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A CAPOW story compiled by Danielle Delaney
The door to the Lurkers Retreat slammed open and the patrons inside barely had time to make out long intricately braided hair and soft white wings before they settled back to their drinks. It was, after all, only Kai.

     "Jude? Jude? JUDE!!"

     One dark eyebrow arched and a slender hand waved to catch the Seraphim's rather frantic attention. Jude, ex-biker and now turned hacker-for-hire, brushed the wildly curling auburn hair from her dark eyes and shrugged at her companion who just shook his head and gave her a cheeky grin before announcing:

     "Check, and, I believe, mate."

     Jude scowled and then growled as she studied the intricate version of chess that Joseph had managed to talk her into playing. [the Star trek version of Chess. For some reason that just strikes me as Joseph's type of game] She was a complete sucker for cute--although if you announced it she would deny it with every fiber of her being and then quietly dispose of your body in some back alley--and Joseph had used all of his cuteness and charm to talk her into what he had called a 'simple board game.' Simple her ass!! She kept forgetting that he was one of the writers for the Guide and nothing was simple with Joseph. Nothing. She raked a hand through her dark curls and frowned in concentration, ignoring the bouncing angelic presence just off her left elbow. Joseph really did have her in a nasty spot, but she knew there was a way out of it...

     Kai twirled the end of her braid in one hand and waited for Jude to pay attention, and waited, and waited, and waited. She huffed, nothing. She flicked her wings in frustration, nada. Kai hated being ignored. Joseph gave her another one of his eloquent shrugs and grinned again. Kai could see why he was a writer for the Guide. She lifted an eyebrow in a silent question and plea, but Joseph just shook his head.

     "I think she really is stuck, and I'm not going to help her out of it. How else is she going to learn?"

     Jude's reply to Joseph's hypothetical question was a low growl. Kai huffed again. She did not like being ignored, especially for a board game, especially when the next move was sooo obvious. Kai, unable to stand being ignored any longer, reached out and moved one piece, and then crossed her arms. Joseph's mouth dropped and Jude performed a flawless facepalm.

     "Damn!! I should have seen that one!"

     "You always over think your strategies," Kai admonished before her voice fell into a plea, "Now will you listen to me?"

     "Yeah, yeah, sure," Jude agreed distractedly, "Oh, Joseph? I think it is check and mate."

     As pleased as if the move had been her idea Jude stretched her arms over her head and grinned at Joseph's muttering about angelic intervention and cheating. Jude turned that please smile to Kai and cocked her head as if to say 'Well? Spit it out already.'

     Kai mentally counted to ten and reminded herself that she loved the infuriating mortal, she really did love her. She then announced very clearly in a nice carrying voice:

     "I heard that Dachend and Katt are getting married."

     The Retreat went completely quiet. All the lurkers and the regulars Stared in dumbfounded shock until there was a loud banging sound. Jude had fallen over.

     "Say WHAT!?!"

     Joseph looked over the table at the sprawled, prone Jude and burst out laughing, before settling back to listen to the entire story. He had a nagging feeling that there was something going on.

     Kai just nodded and perched herself on the table next to the complex chess game. She leaned over to look Jude straight in the eye, her long braids swinging like pendulums. She giggled at Jude's expression of sheer shock.

     "Yep, I was told that he was spotted in a jewelry store looking at rings...DIAMOND rings." Kai gave Jude a significant look. The other one just shook her head, still flat on her back.

     "Uso, now way!" Jude bounced up from the floor and grabbed Kai's hands, "Who 'dya hear it from?"

     Kai grinned, and with a look of pure girlish glee whispered: "Falora."

     Jude, still in shook, started making her way to the door.

     "Oi! Matte, Jude, Our game! Come back so I can beat you!" Joseph cried out as Jude pulled open the door to the Retreat.

     "Jude, wait, where are you going? I'm not done yet..." Kai called.

     Jude turned slightly and stated, " I'm gonna find Dachend. Are you kidding? This is the best time ever to give him shit!" With a rakish, reckless grin Jude walked out the door.

     "WAIT!!!" Miyuki shouted in frustration, "You haven't paid for your drinks!!!" But Jude was already gone, "I never win." Miyuki groaned.

     Kai and Joseph looked at each other and just grinned. Joseph looked at his game and then turned mournful, pleading eyes to Kai. The angel twitched, her wings flicked, she tried to hold strong, but the awesome power of the uber-kawaii won after all. The Seraphim sighed and plopped into the chair recently vacated by Jude.

