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Author Topic: [AKB48 x Mendol] The Price of Fame (Nami/Ray, Nami/Acchan) - COMPLETED  (Read 166704 times)

Offline A1

  • The Original Caramel Love
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Re: [AKB48 x Mendol] The Price of Fame (WIP)
« Reply #160 on: March 27, 2011, 12:20:34 AM »
Usually I don't like cross-over stories but this one got me by my heart. Just a little upset Ray doesn't try to do more to fight back. Can't wait to see what happens next.

Offline FoF

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Re: [AKB48 x Mendol] The Price of Fame (WIP)
« Reply #161 on: April 22, 2011, 04:24:15 AM »
I apologize for the long long delay. :kneelbow: And no...this ain't the end.  :nervous I'm going to update again a little later for the finishing touches. The last chap is quite long so I had to cut it. I apologize for that. :kneelbow: But don't worry, I'm currently finishing it now and well...I'll post the finishing touches in a little while. And no, a little while doesn't mean a few days or another two months.  :lol: I'll just do my usual babble mode later.  :lol:

Again, onionboy and FoF apologizes for the delay. :kneelbow: :kneelbow: :kneelbow:


***********************


Chapter 21 (part 3)




Okuma was floored; his eyes wide and mouth agape as he stared at the girl who was not supposed to be sitting at the audience. No, the girl that he’s staring is supposed to be standing a few feet away from him, raising her fake thick eyebrow and wearing her messy short blonde hair with her Persona outfit on, trying to look like a man.

She’s not supposed to be sitting there looking at him like she herself don’t know what’s going on!

“Wha-what…?” Okuma trailed off, his eyes glued at Nami who was now smiling painfully at him as Hinata grabbed her hand and waved it for Okuma to see. Asahi and Mariko decided to join Hinata as they motioned at Nami while smiling at Okuma as if Nami was some kind of grand price for him. Nami couldn’t help but narrow her eyes as the three continue to do unnecessary gestures just to spite Okuma. She felt that things were getting out of hand as Hinata starts to fold her fingers except for her middle finger. She quickly pulled her hand away from Hinata knowing quite well what Hinata was trying to say to Okuma.

She has to admit though, it is pretty tempting to send that message to Okuma what with the things that he’s doing. But…Nami decided to just censor it just in case. 

Seeing the three girls trying to provoke Okuma somehow answers his suspicion earlier that the three knew about Nami’s real identity.

But that’s the least of his problems now, isn’t?

Okuma tore his eyes away from the four as the whispers around him intensify. He gulped feeling his apprehension building inside of him. He could feel the cold sweat forming on his forehead.

This is definitely not good.

“I honestly don’t know where you got that idea of Kai being a woman since he’s too reckless, stubborn and brash to be a woman.” Saeko huffed as she stood beside Kai who shrugged. The real Kai, who was sitting on the far back with the three Akb48 members, sighed at the insult given by their Shachou.

She’ll let that one slide since their Shachou is helping them and all.

“And just who in the world would make something so…ingenious as turn a woman into a man and make them the number one idol in Japan?! That’s insane!” Saeko exclaimed as she laughed and slapped Kai on the shoulder making the boy stumbled slightly.

‘Only you.’ The three Persona members thought as they narrowed their eyes at Saeko who was laughing like a madwoman. Even Mariko narrowed her eyes at the woman somehow finding it hard to believe that Saeko wasn’t responsible for the whole cross dressing business of Persona. She really didn’t need to hear it from her three companions as it was so obvious.

Makes her wonder though if Hinata got her insanity from that woman since the two were somewhat similar to her.

Okuma clenched his fist and gritted his teeth in frustration as he looked at the woman laughing. A bead of cold sweat trickles down the side of his face. He clearly didn’t anticipate this woman ruining his plans. Everything was running smoothly until Kai showed up!

‘No…everything turned upside down even before the fake Kai appeared.’ Okuma thought as he remembered the annoying reporter. He glanced at the reporter and found him still holding the brown envelope, staring at the laughing woman with his eyebrow raised. This…fake Kai and the reporter are his main problem now. He needs to dispose the envelope in the reporters’ hand AND prove to everyone that the real Kai is really a woman. The latter is what he should solve first since the problem is right in front of him.

‘Damn it. Think!’ He thought as he looked at both the woman and Kai. He really can’t take back what he said about Kai being a woman now can he? So…what now…? How can he prove to everyone that the Kai standing in front of him is a fake and that the real Kai is sitting far in the back?

“Hey! Q-quit it!” Kai growled as his Shachou kept on slapping him on the back as she laughed her ass off. His protest actually made it worse as Saeko wrapped her arm around the poor boy, leaning at him like she’s drunk as she continue to laugh. Some reporters decided to snap a picture of the woman in case she really did go mental.

That’s good article to place in a believe it or not section.

It was only when Kai kept on pushing Saeko did Okuma remembered the one thing that made him realize that Kai and Nami are just one person.

‘If this…Kai is indeed fake…then he wouldn’t have a…’ He thought as his eyes went wide with realization. Remembering that, Okuma quickly stood up from his seat, making everyone turn to him including Kai. Saeko immediately stopped laughing and frowned as she looked at him. He looked like he was searching for something as he leaned slightly to his right. Was he…looking at the left side of Kai’s face…?

Without any warning, Hinata cupped Nami’s jaw with her hand, pulled her head a little bit closer to hers and turned her head to the right.

“H-Hey! Wh-what the…?” Nami protested as she tried to pull away from Hinata’s grasp. But it seemed that Hinata was adamant on keeping her still as she placed her other hand on the back of Nami’s head, trapping the small girl. Asahi and Mariko turned to look at the two, wondering what was up with Hinata. Both women frowned when Hinata grinned looking like she finally found what she was looking for.

“Okuma, you are one observant homosexual.” Hinata mumbled to herself still keeping her hold on Nami.

“Wh-what?” Nami frowned, looking at Hinata from the corner of her eye. Is it just Nami or does Hinata look like she’s…impressed or something?

“I guess that answers the question on how Okuma found out about your secret identity.” Hinata said as she loosened her hold on Nami who was frowning. She was about to ask Hinata what she means when Asahi quickly turned her head to the other side to look as well.

“That hurt!” Nami growled as she removed Asahi’s hand on her chin. This sudden turning of her head is making her neck hurt you know.

“You mean to say that Okuma found out because of Nami’s…mole…?” Asahi asked unbelieving. Mariko and Nami frowned upon hearing Asahi’s question. Nami’s mole was the cause of all this? That’s insane!

“It’s hard to believe, I know. But from how he’s looking at Kai now, it’s possible.” Hinata nodded as she turned her attention back to Okuma. She had been wondering since she was appointed as General Miichan on how Okuma found out about Nami’s alter ego, Kai. Sure Okuma probably saw Kai and Nami's similarities, but it still wasn’t clear to her what was Okuma’s deciding factor to finally point out that Nami and Kai are indeed one person. But now that she’s seeing Okuma looking like he’s searching for something in Kai’s face…especially Kai’s left face…made it clear for Hinata that the missing piece of puzzle was Nami’s mole. But it makes Hinata wonder…did their Shachou know about this?

‘Did she?’ Hinata turned to look at the diva who was frowning at Okuma. Ray looked like she was really confused at what is happening around her. Still, Hinata couldn’t erase the doubt she’s feeling when it comes to the diva.

It is Ray, the bitchy diva after all.

