A/N: Can't seem to concentrate in updating any of my stories, so I am posting a fluffy, one shot fiction. Keiko's challenge inspired me to do this story, and if you are thinking that this is a SHIZNAT fiction, sorry to disappoint, but this is certainly not a SHIZNAT. This is a YORI fiction!

Disclaimer: The usual, I own nothing except the laptop I'm using right now. The song used is not even mine and I have no idea who sung or made it.

Warning: This is rated T, I changed some of the lyrics and when I said YORI, that means this is Youko-Midori tandem, not a misspelled YURI harharhar. This will not be betaed! Expect tons of grammatical errors, probably less spelling mistakes.

Red Ribbon around the Old Oak Tree

I'm coming home I've done my time, and I guess I know what is and isn't mine. If you received this letter telling you I'd soon be free, then you know just what to do if you still want me…If you still want me…

Oh tie a red ribbon 'round the old oak tree, it's been three long years, do you still want me? If I don't see a ribbon tied around the old oak tree, I'll stay on the bus, forget about us and put the blame on me, if I don't see a ribbon tied around the old oak tree

Bus driver please look for me, 'cause I couldn't bare to see what I might see. I've been still in prison and her love…she holds the key! A simple red ribbon's what I need to set me free…Oh won't you tell her please…

Oh yes! Who would have thought that I…the great 17 year old girl Suguira Midori kept a diary of my life? Shhhh…it's a secret between the two of us okay? I am right now at the back of an old, dilapidated bus trying hard to write something on my diary. Okay…I am just kidding about the diary, I really don't have one. I am a very busy woman and writing a diary while gallivanting around the world together with my old archeology professor doesn't allow me to have such lull moment to do that. Well, I won't really say that my being here in the wild is akin to gallivanting; no…Professor and I risked our life for the sake of science and history…but Youko…

Youko…

I suddenly felt that smile etched on my face, the very smile I once had every time the two of us talked about my professor.

(Flashback)

"Ne Midori-chan?" The younger looking Youko was lying on her own bed, she was facing the ceiling and she had her arms tucked under her head

"Hm?" Midori, Youko's best friend and room mate was sitting in front of her study table busying herself with a book, but Youko knows that it wasn't about her subject but instead it was her collection of the professor's photos and clippings from an archeological news letter

"What do you like about the professor so much?" the brunette woman asked and then she gave out a sigh

Midori stopped what she was doing and turned herself from her seat and faced her friend. She suddenly wore that bright smile on her face, "Why do you asked?"

Youko turned her head to look at her friend and then she too smiled brightly, "Because your face always brightened when anyone from us mentioned his name…your face brightened even if I just mention the word professor." Youko said

"Really?" The red head was so happy Youko knew that Midori is trying hard to suppress a giggle to come out from her

Youko nodded her head and then she returned her gaze at the ceiling, "How I wish there's someone who'll smile like that when my name is mentioned." She said softly but Midori still heard her lament

"Don't worry Youko, that time will come!" the red head assured her before she smiled at her friend once again and turned around to go back to what she was doing

(End Flashback)

So why did that feeling suddenly eluded me? I've been with the professor for the next three years after the Carnival. When Gakotenou was destroyed by Mikoto's child, I knew I lost the professor, I lost my most important person…or did I?

When Youko and I were still studying, we both had our dreams. I wanted to be an archeologist like the professor while Youko wanted to pursue a course in Medicine, together we were happy dreaming about the future…of course the professor was always included in mine…but I haven't heard Youko talked about who she wanted to be with in her future…even if it was just in our dreams

(Flashback)

"Ne Youko…" Midori and Youko were in their swimsuit and were lazing out at the white sand of the beach, Youko was lying on a beach towel while Midori was building a sand castle

"What is it?" The brunette asked, she has her eyes closed as she rest under the big beach umbrella that cover her from the hurtful sunrays

"We have been sharing dreams right?" There was no answer so Midori continued, "And you always hear me include the professor in them, I was just wondering why you never seem to include anyone in your dream, don't you have anyone special?" she asked without looking at the brunette's face

Silence

"Youko?"

"I have someone special," At that admission Midori raised her head to look at her friend

"So? Why not include him in your dreams? It'll be more fun if you do that…then we can dream of having a double date!" Midori happily said before returning her attention to her sand castle

Youko did not answer

(End Flashback)

Double date huh! I frowned after that conversation resurfaced in my head. Was I that dense? Am I an older version of Kuga Natsuki? I shook my head when I found my answer to that question of mine.

Then after graduation, Youko and I suddenly drifted apart, she went to a university to pursue her dream while I went away to pursue mine…although it wasn't archeology that I pursued, it was someone who is a master of archeology. What can I say? I was young and stupid that time.

What…Oi! Don't misinterpret me, I am still young and another "old" word from you and I swear I'm going to kick you out of this bus!

To continue, while stalking my professor for many-many years, I suddenly met this boy named Nagi and he offered me something that was so hard to refuse…he offered me the ability to protect the one I value most. Yes! That was the beginning of the carnival…that event that almost destroyed the world…that almost destroyed the humanity of the other 11 girls that were chosen.

