Punch Line

by Sean Gaffney

Ichigo Mashimaro isn't mine, it belongs to Barasui and Mediaworks.

Inexplicable, that was the word Chika was looking for. It was totally inexplicable.

Chika sat on one of the couches in the common room of Miu's dorm watching Miu, on the chair near the opposite wall, get fawned over and waited on by at least four other girls, all kouhai that she had taken as her pets.

It's not as if she was particularly attractive. She had gotten taller - a bit - and filled out - a bit less - but really, she was just Miu. A gawky, hyperactive kid who had become a gawky, hyperactive young woman.

And attitude? EXACTLY the same. These girls treated her like a queen and half the time Miu didn't even acknowledge their existence. She had them bring her sweets and drinks, and Chika wouldn't have been surprised if they did all of Miu's homework as well.

And then there were the Miu moments. Chika had invented that phrase years ago, when they were both children. You couldn't even EXPLAIN them, except to say that they were totally Miu. Just more... adult.

In fact, that was the one thing that had changed. Well, changed was the wrong word. After all, it was Miu who had, at the ripe age of 12 years old, declared herself and Chika to be lesbians. At the time, Chika had merely been irritated and thrown Miu aside like a rag doll. (She tried not to do that at the dorm anymore, after the Miu fangirls had accused her of abuse. Clearly they weren't from Osaka.)

But now, Miu wasn't a kid anymore. Something which Chika knew in great detail. Stories about Miu's sexual exploits had started in high school, and were only getting worse now that she was at college. She rarely got in trouble, mostly as she was so outrageous in general that most people assumed half the stories to be exaggerated. And the girls she was with certainly weren't complaining. Something else Chika knew in great detail.

Because Miu was still Miu. She hadn't changed one goddamned bit. And that included Chika being her best friend. People occasionally asked her why, and she still wasn't able to satisfactorily explain it. She tried to say it was because Miu needed someone who moderated her worst tendencies, but that was an utter lie, as Chika had never been able to moderate anything. Then she said it was because she knew the real Miu, but no, this WAS the real Miu. She didn't have an ounce of pretense anywhere in her body.

In truth, Chika was Miu's best friend because she was. She didn't like analyzing friendships, and it was the same with Miu as it was with her other childhood friends, Matsuri and Ana. They were both off in America now, and they wrote her adorable emails every week, which she responded to with equally adorable replies...

All right, that was a lie as well. Her replies were perfunctory and sarcastic. It wasn't that she didn't like Mats and Ana, or didn't appreciate their emails. But they were them, and she was herself, and truth be told she'd gotten a lot more of her sister's personality than she really felt comfortable with. Which was probably a major reason why she still hung out with Miu so much.

This was why she didn't like analyzing friendships.

She sighed and glanced over at Miu, who was getting her shoulders rubbed by Fangirl #1. Chika could never remember her name, possibly because Miu didn't either. She always just said 'Hey, you', and the girl responded as if she'd received a blessing from the heavens.

And it was ALWAYS going on. Every time Chika stopped by, there was always Miu, Goddess of the Dorm, being waited on by her groupies. Miu, having her shoulders rubbed. Miu, rewarding with quick kisses that sent girls swooning. And of course, the after party where Miu and Chika would retire to her room to play video games while Miu regaled Chika with tales of her awesome sexual prowess.

Chika sighed, and stood up. She was tired tonight, and did not feel like a rundown of Miu's Lesbian Greatest Hits. "Miu, I gotta run. S'ok?"

Miu blinked, and stood up, accidentally sending two girls crashing to the ground. "Already? I just got the new release of Daikatana Savage."

Chika was already walking out the door, waving a hand. "Next time, I promise. Sorry, just in a weird mood tonight."

As she walked out, she heard Miu say something about cleanup time. Theoretically she meant cleaning the common room, but knowing Miu it likely involved sex games in some way. Chika sighed again.

It wasn't as if she hadn't been doing this for almost a year. What was the matter with her? It was just getting... more exhausting. As she trudged out of the building and made her way down towards the parking lot, she frowned. If Miu were just a little more normal. Not like Matsuri or Ana, necessarily... although neither of them qualified as 'normal' in any sense of the word either. Just... duller. A bit. She needed a rest, goddammit.