     "So, Kai, you heard this from Falora?" Joseph asked as he studied his pieces. Victory, he believed, was at hand.

     "Uh-huh, but she said she heard it from someone else." Kai watched as Joseph made his next move, and she frowned in consternation as she realized how vulnerable she had left her rook, but she could rescue her poor forsaken piece, she just knew it.

     "So, do you know who told her?" Joseph casually asked. He was quite confident in his last move.

     Kai looked up briefly from her consideration of her rook. She flipped one bead-threaded braid over her shoulder and shook her head. "Nope, I didn't remember the name. It wasn't anyone I had ever met before."

     Just as Kai was about to make a move that would have devastated Joseph's unprotected left flank the door of the Retreat slammed open once again and a voice cried out:

     "Minna!! You will never believe what Jude just told me!!"

     Miyuki looked up, hoping it was Jude who had stormed back in so she could pay for her drink. Instead, she found her understudy, Chisa Biko, dressed in her usual sundress, hair tied with a big colorful bow. "Let me guess," Miyuki replied, "You heard Dachend's getting married."

     Chisa jump towards the bar, literally. "How'd you guess! Did she tell you guys, too? She was telling everyone on the street! Practically every body! I mean, there I was coming to the bar and she just jumps out of nowhere and tells me! And I don't even know her!" She said this all in one breath.

     "Actually, it Jude got it from her," Joseph mumbled into his hand while pointing to Kai. His eyes were locked on the board and deeply contemplating his next move.

     Kai turned around to see the newcomer. "Hi!" she waved. "I'm Kai." "Chisa Biko", the bartender-in-training introduced herself and offered a hand. "That's a cute outfit," Kai complimented.

     Chisa's eyes brightened. "You think so? I love this outfit! It's my favorite. Everyone thinks I look like a little kid in it but I don't pay them any attention." She continued in that same breath but switched topics. "Now, is it true Dachend's getting married?"

     Kai nodded slowly.

     "Uso! I can't believe it! That psychotic maniac, never gives a damn about anything, takes no crap from nobody, Mr. Tough-guy Dachend is actually going to get married!" She started giggling.

     Kai couldn't help grinning. "I think Jude had about the same reaction."

     "So you know that girl?" Chisa asked. "She was practically telling everyone she met on the street."

     "Umm, yes you said that before. And yes, I live with her," Kai admitted. She regarded Chisa. She seemed like a very nice person but she had never met someone with such much… perk. She returned her gaze to the table where Joseph was waiting for her to make a move. Kai's mouth almost dropped to the floor. She was in trouble now. "Did you move my pieces around or something?!"

     The main doors creaked open again. Miyuki peered across the bar to see if it was Jude. Would she –never- get paying customers in her bar, Miyuki wondered helplessly. To her disappointment, it was not Jude. It was Kimiko, carrying her laptop under her left arm. She was looking to sit at her regular table, order some green tea and work on whatever it was she had on the precious computer. At least she paid for her drinks.

     Chisa waved to the Chobetsu agent. "Konnichiwa, Kimiko-san! Did you hear the news? It's the big question on everyone's mind!" "Hmm.?" Kimiko interrupted with a raised eyebrow, a pen in her mouth for some reason.

     "Dachend’s is getting married!"

     That eyebrow raised a little more. She opened her mouth and dropped the pen in her hand. "Are you sure about that?"

     "Haiiiii!" Chisa nodded. "I heard it from Jude who heard it from ... ?" She looked to Kai's table.

     "Kai," Joseph said, head rested on his hands, watching the pieces.

     "... from Kai."

     "I heard it from Falora," Kai mumbled, thinking of a way to not only get out of the mess Joseph had caused, but to turn the tables and go on the offense herself. Kimiko shook her head. "Uh-uh, not what I heard. Lyta said she saw Dachend this morning at the flower shop. She said he was grumbling and cursing every five seconds."

     Chisa giggled. "Since when doesn't he do that?"

     "Uh, well, Lyta said he looked extra testy this morning. If you ask me, I think Dachend and Katt got into another fight and he went to buy flowers to apologize."

     Chisa scratched her head and walked over to Kai's table. "Hey, how did you know Dachend was getting married?" She didn't get a response right away, which only annoyed her because that was how adults treated children, sometimes, and she concluded Kai was treating her like a kid. "Hey!" Kai shrugged, not looking at the girl but not angry at being yelled at. "Didn't you just hear what I said? I heard it from Falora. She said she saw him looking for a diamond ring."

