Miyako flipped shut her sketchbook with a sharp snap, sighing. Her stomach and elbows ached dully from laying on the hard wooden floor for hours, drawing. The night was still, and the others were all asleep, but she just didn't feel tired. This time last year, all she was was tired; that had been a terrible cold to start the year with. Even though she was an idiot, she thought fondly.
She sat up cross-legged, hugging her book against her chest. For no reason other than to be moving, she rocked restlessly back and forth, then lay her sketchbook down across her knees. Reaching up and taking out her ponytail tie, she shook her head and allowing her hair to fall loose. Miyako grabbed a comb from a paint brush jar on her long, cluttered table and started carefully working through the day's tangles. Her eyes caught the pencils she'd left laying on the floor, and she picked them up now before she forgot and lost them or stepped on them. Setting her comb to the side, she picked up her pencil case and put her number one and two pencil in, but kept the number three out. This one was Yuno's. Miyako felt a little silly for borrowing a pencil for simple sketching to pass the time, but she'd wanted to give it a little more effort than her other casual projects. The varying shades and reflectiveness's of different pencils added a dimension to her drawings that she couldn't get with just one, and she was happy with how they had turned out tonight. The pencil twirled in her nimble fingers and around her hand. As energetic as she was, she'd become fairly good at pen and pencil twirling over the years. She set it on the bridge of her nose, and looked up, trying to keep it balanced. When she grew bored with that, she tossed it into the air and caught it, again and again until she missed and it clattered to the floor, rolling away.
After she'd gotten up and retrieved the pencil, she just set it on her table and left it alone. Still feeling wide-awake, she stripped down to her underwear and pulled on a short pair of shorts and a loose t-shirt, her equivalent of pajamas. She turned out the light and lay down in her bed, staring at the ceiling. This was one year, then, since she'd met the girl who'd become her best friend. The memory caused a smile to stretch across her features in the dark. Miyako was always one to make accurate, if not particularly good, first impressions, and her first words with Yuno had been a query regarding soba noodles for her new neighbor. However it had worked out, they had become fast friends almost instantly; they hadn't even noticed it happen. Impulsively, Miyako stood up and walked to her sink, turning the knob. Water splashed out, swirling down the drain. Of course, that was exactly what should happen, as she had paid her water bill this year. Sae and Hiro had both reminded her of it last month on the phone, while she was still with her parents back home. Yuno was always so nice that she didn't seem to consider the possibility that Miyako might need to be told those sorts of obvious things. Yuno was just like that.
She continued to stare at the ceiling, completely wide awake, with her whirring brain almost taunting her with its activity, as if to say that she shouldn't expect sleep anytime soon. Miyako was aware that most people wrote her off fairly quickly as a ditz, or immature, or childish. She also knew they were entirely correct when they supposed that she was ditzy, immature, or childish, but writing her off as nothing but those wasn't right at all. That was probably the nicest things about having the friends she did. Sae and Hiro and Yuno, they could all look past her eccentric behaviors--no, that wasn't it. They could look at her eccentric behaviors, and see the rather eccentric girl behind them, and loved her anyway.
Miyako considered, and concluded that she had probably regressed a bit after she had moved here. Maturity-wise, that is. There was something about being accepted so wholly by her friends, and something about being in this art schoolâ”a school that managed to look upon her foibles and see creativity--that had let her fly more freely than her stuffy primary school had. Especially around Yuno. That was a slight difference in her friends. Hiro and Sae would calmly accept her behavior, sometimes adding a touch of amusement or a hint of irritation, but little else. It was Yuno who gave her most of her motivation. Miyako felt no reason to restrict her imagination or actions around her best friend. If Miyako were to try and pinpoint the reason for that, it was probably because of Yuno's cute little smile. How could she possibly consider limiting a part of herself that made Yuno smile? There was only one thing that could make her turn away from trying to make Yuno smile, and that was the occasional incident wherein it became more practical to make her friend blush, also quite cute. Yuno was good at that cute thing.
That Yuno was good at the cute thing worked out quite nicely, because Miyako appeared to be good at the making her smile and blush thing. Of course, neither were all that difficult. Miyako smiled at some of her more recent memories. She was fairly certain that her knowledge of the, ahem, facts of life was no more extensive than Yuno's, but Yuno's naivety came into play when she got so embarrassed about having those referred to, while Miyako remained very comfortable with the entire idea. After all, everybody wanted somebody, or at least some body, at some time, and Miyako didn't see anything embarrassing about that. Not in theory, at least. It was like earlier that day, during Sae and Hiro's little display. Yuno had been highly embarrassed, flaming scarlet in the kind of blush that Miyako wished she could bring about on demand, while Miyako had just felt... well, she wasn't sure exactly what she had felt. A little surprised, for sure, that her two friends had had that kind of relationship and had kept it secret for so long. Then she felt happy for them, of course, they were her friends. But underneath that was something else. It was a little ache, only ache wasn't the right word. More a little emptiness that lay somewhere in the bottom of her chest. A little feeling, really, that she usually wasn't aware of. It tended to be known on nights like this. She would lay awake and alone with only her thoughts for company, and feel that sense of restlessness that told her that there was something that she should be doing or something she needed, and not doing or getting whatever it was left her feeling aimless and unfulfilled. She was a little consoled by the knowledge that the feeling always faded by morning, like clockwork, though she wished she knew what it was that she was not quite getting. A long breath of air whistled restlessly through her lips, then blinked and realized that she'd been standing there with the water running for a few minutes while lost in thought. She turned it off with a peculiar pang. Last year when she had forgotten to pay her water bill, Yuno had allowed her to use her bath. Looks like that wouldn't be happening this year, which was almost a shame, that had been a fun early memory to make.
