance. It was good, and Skye reached around Kuromaru's waist and hugged him like a life-preserver...

Only to feel her boyfriend's body shrink in her arms and the feel of fur pressing against her face. Startled, the blonde girl opened her eyes wide to find herself cuddling... a cat. A housecat with black and white markings and shining green eyes that looked, insofar as a cat can look, embarrassed.

"I probably should have mentioned this." the cat told her in Kuromaru's silken voice. "But the time never seemed right."

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Skye was a strong young woman. She’d learned of demons, first-hand, as a young girl. She’d lost the only parent she’d ever known in a sudden horrific death, then had her life further disrupted by the sudden arrival of the other parent. From there, things had gotten worse. Each of these things had been taken in stride, more or less, by the young woman. She’d weathered misfortune with a smart mouth and an iron will. And then her boyfriend turned into a kitten in her arms.

AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!” Skye’s scream was truly astounding. She wasn’t a tall or particularly hale-looking; in truth, her frame had been bolstered by her angelic heritage but not altered much from the base human. But this scream was loud enough to come from a girl with a much larger lung capacity than Skye was capable of producing.

And then she threw him across the room.

It was instinctive. Skye liked animals. She’d always wanted a pet, but her mother had steadfastly refused. So normally, finding an animal in her arms wasn’t a problem. Hugging her boyfriend and ending up with an animal in her arms was something else. The cat speaking to her with her boyfriend's voice didn't really help the situation as turn it utterly surreal.

The second he was in the air, Skye tried to snatch him back, but he was already gone. Thankfully, he was a cat, so he twisted around and landed on his feet, instead of on his head. Skye bolted forward and snatched him up, holding him close and babbling, “Oh blutig ficken, oh gott, Kuromaru! Oh, I’m sorry, so sorry… Sie erschreckte mich und ich wollte nicht, es zu tun! And yeah! ANYtime before NOW would have been a great time to tell me I can’t do more than hold hands because I’m not having sex with a cat!” Petting him madly, she added, “But I’ll still be your girlfriend! We’ll… work it out! You’ll see!”

Click to reveal..
blutig ficken – bloody fuck

gott - god

Sie erschreckte mich und ich wollte nicht, es zu tun! - you startled me and I didn't mean to do it!

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"Sexual contact doesn't trigger it."

The words were spoken in a sullen tone of voice, but in Kuromaru's defense he had just been thrown across the room by his girlfriend, and that on the heels of her trying to deafen him with a scream that would have done a banshee proud, and that right after his embarrassing little change. He didn't try to get out of her arms, however, tolerating the frantic petting with what was for him good grace. Skye's petting slowed to a stop and she looked at him. "What?"

"I said: sexual contact-"

"I heard what you said. What do you mean?"

"It's quite simple, and fairly commonplace in adolescent hengeyokai. We call it the 'kitten reflex'. Or 'cub', 'puppy', 'foal'... you get the idea." Kuromaru said as he nuzzled against Skye's hand, then touched his nose to her cheek before nuzzling that, too. "I'll grow out of it, but right now when I am embraced in an affectionate, non-sexual way by females I change to this, a shape that inspires protectiveness and further cuddling." The cat sniffed. "It is quite undignified, and I apologise for startling you."

"Oh." Skye started to grin. She couldn't help it. Human boys got cracking voices, zits, and weird fluff growing on their chins. Her boyfriend turned into a cat if she hugged him.

"It is not amusing." Kuromaru said stiffly. Skye fought the urge to giggle at his tone. Kuro in his humanoid form was regally imposing and beautiful. Kuro as a housecat was... well, still regal in a sense, but it was hard to find a black and white kitty imposing. Cuteness, though, was something Kuromaru the cat had in huge quantities.

"So how long does this last?" she asked him, still petting him. He was purring slightly, and as Skye scritched behind his ears the purring intensified.

"A little while." Kuromaru replied, plainly trying not to enjoy himself too much. There were standards to maintain, after all. He nuzzled his head under her chin, then against her neck affectionately. "I will change back faster once you let me go, but there is no hurry for that."

"So wait, you knew you'd change like this, and you still hugged me?" Skye asked him, looking down into the green eyes no real cat possessed.

"Of course." Kuromaru replied matter-of-factly. "My dignity is not worth your unhappiness. You needed me to hug you, I sensed your unhappiness. I promised to value you and cherish your feelings, Skye. I do not promise lightly."

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“Awww, you’re so cute,” Skye cooed. Green eyes slitted to look up at her with annoyance, but then her fingers found a good spot and the eyes closed again. “And a good boyfriend. The best. So I need to keep the hugs sexy?” she asked, a tinge of pink spotting her cheeks.

“Sexual contact doesn’t trigger the change,” he said again, pressing his head into her fingers.

“So sexy hugs,” Skye murmured, grinning as Kuromaru butted his nose against her chin again. This wasn’t as good as a hug, but petting animals was also therapeutic. Skye contented herself with the pleasure of coaxing happy purrs out of her boyfriend. She took a seat on the floor, cuddling the cat to her chest. “I love how your eyes are the same,” she murmured, smiling as the emerald gaze settled on her again. “The same color. Beautiful.”

