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After so many years of dealing with Nico, Nozomi had perfected the art of dealing with her longtime friend. Of course, that didn’t mean that she enjoyed doing it all of the time. Especially not after being rudely awakened by said longtime friend.

“Nicocchi honestly, if the landlord ends up calling us again, I’ll make sure to ask him to take you off of the lease.” Nozomi tried in vain to get her voice at a volume high enough to be heard over the blasting music.

Nico rolled her eyes at her friend as she continued to make breakfast. She didn’t make any indication that she would be moving from her position in front of the stove to go lower the volume.

Nozomi grumbled under her breath and turned off the speaker herself. With a sigh of relief at the newfound silence in the room, she took her place at the kitchen table.

“Are you opening today Nicocchi?”

Nico placed scrambled eggs on the plate in front of Nozomi and answered around the cigarette in her mouth. “Yeah. You think you’d remember since you make the schedules.”

Nozomi only shrugged and proceeded to eat her breakfast.

“Smoking so early in the morning?”

Nico ignored her comment and took a seat in front of Nozomi, putting out her cigarette on the ash tray on the table.

“You going out before your shift today?”

Nozomi shrugged once again. “I might go pick up some flowers. The ones at the office died the other day.”

Nico grunted and continued eating. They continued to eat in silence with only the occasional word to each other. Once she was done, Nico stood up and went to her room to go get ready for the day.

Nozomi enjoyed the rest of her breakfast calmly, the only sounds in the apartment being those of Nico’s indiscriminate cursing as she realized that she was running late for work.

 


 

 

Nozomi hummed to herself as she grabbed a bouquet of lilies from the rack.

“Would you mind passing me one of those?”

Nozomi looked up and saw blue. Eyes like that shouldn’t exist on anyone and the rest of the person with said eyes, was equally as awe inspiring. It was unfair for a person to look like that. In fact, Nozomi was absolutely offended that such an attractive woman existed.

“Oh, of course.” Nozomi cursed her slightly trembling hands as she reached over and grabbed another bouquet.

The woman quietly thanked her and turned to leave.

But she was never one to believe in coincidences and she kept this in mind as she spoke again. “For a special someone?”

The blonde immediately blushed once she had seemed to register Nozomi’s word, which Nozomi definitely noticed with a smirk.

“N-no! These are for my sister! She recently won a competition, so these are congratulatory.”

Nozomi smiled at the newly acquired information. Judging by how the woman had reacted, it was doubtful that she was seeing anyone. Which was perfect for Nozomi.

“That definitely sounds like something that would merit congratulations. Make sure to send your sister my kudos. Miss?”

The woman was still beet red and stuttered out her answer. “Eli Ay-yase! Ayase Eli!”

Nozomi smiled, the other woman was just too precious. “It was a pleasure to meet you, Ayase-san.”

She turned to leave very slowly and barely took a step forward before Eli called out.

“Wait! I didn’t catch your name!”  

“Toujo Nozomi.”

There was a faint blush that graced her cheeks. “It was nice meeting you as well Toujo-san.”

“Just Nozomi is fine.” She interjected.

Eli smiled at her and Nozomi could swear that her heart almost gave out. “Nozomi. I hope to see you around.”

Nozomi would definitely make sure to thank all of the spiritual forces that gave her the opportunity to meet this woman.

“You definitely will Elicchi!” She made sure to add a teasing wink.

She left the blonde blushing and stammering once again and once she paid for her flowers, she left to work with a skip in her step.  

 


 

 

“You’re late Nozomi-senpai!” Rin waved from across the park as she skated on the lip of the pool. Of course, the waving made her lose her balance and she fell off the board.

Nozomi waved back and shook her head fondly.

“Rin, I saw that! That’s what happens when you get distracted. Fall off that board again and you and Honoka will be waxing the ramp again after closing.”

Honoka squawked in protest from where she was sitting on the ramp. Everyone ignored her protests and exclamations that “Nico-senpai is a tyrant!”

Nico turned to Nozomi when she walked into the office. “You are late though. What kept you?”

Nozomi smiled at her shorter friend. “I got distracted.”

Nico rolled her eyes.

“Your eyes are going to get stuck like that Nicocchi.”

Nico only rolled her eyes with more fervor. “I need a smoke.”

Nozomi wagged her finger. “Our agreement was one cigarette every five hours. It’s only been three Nicocchi!”

“Whatever. Get to work, you have four boards to get done by tomorrow and you’ve only finished one.”

Nico grabbed her pink helmet and her board and went to join Honoka and Rin before the flood of people would begin to come when school time finished.

Nozomi nodded and sat at her station, starting to assemble the longboard she had been working on the day before.

Once she was done, she ran her hand over the board, admiring in the design on the underside of the deck, her design. She would never get tired of pride that would run through her whenever she completed a skateboard that was created with her own two hands.

She looked up as Nico entered the office again.

“By the way, I forgot to ask you about our new neighbors.”

“Neighbors?” She hadn’t remembered seeing anything on her way into the shop. But she admittedly might have been distracted by her thoughts of a certain blonde woman she had just met.

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure they opened up an ice rink next door. Pretty lame but as long as they’re not as bad as annoying as the ballet studio was, I’m happy with it.”

“Hmm true.”

Nico frowned. “I mean, all they did was complain about all of the noise. Like what did they expect from a skate park? Were they stupid?”

Nozomi laughed. “Should we be polite and give them a house warming gift?”

Nico shrugged. “Who cares?” She paused. “Wait, what if they want to try to be friends? That would be horrible.”

“You shouldn’t be so anti-social Nico-chan. You could use more friends!”

Nico glared at the taller woman. “Hey! I’ve got plenty of friends! I’ve got you and dumb and dumber over there. That’s more human interaction than I would actually like, but it’s not like I’m a hermit.”

Nozomi only smiled at her, knowing that Nico would keep the fight ongoing for hours if she continued instigating her.

“Well anyway, I think we should drop off the flowers that I just bought while on our way home.”

Nico rolled her eyes. “Yeah sure, whatever.”


 

After locking up the park, Nozomi and Nico walked together towards the newly occupied building, Nozomi holding a vase with lilies.

It was predictably closed, considering how late the park usually closes. Nozomi left the vase on the mat in front the entrance doors.

They left a card attached to the vase,

Welcome to the neighborhood! Come visit anytime!!

-Muse Skate Park

Chapter Text

Nico’s father liked to say that she was an “acquired taste”. At least, that’s what he said when she came home crying on the first day of third grade.

 

“Papa, but no one wants to be my friend! All of the boys are mean and the other girls say they already have friends.” Her face was tracked with tears as she stomped one foot on the ground.

Her father had looked at her in the gentle way that he always would.

“Nico, you are so very special. The other kids can’t see that, but I can. You just have to find someone else that can see how amazing the great Nico Nii is!”  He patted her head. “Just keep trying to make friends, give people a chance to see how special you are.”

Nico’s father pulled her into a tight hug and Nico giggled against her papa’s shoulder. “Alright papa.”

They stayed liked that until Nico’s mother came in from work and saw her two favorite people cuddling on the couch. She smiled fondly and went to join her family.

 

So here she was, three weeks into the third grade, still without any friends. But she still wouldn’t give up, if her papa told her that she could do this then she would just have to try harder.

Lunch time was boring, she had no one to talk with or play with, so she would just sit by herself and eat silently.

“Look the new kid is about to cry!”

Nico looked up as she heard the loud outbursts of her classmates. A group of kids surrounded one table and all Nico could see was the back of their heads. Not for the first time, she cursed her small height. She stood up with her lunch tray and passed by the table where all of the commotion was happening.

There was a girl with pigtails looking down at her tray as the boys made faces at her.

“Hey TOE-jo, why don’t you talk? Do you not know how to? Are you that dumb?!”  

From what Nico could see the girl was on the brink of tears. She had to do something, but she couldn’t fight the boy, he was older and bigger than her.

“Hey! Leave her alone!” Nico’s eyes widened once she registered her own voice. She said that without thinking and now those boys were going to beat her up.

The other girl looked up with just as wide eyes, clearly surprised.

The loudest boy sneered at her. “What did you just say pipsqueak?”

Nico narrowed her eyes. “You heard me. Stop bothering her, or else.” The kid must have a death wish if he brought up her height.

“You cruising for a bruising shrimp?”

Nico’s vision went red and before she knew it, the boy had a face full of lunch food thrown on him. He screamed in rage and tackled her. Punches were thrown and security guards got involved and next thing she knew, Nico was sitting in front of the principal’s office with a black eye and various other injuries.

 

Nico scowled and crossed her arms, slouching in her seat. Her parents were going to kill her. Just thinking of her mama’s wrath made Nico shiver in fear.

“Yazawa-san?” Nico looked up as the timid voice called out to her. She saw the other girl sitting in the chair next to her. Which was confusing because she didn’t hear her sit there.

“Yeah?”

“W-why did you fight the boy?” The girl wringed her hands nervously.

“Because he and his dumb friends were being mean to you.”

The girl looked confused. “Yes, but you don’t know me. Why would you do that?”

Nico shrugged, “It was the right thing to do. What’s your name anyway?”

The girl still looked dubious. “Nozomi Toujo and you’re Yazawa Nico.”

“How’d you know that?”

Nozomi blushed and looked down. “That’s what the principal called you.”

“You can call me Nico. Aren’t you new here?”

Nozomi nodded and looked down at her hands.

They were both quiet, the only sounds were the muffled voices coming from the principal’s office. Nozomi interrupted the quiet with her soft voice.

“You don’t have any friends right, Yaza—Nico-chan?”

Nico blushed and stammered, letting out a scoff with fake confidence. “O-of course I do! Lots of friends!”

Nozomi ignored Nico’s stuttering and mumbled, “I don’t have any friends either.”

Nico looked at the other girl with a frown and was about to continue protesting, but was interrupted.

“I never thanked you for what you did Nico-chan. No one’s ever done that for me before. My family moves around a lot so there’s no point in me making any friends because I always have to leave them anyway. You’d be a good friend though.”

The purple haired girl turned to Nico and smiled, “Thank you so much Nico-chan.”

Nico stayed silent, dumbfounded. Her face turned violently red with a blush and she looked away from the sight. “Yeah, w-whatever. It wasn’t a big deal.”

Any other interaction was interrupted by Nico’s mother’s entrance. The woman seemed to vibrate with rage, especially after seeing her daughter’s face.

“Nico Yazawa, what’s this I hear about you getting into fights?”

Nico flinched at her mama’s tone.

“Mama I can explain!”

Her mother scowled at her. “Nico, we will talk about this with your father when we get home. Now say good bye to your friend so we can get going.”

Nico blushed at the word “friend” and turned to Nozomi and waved as she was dragged out of the room by her mother.

Nozomi waved back with a blush of her own.

 

The next day Nico slammed down her lunch tray on the table next to Nozomi’s own tray as she sat down.

“Geez Nozomi, let me tell you that my mama’s ruthless!”

 


 

 

Nozomi stretched out her legs and stifled a yawn. Being student council secretary was a lot more work than she had anticipated, but she couldn’t say that she hated it. She wouldn’t have thought that she would spend her first year in middle school working on the student council but she was content with her choice.

“Tired?” The council president asked her with a kind smile.

She blushed and nodded her head sheepishly.

The president chuckled, “You can take the rest of the day off. Yazawa is waiting for you, right?”

Nozomi nodded once again.

“Go enjoy the rest of your day, we’ll finish up tomorrow.

Once the president basically shooed her out of the council room, Nozomi started walking to the courtyard where Nico would be waiting for her.

“Beat it scum bag!”

Nozomi sighed, wondering what she did to deserve such an antagonistic friend.

When she rounded the corner she saw Nico still yelling expletives at some taller boy that was in their class, poking his chest, as if to make her point.

To his credit, the boy didn’t really look affected by Nico’s yelling. “I just don’t think you could do this Yazawa.”

The smaller girl scowled up at him. “Like if skateboarding is such a difficult activity! Only a moron wouldn’t be able to do it.”

Nozomi cleared her throat to draw Nico’s attention.

Nico looked up and her scowl lessened slightly once she saw Nozomi. “Nozomi. Did you hear? I’m going to start skateboarding.”

The boy rolled his eyes and Nozomi wondered why she still couldn’t remember his name. “Yazawa this really isn’t meant for you. You should focus more on being an idol or something. You agree with me Toujo?”

Nozomi ignored him and looked at Nico’s angry stance, she knew her friend well enough to know that she wouldn’t be backing from this challenge anytime soon. 

“It would be good for you to have an extracurricular Nicocchi. It might keep you out of trouble while I have my student council work.”

The boy rolled his eyes again and started to walk away. “Whatever Yazawa, this isn’t going to end well.”

Nico stuck her tongue out at his fading figure and turned to Nozomi. “That kid thinks he’s so cool. I’ll show him! The great Nico Nii can do anything!”

