A/N My seventh fanfic! Wee!!

I really hope you like this one, because I thoroughly enjoyed writing it. Well, basically it wrote itself. I guess hope always does, right? ;)

Once again, bear with any disgrace to the English vocabulary, and wait with the hate mails until you are actually done reading. lol :D

Now then. Please enjoy, yet again. All the loveliness and finesse, of Yumi and Sachiko.

The Stand

"Why won't you understand?" Sachiko was leaning forward, as if that extra fraction of pleading for understanding would tip the scale with all the rest.

"It has nothing to do with me understanding or not." Her father stood by the window in his study, looking out. His side was turned towards Sachiko and his hands folding on his back.

"But I love her!" Sachiko's words were spoken softly. As if not comprehending, that her admonition hadn't made her father understand.

"I has nothing to do with you loving her or not! This arrangement was made many years ago, and must be upheld." He spoke as if stating facts at a board meeting.

"But... I love her." Sachiko just could not... understand.

"I DON'T CARE IF YOU LOVE HER OR NOT! YOU WILL MARRY THE BOY!" He had turned and shouted at her full force. The matter was beginning to irritate him.

"Father..." She looked at him with big eyes. Surprised eyes. Eyes not used to seeing her father in this way.

"There is honour riding on this marriage Sachiko, you must understand. Family honour."

"You want me to spend a life in misery, because of an honour agreement?"

"Yes! If that is what it takes. We cannot back out of this arrangement." He turned and walked halfway towards her.

"Sachiko. This is an important deal for our family. This merger is per tradition, and per arrangement, not complete until you marry him."

"You will trade me off for money just like that?"

"You are looking at it wrong, Sachiko. Don't twist my words."

The look between father and daughter was one of opposites collide. A second nothing moved in either one.

"I'm sorry father. I cannot go through with this." Sachiko turned to leave. She had taken a few steps when she heard her father's voice, laden with explosives.

"If you leave this room now, with no intention of marrying the boy. You will not be my daughter. Do you understand?"

"Father..." Sachiko turned. She couldn't believe what she just heard.

"You will have to find a new home... and a new name. I will not tolerate a "failure" He said the word as if he spat. "walking around with the Osagawara name." He turned his back on her, and walked toward his desk.

"Father..." her words were low. Too low probably for him to hear.

"...Yes... I understand...Osagawara-san... "

She turned and walked to the door, every step hoping, hoping for... reason, to call out from her father. But hearing naught, she turned slightly in the door, for just a second, just long enough for her to whisper,

"...good bye..."

//-----------------//

"Onee-sama!?"

"Yumi..."

It was a sorry weather. Rain was pouring down and wind had picked up. Yumi had opened the front door of the Fukazawa residence that evening to find Sachiko on the doorstep, in a rather sorry state.

"I-I... Do you think that maybe I could spend the night... here...?" Sachiko hadn't come here for shelter. She could have gotten that in a hotel. She came here because Yumi was here. And right now, she needed Yumi, more than anything.

"O-Onee-sama?" Yumi was not really sure that she had heard the words her brain told her, that her Onee-sama just spoke.

But suddenly Yumi noticed the emotional state Sachiko was in. Her hands shaking. Pupils small as pinpricks.

"Onee-sama..." Yumi took a step out grasped her hand and pulled her in, closed the door and pulled Sachiko into her arms.

They stood for a while, not a short while, but a good long one. They stood long enough for Sachiko to stop shaking.

When she did, Yumi found her a pair of house slippers and still, without a word, took her hand and brought her upstairs to her room. She sat her on her bed.

"I will go make us some tea in a few seconds." Yumi said softly.

Sachiko made a little nod, indicating that she had heard, and understood.

Yumi noticed Sachiko's bedraggled looks and went to get her brush.

"Onee-sama. Look at you..." Yumi crawled up in bed and sat close behind her, and brushed her hair, in slow gentle movements.

"Now then. Tell me all about it."

So Sachiko told her in a simple, dead voice. That she had been thrown out. How the staff had been instructed, to not even let her go to her room to get her things. All she had, was what Yumi saw. Only thing she managed was the schoolbag which had still been in the hallway, the bag had her purse so she could pay for a cap, and a few other items.

"Onee-sama..." Yumi had no words really. So the comfort in the brushing and the name was it. She still didn't understand anything yet. 'Why?' was the pressing thought, but for now, she let Sachiko collect herself a bit.

