This was written as part of the Saimatsu Gift Exchange on Tumblr for MythGirl Writes! I hope you enjoy!
The sound of a car horn that Shuichi was all too familiar with snapped him out of his last-second thoughts, and he looked towards the door as if the offender was about to burst through them any second despite knowing that Kaito never came to the door.
He made sure that everything he needed was in order in his backpack - water bottle, snacks, his trusty hat for the sun - and then slung it over his shoulder. He was alone in the house, his parents both at work, so he walked quietly through it and locked it behind him. He turned to the street to see Kaito's car, as he expected. As he walked closer, the window rolled down.
"Hey, Shuichi! There's space in the back!" Kaito called, which meant that someone was already in the passenger seat. Shuichi walked to the closest back door, only to be greeted by his girlfriend grinning at him, gesturing for him to go around. Ah, so he was the last to be picked up. Shuichi walked around to the other back door and got in, leaning over to hug Kaede in greeting, who was restricted by her seat belt but did her best to return it.
"Hey, Shuichi." Shuichi looked to the passenger seat to see Maki looking back at him, wearing a stoic expression, and Shuichi greeted her as well.
"That's all four of us now! Let's get going, we don't want to keep Tenko and Himiko waiting," Kaito exclaimed, clearly excited for the day's activities. He started driving, going a little too fast for Shuichi's liking. Unfortunately, Kaito was only driving them because no one else here had their license yet, and of the three only Kaede had a car waiting for her when she did finally get it, and Kaito had both, thus making him their driver, a fact that Kaito took great pride in. The random outings with no warning were exhausting, though. Fortunately, this particular day was all Kaede's idea.
"I'm still amazed how lucky we are that the day the theme park is giving out a deal is a day that we're off school!" Kaede said, and Shuichi could see how excited she was, which made him chuckle.
"Yeah, it was a really good find," Shuichi replied, and Kaede beamed at him, pleased with his praise. Now, Shuichi wouldn't say that he was particularly enthusiastic about theme parks, but with his friends there, he figured that it should be a fun time as long as everything went smoothly.
"It's been a long time since I last went to a theme park," Maki spoke up from the front, and although she was still looking stoic, Shuichi could tell by the slight upward tilt of her mouth that she was looking forward to the trip as well.
"It'll be great!" Kaito said, placing a hand on Maki's shoulder, which made her face flush, telling him to put both hands on the wheel before he got them all killed. Fortunately, Kaito did as she asked, and the drive to the theme park had no incidents.
Shuichi could hear the theme park before he could see it, both loud cartoony music and delighted screaming hitting his ears before he saw the twisting roller coaster tracks and neon signs. The former sent a short burst of anxiety through him, but he was distracted by a hand on his leg, and looked over to see Kaede smiling at him.
"It's all going to be fine, Shuichi, you'll see," Kaede said reassuringly. "We'll have fun together!"
"Nothing to worry about, Shuichi, not when I'm around!" Kaito called from the front, getting a chuckle out of Shuichi. "And we're here!" Kaito quickly pulled into a parking space and the four got out, heading towards the entry gate. Shuichi paid for both him and Kaede, but when Kaito moved forward to pay for him and Maki, Maki was insistent that she pay for herself, so after that squabble was sorted they were allowed into the theme park.
"Where do you think Tenko and Himiko might be? With all these people it might be impossible to find them," Kaede asked, hand over her eyes as she scanned the crowd.
"We could call them," Maki suggested, ever the logical thinker. However, just as Kaede pulled out her phone to do just that, Shuichi spotted the two girls running over to them, calling out to them. Shuichi was a bit surprised to see Himiko wearing her regular mage hat with her casual clothes because of how warm it was, but he shrugged. He'd never seen her without it, after all.
"Hey everyone! Glad you could make it," Tenko greeted, smiling at Kaede and Maki, that smile slipping a bit when her eyes drifted over Shuichi and Kaito. Shuichi had known Tenko long enough to know not to take it personally.
"We've already been on one of the rides, it was super fun," Himiko said, a shy smile on her face as she looked at the four newcomers.
"Sweet! Well, now that we're all here, where should we go first?" Kaito asked. "I wanna go on the biggest roller coaster they have here!"
"Uh, I think we should warm up with something tamer before we do that…" Shuichi spoke up nervously, looking up at said roller coaster. "Maybe something like the river ride first?"
"Tenko and I already went on that one! I think we should go win some prizes," Himiko said, and Tenko nodded next to her.
