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Award-Winning Author (Retroactively)

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Study English, move to America, join NASA. The path to becoming the first space florist was not an easy one, Tsubomi knew, but her heart was determined to see it through. Adjusting her glasses, she looked over the pages of her dense textbook. Even if she had improved her English language skills remarkably since she first decided on her dream, the content of her studies was quite sophisticated. It is, after all, literal rocket science. Feeling her eyelids droop, Tsubomi marked the page, closed the book, and stood up from her desk to open a window for some fresh air. Moving to the United States was a decision she grappled with, but as with each new experience, she took it without regrets. Every moment, every feeling since she got there has nurtured her Heart Flower more and more, and she was thankful to have become the woman she is today.

SPECIAL*COLORFUL! Oshare ni kime makuru〜

Tsubomi’s phone rang, the face of the song’s vocalist appearing on the screen. How Erika managed to pull together resources to make a complete song with instruments and everything would always elude Tsubomi, but the two had met some spectacular people over the years since they became Pretty Cures. Tsubomi was always amazed at the work her girlfriend could produce if she set her lazy, brilliant mind to it.

She picked up the call, and the screen’s saved image gave way to live video of the real deal’s smiling face.

“Tsubomi! I’ve missed you! When are you coming back?” said Erika.

“Erika, my summer vacation ended two weeks ago,” Tsubomi replied. They both knew Erika wasn’t seriously expecting Tsubomi to return to Japan so quickly after her break ended, but she smiled at the sentiment expressed regardless. “But I miss you too.”

“D’aww, I just wanna give you a big kiss right now.” Erika pulled her phone away from her face and laid it on the screen of her laptop. After situating the phone so she could chat and type at the same time, she spoke again. “But that’s not the only thing I called for. Can you help me with this writer’s block I’ve got?”

“Writer’s block?” Tsubomi knew her girlfriend was talented in many fields, but she couldn’t recall literature being one of Erika’s passions, Kenji Ban’s Pretty Cure dōjinshi notwithstanding. “What are you writing?”

“Fan fiction. It’s about this show called Kamen Rider Build. Heard of it?”

The name rang familiar. The show’s creator—and eponymous hero of its autobiographical story—Sento Kiryū, had a chance encounter with Tsubomi the month prior during her return home to Japan. Tsubomi reminisced about transforming side-by-side with the genius physicist, her into Cure Blossom, him into Build, and fighting against a mysterious enemy who seemed to recognize them. The details were chronicled in Tsubomi’s diary.

“Yeah, I know that show. Why are you writing a fanfic about it?”

“Well, I wanted to pick a show I watched recently to get the details right, and that was the one I think I can write the most about.”

“Wait, so you’re writing this for the sake of writing something?” Tsubomi scratched her head. "I think you left out some details, Erika. Can you start again from the beginning?”

“Sure! So it all started when I got a message from Yayoi.”

Yayoi Kise aka Cure Peace, a fellow Pretty Cure from the Smile team. Tsubomi liked her well enough, no doubt, but there would always be an odd feeling whenever the other girl came up. After all, how exactly was she supposed to feel about Erika's other girlfriend? She didn't even know the full story of how the two came to develop feelings for each other, but Tsubomi was confident that whatever Erika felt for Yayoi, it did nothing to lessen her love for Tsubomi. "Cure Marine has two hands!” she had said.

“And she was telling me about her account on this fan fiction hosting website called Archive of Our Own,” Erika continued. “Well guess what? This year, the entire website and everything on it won a Hugo Award!” Erika crossed her arms and smiled proudly. “That means Yayoi’s an award-winning author! So then I figured, hey, if I write something on this website, that retroactively makes me an award-winning author too!”

“Oh really?” Tsubomi didn’t know how to respond. Part of her wanted to say that things probably didn’t work the way Erika thought they did, but another part of her couldn’t bear to bring down Erika’s fun. “So how much have you written so far?”

“Hmm, let’s see…” Erika scrolled throughout her page, looking for a word count. “About 600,000 words.”

“WHAT!? Erika, that’s longer than War and Peace! You have more than enough for a novel!”

“Never heard of that book. But it doesn’t matter how long it is because this is a oneshot! I can't publish it until it’s finished!”

Tsubomi let out an exasperated sigh. Erika was always an oddball about these sorts of things.

“Though I guess I could split it into chapters…” Erika mused. She looked at her computer screen and her eye caught something that escaped her notice earlier. “Oh crap! I’m gonna be late for my own stream! Talk to ya later, Tsubomi, and thanks for the help! Love ya!”

“Stream? Erika, wai—” Tsubomi was cut off before she could finish. “What is she even going to stream?”

Tsubomi thought to herself about what Erika could be doing. Maybe it’s a video game? I remember she used to do Let’s Plays of horror games, and Yayoi’s into games too. Tsubomi laid down on her bed. I wonder if she ever deleted them from my computer…

Meanwhile, back in Erika’s room…

“Hello, everyone! MarineFlowerPirate here, and today, we’re going to play Danganronpa…”