The Dotted Line

"Absolutely no interfering in the games in any way, shape or form, or
the whole deal’s off," Sanada declared, firmly.

Belial leaned hir chin in hir hand. "Doesn’t that conflict with the clause
about injury-proofing, though?"

"Injury repair, not prevention, Hatter," Yanagi put in. "I have
to agree on this; what happens on the court happens. The aftermath is the
only place we can, in conscience, accept your help."

"One doesn’t believe one has ever contracted with anyone particularly
worried about conscience before," Belial observed. "It makes things
far more complicated. Are you sure you can’t do without it?"

"Belial." Seiichi’s hands fell on hir shoulders. "Don’t think
I’m going to let you pretend like that while you’re negotiating with my team."
He paused, hands tightening. "For everyone’s sake."

Belial declined to answer directly and heaved a put-upon sigh. "Fine,
fine. What’s next, then?"

"I don’t suppose we could do a kind of floating assistance clause?"
Masaharu asked with a dreamy look. "A monthly mayhem quota? We could

"No!" Sanada, Jackal and Seiichi said at the same time.

Belial laughed. "Why don’t we keep that a personal matter between friends?"
se suggested, patting Masaharu’s hand.

"Demons have friends?" Kirihara asked. He twisted around in his chair,
crossing and uncrossing his arms.

Belial eyed his fidgeting. "Yes they do. Sometimes. And, in answer to
your real question, when it happens it supercedes all sorts of contracts,
including any previous allegiance of your theoretical possessor. You’re Seiichi’s
first and one’s own second, and, believe one, that will protect you from
anyone else."

Kirihara snorted, trying not to look reassured. "So what happens with
this," he jerked his chin at the contract, "when we play against
each other?" His eyes fixed on Seiichi and Sanada.

"Another good argument for Hatter-san to stay out of it on the court itself,"
Jackal said, reasonably. "And you have to admit, Akaya, it will be a
relief to have this kind of support. If we don’t have to spend all our time
worrying about getting a sponsor, or washing out from some stupid little
injury, we can concentrate on playing our best. Against anyone."

Belial smiled fondly on Jackal. He was the serious type who was normally exasperated
by hir, but they could appreciate each other’s practicality.

"As if I would need help," Marui put in blowing a complacent bubble.

Belial raised hir brows. "Might one ask why you’re taking part in these
negotiations, then?" Se actually was rather curious. Marui and Jackal
were the two se had least expected to agree, and while se had a better understanding
of Jackal’s motives, by now, Marui’s were still rather a mystery.

Marui shrugged. "It’s the team. The team, you understand? I think
this is the only time we’ll ever find anything this close. This important.
I don’t like the thought of leaving that behind."

Belial was silent as the eight mortals smiled or stilled or reached out to
one another, each according to his way. Se fought down a shiver as Seiichi
turned his eyes on hir, folding hir into that closeness as well.

"Very well. If that’s everything, then I’ll be around later to seal the
contract with each individual." Se ignored the sudden quirk of Seiichi’s
lips as he gathered his people up and herded them out.

"I’m impressed you came up with such a detailed document, Yanagi,"
Yagyuu mentioned, as the team left. "It covered some contingencies I
hadn’t thought of."

"Oh, it’s based on a standard manager’s contract," Yanagi said, as
the door closed.

Belial leaned back in hir chair and laughed. Eternity was looking more interesting
every day.



Last Modified: May 07, 12
Posted: Jan 10, 05
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