Nozomi only laughed at her friend’s never ending stubbornness, this would be interesting.

 

Nico winced as Nozomi placed the bandage on her knee.

“Geez Nozomi, can’t you be any gentler?”

Nozomi ignored her grumblings and continued fixing up her scraped knees. “Your mama isn’t going to be very happy with this Nicocchi.”

Nico winced again, but this time not because of any physical pain.

“She’s busy with Cocoro these days. Maybe she won’t even notice.”

Nozomi gave her a dubious look.

Once she was done, Nico stood up and stretched her arms upwards with a yawn. She slung her bag over her shoulder and tucked her board under her arm.

“Let’s go, I’ll walk you home.”

Nozomi nodded with a smile and followed her friend.

“I think I’m getting better honestly! I definitely can’t be getting worse. A few scrapes and bruises are totally worth it.”

They were halfway to Nozomi’s apartment when she turned to Nico.

“By the way, what did our teacher want to talk to you about?”

Nico scowled. “I don’t like him. He tried telling me that it’s against the rules to have my board on campus. He wanted to set up a disciplinary hearing.” She lowered her voice and made a bad impression of their teacher. “’I’ll let it go this time Yazawa. You should be glad that I’m not confiscating it!’

Nozomi frowned, “You weren’t even using it.”

Nico threw her arms up in exasperation. “I know! Whatever, I’ll just have to practice on our days off since I can’t practice after school anymore. I’ll have to start walking to school again too.” Nico pouted at that.

They stopped as they reached Nozomi’s apartment.

“How’s living by yourself? Are you used to it yet?”

Nozomi smiled but Nico could tell that it wasn’t a real one.

“It’s….quiet.” She looked down at her hands.

Nico stared at her before answering. “Well, when it gets too quiet, you can just call me.”

Nozomi looked up with a genuine smile, which quickly turned mischievous. “Aw Nicocchi! You’re such a good friend!”

The shorter girl blushed and fumbled for words. “H-hey shut up! I take back my offer!”

Nozomi just giggled at her friend.

 

“President, I’d like to talk to you.”

The older girl looked up from her paperwork. “What is it Nozomi?”

“I’d like to discuss school transportation.” Nozomi said with determination.

The president looked confused. “You mean like using a bicycle to get to school?”

Nozomi nodded. “Yes. You see, Yazawa-san was disciplined for having her skateboard on school premises. I was wondering if I could make a case to the principal about having skateboards be considered transportation, just as bicycles are. Or even after-school activities equipment! The band students are allowed to bring their instruments—“

The president raised her hand to interrupt her.

“Nozomi, slow down.” She was silent for a moment, thinking, and then smiled at Nozomi. “You are a very good friend Nozomi.”

Nozomi blushed.

“I think this would be very simple to explain to the principal. Many other students would probably benefit from this as well. You’d have to help me present this, of course.”

Nozomi nodded immediately and the president chuckled at her eagerness.

 

Nozomi watched as Nico glided on the sidewalk, slowing slightly to do a trick, which she successfully executed. Nico got off her board and turned to Nozomi with a wide grin.

“Did you see that?!”

Nozomi smiled widely and nodded. “Good job, Nicocchi!”

Nico got back on her board and rode back to where Nozomi sat on the bench.

“Hey, I never did thank you.”

Nozomi looked confused. “For what?”

“You were definitely the one who got skateboards unbanned, Nozomi. So, I wanted to thank you, it meant a lot to me.”

Nozomi was surprised at the rare occurrence of her friend being genuine with her emotions. “Of course Nicocchi, you’re my friend.”

Nico smirked and Nozomi knew the fleeting moment was gone.

“Hey let’s go back to your place, I still haven’t eaten everything in your fridge yet.”

 


 

“Do you miss being on student council Nozomi-senpai?”

Nozomi looked up from her easel at the younger student that addressed her. “I certainly don’t miss the paper work!” She said with a small laugh. “I think I‘m much more suited to the Art Club.”

Before the younger girl said anything, she was interrupted by the door opening noisily.

“Hey Nozomi let’s go! I gotta get to the park to settle a bet.” Nico was standing by the door with a scowl, complete with a bandage on her chin that Nozomi hadn’t noticed before, and her skateboard under her arm.

The younger students looked shocked and somewhat scared at Nico’s “intimidating” presence.

Nozomi threw a vaguely threatening smile towards Nico’s direction. “I’ll finish dismissing the club and I’ll be right with you.”

Nico shuddered and mumbled an agreement, choosing to wait outside for her friend to finish her club duties.

Once Nozomi left the club room, she saw Nico leaning against the wall next to the door.

She immediately grabbed on to Nico’s cheeks with a hard grip before the shorter girl could escape.

“What did I tell you about manners Nicocchi?”

Nico managed to let out, “I’m sowwy Nozomi!” before Nozomi let go.

“Good. Where’d you get that new injury from?”

Nico grinned at her, while rubbing her bandaged chin. “Some new kid tried to take on the great Nico Nii! This is what I like to call a victory scar!”

Nozomi shook her head in exasperation, deciding not to comment on her friend’s recklessness.

They started walking towards the park.

“Did you turn in your post-graduation plans yet? The teacher was asking for yours.”

The shorter girl looked sheepish. “Not yet. I still don’t know what to submit. Our teacher won’t let me write ‘professional skateboarder’, and that’s all I got.”

Nozomi just sighed, not surprised at all.

“We’re seniors Nicocchi, we need to have some kind of fallback plan.”

“Geez Nozomi, I get enough of this at home. If mama isn’t nagging me, then you are. Mama wants me to go to university like she did, but I don’t want to. School just isn’t for me. Papa didn’t go to university and he turned out just fine.”

Nico frowned slightly, thinking of her father, but quickly recovered. “I’ll just do what he did and find a wife that’ll support me until I die! You could even be the wife that supports me Nozomi.” She wiggled her eyebrows at her friend.

Nozomi rolled her eyes at her friend.

“Hey, but I did sign up for some freestyle street competition that’s happening a few towns over. You should come support your best friend!”

“You’re my only friend.”

Nico scowled in fake offense.

 

Nozomi’s phone buzzed from somewhere under the covers. She put her sketchbook aside and dug her hand around until she found it.

Nicocchi ヾ( ・` ´ ・) ノ゙ (11:23 PM): hey

Nicocchi ヾ( ・` ´ ・) ノ゙ (11:24 PM): hey answer

NOSE-omi ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (11:25 PM): what’s up

Nicocchi ヾ( ・` ´ ・) ノ゙ (11:25 PM): guess wat

NOSE-omi ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (11:26 PM): what

Nicocchi ヾ( ・` ´ ・) ノ゙ (11:28 PM): …..

Nicocchi ヾ( ・` ´ ・) ノ゙ (11:28 PM): told u 2 guess

NOSE-omi ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (11:30 PM): :////

Nicocchi ヾ( ・` ´ ・) ノ゙ (11:30 PM): FINE ur boring

Nicocchi ヾ( ・` ´ ・) ノ゙ (11:30 PM): i got a sponsor offer to skate !!!!!!

NOSE-omi ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (11:31 PM): For real!?!? Niccochi that’s amazing! ((:

NOSE-omi ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (11:32 PM): are you accepting it??

NOSE-omi ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (11:45 PM): ??????

Nicocchi ヾ( ・` ´ ・) ノ゙ (11:50 PM): srry was talking 2 mama

Nicocchi ヾ( ・` ´ ・) ノ゙ (11:52 PM): she said that i should take it….

NOSE-omi ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) (11:52 PM): you should!

Nicocchi ヾ( ・` ´ ・) ノ゙ (11:54 PM): alright….idk….ill c

 

Nico looked up as Nozomi sat down next to her on the bench.

“So, what happened to the sponsorship?”

Nico shrugged. “I turned them down.”

Nozomi frowned. “Why would you do that? That’s all you’ve ever wanted to do.”

Nico shrugged again and didn’t answer.

“Why are you throwing your dreams away Nico? This isn’t like you.”

Nico eyebrows furrowed, “You don’t know anything Nozomi! My mama had to struggle so much after papa died. I can’t let her go through something like that again. If I just leave, she’ll be left all alone again!”

Nico wiped the tears that were streaming down her cheeks. “The least I can do is stay and help her out with Cocoro, Cocoa, and Cotaro. So I’m staying and I’ll get a job somewhere and help mama as best as I can.”

Nozomi stayed quiet and just reached over to grab onto Nico’s hand. “Well I’m not going anywhere, you’re stuck with me.”

“I can’t ask you to do that Nozomi!” Nico protested.

Nozomi winked at her, “I don’t recall asking for your permission.”

Nico let out a laugh. “Of course you didn’t.”

Nico looked up at the darkening sky. “I wish I could go skating right now, it’s too dark.”

Nozomi nodded in agreement. “It’s a shame that there’s nowhere nearby that allows nighttime skating.”

Nico turned to look at her friend. “You mean like a skate park?”

“That would make things easier for you and the other skaters in town.”

Nico hummed in agreement but quickly jumped to face Nozomi, grinning widely at her friend. “Nozomi, you’re a genius. Do you know what the prize was for the competition?”

Nozomi shook her head in confusion. “The sponsorship?”

“Not only that, but a cash prize! I gave half of it to mama obviously, but I still have the other half.”

Nozomi smiled, catching on. “And our town doesn’t have a skate park!”

“Not yet! But it will once we get started!”

Nozomi hugged her friend in excitement and Nico hugged back just as tightly.

 


 

“Eli-chan! How was your morning? Glad to have gotten a break?” Kotori exclaimed as Eli walked in. Next to her, Umi waved silently at her friend.

The blonde smiled at the pair. “Very glad. It’s nice to have a break once in a while. How was the morning shift?”

Umi nodded in agreement. “It was quiet, an old couple came in earlier. Nothing else really happened.”

“Maki-chan really doesn’t like mornings though. She was suffering the entire time.” Kotori giggled and Maki walked in the office, as if summoned by her name.

Maki rolled her eyes with a slight blush. “No one should wake up at such an awful time, honestly. Eli, how are you?”

Eli smiled in amusement, “I’m good, thank you.”

The redhead held up a vase with lilies. “Someone sent us a gift.”

“A gift?” Eli took the vase and read the card that came attached.

“That was nice of our new neighbors! We should send them something in return!” Kotori spoke up.

Eli nodded. “Sounds like a good idea Kotori.”

Chapter Text

Nico rode down the sidewalk at a leisurely pace. She didn’t particularly like opening, but she knew that there was no way that Nozomi would ever wake up at such an early time on purpose, so the responsibility was left with her.

 She really needed a smoke, which was concerning considering she already had one earlier in the morning. Maybe Nozomi was right to be worried about her cigarette consumption. Of course, she would never admit that to her. It was probably because she was going through more stress than usual. Big decisions led to a more stressed Nico, which led to at least a pack a day.

Nico kicked off to get more speed, wanting to distract herself from the stress inducing thoughts. Skating usually always eased her mind.

She was so preoccupied with her thoughts that she didn’t notice another person on the sidewalk until the last second. Nico quickly bailed off of her board in an attempt to avoid the person and her body went skidding ahead of the girl.

Nico groaned from her position on the floor and looked up at the other person. “Shit, are you okay?” She rubbed the arm that she had landed on.

The girl looked on in horror. “W-what just happened?”

Nico sat up and tried to not blush once she noticed how attractive the other girl was. It was just her luck for this to happen to her in front of such a pretty girl. The position she was in really didn’t help; the sun was shining on the girl’s red hair, giving off a halo-esque glow.

“I fell of my board so I wouldn’t hit you.”

The girl twirled a strand of her hair with a finger and frowned. “Why weren’t you watching where you were going?”

Nico looked at her with an astounded look, the audacity of this girl. “Hey! I did this so you wouldn’t get hurt!”

“Well, you wouldn’t have to do that if you were just aware of your surroundings.”

Nico stood up slowly, keeping in another groan at the pain. She had wanted to get on eye level with the rude girl but she could tell that her height was really going to screw her over on this one. As per usual.

“Listen, normal people would say thank you, but I guess you don’t have any manners.”

The girl turned red in anger. “I don’t have to thank you because it was your fault in the first place!”

 Nico didn’t really have a response to that so she just huffed and turned away, picking up her board from where it fell. No matter how attractive the girl was, she had the worst personality. Looking at the state of her arm, she figured that she should just walk the rest of the way and bandage it when she got to work. With one last glance at the girl she started walking away.

After the third street she crossed, she couldn’t help but feel as if she was being watched. She quickly glanced behind her and saw the redhead.

She turned around and glared at her. “Why are you following me?!”

The girl turned red and sputtered. “What?! Don’t flatter yourself! I’m walking to work! It just so happens to be in the same direction as where you’re going.”

Nico narrowed her eyes at her before turning and stalking away. By the time she got to the building she turned and saw that the girl walking up to the building next to hers.

