"Fifth Anniversary"

A Mai-Hime fanfiction and a Mr. Toasty production

Written with love by Al Kristopher

Yukino

Today is the fifth anniversary of the day Haruka and I declared our love for each other. I've made it a point to keep very accurate count (and by about 5:30 this evening, it'll have been five years to the very moment), because on that day and on that moment, both our lives changed. Today is special because it marks that turning point in our lives: one-thousand, eight-hundred twenty-six days exactly since we first shared our love (including that funny little "Leap Year" day when Haruka dedicated a song on the radio just for me).

I can't help but look back at our history, and think about all the things we've experienced. I'd like to say that every moment was more precious and happy than the last, but there were times when Haruka and I were both miserable. Perhaps I should go over those times as well, if only to justly reflect on the good and bad. It wouldn't be fair if I only remembered the times I enjoyed. Luckily for me, though, these days were prevailing, and the times of sadness were very few.

Haruka

Five years together! Has it really been that long? Time really does fly, doesn't it? But it hasn't been all wine and posies!

Yukino

Don't you mean "roses", Haruka?

Haruka

But I gave you posies on that day; I thought you'd remember…

Yukino

Oh, that's right, I'm sorry. Yes, you're right; you gave me those flowers as a gift because you wanted it to be special. I still remember how giddy I was when I got them. I can't believe you grew them yourself!

Haruka

Well, I did say that I wanted to give you a living symbol of my love for you. So what's this about reflecting on our history? Are we taking a look back to see all the strange and wonderful times we've had? I just want to put in my two yen's worth before you do, and comment on what we did on our third anniversary! In my opinion, that was more special than any other day we've celebrated.

Statistics show that most couples, whether they just stay where they are or if they get married, usually get tired of one another and break everything off around their third year. Marriages will especially reach their disastrous peak at this time, and most divorces happen because of it. About several months before we hit this monumental number, I told Yukino what I felt about it. I was…frankly a little worried, and even silly about it. I reaffirmed my feelings again and again, and I did so many nice things for her that…I'm afraid my plan backfired a little. I think I smothered her too much with affections. But I've known her all of my life; I didn't want to lose her just because of a number. I was in super stitches…and scared.

Yukino

I think you mean "superstitious".

Haruka

We fought several times during our relationship because of that little exchange. I'd say one thing and Yukino would correct me. Normally I'd let it slide, and a few times I even thought it was a sweet gesture. But darn it, sometimes I mean what I say, and I don't like it when people correct my meaning! If I meant it, Yukino, then I meant it!

Yukino

But we never let the fights get out of hand. We'd go our separate paths and come back together once we started to miss each other, and nearly every time afterwards, we just laughed about it. We fought over the silliest things, didn't we Haruka?

Haruka

I'm actually surprised you argued with me about something. You're usually so subservient; it really took me off guard. Ha! I must've looked strange standing there, gawking at you. "No, Haruka, you're wrong," you said—the first time you defied me. Yukino, no matter what you believe or what you heard me say, I want you to know that when you did that, I fell even deeper in love with you. You were becoming a strong, independent woman before my eyes, and I was afraid and happy and doubtful and angry all at once. My own best friend drops a bombshell on me and I never see it coming.

Yukino

Which only goes to show how much more we have to learn from each other. But that's all right: we've made it up to this point in our lives, and we're not quitting now. Oh, and Haruka, while it's still fresh on my mind, I want to apologize for anything that might've hurt you back then—on our third anniversary, I mean.

Haruka

Yukino, you know you don't need to keep doing that. We forgave each other and laughed it off—and here we are, two years later and closer than ever! I'd call that a victory!

……

Yukino

How it all began? That's…a little personal. But maybe I should tell you, since I was really the one who started it.

Haruka

And was I surprised to hear her just blurt it all out, especially after the way I treated Shizuru! Uh…oops, did I interrupt? Sorry, you go ahead and tell the story.

Yukino

Thanks, Haruka. Well, it's a pretty long and detailed story, and you'd have to go back at least a decade earlier to really understand it. The gist of it is that not too long after the "Hime Festival", when the fog was clearing and the dust was settling, I pulled Haruka aside and asked to speak with her.

Haruka

Only after bawling your eyes out. Oh—I'm interfering again. Sorry!