Miyako yawned, and stopped in the middle of it, surprised. Somehow fatigue had caught up with her as she slowed down to muse, she noted gratefully. It was already deep into the early hours Monday morning, but at least she wouldn't be losing all her sleep. That would be an awful way to start school; she already had problems staying awake in class anyway. Laying down, she was slightly perturbed when her mind drifted once again towards that little spot of absence in her chest. It always seemed to call attention to itself in times like now, she thought, when she stopped thinking about anything else. She suddenly wondered if Yuno ever felt like this, maybe she would know what to do...
She drifted off easily in the middle of her thoughts, sprawled out on the top of her bed.
"Miya-chan? Miya-chan, are you up yet?"
--Yes, she was almost up, Miyako thought irritably, she'd been climbing this mountain for a few weeks now, battling hunger and the elements. In fact, she would have fallen off four times already, if she hadn't been able to fly. What did they think she'd been doing, that she wouldn't be almost to the top yet?--
"Hey, Miyako, it's time to go!"
--Time to go? What was she talking about? They'd already left the bank with the loot, now they needed to get away from the cops. If only that blasted cloud would stop trying to eat them, they'd be out of reach of the police and their terrifying trained attack sofas--
"We're coming in, Miya-chan."
--No! Don't come in, you'll be sucked into the time warp and forced to eat robot fingers for the rest of your life! There must be some way to undo the spilled soda... ah, but now there was an earthquake!--
"Yo, Miyako, up and atom!" Sae yelled as she shook the dead asleep Miyako's shoulder, in what amounted to a futile attempt to wake her. She stopped, and looked helplessly to Hiro and Yuno.
--The earthquake had finally settled. Her heart was pounding, and it was pitch black. She'd fallen safely inside of a tepee, however, and rescue would probably be on the way, she'd listen carefully for the elephants trumpeting. For now, however, she needed to find some provisions... ah, what was this?--
"Why's she chewing on her pillow?" Hiro wondered aloud. Yuno shrugged, then decided to give a shot at waking their sleeping friend. She sat on the edge of the bed and grabbed Miyako's shoulders, giving her a little shake, then leaning over and loudly talking into her ear, "Miya-chan, you need to wake up, it's time for school!"
--What's this? There was somebody else trapped with her. Miyako sighed, the poor soul shouldn't have taken the taxi. But the girl, Miyako thought she should know her name, grabbed her by the shoulders and started talking to her. She couldn't understand what she was saying, but thought the girl was probably scared, so she did the best thing she knew of for that situation, and gave her a big hug--
"Gyah! Miya-chan!" Yuno yelped as Miyako suddenly reached up and pulled her down, hugging her like a teddy bear around her shoulders. Miyako was fairly athletic, and her grip was sound, so all Yuno could do was kick her feet against the mattress as she was held in place next to her friend, cheek to cheek. To her chagrin, Sae and Hiro started snickering.
--The girl seemed less afraid, but still agitated. The unseen figure in the dark raised her face and nuzzled their cheeks together. Miyako breathed in sharply, suddenly becoming more aware of the body she felt against her own. She wasn't sure what she was feeling, but suddenly it seemed only too natural to lean over, and...--
"M-Miya-chan?" Yuno stopped struggling and inquired nervously as the blonde's breathing changed from the deep, heavy rhythm of sleep. Yuno twisted her neck to see Miyako's face, which she found easily, so close to her own. Also close to her were Miyako's lips. In fact, they were so close that. Eyes wide, Yuno took a long, surprised few seconds to realize that she was experiencing her first kiss. Sae and Hiro looked on, at first too surprised to move.
"Mi--" Yuno, after a moment's hesitation started to object, but Miyako's mouth opened slightly and swallowed her protests. Yuno felt something lightly tickling her closed lips, and wondered dazedly what it was, for some reason suddenly thinking that it would be a good idea to open her own lips. Before she could do so, she felt another pair of hands on her, pulling her away. Yuno felt suddenly, irrationally irritated; she was about to find out what that soft touch on her lips was, couldn't they have waited for a second? Sae grabbed her shoulders and pulled while Hiro forced Miyako's arms open. The whole process yanked Miyako into a sitting position, where she sat, eyes coming half-open.
"Miyako, have you no shame?" Sae shouted at her.
"Eh, wha?" Miyako answered sleepily. Sae roughly took Miyako and shook her a bit.
