The Morning After

Notes and Disclaimers: The characters in this story belong to Konno Oyuki, Shuiesha and Geneon.

This story is a sequel to Roman Holiday and will make much more sense if you have read that. However that story is a "Black Lily" story and therefore is for adults only. Whereas this one is a "White Lily" story, which means that anyone, basically, can read it. It's unfair, but oh well.

Once again, my thanks goes out to the Fanfic Revolution, for their care and attention. And I once again hope that, if you enjoy my writing, you will purchase my novel, Shoujoai ni Bouken, and catapult me to fame and fortune. :-) Lastly, if you love the ladies of Lillian, please consider joining the endless conversations that occur about them on the Yuricon Mailing List.

In any case, if you enjoy this story, please let me know at worldshakingff@earthlink.net.


Morning After


The hotel door closed heavily behind her, but she did not turn around. She was far too busy staring at the woman in front of her in surprise.

"I, uh," she began, holding up a paper bag, small grease stains visible on one corner. "Breakfast."

Sei blushed, a process Kei found fascinating. First the tips of her ears went red, then the flush traveled down her neck and last moved upwards to color her cheeks. She'd never seen Sei blush before, she thought with surprise.

Her arm, still outstretched, was getting heavy. Kei wasn't really sure what to say to break the tension between them. And Sei, who was normally so indifferent, seemed remarkably fragile just then.

Kei did what any, every, civilized person in the world would do at that moment, in that situation. She ignored the 600-pound gorilla and took refuge in the trivial.

"Are you hungry?" She asked, waggling the paper bag gently. She thought about asking 'Did you eat already,' but decided against it.

"..." Sei was, Kei realized with a bit of a thrill, speechless. Well, she had made an opening; it was up to Sei to take it.

"I already used all the coffee stuff in the room." Sei forced out the words, her smile stiff and unnatural. "I'll...get more...and...." Sei bolted for the front desk.

Kei's eyebrows rose at her classmate's un-Sei-like behavior. This could be fun, she thought, as she followed.

"Satou-san?" She called after the other woman, who didn't turn. Kei moved up beside her at the desk, and came to a decision. It wasn't often, after all, that she would have this kind of a chance.

"I was just wondering..." Kei waggled the bag again, forcing Sei to look her way. "Maybe you've already eaten?" She was so pleased with herself, that she managed it with a straight face.

Sei's face couldn't have gotten any redder, but when the red hit her eyes, Kei momentarily panicked. Was she angry? Upset?

Sei's voice was calm, cool even, as she requested coffee and related items for their room. Kei watched her closely, wondering if she had pushed it too far.

The desk clerk asked them to wait, picked up the phone, spoke a few words into it, then put the phone down. "They'll be up in a few moments," was all she said, then turned back to whatever they had interrupted her in the middle of.

Sei did not move. Kei could see how tense the other woman was. Sei's face was carved stone now, pale, unmoving. There was no way to know what she was thinking.

With a sudden motion Sei turned to face Kei. "I like you," was all she said, then headed quickly for the elevator.

Taken by surprise, Kei had barely had time to comprehend the words before she was moving to follow Sei.

"What?" she called to Sei's back. "What did you say?"

Sei ignored her completely. By the time Kei caught up to her, the elevator had arrived and Sei was already inside. Kei leapt after her, just getting inside before the door closed.

They stood in awkward silence. Kei felt her heart beating more rapidly than the short distance she had run could account for. What was she expecting to happen? Did she really think Sei was going to push her against a wall and kiss her? Why was she imagining a scene like that in the first place?

Kei glanced over at the other woman, noticing with surprise that her ears were red again. Was she thinking the same thing, Kei wondered and her heat pounded a little harder for a beat or two.

The elevator stopped. The door opened.

Kei got out, turning to wait for Sei. The door was about to close again, when Kei put an arm out and held it. The elevator buzzed angrily. She stood there for about ten seconds, then grabbed Sei's sleeve and forced her out of the elevator, so it could close.

"What did you say?" Kei demanded. "I mean, I know what you said - why did you say it?"

Sei turned down the hall, the key to their room already extended. She opened the door and moved inside, leaving the door open.

Kei wanted to scream, but instead followed the other woman - again - closing the door behind her.

"Don't ignore me, dammit."

Sei was pulling clothes from the armoire, and laying them on her bed.

