Disclaimer: Yakitate! Japan is owned by outside companies and I in no way claim ownership of any of the characters.
Yakitate! Japan: The Day with No Bread
Tsukino looked at her watched, sighing. He was late, which wasn't that big of a surprise for her considering that he was always late for the important things…which would indicate that this was important to him. She blushed, smiling slightly. But he was only late for issues that involved bread.
"And I had picked out my best skirt for today too…" she said, sighing again. Grabbing said skirt, she gently lifted it up about an inch, twirling around in an almost model-like fashion. "Maybe I should have been more conservative."
"Tsukino!" a voice called out to her from the distance. Her eyes lit up, a big smile spreading across her face. She turned around, as she stood on her toes and waved to Azuma, wearing the same headband she had given him such a long time ago, not to mention the same outfit he wore day after day.
"Of course…" she wearily thought in her mind. It only took Azuma a few more seconds to catch up to her, sweat running down his face as he bent over to catch his breath. Tsukino just smiled as he took his time to breathe, slightly bending at the waist. She didn't know why he made her so giddy at times, he was a bonehead and if didn't involve bread he was near clueless. Still, she smiled. She was glad he had made it, even if it did take ten minutes longer than what she had expected, and she was even gladder that she had gotten the courage to ask him out.
"Good afternoon Pantasia!" Tsukino yelled as she opened the door to the southern branch of Pantasia's.
"Tsukino-san!" a dreamy-eyed, mushroom-headed Kinoshita yelled back. Throwing his arms up, he made his way to her.
"Ah! Azuma and the rest are in the back!" Tsukino said blinking, she rushed past Kinoshita not paying an ounce of attention to him, opening and closing the door that lead to the bakery. Kinoshita just stood there, arms raised in the air, a feeling of despair slowly creeping down his body. The only thing he said was a pathetic "Why…?" that nobody heard.
"Hello Pantasia!" Tsukino yelled cheerfully as she closed the door behind her.
"Tsukino!" Azuma and Kawachi yelled after she greeted them, Kanmuri also greeting her but adding a –san to his greeting. "Where's Manager?"
"Matsushiro is out training his…well…you know…" Kawachi said, trying not to be impressed. Tsukino blinked.
"Kawachi-san…what are you doing here? Shouldn't you be at the main branch?"
Kawachi opened his mouth to speak, but Kanmuri interrupted, "They're not working him hard enough apparently."
"No one asked you. Besides it's not easy working with Suwabara and Kuro-yan all day. I didn't think two people could be so miserable for twenty-four hours a day."
"Ah that's right," Tsukino exclaimed, "How is Monica doing? She's expecting soon isn't she?"
Kawachi peeked over the magazine he held in his hands, a look of disgust glazed over his eyes, "She's fine."
"KAWACHI! You call this sweet bread?!"
"KAWACHI! What are you doing to the mother of my child!"
"Kai why hasn't this moron been fired yet?"
"It's almost a matter of time, he'll stupid himself out soon eno-KAWACHI! THAT'S NOT HOW YOU KNEAD BREAD!"
"I thought you were supposed to be a baker, not a boxer, you're just punching the dough"
As the focus faded back into the present, Kawachi continued to mutter, "…and everyone's to afraid of Suwabara to say anything to him and Kuro-yan's a closet pervert so he enjoys the tail around…"
Large sweatdrops appeared on Tsukino's head as Kawachi continued to rant about his experiences at the main branch. She turned her head over to Azuma who was in the middle of kneading the dough for some bread. Her smile brightened up as she saw him, trotting over to his side and asking him what he was doing. All the while, Kanmuri's eyes looked at them with interest as she talked passionately about bread with Azuma.
"I almost forgot, I better get changed. I'll just be a second guys," and with that she ran into her personal changing room. The only thing that could be heard was Kanmuri's fast typing on his computer and Azuma's molding of the dough, before opening the oven and putting it in, smiling wide as he looked into the oven.
"Kawachi-san, can you take Azuma to the front of the store please and help…um…" he thought for a minute, "Mush-room head with the customers." From the front of the store, mushroom-head, I mean Kinoshita, shivered with despair.
"Sure thing Kanmuri!" Azuma said as he washed off his hands, shaking them dry as he began to walk through the door.
"No thanks, I don't work here so I don't need to AH!" Kawachi yelped as Kanmuri grabbed him by his ear and dragged him to the front of the store.
"Kawachi, I hate to use such force with you but sometimes that's the only way to get it through you," Kanmuri told him, exasperated, as Azuma opened the door happily for him and Kanmuri shoved Kawachi out the door.
"Alright already! I'll go!" Kawachi said with a huff, stretching as he went in front of the counter. Kanmuri sighed, then turned to Azuma and smiled.
"Azuma-san, I need to talk to Tsukino for a moment, so if you finish before I'm done could you wait outside until then?"
Azuma blinked, unsure of how to answer that, "Yeah…sure…what do you need to Tsukino-san about? Is something wrong with my bread?"
Kanmuri waved his hand defensively, "No it's nothing like that. It's a private matter so it'll only take a moment."
Azuma glanced up, then grinned, giving Kanmuri the thumbs up, "You got it! Ah! A customer. Welcome to Pantasia!"
Kanmuri walked over to the dressing room door, knocking on it, "Tsukino-san, are you decent? May I come in?"
"Just a second!" She yelled through the door, Kanmuri could hear her struggling to get her clothes on quickly, as he leaned on the wall next to the door waiting patiently.
"W-WHAT?! A DA-DA-DA-DA-DATE?!" Tsukino exclaimed, minutes after she had let Kanmuri in, "Wh-Wh-Wh-With Azuma-san?!"
Kanmuri blinked, quite surprised at this reaction, "Yeah, why not?"
Tsukino began to fidget, turning and looking every which way to hide her face from Kanmuri as her fingers played with each other, "Well, you know, it wouldn't be right, I mean, I'm his boss, and, I can't ask him, and, well, usually the man asks, and, Azuma-san is the guy so well, he would have to…"
Kanmuri smiled playfully, "Ok then, I'll just go have Azuma ask you out then."
Throwing her hands up and shaking her red head furiously in protest, she forcibly stuttered out, "D-D-D-D-DON'T DO THAT!" Kanmuri just laughed.
