Romance in A! Major
Disclaimer: Azumanga Daioh is not mine, dang it
Author's Notes: I'm dropping my own "AzuDai shipping with ballroom dancing" fic! Actually, back in 2008, I had attempted this, though I never got past the first chapter. Looking back, I also didn't like how I was portraying Kaorin at the time. Back as a teenager, I disliked her very much. Today, while she's not one of my top characters, she didn't deserve the hate I gave her in that old fic. The old fic has long since been stored away, and I just took a few ideas from what was originally written to help build up this one-shot. This one-shot that was originally just supposed to be a short vignette...
The only other noteworthy thing is that this is a 3rd Year story. Enjoy!
"Thank you so much for taking Shinohara's place. It means so much!"
"Don't worry about it, Kaorin. But, it's awfully close to the party. I'm going to have to relearn some steps...and what about my…?"
"No! Don't worry about him! He didn't look all that interested, so maybe this is all for the better! Anyway, we can put something together quick so you don't stand out and we'll give you a quick crash course. You've always been one of the best learners besides Chiyo-chan! Here, let me just make a quick call and meet me at my place after school! Again, thank you so much!"
"This is such a dumb party! What kind of weirdo decides to hold a Western-Classical Ball as their birthday party?"
Tomo paused in her self-rambling. Oh, right. Kaorin.
Well, then, why had Kaorin decided this to be her party's theme? That was something that Tomo just could not understand. Well, at least the outfits were paid for, and, she had to admit, Kaorin and Chihiro had a knack for designs. However, with all the money spent on the classmates' outfits and even the rental of the venue, all of that money could have been spent on something more useful. If Tomo had that kind of money, she would have picked some awesome vacation out of the country, or maybe a lifetime supply of her favorite snacks.
The party was simple enough. After the first dance, the guests were free to do whatever they pleased. They could continue dancing with whoever or just pig out on snacks. However, it was that first dance that was annoying Tomo the most. Kaorin had invited select boys and girls from both her own class as well as a few former classmates from Class 3. With a handpicked group, one would think Kaorin had made sure there were an even number of guys and gals, right? No, it was just off in a way that there would be at least one pair of the same gender. During the days everyone were given special dance lessons, it was pretty obvious who the lone extra girl was – Sakaki. Tomo was paired up with some random schmuck from Kaorin's class. He seemed okay, but everything about this whole thing was stupid. If it was not for the free, fancy dress and the free food after the first dance…
As the guests arrived, Tomo could not help but notice her partner was becoming more and more "fashionably late," so to speak. There were a lot of people coming in at around the same time. She had trouble picking out anyone from the crowd. At some point, though, Sakaki must have arrived because she could see Kaorin complimenting the taller girl on the special suit she was wearing – another sign that Sakaki was definitely the extra girl. While all the guys had simple tuxedos, Sakaki's suit was not even that – it looked more like something out of those French-based manga with the fancy "ball" clothing. Meanwhile, all the girls were in dresses of various hues, Tomo included. It was a nice dress – it was orange with golden trim. Those were some pretty nice colors, she had to admit. Vibrant, just like herself!
Minutes passed, and Tomo was beginning to think that maybe she should have kept an eye out for her friends. At least she would have someone to talk to before the dreaded dance! It was just too crowded. Her friends surely had to be out there somewhere…Yomi! Where was Yomi anyway? She had given the girl a call earlier to see if they wanted to come to the party together, but she had declined. She probably did not want Tomo to see her in the ugly dress Kaorin had surely made for her…
"Attention, everyone! Attention, please?" Kaorin gently tapped her microphone, but instantly regretted it, as she received some minor feedback. "Ouch… Anyway… Welcome to my birthday party! It means so much to see you all here tonight." Sigh. No Kimura in sight, either. Good. "Now, as you know, there is just one thing I ask all of you to do to make this night magical. The music will start shortly – please find your partners, and have fun!"
