Even after leaving her house with Touko, Yuu still had trouble believing that she was going on a Christmas date with her senpai. It would be one thing if she had simply agreed to go along with Touko's whims, but Yuu herself had been the one to make the offer. Perhaps she was merely pre-empting the request her amorous senpai would inevitably make. Maybe she knew how much Touko would enjoy going on a date with the girl she loved and Yuu enjoyed making her smile.
Not that she would ever admit that to her. Touko would never let her hear the end of it.
"You're not cold, are you?" Touko asked. There was snow on the ground and a chill in the air. Touko, always prepared, was bundled up in thick winter coat, mittens, and a scarf. Yuu wasn't as warmly dressed, but the cold never bothered her anyway.
"Don't worry about me," Yuu replied. "I know how to dress myself. Wait a minute, were you looking for an excuse to cozy up to me?"
It was hard to tell if the rosiness in Touko's cheeks was from the cold or from embarrassment. "What!? No! I do think about other things, you know!"
"I'll believe it when I see it."
Touko pouted. "You're a meanie. I just wanted to give you this." She produced a freshly-knitted scarf. "I made it for you," she said in a small voice.
"A scarf? For me?" Yuu accepted the scarf. "You're such a cliché." But it wasn't just any scarf. It was immaculate. Countless schoolgirls over the centuries had knitted scarves for their crushes, but Yuu had never seen anything like this before. Far from the usual solid colour affairs, Touko had knitted an elaborate pattern in multiple colours. Count on Touko to go the extra mile.
"Senpai, I think there's a mistake right there," Yuu said, pointing at one part of the pattern.
"Where?" Touko scanned the scarf frantically. "I don't see anything." Her eyes were drawn away when she heard a snort from Yuu.
"The look on your face," Yuu giggled. "It's your first time knitting something isn't it? You don't need to be perfect at everything."
Touko squinted at her. "You're such a bully. Remind me again why I love you?"
"Beats me," Yuu replied with a shrug.
"If that's the way you're going to be," Touko said, pouting, "then you can give the scarf back."
Yuu had already wrapped the scarf around her neck and nestled her face into the fluffy wool. "Too late," she said, her voice muffled by the garment. "We've already bonded. No take backs."
Touko couldn't help but laugh. Yuu's sassy attitude was hardly a surprise. In fact, Touko found it one of her more endearing traits. Yuu was the only person who didn't treat her like some untouchable idol. She could be herself around Yuu, make
"We should be heading off to the café," Touko said. "Or would you prefer to stand on your doorstep for the rest of the date."
"Fine with me."
They walked to Kodama-san's café, fighting off the cold with the warmth of each other's company. The greeted Kodama-san upon entering the café, whose few customers were couples enjoying their Christmas dates as well. All girls, by the way.
"Have you seen the seasonal menu?" Kodama-san asked. "I've got the perfect treats for two girls on their special day." She smiled brightly.
Touko blushed at the insinuation; Yuu hid behind her new scarf. Touko must be loving this, she thought.
"I'll have the north pole parfait," Yuu said.
"I'll have... a black coffee," Touko said.
"Coming right up," Kodama-san said with a wink.
They didn't have to wait long for their orders. Yuu's eyes sparkled at the sight of her parfait, an obscene amount of sugar and strawberries, complete with a candy cane north pole atop the snowcap of cream.
"Somebody has a sweet tooth," Touko said in a sing-song voice.
Yuu nodded, not taking her eyes off the parfait. "And you're a big, grown-up adult drinking black coffee."
Touko didn't reply; instead she took a sip of her coffee. And made a face at the bitter taste of it.
"Trying to show off?" Yuu asked, grinning. "That's kind of cute." She ate a spoonful of her parfait.
"I just haven't had it in a while," Touko said unconvincingly. "I can totally drink black coffee. I'm mature." Her pout didn't help her argument.
"Here," Yuu said, offering a spoonful of her parfait. "Have some cream and sugar with it."
"I-I'm fine." Doesn't she realize that would be an indirect kiss!? Touko thought.
"Are you all flustered because it would be an indirect kiss?" Yuu smirked. "You're so fond of the direct ones, so this shouldn't be a problem."
You can't just ambush me with one! "This is this and that is that," Touko replied.
"Eat the damn cream." Yuu jabbed the spoon of cream at her.
"If you insist." Touko accepted the indirect kiss—and also the cream, that too. It was almost too sweet after the bitter coffee.
"Look at you smiling like a big dork." Yuu smiled. Mission accomplished. It wasn't difficult for her to please Touko, but it was always rewarding.
They chatted as Yuu ate her parfait and Touko forced herself to finish the coffee.
"I think I want to order something else," Touko said.
"Whatever you like, Touko-senpai."
Touko-senpai blushed. "Why are you using my name?"
"Didn't I tell you?" Yuu pretended not to notice her senpai's reaction. She had to suppress a smile. "It's a special privilege for our date. For the rest of the day, you're 'Touko-senpai'."
