A/N: My second fanfiction!
My Christmas present to you all, I really hope you like it ;)
And please, since I'm not really all too comfortable in English, could you just pretend that most of it is understandable. Pleeease lol :D
I would love comments and critique. Especially those laced with Christmas carols and cookies :)
The Burden of Anguish
"What's wrong Yumi?" Sachiko asked, more out of simple superficial curiosity as to why Yumi had asked her out in the greenhouse, than anything else. It wasn't exactly as if she had anything against coming to the greenhouse with Yumi, quite the contrary. At the very least it gave them a little alone time away from the other students and the Yamayurikai, something Sachiko treasured more than was probably... sensible, she mussed.
Yumi sat on her heals by the roses. The Rose Chinensis flower was very dear to the both of them, and they often went to the greenhouse just to make sure the rosebush was doing alright. Yumi stood up, and Sachiko was suddenly surprised at how tall Yumi had become. "She is starting to look the part of a young lady", Sachiko thought. She had missed Yumi so terribly in that week Yumi went to Italy with her class. It was as if the separation had been unbearable. But thankfully that was all over now, and her Yumi was back with her again, Sachiko smiled fondly.
Yumi was looking straight ahead, as if gathering strength or resolve before she suddenly turned, clenched her fists, walked straight over to Sachiko, looked her in the eyes and blurted "I...I...", and as if a balloon losing air, her shoulders dropped and her eyes sank to the ground.
"This is impossible" she sighed heavily.
Sachiko, quite taken aback by the show, suddenly had a few hundred questions running through her head. She placed a hand on Yumi's shoulder and placed all the questions she could inflict upon her petite soeur's name "Yumi?"
Yumi didn't seem to register, at least she didn't say anything, and she didn't move. A worrisome pang rang through Sachiko and she protectively placed an arm around Yumi and guided her to a seat where she sat her down. She sat down next to Yumi, and took a few rebellious strands of hair dangling in front of Yumi, and gently placed them back behind Yumi's ear.
"Yumi?" she said gently, and used her index finger under Yumi's chin, to turn the younger girls face until they could see eye-to-eye.
It was like life itself had run out of steam in Yumi's eyes as she looked on Sachiko, and when she finally spoke, it was with no trace of Yumi's usually so carefree voice.
"Onee-sama, w-would it be okay if you hugged me?" The pleading and despair on Yumi's face was so profound that Sachiko didn't even think. She simply stood up, and when she was up, she practically lifted Yumi up and into her arms.
But it was a one-sided affair, for even though Sachiko was holding her petite soeur as if for dear life, Yumi's arms were limp as can be.
"Thank you, Onee-sama" she heard Yumi say, as if whispering in her ear. And then Yumi stepped back, back out of an embrace that was still ready for her.
"Yumi please. What is going on?" Sachiko was in a state of turmoil. "What was going on? Is she sick? Do I need help?" And the 'what's and the 'what if's were running wild in her mind. This was not like Yumi. Yumi, who was always so full of pep and zest for life. Not like this. Not so... so, as if she was attending a funeral. Sachiko suddenly thought.
"I love you" Yumi said simply. No intonation in her tone, just simply, and with no intent on action or further explanation...
For a second the greenhouse was void of sound and movement
"But Yumi, I love you too...?" Sachiko said, and took a step forward, as if to take Yumi back into her embrace.
But Yumi took a step back, as if refusing to... what? As if she was dirty, and didn't want her Onee-sama to get soiled.
"No, y-you don't understand. I love you!" and as if by magic, the life in her eyes where back, and the overflow of life that Yumi used when she spoke, and witch Sachiko loved so, was back. The pressure on the word 'love' had been unmistakable, but it still took Sachiko a few second to go through the jumble of stuff that Yumi could have meant when she said as she did. And it wasn't until she saw Yumi's hand curled in a fist on her chest, and the other, with her hand so squeezed that she was afraid, for a split second, that her palm would start bleeding from where her nails were dug in, hanging by her side, that the meaning of the words seemed to be coherently understood.
Yumi's eyes were twinkling as if on the verge of tears, and pleading, pleading to be understood.
"...Ah... I-I see" Sachiko said and lowered her arms. The atmosphere in the greenhouse were suddenly stifling, and Sachiko felt a deep and sudden urge to be somewhere else, somewhere with fresh air and no ceilings and no walls and... just somewhere else.
"Yumi..." she started meekly, but it was futile, she had no words, there was nothing coherent she could say at this moment, so she said nothing.
"I know" Yumi said, and as if resigning to an ill fate, some of the tension in her body let go, and she straightened up. "I-I know... Onee-sama I..." Tears started falling from her cheeks and chin, but there was no facial expression to indicate that she was crying, she just was.
