Azusa called out a timid greeting as she stepped into the locker room of the bath house. Her voice echoed slightly, but nobody responded. Breathing a sigh of relief, Azusa made her way down the rows of cubbies until she found one closest to the entrance to the baths. Still slightly paranoid, she kept glancing around her as she changed out of her day clothes. Taking a moment to glance at herself in the mirror, she pouted.
“Ugh, I need to drink more milk...and I’m starting to get tired of drinking plain milk.”
Azusa turned and reached into her bag for her towel, then panicked as she pulled out a white towel that was splotched with a horrendous shade of pink.
“Wha-? Hey, what happened to my towel! Ugh, Yui!”
Yui had once ordered a ridiculously expensive washing machine and dryer for free (thanks to Mugi’s generosity), and because she wasn’t able to return them, the two of them were stuck with the machines in their shared apartment. Azusa quickly mastered the new washer and dryer, but poor Yui was still having trouble figuring things out without Ui by her side. Azusa hadn’t noticed the stain, as she had stuffed it into her bag without unfolding it. She let out a long sigh.
“What am I going to do with that girl?”
Between dating Yui and then moving in with her, things have been going from great to bad and back to great on a weekly basis. While it was fun dating her former senpai, sometimes living together took its toll on Azusa. Still, Yui always tried to cheer her up, and no matter how many times she screwed up, Azusa just couldn’t stay mad at her for too long.
“Eh, I might just buy a new one, then,” Azusa said, wrapping the pink-and-white towel around her tiny frame. She stepped through the entryway into the steaming room. Barely any women came to the bath house this late in the evening, so it was a nice opportunity for Azusa to bathe in peace. Choosing one of the stools right next to a large bath, Azusa quietly hummed a few bars of U&I while she scrubbed herself. She reached for the hose to wash the suds off when she realized that she was hearing someone singing a perfect harmony alongside her. She was so used to hearing the harmonies during performances that it didn’t register until now. Glancing around her, the baths were silent once more. The drone of the overhead lights and the occasional bubbling noises coming from the bath drains filled the void, but there didn’t seem to be anybody else in the room.
Okay, don’t panic! You’re just imagining things, that’s all! Aw geez, who am I kidding? I probably shouldn’t have watched that horror movie before coming out here. I was paranoid already just from walking down the road alone and now…
With a jolt, Azusa caught sight of a shadow moving in the corner of the mirror. She didn’t dare turn around, lest the shadow attacked her.
W-W-What’s that? What do I do? What should I do? Should I run? No, I’ll slip! I can fight, but I’m naked, so that’s embarrassing! What if it’s a ghost? Fighting it won’t do much good anyways - wait, it’s gone?
Azusa scanned the reflection for any sign of the being, but nothing seemed to be in her field of view. Getting up slowly, she reached out for her towel.
A wet and slimy hand closed around Azusa’s wrist. All alarms went off in Azusa’s head. She yelped and yanked her hand away, sending a karate chop with her other hand towards what she assumed to be the attacker’s neck. Instead of connecting with a neck, her chop collided against something small, soft and round, and it collided hard.
“OW!” came a voice that Azusa knew all too well. Blinking through the foggy air, Azusa stared as Yui started rubbing at her chest where Azusa had chopped.
“Owwie, my boobie. Azu-nyaaaaan that huuuuurt!” Yui whined, pulling her hand away from her chest. There was a small red patch of skin where the chop landed.
“Yui?! Ohmygod, I’m so sorry! And where the heck did you pop out of?” Azusa asked loudly. Yui winced at Azusa’s sharp tone. Clearly her surprise attack wasn’t getting the response she had hoped.
“I was using the bath in that corner over there,” Yui said, pointing over to where her shampoo bottle was. “You came in but didn’t see me through all the steam, so I wanted to surprise you. Guess I forgot you’re quite the fighter. Hehe...ow.”
Yui rubbed at her chest again.
“Seriously, Yui? You forgot what happened the last time you surprised me in the bath?”
“I remember that clearly, and I’m lucky that I had that giant teddy bear to shield me, otherwise I’d have lost a tooth or something,” Yui said, memories of the event playing out in her mind.
“Why’d you even start harmonizing with me? Wouldn’t that have given you away?”
“It’s ‘cuz I like that song! And because you’re usually not one to sing it, so I thought I’d be your backup vocalist extraordinaire,” Yui said, striking a cute pose. Given that they were naked, Azusa’s reaction to the pose was to go very red in the face.
“Geez, Yui, what am I gonna do with you? Anyways, I’m sorry for attacking you.”
“I’m sorry for surprising you.”
“Hugs?” Azusa asked. She barely lifted her arms before Yui collided with her, wrapping her in a massive bear hug.
“Mmph!” Azusa shouted, her voice muffled by Yui’s hug.
“Azu-nyan!” Yui yelled happily, squeezing tighter. Azusa squirmed for a few seconds before going limp.
“Huh? Azu-nyan? I wasn’t squeezing that hard, was I?” Yui panicked, relinquishing her grip. Azusa gasped for air.
“I was suffocating ‘cuz one of your boobs ended up blocking my mouth, and you were pressing up against my nose!” she sputtered. Yui began apologizing over and over, and then stopped as Azusa started laughing weakly.
“What is it with near-death experiences that makes people laugh?”
“Eh? Near-death?! Azu-nyan?”
“I’m kidding. I’m sorry that we keep getting into these situations.”
“Nuh-uh! I’m more sorry than you are!”
“No I am!”
They paused and looked at one another, then burst out laughing.
“Um...” came a voice from the entrance to the baths. Azusa and Yui looked up. One of the bath attendants was standing there, holding a mop and bucket.
“The baths are now closed, so . . . um . . .” she mumbled, very red in the face. With a jolt, Azusa realized that two of the three people in the room were stark naked. Letting out a very terrified squeak, Azusa scrambled to grab her towel. Yui started giggling, then apologized to a very flustered bath attendant before skipping to get her towel as well.
“Geez, I can’t believe I had to go through that roller coaster of emotion!” Azusa pouted as they exited the bath house. The cool night air felt wonderful on their skin.
“Aw, c’mon, that was fun!” said Yui cheerfully. “Hey, by the way, what happened to your towel?”
“ You happened to my towel, dummy. You mixed one of your pink shirts with my laundry, and my towel ended up like this. How exactly have you still not learned how to use the machines in the apartment?”
“Um...I dunno? Teach me?” Yui responded, putting on a cute innocent face.
“I did. Many times.”
“Uh...um...I wasn’t paying attention?”
“No, that excuse won’t work the third time.”
Azusa took one look at Yui’s face, then smiled. She leaned over and kissed Yui’s cheek.
“Do you know that I love you?” she asked Yui.
“Yes, Azu-nyan, you tell me all the time. I love you t-”
Suddenly Azusa took one of her hands and shoved it down the back of Yui’s t-shirt.
“ Ahhh!!! Cold hands, cold hands, cold hands cOLD HANDS!!! ” Yui screamed, squirming to get away from Azusa, but unable to escape. Azusa giggled like mad as her hands continued to find their way down Yui’s back.
“Your back’s super warm, you know?”
“ COLD COLD COLD! ” came the response.
“This is punishment for ruining my towel,” she said, removing her hands from Yui’s shirt. She went on her toes and kissed Yui full on the lips.
“ Mwah! And that’s for loving me.”
“Hehe, can I get another kiss?” Yui asked.
“Nope,” said Azusa, placing a cold hand on Yui’s neck.
“This is fun!” said Azusa. Looks like she had a new way of messing with Yui.