An Azumanga Daioh story
by DB Sommer
Disclaimer: Azumanga Daioh is owned by Kiyohiko Azuma, Genco, J.C. Staff, and ADV Films.
Any and all C+C is appreciated. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Foreword: This came to me when I was in the mood to do some Azumanga and my muse forced me to write it. As usual, this is short and pointless. It's continuous, like Je Ne Comprends, but in my opinion isn't as good as that or the others, like Sex Education. Hope you enjoy it anyway.
"Finished!" Tomo punctuated her declaration by tossing her pen high in the air and catching it as it fell back down to Earth.
Yukari walked by the desk and took the test from Tomo, muttering something about how it took her long enough and it wasn't like she was going to pass it anyway, so she should have just written down whatever came to mind and finished sooner.
Once Yukari left the room, Tomo turned to Kagura. "I've got an idea. Why don't we get the gang together and celebrate me acing this test?"
"I guess." Kagura wasn't so sure she had done well. She had even greater doubts about her 'Blockhead' partner scoring very high either.
"There's nothing to be gained by worrying over it now. It's best to have fun while we can," Tomo said in her typically confident voice.
Kagura relented. "Okay."
Tomo carefully examined Kagura. "You're pretty good at sports, aren't you?"
"Yeah." Kagura's voice was full of pride. Tests were hard. Physical activities were easy.
"What sport aren't you good at?"
Kagura considered that. She liked everything, and due to her athletic background, tended to be at least good at whatever she tried. After several minutes of thought, she finally came up with an answer. "Miniature golf."
Tomo turned to Yomi and the others who had gathered around her desk. "Hey guys, we're going to play miniature golf tonight!"
"Why the heck do we have to play something I'm not good at?!" Kagura shouted.
"So when you lose to me, I can rub your face in it," Tomo said as though it was the most logical thing in the world.
Kagura stared at her blankly. "Well, no one can accuse you of being devious, that's for sure."
"Of course not," Tomo stated proudly.
"Irritating, obnoxious, and noisy, but not devious."
"Hey!" Tomo shouted while everyone surrounding her nodded in silent agreement with Kagura.
Osaka scratched her head in contemplation. "Did you say it's miniature golf?"
"Yeah," Tomo answered.
"If it's miniature, doesn't that mean only Chiyo-chan can play?" She stared pointedly at the short redhead.
Yomi sighed, adjusting her glasses. "No, it just means it's played on a small course and you only use putters."
Osaka continued looking meaningfully at Chiyo. "But she's miniature, so that would give her an unfair advantage."
"We'll tie one hand behind her back to even things out," Tomo said.
"We will not," Yomi said brusquely as Chiyo started to protest.
Kagura sighed. She just knew it was going to be a long night.
A quintet of girls lined up at the first tee at the miniature golf course, waiting patiently with clubs and balls in hand.
Kagura stared at her watch. "Where's Osaka? She's late."
"We should start without her," Tomo suggested as she took mighty practice swings with her club, nearly hitting Chiyo in the process. It was only Sakaki's quick reflexes that snatched the short girl out of the way.
Before Yomi could reproach Tomo, Osaka appeared from the entrance to the course. She was wearing plaid pants, a fuchsia and pink sweater, a yellow cap with a purple tassel on top, and bore a small cup in her hand.
The girls' eyes bulged so wide they nearly fell out of their heads.
"What is that you're wearing?" Chiyo managed to ask.
Osaka looked down at her clothing. "I told my dad I was going to play golf, and he bought this outfit for me. He plays golf and seemed to think you had to wear something like this to play."
"It hurts my eyes just to look at it," Kagura said, shying away.
"And why do you have a cup?" Sakaki asked.
Osaka held the cup before her. "You said to show up for tea time. This is my tea. Where's yours, or did you already drink it?"
Kagura felt like crying. "They don't mean that kind of tea. They mean this kind." She picked a tee up and showed it to Osaka.
"Oh." The dawn of realization dawned slowly in Osaka's eyes. She looked at the cup in her hand, and then at the tee in Kagura's. "Homonyms are really quite confusing, aren't they?" She took a sip of her tea.
Tomo cleared her throat. "Since everyone's here, let's start. I'll go first. I'm gonna kick everyone's butts!"
Everyone stood far back from Tomo as she put her ball on the ground and then proceeded to stare up at the sky. She held her hand above her eyes, visually scanning the horizon.
After a full minute of the peculiar behavior, Yomi started to ask, "What are you—"
The rest was cut off as Tomo cried out, "Fore!" She drew as far back as she could with the club, then swung, hitting the ball cleanly and sending it up so high it nearly struck a low flying seagull.
