Snakes Sold Separately


Nephrite has a mysterious package for Kunzite. It may or may not be related to the fact that it's his birthday.

Date: 2017-12-31
Pose Count: 10
Nephrite 2017-12-31 03:43:45 87899
After a whirlwind trip to the other end of the world and back, Neil has spent most of the week between Christmas and New Year's in a post-holiday stupor, eating as much as he possibly can and working his way through a case of winter ale. But somewhere in the midst of this fog, he has somehow managed to nearly complete a private mission. All that is left of this mission, though, is to locate an elusive target, one that seems particularly determined to act busy and ignore any and all efforts to direct attention at itself.

Neil makes the rounds through the apartments, a bag swinging in his hand. It's a perfectly nondescript paper bag. No decoration indicates that it could hide anything overly celebratory or threatening. But still. He is carrying it around, as he hunts for Kazuo.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-12-31 03:55:47 87900
There was no way in the world that Neil was not going to be in Canada for Christmas, or at least something near enough to it for the purpose. Maybe next year they'll send Mamoru with him.

Technically, their classes didn't end till late in the week. But Kazuo for once did not have so much as a bland look or a snarky comment, and didn't even wonder out loud whether Neil's professors had laid eyes on him yet. Right now, even he isn't trying to push the guys into behaving. Maybe he's saving that for the party.

Kazuo, at the moment, is in the staging area that is the kitchen in Jadeite's apartment, counting platters to make certain they have (a) as many as Makoto thinks they'll need (b) a margin above that for breakage during the event and (c) a margin above that for 'Makoto's baking errs on the generous side.' Since he last did this three days ago, redoing it serves primarily the purpose of keeping him out of places people are more likely to expect to find him.

... annnnnd then there's Neil. Who never seems to deal very much in what's merely likely.

Kazuo glances up at him on appearance, eyebrows lifting, and gives up the count. "If you're looking for your lady, I believe she's at home at the moment. She mentioned needing to finish a list for last-minute shopping."
Nephrite 2017-12-31 04:15:20 87901
There are some things that need to be done. A first Christmas home after a long disappearance is one. Next year, Neil will probably bring Mamoru and Makoto, and possibly more home with him. He may have swung by the university once or twice this week. He may have also sampled some of that winter ale beforehand. It's hard to say, really.

Neil grins. "Oh, I know that. She's even trusting me with some of that shopping, although maybe she's just humoring me and only giving me the list of backup supplies in case I pick up the wrong kind of flour or whatever."

He leans up on the counter, and sets the nondescript bag down on the pile of the platters. "Actually, I was wondering if you could help me with something. I have this bag that, for no reason whatsoever, needs to be opened. Think you can handle that?""
Kazuo Takeba 2017-12-31 04:22:24 87902
Mamoru and Makoto might entail an Usagi, to start with. ... entwintail an Usagi. This may be something of a bonus adventure, but at least it will probably involve Aunt Sandra laughing a lot, and therefore be worthwhile.

"That's quite the step," Kazuo observes over the shopping. Any comment about 'are you sure the two of you are ready for that at this stage of your relationship' is fortunately forestalled by the appearance of the bag, however.

Kazuo eyes the bag.

Kazuo eyes Neil.

"For no reason whatsoever," he says, "I find I'm wondering what the number of live snakes in the apartment is at the moment." He is, however, opening the bag as he says this.
Nephrite 2017-12-31 04:40:18 87903
Neil snorts. "You don't put live snakes in bags, everybody knows that. You hide them in shoes, obviously."

If Kazuo dares to peek inside the bag, he will find an equally nondescript box. And inside the box, nestled in padded compartments, several gleaming copper items, etched with elaborate designs. He may or may not recognize the shape of traditional Turkish coffee pots, ranging in size from a single serving up to a six-cup capacity. A matching thin cylindrical grinder completes the set.

"So I know you don't like having things just for the sake of having them, but you're also particular about your coffee. I wanted to get an automatic grinder, but apparently the grounds get overheated and the flavor is ruined or something."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-12-31 04:51:23 87904
It's a box. Kazuo is not made less wary by its box-ness. The nondescript box is, however, withdrawn from the nondescript bag for further investigation. "Putting live snakes in shoes seems like a prank with a definite time limit. Presumably the snakes would prefer to investigate anywhere else." And he stops there, because the box is open and he doesn't say anything for a moment. Just looks.

"Something like that," he says afterward, but his voice is a notch fainter. "Most of the automatics don't grind in practice as finely as they claim to, and it makes a perceptible difference." He reaches for the smallest, drawing it out by the handle, examining the copper and the lining closely. "Naru was discussing doing an experiment -- on the second, I think? Testing every brewing method she could find against each other. And probably not sleeping until after her classes resume. I'd been expecting to have to improvise for her."
Nephrite 2017-12-31 05:08:24 87905
"You say time limit. I say potential adventure for everybody."

He leans his elbows on the counter and watches the inspection take place. "See, you already know all this stuff. I definitely did not spend an afternoon on Wikipedia last month reading about coffee grounds. I don't know if you have a pot and grinder already, but I figured it couldn't hurt to have an extra fancy set. You know, to hide on a high shelf and not let anybody else touch. You'll even know if anyone touches them, because fingerprints will totally show up on them."

He smirks. "Hey, you've even got variable sizes for these coffee experiments."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-12-31 05:21:22 87906
"I used to get letters from my grandmother complaining about it. For pages at a time. It made my father's 'behave or I'll send you to live with her' threats somewhat more interesting for a while." Kazuo glances Nephrite's way, and there are creases at the corners of his eyes. "I should look at the Wikipedia page. If only to see whether she's one of the editors."
Nephrite 2017-12-31 05:35:29 87907
Neil smirks. "Goodness, I hope so. If I followed inaccurate advice in my purchase, I don't want to receive a stern letter of complaint. I know all about grandmothers and stern letters."

He retrieves the bag and folds it up--actually pre-emptively tidying ahead of Kazuo, as though today is some kind of day to be slightly nicer to Kazuo, for a reason nobody is saying. "Anyway, have fun with your coffee science. I would remind Naru that it all tastes exactly the same if you put enough cream and whisky in it."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-12-31 05:42:12 87908
"If you decide to be helpful there," Kazuo says, "let's try to make the cream and whisky the last item on the day's list. It is after all supposed to be coffee tasting, not faintly-coffee-flavored-whisky tasting." The tiny pot is nestled back in its place, adjusted gently, the box's lid closed.

Just for the record, no snakes in fact manifest in Neil's shoes in the next week. Kazuo may possibly irritate himself by finding himself unable not to doublecheck his. Just in case.