424: Protective Secrets – Chapters 16 & 17

Title: Protective Secrets
Author: bim-bam58
Media: Manga/Anime
Topic:  Fruits Basket
Genre: Romance/Tragedy
URL: Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Critiqued by Ghostcat

Welcome once more, dearest Patrons! Today is a very special day – it’s the end of the fic!

:wipes away tear:

I do so enjoy these days.

The last chapter continued the grand tradition of being almost completely pointless; Tohru convinced her ardent admirer Michael to help her, got the basics of Chris/tian the Asshat’s daily schedule from him as well as a bit of his own back story, formulated a cunning plan (which has yet to be revealed) to destroy the evidence, only to be thwarted by her inability to just walk down the hallway to the room. Instead of coming up with a variation of the “guard escorting prisoner” gambit, which would have been really easy to do since she’s a real prisoner who has a real guard helping her, she waited for the Sue Force to deliver the most contrived means of travel possible – a wheeled table covered in a plain white tablecloth.

Without further ado, let’s begin Chapter 16, titled Badda-Bing Badda-Boom for some reason that will no doubt thrill me beyond words.

Micheal pov

:THWACK!:

And there’s a POV Tag, y’all know how much I love those. If the author remains true to form, the narration will continue in the third-person and this tag will only apply to whatever random bits of internal dialogue show up. Goody.

A sulky blonde trudged through the hallways pushing a wheelie table with a plate that was licked clean.

Nothing to see here, just a goon taking his pet table for walkies.

“I can’t believe you making me do this” Michael mumbled to what seemed to be himself

Yeah, an armed man talking to himself wouldn’t raise an kind of alarms.

“Oh come on now, it’s not that bad.” A gentle feminine voice reassured, “It’s not that much further right? My legs are cramping.” The voice moaned.

Tohru is managing to be both reassuring and a whiny bitch at the same time. I can’t blame her; if I had as many untreated injuries as she does and had to fold myself up to fit under a table, I’d be pretty bitchy as well.

“Just up ahead,” Michael replied eyes searching the halls for any sign of people who might over hear his conversation with a table.

Most hallways I’ve walked down have been pretty open, that’s what makes them useful for transportion purposes. He’d be better off listening for anyone coming around the corners or exiting whatever rooms are on this endless hall than running his mouth.

Michael wheeled the pulley cart down the labyrinth of hall ways,

Did you know a pulley cart is a real thing? Chris/tian the Asshat must have very spacious hallways if he has installed a network of zip-lines in them.

after some more moped walking and trying to act normal when anyone passed,

I think “acting normal” went out the window once Michael started “talking to himself” and walking like a moped, which I assume means he sprouted wheels and an engine.

until the arrival of 2 large old pull and push oak doors. The kitchen.

Two doors arriving suddenly in the middle of a hallway would put an end to most things – including walking.

It was previously established that the kitchens are huge, covering three rooms, with Chris/tian the Asshat’s office located directly over the center room. I had assumed that Tohru was being taken directly to Chris/tian’s the Asshat’s office, since she was just questioning Michael about when he would be out, but it looks like they were heading for the kitchens instead. This makes slightly more sense, since you would expect someone to be taking empty dishes to the kitchens, but I’m still not sure how she is going to get up into his office. I really hope we’re not in for another a burning Rose style duct-crawl.

“We are here madam” stretching the last word out in a jokingly fashion.

Michael wants no part of this little trip, he’s been sulking the entire time, so why is he suddenly joking with her? The mood shift is very jarring.

“Check if anyone’s inside” the table whispered.

Well, gee; if we knew what time of the frickin’ day it was then we might know if the kitchens were busy. As Chris/tian the Asshat seems to have a very regimented schedule that he follows and a meal was just served to Tohru (and presumably everyone else in the house) then there are probably dozens of people in the kitchens trying to clean up.

Michael pushed open a single door, turning his head from left to right with narrow eyes cowering the 5* kitchen for any sign of the cooks.

:headdesk:

It took me a second, but I think the author is saying that the kitchen has five stars, which is just ridiculous. There are rating systems used by some critics and guidebooks that do use stars – but those are for restaurants, as in places that serve food to paying customers. Private homes aren’t reviewed by Michelin or any other service, so it can’t have any stars. (The asshat could employ a five-star chef, but that’s a different matter.)

Once the coast was clear he stepped back out to the empty hall way and the magic talking table.

“Coast is clear”

:sirens blare:

Oh, Gumdrop!

:growls and snarls:

Good boy! Does you want a goat? Does you? Yes, you do!

:tosses goat into hallway:

Go get it, boy!