Sachiko twisted on the bed, looking at Yumi.

"Oh Yumi..." For a moment she cupped her cheek, then she leaned in for a long hug. And as if the warmth of Yumi's cheek against her own gave her a measure of strength and renewed energy, she leaned back,

"Yumi. I need to talk with your parents."

"Y-Yes..."

Sachiko stood up

"N-Now!?" Yumi's eyes went wide and big.

"Yes."

So, they went downstairs and into the living room where the Fukazawa's were relaxing before bed.

"Mum, Dad. Onee-sama is here and would like to speak with you."

"Thank you, Yumi" Sachiko looked at Yumi with a look that left little doubt in Yumi's mind. Onee-sama wanted to speak with Mum and Dad alone.

"Y-Yes. Excuse me..." And she left the room; as she went by Sachiko, they both reached out a little finger to grasp each other, for just a fraction of a second, just imperceptibly. Nothing more than a fluttering.

"Sachiko-chan!" Yumi's mother said fondly. "Come in, come in. We were just watching some TV." She smiled as if wanting to be excused for such an indulgence.

"Would you like some tea?"

Sachiko thought for a second... Where to begin? But knowing Yumi's parent's to be smart people, she began without pre-emptive.

"Mister and Mrs. Fukazawa... I'm in some trouble that I need to sort out but, do you maybe think that you would let me stay as your guest for... for a little bit?"

"Miss Osagawara?"

"No, please. That name has been stripped of me. For now Sachiko will do."

"Stripped!?"

"What on earth do you mean?"

"I mean that tonight my family banished me, and if I know my father right, the documents are being written by very capable layers as we speak."

"Miss. Oga... Sachiko-chan. You will have to begin your story from a point in the past, so that we will be able to understand the present coherently. Does that sound fair?" She smiled gently and approached, raised her hand and gave Sachiko's elbow a little squeeze.

Sachiko smiled a little forlornly in return.

"Of cause. I'm sorry."

And Sachiko told them about her family, the wealth, the status, and the arrangement made when she was just a child, of the man of whom she was to marry and the event's tonight.

"... So tonight, I told my father I would not go through with it. Because of that, I was thrown out. And my family name stripped from me."

"My!" Yumi's mother was baffled.

"I thought most of those traditions were left and buried a long time a go" Yumi's father had a dangerous tone to his voice. "I should have known the nobles' still practices this sort of thing."

"The documents are probably being drawn up as we speak. Everything I would sign by my birth name would have no legality. So, that's why Mister Fukazawa, that I come before you with this rather unusual request. That you would let me borrow you name for the time being. In the near future there would be a few things that I need to sort out. Lease to a flat, new bank account, and so forth. Being seventeen for still a while, I can't do that on my own."

"But off cause Sachiko-chan" Mrs. Fukazawa looks like the epitome of comfort. "Of cause you can, right dear?" And she looks at her husband with fire in her eyes.

"Ah, y-yes, mah, of cause Miss Sachiko. Sachiko Fukazawa it is then." And he gave a little reassuring smile.

"Thank you." Sachiko said with a little grateful bow.

"Mr. and Mrs. Fukazawa. If I could lend you ears, for just few minutes more?"

"Of cause Sachiko-chan. Anything." Yumi's mother had turned and taken a few steppes, but stopped and turned again.

"Mrs. Fukazawa. I left out a bit of the story before." Sachiko looked at her for a second, then looked down with a little sigh before finding her gaze again.

"The reason I gave them was; That I was already in love. If that had not been the case, I probably would indeed have married Mr. Kashiwagi."

"Oh, I see..."

"I told them, that I was in love with your daughter."

For a second the room just went dead. As if Death himself sat for a second in the middle of the living room and then left again.

"You---!?"

"Yes. Mrs. Fukazawa. I love Yumi. I have for a long time. And she loves me too."

Death game back, as if he forgot his scythe.

"Now wait just a minute..." Mr. Fukazawa stood up.

"Sit down dear!" Mrs. Fukazawa said the words with ice dripping from every syllable.

Yumi's father sat back down.

"Yumi?" Was all she said next.

"Yes, Mrs. Fukazawa." Sachiko stood her ground. The look from Yumi's mother; A mother who suddenly saw her child in danger, was frightening, to say the least.

"Miss Sachiko. Are you telling us, that you gave up a life in wealth and comfort, your name, your status in society, to be with our Yumi?"

