"Kyouko, open up."
Her mouth opened in a yawn. I forked a piece of french toast, covered in a slight sheen of maple syrup, and held it over her mouth as she yawned, letting the syrup drip down onto her tongue.
She paused for a moment, then her eyes opened wide. "That was sugar."
"I brought you breakfast in bed," I said as I sat by her side, smiling. "Good morning."
"You are the greatest
," The redhead replied as she took the tray I had in my hands and placed it on her own lap, plate of french toast and all. Now that she was sitting up and wide awake, I stood up and pulled open the curtains.
The sun had already made some progress across the sky. It was already ten in the morning, and way later than I would have normally been around. Kyouko must have noticed, but she was too busy scarfing down french toast to ask me immediately.
"Mami-san," she began, licking the syrup off of her fingertips. "Why are you still here, anyway?"
"It's Golden Week, remember?" I said, sipping some tea as I leaned against the window, looking out at the beautiful day. "I've got the entire week off and no work to do for school."
"Ah, right." Kyouko nodded, finishing off some more french toast and drinking some orange juice. "So... what's the deal with the breakfast in bed?"
"It's a bribe," I said, smiling at her as innocently as I could. "It's Golden Week, so I want to do something fun with you today."
Kyouko had the deer-in-the-headlights expression on her face I had been hoping to see, complete with a stick of french toast in her mouth. Wonderful.
"Ah-aah, uh.... huh," she stammered, swallowing her food and smiling in that way she smiled when she was caught off-guard. "So... what is it you wanna to do?"
I steepled my fingers and gave her the most serene smile I could. "I want to..."
"You had me terrified for a second there," Kyouko laughed.
An hour and a half later, we had finished our breakfast, Kyouko had showered, and I had helped brush her long, cinnamon-scented red hair while she ate some of the apple pie a la mode left over from yesterday.
All around us, teenagers and kids with their parents milled about as we sat on a bench together.
She grinned, flipping her hair over her shoulder. "I was worried that you were going to try to get me to wear something frilly again!"
I raised an eyebrow at that. ".... oh?"
"Yeah. Thank goodness you only wanted to go to the amusement park." She took a bite of her pink cotton candy as people walked past us to the rides.
I stared at her red elbow gloves and red jacket. Then I wondered how they would look with a frill or two or five. "Oh, I don't know..." I said.
Kyouko turned her head to look at me and her eyes widened a little. "... oh, no
"What?" I asked, trying to project innocence.
"You're doing the chin-stroking thing again," she said, pointing. I twitched my fingers against my cheek. I hadn't even noticed they were there. "And you only do that when you're getting an idea."
"Well, it is a rather good one," I replied, trying to control my reflex and lowering my hand to my side. "Maybe I'll keep it in mind for the next time. I think you'd look rather good as a Love Angel."
She sighed in mock resignation, facepalming. "How do I get myself into these situations?"
"Because you want to make me happy, even if I ask for something ridiculous?" I volunteered.
"That, and I'm a total sucker for your amazing breakfasts." She laughed and stood up, stretched out her arms, turned to me, and held out her hand. "Well, come on! I owe you a fun dat... er, day out, don't I?"She was totally about to say date.
I smiled, hoped I wasn't blushing as hard as I thought I was, and put my hand in hers. "Yes, you do."
Kyouko intertwined her fingers with mine, and I stood and walked with her over to the rides, a slight bounce in my step and a grin on my face that wouldn't go away.
Where Mitakihara took great pride in how sleek and shiny and technologically advanced its public spaces were, Kasamino didn't have much choice but to be its quainter, more eccentric neighbour.
It was fairly obvious that Kasamino Amusement Park had been deliberately designed to be a throwback to grand, old-school amusement parks, so it was all very kid-friendly and more relaxed than Mitakihara amusement parks with their Disneyland-style fast rides and relentless entertainment.
There were also far less people here, which was why I had chosen it instead of a Mitakihara amusement park. I wasn't interested in standing in long lines on my date with Kyouko.
We planned to trade off more fast-paced rides with slower ones. The very first ride we settled on was a rotating swing ride that got unexpectedly fast and made me dizzy ere long. I leaned heavily on Kyouko's arm after that while she patted my head and gave me some of her ice cream.
I groaned as I closed my eyes and pressed my face against her arm. "That was horrible. Never doing that again."
"Who would think that the beautiful, skilled veteran Puella Magi of Mitakihara, Tomoe Mami, gets motion sickness after just a few go-arounds?" she chuckled, taking off my beret and rubbing the back of my head to comfort me.
"I would point out that you just called me beautiful," I moaned, "but I'm still too dizzy for that."
We were on one of the park benches near the slow train ride, and only a few families were around. She leaned over me, and suddenly I found my nose filled with the comforting smell of apple and cinnamon as she kissed me on the head.
"You are beautiful," she murmured. Then she made a face. "And you always
bring out my affectionate side with no effort at all. I hate
Despite my headache, I giggled at that. "You were such a sweet girl when we first met, you know."
