Note: I was planning to post this on new years, but I did not have internet access and then one thing led to another and then I just plain forgot. Anyways, even thoughs its a little late, I hope you enjoy the story.
A gentle gust blew through the streets kicking up the thin layer of snow that powdered the ground. The night was still and silent yet charged with the anticipation of the coming the new year. The night sky glistened as the falling snowflakes glimmered in the city lights. As the new year rapidly approached, in the distance, a set of footsteps echoed through the empty streets.
“Come on! It's so cold, lets hurry!” The younger of the two yelled as she ran ahead.
The older girl waved her arms frantically, “HEY! Wait for me. Do you even know where your going?”
The younger girl skidded to a complete stop, “You have a good point there.”
The younger girl looked over her shoulder, noticing the fast approaching elder. She crouched down and impatiently waited for the older girl to run past. The younger girl took in deep breath before bursting into a full sprint after her companion.
The distance between the two girls vanished in the blink of an eye, as the younger girl practically skated over the snow covered sidewalk. She reached out and grabbed the hem of her friend's jacket causing the older girl to falter slightly, but not to stop running.
“Hey I'm not going to drag you the entire way there Nono!” The older girl huffed
Tsuji reached forward and tightly gripped the jacket with both hands.
“But being pulled across the snow is much more fun than running through the snow. It feels like I'm on one of those Alaskan sleds.”
The older girl looked back, “ARE YOU CALLING ME YOUR SLED DOG?!?”
Tsuji shook her head and pouted, “I didn't mean it like that Rika...and if I did, then...um,” the younger girl's mind churned, hoping to find a possible way out of her situation, “your the cutest sled dog in all the world!”
Rika shook her head in disbelief, “Do you really think that is going to save you?”
The younger girl nodded confidently as she smiled brightly.
Rika let out a sigh as she returned her attention to sidewalk ahead of her. She reached out and waved her arm vigorously.
“If you can pass me, then I will forgive you.”
Confident in her abilities, Tsuji smirked while accepting her colleagues challenge. Tsuji loosened her grips on the jacket, allowing Rika to tug her jacket free. Rika pace increased as the extra weight fell behind. Rika looked over her shoulder, expecting to find a trailing Tsuji but instead, found a quickly advancing Nozomi. With each long stride the distance between them diminished. Rika ran as fast as she could, but it was only a matter of time until Tsuji ultimately overcame Rika.
“I forgot how fast you were Nono,” Rika admitted.
Tsuji giggled while curtailing the pace in her steps, allowing the slower Rika to catch up. She turned her head to the side, “It's not that I am fast...you're just slow Nee~.”
Rika shot a playful glare in Tsuji's direction, doing very little to phase the younger girl.
“ Are we there yet? We have been running forever,” Tsuji whined.
Rika slid to a stop, “Actually...yes.”
Rika reached out and grabbed the back of Tsuji's collar, jerking the girl to an abrupt stop. Tsuji lost her footing and slipped, falling back into Rika's arms. Rika caught the falling girl and giggled softly.
“Sorry about the sudden stop,” Rika stated, while helping Tsuji back onto her feet.
Rika lifted her arm and pointed to the building behind her “Anyways, here we are!”
Tsuji took a step back and traced the outline of the tall building.
“You live here? Really?” Tsuji questioned in disbelief.
Rika puffed out her cheeks and put her hands on her hips, “What does that supposed to mean?”
Tsuji waved her hands lazily, “I did not mean anything bad by that,” Tsuji dropped her gaze from the building and focused back onto Rika “I was just trying to say, this place is huge!”
Rika grinned and held out her hand, “Shall we go up?”
Tsuji rested her hand in Rika's and watched as it folded over her own, “Lets.”
The two girls merrily walked to the front of the building, stomping the snow from their shoes before entering the building. Rika led Tsuji through a series of ,what seemed to be endless, winding hallways
before coming to a set of gold plated elevator doors. Tsuji slowly turned to Rika with a rather bewildered expression, pulling her hand away from Rika's so she could point to the elevator.
Rika's face took on a rather stately smile, “That's right...private elevator.”
“Well...this elevator is broken and only goes to the ninth floor, so not really, but its like a private elevator,” Rika confessed.
Tsuji coiled her arms around Rika's right arm and shook her playfully, “Aw...don't play around like that. I was super excited to ride the private elevator, but now I know its just a broken elevator.”
Rika bursted into laughter as Tsuji shook her. With her free hand, She reached over and patted the younger girl on the head.
