Saiyuu no Ryokou: The Continuing Adventures of Yuriko

The Story So Far: Yuriko has survived her first meeting with Midori's family. It was overwhelming, but not unpleasant. She's more than glad for a few hours of rest right now.


Volume 2, Issue 7

"Truth or Dare"


"Ahhhhhhhhhhhh." Yuriko luxuriated in the feeling of sheets against her back and a warm blanket over her toes. "This is nice." She smiled happily as Midori finished her preparations for bed. "This was really your bedroom when you lived here?" Yuriko craned her head around, taking in the tasteful decorations of a decidedly adult nature. No posters, no bookshelves of magazines or romance novels, nothing to indicate that a young girl had once lived here.

"Yes, but they redecorated when I moved out." Midori slipped into the bed next to Yuriko with a contented noise. "I wasn't quite so delicate in my choice of color, for one thing."

"Yeah?" Yuriko rolled over and looked down at her lover with a smile. "What did you have your room decorated with? Posters of pop stars? No, wait, you'd never have done of famous writers. I'm close aren't I?"

Midori snuggled close to Yuriko. "Not even a little. I'll tell you what, if you can guess what I was into in high school – and no asking my family, that would be cheating – we'll do something special, my treat, when we get back to town."

"Mmm, something special?" Yuriko waggled her eyebrows suggestively, "Okay." she laid back, her arms behind her head. She grinned. "I know – you were into Takarazuka."


"Not anime?" She couldn't keep the distaste out of her voice.

"Not anime," Midori reassured her. "I read manga, but everybody does that."

"You're forgiven." Despite having had a few roles as voice actress, Yuriko could never understand what appeal people saw in animation. Life outside the TV was always more interesting than what was on it.

"Did you really want to be a writer?" Midori asked suddenly, running her fingers through the blonde's forelock.

"Well, as much as anyone wants to be anything when they're a kid." Yuriko closed her eyes. "I wanted to write, I wanted to hole myself up in an ivory tower and labor in obscurity for the whole of my unknown, tragic life and become famous years after my death when my writing was discovered."

"You wanted to be Thomas Chatterton?" Midori asked, laughing. "How gothic of you – I had no idea." She grinned at the thought of Yuriko, pale and sickly, surrounded by her undiscovered writings.

"What did you want to be when you grew up?" Yuriko wondered out loud.

"I wanted to be a teacher." Midori curled the blonde hair around her fingers and tickled Yuriko's nose with the ends until she made a face.

"Why didn't you? You could have done that, right?"

"I didn't have the patience. Then I thought I wanted to be a wife, but I wasn't very good at that either." Her voice was soft as she thought back to her short and luckless marriage.

"I disagree," Yuriko said earnestly, leaning over the writer and tickling her nose with the ends of her hair. "I think you're a great wife."

Midori laughed and brushed her away. "That's because we haven't lived together yet."

"But I'm looking forward to trying," Yuriko insisted.

They gazed at each other for a long time, smiling. Yuriko rolled onto her back and they lay quietly, side-by-side, hands clasped under the blanket.

"You haven't told me what you think of my family yet," Midori whispered tentatively.

"I think they're great!" Yuriko was emphatic. "They've been so welcoming – and they're all really interesting. Aoi-san knows a tremendous amount about art – she was telling me about the collection at the local museum. And," Yuriko gave a soft yelp of laughter, "that Misono-chan, she's something else. Not an ethical bone in her body, is there?"

Midori laughed. "Not a one. And she's too smart by half. I've got my bid in for her to take over the family business. I hope so – she'll be a spectacular president."

"The rest, well, I barely got a chance to talk to anyone for more than a few minutes, but everyone seems nice." She looked thoughtful for a moment, then said, "Everyone seems so...okay with us. I can't say I'm not relieved, but it seems, I don't know...."

"I understand what you mean, but you know, you're infamous, and they already know about me...and...."

"And you were brought up in a family with genuine class." Yuriko stated firmly. "How did they react when they found out..." she stopped for a moment. "How *did* you find out, I mean, who was your first love?"

The writer sat up in bed. "I don't want to say." Her voice was pained.

"Hey – are you blushing?" Yuriko laughed as color obviously crept across her lover's face and neck.

"No, it's just that it was a terrible cliché'."

"Oh no!" Yuriko cried. "You didn't fall in love with your best friend?"

"Worse, "Midori admitted, hiding her face in her hands. "My gym teacher."

They laughed together at the thought of Midori having been so stereotypical. Then Yuriko shuddered softly.

"Eww, I just thought of my gym teachers – they were horrifying." She grinned. "Rumor had it that they were lovers, of course – two bitter, shriveled old women who lived together." She shrugged. "They might have been lovers at that."

"How about you?" Midori was laying back once again. She rolled over to face Yuriko, laying cold feet on warm legs.

Yuriko made a face, but bore the sensation bravely. "Why is it that really feminine women *always* have cold feet?" she asked of no one in particular. "What about me?"

"Who was your first love?"

Yuriko cast her mind back, a nostalgic smile on her face. "Her name was Junko. We both wrote poetry, you see, and we would write poems and share them with each other. We were great mutual admirers of each other's work. I guess," she smiled again at her memories. "I guess it's natural that we wrote some love poems and the mood got contagious."

"Was it a good thing?" Midori asked, intensely interested in the answer.

"Yes, it really was, now that I look back on it, but it wasn't at the time. I, we, were horribly worried that we'd be found out. She broke under the pressure. Eventually, I fell in love with another girl and it all went to hell."

Midori was quiet for a long time. When she spoke, her voice was soft, thoughtful. "Mine was awful. I would shake every time the woman was in the room with me, which was nearly every day. I couldn't look at her; I was so sure that my thoughts were visible. I'd lay there at night, half of me wanting to tell her, touch her, do something, anything, and the other half telling me that it was a stupid crush and it didn't mean anything," The writer shook her head. "It's the one thing I wish I could go back and fix. Tell my younger self that it would be all right." She sighed heavily. "That was partly why I married so young. Akira was so sweet and kind and I really thought I loved him..."

"Ah." Yuriko said with comprehension. "Sometimes I think that we should be allowed to send one message to our younger selves, just so we don't regret the decisions we make."

Midori looked into the singer's eyes. "Do you regret any decisions you've made?"

Yuriko pushed the hair away from her eyes, then brushed her hand along the writer's cheek. "Not recently," she said. "You?"

"Not ever." Midori leaned forward for a long kiss.



Saiyuu no Ryokou, all characters and situations, copyright E. Friedman.

Copyright 2004, Yurikon LLC. All rights reserved.