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Yuyuko’s exiting one of her lectures when she’s suddenly pounced upon, ambushed by an all-too-familiar assailant. It occasionally happened in high school, but it’s thrown Yuyuko more now that Ichie isn’t attending the same school as her.

Luckily, Ichie lets go pretty quickly, giving Yuyuko time to recover and pretend she wasn’t winded by the unexpected glomp. She apologises for making a scene and embarrassing Yuyuko in front of her peers (she hadn’t), expresses delight in seeing her again (it’s mutual), and asks if Yuyuko has any plans for the afternoon (she doesn’t).

It goes like this; they play pretend. Ichie plays the part of an enthusiastic tour guide, and Yuyuko plays the part of an impressed kouhai, acting like she doesn’t live around this area. It is, by far, the most fun Yuyuko has had roleplaying in recent memory. Not that she gets many opportunities, given her major is in the literary arts instead of the performing kind.

In all fairness, though, her comfort zone is relatively small, and so it’s not uncommon for Ichie to have found something genuinely worthy of praise. Admittedly, Yuyuko’s never been the kind to lay it on particularly thick, but it’s tempting when Ichie blushes at a genuine compliment. 

Never had Ichie blushed as hard as now, though. All because of a simple question; a joke, even.

They’re settling into the booth of a coffee shop for a break when Ichie offhandedly mentions it would be a good date spot, not quite slipping out of character yet. As if Yuyuko had the charisma or drive to secure a date, let alone take them out anywhere. Of course, then, the obvious jab; Oh, is that what this is? A date?

Just a joke. Except it isn’t that simple, because now Ichie is blushing and not making eye contact. Yuyuko has to wonder whether she’s misread the entire outing.

She sips her coffee, imploring the beans to steady her nerves. She wouldn’t mind it if it were a date, she thinks, says. The intention should just be more explicit. Maybe they could work on that next time.

“Next time” is a lot to promise to someone, but it’s Ichie. She’s offered more for less, to her, to their old department, their new performance association. What is a “next time” to a promise of devotion?

… In hindsight, that was a little fruity of her, huh.