Title: Adagio
: Mio/Ritsu – finally!
: T
: Sequel to Andante. Ritsu's quite perceptive when it comes to Mio, but she's still slow sometimes—maybe deliberately. MioxRitsu.
: 3
: I normally don't add Japanese words into my fic unless they're honorifics or necessary for references but you won't get the double meaning if I don't explain: Futsuu means 'normal' literally, and 'heterosexual' in slang. (Da)kara would mean 'because'; or in the context of this fic, it's used to end a reason.




O lenta

Ritsu and Tsumugi stood outside the cake shop, which was located in front of the station, waiting for Mio. The bassist was currently in said shop, purchasing a chocolate cake that she'd loudly claimed was going to be shared equally at her household. Ritsu had snorted and smirked at her declaration, so now she was currently ignoring passers-by who tried not to stare too obviously at her swollen head.

"What's taking her so long," Ritsu complained to no one in particular.

Tsumugi scanned her surroundings in seeming awe, an action that grabbed a few people's attention—who assumed she was an exchange student—as they went about on their way. Some of whom were sharing an inside joke concerning foreigners amongst themselves.

After a minute, Ritsu tapped her foot against the pavement impatiently. Deciding to pay attention to their surroundings like Tsumugi, she turned her head from side to side listlessly, hoping to find some interesting people to watch—or ogle.

Their eyes settled almost simultaneously on a high school boy that had a guitar case on his back. Like the girls, he scanned his surroundings; then stopped as if he'd found what he was looking for, and ran up to another boy around his age. He raised a hand to greet him, "Yo, Ken."

Ken, who was leaning against an electric pole whilst staring blankly at the sky, looked over to where he was called. Recognition flashed in his eyes before irritation flooded it out. "Noriyuki. What the hell took you so long? I was freezing my ass off here."

Noriyuki scratched the back of his head sheepishly, the cheeky grin on his face negating the sincerity of his next sentence. "Sorry, got held up."

Tsumugi blinked when Noriyuki's back profile was turned to them, and noticed what was on his guitar case. "Oh, he has a rainbow coloured pin."

"Oh…?" Ritsu said distractedly, too busy checking out Ken from head to toe. She watched as he sighed and beckoned his friend to come over to him. Startled, Tsumugi turned to face Ritsu; an expression of slight surprise etched on her face.

"Eh? You don't know what it means?"

Ritsu pondered over Tsumugi's question, then turned to the blonde reluctantly and shook her head. She really had no idea.

That was, until Ken gave his 'friend' a clumsy, chaste kiss on the mouth.

Behind them the door swung open and Mio stepped out with a box in her hands; face somewhat flushed from the warmth inside. Startled by the accompanying chimes from the doorbell, the blonde and brunette spun around.

"Ah, sorry for taking so long, you guys!" Mio apologised. "Ar—why are your faces red?"

The two pointed, by darting their eyes towards the direction of the boys, and didn't elaborate.

Which wasn't needed, really, because the skin tone of Mio's face soon matched theirs.


"I don't think it worked…"

"Really? Well, how did she react?"

"She got embarrassed and started to yell at me…and I even told her I'd put it in the mailbox."


"She went back to normal after that too. But, she was so distant before…like she was…"



"…I think it worked, then. A little."

"Well, it could have been worse, I guess…"


"So our bassist and keyboardist switch sometimes, huh…" Ritsu commented almost incoherently; a pen stuck above her top lip.

Mio, who had mastered the skill at understanding Ritsu during such times, immediately answered, "We are the ones that do most of the composing, so it's not going to be hard."

Tsumugi settled her empty cup of tea onto the table and nodded in agreement. "It's fun when you switch instruments time to time, isn't it?"


"It's amazing how Mio-sempai and Tsumugi-sempai can play any of the two now," Azusa said admiringly.

"Yeah, it's amazing!" Yui chirped with a mouth full of cake.

