The first thing Rin notices as soon as she wakes up is that she can't feel her legs.
Well, she can sorta feel them. If she wiggles a bit, she can just make out the sensation of her little toe brushing against the material of the sleeping bag. So she didn't suddenly turn into a paraplegic overnight, which is a good sign.
What she did turn into, was a makeshift teddy bear.
"Sweetie," she mumbles, eyes still closed. "Get offa me."
Her girlfriend says something in her sleep. It sounds like '~munyaa~' whatever that means, but she complies, extracting her legs back to her side of the sleeping bag. She doesn't let go of her grip around Rin's waist though.
Rin sighs through her nose. "All of me, please."
"~Mun-yaa~" Rin has no idea how Nadeshiko can convey so much reluctance in just one sleepy noise, but she does it, somehow. Maybe it's some sort of secret talent of hers.
With another reluctant sigh herself, Rin sits up, brushing the sleep from her eyes. Yawning, she picks up her phone and checks the time. 5:35 AM. Excellent. She gives a small fist pump. There's time yet to start on breakfast. She wriggles out of their sleeping bag, shivering as the cold bites into her skin. Quickly, she puts on her coat, hat and scarf before picking up her toiletries.
"Get up soon," she calls back to her girlfriend as she unzips the tent flap.
"~Munyaaaaaa…~" Translation: 'kay, see you soon.
Hmm. Maybe Rin's the one with the secret talent.
Outside, the sky is just the barest hint of orange and pink. Mt. Fuji stands proudly as the backdrop, a silent guardian to the grassy plains below. Rin takes a moment to drink in the sight before reluctantly tearing herself away. She'll have time to bask, literally, in all of its glory in about… she checks her phone. 20 minutes.
The first sunrise of the new year. She can hardly wait.
Several other campers call out sleepy greetings to her as she makes her way to the bathroom. She returns their hellos with a polite nod before continuing. The cold, coupled with the early hour makes interacting with other people short and sweet, something that the introvert in her can appreciate greatly.
After brushing her teeth and taking care of her business, Rin quickly makes her way back to the tent, breathing into her chilled hands. Outside, she can hear her girlfriend snoring lightly, and she debates for a few seconds whether to call out to her again before deciding against it. Despite her flighty personality, Nadeshiko is surprisingly punctual when it comes to waking up on time for important events, like the first sunrise of the new year. And if her biological clock fails her, Rin is sure that the smell of coffee and food will do the trick.
Rin pauses as she takes out the portable stove from the backpack. Kinda makes it sound like she's some sort of hibernating bear, now that I think about it. An image of a grizzly bear pops up into her mind, but it's missing something.
The grizzly bear in her mind turns a bright bubblegum pink. "~Munyaa~" it roars, and Rin has to snicker at that.
The coffee pot whistles, and right on cue, the tent flap unzips. Her girlfriend stumbles out, bundled up in layers upon layers of jackets to ward against the early morning chill. She's also wearing the horrible knitted cap that Rin bought for her as a joke. The tail pomp is a hideous rainbow of colors that make her eyes water if she stares for too long.
With eyes still closed, she somehow manages to find her way into her foldable chair and settles in. She's still for a full minute before she gets up and brushes the seat.
"Wet," she grumbles, a grave injustice done to her.
Rin cracks a smile before standing, slipping her hand warmers out from inside her gloves. She stands behind her girlfriend and lifts up the curtain of her hair. "Lean forward," she says, and slips the handwarmer snugly against her girlfriend's neck, letting the hair fall back into place.
Her girlfriend lets out a long self-satisfied sigh and a delighted shiver, having found true nirvana. "Thanks."
"Mm." Rin places a kiss on the top of her head. "Coffee?"
"Please 'n thank yeee…"
Rin sits back in her seat and fills up their mugs, measuring one cream and one sugar for her own cup. For her girlfriend, she eyes the remainder of the sugar left in the jar, shrugs, and dumps all of it into the mug and hands it over.
