I do not own the rights to nor am I in any way affiliated with Azumanga Daioh.

Author's Notes and replies to reviews are at the end of the chapter.

Cold Nights


It was an unseasonably warm January afternoon, the snow received at the end of December gone already, and many people taking advantage of the warm streak to shed their heavy winter jackets in favor of lighter clothes and minimum insulation. Yomi bid farewell to her co-workers in the pharmacy as she passed through the reception area to the front door. Donning her light jacket, Yomi meandered along the sidewalk in front of the pharmacy she worked in. She didn't like waiting on Tomo like this; there was no telling when the girl would show up.

As Yomi checked her watch for the third time, a hand clapped down on her shoulder, followed by a falsely deep voice saying, "Ma'am, I'm going to have to ask you to come down to the police station with me." Without showing any emotion in her face Yomi glanced over her shoulder to Tomo who stood behind her grinning and adding, "'Cause looking that hot's gotta be a crime."

With a sigh Yomi shrugged Tomo's hand off, shooting back, "The only crime here is that joke" as she started to walk. Still grinning Tomo quickly caught up and fell in step with her.

As they walked Tomo began fiddling with the necktie of her police woman's uniform, finally removing it and stuffing it into her pocket, saying, "I don't know why the Chief won't let me get one of those zip-on ties, it'd look just the same."

Yomi pressed the crosswalk button as they came to the intersection they had to pass through on the way to their destination. "I don't know how I kept from strangling you with the damn thing after having to tie it for two months straight until you learned how."

The light changed and they continued on, Tomo chuckling and saying, "You know you liked it just 'cause you got to be close to me."

The corner of her mouth tugging into a smile, Yomi replied, "Only the mornings you remembered to use mouthwash. And the days you didn't spend the whole time whining about not wanting to go to work." Yomi remembered well the day Tomo's police training was over, and how shattered she'd been to be stuck off as a dispatcher. Tomo's depression over her perceived failure to come anywhere near her dream of working for Interpol had almost begun to worry Yomi after a while.

Before she could do anything to intervene, however, things turned around when Tomo received a letter of thanks from a woman that had called from a car wreck, Tomo having to talk to her to keep her calm until an ambulance arrived. After that her ego about her job had become insufferable. Though Yomi would never admit the gloating over it amused her.

The street they walked along lead into a neighborhood, their childhood home. The two followed the same path they had taken so many times that lead them into the nearby shopping district, where their weekends as children had been spent. The place still looked much the same, though some stores had moved out, others had moved in, and there was a new generation of teenagers that flocked to it now.

The little restaurant with the famed udon near the end of the strip was the same: same almost-gaudy decorations, same semi-intimate atmosphere. Yomi smiled warmly, looking around as they were seated, seeing all the happy couples there, same as she had the very first time the two had come to the restaurant.

After they had given their drink orders to the waitress and received menus, Tomo motioned for the waitress to wait, pulling what looked like a leather wallet from her pocket and flipping it open to reveal the shiny badge inside. "Cops get a discount, don't they?"

Glancing to the badge, the waitress nodded, saying, "Of course, ma'am," before turning and heading for the kitchens. Tomo snapped the case shut and pushed it back into her breast pocket, smiling smugly.

Yomi sighed, "You know, that gets really embarrassing after a while." The badge wasn't technically real; dispatchers were not issued one, but it had seemed to mean a lot to Tomo, so Yomi had tracked down a replica for her as a birthday gift.

Her smug smile remaining, Tomo shot back, "Hey, I'm paying for this anniversary dinner."

With a slight smirk Yomi responded, "And asking for a discount says such nice things about our relationship." Taking up her menu, Yomi looked over the day's specials. Despite its contribution to the bad end of their first date, both Yomi and Tomo had agreed this restaurant was the perfect spot to eat at on their anniversaries.

After a few minutes of silent browsing the young waitress came back to their table with a basket of bread, setting it down and taking out a pad to write their orders on as they were given. With a smile and nod, the waitress scurried off once more, leaving the two to each other. Out of the blue, Tomo said, "Remind me to send cards to my mom and dad telling them we celebrated our fifth anniversary."

Sliding down in her chair a bit, the slight smirk returned to Yomi's face, "That's also getting embarrassing. How many more years are you going to keep that up?"

