Disclaimer: I do not own any of the games mentioned here!
"So what do you guys wanna play?" Akito asked the twelve children that were gathered in the game room. They had just finished dinner, and their parents were talking in the living room. "We have Uno, Rummikub, Karuta, Bingo…"
"I think we should play a game where everybody is able to, like Bingo or Uno," a soft voice spoke up. Akito looked at the pretty indigo-colored long-haired girl and smiled.
"You're right, Rina-chan… or we could split into two or three groups. That way, since I'm sure there will be kids that want to play a different game than us, there won't be any unsatisfaction."
Riya eyed the Rummikub game curiously. "This looks like it needs some thinking to do… I want to play that."
"Okay… people who want to play Rummikub, raise their hands!" Akito said. Naoki, Riya, and Kiku raised their hands.
One little girl with orange-brown hair in pigtails shoved her way through the taller crowd and searched the table frantically. Then she spotted a game that apparently she played with her family before, grabbed it, and lifted it up triumphantly. "Ayaka wants to play this!"
"Me, too!" Sei and Ai said in unison. They looked at each other wide-eyed and blushed.
So the children got split up in four groups. The Karuta group included Aki, Akito, Kaita, and Miu (who was to be the reader of the cards), the Uno group included Tadashi, Hikari, and Rina Fujisaki (who is good with kids), the Rummikub group included Naoki, Riya, and Kiku, and finally, the Bingo group included Ayaka Sanjou, Sei, and Ai.
Let's see what the Karuta group is doing…
"I won't lose to you, guys!" Aki competitively said. She pumped up her fist determinedly and had a "come at me" look on her face.
Akito smiled at her determinedness, which was typical of her. "We won't lose either. Right, Kaita-kun?" to which Kaita nodded, seemingly undaunted by his older sister's competitiveness.
"Are you ready, guys?" Miu asked cheerfully. The cards were all set scattered among the floor. "I'm going to start reading… don't go until I say you can, okay?" she cleared her throat and started reading the sentence. "Now go find "ri"! Go!"
All three run-walked to the scattered cards and searched for the hiragana character "ri" (り). Both Aki and Kaita spotted it at the same time and slammed their hands on it, with Kaita's hand under Aki's hand. Kaita grinned at his victory and held up his card. Aki glared at him and growled, "I won't lose next time!" Then they returned to their original place.
Miu once again read another sentence. Then they all ran to the scattered cards to find the hiragana character "a" (あ). Within two seconds, Aki slammed her hand on the pictured card and held it up. "Yatta zo!" she grinned triumphantly. Then they all ran back.
Now let's move over to the Bingo group.
"Yay! Bingo!" Ayaka exclaimed and jumped in excitement. Sei smiled at her. "Calm down, Ayaka-chan. I'm going to roll the Bingo ball now."
He turned and turned the Bingo ball, the little balls making a delightful sound. Ayaka leaned her elbows on the coffee table, eagerly watching them turn. Then finally, a little pea-sized ball came out. Sei picked it up and read, "Two one." (he hasn't quite learned the bigger numbers)
"Two one! I got that!" Ayaka squealed excitedly and punched in the number. Ai also punched in one.
Sei smiled sadly. "I don't have number two one…" Ai gave him a sympathetic look, and then Ayaka urged, "C'mon, let's see what the next number is!"
"Okay, then, Ai-chan, you roll it," Sei offered, smiling. Ai blushed and accepted the offer.
The little bluette started to turn the handle, but not before Ayaka rudely shoved Ai's hand off the handle and replaced it with her own hand. "I want to do the next roll!"
Sei frowned. "Ayaka-chan, you shouldn't be selfish like that. Let Ai-chan do it."
"But I'm older than her! I wanna do it!" she protested, gripping her hand on the handle. Then she vigorously turned the ball and two balls came out. Ayaka beamed and grabbed the two little balls before Sei could say anything. "One and three nine!" she exclaimed. Then she punched one of the holes in her card. Sei sighed and looked at his card, eyes lightening up when he saw one of the numbers and punched it in. Ai sadly put down her card without any results.
"Can you let Ai-chan roll now?" Sei asked Ayaka gently. Ayaka smiled and nodded her head off. "Yeah! I'll be nice and let Ai do it."
Ai shyly looked at her and said, "Thank you, Ayaka-chan…" then she slowly but steadily turned the handle until a little ball came out. She picked it up with her little fingers and said softly, "Ten."
