Warm Hands on a Christmas Night
**Christmas Eve, in the wings of the concert hall of the school**
"Thank you for your hard work! I will see you all after the Christmas break then!" Their teacher in charge, Hiroto Kanazawa said, as he waved to the group of students who are now busy packing away their instruments now that the annual Christmas concert is over. "Merry Christmas!"
"Arigato, sensei." The 7 participants of the concours said. Once their teacher is out of sight, trumpet player, Kazuki Hihara stretched and said "Yosh! It's over and we can have a nice Christmas! Shall we go out and eat after this?" He smiled at the rest of the group as they looked at him.
"I'm sorry. My Grandmother is expecting me home for Christmas Eve gathering." Azuma Yunoki said softly, as he looked apologetically at his good friend, who grinned and nodded in easy acceptance. Turning to the rest, he bowed and said "I should be going off. My driver is waiting for me. Is anyone going so that I can give a lift?"
"Ano….I will leave with you, sempai. However, I do not need a lift. My parents are waiting for me." Shoko Fuyummi stammered as she became the center of attraction amongst the seven music players. "Gomen ne, Hihara-sempai!" She squeaked. Seeing her kohai's discomfort, the only other girl in the group and violinist, Kahoko Hino, reached out and placed a hand on Fuyummi's hand as she smiled charmingly. "It's okay, Fuyummi-chan. Relax! I am sure Hihara-sempai won't hold it against you. Right?"
Hihara nodded as he said "Right! Don't worry about it, Fuyummi-chan! It's just a simple meal. You better go or else your parents will be waiting!" Turning to the rest, he asked "how about the rest of you?"
"I am good. Let's go." Pianist Ryoutarou Tsuchiura said as he looked over at the red haired girl. "Hino?"
"Of course! We owe it to ourselves to have a good dinner celebration after such a wonderful concert!" Hino said happily as she turned around after waving goodbye to Fuyummi who walked away with Yunoki. "Shimizu? Will you be coming with us?" The golden haired celloist, Keiichi Shimizu, nodded sleepily, now that the concert is over. Smiling at the cute kohai, Hino pinched him lightly on the cheek as she said "Wake up, Shimizu! We are going off!" Grinning when Shimizu yawned, she turned to the last member of the seven, Len Tsukimori as she asked "Tsukimori-kun? Will you be coming too? Do join us!"
It was on his tip of the tongue to refuse but catching sight of Hino's expectant expression, the blue haired violinist have no choice but to give a curt nod so as not to disappoint the girl. Smiling from ear to ear, Hino grabbed both Shimizu and Hihara as she ran for the door, leaving the two boys behind her to follow.
They had chosen a cozy restaurant that Hihara knew of. Trooping in, he had smiled at the owner who turned out to be a middle aged lady who exclaimed at the sight of Hihara. After the introductions, they were ushered to the best table in the house, which happened to be tucked away in a corner, giving them privacy while within comfortable speaking and hearing distance of each other. Looking around him, Tsuchiura asked "Hihara-sempai? How did you know of such a place?"
Looking up with his mouth stuffed full of bread, Hihara tried to reply but nothing coherent came out. Swallowing, he tried again "One of the orchestra's member mothers ran this place. She's the one who greeted us earlier. My friend brought me here and boy; the food is to die for! It's really good! You should try the fish!"
So they did and it was really good. Despite the fact that they are not of legal age to drink yet, everyone was given a highly watered down fruit wine to drink, in celebration of Christmas. It was close to midnight when they came out again into the street, with Shimizu leaning heavily on Hihara and Tsuchiura. Sighing, Hino asked "How are we going to explain this to his parents? He only had a sip of the glass and he's already gone! Most of it was drunk by Tsukimori-kun in the end!"
