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Okonogi Yuko wakes to the cool grey light of early dawn filtering in through the windows and acknowledges the onset of wakefulness by closing her eyes again in the hope that it will go away.

It doesn't.

First she opens one eye to consider the ceiling, to catalogue its many fascinating complexities, then she opens the next and rolls onto her side, pawing at the nightstand for the pair of glasses she left folded there during the night. She grasps the tail of a glasses frame in the tips of her fingers and drags it across the stand till she can grab it by the bridge, flips them open with practiced ease, slides the glasses onto her face - and her shoulders sag with a sigh, because she put on Isako's glasses again.

She can't keep doing this. Next time, she's absolutely telling Isako to bring her own sleeping mat.

She folds Isako's glasses back up and reaches over for her own pair, slipping them on with a relieved, quiet smile. She won't say anything of the sort to Isako, of course.

A raise of a finger calls up the apartment menu just above her legs; she quick-scrolls between options using the side of her thumb till she reaches the square-and-circle icon for the bedroom light. She picks it up and squeezes it once, gently, smiling as the ceiling fixture hums and flickers to life, filling the room with a bright, clean halogen glow. She releases the icon and it wobbles its way back to its menu slot with a bouncing motion designed to feel cheerful and uplifting for the user to watch - one of several basic menu settings she helped create for the program, and her personal favorite.

Yuko remembers the night she finished the code and ran the new design for the first time, Isako stared at it, blanched slightly, and went back to testing out code in freehand for a potential glasses upgrade the company she consulted for wanted to roll out during the winter fiscal quarter next year; a small cyberwindow in front of her flickered the word 'ERROR' at her every few cycles until she wrote out the last piece of code and it unfurled into an oversized cybercopy of Isako's glasses that she peered at, frowned, and began scribbling notes onto another pad in her lap. "It reminds me of Saatchi," she told Yuko later, during a pause in their work. "I wouldn't have designed it."

At the time, Yuko had smiled and nodded. "That's sort of what I had in mind," she'd said, "but anyway, it won't be the only option people have, that's the whole idea."

Looking over her shoulder at Isako's sleeping form now, with a trio of likewise-snoozing round puffballs keeping tempo with their lord and master's breaths, Yuko has to wonder whether Isako's claim is true. "You're as fond of cute things as the rest of us, you just don't know how to show it as well," she says to Isako's back, gentle mockery lilting on her tone. Isako's only response is a sleepy, wordless murmur - like always after a night of stealing Yuko's bedsheets, Isako was, at the moment, a dangerously snugglable corpse.

A small grin softens Yuko's features as she turns back to the screen she'd been playing with - and quickly turns to abject horror when she realizes what time it is. She whips back around to shake Isako by the shoulder, her mouth left gaping wide, her eyes locked to the cyberclock display. Isako mumbles something unintelligible and doesn't wake.

Screaming seems the only logical response. "Aaaah!" she says, eloquently summing up every thought capable of running through her mind. "Isako! Wake up!" She shakes Isako harder. "Isako!" A wordless, plaintive cry rises from Yuko's throat, and her fingers scrabble on Isako's shoulder desperately, pulling Isako over onto her back. "Isaaakooo! A-ma-sa-wa Yu-ko," she says, shoving Isako harder with each syllable, "wake up!"

Isako grunts and rolls back onto her side. Yuko moans through her hands, pulling her fingers down her face. "Why did I ever let you learn how to get a good night's sleep at my expense?" she mutters, and reaches out for Isako's glasses with one hand and another cybermenu with the other; it springs to life beneath her fingers as she flips Isako's frames open and slides them over Isako's face. The glasses activate on contact, connecting Isako's sensory perception to overlaid cyberspace. Yuko adjusts her own glasses on her face, the light glinting off the lenses in the rapidly brightening dawn. "You leave me no choice, then."

She pulls up a slowly pulsing icon lit through with a mimicry of old-style motherboard circuit patterns and presses her palm against it. It puffs like smoke through her fingers and curls around her hand, particles glittering within the program cloud and sinking into her skin, circuitry patterns flushing like fireflies down the curve of her arm. She knows she can't really feel this, that the warmth of her skin where the patterns glow is her mind playing tricks on itself in a psychological hallucination, but it still feels warm to the touch.

So she likes pretty things and designs her programs to suit her aesthetics, so what, she thinks; if the interface isn't in harmony with its surroundings, then the whole system falls out of balance. She wriggles her fingers, her fingertips and palm lighting up with the chiming tones of a startup sequence. Contrails of light follow her hand through the air, humming with a constant low melodic pulse; she clenches her hand in a fist and with her other pushes the gain on a volume control up to 75. She closes the volume cybermenu, pressing her hands together lightly as the "skin" of the program grows over her other hand - and then lifts her hands up like a cat's unsheathed claws to prepare to strike, just as Isako rolls over onto her back again and sleepily blinks her eyes open, Isako's mouth working in muzzy, drowsy confusion.

Yuko's hands come down on Isako's belly with an ear-splitting whine and land, already skittering this way and that over Isako's exposed skin, in an explosion of light and noise loud enough to wake the neighbors - not for the first time, Yuko is glad the program has a passive sound-proofing feature on autorun, because the Shimuras really might try to break the door down if she wakes them up this early.

