Fandom: CLAMP Campus Defenders Duklyon
Characters: Kentarou, Takeshi, some K/T hints
Summary: Written for Yuletide 2007
It was quite surprising for Takeshi to find the president of Higashikunimaru Co. staring at the monitor screen of his brand-new personal computer in deep concentration. With Kentarou's dreadfully short attention span, it was truly a miracle he might actually be doing any work without his secretary forcing him to.
Something was off. It was too good to be true.
"Ah, Takeshi!" Kentarou exclaimed, his eyes still glued to the monitor. "Don't interrupt me, because if I get distracted I'm so going to mess up. I can't afford a mistake now."
Impressed by Kentarou's suddenly serious tone, Takeshi moved silently to the pile of folders on the second desk, and added one more to the top. He wondered what software his boss was using. Lotus 1-2-3? Or that new MS Office bundle pack?
He didn't have to guess for long, as Kentarou started muttering under his breath, and was almost smashing the keyboard in anxiety. Maybe he was getting red figures? Some seconds later, there was a strong groan followed by arms flailing.
"Oh man! So close, Takepon!"
"So close to what, sir?"
"I wasn't fast enough and didn't put the T-shaped one in the right corner. Then I couldn't move the next blocks anywhere, and bam!"
That didn't sound like anything Takeshi had learned in his accounting courses at college. Wondering if it was a different method or the president was just being stupid again, he walked towards Kentarou and peeked over his shoulder. But instead of a balance sheet, the screen showed him a rectangle filled with colored squares and the words GAME OVER in English.
"See?" Kentarou pointed at some numbers outside the rectangle, distressed. "I was about to reach level 15! Just one more line and I would've broken my record."
"W-what the hell is that?"
Kentarou didn't notice Takeshi was, once again, shaking with rage.
"Tetris, of course. I'm getting addicted to it. I usually prefer action-adventure, but the best games right now are for home consoles. You should stop by the mansion this weekend, since you maybe can't afford a Famicom and we can't have that!"
"Stop treating me as a poor man and no, I don't play videogames!"
"Nonsense! You just say that because you haven't tried yet. You're so coming over next weekend and must play Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari with me in 2P mode. I'll be Kunio-kun and you Riki, of course!"
"I'm not playing as anyone. Kentarou, don't you think you're too old for those things?" Takeshi refrained from mentioning that responsible executives don't play videogames -or retarded board games, or even sentai superhero around the city- with their employees, but it was useless since he could see the ridiculously large bento box. If he still hadn't convinced Kentarou that it was wrong of him to prepare lunch for the both of them, after all those years of knowing each other, that remark was not going to make a difference.
Of course, Kentarou dismissed his question, as he had already started a new game of Tetris. Oh, if only he could punch him... He attempted to be polite instead.
"Are you aware the meeting with the stockholders starts at 11:00 and you must have your presentation ready? Are you aware you're in the office and not an arcade?"
"Oh, I had completely forgotten it was today! See, this is exactly why I had to transfer you from management. I'd be lost without you, my dear Takepon!"
Unexpectedly, Kentarou's arms surrounded Takeshi in an embrace. That was the last straw. The latter had to use all his strength to unlock himself, grab Kentarou from his expensive Armani suit jacket's collar, and push him back to the desk.
"Work on your presentation," he muttered in his boss' ear, teeth gritted, "Now!"
"Sure, sure!" Kentarou grinned and went for the keyboard. "Just one more game of Tetris before that..."
Takeshi unplugged the personal computer on his way out of the presidential office.
The door closed with a slam.
The next Sunday morning, Takeshi's breakfast -a bean bread and a glass of milk--was interrupted by someone ringing his apartment's doorbell. He put the newspaper aside and walked slowly to answer.
He opened the door, and found a familiar face wearing an almost manic smile.
"Goooooood morning, Takepon!"
Takeshi closed the door. He was still dreaming; that must be it. No, not just dreaming: having a nightmare. He should buy a stronger brand of instant coffee since it wasn't working correctly.
The doorbell rang again several times. This could not be happening to him. That guy had nothing to do here, especially on his day off. Then again, it could be a hallucination. He was so sick of his former-classmate-now-boss he had gone mad and saw him in other people's faces, or something. Who knew.
He opened the door again, very slowly. Kentarou was still there, with his goofy face, wearing casual clothes.
