014. Booth

The story of Nagihiko and Rima


February 6, 2011: Happy Birthday Rima-chan!


Nagihiko walked slowly and calmly towards Seiyo Academy. It was currently five o'clock—a little too early to start preparing for a school festival—yet Nagihiko was awake and quite alive.

Next to the gate of the academy stood Yaya and Kairi, waving at him.

"Good morning, Yaya-chan, Sanjou-kun," greeted Nagihiko as he walked into the school gate.

"Morning, Nagi~" Yaya said in an unusually sleepy, but still cheery, voice.

"Will Hinamori-senpai and Souma-senpai be coming later, Fujisaki-senpai?" asked Kairi. Nagihiko nodded his head.

"Yeah. Amu-chan doesn't have to come early since she's working during the later hours. And Souma-kun . . . I really have no idea how he got to ditch working today." He shook his head in disapproval, a small sweat-drop beginning to form. "I wish we didn't have to turn down Amu-chan's invitation to meet up later today, but I guess it was inevitable," he sighed.

"Mou~ Amu-chan and Kukai are sooo lucky. Yaya doesn't want to come early!" Yaya whined as she flailed her arms.

Nagihiko looked around with a frown on his face. "Oh, I just noticed. Isn't Rima-chan supposed to be here too?"

"Rima-tan sent Yaya a text saying Rima-tan came earlier! But Yaya has no idea why anybody would want to come earlier than five!"

"Ace, didn't I tell you to stop talking in third-person?" Kairi scolded Yaya. "It isn't grammatically correct."

Turning to Nagihiko, Kairi said, "No worries, Fujisaki-senpai. Ace and I will contact you if we spot Mashiro-senpai. We'll be taking our leave now, then."

Kairi dragged Yaya away from Nagihiko, who was currently yelling in a frustrated voice, "I'll show you 'no third-person,' Kairi-kun!I'll show you!"

Nagihiko just smiled nervously as he watched the two walk away, thinking of what an odd pair they made.

Once they were out of sight, Nagihiko walked to his own booth. He maneuvered through the food booths until he came to a gigantic, tent-like booth that was a light violet color.

It was decorated in traditional Japanese decor. It also included tables all around the somehow-carpeted floor, and each table included a whole set of really fancy china. Where the school managed to get something as expensive as that, Nagihiko might never know.

As soon as he walked in, the other workers that had already arrived greeted him sleepily. "'Morning, Fujisaki-kun," they mumbled as their eyes slowly drooped, only to be opened again after a few blinks. Nagihiko gave them a small smile and went off to ask the manager what he would do first.


It was dark inside the booth, but Rima didn't care. She also didn't care that she was the only one working at said booth.

Why, why, why am I the unlucky one to work in this booth? Rima wondered for the hundredth time that day.

When they were given their job assignments, the minute Rima saw hers, she loathed it. Hated it. Despised it. Detested it.

So she refused to let anyone inside the booth. Rima would glare at anyone who decided to walk in, and would usually throw some kind of inanimate object at them if they didn't leave.

Rima sat under the single table in the booth in her usual ball formation. She was hiding; if anyone decided to walk in, they were not going to know that she was in charge of it. Rima, of all people.

Suddenly, she heard footsteps come closer to the booth. 'Ugh,' Rima thought, 'not again!' Still hidden under the table, she heard someone step into the booth.

"Um, is anyone here?" Rima heard a familiar voice say. Familiar enough to not be one of the fanboys. Deciding it was safe to come out, Rima slowly crawled from the table and looked at the mystery person. And he definitely was a familiar person.

"Tsukiyomi?" Rima breathed. Ikuto looked surprised to see Rima as well.

"Oh, you're Amu's friend. Mashiro, right?" he asked Rima. They saw each other often and knew each other mostly through Amu, but they'd never had a decent conversation.

An awkward silence filled the air. "What are you doing back in Japan?" Rima asked. Noticing the look on Ikuto's face, she guessed that he was here to see Amu. "Um, if you're looking for Amu, she's not here with me. She's probably off spazzing around some lame thing like magic shows or something," she explained.

Ikuto chuckled at the last sentence. "Probably. It does sound like Amu." His eyes scanned around the tent-like booth, and he raised an eyebrow when he looked at Rima.

"Nice booth you've got here?" It came out as more of a question than a compliment.

"Thanks. It sucks," Rima replied with fake enthusiasm. Ikuto was looking around the tent some more when he walked towards the table.

