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File 132679962725.jpg - (386.08KB, 600x800, 6d4beda2040a303ae5ef016949b4ff9f.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] Roll with it and play it cool

You can feel the goosebumps rising on your arms as you do a double take. A part of you wishes that it's just your vision failing you, but nope. Your vision is as clear as ever. Aya prods you from behind, waiting with a confused expression. She questions you with her eyebrows, raised up high.

A deep breath calms you down. "Okay Aya, my parents are waiting at my door. Just ignore them and follow my lead."

"What does that mean?"

"Never mind. Just be quiet for a bit and follow me." Unloosening the top-most button of your shirt and popping up the collar, you slick back your hair as much as you can. You would usually never do this in front of your parents, but that's what you're hoping your parents think. One step. Then two. You walk up to your parents, not looking them in the eye and declare, "Excuse me, but I think you have the wrong apartment."

"But isn't this–" Your mom starts to say before you quickly walk past her, attempting to ignore her. The apartment keys jingle as you unlock the door and fling Aya inside as quick as possible. You're about to close the door when your dad says just one thing.

"Taro." He curtly announces with no emotion in his voice.

Instinctively, you turn around to look. But when you do, your father is staring at you so bluntly that it forces you to turn away. Damn it! You were caught by such a simple mistake!

Before you can stop them, they charge into your apartment without a single word. You are utterly helpless as they size the rooms up in a succinct look. Your father shakes his head in disgust, bringing his hand up to his forehead. "It's wrong." He says with his unwavering voice. He was always difficult to place, but you could best describe him as rigid and coarse. He never failed to show his disdain... no matter how little or great it was.

"What is wrong?" You hesitantly ask, dropping the pretense of being someone else. You smooth your collar down and button it back up. Your hair, too.

"Everything." He doesn't look even the slightest bit amused.

You try and make excuses, but all that comes out is sputtering and stuttering. Both your mother and father stare at you incessantly, not betraying a single emotion in their eyes. You just sigh and give up.

Your dad pans around the room, obviously noticing the pieces of burnt toast flung around everywhere. "When you waste food, it is a stain against our ancestors." He remarks sharply.

"You know, you should take better care of yourself, Taro." Your mother chides you, albeit with no softness in her voice.

"...If I knew you two were coming, I'd have cleaned up more. I just had a lot of busy days due to an unexpected work event." You tell them, exasperated. "Did you two just arrive here spontaneously?"

Your mother seems puzzled. "Honey, we said we'll be coming a month after when you got your lease on this apartment." Did they now? You don't exactly remember if they told you that or not. Your mother's eyes hover over to Aya. "And who is this young woman? Is she a geisha?" She puts extra emphasis on that nasty title.

"What's a geisha?" Aya innocently asks, unaware of the word's implications.

Your mother quickly ignores her, but balks at the sight of Aya's bag. "What's in there?" Before Aya could even attempt to say anything, your mom snatches it with a lightning quick grab. You start to wrack up a cold sweat, but at least Aya seems to be unfazed.

She opens it up, and underwear comes spilling out. You want to punch yourself at the bad luck you're having. Of course, it has to be the underwear that flows out of the bag and not the modest clothes.

"Taro." Your father speaks up. This time, his voice is ice cold. "We provided you an apartment to live in and a job reference..." He extends his arm out to the whole place, Aya included. "and this is how you repay us?"

"Inubashiriiiiii, what's a geisha?" She pouts slightly, tilting her head.

You turn for a second to address Aya, but your focus is redirected back at your parents, who is going around the rest of the apartment, probably looking for something else to pain you about. You can't help but sigh and shake your head. This is not what you had in plan for the day.

[ ] Damage control. They haven't hit the bedroom yet. Or the bathroom. Goodness knows what Aya's done in there. You're not even sure if she's aware what the toilet is. Or what if she doesn't and- Oh no. You need to get there first. Clean it up. With your bare hands if need be!

[ ] What else will they find that you can't hide? A bed slept in by two? Maybe another piece of Aya's underwear - Used and abandoned in some corner of your bedroom that you'd never have ever looked at to clean? You need to stop them from searching altogether.

[ ] Now listen here. You have a series of perfectly good reasons why Aya is now living temporarily in your one bedroom apartment with you, and well, they're going to have to live with it! Even if you can't. Also the toast was her fault. All her fault.
[ ] Now listen here. You have a series of perfectly good reasons why Aya is now living temporarily in your one bedroom apartment with you, and they're going to have to live with it! Even if you can't. Also the toast was her fault. All. Her. Fault.
-[x]The tooooooooooast!
[x] Now listen here. You have a series of perfectly good reasons why Aya is now living temporarily in your one bedroom apartment with you, and well, they're going to have to live with it! Even if you can't. Also the toast was her fault. All her fault.

Come on, Inubashiri! Get a grip on your life!
[x] Now listen here. You have a series of perfectly good reasons why Aya is now living temporarily in your one bedroom apartment with you, and well, they're going to have to live with it! Even if you can't. Also the toast was her fault. All her fault.
[x] Now listen here. You have a series of perfectly good reasons why Aya is now living temporarily in your one bedroom apartment with you, and well, they're going to have to live with it! Even if you can't. Also the toast was her fault. All her fault.
>"Never mind. Just be quiet for a bit and follow me." Unloosening the top-most button of your shirt and popping up the collar, you slick back your hair as much as you can. You would usually never do this in front of your parents, but that's what you're hoping your parents think. One step. Then two. You walk up to your parents, not looking them in the eye and declare, "Excuse me, but I think you have the wrong apartment."
Oh, come the fuck on. That...that's the dumbest thing. Why would anyone ever think that would work?
Also, god damn, Inubashiri's parents suck. Was that mentioned earlier in the story?

[x] Now listen here! You have a series of perfectly good reasons why Aya is now living temporarily in your one bedroom apartment with you, and well, they're going to have to live with it! Even if you can't.
-[x]Also the toast was her fault. Didn't know how a toaster worked. Yes, really.
[x] Now listen here! You have a series of perfectly good reasons why Aya is now living temporarily in your one bedroom apartment with you, and well, they're going to have to live with it! Even if you can't.
-[x]Also the toast was her fault. Didn't know how a toaster worked. Yes, really.
[x] Now listen here. You have a series of perfectly good reasons why Aya is now living temporarily in your one bedroom apartment with you, and well, they're going to have to live with it! Even if you can't. Also the toast was her fault. All her fault.

Stereotypical Jap parents it seems.
To be fair, if you find that there's a girl whom you don't recognize staying in your son's apartment, you'll freak out, too.
>if you find that there's a girl whom you don't recognize staying in your son's apartment, you'll freak out, too.

Like Hell I would

>Pulls son closer, "Hey son good job for possibly continuing the family bloodline! care to introduce her to your parents?"

[x] Now listen here! You have a series of perfectly good reasons why Aya is now living temporarily in your one bedroom apartment with you, and well, they're going to have to live with it! Even if you can't.
-[x]Also the toaster's a love hate relationship as it works when it wants to

Don't need to give them any more ammo than what is already there.
Well, my parents are quite conservative, so...
Are they seriously insulting Aya?
No, that won't do.

[X] Now listen here. You have a series of perfectly good reasons why Aya is now living temporarily in your one bedroom apartment with you, and well, they're going to have to live with it! Even if you can't. Also the toast was her fault. All her fault.
-[X] Only don't put too much emphasis on the toast thing, or Aya might get upset and not let you touch her wings again.
I never even considered that!

-[X] Only don't put too much emphasis on the toast thing, or Aya might get upset and not let you touch her wings again.
to >>39276
You can always count on me to keep Aya's soft wings firmly in mind, no matter what!
[x] But Aya is a tengu, not a geisha.
File 132777112492.jpg - (117.65KB, 520x520, fb709c13c4379cc2db9274a59a8e80be.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] Now listen here. You have a series of perfectly good reasons why Aya is now living temporarily in your one bedroom apartment with you, and well, they're going to have to live with it! Even if you can't. Also the toast was her fault. All her fault.

You feel as though your legs are about to give out on you, so you take a seat on the nearest chair in the room. A flurry of excuses and ways to get out of this flow through your mind, but you dismiss them all. That's not the correct approach to this situation. However, you honestly consider dashing out the door whenever your dad finds "incriminating evidence", but now's not the time to back off. You're going to give them a piece of your mind.

You turn to Aya. "Alright, I'm going to talk to them. Just be serious the whole time so I don't screw this up. I need as much support as I can get, and you'd be a help just by listening right next to me."

"Okay." She quickly agrees, with not even as much a second of contemplation.

"Good." A few strands of your hair start to split, so you brush it to the side and smooth out your shirt. Your parents seem like they're just finishing up ransacking your apartment, so you cross your arms and wait for them. When they come back, a variety of items that could compromise your integrity. Among the pile, you can distinguish a pair of panties, Aya's shirt presumably found on the balcony, and a plastic container vaguely resembling a bong. You refuse to let them overpower you, so you stand there with your arms crossed, looking your father directly in the eye.

"Hmph." A cold glint in his eye makes you reconsider confronting them. But you refuse to look away. You're not going to back off simply because your father is giving you a stern glare. "Well? How do you explain all of this?"

"First of all, that shirt over there," you point to Aya's shirt that apparently came back after flying away out of the balcony. "is most definitely hers." You glance over to Aya. "And it flew away after a draft came through the balcony because she was changing in the open, and is one hundred percent not my fault."

"And the bong?"

Ah, you haven't seen that in a while. "It's a boiling flask from when I attempted to take an introductory chemistry course in college. I never liked the class, and I simply forgot I had to return it back to the lab."

This time, your mother questions you. "Okay, so just who is this girl who is living with you?"

"She is Aya, my boss from the newspaper corporation." You answer wearily. "Due to various reasons, like not owning a house or money, she's stuck here with me until she finds a place to live.

There wasn't much left in the pile now, but there was the last questionable item. "Taro, the panties." Your dad says this more like a statement than a question.

"W-Well..." You were at a complete loss on what to say. You weren't sure how to explain it. The main problem was that you've never seen those panties before. "I t-think those are, uh..."

"Ah, those are mine!" Aya speaks up. "I accidentally misplaced them after I took my bath yesterday night."

You find nothing more to say, but you're secretly relieved that Aya saved you from a potentially embarassing moment. All you can do is stare directly at your father, unable to think of any more excuses for Aya. The world seems to quiet down, as a tense standstill occurs between you and your father.

But instead, your parents sigh in relief.

"...Huh?" You manage to blurt out in a stupefied tone.

Your father gives you a quick hug and pats you on the back. "Good job, son."

"From my first impression, I actually expected worse, but this is fine, I suppose. It could be much, much worse." Your mother remarks. "We're just glad that you've been taking care of yourself. Just try not to be so unkempt."

"Taro, we're going to be leaving soon, so your mother and I are going around the city until night. Dinner is a part of our plans, and you're going to come with us."

"I am?" You ask, surprised at the sudden turn of events.

"Yes you are. No 'if's or 'but's."

"Should I bring Aya along?"

"Yes, you should. She is a guest of your apartment, so it is only natural for her to tag along with us."

Well. Crap.

[ ] Your parents want you at dinner. It's gotta be somewhere fancy.

[ ] Going out with family, right? Not like you're looking to impress, just a nice family dinner. Nothing flashy, but respectable.

[ ] You can be self-sufficient! You can even cook! You just need to remember where you put half the dishes.
[x] Going out with family, right? Not like you're looking to impress, just a nice family dinner. Nothing flashy, but respectable.

[x] Going out with family, right? Not like you're looking to impress, just a nice family dinner. Nothing flashy, but respectable.

Well. Okay.
[x] Going out with family, right? Not like you're looking to impress, just a nice family dinner. Nothing flashy, but respectable.

>All you can do is stare directly at your father, unable to think of any more excuses for Aya.
>unable to think of any more excuses for Aya
I keep looking for these. Glad I wasn't disappointed.
[x] Going out with family, right? Not like you're looking to impress, just a nice family dinner. Nothing flashy, but respectable.
You know, personally, I wouldn't mind trying to impress Aya, at least a little, during the dinner with the parents.
I think that could be nice.

Aya would be impressed if we make her toast for dinner, no point in going out of our way to spend extra money.

[x] Going out with family, right? Not like you're looking to impress, just a nice family dinner. Nothing flashy, but respectable.
[x] Going out with family, right? Not like you're looking to impress, just a nice family dinner. Nothing flashy, but respectable.
File 132781476999.jpg - (333.15KB, 768x1024, 4fd65d7c3d463ee0bc27ebc72f95ff5b.jpg) [iqdb]

Oh dear! That one slipped past my editing, please disregard!
Wait, are you trying to tell us something? Are you out of ideas again?
Leave 'em in. It's amusing.
That picture is such an effective attention grabber.

[X] Going out with family, right? Not like you're looking to impress, just a nice family dinner. Nothing flashy, but respectable.
So are our parents taking us out or are they saying that we have to take them out?
File 132791751435.jpg - (151.68KB, 849x618, 4g2fc590.jpg) [iqdb]
Only when dealing with beautiful girls.
[x] Going out with family, right? Not like you're looking to impress, just a nice family dinner. Nothing flashy, but respectable.

The priority is getting the parents satisfied. Keep Aya "abreast" of your plans.
[x] Going out with family, right? Not like you're looking to impress, just a nice family dinner. Nothing flashy, but respectable.

Ah cool, they're not assholes, just overly worried parents afraid their only son left them to become a stoner or worse.
[x] Offer everybody a blunt.
File 132970155472.jpg - (294.50KB, 1000x1000, 1276653437369.jpg) [iqdb]
Well, pull it together. You shouldn't keep a beautiful girl waiting.
I noticed that the thread hasn't been answered/updated for a while, and being the gigantic faggot I am, I'll bump it.

But seriously, what's been going on?
File 133007542261.jpg - (125.91KB, 600x900, 6aa75efc74544e0b630bfdae91a37e75.jpg) [iqdb]
I'm getting my ass kicked by college and Moral is currently dealing with familial issues (I'll leave the details up to him). Regardless, he has received my outline and I hope we should be able to update soon!

File 133076427199.png - (17.40KB, 240x320, raetaya.png) [iqdb]
You ass. Do you have any idea how excited I was to click on /others/ and see those gorgeous legs sitting at the top of the page? You ass
Congradulations on your accomplishment! Your prize is ALL OF MY HATE!
oh it seems i was so enraged i couldn't spell correctly.
Who the hell keeps ninja-bumping those threads?
File 133181611952.jpg - (765.26KB, 1000x666, I wish I could eat right now.jpg) [iqdb]
So uh... heads up but my only experiences with restaurants are American and German. If someone here is "in the know" about Japan, and our writing is completely off, try not to be a dick about it, mmkay? You might make Aya sad, otherwise.
File 133181919698.jpg - (200.94KB, 1108x800, 39bb5d776440abcb5701c4e0feffa26d.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] Going out with family, right? Not like you're looking to impress, just a nice family dinner. Nothing flashy, but respectable.

"Alright." You nod. Having a family dinner, plus Aya, shouldn't be so bad. After all, it's imperative that your parents leave with a lasting impression about you. "Well, what restaurant are we dining in?"

"You choose, son." Your father determinedly answers. Looks like you have no choice but to pick where to eat. His quick answer just goes to show that he already had this in mind before he even got here.

"Well, I think we should go somewhere nice. Maybe we can go somewhere with a good atmosphere. Nothing too fancy, though. It's nice to have a casual talk in a respectable restaurant every so often."

