Alrighty, these are just a bunch of one-shots that I am writing to keep my brain occupied (I suck at focusing on one idea for extended periods of time, therefore one-shots provide great relief for me). These stories are all in response to a challenge at the Tsukimine Shrine. The goal is to write a story corresponding with each of the 52 cards, but the story doesn't have to actually be about the card... yadah yadah yadah. I know a few other people are also posting stuff on for this challenge, too.

All my stories will have at least a loose affiliation with one of the cards, though the word may not be taken in its original sense, if that makes any sense to you (ie "dash" could be taken as moving quickly, or like a cooking term (a dash of pepper)). I'm posting them in the order they come to me.

That Night in the Rain

"Did you know that the ancients of South America used to collect the rain that gathered in the leaves of the poisonous dog trees - " I managed before I felt the familiar warmth of a lady's hands around my neck. As my head shook back and forth, rather violently I might add, I could distinctly make out the angelic raised voice of a certain girl.

"Yamazaki Takashi! When will the lies stop!" she cried while continuing to wring my humble neck. Though I couldn't see it, I could tell the others who normally joined us for lunch were glancing at us nervously.

"Uh, Chiharu-chan? I think he's turning blue," pointed out one of the girls, probably Naoko-chan judging from her voice. I felt the warmth disappear from around my neck and gradually my vision stopped spinning around. Chiharu was scolding me again, since she couldn't actually strangle me with all these witnesses around. I tuned out her words though. You see, I've already memorized them. She gives me the same speeches every time, but honestly I don't mind. Just hearing her voice is enough for me, especially when there's the echo of rain dancing across the school roof in the background as there is today.

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I was so wet I could probably have been mistaken for a drowned rat. My yellow baseball cap was soaked completely through, along with my windbreaker and my pants. Worst of all, my new white sneakers were getting covered in the spring mud. I could feel my socks squelch unpleasantly whenever I wriggled my toes. My head felt stuffy, but I knew I wasn't getting a cold. The rain from the sky mixed with my own fat, salty tears that had been pouring from my eyes for… well, ages I suppose. It seemed as if I had been crying since I could talk.

It was getting darker outside, and some of the street lamps started turning on like small orange suns as I passed beneath them. Trudging along slowly, I completely missed that I was walking right next to a park.

"Hey!" called a voice from behind me. I glanced back, forcing my face into a smile that didn't really want to show itself. A little girl was running from the swings of the playground I had just passed, her little pale hand clutching a huge yellow umbrella and her dark red pigtails swinging happily. "Are you okay?" Her voice was breathless, but cheerful. No one ever talked to me like that.

I thought for a moment behind my smile. I should lie. I should say I'm fine. I should say everything is great in my life. I should push her away from my problems, just as I have pushed everyone else away from me. I should have said and done all those things, but for some reason I couldn't. Maybe it was the rain…

"I'm sad," I whispered, my smile fading as quickly as it had come. Opening my eyes, I saw her looking at me like any mother would have. Any mother, perhaps, except for my mother.

What she did next was unexpected. She hugged me. What was more startling was that I hugged her back, all the while letting my tears flow down my cheeks once again. By the time she backed up, her hair was as wet as mine. I didn't realize it, but she had left her umbrella lying on the ground when she hugged me.

"My name's Mihara Chiharu. I'm six," she stated simply.

"Yamazaki Takashi. I'm six too."

"Do you want to play with me Yamazaki-kun?" I looked at her, thinking she must have confused me with some other Yamazaki nearby, but I knew no one else was close. She honestly wanted to play with me.

I nodded quickly, afraid to actually say anything, afraid that if I did I would wake up and find she was only another part of my dreams. If she was a dream, I really didn't want to wake up.

"Did you know that my favorite color is yellow?" she giggled as she led me to the swings, pulling off my cap along the way and waving it playfully. After that moment, I don't think I felt the rain for the rest of the night.

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Chiharu was still expounding on the dangers of lying to one's closest friends by the time lunch was over. Her voice rang out clear against the drone of the hundreds of other students in the room, just as it had rung clear that evening ten years ago, piercing the rain drops that had pounded the sidewalk. She had no idea just how much she meant to me, or how much she had changed my life when she caught my attention that night in the rain.