Utena, Revolutionary Girl Fan Fiction ❯ Arisugawa's Locket ❯ Christmas Eve at the Locket! Two ( Chapter 15 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]

Christmas Eve at the Locket: Part Two

The group forged towards the nearby dining tables, when Sakura saw something odd about a couple that was dancing over in the corner. Excusing herself for a moment, she crept up behind the two of them and gently tapped one of them on the shoulder.

The Dark turned, looking over at Sakura in honest surprise. The Light peered over the Dark's shoulder, looking kind of startled as well. "Mistress Sakura," the Dark said, and then she asked, "what are you doing here?"

"I was about to ask you the same question," Sakura said dryly, continuing, "How did you get out of the Book of Clow, anyway?"

"You are our Mistress," Light explained, "but that does not prevent us from leaving for short periods of time."

"Let us finish our dance," Dark said, gently stroking at the Light's cheek, "and we will happily return to our place in the Book."

Sakura smiled at them both, "Promise me you won't cause any trouble, and you can keep dancing all night, OK?"

"No trouble," the Light said with a nod, still swaying gently to the music in the Dark's arms. The Dark nodded as well, and Sakura decided that it would have to do.

Sakura turned to go to the table, when she saw Tomoyo standing there with her video camera. "Just like old times," Tomoyo said with a grin.

Sakura sweatdropped, took Tomoyo's hand, and headed to the table.

"So, four Christmas dinner specials, and you'd like to book an upstairs room for two later on tonight? No problem!" Excel said, sounding very hyperactive, but kind of cute, too. She bounded off with their orders.

"Thanks, Excel," Kaho called out after her. She noticed Sakura and Tomoyo standing by the table, Sakura looking confused while Tomoyo was giving them a knowing smirk.

Sonomi blushed faintly. "We ordered dinner for you two," she said quickly.

"Why does a club like this rent out rooms for the night?" Sakura asked them curiously. The other three blushed, while searching for the words to explain. A faint blush began to appear on Sakura's face, as she finally got the idea. "Never mind," she muttered, blushing brighter.

"Sit down for dinner," Kaho invited, blushing a bit herself.

Another young woman appeared, rising up from the floor like someone coming back from the dead. "Your dinners," Hyatt said, dropping off the plates with a weak smile. She went green, and fell right over.

A wide eyed Sakura watched her slither away through the bustling crowd. "Is she all right?" she asked them worriedly.

"She's like that all the time," Sonomi said calmly, digging into her dinner.

Tomoyo raised her glass, her eyes twinkling as she looked at Sakura. "To life," she toasted softly, wondering if she would remember the cue.

Sakura smiled, tapping her glass gently against Tomoyo's "To love." They smiled at each other, lost in each other's eyes.

They both drank, then Sakura smiled softly, rising to give Tomoyo her hand. "Would you like to dance?" she invited her.

"I'd love to," Tomoyo answered with a smile.

Kaho and Sonomi watched the two leave hand in hand. "Isn't love grand?" Kaho said with a little sigh. Sonomi surprised her, getting out of her seat to kneel by her side.

"Yes, it is," Sonomi said, taking Kaho's hand. She took a deep breath, and smiled at her wryly, "I was planning to do this after the party." She puled a little box out of her pocket, "I love you, Kaho, and I want you to stay a part of my life." The box opened, and a diamond ring gleams inside, "Will you marry me?"

The bar is nearly silent as everyone hangs on Kaho's answer. Tears streak her face as she wraps her arms around Sonomi, "Yes!"

Cheers rang out around the bar at that answer. Minagi appeared by their table, carrying champagne and glasses, "Congratulations!"

"Way to go, mom," Tomoyo whispered, a few tears in her eyes.

Juri made her way over through the mob of well wishers to offer her own congratulations, and noticed Tomoyo and Sakura dancing while they kissed under the mistletoe. 'I hope things work out for them,' she thought with a smile.

Rei and Ami gave her a wave, and Juri cursed not noticing them before now. She scanned the crowd, seeing Haruna and Makoto together by the bar, and Minako and Natsuna eating together. 'So where is she?' she wondered.

Setsuna stood near the library, looking as elegant and reserved as ever. Juri sighed softly in relief, and began to make her way over. As she neared, she noticed the stylish clothes and casual stance, the dark eyes focused down on the book she held.

"I'm sorry," Juri said to her, her expression serious.

"For what?" Setsuna asked, looking up at Juri coolly.

"I reacted very badly," Juri admitted, "when I found out that Hotaru was your daughter. I'm very sorry for my rudeness."

Juri felt Setsuna's gaze, almost like the truth of her words were being weighed in those dark eyes. Finally, she gave her a gentle smile and, "Apology accepted."

"Thank you," Juri smiled. They both stood there a moment, the noise of the party washing over their island of quiet.

"Have you known Haruka and Michiru long?" Setsuna asked Juri curiously.

"I met them a few years ago," Juri smiled, "at a fencing tournament. Haruka was the only one to give me a real fight." The last bit was said quite casually, no boasting involved. Just a simple statement of fact.

