Notes and Disclaimers: Air Master and Sakiyama Kaori are the property of Toei, Umakoshi Yoshihiko, NTV, VAP and Shibata Yokusaru, but they should learn to share, becuse sharing with friends is good. And Sakiyama Kaori is too great not to share.
If you haven’t seen Air Master, and don’t know who Sakiyama Kaori is, your loss. You can always buy the DVDs on the Yuricon Shop, along with other fine yuri-related anime, manga and gifts. “Worldshaking” Fanfic supports buying yuri, not downloading it. Do *your* bit to share with friends. :-)
If you enjoy this story, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org, because it makes me happy to hear from you.
WSF heartily supports the Fanfic Revolution, becuase fanfic doesn’t have to suck.
A Day and a Half in the Life
As the subway doors opened and Sakiyama Kaori stepped out onto the platform, she cast a disdainful glance at the pile of limp and semi-conscious bodies behind her in the subway car.
The problem with this city, she thought, is that there weren’t any real criminals, just pathetic perverts. She’d make a great super-hero, if only there were adversaries worthy of her…
The subway doors slid closed and the sounds of agony faded away. The subway pulled out of the station and Sakiyama Kaori was left alone on the platform.
She checked her watch – it was just going on 4AM. She didn’t feel sleepy yet, but that wasn’t surprising. The match tonight had been invigorating; it had taken her and Mio almost thirty minutes to defeat their opponents. But in the end, it was still Hayase Mio and Sakiyama Kaori who remained the undisputed All-Japan Female Tag Team Wrestling Champions.
Sakiyama Kaori smiled broadly.
She took a deep breath, shouldered her bag and walked out of the train station.
The park was lit intermittently with motorcycle headlights. The areas outside the separate circles of brightness were nearly pitch dark in comparison. Sakiyama Kaori stalked through the dark, moving in a straight line. Stupid punk-ass motorcycle gangs, revving their engines like it meant something. They didn’t even do anything, just stood around grimacing and looking like they ate something that made their stomachs hurt. She smiled a little at the thought.
“Hey!” The voice was male, gruff and sincerely surprised. “Whaddaya doin’?”
Sakiyama Kaori ignored the speaker and continued on her path across the park – which led directly into a circle of lights.
“What the…?” the voices were all male, all threatening and all bluff. Sakiyama Kaori dropped her bag, took a deep breath and shouted, “HEY LOSERS! WANNA PIECE OF ME? COME AND GET IT!”
There was a momentary silence, as her words were, first, comprehended, then processed. Then a roar sounded and a hundred motorcycles engines were revved in anger.
“Bitch! Who the &^%$ do you think you are?” A largish model stepped forward, his uni-brow drawn down what was meant to be an intimidating look, but really just made him resemble a gorilla.
She sneered. “I’m Sakiyama Kaori! Learn the name slug – because when I beat your ass into the ground, you’re going to wear it as a tattoo.”
The thug laughed. “Oh, yeah?”
Grinning, Sakiyama Kaori ran forward. “Oh. Yeah.”
It took her a full five minutes to knock all his front teeth out. Sakiyama Kaori was very disappointed in herself.
Finding a place to eat breakfast at 6AM was easy. Finding a place to eat breakfast where they didn’t mind a fight or two breaking out was much, much harder.
“Not there, not there, threw me out, banned me for life, nope, nope…ah!” Sakiyama Kaori pumped her fist in victory as she spotted a doorway she had never been thrown out of.
Now that she had money coming in on a regular basis as a champion wrestler (and a cut of the toy licensing – plus first dibs on any new Sakiyama Kaori dolls before they were available to the public) she wasn’t going to miss one chance to throw it back in the faces of those who had belittled her over the years.
She kicked the door in and stepped forward. “I am Sakiyama Kaori!” she shouted, hands on hips. A deafening silence met her pronouncement. A lone man, wearing a grease-stained apron and sporting one wandering eye turned to gaze at her with a glazed look in his functional eye.
“Eh?” he grunted. “Who?”
Sakiyama Kaori walked up to the counter and slammed her fist on it. Small cracks spread outward from her hand, moving through the thin plastic visibly. “Sakiyama Kaori!!” she repeated, waiting for a response.
“Eh?” He cocked an ear. “Whah?”
Sakiyama Kaori bared her teeth. “Sa – ki – ya – ma.” She hissed, her lips barely moving.
“Oh, Sakiyama? Why didn’t you say so?” the man shuffled forward and squinted at her. “Are you related to that there wrestler girl?”
Rolling her eyes, she nodded. “Ayup,” she mimicked his accent mercilessly.
“I like wrestling,” he said, pointing with a ladle at the counter. “You want sumthin’ to eat?”