“Thank you.”

Skye contented herself with rubbing his chin for a bit longer before she stopped. “I’m enjoying this,” she murmured, “but I also need to talk to you.”

“I can talk now.”

Skye watched her boyfriend press his black-and-white head against her fingers so she could scratch again. “Yeah, I can’t talk with you looking like that.”

Kuromaru gave her one more gentle nuzzle before he hopped off her lap. He moved to sit on the floor and face her. After breaking contact, it only took a few moments for him to shift back. Skye watched with fascination; there was little to see, it was such a rapid shift. He crossed his legs under him and the two scooted together until they were able to hold hands. “So after the fight, I was sent to the Headmaster’s,” Skye said. “We had a… frank discussion about the future and he told me some things I could expect. I don’t like what he said, and I need to hear it from you. After the talk about challenges and how we’re going to handle them, there are other things I think I should know about hengeyokai – potential pit-falls like what we just ran into.

“So. Are there going to be challenges, formal challenges to me, for you?” Her eyes were tired again, as well sad and… disappointed. She knew what the answer would be, and she didn't like it.

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"Yes." Kuromaru said immediately. "But you will not have to fight them."

"Yes I will. The headmaster told me that the hengeyokai can challenge for a mate - that's you. If I want to keep you, I'll have to fight for you." Skye sounded sad. What if she lost a fight?

"That is not completely accurate." Kuromaru told her calmly. "The mate being fought over has the right to enforce their own choice by meeting a challenger in battle themselves." He held Skye's hand in his, the fingers of his other hand toying with her palm. "This does not happen often in our society, simply because it is seen as desirable to have the strongest, most capable mates. The one being fought over is usually content to be with the superior mate. But it does happen in rare instances - a female who believes that the male trying to take her is more interested in status than in her, or a male who prefers a quieter female to an aggressive one. When it does happen, it is taken as the strongest possible declaration that the person will not be 'won' from the mate they have chosen."

"What type of female do you prefer?" Skye asked before she could stop herself. Kuromaru turned to look at her as she blushed, his eyes full of warm amusement. Then he smiled, that smile, the smile only Skye had seen. No slight twitch of the lips or wry sneer, but a gentle warm smile that went down into her belly like heated liquor, made her toes curl, and then ran velvety fingers up her spine.

"The one have chosen; the one I am with." he said simply. "And I will fight for her to the death if necessary, no matter who the challenger is."

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Skye smiled at him, then impulsively leaned over and put an arm around his shoulders. Giving him a quick one-armed hug, she added a kiss on the cheek before she retook her seat. “You know, I’d fight for you, too,” she said softly, even as her smile faded. “The problem is I don’t want either one of us to fight for the other. We choose each other; we shouldn’t have to put up with other people telling us that we should be dating them just because we’re stronger.

“And it’s not even about the fighting. I can fight,” she said sourly. “This is our choice. If you want me and I want you, then there’s no reason that we should have to prove that to anyone else. Part of me wants to just refuse the challenges. But the Headmaster said that wouldn’t work, either. It’s just… stupid.”

“It determines that the hengeyokai has the best mate,” Kuromaru corrected her. “When other considerations, such as the value one has in a mate, are absent, it is merely expedient to allow others to determine such for you.”

Skye frowned. “Yeah, it makes sense when put like that,” she sighed. Her thumb rubbed the back of his hand. It made her sad to think that Kuromaru hadn’t aspired for something more from a mate than best breeder until he met her. Of course, he’d been unaware of that lack until her, so at least he hadn’t been unhappy…

He’s not human. Utterly not and you can’t continue to expect that he’s going to act like you.

“So aside from needing to put some time in the dojo, working on my kung-fu, I could meet these challenges,” Skye said, meeting his eyes again. “My training has focused on weaponry, mostly because you don’t fight demons with your bare hands. I want to have a game plan. It’s killing me a little to just say, ‘Sure, Kuromaro, you go do all the fighting,’ but I’m not sure I could take on something that’s strong and fast like a lion and smart like a person without my sword or calling on my divine powers. And then everyone would know you’re dating a celestial. Which, as I understand things, is bad ‘round here. As the Celestial Academy would mirror, were one of their princes to date a demon.” Somewhere, somehow, that had happened with Lilith and Delilah’s father. Skye shoved that thought away; it did her no good to consider it.

“So if I fight, the risk is I lose the challenge or that I have to reveal myself.” Skye rubbed her face, trying not to come out and say it but she finally admitted, “My pride is fucking with me. I don’t want to be the woman who needs a man to fight for her. My mom and my grandmother were both such strong, powerful women. I always admired that. I want to be strong like them… and the Headmaster all but said that I wasn’t up to the task.”

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"I think I understand. You are trained, and could readily deal with the challengers if you were not hobbled by having to conceal your nature." Kuromaru watched Skye like a cat as he spoke, his face having resumed it's customary composure. "You are proud of your training, and feel shamed that you are seen to need another to fight for you." Seeing Skye nod, Kuromaru sighed very softly. "Only a human could see things so backwards."

