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Team Bonding

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The whole arcade trip had been Izuru's idea - 'team bonding' as he had called it to get Ange more used to the rest of the team, and somehow he had managed to drag the rest of them to go with him, Ange included. It wasn't that bad for spending their evening off, even if it turned out that much of a leader Izuru was being, considering he spent half his time drawing manga, calling it 'background study' or something.

All the games and such had been pretty enjoyable, though, Ange had to admit. Perhaps it even worked as bringing the team together, even if it came down to just watching the rest of them act like complete fools half the time.

"Come on, you stupid thing," Tamaki whined at the UFO catcher machine. It was the fourth time she failed to capture the bunny plush that had caught her eye, and she insisted on having it. "This is too hard. Maybe the machine has something against me?" She wondered, then turned around and gave her team mates as cute look as she could manage. "You get it for me, Kei? Pretty please?"

Kei didn't look very impressed, but she stepped to the machine anyway. "Fine, I'll try, but I can't guarantee anything." She studied the location of the crane and the spot where the plush toy was for a moment, then went for an attempt. The vending machine's claw went down just fine, touching the plush toy, but failed to bring it up. "Just as I thought. Why don't you make Suruga do it?"

"Nope, totally a girl," Ange heard Tamaki comment to Asagi on the side. What was this now - or was it more like, this again. "She's good at the dancing game, and dancing games are totally girl games!"

"Nonsense," Asagi replied. "You saw how good he was at the laser shooting. Right, Izuru?" Their glorious leader of the team bonding exercise was sketching a picture, one of the crane machine this time. "Come on, Izuru," Asagi said. "Back me up a little, here."

As a reply Izuru just turned his drawing around. "Well, how does it look?" Asagi rolled his eyes, and since at this point Tamaki had managed to beg Suruga to try out the crane machine, Ange decided watching him go at it was more interesting than listening to the silly argument.

"Actually, she took the pink cotton candy," Kei pointed out. "Would a guy take pink cotton candy?"

Because it had been the closest one, Ange mentally replied, not wanting to say it aloud and get involved in the silly conversation. Sure, the rest of the team had gone for color-coded cotton candies, but there had been no black color available, and thus anything was fine. Why were they going on about this anyway, and how was cotton candy in any way relevant? Ange sighed and looked at claw crane moving around the machine, noticing that Suruga was staring at it with a concentrated look on his face as he went for the plush toy they were after.

"Because cotton candy is good, no matter the color," Izuru tried, looking thoughtful. "It was meanwhile Ange's idea to stop by the cafe we went into, and he ordered coffee while you girls got juice?" Kei and Tamagi didn't seem impressed, but Izuru's attention was elsewhere already. "Whoa, hey, stay like that a second, Suruga, that makes a good good pose for..." He trailed off, returning to the sketch.

At the same time, the claw went down, caught the toy with precision - and failed to actually hold the toy, dropping it a few seconds later. "Ah damn it," Suruga leaned away. "I almost had it! Lemme try again, I'll get it this time."

"You guys do realize these machines are mostly luck and entirely dependent on what setting the owner of this place has it on?" Asagi commented as Suruga went for another try. "Getting that one particular toy has nothing to do with skill."

Trying the exact same move as before wasn't as good idea as Suruga had thought, it turned out, as the toy had turned around from the last attempt and the claw missed completely on this round. "How do you know, you haven't even tried," he claimed. "It's definitely about skill, you just have to..." He tried again, catching the toy this time. "Ha! There we go, never underestimate a sniper-" His victory was cut short as the toy, not as securely held by the claw as one would expect, slipped back down. "Damn it all! All right, one more time..."

The player skill did count, but claw crane vending machines were about luck and settings too, though, Ange thought. Judging by the behavior of the particular machine, it appeared that the difficulty was reasonably high, but getting too technical about that wouldn't have made a difference. Suruga frowned in deep concentration, again quite accurate with his attempt, but the claw came up empty. "Gahhh. You guys try?"

"Why not just give up on that one?" Kei questioned. "We might have better luck on a different machine."

"But I want that one," Tamaki cut in, appearing despaired. "Izuru? Asagi? Come on, please help me?" The boys didn't look very interested - rather, Asagi looked like he was ready to give up on the whole arcade business, and Izuru, looking up from his latest drawing, appeared completely confused, like he had no idea what the question was about. "Come on, you two. Pretty please?"

"...Um?" Ange stepped forward a little, taking the joystick. "Maybe I could try?"

Tamaki's expression brightened. "Would you?"

"I... Well, can't promise anything, but it's worth a try?" The claw was responsive enough at least, and Ange moved it to the exact spot where the toy had dropped from the earlier attempt. Aiming at it wasn't that difficult; whether the claw would hold it was another question. The rest of the team had at this point gathered around the machine and were looking closely, and Ange pressed the button. The claw went down, caught the toy, brought it up and moved towards the opening in the corner - and dropped the toy just in time for it to make through the chute.

The whole team cheered - if it was from the fact that they won, or from the fact that Tamaki would now stop bugging them to play, Ange wasn't sure, but it didn't matter. "You're the best, Ange!" Tamaki said as she picked up the toy, then just randomly hugged Ange. "Absolutely the best! Thank you!"

Being hugged so tight was a little embarrassing, but Ange had to admit that maybe this team bonding thing really wasn't so bad.