“Seriously…? A mole?” Mariko raised her eyebrow at Hinata incredulously. She honestly would never think that that would be the cause. Sure Nami’s mole isn’t little…nor is it big…but still…

Nami slowly placed her hand on where her mole is. She, like Mariko and Asahi couldn’t believe it as well. Her mole? Really?

“Well…yeah. Hell if you disguised yourself as a man, I’d totally find out what with your birthmark in your arm and your stubby thumb you know.” Hinata shrugged not looking at Mariko who was glaring at her, clearly not liking Hinata pointing out her ‘flaws’.

Hinata does have a point though.

“Same goes with Asahi. That mole on her lips is her weak point.” Hinata glanced at Asahi who immediately touched her lips.

“You see, you three are vulnerable to someone who has a keen eye for detail much like our homosexual antagonist over there.”

“Yeah well you’re not exactly safe what with you looking like Gachapin and for all I know, only a few people look like that green freak.” Mariko mumbled as she looked at the side.

“What did you say?” Hinata frowned at Mariko who sighed and shrugged.

“Nothing. I just said that you look like Gachapin making you quite vulnerable too.”

Hinata narrowed her eyes at Mariko who stared back defiantly. Both stared at each other for awhile as if challenging each other. Their other companions couldn’t help but sigh as they watch the two in a staring battle.

“Let’s just focus please.” Nami waved her hand trying to catch the attention of the two. The two REALLY need to let out the tension they have for each other. Mariko’s angry tension and Hinata’s…uh…whatever tension is getting the best out of them again.

But now’s not the time really.
 
“Anyway, romance aside…” Hinata finally tore her eyes from Mariko who instantly rolled her eyes on what Hinata said.

“…moles, scars and birthmarks are dangerous points for people who are observant, especially people who are on the evil side. Observant players are dangerous enemies you know.”

“You say that like you’re an observant ‘player’ as well.” Mariko huffed as she crossed her arm.

“I’m not.” Hinata replied softly as she stared at the floor surprising Mariko with her tone. What Mariko said was supposed to be a playful insult and well…she expected a witty comeback or a brush off from Hinata…so it’s a bit surprising for her when she heard Hinata sighing sadly at what she said.

“Okuma won against me you know…and well…I’m actually learning from watching all of this.” Hinata’s voice sounded sad to her three companions. It can’t be helped since the feeling of failing her team overwhelms her. Everybody was expecting her to lead them to victory. To save the world! But…she failed in that didn’t she? Okuma defeated her when he admitted to everyone that he’s gay. That was clearly a miscalculation on her part. Even Nami stealing the blackmail photos was a miscalculation. She had to admit that she got careless. She was so certain that the blackmail photos would bring an end to Dr. Yuu’s terror and that the thought of Dr. Yuu doing a counterattack didn’t enter her mind. Being too positive was her biggest downfall in this game. Somehow seeing Okuma earlier handling the things being thrown at him, it made Hinata realize that when it comes to playing this kind of game…

…you should be both positive and negative.

“Guess I’m still far from being the ultimate villain.” Hinata grinned sadly as she turned her attention back to Saeko and Okuma.

Somehow Nami and Asahi knew what Hinata is feeling since it was a familiar feeling for both of them. Much like Hinata leading the black ops, Asahi lead Persona in their boyhood days. Same goes with Nami who was currently leading Team A of Akb48. Asahi and Nami had their share of feeling like they failed their team. It’s a common feeling to have when you’re a leader. And somehow, both were feeling sad and somewhat happy that Hinata is experiencing what it feels to fail. Don’t get them wrong, they’re not feeling happy because they want Hinata to feel miserable or anything. Rather, they’re happy that Hinata is feeling how it is to fail…because in failure, you’d learn a lot of things.

Things that’ll make you a strong person.

The two wanted to comfort their friend…but then they noticed a certain someone looking worriedly at Hinata. Smiling, Nami and Asahi looked back at their Shachou giving the ‘HiMari’ couple a little privacy.

The imaginary ‘HiMari’ fan club better thank them for this.

Mariko stared at Hinata for awhile, a worried look on her face. The urge to somehow comfort the girl was overwhelming as she felt a bit guilty for invoking such emotions out of the girl. Her hand was about to reach for the younger girls’ arm to somehow comfort her but stopped when Hinata chuckled softly.

“I really have so much to learn, don’t I?” Hinata said softly, a grin on her face. Mariko noticed Hinata’s eyes glistening with excitement as she stares at Saeko. Mariko could also see the sadness, relief and confidence that was emitting from the crazy girl. Despite the sadness that lingers inside the girl, Mariko could tell that Hinata was relaxed now, unlike earlier when she seems to be pondering on what to do. It’s like Hinata knew that this time…

…Okuma Yuu...is really going down.

Seeing the crazy girl like this brought a soft smile to Mariko’s face. She slowly retracted her hand that was about to reach for the other girl and looked back at Kai and Saeko.

“I think you just lack experience. Nonetheless…you’re still the ultimate villain in my book.” She replied just as softly trying to somehow console the girl. The tall girl meant it as she thought back at the crazy mission Hinata organized two days ago as well as the other crazy ideas she had. She won’t admit it but Hinata impressed her with every crazy ideas she has…even if it’s sometimes stupid. So regardless of Hinata failing against Okuma…

…to her…Hinata is still the ultimate villain and a great general.

Hinata turned to look at Mariko noticing the smile that the taller girl was wearing. She was a little bit surprised as she wasn’t really hoping for an answer from the tall girl. A slight blush spreads across her cheeks.

Mariko still thinks…of her…as the ultimate villain? Really?

“Or maybe you’re one of the top villains around coz I have to say...whoever planned all this is probably the most villainy right now.” Mariko pointed out as Kai’s kept on pushing Saeko away from him as the latter continues with her crazy laugh.

‘I have a feeling that something bad is going to happen to our Kai over there.’ Mariko sighed as she shook her head. This is one crazy conference. But the press seems to like it though as they kept on taking pictures of the protesting Kai.

Hinata slowly turned to look at Kai, her lips pouting slightly. She feels a bit jealous as Mariko retracted what she said about her being the top ultimate villain for her. But she has to admit though…Mariko is right. Whoever planned all this is a pro in being a villain.

Her eyes made its way to Saeko then towards Ray, a grin on her face.

Maybe the pros can teach her more.


***********************


Okuma couldn’t see Kai’s face well what with the witch woman’s head resting on Kai’s left shoulder, covering the left side of his face. Add the distance between him and Kai…and yeah…he couldn’t see if Kai has a mole or not.

‘Damn bitch.’ Okuma thought as he grits his teeth, feeling frustrated. Saeko saw this and decided to provoke him further.

“Hmm? You’re really not convinced that Kai here is a man…or rather a boy huh?” Saeko said as she placed her hand on Kai’s chin. She slowly stood up straight, her arm still wrapped around the little boy who was glaring at her.

“Okay, I’ll show you proof.” Saeko smiled dangerously at Okuma while she pats Kai’s shoulder. Kai turned to her, his eyebrow raised.

“Kai. Strip.”

Everyone seems to be taken aback by the sudden command uttered by the woman with the whip. Did she just say…

“I said strip.”

Yup…she did.

“What?!” Kai…and surprisingly Ray exclaimed simultaneously as they look at the mad woman. Sarukawa narrowed his eyes at his former band mate. Looking at him/her like this and hearing what he/she just said, somehow makes it hard for him to think that this is once the Inuyama that had countless of women at his feet back then.

