A/N: I'm just barely making this one as I just finished it about 10 minutes ago. There are probably problems, but since I try to write a Christmas story, I decided to hurry this one out. I promised a ShimakoxYumi story sometime this year, and the one I was working on imploded in like chapter 3, so I'm having to rewrite alot of it. I want it completely written before I post it cuz I'm not good at writing Shimako and she tends to get out of hand. Just a tensy bit of romance at the end of this story if you squint hard enough. I might do a sequel to this is people ask for one, though I better get some reviews with a good enough reason to write one.

Title is crappy, summary is crappy, but I'm tired and waiting for Santa to inspire me with a name isn't working right now.

Enjoy this word vomit, turned out differently than I thought it would. Ooh, btw, sorta Sachiko bashing a little, I'm sorry, but sometimes it has to happen in order for Yumi to be paired with anyone else.


Begin Again

ShimakoxYumi

Summary: Yumi finds herself alone on Christmas Eve after her holiday plans went up in smoke. However, an old friend shows up and reminds her that world didn't end and she doesn't have to be alone.

A young woman trudged down the semi-crowded sidewalk towards her apartment building, head bent against the cold. Snowflakes fell lazily from the dark sky, settling softly in her chestnut colored hair and the slick concrete in front of her. A few flakes landed gently on her eyelashes, blurring her vision for a minute. She wanted to reach up and brush the snow away, but her hands were full of bags carrying the few presents she needed and her Christmas dinner. It wasn't her intention to be out shopping on Christmas Eve, but her Christmas plans fell apart suddenly and tragically that she had no other choice.

Entering into her second floor apartment, Fukuzawa Yumi set her bags down on the counter with a tired sigh. She was alone for the first time on Christmas. Her brother Yuuki was spending Christmas with his girlfriend, her former petite-soeur Matsudaira Touko, and her family. He had told her he was planning to propose this year and wanted to ask her father for permission before asking Touko-chan. Yumi's parents, believing her and Yuuki had plans for Christmas, decided to go on a trip for the holidays, just the two of them. And as for her plan, the reason why she is now alone on Christmas, Yumi was supposed to spend the holiday with her long-time girlfriend, Ogasawara Sachiko. However, that plan combusted three days ago when her girlfriend of six years, whom she had dated since her senior year of high school, told her that she was getting married the following year. Yumi chuckled humorously as she thought of the last conversion she had with her now ex-girlfriend.

Flashback

"Yumi, I have something I need to tell you," Sachiko said hesitantly as they walked through the park. The park had become their place to go once they both had graduated from Lillian and no longer had the old greenhouse.

"Yes Sachiko what is it? Are our plans for Christmas changing?" Yumi asked, looking wide-eyed at her girlfriend.

Sachiko smiled and brushed her fingers softly through the pigtails on Yumi's head, "No, I don't think so, but I wanted to tell you something."

Yumi stood in front of her, waiting for her to tell her whatever it is that Sachiko wanted to tell her. She was really hoping that their plans weren't going to change, because she was hoping that this year would be the year that Sachiko proposed to her. Since she turned 21 three years ago, she had been hoping the older girl would ask her. Sachiko had been a little fidgety these last few weeks, so Yumi was hoping it was going to be this year.

"I'm getting married," Sachiko's words broke into Yumi's fantasy of a Christmas Eve proposal, bringing all dreams down in a crashing halt.

"What?" Yumi asked, not sure if she heard her right.

"I'm getting married next year to Suguru, my parents told me a few weeks ago, and I've been trying to figure out how to tell you." The words didn't seem to register to Yumi, so Sachiko kept talking, "I've known this was coming for a few years now. I'm almost 26 now, and the only reason they waited this long was so I could get some experience in running the business. Grandfather is leaving it to both Suguru and I, so they wanted to make sure it would be in capable hands."

"You knew?" Yumi tried to croak out, but her words came out in barely a whisper, so Sachiko missed them.

"But don't worry, I'm not going to break up with you."

Yumi's mind had been going frantically over every sentence, trying to find a way for Sachiko to get out of the wedding, when her last words halted the whirlwind and brought focus back onto the conversation. "What?" Yumi repeated, her words no longer sounding desperate, only confused.

"Yeah, I talked to Suguru. He's going to have a lover on the side, he wished it could have been your brother but I guess only one of us has what it takes to catch a Fukuzawa," Sachiko chuckled, oblivious to the narrowed eyes and clenched fists of the woman in front of her, "Anyway, since he's going to be occupied elsewhere, we can continue as we have been, though only behind closed doors, never in public or at events. And we can't ever tell my parents."