"Not to mention, their studies aren't suffering," Azusa added. At that point, she directed a look at two certain band members.

Ritsu bristled. "Hey! I can play the harmonica too!"

"I know I can't play any other guitar 'sides Giita," Yui tried to explain herself. "But I can also play the—um—c-castanets?"

Azusa continued to stare at them indifferently.

Ritsu shifted her seat to the right, hooked her right arm around Azusa's neck and pulled. Azusa squeaked. Ritsu grinned evilly. "Harmonica is considered an instrument, yes, Azusa-chan?"

Azusa struggled against the hold on her, and gave up when it was obvious her senior wouldn't let go until she'd answered. "Y-yes, Ritsu-sempai."

Ritsu gave a pat on her head (which felt ominous to Azusa) before letting go. "Good girl."

"Ricchan!" Yui yelped in shock. "You should've made Azu-nyan say the castanet is also an instrument!"

Azusa glared at Yui, Mio took another sip of her tea and found it was lukewarm, Tsumugi tilted her head to the side with a lopsided smile. All three shared the similar thought:

That's not what you should be complaining about… (!)

Ritsu waved Yui's objection away. She got up from her seat and meandered towards the couch where their schoolbags were at. When she got there, she bent over and rummaged through her bag; getting up when she found what she was looking for. "Oh, my water bottle's empty," Ritsu realised.

Mio pushed her cup of tea away from her, lest she'd forget it was cold and drank it again, and sighed. "Use mine then," she offered.

However, Ritsu had already searched Mio's bag and found her bottle before she'd said anything. She twisted the cap off with a relish and tipped it to her dry lips.

When Ritsu gulped her fifth mouthful of water, Mio frowned at her. "Slow down would you?" she demanded. "Leave some for me, you know."

Ritsu continued to drink.

"Isn't that an indirect kiss, then?" Yui commented innocently.

Ritsu promptly choked. Mio had a sudden coughing fit.

"W-what are you on about, Yui?" Mio spluttered nervously; so nervous, in fact, that she unconsciously picked up her once neglected tea cup and gave a sip to calm her nerves. It took a while for her tastebuds to inform her of her grave mistake, and she refrained from doing a Ritsu—it's high quality tea, after all—and swallowed the bitter liquid down with great difficulty.

Ritsu wiped her mouth rashly and turned to the other brunette in the room. "Yeah! What are you on about?" she parroted loudly.

Yui giggled and didn't answer.

Azusa stared blankly. Tsumugi also stared. If she had been anyone else, she would've remarked a "Someone's in denial" in a sing-song voice.

Ritsu made an about turn. "Let's practise!"

Yui grimaced. "But it's so cold!"


"Are you gonna try again?"

"…I don't know. She can be so thick sometimes."

"She probably notices, but she doesn't want to understand."

"That's worse…"

"She can't deny it forever."


Mio slid the door to the side and, expectedly, found Ritsu staring at her TV. The speakers had white-noised her entrance, so she cleared her throat and greeted her. "Hey, Ritsu."

The called girl almost hit the roof. She spun around and gawked. "I didn't hear you!"

Mio smirked and nudged her chin towards the direction of the TV. "UVERworld, huh? Is that the DVD you told me you were gonna buy?"

"Yeah!" Ritsu patted on the spot next to her. "C'mere and watch! I'd just started it."

Mio slid the door behind her and took the seat. "I don't recognise the song, though…"

Ritsu picked up the DVD case from the coffee table and flipped it over to read the set list, squinting as she did so. "Ah, it's Rinku."

"Rinku…?" Mio echoed.

"Yeah. It's not in any of their singles or albums, though."

"Oh, no wonder."

They watched quietly as the vocalist finished Rinku and begin a very short MC: "Today is the day our music will burst alive in the whole of Budokan!" This was accompanied by collective cheers and screams. The vocalist continued to speak, announcing the next song:

"GEKIDOU is starting!"

