Disclaimer: I own none of the characters from either Read or Die or the ROD TV series, though I do wish I did. There are some spoilers in this story for both of those series, as well as for the ROD manga.
Read or Die, or maybe just to Dream
The sun was just setting over the busy city, the fiery light gradually fading away. Sumiregawa Nenene smiled to herself slightly, listening fondly to the sound of Anita and Michelle arguing, and the soft noises coming from Maggie in her closet-bedroom. "It's gotten noiser..." the light brown haired author murmured softly as she stretched out, "but that's all right."
The table out there on the balcony gave a nice view of the city, and apparently the two eldest sisters thought it was a good place to sit down and read, too. Nenene leaned forward, her book design locket dragging a bit on the table and reached out to gently trace the bindings of the books that they had placed out there, thinking of the bookshelves that were now popping up in the oddest places all over her home. Even the bathroom now had a few books tucked away in the medicine cabinet, she assumed in case of an emergency.
Nenene got up reluctantly, leaving the view behind, moving through the clean living room and up the stairs. The argument just down the hall seemed to be dying down now, and she smiled to herself as she returned to her own bedroom. The computer sat at her desk, surrounded by all of her work materials, and she felt a flash of guilt at not having at least tried to write today.
The white screen was blank as she sat before the computer, almost as blank as her thoughts. Then Nenene's eye was drawn to the photo sitting nearby and she picked it up, smiling a bit sadly. A younger version of herself made the traditional 'V for victory' pose, while a cutely befuddled looking black haired woman stood right beside her.
"Yomiko," Nenene murmured softly, her expression sad.
It was an old saying, that you didn't know what you had until it was gone, and Nenene had come to feel the truth of that in her heart and soul. When Yomiko Readaman had vanished that day, she had taken so much of Nenene along with her. For a long time her creativity, her joy, her vigor, they all seemed to just fade away.
It was almost ironic, considering how they had first met. The oddly cheerful substitute English teacher had babbled to them happily about book reports when she was introduced to the students, and later on Nenene had all but ordered her to go outside and put a stop to the construction workers that were disturbing her concentration.
Typing away on two laptops at the same time, working frantically, then Nenene was suddenly stuck. It was something that was outside her experience, something she had never experienced before that she now needed to write about. As Yomiko walked back in Nenene had pulled her close, and then pressed her lips to the startled young woman's.
Nenene smiled to herself fondly at the memory. The stunned look on Yomiko's face had been priceless as Nenene turned to go back to her typing, the phrase she needed in mind. A faint blush colored her cheeks, and she reached up to touch her lips thoughtfully. Yomiko had been her very first kiss, and oddly she didn't regret it at all.
Nenene's life was rather exiting in it's odd way, and she found Yomiko using her unique skills as a paper master to protect her. They gradually became part of each other's lives, watching over each other while pursuing their two greatest passions. Yomiko devoured all of Nenene's books, her eyes sparkling with enjoyment, and Nenene so enjoyed seeing the happiness she brought to her friend that she wrote even more.
One incident stuck in her memory, the moment where things began to change. She had come back from a book signing abroad, calling Yomiko at her home. Oddly, there was no answer. Growing concerned, Nenene went over to Yomiko's, carefully navigating the book lined stairs to reach Yomiko's home. The door was unlocked, and for an instant she was tempted to scold Yomiko about it, but seeing the gently crying woman stilled any harsh words.
Yomiko couldn't seem to tell her very much about it, but she spoke of meeting a beautiful woman named Nancy. Nenene was badly shaken by the sudden surge of jealously she had felt, but she drove it away while trying to comfort her friend. It seemed that Nancy was gone, never to return, leaving Yomiko with a badly broken heart. Cradling the older woman close to her, just letting her cry herself out, Nenene wished with all of her heart that she could protect Yomiko.
"Hell of a job I did at that," Nenene muttered to herself softly.
Over the time Nenene had known her Yomiko had disappeared on her before, of course, for her mysterious 'other job.' But she always returned home, if a few days or even a couple of weeks later. But the weeks stretched on into months, and the months to years, and all that time there was simply no trace of her friend.
'Friend,' Nenene thought to herself glumly. When she and Anita, or Chibiko as she liked to call the little girl, had talked in the Hong Kong rain, she had called Yomiko that. But the truth is that Yomiko was much more to her than just a good friend.
"I wonder if you knew about how I felt," Nenene picked up the photo and looked at it sadly, "you could be pretty clueless about things like that at times." Much more softly she added, "When I see you again, I'll tell you."
Nenene yawned, looking at the blank screen, then at the clock. Obviously, she wasn't going to get any writing done tonight. She got up from her chair, stretched until she heard her back pop slightly, then turned to go to bed. A few steps, then she stopped cold.
Returning to the keyboard Nenene leaned over and typed out a few words, then tumbled into bed. Soon she was snoring away, the words still glowing on the screen: "Yomiko, I love you."
Dawn came far too soon, and Nenene stumbled downstairs tiredly. She looked into her small bathroom and just had to smile. Dressed in various kinds of night-clothes the tall, black haired Maggie, the more average sized green haired Michelle, and the red haired little girl Anita all brushed away at their teeth in almost perfect synch, just like they had the last two mornings.
"Are you going to do this every morning?" Nenene had to ask.
The three picked up their glasses of water and rinsed together, then with a slight blush Maggie murmured, "Probably."
"Heh," Nenene smiled slightly as she elbowed her way to the sink. "Who's turn is it to make breakfast today?" she asked as she grabbed her toothbrush.
"Mine," Michelle sighed.
Nenene paused in her brushing, smirked and looked down at Anita to say, "Then I hope it's better than Chibiko's was."
"Hey!" the little girl lunged at Nenene angrily as her two sisters grabbed her by the arms and then bodily dragged her away.
"You know," Nenene mused softly, "I could get used to this."
Authors Note: This begins at the end of the third episode of ROD the TV series. Some of the material for this comes from the ROD manga, about when Yomiko first met Nenene, as well as the OVAs. My thanks go out to www.readordie.org for the manga translations. I may expand on this story a bit, after I see episodes number four through six of the new series, but I really wanted to write something on Nenene and Yomiko now...