Work Header

Rainbow Colored Fluff

Chapter Text

Maria could only watch in fond exasperation as Tsubasa and Chris glared at each other, facing one another with the dining table between them. Tsubasa was seated properly in a seiza position, her back rigid. In contrast, Chris was sitting cross-legged, her hands resting on either of her thighs. Maria was standing at the side, watching them.

“I shall emerge victorious, Chris.” Tsubasa declared with all seriousness, her indigo eyes alight with fire.

“Dream on, senpai! I’m winning this one!” Chris sneered with all confidence, her purple eyes glaring fiercely.

Maria only gave an amused sigh as Tsubasa and Chris put their right elbows on the table and grasped each other’s hands firmly. In an unspoken cue, the two then started applying pressure to their arms to overpower the other.

“Don’t overdo it.” Maria told the both of them dryly. She only received grunts of acknowledgement as the two were too busy with trying to win their arm wrestling match, their chosen competition for the night. They seemed evenly matched, toned muscles straining under smooth skin. Maria had to clear her throat and look away from the display, a light blush on her cheeks.

“Hmph, I see you can keep up with me, senpai.” Chris sounded slightly impressed as their arms hardly moved from the equal pressure they were exerting. Chris was grinning but she also sounded a little breathless.

“I can say the same to you.” Tsubasa laughed a little, her voice a little strained.

“But this is my win.” Chris announced triumphantly before Maria noticed a light blush on her cheeks. Before Maria could even wonder why she was blushing in the first place, Chris opened her mouth and said one word. “Tsubasa.”

At the sound of her name coming out of Chris’ mouth for the first time ever, Tsubasa was obviously caught completely off-guard and for a moment she was distracted, her grip slackening. It was in that instant that Chris slammed Tsubasa’s hand to the table, winning the arm wrestling match.

“Ha! I win!” Chris crowed triumphantly, looking thoroughly pleased with herself. Tsubasa could only look at Chris in surprise and disbelief. It was almost comical honestly, with Tsubasa’s eyes as wide as saucers and her mouth dropping open, and despite Maria being also surprised at Chris’ use of Tsubasa’s name, she could not help but giggle at the look on Tsubasa’s face.

It was probably the sound of Maria’s giggle that snapped Tsubasa back to earth and she looked both indignant and embarrassed. “T-That was not fair!” Tsubasa sputtered in righteous indignation, her cheeks pink.

“All is fair in love and war, senpai.” Chris drawled, going back to how she usually addressed Tsubasa. “And since I win, I get dibs.” Tsubasa pouted childishly at that announcement, looking for all the world like a little kid that just had her candy snatched. Maria knew she should feel a little bad for Tsubasa but she was way too adorable like this.

“It’s your win tonight but I’ll have my revenge next time.” Tsubasa crossed her arms, trying to look menacing but failing since she was still pouting.

“Now that you two are done we need to get to bed. It’s already late.” Maria reminded them in her most motherly tone, glancing at the clock hanging on the wall. It was already fifteen minutes past ten and they were all required to wake up early tomorrow. Maria and Tsubasa had work while Chris had her class in college.

At her words, the two obediently trudged off to their shared bedroom to finally retire for the night. When everyone was ready for bed, Chris immediately latched on to Maria as soon as she was lying down. Chris wasted no time in using Maria’s sizable chest as her pillow, snuggling into the soft warmth. Chris’ arm snaked its way around Maria’s waist and squeezed affectionately. Maria was unable to stop the smile on her face at the gesture. Maria (and Tsubasa) treasured the times whenever Chris felt affectionate.

“Ah, this is the best.” Chris commented, her voice muffled against Maria’s chest. Tsubasa shot Chris an envious look as she settled on the other side of Maria. That arm wrestling match earlier had one purpose, to dictate who would get to snuggle to Maria and use her chest as a pillow. Since winter had started, both Tsubasa and Chris wanted the honor as they were of the same opinion that Maria was the warmest and softest thing to hug ever, absolutely perfect for warding off the chill. It was silly and yet endearing to see them childishly compete over such a thing and so she let them have their little fun.

“You’ll get your turn.” Maria told Tsubasa sympathetically, turning her head to kiss Tsubasa on the cheek.

“But she cheated.” Tsubasa whined but she did look a bit mollified at Maria’s action as her features smoothed out. She then burrowed her head on Maria’s shoulder and Maria used her free hand to grab Tsubasa’s and laced their fingers together.

“Doesn’t change the fact that I won senpai.” Chris said, grinning lazily as she looked up at Tsubasa and squeezed Maria’s waist tighter for emphasis.

“You call me by my name and then you go back to calling me ‘senpai’? You truly are unfair.” Tsubasa pointed out and placed a hand on Chris’ back, hugging her lightly.

“Urk.” Chris winced, unable to escape as Tsubasa had her trapped.

“Tsubasa’s right. And when are you going to call me by name too? I was jealous you know.” Maria stated lightly. Her words immediately had Chris flushing and she scowled as she looked up at both Maria and Tsubasa.

“Now you two are ganging up on me?” Chris complained.

“All is fair in love and war, as you said.” Tsubasa smirked, reminding Chris of her words earlier and Maria chuckled softly.

“Now Chris, we’ve been patient with you, waiting for you to call us by our names properly.” Maria started, using the tone of voice that she usually used whenever Kirika and Shirabe had done something that warranted a scolding. “But it seems that you can do it easily, using it to cheat at an arm-wrestling match of all things.”

“T-that was-“ Chris tried to explain herself, her cheeks reddening even darker.

“Now do you regret using such a tactic?” Tsubasa asked knowingly and Chris sputtered, unable to say anything to her defense.

“Starting now, we’re expecting you to call us by our names.” Maria said, poking Chris’ nose lightly. Chris looked affronted at the gesture for a moment before Maria’s words sunk in.

“W-W-what? Now?” Chris swallowed nervously, her eyes wide. Chris was also quite adorable when she was caught unawares like this.

“It’s what you get for earlier.” Tsubasa told her. Now she was the one looking triumphant, but there was also the eagerness glinting in her eyes and Maria was certain that Tsubasa was excited to hear Chris call her by her name again.

“We’re not going to sleep until you do.” Maria insisted after a few moments of Chris opening and closing her mouth without a sound, a look of reluctance and shyness on her face.

“We’re waiting.” Tsubasa prompted as Chris still had not said anything.

“G-Geez! Stop pushing!” Chris yelped before burying her face in Maria’s chest to hide her continuing embarrassment. She then took a deep breath and Maria watched as her shoulders moved up and down.

“Tsubasa… Maria…” Chris’ voice was low as she forced out their names but it certainly pleased the two of them. Maria was unable to stop the huge grin that lit up her face as Chris finally called her by name. Beside her, Tsubasa looked no better and both of them moved as one to hug Chris tightly.

“See? It wasn’t so bad was it?” Maria asked, nuzzling the top of Chris’ head.

“Very good.” Tsubasa praised and placed a chaste kiss on Chris’ forehead. Chris grumbled inaudibly but did not protest the displays of affection as she was prone to do when she was feeling so self-conscious. “But in our next match, don’t forget that I’ll be the victor.” Tsubasa said lowly to Chris’ ear and Chris snorted and smiled. Certainly feeling lighter and happier now, Maria pulled both of her lovers closer and slept peacefully.

Chapter Text

“…What’s this?” Chris couldn’t help but ask even though she fully knew what it was. Chris’ eyes narrowed at the immaculately white fluff ball that was sniffing at the air curiously, beady red eyes seemingly looking up at her innocently from a rather large cage on top of the table in the living room.

“She is a rabbit.” Serena answered with a hint of amusement as she opened the cage and carefully took the small animal into her hands. She then knelt down and let it down on the floor. “She’s a Netherland Dwarf rabbit.” Serena added helpfully, smiling fondly as she sat down on the floor.

“Okay, but that doesn’t explain why its here.” Chris muttered, looking suspiciously at the too cute critter. Serena laughed at that before motioning for Chris to come closer. Reluctantly, Chris complied and sat down cross-legged beside Serena. Chris could feel her fingers twitch when the rabbit came closer to her. Hesitantly, she used a finger to gently poke the rabbit’s adorable nose.

“Her name is Elizabeth you know. Liz is not an ‘it’.” Serena huffed, leaning closer to Chris so that she could pet Liz’s small head with two fingers. Just as she was prone to do every time Serena was suddenly too close, a light blush warmed Chris’ cheeks and she studiously ignored it.

“Elizabeth? What kind of a name for a rabbit is that?” Chris commented under her breath, shaking her head slightly at Serena’s idiosyncrasy.

“Oh? And could you name her better?” Serena asked with raised eyebrows, taking Liz back into her hands and cooing at her.

“It should be a cute name, like Fluffy or something.” Chris stated, utterly serious. This time Serena laughed out loud, her laughter melodious and bright. A deeper blush lit Chris’ face in response to that, making it match her favorite red blouse. “What?!” She barked out, totally flustered.

“Fluffy is a dog’s name and not really all that original.” Serena explained after she finally got her laughter in control. “I think Liz is fine.” Serena giggled merrily when Chris grumbled inaudibly under her breath and crossed her arms. “I’m sorry Chris but you don’t have any better naming sense than I do.” She then placed a kiss on Chris’ red cheek as her apology. Chris turned even redder if that was possible, looking like steam was about to erupt from her ears.

Serena then offered Liz to Chris, who had a bit of an unsure look on her face. With an encouraging nod, Chris took Liz into her arms and was not able to stop her quirked lips when Liz nuzzled her hand.

“Maria-neesan bought her for me just earlier.” Serena revealed, leveling an affectionate look at both Chris and Liz. “Well, for us actually. She said it was time that we should learn responsibility of this scale.”

“Sometimes I don’t get what’s going on in your sister’s head.” Chris rolled her eyes at Maria’s logic. “We aren’t that irresponsible. What are we, ten?” Chris huffed, feeling rather slighted at the implications of Maria’s statement.

“Well, she isn’t worried about me. That’s why she gave Liz to me.” Serena informed her with a soft, amused giggle. Chris looked affronted and indignant at that. “She’s more worried about you and-“ Serena was unable to finish her sentence when they heard their front door opened.

“I’m hooome!” The unmistakable voice of Kanade announced loudly as she arrived. Both Serena and Chris glanced at each other and a smile lit up Serena’s face. Grudgingly, a small grin tugged at Chris’ lips even though she was still kinda annoyed with their talk regarding Maria’s reasons.

“Welcome back!” Serena greeted Kanade warmly as soon she entered the living room where they were.

“And how are my favorite ladies in the world?” Kanade grinned charmingly as she strode to where the two were sitting in the living room. She then placed a kiss on each of their cheeks. Chris blushed as always, because no matter how long they’ve been together and no matter how much they rained affection on her she still blushed. Secretly, both Serena and Kanade wished that it would never change because Chris was just too cute when she blushed.

“Welcome back.” Chris groused, like it was pulled out of her by wild horses but Kanade smiled all the same at the greeting.

“Oh? What do we have here?” Kanade then noticed the small rabbit nestled in Chris’ arms. Gently, she picked it up and settled down beside Chris. Kanade seemed to stare into the eyes of Liz, as if pondering something.

“We have a new member of the family.” Serena said as an introduction. “She’s Elizabeth, or Liz for short.”

“Aren’t you the cutest thing!” Kanade trilled, obviously taken with Liz just as Serena and a denying Chris was. “Fluffy, small and cute… Kinda reminds me of someone.” Kanade then remarked thoughtfully and poked Liz on the nose. However, it seemed that Kanade poked too hard and Liz did not take too kindly to that. She nipped at Kanade’s finger, startling everyone a bit. “Oh! And feisty!” Kanade laughed, not that bothered by the slight pain as she put Liz down.

“Kanade! Don’t tease Liz.” Serena scolded, picking Liz up. “Are you alright?” She then asked Kanade with a touch of concern.

“I’m fine. It was just a little surprising.” Kanade assured with a large smile before her vermilion eyes twinkled knowingly as she looked at Serena. “Serena, you’re the one who chose Liz to bring home, am I right?” She inquired. Chris was puzzled at how Kanade even knew that with such certainty.

“Yes, but it was Maria-neesan who bought her.” Serena confirmed with a nod. “How did you know?”

“Liz looks just like Chris!” Kanade snickered. “Fluffy, small, cute and really feisty!” She pointed out and Chris sputtered in indignation, turning red and not knowing how to even to respond to that.

“You got me.” Serena admitted with a sheepish smile, sticking her tongue out cutely. Chris didn’t know what to do or say as she looked at Kanade and Serena in embarrassment and anger.

“I… I am not cute!” Chris finally managed to yell, her face looking like it was going to turn purple. “I am not a rabbit damn it!”

“Of course you aren’t, cause you’re much cuter than Liz could ever be.” Kanade told her offhandedly, not at all concerned with Chris about to blow her top. Chris’ mouth dropped open at Kanade’s casual statement and nothing could come out of her mouth as her face continued to burn.

“Now, now Kanade. Stop teasing Chris.” Serena admonished lightly, as usual acting as the pleasant mediator to calm Chris down. Serena then patted Chris on the head, the only surefire way to get her to calm down. Kanade suppressed her smirk as Chris became like a docile little rabbit under Serena’s touch, proving her point.

“Well, it just had to be coincidence that today’s Easter and Maria bought you a rabbit?” Kanade commented as Chris calmed down. She watched Liz hop around with a lazy smile.

“Well, it was a little inspired by the holiday.” Serena admitted and Kanade laughed as she stood up to her feet.

“The holiday inspired me too.” Kanade winked before briefly going back out into the hallway. She returned with two large plastic bags and an even larger smile.