"Then it's set." Your mother replies. "We'll be waiting outside, so please go get ready and tidy up."

After they close the door to the apartment, you make your way to the closet. Aya follows close by, watching you find a collared shirt dangling from one of the coat hangers inside your clothes closet. She smiles innocently, not at all bothered by seeing you change. You assume she has no idea what's happening. As you quickly button up your new shirt, you realize that she needs something to wear. You go back to the bag, minus the underwear, and quickly look for some decent clothes.

"What are you doing, Inubashiri?" She seems confused, quizzically looking at you rummage through the bag.

"Go and get dressed quickly, Aya. We're going to dinner." You curtly say as you hand her a white camisole and a long black skirt. You don’t quite remember when those got in there, but they might from your earlier clothes shipping trip. You certainly did not pick those out, though.

Pushing her into the bathroom and closing the door, you wait a moment for her to change and then tentatively enter to talk to her about the dinner on the other side. "Okay, so I want you to be serious for once. We have to be presentable, and at least act dignified. During the dinner, keep your voice down and be calm." You stop talking as the door opens in front of you, Aya looking different from her usual work attire. The dark skirt matches well with her white camisole.

"How is it?" She asks hesitantly. "I have never worn anything like this before."

"It's great." You assure her Guiding her out the door, you wait for the elevator to come to your floor. It seems like your parents are on the first floor already. "Moving on, the very basics of cutlery is the spoon."

"I know how to use a spoon." She quips. "I'm not dumb, you know. We tengu know how to use tableware."

"Right, sorry. That was really rude of me." You remind yourself that although she's a bit weird, Aya is still a girl. Your mind wanders to her wings, but you dismiss those thoughts quickly. "All right then. Are you ready?"

"Somewhat." She smoothes out the hem of her skirt. You nod to her, as the elevator doors slide open. Aya casually walks to the side with the buttons and presses the one that goes down to the first floor. It seems like she's used to being in an elevator now. Good for her.

Your parents are waiting for you in their medium-sized car. Its paint was a subdued silver, faded from extended use. You open the door to the backseat, allowing Aya to go in first. You motion for her to get inside. As she takes a seat, you close the door and move to the other side of the car. Aya looks worried, fidgeting around in the car. She makes no rude comments or complaints, only pleading to you with her eyes. The car starts up, making a small roar. Aya shoots you a quick glance of confusion, but contains herself.

"I doubt you've been in a car, huh?" You ask her quietly. Your parents are immersed in their own conversation, talking about the restaurant down at the plaza you had instructed them to go to. A normal set of parents might insist on you driving, but these two independents prefer to do so themselves.

"No." She shakes her head. "This is the first time I've been in something like this."

"Okay. First, you should put on your seatbelt." You say, noticing she hasn’t put hers on yet. You point to yours, already strapped on. "You just get the buckle and fasten it by putting it into the slot. It's like a key."

"Why do we need to do that?" She asks skeptically. However, she does what you ask and fiddles with the seatbelt. She doesn't seem to know how to click it into place, so you help her out by putting the buckle into its designated place. "It's constricting." she mutters.

"Don't worry, you won't wear it for that much longer anyway."

"I don't get it. What's the whole point of wearing these uncomfortable things anyway?" She tugs at the sash of the seatbelt. She makes a face so pitiful that you want to both laugh and pat her head.

"The whole purpose is so that we don’t fly out the windows if the car gets into a crash. It also prevents us from smacking our face into the interior of the car." You explain.

"...I don't get it." She repeats.

The car slows to a halt. " It doesn't matter now. We're here."" You feel silly, having to detail what a safety belt is for. With a quick click, your seatbelt unwinds back to its original position. You are about to close the door when Aya calls out to you.

"Inubashiri, help!" She sounds desperate, pleading to you with her voice.

"What is it?"

"I can't get out of this!" Aya is stuck, unable to get the seatbelt off of her. She squirms around, failing to wriggle out of the sash. Quickly reaching over, you click the button to get the seatbelt to release her from its grasp.

"...Thanks." She mumbles, obviously flustered from wrestling with the safety.

"No problem." You offer her a hand to get out of the car. Aya takes it, eager to get out of the car. The restaurant seems somewhat homely with a bustling atmosphere. Idle chatter comes from those who are waiting to be seated. Although it doesn't seem that packed, there are a number of people who haven't been called yet. It doesn't take long, however, and a waitress offers your party a booth. Your parents usher you and Aya quickly over.

The menus are already on the table, so you look through some of the items. You skim through a good portion of it. "Hm, I think I'll be getting tempura and soba. The picture certainly makes it look good."

"As for me, I think I will get the shark fin soup." Your father declares. You're taken aback by the fact the restaurant even offers such a course.

"Oh, I think I will too. People have said that the texture makes it delicious."

"But isn't that a little..." You trail off.

"A little what?"

"Never mind." You dismiss the subject. Your parents have their ways, and trying to stop them is like jumping in front of a train.

Aya discreetly nudges you. She quietly asks you, "What's this?" She points to the first item on the list.

You're thankful that she actually asked you, instead of ordering some weird dish by herself. "That's yakisoba. They're basically fried noodles with different kinds of meat and vegetables." you answer to her. She thanks you, and returns to looking at her menu.

Reluctantly, she leans back over and points to the next item on the list. "...What's this?" Shaking your head, you bring the menu over to the middle of your side of the table and list out all the various dishes and what they entitle. Your parents shoot you amused glances every now and then, but you do your best to ignore them for now.

"And what are these?" Aya asks. Her enthusiasm is unmatched by anybody you know.

"...Fish sticks." you reply dryly.

"Sounds good. I'll have them!" She closes the menu and clasps it in her hands. Aya is finally done going through the whole menu, so you breathe a sigh of relief.

"Are you two ready?" Your mother inquires.

"Yes, we're done. I'll go call the waiter." Waiting until a nearby waitress passes by, you motion to her to take your orders. "Excuse me, but we're ready to order."

"Okay, sir. What will it be?" The waiter twirls her pencil and notepad restlessly.

"We'll have two orders of...shark fin soup." You can't help but frown at the thought. "Also, we would like to order the tempura and soba combo and fish sticks."

"Will that be all, sir?" The woman hastily scribbles down your orders.

"Yes, that will be it, thank you." You nod to her. The waitress takes her leave, quickly running off to another table.

"Taro." Your father unexpectedly starts the real dinner conversation with you. "How have you been doing since you left home?"

"Well, I was looking out for job opportunities before I got into the job I have right now. It's been a bit tough living on my own, but I think I've gotten used to it. Or at least before I had to take care of Aya."

The last bit sounds absurd even to you. You reconsider seconds too late even saying it at all.

"Sorry." She smiles. You feel that she doesn’t really know how much trouble she causes you. That doesn’t make it any less irritating, though.

You sigh. "Anyway, I also familiarized myself with the local directions. I've had some free time during when I was unemployed, so I would usually go around."

"I see. What else did you do, son?" Your father looks unimpressed.

"Err..." You can't think of anything else you have done. "That's about it, really. I just took most of my time adjusting here." Your father stares at you disapprovingly.

Aya perks up. "Sorry, it's mostly my fault! I've been taking up most of Inubashiri's time."

"Oh?" He remarks coldly. "What activities took up your time, son?" Your father points this question to you.

"Nothing happened!" You feel that this kind of situation happens way too often when Aya is present.

"So you were being lazy."

"No! Okay, I admit that ever since Aya came, I had to clean up after two people including myself. But that's it. Nothing else. Aya is my boss, after all." Your father just dismissively nods.

"Sir, your orders are here." The waitress skillfully cuts off that line of conversation, as if on cue. You mentally thank the interruption before you embarrassed yourself anymore. He then distributes the plates accordingly, disappearing after the plates are correctly placed.

"And what of your finances?"

"I haven't spent a lot of it. Most of the initial sum is still there. I'm just waiting on my paycheck to pay for my bills, now that I have a job. I'd say it's in good condition."

"Ah, how's work, Taro?" Your mother intervenes.

"Overall, it was a good choice that I managed to get a job over at the newspaper corporation. Although, I've only been working for two days and we already have a day off."

"That's worrisome, Taro." Your mother creases her brow. "Are your doing that well? Or are you just slacking off?"

"Neither. It's because they're changing the newspaper altogether, so the staff has nothing else to do in the offices yet."

"Hmm, alright." Your father says, apparently satisfied after the bombardment of questions. "Shall we eat then?"



Generally, dinner goes well. Aya behaves exceptionally well, restrained and polite at all times. Your parents get a good impression, pleased with Aya. As you exit through the car door, your father calls out from the driver's seat. "You should write to us sometime, son."

"I'll call." You absentmindedly say, not paying sharp attention to what your father’s mannerisms.

"No, you’ll write. You need to keep up proper calligraphy."

"...Okay." When it comes to topics like writing to others, you find that the best option is to agree with your father. He rolls up the window, and leaves the parking lot. Your parents are finally away, and now it's just you and Aya. There's a strange silence while you and Aya go up the elevator. She is being oddly quiet, not saying a word. But as soon as you unlock the door, she dashes in and starts throwing off her top. She stretches to unwind, cursing lightly at the clothing.

"You owe me, Inubashiri! That was really uncomfortable and unnecessary. It was a really stupid exercise in unneeded politeness. I'm never doing anything like that again!"

"Alright, but can you change in the other room?" You request coolly. She decides to respond by throwing her skirt at your face. Using her skirt to obscure your vision, you wander to the bedroom without looking over at Aya. This time, she earned the right to complain, so you find some clothes for her and throw them into the living room. In about a few minutes' time, Aya comes into the room and plops down on the bed, reclining.

"Ah, that feels so much better!" She contently sighs.

You can’t help but be amused by her whimsicalness after tonight. You love your parents, but they can really stress you out sometimes. Right now, Aya’s attitude is just what you need. It’s quite endearing.

You take a seat next to her and unbutton the top of your shirt, loosening up. You look over at Aya and she seems to be in the same mindset, wearing the clothes you tossed out to her in the most comfortable, if not most dignified, fashion. You can’t help but smirk.

“Hey, hey, cut that out!” She says, poking you on the cheek from her laying position.

“Huh?” You ask, absentmindedly continuing your daydream.

“You’re way too happy!” She replies, prodding you again. You bat her hand and mischievously wipe the smirk off your face, simply hiding it behind your hand.

“What about?” You taunt back.

“The treatment you gave me!” She jousts, poking you in the ribs. “And treating me like a kid!” She continues, prodding you repeatedly.

You fall back, trying to deflect her shots as you barely contain your giggles.

“We Tengu know how to be polite! And nice! And kind! And just, and stuff! Anything else I forgot, too!”

“Aya, aya! Come on! Enough, all right!” You yelp, jumping off the bed and away from her vicious assault. The two of you started playing and didn’t even realize it. You guess the stress got to both of you. Not that there was anything wrong with this. It was even kind of fun, in a childish sort of way. Aya really did do well, though. Without even thinking, you find your hand on her shoulder from her sitting position that she used to try and chase you, unfruitfully, of course. You feel like you should say something, but can’t think of anything, so you just remove your hand after a moment.

You realize now that the dinner really took up more of your night than you thought it would, though. There’s not too much time left no matter what you decide to do, and Aya seems content to simply rest on your bed, flopping back to a laying position. You’ll have to shove her off eventually, of course, when you go to sleep, but that could be a while.

[ ] You do feel bad about taking today off, after all your parents said. Maybe you should prepare something to impress tomorrow morning.

[ ] A toast is in order! To friendship! To Aya! To… roommates? What the hell is she still doing here?!

[ ] Ah well, pack it in. Your parents have drained you of energy. Better fight for your corner while you still can.
[x] Ah well, pack it in. Your parents have drained you of energy. Better fight for your corner while you still can.

I have no regrets. Aya is the only path.
[X] Ah well, pack it in. Your parents have drained you of energy. Better fight for your corner while you still can.

Works for me~!
[x] Ah well, pack it in. Your parents have drained you of energy. Better fight for your corner while you still can.
Oh god yes, this was just what I needed!

[X] Ah well, pack it in. Your parents have drained you of energy. Better fight for your corner while you still can.

Maybe we can see about getting to touch those wings again, now that we're relaxing...?
[x] A toast is in order! To friendship! To Aya! To… roommates? What the hell is she still doing here?!

Fantasy's over; time for a reality check.
>"That's worrisome, Taro." Your mother creases her brow. "Are your doing that well? Or are you just slacking off?"
>Are your doing that well

[x] Ah well, pack it in. Your parents have drained you of energy. Better fight for your corner while you still can.
From /jp/:

>I can imagine Aya coming to your apartment and awkwardly offering to cook you dinner or something. So cute.

>>Ah...anonymous! Fancy meeting you here! At your own...I mean, uh...ayayaya...DINNER! Right! You've been so nice lately so...so I'm gonna cook you-FOR! I mean FOR! I mean...would you mind if...could I make some dinner for you?

So cute indeed. I think you know what to do.
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[x] Ah well, pack it in. Your parents have drained you of energy. Better fight for your corner while you still can.

You succumb to your weariness and nudge Aya. “I'm going to sleep, alright?” You ask her, waiting for her to move.

“Go ahead.” She replies, her voice muffled by the covers. She grabs the blanket and turns over, bringing it over her head. You deftly roll her out of the bed and take the bed for yourself. However, the covers ended up cocooning Aya and falling off too. Not accepting defeat, you recline on the cover-less mattress.

“Aya, can you get the lights?” You close your eyes as you say this. No response. She ignores you, not bothering to move an inch. Once you open your eyes, a blinding light forces you to squint. You let out a groan of annoyance, shielding your eyes with your arms. “Ayaaaaa, can you turn off the lights?” Still no response from her.

You sigh and get up, stepping over her to turn them off. You flick the switch downward, and immediately the lights go off. While the lights are off, you loosen your collar and unbutton your shirt. Careful not to trip over Aya, you make slow but deliberate movements back onto the bed. But a cruel realization hits you. It just isn't the full bed experience without covers. Something is lacking. So you lean your head over the side of the bed to ask Aya, “Mind giving back my covers?”

“Nope!” She refuses with smugness. You could imagine her grin in the dark. “But if you really want the covers, I'll trade them for your bed.”

“Hmmm.” You mull about this while on the mattress. On one hand, you get the covers. But on the other hand, you lose your mattress. Either way you get only half of what you really want. You want both the bed and covers. Also, by morning time, Aya will probably be on the bed, hogging both the covers and the space on the bed. You'll most likely end up sharing the bed anyway, so you offer her your terms. “Okay, then let's compromise and share the mattress and covers. You stay on your side of the bed, and I'll stay on mine. Is that fine?” Aya'll make trouble for you anyway, so at least this way you can contain the trouble she causes.

“Sure, that works for me!” Jumping on the bed, she throws the covers over both of you, letting it float down back on the mattress. Embracing your side of the covers, you get comfortable and adjust your position. You're weary, but it's hard for you to drift into sleep. Aya is strangely quiet the whole time. Sitting halfway up on the bed, you examine her. A light, rhythmic breathing comes from her. Despite her earlier energy, she is already dozing off casually. You blink slowly to adjust your eyes to the dark. Aya has a calm and blissful look, her lips curling into a tiny smile as she breathes peacefully.

You felt a bit weird for staring at Aya while she was sleeping, so you scoot back over to your side of the bed. Closing your eyes, you let the rhythm of her constant breathing pressing against your back lull you into sleep.