"I said," she responded without looking up," that I like you."

"Why?" Kei dropped the paper bag on the desk. "Why did you say that?"

Sei sighed. Her arms dropped to her side and she stood up, looking over at her classmate. "She told me to."

"She...you mean...?" Kei felt her face get warm.

"Shizuka told me to tell you that...that I like you. That...I'm interested in you Katou Kei-san." Sei's eyes were blazing as she spoke. It was hard to look at her, her face so perfect, like a statue of a goddess.

"..." Now it was Kei's turn to be speechless. How do you respond to something like that? It wasn't like it was a common occurrence that your classmate confessed to you, just after sleeping with another woman. Or, hell, maybe it was, and she just didn't know about it.

"You're my type. You're reliable, you're smart, you're attractive, you're...." Sei shut her mouth audibly and turned back to the clothes on the bed. She carefully folded a skirt and laid it next to a neatly folded blouse.

Momentarily distracted by Sei's steady motions, Kei found herself jealous of the skill with which Sei folded her clothes. It wasn't right that someone so haphazard in her life should be so fastidious about her clothes.

"I hate that word, reliable." Kei wasn't sure she had spoken out loud. Sei showed no sign of having heard her, certainly. She sat heavily on her bed, watching Sei continue packing.

"Why?"

"Why what?" The comment had seemed so random, and after such a long pause, Kei wasn't really sure what she was asking.

"Why do you hate the word reliable," Sei prodded, her eyes meeting Kei's briefly.

She wasn't sure. She just did. People had always called her that. From her earliest years in school, all the way to the nurses who tended her father in the hospital.

"Because it means that I'm the one who is left doing all the work, while everyone else gets to enjoy their life." Kei stood. She paced back and forth along the length of the bed as she spoke. "Reliable people aren’t exciting, they aren't fun to be around - they're just reliable." She stopped, putting a hand out, as if to grasp something. "Sometimes I just want to do things unreliably, on a whim." Her hand dropped, and she sat on the bed again.

Sei was quiet. She let the slacks she held in her hands slip to the bed. When she looked at Kei her face looked much more as it usually did. "You missed your cue there."

Kei didn't move. "This isn't a cheesy movie - I'm not going to leap up and kiss you, if that's what you mean."

"No, I guess not." Sei smiled in a way that made Kei relax just slightly. "You can't blame me for wishing that you did, though."

Kei found herself smiling back. "If this were a porn movie, I would have done more than just kiss you." She paused and held up a hand, "and yes, I can blame you for wishing that I did."

"I meant what I said, Kei-san." Sei's face was serious again, but there was no apparent conflict in her expression.

"I wish I knew how to answer you." Kei answered. "I think you're an interesting person. And I do want to know more about you. But I don't know if I'm 'interested in' you."

Sei took a deep breath. "That's okay. I just wanted to say it."

"You've probably said it to a dozen women, haven't you?" Kei laughed.

"Never before."

"Oh." Now Kei felt like an ass. "What about Shizuka-san?"

"Kei, have you ever been in love before?" Sei ignored the question. Kei shook her head. "I have. Once." Sei turned away, walked over to the window and stared out as she spoke. "I don't love Shizuka. Or, I should say that I love her, but I'm not in love with her, as clich├ęd as that is. I find her exceptionally charming. And we - we definitely have some chemistry. If I get a chance to see her again, I will."

Kei realized that that was all the answer she was going to get. "She seems very nice."

That made Sei smile for some reason. "I only ever find myself attracted to nice women. I wonder why?"

"Opposites attract?" Kei was glad to see Sei chuckle at that.

"Mmm. Guess so."

There was something she was trying to say, Kei thought. Something Sei was trying to say, without saying it. Kei thought over what she had said.

"Thank you." She blurted out suddenly, when she realized what it was.

Sei's eyes moved away from the window and Kei found herself confronting that sculpted face with the burning eyes once more. She shuddered, although whether with interest or fear...or awe, she wasn't sure. Kei watched in alarm as those burning eyes cooled. It was terrifying to think what might happen if she were to get caught in that gaze.

"You're welcome." Sei walked over to the coffee pot. "They never brought the stuff up." She sighed. "Oh well."

"Satou-san?" Kei came close. "How about we go get a cup of coffee? I'd like one last good cup before we leave."

