And here we are, nearing the end of the story. I thank those who've remained faithful to me! I don't own the Azumanga of Daioh.
Chapter 22, "A New Year's Meeting".
"It's New Year's Eve!" Tomo wailed, running about the street with an exasperated Yomi trying to calm her.
"Yes, and? It's not like it's a big deal, just another day in the year." She mumbled.
"Aw, don't think like that, Yomi! Think of it this way: we're one day closer to graduation!" the shorter partner retorted, and that actually did serve to lighten Yomi's mood.
'True enough...I'll be glad to get into Tokyo University. But...I wonder if Tomo will? She'd better not continue on like she is, or they'll never take her with those grades...' she sighed as she thought about her girlfriend. She'd fallen in love with the off-the-wall, unrelentingly energetic Tomo years ago. Would she be willing to make Tomo change to suit her own wants? Or, even worse, would she have to change? The notion seemed so implausible to her, and yet it made her realize that there'd me more compromises than she thought in their relationship. However, watching Tomo flounder about in an ecstatic state, she decided to push the thought aside and enjoy what little time there was left to just act like kids.
And that made her able to admit that Tomo had indeed changed her, allowing her to open up for once.
"Hey, Yomi..." she was broken from her thoughts by her girlfriend's voice.
"Y-yeah? What is it?" she answered.
"You...well, I was wondering if..." Tomo began, and it confused Yomi because of the hesitation in her voice.
"Go on, what is it?" She coaxed, wondering what might stop the always persistent Tomo.
"It...it was nothing, just forget about it!" Tomo feigned an embarrassed smile, but the larger girl had figured out when she was and wasn't lying. In this case, she was.
"Tell me the truth, Tomo. What is it?" she more commanded than asked.
"I'll ask you later, okay?" Tomo avoided again. Yomi might have plied further, but then thought about where it might lead; she didn't want another 'Incident'. The thought made her cringe, so she decided to play it Tomo's way and wait for her.
Elsewhere, Kagura ran laps in a usual route. She had her mind set on post-graduation plans. 'I wonder what I'll do...I wonder what Sakaki will do? If we take different paths, will we be separated? I want to do my own thing, but I also want to be with her. Well, I'll talk to her about that.' She pondered along the way. At the same time, Sakaki was thinking the opposite at her home. She'd already decided that she could make alterations to her plans if it meant staying with Kagura. Not very surprising that the two would have opposite ideas about the same thing...
Osaka was on her way to Chiyo's in the afternoon. She had plans for next year. "But wait," she began to mull, "tomorrow is next year. Does that mean I'll have to do it then? Hmmm...I wonder if I'll have a cool New Year's dream like last year?" and once again, her mind trekked to other thoughts without fail. This went on for some time, but she stopped when she saw a familiar pair. "Kaorin, Chihiro!" she called.
They turned to call back, but a speeding car flew through the road past them. Splashing Kaorin with water in the process. "Ack! What the heck? What's the big idea!" she floundered about. When she sneezed from the cold, Chihiro didn't hesitate to take off her jacket and wrap it around her girlfriend. "Wha...? But won't you be cold?" Kaorin asked her.
"It's alright, don't worry about it." Chihiro assured her.
"So, what're you two up to?" Osaka interjected.
"We were thinking of what to do tomorrow. But it seems like there's nothing we haven't already done..." Kaorin answered, forming a sweat drop.
"Hmmm...okay. Well, I'm kinda busy at the moment, so I'll talk to you two later!" Osaka waved goodbye. The others did too, but became exasperated when hearing her ask herself what she'd been doing.
"She'll never change..." Chihiro remarked as they continued on their walk.
Kagura was still thinking of her special person, deciding to go see her after she was finished with her run. On that thought, the subject of their future came up again. What would happen between them? Another thought tugged, although not as important; Sakaki had Maya now, and Kagura wasn't the fondest of cats. "Oh well. I'll just show it who's boss." She mused. She was planning on pursuing an athletic career, and Sakaki was going to become a veterinarian. With such a difference between their jobs, and the demands associated with them, would they understand each other as often? However, Kagura adopted a Tomo-like demeanor on these things, so she simply pushed it aside.
Unfortunately, this day wasn't going the best for one Chiyo, who was trying to get in touch with her parents. Just one of many inconveniences involved with their trips. She sighed, and looked out the window. The snow wouldn't clear for at least another week. She went for the stairs, but halted at the unexpected sound of the doorbell. Answering it, she smiled; at least another person she loved could see her.
"Good afternoon, Ayumu." She exclaimed, hugging her girlfriend tightly.
"Heya, Chiyo! I figured I could at least be with ya for now, since I couldn't on Christmas." Osaka rubbed the back of her head.
"So...was there anything in particular you had on your mind?" Chiyo asked as she closed the door behind Osaka.
"Uhm...uh...well, now that ya mention it, there was somethin'..." The dark haired girl began sifting through her many thoughts, all the while Chiyo forming a bead of sweat.
"Err...well, that's alright. Anyway, what did you do for Christmas, Ayumu?" the smaller girl asked, drawing Osaka off her attempts. At that, Osaka told her some interesting things, and a couple that got her questioning some things about her cousins. Chiyo then informed the other girl of what her Christmas had been like, and some of the hectic activities involved in pulling it off successfully. By the time they were done telling their stories, the sun hovered above the horizon. "It's that late already?" Osaka wondered, and stood to leave. She stopped when a small weight abruptly wrapped around her waist.
"Don't go...not yet. Please?" Chiyo pleaded. Osaka would have said she couldn't, but realized that nothing important was stopping her. After a small debate with herself, she decided to stay.