"The door closed on me," he said, stating the obvious.
"What are you doing here? Where did you find my address?"
"It was on your cover letter, silly! I wrote it down ages ago, in case of an emergency."
"So what happened?!"
"You have to come with me. The chauffeur is waiting for us downstairs."
Alarmed, Takeshi fetched a jacket, put a pair of sneakers on, and followed Kentarou to the street. The limousine and the driver were indeed there.
"Where are we going?"
"You don't remember?"
"Um, no. You're the one who knows what's going on, you idiot."
"We talked about it on Tuesday, that you were going to my place to play Famicom! So I came to pick you up. Geez, Takeshi, this is why you have to eat better. The lack of vitamin B-12 is affecting your memory!"
Takeshi couldn't believe what he was hearing.
"I didn't agree to that! And how is THAT an emergency? You dragged me out of my apartment to do such childish things?"
"Having lunch, too. But really, I never said it was an emergency. So, let's get going!"
Before Takeshi had any time to react, he was pushed inside the car. He had no way to escape now from the bizarre kidnapping. He wished again it was all a nightmare. The vehicle was already far away from his block.
"Stop the car, I don't have time to play with your stupid games on my free day. I have a long list of better things to do."
"For instance?" Kentarou asked.
"Uh, well. I'm vacuuming today. Then I want to finish a book I was reading. And maybe I'll watch tonight's movie feature at channel 2."
Takeshi blushed a bit. Kentarou, of course, wasn't impressed.
"I can vacuum your place for you one of these days! And you can read the book whenever you want! And I'll buy you the VHS of that movie, plus the Godzilla collection, for your birthday!"
"That's not the point! Stop the car, Let me be at home and rest one day from you!"
"Stop whining! We're going to have so much fun, you'll see."
The problem was that Takeshi didn't need the fun. Or, at least, not Kentarou's idea of fun.
As expected, the Higashikunimaru manor was enormous and glamorous, looking like a Western movie's mansion. As they entered, the service personnel were bowing to the 'young master' and asking Takeshi whether he wanted something to drink. He felt more awkward than impressed.
They went upstairs, to a chamber larger than Takeshi's living room. There was the biggest television set he had ever seen outside an electronics store, at least five coin-up machines that seemed taken out of an arcade, and a comfortable couch with the capacity for at least five persons. There was also a helmet and a pair of gloves that might or not be a prototype of a virtual reality system, and a pool table.
"Welcome to Kenpi's game room!" Kentarou announced, filled with glee, pulling his friend in by the arm. Takeshi noticed there were no exits besides the door, and they were on a third floor.
"And... this is only your game room? How many rooms do you have?"
"Oh, several; this is one of the small ones. You should see my bedroom."
"No, thank you!"
Kentarou glanced at him, looking hurt.
"Then you're the kind of husband who wants separate bedrooms? I don't like it, but I love you so much I'll let you have it your way."
Takeshi smacked Kentarou softly on the back of his head. Too bad he couldn't do the same at work.
"Just stop with the bride crap, it gets old. Let's get over with this and play your retarded games so I can go home."
Kentarou prepared the console and all the peripherals quickly. In the meantime, Takeshi sat on the couch and looked around the room. The walls were covered with posters of giant monster movies. There were bookcases filled with tapes of dramas, anime, and sentai shows. They all made the atmosphere, if possible, less mature.
"Childish," he muttered.
"You're too biased," said Kentarou, while turning on the game and grabbing a controller. "It's better for you to see me play first so you get the idea. But yeah, videogames aren't only for kids. You remember the CLAMP Campus chairlady?"
"I do, although I can't remember her face well. She was behind a fan when I met her during that meeting we had with the Imonoyama Group. What about her?"
Kentarou kept talking without looking away from the TV.
"She loves pinball. She has a whole floor in her mansion for her pinball machine collection. She told me she had fifty-three."
"Huh. But you millionaires are all eccentric anyway. I doubt she counts as a sane adult. So, you make the tiny guy walk?"
"Walk, run, jump, punch, kick! It's different in every game. See how a pro does it!"
While he played, Kentarou proceeded to explain the actions of the characters and the buttons to press in order to accomplish them. Takeshi found the tutorial extremely boring. It was even a relief when he finally got to hold it.
He was killed off during the first ten seconds.
"I forgot how to jump. Up button?"
