The teacher dismissed them for lunch, and within seconds the class was dispersed. Tomo looked around for the small girl with glasses that had been looking at her all during class. She probably had thought that Tomo didn't notice at all, but she wasn't as dumb as she was loud, contrary to popular belief. She was just lazy. These are two different things, lazy and dumb. She was proudly the former, and not the latter.

"Now, where did she go?" she wondered to herself. Come to think of it, she didn't even notice her desk in the classroom. What in the...?

She left the room, and noticed a small crowd of people huddled around something in the middle of the hallway. Tomo pushed her way to the front. "Lemme see! Lemme see! Professional cop, coming through!" Some of the other kids giggled at her, but she didn't care.

In the middle of the hallway was...the girl's desk. And how did she know it was hers? Well, written on the desk in large, black letters was:

WEAKLING FOUR-EYES!

Sitting on the desk were a smashed pair of glasses.

"Who did this?" Tomo asked. Nobody said anything.

"WHO DID THIS?" she asked again, anger pushing it to a scream. A couple of the boys giggled, and within a flash she was pinning one of them against a wall.

"Was it you?" she growled. The boy, despite Tomo being all of 8 years old, realised he was probably in deep shit at this point, and Tomo sensed it. She got deadly quiet.

"If you lay another finger on her, I will-" and at this point she decided to employ a word she heard her dad use last night "-fucking waste you. Or your friends. Or all of you. I don't really care." She dropped him to the ground and went off in search of the girl, leaving the boy and his friends shell-shocked.

She can't be too far from here. Or so she thought. The girl was nowhere to found in the building; the only place Tomo had yet to check was the roof. What a strange place to hide, but I guess that's the point, if you're hiding from bullies...

She opened the door to the roof, and among the plants she saw a garbage can next to a bench. She decided to sit down and plan her method of search.

Rustle.

Something...someone was in that garbage can.

She decided to try singing a song she'd just learned.

"When you are happy with laughter to spare,
Fun is twice as fun with someone to share.
When you are lonely and full of despair
Things aren't half as bad when somebody cares.

When you're lookin' for a shoulder you can cry on,
Won't you think about me?
When you're lookin' for someone you can rely on,
Don't you ever doubt me!

I'll be there someway somehow,
That's what bein' friends is about!"

A...girl's voice? Yomi thought from inside the garbage. Could it be her?

Tomo hesitated, then removed the lid to the bin. Curled inside was a small, timid, terrified, white-as-a-sheet girl, wearing a different pair of glasses than she had been wearing earlier.

"Hey there," Tomo said. Yomi just blinked back. "You okay?"

Yomi shook her head violently.

"You need help getting out of that bin?"

Yomi again shook her head.

"You just want me to sit here with you?"

To this, Yomi nodded, slowly at first. She stood up, wobbling mightily, but managed to extract herself from the bin just fine. She took a seat next to Tomo. "Nobody ever uses that bin, so I should be okay."

"'cause nobody ever comes up here."

"Yeah, I reckon I'm the only one."

"You reckon?" The sides of Tomo's mouth curled upwards in a slight smile.

"Please don't tease me about my manner of speaking."

"No, no, it's...it's cute."

"Oh." Both girls blushed.

She's...she's really cute, Tomo thought.

Yomi was thinking the same about her new friend.

"I'm Tomo by the way."

"I know who you are. I'm Koyomi."

"Koyomi, eh?" Tomo said, becoming her more ebullient self again. "I'm gonna call you Yomi! Yomi is cuter." Yomi blushed a bit more. "O-o-okay," she replied. "Does...does that mean we're friends?"

"Of course it does. We should be best friends! Best friends forever!" Tomo got up and bounded off towards the doors; lunchtime was almost over.

Walking beside her, Yomi was still seeing Tomo smile at her, and for the first time in her young life, she didn't feel scared.

I never, ever, ever want her to leave.


Author's Note: The song Tomo sings is Bein' Friends from the video game MOTHER, with the lyrics sung by Christina Warwick.