A ginormous kitchen spanning who-knows-how-many hundreds of square feet of floor space and there isn’t a single person in sight? I can’t walk past the break-room microwave without seeing three people.

“Good I’ll only be a minute stay here and give a Signal if anyone approaches” Tohru said crawling on all fours from under her form of transport.

“What wait!”

*bang*

I’m with the blonde sycophant on this; what the hell is she doing? It’s true that the kitchens are directly underneath where she wants to go – but there’s no way of knowing if there’s a way up to the room. Given that the asshat stressed how high the level of security is, and the fact that meals are being delivered by (PCC provided) wheeled carts, it could be inferred that there is no dumbwaiter or similar system in place for her to use.

“Never mind then… Now what should be the signal.”

How about “Hey, dumbass!”?

This is really a discussion you should have had with Tohru before she vanished into the vast kitchens of the Formless Void.

‘Hmmm what to do …’

I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking of stealing a blender from the kitchens. Margaritas don’t make themselves, you know.

“KAAA KAARR… No not that one … COOOU COOOU… nahh to obvious …

Because this whole mess is cuckoo?

Eh macaren macaren makrena cause it’s eh macren maca-“

… Huh?

“What the hell are doing”

Yeah, what the unidentified person said.

“Eeeeeppppp!”

Michael practically leaped out of his skin, he spun around to be face to face a with a Tohru trying to hold back a giant fit of giggles.

Hey, no judging! Not everyone is good at the Macarena. That little hop is hard to do.

“You *giggle* scream like *giggle*

:BAM!:

Hey, Alma! Can I offer you some leftover goat? Gumdrop didn’t finish his, I think he’s full from all those DRD agents. Looks like I’m in for a litter box full of partially-digested Kevlar bits again.

a GIRL HAHAHAHA”

Ummm … You know that you are of the female persuasion, right?

she couldn’t hold it in any more and started laughing her head off.

If only.

All Michael did was scowl.

“I do not.”

Not to perpetuate a stereotype, but “Eep” isn’t exactly the manliest sound ever produced.

Tohru stopped her laughing fit and looked at him with a triumphant smirk.

:THWACK!:

:headdesk:

So help me Jeebus, there are times when I want to tattoo the OED definition of “smirk” in a twelve point Calibri font onto the eyeballs of every bad fanfic author in existence. I’ve had dreams about it.

“Not to be rude but, yeah you do, anyway we still have one more stop.” Tohru pointed out crawling back under the wheelie table, before anyone saw her.

Wait, we don’t get to find out what she did in the kitchen? This is the first semi-interesting thing to happen in the fic, and the audience is stuck out in the hall watching Blondie do the Macarena.

Michael pushed the trolley forward, heading to their next location, the place everyone called the ‘brain vault’ due to the fact it held all the information the boss wanted.

If it’s all the information he wants, then it must be empty – “want” implies that he has not obtained the information yet and therefore still desires it.

Fun fact – the Library’s brain vault contains actual brains. We believe after the coming zombie apocalypse that brains will become the new world currency; with our current stockpile we will be able to live like royalty for years. Well, until one of us turns rogue and sells out the others to the shambling hordes for the last chocolate cupcake in existence. (Not that I’ve thought about that.)

“What did you do in there anyway?” Michael asked with curiosity.

Oh, good; we are finally going to find out what she did in there. I was afraid the author was just going to leave things hanging.

“That doesn’t matter at the moment… What does matter is the time, what time is it?”

:facepalm:

I should know better, I really should.

Why is she only now asking about the time? She should have asked before going into the kitchens, since that would be the best way to know how much time she has before everyone returns. As I’ve mentioned before, Chris/tian the Asshat expects his staff to adhere to a strict schedule, making it easier for her to plan her movements.

Michael looked down at his aviator watch on his wrist, carefully searching for the big hand and small hand on the face.

Well, it’s not like the hands are the most prominent feature of a watch specifically designed to be read quickly and accurately.

“5:15.”

That’s when the short hand is on the five and the long hand is on the three.

“Okay… Well we may want to hurry quite a bit.”

Why? You have forty-five minutes before the kitchen staff arrives, assuming that it’s evening and not morning, which is plenty of time for a Sue to … do whatever it is she is going to do. According to the schedule from the last chapter, dinner preparations begin at 6 PM while the asshat is out having a smoke with his guards.

“I will… And just so you know … I trust you.”

For reasons that remain unknown to everyone. I mean, why would she trust the guy who essentially kidnapped her from outside the diner when she was on her way to see his employer anyway? The only back story she has on him is what he gave her, which could be a load of steaming monkey-muffins. He could be every bit as psycho as his boss.

Pink dusted his cheeks and down his neck.