Without opening her eyes, Nadeshiko accepts the mug and takes a generous sip. "Ahhh," she sighs. "That's the gooooooooood stuff…"
The two fall into a comfortable silence, content to nurse their mugs and warm their spirits with the drink. Rin rechecks the time. Less than ten minutes before sunrise. Still sitting down, she stretches out her arm to her backpack and takes out her camera, handling it with the utmost care. The camera is a recent purchase, bought especially for the occasion and Rin'll be damned if she puts even so much as a scratch on her new baby.
"Need any help with that?" Her girlfriend drowsily asks as she takes out ingredients for her toast. "I can set up the tripod if you want."
"I'm good. Thinking of just taking the shot as is. Mind making me some toast?"
"You got it."
"And no mayo-butter-and-jelly combos either, please."
Her girlfriend begins humming softly, setting off on her task with quiet cheer. Rin checks the settings on her lens one last time, testing the shutter. Two minutes.
She stands up, focusing the view on Mt. Fuji. She only has one chance to get the perfect shot of the first ray of sunlight peeking beyond the mountain, and she doesn't want to mess it up. Her photo blog and to some extent, her paycheck, depend on it.
As if sensing the gravity, her girlfriend's humming gradually peters out. Rin hardly pays it any mind; her attention focused entirely on the progressively brightening horizon. One, perfect shot. She holds her breath. There! She can see it! She lifts up her camera and…
"We should get married!"
Rin stumbles. The image goes wildly off center. But that's not important right now because what.
Slowly, she turns around. Nadeshiko is studiously avoiding her eyes, looking remarkably awake all of a sudden as she chews furiously on her toast.
Rin wonders if she somehow misheard her. Or if she suffered a one-second stroke that turned into some sort of freak auditory hallucination. That has to be it. "I'm sorry, say what?"
Her girlfriend looks around as if noticing her for the first time. "Hm? Wha'f 'ou sha'?" Crumbs fly everywhere. "'N din' sha' nufin."
Rin slowly places the camera down in her seat. "Nadeshiko." She crosses her arms. "What did you say?"
Her girlfriend swallows thickly before taking another inhumanly large bite out of her toast. "Umm, ah, ya know," she mumbles around a mouthful of melted cheese, bacon-bits, peanut butter and jelly toast, a monster of her own creation, "we should get married."
Rin just stares. Her brain has decided to short-circuit, pull the plug, and toss itself into the water just to short-circuit again.
"I-I just thought, now's a good time, see?" Her girlfriend picks at her food, a sure sign of her anxiety. "I mean, we've been dating for a couple of years now and now that I'm starting work as a nutritionist and your photo blog is really starting to take off, it's good timing to- to… tie the knot. I think."
'I think' are hardly the appropriate words to start any sort of lifelong commitment. Rin narrows her eyes. "Are you making a joke?"
She furiously shakes her head, hard enough that she practically falls out of her seat, hair whipping her in the face and Rin has to admit, her girlfriend can't tell a joke correctly to save her life, not without giggling before the punchline. And she doesn't have a deceitful bone in her body, so her proposal being an elaborate prank of some sort is out of the question.
Which can only mean that she's serious. 100% completely and utterly serious.
Rin thinks for a moment longer. And then she shrugs. "Sure."
Her girlfriend, who's in the middle of taking a distracted sip of her too sweet coffee, chokes, sputters and wheezes. "W-wait, what?"
Rin pats her on the back. "I said sure. Let's get hitched."
This time, it's her girlfriend who's staring at her, eyes boggling out of their sockets. She looks caught between awe and disbelief, like the time Inuyama told her that Mt. Fuji was an active volcano and not just a mountain.
Rin squirms, unused to and not entirely comfortable with the scrutiny. "You can stop staring any time now."
Her girlfriend blinks, then starts, as if seeing the world for the first time. "S-sorry! I didn't mean to." She averts her gaze, choosing to stare intently at the coffee pot."I'm just… an itty bit surprised, I guess."
Rin raises an amused eyebrow. "Shouldn't that be my line?" she asks with a small smile.
"Well, I didn't think you'd agree just like that. N-not that it's a bad thing!" she adds quickly. "I mean, I even made a list of reasons to convince you that marrying me would be super cool."
"Oh?" Rin sits down, crossing her legs and props her chin in her hand. "Let's hear 'em then. Convince me not to leave you at the altar."
