MANY things contributed to the delay of this chapter. It's actually been written for around a week or so, but my editor has been "Out of Action" per say, *coughlazycough*. = D But It's finally here. Chapter Five! Enjoy!
Chapter Five - Leavetakings
It was settled then. John would accompany the crazy people to their museum. It was just a museum after all; a nice, safe and comfortably mundane museum. Surely it couldn't hurt. They usually had rather effective carpet cleaner at places like museums.
As John nervously flicked his eyes around the room and then quickly back to his safe spot on the wall he couldn't help but notice that everyone's eyes were still on him. Now that wasn't fair. He had already agreed to their crazy scheme; surely now they would let him stop shaking with nerves and slip silently back into the background.
Perhaps these people wanted something else. John searched his mind for any dregs of useful information he may have absorbed from Supreme Etiquette of Flashing Aid in Encroachment Neighbour, Translate with Swift for your Pleasure, then he remembered that it had made no sense whatsoever. He was rather fearfully left to come up with a response on his own, and this was something John avoided as avidly as cat avoided acting in a way that made any sense.
In a rather exhausting effort to seem polite, John inquired in the direction of Tifa's shoes as to whether anyone wanted a drink. This must have been the right thing to ask as after a momentary pause it was met with an outbreak of excited whispering between two of the female voices, a quick clinking of teacups, and before John could even debate whether he should look up or not a cup of tea was promptly being pushed into his hands. It was warm to the touch and was in a rather odd looking cup of patterned porcelain. The fact that they had apparently misinterpreted his offer completely would have seemed much less strange to John if he had actually owned any teacups in the first place, yet even so he was quite frankly much too afraid to actually refuse anything from the rather intimidating inhabitants of his kitchen. Thus, in a rather rushed effort to seem polite to the people he was still too intimidated to look directly at, John drank the tea.
It did not occur to John at this moment to think about any of the implications of the situation he had found himself in. He did not ponder why for any reason strange people would want him to go to their museum, nor did he wonder for what purpose they needed him or something from his home. It seemed his subconscious had rather neatly seized the first opportunity to cease his repetitively increasing stress levels by shutting out all suspicious ponderings altogether. John was thus left incapable of thinking logically through the situation and was only able to mildly accept the fact that accompanying total strangers with too many belts to a museum he had never heard of was a perfectly sound idea. As his central rationality system slowly numbed his usual thought processes, John lost his ability to throw himself into a frenzied panic at every instance.
At least, this was how his subconscious explained what was happening. It was, of course, completely ignoring the possibility that something may have been in that tea. Thus, in wild contrast to anything John had been expecting, he was left feeling rather giddy. He was on his way to a museum to see the strictest librarian there ever was. Surely someone of such a status would have a library as plain and uninteresting as he could possibly imagine. There simply wasn't any downside to this plan. John concluded that this was just the kind of thing he needed after a day of so much stress - he had certainly earned something as mundane as this. He vaguely tried to recall a similar situation in one of his prized pieces of literature, yet he strangely found himself unable to recall any book titles at all for the moment. He settled on the name "Happy Valley Goose Bay" as he read it off an envelope he had pinned to the wall for some reason he could not recall. What a nice name that was. It'd be perfect for a cat, you know, if John didn't object to cats because of ... well, he couldn't quite remember why he didn't have a cat. Perhaps he should get one. Then he could name it Gappy Balley Moose Day. Yes, perfect.
It was then that John realised a conversation was going on. He decided it was probably wise to start paying attention to it as he rocked on his heels slowly, staring at the roof with a smile. What a lovely colour it was.
"Why didn't you do this earlier Sakuya?" Apparently Tifa was questioning someone. John couldn't quite see who it was from his view of the ceiling, but he recognised the replying voice as Miss Reddish-Grey.
"Quite honestly, I was in favour of using my knives first"
"Don't worry Tifa" Purple suddenly piped in, "The Tea is perfectly safe. The consumption merely reduces one's perception and ability to deduce-" She finished her sentence in a squeal as mister Maple rather promptly stood on her foot, quite hard from the sound of it. Miss Purple busied herself hopping around the kitchen in pain as Tifa turned to John with a pained smile and said "Alright, ready to go?"
