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FUTS AUs

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Pi was seating in the Great Hall. It was breakfast and as it goes, he was hoping this day will pass as uneventful as possible. Usually, he was your average Hogwarts student, one of the hundred or so Ravenclaws walking around unnoticed by the others. Though as of lately Pi was bothered and agitated by someone. Even harassed in inappropriate way, if he was very inclined to dig into his own backside thoughts. If only Pi could take a break from all these confusing interactions and all the attention it brought to his person…

“Good morning “, a soft deep voice behind him indicated that this was just the time for another bothering interaction.

So, he did the obvious - Pi scrunched his face in annoyance and huddled closer to the table refusing to look up. The additional avoidance technique included stuffing his face with ham sandwich as well. Angry chewing should be unattractive and chase the intruder away, right?

A light chuckle followed, and a Special Edition Chocolate Frog was placed on the table in front of Pi.

“Not in the mood this morning I see. Ok then, finish your breakfast and come, we can walk to the classroom together “. And that jerk has the audacity to bend to get closer because that is for sure his warm breath right next to Pi’s ear. “I’ll be back to get you in 5, I just have to talk to Nan first”.

Pi still refuses to look up but even in cacophony of noises of Great Hall he manages to catch the sound of Mork turning away and heading in the direction of Hufflepuff table.

A very loud “awww, so sweet” from Pao, who was strategically seated right next to Pi, just adds to his already rising irritation. “He even bought you the rare one. It is so hard to get those, you know. Pricey too. They say every bite is a new flavor and the cards inside are true art!”

Pi knew exactly what this was. Because just one week ago he placed an order to get a box of them from an auction and it never came through. All stock sold in a matter of minutes. Meaning Mork knew very well what he was doing. He intentionally trapped Pi between his denial to recognize any relationship between two of them and Pi’s more carnal desire for best sweets in the world and collectables that can be resold for good money. That bastard!

Apparently Pao sensed his turmoil. Or she probably thought he was shy or other delusional nonsense that she occasionally spread being fangirl of MorkPi fandom as she is. So, she snatched Chocolate Frog and quickly dropped it inside Pi’s bag on the bench. With satisfied smile she announced in a sing-song voice “His presents for your eyes only” and burst into a fit of giggles.

Pi pouted but stood up and gathered his bag completely ignoring Pao in her fangirl glee. He cast a glance in Hufflepuf table direction. From his spot he could see Mork’s back. Slytherin Prefect was standing all tall with straight back and perfect hair, his robes hanging from his own bag, rolled-up sleeves showing forearms. He was currently nodding his head to something Mueang Nan was telling him. Well, Mueang Nan looked good too today and Pi would know – he had the biggest crush on the boy last year. Pi still liked him - Hufflepuf boy was basically all sunshine smiles and nice attitude, but these days Pi’s liking for Nan was less of a romantic infatuation and more about surviving Prefect Meetings by distracting Mork from Pi. And to be honest it was impossible to pay attention to anyone and anything when surrounded by Mork and his stubborn attentiveness.

Pi wanted some quiet time for himself, so he silently cast a spell to be overlooked when staring straight at him. He walked out of Great Hall and headed to the third floor, where Advanced Arithmancy for 6 year students of Ravenclaw and Slytherin was going to start in 20 minutes.

As of now Pi could not even pinpoint the moment when Mork’s snide remarks at him turned into laser like focus and constant determination to be close by. Or could he?..

In the summer of the beginning of Pi’s 5th year at Hogwarts he received his letter with an unexpected addition – Ravenclaw faculty Prefect Badge. Usually, Prefects were chosen from popular kids that proven themselves unproblematic meaning they followed rules and supported the system. The chosen bunch at least had influence amongst their peers. But Pi was not popular nor influential. He was a loner and a book worm. No one particularly paid him any attention. Except his brother Duean who, thousand thanks to Merlin, graduated last year. Because all his 5th year of Ravenclaw Prefect career was dedicated to listening to Gryffindor Prefects bitching about Duean’s and his gang’s shenanigans. It was like Pi was personally responsible for anything his brother managed to turn into chaos. And probably the real reason Pi became Prefect. Though Mueang Nan tried to cheer Pi up during mandatory Meetings, hence the tragic unrequired crush and Mork’s snickering.

Now on his 6th year he thought he would have some peace. But that would be too generous. The Universe probably had it against Pi and wanted to make him as miserable as possible. The very moment he stepped into his first Prefect Meeting this year Mork started to act like an asshole whose aim was to leave Pi as flushed and confused as possible. Sometimes Pi thought he will end up having cardiac arrest - that’s the level of intensity Mork managed sometimes. The number of occasions he touched Pi’s face, arms and waist with the most possible smoldering look was impossible to count at this point.

And the stares! Holy house elves' socks, Pi was noticed by other students a lot now. Boys and girls were staring at him in classes, hallways, and library, they were following him and asking all kind of stupid Mork related questions. That was all Mork’s fault. It was him who was popular, it’s him who were admired and drenched in attention, along with Mueang Nan. They were the original famous Power Couple from the start: Hufflepuf and Slytherin, as unimaginable as it is. Yes, Mork and Mueang Nan were just best friends, but why did Mork have to drag Pi under spotlight?!

Everyone knew Slytherins were twisted and sneaky. And Pi will not fall for Mork sneakiness. Never in a lifetime! Why was he even called Mork in the first place? His name is Sutthaya. Another proof of his twisted ways to confuse people!

Pi finally reached class and sat down. There was no point to even try to convince someone sit with him. Everyone would stay away from spot that in their eyes belonged to Slytherin Prefect.

Pi dropped his head on the desk and closed his eyes. Maybe after his classes he can sneak to the lake and spend some time reading his book pretending to be normal again? Or he can let Mork drag him into another privet study sessions, both sitting in silence next to each other and pretending they are able to concentrate. Pi will shudder every time Mork would totally NOT accidentally touch Pi's knee or hand. The torture!

And now Pi can even recognize the sound of Mork steps. Because it is definitely him who approached Pi’s desk.

“You ran away. Again,” Sutthaya was placing his stuff on the desk and sitting next to him.

Pi shrugs. Mork was right – he is not in the mood.

“Are you feeling well?” – there is genuine concern in Mork’s voice.

Pi contemplates it for a second and sits straight. He looks Mork in the eyes and says in a deadpan voice – “This is annoying,”

Mork lowers his head in understanding, “You are overwhelmed again. Too much to take?”

Pi shrugs for the second time. Mork is one hell of a shameless flirt and confusing jerk, but he is not cruel. He somehow understands a lot what’s going on with Pi and that makes Pi more concerned for his future. Because Pi can handle harassment, but against genuine care, he is defenseless.

“Do you want to go to the lake to study after classes? I can cast a spell for a quite spot, and the weather is still warm and nice,” Mork taps his finger on his book of Arithmancy, “I need to finish assignment on this anyway. You can unwind and relax”.

“Don’t you have meeting with your faculty members?” this one Pi remembers clearly; he is attuned to Mork’s schedule like that.

Slytherin Prefect smiles lightly, “Not for another 2 or 3 hours after classes.”

At this very moment Pi knows where he will end up if he proceeds with this plan. But Mork is the best when it comes to keep people away when is needed. Pi will be safe with him. And probably in a matter of a month or two Pi will give up completely with fighting him and they will start to date. To his defense, Pi is on his last straw here. And it is harder and harder to deny how attractive and desirable Mork is.

So much for “never in a lifetime”. But at moments like this Pi just want to try. Maybe he won’t fall apart and end up burned with a broken heart? Maybe Mork is not a menacing sign of doomed future full of pain and rejection?

“I have more of those Chocolate Frogs you fond of,” Mork rises his eyebrows suggestively.

And there it is again – the ass lord! Pi turns away. He lays his head on the desk and closes his eyes. Mork chuckles and touches Pi's hair lightly in a move of affection.

Chapter Text

People of Uni City were in a great danger. A supervillain attack was in progress and strike of destruction could happen at any moment.

“StarMix” Mueang Nan was the hero of the city so it was his job to prevent catastrophe. Only several days ago, he was sure that the greatest threat to neighborhood is The Kitty Gang and their nefarious leader Duean. But those guys were more like a horde of racoons: they were annoying, they destroyed stuff, people complained, but there was no real harm to wellbeing of citizens. And taking down The Kitty Gang was way easier because Nan knew what he was dealing with.