Mio and Ritsu sat in awe, hearts beating madly when several giant streams of smoke gushed towards the roof from the platform at the first note, and faded away. Several beats later, the smoke appeared and dispensed again.

Ritsu stared unseeingly, paying attention to the drummer and imagining herself in his place.

In her mind's eye: camerapersons would be scattered everywhere, recording their milestone. She'd be playing on a drum set larger than her own; and their band would be getting excellent sound systems to pump out their music, with thousands and thousands of their fans jumping and screaming to it. All the while, smoke would surround them ethereally…

Ehehe, it would be SO epic, Ritsu thought, rocking back and forth in glee.

Mio, on the other hand, immediately blanched when she imagined herself in place of the bassist. He's really getting a lot of attention…she thought in dismay. And he doesn't even sing…!

"Hey, hey," Ritsu suddenly piped up, nudging Mio on the shoulder. "Isn't Shintarou hot?"

"Eh?" Mio took another look at UVERworld's drummer. "Um, I guess so."

Ritsu raised a brow at her, noticing how her friend had fidgeted uncomfortably at the question. "Who do you think is the most good-looking out of the five, then?"

"Erm…Well, Nobuto's kind of cute."

"Isn't he? Do you know he says that he's left-handed?"

That got Mio's attention. "R-Really? !" She darted her eyes back to the TV screen. "Um…he's using a right handed bass there."

Ritsu waved it off, laughing. "Ah, he says he is but he actually isn't."

Mio deflated. "…Oh."

"Hey, hey, the next song's co—Hey! Lasers! Look! Look!"

"I'm looking, I'm looking," Mio complied, and then swayed her head to the side. Those lasers are cool-looking, she thought. Shifting her sight to the girl next to her, who was being gob smacked, she smiled in amusement and turned back to the TV.

About two-thirds in the song Mio felt her upper body pulled to the side, her hands being taken and held up. She looked down and saw a pair of hands covering hers, then she looked up and saw the owner, Ritsu, lean towards her with a stupid-looking grin. "Let's promise we'll make it to Budokan—for as long as we live, we have to work together and go for it!"

Mio arched an eyebrow. She needs to see something like this to get this pumped up…?

"Y-Yeah," she acquiesced whilst keeping in her laughter, all of a sudden she was finding the situation hilarious. In afterthought, she added in a deadpan tone, "And didn't we promise this last year?"

Ritsu tilted her head to the side, and tried to look innocent. "We did?"

"Next song: Burst!"

Mio smirked.

"Want me to burst your head until you remember?"


They continued to watch, with lavatory trips and snack searches in between. Sometimes Ritsu's brother would peek his head in and listen an odd favourite here and there before slipping away to his computer, unbeknownst to the girls. About an hour and half later, the screen faded to black.

Ritsu stood up and stretched. "That was one awesome live. Wish I was there."

Mio also stood up, but made for the DVD player to press its eject button. She knew Ritsu would forget and, later, panic when she couldn't find it. "Yeah. Makes you wanna practise more, right?" she asked almost rhetorically. Her question was filled with hints.

Ritsu scratched the back of her head nervously. "E…hehehe…Yeah, practise more. Right."

Fortunately for her (head), Mio gave a large yawn and wiped the tears from her eyes. "I think it's time for me to sleep now."

Ritsu also yawned—they were contagious, after all—smacking her lips lazily as she settled. "Yeah, I'm feeling sleepy too."

"Good, we can wake up early tomorrow."

Mio left the room and went back to the entranceway to collect the futon she'd brought. When Ritsu realised her friend wasn't heading to her bedroom and where she was going instead, she scampered out of the living room and called out, "Hey, Mio, isn't it too cold for you to sleep in that?"

Mio paused in her tracks and looked over her shoulder. "What else can I sleep in then?"

"Sleep in my bed," the brunette offered. "It'd be warmer."

"Your bed's small."

"Then it'd be even warmer!"

Mio gave her a dubious look.

