Notes and Disclaimers: Well, not like this matters, but all characters in this story, with the exception of Sei, are the property of Takeguchi Satosumi, Asuka Comics and various companies for the two OVAs and the many, many CD dramas (one of which actually starred Ogata Megumi in one of her earleiest voice roles ever - as Asuka.) This is, by manga standards, an ancient story and I'm not thinking that they'll be tracking me down for this fic. Nonetheless, no copyright violation is intended.
This is a story based on characters from the manga Hana no Asuka-gumi, or "Asuka of the Flowers, Gang." It's a *great* manga - 35 volumes of intrigue, cute chicks that fight alot, tons of repressed sexual desire, and a really funky conspiracy pseudo-Imperial organization with great uniforms. I recommend it highly, for the clothes, if nothing else.
Feel free to email me at email@example.com if you are at all intrigued by this story. I'll be glad to wax poetic about Asuka for you.
Worldshaking Fanfic is a major supporter of Yuricon, a celebration of shoujai and yuri in anime and manga.
WSF also supports the Fanfic Revolution, because fanfic doesn't have to suck.
Today is the day I begin my duties at the Zenchuu Ura Honbu*, the headquarters of our organization. My name is Tachibana Fukiko, 16, second year high school, of the East Area inside group and former second of the Edogawa district. My function is to act as secretary and scribe, recording my thoughts and impressions of the events around me, as well as taking notes and dictation for our leader. I do not yet know exactly what will be expected of me, but I understand this is a great honor and will do my best to give satisfaction.
I will also keep this private journal, so that I will have a place for my personal thoughts...and for the sheer pleasure of doing so.
Time passes slowly here. We are removed from the stresses of daily life and it is very unlike my time as an Edogawa soldier. We always had a project that needed to be handled, whether it was to discuss terms with a neighboring group, or to carve out a new piece of territory...we fought nearly daily at times. Here, even the air is different, breathed as it is by the women who run our organization. It is a rose-scented and rarified atmosphere.
I suppose I should begin with myself for those that may come after me, or find this record many years from now. I am, as I said, from the Edogawa group and have been, since I was 11. The Area Master met me in school and saw something in me that I did not understand for a long time. Ironically, it was much later that I realized she had noted my powers of observation she had been watching me for some time, she had said. At the time I was too surprised and flattered at her interest in me to realize why.
"Dahlia" we called her; she was two years older than me. I admired her greatly. She was a wonderful Area Master even the Head of the East Area said as much. Here at Headquarters, people remember her as fondly as I do. When she moved overseas, we were not sure that our next leader would be able to fill the gap she left in our hearts.
I was 14 when Rosa took over. She had been Dahlia's second and very devoted to her. Under her guidance, we fought more, took over more territory and even built relations with the Business Group** in our area. Rosa inspired us to have fun in whatever we did. She will be leaving her position shortly to prepare for the college entrance exams and I know that I will miss her terribly, as will many of the others. Rosa nurtured my skills and encouraged me to write my observations down, which is how I was "discovered" by Headquarters. I began my career as the chronicler for the Edogawa Area, eventually becoming Rosas second.
I remember clearly the day we were visited by a member of the Council, indeed, by the Minister of the Right herself. Rosa introduced her as Kazuga-sama and we were all struck deeply by her royal bearing and her magnificent uniform. I had, of course, heard of the Headquarters the palace where our finest gathered to make policy. But to actually *see* one of the Council! It was quite overwhelming. Until then, I admit that I didn't quite believe in our organization; it seemed too fantastic to be true to those of us on the streets. We were just another gang, we thought, doing what we could to make our lives better. But Kazuga-sama told us that the Council members were scouting the regional groups, looking for exceptional talent to bring to Headquarters. I was shocked when the others nominated me. Kazuga-sama took a long look at me, then nodded shortly. I bowed but said nothing, as was proper. A look crossed her face, a smile that never reached her lips, and she took her leave of us. One month later, I received the summons.
How did I feel when I saw the letter? I was...overwhelmed. I had lived my whole life in my neighborhood, expected to attend the local high school, and perhaps the local junior college. Never did I expect to leave my friends, my compatriots, and join those women who resided at Headquarters. Initially, my parents resisted, but the idea that their daughter would be able to attend such an exclusive "academy" affected them strongly and they acquiesced. And so I arrived here with a single suitcase, eager to serve.
It has been three weeks since I came to this place. The other girls call me "Sei"*** after the great diarist. I'm very touched by the appellation I shall certainly seek to be worthy of it.
The ways of this place are so different from those without. There is no hurry, except when one is being prepared for an audience. There is a great deal of gossip, of course. Everywhere one walks in these halls, one passes beautiful women, strong women, women who command legions, women of noble mien. There is a stillness and repose that lies heavily in the air. It does feel, at times, that I have entered an Imperial Palace of bygone days, and my nickname feels appropriate.