"What the hell were you aiming at?!" Yomi shouted.
Tomo shot her a pity-filled glance. "I watched some golf on television today. The announcers said one of the golfers won the game when he hit a birdie."
Yomi resisted the urge to hit Tomo with the club. "That's not what they mean when they say someone 'hit a birdie'! It means they hit the ball into the hole one shot under par."
Sakaki sighed in relief. There was no way she would attack a harmless creature merely to play a game.
"Oh," Tomo said. She pulled another ball out and put it down. She looked up to the sky, shouted out, "Fore!" and swung as hard as she could, sending the ball toward another bird.
Yomi shouted, "What are you doing now, you idiot?! I already explained to you what a birdie is!"
"But if you actually hit a bird with the ball, it still means you get that score, right?" Tomo asked.
"No!" Yomi snatched the club out of Tomo's hands and thumped her in the head with it.
The group decided it would be best to rotate who went first (except Tomo, who was being punished and forced to go last at every hole).
Osaka was first up at the next hole. She looked at the lay of the terrain. It was composed of two hills with a short sloping valley in between them. The first hill, directly in front of the tee, was higher than the other one and with a steep grade. The lower hill's grade on the other side wasn't as high. The hole was located right in the middle of the valley between the hills. Hitting the ball hard enough to roll over the crest of the first hill would take a good bit of effort, and the odds of the momentum taking it over the smaller, less sloping one, were good. Hitting it too weakly would mean the ball not making it over the hill and having to retake the shot.
Osaka looked away from the hill and noticed Kagura scribbling away on a small pamphlet. "What are you writing?"
"I'm writing our scores in the scorecard," Kagura explained, walking next to Osaka and showing it to her. She pointed out the individual names and the holes and where their scores went.
"What are those?" Osaka pointed to a set of numbers, one in front of each hole on the card.
"Those are the pars. The guys who designed the course figure that's how many strokes you'll have to take to sink the ball in the hole. This one is a four." She pointed out the number to Osaka.
"I see," Osaka said knowingly. She went back to the ball resting on the ground. She looked up at the hill, then lined her club up with it. She drew back the club, then swung, connecting cleanly with the ball.
The white sphere rolled up the hill, losing momentum fast until it seemed to be barely moving forward. It made it to the very peak of the hill. For a second, the others thought it would roll back down, but after pausing for a moment, it rolled smoothly down the opposite side of the hill. It rolled to the left of the cup and up the second hill. The ball made it only four-fifths of the way up before its momentum died and it rolled back down. It passed by the cup again, nearer this time, before rolling partially up the downside of the previous hill. This time it barely went up before coasting down the hill, coming to a complete stop within a centimeter of the hole.
The others whistled in appreciation. All save Tomo, who bragged she would have sunk it.
"Easy one, Osaka. You breathe hard and it'll fall in," Kagura assured her.
"Yep." Osaka nodded in agreement. She walked up to the ball. Again she concentrated, lining up her club with the ball. She then drew back with the club….
….And hit the ball in the opposite direction of the hole.
The others were aghast.
"What are you doing? The ball was right on the edge," Chiyo called out.
Osaka said, "It was too close. I have to hit the ball in on the fourth stroke. It says so on the scorecard."
Kagura said, "That's just a guess of how many shots it would take the average player to sink it. It doesn't mean you have to take that many strokes."
"But I wouldn't want them to know they guessed wrong. I'd feel bad about that. So I'll go ahead and sink it in four, just like they thought I would." Osaka took another swing, putting the ball back exactly where it had been two strokes before.
"Well, she's… thoughtful," Sakaki said as Osaka sank the ball.
It was Sakaki's turn to tee off at the next hole. She saw that this one was more difficult than the previous one. It had a large mechanical cat sitting on the top of a house. Beneath the house was a series of three holes, with a matching one on the far side of the tiny home. A separate path led from each hole, though each path ended at the same place; a large green with the cup. There was sand at various spots along each path that would slow or stop the ball altogether. To make things more difficult, the cat's paw dangled over the edge of the house in front of the holes. It moved back and forth at regular intervals, alternating which hole it blocked at any one time.
Sakaki chose the left hole. She thought she had the timing of the paw down when she took her shot. Her timing was off, though, and the cat's paw batted the ball away. As it did so, it produced a delighted "Meow," at the contact with the ball.
Blushing, Sakaki stared at the cat in a new light. She moved up to the ball, which had nearly made it back to the tee from how hard the paw had struck it. Carefully she watched the paw's pendulum-like course, then hit the ball toward the center hole. Again it batted the ball away, meowing as it did so.
