Notes and Disclaimers: As always, the characters in this story, and the basic premise around which it is based is the property of Konno Oyuki, Cobalt Shueisha and Geneon Entertainment.
This is one more of a seemingly infinite number of Maria-sama ga Miteru stories I have completed. The reason is simple – the characters are charming, compelling and often quite sexy. I am reading the novels in Japanese right now in order to spend even a few moments more in their company. I’m up to the 10th novel and I’m still loving the series.
While this story does not have any explicit sexual situations, it is, as so much of my works are, lesbian in nature. If the idea of two women kissing – or worse, being in love – bothers you, you will want to stop reading now and re-read my Lily Rating System on the home page to see where you erred.
I want to thank Adam and Sean at the Fanfic Revolution, for reading and writing for me. And Erin for loving to talk at such great length about the lovely ladies of Lillian as much as I do. If you would like to chat about this story, please feel free to email me at email@example.com. If you would like to talk about Marimite in general, I encourage you to join us at the Yuricon Mailing List.
And as always, I encourage you to “support” Yuri by buying Yuri. You can find a lovely assortment of publications, anime, clothing and gifts on the Yuricon Shop. All proceeds go *directly* to yuri events and publications. Promise.
Now, enjoy. :-)
Distance is what makes love possible.
I thought I knew everything there was to know about her. Her favorite color (green), her least favorite food (bacon) her wishes, her truths, her sadness.
We spent every moment we could together and I thought I knew everything I could possibly know. But all the while we were together, I viewed her as something distant that I wanted to be a part of – something that I wanted to join, something that I wanted to become. Even as I desired to merge with her, I kept a distance between us, because I feared her passion, her purity. I wanted it to wipe me clean in a blaze of white fire, but I couldn’t bring myself close enough to understand it. In the end, I tried to dampen the fire with my own base need to become one. I could not bear her untainted flame.
And now that the distance between us is immense and permanent, my love for her is eternal, perfect, inviolable…and dead.
Yumi let the water splash her face freely, carrying with it the tears that marred her expression. She had thought she understood, she had thought she knew Sachiko’s heart, but she hadn’t understood anything. Yumi put her hands up to her eyes, hiding from her mortification while the water ran into the sink, obscuring her sobs.
The fit passed, as had the last three. Still, the tears fell from her eyes as she stared at her miserable reflection in the mirror. Miserable. Pathetic. Wretch. The words of accusation and excuse flew through her mind one after another.
How could she have been so wrong?
She could clearly remember the day when she had comprehended, for the first time, Sachiko’s true feelings. Last year, just after the school festival, when she had seen Sachiko for the first time in almost a week. She had run up to the older girl and thrown her arms around her, not caring that it was improper or that someone might see. She had missed her onee-sama terribly and said so.
Sachiko’s arms had come up, haltingly, to embrace her, one hand cradling her head, one around her shoulders. For a moment the two held each other close, then Yumi had moved back in the embrace to smile up at Sachiko. The older woman hadn’t let go, the hand on her head shifting slowly down to Yumi’s neck, where it lingered, then down her back and slowly onto her hip. For a brief second the hand remained, then moved away. But not before both hands had moved below the small of her back, and just below the hip, brushing every so slightly on the top of her buttocks.
Yumi stepped back, her face reddening slightly. As she looked into Sachiko’s dark eyes, for the first time, Yumi felt not emotional or romantic, but sexual excitement. The path Sachiko’s hands had taken burned. She could feel that last lingering moment with a thrill that began and ended deep in her belly.
With a shock, Yumi realized that she had just seen a glimpse of Sachiko’s true feelings. And with a second shock, one that left her trembling slightly, she had realized that she wanted exactly the same thing.
It wasn’t long, Yumi had noticed, before Sachiko had found an excuse once again to touch her. She wondered at herself – at how blind she’d been. How could she have not noticed? Her hair, her collar, a smudge on her face – her beautiful onee-sama used any excuse to lay hands on her “little sister.” Yumi had watched Sachiko, wondering how long, exactly, this had been going on. The third shock had come later that night, when she had been brushing her hair, and had realized that it had begun the very first moment they had met, when Sachiko had reached out to straighten her collar and tie.
Yumi had had a very hard time sleeping that night.
Distance is what makes love possible.
It’s too easy to lose yourself in the person you love – to believe that their dreams are yours, their needs are yours. Distance is what saves you from drowning in someone else and losing yourself completely.
