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Yuzuko Okogi was a drifter, for less of a better term. Her mother found jobs anywhere she could to keep them floating, her father died when she was young, she didn’t stay in one place for long and never really kept any contact with the far and few “friends” she made; The usual tragic backstory stuff, y’know? But she wasn’t like every other greaser who wanted to leave every other deadbeat town, no she wasn’t; She was dubbed “Sunshine” by her gruff and tuff counterparts of the same label, somehow avoiding the aloof stereotype entirely.

Yes,
She wore the beat up leather
And the construction boots
And the Levi’s
And standing at 5’4, she sure as hell looked like a blonde bombshell coming into a school and mysteriously leaving within the month

But she was a ball of sunshine with a neverending shipment of warm smiles supplied by a soft voice; the problem is the flame in her alias matched the rest of her fiery demeanor, making her a little intimidating when it came down to it.

(She’ll swear up and down “It’s just the bitchface!” she doesn’t have)

So when received news that her mom got married to a man of prestigious background, she was a touch floored at the chance of permanence. (“Never woulda thought he was so rich, he sure didn’t look like the heir to an industry with the laundry he called clothes”)

“Hey, Mom?”

“Yes, sweetie?”

“So, this means... no more week long roadtrips every few months, right?”

“Yes, sweetie”

“No more having to pack two weeks after settling?”

“That’s right”

“No more having to pay extra to get our mail because our address didn’t update fast enough!?”

“Exactamundo!”

“Finally!”

She’d yelled, she’d whooped, she’d danced and so did her mother. After a very long time they were finally going to have a home. More than anything she’d finally have time to worry about teen stuff, like fitting into a crowd and prom and dates and math; she’d stop being the new girl and live to have school inside jokes.

That was... until she found out that she had a stepsister.
Who happened to be the Student Council President
of the most uptight, strict and “illustrious” academy in all of their prefecture.

A sister who she found out by means of Dress code violation...

——————————————-

The first day of school came quickly after their initial unpacking. She neared the open gates, ornate and grandiose. Inside of the school was worse, it was filled with aesthetic and high-end technology of the decade flourished with an Elizabethan era theme. She didn’t feel worthy stepping into the school, in fact she felt choked with the shame of having no face value. Not even one step into this flashy joint, Yuzu was already in trouble. She heard the irritated but polite throat clear of a young woman behind her, one with an... armband?

“Wait, I’m violating the dress-code?”

“Yes. The jacket must go or we will confiscate it.” Her voice was light, like a wagtail, and she carried herself with an insecure refinement.

“Listen lady, this old thing is not coming off, okay? Besides I’m already wearing whatever the dress-code is-“

“Underneath that jacket. The full uniform must be visible at all times within school grounds or we will confiscate or replace whatever you’re wearing to match model academy apparel.”

“Whatever, Peepers. You’re gonna have to rip this jacket off my dead carcass, I’d rather escort this thing home than leave it in some office so if you excuse me,”

With a shove, she left the spectacle-clad girl in a daze; She wasn’t joking. Now stomping towards the pompous gate, Yuzu made clear that the mangy old jacket on her shoulders was a treasure she did not intend to hand over. Halfway near the exit, she heard a hush come from the crowd,

“Halt.” rung throughout the flock.
Now, this voice was authoritative, harsh, cold. Nothing like the girl with spectacles.

“I understand you’ve just enrolled but you realize, once you’ve entered the school you cannot leave until the end of the work day.”
Okay this one was different. The blonde was not going to get away as easy as before.
With her Obsidian tresses, the cruel-eyed young woman stared her up and down, as if she was mulch.
That armband glared at her and so did raven-eyes.
Yuzu was weary of the way she stared, but opposed biting her tongue, none the less.

“Listen Missy, all I ask is for one break and I’ll never ask for another one again? Alright?”

“It seems unprofessional to call your Student Council President “Missie” now is it? Now please, cooperate with out rules, you’ve made a big enough mess,”

Yuzu froze. She scratched the back of her neck and found no avail to the awkward situation she’s placed herself in.

“Oh. Ahh. I’m awful sorry Ma’am, listen-“

“I’ve done enough listening. I’ll pardon the ruckus you’ve made but in turn you’ll have to give me your jacket.”

“Well, see, No.”

“My apologies. But what did you say again?”

“I said no. I’ll tell you what I told your other Armband Dandy over there - you’re prying this thing off my cold dead back.”

“Very well. You’ll serve three hours of after school detention. Immediately after class.”

For the first time in ever, the President saw someone laugh at her authority. The blonde in front of her shrugged and scratched her neck in a ‘that’s it?’ sort of attitude, “Sounds fine to me.”

Mei nearly lost her steel at this nitwit’s nonchalance. “Sounds like a complete lack of remorse for idiotic musings.”

Yuzu chuckled a little harder at her seriousness, “This’an old hat to me, doll. No big fussy language’s gonna swerve me anywhere.”

“The audacity!” Another new voice, another bark. This one was scratchy, high, prude. Behind the lithe figure of the President came the spittings of a tiny drill-haired ‘armband dandy’

“Oh bite it,” Growled the blonde. She’s been chastised by two of the dictators already and she was not about to get lectured by a third.

“I’ve got enough flies buzzing around my hair today, I’m full with two.” She barked, a little more light-hearted than its meaning.

Slack-jawed in awe, Drills nearly dropped her clipboard and slunk behind the president like one of those trap-door tarantulas.

“I’ll ice my gourd the rest of the day, alright, Heart? See you when I will.” In an unmeaningly cool manner, Yuzu waved her goodbyes to what she now could guess was the Student Council.