Sakiyama Kaori looked around the place, looked back at the half deaf and half blind proprietor and smiled. “Sure,” she said and sat down at the counter.
It was the kind of meal that other people laugh about, months after they’ve gotten out of the hospital, after the phantom stomach pains and nausea are gone, when they can laugh again and it no longer hurts.
She drank heavily to cover the flavor, and to assist in swallowing. The sake’ was vile, but it was better than the…whatever…she was eating. Despite this, Sakiyama Kaori was very happy. There was a time, not too long ago, that she would have been happy to have had this meal, had any meal. There was a time when she would have been grateful that this foul creature would open his door to her. As she forced the last mouthful of the sludge into her mouth, and washed it down with something that had a gasoline aftertaste, she slammed her fist onto the counter (causing yet another set of cracks to form) and sighed loudly. Perhaps it was a gasp…she didn’t really care. Because, in this disgusting little dive that sucked so bad, Sakiyama Kaori had seen where she had come from and told it to go fuck itself.
“O’-san,” she slurred, waving the glass around. “This stuff stinks. Why don’t you get a real job, like outhouse cleaner or something?”
The proprietor stared at her glassily out of one eye as the other rolled to the side. “What?” he asked, putting one hand behind his ear.
Sakiyama Kaori laid her head on the filthy cracked counter. Tears fell copiously from her eyes, as she sobbed and laughed until she gagged.
Still choking, wiping her mouth, and swallowing back the bile that rose to it, she stood and grabbed her bag. She laid some money on the counter, waved at the deaf-blind idiot’s back and kicked the front door open.
“Hey!” the gravely mumble that passed for the owner’s voice came from behind her. “This is way too much! I don’t have change!”
Sakiyama Kaori lifted a hand. “What?” she mimicked, and laughed again, then walked out into the street.
Her apartment was a mess. She had hired a cleaning lady, but after a week, had fired her. The second one had lasted two days, the last about five minutes. She threw her bag onto a pile of clothes, then kicked her way past other piles of unidentified items and take-out food containers. She stared at her room for a second in genuine dismay. When she had been poor, her tiny room had been neat as a pin. It was part of her daily discipline – her constant striving towards perfection.
She picked up her cell phone and called the agency. Setting a smile on her face and a sweet tone in her voice, she briefly asked to have another cleaning person sent to her apartment. There was a pause. The owner of the polite, bland voice was clearly forcing a smile on the other end of the line.
“That may be a little…”
With a growl, Sakiyama Kaori slammed the phone down. Third agency, no maid. She wondered if the agencies spoke to each other. She stood up and flexed her now-honed to perfection muscles and shouted, “Okay!” and went to it.
An hour later her room was neat as a pin and three garbage bags, labeled and colored for recycling, burning and other, were laid neatly by the door. With grim satisfaction, she surveyed her domain with the pride of a librarian who had shelved her last book for the day. Nodding, she determined that she would eat out from now on, so there’d be no more garbage in her life. Ever again.
With that, Sakiyama Kaori fell face forward on her bed and slept for exactly seven hours, forty-two minutes and thirty-three seconds.
Sakiyama Kaori woke up in the shower. Her face was squashed against the tiled wall, the smell of bleach filling her nostrils and making her eyes water.
Her eyes stung and a slight astringent flavor was in her mouth, so she assumed she had washed her hair. Either that, or she’d been drinking the witch hazel again. Shutting off the water, Sakiyama Kaori dripped her way across the floor and opened the refrigerator to grab an energy drink and a prepared rice ball. Her breakfast complete, she combed her hair, dressed and was out the door before the steam from her shower had dissipated.
Today was a day off. No match tonight, no training session planned. Hayase Mio was out of town visiting her family – some puling excuse like a younger sister getting married. So their schedule had been suspended for a few days. It was irritating, but unavoidable.
However, it wasn’t like Sakiyama Kaori to kick back and relax, even for a day. If she didn’t have an official matches, it hardly meant that she was going to stay home and knit.
She cracked her knuckles and smiled nastily. Heads would roll tonight.
The park was full this evening. A new street fighter was on the scene, making his mark, claiming his territory. He was strong, too, as far as she could see. Which didn’t really bother Sakiyama Kaori, All-Japan Women’s Tag Team Wrestling Champion for two years running.
She strode into the middle of the loose circle, thrusting herself between the two combatants. The challenger was released an axe kick down upon his opponent, which she intercepted, spun him around and shoved her open palm into his kidney as his back opened up. Digging down into the ground, establishing a firm root, she pulled all the energy she had from her center and expressed it through her hand. The young man stood, paralyzed for a moment, then fell forward, coughing up blood.