Soft hands grasp at your shoulders and shake you, rousing you from your well-deserved sleep. Opening only one eye, you notice Aya staring at you. The digital clock spells out “6:02 A.M.” in bold, red letters. “Whaddo you want?” You mumble out.

“Taro, I want some breakfast. Can you make me some?”

Fear creeps in your mind, jolting you awake. Visions of toast on fire haunt your imagination. “Did you try making some breakfast yourself? Is the apartment on fire!?” you frantically ask.

“I didn't!” She exclaims. “I woke you up so that I didn't have to try and make breakfast by myself.”

“Oh. Okay then.” You recover from the initial shock, relaxing your body more. You check the clock again. 6:04 A.M. Might as well get up now. As you rub your eyes, you notice that Aya has already managed to change her clothes. Huh.

…This morning is going entirely too well. Checking your refrigerator inventory, it seems that you are now out of orange juice. Damn it. You knew that lucky streak couldn't continue. Instead, you manage to dish out some eggs and toast.

“Hooray, breakfast!” Aya takes an excited bite out of her toast.

“But there's more.” You expertly slide an egg on top of the bread. “Enjoy.” She places it on her plate, pleased with the egg-on-toast.

As Aya takes her time eating, you quickly finish up so that you can get changed. Selecting a suitable collared shirt and pants, you smooth out the rough edges of your clothes. You walk back into the living room to see her fumbling with the sink. The water flows freely into the drain, while she is trying to figure out how to stop it. You swiftly push the faucet closed. No big deal.

“Let's get going, Aya.”

You say, eager to get her away from the appliances and on time for your responsibilities.


It takes little under an hour to get to the office. It took until seven o'clock to get prepared to leave, so you barely manage to make it before eight. The receptionist greets you as you walk in with Aya. You nod to her, sliding your card to open the elevator. Upon entering, you notice something strange inside. More specifically, a huge salt-water aquarium with fishes swimming inside. It takes up nearly the entire rear half of the elevator's interior. The receptionist coughs.

“It was our boss's spectacular idea. Just ignore it and go to your floor.” She shakes her head disapprovingly. You do your best to not pay attention to it and close the doors. Aya, however, watches the fish idly the whole time as the elevator goes up to the fifth floor. You think she mentions something about kappas. You try not to pay attention to her babbling. Once you enter the floor, Tadashi hands you a crisp newspaper. He motions for you to read it, and you do so. Aya looks over your shoulder while you do a quick scan over it.

“It's the example paper with your main article as the central bulletin. We don't have any more articles to add in, so all I did was format the paper to look neater.” The edges are lined up perfectly, as well as the article standing out without taking up too much space for the rest of the articles.

“Well done.” you comment, impressed by how neat he made it in such little time.

“I agree!” Aya adds in.

The elevator dings, with Manabu and Yoshio discussing various portable aquariums. Tadashi nods to you before returning to his cubicle. Looking over the example paper, your article is the only one that is actually printed and not just empty space. You were hoping for another field day anyway.

[ ] There's a new highway opening north of Kyoto today. The Mayor was scheduled to commemorate the opening, and she will probably give a speech. It would be good to cover it.

[ ] The newest Gundam came out last week, and is already hugely popular. The voice actors are supposed to be touring in Kyoto this week, and there's sure to be a specialist journalist section.

[ ] There's no real reason to head out, you can make an editorial piece right here. It'll take a bit of elbow grease, but you've been working towards proper journalism for a while now.
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[x] There's no real reason to head out, you can make an editorial piece right here. It'll take a bit of elbow grease, but you've been working towards proper journalism for a while now.

Editorial is the best way to turn into a gonzo.
[x] There's a new highway opening north of Kyoto today. The Mayor was scheduled to commemorate the opening, and she will probably give a speech. It would be good to cover it.

New highways are important events - everyone finally stops being pissed because of the lane reduction caused by construction.
[x] The newest Gundam came out last week, and is already hugely popular. The voice actors are supposed to be touring in Kyoto this week, and there's sure to be a specialist journalist section.

So it's 00?
[X] There's no real reason to head out, you can make an editorial piece right here. It'll take a bit of elbow grease, but you've been working towards proper journalism for a while now.

The others are just going to be covered by other sources as well.
[x] The newest Gundam came out last week, and is already hugely popular. The voice actors are supposed to be touring in Kyoto this week, and there's sure to be a specialist journalist section.

My love for mecha overrides all else.
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[x] There's a new highway opening north of Kyoto today. The Mayor was scheduled to commemorate the opening, and she will probably give a speech. It would be good to cover it.

I am a fucking journalist.
[x] The newest Gundam came out last week, and is already hugely popular. The voice actors are supposed to be touring in Kyoto this week, and there's sure to be a specialist journalist section.
Nooo. This must be avoided at all costs.
[x] The newest Gundam came out last week, and is already hugely popular. The voice actors are supposed to be touring in Kyoto this week, and there's sure to be a specialist journalist section.

I didn't think Gundam AGE was popular.
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That story was interesting.
Too bad the writefag suffered a fatal heart attack and died on us.
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Nononono, Moral's just been busy. They'll update soon.
Right? Right?
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You're lying! It's only been what, a month?
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Okay, I'm tired of waiting! Who am I supposed to kick in order to have my goddamn update?!
You're an idiot.
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You guys are too mean to each other.

Just going to put some happy Aya here to balance it all out.
Flattery won't keep me from bumping this thread and throwing a tantrum.
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My life’s been a bit different since these two showed up.

“Taro, Taro, more!”

Aya says, shoving her bowl in my face. What can I do? Sigh, smile, lop another bunch in, and make the third serving this morning. She’s way too demanding…


Momiji announces, snapping her chopsticks together and placing them in perfect order with her spotless bowl and folded hands. She, on the other hand…

“Eh, come on! I’d like some more after this!”

“Coming, Aya!”

It really is a hassle, but I don’t think I mind it that much. Life’s certainly been interesting since these two showed up! I wouldn’t call it bad!

Still, I have to make a fourth batch that morning. Aya gulfs down food like no tomorrow if I let her. Apparently she gets really tired from the flying, so I try not to chastise her about it, but it does make it really tiring to keep hitting the stores for groceries. They’ve started to think that I’m hiding a large animal with all the food I’ve been buying!

“C’mon Taro, don’t want to be late!”

“Coming, Aya!”

I scurry out of the bedroom, still buttoning my shirt as Momiji sorts the dishes. She has been really helpful around here, all she asked was to here. Since Aya was already here, well, I guess it didn’t take much deliberation. I stop right before we head out the door, looking back as Momiji hums, finishing up the dishes.

“Momiji, guard the apartment!”

“Sir, yes sir!”

She replies, automatically snapping off a salute. She blushes and goes back to the dishes. That’s one of the few commands I can still get her on!

I head out with Aya, starting the tedious ride to the agency. Aya doesn’t seem to mind anymore, having grown used to automobiles and land traffic a while ago. She’s just as relieved as me when we get there, tired from the long bus ride.

We both fire off a friendly greeting to the secretary, diverting to the stairs as she informs us the elevator has broken down again. I just try to ignore the crazy stunts the big Boss does nowadays, he pays well and is a nice guy, and I think that’s all that really matters. Besides, nobody’s been hurt! I mean, sure, I had to dodge that giant rock that one time, but in his defense, I did steal his sandwich and should’ve seen the pressure trigger.

As soon as we get off the stairs we’re greeted by our coworkers, no longer surprised that we’re coming in at the same time. Boy, that was an awkward conversation.


“Haha, looks who’s late!”


Those three never change. Before I can even sit down, an assignment in the form of a bundled paper is thrown over to my desk. I only get a second to grasp the first line before Aya’s dragging me away.

“Le’sgo, le’sgo!”

We’re back out just as quick, another friendly wave to the secretary. Aya quickly directs the two of us, setting the pace at a near jog till we reach the outskirts of the city. There, hundreds of balloons are already streaming into the air in celebration.

“Too bad we can’t afford a helicopter…”

I muse, imagining the scene from the air.

“We have something just as good!”

Aya deviously exclaims, snatching the camera from my neck. She gets a few steps and turns to stick out her tongue at me before starting to float into the air.

“Aya, come back! You’re a big flying object in a sky of balloons! You’ll get spotted!”

“I’m skinnier than you!”

She calls back. Which is true, although I try not to look.

“She has a nice figure.”


I reply, nodding. Wait, what?! I jump, surprised by the voice at my side. A bemused spectator stands there, camera in hand.

“Is she supposed to be flyin’?”

I regain my senses as quick as possible, cupping my hands around my mouth.

“Aya, come back! You’ve been spotted!”

“Flying trapeze woman spotted at balloon festival?”

Big Boss muses, stamping a big approval message with his approval-stamp onto the next day’s draft. Then he stamps it a few more times, for good measure.

“I just don’t know how you two keep spotting her! Good work, anyway!”

“Yes sir…”

You mumble, quickly escaping with Aya in tow.

“Should we tell him?”

You ask Aya quietly as you slink down the stairs and away from big Boss.

“That balloon thing was boring anyway.”

That’s not exactly an answer to the question! Still, it seems you won’t get one out of her. You resign yourself to your fate, exchanging “good night” calls with your coworkers and a friendly nod to the secretary. A short trip back home seals work well into the forgotten part of your brain, and you relax, flexing your mind muscles as the elevator brings you back up to your apartment’s floor. Before you can even get your key out, you hear scampering on the other side.

“Taro’s back, Taro’s back!”

You can barely open the door before you’re swamped by Momiji, excited to see you back.

“Taro! Taro!”

You can’t help but smirk, halfheartedly trying to throw her off as she hugs you.

“And an Aya, too! We brought takeout.”

You say, holding up your bag.

She gets a glint in her eye, snatching the bag and setting it up on the table just perfectly into 3 equal places. Aya brushes past you, grabbing her portion and hustling past.

“I’m gonna watch the thing~!”

“Television, Aya! Television!”


She calls back, plonking down on the couch. Momiji looks annoyed, but then resets the table for two.

“Uh, actually I was going to…”

You start to say, putting your hand on your food and edging towards the couch. Momiji snatches hers, leaping over Aya’s head perfectly into the only remaining spot on the couch. She sticks her tongue out at you, the nerve!

“Well where am I supposed to sit?!”

You cry, dismayed at the lack of seating.

“I was going to let you sit with me…”

Momiji lashes back, coolly concentrating on the TV as Aya fiddles with the remote. You can only scratch the back of your head in confusion.

The incident is later resolved when the two slide apart as much as possible, allowing you a small area to sit between them. Still, they keep eyeing each other and pushing you back and forth in a contest for the most sitting space. It might have just been more comfortable to stand!

Still, you can’t begrudge them. Even as Aya nudges you ever closer to the edge of the bed, burying her face into your back. Or as Momiji slowly pulls the bed in through the living room, complete with the heels scraping against the wooden floor. Nor as she takes almost 20 minutes to align it perfectly with the door and the end of your bed before plopping onto it.

“Good night.”

You say aloud to the two.

“Good night~”

“G’night Taro!”

The replies come, finally allowing you to close your eyes for the night. You can think, think on back to when that idiot girl showed up at your new job with not a clue in the world.

Your life’s been a bit different since these two showed up.

So is this from the same alternate universe as the out-of-canon short with Aya and Momi and the accidentally-burning-the-apartment incident?
>All of the Inubashiri
Hell yes.
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Hello there! It's your friendly bump for updates! This time with less insults than usual.
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Don't do that.
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Is that story is dropped, say so.
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3:11 AM - mrl: i'll sleep now
3:11 AM - Scout1 (Treia): Okay
3:11 AM - mrl: post something in /others/
3:11 AM - Scout1 (Treia): Good night
3:11 AM - Scout1 (Treia): Nooo
3:11 AM - Scout1 (Treia): I don't wanna
3:11 AM - mrl: so we may or may not quell the anons
3:11 AM - mrl: ok
3:11 AM - Scout1 (Treia): I already wrote them a short!
3:12 AM - mrl: I mean
3:12 AM - mrl: an apology
3:12 AM - mrl: a demand
3:12 AM - Scout1 (Treia): never
3:12 AM - mrl: something
3:12 AM - mrl: declaration of war
3:12 AM - Scout1 (Treia): okay
3:12 AM - mrl: i'll try finish tomorrow


Attention, peons of /others/. We declare war upon your pathetic, little-voting existence. Prepare to be eradicated.
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[x] The newest Gundam came out last week, and is already hugely popular. The voice actors are supposed to be touring in Kyoto this week, and there's sure to be a specialist journalist section.

Tadashi leans over the cubicle with a slightly forced smile. “Oh, by the way, we need a new article. Today.”

“What.” A few seconds pass. Everything in a ten meter radius of your cubicle goes quiet. “You're joking, right? Plus, why is it me? How come I feel like the only member of this newspaper team?!”

“You produce results...I'm sorry, but we'll have to impose this on you.” Tadashi shakes his head and walks away. Well, crap. A large cluster of papers lay triumphantly on your desk, stacked on top of each other haphazardly. Pushing the majority away, you select a few topics that catch your eye. As you mechanically organize the papers into a pile of potential articles and scrap, Aya practically barges into the cubicle with a quick hello.

“Hi, Taro! What're you doing?” Aya peers over your shoulder, admiring the tower of paper. She glances back to you with a dazed smile. “Is this some sort of game?”

“No, these are potential articles that we can try and develop.” Taking the small arrangement of papers from the approved section, you wave them in front of Aya. “Personally, I think we could use either the news about the mayor opening up the Kyoto highway, or the release of the new Gunda–”

“That one.” Aya quickly snatches the file away. She flips through the pages, nodding thoughtfully to each picture, sentence, address. “It's this one.” Pointing to the picture of the Gundam in the file, she emphasizes the picture grandiosely.

“That's a good one, but we haven't looked through all of the good ones yet.”

She pulls at your arm. “Taro!” In her eyes are hope and fascination. “It has to be this one.”

You just shake your head, knowing you can't argue with her by now.

“Okay, fine. I'll get ready to lea–”

“I'm coming too!”


“I'm your boss~” She blissfully throws that out there. Aya is really hyped up for the gundum voice actor interviews for some reason. Maybe it's because she has never seen any mecha before.

“Why don't you do any other work, Aya?”

“A leader delegates!” She remarks sagely, all the while dragging you towards the elevator. “I read that somewhere!” For some reason, she felt the need to add that.

“You don't even do any wor–”

“Come on, Taro! You're too slow!” She manages to clear three cubicles in a few seconds, pulling you along the way.

“Maybe you're just too fast, Aya. We have to wait for the elevator anyway.” You press the button to go down. During the wait, Manabu approaches you. Huh. He has never really managed to engage in conversation first.

“Hey, I overheard you guys yelling something about Gundams about your next article. That's great! You already got your topic done. But but, eh, but..." He fidgets before picking his word back up "Do you guys know anything about conducting interviews, and more importantly, what to ask regarding the Gundam anime?”

“Nope!” Aya flatly affirms without a hint of hesitation. “But that's why I have Taro.”

“Hmmm, I see.” He pensively agrees. “I think you guys need an expert. Someone has to come up with the questions for the interview. And well, you know, I have dozens of gundam figures at home, so...”

“Alright, that sounds fine. I was thinking about consulting someone who actually knew something about it anyway. I don't really know too much about Gundam.”

“Taro!” Aya tugs on your shirt sleeve. “Taroo! Taro! The thing's open! TARO!” Suddenly, she pulls you inside the elevator.