“Just strip!” Saeko said as she took hold of Kai’s jacket.

Just what DID happen to Inuyama that made him turn into this…perverted transsexual?

“Th-that’s a bit too much! Let go of Kai right now!” Ray stood up from her seat glaring at the woman, a small blush on her face. Things are really getting out of hand.

“Someone accused my boy to be a girl…in front of the press! The least I could do is to prove him wrong.” Saeko reasoned making Ray grit her teeth feeling a bit helpless. The witch…has a point though. Thinking that, Ray could only watch as Marilyn help Saeko by holding the struggling boy.

This really doesn’t seem like a conference...at all. Really.

There were a couple of girly squeals from the audience as Saeko pushed down Kai’s buttoned shirt to his elbow revealing his young upper body. Kai kept on struggling, his face red from blushing. No one told him that there was stripping involved! He’s clearly not prepared for this.

With Marilyn keeping Kai’s arm locked with her from behind, Saeko slapped the young boy’s flat chest making him go ‘oooff.’

“See? A skinny flat chested BOY. No scars from breast reduction just in case you say that ‘she’ had gotten surgery in order to become a man.” Saeko grinned at Okuma who was still glaring at her. She could see the panic in his eyes.

Okuma saw it alright. He saw the mole on Kai’s face making him feel ten times worse than before. But…that mole isn’t real if the boy standing in front of him is a fake. No. Someone probably just put that on. It’s probably a marker or something.

But…what if it’s real? What would he do now? What if Nami really isn’t Kai? Thinking about it, Ray didn’t acknowledge the fact that Nami is Kai. She just immediately agreed to whatever Okuma told her to do. Same goes with Nami earlier. No one told him he’s right with his assumptions. So…is Nami really…Kai…?

‘No…I shouldn’t panic. Nami IS Kai. The mole is proof enough…right? Plus Ray wouldn’t go along with what I want if I’m not right. Nami wouldn’t blackmail me too if that is the case. So…I’m right…right…?’ Okuma gritted his teeth as he asked himself. Too bad he doesn’t have a Inner Mariko-sama to assure him.

 He was shaking slightly as panic and nervousness slowly consumes him. A part of him refuses to give up. This is probably the main reason he didn’t back down to Saeko’s stare. Saeko noticed that Okuma still hadn’t give up. It somehow impressed her in some level. But then again, it made her see just how foolish the man is in front of her.

“Still not convinced? We could strip his pants and underwear if you want.” The press and some of the spectators gasped at what Saeko suggested. Ray and Kai turned to her in horror. Surely Saeko isn’t…serious right?

“Just say the word and we’ll strip this boy until he’s in his birthday suit.”

Yup…she is.

If this was an anime, the four AKB48 members would have a sweat drop drawn on the side of their faces by now as they stared at Saeko with narrowed eyes. Same goes with Sarukawa and Okuma as they looked at Saeko, weirdly.

“Stop this nonsense and let go of Kai right now you…you…DAMN woman!” Ray yelled as she slammed her hands on the table, finally loosing her cool. In a blink, the press immediately aimed their cameras at the angry diva.

“Hmm? Why are you getting angry at me for? I was just trying to clear Kai’s name. If you want to get angry at someone, be angry at your ‘boyfriend’ for slandering my boy here.” Saeko pointed out as she looks at Okuma, silently challenging him. Okuma seemed taken aback as most of the press turned to him somewhat agreeing with the woman. Ray even turned and gave Okuma a murderous glare finally after restraining herself not to glare at his pretend ‘boyfriend.’ The reporters could clearly see, what with the diva glaring at Okuma, that the young blonde is far more important to the diva than her current ‘boyfriend.’

Okuma gulped nervously. It suddenly feels like everyone is cornering him. His mind is in a panic as the heated stares were aimed at him.

“You know they can sue you to court for defamation.” The mysterious reporter suddenly said making Okuma turn to him, a frown on his face.

“I should know since our paper was sued a couple of time already!” The reporter let out a laugh earning him some weird gazes from the people around him. A company being sued isn’t really a laughing matter you know, especially if you’re working at the said company.

“The man is right.” Saeko agreed as she nodded her head while she wraps her arm around Kai’s shoulder again. Kai, who was tired from struggling, just let out a sigh of defeat. His mind kept chanting that it would all be over soon.

Okuma turned his attention back to her, still frowning. Somehow the idea that the mysterious reporter and the witch, Saeko, are working together to defeat him came to his mind. It makes sense to him if that is the case since it felt like the mysterious reporter was somehow trying to provoke him.

‘But…that witch’s entrance or the fake Kai for that matter…seemed off.’ Okuma thought as he continues to look at Saeko.

Seeing Okuma’s stare at her, Saeko knew that Okuma was either formulating a plan or was trying to figure out what was going on. Sure they can counter whatever plan Okuma might think of now…but if Okuma found out about the things going on, then…that is entirely a different story.

With that thought, Saeko decided to end it quick.

“It seems that everything changed while I was away. I mean, kohais can now disrespect their senpais? Is that what you learned from school…” Saeko trailed. She then turned to look at Okuma’s manager, who flinched as she added,

“…or did your agency teach you that?”

That seemed like a pretty big blow as Okuma’s eyes widen. Whispers of agreement once again can be heard inside the room. Glares were thrown at Okuma who kept his gaze at the woman, his jaw clenched tight. His mind suddenly went into a panic knowing the impact of the simple question thrown by the woman. Involving his agency into this mess would surely be troublesome for his career. Surely his agency won’t overlook this kind of scandal that he himself created!

“Persona never did anything to you! So why are you attacking them all of a sudden?! Why are you trying to ruin their reputation?!” Marilyn suddenly asked as tears of anger suddenly form in her eyes. Kai felt Marilyn’s hand on his loosened as she exclaimed her frustrations. He slowly broke free from Marilyn’s hold and placed his hand on the distraught girl’s shoulder completely forgetting that his upper body is exposed.

“Marilyn…” Kai gently squeezed Marilyn’s shoulder, a worried look across his face. Saeko also comforted Marilyn by moving beside her and rubbing her back.

That seemed like the final blow as almost everyone threw a few statements here and there making him flinch. Every question and statements out of anger of disrespecting Kai of Persona felt like a constant slap to his face.

Or rather…it felt like someone was whipping him hard.

“Okuma-san, how does it feel to be the most hated one right now?”
“How can you do that to Kai?!”
“What are going to do now, Okuma-san?”
“Ray is better off with Kai than you!”
“You don’t deserve to be an idol!”
“Okuma-san, is it true that you’re going to be gay again now that everyone is against you?”
“Leave Ray and Kai alone!”

The room once again became unruly as almost everyone voiced out their opinions and questions, pushing a bit through the crowd barrier. The security dispatched by Sarukawa earlier, once again tried to control the crowd as some threw papers at Okuma who held his arm up to shield himself.  He felt weak as he looked at the angry faces around him.

This…this…wasn’t supposed to happen. None of this was supposed to happen. So…why is this…happening…?

Okuma suddenly felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned to look and saw Sarukawa giving him a serious look.

“If you value what’s left off of your career, you’d better leave.” Sarukawa advised. Okuma is obviously the main reason why the crowd suddenly became loud. With Okuma gone, the crowd would definitely settle down. Sarukawa really can’t blame everyone for acting this way what with everything that transpired today. No…he can’t blame them…

…but he can blame Okuma.

