Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko

The Story So Far: Yuriko has just received terrible news and the repercussions are shaking the foundations of her world.


Volume 3, Issue 2

"The Walls of Jericho"


Yuriko stood to face Mariko. There were two bright flushed spots on her cheeks, and they looked worse than complete lack of color had. "You knew and you didn't tell me."

Mariko took a step backwards. "Yuri, I..."

For the first time in her entire life, Yuriko saw red. She clenched her hands so hard that her nails drew blood from her palms. Her eyes fever bright, she looked at the one woman she had always trusted implicitly, completely...and she saw only betrayal.

"Get out." Her voice was cold.

"Let me explain..."

"You KNEW!!!!" Yuriko exploded. Her wall of numbness shattered into a million pieces, as all the emotions, all the anger and fear and loneliness came pouring out of her in a wave of unrepressed rage. "You knew, goddamn you - and you never told me!!! How many other things have you kept from me, lied to me about? Well? Anything else you "forgot" to tell me? Other than that my parents have been DEAD for almost a year?"

Mariko stood, shaking in the face of the storm, but unbowed. She knew she had it coming, knew it would be this way. She had told him so. And she had promised, but oh, how horrible that promise had been...poor Yuri.... Mariko waited, while Yuriko screamed, ranted, and heaped calumny upon her. And then it was over. As quickly as it had begun, it stopped. Yuriko collapsed to the sofa, her face buried in her hands, her grief and loss ripped out of her in great gasping sobs.

Mariko waited until that too, passed. She stood there, until Yuriko was calmer. The blonde sat sniffing, tears sliding down her cheeks, one after another, through her fingers and onto the floor.

"I swear to you, I haven't been hiding it for months. I only learned about it last week." Mariko said simply, her own tears making her voice thick. "Gods,'s been killing me...bad phrase, sorry." She gave a bitter laugh that made Yuriko look up.

"You're batting a thousand so far, Hayashi." Yuriko said darkly, but with a strain of desperate humor. "You might as well keep it up."

Mariko made an apologetic gesture. "I might as well." She sat at the other end of the sofa, turning towards her friend, and reaching one hand out to touch Yuriko's leg. "I'm so sorry, Yuriko."

"Why?" The one word was spoken with no incrimination, but Mariko flinched from it.

"I promised." Mariko did not say anything more, but she watched while Yuriko's eyes changed from hurt to confused to angry to resigned.

"I see." Yuriko said at last.

Mariko looked away from the defeated and unhappy face of her friend. "Hachigoro learned by accident. He was at the branch office near home, and the paper was there. I don't know why, it was old even then, and he saw the article."

"He didn't tell me?" Yuriko asked rhetorically. "He told you?"

Mariko shook her head. "No. He *didn't* tell me! Remember how we weren't talking last week - was it really only last week?" she said the last as an aside. "After you went over to his office, he called me and he told me. How he had learned about your parents, and how the funeral had come and gone - and you had never been told. It hurt him so much, they way your family snubbed you, not even letting you say goodbye..."


"Let me finish." Mariko insisted. "He only told me after I promised... *swore* that I wouldn't say anything to you. He was so angry, Yuri. And you know what a bad liar he is. It hurt him so badly, not to be able to talk about it. That was why he was avoiding me - because he knew I'd know something was wrong. And that when I found out, I'd tell you."

"So that stupid story about borrowing money was a lie? To distract me from the truth?" Yuriko snapped.

Mariko gave a bitter smile. "No. It was the truth. Hachi's such an idiot sometimes. We had a very long talk that night...." she sighed unhappily.

"But, then, he sent this to me anonymously?" Yuriko gestured at the clipping.

"No. He didn't. He wouldn't do that. He believed that it was better if you didn't know. He believed it so much that he convinced me, too." Mariko said. "I don't know who did that," she gestured to the paper.

"So you weren't going to tell me."

"No. We weren't." Mariko said, lifting her chin defiantly. "Yuriko, your parents died six years ago, when they beat up and threw their youngest daughter out of the house, telling her that she was dead to them. I'm not ashamed of my decision. It wouldn't have made you feel better to go to the funeral and be snubbed by everyone. It was the right thing to do, not telling you."

Yuriko wiped her face with the back of her hand, like a child. Mariko held out the handkerchief, but the blonde shook her head. They sat there, not looking at each other for a long time.

"You're right." Yuriko's voice was rough. "I know you're right. But it hurts, Mari, it hurts." Her hands lay lifeless on her legs and her head was slumped. Mari scooted closer, and put her arms around Yuri's shoulders. Yuriko leaned against her slightly and let Mariko comfort her.

"I know and I'm sorry. Sorry for your loss, sorry that I couldn't tell you, sorry that you'll never be able to reconcile with them." She took Yuriko's hand again. "Mostly I'm sorry that I'll never be able to tell those miserable so-and-sos what I think of them."

Yuriko gave a short laugh. "Well, you certainly know exactly how to comfort the grief-stricken, don't you?"

"I'm serious." Mariko said.

"I know - and I love you for it."

They sat there for a long time in silence, Yuriko leaning her head on Mariko's shoulder. Yuriko felt as if time had warped somehow, and she had just missed a substantial chunk of her own life. But that was ridiculous, of course. While her parents lay cold and dead, she had been dating and acting and having a happy life. Damn them. Cold and dead? They had been cold and dead as long as she could remember.

Scenes of her childhood came back to her, some full of sunshine and the smell of grass, some of harsh words and bitter recriminations. She stirred, and stood. Grabbed the cold coffee and mugs off the table. "I'm making coffee, want some?"

Mariko took a hard look at her friend, then allowed all of what had passed to slip away from them. There would be time to deal with it later. She shook her head. "Yours is terrible."

"Fine, then you make it."

"Fine, but only if you toast me up a piece of this bread." Mariko swiped a finger across the glaze. "What possessed you?"

"Nothing. It was Ryo, that boy who cleans for me."

Mariko entered the kitchen and pushed Yuriko out of the way. She began to clean the coffee maker and measure the coffee. "It's odd you should say that," she said.

Yuriko stopped where she stood, a strange feeling sliding up her spine. Turning slowly to face Mariko, she asked, "Mari - how did you know to come over tonight?"

Mariko put the coffee measure down and met Yuriko's puffy, red eyes. "That's what was so odd. There was a message on my machine when I got home. From that kid." They stared at each other, the hair on the back of their necks starting to rise. "He told me that I should probably stop by - that you were upset about something."

The silence was heavy.

"When was the message left?"

"About four or so."

"I didn't get home until six. Ryo was here until 7:30...and I didn't read the article until after he left."