     Kimiko tapped the pen on her lip. "Another case of 'he said, she said', huh?" The bar doors opened again and all eyes turned to see who it was. Perhaps they could make sense of what was going on with Dachend. (Miyuki hoped it was Jude.)

     The doors opened to reveal a diminutive figure whose blond hair blew out behind her in a dramatic fashion.

     "JOSEPH!!" Anne, not so much yelled, but said with such force that all the lurkers between her and the object of her irritation quickly scrambled out of her way. Joseph looked up from the board where Kai had once again put him on the defensive position.

     "eh, Nani?"

     "Joseph no BAKA!!!!" And with that the highly irate female launched Joseph once again into LEO.

     Kai blinked as her opponent went flying through the air--with good speed she noted--and landed straight into the bucket that Miyuki had set out with the intention to clean the bar. The angel turned to regard the blond and wondered briefly if she would ever be able to achieve that type of aim.

     Kai held up a sigh that read "8.5"

     Miyuki presented Anne with a "8.0"

     And Chisa enthusiastically gave Anne an "8.9" for the landing.

     Anne blushed and brushed back her hair muttering, "Well, really, that wasn't one of my better malletings...."

     The Seraphim sweat dropped and asked quietly--for fear of getting launched herself since she had yet to realize that Anne only really launched Joseph--"Eto, Why did you do that?”

     The wielder of the mallet blinked and asked "You mean that Joseph isn't the one responsible for that ridiculous rumor that Dachend and Katt are getting married?"

     Kai shook her head and started to wonder if she should be preparing for a quick trip into LEO.

     "Anou..." Chisa spoke up "I hear from Jude that...." "And Jude heard from Kai..." interjected a now dripping, glaring, uber-kawaii Jo-chan.

     "And I heard it from Falora!!" Kai spoke up quickly in her own defense.

     "That Dachend had been looking at diamond rings.." Miyuki finished with annoyance. No one seemed to be eager to pay for their drinks.

     "But Dachend had actually been in the flower shop swearing every five minutes." Kimiko stated in a tone that said 'and that should settle everything'.

     Anne blinked and shook her head, "Well, -I- heard from Washu-oneechan that Dachend was in trouble because he hadn't asked Katt to marry him yet."

     There was mass sweatdroppage in the bar.

Which was interrupted by a cute redhead sitting up and lifting the bucket off of her head, "What'd you do that for?!"

     Anne looked down, her hands clasped behind her back in typical cute-girl pose. "Um," she said sheepishly. "Sorry? I just thought that..."

     "I never start rumors!" Jo-chan yelled, hauling herself off of Miyuki's counter and onto the floor. "I just take them and twist them and pass them along, just like everyone else."

     "I said I was sorry!"

     "Hmmph," grumbled Jo-chan. She took her seat opposite Kai once again and wrung out her wet red hair.

     "Awww, isn't that sweet?" said Kimiko with a smirk, stirring her tea. The general opinion on the infamous couple was, unsurprisingly, fairly uniform.

     "Isn't what sweet?"

     "Oh, nothing... Just young love sprouting from young hearts, that's all." Chisa sighed as pink hearts replaced her eyes.

     "We're not in love," said Jo-chan and Anne, in stereo.

     "Suuure you're not," said Kai mischievously, unsurprised at the proceedings. Jude-sama was right -- they did look cute together. Even though one was a girl at the moment.

     Anne sighed in a tone almost exactly unlike Chisa's as she sat down parallel to the players in the chess game. "Who's winning?"

     "I am," said Kai forcefully, demonstrating with an audible thump as she brought her white queen down onto a promising square. "Hah! Pinned. Looks like your queen's in trouble, Jo-chan."

     "Man..." The young hitchhiker sighed and considered her options. Maybe she could save her queen with a bishop to protect the square...

     "So, what's this about Katt being mad at Dachend?" asked Kimiko, lifting up her flowered cup and turning to the blonde-haired girl.

     "Oh, 'neechan said that she saw Katt and Dachend yelling at each other when she went to Katt's garage." Anne shrugged and watched Jo-chan move a black knight to protect the black queen and threaten the white one. "Something about commitment."

     "Well, that explains why Dachend was at the flower shop." The Chobetsu agent took a sip of green tea, savoring its warmth and flavor, and placed the flowered cup on its respective flowered saucer.

