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"I could go for some food," I admit to Yuuka, "Actually, come to think of it, I really haven't eaten in a while."
"Then please come in!" Yuuka insists, leading me to her house. "I'm certain that I can put together something that you'd like. I mainly subsist on a vegetarian diet, but I have some meats here as well. Beef, chicken?"
"Beef sounds good," I muse, "And do you have any noodles? Maybe some sort of stir-fry would be good..."
"Hm. I'm afraid I've never stir-fried before," Yuuka admits, looking a bit sheepish.
THIS WILL NOT DO.
I seize her hand. "Then I shall instruct you," I tell her, staring into her red eyes with all of the intensity I can muster.
Yuuka pouts a little bit. "Aw, but here I was hoping to cook for you."
I smile. "Isn't it more fun to cook together, though?"
Yuuka considers this for a moment, then smiles. "You know what? You're right. Shall we exchange recipes, Miss Meiling?" I laugh in response, and Yuuka leads the way into her house.
Yuuka's house (at least, the one here in the midst of the sunflowers), is a very nice and cozy place. The walls are thin, but Yuuka's influence keeps it summer-like in her garden all year round, so that really isn't a concern. The furniture is simple, but elegantly carved. Decorative plants hang all over the place, and Yuuka's enjoyment of red plaid is clearly evident. It's a home built for one person, with a large outer room serving as a kitchen/dining room/living room, and a bedroom and bathroom in the back. A door leads to a small extension which holds a small study for when Yuuka feels like reading. Evidently, Yuuka doesn't tend to receive a lot of guests. I find that fact a little depressing.
"I'll make sure to visit you more often," I assure the flower youkai as we get out ingredients.
She blushes a little, but smiles in response. "I'd appreciate that. You should bring Sakuya, too."
I chuckle. "Sure thing, but fair warning: she might try to clean your house for you. She has a tendency to do that without thinking about it. High standards, you understand."
Yuuka pauses in thought. "Hmmm... if I could get you in a maid outfit too, then I could have two pretty maids cleaning my house?" She smiles happily. "How delightful!"
I cough a little bit. "I actually wore a maid outfit a while back," I mutter.
Yuuka smiles broadly. "Oh, I remember that. And as I recall, it looked FANTASTIC!" She smiles wickedly at me. "Care to do it again?"
I cough in embarrassment. "Uh... maybe, And besides," I pout at her a little bit. "Now you're checking out Sakuya, too?"
"Can you blame me? And besides, who are you to talk?"
Urk. "Point taken," I say, turning back to work. "She does have great legs, though."
"Very much so," Yuuka agrees, smiling contentedly. "You should try getting HER into a bathing suit."
I think about it. "You know what? With Flandre's help, I think I can."
Yuuka considers that. "Get her to do it, and I may just have to join in after all."
"Now THERE'S some incentive," I say, grinning at Yuuka. The two of us stare at each other for a moment, then burst into laughter. "Well, I'll see what I can do," I assure Yuuka, chuckling to myself. She just giggles a little bit, and starts chopping vegetables.
As we work, Yuuka glances over at me. "I didn't realize that you were an experienced chef."
I nod. "Oh, sure. I mean, somebody had to cook before Sakuya came along. That being said, she's a lot better at it now than I ever was. I still have a few specialties, though," I finish proudly. I mean, sure Sakuya is a genius in the kitchen, but I have a couple tricks up my own sleeve, as well.
"Have you ever cooked with her?" Yuuka asks.
I think about it for a bit. "...Actually, no, I don't think that I have. That's a shame. I should do so, some day." I laugh. "Of course, with her time-freezing powers, there's no way I could keep up with her."
"Aren't you the one who pointed out that it was just fun to cook with somebody?" Yuuka chides me, smiling.
I chuckle. "Point taken. Well... I'll bring it up with her someday." Yuuka nods her approval, and we get back to work on making dinner.
So, point of interest? Yuuka raises some REALLY good vegetables. So large, and crisp, and juicy... they go perfectly with the meat she bought at the human village.
"You don't hunt on your own?" I ask, "With your strength, I thought it would be easy for you."
Yuuka hesitates. "Gardening and fighting? That I'm good at. Hunting? Not so much. Animals tend to instinctively run when I'm around." She sighs, and I rub her shoulder consolingly. Poor Yuuka. More people need to just give her a chance.
The meal we prepare turns out to be absolutely delicious. I have to say, Yuuka's a quick study. As soon as she picked up on the basics of stir-frying, she immediately shooed me to the kitchen table and took over the cooking completely. It seemed to be a point of pride for her. With good reason, as it turns out. This is a woman who knows how to cook.
I wait until Yuuka has swallowed her bite of food. "You'd make a good wife," I comment.
"EH?!" Yuuka squeaks, and looks up at me, eyes bulging wide. She sees my broad grin and twitches a little bit. "St-stop doing that, dammit!" she complains.
"I can't" I admit, "You're just too damn adorable when you're embarrassed." Yuuka glowers, but her blush takes a lot of the sting out of it. Instead, she focuses pointedly on her meal. I giggle and pat her hand before going back to my own food. After a moment, Yuuka pats my hand as well.