Yukino

It's okay. And yes, I'm not ashamed to say that I cried. Some days I still cry, but for different reasons. Anyway, after I had cleared up and found my voice again, I looked at Haruka in the eyes and took my glasses off. Normally the entire world is blurry without them, but for a few short seconds, my face so close to hers, I could see clearly again. My path was set before me, staring back with strength and love and undying patience, and it was up to me to take the first step. The first ones were small, I'll admit, but still in the right direction.

"I really…care for you, Haruka," I said, holding her shoulders in my trembling hands. Heh…I'm embarrassed to be saying this again after such a long time. Well, I ended up saying the same thing over and over again—about how I cherished her more than anything, and…well, how I would've done anything to keep her safe. Yeah, meek little Yukino, acting as her best friend's bodyguard, when we all know which one of us is stronger.

Haruka

Yukino…that's not true. I would never have given you the time of day if I thought you were weak. You're one of the toughest people I know, and I know a lot of tough people!

Yukino

Thanks, Haruka. Moving on, I sort of lost myself then. I remembered how repulsed Haruka was with Miss Fujino, and her words came back to haunt me. I didn't think I'd ever really get across to her without spoiling what we already had. I was nearly ready to give up, but she stopped me. Then, she showed me something.

Haruka and Yukino

The Fuka Student Council Armband.

Yukino

That's right. "This is our bond, Yukino," she said to me, "and no matter what happens between us, you know that this will hold us together." With her words giving me strength, I looked directly into her face, felt my spine become firm, and told her that I loved her. "I love you, Haruka. That's really all I wanted to say. I always have, and I always will." I really didn't know what else to say, so I'm glad I kept it simple. I was so scared…and yet I was relieved too, because at last I had crossed that line, and now there were no secrets left between us.

Haruka

Well, except for the whole Hime thing, but we covered that later. Anyway, after Yukino told me, I sort of froze right there. I remembered what I said to Shizuru as well, and I actually felt a little bad for Yukino, who had overheard the entire thing. No matter what she did or what she said, Yukino was my one and only true friend, my most precious thing in this world. I saw her crying and embraced her; it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. We stayed quiet and close for…oh, goodness knows how long. Eventually, I could feel her pulse beating against my own. Maybe listening to Yukino's heartbeat was enough to convince me: I honestly and truly did love this girl. I'm such a hypocrite.

Yukino

You did say afterwards that you understood Miss Fujino's point of view, and why she did the things she did. The two of you really are similar.

Haruka

I wouldn't go that far, Yukino. I still don't like her! But at least I understand her now. I probably would've done the same things if you were in danger. I would fight to the very last drop of my blood, Yukino—because I love you too, so fully and completely. Once we got over that obstacle, we kissed for the first time—or rather, I kissed you.

Yukino

I definitely didn't expect it, but it was a very welcome gesture! Everything seemed to make sense to me after that moment, and we've slowly and gradually built up from there ever since, until here we are, five years later, with enough experiences to fill a novel.

Haruka

How about we talk about that time during the senior prom? I really enjoyed that. It was the first time I really showed any signs of public infection towards you.

Yukino

I'm not sure if holding hands counts, Haruka. And don't you mean "public affection"?

Haruka

See, what would I ever do without you, Yukino? I mean, seriously! I'm nothing without this girl.

Yukino

You told me that when we first…well, you know. When we…did that. You told me you were nothing without me. You told me so many things that made me cry and want to hold you, Haruka. I lost count of the kisses we shared.

Haruka

We made love, Yukino. Say it. There's no shame in it. I know I don't have any. I'm happy to say it!

Yukino

I just think we shouldn't let our personal lives interfere…

Haruka

All right, then I'm going to tell about the time we first made love!

Yukino

Haruka, is that really necessary?

Haruka

Of course it is, Yukino! It was a pivotal point in our relationship, the moment when our two souls became one…the moment I gave myself over to you completely, and when you became mine. It was so awkward, though! We couldn't stop laughing. We had no idea what we were doing back then. But we loved each other, and we had fun, and we learned a whole lot. But Yukino still doesn't know how to remove my bra properly!

Yukino

HARUKA!!!

Haruka

Sorry, heheh. I'm really sorry. Maybe I should just describe the events that led up to it.

