To Steal a Gem the Cost of Your Heart - TsukkiMonster (2024)

Chapter Text

“Alban, up to no good again?”

Alban looked up, only to get smacked over the head, lose his balance, and tumble off the mossy rock wall he’d been crouching on.

“Hey!” He clambered back up, spitting out leaves as he glared at his attacker. Fulgur the cyborg was laughing his head off, or more like wheezing his head off as he tried to balance the books piled in his arms.

“What’d you do that for, Fulgur you jerk?!” He shouted and added, “Stop wheezing! God you’re so annoying!” which only caused the man to laugh harder. When he finally stopped to catch his breath, Fulgur shook his head, “No, no, it’s just you looked so vulnerable there I couldn’t help it.”

Alban stared at the cyborg. “So you threw a book at me.”

“Yep.”

“...I see. Well I have important things to do, so.”

With that, the thief leapt gracefully from his spot on the wall to the roof of the nearest house and continuing this pattern, disappeared from sight within seconds. Fulgur tracked the movements of the boy until he was out of sight before bending over to pick up the book he’d thrown, only to find it missing. Ah, man, and one of his favorites too.

The older cyborg shook his head with a fond smile, that boy was far too predictable.

****~(^.^)~****

“Blech. Another sappy love story.” Alban wrinkled his nose as he flipped through the pages of the book he’d nabbed. “Fulgur really is an old man... Haaah…” he sighed, tucking the book back into his bag before stretching out on the roof he was currently perched on. With his arms tucked behind his head, he blinked lazily as he watched the large fluffy clouds float by.

What to do, what to do. It wasn’t the first time that week that he didn’t feel like stealing, strangely enough. Normally he got his kick out of getting other people, like Sonny or Mysta, to chase him. But lately, it seemed to have lost it’s novelty. What was the point, really? He had enough money saved up right now, so he didn’t need to go out ‘scavenging’, as he called it. So what then? Sit back like Fulgur and read boring stories all day?

Alban could feel the hair on his tail stand on end at the thought of sitting still all day. No. What was he missing? The thief sat staring at the sky for a long time as he contemplated this question. Yes, he was missing something.

Out of curiosity he pulled the book out again and examined the cover. The Princess Bride. He frowned. It truly sounded gag-worthy. True love? Noble fights?

“Suuuuuure. Like that would ever happen.” Alban scoffed. It wasn’t his style. He grew up in a place where fighting dirty was the only way to survive, and stealing wasn’t exactly a noble profession, as cool as he made it look. As for true love… he’d never thought about it. Sure, there were some attractive girls out there, but most of his friends, well, that’s exactly how he saw them. Friends.

Shaking his head, he jumped up. All he was doing here was rotting his brain. Fulgur could have his book back, it wasn’t doing HIM any good, that was for certain.

With his destination in mind, Alban set off in search for Fulgur’s house.

****~(^.^)~****

“Fulgur.”

“Holy- what the f*ck Alban?!” Fulgur spilled the kettle of boiling water all over the floor and his pants as he turned in alarm towards his kitchen window, where the thief had climbed through and was now sitting on the kitchen counter.

The cyborg frowned deeply, “Get off! Who knows where your boots have been?”

Fulgur shooed the cat-boy off his counter and Alban instead settled into one of the wooden chairs at the small kitchen table. As Fulgur proceeded to wipe up the mess, Alban haphazardly dropped the ‘book’ on the table. “Here. You can have this back.”

Fulgur stood up and grinned when he saw it. “Not to your liking, Albanya?”

Using the playful nickname, however, only got Alban irritated. The thief’s annoyance didn’t go unnoticed by his companion though, and Fulgur, being the smart man he was, took it in step. “So, besides my book, what else has gone missing around town today?” he questioned casually, setting two cups on the table and a new kettle of water on the stove as he spoke.

Alban just sighed, “Nothing. I’m not in the mood today.. Fulgur what’s wrong with me? Stealing used to be so fun, but now it just seems… I dunno.. boring. Sonny’s always busy, if not with work then with his ‘girlfriend’ and nobody else really bothers to chase me, they just wait till Sonny makes me bring stuff back. I’m alone all day cause everyone is always doing other things…” the neko-thief pouted, putting his head in his left hand and using his right to lick some of the sugar that was sitting in the pot on the table.

Then, much to his dismay, the cyborg laughed. Long and hard, he was wiping away tears before he began speaking and Alban was now downright offended. “Are you making fun of me?”

“No, but I know what’s wrong.” he smiled, pouring tea into the pair of cups and sitting down across the from the now eager boy. “What? Tell me, cause I hate this!”

“You, my friend, want attention.” Fulgur stirred his tea and took a sip as he watched his friend snap back, “Yeah of course. I knew that already.” before deflating, “But that doesn’t help me..”