My days are spent mainly in the visitation room, noting the transactions and audiences that occur; who was seen, who was not, what was said. I am slowly becoming familiar with the personnel here, so I may as well record their names and natures.
The Area Masters do not come to Headquarters, except in very unusual circumstances. The Heads of the four regions do, however, come to make their reports in person. They are not of the Headquarters, though, so I will not discuss them here. Ten representatives of the Area Masters make up the Council of Ten. They are here frequently, but do not reside here. Of them only Kurenai comes often.
Kurenai is beautiful, but accounts herself moreso. She is a decent enough leader, but I believe that her interests lie more with her own career than her Area, a failing that has been noticed by people of more importance than myself. She comes from the West Area and her territory includes Shinjuku...but there is unrest there and something will happen soon. Kurenai believes she will be promoted to Headquarters permanently, but I am not so sure.
Kazuga-sama is, as I have said, Minister of the Right. She functions as an aide-de-camp and councillor. She has the most direct communication with those of us not on the Council itself. I have come to admire her greatly, for her honor and her intelligence. She is one of the most admirable women I have ever met and one of the smartest of those at Headquarters. Her word carries a great deal of weight with many people. Her fighting skills are impressive.
Bara-no-Miya is the Minister of the Left. I have seen very little of her, as she keeps to herself when not involved with Council business. The rumors say she desires to leave her post and become leader of the Hibari SS, the planning council. I am told that she is the finest fighter in the organization certainly she cuts a noble figure in her uniform. The rose seal on her forehead seems almost natural, rather than strange. There is little to no gossip about her, which strikes me as odd. I cannot name another woman of the organization about whom so little is said.
The rest of the Council, I am sad to say, are not memorable. When Kazuga-sama speaks, they fall in line with little trouble. They may have led their Regions once, but now they are mere sheep. It is said that those who do not, find themselves leading teams at the Renchuu Juvenile Detention Facility, where many are tested and many fail.
Which leaves me with just one more, but...
...how can I even begin to describe the woman who leads us all? Hibari-sama is not like any woman who has ever existed, except maybe an Empress in our ancient capital. She is refinement personified. I wonder, occasionally, in the privacy of my room, what it is about her that we all respond to what hold it is that she has over us but I cannot answer my own question. I only know that she is our leader and we would die for her.
I, as do we all here at Headquarters, live by the word of Hibari-sama.
Time passes so strangely here it has been months since I have arrived. I look at my journal, only to note that it is empty on most days. What exactly what do I do with my days? I write, I watch, I think. But little happens worthy of being recorded.
Today was different - there was a great deal of activity. The great wheels of political maneuvering keep moving, even in our quiet retreat from the world. There is something happening in the West Area Kurenai has been in a closed room with the council for some hours. As a mere functionary, I was not allowed to witness the proceedings.
The announcement has been made. There is a new leader in the West tonight Kurenai has been supplanted from her position on the Council as representative of Shinjuku. It is not lack of information that hinders my understanding; it is that there are too many rumors, too many voices telling the tale. I have made out these basic facts the woman who has taken over the West is young, barely fourteen. And she is a fierce fighter...I have seen for myself the scar that will forever mar Kurenais face. This new leader has reorganized the West Area, and has formed an Outside Group that has set our organization on fire. And finally, Kurenai has joined us at headquarters but not, as she had hoped, as a Council member. She is merely one of our soldiers under the command of Kazuga-sama.
And Bara-no-Miya *has* left her position as Left. She is now leader of the Hibari SS. We see her less than ever before. The rumors that make it to my ears say that she has been given an important task by Hibari-sama... a plan that will take years to come to fruition. I do not know what it all means.
I saw Kurenai pacing the halls of the Headquarters the other day - she looks like a defeated and bitter woman. She wears a mask to hide her scar and speaks to few. I can tell that she hates her successor in Shinjuku and would destroy her if she could.
We are in an uproar today. Hibari-sama has announced a promotion a new Minister of the Left. Speculation was rampant...many thought that Kazuga-sama would be given the position, but when word came, it surprised us all.
The young head of Shinjuku is to be made Minister of the Left! I cannot understand this she is too young and inexperienced...I worry for our organization.
Kurenai stalks the halls angrily these days. Im afraid I cannot blame her.
They say that the Left will be joining us here at Headquarters soon the whispers say, too, that there is more to this than sheer chance. This new Minister has made an impression on many, not just Kurenai. Bara-no-miya challenged her...and lost. This is unheard of. But the things whispered the most, if the softest, is that Hibari-sama is...I can barely even write it...they rumors say that she does this for love. I cannot understand it at all.
*She* arrived several weeks ago. There was a flurry of activity when she came, but now everything is once again quiet.