Without distance, you wake up one day to find there is nothing left of yourself, except for a body that goes through the motions until you are once again in the presence of your lover, only then becoming real. It’s a terrible thing to not exist until you see the reflection of yourself in someone else’s eyes.
Distance is what you use to define yourself, so you can look at the person you love and see them clearly and love them for what they are, and know that they are doing the same thing to you.
Distance is what makes your love strong.
And so the autumn had passed, Yumi ever more aware of Sachiko’s insatiable need to touch and fondle her, and her awareness, now, of her desire to be held by the older woman, to be touched, and stroked, and kissed.
Now that Yumi could see the truth, every moment with Sachiko was a pleasant torture. She consciously placed herself in contact with her onee-sama at every opportunity, and purred like a kitten, when Sachiko’s hand would touch hers, or stroke her cheek softly. For her part, Sachiko seemed no different, speaking coldly as she always had, or scolding, but Yumi ceased to mind, realizing that this was her onee-sama’s way of paying close attention to her.
Spring had come and Sachiko had graduated. Yumi had become a third-year student and Rosa Chinensis, one of the Presidents of the Student Council. And life had become busier than she had ever imagined it could be. The sheer amount of work she had to balance was almost overwhelming, and without the assistance of the others in the council she could never have hoped to do it successfully.
Her time with Sachiko was cut tremendously, of course. Sachiko had gone on to college, while Yumi now held one-third of the decision-making power at Lillian High School. But she was determined to not lose her relationship with Sachiko – and perhaps, maybe, one day, to cross that last distance between them.
Her opportunity had come just after her graduation.
Yumi had, despite much uncertainty on her own part, passed university exams and was bound for Lillian Women’s Junior College at the beginning of the new semester. The day after the graduation ceremony, she had received a welcome call from Sachiko, inviting her out to dinner at an extremely expensive – and romantic – restaurant. Yumi agreed, then spent a frantic week looking for an outfit appropriate for the occasion.
When Sachiko had pulled up in her family’s car, Yumi had thanked all the gods she could think of that she had splurged and bought the finest dress she had been able to find.
Sachiko was no less than resplendent in her clothes. Even made up and coifed as she was, Yumi felt positively dowdy next to her onee-sama’s supermodel looks. On the way to the restaurant, Yumi could hardly stop looking at Sachiko’s long legs that disappeared into the long slit of her dress in a way that made Yumi’s chest hurt.
Dinner must have been excellent. And Yumi was sure that the wine had been exactly the right complement for each course. But in truth, Yumi had noticed none of it. She had been entirely lost in Sachiko the whole evening long. From the fine footwear which encased her long, graceful feet and framed her ankles perfectly, to the breathtaking dress that highlighted her curves, to the shockingly (for Sachiko) low collar, which gave more than a glimpse of the other woman’s décolletage, Yumi had eaten, drunk and breathed Sachiko for hours on end, but was not yet sated.
It had been her idea to take a walk. The restaurant had a rooftop balcony, from where they could see central Tokyo glimmering.
Yumi had noted appreciatively that the moon was nearly full, and Sachiko had agreed, her voice soft in the cool night air. When Yumi took her hand, Sachiko had said nothing, but had threaded her arm through Yumi’s.
At the same time, they had turned their heads towards one another, mouths opened to speak. Yumi had laughed, as had Sachiko. The older woman had lifted her hand to gesture for Yumi to speak, when it had happened. Yumi had leapt forward and, taking the hand in her own, had pressed her mouth to Sachiko’s. For a moment there was no reaction then, almost automatically, Sachiko had kissed her back.
It had lasted only a second before Sachiko had pushed Yumi away with a shocked look and a surprised utterance.
“Yumi!?” As if she could not have said anything else. “Yumi!”
“Onee-…Sachiko…” Yumi had breathed, moving forward once again. But Sachiko had retreated, her hand pressed to her mouth, the other curled against her chest in fist. In that moment, Yumi had realized with a sickening sensation that she had completely, horribly, misunderstood Sachiko’s feelings.
She had not breached the distance at all…instead she had done nothing but increase the distance between them, perhaps irreparably.
Distance is what makes love possible
You see a person, over there, and in a moment, your heart is captured by her. The “fairy of the spring”, or the “lady of bitter orange” or whatever poetic image burns itself into your heart and you’re lost forever.