Okuma’s eyes strayed around the room for awhile, a look of pain on his face. It was only when his eyes fell on the figure at the far back did his facial expression changed. Both Nami and Okuma stared blankly at each other. It suddenly seemed like time stopped for both of them.

Okuma gave Nami a genuine smile making Nami’s eyes widen slightly in confusion.

“C’mon! We’re going now!” Okuma’s manager said as he took hold of Okuma’s arm and dragged him out of the room. Okuma let his manager…or maybe his soon to be ex-manager drags him to wherever. It was odd really since regardless of what has happened and what is going to happen…

…he can’t seem to wipe the smile off of his face.

As soon as Okuma stepped out of the room, the crowd’s attention turned to Kai and Ray. The two looked lost as questions kept being thrown at them. It was really becoming unbearable that Sarukawa decided to do something about it. Being a good manager, he called out Gori together with a few security staff and ordered them to escort the two out of the room. With them out of the room, he’d be sure that the crowd would somehow settle down.

He was right. As soon as the two stepped out, together with Saeko and Marilyn, the crowd somehow lost energy. He took that as a cue to say something.

“I know everyone is confused at what has happened. And I’m sure asking question to Kai and Ray right now wouldn’t erase that confusion. Like all of you, Kai and Ray are confused as well. So I think giving them enough time to…discuss or work things out for themselves would be best.” Sarukawa said through the mic. Questions about were suddenly thrown at him.

“I think that goes to Okuma-san too. Okuma-san’s agency is in no relation to Monkey Productions so I…really don’t know what will happen to him. So I can’t really talk on his behalf.” With that, everyone started talking amongst themselves. Sarukawa was looking around and noticed four girls walking towards the exit with a man following them behind. He recognized them as Akimoto’s group and wondered why they were here.

And why is it that the three of them looked somewhat…happy…?


***********************


Nami’s POV



“Well…that was certainly…entertaining…” Our manager said as he scratches his head, obviously confused at what happened. I couldn’t blame him really. The things that happened there was just…CRAZY!

“Yeah! That was the best conference…EVAH!” Hinata beamed as she jumped beside me and wrapped her arm around my shoulder.

“It’s actually pretty draining if you ask me.” Mariko-sama sighed tiredly. She has my vote there. Looks like Asahi also agrees with Mariko-sama as she nods her head. You know, just sitting there and watching every crazy things unfolding feels like we were watching a thriller movie or something. It was draining to just think of what might happen next or what we should do just so we could turn the tide in our favor. It really left me mentally drained.

‘That’s good. It’ll help you think less since you normally think too much.’ Inner Mariko-sama smirked.

How true. I think I’ll leave the thinking to Inner Mariko-sama for now.

“We should go back to the theater now.” The four of us turned to our manager realizing that to him, there’s nothing to do but go back to the theater since the conference is over. But…we’d like to do a couple of things before we leave. Like meet up with Shachou and meet my double.

Yup, I REALLY need to meet my double. I’ve got a lot of things to say to him.

“C’mon then. Let’s go back to the van and—“ Our manager was suddenly cut off by the sound of his phone. Frowning, he fished for his phone inside his pocket and answered it. He turned away and began walking away as he talked to the receiver. Somehow that gave us the time to circle around in a huddle and think of a way to ditch our manager.

“So what’s the plan?” Asahi asked as she looked at each one of us.

“I say we kick him where it hurts and make a run for it.” Hinata suggested, showing us her sadistic side again. Makes me wonder what her genius side is doing when the sadistic/crazy side of her appears. Multiple personality anyone?

“You know you can just erase the kicking part and just get on with the running part right? He is talking to the phone right now and he’s not looking our way.” Mariko-sama sighed as she shook her head, a smile plastered on her face. Guess she’s somewhat happy to see Hinata back in her insane self. She must’ve been really worried earlier.

Somehow thinking about that made me smile. I glanced at Asahi and found her smiling at the two as well. Guess we’re thinking the same thing.

“Making a run for it immediately is no fun at all!” Hinata pouted as she frowned at Mariko-sama who rolled her eyes.

“We don’t need to have fun right now, Hinata. We just need to meet Shachou since we have a few questions left unanswered like…who is that boy pretending to be Kai.” Asahi said as she held up her index finger.

I think I know who ‘Kai’ is…but…let’s just make sure if my guess is right.

“Fine. Then how do you guys propose to do this? We just count to 3 then run?” Hinata sounded…bored when she suggested that. Does she really want to have some fun time right now??

“Well if you’re THAT unenthusiastic about it…” Mariko-sama trailed as she looked at Hinata seriously. Seeing that somehow brightened Hinata’s mood as she looked at Mariko-sama excitedly.

“…then…let’s make it 5 and then make a run for it.” Mariko-sama added as she looked at Asahi and I, ignoring the narrowed eyes of Hinata that was aimed at her.

Knew it.

“Alright. If that is the case…” Hinata sighed and stepped out of our huddle. The three of us raised our eyebrow, confused. She surprised us when she gave out her trademark mischievous smile and took hold of Mariko-sama’s hand.

“…THEN RUN!” Hinata said as she drags the surprised Mariko-sama and made a run for it. Asahi and I shared a look, shrugged then began running as well, following the two who was ahead of us.

You know, despite our angry manager yelling at us to stop and Mariko-sama growling at Hinata to let go of her, I’m sure you could see in our faces how ecstatic we’re feeling right now. Sure, we’d get into trouble later on for ditching our manager…but you know…right now…at this moment…

…we REALLY don’t care.



***********************



“Are you even listening?!” Okuma’s manager raged as he looked at Okuma who was sitting at the couch comfortably. His head resting on the back of the couch with his eyes closed and a smile on his face. This somehow irritates his manager more as even before he started lecturing Okuma, he had this smile on his face like what happened earlier wasn’t such a big deal for him when in fact, it was a big deal not only for him but also for his agency. Okuma shamed his agency big time and knowing their president, he definitely will not overlook this.

Okuma’s career is without a doubt, over.

“I am listening. Are you done?” Okuma asked as he opened his left eye to look at his manager.

“No…I believe YOU are.” His manager retorted but Okuma didn’t seem to care as he once again closed his and then shrugged. Somehow that just pisses his manager off as he glared at his talent.

“Tch. Just make sure you get all your stuff out of your apartment since you won’t live there anymore. That goes with your dressing room too” His ex-manager added but Okuma just waved him off. Feeling his blood pressure rise at the sight of Okuma, the manager turned and decided to leave the room. He opened the door wide and was surprised when he came face to face with the diva, Ray.

“I want to talk to him.” Ray said nonchalantly as she pointed at Okuma. The manager glanced at Okuma and found him still in his relaxed position.

“He’s all yours. I’ve got no business with him anymore. Good riddance.” With that, the manager walked out leaving Ray to raise her eyebrow at him as she heard him grumbling out curse words. Though she knew exactly why the manager was pissed off, she still shook her head as she closed the door.

She slowly walked towards Okuma and stopped when she was a few feet away from him. She stared at him for awhile noticing the smile on his face. The smile Okuma is wearing isn’t like the usual smile that she often see him wearing. No, this isn’t the cocky smile. It’s more like a I-had-fun smile to Ray. She also noted how relaxed Okuma seemed to be. Seeing him like this, after all that has happened and will happen, somehow impresses the diva a little bit.

But that doesn’t change the deep anger she has for him. No, Ray doesn’t think that her anger towards the man would ever fade.