Yukino

Haruka, must you?

Haruka

Well, this whole recollection was your idea, wasn't it? Anyway, it was after we graduated, so it's not like we were doing it before we turned eighteen. Yukino and I were just going to this little dance out of town, and we stayed overnight at a hotel my father owned stock in. Boy, if he ever found out what we did there…

Yukino

They did eventually figure it out, Haruka's parents and mine. At least my mother and father were understanding, probably because…they already knew. But Haruka's…

Haruka

I was only cut out of the family fortune, no big deal. It wasn't like I was disowned or anything; mother and father just left me out of their wills. Ha, what a bunch of idiots! Little did they know that I would've surrendered the world for Yukino! Hahahahahaaa!!!

Yukino

Umm…haha, that's Haruka, all right. And yes, we did share ourselves that night, and I'm sorry if I was awkward with your undergarments. It was my first time.

Haruka

It was for the both of us. I'm just sorry I slept in so late. I can't believe how much energy I burned up! How were you able to get up so early, Yukino? You were as animus as I was!

Yukino

Umm…I was…well… Wait, don't you mean "amorous"?

Haruka

Actualy… Never mind. We can finally change subject now, so let's go ahead and do that. I'd like to review several of our worst fights, if that's all right with you.

Yukino

We definitely should. Let's start with the "college fight". I was accepted at one place and you were accepted at another. We cried a little and had a spat, which eventually turned into all-out arguing. That was during our third year, if I remember correctly.

Haruka

Yeah, ironic, huh? After everything I did, too. We knew we couldn't separate because it would kill us, and long-term relationships never really work out. But I wanted Yukino to have every opportunity she could, and…my parents also gave me that old tomato.

Yukino

I think you mean "ultimatum". I had to enroll at a local college because of it. I caved in, and Haruka got mad. We spent several days apart from each other so we could cool off, then ran into each other by accident in the park. We just laid down in the grass and stared up at the sky, trying to pierce the blue ceiling and our own mounting problems. Haruka, I can never forget how warm your hand was that day, or how soft your smile…

Haruka

"It'll be okay, Yukino," I said—I remember it word for word. "We both have our whole lives ahead of us. If this is really the path you want to take, then I'll stand by your side all the way. Once I'm finished with this school, we can move away so you can go to that other one. You're much smarter than I am anyway, and can probably get two degrees. I'll be lucky if I pass my first semester." Then I smiled at you, and drew you near me, whispering my apologies and love. And that's what we ended up doing, and are still doing even now. It's worked out pretty good so far, hasn't it?

Yukino

Yes, it has. You could almost say that we fought over nothing.

Haruka

Ehh, not quite. It was a learning experience. Besides, the idea of "kiss and make up" has never been used so liberally!

Yukino

Haruka…I really think you mean "literally". Well…it could be both! Heheheh!

………

Haruka

Can you really believe it's been over 1800 days since we first told each other of our love? I still remember that first kiss. I couldn't believe I was doing it! I wanted to smack myself for being so stupid about it. Kissing a girl, and my own best friend, too! Yukino, I've never told you this before, but I felt sick and awful those first few days. Sometimes I wanted to rip out all my hair and scream. Other times…I really wanted you to hold me. I wanted to kiss you. I wanted to see you smile at me. I was a woman of two minds!

Yukino

But why did you feel so bad? You didn't…

Haruka

No, Yukino, I definitely felt love for you. But it was the same old predictable conflict. I had never given any of it any thought before—kissing girls and falling for girls—and the whole thing disgusted me. But you want to know my opinion? Maybe…the whole thing made me sick because, deep down, none of it felt right. I probably knew, even then, that there would never be anybody else but you in my life. Being with other people, boys or girls, was something I didn't want to face. Being with you, Yukino my love, was something I cherished. Once I realized this, I came back to you, with no more doubts caked around my heart. I was cleansed and clear and ready to start my new life with you!

Yukino

Haruka…! I do love you, Haruka. Well, let's see, what else should we dredge up? Some moments are just too funny for words. Remember the time we were in your school play together?

Haruka

Trying not to, babe.

Yukino

Or when you tried out for that baseball team?

Haruka

Ugh, I'll never look at a Louisville Slugger the same way again.