Sei nodded happily. "That sounds great." Smiling, she took Kei's arm and tucked it in her own. "Come on Kei-san, let's go make one last beautiful memory before we leave."

Taking her arm out of Sei's Kei replied, "I'll settle for a cup of coffee, thanks."

At which Sei laughed, and opened the door to the hallway.

First Kiss Incident

Notes and Disclaimers: The characters of the Yamayurikai are the property of Konno Oyuki, Shuiesha and Geneon.

This story was written because Adam is a lame-ass. Just wanted to say that right up front.

For more stories with the characters from Marimite (and many other series,) please visit "Worldshaking" Fanfic. Visit the Yuricon Shop for great yuri manga in English and Japanese, or join the Mailing List and chat about your fave yuri couples!

My thanks, once again, to the The Fanfic Revolution, and Adam, in particular.

As always, if you enjoy this story, I'd love to know. You can reach me at worldshakingff@earthlink.net




First Kiss Incident


"Where shall we go now?" Noriko asked, as they walked out of the dark theater into blinding afternoon light.

"I don't know, are you hungry?" Shimako rearranged the angle of the wide-brim straw hat she wore, trying to block out the sun.
Noriko made a gesture of ambivalence. "Not hungry, but maybe a drink..."

"Let's go to the park, then, and have some tea."

As they walked, Noriko thought over the days leading up to this one. The fight with Shimako, the tears, the reconciliation. Her heart beat a little faster at the memory of the words that set it all off.

"What are you thinking about?" Shimako asked, smiling.

"Nothing," Noriko lied.

"Oh." Shimako looked a little put out at that, her smile fading. "I was worried that you were thinking about...before."

Noriko sighed. "I was. I can't help it. My feelings haven't changed."

"I know," Shimako's voice was sad. "I'm sorry."

"Me too."

Noriko opened her mouth, then closed it. Blowing out a frustrated breath, she turned towards Shimako and blurted out, "I..."

"Noriko, I..." Shimako's mouth was half open, staring down at the younger girl. She closed her mouth, and nodded. "Go ahead."

Noriko couldn't take her eyes off Shimako's mouth. "I want to start over again. I want..."

"Noriko," Shimako's voice was breathier than usual. "Me too. I want that too."

***

When it had started, Noriko thought, she had no idea it would go this far. It was, to be honest, a dare. And not even a dare for her, specifically. She had been in the classroom and a few of the girls had been joking with one of the others, and someone joked that on a dare, she should try to get a kiss from her onee-sama, which had prompted the expected squeals of titillated outrage. And then one of the girls said she'd do it, and so did the other two and they promised to report back the next day.

Noriko, who had been finishing up her homework, hadn't thought about the dare at all until she had arrived at the Rose Mansion to find Shimako alone. And it just popped into her head, to try and steal a kiss from Shimako.

Noriko considered as she entered the room. How would she do it? She could always go with the "look over there!" gambit, but that was lame. How about sharing food...or maybe just...

Noriko walked over to the table, dropping her schoolbag onto the chair and leaning over Shimako, kissed her quickly.

It was nothing, just a quick brushing of lips, a buss, a peck. But Noriko's eyes were filled with blood and her heart was bursting out of her chest as she pulled away.

Shimako's face was pale, her hands covering her lips. "Noriko?"

"I'm sorry...I," she took a step back. She knew, absolutely, that what she had just done was the worst thing in the world she could have ever done. Not because it was a sin, not because it was wrong, but because she suddenly realized that she wanted to do it again so badly, she might die.

Standing, Shimako faced her, her eyes huge in her face.

***

The problem, Noriko thought, with getting what you want, is figuring out what to do with it. She and Shimako had danced around each other for days, then weeks, snatching a moment alone here and there, a kiss, an embrace, a gentle touch of skin against skin or tongue against tongue.

The fight was so stupid that it was embarrassing to think about, really.

They were alone in Shimako's room sitting together at the table, legs intertwined, working on homework.

"Isn't it funny," Noriko had joked, "that if I hadn't kissed you on a dare, we wouldn't be together?"

Shimako had looked at her strangely. "That wasn't our real first kiss, though."

"Of course it was. The first time we kissed." Noriko looked up at the ceiling. "I want to remember it."

"That wasn't," Shimako emphasized the word, "our first kiss. That was your first kiss. Our first kiss was the one after that."

Noriko disagreed. "I kissed you - you were involved."

