You would think that, at the rate I put out the other chapters, this one would have been the easiest since it's such familiar territory for me. Alas. Anyway, here it is. More slice-of-life...ness. Hope you enjoy~

"Oh, nooooo," the woman called King moaned under her breath as she quickly unlocked her front door. She sprinted into her apartment, hurled her keys in the general direction of the dining room table, and made her way to the bathroom as fast as she could, where she immediately pulled down her pants to see the exact thing she was dreading: blood. Blood everywhere.

"Putain," she growled while removing her bottoms completely. Her underwear was ruined, as there was no amount of peroxide that could get that amount of blood off of the fabric, but, thankfully, her pants had somehow managed to dodge the crimson bullet. With a sigh, she went through the process of cleaning up and plugging up.

And, with that, King was officially over her goddamned day: She had spent way too much time preoccupied by her feelings about Ryo Sakazaki's changed opinion of her now that he knew she had been raped, then she found out that her best friend turned herself in to the authorities for assault, then she unwittingly made her brother worry about her well-being (again), and now she had started her period two days early, reducing one of her cuter pairs of underwear to a bloody rag sitting in the trash bin. These were all first world problems, of course… but they were still problems nonetheless.

With a shake of her head King started toward the kitchen, her cat, Marron, following close behind and meowing at an obscene volume, but stopped in her tracks when the doorbell rang. Curious, but also a little suspicious, she changed course, pivoting from the halfway point between her bedroom and the kitchen to the front door, where she looked through the peephole to see an unexpected sight.


Mai Shiranui happily exclaimed when King pulled the door open. She stood on the threshold wearing a parka over really frumpy pajamas, hair in a high, messy bun, and a messenger bag slung across her shoulder. She quickly shoved a bouquet of roses into King's hands before embracing her.

"Uhh, hi?" King said while looking past Mai. Yuri Sakazaki stood behind her, wearing a backpack and holding two paper shopping bags in her arms.

"Hey, Céccy!" she said brightly.

King stepped to the side so that her friends could enter the dwelling and closed the door, a little confused by her unexpected visitors, who looked like they were gearing up for some kind of trip.

"To what do I owe this visit?" She asked while looking down at the roses, which were adorned with baby's breath and fine glitter.

"Call in sick tomorrow," Mai commanded.
"What? Why?"
"Because we are going to stay up all night and have an old-school slumber party! Movies! Popcorn! —" Mai grabbed one of King's hands and looked down at her nails with a slight frown — "Nail polish!"
"But —"
"No 'buts'," Yuri chimed in while she placed the grocery bags on the table. "We have butter popcorn, some chips, soda, beer for Mai, lots of ice cream, and I brought gummy bears and Peppermint Pattie bites!"
"I… don't know what to say."
"Then don't say anything," Mai told her. She shrugged out of her parka, turned around, and pulled King in for another hug, which was, as always, a little awkward because of their height difference.

"Yuri told me everything," Mai informed her. "You don't need to be concerned with what anyone thinks. Okay?"

"Is that what this is about?" King asked as she pulled away from Mai. "You guys are here to make me feel better about being thought of as —"
"Well, that and we haven't done this in awhile," Yuri spoke up. She kneeled down to rummage through her backpack, which she had placed on the floor, her brow furrowed as she dug around one of the pockets.

"By the way, your bestie? Is a horrible human being and I'm gonna clobber her as soon as I get the chance!"

King sighed, unsurprised by Yuri's declaration of war. Mary had left a colourful voicemail detailing every bit of her skirmish at the Pao Pao Café — with Ryo — earlier that day: A stun gun, an armbar, and some good, old-fashioned intimidation with a firearm — all typical Mary if she lost her temper, which wasn't very often at all. However, there was also a bit about Robert having to keep Yuri from jumping into the fray, which was incredibly brave of her (she was outright terrified of Mary for a myriad of reasons) but also incredibly stupid.

"Sounds like you're the one who might need a peppermint," Mai joked.
"I mean it, Céccy," Yuri continued as if she didn't even hear Mai, "If I see her —"
"You're not going to do anything because you're going to drop it," King stated plainly.
"But —!"
"Please," King said while shooting Yuri a stern look. There was a very brief moment of loaded silence before the younger woman blenched under King's gaze. She averted her eyes and blew air out through her nostrils.

"Thank you."
"But you owe me!"
"Fine. What do I owe you?" King asked, her brow quirked, as she crossed the area to find a vase for the roses.
"I dunno. I'll get back to you on that."
"It better not have anything to do with your brother," King grumbled as she stooped to open a cabinet on the far end of the kitchen.
"Oh, no — I was just thinking, like… …Red Lobster or something."

Relieved, King gave a small smile as she pulled out a blue flower holder and filled it with water.

"I can live with that."
"Speaking of dinner, have you eaten, Kingy?" Mai called from the armchair, where she had made herself comfortable.
"Doesn't matter, Mai," Yuri spoke up before King, who was arranging the roses, could answer. "She's gonna want plenty of food later."

With that, she straightened up and walked over to King, a plastic bag in one hand, a small, metal tin in the other.

"Gummy bears or chocolate?" she asked with a grin.
"I… don't know if I should," King responded as she weighed her options. It had been awhile since Yuri provided anything from her stash of medicinal cannabis; taking a little something would probably help with King's overall anxieties and the inevitable cramps that would hit her later, and it would be way easier on her system than alcohol, which she had been trying to cut back on. However, relying on drugs or liquor when she was stressed out was a very dangerous precedent.