"Worry about that later. I think let's get him home first. That is more important. I am sorry but Hino, can you go back on your own? I will see Shimizu home as his home is in the same direction as mine. Hihara, give me a hand!" Tsuchiura grunted as Shimizu moved to a more comfortable position. "Hai hai!" The trumpet player was visibly flustered as he tried to help the pianist. "Sayonara, Kaho-chan! Merry Christmas!" With that last parting, the trio departed as they loaded Shimizu into a taxi that screeched to a stop in front of them.
Still shaking her head, Hino turned to look at Tsukimori who stood silently next to her all the while. "Shall we go, Tsukimori-kun? After all, we are headed in the same direction right?" "Hai." As the two violinists walked in compatible silence, a few flakes of snow sudden fell. Looking up into the dark sky that is now letting loose of snow onto the world, Hino stopped as she exclaimed "Snow! It will be a white Christmas!!" Laughing, she spun a few circles as she reached out and tried to hold the snow that is falling. Suddenly, a hand grabbed hold of her and yanked her back. Feeling a warm body beneath her cheek, Hino looked up to see Tsukimori looking down at her, arms enclosed around her body.
Blushing furiously, Hino was stupefied for a moment before regaining her senses. "Ano… Tsukimori-kun?" "Don't move yet." Tsukimori said as he moved carefully, carrying Hino all the while. Once they are a certain distance from where Hino stood earlier, he deposited her on the ground and stated crossly "Should you want to dance, do look where you are going first! Did you notice that there was an empty hole in front of you earlier? One more step and you would had fallen! You might have twisted your ankle or worse!"
"Gomen ne, Tsukimori-kun!" Hino exclaimed, blush intensifying even further as she realized her mistake. Silence fell again between them, just that this time, it's more intense as compared to earlier. After all, close contact between them cannot be forgotten nor overlooked so easily. "Never mind, let's go." Tsukimori stated blandly, as he reached for Hino's hand so as to tow her behind him. Coming into contact with her hands, he looked down and frowned at them as he questioned "Where are your gloves? It's December and you are not wearing them?"
"I…I forgot to bring them out today and my coat's pockets are warm enough." Hino stammered as she shirked back a little from the growling look that Tsukimori threw her. Shaking his head this time instead, Tsukimori captured her right hand and pulled her closer to him. Stripping off one of his gloves with his teeth, he yanked it on her left hand instead. Clasping their ungloved hands together, he shoved it down into his coat pockets which are deeper are compared to hers, not to mention, warmer too. While walking, he stated "As a violin player, you should take care of your fingers! What would happen if they are frost bitten? To think you are playing with snow earlier!"
"I am sorry." Hino whispered, head bowed as she hung a little behind Tsukimori. Sighing, Tsukimori stopped as he yanked her forward for the second time that Christmas night. Coming to a standstill next to him, with her right hand clasped in his left in his coat's pocket, Hino looked up to see Tsukimori looking down gently at her this time. "How can your hand be warm if you walk behind me? Walk next to me."
"Okay..." Hino smiled shyly as the pair walked down the street, hand in hand, while the first snow of Christmas fell slowly over them, covering their tracks. Eventually, they reached the front of Hino's house where they unclasped their hands from one another. Needless to say, Hino's hand was certainly warm as it had been enveloped by Tsukimori's all the while. Acting on an impulse, she tiptoed as she brushed her lips against Tsukimori's cheek. Freezing in shock, he can only looked at her as she smiled "Merry Christmas, Tsukimori-kun. Thank you for seeing me home and lending me your glove." So saying, she spun and ran for the house, a rosy blush on her cheeks.
Looking down at the glove that encased Hino's left hand earlier, Tsukimori smiled a tiny smile as he slipped it on again and touched the area where Hino's lips was earlier. It is certainly a good Christmas.
Merry Christmas!! I admit, it had been a while since I last wrote a story, no matter for which manga or anime and I am really sorry about it. I was freed only when December arrived.
I hope you enjoyed this one-shot! Basking in the feel of Christmas everywhere, I was inspired to write this. If you have noticed, I really like to write Christmas-themed stories! Hahaha...
Pleas e review and till the next story! On the last note, merry Christmas and happy New Year!!