"But I never kissed back."

"Shimako-san. Don't you think that the distinction is a little silly? It was the first time our lips touched. Therefore, it was our..."

"No, it wasn't." The usually gentle Shimako had a surprisingly firm tone. "And it's not silly. Is it silly to want to think of my first kiss as one that I actually participated in?"

"Well, yes. Most girls call it their first kiss when someone else's lips and theirs' touch."

"That's not what *I* consider a kiss." Now Shimako's face was a little dark and Noriko could tell that she was angry. Very angry.

"I'm sorry, Shimako-san, I..."

"No, that's not good enough. You think it's all right to take a first kiss without a person's consent? How would you feel if I had done it to you and walked around telling everyone that that was your first kiss?"


"I..." Noriko took a deep breath. "I wouldn't be...no, I know, I wouldn't mind."

"Well I do."

"Shimako-san, I'm sorry if I offended you."

Shimako pulled her legs away and stood abruptly, "That's not the point. I can't believe that you, of all people, would be okay with a 'first kiss' being taken without being returned." Her hands clenched. "I'm surprised - and a little disappointed in you, Noriko." Her lips tightened. "I think maybe you should go home."

Stunned, Noriko stood. "If you feel that strongly about it, I will." And she had.

***

The next few weeks were horrible. The first kiss argument had spilled over into every interaction. Their disagreements divided the Yamayurikai on any number of issues, from the color of the backdrop for the school play, to the approval of a new club. Both sides refused to back down and repeated attempts by Yumi, Yoshino and Rei to play peacemaker had been rebuffed coldly. Only when Sachiko had demanded that they find a way to work together properly, had tempers cooled a little.

But only a little.

Where before they had arranged their schedules to meet anytime they could, now they were avoiding each other like the plague.

Why they had fallen out, no one ever learned. Rumors were rampant, of course, and creative. Touko had come right out and asked, but all Noriko would say was that she and Onee-sama had "disagreed." Rumor focused on why they didn't then split; as if that would have been the normal course that any reasonable person would take in the situation.

Noriko was angry. That she would admit. She couldn't understand why Shimako would discount that first kiss - even if it had been one-sided. It was if she herself was being discounted.

Shimako, impenetrable, as always, made no other reference to the matter. No one would ever come right out and ask her what the fight had been about. Yumi came the closest, but failed in the end to get a satisfactory answer.

It was Shimako who had started it, and it was Shimako who ended it.

Once again alone in the Rose Mansion, she looked up as the door opened. Noriko entered, met Shimako's eyes and nodded.

"Are you busy this weekend?" Shimako asked - quite out of the blue, Noriko thought. "I thought we'd go to a movie together, if you'd like."

Noriko thought about it for a moment. "I'd like that." Then burst into tears. Shimako ran over, put her arms around the younger girl, and they cried together for a while.

And then it was all over.

***

The park was busy, but they found a place to sit on the edge of a wall looking out at a fountain. Each had a crepe in one hand (chocolate for Noriko, mixed fruit for Shimako) and a can of tea in the other.

"It was totally my fault," Shimako said. "I'm sorry."

"I was insensitive," Noriko suggested, trying to shoulder some of the blame.

"No," Shimako shook her head. "There was something you didn't know." She looked away, her voice small and a little quavery. "It wasn't *my* first kiss."

Noriko gaped. "Oh."

"And the other one, the first one, was just the same as when you..."

And then it all made perfect sense.

"Shimako-san," Noriko said, smiling. "Can we make a deal? You said you wanted to start over, right?"

Shimako nodded, unsurely.

"Finish up your crepe, drink your tea and come with me." Noriko bit into the ice cream crepe, moaning as the inevitable brain freeze hit. They ate quickly and steadily, drank their tea and threw away the refuse. Taking Shimako's hand, Noriko led the way to the subway, laughing.

When they arrived at Noriko's aunt's home, they were both laughing. And they laughed as they removed their shoes, greeted Sumireko and politely refused the offer of tea.

When they were alone at last, Noriko took Shimako's hands in her own.

"Here's the deal. We start over, right here, right now. And we don't fight anymore."

"Deal," Shimako agreed, with a voice like she was praying.

Hand in hand, they moved towards each other.

For their very first kiss.


Simoun : Both Sides of the Sky

After watching the end of Simoun I knew I would have to write something about it. With so many outstanding characters and so many pieces of the story waiting to be filled, it's a little sad that there aren't more stories out there already.

