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“Yō-chan, are you sure you’re alright?”

The brunette nods still not willing to let go of the hug she had Chika in.

“You’re not still crying are you?” Chika asks, concern slipping into her tone.

Yō pauses for a moment and lets the question hang in the air.  She isn’t crying anymore, but if she admitted that to Chika then there would be no other reason to keep her in this hug would there?  And honestly Yō just wanted to feel the warmth of her best friend a little longer.

But on the other hand she didn’t want to worry Chika more than she already has.  So Yō squeezes Chika one more time and takes a deep breath before her grip on the orange haired girl loosens. Yō pulls back and stares into Chika’s searching red eyes and gives her a signature Yousoro smile.

“Nope, no more tears!  You don’t have to worry about me Chika-chan, I’m fine now.”

Chika kept staring at Yō unconvinced.  And Yō felt her smile waver for a moment.  Although instead of it falling into a frown her lips parted slightly in a quiet gasp as Chika reached a hand up and brushed a stray tear off the brunettes’ cheek.

“You really are a dummy Yō-chan.  You’re my best friend and you were crying, how could I not worry about you?”

Yō’s smile turns sheepish as she averts her gaze and ignores the new flush to her cheeks.

“I’m sorry…” Yō mumbled.

“Don’t apologize; just remember to tell me when things are bothering you.  Don’t keep that stuff bottled up!  And if anything I should be apologizing! I mean what kind of best friend am I if you didn’t even trust me enough to share your burdens with me.” Chika exclaimed.

Yō looked at Chika with a bewildered expression, “Chika-chan…  it’s not your fault, I was just being dumb and got jealous over Riko-chan all on my own even tho-” Yō stooped short, eyes wide as she stared back at Chika who also looked shocked.

“Huh, Riko-chan, why would you be jealous of her?”

Yō bit her lip, knowing she was caught and had to fess up now, but still not wanting to admit it to Chika.

With a defeated sigh Yō glanced up at Chika shyly and says, “I thought, Riko-chan was taking you away from me…” Yō drifted off but then realizing how that sounded quickly backpedals while stuttering.

“What I mean was- uh- it just felt like you and Riko-chan were getting really close so suddenly and your bond with her was getting stronger while ours…”  Too flustered to finish Yō covers her face with her hands pretending she was anywhere else but here.  She couldn’t believe she actually admitted that in front of Chika.

But instead of just leaving her to drown in embarrassment Chika grabs Yō’s hands so she couldn’t hide her face anymore and looks at Yō with something that was a cross between anger and a pout.

“Watanabe Yō!” Chika says firmly causing the brunette to finally look Chika in the eye, “Listen up, because what I’m about to say is super important okay?”

Yō just nods not wanting to face Chika’s wrath.

“Yō-chan, you are my best friend and I love you.  You are always helping me out and saving me when I need it the most and pushing me along when I feel down.  You’ve honestly done so much for me over the years Yō-chan and there’s no way anything could come between us.  And honestly the only way I know how to pay you back is hoping that I can also help you and pick you up when you are down, and inspire you like you inspire me.  And that’s why you should tell me when something is bothering you because I care about you and I don’t wanna see you cry, okay?”

Yō continues to look at Chika with wonder as a fresh set of tears gathered in the brunette’s eyes.

Chika’s tough front crumbles the moment more tears fell from Yō’s eyes. “Ahh please don’t cry anymore Yō-chan!”

Yō sniffles and gives a watery chuckle, “I can’t help it, when you say stuff like that Chika-chan it really makes me feel like I don’t deserve you.”

“Don’t say that Yō-chan.  Of course you deserve me!  When it comes to my best friend checklist you fit all the cry teary-a.” Chika wiggles her eyebrows as silence envelops them. “Get it? Because you were about to cry and-”

Yō cuts Chika’s explanation off with laughter and an unexpected hug.

“You always know how to make me laugh Chika-chan. Thank you.”

Pulling back from the hug Yō gets up and raises her arms over her head in a stretch.  Once she was done she offered Chika her hand which the orange haired girl took and pulled herself up.  Matching smiles spread across the two girls’ lips as they looked at each other.

