Author's note: I do not own Penguin Revolution or its characters. This is set after the manga.


Moving Forward

Yukari blinked. "Me? President of Peacock?"

Torii grinned at her. "I can't think of anyone better. You have the talent for it, and you already know what you're getting into. Plus you're organized and efficient. You also have a way of attracting both loyal and determined people. It also doesn't hurt that Peacock's top talent is rather fond of you."

It was not an offer she had expected at all. Yukari really didn't know what to make of it. On the one hand, it would be a challenge, and she had enjoyed working at Peacock before. However, Yukari really wasn't sure she would be the best person for the job. After all, she had very little experience in the entertainment industry. Just her time at Peacock, and quite honestly, she hadn't exactly known what she was doing. But it would be nice to work with Ryo and Aya on a regular basis.

"You don't have to make up your mind right now," Torii continued. "Why don't you let us take you out to dinner tonight, and we can discuss it then."

"That would be lovely," Yukari blinked, "but I can't. I promised a friend from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry that I'd go to dinner with her and commiserate."

Torii just shrugged. "Bring her along. The more the merrier. Besides, I'm sure she has some good stories to tell about what you've been up to all these years."

So that was how Yukari ended up at a nice sushi restaurant seated next Ryo and across from Aya. She had called Eri earlier and let her know where they were meeting, though her friend had said she would probably be running late. Yukari sipped at her tea and tried not to blush every time she brushed against Ryo. She had missed him. She had missed Aya too but not exactly in the same way. Aya was like an older brother. Ryo had always been something more. Both Aya and Torii were busy pulling plates of sushi off the conveyor belt as Eri came storming in.

"I swear, Yuka, if that jackass makes one more suggestive comment to me, I am going to punch him in the face and then walk out. I don't care how hard it will be to find a new job afterwards. I just can't take it any more."

Aya blinked at her, just staring. Yukari just smiled.

"Eri, these are my friends Aya and Ryo. I know I've mentioned them before. And this is Hidemitsu Torii, the former president of Peacock. Guys, this is my friend Eri Ishimoto."

Eri blinked before a smile graced her face. "Nice to meet you folks."

She slid into the booth besides Aya. He seemed a little startled, but since Eri immediately began applying herself to the salmon sushi that had just arrived, he seemed to relax

"So what did you boss do this time?" Yukari asked, sipping her green tea.

Eri just huffed. "Only implied that I should be staying late with him to help him 'understand the department's position'. He's getting worse. This is the third time this week that he's tried something with me. It used to be just once in awhile, but for the few months it's been much more frequent."

"What do you do?" Aya asked.

"I've got a degree in Communications. At this point, I'm responsible for writing press release and statements that go to the media about the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry and its policies." Eri sighed. "I like doing PR work, but this is just getting ridiculous. So what are you all doing in town? Last I heard from Yuka, you all were over in America being famous."

"We had a business proposition for Yukari," Torii offered. "I want her to become the president of Peacock when we reopen."

Yukari blushed. Eri just grinned.

"She'd be good at it."

"Exactly."

Yukari decided it was time to change the subject. Turning to Ryo, she said, "So tell me about your latest project."

Once she got Ryo and Aya talking about their latest project (a mini-series and a documentary respectively), they stayed on that topic for most of dinner. Yukari was pleased to see Aya and Eri were hitting it off. She rather thought that Eri would get along with her friends. The two of them had met in college, and while Eri was far bolder and more outspoken than Yukari, the two of them had hit it off during the first weeks of school and still remained firm friends.

The five of them lingered over dinner. Yukari couldn't remember the last time she'd have such a nice time. It really hadn't been the same since Ryo and Aya had left for the States. After dinner, Ryo offered to walk her home, and Yukari wasn't inclined to turn him down. Eri had winked at her then headed off to catch her own train home. And Yukari hadn't been completely surprised when Aya had offered to walk her to the station.

As they headed back towards her apartment in the stillness of the night, Yukari found her hand held in Ryo's, and even if they weren't talking, there was something about the whole situation that made her feel content.

"You don't have to accept you know. Not if you don't want to."

She glanced over at Ryo. "I know. It's just I'm not sure if I don't want to accept."

"Ah."

They continued in silence for awhile.

"I missed you. It wasn't the same without you by my side."

Yukari blushed, smiling. "I missed you too. Things weren't as interesting without you around."

Ryo walked her to her apartment door, and then to Yukari's surprise and delight, kissed her goodnight. She went to bed still unsure what to decision to make but with a smile on her face.

And Yukari isn't at all surprised when Eri shows up the next afternoon and drags her off to lunch. They go to one of their regular spots, and Yukari waits for what she knows is coming. Eri has never been what one would call subtle, and when she felt she had something to contribute, she tended to come straight out with it.

"Yuka, what do you want?"

Yukari blinked. She hadn't been expecting that.

"What do you mean?"

Her friend gave her a look. "Well, I know that I want you to take the position at Peacock and bring me in as your PR manager. However, knowing you, you've been looking at this whole thing logically. Which isn't bad, but it doesn't always factor in one particular piece of the puzzle: what you yourself really want. So. What do you want, Yukari?"

Oddly enough, she did know the answer to that. "I want to be with Ryo. I want my friends in my life. I want a challenge."

That last part startled her a little. It wasn't something she realized she wanted. She liked her job. It was stable, and she was very good at it. Still, part of her craved something that would challenge her more than what she was currently doing. Eri looked at her with knowing eyes.

"So, what are you going to do?"

Yukari smiled. "Bring Peacock back with style."

It wasn't exactly that easy, but at least Yukari had a plan. And a team to some extent. Between herself, Eri, and Ms. Mochizuki, they had a formidable logistics team. The first order of business had been to set up shop in the States. Once they had a base to operate from, the next step had been to let all of the former Peacock talent know that they were back in business. While Ryo and Aya finished up their current projects, Yukari began planning Peacock's debut. She was planning on taking a page from her predecessor's playbook, with a few minor changes. They were going to make a movie.

