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Title: Running With Scissors
Series: Yuugiou
Rating: R (rating may go up)
Chapters: 3/???
Summary: [AU] Otogi, Malik, Ryou, and Yami were the most popular amateur rock band in Domino. However, when Otogi abandons the band for his own gain, what can the others do to reclaim their status?
Warnings: Eventual yaoi, OCs, coarse language, sexual situations in later chapters.
Disclaimer: Usagi no own. However, Usagi does own any lyrics in here.



Chapter 3



If one were to look into the mind of Malik Ishtar at this moment, they'd find themselves just as confused as he was. He was torn between varying emotions - or rather, he wasn't sure whether he wanted to break things or bounce off of the walls with glee. He was currently laying on his bed, staring up at the ceiling while he tried to figure out whether he was happy or pissed off. Of course, these emotions weren't unfounded; he had good reason for both, it was just a matter of deciding which one felt more right at the time.

Flash back to roughly two hours ago: the talent show had almost come to a close, and there were only two performances left before the judges were to make their decisions. Malik had been sitting backwards in a chair, trying to make some sense out of what the wannabe comedian on stage was saying. Honestly, he'd found himself more amused by the fact that the legs of his chair weren't even, and the slight rocking motion he'd made had been more than enough to display how bored he'd been.

He hadn't been in the best of moods then, as he'd kept on receiving nasty glares from 1) a certain former bandmate who had nothing better to do than mock him, and 2) a certain young lady he'd happened to knock down in the hallway a few weeks prior. He'd countered with glares of his own, and while it had been a good half hour since he'd stopped feeling the gaze of the latter recipient, he was still pissed off about it.

It wasn't like he had meant to knock her over. Some jerk had spilled something - possibly soda - in the middle of the hallway, and Malik had failed to see the puddle since he'd been engrossed in the violent text that his friend had kindly asked him to return to the library. He was fairly sure the girl hadn't seen him coming either, but while Malik considered both of them to be at fault, he felt as if she were blaming him for the entire thing.

Fuck that, he'd thought. I don't care if I nearly broke her back, she saw me coming and should've gotten out of the way.

This didn't piss Malik off so much as an event that had happened in the next half hour, however. All of the performances had ended, the judges had been given time to tally their scores to see who in this school would come out on top. The four boys weren't exactly concerned with winning, per se - they at least wanted to beat Otogi Ryuuji and his new band, just so they could wipe that smirk off the bastard's face. Although, the set of gift certificates to one of the most expensive sushi bars in the city was appealing...

Unfortunately for Plastic Samurai, they hadn't even placed.

Third place went to a group of girls who had done a rather impressive jump-rope routine. I thought people stopped jumping rope when they got to middle school, Malik had thought.

Second place had gone to Kouryuu Hotaru - or, as Malik now referred to her, Little-Miss-It's-All-Your-Fault. To be honest, though... he wasn't that surprised. She had done a pretty good job with her singing, and her stage presence was a force to be reckoned with. He was surprised, however, that Kouryuu hadn't gone to claim her prize. He'd then deducted that she must have left beforehand, which was why he'd stopped feeling her glare death-rays through the back of his head. At least he was pretty sure "death-rays" was plural...

First place had gone to none other than Yggdrasil, the current bane of Malik's existence. Of course Ryuuji couldn't have gotten away with shooting a holier-than-thou grin at him; oh no. The look he'd gotten from the blue-haired one wasn't much better either, but the other two - the blonde and the one with the single spike of brown hair - looked to be more of the 'good sport' variety. All they'd done we was shoot Malik and his bandmates simple glances, and the blonde had even approached them after all was said and done. "Hey, just want you guys to know that I thought you were pretty good," he'd said. Then he'd leaned down close to Malik and continued, "don't let Otogi get to you."

Yeah, easy for you to say, the Egyptian had thought. The blonde's - Jounouchi, was it? - statement was simple, but at least it showed the four members of Plastic Samurai that there was a shred of kindness amongst Yggdrasil.

So there was the reason that Malik had for being pissed off. They'd not only gotten beaten out by Yggdrasil, but also by that Kouryuu bitch.

And as for the reason Malik had to be happy?

Warp to around ten minutes after the judges' announcements and the closing statements. The four teens were hanging out backstage, waiting for this Kujaku Mai to find them again and say what she had to say. Malik and Yami had explained to Ryou and Akihiko that the woman had wanted a word with them as a group; Akihiko's eyebrow had raised, while Ryou had merely nodded in response.