She got to her car and reached for her bag... which was back in Miu's room.

She gently thumped her head on the steering wheel, then got out of the car to trudge back. However, before she got two steps, she saw a figure running from the dorm waving what looked like her bag. Getting closer, she could see it was, in fact, Fangirl #1.

"Excuse me, Chika-san, but Miu-sama asked me to give you this!" she panted, having bolted all the way to the car.

"Thanks," Chika said, accepting the bag. "Um... I'm sorry, I can't remember your name."

The girl smiled. Actually, looking at her, this wasn't Fangirl #1, who had always been rather rude to Chika. This was one of the others, who Chika recalled even less of. "It's Keiko. I know that Miu-sama doesn't really use our names much. But she means well..."

Chika growled. "Would you stop it? She doesn't mean well at all! I've known her since she was eight years old, and she's always been one of the most selfish women in the world! She doesn't use your name because it would require her remembering something for more than a nanosecond. Honestly, what do you possibly see in her?"

Keiko blinked. "Are you kidding? She's got model looks, she's strong, powerful, dynamic... she's exciting! She's everything to look for in a woman!"

Well, aside from the 'model looks', Chika couldn't really argue with any of those. And yeah, she supposed 'stick thin with no boobs' did qualify as model looks. Miu probably had girls call her willowy.

Keiko was still going on. "And... well... she's very good at pleasing a woman." She looked down and blushed. Chika just coughed.

"Yeah, so she keeps telling me. At length."

The girl perked up at this. "It's even better after you've been over for a visit, Chika-san! The other girls all love to see you come by! After your visits, Miu-sama is even more..." She ground to a halt, staring at Chika's angry face. "I'm talking too much again, aren't I?"

"No, no, in fact, I want you to go on," Chika said with a tight voice. "Why, pray tell, is Miu always so much 'more' after I've been around?"

The girl seemed to curl up inside herself. "Um... Miu-sama always puts on a show when you come over. One of the girls asked why once, and she said... um..." Her voice got very tiny.

"Speak up!" Chika barked.

"She said she had to do it because you're an idiot," Keiko muttered.

Chika stared for a few minutes, then simply got into her car, started the engine, and got the hell out of there as fast as she could. She kept driving till she was on the highway - headed the opposite direction from her own school, but fuck it, she was so angry she just needed to drive.

What the hell? What the HELL? This was it. Miu had angered her before, but she'd never outright insulted her like that. Insulted her behind her back, no less. And if anyone was an idiot, it was her! Walking around doing things with no thought for the consequences, still acting like a goddamn 12-year-old.

I mean, what the hell was the POINT of flaunting all that in front of Chika? Was she supposed to be impressed that Miu had her own little harem of wannabes? Apparently not, as Miu said she was doing it because Chika was an idiot. Well sorry, sorry that I don't get your little --

Something went 'plink' in her brain, and she felt herself decelerating slightly.

This was why she hated analyzing friendships.

OK, wait, assume that what she was thinking was true. It would certainly explain Miu's over-the-top behavior. It would also explain why, as Keiko had said, she seemed to stage things for whenever Chika stopped by. In fact, a lot of things Chika had never really understood about Miu and their friendship really made MUCH more sense with these assumptions.

So, what would be the final assumption?

She almost hit the brakes and made a U-turn, but that was just likely to get her killed out on the highway, so instead she got off at the nearest exit and then right back on again, making her way back to Miu's dorm as fast as she could possibly go.

She hit the parking lot and leaped out of the car, bolting into the main building past several rather surprised young girls. One of whom was Keiko, who was looking rather grey and miserable. The grey turned to white as Chika whizzed by. "Chika-san?" she heard vaguely, but other people were irrelevant at the moment.

She burst into Miu's room without even knocking (Miu was lucky she didn't climb through the window like she always used to do), and came into the middle of the room, where she stood panting, trying to catch her breath. Miu, somewhat startled, was lying in bed on her stomach.

"Did you get the purse?" Miu asked tentatively.