This is a story about Aaeru and Neviril. I hope that I'll be able to write others... and I really hope they won't take anything like as long.


Simoun : Both Sides of the Sky



"Amuria was really strong, wasn't she?"

"Yes. Yes, she was."

Slim fingers tightened their grip on the window sill. "Did you...
Did you feel like this when you flew with her?"

Neviril reached out a hand uncertainly, drawn by the play of
sunlight across soft, golden hair. "What do you mean, Aaeru?"

The smaller girl whirled to face her, green eyes flashing. "How can
you stand it?" She stepped forward, forcing Neviril back towards the
bed. "I can't even do my maaju properly! Every time I try to
concentrate I keep thinking about you! My hands won't stop shaking!
I--" She thrust them forwards, accusingly.

Neviril sat carefully down on the edge of the mattress, favouring her
with a quiet, sad smile. At this, Aaeru's small form seemed almost
to deflate. She stared wordlessly at her feet, her arms dropping
limply to her sides. Neviril turned away, her eyes tracing the
featureless expanse of the bedsheets, cold and undisturbed. For a
long moment she lost herself in the piercing memory of her own
fears, and of breathless nights spent learning to escape them.

"Aaeru," she began, her voice barely more than a whisper. "Do you
remember that night aboard the Messis when you--?"

"I'm sorry," the younger girl interrupted her sullenly.

"What?" Neviril looked up at her suddenly, startled.

"I wasn't trying to hurt you. I just..." She stumbled to a halt
before trying again. "I was just--"

"Aaeru." Neviril's voice was firm, willing the girl to meet her gaze.
She smiled. "I know that, now. Paraietta even tried to tell me so
after you had left."

"Paraietta? But I thought she... She was so angry at me."

Neviril's smile faltered. "She had her reasons."

Aaeru looked up, a little of her strength returning to her voice.
"Yeah, I guess she did."

The words hung for a moment in the air as Neviril gathered her thoughts.
"That was not what I wanted to tell you, though." Green eyes widened
in surprise. "That night... I kept seeing her face. I couldn't
sleep--"

"I'm sorry--" Aaeru tried to interrupt, but the older girl continued.

"I couldn't sleep, because every time I saw her face, I saw yours as
well." She tried to ignore the sharpness of the other girl's gasp.
"I was so terribly ashamed. It felt as though I was betraying her.
I truly wanted to hate you. And it felt like I was hating her."
She shuddered, wrapping her arms tightly about her chest.

"And then you found me. You... You weren't her. You kissed me,
and I didn't want you to stop. I wasn't supposed to feel like that
again. Not without her."

"Neviril, I..."

Looking up, she saw tears beginning to form in those beautiful eyes,
a reflection of those in her own. She drew a deep, calming breath and
willed herself to be stronger. "Please, don't ever be sorry. Not for
me."

The younger girl's expression brightened a little, the beginnings of
a smile returning to her lips. Neviril patted the sheets next to where
she was sitting, motioning Aaeru to join her. They faced one another,
uncertainly.

"Amuria was... She was unlike anyone I had ever known. So wild and
sure of herself. She loved to fly, loved the beauty of the sky and the
feeling of the wind.

"When we first flew together I was so nervous that I could barely even
hold our Simoun in a straight line. Next to her I felt like I was a
helpless novice. But when she looked into my eyes... I knew I could
fly. And we did, higher than anyone had ever been before.

"She was never afraid. Not even once. As long as we were together, we
were invincible."

Gathering her courage, Neviril let her words hang, trembling in the air.
She took a long, slow breath, fixing the other girl with her eyes.

"Performing the Emerald Ri Maajon... I know how it feels to be afraid,
Aaeru. But I don't ever want to forget it. Do you?"

Her only answer was the most imperceptible shake of the other girl's
head, blonde hair shimmering minutely in the sunlight. She felt her
fingers tighten nervously, cold pressing through the thin fabric of
her skirt as the moment stretched on.

"We'll find her."

Neviril fell back, shocked by the sudden words and by a brilliant smile
which left her arms shaking and her heart quivering in her chest.
"What?"

"Amuria, I mean. We'll find her, Neviril."

Soft lips formed the syllables of her name, each tiny motion leaving her
mind reeling. "But how? Where--" she tried to ask.

