Notes and Disclaimers: This story is one more example of why it’s a bad thing that Matt and I talk. He suggests these weird scenarios, and I can’t stop myself from writing them. So, I guess it’s dedicated to him, again.
The characters below are from Sailor Moon, Tenchi Muyo, Shoujo Kakumei Utena, Oniisama E and Card Captor Sakura, and their copyrights belong to all the pertinent parties for those shows. As is the case with all cross-overs, this story is funnier if you know what I’m talking about, so quick – go watch all these shows first –then come back and read the story!
Positive feedback is welcome – you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ladies Night at the “Chained Heart”
Rei let the door close behind her with a sharp slam. There was no reason to hide her presence, in fact, she knew she was expected. Several heads looked up from their drinks and upon seeing her, a few hands were lifted in greeting, the murmur of her name traveling across the room in their wake.
She nodded at the familiar faces, then stepped up to the bar. Nodding at Ryouko, Rei slapped a bill down on the counter and didn’t wait to see if she’d get her usual. The Space Pirate was one weird person, but she was a crackerjack bartender.
At the sound of a bottle being slid across the bartop, Rei grabbed the oncoming object by its neck without a glance back and stepped away, leaving her change where it was on the bar.
“Hi.” Haruka grunted as Rei took a seat next to her. Rei lifted the bottle in greeting, then proceeded to slam half of it down. Haruka raised one eyebrow in appreciation and smiled as the younger woman met her gaze steadily. “Bad day?’
“She wanted to sleep over.” Rei poured another generous amount of beer into her mouth, then set the bottle down. She wiped her lips and smiled wryly. “And go shopping for lingerie.”
She waited patiently while Haruka finished choking on her drink. When she had sufficiently recovered, the blonde put a solicitous hand on Rei’s shoulder. “I am sorry – it’s hardest for you.”
Rei waved it off casually. “I’m almost used to it by now. Just a moment or two when I think that…” She sighed and drank again from the bottle, which was now almost empty. “But then I come to my senses.” Her smile was hardly bitter at all. “Hey, where’s Michiru?” she asked, as she looked around, noting the two empty seats at their table.
“Ah, she said she was going to be late. I think she’s just doing that to give me some time alone. You know.” Haruka threw her head back and tossed off her sake like a trooper. Rei grimaced a bit at the sight. Sake never agreed with her stomach and watching Haruka drink the stuff by the bottle gave her the chills.
“Still,” Rei said, when Haruka turned to face her again, “it really is nice of her to come here at all. I mean she’s not…” Rei caught the look on Haruka’s face and paused. “Is she?”
“Yes, and pretty far gone, too.”
“Seriously?” Rei was feeling a little less uptight and waved at Ryouko for another round for both of them. “I had no idea!”
Haruka’s face was twisted in something like a smile. “You know, sometimes I’m surprised we’re not all here…”
Rei just nodded. “Yeah, I hear you. I mean, I definitely wonder about Ami, at least.” She took another sip of her beer. “Damn *her* for being so…so damn lovable.” she said almost affectionately.
Haruka just hmphed, while Rei laughed a little at her discomfiture. “Well, at least you have each other. That’s better than most of us.”
“Yeah,” Haruka drawled, “And don’t think we don’t know that.”
Ryouko showed up with the drinks and was just about to set them down when Michiru joined them. The violinist looked as alluring as usual, but a smile quirked at her mouth that might have told an observant person of a quiet strength that wouldn’t be contradicted.
“Can you add two white wine spritzers to that order, Ryouko?” Michiru laid an elegant hand on the Space Pirate’s arm.
Ryouko sneered, but added, “Two white wine spritzers, comin’ up!” when she saw the look on Michiru’s face. Ryouko was pretty observant, when she wanted to be.
Michiru turned away from the retreating bartender and scrutinized the other two grimacing faces before her.
“White wine spritzer?” Rei asked teasingly, as she took a nice long gulp of her next beer. “Ick?”
Michiru smiled pleasantly. “A bad habit I picked up on tour.”
Haruka couldn’t let it drop. “Two? What kind of day have you had?” She poured more sake into her cup, then drank it down.
Michiru flashed a somewhat less pleasant smile at her lover. “For a friend.” Haruka’s head came up, then looked around.
“She didn’t actually say she’s coming, did she?” Haruka looked unconvinced.
“She’ll be here.” Michiru looked at her watch. “In fact that should be her now.”
The slamming of the door announced a new arrival. All heads, no matter how far gone, looked up at the figure who now arrived. Elegantly dressed, her long orange curls flowed like Gorgon locks about her as she moved. From the back came one strangled cry that was quickly drowned in quietly hysterical laughter.