“Aya, wait!” You struggle to free yourself from her grasp, but the elevator doors close. Without Manabu. You smack your forehead, exhaling from your nose out of annoyance. Whatever. Aya wants to get to work already, so you'll figure something out, somehow. The receptionist greets you as you leave the elevator doors.

“Always working! Keep it up!” You nod to her out of courtesy before leaving to the streets.

“Okay! Which way do we fly!”

You shake your head at Aya. “It's not even that far. Think of how much we would have to pay to arrive there. It'll be faster walking than going all the way to the airport.”


“Never mind. We're going to take the subway, okay?” You unfold the map in your pocket, and double check the address listed on the folder. It is surprisingly close to the usual stops you take when you go on the subway, so you pocket the map and close the folder. As you board the train, you notice that there aren't many people inside. Usually, it'd be packed to the point where you had zero elbow room. So you bring Aya over to one end of the train and relax. It should only take three short stops.

But after the first stop, a group of younger guys get onboard. Usually, you would pay them no attention, but they make eye contact with Aya. The second they spot her, they start murmuring to each other openly, glancing at the two of you. Aya, being clueless as always, waves at the group. The instant she does, the whole group gets out their cameras and starts taking photos. “Shameimaru! Shameimaru! Shameimaru!” they chant the whole time.

“Aya,” you whisper to her. “I think we should move to another train car.”


“...Those guys.” You discreetly motion to the guys on the other side of the train car.

“Oh. What's the problem again?”

“You know what, forget it.” Aya doesn't seem to understand what is happening, but she is obviously amused by the chanting group. They die down, but continue to chat animatedly. Occasionally, they glance over to Aya, but don't do anything more than that. Your boss is unfazed as always. As soon as they file through the exit, you allow yourself have a breath of relief. You were certain that an incident would occur. The doors swish open, a gust of fresh air breezing inside the train car. Aya rushes outside, passing you quickly with light footsteps. You would chase her, but your cellphone buzzes inside your pocket, prompting you to open it. A new text pops up on the screen, sent from a new number. It reads, “Here is the list of questions that you should ask. You should thank me later, jerk. - Manabu.”

1. [...]

Reading over the initial questions, they seem researched and well thought out. You'll need to really thank him for helping out, especially since you were whisked away by Aya before you could ask him to join, but you do wonder how the newspaper team got your cell number. As you turn to your left, a large crowd is amassed near the entrance to the convention floor. You could call them fans, but they are more akin to savages, clawing their way through the dysfunctional line. A separate line specifically for the presses provides a stark contrast to the “normal” line. It's going by pretty quickly, so you motion for Aya to follow you. As you fluidly slip past the thick crowd of fanatics, you manage to reach the pres line with only a few scratches. Your boss seems to be untouched, save for her ruffled hair. You're ready to go!

“Name?” A deep, gruffled voice utters. Blocked by what seems to be a huge hunk of muscle, you are only seconds away to entering the conference room.

Shoot. Did anybody even tell the conference staff that you were coming today? You'll have to cross your fingers. “Taro. Inubashiri Taro.”

“Hmm.” His huge hands flip through a somewhat tiny clipboard. “Sorry, pal. No can do.” He eyes Aya, squinting through his dark sunglasses. “And her?”

“Shameimaru!” Aya quips.

“Ah, you're in the top of the list! The two of you are free to enter.” He steps aside, forming a long shadow with his bulky figure. Great! It was handy bringing Aya over, though you still feel slightly ashamed leaving Manabu behind. A few assistants with headsets come rushing by, placing pins on several reporters. They spot Aya and you, rushing over quickly to place a badge on the side of your shirt. It reads your agency and name, which actually seems pretty awesome. They are pretty small, but otherwise presentable and legible.

From the corner of your vision, you see some reporters from legitimate press corporations, like Tokyo Daily. The reporters vibrantly chatter away until they are called, rushing through the only entrance to the press conference. They file in one by one, forming an immediate line. You and Aya are placed fifth and sixth in line, so there won't be much time to prep. You won't be able to double check everything Manabu sent you, but Aya will manage.

“Here.” You show her your phone, the screen showing the list of questions that he texted you. “Hold on to this, and read exactly these questions. I don't think we can afford winging this.”

“Don't worry, I'm an expert at this.” She flashes you a confident grin and pats you on the back. “This will be easy.” You would usually be worried about some sort of “incident” occuring, but this time Aya seems to be calm and focused on the job at hand. She feels reliable – or at least right now she does.

First in line. “We're up. Just remember to stick by the questions.”

“Gotcha, Taro!” Aya ushers you inside, where a spacious room holds many of the new Gundam cast. Most of them come off as bored, idly swiveling around in their chairs. However, a female voice actor with long, brown hair has a presence that shouts out “rising star”. Her slightly charismatic smile notifies everyone of her fame and stature. You keep a note of her, writing the girl off as influential.

“Questions!” The director of press yells through the loud chatter of newsreporters. “We will now be taking questions!”

Aya immediately jumps in before any of the other reporters could even start their sentence. You note that she's doing very well, never missing a beat on being the first to ask questions. Nobody else seems to be on her level. You must admit that Aya engages the question superbly, even if she has no idea what she is talking about. But as the conference is about to wrap up, you notice that Aya's questions have been devolving into weirder territory.

You quickly snatch away the cellphone. Skimming over the previous questions, you reach the last one – Aya's next question. It quickly degenerates into accusatory questions regarding promiscuous acts with the main male voice actor.

“So wha- Mmmf!?” You cover her mouth with your free hand. You stuff your phone back into your pants pocket and bow, prematurely ending the interviews. The voice actors seem confused, but the reporters look more at ease. They start opening a new discussion, so you take Aya and exit through the press room.

“What happened? Taro? Taroooo?” She insistently badgers you.

“Wait.” You finish scribbling the rest of your notes. Handing them to Aya, you ask, “Are these okay?”

She politefully waits, scanning over the notes that you took. After she makes sure that they are satisfactory, she moves in front of you. “So why did you stop me from asking that last question?”

“Well, you see...”

[ ] Tell her.
[ ] Nope!
[x] Tell her.
[X] Tell her.

Do your worst. You'll never take us alive!
[x] Tell her.

She needs to improve her reporting skills.
[x] Tell her.

Because being chewed on by your boss isn't fun.
And also because there are things you shouldn't ask.
[x] Tell her.

Ah, so Manabu's one of THOSE Aya fans. Hrmph, hrmph, hrmph.

Good to have you back. Sorry for bugging you so much.
Aya can chew on me all day.
A relationship needs to be built on a solid foundation of honesty.
Also getting to touch those wonderfully soft wings

So with that in mind!
[X] Tell her.
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Dunno what you were talking about. The randomers on the subway weren't anyone we know.
I think it was more in regards to the questions he made and the implication he likes Paparazzi whore Aya.
So has Moral just dropped off the face of the earth, or what?
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Moral reporting in. I have actually been working on a different project, but that's not really the issue. I had an ample amount of time to finish this. You see, this is what you call the "Collab Writing Syndrome" in which someone delays the updating process and forces the writer to remain stagnant.

Hint: I am the writer, and I didn't delay it.
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[x] Tell her.

You shake your head. “It wasn't really important, actually. It had nothing to do with the interview.” Moving to the side, you walk past Aya towards the subway entrances. She follows behind right after.

“If it wasn't really important, then why'd you get so worked up?” she asks intrusively, closing in on you. She places her hands on her hips, waiting expectantly for an answer.

“I wasn't worked up!” you fume at her, inadvertently raising your voice.

Aya suddenly droops, jutting out her lip. She sulks in silence for a bit. But not for long. “Oh, I see now. Taro doesn't like me. He doesn't trust me...”

“W-Wha? It's not that I don't trust you, but–”

“So you'll tell me!” She springs up with a twinkling light in her eyes, clutching onto the collar of your shirt. You shake her off like a fly. An incessant fly that doesn't want to stop talking.

“Nope. Absolutely not.” You weren't going to just blatantly tell her! “So you should just give up and focus on something else, please.” As you wait for the train, you see that the subway station is surprisingly vacant. The usual flood of people have already dispersed, leaving only a handful of men and women. As the train opens its doors, you find yourself with ample space, acquisitioning both Aya and yourself a seat.

“Hey.” Aya prods your side. You decide to ignore her completely, focusing on gray specks on the window. “Taro.” She taps on your shoulder. “Taro.” Aya monotonously calls your name out every few seconds without disturbing the other passengers, minus yourself. “Tarooooo.”

“WHAT!?” you nearly explode, barely managing to contain your voice. A few people turn to look at the commotion, but you don't really care. The eyebrow on your left eye twitches in annoyance.

“So what was it?” Aya questions in an almost saint-like innocence.

“Oh my god.” You bury your face in your hands to reconcile your pent-up anger. Throwing your hands up, you exclaim, “It was something so spectacularly inappropriate and lewd that it would make even service girls blush.”

Aya blankly stares, stunned from your quick outburst. Then, in a split-second moment of realization, she lights up. “Oh! Taro, you're shy about sex!”

“A-Aya! That's not what I meant! I'm just saying that it was improper to say in a professional setting!” You glance around the car nervously, now worried that somebody is taking an interest. Aya’s going to get you two noticed one day, and everybody will be talking about the reporters who talked about sex on a public subway, instead of the articles those reporters write!

“Oho~” she grins slyly.

“Let's just hurry up back to the agency...” It was going to be a painful train ride back.

It was pitiful. Throughout the whole ride back, you've been thinking about what Aya had said. The thought just makes your cheeks go red. No, no, no! You shouldn't get flustered over something trivial! The elevator moseys up the floors little by little, taking its sweet, precious time today. Aya bounces on the palms of her feet, whistling a noiseless tune. For once, you were somewhat envious of Aya's obliviousness to the world. Somewhat. The endless amount of trouble you receive from just by being in her presence reminds you constantly not to envy her too much.

The doors swish open to an unpleasant sight. Manabu is waiting at the door, hands in his pockets, just faintly staring at you and flashing you a smug, creepy smile. He's murmuring to himself, almost loud enough to overhead his “conversation.” It sounds like he says “success” under his breath, but you weren't sure what he succeeded in. You quickly decide to slink away from him, with Aya humming right next to you. Before you can turn to your office space, you are swung around in a complete circle.

“Hey, Inubashiri! Did you get the interview report?” Yoshio says eagerly.

“Uh, yeah I guess.” You respond in confusion to his abrupt conversation. “We had a few minor problems, but most of it is in good shape. I think I can do something great with my material.”

“Well that's great!” He claps his hands. “Superb! Because we need it in by tomorrow!”

Tomorrow!? Words form in your mouth, with paragraphs upon paragraphs of demanding explanations, but all you can manage to spit out is a graceful, elegant, “What.

“In fact, we kinda need it today! Haha!” He laughs with a stupid grin latched on to his face, like the issue isn't his problem. “Don't screw it up or we're all fired!”

“Isn't this a big deal then!? Shouldn't you care more?” Looking around the room, you still see Manabu muttering to himself. Yoshio pats you on the back before stepping into the elevator. “Good luck on that!”

Well, great. “At least Tadashi can help me, right?”

Immediately Tadashi brushes past you. In one swift motion he dusts off his shirt and puts on his overcoat, straightening out the creases. “Good luck, Taro.” He responds flatly. “We're depending on you.” He turns his back to you and steps in the elevator. You have never been more scared of hearing the elevator shut. It feels like you just swallowed a weight.

“Wait, no! Shouldn't this be important if we lose our jobs!?” you cry out to the closed doors. It's hopeless. Your dreams of making it out to the real world are shattered. It's all useless. The background noise of Manabu still muttering mischievously leaves you in despair.

“It's alright, Taro!” Aya slaps you on the back, knocking you out of your miserable trance. “We'll be fine!”

“Aya!” Finally, she's there for you when it counts!

“Well, you better get to it!” She gives you a cheerful, yet daunting, thumbs up.

“...Alright.” You cry a little on the inside, shaking your head. You throw your notes on the table, scattering the pages all over the place. “Why me?” You sob quietly.

The sun, in its radiance, sinks down onto horizon. Its outlines barely touches the surface of the landscape, resting peacefully on the faraway hills. Your fingers twitch in agony. With your very own hands you had edited, written, proofed, and cleaned up the entire article in its full page glory. Aya had provided your essential moral support. Sweat drips down from your hands like the final tears of a maiden. You weren't sure when Manabu left, but he eventually disappeared. He probably went home.

The sun glimmers its last ray of light on the city below your cubicle before blanketing the town in darkness. Despite your gnarled fingers, you manage to find the email address of one of the distribution managers and send him a very apologetic email about the massive load of work he must do in one day, even later than yourself. The printers are going to have a fantastic time...

Aya lazes around the top of the desk, kicking her legs idly while waiting for you. “I think today went well Taro!” she praises you.

Your body doesn't have enough energy to hold a conversation, so you politely gurgle a response

“I'm glad we agree!” Aya nods in vigor. “But it's getting late, shouldn't we go home?”

It's amazing how comfortable a hard, wooden desk can feel after a long day of work. You feel your face just sinking into the thick, flat surface of the table. But before you can continue your slumber, Aya hoists you up from behind.

“Bad Taro!” She scolds you lightly. “No sleeping on the desk chair in the office. That would be improper and bad for your posture!” Dragging you into a standing position, she pulls you by the hand forcefully. You zombie walk alongside her, too tired to make an effort to do anything. As the elevator doors open, you notice that someone's not with you. Oh...Aya's gone somewhere.

Aya notices the computer screen and wrinkles her nose. “Hmmm, that could be better.” She starts hammering away at the keyboard at blinding speeds. Or maybe it just seems fast because you were about to collapse on the elevator floor. Whatever. Aya rushes back to join you in the elevator and closes the doors. You want to ask what it's about, but whatever response you thought in your mind turns into a big sigh. Aya pulls you through the exit and through a couple of streets. Time vaguely passes, though your mind is too drowsy to recognize how much. You just know that at some point there is a very annoying, persistent voice.

“Taro.” Something calls to you. “Taro, Taro!” A hand tugs at your sleeve. “Tarooo!” It's definitely a voice. Aya drags you towards a building and you wearily allow her to lead you through. She sits you down carefully and balances your body on the soft, wooden counter. You can see Aya giddily chatting away with a shopkeeper, but sleep takes your mind away.

“Wulhbluh!” You jolt awake, mid-freefall from the counter. Shielding your body with your arms, you cushion the impact by curling into a ball before hitting the ground. Groaning, you roll on the floor for a good minute before you crawl back up to the stool. Aya, red-faced, lights up in eagerness.

“Taro~! Welcome back!” She giggles to herself, like if it were the funniest joke in the world. She swings her cup around, brimming with alcohol. “I missed you!”

“Uh, right...” After your nap, you’ve gotten back a few senses, but you're still in mid-reboot.

“Taroooooo.” Her eyes lock on to yours as she steadies herself on the stool. “Thanks for everything!”


“You're too kind, Taro. You helped me out when I had nowhere to stay and helped me when you barely knew who I was. You can get angry, but you're sweet and caring and really really silly like when you fall–“

“Aya, you're drunk.” you reply back wistfully.

“But Tarooooooo, let me tell you how much I appreciate you! You're a lot better than the people in Gensokyo. They always glare at me and refuse to be involved with me in any way whatsoever! Sometimes they don't even talk to me! You would think that they would respect a crow tengu, but no! They only pay attention to the shrine maiden or the witch!” Aya starts wobbling on the chair.

“Aya.” You call out to her.

