Bottoms Up, We’re Going Down

Friday, 12/20/2250 – By Kayla Salmon.

Ayato was looking forward to the masquerade, mostly for the chance to get out and have fun with his girlfriend. Knowing that she wasn’t about to go the whole nine yards meant he didn’t have to either; a shower and a nicer set of clothes, dress pants with a button-down shirt and a pair of shoes that weren’t too shabby. He’d gotten a mask from the prefects who had been in charge of buying or making them. He’d arranged to meet Cleo in the Eagle’s House around seven, and he was there right on the dot, standing in their common room and waiting for her to appear.

Upstairs, however, everything was a mess. The girl’s dormitory at the Eagle House had been in an absolute uproar for the better part of the day and Cleo was forced to sit for nearly four hours as all of the madness swirled around her. Her sister and a few of their friends had insisted on doing some sort of spa prep thing in which they did facemasks and each others nails and then make up, as well as swapping jewelry and shoes and making sure dresses and masks were in order. It had been fun at first, but Cleo didn’t like being pampered and she didn’t like people picking and plucking at her in any sort of way, so it had gotten old fast. Her sister had barely been able to wrangle her to brush out and then use a curling iron on her hair. It looked great, but Dee had burnt her several times and after just a touch of makeup, Cleo made a break for it, grabbing her shoes in her hand and running for the stairs. Her mask sat on top of her head, its red and silver swirls matching the red of her dress and a silver necklace she’d donned.

“Ugh, sorry to keep you waiting,” Cleo said as she stepped off the stairs. Ayato smiled with understanding and she gave him a quick peck on the cheek before sitting in a chair so she could pull her heels on. “They’re all going nuts up there.”

He grinned as she explained, glancing upwards. “Taking advantage of the ball, are they? Bet they’ve been getting ready half the day. You look nice,” he added on. “Red looks good on you.”

She smiled brightly at his compliment and nodded her head as she tightened the strap of her silver heels. “Yeah, excited would be a huge understatement.” She rose to her feet. She hadn’t bothered with her purse, or a phone, since she didn’t really want to be on it much. If the ball got that boring she’d just bail out. “You look really good too, the blue looks good with the mask,” she said as she wrapped her arm around one of his.

“Thanks,” Ayato grinned, “I bought the pants, but everything else was in my closet. I liked the design of the mask, though.” The masks felt pretty pointless, since it wouldn’t be that hard to figure out who he was, but it was the spirit of the thing and he was willing to go along with it.

She nodded her head, still smiling in return. She didn’t care if he wore a tux or a suit. She hadn’t worn a dress in years and she was going to have fun no matter what they wore. “Maybe you just make everything look good,” she said with a broad grin, sticking her elbow gently into his side as he held the door open for her.

There was no reason for Ayato not to grin. Compliments from Cleo weren’t unheard of, but who minded being told they looked good? In some attempt to be modest he turned it back on the girl, “So do you. I haven’t seen you in anything that made you anything but gorgeous.”

They stepped out of the Eagle House and shivered slightly at the cold. They ignored it, though, and began heading toward the Primary Building, his hand resting over hers as they walked and he smiled down at Cleo again. “Do you know how to dance? We’re not spending the night being wallflowers, I hope you know.”

“Hell yeah we’re gonna dance. I’m horrible but that doesn’t stop me none!” She joked.

His smile widened, glad that he wasn’t going to have to push her into it. “You do you, babe, and if anyone says you dance badly, I’ll deck ‘em.”

They weren’t the only people heading over, but they certainly looked underdressed compared to the what some of the students had done. Large ball gowns and ornate masks with feathers and other things. Cleo wrinkled her nose, glad her sister hadn’t tried to rope her into any of that. “God, they look like peacocks,” she whispered to Ayato.

His eyes roamed over the crowd of other students heading toward the Primary Building and he gave a loud laugh in response to the comment. Not false, either. For crying out loud, it’s a school dance. Some of the dresses on the girls had to have costed quite a bit and they were far too much. “Thank you, Cleo, for not doing the same. This is pure stupidity,” he added in a scoff, causing more than one person to glower at him.