     "Or the jewelry store," added Chisa thoughtfully. There was something she was supposed to remember, wasn't there? Now, what was --


     "Hmmm?" The young bartender turned to see Miyuki looking at her and tapping her watch. "Oh, right. Gomen, minna-san," said Chisa, turning to the stairs leading to the second floor, "but I have to go change -- my shift starts in a few minutes! Ja ne!"

     "Ja ne, Chisa-chan!" Chika called out, as Chisa ran up the stairs, her ponytail of blue hair following shortly after, held together by a red Hello Kitty ribbon.

     "Ja ne..." called Anne. She turned to the assembled group. "So, what do you all think?"

     "It sounds like Katt got mad at Dachend for not even proposing yet, so he's getting her flowers to apologize." Kimiko shrugged wordlessly, and continued tapping on her keyboard.

     "Apologize? Dachend has less tact than an invading army," said Jo-chan, moving another piece. "I was surprised they got together in the first place, considering that it's like watching an elk fall in love with a lion."

     Kai was technically a seraph, although in Heaven they were starting to downplay social rank so as to be more politically correct. Still, she was one of the best. She could beat this mere mortal... "Or he changed his mind and bought her a ring to propose to her," said Kai, castling queenside.

     "Maybe she pressured him into proposing to her?" said Miyuki, buffing a glass.

     "Nah, she wouldn't do anything like that --"

     The doors of the Retreat creaked open once again.

     "Hey, everyone!" said Yugo eagerly, as the doors closed behind him. This was bound to be something no one had heard before. "Guess what I just heard!"

     Kai didn't look up from the board. She knew exactly what the unfamiliar voice was going to say. "You mean that Dachend and Katt are getting married?" she said, positioning her white queen once again onto her square of choice. "Check."

     "Right! And you know what that means? There's gonna be a wedding, and lots of people," Yugo exclaimed, speeding up his speech to match his excitement, "and half-of-them-are-gonnabewaitasecond..." The martial artist looked puzzled. "How'd you guys know?"

     The bar filled suddenly with chatter once again...

     "When did you all see Katt at the jewelry store?"

     ..and became silent just as quickly.


     Just as the silence was reaching its peak, the doors to the Retreat were opened again and Junsui entered, cautiously walking into the bar and nervously looking around at everyone inside, wondering if he was the cause of the silence.

     He made his way to the bar and sat down on the stool, looking toward Chisa as he set a few yen on the counter. "V8, please", he said, still eyeing the patrons. When Miyuki slid the drink across to him, he asked her, "What's this I hear about Dachend getting married?"

     The bar exploded back into noise once more.

     "See, I told you he's getting married!"

     "Are you sure about that?"

     "If he knows something about it, there must have been a public announcement somewhere... Four moves until check, Jo.."

     "Why else would Katt be at the Jewelry store getting a ring?"

     Jun took a couple of swallows of his drink and spun the stool around to get a better look at what was going on. Confused, he spun around and caught the bartender's attention. "Pardon me, but who's Katt?"

     Junsui had intended the question for Miyuki, but Yugo volunteered to answer his question before Miyuki could start her sentence.

     "Man, where have you been?! You don't know Katt? She's only one of the hottest babes in Capow --right next to my Alzena-chan-- but then again, they both have their own individual high points.." His eyes had that faraway look as he gave a grin, (which was lecherous, of course, but that goes without saying) "She's, um... where was I?"

     "Dachend. Marriage." Junsui prompted, trying not to back away from the near-palpable aura of Hentai that Yugo was radiating.

     "Oh yeah, he bought her some flowers and a ring, to propose to her."

     "O-kay..." Junsui said. "Katt.. Pointy ears? Overalls?"

     At Yugo's nods, he continued, "Then why was she in the jewelry store? She looked rather upset to me." He took another sip. "Well, that and she seemed to be grilling the owner for some reason.. But I did hear something about a ring..."

     He paused and looked around. Everyone was looking at him, and he hadn't noticed the entire bar go silent again, listening to him recount what he had seen.

     "What? Did I spill something on me?" Junsui said, looking down at his shirt.

     The bar exploded into noise once more

     Chisa bounced back and forth from table to table, trying to get as much information as she could about the whole Dachend-Katt affair. And what an affair it was. Was Dachend going to propose to Katt? Was Katt upset Dachend hadn't asked yet? What was really going on?

     "Chisa!" Miyuki scolded the bartender understudy. "You're supposed to be minding the bar!"