A multi-platinum recording artist just fell out of the SDQF to do a bit of light cleaning to Blondie’s face. Sure, why not?

‘If I knew you better I would be able to change the trust to love… One day … That will happen… I will make sure.’

:gags:

I think we know who is moving to the top of the love interest list.

“Don’t worry I trust you to”

Again, he has no reason to do so. He knows absolutely nothing about her, she didn’t even give him any half-assed back story when he gave her his.

Michael’s heart skipped a beat … Then 2 … Then 3… 4…

Oh, well – he’s dead. I guess the fic is over.

Rise of the zombie apocalypse…

Quick, to the brain vault! Don’t forget the cupcakes!

then his heart began to beat again but twice as fast,

That’s what happens when you take too many of those little blue pills.

as he thought about what would happen to her if they go caught.

The torture… The pain…

The rampant ellipsis abuse.

‘What would I do if she died…’

And what about you? Chris/tian the Asshat isn’t exactly going to pat you on the head and give you a puppy. (Unless you are allergic to puppies or it’s some kind of acid-spitting mutant puppy, which actually sounds kind of awesome.)

“Hey Michael are you okay? You looked pretty zoned out?”

Is she not sure if he’s zoned out or not? You would think the space cadet would be familiar with that expression from her own face.

Tohru asked peering her head through the white satin cloth that was draped over the table; flowered vines crept up the rims in a silver thread that gleamed in the lights of the hallway.

“Yeah yeah I’m fine… Just thinking.”

I thought I smelled burning hair.

“Oh okay… You know my mum always said to share your thoughts, it makes you feel better.”
Michael looked down to Tohrus angelic face and smiled.

:headdesk:

Oh, come on! There’s a white cloth framing her face and he’s having inexplicably romantic thoughts, yet there’s no bridal allusions? What a waste of a set-up.

And I thought this Tohru hated her mother since she never passes up a chance to bad-mouth her. Why is she quoting Kyoko’s advice all of a sudden?

“Yeah I will tell you, but I will tell you when we aren’t trying to hide you… Deal?”

“Deal” the brunette replied with a sharp nod before redirecting her head back under the white table cloth.

Good job, Blondie! Tohru’s attention span is about as long as flea’s eyelash so she’s sure to forget your hastily made promise.

They soon came up to what looked like a bank vault.

The Formless Void must have a tummy-ache  it’s spitting out all these random doors and bank vaults into the same section of hallway. It’s good for me that I already know what a bank vault looks like, but I guess those in the audience who don’t will just have to picture their favorite My Little Pony instead. (Twilight Sparkle.)

“We are here you ‘highness‘”

Wait, I thought the “brain vault” was above the kitchens? There has been no indication that they have gone to a different floor or even a different hallway. They could have just moved down a few doors when the vault fell out of the SDQF in front of them.

“Wow… you and sarcasm…

Do not work well together.

anyway how do we get in?”

Have you tried using the doorknob? I find that’s usually the first step to opening a door.

Michael shot her a look that said ‘shut up and watch’

He stuck his hand out onto a strange coloured panel.

‘Access granted’

I’m assuming that colored panel is some kind of scanner verifying that Blondie is allowed access to this vault. I wonder if there’s some kind of program that would keep track of who accessed the location or if it might trigger some kind of alarm that would signal the incredibly paranoid  Chris/tian the Asshat when someone entered his vault full of highly valuable … things without his knowledge. That would be unfortunate for the two morons currently breaking into said vault.

Why wouldn’t they just wait until Chris/tian the Asshat was out of his office and enter through the unprotected  and unmonitored connecting door?

“Well done genius,

Ooh, unintentional sarcasm!

now look out for anyone… I’ll be 5 minutes max!”

Maybe a bit longer, depending on long it takes you to kick the asses of the guards Chris/tian the Asshat said were posted in the highly secure room around the clock. Or the author forgot that little detail and she won’t have any trouble at all, it’s probably one of those.

“Fine… Just don’t get hurt! You better tell me what you’re doing when you’re done!”

“Yes yes but right now we can’t waste time the sooner we are out the better!”

Why bother finding out what you are doing before you do it? It’s more fun to blindly charge along!

“Go” he gave her a slight shove into the room before shutting the door.

After 7 minutes he started to panic

Maybe she had to pee.

‘Didn’t she say 5 minutes… Oh no I forgot Chris’s secretary! She reads in here!’

“Shit!”

The chick in the hooker heels? Why would she be using the vault of precious assets belonging to her super-paranoid boss as a reading nook?

Right as he went to turn around the ‘click’ of the door opening his stomach dropped thinking of the worst.

A sequel?