"I'm sorry Tsukino-san, I didn't mean to get you all flustered," he said, only meaning half of what he said. Tsukino just grabbed her arm, looking away from him.
"Azuma's kind and everything, and he always cares about other people…" she blushed even more, "…especially me, and he always does embarrassing things even when he doesn't mean it the way it comes out and it's still really sweet and…"
"And he's really cute and I try to hide any feelings for him at work even though I flirt with him constantly.," a very bad falsetto voice said from behind and far above her. She yelped as she turned around to see Matsushiro and all his afroey glory towering over Tsukino, a little cardboard cutout of Tsukino's eyes being held over his own.
Closing her eyes tight in anger, throwing her fists down and stomping her feet, she yelled, "Will you stop doing that?!"
Matsushiro dropped the cardboard, his dark sunglasses reflecting the light off room, "Tsukino-san, you are the owner of Pantasia. Yet you still come down to the Southern Branch and for why?"
"Well, I-I…" Tsukino thought about it, "This store is part of my life, and everyone in here is a part of my family, I can't imagine not being a part of this store."
Matsushiro grunted in acceptance, "True, but as the owner of Pantasia your first job should be the maintenance of Pantasia Corporation and to boost sales and revenues. Dating should be the last thing on your mind…"
Tsukino let out a breath of relief, thanking the gods that Matsushiro was on her side…
"…That is exactly why you should ask him out!" Tsukino face-faulted.
"Where's the logic in that?!"
"Tsukino, you are still a young woman, you're still in high school. You ARE the owner of Pantasia and as such you have a responsibility to Pantasia, but more importantly than that you have a responsibility to be a high school student. You and Azuma both have common interests and we've all seen how passionate you two get when you talk to each other."
Tsukino blushed, covering her mouth with her hand, "That's only because we talk about bread…" she whispered.
"Furthermore…!" Matsushiro bellowed, scaring Tsukino, "We feel, that as your co-workers we cannot work comfortably under the condition that you and Azuma have put us in! To further increase productivity a date would be the best thing!"
Tsukino only continued to get angrier, "You're lying! You're only doing this because you enjoy teasing me!"
Matsushiro and Kanmuri stood in silence; there was no denying what she had just said. Had to find an escape plan…
Matsushiro broad hands clamped onto Tsukino's shoulders, as he stared straight into Kanmuri's eyes, "Kanmuri! Go get Azuma!"
"Ehhhh?!" Tsukino gasped out as she struggled to free herself.
Kanmuri, with a big grin, raised his hand in the air in salute fashion, "Yes manager!"
"Kanmuri stop! I'm your boss you have to do what I say!" Tsukino said, her face maintaining a bright red appearance as she flailed about, her feet a foot off the ground, "Shigure get back here!"
"Hey Azuma!" Kanmuri called out, only poking his head out of the doorway.
"FINE!" Tsukino yelled giving up, her body falling limp in Matsushiro's eyes, "I understand…"
Matsushiro successfully hid his laughter, the light from the lamp reflecting off his sunglasses.
Minutes later, after many motivation techniques and planning by Matsushiro and Kanmuri, Tsukino stood with Azuma in the bakery "alone". Beads of sweat ran down her head as she smiled nervously, her eyes darting back and forth between Azuma who just smiled innocently at her, and the afro that was poking itself from around the corner of the door leading to the store.
"I am so going to get these guys…" Tsukino thought to herself.
"Tsukino. What's up?" Azuma said completely oblivious to his surroundings. Startled, Tsukino reeled back, laughing nervously.
"Ahh! Eh, hahaha…I uh, just wanted to ask you something, um…Azuma-san," Tsukino blurted out, stumbling over her words. Azuma just rested his hands behind his head, still looking curiously at her.
Tsukino looked toward the ceiling, feeling really embarrassed by his almost innocent face, "Let's see…how do I put this…"
The oven 'dinged', Azuma's attention focusing to his newly baked bread. "Ah! It's done!" he exclaimed as he put on his oven mitts, opening the door to the stove. Tsukino saw her opportunity…and bolted. In the mere seconds it took him to open the stove door and reach in, Matsushiro and Kanmuri both grabbed onto Tsukino despite her flailing and still-running legs. They managed to turn her around and push her back to Azuma just as he turned around.
"Sorry Tsukino! You were saying?" He blinked, looking at her curiously, "You're sweating, are you sick?"
Tsukino waved her arms, shaking her head, "N-No! I'm fine really! Just that it's so hot in here!" she wiped the sweat of her brow, letting out a fake exasperated breath.
Azuma looked up, "Really? I thought it was a bit too cool in here."
"A-Anyway Azuma-san…" Tsukino said, shifting her shoulders uncomfortably, "I…I was wondering…" she looked up at him, slightly blushing, "This is really embarrassing but…would you…like to…" she turned away from him, only getting more embarrassed by having him look at her. Very softly, she whispered, "Go on a date with me…?"
Azuma blinked, as he thought about it for a second, "Do they get that big?"
Tsukino felt her entire body go limp, using her arms to force herself from faulting to the ground. Poor Matsushiro and Kanmuri had no such leverage, Azuma too focused on Tsukino to hear their loud crash to the ground. Tsukino could have sworn she heard another crash.
"Maybe this was a bad idea Manager…" Kanmuri whispered to Matsushiro, a large sweatdrop running down Matsushiro's face.
"I'm beginning to agree with you…" he replied back.
In the other doorway, Kawachi clawed at his face, furious with Azuma, "Not the fruit you moron!"
Tsukino, still feeling faint, rubbed her temple, "No…Azuma-san…" shaking her head, she turned to him again and smiled, "I mean, uh…us…go out and do something."
Azuma scratched his head, confused, "Like what? Oh! You mean like make…!"
Tsukino stopped him, placing both of her hands over his mouth, "I meant go out to dinner! Ah…a movie. Or walking in the park…just you know…" she took her hands away from his mouth, grinding her toe into the floor, "the two of us."
"Sure!" Azuma said with lightning speed. Tsukino felt her entire body go limp again.
"Why does he have to say it so casually like that?" Snapping out of her daze, she realized that she just, indeed, make a date with Azuma. Her face lit up as she begun playing with her fingers nervously again, looking between Azuma and the floor, "So uh…when would you be…free?"
Azuma scratched his head, "Well I work late all week so…"
"Azuma! You've got Thursday off! No questions!" Matsushiro's voice chimed in from around the door.