Anyway, the last time something this disastrous happened, it was several years ago. Duean’s older brother Wan tried to cause distraction of city’s recreational areas and National Park using his powers to influence political decisions that were made by City Council. His aim was to destroy water supplies as well but he was discovered and stopped by Nan.

And considering it was long time ago and Wan’s successor Duean was more likely to entertain local crowd than harm anyone, Nan became careless. It was shameful how low his guard was for such occasion. Nan loved Uni City and it was great place to live in because it was so safe, and people were so nice. Who in their right mind would want to destroy it?

And the answer is the new supervillain this City never saw. Moreover, this villain was smart enough to sneak underneath Mueang Nan’s nose and never reveal what he was planning to do with all these chemicals that Nan just discovered in unlisted warehouse he was standing in currently.

Hero of the city was at loss. Though frankly speaking his superhero name was “StarMix” not Megamind. Nan could fly as well as emit thermonuclear energy and he had given his enemies their fair shares of mean burns. Nan “StarMix” was smart to a decent amount, but in no way, he could predict what is about to happen with the miniscule intel he managed to get. And that’s the reason he needed help ASAP. Team Rock Star, his backup and support, should have found at least something by this point, right?

Nan turned on his transmitter “Mork, Meen, do you copy?”

A light crack in his earpiece and Mork responded immediately, “I’m almost at the place. Nan, did you spot something suspicious?”

“A lot of chemicals, no one around”, Nan was actually glad to hear that Mork will join him soon.

“I found some records about this building,” soft but collected voice of Meen interrupted, “There was several orders for delivery for the past 2 weeks. All of them placed by the Natural Science Department Lab of local University. Quite shady considering the payments seems to be coming not from the University funds”.

Nan vaguely remembered visiting said Lab several times this past year to bring attention of sponsors and attract funds for research. There was this shy awkward guy…

“Could you check one of the Lab’s assistants? I think his name was Pri or Pee,” Nan didn’t even know why he suddenly thought about him.

“I’m on it,” a low humming and clicking of keyboard fallowed.

Something fell on the floor right behind Nan and he turned so quickly he almost got a whiplash. It was a rare occasion someone was able to sneak behind him. There he was and Nan recognized him immediately.

“It is actually Pi, quite amazing that someone like you remembers that”, relaxed smile and a confident gaze told it all: this was who they were looking for.

Pi did not look at all like Mueang Nan remembered. Glasses, braces, and dorky hairstyle were gone. Baggy clothes replaced with fitting ones in dark colors. The kid was young but attractive. He looked like someone stepped out of TV show about popular teens. And he smiled wide and undisturbed, showing his pearly white teeth almost proudly.

Nan was familiar with this part – the confrontation. Main rule was to gather as much information as possible. “What’s going on, Pi? What do you want?”

Pi tilted his head to the side as if trying to look at Nan from a different angle. “I’m just going to make world a much better place. But you won’t understand of course. Cute but dumb,” Pi stepped to the side and Nan raised his hand feeling how his powers evoked and heat ran trough his fingers.

Pi raised an eyebrow and slowly pressed his index finer to his lips in some parody of a gesture to keep quiet, “If I were you, I wouldn’t risk starting fire here. You see, some of these chemicals are prone to explosions and some of them can be activated by nuclear reaction”. He smiled again and took another step to the side, “You might not worry too much about yourself or even me, but there are others who will be injured or killed”.

Nan was extremely worried by this turn of event, “You’ve got hostages?”

Pi gave him another confident smile, “Who knows?”

Nan was contemplating jumping on Pi and taking him out in more traditional way – by punching him in the face. But whatever Pi dropped next to Mueang Nan started smoking. It took him a second too late to realize that it was some unknown gas. And it already got into Nan’s lungs and he felt dizziness.

“Pao, Kang, the injection!” Pi ordered in strict low voice. Nan could see two people showing up from somewhere and dragging him to the ground while taking his superhero jacket off. And famous powerful StarMix couldn’t do anything about it, his head was spinning, and all body felt heavy and unmoving. The prick of a syringe was barely noticeable through fog that clouded his mind. But Nan still saw Pi’s handsome face above him saying, “See you later, my personal Star”.

When he woke up, he was tied. As he opened his eyes, he could see he was at the same warehouse.

“Just in time for the next stage,” Pi stepped into his line of vision holding something that looked like a futuristic wide gun. He looked at the watch intently, murmuring “One more minute and we will finish. “

Nan tried his ropes, by he was still dizzy, “What have you done to me?”

Pi shrugged, “Nothing special, you know, the normal stuff. We temporarily slowed your metabolism and put some blocking chemicals to make you less of a star and more of a human. No worries though, you will be your cheerful self soon. I just need to feed you this invention of mine that will make you fallow any order I give… for the rest of your life.”

Chill run through Nan and he could feel specks of real fear, “You cannot possibly do that.”

Pi gave him the most unimpressed look, “But I can. You will imprint on me. All I have to do is shot you with this injection within next…” he checked with his watches again and waved the gun,”30 seconds. The trick is to make you look at me first thing first”. Pi spared another moment to look at Mueang Nan closely, “I never understood fools that were working on defeating someone like you. The most practical thing would be to use you. Imagen what can be done with your ability to reach anything and anyone in the world and burn that!”

Not wasting anymore time Pi aimed his gun at Nan and pulled the trigger. Nan closed his eyes hoping to resist to open them if possible.

He never felt the shot.

There were sounds of struggle. He risked opening his eyes and saw Pi laying on the ground and Mork straddling him. They were fighting for the gun, but Nan could see something that looked like simplified version of syringes sticking from Mork’s shoulder. Oh, crap.

The thing that should be told is that Mork could’ve become superhero himself, but he never was as inclined to help others as Nan. Mork cared about people he loved and preferred helping StarMix to buttle crimes as a part of Team Rock Star rather than going solo. And StarMix wouldn’t be able to survive many enemies’ attacks if not for Mork.

There still was hope though. Nan’s friend had his own superpowers: he was strong, resilient, healed quicker than normal human being and had the most valuable gift of being able to disarm anyone he encountered. He could resist almost any form of influence, caused by superpowers or by more physical means. That’s actually how they managed to take down Wan years ago. And now it took Mork all of 10 seconds to push Pi down and grab gun from his hands.

Pi was pressed to the ground and his mouth were muffed by Mork’s hand. “Are you all right there, StarMix? He said your powers should return soon,” Mork was watching Pi with unwavering gaze.

Nan yanked at his ropes again. He felt a bit better and could almost taste his powers starting to smolder from somewhere inside. Nan exhaled in relief, he was sure he will be okey. “Yes, I can feel them. Need another minute or two. Are you well? He hit you with that injection”.

Mork frowned, “I will hold him just in case he will try to give me orders. Free yourself and bring something to tie down and gag him”.

Suddenly a beeping sound started from somewhere deeper in warehouse.

“What is that?” Nan trashed in his ropes trying to burn them off and they finally started to blacken from heat of his body. In a mere of a seconds, he was free again and run in the direction of the sound.

There was a laptop with coding lines and a countdown clock on its screen. And something was definitely happening. Nan ran back to where his jacket was lying on the ground. He took out his transmitter and handcuffs. Helping Mork chain Pi’s wrists to some metal stairs rail, he used his belt to gag him. Mork took a couple of steps away and pulled syringes out of his shoulder. Pi was watching him intently.

“I think his plan is still in progress. He is doing something else,” Nan turned on his transmitter, Mork did the same, “Meen, do you copy?”

Meen’s voice came immediately, “Finally! It’s been almost 20 minutes, I started to worry. Are you both all right?”

“Yes, we are. But Mork was injected with an unknown drug. We think Pi has some side plan that is proceeding right now. The guy is tied, but we can’t ask him in case it will affect Mork somehow. I will send you visuals of the laptop”.

“I’m actually heading your way. We will be there in 3 minutes,” there was some hassle and Meen’s voice talked to someone on the side sternly, “No, we can’t stop for ice cream right now! I will take you to your favorite ice-cream parlor later I promise.”

Nan and Mork exchanged looks. “Who is with you?”

“Oh, it’s Duean. I picked him up from Police Station on my way to warehouse when you stopped responding and Mork said he will make a move,” there was some noise which could be recognized as Duean whining about something. Meen got agitated, “Duean! What kind of foul language is that?! Stop it or I will kick you out of the car,” and spoke again with his collected soft tone, “He will behave now”.

Mork intervened, “We are losing time here. Why do we need him?”