He pointed to a water bottle and a piece of paper and pen. "May I use these?" Rima shrugged, obviously not caring. Ikuto clicked the pen and wrote something on the piece of paper, stuffing it in his pocket. Then he opened up the water bottle and took a sip.

"Well, I'll be going now. Thanks again, Mashiro, but I have to go look for Amu." He nodded at Rima.

Rima waved. "Sure. Nice talking to you, Tsukiyomi. And don't forget to say hi to Amu for me."

Ikuto waved his hand back casually as he walked away, signaling that he would.


After three long hours of preparing the food, cleaning the booths, and setting up eating areas at the classical Japanese food booth, Nagihiko sat down tiredly on a nearby chair.

Finally, the booth was open to the public. Nagihiko was secretly glad that he only had to work the first two hours of the day, since he did most of the food prep.

As customers of all ages walked into the booth, Nagihiko worked in different areas. Sometimes the manager of the booth would call him to help the kitchen crew cook; other times, he was sent to be the waiter, most especially to the dozens of blushing fangirls who ordered almost everything on the menu just so Nagihiko would come back and forth to their table.

And every once in a while, when the fangirls had left the booth and it was almost empty, he was sent outside to advertise - basically, hold a gigantic sign pointing to the entrance of the booth.

Why?

To attract more fangirls of course!

And so, he was sent back and forth around the huge booth here and there, approximately around every 5-10 minutes. But all the while, always thinking about Rima.

Why hadn't she met up? Was she okay?

A while before, Amu had sent him a text telling him about Rima. Apparently, Amu had somehow developed suspicions that Rima ditched the booth and was walking around in disguise, but Nagihiko had calmly replied that such a situation would be quite impossible, because even a wig of the biggest size wouldn't stay on her large mop of hair.

Of course, Nagihiko teased Rima; most friends tease each other. He remembered how he happily rejoiced the day that Rima had finally accepted him as a friend.

…Which was not too long ago, he recalled as he scrunched his eyebrows.

Nagihiko wiped his forehead as he glanced at his watch. Phew, he thought, my shift is finally over. He walked over to the booth manager, who was just sending someone to the store to buy more ingredients for the cooks.

"Amamiya-senpai," he called to the manager, "my shift is done."

The manger swirled around and smiled at him. "Good job Fujisaki-kun," she said happily. "Business has been booming during our first hours."

"I'll be going now," he said as he walked towards the door.

"Aw! Wait!" she called out as she ran towards him. "Would you be able to work again later?"

Nagihiko stiffened at the thought of going through all that work again. He shook his head politely. "Sorry, I can't." Amamiya frowned, disappointed.

"Oh, well. We'll have to find someone else, then." She dug in her pocket and pulled out some bills. She handed it to Nagihiko, who gave her a surprised look.

"One-thousand yen? Oh, I can't accept this. We work at the festival for volunteer hours, not money."

The manager just smiled and said, "Take it. We're grateful for all your hard work today. Go enjoy the festival, Fujisaki-kun."

He just sighed, knowing he was defeated. Nagihiko thanked the manager with a small smile as she walked back to the booth and waved him off.

And so, Nagihiko walked away happily, clutching the thousand-yen bill in his hand as he went off on his search for Rima.

While he passed numerous food booths, he nervously planned what he would do and say once he found her.

"Um, where have you been, Rima? No, no, not like that. Hm… What about... Rima-chan! I finally found you! And then I could give her a surprised look and smile while widening my eyes... Actually, I think acting natural would be best," he mumbled to himself, not looking where he was going. Finally, he bumped into someone.

"Oh! Sorry, sorry," he apologized. He looked up to see none other than...

"Fujisaki! Sorry dude, I wasn't looking!"

"Haha. That's okay Souma-kun." Nagihiko replied.

"So," Kukai said, "what's the rush?"

Nagihiko rubbed the back of his head. "I was just looking for-"

Kukai interrupted him. "Oh, you're looking for someone? Hey, could you look for Mashiro for me? Okay, thanks Fujisaki!" Kukai started walking away.

Nagihiko opened his mouth to explain that he was already looking Rima. "Actually, I was just-" But he was caught off when Kukai dashed towards the ramen booth, only a few meters away.

As Kukai sped away, he called back, "Thanks again, Fujisaki!"

