1 - Someplace Safe

Maria was a worrywart.

This was a fact of life. Just like Mom was a softie under her cool business words, just like Shirabe could get hot-blooded rage like any human being. Maria Cadenzavna Eve was a worrywart and it got old the older you got. Shirabe and Kirika knew this first hand, and unlike her, they weren't in college yet. It was likely very humiliating. Not as humiliating as it was for her but nonetheless causing quite a bit of ear pain.

Even so, Serena was considering tearing out her hairpins and stabbing her with them so she would stop babbling. Eventually, unable to turn to such a violent method, Serena turned to less obvious, but no less drastic measures: the eyes.

"Nee-san!" she exclaimed, widening her teal eyes to the largest she could take them. "It's going to be fine. You can call me anytime and I know the neighborhood. You don't have to worry about me, honest."

Her sister gave her a look of fond, exasperated disbelief. "Serena, you barely remembered to leave enough food for your cat this week."

"Only because you called me panicking at seven in the morning."

Maria flushed, and it was pretty, Serena couldn't help but notice. Not overwhelmingly pretty but it was one that could lure the eyes. Her sister was a magnet for trouble in that way, especially when she got too focused. But she would be fine. Her manager and supervisor (not to mention her coworker) would keep her out of trouble. "I merely worry, you know."

Serena giggled. "And you do it too much. I'm fine. Now, show me what needs doing. You have a ride to catch."

Maria jumped at the chance to do so, explaining everything and grabbing her bags at the same time. She had just managed to get them both sitting on the couch when the doorbell rang. Serena watched her sister groan in irritation and rise from the comfort of the sofa. "Nee-san?"

Maria didn't answer, opening the door. "Amou-san, you're early." She sounded displeased.

"Actually!" the voice corrected, warm and boisterous and probably oblivious to Maria's displeasure. "You're about to be late. Tsubasa said so and i trust her time-keeping way more than yours." She sounded so cheerful. Serena hurried to the door, well and truly curious.

"Kanade, you didn't have to put it like that…" Another voice spoke just as Serena made it to her sister's side. The current speaker's blue hair softened the stern lines of her face. Though so did the nervous fingers clutching the first woman's shirt.

Oh. She knew who they were. Amou Kanade and Kazanari Tsubasa, former idol duo Zwei Wing, who had competed with her sister on the stage until four years ago.

"Course I did," Kanade replied cheerfully. "Maria's keeping you waiting."

Maria shot her a look of betrayal. "You are incorrigible."

Kanade grinned back at her. "And you're a hen. Go on before uncle has a fit." She peered around Maria's hands on her hips. "Oh-ho that's why you're still here. Hey there!" she waved.

"Kanade!" Tsubasa said insistently.

Serena managed to smile, chest deciding to flop her heart around. "Hello."

Maria looked at her with nothing less than dismay. Serena didn't blame her. She was doomed.

A/N: I don't know why I ship these two, I just do. They're a lot of fun to write already and it's only just gotten started! As always, thanks so much for reading, please drop a review, if you want to!

CHallenges: Ficlet Chap Competition (AMF), Diversity AMF H30.