Congratulations, YOU HAVE FOUND A HIDDEN FILE. Go ahead and read if you like, but please keep in mind that I have hidden these for a reason. These are bad or controversial works that I am more ashamed of than my other work ... or in the words of Shakespeare
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended—
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend.
If you pardon, we will mend.

Disclaimer 1: Most of this is fanfic. That means I do not own any of it. I just borrow it to play with for a little while and let people see the pathetic results if they really want to.

Disclaimer 2: I'm not making any money from it. It's just for fun.

Disclaimer 3: What isn't borrowed is all made up. None of this is real or most likely at all realistic. Please don't trust any of the information in here. Most likely you know more about whatever I'm writing about than I do.

Disclaimer 4: Attitudes, views and opinions expressed by the characters or in the story are not necessarily those of the author. Even when writing Science Fiction or Fantasy I do not tend to attempt to create perfect/better worlds in which everybody gets a happy end ... or whatever is best for them. Please accept that some characters will have a bad ending or be unhappy.

Disclaimer 5: I intend no insult to anyone. If I offend anyone I'm very sorry. Please understand that it was an accident as I tend to be very clumsy in these things.

Disclaimer 6: If my characters' conversations seem odd or they appear to be talking past each other the latter might occasionally be intentional, but most likely it is an accident and I'm not aware that they are. It's just my bad communication skills.


Title: Banquet
Fandom: Yami No Matsuei
Characters: Touda, Byakko (Tsuzuki, Tenkou, SohRyu, Suzaku, Taimou and Rikugou mentioned)
Prompt: 012. Orange.
Word Count: 994.
Rating: G
Summary: Byakko seeks out Touda with an unexpected offer.
Author's Notes: Yes, this would have fit the sunset prompt much better, but then what would I do for orange?

Touda sat on the highest roof of the palace watching the sunset turn the city into a magical land of orange hues and black shadows. He couldn't see himself, but assumed that he'd be the blackest of them all. A tiny spot of complete darkness in a golden wonderland.

He could create something even darker by calling on his flames, but it was probably a bad idea. People would see and be scared. The best that could happen was probably that they'd assume that he was fighting a demon that was attacking the city. Someone would raise the alarm and they'd interrupt the banquet they were having downstairs in Tsuzuki's honour and come out to join the fight. Then he'd have to explain to Soh Ryu and Tsuzuki why he'd called on his powers without need. Hellfire was too deadly to play with, they'd tell him, even if you had perfect control.

"There you are." A figure gleaming orange as if it were on fire landed on the roof beside him.

For one confused heartbeat Touda thought he was looking at an unfamiliar fire-shiki, then his brain caught up and he recognised the familiar shape that had been coloured by the light.

"Byakko?" The white colouring of the guardian of the west was perfect for this trick of the light.

"You look like a mystical fire-demon in this light," Byakko commented.

"I'm black," Touda stated. "I'm always black."

"Oh, that's right." Byakko settled down beside him a little cautiously. He didn't spend as much time on rooftops as Touda did. "You can't see yourself." He grinned. "The sunset's turned your hair all orange. Looks like a flame, or a signal flare perhaps. And there are orange highlights on your skin as well. If I didn't know you, I might get scared." He laughed.

"You're all orange yourself," Touda pointed out. "And I do mean all. Almost mistook you for Suzaku."

Byakko winced. "Ouch!"

That was an odd reaction.

"I thought you're friends?" Had something happened between the two guardians? If so it might mean trouble, though Byakko was a forgiving soul. He probably wouldn't act on it.

"What? Of course we are," Byakko assured him. "But I'm not blind or deaf, you know. I know how you feel about her."

"Oh," said Touda unable to think of an answer. He puzzled over the implications of Byakko's reaction. Why would it bother the tiger to be compared to someone Touda didn't like? It wasn't even like he'd compared their personalities.

"It's not her looks that I have a problem with," he felt compelled to explain.

"I know."

The sun had sunk a little deeper leaving the world more shadowy and less orange.

"Why aren't you at the banquet?" Byakko enquired. "Tsuzuki asked after you."

"I ... wasn't hungry."

"Yeah, right. And I am Suzaku." Byakko snorted at that thought. "What's the real reason? And don't tell me you're avoiding Tsuzuki, because I know that's not true."

Touda sighed. "I didn't want to spoil his party."

"Spoil it? How? By attending?" Byakko laughed again, an unsure incredulous laugh. "He missed you."

"Do you remember the last time we all ate together?" Touda prompted.

"You mean when Suzaku hacked your chair to pieces?" This time the laugh was more confident. "That sure was something."

"Exactly." Touda confirmed flatly.

Byakko stopped laughing and looked at him.

"Oh. I suppose it's less funny when the sword's coming right at you, huh?"

“Plus getting chewed out by SohRyu afterwards for provoking her," Touda admitted. The others hadn't witnessed that part. "I didn't mean to. It's just that she finds the very sight of me provoking."

"I know. It was a stupid oversight that the servants placed you right next to her. I'm sure it won't happen again." Byakko smiled brightly at him. "Or, if it does, you can simply take my seat. I'm fine with her."

"I shouldn't sit next to Taimou either. Or Rikugou or SohRyu," Touda said. "Or Tenkou."

Byakko blinked. "What happened between you and Tenkou? She's just a little girl."

"Origami," Touda admitted. "Cherry stone spitting competition, a pirate game and then there was our food fight."

"Food fight?"

"Well, SohRyu insisted she had to empty her plate and that I should set a good example, but neither of us wanted cold overcooked peas. So Tenkou started sneaking her peas onto my plate. I shovelled them back. We'd have been fine, if SohRyu hadn't heard us giggle."

"Oh, and then there was the time she asked me to tell her a scary story," Touda added after a moment. "And for some reason SohRyu also objected to building a pudding tower. He says I'm a bad influence on his children."

"So you don't just have a problem with not getting on with people, but also with getting on too well?"

He had to think that over. He'd never regarded the problem from this angle before.

"I suppose so," he allowed.

"You know what," Byakko smiled at him. "Let’s go back down there. You can just stick close to me and we’ll avoid Suzaku. As long as you remember not to play with Tenkou and are polite to everybody, they’ll be polite as well. They don’t want to ruin Tsuzuki’s party any more than you do.”

“I don’t like parties,” Touda said, but he did get up when Byakko did.

“Maybe so, but Tsuzuki wants to see you,” Byakko returned. “And,” he added at a whisper. “I don’t think he likes banquets much either. SohRyu’s formal events are much too stiff for him.”

“The children hate them,” Touda confided.

“The children, the servants and at least half of the guests,” Byakko agreed. “But attending’s in our job descriptions, I guess.”

For some strange reason banquets were less difficult when somebody else knew what worried him about them. Or maybe Byakko was much more subtle than he usually let on and managed to run interference for Touda without the serpent ever noticing.

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