"Oh, I guess I got Thursday off then," Azuma said matter-of-factly. Tsukino wanted to die.
"Why do I keep coming back here…?" she asked herself.
"So I'll see you then Tsukino?" Azuma asked. Tsukino smiled, nodding.
Tsukino sighed, she didn't so much get the courage to ask him out as much as she was forced to. But Azuma was here in front of her, and she was going to make today enjoyable for both of them. She bent at the knees, lowering herself so she could look into his face.
"Just tell me when you're ready to go," she said, giggling. It didn't take long for Azuma to catch his breath, patting his chest when he was done.
"Alright! I'm ready!" He yelled excitedly, showing off his big grin. Tsukino lifted herself to her feet, putting her hands behind her back.
"You seem awfully excited today," she said teasingly.
"Really? I've never been on a…um, a date before, so I kinda want to see what its like and where it goes."
Tsukino blushed, "Why does he say things that can be taken the wrong way like that?" Washing the color from her face, she turned around to let Azuma walk beside her, "I bet it feels good to get away from the store for a while doesn't it?"
"I guess…but I really like making bread and we've been doing so well lately!"
Tsukino laughed, "Even a world-famous baker needs a break every now and then."
"Haha! You're right!"
As the two walked off, three pairs of eyes watched them with great interest.
"It hasn't even been five minutes and already they're talking about bread."
"Kawachi, you really don't understand do you?"
"What does that mean?"
"Both of you keep your voices down!"
As expected, Kawachi, Kanmuri, and Matsushiro watched them like a hawk, their interest and own personal satisfaction getting in the way of any work that needed to be done. Matsushiro didn't bother to put on a disguise, he would have tried to beat anyone who forced him to. Kanmuri wore a pair of dark sunglasses, but was otherwise unchanged. Kawachi…well…
"Hey you two…" Kawachi said disturbed, wearing the same afro he wore months earlier, "Isn't the point of disguises to be as inconspicuous as possible? Besides I thought I was done with this bit halfway through the show."
"If all of us wore sunglasses Kawachi then we'd look like a group of hit men…alibi…" Kanmuri looked at the three of them, Matsushiro towering over the both of them, Kawachi looking as pretty as he always was (sarcasm is not uncommon in Kanmuri's mind, even to himself), the both of them looking like disco rejects, and Kanmuri who, to him, looked the most normal of them all. "…The three of us already draw enough attention as it is."
"What do you mean?" Both of them said in unison, oblivious to how they looked. A large sweatdrop ran down Kanmuri's head.
"Then shall we?" Matsushiro asked, staring deeply to the other two. They nodded, and they bolted from their tiny bush to a corner of a doorway, jutting from the building far enough to hide the three of them in case Azuma and Tsukino were to turn around.
"I feel like we're forgetting something," Kawachi whispered, Matsushiro and Kanmuri shook their heads.
"Can't think of what it could possibly be."
Back in the Pantasia store, Kinoshita felt that foreboding feeling that someone was forgetting about him…again.
The couple, if it is safe to call them that, had settled down their conversation and for the moment, enjoyed a peaceful walk to their next destination.
"Azuma-san…where would you like to go first?"
Azuma, slightly startled, contorted his face as he thought about it.
"Ehh…What did Kawachi say?" He thought to himself. Earlier…
"What are you talking about Kawachi-san?!" Azuma said in frustration, looking up at Kawachi.
"Don't you understand you twit?! This is your first date! And not only that with a beautiful heiress as well!" Kawachi yelled back even more frustrated.
"What's the big deal? Tsukino and I work together all the time, why should this be any different," he replied, puffing out his cheeks.
"Ok…you're stupid so I guess that counts for your ignorance up till now."
"That's not nice…"
"But listen to me Azuma! This is very important so you need to rush headlong into this like…like…like you were creating Japan!"
Azuma's eyes shrunk, was it really this serious a business?
"Really Kawachi?! Then…what do I do?!"
Kawachi smiled, placing his hands on Azuma's shoulders, "As long as you listen to everything I say Azuma, you have nothing to worry about."
Azuma waited until Tsukino had her head turned away, pulling out a small slip of paper than Kawachi had given him minutes before he left. In order, on the top of the list, read, "Do NOT talk about bread!" "Compliment her!" "When in the movie theater hold her hand" "Take her to a fancy restaurant (don't let her pay!)" and other sentences that Azuma could only half-read. Kawachi's handwriting was really bad.
Azuma scratched his head, "I still don't understand what the big deal is…but…" he looked at Tsukino, who calmly walked by him. "Um…Tsukino-san…"
She looked at him curiously, "Yes Azuma-san?"
"Um…you look…nice today?" Azuma said, not really sounding sincere. This made Tsukino blush nonetheless.
"Th-Thank you…Azuma-san…" she said sweetly, only noticing that Azuma had an uncertain look on his face. They continued to walk, not really saying a word to each other, Azuma feeling he had done what Kawachi had wrote for him, and Tsukino feeling awkward. From a nearby ramen stand, the three heads of the stalkers popped out one by one, on top of one another.
"What was that about?" Kanmuri asked.
Kawachi just scoffed, "It's obvious that idiot doesn't know a clue about dating. I would think my instructions were simple enough even for him."
Silence stood over the three, before both Kanmuri and Matsushiro looked down at Kawachi, Matsushiro going, "What did you do?"
"I just gave him some pointers, that's all." In a flash, Kawachi could feel two pairs of eyes glaring at him, his immediate well being in danger.
"We have to get that paper away from Azuma!" Matsushiro yelled, stomping out of the ramen stand.
"This could go really bad if Azuma actually listens to Kawachi, he might get fired," Kanmuri said, following Matsushiro.
Kawachi tripped trying to bolt out of the ramen stand, "Ack! What are you guys talking about?!"
"Azuma-san…" Tsukino said, breaking the silence, "You…never did say where you want to go next."
"Oh yeah! Um…"
"First date is always important! Take her to the movies first!"
"Ah! How about the movies?"
Tsukino smiled, clapping her hands together, "That sounds great! What do you want to see?"
Azuma reeled back, not expecting a pop quiz, "Well, um…I never really watched a lot of movies so I don't know what's on."
Tsukino blinked, "Oh? What kind of movies do you like?"
