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Wed, Dec. 10th, 2003, 04:25 am
fujis: Lua vermelha Chapter 1 Part 3

Lua vermelha

Roy wakes up in the Echizen household. Ends up meeting Nanjirou and Karupin and discovers that he isn't where he thinks he is anymore. Take that literally of course. Questions are answered and adjustments have to be made for both worlds.

'This was bad, this was very bad,' Nanjirou thought in dissatisfaction, his hand held the staff as he prodded the blue uniformed man that lay unconscious on his living room floor. Worse off his Baka son was missing, “Oi wake up and tell me what you did to my son.” Nanjirou replied while continuously jabbing the man on the floor with the tip of the staff.

As Roy began to stir and return to consciousness he became aware of somebody shouting at him and poking him continuously, and he disliked that feeling. In fact, as his dark liquid eyes snapped open to an unfamiliar ceiling, he decided to berate the unfortunate soul who treated him with such disrespect. He sat up and yelled back at the man. "Can you stop that, and I don't know where your son is."

Roy blinked. He had never a man dressed like that before. In fact, in his opinion, nobody dressed like that in the Central headquarters. That was considered sloppy and rude.

Nanjirou blinked and folded his arms across his chest the staff was held in one hand. "It is about time you woke up." Golden eyes narrowed a bit, "Now since you stopped lazing around, could you tell me where my Ryoma is?" Evidently paranoid that his wife would wake up to discover, her son gone and a strange man in his place, this definitely didn’t bode well for the pervert monk.

"Who are you?" Roy sat up, and looked around the unfamiliar room. This was not central station. And there were electric lights turned on, yet it was nighttime here already. Had he been asleep that long? "Where is this place? How did I get here?"

Roy stood up, straightening his uniform. "I don't know who Ryoma is. Why don't you look for him yourself?"

Nanjirou gave a patented sigh, “Because the last time I saw him he was in this room, where you are now laying, sitting and holding onto this blasted thing.” The father or Ryoma waved around the staff in clear hysteria, “Next thing I know the bell tolled midnight and a large light hit us al and next thing I know you were on the floor with this thing still in your hand.” Quiet unhappy that his wife would think he was irresponsible enough to keep dangerous items near his son. If she did, she would kill him worse yet take away his entire perverted magazine. Only clue he to the whereabouts of his son would be this rude seishounen in front of him. “So—don’t tell me you know nothing, cause your sitting here where my son should be.”

Karupin meowed and sat between both men looking back and forth clearly unsettled with what had happened. Then again no one would think to blame a helpless unknowing kitten for an accident that had happened now would they.

Roy looked at the cat, then at the man, then back at the cat again. "What if I really don't know where he should be? In fact, I don't even know how I got here." He looked around the room for an exit, and then turned to leave. He had to get back to Central Station as soon as possible. There was no time to entertain a half-mad man ranting about his missing son. If the man had any sense, he should be reporting to the police by now, or so he thought. Then he stopped.

The man had said his son was where he was. Was the man really not in his right mind? Maybe he was hallucinating. But then...if the man was telling the truth, what did it mean? "Can I borrow a phone around here?"

Nanjirou pointed to the wall, which held a phone, “Sure go ahead, but let me ask you something, why are you dressed in a uniform? Also how the hell did you get into my house?” Waving his hand haplessly. By what he could tell this man was a loon what with the dress uniform that look like some sort of eighteenth century French revolutions military outfit. Perhaps it would be wiser to call the police to have him arrested, but he was his only lead to his son. Normally he would have called the police out of nowhere, and report his son missing. But what would he tell the authorities exactly? Some crack pot landed in the spot where my son was located at—surely that wouldn’t settle well with the Japanese police. One—they would mark it off as some joke, two they would call for the white coat men to come take him away, and three they would tell his wife.

Roy nodded curtly in response, and went to the phone. "I can't answer your questions right now." ‘It would only make the situation more complicated.’ He had to get back to Central and report the incident so that Intelligence could come investigate. He dialed the phone number for the station, and on the other end, a lady's voice told him that the number was not in service, and was not a valid number. He frowned, and dialed the full area code, pressing all 9 digits. It was a futile attempt--the call refused to connect. Frowning, he turned to the man. "You do have long distance, don't you?"