It wasn't long before the blonde woman had located them. After exchanging firm handshakes with the four boys, she'd gone to introduce herself as Kujaku Mai of the Doma Record Company - the same label who had produced Project D.O.O.M., the three-member band of chart-toppers - and she was looking for a fresh new band to manage.

"I was impressed by your performance tonight," she'd said, "but in all honestly, I can see why you didn't get much applause at the end... I think most of the audience would've rather listened to a group of cats in heat or a bizarre decapitation ritual..."

Malik hadn't been too pleased with that remark. "... Then how the hell were you impressed by us if you feel like--"

"Let me finish," Mai had interrupted. "You guys really do have a lot of potential, and I think with the right adjustments, the four of you could go far in the music world."

"...Adjustments?" Malik had questioned.

Mai had then gone on to explain that she'd recently come across some of Plastic Samurai's music while Ryuuji was still with the band, read about Ryuuji's departure, and how the boys was trying to pull the pieces back together. Ra, Mazaki really drilled the info out of us, Malik had thought, remembering the interview they'd had about it. Even with the addition of Akihiko, as their drummer, the band had failed to recover the glory they once had. On that note, Mai had suggested that the four of them schedule a meeting with her as soon as possible to discuss certain things that could revive the band - after all, with her as a potential manager, there's no way that the boys would stay at the bottom for very long.

The four of them had been very pleased with Mai's proposal, and had eagerly scheduled an interview with her, which was to take place three days from today - this coming Monday.

And there was Malik's reason for being irrationally exuberant.

He continued to mull over the night's events, and barely even noticed when his door opened, and his sister entered the room. "Malik?" Her voice broke the Egyptian from his thoughts. Malik pulled himself up into a sitting position, as Isis sat down on the edge of the bed.

She looked a little worse for the wear - very tired, her face somewhat pale and gaunt, dark circles underneath her eyes - and Malik concluded that she'd been awake most of the night before. His sister was in poor health, and he was concerned, but it was really something to be expected. The past month had been extremely stressful for the Ishtars. Isis had been assaulted during her shift at work - Malik was 99% sure that it was at the hands of Takanaka Reiji, and if he ever met that bastard in person, he'd gut him - and Rishid, their adopted older brother and Malik's guardian, was taking Isis' place and working long hours at the local museum, in order to provide for the three of them. This was part of the reason why Malik so desperately wished for Plastic Samurai to become successful - money from the record sales would help pull his family out of the economical rut they'd been dragged into.

"How did it go tonight?" Isis asked, once again breaking her brother from his thoughts. Her voice was extremely weak and tired-sounding, but Malik tried not to let his anxiety become apparent in his voice when he answered.

He shrugged. "Okay, I guess."

Isis smiled weakly at him. "I'm sorry I couldn't be there to watch you perform," she said.

Malik leaned forward slightly. "Hey, don't worry about it," he said, trying to mask the disappointment in his voice. He really had wanted her to be there, but he understood if she didn't have the energy to make it. "We didn't win anyway."

"Well, I would've liked to see you, and hear your music," Isis said sadly.

"Maybe when you're in better condition?" Malik asked hopefully. Isis had seen them before, at practices, but not since her attack - likewise, not after Ryuuji had left and Akihiko had joined. Malik hoped that her health would improve a little, so she could come watch one of their rehearsals, at the very least.

Isis nodded, and gave her brother's hand an apologetic squeeze. "I'll try, brother. I promise." With that, she stood, and started walking toward the door.

"Hey, Isis?" Malik queried, causing his sister to turn back and look at him. He wanted to tell her about the talk that he and the other boys had had with Mai. "Um... tonight, there was a woman in the audience who's working with a record company. We... we scheduled an interview with her for Monday. So... if all goes well, we'll have a manager, and be under a record label..."

Isis smiled; it was one of the brightest expressions Malik had seen on her in a long while. "That's wonderful, Malik. I'll be sure to tell Rishid when he gets in," she said.

Malik grinned at her and nodded, and then Isis left the room, shutting the door behind her.

He flopped back down on the bed, gazing back up at the ceiling once again. And in that moment, he decided that he was happy instead of pissed off.




"Damnit, I told you you should've turned left at that stop light! Now we're fucking lost!"

"Not to mention late..."

"Yeah, and late! I don't think Kujaku was anticipating us being late, Kumori."

Akihiko glared at the blonde sitting in the passenger's seat. "Get off my nuts, Ishtar! I'm trying to drive here!"