"It doesn't matter. We can do anything if we're together."

In spite of herself, she believed every word. "Aaeru... Why?"

"Because you want to know. Because I've thought of something I want to
ask her. And I think... I think it'd be fun to fly with her. Just
once."

Slowly, unsteadily, Neviril forced herself upright. "Thank you," she
whispered. In return she was rewarded with a familiar, cocky grin that
seemed to warm every part of her being. She leaned in more closely,
drawn helplessly into the warmth of Aaeru's breath against her lips.

The smaller girl stared at her in startled confusion, her cheeks flaming
bright red. She turned away sharply, hands clenching and unclenching
frustratedly in her lap. Trying her utmost not to laugh, Neviril let
herself fall back onto the bed, the tension of the moment receding.

In the long, timid silence that followed, she watched as Aaeru struggled
to find a way to express thoughts it seemed she barely understood. The
incessant toying of her fingers and the half-whispers of her breath were
all that marked the passage of time. Finally, as she stared angrily at
the floor, there was a gentle knock at the door.

Neviril composed herself carefully, sighing in quiet frustration.
"Yes?" she replied. Turning to the other girl, she smiled encouragingly.
"Would you answer that please, Aaeru?"

Startled, she nodded shyly and turned to open the door. She wanted to
fly. Wanted it viscerally, with every muscle in her body. Why, she
wondered angrily, were there no words for such a simple thing?


FIN


Revolutionary Girl Utena: Anima

Notes and Disclaimers: The characters in this story are the creation and property of Be-Papas. Chiho Saito and Ikuhara Kunihiko, and I mean no (serious) harm by using them for a bit.

This story has explicit-ish sexual content between two women - please stop reading immediately if you are underage legally in your area of residence, or this would offend you. Having been warned so bluntly, do not tell me it's my fault that you read it. There are also spoilers if you are paying attention, so if you haven't seen the whole series, and want to avoid knowing stuff, you might want to stop reading now. Also, if your eyes hurt, or your head is achy, or your back hurts - stop reading and go take a break, OK?

This story is Alan Harnum's fault, because he mentioned that he would read an Utena lemon and I said I never write them. So of course I came up with an idea almost instantly. But he made amends by coming up with the title, for which I am grateful. And thanks to Adam, Pendant to the Queen. And upon rereading this, it occurs to me that I'm getting mushy in my old age.

If you enjoy this, please let me know at worldshakingff@earthlink.net



Anima

It wasn't supposed to have happened. It might not have happened. But
even as a dream, as a reflection of the faintest desire, it should
never have been. Not even as a false hope.

She had returned that night, later than usual - the grey light of
pre-dawn just on the cusp of the morning, before color reasserted
itself. She spent a moment without her glasses, allowing the
acid-washed shades of the morning to fix themselves in her mind. The
cool, wet, dawn wind spilled over the empty streets and the smell of
salt filled her nostrils. She turned away from the school, looking
over the endless sea and thought hard, as she always did, about
plunging headlong from the cliffs into its black depths. She wondered
what the outcome would be - death, transformation, or life. No one,
not even her brother, could claim to know the result of that throw of
the dice.

Her brother. The wind chilled her now, and her steps turned once again
towards home. She could smell him on her skin; feel his beautiful
hair, his strong grip - she put her glasses back on and stepped through
the dormitory gate.

Their room was dark. She could see no sign of movement or light in the
window, but she felt alert, as if something was awaiting her there.
Enter the dorm, shut the door quietly. Stairs, skip the one that
squeaks automatically so one doesn't wake Utena. The room they share.
The door. Her hand on the handle, turning, pushing...

"Anshi?" Utena's sleepy voice from the darkness of the room. She could
just make out the shape sitting in the top bunk.

"I'm home." Anshi kept her voice soft and pleasant, as one speaks to a
child awakened from a nightmare.

There was no answer and Anshi thought that perhaps Utena slept once
again. But no, her breathing was audible, ragged, shallow.

"Utena-sama?" Anshi allowed worry to fill her voice. This wasn't like
Utena at all. "Are you alright?"

"Anshi, I," a breath, almost a sob. "No, no. I'm fine. It was just a
dream, a nightmare, I guess."

Anshi walked over to the beds and stood looking up at Utena's hunched
figure. She held out a hand. "Tell me about it."