“Wow you look like a cat who’s about to have a bath…”

Terrified and bitey? That’s understandable in his situation.

The comment reminded her of Kyo which was one of the reasons she wanted to get out.

Oh, right – the boyfriend/lover. I keep forgetting about him, just as the author seems to have forgotten about Tohru’s terrible injuries.

“Tohru…”

Tohru stood there proudly like she just won the Olympic gold for mystery…

As well as the silver in who-gives-a-damn.

I don’t know why the author is trying to be all mysterious all of a sudden; the audience knows why she’s there and what she is trying to do, even if they don’t know how she plans on accomplishing it. It would be far more interesting and suspenseful for the audience if they could follow Tohru as she sneaks around rather than staying out in the hallway twiddling their thumbs with Blondie.

‘Wait what the hell?!’ And for some reason she held a pair of white stilettos.

“Where did you get the shoes?” He asked curiously.

Hmmm, I wonder what other character was recently described as wearing white high heels?

“Well I think they are really cute… And I just happened to run into Chris’s whore soooo…

The secretary is now his concubine/whore. I can’t decide if that’s a step up or a step down.

I decided to go shopping… In terms of I knocked her out and decided to keep them my self…

Otherwise known as “stealing”. So much for giving up her life of crime.

I mean come on! They are PRADA … They are way outta my budget…”

Oh, well – if they are Prada then that’s different. I’d hate to think she would compromise her morals to steal a pair of Nine Wests.

‘… You’re joking…’

“Okay… Whatever…” He wiped off the crazy shoe stunt for her sake.

Every relationship has its little quirks; in this case, assault and petty theft.

“Wait! Time?!”

“Geeezzzz calm down woman… It’s…” He glanced at his watch once again “5:25”

That would mean only ten minutes have passed since he checked his watch outside the kitchens; if she spent seven of those minutes in the brain vault, that would give them only three minutes of traveling and conversation time. Blondie must be a speed-walker.

“Good!”

Tohru crawled back to the shielding of the cloth cave.

“Michael?”

Sweet mercy, are you ever going to stop talking?!?

Michael stiffened at the voice; he slowly turned around to see 2 black eyes boring holes into his

Creamy pale flesh.

Oh, that was someone else speaking to the disturbingly fair Blondie – someone who is probably wondering why a girl just crawled under that wheeled cart that shouldn’t be in the middle of the hall. I’m sure Blondie can make up something about being on special orders from the boss to smooth things over.

“Good evening boss.”

Unless it’s Chris/tian the Asshat, in which case Blondie is so very, very screwed.

“What you doing here Michael? And with that?” He pointed to the table and empty plate.

Would you believe he’s feeding a ghost?

“Oh I was urmmm just taking dinner from the girl you have locked up.”

Who should be locked in a room nowhere near this location. And if he was assigned to be her guard, who would be watching her if he’s out in the hall playing busboy?

Considering how quickly Chris/tian the Asshat spoke after Tohru ducked under the table, he had to have seen her. It could be he’s just toying with Blondie, seeing how deeply he will shove his own foot into his mouth before springing some hideous punishment on him.

“Oh my darling Tohru.”

:gags:

Michael swore he heard a growl from behind him, he didn’t need to look back to know it was Tohru.

Who else would it be, dumbass? Do you have other girls stuffed into the space beneath that dining cart?

“How is she?” Chris inquired

“Asleep sir, she had a long journey.”

:yawns:

Sweet jeebus, this is dull stuff. I really hope he does something to expose Blondie’s lies before I pass out from boredom.

“Yes she did… Well I’m off now please pick up my plates they are in front office I will be back in 10 need to grab my lighter from down stairs and want to stretch my legs, are joining us for a smoke?”

:headdesk:

He’s not doing anything?!? How did he not see her – she was standing right there with a pair of his secretary/concubine’s shoes in her hands chatting with Blondie for a pretty significant length of time! GAH!!!

I’m going to condense the next part because it is so mind-shatteringly dull. I have chronic insomnia and it nearly put me to sleep.

Chris/tian the Asshat tells Blondie that the plates had better be gone by the time he gets back or Blondie will be “punished” but does not specify what sort of punishment he has in mind. I’m guessing it’s not “licked to death by kittens”.

After “about 3 minutes” he – not sure if it’s the asshat or the idiot at that point – reaches the front office and checks for guards (so it’s probably Blondie.) Tohru asks for the time again and it is now 5:37, meaning that twelve minutes have passed since she left the brain vault right next door. (That just makes no sense at all.) Tohru then orders Blondie to collect the plates, which have apparently been sitting around since noon when lunch was served, while she runs into the asshat’s office after telling him she will be back in two minutes. (Why she didn’t just go through the connecting door between the brain vault and the office when she was in the vault is unknown.)