With a shrug, Tomo picked a piece of bread from the basket to nibble on, "As long as my mom keeps sending those stupid marriage package thingies."

Yomi continued to smirk, taking a piece of bread for herself. Not long after they had their own apartment had the first package arrived. It was a fairly discreet manila envelope addressed to Tomo. Inside had been a whole dossier of information on a young man that had been in their class in high school. Apparently Tomo's mother had been to a meeting where parents gathered and tried to hook their children up in hopes they would marry.

A comfortable silence settled between the two, only broken when the waitress returned with their orders. The meal was continued in silence, the two simply appreciating the other's company. The first year of their relationship had been spent attempting to do something, anything, together at any chance. Since then both had come to find that being together was good enough, and that anything more was simply a bonus.

Not long after both had finished their dinner the waitress returned with their bill. After Tomo paid for the meal the couple found themselves back outside, walking at a leisurely pace. The path they took idly lead them back towards the apartment complex they lived in. Tomo clasped her hands together behind her head, yawning and saying, "Want to go to a bar? We should have a drink for our anniversary."

Yomi shrugged, "We still have the bottle of wine Chiyo sent us for Christmas." Even after the past few years they'd been together Yomi was still hesitant to take Tomo to a bar for any special occasions. She didn't want to risk going through a repeat of Tomo's twenty-first birthday, that ended with Yomi keeping the girl company on the bathroom floor as Tomo endured a horrible hangover.

When they arrived at their apartment Yomi took out her keys, unlocking the door and opening it for Tomo. As soon as she was inside Tomo went to dig the bottle of wine out of the back of the cupboard above the refrigerator. Yomi stepped out of her shoes, hanging her coat on one of the hooks by the door, then going to sit at the squat table that took up a good amount of the floor space in the small apartment.

After a few minutes of fruitless searching for a corkscrew Tomo opted for a kitchen knife to remove the cork from the wine bottle. After wrestling with the bottle of several minutes she finally came to sit across the table from Yomi, filling two glasses from the bottle and sliding one across the table to Yomi. Then taking up her glass, Tomo grinned and said, "A toast to five years together, and five years of great sex."

Rolling her eyes, Yomi lifted her glass to humor Tomo, adding in, "A toast to five years together, and hopefully many more to come." Both then took a sip simultaneously, smiling across the table at each other.

The bottle of wine quickly disappeared leaving nothing but its dregs. Most of the wine had gone into Tomo, who seemed to be trying to gulp it down as quickly as she could, against Yomi's warnings. With her elbow on the table, Yomi rested her chin in her hand, smiling slightly as Tomo swayed and attempted to refill her glass from the bottle. After Tomo had held the bottle upside down and shook it fruitlessly for several minutes, Yomi finally took pity, coaxing the bottle from Tomo's hand and taking it along with their emptied glasses to set in the kitchen sink.

Tomo was flopped over the table half asleep when Yomi returned. After sliding Tomo off the table to lay on the floor, Yomi tipped it on end and slid it to its resting-place against the wall, then pulling out and unfolding their futon. The effort it took to wrestle Tomo out of her clothes dissuaded Yomi from trying to get her into pajamas. Instead, she shed her own clothes, coaxing Tomo onto the futon.

Sliding onto the futon beside Tomo, Yomi watched as Tomo mumbled softly in her sleep. Sighing, Yomi removed her glasses, setting them on the floor above her head before saying in a low voice, "You're an idiot." After a moment of silence she leaned down, kissing Tomo's forehead and snuggling up to her as she added, "But you're my idiot." As much as Yomi had tried to deny it, no matter how she cut it, she was, and always would be, totally crazy about Tomo.

End Epilogue.

And there you have it. Sorry for the delay, school and work began to really bite down on me near the end of the semester. This epilogue isn't particularly long or story driven, it was just something I felt I needed to add to make the fic complete. I'm proud of this just because it's one of the few written works I've actually seen through all the way to the end. I get stalled so often and switch to another idea it leaves a trail of fragments of stories I keep saying I'll go back and flesh out but never do.

Still on the rack is Warm Days, which I'm hoping I can add more to soon. Other than that, I still have ideas for several other pairings I'd like to write about. Rei and Asuka from Neon Genesis Evangelion has been added to the stack since I've begun watching NGE on Adult Swim. I think I want to see Full Metal Alchemist through to the end one more time before I start planning out the Winry/Schiezska fic.

