This story is based, hard, around the end of the _Oniisama E . . ._ TV series.
Of course, it completely warps basic parts of that universe to fit my DKR universe, but it still contains many spoilers, so.
Genom Research Presents
W. Suika Roberts
Based on the _Oniisama E . . . _ TV series
Which was based off the manga by Ikeda Ryouko
-Even before Tomoko met me at the train station, I knew something was wrong. The feeling had kept growing in my belly since fifteen to three, when it had appeared, and I started trying to fight it off.-
I only catch a few words she says, `Saint Juste-sama' and `Hospital', then she's crying against me. My guts squeeze, and I feel like vomiting, right there by the gates out of the train station.
`This is Saint Juste-sama's room,' Tomoko says, and reaches around me to open that basement room's door.
I step, reluctant, into the room. Steel tables, Ichinomiya-san, Miya-sama, standing, Kaoru-no-kimi on the desk against the wall, Saint Juste-sama's bracelet and a scattering of other things on another table, and a draped form on the center table.
-Oniisama, there, standing in the door, looking at Saint Juste-sama laying on the table, a small white cloth over her face, I realized two things I didn't want to.-
`What's wrong?' I ask, desperate to hear that she'll be OK, that this is some horrible joke so I can . . .
I push past Miya-sama with barely a word, pull the cover down off her face, start babbling about soup, rush towards the door to fix some, as if soup could fix everything.
-Oniisama, sometimes I regret not making soup. She'd only been dead a few hours, I was frantic, and my power was just coming into bloom. It might have helped, it would have calmed me down, and it would have made everyone worry about me, more than they did.-
Tomoko catches me before I get out the door, and I struggle for a moment, desperate to make it not be true, make her not be dead.
I cave, let it be true, bury my face against Tomoko's neck. What am I going to do? We were supposed to watch the sunset together, not.
I gulp to keep from vomiting on Tomoko, who'd forgive me, but.
I touch my belly, still flat, but somehow I know, even though it's only been a few weeks since then, since she saved me from Miya-sama, since she started with the ear Miya-sama kissed, and didn't stop. I didn't say no, but I'm not sure I could have. I think I liked it. It's only been a few weeks, I've only been vomiting before breakfast for a few days, girls can't get other girls pregnant. But I know.
-I thought about going to Mariko-san's house, thought of telling her-
Mariko would help me, would hold me gently, let me take that pretty face between my hands, kiss her, those dark eyes wide and shocked, then closing as she melts against me, soft curves pressing me into the wall as she responds.
And then we'd have two pregnant girls, because this time I wouldn't run, and two impossible things have already happened to me, so why shouldn't a third.
-but decided to keep quiet.-
`Take something, something to remember her. Rei would have wanted you too, I'm sure,' Miya-sama, Fukiko-san, says.
I nod, let my heart lead me, pick up the dark haired, green eyed doll Sai- Rei, Rei! had said looked like me, the first time I came over here. I clutch the doll close, press my face to her hair.
`You know I gave her that doll, don't you?'
`Yes, she told me,' I look up at her, there's something soft, gentle, maybe even loving in her gaze that I've never seen before, not even when she was, especially not when she was-
`I think that might be a good thing, somehow,' she says, and almost reaches out to ruffle my hair, but drops her hand again almost before it moved.
Miya-sama walks past, giving me a little smile that somehow feels more real than the ones she'd given me before all this happened.
-Miya-sama's changed, Saint Juste-sama's death had taken something out of her, some hardness, some dislike, some hatred, perhaps, has vanished from her eyes-
Tomoko drags me off to look at the board, which shows the results of the petition. The Sorority is abolished. I smile, and blink back tears.
I hold my hair back, bending over the toilet, unwilling to believe that it hasn't even been three months yet. It's barely been two months since that day, and just over a month since she died. I can't believe no one has noticed, yet. The nausea tapers off sharply after breakfast, and I'm not showing yet, but still. Mariko and Tomoko both know something is up, but not what. Summer break will be soon.
`After swim class, let's go out somewhere, for tea or something,'
Tomoko says, changing into her suit.
I change myself, carefully not watching her. I used to, before the other students started to talk, before I realized why. She really is cute, `I don't really feel like it,' I say, the world shimmering slightly.
`Come on, I hardly get to spend any time with you, ever since,' she cuts herself off.
`It's OK, I've just got things I need to deal with myself,' I tell her, smile, catch her shoulders, `OK?'
She looks worried, `OK. But you're coming to Roxy with me after class,' she smiles.
A warmth fills my chest, and I lean in and kiss her gently on the lips, `As you wish.'