She gave a short bow, tilting her head forward in a bob. “You’re welcome, good sir, you wouldn’t catch me in something like that unless I was gagged and handcuffed,” she said, shaking her head distastefully. “Honestly, I feel like for some of these guys it’s less about how they look and more about flaunting what Mommy and Daddy are willing to shell out for them.” Hell, when Dee mentioned wanting to go the Christmas Ball that year, their mom had taken her to a consignment store. It’s not like it’s your junior or senior prom, her mom said sternly when Dee had begun complaining.

“And that’s what I like about you,” Ayato responded, wrapping an arm around the girl to pull her closer. “Plain and simple, no flashiness or forcing me to match you in appearance like most of these poor saps.” Some of them didn’t seem to mind, sure, but more than half looked way too uncomfortable in stiff new suits and just-bought shoes that would be giving them blisters by the end of the night.

“Heyyyyy,” A voice called from behind them and both Ayato and Cleo looked over their shoulders only to catch sight of Miska. “How’s two of my favorite people!” The sixth year prefect wasn’t wearing a formal suit, however. Instead he was wearing a Santa suit and Cleo pressed her lips together tightly in an attempt to not burst out laughing.

Ayato blinked in disbelief at the outfit Miska had chosen to wear. “What the fuck are you doing, hellhound? Because if it’s looking to make a fool out of yourself, well done, you’ve succeeded.”

“Hey!” Miska exclaimed, pointing a finger and using the other hand to adjust the fake beard so it aligned with his mouth, “They said a suit! This, my dear friend, is in fact, a suit!”

Cleo was quickly dissolving into giggles, grabbing Ayato’s arm for support as she cracked up, “Oh my God, why?”

“Cupid – Eugene, not Payton – double dog dared me, and I do not back down from a challenge,” Miska explained, adjusting his Santa hat again and giving up with keeping the beard aligned.

“You look like a fool,” Ayato deadpanned. “But hey, you stand out. Maybe you can make use of it, get a couple girls to sit on your lap.” Grinning down at Cleo, his arm was still around her waist. “You and your dares, Miska. One of these days, you’ll find one that you can’t do and it’ll drive you crazy for the rest of your life. C’mon, Cleo, let’s go inside, it’s cold, and we can get a drink or something before the ball’s in full swing.”

“Okay, yeah,” Cleo agreed readily, her giggles finally gone. “Are you going to try and spike it?” She asked Ayato, as they approached a group that were waiting by the doors. The ball officially started at eight, so they hung on the fringe of the group.

“I wouldn’t do it, man,” Miska said, sounding almost serious, “They got Vander and Vinci over by that area and they’re the two voted most likely to torture a student.”

Ayato waved away Miska’s warning. “Maybe,” he said, because they wouldn’t actually torture students, no matter how scary they could be. “You distract them and I’ll do it. Teamwork, babe.”

A silence hung between them for just a few moments as more students began approaching, even a few of the University students among them and then Miska let out a happy bark, “Oh my fucking God, he actually did it!”

Cleo followed his gesture through the crowd towards a student who, despite the thin layer of snow on the ground and the chill in the air, was almost stark naked, wearing nothing but a diaper and a pair of wings. “See ya bitches, I call first dance with Cupid!” Miska called happily as he waded through the group to go greet the other sixth year.

Both of Ayato’s eyebrows shot up at the sight of the barely dressed Cupid coming toward him, laughter, as well as annoyed and disgusted sounds following. “What-” he started, breaking off as Miska darted off, and shaking his head in confusion as he turned back to Cleo. “They’re crazy, and please tell me why I hang out with him?” he asked, as if she would have the answer.

“I dunno, man,” Cleo said with a shrug, watching as Miska and Eugene forced the doors of the Primary Building open and darted inside. “Did you bring a flask?” She asked quietly. They hadn’t actually discussed spiking the drinks, but it was one of the reasons they had worked so well as a couple. They seemed to know what the other was thinking or planning to do.

Ayato gave a shake of his head as the two disappeared inside, and then turned to Cleo with a grin, tapping his back pocket in response. “But of course,” he told her. “If we do this and get caught, remember, I don’t know you and you don’t know me.”