“Hold it.” said that little screw-driver’s voice. “Did you think you could leave without the detention slip?” She marched on up to the blonde and handed her a pink slip.

“Oh I never would’ve dreamed of it,” she retorted, velvet and sweet, “Hey, thanks Gumshoe, I’ll think’f you when I rip this thing in half at the end of my sentence.” There was a snicker at the tail end of that. Immediately afterwards, she continued her route forward, dismissing any insults hurled her way by that little Turn-screw.

Halfway to her first class, she heard someone tromp up behind her, moments before a hand landed on her shoulder.

“Tuff shit, Bearcat!” This voice was carefree and boisterous but by god, who the hell was it this time.

“Ain’t in the mood, Cat. Beat it,”

“Awe c’mon now! You really made the Prez work for her salary now’idn’t ya?”

“Guess I did,” Yuzu was grinning now,

“What’ser handle, sweet pea?”

“Yuzu. Like the fruit,”

“Apple pie it is, name’s Harumi. You, on the other hand, can call me Harumin.”

“Alright, deal.”

“Y’know Yuzucchi? I think we’re gonna make great friends. For gosh’s sake, you swindled the Prez to keep some old leather on your hide, what else can you do?” She tried to reach out towards the old red-brown threads, but made it halfway before the blonde beside her jerked backwards.

“Hey, this is my old man’s jacket, just grew into it. Don’t push your luck, Slick. What are you anyway?”

“What’re you on about? I’m human, female, and a teen!” She tittered, more to herself than anything.

“I mean what’s you click, Sally,” Yuzu huffed, amused none the less.

“Ahhhh, I see where you’re coming from. Little old me’s a closet Greaser! Very much the opposite of you,”

“Greaser my ass, ants, you’re a Grade A Soc!”

“Ah but a Cat can appreciate the struggles, can’t she? Plus, from me to you, the Greaser boys? Much cuter than these Tennis pushers.”

Yuzu bust out laughing, and everyone within a five-foot radius stopped to ogle.

Chapter Text

Who would have guessed neither of them woke up to their new alarm on time? Of course, their schedules were wildly different but that didn’t mean their time of rising was.

“We’ve missed the bus by five minutes,” Mei huffed, already exasperated.

“Who said I ever took busses?” Yuzu smirked as she flew through the kitchen. She sped through her mother, rushing a goodbye.

“Mei! Hurry up!” Yuzu hollered, tearing through the building lobby and into the parking lot. Busting the doors open, she was flooded by rays of sunshine and warmth.
Only on sunny days was it annoying to be late, everyone was smiling, the birds were singing and the car engine had bitched itself inside out.

“Bullshit!” ripped through the serene parking lot, as a car door was slugged shut and a trunk popped.
“You last three-week roadtrips,”
The tailgate slammed closed.
“Hundreds of pounds of furniture,”
A hood flew towards the windshield.
“But you can’t cut your gas the one day I need you? You get enough rest lazing around the parking lots but this is a chore?”

“Yuzu, please manage your temper. It’s just a car, it won’t reply.”

“It’s not just a car, it’s a fourth generation Ford F100! Even if she’s a little beat up she’s still all American muscle my dad fought claw and tooth to even look at! And if my baby pumps a gasket, I’m allowed pump a gasket! I’m the only one who can fix this hunk of scrap!” Yuzu barked,

“Yuzuko-“

“It’s Yuzu. Like. The. Fruit”

“Then, Yuzu,” Mei deadpanned, approaching the angry blonde, “leave our issue with attendance to me, for now, please focus on the car. I’ll be inside to call the principal, I’ll return shortly to assist you if need be, so please, calm your nerves.”

With a small grumble, Yuzu relaxed her tense shoulders. She hovered over the engine to inspect the damage and huffed an unamused “Sure.”
She loosened her tie and stripped her topwear until only a white undershirt was stuck to her skin.
“Let me get to work, Dolly. Best do yours too.”
Firm arms then continued to measure the stability of the stand and rough hands reached for the toolbox.

Damn was this chick a head turner.

Even Mei ogled her for a short while before heading inside and dialing their schoolhouse.
—-
A brief conversation with the school principal had Mei rubbing her temples and sighing in contempt.
An hour of community service each for each class missed.
Pushing her chair backward, she headed towards the parking lot to find a pissed off blonde already carrying oil stains on her shirt.

“Well, they don’t call you greasers for nothing,” Mei’s stoic expression faltered shortly with amusement at the frustrated girl in front of her.

“Blah blah, can it. Hand me the dead blow, the piston kicked the bucket on us after the week drive from Aomori.”

“Pardon me? A dead blow?”

“Yes, a Dead Blow- a Hammer. Unfortunately it’s got no scientific names you Cubes can call it by.”

Mei took her best guess and, by process of elimination/matching, handed her a ridiculous toy-like hammer that was best matched with the name. Though it had signs of rusting it still didn’t look like something that should come out of a toolbox.

Pleased with the younger girl’s observations, Yuzu cracked a small grin, “Rookie luck,”

The blonde hit the side of the engine once before discarding the hammer and switching to her wrench.
“If you’re gonna mess with the pistons, know it’s a difficult process,” she huffed.
The bombshell unwound a strange, four-holed component and placed it to the side of the tires,
“First you remove this thing, it’s called an exhaust manifold. Once it’s off, you go on to disconnect a funny lookin’ thing called-a distributor, it’s in the car’s intake manifold, a different part.”

Without another word, the blonde went back to work, her arms disappearing into the hood once more, “Before you do anything else, you’ve gotta take off the spark plugs-“
She pulled out two tiny components, similar to screws.
“You’ll blow your fingers off if you don’t.”

