Talking Sense

Kurai and Noise explain things to Sanada. Drama, I-3

Character(s): Kurai, Noise, Sanada Genichirou

“They are interesting; I’ll give them that,” Kurai said, after
an afternoon of observation. “I can see what would attract Hatter.”

“They’re very strong-willed, for children,” Noise agreed.

“One would not let them catch one referring to them as children,”
Belial observed, sliding out of a patch of shadow. “Have you considered
one’s request, lovely Queen?”

Before Kurai could answer, Noise said, “This seems like an awful lot of
effort just for a soul that’s already been signed away.”

Belial flattened a hand over hir heart. “One is a great believer in quality
and thoroughness in one’s work.”

“I’ll just bet,” Noise grumbled. “…Kurai-sama?”

“I’ll do it,” Kurai decided. “Which one’s Sanada

Belial indicated one of the humans. “That one.” Se paused. “One
would mention that he is touchy.”

“And you have nothing at all to do with that,” Kurai said, absently,
studying the boy in question.

“Perish the thought,” Belial murmured, as the boys began clearing
the tennis courts. “Ah. It would appear that one has been noticed.”
Se moved off to speak to the boy in question; Kurai and Noise trailed after hir.

“More friends?” the boy asked, with an assessing glance at Kurai and
Noise. Kurai looked back at him just as critically, beginning to understand the
attraction of this particular soul.

“Kurai, queen of Gehenna, and Noise, her retainer,” Belial said, with
a sweeping gesture. “Your Majesty, Yukimura Seiichi.”

“And what brings you to my tennis courts?” Yukimura inquired, politely
enough, despite the hint of steel in his voice.

“Hatter’s invitation,” Noise said.

Yukimura looked at Belial. “And are my tennis courts going to be a social
clearing house for all sorts of demons now, Belial?”

Kurai felt her eyebrows hit her hairline, while Noise’s jaw dropped.

Belial waved a hand. “Not at all,” se said. “Her Majesty is
here to relieve certain misapprehensions regarding her husband’s domain.”
Se glanced pointedly in the direction of the boy se had indicated previously,
who was standing a little ways off and obviously trying not to look too much like
he was hovering.

Yukimura followed the glance. “Ah,” he said. “I see.”
He looked back at Kurai. “In that case, welcome.”

“Thank you kindly,” Kurai said, drily. “We’ll try not
to trouble you too much.”

“I appreciate it,” Yukimura said. He paused. “Your husband?”

“Hmph. We’re separated,” Kurai said, sparing a mild glare for
Belial. “Hatter-san can explain, if you’re curious. Noise?”

“Ready, Kurai-sama.”

“Then we’re off,” Kurai said. She stuck her hands in her pockets
and sauntered towards Sanada, Noise following close behind. “Hello.”

“And just who are you?” he asked.

Kurai hid a grimace, as Noise stiffened. Touchy didn’t begin to cover it.
“This,” Noise said, “is Her Majesty, Queen Kurai of Gehenna.”

“Kurai’s fine,” she added hastily, placing a hand on Noise’s
arm. “You’re Sanada, right?” He nodded. “Good. Now, it’s
a lovely afternoon for a walk, don’t you think?” Without waiting for
an answer, she linked her other arm in his. “Why don’t you walk with
me for a ways?”

“What—” Sanada began to protest, but Noise seized his other arm,
and the two of them managed to propel him forward while Yukimura and Belial laughed
behind them and the rest of the boys stared in open curiosity. He struggled to
free himself, and was remarkably strong for a human, but Kurai and Noise were
demons and managed to keep their grips on him easily enough. “Let me go!”
he hissed, as they pushed him away from the tennis courts.

“In a bit,” Kurai said, cheerfully. “First we need to talk.”

“I’m not interested,” he said, instantly. “I don’t
want anything to do with your bargains.”

“Bargains?” Noise laughed. “You think we’re crazy enough
to try and bargain with you after Hatter-sama’s declared you off-limits?”

Kurai silently applauded Noise. That had piqued Sanada’s curiosity enough
to make him stop struggling for a moment. “Off-limits?” he repeated.

“Absolutely,” Kurai said. “And even if Hatter-san hadn’t,
Yukimura-san’s expression when we arrived would have made it look like a
bad idea. He seems very protective of what’s his.”

Sanada didn’t seem inclined to argue this. “If you’re not here
to buy my soul, then what are you here for?”

“To talk,” Noise grunted. “At no small inconvenience to Her
Majesty, I might add.”

“Not that much,” Kurai shrugged. “So, tell me, Sanada-kun—what
do you know about Hell?”

“It’s where damned souls go when they die,” he said, promptly.
“To be punished for their sins by demons.”

“Okay. And heaven?” Kurai said, encouragingly.