It had taken John a peaceful moment to realise there had been words accompanying her mouth movements, making him nod eagerly after he realised it was in fact a question, and directed at him. Tifa smiled wide and turned to the others, who nodded in approval. What fun, he thought, as he tried to continue the trend by nodding once again. Sadly he only received a raised eyebrow from the man with too many belts. John barely repressed the urge to suddenly giggle.
It was in this thoughtless daze that John was swiftly herded out of his house and onto the pavement as one of the odd people struggled with the rather rusty looking door on their rather rusty looking white van parked outside. John occupied himself by waving goodbye to his house. It seemed quite odd, leaving it under such circumstances. He wondered if it would miss him. He was quite tempted to say a eulogy of some kind; it was like the end of an era. He couldn't recall which era this was the end of, or even where the words had come from, but they were accompanied by the thought that gum would be perfection right about now, and that it would probably be wise to share some with Princess Consuela Banana Hammock. Somehow this all made logical sense to John, who nodded in happy approval of his thoughts - drawing a few anxious glances from the fish people who had turned up in his muffin palace.
"Dilly Dally Shilly Shally!" He said abruptly, turning back to the vanmobile and receiving a rather pained expression from Tifa as a result.
"Dude," Mister Maple said lazily, "That guy are sick."
"IS" Purple prompted.
"It was a reference, dweeb"
"That's what you always sa-"
"That's enough" the one with the reddish-grey voice interrupted. John was quite curious to observe that she was wearing some type of maid's outfit. It consisted of a long blue dress with a white frilly apron and short puffy sleeves. Her hair was silver and barely met her shoulders, though two braids hung down on either side of her face. Her face, he noted, was completely expressionless as she shifted her weight from one black booted foot to the other. After blinking a few times slowly John realised she was in fact considering him with her unblinking eyes. No, wait, there. She did blink. Excellent.
"Perhaps introductions are in order," she offered tonelessly to the air around her. It must have been a good suggestion, as the one who had been struggling with the rusty door handle gave up with a slumping of his shoulders and turned to face John, extending his hand politely.
"My name is Leon Belmont. It is most certainly a pleasure to meet your acquaintance." Ah, this was Mister Blue. He was dressed rather oddly, even for these people. His clothes had a look that suggested that perhaps they belonging to some kind of nobleman several centuries earlier, with elegant boots, gauntlets, and a really fancy coat thing with a high red collar that looked almost like a cape in the way it extended all the way down to the ground. His hair was blonde and ended in rather noticeable curls. Perhaps he was from the museum's bad-fashion-from-the-past exhibition or some such. Noticing that he still had his hand extended, John slapped his hand in a high-five and nearly giggled. Why someone would try high-five him that low was beyond him completely. Apparently this Leon was just as baffled as he walked a few paces away with a confused look on his face.
Next Tifa was standing in front of John, smiling at him politely and happily saying "I'm Tifa". Her shiny black clothes were every bit as black and shiny as they had been earlier by his mailbox, yet she certainly seemed prettier now that John was actually looking at her instead of fainting. Her lack of sleeves combined with her black leather gloves made her somehow seem far too strong for someone so thin, yet her long black hair and gentle smile made her come across as the nicest person of the group. It befit the colour yellow quite accurately, and John couldn't help but smile in his rather well picked choice of voice-coding.
To contrast Tifa's friendly prettiness, the next girl was something completely at odds with such a description. She had thick round glasses and a helmet, completed by an orange dressy-shirt-thing and a really large spanner in her hands. He identified her as Miss Purple when she introduced herself as actually being Lucca, and a genius, and completely opposed to anything Leon said or did. At this the mentioned Leon with the many belts straightened from leaning against the van and merely nodded at him, saying "Leon", and letting John fill in the rest of the sentence. Leon was still as curious as John had first noted. He wore an admirable amount of belts, a really short blue vest over a white shirt and some kind of lion shaped pendant around his neck. He also had a long amount of brown hair and a noticeable scar across his face – quite possibly from taxes, John surmised. They were quite dangerous things.