“You have to be kidding me! You work there?”

The redhead locked eyes with her and frowned, “What?”

“You work next door to where I work!”

The girl sighed and shook her head. “And here I was hoping to never see you again.”

Nico immediately looked offended. “The feeling is mutual!” She quickly unlocked the door and went inside, slamming it behind her.


 

Nico put her hands on her hips and shook her head in exasperation.

“How hard could this possibly be? Just don’t place your feet like that!” She pointed at her own feet for emphasis.

 Rin tilted her head in confusion. “Are we doing it wrong?”

Nico glared at her. “What have we been talking about for the past half hour?”

Rin shrugged.

“But I’ve seen other people skate like this before.” Honoka said from where she was on the floor, sitting on her board, her arms wrapped around her knees.

“Yes, Honoka, people skate like that. It’s a popular way to position your feet, but can be awkward when performing tricks. Which is why it’s called Goofy Foot. No real professional in their right mind uses that! Especially if it has such a lame name. So anyone who uses that is a loser.”

Honoka nodded slowly, clearly still not getting it. Rin didn’t even offer a response, her eyes her glazed over and staring at the wall behind Nico.

Nico grimaced. “Whatever! If you want to be lame, then be my guest!”

She turned away from the two redheads, walking back to the office while grumbling under her breath.

She stomped into the room and Nozomi looked up from her workbench. “Trouble with your trainees?”

“Honestly, my lessons are more like suggestions to them.”

Nozomi chuckled, “You didn’t have anyone helping you out when you first started. They’ll come to you when they need help.”

Nico grunted. She took out a packet of cigarettes, taking one out and putting it in her mouth. She fumbled around her desk, which was completely littered in a combination of random papers and trash, until she found a lighter. Nozomi gave her a pointed look, but otherwise didn’t comment.  

“So what happened to your arm Nicocchi? Looks pretty bad.”

Nico exhaled smoke in the opposite direction of Nozomi. “Had an accident this morning. I’ve had worse.”

“You weren’t wearing your safety gear?”

Nico glared at her. “You talk to mama too much.”

Nozomi smiled at her and nodded.

“Speaking of them, I need to go babysit Cocoa and Cotaro later today. So you need to go to the market for me.”

Nozomi nodded distractedly, already going back to working on her sketch.

“I’ll text you a list later. I’m going to go deal with tweedledee and tweedledum.” Nico sighed and left the office.


 

Nozomi grabbed the spice from the rack. Was this what Nico wanted? She really had no idea. It probably was. Maybe.

There was a reason why Nico did all of the cooking and the grocery shopping. Nozomi was completely lost in that department. She shrugged to herself and put it in the basket anyway.

She figured that she deserved a treat for making it through such a long week, so she made her way to her favorite section of the market, the wine aisle.

The entrance was blocked off by someone who was looking down at their phone, they turned to leave just as Nozomi turned the corner. The person bumped straight into Nozomi’s chest. Nozomi’s vision was impaired with blonde hair. She took a step back and saw a familiar blushing face.

“Elicchi, it’s good to see you!”

Eli looked embarrassed but still smiled at Nozomi. “Nozomi, I was hoping to run into you eventually. Although, not so literally.”

Nozomi laughed. “I was hoping to see you too. This city isn’t as small as it may seem, it must be fate that we bumped into each other so soon.”

“Well, who are we to tempt fate?” The blonde attempted to wink but in reality just blinked awkwardly.

Nozomi giggled, delighted with the display.

Eli laughed along with a slight blush on her face. She pulled out her phone. “I don’t supposed you’d be willing to give me your number?”

Nozomi took her phone from her hands and quickly put in her contact information. “Make sure to actually use this.” She smirked at the blonde, placing the phone back in her hands.

Eli nodded hurriedly. “Of course!”

Nozomi walked passed her into the aisle. “It was good seeing you Elicchi! I look forward to your text.”

Eli nodded with a crooked smile and walked away.

Nozomi let out a breath she didn’t know that she was holding in as she looked back and saw the blonde leave.

 She hummed as she picked two different bottles of wine, she definitely deserved them.

Chapter Text

“Alisa, you’re going to need to work more on your execution for the first part.”

The smaller blonde nodded and skated to the other side of the ice to attempt the jump once more. Eli watched her with a focused gaze. Once the younger girl completed it, Eli skated to her.

“That was better, but it still needs work. Have a freestyle session and we’ll pick up practice tomorrow. You should be ready for the competition soon.”

Alisa beamed a smile at her sister’s praise. “Thank you Eli-neechan!”

Eli smiled fondly and went to exit the ice.

She took off her skates with a sigh of relief and rubbed her ankle as if to sooth away the present soreness. She put on her shoes and relaxed against the barrier to watch her sister skate.

“Is your leg still bothering you Eli?”

Eli looked to the side and saw Umi standing there with a worried expression. She averted her gaze back to her sister and paused before she answered. “It’s always going to be sore. You shouldn’t worry too much about it.”

Umi leaned on the barrier next to her. “If you say that it isn’t a problem, then I believe you. But remember the last time you internalized your pain Eli.” She put a hand on Eli’s shoulder. “You don’t have to go through it alone.”

Eli shrugged off her hand gently and looked away from her sister’s figure. “Listen Umi, I appreciate it. I’m dealing with this in my own way.” She met Umi’s eyes and hated the underlying hint of pity that she saw. “I know more than anyone how much I paid for my mistakes. I don’t need any more reminders than I already have.” She stole a glance at Alisa.

“I don’t mean to make this any harder for you Eli. You’ve done more for me than I could possibly repay. It’s only because of you that I even met Kotori. I just want to make sure that you know that you will always have support.”

Eli nodded but didn’t answer. After a minute she let herself smile and she softly shoved Umi’s shoulder with her own, earning a grin from the other girl.

 “Umi-chan! Eli-chan!”

The two girls looked to see Kotori practically skipping towards them. Once she reached them she wrapped her arms around Umi from behind and kissed her cheek. Umi’s face turned bright red and she tried to pull away from the affection but couldn’t break Kotori’s tight grip.

Kotori looked at Eli and winked, much to the blonde’s amusement. Once she let go Umi was covering her face with her hands and grumbling to herself.

She faced the blonde fully once she was done with teasing Umi. “Eli-chan,I passed by our neighbors today!”

“Did you manage to speak to them?”

Kotori pouted, “I spoke to one of the girls who work there, but the owners have the day off today.”

Eli shrugged. “We’ll have to thank them another day then.”

Kotori nodded in agreement. “It looked really fun in there!”

Next to her, Umi scoffed. “It’s a hive fore delinquent activity. You should probably stay away from there Kotori.”

“The girl was really nice though! She didn’t look at all like a criminal.”

Eli was distracted from the conversation by her phone vibrating in her pocket. She smiled once she saw the notification was from Nozomi. They had been exchanging texts frequently since their conversation at the market but Eli was way too nervous to even think about asking Nozomi out.

Nozomi (6:10 PM): heyyyyyy

Nozomi (6:10 PM): ur cute

Nozomi (6:11 PM): u should ask me out im cute too

Eli almost dropped her phone in surprise. There was no way that this could be happening to her.

 


 

Nico scowled up from her position on Nozomi’s lap. “I can’t believe you didn’t tell me sooner!”

Nozomi patted Nico’s head. “I’m truly sorry Nicocchi, I didn’t mean to keep this from you.”

Nico sat up, nearly hitting Nozomi in the nose with her head. “You couldn’t have told me that we were out of beer? I thought we were best friends Nozomi.”

Nozomi chuckled and took a sip from her wine glass.

“So what are you going to do about this girl you’re always texting?”

Nozomi sighed and placed the glass on the counter. “I don’t know. She’s just so stiff, it’s like she’s writing an academic essay every time she messages me.”

Nico took Nozomi’s phone and looked through the messages. “Yeah this girl isn’t going to be making moves anytime soon. You should just do it yourself if you like her so much.”

Nozomi shook her head. “I put in all of the effort Nicocchi, it’s up to her now. If she likes me, she’ll let me know.” She stood up from the couch. “I’m going to go take a shower and then we could go hit a few bars later. We might even find someone for you tonight.” She left with a wink.

Nico stuck her tongue out at her and laid down on the couch. She couldn’t help but roll her eyes at how lost Nozomi and her new love interest were. It was just like Nozomi to be this stubborn.

She went to grab the TV remote when she noticed that she still had Nozomi’s phone. 

Nico wasn’t necessarily the type of person who really thought anything through, which is probably why she couldn’t stop herself from unlocking the phone and typing.

Nozomi (6:12 PM): heyyyyyy

Nozomi (6:12 PM): ur cute

Nozomi (6:13 PM): u should ask me out im cute too

Oh god, what had she done.

“Nicocchi, I left my phone there. Can you pass it?”

Nico blanched, she was so screwed. “Um I-I. S-sure!” She wiped her sweaty palms on her jeans and grabbed the phone. She slowly walked to Nozomi’s bedroom and stopped outside the door.

“Hey Nozomi?”

“Yes?”

“You love me, right?”

The door opened quickly and even though Nozomi was half dressed she didn’t bother to cover up her bra-clad top.

“Nicocchi. What happened?” Nico shuddered. That was Nozomi’s scary whisper voice.

She gripped the phone harder and gulped.

“Nicocchi, you know that you can tell me anything.” She smiled in such a frightening way, her voice laced with deceptive sweetness.

“I might have…. It’s possible that I could have probably maybe texted your not-girlfriend. As you.” The words all left her at once and Nico felt a weight leave her chest as the truth came out. But the weight was immediately replaced with an even heavier one that came with the fear of Nozomi’s wrath.

Nozomi took her phone gently from Nico’s hand and looked through the messages. Nico could probably have fainted right there.

“Nico, you’re going to need to leave my sight right now.” She took a deep breath.

Nico practically ran to her room, more than happy to follow directions.

Elicchi <3 (6:20 PM): Nozomi, I think you’re very cute……

Elicchi <3 (6:20 PM): I’d love to take you out, if you would let me

Nozomi (6:21 PM): Elicchi I am so sorry!! That was my friend! I’m sorry if it made you uncomfortable

Nozomi (6:22 PM): Wait

Nozomi (6:22 PM): You think I’m cute

Elicchi <3 (6:23 PM): oh my god

Nozomi (6:24 PM): and you want to go out with me

Nozomi (6:24 PM): give me one minute brb

“Nico! Come here.”

Nico’s door creaked open slowly and she slowly walked to Nozomi. Once she stood in front of Nozomi, she hesitated before looking up. Nozomi tried to hold in a smile as best as she could but was obviously failing.

“I’m still mad at you! But your stupid plan actually worked this time.”

Nico smiled widely and patted Nozomi’s arm. “Of course it did! You’re welcome.” Nozomi looked unimpressed and swiped at Nico’s head.

“Go get ready, we’re still going out.”

Nico rubbed the side of her head and rolled her eyes, turning to leave the room.

 

Chapter Text

Eli fixed her shirt for what seemed like the fifth time. Umi sighed and placed her hand on the blonde’s fidgeting ones.

“Are you okay Eli?”

Eli looked surprised at Umi speaking to her, clearly having been lost in her own thoughts.

“Um yeah, I have a lot on my mind.”

“If you nee-“

“I’ll let you know if I want to talk to you about it.” Eli interrupts with a grin. “Now let’s go greet our new neighbors.”

Umi nods and reaches over to open the door to the building. “After you.”

Eli walked in and looked around, it’s easy to say that Muse Skate park is definitely an awe inspiring sight. The walls are all lined with ramps of various sizes and it doesn’t exactly fit the image that Eli had imagined. The building is clearly well-cared for but still manages to maintain the carefree atmosphere that one would pair with a skate park. The walls are all covered in art, not a glimpse of the original white wall could be seen and Eli couldn’t help but be immediately enraptured by it at first glance.

Once Umi caught up to her, they made their way to the nearest employee that they saw. Which happened to be an orange haired girl that was leaning on a counter and seemed to be very invested in what seemed to be a food magazine.

Umi scowled, no doubt thinking about the poor work ethic that was on display. Eli cleared her throat. The girl looked up, with a blank stare, but quickly stood up straight, hastily putting away her magazine.

“Hey there! How can I help you?”

Umi grimaced and Eli smiled at the girl. “Hello, we’re from next door. We wanted to thank the owners for the gift they sent us.”

“Oh, the ice rink right?”

Eli nodded.

“You probably want to talk to Nico-senpai then.” She gestured to a group of children that sat on one of the ramps. “She’s teaching a class now, but I could probably get her for you guys. Give me one second!”

Eli went to interject, to say that they wouldn’t want to interrupt, but the girl had already vaulted over the glass counter and ran to the group.  

Eli and Umi looked at each other in pure confusion and judging by the look on Umi’s face, she was sure the other girl was close to tears. Eli looked at the employee who had reached the class and had bent down to speak to –what looked like– one of the children. Eli wished she’d just go get her boss so she could go enjoy the rest of her morning.

