Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko

The Story So Far: After Aya's shocking revelation about her and Jun's relationship, Yuriko was looking forward to a quiet evening at home. An anonymously sent message has brought that to a crashing halt.


Volume 3, Issue 1



"Yuri?" Pause. "Yuriko, are you home?" Pause. "I'm coming in."

Mariko opened the door and stepped in, shedding her shoes and closing the door in one motion.

"Mmm, smells good." Mariko moved into the main area, and stopped. Yuriko sat on the sofa, clutching a piece of paper in her hand. She was so still that, for a brief moment, Mariko had the absurd thought that she might be dead. Her heart pounding in her chest, Mariko took a hesitant step towards the blonde.

When Yuriko turned towards her friend, Mariko sucked in a shocked breath. Yuri's face was gray, and she looked far older than her twenty-four years. Worse, there was a horrible desperation and loneliness in the blue eyes that stared at her blindly. Mariko could only remember one other time Yuri had looked that bad.

"Yuri..." Mariko whispered, and ran to embrace her friend. "Oh, Yuri."

Yuriko let Mariko hold her, still numb, still unable to feel anything more than bewilderment and a hollow feeling inside her chest. Her head muffled against Mariko's arm, she said in a child's voice, "There was a phone call...and a letter saying "I'm terribly sorry." And a clipping..." She held out the crumpled newspaper clipping, which Mariko took gently. She pulled away slightly to read it. After a few seconds, Mariko's hand covered her mouth and her eyes filled with tears.

"Oh my god."

Yuriko watched her friend, her eyes barely blinking. "It's from an old paper." Her voice was lifeless.

Mariko checked the date and saw that, indeed, it was dated nearly 10 months previously. "Yuriko, I..." Mariko began, but had to stop as tears threatened to choke her words.

Yuriko watched her blankly for a moment, then made as if to pull a handkerchief from her pocket. Not finding it, she patted her pockets for a moment. "Oh, right," she said tonelessly. "Aya has it."

Mariko forgot her own tears in a moment of surprise. "Aya-san?" she repeated. "Why?"

Yuriko stood. "Her boyfriend asked her to marry him."

"But that's wonderful!" Mariko said, then stopped again. "Her boyfriend?"

Yuriko walked into the bedroom and came back with a handkerchief for Mariko. "Yamazaki-kun."

Mariko shook her head in confusion. "But weren't they...? Aren't their families...?" She put up a hand. "Later."

Yuriko had seated herself once again, and looked to be staring off into the distance. Mariko kneeled by her side and took one limp hand from her lap. "Yuri?"

Yuriko began to speak, as if to herself. "I told Aya not to rush into things, because if it was true love it would wait, you know? Because rushing into things is not always the best course of action." She took a deep breath and let it out. "Do you remember when I was thrown out?"

Mariko squeezed her friend's hand tightly. "Yes, like it was yesterday."

"Me too." Yuriko blinked once, slowly. "They told me never to come back, never to call them, never to talk to them...again...." her voice cracked.

"Yuriko, don't." Mariko pleaded. "It wasn't your fault."

"Yes, it was," Yuriko said, "because I thought that love was enough. I thought - I thought that if I loved her enough, it would be okay. It wasn't okay. It wasn't anything."

"I remember." Mariko said.

"I went to her house and asked her to come and live with me. She slammed the door in my face."


"She called me names...told me that I had seduced her. I loved her, Mariko. I loved her so much I thought I would die."

Mariko said nothing, but could never forget that scene. The night had been a dark and wet one - the rain had been coming down in drenching sheets. She had thought she had heard a knock at the door, but when she had opened it there had been no one there. Until she had seen the figure standing to the side, away from the light. Yuri's form was hunched and shivering, Mariko had thought it was from the rain. When the blonde had turned her head slightly, Mariko had caught a glimpse of a horrible, livid bruise along one side of her face. Realizing what had happened, Mariko had made Yuri come into the house.

For a week, the blonde had stayed in her room, not going to school, not going out, not even leaving the bed. Mariko had nursed her through a terrible depression - something she had hoped never to see in her friend again.

"I lost everything I had, then. Because I rushed into things. And now I can never get any of it back."

Mariko realized that Yuri was speaking. Slowly, she pulled herself up to her feet, leaned down and forced Yuriko to look at her.

"You can't think that way, Yuri! It wasn't your fault - it was never your fault." The words came pouring out of her, heedless of the damage they might cause. "How was it your fault that your father hit you? Or that your mother turned her back on you?" Mariko hissed the last few words, her fists clenched by her side. "They wouldn't even speak to me, when I went over there to tell them that you were safe." Mariko could still remember the horrible words shouted from behind the locked door. *You're one of her damned dyke friends - don't ever come back here!* She had never told Yuriko that - and she never would.

"You went over there?" Yuriko said. "To tell them I was alright?" Mariko's heart broke at her friend's tone of voice.

Nodding. "I didn't tell you, I'm sorry." Throwing her arms around Yuriko's shoulder, Mariko cried, "I'm so sorry."

Yuriko said nothing. She didn't feel like tears could ever come. It wasn't like she had lost anything in her life, not really. It wasn't like she hadn't been dead to them for years now...

"You knew, didn't you?" Yuriko's voice was emotionless. "You knew they were dead."

Mariko drew away as if struck. She stood looking down at the blonde, her chest heaving as she tried to catch her breath, but she couldn't find anything to say.