Saiyuu no Ryokou: Adventures of Yuriko

The Story So Far: Yuriko has experienced her co-star for the upcoming tour and she doesn't much like what she sees. On the other hand, an old friend will be directing their show. She looks forward to spending some time with friends to salve her frazzled nerves.

Volume 1, Issue 5

"Rare Moments"

Yuriko found herself back at her apartment feeling like she had been washed, wrung out and hung to dry. By the time she reached her front door, her clothes were soaked from sweat, and her brain fried with details of the impending tour and confusion about Mayumi's attitude towards her.

She slammed the door behind her and sagged against the wall with a sigh. Midori looked up from the sofa with a smile.

"Welcome back!" she said cheerfully, as she set a pile of cards and small papers on the table in front of her.

"Thanks," Yuriko said with a grimace. "What a day." She peered nearsightedly at Midori and asked, "What are you doing?"

Midori smiled broadly and lifted the pile with a wave. "Oh, nothing – you left your wallet home today, so I was going through it." She laughed at the look on Yuriko's face. "Oh come on! Tell me you haven't gone through my purse yet."

Yuriko stripped her jacket off and fanned herself off with it as she entered the room. "As a matter of fact, I haven't. But I will now – where is it?" She looked around with a grin.

"It's right over here. But let's do yours first. " Midori shuffled a few things out of her hand. "Okay, those are easy, ID, credit card – Yuriko Corp.?" she asked.

"Ah, you finally found me out," Yuriko joked, as she poured herself a cold drink. "I'm a corporate entity, not an individual at all. In fact, I'm really no more than a mascot that somebody cooked up for publicity." She joined Midori on the sofa.

The writer was absorbed in her task as she sorted the documents. "I figured out most of the stuff - library card, video rental, pictures of your brother and sister and her family...but who in the world is this?" Midori held up a small copy of a black and white photograph. "It's not your mother, is it?"

Yuriko shook her head solemnly. Taking the picture in her fingers, she gazed at it for a moment. "This," she intoned, "is one of my prize possessions. It's not my mother – although you could say that she was, for a while anyway, a surrogate mother to me."

Yuriko held the black and white photo gently between two fingers. Midori looked at the picture again. "She's very lovely."

"Yes, " Yuriko agreed. "A lovely woman indeed. This was when she was young of course – long before she came into my life. By the time we met, she was married and had become somewhat less, um, gentle. But she is an important person in my life."

"'Is'?" Midori asked, intrigued. "Who is she? Should I be jealous?

Yuriko took a long drink from her glass and leaned back with a small smile. "Her name is Kishi Miaka. This is her college graduation picture. I found it in a yearbook and had it copied."

"Kishi Miaka," Midori repeated. Her eyes widened as she said, "You don't mean…"

Yuriko smiled and tucked the photo back into her wallet. "Yep. That's our very own Kishi-san."

Midori giggled. "Do you know – I never even realized the woman had a given name!"

"It seems strange, doesn't it, that someone would call her Miaka-chan or something like that."

"Practically impossible. Married? She has a husband?"

Yuriko laughed at Midori's expression. "Yes, of course – did you think she lived in her office?"

Midori waved her hand back and forth dismissively. "No, it's just…" She laughed at her own incredulity. "It's just hard to imagine her with a private life." She leaned her head on Yuriko's arm happily. "What is her husband like? Have you ever met him?"

"I did several times, before he died."

"Oh. What was he like?"

"He was – well, he was Kishi-san's antithesis. Where she's gruff, he was soft-spoken and polite. He was the softness in her life. I think they loved each other very much."

The two women sat for a moment in silence, then Yuriko stood abruptly. "Let me go shower and change, I feel gross. It's really hot outside and today was a total drag."

Midori leaned away and looked up at Yuri. "Don't forget we have dinner tonight with Mariko-san and Hachi-san."

"I haven't forgotten." Yuriko took a step away, but was stopped mid-motion by Midori's grasp on her wrist. Looking down at her lover, the blonde smiled suggestively. "I don't suppose you'd like to join me?"