"Mrs. Fukazawa You make it sound as if I gave up much to gain little?" Sachiko made a little smile, and suddenly love overflowed in her eyes.

"For me, I gave up almost nothing and gained almost everything... Mr. and Mrs. Fukazawa, there is nothing I would not give up, nothing I would not do, to be with Yumi, to spend my life with her. For me, she is my very reason for breathing."

Mrs. Fukazawa just stood floored. To hear this seventeen year old young woman talk like that about her... little girl. Was just something she could not comprehend? Yumi was just sixteen for the love of...

"Mrs. Fukazawa. I understand the chock and bewilderment you must feel. Believe me; it was not easy for me to come to terms with either."

"You had to come to 'terms' with it?" Yumi's mother's voice went up a notch.

"Yes. It took me a long time. I thought that the feelings I had were wrong. That I, as a woman, couldn't possibly feel that way about another woman. That I wasn't 'supposed' to feel that way."

"But over time, those 'words' became meaningless. All that mattered was love. All the 'words' meant nothing in comparison. Those are just, in the end, boxes made by society and men."

"You make it sound as if love is some divine force!?"

"Yes, Mrs. Fukazawa. That is probably exactly what I do..." Sachiko smiled gently.

"I can't have my daughter live like a ... a lesbian." She made a sound as if the thought itself was so foreign to her, that she had to think up something bad to compare it with, because she knew it had to be bad.

"Mrs. Fukazawa. If I may? But could you give me one reason, one reason only, why being a lesbian is a bad thing? How two girls living together in love, would impede upon the world as something bad?"

She made a sigh. "Miss Sachiko." She rubbed her temples. "It's just; I'm trying to fit my little girl into all this. And I only see hardship ahead of her down this road. Please understand." Yumi's mother looked as if she was trying to plead a dog bone from a pit-bull.

"I understand Mrs. Fukazawa. But those troubles ahead are made by people. Simple minded people with nothing better to do. Problems like those, are usually easily overcome." Sachiko smiled gently.

"You make the words sound... That is not the twist or the intent of what I mean, Sachiko-chan."

"Mrs. Fukazawa. I love Yumi. And there is nothing in this world I wouldn't do for her. Nothing. And you can turn and twist words and make them sound as dirty or nasty or as fancy as you like. It wouldn't matter one bit to me."

"Being with Yumi is what matters most to me, everything else pales in comparison."

"Mrs. Fukazawa... Yumi feels the same way. Why is it that obvious to you, that we shouldn't be together? When it is so obvious to us, that we should?"

"Sachiko-chan. How will you even support yourself? Let alone live... The two of you..." Mrs. Fukazawa words faltered. She was grasping straws, and she knew it. Still...

Sachiko smiled. "...My personal account and my savings should see me through my school years, with the expenses one could predict in that time. After that I suppose we would live, and work, like anyone else. Would it be so different for two women to go earn their way, than for a woman and a man?"

"Mrs. Fukazawa." Sachiko took a few small steps towards her. "Please try not to invent problems where there are none. You are much too intelligent a woman for that." Sachiko smiled.

Yumi's mother looked at Sachiko, as if to make sure she hadn't just been offended. But seeing a sincere smile, she gave a forlorn one of her own. "Maybe you are right Sachiko-chan. Maybe I do foresee more problems ahead than there are, or think that there might be some where there are none. But understand, seeing and agreeing, if I even have that right, to this is... is..." She looked at Sachiko as if suddenly very tired.

"There will be more talk of this when we all had a chance to think. Is that clear Miss Fukazawa?" She looked at Sachiko with a face that left no doubt in Sachiko's mind. This discussion wasn't closed.

"I understand."

"Good." Mrs. Fukazawa went to the hall and called up the stairs. "Yumi?" The call up was a tired one. As if three days worth of extra energy had just been spent in the woman.

It took just a second before Yumi came down. As if she had been sitting in her room, waiting.

When she came in to the living room, she went to stand by Sachiko. She had questions written all over her face.

"Yumi, I told your parents about the event leading up till tonight. All of them."

"O-Onee-sama...?"

"The reason I was thrown out, was because I told Father, that I wouldn't marry Kashiwagi."

"You did!? Why!?" Yumi's eyes were surprised and big.

"I told them I couldn't marry him, because I was in love with someone else." Sachiko smiled gently.

"You did!?" Yumi's eyes seemed not to comprehend for a second or two, then they mellowed. And slowly she leaned in, so her head rests on Sachiko. She let her hand gently lace with Sachiko's.

