"Thank you, Hiro-san," Yuno opened the door to let herself outside after a short session of shoulder patting and there-there-ing.
"Good luck, Yuno-san," Hiro called after her. Yuno closed the door, and Hiro took her book back up, opening where she had been and laying her bookmark back down on the table. She paused, and tapped her lip with a thumb, wondering if perhaps she should have been more understanding of Yuno's perceived predicament. No, she just couldn't. Hiro was one-hundred percent sure that whatever the outcome of Yuno's confession, those two would still be friends, so fretting was pointless. Of course this was undoubtedly a big event for Yuno, falling in love for the first time, but Hiro thought that, compared to when it happened to her, it seemed a lot simpler from the outside looking in. Rather as one tends to become frustrated with oblivious characters in stories and wishes they would "just say something already!" Her eyes scanned the page until she found her spot, and her last thought before delving back into the story was that she couldn't wait for Sae to hear about this.
Yuno stood outside and wavered between going to her room, and running down Miyako on her way to the store. She tried to imagine that, running there as fast as she could, Sae and Miyako hearing her coming and turning around, standing there with her hands on her knees, trying to catch her breath. What would she do about Sae? It wasn't that she wanted to keep anything a secret from Sae, but confessing in front of somebody else? That would be way too embarrassing! Or, she thought it would be. Come to think of it, she didn't know how embarrassing it would be for Sae to overhear, because Yuno didn't yet have any idea what would be overheard; that is, what she would be saying. Room then, she decides, but stops again. She turns around and knocks on Hiro's door once more.
"Yes?" Comes the faint response. Yuno sticks her head through the doorway.
"Why do I have to do this today?"
"Who said anything about it having to be today?" Yuno paused.
"Wait, didn't you say--"
"No, Yuno, I don't believe so. I can't imagine why you would want to wait, however."
"Okay, thanks. Bye again." Yuno closes the door. Today it is then, she thinks as she takes the stairs up to her room. How did one go about this confessing thing again? She wondered. Her small collection of manga came to mind, and decided to do some research first.
"That will be three hundred twenty-five yen, please," Miyako regretfully dug out the required fund from her pocket and dropped them on the counter, looking as though each one was made of blood from her veins.
"Here you are... goodbye, my monetary friends."
"T-thank you," The teller said, taken aback as his customer walked away looking physically ill.
"Don't mind her," Sae rolled her eyes as she stepped up to the counter, "In just a moment she'll--"
"Ice-cream! Hurry up, Sae-san."
The teller looked over sharply to see the results of Miyako's mood switch, then shook his head.
"Whatever. That'll be five hundred eighty-five yen, please," He said to her, bagging the small strawberry cake she had purchased.
"What's that you've got?" Miyako tried to peer into Sae's bag as they left through the automatic doors and back into the damp, gray air outside.
"It's a cake, what's it look like?"
"I see. Personally, I prefer ice-cream for whenever I have a problem or need to do some serious thinking."
"You do serious thinking?" Sae chided, "Also, this isn't for me, it's for Hiro. Her favorite."
"Strawberry, then," Miyako confirmed, "Hey, what's it like?"
"Strawberry cake? I know you've had some before."
"No, I mean having your wife send you out to do the shopping."
"Wait, wait, it's not like that!" Sae hastily denied, "I just thought I'd go out and get her some, you know.... just because," A light rosy tint touched her cheeks.
"Oh, I get it now. Sae-san, you like your girls plump," Miyako grinned and skipped ahead.
"Get back here, you!" Sae yelled after a fatal moment's slack-jawed surprise, running after Miyako. Sae might have been a little faster and more athletic, but between Miyako's head start and having to be careful with the cake it was a futile effort.
Miyako arrived back at the apartments, puffing from the run over, but smiling. That had been an informative trip to the supermarket. Sae hadn't found too much amiss with her current theory of having fallen for Yuno, and that was good enough for her. She even knew what she had to do now. Confession time!