As he watched a trail of dust form behind Kukai, Nagihiko sweat-dropped. "Typical Souma-kun."


An hour had passed, and the afternoon sun was slowly becoming warmer. Nagihiko panted as he sat down on a nearby branch to rest. For the next hour since he had met with Kukai, Nagihiko had covered a large area of the Festival already. He had passed by the food booths, the entertainment booths, the souvenir booths, the auditorium, and the building, but he still saw no sign of Rima.

Where could she possibly be? He knew for a fact that she was somewhere in the festival. Every student went, no matter what. And he knew she was working somewhere, because he still remembered the day the month before when they had received their job assignments. On that day, Rima had looked at the paper she received in disgust, and glared at anyone who interrogated her about her job.

But once he found her, what would he do? What would he do next? He'd find Rima, then...what?

A loud shout interrupted his thoughts, and he turned his head to see where the shout had come from. His eyes widened in surprise when he saw a bright red-and-blue ferris wheel being set up.

They didn't plan any ferris wheels for the Festival, so what was going on?

He stood up to get a better look, when Seiichiro, the kid with the glasses that fanboyed a lot about Amu, saw him and ran up to him.

The young boy exclaimed, "Fujisaki-senpai! Did you hear? Yamabuki Saaya-sama's father let the school borrow the ferris wheel as a last minute decision! He and Saaya-sama were strolling the festival when Saaya-sama complained that the festival was boring because there weren't any rides. So before you could say 'ferris wheel', her father had already contacted his people and they brought the ferris wheel right away!"

Oh. Of course, Nagihiko thought as he mentally rolled his eyes. "Really, Suzuki-kun? Wow, it's great that the festival actually has a ride this year."

Seiichiro nodded in excitement. "Yeah! Well, see you later, Fujisaki-senpai!"

As Seiichiro ran towards the ferris wheel, Nagihiko smiled to himself. Ferris wheel, huh? He thought with a chuckle. Perfect.


After kicking about ten people out of the booth, Rima sat under her table with an annoyed frown on her face. Honestly, who in the world decided to give her a bright red booth all the way in a corner? It just makes people more curious about what's in the booth.

She shook her head in disgust. Half the day was gone already, and she hadn't been able to enjoy the festival one bit. She wished that something or someone would come and answer her prayers. Being cooped up in a stupid booth for a few hours already was tiresome. And this is why Rima hated working.

Then someone came in. A whoosh was heard as the person stepped into the booth, and a calm, melodic voice called out, "Rima-chan?"

Rima's face reddened just a little bit when she heard the voice. She quickly scrambled up from the table and towards the person. "Nagihiko!"

Nagihiko smiled. "I finally found you, Rima-chan. I've been looking all over for you."

"Yeah, well," Rima scoffed, "I've been stuck in here for a while."

"But why didn't you come meet up with Yaya-chan, Sanjou-kun, and me this morning? We were worried. Plus, Amu-chan told me that you didn't text her back at all," Nagihiko explained.

"Nagihiko, have you seen the booth I'm in? Look at this...this...ick," she spat out the last word loudly.

"Rima-chan, working at the kissing booth isn't all that bad."

Rima rolled her eyes. "Well, seeing as how you're a guy, I'm sure you wouldn't mind at all." Nagihiko made a face. "Then again, you are a crossdresser, so you've probably never even kissed a girl."

Nagihiko couldn't help but argue. "Wrong, Rima-chan." He crossed his arms and smirked. "That one time, a few months ago, you kissed me. Remember?"

"It was an accident!" Rima cried, dramatically throwing her hands up in the air. "You kissed me! Got it? Not the other way around."

"Sure, Rima-chan. Whatever floats your boat," he replied sarcastically.

"Ugh, whatever," Rima pouted angrily.

Nagihiko had to admit that she was extremely cute when she pouted. She was also cute when she was angry, or when she was happy, or...Nagihiko blinked. Well, she was always cute. He smiled at the thought.

Rima gave him a weird look. "What are you smiling for?" She looked to the side and mumbled, "Weirdo-girly-boy."

Nagihiko just smiled. "So Rima-chan, you wanna explore the festival?"

A flash of happiness appeared on Rima's face, but was soon replaced by a worried frown. "The manager said I have to stay here, since I'm the only one working in this booth."

"Yeah, but it's not like you're making any progress, right? We'll go really quick and come back before the festival ends," he pointed out.

Rima gave him a small smile. "Okay. Where will we go?"