She's joking, of course, but her girlfriend seems to take her words to heart and turns paler than snow. She leaps up and begins frantically searching her pockets, muttering "list, list, list, where's the list?" underneath her breath. A steady pile of random knick-knacks begins growing at her feet and Rin watches, amused, as her frantic girlfriend pulls out from her pockets a deck of cards, two packs of gum, her phone, various candy wrappers, another hideous wool cap, and a mini-keychain of Mt. Fuji before letting out a triumphant crow.
"Gotcha! Ahem!" She clears her throat, standing up straight. "Here we go, Nadeshiko's List of Reasons Why She'd Make the Best Wife in the Whole World for Rin-chan!" she declares, before adding under her breath, "with the subtitle, Please Don't Leave Me at the Altar."
"Number one! Nadeshiko will make Rin-chan lots of yummy foods every time she goes camping! Now that Nadeshiko is a certified nutritionist, Rin-chan deserves only the best food that makes her go poka poka tto!"
Rin has to hide her encroaching smile behind her coffee mug so that her girlfriend won't see. Watching her act so earnest is honestly the cutest thing in the entire world, and she'll fight anyone who says otherwise. The smile quickly slips when she moves on to the next item on the list.
"Number two! Whenever Rin-chan wants, Nadeshiko will do that thing that Rin-chan likes so much. You know, the thing Nadeshiko does with her mouth and-!"
"I think I get it!" Rin cuts in, feeling her ears heat up. She takes back what she thought earlier about her girlfriend. She takes it all back.
"It's okay!" Her girlfriend sticks out a thumbs up and gives her a winning smile. "Nadeshiko likes doing the thing with her mouth too, so it's a win-win!"
"You got it! Number three!" She clears her throat. "Whenever Rin-chan is feeling down or sad, Nadeshiko will always be by her side, for better or worse. Nadeshiko isn't as smart as her amazing girlfriend, so can't promise that she'll always understand why Rin-chan is sad sometimes, but she can promise Rin-chan hugs for whenever she needs them."
"Number four! Nadeshiko isn't as rich as other girlfriends, so she can't always buy Rin-chan all the pretty things she wants. But she promises to give all her love plus extra to Rin-chan. And an IOU so that Rin-chan can buy the pretty things later when Nadeshiko makes it big, which is pretty much the same thing."
"Number five! How much does Nadeshiko love Rin-chan? Easy! Nadeshiko loves Rin-chan more than she loves sleep!"
"Number six! More than she loves the phrases "free unlimited samples," and "your mortgage has been paid off," and "puppy petting zoo on the right!"
"Number seven! More than she likes Mt. Fuji-san, hot-pot, and camping in the winter!"
"Number eight! More than Nadeshiko knows how to put into words."
"Number nine! This is hard, what does Nadeshiko like more than hot-pot?
"Number ten! Mmmmm, hot-pot… Eheheh…"
Her girlfriend wipes her lips and sheepishly lowers the paper. "There's more, but uh, they're all kinda food related." She scuffs her shoe on the dirt. "I got hungry."
Any more reasons and Rin thinks her heart may actually burst with so much affection she has for the silly girl in front of her. A physically solid warmth fills her chest, a block of overwhelming, concentrated fondness that Rin has to clear her throat before she can speak.
"Not bad." She sets her mug down and motions her girlfriend closer. "But I think you're forgetting the most important reason on your list."
Her girlfriend frowns, eyebrows furrowing in consternation at her list as she squats down. "I knew it was missing something! What is it?"
Rin carefully takes the list from her hands and sets it down. She links their hands together and leans close to whisper.
"Eleven. Everything that Nadeshiko promises, Rin promises as well, because there's nobody else in the world that Rin wants to spend the rest of her life and love with."
Her girlfriend is uncharacteristically quiet, staring dumbfounded at her, eyes sparkling on the edge of tears. "You," she begins. "You really mean it? You want to spend the rest of your life with me?"
"And nobody else."
A small sniffle escapes her lips. That's her girlfriends only teary-eyed moment before her expression turns unexpectedly serious. "Rin-chan." She sidles up right into her face. "Can I kiss you?"
