Counterpoise drabble (2015-07-29)

“Okay kids, we’ve got a dead courtier, a missing will, and a highly coveted treaure. Lay it on me,” Riichi-sensei says, head propped lazily in his hand. The four of them are seated in one of the booths of Aomori Teahouse, their usual mission planning spot, each with a cup of chrysanthemum tea steaming in front of them.

Ringo, having lost the daily tussle to avoid sitting next to sensei, goes first. “Incompetent rival,” he suggests with a half-hearted shrug, knowing that first suggestions hardly ever win. By dint of both having less time to think and not being able to compare to other plans.

Konran goes next, “Vengeful servant?” she says, eyes flicking carefully toward their waitress, then the tea pot. It’s a fair possibility, noblemen tend to be entitled assholes, and a servant would only be willing to put up with so much.

Zakuro grins, leaning forward eagerly, because he knows he’s got this one in the bag. “Lost heir,” he says triumphantly, preening as his teammates nod in support.

Riichi-sensei, taking it all in, throws back his tea as if it were sake, and slams the cup back onto the table with a loud thud. “It’s decided. We’ll do the lost heir.”

For reasons which Riichi-sensei refuses to share, Konran has to be the heir. Or, rather, heiress.

“And, anyway, these two can pass off as bodyguards. You, kid? Not so much,” Sensei says, patting the top of her head heavily as if to emphasize the nearly twenty centimeters of height difference between her and her teammates.

For now they’re keeping their identities a secret from everyone but their client, which means face make-up to cover Ringo’s tattoos, colored contacts to darken Zakuro’s irises, and–

“A wig,” Konran demands, quietly but firmly. Her hood is down, which is pretty rare, but even after four months of being a team, they have yet to see her without her bandana.

“It’s just a minor role for a B-rank, kid,” says Riichi-sensei, brow furrowed; he doesn’t understand the reticence.

“If she doesn’t want to, she shouldn’t have to,” Zakuro responds protectively, pulling up Konran’s hood for her. Entirely unnecessary, but kind.

“No one tells Hatake Kakashi to take off his mask,” Ringo adds, equally unnecessary, but just as good-hearted.

“Hatake Kakashi isn’t my subordinate,” Riichi-sensei says, voice gone flinty as it does during the rare serious moments. At his students’ reactions–minute flinch, tightening fists, upright posture–he regulates himself. His voice softens and he tries again, “Blonde hair isn’t that difficult to dye, and it’ll wash right out.”

At that, Konran finally meets his eyes. Bemusedly, she says, “I’m not blonde.”

~

A/N: Random mission for the Counterpoise team. Uh… spoilers? Yeah, they pass. Hahahahah… 😛

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