Yukino

And…that time…the food-fight in my college cafeteria…your face covered in pie!

Haruka

Which I seem to recall you throwing at me, Yukino!

Yukino

C'mon, Haruka, I was just having fun. And you threw a pie my way too.

Haruka

Yeah. Then I wrestled you to the ground and kissed you. Nobody noticed! We were so blazing back then!

Yukino

Don't you mean "brazen"?

Haruka

I know what I said. Ahh, it was the glorious period between our shaky beginnings and our steady present days. Yukino, I never want our relationship to get dull. I always want it to be one adventure after another!

Yukino

All right, but not too many, or I'll never be able to catch up. Speaking of adventures, do you remember what we did for our first anniversary? Do you remember the fishing trip? That was…really special. We went out on your father's yacht, just the two of us, geared up and ready to go. We had no idea what we were doing, but it was fun. And then…you fell in, and I was so terrified. I had no idea you couldn't swim; you always seemed so at ease in Fuka's pool. Anyway, I dove in without even thinking, and dragged you back to the boat. To this day, I swear you pulled that stunt just to have me perform CPR on you!

Haruka

I did not, Yukino! I was really drowning!

Yukino

Sure you were, Haruka. I saw how you smiled at me when I "saved" you!

Haruka

That's because I was overcome with thanks and happiness! And…I was looking into the eyes of my hero, the girl I was in love with. Do you remember what happened later on, that night?

Yukino

Mm-hmm, we roasted marshmallows and sat next to a campfire, just the two of us. We looked at the sky, littered with stars, and made up constellations all on our own. We slept so peacefully that night!

Haruka

Yeah, and the next day, we went skinny-dipping!

Yukino

It's true, I'll admit it. You never told me about your appendectomy. That scar of yours startled me.

Haruka

Well, I didn't think it was important. And besides, it happened that one year you and I were apart from each other. Yukino, did you know? I felt so cold and empty that time, and when I went on the operating table, my only thought was of you. I wished you were there for me, and deep in my mind, I imagined you were, in spirit, smiling at me as always, our hands clasped, bracing for the unknown.

Yukino

Haruka…

Haruka

You're my hero, Yukino—my lifeline, my soulmate, my lover and dearest friend. I thank you from the bottom of my heart, for everything.

Yukino

Haruka…

……

Yukino

Well, it's now officially been exactly five years since we first shared our feelings. I've now had my best friend Haruka as a girlfriend for one-thousand, eight-hundred twenty-six days, which is hardly enough time to enjoy her company. I could live a million lives and never have enough. Even eternity is too short a period.

Haruka

Settle down, Yukino! Let's not get into metaphysical starry-eyed declarations of passion just yet! Save those for tonight! I'd like to cover graduation day first!

Yukino

You gave a speech in front of the entire school. I had never been so proud of you. I'm glad you wedged me into it, but it wasn't necessary.

Haruka

You were the first person I thanked, Yukino! I know you remember. Who else stood by my side while all of Fuka was in chaos? Who else worked her fingers to the bone for my crazy campaigns and schemes? Who else…held me at night while I wept, and kissed me when I was lonely, and smiled at me when I was sad? Who else kept me on the right path, lovingly rebuking me when I strayed, and supporting me when I came through? All that and more is why I finally decided to become yours, to return your feelings, and to care for your heart, your beautiful priceless heart. I fell in love with you because…you were my abiding light, Yukino.

Yukino

Haruka, I thought you said we wouldn't get into declarations of passion today. And don't you mean "guiding" light?

Haruka

They both work pretty well.

Yukino

Oh, you're right. Sorry about that.

Haruka

It's all right. That's just something about you I love. Well, happy anniversary, Yukino. Here's to five wonderful years behind us, and many more ahead.

Yukino

Yes. May each one follow the other to give us love, courage, strength, and new insight. May we be together for all our lives, and when those fade away, may our souls take their rightful place in the universe, and guide us into the next world. I pray, Haruka, that if we are reborn, our carnations find each other once more.

Haruka

Yukino?

Yukino

Yes, my love?

Haruka

Don't you mean…reincarnations?

Yukino

Oh…I guess I do. Thanks, Haruka!

Haruka

No problem!

The End