"Yeah, well, stop sucking at it."

Malik, Akihiko, Ryou, and Yami were currently piled up in the redhead's car, looking for the café that Kujaku Mai had suggested they meet at. It was a small yet posh little place, and none of them had even heard of it, much less been there. They were currently running about ten minutes late for their interview, and all four of them - even Ryou - were just a little on edge.

"Hey! Get the fuck off your cellphone and drive!" Akihiko yelled out the window to the car that he had almost ran into. Now, Kumori Akihiko was not one to get angry. There were only three things in the world that ever angered him: 1) the Internet booting him offline in the middle of a conversation, 2) people eating his cookies, and 3) drivers other than himself. "God, these fuckers piss me off!"

"I'm sure they're thinking the exact same thing about you," Yami said. Somehow, over the course of the drive, he'd developed a twitch in his right eye.

"Man, whatever," Akihiko said, reaching into his pocket and pulling out his bright purple cellphone. He quickly found the number he was looking for, and held the phone to his ear. "...Yeah, Haru? These directions you gave me are complete bullshit," he complained.

Malik, Ryou, and Yami all exchanged glances with each other. What was it that Akihiko was just saying about "getting off your cellphone and driving"? However, the three of them silently agreed that it was a pretty good idea that he was making this call. Haruhiko, Akihiko's twin sister, knew just about every place in the city. You could describe a place to her, and she'd know exactly where it was at and how to get there from her current point... and it was very strange that the directions she had given them were "complete bullshit", as her twin had put it.

"Wait, what? Oh fuck, no! We're looking for Café Briolette, not Café Brioche! ... Yeah, damn right you're sorry. You're not borrowing my pink-striped shirt for a week, Haru. ... Look, can you just get us there from here? We're almost to the corner of Fuuji and Himawari- SHIT!"

The other three boys yelped in surprise as Akihiko swerved, narrowly missing a telephone pole. "Dammit, Kumori! We're late enough as it is, we don't need you killing us, too!" Malik shouted, receiving a particularly nasty glare in response. Deciding that he didn't want to get on the redhead's bad side at the time - Akihiko really would get them killed if he kept glaring at Malik as opposed to keeping his eyes on the road - Malik kept himself occupied by angrily gazing out the passenger side window.

Ryou sighed. He'd be impressed if they even got there at the rate they were going.

"...Okay, good. Hey, I gotta go before I end up killing us all. ... Yeah, okay, love you too, Haru. You can borrow my shirt if you want to. ...'Kay, bye." With that, Akihiko hung up, and continued watching the road in front of him. "Damnit, I love the girl to death, but sometimes she can be such an airhead..."

"...Y'know, Kumori, your phone conversations never cease to amuse me," Yami said, smirking.

"Bite me, Mutou."




"Gods, I thought we'd never get here!"

The four teens made their way from where Akihiko's car was parked, to the small café where their potential manager was hopefully still awaiting them. They hadn't bothered to change out of their school uniforms, seeing as how their interview was scheduled for only a short time after school let out for the day - and besides, the uniforms were probably the most "professional"-looking articles of clothing any of them had.

Café Briolette was a small yet cozy little coffee house. It was dimly lit, yet the atmosphere was welcoming, and the smell of coffee and fresh baked goods wafted through the air. Malik and his friends felt a little out-of-place in there, but it was a sacrifice they'd have to make if they wanted to get through this interview. The boys scanned the area, looking to see if the blonde woman was still there. They honestly wouldn't be surprised if she'd left, they had been pretty late in arriving- "Over there," Ryou said, pointing to a round table in one corner of the building that was slightly larger than the others.

Indeed, Kujaku Mai was sitting there, sipping at a cup of something topped with whipped cream - probably coffee - and reading the latest issue of Shoxx. The four boys made their way to the table she was sitting at, weaving in-between the smaller tables, and she looked up from her magazine upon hearing a thumping noise, followed by a string of foreign obscenities. "Hey, I thought you four weren't going to make it," she said, standing up and shaking the hand of each of them - or, she would've shook hands with Malik if he wasn't currently holding his leg in pain and uttering Arabic curses under his breath.

Akihiko ran a hand through his mop of red-orange hair, smirking to himself. "Got caught in traffic," he said, shrugging.

"Traffic? That's a load of bull," Malik said bitterly, having recovered from banging his shin on the chair in front of him. "We got lost 'cause this one's sister gave us directions to the wrong place," he threw a sidelong glance in Akihiko's general direction, emphasizing his point.

