Auld Lang SyneAuthor:
All characters are the property of Kaori Naruse. I claim none, I merely borrow them and take them to yummy shoes sales and put them through the horror of finding the perfect strappy sandal.
The Awayuki New Year’s part was in full swing. There were people everywhere, milling around expectantly, chattering and gorging themselves on the buffet of snacks and drinks. The witching hour was almost upon them, and everyone was more than ready for it.
“It’s two minutes to midnight,” Sasame’s voice glided from the radio speakers, as smooth as silk. His New Year’s broadcast had been going on since eight o’clock, playing some fun music along with his usual letter reading and responses, and had provided background noise and entertainment for the entirety of the celebration. “I hope everyone’s ready to ring in the coming year.”
At that announcement, the party guests moved into the next room, and began to mill around the large clock in the Awayuki foyer to await the Big Moment. Whereas the main party had been in the ballroom next door, where the lights were bright and cheery, the foyer was illuminated almost exclusively by the soft glow of candlelight. It was magical, romantic.
“Where is she?” Mannen asked, Shin and Hajime right behind him. His eyes scanned the sea of legs, searching for one specific pair. Finally, he spotted them, sticking out from beneath a light blue skirt on the other side of the room. “There!” They dove after her.
Hajime got there first. “Himeno-neechan?” he tugged on the hem of her skirt, panting slightly from his jog. “We wanted to ask you before it’s midnight—do you have any New Year’s resolutions?”
She thought about it for a moment before she smiled. “I resolve to keep spending a lot of time with my family, and my friends.” The little boy beamed, while Himeno’s grin suddenly grew a bit more shark-like. “And I resolve not to kill Hayate for another year.”
“I’m sure Hayate appreciates you letting him live,” Mannen snickered.
“What are your resolutions, Mannen?” Himeno asked the sniggering boy.
“To bug Goh as much as possible!” the Ice Knight declared proudly. He laughed out loud, not noticing the aforementioned person standing behind him. In extremely short order, Mannen was nursing a rather sizable bump on his head while Hajime and Shin giggled.
“One minute to the New Year,” Sasame intoned, and everyone started chattering excitedly. “Everyone find your special someone, and hold on. Don’t forget the traditional kiss at midnight.”
There was a flurry of motion as everyone went in search of their significant others. Himeno saw her stepmother jump into her father’s arms with a huge smile on her face.
But speaking of special someones…
She glanced around the room. She had been hoping desperately against hope that tonight would be the night. It was a perfect opportunity, and damned if she would let it pass without at least trying. So she searched, and then spotted him on the other side of the room. She darted over to jump on his back and throw her arms around his neck. “Hayate!”
He nearly jumped out of his skin. “Himeno!”
She let go so he could turn around. “Ready for midnight?”
“I suppose…” he said quietly.
Himeno persisted. “Any resolutions?”
He seemed to think about it for a moment. “Just one…”
When he fell silent after that, Himeno suddenly felt a bit more uncertain. Maybe he wasn’t going to kiss her at midnight. Maybe he didn’t want to—she certainly wouldn’t force him! But still, New Year’s had just seemed a perfect opportunity…
Sasame’s voice, which had been talking quietly this entire time, suddenly broke in between them, silencing the entire room. “I would also like to offer a special New Year’s greeting to my friend Hayate, along with a special resolution that I have just for him. It’s almost midnight. Kiss her already, you moron!”
Everyone’s heads swiveled to stare at Hayate, who was in turn staring at the radio in utter horror. Beside him, Himeno’s face was the same lovely pink color as her hair.
“Countdown!” someone shouted suddenly, pointing at the clock. “Eleven!”
Via the radio, Sasame led the assortment of guests in a rousing chorus of the traditional countdown. The only two not participating were the two blushing beauties.“Ten!”
They looked at each other, blushing wildly…“Nine!”
Himeno smiled tentatively…“Eight!”
Hayate smiled back, just as shyly…“Seven!”
She inched towards him…“Six!”
He took a step towards her, so they were face to face.“Five!”
Their hands joined, fingers interlocking together…“Four!”
He dipped his head, while she rose up on her tiptoes and tilted her chin back…“Three!”
“Ready?” he whispered.“Two!”
“Been ready forever,” she murmured in reply.“One!”
Their lips met.“HAPPY NEW YEAR!!”
That cry was a bit more subdued, as a good number of people in the room were too busy officially welcoming the new year with a kiss. The candlelight flickered wildly as everyone burst into celebration with noisemakers and confetti. But many of the couples—Himeno and Hayate included—didn’t really notice. They had something far more interesting right in front of them.
But as they pulled apart, Hayate chuckled.
Himeno blinked. “What? What’s funny?”
“Oh, nothing,” he smiled broadly. “But I think this is the first time I actually followed through on a New Year’s resolution.” He laughed again as she blushed furiously.PS. We’re trucking along, aren’t we? Below, we have omake goodness. Hope you liked it, much love!!
Mannen was sneering. “I can’t believe you actually did it!”
Hayate glowered down at his younger companion. “What can’t you believe it?”
“You kissed her!” Mannen yelped. “You. Kiss. Her. It doesn’t add up!”
“Did you kiss anyone?” Goh asked from his viewpoint over Hayate’s shoulder. He was watching the proceedings with a certain degree of interest.
“No! Why would I want anyone to kiss me?” Mannen frowned. “No thanks!”
The two adults snickered. Ah, to be young.
Himeno appeared out of nowhere, and before Mannen could move away, she had bent down, swept him up into a tight hug, and planted a kiss right on his cheek. She let him go, straightened up, and waited expectantly, smiling.
The young Knight of Ice stared straight ahead for a minute before he looked up at her through enormous pale eyes. “Himeno-neechan…” he looked incredibly embarrassed.
He scuffed one foot against the floor as he pointed to the cheek she hadn’t smooched. “Do you think I could get one on the other side too?”