"Lady Satsuki." Uzu Sanageyama spoke from his spot on the kendo gym floor. "I am glad to see you are back to your normal self."
"I apologize, Sanageyama, you had to wait so long for your rematch. My lapse in resolve was most out of character for me, but that time has passed. Allow me to fulfill my promise to you." Satsuki Kiryuuin, her voice strong and smooth as its owner, replied from her spot a couple feet across from him.
The two shared a companionable silence as they mentally prepared themselves for their upcoming fight.
Ryuko twitched from her spot to the side of the gym, next to the rest of the Elite Four. "Oi! Get on with it already, you losers!" Gamagoori was quick to respond. "Matoi! That is no way to speak to Lady Satsuki!" Nonon rolled her eyes at both their outbursts, Inumuta too buried in his phone to react.
"Oh shut it, big man. Sis promised me we'd go to that new ramen place after this, and I know you're looking forward to your date with Mako." Ryuko snickered at his blush and sudden bashfulness. "She says hi, by the way."
"I've never been one to disappoint a waiting audience! Come, Lady Satsuki! Show me your resolve!" Sanageyama roared, his shinai suddenly in hand as he shot towards the still Satsuki.
Bamboo swords clashed, the sound ripping through the quiet gym. Satsuki's kenai locked with Sanageyama's own, and almost effortlessly began pushing him back as she slowly rose from her spot.
"Oh? Isn't a cheap shot such as this quite unusual for you, Sanageyama?"
"I am no fool, Lady Satsuki! I will use any and all tactics to gain victory in this bout! You deserve no less!"
Their weapons became blurs, the strike of bamboo against bamboo filling the gym with their mighty cracks. Slash into dodge into stab into counter, neither participant giving the other the slightest leeway.
Ducking under a swing at his head, Sanageyama thrust his sword upwards. A simple and elegant movement from Satsuki dodged the attack effortlessly, before her own shinai came down like a hammer, slamming into the location that Sanageyama was at a fraction of a second beforehand. He could not help but laugh. "Yes! This is exactly what I dreamed it would be! I see your skill has not deteriorated in the slightest!" Satsuki responded with a small smirk. "Likewise, Sanageyama. I expected nothing less from one of my Elites."
Their fight raged on, Sanageyama's swiftness and skill unable to crack the unbreakable wall known as Satsuki Kiryuuin. Every strike was dodged or blocked, not a single movement unspent as the two became faster and faster, their swords clashing more and more rapidly.
"C'mon Satsukiii! Beat his face back to blindness!"
"Show that monkey who's the boss, Lady Satsuki!"
Satsuki allowed herself a small smile at Ryuko and Nonon's loud encouragement. She wouldn't want to let down her loving fans now, would she? Her grip on her shinai tightened.
Sanageyama's eyes grew as his opponent became faster and faster, and he found himself working harder and harder to keep up with the blur that was Satsuki Kiryuuin, even with both his Tenganstu and Shingantsu active.
He could see every movement she made, how each and every muscle prepared itself to make the next strike of her shinai as perfect as every other. His abilities ensured that much, at the very least. The problem was that it was all but useless, as he could barely put up his own kenai to block one hit before another followed, and more and more and more after that. Slowly, he was being forced back, and there was nothing he could do about it - both combatants knew this.
Satsuki withdrew, moments before Sanageyama was about to collapse from her assault. He gladly accepted any time he could get to recover, but could not help but feel a sinking feeling in his stomach as he tried to catch his breath. Sanageyama groaned when he glanced up to Satsuki, who now held her kenai upright by her head in a hassō stance. He grimly wondered if this was how all the club presidents felt when Matoi in full Kamui Senketsu gear was about to cut their Goku Uniform to shreds.
"Come, Sanageyama. It's time to end this." Resigned to at least lose on his feet, he held up his own kenai before him. Once again, he was subjected to the horror of seeing Satsuki's every move but being entirely unable to do anything about it.
Before he fully realized it, Satsuki was in front of him, kenai careening towards his head.
