Me: Hey! I'm so sorry for not publishing this sooner. It's been a while... I've just been really busy with several tests. ^^"
Kashino: You've delayed this for like, what? A month?
Me: ...Yeah, pretty much. Again, everyone, I'm sorry! D: I hope you all will like this short story!
Chocolat: Hana-chan is not the owner of Yumeiro Pâtissière; you all should know that anyway.
Me: Oh, yeah, this story is KasshixChocolat, not KashinoxIchigo. I thought that I ought to try this couple out. ^^ (Is it 'Kasshlat' or 'Chocoshi'?) Also, I know the Spirits are supposed to be invisible to most people, but let's just pretend that they appear in the photo booth pics.
"Yay! We're finally here!" The Jerks flew around in an excited frenzy. Their eyes sparkled with delight as many colorful stores stood before them, lining the sides. "It's the mall!"
"Guys, calm down. You're acting so immaturely..." Chocolat scoffed, "Especially you, Kasshi."
The offended Jerk pointed his spoon towards her angrily. "Grr, you! How is it childish to make a fuss when we're at a place for the first time ever?"
"Yeah, we've only heard with our ears about these huge joints of department stores," Narcy added.
"Well, now you guys see it, ok?" Chocolat sighed. "Oh, why did we agree to take such bothersome Spirits along with us?"
"HEY!" The Jerks growled.
"She's right, guys. We invited you three to tag along only because you suddenly dropped by..." Vanilla reminded them.
"...So be on your best behavior, ok, boys?" Chocolat plastered a forced grin on her face.
"...Fine." The trio glumly crossed their arms.
"Oh, I forgot to add," Café piped up, "Satsuki said that we could use these during necessary times." He used his spoon to make three magic, Spirit-sized, dog leashes appear.
"If you were to cause some trouble..." Chocolat smugly flashed a smile as the Jerks recoiled in horror.
"You three are very mischievous, desu!" Caramel giggled.
"But of course, we'll only use them if it's totally needed." Café used his spoon to make the leashes vanish into thin air.
"H-hai..." Kasshi, Narcy, and Andy heaved a tremendous sigh.
"Hey, guys! Come over here, quick!" A distant voice called from behind the Spirits. The seven turned to see Ichigo waving excitedly at them, beckoning them to come over. She and the Sweets Princes were standing by a huge map of the entire mall.
When the Spirits were closer to the four humans, Ichigo announced, "We have agreed to let you seven fly off to wherever you'd like in the mall!"
The stunned Spirits' faces broke out into grins, and they cheered with delight. "Really?"
"But stay with a buddy at all times, ok?" Andou gazed knowingly at Caramel. "We don't want you guys to get lost..."
"And don't forget to use your spoons to call each other in case of an emergency," Kashino stated.
"We know, we know..." Vanilla rolled her eyes. "Jeez, don't treat us like we're the children! Who are the older ones here, anyway?"
"Here." Hanabusa handed a few bucks to each Spirit. "The four of us split up our money for you guys to spend." The little faces lit up even brighter.
"Thank you!" The Spirits bowed gratefully before keeping the money safe with sweets magic.
"Let's all meet right back here in five hours..." Ichigo glanced at her watch. "Got that, everyone?"
"Yep!" A chorus of seven little voices erupted from the group.
"Ok, have fun, then!" Ichigo waved to them before heading off in another direction with Kashino. Hanabusa and Andou also said goodbye and walked towards a nearby store.
"Ok, guys! Let's split into groups before going off to do exploring!" Kasshi exclaimed.
"I'm with Vanilla!" Caramel glommed onto the pudgy Spirit.
Narcy started, "The three of us are always together, so we'll naturally pair up as a-"
"Actually, I'm buddying up with Chocolat this time," Kasshi cut in. "Sorry, Narcy and Andy."
"WHAT?" The two Jerks gaped at their friend in shock. "Why?"
"Yes, why?" Chocolat, also taken aback by surprise, asked the Spirit curiously.
"No reason, we just haven't spent that much time together lately, that's all." Kasshi's cheeks turned slightly pink.
"Hmph, suit yourself." Narcy and Andy flew off to a stand that captured their interest.
"...Then I guess I'd better go with them to make sure they won't get into much trouble," Café sighed before zooming after the two.
"Let's get going, Caramel!" Vanilla grabbed the sempai's hand and led her towards a girly-looking shop. Chocolat and Kasshi watched the two females giggle as they floated in the air.
"Well, same goes for us, then." Kasshi faced Chocolat with a smile. "Any place you want to go in particular?"