“What’s that?” Chris asked skeptically. With that look on Kanade’s face, Chris certainly had good reason to be a bit suspicious. Kanade didn’t answer, only offering one of the bags to her. Chris gingerly took the plastic bag, as if waiting for it to explode.

“Come on Chris, have a little faith in me will you?” Kanade pouted dramatically. When Serena pulled it off it always looked cute and Chris would be suckered into doing anything Serena wanted (It had the same effect on Maria and Kanade she believed) but when Kanade did it, she just looked utterly ridiculous and would convince no one (Except maybe Tsubasa. Sometimes.).

“Ugh, you look awful stop that.” Chris scowled but opened the plastic bag anyway to stick her hand in and pull out whatever it was inside. Chris’ hand encountered something soft and plush; and she blinked when she pulled out a stuffed rabbit. It wasn’t just any random rabbit however. Chris gasped a little in delight when she saw that it was a stuffed toy of her favorite rabbit key chain.

“I saw it by chance earlier and thought of you. I had to buy it.” Kanade explained easily.

“…Thanks.” Chris’ voice was hardly above a whisper as she hugged the toy to her tightly, trying to hide her face from Kanade.

“What? I don’t even get a kiss?” Even the tips of Chris’ ears burned at Kanade’s somewhat serious tease.

“S-Shut up, you idiot!” Chris shouted, though her voice was muffled as she still had her face pressed on her gift. Both Serena and Kanade laughed, always loving Chris’ ever contrary and easily embarrassed nature.

“Yeah, I love you too.” Kanade chuckled, easily enveloping Chris in her arms and leaning down a bit to kiss her on the top of her head. Chris was silent, leaning her head on Kanade’s chest. Serena smiled fondly as she watched them, having placed Liz back in her cage.

“Don’t think I’ve forgotten you though.” Kanade winked at Serena as she motioned for her to come closer. She presented the other bag as Serena approached, unwilling to let go of Chris.

“Chocolates!” Serena exclaimed in delight when she saw that the bag was full of chocolates in the shape of rabbits.

“Heh, I know it’s not much but it’s something we can all share.” Kanade said with a touch of sheepishness.

“No, it’s a perfect end for today.” Serena shook her head and smiled even sweeter than all the chocolates in the world.

“The two of you are too cute! I love the both of you so much!”” Kanade exclaimed shamelessly, easily scooping both Serena and Chris into a crushing hug, even lifting them for emphasis. Serena giggled, careful to not let Kanade’s enthusiastic hug ruin the chocolates while Chris made choking noises as she was pressed too tightly to Kanade’s chest.

“I love the both of you too.” Serena said sincerely as they were put down.

“…Yeah, me too.” Chris mumbled faintly but they heard it anyway.

Chapter Text

Serena blinked owlishly from the text she was studiously reading when her cellphone rang. The screen was bright in the near darkness of her room, the only illumination being the lamp she was using to read.

“Maria-neesan…” Serena murmured as she saw that it was her older sister’s name flashing on the screen. She rubbed a tired eye using her left hand while the other was used to pick up her phone and answer the call.

“Hello?” Serena answered the call, her voice sounding a little tired.

“Ah, hello Serena?” The familiar voice of Maria greeted her. Despite Serena’s apparent exhaustion, hearing the voice of her older sister made her smile a bit. However, it faded fast as worry lanced at her.

“Maria-neesan, why did you call? Is there something wrong at the conference?” Serena asked, worried that something has happened to Maria. Right now Maria was in a week-long teacher’s conference in another city four hours away for work and she had just left yesterday, leaving Serena alone at their shared apartment.

“What? No, no! Everything’s fine. Perhaps a bit busy but there’s no problem here.” Maria was quick to assure her and Serena breathed a sigh of relief. “I just called to check up on you. I’ve only found the time to call you now.” Maria sounded quite apologetic.

“It’s fine. I know you’re busy there too.” Serena immediately waved off Maria’s apology.

“My days are fully packed and we’re running around everywhere. I only get free time when I’m asleep.” Maria complained but she was laughing a little. Serena knew without a doubt that even though she was swamped with work that Maria was enjoying herself. Serena knew that she made the right decision to insist that Maria go.

“But enough about me. How are you Serena? Have you been eating three meals a day? Have you been getting enough sleep? Don’t study too hard!” Maria fretted as she was prone to do during the rare times the two of them had to be separated.

“I’m fine Maria-neesan. It’s only been a day.” Serena said to soothe her although she winced guiltily. She had been using all her free time studying for her college entrance exams and she’s been studying non-stop ever since she got home from school. Serena glanced at the digital clock nearby and found that it was already fifteen minutes past eight. She hadn’t had dinner yet, and she had only eaten a couple of sandwiches from the cafeteria during lunch since she didn’t get up early enough to make her own. Of course, she woke up late because she had studied late into the night, totally ignoring Maria’s warnings of not studying too late the night before.

“I’ve already eaten and I’m just doing some light reading.” Serena lied, her conscience pricking at her. She felt bad for lying but she didn’t want Maria to worry about her so. Serena didn’t want to be a burden to her sister, and she wanted to prove that she’s capable of taking care of herself.

“Ah, good. I just worry about you sometimes. You take good care of everyone else around you, including me, but when it comes to taking care of yourself…” Maria trailed off, not really needing to finish her words as Serena knew exactly what she was saying. She winced guiltily again, mouthing ‘Sorry Maria-neesan.’

“There’s nothing to worry about Maria-neesan.” Serena said firmly. “So just focus on your work, okay?”

“I know, I know. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there for you right now but do take care alright? I have to go. Talk to you again tomorrow night! I love you. ” Maria then said in farewell.

“Good night, and I love you too.” And with that, the line went dead. With a sigh, Serena put down her phone and stood up from her seat to stretch. Her stomach was now protesting loudly as she had been neglecting it for the past few hours. Pondering on what to do about her dinner, Serena wandered off to the kitchen to look at what she could fix up for her dinner.

Unfortunately for her, she had totally neglected to restock the fridge earlier and there was hardly anything to eat except for some eggs and a cup of Maria’s favorite pudding. Sighing glumly, Serena closed the door to the fridge and started thinking of what else she could do.

“Maybe I’ll just get some takeout…” Serena sighed to herself in defeat. Grabbing her wallet and keys from her room, she was about to step out when her phone rang again. When she saw who it was, a smile lit up Serena’s face and she quickly answered. “Hello?”

“Hey there sexy lady.” A familiar breathy voice greeted her and Serena giggled.

“Hello, Kanade.” She greeted warmly.

“So, I’m willing to bet you haven’t eaten yet.” Kanade drawled knowingly.

“How did you know that?” Serena blurted out in surprise.

“I didn’t. I just made an intelligent guess based on how I know you.” Kanade responded glibly and Serena realized that Kanade got her good.

“I… I’m just about to go out and get food.” Serena sighed. Knowing Kanade, she would scold Serena for being neglectful.

“No need babe. I just need you to open the door.” Kanade informed her cheerfully, not at all sounding mad as Serena expected her to.

Puzzled, Serena did as she was told, only to find a beaming Kanade burdened with several plastic bags in both hands, her Bluetooth headset blinking at her right ear.

“Hey.” Kanade greeted her casually as Serena’s mouth fell open a little.

“Why are you here?” Serena asked, totally caught off-guard at her girlfriend’s sudden appearance, her hand falling down at her side limply with her phone.

“Why, I’m here to the rescue for my starving yet still hot girlfriend.” Kanade winked. Serena was both touched and guilty at Kanade’s gesture. If there was one thing that Serena didn’t like, it was burdening other people with her own problems.

“And no, you’re not a burden. I did this because I wanted to.” Kanade seemed to have read Serena’s face perfectly, anticipating what was in her mind. Serena had to take a moment to marvel at how easily Kanade could read her. Maria had been the only one who could read her so well. “I promise I got good stuff so can I come in?” Kanade continued, lifting the plastic bags for emphasis.

“Oh! Of course.” Serena internally berated herself for not even inviting Kanade in. She helped Kanade in carrying some of the plastic bags and allowed her to come in first. Serena then noticed that Kanade had a large backpack with her and it was the first that she deposited on the couch. The plastic bags were then placed at the top of the kitchen counter.

“I’ll be borrowing your freezer, okay?” Kanade then said as she pulled out three tubs of ice cream from one of the bags.

“Ice cream?” Serena tilted her head questioningly.

“For dessert of course.” Kanade grinned proudly as she closed the freezer door. “And that there is our dinner. I should’ve been here earlier but your favorite place had a lot of customers in. I had to wait for a bit.” Kanade then pointed to the bag beside Serena before she washed her hands.

Serena went to check out the indicated bag, only to see that it was indeed from her favorite Italian restaurant. Serena’s mouth watered when she found her all-time favorite dish along with Kanade’s own order. This wasn’t the first time that Kanade had done something kind for her but strangely, Serena felt a sudden rush of affection and emotion for her girlfriend. Automatically, Serena approached Kanade and hugged her from behind, burying her face at her wild mane of red hair and her broad back.

“Oh? Something wrong, Serena?” Kanade asked mildly as she wiped her hands on a towel, otherwise staying perfectly still as she basked in Serena’s warmth.

“…Thank you.” Serena murmured, her voice muffled. Kanade only laughed softly in response and turned around in Serena’s embrace to kiss her forehead.

“Well, I think your stomach waited long enough. It’s time for us to eat.” Kanade said and Serena gave a nod in reply, stepping away.

Serena practically inhaled her pasta, her hunger now apparent as they settled down to eat at the dining table. She pouted a little when Kanade laughed.

“What?” Serena asked, perhaps a little miffed, not at all noticing the sauce that made itself appear at the corner of her mouth.

“I just enjoy seeing you eat so happily. I think I’ve been an influence on you.” Kanade smirked, reaching across the table to swipe her thumb at the stray sauce, brushing against the corner of Serena’s bottom lip. Serena immediately blushed, turning pink as she looked at Kanade with wide eyes.

“Aww. You’re so cute when you blush. You should do it more often.” Kanade cooed as she licked off the sauce off her thumb. Serena’s face burned at the jab and at the gesture. She could only avert her eyes, shyly lowering them down to look at her mostly empty plate. Usually, Serena wasn’t all that flustered whenever Kanade would flirt with her even before they were together. Now though… Kanade was certainly getting even bolder now!

Serena was unable to come up with a comeback and she remained silent with that adorable blush on her cheeks. Kanade seemed really happy of her victory at making Serena blush as she stared at Serena with a goofy smile, putting her chin on top of her hand. Serena could even hear her hum a happy tune. Serena didn’t even notice that Kanade was already finished with her meal and she was content at just watching Serena.

“Are you done?” Kanade asked as soon as Serena polished off the last of her pasta. When she nodded, Kanade immediately stood up and gathered the dishes.

“K-Kanade! That’s my job!” Serena exclaimed as she shot to her feet, the chair she was on scraping the floor noisily but she ignored it as best she could. Kanade was her guest after all, and having her clear the table was rude.

“Uh-uh. You just sit back and relax honey.” Kanade snatched away the dishes that Serena was reaching out to. “You’ve been studying so hard lately. You deserve a break.” With great reluctance, Serena sat back down. Kanade was right. She had been studying almost non-stop for days now, made even worse when she didn’t have Maria fussing over her.

“Besides, we still have the awesome dessert I’m about to make.” Kanade grinned as she put the dishes down in the sink before pulling out the tubs of ice cream from the freezer. She then took the other plastic bag still left in the counter and brought out a can of whip cream, a jar of cherries, a pack of nuts, some sprinkles, a bottle of chocolate sauce and a banana. Lastly, a huge bowl was placed in front of Serena and Kanade held a knife in one hand and an ice cream scoop in the other.

“Now feast your eyes on Chef Kanade’s very special Banana Split Surprise!” Kanade exclaimed grandly. First, Kanade took a scoop each of the three ice cream tubs, which revealed themselves to be strawberry, chocolate and vanilla flavors and placed them in the large bowl. Next, she cut the banana in half and then chopping them into smaller bite-sized pieces and arranging them around the trio of ice cream. She pulled out the whipped cream next, generously topping the ice cream. Kanade then sprinkled on the nuts and sprinkles, and she put on the whipped cream three stemmed maraschino cherries. For the finale, she drizzled the chocolate sauce all over the sweet concoction.

“And voila!” Kanade said as dramatically as possible, even bowing as she gestured to the bowl. “For you mademoiselle.” Her pronunciation was awful and she thoroughly exaggerated the French accent but Serena couldn’t help but giggle, her eyes shining at the dessert that Kanade made for her.

“Thank you, Kanade!” Serena was thrilled as Kanade presented a spoon to her so she could dig in. Ice cream had always been a favorite of Serena’s. She took a spoonful of it and took it all in. The cold and sweet flavor burst in her mouth, making her smile and nod in satisfaction.

“How is it?” Kanade asked rather anxiously.

“It tastes perfect.” Serena told her sincerely and took another spoonful before offering it to Kanade. “See for yourself.” For a moment, Kanade looked surprised at the bold offer before she obediently opened her mouth and allowed Serena to feed her.

“See?” Serena smiled sweetly and Kanade nodded dumbly. Seeing Kanade being the one caught off-guard this time was sweet indeed. “I can't finish all of this though. So you better help me.” Serena then said and Kanade seemed to have recovered as she took another spoon and sat back down to share the dessert with Serena. It didn’t take all that long for the banana split to dwindle to a shallow pool of melted ice cream.

“Thank you for the meal. I really enjoyed that.” Serena sighed happily as she put her spoon down. It was certainly a big change from her earlier exhaustion. A good meal and good company along with beloved ice cream greatly improved Serena’s overall mood and made her feel relaxed instead of stressed.

