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a bit of a lottery

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Naruko has been waiting for the perfect, most dramatic moment ever since he woke up. This has to be it because they're going to leave in five minutes and it'll be too late after that.

"Onoda-kun, you said that your favorite anime gets a new movie, right?" He looks at Onoda from the corner of his eye. "Something something shining stars?"

"Love Hime: the Brightest Star Rising in the Darkest Hour," Onoda corrects immediately and looks up from his bag, sparkling like a Christmas tree. "Yes! The premier is on Saturday night, in fact, and it's not just the movie. The voice actors are going to be there too."

"Are you gonna go and watch that?"

Onoda gets this look Naruko really dislikes, like back when he thought he hadn't made the team. He smiles but it looks like a flat tire. "Oh, no. The tickets sold out within minutes and I wasn't fast enough. But it's fine! I'll watch the movie later. Imaizumi-kun promised we could go together." Behind Onoda, Imaizumi's face floods with color and Naruko wonders what's the point of getting embarrassed now. It's not like his nerdiness is a secret or anything. "Would you like to come too, Naruko-kun?"

Naruko waits for a moment, fiddling with his towel, but Imaizumi doesn't say anything and that's as good as saying sure, it's fine with me. He doesn't even roll his eyes which has to be some kind of a record. That's great because it makes this much easier and less awkward. Naruko doesn't want to be the only friendly guy between the two of them.

"I don't know, I was thinking of attending the premier." Naruko spent an hour practicing the move in his own room, so the gilded tickets slide out smoothly out of his back and spread between his fingers. "With these babies."

Onoda's eyes lock onto the tickets like heat seeking missiles and with all the intensity of diamond cutting laser beams. "Those are tickets to the premier, a special edition with a holographic Arimaru-kun on the backside."

"Uh huh. Remember how you made me fill out that contest thing on the Love Hime website three weeks ago?" Naruko laughs and fans himself with the tickets. Both Onoda and Imazumi's eyes follow them like cats follow buzzing flies, and it's actually pretty unnerving, not that Naruko would admit it aloud. "They don't call me the Lucky Star of Naniwa for nothing!"

"Congratulations, Naruko-kun!" And that's the thing with Onoda. That comes straight from his heart and he damn well is happy for Naruko even though, three weeks ago, he'd looked like he'd seriously consider murdering someone for the tickets. "Please tell me everything and-"

"You have three tickets," Imaizumi interrupts like the rude moron he is. A moron who's desperately trying and completely failing to hide the hope in his voice. Such a giant nerd. Naruko is totally going to buy him a pink, glittery Love Hime shirt for his next birthday and insist that he wears it too. "You're not going alone."

"Some day you're gonna hurt yourself with your sharpness, hotshot." Stretching this out any longer would be too cruel for Onoda who's starting to look a bit damp around the edges. "That's right, I figured I'd share the fortune and take you unlucky losers with me."

"Naruko-kun!" The dampness spills over and those are actual tears on Onoda's face. It's worse than Naruko had imagined. The bone-crushing hug is nice though, as is Imaizumi's poleaxed expression over Onoda's shaking shoulder.

"Yeah, that means you too." Naruko grins and pats Onoda's back gently. "I know you'd cry if we went without you and no one wants to see that. But just for doubting my generous heart and excellent manners, you're gonna buy me soda and popcorn."