I had intermittently written some Sei/Youko drabbles of the couple in various AUs, so I thought I might as well clean them up and I'll be posting them here as I do so.

Happily Ever After

It was always so simple in the stories. The prince rescued the princess from the wicked dragon, and bam! Done deal.

Too bad Sei had never been one to care for fairy tales.

Certainly, she herself had never been any sort of prince. And sometimes, when she was very angry, or preparing for a presentation at her office, Youko reminded Sei more of a dragon than a princess.

In the end, Sei mused, theirs was not the kind of story that people would ever write about, anyhow.

Because, in stories, the princess waits around mooning, then the prince finally notices her, and then they go and live happily ever after.

In real life, the princess gets tired of waiting, and falls in love with that god-damned dekochin with her too goddamn big forehead, and the prince is left behind, alone with the thoughts of what could have been, as they ride off into the sunset.

oooooo

I saw your face, in a crowded place

It starts out as just a normal day, with Sei waiting in line at her preferred cafe for her daily espresso. The man in front of the register, clearly in a hurry to be somewhere else, receives a steeped tea to go and turns around hurriedly, bumping into the previous customer.

Almost as if slow motion, Sei watches the tea slip out of the man's precarious grasp, dangerously close to the previous customer.

Shit.

Quickly she reaches out and snatches the cup before the scalding liquid can spill. Thankfully, the lid stays intact. Taking a deep breath and thanking the stars for that particular piece of fortune, she turns around to the man, to hand him back his drink. Only to find her eyes locked instead onto the gaze of the woman she's just saved from death by parboiling.

Short cut black hair accentuating a perfectly symmetrical face. Medium coffee in one hand, the morning paper in the other. Coal black eyes looking back at her in a surprisingly steady gaze, considering that the woman had been mere seconds away from having scalding hot tea spilt all over her expensive-looking suit. Tailored and brand-name too, Sei notices absentmindedly, feeling an inexplicable twitch of irritation at the observation.

Then the moment passes, and the woman gives a brief smile, that quite takes Sei's breath away.

"Thank you.", she says, in even, measured tones, and smoothly moves around Sei and heads for the door, practiced feet striding in heels so tall that it makes Sei wince just to look at them.

"You're welcome." Sei calls back belatedly, and if her tone isn't quite as nonchalant as she would have liked, the brief smile she once again gets in return, as the woman looks back one last time before exiting the cafe, is worth it.

oooooo

If there's so much I must be, can I still just be me?

"You can be anything you want to be, Sei." Father tells often during her years of middle school, smiling at her with the same smile she has seen him use on associates at business meetings. The same smile that he and Mother give each other at the weekly garden parties they host, when they try so hard to pretend that they love each other, they really do, and look at us, aren't we the perfect little nuclear family, oh yes we are.

But Sei doesn't just want to be anything. She wants to be everything. She wants to be a dancer and she wants to be a writer and she wants to be a rockstar. She wants to travel the world, and stop to smell the roses, she wants to while the night away running through streets wet with rain,and then she wants to come home to a warm fire and a waiting woman, so don't you fucking tell me I can be anything I want to be, Father.

And Higuchi Satou can never understand why his daughter, already so solemn at so young an age, never smiles back at him during their 'heart-to-heart' talks, just nods silently when he's finished, and then walks away.

It's not that way with Youko. But then, Sei reflects irritably, nothing's ever been that way with Youko.

"...just don't understand why you don't apply to this program." the woman in question herself finishes, her voice smooth, but disappointment showing clearly in her face as she looks at Sei. "You are more than qualified to be accepted, and you know you can do well."

Sei lets out a frustrated groan. "For the hundredth time Youko, you don't understand. My parents won't approve and I'll have to move, and my father expects me to take over the company when he retires, and it's just not that eas..."

"I'm not telling you it's going to be easy, Sei." Youko cuts in sharply. "I'm telling you it's going to be worth it."

And Sei is angry because Youko is supposed to be her rock. She is supposed to stay by her side, to back her up, to support her decisions, to accept her in weakness and in failure.

So she tells her so.

Youko's response is to draw Sei down to face her, holding her face in a surprisingly strong grip, for hands so slender.

"I'll accept you in weakness." she whispers, eyes never leaving Sei's own. "And I'll accept you in failure." Soft as feathers, her fingers trace over Sei's cheekbones. "But I can't accept that you didn't even try, Sei."

For a few minutes, Sei cannot trust herself to speak. She is aware that the result if she does so, would be tears.

"All right," she mumbles, when she finally finds her voice. "I'll go the post office tomorrow, send the application form in."

If Youko notices the traitorous tears that slip from Sei's eyes, as the latter draws her into a tight embrace, she mercifully gives no sign of it.

oooooo

Author's Notes:

Drabble 1: Yes this is a future in which get togethers, and Sei...Well, Sei remains Sei, I suppose. I hope no one feels trolled or anything. I've already talked in detail elsewhere about actually rather liking the Eriko/Youko pairing (I might possibly be the only one if fandom to do so?). Most of all, however, I just really wanted to explore how older Sei and Youko would act with each other, if they actually weren't each other's love interest.

Drabble 2: Idk, I think is Sei and Youko met randomly, Sei would probably be annoyed by Youko and Youko would probably be annoyed by Sei, but they'd probably be mutually intrigued by each other. Or idk, maybe that's just some weird headcanon of mine.

Drabble 3: From the hints given in canon, I've always speculated that Sei likely came from a rich family with emotionally distant parents, while Youko came from a less dysfuctional, upper middle-class family, (and, as a sidenote, probably got into Lilian as much by merit as by money) and that's how the differences in their personalities must have developed.