"Um, anything with Yumiko Kobayashi!"
"Isn't she a voice actress?"
"Oh yeah she is!" Azuma laughed, causing Tsukino herself to giggle.
"In that case, how about if I choose the movie this time, ok?"
In the theatre, in an almost cliché fashion, Tsukino wiped away a tear from the love story that played out before her on the big screen. Azuma yawned, about ready to pass out.
"I'm bored…" he thought to himself, until he remembered the piece of paper in his pocket. Noticing that Tsukino was too focused on the movie, he reached into his pocket and…"It's too dark."
Holding it up high so that the light of the movie could brighten it, he too lifted himself up, squinting his eyes so he could read it.
"'Hold…her…hand?' Why?" Azuma still didn't see the purpose to this, but if it was as important as Kawachi said it was...why was it important? As he slipped the paper back into his pocket, he completely missed the hand that had, in vain, made a desperate grab for the paper and missed by inches.
"Damn," Kanmuri told himself, bent down behind the chairs of the theatre, still wearing the sunglasses he had outside. But he took them off, risking it all, as he knew which pocket Azuma had put the paper in.
Azuma looked nervously at Tsukino's hand, still unsure about this. He looked at his own hand, wondering if now would be the best time for this. Might as well be, the movie didn't seem like it was going to end soon. With no remorse, he reached out and grabbed her hand.
Tsukino felt a warm feeling embrace her hand, almost lost in the story to notice it. Her face brightened up, almost enough for people across the row to see her. Azuma was holding her hand! She gently gripped his hand back, placing her head into her other hand and smiling gently, thinking to herself, "I never figured Azuma to be this bold!"
Azuma sniffed, he had no idea what this movie was about.
"Did Kawachi tell him to do that? Ah! Doesn't matter, he can't be trusted," Kanmuri thought as he slipped his hand through the cracks of the seats, barely making his way through. "Almost there!" he thought, eyes focused on the very slight sliver of paper that poked out of Azuma's pants pocket. Eyes on the prize Kanmuri! He looked up at the movie screen…
"Oh Kid! I will always love you!"
"I'm sorry Julia, but my heart…belongs to another," a suspicious looking blonde American said in a serious tone, looking at the audience and smiling, his white teeth flashing as he held a single thumb up.
Kawachi waited outside the theater, not having enough money to pay for three tickets. Upon hearing Azuma and Tsukino's voice, Tsukino sniffling, he darted behind a wall.
"sniff I'm sorry I cried Azuma-san…I just love happy endings."
"It's ok! I can't say I really understood it, but I'm glad you liked it Tsukino!"
As the two walked off, Kawachi poked his head out from behind the wall, wondering where the other two ran off. His question was answered when the hulking figure of Matsushiro stopped in front of him, a sobbing Kanmuri flung over his shoulder.
"Did you…um…get the paper?" Kawachi asked, focusing his attention on the weeping Kanmuri, "What's up with him?"
"HE'S the reason Azuma still has the paper," Matsushiro said, fairly upset. Kanmuri continued to cry.
"I! wheeze Can't! sniff Help it!" Kanmuri continued to cry, trying to get a hold of himself, "It's…just that snort I can't watch sad movies…they make me sad!" Kanmuri lost himself again, weeping more. Kawachi just looked at him pathetically.
"In some ways I'm disturbed…but…I'm actually not that surprised."
"sniff Besides…Manager said that he couldn't do it because YEWOCH!" Kanmuri yelled, Matsushiro giving him a new reason to cry as he grabbed the skin on Kanmuri's leg, pinching and twisting at the same time. He saw Kawachi's hand reach up for his sunglasses, hoping to remove them most likely. Kawachi's hand felt the tremendous pressure of Matsushiro's hand crushing it. Any notion of removing his sunglasses was quickly passed off.
"Azuma-san! Let's get some ice cream!" Tsukino yelled, grabbing his hand and dragging him to the nearby vendor.
"Wait Tsukino! Not so fast!" Azuma yelled. Eventually and forcefully, they had reached the vendor and both had ordered their favorite ice cream. While Tsukino enjoyed her ice cream, Azuma looked over the list again, disappointed.
"Ohh…ice cream wasn't on the list. What should I do now?" he whispered, sighing afterwards.
"Hmm? Did you say something Azuma-san?" Tsukino asked. Azuma panicked, stuffing the paper back in his pocket.
"Oh no nothing! I was just thinking about, um…what we should do next?"
"Well…what do you want to do next?"
Azuma forgot what was written on the paper, but as desperately as he wanted to look for it he remembered Kawachi telling him NOT to show it in front of her. He scratched his chin, finding himself lost in his words.
Tsukino then looked past him, "Oh? Who's that?"
A black stretch limousine had pulled up to the vendor, gathering quite a crowd. Several people left, not showing much interest, but as the window rolled down, a white glove pointed to Azuma and Tsukino, motioning them to come over. Nervously, they made their way over, the crowd parting to let them through.
"Hello, Azuma-san," an elegant voice called out to him, Azuma peeked inside the window.
"Ah! Bird mana-I mean um…"
Meister Kirisaki smiled, his mask hiding his face, "Please call me Kirisaki, Azuma-san."
"Oh ok, Kirisaki!"
From the other side of the limo, a young blonde poked her head out from behind Kirisaki, waving at Azuma, "Hey Azuma-san!"
"Sophie! You too?!"
She nodded and smiled, "Yeah, I was just going over some business measures with the Meister. Even with all the publicity the Monaco Cup got my store, Maison Kaiser is still getting more customers than I am. So I figured I might ask my brother if there was anything he could help me with."
"Tsukino-san, perhaps we can talk about this at a later time. When you are not so…" he smiled, "Preoccupied."
Tsukino blushed, beginning to feel self-conscious, "Wh-Wh-What do you mean?"
Sophie blinked, "Aren't you two on a date?"
Before Tsukino could say anything, "Yeah we are, how come?" Azuma replied. Tsukino twirled around in a daze, still amazed at how casual he was taking this.
Sophie's face got a devious look, "Ah I see…a world famous baker and the owner of the most popular bakery in Japan."
Eyes swirling in her head, she waved her arms in protest, "I-I-It's not like that!"
Kirisaki brushed his hair back, "Then, I shall leave you two to your day," Tsukino looked away from Kirisaki, "Azuma-san, take good care of…"
"BWA-CAA!" A loud bird cawed as it flew out of the Meister's limo, it's beautiful feathers glinting the sun.