Area Masters make monthly reports, Regional Heads bring their news all is quiet in Tokyo. I can tell that the Council is starting to plan something big, but once again the meetings are closed and I know no more than anyone else. The rumors speak of a plan for the future one that will control more than just local regions. I find it hard to believe, but Bara-no-Miya reports to Hibari-sama almost daily.
The Shinjuku Outside Group has been taken over by a new Leader she is very competent from what I have heard. Even Kazuga-sama seems satisfied. There is some secret about her though that intrigues me. This new leader has a half-sister, one known to Hibari-sama and to the new Left. I do not know what their relationship is, but the rumors are intriguing, hinting at everything from murder to drugs. I cannot credit the stories, but they are entertaining.
This new Minister of the Left is a mystery to me and I have never seen her, although she has been here for weeks. I hear whispers about her all day, from the inner quarters all the way to the kitchen. Whispers about a young girl of breathtaking beauty, of great fighting skill an intense figure. I wonder greatly at this, since those that have seen her tell me that she is young, and looks younger than her years. But she is apart from all of this, apparently, and not interested in the Headquarters gossip. Others say that she is cold and aloof. Kurenai says nothing she has left Headquarters and cannot be found. Kazuga-sama also says nothing. She will not comment on the new Left except to relay orders.
Hibari-sama is not out of her room much these days. She *is* enamored of the Minister of the Left, that much is obvious. In my day's work, I watch Hibari-sama hold audiences, I inscribe her words onto paper, but I do not record the lingering glances she gives in the direction of her rooms. I find my own eyes wandering that way now, as Hibari-sama gazes so often towards her chambers.
What kind of person can this child be, who obsesses our Hibari-sama so?
I have seen her.
I was passing through the fourth Hall, heading towards the library to file a completed record, when I saw a figure staring out the window at the courtyard. The snow was just beginning to fall, then, and she looked cold and lonely.
New Area Masters frequently find themselves lost in that section and I stopped to offer her directions. She did not turn to look at me for a long time, but eventually spoke with her face turned up towards the sky.
"Youre Sei, right?" her voice was attractive, but her tone was harsh and her words were vulgar. I started at them we are accustomed here to politeness and delicacy, especially in our leaders.
"That is what they call me here," I replied, trying not to stare.
"Ive seen you around. Doesnt it get boring, taking down all those notes?"
I laughed behind my sleeve at this she sounded like a child. "Not for me."
She turned then, smiling, and my heart melted. What an angelic face she had! I smiled back without even realizing I had done so.
"Youre the Minister of the Left," I acknowledged her with a deep bow. "Im pleased to make your acquaintance."
She barely nodded her bow. "Mmm, me too." She turned back to watch the snow and I stared rudely. She was very small, even for her age, but she looked so lovely in her uniform and veil. I was beginning to see what Hibari-sama saw and it frightened me. There was power in this girl power that could destroy us all.
That was the first and last time I saw Kuraku Asuka.
Today we wear black.
The order came from Hibari-sama herself, as she threw open her chamber doors screaming. "I am in mourning" she cried, "bring me clothes in black!"
We went running to her, but her face is always veiled and after her rage passed, she would not speak of herself except to say that the Minister of the Left, Kuraku Asuka, is gone.
Kuraku Asuka, formerly of the Zenchuu Ura Honbu, Shinjuku representative on the Council, of the West Area Inside Group, and Minister of the Left, is now officially an enemy of the organization.
All Areas, all Regions, all members have been told that she is our number one enemy. There is no one that Hibari-sama commands who is not out for Asukas blood. She will not last a week.
I know that I can never forgive her, despite her beauty, her power...
Kuraku Asuka has broken Hibari-samas heart.
This is my last entry in this journal. My time as Scribe here is over tomorrow I begin preparations for the college entrance examinations. I am torn between many conflicting emotions.
So much has happened recently, I am not sure I can report it all accurately. Kuraku Asuka was not punished she appears to be too strong for even our best. Hibari-sama has not been healed of her heartbreak...she has become obsessed and I fear for the organization under her. She colludes with unpleasant people to trap Asuka, to defeat her, to catch her and bring her back, but to no avail. Asuka remains free by her own will.
I took a walk yesterday, one last look around this place before I left. I passed by the spot at which I had met Asuka and I thought of her manner so abrupt, so plain...so strong. No, I do not think that Hibari-sama will ever get her back and I know from the bottom of my heart that Asuka cannot be defeated.
As I close this journal, I leave here with a prayer that the organization, the Council and Hibari-sama do not bring themselves to their knees attempting to destroy Kuraku Asuka.
* Zenchuu Ura Honbu The Central Headquarters of Hibaris organization.
** Business Group a euphemism for the local Yakuza gang
*** Sei Shonagon, the Heian period diarist and chronicler of the Imperial Court.
The Ministers of Right and Left are taken from the former Imperial Court. Right functions as a kind of CEO, Left as COO, so Left has more "real" and immediate power than Right.
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