“I’m glad that you liked it.” Kanade chuckled as she placed her spoon down too. “You’ve been really stressed lately with all the studying you’ve been doing. I know it’s important but you have to relax and take care of yourself.” Kanade sounded reprimanding now and Serena winced guiltily. “Besides, I promised Maria, so I’m crashing here until she gets back.”

“You will?” Serena asked, shocked. This was the first she heard of it. No wonder Kanade had brought a bag with her. “I’m surprised Maria-neesan let you.” It was certainly no secret that Maria was rather protective of Serena, and even though she approved of Serena and Kanade’s relationship, she was a bit strict with regards to staying over unless she was personally there.

“Well, I’ve convinced her of my trustworthiness. That, and Tsubasa also backed me up.” Kanade winked.

“Oh, would Tsubasa-san be alright with you staying here for a week?” Serena asked, worried for Kanade’s roommate and best friend.

“Of course she is. She’s worried for you too after all. I actually asked her if she wanted to stay over too but with your big sister gone, she said that she’ll just be the third wheel and didn’t want to disturb us.” Kanade grinned at that and Serena chuckled. Well, she did understand Tsubasa’s gripes of being a third wheel and besides, with Maria out, she didn’t have a compelling reason to come. It was almost funny at times with how utterly smitten Tsubasa was with Maria, and Tsubasa herself didn’t actually realize it.

“But in any case, big sis Kanade is here to take care of you so you don’t need to worry!” Kanade puffed up her chest proudly. The image was marred with some stray ice cream near Kanade’s lips and Serena couldn’t help but giggle.

“Big Sis? We’re the same age and I’m older than you by a few months.” Serena reminded her, affection welling up in her chest as she looked at Kanade. Sometimes Serena felt that Kanade is too good for her. Kanade seemed boisterous and playful at first glance but Serena came to know that she had a caring and strong heart.

“Details. Who needs them.” Kanade snorted, waving a hand for emphasis. Serena then stood up and approached Kanade with an innocent smile.

“I don’t think I want you as my big sister though. Maria-neesan would be upset.” Serena said lightly. “I’d rather have you as my girlfriend.” With that announcement, Serena stopped right beside Kanade and leaned down. If Kanade could boldly flirt with her, Serena could certainly do the same. Kanade had seemingly frozen, waiting with baited breath. Serena smirked as she licked away the ice cream from the corner of Kanade’s lips and stood up straight again.

Kanade looked up at Serena with a multitude of emotions. At first surprise, then disbelief and then indignation. Kanade’s hand then shot forward and firmly latched on Serena’s wrist, preventing her from moving away. Serena merely looked questioningly at her, an innocent expression on her face.

“You are such a tease.” Kanade proclaimed flatly before yanking Serena down for their lips to meet in a proper kiss. Serena’s heart skipped a beat when their lips met and she melted under Kanade’s incessant lips. She didn’t even realize that Kanade had stood up and had her arms wrapped around Serena’s waist.

When Kanade pulled away, Serena was completely breathless and flushed. Kanade grinned lazily down at her before nuzzling Serena’s cheek, prompting Serena to giggle at the ticklish and warm feeling.

“I love you.” Kanade breathed out and Serena’s heart swelled. She breathed in Kanade’s scent that reminded her of a sunny day and cinnamon.

“I love you too.” Serena murmured back with all the sincerity she could muster, hugging Kanade tightly.

Chapter Text

“I’m pregnant.” Kanade announced somberly. Silence was the only thing that greeted that announcement as Kanade’s two companions had identical looks of stunned surprise. It was taking all of Kanade’s self-control not to burst out laughing at the priceless looks on Tsubasa and Maria’s faces. Mentally, she congratulated herself for her brilliant prank this April Fool’s Day.

“…H-how..?” Maria managed to choke out, breaking the silence.

“You’re asking that now? When you’re the one who-“ Kanade tried to sound coy and a little scandalized, and it was a rather sorry attempt to be honest but Maria immediately paled as soon as the words left her lips.

“T-that’s not what I’m asking!” Maria interrupted her hysterically. She looked horrified and embarrassed in one and it was one of the most hilarious things that Kanade had ever seen. “Besides, how do you even know it was me?!”

“Well, this could be Tsubasa’s…” Kanade said slowly.

“M-mine?” Tsubasa’s voice was high-pitched, almost sounding like she was squeaking as she gaped at Kanade.

“Since we don’t know who the dad is, you both have to take responsibility for this.” Kanade told them.

“B-but how?! We’re all women! That doesn’t even make sense!” Maria yelped.

“Phonic gain maybe? We have been singing while doing it lately…” Kanade offered innocently. At her words both Maria and Tsubasa went beet red.

“When phonic gain’s involved… It could happen.” Tsubasa muttered as she seemed to genuinely think it over. Maria merely looked aghast but could not refute it either.

“Besides, I’ve been late for two weeks now. I even took a pregnancy test.” She then showed them her ultimate trump card, a fake positive pregnancy test that she bought yesterday just for this prank.

“No way, you’re really pregnant?” Tsubasa looked as white as a sheet, gaping at the proof right in front of her. Maria didn’t look any better and she seemed to be on the verge of hyperventilating. Hook, line and sinker. Kanade mentally high-fived herself. This was the best prank ever.

Kanade patiently waited for her girlfriends to recover, keeping her features schooled into seriousness. She knew she didn’t really need to say anything more. Honestly, she couldn’t wait for what they were gonna say now that they truly believe that Kanade is pregnant.

“I… I’m really happy.” Tsubasa was the first to recover, her words oddly choked. However, she was serious and sincere as she said those words. Kanade couldn’t help but grin a little at Tsubasa looking earnestly awkward at the news. “But Kanade… Your body… Will you be alright?” She then asked in concern. “We should get you checked at the doctor now.” Suddenly Tsubasa looked grimly serious and Kanade winced a little at that. If she lets Tsubasa take her, then she’d be totally busted. She wanted to enjoy this prank a little longer.

“Well, maybe not right now Tsubasa. It’s a little too soon and don’t we need to set an appointment for a doctor?” Kanade said, stalling.

“Oh, you’re right.” Tsubasa frowned a little in realization. “I’ll call them right away then and set an appointment.”

“Ah wait!” Kanade yelped and Tsubasa looked at her questioningly. “I’ll be the one to call them later.” Kanade coughed as she composed herself.

“Alright. I understand.” Tsubasa nodded slowly. “I think for tomorrow we’ll have to cancel work and make the doctor’s appointment a priority. That would be fine with you, Maria?” Both Tsubasa and Kanade looked at Maria who had been oddly silent this whole time.

“Maria?” Tsubasa called out to her again with a slightly creased brow as Maria didn’t answer. She seemed even paler now, and Kanade could easily tell her chest going up and down as she breathed shallowly.

“Maria?” Kanade called out to her this time, just a touch of concern on her face. Still, Maria did not reply. Kanade and Tsubasa looked at each other in worry then. The two stepped closer to Maria, with Kanade waving her hand in front of Maria’s face. She was looking straight ahead, her eyes unfocused and seemed to not notice Kanade’s efforts of getting her attention.

“Maria.” Tsubasa repeated insistently, placing a hand on Maria’s shoulder. That seemed to get some reaction from Maria as she looked at Tsubasa, however she seemed to look right through her and her breathing seemed to become even faster.

“I’m going to be a mom…” Maria murmured in utter disbelief before her eyes rolled back and she collapsed.

“Maria!” Both Tsubasa and Kanade yelled her name, reacting at the same time to catch the fainted Maria. Tsubasa was the closer one and so she was the one that caught her in her arms before she eased Maria to the floor. The amusement that Kanade garnered from this situation all but vanished, replaced by dread as she kneeled down beside her girlfriends.

“Maria! Wake up, Maria!” Kanade exclaimed insistently, lightly slapping Maria’s cheek to try and rouse her. “It was just a joke! A joke! I’m not really pregnant!” The confession spilled out of Kanade’s lips in panic, as if those words would somehow revive Maria.

Kanade felt relief flood her when Maria opened her eyes and looked at her. However, Kanade instantly saw the spark of humor in her eyes and her lips tugged into a smile.

“Got you.” Maria informed her plainly in obvious amusement. Kanade looked at her blankly for a few seconds, her brain lagging on her. She then looked at Tsubasa who had an identical amused smile on her face and that was when Kanade knew she’d been had.

Kanade then burst out laughing, mostly amused that she had been unexpectedly out-pranked by her girlfriends. “Oh man! You guys got me good huh?” Kanade exclaimed as she got her laughter under control. Frankly, she is amazed that since she had never pegged Tsubasa or Maria to be pranksters in their own right, or even just good actresses. She had totally fallen for their act. “I didn’t think you both even cared it’s April Fools! Tsubasa always usually falls for my pranks! How did you both know I was just joking?”

“I do not!” Tsubasa denied as she blushed a little but Kanade only looked at her knowingly. “…I did learn my lesson!” She then admitted, flailing under Kanade’s gaze.

“Tsubasa and I already had this prank played on us before.” Maria explained, helping Tsubasa out a little. “We have certainly learned our lesson from that.” She then motioned for all of them to stand up and they all did.

“Down to the fake pregnancy test you showed us.” Tsubasa continued, tapping the said item in Kanade’s hand.

“What? Someone already did that? Who?” Kanade asked, interested. Well, it’s not like her idea was that original in the first place. But still, she wished that she had been the first one to pull it on these two.

“Kirika and Shirabe, two years ago.” Maria sighed, a long-suffering look appearing on her face. Kanade could only deduce that they both fell for that one then. Kanade huffed a little at that. No wonder she couldn’t trick them anymore. They must’ve been a lot more cautious and conscious of April Fool’s since then.

“The first of April is always a warzone here. Do not believe anything that anyone says. That’s the only way to survive here.” Tsubasa said with all solemnity, giving the air of a weary war veteran. “Although it seems that simply telling lies as pranks are past now.”

“Last year, Chris and Elfnein flooded the kitchens with coffee and started a food fight. You should also be careful when you’re going to come in to eat at the mess hall. Don’t panic if the food is in different colors or tastes different.” Maria advised knowingly.

“You’re pulling my leg.” Kanade said in disbelief, shaking her head. All four of the mentioned hardly seemed like pranksters, even though she hadn’t known them for long since she just woke up from her coma hardly ten months ago. Tsubasa and Maria only looked at each other again before shrugging.

“Elfnein is probably the most dangerous out of everyone here. Alchemy is much too useful for pranks.” Tsubasa cautioned her and Kanade laughed at the absurdity of sweet Elfnein being a master prankster.

“Seriously though, the only thing I learned from you two is not to believe anything I hear today.” Kanade had all but dismissed the outrageous claims of Tsubasa and Maria. They may have got her good earlier but this was definitely too much to believe.

“Don’t say we didn’t warn you.” Was Maria’s last warning. Kanade just shrugged it off.

“I need some breakfast. You two coming?” Kanade said, totally ignoring their warnings as she walked towards the automatic sliding door. Neither Tsubasa nor Maria answered the question, not that they were able to since as soon as the door opened, Kanade yelped as she was sprayed forcefully with water right at the face.

“What the hell!?” Kanade gasped as the attack stopped. She angrily wiped away the water from her face and finally saw a smirking Chris with a large water gun, or perhaps to be even more precise, she held a large water cannon that sprayed water at an incredible pressure.

“Bombs away!” Two impish voices chorused even as Kanade barely had time to recover from Chris’ ambush. Two water balloons hit her on the head, exploding on contact and drenching her even further.

“Argh!” Kanade sputtered as she was paralyzed and blinded by the bombardment.

“We did it Chris-senpai!” A voice Kanade recognized to be Kirika cheered.

“Three direct hits.” A voice that could only be Shirabe said proudly.

“Ha! You’re too unguarded!” Chris crowed triumphantly, waving her water cannon around. “I can’t believe you’re that easy to take down!”

“When I get my hands on all of you I’ll-“ Kanade was pissed. She hardly even stepped out of the room yet and she had been ambushed! Before she could finish however, she was yanked backwards into the room and the door closed. Sopping wet and finally able to open her eyes again, she turned to Tsubasa and Maria who both had surprisingly similar ‘I told you so’ faces.

“Those three are going down.” Kanade growled as she pushed away her wet hair away from her face.

“Dry yourself and change your clothes first.” Maria scolded not unlike a mother would as she produced a towel from somewhere and handed it to Kanade. With an aggravated grunt of acknowledgment, she obediently started to dry herself. Her clothes were mostly soaked through and she would probably need a shower now and change clothes.

“We told you it’s a warzone out there, and the only ones you can trust are your teammates.” Tsubasa told her with just a hint of scolding. Kanade pouted sullenly. She didn’t really expect such an attack since she disregarded their warnings.

“So the three of us are teammates?” Kanade asked, now more willing to listen as she finally realized the truth of their words. Kanade was all but ready to rush back out and get revenge but she knew now that she needed to listen to her girlfriends if she wanted to survive out there.

“Yes. Yukine, Akatsuki and Tsukuyomi are another team. Of course; Tachibana, Kohinata and Elfnein are yet another team we have to contend with.” Tsubasa confirmed with a nod. “They are all formidable foes and underestimating them will lead to our downfall.” There was a spark of fiery competitiveness in Tsubas’s usually calm eyes as she said that.

“And now Chris’ team has three points already. We have to level the playing field.” Maria pointed out, the same competitive spark in her eyes. Kanade found that she rather liked seeing them all fired up.

“Ooh, I can tell how fired up you two are.” Kanade communicated her thoughts out loud, grinning a bit lecherously as she scrutinized them. “It’s certainly sexy.” And on cue, the two of them blushed brightly and Kanade wasn’t able to duck when Tsubasa socked her on the shoulder.

“Be serious!” Tsubasa exclaimed. Kanade could only snicker a bit, finding it a little ironic that Tsubasa wanted her to be serious because of a prank war.