"You're bullying me again," Touko said, biting her lip. She didn't want Yuu to know just how pleased she was to hear her name coming from her love's mouth. Though it was sort of embarrassing.
"I have no idea what you're talking about, Touko-senpai."
Touko hid her face. If this went on, she'd be too flustered to properly enjoy the rest of their day. She needed a way to convince Yuu to stop messing with her little, gay heart. And she knew the one thing sure to catch Yuu off her guard.
"If you keep doing that, I'm going to kiss you."
Yuu raised an eyebrow. "In public? Right in front of the other customers?"
As much as she would love to publicly lay claim to Yuu, Touko obviously had no intention of doing so, but she couldn't let Yuu know that. Her threat would have no weight. She looked at the other couples as if weighing her options. As she did, she realized she had another way of getting back at Yuu—which is to say she found another way to act all lovey-dovey with her.
She ordered what most of the other couples had: a drink with two straws in them. Touko offered one of the straws to Yuu. "It wouldn't be a Christmas date if we didn't share a drink."
Yuu laughed. If Touko was trying to embarrass her, she'd have to work a lot harder than that. Though it would be slightly embarrassing to be sharing a drink in public with her amorous senpai, it would be worth it to know that Touko was enjoying herself. She shrugged and accepted the straw. "If you insist, Touko-senpai. Whatever you like."
Yuu underestimated how embarrassing it would be. She had nowhere to look. Every time their eyes met, Touko's face turned a darker shade of pink. She seemed to be enjoying herself though, so Yuu had no choice but to prolong their intimate moment. That's what she told herself anyway.
As the day wore on, the temperature dropped, and Yuu no longer felt as cavalier about her lighter clothing. She tried to suppress her shivers so Touko wouldn't worry about her.
As it were, Touko was always worrying about her. She noticed the shivering almost immediately. "Are you not warm enough, Yuu? You can borrow something of mine."
Yuu did her best to seem stoic. "This weather isn't as cold as my heart."
"You're not a cold person," Touko insisted.
"I'm glad we agree."
Touko sighed. She took off the mitten on her right hand and thrust it at Yuu. "Put this on your other hand," she instructed. "You need to warm up."
Yuu could see where this was going. "How cliché can you get, Touko-senpai?" She put the mitten on and took initiative, grabbing Touko's bare hand in her own and interlaced their fingers. Touko was practically humming with joy.
"You're really running away with that 'Touko-senpai' thing, aren't you?" Touko asked.
"Are you saying you don't like it?" Yuu asked.
"I'm not saying that," was the mumbled response.
"Then what are you saying?" Yuu asked with an impish tone in her voice.
"I'm saying if you keep calling me that, I'm going to kiss you!" Touko grinned smugly. "There's no one out here to see us. There's nothing holding me back!"
"Does anything really hold you back?" Yuu asked half-earnestly. "Remember what happened after the sports festival? You're a public menace, Touko-senpai."
Yuu expected to Touko to make good on her threat to kiss her, so she was ready to dodge her senpai as soon as she made her move. She did not expect to be walking on a patch of ice under the snow when she did. Her feet went out from under her and she tumbled toward the ground.
But she never made it there. Touko caught her and stopped her fall—her own sure footing prevented the two of them from collapsing into a pile in the snow (not that Touko would've minded that either). She held Yuu a little longer than necessary, relishing in her moment of coolness.
"Thanks, Touko-senpai," Yuu said. She had to admit it, Touko could be quite dashing when she needed to be. She liked this side of Touko as well, but she preferred her senpai's cuter side. Just by a little. "You're my hero." She gave her a wink.
"And don't you forget it," Touko said, smiling like a huge dork again.
They walked for a while longer, enjoying each other's company. Touko continued to flirt with Yuu, who deflected the affection in her usual manner, though she let Touko get away with more than she usually would. It was a date, after all.
"It's getting dark out now," Touko said "Let's get something to eat."
"You don't mean me, do you?" Yuu asked, eyeing her senpai with suspicion and crossing her arms over her chest as if scandalized.
Touko spluttered and couldn't even find words to defend herself from the false accusation.
"Are the two of you going to join us for dinner?" Yuu's mother asked as they put away their winter clothes.
"No, we ate out already," Yuu answered.
Rei, who had already finished dinner, said in a low voice as she walked by: "Wow, already? You sure are taking things fast."
Yuu glared at her smirking older sister and followed her into the next room. "Shouldn't old ladies like you be in bed by now?"
Rei laughed. "I'm going to watch a movie. Would you two like to join me?"
Yuu looked to Touko, who had trailed behind her. "Would you like to?"
"Wow, Yuu's already whipped," Rei muttered, earning another look of scorn from Yuu.
Touko thought about it. As much as she wanted to spend time alone with Yuu (for completely innocent reasons!!!), she felt it would be a good idea to become closer with Yuu's sister as well. After all, she had sent Touko a picture of Yuu sleeping; what other advantages might she get from forming a bond with someone so close to the girl she loved?