Mei took in the lesson, slowly but surely getting less and less clueless about the topic.
She was a lady, a jack of all trades, someone who took classes in etiquette, who practically ran a whole school, someone on her way to ivy league duties.
She was modern day nobility, a bloodline of wealth running through her veins
Yet here she was guessing the tools a greaser needed, pausing on occasion to make sure it was the right utensil.

“We’re gonna miss the school day, aren’t we...” Mei murmured while handing Yuzu her wrench for the umpteenth time. Now, she’d practically memorized where the monkey wrench had started to rust. It had been hours since her phone call to the school, and hours more since their tinkering.

“So?” Yuzu mused, she had cut into the blackette’s thoughts, “School isn’t everything, you should know this.”

“You know how it is for me,” Mei replied, soft and unsure. “you of all people already know best.”

“Tell you this, we’ve already taken the day off of school to fix this hunk of ass, right?”

“...Right.”

“Right, so once the pistons are smooth and steady, we’re taking this baby on a spin around the highway,”

“And that’s a good idea?”

“Doll, tonight’s probably the only time you’ve ever missed classes. Since the routine’s a little of the beaten path today, how’s about you and me piss off the gravel for a little while?”

“I’m starting to think it isn’t,”

“You’ll live after today but why wait tomorrow when you can do it now?”

Mei paled a little at her words. The filthy Greaser working in front of her was right and she was hesitant to admit it.

“Will you show me what it’s like to go 90 over the speed limit?”

Yuzu halted her tinkering. With a longing gleam in her eye, a triumphant “Yes.” was her answer

“Show me what it’s like to run out of road?”

“Yes.”

“... Show me what free will is like?”

“Oh trust me, you’ll have a whole mouthful of that, Doll”

“When do we leave?”

“For a golden girl like you, we’ll leave during the golden hour: dusk. I’ll show you what this world is like, just you watch.”

 

————————————————
The start of their cruise was quiet, a comfortable silence they both drowned in. Inside of the old bucket of rust, two lackluster adolescents were wrapped in safety from the blurred slum scenes in the dying light. The interior of the car was in much better shape than the rusting decal; it’s leather was still plush and spotless, courtesy of the driver.
Someone the passenger couldn’t take her eyes off of.
Apparently, she got almost everything she had from her father.
Her looks,
Her belongings,
Her car,
The ball of fire she called her heart.
Secondhand trinkets kept authentic by a quality fresh soul.

As the hues shifted from gold to violet, the only thing lasting between the yaw of tinges was a smile.
A content grin, tender and true held by the driver.

Averting her eyes was not a option in this case. In the first place, she was a passenger, she was allowed to stare, in the second place, how could someone not.
The simple expression was only half of the wonderment, the other was the sincerity in her form. It was too sweet, too genuine, the girl beside her could barely comprehend the surreality.

The city lights soon faded and the country came rushing before them. The engine beneath them purred louder as Mei noticed Yuzu press harder against the metal.

The passenger barely noticed until mischief tugged at the corner of the blonde’s lips.

Mei felt her stomach jump, for more than one reason.
For one, she was watching a Godsend place the first tastes freedom on her tongue
For another, she did not often indulge in adrenaline.
For one more, the mixture of the purring engine and lack of distance between the twosome was not helping with the beating of her heart.

The driver played the game well, she looked unaware of her companion’s fretting but sensed every hitch of breath the other girl released when the throttle hastened.

Soon, the highway became coarse, an even stronger hush falling between the two. Mei trusted Yuzu enough to know she wasn’t in any danger, but the turn she took into the thicket was too sharp. The car stopped by a neat clearing and Yuzu stepped outside.

“Follow me?” her voice was tender, apprehensive. It was uncharacteristic for someone so bold and lively, it was vulnerable.
Mei stepped into the crude autumn cold, joining the angel.
Yuzu stalled, Yuzu hesitated, but she stuck her hand out for Mei to hold none the less.
Rejected or not, it would never kill to be curious.
So when Mei took her hand, she tried hard to keep the warmth from spreading.

The blonde led the raven through some kind of foliage, the older of the two whispering “be careful” every so often.
Yuzu slowed, and broke left, into one more clearing.
Into their destination, he view from the cliffside bushes made the world feel so vibrant, and Yuzu’s lips immediately curled upwards, another display of that surreal contentment. The lights they saw every day flickered with a little more life in this new angle.

Mei’s eyes widened. She felt butterflies swarming her stomach and flower petals threatening to burst from her lips. Once again, Yuzu had showed her something entirely new.

“So, I bribe you into going on a cruise with me, I tear 110 on rubber and I promised to show you our world all in one day, right?”

“You did.”

“Well, is it as glum as you always describe it to be?”

“No, it’s wonderful, it’s so much more different watching it from afar...

... Yuzu?”

“Yeah?”

“I feel alive”

Chapter Text

A smooth contralto voice coasted through the modest apartment space. Muffled but loud, the lyrics carried the musings of a love song, sweet and unrequited.

“Put your head on my shoulder,
hold me in your arms, baby,”

Mei’s thoughts came to an abrupt curb as she turned heel to their room. Although curious to see a wild Yuzu in her rightful habitat, she was weary with her approach; Her presence may fluster the singer and cut her performance short. Tactfully, she crossed the hallway, inching towards their door. Right next to the entrance was her perch; She posted her back against the wall and slid down to sit in a comfortable position, far enough away to be undetected, close enough to see and hear. As a quiet spectator, she held in a 2/3 content and 1/3 surprised sigh as she heard a guitar drown out the sound of Paul Anka’s voice, cancelling the use of the old vinyl player.