“Okay, okay.” Kanade relented with a fond smile before she got back to the matter at hand. “Basically, we’ll just have to take them all out right?” Kanade asked in confirmation. Tsubasa nodded in agreement while Maria smirked. Now this was something that Kanade could get behind. It looked like today was going to be a very fun day indeed.

“Now, get dressed! We only have until dinner to win.” Maria then said, pushing Kanade towards their bathroom. Feeling excited, Kanade did as she was told. While showering, she wondered just how they would pay them back. And so, as soon as she was done and walked out of the bathroom, she opened her mouth to ask.

“So how exactly are we going to fight ba-“ Kanade asked as soon as she stepped in back to the room. However, she wasn’t able to finish her question as she gaped a little at what Tsubasa and Maria were wearing.

Both were wearing what seemed to be rain coats, a light blue for Tsubasa and a pink one for Maria. The hoods were up and hid their hair, and the sleeves reached to their wrists and the coat reached to their ankles. Rubber boots that matched their rain coat adorned their feet. Hanging from their necks were bulky, square safety goggles that one would most likely find in a laboratory. They looked just a tad bit silly and Kanade did not stop the urge to laugh long and loud this time.

“What are you two even wearing?” Kanade managed to ask through her laughter, clutching her stomach.

“Keep on laughing Kanade but this is what you’re going to wear too.” Maria huffed.

“It would be unwise to be attired in anything else.” Tsubasa cautioned, totally ignoring Kanade’s gut busting laughter. “I assure you that you will regret it.” Tsubasa emphasized, and to help her point, she pulled out a water cannon similar to what Kanade had seen Chris use. At the sight of it, Kanade’s laughter died down. Getting sprayed with that in the face wasn’t certainly fun.

“…You’re all certainly taking this seriously.” Kanade couldn’t help but comment, maybe even a little awed at how prepared they were, even though it was a little funny. “Did you all plan this or something?”

“You could say that.” Maria said thoughtfully. “After last year’s hoopla, the Commander decided to assign this day as training. It was decided that this year our main weapons would be these water cannons that Elfnein made. Of course, we’re all free to use any other tools like the water balloons Kirika and Shirabe pelted you with or to set up booby traps, which I’m sure Elfnein and Miku had done.”

“Pretty hardcore. I definitely like this.” Kanade nodded in approval, impressed with how much everyone else had prepared for this.

“We’ll all be monitored the whole day until dinner. To determine the winners, the team with the most points wins. Each hit on an opposing team member gets a point. Although the other personnel could also join in and make our lives even harder.” Kanade noted that Maria seemed to be enjoying explaining the official rules and regulations of this water war.

“The only safe zones are our rooms. Everywhere else is fair game. The mess hall is especially dangerous since another food fight might ensue.” Tsubasa continued the explanation.

“Whoa… Never thought this was going to happen ever. It’s certainly a nice change from before.” Kanade commented with a touch of awe and nostalgia. Indeed, before mostly it was Kanade trying to keep things fun. Now, with the addition of the others, it seems that the former Division 2 had indeed changed. “I’m kinda annoyed you didn’t warn me about this though.” She then said as Maria handed her a folded red orange rain coat, boots and safety goggles.

“We wanted to surprise you.” Maria informed her bluntly. “If you didn’t pull that prank about being pregnant we would have tossed you in the middle of the warzone to fend for yourself.” The way Maria said it hardly sounded like a joke. Saying scary things with the most deadpan of voices was Tsubasa’s forte but it looked like Maria had already started adopting it.

“But since we already had our payback, it seemed that it would be too cruel if we did that.” Tsubasa continued with a firm nod.

“Y-you two are really scary when you tagteam me like this…” Kanade mumbled, perhaps a little reluctant on admitting it as she pulled on the rain coat.

“With how you love to tease us every day of the year, we get this one day to pay you back.” Tsubasa told her lightly.

“Yeah, yeah, I get the message. I won’t tease as much.” Kanade said as she sat down on the bed to put on her boots. “Maybe.” She added under her breath. Not that she could help it. Tsubasa had always been fun to tease since way before but adding Maria to the mix was one of the best things ever. Their earlier performance was exactly how Kanade had envisioned they would react, except perhaps Maria fainting for real, and even though she knew they were only acting Kanade couldn’t help but grin as she remembered the priceless looks on their faces.

“Well, I’m ready to go.” Kanade announced cheerfully as she put on the safety goggles. “Don’t I look as positively dorky as the two of you?” She said cheekily, giving her girlfriends the ‘V’ for victory sign.

“Good.” Tsubasa smiled briefly at her, as usual ignoring the playful jab but there was a slight blush on her cheeks. Maria then handed Kanade her water cannon before she whipped out another.

“Oh before we go, how about a bet?” Kanade smirked mischievously as she shouldered her water cannon. The idea came to her randomly and it should certainly serve to spice up the competition even further.

“A bet?” Tsubasa echoed curiously.

“Yeah, whoever can get as many points between the three of would get the other two to be her slaves for a day.” Kanade proposed. Both Tsubasa and Maria blinked at her for a moment. “You know, for proper motivation, aside from revenge and that reward if we win against the others.” She then wiggled her eyebrows suggestively at them.

“You look like you’re confident you’re going to win.” Tsubasa pointed out dryly.

“When am I not?” Kanade asked cockily, posing rather dramatically. She was totally unaware that she looked rather ridiculous doing that with her current outfit. Tsubasa’s lips twitched into a smile and she shook her head in fond exasperation while Maria gave out a soft and amused giggle.

“Continue on laughing you two. We’ll see who’ll laugh when I win.” Kanade was confident as ever, goading on Tsubasa and Maria. This wouldn’t be as fun if there wasn’t more at stake after all.

“Alright then. I accept your challenge.” Tsubasa was the first to give, just as Kanade expected. Tsubasa actually had a bit of a competitive streak and goading her was the easiest way to get her to agree.

“And that’s two against one, Maria. You don’t have much of a choice but to agree.” Kanade then turned to Maria who only sighed and nodded. “Don’t worry, I won’t ask for something too outrageous.” Kanade assured sweetly. Maria only raised her eyebrows at her but then smiled.

“Only if you win.” Maria reminded her, an evil smirk on her face. It was the first time that she had ever seen such a look on Maria and Kanade blinked a little at the unexpected sudden surge in confidence. Momentarily distracted, she didn’t notice that Tsubasa had already opened their door.

“Don’t fall behind, Kanade.” Tsubasa smirked and like the wind, she and Maria disappeared into the corridor, leaving Kanade gaping.

“H-hey! Wait for me!” Kanade yelled out and with a huge smile followed after them.

Chapter Text

“Both of you please do not be too reckless and hurt each other, alright?” Tsubasa told her two girlfriends sternly, eyeing Kanade and Maria as they climbed up into the boxing ring. Tsubasa knew that the both of them were capable fighters, but competition between them tended to escalate. Kanade always did have a competitive streak but it was almost surprising that Maria had it too.

“Don’t worry, we won’t!” Kanade said, throwing some practice punches into the air as she bounced on her feet. She was smiling rather cockily as she rolled her shoulders. On the other side of the ring from Kanade, Maria was doing the same, though her face was a mask of serious concentration. Tsubasa was momentarily distracted as her eyes zeroed in on their chests. The both of them wore sports bras that left little to the imagination. It exposed their muscular shoulders and their ample breasts bouncing just a little with each movement. Their wonderful abs were also exposed and sometimes Tsubasa just had this urge to bury her face in them, especially Kanade’s though Maria was certainly no slouch on that department either. To top it off, both of them wore form-fitting shorts that showed off their toned legs and their perfect derrieres. Tsubasa found herself shamelessly ogling the powerful and very beautiful forms of her girlfriends.

“We’ll be careful, Tsubasa,” Maria assured, her features softening a little when she addressed Tsubasa. Realizing that she was staring, Tsubasa averted her eyes with a slight blush, nodding to acknowledge Maria’s words.

“Okay, so you ready to get beaten, Maria?” Kanade asked, a cocky smirk on her lips as she took on her fighting stance.

Maria looked faintly amused before she copied Kanade. “We’ll see who’ll win then.”

“Come on, Tsubasa, do the honors!” Kanade then called out to her, waving briefly. Tsubasa gave a nod in acknowledgment at the request.

“Ready?” Tsubasa asked, raising her voice so that it could be heard clearly throughout the room. Both Kanade and Maria tensed, ready to spring into action at any moment. Tsubasa took a moment to appreciate the sculpted muscles on display as they tensed. “Go!” At the cue, Kanade launched herself at Maria, taking an aggressive first attack, her fists ready. With graceful agility, Maria dodged most of Kanade’s strikes before launching a counter attack. Kanade wasn’t as quick but she was able to defend against Maria’s punches.

Tsubasa watched the two exchanged blows, neither of them having the upper hand. Tsubasa admired how their toned muscles flexed under the smooth skin as they continued to trade blows. For a moment, that was all Tsubasa could focus on and a blush rose to her cheeks. Her girlfriends looked so damn hot and powerful right now, she had to check if she was drowning in her own drool.

Tsubasa had pretty much lost track of time as the spar continued, neither of them backing down at all. As much as Tsubasa loved them in action though, it was starting to worry her a little as the fight continued on. Kanade had already improved a lot as Maria used to be much better at her in hand to hand combat when they started training together a month ago. The doctors were satisfied enough of the recovery of Kanade’s body from her coma and gave her the go signal to start training again. No wonder Kanade was confident in challenging Maria to a sparring contest. The fight continued to escalate but still with no clear winner.

“This is going to take a while…” Tsubasa murmured to herself, her eyebrows creasing a little. She looked over at the clock at the other side of the wall to check on how long this has been going on.

Suddenly, there was the sound of a fist hitting flesh, followed immediately by an almost sickening crack. Startled, Tsubasa almost had whiplash to look back at the sparring pair. Kanade was down, some blood trickling from her lips and she looked quite dazed as she was sprawled on the ground. Maria still had her left fist raised in a mean hook.

“Kanade!” Tsubasa exclaimed as she recovered immediately, rushing to the ring and climbing up to go to Kanade’s side. That snapped Maria out of her reverie and she seemed to have realized what she had done.

“Kanade!” Maria also called out worriedly, dropping to her knees just as Tsubasa did. Gently, Tsubasa slapped Kanade’s cheek to try and rouse her.

“Kanade, wake up! Are you alright?” Tsubasa asked worriedly. Maria also repeatedly called out to Kanade, holding on to one of her hands.

“Whew…. Did you get the license plate on that truck?” Kanade’s eyes finally focused as she moved, shaking her head a little. “Maaan, everything is all spinny.” She giggled, grinning goofily at her two girlfriends. Both Tsubasa and Maria breathed a sigh of relief that somehow, Kanade was alright.

“Thank goodness.” Maria breathed a sigh of relief that Tsubasa echoed. With a bit of help, Kanade was able to sit up.

“Oh man, you got me good there, Maria.” Kanade said, massaging her jaw. Her cheek also was already swollen. Maria really did quite a number on her.

“Don’t be so flippant about it! You were almost knocked out!” Tsubasa chastised, wiping away some of the blood on Kanade’s lip.

“Can you stand?” Maria asked worriedly. Kanade gave a small nod, and Maria wrapped Kanade’s arm around her shoulders to help her stand. Tsubasa assisted them so that Maria could bring Kanade to the benches at the side. She then rushed out to the nearby pantry to get an ice pack.

Worry gnawed at Tsubasa’s insides. Despite Kanade looking well, it still worried her that she got hurt because of their fight escalating and they got too into it. It was exactly what she warned them about and it made Tsubasa mad that they didn’t heed her advice.

When Tsubasa returned with the ice pack, Kanade was sitting down at the bench, being fussed over by Maria. Tsubasa sat beside Kanade, placing the ice pack against her jaw.

“Ohh, that feels good.” Kanade groaned in relief, before wincing a little when Tsubasa pushed the ice pack against her aching cheek and jaw. “Ow! Tsubasa, take it easy with that!”

“You deserve it for not listening to me.” Tsubasa huffed. She then eyed the guilty looking Maria. “The both of you.” She said sternly. The both of them had identical looks of scolded children, with Kanade even pouting.

“Maria, hold this. I’ll go get the first aid kit.” Tsubasa said, indicating the ice pack. Maria nodded and was now the one holding the ice pack to Kanade’s jaw. Tsubasa stood up to go a few paces away from where the first aid kit was hidden behind a nearby table.

“Now what? We made her mad.” Even from where she was, Tsubasa was able to hear Kanade’s whispered words.

“This is your fault.” Maria said flatly.

“My fault?? I was the one you punched into next Tuesday!” Kanade said, sounding offended.

“Well okay, I’m sorry about that.” Maria winced guiltily and her face flushed red. She caressed Kanade’s cheek soothingly in apology. “But you were goading me!”

“You just didn’t want to lose to me.” Kanade scoffed and winced again when Maria’s caress turned into a poke. “Ow, ow! I’m injured, why can’t my girlfriends be nicer?”

“Tsubasa’s mad at us, what do we do?” Maria hissed, reminding Kanade of their predicament.

“Well, let’s just give her lots of kisses. That usually works, from both sides okay?” Kanade said. Maria looked thoughtful for a moment before nodding in reply.Tsubasa was a little offended that they thought that giving her kisses would make her not mad anymore. Finally finding the first aid kit, Tsubasa returned to Kanade’s side. She took the ice pack away from Maria and tended to the cut on Kanade’s lip. The other two were silent, letting Tsubasa concentrate on the task. When she was done, Maria quietly stood up and Kanade murmured a thanks.

“Tsubasa…” Maria began as she walked on to Tsubasa’s other side and sitting down. Tsubasa looked back and forth at the two of them, knowing that they were going to execute their plan.