The cyborg interrupted, gently nudging the forgotten book towards him, “I think you should read this anyways, Alban. It might give you a new idea on what life is about.”

“Hmph.” Alban huffed indignantly, sipping on his tea, only to burn his tongue. With shoulders sagged, he grumpily took the book and the jar of cookies sitting on the counter, and marched out of the kitchen and exited the house, slamming the front door behind him.

Fulgur took a moment to finish his tea. Perhaps he should pay some friends a visit, warn them that there was a grumpy Alban on the loose, and that things may go missing.

He chuckled to himself as he gathered his things to leave. He was genuinely curious if Alban would actually read the book, and if so, how he would take it and if he would learn anything.

“Everybody needs some love in their lives.” He sighed, feeling too old for the first time that day. But he knew that if anything, a relationship would benefit Alban the most right now.

“Oh well. I guess we’ll have to wait and see, huh?”

****~(^.^)~****

“I just don’t see the point, Ike-san. Books are just a waste of time.”

Alban did a double take, pausing on top of the roof of one of the many buildings and straining his sensitive ears for where the voice had come from.

“And I’m telling you, they aren’t! Just because you read one boring one doesn’t make them all useless. They’re a great source of information, and some are like traveling to whole other worlds!”

That was, without a doubt, Ike.

Alban walked along the roofs until he spotted Ike walking with a girl he’d only seen a couple times and was having trouble remembering her name. He could see boredom clearly displayed on her face and he understood why. It was a pointless argument and Ike gave up with a sigh. “You know, one day you’ll be sorry.”

Alban laughed, attracting the girl and the novelist’s attention as he leapt gracefully from the roof to the ground beside them. “Sorry Ike. But I think you’ve lost your audience.”

Ike shook his head, “Alban. I swear, you could try to help instead of encourage this.”

“I am helping. Cookie?” Alban held out his ‘borrowed’ cookie jar with a smirk, and Ike took two cookies with a frown, handing one to the girl, who was watching them both with a curious expression. Alban nodded his head towards her and met her gaze, “What’s your name again?”

The girl remained silent for a second and Ike gave him a disappointed glare, “Alban, you just met her last month!”

He narrowed his eyes, trying hard to rack his brain for any remembrance of the female before him. He knew he’d met her somewhere.. but he couldn’t remember where..

“I dunno. She looks familiar though..”

“Hey I’m back!”

All three turned in unison to see Yugo jogging up to them. “Sorry about the wait. Hey Alban. Are those cookies?”

Alban nodded absently, “Yeah, I stole em from Fulgur. Here.” he held out the jar and Yugo took a handful of them before nodding to the girl with his mouth full of cookies. “Did you meet my trainee?”

Ah! Alban suddenly remembered, turning abruptly on her and exclaiming, “That’s right, you’re Sonny’s girlfriend’s sister, um, E… Emi-chan right? That would make you… Yugo’s trainee oh my God I’m so stupid.” He was laughing hard now, holding his sides as he coughed, “I’m sorry, I’m Alban. Yugo’s cool Gen-mate leader.”

“..Sure.” Ike, Emi, and Yugo all spoke in unison and he threw them all offended glares, “Hey.”

“Well,” Emi began, and Alban was surprised at the confidence in her tone, “It’s nice to meet you Alban, and I’m looking forward to training with you.”

Alban stared at her for a minute and blinked, “…What?”

Ike’s incredulous expression told him he was missing something important but before he began searching his mind for an answer, Yugo reminded him. “Alban, you’re taking her to be your trainee for the next month, don’t you remember? Starting right after the weekend.”

“O-oh, that’s right.” Alban spoke quickly to cover up the fact that he didn’t actually remember signing up for a trainee. Not wanting to look like a scatterbrained idiot in front of his kohai he added, “Yeah, I have a whole training regiment I’ve been planning too! I-it’s gonna be really cool.”

He carefully avoided Ike’s narrowed eyes as he chuckled nervously but hey, at least Yugo seemed taken and it looked like Emi-chan believed him too.

‘Good. Time to make my getaway.’

His mind, ingrained with years of thieving tactics, habitually began planning how to get out of this awkward situation.

Using his usual excuse, he bowed slightly, “Well, I gotta go. I’ve got a lot of stuff to do so..” he trailed off as he waved and disappeared into the alley on their right. He could hear Ike and Yugo’s faint calls behind as him as he plunged into the darkness of the side streets, but dismissed them with a frown. He had something else to do. For real this time. He would’ve remembered signing up for a trainee. Not only did someone just cause him a whole load of trouble by failing to inform him earlier, he also had to figure out how the heck to solve this without looking either like a jerk or some sort of lazy bum.

First things first, to find the culprit. And he had an inkling on where to search first.

****~(^.^)~****

To Steal a Gem the Cost of Your Heart - TsukkiMonster (2024)
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