“Squeeze me oh-so-tight, show me
That you love me too,”

Miss Performer cooed the last word, a flick of the wrist garnishing the play of the chord. As Mei looked inwards, she saw a saccharine grin plastered on the blonde’s face, alien to her usual hardy nature.

“Put your lips next to mine, dear,
Won’t you kiss me once, baby?
Just a kiss goodnight, maybe,
You and I will fall in love,”

The blonde blushed, it was obvious she was thinking of someone.
Mei, on the other hand, fancied this hidden side of the Greaser, a little more than the rest of her sides. Her lovestruck musings charmed her raven-locked counterpart and watching her fall all over herself when Mei breathed made the girl’s heartbeat skip twos.

“Put your lips next to mine, dear”

The spectator’s cheeks heated up at the earful of that robust high note. She was reminded of their last kiss (wasn’t that long ago) which led to her reaching upwards and touching her lips.

“Won’t you kiss me once, baby,”

Yuzu’s lips curled into a smile halfway through the line as she struck the low note with robust tone.

“You and I will fall in love.”

The guitar hit a sour ending. Yuzu winced, overly animated, and corrected the chord, giggling lightly at the funny sound it created.

“People say,
That love’s a game, a game you just can’t win,”

Yuzu sung with fervor, hitting the bridge of the song, she put every emotion her vocal chords could express,

“If there’s a way, I’ll find it some day,
And then this fool will rush in,”

The crescendo ended in a stout note, a blend of sincerity, adoration and zeal in her recipe. The dramatics of the short pause ended when her fingers graced the strings once more, and in a voice of milk and honey,

“Put your head on my shoulder,“

The chorus was starting again and the audience was attentive enough to remember it. Mei wasn’t much of a singer and at this point, she had been hiding too long, and it was high time she joined in. After a deep breath, another voice piped from outside of the hallway,

“Whisper in my ear, baby,
You and I will fall in love,”

Soprano and sweet and saccharose.

“HOW LONG WERE YOU HERE FOR THAT?” The blonde fumbled and tripped over air, attempting to hide her guitar by practically throwing it into the closet.

“Since you started?”

“Oh my god, ohmy god ohmygod”

“Was I not supposed to hear that?”

“It was a cheesy love tune sung by a blonde mutt, of course you weren’t!”

“Well, I don’t think she’s a mutt. She’s more like... a German Shepherd.”

“Still. It was embarrassing,”

“With a voice like yours, I doubt it ever was... Was that for anyone in particular?”

“I-it was for- IT WAS FOR NO ONE”

“With a face like that, I doubt it was either,”

“Can we never talk about this? Like ever again?”

“It’ll be our secret, just the two of us.”

The Soc and the Greaser stared at each other in silence, both at a mismatch of thoughts.

“Actually, Could-

Could you play another song?
Please?”

Yuzu looked thunderstruck at the question, racing between “yes” and “no”.

“What would you like to hear?” was her answer instead.

“La vie En Rose.

It’s a song I think of every time I see someone certain.”

Yuzu opened her closet door to retrieve her guitar and as Mei watched her return she heard the opening chord of her request.

As Yuzu settled beside her first fan and uttered the first lines,
Mei put her head on the blonde’s shoulder.

Chapter Text

She was never a rule breaker,
In fact she was a rule maker
But when her two best friends get the passcode to a speakeasy and decide to muse teenage recklessness, what other choices does she have?

Now, this hidden tavern was notorious for being obvious; their password never changed and was easy to figure out in the first place, their area of choice was an abandoned house in the middle of a suburb and their bar fights always caused phone calls to the police, seeing as tussles always escalated to the point where it was out of their hands.

As the three teens approached the clumsy cabaret, the drill-haired pinkette of them approached the beetle-browed door,

“Come on snake, let’s rattle.”

The entrance of the hot spot soon came into view and the lively scene wolfed down their peripherals. One of two large muscle-heads guarding the door greeted them in and left them to their vices.

Maruta sauntered to the bartender with her raven-haired companion while the most colorful of the trio had already been whisked away by a pair of drunkards, beckoning her to dance.

“Whiskey on the rocks...
Uhm, please.”

Mei looked at her bespectacled friend, amused at her order. “Do you even know what on the rocks means?” She inquired, giggling at her right-hand. Before her friend could reply, a different voice answered from behind her.

“I reckon she’ll find that out herself, she ordered it after all.”

Mei turned backwards to meet the owner of the coarse, strappy nuisance.

To her surprise, a stocky blonde flashed her a moonlit smile in greeting. Shy but robust, the voice rung out once more,

“Ah, sorry. I didn’t mean to speak out loud like that, I’m Yuzu.”

Mei froze, unable to reply. Shell-shocked by the owner, Maruta covered her up in a quick rebound,

“Oh, it’s nothing to gringle about, besides, it’s always nice to meet someone of wit! I’m Maruta, and this is mute one over here is Mei.”

“Goes the same, you don’t meet a pair of angels in a place like this too often,” The blonde’s remark flustered the spectacled woman, earning her a bashful giggle.

“Oh uh, why thank you! You ain’t so bad yourself,” Maruta shot back, the reception was well and the blonde smiled softly.

“Maruta!”

Before anything else could be said, Momokino hollered at her from the dancefloor.

“One of the boys I was with is over here asking for you, come over and shake something!” The pinkette yelled, “If you don’t, I’ll drag you here!”

Maruta sighed, entertained. She waltzed near the jukebox and attempted the Charleston, immediately forgetting the Greaser she just interacted with.

“They totally don’t look like a handful,” The blonde light-heartedly remarked, averting her attention to Mei. Yuzu eyed her up and down, from her pencil skirt to her loose blue button up.

