Siopao: (03/10/2014) I'm out with another GALS! production. My gratitude goes to all who supported me in my previous story: One Summer's Day! Please read and review it if you have the time. This new one is a short oneshot that I concocted in my head. Pure sweetness! This is kind of a song fic... but not really? Just read and see!

Disclaimer: I don't own GALS!, or its characters.

Setting: Post series during the late fall. Otohata Rei's POV.

Absolutely

One-shot

By: Screaming Siopao

This is a story of a girl
Who cried a river and drowned the whole world
And while she looks so sad in photographs
I absolutely love her

When she smiles.


I'm waiting for her as I sit alone on this uncomfortable park bench. It's about dusk now; the sun is currently playing with the sky's orange and pinkish hues. God sure can paint a nice canvas. It's a cool November evening and I'm wearing a light jacket to keep warm. I shove my hands into my jacket's pockets and feel that my motor scooter's keys and wallet are inside. Where is she, that girl? That girl I'm waiting for:

Aya Hoshino.

That name always strikes a cord with me. She's a crybaby. She's far too sensitive. She's extremely self-conscious.

She's so... caring. I shake my head and smile inwardly at all of her selfless, giving acts. I remember that time she showed up to my house before one of our dates last year:

I swung the door open after I heard a small, timid knock on its wooden surface.

"Rei-kun, this puppy," she looked up at me with those big, pleading orbs. Tears were threatening to fall at any given moment. Great, I thought. She hasn't even been around for one minute and she's already about to start her usual water-works show. "I found him at the park on my way here," she continued.

"Hn," I coldly grunted. I wasn't too fond of animals. Dogs especially were annoying to me.

"His... His paw is badly hurt," she whimpered sadly, holding the little brown fur-ball daintily. "He's been whining during the whole walk here."

"And?" I raised an eyebrow apathetically.

"I need to care for him till we find his owner."

"What about our date?" I asked. She was silent for a second.

"I'm sorry, Rei-kun. I really want to go out with you." I could see that she was genuinely torn at the time. A tear was threatening to fall from her hazelnut eyes. "But I... I need to care for Mocchin." I remember her blushing at that last part. I stifled a chuckle at her cute form.

"Mo... Mocchin?" I repeated, raising an eyebrow. Her blushing increased. She nodded slightly while looking away. The little runt snuggled close to her chest, causing a strange envy to stir in me. I quickly shook the feeling off, realizing how dumb I must have looked. "You named it already?"

"Of course. I think it's a cute name." She nuzzled the little mutt's nose.

"I guess it can't be helped," I sighed. I pulled her inside and her eyes grew large with surprise. "Since you're way too caring for your own good, we'll postpone our date. Just don't cry. I'll stay here with you and help you care for the dumb mutt, okay?"

"Ehh? Really, Rei-kun?" she asked with shock.

"Well, yeah. I'm not totally cruel to let that thing starve to death outside," I replied. She smiled so brightly at that moment - I still remember it. It was so carefree and beatific. Thinking back at that smile makes me feel warmer in this cold weather.

"Thank you, Rei-kun." Such a simple minded girl.

I snap out of my reverie and shiver involuntarily as a strong, chilly breeze ruffles my hair. We ended up keeping that dog, by the way, since no owner ever came to claim the little mutt. He stays with me, since Aya's cat doesn't get along with dogs, but she comes to walk and feed Mocchin– yes, we stuck with that ridiculous name– just about every day.

I'm still waiting for her on this hard bench, though I was really starting to regret not grabbing a thicker coat. I fastened the buttons on my jacket to help keep myself warm. Hm. Buttons...

I suddenly remember graduation day. It was annoying, as I'd anticipated. Meisho Daichi was swarmed with girls that day.

"Otohata-san!" a timid girl with short blonde hair approached me. "Can I please have one of your b- buttons?" she stammered. I sighed with annoyance.

"Here," I said, plucking off my bottom-most button from my uniform jacket. She squealed with joy upon receiving the worthless thing.

"Th- Thank you!" she yelped as she skipped away happily. I will never understand the inner-workings of a female's heart.

A few more girls approached me and I handed out my buttons one by one. As if the act meant anything to me, anyway.

Buttons, huh. Aya would probably want one, I thought. I removed the button that was second from the top and shoved it in my pants' pocket. I recalled some nonsense about handing this button to your girlfriend. Something about it being close to your heart. Gag me.

Something caught my eye in the vast crowd of people. It was her. She was sobbing as she clung onto some nearby tree. She could be really weird, sometimes. I approached her, casually parting the sea of girls that were in my way.

"Aya? I told you you didn't have to bother coming." She didn't heed my warning. She could be surprisingly stubborn.

"But I... I wanted one of your buttons..." she whimpered. It was cute, in a way.