The sweet grin of his caught her off-guard, and she was forced to turn away with a deep blush forming on her cheeks. "Um... Not really..."
"I've heard that the human malls have these magic boxes that take pictures of you and give you a series of them in return," Kasshi remembered.
"Oh, you must mean those photo booths. They're pretty fun to use." Chocolat recalled the last time she came to the mall and went in one with Vanilla.
"They sound pretty interesting! I wanna try it... Where can we find one?" Kasshi asked.
"They're usually near the kiddie rides." Chocolat started to fly towards the destination. "Come on!"
"Oi! Wait up!" Kasshi immediately began to follow her.
"Oh, this looks so cute! I think Ichigo will like this, don't you think?"
"Hai!" Caramel studied the necklace that Vanilla was talking about. "It seems like her style."
"And her birthday is coming soon! I've got to get something for her!" Vanilla checked how much money she had. "Ten bucks! Perfect! I'm definitely getting this for her~!" She grabbed ahold of the necklace and struggled to slide it off the hook. "H-help, Caramel!"
The crybaby Spirit joined in tugging at the bright-colored accessory. After much effort, they managed to get it off.
"Whew! That was hard work." Vanilla breathed. "Let's take this to the check-out counter now..."
"...We can't buy these. Most people can't see us, remember?"
"Oh... right..." Vanilla sucked in huge amounts of air in frustration. "Darn! What's the point of giving us money, then?"
"Maybe we can only use it for the kiddy rides and vending machines," Caramel suggested.
"Argh, this is so disappointing..." Vanilla glumly slid the necklace back onto the hook. "Let's go look at some other things!"
"Ok!" Caramel grinned.
"I want that!"
"Ooh, that looks so cool!"
"You said it!"
"Can we go on one, Café? Pretty please?"
"Yeah, we wanna try!"
Café sighed tremendously as he watched the two Jerks, Andy and Narcy, flounce their way around the perimeter of the toy shop. Apparently, they were highly interested in the plastic toy cars especially, longing to 'drive' one. Poor Café tried hard to keep his temper under control.
"WAAH! Café, he poked me with that giant lollipop!"
"Yeah, you did! I saw! Café!"
The Spirit groaned. "You two are acting like young children," he muttered. "Narcy, Andy, stop bickering this instant-"
"Ouch, that hurt!"
"It was your fault!"
"SHUT YOUR MOUTHS, JERKS!" Café lost all patience as he yelled at the two, fuming with irritation. "Quit being so loud and fussy! Jeez! If you continue to be this noisy, I'll bring out the dog leashes!"
Andy and Narcy gazed at Café in shock, not expecting his sudden outburst. Sheepishly, they hung their heads, apologizing to him.
"Thank you." Café huffed, crossing his arms. "You two can play with the toys, just as long as you don't break anythi-"
"WOO-HOO!" Thanks, Café!" The Jerks made a beeline for the miniature race cars.
Hanabusa's Spirit sighed. "This will be a long five hours..."
"So... This is it?" Kasshi gestured toward the huge machine before them.
"Yep. This is a photo booth..." Chocolat nodded in confirmation.
"Let's go inside then!" Kasshi darted behind the curtain. Chocolat followed close behind.
"Now, how does this thing work?" Kasshi pressed the buttons repeatedly, but to no avail. "Huh?"
"We need to pay first, Kasshi..." Chocolat explained.
"Oh... right..." Kasshi laughed nervously. He watched as Chocolat used her sweets magic to feed the money into the slot, bringing the screen to life.
"Whoa," Kasshi breathed, fascinated by the colorful icons that were displayed before him. "This is so cool!"
Chocolat smiled slightly as she glanced at his interested expression.
"What do we do now?" Kasshi stared at the screen, puzzled.
"Well, we should pick a template first. Then we pose differently four times," Chocolat replied, clicking on the 'choose one' button. "Which one seems to grasp your attention the most?"
"Hm... Hey, this theme looks cute! Why don't we use that one?" Kasshi pointed to a design of...
"Uh... Why such a... girlish theme?" Chocolat blushed as she stared at the text included with the photos; it read: 'True Love 4ever'. The example photo strip had a guy and girl kissing in the last panel.
"Girlish, you say? Well, I think it's nice." Without further ado, Kasshi clicked on the theme, and it was set.
Oh, what are we doing? Chocolat gritted her teeth as she watched the screen start counting down. This is...
"Get ready for the first pose, Chocolat!" Kasshi laughed jubilantly as he grabbed her hand playfully.
This is... fun.
3... 2... 1... The two formally grinned together as the camera snapped the first photo.
