Yuki plopped into the booth at the cafe. Summer vacation was in full swing, and she missed school more than any of her friends could possibly believe. She did anything humanly possible to hide that she was sweating up a storm, all of this making her miss her old home in Hokkaido. She hated overly hot summer days, and kept having to remind herself that she was seeing her friends. That was important.
“Sorry if I'm late,” she said. She smiled shyly as she sat next to Shizuka, her youngest friend.
“It's no biggie,” Taiyou replied, her demeanor as casual as ever. “Today must be tough for you.” She flashed Yuki a grin that would make even the Cheshire Cat envious, patting her on the shoulder.
“Yes.” She perused the menu to find something cool to drink. She would kill for a cup of hot tea, but that kind of drink seemed out of place for this kind of weather. She signaled the waiter a few moments later, ordering a cola.
She thoroughly enjoyed her drink when she finally got it, helping her get over her worries about the day. “What are we doing today?”
“A movie?” Momiji suggested. “Something that Shizuka could see with us, naturally.” It made Yuki happy to know that everyone cared about the youngest member of the team.
Shizuka perked up significantly, her pigtails bouncing slightly as she raised her head. “The newest movie has come out for my favorite magical girl series.” She paused for a moment. “...If the rest of you want to. I don't know if you watch the show or not.”
“It still seems like a nice idea,” Yuki responded. “I like that genre, so I've probably seen it. You could always catch us up if we don't understand it.”
“I'd be glad to.”
“It's decided, then.”
Everyone finished their drinks, then they were off to the nearest movie theater. Yuki decided to sit right next to Shizuka, wanting to get the full scoop about all the characters in the movie. Perhaps she would grow to enjoy the series and find a way to watch it. That way she could find a way to connect with Shizuka over something more than their extraordinary duties to the planet as a whole. Perhaps this was a way of trying to reconnect with her youth.
The movie started and Yuki was immediately drawn to the story. She found it quite odd that the characters in the movie were magical girls that represented the seasons, not that they were in any way like her and the others. But still, she felt a little worried that someone knew. She wouldn't let a little something like that get in the way of her enjoyment of the film, though.
Shizuka nudged Yuki slightly. She stretched up to whisper something in her ear. “I know I should like Princess Spring, but I think my favorite character from this series is Princess Winter because she reminds me of you. You're my best friend because I'm not the best at sports, not like Taiyou-chan and Momiji-chan. I like art and music.”
“Your best friend...really? Not someone at your school? Me? Th-thank you very much. I wish we had more time to hang out together.” Yuki had never felt so touched in her life because she always had the hardest time making friends her own age. It took everything she had to not cry or even get misty-eyed.
“Yes, you. You're welcome. I want to hang out with you too. I have all the episodes of this show recorded, so maybe you could come over to my house some time and watch with me, or I could come over to your place. Whatever works for you.”
“I'll think about it.” The girls shared a smile and went back to watching the movie.
The girls met in the theater lobby and discussed the movie. They all liked it. They had trouble picking their favorite character, but only because they loved them all for different reasons.
“If you guys ever wanna come over to my house, I have all the episodes of show recorded,” Shizuka stated. “We could have snacks and make a day of it or something. Preferably on the weekend or whenever you aren't busy with your families or friends.”
“That would be fun,” the older girls replied in unison. “We'll just take a look at our schedules.”
The girls went their separate ways, deciding to call it a day. Yuki settled in her room as soon as she got home, going into her art cabinet. She got out one of her sketchbooks and some pencils. She crossed the room to her desk and set down her items. She nearly sat down, but she now felt she was free to drink whatever she wanted, and slipped out of her room. It was time for some tea, no question about it. She went downstairs and made her way to the kitchen.
“Hello, dear,” her mother said. Yuki nearly jumped out of her skin, very happy she wasn't holding a kettle right now. “How was your day?”
“It was great. Somebody admitted that I was their best friend.”
“Oh sweetie.” Yuki's mother was overcome with joy and couldn't help but hug her daughter, as much as it must annoy her. “That's wonderful.”
“It is. I never thought anyone would tell me that.”
“Do you need anything?” Mrs. Fuyuno asked, stepping away from her daughter.
“I'm going to make myself some tea. Do we have any cookies?”
“Yes. Let me get some for you.” She wandered over to a cupboard and took out some lemon-flavored wafers. She placed some on a plate. “Should I take these to your room?”