She looked away to comfort Umi, who had started murmuring about ‘work-place safety’ and ‘absence of professionalism’. They were interrupted by someone clearing their throat behind them.

They turned and looked down, seeing a younger looking girl with pig tails and pink safety gear, kneeling to tie her sneakers. And it was an honest to god miracle that the girl spoke first because Eli had been a second away from kneeling to speak to what she thought was a child.

“Rin told me that you wanted to speak to me?” The girl stood up and was definitely slightly taller than Eli was expecting, she was also definitely not a child. Eli snuck a quick look at Umi and she could tell that she was equally as confused.

“Um yes? You are the owner of this establishment?” Umi spoke first. “We’re the owners of the ice rink next door. I’m Sonoda Umi and this is Ayase Eli.”

The short girl was staring at Eli intently and the blonde couldn’t help but let out an awkward cough under the intense scrutiny.

Eventually Nico smirked and nodded. “Yeah, me and my partner own this place. Yazawa Nico.” She didn’t offer her hand to shake, which was good because she made Eli nervous for some reason.

“Well Yazawa-san it was very thoughtful of you to leave us a gift.” Umi’s tone clearly showed that she wanted the conversation to end and Eli hoped that Nico picked up on that.

“It was my partner’s idea. She wanted to get friendly and welcome you guys to the neighborhood.” Nico shrugged. Eli couldn’t tell if that was the shorter girl’s way of saying that she didn’t hold the same sentiment.

“We certainly appreciate it Yazawa-san and please be sure to extend our gratitude to your partner. I must also say that your establishment is very,” Umi paused and looked around with poorly hidden disdain, “quaint.”

 Eli nodded in agreement, ignoring Umi’s tone. “I have to agree! Particularly the wall art. It’s very unique.”

Nico’s smirk returned, much to Eli’s concern. “Oh yeah? My partner painted it all herself.” She gestured towards the skateboard decks hanging behind the glass counter. “She designs all our boards too. She’s like our Van Gogh.” She chuckled.

“Wow, they’re amazing.”

“They are very beautiful.” Umi nodded in agreement. “Well Yazawa-san, we should get out of your way. Thank you for your hospitality.”

Nico waved her hand dismissively, stalling their departure. “You can call me Nico and actually we should hang out sometime.” She glanced at Eli. “I’m sure Nozomi would love to meet you guys.”

Eli stiffened. “Nozomi?”

Nico smirked and Eli finally understood. “Yeah, she’s my business partner.”

“Oh.”

“We should all get drinks this weekend. Free on Saturday night?”

Umi grimaced and glanced at Eli, waiting for her answer.

“That sounds great.” She flashed a weak smile at Nico and completely ignored Umi’s alarmed look.

 “Awesome, can’t wait. See you guys later!” She stepped away, while typing something on her phone with a smile.

 

Once they stepped out of the building Umi turned to Eli.

“Eli you can’t expect us to go out with those delinquents!”

The blonde sighed.


 

Nico’s phone rang and she quickly took it out of her pocket.

“Took you long enough.”

“Sorry I was busy.”

Nico rolled her eyes. “Too busy sleeping.”

She heard Nozomi chuckle. “Yes, I was busy with more important things, like sleeping.”

“You’re an asshole. Maybe I won’t even tell you what just happened, maybe I’ll just keep it to myself.”

“What just happened?”

“I don’t know, you don’t deserve to know.”

“Nicocchi.” She didn’t need to see her face to know that she was pouting.

“Do you still have that date tonight?”

“Yes?”

Nico smiled widely. “Good.”

Honoka came into the office and lobbed a paper ball at Nico’s head.

“Why did you want to know?”

“Give me a second.” She put her hand on the receiver and glared at Honoka. “What do you want?”

“Some kid has a gash on his knee and now there’s blood on one of the ramps.”

Nico threw her head back and groaned. “I’m going to have to get back to you Nozomi, people are idiots.”

“Wait! What were you going to tell me?”

“Bye!”

Chapter Text

“Wow you look gay.” Nico smirked. “Mission accomplished.”

Nozomi smiled at her, taking another look in the mirror. “That’s the nicest compliment you’ve given me all week.”

“Flannel and jeans, must be something fancy.”

“We’re going to a café for the date.”

Nico grimaced, “Sounds boring. What’re you going to do? Talk to each other?”

“Well, that’s usually what happens on dates.” Nozomi laughed.

“You’ve literally never been on a date before.”

“Neither have you Nicocchi.” Nico shrugged in reply and sank back further into the couch, grumbling under her breath. “I’m going to meet her there. Call me if you need anything.”

Nico nodded, “You too. If she gets weird just let me know. I’ll go over there and beat the crap out of her.”

Nozomi couldn’t smother a fond grin. “She’s way taller than you.”

“So what?! I can still take her.”

Nozomi laughed and threw down a $20 bill on the couch. “Here Rocky, that should be enough for dinner. Or weed. Or both if you try hard enough.”

“Wow geez, thanks mom.”


 

Eli ripped apart the napkin on the table.

“Are you ready to order? Our parfaits are to die for.”

Eli looked up at the waitress and awkwardly dusted the paper mess to the side. “I’m still waiting for my….friend.”  

The waitress smiled widely at her. “Okay! I’ll be back!”

Eli looked back down to continue ripping up the paper napkins. She probably wouldn’t have had to wait if she hadn’t gotten there early, but there was no way she was going to risk being late.

“Having fun Elicchi?”

Eli looked up in confusion, Nozomi was looking at her with a wide smile.

“Nozomi!” She dusted the paper to the side once again with a sheepish smile.

“Been waiting long?”  

“Not at all. I’ll get the waitress, apparently their parfaits are to die for.”

Nozomi stared at her with a faux serious expression. “That’s a very bold claim.”

“I took you here for a reason.”

“I suppose I’ll have to trust your judgement.”

Eli was sure that she must have looked disgustingly smitten.


 

“Nicocchi looked like she was going to vomit right then and there. It was absolutely horrible.”

Eli’s cheeks were sore from the amount that she was smiling.

“Nico doesn’t sound like a real person, no one is that ridiculous.”

Nozomi chuckled, “She’s definitely real, I couldn’t make up such a terror. But I can’t say too many bad things about her.” She reached over and put covered Eli’s hand with her own. “After all she did get me a date with you.”

The blonde couldn’t take her eyes off of their joined hands. “I should thank her. I probably wouldn’t have been able to do that without some kind of push.” Eli glanced up at Nozomi but looked away shyly. “This is the first time I’ve ever done something like this. I don’t want to mess it up.”

Nozomi didn’t answer, instead intertwined their fingers and offered a smile. Eli answered with one of her own, more reassured.

“So when did you begin doing art?”

Nozomi looked slightly surprised. “I don’t remember telling you that I was an artist.”

“Nico told me? Wait, she didn’t tell you that I visited the skate park today?” Eli’s eyebrows furrowed and she gently took her hand away from Nozomi’s.

“No, she didn’t. Why were you there?”

“I own the ice rink next door. I assumed that you already knew. Or that she told you.”

Nozomi shook her head with a frown. She took her phone out of her pocket and typed something quickly, before looking up with an exasperated smile. Eli was sure that, somewhere, Nico was getting a strongly worded message.

“Sorry, that just took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting that.”

Eli laughed smiled, relieved that Nozomi wasn’t upset at her. “Can’t say that it’s a bad surprise though?”

Nozomi smirked. “Definitely a good surprise. Looks like the universe is trying very hard to push us together.” 

Eli blushed but smirked back.

“I’ve been sketching since I was in middle school.”

“I saw your art, you’re really amazing.”

Nozomi blushed and Eli couldn’t think of a better view.

“I’m really proud of my work. Muse is the best canvas for my art. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Eli reached over the table and held Nozomi’s hand once again, she couldn’t help but swoon over Nozomi’s obvious passion for her art and her love for Muse.

“How did you end up opening the ice rink Elicchi?”

Eli stiffened slightly. “I used to ice skate a lot when I was younger. It only made sense to stick with what I know.”

“And you don’t anymore?”

Eli shook her head. “Not as much as I used to. I still love it though. My sister skates competitively and I do what I can to support her.” She flashed a sad smile and Nozomi tightened her grip on her hand. “But that’s something we can talk about later.”

Nozomi nodded in understanding. The moment was interrupted by the waitress coming by the table.

“Here’s your receipt! Please come again!” She looked down at their intertwined hands and let out a surprised “oh”. She winked at them. “Have a nice night ladies, next time come have a parfait. On the house of course.”

Eli blushed and stammered her thanks, while Nozomi chuckled lightly at the blonde’s reaction. Eli blushed and stammered her thanks, while Nozomi chuckled lightly at the blonde’s reaction. They both stood up and Nozomi made sure to hold Eli’s hand as they made their way out of the café. Eli turned to Nozomi, “Can I walk you home?”

Nozomi nodded and pulled Eli in the direction of her apartment with a content smile.

Chapter Text

Nico was kinda fucked up.

Kinda was a bit of an understatement.

She was really fucked up.

“Nozomi I’m - I just - Look, I’m going to need you to do me a favor.” Her words were slurred and intelligible, but if there was someone that could understand her, it would be Nozomi.

Nozomi looked away from Eli and looked at Nico in surprise. She hadn’t realized that Nico was this drunk.

“I think you’ve had enough fun for tonight Nicocchi.”

Nico narrowed her eyes at her. “No! Now t-that you’re married doesn’t mean that you’re - that you gotta be boring.”

Eli blushed but Nozomi just rolled her eyes at Nico.

Nico turned to Eli. “Actually you can help me friend thief, friend stealer. You owe me one.”

Eli looked on amusedly, slightly worried. “What do you need?”

“You, you’re going to get me a number. Give me the red, um, the redhead’s number! The hot one. The hot redhead. The redhead that works for you. Y’know the hot one.”

Nozomi smiled widely, “What color was her hair?”

“Red.”

“Was she hot?”

“Y-yeah. She was hot.”

“What do you want?”

“The, um, the number.”

“Who’s?”

“Who’s what?” Nico looked pained.

“Whose number do you want?”

Eli couldn’t help but be endeared by the familiar interaction. Umi stared with a scowl.

“The hot redhead.”

“Toujo-san please stop this.” Umi said through clenched teeth.

Nozomi shrugged and passed Nico a cup of water. “Drink this.”

“Are you talking about Maki?” Eli asked.

Nico wiped the spilled water around her mouth with her shirt sleeve. “Is she a hot redhead that works for you?”’

“Yeah.”

“Then yeah.”

“Are you going to ask her out?” The blonde asked.

Nico shrugged and put her head down on the table. “She’ll probably say no. She hates me. But I kinda hate her too.”

Nozomi patted Nico’s back. “You hate everyone Nicocchi.”

“Yeah I do. But I hate her in a different kinda way? I dunno, it’s weird.” Her words were becoming muffled as she seemed to doze off.

“Looks like she has a school yard crush.” Nozomi shook her head with fond exasperation. “I should probably get her home. She usually holds her liquor better than this.”

Umi stood up. “It’s fine Toujo-san. We should be going as well. Right Eli?” She looked at the blonde pointedly.

Eli nodded reluctantly, she turned to Nozomi. “Text me when you get home?”

Nozomi nodded with a smile. “Of course.”

The two remained staring at each other, not-so subtly glancing at each other’s lips.

“I think I’m going to vomit.”

Nozomi rolled her eyes, ready to berate Nico for being so rude. She looked in horror as Nico waddled to the bar’s exit, her face was pale and she had her hand covering her mouth.

Umi turned to the bartender with a deep scowl. “Check please.”

 


 

 

Honoka put a bag of frozen peas on Nico’s forehead. The smaller girl was laying on the couch in the office with one arm slung over her eyes to protect her from the light.

Nico reached to rub Honoka’s face sloppily in thanks. “You’re a beautiful tropical fish.”

Honoka laughed. “And you’re the wind beneath my wings Nico-senpai.” She stood up and left the office.

Nozomi snorted, not looking up from the board that she was working on. “You wouldn’t be in this much pain if you had some self-control.”

“It was either watch you and your girlfriend make out or get drunk. And there was no way that I was going to have a conversation with your puppy’s stick-in-the-mud best friend.” She sat up on the couch and took off her sunglasses, wincing slightly because of the light.

“Umi isn’t that bad.”

Nico shot her a dubious look. “Oh yeah for sure.”

“Well anyway, you shouldn’t be complaining since you were the one who set that up.” Nozomi scowled at her. “Thanks for the warning by the way. You definitely deserve the hangover.”

Nico shrugged. “I’d say that it was worth it but it totally backfired considering that you both were a second away from consummating your relationship.”

“I guess I shouldn’t tell you about what Eli just sent me.”

“Did she send you nudes?!”