"Did Haruka take loosing well?" Setsuna asked, a little smile on her face.

A soft laugh, and Juri said, "About as well as I do, I think. She immediately asked me to show her the move I used to disarm her, which I did. After that, she introduced me to Michiru and we all went to get some coffee."

Setsuna nodded thoughtfully. There was something about Juri, she noticed, that could be quite engaging. She could easily see her quickly becoming friends with someone, but she suspected it was harder to get under her skin.

A slower song came on, and Juri decided to seize the moment. "Dance with me?" she asked Setsuna, offering her hand.

Setsuna hesitated a moment, then took it. "One time," she smiled, and the two stepped out on the dance floor together.

Saya, Miyu, and Himiko stood in a dark corner together, Himiko carefully keeping herself between the two vampires. She didn't think Saya would start something with Miyu tonight, but she wasn't taking any chances, either.

"I'm a little surprised you are out, this time of year," Himiko admitted.

Miyu chuckled softly, "We know all about birth, death and rebirth, m'love."

"Indeed," Saya nodded, drinking some of her punch. Well, at least it was reddish, whatever she was drinking.

Back at the bar Videl waved her hand, "Rum and eggnog, please."

Ryouko prepared the drink, depositing it in front of the black hared fighter. "Good to see you, kid," Ryouko smiled.

"Don't call me kid," Videl rolled her eyes. She sighed softly as she looked out at the dance floor and saw Bulma and 18 dancing together.

"Why not ask her to dance?" Ryouko asked sympathetically.

Videl shook her head, finished her glass, and headed off into the crowd. Ryouko wiped the bar off with a sad little smile, wondering if the kid would ever fall for someone who was actually available, other than Gohan.

Ryouko noticed a dark-hared woman making her way through the crowd to the bar. She was polite, but still had a dangerous aura about her, an aura that Ryouko recognized. When she reached the bar Ryouko asked her quietly, "Major, is that you?"

Major Motoko Kusanagi smiled, "Recognized my ghost, huh?" Ryouko poured her a rum and motor oil, which the cyborg smoothly slung back. "Thanks. I just wanted to ask you to tell Juri Merry Christmas for me. I won't be in for a while, and I've got to lay low for a while," she said quietly, carefully watching the crowd.

"Are you in trouble?" Ryouko asked eagerly, adding, "You know we take care of our own."

"More espionage style trouble," Motoko smiled. She chuckled at the idea of sicking Ryouko and friends on the Mossad, but quickly dismissed it. With a smile and a wave, she slipped off into the crowd.

Nabiki noticed the group at one of the tables and made her way through the crowd to them. She slid into the seat beside Akane before asking, "How did she do it?"

Ranma, Shampoo, and Ukyo looked rather surprised at that sudden question, but Akane handled it calmly. "Juri took father on for the right to be the head of the school," she quietly said with a smile.

Nabiki looked at her in disbelief, suddenly understanding why Juri had been training so hard with Tenoh Haruka and the others. "Did she win?" she asked.

"No," Ranma grinned, "but she gave him a real run for his money. Then she pointed out that if a woman like her could do that to him..."

"I might also be acceptable," Nabiki said with a nod. "Remind me not to get Juri angry," she said quietly. Ukyo and Shampoo got up to dance, smiling at each other sweetly. "When did that happen?" Nabiki asked, a bit surprised. Ranma shrugged.

There was the soft sound of a fork taping on a wineglass, and the room quieted down as Juri climbed up on the bar to get everyone's attention. "First of all," she said, "Merry Christmas, to anyone I haven't talked to yet tonight!"

There was a rousing cheer from the crowd, as May, Hitomi, Excel, Hyatt, Ryouko, Minagi, Nabiki, Sasami and Bones all gathered by the bar. Hikaru, Umi and Fuu came out of the karaoke room, and the crowd swelled as the women left the dining tables and the dance floor to gather around the long bar.

"We'll be closing up soon," and there was a groan of disappointment from the ladies. Juri smiled as she continued on, "So that you can all hit the other parties, too!" Another cheer, she continued, "But I wanted to say a few words before you go."

Juri stopped a moment, looking around at the crowd, at all the women there. She thought of all the friends who were here tonight, of the friends that were absent. She'd had a few bad Christmas times over the years, and the differences between then and now was immense.

"I don't really have a family anymore," Juri admitted with a smile, "and I suspect I'm not alone in that around here. But over the past few months, I'd like to think we've been building a new family for us all, right here."

Juri passed her cup down to Ryouko, who filled it with a smile. Juri raised it in a toast, and the crowd followed, "So to all of my family, Merry Christmas!"

"Merry Christmas!" the crowd boomed back, and cheers rang out.

Juri climbed off the bar as the customers began to reluctantly head for the exits. A hand caught her arm, and Excel smiled.

"Before you go, you promised to open your presents," Hyatt reminded Juri from right beside her.

"Right," Juri smiled and nodded. They all tried to finish closing up pretty quickly, and then Juri stood at the bar with her pile of gifts.

