Disclaimer 1: I don't own Azumanga Daioh, Kiyohiko Azuma does.
Disclaimer 2: But I am mad as a hatter.
"Wow, what a great concert!" Tomo cheered, jumping up and punching the air as the crowds filed out of the Tokyo Dome.
"We can't thank you enough, Kaorin," Chiyo added. "Minori Chihara is such a cool singer!"
"Hey, Konata here was the one who bought the tickets," Kaorin answered. "I know she can seem a bit high-strung, and she's kind of an otaku, but…you don't mind having her around, do you? After all, she lives way out in Saitama Prefecture, so since we've been dating I haven't had time to see you guys as much."
"Hey, if she can get us tickets to May'n and Animelo like she said, we'll be glad to count her as part of our group!" Tomo exclaimed.
"Tomo, please!" Yomi scolded, smacking her on the shoulder. "Quit taking advantage of people like that!"
"Hey Kaorin, are you coming?" called the short, blue-haired girl.
"Coming, Kona-chan!" Kaorin answered. "Well, see you guys Monday!"
The others bade Kaorin farewell as she ran toward Konata's dad's waiting car.
"Really, Tomo," Yomi continued. "You shouldn't make it sound like the only reason we want her around is because she has a lot of money from working in a cosplay café."
"Don't you think it's nice that Kaorin managed to move on from Sakaki after…you know?" Chiyo responded. "And you have to feel sorry for Konata too, after two of her best friends were killed. Their grief was how they bonded after they met at Comiket, after all. That, and, well, they're both crazy about that Marimite anime." I'll have to ask Osaka what that one's about later, she thought.
"Man, that was awkward about Sakaki," Osaka drawled in response. "Do ya'll think she'll ever be the same?"
"Hmm, I don't know," answered Tomo. "But c'mon, guys, I was just trying to be grateful about her taking us to the concert and all."
"Well, just try to be more tactful in the future," Chiyo replied.
Osaka's face turned slightly ominous. "That Konata's from Saitama Prefecture? Y'all don't think she knew those girls killed in the murder-suicide in Washimiya last fall, do ya?"
Yomi shivered slightly, the way she often did when Osaka adopted "that" look in her eye. "I don't know…" she said.
"Guyyyyys!!!" Tomo pleaded, bouncing around the train station concourse even more frantically than usual. "You gotta wait for me! My bladder's gonna explode!"
"I told you not to order that extra-large soda!" Yomi shouted.
"But I needed the extra sugar and caffeine so Minorin could hear me yelling her how much I love her!"
"Please. There were about 30,000 other people there tonight. Do you really think—Hey!" Yomi followed Tomo into the ladies' room. "Dammit Tomo, the train is pulling into the station right now! This is the last one of the night! I swear, you really…"
"Oh my God, Chiyo, should we get on without them?" gasped Osaka.
"Yomi has our tickets!" Chiyo told her.
"Now boarding at Track 3, Train No. 18 to Higashimurayama via Port Chester, Old Greenwich…whoops, wrong list, via Ikebukuro, Shakuji-koen, and Tomobiki-cho. Please stand clear of the closing doors."
"Ahh! That's much better!" Tomo exclaimed as she emerged from the restroom, stretching her arms out in an exaggerated pose. "Hey, why're you guys all glaring at me like that?"
"Because you made us miss our train, you moron!" Yomi snapped, veins bursting from her temples. "Now how are we supposed to get home?"
"But the bathrooms at the Tokyo Dome were so crowded!" Tomo whined. "Plus public restrooms are always nasty!"
"Well, you just went in one, didn't you?" muttered Yomi. "Well, we might as well call our parents. They'll sure be pissed when we…"
"Hey, look," Osaka remarked, pointing to a train schedule on the wall. "Looks like there's one more train in about 10 minutes.
"Funny, it isn't listed in my fold-out schedule," said Chiyo.
"We can ask the conductor if the train is stopping at our station," Yomi answered. "Besides, we all got round-trip tickets, so we might as well use them."
The four girls sat on a platform bench, watching for the train to arrive.
Yomi sighed. "Are you sure about this, Osaka? There's no one else waiting, it's late, and…"
"Now arriving on Track 3, Train No. 42." Sure enough, a headlight shone down the tracks into their faces, and their ride pulled in.
Chiyo blinked. The train consisted of just a single railcar, something she had only seen on rural rail lines. She didn't know much about trains, but this one also looked like an older model. That, plus the late hour lent a mysterious air to this.
"Well, c'mon, Chiyo-chan, Osaka. Do you want to spend the night here or what?" asked Yomi, getting on.
"Coming," the two answered.
"Wow," Osaka breathed. "I don't think they've produced these models since the mid-'60s or so."
Before getting on, Chiyo took one last look. Was it just her imagination, or did the form of the train car seem to almost be wavering, liquid; as if it were underwater?
Where are we really going, she wondered as the doors closed behind her.
Yes, the mental patient who brought you "Bizarre Love Triangle" is back to take on Azumanga Daioh. Don't worry; no perverts or rape in this story; just good, clean, psychedelic fun. I'm kind of a train fan, as you might've guessed, and the idea for this story kinda developed with Osaka wondering what's at the end of the train line. I'm not exactly sure where I'm going to go with this one, or if I'll even finish it; I just know it's going to be surreal and nonsensical in the Hitchhiker's Guide tradition. This chapter had a slight reference to UKFFFan's YouTube video "The Future of the Girls of Azumanga Daioh", as well as my Lucky Star story "Bizarre Love Triangle".
Anyway, tell me what you think and we'll see how things turn out.