She responds with an enthusiastic smile at the sound of her name. “Yeeees?”

“We should go. I think you've had enough.” But before you could go, a man behind the counter prods you.

“You paying for her?” He points over to Aya.

You don’t even have a chance to comprehend, still watching Aya wobble. Your brain puts two and two together. Aya. Responsibility. “Bluhhh- Uh, yeah! Yeah, I think…” you reply back. He hands you a very familiar check, it looks like it’s right out of your own checkbook. You blankly take out whatever amount of cash was listed on there. It takes you a minute to add the zeros while carrying the four, but you manage to pay for it. You pocket the receipt just as unconsciously. Meal done. Paid for. Turn, stand up. Leave. You get a few feet out before a voice rings out, calling your name. You turn around to see Aya make her way towards you.

“Tarooooooooooo.” She moans, wobbling forward clumsily. She trips on herself, falling on you. You catch her and steady her balance. “Help meeeeee.”

Your body is still rigid from your work-induced unscheduled nap and you feel fatigued from your grueling solo work. But Aya can't even walk three steps without flailing around and falling over something. You sigh. One more task couldn't hurt you.

[ ] Princess carry.
[ ] Hold her hand and lead.
[ ] Piggyback.
[X] Piggyback.

This is the classic.
[X] Piggyback.
I sense the coming of more awkward moments for Taro...and more amusing reads for us.
[X] Piggyback.
>[ ] Princess carry.

Cute, but mechanically inefficient. If Taro's not superbuff, he'll have to put her down constantly.

>[ ] Hold her hand and lead.

Insufficient control. She might just lurch into the way of a bus, and might even drag you with her.

That leaves only one option.

[X] Piggyback.

This definitely has nothing to do with the increased amount of bodily contact. Absolutely not. No siree. Dunno what you're talking about.
Perfect timing!

[X] Piggyback
Princess carry is tempting...
[x] Hold her hand and leave.

Time to take the insensible child home.
[x] Piggyback
This is a good choice. The best choice.
[X] Piggyback. Breasts on the back are the best
[X] Piggyback.

Really, why would I pick any other option?
Skinship is good!

Damn shame I can't think of any way to help her back to our place that'd involve touching those wings...
Although that'd probably cause trouble if someone saw, so best not to do that.

[X] Piggyback.

Totally not expecting that "shy about sex" crack to backfire on Aya in the worst best way possible.
Oh my god, yes. This would be the best thing.
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You have to take her to dinner first, you pervert.

...Wait a second, didn't we do that?

Oh dear.
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“All right...” You got this. Aya aimlessly walks frigidly, collapsing on your back before she can do anything else. Prodding her cheek multiple times, you conclude that she's not conscious. You fumble around unsteadily, awkwardly taking a step back to lean Aya on yourself. It doesn't help that she's dead weight right now, but you manage to hoist her onto your weary back. She automatically wraps her arms around you. Okay! You can do this! “Let's g- ohgod!” You manage to take a step off the sidewalk, falling straight into the black concrete of the street. Your leg, thankfully, finds land before you face-plant into the gravel.

You can do this! This is a matter of your pride and self-importance. For the honor of your family!

...So you will carry a drunk through the streets back to your lower class apartment. This is the thanks you receive for doing all of the bastard work alone, with no breaks. The very thought aggravates you, but you are too tired to do anything but wistfully sigh. You mutter to yourself, “I hate life. And everything else too...” The almost-metronomic sound of Aya's breathing play in sync with your footsteps, creating a rhythm that you consciously follow on the way back to your home.

The street lights are dim, crackling in the night sky. A cold breeze blows through the neighborhood. You shiver, but the cold quickly fades. Aya provides a gentle warmth that thaws away at the chill. The breeze passes, and the dark streets return to an awed silence. You revel in the calm, walking block after block. Your ankles feel chafed and your knees are sore and about to give out, but you keep moving forward. “Why me?” Nobody responds. The closest thing to an answer you get is the soft murmuring of Aya calling out, “Tarooooo,” tranquilly.

The apartment complex comes into view. Looking for some solace, you peer to the elevator. However, a medium-sized crowd of people are mildly chatting as they wait for the doors to swish open. As a caretaker for your drunkard, you can’t and won’t submit yourself to confining Aya with other people. So you head for the stairs with tears in your eyes. Many many flights of stairs are scaled, with Aya providing a really horrible counterweight. As you near your room, you kick the door open, faintly hearing the hinges snap. You really, really hope that wasn't the hinges breaking. You sob during the walk of shame to the bedroom. Everything's horrible...

In stark contrast, you gently set Aya down on the bed, examining her disheveled appearance. Her flowing hair is everywhere, ruffled and tousled from the journey. Before you could scrutinize her more, Aya pulls you closer, placing her affectionate hand on your cheek. “Thanks Taro~” she mumbles with a drowsy smile. Rolling to her side, Aya lets her sleepiness take over and shuts her eyes. You can't describe why, but you suddenly want to spoil her. However, she's sound asleep, so you'll have to make do with pacing around the living room. You repeatedly sit on one of the chairs, only to stand back up again. You weren't restless – just excited. Not sure why though. Your mind just turned giddy whenever you recall the day leading up to Aya's sincere thank you. You still have work tomorrow, it'd be best to sleep it off. The night is chilly, and a draft escaped inside the apartment so you go back to the bedroom. Aya is hogging all the space on the bed, but that didn't really matter. The couch is too cold. For once, you don't particularly mind Aya's presence. It's warm. She's warm.

The alarm sounds off at exactly six thirty in the morning. Opening your eyes slowly, you slap the alarm clock with unexpected energy. Stretching your arms and legs in the blanket, you head over to the bathroom to wash your face. You splash some cold water on yourself, but you don't have much use for it. You feel strangely refreshed and well-rested, as your eyes shine with a playful glow. You have to admit, you look great! A quick but warm shower freshens the body. Buttoning up your dress shirt, you feel that everything seems to be in good shape. You take to the stove, boiling up some miso soup. It isn't too complex, but breakfasts are made to be simple. Aya arrives at the table just as you set the two bowls on the table. Her dress shirt and skirt seem to be well-kept, free of any large creases. She also has the new shower scent, faintly smelling of your shampoo. “Morning, Taro!”

“G'morning, Aya!” You nod to her before starting on your miso soup. You are perfectly content to eat in silence, so you wordlessly gobble up your food. Aya is already done and is patiently waiting for you to finish. You take the dishes to the sink and grab the keys. “Let's go?”

She nods. “Okay~” There was still time to laze around, but today is not the day to waste time. You set off early, making sure to lock the door. Aya is already at the top of the stairway, waving to you. Glancing at the elevator, you walk past the door and climb down the stairs.

The trip to the offices is quick. Aya waves to the secretary, but the old, respectable lady just smiles. You courteously nod to her as you walk by. Sliding your card to open the doors, you watch the tower of skyscrapers line the horizon from the glass windows of the elevator. A glorious “sunrise” from the top of the gigantic buildings peeks out. The bright light of the sun just barely creeps over the roofs of the nearby buildings, shining a ray of light to the city.

“Woooow.” Aya voices your awe. “It's pretty in it's own way,” Aya whispers in total reverence. The elevator stops, sounding its little bell. Aya runs off to her own office swiftly, but you leisurely take a seat on the nearest open chair. You sit there in awe, although you weren't sure why. In the distance, you hear Tadashi answer countless phone calls. He seems frantic, so you listen in.

“Yes, yes. We understand and will get back to you soon. Ah, I have another call, please contact us later. Yes, we know. We heard you, yes.” He has at least three phones on hold, scrambling for the next caller. He immediately hangs up all the phones and hurriedly rushes out. You sit there, twiddling your thumbs nervously.

The intercom, which you never knew the office had, echoes throughout the floors. “Inubashiri, could you please come to the central office? Thank you.” The intercom clicks off. You promptly rush to the boss's office, confused and frightened at what is happening.

Tadashi greets you, and then motions for you to have a seat in front of the boss's desk. The swivel chair is turned back, though not for long. The boss spins around the chair, petting a gray tabby cat. He taps his finger on the desk, pushing forward the latest newspaper. “Hello, Inubashiri. Are you responsible...” he pauses melodramatically. “...for THIS!?” He shouts, pointing at the article. Yours, specifically.

You can feel the blood rush out of your head. What happened to it? You faintly remember Aya tampering with it during your extreme exhaustion. Oh, god. What happened to it?

[ ] Accept the blame. It's your article, so it's your problem. Woe is you!

[ ] Wait, wait, wait. You don't even remember this!
[X] Accept the blame. It's your article, so it's your problem. Woe is you!

I get the feeling that our boss is being melodramatic, not for the sake of anger but because he just enjoys being melodramatic. Let's play along!
[X] Accept the blame. It's your article, so it's your problem. Woe is you!

petting a cat, being melodramatic, spinning a chair while you come in, what is this guy, an evil villian?
[X] Accept the blame. It's your article, so it's your problem. Woe is you!
Maybe he thinks it's good? He never outright says that he's disappointed.
[x] Wait, wait, wait. You don't even remember this!
[X]Maybe? I think so. Let me see what ya got there.
[X] Accept the blame. It's your article, so it's your problem. Woe is you!

The other option seems like it may pin it on Aya, and it more or less is our fault we didn't check over it before it got sent out.
Hoo boy. I feel like we're treading in a minefield.

[X] Accept the blame. It's your article, so it's your problem. Woe is you!
-[X] Skim the article to see if the damage is something that stands out.
[X] Accept the blame. It's your article, so it's your problem. Woe is you!
-[X] But if it ends up being good take it back and say it's all Aya's fault.
[x]Look at the article FIRST. Don't jump to any conclusions.

It's like you guys want to see things go horribly wrong.
I think that's the point and attempting to side step it would result in something worse.
[†] Accept the blame. It's your article, so it's your problem. Woe is you!
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You asshole, why would you do that!?
Then again your bump made me read this story so I have to thank you for bringing this great story to my attention.
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[x] Accept the blame. It's your article, so it's your problem. Woe is you!

Tadashi in the back steadily taps his foot, hands in his pockets. He crosses his arms and stares at the boss expectantly. You break into a cold sweat, anxiously swaying back on forth on the chair. What did you do wrong? Was it even Aya's fault, or your own misdeed? The boss stares you down and clasps his hands slowly, making you chew on your bottom lip. The gray tabby lazily swishes its tail back and forth. The suspense is killing you.

“Y-Yes! I did it. I wrote the article and it's all my doing! The entire thing is my fault!” You blurt out, assuming responsibility.

“Hell yeah!” He flourishes his arms for effect, inadvertently knocking away the gray tabby in the process. “Good job, Inubashiri!”

“Taro...” Tadashi nods in approval. “I honestly thought you were incompetent, but I'm glad you proved me wrong.” He puts his hand on your shoulder. “Good job. I expect to see more of that.”

“Ah!” The boss swivels around in his chair. “This is awesome! I have to get more of those!” He spins around and kicks off the desk, shooting through the door and into the elevator. You glance outside of the office, seeing the elevator shut its doors with the boss inside. Still on the swivel chair. With the boss out of the office, the room enters an incomprehensible silence. You really should be used to the Boss' eccentricities by now, but the sheer incomprehensibility takes its toll.

You struggle to think of what he's getting more of, but you give up and ask Tadashi. “What exactly is he getting?” The boss is an enigma, with no orthodox method of doing anything. You wonder if it's even something you can get used to.

“I have no idea.”

With such a neurotic boss, you don't understand how he can manage a newspaper corporation. Even with the newest release, you are not entirely sure if anything has been distributed. “By the way, Tadashi, do we even have readers?”

“Again, I have no idea.” He rubs his temples wearily. “Let's not worry about that right now.”

You shake your head at the thought. You are getting paid, as far as you know. It's just the whole thing is an anxious mess.

With nothing left to talk about you bid the office farewell and return to the cubicles. Aya rejoins you soon after, just moments after you walked out.

“So what happened? Is it something good? Bad?” She says with an unsuppressed avidity, leaning in ever so closer at the suggestion of a horrible wreck.

“I'm not sure,” You answer honestly, “but I think it was good. Tadashi said I did a good job so I guess
it went better than expected.”

“Oh.” Aya seems disappointed, curtly ending her remark. You shrug and make your way to your cubicle. From the long hallway, Manabu notices you passing and pats you on the shoulder as he passes by. “I heard about what happened. Good work with the paper!”

As you thank him, you take a glance at Aya. She frowns for a bit, shaking her head. Huh.

“Hey, Aya, are you alrigh-”

Pop. “Our first newspaper as a team!” Yoshio's voice travels through the room a bit too audibly. You lean over one of the cubicles to see him spraying champagne everywhere. Where did he even get a bottle of champagne on such quick notice?

“Back to work everyone!” Tadashi exclaims from the office. “It's our first paper, but keep in mind we still have deadlines!” The champagne dies down with his declaration. You hear him mildly lecture each member of the team, moving from one person to the other. He approaches you swiftly. “We can't just slack off now that we accomplished something. No, it's because we accomplished something that we can't afford to waste time. Everyone should work hard.”

“Even me?” You feel compelled to ask, since he's lecturing you.

“Especially you.” Tadashi nods with conviction. He hands you some notes before leaving. “Here are some of Yoshio's notes. Please look over them.”

You look over the papers. “Huh.. I can't read this.” The handwriting on the notes seem to be undecipherable. Maybe it was written in code? Aya swipes the notes from behind and reads it line by line.

“New construction projects detrimental to non-modern infrastructure in Kyoto. Possible lead?” Aya translates the notes for you. “Roadsides have been closed off for unknown reasons.” She smirks brashly, expecting a compliment or praise.

You were going to oblige her, but Tadashi calls for you again. “Inubashiri? Actually, we have a slight change of plans.” He drags you out. Once again you are interrupted before you can pay attention to Aya. Aya just cocks her head at you but quickly files the notes in the desk and leaves back to her own cubicle.

“Remember how I said we're going to have a set deadline?” He pauses seriously. “We actually don't. Our schedule is blank for this entire week, so I'm not going to impose much on you Just plan out some possible story headlines for the next issue.”

“Okay, I gotcha.” You make a mental note, but realize that while you've got it easy for the moment, he doesn't. Poor Tadashi. As a solemn person, it must be crazy for him to handle the boss. “Will that be all for today?”

“Yes.” He leaves, letting you make use of your own time. There is still the stack of paperwork for the previous issue that you need to fill out. It's not too difficult, but rather it's tedious. You resolve yourself to finishing them before the end of the day.

After filling out the last document, you set them aside and submit them to the inbox. For once, you clock out at a reasonable time in the evening – 6 PM – and meet up with Aya before heading outside.

“Finally, a reasonable workday!” You complain to Aya. “We actually have some free time to spend.”

“Idle days are nice once in a while!” She says. You weren't sure what Aya was doing during work hours, but you were sure that with a comment like that she wasn't doing anything productive.

Still, you give her a nod and smile. And since you had some extra time, you devoted the idle hours to looking around the city. You've never had the chance to freely wander around, so you take a detour around the area with Aya. She doesn't seem to mind.

“Whoa, Taro! Stop right there!” Aya grabs your shoulder. She looks through the glass pane, gazing endearingly at a large assortment of cameras. “We're going in.” You don't really get a say in this, but you accede to her desires. At least cameras are related to the profession, and not as near completely random as you're used to Aya being.

She enters the store and, without the storekeeper's permission, picks up a camera with auto adjustable lens. You glance uneasily at the storekeeper, who doesn't seem to care. He laughs at Aya's audaciousness.