“Came here to gloat?” Okuma asked still retaining his relaxed position.

“Do you want me too?”

Okuma opened his eyes and looked at her. He shrugged in response to her question.

“Well, I’m not like that.” Ray replied as she crossed her arm to her chest. She raised her eyebrow at him when he started laughing. Did she say anything funny for him to laugh at her response?

“Right…” Okuma drawled as he shook his head, grinning.

“You look like you forgot what happened a little while ago at the conference. And based on your manager’s words earlier, you’re jobless.”

“Yup. My career is over.” Okuma grinned, placing his hands on the back of his head.

“And you can still manage to smile.” Ray pointed out, frowning at the grinning man. 

“No point in crying really.”

‘To cry would only mean that you regret what you did.’ Ray thought as she stared at Okuma. Could Okuma…believe this as well? If he does…then he’s a scum for not regretting the things he’d done.

“You know, honestly, I’m surprised at the outcome. I really never thought that you’d defeat me.” Okuma said as he removes his hand on the back of his head. He stared deeply at Ray as if reading the girls’ eyes. Ray stared at him for awhile obviously unaffected by Okuma’s assumption as she still held her impassive expression much like when she entered the room.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. In case you didn’t notice earlier, I didn’t do anything.” Ray defended. Okuma chuckled at her response and shook his head.

“Point taken. Though I wouldn’t say the same thing for our Nami-chan.” Hearing Okuma call out Nami, Nami-chan, somehow invoked an emotion towards the diva. She gave Okuma a murderous glare but Okuma seemed unaffected by it as he kept his smile towards her.

“Don’t you dare call her that.” Ray growled feeling the familiar possessiveness she often feels when it comes to Nami. This is probably a side of her that even though she and Nami broke up, would never EVER disappear. To her, Nami is HER Nami-chan and no one can call her that ESPECIALLY the man in front of her. But…thinking about it…Nami’s friends sometimes call her Nami-chan. Hinata does. So to Ray, Nami’s friends can also call Nami, Nami-chan.

Except for that Acchan but that’s something she doesn’t need to dwell on right now, really.

“She really is quite something.” Okuma said as if in awe as he remembers when Nami blackmailed him. It actually surprised him at that time that Nami would be the one to blackmail him when he was expecting someone else to do the blackmailing. Never in a million years would he expect that since to Okuma, Nami would never do something so…unlike her. Being evil that is. But then again Nami did it for the diva so maybe Okuma overlooked that fact.

The fact that Nami is in love with the person in front of him.

‘I failed because of love huh?’ Okuma thought as he looked at the floor, smiling. As sappy as that sounds, it seemed that he did fail because of love. Not only was it because of Nami blackmailing him did he realize this but also when he recalls what happened earlier. Nami got help from the people who love her. Her manager, assistant manager, her friends, Ray, everyone…they were all part of the ploy to defeat him.

That’s what makes Okuma different from them. To him, being more popular is important than having human relations. It’s bothersome for him but…somehow…remembering how all of them worked together to take him down brings a certain smile on his face. Or maybe it’s the fact that he saw Nami’s eyes that held a certain sadness towards him that’s making him smile.

It’s definitely the latter.

“I think I get it now why you fell for her.” Okuma said softly as he looked at Ray.

“Whatever. I don’t want to hear whatever moral lesson you learned or realized. Whatever you say right now is insignificant to me.” Ray rolled her eyes and turned to look away from him, looking a bit bored.

“So you say…yet you’re here…listening to me talking about Nami.” Okuma grinned slightly as he saw Ray’s eyebrow twitch. He raised both his eyebrow slightly and held his hands up still keeping his grin as the diva gave him a murderous glare.

“I’m just saying.” He defended.

“Just stay the hell away from her.”

“Can’t promise you that since I REALLY find her…intriguing.” Okuma admitted.

“Is that why you did what you did? Because you found her intriguing?!” Ray gritted her teeth, her anger towards the man was once again resurfacing. She really hates Okuma with a passion especially when he involved Nami in the crazy game he created. Involving her Nami…in something that would hurt or endanger her…is something that is unforgivable for Ray.

“You could say I was bored, that’s why I did all that.” Ray’s hands slowly turned to fists as Okuma shrugged at his response.

“Well that and I wanted to see the real you.” Okuma turned to the diva, grinning slightly. Hearing that somehow surprised the diva a little bit but she didn’t show it as she kept her glare at Okuma.

“I wanted to see if you play the kind of game that I do.” He added. Ray clenched her fists tightly that anymore it would draw blood what with her long fingernails digging against her skin. 

“Then I hope you got your answer.”

“I did. I’m actually impressed and well…it was fun. Maybe we can play again sometimes.” Okuma nodded as he gave the diva a smug smile. Ray stared at him for awhile, unmoving. It was like she was coming up with answers in her head as she stares at Okuma. That didn’t seem to faze Okuma as he stared back, still keeping his smug smile towards the girl.

Ray’s stare to Okuma felt longer than a few seconds as eventually Ray turned around and started walking towards the door. She stopped in front of it and took hold of the doorknob. She didn’t turn it just yet. Instead, she turned to look at him, her face once again shows that impassive expression she has earlier.

“I hope you learned a lot of things from what happened earlier and take it to your grave.” With that, Ray opened the door and walked out, leaving Okuma to stare at the closed door. His smile was gone as he remembers the apathetic look Ray had given him. Seeing that somehow brought chills to Okuma. He didn’t know why really.

He frowned still staring at the door, his mind kept replaying the diva’s face.

Meanwhile, outside the empty hallway, the clanking sound of the diva’s high heels echoes as she made her way towards her dressing room. Her face remained expressionless as a man was walking towards her. She passed by him and stopped when she was a couple of steps away from him. The man stopped as well, their backs facing each other.

“Take care of him.” Ray said without turning around.

“Got any request?” The unknown man gruffly asked.

“Do whatever you want. Just make it clean.” With that, Ray walked away not even bothering to look at the man who fixed his sunglasses and grinned as he walked towards his destination. There waits Okuma who was completely unaware that a prince is about to visit him. What kind of prince is the man?

Well let’s just say he’s the prince of a certain angel.

On the opposite side of where the man in a suit and sunglass is walking, a lone diva is also nearing her destination. Okuma’s words plague her mind despite the lack of expression on her face. It irked Ray that earlier, from Okuma’s tone, he seemed to believe that he knew everything about the diva. That Okuma can read her perfectly. Clearly Okuma was mistaken as he didn’t realize one important thing about the diva.

The diva really doesn’t like to play those kind of games with noobs.


TBC

Offline Keichan ^_^

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Re: [AKB48 x Mendol] The Price of Fame (part 3 UP)
« Reply #162 on: April 22, 2011, 04:34:18 AM »
 :drool: you finally update!!!! Argh the pain and frustration is finally over!!! I haven't it yet but I felt the need to tell you that I'm overly excited you updated once I saw this!!!! I have to go out with some friends now but I promise the first thing I'll do when I'm free is read this and reply properly!!! FoF you have brightened up my Easter break!!!! Rawr!!!!