Utena stretched out her own hand to take Anshi's, but at the briefest
touch pulled away sharply with a gasp. "No!" She tried to slow her
breathing, the harsh breaths that came now, forced, as if she could
not breath the rarefied air in the room. "No - I don't think talking
about it would help."

Anshi placed a hand on Utena's leg, and the girl did not flinch.
Softly Anshi stroked her thigh, soothingly, and she spoke lightly.
"Let me make you some tea - in the morning it will just have been a
dream." She could see Utena's eyes now, as she grew accustomed to the
gloom. There was an unpleasant light in them, as if Utena watched her
fearfully.

Utena's hand, moving slowly, covered Anshi's pressing it to her leg.
Anshi could feel the muscles tense under Utena's pajama leg. Utena
lifted Anshi's hand, and held it to her cheek.

"You're real." Utena's voice came to her softly, as a sigh. "You're
real, right? Not another dream?"

Anshi wasn't sure how to answer that. She paused, then said, "I'm
here." And heard Utena sigh again. She could feel warm breath move
across her fingers, then the warm softness of lips. Anshi held herself
still and calm, although the sensation made her want to cry out.

Utena lowered Anshi's hand, now clasped between her own, and held it
pressed to her chest. "I'm sorry. I'm acting strangely. I was just a
dream - but it was so real." Anshi watched as Utena reached up to brush
away a tear from her cheek. "You were dead, laid out in a coffin, but
when I went to say good bye you sat up and grabbed for me. You - your
body was covered in horrible wounds and blood, and you reached out for
me. But as you touched me, you faded away."

Anshi started and pulled her hand away with a jerk. This wasn't right.
Utena could *not* have seen that.

Utena seemed not to have noticed that she was no longer holding
Anshi's hand. Her body slumped, she held both hands clasped to her
chest. Anshi found herself breathing hard and spent a moment taking
deep breaths, calming herself. She opened her mouth to speak, but
Utena moved first.

Sliding down from the upper bunk, she landed lightly on the floor
facing Anshi. Slowly, as if afraid that the other girl would
disappear, as she had in the vision, Utena reached out and held Anshi
by the shoulders. "You are real, aren't you Anshi? I' m just being
foolish, right? I know... I know it was just a dream." And she laughed
a little; a forced laugh that was nonetheless comforting. But her eyes
held an unspoken plea.

Anshi looked up into Utena's eyes, and seeing the madness, the
prescience fading from them, allowed herself a small lie. "I'm real,
Utena-sama." And she could see the fear vanish. It was that simple.
One more small lie among a host of lies. And when she leaned forward
to place a light kiss on Utena's cheek it was no more a lie than her
words had been. But as Utena turned her face to return the kiss, Anshi
could hear the beating of their hearts, and she wondered to whom it
was that she was lying this time.

Their lips met and Utena's hands tightened on her shoulders. Anshi,
tired, perhaps too tired to think, still remembering his touch on her
skin, his taste and smell reacted, more strongly than she might have...
Another time she might have ended this, persuaded Utena to return to
bed with comforting words. Instead, she lifted her head to Utena,
parting her lips slightly.

Anshi couldn't know what went through Utena's mind at the moment, but
she could guess. The overwhelming desire to confirm Anshi's reality,
her wholeness; to make sure Anshi would not fade from her grasp.
Pulling Anshi close to her, Utena buried her face in Anshi's neck, not
quite kissing it, just tasting, feeling. Anshi felt her already
weakened guard crumbling. A small noise, like a whimper, escaped from
her lips as her resolve fled. Her hands rose, burying themselves in
Utena's hair, while in her mind, the last portion of her will cried
out inside her head.

Utena pulled away sharply, inhaling through her teeth in a hiss.
Looking down at Anshi, she couldn't help feeling the delicate frame
pressed up warmly against her own. One hand moved up from the shoulder
it clung to, and encircled the smooth dark neck. Their lips met, and
all rational thought, spurred on by fear and desire, swiftly departed,
leaving only the timeless communion of the body.

Utena captured Anshi's lips, this time kissing her hard. When Anshi's
tongue played gently at the corners of her mouth, Utena opened her
mouth to meet it. Her hands seemed to have developed a will of their
own, as if tracing every inch of Anshi's skin would redefine her, make
her more real. Anshi gasped as Utena's hands found already sensitive
nipples, and again, as Utena knelt, stroking her legs, brushed lightly
between them, filling in skin and hair and wetness in her recreation
of Anshi.

