Utena, Revolutionary Girl Fan Fiction ❯ Arisugawa's Locket ❯ Open With Caution ( Chapter 11 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]

Open with caution

Juri knocked on the door, and Nabiki stuck her head out to look at her curiously. "Can I have my office back for a bit?" Juri asked her dryly.

Nabiki gave her a cool smile and nodded, "Not a problem, boss." As she walked by her she gave Shiori a withering look, before heading down the stairs to help out with opening up the Locket for the day's business.

Shiori frowned at Juri, saying accusingly, "I guess she's heard all about us."

Juri looked at her calmly as she answered, "Not from me."

Shiori nodded, feeling a bit abashed. "No, I guess not," she admitted softly. A little smile, "You always were the perfect gentleman."

"Grab a seat," Juri invited her, letting Shiori sit first. After Shiori grabbed the couch, Juri sat down in the desk chair.

"I don't bite," Shiori said with a little smile.

Juri didn't respond to that quip. "Are you still doing the fencing?" she asked Shiori softly.

"No," Shiori answered, shaking her head a bit regretfully, "it was never really my thing. I just got into it to be close to you."

Juri looked a bit startled. "I didn't know that," she said softly.

Keiko looked more than a bit alarmed. "Shiori's up there?" she asked Nabiki shrilly. The other woman nodded coolly. "And you left them alone! One of us should be up there," she said, looking honestly concerned for Juri.

"I'm sure that Arisugawa can take care of herself," Nabiki said, trying to sound as confident as she possibly could.

"Not around Shiori, she can't," Keiko sighed.

Keiko found herself remembering some of the wilder stories about Shiori and Juri that had been circling around Ohtori way back when. She was about to head up the stairs to try and rescue Juri when a gentle hand on her arm stopped her.

May lifted her hand and smiled over at her sunnily, "I really think Juri needs to deal with this on her own." She added softly, "If she doesn't, she will always feel that Shiori has some kind of hold on her."

Keiko sighed softly. "I guess your right," she quietly admitted.

"And if she does hurt Juri somehow," Minagi said as she calmly wiped down the top of the bar, "we'll all just hunt her down and kill her." Ryouko nodded her agreement.

May sighed this time, "That might be just a bit extreme."

"Not to me," Ryouko said, sounding deadly serious. Hyatt and Excel both gravely nodded their agreement, before Hyatt flopped over.

Shiori suddenly sneezed for no apparent reason. She sniffled slightly, rubbing at her nose as discretely as she could manage.

"Are you all right?" Juri asked her curiously.

"I guess someone must be talking about me," Shiori chuckled softly. She noticed the bottles in the office's mini-bar, and got up to prepare some drinks.

Shiori pulled down one fancy looking bottle, and with a soft chuckle Juri said "Don't pour that unless you just want ginger-ale." At Shiori's questioning gaze, she explained, "I don't drink on the job. If I have to drink, I just have something non-alcoholic."

"I learn something new about you everyday," Shiori said softly. She poured herself a whisky, then sat down on the couch again. There was a thin band of white on her finger, where her ring had been the last time.

"Here's something new for you to learn," Juri said softly, leaning forward to look into Shiori's eyes. "I was in love with you, back in school," she said softly.

Shiori's eyes were wide with startlement, but not really surprised. "I don't remember you being this frank," she said softly, with a little smile. Juri just shrugged, looking over at Shiori calmly. "I knew," Shiori finally admitted, "or I figured it out, eventually."

"Then why," Juri asked with a bit of honest anger in her voice, "did you treat me the way you did? You ran away from me, Shiori, more than once."

A flush marked Shiori's cheeks. "I'm not running from you now," she said softly. She took a drink, "I know I made some mistakes, Juri, but I'd like to make it up to you if I can."

Juri digested that statement, wondering just what she meant by it. "Are you married?" she asked her, out of the blue. Shiori looked a bit startled at that so she said, "I can see where the ring was, Shiori."

Shiori rubbed at her finger gently, where the ring had marked her. "Divorced, actually," she said softly. She looked up, her eyes dark with sorrow, "I don't like to think about what I put the poor man through. I was never happy, and I took it out on him."

"I'm sorry," Juri said awkwardly.

Juri got out of her chair and nervously sat down by Shiori on the office's small couch, comfortingly patting her on the shoulder. Shiori smiled up at her gratefully, and it took Juri a great deal of effort to fight the old impulse to pull her close.

"It's not your fault," Shiori sighed. "I wanted to prove to myself that I was straight," she said ruefully, "and that poor fool was the one I picked to do it." She looked up at Juri, "I was very attracted to you back then, too, but it scared me to death. It was so much stronger than anything I had felt with a boy, before."

"So you ran from me," Juri said softly, understanding some of the things Shiori had done back then. She looked searchingly into Shiori's eyes, trying to see her intentions. "What do you want from me, Shiori?" she asked softly.

"I'm not asking you to turn back the clock," Shiori said softly. "But I could use a friend right about now," she smiled a bit, "and if that old fire comes back, fine. But if it doesn't, I think that would be fine too."

"Friends," Juri echoed, and she realized that was all that Shiori was to her now. She was attractive, yes, but no more than dozens of other girls that came into the locket every day. With a more relaxed smile Juri said, "That sounds like a good idea."

They left the office together, and Juri fought a smile. She pointed out discretely the crowd gathered at the bottom of the stairs, trying to hear what was going on upstairs. Shiori muffled a laugh, "You have loyal friends, Juri."

"I like to think so," Juri answered, her smile including Shiori in that group. The two of them reached the top of the stairs and she saw the group of the scatter. They made their way down and saw all of them back on the job, pretending they hadn't been listening in at all.

The first few customers started to come in, and Juri excused herself to get to work. Shiori gently took her arm, and with a smile said, "Thank you, Juri."

"Anytime," Juri answered.

The Staff: The bar's owner is Arisugawa Juri, from Revolutionary Girl Utena. Minagi and Ryouko are from the series Tenchi Muyo. Keiko is also from Utena. Cyberdoll May is from Hand Maid May. Excel and Hyatt are from Excel Saga. And finally, Tendo Nabiki is from Ranma 1/2.

Our Cast this episode: Shiori is from Revolutionary Girl Utena too, and was the focus of much angst on Juri's part.