Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko

The Story So Far: Yuriko has received the worst possible news - she's been accused of sexual harassment by one of the students at the school. She's returned home to deal with the consequences.

Volume 4, Issue 17

"Darkest Day"

It was a kind of numbness, she recognized, a search for something that would put off the pain until the last possible moment. She had experienced something like it when she learned that her parents had died, she had felt it when they had so harshly thrown her out. It was no more or less than a kind of anesthesia. She knew perfectly well that eventually the wall would crack and the pain would overflow into tears, into wails, into miserable self-pity. But not yet. Right now she wanted the numbness, the darkness, the silence.

Yuriko sat in the dark, feeling the cold air of the room chill her through her coat. Was this the cold of the grave, she wondered? Probably not. Yuriko felt the darkness press upon her, suffocating her...she reveled in the feeling. The thought ran briefly through her mind that death might actually be an option. Her harsh laugh broke the silence, which once again filled her a moment later.

Death, however appealing it seemed at the moment, wasn't ever an option for her. She was cursed to live, treated as an object of desire and derision, an animal and goddess all at once. But never treated as a person, as a woman. Only Mariko had seen her at her worst, and stayed with her. Despite time and distance, dear, kind Mari had always been there for her - and would always be there.

The last person in the world Yuriko wanted to see right now was Mariko.

The front door opened, but Yuriko didn't look up. The apartment was dully lit with light from the hallway. Yuriko resented the intrusion, knowing that Mariko had heard the news...and had come to nurse her out of her misery. But she didn't want to be nursed! She wanted to sit here, alone, quiet, with her numbness.

"Go away, Mari." Her voice was soft, unwilling to part the enclosing darkness in the apartment.

Yuriko could hear the click of the door closing. The light from the hallway disappeared, leaving the room blacker by contrast. A shuffling noise came from the hallway and the sound of sock-clad feet against the floor.

"I'm serious." Yuriko said morosely. "I don't want to talk. Just go home and I'll call you in the morning."

There was another noise - the distinct smack of a leg on furniture and a muffled curse. Yuriko found her jaw clenching. Why the hell couldn't she just sit alone in the dark? Was that so much to ask?

Angry now, Yuri reached over to the side table and flicked on a lamp. She stood, prepared to escort her friend out the door, physically if need be.

Midori stood by the table in the hall, rubbing her shin irritably, and blinking against the sudden light.

"You're not Mari." Yuriko pointed out unnecessarily. She stood in place, her mind whirling with uncharitable thoughts.

The writer looked chastised, but said nothing. She gave her knee one last rub and stepped into the living area. Without a word she approached Yuriko, stopping just within touching distance. Looking up at the blonde, she reached out with her hand and cupped Yuriko's jaw, lightly stroking her cheek.

Yuriko could feel the wall of anesthesia start to crack and withdrew quickly from Midori's touch. Midori stepped forward, following Yuriko, reaching out once again. This time Yuriko didn't move away. Midori took a step closer, then another, slipping her arms around Yuriko's body, laying her head against the taller woman's chest. Yuri stood undecided for a moment, then embraced Midori, pressing her face into the writer's fragrant hair.

"I..." Yuriko began.


The two women stood there, holding each other, while the silence became complete.


Mariko and Hachi looked at each other, standing in the hallway outside Yuriko's apartment.

"Well?" Mariko whispered, her ear pressed against the door.

Hachi shrugged. "Let's go," he said and turned away.

When they reached the street, Mariko turned back and looked up to Yuriko's floor. "I know this sounds silly but, I feel kind of like I lost something important to me today."

Hachi took her hand and gave it a squeeze. "I know what you mean." He looked up at the apartment building, then down the street. "You've always been there for each other."

Mariko threaded her arm into his. "And we still will be. I just can't help feeling like things will be different now."

Hachi looked down at his fiancée with a serious mien. "I want to say they won't, but whatever happens, from now on, they will be different."

"I know." Mariko said sadly. They turned down the street and began walking to the subway. "Poor Midori-san. She sounded frantic when she called."

"Wouldn't you be?" Hachi asked. "I can't believe that girl has gone this far." He stopped suddenly. "If she needs a character witness..."

Mariko squeezed his arm, "I'm sure it won't go that far." She grimaced, "I'd like to slap that little brat, myself. How dare she lie like that?"

Hachi laughed. "You're such a lioness when you get angry. I'm glad I'm one of your pack."

Mariko gave him a smile. "You're my mate, silly."

"Ah," Hachi said, satisfied, "so I'm King of the Beasts?"

"Of course!" Mariko said, but she looked over her shoulder one last time at the building.

They walked away into the night.


Arms held her tightly, crushing her, supporting her, giving her warmth in a cold place and light in the darkness. Yuriko could smell a light scent, almost fruity, of honeysuckle in spring. She inhaled the scent, letting it intoxicate her.

The arms stirred and the head she pressed moved. Yuriko lifted her head and looked down where Midori's slim form pressed close to her.

A hand moved up her back, stopping at her collar. It pressed forward, drawing her head down smoothly, until she could feel warm skin against her cheeks. Softly brushing against her face, lips moved until they found her own. When the kiss began to change, become more insistent, Yuriko broke away.

"No," she said. "Not like this. Just hold me."

"Yuriko," Midori's voice was soft and sad in the dark.

Lips brushed her own once again, then moved away. Yuriko could feel Midori pressing into her chest and she sighed. No tears tonight, she promised herself. Tonight she would simply hold Midori and tomorrow, well, trite as it was, tomorrow would be another day.