(O_o) ZOOOOOOOOOOM
 Okay read it! ahahaha i am curious as to what okuma has up his sleeve... for some reason i dont think this is the end of him, and now im still curious of what the hell was going on! who is the boy!!! lol i was thinking nami's bro but then i'm curious about the mole and ARGH! lol my already lack of brain has exploded!!! but anyway i love the fact you updated! and i hope that you will update again soon because i swear sitting here patiently waiting is definitely very hard work!
« Last Edit: April 22, 2011, 01:18:57 PM by Keichan ^_^ »

Offline bou-j525

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Re: [AKB48 x Mendol] The Price of Fame (part 3 UP)
« Reply #163 on: April 22, 2011, 05:47:16 AM »
GOSSSHHHH YOU UPDATE! I THOUGHT THIS DAY WOULD NEVER HAPPEN!!! WHAT A FABULOUS WAY TO END MY DAY!!!   :inlove:
Haha... will edit this comment after I read your story XD I just HAD to post already something coz I'm like  :panic:
And hope you won't disappear for another two months  :smhid

EDIT:

Just remembered I wasn't supposed to read part 1 and 2 until you're done XD But yeah I read them long time ago... because if I had waited until now I would have died for sure  :smhid Did I comment on part 1 and 2? I don't rememeber... well, part 1 was good and part 2 actually killed me because I saw there was a part 3   :grin: The End  :grin:
Okay, part 3, it was good ^^ I'm surprise Yuu didn't have something else in his sleeve just to make this confrontation even more exciting! So... he's dead now? XD I can't wait to see the meeting with the "fake" kai XD And of course..... it is impossible there is not NamixRay meeting, right? Wonder if they will end together.... but I don't know why I have doubts about it now  :smhid
« Last Edit: April 22, 2011, 06:46:31 PM by bou-j525 »

Offline dark-atrox

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Re: [AKB48 x Mendol] The Price of Fame (part 3 UP)
« Reply #164 on: April 22, 2011, 07:04:05 AM »
wah! XD XD XD UPDATE! :cathappy:
I have to stop myself from squealing when i saw there's an update! :w00t:
(coz my mum was looking at me weirdly) :nervous
Well, Well, I'm really shouting for joy happy that PoF is back
and that  I didn't read the word END at the end yet.
I really enjoyed Dr. Yuu's villainous acts and that he accepted defeat at the end :twisted:
Though it surprised me the appearance of Kuro-nyan? :lol:
Is he working under Ray or he just do it to protect Hinata? :? I guess its the latter :lol:
But...Ray's really scary if she did order to kill :? Yuu?    :nervous


PS: Really excited for the next episode but then
I'd probably and finally read the E word :cry:
Still waiting for AsahixYuko version :cathappy:

Arigatou for the O-some update! Author-san!  :bow:
Oh! Right....Happy Golden Week minna :)



Offline Arakawa

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Re: [AKB48 x Mendol] The Price of Fame (part 3 UP)
« Reply #165 on: April 22, 2011, 10:04:55 AM »
OHMYGOD AN UPDATE
WAS NOT EXPECTING THIS

THANK YOU SO MUCH.
ACK. Rereading it againnn

Offline kahem

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Re: [AKB48 x Mendol] The Price of Fame (part 3 UP)
« Reply #166 on: April 22, 2011, 10:16:32 AM »
Yeah!!!! Update!!!!! It was awesome!!!! Thx!!!!
Oh kuroda will kill Okuma? Ray could really be dangerous sometime XD

Offline Hart

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Re: [AKB48 x Mendol] The Price of Fame (part 3 UP)
« Reply #167 on: April 22, 2011, 08:03:58 PM »
Well, long time no see, FoF-sama. And it was worth the wait.  :lol:

Evil Dr. Yuu has finally been defeated at the hands of Saeko. His fate is now at the hands of Kuro-nyan.  :kekeke:

It's not a Mendol-related fanfic without our unfavorite snake-looking hitman. I wonder what he's gonna do to Okuma. (And how the hell did Ray make contact with him after the events of the drama? Freelance hitman?  :?)

Until next update....

Offline immo

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Re: [AKB48 x Mendol] The Price of Fame (part 3 UP)
« Reply #168 on: April 23, 2011, 09:28:22 AM »
FINALLY.

Good job including Kuro-nyan at the end. :D Hope you bring Ray and Kai together soon! :D

Offline FoF

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Re: [AKB48 x Mendol] The Price of Fame (part 3 UP)
« Reply #169 on: April 23, 2011, 02:59:43 PM »
Just finished this. I'll edit or add some stuff later. Alright!!!! With that said...let's end this madness...  :mon mad:



**************************


Chapter 21 (FINAL)




The four were still running in an empty hallway until the tallest one stopped and pulled her hand away from the other girl who was dragging her.

“Stop dragging me! I can run by myself you know!” Mariko growled while she catches her breath. The other two, who were running behind them, also stopped to catch their breath.

“Why are you so grumpy? I’m just trying to help you.” Hinata frowned not understanding why Mariko had to be so stingy about it. She was only trying to help her coupling partner.

“Like I said, I can run by myself.” Mariko glared at her. Asahi and Nami suddenly had a feeling that the two are going to start bickering again what with Hinata staring at the tall girl, a frown on her face. Hinata was obviously contemplating on why Mariko was being grumpy. Obviously this isn’t Hinata’s genius side as she finally replied her conclusion.

“It’s one of those days huh?”

“What?” Mariko asked if not hearing what Hinata said. She’s just double checking just in case she decides to beat the girl up.

“Or maybe mom was right. As you age, your temper also grows. What’s that called again? Menopause?” Hinata rubs her invisible beard as she nodded her head, looking at Mariko. The two spectators glanced at Mariko and saw her eyebrow twitch. Perhaps it’s time for the two to once again intervene for Hinata’s sake.

“You guys!” A familiar female voice exclaimed disturbing the attempted murder that’s going to happen. The four turned towards the source and found Marilyn beaming at them.

“Marilyn!” Asahi and Hinata squealed as they quickly ran towards their friend. Both engulfed the older girl in a tight hug. Nami smiled walking towards the now jumping and hugging trio with Mariko following behind her.

“I missed you guys so much!” Marilyn said as she hugged Hinata then Asahi. It’s been awhile since she’d seen or talk to them what with Marilyn and Saeko being out of the country. But…why does it seem like she’s missing one person in their hugging fest?

Marilyn turned to Nami who was just standing giving her a wide smile. She raised her eyebrow at the little girl and gave her a teasing smile.

“You didn’t miss me?”

“I did. I just don’t do hugs.” Nami replied as shook her head still keeping her smile at Marilyn. Well, she does do hugs but only in emergency cases. But Marilyn doesn’t need to know that really.

“Well I want one tough girl. C’mere.” Marilyn took a step towards Nami who took a step back shaking her head. Mariko rolled her eyes at Nami and decided to help Marilyn out by placing her hand on Nami’s back, preventing her from moving. Marilyn took that opportunity to grab Nami’s hand and yank her towards her. She immediately engulfed the girl in a tight hug, trapping the little girl’s arms on her sides. It took Nami a few seconds to relax in Marilyn’s arms especially when Marilyn’s tight hold on her loosens and she started caressing Nami’s hair whispering...

“I missed my tough girl you know. You’ve been through a lot…haven’t you?”

Somehow hearing that made Nami remember everything that happened…especially what happened to her and Ray. Was it the memories invading her mind or perhaps the soft proud voice of Marilyn that got her feeling a bit weak? She doesn’t know…wasn’t sure. Nonetheless, her hands that were limp slowly made their way to Marilyn’s back. She rests her forehead to the older girls’ shoulder trying to hide the unshed tears in her eyes. It was like all the stress and problems she encountered all came flooding back making her feel vulnerable. But…at the same time, she felt protected in Marilyn’s arms.