"But if we do that now, we'd have to carry the prizes around all day. We should do that last," Kaede retorted, and just as it looked like Tenko and Kaito were both about to speak up, Maki stepped in the middle of everyone, silencing them with a hard stare.
"We all have different things we want to do. I suggest that we split up into smaller groups to do the things that we want and then meet up for lunch. Sound good?" Maki said, looking around at the group, who slowly began to nod. Maki let out a sigh and went to Kaito's side. "Okay, good. See you later." Maki then began to drag Kaito away in the direction of the roller coaster. Kaito quickly said goodbye to everyone before going along with Maki. The four remaining people looking at each other, blinking with surprise.
"Wow, I never would have expected Maki to take charge like that. She must really be excited about this," Kaede said, the others nodding. "I guess you're going to win some prizes, then? We'll see you later!" Tenko and Himiko took their leave after saying their farewells, and Kaede then turned to Shuichi, who was staring back at her with disbelief.
"This… is not how expected today to go. But I guess it's just the two of us now," Shuichi said with a shrug, trying to ignore the rising anxiety inside him. He looked at Kaede, his spiraling thoughts coming to a halt when she grabbed his hand.
"It'll be fine, Shuichi. We'll catch up with the others later. For now we've all got things we want to do more, and then we'll do more rides with them after lunch. So let's have fun, just the two of us!" Kaede grinned, and Shuichi smiled back, finding it hard to feel down with his girlfriend's encouragement.
"Yeah, let's go have fun. Do you want to go on the river ride, or do you have something else in mind?" Shuichi asked.
"I'm fine with the river ride first! Come on, it's over this way!" Kaede began to walk, Shuichi having to come because she was still holding his hand, but as he caught up to her he gave it a squeeze, ready to have a fun day.
After a wait that fortunately wasn't too long, Kaede and Shuichi were able to get on the river ride, Shuichi lowering the bar over them so that they would be secure. After the rest of the boats were filled, the ride began. This was a slow ride with the exception of a drop at the end, so Shuichi had nothing to worry about and was able to simply enjoy his time with Kaede.
"This is pretty relaxing, isn't it? And we even get to enjoy some scenery!" Kaede joked, pointing to the gaudy jungle scene props situated on the sides of the river, like a mechanical tiger and some shrubbery.
"Yeah, it's nice to spend time together like this," Shuichi agreed, looking at Kaede, a smile coming onto his face as he watched her inspecting the props. If she was having fun, then it was much easier for him to have fun, too. As he continued to watch her, Kaede turned to him, at first a bit surprised that he was already looking, but then matching his smile, reaching out to hold his hand, their fingers interlocking.
"Why are you looking at me like that, Shuichi?" Kaede asked with a laugh, Shuichi knowing that she already knew the answer but wanting to give it to her anyway.
"You look so pretty when you're smiling and having fun, and I'm so lucky that I get to see you like that," Shuichi replied, feeling his cheeks heat up with the romantic words, and even in the darkness he could tell that Kaede was a bit bashful too, though she looked pleased as well.
"And I'm lucky that you're able to be open and share your life with me," Kaede replied, and they leaned in to kiss, but were suddenly cut off by the brightness of the sun outside and the boat they were in reaching the drop, and they held onto each other, caught off guard by the sudden drop. The boat landed with a splash into the water below, getting them wet.
They looked at each other, surprised, but were soon laughing at their wet appearances, some of Shuichi's hair flopping down over his face, and Kaede's perfectly styled hair starting to become messy. Shuichi tucked some loose strands of hair behind Kaede's ear, and she smiled in thanks for the gesture.
The boat soon docked, and Shuichi helped Kaede out and back onto land.
"That was fun! Where do you want to go now?" Shuichi asked, Kaede looking up from inspecting her clothes.
"I want to go on the big roller coaster, but I think we should save that for when we come back to everyone. How about we try one of the smaller roller coasters?" Kaede suggested, looking hopefully at Shuichi. "If the wait time isn't too long, we could go scout out some good eating places before we meet up with everyone, too."
"Sounds good, lead the way." Shuichi nodded, sure that a roller coaster would be fine as long as Kaede was there with him.
Unfortunately, the line at the roller coaster was quite long, but Kaede was determined to go on it, so they waited for it. Shuichi watched the time closely, afraid that they would miss the meetup time, but fortunately the line moved fairly quickly, and soon enough they were in a car, the bar getting lowered over them by the attendant.
