Disclaimer: I do not own Azumanga Daioh.

The Birthday Present
By Silver Sailor Ganymede

It was a well-known fact that Kagura was the best swimmer at their school, almost certainly headed to college on a sports-scholarship.

A less widely known fact was that the tomboyish Kagura was rather fond of one kind of cute animal, namely dogs. She had never liked cats much after being scrammed by them one-too-many times as a child, but she had always had a soft-spot for dogs, They were loyal, hard-working and loving - everything a pet should be in her opinion, but (and there is always a 'but' when it comes to things like these) she could never have a dog because her father was allergic to them.

So it was that Kagura kept to secretly collecting things with dogs on them, though she kept her love of the animals even more well-hidden than Sakaki's love of cute things.

Because of this only one person other than Kagura herself knew about the tomboy's affection for dogs. This person was Sakaki, whose 'cute-radar' could spot anything fluffy and cuddly from ten miles away with no problems at all. Sakaki was quite glad that Kagura, under her cat-hating exterior, actually liked cute things too. She knew all the others (with the exception of Chiyo) would find her love of plush-toys and the like ridiculous, but not Kagura.

On Kagura's birthday, as well as the usual presents she got in the mornig from her parents, she found something waiting on the desk for her in class. A small, fluffy, white toy shaped like a dog. There was a bow on its neck as well as a card, which simply said 'happy birthday.' The handwriting seemed familiar, but she couldn't place it immediately. Then she realised who it must be from.

Kagura turned around and smiled at Sakaki, who simply smiled back. Sometimes actions speak far louder than words ever could.