-Oniisama, what have I done?-
Tomoko is watching me from across the table, picking at her food, her fingers occasionally lifting to brush her lips.
`I'm sorry,' I tell her.
`No,' she says, `It's OK. Why did you kiss me?'
I shove the back of my hand into my mouth to still it, to keep the swirl of thoughts from escaping before I can sort them. I bite it, a little fold of skin between my teeth, take a deep breath, and let go, look at the little circle of toothmarks on my hand, `Because you're cute, you're my friend, and I wanted to,' I finally say.
`Nanako!' she says, leaning over the table, dishes rattling, her fingers cupping the back of my head, `I'm glad.'
I blink, reach, and clench her other hand in my own. She clenches back, and smiles.
`I can't let the flowers dry out,' I say, as we step out into the gathering dusk.
`I'll go with you,' she says, and grabs my hand, squeezing it gently. When we get there I kneel, replace the flowers in the vase marking the spot where Rei . . . died.
*Is this OK, Saint Juste-sama? Going on like this?*
`It doesn't suit you,' she says in my hallucination, `Not cigarettes, nor other forms of suicide. It just doesn't suit you.'
I stand, and smile at Tomoko.
She's not looking at me, but up on the overpass, `There's someone up there.'
`There!' I can feel my jaw drop, as I recognize her, `She's been there since we got here, must have been,' Tomoko finishes.
`Kaoru-no-kimi,' I say, realizing that while I don't know what I lost, she lost her best? only? friend.
-Tomoko tried to lead me away, but I outweigh her, and was obstinate. Kaoru-no-kimi didn't move as we approached, even though Tomoko stomped a bit. She clutched me so hard, Oniisama, when we gathered her into our arms-
-She was so pliable, lost. We forced coffee and pastry into her, but she wouldn't talk.-
`Kaoru-no-kimi,' I started, then, `Kaoru!'
She looked up at me in shock, `What?'
`Talk, I'll listen. I won't tell anyone who doesn't need to know.'
`We won't,' Tomoko takes Kaoru's free hand.
`Thank you, but no,' Kaoru says, firmly, tears trickling down her face again.
`This isn't just Rei's death, is it?' I ask.
Tomoko looks at me in shock, and Kaoru's eyes widen just a little bit.
`No,' Kaoru answers.
`Is it something to do with the love you are forgetting?'
She shakes her head, tears flying, then suddenly she's sobbing against my shoulder again.
`The reason why you need to forget?'
She nods into my shoulder.
-We got her to my house, and settled, a bit, but she wouldn't tell us anything else. She was gone when we woke in the morning.-
`Nanako,' Mama called, `Telephone. Someone from the Basketball club!'
`I've got it!'
-They told me she wasn't there for practice, and they had a game that
night. Her parents had told them she'd stayed at my house, so they hoped I'd know where she was. I didn't. Oniisama, what's happened to her?-
I hang up the phone, then snatch it up again, dialing a familiar number.
`Moshi mosh! Mariko?' I ask as soon as they pick up.
`Mariko! It's Kaoru-no-kimi, she's missing, and something's wrong.'
`I'll meet you at the station in,' there's a short pause, and rustling, `Fifteen minutes, OK, Nanako?' she asks, a tiny stress on "Nanako."
`That would be fine, Mariko,' I tell her.
Tomoko is already waiting when I get there, and Mariko arrives a few minutes later.
They follow me readily, but ask after a little while, `Where are we going?'
`Saint Juste-sama's room. She'll know where she is, I'm sure.'
`Nanako,' Mariko says softly, `She's not there.'
I blink at the flat logic of that, wonder why I still need to go there, why I know I can talk to her if I go there, `Maybe not, but I need to go there.'
I feel the glance Mariko and Tomoko exchange over my shoulders, but they keep following me.
I reach for the bell, then notice the new name on the tag, and let my hand drop, *Rei, where is she?* I ask instead.
Smoke in a dark room, Miya-sama's silhouette traced on the wall, a bevy of small holes where Rei's knives had struck. Kaoru setting out cigarettes like incense. A sense of "not yet."
*Thank you,* I say, and turn around, `She'll be at school, in the tower room. Maybe we'll find her before that, however.'
They look at me like I'm strange, but follow me back to the elevator.
Out front I wait, I don't know what for, until Ichinomiya-san drives up, his brakes squealing as he stops in front of us.
Almost before I finished telling him, we're piling into his little car, somehow fitting four in the two seat car, Tomoko squeezing behind the seats and Mariko climbing into my lap, her bare legs warm and sweaty against my own.