“Sorry about that Nono. It's been so long since I've seen you, I couldn't resist,” Rika replied.
Tsuji pouted but eventually joined in with a soft chuckle. Tsuji leaned forward and forcefully pushed the up button on the wall next to the elevator. In mere moments...Ding. The doors opened and the two girls stepped in. Rika pushed the '9' button and both girls stumbled a bit as the elevator began its ascent to the designated floor.
“Are you cold?” Rika asked feeling the younger girl tremble slightly.
Tsuji looked up and shook her head, “Nope, just excited.”
With that, the elevator stopped. The doors opened and the two girls stepped out of the elevator.
“We're here,” Rika whispered.
Tsuji started jumping up and down, “Where is your apartment?”
“You see that door there?” Rika inquired while pointing down the hallway.
“The one at the very end?”
Rika nodded, “But...”
Before Rika could warn Tsuji of the slippery floor, it was to late, Tsuji had already started running down the hall. Rika shook her head and slowly followed behind Tsuji. About halfway down the hall, Tsuji began to realize that the floor was a little slippery...correction...very slippery. As expected, the impulsive girl lost her footing and slipped just outside the apartment door. Her feet kicked forward and her bottom hit the ground, sending the poor girl sliding across the floor crashing into the apartment door.
A hallow thud sounded as Tsuji bounced off of the wooden door. Rika hurried towards the apartment and knelt beside the fallen girl.
“Nono, are you okay?”
Tsuji turned onto her stomach and rubbed her butt, “Oww...my butt hurts! Why didn't you tell me the floor was slippery?”
Rika patted the top of Tsuji's head, “I tried to but you just kinda ran without listening to me...”
Tsuji stuck out her lower lip and stared blankly at the ceiling, “ But how could I wait? I'm so excited.”
“That's true,” Rika muttered as she picked Tsuji up off the ground and dusted her off a bit.
“Hey! Who is slamming into my door?” A voice called from behind the door.
Tsuji broke into a bit of a panic. Her turned her head from side to side looking for a place to hide, finally deciding to crouch behind Rika. Rika giggled watching the younger girl scramble frantically.
“It's me Yocchan,” Rika called out.
Tsuji and Rika took a step back as the door opened. Yossi stepped into the doorway and leaned against the frame.
“Welcome home darling.”
Rika's cheeks took on a rosy hue as she dropped her gaze to the floor,” Don't talk like that Yocchan! You know how embarrassing it is for me.”
“I'm sorry Rika. I just thought I was appropriate since we live together now and all. By the way, you won't believe who I ran into in the mark...”
Before Yossi could finish, Tsuji stepped from behind Rika and lunged forward tackling her to the ground. Tsuji tightly wrapper her arms around Yossi's waist and nuzzled into Yossi's chest. Yossi wrapped her arms around Tsuji, cradling the younger girl as the two bodies fell back into the apartment.
“Nono...?” Yossi looked down at the sobbing girl that clung tightly to her.
Yossi looked up at Rika who confirmed her suspicions with a nod. A soft smile crept onto Yossi's lips as she took Tsuji into a warm embrace.
“It has been to long...I missed you Nono.”
Tsuji lifted her head, “I...know...it's...been...so...craz
Yossi patted the top of the girl's head and whispered, “You're here now, that's all that matters.”
Yossi pressed her lips softly against the top of her junior's forehead and smiled sweetly, brushing away the last of her tears. Rika could not help but smile basking in the reunion. A warm sensation enveloped Rika as she watched her Yocchan, nurturing Tsuji as a father would his own daughter. She knelt down beside the two girls and leaned in, lifting Yossi's chin with her index finger.
Tsuji caught a glance at Rika as she steadily approached. Knowing full well the look in Rika's eyes, Tsuji released Yossi from her unyielding grip. She quickly rolled off and scrambled to her feet, she stood in the door way with closed eyes of course.
A soft smack echoed throughout the hallway as Rika pressed her lips against Yossi's. Yossi arched head head back, the cool wall supporting her head as Rika's warm lips bore down on her own. The taller girl reached up and wrapped her arms around Rika's neck gently pulling the shorter girl into her embrace.
A heat kissed Tsuji's cheek as she heard bits and pieces of her elders exchange. In her temporary blindness, Tsuji did not notice the figure that crept slowly towards her. Without warming a set of arms draped themselves over Tsuji's shoulders.
“How shameless. Kissing in the middle of the hallway, in front of your juniors no less.”