She paused at the foot of the stairs. How did you do that again? Confession. It sounded like it should be simple. You could confess to a crime by saying you did it, no frills. So, shouldn't you be able to confess love the same way. Just go up to Yuno and let her know. She mulled over the scenario. For some reason, she couldn't help but think of it ending with Yuno blushing to her toes, and stammering out some sort of refusal. Sure, it sounded simple, but that wasn't exactly the result Miyako was going for. She took the stairs slowly. What else was there to do?
Secret rendezvous notes? Yuno thought.
Secret rendezvous notes? Miyako thought.
Message in a lunch box? Yuno read, but remembered that they usually ate the cafeteria food. Plus, the girl who was trying that in the book wasn't planning on sitting and eating with that boy when he found the note, while the four of them usually ate lunch together.
Save her from something, and get nobly hurt in the process? Miyako thought, she was sure she'd seen that on television before. Yuno would ask her why she did something so stupid, and Miyako would say, lying hurt on the ground... wait, what was there to save Yuno from? Miyako didn't want to just wait for something to come along.
Yuno kept flipping through her mangas. There just wasn't anything really helpful here. In most of these the person who was getting confessed to was already in love with the confessor, who didn't know about it. That wasn't like her situation at all. Wasn't there anything about somebody who fell in love because of a really good confession? Yuno couldn't seem to find any. She wracked her brain for anything she'd ever heard about this situation. Suddenly, she heard Miyako's voice float through her mind, "Do your best! As long as you have love, gender won't be an obstacle at all!"
Well, that wasn't very helpful at all. Yuno wasn't really concerned about them both being girls. There were plenty of confessions between opposite genders, and they didn't all work; there were plenty of other reasons that Miyako could just not return her feelings. Disheartened by her lack of supportive research material, Yuno slumped over her table.
Miyako stopped as she passed Yuno's door. She had been planning on thinking more about her confession while going through the better part of a pint of ice-cream, but a fine idea struck her. She knocked on the door.
"Y-yes?" She heard Yuno's voice, sounding a little distracted, "Come in, please!" Miyako opened the door.
"Wow, Yuno-chi, are you trying to see how many manga you can read at the same time?" She asked, looking at all of the opened books lying on Yuno's table.
"Uh, no, Miya-chan," Yuno said, and didn't offer any further explanation.
"I came to see if you might like some ice-cream," Miyako declared, presenting the cup, "It's cookie dough."
"My favorite!" Yuno said gleefully, "I'd be very happy if you shared with me, Miya-chan. I'll go get some spoons."
"Just get one, we can pass it back and forth. Less dishes for you."
"Sure thing," Yuno agreed before she thought of the implications. When she came back with the utensil, Miyako was idly flipping through one of the books.
"Thanks," Miyako took the spoon and started to open the pint carton, still fixing her eyes on the book she had been handling. She dug the spoon in and scooped out a bite, putting it in her mouth. She stayed that way, appearing to be thinking about something intensely, then pulled the spoon out between her lips, getting every bit of ice-cream from it. She stuck it back in the frozen dessert and passed it over to Yuno. Yuno carved out a small bit of her own.
"Say, Yuno-chi, can you help me out with something? If you were going to, how would you go about confessing to somebody?"
"Wait, what?! Yuno came by here while I was out and..." Sae lapsed into a stunned silence.
"Yes. Why, Sae, what's the matter with that? You know they'll be okay, however Yuno's confession turns out, I thought you would be happy to hear about it."
"Oh, I am!" Sae responded, then she started laughing, and laughing, and laughing.
"Sae," Hiro started reprovingly, "I thought this was a little amusing too, and I had my share of giggles, but don't you think that's a bit much?"
"S-sorry, Hiro. It's just that, well, if only Yuno-san had waited ten minutes before coming to see you!"
"Now what's that supposed to mean?"
"Miyako went with me to the store, and we had a talk just like you and Yuno-san. And when I say 'just like', I mean 'just like'. You just said Yuno-san was worried about how Miyako felt about her, and I know the answer." Sae quickly related hers and Miyako's conversation, skipping over a few parts that Hiro didn't really need to hear about.
"Oh my, Yuno-san's twisting herself in a knot over nothing, then, isn't she?"
