Saiyuu no Ryokou: The Continuing Adventures of Yuriko

The Story So Far: Having survived a weekend meeting Midori's entire family, Yuriko is more than ready to return to the nice relaxing job of preparing for an international tour with a costar that hates her.


Volume 3, Issue 1

"Distant Rumbling"


"Check with my office to schedule it - I'm not sure when I'm free." Yuriko leaned back in her chair and stared at nothing, as the voice in her ear buzzed on. "No, right, I understand. I'm glad to help."

The voice buzzed some more. "Great, then, I'll see you later." The voice buzzed the usual words of thanks and her brain shifted into automatic. After a few moments of formulaic conversation, she was able, at last, to return the phone to its cradle.

Sighing deeply, Yuriko closed her eyes and thought over her "To Do" list. Called them, check, spoke to the magazine, right, called Kishi. Yuriko's eyes opened without focusing as she replayed the conversation with her manager.


Yuriko wondered how anyone who wrote for them could sleep at night. She picked up the fax from the table and gazed without emotion at the blurry black and white reproduction of her and Midori, mouths open, apparently shrieking at a stunned and helpless talk show host. The headline read "Angry Lesbians Have Their Say." Yuriko marveled at the angle of the shot, which made both her and Midori seem threatening and violent.

When the phone rang, Yuriko's hand was already on it.

"Did you hear?" Midori's voice was torn between outrage and amusement.

"Better - I've seen. I have a lovely photograph right here," Yuri answered without irony. "You look pleasantly self-righteous, while I seem overtly menacing. I like it." She paused to examine the image. "Maybe I should do what the pro wrestlers do and change my image from benign and sexy to evil and even more sexy."

Midori's laughed drained all residual tension from the idol's shoulders. She was still never quite sure how the mercurial writer would take being tabloid fodder - for that matter, she wasn't ever sure she knew how *she'd* react.

"It's not as bad as it could be, I imagine - they could be interviewing my family or..." Midori's voice cut off suddenly, as she assumably contemplated tabloid reporters ambushing her parents. The shake of her head was almost audible over the phone. "No, I'm sure it'll be fine. Despite the aggrandizement of the situation, I didn't see anything libelous in it."

"I'm going on tour - all press is good press right now. Or so Kishi-san assures me," Yuriko finished wryly.

"And I have a book coming out, so there you go. I have to get some writing done and you've got an early start. Go to sleep. I love you."

"I love you too, but I'm not feeling very sleepy." At which Yuriko yawned audibly.

Midori laughed.

"Thank you, darling." The writer's voice was earnest. Yuriko could clearly envision the look on Midori's face. She could feel her cheeks warm at the image.

"For what?"

There was a crackle of static as Midori moved the phone, then, "For coming with me, for enduring my family, for...." There was a pause, then, "Do you want to live in the city?"

Yuriko's head reeled at the non-sequitor. "What?" She *was* tired, obviously, because she hadn't followed that at all.

"You passed the audition, you know - with flying colors."

A beat passed, then a second one and on beat three Yuriko's brain kicked in. "Really?"

"Really. So, the answer is yes. Yes, I want to live together after you come home."

Suddenly, Yuri felt extremely energetic. She bounced to her feet and paced back and forth as she spoke. "Um, I don't care, city, suburbs, whatever. Wherever you want."

"No - wherever *we* want," Midori remonstrated. "And we can always keep an apartment here and a house somewhere else..."


The conversation continued on for a long time, but devolved quickly into small, private and meaningless phrases. When she finally hung up, Yuriko was shocked to see that it was well past midnight. She had only a few hours to sleep before the grind of tour rehearsal began once again.

So, of course, she couldn't fall asleep.


"I suppose," Midori said, "we should really discuss details, shouldn't we?"

"Of course," Yuriko agreed, smiling across the table into her lover's eyes.

Midori returned the smile, then her face settled into a very firm and business-like mien. "First - and this is very important to me - I don't want any kind of ceremony at all. No commitment, or wedding or anything. Not even a housewarming party for more than four."

Nodding, the blonde reached out to grasp one of the writer's hands. "No ceremony," she agreed. That kind of thing wasn't terribly important to her, really, so it was no problem. Although it would rob her of a perfectly legitimate excuse to dress to the nines...

"I was thinking that what might be best would be if we built a house, and had an apartment here in the city."

"I thought that too, only - *build* a house?" Yuriko considered, finding the concept intriguing. "It's a pretty nice idea, actually. This way we can have exactly what we want."

"Exactly," Midori said efficiently. "And here's my list of things I want in the house - of course, you'll have your list too..." she reached below the table and lifted up an incredibly thick sheaf of paper which made an audible "thud" when it hit the table.

Yuriko gaped at the other woman, as she began to read.

"Of course, I'll want my own room to write in, and it needs to lock, but you can have your own room too, if you want, that I can't get into. And a computer room, obviously, but I want to make sure that we have at least one deep bay window and the ceilings have to be high enough for..."

The writer's voice droned on as she read her requirements. Yuriko could do little else but stare in shock as Midori detailed everything from the number of towel racks to the color of the kitchen shelves.

"Wait,' she tried to stem the tide of words, "Midori! Wait!" She reached out in a panic as the writer's monologue continued, and she stood, trying to get the woman's attention.

Yuriko sat up in bed, one arm outstretched, the word "wait!" once more on her lips. She blinked stupidly and, slowly, consciousness forced its unwanted presence on her.

She was awake.

That had been a dream.


She squinted at the clock, realized there was no point in trying to fall back asleep, rubbed her eyes in frustration, and got up resignedly.


She was at the studio early enough that she was the one waiting when Kishi walked up briskly, pulled a cigarette from her lips and ground the stub on the pavement.

"Did you have a nice relaxing vacation?" The older woman, as usual, hardly inflected her voice, but Yuriko was so tired that it took all she had not to flinch.

"Very. I only managed one scandal this time. Pretty good for me." Yuriko rubbed her temples.

Kishi humphed in acknowledgement. "We've got Publicity on it. The usual. It won't hurt you, they say - might generate some "community" interest in your tour." She fished in her purse, assumably for a cigarette, but when her hand emerged, it held something metallic. Kishi's eyes flicked across Yuriko's face, then away quickly. "So, here's your schedule for the week."

Yuriko looked down at the proffered object, then back at her manager. "What's that?"

"Your PDA." Kishi edged the compact device closer to the blonde.

Keeping her hands resolutely by her side, Yuriko shook her head. "I don't *have* a PDA," she insisted, as an unpleasant feeling settled into the pit of her stomach. "I have a manager, who guides me gently through the labyrinth of my schedule with the patience and strength of a saint."

Kishi's face looked pale, Yuriko noted suddenly. Pale and drawn. As the sickening feeling spread, the singer realized with some surprise that her manager looked every day her age and then some. Kishi's eyes were sunken and her color wasn't healthy. Yuriko blinked rapidly, trying to dispel the unpleasant suspicion that was forming in her mind.

The older woman looked tiredly up into suspicious blue eyes and heaved a sigh. "Let's get some coffee," she suggested. The personal digital assistant disappeared from sight as she pulled a cigarette from her purse.



Saiyuu no Ryokou, all characters and situations copyright E. Friedman and Yurikon LLC. All Rights Reserved.