"You should have some, Kingy," Mai remarked while turning on the television. "It might help you relax — and that's what you need right now: relaxation!"
"She's right," Yuri added. "Now, which one?"
"Neither," King answered.
"Wait, really?" Mai asked from across the apartment.
"Really. I can't get drunk or stoned every time I have a problem," King told her friends while turning to rummage through the grocery bags.
"Okay. But it's here if you change your mind," Yuri said as she put the edibles away.

King nodded and pulled a pint of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream from the bag.

"Is this…?"
"That one's yours," Mai stated.
"Awww," King said with a smile. She walked into the kitchen to grab a spoon and pop the lid off of the container. "You know me so well… Thank you!"
"Don't mention it. Anything for our Kingy!"
"Yeah," Yuri agreed as she began pulling the groceries out of the shopping bags. "We love you, Céccy, and we know that you're not, ummm…"
"A slut?" King asked around a mouthful of cookie dough.
"Even if you were we'd still love you anyway," Mai declared happily.

Yuri made a face at the same time that King, who was chewing on a few chocolate chips, threw a hand over her mouth to keep herself from spitting them out as something fantastic occurred to her. She quickly swallowed and took a breath before bursting into a fit of giggles.

"What's so funny…?" Yuri asked cautiously.
"I just thought of something," King started, but was interrupted when the doorbell rang. She made a face; who was out there now?

"I'll get it," Yuri said. She went over to the door and looked through the peephole before taking a quick glance at King, who was watching curiously while she ate, and Mai, who was looking for a movie to stream.

"Who is it?" King inquired.

Without a word Yuri pulled the door open just a little and started having a hushed yet frenetic conversation with the person outside. King made out the phrase, "You shouldn't be here," which told her everything she needed to know. Ice cream carton in hand, she made her way over to where Yuri stood, pulled the door all the way open, and raised her eyebrows at Ryo Sakazaki, who had his hands in his jacket pockets, his expression mildly annoyed. His eyes widened when he saw King.

"Hey," he said quickly. "Can we talk?"
"Sure," King responded with a tilt of her head.

Ryo fixed his eyes on Yuri, who was standing directly in-between him and King; he gave her a look that said, "Scram," so she ducked down and slunk back into the dining area to finish putting the food away.

"Whatever you have to say to me you can say in front of them," King dictated. She leaned on the doorframe and continued to eat.

"But —"
"Would you like to talk or not?"

There was a long pause: King stood, casually eating her frozen treat while Ryo looked down at the floor and scowled. Finally, after what felt like a damn month, he spoke.

"I don't… agree with your lifestyle," he began. "But… maybe we should — I dunno — squash this."
"I don't know if I can do that," King remarked, her tone almost eerily calm. "Your view of me — in the wake of an assault — has fundamentally changed. And not for the better. You want to squash it? Fine. Learn that there's a huge difference between fucking someone for fun and being fucked by someone because they want to hurt you. Then we can squash it."

Ryo opened his mouth to respond but then closed it again. King, meanwhile, continued to eat. She waited for a response but narrowed her eyes when she didn't get one.

"You know, your sister and Mai don't care that I'm such a whore," she stated, her voice still calm.
"But you're not!" Yuri called from behind her.
"Don't say that!" Mai, who was now standing at the edge of the living room, holding Marron so he wouldn't run out, exclaimed.
"No, no — it's fine," King assured her friends. "I should just… I should own it."
"What do you mean?" Ryo asked slowly — cautiously.

A derisive smile spread across King's lips as she looked into Ryo's face. It was clear that he wasn't budging on this; no matter what was said, she was different to him now. And as much as it stung, it really was going to be fine… because, from here on out, she was going to have fun with it.

"You have your convictions and I have... one hell of a body count, don't I? Either way, I'm done talking about this now," she said in a level tone despite her sarcastic remark. She thoughtfully stirred her ice cream, which was starting to get to room temperature, and fished a big glob of cookie dough out with her spoon.

Ryo rubbed at his stubble, his brow furrowed.

"But, are we…? I mean…"
"I told you not to presume that we're good… but we're well enough, I suppose. Now, if you'll excuse me?"
"Ruh-right. Okay. Sure... See you for sparring?"

With a slow nod Ryo turned and began walking away. King watched and waited: This was going to be great.

"Céccy…?" Yuri asked while walking over to King.
"I'm okay."
"You sure?" Mai chimed in.

King didn't answer as she stirred her ice cream some more. She waited for Ryo to reach the end of the hall; once he was there she scooped up a blob of slow-churned vanilla goodness and called out:

"Hey, Ryo?"

He turned to look at King, a quizzical expression on his face.

"You know how you don't agree with my 'lifestyle?' And how you didn't agree with it even before this 'too many men' thing?"

Ryo made a face; he appeared as though he wanted to say something, but King beat him to it.

"I just want you to know that I fucked Vanessa!"

With that, King locked eyes with Ryo; she licked the frozen mound off of her spoon very deliberately, which made him turn an outrageous shade of red. She then waved sweetly, making sure to put extra emphasis on the motion of her fingers before shutting the door. She turned to Mai and grinned.

"Never better…!"

Welp. There you have it. I'm sure you were thinking that this whole thing was going to send King into a spiral, but she's in a better place now! She can joke! And laugh! And make Ryo really uncomfortable! It's going to be great. You'll see. Anyway, there actually aren't any notes this time. Like... King ate chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in Oxygen to Breathe? Like, that's it. That's all I've got.

And that concludes this little foray into how one person being an asshole can have a ripple effect on several others. So, like, don't be an asshole. Be good to one another. Also, tell me your thoughts and feels now that this one is over.