“We’re sorry…” Both Kanade and Maria said in unison before they both kissed her on her cheeks. A blush bloomed on Tsubasa’s cheeks at the soft touch of their lips despite her determination not to.

“N-No… I’m still mad.” Tsubasa stuttered at first, but became resolute at the end as she glared at them. However, the two of them continued on giving her kisses and Tsubasa found herself absolutely melting.

“F-Fine! Just don’t do it again.” Tsubasa relented, unable to resist.

“Alright!” Kanade cheered while Maria sighed in relief.

Tsubasa just let out a loud sigh. They were actually right about her. But honestly, she wasn’t that torn up about it as Kanade and Maria continued to shower her with a lot of kisses. How could she ever stay mad?

Later that night:

“Victory is mine!” Kanade declared as she pulled Tsubasa to her chest, cradling her protectively. The three of them were now on their bed for the night.

“Hey! No fair, Kanade! I won the match earlier!” Maria exclaimed, looking peeved.

“Nope, nope! Tsubasa likes my boobs as her pillow better.” Kanade stuck her tongue out at Maria.

“I’m the better pillow!” Maria looked offended at Kanade’s statement. “I happen to smell nice! And I’m the warmest!”

“And who told you that?” Kanade raised an eyebrow.

“Kirika and Shirabe….” Maria mumbled, losing some steam.

“Pfft, that sounds weird coming from you.” Kanade chortled and Maria huffed. Tsubasa couldn’t help but smile against Kanade’s chest, amused at Maria’s display of childishness.

“It’s true though…” Tsubasa mumbled into Kanade’s chest.

“Shhh, I know and I agree actually.” Kanade whispered into Tsubasa’s ear. “But don’t tell her I said that.”

“Ah geez, since I’m the one that lost, how about the two of you use me as a pillow tonight?” Kanade then proposed. Maria thought it over for a moment before nodding, squeezing into Kanade’s arms beside Tsubasa so that they could share Kanade as a pillow.

“All’s well that ends well, right?” Kanade said with a grin.

“Just go to sleep.” Maria poked her on the arm while Tsubasa gave out a soft laugh. Now, this was bliss, Tsubasa thought to herself before falling asleep.

Chapter Text

Maria huddled under her blankets, feeling sick and miserable. She had a high fever and it was difficult to even move and function properly when she felt dizzy every time she stood up. It was just her luck that she fell sick just as Kirika and Shirabe went with Hibiki and Miku for a sort of double date in a hot spring outside of town this weekend. They wouldn’t be back for two days. They did insist on postponing it since Maria was sick but they already had reservations and everything paid for and she refused to have them waste that because of her.

Kirika and Shirabe had just left a few hours before and Maria hadn’t gotten up from the bed to make lunch or do much of anything really. She had gathered all her remaining strength earlier to pretend that it wasn’t bad. She could still remember the suspicion and doubt plain on their faces even with her best efforts. It was also a pain sometimes when you had loved ones who read you so well. Still, Maria’s persistence had paid off and they reluctantly left, though with promises of them checking in on her every couple of hours. Almost as soon as they left though, Maria collapsed on the bed and could no longer push herself to stand.

Now, Maria felt just plain awful. Her throat was itchy and dry, her head was pounding and her body felt like it was made of lead. She huddled under her sheets, feeling the heat radiating from her body but at the same time she was shivering from being cold. Just as Maria was wondering what she should do, she felt her phone vibrate somewhere underneath her pillow. Fumbling a little to unearth the thing, she was greeted with a message not from Kirika or Shirabe, or even Tsubasa, but from Chris.

I’m coming in. The brats gave me a key so just sit tight. ’ It said. Maria blinked owlishly, her brain lagging on her before she heard the front door open and close. Maria stared stupidly at the door to her room, expecting Chris any moment even as disbelief welled in her. And just like that, the door opened again to reveal Chris, burdened with several bags.

“Chris!” Maria managed to exclaim, her voice a bit scratchy. Her brain jolted into overdrive now that she was sure she wasn’t dreaming or anything. She had a guest and she felt rather self-conscious of her state. She tried to jump to her feet, but she only managed to sit up when a bout of dizziness made her groan and cradle her head.

“Geez, I told you to stay put.” Chris scolded, dropping the bags in her hands to rush to Maria’s side and push her back down on the bed. “Even I can tell that you’re really sick and you just let them leave you like this.” She frowned.

“Why are you here..?” Maria asked, brows furrowed in confusion as she looked up at Chris. She tucked Maria back underneath her sheets before she answered.

“I was asked to.” Chris grunted, taking the discarded bags and placing them beside Maria’s side table. “They knew you well enough that you were faking.” She looked at Maria with a stern, displeased expression.

“Those two…” Maria muttered, her face reddening even more from embarrassment. She wasn’t used to getting taken care of. It was always her who was clucking her tongue and scolding others to take care of themselves. It felt strange to be on the receiving end.

“You don’t really have to, Chris. I can take care of myself just fine.” Maria then tried, smiling weakly at her.

“Oh please, you’re in a bad shape. You won’t survive without someone taking care of you.” Chris scoffed, poking Maria’s forehead with a finger. “So just relax and I’ll take care of it.” Chris sounded confident but she pointedly looked away from Maria with a soft blush on her cheeks.

Maria was suddenly struck at how adorable Chris was being and she felt herself relax a little. More than that though, she was right that Maria would have a very difficult time taking care of herself when she was like this. With a soft sigh, she accepted her fate.“...Thank you.” The words slipped right out of Maria’s mouth. Even though she had been protesting earlier, she was quite touched that Chris was doing this for her.

“Yeah, sure.” Chris nodded in acknowledgement. “I’ve got food, think you’re up for it?” She held up one of the plastic bags she brought.

“Yes, please!” Maria perked up a little at the mention of food. She was getting pretty hungry. Chris nodded in approval at that, before leaving for the kitchen. Maria closed her eyes, listening to the sounds of Chris puttering around in the kitchen for a bit before returning with a tray of soup, a glass of water and medicine.

Maria tried to sit up so she could eat but Chris was having none of it as she angrily told her to stay still. Placing the tray down momentarily at the table, Chris carefully added another pillow below Maria’s head to elevate her enough. She then took the bowl and a spoon, practically brandishing the silverware to keep Maria still. Maria pouted a little but obeyed nonetheless. There was a faint smirk of triumph on Chris’ lips as she dipped the spoon into the still steaming soup and gently blew on it.

“Eat up.” Chris encouraged. Her words seemed rough but she was gentle as she touched the spoon to Maria’s lips. Maria parted her lips, drinking in the warm broth greedily. It soothed her throat and slid easily into her belly, plus it was delicious.

“It’s delicious.” Maria complimented softly. Chris turned a suspicious shade of red, mumbling about how it was just some canned soup that she fixed up. Still, Chris made it and it was really delicious. Maria quietly focused on eating, her eyes trailed on Chris’ pursed lips as she concentrated on feeding her. Chris was so earnest and adorable, Maria would have pinched her cheek if she had the strength to do so. When Maria had enough, Chris coaxed her into drinking her medicine before helping her settle back down into the bed. Maria had to admit that she liked the attention.

“Thank you again, Chris.” Maria murmured as she was now well fed and sleepy. She looked up adoringly at Chris with heavy-lidded eyes, watching her carry a basin with cold water to her bedside.

“Yeah, don’t worry about it.” Chris muttered, sitting on her chair  beside Maria’s bed and wringing out the excess water from the towel she was going to place on Maria’s forehead.

“Let’s go to that restaurant you like as my thank you.” Maria yawned as the towel was placed on her forehead, cooling her off a little.

“Get better soon first.” Chris rolled her eyes but her movements were gentle as always. She patted the cloth on Maria’s forehead, making sure it was comfortably placed.

“With your help, I’m sure I’ll be better in no time.” Maria said sleepily, a smile tugging at her lips.

“Go to sleep, geez.” Chris blushed again, and Maria finally slid her eyes shut as she drifted off to sleep. She felt quite safe, knowing that Chris was nearby and looking after her. She felt none of her earlier anxiety at being sick. Chris was a comforting presence that she appreciated and it lulled her to sleep.

“Good night, Maria.” Chris mumbled, barely audible. Maria was already about to completely slip into dreamland when she felt the cloth on her forehead shift a bit to the side and something pleasantly warm, moist and soft touched her forehead. A slow and lazy smile managed to tug at Maria’s lips at the sensation, relishing it for a moment before finally succumbing to sleep.

Chapter Text

Something seemed off about Chris. At least, that’s what Hibiki thought. She couldn’t really put a finger on what exactly is off but Chris has been acting a little strange. Hibiki would be the first to admit that she wasn’t the most observant of people but it she was starting to notice that Chris would have a faraway look on her face whenever Hibiki would mention her parents getting along once more. Chris would become quiet, and it was as if she would stare into the distance and only nod to Hibiki regaling her with stories.

“…And you know, it’s been so long since I’ve seen Mom and Dad together. Dad’s really trying hard to make it up to mom.” Hibiki cheerfully told Chris. Chris merely nodded absently. Hibiki didn’t know if Chris was even listening.

It was starting to worry Hibiki a little. She didn’t understand why Chris would become so melancholy all of a sudden. And so, being Hibiki, she asked.

“Are you okay, Chris-chan?” Hibiki asked, her brows furrowing.

“Hmm?” Chris was looking at Hibiki but her gaze was far, far away.

“You’ve been kinda spacing out…” Hibiki pointed out, being her usual direct self.

“It’s nothing.” Chris answered firmly before turning away from Hibiki. “I gotta go.” She then said as she slung her bag on her shoulder.

“Oh, okay.” Hibiki was now more sure that something was wrong but Chris would most likely get angry if she tried to press

“Hey.” Chris then turned back to Hibiki before she was about to leave. “You take care of your parents, okay?” With those last words, Chris strode off, leaving a confused Hibiki behind.

“Chris-chan…” Perhaps it was time to ask Tsubasa about it.


“Chris-senpai has been acting strange lately.” Kirika declared as she slid her spy glasses on.

“And we’re here to investigate.” Shirabe said somberly, her spy glasses already perched on her nose.

For days now, Shirabe and Kirika have noticed that Chris had changed her route home and she now hardly walks home with them. She seemed to be taking a longer route now and it piqued their interest. What could their beloved senpai be doing? To be honest, it had Kirika and Shirabe worried. They fear that they had done something wrong and that Chris is avoiding them because of it.

And so, they hatched the brilliant plan of following Chris as she goes home. When Chris appeared from the school gates and set off for the opposite way of her usual route home, Kirika and Shirabe followed from a distance. As they followed, the two of them noticed that they were going to the shopping district.

Kirika and Shirabe then blinked in surprise when Chris stopped in front of the windows of a popular CD store. Chris didn’t go in but instead stayed perfectly still as she looked through the windows to look at all the music CDs on display. It was hard for them to see the expression on Chris’ face.

“Let’s go closer.” Shirabe whispered to Kirika who nodded. However, before they could even move, Chris started to walk again. Taking that as an opportunity to investigate further, the two of them hurried to the shop windows to see what Chris was looking at. They found several smiling visages of Tsubasa and Maria, as well as other popular artists as the shop window just displayed the top-selling CDs.

“Huh. You think Chris-senpai wants to buy these?” Kirika was disappointed and confused. All of them had copies of Maria and Tsubasa’s latest CDs so there was no need for her to buy them.

“I don’t know Kiri-chan.” Shirabe shook her head.

So they continued their investigation and followed Chris for the next three days. Everyday without a doubt Chris would stare for a few minutes into the CD shop and then just leave. It was easy to conclude that Chris goes through her new route just to look as she doesn’t really stop for anything else.

On the fourth day however, Kirika and Shirabe saw Chris enter the store for the first time. Chris left barely ten minutes later, a distinct frown on her face. Unable to suppress their curiousity, they tried asking the guy at the counter if a white-haired girl had asked for anything.

“Ah, was that the girl who just left? Yeah, she asked if we had a stock of albums that were ten years old or so. We didn’t have what she was looking for though.” The guy behind the counter said.

“Can you tell us the albums that she was looking for?” Kirika asked.

“It was a bunch of albums by a vocalist and violinist. It was Masa-something? Sorry, I can’t remember.” The guy shrugged and the two thanked him before leaving. What could Chris be looking for?

“Maybe we should ask Tsubasa-san about this.” Shirabe suggested and Kirika nodded in agreement.


“A place that sells old CDs?” Tsubasa repeated, raising her eyebrows a little at Chris’ unusual question.

“…Yeah, I thought you might know.” Chris said gruffly, not at all looking at Tsubasa, mostly just keeping her eyes on the mug in her hands.

“I apologize, I’m not all familiar with shops that sell CDs.” Tsubasa said apologetically. She was an idol and sells those CDs, however, she doesn’t really have much of an idea on the places that actually sold her CDs. “Do you have anything in particular that you’re looking for?”

“...Not really.” Chris muttered reluctantly, pointedly not looking at Tsubasa. Most of the time, Tsubasa was a bit of an airhead but she could tell with certainty that Chris was not telling the truth. However, Chris wasn’t really the type of person that would tell what was troubling her until she herself was ready, so Tsubasa could do nothing but reluctantly let it go.

“Perhaps you should try the internet.” Tsubasa then suggested. Chris only shrugged.

“We’re here to watch a movie, right? Come on.” Chris then changed the subject as she stood up. Tsubasa could only watch her go to the large screen TV and look over the piles of DVDs. Tsubasa frowned a little, pondering on what she should do when she received two simultaneous text messages from Hibiki and Kirika.

Tsubasa raised an eyebrow as they both mentioned wanting to talk to her about Chris.

“Perhaps they could help me.” Tsubasa murmured as she sent an affirmative to both.


