Bubblegum Crisis Post 2040 File 1: Dominant Species
by P. Kristen Enos (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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A Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 English Dub Version Fanfic. All rights belong to AIC, ADV Films and the other creative powers that be. I just want credit for writing the story. Contains spoilers! Rated PG13. Yuri warning! Nothing in here should be a shock if you've watched the episodes and paid attention. All I'm doing is filling in the gaps with my own interpretation of events! Special thanks to egret for betaing!
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Basic background: This scene takes place right after the Sabers confrontation scene at Sylia's place in the episode "I Surrender", when Sylia confesses not only that there was a previous Knight Sabers team who were not successful, but also that the recently destroyed hardsuits were boomers.
There's a crucial incident in the English dub anime which is referred to, and which inspired this fic: In explaining why she needed not only an all female team to be Knight Sabers, Sylia teases Nene by going nose to nose with her and hinting that she needed to share a "very special physical compatibility" with them. Nene freaks, stammers that she's not like the way Sylia and Linna might be. Linna reacts with total embarrassment. And Priss just widens her eyes in surprise.
The scene officially ends with Priss already having made a stormy exit at the betrayal of feeling used and being endangered with hardsuits that could go rogue at Galatea's command, Galatea being the villainess of the piece. This scene picks up after Nene exits at the betrayal as well, though probably not as pissed. Leaving behind Sylia, Linna and Mackie.
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For three people left in the room, it was deathly quiet.
Nene's last words lingered in the air like an imagined echo: "I just can't, Sylia! I'm really sorry! Good-bye, Mackie! Bye, Linna!"
Linna felt numb, both emotionally and physically. Actually, that's not quite right...she could feel conflicting emotions war under a layer of her self-control. Dealing with the turmoil of thoughts and memories was bad enough; she didn't dare let her emotions run rampant, too.
She noticed out of the corner of her eye how Sylia calmly watched her. Perfectly poised on the couch with her hands folded on her lap, looking extremely relaxed and composed despite everything that's happened. And as if she was wearing one of her dresses rather than that damn skimpy bathrobe.
Linna felt a blush start to creep upon her cheeks and forced herself not to be distracted by that last detail. God, this wasn't the first time she envied Priss's poker face.
When Nene had blurted out her suspicions of Linna's...interest in women, Linna saw out of the corner of her eye the flash of surprise which jolted Priss's sullen expression. It was a brief look, quickly disappearing as if it was never there. Which meant Priss was really shocked.
Is it possible that Priss never suspected...? But, Linna had thought for certain that they were...similar. After all, they quickly settled into an easy friendship that grew between them once Priss finally let down her guard. In fact, though Priss never expressly stated it, Linna was sure she was Priss's only friend. Not even the members of the band were allowed to spend time with Priss when music wasn't the focus. Yet even with that, they never really talked about...romance. Linna had had a hunch the two of them would...get along.
But if all this time Priss never thought...never felt... But why did she stare at her the way she did? The intensity couldn't have been imagined, could it?
And wasn't Linna herself surprised at Nene's words? It was one thing to battle her own suspicions and feelings, but to hear someone else say it out loud. And why did Linna suddenly feel this burn of disappointment at Priss's shocked reaction?... Did it mean it was really true after all if someone else sees it? Was she really a...a...
Well, if she was, given Priss's reaction, was their friendship now unsalvageable? Then again, Priss did blurt out a goodbye just for her before storming out...
Besides, there were bigger issues at stake right now.
Suddenly remembering where she was, Linna snuck a look over at Sylia, who still watched her. The other woman's face looking serenely passive, which allowed her natural beauty to be even more distracting than usual. It reminded Linna just how much Sylia intimidated her even though she did her best to hide it.
Mackie just stared at the hallway Nene had disappeared through without a look back.
After the two women exchanged a mild look, Sylia turned to her "little brother" and said, "Mackie, I'm fine now. Galatea's obviously distracted for the time being. Why don't you go home to Nigel's and I'll see you in the morning?"
Clearly still concerned, he frowned to protest, but quickly realized it wouldn't make a difference. Plus, he understood there was a reason why Sylia asked him to leave and not Linna. He bowed, said his goodbyes and departed followed by the silence which seemed to be standard for exits tonight.
Upon his departure, the air felt...different. But Linna didn't feel anymore relaxed.
Sylia continued to look at her with that mild expression which hovered between friendliness and amusement. It was as if she was able to tell that Linna was not feeling the rage of Priss nor the terror of Nene.
"Well after all this, I need something a little stronger to drink than water. Can I interest you in a glass?" she offered as she stood and walked to her bar.
Linna wanted to ask for an entire of bottle of something but stopped short.
In the silent pause which followed her question, Sylia turned back and flashed a brief smile "Well, if you're not interested in a drink, how about a swim? It does wonders for relieving stress for me. And since I don't think I have any suits which fit you, we can forego them."
Linna gave a startled blink at what seemed like a total non sequitor bordering into flirting, in that oh-so-typical way of Sylia's. "Uh-beer would be fine. Thanks." The blush was back, dammit.
Again, there was silence as Linna joined Sylia at the bar, settling herself on the stool while the other woman focused her attention on pouring their drinks, a beer and scotch respectively.
Sylia handed over the glass and came around the bar to lean against the front, next to her guest, "Either you're waiting for me to say something to drive you away like everyone else, or there's a chance I can say something which will make you stay. Which do you actually want?"
Linna took a deep breath. It was time to take the bull by the horns, just like she did with all other things in life when faced with a challenge. "I know Galatea needs to be stopped. I don't know if I would make a difference, but I don't think I could live with myself if I didn't try. But... I need time to think before I commit to this, Sylia. It's so much scarier than before."
