Saiyuu no Ryokou: The Continuing Adventures of Yuriko

The Story So Far: Yuriko has been given a short moment of respite, of a sort, before the real work begins. She and Midori are taking a trip together.


Volume 2, Issue 2

"At Home"


Yuriko drummed her fingers lightly against the armrest, as mile after mile of highway passed by. Midori seemed content enough, humming lightly along with the radio. Yuri watched the writer through half-lowered eyelids, admiring the relaxed way in which she drove.

Midori turned to smile at the blonde. "Are you bored? You could sing for me, you know."

Yuriko laughed. "I could, could I? Your voice is nice – you could always sing for me."

Midori shook her head. "Not on a bet. I can't remember the words to anything – that's why I'm always humming."

"I'm not bored," Yuriko said, answering the original question and handily changing the subject at the same time. "I'm getting a little hungry though."

Midori glanced at the clock. "It's getting late – why don't we find somewhere to stay for the night. I think there are some nice traditional inns in the area – unless you're opposed to them?"

"Not at all. I love traditional things – as long as I'm not required to actually *be* traditional or anything. Then I get a little touchy."


The first two inns were full, but at last Midori was able to find them a room at a small, but very pleasant place. The owner clearly did not know who either of them were, which suited them fine.

They were given a largish room at the end of the hall. After bringing in their overnight bags, Yuriko slid the door closed behind her and sighed. Midori giggled with the air of someone who has wangled a deal and is extremely pleased about it.

"Okay, what was that all about?" Yuriko said narrowing her eyes at the smiling writer. "I know you must have said *something.*"

"Honest," Midori said with an entirely guileless look, "I didn't say or do anything!"

Yuriko nodded. "You just let him assume that we're newlyweds…am I close?"

Midori laughed. "Very."

Yuriko reached out and gathered the other woman into her arms. "Works for me," she said lightly and kissed Midori – not lightly at all.

It was some time before either of them remembered how hungry they were.

They lay on a futon, Midori's head cradled in the crook of Yuriko's arm. The sun was setting outside; the air was thick with smells of green things in a hot, wet atmosphere.

"Bath or food?" Yuriko muttered.

"Mmm, tough decision," Midori mumbled into Yuriko's shoulder. "Which is more pressing?"

They lapsed into silence, as if waiting for a sign.

"No 'on cue' stomach grumbles,'" Yuri said at last. "Bath it is."

They struggled slowly to their feet, grabbing up various pieces of outer and under wear, straightening up their luggage and finding themselves some yukata.

"I'll make sure the coast is clear," Midori offered. "Although it seems like we're alone here. I haven't heard anyone else since we arrived."

"They're probably all out drinking or something."

"Probably. Well, let's enjoy the bath while we can."

Yuriko followed Midori down the hall to the main portion of the inn. There seemed to be no sign of life, except for the old man at the desk. They nodded to him and he barely removed his eyes from his TV as they passed.

The bath was nothing special. Except, as Yuri happily commented, for the lovely attendant. Midori made a half-hearted splash in her direction, but didn't bother to take offense.

"I could get used to this," Yuriko said contentedly, as she lowered her body into the tub.

"You say that every time you get into a bath, darling." Midori laughed.

Yuriko beamed. "And I mean it, too! I'm willing to learn to live an aquatic life, really."

Midori scooted closer. "But what about me? If you won't leave the bath, I'll hardly ever see you, since I'm disgustingly land bound."

"Hmmm, there is that." Yuri conceded. "Maybe if you make it worth my while, I might be persuaded to..."

Midori's hand slid up Yuriko's leg. "I can be very persuasive, she whispered.

"Mmm, so can I." Yuri said, as she lowered her mouth to Midori's. "Maybe I can persuade you to stay here with me."



By the time they left the bath, a few fellow travelers were straggling back to the inn, looking worn out and drunk. Midori and Yuriko nodded at two men in business suits whose pink faces and unsteady attested to their evening occupation. The two men bowed and didn't give them a second glance. Yuriko shared a relieved smile with Midori.

"I think we've managed to find the one corner of Japan where we're completely unknown," the idol said with mixed emotions.

"That's not that surprising, really," Midori said, as they entered their room. "We're well off the beaten track here. And Tokyo is far away."

"Several hours by car – or train. Far away." Yuriko mused. "The pace of life is different out here. I'm so used to the city, I'd forgotten that."

There was a soft knock on the door and a movement. The manager's wife called out in a tremulous voice.

"I'm sorry to disturb you, but we thought you might be hungry...I'll just leave the food here."

There was another movement, and the soft grunt of an older woman rising from a kneeling position.

After a polite pause, which allowed the woman to withdraw, Midori opened the door and took in the platter that had been left for them. She slid the door closed and grinned over at the blonde.

"Let's see," she purred, "Rice, pickled vegetables, eel, octopus," she laughed, "I bet it was killing them that they couldn't put oysters on the tray."

Yuriko laughed. "I see..."

"Well," Midori brought the tray over to where Yuriko sat. "I see no reason to disappoint the owners."

"Mmm," Yuriko grunted, as she bit down on the eel that Midori offered her. "Me neither."


The room was dark and the remains of dinner had been set outside the room. Yuriko pushed the hair out of her eye and leered pleasantly at her lover. Midori sat propped against one wall; her yukata hanging obscenely off one shoulder, most of one breast visible.

Yuriko leaned forward to tease that visible flesh with a kiss. Just as she had Midori pulling her closer, a harsh, insistent noise interrupted the mood.

"What on earth?" Yuriko demanded, as the noise repeated.

"It's your phone," Midori said, her voice sharp with annoyance. "Kishi-san calling."

"My phone?" Yuriko asked, confused. The noise repeated. "That sounds like a..." she sighed. "Anyway, ignore it." The sound stopped. Yuriko sighed again, this time with evident relief, then did a double-take. "How did you know that that was Kishi?" she asked the writer suspiciously.

Midori smiled roguishly. "I customized your ring tones."

"You what?"

Midori sat up and shrugged her yukata back into place. "I customized your ring tones. So your phone rings differently for Kishi-san, Mariko and myself."

Yuriko blinked at Midori, unable or unwilling to speak. At last she opened her mouth, but was interrupted by the return of the insistent noise that was her phone.

"I'm not getting it." Yuriko glared at the writer, then leaned forward, attempting to pick up where they left off. Her lips just brushed her lover's when a second noise sounded and Yuriko jumped back with a shout.

"Now what?" she cried.

Midori looked apologetic. "That's my phone - my agent calling."

Yuriko allowed herself the luxury of a snarled curse and slid over to her jacket. She extracted out the still ringing phone as Midori, somewhat subdued, slid across the floor to retrieve her own. "After I take this call, we're going to have a talk about your tech otaku tendencies, young lady." Yuriko glared at Midori, who just smiled back unrepentantly and spoke smoothly into her own cell.