“Thank you.” Tsubasa told Maria politely as she placed a cup of tea in front of her. Maria nodded before continuing to serve Hibiki and the others with tea. Shirabe placed a large plate of cookies at the middle of the table before sitting down beside Kirika. Hibiki automatically took a cookie and bit into it, before offering another to Miku who was beside her. Tsubasa lifted the tea to her lips, murmuring in approval at Maria’s improved tea making.

Kirika then stood up and loudly cleared her throat, successfully getting the attention of everyone in the room. “So now let’s begin the meeting to discuss ‘what’s wrong with Chris-senpai’!” For once, Kirika looked to be entirely serious as she looked around at everyone. Tsubasa put down her tea, her face serious as it usually was.

“So let’s give a recap of what’s been happening with Chris-senpai! First, she’s been taking a different route when going home. Shirabe and I followed her and she’s been going through the market district.”

“Maybe she’s buying something to eat for dinner?” Maria suggested with a small frown. “And you shouldn’t spy on people…” There was an edge of disapproval in Maria’s voice and Kirika laughed nervously.

“It was just a couple of times! We were just worried!” Kirika defended themselves, whipping on her spy glasses. “And we found out that she likes to look at the store front of the music shop! But she doesn’t really buy anything though.”

“She did go inside once but she just talked to the clerk before leaving. She seemed to have been looking for CDs.” Shirabe added. “Tsubasa-senpai, did Chris-senpai tell you anything?” Shirabe then looked over at Tsubasa.

“Yes, she did mention that she was looking for old CDs but she volunteered no more than that.” Tsubasa nodded.

“Do you think that has something to do with how absent-minded she’s being lately?” Miku asked, looking mildly intrigued.

“She acts kinda weird whenever I bring my parents up.” Hibiki then put her two cents in, munching on yet another cookie.

“Her parents..?” Maria wondered, her eyebrows creased at how old CDs could have anything to do with Hibiki’s parents. And that was when the light bulb lit up at the top of Tsubasa’s head.

“Her parents!” Tsubasa then said loudly, making the others jump in surprise.

“Tsubasa-san?” Hibiki prompted curiously.

“Yukine’s parents were musicians! Uncle told me that! They used to tour before they went to Val Verde.” Tsubasa explained, wondering why she didn’t think of this sooner.

“Oh..!” There was a collective gasp from everyone as the information sunk in their heads.

“So Chris is looking for old CDs of her parents’ work?” Miku asked in confirmation.

“That would be most likely.” Tsubasa nodded in satisfaction.

“Then we should help her look for them!” Kirika said excitedly.

“Alright! I’ll ask around all the CD shops in the city!” Hibiki volunteered with a large smile.

“I’ll go with you!” Miku immediately said.

“Kiri-chan and I will look online!” Even Shirabe looked fired up now.

“I’ll ask around our contacts in the industry.” Maria offered, getting her phone and already texting a couple of people.

Tsubasa couldn’t help but smile at the eagerness the others showed in helping Chris. “I’ll ask Uncle if he knows more. He was once a good friend of theirs.”

“Chris-senpai is gonna get surprised!” Kirika grinned and all of them agreed to keep it a secret from Chris, until they finally find those CDs she wanted!


“Sonnet-kun and Masanori-kun, huh?” Genjuuro pondered outloud as he crossed his arms. Tsubasa stood in front of him, having just asked him about Chris’ parents.

“If I remembered correctly, they did have a couple of CDs released, but that was over ten years ago, and there were limited copies.” Genjuuro continued.

“Do you perhaps know where I could find a copy?” Tsubasa asked hopefully and Genjuuro shook his head.

“I see…” Tsubasa was crestfallen, and was about to turn and walk away when a call went through to the bridge.

“Its for you Commander and Tsubasa-san.” Aoi then said.

“For me..?” Tsubasa frowned and her father’s face appeared before them.

“Father!” Tsubasa said in surprise, not expecting her father to call her here.

“Yatsuhiro-aniki, what’s wrong?” Genjuuro asked, his face becoming a lot more serious.

“I’ve heard from Shinji you were looking for something.” The one Yatsuhiro addressed was not Genjuuro but Tsubasa. Tsubasa’s eyebrows raised but nonetheless she nodded.

“Go through your memories, Tsubasa. And you will find what you’re looking for there.” With that rather cryptic message, Yatushiro disappeared from the screen. Tsubasa glanced up at Genjuuro in confusion. What did her father mean by that?

“Ah!” Genjuuro then seemed to realize something as he peered down at Tsubasa.

“Uncle?” Tsubasa asked, confused.

“Go to your old room, Tsubasa. Something is waiting for you there and you have to find it.” Genjuuro ushered her out.

“My… room..?” Utterly perplexed but unable to do anything but obey, Tsubasa set off to go to the Kazanari mansion.


Tsubasa stood at the time capsule that is her old room. It was still as messy yet somehow clean as ever. She only managed to clear out a few of her things the last time she was here because she was embarrassed with Maria seeing it but mostly, it was still the same.

“What did Uncle and Father mean about go through my memories..?” Tsubasa asked thoughtfully to herself as she maneuvered her way to the mic stand and the cassette player she had in her room. She traced it fondly, remembering how she used to sing ‘Koi no Okehazama’ almost non-stop when she was younger.

Without much thought, she did as she was asked, she went through her things and her memories. She saw her old book bag, the one she used while she was still in elementary, and an old recorder flute. She remembered being very nervous when she played it in front of the class for the test. She saw her old Playstation, the one she usually played on whenever she was alone at night in the mansion. Her uncle sometimes played it with her, and even rarer her father played with her. Miscellaneous clothing, books, and other knick-knacks brought waves and waves of nostalgia for Tsubasa, but she seemed to be nowhere close to what it is she’s actually looking for.

And then, as she was going through her closet, she found a box hidden at the side. Somehow, it drew Tsubasa in and gave her an especially strong sense of nostalgia. Curiously, she took it out noting the blue and red ribbons decorating the top before she took the lid off. Tsubasa was greeted with a slightly faded piece of paper depicting two little girls drawn in the hand of a young child. Tsubasa couldn’t believe it almost, as even though it was crudely drawn, there was no mistaking that she was one of the children there.

“This is…” Tsubasa exhaled softly, taking the paper to look at it closer. The version of her on the paper was one that was hardly seven years old, her side ponytail unmistakable. Kid Tsubasa was holding on to the hand of the other girl, wearing a red dress, with white hair in two tails.

“Yukine..?” Tsubasa murmured in disbelief, recognizing that distinctive hair. Below the drawing of the two girls was something written in an inexperienced hand.

“Zubaban and Chris…” Tsubasa read out loud, and gasped as memories flittered in her mind at the name.


A young Tsubasa was out in the gardens by herself, singing to herself as she skipped around on her own. Today, she was told that her Uncle Genjuuro had guests coming. Feeling shy, she confined herself in the gardens until they were to leave.

To comfort herself, she sang songs, not knowing that her singing had attracted a curious little visitor.

“Ahh! You have a pretty voice!” Tsubasa was startled as she finished a song, when a young girl seemingly popped out from behind her. She had fluffy white hair, and it was pulled back by twin tails at the nape of her neck. She was pretty, and looked to be a little younger than Tsubasa’s seven years of age.

“Could you sing again?” The young girl approached her, a cute stuffed bunny in her arms.

“Oh, uh, okay…” Tsubasa hesitated only for a moment, but she calmed down enough to do what she was asked. She had never met another girl close to her age before and she felt shy. But the eagerness shining in the girl’s lavender eyes persuaded her to start singing again. Tsubasa kept a close eye on the other girl, wondering who she was and enjoying the look of wide-eyed wonder as she sang.

“Wow!! That was really amazing! You sing almost as good as my mama!” The girl exclaimed, applauding Tsubasa as she finished with her song.

“T-thank you…” Tsubasa thanked her as was appropriate, her face red from the praise.

“Chris? Where are you?” A woman’s voice could then be heard from around the corner.

The girl visibly perked up at the voice and she rushed on over to where she heard it. “Mama! Mama, look! I found someone who sings as prettily as you do!” Tsubasa heard her say excitedly, before she appeared again, this time dragging a pretty older woman who looks just like the little girl.

Tsubasa felt her face grow pink again as the older woman looked at her before smiling.

“Slow down, Chris.” The woman laughed. She could only be the girl’s mother. “You must be Tsubasa-san.” She then greeted Tsubasa, her smile warm and kind. Tsubasa nodded shyly, shifting awkwardly on her feet.

“Zubaban?” The girl called Chris repeated, tilting her head cutely as she botched up the pronunciation of Tsubasa’s name.

“Tsu-ba-sa-san.” Her mother clearly enunciated, speaking slowly.

“Tsu-Zubaban?” Chris tried but still, it came out wrong. She was frowning and looked like she was kinda annoyed.

“T-that’s okay! You can call me Zubaban…” Tsubasa spoke up, not wanting the other girl to frown.

“Okay!” Chris’ face immediately brightened and she smiled happily. “My name’s Chris! It’s nice to meet you, Zubaban!”


Tsubasa blinked at the memories, for a moment shocked that she had met Chris before when they were younger. Perhaps even more shocking was that Tsubasa had completely forgotten about it.

“She used to call me ‘Zubaban’.” Tsubasa murmured to herself, remembering how adorably cute Chris was when she was younger. She couldn’t help but giggle a little. If she reminded Chris about this, she would probably deny it to her death that she once gave a bizarre nickname to Tsubasa because she can’t say her name well.

Tsubasa remembered how she and Chris began to play with each other on the next couple of days as their family visited every day. They used to play hide and seek in the vast mansion, and Tsubasa was very good at finding Chris. Except for one time…


Tsubasa was puzzled as she stood in the middle of the dojo, wondering where could Chris have gone. She wasn’t in any of her usual hiding spots, and Tsubasa had already checked all of the rooms. Chris must’ve tried harder this time, since she had been mad that Tsubasa was always able to find her. Tsubasa then decided to go back to the main house, passing by one of the rooms when she heard the faintest sound of sniffling.

For a moment, Tsubasa stood in alarm, trying to pinpoint where the sound was coming from. She then realized it was coming from a large decorative pot that was about as tall as Tsubasa. She then went closer, and the crying grew louder.

“Chris..?” Tsubasa called out worriedly. The crying stopped for a moment.

“Zubaban?” Chris’ voice came from the pot.

“Yeah, its me! Why are you crying, what’s wrong?” Tsubasa rushed to the mouth of the pot, trying to peer at the mouth of it when Chris’ head popped out.

“I got stuck…” Chris sniffled,. “I don't know how to get out… And, and, you took so long to find me…. I got lonely and scared…”

“Don’t worry, Chris. I’m right here, we’ll get you out!” Tsubasa said in determination, wiping Chris’ tears away awkwardly. Chris finally smiled and gave a nod.

It took the help of the other adults in the house to finally get Chris out and they got a light scolding for it then. However, Chris held onto Tsubasa’s hand the whole time and neither of them minded getting scolded.


Tsubasa then looked into the box again as she set the drawing aside, and saw a slightly worn out bunny stuffed toy. It was the toy that little Chris used to carry all the time. It was sitting right on top of a stack of CDs that Tsubasa then took out.

“These CDs..!” Tsubasa couldn’t help but exclaim in delight. There were four CDs, each one depicting the signed names of Sonnet Yukine and Masanori Yukine, and surprisingly, in red crayon was Chris’ messily signed name, Tsubasa remembered that she was given the box before Chris’ family went to Val Verde.

“Zubaban, Mama and Papa said that we’ll be going away for a while.” Chris told her sadly as they sat together on the porch outside Tsubasa’s room.

“I see…” Tsubasa murmured sadly, feeling disappointed that Chris’ daily visits were going to come to an end.

“But don’t worry! When we get back, I’ll visit you again!” Chris said earnestly, her eyes sparkling. Tsubasa couldn’t help but smile too and she nodded.

“Yeah, I’ll be waiting.” Tsubasa said softly.

“Here, I’ve got a present for you!” Chris then handed her a beautiful box with ribbons of blue and red on the lid. “Open it!” Chris then urged her and Tsubasa did as she was told, only to see the drawing of her and Chris.

“It’s great!” Tsubasa enthused, admiring herself and Chris on paper.

“RIght? I worked hard on it!” Chris puffed up her chest in pride. “I’ve got other things for you too!”

Tsubasa then took Chris’ favorite stuffed rabbit. “But isn’t she your friend..?” Tsubasa’s eyes were wide in surprise as she cradled the rabbit in her hands.

“Yeah well, I thought you’d be lonely since I won’t be visiting so she can keep you company!” Chris said offhandedly but she was blushing all the while. “So take good care of her, okay?”

“I will!” Tsubasa exclaimed and nodded. Tsubasa then saw the CDs of Chris’ parents and marveled at how many they were.

“You told me you like Mama and Papa’s songs right? So I got them to give them to you!” Chris patted the stack of CDs. “So you can play them whenever you feel lonely too!”

“Thank you so much…” Tsubasa was feeling a bit overwhelmed at all the gifts as she scrubbed at her tears, embarrassed to show herself crying. “I’ll treasure them all always!”


Tsubasa’s last memory of that time was Chris’ large yet also watery smile before they bade farewell, never to see each other until the twist of fate with the Symphogears.

“I’m glad to have met you again, Chris.” Tsubasa said warmly as she wiped away some of her tears at her reminiscing. With that, she stood up and texted everyone else.

‘Mission success.’


“Okay, Chris-senpai! Thanks for taking us shopping today!” Kirika exclaimed, a wide smile on her face as she was laden with shopping bags. Beside her were Shirabe and Maria, also having their fair share of bags.

“Yeah, no problem. But man, we went shopping for like the whole day. I’m tired.” Chris sighed, stretching out her arms.

