Disclaimer: GrimGrave does not own the characters in this story; the characters and Hyakko belongs to the creator Haruaki Katō. GrimGrave does not earn money for writing fiction.

Tis the Season – New Year Edition

The winter sky still cloaked the stars' brightness with the white veil, snowflakes still falling ever so gently as people gathered before the shrine of the Buddhist temple. As tradition, they all waited for the clock to turn 12 – midnight – so the Buddhists would start ringing the bell exactly 108 times.

Others however preferred to stay at home, maybe go outside and fire away some fireworks when the time was right.

In the meantime, Ushio Makunouchi was a mixture of both, only standing outside to be "social" with friends to the family for a period before wanting to return inside, preferring not to go to another party at Tatsuki's.

No, this New Year would be a silent, one-woman celebration; a bit dull, but that's how Ushio preferred it most of the time. She would have the house to herself, seeing how the rest of the family would be vacant until the 2nd of January for their joint celebration with said friends.

Would be nice, for a change.

The winds were beginning to grow harsher, more frequent. She tucked herself further into her thick grey jacket, her scarf providing enough shelter around her throat and lower face whilst her legs, unfortunately, were beginning to shake.

Not that it mattered. She didn't need to hear the bells anyway – she turned around and headed back home, making her way through the thick crowd of people. As she passed the last row-

"Makunouchi-kun?"

-she turned around as her expression became sour, eyes locked onto a jogging redhead wearing an equally red coat.

"Fancy seeing you here Makunouchi-kun." Nene's eyes gleamed with mirth, a smile accompanying the gaze. "I figured you would be here though, since you weren't at Iizuka-kuns party."

Ushio's eyes narrowed. "You were at Tatsuki's party? Don't tell me-"

"I left when I found out that you weren't going to show up."

"…Just perfect. And despite the massive magnitude of people here, you just had to find me."

The redhead feigned to be hurt, dramatically throwing her head back and clutching the chest. "Oh, woe is me! My princess charming has neglected me, despite the magical kiss we shared-"

"There was nothing magical about it! I only did that so you would stop harassing people who needed to pass through that doorway!"

"You kissed me nonetheless, no?" Nene cocked an eyebrow, smirking deviously. "As in, you initiated the kiss with me."

Her expression soured. "And then you had the gall to avoid me –quite good might I add- for the rest of the party. No, I may be many things Makunouchi-kun, but what you did… I don't even have a word for it."

Ushio scoffed. "That's rich, coming from someone who chases skirts to and from every day. And don't remind me, I actually had nightmares of that moment these past few days."

"Touché." Nene replied with a sly smile. "But still, that's quite normal coming from me. You on the other hand… You certainly know how to break a woman's heart."

The dirty-blonde-haired teen was taken aback; as much as she hated to admit it, Nene actually had a point. Though it did felt a bit justified at the time, seeing that it was Nene after all…

Ushio sighed. "Right. I get it. It was a shitty thing of me to do, and I apologize. Better?"

"Not even close." Nene said with a light scowl that quickly changed to her usual smirk. "What would make it better is if I can spend the end of this year and the start of the next with you."

As Nene smirked wider, Ushio groaned.

:::::

"Your home is lovely." Nene said with a smile. "Very homely. I love the decorations; they make a nice atmosphere for midnight…" She flung a wink in Ushio's direction.

"Dare I even ask what's so special about midnight? Aside from the new year-"

"It's a classic western tradition to kiss someone at midnight on New Year's Eve, you know. And that's-"

"-why you invited yourself over. Of course, why am I even surprised?"

"Partly why, Makunouchi-kun. Partly. You know, you did glance back at me for the remainder of the party back then. A lot more than you should have since you were "only" trying to avoid me."

Ushio narrowed her eyes, lips twisted into a sour expression. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"You made the first move and kissed me, and then you kept checking on me that evening." The redhead smiled mockingly. "Or are you in denial?"

"There's nothing to be in denial about!" Ushio immediately clamped her hands over her mouth, the expression on Nene's face showing enough mirth to let in on the trap Ushio just had fallen into.

"Ooh? Then what's stopping you from kissing me again? I'm here aren't I?"

"Tch." The tomboy merely walked past her, opening up the window next to her bed. "Why would anyone want to kiss you? Frikking skirt-chaser…"

"Now now, Makunouchi-kun. Let's not fight… Or, actually, let's! Then we can kiss and make out! I mean up!" She took a seat on the bed, right next to Ushio with a smile. The latter threw back a narrowed gaze.

"Who told you you could sit?"

"So we're going to fight huh? Look who is eager…" Nene had to stifle the laugh that threatened to escape upon seeing Ushio's baffled expression. "I'm kidding! … We don't need to fight to make up- … Or out…"

A rough hand suddenly yanked the redhead by the collar, pulling her up-close to glaring orbs. "You don't know when to quit do you?! I've had enough with your constant flirt-"

She blinked. Neither had seemed to realize, until just then, just how close they actually were. The light of the moon fell through the open window, a gentle breeze of the winter's chill sweeping through them as they looked – just looked.

Nene broke away from the eye-contact – just briefly- and looked back at Ushio. She reached out and cupped her chin, her expression now as serious as a heart-attack. "I think I just came up with my New Year's resolution."

Ushio stared blankly back. "…W-what?"

The redhead smiled slyly. "My new year's resolution is to kiss you a number of 100 times per day, every day! And right now I'm still 99 kisses to go…"

"W-What? When was that first kiss-" As skilfully as it was passionate Nene leant in and sealed her lips with Ushio's, her hand now burrowing into dirty-blonde locks of hair and pulling closer.

Their kiss was neither chaste nor too passionate; it was just right. Ushio struggled, pushing Nene to pry her off to no avail. The struggle turned into acceptance and her hands were loosely caressing the slender arms of her class-president whilst they kissed.

After what felt like a small eternity they broke off, their faces undoubtedly flushed warm.

Nene chuckled softly. "That was the first one…" She said, pulling Ushio in by surprise for another kiss, taking advantage of the momentary opening to slide her tongue past the tomboy's lips.

She felt Ushio tug weakly at her long red hair, but Nene didn't withdraw until she had her (temporary) fill. She smiled dreamily at the dazed classmate. "98…Ushio…"

"Nene… I-"

In the distance, a bell chiming steadily could be heard. The silence broke off with the long, pitched noises of rocket shooting up into the sky and painting it in several colours.

She watched the flustered blonde speak, her lips moving as elegantly as she did. The air was filled with the beginning of the celebration, Ushio seemed as if she was unsure if Nene had heard her till the redhead smiled, caressing her cheek.

"I know, it's the same for me. Oh, and a Happy New Year Ushio…"


Happy New Year!

See you all in 2014!