The redhead merely grinned, ignoring Malik - though he made a mental note to get back at him later for that remark. "Well, at least we got here."

"Right, right," Mai said, nodding. "So," she gestured toward the table she had been sitting at, "have a seat?" After all four of them seated themselves around said table, she took her seat as well, putting her magazine away and taking out the same lavender stationary pad she'd used back at the talent show. "Now... I just want to ask each of you a few questions, and some as a whole group, and just answer to the best of your ability. Is that okay?"

Unbeknownst to the four members of Plastic Samurai, someone else was listening in on their interview. While this person was sitting a couple of tables away, everything was perfectly audible to them. Unfortunately, they weren't there voluntarily - and it showed, as the eavesdropper's chin was being propped up by a slender arm, and the free hand boredly plucked at a half-eaten cinnamon bun sitting on the table in front of them.

The basic questions were asked - what inspired them to bring Plastic Samurai together, what is the driving force behind the band, et cetera. Malik, as self-proclaimed leader of the band, answered them for the most part, though when a question came up about Ryuuji's departure from the band, he held his tongue - he didn't enjoy discussing this subject. Neither did Yami or Ryou, and the former of the two also refused to give any input, leaving Ryou to answer for them. It was probably for the best, anyway, since Ryou was the most calm out of the three "originals" - Malik or Yami probably would've started swearing or wishing death upon Ryuuji.

When the individual questions came about, Malik, Yami, and Ryou's answers were pretty similar - after all, they'd been in the band since it had first started. Akihiko was the exception since he had only been with them for about a month and a half, and when asked how he'd joined up with the others, he laughed into the tale with a big grin on his face..

"Well... 's kind of a funny story, actually," he said, running a hand through his short red-orange hair. "See, we had this test in History, and since History's my best subject, I breezed through it in no time. So I was just sitting there bored afterward, and I started tapping my pencil on the desk like everyone else does. The teacher yelled at me every time I got a good rhythm going though, which really sucked, and I ended up getting put in detention. Funny thing is, Ishtar there had a detention scheduled for the same day, for skipping class or something," he received a glare from the aforementioned Egyptian, "and before the teacher came in we got into a conversation. We'd been in the same class, but we never spoke, so it was kinda awkward, but he was like 'yeah, you sound like you're musically inclined, do you do any of that stuff for real' and I'm like 'yeah, I play the drums'. And I guess the rest is history. 'Scuse the pun."

Ryou smiled sheepishly. "Kumori-kun... have you ever heard the phrase 'to cut a long story short'?"

Mai simply grinned at them, crossing her arms over her chest. "I thought that was a funny little story, to be honest... it's definitely a unique induction into the band. The other bands I've interviewed never had such interesting stories of how their newbies joined - most of them were just 'oh, we held auditions for drummers and guitarists and whatnot'. But your story... it seems a lot more personal than anything else I ever heard. I like that."

That said, a few more questions were asked, and then the interview started to draw to a close.

"You know... I like you guys," Mai said, folding her arms and slightly leaning across the tabletop. "When do you plan on having your next practice?"

Malik scratched his chin. "Well... we normally practice every other day, but since we came here today, the next practice is on Wednesday-"

"Wednesday is great," Mai said excitedly, jotting something down on her stationary pad. "Do you mind if I drop by to watch you? I'd like to see what you guys are like without the stress of being watched by two hundred people," she said, winking at them.

Akihiko, Ryou, and Malik all turned to Yami for an answer, since their practices were held in the basement of his home. He shrugged his shoulders, looking fairly indifferent about the whole situation. "Sure," he replied. He then gave Mai instructions on how to get there.

"Excellent," Mai said, writing the directions down. "If all goes well, you boys will have yourselves a manager!"

The five people at the table stood, and the four band members all thanked Mai for taking the time to interview them. She shook their hands again, and the boys exited the café. Mai seated herself at the table again, looking over her shoulder at the occupant of a nearby table. Said occupant stood up, walked over to Mai's table, and sat down in the seat directly across from her.

"Well... I'm sure you heard everything," she said. "What do you think?"

"I think you're fucking crazy."




"I think that went pretty well," Ryou said as he shut the car door behind him. "Kujaku-san seemed really impressed."

Malik leaned back in the front passenger's seat, crossing his arms behind his head. He was in a considerably better mood than he was before the interview. "Hell yeah," he said, grinning. "Plus, she's coming to watch our practice on Wednesday, so that's a pretty good sign."

"We'd better knock her socks off then, huh?" Akihiko asked, starting up the car.