Isako yelps like a startled puppy and stiffens under Yuko's tickling fingers so fast Yuko can feel her body shiver with the sudden onset of coiled tension before Isako's hands, accompanied by a roaring chorus of sound and blooming light, flail up and beat at Yuko's arms in panic. "Aaah! Aaah - what - " Isako's incoherent yelps break off into nonsense gurgles as her sleepy brain overwhelms itself with trying to fight her own involuntary laughter, Yuko's devastating fingers of doom, and the cacophonous noise level one small bedroom can produce. Yuko pulls her hands back, unable to stop from laughing, twisting away from the onslaught of gangly limbs and throwing one hand out to grab the program menu and - "Turn it off, turn it off!" - do what Isako says, more or less.

The sound and light fade, leaving one thoroughly disheveled Isako curled up on Yuko's bed, her legs tucked up to her chest and her hands over her ears. "Why did I ever think there was anything sweet and gentle about you," she mutters, her fingers twitching. One nail catches on the glasses frame and worries at the metal coating with frustrated gusto. "It was all an act. All of it. I should have figured it out years ago."

Yuko exhales with a shake of her head. She can't keep a giggly little smile off her face, but - she woke Isako up for a reason. "We have a development meeting to discuss some of the new additions to cyberspace we wanted to make with representatives for Megamass in an hour," she says, pressing her lips together in a worried line. "I forgot to set the alarm."

Isako's eyes widen; she takes a deep breath, and her hand clamps down on Yuko's shoulder, her eyes firmly screwed shut. Yuko stares at her in alarm. "You forgot."

Yuko raises a hesitant finger and leans back and away from Isako's fingers - at least, she attempts to. "We only have an hour, Isak - khughgughgugh," she says, as Isako growls and digs her fingers into Yuko's arm and shakes her back and forth.

"Out," Isako says, pointing to the door. "Clothes, then out."

"But it's my bedr -"

"Out, Yasako!"

Yuko holds up her hands in surrender and slips off the bed, pulling fresh underwear from the rack as she passes by on her way to the closet. "I'm ordering you a sleeping mat when we get out of the meeting," she says, wagging a finger over her shoulder. "See if I ever let you get a good night's sleep again."

Isako shifts behind her. Yuko can't see her face from inside the closet, only the grinning, caustic tone of her voice. "Oh, is that a threat?"

Yuko leans out of the closet, glaring at Isako with more firmness to her face than she really feels, and says, "Yes. And you should be getting dressed too, you know."

Isako folds her arms across her chest and raises one eyebrow at Yuko, her face hardening in return. "I am not picking something out while you're in the room again. You will make me change it and we don't have time." Her face softens briefly. "You're not really ordering a sleeping mat for me, are you?"

Yuko, bent down to investigate a suspicious brown smudge on one of her favorite dresses, smiles into the closet. "No," she says, "and even if I did, you probably wouldn't use it anyway."

With a sigh, she pushes her favorite dress with the smudge on the hip to the side to worry about later under more appropriate conditions, like that dinner party Fumie called her about to celebrate her acceptance into the post-graduate program she's wanted to get into practically since Yuko knew her, and picks out a coal-grey two-piece that she's sure won't terrify any of the Megamass employees she has to get in front of today.

She looks over her shoulder at Isako to catch her tilting her head to get a better look, and Yuko laughs her way out of the bedroom at Isako's sheepishly appreciative smile.

The edge of the stove-top digs into Yuko's back as she pulls up her stockings, and she bites her lip, narrowing her eyes at the uncooperative nylons and wishing fervently that someone would invent an app that could help you get dressed in cyberspace. She knows it's an unachievable dream, cyberconstructs being incapable of affecting real-world objects even supposing her work with Isako on the Imago code ever goes anywhere except dead ends, but still she wishes.

Looking up at the refrigerator door, she notes in an absent sort of way that she still needs to do shopping for the week and considers asking Isako to do it later, but that would probably not go over well right now. She still has take-out in the fridge, anyway; the shopping can wait.

The bedroom door clunks open as Yuko grabs her coat from by the door and starts poking through the shoe closet for something suitable. Isako steps out in a navy two-piece pantsuit, her hair tied back in a tight ponytail at the base of her neck.

"I will never doubt your clothing choice again," Yuko says, humming appreciatively, "but we'll miss the train if I let myself say what else I'm thinking and then we really will be late for sure." She finally spots the pair she wants, black with low heels, and slips them on quickly.

"You have the notes?" Isako doesn't hesitate, reaching into the shoe closet for a pair of black square-toed shoes in need of polish and sitting down on the raised step to tie them on.

"I have the notes," Yuko says with a nod, holding up her satchel with one hand and tapping her glasses with the other.

Isako pulls the last loop on her shoes tight with a grunt and stands. "Good. Thank you." She pauses, scratching at her chin, and leans over to cup Yuko's face with her hand and kiss her quick. "This will work."

Yuko smiles. "Of course it will," she says. "We made it together."