     "Hai, hai," Chisa apologized with downcast eyes. She looked back to the bar. It was so far away from everyone's table. Then, she had an idea. She pulled out a notepad from her flowery bar apron and approached some of the patrons.

     "None of this makes any sense," someone said. "Doesn't anyone have some more reliable information?"

     "Yes, but she said he was at the jewelers!"

     "Could you guys pipe down," Joseph muttered, trying to concentrate on his chess game.

     "You guys want any drinks?" Chisa asked but was largely ignored. She moved to another table and caught more snippets of conversations but nobody wanted a drink or was already served. Chisa was beginning to get annoyed. "Doesn't anyone want a drink?"

     Chisa stomped over to the last table where Kimiko was sitting, busy typing on her laptop. "Can I get you a drink?" Chisa forced out her mouth nicely.

     "Hmm?" Kimiko responded, "I already have my tea."

     "Tea, tea, tea!" Chisa complained. "That's all you ever drink when you come here! Don't you want a real drink?"

     "What's wrong with the tea?" Kimiko asked, her eyes still fixed to the screen.

     "This is a bar! You order alcoholic drinks, not tea! I know!" She raced back to the bar, grabbed half a dozen bottles and began mixing them into a glass. "A little bit of this.. some of that.. oops, not TOO much... umm. Let's try adding this one... and some of this! There!" She carried the cloudy liquid back to Kimiko's table and thrust it under her nose. "Sore!"

     Kimiko's nose scrunched and she pulled her chair away. "Yuck! What is that stench?!"

     "That's not a stench!" Chisa yelled back, slightly hurt. Her drinks deserved better respect. "It's my super-fast cocktail mix! C'mon, drink it, Kimiko-san. Ne? Ne? Ne? Ne? Ne? Ne?"

     "What are you, 12 years old?!" Kimiko scolded her. "Go away! Take your stew with you!"

     "It's not a stew!" protested Chisa. "It's my drink and you're going to drink it if I have to ram it down your throat!!" All calm reason having left her brain, she pulled her arm back, readied her aim and fired the liquid like a cannon ball right into Kimiko's mouth.

     "Ack!" Kimiko yelped as her chair tipped back and she fell onto the floor. Chisa's drink fired into her mouth and down her throat. Instantly, her face turned a bright red and little vents of steam appeared beside her ears, opening up fast. She struggled to get up, extremely woozy. She waved a finger in the air to make her point. "Dash.. dash pwetty awful shtuff.. Shisshaa...hic", and collapsed back to the floor.

     Chisa blinked. She looked down at Kimiko's unconscious body, the alcohol just too much for her system. She crept back to the bar and looked at the various bottles that she had used to mix the drinks. They were all the standard alcohol beverages. Except there was one clear bottle with the label facing away from her. She held the neck of the bottle by her fingers and turned. The label said, "Apple cider vinegar". Chisa sweat dropped, looked around and innocently put the bottle under the bar counter.

     Chisa sighed. Once again, she was out of the loop and short one customer. Well, one conscious customer. Kimiko still had to pay for her drinks. Chisa wondered if she could use this to her advantage.

     "Hmm.. let's try a bit of this .. and a bit of that.. and some more of this... and.. oops, not that, hehe.. we don't want THAT to happen again." Another perfectly cloudy glass of unknown liquid. Chisa smiled, her best work yet.

     "What's that, Kimiko-san?" Chisa cocked her ear towards the unconscious agent. "You want another drink? Are you sure, you look a little tipsy? You'll double-tip me? Wai! How generous of you, Kimiko-san!" She rushed over to Kimiko, squatted and opened her closed mouth. "The little drinkee goes down the hatch!"

     Chisa leapfrogged backwards and waited to see the results.

     --- Belinda slipped in unnoticed, since the uproar was still focused towards Junsui. She smirked, noting the expression on everyone's faces.

     "They fell for it, hook, line, and sinker!" she rubbed her hands gleefully. "There's no lie as convincing as one that mirrors the truth!"

     With all of the rumors buzzing around and feeding upon one another, Belinda was racking up quite a profit selling "real" information to those willing and able to cough up the price. And Belinda had the scoop all right--she even had the pictures to back it up. Of course, since she wanted to make a real killing, she released the news in small, tasty tidbits garnished with some creative forgery that made people hungry for more.

     "Tendou Nabiki, eat your heart out!" Belinda thought, remembering the manga Elyssa had been so into that the girl was once caught in class reading it.

     That was when the woman sprawled on the floor a few feet away leapt up about five feet into the air, rushed about like a headless chicken, and ran smack into her.

