Title: Masquerade: the Aftermath
E-mail: freeradical9 (at) gmail (.) com
Warnings: Implied roughhousing and implied sex
Summary: What happens next.
A/N: Back by popular demand. Well, no, not really. ...But this was inspired by a comment from jiele, "I wonder how much of the manor they're gonna destroy before someone catches on...." It was too much fun to resist. Follows about a week after the events of 'Masquerade'.
"It appears," Hakkai said cautiously as they left the hall of audience, "that we have worn out our welcome here."
As if to emphasize the point, the huge double doors to the great hall swung closed after them, slamming shut with a booming finality. Ukoku gave a careless little shrug and turned away from the doors. Rather than heading for the guest wing, however, he started down the corridor that led to the front gardens. Hakkai fell into step beside him, the heels of his buckled shoes clicking against the marble tiles.
"If our beneficent host was worried about damage to the gardens," Ukoku pointed out, "he shouldn't throw so many parties. What else would you expect, with so many people around? In the future he should refrain from serving all that alcohol."
Hakkai gave him a sidelong look. His mouth curved up slightly at the corners upon seeing Ukoku's unrepentant demeanor. "He didn't seem to be too concerned about the alcohol. ...Or about the other guests, even."
"Hnh. Well. Topiaries are easy to replace."
The comment was rewarded with a soft, self-deprecating laugh. "I don't think he was upset about the gardens. Rather, the structural damage to the various parts of the manor seemed to be the issue. The hole in the stable wall, for instance, or that missing section of the balustrade on the central staircase, or that large charred area on top of the guest wing roof."
"Mmm." Rather than looking contrite, Ukoku's expression was faintly pleased. "Yes, that last one was my fault, wasn't it?"
Hakkai held the front door open for him, and together they exited out into the cool evening air. Overhead, the moon was waning. "...And the stained glass window in the foyer?"
"A regrettable accident. You shouldn't have startled me like that." Ukoku paused on the front step, leaning up against one of the marble columns. It barely showed any damage at all from their little adventures of the previous night--just a few rather prominent scratches and a chip in the stone here and there. "He really shouldn't have acted so put upon. My order grants me a traveling expense account. I'm sure they'll be simply delighted to cover all the damages."
"How fortunate." Hakkai stopped for a moment. "I do have to agree with our host concerning his objections over the help." He gave Ukoku a pointed look. "If you would leave the limiters alone for two seconds perhaps the poor maids would stop having hysterics. I heard that the butler still hasn't recovered from the "werewolf" sighting in the wine cellar two nights back."
"Mmm. But I can't help it." Ukoku reached out and traced a finger lightly over the silver clips on Hakkai's ear. Hakkai tolerated the gesture. Barely. "Yes, and someday you really must tell me all about your transfiguration into a youkai. I'm simply dying of curiosity."
"Oh really? Most regrettable, then. I was starting to become rather used to your company."
"My point is," Hakkai continued, "that we are likely to find ourselves cast out onto the street if this persists for much longer."
"This place was getting boring anyway." Ukoku gave Hakkai a sideways look. Abruptly he pushed off the pillar and stepped forward, coming to a halt barely a hand's-breadth from Hakkai's chest. His black eyes glittered in bold appraisal. "We haven't yet wreaked any havoc on the front garden, you know. I do believe that the main gates are embellished with a delightful vine motif." He dipped his head to nuzzle along Hakkai's jaw line, and murmured into the pale skin of his throat, "You would look so lovely pressed up against all that wrought iron."
Hakkai stepped smoothly back. His voice was calm, faintly amused, as he said, "Pardon me, but who did you say would be going up against the wrought iron?"
Ukoku smiled. "Well now. I suppose we would just have to see, wouldn't we?"
"Ah. ...And worry about getting cast out into the street in the morning."
"But of course. This isn't the only place that two young gentlemen of means could choose to spend their time." Ukoku stepped off of the stairs, heading across the lawn in the direction of the front gate. A little thrill of anticipation shot through his chest as Hakkai followed after. He glanced back over his shoulder.
"...I hear that
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