Valentine Chrisis

[A/N: So I wasn’t able to get this done in time, but it’s still technically Valentine’s some places in the world. Back to Symphogear this time, and the goodest girl: Yukine Chris. I don’t even quite remember how this idea came to me, but I had a lot of fun writing it. I hope you like reading it, too.]

There was cocoa powder everywhere. Yukine Chris was feeling some amount of exasperation. I’ll make chocolate from scratch, she’d thought. It’s just mixing cocoa, sugar, and water, she’d thought. How hard can it be, she had thought. She had even enlisted the help of Shirabe.

Turned out it was trickier than she had thought. Honestly she should have known the moment she started looking up recipes online, and learned that more went into chocolate-making than she expected. Still, things had been going well enough until she had tried using a hand-mixer to blend the cocoa and sugar. Power to the max, that’s how she rolled! The resulting cloud had startled Shirabe so much that she had knocked the butter off of the counter, and onto the floor. It was a miracle the milk hadn’t been knocked over, though it was now finely dusted.

“Well…” Chris surveyed the scene.

“We made a mess, senpai,” Shirabe commented dryly.

“I can see that,” Chris grumbled.

Neither of them had done this before. That hadn’t occurred to Chris when she asked Shirabe for help. Part of her had somehow expected Shirabe to be an expert at making treats for her girlfriend, forgetting that those two had been international fugitives until last year. Even so you’d think that two heads would be better than one, but maybe that wasn’t the case when neither had any idea what they were doing.

The grand plan had been to secretly make Valentine’s chocolate for her… girlfriends? Was that what they were? Lovers? Chris would never claim she was good at figuring out relationships, least of all her own. Still, it seemed like the kind of thing she should do, and more importantly, she wanted to do it. Enlisting help was a genius move, as she could come off as a considerate senpai offering to help her kouhai make chocolates, while getting some useful assistance herself on the sly. She had picked Shirabe simply because she thought she would be easier to work with.

Which hadn’t been false, but now the kitchen was an absolute mess. Chris wasn’t even sure where to start cleaning this up. Worst of all, it was mostly her fault. Not that she would say that out loud, but she was well aware.

“What do we do now?” Shirabe asked.

Chris considered it. As tempting as it was to give up, she wasn’t having that. “We try again, of course,” she stated confidently. They still had time, and a single setback was not going to stop her. Even if that setback made it look like a grenade had gone off.

Cleaning went quickly between the two of them, and they salvaged what they could. The milk was probably still fine, even if it was lightly dusted. That would have ended up in there eventually anyway. Despite the state of the kitchen, it looked like most of the the cocoa and sugar had stayed in the bowl, and she had bought plenty extra. The butter had to be thrown out, but thankfully she had more of that too. Cleaning it off of the floor was the hardest part.

So they kept going where they left off, with Chris silently vowing to pay more attention to the instructions in the recipe from now on. Though she noticed that Shirabe had situated herself a little further away this time.

After a while they had made something that at least looked like chocolate, though the proof lay in tasting it. Which both of them seemed nervous about.

“After you,” Chris offered.

“No, I insist, senpai,” Shirabe said.

Chris sighed. It was probably her duty to lead the charge here. She carefully scooped a bit out with a teaspoon, and had a taste. On the upside it wasn’t bad. She’d eat this. But she wasn’t sure if it was good enough.

Upon seeing that Chris wasn’t making any disgusted grimaces, Shirabe deemed it safe to try some for herself.

“What do you think?” Chris asked.

“I like it,” Shirabe said quite simply.

“Think it’s good enough?” Chris voiced her concern out loud.

“Probably,” Shirabe concluded. “Don’t you?”

“Hm… I don’t know…” Chris was rather uncertain. “I think I want to try once more…” The ratio might have gotten screwed up when the incident happened, and they hadn’t followed the steps correctly. Maybe starting over from scratch would make something even better. They still had enough ingredients, and they could keep this batch regardless. Part of her wanted to try something fancy and unique with it, but she wasn’t sure what that would be. Or if she dared try to experiment when she had no prior experience. If it was just for herself, that would have been one thing, but…

Shirabe smiled. “Alright,” she agreed. More chocolate wasn’t a bad thing. So they got back to work.

Eventually Chris could no longer contain what was on her mind. “Hey… um… so you and Kirika have been together for a long time, right?” she asked as a lead-in.

Shirabe glanced up briefly before looking back at what she was doing. “Yeah, ever since we met at the… facility,” she said, hesitating a bit at the end.