After everyone was situated on the roller coaster, they began to move, Shuichi's heart rate increasing as they climbed. Kaede was a reassuring presence though, so Shuichi handled everything fine, the twists and turns and drops making him a bit dizzy but not fearing for his life, especially since it was one of the more tame coasters.
When they were getting off the ride, Shuichi even had a small smile on his face, which grew when he saw how big Kaede's smile was, clearly having enjoyed herself.
"That was so much fun!" Kaede exclaimed, looking happily at her boyfriend. "How did you find it? Do you think you could handle the bigger one after lunch?"
"Probably more likely to vomit then…" Shuichi muttered, but when he saw Kaede's head tilt he cleared his throat. "Uh, we'll see how I feel. I think I'll probably be fine, though. It'll be fun with everyone together."
"Yeah, that's what I think!" Kaede replied, pulling out her phone. "We don't have time to scout for food, so let's head over towards the food stands and try to find everyone!" Kaede grabbed Shuichi's arm and they began to look for their friends.
After a short while, they were able to find Himiko and Tenko, and shortly after that Shuichi and Himiko got messages from Kaito, telling them to meet by the picnic area, so they headed over to find Kaito and Maki, the latter biting into a churro.
"I wanted a snack while we waited." Maki shrugged by way of explanation for said snack.
"Now that we're all here, let's get something to eat! Do we want something to share, or everyone buys their own things?" Kaito asked.
"How about we buy some fries to share, then everyone buys things that they want?" Kaede suggested, and that idea found favour among everyone. Himiko, not wanting much more than the fries, offered to save them seats with a request that Tenko bring her a strawberry ice cream.
The group temporarily split after chipping in money for Kaito to buy the fries with, Shuichi purchasing a burger, a bottle of Coke and some churros, feeling inspired by Maki. He returned to the table to see that Kaede and Maki were back too, Kaede having gotten herself a small bucket of popcorn and a pretzel and Maki her own burger.
"Good choice." Maki nodded upon seeing Shuichi's churros, Shuichi chuckling as he sat. "They're pretty good."
"Yeah, I felt like getting some after seeing you eating one." Shuichi shrugged, starting to tuck into his burger. Shortly after, Tenko returned, handing Himiko her ice cream and getting into the corn dogs she had bought.
It took some time for Kaito to return, Shuichi getting about halfway through his burger and it quickly became apparent why. Kaito had gone all out on food, buying not only the fries but a burger, some popcorn and some cotton candy.
"Why did you buy so much junk?" Maki asked, not looking impressed as Kaito sat down, wasting no time in eating. "You're going to get sick after we go on more rides."
"Just like a degenerate male to think about stuffing himself instead of being smart," Tenko added, giving Kaito a withering look. Shuichi looked at his burger and churros subconsciously, but Kaede shook her head at him, indicating that his portion was fine.
"I'm hungry! And I'll be fine, you'll see," Kaito replied, trying to reassure his girlfriend, but she wasn't having it, crossing her arms as she watched him eat before sighing and going back to her own meal. Things were silent for a little bit there at the table.
"Do we want to go on the big roller coaster together after lunch? I'm excited for it!" Kaede broke the silence, a big smile on her face, and her enthusiasm brought life back to the table.
"Definitely! Maki and I already had a go, but I'd do it again!" Kaito exclaimed, matching Kaede's smile with one of his own.
"Yeah, I'll do it again with all of you," Maki contributed, a small smile on her face. "If only to keep this idiot from making a fool of himself." Shuichi chuckled as Kaito took offense to the statement.
"I'll come too, but what about you, Himiko? Do you want to go on the roller coaster?" Tenko asked her girlfriend, who was in the middle of licking her ice cream, and once she'd finished her mouthful, she spoke up.
"It looks a bit scary, but yeah, it'll be fun. If something bad happens, I'll use a levitating spell to keep us from falling to our deaths," Himiko said, that grim note hitting Shuichi funny.
"And of course I'll ride, too. With you all there, it should be a fun time." Shuichi smiled at everyone. With their plan for after lunch set, they fell silent as they focused on lunch, Kaito surprisingly getting through everything he bought, although Maki did steal some of his popcorn when he wasn't looking, sharing an amused look with anyone who caught her in the act.
Soon the group was staring up at the roller coaster, some of them in awe of how high up it went, and others very excited to get through the line to get on. Unfortunately, because it was such a popular ride, the line was massive, but Shuichi was grateful for the chance to settle his stomach before they hopped on. It would be very embarrassing if he got sick.