Tsuji's eyes shot open,” That voice..”
Rika quickly pulled her head back, to the dismay of Yossi, and looked up “it can't be...”
Yossi chuckled, “It can be, and it is.”
Tsuji turned around and met the familiar face with teary eyes.
“AIBON!” Tsuji screamed, throwing her arms tightly around Kago, constricting her in an unrelenting embrace.
Tears returned to the Tsuji's eyes as she tightened her embracing, nestling her head into her partner's neck as she sobbed uncontrollably. How she missed her friend, her partner in crime no...her sister. All worries, all doubt faded away in that single embrace. Kago returned the girls affection and sniffed back a few tears as she patted her companions back.
“I missed you too Nono,” she whispered.
“I was doing a little bit of New years shopping and I bumped into her. I invited her to spend the new years with us, is that okay?” Yossi inquired.
“On one condition...only if Nono can stay too.”
“Of course, why would I dream of splitting top two.”
Rika stood up and helped Yossi to her feet. Yossi wrapped her arm around Rika's shoulder and held her close. Rika let a quiet sigh as top two hugged one another, their hands gripped onto each tightly as the two forms swayed back and forth.
“Lets take this inside,” Yossi suggested, pushing the group into the apartment.
The two juniors pulled away from each others grasps and stepped into the apartment, followed closely by the two sempais. Tsuji held Kago's hand tightly, as they made their way into the spacious apartment.
“Make yourselves at home,” Yossi suggested.
“Its a cold night, why don't you two sit under the kotatsu and warm up a bit. I'll bring some snacks,” Rika added.
Without a second thought, the two girls quickly slipped their legs under the kotatsu, welcoming the warmth that radiated against their lower half. The two sat silently, exchanging only looks as they held each other's hand tightly. Rika walked to the kotatsu and placed a plate of cakes in the center of the table. Tsuji and Kago tore their gaze from one another, looking onto the plate with bright eyes. Yossi joined the other three and tossed a hand full of forks on the table.
Yossi slipped under the kotatsu, “Go ahead guys, dig...” Yossi stopped mid sentence noticing that Tsuji and Kago were already well into their second pieces of cake, “...in.”
Rika sat up and poured some tea, “So Tsuji, is it okay with Taiyo-san that your here?”
Tsuji licked the frosting from her fork before placing it down, “Taiyo went to visit his parents and brought Nao with him.”
“I guess even Ultraman has a soft side,” Yossi joked.
“Don't tease him Yocchan, Taiyo-san is a good man and he has taken care of Nono. Right Nono?” Kago asked.
Tsuji squeezed Kago's hand and locked eyes with Yossi, “He is a good man, and I love him.”
Yossi sat back and chuckled, “I can see that...I'm happy for you Nono I really am, but no matter what I'm still a little mad that he took our Non away from us. But if he makes you happy I can accept it.”
Rika reached over and wrapped her arm around Yossi, “Good, cause everyone else here already has. Way to be late on the upkeep Yocchan.”
Yossi lifted her shoulder, knocking Rika's hand off of it. She pulled back from the kotatsu and rose to her feet. The other three girls glanced towards Yossi as she walked into the kitchen. The slamming off cabinets erupted from the kitchen, followed shortly by a stream of incoherent mutters.
“Here it is!” Yossi exclaimed, proudly showcasing the bottle of champagne while trotting back into the living room.
“Since its the New Year, let's do it right.”
Rika scoffed, “Yocchan...isn't that the bottle we were saving for our anniversary?”
Yossi carefully examined the bottle,”So it is. I figure it was meant for a special occasion and I mean, it's Nono and Aibon, how much more special can this get.”
Rika took a moment to analyze the situation. She quickly peeked over her shoulder at Nono and Aibon.
A sigh touched her lips as she gazed back at Yocchan, “Your right.”
Yossi, Tsuji and Kago threw their hands into the air at Rika's blessing. Yossi pressed the top of the cork against her palm and wrapped her fingers tightly around the cork. Her free hand wrapped the bottle of the bottle as the bottom of the bottle rested in her hand. She clenched the cork and turned the bottom of the bottle slowly, until she heard the distinctive pop.
Yossi carefully removed the cork from the bottle, the other three awed as small wisps spilled from the opening. Tsuji kicked back the rest of her tea and held up her cup, followed soon after by Kago. Rika reached over and gave the two girls a gentle knock on the head.
“Champagne in teacups? How classy. Wait a moment and let me get the flutes.”
