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You don't always have to be so strong

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"Huh, it's gotten pretty late already."

"Ah, you're right! I didn't even notice, should we call it a day then?"

"Awwwww, but we were just getting started!"

"Kasumi, we started at around 4:00 PM, since it's gotten this late that means we've been practicing for about 5 hours..."

"Uehhhhh...alright."

"Besides, we wouldn't be able to retain much of what we've practiced if we started getting drowsy anyway."

"Well, it's not so much the practice as it is all the fun we get to have when we rehearse together~! Ahhhhhh, it felt like barely any time passed at all, I wish we could keep going!"

"Maybe...none of us could tell the time because of the lack of sunlight! It must have affected our internal clocks!"

"I see! O-Tae you're a genius! There should really be some windows here!"

"To see what, the dirt? Have you both forgotten we're in a basement!?"

"I mean technically Arisa, basement windows usually face upwards, if you just shoveled out some of the ground there then-"

"Saaya, please don't encourage their ideas, there's a clock right there."

"Alright, alright~"

"Everyone, we should all be heading home now before it gets too late..."

"Ah, wait for us, Rimi!"

Everybody rushed to grab their things as they got ready to leave.

"Bye-bye Arisa!"

"Thanks for having us."

"It's no problem, I had a lot of fun today too, be careful on the way home, I hear it may rain pretty heavily later."

"Will do, see ya~!"

The rest walked with each other on the way home, discussing various things and talking about anything that came to mind, after some time Rimi and Tae split from the group, waving goodbye to Kasumi and Saaya as they made their way back.

"Hmm, hmmm, hmm, hmmmmm, hm hm~!"

"You've been humming for a while now, and I don't think I've heard that tune before, is that one new?"

"Yep! I just came up with it!"

"It does sound really catchy~"

"Hey hey, gimme your honest opinion! Do you think that tune would make a good song!"

"Hmmm, well speaking from the drummer's point of view, I am wondering about what type of beat I'd need to use to accompany a song like that, but from a listener's perspective, the tune sounded really nice, it's pretty unique, but also really creative~"

"Though maybe I'm just biased because you're the one singing it, your voice could make any melody work wonderfully."

"Thank you so much, Saaya, you're so sweet ^w^!"

"And yeah, now that you mention it, I can definitely see how it'd be hard for a drummer to follow along to, maybe I should change it up a little!"

"So you're thinking of making it into a song?"

"I'm considering it! I've been thinking a lot about what our new song should sound like and haven't come up with anything good yet, but maybe this is the one!"

"Ehehe, maybe~"

"If you're thinking about it, I'll just let you know that you don't have to change it up too much to accommodate me, the last thing I wanna do is restrict your creativity."

"Are you sure? I don't wanna make things hard on you."

"We can figure things out together to see what's feasible and what's not, for now, your mind should be coming up with anything it pleases, when you start going, I can't think of anybody who can come up with as many fun and interesting ideas as you."

"Ahhhhhhh~! I'm going to melt! Saaya's making me melt~!"

"Do you wanna get some ice cream to help you cool off then?"

"ICE CREAM!"

"I'll take that as a yes~"

The two make a quick stop at the nearest convenience store to buy some ice cream, after some discussion Kasumi lets Saaya pick the ice cream for them, and to Kasumi's excitement, Saaya orders a brand of star-shaped popsicles, handing Kasumi an orange flavor and choosing a lemon flavor for herself.

"MmmmmmmMMMMMM~! This is so delicious <3"

"I'm glad I made the right choice~!"

"Aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh, every time I go somewhere with Saaya, she always manages to pick the things that'd make me the most happy~!"

"Like the star kitty plushie you bought me when we were at the toy store, it was so cuuuuuuuuuuuute!

"Really? That makes me pretty happy, I'm so glad you loved it."

"I did! I'm not the only one too, sometimes when I hug Mrs.Meowlaxy, Asuka looks at me and gets all jealous! Maybe she wants a Mrs.Meowlaxy too, I should come back there and buy her one when I have the time~! Ah! But I forgot where the toy store was!"

"I remember where it is, it's a yellow and orange building around 5 city corners to the right from here, the star kitty plushies you're looking for are at the 'fuzzy and furry feline friends' section of the store."

"You remembered where it was!"

"Sure did, I actually went there with Rimi a few days ago, I'm planning on coming back again once I get my weekly allowance, would you like to come with me? It'd be a lot of fun going there with you again."

"Definitely! There's nothing that'd make me happier <3!"

Suddenly, Saaya notices a few errant raindrops sprinkling the ground around them.

"Just like Arisa said, it's starting to rain, we should hurry things up before the rain gets too severe!"

"Ah! My ice cream!"

"Don't let it get drenched!"

"Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh!"

After a few more minutes of running, the two notice they've finally reached the point where they go their separate ways.

"We're here!"

"Ah, we're here already...!"

"Well, it looks like it's time for us to say our goodbyes, thanks so much for today, Kasumi, I had a lot of fun."

"Thank you too, Saaya! I...really enjoyed today a lot!"

"I'm glad, well, see you tomorrow then~!"

"See you!"

After taking a few steps, Saaya turns around to say one last thing to Kasumi.

"Hey, Kasumi! One last thing!"

"!"

"What is it!"

"About Asuka, I don't think Mrs.Meowlaxy is what she's so jealous of."

"What do you mean by that :O?"

"Well, I'll just say, next time you see her make sure you give her a big hug, alright~!"

"How big~?"

"The biggest, like, a hug that just screams 'you mean a lot to me and I care so much about you' y'know~!"

"..."

"I think I get what you mean."

Kasumi makes her way towards Saaya.

"Like this?"

And gives her the biggest, warmest, most full of love hug anyone's ever been given.

"...Yeah...just like that."

Saaya wraps her arms around Kasumi, hugging her back.

"You're always so warm to me and everyone around, it's hard for anyone to not always be nice to you when the reward for it is seeing the most radiant smile in the world."

"...Hey, Kasumi, sorry if this is too much of a question, but at practice, did you want to stay with everybody longer, it felt like you didn't want to leave."

"..."

"...Can we stay like this for a lil while longer, Saaya?"

"We can stay like this for as long as you'd like..."

The two stay in each other's arms at the intersection of each other's homes, Saaya wraps her raincoat around Kasumi to keep her from getting cold, the moment between them feels like it could last forever, yet it only remains for a few minutes longer.

"...It's getting pretty late already."

"...Yeah."

"...I can call my parents and tell them that since it's gotten so late, I'll be spending the night at a friend's house, would you like that?"

"..."

"...I don't wanna be alone with my thoughts, but it feels like I'm asking too much from you already."

"It's alright, I don't want you to have to be alone either, and I promise it's no trouble at all."

"It's a lot of things at once, a lot of things I don't get, a lot of things I do get but don't know what to do about, I don't even know if I could explain everything and I don't know if I should either."

"I'll listen, I want to listen, and I want to be there for you, I want to never leave your side and to make you feel as loved as you deserve to be because when I needed somebody, that's what you did for me."

"...Saaya."

"...Thank you..thank you so much."

The raindrops start to decrease in number, the fog that permeated the area remains, yet somehow it feels so much easier to see.

"I love you..."

"...I just said that out of nowhere, I'm sorr-"

"I love you too."

For the first time since the rain began, the clouds part ways so that one day, the stars may shine once more.