It took Redcloak a few minutes to snap out of it. He’d never exactly been good at reading social cues, but this had to be some kind of record. Refusing to feel certain feelings was something of a strategy of his. He hadn’t allowed himself to feel non-familial affection for thirty years, and now even that was blacklisted. But Tsukiko seemed determined to take love, or at least lust, off the list.
And she seemed to have decided the most effective way to do this was by following him around. And wearing the Not-A-Shirt. She was succeeding only in making him supremely uncomfortable. He seemed to be the only one who felt that way. Jirix, for one seemed rather appreciative.
“Redcloak, do you think Tsukiko is pretty?”
“….Yes, but I wouldn’t word it that way. I think she could be a lovely young lady if she stopped dressing like a tramp.”
“I don’t dress like a tramp!” They had been having the conversation in front of Tsukiko. She hadn’t minded.
“That’s not a shirt, Tsukiko. That’s three strips of black leather and some adhesive.” She pouted. Redcloak sighed, finished his lunch, and went of to do whatever it was he was he did.
Tsukiko stood to follow him, but Jirix stopped her. “Wait.”
“What? I don’t really have time to chat, Jirix," said Tsukiko curtly, eyes on the door shutting behind Redcloak.
“That’s exactly why I want to talk to you. Tsukiko, I just don’t think Redcloak is interested in you. You keep chasing after him, and he doesn’t notice. There are tons of guys who like you, don’t waste your time mooning after him.”
“Excuse me? Are you my father?”
“Then I don’t see how my love life is any of your business. If I want to ‘moon over’ Reddy, than that’s my choice. Butt out.” She jerked her arm out of his hold and stormed off before he could finish his sentence.
“But I don’t want to see you get hurt.”
Tsukiko didn’t want him to know it, but Jirix’s words had really gotten to her. She didn’t know why he cared so much, but it was true. She was a hot young theurge, and Reddy was just some cleric. She wanted a definite answer, and she wanted that answer to be “Yes.”
And if there’s one thing that spontaneous spell-casters get very good at very quickly, it’s getting what they want.
Tsukiko stormed up the twisting stairs to the tower Redcloak inhabited. It was unclear exactly why everyone had their rooms in towers. It was damn inconvenient to everything else in the entire castle. But sometimes, logic must be forsaken for drama. Like with towers.
Tsukiko was even angrier when she reached the top of the stairs. Out of breath, she forewent knocking, and kicked to door open, which banged dramatically, as it hadn’t been locked, or even closed. “REDCLOAK!”
The cleric jumped about a mile, the thick book he’d been reading falling to the floor with a thud. “What do you need?” he asked angrily, picking the book back up.
“Do you like me or do you not like me?”
“Do you like me or not?”
“Tsukiko, that’s a question I-"
“Yes or no?”
He hesitated for only a moment before taking her hands and kissing her gently. In a remarkable (for her) display of self-control, Tsukiko was able to keep herself from squealing, and thus ruining the moment. The other thing that could have had much moment-ruining potential was Jirix, who had followed Tsukiko, expecting Redcloak to brush her off, and send her, weeping, into his arms.
Unfortunately for Jirix, that was not what had happened. Instead, he stood, framed in the door, gaping, before quietly leaving before either of them noticed his presence.
Of course, Jirix wasn’t planning on being the better man and saying that he just wanted Tsukiko to be happy. What was he, a hero or something? No, of course he wasn’t. There were many perks to being evil, and never having to lose gracefully was one of them.
Admittedly, his plan at this point was pretty much to storm around angrily for a while, have a good cry, and then purchase a love potion. But it was all he had come up with in the forty seconds it had taken him to stalk down the tower stairs before running into Xykon.
“HEY! I’m trying really hard to think of situation where the place you’re going is more important than the place I’m going. I’m also failing,” said Xykon.
“Sorry sir. I was… distracted.”
“By what? Your excuse had better be good. I’ve got a Meteor Swarm burning a hole in my pocket, if you catch my drift.”
Jirix gulped. Today was just not his day. “The fact the Redcloak and Tsukiko are making out in his room?”
“Tsukiko. And. Redcloak. Are. Kissing. In his room.”
For the first time in his death, Xykon did not know what to say. For a moment, he was half-way expecting someone to jump out, yell “Surprise!” and die before they had time to register he’d fireball’d them. But a few tense moments passed, and the person in charge of yelling “Surprise” was either nonexistent or very timid.
Forced to acknowledge that this was not someone’s idea of a joke, Xykon said, “Really? I though Reddy played for the other team.”
“And I thought he didn't play. At all."
They stood in awkward silence, reflecting on their misinterpretation of Redcloak’s gender preferences.
“Also, I thought it was you who had a thing for Tsukiko.”
“It was,” said Jirix bitterly.
“Well,” said Xykon, “This is excruciatingly awkward.”
“It is,” conceded Jirix.
After a moment, Xykon said, “Well, I’ve got nothing better to do this afternoon. Wanna make them break up?”
“Can I say ‘Yes,’ loud enough?”