“Obviously,” She said, grinning but nodding her head all the same. She paused as she noticed a small group of some of the younger students in front of her and her grin widened. “Oh God, I just realized the munchkins are going to be blitzed off their butts. This is going to be great,” She said quietly, pressing closer into her date as they approach the doors, where the group of students had bottlenecked in their attempt to get in.

Ayato wasn’t the least bit put off at the thought of spiking punch that younger students would be drinking. They wouldn’t die, and he didn’t have enough to do serious harm to anyone. Could he get in trouble? Yes- but he was willing to take that risk. “Definitely,” he agreed, tugging Cleo in front and resting his hands on her arms to guide her forward, making it easier to nudge through the group of students crowding into the building, and moving steadily toward the Atrium where the ball would be held. “First task is to spot Vander and Vinci and keep an eye on them, the rest shouldn’t be too hard.”

Despite their attempts, even as the Atrium grew more crowded as it filled, no matter what happened or what they did, Cleo couldn’t distract or find a way to get Professor Vinci away from the refreshment tables, which her and several other professors were hanging around, guarding it from any wayward students. Cleo finally gave up almost an hour later, leaning against the wall and into Ayato’s shoulder as they admitted defeat.

“I swear, she has eyes in the back of her head,” Cleo complained, despite the fondness she had for her fencing professor. “Can’t get nothing past a freaking archangel, man.”

If there was one common trait among the professors, it was that they had a tendency to squash a person’s creativity. So what if it entailed spiking punch at a school-wide ball? It wasn’t like they were planning to do anyone harm. “Eh, don’t worry about it, babe. You know she’s only pissy because she can’t partake in it, so she’s just keeping everyone else from it too. Besides, look on the bright side- more for us, right?” Resting his head against Cleo’s his green eyes scanned the room, and then he straightened once more, reaching for her hand. “You said you’d dance with me. Still game?” he asked, taking a step toward the open space with a glance back at her, the current song winding down to give way to a new one.

“Shuh, of course,” she said, glad it was an upbeat version of Sleigh Bells that was ringing through the first floor of the Primary Building. “Come on, guy,” She said, grabbing his hand and taking the lead as they swerved in through people to join the group of dancing students. Cleo giggled at the sight of Professor Matutina, the magic professor, doing a little dance with Professor Vinci’s kid.

“You’re gonna be laughing by the time this song is done,” She said loudly to Ayato, talking over the music, “Cause I’m absolute shit at dancing!”

“You’re not shit at anything,” Ayato protested, holding tightly to the girl’s hand as she weaved through the crowd. “Don’t say things like that.” Not entirely pleased at the song playing, but- given that it was a Christmas dance, it made sense to have Christmas music in the playlist. Pausing once they reached an open spot, he released Cleo’s hand and they slipped easily into a dance.

Cleo tried to match Ayato during the song, but toward the end, she broke away and began doing some old moves that her brother had taught her, called the Robot. Ayato grinned at Cleo’s attempts to keep up and then as she broke off to do her own thing, his eyebrows lifting at the odd moves.

“Okay, I think we should probably loosen up some more before we keep dancing!” Cleo said, leaning closer so Ayato could hear her over the students around them and the music. He nodded, grasping the girl’s hand once more to lead her off the floor. A moment later they had cups of punch in their hands, standing around in a corner away from the table, out of sight of the professors, and he had the flask unscrewed, tipping the contents into both cups. “It’s vodka,” he informed the girl. “Good stuff, but not much taste, so it won’t make the punch taste different.”

She took the cup and lifted it to her lips and sure enough she could barely taste anything. She drank it in sips, remembering the last time she’d downed alcohol and the horrible hangover that had ensued. “Sweet,” she said, giving him a quick kiss and turning to make sure her back was to the crowd behind her, keeping the pair of them sheltered and out of sight as Ayato put the flask away.

“Like it?” Ayato asked as he slipped the flask back into his pocket and took a sip of his own. Cleo nodded her head in approval.

