Shivering, I looked out the window of the bus and wrapped the blanket around me tighter. The heater stopped working a few hours after we left the bus station and already it was getting to us since the initial heat had long since evaporated out through the glass windows. I felt Miyako shiver next to me and we both got closer under the blanket to try and get as much body warmth as we could. "Some vacation," I muttered under my breath, not at all surprised when I saw a small puff of fog appear from my lips. "And still over ten hours left to go…"
Pakkyarameo stood up at the front of the bus to address her students, a thick blanket wrapped around her as well. "Everyone, we will be stopping soon for a break at the next city. Please use this time to get refreshment and stretch your legs." After a moment she sighed and rubbed her shoulders. "And if you want to board a different bus then I completely understand." Several people cheered at the idea and already began collecting their luggage to prepare to hop busses as soon as they could.
Maron looked at her shivering teacher and let out an aggravated breath. Pakkyarameo was stuck supervising that bus, and her being one of two favorite students, couldn't abandon her. As much as she really, really wanted to get on a warmer bus.
While the busses came to a stop at a large gas station/tourist trap, many students already began standing up and scuffling to the door. When they came to a complete stop, they wasted no time in getting out and running to another bus, only a few of them walking to go indoors for a little while.
Miyako hurried Maron along the gas pumps and quickly inside, where they both let out a sigh of relief as the hot air washed over them. "Two weeks. It'll be worth it." She spoke her thoughts aloud and began to wonder the shop. "Of all the school trips we've taken, this has to be the best."
"Senior trips really are all they're cracked up to be, huh?" Maron replied, stopping to look at a small doll.
"Did you miss me, Baby?" Chiaki asked her, leaning over and speaking into her ear.
"Chiaki!" Maron spun around, startled by his sudden appearance, and lost her balance in the process. His hand reacted quickly though and wrapped around her waist, preventing her from falling. "Um, thanks," She breathed out, looking up at him when he didn't immediately let go.
"Maron, I, I mean… I need to tell you something." He licked his lips and tried to gather the courage to tell her the truth: that he was Sinbad and the reason why Fin was gone wasn't the reason she was thinking. "… Nothing, never mind." He let her go and smiled at his best friend, who apparently was behind her. "Hey, Linchou!"
Maron looked over her shoulder at her class president counter-part. Although she was the female class rep, everyone called her Maron instead of Linchou. Poor Yamato got stuck with the name and even herself called him that instead of by his first or last name. With a sigh, she continued to look around a moment before finally having to return to the busses.
"What was that all about?" Yamato asked himself as he boarded Maron's bus and looked around. "Why did those guys want to change busses with us? This morning they wanted to be on this one 'cause it's bigger."
"So two more poor people were tricked, huh?" Pakkyarameo looked at Chiaki and Yamato and smiled lightly. "Well you're the last ones then. Who did you swap with?"
The two boys gave the names of the people they traded busses with and made their way back to the back of the bus, even though half of it was still empty. "Much better," Yamato spoke aloud as he fell back into a seat all of his own. "These seats are almost twice as big."
Miyako laughed aloud while Maron's lips turned into a half grin. "Welcome to the frozen hell boys."
"What do you mean by that?" Chiaki glanced over at them. Miyako was on the seat in front of Maron and had several pillows around her cuddled in a blanket. Maron had one around her as well and Chiaki took the opportunity to sit next to her despite the protest.
"Everyone stay seated now!" Their teacher told them, standing at the front of the bus. "I don't want any walking around from here on out. For those of you who just boarded, I have some bad news: The heater is out on the bus so you'll just have to deal with it."
"Say what?" A boy Maron didn't recognize stood up suddenly. "No way, I want to get back on the other bus." But the vehicle already started to move, forcing him back down in his seat. "Oh man…."
"Well this sucks." Chiaki sighed and rubbed his head.
"Miyako, let me over there would you?" Yamato slid over to the seat in front of the other two when the teacher wasn't looking. Miyako stammered a moment before growling and allowing the boy to share the blanket with her.
"Maron," Chiaki began with a grin on his face, but was promptly cut off.
"Don't even think about it." Maron held her large blanket closer to herself and glared. "I'm not even giving you the opportunity."
"Che, spoilsport." He leaned back in his seat and crossed his arms. "Be that way then."
"I will." Maron humphed and turned her attention to her cell phone, where her game was waiting for her.