     And then she threw up all over Belinda's clothes. ***

     Alzena entered the bar from the stairway wearing a short tank top and tight-fitting jeans, yawning and stretching lazily. "What's all the ruckus?"

     Yugo's eyes lit up. "ALZENA-CHAN!"

     Alzena calmly sidestepped and "helped" continue Yugo's trajectory into the bathroom.

     *smack* *crunch*

     There was a collective wince.

     Alzena dusted her hands and redirected her attention to the crowded bar. "I could hear you guys through the floor [1]. What's gotten everyone so excited?"

     "Dachend and Katt are getting married!" Anne shouted over the din as everyone tried to get in a word.

     "Dachend...?" Alzena searched her memory, scratching the back of her head, inadvertently showing quite a bit of skin in the process [3]. Her eyes went wide. "THAT guy?"

     "Uh-huh," nearly everybody answered simultaneously, except for the woman who looked like she was about to pass out, and the girl that was now glowing a very scary green color.


[1] Alzena DOES live on the second floor of the Retreat, right? Right? ^^;[2]
[2] Even if she didn't before, she does now. :) [3] Fanboys everywhere began suffering from intense nosebleeds. :)

     "Stay calm, stay calm, stay calm..." Belinda repeated through clenched teeth. It wasn't working very well, especially not when the woman who ran into her looked like she was about to empty the contents of her stomach again.

     "I guess I overdid it, haha," the girl with the big red bow in her hair laughed weakly, going up to the other woman. "Kimiko-san, you okay?"

     Kimiko groaned something unintelligible and slumped to the floor again.

     That did it for Belinda. Her mood was completely ruined, and she was absolutely humiliated.

     "Elyssa's behind this some how," was the bizarre conclusion that her whirling mind came to. "She's ALWAYS in my way!"

     Belinda knew when to cut her losses and retreat. Now was the moment. She would have plenty of other opportunities to profit from this little mess, but now she just wanted to go home and take a shower.

     A tight-lipped Belinda turned around and marched out of the door without so much as a sound, roughly shoving aside the teenaged girl who tried to come in.


     "Hey! That was rude!" Falora exclaimed, but the other girl didn't seem to notice. Seeing that everyone was staring at her, Falora waved. "Hey, guys!" she went up to the bar and ordered a chocolate shake. "You know what's really weird?" she began, sitting on the tall stool. "Everybody's talking about Dachend and Katt getting married?"

     Kai sweatdropped. "What do you mean, 'really weird'? You're the one who told me that Dachend was out buying diamond rings."

     Falora blinked. "No I didn't."

     Once again, silence reigned.

     "What did you say, then?" Joseph asked, somehow not surprised that once again Falora was at the center of an escalating disaster.

     Falora waited for the shake to arrive and began peeling away at the straw. "I just said that somebody saw Dachend at a jewelry shop and that it would have been really sweet if he was there buying a diamond ring for Katt. But Kai had gotten so excited about the first part that she just started running off and didn't let me finish."

     All eyes focused on Kai.

     "Um...oops?" the angel offered sheepishly.

     "It's a good thing we got that cleared up, ne?" Falora hopped off her stool, shake in hand, and went over to the complicated board game between Joseph and Kai. "Oh, wow, Joseph, you know how to play Federation Chess?"

     Joseph shrugged. "I get along."

     "HA!" Falora burst out triumphantly, causing everyone to jump. "And he said that it was too complicated for human logic! I told him not to underestimate your mental abilities!" she hugged Joseph tightly. "Thank you, Joseph! You won me a whole week's supply of chocolate ice cream from Oyuki-oneesan! [4]" she danced around the bar, with Joseph still locked in her vise-like grip. "Woo hoo!"


[4] That's Oyuki, the Ice Princess of Neptune, from Urusei Yatsura.[5]
[5] She makes one mean chocolate sundae.

     Every one turned at the door as it opened again. Miyuki hoped it was Jude. In strode a tall lean man with short chopped blond hair and distinctive black in black eyes. Looked around with a bemused expression as utter silence reigned over the bar as it registered to people that it was one of the two objects of this whole augment that had arrived.

     "Miyuki, Jack D, double!" snapped Dachend and strode up to the bar. "okay what the hell is going on here. people have been coming up all morning clapping my shoulder and congratulating me and I don't have a clue the fuck why!!"