“Poor Sainte-Juste,” Rei commented. “This woman looks just like her…”
Haruka had stood almost immediately to intercept the figure and now extended a hand to her. “Damn, Juri, it’s been a really long time.”
Juri smiled and the wail of agony from the back of the room increased slightly in volume, only to subside in an unnatural hush, as Sainte-Juste downed another handful of pills.
“Good to see you too, Haruka.” She disengaged her hand and sat down at the table, greeting Michiru with great warmth and familiarity. Turning to Rei, she waited graciously as introductions were made and then addressed the younger woman in polite conversation.
There was a short silence as fresh drinks were served, but Rei couldn’t stand it and spoke, “So Arisugawa-san…”
“Juri, please, here, I believe we are all in the same boat, are we not?”
“Juri-san, then. What brings you here?”
Juri looked at Haruka who nodded. “She’s one of us.” The blonde paused, then added, “One of the Senshi…and one of us.”
Juri looked at Rei and smiled warmly. “Well, then, you know the score. I have an unrequited love. Just like you. Just like….” She swept her hand elegantly to include the others in the room.
“The Chained Heart”
“The sign is unobtrusive, almost invisible, unless you know what to look for. The metal hangs crookedly and the paint is nearly eroded with rust. But underneath lies the only bar in Tokyo where these folks can feel comfortable. Each one has a tale, each one has a story so full of woe it could tear your heart out to listen to them, if you’re not half-sloshed yourself. Then it’s not so bad.
“It’s Thursday – ladies’ night at the “Heart.” They come here to get drunk, to cry in their drinks and wallow in their unrequited love. Come to think of it, it gets pretty ugly.
“Me? I’m Ryouko, I’m the bartender. I’m not the owner though, that’s the Princess over there – yeah, her, the one that’s overdressed for the place.”
“I heard that Ryouko!”
“Yeah, well, don’ listen ta her…she just gets like that. The important thing is, here’s the only bar in Tokyo where those of us forced to suffer under an unrequited love can come and drown our sorrows, without having to fight off advances from some slob who can’t hold a candle to the one we love. Like my Tenchi, for instance…I’ll tell ya bout him…”
“Yeah, yeah, Princess! Sheesh! She’s soooo touchy about that. Anyway, so she decided to start this place up, you know, for those of us stuck in an unresolvable love triangle…or quadrangle…or worse…
“You see those people over there, the blonde and the green-haired girl next to her? And the dark-haired girl with them? They *all* love the same person. Talk about confusing. Of course, she loves someone else. And the stately thing with them – she’s new, but rumour has it that her love interest is just a regular kid. Sucks to be her.
“And that whole table over there? What’s there, 6, 7 ladies there – they hate each other’s guts, but all love the same guy. You should see that crowd on Saturday night, when they guys come in too – we got 13, 14 people all in love with one stupid guy who turns into a girl, or one of the other girls…it’s a regular mess every week. Always a fight from that crowd.
“Look around…all hard luck stories, everyone of us, cryin’ into our drinks. Sheesh, there’s the door again – new body to serve. I’ll speak to you later….”
The girl who entered looked much too young to be here. Rei’s brows furrowed as she watched the kid approach the bar. Short, not overly so, though, maybe 12 years old? What the hell’s she doing here? She thought.
The girl climbed up onto a bar stool and waited patently for Ryouko to make her way down the bar.
“Look, um, kid, I can’t serve you here.” Ryouko’s voice was gentle, well at least as gentle as the Space Pirate ever got.
“Just a juice for me, please.” The kid slapped down a large bill, then staring down at the bar, sighed. “And why not buy yourself a drink, too?”
Ryouko picked up the bill, calculated the number of drinks it could buy and smiled. “Sure, thanks!” Pouring out one large orange juice she placed it in front of the kid. Without looking, the girl lifted it to her mouth and chugged it down, placing it in front of her with another sigh.
Ryouko stared for a moment, then shook her head slowly. “So, who is it?”
The girl lifted her head and smiled sweetly. “Kinomoto Sakura.” The stars in her eyes said it all.
Ryouko opened her mouth, then closed it. “Not a first crush, maybe?”
Tomoyo’s smile slipped slightly, then reformed. “No. But I know she’ll never…”
Ryouko nodded, and refilled the juice glass. “Welcome to the crowd, kid.”
“Thanks for waiting for me. Yeah, just another night at the “Heart.” We got ‘em all. Girls in love with girls, guys, robots, aliens, guys in love with all the above…its pretty sad here.
So hey, what’s your story?”