“Guess she’ll find out about that whiskey thing a little later, huh?”

Yuzu snickered at the girl across from her, “Guess she will, what’s with the pink girl acting all barmy?”

“Her first time to one of these things,” Mei confessed, stifling a giggle, “Are you here alone?”

“My buddy’s in the back, hustlin’ a poor sod. You’ll definitely know who she is once she gets it all done,” Yuzu whispered, playfully leaning towards Mei.

“You’re a strange one,”

“Is that a bad thing?”

“Definitely not. Tell me about yourself, I’m interested,”

——————

“Maruta, you really think it’s okay to leave Mei with that Greaser?” The frilly haired loli inquired, dancing next to her friend.

“Calm your nerves, I would’ve dragged her along if anything didn’t feel right,” the glasses-clad woman retorted, “besides, look at her! She’s having the time of her life,”

Maruta pointed at the raven, who at this point was struggling to hold in laughter as the blonde was now lightly pushed up against her, cracking jokes and softly whispering stories into her ear.

Yuzu was under the influence at this point and held onto the counter for balance. Her sense of censorship evaporated by the time her next shot was downed and she murmured into Mei’s ear,
“You know Doll, I’d take you home and to places you’ve never been to if I had the chance, but, I’m not like that.”

“Then... what are you like?”

“I’m more interested in dates, good old fashion love junk” she snickered, “Lame, I know.”

“Not at all, uhm, in fact-“ Mei took the shot glass from her partner’s hand, placing it on the counter and moving it to the side, “I was wondering if you’d like to go on one, if you didn’t mind spending some of your time with me.” She shifted herself towards the sallow-headed woman, facing her but reluctant to look upwards.

“Oh Doll,” the greaser uttered in a wounded tone, “I’d give all the time in the world to get to know you but, I’m only here because that friend of mine wanted to take me on a last hurrah,

I’m getting shipped off to boot camp tomorrow. I- uh, I’ve just been recruited by the Army.”

Mei’s face visibly sunk, a solemn “oh” was all she could muster.

Yuzu needed to rebound, quick. She jammed her hand into her jacket and fumbled around for a pen, then swooped over Mei to get a napkin from the counter.

“Tell you what,”

She scribbled her name down on the mock-piece of paper, along with a bunch of numbers,

“I’ll be back in, say... six months, give or take a few weeks. If you could do me a favor and keep this jacket until then,” she placed the napkin in her jacket and proceeded to remove the brown article of leather.

“I’ll take you on a date as thanks.” She shot Mei a tender grin while holding out the jacket, hoping and praying she would take it.

Mei, on the other hand, looked at this stranger, dumbstruck. “Deal.”

Mei accepted the cowhide, immediately slipping it on.

“You can do me a counter-favor until then, and keep this.” She knew it wasn’t much, but, she reached into the purse she’d almost forgotten about and pulled out a small handkerchief. She took the pen from Yuzu’s jacket and wrote down her number. “Return it to me, and as thanks, I’ll go on that date with you.”

Yuzu accepted the cloth and tied it around her wrist.
She extended her hand for Mei to shake,
“Deal. That suits you, just so you know.”

They stalled for a moment too long, and held hands for a second in eternity. The only thing that broke their bond was the brassy voice screaming for Yuzu.

“CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS JACKASS,” screamed a brunette, whose forehead was curtained by bangs. Her buttoned up denim could barely contain her breasts as she jumped in fury.(I had to I’m sorry)
“FLIRTS WIT’ ME ALL NIGHT, GETS ALL UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL, THEN ASKS ME IF I’VE GOT ANY CUTE LASSES TO SET ‘IS SORRY ASS UP WITH,”
A distressed young man behind her hung his head in shame as he pushed through the crowd towards the exit.

Yuzu was hesitant in releasing Mei’s hand, but with all the commotion her friend was making, it was difficult to stay still. She scratched the back of her head and turned to face Mei, “And that’s my cue named Harumin. I’m glad I got to meet you Darlin’, don’t forget our deal okay?”

“I’ll be waiting, Grease.”

Yuzu flashed her one last smile, wide and triumphant. She quickly whisked herself towards Harumin, but not before she could kiss Mei’s nose. “Departure gift,” she beamed in glee.

Mei watched as this beautiful, jacket-less stranger attempted to console her brazen friend, soon escorting her outside as her bull-headed mate huffed and hollered.

The raven clutched her new buffer closer to herself, now realizing how it was stained her new swain’s scent. She smiled, remembering the napkin left in her new threads. Said grin grew wider the longer she looked at the note,

“151543. Ask me about it when I get back.” was written in parentheses under a landline number.

Chapter Text

It had been weeks since their encounter. Mei, for the life of her, could not shake the thought of the stranger she met. None the less, she was determined to meet that Greaser again, wearing her jacket any chance she could get.
Knowing that recruits could send and receive letters during their time in training, she added her address to the handkerchief, hoping for something,
But, it had been weeks. And there was nothing.
Yet.

Even her grandfather was confused at her new behavior.
She had been more anxious lately, more lively, a lack of stoicism inside of her head.

“I should start hiding that mail key, you’ve been hounding that letter-box for god knows how long, whatever are you waiting for?” He’d ask after she’d return from their fromt yard empty handed.

“No reason, just waiting for school forms and such,” she’d attempt at nonchalance, “apparently, some clubs have started mailing us instead of turning it in.”

Her grandfather heaved a hearty chortle, “That’s my girl, we’ll make a chairwoman out of you yet.”

God did she have to make up a story for the jacket.

///

Yuzu’s part of this story was less than savory. She’d been training non-stop at camp. Rain, sleet, snow or shine, it was a 5km run breakfast, lunch and dinner and intensive training for all hours of the day.