"Are you doing okay?" Kaede's voice came from beside him, and Shuichi turned to see her watching him with some concern.
"Yeah, I'll be fine. You're all here so I have nothing to worry about." Shuichi nodded, sending Kaede a smile, which she returned easily.
"Ugh, what a pain. I used a spell to make the line go faster but it's still too slow," Himiko complained, looking frustrated.
"Don't worry, Himiko! We should get on the next time!" Tenko assured her, and as it turned out, Tenko was right. Despite a large number of people being in front of them, the roller coaster was long enough that they were all able to be seated on the next cycle, even if it was near the back, something which Kaito seemed a bit sad about.
"Maki and I got to experience it from the fun, and it was awesome! I wish we could do that again," Kaito said once the attendant had moved to secure the next people into the ride.
"I wasn't going to wait longer just so we could get a seat at the front, we waited long enough. And look, Himiko's happy we don't have to wait anymore, too." Maki gestured to the short girl, who had a smile on her face. As Shuichi smiled at seeing her happy, he had a thought.
"Hey, Himiko. You should probably hold onto your hat, or it might fly off while we're up there," Shuichi told her, and her eyes widened.
"You're right! Thanks, Shuichi!" Himiko replied, reaching a hand up to hold her hat instead of taking it off to hold in her lap like Shuichi would have expected. With a shrug in Kaede's direction, Shuichi let the girl be and focused on the ride, which was sure to start soon.
A jolt confirmed Shuichi's suspicions, and the ride began. Kaede and Kaito looked positively ecstatic, and Shuichi couldn't help but laugh at them, but that laugh quickly turned into a yelp as they started on the first loop, the sound of excited screaming ringing in his ears.
Shuichi did all he could to enjoy the ride, joining in on the excited screaming when he saw that everyone else was doing it, and focused on the wind rushing through his hair instead of his blurred surroundings.
By the end of the ride, Shuichi was smiling, enjoying the experience surrounded by his friends. He definitely wouldn't have enjoyed it as much if they weren't there. Fortunately, everything went well, and true to his word, Kaito hadn't gotten sick.
"We may have been at the back, but that was still awesome!" Kaito cheered as they walked away from the ride.
"It was so much fun!" Kaede agreed, running her hands through her windblown hair in an attempt to fix it.
"I'm ready to go home now, I think," Himiko spoke up, and when Shuichi turned to her, he was surprised to find that she was yawning. "All the excitement has worn me out."
"I think I'm ready to call it a day, too," Maki agreed, not looking tired but Shuichi knew she was probably near her limit in regards to social interaction, which he could sympathise with.
"Thanks for coming out, everyone! I had a fun day with you all!" Kaede beamed as she looked around at her friends.
"Me too! We should definitely do something like this again," Tenko said, smiling back at Kaede and keeping Himiko upright, who looked like she might fall asleep then and there.
"For sure! See you at school!" Kaito said as the groups began to split off, Tenko and Himiko disappearing into the crowd as the other four walked back to Kaito's car.
"I'm glad that we decided to do this on our day off. I probably would have done some reading or something back at home," Shuichi said, both Kaede and Kaito smiling at him.
"That's my sidekick, always got his head in a book! Glad you decided to come out with us, Shuichi!" Kaito exclaimed, slapping Shuichi on the back, causing the boy to stumble a bit.
"Now that we're done, I'm actually feeling pretty tired myself. Maybe I'll just watch a movie when I get home," Kaede said as they got into the car, the same seats as when they were getting to the theme park, and Kaito started up the car.
"Sounds fun! What about you, Maki Roll?" Kaito asked as he pulled out of the parking lot and onto the road. Maki took a second to answer, grumbling under her breath at Kaito's use of the nickname.
"Probably just going to make sure that I've done everything for school and then relax." Maki shrugged, not going further into what exactly she'd be doing to relax. Too soon, Kaito was pulling up at Shuichi's house.
"Guess I'll see you all when we go back?" Shuichi said, and Kaede gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek while the other two nodded and said their own farewells before he got out of the car, Kaito beeping the horn as he drove off, Kaede waving to him from the window, which Shuichi returned.
With a small smile, Shuichi went inside his house, happy that things had gone well. He really cherished his girlfriend and all his friends, and he wouldn't have wanted to spend his day off any other way.