"This is your fault, you know."

"My fault!"

"Yes, your fault."

"And why's that?"

"Because you wanted to go on this stupid thing. I told you it was a bad idea."

"Wha... you..." Naota struggled for words, face growing increasingly red with his frustration. Ninamori simply sighed, placing her hand under her chin and glancing out the window bitterly, bored.

"This isn't exactly how I wanted to spend the day, either, you know," Naota finally managed, mustering up a glare-

Which was quashed fairly quickly beneath the single baleful glimpse of Ninamori's eye. He steeled himself, knowing that a tongue lashing that could strip paint of battleships would occur...

Except it didn't. Ninamori was looking away again, hiding her face with her long hair that shined like quicksilver in the noon sun. After a few heartbeats, she murmured softly, "If you wanted to stay back at school, you should have said so."

Naota froze up. Damn. Annoyed Ninamori he could deal with. Quiet Ninamori was something else altogether, a creature that was far more terrifying because he wasn't sure what to do with it.

"I didn't," he began, eyes planted firmly at the now patterns on his jeans, gripping them tightly with white knuckles. "I didn't want to stay there."

Ninamori said nothing. Naota hoped this was a good sign. Swallowing, he added, "Thanks. For taking me out of school."

Still nothing. Naota was about to backtrack when Ninamori finally turned her head, giving him an arching eyebrow. "Well, if I didn't, you'd skip on your own. And that would leave me with Gaku and Masashi all day."

"They're not that bad," Naota said absently, but he didn't mean it. They were that bad, maybe a little worse. But if they weren't, he probably wouldn't put up with them.

Ninamori didn't reply, and his thoughts started drifting down toward the people below them, wondering if they were ever going to fix this, or if they were going to be stuck here forever.

Oddly, the thought didn't seem so bad. After all, this was Ninamori, the only other person in Mabase who actually thought along the same lines as him, who didn't take his half-considered replies and noncommittal answers. If there was someone he was going to be stuck with forever in this tiny little compartment, it might as well be Ninamori.

"You'd better not be thinking anything perverted."

Naota blinked, once, twice, startled out of his reverie as Ninamori leveled a no-nonsense stare at him. He was about to protest when he saw the twinkling amusement in her eyes, and he wondered absently if her contacts were doing that.

"No way," he muttered, glancing out the window.

"Are you saying I'm not pretty?"

Oh shit.

On second thought, staying in this compartment with Ninamori might be the worst thing ever. Glancing down at the distant ground, Naota sighed, and prayed that the amusement park employees would fix the ferris wheel soon.