‘There are many things that don’t need to be said in this world, but I’d wager you don’t say any of the things that need to be said either!’ Tomoyo grabbed her sake cup and downed the contents in one quick wrist movement. Slamming the cup back down on the table, she leaned in on her elbow and stared at her companion. ‘What is wrong with you, niisan, really? Why don’t you ever say anything?’
The man across the table maintained his cross-legged posture as he sipped from his cup. He watched his sister from underneath lowered eyelids and took a deep breath, knowing what was coming.
‘You know what, Shin? I’m going to get drunk tonight. I’ve had enough of this place. It’s so dull. The only way to get some excitement around here is to do things while intoxicated!’
Although that’s what it was probably supposed to be, but it was rather slurred and Shin just had to guess what she meant. Plus, she’d said it every other time they’d gotten together, so he figured he could decode it this time.
Tomoyo was well on her way to doing just what she declared when they sliding door to their booth was opened and a large man in a red uniform appeared. He looked over both of them – Shin sitting perfectly still, cup in hand, Tomoyo lying on one side propped up by her elbow looking at him through sleepy, lidded eyes.
The man returned his gaze to Shin after a long, lingering look down Tomoyo’s entire body, and his eyes narrowed as they took in the dual swords resting nearby. ‘I believe you are in my booth.’ Neither questioning nor emotional inflected, his statement rested gently in the air while Shin continued to gaze at him.
Tomoyo rolled lazily onto her front and put her face in her hands, feet kicked up in the air behind her. ‘Oh, reallyyy? Mmm well I think it’s our booth right now.’ Tomoyo roared with laughter, despite her statement being neither funny, nor interesting. Shin raised an eyebrow at his sister, but she just winked at him and chuckled under her breath. He shook his hand and then returned his gaze to their new guest, whose hand was now resting gently on the hilt of his katana, lowering it gently in what could be misconstrued as resting, but to Shin represented an aggressive way of announcing that he could easily draw his blade at any time.
Shin narrowed his eyes at the movement, and then, downing the last of his sake, he lowered the cup gently to the table between himself and the intruder, and then rested his hands on his knees.
‘I don’t think you heard me, my friends. You are in my booth. Since I now need my booth, you must get out of it. It is unfortunate for you, I understand, but unavoidable.’ As he spoke, he moved his left hand behind the hilt of his sword, and gently let each of the fingers of his right hand come to rest on the tsuka. He did not draw, but the intent was abundantly clear.
Shin gently rose to one knee, and glanced to the side to see that his sister had rolled herself into a crouched position. The intruder seemed surprised by their fast movement, but stood his ground. Shin allowed himself a small smile of elation at his opponent’s bravado, and his sister’s ability to seemingly rid herself of drunkenness within a few nanoseconds – and with the right motivation.
Tomoyo was holding her dual wakizashi now, and with their silver gleam glinting next to the pale skin of her forearms, she looked deadly – and excited. Shin took advantage of the man’s incredulous observation of Tomoyo and returned his swords to their rightful place at his hip. Moving quickly, he flicked his sword slightly out of its sheath with his left thumb, ready to move at a moment’s notice.
The man’s dangerous edge had all but evaporated as his eyes nearly crossed trying to keep them both in view. He looked unsure as to whether keeping with his current line of ‘persuasion’ would lead to the best outcome for him or not. He looked at Shin, his eyes almost desperate now.
Tomoyo spoke her brother’s thoughts: ‘We’re going to make this easy for you. Take your hands away from that poor excuse of a sword and go find yourself another booth – one that is actually empty, like your threats. Do that, and you won’t have to deal with my brother’s or my own version of ‘persuasion’.’
The man looked stunned for a second, before quickly removing his hands and leaving the room – giving a quick bow as he slid the door closed. Shin removed his sword once more and lay it on the ground beside him as he resumed his sitting position. Tomoyo sheathed both of her wakizashi and placed them under the low table before slumping on the ground, appearing for all intents and purposes like she had just downed a dozen bottles of sake.
‘Thank Kami-sama he chose the easy option – I was so close to just falling down, bare blades or not.’ She chuckled to herself and reached for the bottle, pouring another generous portion into her cup. She lifted the bottle in Shin’s general direction, ‘more, brother?’
Shin smiled and raised his cup so she could fill it. ‘Of course.’