The tragic result of watching the Legendary Love Angel Wedding Peach Deluxe Christmas Special ("Reunion: We even fight on Christmas Day!") while feeling sentimental… This has gone through a couple of title changes and mild revisions. :)
Warnings: This is a femmeslash, aka yuri, love story. If you are bothered by the idea of two girls together, with some heterosexual and male/male hints, you've only got your own lesbophobia to blame if you read on and are offended.
Momoko= Angel Peach Scarlet=Angel Salvia
Yuri= Angel Lily Hinagiku=Angel Daisy
Yanagibi= Archangel Limone Sakura = Archangel Celeste
Yousuke= Devil Viento
Dedications: To Charabok, for pushing me to write a Wedding Peach story, and sending me that inspirational picture of Momoko and Scarlet. And this is especially dedicated to my darling Hecate, who knows exactly why.
Scarlet woke, sobbing, as she did most nights. Night terrors were one of the drawbacks of living as a human that she hadn't fully considered. She had suffered as an Angel, but it was only as a human she was plagued by dreams.
She glanced quickly around the dormitory to ensure she had wakened no one, then curled up into a ball and brooded. She could never reconstruct her dreams on waking, could never access more than disjointed, grief and terror blurred images. Freesia's death and her own inability to prevent it, demons she had purified coming back to haunt her after their destruction, her own fiancé becoming a demon before her eyes, and her swords cutting through him.
As always, under stress, Scarlet reverted to detachment, turning her own pain and phantasms under analysis. Nightmares were, she knew, a human psychophysical mechanism, repeating the unbearable in the safety of unconsciousness until it could be borne by the waking mind. Pity she hadn't considered that aspect of humanity when Aphrodite offered her the choice.
Only lately… Lately she had woken to Peach's voice, calling her back from the darkness. Scarlet mouthed the words in the darkness. Salvia, hold on. We love you, we need you, don't leave…
Scarlet shook her sweat-dampened hair back from her face and climbed out of bed. Brooding wasn't achieving anything. She moved into the bathroom to bathe her face, scrutinising her pale reflection in the mirror. Her violet eyes were very dark, lack of sleep lining them with black. She had better make up carefully that morning or her friends would demand to know what was wrong. Especially Momoko, who could be relied on never to mind her own business.
As she dried her face on the towel, she wondered why Peach – no, Momoko, Scarlet corrected herself – had entered her dreams. Until lately, she had relived her horrors over and over without hearing anyone's voice but her own.
"Lady Aphrodite?" she asked, softly. "Are you sending the dreams, my goddess?" But only silence answered her.
Oh, Salvia, don't cry. I'm here, I'll never leave you,Peach had implored.
Scarlet wondered why the memory of the words had warmed her frozen heart so. She was almost in danger of thawing.
When she returned to her bed, the images that floated through her head were not of her dead lover and enemies, but of Momoko. Spun candy hair fanning around a heart-shaped face, the cerulean eyes sparkling with spirit and mischief. The beauty and strength of an angel, and another attribute that was both alien and beautiful to the Angel Salvia, some sweet combination of compassion and playfulness that was purely human.
Momoko-Peach, Peach-Momoko. Scarlet repeated her name over to herself, and smiled as sleep washed over her. She did not dream again that night,
* * *
Under the harsh, unromantic light of waking day, Momoko was more than just beautiful and kind. She was loud, interfering and irritating. Yuri and Scarlet bobbed along in her wake, sharing a silent relief that Momoko's annoying attentions were trained on Hinagiku for the moment. They kicked through the slush, Scarlet wishing she dared transform and fly home from school.
"You're giving Takorou a computer programme about mathematics for Christmas?"
Hinagiku glared defiantly at her. "What's wrong with that?"
Momoko pouted. "It's so unromantic. He'll think you don't like like him."
The other girl rolled her eyes. "Bingo."
"Why don't you just hand in your wings, Hinako? What kind of a Love Angel are you?"
"A gay one," Scarlet could have sworn she heard Hinagiku mutter under her breath.
The redhead smothered an unfittingly adolescent giggle. Momoko was, in Scarlet's opinion, a genius at ignoring the breathtakingly obvious. Hinagiku might be fond of Takorou, but if any girl was ever headed for a wardrobe of silk shirts and work boots, it was the lime-haired tomboy.
"What's so funny, Scarlet?"
Scarlet turned to face wide, questioning eyes. She opened her mouth to share her opinion of Momoko's blindness, then realised who she was talking to, and paused. She was torn between honesty and giving the younger girl her patented 'I'm a true angel and you're not, so you will never understand' smile.
It was, of course, true that Yuri was Yanagabi's true love, and was probably going to breed little angelettes with him for all eternity. Yuri had grown up among wedding dresses and in an atmosphere of overly romantic femininity and cloying heterosexuality. Her future was, in a way, as crystalline as that of Hinagiku. It didn't mean much, in the end, that Yuri was the Fighter Angel Lily and her boyfriend, known to himself or not, was the angel Limone. You only had to spend a few minutes at Momoko's house to realise that the Angel Celeste, after all, had become a very happy housewife.
But it was also true that Yuri was a very pretty young woman, and that she spent most of her waking moments with Hinagiku. Yuri was so very, exaggeratedly feminine too – enough to suggest "femme" rather than "feminine." She drew her magical powers from a holy lip-liner, for Aphrodite's sake…
Not for the first time, Scarlet regretted not being able to sense human relationships better. For a Love Angel, she knew she could be very blind. She knew Hinagiku was in love with Yuri, but as to whether the jade-eyed girl returned her feelings… Scarlet looked into Yuri's sweet face, and discovered that she had absolutely no idea if the younger girl was Hinagiku's lover or merely her best friend.