The first time Peacock had made a movie, it had been to explain the founding of the agency. This time it was going to tell a different part of Peacock's story, the part about Ryo and Aya and herself. With names changed and some plot tweaks of course. Eri had found them a script writer, a young woman who had been in the same dorm at school and had made a name for herself as a novelist. With Nobuko Kataoka working on the script, Yukari started sorting through the responses from their former talent. Not everyone was returning to Peacock but many of them were. They would need to do some recruiting, but first Yukari wanted to know what sort of holes she needed to fill in the cast.

That led Yukari to her major dilemma. Peacock had never represented female talent except for Yoko. Yukari was thinking of changing that. Of course, first she was going to have to find someone with the wings for the job. But in the meantime, Yukari was busy with getting things organized and set up and keeping the movie project on track. They weren't yet to the point where they were casting it yet. And as luck would have it, the problem neatly solved itself.

Once the word that Peacock was back in business was out, they had been getting a fair number of applicants. Yukari had dismissed most of them, but there had been a handful that she had added to the ranks. Including a pair of twins. Hikaru Sato clearly had the makings of a comedic star. However, it was his sister, Hoshiko, that shown the brightest. Her wings might not match either Aya's or Ryo's, but one day they might. And it was clear how much she loved acting.

In the end, it was Hoshiko who was cast to play Yoshie (the character based on Yukari herself). Aya and Ryo were playing themselves, though their characters names had been changed. Ryo was actually double cast. He would also be playing his mother in the few scenes where she appeared. Yukari knew of no one else better to play the role. It wasn't too long before the movie's production was up and running. While Eri pursued an aggressive marketing campaign, Yukari spent her days split between overseeing the movie and keeping the company up and running.

It wasn't easy, but it was rewarding. Besides, Yukari couldn't help but noticing the small things that changed as well. Like the way Aya would hang out in Eri's office in order to practice lines. Or how Ryo somehow always managed to show up in her own office with lunch. Or the way both Ryo and Aya insisted on taking her sight seeing on the weekends, often bringing Eri along. The four of them had ended up sharing an apartment nearby to Peacock's main office. It was bigger than any apartment Yukari had lived in before, and she had to admit that the arrangement worked out well despite the stress all four of them were under.

It was rather crazy most of the time. With the movie in its various stages of production, Eri was running herself ragged promoting the film. By the time it came out they would attract quite a bit of attention. And Yukari had been surprised by just how much time the bureaucracy of running a company took up. Yes, she had administrative help, but there were some things she needed to do herself. Plus there was the fact that she was still actively recruiting talent for Peacock. Not to mention finding managers and getting other projects in the works as well. Their movie might be Peacock's debut in the States, but it wasn't going to be the only project they were involved in.

Even once the filming itself was done, the movie still required time and effort. There was a premier to prepare for as well as a whole slew of TV show spots to do in order to promote the film. More than once, Yukari found herself falling asleep in the office. She wasn't the only one. Eri had fallen asleep at her desk too, and of course there was that memorable time she had found both Eri and Aya asleep, curled up on the couch in Eri's office. Everyone involved was working themselves ragged in order to make the movie and Peacock a success.

It is one of the nights when she's dozed off at her desk that the phone woke her. Yukari had answered it automatically then blinked when the person on the other end spoke to her in Japanese. It had been a while since she'd had a phone call from home. Ryo found her sitting there fifteen minutes later with the same stunned look on her face. He had brought take-out in order to make sure she ate dinner. She had just learned that Yoko was awake and showed no signs of falling asleep again. Furthermore, both Yoko and Torii were coming to the premier. Ryo picked her up off the ground and spun her around when he heard the news. Then he kissed her.

Less than a month later, the movie Penguin Revolution had its premier at the Chinese Theater. The tale of two young actors and the girl who supported them had become highly anticipated and was considered to be the movie to see that summer. Every single actor in the movie was represented by the Peacock agency, and at the premier were present and former actors from the agency as well as the regular Hollywood celebrity crowd. Even the original founder of Peacock and his wife attended arriving along with the two big stars of the movie.

The six of them make quite an entrance on the red carpet. Yoko and Torii are the first out of the limo, taking the walk through the gauntlet of cameras with poise and aplomb. Yoko looks lovely and fragile in her pale blue gown, and anyone with eyes can see how much she and Torii love one another. They were followed by Aya and Eri. Aya in a tuxedo is enough to draw a crowd on normal day, but with Eri on his arm in an elaborate scarlet furisode kimono looking every inch a Japanese princess really got the media's attention. And everyone was trying to figure out just who Eri was. And then it was her and Ryo's turn. Yukari let him help her out of the limo. This was her very first red carpet event as an invitee, and Yukari was nervous.

Ryo offered her a warm smile and his arm. His tie matched her gown. Yoko and Eri had picked out the gorgeous peacock blue silk creation for her as well as hunted up the peacock feather jewelry and hair accessories. Except for her ring. Her ring had been a gift from Ryo. She took a deep breath, met his eyes, and smiled. Then she took his arm and made her first major appearance since she had become the president of Peacock.

The pictures of Yukari from the premier wrap party would circulate around the globe, and they left quite an impression. The new president of Peacock looked both lovely and extremely happy as she stood with her friends. She had ever reason to be. Her first production was a complete success and a shoe in for an Oscar nomination. She worked with the people she considered her friends and family in a field that they all enjoyed. And on her left ring finger a golden ring set a sapphire flanked by two emeralds. It was generally agreed that Peacock and its talent and staff were definitely going to make a name for themselves as some of the best in show business.