"Yeah, well, nowadays I need to make sure to keep up my badass image," she said, flipping her hair and trying to project a Homura-like aura of impenetrable cool. "But still, maybe if it's just you around, I can be all dere and mushy."
"Mm, that would be nice," I replied, closing my eyes and leaning against her arm. "I think I'm feeling a bit better now, though."
"All right. Let's go do something slow, then."
She stood up and I stood with her, still leaning against her arm, and she walked slowly to keep me steady. We wandered in the other direction this time, towards the more old-school side of the park. Over here there were slow carousel rides and milder rides aimed at younger kids, with more of a carnival atmosphere going on.
We walked past some booths and a group of kids went by us, talking in loud voices. Too loud. My head was starting to spin again and I tugged at Kyouko's red jacket, groaning.
"Can I sit down?" I asked, holding on to her arm.
"Yeah, sure, right here," she replied, guiding me over to another bench and sitting me down. "You okay?"
"I could use some water," I said, holding my hand to my head.
Kyouko nodded up and down quickly. "Hold on, I'll be right back." She dashed off to the nearest soda machine, and I closed my eyes and tried to block out the sunlight. I grit my teeth. I was the one who had invited Kyouko out on a date, and now I was the one being a burden. This wasn't how our date was supposed to go at all.
She was back before I opened my eyes again, pressing a cold bottle of water into my hands. "Here."
"Mm. Thanks," I said, and I opened it up, took a long sip, and then pressed it to my forehead. "Sorry about this."
"Don't be," Kyouko replied, taking out a pack of gum. "Want some?"
I nodded and took a stick. Before I could finish unwrapping it, though, I felt her hand on my leg and turned just in time to feel her gentle lips against my forehead.
"I... I still kind of suck at being a good... girlfriend," she said, pausing before the last word. She blushed and rubbed the back of her neck, chuckling a little. "But yeah. Feel better, okay?"
My nausea was already lessening, but more than that, I felt the sensation of my heart pounding. I looked down at my fidgeting left hand while my right held the cold bottle of water against my head and replayed the feeling of her hand on my leg in my memory. "I w-will."
Kyouko smiled, then looked over to the right. "Oh... hey, I hadn't noticed that."
"H-hm?" I was still too distracted by the sensory memory of her hand on my leg and her kiss and where that could have led to. "What hadn't you noticed?"
She nodded to the booth right in front of us. "It's a shooting booth."
"Heh, that's unusual to find in an amusement park these days," I said, popping in the stick of gum and feeling my nausea begin to recede. "Do you want to give it a try?"
"You'd be better at shooting than I would, so no," she said, leaning back.
I kept looking at the booth, though. The teenager running the booth had a blank stare on his face, clearly bored without any participants. Behind him, I saw the rows of prizes, ranging from comically oversized teddy bears to plush rabbits to....
"... oooh, those certainly look interesting."
Kyouko blinked. "What look interesting?"
I pointed. "Those sets of ears and tails." Specifically, a yellow-tinted set of tanuki ears and bushy tail, and a set next to it, red fox ears and matching tail.
She snorted. "Ahahahaha, those look ridiculous."
"Hmm..." I closed my eyes and tried to stand on unsteady feet.
Kyouko's hand found my arm. "Wait, you're still a bit too sick"
"I want to try winning those," I said. "It'll make me feel better."
"You can't..." I opened my eyes again to see Kyouko standing too, worry in her eyes. She frowned, then sighed and tossed her hair to the side. "All right, fine. Sit down, Mami-san."
"I'm gonna go try it out." She reached out to steady the cold water bottle against my forehead. "You sit here and watch, aight?"But you can't...
I looked at her, then nodded. "All right, I can watch."
Kyouko nodded back and released my arm, then walked over to the shooting booth in front of us while I followed her with my eyes.
The bored teenager stirred back to alertness and approached Kyouko, and his mouth moved while Kyouko nodded. He handed her one of the guns (a modified rifle, presumably so that it could only shoot small pellets) and pointed to the targets. The smaller the target, the better the prize could be.
I chewed my gum, feeling my head clear up and my nausea recede little by little. Apple flavour? Figures.
I couldn't hear what they were saying, but Kyouko nodded along for a while until the teenager backed off and left the gun in Kyouko's hands. She raised it, looking down its sights.
But Kyouko had never learned how to shoot a gun.
She couldn't be blamed for it, of course, since she didn't use a gun as her weapon-- but I could see from here that if she held the gun in that position, her aim would be off and she'd never make her target. The gun was probably unbalanced anyway. It needed the steady hand of...
I took another sip of water as Kyouko fired. As expected, she didn't make the target she wanted, and I heard her low growl from where I sat.
I took deep breaths and felt my headache go away as I chewed. Meanwhile, Kyouko raised the gun again.
She was speaking in a low voice, but there was a lull in the crowd's noise and my ears picked up on it this time.
"I'm never gonna get her to forgive me for getting her sick at this rate... I suck at this..."
I realized then what exactly she was trying to do.
She was so inexperienced, but she was still doing it for me. As a way to make up for... making me sick on our very first ride, on a date I
had invited her on.