"Oh, c'mon, we'd done it before. The bed isn't that small," Ritsu continued, pretending to look hurt. "Or am I really that unpleasant to sleep with?"

A pause.

Mio crossed her arms and considered her choices: Would she get the futon, and feel cold that she'd wake up in the middle of the night shivering; or, would she sleep in that cramped bed where it'd be warmer and let Ritsu take most of the blankets?

She added a few more pros and cons into the equation and came to a decision.

"Fine, but I'm taking the spot closest to the wall."

Ritsu blinked. "Why?"

"I don't want to wake up in the morning and find out I'm on the floor."


"And what are we doing tomorrow? We have to—"


"Study for the test on Monday."

"Yeah, study and then karaoke!" Ritsu clarified.

Mio sighed and continued her on way, needing to clear her belongings from the entranceway. She knew full well that Ritsu often had difficulty listing their activities in correct order.

The brunette hurried up the stairs.

Mio declined her head.

Argh, I'm going to end up sleeping in tomorrow.


"What did you guys do today?"

"Hours and hours of karaoke. Then someone was too tired to study after—until I had to go home."

"I hope you may relax now."

"…heh. What did you do?"

"I'd done some study and a bit of practise. Let's hope we do well tomorrow."



"Hmm…" Yui pondered loudly.

Ui pulled her eyes from the textbook to look at her sister. Like Ritsu (read: always), Yui needed help in order to pass her test, which explained why Ui was staying up, poring over a textbook meant for students a year older than her. "What's wrong, Onee-chan?" she asked.

"I'm wondering if Mio-chan's writing the new song at the moment."

Ui smiled. Yui was getting off track again. "I'm sure Mio-san is studying just like you are."

"I guess so!"


"Hey, Ritsu~"

"Huh…? You sound weird, Mio."

"Really…? Hehe, c'mere, Ritsu."


"Lemme hug you."

"Hey, get off me."

"You're hugging me back, you know."

"I'm trying to push you off right now…Geez, how strong are you? !"

"Ritsu's warm…"

"You're cold."

"Do something about it then…Ritsu."

"…Are you drunk or something?"

"Don't you like me?"


"You don't love me anymore?"

"What are you—"

"Isn't it normal for us to do something like this? We are together after all."


"C'mon! Let's—"

Consciousness and high frequency jolted Ritsu's mind into a groggy state. Her arm flew out from the covers and fumbled along the ground perfunctorily, looking for her phone. Turning off its alarm, she opened her eyes, blinked multiple times, and wondered if she should rest for a very short while and risk being late.

She then remembered that Mio would be peeved if she didn't turn up on time at the station.

It was after her brain had registered her friend's name, did it harshly recall the dream she'd just had.

Ritsu's eyes shot wide and she tried to sit up, only to find that her blankets were constricting her movements. Flinging them off, she tried again and succeeded. She tangled her hands in her hair in despair as she screamed:

"What the hell was that? !"

A loud thumping was heard in the next room. "Be quiet, Nee-chan!"

Satoshi's plea was ignored, or to be more exact: unheard, for Ritsu continued to mess with her hair as thoughts ran through her mind.

Normal…? What, we're not even together. Must be some weird dream. A dream that doesn't mean a thing. I mean, I like her; but not in that way. Yeah. Right? Right. Okay Ritsu, just do your thing and forget about it. Nothing happened. Nothing happened. Nothing at all.

And Ritsu did just that: she went and did her morning ablutions, changed into her school uniform, teased her brother, ate breakfast, picked on her brother and told the whole household she was going. By the time she left the house, she had completely forgotten about the dream.

When she got to the station, she quickly found Mio from the crowd and waved to her; she waved back. The usual. They went through the turnstiles and got into the right train. The usual. They picked a seat and sat down. The usual. The train started to move and then something not the usual happened.

Ritsu startled when something touched her right hand and slid underneath it. She looked down and saw the something—Mio's left hand—curled in hers. It was warm, too warm actually, Ritsu realised, and sweaty. She looked up and saw Mio was closer to her than she'd noticed.