Nozomi glared at Nico. “Like if I would share those with you.”

“I thought we were closer than this. I’m hurt.”  

Nozomi shrugged and passed the phone to Nico. Nico squinted at the screen, trying to focus her vision enough to read the message.

 

Elicchi <3 (1:20 AM): Before I forget, here’s Maki’s number! (XXX) XXXX-XX Goodnight <3

 

Nico jumped to her feet and slung her arm around Nozomi’s shoulder. “You sure know how to pick ‘em Noz! I take back any bad thing I ever thought about her!”

“How many bad things did you even come up with?”

“Doesn’t matter now. She’s officially my favorite blonde.”

“She’s the only blonde you know buddy.”

Nico laid back down on the couch and put the bag of peas back on her forehead. “Exactly.”

 

 

Chapter Text

Unknown Number (2:55 PM): hey

Unknown Number (3:00 PM): heyyy

Unknown Number (3:15 PM): omg answer

Maki (3:18 PM): Who is this?

Unknown Number (3:20 PM): Nico. im the girl frm next door, the one that ran u over lmao. Eli gave me ur number

Unknown Number (3:20 PM): wanted to apologize i guess :/                                                                                     

Maki (3:23 PM): Why would she give my number to a stranger?? And wow you grew up enough to finally apologize. Nice, it only took you a week to be a decent human

Unknown Number (3:24 PM): wow

Unknown Number (3:24 PM): this was definitely a mistake

Unknown Number (3:25 PM): BTW i apologized right when it happened asshole

Unknown Number (3:25 PM): but i totally take it back now

The ASSHOLE (3:27 PM): The whole situation was your fault. I guess I’ll accept your apology if you’ll stop texting me

Gremlin (3:30 PM): trust me it’s not going 2 happen again

Gremlin (3:30 PM): also i take back my apology

Gremlin (3:30 PM): bc ur a dick

 


 

“How’d it go?” There was no response. “Judging by how you threw your phone at the wall, I’m guessing it didn’t go well.” No answer.

Nico stood up and grabbed her board, stalking out of the office.  “Hey losers! Your three hour break is over! Let’s start practicing!”

Nozomi shook her head and went back to sketching, she really wasn’t surprised at all.

 

Rin threw herself on the ground next to Honoka, who was splayed out on the halfpipe.

“I wonder what made senpai angry today.”

Honoka groaned and sat up. “She’s always angry.”

“But she’s especially angry today. That was just torture!”

Honoka shrugged and looked on as Nico continued to skate with a deep scowl. The only reason why they were allowed to take a break was because Nozomi forced Nico to take it easy on them.

“Nico-senpai is really good at skating, right?” Rin was looking at Nico in awe. There was a practiced ease in the way that the older girl skated.

“Yeah she’s amazing. I saw some of her trophies in the storage room, she used to compete a lot.”

Rin turned to Honoka with a confused look. “And she doesn’t compete anymore?”

Honoka shook her head. “I never asked why though.”

The conversation ended when the loud music that Nico had playing was lowered. That would probably piss off Nico. If there was something that she hated, it was when her music was interrupted. Honoka and Rin turned to see who had lowered the volume. Nozomi was standing with two girls next to her. One of them was a redhead with a deep scowl and the other was a blonde that was holding Nozomi’s hand with a blush.

Rin leaned towards Honoka and whispered, “Who are they?” Even though they wouldn’t have been able to hear her in the distance.

“I have no idea. Looks like Nozomi-senpai has a girlfriend though.” Honoka grinned, happy for her friend. “Nico-senpai doesn’t look too happy to see them though.”

Nico was staring at the group with a sour look on her face. She got off her board and walked (stomped) towards them.

 


 

Nico was fucking pissed. Not even sweet middle school jams and skating seemed to help improve her mood.

It was all Maki’s fault. Nico had extended an olive branch and that huge jerk took out her wood chipper and absolutely destroyed it, along with any chance at friendship they would’ve had. She was as cute as she was savage and damn it if Nico wasn’t into it, which probably made it worse and made her angrier.

She was mid-grind when Linkin Park was interrupted (which was NOT okay). She turned to snap at Nozomi, the only person who would ever touch her music, but stopped dead in her tracks when she caught a glimpse of red hair.

Maki was standing next to Nozomi and Eli, looking disgustingly perfect as always. But why was she there? She wouldn’t even let Nico brood in peace.

Nico got off her board and walked to the three of them, passing Honoka and Rin, ignoring their questioning gazes.

 

The first thing she noticed was the fact that Nozomi and Eli were holding hands and as gross as it was, she couldn’t even bring herself to make fun of them.

Maki was looking at the ground with a frown and her arms crossed, which wasn’t surprising at all.

“Why are you guys here?”

Nozomi smiled, ignoring the angry tone in her mumbling. “Elicchi wanted a tour and Maki-chan said that she wanted to speak with you!”

It was pretty obvious that Nozomi meddled and made this happen. She could never just mind her own business.

“So you guys go talk in the office and we’ll be walking around!” Nozomi practically pushed Nico and Maki into the office, closing the door behind them.

 

Nico took a seat on the couch and stared at Maki as she awkwardly stood by the doorway.

“So what did you want to say?”

Maki stayed quiet and Nico sighed in frustration. She was about to say something but was interrupted.

“Wait. Shut up.” Maki put a hand up. “Let me talk.”

Nico nodded and stayed quiet, rolling her eyes at the other girl.

“I’m not good at speaking to people. Even if I want to be friends,” she glanced at Nico, “I don’t really know what to do or say, so I freak out and say all the wrong things.”

Nico almost scoffed at the understatement, but that would probably be too insensitive.

“Whatever so I just wanted to say sorry.” The redhead let the sentence out in one breath. She grimaced, as if the phrase left a bad taste in her mouth.

Nico stared at her but couldn’t hold back in her laugh. “Wow have you ever interacted with a real human being before?”

Maki turned red and glared at Nico. “You little goblin, I take everything back.”

Nico laughed again and smiled up at Maki. “I guess I could forgive you for being such a jerk.”

“I told you that I took back the apology.” There was a hint of a smile on her face.

Nico shrugged and stood up. “I guess it’s fair since I took back mine.”

Maki followed Nico out of the office.


 

Nozomi and Eli were looking at one of Nozomi’s boards. Eli inspected it with awe.

“This is so beautiful Nozomi.”

Nico interrupted the moment with a shout. “Hey lovebirds, are you done?”

Maki was next to her, smirking at Eli’s blush. “Yeah let’s go Eli. Who knows what kind diseases are festering in this dump.”

“This ain’t the Hilton princess.” Nico turned to Eli. “Get her out of here before her daddy sues us.”

Maki scoffed and turned to leave. “Don’t text me again gremlin.”

“You’ll definitely be getting a text from me tonight princess!”

Eli looked at the two girls in confusion before turning to Nozomi. “What was that?”

Nozomi laughed. “That’s just how Nicocchi makes friends. She’s like a bully with a crush.”

“This is the happiest I’ve ever seen Maki.” Eli chuckled and reluctantly detached her hand from Nozomi’s. “I’ll text you later?”

Nozomi nodded and Eli leaned to quickly kiss Nozomi on the cheek.

 

“WOAH BUDDY SLOW DOWN!”

“I HOPE YOU’RE WEARNG PROTECTION!”

 

They turned to see Rin and Honoka yelling and whistling at them. Nozomi waved and winked at them while Eli blushed and practically ran to the door with only a mumbled goodbye.

Nico grinned at her with a thumbs up. “Smooth moves.”

Nozomi rolled her eyes and passed by the smaller girl with a pat on her head.

“Hey! What did I say about treating me like a little kid?!”

Chapter Text

“So have you guys banged yet?”

Nozomi coughed violently in surprise, smoke escaping her lips. She passed the joint to Nico while glaring at her. 

Nico laughed. “I’ll take that as a yes.” She took a hit of joint and leaned back into the couch.

“I don’t know if you’re actually expecting a real answer.”

Nico pouted. “But I’m your best friend Boob Monster. No one wants you to get laid more than I do.”

Nozomi chuckled around the joint. “You got me high just so you could interrogate me.”

“How dare you?” Nico let out a dramatic fake gasp. “I only have your best interests at heart.”

Nozomi shrugged, “You know, it’s not like I don’t want to. Because I definitely do. We’ve been dating for three months already.”

“That’s basically an eternity.”

“Not that you would know a lot about dating.”

Nico reached over to Nozomi and lightly slapped her face. “You’re fuckin’ rude when you’re baked.”

Nozomi patted Nico’s face in return. “And you’re always rude.”

The smaller girl couldn’t be bothered to move back to where she was sitting and just laid herself over Nozomi. The smoke that surrounded them was dissipating slowly.

“Wanna watch a movie?” Nico sat up and walked over to their collection without waiting for an answer. She spent a long time reading out different movie names slowly, not that Nozomi seemed to be listening.

“Dude I found the perfect movie!”

“We’re watching a movie?”

“Fuck yeah man, we’re watching Blades of Glory.” She wiggled her eyebrows. “Not only is it a cine-, umm, a cinematic masterpiece, it should also remind you of your blondie.”

Nozomi sat up with a yawn. “Why are you so obsessed with Will Ferrell?”

“Why aren’t you? The man’s a genius.”

“I’m too messed up to argue with you.”

Nico sat on the floor with her back against Nozomi’s legs. She looked up at Nozomi, “I forgot what I was going to say. But I want you to know that I had a really witty response ready.”

Nozomi laughed. “Of course you did.”

“You know, I think Will Ferrell is the only man I’ll ever love.”


 

Honoka scowled. “It’s Rin’s turn to take out the trash!”

Nico laughed at the orange haired girl. “Honoka, I admire your laziness, but Rin’s arm is still broken.”

Over Nico’s shoulder Rin waved her cast and blew a kiss at Honoka. Honoka stuck out her tongue in response.

“Actually, it was your fault that she broke her arm so it’s only fitting that you get her chores.”

“It was your fault too.” Honoka mumbled. “Whose idea was it to put Rin in a trash can?”

Nozomi laughed from where she was sitting on the floor, working on one of the wall murals. “She got you there Nicocchi.”

Nico threw a glare at the girl. “Okay so it might’ve been my idea, but I’m still in charge. So go take out the trash.”

Honoka huffed but stood up and walked over to the trash. She took three bags and stared at the fourth one with a determined look.

“Hey loser! Don’t even think about it! You’re going to drop it all.”

Honoka turned to look at Nico and with a defiant look, picked up the fourth bag. She grunted under the weight and stumbled to the back doors. She threw them all over to the dumpster and sighed in relief as the heavy bags left her arms.

She turned to enter the building again but when she pulled the door the door was locked.

“Are you serious?!” She whined. She banged on the door but all that came was faint laughter through the doors. “You guys are the worst!” Now she had to walk all the way around the building.

Once she made it to the front, she saw what seemed to be walking cloth.

“Excuse me? Is someone there?”

Okay, so the cloth was taking to her now.

“Yes?” She answered hesitantly.

“Could you help me with this? It’s all really heavy.”

Glad that it wasn’t sentient cloth, Honoka rushed forward to take the cloth from the struggling person. And wow this person was very pretty without cloth covering her face.

The grey haired girl smiled at Honoka, cheeks red with exertion. “Thank you so much! Would you mind helping me bring it into this building? I’m Kotori by the way!”

Honoka couldn’t help but smile back at the happy girl. “Yeah sure! I’m Honoka. The Ice Rink?”

Kotori nodded and led the way. “Yep, I work here. Well, mostly. I design outfits for figure skaters.” She opened the door for Honoka and the orange haired girl shuddered at the cold of the building.

“Wow! That’s really cool.”

“Thank you so much, I’ll get someone to get that off your hands! Stay right here.”

Honoka nodded and looked around. The place looked so nice and brand new, it was a shame that she couldn’t really ice skate.

“Hey you’re Honoka right?”

Honoka turned around and smiled at the other girl. “Woah nice, it’s Nozomi-senpai’s girlfriend.”

Eli blushed. “You can just call me Eli. What are you doing here?”

“I’m helping out Kotori. She was trying to carry all of this herself.”

Eli shook her head in fond exasperation. “Sounds like her. Want me to help?”

Honoka shrugged, “I’m okay I’ll just wait for her.”

“Eli-chan, you met Honoka-chan!” Kotori came through the door with a shorter girl with glasses. She turned to her. “Hanayo-chan, this is Honoka-chan. She’s the best!” Kotori winked at Honoka which caused the orange haired girl to blush.

Hanayo greeted her quietly and took the cloth from her arms.

“I know her through Nozomi. Honoka works next door.” Eli said.

Kotori beamed at Honoka. “That’s so cool! You should give me a tour one of these days!”

Honoka nodded eagerly. “I’d love to Kotori-chan. I should get back though. It was nice meeting you guys!” She waved goodbye and left.

 

When she got back Rin met her at the door.

