Campfire Tales

James's Tale by Whizbang

"I've... got one," James offered. "But you probably won't think it's any good." He fingered a rent in his sleeve, where the tree's branch had snagged. He'd have to patch that tomorrow...

Kurama reached around Saionji to pat the accountant's arm encouragingly. "Nonsense! I'm sure your story's wonderful!"

James's eyes -- both lovely blue orbs were visible, thanks to the haircut he'd been almost forcibly given the first day -- scanned the circle of firelight, saw similar encouragement. "Well, if you really think so..." he murmured, ducking in an attempt to hide behind the few, short bangs he had left. "It goes like this:"

"There once was a poor, sad bishounen. And when I say sad, I mean that he was the lowest of the low. His own creator didn't seem to appreciate him at all, and gave him very few redeeming qualities. He was forced to play the part of comic relief, and to be obnoxious and whiny and greedy."

"Hmm," Saionji drawled. "I wonder who *that* could be..."

"At least he wasn't a tempermental brat with anger problems," Sanzo growled. "Let him finish, 'k?"

"I knew it!" James wailed. "It's an awful story and nobody likes it!" He tried to jump to his feet, but Kurama and Aya grabbed his arms and dragged him back down.

"Jamesie, honey," Nuriko purred. "It's a lovely story so far. That poor bishounen... He didn't do anything wrong. It was all his horrible creator!"

James sniffled, dragging a sleeve across his nose. "You think?"

"Yes," Duo grinned, rocking ever so slightly back and forth. He'd already had to sit on his hands, to prevent them from over-stirring the fire with a stick. But oh, the fire was such a temptation! So pretty and bright, and... if he separated the coals and smothered the fire again, Sanzo would hit him and Nuriko would yell. And then Nuriko would hit him, and Sanzo would yell, and- Well, he'd best behave.

"Ok-kay..." James sniffed again, and continued in a wavering voice. "The poor bishounen was very devoted to a beautiful man. I'm sure you all know his type -- flirts with everything that's got a dick between its legs, can't keep his interest focused for more than three seconds without being distracted by something new and pretty -- in other words, a conceited, shallow git."

Saionji rolled his eyes. "Oh, do I EVER know the type!"

"Don't we ALL?" Riki muttered darkly.

"Are there going to be any fanfic authors in this story?" Yuki asked?

James sighed. "Yes well... yes. I'm getting to that part. You see, at one time the shallow, conceited git had liked the poor bishounen and his unconventional beauty and his devout loyalty. But this fanfic author -- we'll call him 'Klaus'-"

Yuki's eyebrows shot up into his bangs. "Him?"

"Her," James corrected. "We'll call her... 'Klaus-ette'."

"How clever," Aya groaned.

"I knew it -- you hate it!" James tried to leap up again, was again restrained.

"Go on," Duo beamed, sticking his tongue out at Aya.

James nibbled at his bottom lip. "K-Klaus-ette was h-horrible. H- She hated the poor bishounen even more than the bishounen's creator, and the few redeeming qualities that he did have, she refused to acknowledge. SHE made the poor bishounen more snivelling and whining than ever, and never EVER wrote him into lemons, and never EVER EVER admitted that the conceited, shallow git had at one time appreciated the bishounen, because admitting that would have violated the absolutely silly oath of the 'one true pairing'. So the bishounen got less and less parts, and the small parts he got were more and more horrible, until he was totally miserable and unloved and had no friends except for a few mangy old rats."

James paused, peering around the circle as if waiting for reactions.

"Well...?" Sanzo finally asked. "Is that all?"

"It can't be!" Kurama burst out. "What happened to the fanfic writer?"

"The, ah, fanfic writer?" James repeated.

"Yeah!" Duo shouted. "Where's the justice? Obviously NOTHING that happened was the bishounen's fault! He was just a poor victim of circumstance!"

"He was...?" James' back straightened a little, and grinned. "He *was*, wasn't he? As for the fanfic writer, she was up very late one night finishing a story for a fanfic contest. The deadline was that night, and she had to get it done, but she was also very tired, and her eyes kept slipping closed, and her fingers stopped on the keys, and she knew that if she didn't do something to wake herself up she'd NEVER finish in time! So she went to get a coke, only there wasn't any in the fridge, and she tried to make coffee, only there wasn't any in the bin. There was no tea either -- in the whole house, there was nothing with caffeine in it, and she was already in her pajamas and didn't want to drive to the store. She was just about to give up in frustration when, in the very back of the pantry she found a very old bottle, covered in a layer of dust."

Saionji was hopeful. "Rat poison? Cyanide?"

"Worse," James growled. "Nescafe."

"That's it?!" Yuki demanded. "That isn't scary!"

"Have YOU ever tried Nescafe?" James demanded, putting his hands on his hips.

"Er, no," Yuki admitted.

"He's right," Riki nodded. "That shit IS scary."

"I'm frightened."

"Yeah, me too."

"I've got goosebumps."

"It gets WORSE!" James promised. "The bottle had an expiration date of January 1973. She was desperate though, and opened it anyway. The little black crystals looked like dirt, and smelled worse than dirt, but there was no alternative, so the fanfic writer got out a spoon, and looked for a glass, and then made a horrible discovery. There were NO glasses in the house."

"No glasses." One of Yuki's eyebrows quirked. "You're, um, pushing the bounds of believability here."

"Hush," Kurama chided. "It's his story. If he says there were no glasses, then there were no glasses."

"No mugs either," James sniffed. "They were all broken. The fanfic writer -- who was practically asleep on her feet by this point -- stared at the Nescafe, and stared at the spoon, and stared at the Nescafe... She needed caffeine in her system, pronto, and this was the only way! She dipped the spoon, scooped out a huge mound of the dirt-like stuff, and squinted her eyes and quickly shoved it into her mouth! It tasted like... Well, when the lights come on between shows in the movie theatre, you've seen what the floors look like, right? It tasted like fifty-year-old, never cleaned movie theatre floors. She choked and gagged and saw stars and bright white lights, and when her vision finally cleared -- THAT was when she noticed her terrible mistake."

"The real coffee was in another cabinet!" Duo guessed.

"Shake well before use?"

"Caution: contents under pressure?"

"Nope!" James exclaimed. "There, on the side of the bottle, were the five most terrifying letters known to fanfic writers. 'DECAF.' The fanfic writer had eaten dirty movie theatre floor Nescafe for absolutely no reason. Exhausted, she immediately fell alseep in the middle of the kitchen floor, and didn't finish her story, and didn't get to enter the contest, and everybody laughed at her, and from then on and she was miserable forever and ever, except she didn't even have *rats* to keep her company. The end."


on to the next campfire tale!