Notes: This story is the winner of the 2006 Yuricon Fanfic Contest. The theme "an alternate universe" in which Yuriko was not the famous pop idol that we know her to be. Congratulations to Anna on her winning entry!
A Writer is Always a Writer
Yuriko closed the door to her tiny apartment, yawning. It had been a busy day at the CD-shop. She was glad she was going to cut down to part-time again next week. Less hard work and more time to finish her novel.
"Oh, hello there honey." The blond woman stepped up into the hall and bent down to pick up the cat sitting and waiting for her on the rug. "Been a good day, Mariko?" She scratched the cat behind one ear getting a delighted purr in return. "Oh, I see," Yuriko said, smiling, putting the cat back down and letting her bag drop onto a chair.
Walking in to the kitchen she saw her other cat, Hachigoro, sitting on the table, cleaning himself.
"You two have been having fun, I bet," she commented, opening the refrigerator, pulling out a beer for herself and some liver for the cats. Sitting down by the table she opened the can only after having handfed her furry dears the liver and took a gulp of the cool drink.
"Ah!" She sat back, contented. "Nothing like a cold beer and a fur to trade ones fingers trough after a hard days work, huh?" Yuriko let her hand travel over the body of Mariko who had just jumped onto her lap, now snuggling in comfortably, letting herself be patted.
Soon, however, the cat's head flung up, when Hachigoro meowed from the door, and with a jump the feline was gone from Yuriko's lap and out in the hall with her friend.
The woman sighed. She had had Mariko since she had been a kitten, and she considered the cat her best friend. But since she had taken care of Hachigoro, a former stray cat, she had been second on Mariko's priority list.
She guessed she should be happy that the cats got along so well, but she couldn't help feeling a bit slighted.
"Real love comes first, I guess," she muttered, taking another sip from her beer. The hopefully-soon-to-be writer only wished she had had her own.
"Ohayo~u;" Yuriko stumbled through the door to the CD-shop where she worked. God, was she tired or what!
"Good morning to you too," said Kishi, her employer, from behind the disk, without looking up from the magazine she was paging trough.
Yuriko mumbled something and dumped down on a stool in the back corner of the store. After a few minutes the other women finished what she was reading, closed the magazine and turned around.
"What is it this time? Alcohol, the cats, a date or the book? Or maybe some sort of combination?"
"Not a date," Yuriko muttered darkly. "The book," she added after a few moments. "It's just gah! I just can't get it right!" She threw her arms up, glaring at nothing in particular. "And now it's keeping me up at night, too." She slumped down again.
Kishi just shook her head, lighting a cigarette.
"Two weeks," Yuriko continued. "Two weeks, and not a singled word. I'm about ready to give up."
The shop fell silent for a few moments.
"Well," said Kishi finally, "you have at least three more weeks just working part-time." She stubbed the cig. "But now you are here and there is work to do. Get of your lazy ass, we have boxes to unpack."
Yuriko sighed, but got up and followed the shop-owner into the storage room. She would have more than enough time to brood about her book later.
"Hello?" Yuriko picked up the phone, trying with her other hand to keep Mariko and Hachigoro away from her tuna dinner.
"Yuri-kun? Is that you?"
"Miyamoto-san?" Yuriko was surprised. She used to help the man at his Animal Care Center every once in a while, it was from there she had gotten her two cats, but lately she had not had the time and it was months since they heard from each other. "How are you doing?"
"Fine, just fine, thank you. And you? Are you and the cats okay? Is Hachigoro behaving?"
"He has been nice. If you don't count steeling the love of my life, that is." Yuriko laughed, as did Miyamoto. "Oh, and my fish. Get away you sneaky kittens!" Yuriko unsuccessfully tried to fend of the paws aiming for her tuna.
"Everything still working out at the Center?" She asked after shooing the cats out of the kitchen and closing the door.
"Oh, we are getting along. Not the same without you though, Yuri-kun."
"Oh, I'm sorry. I have not had the time to come over."
"Don't worry. But I think you'd like to take yourself the time." The man sounded pleased with himself, which triggered Yuriko's interest.
"Oh, you do, do you?"
"Yes, I do."