Skye blinked.

"Do not think of it as 'me fighting your battles for you' I am fighting in your place, as your champion, because I have made a choice to court you and will defend it with my blood." Kuromaru told Skye earnestly. "I would be fighting for my right to choose you as much as your right to be my girlfriend. In the Beast Courts, it is considered the height of romance." He shrugged slightly, trying to play it casual, though Skye could make out the faint colour suffusing his pale cheeks. "The fact that I would fight in your place in formal combat proclaims, louder than words, that your worth to me is greater than any possible challenger's."

"Of more importance is finding who orchestrated this ambush on you. They obviously do not consider formal challenge the way, and so an example must be made of them. Their tactics are the greater danger to you."

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“The height of romance?” Skye’s question was asked with a touch of shyness and a lot of delight. She was determined to see his gestures as he saw them, so she was doing her best to ignore the voice that demanded that he should just choose. Kuromaru nodded, as that tinge of color came back to his cheeks. “Thank you, Kuromaru.”

“We should focus on the immediate danger,” Kuromaru said, but his voice held no real rebuke. Instead, he looked pleased with her delight.

“If she’s willing to defy the laws and traditions of the Beast Court… as you say…” Skye nodded. “Alright, we should probably find Priti and talk to her, but I have one thing I’d like to get out of the way first.” He looked at her, his eyes calm and his expression relaxed. I do that to him, she thought, smiling. I bring that cat-that-ate-the-cream look to him.

“What is that?” he prompted as she lost her train of thought, staring at him.

“Uh… oh, yeah. I need to know what a formal challenge is going to look and sound like, and what I should say or do in response to it,” she told him. The blonde gently squeezed his hand and confessed, “Your traditions, so I want to be sure I do them right. Even if I deplore the idea of having to prove your worthiness for a mate. People should pick who they want to have.”

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"They do. But not everyone agrees with their choice, and that is when they must fight to enforce it." Kuromaru told her patiently. "I hear that in the human world, free will and freedom of choice are prized highly." As Skye nodded, he went on. "We prize them highly also." Kuromaru explained somberly. "They are not given to us with the air in our lungs or the blood in our veins: we must fight for them. And in fighting for them, we learn to value that which we fight for."

"Must it always come to fighting, though?" Skye asked earnestly, her blue eyes grave and a little sad. "It seems so... pointless."

"'If you would have your way, then be prepared to fight for it. If you would not fight for it, then none shall respect your claim.'" Kuromaru said, sounding as though he was reciting something.

"Let me guess." Skye sighed before smiling wryly at him. "A hengeyokai proverb?"

"Of course." Kuromaru said with a faint smile. "Now, as to the wording of challenges: the formality varies, depending on the manners and hostility involved. Recitation of ranks, titles, notable deeds and the like can take place, particularly in grand affairs before a crowd." He gestured idly with his free hand, dismissing that. "That is merely fluffing out one's fur, however. The meat and bone of the challenge are the Naming and the Prize. The Naming is simply that - the challenger gives their name and states clearly the name of the person, or persons, that they are challenging within their hearing. 'I, Kurosoroshiimaru, challenge Priti.' The second part is the Prize - the reason why. It can be a grievance, a perceived insult, wanting something that person has, thusly: 'I, Kurosoroshiimaru, challenge Priti because she dared to attack Skye'. Then the challenged one accepts, and the two enter discussion on a time and place."

"So what if she refuses?" Skye asked, not liking the glint in Kuromaru's eye as he issued his 'demonstration' challenge.

"Then I can just attack her without giving her time to prepare." Kuromaru said with matter-of-fact callousness. "Given that this Academy has rules, I could not kill her, but she would certainly regret the refusal in addition to the insult that gave rise to the challenge to begin with."

"Okay, so how do I say 'Kuromaru is going to kick your ass in my place'? That's not the same as refusing, is it?" the half-Celestial asked with a smile covering up the slight unease at the thought of Kuromaru actually issuing that challenge. Sure, Priti was a verdamnt bitch who needed taking down several pegs for jumping her like that, but she also remembered how terrified Jaqi had been of Kuromaru's displeasure, and the Headmaster's statement, casually made, that he doubted any challenger could beat the hengeyokai prince. She focused on the warm hand in hers. He's a monster, but he's MY monster. she thought, watching at his quick smile at her words.

"No, it's not a refusal. It's an acceptance, and can be done in one of two ways. The first is to simply accept, decide on time and place, then turn up with your champion, who will then state their desire to fight on your behalf. This can surprise the opponent, throw them off balance, and is considered sly, but within the rules. The second way is to state your acceptance, and announce there and then the one who will fight in your stead." Kuromaru regarded Skye calmly, a glimmer of amusement in his green eyes. "It is considered a good idea to be sure that the one you name will fight for you before making such a pronouncement, however."

"It's a good thing I don't have to worry about that then, isn't it?" Skye grinned up at the tall hengeyokai.

"Yes." Kuromaru said off-handedly as he toyed with the fingers of her hand. "It is."

