It was a rather nice autumn day. The sun seemed to relish the colours of the trees just as much as everyone else, and today was no different. The grove was bathed in the soothing rays of a high noon sun, and Yumi was lying on the dry grass with her eyes closed basking away, soaking energy from both rays and Tasio. She loved these last days before the late autumn, early winter storms set in.
She felt Tasio stir in her arms and she smiled. Tasio moved up a bit from her position, lying with her head on Yumi's chest and gave her tiny kisses until she laughingly gave in and started kissing back. This last month had been good for her. She felt it in her very being, her very core feeling vibrant and more alive than she had in a long time.
And last night had been... she looked at the sky through Tasio's auburn tresses for a second, then closed her eyes thinking back. Last night had been amazing. She had been intimate with Tasio. For both of them it had been the first time having sex and yet, yet it had been so wonderful.
"Why are you blushing?"
"I was thinking about last night" Yumi opened her eyes with a growing smile. Tasio's big crystal blue eyes were smiling at her just a few inches away.
"I liked last night." She blushed an alluring little pink on her fine teint. She rubbed her nose a few time against Yumi's.
"I liked last night too." Yumi smiled by the caress and the memory.
Tasio gave her a final kiss before she flopped over, more or less using Yumi's breasts as pillows. For a time they just lay there, just them, just them and a world that, at that specific moment in time, seemed content with one another.
Then softly Tasio began to sing, quietly, as if not wanting to disturb the birds in the trees or trying to soothe a crying baby at night. Her clear soprano voice rising and falling in gentle waves in the privacy of their little enclosure.
Yumi closed her eyes, letting Tasio's voice enter her essence and ease her very soul. Tasio's pristine voice carrying notes of joy, of calm, of happiness and of bliss and was like a gently breeze lifting the spirit like a kite made from fine fine paper.
When the song was finished not a sound was heard in their little world, and then suddenly the small finch and blue tits in the vicinity started chirping, as if they too had been listening, and was now applauding in their own way.
"What was that?" Yumi whispered softly.
"An almost one thousand year old requiem mass called "Pie Jesu" she rolled over and looked Yumi in the eyes. "Did you like it?"
"It was just... wonderful. Yumi drew a deep breath taking in the smell of autumn. I wish we could stay here like this."
Tasio put her head on Yumi's chest, as if listening to her gentle heartbeat. "Yes, Onee-sama. I would like that too."
"You are too good to me" Yumi opened her eyes and smiled lovingly at Tasio.
Tasio raised her head and moved up a bit, she looked Yumi in the eyes. "I love you. For me there is no such thing as too good for you."
The Yamayurikai was packed, everybody had just finished eating lunch and Nana and Tasio were pouring tea for everyone. The mood in the room was relaxed and peaceful.
Yumi sat in the spot reserved for the head of the Yamayurikai. She now only had about five months left in that chair. It was not a thought she particularly cherished... anymore.
She gently put her hand on Tasio's as she brought her sugar. Of everyone in the Yamayurikai, Yumi was the only one who used sugar, a subject that had brought more than a little mirth to the room. She received a timid smile from Tasio in return.
"Oh my God! Why don't you two just come clean already?" Yoshino sitting on her left had apparently noticed. And was now glaring at Yumi.
Yumi looked at Yoshino wit big eyes. "Rosa Foetida? Did you want to say something?"
"Oh come on Yumi, don't be such a snob."
"Fine Yoshino, if you must know. Then Tasio and I are officially committed intimate friends."
Yoshino blinked a few times.
"Yes Yoshino, we are a couple" And Yumi laced her hands with Tasio, who smiled like the sun itself.
Yoshino threw her hands in the air "I knew it!" The exclamation was one of joy and she smiled from ear to ear.
She looked around the table quizzically. There was a definite lack of responses and reactions according to her estimate. "What? I was the only one who didn't know?" She looked from smiling face to smiling face.
"Arh!... That's just not fair." She plopped her head in hand, sulking.
Yumi gave Shimako a little timid smile, but Shimako gave a gentle friendly smile back along with a little nod. There was only joy for her in her friend.
Tasio was playful as they were leaving the grounds. It had been a good day and they were leaving fairly early since no Yamayurikai work to speak of seemed to be pilling up.