After finishing our meal and cleaning the dishes, the two of us recline on Yuuka's couch. I sigh, relaxing into the plush sofa. "This is so nice," I say happily.
"It is," Yuuka quietly agrees with me. "... I love you, you know."
I smile. "Yeah. I know."
"... Do you love me?"
I should have seen this coming, huh?
I sit up straight and meet Yuuka's steady gaze. Do I? I think.... maybe? The thing is, I do like being around her a lot. Once I stopped obsessing about her being a fellow woman, I realized that Yuuka is pretty, kind at heart, and overall a really nice person to hang out with. I enjoy being with her. A lot. And I'd be lying if I said I didn't like it when she kissed me.
But then there's Sakuya, who I feel much the same way for.
Here's the problem. I wouldn't mind getting closer to either one of them. But getting closer to one means abandoning the other, doesn't it? Anything else wouldn't be fair to them. But if I just keep stringing them both along, that's even more unfair to Yuuka and Sakuya. I could wind up losing both of them.
This is hard.
Yuuka looks deep into my eyes. "We're still being hard on you, aren't we?"
I sigh. "The two of you do not make this easy." I look away, feeling ashamed. A warm, gentle hand cups my cheek and brings my face back around. Yuuka just smiles at me gently. Not upset. Not angry. Just understanding, and... a little amused?
"Don't worry about it," Yuuka tells me softly, "Actually... the two of us might have a solution to that little problem."
"Huh?" What is she talking about?
But Yuuka just shakes her head. "Don't worry about it. Right now, it's just you and me... just the two of us." Yuuka leans forward and-
She's REALLY good at this.
Tilting back onto the couch.
Yuuka on top.
Her hands are warm.
Skin so soft.
Hat falls off.
Reaching for the buttons to her shirt.
Should probably stop.
Hell with it.
Door slams open.
We break our kiss and look over in shock. There's a girl there, swaying in the doorway, clearly drunk. She's wearing a red dress and a white hat, and has a bottle of alcohol in her hand. The other is clutching a... scythe? She giggles excitedly.
"So Yuuka! I was looking around the wine cellar, and found THIS great ol' vintage, and thought to myself, 'Hey! I haven't seen Yuuka in forever!' So, I left somebody else in charge, and came to pay you a visit! That's okay, right?" The blonde woman looks at Yuuka with happy, glimmering eyes that have just the faintest tinge of alchol-induced bleariness to them. Then she notices me.
She takes in both of us, actually.
And goes very, very still.
Oh, when did my hand get in there? How embarrassing.
Yuuka's eyebrow is twitching.
The blonde girl suddenly looks very awkward. "Oh. Wow. Uh. Bad timing? Eheheheh...heh... so, um..." Miss scythe looks around nervously. "Uh. Yuuka, I didn't know you were into women."
Yuuka takes a deep breath. "FOR GOD'S SAKE, ELLY!"
It took a while for Yuuka to calm down after that. After Elly's scream of pure terror, she bolted out the door with Yuuka right behind her, shouting all of her rage at the retreating girl. I hurried along behind, and eventually managed to calm Yuuka down. There was no sign of Elly, though. My gatekeeping counterpart had headed for the hills at top speed. After she calmed down, Yuuka admitted that she had overreacted, and resolved to go find Elly and apologize for her actions.
I gave her a gentle kiss and said my goodbyes. It perked Yuuka up quite a bit.
I'm still not sure how I feel about Elly interrupting. I mean, it was probably for the best, but still...
I arrive at the mansion later that day to see Malla standing at my post with a huge, empty smile on her face, occasionally popping a marshmallow into her mouth. She's humming along tunelessly as she does so. As I carefully walk up to her, Malla sighs deeply, and looks at her marshmallows with a genuine look of regret. "It's just not the same when they aren't roasted..."
"We can build a fire if you like," I suggest.
"AH!" Malla leaps into the air as she sees me. "Oh, Meiling! I didn't see you there."
"Busy eating marshmallows, huh?" I chuckle. "So, did anyone come along today?"
"A few people," Malla tells me, "They came along asking about Mistress Remilia and Mistress Reimu, but you told me not to talk about them. So I talked about marshmallows and how much I like roasting things. They looked at me funny and flew off." Malla shakes her head ruefully. "I think they're scared of how scared roasted marshmallows taste. How silly!"
Now that's the Malla I know. I ruffle her hair. She may be nuts, but she's ours. "Well, good job, Malla! Anyway, I was just suggesting that we build a fire and go roast some marshmallows together."
The fairy's face lights right up. "Really?!"
"Yay!" Overjoyed, Malla, leaps into my arms and gives me a tight hug. I laugh, and carry her off to the firepit in the gardens. I'm going to have to settle things with Sakuya and Yuuka at some point, but for now? Marshmallows.
Option A or Option B?
[ ] The big date with Sakuya.
[ ] The DyCirno Super Heroic Force