"Appears so. Now, you told Yuno-san that she was going to have to confess. I told Miyako that she was going to have to confess. Five hundred yen says Miyako beats her to it?"
"Sae," Hiro said, pretending to be shocked, "I'll take that bet. Miya-chan might not be so worried about confessing, but she can also be lazy. I think Yuno-san takes the initiative. All goes well, I'll owe you five hundred less yen."
"Just don't forget, you have the rest of forever to work at that debt," Sae said, deciding to play along rather than argue with Hiro about that subject again, "And there's no hurry at all."
Yuno almost dropped the spoon in her surprise.
"Confessing what?" She asked first, hoping that perhaps Miyako was referring to something else. Her friend picked up the book she had been flipping through and gestured with it.
"Like in here, confessing to somebody you like that you like them."
"I don't know how you would do that!"
"That's okay, I was just wondering what you think you would do."
"What's with this all of a sudden?" Yuno asked with a nervous giggle, finally starting back in on the ice-cream. "Are you planning on confessing to somebody soon?"
"Er, yes, actually," Miyako said a trifle self-consciously. This time, Yuno did drop the spoon. It clattered on the table top, and Miyako reached out to grab it.
"Ha, caught it on the first bounce. How many points is that, Yu... Yuno-chi?"
Yuno clamped her teeth over her lip, shoulders shaking slightly, holding sudden tears back in. That just wasn't fair. How did she not know that Miyako was already in love with somebody? It wasn't fair, Yuno had finally found out this about herself, and was working out a confession, but Miyako was already in love.
"Yuno-chi, what's the matter?"
"N-nothing, Miya-chan," Yuno said, sniffling slightly and forcing herself to smile, "G-got something in my eye."
Miyako raised an eyebrow at her. "Yuno-chi," she frowned, "Didn't we just talk recently about friends keeping secrets from one another? But now you're doing that."
Yuno frowned back, "I'm not the only one. Why didn't you tell me that you were in love with somebody?"
"That wasn't a secret, I just didn't know about it until today," Yuno choked on that a bit. This had to be the worst timing ever, "So I wasn't keeping a secret, I... was going to tell you soon, actually. But first, you tell me what's wrong, because I don't see anything in either of your eyes."
"I can't tell you, Miya-chan. I just can't," Yuno started losing her internal battle, and a few tears snuck loose. This wasn't right, she just found out about how she really felt today, there was no reason for her to be crying about getting rejected this soon, "Please, could I just have a little bit of time alone right now?" Yuno buried her face in her hands, trying to hold back as much as she could until Miyako left.
"Sorry, but that does not compute," Miyako made her way around the table, "You can tell me anything, Yuno-chi, I thought we knew that. Best friends, right?" Yuno abandoned her hands in favor of Miyako's warm shoulder.
"No, Miya-chan, just leave me alone for a little bit." Yuno said anyway, contradicting her own actions.
"Okay, I'll just sit here and hug you and let you be alone until you're ready to talk," Miyako wrapped her arms around her and laid her cheek atop Yuno's head.
"It doesn't matter anymore! There's nothing to tell now," Yuno sobbed, though now she had two handfuls of the front of Miyako's shirt and didn't look as though she were letting go any time soon.
"Well then it doesn't matter if you go ahead and tell me then, now does it?" Miyako said simply, not moving from where she was. She didn't buy Yuno's arguments for a moment. Yuno quieted down, though she kept her face against Miyako's shoulder for a long while.
Miyako felt her move, and lifted her cheek so she could look at Yuno and hear what she said.
"It's you! You said you had someone you want to confess to."
Miyako nodded. "That upsets you by itself?"
"No, it's just that I have somebody I want to confess to as well," Yuno explained quietly, then used her handholds to pull herself back into Miyako. Miyako thought that was just as well, so Yuno wouldn't see her smile falter. She could hardly fathom why that made Yuno so upset, but she didn't care now, either. Miyako was far more concerned with the sinking feeling
"That's... that's good, Yuno-chi," Miyako forced out. She hadn't even gotten the chance to confess, but this hurt plenty anyway. Broken hearts were called that for a reason, Miyako concluded, that was the best description she could think of for the lump in her throat and the pain in her chest. "Who is the lucky person?"