Lastly John turned to the one in the maid outfit, who simply stared at him. John was overcome with the distinct impression that he would normally be scared or intimidated by this, yet all he could think of at the moment was how she seemed like the most illogical choice for a maid ever. Perhaps this library was rather short on staff at the moment. Someone offered that her name was Sakuya, to which she slowly turned back to the van and opened the door in a single smooth motion. Leon snorted and the other blue sounding Leon muttered something rather British sounding under his breath as he trudged around to the back of the van and yanked open the wide back doors. The doors apparently objected to this idea greatly, as they squealed far too loudly and hung rather limply on only one of the two available bolts holding them to the frame. Apparently this was the most unrepaired van in history, and was quite possibly taken straight from one of their exhibits. Perhaps in one of those "look how close we can get something to look broken and still somehow work" section. How nice of them to bring half their museum with them to pick him up.
A hand on John's shoulder rather firmly guided him around to the back of the van, thus presenting him with the rather intimidating task of getting into the highly unsanitary looking van. The whole inside was rusty and smelled strongly of cinnamon. There were two seats that lined each side of the van, and everything was that very unappealing chrome colour; the curved ceiling, walls, metal benches, floor, and even the small rectangular sign that read "Mind Your Head". The imminent feeling of giddiness slowly receded as John realised he was meant to climb into this thing and sit in it. Quite honestly, he felt like he would immediately regret this decision. As if seeking advice he glanced down and caught sight of the number plate. 5YLVARD. Well, that didn't seem too menacing. Perhaps it wouldn't be too bad. He could at the very least pretend it was clean. Maybe there was more tea inside.
And so John took a very deep breath and crawled up into the rear of the van, sitting himself as far into it as he could on the left bench. He was promptly followed by the other members of crazy town. Tifa climbed in and sat herself next to him, and the Lucca girl sat next to her as Belt Leon hunched in onto the opposite bench, quickly followed by the British Leon, as the maid lady climbed into the driver's seat. Then someone shut the door. The world was plunged into darkness.
Darkness...? Wait, this wasn't fun.
It was at this point that John realised with a slowly encroaching feeling of horror what he had done. He had just climbed into a collapsing rusty death trap with five of the weirdest looking people John had ever seen in his entire life. How had he let this happen?! It was all he could do to not break out into ragged breaths and hug himself as tight as he could. Then he was jolted backwards as the van abruptly started, banging his head roughly on the metal interior. NOW he was breathing raggedly and hugging himself. He squeezed his eyes as shut as they would go and frantically wished in his mind that this day had never happened at all.
"Oi, Tifa, He's having another fit."
In an instant Tifa was up in his space, rubbing his back gently and making soothing noises. As much as John HATED people in his space, he had to admit to himself inside his mild state of panic that it wasn't actually that bad. Perhaps this was what sex was like. It wasn't quite the "wild throws of ecstatic pleasure" that was described in his copy of The Advanced Compendium of Professional Literature, Chapter 37 – The Throes of Passion, but he had figured most of that was made up anyway. The people in those chapters had acted far too illogically for him to believe that's how it actually went down.
It was after these thoughts that John realized he had in fact stopped panicking. He opened his eyes a fraction to see the woman with black hair smiling at him calmly. Once she was sure he was fine, she turned to the waffle-leaving man.
"See? All you need is a woman's touch."
"Pfft, whatever lady. He's still a wimp."
As John sat there chattering his teeth a new cup of tea was being pushed into his hands. He was entirely unsure as to where this tea had come from exactly, but what he did know that it tasted delicious. It smelt slightly of canaries or camomile. Or caramel. Or whatever the word was. In either case, John was left to lean happily back on the hard rusty interior as he let his thoughts wander. Surely he hadn't been almost panicking just a moment before. Oh no, that seemed like a different person entirely. He looked around at a loss of where to put the mysterious tea cup and roughly settled on leaving it squished firmly into the thick layer of mud encasing the floor.