“Please.” Yuki went through her secret tea stash as soon as her mother left. As always, she was torn as to what she wanted to drink. Something decaffeinated...a nice black or green tea. What would it be? She groaned inwardly, deciding to reach in blindly and just go with whatever she pulled out. Out came a jasmine. She took her favorite mug, decorated with cherry blossoms, out of the cup cabinet and put the tea bag in it. She began boiling some water, deciding to get things ready in her room for her art project.
Mrs. Fuyuno walked out of her daughter's room. She'd noticed the art supplies on her desk and knew something wonderful would come of it. Maybe she was drawing something for her friend. She was so proud of how her baby was growing up.
“I'm gonna be a little busy and might be too focused on my work to hear the kettle whistling,” Yuki said upon noticing her mother in the hall. “Could you call up for me when my tea is ready?”
“Of course. You need to show me what you've made once you're done with it.”
“I'll be happy to.” Yuki hurried into her room, booting her laptop and choosing the perfect music to get her in a creative mood. She needed reference images for what she was about to do, even if the movie was still fresh in her mind. She did not want to screw things up for what was going to be a gift for her newest friend, and quite possibly her best friend. Considering someone to be her best friend will still alarming, as was the reverse. “Let's do this.” She stretched a bit, knowing herself to be a bit of a perfectionist, and taking that into account on how long she would be sitting at this desk.
She got right to work, really happy she chose her Vivaldi CD. Nothing could get one quite in the mood to draw magical warriors representing the seasons quite like music meant to evoke images associated with them. After looking at so many images of the Season Princesses she could appreciate the similarities between them and her friends. She couldn't help herself and decided to include Momiji and Taiyou in the picture as well. She was removed from her thoughts when she heard her mother's voice coming from the kitchen. She leaped out of her chair and dashed downstairs. “Thanks for that, mom.”
“It's no problem.”
“I'll leave you some water if you want some tea to drink.”
“Thank you, dear.”
Yuki poured water in her mug, grabbing a small dish to place her tea bag in once it was properly steeped. She smiled at her mother before she retreated back to her room. She got right back to work, feeling she was nearly finished and ready to add a nice background, perhaps something from the show or similar to it, at the very least. She decided that she would take a moment to savor her tea and wafers. She took a deep breath as she took in the aroma of the tea.
She finished her refreshments and went right back to work. It was almost perfect. The background just needed a splash more of color. That was it. It was amazing, and she knew Shizuka would love it. She shut down her computer and put away her CD before seeking out her mother. She found her in the living room. “Let me show you what I made.” She handed her drawing over.
“This is beautiful. What do all of those symbols mean?”
“Those costumes belong to magical girls, and their symbols connect them to the season they represent. That's my friends and I dressed as them.”
“Is there any reason why each of you is representing each season?”
“I think your friends will like it.” Mrs. Fuyuno handed the drawing back.
“May I go to one of their houses some time soon? They have a show they want to watch with me.”
“Of course. Make sure you have fun.”
“Thank you, mother.” Yuki smiled.
A few days passed, and everyone had gathered at Shizuka's house. They settled in her living room with plenty of snacks and drinks to go around. Yuki took her drawing out of her bag, tapping Shizuka on the shoulder with her free hand.
“What is it, Yuki-chan?” Shizuka asked.
“This is for you.” Yuki gently placed the drawing in her hand.
Shizuka looked at the picture, and a smile lit up her face. “This is so pretty. You really put so much effort into this. I like that you included Momiji-chan and Taiyou-chan, too.”
“Thank you. Let's watch now.”
The girls made themselves comfortable. They immediately connected with the show, as Yuki had done with the movie. They could seem themselves in the characters in one way or another. They watched episode after episode until it was about dinner time.
“We should probably head home,” Yuki suggested. “We can pick up where we left off some other day.”
“Alright,” Shizuka sighed, not wanting her friends to leave. “But I had fun today. I hope you did, too.”
“We certainly did. Goodbye, and we hope to see you again soon.” The older girls left the house.
Yuki went back into her house feeling happier than she ever thought possible. She settled into her favorite chair in the living room, stretching out. “I'm home, mom.”
“Welcome back. Dinner's almost ready.”
“Good.” Yuki turned on the TV, hoping nothing strange was going on. She was somehow hungry, even after all the snacks she'd had. The last thing she needed was some sort of disaster that only she could stop distracting her.
She groaned as soon as she saw the news report about the strange creature attacking the city. She heard her mother calling her for dinner and decided to make a to-go meal of it. The world needed saving, and she was the one to do it. She sprinted into the kitchen, grabbing a lunch box and filling it with as much food as she could grab. “I'll be out with friends, don't wait up.”
“See you later.”
Yuki whipped out her communicator as she left the house. “You guys know where to go.”