It was around her twelfth game of Pac-Man when she finally became annoyed at her seat partner's fidgeting. A quick glare at him made her instantly realize what was making him move so much. He looked really cold. Although he was doing his best to appear calm she had spent enough time with him to know how he acted. A small moment went by where she imagined him sneezing and coughing on their vacation and decided that nothing would suck worse than having a cold while visiting a ski resort.
"Here," She removed the blanket from around herself and tossed half of it on top of him. Instantly she felt all the heat she had managed to get inside her covers leave and felt just how cold it really was outside of it. "If you so much as make me think you're touching somewhere you shouldn't, you're going to freeze the rest of the trip, got it?"
"Got it." He slid a little closer to her and after a few moments of trying to get them both equally covered he finally put his arm around the girl and all but pulled her into his lap.
"Ch-Chiaki!" She blushed lightly and was in a cross between shoving him away and getting closer to him for warmth. After he didn't make any more moves on her she spared him a glance, to which he retuned with a smile.
"I won't, if you ask me not to."
She looked away again and pulled the covers over her head so she could see her cell phone again and not lose any heat. "I've asked you not to several times."
"No you haven't."
"Yes I have too!" She spared him a glance over her shoulder. "More time than I can count."
"No, you told me not to. Never asked."
Maron growled to herself, but still allowed him to rub her shoulder with his hand. After a moment she grinned up at him. "Will you rub my back, and not touch me anywhere I wouldn't want you to?" Chiaki blinked, but readily agreed to do so. "And remember, I asked you not to touch anywhere."
His hands danced over her back, but he soon found out that it was more torture than anything else. Here he was in the back of a bus, no one looking, covered by a blanket with the girl he liked and rubbing her back….. And he couldn't cup a feel.
A few moments later he heard his best friend let out a groan. His curiosity got the best of him and he leaned up to look over the seat in front of him. "Linchou, you okay?"
"Not really," He admitted, rubbing his shoulders under the blanket he and Miyako shared. "I don't travel in cars very well. Being this cold doesn't help much either."
"If you get sick on me, I swear I'll-" Miyako's threat cut off short when Yamato looked at her in an apologic manor. "Oh wow, you really do look bad," She calmed down a little and lost her bossy attitude. "You want to lie down? Here let me move the pillows for you."
"It's okay, I don't want to trouble-"
"Shush and do what I say!" Miyako scolded him, forcing him to lie down on the seat and rest his head on a pillow in her lap. His feet went across the isle and onto the empty seat across from them.
Chiaki smirked to himself and sat back in his own seat, going back to rubbing Maron's shoulders. "You want to lie down or anything?"
"No thanks," She replied, now closing her eyes and closing her cell phone game. "I could get used to this…"
"Don't." He laughed, making her giggle.
A few more moments passed and Chiaki let out a yawn. "Well, all my stuff's in the other bus so I have nothing to do. I'm going to catch some sleep and hopefully shave off a few hours of this god forsaken bus ride."
"Mm," Maron acknowledged him with a short hum and took out one of her books she had brought along. "Good luck with that." Chiaki grinned and wrapped his arms around her stomach, pulling her fully into his lap. "Chiaki!" She hissed at him in a whisper. "What are you doing?"
"Getting comfortable," he turned so his back was against the bus with a pillow between his head and the window. He propped his feet on the seat and pulled Maron so she was laying on him completely with her head resting on his neck.
"And just what makes you think I'll stay like this?" She demanded, cheeks starting to color as she realized it was actually quite comfortable and very warm after the blanket was adjusted to cover them.
"Nothing," He laid his arms lazily over her stomach and leaned his head to the side, eyes closing. "Mm, your hair smells nice…"
Maron blushed more from the fact that he had said that, or the fact that she used a new shampoo to see if he would notice, she wasn't sure. But after a few moments passed and he didn't make a move to take advantage of the situation, she calmed down some and had to admit that it was actually kind of nice.
Maron blinked as the bus came to a stop and heard people started to talk excitedly. Setting her book down, she leaned forward and over the seat to talk to her friends. "Are we there?" She pondered aloud.
"About time," was her response from Miyako as she started shoving her blanket into a duffel bag along with a few books and games. "I am so sick of being on this bus."
Yamato weakly nodded and climbed over the seat to get out of the bus first. His luggage being on a separate vehicle, their teacher allowed him to hop out into the crisp cold air and make his way over to it. "Oh, Chiaki, you need to get your things. Chiaki? Chiaki!" Maron shook the sleeping boy enough to make him open one eye lazily.
"What? Go away, I don't want to get up till we're there." He moved to get more comfortable, but Maron ripped the blanket off him. "Hey!"
"We are there," she told him with a grin. "Go get your things, Linchou already got off."
