HINO'S GLASS SLIPPER

"Congratulations on studying abroad!" Kahoko Hino smiled.

"Thank you…Hino…" Tsukimori Len replied, with a tiny smile.

BACK IN THE CLASSROOM

"So you never ask him when he is leaving?!" Nami Amo shrieked at Hino "Gods, I could do a special piece of news on that!" Poor Hino cringed a little as she tried to calm the reporter down a little. "Gomen nei, Amo-chan! I have no idea that you want that information!"

"Well, now that you know, please get it for me!!!!!" Amo grabbed hold of Kino as she shook the violist a little, so as to get her point across.

"Get your hands off Hino, Nami-san." A chilled voice suddenly piped up, freezing the two girls in place. Long, slender and masculine hands reached out as they pied Amo's fingers off Hino's arms. Dropping it as soon as possible, Len stood next to Hino as he glared at Amo. "If you want to know so badly, you can ask me personally."

"……." Amo was speechless as she looked in the face of the blue haired violist as he continued to glare at the reporter. Sensing his temper, Hino stepped in quickly, as so to fix the situation before it gets out of hand. "Ano…Tsukimori-kun, so when are you leaving?"

"I am leaving in a month's time. After we finish with the festival's concert, I am leaving the day after that." Len replied coldly, still looking at Amo as the reporter unfroze herself back to normal. Giving the reporter one last glare, he turned around to face Hino as he said "Tomorrow, there will be a practice session for all the participants for the festival's concert. I forgot to tell you earlier when you dropped by my practice room. 4pm, at the second music room. Don't be late." As Hino nodded, he gave a nod in return and walked away.

"Arigato, Kino!! Tsukimori-san can be so scary at times!" Amo said, as she rubbed her arms around herself for comfort. Hino smiled gently as she does not wish to say anything. How can Tsukimori-kun be anything but kind? After all, he taught me how to play the violin! Hino thought to herself as she waved goodbye to her friend before heading for home. Perhaps…just perhaps, I might do something as a token of thanks and serve as a farewell present as well? "But…what will it be?" She mused out loud.

"Hino, are you speaking to yourself again? It's a bad habit you know. Hurry up and wash your hands. Dinner is starting soon." Her mother called through the kitchen to the living. "Hai, oka-san!" Hino rushed to obey.

AFTER DINNER, IN HINO'S ROOM

"So what shall it be?" Hino mused out loud again, as she tapped her pen against the mathematical equation on paper. "Are you asking the paper what is the answer or are you woolgathering again, sister mine?" Hino's older sister rebuked her as Hino fell off her chair in shock. "Onee-chan! Why didn't you knock?" Hino winced as she rubbed the sore spot on her head, where she hit it. "I did, but apparently, someone didn't hear me!" Sitting down on her sister's bed, Hino's sister looked at her dead in the eye. "So, what are you thinking about?"

"……..I am thinking of a suitable present for a friend who has been very kind to me. He is going overseas for studies soon." Hino said, as she sat upright on the floor, looking up at her sister who is wearing a thoughtful expression. "What kind of a boy is he?" Thinking of all the encounters that they had so far till now, Hino was quiet for a moment as she considered what Tsukimori Len is to her. Grinning inwardly at her sister's expression, Hino's older sister leaned forward and rapped her gently on the skull. "Baka! Looking at the expression on your face, just get him something that will remind him of you, no matter where he may be. It will be ideal if you can make the gift yourself too. A touch of sincerity, don't you agree?" Smiling, she stood up and stretched as she continued "Don't stay up too late, sleep early. Goodnight."

Hearing the door closing with a gentle click, Hino continued to sit on the floor as she continued to look at the back of her door. Suddenly, she jumped up, yelling "I got it!"

THE NEXT DAY

"I would like the black, dark blue and white wool please" Hino said, as she pointed at the materials that she would need for her project. "Ano…Kahoko-sempai, are you making something?" Shoko Fuyumi asked quietly, as she stood next to her senior, who paid and turned to go. Both girls decided to go for a dessert after the practice session and Hino had stopped at a sewing store along the way. "Hai, Fuyumi-chan. I am making a present for a friend." Hino replied with a smile for her junior. Just before Fuyumi can ask who, they had reached the store already. Keeping her question to herself, she followed Hino into the store.

TWO WEEKS LATER

"Watch how you control the bow! There must be equal pressure on the strings and not on the extreme left one!" Tsukimori said, as he reached out to adjust the pressure of Hino's fingers. Blushing furiously, Hino tried to make the adjustments. "Arigato, Tsukimori-kun! I will-ouch!" Wincing a little, she lifted her violin away and flexed her neck muscles a little. Both of them glanced at the clock in the corner and noticed how late it is. Then Len spoke up. "Enough, it's very late already. Let's call it a day and continue some other time." So saying, he turned around, to pack his violin into the case.

Staring at his broad back, Hino was speechless for a while as she tried to get her thoughts in order. Taking a deep breath, she asked softly "Tsukimori -kun? Will you be free tomorrow? I have something to hand over to you before you leave." At her words, Len stiffened a little before stomping down on his emotions. Keeping his mask in place, he turned around "I will be home tomorrow, to practice my solo. You can come over then, after my practice, at 3pm " After acknowledging Hino's small nod, he turned the door knob and stepped out. "Come on, I will send you home."

AUTHOR'S NOTE

I am back! At least for a while, that is. I got this inspiration after reading the latest chapter of La Corda O'ro. Come to think about it, I am really a die-hard romantic.

What will Hino's present be? What will happen at Tsukimori's house? What will be the future of our couple here? Stay tuned for the next chapter! =)