Assignment: Any Character
Once more, stuff with all the ToQgers in an ensemble setting would be wonderful. (I have an especial love for Tokatti, Hikari, and Kagura, and if you want to focus just on one or two characters, those would be good choices, but EVERYONE is also a very very very good option.)
Summary: Five Christmases the ToQgers have together.
Notes: This was a wonderful assignment and it definitely made me realize how special the ToQgers are and how open their world is. So instead of just one whole long thing, I've decided to break up the stories into five sub ones, scattered all over the series' progression. I hope you enjoy this and Merry, Merry Christmas!
Naturally, it was Hikari who first spotted him lurking in the soft shadows of their hideout.
Not that Right was doing anything remotely suspicious; after dismissal he just sort-of followed Kagura and Mio from a distance because they were laughing and shrieking and Kagura was holding a bag full of confetti and paper flowers and ribbons both green and red, and even Tokatti was rushing after the girls and tripping over his feet in his haste and Hikari, tiny Hikari was at the rear end of their group, rounding them all up as they walked towards one location only.
And Right was so very curious because at first he thought they weren't all friends but after seeing them together, as one group, they looked-- well, they looked happy, was all.
(Both Mama and Grandfather told him he needed friends. That he should look for them during his first day at his new school so he wouldn't be lonely.
So he did.)
That's why he was standing there, peering as far and as tall as he could push himself up, just so he could see Mio and Kagura placing decorations everywhere, and Tokatti pushing his glasses up and sneezing over a bunch of Styrofoam pieces that Right assumed were supposed to be snow. There were plastic cups and juices and opened lunchboxes and just a bit more to the left, he could see--
He stepped on a twig, and before he could even react Hikari was already behind him, looking formidable in his green coat while scowling. "What are you doing here?"
Right scowled back, unwilling to let himself be intimidated by a smaller kid. He grimaced. Should he throw the first punch or--
(But Grandfather said he should look for friends...)
"Why did you follow us?" Hikari asked again, after a long silence from Right as he debated on what to do.
Their attention caught by Hikari's loud voice, soon even the girls and Tokatti approached them and peered at him suspiciously.
Right didn't fidget, even if they were scrutinizing him like he was a very interesting-looking bug.
"Hey I know you," said Mio suddenly, and Right wasn't sure if she was angry or not. "Suzuki Right? You introduced yourself to our class last Monday, didn't you?" She looked at the others. "Remember?"
"Oh!" said Kagura, bouncing as if remembering something. "You're the new kid!"
"Yes, and teacher said we should be welcoming to him," Mio said, looking at him now. Teacher said, hence it was law, he thought she implied.
Tokatti frowned at Right. "You're my partner in our science project! How are you at doing cut-outs? We should--"
Kagura grinned at Tokatti and poked his shoulder. "Mio's my partner in that. She'll be the one doing the cut-outs."
Mio smiled. "Only because you're doing the coloring and because you get yourself cut every time you handle scissors."
"Hey, I do not--"
Tokatti grimaced. "Teacher assigned girls and boys separately," he said. "If she didn't--"
"You're not answering my question," Hikari noted, still looking at Right.
Oh. Was it his turn to talk now?
"Well, you're all saying so many things!" Right said, crossing his arms. "How should I know when to talk? Besides, you already know my name, so." He shrugged.
"My question was what are you doing here," Hikari said.
"...yeah," Tokatti said, squinting and pushing his glasses up again. "No one knows about this place! Except for the four of us, anyway."
"Is this... is this a... " Right dropped his voice to a whisper, "...a secret hideout?"
It sounded so cool, right then and there.
"Yeah," Kagura said, fidgeting and casting worried looks around her. "But how did you find us? No one should know about this place!"
"He followed us," Hikari said, in a tone that said Kagura should have realized it.
"Why?" Mio asked him, crossing her arms.
"Well..." Right shrugged. What should his answer be to that question, anyway?
"I just thought-- I just thought you wanted to play, that's all." Honesty was the best policy, after all.
"With you?" Tokatti clarified.
Right nodded, digging his heels into the ground as they scrutinized him even more.
The other four exchanged furtive glances. Then, as one, they stepped forward and crowded him.
"What kind of games do you know?" Mio asked.
"What kind of games do you like?" Kagura asked.
"I don't like games where I have to run," Tokatti noted. "Do you?"
"But those are the fun games!" Hikari said, nudging Tokatti.
"I can do anything!" Right boasted, puffing up his chest in pride. "All kinds of games. I'm up for them!"
The other four stilled.
"All kinds of games?" Mio said. "Even girly ones?"
Right, after a brief moment of hesitation, gamely nodded.
Kagura tilted her head to study him. "Well... I suppose we can play..." She looked at Mio, then at Hikari, as if asking them if that was alright to say.
Tokatti suddenly grinned and voiced out what he thought was pure brilliance: "Oh! Right can play with Hikari if he wants to run around!"
Turning to Right Mio explained, "Tokatti gets sick sometimes, and Hikari doesn't like playing pretend with us. That's why he ends up playing with his kendama a lot."
"That's because you pretend to be girls," Hikari said with clear distaste.
"We are girls!" Kagura said, scandalized.
"I can do that," Right said. At Hikari's openly suspicious look, Right insisted, "What? I can!"
"How fast can you run?" Hikari challenged.
"Very fast," Right responded curtly.
"You don't look strong," Hikari said.
"Well, you're smaller," Right shot back. Because that clearly trumped his arguments.
Kagura tugged Mio's sleeve and stepped into her shadows.
Taking that as her cue, Mio stepped forward, right between the two squabbling boys. "Okay, before anyone can play, we should all finish decorating our hideout." Mio took the bag of ribbons and paper flowers and whatnot, and gave each of her friends a handful. "We can eat after we're done, and then we can play."
"But won't the cake get dirty?" Kagura asked, glancing at their table.
Right's eyes rounded. "There's cake?"
Kagura nodded vigorously. "I brought one! Mama said it's okay. It's for us. It's Christmas Cake but it's chocolate and vanilla inside."
"Are there strawberries in it?" Right asked, wiping at his mouth before he drooled.
"On top!" Kagura said happily.
"We can share it with you, I guess," Tokatti said. "It's a big cake."
Hikari glanced at Mio. "Won't your tea get cold if we're going to eat later?"
Mio frowned. "I... guess," she said. "But... our hideout should look nice before we eat."
"We can move quicker since there's five of us instead of four," Right said.
Kagura nodded vigorously.
Tokatti stepped closer to Mio and took the bag from her. "Let's start!"
After a while Mio relented and smiled and said, "Let's!"
b. Tokatti and their Christmas at the train
For Christmas, Mio got:
A bento box and chopsticks for Right. It's not even something she had to think about; Right loved food so much that not getting him one for Christmas felt - well, wrong. The bento box she got him was more special and expensive - something Right could reuse, if he decided to. If he remembered to. She hope he would.
A necktie for Tokatti. It was one with little blue boats in it; it looked formal and cute and would hopefully suit Tokatti wherever he decided to wear it. She hoped he'd wear it during their Christmas Party at school.
A scarf for Hikari. It was deep green in color and in certain lights it looked black. Thick and warm and fluffy, she hoped he would wear it as they sing Christmas Carols together.
A ribbon for Kagura.
And while Mio was fairly certain Akira would never get her gift, she still got him a cat collar just in case he did, and just in case he was in need of one.
d. Hikari is working. They bring Christmas to him.
e. (Mio dead of course) Focus on Kagura