Ryuko couldn't help but laugh uproariously as with a loud crack, Satsuki's bamboo sword was firmly planted onto Sanageyama's head, sending his body crumpling to the ground. "That's fucking hilarious!" she cried, tears of laughter welling up in her eyes.
Satsuki could barely stop herself from cracking a grin at Ryuko's reaction, keeping (or rather trying to keep) a stoic face to preserve Sanageyama's already hurt ego. She leaned over his prone body. "Alright there, Sangeyama?" A miserable groan was all she got in response.
"Don't be so disappointed, Uzu. You have indeed improved greatly since our last bout." With a loud grunt, he rolled himself onto his back. "That was like, six years ago," he grumbled.
"Nonetheless, there is no need for such moping. You performed admirably. There are not many people who can match me in combat. Alive, at least."
Sanageyama let out a weak laugh. "Did the great Kiryuuin Satsuki just make a joke?"
"Perhaps I did. Come, get up now."
"Yeah, stop wasting time, ya loser! We got places to be, things to eat!" Ryuko called from the entrance, where Inumuta and Gamagoori were already on their way out.
He rolled his eyes at the traditional Matoi impatience. "I think I'll just lay here for a while." Satsuki smirked. "Suit yourself," she called out as she made her exit, Ryuko already latched onto her arm.
Enjoying the silence, he frowned when a small foot softly kicked his side. "Get up, you monkey. You lost the bet." An upside-down Nonon appeared in his vision. He didn't even need his eyes to recognize the smugness rolling off of the small pinkette in waves. He groaned again. "I was hoping you forgot about that."
Satsuki silently watched with a smile as Ryuko absolutely destroyed her bowl of noodles, her own bowl laying forgotten. Or rather, ignored.
She suspected that after spending so much time eating Mrs. Mankanshoku's croquettes, Ryuko could eat just about anything and find it appealing in some way or form. That didn't mean Satsuki would let her eat anything less than the best, however. She enjoyed being able to spoil her long lost sister, and Ryuko was more than happy to be spoiled after years of being on her own.
"You should slow down, Ryuko. I'd prefer not to lose my sister through a horrible choking accident after all we've been through."
Ryuko looked up from her bowl, a couple strands of noodles sticking out of her mouth. She loudly slurped them in. Satsuki's eye twitched as one noodle launched a droplet of soup dangerously close to her pristine white blouse.
Scratching the back of her head, Ryuko let out a nervous laugh and gave a sheepish smile. "Sorry. You eat it fast or lose it faster in the Mankanshoku household."
"That grammatically makes no sense. Shouldn't you 'eat if faster' to avoid 'losing it fast'?"
Ryuko shrugged. "Things rarely make sense among the Mankanshoku's. For instance, Mako and Gamagoori's date should be nowhere near here. And yet there they are," she said, gesturing lazily at the restaurant's front window behind Satsuki before returning to her noodles, albeit at a far more subdued pace.
Satsuki turned around from her seat at one of the restaurant's tables just in time to get a glimpse of a flustered Gamagoori being dragged past the window by an obviously excited Mako, who was doubtlessly talking at a ridiculous speed. It would be a humorous sight, this mountain of a man being dragged behind a tiny girl, were it not for Ira's terrified expression. She quickly sent a silent prayer his way before turning back to face Ryuko.
Poking at her noodles with her chopsticks, Satsuki returned her gaze to Ryuko. "Has Mako ever spoken to you about what she wants to do in the future?"
"Hmm? Ah, not really. We still have another year of high school to go through, y'know? Besides, you know how we are - we barely know what we're gonna eat for dinner everyday."