"What are you doing?" Ritsu asked.

The grip seemed to loosen, the reply mumbled. "It's warmer this way."

It was. It was extremely uncomfortable, considering how deja-vu inducing this was getting. "Hey…we're nearly done with high school."

Mio stared at her, her face unreadable and her tone questionable. "Yeah, we are."

Ritsu was discombobulated. She looked over her shoulder anxiously. "I'm," she started, then looked back at Mio and stopped.

"You're…?" Mio prompted.

Ritsu's response fell into a mutter:

"Futsuu dakara."

A flash of surprise flitted across Mio's face as she stared. Then, she slipped her hand away and turned her line of sight towards the train doors. Ritsu looked at the opposite direction, ignoring how Mio would shift to the right every moment and so, and trying not to notice how she disappeared from her sight as more and more people clambered in from every station they stopped at.

They reached their stop and stepped out, and it was as if they were walking alongside with a stranger. Ritsu got stuck at the turnstile, Mio went ahead and didn't look back. They passed the cake shop; they ignored the opportunity, not wanting to break the muffling silence nor walk. They parted ways, there was no 'see you later'.

At the second level of their school building Ritsu watched Mio take a turn and disappear behind a wall inconspicuously, contemplating if six hours of classes would fix this—she didn't want to name it—thing.


The teacher for class 2-2 pinched her cheeks to make sure she was dreaming.

It hurt.

Classes had ended for the day and, amazingly, she wasn't feeling all stressed out as usual. Her throat wasn't dry nor was her voice cracked, her chalk duster hadn't been thrown across the room, and her class was assembling outside in an orderly fashion as if it they were all in one.

Something is wrong, she concluded.

She was right: Tainaka Ritsu had been unnaturally quiet—sure, she still didn't pay attention, but at least she was quiet—and was now trudging behind a relatively loud Tsumugi and Yui towards the music room.

Ritsu was still competitive, though. Right now she was attempting to hold the world record of the slowest walk across a hallway. She would've succeeded, if Yui didn't turn around and realise how far away she was, ran up to her and snatched her hand to lead her on a brisker walk.

"Is something wrong, Ricchan?" Yui asked gently. "You're not feeling sick again, are you?"

Ritsu forced a grin. "No, it's nothing like that. Don't worry about it."

At the music room Ritsu continued her silence, her mind obviously elsewhere. Tsumugi and Yui shared a worried look and prepared their tea in equal quietness. If their club leader and friend didn't feel like sharing her problems, they would respect it.

Azusa stepped into the room, immediately felt the odd atmosphere, and settled onto her seat anxiously. When Tsumugi served her cup of tea and snack, she took them obediently and in appreciation. Persevering through the winter with an empty stomach is a no no, after all.

Yui was up to her second cake when a knock on the door was heard. The four members turned or looked simultaneously towards it and found an apologetic Nodoka standing before them.

"I came to tell you that Mio went home straight after."

The present four club members stared at her blankly.

Nodoka, after seeing such a lack of a reaction, repeated herself, in case they hadn't heard. "Mio went home just then."

This time, their expressions changed.

Ritsu was the first to reply—in her own way:


Tsumugi's question wasn't as monosyllabic:

"What happened to Mio-chan?"

Nodoka repressed any signs of amusement—Yui wasn't the only one with slow reactions, she noticed—and answered, "She doesn't seem to feel well. Probably coming down with something."

Another delayed response, something the bespectacled girl had expected.

"Oh no," Yui finally gasped. "And we had a test today!"

Azusa's worries increased tenfold. She knew something was strange the second she'd entered the room. "Did she look all right during the test?"

Nodoka pondered before answering, "I think so. She started to feel ill after it. Must be the stress."

Tsumugi remained quiet, then her head jolted up as if she'd an epiphany and looked at Ritsu. Feeling someone's eyes on her, Ritsu turned towards the alleged source and found Tsumugi sipping her tea calmly with closed eyes.