As he smiled casually around the van at the other inhabitants of the small rusty space he was struck by a sudden thought. Inside the van now were all five of the mysterious people who he had listened to inside his lounge earlier while he had played peek-a-boo on the couch, yet there was one rather distinct and voiceless character that was still unaccounted for. That dastardly waffle. It was most certainly dastardly, for it had ... done something that surely qualified it for that name. John really hoped it wasn't being dastardly without permission, that was always so difficult to sort out. Perhaps he should clear up the matter once and for all. At this moment, it seemed like the easiest thing in the world to John. "Oh," he could call out conversationally, "How did you get that waffle in my lounge Mister Maple?" In fact, why not? In his present state he couldn't think of any reason not to.
Of course, his statement was met with all manner of worried stares. A few people shot concerned looks towards Sakuya, oblivious as she was with her back towards them, while the blonde Leon was looking around the inside of the van hopefully. After a short moment Tifa politely inquired in his ear as to who Mister Maple was.
John simply rocked backwards and forwards on his seat, smiling giddily at the man opposite him.
The waffle-placing Leon caught onto this hint, questioningly pointed to himself, and after John's happy nod in reply spread his hands in a careless shrug.
"Sorry, what was the question?"
"How did your waffle get in my hoose!" John rapidly blinked at his mispronunciation, before he realised that it in fact rhymed with moose! What joy. He mentally filed that away next to Macky Hammy Booth Jay and zoned back in to hear Leon's response.
"Is there a better place to eat a waffle?" He shrugged –
"Leon you did not! Tell me you did not!" Four heads swivelled around to stare at Lucca as she fumed quite visibly at Leon. Perhaps she also had a deep-seated hate of strangely appearing waffles. Or perhaps she had known the waffle personally. John tried his best to look empathetic towards Lucca as she continued to fume over Leon's silence.
"That wasn't a waffle Leon. Are you precisely telling me right now that you ate a piece of scientific equipment?" Leon raised his eyebrow in reply.
"It tasted like a normal waffle."
"Do-not-lie-to-me! Do you have any idea how long that thing took to make?! It was genius! And irreplaceable! How could you eat a piece of solid metal?" Lucca's tirade was accompanied by a dangerous amount of arm flailing and angry pointing, causing her helmet to bobble backwards and forwards. John was finding it highly amusing.
"Listen kid, the waffle was just a waffle. No metal, no gears, just waffle. Just what are you trying to accuse me of here-"
"Hang on" Tifa shuffled forward to pop her head between Leon and Lucca's line of sight, "Leon, you're saying that the waffle you ate was just a normal waffle?" Leon nodded solemnly in response. Tifa turned back to Lucca. "I don't think it was the same waffle, Lucca." John couldn't help but giggle softly. As everyone turned to look at him he smiled happily and explained.
"It's a metal waffle! Why would anyone make a metal waffle?" He looked around expectantly yet no-one else seemed to see the humour in his statement. Now that he thought about it, it hadn't really made sense when he said it out loud. What a bummer. It had seemed like gold before he put it into words.
Lucca sniffed indignantly.
"It was not simply a metal waffle. It was a highly complex transmission signalizer that had been scanning your home for perceived threats since you fell asleep last night. I put it there myself." Leon shifted slightly and jumped back into the conversation.
"Wait, you put your waffle on this nutcase's lounge table as well?" She nodded. "I found my waffle there earlier this morning, and it was definitely edible then. Yours wasn't there." Lucca opened her mouth to argue for her waffle's existence once more but the other British Leon quickly interrupted.
"Is it possible that the first waffle was removed and replaced in the time between both your patrols of the house?" John smiled sweetly to his self and rocked on his seat. Wow, these people had been sneaking around his house without him noticing. His house must have felt so loved.
Before anyone could theorise about the imposter waffle theory the world jolted as the van suddenly stopped. John felt slightly dizzy but was pleased to find himself generally unharmed. The van-driving maid turned in her seat and stated plainly.
Longest chapter so far = D I'm hoping they'll start getting this long a lot more. You can just work in so much more detail when it's not squished down to a thousand words or so. On a side note, the next Chapter most certainly won't be delayed as much as this one, so there is naught to fear for all you closet John Fans.
Advice for the week, Don't take Funky Smelling Tea from strangers xD Seriously.