“Where have you been?! Nico-senpai got another idea.” Rin only looked slightly scared. “Nozomi-senpai is helping her this time, so it can't be that bad.”

“Yo Honk get over here! Do you still have your old PlayStation?” Nico was drawing something frantically on a piece of paper. Nozomi was over her shoulder mumbling and shaking her head.

Honoka and Rin shared a look of fear and cautiously made their way to the other two.

Chapter Text

“Are you sure that she’s asleep?” Eli kissed Nozomi’s temple as she leaned against the door frame.

Nozomi giggled into Eli’s shoulder as she dug into her bag, looking for the keys to the door. “It’s two in the morning and she has to go to work at seven. So yeah, probably.”

She finally found the key to the door and opened it, dragging Eli inside with her. Eli went to kiss her but jumped away once she saw a figure in the corner of her eye.

“Nico! You’re awake!”

The smaller girl was in front of the television with blankets covering her entire body. She was completely focused on the television and didn’t turn to answer them.

Nozomi scowled at her. “Nico-chan are you seriously still playing that game? You’ve been playing since we left.”

Nico grunted. “Listen, I can’t pause since it’s an online game, but if I could I’d probably defend myself.”

 They watched as her character got killed on the screen. She quickly glanced at Nozomi and Eli and glared. “This is your fault.” The complete and utter contempt in her voice almost made Nozomi smile.

“You have to wake up early so don’t stay up too late.”

“Maybe I should say the same thing to you two.” Nico snorted. “It would be really cool if you guys didn’t bang while I’m in the house, but I guess if you have to then keep it down. I haven’t lost a game in three hours and if I do now then I’ll probably burn down the apartment.”

If Eli wasn’t falling asleep on Nozomi’s shoulder, she probably would have blushed at the comment.

Fuck fuck fuck! When will these idiots learn to stay on the objective?!”

Nozomi ignored Nico’s cries of frustration and led Eli to her bedroom. She threw an old t-shirt at the blonde’s face. “Here put this on.”

Eli groaned and sloppily changed into the new shirt. She crawled in the bed and got under the covers. “Hurry up, m’tired.”

Nozomi smiled fondly at the other girl. “You didn’t take off your contacts Elicchi.”

“One night won’t kill me.” Eli grumbled.

Nozomi went to the bathroom and got Eli’s contact case. “Heard you can go permanently blind if you sleep with them.” She gave them to Eli and the other girl begrudgingly took off her contacts.

“Can we sleep now?”

Nozomi got on the bed and Eli immediately hugged her close. Nozomi smiled into Eli’s chest and wrapped her arm around her waist.

“WOW! Nice going DICKHEAD! I can’t believe that out of seven million players in the world I got stuck with you on my team! Getting MUGGED would be a better experience than playing with you!”

Nozomi hugged Eli tighter. “I have never been happier.”


“So like, I mean, how did this even happen?” Nico asked, genuinely confused.

Rin shrugged. “How does anything happen?”

Honoka laughed as she rummaged around a box of garbage that Nico had been too lazy to throw out. “I found a broken ruler! Would that work?”

Rin looked at her cast pensively and nodded slowly. “It might.”

Honoka gently put the ruler under her cast and jiggled it. “Did you feel anything come loose?”

Rin shook her head. “Let me try!”

“So let me get this straight. Your arm got itchy in the cast, so you decided to scratch it with a pen.”

Rin nodded distractedly.

“And then it got lost in the cast, so you decided to use another pen to get the original pen out and it got lost too.”

Rin nodded again.

“So you tried this with a screwdriver instead and the same thing happened?”

Honoka’s eye widened and she started rapidly mumbling. “Oh no!”

“What happened?”

She looked at Nico sheepishly. “The ruler just got stuck.”

Nico put her head in her hands and took a few deep breaths. “I don’t know what I did in a past life to deserve you two, but I definitely regret it.”

The two younger girls ignored Nico’s comments and started searching for other long objects around the office.

“Hey losers, I’m going to go fetch Nozomi from next door. Try not to break any other limbs. I’m pretty sure that we’re not insured for another work place injury.”  

“What about this letter opener?” Honoka asked.

They probably didn’t even hear her. Nico shook her head as she walked away from them.

When she got to the ice rink she shivered from the immediate cold air. “Fuck it’s freezing. Hey Boobs let’s go it’s fucking cold in here!” She called out since there didn’t seem to be anyone by the register.

There wasn’t an answer and she rolled her eyes internally. Nozomi and Eli were probably making out in the back room.

“What are you screaming about this time?”

Nico jumped and turned around to see Maki scowling at her.

“When did you get here? You almost gave me a heart attack!”

Maki smirked. “It’s not my fault you didn’t notice that I was behind you.”

Nico glared at the taller girl and crossed her arms. “Whatever asshole. Have you seen your boss and her other half? Or have you been too busy being creepy and sneaking up on people?”

“They went to go get some lunch. They should be back soon though, Eli’s break is almost done.”

Nico groaned. “I guess I’ll wait for Nozomi here. Not that I want to be with you for too long.”

Maki’s face turned slightly red. “Trust me, I don’t want you to be here!”

Nico gave her a dubious look and walked into the office to sit down. Maki stalked behind her and sat at the desk.

“Why is it so cold in here geez?”

Maki looked pained, “Nico it’s an ice rink. Ice is usually cold?”

Nico rolled her eyes and didn’t answer. She rubbed her arms to try and warm herself up when she got hit in the face with Maki’s cardigan

“What the hell was that you jerk?!”

Maki faced away from her with a blush. “It’s so you can shut up about being cold you little runt. Take it.”

Nico grumbled as she put on the pink cardigan and tried to ignore the nice scent of Maki’s perfume that came from it. “Whatever, thanks I guess.”

“You’re welcome.”

“So is this cardigan worth more than my college tuition?”

 “Why do you ruin everything?” Maki scowled at her. “You went to college?”

“Nah, I hated school. I knew what I wanted to do as soon as I started skating. Nozomi did for a bit though. How’s med school going for you Princess?”

Maki had a sour look on her face. “Don’t call me that. It’s okay, just not what I thought it would be.”

“What? Don’t like it?”

“It’s not exactly terrible. But it’s what papa wants me to do so, there’s nothing I can do about that.” Maki shrugged.

“Dude!”

“What?”

“That’s so fucked up!” Nico shook her head in exasperation. “It’s your life. Your father shouldn’t tell you how to live it.”

Maki looked confused. “Why are you so angry about this? Who cares?”

“I do! You should too. Look, life’s too short for you to spend all of it doing something you hate. Like, it’s okay to not know what you want to do with your life, but blindly following what your parents tell you to do isn’t going to make you happy.” Nico crossed her arms and made direct eye contact with Maki. “You should decide for yourself.”

Maki looked away and shrugged. “It’s not like there’s anything I can do about it Nico-chan. It isn’t that simple.”

“When will you guys finally stop fighting?” Eli was standing at the doorway, holding Nozomi’s hand and shaking her head like a disappointed parent.

Nico gave Maki a look that basically said the conversation definitely wasn’t over and then scowled at Eli. “We weren’t fighting. But a fight might actually happen if Boob Monster doesn’t pick up her shift so I can get lunch.”

Nozomi sat down next to Nico and kissed the top of her head. “Miss me already Nicocchi? We saw each other this morning!”

Nico feigned a disgusted look and pushed Nozomi away from her. “If I didn’t need help paying rent, I would have already kicked you out.”

“Nicocchi if you’re jealous of all of time I’ve been spending with Elicchi just say so!”

“Please stop I’m going to vomit.”

Maki looked on with amusement and stood up. “Well I’ll see you all later, I have to get to class.”

Nico narrowed her eyes at her. “I’ll text you later Princess.”

“Please don’t.” Maki rolled her eyes affectionately and left the room.

“Weird. What was going on there?” Eli asked once she heard Maki leave the building.

“What was weird blondie?”

Nozomi nodded in agreement. “It was really odd. What’s with the tension Nicocchi?”

Nico crossed her arms. “I have no idea what you two are talking about.” She stood up and pulled Nozomi with her. “Let’s go, you know we can’t leave the two idiots alone for too long.”

Nozomi raised her eyebrow at Eli and kissed her on the cheek as she passed by.

“Oh wait Nico!”

“What do you want now Goldilocks?”

Eli smirked. “I like your cardigan.” 


 

“Rin this isn’t working.” Honoka put her hand to her chin pensively.

Rin grunted in frustration. “My arm is practically healed, I should just cut the cast off.”

“Alright!”

“Alright what?”

“Let’s take off the cast.”

Rin stayed silent and took out her phone. After a minute her phone buzzed and she put her phone away. “Yeah so Kayo-chin told me that I can’t.”

“Damn. Well I guess we could look online.”

Rin nodded in agreement.

Honoka took out her phone and searched for anything that could possibly help.

“Someone here used a knife.”

“That is probably…really…bad.”

“True. Oh look, this person used a metal clothes hanger! They just hooked the stuff out.”

“Honoka-chan you’re a genius!”

Honoka smiled smugly and went to grab her penny board. “I’ll go get one from the apartment, I’ll be right back!”

She ran to the door and left the building. She put the board on the floor and put a foot on it when her phone buzzed from her back pocket.

CAT KID >:3 (12:10 PM): get snacks!!!! !!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!

Honoka softly kicked forward and started texting Rin back while the skateboard slowly inched forward.

“Hey!”

honk ( ノ・ д ・) (12:12 PM): will do !fjdskkkhlklllkjj

Honoka looked up, startled, at the screaming voice and in the process, lost balance and fell face first in the pavement.

“Oh my god!”

Honoka quickly sat up and blinked away the tears that came with the piercing pain in her nose. She looked up and saw a girl with very pretty long and blue hair looking down in horror.

“Hey! You saw me wipe out?”

The girl nodded hesitantly before crossing her arms. “I-I called out to you because you were texting while skating and that was really dangerous.”

Honoka smiled sheepishly and rubbed the back of her head. “Yeah that wasn’t really safe. Well at least I didn’t break anything.”

The girl glared at her. “Are you usually this dumb? You could have gotten seriously hurt!” Honoka couldn’t help but think that she looked pretty while she was worried.

“I only fell because you scared me.”

The girl turned red but offered her hand to help pull up Honoka from the floor. “Try to be more careful next time!”

Honoka nodded and watched as the girl walked into the ice rink. Wow. She took a second to compose herself and then looked around the floor for her phone. Once she found it she saw that Rin had sent her two messages.

CAT KID >:3 (12:13 PM): ????

CAT KID >:3 (12:14 PM): did u die ??!!!!??!?

honk ( ノ・ д ・) (12:18 PM): im alive but i saw a cute girl

CAT KID >:3 (12:20 PM): gay. don’t forget the snacks !!!!!

Chapter Text

“Yo come over to the skate park when you’re done with your shift tomorrow.”

Nico rolled her eyes when Maki didn’t answer for two minutes. She went over to the fridge and took out tomatoes for pasta sauce.

“Fine. Why am I going?”

She went over to the stove to check on the pasta’s progress. “Rin finally got her cast off. She had to keep it on for an extra three weeks because she fucked it up by sticking weird shit in it.” Nico chuckled fondly.  “We’re celebrating the fact that she can finally do her chores again.”

“What did she put in there to mess it up so badly?”

“Dude more like what didn’t she put in it.” Nico snorted.

She could practically hear Maki shaking her head. “You guys are really stupid.”

“Hey! I tried to stop them!”

“Yeah whatever, so I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Nico looked up as Nozomi walked into the kitchen and sat at the table. “Make sure to find a DD, we’re getting bevved up.” She winked at Nozomi and the other girl gave her a thumbs up.

“I didn’t understand any of that.”

“Geez you’re such an old lady! DD as in designated driver and bevs as in alcoholic drinks.” She enunciated everything slowly just to be an asshole.

There was a 100% chance that Maki rolled her eyes. “Goodbye small pest.” She hung up.

“Got a date for the party?”

Nico grimaced as she diced the tomatoes. “As if.”

“Aw Nicocchi, you have a crush!”

Nico pointed at her with the knife in her hand. “Keep this up and I won’t be cooking for you ever again.”

Nozomi put her hands up in a placating gesture. “I’ll support you through this Nicocchi. I’ll be your wingwoman!”

“Don’t need one.” Nico grunted.

“Sure you don’t. You can just charm her with your wonderful personality.”

“Even I’m not that delusional about myself.” Nico said with a snort.

 


 

“Hey don’t fuck up any of your limbs ever again.”

Rin laughed and mock saluted. “Roger that Nico-senpai!”

Nico patted Rin on the back and passed her a beer. “Technically you’re not old enough to have this, but who cares?”

The younger girl took the bottle and took two big gulps. Nico almost commented on how Rin was suspiciously good at drinking alcohol but decided to let it go.

“Yo Yazawa!”