"Next one!" Kasshi announced. "Let's do funny faces!"
Chocolat nodded as she stuck her tongue out in a silly manner and did bunny ears over Kasshi's head. He, on the other hand, flared his nostrils and bugged his eyes out so that they looked ginormous.
Click! The moment had been captured.
Chocolat giggled as she glanced at the screen with the image of Kasshi's face. He smiled back at her also, causing her insides to feel queasy.
"What should we do for the third one, Chocolat?"
"Um... How about we do something unique? Like... fly upside-down?" After all, no human could ever do that!
"Sure! That's a great idea!" Kasshi grasped Chocolat's hand and they flew in the said position.
Chocolat could not forget the comforting sensation that came from within Kasshi's hand, the one that grasped her own hand gently.
"Say, 'Sweets!'" Kasshi shouted as the countdown came to 'one'.
"Sweets!" The Spirit duo beamed together. The flash indicated that the photo had been taken. Pretty soon after, the countdown started again for the final snapshot.
"The last one..." Kasshi directed his gaze on Chocolat. His face was completely flushed. Suddenly, he grabbed her hands and held them close.
The brown-haired Spirit faced him now, heart pounding furiously. "Yeah... What should we do?" What's he going to say?
"Chocolat..." Kasshi gazed into the magenta-colored pupils of the female, mouth curling into a soft grin. "I... love you."
He reached forward and caressed her bright pink cheeks.
Kasshi slowly turned his head and leaned in on the other Spirit's face.
The flash shone through every corner of the photo booth, capturing that blissful moment. As Chocolat felt the soft, warm lips of Kasshi's press lightly against hers, she closed her eyes and relished the wondrous instant. It felt so magical, so amazing to kiss him. Kasshi was also traumatized by Chocolat's lips, and how more beautiful she looked up close.
After the picture had long since been taken, the two broke apart and looked deep into the other's eyes. Both Spirits had crimson-red cheeks and satisfied smiles in their faces.
"Ack, I'm so sorry, Chocolat! I-I did it without your consent. It was so sudden too... Please forgive me!" Kasshi suddenly came to fully realize what he'd just done. "I-If you don't feel the same way as I do, then-"
"Kasshi." Chocolat firmly held the sides of his face in her hands. "Don't worry. I love you too." She gave him a reassuring grin and hugged him tightly. "What were you thinking? Spoiling the moment with that apology..."
"Oi!" Kasshi's face turned even redder. "I just wanted to be sure, that's all..."
A pleasant emotion surged through Chocolat's torso. "Hey, how long have you loved me, Kasshi?"
Kasshi bit his lip awkwardly. "It's been a long while already..."
"Really...?" Chocolat screamed inwardly. Is he serious? He's been in love with me for a long time now?
"Y-yeah..." Kasshi was super embarrassed, trying to hide his furious blush. "You?"
"I... I've loved you for quite some time also," Chocolat admitted.
Kasshi stared at her for a few seconds before bending over in laughter.
"W-what's so funny?" Chocolat asked in confusion.
"It's nothing," Kasshi wiped a stray tear from his eye, "It's just that... We've felt the same about each other for so long and yet we never came to realize that we shared the same emotions."
Chocolat began to giggle also. "Yeah, I suppose you're right."
"Well, then..." Kasshi grabbed ahold of Chocolat's hand. "Shall we get going?"
She nodded and let him lead her out of the photo booth.
"Let's see how the pictures turned out!" Kasshi excitedly dragged Chocolat to the slot outside and tore the photo strips out from the machine.
"Here." He handed one to her and she took it with eager hands. Both looked down at their individual strips and erupted into a fit of chortles.
The first and topmost picture included them two just smiling normally, but they looked pretty stiff and unnatural.
The second made Kasshi look obnoxious, with his face taking up about two-thirds of the whole picture.
The third one was of them flying upside-down together. However, Chocolat was staring at her hand, which was intertwined in Kasshi's.
"You sure liked my hand there..." Kasshi teased.
"Sh-shush!" Chocolat's face turned into a fine shade of red.
Then finally... The last photo. The kiss. Chocolat's heart fluttered as she remembered that spectacular moment, and how it had felt so refreshing. As she and Kasshi studied the image, they gasped.
Their position was perfect. Hands locked in place, eyes shut, faces turned just right. There was no doubt that this was the best photo of the four.
"It's... breathtaking." Chocolat's face broke into a smile.
"Isn't it?" Kasshi agreed. "And we have it - our first kiss - captured in a photo."
"Not to mention that we get to share these memories wherever we are," Chocolat added.