The poor blonde was sore constantly, but it payed off at the sight of her name in the top ten.

As for the handkerchief, her trusty little companion rejuvinated her efforts each time she felt drained.
It was racked with sweat, blood and dirt, but the only thing ever affecting it was the progressive fading of the writing.
Once neat and nearly an official font, it now looked like it had been dragged through purgatory.

A particularly hellish day of training wracked even the drill sargeant’s mentality. As for the commanding officer, he called off the next day, a rarity in the ranks. Yuzu, as well as her squadron, dragged their sorry carcasses back to the base, fairly sure they felt their nerve-endings cry uncle.

Yuzu used the next day to her advantage and wrote Mei a quick letter, shipping it away with no proof read.

With her current emotions placed in that letter, she fell into a fitful sleep in preparation for the next day’s routine, which had apparently been switched up.

 

///

Mei decided this was her last day checking the mail box. The blonde most likely forgot about her existence and realized that she was probably given the jacket as an excuse, so its former could get a new one without interrupting any closet space.

Her stoic facade had made a ten-fold comeback, doubling her intimidating aura and putting the school on a never-before-seen edge. Hell, on her way home even the forest animals lollygagging in the nearby bushes seemed to stop and run away at her presence.

With a resigned sigh, she approached the letter-box and opened it to find bills, ads, and a letter addressed to her.

There was a letter addressed to her!

A quick scan of the addresses in the back sent her hopes through the roof, seeing as it came from a military base. She gasped, elated, and sped-walk into their mansion.
“Grandfather, I’m home! I’ll leave the mail and key on the coffee table!” She yelled, not waiting for the empty home’s response.

Halfway down the west wing, she nearly ran into her grandfather in her rush, and he chuckled,
“Young Miss Aihara, please watch your step. Hey-wait where did you get that ja-“

“Good evening grandfather, I have forms I must attend to, the school is needier than usual so if you excuse me,” a door shut.

“Since when were you this boisterous?” He inquired, glad she’d most likely found something that renewed her childishness.

Mei ripped her bag off of her shoulder and greeted her desk, tearing the envelope to shreds.

She feasted her eyes upon loopy writing, one she knew was Yuzu’s.

“Dear Stranger,
I know we met once in a half-baked speakeasy, but I haven’t been able to get you off my mind. I’ve been unable to write you because training really is as hard as the older dogs say it is.
I kept that handkerchief you gave me by the way, it’s been through hell and back but it’s still standing. It’s color kinda reminds me of your eyes, Mei.
I hope that date offer’s still up, I’m itching like a bat out of hell to see you again.
I don’t even know you, but,
I miss you.
I’m awful glad I met you.
I hope we won’t be strangers the next time I write.

Signed,
Yuzu

P.s. Hope you’re treating that old jacket alright.”

 

Mei, for probably the first time in her life, squealed. It was loud, it was joyful, it was her first time acting like a teenage girl. She paced her room, reading it over and over again until she realized,

“Ohmylord I have to right her back.”

Mei burst into her stationary drawer fumbling around for a nice pen and a crisp sheet of paper.

She sat down and cracked her knuckles, ready to reply.

Chapter Text

“Meet me by the third-street dock xx-xx-xx5x half-past noon.

I’ll be there to start our deal.

Signed,
Yuzu

p.s. Didn’t mean for it to sound so ominous”

Mei could hear the chuckle in the girl’s voice as she finished off the note.
Averting her attention to the dock before her, the raven waited for any semblance of blonde to pop out in some corner. She stuffed the letter in her pocket and grabbed the zipper of her cowhide accent, leading it up and down.

It had been an hour after noon and Mei kept reading the note in the hopes to reverve her spirits.
She looked upwards, non-plussed and patient, until she saw a flash of gold.
And the curtained brunette she remembered from the bar.
And an older woman crying tears of joy.

On instinct, she stood up and moved forward. The zipper she fiddled with moved faster as her feet moved her closer, and there it was,

Yuzu caught her eye, and flashed her a trademark smile. The uniformed woman flew forward until she was face to face with her swain. She stalled, but only for a moment since her arms had other ideas and continued to flood the younger woman.
The embrace was long awaited and so very fulfilling

Mei indulged in the warm feeling, all kinds of butterflies swirling in her chest. She soon felt her feet rise from the ground as the woman before her picked her up and swung her around. Delighted giggling filled her ears as she realized the gratified look on her courier, those green eyes beaming at her own.

“Glad you’re so hyper. You’re really that happy to see me?” She inquired, confused.

“See for yourself, I can’t even say ‘Hi’ without falling all over you,” she huffed, smiling at her adorable cargo.

She set her back down on the weathered wood, beckoning her towards the others accepting her arrival.

The salty air slapped her already blushing cheeks, and as she approached the two women, the sun only seemed to overwhelm her on a new level.

“Oh! It’s that lass she met ‘fore she got deployed! The one she was goin’ gaga all over afore I took her off’er hands!”
The brunette whispered excitedly to the woman she assumed was the blonde’s mother.
“Hey there, sweet-pea! I’m Harumin, the idiot you probably saw before Blondie here went and left us!”

“Ah! Very nice to finally meet you,” was the raven’s response, anxious to meet the blonde’s loved ones. “And you must be her mother? Nice to meet you as well, Miss. I’m Mei, I met Yuzu shortly before she left for training-“

“We’ve been exchanging letters while I was in basics,” Yuzu concurred, beaming at her mother.

“This little lady cannot shut her mouth about you! Here I thought you were gonna be some hood she met at a bar, you’re absolutely lovely! I apologize dearly for assuming,” her mother drawled, “I’m Ume, her mom.”