"Whatever you want, Chiyo." She replied, smiling at her.
Before long, their friends had arrived, no doubt summoned by Chiyo earlier in the day. "I knew we were gonna have a rockin' New Year's party! Woot!" Tomo chirped, Yomi alongside her.
"You make it sound like we're going to have a rave." She replied, shaking her head.
"And why shouldn't we? We won't get many more chances like this." Tomo shot back.
"But how're we gonna have a cool dream if we're up all night?" Osaka intervened. At that, no one had a comment, not even Tomo.
"We'll be too busy for petty things like that!" Tomo told her.
"But we do have to go to school tomorrow." Chiyo announced, causing their wildcat to facefault.
"Way to go and ruin the good mood." The hyperactive teen moaned. Oddly enough, Sakaki showed up without Kagura.
"Hello, Miss Sakaki! Come in!" Chiyo welcomed her as she came to the door.
"Eh? Shouldn't Kagura be with ya?" Osaka wondered aloud.
"She's out doing her run, and said she'd try to make it. No guarantees, though." Sakaki answered, keeping a straight voice. The expression on her face, however, a forlorn one, betrayed her sharp exterior.
"Aw, cheer up! She knows better than to be late for our gigs!" Tomo attempted to reassure her, a small shock to the others. "Yeah, I know. Thanks." The tallest girl replied, feeling a little better.
"So, is there anything in particular that we should do tonight?" Yomi brought up, glancing around the living room.
"Well, my father got these a few years ago, but I didn't remember until just recently. I'll get them..." Chiyo answered. During her absence, Tomo was able to come up with a large list of ideas for what it may be, given Chiyo's wealth, all of which Yomi shot down with a rational explanation. Returning a short time later, Chiyo set a large package on the ground. Unfastening the opening, it revealed a large assortment of fireworks.
"Alright! Go Chiyo-chan!" Tomo wailed, but Osaka didn't celebrate.
"But, wait...ain't those illega-"She began, before the wildcat's hand came to cover her mouth, its owner giving her a death glare.
"Eh? What is it?" their hostess asked, worried.
"Oh, nothing you need to worry about. Now let's party!" Taking things outside, Tomo insisted that she be the first to light some off.
"Are you sure that's a safe plan?" Kagura asked, coming up the drive.
"Don't question me! I am perfectly capable of-"The other girl began to protest before the firecrackers she'd forgotten to let go of went off, causing her to throw them and cry in pain.
"What, were you expecting it to feel good or something?" her girlfriend growled, walking over to help her.
"Shut up! It was Kagura's damn fault!" Tomo answered bitterly. She clutched her right hand and tried to will the pain off.
"Excuse me? You were holding them in your hand like an idiot!" the accused spat back. Sakaki and Yomi stepped in, restraining their respective partners before they could claw each other's eyes out. The only ones who hadn't entered the fray were Chiyo and Osaka, who opted to stand back and watch with mild amusement.
"Kinda like a sitcom..." The older of the two commented.
"Dysfunctional is the term, I think...but I wouldn't expect anything different out of them." Chiyo responded, torn between exasperation and sarcasm. Before the struggle could pursue any longer, she realized what time it was. "Almost time for the New Year. We should head back inside; I know something we can watch." And so they reluctantly entered the house again, two of them glaring daggers at one another.
Turning on her television, Chiyo put on a channel which was, obviously, a New Year's celebration. The location was a large city street, with large screens atop a building wall. The building wedged outward to either side, creating an intersection. "Whoa, there's a lot goin' on there. Where is that?" Osaka wondered, transfixed with everything.
"It looks almost like it's here in the city, or Osaka even, but everything is in English." Sakaki added.
"That's Time Square in New York City. It's a famous city in the U.S." Chiyo explained, with Yomi nodding in agreement.
"I've seen some of those before. They call it 'the biggest street party in the world'". Came her explanation.
"Then why ain't I there?" Tomo grumbled indignantly. Ignoring her, the rest of them watched as the atmosphere changed. Many of the people quieted as the famous glass ball descended. Those present began counting down to the New Year, as did the six girls.
"5, 4, 3, 2, 1-"They joined in.
At "0! Happy New Year", Tomo thought up the brilliant idea of screaming like an insane, indescribable madwoman.
"TOMO! You ruined it, you dolt!" Yomi seethed, winding up her arm.
"Not really. All those people don't seem to mind." Osaka commented, stopping all other trains of thought to have them stare blankly at her.
"Err...yeah...but that's beside the point. It's the New Year! Let's celeb-"Kagura announced, yawning midway through and interrupting herself.
"Or, we might get some rest for tomorrow." Sakaki suggested.
"Don't you mean today?" Tomo interjected. That realization hit the rest of them like a ton of bricks.
"CRAP! I'm gonna be so tired at school! This is your fault, Tomo!" her brunette companion accused, launching another trade of insults.
"Aw, man. I'm not gonna be able to keep it together." Osaka lamented, casting her head down; more from being tired than regret.
"Don't worry, I-I'm sure it'll be alright." Chiyo attempted to lighten them all.
After ending Yomi's siege and the reasonable few gathering any spare items, the girls departed once more. Osaka lingered for a small amount of time with Chiyo before heading off herself. All in all, things had gone as usual, but, as the New Year would unfold, new occurrences and troubles are always bound to follow suit. Osaka and Chiyo's were just beginning, rather than coming to an end.
End of Chapter 22.
Soon, the title of the story will come into meaning. I've been very terrible at my updating; of what I have done throughout this whole summer. -.-
Regardless, I hope I still have a few readers left. As always, reviews will feed me, and criticism will starve me (not really XD). R&R, and thanks a lot. ;D