"I-I have been for a long time... I think... "Yumi's gaze dropped towards the floor."Maybe it first really dawned on me when we went to the summer house... where we slept in your... B-But I was okay with... I mean, I was... But now... I guess I first became aware of how strong I felt when we arrived in Italy". Yumi made a deep sigh and went to sit by the window again. She plopped down, slumped over, as if rather resigned to whatever ill was in store for her now.
"...I couldn't breathe... I-I couldn't... all I could think about was you. How I wanted to see you again. Be with you. Hear you... talk and... and smile. I missed your touch, your... your embrace... your smell. I missed you... missed you". Yumi was now looking down at her hands in her lap, united as if in prayer. Big teardrops dropped as if trying to soothe burns on her hands.
Sachiko stood thunderstruck. Her breath was shallow and she could feel her heart running for cover everywhere in her chest.
"I thought I was okay when first I came home... Seeing you there, waiting for me, was like the best moment in... But... it's..." Yumi falters, and as if whispering to the ground itself "But at night... my thoughts are... we... when I think of you we... we kiss and... and..." Yumi closed her eyes as if trying to rid her mind of her vision, then heaves a sigh and stands up and looks at Sachiko saying softly "I'm sorry Onee-sama. I don't know why or when, but I... I fell in love with you". The last part is said with such pain. As if hurting herself, by having hurt Sachiko in the worst way possible.
Sachiko was very much wondering, if she was ever, ever going to be able to speak coherently again. And for several split seconds, she actually pondered the question, until she realised the stupidity of such an act.
"Yumi... I...'' She knew that this was walking a thin line. On one hand was... what? stupidity? despair? an annulment of their bond? Which she knew, she absolutely couldn't live without. Just the thought of never seeing Yumi again sent chills up her spine and her chest felt constricted... And on the other hand was... was it reason? No, surely not. Maybe? Surely a multitude of problems yes but, could there be some hope there?
As she had been in a world of her own, and not noticing the passing of time, she didn't comprehend, or conceive, that Yumi took the time where she had done nothing but stare at her, as a refusal to speak or take action on part of her declaration of love.
Yumi's eyes dropped to the tiled floor, and after a second or two, she raised her hands, and ever so slowly began removing her rosary, hands shaking slightly, as if the action itself was causing her so much pain as to be almost unbearable. When she had the rosary safely over her head, she took it in her hands, folding it slowly, gently. And then, as if by magic, she was standing next to Sachiko, as if on her way towards the greenhouse door. When she held out her hand, holding the rosary, she said the words softly, as if asking forgiveness. "I'm so sorry Onee-sama". The grief in her eyes so palpable that it would have made Sachiko scream in pain, had she not been in a haze of reverie.
Sachiko looked for a second at the rosary in Yumi's hand, as if not comprehending. Then, as if pulled by strings on a marionette, she raised her hand to accept. And then stopped. "No", She whispered, more a croak from a sore throat really, but clearing her throat, raising her head and looking into Yumi's eyes "No, Yumi", and she looked down, wrapped her hands around Yumi's, encasing the rosary still inside.
She closed her eyes for a second, the looked at Yumi, who looked... as if dead inside.
"Oh Yumi... Come sit with me, Yumi". And she took the hands of her petite soeur and guided her towards a seat. Tears that ran from Yumi's chin had made a wet spot on her scarf, positively soaking the knot.
"Yumi...I can only imagine the anguish you must have been going through" Sachiko softly began ones they settled. "And I can understand why you wanted to return the rosary. But Yumi, you can't cancel out love with a small token like that". Yumi was now sobbing, and Sachiko found her handkerchief and gently wiped Yumi's cheeks and nose. "Love is the biggest driving force in the universe Yumi, and if you thought a small token like that was able to cancel that out, you are even more silly than I thought". At this Sachiko smiles a gentle, though somewhat sad smile.
For a spell they just sit there. Yumi, with her hands clutching the rosary in her lap, crying softly, and Sachiko leaning slightly into Yumi, with a hand of her own on Yumi's.
"It's the weirdest thing this" Sachiko looks across to the rosebush "I think I loved you from the moment I laid eyes on you. Maybe not romantically at first, but certainly to a degree were I knew, that if I didn't have you in my life, I would despair." Sachiko moves her sapphire gaze from the rosebush and captures Yumi's uncomprehending big mocha brown eyes. "It wasn't hard falling in love with you Yumi". She says, and uses the handkerchief to wipe Yumi's wet cheeks again. "I think everybody who is lucky enough to spend just a little time with you does". A sad look enters Sachiko's eyes when se sees the hurt in Yumi's.