"Oh!" Yui yelped in realisation, she whipped her head towards the other brunette. "Are you sure you're not feeling sick, Ricchan? You might've caught it from her."

Azusa and Nodoka also turned to her, and Ritsu felt overwhelmed from the sudden attention.

"I'm seriously fine, you guys!" she gesticulated, jumping up and down to prove her point. "See! I don't feel ill at all."

The three looked dubious. Nodoka, seeing it was none of her business—Ritsu really did look fine, health-wise, dropped it and prepared to make her leave.

"Well, I'm off now. You guys take care of yourselves."

"I'll see you later, Nodoka-chan!" Yui waved.

Ritsu crossed her arms and nodded to herself. Yes, I'm fine. And this morning's just a side-effect or something from Mio's cold or whatever she's coming down. Yeah.

Ritsu's skill in denial received a level up.

Luckily, they still managed to practise for Tsumugi had brought her bass guitar. Thus, the keyboard was left alone. No further questions concerning Mio's sudden absence were asked, and the packing up after the practice was a quiet affair.

When Ritsu and Tsumugi waved goodbye and made their way towards the train station, Azusa turned to Yui. She had waited patiently until Ritsu had left, she'd forgotten that Tsumugi usually accompanied her. She would apologise to her later.

"Yui-sempai?" Azusa started.

"Hm…?" Yui hummed. Feeling very comfortable what with the scarves around her neck, she didn't bother turning to face her junior.

"Do you think Ritsu-sempai and Mio-sempai had another fight?"

"Oh. You think so, too, Azu-nyan?"

Azusa nodded and tried not to look surprised. So Yui-sempai isn't that air-headed after all, she realised. "Ritsu-sempai was sick a few months ago and they had a fight before it, so maybe…"

Yui didn't look worried. "Well, that means they'll make up soon then," she said confidently.


This time, Yui turned to look at Azusa and smiled softly. "You don't need to worry about them, Azu-nyan. They'll be okay."

Yui was smart enough not to mention how long she thought it'd take for that to happen.

The next morning Ritsu munched on her slice of toast listlessly, staring unseeingly. On the other side of the table Satoshi, who was not used to having an exanimate sister, waved a hand in front of her repeatedly until his arm ached. He checked the time.

"Hey, Nee-chan!" he said loudly, kicking under the table and hoping it'd connect for good measure.

Ritsu jumped when her shin numbed painfully. "Itt—What was that for? !"

"You're going to be late," he informed her, pointing to the kitchen clock.

"Oh, you're right!" Stuffing the toast into her mouth—Satoshi cringed at the sight—she gathered up her bag and dashed off. "I'm going now!"

What's wrong with her, Satoshi thought. Whatever.

When Ritsu reached the station, she ploughed through the turnstiles and jumped through a set of doors that were sliding to a close. She neglected to scan through the crowds for a certain bassist, lest she'd be late. She's probably still in bed, Ritsu reasoned to herself as she grabbed a seat and collapsed, wheezing in cold air.

Little did she know that Mio was trying to be invisible, sitting in the carriage next to hers. She kept her head down and avoided eye contact with the people around her. Her hands were held together as if in a prayer, hoping that she'd manage to persuade the rest of the light music club to comply her upcoming request.


"Before you ask anything, I don't want to talk about it."

"Okay. I was just wondering how you went on the test today."

"It went fine. How about you?"

"It was a bit difficult than I'd thought, but I managed."

"That's good…Hey?"


"Can you try and convince Yui to practise first before the tea break? I want to leave as soon as possible, so…"

"I'll try."


Ritsu exhaled evenly outside the music room. It had taken her eleven minutes and thirty-three seconds to reach here—Yui had obviously given up trying to drag her along in a more reasonable speed, and it was time to open the door.