“Hey there buddy,” someone behind Cleo said and she turned to see a guy, an older student she’d seen around, but had never really interacted with, along with two of her fellow Eagles, Eglantine and Reid. Eglantine had her arm linked with the guy, so he was probably another seventh year. “Great minds think alike, Caven,” The guy said, pulling out a flask, and holding it out to Eggie, as her family called her, and then to Reid.

Ayato returned the greeting with a wave and grin. “Oh yeah?” he asked, his eyes going to the container the other held. “You tried to spike the punch too, then? We gave it a shot,” he added, pointing to himself and Cleo, “But Vander and Vinci are watching it like hawks.”

“Didn’t know prefects condoned drinking,” She teased Reid, to which the seventh year shrugged.

“I mean, I get why Vinci is being a hard ass about the punch bowl, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get to have some fun,” The prefect replied, sipping from his own cup after Eggie’s date poured some amber-looking liquid into it.

“Michael, this is Cleo, and you know Ayato,” Eggie said, gesturing to Cleo, who lifted a hand in greeting.

Ayato gave another glance towards the flask Michael held and asked, “What’d you bring? I bought vodka for the occasion. Plenty left and no point in being stingy. We can trade and still have some fun of our own, can’t let the professors be total killjoys.” He pulled his flask from his pocket again and held it out, waving it in front of the three and waiting for takers.

Before Michael could answer, three new faces appeared, mutual friends of both Cleo and Ayato. “Who’s being killjoys?” The dwarf, Sindri, asked.

Ayato nodded at him and his date, “Professors. Keeping the punch clean for the midget-years.”

“Is that what you’re all doing?” one girl, Eir, asked, her eyes going to the metal canisters. “You’ll get in trouble if they find out, you know.”

“They don’t have to find out, then,” he assured her. “Lighten up, ‘kay? Nobody’s doing anything they don’t want to do- right?” he asked the rest, ignoring the eye-roll the girl gave.

“Thanks, Caven, but I’m a whiskey guy myself,” Michael finally cut back in, giving Eggie a wink, and she rolled her eyes.

“I heard the word whiskey,” another voice said and Miska’s face appeared beside Eir, completing their little semi circle. Since Cleo and Ayato had seen him, he’d changed pieces of his Santa outfit out, trading in the bright red pants for dress pants, and had also ditched the fake beard, though he still had the jacket and hat on.

Ayato gave the other prefect a small wave. “Not surprised; the only things you answer to are drink and food. We got some shit. Vodka, whiskey- but you knew that already- and don’t even pretend you don’t want some.”

“I still can’t believe you’re wearing that,” Eggie said with a sigh, shaking her head and the fourth girl, Jenna nodded in agreement.

Both of the flasks were making their way around the group, each person pouring some into their plastic cups. Sindri seemed to be there as Jenna’s date, as he kept smirking at her and playing with her hair, while Eir pointedly ignored him and Jenna, who kept kissing Sindri’s cheek.

“Can we please just discuss that two of the Eagles prefects are over here drinking,” Eir said, staring at Reid and Miska, “You guys are nuts.”

“Especially if Ross catches you,” Jenna said.

Eggie snorted back laughter, choking on her drink and Michael reached around and began thumping her back. “Ha, Ross, get pissy for someone drinking? Unlikely,” she said, still coughing.

Cleo could feel her head getting fuzzy as she got further into her cup, but she’d never had whiskey before. “Hey Michael, can I try some?” She asked, looking to the seventh year, who nodded and opened his flask and poured some more into her cup. She took a hesitant sip and almost spit it out. It was smoky tasting, nothing like the near-flavorless vodka, or the sweeter alcohol she’d had in the past. After another sip, she found it wasn’t that bad and was even kind of nice.

Ayato grinned at the look on her face at the first taste of it. “What’cha think?” he asked her, taking the bottle and pouring some into his cup before giving it up to the next person who snagged the flask. He was starting to feel it too- he had a somewhat higher tolerance than Cleo, but the succession of drinks was beginning to tell on him.

A bottle emerged, not even a flask, but an actual bottle, from the inside of Miska’s santa jacket and Cleo was having a hard time focusing on the label on the bottle.