While the guests filed onto the dance floor, Kaorin and Sakaki were poised to be center stage. Tomo had to admit, they looked really stunning. Both were wearing royal blue with silver trim. Her hair was in a low ponytail, too, probably to accentuate the whole "coolness" factor on Sakaki. Tomo could not help but feel slightly jealous. Kaorin was outshining her!
No...no, no! This was her party. Let her have her fun. Tomo could always make her own mischief after this stupid dance. Speaking of…her partner was nowhere in sight! Everyone seemed to have found theirs, where was –
"Ah...May I have this dance?"
Tomo looked up. At that moment, all the air escaped out of her lungs. There, standing in front of her, was the most stunning sight she had ever seen. Wearing a tuxedo just like all the other guys, but also accessorized with a simple mask and with hair done up similar to Sakaki, was none other than Yomi. She recognized that low, calm voice anywhere! Was the mask there so she could blend in with the guys better? Whatever the reason, Tomo had not reacted. After all, breathing was not that important, right?
"Tomo…the music is starting."
Breathe, girl! Breathe! "RIGHT!" she squeaked out. Great start, Tomo! "Wait, what are you doing on the guy's side?"
Yomi hushed her simply by holding Tomo's hand with her own gloved one and placing her other hand around the girls' waist. That was another blow to the poor girl's lungs. "Let's just get the dance over with." While it certainly sounded monotonous at first, Tomo could not help but note the slight, hesitating tone, and...Was that a blush?
Waltzes could be lengthy, but for Tomo, it felt like she was stuck in some sort of time loop. Or frozen in time…but the music was still playing. Somewhere. It almost sounded like it was coming from another room, to be honest. Instead, Tomo's senses were focused on her dancing partner, her best friend.
Now, it was no secret to Tomo that she had some feelings for Yomi. She knew this for quite some time. It was difficult to get across to Yomi, though. She tried the classic routes – teasing, attention-grabbing…giving her the occasional intimate touch. It was never anything that crossed the line. Yomi never seemed to reciprocate it, though. It was beginning to get on Tomo's nerves, to be quite honest.
Something about Yomi's current attire, though, was sparking something within Tomo's core. She did look rather dashing. Never knew Yomi could look amazing in a tux, she thought to herself. Blushing a bit, she could not help but look right into Yomi's mask only to confirm that she still had her glasses on. The mask must be clipped on or something. At least Yomi could see where she was going, and by Tomo's senses, she could tell the taller girl was leading her in some grand, sweeping movements. By all means, this should have been making Tomo dizzy, but, with Yomi's gentle hold around her waist, she was assured the other girl knew what she was doing. Her thoughts were pleasantly interrupted, however, by the soothing sounds of Yomi's hushed voice against her ear...When had she leaned forward? Tomo had no idea.
"Kaorin had asked me to take Shinohara's spot only a few days ago, by the way." Her whispers sent shivers down Tomo's spine. "He had somewhere to be and apologizes for ruining your time here, by the way."
That brought Tomo back momentarily. "Wha…?"
"I guess I…sort of volunteered," Yomi continued as she looked aside, forming a lopsided smirk. "Who else would give up their partners so suddenly and pair up with you," she stated matter-of-factly.
For the first time in what felt like forever, Tomo regained control of her mouth. With a soft chuckle, she replied, "It takes a special kind of person to handle Takino Tomo, of course!"
Yomi's smirk became more confident. "Of course," she replied then swept Tomo into another set of magnificent spins as the music swelled up once again. Tomo felt herself almost melting into her friend's guiding arms. Looking up again, Yomi looked absolutely gorgeous under the current lights. Her eyes were briefly closed, enjoying the music and letting herself almost get lost in it. A blush crept up onto Tomo's cheeks. The sight was something to behold, and it was hers to enjoy alone.
Uwaa, Yomi's really getting into it!