Satsuki's brow furrowed. "Are you two having money issues? I know it's the first time you two have lived on your own but I'm more than willingly to help out-"
"Nah, s'fine. We actually got jobs recently! We're both working at this one restaurant, I don't even know what to call it. It's sells a little bit of everything. Turns out I'm a pretty good cook! The manager keeps complimenting me, and he actually recommended I try and improve. I've actually been thinking about taking cooking lessons. It's just kinda soothing to me. I bet I could easily own a six star restaurant." Ryuko shoved a spoonful of noodles into her mouth. Satsuki declined to point out that there was only a maximum of five stars, and made a quick mental note to get Houka to check out this restaurant her sister and her friend worked at; the thought of Ryuko in a cute chef uniform was strangely appealing to her. Perhaps she could pay a visit soon.
Ryuko swallowed and continued. "Mako, meanwhile, she's a waitress slash cashier thingy - she handles the register most of the time but - hey, you know what? I bet Mako would be a great accountant! She was pretty on top of things as the Fight Club president until… you know."
Ryuko's energetic babble trailed off as unfavorable memories were brought to mind. Satsuki winced at the reminder of what she had forced Ryuko's friend into doing.
"I.. ah, I apologize for what I-"
Ryuko waved her hand at her apologizing sister.
"It's fiiine. We've both gotten over it, and if anything, it just made our friendship that much stronger. Speaking of people in relationships with Mako, is Gamagoori really going to stick with his relatives' ironworks? I can't see the big guy enjoying that very much. He'd make a pretty good police officer. Besides, he sure spends a suspicious amount of time around our apartment and with Mako."
Satsuki smiled. "That would be my fault I believe. I've been busy reclaiming and expanding the company now that Ragyo is gone; the Elite Four have been most unwilling to leave my side in the meantime."
Ryuko snickered, before taking a big swig of her soup. "Maybe you should give them jobs at your company. I bet Gamagoori would love being a security chief and continue," Ryuko straightened her back, put her hands behind her, furrowed her brow, and spoke in the deepest voice she could, "being Lady Satsuki's living and impenetrable shield!"
Satsuki threw her head back and laughed. Ryuko grinned at the reaction she was able to draw out of her usually stoic sister.
Calming down, Satsuki smiled at Ryuko. "That's not a bad idea. Houka's already taking care of all my IT issues, Nonon is studying business to take over the Jakuzure Corporation, and I'm sure I could find something for Uzu to do. Perhaps I could even offer Mako a job as my secretary as well."
Ryuko hummed in agreement, already back to her noodles. Satsuki took up her chopsticks once again, and began eating her own bowl.
They ate in companionable silence, until Ryuko suddenly stopped, sitting up. "Hey wait a second. How is it that your company just happens to be so near by to me and Mako's apartment?"
Satsuki averted her face, and Ryuko grinned at the bright blush she could see a glimpse of - one of the very few she's seen and yet enjoys so much.
"Aw, did wittle Satsuki miss her darling sister that much?" Ryuko crooned, taking pleasure in seeing her blush deepen.
"Silence yourself, Ryuko, before I do it for you."
Ryuko laughed again. "Alright alright. Anyways, don't tell me you didn't hear the talk between Sanageyama and the troll. I wonder what that was about…"
With a far less red face, Satsuki looked up. Ryuko felt a twinge at disappointment at the missing blush. "I'd appreciate if you didn't call her that." Satsuki rolled her eyes when Ryuko stuck out her tongue with a ~nyaah~. "But I have a couple theories, as does Houka and Shiro. As Houka says, Nonon did always like monkeys."
Eyes widening, Ryuko gaped at her smirking sister. "No way!"
Satsuki just hummed, returning to her noodles.
Meal finished and payed for, the two enjoyed a slow walk.
"... I enjoyed this, Satsuki. We should do this more often."
"Yes, yes we should."
Ryuko gave a wide grin and quickly placed a soft kiss on the corner of Satsuki's mouth, before running off, laughing joyously.
Satsuki blinked in surprise, and slowly smiled as she began to chase after her sister. Hououmaru had given her a new focus in life, but perhaps she could relax her resolve and enjoy her time with Ryuko.
After all, she was in no hurry. With loving friends and her beloved sister by her side, maybe Satsuki could finally relax and enjoy her life.