"Thank you" she whispers "thank you" Her smile is one of incredible relief.

"So it is true?" Her mother blurts from the other side of the room.

"Mum?" Yumi turns her head towards her.

"Are you truly in love?"

Yumi smiles "Yes, Mum. I love her." Yumi turns around with a loving smile at Sachiko, then leans back in.

Sachiko, with an arm around her, pulls her in, and for as long as Yumi's mother allows, they share a little embrace.

"Well," She sighs with a little look up. "I guess time will tell then. But I'm telling you girls" And she walked across the room, and puts a hand on each girl. "There will be no talk of living together until you are eighteen. Is that clear young lady?" She looks at Yumi with a look that could freeze ice...

"Now get upstairs. Your father and I need to have a talk."

They were a little shy as they entered Yumi's room. But then Sachiko took her hands.

"This was not really how I planned my declaration of love would be like." She gave a little chuckle.

"No, me neither." Yumi smiled from ear to ear.

"But I do love you, Yumi." Sachiko said with eyes brimming with emotions. "I have for a long long time."

"Yes. Me too. It has been a little silly for a while. Because I knew you knew, and you knew that I knew." She smiled at her own words. "I could feel your love," she said, softer. "And I knew that you felt mine too."

"Yes."

For a second they just stood, then Yumi closed in for an embrace, and leaned up on her toes. Sachiko feeling the motion, put her hands on Yumi's hips, supporting her, bowed her head, and they kissed. Gently, softly. And they parted, smiled, and did it again.

"I love you, Onee-sama" Yumi whispered with her lips to Sachiko's.

"I love you too, Yumi" Sachiko was suddenly overcome with emotions. It had been a long day, an arduous day, and her tears ran slowly. But as if desperately seeking freedom, there was no stooping them, and in the end, Yumi took her to the bathroom, and prepared a shower.

Yumi got the clothes off a totally energy depleted Sachiko, folded them nicely in a pile, she made her stand under the hot water while she quickly got out of her own. Shyness didn't even occur to the girls as Yumi stepped in and took Sachiko gently in her arms. And for a long time, that's how they stayed.

//-----------------//

They found a small flat for Sachiko, actually the top of a two story house, the old couple owning the house had retired, and to stay in the house, they had converted the top floor to an apartment; Sachiko had her own entrance, two bedrooms a living room, kitchen, eating corner and bath. The lease stipulated that if the lease ran ten years, the renters of the flat would have first dips if and when the house would go on the marked. The old couple saw no problems with two woman living together, they made sure of that as they introduced themselves to the old couple. The furnishings were sensible, most bought in Ikea and made for a modern, Scandinavian, yet not too cold environment. Yumi's mother was a great help in making the place feel cosy and homey. All in all the whole deal wasn't an ordeal.

They would spend most days there, and then they would leave for the Fukazawa residence, keeping Yumi's 23 o'clock curfew. That soon became a hassle more than anything else, and as they tested Mrs. Fukazawa's patience a few times, sleeping in the flat in the weekends, she allowed them to sleep in the flat; she would then stop over for coffee every morning, making sure the girls got to school by driving them there.

As it turned out, Sachiko's bank account always seemed to stay the same. No matter what she spent and where. When the account was cheeked the next day, it always stated the same amount as the day prior. The only answer they got when asking, was that the banks instructions where; to deduct the spent amount from an account other than her own. Sachiko highly suspected her mothers personal account to be that same account. For now though, she let the matter rest.

Time didn't rest though, and as it ate away slowly but surely; so Sachiko graduated Lillian and started Lillian Uni, and a year later Yumi did the same. The days went by in a slow comfortable way for the two girls in love.

One day the doorbell rang, Yumi was 18 now and the two girls were now living legally, when she opened the door, Sayako Osagawara stood outside.

"Hello Yumi-chan" She said softly.

"S-Sayako-obasama!"

Sayako smiled a little forlorn. "How have you been Yumi-chan? It has been a while." Actually about two years but, at that specific moment in time, nobody was counting.

"Come in, come in" Yumi smiled broadly. "I have been fine." And she turned around and called up the stars. "Onee-sama!"

"So you still call her that?" Sayako smiled fondly.

"Huh?" Yumi said confused. "Ah, eh ma... Yes, she is my Onee-sama, she always will be. To me, she can be nothing else. I tried calling her Sachiko a few times but, everything inside me feels best when she is Onee-sama."