I had fun writing this, and am glad to see so many people liked it. Hopefully I'll see you all again on my next writing endeavor.

"Well, this has been a great story and i hope to see more from you in the future. Though i wish you to write about an anime/ Manga that i have seen all the way or partaily through, like Cafe Alpha, Marabuho, chobits, Edens, Bowe Utena, but no matter what you choose to write about next i am sure to injoy it even if i don't understand the backround information." - hagancameron

Thanks. I'm afraid I haven't heard of any of the anime you listed save for Chobits. Still, I like fics that don't lose too much from a reader not having seen the source material. I don't know how good I did keeping to that, but I tried either way.

"I always have a hard time ending stories too. But you do have a good spot to end it. Tomo's in a happy place now. Her and Yomi are together and Yomi's mom is supportive. It's great. I like how you have them kiss. It adds to the chemistry in a special way. It's not just "kiss" and no special feelings. You definitely give it a kick." - writer-jm

Yeah, I liked the kiss near the end too. That part had originally been a wrestling match instigated by Tomo. And yeah, it really was the end of the story. All the plots were resolved, it just needed tying off.

"NO No No No NO NO NOT THE END! How can you do that, well at least promise a endering fan that you will write another! PLEASE! I am a huge fan now! You style flows soo well I absoultly love it!" - Atheist wat dat! (Anonymous?)

Sorry, but I don't want to risk drawing it out. Not to get hopes up over nothing, but if I ever do have an idea to add, I'd consider a sequel.

"Ah yes, lovely as always. So the end is finally near; endings are always so bittersweet. Anyway, with any other story, the way Tomo's family situation was kind of solved would have been way too sudden and non-realistic, but you presented it in a way that worked very well on your part; especially since endings truly are one of the hardest parts to write in a story(you always feel like you have to write more, you know?).

Also, as a straight person and a favorer of straight couples, I appreciate that there were no hardcore sex scenes or anything like that(not that I'm against gay couples); especially since throwing those in would kind of kill the story.

So now there is only the epilogue and the rest of Warm Days. My women's intuition tells me that Kagura is going to have some serious confusion/emo moments about the whole Nyamo thing. Heh, well, all that is up to you." - Rushia

Yeah, something like your parents going through a divorce just doesn't resolve itself overnight, and it bugs me when stories try to tie something like that up when the full timeline of the story is just a few days or even weeks (I think the whole story of Cold Nights takes place over just a week, with the epilogue jumping to 5 years later.).

I don't really like hardcore sex scenes in anything, it usually just destroys the story and makes it feel trashy. Sex scenes can be done in a much more tasteful light, it can even have a few details shown while remaining tasteful. I think some people just use sex scenes for the sake of shock value. Assuming I don't decide to cut some upcoming parts of Warm Days, they'll be the most "sexually explicit" thing I've written, though most are just slightly lurid and the others a paragraph or two long and done with humor in mind.

And yes, Kagura's got some confusing and angsty moments coming up, which I'm still trying to flesh out.

"This story was nice. Maybe not the most inventive or in-charcter story ever, but it was good. What is in charcter though is a matter of opinion, I think some people forget that. Overall, very nice effort." - J-Syxx

Yeah, it's not really that plausible to stay totally in-character with a fanfic. Generally you're blazing a trail through new ideas and plot developments and just have to guess at how the characters would act and react based on how they do in the original work.

" Continue... if not, I have a shotgun, a shovel and 5 acres behind my house..." - questionmarkX4'n'Mr.Mental

I'm from Mississippi. You couldn't live here if you couldn't take down a crazed hick that's wielding a shotgun and a shovel.

"It's nice to see an author who can write. Well, that may have come out slightly wrong. An author who can write without making you want to smash the computer." - Hoppy-Chan

Not to sound full of myself, but authors that made me want to smash my computer were a big force powering this fic, just for the "Oh come on, I could do better than this!" factor. Not to step on any toes, I've seen plenty of fics by good authors that I really liked, but all of the good fics swim in a sea of bad ones.

To all others who reviewed that I didn't respond to, all I can say is, thanks for reading, I'm glad you enjoyed the fic. See you on the flipside.