“Thank you for accompanying us today, Chris. We had a lot of fun.” Maria was a bit more formal and pleasant, giving Chris a grateful smile. “We’ll see you tomorrow then.”

“Yeah, be careful on the way home.” Chris told them in farewell before she went inside her apartment building. Man, it was pretty tiring to go shopping. She wasn’t entirely sure why Maria, Kirika and Shirabe even needed her but she couldn’t really say no. Well, she did manage to sneak out and look at a couple of music stores but she was still unable to find what she was looking for.

“Maybe I should just give up…” Chris sighed to herself as she unlocked the door to her apartment. She then stopped dead in her tracks when she saw Tsubasa standing there, seemingly waiting for her.

“Senpai?” Chris asked, caught off-guard.

Tsubasa only smiled, before a familiar melody began to play around the room. Chris’ eyes were wide in shock as she remembered the music clearly even if she hadn’t heard it in years. She looked over at her stereo which was playing the strings of a violin before the ever familiar voice of her mother began to sing.

“This is..!” Chris couldn’t believe it, she stood frozen in shock, because just as she resigned herself to no longer hear her parents’ songs again, suddenly she would hear it again.

She looked over at Tsubasa and asked one question. “How..?”

With that, Tsubasa approached her with an old box, still having its bright red and blue ribbons on top. Something tickled at Chris’ memory and she took it in her arms, opening it to see the simple drawing of two girls.

“Zubaban…” Chris murmured, and like a bolt of lightning she remembered and she looked at Tsubasa in shock.

“You’re… Zubaban..!” Chris gasped in realization and Tsubasa grinned at hearing that cute nickname again from Chris’ lips.

“It’s been a while, hasn’t it, Chris?” Tsubasa said    with a smile. Chris continued to rummage at the box, seeing her old stuffed rabbit and the CDs that she had once given Tsubasa long ago.

“I... “ Chris was frankly in a state of embarrassment and shock and utter euphoria. “I always thought about you when I was in Val Verde but I forgot all about you…”

“Me too. I guess we’re even.” Tsubasa said before opening her arms. Chris only hesitated for a moment before she rushed to Tsubasa’s arms and hugged her unabashedly.

“I didn’t think… I’d ever hear these songs again..! Thank you…” Chris murmured, burying her face in Tsubasa’s neck as Tsubasa stroked her hair.

“I’m glad that I was able to find these for you.” Tsubasa said, kissing Chris’ forehead gently. “It seems our surprise was well-received.”

“The other idiots were in on this?” Chris asked even though she knew the answer.

“Yes, they’ve decided to have a reunion for Zubaban and Chris. Kohinata and Tachibana helped me set up while the others worked to distract you.” Tsubasa smiled, taking Chris’ hand to show her to the dining room where on the table was set a dinner for two. “It is a reunion long overdue, after all.”

“Oh geez, those idiots. And you’re the biggest idiot.” Chris’ laugh bubbled out of her, along with some embarrassed tears that she immediately scrubbed away.

“I love you.” Tsubasa then said seriously, taking Chris’ hand and kissing it.

“...I love you too.” Chris murmured shyly but it made Tsubasa smile as they had their dinner. That night, the both of them fell asleep with each other on Chris’ couch, embracing each other as they listened to the wonderful music of Chris’ parents.

“I really love you, you know.” Chris muttered to Tsubasa’s neck as she stayed up a bit longer, before pressing a kiss on the sleeping Tsubasa’s cheek. Tsubasa smiled unconsciously at the gesture, snuggling closer to Chris.

Chapter Text

Chris consciously straightened up as she put on the final piece of her costume, a black eyepatch with gold straps that clip to her hair. A gold cross with a small red gem in the center adorned the middle of the eyepatch. Chris blinked rapidly, feeling a bit uncomfortable with how her left eye is now covered but was able to recover quickly. She gazed upon herself in the full body mirror with her good eye critically, making sure that her costume was all in the right places.

Her long hair was up in twin tails, held in place with a purple and black headband, with black ribbons at each end that tied her hair up. Another unusual difference was that her pale lavender hair was now turquoise, made possible by the temporary dye that Elfnein made. Chris scrunched up her nose cutely, feeling a bit weirded out at how well the dye worked and her hair looked so different from usual. Well, she supposed that was a good thing since she looked so much closer to the character she was aiming for.

A plain purple choker was wrapped delicately around her throat, matching with her hairband. She then looked critically at her black one-piece dress edged with white. It had puffy sleeves, and flared up as it reached her hands. It also hugged her large chest, showing just a hint of cleavage. The dress reached just past her knees, with a white fabric wrapped around her waist. On her feet were heeled black boots with yellow straps that reached below her knees. It was surprisingly comfortable, and Chris didn’t regret the money she spent on the custom-made boots.

Chris very much looked like she just came right out of a goth lolita shop, but there were certain elements to her costume that made anyone looking at her think that she wasn’t just into the fashion. A golden yellow leather gun holster surrounded her hips, giving some splash of color to her otherwise gothic black dress. An impressive replica of a silver revolver gun was resting in the holster, and unmistakable bronze bullet casing were placed on the rear leather strap on her waist.

“Well, I look pretty okay.” Chris muttered to herself. Though really, she was quite pleased with how her costume was pretty damn accurate. This wasn’t a cosplay though, she was just dressing up for the Halloween party later. Elfnein had cheerfully informed them that the theme of the party was ‘Goth’ and this was what Chris decided to go with. It had nothing to do with wanting to cosplay a character she liked. Nope. Certainly not.

Chris almost jumped two feet into the air when her phone rang. Grabbing it from her dresser, she checked the screen to see who was calling. Her heart jumped a little into her throat as it was Serena, and she answered rather breathlessly.


“Hello, Chris? I’m here outside your door.” Serena’s cheerful yet serene voice informed her.

“Ah, right.” Chris responded inarticulately. “Don’t you have keys though?”

“I do, but I didn’t want to barge in without informing you first.” Serena replied. She had always been the most considerate out of their group of friends. Hibiki or Kanade would most likely just break the door down if given the opportunity. Chris heard the rattle of the keys and the door knob through the call.

“I’ll just wait for you at the living room.” Serena said brightly.

“Yeah, be out in a second.” Chris nodded even though she knew Serena couldn’t see her.

“I can’t wait!” Serena exclaimed, sincere and sweet. With that, the call ended.

Chris felt butterflies now swarm her stomach, becoming very nervous about her appearance.

With one last lingering look at the mirror and making sure she had her wallet, phone and keys on her, she proceeded to the door to leave. She fumbled with the knob for a moment as her eye patch skewed up her depth perception. She huffed in annoyance before finally being able to leave her room. She then took a deep breath as she stood in the hallway. Serena was already waiting for her and she put on what she hoped was a nonchalant expression before striding into her living room.

“Hey.” Chris greeted gruffly as she entered. Serena stood up to greet her, her patented smile on her face.

“Chris, you look amazing!” Serena enthused immediately, her expression openly admiring. Chris felt her face redden at the compliment, her arms crossing in embarrassment.

“Thanks.” Chris mumbled in return, averting her eyes shyly. She peeked at what Serena herself was wearing before doing a double take.

“What is that..?” Chris couldn’t help but ask, momentarily forgetting her embarrassment as she stared at the large silver scythe that Serena was holding. It was taller than even Serena’s considerable height, with a thin handle that connected to a blade that was about half the size of a human. Its large blade resembled outstretched bat wings, one side much larger and curving into a wicked sharpness. It looked terrifyingly real and Chris felt momentarily alarmed.

“Oh this? It’s my scythe of course! It certainly adds character to my costume.” Serena answered, completely unbothered as she twirled the huge thing fearlessly. “And don’t worry, it’s not real. I made it from wood and foam.” She added knowingly, looking amused at the look on Chris’ face.

“I-I know that!” Chris huffed defensively. “It’s just… I didn’t expect you to twirl a scythe around. That’s usually Kirika’s thing.” Indeed, she had a feeling this particular scythe was created with Kirika’s help.

“It’s the must have accessory for my Vampire Princess outfit.” Serena explained, smiling widely and now Chris was able to notice the small yet sharp looking fangs that she was sporting. Chris then took the time to look at what Serena was actually wearing, having been distracted earlier by the huge scythe.

In contrast to Chris’ predominantly black clothes, Serena was wearing a lot of white. She had on a white, one piece dress that reached to the floor. Its sleeves were short, only covering her shoulders. A red ribbon was tied right below her bosom, and another larger ribbon was tied at the back of her waist. A choker decorated with white pearls was wrapped around her neck. She also had a white headband with pearls here and there. A ruffled wrist cuff in the same material as her dress with a thin red ribbon criss crossing it adorned her left wrist. Lastly, Serena wore red contact lenses, and her hair was dyed a darker brown than usual. Like Chris, she wore something along the gothic lolita style.

“The goth loli dress I can understand, but what’s with the vampire thing?” Chris asked, raising a curious eyebrow..

“It is halloween, and vampires are also popular with gothic fiction, aren’t they?” Serena answered, playfully twirling around to show off her dress. “But really, it’s also just fun to be able to cosplay. Right, Ms. Virus exterminator?” Her tone turned teasing, and Chris turned faintly red and she muttered under her breath about all-knowing girlfriends.

“Hrmph.” Chris could only scowl. Though she wouldn’t say it outloud, Serena looked really pretty in her dress. She looked different than usual because of the contact lens and the dyed hair but Serena’s beauty still shone through. Chris couldn’t help but stare longer than she usually would.

“Do you like it?” Serena then asked, amusement and fondness dancing in her now red eyes. Chris snapped out of her reverie at the question, her uncovered eye widening in surprise.

“I… Well…” Chris stumbled on her words, trying to recover her composure at that sudden line of questioning.

“I could see that you do.” Serena giggled softly, already very well versed with Chris’ expressions. She briefly patted Chris on the head, and Chris found herself melting under the familiar touch before her embarrassment caught up with her and she half-heartedly stepped back.

“W-whatever.” Chris huffed, looking miffed but couldn’t really deny it. “Let’s get moving then.” She practically stomped towards the door, her cheeks and ears burning.

“You are so cute.” Serena giggled lightly, fondness and sincerity clear in her voice.

“S-Shut up.” Chris mumbled without any bite, turning back to look at Serena. She then offered her hand with an obvious ‘Are you coming or not?’ expression.

Serena just smiled radiantly at her, displaying her small yet sharp looking fangs. She looked so genuinely happy as she took Chris’ hand, the familiar warmth spreading from where their hands were touching. It made Chris smile a little as well as they made their way out of the apartment.

They were headed out to a nearby Halloween event, separate from the planned Halloween party with SONG. The others had insisted on attending the event first, and to have some fun all together. There were apparently lots of food stalls, games and even a haunted house at the event.

Chris felt a little conscious while they walked, wary of people’s stares. Her other hand fiddled with her holstered replica gun in a decidedly nervous gesture. Not like she can fire it, but it served as something to do when the alternative was probably ruining her dress with her nervous fiddling. Serena seemed to notice her nervousness and she began to lightly stroke the back of Chris’ hand with her thumb. The touch was soothing and pleasant, and it got Chris to relax a little, all without a word passing between them.

Surprisingly, no one else was there yet at their meeting place at the entrance of the event. Chris reluctantly let Serena’s hand go as they checked their phones. Kirika and Shirabe had already sent texts that they’ll be late, so did Hibiki and Miku. Meanwhile, Kanade had replied with a single line; ‘Busy <3’ and left it at that. Chris rolled her eyes at the vague yet dripping-with-meaning reply. Tsubasa and Maria didn’t send any messages, and she had no doubt that they were the reason for Kanade being ‘busy’.

“So, what now?” Chris asked, trying to look bored as she curiously looked around the scary decorations and the costumed people milling about.

“Hmm, why don’t we go through the haunted house first?” Serena hummed, eyes practically sparkled with mischievous intent. Chris, however, was oblivious. She was more concerned with the suggestion, her body tensing in surprise.

“The… Haunted house?” Chris repeated, swallowing nervously. Despite her usually tough air, Chris always felt… apprehensive… When it came to ghosts and other scary things. Kanade would probably bluntly tell her she was a scaredy-cat instead of just being apprehensive. Luckily, she wasn’t here right now and she was wrong, damn it!

“Please, Chris? I always wanted to go to one with you.” Serena pleaded, turning on the full force of her puppy dog eyes on her. Despite all her intention to refuse, she couldn’t bring herself to say ‘no’ when Serena had the perfect look of a kicked puppy. Chris tried to refuse, really she did. However, Serena was just too powerful and irresistible. Chris let out a soft tsk sound of annoyance and defeat.

“...Fine.” Chris grumbled out instead. She was then instantly rewarded with a kiss on the cheek and Serena’s radiant smile. Chris almost sputtered in shock, unused to the more blatant displays of affection in public. “J-just for a little while! Since we’ll be bored just standing here anyway!” She exclaimed, her contrary nature coming up as a way to hide her obvious embarrassment. She felt like steam was about to come out of her ears!

Serena just continued on smiling, locking arms with Chris to guide her towards the haunted house. Chris was already regretting her decisions in life as they joined the unmercifully short line. She wanted some time to brace herself as she looked up at the looming structure with more than apprehension. Unfortunately for her, the usher already gestured for them to go in. Chris involuntarily gripped Serena’s arm tighter as they entered and found themselves in a shadowy hallway. It was almost eerily silent, the noise from outside being cut off as the door shut behind them. Chris felt extremely tense, forcing herself to walk in pace with Serena.