Ayaka looked at her card and gave a grumpy look, but she punched in a hole anyway. Ai looked over at her card (as she was standing next to Ayaka) and pointed out, "Ayaka-chan, you don't have a number ten."
"But I have eleven, that's close enough!" she justified herself, smiling innocently, her light blue eyes sparkling.
Ai shook her head and said timidly, "No, no, you have to follow the rules, Ayaka-chan. Even if it's a close number, you can't do that."
Ayaka gave a sour look at her. Sei reprimanded her, saying, "Ayaka-chan, it's only fair that you follow the rules, and then everyone can be happy. It's much better when everyone's happy, isn't it?"
The four-year-old looked back at her Bingo card and thought for a while. Then she sighed and put the number eleven back where it was. Then she looked up, smiling brightly. Sei and Ai smiled back.
"I guess you're right. It is more fun this way!" Ayaka remarked after a few more minutes of playing.
What's going on with the Rummikub group?
"Hmmm…." pondered Kiku as she looked at her tiles. Riya and Naoki already put out their thirty points worth of tiles, while Kiku has not been able to put out that much. Finally, Kiku sighed and took a tile from the bag. "I can't go."
Naoki took the bag from her and eyed her mischievously. "Looks like the tiles hate you, huh, Kiku?" he teased. The blue-headed girl smiled at him, blushing.
"Are you sure this game isn't too hard for you, Kiku-chan?" Riya inquired.
Kiku sat up straight and tried to look grown-up. "Oh, no, I'm fine, Riya-senpai. I like hard games." Riya chuckled.
Naoki scanned the coffee table, looking for any possible places he could put his tiles. The nine-year-old's face lit up and took a tile from his batch, placing it in between a set of numbers. He gave the bag to Riya, saying, "Your turn."
Riya pondered for a moment, looking back and forth between her tiles and the tiles set out on the table. Occasionally she would make little motions with her right hand, trying to see which tile would go where in order for the one tile she wanted to play would be put down.
In school, Riya is especially good at math, but she's also pretty good at all other subjects, save for P.E. She likes to play puzzles, Sudoku, and games that require thinking. I suppose you would call her the stereotypical Asian?
Finally, the dark green-headed girl shook her head sadly, finding it pretty much impossible to play. She passed the bag to Kiku.
Kiku scanned her board of tiles solemnly. Her face lighting up tremendously, she vigorously put down three 10's, all of a different color, adding up to thirty. Grinning all the time, she put down all the tiles that she could play, almost emptying her board. Naoki and Riya looked surprisingly at her, for her board had been nearly full just a minute ago. Now she was down to six tiles (she had twenty before), making her the closest to winning.
"Sugeh–!" Naoki exclaimed, eyes wide. "You really do look smarter than you look."
Kiku smiled proudly, blushing a little at his compliment.
And now, finally, we come to the Uno group.
Rina was dealing out the cards while Tadashi and Hikari were silently waiting, not really talking to each other. Even when she was dealing the cards, both of the boys could see some elegance in it.
"Wasn't the dinner yummy, Tadashi-kun?" the eight-year-old smiled pleasantly at the redhead. Tadashi, with arms folded, said, "Yeah…" turning his head away. He didn't exactly want to be away from his mommy, but he remembered the promise she made with him, so he would be good for now.
Hikari looked around the room curiously with his golden eyes. He takes a lot after his mother appearance-wise, and also holds some traits that Rima has. The little blonde got up from his sitting position and started to walk towards the kitchen. "Where are you going, Hikari-kun?" Rina inquired.
Hikari turned around and pointed towards the kitchen. "Going to get snacks, onee-chan." he said softly, and walked off. Rina smiled and thought, "He might be just a little shy around new people."
The indigoette finished dealing the cards and patiently waited for Hikari to come back. She decided to try to start a conversation with Tadashi, who was not talking at all.
"So, Tadashi-kun, what things do you like?" she asked, smiling elegantly.
Tadashi's red eyes eyed her and looked a little grumpy. But, remembering his manners, he muttered, "Mommy."
"Ahh, you love your mama, don't you?" she nodded understandingly. "What other things do you like?"
Tadashi seemed to stare off into space and didn't answer for several seconds. Finally, he said, "I like playing outside, and I like juice."
"Those are good things!" Rina smiled, and then she went into her lecture mode. "Tadashi-kun, you seem unwilling to play with others, especially away from your mama. If you keep being that way, people will think you're weird and cold. So warm up a little and have fun, okay?" she reached over to take his hand, to which Tadashi allowed.