The tall girl repeated the action, cat batting the ball away a third and then fourth time.
"You're having a hard time getting past that cat," Kagura said. "You can move it on the other side of the house and hit it from there."
"No way!" Tomo shouted, indignantly waving her hands in the air.
Yomi put her in a headlock to restrain her, then said to Sakaki, "It's all right. Go ahead and place it on the other side." Osaka and Chiyo voiced their agreement as well.
Sakaki looked at the cat, then blushed even more. "No, that's all right. You can play ahead. I'll catch up later."
~~Hole in None~~
Chiyo stared worriedly at the next hole. This one was the most difficult yet. It had the longest, most twisty path, a rotating windmill that could block the ball, a narrow bridge over a stream, and the hole could only be reached by bouncing the ball just right off a rubber bumper.
"You can do it, Chiyo!" Yomi, Kagura, and Osaka urged. Sakaki had remained behind, continuing to hit the ball at the previous hole, and Tomo refused to cheer for anyone other than herself.
Their encouragement inspired Chiyo. "Right! I'll do it!" She pumped her tiny fist once. Concentrating like never before, she lined up the ball, and swung.
The ball was hit firmly but not too powerfully. It followed the twisty path to the windmill, barely making it between the spinning blades. It went up the narrow bridge, teetering on the edge, but not plunging in the stream. It went on to hit the bumper, bouncing with just enough momentum and at just the right angle to roll straight for the hole.
Kagura shouted, "All right Chiyo! A hole in on—"
Just as the ball was a centimeter away from the hole, a golf club struck it, knocking it all the way back to the bridge and over the edge into the stream.
Tomo gave a triumphant, "Yes, I got the block just in time!"
"There is no blocking in miniature golf!" Kagura shouted.
Yomi lowered her shoulder and ran right into Tomo, knocking her off the green and into some shrubs lining the hole.
"There is now," Yomi said satisfactorily.
"That was the most tiring game of miniature golf I've ever played," Kagura moaned. She had no idea it could be so draining. It felt like she had swum fifty laps around the pool at school. She slumped tiredly onto a bench at the end of the course, while Sakaki returned their clubs and remaining ball to the owners.
"Tomo has that effect on people," Yomi provided as she looked over at the person in question, who was adding up the scorecard.
Kagura was about to suggest they get some juice from one of the nearby vending machines when Tomo shouted out, "Yes! I won!"
Everyone looked at her in surprise. Yomi was indignant as she said, "That's impossible."
Tomo gave her a hurt look. "No way. I wouldn't cheat. I came in first."
"But Osaka made par each time."
"Osaka came in last."
Osaka looked down at the ground. "Darn, even Chiyo beat me, and I almost never lose to her at any physical activity. Maybe I should stick to eating bread on a string."
"I came in first, though it was close," Tomo explained. "Sakaki almost caught up to me."
"Sakaki took twenty shots at the fifth hole!" Kagura nearly screamed.
"Let me see that!" Yomi snatched the scorecard out of Tomo's hands and read it. She snarled, "What are you talking about? You didn't finish first. You finished last."
Tomo took it back and waved it in front of Yomi's face. "Don't be stupid. It says right here I won. I have the highest score." She smiled smugly at Yomi.
"Ah, the object of the game is to get the lowest score," Chiyo explained timidly.
Tomo turned on her in anger. "That's ridiculous. Whose idiotic idea was that? Everyone knows the highest score wins in sports."
"Not in golf," Chiyo said.
The others nodded their heads in agreement.
"That's stupid!" Tomo pouted and stomped off
"Morning!" Chiyo greeted warmly from her seat to Kagura, who was the last student to enter class.
A minute later Yukari walked in, slamming the door behind her. She stood before the class and announced, "I have good news and bad news."
"Give us the good news first," Tomo suggested.
Yukari hesitated a second. "Actually, there is no good news. I just wanted to give you the illusion of hope for one brief, shining moment."
"The moment has passed," Yomi assured her, sighing tiredly.
"Here's the bad news." Yukari began handing the tests from yesterday back.
Tomo received hers and stared mournfully at it. She then stood up and raised her hand.
"Yes?" Yukari asked.
"I request we switch over to a golf grading scale whereby the lowest score is in fact the best."
"Request denied. Now sit down in your seat and if you must cry, do it quietly. I have a hangover."
Tomo sat down and moaned, "It's not that I'm dumb, it's just that the scoring systems are always off in relation to the points I make."
Author's notes: And here endeth the fic. Like I said, not one of my stronger efforts, but there's so little Azumanga fan fiction out there, I didn't think a weaker one would hurt it.
Thanks for reading.
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