“Oh, right. When StarMix asked to check one of the lab workers I recognized the surname. Pi is Wan’s and Duean’s younger brother. And Duean is concerned we will treat him badly, so I decided to bring him along. Just in case, you know”.

Nan and Mork both turned to Pi in unison. He looked rather presumptuous for someone who was handcuffed and gagged. Mork deadpanned, “I would rather let him speak than listen to Duean’s wails. Besides, maybe he will be willing to tell us anything”.

Nan had his doubts, but they already wasted enough time. “Are you sure you want to risk it?” Mork just shrugged and, after a second, nodded. Nan stepped to Pi and untied belt.

Pi wiped his mouth on his shoulder in disgust. He moved his jaw a bit and smiled. “God, you guys are idiots. I don’t get it how you managed to defeat Wan”. He locked his eyes on Mork again, “Let’s see what we have here. Mork, punch yourself in the face. And then uncuff me”.

Mork raised his hand and looked at it. Then he turned his eyes to Pi, “That’s it? Am I supposed to actually follow through?”

Nan didn’t notice but he held breath in anticipation. Good news, apparently this drug as well doesn’t affect Mork. Nan asked Pi, “What is your plan?”

Pi looked puzzled. He assessed Mork from head to toes again as if he saw him for the first time, “Intriguing. Well, hello there, Mister Invincible,” which was awarded by an eye roll from Mork. Pi turned to Nan, “Darling, I have plans for my plans. And at least 10 backup options for those. You will need to be more specific,” he said it all with the widest shit eating grin. It will be difficult.

“PIIIIIIIi!!!!”, loud and annoying. Mork and Nan both sighed in defeat at the sound of Duean’s voice, but what was really interesting is that Pi himself stopped smiling and groaned in irritation. They understood – Duean was a handful. “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY BROTHER?! YOU ASSHOLES!”

He stormed into the scene in all his “bad boy” image with leather jacket and tattoos. Meen was fallowing closely. Duean immediately went to Pi, checking that he is all right. “Did they hurt you? Were they mean to you?” he turned to Team Rock Star, excluding Meen who was by his side and tried to subdue his anger, “I swear I will end you both if you as much as dared to touch him!”

Pi actually intervened, “Duean, stop it. I’m doing my thing. I told you to cover for me and to not interfere with my plan” he raised his chin stubbornly.

But that didn’t convince his brother, “You are chained to a rail. How is it even qualify for doing anything?”

“Well, I’m succeeding at the moment. While these idiots wasting their time listening to our bicker, my formula already is in the pipelines of the city water supplies. Plan is good. In a matter of 24 hours, half of this city will be my minions. Broadcasting started as well. They will see my face everywhere. I’m having a blast here, and you are ruining the fun!”

Duean slapped his brother on the back. “You should’ve told me, I could have helped. This is your first after all! Not cool!”

Mork interrupted “That’s what your brother did years ago. Are you copying him?”

“It’s called homage to a person that I want to show my appreciation to. I’m fulfilling his old plan and making it come through” Pi snorted and tried to shake Duean off of himself. No such luck.

Nan turned to Meen, “I will cut off the water supply and you take care of broadcasting”.

But Mork put his hand on Nan’s shoulder and shook his head, “Don’t rush, we are not finished here,” he took step closer to Pi, ignoring Duean who was trying to shoo him away and block way to his brother with his body. “What will come next, after we eliminate this threat?”

Pi looked at Mork thoughtfully, “You are catching up fast,” he paused and turned to the rest,” Of course there are other options. Every possible action to stop me from your side will activate new protocol for execution of the plan. The outcome is impossible to prevent at this point. I’m not particularly worried, I spent almost whole year preparing for this. Be my guests and try to stop it”.

Duean waived his hands in excitement, “That sounds awesome. You should work on menacing laughter. I am definitely telling Wan how terrific you are when dealing with your enemies”.

“Thanks, bro,” Pi suddenly smiled rather genuinely and affectionately at his brother and Nan remembered that he was very young and probably really thrilled about entering family business of supervillains. He almost wished him luck: Pi was for sure a very bright kid.

Their joy was quickly shut down by Mork, who pushed Duean away and grabbed Pi by the collar. He tugged him hard, and Pi had to stand on his tiptoes to not hang from Mork’s hands. Supervillain in the making finally showed some signs of fear. Their faces were so close Mork probably could count every eyelash on Pi’s face. His deep calm voice sounded unnatural for all build up tension, “If there is no way to prevent poisoning of this city, then a boy scout like you would probably prepare an antidote”.

Pi tried to look as calm as possible, but he was without a doubt affected by Mork’ straightforward approach, “I can’t deny nor confirm it. In a shorter wording: none of your business!”

Mork nodded, “Then there is definitely an antidote. Got it,” he stared in Pi’s face intently but then… it was like a shift: the atmosphere of their interaction somehow changed. Tension left Mork’s hands and Pi could stand on the ground without strain. Long fingers ran through Pi’s collar, they gently fixed it and fastened the top button.

A sly smirk stretched Mork’s lips, and that gesture started to freak out Pi, “Wha…what are you doing?” Pi tried to move away but his moves was limited by handcuffs. Mork slowly put away his hands and winked, “No worries, Pi, I'll make it worth your while”.

Nan felt completely lost. Next to him Meen was watching with wide eyes while muffling Duean’s mouth with his hand and not letting him go to interfere into this bizarre interaction.

Mork finally took step away, “So what will you do with gained influence?”

Pi was still disturbed but answered nonetheless, “My program and agenda are uploaded to City Council website under “proposition plans” directory. Check it out yourself if you are really interested”.

Mork turned to his team and nodded to the side bringing their attention, “We need to have a couple of words about this”.

Meen let Duean go and smiled apologetically when faced with the offended look the guy gave him. Nan watched as his friends walked about 10 meters away from brothers and, after giving one last look of concern to Pi, joined them.

Meen was quickly taping on his phone. Nan knew this is so much worse than Wan. “I don’t even know where to start… How do we stop him?”
“We don’t stop him,” Mork was confident and, answering Meen’a and Nan’s questioning looks, he elaborated, “At least not right now. Pi won this round; we should give it to him”.

“You’re thinking about that antidote,” Meen stated. He looked at his phone again, “Hah,” he sounded surprised, “I found his agenda. It is all official and went through voting… it is actually popular but marked as “unfitting due to budget restrictions”. Could that be the reason he’s doing it?”

“This is insane. We can not let him manipulate people’s minds for some city development agenda that was rejected”, Nan was not having it.

“Did I tell you about my theory?” Meen put away his phone.

“Do you have to tell us now, during this crisis?” Nan was still not fully on the board of letting Pi win.

“Well, yes. That’s the part of explanation” Meen was ruthless sometimes, but Mork nodded knowingly, and Nan felt as if he was the only person that still doesn’t get it. “I conduct research on supervillains behavior patterns. The main aim of course is potential possibility to correctly predict their actions, but I found out that not all of them villains, you know? We mostly judge their actions by consequences those actions brough on others. And we act on an assumption that those actions pose great danger to society. But if we look at their doings without taking into consideration the worst possible outcome – it becomes so much more complicated.” – Nan waved his hand letting him know to continue.

“The easiest way to depict this would be to use D&D alignments”.

“You mean Good, Neutral, Evil with characteristics like Lawful and Chaotic?” Nan started to realize where this was heading.

“Exactly. Look at our current villains. Pi is smart, he works for University Lab and invested in important projects. He generates ideas to make changes of things that he thinks needed to be improved. Obviously, he has strong personality and ignores Law but he is an active member of our society and deserves to be heard. If we place him on our imaginary board of D&D characters, I would peg him as Chaotic Neutral. Not Evil, mind you. And then take his brothers. Duean and his Kitty Gang were our villains for several years now. Because of them we did so little to be prepared for a greater threat. And they are so well-loved by our city, despite some destruction, that only last week they were guests of honor on the opening of a new dog park. Our city has whole budget for covering results of their shenanigans. It’s even called “fun money”. Personally, I would put Duean into Chaotic Good division. The only one I would think of placing into Evil category would be Wan, but we still don’t know his full story and what he was planning to do. So, I’m saying that without investigation so far he can be Chaotic Evil”.

“Ok, I agree that there are things that should be taken into consideration when dealing with villains. How does this help us now? And don’t forget he practically kidnapped and brainwashed me,” Nan was still considering the level of danger Pi posed.

