I produced this drabble in response to a writing meme on LiveJournal. Bara no hitomi gave me the character, topic, and line of dialogue.

Spoilers for anyone who hasn't read through about Chapter Eight of Archimage.

Character: Kozue
Topic: Cross-dressing
Line: "My dear, I drink wine all the time. It's the brandy you have to watch out for."

Preparing to Taste the Brandy

It's funny how many dreams I remember having now that I didn't really remember at the time. They must have been dreams, right? How else would I know things like this:

Robert peered keenly at the photograph in his hands, then looked up at the dark-haired androgyne across the room who was fastening the collar of a uniform across a slender throat. After a moment, he relaxed bonelessly and let the photo drop to the floor, dangling a half-full glass of wine in the other hand. One of his feet was propped on the coffee table, next to a wine bottle. "So that's why you cut your hair."

"What, don't you approve?" The voice was husky, the glance was sharp. "I thought you'd prefer me this way, Mr. Apparently Gay Man." One finger twined in the lock of hair that lay along the jaw.

"It's very sexy," he admitted. "But then you're sexy enough to nudge my Kinsey."

"Stupid," Kozue snapped.


"This Kinsey score thing you keep talking about." She strode across the room and straddled Robert's lap. "Maybe people just want people, not a gender." Her hand raked through his auburn hair, then tangled in the longest part of it and gripped viciously enough to make him gasp. She yanked his head up sharply and bent to kiss him.

After a long moment, she pulled back, her teeth dragging over his lower lip, and released his hair. She snagged his wine glass out of his hand as he was lifting it to drink. Before he could protest, she downed the contents.

"Why are you dressing up like your brother?" he asked finally.

"I got a letter from my old school," she said, twisting around on his lap to fill the glass. "I felt nostalgic."

"What did it say?"

Kozue stared into the surface of the wine. "They said I could come back and finish school there. On scholarship."

"No strings attached?" he teased, running his hands up her thighs.

She tossed back half the glass. A single garnet drop slipped away to stain the breast of the white uniform. "Oh, there are always strings with this school. Nothing I can't handle." She finished the glass.

"You'll get drunk," he said, watching her face.

"My dear, I drink wine all the time," Kozue said, smiling down at him... no, at her hand. At the Duelist ring on her hand. "It's the brandy you have to watch out for."