"Yeah, yeah." Chiaki rubbed his right eye with his palm as he sleepily walked down the isle along with the few other people who got suckered into riding that bus. As he hopped out onto the frozen ground, he took a look around and whistled. The school apparently spared no expense on this get-away, as the ski resort looked absolutely huge. The main lobby in front of him was three stories tall with a huge glass window up top and several smaller ones on the bottom. From the look of things it was a single large room.
His mind was taken off the structure when he felt something hit his face. Turning, he glared at Access, who was flying next to him. "Where have you been Sinbad?" He demanded angrily. "You said you would let me out when we stopped! I kicked my way out of your bag a few hours ago and you weren't even on the bus anymore!"
"I knew I was forgetting something," he mused while looking at him.
"Don't fly so high, Maron will see you."
Access instantly dropped down so he was in front of Chiaki's chest. "You didn't really forget did you?"
"Of course not. I had to swap busses and couldn't get my things. If it makes you feel better, the heater was out and we froze all the way here." He chose to leave the part about him and Maron to himself. "Speaking of which, be sure you stay hidden. It doesn't matter if she sees you around home but if she notices you here, then Sinbad can be narrowed down to precious little people."
"I got'cha, I got'cha."
"Who you talking to, Chiaki?" Yamato asked, tossing him a duffle bag, which he caught. "Your guardian angel again?"
"Yeah," Chiaki nodded and slung the strap over his shoulder before grabbing another larger bag and a third smaller one that doubled as Access's portable home. Yamato and he had become good friends over the time they've known each other and heard Chiaki talking to access more times than could be over looked. When confronted seriously one time, Chiaki told him all he could. He had an angel that followed him. Although he didn't really believe it entirely, it was good enough for him and Yamato had thankfully let it drop for the time. "This place is huge," He changed the topic and looked around while his friend got the rest of his luggage. "How on earth did the school afford to send us here, even after the student fees?"
"Special discount." Yamato grinned lightly. "My grandfather's good friend owns this place. We went fishing a lot when I was younger, then we started coming here instead.
"So you've been here a few times, huh?"
"A few," Yamato confirmed and started to walk ahead of the crowd and to the doors. "The places we're staying are small cabins. Two double bed rooms, a living room, bathroom, kitchen, and a porch to put our gear. Kind of small but they're homy."
"Four huh?" Chiaki hummed lightly as he thought. " Know how are they splitting us up?"
"Actually, yeah." They walked into the first doors of the building and stood in a small room before the second doors leading into the place. "Four guys in each, four girls in each."
"There's an odd number isn't there?"
"Yeah. The two Linchous are in the same cabin and we pick one person to stay with us. Maron picked Miyako of course."
"You have to ask?" Yamato gave Chiaki a smirk that he had stolen from the very same boy over their time together. "We're across the complex, closest to the ski lifts but farthest from the lounge."
"I knew picking you as a friend would pay off someday," He teased the boy, getting a laugh as others started coming into the doorway, making them finally move into the building fully.
Access flew high into the rafters after seeing Maron and sighed to himself. "Man this is going to suck big time. Living in the same cabin as Maron without being seen..." he looked down at the students as their teacher greeted someone walking up to them.
"Everyone, this is Mister Yanisaka. He's the one who agreed to house you all on your senior trip. Everyone be sure to thank him properly."
"Nice to meet you," the students gave a collected greeted, bowing lightly.
"Welcome everybody, to my resort." Yanisaka walked to them and gave a small bow. "I know everyone is excited about your vacation but please remember that other people are on vacation as well, so while in the lobby here please keep the excitement level down so others won't be bothered by a group of reckless teenagers ready to crack their bones from stupid bets from their peers on who can catch the most air."
Chiaki laughed loudly at the remark and was quickly elbowed by Maron, shutting him up. Yanisaka seemed amused by him, however and gave the boy a nod and a grin. "I bet you'll be the first in the hospital wing."
Several people had to cover their laughs at this, and Chiaki sunk deeper in the crowd and covered his face. Not because he was really embarrassed, but probably because it was true.
"Now, here are the cabin keys. We provide a complimentary breakfast and offer a cheap lunch and dinner here at the lounge if you're interested. Your cabins are equipped with the means to make your own meals so please feel free to use everything there for your connivance. Busses run from here to the city every day at noon and come back at three and six. If you want to shop then please remember to be back on time for the bus.
Their teacher took a piece of paper from her purse and looked onto it. "When I call your name, please come up here and take your keys and map and move to the other side of the room. Once everyone is set we'll walk to the cabins before the sun goes down fully."