Sayako just smiled.

Sachiko comes looking down the stairs. "What is it, Yumi?" Inquiringly. But when she saw who was at the door, her body, mind and soul just stopped.

"Come in, Come in" Yumi said again, indicating the stairs and let the way for Sayako. When they reached the top landing, Sachiko seemed to have gained speech again.

"Mother." She bowed slightly. Yumi's smile seemed to dissipate as she sensed the tension on the landing, she managed a meekly "Excuse me" as she went inside the apartment, leaving the two on the landing.

"Sachiko" Sayako said softly. "You look well."

"Mother? W-Why are you here?"

Sayako looked at Sachiko for just a second, then she took a small step and embraced the surprised young woman.

For just a moment, Sachiko's inner being was in chock. But, as every human being feeling their mother's arms around them, so too did Sachiko's arms slowly close around Sayako.

Small tremors started running through Sayako, quickly followed by small sobs. Her tears ran freely.

"Mother," Sachiko said softly. "Come inside."

Sachiko felt her mother nod, and as they separated, Sayako pulled out her handkerchief and cleaned herself a bit.

She was let to the sofa in the cosy living room, and Sachiko heard Yumi already preparing tea in the kitchen, so there was no need to ask.

Mother? Is everything not right?" Sachiko sat down beside her and took her hand.

For a moment Sayako sat still and then,

"Sachiko. Your father and grandfather are dead."

Sachiko sat for a second, taking the words in. When she spoke it was softly.

"Mother, look at me?" And she waited until she did.

"Mother, those people tried to trade me off as meat for money. When that didn't work; they banished me, renounced me, took everything away from me, even my mother, and told me to go to hell and back in my underwear for all they cared."

"I am sorry for your loss" And she stroked her mother cheek lovingly. "But I feel no sympathy for whatever end those people might have had. You understand, don't you?" She looked her mother in the eyes making a little nod.

"I understand" Sayako said, with a nod of her own. "But please Sachiko... I had nothing to do with what they did" She was brimming with eyes again.

"I know." Sachiko said, and pulled her into an embrace, which Sayako desperately clung to as she started crying again.

Yumi waited with the tea, until she could see the two Separating again. Then she brought the tray in.

"I made us some tea." She spoke softly, gently.

Sachiko stood and helped pouring and serving tea. When she sat, it was opposite her mother next to Yumi, they laced hands and Yumi leaned into Sachiko. It was just the way they sat, and they didn't even think of the act itself.

Sayako did though. "You are happy" She said after a sip of her tea to clear her throat of the previous tears.

Sachiko looked at Yumi and smiled lovingly.

"Yes, mother. I am very happy." And she looked back.

"That's good" Sayako smiled, and took a little sip, she made a little nod, as if to herself "...that's good."

"Mother, why did you come?" Sachiko said softly.

Sayako looked up in surprise "Well, because..."

"... it can't be because of that. You must have known those people mean... meant, "She corrected herself. "nothing to me anymore." And she smiled softly. There was absolutely no hint of sorrow hearing her father and grandfather had passed away on her.

Sayako's eyes were suddenly brimming again. "...I know..." her voice trailed "I... I-I wanted to see if... If there might be room in your life still... for me...?" Sayako was squeezing her teacup to the brink of breaking and looking in her tea as if it were tears from Christ himself.

"Mother!" Sachiko jolted to the edge of the couch startling Yumi. "Of cause there is. There always were. Don't be absurd."

Sayako looked up, a shimmer of hope in her eyes. "But..."

Yumi stood up slowly, and went around sitting next to Sayako. She took the cup from her hands and sat it on the table, then took her hands in her lap.

"Sayako-sama" She said, and looked her straight in the eyes "There has never been a bad word uttered in this house of you. Ever. Only those of longing and wishing. If you want to come back to Sachiko's life, and mine too," She came her hands a little squeeze "You are most welcome."

Sayako looked first at Yumi, a little surprised, both at the action, and by the words, then over at Sachiko, who gave her a little smile and a nod, then back to Yumi, and her eyes mellowed and she spoke with gratitude and love,

"Thank you, Yumi. Thank you"

//-----------------//

Premise of the story was simple. I just wanted Sachiko to make a stand. Stand up to her family's absurdities and stand up for love. I guess :)

Please let me know what you think. Praise and critique alike. And once again, I thank you for reading yet more of my dripples ;)