Suddenly there is a “quick clink of metal”, which is apparently loud enough to be heard in the outer office where Blondie is picking up dishes, and Tohru announces (also loud enough to be heard in the outer office) that she has completed whatever it is that she has done. Just as she finishes, they hear Chris/tian the Asshat returning, even though he said he’d be gone ten minutes and presumably only two have passed.

One pair of eyes widened… The other pair you couldn’t tell due to dark shades of sunglasses but you knew he was panicking.

:THWACK!:

My brain, she is hurting.

Tohru dives back into her hiding spot even though that would likely cause her a great deal of pain from her many injuries, and Blondie wheels her out right past Chris/tian the Asshat who does nothing even though he should have heard Tohru shouting and the mettalic clicking sound. As soon as they walk away the SDQF drops them into the main lobby area, which would be downstairs and some distance from where they were. Tohru asks for the time yet again and is informed that it is now 5:55, eighteen minutes from when she entered the asshat’s office. Tohru acts with some urgency when she hears the time, leaping out from under the table – a handy trick considering how cramped it would be – grabbing Blondie’s wrist, and running out the front door. (Again, no mention is made of her current injuries.)

Even though she runs “as fast as her legs could carry her” for an unknown length of time, Tohru suddenly stops in the middle of … the Void in front of Chris/tian the Asshat’s house and turns around. Wouldn’t you know it, the asshat in question is clearly visible even though he was last seen inside his office in another portion of the house. She salutes him and “his eyes seemed to widen in realization for some reason”, which is a statement that just boggles my brain. If his eyes are widening because he realizes something, wouldn’t that be the reason? I’m just going to chalk this up to the author’s misguided attempts at injecting “mystery” into the fic, because otherwise it just makes me want to bang my head against the wall until I can’t think anymore.

Following this moment of inanery, Tohru tackles Blondie – she, the tiny girl with the broken ribs and internal injuries, tackles him, the perfectly healthy blonde side of beef in the RayBans – and shields his body with hers.

I wish I was joking.

“Get down now!” Tohru tackled. Michael down to the ground shielding him with her body.

:headdesk:

Someone has been watching too many action movies.

As soon as she accomplishes this, there is a (presumably earth-shattering) Kaboom.

KABOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMM!

See? And since something interesting is finally happening, there is a sudden scene shift to Kyo and Yuki.

Kyo and Yuki lay slouched out on the floor as if starved animals dying from hunger.

And we’ve arrived just as the pity party is getting under way! What luck.

“Where is she… And where’s that perverted dog without food…”

“I don’t know but I’m going to kill him…”

And then you can eat his body, since he doesn’t have any food with him.

Suddenly the cat felt something.

:crosses fingers:

Please don’t say it’s a disturbance in the Force.

“Hey rat you feel that shake?”

Has Kate been making milkshakes in the Library kitchen again? She knows that brings all the boys to the yard!

“Must be your imagination stupid cat.”

He couldn’t … Nah, he couldn’t be referring to the Kaboom; Tohru is an unknown, but extremely long, distance away from them. It took a two-hour car ride and several additional hours on a train for her to get to Chris/tian the Asshat’s place. There’s no way they could feel it from that far away.

“I swear it felt like something just blew up.”

“Whatever cat”

:headdesk:

Bloody hell. Tohru must have vaporized half of Japan trying to destroy that evidence. Talk about over-kill, a match in a trash can would have done the job just as well.

Thus ends Chapter 16. There is another chapter, but it’s nothing but an Author’s Note chattering about the Soul Eater fic the author is writing so I’m skipping it. The author does promise to post updates every three days over the holidays, but neither this fic nor the Soul Eater fic (which only has one chapter) have been updated since mid-December. Based solely on the fic publishing dates, it looks to me as if both have been abandoned in favor of a third fic (which itself hasn’t been updated since February.)

Hurry back next time, Patrons, when I’ll be unwrapping a brand-spanking-new fic! And possibly doling out some spankings as well.


4 Comments on “424: Protective Secrets – Chapters 16 & 17”

  1. Herr Wozzeck says:

    Hey, Alma! Can I offer you some leftover goat?

    Sorry Ghostie, but Mahler Hammers aren’t known to eat goats. Unless you want her to tenderize the meet for you, there’s nothing she could do about it, you know?

  2. Kate says:

    “Has Kate been making milkshakes in the Library kitchen again? She knows that brings all the boys to the yard!”

    My milkshakes bring all the boys to the yard, and they’re like, “your friend is hot.”


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