"Hold out your hand." She complied timidly. "I thought you might want one. So, I saved it for you."

After that, all I recalled was her flushing face filled with pure adoration for the tiny button, as if she had never seen anything so glorious before. I was amazed by her simplicity.

"Otohata-kun... This makes me so happy... Th- Thank..." she sobbed, not even finishing her sentence. Then, came Niagara Falls. I somewhat expected something like that to happen, so I wasn't too surprised. I was simply speechless at her emotional response to the dumb little thing.

I still can't fathom how an item so insignificant for me meant the world to her.

I look out onto the streets for any sign of her. I check my watch. She's kept me waiting for fifteen minutes now. Not that I mind, but it's really unlike her.

I remember sitting on a similar bench like this one back when Hounan was having their annual festival. That was during our second year of high school, probably the rockiest year in my relationship with her.

I sat on a bench during the festival, a bit annoyed at how many people were around. It was far too loud for my own tastes.

I came to the fest with some slight worries. Ran had told me that Aya was crying everyday. I decided I'd better go see for myself.

Then, I heard a bell-like laugh. It was her laugh. I looked over to find her with another guy with nut-brown hair and green eyes. I'd never seen him before; he was probably from her academic track class.

It was good to see her laughing and smiling and my earlier worries subsided for just a moment.

But then, I thought, that should be me making her happy like that.

As ticked off as I was at the time, I wasn't going to force her to stay with me. I'd let her figure it out on her own whom she really wanted to be with. After all, she's not dumb. I wanted to see how she faced up to the test. Just like how gold is put through fire to test its purity. I definitely had faith in her. Ganbatte, Aya.

"Rei-kun!" I hear a feminine voice shout, snapping me out of my memories. Hn, it's pretty rare for me to visit so many past occasions like that. It wasn't particularly terrible though. Maybe I'll take more trips down memory lane from now on.

I look up as I see her frantically dashing towards me. She looks flustered and apologetic.

"Oi," I simply mouth as she reaches me, bending over panting and trying to catch her breath.

"I'm so sorry I kept you waiting! My cat ran out of the house to chase a squirrel and I had to go get her before she caused an accident at the intersection. Then I - "

I chuckle at her panicking form, which causes her to stop explaining her extravagant story.

"Eh? What's funny?" she asks innocently with those wide, hazelnut eyes.

"Nothing," I state nonchalantly. I pat her head softly to assure her I'm not angered by her lateness. "Don't worry about it. Let's go get some hot tea. I'm freezing here."

"A soy caramel latte, for me!" she excitedly exclaims while walking by my side. She's more of a coffee person. Not to mention, she has a sweet tooth, hence the caramel that she always seems to add to her espresso drinks. Me, I like black tea. Plain and simple.

She's briskly walking beside me, talking energetically about her chase with that cat of hers. When given the chance, she can be quite talkative. Who knew? I'm not annoyed in the least, though. She's opened up to me this much and it shows how much she's really grown. Watching her get stronger gives me hope, too. Hope to be a better person, most especially for her.

I take her hand as she's blabbering away; she's oblivious to the fact that I'm staring at her and not really listening to a word she's saying. She has a pretty wide variety of facial expressions while she's telling stories.

"Rei-kun?" she asks as she stares at her tiny hand which is now engulfed by mine.

"What?"

"Your hand is... warm." She takes our entwined hands and rubs the backside of mine against her rosy cheek to absorb the warmth, smiling beatifically as she does so. It takes my breath away every damn time.

"Hn," I respond, trying to hide the blush that I can feel forming on my face. She catches me off guard with that innocence of hers. "Whatever. Weird girl."

I stuff my hand, which is still holding hers, into my jacket pocket. I really hate the cold but holding her hand makes the situation a bit warmer. She giggles musically and I smile inwardly.

I stare at this girl next to me. When we first started dating, she was fidgety and shy. She still possesses her timid qualities today but it's what makes her uniquely Aya, I suppose. Though it's dramatically decreased, she still cries like a baby from time to time.

But what makes me love seeing those tears is knowing that her bright smile will follow shortly after. I absolutely love that magnificent smile. Her smile is the anticipated rainbow after a storm. The glint of hope which inspires anyone who happens to be lucky enough to come by it. She doesn't smile often, or just for anyone for that matter. But when she does, I never take it for granted.

Maybe someday, she can teach me how to smile like that.

This is the story of a girl
Whose pretty face she hid from the world
And while she looks so sad and lonely there
I absolutely love her

When she smiles.

Absolutely: End.

Siopao: I actually took some dialogue out from the actual manga! Pretty fun. When I heard this song "Absolutely (Story of a Girl)" by Nine Days, I totally thought about Aya right away. Please review, lovely people of the Gals! fandom. :)