One more try. And then another. He managed to pass the first level on the sixth one.
"So cool, Takepon!" Kentarou praised him and clapped. The more time he spent playing, the more Takeshi frowned and the more intensely he'd smash the buttons. He's serious even in games, Kentarou thought. Considering how Takeshi was when they fought crime as Duklyon, it wasn't that surprising. Cute, even.
Takeshi was so concentrated he didn't notice the kind way Kentarou was looking at him. Perhaps it was better that way.
"You really got hooked to Downtown Nekketsu, Takepon. You're so going to love Rockman, I just know it. More crab croquets?"
As soon as Takeshi's stomach had rumbled in hunger, Kentarou had run to the kitchen to prepare lunch. Not surprisingly, he had dismissed the cooks that day. Today's was even more splendid and varied than the usual bento. Takeshi didn't argue against it, in part because he was tired of doing it every day. He could never win, when it come to Kentarou and his gastronomy.
"I still find them childish and distracting. However..."
Takeshi swallowed his croquet.
"I feel less stressed out now, I don't know why."
"Maybe it's punching people. Violence does wonders."
"I doubt it. I don't put this effort or method when we- you know. You're aware it's not real, and you have more than one chance, and the world won't be destroyed if you fail. It gives you more freedom because it's fantasy."
"I know what you mean! Saving people is fun, but games have less pressure. You're quite good at it; I thought you were going to suck. By the way, let's do the two-player mode after this, Takepon. This is a chance to practice our teamwork! Final Crash!"
Takeshi glanced at Kentarou's honest face, and then at the sashimi next to the meatballs. Sure, he was extremely annoying, and an idiot, and spoiled rotten. It was frustrating he wouldn't leave him alone ever. He lacked a sense of responsibility, and didn't know the meaning of shame. Takeshi's job was more babysitting than assisting.
But sometimes, Takeshi was haunted by the idea that Kentarou felt lonely sometimes. He was outgoing, yes, but he didn't know of any close friend of his besides Sukiyabashi -who had returned to his home planet with Erii a while back. If asked, he'd say Takepon was his best friend and that's enough for him. There was the possibility he had gotten attached because Takeshi was the only person who wouldn't kiss his ass or look down -okay, well, not too much--on him. Even if they were so different, he considered them both equals.
And while Kentarou was definitely a dumbass with little to no common sense, he had quite a few talents and good traits. He was embarrassing and overwhelming, sure, but... It was his way of showing his thoughts. Maybe it wasn't such a bad thing to be so cherished by him. Just like it wasn't such a bad thing to be a secretary, or lose a lovely afternoon to play videogames. Someone had to do it, keeping the president in line. He might be helping the company better by doing that.
He still craved a normal life with a normal job and a normal boss. But after surviving so many weirdoes, starting with the one smiling in front of him, there was a high percentage he wasn't suited for it anymore. Takeshi even had become a Godzilla fan, so it was all lost anyway. He should also grow to love the childish videogames as much as Kentarou's cuisine. He hated himself a bit for that, nonetheless.
"Let's do that," Takeshi agreed. "But don't yell vulgar insults or random things at the screen like you do in real life."
"Eeeeeeh? You're no fun!"
"Is there a mode where I can kick your character's ass? That would relax me even further."
"Not in this one, but there are others of that type! But let's play this co-op first. You can stay tonight, and we can go through all my collection."
"We have work tomorrow, stupid, and I must return home and go to bed early."
"That's okay, you can sleep over and we'll go to the office together on the limo!"
"Are you insane? The rumors would get worse than they already are! How can you expect me to sleep here?!"
"The bed is quite comfortable, you know."
"Kenpi's! It fits us both because it's king size."
"Ahahaha. We have guest rooms as well, silly! We don't have to sleep together."
"Forget it. I'm leaving at eight. Also, I'm kicking your ass for having such illogical ideas."
"That's what you think!"
It was quite jarring, having fun with Kentarou. And it wasn't the last weekend for him to do that and feel like that, either.
- Thanks to Fairymage for the grammar beta, and Laurus Nobilis for the characterization beta!
- Famicom is the name the Nintendo Entertainment System console (NES) received in Japan.
- Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari is known in other countries as River City Ransom. Rockman is Megaman's name in Japan. (Kenpi is sure Takepon would like it because Megaman also wears a blue armor suit, by the way.)