An Azumanga Daioh short story
by DB Sommer
Any and all C+C is appreciated. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Azumanga Daioh characters. They are owned by Kiyohiko Azuma, Genco, J.C. Staff, and ADV Films.
Foreword: Another humor oriented piece, written specifically for the fanfic writer's workshop at Otakon 2004, so it might seem a bit forced. As with my Azumanga stuff, it's short and pointless. Special thanks to Sean Gaffney for looking it over and making it better.
The doorbell rang. It was a dull monotone chime that reverberated but a single moment before silence returned.
Half a minute later, a second ring followed, gaining results identical to the first.
Fifteen seconds after that, the bell began to pound out a rhythm reminiscent of 'Jingle Bells.' It had just gotten to the part about one-horse sleighs when the door opened.
"It took you long enough to answer!" Tomo grumbled, though she kept right on hitting the doorbell until she finished the song.
"What happened?" Kagura, who stood next to Tomo, asked.
Osaka bowed. "Sorry. When I tripped and hit my head earlier today, my ears were ringing. I thought they started up again and finally found a beat."
Now that she had determined the ringing emanated from an outside source, Osaka relaxed and smiled at the expected arrival of her fellow 'Blockheads'. "Thanks for coming by. I've never had anyone visit me at home before. Sorry the rest of my family is out, or you could meet them."
Tomo and Kagura allowed themselves to be ushered inside, pausing to remove their shoes once they entered.
Tomo said, "Yeah, well I figured since we all visited Chiyo-chan at her house, we ought to check out where everyone else lives. Maybe we'll get lucky and someone else we know will be rich and have a winter home in the mountains. Then we can mooch free ski vacations off them the way we get free summer trips off Chiyo. You don't have a chalet somewhere, do you?"
Osaka shook her head. "Just this place. Let me show you around."
Taking her role as hostess seriously, Osaka led the way as her friends followed close behind. She paused at the first room that connected to the entryway. "This is the living room."
The remaining two-thirds of the Blockheads examined everything carefully, evaluating all they saw with a critical eye.
Kagura was the first to speak. "Looks kind of ordinary."
Osaka stared at her in confusion.
Kagura elaborated, "I sort of expected something more, you know, unique, like your personality. Maybe some fuchsia painted walls, or unusual looking furniture, or…" She scratched her head as she tried to come up with the right word.
"No roof," Tomo said.
Kagura turned to her. "I wouldn't go that far. I was thinking more along the lines of a bunch of stuffed dead animal heads lining the room."
"I mean there isn't a roof." Tomo pointed upward.
Kagura looked up. While there actually was a roof, there was also a jagged ten foot diameter hole in it. Black charring around the edges contrasted sharply with the blue sky that showed high up above.
"That's going to be our new skylight," Osaka provided in explanation.
"I… see," Kagura said slowly.
"I should also mention that fireworks are more impressive when they're shot off outdoors," Osaka added.
"Gotcha," Kagura said.
Tomo began examining the room again. "So, got anything neat, like secret passages that can lead us to anywhere in the house?"
"No, just a laundry chute that leads down to the laundry room in the basement, but it's not really a secret. That would defeat the purpose of having one."
"Let's check it out," Tomo insisted.
Osaka led her friends to the small panel in the wall that held the laundry chute.
Tomo opened it and stuck her head in. "Cool, I've always wanted to slide down one of these."
Thought became deed as Tomo proceeded to climb headfirst into the chute before either of her Blockhead partners could react. Much to Kagura and Osaka's surprise, Tomo managed to get all the way up to her waist before she ran out of space and had to stop. Stymied, she redoubled her efforts to squeeze into the chute. She managed another five centimeters before she could go no further.
"Hey! I'm stuck!" Tomo's legs moved helplessly in the air to add emphasis to her dilemma.
Kagura shook her head sadly at the display while Osaka fretted, "This has never happened before. How are we going to get our clothing downstairs?"
"I think the question you should be asking is 'How are you going to get me out of here'?!" came the voice of the trapped girl.
Osaka pondered the matter. "Hmm. I saw this magic trick once. It involved sawing a girl in half—"
"No way!" Tomo shouted.
"But she was all right afterwards," Osaka insisted.