"Wake up, damn it, stop dreaming!"
Yuno watched all of this with detached interest, her fingertips resting lightly on her lips, a light flush high in her cheeks.
"Yuno? Yuno-san?" Hiro asked her, and Yuno slowly looked over.
"Hmmm?" Yuno managed dreamily, and Hiro frowned.
"Sae, I think she's in shock!"
"Who, Miyako?" Sae asked, watching as Miyako finally seemed to be becoming aware of her surroundings, blinking and appearing alert, though confused by all of the chaos in her room just after waking up.
"Hey everybody, what's going on? What's wrong with Yuno-chi?"
"What's wrong with her? You are!" Miyako frowned, giving this serious consideration, then brightened with a look of discovery.
"Oh! I think I was having naughty dream," Miyako said casually, confirming either that she was still sleepy enough to not think about what she was saying, or that she really did have a deficiency of shame, "Did I sing something weird that shocked her?"
"Sing something, sing something?" Sae said incredulously, "No, you--"
Miyako stepped out of her room to meet the three girls who had been waiting outside while she changed. Sae was tapping her foot impatiently, Hiro had a calming hand laid upon her arm, and Yuno appeared to be off in her own world. They all turned to see Miyako, still smoothing out her skirt and sleeves. She made brief eye contact with Yuno, and they both looked away. As it turned out, Miyako had some small amount of shame, or at least the ability to feel abashed.
"G'morning, everybody, thanks for getting me up," Miyako said with a nervous little smile. Sae rolled her eyes, Hiro smiled slightly, and Yuno even looked her way and smiled reassuringly. With that, the tension went out of the foursome and all was forgiven.
"Let's make like General MacArthur, troops!" Miyako stated firmly, then jutted her chin forward in a frown and marched forward, arms swinging exaggeratedly.
"What are you doing, Miya-chan?" Yuno inquired.
"I shall return!" Was Miyako's only answer as she continued her odd strut. Looking confused, Yuno followed, and Hiro explained that part of the history of the American general and the Philippines as they walked to the school across the street. By odd coincidence they met the first-year art teacher, Miss Yoshinoya, just inside the doors. That they met her in the school wasn't so much unusual, what was had to do with her choice of dress for today: the uniform of a four-star general, including sunglasses and riding crop. Miyako stopped and dropped her act in favor of a long stare at this newest costume.
"Hi, everybody. It's so good to see all of your faces again," Yoshinoya greeted them warmly.
"What's with that outfit today, Yoshi?" Sae asked her.
"Oh, this?" Yoshinoya said, pretending to be taken aback by the question, "To be honest, I'm going to be teaching a couple of second-year art classes this year. I hear that second-years are absolute monsters, I was hoping I could look a little intimidating."
"Um... but Miss Yoshinoya, we're second years," Yuno said, tilting her head quizically.
"Why, so you are! Please, don't be too harsh with me, I've never taught students like you before."
"But we were just in your class last year."
"Well that was last year, wasn't it?" Yoshinoya said cheerfully.
"But, why are you teaching second-year classes this year, anyway?" Hiro asked politely.
"One of the art instructors resigned, and the only qualified replacement found only had first-year experience too. I don't know why, but the Principal told me that he and I would split first and second years between us."
"Even though he scolds you a lot, he must see that you're a really good, nice teacher." Yuno encouraged her.
"Thank you for saying so, Yuno-san," Yoshinoya smiled sweetly, "I think I'll be glad to have you in class for another year."
"You mean that I'm in your class?"
"Mm-hmm, and Miyako-san too. I don't have any new second-years, I was given all groups that I had last year."
"Wow, that should make things easier for you."
"I think so too. It'll be different, usually I have only new faces every year."
"So why are you so worried?"
"Worried? I am?"
"Oh, this," she looked down at herself, "Oh my, yes! I'm still worried. Of course. See you all later," Yoshinoya walked quickly away. Watching her go, Sae sighed and frowned.
"Why couldn't she she just admit that she wanted to dress up?"
"Miya-chan, we're going to have Miss Yoshinoya again!" Yuno said happily, taking Miyako's hand excitedly. Miyako's face sported a wide grin too, at this happy news.
"Phew! I was afraid I would get some stuffy mothball teacher that would try to silence the great Miyako-Picasso!" They both seemed to realize simultaneously that this was as close a contact as they'd had since this morning, and both thought that they didn't really mind, but also both thought that the other might, and that they should let go. So they both did, breaking eye contact and blushing lightly. All might have been forgiven, but things might be awkward for a day or so... or at least each hoped it would only be that long.
Miyako thought the whole thing was highly unfair. Of all the times her dreaming could have turned weird, it had to be when Yuno was there, and that close? She didn't remember what had happened in reality, but she remembered her dream well enough, and what Sae had told her seemed to match up pretty well. But really, verybody thought it was a little odd that she could sing in her sleep, but they got over that, could they just overlook the fact that she could sleep-kiss too? Seemed perfectly reasonable to her.