At her third failed attempt, Ritsu had to stop and wonder why she was still standing outside like an idiot. There was nothing to be afraid of inside the room, Mio—her eyebrows floated up in realisation—should be at home resting, right?

Resolve renewed she took a deep breath, grinned, twisted the doorknob and pushed.

Mio was there.

Ritsu almost fell.

"Ah, Ritsu-sempai," Azusa piped up, acknowledging her noisy entry. "We were waiting for you."

Next to her stood Yui with her guitar already on the hand. "Mio-chan really wanted us to practise today, she looked like—"

"Yui," Mio interjected in a warning tone.

Ritsu took her spot at the drum set dazedly, and then remembered what had happened yesterday. She looked at Mio uneasily, and tried not to sound tentative. "Hey, Mio?"

Mio didn't look back, too busy adjusting her bass so it sat comfortably in her hands. "Hm?"

"I guess you're feeling better today, huh?"

"Un," was her curt reply.

It felt like the room's temperature went a few degrees lower. Even Yui didn't dare to make any of her blunt—dubbed as 'airheads power'—comments. Also, thankfully, Sawako wasn't there for untimely remarks.

They started the practice without the accompanying verbal countdown from Ritsu, who kicked the bass drum instead. She was not fond in breaking the silence via vocals this time round (nor the ones before). True to her word, when it was time for a tea break, Mio quickly packed up and left the room.

Tsumugi went to the tea cupboard and did her usual preparations almost rigidly. Azusa and Ritsu kept quiet at the table, the former refraining from criticism for errors that wouldn't have occurred if not for recent events. Out of the five, Yui was the only one that seemed to be her usual happy self, humming a tune that was familiar to them.

This happened again the next day and stopped on the day after that, for Sawako had returned.

When practice was finished and Mio had left, Sawako settled her second cup of tea onto the table and went straight to the point.

"Did something happen?" she asked.

All pairs of eyes save one were trained on a certain brunette. None tried to comment on the fact that their advisor actually did have some decency, considering her demanding nature.

Ritsu coughed into her fist before replying, "Not really, no."

Sawako's eyes narrowed. The other three stared down at their plates, knowing what was coming next. It didn't even last for a full minute, they sighed.

"You guys are ruining my quiet tea time!"

Ritsu tipped her head back and waved her away. Her shoulders were slumped. "Not my fault," she mumbled.

Sawako cupped a hand against her cheek dramatically, that they could almost see sparkling tears fall from her eyes. "Soon Mio-chan will leave like this every single day, attending cram school, finding new friends, and organising study sessions with them until she passes out."

"It didn't sound too bad until you mentioned she'll pass out," Azusa commented quietly.

Sawako slammed her hands on the table—causing porcelain cups and plates to jiggle dangerously near the edge, Azusa and Tsumugi immediately grabbed and stabilised them—and pointed at Ritsu. The classic objection pose.

"Become Mio-chan's plaything for a day and she'll forgive you!"

Ritsu gave Sawako a strong 'Are-you-kidding-me?' look.

"Why am I getting a deja-vu here?" Yui wondered aloud.

Ritsu swerved her head to Yui. Tsumugi slightly cringed at the prospect that their drummer might soon suffer whiplash.

"What do you mean, Yui?" Ritsu said carefully.

Yui, who had been trying to figure out why this scene felt familiar, widened her eyes in enlightenment. She slapped a fist against a palm. "Oh, I remember now! Sawa-chan said the same thing to Mio-chan when we thought Ricchan was feeling lonely!"

Ritsu stared at her in horror, trying to withhold the blood away from her cheeks. "…What?" she gasped.

"Sawa-chan said Mio-chan should be your plaything for the day, you know. Maybe with the cat ears on and some—"

Ritsu gesticulated frantically, trying to stop Yui's line of speech. "I got that! I got that! I didn't ask for that, damnit!"

Yui blinked, and leaned her head to the side (almost slyly). "You aren't imagining lewd things about Mio-chan, are you?"

Ritsu blushed madly.