Yumi was the first to see her as they closed in on the gates. A single female figure standing in the afternoon sun. Suddenly the recognition hit her; Onee-sama! Her face lit in a wonderful smile, one so happy that Tasio for a moment was taken aback.
It was obvious that the smile had a cause, and when following her look she saw a young woman. A beautiful, fair skinned woman with the most amazing raven black long hair in a very expensive looking, business woman type dress. She was just to die for as she stood there. Tasio looked quizzically back at Yumi and saw that her features now had dark clouds covering them. She suddenly felt Yumi squeeze her hand almost to the extent of pain. And then she knew. She just knew.
Warning signals rang in her very core and if she could have lifted Yumi and run off with her she would have. She felt threatened by this wonderfully beautiful woman. Yumi's Onee-sama, the object of her love, the love of her life.
"Onee-sama." Yumi bowed courteously.
"Hello Yumi." Sachiko had a pleasant, if not loving smile. Though her voice... her voice to Tasio's extremely sensitive musical ears carried a hint of... anxiety?
"Tasio, may I present my Onee-sama, Osagawara Sachiko... Onee-sama, this is my petite soeur, Mikozawa Tasio."
"Good afternoon, Tasio-chan. I hope my petite soeur isn't giving you too much trouble?" Sachiko's demeanour was friendly and warm. And not at all the cold-hearted devil that Tasio always envisioned whenever she was thinking of the woman who had hurt her love, her Onee-sama, so much.
"No." Tasio said softly, and must have appeared rather shy, as she edged herself partly behind Yumi.
It wasn't as if there was an awkward air between the three, it was just that no one seemed keen on starting a conversation and hence the silence seemed to linger.
"Tasio-chan, do you think maybe I could speak with Yumi for a second?" Sachiko said in the end. Maybe it was that small hint of anxiety that made her speak.
"Onee-sama, I will see you tomorrow?" The small tone of a question wasn't really intentional, it sort of just crept in there. She couldn't help but feel threatened. This woman was gorgeous, tall and slim and had the most amazing deep sapphire eyes. And she, she was just a little lithe barely five foot nobody. Tasio's light crystal blue eyes were frightened, big, and unintentionally pleading.
The look and the laced hands didn't go unnoticed. Sachiko felt a nervous fluttering in her chest. This was not what she had expected. Maybe not a Yumi who came running into her arms, still... Her having found comfort in her petite soeur was so far beyond her, that she hadn't even considered the possibility.
"Oh you don't have to leave Tasio, this won't take long. Onee-sama, why don't we visit Maria-sama?"
The little walk to Maria-sama was a silent one. As if a mutual agreement of waiting had been signed and ratified. One should be very perceptive indeed to see that this was not your usual One-sama and petite soeur relationship.
"She was just nervous." Yumi smiled apologetically at Sachiko for Tasio's shyness. "But she is only a first year. I have no doubt that she will be a terrific Rose when time comes."
"She...?" Sachiko looked at Yumi and then down the path at Tasio.
"Yes." Yumi followed the look and saw Tasio tripping impatiently, stretching her neck as if it would give her that extra advantage in trying to follow the conversation. She smiled gently, almost giving a little laugh.
"I see..." Sachiko saw the smile, still not quite knowing where she had Yumi. "You look good." She said. A little timid, but still, it was a place to start.
"I feel good." Yumi looked into those beautiful dangerous dark blue sapphire eyes and felt her insides churn in emotions best overlooked and best kept under foot right now.
For a second or five the conversation seemed to stop. Yumi waiting patiently for the purpose of Sachiko's visit and Sachiko for an opening in what wasn't the reunion she had expected or hoped for.
"Yes, Onee-sama?" Yumi turned her attention fully on Sachiko.
"I'm sorry about..." Best get the part over with she knew she couldn't get around.
"Why did you come, Onee-sama?" Yumi butted in. That road Sachiko began down, was a road best kept closed. She half turned and looked through the open park of the Lillian grounds.
Sachiko was a bit taken aback by the forceful closure of an apology she had mulled over, refined and in the end put in a nice speech she felt she would be able to deliver, even if circumstances became emotional. She had not expected Yumi to close her speech before she even had a chance to open it.
"I-I... wanted to... I left Kashiwagi." She blurted in the absence of direction, and in the need of something, anything to say to Yumi.