“What the hell is that?” Michael asked and Jenna took it from Miska to read the label.

“You’ve never heard of Fireball?” Miska asked, sounding astounded.

“It says, ‘cinnamon whiskey,’” Jenna read, passing the bottle to Sindri, who opened it and sniffed at it.

“Holy shit that smells like a one of those cinnamon candies,” Sindri said, passing it back to Miska. “Think I’ll pass on that buddy.”

“You sly fuck,” Ayato said, grinning at the hellhound. “Should’ve known you’d bring something. Don’t be greedy, man, I want some.”

“Yo, hold on, I’ve heard about that stuff, I want to try some,” Michael said, grabbing the bottle from Sindri before it could make its way back to Miska or Ayato. Most of their cups were getting low, but no one seemed willing to break away from the group and try to sneak more punch while the professors were watching and might smell alcohol on their breaths. Michael poured a shot into his cup and then passed it to Ayato, his hand outstretched. “Bottoms up!” Michael declared, downing his drink.

Ayato waited, about as patiently as he could, for the minute it took for Michael to pour the whiskey into his own cup and then held the bottle out; Ayato took it and tipped some into the cup he held. “Bottoms up,” he echoed, throwing the drink back and pouring another small amount for himself before holding the bottle out for whoever wanted it next. “Good shit, Miska- where the hell do you find this stuff?”

Miska smirked as Eggie took the bottle and poured a small amount into her own glass, “Funny story, I buy it from his brother,” he said, gesturing to Sindri, who rolled his eyes.

“Which one? Tam or Ram?” He asked, still sipping at what was left of his punch.

“Either or, usually Tamarin though,” Miska said, grabbing his bottle back and pouring a healthy chunk into his own cup.

“Hey, why didn’t you tell me that before?” Ayato complained. “Easier than going to the town every time I want something. Also speaking of, there’s a place in town that doesn’t check for identification, so as long as you aren’t fucking transparent about it, they’ll sell you whatever, as long as you have money.”

“Cool, hey, I’m going to go make sure no one’s looking for either of us,” Reid said, nodding at Miska. He turned and patted Michael on the shoulder, “have fun.”

“Look at this guy, being noble and making sure we’re safe to keep drinking in peace,” Michael said, smiling, “I salute you, good sir!”

Lifting his cup in farewell to Reid as he left, Ayato snagged the bottle from Miska, and with a grin, poured some into Michael’s cup. “So drink. Bet you can’t down more than him.” He nodded his head at Miska, setting up the challenge with more than a little amusement, before turning back to his girlfriend. “Want some?” he asked her. “You haven’t had a sip of this stuff yet.”

Cleo’s vision was swimming and she felt great. She knew if she drank much more she’d be messed up the next day, so she figured just a shot of whatever Miska had brought, and then she was done and really did need to sober up. “Yeah, let me try a little bit,” she said, holding her cup out, glad she sounded mostly sober and wasn’t wobbling. Ayato poured some of the sweet smelling whiskey into her cup and she sniffed at it before taking a gulp. It was fiery, just like Sindri had described, but also sweet. She could feel it tickling her nose and making her throat constrict. “Oh wow,” she gasped, licking her lips.

“Oh, there you are,” Desiree said, filling the small space Reid had left, and Cleo smirked at her sister, giving a small wave. “What are you doing?” Her little sister asked her, giving her a skeptical look. Cleo could see two more of their friends, Libby and Annabeth, both fourth years, joining them and she nodded in their direction.

“Nothing, just hanging out,” Cleo said, finishing the last gulp in her cup, and she could see her sister giving her a look and Libby and Annabeth looked uncomfortable for some reason.

“Oh look, fourth years,” Michael teased as he waited for Miska to ready his shot.

Eggie rolled her eyes, “Be nice, hey Anna, how’s the Ball?”

Annabeth opened her mouth, but Dee cut her off, “Cleo, are you drunk?”

Cleo wrinkled her nose, and shook her head even though she knew she was probably definitely headed in that direction. “No, not really, I’ve only had a little.”