Grinning widely, Nagihiko gave her a wink and with picked her up, princess-style. "It's a surprise~"

Rima just gaped at him. His flirty side was coming out. "N-N-Nagihiko! Put me down!" she yelled.

"Hmm..." Nagihiko considered. "Nope."

A short while later, Nagihiko had carried Rima to the back part of the festival, which was somehow hidden in the shadows so no one could see them.

"Seriously, Nagihiko. Where. Are. You. Taking me?" an exasperated Rima shouted.

He ignored her and went on. After a few minutes, Nagihiko finally set Rima down. "Hmph," Rima scoffed, "I hope I was at least heavy enough to make you tired."

"Nope, not tired at all," Nagihiko said as he made a show of arrogance, "but are you sure you're the proper weight for a girl your size?"

"Shut up Nagihiko. I'm not overweight." Looking around her, she asked, "So what do we do now?"

Nagihiko smiled and pointed above her. Rima followed his finger and looked up to find a big red and blue ferris wheel. "Wow," she whispered. "Since when did we have a ferris wheel?"

"Since now." Nagihiko stretched his hand out to Rima. "Let's go."

Rima stared at his hand before slowly slipping hers into it. Rima looked up and smiled at Nagihiko as they ran towards the ferris wheel.

The line for the ferris wheel wasn't that long, since most of the people had gone to see the magic show. "Two tickets, please," Nagihiko requested.

The student in charge of the line led them to a compartment in the ferris wheel and before they knew it, they were moving.

Nagihiko sat across from Rima, and to their side was a see-through glass, which showed a stunning view of the outside world. The sun was still up, and it gave the entire festival a happy glow that would light up anyone's face.

Breaking the evident silence, Nagihiko mumbled to himself, "I wonder, do you like someone?" It was so soft that Rima almost missed it. Almost.

Nagihiko saw that Rima didn't show any facial expressions and thought that she didn't hear him. "Yes," she replied softly.You. "Do you?" she asked.

He looked up in surprise. "I do."

"It's really pretty outside," Rima commented wistfully.

"Yeah," Nagihiko replied. "It is." Just like you.


After the ride was over, they bought some snacks and ate as they headed back into the kissing booth. The two sat on the floor as they finished their remaining cotton candy.

A short distance away from the booth they heard someone say, "Did we get a lot of money today?" "Yeah! Boss is gonna be happy!"

As she heard that, a look of dread appeared on Rima's face. "I didn't get any money today," she said in a shocked voice. "The festival manager's going to be so mad." Sighing, she continued. "And this is what I get for kicking out almost every guy that walked in."

Rima finished her cotton candy and went back to her ball position under the table. Nagihiko followed her and stood in front. "What are you talking about, Rima-chan? There's one thousand yen in your collection box," he casually said as he glanced in the box. Sure enough, there was a crumpled thousand yen bill.

Rima got up and looked in it. Her eyes widened. "Wha- That wasn't in there before."

"I know."

"You're serious," Rima replied flatly. Nagihiko nodded. "I know I like you and all, but I am not kissing you that many times."

"Oh, so you like me, Rima?" He smirked.

"You didn't hear that!"

"It's okay, Rima. I like you, too, you know," he said as he curled a strand of his hair dramatically, earning a surprised yet happy smile from Rima, only for it to disappear by his next sentence.

"But you still owe me one thousand yen worth of kisses."

Rima gave him a look while trying to think of ways to worm out of the awkward situation. "Can't I owe you at a later time?" she asked desperately.

"Nope. Because Rima-chan, we're in a kissing booth right now."

"Then, starting when?"

Nagihiko grinned. "Starting now," he paused and added, the flirtatious grin still plastered on his face, "So close up, because you're going to be busy today."


This took me so long to type up and think of. I already had this thought up months ago, but I procrastinated / got writer's block for it / had those "I-actually-feel-like-studying-right-now" moments.

It's my longest one-shot yet, 3000+ words. But ugh, I don't like it that much. It's like, Nagi's big adventure to find Rima and then really short Rimahiko fluff. And then guest appearances with Kukai and (surprise, surprise) Ikuto.

Anyways, it's dedicated to Rima for her birthday (because I was too lazy to think up a birthday fic or whatever /shot).

So with school and projects and ewwotherstuffs, not a lot of stories. But I've got lots of ideas that I hope to type up soon. :)

Cheers~