All your thoughts are one – desire to get closer, to know that fairy, the see the look in that lady’s eyes, but you know that your touch would shatter the moment, the perfect image you have. Because art is permanent, poetry is the same words year after year, and paintings do not move. And if you should reach into that scene you will alter it, maybe even destroy it.
So you keep your distance to maintain the perfection of your love.
But love is not art and your lady is a human being who will be subject to fits of temper and bad hair days, and poor judgment. And if you are any kind of person at all that is worthy of being loved, you will reach out and touch her, take her hand and love her, bad hair and fits of temper and all, because distance makes love possible – but it doesn’t make it real.
The water was off. Yumi could only assume she had done that, but she could not remember having done it. All she could see was the look in Sachiko’s eyes, and the knowledge that she had ruined everything.
Her hands clutched the edge of the sink. Yumi desperately wanted to sink into herself, to disappear from this world completely and never be seen again. And outside was Sachiko, if indeed the other woman hadn’t run; gotten into her car and driven off into the night to her immense home where she would be protected from Yumi by layers of servants and guards and family.
Which was worse? An outside of here that had Sachiko, or that had none? If she was there, how could Yumi face her again, having betrayed her trust and love? Yumi was never good at hiding things she felt. What would show, as she made her excuses; hunger, defeat, despair, self-loathing? What would Sachiko see, a creepy pervert, a pathetic lost soul….a loser.
Why, Yumi remonstrated with the self in the mirror, why did she think that a hatred for men might mean that Sachiko was open to the possibility of being with a woman? What had she been thinking? Had she been thinking?
Yumi slid down, her knees giving way to the grief. She had killed the thing she loved, crushed it with her own hands. She crossed her arms on her knees and sobbed without tears into her own embrace. So wrapped up in misery, Yumi barely heard the door to the bathroom open, and it was another long moment before she thought to look up.
Yumi saw, with horror, Sachiko gazing down upon her with pity clearly visible in her eyes. Of all possibilities, this one she had not even considered. That Sachiko would try and rescue her from her misery. She shrank into herself, hoping to look so wretched that Sachiko would be disgusted and walk away.
“Yumi?” Her voice was the same as always, soft, commanding, a slight question at the end of her name. Yumi felt nauseous at the gentleness.
The dress was hemmed with jet beads, something so antique and contemporary at the same time that it was perfect for Sachiko. Yumi watched the beads swing as the older woman moved into the bathroom and squatted down.
“Yumi?” The tone was changed this time, a genuine question that Yumi didn’t know the answer to. What would she say? What did Sachiko want to hear?
“I’m sorry.” Yumi’s voice was so soft that she wasn’t sure she had spoken the words. But someone had said them. No, both of them had said them, at the same time.
“Y-you’re sorry?” Yumi’s voice was so rough it didn’t even sound like her. Then she realized why Sachiko would be sorry – sorry that Yumi thought she was that kind of person.
“I’m sorry for scaring you.” Sachiko said, her voice full of remorse. “I…” her eyes moved away from Yumi’s, her face red. “I…had planned a romantic dinner for us and….” Her eyes moved wildly around the bathroom, not seeing anything, but obviously avoiding Yumi’s gaze. Sachiko’s eyes closed and she reached out to take Yumi’s hands in her own. Standing, she guided Yumi to her feet. Once they were both standing, Sachiko’s eyes opened and she sighed heavily. “You made the first move.” Her voice was so quiet that Yumi had to strain to hear the words. “I thought…” Sachiko was practically mouthing the words, her voice was so thin. “I thought that since I was the onee-sama…” the words disappeared into mortified silence, while Yumi sought to understand.
“I’m sorry, onee-sama, I…” Yumi tried to get her mouth to frame an excuse. It was the wine, she settled on. She wasn’t used to drinking and…..
“You called me Sachiko back there. Please…” the older woman’s voice came through heaving breaths. “Please say my name.”
Yumi’s brain went blank. All she could see were two red lips. All she could feel were two hands holding hers in a crippling grip. And all she could hear was a breathless request for her to repeat the greatest sin she had ever committed.
“S-Sachiko,” she began then felt those lips pressed against hers and those arms around her. After a moment, almost automatically, her own arms went around Sachiko’s waist.
It wasn’t until much later, after the sun had risen, and the black car had dropped her back off at her home, that Yumi would forever have to remember her first kiss with Sachiko, the first of many, had been in a ladies’ room in a restaurant.
Distance is what makes love possible, but not what makes love real.