"Ah! Coo!" Sophie yelled in a panic as the peacock began to run around the street, startling the onlookers, some of them fleeing altogether. Tsukino ran after Coo, chasing him up and down the sidewalk. Azuma would have helped too, if Kirisaki had not grabbed a hold of his arm.
"Azuma-san…" he said, holding up the piece of paper that Kawachi gave him. Azuma gasped.
The paper exploded into shreds, Kirisaki clapping his hands, "Azuma-san, don't do what other people tell you. Just go with what you think feels right."
Easier said than done, Azuma still had no clue as to what the big deal was.
"Coo!" Kirisaki yelled, the peacock screeching to a halt. In a flash the beautiful peacock flew into the Meister's car, leaving a trail of feathers in his wake. Kirisaki patted Coo's head, "Azuma-san. Please take care of Tsukino-san."
The window began to roll up, Sophie waving as the tinted windows blinded the inside of the limo. Azuma and Tsukino waved as the limo sped off.
"That was weird," Azuma said, still uncertain about what just happened. Tsukino just sighed.
"I hope this isn't one of those things where we run into everyone we know," she muttered. Azuma looked at her curiously.
Startled, Tsukino waved him off, "Oh nothing, never mind! Come on Azuma-san, where should we go next?"
Another pop quiz, Azuma began to wonder what difference it made. Didn't she just want to spend the day together? And what was the big deal? Some of Kawachi's words still hung in his mind, in particular, NO BREAD was the main one that he had inflected across him.
"Um…I dunno?" he said, "Where would you like to go?"
"Hmm…Ah I know!" She yelled again, grabbing Azuma's hand and once again dragging him down the sidewalk.
"Hey Tsukino! You don't have to drag me!"
Kawachi and the rest were about to move along with the couple, until a car screeched to a halt behind them. They all looked each other, then looked back…only to be startled by the Meister's tall figure towering over them, Sophie at his side and Coo to hers.
"M-Meister Kirisaki!" Matsushiro yelled in surprise.
"Manager! What are you doing here?!" Kawachi yelled as well.
The Meister kept his straight face as he stared off at the couple running off in the distance, "As Manager of the Main Branch of Pantasia I take responsibility upon myself to ensure that the owner of Pantasia is in the best of hands. I could not think of anyone else but Azuma to treat Tsukino-san the way she deserves."
A large sweatdrop ran down Kawachi's head, "That still doesn't explain why you're here…" he looked at Sophie, who with Coo began to follow Azuma and Tsukino, "And why are you here Sophie-san?"
"Unlike my brother, I'm not going to make an excuse for myself, I want to see what happens on this date."
With gusto, the now five (six if you count the bird) stealthily followed the couple, drawing a lot of attention to themselves from passerby's.
"Azuma-san! What do you think of this?" Tsukino asked him, holding up a pink sundress, showing it off a little for him. Azuma hummed, lost in thought.
"No. Don't like it," he said bluntly. Tsukino's eyes shrunk, looking very worried. Clothes began to fly through the air as she searched for something else.
"Well then…How about this?!" she asked a little less confidently, holding up the same style dress except it was yellow.
"Oh yeah! That's better!" Azuma said with amazing quickness. Tsukino gripped the dress to her chest, leaning a little closer to Azuma.
"You like yellow better than pink?"
Azuma scratched his nose, "Not really, just that yellow looks good on you."
Tsukino blushed again, this time frantically turning her body from side to side as she babbled incoherently, scratching her head every now and then.
"Azuma!" a commanding voice called for him. Both of them turned around to see their friends and rivals, Suwabara Kai and Monica, in a martial arts uniform and tight shirt and shorts respectively. The bubble gum Monica was chewing popped.
"Suwabara! Monica!" Azuma yelled in delight, Monica throwing up a hand and smiling through the gum on her face.
"Hey Azuma-san, Tsukino-san," she said happily. Tsukino sighed, looking off into the distance.
"What are you doing here, of all places, Azuma?" Suwabara asked angrily.
Azuma pointed to Tsukino, "I'm on a uh…date with Tsukino."
"What was that?!"
Azuma laughed, "Suwabara sounds like Kawachi!"
"THAT'S NOT FUNNY!"
"Hey Monica," Tsukino said, pointing to her enlarged stomach, "How's the baby coming?"
Monica grabbed her stomach, blushing and smiling sweetly, "The baby's fine…I still got a couple months left but the baby's alright."
"Do you know what it is yet?"
Monica shook her head, "Nope. And we still haven't decided on a name yet for a boy or girl," she glared at Suwabara, who looked the other way.
Azuma smiled, "How about calling him Cobra Kai?"
No silence was ever so awkward than the one Azuma just created, Suwabara's face covered in darkness. A small, evil glint flashed from the corner of his eye.
"PREPARE TO DIE AZUMA!" Suwabara yelled, raising his sword high above Azuma's head, who hid behind Tsukino, scared to death. Thankfully, Monica had a better sense of humor and held Suwabara back, dragging him out of the store.
"Sorry to disturb you two! We'll just be going now," she grunted out, Suwabara yelling profanity as he disappeared around the corner.
"That was so scary!" Azuma yelled. Tsukino just laughed nervously.
"Monica! What's the big idea?!" Suwabara yelled, causing passerby's to walk a little quicker.
"Shh! Keep your voice down!" she said, motioning with her hands, "You don't mess with a girl when she's on her date. I think it's her first one too."
"Azuma's an artisan baker! He should be making bread, not making eyes with his…" Suwabara got angrier, "That's right! That's his boss too!"
He felt a jabbing pressure in his chest, looking nervously down at Monica's sour face, "And what do you think you're doing today Mr. Artisan Baker?"
Suwabara's face twisted in horror, looking back and forth. Finally his body gave out, the top half of his body falling limply, "We're shopping for you and the child."
She pat him on the back, "That's my Kai."
Looking up, they noticed that five completely inconspicuous people, and one really weird bird leaned against the wall of the store, hiding their faces behind various newspaper articles. They stared longer, their sweat showing through the paper.
"Come on Azuma, let's go grab a bite to eat," Tsukino said as they walked out of the store, a bag in her hands.
"Sounds great! I'm starving!"