Chika panted some more, then pointed her finger right in Miu's direction. "Do you do all this every time I come over as some sort of over the top act to get my attention?"

Miu blinked, then grinned widely. "Yes."

"And you've been doing it all these years, over and over again, just waiting for me to get it?"

"Yes!" Miu said, wriggling on the bed.

Chika lowered the finger. "Miu, are you... um..." She was starting to loser her nerve, dammit.

Miu sat up. "Come on, Chika, just a little bit more. I won't make fun of you this time, I promise." Her smile was almost splitting her head in two.

Chika squared her shoulders. "Do you love me, Miu?"

Miu rocked back, her face apparently transfixed in ecstasy. "YES!"

Chika stood there, trying not to be offended. "OK, you just said you weren't making fun of me."

Miu laughed. "I wasn't. Trust me, you getting to this point is orgasmic. Do you know how LONG I have been waiting? I mean seriously, YEARS. How old were we when I said we were lesbians?"

"Wait a minute," Chika sputtered. "You didn't even know what the word meant!"

Miu shrugged. "OK, maybe I didn't know exactly. I probably didn't want to fuck you stupid when I was that age. But I know now, and I do now. And I want to be with you forever. That hasn't changed."

Chika waved her hand around a bit. "And what about all this? You couldn't have been more obtuse if you tried!"

Miu laughed. "Did you want something else? Did you seriously want me to be all shoujo manga?" Suddenly her face changed and her eyes seemed to get bigger. She bit her lip. "I... I really love you, Chika. It was so hard to say it, but there it is. Please don't hate me!" Tears appeared in the corners of her eyes.

Chika drew back as if she was watching a vampire. "Stop that, it's fucking creepy!"

"Or should I try to be tsundere?" Now Miu blushed while smacking Chika hard in the shoulder. "B-baka! Who ever said that I liked you?!"

"I get it, OK? You're right. You were totally you in trying to get my attention."

Miu went back to her normal sly grin. "And now I just want you to be Chika in return. Whether you love me or not. Just tell me."

Chika grew flustered again. "Why bother? I mean you figured it out long before I did, right?"

"Yup," Miu happily agreed. "But I want to hear you say it. Sorry."

There was a long pause, and then a small sneeze came from the entrance to Miu's room. Chika twitched, then glanced over to where Miu's minions were stacked on top of each other like cordwood, peeking in.

"Get the hell out of here!" Chika shrieked, throwing a chair in their direction. They scattered and the door slammed shut. Miu walked over and opened it again.

"Don't worry, kids! If things go badly, we'll have a nice long session tonight!"

Chika smacked her alongside the head and slammed the door again. "Like hell you will! You're in love with me, you're not gonna keep running around screwing any girl that moves!"

Miu actually smacked Chika right back, a relative rarity (Miu normally saved her violence for Matsuri). "Don't tell me what the hell to do or not do! You haven't even responded to me!"

"Of course I love you!" Chika said. "Why else would I hang around you all the time like a total idiot? No one in their right minds would spend so much of their life with you if they weren't totally besotted!"

There was a pause, then Miu started counting down. "3, 2, 1..."

Realization hit Chika's face and she paled slightly, and then blushed heavily. "I... wow."

"So since things are going well," Miu smirked, and latched the door to her room, "we'll just go with Plan A, which involves us expressing our love to each other by way of the most awesome sex we've ever had."

Chika began to sweat a bit. "Um, well, I've..."

"Virgin, I know," Miu said. "Not to worry, you'll soon catch up. And tonight is going to be all about you anyway. You trying to be sexy and skilled would only get in my way"

Seeing Miu once again being a jerk made Chika relax. "You've been telling me about your sexual exploits since high school. You're the one who should worry. There's no way you can possibly measure up to expec--"

Chika stopped dead as she felt Miu's fingertips slide across her collarbone and brush across the top of her chest. They then went back up to brush across Chika's lips, while a small kiss was quickly placed on each eyelid, which Chika noticed after she fact she had closed in sensual pleasure.

"You have NO idea..." Miu said.


Note: Thanks to Erica and Adam for pre-reading, and Erica for waiting so long for me to actually rewrite it.