“This is on a par with officework, Brad. It’s completely unnecessary,” by the edge in his voice, Nagi could tell Schuldig was not happy. “Takatori isn’t even going to be there.”
“It will be good social interaction practice for Nagi,” Crawford said firmly. “And Takatori wants us to familiarise ourselves with Shimoda and his other managers more.”
“The only familiarity Shimoda wants from Nagi is illegal in 95% of the world,” Schuldig retorted.
Nagi thought about mentioning the fact that suffering pats on the head (or any other part of his anatomy) was not the ideal way for him to acquire social skills, but Crawford was obviously going through one of his paternalistic ‘improve Nagi’s intrapersonal abilities’ episodes. It was usually best to just wait them out - they seldom lasted longer than Schuldig’s next misdemeanour anyway.
“I don’t see why I have to go. Shimoda slimes all over him and thinks of me as some kind of filthy gaijin lackey.”
“It’s my afternoon off. You’re on duty. And you can check what all Takatori’s business rivals are doing while you’re there. Now go,” Crawford ordered them both, “And be polite.”
Schuldig said nothing as he exited the kitchen. Not a good sign. Nagi sighed as he followed. An afternoon of condescending salarymen and a sulking Schuldig. He wondered if they drove past the Koneko whether he could persuade Weiss to indulge in a mercy euthanasia.
Farfarello watched in mild amusement as Crawford swore and jumped up from the table as the vision ended.
“I warned you not to force Schuldig to attend that business social,” he told Crawford’s rapidly departing back. “And people say I’m the crazy one.”
Crawford had known he’d only make it to the hotel as the gathering broke up, but propelled by the same morbid curiosity that causes people to rubberneck on their way past car crashes, he went anyway. He supposed (though he’d rather be nibbled to death by ducks rather than admit it) that it was partly his fault - he sometimes forgot that listening to his teammates could be just as effective as any vision.
When they saw him, Schuldig smiled. Brilliantly. It was the equivalent of a warning flare going off. Nagi was wearing his familiar ‘I’m pissed, I’m trying not to die of embarrassment, and I have no idea who this red-haired gaijin is’ stance. Crawford watched how the businessmen looked at the pair as they left. Half of them appeared affronted, the other half were desperately trying to hold on to their ‘face’. Oddly enough, Shimoda seemed to be of more interest than his team-mates.
“Cuforudu-san,” eyes glinting with fury, Shimoda’s polite mask looked to be straining at the edges, “I suggest you send your subordinate back to school before he’s allowed to speak in public again.”
Then he was gone, sans usual polite bow.
“What exactly did you do?” growled Crawford at Schuldig.
“What do you mean? We circulated, I picked minds, Nagi let Shimoda sleaze over him, we spok... ”
“He introduced Shindora-san as Takatori-sama no koomon!” Nagi broke in.
“Takatori’s advisor?” Crawford didn’t understand the problem.
“No, koomon not komon.”
Crawford frowned at Nagi impatiently
“And the difference is?”
“Komon means advisor. Koomon means… ” Nagi’s murmured the word quietly.
Crawford gaped at Schuldig,
“You introduced Takatori’s closest advisor as his… “
“Well,” grinned Schuldig “I told you the man was an arschloch. I was just repeating myself in a different language.”
From “Colloquial Japanese”, H.Clarke & M.Hamamura:
“…care must be taken to distinguish between long and short vowels. Take, for example, shujin ‘husband’ and shuujin ‘prisoner’ or, potentially even more dangerous, komon ‘advisor’ and koomon ‘anus’.
next: ein und zwanzig