Cinderella - Act VI

The day had been a perfect one Yumi thought as she slipped through the crowd of students who were milling about the area this evening. She had arrived at school early and helped her class with the setup of their festival display. They had recreated the Stations of the Cross. Once the festival started she was on duty as the official class receptionist. It was her responsibility to insure that all visitors signed the guest book. Sachiko-sama came by half way past 11:00 and Yumi watched as she was shown about the stations by another classmate whose responsibility was to act as a tour guide. At 11:30 her replacement showed up and she left with Sachiko-sama. The two of them went on a date, a tour of the festival, and visited many of the other exhibits including stopping for a commemorative photo before the blown up image of Sachiko fixing Yumi's scarf in front of the statue of Maria-sama that was a part of Tsutako-san display for the photography club. They arrived thirty minutes later than they were told to for preparation for the play and were scolded by Rosa Chinensis while they got dressed and had their makeup done.

Despite the happening of the previous day Kashiwagi-san showed up on time. The play went off without a hitch and without anyone messing up their lines either. As Yumi neared the bonfire she took the script she held in one hand and stared at the cover for a long moment, her fingertips brushing the letting there, as if she could freeze the moment by holding onto it. Opening the book she leafed through it, smiling at some of her lines and recalling how she had spoken them during the play. "Would that life were a fairy tale," she said softly beneath her breath and tossed the script into the fire. Standing there she watched as the pages caught fire and burned. She knew that the two weeks' worth of memories she had gained would be forever burnt into her heart. "Only one thing left to do," she said to herself as she turned away from the fire and sought out the raven haired, blue eyes woman who had come to mean so much more to her than she thought possible over the past two weeks. She found her with the rest of the Yamayurikai off to one side where students could come and talk to them if they so wished. Standing in the crowd of other students in their uniforms like hers, she was one among many, just as I was before that morning," she thought to herself, just another first year student lost in the crowd. As always happened Yumi's eyes were instantly drawn to the older girl with raven black hair and a smile that could lighten the night. Sachiko was speaking with Rei and Shimako, her movements so pristine and lady like that one could only wonder if she was a true princess. The evening air gently caressed the older girls face and dislodged a strand of perfect hair that trailed out behind the woman like a streamer in the wind trying desperately to get free. "How I wish I was that strand of hair," Yumi mumbled softly thinking the hair didn't realize just how fortunate it was to be so attached to Sachiko. As Yumi watched, Sachiko scanned the crowd, her eyes passing over the younger girl, as she looked for something or someone. With a soft sigh at the unfairness of it all Yumi started making her way through the crowd once more. I'm not remarkable enough to stand out in a crowd for her to see me.

"There's Yumi-chan," Sei exclaimed waving her over upon seeing her winding her way through the crowds approaching them. As Yumi drew close to them Sei handed her an apple juice carton. "I was about to send Sachiko out looking for you," her senior teased tousling her hair playfully. Yumi smiled ducking away from Sei and running her hand quickly through her hair which she still wore down after the play.

"Now that everyone is here," Youko said loudly to get everyone's attention. "I would like to propose a toast to all of you that made this production a success and afforded us what was without a doubt our signature event of our third year." Everyone cheered and took a sip. "You've done a marvelous job in a short amount of time. I'm sure though that next year's play will be even better!" The last was said more in the manner of a challenge to the second years but they all toasted and drank none the less.

Yumi moved over towards Sachiko who was speaking with Rei about the play. She smiled a welcome to Rei as she waited for their conversation to end. As she waited her eyes stared at Sachiko as if attempting to capture each and every curve and line of her face and form. Yumi was so fixated upon Sachiko that she nearly failed to hear Rei talking to her.

"You did a great job Yumi-chan," Rei offered with a warm smile. "If you both will excuse me I think I had better find Yoshino. Last I heard her she was still giving a few of the stage hands a hard time about the lighting." Yumi and Sachiko both giggled as the Rose Foetida en bouton turned and walked away.

Sachiko turned to her little sister and reached out and ran her fingers through Yumi's hair gently. "You should wear it down more often," she mused as she watched her hand and marveled at the softness of the brown hair as it slipped through her fingers. "Arigato," Sachiko said dropping her hand to Yumi's cheek and caressing it once gently, "I don't know what I would have done without you these past two weeks Yumi." Reaching out again Sachiko adjusted Yumi's collar and retied her sailors scarf. "It really is a beautiful night," Sachiko said as her hands dropped to her side and she looked up at the stars beyond the light of the bonfire. I couldn't have picked a better Petite Sœur, Sachiko thought to herself as a warm feeling spread through her. Maria-sama must have been watching over me that day she brought Yumi into my life.