Sylia had been watching her closely again, her expression still deceptively mild. "It sounds like you've already made a decision for the moment. So since you're still here, there must be something else you want... to know."
Linna felt the hairs on her neck prickle at that purposeful pause. Again, a deep breath, eyes focused on the beer before her. "Sylia, you said the suits were an extension of you at the time of their design..."
Linna didn't have to look to see the patient but passively amused expression return, as if she was saying what Sylia was expecting her to. God, was she that obvious to everyone?! (Well, obviously not to Priss!)
"Well, you and Priss shared the hotheaded personality. And I can guess that you and Nene have that computer techie thing in common. But what is it about the two of us that's compatible enough for me to be a better Knight Saber than your previous team members?" Linna knew her entire face was now the color of a tomato but tried to ignore it. She was just amazed she was able to say all of that without stumbling over her words.
"It isn't enough to say we're both athletes?" That teasing tone was back.
Linna took a drink of her beer in response, showing she was waiting for the real answer.
She heard Sylia take a long sip from her own drink. Then followed by a deep breath and sigh.
Linna felt her heart race with every waiting second, and she knew Sylia knew it.
Finally, Sylia spoke in a soft voice, "There's something about you which reminds me a lot of someone I knew in school. You're both people of heart and passion. And she meant a lot to me. She still does even though we live very separate lives now as people do when school ends.... Linna, your arrival changed the team for the better. There's a strong dynamic among us that wasn't there before, and I thank you for it. And because of it--of you--I have the faintest hope that we can be a team again. I don't think that hope would be there if you hadn't arrived and all of this still happened. I could be wrong, but I'd like to think I'm not."
Linna was struck by the sense of real honesty in her words. "Thank you, Sylia... But you still didn't answer my question. How are we alike?"
"I didn't?" That teasing tone returned yet again.
Linna didn't know if she should be annoyed or to play along for once.
She finally let out a soft chuckle and looked Sylia in the eye. "I'm a country hick, remember? I need it spelled out for me by you city folk."
It was then when Sylia leaned forward, causing the color to drain out of the other woman's face with every centimeter that disappeared between them. She finally stopped with just the barest space between their lips, that speaking alone could cause contact. It felt like she had gotten miles closer to Linna than she did with Nene not even an hour before. Linna could smell the scotch just as she was sure Sylia could smell the beer.
Linna would like to blame sheer terror for why she didn't back away, but she knew that wasn't the case as she remained frozen.
"I am extremely tempted to kiss you right now." Sylia's voice was bewitchingly sultry, the barest growl from her throat which indicated that this woman knew how dangerous she was. And every brush of those lips felt like sparks of a fire that would go out of control if allowed.
Linna instinctively closed her eyes and held her breath. Her heart was racing even faster than when she was first catapulted out of the launcher in her hardsuit. She was surprised she didn't pass out right then and there.
Then Sylia closed the gap, in the most gentle kiss possible. Linna responded without hesitation. She felt like she was floating, and it didn't matter whether it was from being overwhelmed with new sensations, or from lack of oxygen.
For what seemed like minutes, but was only seconds, Sylia finally pulled away and leaned back. With that infuriating smirk but this time accentuated with a faint blush of her own, she took a sip and said, "But you're not the one I want...and I'm not the one you want. By the way, that's a good brand of beer. I've never had it with scotch before."
This was the first time in her life where Linna knew her face was completely red and she didn't care. Her heart still didn't stop racing and she was trying to get used to breathing again...But Sylia's comment about wanting burned in her mind.
Was she guessing about Masaki, the man who seemed to be everything Linna could want but whom she still turned down? Or...or...or...
Her heart actually felt like it sped up instead of slowed down! Linna was holding her beer with shaky hands and decided she needed to empty the contents and put the glass down, which she did so fast she almost gave herself whiplash. After doing so, however, she felt better -- barely.
Again, Sylia had been watching her with that mildly amused expression. She finally cleared her throat and said seriously, "Linna, to be a person of heart, you must be able to let yourself feel your heart completely. That's what Reika taught me. And it's a lesson I'd like to try to pass on to you."
Linna looked clearly startled...but with a glimmer of intrigue?
Reading the response with scientific precision, Sylia burst out in a genuine laugh and said, "No, not like that! Like I said, we don't really want each other. And though I like to tease, I'm not a woman of convenience! And I'm pretty certain you're not either! Priss and Nene already hate me now. I don't need have you hate me in the morning!"
Damn blush, Linna growled in her thoughts.
Sylia reached over and picked up the bottle of scotch to pour some into each of their glasses. "You, Priss and Nene taught me the price of keeping secrets, despite the best of intentions. The three of you reminded me there were some risks worth lowering your walls for. That was something Reika also tried to teach me but I guess I didn't learn it very well. If I promise to be a real friend from now on, will you do the same to me, and to yourself? And if we don't really succeed, at least we can say we made that effort? I would really like to try."
The offer triggered a change in Linna, like a weight she carried her entire life suddenly start to lift from her shoulders. As if for the first time, she had someone she could really talk to, a chance at honesty she never even allowed herself, or even with Priss. It wasn't only someone she could talk to, but someone who would understand.
"So," Sylia said as she sauntered back to the couch with both her glass and bottle. "Why don't you tell me why you really came to Tokyo?"
Linna looked at the glass of scotch on the counter, then to the smiling and waiting woman just a few meters away. Well, if this was Sylia's version of a slumber party, why the hell not?
With a big grin, she grabbed the glass and joined her friend on the couch.
"I honestly came to Tokyo to become a Knight Saber!" Linna declared good naturedly. "But I also admit I had to get away from home too..."
....The End for now....
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