“Where good people go after they die,” Sanada said. “To be rewarded
by angels.”

“Uh-huh.” Noise made a rude sound. “Those angelic bastards definitely
have the better propaganda machine.”

“Like that’s news,” Kurai retorted. “But then, they’ve
been playing a game rigged in their favor.”

“Who could forget?” Noise released her grip on Sanada, who had followed
this exchange with a faintly confused expression. “Damned souls. Punishments.
Rewards. Hah! Do humans ever get anything right?”

“Not often,” Kurai said, mildly. “I do hope you don’t
have your heart set on that particular vision of Heaven and Hell, Sanada-kun.
If you do, I’m afraid you’re going to be terribly disappointed when
you die.”

“I will?”

“Oh yeah, especially if you’re planning on going to Heaven,”
Noise muttered. “They’d soon kill you as look at you up there.”

Sanada blinked. “But… angels are good?” he ventured.

Kurai really couldn’t help the laughter, especially when he drew himself
up, looking offended. “There’s no more saying that all angels are
good and all demons are evil than there is saying all humans are good or all humans
are evil,” she said, finally. “It’s a mix, just like it is with
humans. Sure, the Host likes to pretend they have the moral high ground, but when
it comes right down to it, all of us, angels and demons alike, tend to be bastards,
really. Demons are just more straightforward about it.”

Sanada frowned. “He sent you here, didn’t he?”

“He?” Kurai echoed. Sanada jerked his head in the direction of the
tennis courts. “Oh, you mean Hatter-san. He asked me to come, yes.”

“Then how can I believe a single word you’ve said?” he demanded.
“Even if I were inclined to take the word of a demon?”

“I suppose you don’t have to believe us,” Kurai said, calmly
enough. “It’s your decision, after all. Hatter-san is notoriously
tricky.” Noise snorted, and muttered something under her breath. “But
it seems to me that Hatter-san is going to extraordinary lengths to be reassuring.”

“Seiichi doesn’t need reassuring,” Sanada muttered. “He
thinks everything is fine.”

“Not him, silly.” Kurai smacked him upside the head, but gently. “You.
Hatter called us here on your account. She’d like to add you to her collection,
but she’s abiding by Yukimura-san’s wishes, so she’s doing the
next best thing and trying to make you see that it’s not as bad for him
as you think. You don’t need to worry so much.”

“You’re a fascinating group of souls,” Noise observed, while
Sanada looked flabbergasted. “Anyone in Hell—or in Heaven, to be fair—with
an ounce of taste would be overjoyed to have you.”

“Have us?” Sanada managed.

“It’s fairly standard exchange—services rendered after death for
favors received during life.” Kurai waved a hand. “Of course, I don’t
know what terms Yukimura-san and Hatter-san have agreed to, but I doubt it’s
anything exotic.”

“I still don’t know that I can trust a word you’re saying,”
Sanada said, after a moment.

“Stubborn,” Noise muttered.

“I expect we should consider it part of his charm,” Kurai said. She
unhooked her arm from his and stepped away. “In any case, I don’t
believe we can say or do anything else to change his mind.”

“That’s probably true,” Noise agreed.

“Look, Sanada-kun. You trust Yukimura-san, right?” Kurai said. He
nodded. “Am I right in saying that he has impeccable judgment?” Sanada
nodded again. “Then trust that he knows what he’s doing. You’ll
both be happier that way.”

Sanada considered this. “A question,” he said, finally.

“Yes?” Kurai waited.

“When you die, if you don’t go to heaven or hell, what happens?”

“Reincarnation, usually,” Noise said, promptly.

“In Yukimura-san’s case, he’ll probably serve in Lucifer-sama’s
court, as retainer to Hatter-san,” Kurai added.

Sanada’s frown at this was less angry than thoughtful. “I see,”
he murmured.

Kurai smiled. “I think we’re done here, Noise,” she said. “It
was interesting talking to you, Sanada-kun. I do hope we meet again.”

He snorted. “I’m not sure I can honestly say the same yet, but—I
do thank you.”

Kurai chuckled. “To be fair, that’s more than I really expected. Take
care, Sanada-kun. See you around.” She gave him a little wave, and walked

Noise caught up with her after just a moment. “Think it worked?”

“Dunno, but we gave him plenty to think over,” Kurai said, with a
little shrug. “Hatter-san can’t ask for more.”

“You never know,” Noise said, shivering. “So, home?”

“Well, we could go home,” Kurai conceded, “but since we’re
in Assiah anyway, it couldn’t hurt to pop over and visit Setsuna, right?”

“And the real reason you agreed to this comes out,” Noise said.

“I prefer to think of it as being efficient,” Kurai said airily. “Come
on, let’s see if we can find the Messiah.”

As they headed off, Sanada turned around and headed back toward the tennis courts,
where Yukimura was waiting.