Nico glanced away from Rin and turned to one of the regulars with an annoyed look. “What do you want?”

The guy ignored Nico’s tone and answered, “Some of the guys wanted you to show them a few of your signature moves.”

Nico practically preened at the opportunity to show off. “You assholes know that I’m trying to enjoy a party here.” She passed her beer bottle to Rin. “But I guess someone has to show you losers how to really skate.”

Nico went off to grab her board from the office and Rin just shrugged and took a sip from Nico’s bottle. She walked over to where Honoka was making wild gestures with an amused looking Hanayo.

“And he was just screaming at me while I was jumping over the fence. I didn’t know it was private property!”

Rin threw an arm around Hanayo’s shoulders and rubbed her cheek against her girlfriend’s. “Kayo-chin! Is Honoka-chan telling you about her elbow scar?”

Hanayo giggled softly with a blush and nodded. “That was too dangerous Honoka-chan!”

Honoka shrugged and stretched out her elbow more to let them get a better look at the brutal scar. “But it’s okay since it looks really cool!”

Rin nodded in agreement while Hanayo just cringed at how ridiculous the other two girls were.

“Hanayo-chan is everyone from the ice rink here already?” Honoka tried to ask as nonchalantly as possible.

“I think Eli is closing with Maki and Umi should be done picking up Kotori from the airport.”

“Oh why was Kotori at the airport?”

“Eli’s younger sister, Alisa, went away to a skating competition and Kotori usually goes with her.”

Rin smirked at Honoka. “Wow Honoka-chan you seem really interested in Kotori.”

Honoka blushed and stuck her tongue out at Rin.

Hanayo looked confused. “Are you interested in her Honoka-chan?”

The orange haired girl shrugged, playing it “cool”. “She just seems really nice.”

“She’s the nicest person! Her and Umi complement each other very well since Umi can kind of seem stand offish at first.”

Honoka pouted. “So they’re dating?”

Hanayo nodded and Rin patted her friend’s arm sympathetically.

Honoka slumped slightly against the wall that she was leaning on and scuffed her shoe against the floor. “I’m gonna go get a drink.” She grumbled and walked over to the cooler where Nozomi was getting a drink from.


 

“You look pretty down Honoka-chan.” Nozomi went into full “mom mode” once she saw Honoka’s downtrodden expression.

Honoka opened a beer and took a long drag. “I’m okay Nozomi-senpai.”

Nozomi frowned. “You can talk to me if you need someone to talk to Honoka.”

“Honoka-chan! Nozomi-chan!”

The two girls turned to see Kotori holding hands with the girl that Honoka had bumped into weeks before??

Honoka smiled weakly, still confused. “K-Kotori-chan!”

The girl narrowed her eyes at Honoka. “You’re that girl! The one who was texting while operating a vehicle!”

Kotori looked at Honoka disappointedly. “That’s dangerous Honoka-chan!”

“Do you mean my skateboard?” Honoka was just getting more and more confused. “That’s not a vehicle.”

“Yes! Do you use it for transportation?”

Honoka nodded.

“Then it’s a vehicle.” Umi looked slightly smug as she made her point.

Kotori sent Honoka a small apologetic smile. “Umi-chan don’t be too harsh on Honoka-chan!” She pouted up at her girlfriend, causing the other girl to blush.

Honoka couldn’t stop herself from thinking how cute both of them were. She turned to look at Nozomi but the older girl was already gone.

“Well, I hope you decided to be more responsible with your death trap on wheels.”

Kototri looked ready to reprimand Umi but Honoka interrupted with a laugh. “Why don’t I show both of you around? It’ll be fun!”

Umi seemed ready to refuse but Kotori already nodded furiously for both of them. She reached over and grabbed Honoka’s hand with her free one.

Honoka blushed furiously and wondered how she managed to get herself in such a mess.


 

Nico was sitting on the top of the vert ramp, taking a sip of her beer. Occasionally she’d yell out insults at some of the people that were trying to skate.

“Hey are you planning on sitting there all night?”

Nico looked down and saw Maki with her usual scowl, twirling a strand of her hair.

“I feel like we’re going to recreate the window scene from Romeo and Juliet.”

Maki scoffed. “Am I supposed to be Romeo in this situation?”

Nico rolled her eyes. “Of course, you’re the one on the ground and Juliet was up high on the balcony. Don’t they teach you anything in your classes?”

“Like if you know any more than I do! Who knows how many times you’ve fallen on that dumb head of yours!”

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name; Maki-chan is fucking LAME.” Nico dramatically posed while sneering down at Maki.

Maki stayed silent, partially annoyed but more than slightly impressed. She did a very bad job at hiding a smile.

Nico grabbed her board and skated down the ramp to where Maki was standing.

“Why are you so dramatic?” The red head seemed exasperated but the fondness was seeping through.

Nico winked at her and nudged her softly towards the cooler with the drinks. “Let’s go princess, you need to loosen up some more. You’re too Hamlet right now and I expect you to be on a Much Ado About Nothing level by the end of the night.”

“Wow, nice Shakespeare humor Nico-chan and you called me old yesterday. You should get some references from this century at least.”

The smaller girl glared at Maki who only smirked back.

“Whatever, let’s just get some drinks in us. Even though I’m pretty sure that you’re a lightweight.”

Maki rolled her eyes and followed Nico.

Chapter Text

“Hey Elicchi, Rin is putting on her roller skates again.”

Eli definitely didn’t regret dating Nozomi, there’s no way that she ever could. But there was also no way that she could have ever predicted that she would end up adopting all of her girlfriend’s friends.

Even Nico had jokingly taken to calling her “Dad.” When she had told the smaller girl to stop she had only smirked and said, “What? You don’t have a daddy kink blondie?” Nico was definitely lucky that Nozomi had been there to stop her from strangling her.

“I probably should have just offered to cover everyone’s UBER fees, right?” The blonde sighed.

Her girlfriend chuckled. “Being a parent is a full time job isn’t it?”

Eli groaned and pouted at Nozomi. “Is there any way that I could convince you to help me take care of everyone tonight?”

Nozomi smiled fondly at the blonde. “Elicchi, my love, the light of my life, there is no way in hell that I’m not going to get fucking smashed tonight. No one could pay me. Even you, with that beautiful face of yours, wouldn’t be able to possibly convince me to help take care of these messes tonight.”

Eli kind of felt like crying. “Slightly hurt, but I completely understand your decision.” She leaned her weight on Nozomi.

Nozomi patted her shoulder and kissed her cheek. “Glad that you understand babe. Now you should probably help out Rin before she breaks her arm again.”


 

Nico glared at Maki before slamming down another tequila shot. She felt like her insides were burning but she had to win, there was no way that she could possibly lose to Maki.

“Try catching up Princess! You’re starting to get slow, getting tired?” She grinned sloppily, triumphantly. She was going to definitely win this.

Maki cocked a frustratingly perfectly structured eyebrow at Nico. “Are you done being obnoxious, or should I leave?”

Nico scoffed. “Am I done breathing?”

Maki rolled her eyes and downed the shot without a hint of a flinch.

Nico grit her teeth. She wasn’t going to win this.

Maki seemed to easily read her internal struggle and either Nico was having a stroke or Maki winked at her before downing another shot just as effortlessly as the first.

 Yeah, there was no way that she could possibly win this.


 

“Rin, what did I tell you about the roller skates?”

Rin shrugged. “Full dis- um- wait, what’s that word?”

“Which word?”

“You know. It’s like a phrase, ‘full dis-something’.”

Eli sighed, her patience was honestly completely drained at this point. “I have no idea Rin. Listen, you can’t keep putting yourself in these kinds of dangerous situations. I don’t even know how Nico and Nozomi manage to keep such a health liability hired. Their insurance coverage must be absolutely insane.” Eli reached over and mussed Rin’s hair affectionately. “Like where did you even get those fireworks? Who sold those to—“

“Disclosure!”

“Disclosure?”

“Yep! Full disclosure, I probably did not pay attention to anything you might’ve said about my roller skates.”

“And would it also be safe to assume that you didn’t listen to anything I just said?”

Rin nodded with a large smile. “Good assumption.” She paused for a second. “Heh. ASS-umption.”

Eli nodded and stood up from where she was helping Rin take off her skates. “Alright, well I’m going to pass you to Hanayo before I end up convincing Nozomi to fire you.”

RIn leaned up and kissed Eli’s cheek sloppily. “I love you too Dad!” 


 

“Dude you’re totally evil.” Nico was leaning against a wall, probably because she couldn’t stand up properly by herself.

Nozomi laughed. “Why the accusations?”

Maki snorted into her cup. “Maybe it’s because Eli looks like she absolutely wants to die right now.”

Nozomi looked over to where Eli was leading a completely gone Rin to where Hanayo was definitely fifth wheeling between Honoka, Kotori, and Umi.  She made brief eye contact with her the blonde from across the room and only blew a kiss at the look of complete despair her girlfriend shot her. She turned to Nico and Maki and waved her hand dismissively.

“Don’t worry, she’s got it handled.”

Nico laughed into Maki’s shoulder, letting out a snort. “More like you’ve got her handled.”

Maki was drunk, even if she didn’t look like it, because she readily accepted Nico’s high five. “Didn’t know you were such a sadist Nozomi. Looks like we know who uses the whip in this relationship.”

Nico was probably going to die from lack of oxygen, it wasn’t often that Nozomi was the roast recipient, the smaller girl was basking in the rare moment.

“Alright guy, I’m still not drunk or high enough for this. I’ll make sure to come back when I’m at your level.”

Nico pouted. “Aw dude, I didn’t even get to the ‘mommy’ jokes yet!”

 Nozomi just waved at them and left.

Nico turned to the redhead. “Seriously though, Eli probably calls Nozomi “Mommy” in bed.”

Maki looked completely disgusted. “That’s pretty fucking gross. But really probable.”

Nico nodded with an equally disgusted look.

“It’s also kind of gross how sure you are about their sex life.”

“Well me and Nozomi are what I like to call ‘platonic soulmates’, no one knows her more than I do. Even tall, blonde, and muscular over there can’t beat me in Nozomi trivia.” She frowned. “Even though she’s like disgustingly obsessed with her.” She took a long sip of her beer. “Who knows, maybe if I leave one day she might be the new expert. Probably not though.”

Maki’s eyes narrowed. “Are you planning on leaving anytime soon Gremlin? That’s like the third time you mentioned leaving town tonight.”

Nico shrugged and looked down, suddenly very interested in her bottle’s label. “Nope. No way.”

“Holy shit, you’re the worst liar I’ve ever met.”

Nico shook her head, “Fuck you! No, I’m not! Have you ever seen Honoka lie? Now, that’s a real mess.”

Maki shoved Nico’s shoulder lightly. “Stop deflecting idiot. Are you planning on leaving?”

“Maybe. I was offered a position on some fancy team. Haven’t given them an answer though.”

“Have you told anyone about this? Nozomi?”

“I told you.” Nico mumbled.

“Wow, you’re really dumb. How long have you known about this?”

Nico glared at the redhead. “Shut up, you’re dumb! I’ve only known for like two months. They gave me till the season starts to choose.”

Maki shoved her shoulder a bit harder. “Stupid gremlin. You’ve known for two months and you didn’t tell anyone?!”

“Well obviously, I didn’t want to tell anyone because of stupid reactions like yours!” Nico huffed and looked away.

Maki scoffed. “This stupid reaction is only because it took you stupidly long to tell me. And we’ve only been friends for less than a year, imagine how Nozomi is going to take this.”

Nico didn’t answer and scuffed her shoes on the floor. After a minute, she finally looked up. “I don’t even know if I’m doing it. I haven’t decided yet.”

“Obviously, you’re going to do it.” Maki scoffed. “Don’t be dumb. You’ve been practicing so much more recently, obviously you’ve been prepping for this. Not to mention that it’s your lifelong dream.” She poked Nico’s forehead affectionately. “This is great for you, idiot. You just have to tell Nozomi.”

Nico nodded. “Yeah, I know.” She sighed. “How do I tell my best friend, the very same best friend who gave up everything to start a business with me, that I’m going to abandon her and everything we built together. When we decided to open this place, I told her that if we were going to be stuck in this shitty town forever, we might as well be stuck together.” Nico looked up at Maki with wide eyes. “Dude, the statement even rhymed, it might as well have been a blood oath.”

“Look, I’m not going to say that I know more about your relationship than you. But, wow you must be really dumb if you think that Nozomi’s going to hate you. You losers are each other’s number one fans. It’s actually kind of creepy and gross how close you are to each other. The only reason she might kick your ass is because you hesitated on this for so long.”

Nico nodded. “Yeah, you’re right. I’m such a jerk for doubting Nozomi. And a total dick for keeping you all in the dark.” She grinned at the taller girl. “Thanks Princess. You gave me the ass kicking I needed.”

Maki blushed and looked away, crossing her arms. “Yeah, whatever. It’s not surprising that you would need my help.”