Neither of them noticed the seven humans covering their faces with a newspaper, or the one bird also reading a newspaper. When they were far enough away, the papers dropped as their now eight stalkers watched them with increasing curiosity.
"This is wrong, disturbing a young woman on her date," Monica said, popping a piece of gum.
"You don't have to come if you don't want to," Kawachi told her.
"Don't talk to the mother of my child…" Suwabara was about to finish.
"Who shall from hereon be known as Cobra Kai."
The other six continued to walk, not paying any attention to Kawachi's screams of pain and help. Moments later, a battered Kawachi walked yards behind the rest, completely defeated in spirit.
Matsushiro stopped, the light from the sun beaming off his glasses. Kanmuri along with the rest stopped as well, looking up at him.
"What's wrong Manager?" he asked.
"We've got trouble." He said sternly, looking across the street to a tiny pink-haired girl with small shorts and next to her…a very large, hairy man wearing a horse's mask.
"So it's Horse-chan this time is it?" Matsushiro said, feeling a slight urge to laugh at his ridiculous get-up.
"How'd he turn back into a human?" Suwabara asked to no one in particular.
"It was just a reaction, so I guess it's no surprised that he turned back," Kanmuri replied. From across the street, they saw the girl, Mizuno, look towards her sister.
"Damn! It's too late!" Matsushiro yelled. With incredible force, he pointed to the middle of the street between Mizuno and Mokoyama, and Azuma and Tsukino, "Kawachi! Plan Alpha! Intercept!"
Kawachi's eyes flashed, crouching down to his knees, "Yes sir!" For Kawachi, the leap was astounding, making it all the way to Mizuno and Mokoyama in one leap. Mizuno just blinked, astounded this goofball could make such a leap. Standing up, he raised his palm to them, chuckling, "I'm sorry, but I cannot allow you to pass any fur-"
"Horse-chan take care of him," Mizuno said.
"Yes boss," Mokoyama replied, grinding his fist into his hand. Kawachi shrunk in terror.
The rest of the group watched with enjoyment as Kawachi was pummeled.
"You didn't really think Kawachi could stop Mokoyama, did you Manager?" Kanmuri asked, Matsushiro didn't say anything, covering up his mouth to contain the laughter.
"Kazu-kun!" Mizuno yelled, running up to Azuma's side. She stared seductively at him, "What are you doing with my sister?"
Before Azuma could answer, Tsukino stepped in front of Azuma, "We're on a date Mizuno, so please leave," she said defensively.
Mizuno glared at her, scowling, "That's no fair sister, if you can have a date with Kazu-kun…" with lightning speed she grabbed Azuma's arm, pulling him away from Tsukino who reached out her hand in vain.
She stuck her tongue out at Tsukino, squeezing Azuma's arm tighter, "You don't mind if I borrow him for a while. I promise I'll bring him back in near mint condition."
"Mizuno stop acting like a child!" Tsukino finally yelled in anger, although it didn't phase Mizuno one bit, in fact actually pleasing her selfish interest.
Azuma tried to protest, but Mizuno was too fast, pulling on his arm and dragging him, quickly, away from Tsukino, "Come on Kazu-kun! Let's go get something to eat!"
"M-Mizuno-chan…!" Azuma yelled, the only thing he said in protest. Seconds later, a large burly figure stopped Mizuno dead in her tracks, his horse head staring down at them.
"H-Horse-chan?! What's wrong?"
Mokoyama didn't say a word, staring at them for a second before picking up Mizuno and flinging her over his shoulder.
"Horse-chan?! What are you doing?!"
Mokoyama bowed to Azuma and Tsukino who had just caught up, and through the screaming protests of Mizuno solemnly walked away, ignoring Mizuno's tiny hands and feet kicking him in his chest and back..
Tsukino sighed a breath of relief, placing her hand to her chest. Turning to Azuma and forcing a smile, she giggled and said, "Now then…shall we go?"
"Uh…sure…" Azuma said, still nervous about moments earlier. Turning around, the two of them continued to walk off together.
"Let go of me Horse-chan! I'm your boss you can't do this to me! Put me down!"
"I'm sorry Boss," Mokoyama said, setting her down and kneeling so he could "stare" her in the face, "But we have no right to interrupt their date, besides, didn't you see how hurt your sister was?"
Mizuno glared off to the side, not wanting to admit he was right. But it wasn't fair that her sister got to have Azuma on and off work. She scoffed, "I don't care."
Mokoyama looked deep into her, knowing that she truly knew what she had done was wrong. Getting so caught up in her, however, he failed to notice half of the stalkers had walked past them.
"Come along you two, you might as well hop aboard this crazy train too," Matsushiro said, trying not to hint he started said crazy train. Mizuno tried to make a break for it, but Mokoyama caught her fast as he followed the group, her tiny little body dangling a foot off the ground, looking really pissed off.
Tsukino sighed, placing her head in her hand from exhaustion.
"What's wrong Tsukino?" Azuma asked.
She looked away from him, "It's nothing. Just…" she placed her hand to her mouth, feeling embarrassed with what she was about to say, "Just that I wanted to spend the day with you, and we keep getting all these distractions and interruptions."
Azuma cocked his head, giving Tsukino a confused look. He still didn't understand what the big deal was…but it seemed like Tsukino really wanted to spend the day with him. He began to feel bad that he had been so oblivious to her feelings…whatever they were.
The couple settled for a burger joint, which actually worked out just nice. Azuma was starving, and Tsukino, although hungry, was glad that Azuma was happy. Besides, big expensive dinners were for second dates. Second dates…
Tsukino blushed, letting her fantasies get ahead of her, "One step at a time Tsukino," she told herself, taking in deep breaths. Placing her drink down on the table, she clapped her hands together and smiled at Azuma, "To repeat an earlier question, where to next?"
"Mm mfp phh nhghh mmm!" Azuma grunted out, his cheeks exploding with food. Tsukino did a minor spit-take, laughing as Azuma began to swallow his food painfully. "Ugh…I won't do that again," is what he said, but Tsukino knew eventually that he would. He was just that kind of person.
Tsukino continued to giggle to herself, before looking up at Azuma, "Oh Azuma, you got a bit of mustard on your cheek," she said. Reaching into her purse she carried with her, she pulled out a small handkerchief and leaned over the table, wiping the mustard off.