Mork crossed his hands on his chest, “We let him win now. He is arrogant but responsive and don’t hide much. So we will find a way to convince him to use antidote and return to the people of the city their free will. As far as I saw, those two, that tied you earlier, are also under influence. They seem unharmed, just delusional. Pi also told before that because of the method of distribution not all of the people will be affected immediately. It will take time to get to everyone”.

Meen noted, “By the way, Duean just picked the lock on handcuffs”.

They all turned to the brothers. Pi was calmly stretching his arms and Duean gave them his annoying giggles – the clear sign he was up to something.

“Ok, if you are sure that we will be able to handle this later, than they can go,” Nan was not the best decision maker, but he trusted fully in his Team.

They were watching as Pi and Duean was walking out of warehouse in silence.

Meen suddenly started to check his pockets, “That… Duean stole my car keys! I have to go!” and he run after brothers, leaving Nan and Mork alone.

“I feel useless”, Nan was upset by the outcome of this day. They had new unpredictable supervillain roaming around, the city was almost lost, and they have to wait for a better chance to make everything right. Nan hated waiting.

“Don’t. Nothing is your fault. And your abilities were of no use in a situation like that”, Mork was still looking in the direction Pi disappeared.

Nan patted his shoulder, “I am really glad that you are all right. I would’ve never forgiven myself if he harmed you. Thank God you have these abilities and was unaffected by his drug”.

Mork frowned, “But I was affected. You have no idea how much I want to follow him wherever he goes. It's like a Siren Call”, he took his phone out of his pocket and started tapping away,” I need to check that GPS tracker that I put on him is working properly.”

Nan couldn’t believe what he heard, “You were affected by his drugs despite your abilities to resist to any influence? And still acted as if it doesn’t affect you?”

Mork looked at Nan as if he said something stupid, “I don’t have that kind of abilities and never had. I’m just stubborn and strong willed. My actual abilities help of course, but mainly I simply don’t like when they tell me what to do,” and he shrugged as if this explanation was sufficient.

“Are you telling me that you took down Wan on pure power of will?” this day was going to end Nan’s career. “I know we never discussed it, we just assumed things about each other, but… What it is exactly your superpower is?”

Mork nodded and turned to Nan fully, “I guess you can call it time and matter manipulation that is limited to my body”.

To tell that Nan was surprised would be an understatement. He never even considered it. “But you are stronger and faster and can heal quicker. You also always win in fights. How does it work?”

“I’ll try to explain,” Mork took his palm and intertwined their fingers,” Because my mind and body can exist in several moments at the same time, I kind of make myself congruent. Like layers, one upon the other, I can doble or triple my body's abilities by manipulating matter of my own physic as well”, Nan was looking in astonishment at 5 fingers of Morks hand and the way they started doubling and repeating the same motion with half a second gap. It looked like a light trail or a split picture. “If I want to enhance my healing, or become stronger for a fight, I add several versions of myself into my body”.

Nan couldn’t believe how he never noticed this, “But why do you think it’s manipulation of time?”

Mork let go of his hand and shrugged, “In my mind I can see the possibilities and what moves my opponent will make. It is like I can relive every version of nearest future. That’s how I win all my fights. And that’s how I knew we need to look for a new threat today. Because at some point of the day I decided to see nearest future and noticed nonconformities”.

Nan was amazed, “You are incredible!”

“Says the guy who is basically a walking supernova”.

Nan suddenly burst into laughter, “That’s why you let Pi go so easily! You found out something, right?”

Mork smiled bashfully, “I was going to tell you to leave him to me to be honest”, his best friend was not bashful type at all, “I think I will manage to get antidote in about two days”.

“You saw it in the future?”

“Actually, it is dangerous to look too far into the future – messes with your brain. I usually don’t look into it further than up to 4-5 hours”.

Nan felt like he was missing here something again, “How do you know then that we can win?”

“Well,” a rather dreamy gaze on Mork’s face was really telling, “Let’s say that this evening I can get an antidote for myself and a heavy make out session as well”.

“No! You did not!” Nan couldn’t contain laugher. “Kid looked 16. Is he even legal?”

Mork wiggled his brows, “I did not, but I will. And he turned 18 two months ago of which he will inform me in the most adorable, annoyed tone in about 3 hours and 27 minutes. I have to leave now as you can see, I’m quite tight on time”.

“Good luck!” Nan waved his hand at Mork’s leaving and decided to fly around his city. The weather was nice, imminent death of locals was avoided and his superhero career was intact. Life was beautiful.

Chapter Text

Round room was full of light and flowers. Birds chirped cheerfully and pleasant breeze moved curtains. Nice bed was covered with silks, a table and chair made of finest wood placed next to the window.

Pi was desperate. It was only 8 days, and he already was on a verge of madness from idleness and lack of company. No wonder those girls were so desperate to marry out! By the moment any guy, prince or not, would walk into the room, they were probably just on the seventh cloud from joy that they can finally get out.

And Pi regretted everything. That included every decision he made that lead him here: starting from not learning levitating spells first thing first and ending with his parents deciding to have third child that will be doomed to be younger brother to Duean. That shitty brother of his. When Pi will get out, he will track him down and curse him with the most disgusting warts imaginable! He will tell Duean’s new spouse all embarrassing stories from his childhood and adulthood. There were lots of stories and then some. And adulthood ones were more in numbers and the most stupid and shameful of them all. Pi actually will write a book about how shitty Duean is so all his descendants will lower their heads in shame from a single mention of being related to Duean.

Thoughts of revenge could entertain Pi’s mind just for about 5 hours a day. The rest was pure suffering. Where are his parents when needed? Why don’t they visit soon? Or did they decide to take a vacation now when they thought that their younger children were finally of age? Pi was just hoping that mom will miss them and will decide to check on Pi and Duean.

Pi needed to get out, dammit!
***

This was exhausting. And boring as well.

Mork was not having fun or appreciating “The Adventure”. The Swamp Demon, that was blocking his way to The Tower, was quite slow and every time Mork tried to cut it with his sword, the damned thing just wiggled and shacked. This was like battling a big stinky chunk of jelly made of mud and slime. What a waste of time!

Mork decided he was done with The Traditional Way of battling evil creatures. Besides, he was already covered in mud and smelled like swamp. That’s not the look any princess would appreciate. And the whole point of this completely outdated activity was to get a wife of a royal blood. So why does it have to be like this!? He was pretty sure that he could simply romance someone into marrying him without all this nonsense with saving princesses from high towers. Both Swamp Demon and The Adventure were stinking of oppressed youth and hegemony of traditionalists with their 2.5 children per royal family.

Returning to his horse to get some fire powder from a bag on his saddle, Mork wished for princess to be worth it. The problem with princesses was that they mostly were these effete creatures, many of them had haughty attitude and thought that being capricious equals to having personality. Maybe traditionalists are right, and he will fall in love with the first glance. Maybe after The Saving he will be eager to marry his saved person and will overlook or at least won't mind character issues.

To be honest, Mork was not a picky guy at all. But his preferences had little to do with what was usually expected. In the depths of his heart, he was hoping he will meet someone cute and funny, someone he could talk with about everything in the world, someone who will have other interests than fine dresses, proper manners, and competitions on “the most beautiful garden in 17 kingdoms”. Mork wanted true happiness and he strived to make his partner genuinely happy too, not just make “the most good-looking couple in 5 generations of his family” (since his great-great-grandmother was famous Sleeping Princess). Mork’s unpopular opinion on his great-great-grandfather was that old man was a true creep, but Mork did not mention it to others. *

The reality was rather sad though. He will be lucky if this Tower were not raided already, and any princess at all could be found inside. Lack of princesses was a notable problem for the past 2 or 3 years due to Dark Mage activity in a neighboring kingdom: the bastard was stealing hearts of all beautiful women, and they were unwilling to marry anyone but Dark Mage. They even called themselves his Wives. Which left Mork and other unfortunate princes in a rather tight spot of limited qualified marriage material. Thanks to valiant efforts of one of the princes Dark Mage was defeated, but that did not returned hearts of already conquered women to where they belong. Hence all Mork’s efforts with this outrageous Swamp Demon could be in vain.

Staffing bag with salt and some iron, Mork put cloth inside, leaving half of it hanging from the bag and drenched it in oil. Then he returned to the Swamp Demon who managed to get whole 2 meters in his direction. Lighting up the bag, Mork threw it into the open jaws of the monster and quicky took cover behind nearest rock.
***

Pi woke up from the noise. Loud bang somewhere outside made Pi get out of the bed. Someone was here for him. He tried to make himself look presentable: if his Order as much as caught a wind that he looked anything but perfectly regal in the present of non-members – he will not hear the end of it.