Ume eyed the both of them, a mischievous smirk plastered on her face, “Look at you two, already lookin’ married!” She shined, successfully embarrassing her daughter.

Yuzu removed the arm she around Mei’s waist, while the latter scoot away in the slightest manner.
“Harumin, you brought my truck in one piece, yeah?”

“10-4; She’s in the east parking lot, boss!” Her friend gleamed as she approached the blonde’s back, “y’know, go on without us! We’ll leave you two lovebirds the day, me and dear ol’ mom see you enough anyway!”

Ume slung her arm around Mei’s shoulder, falling into Harumi’s step, “That’s right! Me and Harumin’ll find something else to do, go on and be reckless,” she echoed in the same vein.

The new almost-couple was shoved forward as their two counterparts mingled into the crowd, effectively vanishing.

“Why did one of them say ‘wear protection’?” Mei asked, perplexed.

“Oh, damn it to hell! You heard it too?”

“You never know!” rung through the crowd.

—————

Once Yuzu finally located her old truck, she looked for Mei’s reaction. Not a lot was written on the girl’s face, but she seemed apprehensive now that she realized she had to enter the old, rusted thing.

“It’s not as bad as it looks,” the uniformed woman chuckled, “I promise.”

As the younger of the two stepped into the truck, she looked floored at how trim the inside was.

“It what’s on the inside that counts, eh?”

“You’ve been waiting to use that for years, haven’t you?”

The blonde huffed, a resigned “yeah” coming from her lips.

“Hm, they don’t call you Greasers for nothing, huh?” the soc whispered to herself more than anything.

Mei caressed the fine leather, addled by the felt roof and bisso-clad steering wheel. Yuzu, on the other hand, circled around back to grab her requested change of clothes.
In a moment of distraction, Mei peaked at the rearview mirror, only to be greeted by Yuzu who was stripping out of her uniform.
“Wh-what are you- What are you doing!” She squeaked from inside the passenger seat. “That’s indecent!”

Yuzu looked up at her, half-naked. The sallow-header soldier shrugged, her pale, creamy shoulders rolling too smoothly, “Only when people are looking!” She reckoned, presently amused.

Mei glowed red, her eyes “unwillingly” plastered to the rearview. Yuzu made eye contact with her as she wrestled on a white button up, effectively taking several decades off Mei’s lifespan.

As she approached the driver’s seat, she smirked at Mei, “Thank my mom,”

Mei sunk into her seat, not knowing what to say.

Just kidding,

“You have- nicE aRmS.”

Yuzu snorted, “Thanks,”

“And also a stomach.”

“I sure do.”

“I meant it was nice.”

“It is?”

“It’s nice and firm and rugged and ohgoodlordIamtalkingtoomuch,” Mei ended her bashful crescendo in a tint chirp.

“Again, thank my mom.”

—————

The car ride to their destination was smoother than calculated, no small talk, no awkward silences, all chemistry.

(But the way Yuzu backed out of the parking lot was another factor to Mei’s shortened life span.

She held onto the passenger seat with one hand and looked backwards, steering out of their spot in a fluid motion,

“You’re good with your hands,” she had commented.

“You haven’t seen nothin’ yet,” Yuzu winked.)

 

The two jammed a half a year’s worth of conversation into a measly few hours, making up for lost time. Soon enough, the hours felt unbelievably short, as the pulled into one of a few destinations.

“Shirapon! I’m back!” Yuzu had hollered, shaking the bones of a little corner bakery.

A tall shadow rose from behind the counter, a smokey demeanor enveloping all she passed as she wisped towards the blonde. She had a small basket in her hands, with Yuzu’s name written on the front.

“It’s good to see you in one piece, Yuzupon.” It uttered,

As she hugged the blonde in greeting, the aura around her dissipated, revealing a green-headed woman with intense eyes and gloved hands. Yuzu broke the contact to pay for the services, aiming for the register.

Left behind were her two companions, one analyzing the other.

“You’re her lover?” The one named Shirapon broke the silence, looking Mei in the face while doing so.

Mei nearly fumbled over her words, “You could say,”

“Ah! How wonderful! That girl is hard-nosed as all get out, you seem steadfast, steely, you make a good match.”

“Opposites attract don’t they? My name is Mei Aihara, I’m glad to meet you.”

“Friends it is. My name is Suzuran Shiraho, my family runs this bakery.”

“Well, you have a new regular,” Mei nodded at her, dutiful.

“You’d have to try our stuff first you know,” the mysterious woman laughed, “people have two comments about our pastries: it’s either shit or heavenly.”

Mei stifled a giggle at her comment, “Hey, I’ll give it to you, you take criticism with grace.”

Shirapon smiled with her eyes, blinking in response, “Anytime that girl is around, the world seems like a better place,” it was out of no where but she wasn’t wrong.

“I’d say so too.”

 

———————-

“I’m glad you and Shirapon get along, you two’d make great pals,” Yuzu commented as she threw her bag in the backseat.

“I am too. She’s a strange one but so are you. The strangest are always the best, it seems.” Mei remarked, looking at her now-official Date, “Where are we going anyway?”

“I’d say you trust me enough to say it’s a surprise.”

“I always prayed to make my killer cute if I got murdered on the side of a highway,”

Yuzu cracked up at her remark. “A little extreme, there huh?”

——————————

“This’ll be our second to last spot, it won’t be hell, I promise.” Yuzu said as she drove through the highway.

“What’s our last spot, then?” Her other half inquired,
Placing a hand on the younger woman’s thigh (Mei’s health gauge is reduced by 10hp) she replied

(‘My bedroom’)
“This little drive-in, I heard it’s a pretty hot plate of cakes,”

Mei giggled, “No one says that.”