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“Sounds easy enough,” Skye said after a moment’s contemplation. “I was hopeful that it wouldn’t be something complex that I could easily screw up. I done enough of that, with all the moving my mom did. Nothing like learning a new school and new culture every few years.”

She was silent for a moment. “What if I were to challenge?” she asked. “Then I’d have to fight, correct? No calling someone out and then having you show up to fight for me, right?”

Kuromaro nodded. “The aggressor is the one with the Prize, and he or she is the one to fight. If someone wished to fight for the aggressor, they would make the Naming.” His green eyes looked at her, appraising. “Are you thinking of challenging?”

“I am,” Skye admitted. “But only thinking. I took the human-traitors down easily enough, but I think I could have beat Priti, had no one else interfered. The longer I fight, the easier it becomes to hurt others. It’s a trait that comes from my father’s family, one of the rarer gifts available. Honestly, I need to practice my hand-to-hand fighting further.” She sighed and put her head on his shoulder, enjoying the feel of his fingers toying with hers. “Is that something hengeyokai couples do together? Spar and practice fighting?”

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"If they are friends as well as mates, then yes." Kuromaru said softly. "My father regularly spars and hunts with four of his wives - my mother being one of them." he added with a trace of filial pride. "It is another sign of closeness in a couple. And of course, parents teach their children and siblings teach each other through play-fighting and mock hunting games - again, a sign of affection." He looked at Skye, smiling.

"If it would please you, I would like to spar with you sometime."

Skye smiled back up at him, nodding slightly. "That'd be nice... Wait!" she blinked and looked at Kuromaru a trifle sharply. "'Four of his wives'? How many wives does your father have?" She had a feeling she wasn't going to like the answer here.

"Twelve." Kuromaru said calmly, as though discussing the weather. "One from each of the Cat Houses-"

"Oh, well I suppose that makes sense, if he's the King of Cats-" Skye began slowly, but Kuromaru was continuing.

"-And twenty-eight concubines."

"Twenty-eight!!" Skye yelped, straightening up and staring at Kuromaru. He looked surprised at her reaction.

"Yes. One from every creature house of the Beast Court. He is the king of all the beast yokai, not just what most consider to be hengeyokai. The nekojin, the talking beasts, the insect demons - the hive or swarm type insects, anyway: solitary insects like the centipedes and the jorogumo, whilst technically falling under sway of the Beast Throne, have little structured society or sense of community. It is called the Hengeyokai throne because it is usually a hengeyokai that sits on it." Kuromaru explained, his eyes searching hers.

"Is something wrong?"

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Skye swallowed back her initial impulse to shriek his question back to him and launch into a tirade about exactly what was wrong with his statement. It was a strong impulse, but with a supreme effort of will, she took a moment to think about it.

First, she really needed to stop freaking out and thinking of him as a human. Aside from those markings, he looked human. She knew he wasn’t, but he looked so normal right now that it was hard to remember that he and his family weren’t. “Nothing’s wrong,” she said softly, “I was just surprised by your statement. Humans are largely monogamous; that’s the expected relationship formation that you find in our culture and many societies are structured around a family unit of two parents and their kids. There are people that buck that set-up.” She paused, a thought banging around in her head. “What about the other way. Do your father’s wives and… lovers get to take other men to their beds?”

Kuromaru looked shocked. “Of course not,” he said.

“Of course not…” Skye repeated in a mutter, biting a lip. “When humans practice polygamy, that’s usually how it goes. The guy gets all the women. But there are some places where it’s the men outnumbering the women.” Kuromaru’s eyes widened further. “Neither of those are the norm, anyway. Monogamy is the predominant situation.”

“Multiple wives do not appeal to me,” Kuromaru replied, making the idea sound distasteful. Perhaps to him, it was. Given how naturally aloof her boyfriend was, she wasn’t that surprised to think that he didn’t like being touched. His fingers tightened around hers. “I confess, I have only recently found it to have any merit.”

You, you… he’s talking about you! Skye’s heart sang with delight. She felt a blush creep up her face and a goofy grin appear. “I’ve always hoped to be married,” she said softly, trying to pretend she wasn’t wearing her heart on her sleeve. “I think that’s because Mom wasn’t.” Before he could remark on that, if he had anything to say, she said, “We’re alone now. Can I see what you really look like? I mean, without the human mask?”

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He hesitated, though only to peer around the clubroom and sniff the air for a moment. Satisfied, he turned to her and smiled. "Of course." Moving with slow grace he stood, offering Skye a hand and drawing her to her feet in turn before releasing her hand and taking a step away.

There was no real fanfare, no disturbing noises or ripping of skin and muscle or cloth. There was a sudden smell of jasmine in the air, as though carried on a warm night breeze, and Kuromaru's hair rippled and grew. The still-human pallor left his skin as the caste marks on his cheeks reddened slightly, becoming the color of wine while his eyes grew catlike, their shine intensifying. Another mark appeared on his forehead, the same red shade as the ones on his cheeks. As Skye watched, a tide of white moved along his hair from the tips that brushed the backs of his calves, turning the thick, full length snowy, whilst Kuromaru made a pass over his body with both hands, the long fine fingers of which were tipped with pointed black nails. The black jacket and trousers of his uniform exploded from his body under the pass of his hands, turning into a shower of dark petals that dissipated as they fell, leaving Kuromaru clothed in a kimono such as a powerful feudal Japanese daimyo would have worn: scarlet, white and gold, with a cloth of gold sash around the waist.