Pi could hear sound of quick footsteps on stairs. His freedom is near! Who will it be? His parents? Or did his shitty brother Duean finally remember about him? The door was tried from other side. Hmmm… Duean lost the key, obviously.

Then, after a couple of seconds of silence, as if person on the other side was weighing their options, door was hit hard. The second hit made it crack and long blade of a sword that pierced its wood could be seen. Nah, this was not Duean: his brother was banned from wielding any sharp objects for the sake of his own and any bystander wellbeing since he was 7 years old. Then definitely their father – he liked bravado and all that knightly stuff.

The third hit finally demolished the door: it fell into the room smashed to pieces and making dust fly all around. Pi waved it away while saying, “Nice job, Dad”. On the other side of threshold was standing… “You’re not my Dad”. Pi was confused. The guy looked like a prince.

The stranger cautiously investigated the room by observing the setting. And apparently, he didn’t find anything suspicious, because his eyes returned to Pi and he entered the room, “I’m glad I’m not, otherwise this would be awkward”. Then he looked at Pi, like not just looked - it was more of a stare that was somehow enveloping whole Pi from toes to the last hair on his crown. Small smile appeared on his lips, “You’re cute”.

Pi was lost at this point, “Thanks, I guess. You not bad yourself”. Then an idea struck him, “Did my brother sent you here?”

Stranger raised an eyebrow in question, “Your brother? Should someone come here from your brother? Or from your father? Are you betrothed already?” He somehow seemed upset.

Pi waved his hands in denial, “No-no, I just assumed they would send someone to let me out, I’m not supposed to be here, you know”. He straitened his black mantle showing embroidered sign of the Dark Order. “I’m studying to become a Dark Mage. I need to go back soon to continue my training, and if not for you I would probably stay here forever. Or till some prince would save me,” Pi let small laughter, trying to make a joke.

Stranger did not laugh. He stared at Pi with his beautiful eyes and was catching Pi’s every move, “That’s an unusual occupation for a princess. How did you decide to become one?”

Pi was rarely questioned on the matter, so he leapt at the chance, “You see, Dark Magic has the worst reputation among all, and no one wants to be…. Wait a minute!” he must’ve misheard that, “A princess?! You think I’m a princess?!!” Pi was stunned for a moment. He looked at the other guy more closely: perfect hair, high cheekbones and skin to die for, athletic physique and a sword. Pi facepalmed internally – he was such a dumbass. Of course, this was a real prince. These lands were scavenged by their kind in search for any maiden in danger. It just happened that one of them stumbled upon Pi’s tower. Well, at least this helped Pi to get free. He decided to change approach in the conversation, his mother taught him some manners for a good reason.

Pi stretched his hand for a handshake, “Let me introduce myself first. I am apprentice of The Great and The Most Powerful Order of the Dark Magic. They call me Dark Mage Pi, but you can call me Pi. No need in all the titles”, Pi smiled for the sake of looking as friendly as possible. Centuries of brainwashing made people skittish when faced with dark magic. Princes on the other hand might even try to harm you if they were too stupid to realize that you just minding your own business. This one though looked like promising and understanding prince.

Prince fixed his gaze for a moment on Pi’s gentle hand, and, instead of shaking it, he took Pi’s palm in between his hands and squeezed it tenderly, “My name is Prince Sutthaya from the Royal House of Nithikornkul. I am the happiest that destiny lead my way here to meet you,” and probably seeing Pi’s wondering face, he added, “You can call me Mork”.

The prince was confusing and Pi freeze there for another moment – this Mork guy sounded so sophisticated. But he tried to continue and, to get his grounding, took his hand away from warm palms of Mork. “Nice to meet you, I guess. Hehe…” something in this whole situation was rubbing Pi the wrong way. “Let me explain properly. You will laugh for sure; you see this is all so funny…”

Mork raised an eyebrow, “Really?”

“Yeah!” Pi decided to cut the crap and talk straight. “I am not the princess of this tower. That was supposed to be my brother. But he was saved several days ago, and I got locked inside completely by accident. This is just a huge misunderstanding. I am here not for The Saving. I was only helping out to the real princess”.

Mork frowned and clearly was thinking something through. Pi hoped that he believed him. Because he still needed to get to the closest city or village. This tower was in a middle of nowhere.

“I have some apples and a meat pie in my saddles. Why don’t you tell me the whole story while we get downstairs and have some food?” Pi gave some points to prince Mork – he knew what to offer to a struggling young mage. Tower had fruits and biscuits in abundance, but meat pie sounded so much better.

Nodding in agreement, Pi headed to exit followed closely by Prince Sutthaya. “I’m from the Royal House of Panichapun and I actually was the youngest prince in the family. I have two brothers. The older one, Wan, he is my father’s successor. But he met his Happily Ever After long time ago. This gave the rest of us freedom to choose what we will make out of our lives,” Pi turned on stairs to look at Mork. Is it his imagination or did Mork’s smile somehow became wider and bolder? “Anyway, my second brother Duean was kicked out of Prince Academy his first year... whoooh!” Pi stumbled on some rubble and Mork was immediately at his side, embracing him with his arms and making sure Pi wouldn’t fall. Pi met his eyes and saw concern and genuine care. “Errr… you probably familiar with that Academy,” his voice was strained from the proximity of their bodies.

Mork slowly let him go, “I graduated with honors,” then he took Pi’s arm in his own, “You should be careful here. I will lead you out,” and he stepped forward not letting go of his hand. “You were telling about your brother,” Mork commenced their descending to the exit.

This prince was really attentive and kind, wasn’t he? Pi certainly was lucky that Mork is so willing to help. “To be honest, Duean never was eager for feats and battling evil. That’s why it was decided that he will become a princess. Besides do you know how low the requirements for becoming a princess are? He had to finish some 3 months long mandatory course and that’s it. Duean of course had to take it twice, that’s how he is. Nevertheless, he somehow made it. And our father invested into this property so my brother could meet his prince and get married soon. And considering that I took apprenticeship with The Dark Order, my parents asked me to set some sort of a trial for candidates that will come to The Tower”.

They finally were out. Mork helped Pi carefully step over the remnants of outer door. Smell of stale water and slime was heavy in the air. And the entrance - it was a mess. Every inch of land was covered in mud, the path, that was leading from the door previously, was nonexistent now because of a big pool of sludge.

“What happened here?” Pi clearly remembered that this was not the state of land when he entered The Tower 9 days ago.

Mork assessed Pi for a second and picked him up, holding him bridal style. He went through the pool of mud, carrying Pi to his horse and a drier piece of land. “Swamp Demon was guarding your tower. I had to kill him,” Mork informed with his velvet deep voice as if nothing special happened.

To get steadier while being carried, Pi had to entwine his arm around Mork’s shoulders. “A Swamp Demon? Ughhh… I waisted 2 days to summon it! And for nothing?! What a drag!” Pi was venting, but seeing questioning look on Mork’s face, Pi decided to elaborate, “I mentioned that I had to set a trial for the Tower. It turned out to be very difficult to find any kind of beasts around here. And considering I was short in time and had to return to my studies soon I decided to summon something from the nearest swamp. And look at that mess! The creature was late, and my brother already gone. I wasted time and efforts for nothing. It took only 4 days for designated Prince to come after Duean. And considering I did not have any monsters to set on successful candidate at the time, I just pretended that I was the Dark Wizard that was holding him locked down in The Tower”.

Pi was put down on the ground as prince finally reached dry land and his horse. Pi nodded, “Thank you”.

Mork gave him blinding smile, “It’s my pleasure,” he started to rummage through his bags, “What do you want? I also have some nuts and cheese”. Mork took his cloak and spread it on the grass bringing food and offering Pi the best spot to sit on. Pi gladly settled down and grabbed his share of meat pie.

Mork also gave some water with honey and asked, “So you were pretending to be the mandatory evil obstruction for your brother’s tower?”

The pie was heavenly, and Pi was happily sharing his story, “Exactly! I put my hood on and magicked some tricks, you know, like light flicker and heating the air and making really loud noises. To be honest magical attacks is not my specialty. And it seems that Duean’s prince was not that experienced either but tried really hard”.

Mork seemed genuinely interested with the subject, “Why did you choose the Dark Arts, then? What do you study?”

Pi smiled showing his teeth, “This,” but Mork was still waiting for an answer. Pi pointed his finger to his mouth, “Teeth spells and potions”.