For a long moment the Chinensis sisters stood there in silence amazed that it was finally over and that they had manage to survive it. Sachiko looked down as she felt Yumi's hand on her arm. "Sachiko-sama, can I have a few moments of your time," the brown eyed girl asked softly.

"Of course Yumi," Sachiko replied with a tender smile. "Shall we walk," she offered indicating a direction away from the crowds. Yumi nodded and fell into step next to her as the two of them climbed the embankment and walked along the path way away from the bonfire area. Behind them students had brought out instruments and they could hear a folk tune being started up which lead to the creations of the folk dance rings. Girls took other girls in hand creating a circle and danced to the music being played. "You did very well today Yumi. I'm very proud of you," Sachiko said as the music grew softer in the distance.

"Arigato, Sachiko-sama. I had good incentive to do my best," Yumi replied. Seeing Sachiko looking at her curiously she continued. "I didn't want to embarrass you."

"You really are an amazing girl at times Yumi," Sachiko said with an affectionate smile as she reached down and took Yumi's hand in hers, entwining their fingers together.

They walked hand in hand down the path till their wandering feet led them to the statue of Maria-sama. Yumi stopped walking suddenly causing the older girl to stop as well as she felt the drag on her hand which still held Yumi's. "Sachiko-sama…"

"Will you ever learn to call me Onee-sama?" Sachiko asked cutting her off. "I'll give you a reward if you'll just call me Onee-sama once!"

"Really," Yumi asked arching a brow in question. "What will you give me?"

"Anything!" Sachiko exclaimed. "Provided it is within my ability to do so!"

Yumi cocked her head slightly to the side for a long moment regarding the older woman. "You promise?" Sachiko nodded to affirm her previous statement. "Then I accept….Onee-sama," Yumi said as she released the hand in hers and took a step backwards from the older girl.

"Arigato!" Sachiko exclaimed upon hearing what she had desperately wanted to hear again for some time from her little sister. "So what is the reward you want," she asked with a satisfied grin ready to give her almost anything at that particular moment.

"You have to hear me out, without interrupting me or saying a word, and then do what I ask you to do without argument," Yumi said in a serious tone. "Remember, you promised me," Yumi said sternly.

Rather than speaking Sachiko clasped her hands before her and simply nodded her head to indicate she understood. She didn't know what Yumi had planned but she knew she could trust her not to ask for something outrageous. She'll probably want a date, Sachiko hoped. I can tell her then how wonderful I think she is and how lucky I am to have her as my Petite Sœur. Sachiko couldn't help but smile warmly at the thought.

Yumi looked up at the stars above them in the night sky, it is better to look anywhere but at her. Yumi knew that if she looked at the woman standing there that she would lose her resolve. "It's hard to believe it's been six months since I first saw you at the first year welcoming ceremony. As soon as I laid eyes on you I became a fan. I was amazed by your elegance, your grace and the demeanor in which you presented yourself. I wanted to be like you, though I knew it was not possible," Yumi said with a smirk. "Still, it was a nice dream," she continued with as she regarded the different constellations above them sparkling in the night sky.

"As all fans do, I dreamt about the day you would notice me and make me your Petite Sœur. I knew it was a dream but at the time it was all I had. I just wanted to be closer to you," Yumi confessed. "I knew your Petite Sœur would be someone as wonderful as yourself so my dream would never be more than that. I was alright with that," Yumi said nodding her head slightly as if to confirm it to herself. "I just hoped…no, I wanted to meet you, if even just once." Yumi chuckled softly. "Imagine my embarrassment when I finally get the chance to meet you and you correct me on my slovenly appearance. I thought I would die on the spot." Both women smiled at her words. "Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse Tsutako-san appeared with a picture of my most embarrassing event. That aside I just had to have a copy of it as it was the only picture I had with the woman I idolized. What could I do? It was this desire which brought me to the Rose Mansion that day." Yumi could feel her eyes tearing up with each and every word as she relived those memories.