I'm not bragging…but I held on to my sanity during that period…I need to be tough for them…they were my students, my friends, my confidants. And that was also the time that I met Youko again, I didn't expect to see her at Fuuka Gakuen Academy where I was hired as a history teacher…yes, she was the academy's resident nurse

You thought she wants to be a doctor? Yes, she did, I didn't ask her why she decided to become a nurse rather than be a doctor. Why? That time we crossed paths again, I felt that we weren't the best friend we were before. Right then and there, I wanted to hug her, to embrace her, to enfold her in my arms…but Youko seemed to have built a wall around her. I don't know what happened to her in the five years that we have been separated…

(Flashback)

Midori was walking along the school ground; she just had a talked with Mashiro, the school administrator and the red head talked about the phenomenon called Carnival. The young girl wasn't interested in her knowledge but was more interested in her being a HiME. She was given permission to look around and acquaint herself to the school premises when she arrived at the academy's clinic.

The sight of the clinic suddenly brought back happy moments when she and Youko would cut class by staying at their school clinic pretending to be sick, then the two will chat their day away. The sudden feeling of déjavu caused the red head to knock at the door, slowly slid it open and enters without permission

"Sorry, but the clinic is close already, it's already…" the brunette nurse was talking while looking at the series of laboratories in her hand, she lifted her head to see her visitor and she stopped

"Youko?" Midori's eyes widened in surprised to see her long time best friend there in front of her, "You…"

"Hello Midori," Youko greeted her plainly, something the red head didn't expect. They've been out of contact for five long years and Youko doesn't seem elated or surprised to see her

Midori's wide smile dropped and was replaced by a sad one, "You don't seem surprise to see me?" the red head asked

Youko smiled and stood, "I always gets a list of new students and faculty." She reasoned, "Welcome to Fuuka." She added before she patted the red head's shoulder and walk passed her, "My time here is up and I need to go somewhere, do you want to stay here for a bit more?" she asked after turning her head to look at the red head

"Will you accompany me while I stay?" Midori asked

Youko shook her head no, "I have an important meeting, I was just asking so that I could leave the clinic to you and lock it when you decided to leave."

(End Flashback)

That should hurt, I know…but as I've said, I don't know what happened to her during the time of my absence…like right now

It's been three years and we have no communication.

Yes you heard me, as in no, none, nada! I used to send e-mails to her and she responds, not always but still she responded until…until suddenly it all stopped. No warning, no reasons, she just stop responding to any of my e-mails. Snail mail? I sent her lots of post cards from the different places I've been, but she didn't send me anything to assure me that she received it.

Oh yes…I did learn the reason for her cold welcome to me, and the sudden distance between the two of us…I mean we treat each other as colleagues at school, no more, no less

It was during the height of the Carnival, that time when I fought Mikoto and Gakotenou was destroyed. I was so hurt and depressed that no matter how hard I tried the HiMEs ended up killing each other…no killing each other's important person…killing the one person you swear to protect. She was the one who took me from that place and nursed me back to health

Well…more than nursed me back to health…

No! Youko will not do that, maybe that time I did give out some wrong message…or maybe I danced along a music I can't dance…I remember telling her how I miss the old Youko and I think I did tell her that I love her

But that time was the lowest point in my life…I could probably say that I'm in love with you that time! Oi! Your eyes are out of its socket! Close it! I was just stating my point here.

So yeah…we both danced with fire and we both got burned

Youko screamed my name and told me how she loved me again and again as we both reach our peak. I won't elaborate as I'm not even sure if you're at the right age, but that time, while I was lost in that euphoric event, her declaration of love didn't hit the mark…it only did after that momentous event…while we were both lying, her body over mine…when she whispered the three words I longed to hear from the professor… before she fell asleep…

It was an eye opener for me…The professor died when Gakotenou was destroyed, so it means he was my most important person and yet…that time, I knew that Youko being there in my arms was the right thing…the right feeling

Can you hear that song? Good…I left after the carnival to be with the professor not because I am still in love with him. That carnival imprisoned my heart…the very knowledge that it was him who died imprisoned me in the thought that he really was the most important person for me…not Youko…

And I want to be free…I've got to be free

Hm? Oh yeah, I sent her a post card telling her that I'm going to see her…after three long years. I smiled as I imagined Youko's smiling face, that bright smile every time she looks at me…back then, Okay, you may think that I'm a sappy old bastard, but the lyrics was the very exact thing I wanted to tell her

I wanted to know if there's still Youko that I can go back to

I wanted to know if there's still Youko who could anchor me to this world…if there's still Youko who is willing to laugh with me, play with me, love me…

I sighed as that thought came to me…if Youko doesn't want me anymore…what am I going to do? Will I just wallow in pity until I die? Will I do something to get her back? I've been running after the professor for long…can I still run after her?

Oh! I am nearing my destination; I could see the top of the oak tree outside Fuuka Academy! Can you see it? I closed my eyes Can you please look for me?

Huh? What are you suppose to look for? Oh! A red ribbon…even just one red ribbon tied anywhere around that tree! Please

I felt the bus go slow and my heart thumped wildly inside my chest so I opened my eyes

...Now the whole damn bus is cheering…and I can't believe what I've seen…

...A thousand red ribbon tied around the old oak tree

I felt my tears ran down my face as I passed the bus isle, the people inside the bus were cheering loudly…and I quickened my pace as I saw Youko there at the gate, smiling brightly at me

Waiting for me

My Youko loves me…she sets me free…Thank you…

I jumped out of the bus and ran towards her waiting arms, pulled her close and captured her lips with mine as I heard the noisy bus drove away from us

And my co-HiMEs were there to replace the cheering bus

The lone woman stood up at the entrance of the bus, her long raven hair blowned by the current created by the moving bus, she has a smile on her face as she witnessed the fading scene of her red head companion, Perhaps I should do the same with princess…it's so sweet…

End

Hope you like this even though this is not Shiznat.