Rin feels her face heat up, despite the winter air. Every time. She's starting to suspect that her girlfriend only asks just so that she can see her blush every, damn, time. "Y-you really don't have to keep asking."
Her girlfriend nods distractedly, " 'Kay," she mutters, before closing the distance between them.
She tastes like coffee, coffee that is much too sweet to actually be called coffee anymore, and Rin can't help but smile into the kiss. She feels her girlfriend doing the same, and the two end up giggling before her girlfriend suddenly backs off.
"Oh wait! I forgot!" She rushes back to her backpack, tossing things aside pell-mell as Rin watches on bemused. "Aha!" she cries once she finds what she's looking for. Hands behind her back, she hunches over and begins to putter back slowly. "Oh, helloooo there, lil' missy!" she warbles in a terrible Kansai dialect. "You wouldn't happen to have any nibblings for granny now, would'ya?"
Rin has no idea why her girlfriend loves the old granny act so much, but she's willing to play along with whatever she has planned. "I do," she nods seriously, pulling out her extra cup ramen from her backpack.
"Oooh, my favorite! Thank ye kindly, missy!"
Her girlfriend pulls back, stricken. "Oh, the humanity!" She places a hand over her heart before breaking out into a nostalgic smile. "Why, I remember the days, grumble, grumble."
"You literally just said the words, grumble, grumble, out loud."
"But fine!" Her girlfriend brings her arms forward. Lying in her hand is a small box. When she opens it, the most beautiful ring Rin has ever seen shines brilliantly back at her. "Here! Will this do for payment, missy?"
And Rin can't help the smile that blossoms on her face as Nadeshiko carefully slides the ring onto her finger.
"I think we can work something out," she whispers, and this time, her girlfriend doesn't bother asking when she moves in for the kiss.
When they finally separate, her girlfriend's face is adorably pink. Coupled with her hair and the puffiness of her clothes, she looks more like a walking ball of cotton candy than a human being. It makes Rin want to just reach out and pull all that concentrated love and joy straight into her chest and never let go.
God, but if that isn't the sappiest thought she's ever had.
She reaches out with her hand instead, the one with the ring, and gently cups her cheek. Her girlfriend places a hand over hers and leans into the touch, the radiant smile never once slipping from her face.
"Not that I'm complaining," Rin mutters, not wanting to break the moment, "but what brought all of this on in the first place?"
At the question, her girlfriend lets out a sigh and her hand drops. "Aww, I was hoping you wouldn't ask that."
She squirms. "The sleeping bag."
Well. That makes sense. Not. "Excuse me?"
"Because you know… it's a double." She tugs at a lock of her hair. "I thought you were trying to tell me something when you bought it! It's a two person bag!"
Rin has to bite the inside of her cheek from laughing. "I got a double bag because someone rolls worse than a roly-poly in her sleep and somehow, that same someone always ends up in my sleeping bag in the end."
"So… you just got it for convenience?"
"Not entirely." Her girlfriend perks up. "It was on sale too."
Her girlfriend pouts, and Rin finally lets out the laugh she's been holding back. After a second, her girlfriend's lips wobble before she joins in too. It's only when a fellow camper passing by gently shushes them do they subside.
"Well…" Her girlfriend leans back on her haunches. Now that the adrenaline and caffeine fueling her is spent, she looks about ready to power down. "Now what?"
Rin thinks it over. "We need to tell our family. Friends too. And then we need to do some planning and research, and a bunch of other stuff, I think."
Her girlfriend nods, letting out a cavernous yawn. " 'Kay. But you think… we could take a nap before we do all… that?"
Rin looks over at her girlfriend, eyes already slipping closed, and smiles indulgently. "Sure. A nap sounds good too."
As her girlfriend makes her way back into the warmth of the tent, Rin lingers outside for a second longer and takes out her phone, opening up the camera app. She puts up her hand and positions Mt. Fuji in the background and snaps a quick shot, adding a description before posting it on her blog. She smirks a little as she pockets her phone and steps back into the tent. Her followers are in for a surprise when they check their feed later today. The thought alone keeps the smile on her face as she snuggles comfortably into her girlfriend's arms, who is already snoring lightly.
She may not have gotten the shot she wanted, but it's still a perfect shot.