Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko

The Story so Far: Having gotten through her reunion with her brother, Yuriko finds herself neck deep in the underground world of online fandom. She is both fascinated and repulsed.

Volume 5, Issue 5

"Storm Clouds Roll Back"

"What's that?" Yuriko pointed at the screen.

"That's a web ring. Remember, I pointed one out to you before?"

"Yes, but this one's different."

Midori leaned forward. "The Yuriko Fan Web Ring," she read out loud. "Well, let's see what's there." She clicked the "list" link and the two women found themselves looking at a sparsely decorated page with a
list of links.

Yuriko read a few of the site names out loud, "Lily in the Valley, The Floating World of Yuriko," she chuckled. "What appalling names! I had no idea my name lent itself to so many bad puns."

"You should see what they do to my name," Midori sympathized. "It's downright grim."

"Oh!" Yuriko cried, "I want to see some of your fan sites!"

"Oh, no!" Midori protested.

"Hey, wait a second," Yuriko got a sly look on her face. "How did you know about all these sites about me? Were you checking up on me?"

Midori blushed becomingly. "Well...maybe a little."

"Then I demand equal time."

"Oh, alright." Midori said with a resigned tone. She grimaced as Yuriko eagerly read the sites dedicated to the author and her writing.

"I'm jealous." Yuriko whined. "Your fans seem to at least be intelligent."

"But yours are legion," Midori teased. "I'm just an obscure writer."

"Who won the Akutagawa award!"

"And how many gold records have you received?"

"But that doesn't mean anything."

"You're more popular than I am."

"You're more talented."

They stared at each other in mock anger for a moment and burst out laughing. Yuriko reached up and grabbed her lower eyelid. "Biiida." She grinned. "Thank you. For a moment there, I completely forget my

Midori laid her hand over Yuriko's and gave it a small squeeze. She shut the computer down and pushed herself away from the table. "More tea?"

"That would be great, thanks."

Yuriko followed Midori to the kitchen and watched her take out two tea bags and place them in their cups. She stepped forward as Midori held one cup under the hot water spigot. Yuriko reached out one arm and took Midori's wrist in her hand, lowering the teacup to the counter. She put her other arm around Midori's waist and pressed her face into the thick black hair.

"I've changed my mind," she murmured.

Midori turned around in Yuriko's arms and laced her hands behind her neck. "Oh?" she said coyly.

"Mmmm." Yuriko leaned down to kiss her. "You're delightful," she said as they parted. "And distracting." She smiled as she leaned down again.

Just as their lips met, the phone rang.

"Ignore it." Yuriko said without moving her mouth away from Midori's.

"I can't. I'm expecting a call from my agent." Midori kissed Yuriko quickly and moved out of her embrace. She picked up the phone just as the second ring finished.

"Yumi residence." Her eyebrows shot up as she turned to face Yuriko. "Of course, she's right here."

Yuriko looked at her in askance and Midori made smoking motions. Yuri rolled her eyes and held her hand out for the phone.

"It's Kishi-san," Midori said unnecessarily as she handed the phone over. She could hear the agent's gravelly voice coming from the receiver, and politely moved away to give Yuriko privacy. She turned back to the abandoned teacups and filled them with hot water. She could hear Yuriko explaining where she had been all day and smiled. Yuri was so impulsive, she was sure Kishi chain-smoked just because the blonde was so unpredictable.

"I know, but I was upset...yes, I know, of course. Yes, ma'am." Yuriko said at last in resignation. For the next few more minutes there were more sounds of agreement, a few conditional "yes, but"s and at last, a heavy, morose, "Go ahead." She hung the phone up and turned to take one of the teacups from Midori. "I assume you know what that was?"

"I believe the formal term is "dressing-down?"

"That's being polite." Yuriko drank her tea. "The girl's lawyer has contacted the office with an offer for a settlement out of court."

"That's wonderful!" Midori said, but curbed her enthusiasm at the look on Yuri's face. "It's not wonderful?"

"No. He's threatening to take the story to the press."

"Oh, how wretched."

Yuriko sighed and leaned on the kitchen counter. "Ishinabe-san wants to refuse the offer and take the case to court."


"I told him to go ahead."

Midori put her tea down, and took Yuriko's hands in her own. "My poor Yuri."

Yuriko said nothing, instead letting her gaze linger on Midori's face. At last she sighed and pulled her hands away. "I have to go home, I guess."

"But why?" Midori asked. "Surely it doesn't matter where you...where you spend the night."

She laughed - a bitter little laugh. "It seems that this is becoming standard operation procedure - you invite me to stay and I run off. I don't want you thinking that this is me playing hard to get."

"Then why are you leaving?" Midori asked a little peevishly.

Yuriko heaved a huge sigh. "I have to go home and feed the fish."

"You don't own fish."

"No," Yuriko agreed, "they own me." She turned away, unable to face the hurt in Midori's eyes.

"I'm sorry." Midori said.

"Me too." Yuriko took her coat from the coat rack and slipped it over her shoulders. She came back into the kitchen. "We've hardly gotten to know each other but," she swallowed hard before continuing, "I'll understand if you don't want to see me after this."

Midori's jaw clenched. "Don't."

"I'm not my own master..."

"Yuriko, don't."


"I said DON'T!" Midori exploded, then turned and ran out into the living room in tears.