"Thanks Tsukino!" He said, not feeling embarrassed in the least. The same could not be said for Tsukino, secretly cursing and praising herself for noticing that. "Well, as for about what we should do next…"
"Is that Azuma-san?!" a thick Japanese voice called out to them. Looking over the two of them saw the Italian-American baker and yakisoba cook, Spencer Henry Hoko, whom will hereby be referred to as Sachihoko from now on.
"Sachihoko!" Azuma yelled, "How are you doing?!"
Sachihoko grinned wide, "I'm fine, but the real question is you dog, how'd you manage to score a date with Tsukino-san?"
He cocked his head, looking up at Sachihoko, "I'm not a dog, why would you say that?"
Sachihoko laughed, "That's what I like about you Azuma-san! You got an awesome sense of humor!" He began to slap Azuma's back, who winced with each smack.
But through Sachihoko's blathering and his hard, playful smacks, Azuma looked up to see Tsukino looking away from the both of them, feeling very disappointed. Azuma furrowed his brow.
"Sorry Sachihoko-san! But I have to get going!" he yelled, bolting up. That startled Tsukino, but what startled her even more is that he reached out and grabbed her hand, gently helping her to her feet, "Then, Tsukino, let's go!" And with that he began to drag Tsukino out of the restaurant.
"W-Wait up Azuma!" She yelled as she was pulled out of sight of Sachihoko, who stood in awe.
He laughed, "Sachihoko, you gotta be more considerate to others feelings!"
Outside, Azuma continued to run with Tsukino in close quarters, a big smile on his face.
"A-Azuma-san! Where are we going?!" She yelled, trying to keep up with him, her sandals holding her back.
"Come on Tsukino! I know exactly where I want to go!" He yelled back, laughing as he gripped her hand tighter. Tsukino felt her heart flutter, and smiling ver slightly gripped his hand a little tighter too.
The group of now eleven, Sachihoko and still counting Coo, watched quietly as the two began to run off into the distance. Smiles on half of the faces, a select two scowling (Suwabara and Mizuno).
"Well…they're off…" Monica said, feeling a bit relieved.
"Yes, I don't think there's any way to catch them even if we wanted to," Sophie said, also feeling a bit relieved the chase was over.
They all stood in comforting silence, glad the day was almost over but a bit disappointed they were done with the chase. The wind blew through them, fluttering clothes and hair alike.
Matsushiro's eyes bolted open (not that one could tell) as he grunted in surprise, "I know where they're going!"
"What?!" Everyone yelled in surprise.
"Why didn't you say something earlier?!"
"They're too far ahead of us now!"
"Quiet all of you," Matsushiro yelled, "I know a shortcut!"
From the Southern Branch of Pantasia, Azuma and Tsukino stood side by side, an apron wrapped around their torso and waist, their sleeves rolled up to their shoulders as their hands were deep in dough. From the several doors that led to the bakery of Pantasia, faces were crammed tightly together as they looked in on the two kneading dough.
"That moron, I thought I told him not to do anything with bread," Kawachi muttered. Kanmuri sighed.
"You still don't get it do you Kawachi?" he said exasperated.
"What does that mean?"
"It means…" Monica butted in, Kirisaki finishing her sentence.
"That true quality time is not measured in what you do," he looked at Azuma and Tsukino, who had just splashed a bit of water on him for fun, "It's whom you do it with."
Kawachi began to feel bad, watching the two of them laughing and carrying on with each other, as they continued to finish up the bread they were making.
"And this is the happiest the both of them had been from the beginning," Kuroyanagi said, his arms cross at his, KUROYANAGI?!
"Kuro-yan! What are you doing here?!" Kawachi yelped, almost loud enough for the others to hear them.
He scoffed, "I've been following you guys all morning, ever since I saw Kawachi in that ridiculous getup. You looked ok though Kanmuri."
Kanmuri waved him off, "Thank you!"
"But no one bothered to pay attention to me, and I had some great lines during the entire trip! I even wrote them down if anyone want to hear them."
"Not really…" was the collective response, Kuroyanagi fell into despair.
"Is it really ok for me to be kneading bread that's going into the same as yours Azuma-san?" Tsukino asked him as she continued to knead her part of dough. Azuma nodded.
"Yup! Japan number twenty-seven was designed for two people to work on it. When I was still living with my sister, she always wanted to make bread too. But…" he flashed back to a carcinogenic "loaf" of bread that his sister held horrifyingly in her hands, "…she was never very good at it. So I thought up of Japan number twenty-seven! It utilizes two different textured dough made with two pairs of hands," as he molded the bread he began to smear a thin paste-like substance on it, "and my sister loved to eat fish, so I thought that she would love to make this bread as well."
"But…my hands aren't as warm as yours…and it's difficult to add a meat like fish to the bread without it tasting…well…fishy," she replied, feeling terrible for the pun.
"It's ok!" Azuma said with confidence, as held his dough so Tsukino could put hers on top, "You're much better than my sister! This will turn out great!"
Tsukino leaned back on the table as Azuma opened the oven door and slid the bread inside, smiling. "You're something else Azuma-san…"
Within a couple hours, the bread had been complete, Azuma and Tsukino sinking their teeth into it.
"It's delicious!" she exclaimed, her eyes shimmering from the mouth-watering taste.
"What'd I tell ya?!" Azuma said excitedly, "This is even better than back home! My sister is such a bad baker."
Tsukino laughed, "You shouldn't make fun of your sister."
Azuma puffed out his cheeks, "But she is! And she forced us to eat her bread too whenever she made it!"
This only made Tsukino laugh harder, until that is she looked at the watch wrapped around her wrist, "Ah! It's getting late! I better get home!"
"O-Okay!" Azuma said, rushing with Tsukino out the door which had amazingly been cleared of all watchers in a matter of seconds. Hiding in the darkness, half of the group began to quietly follow them, who had slowed to a fast walk instead of a run, talking their hearts out. But something was wrong…
"Where's Kuro-yan?" Kawachi asked, looking around as half of the group began to walk away, only him, Kanmuri, and Matsushiro staying behind. They looked at each other, then it hit them.
Slamming the door open, the silence that surrounded the bakery was deafening.