Like a mother protecting her child.

Marilyn turned to the two while hugging Nami, noticing the soft smile the two were wearing. Their eyes a little bit teary as they look at Nami.

“You three have been through a lot.” Marilyn corrected as she ushered the two to join the hug fest. Marilyn hugged the three, happy too see them alright. The three obviously have been through a lot. Seeing the tears in their eyes and Nami actually hugging her is proof enough. Seeing them like this, she can’t help but remember the times when the three also had a hard time in their Persona days. The pressure, stress, frustration are only a few examples that almost got them to quit their career. But much like back then and today, the three would always find a way to break free from all the things that were trying to hold them back. It is one the things Marilyn admire about them.

‘If they stand together…it’ll be hard to make them fall.’ Marilyn thought as she remembers Saeko’s words about the three. She smiles knowing how true those words are.

Mariko couldn’t help but smile despite feeling a bit left out. The three really had been through a lot. Hell she did too since she’s always with these trio who seemed to be attracting trouble everywhere they go nowadays. But you don’t see her complaining. Nope, she didn’t complain one bit.

Looks like Mariko’s a bit bitter despite the smile she’s giving. Can’t blame her really since she’s present in every event there is that’s related to the trio. She really deserves an award for best supporting character in this story.

Shaking those thoughts Mariko then realized that Marilyn was smiling at her as she hugs the three.

“Thank you for taking care of them.” Marilyn said in a gentle voice. Hearing that somehow had taken Mariko aback especially when the three also turned to look at her. She immediately shook her head and hands giving the older girl a shy smile.

“Uh…no. I d-didn’t take care of them.” Mariko stammered feeling a bit hot by the sudden attention the four girls are giving her.

“She helped us a lot.” Nami smiled as she turned back at Marilyn. Hearing that didn’t help Mariko’s embarrassed state.

“She supported us all the way.” Asahi beamed, her eyes still at Mariko. That didn’t help either.

“She’s my coupling partner, you know.” Hinata beamed at Marilyn, tugging her arm a bit. Mariko narrowed her eyes at Hinata. Somehow hearing that brought her back to normal. That helped…but she really doesn’t know if she should be thankful or not.

“Oh really? I didn’t know Shinoda-san was like that.” Marilyn tilted her head as if confused. Since when did Mariko turn…??

“I’m not. She’s just…Hinata.” Mariko sighed defeatedly. She rubs her temple as if she has a head ache…which for her, she might have if this line of conversation continues.

“Ah. I think I get what you’re saying.” Marilyn giggled even though Hinata pouted at her. It was then she remembered something.

“Oh how rude of me. I’m Marilyn by the way. I’m their assistant manager from…those days.” Marilyn bowed slightly which Mariko returned.

“I’m Shinoda Mariko…but from the sound of it, you already know that. Still, it’s nice to meet you.”

“Well these three send us mail from time to time so…they tell me a lot about you…especially Hinata.” Marilyn smiled while Mariko raised her eyebrow at Hinata who had a smug smile on her face.

“But this is actually the first time I’ve heard about the coupling partner bit.” Now that’s surprising. Mariko can’t help but wonder what Hinata says about her. If Hinata didn’t talk about hers and Mariko’s coupling partnership, then what?

‘Like that’s something I should care about.’ Mariko thought as she sighed and shook her head.

“Plus I’ve seen you in a lot of magazines lately. You are pretty popular in the modeling business.” Marilyn added as she smiled at the tall girl.

‘Figures.’ Mariko thought as she smiled back feeling a bit proud about herself.

“Isn’t my coupling partner amazi—urk.” Mariko quickly pushed Hinata’s face stopping her with that coupling partner thing again. She really didn’t need this line of conversation again when they still have a few things Marilyn needs to clarify.

“Let’s just get on to business.” Mariko reminded.

“Business?” Marilyn once again tilted her head, confused.

“Yeah, Shachou called us earlier so that we’ll meet her by the entrance…but she wasn’t there. Why didn’t she…?” Nami asked as she recalled their Shachou’s strict order to meet her at the entrance of Tohto TV. When they got there, she wasn’t there. They waited a few minutes until they saw some security guards pass by in a hurry. It took them awhile to realize that the guards were heading towards the conference room. With that the four quickly headed back to the conference room and was shocked to find Kai with Marilyn and Saeko being surrounded by guards.

They were stunned at that time by the entrance. It was only when Hinata pulled them to the back did they started to come through.

“Well, Kai suddenly ran and…you know…we had to bring him back. So…we couldn’t meet you guys.”

“Which brings us to another question...” Mariko sighed.

“Yeah. Just who is this ‘Kai’ person you were with?” Asahi nodded. All eyes turned to Marilyn as they waited for her answer. She looked a bit uncomfortable at their stares. Nami noticed Marilyn glanced at her and then quickly averted her gaze. Seeing that just strengthens Nami’s suspicion on who her double is.

Before Marilyn could answer…or rather divert the question, a man’s voice suddenly interrupted them.

“LynLyn-chan!” Marilyn froze upon hearing it. They all turned and saw a man heading towards them carrying a familiar brown envelope. He stopped a few feet away from Marilyn giving her a wide smile. Hinata eyed the brown envelope for awhile.

“I told you never to call me that!” Marilyn hissed at the man who was now pouting at her.

“Why are you mad at me for? I did what you asked. Shouldn’t I have a reward or something?”

“You said just helping is enough for you.”

“I change my mind. Let’s go out on a date.” The man beamed again.

“Date? I told you I’m with Saeko now!” Marilyn answered, stomping her feet. Mariko, Nami and Asahi continue to watch the two. Somehow the scene felt familiar to the three as they had their shares of having a persistent, delusional, clingy person. Well Nami and Asahi ended up falling for their clingy person, but…as for Mariko…well…it’s a bit vague... yet so obvious.

“You don’t need to date that…that…being! You’re better off with me. Don’t you remember how happy we were?” Were?? The three raised their eyebrow upon hearing that to the unknown man. Even Hinata who was gazing at the envelope intently turned to look at the two.

Marilyn and this unknown man…WERE together…?

“Whoa whoa. Time out!” Hinata said as she got in between the two.

“Obviously this is turning into a dorama or something and well…we’re getting off topic...again.” Hinata added while the three agreed with her. Marilyn sighed as she rubs her right temple while the man stared at the four, frowning slightly.

“Who’re they?” The unknown man asked looking back at Marilyn.

“Nami, Asahi, Hinata and Shinoda-san. They’re the victims.” Marilyn said as she motioned at the four. The man stared at them for awhile, frowning. It was as if he was trying to figure out what Marilyn meant when she referred to them as victims. It took him a few seconds to finally get what she meant.

“Oh! Victims!” He exclaimed as he nod his head. He smiled at the three and removed his hat as he bowed slightly.

“I’m Hayashi Mitsuo, future husband of LynLyn-chan. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Mistuo added making Marilyn roll her eyes. The four bowed back politely.

“He’s a lawyer and he helped us out earlier while you guys were out of the room.” Marilyn explained. Upon hearing that, the four gave him a full bow this time as they thanked the man who smiled slightly as she shook his head.

“I just set the mood right…so no need to thank me.”