Kasshi nodded. "Yeah... Thanks for guiding us here. If you hadn't, we wouldn't have gotten these..." He held up his strip.
"Of course!" Chocolat beamed happily. "Let's do this again sometime!"
"Definitely," Kasshi smiled wryly. "And it's number one on my to-do list."
"Hey! Over here!" Ichigo waved towards Kasshi and Chocolat, directing them over to where she and the others were standing. The new Spirit couple flew over to the rest of the gang.
"What did you guys do? Did you have fun?" Andou asked the Spirits.
Caramel and Vanilla exclaimed, "The store we went to had lots of cool accessories!"
"Oh, we had countless go-kart races!" Andy and Narcy announced together.
"Ugh..." Café groaned, holding his head.
"Café-kun? What's wrong?" Hanabusa asked his Spirit with concern.
"I have this giant headache..." He darted glares at the two noisy Jerks.
"Why are you looking at us?"
"Well, how about you, Chocolat? Did you have fun with Kasshi?" Kashino inquired.
"Er... We just flew around the mall... Yeah, we did have fun." Chocolat left out the photo booth part, not wanting the others to know about her and Kasshi.
"Yup! The fountain in the middle was so huge!" Kasshi threw his arms in the air to describe what he saw, also accidentally flinging the photo strip from his hand in the process.
"Huh? What's this?" Narcy grabbed the strip from the floor and stared at it. Everyone else also crowded around it to see.
"Oh... my... sweets..." Narcy and Andy's jaws dropped to the ground. "K-Kasshi... Are you...?"
"AARRGH!" Kasshi screeched in terror. "D-don't look at that!" He tried to snatch the strip from Narcy, but failed.
"Ah, you guys had fun, all right..." Kashino raised his eyebrows at Chocolat. She was now the same color as her dress, utterly speechless.
"Aw, so cute!" Ichigo cooed.
"Congrats, Chocolat!" Vanilla, Caramel, and Café said in unison.
Narcy and Andy were as pale as ghosts, staring straight ahead like zombies. "Kasshi... What happened to you...? You're not the friend we know..."
"Great photos, you two," Hanabusa chuckled, glancing at the strip for the second time.
"P-please give them back to me now..." Kasshi's face resembled a tomato. He soon received his property back and remained scarlet in the face.
"I knew you two were going to be a great pairing someday!" Vanilla remarked.
"E-enough about us!" Chocolat sputtered. "What did you guys do?" she asked the humans.
"It was..." Kashino turned away.
"What? We had fun..." Ichigo pouted.
"...Yeah..." Kashino simply replied.
Hanabusa stepped in. "I, the prince of roses, went to-"
"If you're the prince, who's the king?" Kashino taunted.
"H-hey!" Hanabusa retorted. "Don't interrupt me!"
"How about you, Andou-kun?" Caramel asked her partner.
"Oh, I just went around the mall. Nothing much," he shrugged.
"So did we all have fun today?" Ichigo inquired the group.
Many voices replied to her. As everyone else continued talking about their day, Kasshi took Chocolat aside.
"Thank you for spending the day with me. It... It meant a lot." Kasshi told her.
"Same here. I enjoyed it also." Chocolat held up her photo strip. "And I'll always remember today whenever I see this."
A heart-throbbing grin formed on the blond's face. "Yup," he pulled out his strip and joined it with Chocolat's. "Always."
Me: Aw, such adorable, blushing faces you two have! :3
Chocolat: ...I'm speechless.
Me: Oh, well. Hey, everyone, I hope this was to your liking. It might have been too rushed... Oh, well... I might write a bonus chapter about what Ichigo and the others were doing during the photo booth time! ;) If you enjoyed this and want that chap, please contact me!
Kashino: People, please don't! Hana is surely going to torture me if she writes that additional chapter! So please be considerate and don't say any-
Me: Shush, Ma-kun! Anyway, please ignore that sadist and review instead! This time, all reviewers will receive a plate of macarons! With a flavor of your choice! :D
Kashino: Oi, there you go with the bribing again... And who said that you could call me by that name? I never gave you permission...
Me: I'm the author, and the author has power. ^^ And it's not bribing, it's... REWARDING.
Kashino: ...Whatever you say.
P.S. I've posted a new poll! :D
Question: "If you had to choose your favorite, who would it be?"
Choices: Amano Ichigo; Kashino Makoto
I thought it'd have interesting results! So please check out my profile! I'll be posting the results around Kashino's birthday, so that'll give people about a month. ^^ Thanks to all who voted so far~!