Saiyuu no Ryokou: The Continuing Adventures of Yuriko

Saiyuu no Ryokou: The Continuing Adventures of Yuriko

The Story So Far: Yuriko's career as a wrestler may be short-lived, but her day of rest and relaxation with her friends isn't over yet. She's still got a thing or two to teach others about technique.

 

Volume 4, Issue 5

"The Madding Crowd"

 

A woman with matted orange dreadlocks outfitted in a scarlet bodysuit decorated with flames - the fringes of which were the same livid color as her hair - heaved her opponent to the ground with a loud grunt and a louder shout of victory. When it became apparent that the burly woman in purple and gold was not going to move, the referee counted to three quickly and raised the winner's arm.

The crowd noise crescendoed into an incoherent roar of approval. Yuriko watched the proceedings with something delicately balanced between amused distaste and condescending tolerance. Midori and Hachi launched themselves out of their seats shouting, allowing Yuri a glimpse of Mariko's face, upon which her own emotions were neatly mirrored. The two women caught each other's eyes and laughed.

Mari leaned closer to be heard, but Yuriko still had to read her lips to guess what she was saying.

"How did we get so lucky?" Mariko roared, gesturing at their lovers, who were now sharing high fives with each other and surrounding fans.

Yuriko rolled her eyes in answer, but her sarcasm slipped as she watched the writer now hugging Hachi with abandon. It wasn't often that she saw Midori having this much fun, this openly. When her glance returned to Mariko, she found her friend gazing with much the same expression at her fiancée.

Smiling, Yuriko leaned to the other side to address Asahara Keiko, who had joined them ringside for the evening.

Asahara smiled at Yuriko and waved her hands to include the whole arena. "I guess you're pretty used to hearing this kind of crowd noise, aren't you?"

Nodding, the idol said, "Yes, but then, usually I'm on the other side of it." Her grin was self-deprecating. "It's a change to be on this side of it." Her voice dropped conspiratorially as she leaned even closer to the wrestler, "Don’t tell anyone, but I think I'm enjoying it."

Midori had taken her seat once again and laying a hand on Yuriko's leg, leaned past her. "Asahara-san, why aren't you in the ring tonight?"

The wrestler gave a noncommittal jerk of her head. "A few reasons, but don't worry, I'll be back soon." She crossed her arms across her chest, flexing slightly to heighten the muscular definition.

Midori turned to the blonde. "Well, are you having fun?"

"I'm having fun watching you have fun," Yuriko prevaricated. "I much prefer to be on this side of the ropes."

Midori stuck out her tongue slightly. "You gave up far too easily."

"You had me in a chokehold!" Yuriko protested. "I make my living off this throat," she cupped her hands around her neck protectively. "I can't afford to damage it in a freak wrestling accident." She stopped, thought about it and shuddered. "I can see the headlines now."

Midori grinned and patted her gently on the arm. "You're a big coward."

"Yes," Yuriko agreed, nodding vehemently. "Yes, I am. When it comes to violent sports, I much prefer to be a distant bystander."

"But you were pretty physical playing basketball," Midori insisted, gently reminding the blonde of the job where they had first met. The pop idol had returned to school as a senior as part of a "reality" television show, while the writer had taken a temporary position as a production assistant for a writing assignment.

"That was a fluke," Yuriko insisted. "Anyway, I really am enjoying this, just because of the uniqueness of the setting. It's not something I normally do. The energy, the noise, the smells. And being part of the crowd. It's so anonymous. It's nice just being another face in the..." her statement was cut short by Asahara's gesture and dry laugh.

Yuriko followed the wrestler's gaze towards the large screen on one side of the arena, only to find her own face looking back at her. With a wry grin, she waved at the camera. The crowd noise, which had subsided, grew a little louder, as she was recognized.

Yuriko turned towards Midori with a smile, and leaned over to give her a peck on the cheek. Not a second later the camera found another person of interest and they were freed from the interruption. Mariko and Hachi clapped spontaneously at Yuriko's stratagem.

"Using me again," Midori sighed melodramatically.

"It's your lot in life, I'm afraid," Mariko said with almost complete seriousness. "Every time I walk into a bookstore, I expect to see unauthorized biographies of the two of you. I always check, too, because I want to make sure I get a copy before your lawyers have them pulled off the shelves." She smiled magnificently at the two women. "And I expect to get them autographed, too."

Yuriko was about to retort when the next match was announced, and Midori and Hachi once again turned their attention to the action in the ring.

***

Yuriko lingered a short time at Midori's apartment, but knew, even as she kissed the writer once more, that she would have to go home that night...by herself. She sighed heavily.

Midori ran her fingers through Yuriko's hair, tugging gently on the locks that fell in front of her right eye, mimicking Yuriko's usual gesture of frustration.

"What's the matter?" Midori asked, with more sympathy than usual.

"Oh, nothing," Yuri replied, burying her face in her lover's hair. "Just thinking that this tour had better be worth it all after everything is said and done." Yuriko could feel Midori smile at the comment.

"It'll be more than worth it - you know that." Pushing the blonde off her, Midori stood and retrieved Yuriko's jacket from the closet. "When you're standing there under the lights, singing for 75,000 of your closest friends, it will be worth every second of the work."

Yuriko smiled. "Yeah, I guess you're right." She took her jacket from the writer, kissed her and headed toward the door. "Honestly, I don’t know how available I'll be this week. We're kicking into high gear - singing and dancing practice sessions have been extended, we've got a press Q&A and another advertising thing to do. And I'm supposed to fit in some work with my trainer when I'm not otherwise occupied."

Midori looked serious. "I know. I'll try not to fret." For a moment, the writer played with a long lock of dark hair, lost in thought. "I..." she laughed a little, embarrassed laugh. "I had a thought, but..."

"What?" Yuriko smiled at Midori without quite knowing why. "What were you thinking?"

Midori ducked her head, her eyes flashing with an unusually shy expression. "This seems so silly, but...why don’t we just live together for the next few weeks? Since, you'll be so busy we won’t really have a chance to see much of each other...it would be nice to, you know..." she rolled her eyes, "come home to each other."

Yuriko watched her lover wrestle with the many layers of emotion behind the simple words. In response, she scooped the other woman into her arms and kissed her.

Midori's arms moved around Yuriko's back and they pulled each other closer kissing all the while, each completely aware of the time, not too far in the future, when they would be halfway across the world from one another.

And, as they stood there embracing, lost in one another, the door swung inwards suddenly with a loud bang.

"I'm home!" Ritsuko called out as she entered. She took two steps into the foyer, saw the two women, who had quickly separated and were now standing awkwardly, rearranging their clothes.

"Uh," Midori's younger sister tried valiantly to keep a smile from her lips, but it was a losing battle. "Sorry - did I interrupt? Again?"

Yuriko passed a hand over her face, attempting to regain a little dignity - and catch her breath at the same time.

"Just a little," Midori answered calmly. "Welcome home." Turning to Yuriko, her eyes sparkled. "I think we'd better planning on staying at your place."

"Uh, yeah," Yuriko agreed dryly, "I think that might be best."

 

Continued

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