Holding the camera up against the light, Aya is entranced at the view. “Wooow, I've never seen such a modern camera like this!” She quickly moves from camera to camera, fiddling with each one. The intense passion in her eyes is reignited each time she picks up a new model. “Taro, don't I look great with this?” Aya spins around, taking a few practice snaps with the camera.

“Uh, yeah sure.” Although you admired her zeal, you couldn't really discern what looked better than the others. The art of photography is near completely lost on you.

The shopkeeper nudges you. “What kind of response is that to your girlfriend?” He gives you a friendly wink.

“She's not my girlfriend!” You respond, more annoyed than embarrassed. You glance at Aya indignantly, for reassurance or to see just how absurd that would be. Absurd, yes. That's definitely it.

Aya doesn't seem to have noticed, practically drooling over her new toys. She holds one up and examines it, letting it snap. “Ah, this one has fast shutter speed!”

[ ] Encourage her. As long as she doesn't break anything, it's surely okay to let her indulge a little bit. It's not like she'd break anything, right?

[ ] Don't encourage her. You nearly got beheaded this morning. More diversions would be bad.

[ ] Urge Aya to work as hard in the newspaper as she does with cameras. You're fine with her having interests, but she's completely absorbed! You wish she'd work that hard at the agency.
[x] Encourage her. As long as she doesn't break anything, it's surely okay to let her indulge a little bit. It's not like she'd break anything, right?

Sorry, but I'm not seeing any other options here...
[x] Encourage her. As long as she doesn't break anything, it's surely okay to let her indulge a little bit. It's not like she'd break anything, right?

Oh, let the girl have her fun.
[x] Encourage her. As long as she doesn't break anything, it's surely okay to let her indulge a little bit. It's not like she'd break anything, right?
[ ] Encourage her. As long as she doesn't break anything, it's surely okay to let her indulge a little bit. It's not like she'd break anything, right?

Heck photos can make or break a newspaper.
[X] Encourage her. As long as she doesn't break anything, it's surely okay to let her indulge a little bit. It's not like she'd break anything, right?

Of course she wouldn't.
[x] Urge Aya to work as hard in the newspaper as she does with cameras. You're fine with her having interests, but she's completely absorbed! You wish she'd work that hard at the agency.

Against the tide.
...Crap, we took credit for a good thing.
Um, yeah, we need to make it up to her.
Otherwise, how will we ever get our fill of wings?!

[X] Encourage her. As long as she doesn't break anything, it's surely okay to let her indulge a little bit. It's not like she'd break anything, right?
I know, right? God, it wasn't intentional at all and I still feel awful.

[x] Encourage her. As long as she doesn't break anything, it's surely okay to let her indulge a little bit. It's not like she'd break anything, right?
-[x]Apologize for taking her credit when possible. Maybe explain why you did?
[x] Encourage her. As long as she doesn't break anything, it's surely okay to let her indulge a little bit. It's not like she'd break anything, right?
-[x]Apologize for taking her credit when possible. Maybe explain why you did?

This because we really should apologize about taking all her credit. Admittedly at the time it seemed like the article would be bad and thus Aya would get blamed if we said it was her fault, but since that wasn't the case, well she deserves the praise, and apology.
Something like "I thought you would get in trouble, he sounded mad... you should be mad at him for tricking me!"
Don't think for a second that I've forgotten or stopped caring about this.
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I hope this' just the start of a new onslaught of updates. As you know, our hunger for Tengu is insatiable.
This is starting up again right?!

Oh God yes!
Oh also, in case that vote is still going on:

[x] Encourage her. As long as she doesn't break anything, it's surely okay to let her indulge a little bit. It's not like she'd break anything, right?
-[x]Apologize for taking her credit when possible. Maybe explain why you did?
And get on our boss’s bad side? No way. He’s unpredictable and may lead to no job. Not taking that risk.
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[x] Encourage her. As long as she doesn't break anything, it's surely okay to let her indulge a little bit. It's not like she'd break anything, right?

Aya keeps on fiddling with the cameras, snatching a new one up every time she skips around the assorted tables. Well, whatever. You’ll let her have her day. It’s not like she’s going to break anything… hopefully. You quell your persistent worries and instead chat up the shopkeeper. “What’s so different about all these cameras? I mean, other than the price.”

The man offers you a shrug, returning back to his counter behind the desk. “No idea. My niece does most of the cataloging for me. Your guess is as good as mine.”

“Oh. Well then.”

“Yeah. I can lay out the basics, such as how faster shutter speed captures more dynamic shots and how the value of the aperture adjusts how the image is captured in specific lights but that’s about it.”

You have no idea what this man is talking about, but you just nod. “Uh, okay. I see. That doesn't sound like you have ‘no idea’ about cameras. I can only click the button that takes photos and that’s about it.”

“Oh, but if you hold the button, it tends to focus rather than take a shot.”

You give up. Resigning yourself to a life of ignorance, you throw your arms up in exasperation. “Cameras are hard.”


“…You’re right, Taro.” Aya’s voice drifts from the other side of the shop.

“Right.” You mindlessly nod in agreement before your mind can process the situation at hand.

Wait. Cameras are hard? You whip yourself around and rush to Aya’s side. The camera she was once holding is now splattered around the ground. Oh. Oh no. This isn't happening. This is not happening.

“Taro.” Aya shamefully bows her head, addressing you with grave sobriety. “I may have messed up. I… I got a little excited over the camera.”

You would reply but your knees are somewhat unresponsive, buckling down from sheer terror. You lean on one of the display desks for support. This isn't happening. You said it wouldn't happen and it did. Before Aya came around, you never had any problems. No broken cameras, no problems at work (though, you never had work before), and no burnt toast! It’s a wonder how she took care of herself before you came along. Horrible, horrible, horrible.

And the shopkeeper comes along at the perfect time.

“So, what’s going on? Had a little scuffle with your girlfriend?” He raises a curious eye, shifting his gaze from you to Aya and to you again.

You’ll ignore the girlfriend part. There are more important things to discuss. “Sir. Well, you see… we've had a bit of a problem with a camera. And we’re extremely sorry that we tampered a bit with your merchandise. I, for one, am deeply shameful of the actions that my friend had committed to your camera! I should have been responsible and kept watch over her and for that I am regretful. Aren't we, Aya?” You nudge her with your elbow, but she doesn't respond.

Instead, she takes a sample shot of your face, mixed with extreme sorrow and frustration. With the camera. With the camera that was broken only a minute or two ago.

The shopkeeper strokes his chin thoughtfully, squinting at the now-reassembled camera. “Looks fine to me.”

“Yep!” Aya cheerfully responds. “The parts are loosely attached and-“

Slapping a hand to her mouth, you continue her sentence. “…And we’ll be leaving now. I think we’ve browsed enough around here and we wouldn’t want to waste any more of your time! Maybe another day, we’ll visit again.”

Aya, being the unreasonable one she is, attempts to hand the shopkeeper the camera directly. But you’ll take no chances. Snatching from her hand, you swiftly place it back where it was originally placed on the desk and wave to the shopkeeper before hauling your sorry butts out of there.

You got off of work early today, but you might as well have done triple overtime because that’s a pretty close approximation to how exhausted you feel at the moment. At some point, you manage to get on a bus that goes straight back to the comfort of home. At least you have some time to rest on the way there.

“Taro, Taro!”

…If your completely clueless boss would stop nagging you about everything.


Fine, you’ll bite.

What,” you angrily enunciate as best as you can from your drowsy stupor.

“We’re almost at our bus stop,” Aya chirps, apparently noticing the thickly-laced irritation in your voice.

“Oh.” Well, that sobered you up rather quick. You don’t even remember the first half of the bus ride. “…Thanks, Aya.”

“Mmhm!” Happily, she hoists you up from the seat and drags you off the bus. She wordlessly skips in the direction of the apartment complex, taking lefts and rights on neighborhood streets you swore you never told Aya to take lefts and rights on. Whatever. At least she didn’t get lost.

Not having the energy to hoist yourself up the stairs, you trudge to the elevator and slump yourself on the cool, metallic wall. Aya follows suit, so you slap at the buttons until you get your floor. Expending the last of your energy, you make a final walk to the door of your apartment room, unlock it, throw your keys somewhere into the place, and collapse on your bed.

Your stiff, lumpy bed has never felt greater. You roll around in the sheets, too drained to even bother jumping under the covers. The day has been… taxing, to say the least. Every time you thought that Aya couldn’t surprise you, she does so. And how! What you couldn’t get out of your mind was how she fiddled with the camera to make it look like nothing happen.

“Aya,” you mumble to the air. She was still bustling about in the main room, doing whatever she’s doing. “Ayaaa.” you repeat once more, with added volume.

“Hmm, what is it?” She pokes her head out into your room, spirited as ever with her eternally untiring attitude.

“I have a question. How did you manage to do that thing with the camera?”

She grins and immediately you regret your decision. You don’t have the mental capacity to listen to Aya’s inane babbling right now.

“Well! It all started at the top of Youkai Mountain, where all the Tengu resided. I had my own newspaper running, the Bunbunmaru, and I had my very own trusty camera to take pictures. You see, my camera had a lot of wear-and-tear, especially because I had to dodge danmaku. Sometimes, I got hit. And sometimes, my camera broke down.”

“Danmaku?” Before Aya could open her mouth again, you decide to shut her up before she could spout out complete nonsense again. “Actually, never mind. Go on.”

“Okay. And I had these two friends as well. Hatate and Momiji. Hatate is a fellow journalist and runs her own newspaper. Momiji’s not a journalist, but somebody I always bother. Last time, we had to deal with Reimu barging into the village like nobody’s business, so we flew over to the waterfall and shot at her to make her leave.”

“…You shot at her.”

“Yeah. Lasers.”

Figures. To think that Aya was finally making sense, only for it to come crashing down like how it always does whenever you deal with her. It’s not like you don’t believe her – it’s just that you don’t believe her. It’s tragic, really. Aya doesn’t recognize how crazy she sounds and how she’s so wrong about everything she knows about herself. You’d tell her, but you have better priorities right now. And sleep is the top contender. You give a tragic sigh before wishing her off.

“Right, lasers. I completely understand… good night.”

" 'Night Taro!"

Lost in her own world.


For some god-forsaken reason, your back is stiff and your neck is killing you. Groggily, you assess your surroundings. You notice you are at ground level, and the bed is far from your reach. The bed is occupied, presumably by Aya. What a way to start the morning. The digital clock on the desk glares unforgivingly bright red numbers reading: 7:14 A.M. Well. At least you woke up at a reasonable time. The great thing about life is that it could always be worse.

You muster up the energy to go to cook up some eggs. Throwing two slices of bread into the toaster, you idly sit around while you wait for your sunny-side up eggs simmer. When you get that over with, you head over to the bedroom and flip the covers over, rolling Aya off the bed.


“Morning, sunshine. There’s eggs and toast. Don’t eat them all while I shower.”

“Okaaaay.” You aren’t sure whether she’s actually awake or not, but it doesn’t really matter. You'll probably come back to no eggs, nor working sink. Or other appliance. Surely she doesn't know how to fix all of them, either...

The hot shower is rejuvenating. Nothing to soothe your muscles like a warm lather and rinse. There are eggs and toast on the counter still left for you. Today is a better day. So far.

Making it into work on time is a simple satisfaction. Now you can mind your own business, head to your cubicle, and work privately. With no distractions.

“Taro, Taro!” Aya’s voice echoes from outside your cubicle. You almost forgot that you worked with her.

“Yes...?” You ask impatiently, tapping the desk rhythmically. But instead of answering, she just waves and smiles.

…You almost want to cry.

But Tadashi’s voice interrupts your self-pity session. “Ah, Aya. I actually have a favor to ask of you. There seems to be a mechanical error with a lot of the printers. Seems like the ink cartridge is jammed and we’re not really sure how to resolve the issue. The manual was misplaced sometime in the last millennium and there's no one alive that actually knows how it works anymore.”

Aya’s eyes light up, but before she could say anything Tadashi turns over to you and nods. “Actually, Taro. You should be capable of doing this. Good luck.”

Sometimes, you wonder if you actually get a say in things.

“Tarooo,” Aya whines. She eagerly paces around the entrance of your cubicle, obviously wanting in on the job.

Well. It’s not like you really want to do it, but somebody has to. Though, you’re not really sure whether that somebody is Aya, what with the entire camera shop incident and all. It would be bad if the repairs weren't carried out properly.

But what to do?

[ ] Go fight off the printer alone. It is your duty, after all.
[ ] Bring her along. Company is always nice, and you can keep an eye on her.
[ ] Send her alone. Give her a chance to redeem herself.
[x] Bring her along. Company is always nice, and you can keep an eye on her.
[x] Bring her along. Company is always nice, and you can keep an eye on her.
[X] Bring her along. Company is always nice, and you can keep an eye on her.

Expecting us to not have Aya along? Blasphemy!
It's not like the printer's going to explode in our faces or something.

You guys could at least add a pithy one-liner with your votes, rather than just a copy-paste.
[x] Send her alone. Give her a chance to redeem herself.

Aya's an employee of the newspaper, she should do work at some point.
[x] Send her alone. Give her a chance to redeem herself.

Even a broken Tengu fixes something twice a day.

Or something like that
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[x] Bring her along. Company is always nice, and you can keep an eye on her.

You might as well bring her along. It seems that nobody has any idea how to resolve the printer issue, yourself included. And certainly not Aya. Still, Aya managed to fix that camera so you’re hoping that she could do the same with the printer. And if she can’t, at least two heads are better than one, right? You’ll tell yourself that’s the case.

“Tarooooooo,” Aya incessantly chants your name. You can already tell that she’ll be coming along, no matter what you say. So much for free choice.

Having no energy to continue this pointless conversation, you stand up from your desk and walk over to the end of your cubicle. “Okay, whatever. Let’s just go find the printers already.”

You silently enter the elevator with Aya following close by. For some reason, you have an ominous feeling that Aya will just make things worse. Dammit, she can be such a handful at times! Or maybe all the time. You’ll just hope that you have bad intuition and that she knows how to fix the printer like how she fixed that camera. If she were to destroy the whole place, instead... No, you can't think like that. You'll just have to keep an eye on her and if she can't fix it, make sure she doesn't break anything!

Exiting the elevator down to the first floor, you come to a sudden realization. You don’t know where the printers are. You sheepishly return to the secretary, embarrassed at your own ignorance. “Um, excuse me. Do you know where the printers are stationed?”

Thankfully, she doesn't seem to be inconvenienced. “Oh, you two were sent to fix the printers?" She says, just a little conspicuously. "They’re at the large industrial building next to this one. Good luck!” She waves you and Aya outside, smiling the whole way.

You give her your thanks on the way out.

…’Good luck’? Huh.

The industrial building looms over the actual workplace. You wonder why you’ve never noticed it until now. The place is rather gray and dull, the paint is cracking, and spiders seem to have established colony along every visible surface. At least, its entrance is. Hoping it will be better inside you push through the double doors, which elicits a rather grating cry from its rusty hinges.

Oh god. Good luck indeed. The place is absolutely deserted. Industrial equipment is strewn all over the area, cobwebs encasing every other square inch of the floor, the ceiling, and everywhere else, including what appears to have previously been furniture. The lights are either dim or completely dead. How do they even manage to use the printers if they’re housed in this hellhole? Maybe you got the wrong address? Haha, how likely would that be...