"And why is that so?" the blond asked after a few moments without further explanation.
"Well, we have gotten our hands on someone"
"Someone very beautiful and furry that I think you would like, Yuri-kun."
"Oh no," The woman laughed and shook her head. "I have enough pretty furries over here. You will have to give that one to someone else."
"But Yuri-kun," Miyamoto said, still sounding pleased, "you should at least come have a look. I have saved her just for you, not letting anyone else take her, even when they begged me on their bare knees."
Yuriko laughed, clearly and happily. Miyamoto always got her in a light mood.
"Okay, okay, I give up. I will come over. What about tomorrow afternoon? Around three?"
"Perfect! I knew you'd come. See you then. Take care, Yuri-kun."
"See you, Miyamoto-san."
Yuriko put the phone down, smiling. Finally getting to her slightly scratched dinner, she wondered what would await her at the Center the next day.
Whatever she could have thought, reality would show itself to be very, very different.
'Green,' Yuriko thought. 'So green.'
And yes, the eyes of the cat before her were indeed a very startling, very clear, very deep shade of green.
"So beautiful," she whispered.
Beside her Miyamoto started to laugh, getting her out of her trance. She looked up at the man, who grinned down at her where she sat on the floor in front of the cat in question.
"Told you so," he said cheeky, but she just smiled back and then turned to the cat again.
It was slender, probably still recovering from 'very thin', which was the state most animals came in to the Center, with long black fur that gleamed and looked soft to the touch. Oh, and those eyes. One couldn't stop look at them.
Well, at least Yuriko certainly couldn't. "What's her name?"
"Midori, of course."
"Of course." Yuriko smiled, never turning away from the cat. "I will take her," she said, finally turning back to Miyamoto and raised to her feet.
He smiled back at her. "I knew you would."
At the door on the way to fill in the necessary papers, the blond turned around. Those green eyes were still boring into her.
A new routine quickly arose in Yuriko's home. She and Midori mostly stayed in the bed-/living room, while Mariko and Hachigoro roamed the hall and the bathroom. The kitchen was neutral ground.
It wasn't like the three cats didn't get along or that Yuriko didn't care for Mariko and Hachigoro anymore, but more like all four had found their certain someone and wanted to be with them. And preferably with them and them alone.
And boy, was Yuriko in love. Still not getting anywhere with her book, she didn't mind just working part-time. She could sit for hours just petting Midori, or watch her sleep, or lay snuggled up with her, reading a book or watch some TV. She felt happy. And relaxed. And full, whole. Like she'd found the missing piece in her life.
Yes, she felt that this was love.
But as the weeks past, frustration about the novel arouse again. Finally going back to fulltime, since more free time hadn't resulted in more work done but only less money, she was truly about to give about. Take a break, start anew. At least, do something.
She didn't, of course. She couldn't just throw away all her work, but she didn't knew how to continue. It was all those small things that didn't seem to fit.
She tried to push it away, working hard at Kishi's during the day, enjoying her time with Midori during the evening. But in the end, late at night, she would still end up in front of her empty screen, not being able to type a word. It was not even about typing and then erasing, not liking it. She couldn't. Write. One. Bloody. Thing.
Sighing she put the last empty box away and went out to the front of the store. Picking up her things from behind the disk she said goodbye to Kishi and headed home.
Opening the door she noticed she had forgotten to turn on the light before leaving that morning.
"Sorry honeys," she said while Mariko and Hachigoro swirled around her legs. Bending down she scratched and patted them for a while, then looked around. "Wonder what you two did to Midori so that she didn't come greet me." But the two cats didn't look guilty at all so she got up and walked trough the kitchen to her bedroom.
Pushing up the door she saw that the light was out here too. However, a soft glow came from the other end of the room. It was the computer screen. And beside it two gleaming green eyes.
She smiled and walked over. "What are you doing ho-?"
Yuriko stopped in her tracks, about to bend over and pet her darling. The screen wasn't empty.
Taking the mouse with shaking hands she could instead scroll down page after filled page with nicely flowing words, in the exact order she had wanted them.
Her book was written, her novel finished. Beside her Midori started to purr.
Scrolling all the way down, the screen nicely told her, 'The End'.