[In Japan, I do believe telephone numbers are 7 digits.]

Najirou narrow his eyes a bit, when he noticed that the man had dialed nine digits instead of the normal seven digits for Japan. “Yes, I do Seishounen.” He fingered the staff in contemplation, “Are you a foreigner from the United States? Because the normal number to dial for international calls is ten digits.” He questioned slightly obtusely the golden orbs slid upward to stare into dark orbs of the weirdo in front of him. “Or are you trying to dial in this country of Japan, because if you are it is normally seven digits, with long distances it is eight digits only. So honestly Seishounen, where are you from?”

Roy frowned. He was in another country? Japan? Where was that? He was not aware of such a place on the map. "Japan? There is no such place around." Unless, something had happened. Something very incredible--something almost like an alchemical transmutation. His eyes suddenly widened at the thought. ‘No. It couldn't be possible, but if it was...then...’ He turned to the rude oji-san. In fact, he never had anyone address him so impolitely before. "If what I'm thinking is correct, then your son is where I used to be. And that is where I'd like to get back to right now."

Nanjirou pulled out a cigarette from the fold of his clothes and light it with the lighter; breathing in the smoke he closed his eyes relaxing from the nicotine. “You must be on some form of drug Seishounen.” Smoking golden orbs stare straight into the man before him, “There is a Japan, and what do you mean that my son might be where you were before? Where would that be?” ‘This doesn’t make sense, now the crack pot is telling me that my son is in another land.’ A faint snicker hit him at the thought that perhaps this was some sort of bad dream that he ended up in a paradox world of Alice in wonderland. However, instead of him falling down a rabbit hole, his son ended up missing and he had a weirdo man before him in a funny looking suit telling him that somehow his son was sucked into a whole new dimension. “It would be fine with me if you get back to your own world Seishounen, the question is how—“

Roy frowned at the man's response, and in fact, he disliked this sloppily dressed, lazy-looking old man and his country bumpkin-like attitude greatly. "Very well. If you do not feel like cooperating, why not report to the police?" He did not like the sound of this, and the smoke from the older man's cigar was irritating him. Fine--if the man didn't know who he was. At the same time, he didn't really care that much. He had other more serious issues to attend to right now. He needed to get back to Central, and he needed to investigate the artifact. The artifact--in fact, he had nearly forgotten about it in his frenzy to find out where he was. "Was that artifact there before? There was one just like it on my desk before this happened."

Nanjirou took another puff of the cigarette, “One I would have reported you to the police the only problem is explaining to them that you suddenly popped up in my sons place would place me into the category of prank call to insane ward.” Carelessly he stubbed the cigarette out into the ashtray, “But first I would like some questions answered, before I decide on what to do with you for that matter.” Folding his arms against his chest he responded in a calming voice, “What is your name? Where do you original come from? Also what do you mean about the artifact it just arrived today and my son had it in his hands, before he went poof and you came into his place.”

Karupin by now was sniffing around the blue uniform man, clearly curious and wondering where it’s owner was located at pawing slightly with it’s claws at the rubber boots and attacking the fringes of the bottom coat in vigorous concentration. “Meow~~!!”

Roy sighed. Perhaps he was obliged to answer some questions, if it would help the situation any at all. He may have to end up spending a considerable amount of time with the old man until his son was found, and until he could get back to Central. Whichever came first--or if the events were related, it might be the same time.

"Very well. My name is Lieutenant Colonel Roy Mustang. I work in the military, under the Alchemy department--I am what you call a National Alchemist who works for our king, the Fuhrer. I was at the Station in Central--where the capital is, about to go for lunch when an artifact that looks just like the one you are holding in your hands right now was delivered to my office. I did not order it, but somebody in the department did, and sent it to me. Not long after I touched it, I must have lost consciousness, and then I wake up on the floor of your house. End of story."

He crossed his arms over his chest, and leaned against the wall. The cat sniffing and pawing at him was an interesting looking one. He had never seen one of with that pattern or of that breed before. He was tempted to pet the cat, but now was not the time to be playing with a stranger's pet.