Yumi was visibly shaking with anger at this point, fist clenched so tight the white of her knuckles was the same tint as that of the snow on the ground. "So you what? Want me to put my life on hold to be your mistress? Your dirty little secret? Do you not care for me more than that than to reduce me to a life like that?"

Sachiko looked surprised at her outburst, "I thought you wanted to be together?"

"Yes but not like that! I wanted to get married, have our own family, and not have to hide to our loved ones."

The older girl shook her head, "I was never planning on getting married to you, I couldn't disappoint my family like that by not marrying Suguru."

Yumi gapped at her, "So what you strung me along for six years?! Making me believe that you loved me?! Gah, I can't believe you!" Yumi shouted, throwing her hands up, "You know what, go, have your big fancy wedding and your lonely marriage with Suguru, but count me out of it. I have too much respect for myself to be your Friday night special when your husband doesn't come home." And with that, Yumi stormed off in a swirl of ice and snow, leaving Sachiko to gap at her retreating form, wondering where it had all gone wrong.

End Flashback

Yumi finished putting her groceries away and presents under the tree, and pulled a bottle of red wine out of the cabinet, pouring herself a glass. She flopped out on her couch in front of her Christmas tree, staring at the soft white lights adorning the tree and the small flameless candles scattered around the room. As she had gotten older, she had calmed down some, enjoying the simple things in life more than the chaotic ones.

A soft knock at the door broke her out of her quiet reflection on her life so far. Yumi wondered for a minute about who could be at the door, before realizing it could only be one person at the door, the one person she had told about her breakup with Sachiko; her best friend.

"Merry Christmas Shimako-chan," Yumi said as she opened the door to see the former white rose standing on her welcome mat covered in snowflakes. "Come in and dry yourself off before you catch a cold," Yumi hurried, pulling the other girl into her apartment. Motioning the other girl in the direction of the bathroom, Yumi asked her if she wanted any wine.

"Just a little bit," Shimako answered as she reemerged toweling her hair with one of Yumi's hand towels from the bathroom. Her winter coat had been hung up in the shower next to Yumi's so that the floor wouldn't get wet as the snow dripping off the coats while they dried. "I might as well spend the night here, I won't be able to get back home with the weather the way it is, I barely made it here from the train station."

"Why did you come anyway? I told you I was fine," Yumi asked, looking very much like a petulant child.

Shimako simply smiled that same soft smile that she had had since high school, "We've been best friends for a long time Yumi, I know when your fine and when you're not fine."

Yumi pouted for a minute before smiling softly at her friend and hugged her. "I'm glad you're here," Yumi whispered into her hair.

Shimako hugged the chestnut haired girl tighter too her, "I'm glad I'm here too."

Hours and one bottle of wine later, the two friends lay sprawled out on the couch, both propped up on opposite armrests. "Did you know," Yumi started, feeling the slight buzz from the wine running through her system, "that Sachiko made me keep putting my hair in pigtails whenever we were together. I mean, I'm 24 year old, and I can only pull off the pigtail look for so long."

Shimako giggled, also slightly buzzed, "Maybe it was a fetish and that she just liked girls with pigtails. She did seem slightly upset when Yuuki-san started dating Touko-chan and she quit pulling her hair up."

Yumi thought for a moment before making a disgusted face, "Ew, you're right." They both looked at each other before falling into giggles. A few minutes later, when silence fell over them again, Yumi became somber once again. "You know, they said the world was supposed to end on Dec. 21. I guess they were right."

A soft hand brushed the hair that had fallen away from her face and she turned towards Shimako, who had moved closer to her friend, "You're world hasn't ended; it may seem like it right now, but trust me, it will get better."

Yumi smiled when she realized that Shimako was speaking from experience from when she broke up with her own girlfriend years ago. "Looks like you're throwing my own words back at me from when I helped you after your split from Noriko-san."

Shimako smiled, and the two friends sat in comfortable silence, staring at the lights on the tree. Yumi glanced at her friend out of the corner of her eye as she slowly continued to sip on her wine, entranced by the tree and the stillness of the night. Maybe Shimako's right, maybe in time, I can begin again with someone else, someone I love. Unconsciously, there hands sought each other's out and their fingers intertwined. Shimako gave Yumi's hand a soft squeeze just as the clock struck midnight.

Yes, in time, I can definitely start again, and maybe, just maybe, she'll be there with me.

"Merry Christmas Shimako-chan."

"Meryy Chrismas Yumi."