      The door came slamming back open and this time Miyuki's heart stopped a beat, her prayers were answered, it was Jude. The auburn haired hacker stopped short as soon as she saw Dachend. An evil grin spread over her face and she waved a hundred dollar bill in Miyuki's face.

     "Miyuki! Drinks for everyone on me! Dachend's gettin" married!"

     Miyuki passed out.

      there was a sharp crack as the glass splintered between Dachend's fingers, his hysteric coughing from the whiskey in his windpipe was overruled from the tidal wave of questions and congratulations from the crowd that washed over him.

     "congratulations" "so when's the wedding?" "when did you propose to her?" "will there be cake?" "was it a big ring?" "Is it true that you and Katt getting married?" "when did it happen" "congratulation you sour bastard!" "will there be cake?" "YAY, free drinks!" "so where's the honeymoon gonna be?" "congratulations man!" "took'ya long enorgh!" "will there be CAKE?" "who'll be the best man?" "where'll the wedding be held?" "were the rings expensive?" "say speaking of rings, where's yours?" "congrats dude. sad end to bachelor life hm?!" "when did it happen?" "will-there-be-CAKE!!!!" "congrats buddy, looking forward to the bachelor party"

     "SHUT - THEFUCK - UP!!!!!!" roared Dachend swinging Dracho'xian above his head, giving the closest people a hair cut. as if by magic every single person, except Jude and Dachend left the bar and returned to their seats around the retreat faster than it took to tell. from somewhere down in the back came a weak, but never the less determined "cake!"

     with a smirk Jude looked at the visibly shaken monsterhunter as he turned to Miyuki and said with a somewhat meek voice "I need a drink... something strong, really strong!"

     Miyuki looked at him "what would you like?"

     Dachend instantly regaining his usual unpleasant dilemma, leaned over the bar and snarled "I don't give a shit, gi'me the strongest you got, make it a double and don't worry about it. I'm immortal. it'll only make me stronger and meaner"

     "then give him the mother milk substitute" came a familiar, chipper voice.

     "Dracho'xian sometimes I wish you had a physical body... so I could beat the living crap out of you"

     "that's very sweet Dachend" answered Dracho'xian never missing a beat, continuing as Miyuki donned a protective mask and Kevlar gloves. "while being in danger of repeating someone, I dare to ask when did this thing exactly happen?" asked the sword mischievously.

     "yeah mean bean, when DID that happen" asked Jude, grinning from ear to ear.

     Dachend scowled Jude's way so viciously, that the lurkers in that direction pulled father back in the room or hid under their tables. Jude just smiled sweetly and repeated the question "so?"

     Taking a somewhat toxic looking brew from Miyuki, Dachend cleared his throat. on the other side of the bar Miyuki put away the reinforced steel flask she had taken out of the lead, explosion safe cabinet under the bar. The letters ‘99,99999% pure’ were written in sharp red letters across the flask and labels of black and yellow going across the bottom and top of it.

     "we're not getting married, goddamn it!!" snarled Dachend

     "hey!" yelled Kai from her game with Josephine.

     "it's a rumor someone started and when I find out. that someone is going to be in such agony that the word agony doesn't even begin to describe what I'm going to put the person in"

     Jude cocked an eyebrow "what's so bad, it's just a rumor you nut"

     Dachend smirked ruefully and downed his glass in own gulp, his eyes bulged a second. Then he exhaled gently out. the coating on the bar top began to bumble and curl away. "damn it you brat, don't you get it. the second Katt hears about this she'll--"

     Suddenly there was a jingle as the door to the retreat opened and a familiar voice called "Dachend?" again there was a sharp crack as another glass turned to power in Dachend's hands "on no" whimpered Dachend. slowly turning around, casting a furious look at Jude who was waving her arms "over here Katt, he's over here" running across the bar, the red haired elf threw herself into her beloved’s arms "oh belshansta I just heard, is it true. is it really true?" she said looking up at him with big, loving green eyes.

     Jude thought it looked like Dachend was about to cry for a second,

     but then his face curled into a forced smile "eeerhh?!" he said intelligently. Dachend looked at his beloved kitten, what was there to say, but "help"


     one of the few real drawbacks at being immortal, is that in situations where you just want kill yourself you can't. a fact Dachend lamented quite a bit at that particular moment. someone had seen him buy a ring and jumped to the conclusion, that him and Katt were getting married. he loved the little elf, truly. but marrying her! he had bought the ring on a impulse and Dachend was wishing very hard that his impulsiveness would die very, very horribly. something like being stabbed to a chair and forced to see teletubbies until the end of time.