Nanjirou digested most of the information that he was given then lightly got to his feet his finger pressed against his chin while thoughtfully eyeing the staff in his hand. “Very well Mustang would it be alright if I call you that or would you rather have me call you Roy?” Clearly ignoring Karupin’s antics against the stranger he picked up the cat and hissed slightly when it scratched him during it’s mid-play. “Baka-neko.” While holding onto the paws of the Himalayan kitten, “My name is Echizen Nanjirou my son that is missing is Ryoma.”

“NIAO!” Karupin hissed slightly while trying to bite him.

“This Baka-neko is Karupin.” While giving a patent glare at his son’s feline companion.

A slight smile formed at the corners of Roy's mouth at the sight of the cat trying to bite its owner. "You can call me Roy." He finally conceded. It was tiring when people called him by his last name all the time; it made him feel as if he were still on duty, which apparently wasn't right now.

"Echizen Nanjirou, is it? Then should I call you Echizen-san? Or do you prefer Nanjirou?"

Roy watched Karupin with amusement twinkling in his eye. However, he neither encouraged nor discouraged the cat.

“Call me Nanjirou.” The older man exclaimed a fit when the cat manages to bite him, “OW!! Kuso KUSO!!” Dropping the cat Karupin quickly dashed away from the father of its owner to hide behind Roy’s legs.

“Meow.” Karupin narrow it’s sapphire eyes at Nanjirou.

“Che.” Nanjirou snorted then sat the staff onto a pillow that he placed on the table, while fingering the redness of the bite he received from his son’s cat. “Stupid Ryoma, why did he have to get a baka-neko?” Eyeing the neko that was hiding behind Roy, “Welcome to Japan by the way.” Adding as a side thought, while thinking murderous thoughts about the fur ball.

Roy turn to the cat behind him, and his grin became a genuine smile. Even though he had never met this man's son Ryoma, he could almost like the boy for keeping a cat with such a personality. He bent down and playfully scratched Karupin behind the ears.

"Karupin, eh?" Then he turned to the cat's owner. "Nanjirou, I hope you do not mind me offering me a place to stay for a while, as it looks like there's no way I can get back to Central anytime soon."

Nanjirou nods his head, “That would be fine. However, we have to make up a excuse for you so that way my wife doesn’t freak out to find out her chibi is gone.” The older man flinched at the thought of his wife giving him an earful. “I doubt she would believe us if I told her that our son disappeared into another dimension. Though I am certain if we told her I would be blamed for keeping a dangerous artifact lying around for the chibi to play with.” Cringing while eyeing at the purring neko that seem to paw the other mans hand. “But one thing for certain that cat sleeps with you. I don’t want it to go scratching up anymore of the furniture, when Ryoma was here, he made sure that his baka neko didn’t do anything stupid.”

Almost as if the kitten understood Nanjirou’s words it glared at the older oji-san and hissed in complain. “Mrroww mrroww!!!”

“Oh shut up.” Nanjirou rolled his eyes, “If need be I could tell her that you’re a old friends nephew that would be staying here for a bit. Which reminds me how old are you?”

Roy blinked. It had been about 6 years since somebody asked him that question, and he had grown accustomed to people taking his age and given position for granted. "I am 25."

Was there any doubt to his appearance? He certainly was no teenager, but if Nanjirou needed him to pose as one...ah. He could already relate to the man on a level already. So apparently Nanjirou was afraid of his wife. Roy had to admit that was one of the reasons why he still didn't marry and tie himself with a burden he did not need yet; women always wanted to know the reasons behind his actions.

He continued to pet Karupin, rubbing the cat's shiny fur. The cat was certainly intelligent, and he already could see why it made a good companion.

"Don't worry," he assured the priest, "I'll take good care of Karupin for you."

Karupin purrs and starts to bat around the fingers the sapphire eyes stared at the new strange in trust. “Mrrow.”