The faint scent of jasmine and other night-blooms lingering around him, the Prince of Cats stepped back towards Skye, the now-inhuman beauty of his features warmed by the faint smile worn on his lips as he looked into her eyes.

"This is how I truly appear. Does it please you?" he asked her softly.

Click to reveal.. (The terrible truth!)


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Skye watched, her heart pounding in her chest. In truth, she’d been afraid of this moment, afraid that he’d turn into something she couldn’t handle looking at every day of her life. When the scales fell from his body and revealed his true form, the knot in her chest eased. He wasn’t human; from the long white hair that fell almost to the floor to the pointed ears and shimmering eyes, no one would think he was human for a moment. But he was still beautiful, in a very inhuman way.

“It does please me,” she murmured. Hesitantly, she touched his cheek, so see if it felt any different. Skye was quietly relieved when it felt like him. She couldn’t stop herself from brushing a thumb over the corner of his lip before withdrawing. Blushing at her slip, she cleared her throat and said, “You know you’re beautiful, cloaked or not.”

She wondered if she’d look at his mask and see his true form now on, or if she would become used to the human face and startled whenever his true face looked at her. She wanted to be romantic enough to say that it wouldn’t matter, but she didn’t know that.

He was smiling at her comment; who didn’t like to be complimented? Skye took his hand and examined the claws; he watched her quietly, waiting for her to be done. She was just trying to imagine holding this hand in hers forever, trying to imagine her fingers intertwined. As an experiment, she slipped her fingers through his, noting how it felt the same, yet different. “You smell good,” she added, the scent of flowers making her feel a little heady – or maybe it was the boy she was touching?

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"So do you." he said quietly, bowing his head so that his cheek brushed her hair. He'd been a little nervous - but only a little! - that she'd find his true seeming disturbing or worse, distasteful. After all, she was a mixture of human and Celestial and he'd had no experience of either, let alone of their aesthetic tastes. But she'd said he was beautiful! Kuromaru tried to restrain the urge to grin like a- Well, like a cat - managing the feat with some difficulty but unable to keep from smiling.

"What about you?" he enquired in a murmur, breathing in the smell of her hair and delighting in it. Don't purr. Do. Not. Purr. You are a Lord of Hengeyokai and you do not purr like an overly affectionate kitten... Skye turned her head to meet his gaze, her own eyes curious. Both young beings were acutely aware of the other's face only an inch or two away as blue meet green.

"Me?" Skye gulped softly. "Me what?"

"Your true form." Kuromaru replied with the same soft smile, not moving his face back one iota from hers. Skye noticed that his teeth were sharp, the eyeteeth being a little longer than the others - a detail that was only noticeable when he spoke and smiled. "I would look upon your natural seeming also." He felt the overpowering urge to rub his cheek against hers or... or something.

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“Oh! Yeah, uh, sure,” Skye said. Like Kuromaru, she looked around hastily, sniffing the air softly. Unlike him, she wasn’t actually scenting the air; she was seeking other yokai. Her father had told her that it would manifest as a sense that she could comprehend and so it had. She’d always thought yokai ‘smelled’ bad but she was starting to change her mind. The scent wasn’t bad; it was just different and she was starting to get used to it, even like it.

She hadn’t been thinking about her transformation; she’d been hoping he’d kiss her. Her lips practically ached with the desire to press her lips to his, but she was going to wait for him to start. It may have been silly, but she wanted him to initiate their first kiss. Still, it was unseemly to ask and so she just smiled and hid her desires. “Alright,” she murmured, squeezing his hand. The half-celestial didn’t step back as she began the unmasking.

Skye wasn’t sure what it was like for the yokai when they released their Mask. She doubted it was like forcing a muscle to relax, like trying to make tense shoulders ease. Their Masks seemed to be an effort to maintain, prone to slipping when they were upset or agitated. Skye’s Mask had been who she was for her entire life; it was only recently that she had learned how to remove it.

Golden light flared from the crown of her head, startling Kuromaru as he cuddled, in his own reserved way, close to her. He lifted his head to better see, surprised by how warm the light was. It rippled down her head, leaving golden strands in her hair in its wake. Her eyes almost glowed, their brilliance greater than any sky. Her clothing seemed to fade into nothing, revealing shining armor underneath. In many ways, her basic appearance didn’t change at all, only became more radiant. But there was one massive change: the wings that flickered into existence behind her. They were snow-white and feathered, arcing behind her in a graceful sweep that almost seemed cloud-like.

In those terrible teen movies, here was where he’d reveal that he’d just been playing with her, where his friends would jump out and mock her. Skye was half-ready for that but another part of her knew that Kuromaru wouldn’t do that to her.