"I don't know if lucky is the right word."
"What word would you use, then? I think whoever has Yuno-chi like them has to be one of the luckiest people in the world."
"Not if they already like somebody else," Yuno cried, breathing in gasps again, but she controlled herself, "The person I was going to confess to... is you, Miya-chan."
Fixing things was absolutely wonderful, Miyako decided. It was very nearly worth getting her heart broken, just to feel it mend itself. She embraced Yuno fiercely.
"Whew. That sure makes my job today easier. Thanks," Miyako pulled away from Yuno, who looked up at her, tears frozen momentarily in favor of a puzzled expression. Miyako curled her fingers under Yuno's chin and tilted her face up.
Yuno's eyes widened, then closed. This couldn't be real. It couldn't be. She was dreaming, like Miyako had been. She was probably kissing her table top in real life right now, she'd fallen asleep reading mangas. But it certainly was hard to imagine wood being this soft, or this warm. She also didn't think that she bought furniture polish that smelled like Miyako. Lastly, she was sure that whenever you actually thought something was a dream, it usually turned out that it wasn't. Yuno lunged forward, throwing herself into the kiss once she had decided it was real. Miyako caught her without breaking their lips, wrapping her arms around Yuno once more, while Yuno wrapped her arms around her, and they held each one another tightly together. It might have been seconds or hours later, but they broke away.
"Did we confess then, Yuno-chi?" Miyako asked, curling and uncurling her fingers against Yuno's back in a short, light caress.
"I think so?" Yuno answered.
"Does it really matter now?"
"I'm pretty sure it doesn't."
"Is that enough talking for now, then?"
"I think I prefer kissing more right now," Yuno admitted.
"I was just thinking that same thing."
They didn't do much else for the next few hours, though they found that there were other fun places to use this kissing thing, just a little farther down. Yuno discovered that she had a very sensitive neck and shoulders, and Miyako took full advantage of it, both of them having moved over to the comfort of Yuno's bed. They were just in the middle of taking full enjoyment in this discovery when there was a knock at the door. Yuno looked over at the door, back at a disappointed looking Miyako, and tried to placate her with one more firm kiss on the lips and a slow smile before she jumped up and went to sit at the table, yelling,
"Come in!" As she did so. Miyako had just sat down at the table as well when the door opened to admit Sae and Hiro.
"Oh, Miyako's here too?" Sae noted, brows raising. Hiro and Sae only made it a few steps into the room before they stopped stock-still, and started shaking.
"Sae-san?" Yuno asked.
"Hiro-san?" Miyako raised an eyebrow questioningly.
They started laughing, unable to contain themselves.
"What, what is it?" Yuno said, bewildered. Sae and Hiro fell silent, looked at one another, then burst into more chuckles, walking into the room and sitting down at the table.
"So... you two have just been sitting here for a few hours, with a bunch of scattered manga, watching ice-cream melt?" Sae pointed to the forgotten carton on the table from before, which had achieved the consistency of snow-slush on a well worn path.
"Um, well, that is..." Yuno started, flushing.
"No, no, Sae," Hiro interrupted her, "They must have forgotten the ice-cream when the vacuum cleaner ran up Yuno's shirt and she had to fight it off."
Yuno exchanged a blank look with Miyako, whose eyes traveled down slightly and widened. Then she, too, was joining Sae and Hiro in their laughter, and Yuno felt good and well alone and lost. Miyako leaned over to her.
"Um, Yuno... I think I was a little too energetic. Your collar--" Yuno felt, and the neck of her shirt was stretched out from Miyako trying to get access to more skin without removing it first, "And, there's this," Miyako reached out with a finger and circled a very obvious mark left on Yuno's neck. Yuno immediately flushed and tucked her chin down, looking to her onlooking friends like a turtle trying to withdraw its neck.