"I'd be delighted to," Touko said. "What are we going to watch, Koito-san? Um, Rei-san?" She didn't know what to call Yuu's sister. She didn't want to be too distant or too familiar.
Rei had the perfect answer. "Just call me onee-chan," she said. "You're going to be calling me that soon anyway, right?" She winked.
Touko tried to make some kind of polite denial but she had mysteriously forgotten how words worked.
"Don't be ridiculous," Yuu said. "Touko-senpai doesn't need a useless older sister like you."
Rei was unfazed by the insult. "First name basis with your senpai? What an interesting development. Touko-chan, you need to fill me in on the details some time!" Touko expected a barrage of text messages in her near future.
"She's such a pain," Yuu told Touko. She took her senpai by the hand and guided her to the couch. They sat down together and Yuu pulled a blanket over the two of them. Rei waggled her eyebrows suggestively at them but Yuu ignored her.
The movie turned out to be a romantic comedy. Touko found herself engrossed in the movie, despite the allure of Yuu sitting right next to her. That doesn't last long because Yuu started giving her attention again. First with nudges of her elbow, then tickling probes with her fingers, then resting her head on Touko's shoulder. "You're warm," she mumbled.
Touko had been content to snuggle with Yuu under the blanket at first, but her temperature started rising when Yuu began nuzzling at her neck. "Yuu!" she whispered. "What are you doing!?"
"I'm tired," Yuu whined. "Just let me rest here. Also I was kind of teasing you..."
Touko wanted to scream. "I can only take so much!" she hissed. "If you keep doing that I'm going to kiss you, you know!"
"Really?" Yuu asked. "Right in front of my sister? I'm starting to think you're an exhibitionist, Touko-senpai."
Touko frowned. Yuu still wasn't taking her seriously. After all the complaining Yuu did about Touko just doing whatever she wanted, now she was the one being all clingy?
She was feeling rather daring at the moment, so Touko grabbed Yuu's hand, brought it close to her face, and brushed her lips against the back of it. Touko looked at Yuu and smirked, wondering what her kouhai thought of that.
"Are you two getting all lovey-dovey over there?" Rei chimed in. "If you two are busy you don't have to watch the rest of the movie, you know."
Yuu and Touko blushed and shuffled a few inches away from each other. They watched the rest of the movie in embarrassed silence.
Touko nodded. She was having similar feelings about Yuu's sleepwear. Then she looked around the room, confused. "Where's my futon?" she asked.
"It's too cold now to sleep on the floor," Yuu said. "This house gets cold as hell. You'll have to sleep in the bed."
"Where will you sleep then?"
"In the bed. I don't know what's so hard about this."
Touko blushed for what felt like the hundredth time that day. "W-w-we can't sleep in the same bed!"
"Why not? You're just being silly." Yuu had been looking forward to Touko's reaction to this part of the date. Perhaps she was conceding too much to Touko, but she still felt the need to dote on her. After all, Touko had no one else she could rely on for such treatment. Yuu was the only one she could rely on.
Touko tried to argue with her, but Yuu wasn't having it.
"But I'll be too nervous to sleep if we're in the same bed!" Touko protested.
"Or maybe you'll have the most relaxed sleep you've had in years," Yuu countered. "Are you going to stand there all night or are you going to get in here?" She climbed into bed herself and looked at Touko expectantly.
Touko relented. She turned off the light and slipped into bed with Yuu. There was only just enough room to fit the two of them, but it wasn't quite enough room to calm Touko's nerves. The two of them were lying on their sides, face to face. Touko definitely wouldn't be sleeping tonight.
"You're all jittery," Yuu said. "You really need to calm your hormones, Touko-senpai."
"For the last time, Yuu, if you keep doing that, I'm going to kiss you."
"The last time? So you're not going to warn me again, Touko-senpai?"
True to her word, Touko closed the miniscule distance between them and pressed her lips to Yuu's.
"I said I was going to do it," she said half-apologetically when she pulled away.
"I know," Yuu said with a giggle. "I'm surprised you lasted this long. Usually you would've just kissed me the second we were alone."
"Yes, well, you were teasing me," Touko said.
"Don't pout, senpai. I asked you on a date today because I thought you might appreciate getting a little special attention. You need to unwind a little some times. At first I thought I might just let you have your way and do whatever you wanted, but then I realized I should get to have a little fun myself. I was curious about what would happen if I messed with you a little."
Touko smiled despite herself. "You're such a bully. I can't believe I let you join the student council with that kind of attitude."
"It's your fault for being so fun to tease." Yuu snuggled up to Touko. "You did enjoy yourself though, right?"
"I did," Touko said. "And I'm going to enjoy myself a little more now." She stared deeply into Yuu's eyes with lovesick determination.
"Oh my," Yuu replied. "You're so lewd, Touko-senpai. If only everyone knew how much of a perv you really—"
Before she could finish her taunt, Touko cut her off with a kiss. In fact, she couldn't get a word in edgewise the rest of the night.