Nanjirou snorts, “Dumb neko always going to strangers.” While slipping the cigarette out of the case then lighting up a lighter. “You don’t look 25 years old Roy.” While puffing on the cigarette, “That helps you look like a teenager just like my son. If need be I’ll inform my wife that you’re a nephew of one of my friends from America. Your last name and first name sound like a Gaki so it should be fine.” Sighing in relief at the smoke that he inhaled slightly, “I might enroll you in high school.” His eyes slid shut when the nicotine hit his blood stream.

Stretching back the old man open his eyes to look at the boy up and down, “Your clothing might pose a problem though—I might have to lend you some of our world clothing. You have to blend in, and we might have to make the excuse and all that Ryoma went to study abroad, but I doubt that would work. Well this is a mess.”

Karupin turn sapphire eyes in understanding somewhat amazing that the creature even knew what was going on. It then proceeded to curl up into a ball and sleep in Roy’s lap after the man sat down. Irony is the best policy Nanjirou supposed, but then it was the best he could do, after he figure out what to do with the artifact, but all he knew is that he had to make a few calls.

Roy considered Nanjirou's situation as he gently scooped up Karupin and cradled the Himalayan in his arms. He suddenly remembered that he had some snacks in a pocket he had not finished from the first coffee break. He pulled out the treat, broke off a piece of cracker, and held it for Karupin to sniff.

"I will go along with your plan for now." Roy answered Nanjirou, his mind turning with ideas already. "How about you say that your son went to study over at a friend's place and will be staying over at that friends' house for several days. Then in the next few days, tell your wife that he attended an exchange program. Are there any clubs your son participates in?"

Sniffing it Karupin took a nip of it, tail wagging a bit, he started to consume the rest, while licking the gloved hand. Sapphire eyes turned up to meow its thanks, while it continued to purr.

Nanjirou tilts his head a smirk appears on his face, “It might work to fool my wife, though she will be leaving on a business trip for two weeks. That should give us enough time on the excuse, though I really don’t think the exchange program would work. Since one Ryoma stated to the school and to my wife that he wouldn’t be going out of the country since returning back from Americas.” The smirk was still on the old mans face while he took another drag of the cigarette, “Another thing my son is a tennis player and he is in the tennis club. That would pose a bit of trouble since that club needs him, since he is a regular.” Eyes narrowing, “Indeed the chibi won’t be pleased to find out that he forfeited most of his games.” While inwardly he thought that Ryoma would be furious that he missed any of the tennis activities wherever he landed at for that matter. “Unless you would be willing to play in his place?”

"Tennis player in a tennis club? Regular?" Roy asked, all the while still petting Karupin. He took out another cracker, and watched with amusement as the cat happily ate it. He had never heard of this strange new term, and it puzzled him. As he expected, there had to be unusual things about this world--Japan--that he ended up in, and there was lots to learn. He could already tell from the interior of the house that the style of buildings was different. "I'm afraid you'll have to explain to me what this is."

Nanjirou gave an incredible look, “Your world doesn’t have tennis?” He fans himself with his hands acting like he was about to faint. “Your world is indeed a cruel place if it doesn’t have the sports tennis.” The smirk was back on his face, “Well I suppose I should show you the game of tennis then. Come on.” Standing up, he slid his hands into the enfold of his clothes, “I’ll show you to Ryoma’s room where you would sleep in, also some videos of tennis so you know what it is like~” Pausing slightly he eye the cat with a tsk, “Also bring the fur ball with you.”

Roy carried Karupin in his arms as he followed the Nanjirou to his son's room. So tennis was some kind of sport. He found it odd that in Japan, a sport would be so important that the son's father would be concerned about it. Did many of the citizens play tennis? Did tennis here have significance the way alchemy did under the Fuhrer's rule? Well, this could be interesting.

Roy had not played many sports before, but ever since he started training to become a national alchemist, he exercised often--both mentally and physically--since to become a powerful alchemist, one needed by strength of mind, body, and spirit. Even after his promotions, which delegated more and more of his time to deskwork, he still trained with the rest of the military on a daily basis. He was therefore interested in finding out how tennis worked.

