And here's the last chapter! Thank you so much for joining me on this ride, alligators. Enjoy!
Kotaro had the van ready bright and early the next morning. Likely, it was because he didn't want to waste makeup when they were already heading home. The group yawned as they all piled in. Lily and Tae leaned against one another as they drifted back to sleep. Junko, of course, was energetic as ever, keeping a slightly groggy Ai company. Saki stared blankly out the window, her mind not completely awake yet. While Sakura snoozed gently, Yugiri stared out the window, thinking hard.
This had been some of the most fun she'd had since reawakening, barring actual performances. She had gotten to spend time with the others in a way that didn't involve them hiding themselves and being locked away in the house. She could smile, and laugh, and take pictures with them. She could hold hands and banter. She had never gotten any of that in her previous life, outside of when it was necessary while interacting with a client.
Looking to all of the others, Yugiri felt her heart flutter and Sakura's words from the previous night came back to her. "So then, Franchouchou is like your first real family, huh?" At the time, Yugiri had been somewhat nonchalant in her answer, but it was true. She had experienced more with these girls than she had when she was alive. A hum beside her made her smile. Sakura cuddled closer to her, still snoozing away. It was thanks to Sakura that she was experiencing all of these different emotions now. Once they returned to the house, Yugiri wondered if Sakura would be willing to continue what they started the first night of the festival.
The group enjoyed the ride home in relative silence, since most of the band was asleep. Junko and Ai also took catnaps to replenish the sleep they lost from being woken up so early. Even though they were dead, they really did still enjoy the sleep.
As they pulled up to the house, everyone awoke and stretched. Saki was first out, with Tae right behind her carrying Lily. Ai and Junko stepped from the van, chatting about the week's schedule ahead of them. Yugiri looked down to find Sakura still snoozing away beside her. As Kotaro made to shout at her, the courtesan silenced him with a stern glare before lifting the pink-haired woman into her arms and carrying her into the house. Kotaro didn't bother shutting the van door as he made to park. He'd do it once he got out.
Yugiri removed Sakura's shoes at the entrance and easily slid out of her boots. Making her way to the room, she laid Sakura on the couch since their blankets hadn't been laid out yet. Settling on the floor beside her, Yugiri leaned back against the couch and watched the others go about their business. Saki, Lily, and Tae were recounting their favorite parts, with Saki throwing in little jabs at Lily for fun. Ai and Junko were most likely at the dance studio going over some of the moves. Yugiri enjoyed their dedication to their craft, something she could certainly empathize with.
Sakura stirred as Saki and Lily's banter reached her. She was no longer shaking, so the car must have stopped moving. Opening her eyes and stretching, Sakura glanced around. "Huh? How did I get inside?"
"You were still asleep when we arrived," Yugiri told her. "So, I simply carried you inside. I would say it's better than what would alternatively happened."
"Kotaro?" Sakura asked flatly.
"Kotaro," Yugiri affirmed.
Sakura laughed and sat up fully. "Well, thanks for not letting him wake me up."
"It was my pleasure," the redhead replied, turning back to watching the others.
Sakura blinked down at her and bit her lip. Now that they were back home, the magic of the festival was starting to fade, and in its place came anxiety. A blush rose to Sakura's cheeks as she remembered what she and Yugiri had done the first night of the festival. She didn't want to give that up, but it was likely Yugiri only did it because her emotions were running high. They hadn't shared a kiss since, so…
The pink-haired woman started and looked down. "Yes?"
"Do you mind taking a walk with me? I'd like some fresh air, but I don't want to give up the company."
"Of course," Sakura responded, standing and following her friend from the room. Saki watched them go and smirked. Go get'er, Sakura.
Sakura and Yugiri stepped out into the backyard and started for the beach. They would need to keep close to the treeline, of course, but that was beneficial in this situation. They walked in silence for a little while, letting the sound of the waves soothe them.
At last, Yugiri took a breath. "Sakura, about the first night of the festival-."
"Uh, look, maybe we should forget about it?" Sakura blurted nervously.
Yugiri stopped. "Forget about it?"
"Y-yeah," Sakura mumbled. "I mean, it's okay if you don't have those feelings anymore. It was probably a spur of the moment thing for you, so I understand…"
"It was in no way just a spur of the moment thing," the courtesan corrected her calmly. Sakura gazed up at her in surprise and Yugiri's eyes did not waver. "I had been having those feelings all day, Sakura. If I am being honest, I had them before it was announced we were even attending the festival."
"You were?" Sakura couldn't keep the grin from spreading over her face. "I'm so glad! I thought it was just me!"
Yugiri laughed and they continued walking. "No. I always noticed the way you put your faith in us as a team. Your openness and optimism was a bit confusing at first, but over time, I grew fond of it. You were doing your best to make a ridiculous situation bearable, something I can't say the same for our leader and two more experienced members."
Sakura shrugged. "They were doing their best. And you were really helpful, too, you know. It's clear you want us to stick together just as much as I do, and the way you watch over us is really comforting when Kotaro's so… bad at it."
"Then, perhaps, what happened the first night was no mistake?" Yugiri teased as they rounded back into the backyard of the house.
"W-well," Sakura said with a blush. "Even if it was, I wouldn't mind repeating it with you…"
A finger under her chin turned Sakura's gaze up and she found intense red eyes staring back at her. Leaning closer, Yugiri whispered, "I look forward to it."
Sakura's lips curled into a smirk and she asked, "Why not repeat it right now?"
"I wouldn't be opposed."
Ai and Junko stepped from the dance studio, stretching and popping their joints. They paused when they found Yugiri and Sakura standing in the backyard together. As the two watched, Sakura leaned up to place a gentle kiss to Yugiri's lips. Ai threw an arm around Junko's shoulders as they continued their way into the house.
"I think they'll be just fine," she whispered.
And there ya have it, alligators! Hope you enjoyed this fic and I look forward to seeing you for the next one!
Remember, updates and sneak peeks are available on my tumblr, gothalbinoangel-fanfiction. I recently opened commissions!