"Looks like Miyako wasn't so lazy as you thought, Hiro." Sae winked, "I say it looks like I won the bet."
"Bet?" Yuno and Miyako asked simultaneously. Sae and Hiro looked slightly uncomfortable. Sae started to explain first.
"Well, Miyako, after I had told you to confess to Yuno--"
"Wait a minute." Yuno interrupted and turned to Miyako, "You... oh right, your confession! You mean it was for me?"
"You didn't know by now?"
"I forgot you even said anything like that! We were busy with other things."
It took a few minutes and four voices speaking in spontaneous turn, but the whole story was finally made known to both Yuno and Miyako, along with the specifics of the little bet.
"But you didn't win, then, Sae-san." Miyako said thoughtfully, "Yuno confessed first."
"No, Miya-chan. I said that I had wanted to confess, that's not the same. I would say that your kiss was the real confession."
"Nah, saying that you wanted to confess is too the same. You went first, Hiro-san wins."
"Hey, hey, forget it," Sae laughed, "It's not that important."
Miyako and Yuno looked at one another and smiled. "You're right, Sae-san, it's not that important," Miyako slung an arm around Yuno's shoulders and hugged her close, but then her eyes fell once more on the half-melted ice-cream.
"But that's a tragedy!" She cried, letting go of Yuno and slumping dejectedly on the table, "My poor ice-cream. My poor three hundred eighty-five yen."
Hiro reached over and took up the container. "Wait, Miya-chan. It's still salvageable. It doesn't quite work to re-freeze it, but I think I could make a few nice cookie dough milkshakes with this."
"Cookie dough milkshakes?" Yuno said aloud, unsure what she thought of that. Miyako wasn't so concerned.
"Hooray! Hiro-san saves the day and the ice-cream!" She nuzzled her forehead on the top of Yuno's head playfully.
"Say Hiro, they sure seem to have gotten the hang of this fairly quickly," Sae noted objectively.
"It is Miya-chan," Hiro said simply, by way of explanation.
"It's Yuno too," Sae added, "It takes two," she stood and offered a hand to Hiro, "Why don't I take you to go fix up that idea of yours, and we can leave them alone for just a few more minutes," she directed her voice to the smiling pair, lost in one another's company.
"Hey--yes, you two, there, with the canoodling and such," They turned to her, "You've got ten minutes. If Hiro is going through the trouble of making something, you two can manage to come over to her apartment to get it. Try and get done what you need to by then."
"We'll be there, Sae-san," Miyako guaranteed, "After all, we have the rest of the night to get done anything we can't fit in."
"Oh no you don't," Sae said warningly, "I can't sit idly by while a couple of students lose sleep on a school night, what kind of upperclassman would I be in that case?"
"Miss Deadline is one to talk," Miyako grumbled to Yuno, who giggled. Sae furrowed her brows, but Hiro grabbed her hand and dragged her away.
"Later, Sae, your words are falling on deaf ears right now," Hiro chimed as she pulled Sae out of the apartment, "Besides, what would you say if I mentioned that I didn't mind losing my sleep tonight?" Hiro asked archly. Sae backtracked hurriedly.
"Wait a sec. Hold on, Hiro. that's an entirely different matter."
"Oh? How so?"
Sae floundered, unable to come up with any words.
"I see," Hiro smiled, and walked away towards her own apartment with Sae following, flushing.
"Say, Yuno-chi, isn't there a little more to this girlfriend thing?" Miyako asked between kisses. Yuno turned her head on her pillow, looking thoughtful.
"Mm-hmm. Why do you ask, Miya-chan, are you tired of kisses already?" Yuno reached over to scatter a few across Miyako's face.
"Not a chance," she answered with a straight face.
"Then we can worry about those other things later."
"Sounds good to me," Miyako nodded, continuing where she had left off. After a few seconds, however, Yuno put a hand on Miyako's cheek, drawing their faces apart.
"No, that's wrong," she said, "There is one thing that I think we need to worry about now."
"I didn't really say it before, I just realized. I love you, Miya-chan."
Miyako smiled tenderly, "I love you too, Yuno-chi."