     "Oh Dachend, I'm so happy. but why haven’t you told me" said Katt. Looking with loving eyes at Dachend. Dachend swallowed, hard. everyone in the bar was looking at him, Katt in particular. how the hell was he going to weasel his way out of this one. why couldn't it just be a vampire cult, demon incursion or corporation assassination or something else nice and simple. "yeah, why didn't you tell her?" asked Miyuki. Dachend took a deep breath as Katt looked curiously at him. "well you see kitten, there's a problem.."


     "he'll settle for no less than 4 kids" said Dracho'xian smugly. Katt turned beat red, while Dachend broke the arm of the unfortunate Lurker who was going to nudge him in the side. "shut up Drac, this is important!"

     "yeah no wonder, raising a big family is no small thing" chuckled the sword.

     Jude smiled "I really can't image Dachend bouncing a little version of himself on his knee"

     Then she thought about it for a moment and paled. "Oh, God I can." She shivered. "That's scary."

     "Ain´t it though?" Dracho'xian agreed.

      Dachend glared out over the crowd "the first that as much as thinks of fucking smiling or laughing is gonna be smiling without teeth and laughing out through a hole in his neck. COMPRENDE!?"

     The Retreat grew very quiet, except for a little "cake!" down in the back


     "Thanks Anne" nodded Dachend.

     Anne putting her mallet back into hammer space smiled "my pleasure"

     "Okay and the next that interrupts I'll bone like a fish" snarled Dachend, eyeing everyone dangerously. "good, you see Kitten, there's uhm.. been an misunderstanding--"

     Katt's big smile was slowly starting to fade, Dachend continued "someone has been spreading this rumor that we where getting married"

     Dachend's face hardened "and we ain't"

     A collected gasp went through the Retreat "what?!" yelped Katt, her shoulders sacking.

     Dachend shrugged "sorry to get your hopes up Kitten, but we can't get married"

     Katt's eyes started to get misty. Jude and a couple of other patrons where beginning to look for blunt objects to flatten Dachend's forehead with.

     "Why belshansta, why not" asked Katt, staring hard into Dachend's black eyes, his cold expressionless face.

     Dachend shrugged again, putting his hands into pockets "simple enorgh Katt--" holding his breath, everyone in the retreat thought the saw a ghost of nervousness, maybe even fear flash over Dachend's face. but then his facade was the usual cool one. "-cause I haven't even proposed to'ya yet, you dummy"

     Dropping to his right knee, Dachend knelled before the stunned Katt. taking her hand, he cleared his throat, taking a second to scowl at Jude, who was standing with a wide grin. then spoke, in a (for him) humble voice "Kattarina Delshard--" from his pocket Dachend withdrew a beautiful ring. a golden and a black feline, twisting into each other forming the band. their eyes small emeralds, between their out stretched front paws a dazzling rainbow colored diamond was held. "-- will you marry me?"

     Katt trembled, how she'd longed to hear those words, how she had told herself again and again that she would never hear them uttered, by the man she loved so. and here he was, knelling before her, asking her. feeling her knees giving in, Katt dropped to the floor in front of Dachend. looked at him for a long moment. tears in her happy eyes and then she flung her arms around him and choked any protest or forthcoming remark. in a deep, long kiss.

     "hmmm correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that's a yes" grinned Dracho'xian almost hicking with joy for his friends. Jude crossed her arms and smiled widely "you know Drac, I think your right" after a thought she added loud "drinks are on Dachend!!" The roof of the retreat almost lifted under the outburst of cheers and congratulations.

     She grinned at the monster hunter who gave her a look that was trying to decide whether it wanted to be a smile or a scowl. A look older brothers are familiar with. Jude patted his arm. "You can thank me later."

     Dachend made an inarticulate sound that might have been a threat but no one will ever know since Katt interrupted it mid-rumble.

     "Oh Jude!! I was hoping you’d be one of my bridesmaids." Gushed Katt

     Jude started to turn remarkably pale. Kai bounded over to confide and plan with Katt. Kai lifted a lock of Katt´s fiery red hair.

     "You know, Katt, I think I know a shade of pink that would go remarkably well with your hair." Kai commented. Jude continued to look paler and paler as the two discussed bridesmaids gowns and flower arrangements.

     Dachend smiled evilly at the hacker who was starting to look decidedly fainted. "Pay back, kid, is a bitch."

     Jude just nodded.


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