My heart began to race. And then I had an idea.
"Hmph," she scowled as she missed her target the second time. "She makes it look so damn easy, too."
"Who does?" the teenager asked, looking up from his cell phone as Kyouko reloaded her gun.
Kyouko jumped as I put my right hand over hers.
"I do," I replied for her, coming up behind her.
"M-Mami-san!" she stammered. "You should be sitting down, you're still--"
"I'm feeling better," I replied. "Now come on." I moved my left hand to her waist. "Stand up straight, no slouching."
She shivered at my touch. I pretended not to notice. I moved closer, breasts pressing against her back as I raised her shooting arm higher. "Hold it like this. Keep your finger off the trigger unless you're about to fire."
I looked down and nudged her right leg with my own. "A wider stance. There you go." I raised her arm again. "Don't let your arm sink." I fought back a brief wave of nausea and came in closer to guide her aim.
She was making a low nervous hum that I knew she only made when she was very, very nervous. I was concerned. Was I coming off as too commanding? Oh god, I was, wasn't I? I leaned in to murmur in her ear in a low voice. "Are you okay, Kyouko-san?"
"Fine," she squeaked, her voice putting the lie to her words. "Totally fine."
I was beginning to worry, but I would back off. I was being too demanding already. "All right, then. Raise your arm, hold it steady... look through the sights."
Her aim was off by a few centimetres, but it was close enough. "Fire whenever you think you've got it."
Kyouko held on for a few seconds longer, then fired. Whoa. She had nudged just close enough to hit the small target she'd wanted to hit.
The teenager gave her a clap of approval. "Nice. You gonna keep going?"
"Do you want to?" I asked Kyouko.
"Y-yeah," she stammered a reply. The teenager nodded and looked back down at his cell phone.
I nodded and let go of her arm. But before I could back off completely, she objected. "Wait."
"I, ah.... do you... can I get your help on this again?"
My left hand was still on her waist, my mouth still close to her ear. "You can do it on your own. You don't really need my help, Kyouko."
"Y-yeah, I know, but..." She swallowed, and I noticed a dark blush on her cheeks. "I-it's more reassuring if... you..."
".... ah." I nodded and placed my hand over hers. "I'm not coming off as too overbearing, am I?"
"N-no! Keep doing what you're doing." She coughed. "It's totally f-fine. Really."
Suddenly I realized what was actually going on here, and a faint warm blush came over my own cheeks as well.
"Well, if you say so." I ran my hand down her back to make her stand up straight. She nearly jumped at my touch again, but she was definitely standing up ramrod straight now. Oh, now I definitely
knew what was going on.
I ran my hand down her side, ostensibly to guide her into position, but really to see her shiver. "Keep looking down the sights..." I moved my right hand to her arm, to secure her aim. The urge to tease was strong, but I mostly checked my impulses and leaned in, resting my chin against her shoulder, and turned my head to murmur in her ear again. "... Fire whenever you're ready."
She fired again. And this time she hit the target square in the center.
The teenager looked up, nodded in approval before looking back down at his texting. "Pick whatever you want from any of the shelves."
Kyouko put the gun down on the table. I backed away, pulled my water bottle out of the purse where I'd left it, and watched as Kyouko reached up to grab the two sets of animal ears and tails that I had wanted.
"T-this one's yours," she said in a husky voice, face still a deep red. She handed me the set of tanuki ears and tail.
I smiled, still chewing my gum, and accepted the gift. "Thank you very much, Kyouko."
Instead of replying, Kyouko fidgeted with obvious anxiety. I tilted my head. What was she thinking?
"H-hey... are you okay to get on the train ride?"
I put the cold water to my forehead again and nodded. "Sure."
In a stroke of luck, we made it over to the miniature station just as the line was ending, and walked over to the back end of the train to get the back seats. This was a calm, relaxed ride as far as carnival rides went, just a loop around the grounds and the large pond in the back.
I settled down, quite happy to be on such a slow ride. Kyouko took the seat across from me in the small train carriage.
Heh, we were alone together, weren't we? Kyouko seemed to have noticed it before I did. She was looking out the window, a distinctive red tint to her cheeks. She never admitted to being embarrassed, but after a long enough time living with her, I had learned to pick up on those signs.
I put on the tanuki ear headband and onto the back of my skirt I clipped the tanuki tail. Kyouko was still looking out and didn't notice. I reached over and took the red fox ear headband and slipped it onto her head.
Kyouko turned to look at me in surprise. I grinned. "As expected, you look cute in that."
She paused for a moment, face turning redder, and then she pulled out her soul gem. I had just enough time to begin to ask "what are you--" when red chain curtains obscured the windows, and she leaned forward to interrupt me with a finger over my lips.
"Now then," she said with a grin, reaching behind her and fastening on the fox tail, "I think I'd like to take some revenge for earlier..."
I ran my hands through her hair in the dark red light as she leaned forward and took advantage of the golden opportunity.
She pulled out of the kiss after a moment, touching her lips. "Hey, apple flavour!"
"What else did you expect, silly?" I asked, pulling her back in for a longer taste.