“You figured it out that early?!” Chris was unable to hide her surprise. She had seen how they were together, but hadn’t expected they had gotten that close that fast.

“Huh?” Shirabe looked up at Chris’s face. “Oh! You mean… um… er… no, that’s not… not that early…” She stumbled over her words a bit, and started to blush.

“Oh… right. Sorry,” Chris said, and laughed awkwardly. Of course that was a misunderstanding. But what she really wanted to know was: “Um… how did you figure it out? Or like… when did it happen? When did you know?”

“Eh?” Shirabe seemed a bit like a deer caught in headlights, and it made Chris realise maybe she was pushing too hard.

“Sorry, never mind…” she said. It wasn’t fair to push her own issues about this onto others.

There was a pause, then Shirabe spoke again. “No, it’s okay. It’s just a little hard to answer.” Maybe she had needed the pause to compose herself. “It happened so gradually, that she grew into the most important person in my life. It wasn’t like we were just friends one day, and then the next suddenly we were more. Sorry if that’s not very clear…”

“I… I see… I think I kinda get it…” Chris wasn’t entirely sure she did, but it almost made sense. While she had sort of hoped for something more concrete, it was somewhat relieving that maybe there weren’t any absolute answers. Maybe she was just overthinking it.

“If there was any one moment where it hit me, it was probably the first time we ki-” Shirabe had gotten so lost in thought that she nearly said more than she had meant to, and quickly shut up.

Chris figured it was probably best to not press the bright red Shirabe any further, because it was something she didn’t need to know any more about. It hadn’t really happened like that for her anyway, so it wasn’t a useful reference.

They both returned to making chocolate in silence, letting their heated faces cool down.

Soon enough they were done with the second batch, and upon tasting Chris couldn’t really tell a big difference between them. Nor could Shirabe. The latter one was maybe a little less sweet, but it was hard to tell, at least to their tongues. While Chris felt a little disappointed that it hadn’t somehow turned out radically better, at least it wasn’t any worse.

Then it was time to set it into moulds, and she had bought several trays of heart shapes. A bit cliche, but she had thought that it was probably best to be direct. However she hadn’t intended to make this much, and hadn’t gotten enough trays for all of it. So the rest had to go in some normal ice cube trays she had. At least those could work for friendship chocolate, right? She was fairly sure that was a thing. If Tsubasa or Maria weren’t around, Genjuurou would probably eat it. Or maybe her classmates. While Chris’s social life wasn’t exactly booming, there were still those three…

“Thank you for this,” Chris said after they had set all the trays.

“No worries, senpai,” Shirabe responded. “It would have been tough to make any at our place without Kiri-chan finding out and butting in. Good thing you live alone.”

Chris felt like she had been stung. “Urk… y-yeah, I guess so,” she said, trying to brush it off. Since when had being alone bothered her so much, she wondered. Maybe it always had. But somehow it felt more pressing these days.

“Are you okay, senpai?” Shirabe suddenly asked.

Chris was taken off guard. “Eh? How do you mean?” That was the reply that automatically came to her.

“Well… you’ve been a little odd today. And you asked about me and Kiri-chan… is something going on?” Shirabe pressed.

Chris didn’t know how she wanted to answer that. Maybe she should try to deflect. “Oh.. um… nothing’s wrong. I’m fine, really. Honest. Everything is… fine.” Her words were met with a disbelieving look from Shirabe. “Ugh… okay, maybe I’ve been… thinking about some things…” she hesitantly admitted.

“Want to talk about it?” Shirabe asked.

It really didn’t feel right for Chris to rely upon her kouhai, when she was supposed to be the reliable one. But… they were friends too. At least she thought so. “It’s boring stuff though,” she said as she plopped down on the couch. Her back was killing her.

“That’s fine,” Shirabe said, taking a seat for herself. “I don’t have to go home yet.”

Chris sighed. She had told herself she was going to be more honest and embrace her feelings, yet she still struggled with so much insecurity. Why couldn’t this be easy? “Mmph… I’ve been thinking about the doofus and Miku.”

Shirabe nodded. Maybe she had expected as much. “You’re dating now, aren’t you?” It sounded more rhetorical than a real question.

“Are we?” To Chris it ultimately didn’t feel like that much had changed. No major shifts.

“You mean you aren’t?” Shirabe tilted her head to side, slightly confused.

“I don’t know,” Chris admitted quite simply. “I don’t really know what that means. What it should be like.” Whenever she thought she had something figured out, she started second-guessing herself.

“Senpai, we just spent the whole day making chocolates for them,” Shirabe said bluntly.