Yami wasn't too sure of that. His brows furrowed in thought for a couple of moments. "I dunno... remember the other night, when she said that we could be a really great band if we made a few 'adjustments'? I'm wondering what she meant by that."

Akihiko simply shrugged, as he backed out of the parking space. "Probably something minor, like do something more original."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Well..." the redhead flushed, giving his whole head a tomatolike appearance. "I don't mean to diss your music or anything, Mutou, 'cause it's really good, but... don't you think it sounds a little too mainstream?"

"Woah, it's about time someone agreed with me," Malik said, clapping a hand onto Akihiko's shoulder. "I'm thinking that we really should try to deviate from the norm. We should do something that's... a little more interesting, I think."

Ryou leaned against the back of Malik's seat. "Yeah... maybe that's what Kujaku-san meant. Yami-kun, do you remember how when Otogi-kun was with us, how you, he, and Malik-kun would all sing together? That was something new and enjoyable that all of the fans liked. When Otogi-kun left and it was just Malik-kun singing, I think that's what happened... we started sounding too commonplace in the musical world, so we just sort of faded into the background."

Yami nodded in understanding. "How come you guys never said anything before?"

"I guess we didn't really get to thinking about it until Kujaku mentioned making 'adjustments'," Malik said, shrugging. He reached over and turned a knob, turning the radio on. "This station is always playing cool stuff that's not your average music. You'll see what I mean if you just listen."

The song that was playing was a fairly hard rock song that seemed to have orchestration integrated into it. Malik guessed that it was near the middle of the song.

And within the depths of my soul, I come to realize
That you and I were never meant to be


"See? You don't hear this kind of music every day. We need to do stuff that's more like this, but with our own little twist, y'know?" Malik said.

"Yeah, I get it," Yami said, nodding again. "Maybe I'll let one of you guys handle writing the music. As long as I can play my bass, it's all good to me."

So before the crack of dawn
Before you'll be gone
One more time, won't you sin with me?


The song then ended, abruptly shifting to a quiet acoustic guitar rift in 3/4 time. The DJ's voice enthusiastically came after the riff faded into silence. "And that was 'Sin' from Yggdrasil's new album, entitled 'Brain Damage'! Go and pick yourself up a copy if you haven't already!"

"That song was pretty good," Ryou said.

"Yeah," Malik agreed.

And then, realization hit all four of them like a ton of bricks, and Akihiko slammed on the brakes - luckily, right as they hit a stop light.

"Wait, what?!"




"How are the sales on the new album doing?"

"Excellent, Otogi-san. We've already sold over five thousand copies," the voice on the other end of the telephone said.

Otogi Ryuuji smirked, nodding in approval. "Good. Listen, I want you to do something for me," he said, leaning back in his desk chair. He was staring at his computer screen, which displayed a certain website set up by a certain band he'd abandoned a few months ago. "There's somebody I want you to send a CD to, free of charge..." A devious grin spread across his lips as he thought of this plan. "I'll get the address for you tomorrow, but just consider this a... personal favor."

The voice on the other end seemed hesitant for a few moments before speaking again. "...Ooookay, whatever you say, Otogi-san. You realize that's a loss of three thousand yen right there, correct?"

Ryuuji merely scoffed. "With all of the copies we're selling, what's three thousand yen? I'm sure the recipient of this CD will be rather pleased... so you'll do it, then?"

"Of course," the voice on the phone replied. "If you don't care, then whatever."

"Good. I'd like to see the look on Ishtar's face when he gets it... I'm sure he'll be thrilled to know how successful I've been since I left him and his pathetic bandmates behind."

"I'm sure that can be arranged, Otogi-san."

"Oh, don't waste your time on that. I know perfectly well how he'd react to it..."

"I wasn't planning on it."

"I see."

"Well then, I'll talk to you tomorrow, Otogi-san. Good night."

"Good night, Takanaka-san."




The next day, a very angry Malik Ishtar found himself a new drink coaster.

 
 
 
 
 
 
"...I think most of the audience would've rather listened to a group of cats in heat or a bizarre decapitation ritual..."
*laughs* Perfect. I can so hear Mai saying that XD

...sipping at a cup of something topped with whipped cream...
^_^ I'm kind of glad you went with the whipped cream, not just because Mai would look sexy with whipped cream, but because the fact that they can see that it's topped means she hasn't been drinking it long, so they aren't too late. Or maybe I just fixate on details >.>

And the final sentence is still great XD <3