"But when I realised that I was... romantically... when I..." Sachiko seems to be lost in thought for a few seconds, and when she begins again, it is with a softer voice, and the timbre is mellower. "When I realised I talked with Onee-sama".
"Youko-sama!?" The exclamation from Yumi seems to force Sachiko back to reality. And she smiles a little wistful at hearing what she, herself, was saying.
"Yes... Well, you had only been my petite soeur for a little while, and she was, and still is my Onee-sama after all".
And for a second the green house is quiet.
"I love my Onee-sama very much Yumi" Sachiko musses. "Not romantically I mean. But... she is always there for me. And I know she always will be... She told me to 'go for it', was her words". Sachiko smiles as if remembering a somewhat bittersweet moment. "She is always so straight forward that woman. Always so candid with her words". Sachiko seems lost in thought.
"But you never told me..." Yumi says in voice so low as to almost be a whisper.
"How could I Yumi?" Sachiko flares and tightens up a bit. "We are sisters! More than that! We are Onee-sama and petite soeur!" But just as quickly as she flares, just as quickly does she calm down when she sees the hurt on Yumi. She relaxes again, and finds rests simply leaning into Yumi's shoulder ones again, and when she looks to her own lap, she whispers "We are sisters Yumi..."
Yumi is having a hard time taking all this in, but the prevailing thought that runs though her head is non-mistakable "Onee-sama loves me! Onee-sama loves me too! One-sama loves me back!" A warm feeling begins evolving somewhere deep inside Yumi, and slowly some of the drained life begins to show again in her features.
"I don't care what we are Onee-sama. As long as I'm with you... If we love each other, we should be with each other". Yumi states with finality as a child finding a puppy claiming it as her own.
"It's not that simple Yumi" Sachiko almost sighs, but chooses not to. She tightens up some and scoots a little and angles a bit, putting their knees into contact so they can speak more face-to-face, she leans over a bit and takes Yumi's hands, which are still holding the rosary.
"I know I said that love is the driving force of the universe, and I truly believe that. But I also know what power lies in money, and the Ogasawara's... my family... my fa..." Sachiko grinds to a holt, seeming lost in thought. "Surely you must know by now Yumi, that there are expectations of me. That there are things in the future, which I can not escape..." Sachiko's expression turns positively painful.
"I'm sorry Yumi. I didn't mean to put you in this situation. I never meant for you to be hurt like this".
"Onee-sama! You didn't! How could you possibly? This is all my fault..." Yumi's eyes drop.
"Yumi..." The anguish in Yumi's eyes is almost too much to bear for Sachiko. So she stands and takes the few steps to the rosebush, and after a moment sits on her heals, putting her hand out to caress a delicate, not yet fully blooming rose. Not really caressing anything, but as if the pretext of soothing, as if having a purpose at hand, helps calm her nerve.
"I came here every day when you were in Italy, wishing for you to return safely to me" She says, as if talking to the rosebud was easier than talking to herself, or Yumi.
"I had a knot in my chest that wouldn't untie until I had you safe in my arms again. But I cherished that knot, nurtured it. Because I knew, that as long as my chest hurt, you were out there moving ever closer to me again". She heard the soft rustle from Yumi's skirt, and knew she was standing behind her, so she stood and faced the younger girl.
Yumi's expression was one of unabashed love, and being on the receiving end of that was almost too much for Sachiko to fathom. She looked down, and saw Yumi's hands still holding the rosary. Sachiko took Yumi's hands, and gently unfolded the fingers clutching the treasure within, and picked up the rosary, and as if too put it back on Yumi she made a loop.
"Yumi..." She looked her petite soeur in her mocha brown eyes. "Please put the rosary back on. My heart would simple give in if I didn't have you by my side." Sachiko suddenly feels tense, a nervous pang runs through her.
"Onee-sama..." Yumi said softly, then bowed her head to let Sachiko put the rosary back over her pigtails. And it wasn't until the rosary was yet again resting on her chest, that Sachiko felt the tension leave her. Sachiko tugged the rosary under Yumi's scarf, and for a moment she lets her hand rest on Yumi chest as if hoping to push the rosary into Yumi's flesh by sheer will alone, making sure it would stay there for good this time.
And as if having the rosary on her chest again gave her a measure of courage Yumi said, as she took one of Sachiko's hands in hers. "Onee-sama, if we love each other, why do you let all those things in your future worry you so much. Is it really that impossible for us to be with one another?" Yumi was smiling a soft gentle hopeful smile, but the pleading in her eyes was none mistakable.