Prince raised and eyebrows in question and Pi launched at explanation, “There are no spells for teeth in White Magic which is weird, I know. My theory is that they was never developed because many of White Magic representatives are healthy and have it good in life. Besides, they mostly use herbs and human hair at best. But Dark Magic deals with potions that uses flesh, blood and bones and I believe that’s the reason they have devices to cure those parts or at least alter them. So, my dream is to be the best teeth healer in all kingdoms. I will help everyone get beautiful smiles for a reasonable price. And also cure children from rural villages. I will dedicate my time to travel around for several month a year to that cause”.

Mork looked at him with aww, “What a wonderful dream you have”. Pi smiled shyly and a moment of silence fell on them. Then Mork asked, “So, you were telling about your fight with your brother’s prince”.

Pi nodded, “I decided to let him take Duean without too long of a fight. But that prince of his is a true terrorist! He locked me inside the room and Duean, that traitorous brother of mine, did nothing to help me”, Pi was fuming, “I spent 9 days there! I could’ve missed my study terms!”
“That’s unfortunate turn of events,” Mork managed to provide some dried berries from his pocket and Pi was really overjoyed he was found by someone like him. “But if not for that we wouldn’t have met. And I wouldn’t want to miss on that”.

Pi nodded, “Yeah, maybe it turned out to be not so bad after all,” than he remembered his more urgent needs, “can you give me a ride? I really need to be back to my Order headquarters. Only two weeks left before new term starts”.

Mork gave a thoughtful face, “It’s the Black Wall Castle, right?” and upon seeing Pi confirming nod, he offered, “I can take you to my kingdom’s capital, it’s only 4 days ride from here. We will rest and I will introduce you to my family. After that it’s only 1 day ride to your Order’s Castle,” Mork tugged his own sleeve, it was missing a clasp and he tried to roll it up to get it’s loose ends out of the way. Pi took golden lacing from his cuff and helped Mork fix it. Prince was watching him in astonishment, “Thank you. Can this be my token from you?”

Pi didn’t get what was so special about it, “Yeah, why not,” but after considering what Mork said before that, he decided to clarify, “I remember now that your kingdom is part of the White Order Alliance. Sure, I am really grateful for your help… but wouldn’t people of your kingdom be against Royal Family welcoming a dark mage into their home? I mean, there are no dark magic on your lands, like, at all”. Pi was hesitant to agree to go with Prince Sutthaya. He knew that old times were long gone and it was considered bad taste to shun on dark or dark-related folks, but despite being young, Pi already experienced his fair share of hatred for his life choices.

Mork definitely sensed the change in the tone. He gently lifted Pi’s chin to look him in the eyes, “I will take care of you. No one will dare as much as look at you the wrong way, I promise. And I am sure my family and my kingdom will fall in love with you as much as I did. Besides, there is no way anyone will hate on my rightful betrothed”.

Pi laughed nervously, “Hehe… what?”

Mork blinked innocently back, “What?”

Pi stared intently as if expecting that Mork will announce that he heard it wrong, or this is some joke. Mork smiled gently completely unaware of Pi’s inner panic and probably just waiting politely for Pi to say something.

“Rightful betrothed?” it was a squeak. Pi never knew he can make a sound like that.

Smile was wiped off Mork’s face, “Is something wrong? Are you opposed to announcing our future marriage? Would it bring any complications with The Dark Order? I swear White Order Alliance don’t have any saying in who I should marry. Your family will be fine with this, I assume…”

Pi had to stop prince’s blabbering by covering his lips with his palm. He was in panic, ok?! He was not thinking straight. Only 30 minutes ago he was peacefully sleeping locked in The Tower, planning revenge on his brother and considering his future would be several years of lonesome dark magic study... and now this handsome kind prince wants to marry him! What?! Why?! When did that happen!?...

Pi’s turned in horror to The Tower. Oh no…

“I was being Saved,” his weak voice summed it up quite well.

Apparently, Prince Sutthaya caught up with the reason for confusion. “You are descendant of a royal bloodline and you were locked in The Tower. I defeated the Swamp Demon that guarded it and lead you’re out from your prison by your hand. You even gave me your Token,” his voice sounded quieter and quieter with every word. “I thought… Are you opposed to marrying me?”

Pi looked at Mork. How is this even possible? How did he manage to snatch someone amazing like Prince Sutthaya? Does it mean he has to give up on revenge on Duean because it all worked up so well? How is their father so skilled at choosing the right property? That’s amazing how he managed to marry off with the help of it not one but two sons in a matter of 10 days. The old man probably will sell it for a good price.

“Well, I am not against marriage per se… I just did not expect it. Besides, everyone knows that The Saving is basically a magical contract. Would be tough to break it,” the blinding smile Mork gave him made Pi actually happy. “But it will be hard, you know, for a White Prince like yourself to marry a Dark Mage”.

Mork took his hands and spoke passionately,” Not at all! It is changing nowadays: princes marrying princes, princes marrying their war generals, and don’t forget that Prince Teepakorn married Dark Mage Wat last year! Everyone was so glad that it happened”.

Pi still felt unsure, “They were glad only because Wat stopped stealing women hearts. It has nothing to do with the support of their marriage and everything with the fact that now at least someone would be able to procreate”.

Mork would not budge, “But they are still happy, and no one frown upon them and everyone loves Prince Teepakorn and his husband! That will work for us too”.

Pi got closer to Mork, “All their marriage story is White Order's propaganda. Don’t you afraid even a little bit? The real truth is that Prince Teepakorn did not save anyone: he fell into the trap that was set by the Dark Mage. Everyone and their mother in The Dark Order knows that Dark Mage Wat was obsessively in love with Prince for several years. He even started stealing women hearts with the sole purpose to prevent Prince Teepakorn from falling in love with one of them. And in the end Dark Mage had his way and made Prince marry him. Yes, they are gorgeous couple, but this all was still a plot organized by The Dark Mage. Don’t you afraid I set everything up to catch you in the same trap?”

Prince Sutthaya covered Pi’s cheeks with his palm, embracing his face tenderly. His gaze was showering Pi with affection and pure adoration, “How this can be a plot when you exactly what I wanted for years? We knew each other for a few minutes, and I already knew that you were perfect for me”.

Pi gulped. His eyes fell to Mork’s lips and back to his eyes. His Prince was not hesitant. He was sure. And yeah, that was definitely Mork’s lips covering Pi’s. Soft and delicate, this kiss was a promise to a beautiful love and happy life any princess would die for.

“Pi! What are you doing!?!”

Wan’s voice had the effect of a bucket of iced water. Pi sprang to his fit. His older brother was sitting on the horse and looking at them in astonishment. “I was in a hurry thinking our dumbass brother screwed it up for you and what do I find?!”

Mork was at his side the very next second – all serious intentions and all that, “I can assure you, that your brother…”

But Wan did not even bothered to stop, “You getting engaged to a prince too?! I thought at least my youngest has more brains to wait a bit and enjoy his youth!” Wan shacked his head, “Kids these days”. He looked at them all haughty but then broke into a laughter. “I’m just teasing you”.

He got down from a horse, “I guess I still have to learn from Dad how to invest into property. This is impressive” Wan made suggestive eyebrow wiggling at the new couple.

Chapter Text

--1--

The balcony was free of drinking crowd. Glass doors closed behind Pi. The banging music and loud party noises, finally left behind, receding to a point where they both could actually hear each other. The guy who dragged him here, leaned on the balcony railing and took out a cigarette and a lighter.

“Couldn’t hear what you were telling there,” the guy proceeded to lighten up his cancer stick in the most sensual way possible. Pi never believed that a disgusting activity like smoking could be sexy. Apparently, it could if you had the right face and approach. To be honest the guy looked like sex on a stick and a wet dream of any thirteen-year-old: face that belonged in some fashion magazine, black ripped jeans, leather jacket and smoldering look that he was currently distributing generously on Pi.

“Well, I was told you are the bassist to “Random Stalker”. I’m Pi by the way,” he tried to look serious and businesslike.

“Mork,” he took a long drag from his cigarette, his eyes never leaving Pi’s face – very intense, “I saw you. You are that new singer with “The Kitty Gang”, he made a very distinctive pause, as if waiting for some revelation from Pi, and exhaled, “Nice voice”.

Pi preened a bit at being recognized. This is good, right?

