Home    Fanfics   Go Back

9 Years Later

By: BunsRevenge. Originally published to AO3.

Futaba sits on the bench at the station in Kyoto, waiting for a quiet train several stops away from the shinkansen hub. She lifts her wrist to check her watch, only then realizing she’d removed it at morning practice so it wouldn’t be in the way when she was practicing her stage fighting. She glances up at the large clock at the end of the platform, but instead, she catches sight of the local train pulling in, braking to a halt beside the painted lines of the platform, and in another moment, off steps Tendo Maya.

Maya is the same as she was at Seisho - all rigid posture, deep violet eyes, a slightly nervous grip on the suitcase in her hand, which is nearly imperceptible to the untrained eye. But at the same time, she is worlds away: her hair is now cut short - fit to match the Top Otokoyaku role that she and Futaba now vie for, just two swoops of brown in the front and a tousle of perfectly imperfect cropped hair behind. Her wardrobe has been upgraded as well: gone are the days of her high-class but mismatched clothing. It seems that she has studied a bit of fashion, or at least gotten a stylist, for today she is wearing an outfit of matching browns, creams and natural textures.

“Isurugi-san, you’re looking well,” she greets, spotting Futaba in record time. But Maya has always been like that, with superhuman sharpness. Futaba stands to greet her, and they hug lightly, less than Futaba is used to and likely more than Maya is used to. They fall into step as they leave the station, walking back to the theater.

“Maya, please, call me Futaba,” she insists. It has been a long time, certainly, but they were close. They had been friends.

Maya nods, casting her gaze back at Futaba for a short moment. “Certainly, Futaba.” She looks apologetic. She looks lonely.

And in that moment, Futaba realizes two things at once. The first is that staring at this Maya, years older, years removed from Seisho, is not all that different from looking at herself. Short hair, violet eyes, toned arms… she bites her lip as she pointedly ignores the height difference. A little older, with some fine lines on close viewing, her face is similar to Futaba's.

The second is that it might be the first time they have ever met like this: as individuals. Futaba without Kaoruko, and Maya without Claudine. She expected it to feel empty, as if they were avoiding some huge elephant in the room, and she is sure they will need to talk about it, but it had only occurred to her then - after walking for some time. It is alright to just be with Maya. In fact, it's nice. Maya is polite, kind, chatting amicably, and Futaba finds herself wanting to get under the surface, to learn more about her new troupemate. There was a certain magnitude Maya had, and Futaba couldn't help but be drawn to it. She wonders why she never noticed back at Seisho.

They return to the theater, and Futaba introduces Maya to the staff and some of the actresses. She is certain Maya will make a splash, and that she will soon be competing with Maya for the same roles. She thinks that back at Seisho, she may have thought that her place was to naturally fall into line behind Tendo Maya. But now, after so many years, she is established too, and she thinks she can hold her own.

“Do you want to get something to eat?” she asks, when all the introductions are finished. The day is really not over, but there’s not much to do until training the next day.

“I ate on the train. Perhaps… we could spar?”

Futaba raises an eyebrow at Maya’s suggestion, but she doesn’t back down. She shows Maya to the changing room, where Maya rummages in her luggage for some workout clothes, and then to the training room, where they pick up wooden swords.

And it’s like Maya has shorn more than just her hair. The younger girl who wanted it all - who wanted every role, and every accolade has cast off such a notion, refining herself into someone who would be a Top Otokoyaku in another year or two.

A sheen of sweat covers her as she swings deftly at Futaba and parries her strikes away, they match each other strike for strike, and it’s fun. It’s the most fun Futaba has had in some time. A challenging grin forms on Maya's lips and she meets Futaba's eyes, Futaba wondering what power Maya has to command such tension and unravel it at her disposal. She wonders how Maya had ever thought of herself as an empty vessel when she’s pouring so much of herself out in every breath.

Finally, they sit back on the training room floor, and it’s Maya who breaks the silence first. “You’re really excellent,” she commends. The grin has not fully left her lips and Futaba entertains the selfish thought that perhaps it was personal, a piece of Maya solely for Futaba and not any new sparring partner.

“I could say the same about you.”

She’s certain then that they both think of the upcoming auditions, how they both covet the same roles, and how there’s only room for one at the top. But more than this, she’s happy to see Maya, regardless of who’s winning the roles, because it has been lonely.

“Have you seen her?” she says, cautiously, handing Maya a water bottle. She feels the ghosts of their other halves floating in the room like spectres.

Maya shakes her head, her hand pausing on the lid.

“And you?”

Haven’t seen either of them. Funny how things change.”

Maya nods, and it’s sad, but it’s understanding. Like they’ll settle into this new routine alright, much changed from Seisho but somehow, leaving them on the same wavelength. Maya sits up, the hint of the same smile on her face. A challenge and a personal study. “Wanna go one more time?”