Nabiki smiled, taking the first gift from the counter and passing it to Juri. She unwrapped it, placing the mug gently in Juri's hand, not disturbing the gold chain wrapped around it. Juri drew the chain out, revealing a necklace with a gold and diamond sword hanging from it.

"Wow," seemed to be the general response to that. Juri's eyes met Nabiki's, and they exchanged a small nod.

She picked up another gift, and was surprised when Ryouko spoke up, "Open that last, OK? It'll take some explaining." Juri raised an eyebrow, but put it down.

Keiko's gift was next in the pile, so Juri chose that. She gasped softly, drawing out the fencing suit reverently. Pure white, it had Juri's name running down one leg, as well as stitched on the shoulder. "Thank you," Juri grinned.

May's package seemed a natural to pick next, and she had to smile when she saw it. A pack of twenty coupons, each one redeemable for May to clean Juri's apartment for her.

"I've seen bachelor apartments," May smiled, "so I suspect those will come in handy."

"It's not that bad," Juri blushed, but decided not to argue too hard.

"Open mine next," Sasami smiled. Juri took the wrapped off and grinned at the label Sasami had put on underneath it: Bachelor Survival Kit. She opened that box, revealing several packs of Ramen noodles, gift certificates to a Laundromat, and a book titled "Cooking for Dummies."

"You and May got together on this, didn't you?" Juri chuckled, shaking her head.

Hyatt's gift was next, a T-shirt reading boldly, "She who must be obeyed!"

Juri unwrapped Excel's package, and stopped cold. A large, framed photograph of all the staff dressed in their Halloween costumes, with Juri front and center in her red leather "Queen of Hearts" outfit.

Hitomi's package opened easily, but Juri wondered at what it was. The large red stone was as big as her fist, and the light within it pulsed like a living heart. "It's a Drag Energist," Hitomi explained to her, "Millerna and Merle helped me get it. If you ever want a vacation, hold it above your head and concentrate, and you'll be sent to Gaea." She smiled suddenly, "I can guarantee you won't be bored."

Bones simply walked up, and in a smooth gesture pulled her long leather jacket right off. "But, I can't," Juri started to protest, but Bones shushed her.

"I have a closet full at home," Bones shrugged. Juri slid the coat on, it reached her boot tops, making her look dark and mysterious. "Very nice," Bones nodded with a smile.

Juri looked over at Ryouko, who nodded. As Juri unwrapped the last gift, she noticed it was from Minagi as well. Juri turned what looked like the finely carved wooden hilt to a sword in her hands, an off look on her face. "Is this what I think it is?" Juri finally asked, gently touching the large red gem on the base.

"It's not a master key," Minagi smiled, "but it is a sword. Ayeka helped us to get it for you. Hold it and concentrate, and the blade should appear."

Juri held the hilt carefully, focusing on the weapon. In a moment, a bright orange blade sprung up from the hilt, lighting up the bar. "Wow," Juri murmured. But once her concentration faltered, the blade was gone.

Juri took a moment to hug each of them before finally letting them go for the night. "Remember the staff party," she reminded them, "I'd like to see you all there, with guests."

Once they were all gone, she took a moment to look around the bar before locking up. It was a bit too quiet, but the place would be filled with life again soon enough. She locked the door behind her, only to stop in surprise.

"Setsuna?" Juri called out.

The tall, dark hared woman turned to see Juri, clearly looking annoyed. "Could you call me a cab?" Setsuna scowled, "It seems that my ride here forgot about me."

Juri silently thanked the gods. "Stand there a moment," Juri said, and hurried around the side of the building. A few minutes later her sports car cruised to a stop in front of Setsuna. "I'll give you a ride," Juri smiled.

Setsuna looked at her rather dubiously, and Juri smiled back at her winningly.

"I promise I'll be on my best behavior," and Juri held up two fingers, "scout's honor."

"Where you ever a girl scout?" Setsuna asked, climbing in beside Juri with a smile.

"Well, no," Juri admitted, "but it sounds better than butch's honor or something." She turned the heater up a bit before asking, "Where to?" And a few moments later they were off.

The Staff: The bar's owner is Arisugawa Juri, from Revolutionary Girl Utena. Minagi, Ryouko and Sasami 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. Hitomi is from Escaflowne, the movie. Bones is from www.coolcatstudio.com. And finally, Tendo Nabiki is from Ranma 1/2.

Our (very big) Cast This Episode: Sakura, Tomoyo, Kaho, Light, Dark and Sonomi are from Cardcaptor Sakura, Rei, Ami, Haruna, Makoto, Minako, Hotaru, Natsuna and Setsuna are from Sailor Moon, Miyu and Himiko are from the Vampire Princess Miyu OVAs, Saya is from Blood the last Vampire, Videl, Bulma and 18 are from Dragonball Z, Major Motoko Kusanagi is from Ghost in the Shell, Akane, Ranma, Shampoo, and Ukyo are from Ranma 1/2, Millerna and Merle are from Escaflowne the Movie, Ayeka is from Tenchi Muyo and finally Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu are from Magic Knight Rayearth.

Parts of this episode have appeared in a somewhat different form in: Cardcaptor Sakura, Darkest before the dawn: Part Five