“Great, you saw our band. Is it true that you quit your old band? I was meant to ask if you are interested in coming to our rehearsal and maybe…”

He was interrupted, “How many band members did you lose to graduation? All 5 are graduated, right? Who is staying?”

Pi knew he was being obvious and they were desperate for new members, “Right now we have me, Duean on drums and he is still finishing his studies. Also Koh might stay, he is our lead guitarist, but he is not sure. We really need bass guitar and a keyboardist at the moment. I played violin in school, so… not really the greatest contribution, you know. Unless you’re into that or something” Pi was blabbering and, to spare himself further embarrassment, had to stop himself.

Mork looked completely indifferent, “I hoped you’ll lose the drummer. He is a mess”.

Pi disagreed, his brother deserved some recognition, “Not true, he is good. It’s just that he gets destructed easily”.

Mork raised his eyebrows at that, “To be honest, kid, your band is a shit. No hard feelings. I left “Random Stalker” because they were shit and didn’t want to improve. Overall, I haven’t seen a band around campus that I would like to perform with since… like ever”.

Pi already tried to convince 6 people to join them when he heard that this super popular bassist from nearby faculty left his band and was actually free. Everyone said that Mork was really good and whole popularity of neogothic rockband “Random Stalker” was due to his bass solos and looks. So Pi decided to give it a shot. He never raised his hopes too high, but to be turned down easily wasn’t an option either.

“Look, we might be not very good… right now. And we have to practice a lot, but we’re open to any suggestions, and we are really, really passionate about music. If you could come and just play with us for a bit… and we’ll see how it’ll go”.

Mork shrugged and put cigarette butt into ashtray, “I had probably 20 offers since I left my band. And many of them were way better than yours,” and then he did the weirdest thing – his eyes run up and down Pi’s body. And the oddest thing was that he smiled this dreamy soft smile at Pi and tilted his head, as if giving a better view of his ridiculously perfect cheekbones and arch of his neck, “Right now I want to focus on my studies, you know? Have a normal University experience,” he was almost purring with his deep velvet voice, “All-nighters in library, study sessions in café,” he took another slow and dragged moment of silence and then said it, staring straight into Pi’s eyes, “Get a cute boyfriend and spoil him”.

Pi swallowed. This Mork guy was getting on his nerves, “No worries, if you are as good as they say, you won’t need to practice as much, I quess. We will find a way to meet your schedule”.

“There are other ways to convince me, you know?” he finally peeled himself off the rails and stood in front of Pi – too close. Is he aware that “personal space” is a thing? His face was literally 2 inches away from Pi’s and he could smell tobacco and alcohol Mork was consuming earlier and see this tiny mole underneath his left eye and the way his lashes flattered in dim lights and dark color of his irises too. The staring of those half-lidded eyes through!

This was too much. Pi knew when someone was making fun of him and whoever this guy thought he was, didn’t matter. Pi will not allow some haughty asshole push him around.

“You know what, forget I said anything. Enjoy your life,” Pi stepped away and turned to leave.

“I guess your passion for music has its limits” Mork’s voice was a bit tense.

It was a set up, but Pi still went after the bait. He turned to face the guy again, “You don’t know me, you don’t know my band and the fact that we didn’t achieved a lot doesn’t mean you can put us down. So, no thanks, I’m not going to crawl at your feet begging to join us. We’ll manage without someone like you. I value our friendship and love for music more than some cheap quick popularity that you can bring”.

Mork somehow got closer again “Who said anything about begging?” he raised an eyebrow in question, being all genuinely perplexed.

And Pi didn’t want to drag this conversation and get more upset, he just wanted to get finally out of here. That’s why in his exasperation he blurted out “Oh, fuck you”.

Mork literally perked up and was immediately in Pi’s face again, all confident and sultry voice, “Yes, please. My apartment just 15 minutes away. Breakfast is on me. I know this amazing place…”

“Whaa..what?! Hey!” this caught Pi completely off guard.

“No take backs, I already agreed” was added astonishingly fast and, upon seeing Pi’s rising panic, Mork took him by his hand.

“Th…That’s not what I meant!” Pi finally managed to find at least something coherent in return. This guy was too quick and how do you even end up with a proposal like this within 5 seconds of otherwise normal conversation?

A hint of disappointment could be seen in the way Mork pressed his lips, still holding Pi in his place, “Well, I mean it when I say that you look utterly delicious, and I can see dating you from here to the Moon… Wait!”

Pi’s flight reflex kicked in and he dashed away from Mork’s arms and stumbled through balcony doors and into the partying crowd.

On his hasty retreat he still was able to hear Mork’s shout, “Pi! We can discuss this later, right?”

And that prick had the nerve to ask?! What a tool!

--2--

“What is he doing here?” frankly speaking it took Pi solid ten seconds to identify pristinely looking university student, that was slowly strumming bass guitar next to Koh, as Mork. “You said you are not interested,” yesterday’s humiliation and cruel teasing still burned Pi inside with anger.

Mork nodded in greeting and continued playing along Koh without any further explanation.

Duean jumped on Pi from behind shaking him in excitement, “You did great, bro! You managed to get us the best bassist on campus. Proud of you!” he messed Pi’s hair and danced to his drums. Is there anything that can be done with that?

To Pi’s annoyance Mork deemed them bearable and said he will come to the next rehearsal. They added him to their group chat and he suggested trying to do some simple songs for a starter next time, considering he didn’t want to use their current playlist. Koh and Duean seemed excited. Considering that Mork turned out to be definitely a much better bass than Yok, their former band member and actually could give quite useful insight. Pi decided that he can take one for the team if their new addition won’t irritate him too much.

The Kitty Gang was your typical college indie band. When it was formed by 5 engineering students on their second year, they mostly covered popular songs and performed on students’ gatherings for Uni. By the time they graduated, they did not have much time to develop band into something more professional. But their founder and the only fifth year student among them, Duean, did not feel like letting this go: he really liked to perform and actually wanted to make a career out of it. That’s why he convinced Koh to stay a bit longer, recruited his own brother as a lead singer (after he heard a rather questionable performance in the shower). The hunt for new members started before graduation, so 6 of them managed to perform for about half a year together. And now with the beginning of new study term they were still short on members.

That’s why Pi decided to give it a chance despite catastrophe that was his and Mork’s first encounter. When thigs finally started looking up, Pi was not the type to rock the boat because he has some bizarre random conversation with Mork, while latest was clearly drunk and not taking him seriously. To be honest maybe they should’ve talked at the beginning of the party, not when everyone was already intoxicated. Yeah, Pi believe that timing was wrong. Feeling of hot demanding stare that was drilling at the back of his head during rehearsals was Pi’s wild imagination. Pi was just very impressionable.

Their fourth rehearsal was quite early in the morning. It was obvious to Pi others will skip it. He thought that he can practice his vocals by himself and was preparing for some time alone. That’s the reason why it was so astonishing to see sleepy Duean and Koh, when he arrived at the room. They were slowly roaming around and preparing their equipment, clearly not appreciating their life.

“Morning. Your coffee,” a cup of double espresso was placed in front of him. Mork, collected and stoic as always (and that was a shocking discovery, that he wasn’t always half-drunk and wearing leather), walked away, leaving Pi to gather his thoughts and wander how he knew his drink order.

Duean was yawning his way through all day afterwards and upon meeting Pi during lunch time confessed, “Mork said he will leave if we skip at least one rehearsal. He said he won’t waste his time with people who are not taking this seriously. He will also help with keyboardist if he sees that we are improving”.

So, in a span of 4 weeks Mork was telling them what to play, how to play, when rehearse and organized some vocal training for Pi, pushing on him some friend that apparently had experience with singing professionally. Mork was all-rounded know-it-all and that wasn’t bothering anyone. Weird.

Mueang Nan on the other hand was amazing. He taught Pi about proper breathing and control. Pi was becoming better and he felt very accomplished, being able to make this much of a progress in such short period of time.

Pi also became more comfortable around Mork, he always was there during meetings with Nan and sometimes they even rehearsed at Mork’s place. That’s how Pi met Meen – the promised keyboardist and Mork’s brother. Pi liked him a lot. And the most wonderful thing that happened during rehearsals was that Duean, who couldn’t follow anyone tempo to save his life, actually became more focused and played completely in sync with Mean’s tunes. This was a blast!

--3--

“I can’t get it, why are you doing this?” Pi was a bit tipsy. He was generally alcohol intolerant, but beer mixed with some lemonade was doing just fine for him.

They were sitting in Mork’s room after another vocal session with Nan, who excused himself to the bathroom.