The red eyes looked over at her with fire in them, and he had a small curve in his mouth. "Okay, I will," he answered solemnly. By this time, Hikari had come back with a few cookies and a cup of Nacchan™ orange juice (A/N: I do not own this).
"All right! Are we ready to play?" Rina exclaimed, pumping her fist in the air. Hikari beamed and raised his fist, with Tadashi doing the same. Both said in unison, "Yeah!"
And then they were off.
You might be wondering where the children's charas were at this time. Well, they were playing a game of their own, known as none other than: Tag! They were playing in a different room wide enough for them to fly around, so they wouldn't disturb the others.
"HAHAHA! Tetsu's the oni!" Ira Ira cackled as he swiftly touched Tetsu's shirt and made his getaway. The red-headed chara sighed, dreading the thought of getting his hair messed up as he would be flying around.
Hakase noticed his hesitation and called to him with laughter in his voice, "Don't be afraid to get a little messy, Tetsu!"
Tetsu glared at him and started to chase him, with Hakase grinning. When Hakase was out of his league, he started to chase the one nearest to him, which was Yumi. The black-haired chara giggled as she purred, "Catch me if you can, Tetsu-kun~"
Natsumi laughed and laughed, enjoying the fun. "Kyahaha! Tetsu's chasing me, what should I do?" Tetsu suddenly blushed at her pleasant radiance and went to chase Hachiko, who was next nearest to him.
One chara, while not being chased, ran to get as far away as possible from the oni. She looked back behind her, and, in doing so, ran into the wall. She clutched at her temples (she couldn't hold her head because she had a tall, white patissiere's hat on) and groaned. "Why do I have to be so clumsy?"
This chara is known as Ichigo, and she is Rina's chara. She had dark brown hair that's held in two buns, dark brown eyes, a tall, white patissiere's hat on her head, a white chef's outfit, brown shoes, and a whisk in her right hand. She also has two little cakes holding her buns in place.
"Are you okay?" a voice behind her asked. She turned around and found Kaito standing there, concern on his face.
"Ah, yes, I'm okay, Kaito. Thanks," she smiled thankfully. Kaito smiled back, putting his hand behind his head. They got along with each other quickly because they both wear tall hats.
"I'm gonna get you, Kaito-kun!" Tetsu cried mischievously, racing towards the two. Kaito's eyes bulged out as Tetsu unexpectedly rammed his head into his stomach like an angry bull. The neat freak grinned triumphantly and raced off towards the other direction, hollering, "Catch me if you can!"
Kaito doubled over, clutching his stomach. "Ow, ow, oww…." he groaned.
Ichigo, who horrifyingly watched the scene, went over to Kaito and asked with concern in her voice, "Are you okay?"
"Ergh… I think I will be," he moaned with pain. "Do you think you could call for a break? It'll take a while for me to recover."
"Sure thing," Ichigo agreed, and went off to tell the others to take a break. Later on, Tetsu went over to him and apologized, bowing over and over again. "Please excuse me for my carelessness," he kept saying.
Hakase smiled knowingly. "How come Tetsu, who is usually always so neat, tidy, and careful, rammed into Kaito's stomach, knowing that it would hurt him?" he rubbed his chin. Tetsu regretted what he did, so much that tears started to fall down his cheeks. "I'm sorry. When I get energized in games, I tend to be careless. Gomennasai!"
Natsumi came over and rubbed his back. "There, there, Tetsu-kun. Cheer up! At least you'll know to be more careful next time. And it's not like you injured someone so much that they died. There, there…" she crooned, wiping his tears off his cheeks. Then she hugged him, rubbing his back and saying, "It's okay, it's okay…" like an affectionate mother while the rest of the charas awkwardly tried to look at something else.
When the emotional scene was finally over, Tetsu apologized to Kaito one last time, to which Kaito said it wasn't a big deal now.
"Children, it's time to go home!" Amu called to the kids playing in the game room. It was around 8:30 PM, and some of the families had to go a long way to go back to their home. From the game room, you could hear some of the kids protesting and groaning and asking, "We'll come back, won't we?"
The genkan area was crowded with the families ready to go out. Amu hugged all of her elementary school girl friends, while the men just talked with each other. Some of the kids talked and hugged as a final goodbye.
"Let's arrange a date where we can all meet again, not just for a day, but maybe for a week," Amu offered, smiling. "It'll be like a vacation!"
"I agree!" Yaya childishly exclaimed, and some of the others heartily agreed. She's thirty years old now, but still holds some of the traits from her childhood. The children were excited at the suggestion.