"We'll figure out something else," Kagura assured her, before Osaka scrounged up a saw from somewhere. The two began quietly discussing the matter while Tomo continued wiggling her legs in vain.
Again the voice came from deep inside. "Hey, I can't hear you. You guys aren't up to something embarrassing, like flipping my skirt up and drawing funny faces in magic marker on my backside and taking pictures of it so you can embarrass me in school, are you?"
"The thought never crossed my mind," Kagura said out loud.
"Good," came the response.
"Until now," Kagura said far more softly while she shot Osaka a mischievous grin.
"Are you two sure you didn't doodle on my bottom while I was stuck? I could have sworn I felt something soft and wet skimming across my backside while I was jammed in there."
"We were just maneuvering your bottom around so we could find the best spot to pry you loose," Kagura assured her.
Tomo fingered her waist and winced slightly. "About that prying part. Couldn't you have used something a little more delicate than a crowbar to get me out of there?"
"Oh, okay. Just so long as that's clear," Tomo said, in more than a bit of confusion. "So what do we do next?"
"We can watch television," Osaka suggested. "My parents have a large collection of DVDs."
"Cool," Tomo said as Kagura nodded her head in agreement.
They headed to the family room where the television and DVD player were located. On the floor was a small cardboard box full of a variety of discs. Osaka stared at it curiously and began inventorying the contents. "That's funny, I've never seen these discs before, and they don't look like commercial ones." She read some of the titles handwritten on them out loud. "'Mitsuko Pulls a Train'. Hey, my Mother's name is Mitsuko. These must be home movies my parents shot."
"Cool, I want to check out your parents." Tomo flopped down in front of the television.
Kagura, who had followed things a little more closely, drew back in horror. "Wait, you don't want to see that tape!"
"Why?" the other girls asked as one.
Kagura couldn't believe they were so naïve as to not know what the title meant. "Because the contents… because your parents… they'll be… just because!"
"Toss it in," Tomo said, throwing a dismissive wave at Kagura.
Osaka did so.
Kagura hid her eyes from the sight. She wanted to see Osaka's parents, but not like that. Behind her hands, she heard the sounds of a woman grunting and groaning. Kagura found herself overwhelmed. It was like watching a horror movie as the gory parts came up. She covered her eyes as best as she could, but curiosity got the better of her. Still, rather than looking at the screen, she managed to at least focus her attention on her friends.
She saw both Osaka and Tomo staring in the direction of the television in wide-eyed wonder.
"I told you two not to look," Kagura chided, her hands falling away from her face. It was then she caught a glimpse of what was on the screen. "Osaka, exactly why is your mom trying to pull that train?"
Osaka shook her head. "I'm not sure. My parents are kind of… weird."
"Thanks for having us over. It was…" Kagura found herself at a loss for words.
"Surreal," Tomo provided.
"It was educational for me, too," Osaka said. "I had no idea my mom was so strong. She actually moved the train a half meter before her back gave out."
"Still, it was fun," Kagura said.
"We should all meet at my house next!" Tomo insisted. "I can show you the dungeon my dad made. It's so we can hide any hideously deformed family members we have away from society. Not that we have any hideously deformed family members, just a bow-legged uncle. But if we do manage to get some, we're prepared."
Kagura and Osaka stared at her in mute bewilderment.
Kagura finally managed to ask, "You don't have many people over to your house, do you?"
"Yomi came over once. Since then, whenever I ask her if she wants to visit, she gets all twitchy, like Chiyo does when you mention Yukari-sensei's driving, and insists I come over to her house."
"Why don't we meet at Kagura's house instead?" Osaka suggested.
"Good idea," Kagura seconded.
Tomo pouted. "Aw, you should come over. You'll like my parents. They're just like me."
"And we still need to go to Sakaki's house," Osaka continued quickly.
"Right, and then we'll visit Kaorin, since she misses us so much."
Tomo finally interrupted the conversation. "And then you can come by my house?"
"Sure," Kagura said, since by that time they'll have certainly graduated and she could get out of it by saying she had to go to college. She had suffered enough trauma for one lifetime. Knowing there were two more Tomos in the world was bad enough, actually meeting them would be more than anyone should have to take.
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