Chris then heard the sound of chains, and she quickly closed her eye. Then, there were more sounds, unearthly moaning and muffled sounds of what seemed to be curses. A brief peek let her see a flash of red and a hideous, disfigured face. She resisted the urge to scream, instead closing her eye again firmly and clinging to Serena’s arm like her life depended on it. It also didn’t help that Serena was to completely silent, Chris only knowing she was there because of how close they were.

Chris kept her eye firmly shut as they continued. She didn’t really care that she was stumbling along while she clung to Serena. She was just that scared. Even though she didn’t see anything, she couldn’t shut down her hearing and the smallest sound made her jump, especially when she heard a ghastly wail somewhere nearby. It took all her self-control not to scream while her nails dug painfully on Serena’s arm. She felt Serena flinch a little, and she felt a little bad, but this was Serena’s fault though!

Chris was then bewildered when they completely stopped minutes later. Chris thought they were done, so she cautiously opened an eye. They were now in a dark room of some kind. She could just barely make out a large bed in the middle. Chris swallowed nervously,feeling even more afraid of this seemingly empty room. There was just more eerie silence for a moment before blinding lights began turning on and off rapidly, leaving her disconcerted.

Chris then noticed a movement from the bed, and she realized in horror that there was someone there. It was a woman in white, her long hair unkempt and shielding her face. She jerked unnaturally as she moved, almost in time with the blinking lights. The woman then began to crawl towards them with those same unnatural movements and Chris this time, was unable to stop a high pitched scream from leaving her lips. Feeling utterly terrified, her fight and flight response triggered. Without even thinking, she unholstered her replica gun and threw it at the advancing woman.

“Chris, no!” Serena immediately gasped, but it was too late. Chris always did have pretty good aim, and the gun hit the woman right at the face. She let out a cry of pain, and stopped advancing immediately.

Chris then realized what she’d done when lights flooded through the room and a worried staff member rushed inside. Serena also rushed to the woman’s aid and Chris followed after a beat, spilling out apologies. They tended to the woman, making sure she was taken care of before they were sheepishly brought to the manager. He had been angered that one of his employees got hurt. Thankfully though, it wasn’t anything too serious, just that the woman now had a large bruise on her forehead.

The manager had scolded them launching an angry tirade, especially with how he thought the gun had been real and the scythe Serena was carrying didn’t help either. The authorities were almost called on them before Serena was able to calm the manager down to explain and prove that the ‘weapons’ they carried were not real. Both of them had apologized over and over, and were finally let go with a stern warning.

“Ugh, what a way to start the night.” Chris groaned, trudging out of the small office, finally leaving the still fuming manager inside. She was both embarrassed and ashamed of how she had acted earlier.

“Well, at least it was fun at the start.” Serena commented, her serene smile still in place despite the ordeal they went through. She didn’t seem at all perturbed, and unlike the scary manager, Serena didn’t scold her. She just patiently helped Chris sort it out. If Chris had been alone, she would’ve probably made the problem worse by losing her temper. Serena had miraculously managed to calm down both Chris and the manager, and they got off relatively scott-free.

“You were really cute when you kept on clinging to me.” Serena giggled instead.

“Don’t remind me.” Chris sulked, crossing her arms. It felt like her cheeks were permanently red now. “You brought me to the haunted house just so that I would cling to you.” She gave Serena an accusatory stare.

Serena’s smile was both impish and innocent. It was all the answer that Chris needed. Chris was about to launch into a tirade when Serena quickly leaned down to give Chris a quick peck on the lips.

“W-wha...” Chris sputtered, her face overheating and she found that she wasn’t as irritated as she should be. Serena looked completely unapologetic as she smiled. Chris really couldn’t win against her at all.

“Let’s just go, everyone’s waiting for us.” Chris sighed instead and pulled Serena back towards the entrance.

Chapter Text

Chris lounged lazily on the couch, munching on some popcorn. Her eyes were glued to the huge TV screen, the bright and cheerful Utazukin confronting the episode’s villain. Though this was Chris’ third rewatch of the first season, she was still as entranced as the first time, even mouthing some of the dialogue in time with the characters. Her attention only shifted when she heard the door to the apartment open.

“I’m home!” Maria called out, a box in her arms as the door swung shut behind her.

“Welcome home.” Chris replied, sitting up and placing the near empty bowl of popcorn on the coffee table in front of her. Her hand hovered hesitantly on the remote, reflexively wanting to change the show since she was still embarrassed to be caught watching anime. However, Maria had told her time and time again that she didn’t mind, and that she actually found it cute. It was a testament to how comfortable Chris was with Maria that her hand relaxed and let the remote go.

“Chris, what did I tell you about eating on the couch?” Maria reminded gently, fond exasperation on her features as she placed her box down on the table.

“I didn’t get the couch dirty!” Chris huffed defensively, making sure not to touch the couch with her grease and salt covered fingers.

Maria only raised an eyebrow at her knowingly before handing her some tissues whipped up from somewhere. Chris flushed guiltily but took the offering, trying to be quick and discreet as she wiped her hands.

Maria then smiled in approval and affection. Chris felt pleased that she was the cause of it even though it was because of her messy nature. Her face warmed when Maria casually dropped a soft kiss on the top of Chris’ head before sitting down beside her.

“So, what’s in the box?” Chris asked in a faux bored tone, willing her blush down.

“Mom was cleaning out the attic and I decided to take home a few things.” Maria explained, her eyes lighting up as she pulled the box closer to her. She did mention earlier that she was going to visit Nastassja today with Serena. Chris had gracefully bowed out of it, mostly because she was still uncomfortable with the stern woman as she seemed to always glare at her with her one good eye every time she was in the vicinity. That, and she had an exam for Calculus that she couldn’t afford to miss.

Chris watched with what she hoped was a detached expression as Maria opened the box and took out what seemed to be a large leather-bound book. She settled it on her lap, tracing the cover idly.

“Well, what is it?” Chris asked impatiently, totally failing to hide her curiosity. Maria looked quite fond of the book and handled it with care. It could only be important to her.

“It’s our old photo album.” Maria revealed, opening the book to the first page. Chris’ eyes fell on the picture of a younger looking Nastassja standing upright and holding onto the hands of who could only be an even younger Maria and Serena. Maria looked to be no older than six, her pink hair already pulled into her buns, although that time they were still round and not pointed as they usually were. She looked so cute and adorable, her brilliant teal eyes staring nervously at the camera. Chris made a little noise in her throat that she disguised as a cough. She did not just stifle a squeal.

“You haven’t seen pictures of me when I was younger yet, right?” Maria asked, though Chris was hardly paying any attention to her anymore. She was too busy looking at the next picture of the sisters in a field full of flowers. Little Maria had an unfinished flower crown in her hand, her cherubic face concentrating on her task.

“Chris?” Maria called out her name after a beat of silence. It was only then that Chris realized that Maria asked her a question. She quickly tore her eyes away from the album and back to Maria’s amused eyes.

“N-No… I mean, yeah. Yeah, I haven’t.” Chris stumbled on her words as her brain finally processed the question. Maria laughed softly in response, leaning closer to Chris. She was comfortably warm as usual, and Chris mimicked her unconsciously.

“Do you want to see more?” Maria asked teasingly, closing the album. Chris grunted softly in response. Someone had been hanging out too much with Kanade again.

“Might as well, since you did bring it here. Not like I want to see it that bad.” Chris grumbled crossly. Right after though she bit her tongue, fearing that she had said too much and Maria would take offense. To her relief, however, Maria just opened the album again and began regaling Chris with anecdotes about the many pictures.

Chris listened in rapt attention, unable to stop her laughter when a funny or embarrassing picture would show itself. Maria would bluster and blush whenever Chris would laugh, like at that picture of a fourteen year old Maria with her face and hair smeared with chocolate cake, looking utterly bedraggled while Kirika, Serena and Shirabe all had triumphant smirks and more chocolate icing on their faces.

“They all ganged up on me! I didn’t stand a chance!” Maria insisted, a pout on her lips. It only made it funnier in Chris’ well-educated opinion and she let out peals of laughter, imagining how the much younger trio overwhelmed Maria in a food fight.

“You so aren’t cute.” Maria muttered, her countenance flustered. Chris knew though she wasn’t that annoyed with her just yet so she continued on laughing. It made a grudging smile tug on Maria’s lips too.

“Still, I’m surprised that you were so scrawny when you were younger.” Chris commented off-handedly, finally getting her laughter under control.

“Scrawny?” Maria repeated, raising an eyebrow at Chris.

“I mean, look at you.” Chris gestured to a picture of a fifteen year old Maria wearing a blue dress. Despite having her signature pointed buns at that time already, her hair was much shorter and she hardly looked taller than Chris had been at that age. Chris herself hadn’t changed much compared to her fifteen year old self. Her chest had already been pretty sizeable then, and seemed to be the only part of her body that grew significantly, especially compared to her height. She frequently lamented that she grew taller only by an inch and a half after three years.

“You were thin as a reed and you were short.” Chris continued. Not to mention flat, Chris noted in her head as she stared at younger Maria’s noticeably smaller chest. Chris personally thought that puberty had hit Maria like a truck, filling out her body and making her so tall. It made Chris a bit envious.

“I was a late bloomer.” Maria sounded affronted, closing the album and placed it inside the box again. She then crossed her arms in a self-conscious reflex.

“I didn’t mean that as a bad thing.” Chris hastily amended, now sensing that Maria was miffed. “I mean, you’re…” Chris paused, trying to find the words to explain how unbelievable the transformation was from scrawny Maria to tall, hot, sexy and ripped Maria. Her face burned to imagine saying the words to Maria’s face.

“I’m?” Maria repeated, leaning closer to Chris curiously. Seeing her so close made Chris panic.

“You’re hot!” Chris blurted out inarticulately, scrambling backwards. She cringed, horrified and embarrassed beyond belief at her words. However, Maria only blinked, looking quite shocked even, before she too, blushed heavily. Chris was not really expecting that reaction.

“You think I’m hot?” Maria then asked, her voice just above a whisper. She looked like she couldn’t believe it and Chris was the one confused this time. With Maria being an idol with international fame, having thousands of fans and being called a bombshell diva by the media more often than not, Chris thought Maria knew she was hot.

Chris was about to open her mouth to say ‘You’re an idol!’, as her exasperated non-answer to that question, but the look on Maria’s face made her pause. It was earnest and hopeful, and damn it, Chris couldn’t bring herself to say anything else but the truth. She jerked her head once in the world’s fastest nod. It was enough of an answer that Maria beamed.

“I’m glad to hear that.” Maria said sincerely, her eyes shining. It was then that Chris realized what Maria was so shocked about. It was because Chris had never said a compliment in such a straightforward manner before.

“G-Geez, don’t get all sappy on me just because I said the truth.” Chris scoffed, reflexively back to her die-hard tsun habits to hide her embarrassment.

“It’s just very nice to hear from you.” Maria admitted, her arms opening as she wordlessly gestured for a hug. Despite being flustered, Chris was quick to indulge the request, settling within Maria’s arms and laying her head on her chest. Maria easily pulled Chris closer, lifting her a little and adjusting their position so that Maria was lying down on the couch with Chris on top of her.

“Idiot.” Chris mumbled, encircling her arms around Maria’s waist and squeezing her gently. There was a comfortable silence as they snuggled against each other.

“You’re lucky, you know.” Chris then broke silence, mulling over her earlier thoughts. Maria stayed silent, encouraging Chris to speak up more by rubbing her back comfortingly.

“I just… I feel a bit envious that you’re so tall, when our heights were pretty close when we were the same age.” Chris grumbled into the crook of Maria’s neck. It did annoy the heck out of Chris when people would tease her about her height.

Maria hummed in acknowledgement, idly drawing random patterns on Chris’ back with her fingers. “You’re perfect as you are though.” Maria then pointed out.

“Hrmph.” Chris grunted, burying her face as her cheeks flamed. Sometimes she just couldn’t believe what comes out of Maria’s mouth so casually.

“And you still have some time left for you to grow taller.” Maria continued encouragingly. Chris snorted at that. It was hardly likely that she would grow that much taller. Still, she did appreciate Maria’s understanding and encouragement.

“Maybe.” Chris shrugged noncommittally. “I’m not holding my breath for it though.”

“If you were taller though, it’ll be harder for you to achieve your favorite position.” Maria spoke up thoughtfully, a hint of amusement in her voice.

“What do you mean?” Chris looked up at Maria with confused, narrowed eyes.

“If you were taller, you wouldn’t be able to bury your face in my chest as easily when we hug.” Maria elaborated, a playful smirk tugging on her lips.

Chris let out an indignant scoff, though her cheeks felt like they were permanently red. “It just happens! I don’t do that on purpose!” She denied insistently even as she nuzzled Maria’s chest. Maria giggled at the contrary actions and Chris lifted her head to glare at her. A sudden impulse to shut her up seized Chris and her body moved before she could even think.

“If I was taller, then it’d be easier to shut you up like this.” Chris growled, lifting her head up and pressing her lips to Maria’s in a surprise kiss. She lingered against soft lips for only a second longer before pulling away, the fiercest blush on her cheeks. She triumphantly smirked though at Maria’s stunned face. It was her usual reaction to Chris’ very rare displays of affection.

“Worked like a charm.” Chris said smugly, looking pleased even as her heart raced in her chest. “Did I break you?” She teased, poking Maria’s cheek.

Maria huffed as her trance broke, cheeks just as red as Chris’. “You don’t play fair at times like these.” Maria complained but drew Chris closer to her. “I want a proper kiss.” She then requested softly, her features softening as well.

Chris looked amused and embarrassed, but couldn’t say no. “Then come get it.” She taunted instead, feeling nervous yet thrilled. Maria did just that, closing the gap between them and claiming her lips in a deeper kiss.

Utazukin continued to play in the background and Chris faintly recognized that it was her favorite episode playing. However, with Maria kissing her and in her arms, she couldn’t really bring herself to care.