Sakiyama Kaori spun and pulled her feet back together, crossing her hands in front of her. “Come on, brat,” she waved the new street fighter closer.
He glowered. “What the fuck? Who are you?”
She sneered. “The hand of God.”
He was fast, that was true, but she was in top shape. He was strong, too, but she had fought stronger. His techniques were good, his kicks well-aimed, but Sakiyama Kaori had fought Air Master and this kid had a long way to go before he would be in that class.
After the first ten seconds it was simply a matter of time. The audience watched the intruder block, parry and evade without apparent effort for a few minutes. She seemed to be playing a waiting game, holding her place until the current champion wore himself out. It wasn’t long in coming. The champion launched a furious flurry of kicks, all of which were neatly avoided. He pulled back to catch his breath, and she moved.
“Izakaya Bom-BER!” she shouted, as her arm caught his throat in a classic clothesline, and pile drove the young man into the ground. She looked down at her “opponent.” He laid there, gasping for air, writhing in pain, like a fish out of water. She nodded, approving of the simile. “Fish boy, come back and fight me again when you’ve got something to offer.” Turning her face to the crowd, her mouth opened to let them know just *who* had taken down their so-called champion when the whispers became audible.
“It’s really her – the wrestling champion!”
“It’s Sakiyama Kaori!”
The name took on a rhythm, a resonance of its own, repeated over and over in the baritone rumble of the crowd. “Sa-ki-ya-ma! Sa-ki-yama!” Again and again the crowd shouted her name, the sound becoming louder and louder as it continued.
Sakiyama Kaori stood in the middle of the crowd of street fighters, gaping.
They knew her.
They knew who she was.
They loved her.
They LOVED her!
She spun, her gaze traveling around the circle in a kind of awe. Tears filled her eyes, as she realized that her dream, the one thing that had kept her going her whole life had actually happened. These people – total strangers – knew who she was. Knew her, admired her, and were shouting her name.
She bent forward and took a deep breath. Lifting her body, thrusting a single fist to the sky, she screamed, “I’m Sakiyama Kaori!” as she did every night in the ring.
The crowd went wild.
But Sakiyama Kaori wasn’t done. “Don’t just stand there!” She screeched at her fans. “Come over here and get your sorry asses beaten down by the great Sakiyama Kaori!”
And, amazingly, they did. One by one, for hours on end, fighter after fighter stepped forward to test his skills against the infamous Sakiyama Kaori. And after they had all been beaten within an inch of their lives, they dragged out a variety of alcohol, drugs and food, and they partied until they fell blissfully into the unconsciousness that had been threatening for hours.
When, hours later, Sakiyama Kaori pushed three large boys’ arms off her, and disentangled herself from several other admirers who had gotten familiar, she stumbled to her feet. Her head pounded, her eyes were tiny slits against the grey pre-dawn light, and she felt like she was going to throw up. She staggered over to a water fountain, soaked herself with cold water, and shook herself awake. Taking a deep breath, she walked over to the bushes and vomited heartily into the shrubbery. She then returned to the water fountain, took a drink, and walked out of the park.
The rest of the morning was spent wandering aimlessly. First, a visit to a pharmacy gave her some antacid to settle her stomach. Then a few hours of walking the streets of the shopping district, staring at clothes she wouldn’t have ever thought she could afford. She admired a dress for a while, but ended up purchasing a new winter coat instead. Who knew that she’d become so responsible now that she had achieved success?
Sakiyama Kaori spent an hour or so in a magazine store, admiring the many articles about herself in not only wrestling magazines, but more than a dozen amateur photo magazines and one tabloid. She scowled at the unflattering picture that graced the cover of the tabloid, but when a young man, stuttering and gaping, hesitantly asked her to sign a copy of a magazine on which she and Hayase Mio were featured posing in scanty bikinis, she forgot the issue completely.
By now, she was beginning to feel hungry, but the thought of eating made her queasy. What she needed, she thought, was a good fight. She made a fist and stared down at it. And she knew just where to get it.
The streets were full of people, students coming home from school, office ladies and salarymen rushing home. Sakiyama Kaori made her way to a popular game center and took up her position in front of a crane game that offered exceptionally cute stuffed animals. She leaned back on the machine and crossed her arms. And waited.
After a moment, she looked over her shoulder at the big-eyed puppies that stared up at her from the game machine. She turned back to keep an eye on the street. Another moment or two passed and she found herself gazing once again at the stuffed dogs. “What are you lookin’ at?” she snarled. But the dog just looked up balefully. Her curled lip softened, then slid into a goopy smile. “Aw, okay.” She fished a ￥100 coin out of her pocket and slid it into the machine. The crane arm moved out and she grasped the handle. She’d have that doggie out of there in no time and go back to watching the street.
