For someone of relatively small size, Kitsuki could hold her alcohol remarkably well. This may have had something to do with her being a demon. A demon, after all, does not have to conform to the usual laws of biology concerning ingestion and metabolism of alcohol. That said, she could get drunk, but it seemed to depend on her state of mind. If she wanted to get drunk, she did. If she didn't, or if she wasn't paying attention, she could drink just about anything or anyone under the table.

But then, sometimes, when she wasn't paying attention, she'd end up really drunk, too.

This was one of those times. It was a really boring Friday night, Kitsuki had suggested that they have a drinking contest, Kaligo had politely declined (he didn't much care for the taste of alcohol or the effects it had on him), and then Kitsuki had declared that she would just have to have a drinking contest with herself. Before Kaligo could ask just what she meant by that, Kitsuki had dragged out the contents of her liquor cupboard and proceeded to begin sampling all the drinks.

"You're nuts," Kaligo suggested.

"Yeah, whatever," Kitsuki muttered in reply.

"You're going to have an awful hangover in the morning."

"Shaddup." She downed a shot of brandy and coughed.

Kaligo sighed and fetched a glass of water from the sink; by the time he returned to the table the coughing fit had passed and Kitsuki was eyeing the arrangement of bottles on the table, trying to decide what to try next. He set the glass down in front of her. She ignored it. "Are you sure you don't want to play cards or something?"

Kitsuki made a noise of disgust as she poured whiskey into her glass. "That's all we ever do around here. Eat, sleep, watch TV, play cards, or read. You don't even want to go out and steal anything because you think it's wrong." She made as if to throw the bottle at him, then apparently decided against it, as the bottle was still mostly full. "I hate you, you know. Little goody-two-shoes."

"So I've heard," Kaligo said calmly.

"Fah! You don't even make it any fun to hate you!" She gulped down the whiskey and coughed again. Kaligo sighed.

Time seemed to crawl by, with Kitsuki becoming increasingly inebriated and Kaligo doing his best to put up with her. He could walk out, he supposed, but then there'd be no one to watch her in case she did something stupid. There was very little a demon could do to herself that was permanent or fatal, but she would be exceedingly displeased if she woke up and found that the house had burned down. Besides which, if he left, she might actually take it into her head to follow him, and there would be no point in that. Several times he attempted to stop her, twice through coercion and once through force, and had finally given up and decided that it was better for her to get it out of her system.

The table was a mess. Kitsuki had made an attempt to be somewhat neat at first, but any idea of that deteriorated somewhere after the eighth glass. When she spilled a glass, she did not bother picking it up but simply had Kaligo get her another one. More than one bottle was knocked over, some of them not entirely empty; if she saw no point in picking the bottle up again, she simply left it. Before long the table had become littered with several empty glasses--there was at least one that had been smashed on the floor (that one Kaligo had cleaned up immediately)--and no small number of empty bottles.

At least she wasn't a violent drunk.

"Y'know," Kitsuki mumbled as she poured herself another glass of gin, "I used t'have a brudda."

"Really?" Kaligo did not have to feign the interest in his voice. Kitsuki could be remarkably tight-lipped about her past. He didn't even know her real name. He was certain it wasn't "Kitsuki."

"Whaaat, y'think I'm lyin'?" Kitsuki retorted, scowling blearily at the blurry shape sitting across the table from her. Then she became interested in her glass again. "Yeh, I used t'have a brudda. 'is name. . . 'is name was. . . shit, I fergot."

Kaligo sat stock-still as Kitsuki chuntered away at herself, frowning vaguely. She couldn't actually have forgotten his name, could he? Demons had perfect memories. Although it was possible that since he was from her pre-Changed days, she might actually have forgotten. . .

"Keyon!" she exclaimed suddenly, banging her glass down on the table. The amber liquid it in it jumped and sloshed, but fortunately did not cascade down over the lip of the glass. Even more fortunately, the glass didn't crack under the considerable force of the blow. Kitsuki was a demon, after all, and when drunk did not know her own strength. "Tha'wuz it. Keyon." She gulped down her gin, apparently not tasting it. "'e was a nice 'un. We took care o' each other, af'er th'folks left."

"Your parents left you?"

"'course they did!" Kaligo winced as Kitsuki raised her voice to a near shout. Then the volume fell again as she swirled the pale honey-colored liquid around in her glass. "Foxesh ain't good parentsh. They jus wan'--jus wan'--jus wan'--jus' wan' somethin' t' play wif. Ya know. So we took care o' each other. Learned t'--learned t' shteal 'n shtuff. Got pretty good. Yeh. We wuz a good team." She grinned drunkenly and swigged the rest of the gin, and then fumbled for another bottle. She had to try several times before her fingers finally came into contact with one. She couldn't pour straight, either, and the liquor spattered onto the table before it finally got into her glass. "'n then--'n then Keyon left."

Sometimes, if you prompted her, she was contrary enough to shut up entirely. But on the other hand, this drunk, she was likely to forget what she was talking about--or that she had even been talking in the first place--and stop. "He left?"

"Yeh. Jus' woke up 'un day and he wern't dere." Kitsuki looked almost sad. "Mebbe he got tired 'a me. Shick 'a draggin' 'round a baby shishtuh all de time." She took a deep draught of whatever it was in her glass. "Had t'go sholo. But sh' diffu--difersh--not shame, y'know. Hard, goin' alone."

"Didn't you try to find a partner?" Kaligo prompted.

Kitsuki shrugged. "Tried, yeh. But foxesh--we ain't good w' dem. Dey comesh and goesh, you know." She waved a hand idly, narrowly avoiding toppling a bottle that was still two-thirds full. "Can't find one t'shtay. And then, y'know--" She shrugged again. "I died."

He knew.

Kitsuki squinted and cocked her head, peering at Kaligo. He tried to look away, uncomfortable at the scrutiny, and found that he couldn't. She was smiling strangely, her expression suffused with a peculiar sort of warmth that made Kaligo go still.

"Y'know," she said, and she was very close now, "y'not sho bad. You shtayed."

Then she kissed him.

Kaligo froze out of sheer shock. She tasted and smelled of drink, and she was either very drunk or inexperienced, because the kiss was sloppy and uncertain. Then she leaned just a little too far and fell, and when Kaligo tried to catch her they both went crashing to the floor, along with another one of the glasses. Kaligo had the wind knocked out of him as Kitsuki landed on top of him, and then he went very, very still, to see what would happen next.

Absolutely nothing. Kaligo craned his head up.

She was asleep.

Kaligo exhaled heavily and went limp.



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