Disclaimer: KHR belongs to Amano Akira, prompt from khrfest.
A/N: ConCrit would be helpful, so would pointing out mistakes that I've made/missed. I think LJ's loading slowly rn, and it's pissing me off.
"Really, Aria, I don't think it's a good idea to start up with game nights again."
"You're so persistent, Lal-nee-san! Why shouldn't we?" Questioning blue eyes looked up into unflinching maroon eyes.
The rest of the Arcobaleno exchanged uneasy looks, Skull fidgeting and rapidly losing the colour in his face. Verde cleared his throat, then stepped forward, pulling a disc out of his lab coat.
"Reconsider your decision carefully after watching this." The green-haired man shoved up his spectacles and moved away from the television, settling himself down on a chair.
The fifteen-year-old Sky Arcobaleno leant forward in her chair eagerly, missing the ashen hue that had suddenly covered Skull's face. Reborn and Colonello, though, had identical evil smirks on their lips.
All the members of the Arcobaleno were seated around a huge oak table, Luce at the head and stroking her swollen abdomen. She had a fond smile on her lips, as she switched intermittently from gazing down lovingly at her stomach, to observing the rest of the people in the room.
"What game shall it be?" Fon asked.
"Monopoly?" Skull suggested.
"Boring." Colonello shot him down.
"Scrabble?" A certain scientist tapped his fingers absently against the table top.
"Troublesome," Viper replied.
"Dungeons and Dragons?" The Cloud Arcobaleno piped up.
His suggestion earned himself a beating from the more volatile members (i.e. Reborn, Colonello, Lal Mirch). Luce had to plead with Viper and Verde for help, but they adamantly refused, sitting back to watch the show. By the time the pregnant woman had managed to calm them down with the assistance of Fon, she looked fairly stressed out.
The image of the room on the screen – which had started off with a glorious sunset shining through the windows – had changed to one with debris littering the floor, illuminated by the harsh fluorescent lighting.
"Well, that was a disaster," Luce cheerfully declared. Skull was hiding behind her, a mere shadow in the background. "Let's try this again next week, same time, same place."
With that settled, they dispersed, the purple-haired man led away by Luce with a hand soothingly rubbing down his back.
The same place, same people, a different sky through the windows. This time, it was a subdued dusk, the waning moon already peeking at the Arcobaleno through a sparse layer of clouds. Viper was the one who got the ball rolling.
"Shall we try card games this time?" Fon genially inquired. There were nods all around, and they started tossing out ideas, eventually deciding on blackjack. The reason they had in mind for choosing that game? The sooner they got this over with, the sooner they could leave.
Everything went fairly smoothly, until Verde stirred things up.
"I win," he calmly announced, tossing his cards on the table.
"What? No way! I've got the ace here!" Viper threw his cards down, monotone voice swapped for an angry one.
"Tsk, then what's this?" Lal Mirch flung her cards in, displaying the ace in her hand. She and Verde turned to glare at Viper, both sure that he was the one conjuring up his ace. He scowled back, insistent that his wasn't an illusion. It escalated into a shouting match, with Colonello egging on Lal, Reborn pissing Verde off even further, and Skull just generally annoying the whole lot of people.
Eventually, Fon and Luce had to step in again, and this time it wasn't pretty. The normally mild-mannered woman was positively livid.
"Why can't you people be civilized and settle things peacefully? Must you act like barbarians ALL THE TIME?"
The scary thing was, she hadn't raised her voice at all, except towards the end. Her tone was deceptively calm, but everyone could hear the seething undercurrent of danger in her words. She took a deep breath, then said, "I expect better results next week."
None of them dared to look her in the eye as they quickly escaped after that dismissal.
And so they tried again, with video games.
The most horrifying part of the whole video had come.
"I say L4D!" Skull began.
"L4D? What's that?" Fond curiously asked.
"Tch, you noob! It's Left 4 Dead, a shooter game featuring zombies - "
"Sounds boring," Reborn yawned.
"Grand Theft Auto?" Viper offered.
"Brain-numbing," Lal scoffed.
The answer was three heated glares in Skull's direction, who squeaked nervously.
"Why don't we try them all?" Fon intervened.
"I've never played any of those," Luce interjected, looking mildly curious.
"Let's skip L4D. It's too gory and boring anyway," Reborn glanced at Aria cradled in Luce's arms.
All of them nodded and got to setting up the controllers and games, taking turns to challenge each other. By the time they got around to Mario, the volatile ones were cranky, Skull was depressed, wile Viper and Verde remained quietly stoic. Fon had excused himself for a cup of tea, and he was sitting by Luce's side as they watched the others play.
"Bet you can't top my s core," Colonello taunted Reborn.
"What's your wager?"
"My anti-tank rifle."
They ended up with a tie. Unsatisfied, they had another round. And another. And another. Until Skull lost his temper and yelled at them to "Get lost and let us have a chance to play!".
It was a bad idea. The duo were irritable and annoyed; naturally, they lashed out at the Cloud Arcobaleno. The hapless male shrieked in terror as he was brutally pulverized. Fon and Lal managed to rescue Skull from the fray, but he was in bad condition, curled up protectively and whimpering as his body trembled violently. Verde and Viper had to administer emergency first-aid, both mental and physical.
Reborn and Colonello had finally regained control of themselves, both determinedly not looking at each other.
Luce didn't look angry. Instead, guilt was written all over her face. She inhaled deeply, then murmured, "I'm sorry."
All the Arcobaleno fixed their attentions on her.
"It's partly my fault Skull's in such a state. It's all because I forced you to join this. I'm sorry for imposing on all of you... It's all my fault. We'll stop with these game nights."
Reborn's lips had tightened, and he curtly said, "It's not your fault."
The leader of the Arcobaleno just smiled, a tiny quirk of her lips. However, guilt and remorse were the primary emotions reflected on her face.
And that was where the video ended.
Aria's face revealed nothing, and the rest of the Arcobaleno shifted, in an almost nervous fashion.
"I still think that we should get together. But not game nights. Movies?"
Lal opened her mouth to argue, but Aria cut her off. "I know it was... terrible the last time, but we've all changed now, haven't we? I'm sure this is what mother would have wanted... All of us getting along, as a family. That was why she organised this."
She cast her eyes around the room, maintaining eye contact with each Arcobaleno for several seconds.
They stared back, struck speechless.
And then Aria smiled, a breathtaking, cheerful smile full of love.
"So... should we have movie nights?"