"Let's go, Tadashi and Sei," Tadase gently prompted them. Tadashi looked back at the others with a somewhat longing look on his face, but turned and got on his shoes.
Sei, however, went over to Ai, who was shyly hiding behind Akito. "Ai-chan, let's meet again!" the redhead said cheerfully. Ai gave a timid smile and nodded.
Sei then, unexpectedly, gave her a tight hug, to which they both blushed at. Ai also put her little arms around Sei. "I had fun today!" the four-year-old redhead told her, smiling. "Me, too," Ai answered softly.
Then, Sei, letting go of her, took her by the hand and led her to his parents, pleading with his eyes, asking, "Can she come with us?"
Tadase laughed, noticing that his son has already taken a liking to a girl. "She might feel uncomfortable around us, Sei-kun. And I'm sure her parents wouldn't want her to go yet."
Sei smiled, as he asked the request half-seriously, and didn't feel too disappointed. Ai blushed at his question. Ikuto, who wasn't talking with anybody at the moment, solemnly looked at the two toddlers, wondering how their relationship will be in the future.
As a final goodbye, Sei turned around and looked at Ai, smiling and holding both of her hands eagerly. "I like you!" he said as loud as possible. The crowd, who was before talking, stopped at that statement and looked to see who said it. With eyes wide, they all oohed at the sight of Sei affectionately kissing both of Ai's cheeks.
Sei beamed and said, "I'll see you soon!" and finally put on his shoes. Ai just stood there with her face red, wondering at the feeling of her rapidly beating heart.
"How cute!" Yaya exclaimed. She turned over to Tadase and Shiina and grinned. "Hey, don't you see some young love budding?"
Tadase smiled and nodded. The relationship vaguely reminded him of the crush he had with Amu. Tadashi just turned his head away, muttering, "Yuck…" apparently embarrassed by his twin brother's action.
After a few more minutes of chattering and noise-making and goodbyes, all of the families eventually went out of the Tsukiyomi house and drove to their respective areas.
Amu sighed heavily. "Boy, that was sure tiring, but it was fun, right, children?" she smiled at them, to which they nodded at eagerly.
"It's 9 o'clock now, kids. You better get to bed," Ikuto instructed. All children said, "Okay!" and went upstairs, Ai being the only one left.
"Daddy?" Ai said, tugging on his pant leg. Ikuto picked her up and said, "What is it, my little blueberry? You should go to bed."
Ai hugged his neck. "Daddy, I had this strange feeling in my heart whenever I was with Sei-kun. My heart seemed to beat faster, and I blushed whenever he smiled at me. Do you know what that feeling could be?"
Ikuto looked over at Amu, who was smiling knowingly. The blue-haired man stroked his daughter's hair as he said, "Well, Ai, you may be too young to understand it deeply, but that feeling may be what we call love."
"Love?" Ai leaned back, eyes wide. "Isn't that my name?"
Ikuto smiled and nodded. "Yes, sweetheart, it's the same meaning and the same kanji as your name. You see, we named you "Ai" because that is what brought me and your mama together. And we also wished that you would come to love others, which you are already doing."
Ai pondered on that for a while. Then she said, "Can you tell me more about love?"
Amu put in, "Ai, it's time for you to go to bed. Perhaps we'll try to explain it to you tomorrow, okay?" The bluette nodded, a little disappointed. Ikuto put her down and said "goodnight", and Ai went up the stairs.
Amu smiled the smile when parents see their children grow up. "It's amazing, isn't it, that even at so young an age, Ai can already feel the effects of romantic love, even though she doesn't quite understand the feeling yet."
Ikuto nodded solemnly, remarking, "Our children are growing up and becoming independent spirits of their own. Pretty soon they might have families of their own."
"And we must prepare them for the battles that'll come ahead," Amu added, a new determination in her.
Finally done! I hope the ending is satisfactory enough. The website will be on the end of my profile, so please look at it to learn additional information!
List of terms/Japanese words:
Rummikub – Look it up.
Karuta – A Japanese game, but too lazy to describe in detail, so look it up.
Yatta zo! – A somewhat boyish way of saying, "I did it!"
Sugeh! – A truncated form of the Japanese word "sugoi", which means "amazing", used mostly by boys.
Gomennasai – The polite way of saying, "I'm sorry" in Japanese.
Genkan – A small area in front of the door where you take off and put on your shoes.
Kanji - Chinese characters