The first game went by quickly, the second as well. The third was a total waste. During the fourth she started getting pissed. She was engrossed in her seventh…or was that eighth…maybe more like tenth…attempt and cursing like a dockworker when a hand slapped down on her shoulder. She jumped and slapped the button on the machine, whirling around and cursing all at the same time.
She found herself staring at a local high school sweater, while a small smattering of applause sounded from the four girls who stood *behind* the owner of the sweater.
“It’s Sakiyama Kaori!” the four chorused cheerfully, while the shortest of the four, reached out and snagged the stuffed dog from the chute where it had spilled out.
“Sakiyama Kaori!!” the munchkin shouted, delighted.
Sakiyama Kaori reach out and laid a hand upon the urchin’s head, smiling. “Hey, Bambino. Give me my dog.” The child scrunched up her face, tears instantly filling her eyes. Her mouth opened, assuredly to scream at the top of her lungs, but Sakiyama Kaori was not going to be put off. Palming the child’s head, she lifted her from the ground. In surprise, the runt handed over the stuffed animal.
Sakiyama Kaori took the dog and shoved it in her coat pocket, then gently set the girl down and patted her on the head. “Good girl, Bambino,” she crooned.
At that, the exceedingly tall redhead who had interrupted Sakiyama Kaori in her pursuit of the stuffed animal, spoke; her voice, as always, surprisingly deep. “It’s all right, Renge-chan, I’ll get you one.”
“Really?” Renge’s face was a study in greed. “I love you Maki-chan!” She adhered herself to the tall redhead’s waist, turned her head and cheerfully stuck her tongue out at Sakiyama Kaori, who completely ignored her.
“I was waiting for you Air Master,” Sakiyama Kaori began but, ignoring her completely, the kogal stepped up from behind Maki and removed Renge’s arms from around the tall girl’s waist. “Really, Maki-chan, you spoil her.”
The redhead swiveled her head. “It’s okay, I like the crane game.” Continuing to ignore Sakiyama Kaori, Maki slid a coin into the machine and started to manipulate the crane.
“Win me one too, Maki-chan!” The large-breasted girl looked up at the redhead moonily.
All four pressed up against the crane game, completely pushing Sakiyama Kaori out of the way. She watched them for a moment, then drew air into her lungs.
“I was looking for you – Air Master!”
The silence that fell over the people in the arcade was profound, made more severe by the uninterrupted blinking, beeping, clanging, shooting, banging, shouting and buzzing of the machines.
“Ah, Sakiyama, you’re still here?” Maki seemed surprised.
“Air Master!” Sakiyama Kaori shouted, one finger extended towards the redhead. “I challenge you to a fight!”
The tall girl stood to her full height. Nodding seriously, she stepped away from the crane game. Together, Sakiyama Kaori and the girl known as “Air Master,” followed by her four friends, walked away from the arcade, down the street, turning into an alleyway between two tall buildings. The alleyway ended in a large dead-end. Sakiyama Kaori stopped walking and turned around to face the redhead.
“Are you ready?” Sakiyama Kaori yelled, her voice echoing among the surrounding buildings. Maki nodded, but said nothing. “Come on, then. Don’t hold back!”
Sakiyama Kaori moved forward at top speed, racing towards Air Master as fast as she could move, but the tall redhead was already gone. Before Sakiyama Kaori could turn, Maki’s foot had connected with her head, and she went down like the proverbial sack of lead.
From a distance, Sakiyama Kaori could feel herself being lifted, and bounced around. She began to feel nauseous, then that receded and she just felt annoyed.
“Sakiyama Kaori!” The voice was horrendous – like nails on a chalkboard. “Sakiyama Kaori!”
“Oh, god,” she moaned. “Bambino, be quiet.”
Blessed silence fell. Sakiyama Kaori put her hand to her head and shook it back and forth. She didn’t scream, she didn’t vomit, so she figured she was all right.
“You okay?” Maki’s face moved into Sakiyama Kaori’s unsteady field of vision, wavered, and sharpened.
“Yeah.” She looked up at Air Master, then around to the street fighter’s friends and over to Renge, whose face was filled with concern. “I’m hungry. You want to get something to eat?”
Four voices shouted “Yay!” at the same time. Maki reached out one hand, which Sakiyama Kaori ignored. She stood, brushed herself off and started walking out of the alley, only stumbling once or twice during the process.
“But I’m not treating!” she said over her shoulder, before the shouts had stopped echoing around the dead-end.
Sakiyama Kaori pushed the door to her apartment open and kicked it closed behind her. She threw her coat on the floor, and fell face forward on her bed and slept for exactly seven hours, forty-two minutes and thirty-three seconds.