`What does Henmi-san have to do with this?' Mariko asks, shifting sweetly in my lap. I shake my head to clear that feeling, clutch her a little more tightly, rain beginning to drip down the windshield.
`You wouldn't know, but Henmi Takehiko is probably the person she needs the most right now. About a year ago,' he pauses, and the car floats for an instant, then settles, rebounds, continues, `They were a couple.'
`I don't know everything, but they broke up, but they don't hate, or even dislike, each other. It seems to me that even now they share a bond.'
-Oniisama, I'd never have known-
`She's been coping, but Rei's death hit her hard,' I say.
`But something happened yesterday, something to do with why you broke up, that much we got out of her,' Tomoko says.
My oniisama looks pensive.
`Henmi,' Ichinomiya-san starts.
`Loan me your car keys,' my oniisama says, and Ichinomiya-san hands them over. He rushes from the apartment, and pulls out less vigorously than Ichinomiya-san would have.
There's no one else in the train car. Mariko looks at Tomoko, who smiles and nods, then stands, settles back into my lap, wraps her arms around my shoulders, and kisses me. Her red lips are so soft against mine. Another arm wraps around my shoulders, warm lips brush my neck.
I jerk back, surprised, and Tomoko's lips capture my own.
I shake my head, `What's going on here? Why are you doing this?'
`Because we've wanted to,' Tomoko answers,
`For a long, long time,' Mariko continues, `Since I've met you.'
`Since the beginning of the year, when I thought I'd lost you.'
`Because you're a lovely woman who'll rush around all night for a friend, because you care so much, because you're just you, because you're the cutest person I know,' Mariko says, then leans in and kisses me again.
`Because I can't stand the thought of trying to live without you, and I don't want to see you get hurt again,' Tomoko says, then kisses Mariko, before kissing me again.
`What? Why are you . . . ?' I fluster, holding them close, an arm around each of them.
Mariko kisses Tomoko, slowly, thoroughly, with _tongue_, then turns to me, `Because I won't see you hurt by trying to choose between us.'
They look at each other, smile, then both lean in at once. There are too many noses, and chins, and foreheads, but somehow we manage a three-way kiss, and it is _so_ lovely.
I settle back when the kiss breaks, retrieve an arm and rub my forehead, `Ow. That was nice,' I smile.
-Oniisama, this much happiness makes me uneasy.-
-Waking up in a pile of naked girls must be the nicest feeling in the world-
I wiggle free, check the lock on the door, pull on a shirt and shorts, then step out, rushing to the toilet, tying my hair back as I go.
I feel my belly while I brush my teeth. It is still a little soft, but already fuller, tighter, somehow.
I wake the other two, change, kiss them both, then rush out the door, making excuses to my parents as I go.
I trudge up the tower stairs, look at the ladder, sigh, and climb up.
She's there, as Rei'd told me she would be. She's set the cigarettes in a canned-coffee can, a bouquet of white flowers layed beside it.
`I guess you'd remembered, this was Rei's favorite place. She'd come here to skip class all the time.'
`You know, everyone's been worried about you, the basketball club, and Ichinomiya-san, and Henmi-san, and us.'
`I'd completely forgotten about the game.'
`Um, I heard, from Ichinomiya-san, about Henmi-san . . . '
*Was it really like that?* I asked Rei as Kaoru told of falling in love.
`Sou,' Rei says, smiling slightly, nodding, white lace about her neck.
And then she showed me her reason for breaking up with him, `They had to remove one, as part of the surgery,' she says, her shirt still open. `If there's a relapse within five years, there really isn't much hope,' she continues.
Something forces me forward, and I touch her gently, just below the scars, `There won't be one.'
`How do you know?' her voice is harsh.
`I do,' I don't know how, but I do.
`Are you willing to risk your older brother getting hurt, on that knowing?'
`We're just-' I cut myself off at the look on her face, `He's my real older brother, not just my pretend one, isn't he?'
`I thought you knew,' Kaoru says awkwardly.
I wrap my arms around her waist, `I still say that you aren't going to have a relapse.'
`I so want to believe you.'
`Nanako, could we go for a walk?' Papa asks.
I look at him, surprised, then nod, `Sure.'
We walk down to the river, and he tells me he has a son, and he loves him.
`I'm glad you said that,' I tell him, `because if you hadn't, if you had said you didn't love him, you wouldn't be the Papa I always thought you were,' I smile, blink back tears, `Does Henmi Takehiko know that you love him?'
`I hope so,' Papa says.
