Ahem. I would like to say right now that this is all Peacewish's fault. She invented the pairing that made me invent this pairing. So it's all her fault. Nyah.

I'm fitting this in on a technicality into a Tsukimine challenge, as follows:

Topic: Silence

Genre: Romance/CRACKTASTIC

Canon: You so can't prove it isn't post-anime. I mean, it isn't, but you can't prove it.

Words: 500-1000. According to Word, I overreached by 14 words. Big whoop.

Stipulation: No external dialogue. With which I am fine. Indirect dialogue is pwnzored by me. Except in Latin, about which I refuse to speak.

Anyway. Fic. I'm not telling you the pairing in advance—the fact that you made it this far indicates that you don't much care. Other warnings: Shoujo-ai, blah blah. Het, omgevil!eleven! Absolutely nothing worse than canon. I think. Beats me.

Toy Store Romance

Sonomi didn't usually visit toy stores, especially not to buy anything. Half the toys in such shops belonged to her company; if she wanted, she could have one with hardly a thought. But that week, only days before Tomoyo's thirteenth birthday, Sonomi decided some special gift was in order. She new Tomoyo has often visited Twin Bells, the small toy shop in the middle of town, so she stopped by to see if anything there would make a nice gift.

The young woman behind the counter surprised her. She had expected to be recognized, since everyone in Tomoeda knew each other by sight, but Sonomi had not thought that the owner herself would be at work in the shop. The times when she herself had been the sole employee of her own business were, by that time, far in the past, and Sonomi found herself capable of being surprised by what she had once been. Matsumoto Maki, the shop owner, was pleasant and helpful, so that Sonomi quickly realized why she would choose to work in her store as well as manage it. She bought some decorated notebooks for Tomoyo at Maki's suggestion, and left the store smiling. She was halfway home when she realized that she would like a reason to go back.

Two weeks later, Sonomi walked into Twin Bells again, just before the lunch hour. Maki was there, as always, handling the last of the customers. She looked surprised to see Sonomi there, though she hid it well. Sonomi returned her greeting and said that no, nothing was wrong, she just happened to be in town, and she wondered if Matsumoto-san would like to come out to lunch with her? Maki smiled—she had dimples at the corners of her mouth—and agreed.

They talked about business, mostly, exchanging industry gossip about which chains looked like reaching international level soon and which executives were overreaching themselves. Sonomi discovered that she was enjoying herself more than she had in years, ever since—she hadn't had anyone to talk to. Maki was a wonderful conversation partner, neither cowed nor condescending, and Sonomi rediscovered with a start how much she had missed talking to someone like that. Something of the sensation, laughter in the cool autumn air, made it easy for her to suggest that they might have lunch like this every week. Perhaps the same something made Maki agree.

After that, they saw a lot of each other. They met for lunch every week, when they talked about anything and everything. They talked about flowers (Maki's favorites were violets), books (Sonomi had read some of the most recent novels, and a few of them were really worth the time; she would bring one or two next week), animals (Maki used to want a cat, but with all the stuffed animals, she felt like she lived in a zoo as it was); whatever came to mind. Maki asked after Tomoyo on weeks the girl hadn't visited Twin Bells. Sonomi asked how Maki's parents were doing. They talked, sooner or later, about love. They talked about Maki's fiancé, who had dreamed so fervently of selling the toys he had designed, and about Sonomi's husband, with whom she had started the company that had grown so quickly. Sonomi found herself talking about Nadeshiko, telling Maki's sympathetic ear things she had never spoken aloud before, about the cousin-friend who never wanted to be anything more, about the man too perfect to hate in comfort, about the daughter Sonomi doted on, who took after Nadeshiko, and the son she did not, who did not (Maki knew Sakura, of course, and had met her family at town events and such). She told Maki everything, without even noticing how much of what she was saying had always been a secret before. Maki listened, smiled, sympathized, and replied gently that Nadeshiko must have been a wonderful person to have known. Sonomi noticed only then that Nadeshiko, and how much Sonomi had cared for her, had at some time been placed as fixedly in the past tense as her husband had been for years.

That was in the middle of October. Sonomi asked Maki out to dinner on November First.

All that month, as the days grew shorter and the wind colder, Sonomi and Maki could be observed in alternating periods of daydreaming and nervous anticipation. Customers at Twin Bells often had to ask twice to get any response. Sakura wondered aloud what was going on. Tomoyo only smiled. They were both in the shop one Friday afternoon when Sonomi drove up, holding a bouquet of (admittedly artificial) violets in one hand and a second motorcycle helmet in the other. After Maki had hastily closed up the store and the pair had driven away, Maki clinging tightly to Sonomi's waist and not looking at all sure of herself, Sakura stared perplexedly for a minute before asking Tomoyo what was going on. She told her.

A surprising number of people were having sleepovers that month. Everyone liked Maki, and Tomoyo was quite perspicacious when it came to guessing when she ought not to be around. It wasn't that her house wasn't big enough, she explained in whispers and giggles, quite the contrary, but it was the principle of the thing. Her mother would prefer if she wasn't there, she was sure. So Tomoyo spent half of November, it seemed, at other people's houses.

Early in December, Sonomi went through a fit of redecorating frenzy that fortunately resulted in little actual change, as various business issues cropped up requiring nearly all her attention. Maki took Tomoyo to visit museums, and they decided they got along very well. Once Sonomi's business affairs were temporarily taken care of, she had a long, serious talk with her daughter, which had the principal result of making Sonomi work frantically to keep her calendar clear for the Christmas holidays, and Tomoyo smile even more than usual as she went with her friends on several emergency shopping trips.

On Christmas Day, Sonomi asked Maki to move in to the mansion.


I told you I was on crack. I don't know how my brain comes up with these things.

No, not all of my crack-tastic pairings will be shoujo-ai. It's just easier, because most of the guys have already been mixed and matched in either canon or fanon until it's hard to find anything vaguely new. But I will think of something!

Did the indirect speech work here, or was it a bit stilted? Also, did you think Sonomi sounded right? She was the hardest part to get into my head.

This pairing works disturbingly well.

Fare thee well! Yours in canon and crack, Cygna.