“NO! KEN!” Mamoru shoved and tore out of Ken’s hands. “You cannot use mustard, this is a VERSACE shirt!”
“Oh, well, that’s different,” Ken said with a nod, putting the jar down.
Mamoru nodded, relieved that Ken was finally seeing sense. He relaxed and let out a breath.
“This calls for the MODENA BALSAMIC VINEGAR!” Ken declared, throwing open cupboard doors and pulling out a large dark bottle, his eyes gleaming with manic enjoyment.
“NO, not the BALSAMIC VINEGAR! DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT’LL DO TO THIS SHIRT?!” Mamoru howled, backing away.
“Yep and that’s exactly why I’m gonna spray it all over that designer piece of crap,” Ken said with supreme satisfaction. “You, my friend, are a label addict. You need to be saved from yourself. Just think of this as a necessary intervention.”
“Spraying balsamic vinegar all over my shirt is NOT an intervention!” Mamoru threw back, pelting for the door into the games room. But just as his fingers touched the handle, he felt a jet of liquid spray across his back. The wail of anguish that came through the door made Xavier and Isamu look up from their card game.
“He got the vinegar out,” Xavier said with a shake of his head.
“The fool,” Isamu stated. He put down the Knave of Clubs.
The door was wrenched open and Ken shot through like a comet. “It’s a fucking SHIRT, Mamoru, you can buy a new one!” he threw back over his shoulder, though the two men noticed he didn’t slow down.
“THAT – IS NOT – THE POINT!” Mamoru yelled, flying after him.
Both Isamu and Xavier caught sight of his shirt at exactly the same time and both snorted. Xavier put his hand over his mouth but Isamu didn’t bother to hide his amusement. Mamoru’s shirt was now decorated in Jackson Pollock-esque dark brown streaks and blots which were already soaking into the fine cotton. He looked like a walking work of modern art. Mamoru wheeled on them.
“What?” he demanded in a voice that was deadly quiet.
“It’s a nice shirt, Mamoru,” Xavier said innocently.
Isamu guffawed. “It was a nice shirt, you mean.”
Mamoru grabbed the nearest liquid to hand, which happened to be lemonade, and hurled it over Isamu. Isamu stopped laughing and Xavier put his hand over his face. Mamoru saw Isamu’s expression and had a sudden moment of clarity: Oh shit.
“Oh, it is on like DONKEY KONG, MY FRIEND!” Isamu shouted, leaping to his feet and kicking the chair back. “KEN! Get back here, the tables just turned!”
The blood drained out of Mamoru’s face. He glanced at Xavier and Xavier shook his head. “Don’t even think about it,” he said out of the corner of his mouth.
Ken crashed back into the room. He took in the situation – scared Mamoru, soaked Isamu – in one glance and gave a massive grin. “Boy, did you make the wrong choice,” he said casually to Mamoru. “I suggest you run. He’s WAY more inventive than I am. We’ll give you a ten second head start, since Isa knows the place better.”
Mamoru took his advice and scarpered. A few seconds ticked by and then Isamu stretched. “We should go.”
“But it’s only been five seconds,” Xavier objected.
“Precisely,” Isamu answered with a wolfish grin. "Ken, get the Sauvignon AND the balsamic vinegar."
Ken whooped and grabbed the wine bottle from the rack. "He's gonna hate us!"
"No, he won't hate us until we pour them over his head," Isamu said sweetly, ushering him through the door and throwing Xavier one mischievous look before closing it.
Xavier looked at his hand. The Queen of Diamonds and the Queen of Hearts gazed back at him. "And I was winning as well," he muttered, gathering the cards up and shuffling them again.
"What was all the noise?" Takehiko asked, walking in from the terrace. He had just finished his daily morning sword training and was half naked. Grabbing a glass from the draining board, he filled it with water and began to drink.
"I think Mamoru may be regretting that wish for "real brothers"," Xavier answered. "Isa and Ken decided to show him what a real food fight is. Only Ken did it by spray painting Mamoru's favourite shirt with balsamic vinegar and Mamoru got really mad and then he dumped lemonade over Isa, so now Isa and Ken have ganged up on him."
Takehiko paused, thinking. "The Versace shirt?"
Takehiko shrugged. "Waste of money."
"I know, right?"