Kneeling in front of Utena, Anshi untied the bow on her blouse, then
removed the garment completely. Utena, not content to merely sculpt
Anshi by hand, needed also to craft her Galatea with the touch of lips
and teeth and tongue. When Anshi was naked, Utena laid her out on the
floor, and taking one hand in her own, began to sketch her newest
version of Anshi. Minutely, she kissed Anshi's arm, finding each
muscle, each bone and placing it in her blueprint. When she reached
Anshi's shoulder, the vanguard of her hand reached out to shape one
breast, then the other. Lips finished this fabrication, and left Anshi
breathless. No longer able to be a mere statue, Anshi found herself
asking her creator to finish her, to bring her life. But Utena would
not rush such a demanding work.

A second wave of soft breath, finalizing the shape of Anshi's eyes,
her ears, her mouth, then the sweet moment when her tongue was given
life. Hands now crudely forming ribs, descending to a slim waist, and
rising up to fill in the spine. Anshi arched herself up under Utena's
hands, her back and shoulders real now as they had never been before.

Utena had moved down, leaving soft belly for last, and was now
sculpting Anshi's feet. Slowly, deliberately, she carved each toe, the
delicate work of the instep and ankle, each stage finished with
kisses. Anshi could feel her legs worked from mere clay into limbs of
flesh and sinew, which might one day hold her upright. Each muscle and
tendon lovingly placed, Utena continued to work up Anshi's thighs,
until only one thing remained. Anshi could feel Utena's hands kneading
the contours of her legs, her buttocks, her stomach and hips. And
when, for the second time Utena lightly brushed in the detail of
pubis, Anshi shook in anticipation. Utena's breath was tantalizing -
the very breath of life that Anshi now needed. When Utena at last
granted her that life, she cried with the noise of a newborn child,
hopelessly alive and forever lost until death should once again enfold
her with soft warmth.

Anshi lay on the floor shaking for the longest time, shivering first
with ecstasy, then with emotion, and at last with mundane cold. Utena,
her head pillowed on Anshi's belly, lay in a trance. Her eyes were
half open; she regarded her creation with wonder, idly tracing the
very angles and curves that she had placed there..

All at once Utena stood then, bending down, lifted Anshi from her
pedestal and set her up on legs now made flesh. Anshi thanked her and
again for the nightclothes she was handed. Now dressed, Anshi was at a
loss as to what to say to Utena. But Utena was not there. She had
returned to her bunk, and was already sleeping a deep, dreamless
sleep. As the pinks and oranges of a new day crept through their
window into the room, Anshi slept also.



She awoke to a profound sensation of disorientation. Muffled bumps in
another room told her that Utena was dressed and making breakfast. She
moved slowly, feeling her new, unfamiliar limbs and found that they
would work. She bathed and dressed and came out to the dining room,
just as Utena entered with a tray.

"Himemiya! Good morning!" Utena's voice rang with her usual
cheerfulness, her eyes were clear of fear and worry, and Anshi began
to doubt what she remembered of the night before. Her nerves, strained
by the tensions of love and hate, felt near to snapping.

"Good morning, Utena-sama." She stepped forward to take the tray, but
Utena gestured her to a seat. While they ate, Utena chatted away about
a project for science class and Anshi responded acceptably, if with no
particular inspiration. Silence, when it fell seemed normal, but Anshi
felt herself straining to sense any wrongness in Utena's mien.

"Hey, Himemiya." Utena looked up over her teacup. "How did you sleep
last night? I didn't wake you, did I? I think I had some bad dreams."

Anshi composed her features as she sipped, and smiled benignly. "I
came in rather late, so I slept well. No, you didn't wake me up."

Utena's face screwed up almost comically. "I know I had some strange
dreams, but I can't remember any of them. Hey, Himemiya," she looked
at Anshi and her eyes had an odd light to them, which faded quickly.
Utena laughed and shook her head." Forget it – it's probably best I
Don't try and remember the dreams. Forget it." And whistling
artlessly, Utena whisked their dirty dishes off the table and into the
kitchen.

Watching her leave, Anshi could not get the feel of Utena's hands on
her body from her mind. It should never have happened. It did not
happen. It was just a dream.

She wished that she too had the power to forget dreams. It would have
been so much easier all the way around.