Aya, oblivious to the safety hazards at hand, treats the predicament as if it were some kind of game. “Oooh! Isn’t this place spooky? I wonder if we can find some youkai running amok?”

“Aya! Come on, focus. Youkai aren’t real.” Did she forget that the two of you are on a job to fix the printer right now? Well. It’s Aya. She probably did. You step over a broken iron pillar, while trying not to think too hard about the implications of what that means. Damn. Where are the printers anyway?

Just then, a large wooden plank topples over, splintering into pieces with a loud clatter. In front of the mess is a rather well-dusted sign that says, “PRINTERS” in huge capital letters. Oh.

“Taro. I think the printers might be there.”

You heave a sigh. “You don’t say?”

You sidestep the broken wooden shards and enter the room, with Aya hovering only a few feet behind you. Contrary to how well-kept the sign was, the printers seem to be in the same condition as the building is. Every one of them is covered in dust and doesn't seem to be in frequent use. You pick a random one and search for an “on” button.

You can’t find one, cursing the printer’s manufacturer for such an inconvenient design. As if on command, the printer starts jittering, roaring horribly into life and bouncing around the place. You're about to dive for cover when it starts shooting newspapers all around the room, leaving you only moments to take cover underneath the desk while the printer begins its unholy rampage.

One newspaper hits the window and crashes through the pane, seemingly to continue on towards the horizon. You're only able to utter a meek curse, terrified at the rampant printer.

It’s a printer youkai! This is exciting,” Aya manages to yell out before hiding behind a chair to dodge the next flying newspaper, immediately sticking her head back out to watch the destruction unfurl.

It takes a good ten minutes before the printer calms itself into submission, Aya squealing the entire time. You poke out from your hiding place and gingerly approach the machine, wary of its wrath. It sounds silly, but you’d prefer not to get smacked in the face with an eleven by sixteen newspaper stack. You tap the side of the printer and press a few levers, but the printer doesn't seem to respond.

“Hey, Taro.” Aya points to a single inconspicuous button on the side. In tiny print letters it reads, “On.” Before you could say anything, Aya decides to press it immediately.

The printer starts a shaking and rumbling that makes its previous fit seem like a small tantrum. You don't even think of cursing Aya before jumping away for your life, huddling yourself behind a support pillar. As you gave out from your meager protection you watch the entirety of the printer rattle vigorously. The entire thing seems to be falling apart in a vicious tremor, as it coughs and sputters violently… before neatly printing a single, unremarkable newspaper.

“Is… is it over?” You ask Aya.

“It is done! We won! We have slain the printe-!”

Then the printer’s ink cartridge combusts, splattering Aya in black ink. She’s absolutely drenched. Her clothes are a mess and definitely soaked. Though, you can’t see anything because the ink is rather thick.

…You’re not really disappointed. Whatever.

“Erm, Taro?” Aya attempts to wipe off the ink from her clothes but to no avail. She sounds uncharacteristically modest all of a sudden. “If it’s not too much of a bother, could you get a spare set of clothes for me?” Wait, what happened to the modesty?! You're not a servant!

...Well, she definitely can’t be seen in public like this. Unfortunately, you’ll just have to help her out. “Yeah, why not. I’ll go and get some. Just stay right here for now. I’ll be here quick.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll go work on the printer some more, since I’m already like this.” Aya shrugs, the ink still dripping from her clothes.

“I’ll be off then.” Before you leave, you decide to take a look outside the broken window. Outside, a gigantic red “X” marks the ground, with the newspaper that went flying out of the building lying right on top of the target. You're not entirely sure how it landed there, as last you spotted it, it was on a trajectory towards the Pacific Ocean. Just trying to think about it...

…You’re starting to get a headache.


It doesn't really take too long to go back home and get some clothes for Aya. You have them folded in a plastic bag. Just as you approach the double doors of the industrial building, the big boss comes swinging through the street on his swivel chair, yelling out various congratulations at you. He pats you on the back. While still sitting on his swivel chair. In the middle of the sidewalk.

“Great job, Taro! The newspapers are flowing normally again! I always knew that you had potential the moment I recruited you!”

“But, sir, you didn’t recruit m-“

“Oh, what’s this bag for?” Completely disregarding your privacy, he pulls out the first thing inside: Aya’s skirt. His hand freezes, dropping the skirt back inside the bag.

“Sir. I can expla-“

“Great job! Great job on fixing the printers! Congratulations! Thanks for the help! The company will always support you, Taro, just remember that! Yep, hmm, yes, yep.” He nods enthusiastically to no one in particular, staring at a blank point on the wall before kicking off on his swivel chair backwards, rolling back towards the workplace.

You give up.

You make it back into the printer room, placing the bag on an empty desk nearby. Aya, catching wind of you, immediately starts complaining.

“Ah, finally! I've been waiting for so long. It’ll be such a horror getting all of this out later.” Aya, with no respect to common sense, starts undressing. Right in front of you.


“What is it?”

“…Never mind.” You’re dumbstruck by how oblivious she is. You don't really want to deal with that right now, though. Instead, you fix your vision on the wall, which is also splattered with ink. You decide not to ask how that happened. “How’d you manage to get the printer running anyway?”

Aya starts to explain, but everything she says goes over your head. Something about rotaries or whatever. You aren’t really paying attention.

Just then, you’re hugged from behind. You want to turn around, but the fact that Aya might be crazy enough to hug you while naked keeps you from doing so. Quick, is that skin or cloth?! Breast or chest(piece)? You don't know. Your mind goes blank. The breasts-to-back ratio increases exponentially, but you’ll just keep staring at this here wall. “Thank you, Taro~”

“Not a problem,” you gruffly mutter out. She lets go and you remember to breathe, barely.

“Okay, we’re ready to go!” You hope that she meant that the job is done and not that she just finished dressing. You turn around, not thinking except about her hug, contemplating her clothing or lack of it. You blink. She has clothes on.

But did she before?

You exit the building, finally relieved of your duties. “I’m glad we’re out of that place. It’ll be way too soon if I have to enter that pit again in this lifetime.”

“It’s an authentic youkai building, alright!” Aya chuckles.

You won’t bother responding, so you just roll your eyes at her. Youkai don't exist, obviously. You enter back into your familiar workplace, incredibly grateful for its working lights and a distinct lack of cobwebs - or large printers - in the vicinity. Up the elevator you go, Aya still rambling on about printers or youkais or something, not paying attention to anything in particular. You enter the floor, but instantly sense that something is amiss. A few seconds pass before you finally realize that none of your coworkers are here. On the front counter, a tiny post-it note reads: “Printers are offline. Work is suspended for the day.”

Welp. You might as well head out too.

But before you’re able to escape the premises, the big boss catches you in a hug with Aya. It’s more like an armlock, actually. You'd open your mouth to protest, but you can feel the air being strangled out of you. “Great job, Taro! And Aya! You two are the best! Really! The both of you are fantastic! I love ya guys! You know I love ya guys, right?”


“By the way. Since the printer worked everybody left, so we need some papers delivered!”

Wait, what happened to work being suspended?!

You sneak a glance out the window. The sun is just barely setting, leaving behind a magnificent horizon of streaming orange and red. But that’s not the point. “Sir, it’s getting kind of lat-“

“It’s a small stack of papers, don’t worry.” He says this as he drops a stack large enough to forcibly bend the plastic desk. “You’ll be done before you know it!”

“Aren't there laws against forced overt-“

“You’ll get a reward!” He flourishes a medium-sized lacquer box, decorated with a few sigils and baubles. “You’ll get the box and whatever is inside of it. Or. Or you can get one of the printers you fixed in the other building!”

That doesn't even make any sense, though!

“Yaaay, printer youkai~” Aya shouts from behind you.

Of course. Looks like there’s no escaping this. So you might as well reap the benefits.

[ ] Mysterious lacquer box full of unknown reward(s).

[ ] Printer youkai
[X] Mysterious lacquer box full of unknown reward(s).


The box, the box!
[x] Mysterious lacquer box full of unknown reward(s).

I wouldn't be so grumpy if Aya was glomping me like that.
[X] Printer youkai
[x] Printer youkai
[x] Mysterious lacquer box full of unknown reward(s).

Is this Aya or Okuu? With how she's acting I'm half-expecting that to be a shocking twist latter on. And why's Taro so disbelieving of all her crazy Gensokyo talk? Didn't he see her wings earlier? I have questions!

[X] Mysterious lacquer box full of unknown reward(s).
We've nowhere to keep the printer youkai. No means no, Aya.
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[x] Mysterious lacquer box-thing.

Grumbling to yourself, you take the box… thing. Slapped on top is a paper, outlining which routes to take and where to distribute the newspapers. Shouldn’t there be legal laws preventing you from working overtime? Where are your rights? Where is your fair and just form of compensation? Being forced to choose from a printer youkai and a box is just cruel.

Aya, of course, is baffled on why we wouldn’t choose the printer youkai. “Taro, I have one important question to ask. Why?”

“I already have a printe–”

“Yes, but you don’t have a printer youkai. C’mon, Taro, where’s your sense of adventure?”

“It died when it was decided we were going to handle this job,” you sigh. The big boss still has his huge grin on his face, swiveling in his chair. You take half of the god-awful stack of papers and dump the pile into Aya’s hands. Taking the other half, you wordlessly exit the office and into the elevator.

“Taro, waaait,” Aya calls out to you, moving unexpectedly fast with all the newspapers in her hands. She squeezes through the elevator doors before they close.

“Well, let’s not waste any time. As much as I’d like to spend my entire night scrambling across town delivering papers… let’s not.” You look at your time slipping away, physically embodied in the stack of papers that you’re holding right now. “How much do we actually have to deliver anyway?”

“A couple hundred thousand?” she estimates wildly. You can’t help but cringe at the thought.

You weep silently into the papers until the elevator doors open. It’s going to be a long, unfruitful night.

Stepping out into the city, you find that the sky is unexpectedly dark. The street lamps are flickering on, hushing the streets. “So. How in the world are we going to do this?”

“Really fast?” suggests Aya.

“…Right, I guess that’s the only way.” You didn’t expect anything less, to be honest. Not that the news makes you, or your arms, particularly happy. You struggle with the stack of papers, searching for your delivery outline. “Well. Our first destination should be the nearest neighborhood around. Guess we can just dump the papers on the porch and move on.”

“Got it!” Aya scrambles away, leaving you behind in the dust. You dump the newspapers on the front of the porch and move on to the next couple of houses. Rinse and repeat. But before you can finish circling the block, Aya meets you up, with significantly less papers on hand.

“Did you...?” you question.

“I did!” Aya beams proudly. You glance over the neighborhood. Aya distributed newspapers for the rest of the houses in the block, and she did it faster than you.

Some praise is in order for your boss. “Not too bad. Good job, Aya.”

“Yay~ we can go home now, right?” She starts heading towards the route back home.

You can't help but feel sorry for Aya. And yourself. Grabbing her collar, you give her a light tug. “Wrong. So very wrong. We have to go through the rest of the neighborhood. Every single block.”

“Then there's no time to waste! Let's go!” She speeds off to the next block, disappearing in the night. Every day, you wonder where she gets all of her energy from. You ignore the thought and get back to the job, delivering papers to all the homes on the next block.

And the next block.

And every block thereafter.

The next place is a bar not too far away from the neighborhood. Figures. Few places are actually still open and running. It's supposedly a very nice place. Not that it matters – you're going to deliver your papers and get out of there as soon as possible.

“What?” asks a voice.

“Newspapers! We're delivering some here,” answers Aya.

Uh. Upon closer inspection, it seems to be Aya talking to the bouncer outside of the bar.

“We didn't subscribe to this.” The man suspiciously eyes you, then Aya. You don't really blame him. You would be skeptical of any person who approached you with a gigantic pile of newspapers in the middle of the night.

“Well, that's okay!” You pull Aya away from him. Setting a couple of newspapers down at the front counter of the establishment, you nod to the man. “You can have it anyway.”

“...Thanks?” The bouncer looks understandably confused.

You take this time to leave and move onto your next destination. You're not too sure where your next destination is, but it's written clearly on the outline. You might as well head to the address.

When you get there, all you see is a deserted booth that has neither lights nor people. It's... slightly eerie. Did you get the address wrong?

“Oh, Taro, look at this!” Aya, with no sense of fear, knocks on the hard wood of the booth stand. A conspicuous box that reads “PUT PAPERS HERE” lays brazenly on top of the table.

“Well. Just throw some papers in there and let's leave.”

And Aya does so.

Whatever. Next delivery! Night time construction zone. Disgruntled construction workers are on-site. Disgruntled construction workers are never a good sign.

“Oi, what do you want, punk?” A man with dusty overalls scowls at you.

“We're here to deliver some newspapers!” Aya cheerily states. Oh dear lord, what have you done now Aya–

“Oh, that's it?” The worker bashfully chuckles, ogling your boss. You're slightly annoyed by this, but you guess Aya can handle the situation. “Well, we'll be glad to take them. Helps fight off the boredom.”

Next delivery. Somebody send help.

The next thing you know, you're standing inside a twenty floor tower fit for white-collar work. There's a reception desk and multiple offices in the first floor. The building's huge.

“...Can I help you?” The receptionist at the front desk asks, unnecessarily spitting out the “help” in her sentence.

“I'm here to deliver newspapers,” you curtly state, avoiding the glare of the receptionist. “Where should I leave them?”

He snorts, sighing in discontent. Rude. “Up at the twentieth floor.”

The twentieth floor. On a twenty floor building. You're skeptical. “Are you POSITIVE they want it delivered to the twentieth floor?”

“Of course,” he grunts, rubbing his temples. “They wanted it specifically delivered to that floor. Elevator's broken, by the way.”

You do your best to keep yourself from flying into an incoherent rage, screaming internally (and only internally) at his statement.

“Thank you. Where is the stairway?”

He directs you to the hellish flight of stairs. What a journey. Oh well. No use crying about it.

Twenty floors later, it takes you immense effort to keep breathing. Even Aya is slightly winded by the ordeal. But you made it. So you open the door.

...You whimper slightly. Nobody's there. A draft enters the stairway, echoing through the halls with a whistle. From your current position, you can just barely make out a light. It's the moon, half-blocked by overcast clouds.

The twentieth floor leads to the roof. It's only a roof.


You take the rest of the papers and drop them to the floor. All of them.

“Is this good enough?” Aya drops her stack to the floor as well, looking at you.

“Yeah. Sure, why not.”

“Why the roof anyway?”

“Why, indeed, Aya.” You're still in shock. Why?

“This roof is wholly unsuitable for landing too, really, what a disaster. What were they thinking when they put up all these spires and metal structures?”

“You're being ridiculous again.” Aya's being herself, as usual. Is she thinking about landing an airplane here? Well, no. An airplane might be too big. Maybe a helicopter? “What, why? How? Where would you get one? Might as well face reality and do the twenty-story walk of shame.”

“...Helicopter?” She has no idea what you're talking about.

“Yeah.” You pause for a moment. “Weren't we talking about flying?”

“We definitely are.”

What? Your brain takes a minute to process her words. “Oh. You meant people flying.” Right. For a moment, you forgot that this is Aya you're talking to.

“Yeah. What were you thinking about?”

“...The normal kind of flying? As in, using airplanes and helicopters.”

She shrugs. “People flying is normal, too.” She offhandedly comments, like if it were no big deal.

“So. Do you really think that flying is possible?”

“Why not? If the plane things and heliwhatevers can do it, why not everybody else? Would you question how a plane flies?”