“Um… yeah…” Chris couldn’t deny that. She had even wanted to do it. Felt excited at the idea of presenting them with homemade chocolates, and watching Hibiki’s goofy face as she enjoyed eating them. Maybe sharing one with Miku. Her cheeks felt a little hot just thinking about it.

Shirabe smiled. Maybe she could read Chris’s face. “You’re in love with them, aren’t you?” she said, though phrasing it as a question seemed more like a courtesy.

“How do I know? How can I be sure?” Chris asked, putting voice to her deep doubts. She wasn’t sure what being in love meant, and she was afraid of getting it wrong.

“I think… you just do. I’m not sure if it’s the same for everyone, but I think you would know,” Shirabe said, her eyes scrutinising Chris. “I suspect you already know, senpai.”

“Then why would I be asking?!” Chris exclaimed in frustration. Maybe the most frustrating part was that Shirabe’s words had a ring of truth to them. Yukine Chris had kept asking herself over and over ‘is this what being in love is like?‘, yet somehow she struggled to accept that the answer was simply ‘yes‘, even though all the evidence pointed to that being true.

“Senpai…?” Shirabe looked a little startled.

Chris blinked. “Oh… sorry, I didn’t mean to… sorry…” She leaned back into the cushions, feeling a little ashamed.

Shirabe sighed, possibly out of relief. “Look… they love you,” she said as if she stated a fact.

“Yeah.” Chris definitely couldn’t deny that. They had stated it out loud, and kept confirming it with how they acted.

“And you love them,” Shirabe continued.

“… yeah.” It didn’t feel right to try denying that any more either. She even felt more comfortable occasionally being the one asking for some affection. It felt like a small change, but maybe it was bigger than she thought. Perhaps obsessing so much over whether it was proper ‘in love‘ love or not was futile.

“So…?” Shirabe sounded like she wanted to ask what the problem was.

Chris pondered that herself. No, deep down she knew exactly what it was. “I don’t know if I deserve it,” she said. She hadn’t really meant to say it that plainly, but it just slipped out.

“I think you deserve happiness as much as anyone,” Shirabe said with a smile. “You’re a good girl, senpai.”

Chris narrowed her eyes at that last remark. “What does that mean?” she asked, no, demanded.

“Oops, look at the time, I should go home,” Shirabe said, and hopped to her feet before she scurried quickly over to her shoes, grabbing her purse on the way.

“Hey! What did you mean by that?” Chris demanded again.

Shirabe was really fast when she wanted to be, and was already popping out the door. “Just what I said,” she replied, and paused halfway out. “I’ll be back to get the chocolates tomorrow! Good night, senpai!”

“Hey!” The door closed, and Chris was left scowling at it. She was definitely not a ‘good girl‘. That was ridiculous. But… I deserve happiness, huh? Maybe

“Chris-chan, what’s this?” Hibiki looked at the box Chris had handed her.

Chris thought it should have been obvious. “They’re chocolates, dummy.” She took out another box. “Here, Miku.” Miku accepted it, but was also looking at it curiously. “I only made them because I felt like it, okay?” Chris said so there wouldn’t be any misunderstandings.

“You made them?!” Hibiki sounded amazed, and quickly tore the box open.

“Thank you, Chris,” Miku said, and showed that lovely, warm smile of hers. “We made some for you too.” She fished a box out of her own bag.

Chris’s heart fluttered as she accepted it. She had hoped to get some, of course, but she hadn’t dared expect any. It was better to be positively surprised than disappointed. Maybe this truly was what being in love was like. “Thank you,” she said, holding onto the box like a precious treasure. She almost didn’t want to open it.

“Hey, these are really good!” Hibiki exclaimed, clearly having no such reservations.

Not that Chris believed Hibiki had very discerning taste, but it still made her feel happy that she liked them. “Also… um… thank you both for putting up with me,” she said, submitting to her desire to be honest. “I really appreciate it, though I’ll probably keep being a mess sometimes.”

“Oh, Chris,” Miku said, and reached out to gently stroke Chris’s cheek. It felt nice and soft.

Hibiki didn’t seem like she had been properly paying attention, because she said: “You’re a mess? Do you have bedhead? Do you want me to brush your hair?”

“What? No!” Chris had been trying for a heartfelt moment here, and the dummy had gotten too distracted by devouring chocolate. “Besides, I’ve already told you you’re too rough.”

“I thought you liked it rough,” Hibiki said with a grin.

“That’s not what I meant!!!”

~Wulf

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Posted on February 15, 2018, in Fiction, Storytime and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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