“Hey, you’re pretty cute when you blush Maki-chan.” Nico teased with a grin.

“Wow, I completely regret this entire conversation.”

“Aw, you’re such a good friend Maki! You care about me. Admit it!”

Maki groaned. “Don’t you have anything better to do than harass me?”

“Actually you’re right. I should go talk to Nozomi!”

Maki grabbed on to the collar of Nico’s shirt before she could run off. “Wait you idiot. Do you really think that this is a conversation you should be having when you’re both drunk? Seems like a bad idea.”

“Oh yeah.” Nico rubbed the back of her neck sheepishly. “Forgot that I was still drunk. All of this serious talk kind of sobered me up. I’m pretty sure I still can’t walk though.”

Maki rolled her eyes with a smile. “Come on let’s get you drunk again.”


 

Eli’s night definitely got a lot easier when Hanayo started taking care of Rin. The two were off cuddling on some couch. It was weird that none of their coworkers, except Honoka, knew that the two had been dating. But it wasn’t necessarily surprising considering that they knew next to nothing about Rin or Hanayo’s past.

While Rin was being dealt with, Eli had to prepare herself to deal with the next scariest thing, her drunk girlfriend.

She sat down next to her on the couch, immediately putting her arm on her girlfriend’s shoulders. She looked down at the doodle that Nozomi was making on a napkin.

“Hello Elicchi, do you want me to draw you like one of my French girls?” Nozomi had an easy-going grin, obviously drunk.

 “Oh, so I’m the pretty and rich heiress in this situation?”

Nozomi draped herself over Eli in a loose hug. “Duh, you’re the prettiest and richest, well second richest, girl I know.”

“I can’t tell if you’re only with me for my good looks or my money.” Eli smiled wryly.

Nozomi snorted. “Obviously both.” She leaned in for a kiss but when she got close Eli leaned away. She pouted and whined. “Elicchi kiss me!”

The blonde crinkled her nose. “No way, you absolutely reek. I didn’t even notice that you went to go smoke.”

Nozomi shrugged unapologetically. “Nico and Maki were making fun of our sex life. I deserved to get a little crossfaded for dealing with that.”

“Now it makes sense. You usually only get this needy when you’re high.”

“I’d offer you some but you’re not allowed.” She winked teasingly. “But if we get everyone home now, we can get you some fun too.”

Eli shook her head, unable to stop the grin from forming on her face. “Nozomi, you are, the absolute worst influence.”

Nozomi peppered kisses on Eli’s face. “You love being corrupted Elicchi.”

Eli stood up and carried Nozomi, standing her on her feet. Nozomi exaggeratedly squeezed the blonde’s biceps while wiggling her eyebrows. Eli rolled her eyes and took her hand, leading her over to where Nico and Maki were standing.


 

“Gross, don’t come over here just to make out in front of us.” Nico threw them a disgusted look as they approached.

Nozomi leaned up and kissed Eli’s cheek sloppily, making the blonde flush and pull away gently. “Nozomi dear, not in front of the kids.” Eli winked at her and Nozomi probably fell in love again.

“Geez thanks dad.” Maki said sarcastically.

Eli grinned. “We’re leaving by the way. Kick everyone out.” She looked around at the stragglers. “Who are these people anyway?”

Nico shrugged. “I don’t even know half of these people.”

She walked over to the exit and spoke to a tall man that was standing next to the door. He nodded and gave her a fist bump. He cupped his hands over his mouth and started yelling. “Hey! Party’s over! Get out!”

People looked up at him and after a second immediately started heading towards the doors without any argument.

Nico stood up on her tip toes. “Take your garbage with you!” She walked back to the group with a grin. “Let’s go, I’m fucking hungry. We’re stopping by Taco Bell.”

“You’re always hungry Nico-chan.” Maki smiled affectionately, still clearly drunk.

“I’m a growing girl Maki!”

“So were you starved for the first half of your life? Your height makes sense now.”

Eli interrupted before the argument could continue. “Why don’t you two go wait by the car? We’ll get the others and lock up.”

Maki shrugged and started walking out with Nico yelling and following her.

The shorter girl turned around and glared at them. “Don’t take too long. You can make out or whatever at home.” She left stumbling after the redhead.

Luckily for them, Rin and Hanayo were already on their way out. Rin was sleeping and Hanayo was carrying her on her back. Nozomi waved at Hanayo and the girl waved back with a bright smile.

“She was carrying her with one arm Nozomi. How did she do that? How much does she lift?” Eli sounded completely confused.

“I learned to stop asking questions about those two. They’re just a mystery.” She patted Eli’s arm. “Don’t worry about it Elicchi. Let’s go get the other three.”

“Where are they by the way?”

“I thought they were on one of the couches, but they’re not there. Maybe they’re in the office.” She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.

Eli chuckled disbelievingly. “You don’t think…?”

“I hope so!” Nozomi looked positively giddy. “Don’t knock let’s see if we can catch them.”

“You sound too excited about this.”

Nozomi ignored her and slowly opened the office door as quietly as she could. “Aww, Elicchi you have to see this.” She whispered.

“Why are you whispering?” She lowered her voice to the same volume.

Nozomi opened the door completely. Honoka, Kotori, and Umi were sleeping on a couch. Honoka was flanked by the other two girls, they both were leaning their heads on her shoulders. Judging by Honoka’s and Kotori’s light snores, they were deeply asleep.

Nozomi took out her phone and started taking pictures.

“Nozomi!”

“Elicchi, this is too precious not to document!”

“They are, but we have to wake them up. The others are still waiting.” She reached over and gently shook Honoka’s shoulder.

Honoka woke up with a grumble and reached up immediately to wipe the spit from her chin. Once she realized the situation she was in, her eyes widened and she looked over to Nozomi and Eli in alarm.

Nozomi chuckled and winked at her. “Hey Casanova, we have to go. Wake them up and we’ll wait for you outside.” She grabbed onto Eli’s hand and lead her out of the office. 


 

“It’s fucking cold. How long are we going to wait here?” Nico stretched the sleeves of her cardigan to cover her hand better.

“Isn’t that my cardigan?” Maki squinted accusingly.

Nico scoffed and stammered slightly. “Don’t be dumb, of course it’s not yours.” She quickly turned to Eli, changing the subject. “Hey blondie, when are we leaving? I needed food in me like half an hour ago.”

“We’ve only been waiting for ten minutes Nico-chan.” Hanayo spoke up.

Nico glared at her. Anything that she was going to say was interrupted by Umi, Kotori, and Honoka coming out of the building with sheepish looks. Umi was determinedly not looking at anyone. Honoka looked slightly pale. While Kotori just looked content, smiling brightly.

“Finally, took you long enough!” Nico scoffed and got into the van. “I want that Cheesy Gordita Crunch, let’s go!”

No one said anything else and piled into the van.

Nozomi took her place in the passenger seat and took Eli’s hand.

Eli smiled at her and squeezed her hand. She turned around and looked seriously at everyone. “Put on your seatbelts.”

“Wow.”

“Sure DAD!”

“Nice one pops.”

“Hey dad, when am I getting my allowance?”

Eli rolled her eyes but she couldn’t hide her smile. Nozomi looked just as amused and intertwined their fingers.

 

 

Chapter Text

“Nico where did the dog come from?” Eli sounded kind of stressed.

Nico rolled on the floor next to the overexcited dog, it’s tail hitting her face rhythmically.

“She probably forgot to close the door last night and some stray walked in.”

Eli looked at Nozomi in horror. “Are you serious?”

Nozomi nodded seriously. “The same thing happened to me, that’s how she became my roommate.”
Nico kicked at Nozomi’s leg from where she was on the floor.

Nozomi sat down next to her friend and the dog climbed on her lap, licking her face.

“That’s probably really unsanitary Nozomi.”

“Yeah, the poor dog. He doesn't know where your face has been.” Nico smiled cheekily.

Nozomi ignored them and continued petting the dog. “So, what did you do this time Nico?”

Nico sat up and looked nervously at Nozomi. “What do you mean by that?”

Nozomi chuckled and turned to her girlfriend. “Nicocchi does this cute thing where she brings home animals when she’s done something wrong.”

“Why? Do you even like animals that much?”

“Nope, it’s just something she does. Last time she did that she brought home our pet hamster.”

“I bought two hamsters! Gerald and Harold. But then our pet parrot, Gustav, took Harold and ran away.” Nico mumbled.

“Yeah we don’t like talking about Harold.” Nozomi looked somber for a second. “Anyway, what did you do Nicocchi?”

Nico stood up and coughed loudly. “Aw jeez look at the time, I have to go check on the shop. Can’t let Rin get too comfortable or else she’ll eat all of the food in the staff lounge. And now Honoka is useless because she can’t stop sucking face, she wouldn’t notice if the entire building was burning down.”

“Nico, we both know that Umi is there with them right now. If anything, the park is probably functioning better than it does with us there. Wouldn’t it just be easier if you just told me the truth now instead of putting it off and making me angrier when you finally do decide to tell me?” Nozomi smirked at the fear on Nico’s face.

Eli took a slow sip of her tea, clearly uncomfortable with the situation.

The smaller girl sighed in defeat. “Alright, fine I’ll tell you. But you have to promise not to be mad.”

“I will promise absolutely nothing.”

“Okay, just don’t kick me out of the house. Last time you did that, I had to go sleep on Honoka and Rin’s couch, and it was fucking weird. Like there’s a chance I might be missing a kidney or something.”

“I’ll think about it.”

“Okay.” She took in a shaky breath. “Okay, so I got a job.”

Nozomi snorted. “Finally, you can start paying your half of the rent.”

Nico might have stomped her foot in frustration, maybe. “Stooop, you’re making this way harder than it has to be!”

Nozomi put her hands up acquiescingly.

“So, I got a job skating. With a pro group, A-RISE. They saw our vines and I guess they liked what they saw.”

Nozomi nodded silently, digesting what she had heard.

“They sent an agent to speak to me about it two months ago to try to convince me. I actually thought it was a joke at first. I wasn’t hiding it! Well, kind of, I just wanted some time to think about. They’re expecting an answer soon, since the season is starting up in a month. And, um, I’ve decided that I’m going to take it.“
She shot Nozomi a pleading look. “Nozomi, I don’t want this to seem like I’m abandoning you or our business. You and Muse are the loves of my life but I really want to go for this. I’m sorry for keeping this from you for so long.”

Eli shifted awkwardly in her seat and cleared her throat. Nozomi had yet to move or say anything, still deep in thought. “Well, congrats Nico. This is a great opportunity for you and I’m sure that you know that we’ll support you the whole way.”

Nico nodded in thanks, still staring at Nozomi.

Nozomi turned to her girlfriend and spoke softly. “Eli, would you please give me and Nico a second to speak alone.”

The blonde nodded, quickly picked up the still nameless dog and went to Nozomi’s room.

Nozomi waited for the sound of the door closing to speak.

“Nico, I always wanted you to feel like you could tell me anything. I know that your upbringing always made you feel like you had to bear everything by yourself. But you have your friends now, you have me. I’ll always back you up, no matter what. Opening Muse should have shown you that, I’ll always support your dreams.” She sighed. “I’m sorry if the amount of time I have been spending with Eli made you feel any different.”

Nico looked alarmed. “What? No! That’s not it at all! I’m not some clingy kid that you need to take care of Nozomi. I can handle my best friend spending less time with me. I didn’t tell you immediately because this was something I felt like I had to do myself.” Nico groaned in frustration. “Look, I love you but you’ve always been there to help me with literally every aspect of my life. And it’s not like I’m not grateful, because I really am. I just needed to make the decision myself.”

Nico went over to Nozomi and hugged her lightly. “I don’t want you to think this decision reflects our friendship. It really is just me trying to become more, I don’t know, I guess more independent?”

Nozomi nodded tears lightly streaming down her cheeks. “Alright, I’m sorry I feel like I’m making this about me. It really is great Nicocchi, there’s no one who could be prouder than I am right now. I just, honestly, I don’t know how I’m supposed to function without you?” She laughed slightly. “Jeez, I guess this really shows how fucking weirdly attached we are to each other.”

Nico laughed loudly through her tears. “God, we’re such fucking freaks! Look, as long as we’re still best friends I’m good. We’ll get through the rest of this shit together.”

“Of course we are! I really am happy for you Nicocchi.” She hugged Nico tightly. “Well, I guess we have to decide what we’re going to do next.”

Nico shrugged and put her head on Nozomi’s lap, laying her legs across the couch. “We can deal with that later. Right now, I just want to watch Ru Paul with you and your big tits.”

 

Eli threw the tennis ball against the wall and watched as the dog excitedly ran to get it. When he came back and gave her the slimy ball for her to repeat the action, she patted his head.

“It’s been almost two hours buddy, I wonder when they’re going to let us out of here.” She sighed and threw the ball again.