Back held up Nanjirou walked onward and up the stairs being careful not to wake up his wife with the creaking noise. He then slid open the door to his son’s room, noting like always that magazines and video game controllers were located on the floor, while posters of tennis players were pasted on the walls. Letting the 25 year old in, he shut the door quietly and made his way for the videotapes that he had given to his son as a gift. Tugging out one tape on basics of tennis, he slipped it into the VCR. “Have a seat.”

Karupin of course had managed to leap off Roy’s chest and onto the bed, where it swished its tail and lay down to stare at a picture that was framed at the headboard. Then with a mighty swish it rolls itself onto it’s back offering its stomach to Roy lazy sapphire eyes stared at the black hair stranger in adoration. In a way, perhaps it was coping without its owner’s presence who knew what that cat was thinking.

Snapping things into place, Nanjirou turned the volume of the television and let the film roll onward. “Now tennis is a sport that involves two or four players depending if your playing doubles of singles. A picture slid onto the screen of a tennis court and two individuals standing it was the match between Venus and the Australian competitor during the nationals. Venus served her volley against the other individual; Nanjirou had of course slid to sit. It was odd for him to be in his teenage son’s room, after all even though the chibi had grown, the personality was still the same –uncute for that matter.

Roy reached out to indulge the cat, scratching the soft proffered spot, his dark glassy eyes softened as it purred with contentment. Maybe being stuck here wasn't so bad after all, he wondered idly. He turned his attention back on the screen. From what he could make of the game from watching the play, it involved using two odd-shaped flattened discs with handles, except these were not solid discs--they were made by interweaving a thick tough thread.

One player would bat the ball to the other by using this disc and the other player would then try to return it. The exchange continued in this manner until one of the players missed the ball [in which case it was called 'out'], or hit it into the net. The point system was also different. The first score was 15, then 30, then 40 (the increments were not even), then it was the considered the first round, except that this only came about if there was a difference of two scores. Then a set was won if one of the players won a minimum of 6 rounds, but at least 2 apart. Even so, there were still some questions that remained unanswered in his mind.

"How do the players decide who starts first? Also, the one who starts, or the 'serve' as you call it, always hits on his own side of the court first, but not during the rest of the game, why?"

“They spin the stick like object that is in their hand called a racket. They would call out the word smooth or rough and which size the racket lands and whether the letter is upside down or upside is the judge on who gets to start first.” Nanjirou stated clearly amused, thought a bit peeved that the cat was indulgent to a strange no less. Oh well at least it kept the cat from biting him.

Almost as if it could sense Nanjirou’s thoughts the cat turned it eyes to him narrowing, then going back to play with Roy. Indeed that creature was trouble, but at least it wasn’t his.

"A racket, eh?" Roy glanced around the room, and noticed that indeed, there were other such rackets lying around. In fact, he found three rackets--two half-lying out of a bag, and a third one under the bed. Almost instinctively, he picked up the racket lying under the bed, noticing that the cat's eyes were following his movement. He turned the racket in his hand, examined its shiny frame, and gauged its weight, finding it unusually light and easy to swing. "So tell me more about your son's school and his tennis club. Do you ever go watch to his games to watch him play?"

“Che.” Nanjirou sounded out, “Me watch my son play. You have to be joking me.” Laughing with a snort, “mada mada dane. He has a long way to go before I would watch him compete.”

Karupin hissed slightly at Nanjirou evidently not pleased with his behavior. Then started to preen itself by licking it’s fur back into place.

“My son is part of the team, though he still hasn’t beaten me.” Nanjirou said with a smirk, “There are still players he has to play against, before he can equal to my standards.” Nodding his head over to the shelf that was full of books cross between tennis and even other sports. A specific one held a photo album of thick quality that seem expensive, Najirou never did figure out who gave it to his son. But whoever did had pay a hefty sum to give his child such a large book with pictures, “If you want to know about the tennis team or my son’s life the blue thick volume is full of pictures.” While rubbing his head, “I don’t really pay attention to my son’s personal life, only thing I know is that he is a freshman in Seigaku High School insisting that he goes that—etcetera something about having to beat two individuals that were strong.”
The older man seemed to insist from his tone of voice that he was a strong opponent--either that, or his son was not a good player, but that was evidently not the case, as he noticed a long line of various tennis awards arranged on the boy's bookcase.