“There,” she said softly when she felt that she was done. Her blue eyes peered into his green ones, hopeful and hesitant all at once. “Do I please you?”

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Delilah barged into their revealing moment from the adjacent Photography Room like a particularly delectable and voluptuous bull, throwing out a hand to point at an almost glowing Skye - No, wait! She was glowing, just for an instant. Oops! She's not glowing anymore, now she's glowering. But in the pursuit of lust and love, there was somethings you just had to endure.

Besides, it was a pretty scowl.

"For the sake of your relationship, I charge you, Skye, with joining the Cheerleading Team," Delilah proclaimed in sensually sonorous tones, holding a pose with as much gravitas as she could muster... which wasn't a whole lot, further reduced when she started bouncing on her feet excitedly.

"If you're on the Team, no other girl can try to poach you man, unless you're obviously neglecting him and the rest of the Cheerleaders vote that your claim is void - it's part of the Cheerleader's Code," Delilah intoned with near reverence. She held her hand between her breasts, engulfing it in her cavernous cleavage, looking at Skye with solemn eagerness - an impressive feat. "I so, like, hope you make the Team, Skye, it would be totally awesome. I can get you a tryout, of course - I just can't, like, snap my fingers and put you on the team, though. That would be against the Code. You have to earn it."

Done with revealing to Skye how she could easily and obviously solve her problem with Haineko - neglecting to realize she hadn't mentioned Haineko once - Delilah glanced at Kurosoroshiimaru and gave him a small wave and a big grin. "No worries Kurosoroshiimaru, I'll have this all solved in a second... and one tryout."

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Originally Posted By: Skye Angelus
“There,” she said softly when she felt that she was done. Her blue eyes peered into his green ones, hopeful and hesitant all at once. “Do I please you?”

He gazed at her in quiet wonder, his eyes taking in the luminescent glory of her wings, the shining beauty of her hair and the glowing loveliness of her eyes. Skye's true form caused Kuromaru faint unease, the instinctual unease of a yokai at the sight of an agent of Order. But her beauty was undeniable, as was the strength in her radiant features.

"You do." he said whilst blinking slowly in the face of her glow, as a cat blinks in the mid-day sun. Deceptively delicate-seeming fingers tipped with short black claws stroked Skye's blushing cheeks as the Prince of Beasts brought his hands up to frame her face. "You are beautiful." He told her as he leaned closer, noting how the Celestial girl arched up towards him expectantly, their faces coming together-

Then the door to the adjoining room burst open and Delilah burst in with all the tact and delicacy of a maenad on a bar crawl, though at least with more clothing, just, and was pointing at Skye and babbling something about her joining the cheerleaders so that no cheerleader could poach... him? Skye had brought her mask down so fast that the angelic vision of a few seconds ago might as well have been an illusion. For his part, the alert daiyokai had blurred into movement the second the door had vibrated, stepping back from Skye so that her propriety wouldn't be under question from whoever was bursting in on them. His own mask took more time to replace, so for now the Cat Prince simply kept his true seeming, gazing with cool implacability at Delilah whilst noting Darrik had trailed along behind her. He folded his hands into the sleeves of the kimono, looking every inch the regal demon as he narrowed his eyes slightly, listening to Delilah.

Originally Posted By: Delilah Synn
Done with revealing to Skye how she could easily and obviously solve her problem with Haineko - neglecting to realize she hadn't mentioned Haineko once - Delilah glanced at Kurosoroshiimaru and gave him a small wave and a big grin. "No worries Kurosoroshiimaru, I'll have this all solved in a second... and one tryout."

"I am not worried." he said with cold hauteur that a Snow Maiden might envy. "I am, however, faintly curious as to what in the Thousand Hells you are talking about. Who on the Cheerleader Team is trying to 'poach' me? And why should Skye join the team when I can simply make an example of the offender?"
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Skye’s heart was pounding so hard she was sure that Kuromaru could hear it. If his ears were that sharp, he gave no indication as he cradled her face in his hands. Her gut, the part of her that had been trained for most of her life, screamed at the proximity of the claws to her face. She flagrantly ignored her foundless fear and enjoyed his touch.

His compliment brought more blood to her face as he leaned closer. Oh my god, oh my god, ohmigawd… he’s gonna kiss me! She inched a little closer, licking her lips in anticipation – it would be so right now, so romantic, their acceptances of each others’ natures sealed with a kiss-

The knock on the door jolted them apart. Kuromaru moved away from her as if she’d become a hot wire, and Skye’s mask snapped back into place instinctively. The half-celestial was already furious at the interruption; that fury only intensified when she saw who was in the doorway. If looks could cause irreparable damage, Delilah would have received a double mastectomy on the spot. The fact that the demoness was super-hyper and not making sense didn’t help Skye's mood.

“Wait, are you insinuating that a cheerleader is trying to steal my boyfriend?” Skye asked, her expression incredulous. “And there’s a Cheerleader Code? I’ve never heard of that, even when I was a cheerleader. Some of the worst breakups I saw were instigated by cheerleaders stealing each others’ boyfriends.”