The two girls placed their teacups on the kotatsu and rubbed the tops of their heads, with a slight pout on their lips.
“We don't drink very often, we were just excited is all.” The two rebutted.
Yossi sauntered back to the table and stood the bottle in the center of the kotatsu. Yossi helped Rika to her feet and gave Rika's backside a firm yet playful smack.
Rika jumped up and grasped her butt, turning around shooting the offender a playful glare. Yossi raised her hands, shrugging as she coyfully pointed to the two girls sitting at the other side of the table. Rika turned her head and viewed the two girls frantically waving their hands, mouthing the name Yossi.
I'll get you back for that later Yocchan, Rika thought to herself deciding it was better to ignore the attack, for now. She scampered into the kitchen momentarily, triumphantly stepping back into the living room with four flutes in hand. She carefully set the four glasses on the table and stepped back, allowing Yossi to pour the champagne. Rika gingerly pinched the top of two glasses and slid them over to their guests. Tsuji and Kago ogled their flutes, glee washing over them as their eyes traced the path of the countless bubbles as they approached the surface.
Yossi plopped down next to the kotatsu and looked around momentarily. After spotting the couch behind her, she reached her hand underneath the couch and hooked her hand around the leg and pulled it towards her. She leaned back against the corner of the couch and let out a sigh of relief, looking to her side, beckoning for Rika to join her. Rika happily obliged and sat down next to Yossi, but instead of the couch, Rika leaned against Yossi. Rika took the remaining glasses and handed one to Yossi, who held it high above her head.
“Cheers, to the new year!” Yossi exclaimed.
The four girls sat up...Clang... “CHEERS!”
As the hour slowly approached midnight, the apartment filled with stories of past and present. Their minds raced as they traced the paths that their lives have taken. Laughs were shared as they look back on the good times, tears were shed as they relived the hardships of the past, but in the end they knew that there will always be someone there to share in their pain but also their happiness.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
The alarm that Rika set for 11:55 chimed. She reached into her pocket and turned off the alarm. Yossi's arms that had found their way around her waist tightened.
“Yeah, about five more minutes.”
Rika's vision was a bit hazy, who would of thought that four girls could go through a bottle of champagne and two bottles of wine so quickly. The groggy girl struggled to sit up, but with a little help from Yossi, was able to do so. She looked over the kotatsu and looked down. There laid Tsuji and Kago...a sleep... still firmly one another's hand.
Yossi sat up and loomed over Rika, “They really missed each other.”
“I can't even imagine how it must have been for these two...all I know is that if we were ever separated like they were...”
Yossi chuckled “Like they could keep me away. Anyways what should we do with these two?”
Rika looked down at the adorable pair, “Lets let them sleep where they are, I wouldn't want to disturb their long awaited reunion.”
“Ah I see...okay then, give me a minute,” Yossi requested as she stood up and walked into the bedroom.
Yossi quickly returned clutching three sets of blankets with a few pillows stacked on top. She dropped the blankets on the couch and handed Rika two of the blankets. She graciously took the blankets and draped them over the two girls. After tucking the two girls in, she lifted their heads while Yossie slipped pillows beneath them. Like mother and father, Rika and Yossi tucked in the kids before proceeding to the couch.
Yossi lazily threw herself on the couch, pulling Rika down with her. Rika looked up at the clock, pulling the blanket over their intertwined bodies,”One more minute.”
Yossi looked down at Rika, and then at the two girls on the ground, “Is this is what it's like to have kids?”
“I don't know Yocchan.”
“If it is, I wouldn't mind a few kids.”
Rika playfully nudged Yossi, “That might be a bit hard, you know...with the gay and all.”
Yossi only shrugged.
Rika looked up at the clock once more, “Ten seconds left Yocchan.”
The two girls silently counted as the seconds passed by.
“One,” Yossi whispered as she pressed her lips to the back of Rika's neck.
“Happy New Year Yocchan.”
Yossi squeezed Rika tightly, “Happy New Year Ka-chan...” she whispered as she started to fall a sleep.
Rika turned in Yossi's arms and faced her darling, “Happy New Year To-san.”
Rika wrapped her arms around Yossi and nestled against her sleeping body. Her eyes felt heavy, but her heart was at peace. With the kids resting peacefully, she pressed against her 'husband' and wished for this moment to last forever. How she missed her 'family' and how grateful she was to have them hear for the beginning of the new year. Four steps into a new year, four steps into the past, but hopefully, no matter where they are, they can always be together.