“Hmm.” You don't really have much to say against her point. You're not studied in the science of physics, but you do know that it's just... common sense? “I wouldn't, but that's because it's been accepted and proven with statistics. Everybody knows a plane is able to fly.”

“Right!” Aya nods her head excitedly. “Where I'm from, everybody knows that people can and are able to fly! We don't really question it because it's proven. It's right there in front of you.”

“So, everybody just flies? That's crazy. What if you ran into other people?”

She shakes her head, still in thought. “We don't. Do you know how big the sky is, Taro? Besides, that's why we have danmaku and shoot each other.”

“...I'm guessing 'danmaku' is some kind of duel?”

“Kinda. It's more like a mock-fight with bullets and dodging?”



“Never mind.” Your eyes trace over her figure. Your mind wanders, picturing her sleek, black wings. “I don't know about Gensokyo, but here, flying is impossible. At least for now. In the real world, people don't just magically go up into the air and shoot lasers out of their eyes.”

“I've noticed~” Aya sits down on her pile of papers. “Much less explosions in the air.”

“I wonder if that's a good thing. Whether flying isn't crazy... wherever you're from. Gensokyo.” You scoot over and sit down on the stack of papers next to Aya. Might as well.

“Everything's crazy if you look at it a certain way.”

You take a good look at Aya. She's idly kicking her legs , staring towards the now early-morning sky. Maybe. Maybe she isn't as crazy as you think. But you don't doubt that she's not well-adjusted; your toaster can attest to that. What a mystery, Aya is. At the very least, she's not dumb.


[ ] Ignore the thought. It's hard to believe that flying is something that could happen every day.

[ ] You have to give Aya credit. Maybe you could give a little ground.

[ ] Put it out of your mind for now. It might be true but you'll be damned if you can accept that crap right now.
[X] You have to give Aya credit. Maybe you could give a little ground.

I find it funny how the guy can accept Aya having actual wings and such, along with the fact she's a tengu, but somehow can't accept that there's a realm where people can fly with magic and shoot each other with it.
[X] Accept the obvious

Come on man, it isn't that big of a strech. Did you think the wings where just for show?
[x] You have to give Aya credit. Maybe you could give a little ground.

Have faith, man.
[x] You have to give Aya credit. Maybe you could give a little ground.

Maybe she's not as dumb as we think.
[x] You have to give Aya credit. Maybe you could give a little ground.
[x] You have to give Aya credit. Maybe you could give a little ground

...Is this gonna give us a chance to play with her wings?
Because I want to do that.
Maybe even rub our face in them.
[x] You have to give Aya credit. Maybe you could give a little ground.

Yeah, this. You've seen she's got wings, you idiot, what's so hard to believe about a winged person flying?

oh please oh please oh please oh please
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[x] You have to give Aya credit. Maybe you could give a little ground.

You're skeptical, but you have to give Aya some credit. Maybe, just maybe, you could give a little ground. Aya is sensible... when she wants to be. “So does everybody in Gensokyo have wings?”

“Mmm,” she mulls over the thought for a bit. “There are more people who don't have wings than who do. Some don't even use their wings.”

“Then how do they fly?” you ask, genuinely curious about the physics behind the matter. “And why would they have wings if they don't use them to fly in the first place?”

“You can just... feel how to fly, I guess? The power comes from within or something.” Aya shrugs noncommittally. “Some wings are pretty, like decorations.”

You decide not to dwell too much on it. It'll come to you eventually. Maybe. “Well,” you sigh. “It's not wrong that landing on this roof would be particularly difficult, aircraft or not. I think we've reached a compromise. Why don’t we call it a day and head back.”

“Okay!” Aya still has the energy to cheerily psyche herself up. However, you don't have any energy to spare. You wonder if you'll make it back to the office. As it is, you barely get one step before mentally reconsidering your life choices.

The rest of the trip is a blur, but somehow you make it back into your boss's office. He's still here. After the entire night, he's still here. With your arrival, he swivels around in his chair and rushes to your side, patting your back incessantly.

“Well done! As promised, the box is yours to keep!” He shoves the lacquer box into your hands, patting you on the back again. “Great job.”

You're can only give a weak nod to your boss before turning for the door, boss congratulating you all the way. All the way until the door slam shuts behind you.

“That was fun!” Aya exclaims.

Still. There's a lot on your mind. Thoughts of Aya's wings swirl around your head. Can it really be possible? You just can't fathom the concept of people flying everywhere. It's foreign. It's weird. The thought occupies you the whole way home.

Somehow you make it to your apartment without any trouble. You think Aya was talking to you during your walk home, but you're not exactly sure.

Aya takes reign of the couch but you contest her spot, dropping into the fluffy comforter. You end up collapsing on top of Aya, but you're too worn out to actually make an effort to move. She doesn’t seem to mind, either, except to vaguely swat at you. The lacquer box falls onto your lap during your little tussle. Mildly curious, you use your precious energy to open it. A tiny paper slip with “Do your best!” scrawled on both sides lies within the box.

“Oh,” you lazily announce.

“Oh,” repeats Aya. “So that's what it was. Should've gotten the printer.”

“Yep,” you reply, resting your eyes. “Should have.”

Somewhere in between Aya and the couch, you fall asleep.

Gently stirring from your slumber, you squint one eye open, staring at your alarm clock . It reads 11:42 A.M. but you don't particularly care right now. You can enjoy your frivolities after a hard night of work.

“Aya,” you murmur, rising from the couch. She's on the other side, rolling around in her sleep. “We should probably get up.” Moving over to wake Aya, you nudge her shoulder.

And then Aya pulls at your tie, yanking you uncomfortably close. You can feel her breath on you, your lips almost brushing against hers. Almost. But then she lets go, retreating to change her clothing.

You blink, barely wondering what she must have been dreaming about. You decide it would be better considered elsewhere, at another time, possibly not at all. You quickly move into your morning routine – A nutritious breakfast that does not take place on a couch, nor require any heavy thinking. With just a few minutes you’ve got it sorted and are about to call Aya when she interrupts you first.

“Hey, Taro.” Aya calls to you in a rare, docile tone. She plays with a lock of her hair idly, twirling it around her index finger. “Why don't we... not go in today?”



[ ] You have a responsibility to work and so does Aya.
[ ] “Okay.”
[x] “Okay.”

Consdiering how loosely the boss handles things, I don't think this'd be an issue. And I want to see why Aya asks about it.
[X] “Okay.”
Sounds good. "Work" at home, then.
[x] Okay

Sure why not
[X] “Okay.”

This is why sick days were invented.
[x] “Okay.”
[x] You have a responsibility to work and so does Aya.

Acquire money!
[X] “Okay.”
-[X] "Teach me to fly."
[X] Okay
-[X] Teach me to fly
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who the fuck bumped this thread? wait, it was me.

I have a few things to announce. First of all, I will be taking over this story from Treia, who has elected to hand the story over to me. Something something, yadda yadda, now it's solely my own fault whether this story updates or not.

Also, no, this story is not dead and I don't plan on making it dead. That being said, I have a lot of stories that am (read: should be) writing for and I don't know if I can update each and every one of them on a timely basis. An Excuse for Awoo/Momiji/other tengu/wolf/etc. will be taking priority over this story, as silly as that sounds. Update will follow soon, I promise.

Pic related: ??? some kind of tengu or something? momiji's friend?
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“Okay.” Well. You know that you should head out to work. However, last night was a complete mess and you need to recuperate from that. There is a very important question left unanswered. “Um. Aya. What are we going to do, if we're not going to work?”

She blinks, as if she did not consider the notion past playing hooky. “...We have to do something?”

“Well, why aren't we going in to work then?”

Aya lowers her head, repeatedly smoothing out a stubborn wrinkle on her shirt. The expression on her face is a... puzzled one, to say the least. “I don't know.”

“Oh.” Rather than make an exasperated attempt to scold her, you hand Aya some toast and eggs on her plate. You feel a little disoriented, to say the least. “For now, I guess we could do nothing.”

She nods sagely, thinking over your passing comment. “Doing nothing is acceptable. Let's do that.”

So you do nothing. Mostly. “Do you think Tadashi is going to throw a fit if we don't show up to work?

With utmost confidence, Aya responds, “No. Why would he do that?”

“...Because we're skipping work without notifying them- ohgod, I have to notify them. What will they say when I notify them? How should I respond?”

“This is exactly why you need to skip work!” She huffs, slapping your shoulder lightly. “You have to relax!”

“Okay,” you sigh, nodding slowly to yourself. You take a deep breath and pace back and forth in the room. “I'm still calling them.” Dialing the phone to the office, you hear a familiar voice pick up.

“Yo.” It's Manabu.

“Uh.” You falter, pausing to think of something to say. “Night work was strenuous. Aya and I are calling in sick. That is all.”

“Okay, but-”

You end the call before he could say anything. Success. “I did it. Now what?”

Aya ponders, tapping her index finger on her chin in great thought. After a minute or so, she responds. “I vote in favor of doing nothing.”

You stare at her. She fixes her gaze away from yours and instead firmly looks into the closet sheepishly. “Aya,” you call to her. “Are you alright?”

“Yup,” she nods at the closet, “never better, mmhmm.”

[ ] Better press the issue.
[ ] Relent for now.
On a very related note, who still wants this story to be updated more than once a year? I'm still thinking about saving its story from its own death but I might actually burn out with 3 other stories to take care of. Opinions and honest answers welcome.
[x] Press it like her blouse presses her chest.
I have to agree with you there. Just keep a 'whenever I feel like it' schedule. Doesn't matter if it takes months.

We really don't want writers to burn out right now. Or ever.
how about we just press against her chest instead?

{x} "press" the "issue"
You should try to straighten out your story schedule. But I doubt anyone would expect daily updates for any story of yours.

[x] Better press the issue.
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> I might actually burn out with 3 other stories to take care of.




Focus on your other stories, please.
I do, I do! Ayaya must never stop! Don't burn out, though. If slow update speeds are what it takes for this to keep updating without killing you, then do that.
Focus on Momiji's story.
Slow and steady wins the race. Until a turtle youkai shows up and loses to a bunny, let's just assume that still works.

Take it easy, writefag. and take it at whatever pace you need.
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Hey, everyone. As you may all know, updates are not happening anytime soon. In fact, it's never happening ever again. I have to admit, I've been having... problems continuing this story. This is for a variety of reasons.

1) The setting and characters are not something that I want to write anymore.
I'll say it here: I don't particularly care about the side characters, nor do I care about the nondescript setting of psuedo-Japan. I don't know a lot about Japan and it's rather painful to try and keep things consistent. That being said, the things that sets me back from writing any further updates is Aya herself. This Aya is not really the kind of Aya I want to write anymore. After the years, I can't really imagine this kind of Aya. Frankly, it's rather stale and feels one-dimensional.

2) The plot is not necessarily something I can continue.
While I was collaborating with Treia, we had outlines of what would have happened over the course of the entire story. When he dropped the story altogether and I took charge, I promised him that I would stick to the plot we created. Unfortunately, looking back at it, I don't think I want to take the story in that direction. This leads us to point three.

3) I don't like writing this story.
This is personally the biggest reason why I'm dropping this story now - because of points one and two, I really have a hard time writing this and the quality suffers because of it. As much as I don't want to leave an unfinished story, I just can't ever bring myself to write more than a few lines at a time without feeling unsatisfied with what I wrote.

I am sorry to disappoint but, if it is any consolation, I am planning to redo all of "An Excuse for Aya" as a new, separate story. It'll feature a vastly different MC and Aya. It's still in outline form but progress has been made. I'm going to end this post with the unfinished update. Because... I dunno. Reasons.


Better press the issue. “Aya,” you start. She just keeps staring at your closet with a fretful look, avoiding eye contact with you. “Is something that matter? Are you actually sick?”

“No-no, I'm fine,” Aya responds. She glances over to you from the side. “It's just that I'm at a loss over what to do right now.”

You scratch your head in exasperation. “I'd like to remind you that this was your idea and I'm just going along with it because... well. I don't really know either. I guess that makes me an accomplice to your crime. The two of us are now skipping work when we shouldn't be.” Okay. You don't have work. Now what? You don't know what to suggest right now and Aya's acting all weird. She's acting like...


Well, she's acting reserved. But this is Aya you're talking about! You are pretty sure that “reserved” is not a word in her dictionary. You sigh. “For starters, why don't we take a walk and get some fresh air? I know I need some right now.”

“Okay. That sounds good to me.” Aya smiles, already eager for something to do. She heads straight to the door but you block the exit.

“First,” you begin, “we should go clean up. We look horrible.”

A complete shower later, you feel much better about yourself. Since you're not heading into work, you can afford to wear something more casual. A shirt and a pair of jeans will do. The weather outside is thankfully nice, so you'll make do with the bare minimum.

Aya's done freshening up too. She has a cardigan on top of her usual clothes on. She looks pensive for a second, but smiles as she says, “On second thought. Why don't I lead you around the city?”

“But Aya,” you complain, “you don't know the city.”

She grins, confident in herself. “I know! It'll be an adventure. C'mon Taro, it'll be fun!”

“I'd argue against that, but...” You sigh and rub the back of your head in defeat. “Since I don't have a better idea, sure, why not. Just don't get too ahead of yourself, okay?”

“We'll be fine! Probably!” Aya giggles and runs out the door, forcing you to run along behind her.

The two of you roam around the streets for a while before settling into a quaint little park. You hop on the swings. Aya does the same, kicking her legs around for some momentum. You, on the other hand, are content with staying idle on the swings. “So, Aya. What now?”

“I dunno.” She rocks back and forth aimlessly. “I'm actually surprised we got this far!”

“Well,” you laugh. “You and me both.” You take a look around the park. By the looks of the worn down playground and the squeaky swings, you are safe to assume that the place hasn't been touched for a while. If you recall correctly, there was a shopping district somewhere close by here. “Well. If we're not doing anything... want to window shop? I know a place close by where we can just browse for a bit.”

Aya hops off the swings, bouncing around. “Sounds better than playing on the swings.” Initially, she reaches out to grab your hand but instead settles on you leading the way to the shopping district, her arms pushing you off the swings. “Let's go, let's go~”

Thankfully, the shopping district is still there. You take your time and walk through the street riddled with stores. Immediately, Aya beelines to the closest clothing store. You follow her in quickly so you don't lose her. Already, she's holding a white camisole to her shoulders. “What do you think? Would this fit me?”

“Um. Aya.” You wrinkle your eyebrows. “You do know that we're just browsing right? We don't have any money.”

“Yep. Just browsing!” She hangs the camisole and instead checks out a navy blue dress shirt. “Taro! What about this?”

“That'd probably suit you more than the last thing you showed me. Maybe it's because I've always seen you in business attire, but still.” Folding your arms, you glance over to Aya. You wouldn't say that she's not girly, but an Aya in business clothes is charming... in a way.

While you were busy thinking, Aya's already moved onto another article of clothing. Holding up a white sundress, she asks for your opinion. “Do you think this one will match me?”

You offer her a shrug. “I have no idea.”

The update would have led up the vote, where Taro can choose to take Aya's hand or not. Thank you for reading.
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Somewhere, Aya has lifted her hand toward Taro, ever so coquettishly. Somewhere, Taro reaches back - and pauses, the moment before their hands touch. Aya smiles, and breath fills Taro's chest. Their hands will be there forever, in the moment before the decision that changes everything.
Well, that's better than just leaving us hanging. Waiting warmly for the new story~
Awww. Thanks for putting this story to rest. Better than a 'hiatus', that's for sure.
I bet the Cook did this.
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