Notes and Disclaimers: The characters in the following story are the property of Konno Oyuki, Cobalt Shueisha and Geneon Entertainment. Well, really, they belong to Konno, and the others are just sucking off the teat of her genius.
Because genius she is. Eriko, Sei and Youko are such charming and lovely characters, that I (and you, if you're reading this) can't bear to be parted from them. This story isn't about anything in particular. it's just another few moments spent in the company of of the Rosas we love. I hope that one day I too write characters people feel that way about. Well, okay, I already have, because Yuriko gets fanmail all the time, but you know what I mean! (Feel free to send Yuriko fanmail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by the way...) This story isn't about anything in particular. it's just another few moments spent in the company of of the Rosas we love.
Please feel free to email me at email@example.com. if you enjoy this story - I really cannot tell you how important this is to me. It's the only "pay" I get for the thankless job of cranking out dozens of fanfic. Please do also consider joining us on the Yuricon Mailing List - the least suckiest group of people on the internet and a lot of Maria-sama ga Miteru fans who will be glad to chat with you.
For yet another way to spend another moment in the company of the lovely ladies of Lillian, you can purchase the Marimite Drama CDs from the Yuricon Shop.
And as always, my thanks to the folks at the Fanfic Revolution, because fanfic (and original writing) doesn't have to suck.
White Roses, Red Petals
by Erica Friedman
Youko could hear the phone ringing, but didn't bother trying to answer it. Let it ring. She set the rosebush gently into the hole and brushed fresh soil around the roots, pressing the dirt down with her gloved hands.
The phone stopped mid-ring, and her husband's deep voice took up the silence. There was a pause, during which Youko watered the newly planted roses, crooning gently at them to grow and be well.
"Youko, phone!" Her husband became visible as he walked around the corner of the house, holding the phone up and out. "Eriko," he added, by way of explanation.
Youko stripped off a glove and took the phone with a smile of thanks. Even before she'd finished her greeting, Eriko's voice was audible.
"She's back! Did you hear?"
"No." She didnt have to ask; she knew exactly whom Eriko meant.
"She left a message with my secretary - are you free tonight? She wants to go out drinking." Eriko laughed lightly and added, "Of course."
Smiling, Youko agreed with her friend. "We'd better plan on staying at your place then - I dont want a repeat of the last time." Both women laughed at this.
"Oh, do you remember the hotel we ended up in?" Eriko's chuckles continued as she dragged up the memory of a night of unusually heavy drinking. "All I can remember was the neon in the room. It was green."
"It wasn't neon - it was normal fluorescent lighting - we were the ones who looked green." Youko paused in reflection. "Maybe this isnt such a good idea...."
Eriko pooh-poohed the thought immediately. "Nonsense! It's been how long since we saw Sei? At least five years. One night of debauchery wont kill us." She laughed again. "It's a break from routine, anyway."
"Well, I'm free, so I guess you can count me in."
"Good, meet me at my office at eight."
"I'll be there."
"I'll see you then."
The phone clicked as Eriko disconnected. Youko shook her gloves out and laid the phone on the small table at the corner of the patio, then pulled the gloves back on. She had time to get the last of the roses planted before she had to get cleaned up.
Three women stumbled out of the bar laughing raucously at nothing; visibly drunk, not that anyone took much notice. They leaned on each other unsteadily, rocking back and forth with the occasional jerking motion to regain stability, all the while hysterical at who-knows-what joke from an hour ago.
"I love you guys," Sei slurred.
Eriko yelped as Sei slung an arm around her shoulder. "Yeah," she said acerbically as she pushed the taller woman off her. "Love us so much you go away for years and never write or call."
Laughing behind a closed fist, Youko said, "You sound like me." She thought about it for a second, "I mean, you sound like everyone assumes I ought to sound." Thinking about it for another moment, Youko stomped her foot into the ground with frustration. "You know what I mean!"
Sei patted her shoulder with a heavy hand. "Sure Youko, whatever you say." She stepped away from the other two and, with a motion that showed remarkable vertical stability and motor control, she whistled piercingly as she gestured for a cab.
"Oh my god, Sei" Eriko gaped open-mouthed. "You've totally gone American."
"I'll pretend you mean that as a compliment," Sei made a face at Eriko. "Get in before I take *my* taxi and go home."
"Will you be all right?"
"Sure, we'll be fine!" Sei waved her off with melodramatic nonchalance.
"I wasn't taking to *you*." Turning her back on Sei, Eriko addressed the third of their party. "You can sleep in my room, really, Youko. Somehow I just dont trust her."
"I'll be fine," Youko reassured Eriko, amused that, after all these years, these two women still got on each other's nerves so easily.
Sei held up a hand and covered her heart with the other. "I promise to behave properly," she intoned. "Anyway, she's an old married lady these days - not my type at all." These words might have been more convincing if Sei had not been slipping her arms around Youko's waist as she said them. Youko batted the hands away, as Eriko shot her a look, then shrugged.
"I'll be within hearing," she said with resignation. "Call out if you need help...or keep it down." With this contradictory comment, she stepped into the other room, pointedly leaving the door open.
Sei was already under the blanket of the futon, pulling the two pillows closer. "Come on, Youko - it'll be like old times."
"Which old times are those?" the dark-haired woman laughed, as she shifted her pillow back to its proper place.
Sei rolled onto her back, hands behind her head. "You know, when we stayed at your place overnight, and shared the bath...oof!" her monologue was interrupted suddenly by a pillow to the face.
"You know perfectly well that none of that ever happened."
"Mmm. How much of the last time we got together do you remember?" Sei wiggled her eyebrows lasciviously.
Youko turned off the light and climbed under her blanket. "Enough to remember that you were sick most of the night." She rolled onto her side, her back to Sei.
There was a soft rustle and the sense of a warm body drawing close. When Sei's voice came again, it was soft, close to her ear. "It was a ruse." Arms closed around Youko, causing her to jump slightly. "I just wanted you to stroke my hair."
"Sei..." Youko began, but the other woman shushed her with a quick noise. She could feel Sei's head press against her back. After a moment, Youko relaxed into the embrace. With a little giggle, she said, "I thought I was just another old married woman."
There was a small noise behind her, then. "I am too."
Youko waited so long for Sei to continue that she thought she had imagined the comment. Just as she convinced herself that she was hearing things, the other woman spoke again.
"I'm an old married lady, too. Well, we had a ceremony, anyway. It's not legal, but...it feels the same, to us."
"Sei?" Youko's voice was incredulous.
"I wanted to see you, to tell you that, so you could stop worrying about me."
The arms around her tightened for a second, then released her.
Youko's voice was quiet when she spoke. "Since the first day we met, I've worried about you."
"I know." Sei moved away, back to her side of the futon. "I know you did. And you can stop now. I'm happy, Youko. Really happy."
Youko rolled over, to find herself facing a Sei whose pale face and serious eyes were plainly visible in the low light. Youko's hand reached out and touched a cheek lightly. "I'm glad for you."
Sei took the hand and squeezed it, the released it. "Goodnight."
"Youko?" The whisper was almost inaudible, even though it was once again close to her ear.
"Dont tell Eriko."
Smiling, Youko pushed Sei away and rolled onto her back. "Goodnight Sei."
"Sweet dreams, Youko."
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