She stifled a giggle. While this would have been the perfect time to make fun of the girl, something within told her to avoid it this time. Besides, why ruin such a beautiful sight?
As the music quieted again, their dancing slowed to fit the current movement. Yomi was now looking at Tomo again, but now…had that blush gotten larger? If so, Tomo thought to herself, then we're matched. Indeed, Tomo's own face was warming up with each passing moment. Yomi must have noticed because her eyes softened while looking down at the smaller girl. It was not a look Tomo saw often, but it made her feel warm inside. A smile began to creep up onto Tomo's features. While awkward, the smile was gentle, which further warmed Yomi's own features. The two were having a quiet conversation, their eyes speaking to one another and letting the other girl know they were enjoying this.
At last, the final part of the waltz hit, and the tune swelled back into an emotionally charged finale. Tomo was never one to focus unless she put her heart into it. There was that time she studied to get into their high school. That was to spite Yomi, sure, but it was also to impress her. Now, her heart was very much into this dance, and she did not care if she was no longer the focus. She wanted this dance to be the best dance she had ever danced with Yomi. With Yomi's lead guiding her safely, she closed her own eyes and figuratively fell into those final twirls until the song finally ended when their bodies – and eyes – met in a final embrace.
The rest of the audience clapped and cheered. It took a moment for Tomo to realize they were being aimed at Kaorin and Sakaki. Apparently her and Yomi had ended up somewhere toward the back corners of the dance floor in their trance, which meant no one actually noticed them.
"Whaaaat? No way!" Tomo whined, stomping her foot in irritation. "I thought for sure I beat Kaorin at her own party!"
"Well, I'm happy for her," Yomi replied in her usual, dull tone. She was removing the mask from her glasses. "She deserves it, you know."
"But but…we were so awesome! I mean, the way we spun around and swayed to the music was WAY better than whatever they were doing!"
They could hear Kaorin thank the guests for playing along with her birthday wish. While another waltz started playing, Kaorin assured folks she would put in some modern tunes as well and to please enjoy the rest of the party as they wished.
Tomo and Yomi simply remained by the corner of the dance floor, the former still whining about how everyone missed their awesome dancing. Suddenly, a gloved finger had touched Tomo's lips. Looking up, Tomo saw Yomi giving her that soft expression again. She could feel her face warm back up again.
"So what if no one saw us dancing," Yomi began quietly. "Look at it this way – what we did together is something only you and I know about and no one else. No one else is privy to it. That makes it a very special memory…right?" She let go of Tomo's lips, hoping for a decent response.
Tomo let it sink in before exploding into one of her typical grins. "You've got a great point there! Yeah! It's our memory! No one else can ever have it! It's like a one-of-a-kind collectible!"
"Mm," was Yomi's simple response. There was a smile there, though, Tomo could tell.
The party continued on, but tension was growing a little thick between the two girls. Neither one knew exactly what to do next. The experience earlier was a tough act to follow. Something had slowly started to unravel between the two, though. Curiosity was piqued. To avoid it would be to tighten up that knot all over again. Could they even handle such tension after tonight?
Tomo coughed, grabbing her friend's attention. "…Say, Yomi?"
"You wanna, uh, show me some more of those moves back at your place or something? I'm tired of all these dorks running around. It's boring."
"I see." Tomo was offered a gloved hand. "Let's go, then. My place sounds good."
Unable to hide the genuine smile from her face, Tomo simply replied by squeezing Yomi's hand in return. After wishing a visibly happy Kaorin a happy birthday, the two excused themselves from the party. They took the train back to Yomi's place – it was the quickest way back – never once letting go of each other's hands. It may have been difficult to put their thoughts into words, but these silent actions were all they needed to know about their feelings that evening.
Once they reached their destination, a classical station was chosen to play softly within the confines of Yomi's room. It would play well into the morning, long after they danced to one more waltz, long after they changed into more relaxing clothes, and long after they decided to spend the rest of the evening together.