Midori made a soft purring noise and stood. "I suppose I could be convinced."


Yuriko sat on the bed as Midori rummaged around in her closet, pulling out blouses and holding them up for review. Yuri toweled her hair and ran a comb through it, while Midori vetoed a sleeveless turtleneck with some vehemence.

"Why do you even own this?" she sneered. "It's just awful." She turned back to the blonde who watched with amused patience. "Where are all the things you bought the other day?"

Yuriko licked her lips, then bared her teeth. "You mean, the leather? Or that silk thing..."

Midori laughed, seating herself next to the singer. "Maybe not *those* outfits."

Yuriko leaned over and kissed the top of Midori's head. "You're adorable." She stood, opened a drawer and pulled out a sleeveless shell, took raw silk slacks and jacket from the closet and held them up.

"That's the outfit I meant," Midori smiled.

As Yuriko dressed, Midori brushed her hair. Yuriko loved watching the other woman do that; the brush moving slowly, sensuously though the thick tresses. Yuriko leaned down, placed her lips against Midori's hair and inhaled.

"Mmmm," she breathed happily.

Midori looked up, a small smile at the corners of her mouth. For a moment they simply looked at each other, once again amazed and amused at the depths of their attraction. Slowly they moved together for a soft, lingering kiss.

Midori broke off first, and resumed brushing her hair. "How did you meet Kishi-san, anyway?"

Yuriko took a moment to backtrack their conversation. "Let's see, you know about how I was "found" by Miyamoto-san's brother, right?"

Midori nodded. "He found you pretty much on the street and you told me that he took you for a screen test."

"Right. Well, I was so nervous by then, expecting any second to be asked to take my clothes off, that I tried to bolt."


"So, they locked me in a room…no, no, I'm just kidding," Yuriko laughed. "I was sitting there sweating and shaking and feeling like I was going to pass out, when the door to the room I was in opened. I felt like I was in some cheap horror story, expecting the rape scene any second. So I was very surprised to see an older woman enter with a tray of tea and sandwiches. She put the tray down, lit a cigarette and watched me for a moment.

"After a minute or two, she looked at me, stubbed out the cigarette and said, 'What are you waiting for? Eat the food.' And I'm so scared I'm thinking that it must be drugged or something, when she shrugs, grabs a sandwich and says, 'Okay, then I'll eat it. I didn't have lunch today.'"

Yuriko took the ribbon Midori handed her and started to wrap the other's woman's hair in the loose ponytail style she habitually wore.

Midori leaned her head back against the blonde with a sigh. "And that's how you met her?" she asked, as she straightened so Yuriko could continue.

"Pretty much. She ate my sandwich, drank my tea and lit another cigarette. She took three puffs when she started to laugh – a really unpleasant sound - then opened the door to call someone in. Pointing at me, she barked. 'What the hell did you tell this girl we DO here? She thinks we're going to eat her or something!' Whereupon, Miyamoto-san entered, explained that he was the head of a respectable agency and that they simply wanted me to do modeling – clothed modeling - and maybe, if I was lucky, an advertisement or two. That they had been looking for a tall model, and on and on. I just kept nodding at him, while the words slipped right through my brain.

"Kishi stormed out and I could hear her shouting for the next fifteen minutes. She came back in the room, told me to grab a sandwich, eat the stupid thing already and come with her. She took me to a bath, bought me some clothes that weren't ripped and put me in an apartment. I was asleep before I knew what the hell had happened.

"For the next two years Kishi-san taught me everything I know. Manners, how to dress, how to address people – it was like being a child all over again. When she learned I sang, she had me trained, that and to dance…I really do owe her everything."

Yuriko tied off the ribbon and let Midori's hair fall across her back. Turning, the writer put her arms around Yuriko.

"Even you, in some way." Yuriko said. "If it weren't for Kishi-san, I wouldn't have had a career, or that ridiculous TV series, and I wouldn't have met you."

Midori smiled. "Let's call her up and thank her."

"Yeah, she'd just love that," Yuriko grinned. There was a moment of silence as they shared the joke.

"Let's do it," they both said together as the moved towards the phone.