“You are,” Dee said, sounding almost angry, which Cleo didn’t really get just then and Eggie looked back and forth between the two uncertainly. “Dee, we’ve only had a little-”

“Looks like she had more than a little,” Dee said, eyes narrowing and going to the boy standing beside her sister, “Did you all sneak in liquor? Or just you?” She snapped.

“What the fuck, Dee?” Cleo snapped, stepping in front of Ayato before he could answer, “Miska has a whole fucking bottle!”

“Well that’s Miska, alcohol doesn’t even do anything to him.”

“Wait, what?” Michael asked, already on his third shot, looking from Miska to Cleo and then to Eggie, “It doesn’t?”

Eggie shook her head in reply and Michael began cursing under his breath while Miska chuckled, drinking straight from the bottle.

“Dee, if you’re going to be like this-” Cleo continued, annoyed and ignoring the rest of the group.

“Me? Me be like this? You’re fucking drunk, you don’t drink, and you’re getting drunk in a corner at a school dance-”

“Dee,” Eggie tried to intervene again.

“Okay, we’re gonna go…” Jenna said, Sindri’s arm wrapping around her waist, and the two made a hasty exit.

“Maybe we should-” Libby suggested quietly toward Eir and Annabeth, but both shook their heads, “Oh no,” Annabeth said, looking from the fighting sisters to the boyfriend in question who was stewing behind Cleo, “I gotta see this.”

“Ever since you started dating him you’ve been making an ass of yourself,” Desiree said, looking more angry than Cleo had seen her in awhile.

“Or maybe you’re just pissed off that I have someone else I’ve been spending time with you and you’re just being a bitch!” Cleo retorted

“Wow, harsh,” Eir said, looking back and forth between the two normally close sisters.

“Stay out of it,” Eggie advised quietly, but Eir was ignoring her.

“Wait, wait, you’re telling me that this guy can’t get drunk?” Michael cut in, getting Eggie’s attention.

“Huh?” Eggie asked, having been distracted by the fight.

“Not unless it’s alcohol from Hell,” Miska replied smugly.

“Will you shut up,” Cleo snapped at the two boys before turning back to her sister, “Ever since I started dating Ayato you’re pissy with the time I spend with him, it’s not my fault you don’t go and get yourself a new girlfriend and stop moping about Nikaia-”

Dee gasped, staring wide eyed at her sister. “Wow, wow Cleo, I didn’t know what a- a cunt you’d become!” She snapped, “Hope you have fun over here making an idiot of yourself to please your dick.” She turned on her heel and began walking away, Libby quickly following her.

Cleo felt all the adrenaline of the fight dissipate and the dizziness returned. Annabeth was staring at her wide eyed, while she realized Michael and Miska had wandered off during the argument.

“That was-” Eggie started.

“Yeah that was a bit much,” Eir said, nodding her head.

“God, she’s being so annoying,” Cleo muttered, earning a look from Eggie. “What?” She demanded of the older girl.

Eggie shrugged and shook her head, “It’s nothing, but she is your sister so…” She broke off and then added, “It was nice guys, I’m going to make sure Michael doesn’t get alcohol poisoning.”

“What she meant is is that you’re both being bitches to each other,” Eir deadpanned before turning to Annabeth, “Hey, let’s go find Gavin and Zevran.”

It got quiet as the group dispersed and Cleo turned to look at Ayato, who had been silent. He had a dark look in his eyes and she felt horrible. Her sister had ruined their night and Ayato would be in a sour mood from it. “Ayato I’m sorry,” she said. “She’s being a bitch-”

He scoffed, taking a swig from his own flask. “We should have spiked her drink.” Ayato cut in with annoyance, a sharp glare in the direction the girl had left in before looking back down at his drink, ignoring Cleo’s expression entirely as he muttered into the rim of his cup, “She needs to fucking chill.”

A knot was forming in her stomach and Cleo shrugged. Whatever anger she had held for her sister was already gone and she felt stupid for saying any of that to her. “I guess, she’s just trying to look out for me, even though she’s my younger sister and not the other way around.”