"Alright, now that we got all of that cleared up are you ready to practice You-chan?" Chika exclaims.

Yō’s brows furrow as she tilts her head in confusion, “Chika-chan it's late plus you must be tired after biking all the way here."

“Don’t worry about that Yō-chan, I’ve always got energy to spare!” Chika fist pumps as if to emphasize the statement. “Plus now I’m even more fired up and want to work on our dance right away!”

Chuckling lightly Yō can’t help but look at the orange haired girl fondly, honestly Chika never changes.

“I wanna get started too, but there’s nowhere we could practice that has enough lightning and won’t disturb anyone.  It is after ten p.m. Chika-chan.” Yō explains.

Chika pouts and her shoulders fall as Yō’s logic defeats her enthusiasm.

“Fine, I guess we can start tomorrow.” Chika says with a sigh.  Bowing her head Chika makes her way past Yō to the front door.  Right as Chika was about to open it Yō’s confused voice speaks up.

“Um, what are you doing Chika-chan?”

Chika tilts her head, “Eh, I was going inside to get ready for bed. Unless…” Chika gasps dramatically and widens her eyes, “Don’t tell me Yō-chan is cruel enough to make me bike all the way back home after I made the effort to come over here and comfort her!”

Yō makes a low whine and stomps her foot, “You know I wouldn’t do that to you.”

Chika smiles cheekily and bows in an outlandish manner, “Oh thank you great and merciful Yō-chan for having mercy on a pitiful person such as myself.”

Yō rolls her eyes but her smile never wavers, “Of course, anything for my best first mate Chika-chan.”

They both start giggling and make their way inside the house.  They tried to keep their laughter down so they wouldn’t disturb Mrs. Watanabe as they make their way up the stairs and into Yō’s room.

“Ahh it feels like I haven’t been here in forever.” Chika says as she twirls in the center of the room.  Yō leaves her to her own devices as she walks into her bathroom and pulls out her extra towels and toiletries. Bundling them all up she walks back into her room and hands them to Chika.

Here you go Chika-chan; I know you must want to take a shower.  So feel free to use the bathroom and when you’re done your spare clothes are in the usual drawer. I’ll be back.”

“Aye-Aye Yō-chan!” Chika salutes and Yō returns it.

As Chika goes to shower Yō goes off to find her mom to tell her that Chika was here and she was spending the night.  For a moment Yō idly wondered if her mother would be upset that Chika had suddenly showed up uninvited, but then remembered all the other times her best friend has done something like this and brushes the thought away.

Yō didn’t find her mother in her room so she heads downstairs guessing that she was probably in the kitchen looking for a late night snack.  She’s proven right two minutes later when she spots the older woman sitting at the table sipping from a tea cup.

The moment Yō steps into the kitchen her mom pins her with a knowing look.

"I see Chika is as lively as ever" Mrs. Watanabe says.

Yō flushes, “Ah so you already knew?”

Mrs. Watanabe just raises her eyebrow at her daughter with a coy smile on her lips, "I suppose this means she's staying over?"

Yō nods.

Getting up from the table, tea in hand, Mrs. Watanabe begins to exit the kitchen patting her daughter on the head as she walked past.

"Well, try to keep it down, remember we do have neighbors…"

You groans and buries her face in her hands wondering why her mom always has to tease her.  Now thoroughly embarrassed Yō grabs some juice out the fridge and a snack and heads back up the stairs.

When she enters her room Chika was just finishing pulling on a shirt that was obviously Yō‘s and the brunette can't help the way her chest warms at the sight.

“Yō-chan, you’re back!” Chika greets with a bright smile.

“And I come baring gifts.” Handing over the juice and cookies she had found Chika grins brightly.

“Thanks Yō-chan, you’re the best!” Chika cheers as she starts to chug the drink while Yō opens her and drinks at a more normal pace.

They sit in silence for a bit as they finishing up their juice and eat the final cookies from the pack.  Suddenly Chika lets out a yawn and the realization that they were going to have to sleep soon dawns on Yō.