“Doing what exactly?” Mork took a sip from his own can of beer, never ceasing to look at Pi with his patent penetrating gaze.

Pi gulped – Mork was always so intense, despite looking completely composed. That probably was the face. The sexy stalker face.

“You know, organizing stuff for our band, inviting your brother to play with us, and these lessons with Nan. We made full 180 these several months and we actually started to sound quite good,” Pi giggled drunkenly and splashed a bit of his drink on himself.

Mork put his can down and took some tissues. Instead of giving them to Pi, he started wiping wet spot off Pi’s shirt and pants himself, “You seemed serious about your band that night. If I’m willing to invest my time into it, at least band members should respect what we are doing,” he threw used tissues into waste bin, but his palm stayed at Pi’s hip.

“Ahh, the professional ethic thing” Pi nodded eagerly and smiled his widest smile, “I will do my best, I promise”.

Mork shrugged, “I’m already satisfied with whatever you are doing”. He never took his hand away for the rest of the evening.

--4--

Pi was regretting his life choices. It was all Duean’s fault. He was the one who insisted that they ought to celebrate a successful gig. Thumping head, dry mouth and nausea welcomed him to the bright new day.

Pi groaned and tried to get up. No such luck. Warm body was plastered to his back and strong arms were holding him, hot breath tickled crown of his head. Pi whined, “Mork, you log, let me go”. Cranky groan and sleepy roaming of said arms running up and down his body – this ritual was unavoidable and an expected part of a morning hangover routine. Mork smashed his sleepy face into Pi’s neck and smooched, the asshole. Pi elbowed him in stomach, “Move!”
Somehow, he always ended up with Mork sprawled all over him asleep when their band was drinking. Mork was so clingy when drunk. The weirdo.

On his miserable way to bathroom Pi spotted Meen, who was sleeping on a chair and looking utterly cute while hugging a pillow. His own brother was found under the table, covered in colorful post-it notes with the most random words scrabbled on them. Pi was able to recognize Duean’s messy handwriting, Koh’s round half-finished letters and, clearly affected by alcohol but still neat, Mork’s contributions. Pi took one of the notes and tried to make out what a “UniCorn Hurricane” is supposed to mean.

Koh stumbled out of kitchen with a can of beer. Pi waved the note, “What the hell is that?”

Koh eyed the note, then snoring Duean and shrugged, “We were picking new name for the band”.

“Since when do we need new name?” Pi pouted. He didn’t remember even discussing this.

“You passed out, as always”, Koh rolled his eyes at Pi, “Meen fell asleep too, as always. Then somewhere in the middle of the night Mork received this uber important text about some band dropping out of a summer festival. And if we wanted to participate, we needed to send our application right away. Then we looked up this thing and apparently some big names will be there. Mork called Nan, as always, and the bastard said that we can’t go there being called “The Kitty Gang”. Apparently silly names not a thing since the beginning of 2000th if you are not at least the next Imagine Dragons or something”, Koh gulped his beer and shrugged, “Duean got upset, as he always does when someone criticizes his ideas. He started bickering with Mork, even tried to wake you up. Mork got all worked up, as he always does when someone disturbs you. He pressed the issue and made us brainstorm for a new name”, Koh pointed at all notes on Duean,” The best ideas went on Duean’s face,” he lazily scratched his stomach, “Yeah, we were clearly wa-aaay too drunk for this”.

Pi looked in disbelief at the note in his hand, “UniCorn Hurricane? Really?”

Koh saluted with his can, “We did try to stick to our roots, you know. I did my best and I’m proud. Whatever happened after I passed out is none of my business”.

Pi waived his hands impatiently “So? Do you know if they send the application or not?”

The raised eyebrow! Pi hated it when Koh pushed too hard with his own brand of chill sassiness.

Koh’s index finger pointed to the table, “Isn’t that Mork’s laptop? Just look it up yourself. His password is probably your first name or birthday or some other thing”.

“Ha-ha, very funny,” Pi grabbed laptop and tried Koh’s suggestions anyway. It didn’t work. So he had to kick sleeping Mork, “What is your password?”

Mork growled and rolled on his back. Still half asleep, he looked blearily at Pi and smiled. God, could someone already arrest this man for being utterly perfect even with hangover?! This was so unfair.

“Come here,” Mork made grabby motion and Pi had to sit next to him, allowing this leach to cozy up and half hug him again. “Put in ‘Soft-cheeked cutie’. No dash or spaces”.

Pi huffed, “Unbelievable,” he logged in and an email inbox appeared on a screen.

“WHAT THE FUCK IS A “SKY FISH”!?”

--5--

“The crowd is rowdy. They ask us to wait out while they clear exits”, Nan sat at the table where Koh and Pi were playing cards lazily and Mork was watching them. Duean and Meen were on a couch in the corner, discussing something that made Meen giggle and Duean beam in excitement despite the fact that they all were pretty tired after 2-hour long show.

Meung Nan placed his phone on the table, “First reviews are really flattering. Especially you, Mork. Attracting attention as always,” Nan smiled and Mork just hammed in response.

“Do they say anything in particular about the rest of us?” it was obvious for Pi, that despite trying to stay in the back and singing as little as possible, Mork was their main asset. But surely, they have at least something to offer without him?

Nan pressed his lips, “Well, I did speak with several labels. You know, they were trying to get us on contract for several months now, since that festival”.

“No,” Mork straitened in his seat, “Not unless they will give us freedom or at least right for a final say in all decisions considering band”.

Nan crossed arms on his chest, “Yeah, sadly no one will take us if they can’t control us or at least somehow manage our careers or performances. I told you that your conditions are ridiculous”, he shook his head disapprovingly.

Mork shrugged, “Duean was against those contractual obligations with labels too”.

“Hey, they wanted to cut out Meen… and Pi too! That’s unacceptable!” Duean punched couch angrily.

“Yeah, those plans to make some generic average rock band out of us were more ridiculous,” Mork nodded in agreement.

Koh covered his mouth with his cards and snickered, “More like Duean can’t play without Meen and Mork without Pi”.

Nan just exhaled in exasperation, “We discussed it already. No one downplays Pi’s or Meen’s talents, but Pi, for example, is not exactly very suitable for a front man. They offered a separate project where they will be able to fully disclose their potential. They even told that both bands can be part of the same project and make some collaborations time to time. But style and content should be refined for a bigger audience”.

Pi knew what Nan was referring to. It was a no brainer when every third comment was about Pi belonging in some pop boy band and that Mork should represent SKY FISH. Compared to Koh, Duean and Mork, he and Meen seemed a bit out of place. SKY FISH was confusing for audience.

“We won’t compromise on band members. They can take all five or no one”, Duean reached from his place and gave Mork high five for his words.

Nan smiled, “I’m glad to hear that actually. But you asked me to be your manager and I have to give you all a reality check once in a while. Decisions you make should be informed and in consideration with all possibilities”.

“Thank you for honesty,” Pi gave Nan reassuring smile.

Pi himself tried to make it better and easier for their band, but Mork was unmoving – he made it clear that without Pi he is not going to perform. All of them agreed to play together and no one was stepping down for any reason.

“Ok! This is boring,” Koh dropped his cards on the table and winked at Pi, “Fuck, marry, kill! Tell me, little brother. You can choose anyone at the table”, Koh always knew how to defuse the situation.

“Let’s see,” Pi pretended to think hard about it, but couldn’t pull a serious face, “I would fuck Nan, marry Mork and kill you”.

Koh pretended to look wounded, “Why not marry me?”

Pi stuck out his tongue in mock, “He likes me and can take good care of me. And you deserve to die for such crude games,”

“Ha,” Koh smiled slyly,” Your turn, Nan”.

Meung Nan shrugged, “Probably marry Mork and kill you. Or and fuck you”.

Pi clapped, “That was smooth”.

Koh laughed, but continued, “You’re next, Mork”.

Without a second to think, Mork stated, “Fuck and marry Pi, kill you”.

“Why everyone wants me dead?” Koh shook his head in disbelief.

Pi turned to Mork, “You know you have to pick one person for each”.

Mork placed his hand on the back of Pi’s chair and moved closer, “I don’t fuck my friends and there is no one in this room that I would do it with, except you of course”.

Pi felt how his face heat up, “I do remember you offered it when we met”.

Mork got even closer and Pi could feel the warmth of his breath on his cheek, “No take backs. And I agree to anything you wish to do”.

“GET A ROOM YOU TWO!”