`Have you told him?' I close my eyes, for I haven't told either of them, yet.
`Not recently enough.'
`Mariko,' I catch her hand, and she smiles anxiously, `Tomoko,' she gives me her hand, and they are calmer already, `I love you.'
`Nanako!' they cry in harmony, and wrap their arms around me, holding me close.
-Oniisama, this much happiness really makes me anxious-
We don't see Takehiko and Kaoru for a week, and then, they show up for dinner, and Mama has enough to feed them, too, the same way she's had enough for Tomoko and Mariko, who have almost moved in they're over so much, but neither her nor Papa have said anything about that. I think they know, and there's a happy glint to their eyes, sometimes, when they look at us. I smile at my breakfast, not having had to brush my teeth before it for two days. Maybe I'm over the morning sickness, finally. That would be nice, `Tomoko and I are going to Mariko's new place today.'
`Mariko? Not Mariko-san?' Mama teases gently.
`Mariko,' I answer, smiling.
`It should be around here, near a playground.'
`Is that it, over there?' I point at the tall, reddish building on the other side.
`Yes! That should be it!' Tomoko says, and grabs my hand, taking off at a run.
I follow, since I still can, even though it is a hot day.
-Oniisama, I still haven't told anyone, not even you.-
`Come in,' Mariko greets us, with her mother, `It's very different, much smaller,' she sees us to the kitchen table, seats us, her hand brushing up my side as she scoots my chair in, then sits next to me with a little smile. Tomoko scowls a little, her eyes belying the set of her lips, but I feel Mariko's leg brush mine as she rubs Tomoko's leg between her feet.
The surprised look on her face makes me smile.
`Could you get us some Darjeeling tea, Mama?' Mariko asks, a lovely glint in her eyes, a broad grin in her voice.
`And the Creme Brule, as well?' her mama asks.
`If that's OK?'
`Just a moment.'
`This is our castle, Mama's and mine,' Mariko says, `There are some trade offs, we have to share a bedroom, the bath is smaller, I can't stomp on the stairs, but it is much more defensible.'
`Oh, Mariko,' her mother says, and pats her head.
After the tea, in Mariko's living room, listening to the boat whistles, Mariko starts, `Papa, I heard, wants to see me every month. I'm not sure if I want to, but I'll think on it, since he was the person who betrayed us.'
`I think it would be good,' Tomoko says, `I'm not as close to mine as Nanako is to hers, but I'd miss him if he left.'
`When Kaoru and Takehiko met us at the fair, to tell us they were getting married, did you see how happy Papa looked? He didn't say anything, but he was so happy. Even so, I could feel the echo of his sorrow and pain over all the time they could have had together, but didn't.'
`You seem so mature, recently,' Mariko says, hugging me.
`I've just been weepy, that's not the same thing,' I say, pressing my face to her neck, `When I've not been sticking my nose into other people's business, that is.'
`No, I think you've just grown up a lot, more than the rest of us
`Hey, she's the same age as us,' Tomoko complains.
`I'm never going to grow up,' Mariko says firmly, nuzzling against my hair, `I'm never going to understand other people's feelings, it just doesn't sit well with me.'
`So you won't see your father?'
`I'm thinking, still.'
`What, like you're the model of maturity?'
`Me? I could even be a mother by now, you know,' Tomoko says.
`I will be, in another five months or so,' I say.
The crash of breaking ceramic makes all of us turn to look at Mariko's mother, `What?' she demands.
`It could be you didn't want to say that here,' Rei says, an amused glint in her eye.
*Tell me about it,* I tell her.
`Nanako?' Mariko looks at me, then at Tomoko, then turns back to her mother, `We need to talk, privately, for a little bit, OK?'
`I'll go for a walk,' Mariko's mother says, `I'll be back in a few hours?'
`That should be fine,' I say, having finally found my voice, `Thank you,' I tell her.
`You're welcome,' she gathers me into a hug, `Poor thing, I should have felt it.'
`We'll talk later, OK?'
`Right,' I tell her, `It would be nice to know how it happened,' I glance worriedly at Mariko and Tomoko.
She smiles, `No, they aren't, and it takes a little effort,' she gives me a sympathetic smile, and leaves.
`What is she talking about?' Tomoko asks, before the front door has even closed.
I stand, walk to the partly open french door, and stand in it, hands on either side, the wind playing with my hair.
`Before you two I only had sex once.'
`What?' Mariko has the most hurt look on her face.