Despite Cleo’s own reservations, Ayato shared none of it. The alcohol was warm in his stomach and he allowed the buzz in his ear to ring, content to slouch and continue on unrepentantly, “I can’t believe you’re related to something like that. You’re so much better- know how to have a good time… you don’t need a babysitter who can’t tie their own shoelaces…”

“Maybe if you tried to be nicer to her every now and then she wouldn’t act like that around you,” Cleo half snapped, getting tired of having to play the middle man between her boyfriend and her family, especially when her boyfriend didn’t even try to play nice.

“Be nicer?” Ayato replied indignantly, staring at Cleo through narrowed eyes now, “Since when did I have to be nice? You’re the one calling her a bitch.”

“Yeah, because she’s my sister,” She said, giving him a tired glare, the buzz winding down somewhat, but still clouding her thoughts, and most importantly, her filter. “I can call her a bitch, I’ve known her since the day she was born. You wouldn’t like it if I called your mom or dad a bitch.”

Ayato’s hand curled hard around his cup. “Well isn’t it just grand they aren’t kicking anymore? Your sister is kicking it so hard she’s got her foot up her ass. Don’t tell me what I can call her.”

“God,” Cleo shouted, her voice finally raising, “Stop making everything about this! Every time I try to talk about my family all you do is bitch and moan and complain and get pissy because somehow it’s my fucking fault your parents are dead!” People were beginning to turn and look at the pair, but Cleo didn’t pay any attention to them.

“You brought them up!” Ayato snapped back, his own voice rising in kind. “You’re fucking out of line.”

“As a comparison about why I don’t want you calling my sister a bitch!” She reached up and tugged the stupid mask off her head, “I don’t mean about this even! Anytime I want to invite you to do stuff with my family, or I tell you I’m going home for the weekend, you get all smug and nasty about it, like I’m not suppose to spend time with them because you can’t spend time with yours, and that’s not my fault! That’s one of the reasons my sister doesn’t like you!”

“Why the fuck should I care about why she doesn’t like me?” He took a step forward, sneering now. “Maybe if you spent more time with me rather than spending it all with her, I wouldn’t be so nasty, you’re the one throwing it in my face!”

“If you even paid any attention you’d realize I spend most of my fucking time with you! I shouldn’t have to pick between you and my family, you should make an effort to actually get along with them if you cared about me!” Cleo shouted. The heels were beginning to feel clumsy on her feet in her frustration and part of her wanted to kneel and take them off, but she wasn’t ready to back down. She never backed down.

“Maybe you’re not worth the effort.” Ayato spat, his words an angry flurry as she defended herself. He had torn the mask off his own face, letting it fall to who the fuck cares as he took a step away from the girl.

“God, my sister was right, you’re such an asshole!” She said, clenching her hands into fists, crumpling her own mask slightly. “I can’t believe I wasted all that time trying to fit you into my family when you just treated Dee like shit!”

He didn’t want to hear it and was raising one finger, pointing at her as he snarled, “I’m done with you.” Words that he hadn’t thought through, but he couldn’t bring himself to regret any of the malice or apologize quick enough for it to matter. Not that he really wanted to.

“FINE!” Cleo shouted, “Run away like you always do and pout because you can’t shut up about your own problems!” She let out a frustrated noise and turned her glare to some of the surrounding students, who promptly looked away, pretending they weren’t paying her any mind.

His face was red, flushed from the fight and bright as she realized just what a commotion they had caused. One professor was even looking their way and Ayato found himself snapping back with a simple repeated, “Fine!” before whirling around to stalk away, steady on his feet and furious in mind.

Glad that she was not the first one to turn away, she waited until he began to shove his way through the crowd and then took a deep breath before wading through the students in the opposite direction. She needed to find Dee and apologize and just get back to her friends.

And it was for the best, really. The sisters were upset, but even though they were a year apart in age, they were always joined at the hip. It only took a sincere, teary-eyed apology from Cleo and the group of fourth and fifth years came back together to enjoy the rest of the night. Without any more alcohol poured into her cup, Cleo sobered up in time to watch the dorky librarian serenade Professor Vander. However, that hadn’t stopped some of the others, like Michael who was still scrounging every ounce of alcohol to give to Miska in an attempt to disprove his claim.


 

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