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Playing House

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"And you’re all siblings…?" the man showing them their rooms looked skeptical. His eyes moved from Kido to the other three, who tried their very best to look angelic and nothing at all like a teenage gang.

Kido nodded, her expression stern as could be. “Yeah, they’re my brothers, okay?" Renting the hotel rooms by the beach had been a trial; the company had impressed upon them that they didn’t want to be responsible for teenage hookups, and therefore no unrelated visitors were allowed. Besides, it was true enough. They were her family.

She’d forgotten about Mary, however. She realized it just a second too late, and the older man was scrutinizing them with distrust now.

"What about her?"

Kido’s mind went blank as she searched for a response. "She’s— she’s, er…"

"Actually, they’re married," Kano’s voice drawled from behind her, and she spun on her heel to see him pointing at poor Mary, who was turning a violent shade of red, and Seto, who had found a very interesting spot to study on the wall. Equal amounts of relief and horror coursed through her mind. Of all the things for him to come up with, it had to be that.

To make matters worse, Kano gave her a conspiratorial wink, so slow it had to be illegal. She had no way of knowing if he’d let the older man see it too.

But he seemed mollified, though she saw him throw one last look towards Mary, who still looked way too young to be on date, let alone married. But he gave them the keys to the two rooms and stumped off down the hallway, and the four were left alone in front of the two doors.

"Ah, I’ll take this key then, and my dear sister and I will stay in that room," Kano decided, simultaneously holding out the other key to Seto. "You two better stay together, can’t have him catching on, can we?"

Seto took the key a bit gingerly, but he didn’t seem particularly angry at Kano. "We’ll do our best to fool them! It’ll be like a game, right?" The last question was addressed to Mary, who brightened considerably and seemed to shake off most of her embarrassment.

"Right!" she chirped, and the two high fived. Kido rolled her eyes. If they expected to pass as married, they better get better at pretending to be adults, and quickly.

They’d traveled all day to reach the beach so it was no surprise that they fell asleep almost right away after reaching the rooms. Bright and early Seto woke up to a crash next door— not exactly the most unexpected of sounds to wake up to, considering the rooming arrangements. He scrubbed at his eyes, trying to wake up properly.

There was only one bed in the room, but sharing a bed with Mary wasn’t unusual either; she ended up staying in his room more often than not after scary movies or loud thunderstorms. He could feel her pressed against his back, and had a good guess that she was responsible for the covers vanishing in the night. He turned over to see, and yep; she was wrapped tightly in both the sheet and gross scratchy quilt that all hotels had. The sight made him laugh a little under his breath, but another crash from next door made him glance at the wall between the two rooms. It seemed to rouse Mary from her sleep too, and she cracked her eyes open and squinted at him in confusion, the room unfamiliar to her.

He put a finger to his lips, figuring she could sleep a little longer.

"I’m gonna go check on them," he said quietly, sliding out of bed and grabbing the key so he could get back in. He made his way into the hallway and knocked on the door.

The door immediately flew open and Kano was all but thrust into his arms. Radiating grumpiness, a disheveled Kido glared at them from the doorway. "Take him," she gritted out between her teeth, and then slammed the door.

Kano laughed, too-loud in the early morning silence of the hallway. "Guess who’s still not a morning person?" he asked cheerfully. Seto did not guess.

Mary was up when Seto came back in, towing Kano with him. She sat on the edge of the bed, working on brushing out the tangles in her long hair. Her feet didn’t reach the floor, so she almost tipped over with the force she was applying to the knots. He laughed and went to go help her, leaving Kano to mope in the doorway.

"Are we going to the beach soon?" he whined. Seto knew for a fact he didn’t care for the beach one way or another, and was just trying to get attention.

"Soon," Seto replied absentmindedly, taking the brush from Mary and starting to battle the tangles himself.

"Can you braid my hair today maybe?" she asked, a request more forward than it’d be with most anyone else. Normally she liked to leave her hair unhindered, except for the red ribbon she wore, but in some cases having it long would be impractical.

"Sure," he replied cheerfully, finishing brushing and starting to divide her hair into sections. Kano flopped down on the bed next to them, throwing his arms wide.

"Can you braid my haiiiiiiiiiiiir, Seto," he pleaded, mocking her goodnaturedly.

The tips of Mary’s ears went pink and Seto replied calmly, “Wait your turn."

Getting ready for the beach took longer than they expected.

When everyone was changed into their swimsuits, and Kido came around to the room to collect them, Mary suddenly spoke up nervously.

"D-don’t you think we’ll be found out?" she asked quietly. The other three blinked at her in confusion. She flushed. "I mean, we’re not… wearing rings…"

The obvious hole in their facade pointed out, they all set to finding rings or anything of the sort. Their searches turned up empty, but they couldn’t let that stop them.

"Let’s buy some, before we go to the beach," Seto suggested, remembering they’d seen a souvenir shop on the way in. Everyone agreed, and they traipsed downstairs, Seto hiding his hand in his pocket and Mary’s hand in his.

Were they going overboard? Maybe a little bit. But once committed to an illusion, giving up was for losers, Kano told them.

They found the shop easily enough, and sure enough near the counter was an entire shelf full of silly souvenir rings. They pored over them intently.

"Mary, which one do you want?" Seto asked eagerly, impressed by the variety.

"I like this one," Kano said, pointing. "You should buy it for me."

"I’m not fake-marrying you," Seto pointed out, “I only really have to buy a ring for Mary."

Kano would not be deterred. "Kido, buy me this ring, okay? I’ll marry you for real if you do."

Seto ignored the ensuing carnage to track Mary’s gaze, realizing she was staring at a ring with a small flower on it in the corner. "You like that one, huh? I’ll buy it for you, then."

She spluttered, trying to think of a good response, but he plucked it from the case, picking another one for himself that was a plain band, and brought them to the counter. Mary distracted herself by watching Kido throttle Kano so she didn’t have to think about it.

"Here you go!" Seto reappeared, taking the silver ring out of the plastic bag the cashier had given him. "This means today we’re married, okay? So if you need anything you can ask me right away, basically." As he spoke he put the ring on her finger, squeezing her hand and grinning down at her. Mary turned red, and shook her head. "Huh? No?" His face fell, and he opened his mouth to apologize, before she cut him off.

"I can do that anyway," she replied stubbornly, not looking him in the eye. "Is that really all that’s different about being married?" It was his turn to blush then, and he didn’t have much of an answer for her.