Roy found this strangely interesting--though he normally would not have concerned himself with private details of a father and son, but as fate had it, he had no choice but to make it his job to learn everything he could about this child's school and his activities.

Picking up the photo album, he casually leafed through it, noticing that a great many number of the photos revolved around members of the tennis team in the regulars uniform. There was an especially great abundance of images featuring a boy with black hair and golden eyes, and some with a stern-looking young man with glasses and touseled honey-brown hair. The photographer apparently had a strange sense of humor, from the way some of the images were taken in an unusual manor.

After a while, he snapped the album shut and stood, involuntarily glancing into the boy's closet. "Is there something I can change into? Your son looks to be smaller than my size."

Nanjirou stood up and made his way over to the closet, he lifted his hands and tugged out a trunk and opened it. “My wife decided to buy clothing of larger size. She believes that the chibi would one day grow into it.” Snorting he gestured with his hands, “Your welcome to them, I don’t think Ryoma would be able to wear these since he still is short, and smaller then usual.”

Karupin had by then leaped off the bed to investigate the trunk full of clothing, it wiggled it tail and latched itself to the lid while waving its claw around. “Mrrow Mrrow!!”

Roy smiled at the cat and offered it the last piece of cracker he had. Then he stroked its fuzzy head and admired its silken fur. If he ever got back to Central, he most certainly wanted a cat--one that was hopefully as playful and interesting as Karupin. He realized that if he ever did go back, he would definitely miss this cat. He reached into the trunk and pulled out a set of clothes that appeared to be school uniforms, then set those aside. Digging in deeper, he found casual clothing for everyday wear, sets of tennis uniforms, even a Seigaku regulars jacket. He pulled out a set with a white and blue shirt and a matching set of shorts. It had been some time since he'd worn shorts, and he realized he would have to get used to it. He glanced at his watch, and noted the time: it was 14 and a half hours back in Central, and since Nanjirou had said that it was midnight when his son vanished, if he was correct, it meant that it was now 2:30 here in Japan. "Well, I guess we will talk more in the morning then," he nodded towards the older man.

Nanjirou nods his head in agreement and yawned, “I’ll go store away the artifact in a safe place so that way nothing will happen to it.” Stretching he glared at the cat, “You behave Karupin, I don’t want Ryoma to kill me if you end up sick.” Then with a sigh the older man walked toward the door, “Roy sleep in later then usual please, I don’t want my wife to scream at seeing a strange early in the morning.” With that the older man shut the door and left the other to its devise.

Karupin eye the door a bit, then hopped off after being fed to sit on its haunches and stare at the picture of it’s owner. It missed Ryoma; it felt odd having another presences in the room, not to mention the man smelt different. Not in a bad way, just not the regular musk of grass and lavender that usually accompany his beloved owner. “Niao!” It meowed pitifully while placing its head onto its paws to stare at the frame.

"You miss him, don't you?"

Roy knelt down beside the cat to examine the picture, and spoke softly to it, sensing the strong link between the feline and the boy who had owned this room previously. He wondered to himself what kind of person the cat's former companion had been like, and whether he would have liked to meet the child in person. The boy had black hair and golden eyes that burned bright with an inner spirit. Golden eyes--it made him think back on a particular youth he knew about the boy's age who also had golden eyes and fiery spirit. Could this boy Ryoma ever have had the potential to be an alchemist if he had lived in Roy's world?

He stood up and changed into a clean white shirt and some sleeping shorts, folding his former military uniform neatly in a bundle, and stowed it carefully in a plastic bag under the bed. It was time to say goodbye to his former life as Lt. Colonel, and live as a high schooler, though he felt a bit odd about that. Shaking aside the thought and letting the sleep take over his mind, he turned off the lights except for a small dim table lamp on the bedstand stand.

"Come on, Karupin. I think you'll have to spend the night with me." Roy pulled aside the blankets and waited for the cat to hop in first before climbing in and drawing up the covers. He pulled the soft ball of fur next to his chest, enjoying the warmth and companionship of the fuzzy animal, contentedly listening to its heartbeat as sleep overtook his weary mind.