Chapter Text

On the side of the highway lay two women, a rusted parked nearby.
They had spread a blanket near their vehicle, the pair were enjoying a picnic, sharing stories, shooting the sh*t, typical newly reunited couple stuff that was innocent enough.

‘HOW THE HELL DO I ASK HER TO STAY THE NIGHT? HOW DO I DO THAT WITHOUT IMPLYING ANYTHING DIRTY, I’M JUST TRYING TO LOVE AND CHERISH HER!’ A rush of thoughts rung through the sallow-headed one’s mind, all ending in the same vein; the fear of losing the girl in front of her had her in a headlock.

This fragile, tender damsel with the weight of an industry on her shoulders, this delicate young woman who only ever had inklings of affection, never too deep, this soft-hearted raven who hid it all under a steely gaze and non-plussed attitude.

Her current displacement greatly contrasted her inner preachings,
In fact, the blonde was multitasking.
Overthinking on one hand
And trying to make Mei laugh on the other.
All the while stressing beyond third-dimension plains.

“Yeah! And so Harumin yells, ‘I dare’t’you have to pick this needle in my meaty little haystack!’” She hollers, splitting open her sides.

Mei let loose stifled laughter, diving into a straight giggling fit.
“There’s no way you would get into a bar fight by hiding a shot glass in your cleavage,”

“Not if you’re Harumi Taniguchi! Hell, I still fee bottle of bud slammed upside my noggin’”

“What other ‘misadventures’ have you been on?”

“Not enough to tell you in one day!” Yuzu mused, hoping to rouse a reaction from her date.

“Well, we’ll have to go on one of these again,”

‘Jackpot!’
“Oh? You askin’ me to go steady, Soc?”

“Maybe I am.”

“Hah! No maybes from me, just a big, swollen yes.”

Mei smiled, a look of gratuity on her face. The blonde gawked at the serene expression, the usual steely-eyed girl had melted, revealing her less-than-hardy exterior.

“Then, steady it is.”

————————

With Mei’s thigh as her new arm-rest,
(The damage lingers! Mei’s HP gauge decreases by the hour) Yuzu sped off to their last spot.
The raven-haired woman was anxious, in a sort of subtlety that’s easily missed.

“Still convinced I’m out to dump you in a body bag on the side of 109?”

“No, just... overthinking.”

“About..?”

“We’re two girls in a relationship, I guess I’m just thinking too far into the future but... the backlash. How, how would we deal with that?”

“There’s really no right answer to that.”

Mei blanked at the response. Letting fear seep into her rather than letting free will reign, how juvenile. She scolded herself for it.
She looked at Yuzu’s face, which had hardened for a mere second,
Her jaw clenched, tense but that moment was quicker than it lasted
She relaxed.
A semblance of a grin fell upon the blonde’s lips,
“We’ll do what we want.”

Deafening silences devoured the rusted truck. Though the blonde’s hand never left the younger girl’s thigh, her grip became hesistant as Mei deadpanned, staring straight ahead.
Their smooth sailing soon felt as if the pavement started roaring.

“151543.”

Yuzu blinked, shaking away the existential dread, “1-5-1-what?”

That earned a giggle from Mei, “You’re telling me you don’t remember your own numbers?”

Now Yuzu’s turn to deadpan, she searched her head for their encounter and recalled certain events,
Mei huffed, amused
“Blondes.”

“Oy! I’d say three months of boot-camp’ll rack your brain of certain memories! All you do is train, train, trai-“

“Really? You’re going grandpa on me, dear. Watch, next you’ll tell me stories about your days in the RAF.”
Mei mused, relentless with her clapbacks.

“I think I might love you.”

They both shut up, Mei struggling to hide her slacked-jaw, blindsided by the blonde’s sudden outburst.
The pavement roared, now filled to its brim with mocking laughter, entertained by the scene it beheld.

“151543, it means ‘I think I might love you’, it’s a play on 143 which is just ‘I love you’” Yuzu squeaked, the metal in her backbone melting like sugar.

Mei swallowed, unable to recover. “1515432”

“Oh!
O H,”

Another damned silence,
Yuzu’s knuckles on the wheel turned white with the weight of the heavy atmosphere grasping them by the necks.

Mei breathed in,
Yuzu huffed a breath of air.

“143”

In one voice, their statements hushed the road’s mockery.

Chapter Text

Blonde mixed with Black at the strike of midnight,
A flurry of nails raking down backs and mouths leaving marks left two sweaty (and horny) beasts to crave each other’s taste the more the seconds passed.

After... variations of carousel rides and dinner etiquette, Mei felt herself edging her boundaries, courtesy of the blonde.

“Yuzuko!” Spilled from her lips, coarse and unfiltered as it arrived with soft and sultry cursing.

The head of sallow hair stopped her work almost immediately, pulling off the source of honey and attacking the blackette’s neck.

Mei yelped, startled and dissatisfied.

“It’s Yuzu.” The blonde growled, velveteen and bassy, “Like the fruit.”

Yuzu switched her tactics and made her fingers finish what her mouth started. She stuffed slender fingers into the girl below her, unrelenting and rough.

Mei, while she could talk, asked “Why not Yuzuko?” between harshening breaths.

Before replying, Yuzu sped up her work, plunging rougher and harder into the blackette.

“The real meaning of it is too poetic, child of gentle harvests, something like that, so I prefer being a fruit.”

During her speech, Mei let out a small scream, signaling her climax.
Yuzu smirked, and crawled towards her ears.
“You didn’t need to know that though, did you? All you need to know is that I am your mistress, right Angel?”