This time the sigh from Sachiko did reach her lips, and she used her free hand to caress Yumi's cheek. And as if cradling her cheek, she let Yumi close her eyes in content and rest her head.
"Yumi..." She spoke so softly, as if too not wake Yumi. "I can't promise that I..." Sachiko felt as if she had never in her life been so vulnerable.
"You don't have to promise anything Onee-sama" Yumi said, still with her eyes closed from her rest in Sachiko's palm. But she opened her eyes and raised her head, using her hand to keep Sachiko's hand on her cheek. "I will take whatever you are comfortable giving" she said in a gentle tone, a glimpse of hope made her eyes twinkle a bit, and a few tears formed along the lower rim of her eyes. "I promise I won't demand anything that will bring you pain or anguish".
Sachiko, a little taken aback, made a little gasp, and couldn't help it, she felt swayed by the declaration from Yumi. How could she not.
"Yumi..." She said gently.
And for a moment the greenhouse seemed to be content with just the spring sun.
"I foresee more than a fair share of problems looming in the horizon Yumi". She made a little chuckle, but looked the younger girl in the eyes only to see nothing but love and support.
"Yadi yadi". Sachiko released Yumi and went to sit again, and after a moment Yumi went to her. She didn't sit, but stood in front of Sachiko. Not so close as to be demanding, but not so far away as to be outside the personal boundary that now seemed to be as one.
"For now, do you think we could start with... with a kiss?" Sachiko suddenly seemed so lost, as she leaned forward and took one of Yumi's hands in her own.
"...Yes" Yumi replied with a smile after what seemed like forever "I think we could do that". And with that, she took a timid step forward, placing herself in the space between Sachiko's knees, and as she leaned forward, she cupped Sachiko's face with her hands, something Sachiko was certain Yumi had newer done before, but she was also certain, that she had never felt anything so divine. And then Yumi leaned forward and placed a soft kiss right on Sachiko's lips.
Sachiko's self was in a stat of... of what... calm? peace? what? "Even though my heart is pounding, I feel... alleviated". Sachiko, ever being used to fighting, felt positively at ease. And if she had had the opportunity to utter anything, she would have let out a deep, heartfelt, satisfied "Ahh...!" But she hadn't, and she didn't, for her lips were covered by Yumi's. And she wanted for nothing, other than for this moment to continue forever.
It didn't however, for the door to the green house was opened with such force, that for just a split second Sachiko was more concerned about the door, than the situation they were in.
"Sachiko? Yumi? Are you in h..." And then Rei saw them. Sachiko sitting there with Yumi standing between her legs, bent over and kissing Sachiko. And for a moment everything froze.
"I..." Rei said, faltered, and then quietly took a step back, out of the green house, silently closing the door.
For a few seconds both Sachiko and Yumi kept looking at the door, as if paralyzed, then they looked at each other, and for a moment they looked at one another from a distance of a few inches, then they both started giggling.
"I guess our secret is out" Sachiko managed to say between giggles.
"Yes, I guess, it is." Yumi was beaming back "I don't mind. Do you?" She said, looking into her Onee-sama sapphire warm eyes.
"No, I don't think I do" Sachiko's face calmed down a bit, but she was still smiling, and with that, Yumi closed the gap, and they kissed soft, yet hungry kisses for a while. Kisses meant to release what had been kept under lock and key for so long. Kisses to mend old wounds and broken dreams. Kisses to confirm and kisses to soothe. Kisses of lust and passion and of promises for the future.
And when Sachiko entered the top floor of the Rose Mansion with Yumi in tow it was with a little blush on her cheeks and a little smile caressing her usually so stoic features, while Yumi... well Yumi never had been very good at hiding her emotions, and I suppose that even if she could, she never would have hidden her smile. A smile that for all intent and purposes seemed intent on trying to outshine the spring sun currently surrounding the Rose Mansion.
Rei seemed desperately absorbed in a cookbook on the table in front of her, a dark red blush evident on her cheeks.
Yoshino having noticed the blush on Rei, had been rather perplexed. Perplexed that is, until she saw Yumi, where upon she took a quick breath, which almost sounded like a little gasp, and then a smile broke on her, quickly spreading from ear to ear.
Shimako hearing the little gasp looked at Yoshino, who was now smiling from ear to ear looking at Yumi, Shimako turned to see, and being the smartest girl in school, she hardly used that excellent brain of hers at all to gather the pieces, and she smiled gently, and turned her attention back to her papers.
Noriko being oblivious, but yet noticing the atmosphere and mood change in the room, looked around the table going "What?" Receiving no answer she just shook her head and continued her homework.
And just like that, life pretty much returned to normal at the Rose Mansion.
Thank you very much for reading :)