"Hey, Linchou, anything interesting in town?" Chiaki asked his friend while people moved around him when their names were called. "Or should we just stay here?
"A few good things, there's a neat laser tag arena/arcade down Main street. Definitely worth checking out."
"…They have a DDR machine?"
"Chiaki!" Maron scolded him, making the boy realize that his name was being called.
"Ah, sorry!" He ran up to the teacher and accepted the first key, followed by Yamato and the two girls. "Let's get to out home for the vacation and then grab some food. I'm starving."
Maron placed a hand on her stomach and nodded. "Me too. Lunch didn't really do much for me."
Yamato groaned a bit. "Jeez, I didn't think I would make it through that hour."
"Come on man, don't let carsickness get you down, we're here now so eat hearty tonight. Anything deliver or should we grab food here?"
"Let's order out if we can. I'd like to unpack tonight and get some rest. Sitting on a bus all day playing cards surprisingly wears you out."
"Students line up over here and we'll guide you to your cabins," Pakkyarameo waved her hands to get the student's attention. "And for the love of all that is holy, please pay attention to where you're staying and don't get lost."
Several laughs rang out as the large group of students slowly made their way outside into the cold. "I can't handle freezing that long," Chiaki sighed and looked over his shoulder. "Oi, Linchou, you know where we're going?"
"Yeah, it's faster going out the other side of the building. Come on, I'll lead." Yamato adjusted the strap on his bag and began to walk, making the girls hurry to catch up.
"You've been here before?" Miyako asked him, leaning over to look at him.
"A few times," he replied with a light grin.
"Nice place," Chiaki mused, stepping into the house and turning the lights on as he went. Maron moved past him and immediately cut on the heat. The sun was setting and left a dull orange glow across the rooms from the many windows. "It's bigger than I thought it would be."
"You should see the family get-away package cabins. Two stories." Yamato went directly to the bedrooms while they looked around and claimed his bed first. "Hey Chiaki, our room is on the left here!"
"Gotcha!" Chiaki called back to him and dropped his things in the floor of the kitchen and grabbed the phone book. "What are we in the mood for?"
"I'll second that Chinese."
Maron humphed, knowing that Chiaki would also go against her decision, and wasn't disappointed. "Get me the usual then." She walked to the other door to the side of Yamato's room and opened it, getting greeted with a medium sized bedroom with two beds. She claimed the one farthest from the door and tossed her things onto it.
"Hey, Linchou, where are we anyway?" Chiaki's voice drifted through the cabin and she couldn't help but laugh at him, trying to order delivery without even knowing the address where they were.
'This will be pretty fun, I suppose,' Maron mused to herself as she unpacked her things. 'I really could use a vacation from everything. Staying with my best friends is a great way to do it, too.' She looked out the door and saw Chiaki jump over the couch to try and grab the remote for the T.V. but just missed it when Miyako picked it up first. The two argued a moment about what to watch and finally agreed on something that Maron didn't really care for.
Walking into the living room again, she looked around one more time to fully appreciate her new home. From the doorway, the cabin immediately opened into a kitchen on the left. It was big enough to allow two people to walk around in comfortably and had everything a normal kitchen would have. A little ways in and to the right was the door that lead to her bedroom and a little past it was Chiaki's.
The living room was big enough to comfortably hold all of them at the same time but didn't look like it would be very comfortable with many more people in it. To the left of the living room were two large doors with glass windows in the middle of them. Testing, she opened the doors and looked outside, seeing a small porch and chairs, as well as ski racks and a boot rack.
"Close those doors!" Miyako complained loudly, making Maron stick out her tongue.
"Actually leave them open," Yamato walked into the living room and popped Chiaki on the head as he passed. "Come help me a moment Chiaki." The boy nodded and hopped off the couch, following the boy outside.
A few moments later they both returned, firewood in hand. "We have a fireplace too?" Maron asked as she turned around and noticed that there was, indeed, a fireplace to the left of the TV.
"What say we get this place warmed up?" Yamato tossed a few logs into the fireplace and started to prepare it. Soon they had a blazing fire which they all sat in front of while watching the Television.
"This is going to be a blast," Chiaki spoke his thoughts aloud as he places his arm over Maron's shoulders. The girl, for once, didn't make a move to pull away or scold him for his sudden actions. Instead she scooted a little closer to him and rested her head on his shoulder.
"You're buying dinner tonight, right?"
A/N: This'll probably be a three part story so look for the next chapter coming soon. Reviews always welcome