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Drawing a plus

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It was a blessing that Rin had come to this world, Ruka thought as Rin unfolded the picnic blanket in the park and set the basket down on it. Her roommate, lover, former student... Rin was all of those things and more. Her reason to stay, just as Rin had chosen to stay. Her champion, her warmth, her everything.

This world had been a world that Ruka had adjusted to but not quite felt at home in. Like many visitors, she got used to the pink sky, the lack of sunset. She'd gotten used to words that didn't quite look like they were supposed to and a grammar that only sometimes made sense. She'd learned to speak awkwardly, then more confidently. And she'd made so many mistakes.

Ruka didn't know why she'd stopped that day, and found Rin sitting despondently in the alley. Maybe something in her knew that there was someone who needed help just as she had needed help so long ago. Maybe it was because she somehow knew what Rin would come to mean to her.

There might have been a curse in Japanese as Rin tried to pry their lunch from the picnic basket. Ruka didn't understand Japanese completely. Or at least Rin's Japanese. Or at least some words in Rin's Japanese. Rin tried her best to speak in Juliamo, even if her words sounded so awkward sometimes. Partially because she was a learner, partially because Rin was so bad at languages. She'd said so herself, one day. It didn't help that Ruka's native language was so much closer to Juliamo than Rin's was.

"Ruka, help me!" Rin said, flailing a little as the picnic basket refused to cooperate. She was so adorable, Ruka thought. Rin said that she'd seen herself as Ruka's white knight, but in reality, she was so cute that it was hard to remember that. Rin had told her that she was adorable, but she was nothing compared to Rin.

Rin had told her, once Rin had enough words, of the girls she'd associated with just because she wanted someone to be with, no matter how badly they'd treated her. It was somewhat like what Ruka had experienced, no way out and the only way to survive was to smile at the abuse. Except Ruka hadn't smiled as much as Rin had. Ruka's injuries were not as grave as Rin's.

Ruka gracefully rescued Rin from the picnic basket and the picnic basket from Rin. She set the food out, arranging it as neatly as she could. She wasn't sure how Rin had managed to pack the basket so full or how she'd managed to get some of the food even in the basket, and judging from Rin's expression, she wasn't sure Rin knew either.

It didn't matter. The food was good, and so was Rin's company. Ruka had no desire to leave, and neither did Rin. As Rin packed the containers away to wash or dispose of, Ruka found herself drawing their names in the dirt, with a heart around the words. Rin looked over, wordlessly, and added a plus sign.

Laughing, Ruka reached up and captured Rin's face in her hands, giving her girlfriend a kiss. It was just them, the blanket, and the world, and nothing could be more perfect.