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Day #28 -

Title: Decisions for the Future
Fandom: Natsume Yuujinchou
Characters: Taki, Tanuma, Natsume
Rating: G
Words: (+/-) 956
Summary: Together, they decide on their plans for the future.
Notes: Written for fic_promptly. The request was Taki + Tanuma + Natsume, planning for college.

The hard-hitting questions were always asked on days when they were at their calmest. Like today, as they relaxed on Taki’s floor, laying in some semblance of a circle.

“What do you plan to do after school?” Taki had posed the question that was now on all of their minds. “I think I’m going to go to a university,” she admitted, twirling a strand of brownish-red hair reflexively, nervous. “There’s … something I want to do.”

Tanuma caught on quickly and smiled. “I heard you placed second at this year’s Winter Art Contest.”

She covered up her face, embarrassed. “Don’t say it like that, Tanuma. It’s not first. I was aiming for first.”

“This is the first I’ve heard of it,” Natsume commented, and he was also smiling, light-hearted and faintly teasing. “Congratulations.”

She rolled over, facing the floor to hide her blush. “It’s nothing!”

“What kind of art did you submit?” wondered Natsume. He turned Tanuma when she didn’t answer. “Do you know?”

Resting a hand under his chin, Tanuma said, “I imagine it was probably of Ponta.”

“Ponta?” Natsume asked, belatedly realizing that was Tanuma’s nickname for Nyanko-sensei, which made him laugh - and that attracted Taki’s attention.

“It wasn’t horrible, I promise!” She was looking at him pleadingly, so pleadingly that Natsume could only nod, still smiling. “I’ll show it to you after I get it back next week.”

“Speaking of university,” Tanuma spoke up a few seconds later, looking a bit unsure of himself as well, “I’ve been thinking that I …”

Taki interrupted him, saying, “You would make a good policeman!”

“P-Policeman?” repeated Tanuma, shocked. “No, definitely not.” After vigorously shaking his head in denial, he explained, “I’m thinking of majoring in Business and Management. I want the temple to prosper if I follow in Dad’s footsteps.”

“That’s a really good choice,” Natsume said quietly, gaze unfocused, “I wonder if I’ll ever know what I want to do with my life.”

Tanuma and Taki exchanged looks before sitting up - and dog-piling Natsume. He let out an oof as they fell onto him, and for a while, they just rough-housed. Messing around, being kids; it was one of those simple moments that Natsume had rarely experienced. He had never had anyone to tickle, to wrestle, to laugh and smile so much with. But that wasn’t the case now - he had friends.

When they ran out of energy, they collapsed onto each other, Taki curled into Natsume’s side and Tanuma languidly resting half on top of his friend, one arm around his waist and brushing Taki’s skirt. It wasn’t awkward or uncomfortable, but Natsume couldn’t help but say, “You’re making it hard to breathe, Tanuma.” And that was when Taki stuck out her tongue and pulled her friend a little closer.

“That’s not fair,” Tanuma wasn’t moving an inch, anyway, “why aren’t you complaining about her?”

“Because she’s not trying to straddle me,” Natsume flatly stated. If he really didn’t like it, though, he would have already pushed Tanuma off - and Tanuma knew that.

“You’re soft, I think I'll stay right here,” disregarded Tanuma as he closed his eyes, content. “Ah, I’ve figured it out,” he suddenly exclaimed. Natsume didn’t outwardly react, but that had thrown his thoughts into disarray. He hadn’t realized Tanuma had been that close to his ear.

“What did you figure out?” Taki urged, curious to know what he was talking about.

“What Natsume would be good at!” Strangely, Natsume wasn’t too reassured by the playful smile on Tanuma’s face.

“Oh, oh, if we’re going to talk about that, let me go first.” She scrunched up her face in thought and then blurted out, “A kindergarten teacher!”

Tanuma tried his hardest not to laugh at Natsume’s expression, which consisted of dismay and incredulity. “I’m horrible with children,” he mumbled, “you saw what happened with Kai.”

They didn’t allow him to wallow in his memories, though, because Tanuma was the next to suggest, “You could be a firefighter.”

“That’s as bad as you being a police officer!”

“Hey, I wouldn’t make a completely horrible officer,” insisted Tanuma, “I just don’t think Law suits me.”

“Because you’re a rebel,” Taki teased. “And admit it, Natsume wouldn’t make a good firefighter - look how he’s always rushing into things.”

“Well, isn’t that a firefighter specialty? They’re,” he grinned, “hotheaded.”

His friends groaned at the lame pun. Taki buried her face into Natsume’s side - but this time she was hiding because of someone else’s embarrassment. “Don’t pursue comedy, Tanuma. You’d fail miserably,” was Taki’s muffled statement.

Natsume didn't comment on it, but he was of the same opinion. “And I’m not hotheaded, I -”

“We know, we know.” Taki raised her head. “You’re worse than hotheaded!”

“What does that mean?” Frowning, Natsume pointed out, “I just do what I think is right. I want to be -”

“Kind,” finished Tanuma, finally moving aside but not too far away. He was still close enough to run a finger down Natsume’s cheek as he marveled at how clueless his friend truly was - because he was already too kind for his own good. “You should do something that makes you happy, Natsume. Don’t rush. Think about it seriously.”

“What if I run out of time?” Natsume asked, and it was a valid worry. They only had a few months left.

“Then let’s make a pact,” decided Taki. She stretched out a hand. “Regardless of what we decide on individually, let’s go together. Let’s go to the same university.”

Tanuma placed a hand on top of hers. “Friends shouldn’t be apart,” he continued.

Shyly, Natsume placed his hand on top. “Even if I don’t know where I’m headed, I can always change. As long as I have you two there, I can do anything.”

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August 2012

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