Hinagiku's lover… Scarlet had a sudden image of the girls entwined together, Yuri's delicate curves trapped under Hinagiku's lithe strength, breasts pressed together as mouths sought each other… She was surprised by way the pit of her stomach clenched at the thought. Something she had not felt since Freesia's death.
No, that wasn't right, she had felt this since -
Scarlet realised she was staring blankly at Yuri, and closed her mouth. The younger girl looked concerned.
"Scarlet? Are you all right?"
Scarlet watched the sweet curve of Yuri's mouth as she talked, and wondered what it would be like to kiss her. She felt a sudden pounding of regret as she realised she had never tasted Freesia's mouth, and now it was too late. And she was staring at Yuri, who she looked at as a little sister, as if she was going to jump her in the street. What was wrong with her? Something connected with the dreams, she was sure, but…
The quarrelling between Hinagiku and Momoko continued to pound in Scarlet's ears, but not
more loudly than her heart. Barely able to control herself, she began to move forwards towards Yuri. The younger girl lifted questioning eyes.
The mood was broken by a squeal up ahead. The Fighter Angel's brave and caring leader had just attempted to brain one of her lieutenants with her satchel, and had overbalanced and fallen into a puddle of melting snow. Hinagiku was heartlessly screeching with laughter.
"You bitch!" Momoko screamed. "At least help me up!"
Still convulsed by giggles, Hinagiku unwisely extended a hand, allowing her leader to pull her down into the freezing filth. She gasped with rage and grabbed at Momoko's long pink hair. Yuri, ever the peacemaker, cried out in horror and went to separate them. Scarlet hovered and watched them, trying to calm her breathing.
When Yuri had managed to detach her friends, Scarlet stepped forward and ordered the girls home. "You'll die of pneumonia," she snapped.
"Yes, Mama," Hinagiku said, and the girls giggled.
The group finally broke up. Scarlet was conscious of a certain amount of relief. She loved her younger friends, but they could be exhausting sometimes, and she needed space to ponder her own new impulses. She watched as Yuri and Hinagiku wandered off arm-in-arm, despite the fact that the tomboy was soaking wet and filthy, and Yuri normally was as fastidious as her princess-like demeanor would suggest.
Momoko lingered behind, watching the two girls almost as thoughtfully as Scarlet was.
"Scarlet? Can I talk to you for a moment?"
She sighed to herself, but her response was as elegant and emotionless as usual. "Of course."
Momoko seemed ill at ease for some reason, her cheeks almost as soft a p[ink as her hair. Of course, that was probably the freezing wind. "Scarlet, we're all - Hinagiku and Yuri and the boys and I - going shopping for Christmas Eve. Would you like to come?"
Scarlet gave her most remote, unencouraging smile. "I wouldn't like to play gooseberry."
"You could bring a date, you know. If even Hinagiku can…" Momoko sighed and shook her pink head, as if realising what she was saying was stupid. "Well, afterwards then, Scarlet-would-you-come-home-with-me-for-Christmas-please?" she rushed. She clasped her hands imploringly, as if the answer was really important to her.
Scarlet lifted an eyebrow "Why?" she asked bluntly.
"Scarlet, no one should have to spend Christmas alone." Momoko laid a hand on the redhead's arm. It felt strangely warm and heavy there.
"Human celebrations and sentiment mean nothing to me – Peach." Scarlet said reprovingly, and
began to remove Momoko's hand from her arm.
Momoko pouted crossly at her. "You chose to try and live as an ordinary human, didn't you?"
"Yes." Scarlet bit her lip. "I'm just not sure I'm very good at it," she admitted softly.
Momoko's grip tightened. "Then come because I'd like you to. Christmas should be spent with the ones you love. Mama'd like to have you. You can't refuse a request from the Angel Celeste, right? And I want you, too."
Those beautiful cerulean eyes were fixed on her. Salvia, we need you, we love you, echoed unbidden in the angel's mind.
"No one should spend Christmas alone," she said softly, and was rewarded by Momoko's face blossoming into one of her radiant smiles.
The older girl pulled away abruptly and headed back for her apartment. She needed to be alone. Somewhere in Momoko's glowing expression she had found a name for the emotion pulling at the pit of her stomach.
- * * *
Late Christmas Eve night, Scarlet wasn't so sure she'd made the right decision. Returning from battling Golden Mask, exhausted from yet another round of demon-purification and the relentless teen romantic intrigues of her fellow Angels, there was still Momoko's family to be faced. Scarlet was beginning to long for the quiet of her dorm room.
"I must leave you to go to the kitchen, my love," Sakura whispered in dulcet tones.
Her husband gazed adoringly at her. "Take care, my angel, and be back soon." Momoko's parents embraced.
Across the table, Momoko rolled her eyes at Scarlet, who couldn't help grinning back. "Take care? Of the evil monster that lives under the sink?" She shook her head. "Are they always like this?"
"Always. When Mama says she stayed on Earth for love, she wasn't kidding." Momoko leaned across the table and whispered, "Just try to steer them clear from the mistletoe, okay?"
Scarlet turned to watch Sakura float out of the room, her face dreamy. It was almost beyond comprehension that this infatuated housewife was the legendary angel Celeste… Scarlet felt a twinge of envy at the senior angel's happiness, and was surprised at herself. Her last ambition was to be a permanent dishwasher and cook.
"How do we keep them from the mistletoe?" she whispered back.
Momoko smiled, very innocently, at her. "We could camp under it ourselves."
Scarlet caught her breath, and then realised Momoko was just joking. Hot blood flooded her face.
"Momoko, Scarlet, dear, look what we have. Traditional English Christmas pudding!" Sakura announced, reentering the room.
"My darling, what a genius you are…"
Scarlet dropped her suddenly dancing eyes to focus on the food, trying to ignore the odd way Momoko was looking at her.