Sleep in the same bed that is.

Yō ‘s mind goes back to their training camp as she remembers when they were getting ready for bed, and Yō, who was so used to just sharing with Chika during sleepovers, made her way over to the orange haired girls bed only to be stopped by the feeling of eyes on her.

Turning around she saw all the girls looking over at her and Chika with confusion.  Before anyone else could say anything Mari’s loud and excited voice filled the room.

“Oh~ what is this? Could it be that Chikacchi and You-chan still sleep in the same bed together? How adorable~”

Yō remembered feeling so mortified as if she could disappear right there and then.

And now here with Chika, alone, in her room Yō can’t help but start to over thinking things (as usual) and now she's not sure if it's weird or not.  Especially now, after everything that happened tonight.

Yō  absentmindedly goes through the motions of preparing for bed, not even aware of herself turning off the lights or placing her glasses on her bedside table along with her scrunchie and sitting on her bed.  She continues to get lost in her thoughts, but before she can get too caught up in her head Yō is suddenly tackled down on the bed.

Blinking rapidly Yō suddenly comes back to herself and becomes aware of her surroundings again, and when she looks up there's Chika smiling down at her.

"You know, ever since we created Aqours we haven't had a lot of time together with just us...." Chika begins, "Actually this will be out first sleepover in a while huh?"

Chika smiles so endearingly at Yō and brushes her fingers against the brunettes’ cheek.

"I've missed this..."

 Yō is now dying on the inside but she still smiles dumbly and nods in agreement.

Laughing at Yō dumbstruck expression Chika moves off of her and makes her way to her usual spot on the bed and gets under the covers and pats the space next to her invitingly.

Almost tripping over her own feet Yō makes her way over to the offered spot and settles in.

They're both facing each other smiling (although Yō’s smile is a bit more embarrassed).

"You don't think we're too old to still sleep in the same bed do you Chika-chan?"

Chika furrows her brows

"Are you still thinking about what Mari-san said? Don't worry about it Yō -chan it fine~"

Chika grabs Yō‘s hand under the covers

"Besides this feels right, right?"

"Right…"

"Then don't worry so much."

They lapse into silence for a bit and Yō begins to doze off a bit when Chika suddenly speaks up again.

"Hey Yō -chan...."

"Hmm?"

"I'm sorry...."

"Huh, for what Chika-chan?"

"I was thinking about it a lot before I came over. But you must have been feeling lonely for a while right?"

Yō  just blinks at her friend, still not wanting to admit such embarrassing things, but even so Chika doesn't even  give her the chance to respond "I'm sorry for not noticing. I'm sorry for letting our hearts get this disconnected…"

Chika looks off to the side and laughs a little to herself.

"Did you know Kanan-chan actually talked to me about it the other day? I mean, I already felt it, and I was trying to figure out what to do. But Kanan-chan said over thinking stuff like that didn't really suit me"

Yō giggles, "Do you think it's a coincidence that Mari-san also talked to me and told me to be more honest with my feelings?"

They both smile knowingly at each other.

“We have some pretty good senpai huh Yō-chan.”

“Yeah.” Yō laughs.

Then Chika becomes a little bit more serious.

"I love you Yō -chan."

Yō smiles softly at her.

"I love you too Chika-chan."

 Chika scoots a little closer to her.

"No listen... you know you're the most important person to me right?"

"Of course, it's the same for me Chika-chan; you're my most precious person."

Chika nods, "So when I say I love you I mean like- like you know...." her voice trails off as she closes the distance between them and kisses Yō.

"Like that…" she finishes breathlessly when she pulls away

Yō blinks owlishly at her before she breaks out into a giant smile too overcome with happy feelings to speak, so Yō just leans back in and kisses Chika.

When she pulls back they're both grinning like idiots.

They're both so filled with happiness they start to giggle.  Pressing their foreheads together they both hug each other.

They share soft kisses, smiles, and happy laughter until they fall asleep in each other’s arms.