"He's…he's not here…" Kanmuri said, beginning to feel a bit silly. Until…
"Gabu, gabu, gabu…" was the noise they heard coming from the behind the table, "Gabu, gabu, gabu…." They slowly made their way over, watching as Kuroyanagi flailed on the ground like a suffocating fish, his arms stuck to his side and his legs stuck together.
"A…fish…?" was the thought that ran through the three's minds, not realizing that Kuroyanagi had abandoned his own lungs for the Reaction, developing a set of gills which fluttered helplessly.
"He's become a true fish!" Matsushiro yelled in a panic, "Get him in some water now!"
"But! Where is there something big enough to put a whole human being?!" Kanmuri yelled back, as he picked up Kuroyanagi's front half of his body, which only flailed harder. They both ignored Kawachi repeatedly getting slapped by his feet-fin.
They all let out a sigh of relief, rushing him to the bathtub of the upstairs room. Kuroyanagi gently wriggled his body in the cool water, breathing as fine as a fish could.
"Now…about this Reaction…" Kanmuri muttered, placing his hand to his chin and thinking hard.
In silence they stood, their hands to their chins, as they thought hard about what this could be, Kuroyanagi's muffled "Gabu" fish noise barely audible.
"I got it!" Matsushiro yelled, smacking his fist into his palm, "Azuma used a fish paste to add flavor to the bread! And Kuroyanagi had been following them on their date all day, therefore…" with awaited anticipation, the other two looked at him, expecting the answer, "HE'S BECOME A KOI FISH!"
"What was that?!" Kawachi yelled.
Kanmuri smiled wide, "Of course! It makes sense. Koi fish are good luck, and are also symbols of love and friendship because 'koi' is a homonym of 'koi' which means romantic love!"
"Correct!" Kuroyanagi yelled, slamming his fist into the bathtub ring, "That bread was made with a kind of love that could only be found between two people! The two different kinds of bread, one made with solar hands and one without, blended perfectly together in a soft yet supple taste, and the fish substance he used was an elegant flavor that glided among the taste buds, mixing with the bread perfectly."
"So what kind of fish did he use?"
"I'm off duty as a judge, so I'm under no obligation to tell you."
The other three had several sweatdrops run down their head. Kuroyanagi was a first-class judge; he would know what it tasted like. Yet they couldn't shake the feeling that someone was hiding something…but who?
Tsukino stretched, as the day began to get a little darker, the sky catching on fire as the sun set. She skipped a few paces ahead of him, turning around so she could face him.
"Thanks for walking me home Azuma-san. I had a really great day today."
"So did I! We're going to have to do it again!"
Tsukino jumped a little, blushing, "You…you mean like a second date?"
"Yeah! That sounds great!"
She began to fiddle with her fingers again, smiling sweetly as she looked down at the ground, "Ok then…how about this Saturday if that's not too early?'
"I'll ask Manager about it but if I can I'd be glad to."
"Knowing Matsushiro-san he probably would give him off, just to see me squirm," she giggled to herself, causing Azuma to look at her funny, "I'm glad he would."
"Well then Azuma, I'll be heading inside now. Thanks again for a great…oh Kawachi-san!"
Azuma turned around, looking surprised, "Kawachi?"
It was sudden and unstoppable, Tsukino had quickly snuck up behind Azuma, and after placing her hand under his chin, gave him a quick kiss on the cheek.
"Tsukino!" Azuma yelled frustrated, rubbing his cheek, "What'd you do that for?"
Tsukino just smiled and giggled, "Because I'm your boss and I felt like it. Besides, if you want a second date with me you'd better expect it again." She stuck her tongue out at him, and trotted into her house, waving him a goodbye.
Azuma, still rubbing his cheek, felt completely relieved. He was glad he made Tsukino so happy…somehow…but was the kiss really necessary? He began to walk away, continuing to rub his cheek.
"What'd she do that for? But…" he muttered, "It kinda felt good."
As he turned the corner, he screeched to a halt at the sight that had befallen him, yelping loudly. Standing in front of him was his old and current friends, most with big smiles on their faces.
"Congratulations on your first date Azuma-san!"
"I knew you had it in you, you dog!"
"Ahh…Azuma-san got a kiss goodnight…"
"Kazu-kun! Go on a date with me!"
"Ken-chan, I feel so nostalgic!"
"A performance well done Azuma. But don't lose sight of your true aspect as an artisan baker!"
"Don't listen to him Azuma, he's just nervous since he's becoming a daddy."
"The owner of Pantasia and the world famous baker…truly a remarkable couple."
"Do I hear wedding bells?!"
Through all the commotion, Azuma began to feel constricted, his face boiling red. Even as he shrunk back in embarrassment, the crowd didn't let up an inch. Finally, Azuma exploded.
"WHERE DID YOU ALL COME FROM ANYWAY?!"
Up in Tsukino's room, she laid herself over her desk, a big grin on her face as she hummed a merry tune, feeling quite content with herself. In her hands, she held out a calendar with Saturday circled in thick red marker with a chibi-face of Azuma crudely drawn in pencil in the middle of the day. Underneath were the words, 'Second date with Azuma-san!'. She giggled.
"Azuma-san makes me feel so giddy sometimes…I know I'll feel even more flustered on Saturday." Closing her eyes, she kicked her feet out in the air, letting out a quiet squeal.
Kinoshita spit out his toothpaste, decked out in PJ's and slippers he stared wearily into the mirror.
"Why do I get the feeling that everyone left me out of something important again today?" Sighing, he crawled into bed, being overcome with a shadow of despair.
I want to thank everyone who stuck through this fanfic, and enjoyed at least 75 of it. I hate to toot my own horn, but I am very proud of this fanfiction. I'm not going to force this feeling on anyone else, but I had a lot of fun writing this (I.E., my Brad Kid reference, I still laugh at that because I didn't think I would be able to use him).
If by some chance you are one of the ones who did enjoy reading this fanfic, please do not ask for a sequel. Although I have been a AzumaXTsukino supporter since halfway through the show, I have no plans nor will I make a continuing fanfic about them. This was a one-shot fanfic that I wanted to make to make a few people and me, smile and laugh. I succeeded in one department, I hope I succeed in the second. .
Please leave reviews, and any questions I will answer in the review section as well or I will answer through emails. Reviews and criticism's are always welcome, and I hope you all enjoyed this fun fanfic.
If you're a fan of Shuffle check out my Shuffle fanfic called Shuffle! Hope, I hope to see you there!