“You’ve already been one?” Delilah all-but-squealed, looking even more excited, somehow. “Then that means you’ll get in so easily! I knew you could do it, I have an eye for athletic women.”

“Ugh, keep your eyes off this athletic woman,” Skye insisted, shuddering. The succubus was hot, there was no way to deny that and there was no way to avoid the desire that Delilah invoked. But Skye valued her body way too much to sully it in a succubus’s embrace. “Also, if a cheerleader thinks she can win Kuromaru from me, let her try. I’ve got the formal challenge thing covered, and if she thinks she can win him away with her… wiles or whatever then she can take her best shot. I’m not afraid of her.” She’d be worried if Delilah or one of the other succubae had set her sights on Kuromaru. Skye was reasonably sure that their star-crossed attraction could survive anything other the supernatural sex appeal of a succubus.

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Darrik closed his eyes, he should have just made the effort of finding them himself and thus he could wait for when they were ready. Delilah could feel the annoyance at her spike from Darrik in a sudden blast. "Delilah, leave." Darrik told her in a deadpan voice.

Delilah opened her mouth to protest, but Darrik fixed her with a long hard stare before she did as he asked, grudgingly. At this point, Darrik sighed and for a moment pinched the bridge of his nose. It was rather clear to the angel and the daiyokai that he wasn't any happier than they were.

"I really shouldn't have asked Delilah anything. But anyway, I took the time to find out who was behind the attack. It was a noble hengeyokai by the name of Haineko, who yes, is on the cheer-leading squad. Now, to avoid further damage to your privacy, if you don't have any questions, I'll be on my way."

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Kuromaru watched silently as Delilah flounced off muttering something about finding the right outfit for someone anyway, then listened impassively as Darrik said his piece.

"And what do you hope to gain by this, warlock?" the Prince of Beasts asked Darrik, studying him with a cool evaluating gaze. "I scarcely believe you delivered even such a trivial piece of information up without some motive, especially when we could have doubtless uncovered it as easily as you." Kurosoroshiimaru stepped gracefully to Skye's side, his white hair and the billowing fabric of his kimono both flowing in the breeze of his motion. "A kindness on your part? Or something else?" Something about Kuromaru's tone left little doubt that he considered the first option unlikely.

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Darrik did something unexpected, for Kurosoroshiimaru and for himself. He grinned, as if the insinuation that he had ulterior motive. "Well, what do I stand to gain from telling you? If it becomes public knowledge that I helped Skye, I will likely double my enemy roster, the females as well as the males. And that leaves you two then. Given the cool relationships between myself and the two of you, I hardly should expect any sort of return favors, gifts, considerations or even a simply thank-you. So, it stands to reason that maybe I am doing this out of the kindness of my heart."

Finishing his semi-comic oration, Darrik paused. "In any case, any further questions?"

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Or he’s playing some long game, Skye thought, but held her tongue for now. “Thank you,” she said simply, cutting off the sarcastic addition “that we totally could have gotten ourselves.” Let him be caught off-guard by her being even a little bit polite to him. She didn’t buy for a second that there would be no strings attached later. He was a warlock; there was no heart in their turncoat chests. "I'm good."

Her hand slipped into Kuromaro’s; the hard edges of his claws weren’t scary at all as they scraped at her skin. Those claws would be defending his right to choose her if it came to a formal challenge. Those claws would likely have to shed blood for her, for him… for them. There would be a price to pay for this relationship. The Monster World was a hard place. Fighting it would be harder still.

He’s worth it. His hand was warm and strong in hers. So worth it.

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Delilah scowled as she sashayed out of the Newspaper room. It was stupid! She didn't know why Darrik didn't want her there when he told Skye and Kuro what he knew - she want to help too - but if that's what he wanted, then fine.

Besides - a sudden grin bloomed on her face, making a passing group of boys on the football team stagger - she needed to go find Skye a cheerleader uniform for her trying, overlooking the fact that Skye hadn't actually agreed to her plan. Since her own uniform wouldn't come close to fitting Skye, she needed to search through the extras in the Cheerleader Locker room.

She began running for the practice field, as graceful as a particularly curvaceous gazelle, her high heels beating a rapid, staccato cadence. The football team members, just recovering from her grin, fainted at the sight of her jiggling anatomy, as blood rushed from their heads to... elsewhere.

In the locker room reserved for the Cheerleaders - perverted boys and jealous and/or vengeful girls had made it necessary - Delilah tore through the extra uniforms, looking for one that would fit Skye. Due to the fact that her own exaggerated measurements made it difficult to find clothes that fit, Delilah was pretty good at judging sizes.

"Aha!" the succubus crowed in victory, holding up her prize, a pristine crimson and black uniform that on Skye, would be just tight enough. Grabbing a pair of pom-poms from the bin, Delilah sprinted all the way back.

Delilah burst through the hallway door to the Newspaper Room, startling Skye, but Kurosoroshiimaru was already turning to look at the door long before the succubus made her reappearance. Bent over with a hand to her vast, heaving chest, trying to catch her breath, a sliver of modesty maintained by the pair of pom-poms (the other ones!) in the same hand, Delilah tossed the Cheerleader uniform towards, Skye, who instinctively caught it before she realized what it was.