Then," Yumi's eyes finally dropped down from the heavens and met the sapphire blue ones before her, "…against all odds, you made all my dreams come true and announced to everyone that you were making me your Petite Sœur. It didn't matter that I was a nobody or that I could never shine as brightly as you. Sachiko-sama needed me. It didn't matter that I just happen to be a first year student that didn't have an Onee-sama, the first that you ran into that day," Yumi said as the first tears spilled from her eyes and rolled slowly down her cheeks. "I really didn't mind that you only wanted me so you wouldn't have to play Cinderella. I was just happy that I could do something for you and that for a little while I was able to be by your side. I know it was all a dream, my dream, that you made come true and I will always be grateful for that."

Sachiko stifled a sob as her own tears started to fall. She couldn't believe what she was hearing from the girl before her. The only thing keeping her from saying anything was her promise to Yumi which she had to honor. Inside she felt her heart break apart into little pieces. While she couldn't deny the truth of Yumi's words as she knew in her heart that was how it had started however over the past two weeks Sachiko's feelings had changed. She had come to realize just how exceptional Yumi was and how much the younger girl meant to her. If only I had realized it earlier or told her sooner how I felt…how I really feel!

Yumi stepped forward and wiped the tears from Sachiko's cheeks with one thumb or tried to as new ones appeared almost as quickly as she removed them. "There's no need to cry Onee-sama," she said which only caused a heart wrenching sob to escape the other girls lips upon hearing the name she had longed to hear ever since they had danced in the gymnasium that day. "I really am thankful for the time I got to spend with you and all the others. I'll always treasure these past two weeks. Shimako once told me that the reason she didn't accept your rosary was because she felt that the two of you were too similar to allow either of you to shine to your full potential. I can't help but feel that I'm the other extreme. I'm far too different to ever be able to be a part of your world. The last two weeks have given me hope though," Yumi said as she smiled through her tears, "Hope that you will find someone who will allow you to shine your brightest. There are so many wonderful girls here that are worthy of being your Petite Sœur. You shouldn't have to be stuck with someone like me."

Yumi slipped one hand into her pocket while reaching out and grasping one of Sachiko's hands in her other one. Sachiko started shaking her head upon hearing the telltale rattle of what she knew was being withdrawn from Yumi's pocket. As Yumi's hand came free Sachiko didn't have to look down to know it contained her rosary, the same one she had placed around Yumi's neck two weeks previously. The older girl tried to pull her hand free from Yumi's grasp but somehow she couldn't. She gasped as she felt the cold metallic beads and cross come to rest in her palm and felt her finger being curled up over the rosary she desperately didn't want returned to her.

"Arigato, Sachiko-sama," Yumi whispered through her own tears as she smiled softly gazing into the sapphire eyes before her. "I am now and forever shall be your devoted fan," saying so Yumi took a step forward and rising up on her toes, she placed a soft and tender kiss on the older girl's cheek. "What I want you to do now, per our agreement and your word, I want you to stand here and count to one hundred slowly and then I want you to go find a new Petite Sœur that will allow you to shine brightly." Yumi, having said everything she wanted to at that point, stepped past the older girl and walked down the gingko lined path that lead to the main gate. Behind her she could just make out 'One. Two. Three.' till the sound faded away with the further she walked away from the other girl. Each step brought her closer to the gate, beyond which would be the bus to take her home. It may not be a pumpkin carriage but that was alright as her fairy tale had already come to an end.

Author's Note:

I know many will not like the ending so I will try and explain my reasoning behind it. In the series the reason the relationship between Yumi and Sachiko worked was because everything fell into place when it was supposed to and how it was supposed to. In short the conditions were perfect for it to happen. In Cinderella everything wasn't perfect and didn't happen as it was meant to happen.

There is an old story about two seeds that fell from a farmer cart. One rolled off the road and into the dirt and took root and grew. The other landed on the road and rolled into a crack. It tried to grow but it just couldn't and in the end it withered and died. My Cinderella story is the second seed whereas the original story is the first seed. I hope that makes sense.

Thank you all for reading and reviewing and I truly hope that I did not disappoint and you can see the story for what it is truly saying.

As always, though certainly not required, I do appreciate any and all reviews, comments and Private Messages. Please let me know what you like and what you disliked.

Kind Regards,

EJ Daniels

All characters within this story, unless otherwise stated are the sole property of Oyuki Konno the original writer of the Maria-sama ga Miteru light novel series.

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