"... I see..." The news was a surprise indeed, but... Yumi looked towards Tasio.
"Well, I guess it doesn't really matter... anymore." She had followed Yumi's look and was realising now that it was not her, or Yumi controlling the balance of the emotional weights on the scale.
"This was your choice Onee-sama..." Yumi said soft as she looked a Sachiko and saw the first signs of capitulation in Sachiko. Her shoulders sank and the look in her eyes began to waver.
"Do you love her?" Sachiko suddenly threw at Yumi. It was a desperate grasp of the one straw she knew she might hold over Yumi.
"...Yes... I love her... In my own way." Yumi looked at her with what could only be described as a calm demeanour. Her look was steady, and even though she took her time in answering, there wasn't any sign of uncertainty in her response.
"That's... good then..." Her desperate straw just vanished in her hands as if it had been an illusion to begin with.
"Was that why you came? Did you change your mind? Did you come to see if I had been waiting for you?" Yumi asked surprised.
There could be no justification in the response she wanted so badly to say. So she didn't say anything. The silence was in itself an answer, but one you could simply relay later as a mistaken interpretation.
"I did you know. For a long time. Walking around like the wreck you left behind." Yumi spoke with no emotions. Her voice steady as a rock, as if she was just laying down facts, and took no regard to the feelings at the time it happened. The devastation of her mental health at the time...
"Yumi..." Sachiko looked at her with eyes wide open. As if the word 'wreck' had been a slap in the face.
"She saved me. Her love brought me back. Carefully mending every scar, every wound." Yumi had looked towards Tasio with a fond smile. A smile lingering as she saw Tasio leaning to her side as if she, out in the open, was trying to get a peak around a corner.
"You speak as if you hate me?" Sachiko bowed her head, looking down in guarded preparation for the words that would surely be coming. The words and accusations that must surely have been waiting for her in Yumi.
"No, Onee-sama. I love you. You know my love for you, I told you once, remember? I will always love you." Yumi had snapped her head around. She took a quick step towards Sachiko, trying to convey emotions on air alone.
"Then why?..." Sachiko had looked up in surprise, not understanding and looked at Yumi with more unguarded emotions showing, than Yumi thought she had ever seen before. The churning in her insides was reaching critical mass.
"Because she loves me unconditionally." Yumi said soft. Looking back with eyes of a strong young woman with willpower to make decisions based on rationale, too.
"I..." Sachiko faltered. The words of 'I do too' rang so hollow in her mind that even she could see the folly in trying to say it out loud.
"I have to go, she is waiting" Yumi half turned as if already on her way.
"Yumi?..." Sachiko had reached out for her, but as Yumi turned, let her hand fall down. The look in her eyes spelled emotional distress.
For a moment the two just stood. Each trying to convey emotions through their eyes. Eyes that for so long ago, for such a long time, always spoke love when looking at each other.
"W-Will we still be friends... Yumi?" her words faltering.
"...You are my Onee-sama. Yes?" Yumi looked at Sachiko gently.
"...yes..." The word, hardly more than a movement of lips.
"Goodbye, Onee-sama." And almost as an afterthought, she took a few steps, leaned up and kissed Sachiko softly on her cheek. Then she turned and went down the path towards the anxiously waiting Tasio.
"Goodbye...Yumi..." It was just a thought prepared, she never said it as she hid her head in her hands.
Tasio almost knocked the wind out of her as Yumi approached, burying her head in her chest desperately.
"There now... It's okay..." Yumi cupped Tasio's cheek, gave her a soft kiss and looked her in the eyes, eyes brimming from the emotional uncertainty.
"I love you, Onee-sama" Tasio's voice carried so much love it almost took Yumi's breath away.
"I love you too, Tasio."
And there you have it. I didn't particularly like to write this ending as it unfolded, I must admit. I was so happy for Tasio but on the other hand, Sachiko is a woman I love, dearly, and seeing her not end up with Yumi made me queasy. But this story is one that I love though. Even though Yumi went through hell, I think the more mature Yumi too, was wonderful, and I loved her as a Grand soeur to Tasio. And I soo love Tasio. How could one not?
Anyway: Arigato, thank you very much for reading. I hope you all liked it. I'm very grateful you made it so far. Should you feel so inclined I would of cause like to hear what you thought, and perhaps even what you felt in the comments.