"Here... you... go," Delilah panted. Straightening up with a deep breath, the last button on her shirt lost the battle against her bust, but Delilah nonchalantly tossed the pom-poms to Skye and tied her shirt into a tight knot between her breasts before more than a large glimpses of lacy, black bra was revealed.

"This is awesome! Now, for tryouts, we ask for one performance of you own devising, then we demonstrate one of our cheers and have you-"

"I still do not see how this is all necessary," Kurosoroshiimaru interrupted. "As I said, I will simply make an example of the offender."

Delilah rolled her eyes, sharing a glance with Skye in girl-language, that clearly smirked, 'Boys, right?' "Because this isn't the hengeyokai court, my Lord Kurosoroshiimaru," Delilah purred, her sensual tones turning fierce. "This. Is. High-School!"

Delilah sat on a desk, leaning back on her hands and crossing her legs. "Sure, you might make Haineko back off, but I wouldn't completely count on that - she's pretty ornery. And that might make some of the other hengeyokai back off. But the other monsters? Most will just go after what they want without being direct about it. And do you want to have to fight again and again, instead of spending that time making out?"

She leaned forward, purple eyes bright, her tone switching to throaty persuasiveness. "Now, my way, you stop Haineko without even a fight. Even better, as a Cheerleader, Haineko is obligated to at least mention if she notices anyone trying to steal a fellow cheerleader's boyfriend. Or girlfriend." Delilah wiggled her eyebrows at Skye, and teasingly ran her tongue across her lips.

"If Skye becomes a cheerleader, then not only does she get me and Haineko on her side, she gets all the cheerleaders to help her, as well as stopping any of them from trying to steal you, Kurosoroshiimaru, for themselves. Now, doesn't that better than fight after fight after fight after fight after - well, you get the idea. Plus, it'll be fun, and you can say you're dating a Cheerleader too!"

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Originally Posted By: Darrik
Finishing his semi-comic oration, Darrik paused. "In any case, any further questions?"

Kuromaru nodded faintly. If he was surprised at Darrik's largesse or amused at his wit, there was no sign on the inhuman features. He glanced at Skye as she thanked the warlock, then shrugged very slightly. "There is very little done in the yokai world out of simple kindness, warlock. But then you are not really a yokai." That last wasn't quite dismissive, but more of a matter-of-fact tone. "So it should not surprise me, this... altruism. Yet it does." The hengeyokai prince tapped one black-nailed finger against his chin, then nodded as he reached a decision. "As a gesture of gratitude, I shall seek no retribution on the two sorcerers who helped Priti Ombala attack my Skye. Is that fitting, warlock Darrick?"

Then Delilah returned, all a-bounce and bursting with enthusiasm that was odd in a succubus - at least as Kuromaru understood them. Maybe this was how young succubi behaved? He didn't know whether to find Delilah infectious or immensely irritating, but it seemed she was at least trying to be of assistance...

But then, as Kuromaru had told Darrick, there was little that was done out of simple kindness, where a yokai was concerned.

Originally Posted By: Delilah Synn
...Delilah sat on a desk, leaning back on her hands and crossing her legs. "Sure, you might make Haineko back off, but I wouldn't completely count on that - she's pretty ornery. And that might make some of the other hengeyokai back off. But the other monsters? Most will just go after what they want without being direct about it. And do you want to have to fight again and again, instead of spending that time making out?"

She leaned forward, purple eyes bright, her tone switching to throaty persuasiveness. "Now, my way, you stop Haineko without even a fight. Even better, as a Cheerleader, Haineko is obligated to at least mention if she notices anyone trying to steal a fellow cheerleader's boyfriend. Or girlfriend." Delilah wiggled her eyebrows at Skye, and teasingly ran her tongue across her lips.

"If Skye becomes a cheerleader, then not only does she get me and Haineko on her side, she gets all the cheerleaders to help her, as well as stopping any of them from trying to steal you, Kurosoroshiimaru, for themselves. Now, doesn't that better than fight after fight after fight after fight after - well, you get the idea. Plus, it'll be fun, and you can say you're dating a Cheerleader too!"

"Haineko will back down, or she will suffer greatly. As will any other that attempts to come between us, formally or no." Kurosoroshiimaru said in a coldly regal tone that left even the succubus in little doubt as to his intent. "I am perfectly prepared to make as many examples as are necessary for the lesson to sink in - this is an establishment of learning, after all." He glanced at Skye, who was still staring at the uniform and Delilah, then looked back at the impossibly curvaceous girl.

"If Skye wishes to lead cheers, I am happy for her to do so. I have questions, however."

"Sure!" Delilah straightened up with a grin, the motion causing her to bounce distractingly.

"Firstly, what is 'making out'? Secondly, is dating a cheerleader something of note? Your tone leads me to believe you think it so. And lastly..." The piercing green eyes narrowed slightly. "Why are you trying to help? You are not human, like the warlock. I find 'kindness' to be an unlikely explanation."
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