`Miya-sama had called me to the Sorority house, put lipstick on me, told me she loved me, kissed my ear, and shoved me down on the couch. Rei, Saint Juste-sama, saved me. Miya-sama wouldn't have stopped, and she was scaring me badly. Rei kissed my ear, where Miya-sama did. She didn't stop there, and I didn't tell her to.
`I don't think it was love, then, but it wasn't terrible.
`I realized, when Rei died, what had happened.'
`I don't know.'
`What are you going to name her?' Mariko asks, smiling again, pulling me into a deep hug.
`I don't want to tempt,' I stop, rap my knuckles against my skull,
`We'll choose a good one when she's born,' I look at them hopefully, `If that's OK?'
Mariko smiles, holds out her right hand, pinkie crooked. Tomoko closes her eyes, looks down, then up again, holding out her right hand, pinkie at the ready.
`What are we promising?' I ask, holding out my pinkie.
`Love, support, protection,' Mariko says.
`Honor and family,' Tomoko says.
`Forever, even if we hate each other sometimes,' Mariko says, hooking my finger.
Tomoko hooks up, `Forever,' she says.
`Forever, then,' I say, and we shake, then each of us claps twice.
-Mariko's mother never would tell me how she knew what she did, but she was my first, and most important, magic teacher-
`It's like when one is with a man, if it isn't the right time in her cycle, she won't get pregnant. Condoms, oral sex, barriers, if it's the right time of month, and she even slightly wants it, she'll get pregnant.
`It works, somehow, with male magical people too, but they don't tell the females about it. It's probably very painful.'
`What do you mean?'
`Think about pushing something as big around as your father's wrapped together hands out your urethra,' she says, and I wince at the image, `Now imagine your urethra is six inches longer.'
`That probably would be painful.'
`Or maybe they do it some other way, and that's why they don't talk about it.'
`Doesn't someone's wife get them pregnant sometimes?'
`My cousin got her husband pregnant, but she was sworn to secrecy about it. She smiled a lot when she told me, though.'
-We're going out to dinner, together, the three of us, Oniisama. It's so nice. I don't know if this will last, but it's nice to be able to walk along with a girl on either arm, me in jeans and a sweater while I still can, Mariko as always in a dress with a short skirt, and Tomoko in shorts.-
Mariko brushes my belly, just starting to really show at five months.
I don't know what we'll do about school, but we'll make out somehow.
After a little talk about school starting, and my health, and the baby's, and how Tomoko and Mariko are doing, he asks, `What did you want to ask me about? You invited me out here this time, and I thought you wanted to ask me something.'
`So, what is it? I'm a little worried, wondering what you'll ask, but I'd like to know.'
`Papa! How am I supposed to ask if you're skipping the prelims?'
`So it's something you're nervous about?'
`Now I'm really nervous,' Papa says, a smile in his voice, we watch the rowers on the river for a little, `Don't worry, I'll give you a straight answer.'
I stand up, turn to face him, step back a few paces, prevaricate, `I know you're not my real father, but I want to know about my actual father, I want to know everything. I love you, and I know you love me, and you need to know that that is very important to me, but for my daughter, I need to know. Who was my father? Where are they now? What kind of person are they?'
`Your mother never told me, and I never asked. It seems she lived with your father for a long time, but never married them, and left some time after you were conceived, but before you were born. It never really mattered to me, and your mother always holds such things close. But I'm me, and you are you, so if you really need to know, she's the only one who knows.' I thank him, a little disappointed, and we chat of other things for a while.
-School was remarkable. Everyone seemed to know, but no one was horrible about it. I had many condolences for the hardship of having a baby with the father dead, and everyone was so kind to Tomoko and Mariko for looking after me. Even, no, especially the people who were sure we are more than friends. Oniisama, how can it be that the same people who were just awful last year are so wonderful now?-
Kaoru-no-kimi's final basketball game, everyone is cheering so loudly, Mariko and Tomoko included, from either side of me. Being six months pregnant has really started to interfere with my life, and this is just the beginning of twenty years of hard work. Tomoko and Mariko grab me to celebrate Kaoru making another shot, and I smile, I'm really looking forward to it.
In Kuwait, waiting to go to Iraq, acclimating, suchlike. Watched the last few eps of Oniisama E . . ., finally. As I was watching I kept thinking about what Nanako, Mariko, and Tomoko would be like as adults, at 30 or so, in my recent Dark Kingdom, and the way that world works grew this story as I watched the end of the series. That last monologue could be about Miya-sama, but I already had this all plotted out, so I ran with it.
Anyone who read this far should send me a comment, because I think this may be just too
tied to a tiny population who'd be interested.
Uploaded/edited for ff . n