“Stop being so humble about it. Without you, Okuma wouldn’t crack.” Marilyn smiled as she remembers how easy it was to provoke Okuma after Mitsuo’s mission. Being a lawyer, Mitsuo is used to making people crack under pressure. It was a perfect job for him to somehow provoke Okuma so that he’d show everyone his real personality. He also did a great job in earning everybody’s support to turn against Okuma . He executed his job perfectly. Even Saeko was a little bit impressed earlier.

Just a little bit though.

‘The mood maker huh?’ Hinata thought as rubs her chin. Somehow what happened while they weren’t inside the room is slowly unfolding in her mind. The only missing piece now is the brown envelope the man is holding. Just what is inside that envelope of his?

“I just did that because of my love for LynLyn-chan.” He beamed making Marilyn roll her eyes. Yup…so familiar.

“So you two…were together…?” Asahi asked the unasked question that kept lingering in her mind as the two continue their familiar routine. 

“We WERE three years ago before I met Shachou.”

“It was because of IT that LynLyn-chan said her farewell to me.” Mitsuo gritted his teeth.

“We broke up even before I met Shachou.” Marilyn tried to remind him but the man was obviously not listening.

“I’ll take you back from IT. I swear...I’ll take you back so just you wait.” Mitsuo promised making Marilyn sigh regretting once again in contacting him for help. If only Saeko suggested someone else to do that job, she wouldn’t have had this clinging problem again. Ugh. It was so much like when they were dating back then.

“Whatever. Don’t you have an appointment right now?” Marilyn reminded her as she once again rubs her right temple.

“Ahhh! I’ve got to meet a client of mine! Thanks for reminding me.” With that Mitsuo quickly run to the empty hallway. He stopped when he was about to turn in a corner. He faced Marilyn and held out the brown envelope, beaming.

“Thanks for the sandwiches! I’ll definitely eat it with gusto and with love! Call me okay?! Nice meeting you four!” He waved the brown envelope to the five who were waving back awkwardly. The man gave them a last smile until finally disappearing to meet his forgotten client.

“Sandwiches? Genius!” Hinata suddenly laughed weirding Nami, Asahi and Mariko out. Marilyn glanced at her knowingly, a smile on her face.

“Does he know about Persona?” Asahi asked as Hinata’s laughter slowly dies down.

“Yup. Shachou decided to inform him all about it. He’s our official lawyer now…even though I don’t like it.” Marilyn sighed.

“Speaking of Shachou…where is she?”

“I don’t know. She said she’ll just meet me at the entrance.” Marilyn shrugged. Mariko glanced at her, unbelieving. Something tells her that Marilyn does know where Saeko is. If she’s lying, then there must be a good excuse behind it.

“And Kai?” Nami asked as she narrowed her eyes at Marilyn who seemed taken aback by her question.

“Oh…uh…h-he’s gone. Don’t know where he went. H-he’s probably with Shachou or something.”

“Tell me who Kai is.” Nami took a step closer to Marilyn who impulsively took a step back, her eyes shifting from side to side unable to look directly at Nami. The three remaining girls frowned wondering what was up with Nami. Could it be that she knows the identity of Kai?

“Sh-shouldn’t you guys go back to your manager or something? Don’t y-you have any activities to do?” Marilyn tried to divert the question but Nami seemed adamant to know who Kai is as she took another step forward.

“Why are you trying to cover up Kai’s identity anyway? Who is he?” Hinata asked, frowning. It seemed weird to her as to why Marilyn would cover up something like that. It’s not like anyone would hunt him down if they knew who he is…

…right?

“Uh…w-well…y-you see…” Knowing a certain someone, Marilyn is sure she’d be pissed if she knew who Kai is…so protecting the little boy seems to be the right thing to do. She did promise the boy she won’t reveal his identity especially to the girl in front of her. So, how does she get out of this one? Maybe she should run or something.

“Marilyn-san?” Marilyn froze upon hearing the voice. Uh-oh.

Everyone turned to the corner as a familiar face for Nami appeared. The boy froze upon seeing the person he dreaded on seeing face to face. The two stared for awhile until the boy’s instinct kicked in. He quickly turned to run but Nami was faster than him as she quickly grabbed him at the back of his collar before he could run further.

“Wahh! L-leeggoo!” The boy started flailing his arms as Nami pulled him.

“Minoru! I knew it!” Nami growled as she removed her hand to the boy’s collar to pinch the boy’s ear. She began pulling it making the boy groan in pain.

“O-Oneechan…t-that hurts!”

Oneechan…? Nami’s brother is…

“Kai…??” Asahi, Hinata and Mariko said simultaneously as they look at Minoru who was trying to remove his sister’s hand on his ear. Now that they look at them, it makes sense that Minoru could pretend to be Kai. He looked like the boy version of Nami.

‘Just a little bit since the boy version of Nami is still Nami.’ Mariko thought as she chuckled.

It took a bit of struggling until he finally breaks free. He quickly hid behind Marilyn as his sister took a step towards him.

“I…I’m n-not Kai!” Minoru lied trying to make Marilyn a shield to his enraged sister.

“I saw your birthmark in your back earlier!” Nami pointed out making Minoru sigh. He knew Saeko stripping him would lead his sister to know about him being Kai. Ugh. No use in lying now.

“Why did you come here anyway? And what happened to your hair?!” Nami asked in a big-sister kind of way. She can’t help it since she always have this urge to act her role as Minoru’s big sister whenever she sees him.

Tough love.

“They had to color my hair to match the wig.” He said as he touched his hair. He is going back to the salon to remove the color of his hair. He really didn’t like it but he needed to have it done what with the role he’s playing. Plus Saeko would definitely whip him if he didn’t comply with her orders.

“And I went here because they said you were in trouble. I wanted to help out!” Minoru added as he frowned.

“Do you have any idea how dangerous it is for you to do that?!”

“I don’t care as long as I help Oneechan and Ray-san out!” Minoru replied, his eyes not backing out of his sister’s glare. Hearing his brother say Ray’s name somehow surprised Nami, but she didn’t show it. It makes her wonder though…

…did Ray brought her brother into this mess?

Marilyn as if reading Nami’s mind, answered her question.

“Nami, if you’re going to get mad at someone, be mad at us. We were the one’s who told your brother about your situation.” Marilyn said as she placed her hand at Nami’s shoulder. The older sister glanced at her then back at her brother. Finally her features had softened as she sighs.

“There’s no point in getting angry now since it’s all in the past. I just wish you guys informed me that he’s going to get involved in all this.” Nami is really protective of her brother so a part of her is pissed at Marilyn and Saeko for involving him. But like she said…it seemed pointless to get mad at them especially when they helped not only her but Ray as well.

“I’m sorry we didn’t inform you.” Marilyn squeezed Nami’s shoulder.

“Everything worked out fine Oneechan, so stop worrying. I’m a grown up now. I can take care of myself.” Minoru smiled despite the fact that for him, everything didn’t exactly work out fine. He was kidnapped by two unknown women who kept on telling him that his sister was Kai of Persona and that she needed his help, then he was forced to memorize his cheesy lines and act out Kai of Persona perfectly in just two days…without much sleep! He was whipped a lot too. Proof of that is his sore butt. Plus he got stripped in front of many people earlier today! He should be traumatized really. But…for some reason…just thinking that she did it for his sister and Ray-san really comforts him.

Ray-san would definitely be proud of him.

That seemed to be the highlight in all of this for him, meeting Ray. She was so nice to him that he can’t help but have a little crush on her. Just a little since he knows Ray belongs to his Oneechan, which at first surprised him a lot but things like that really doesn’t bother him since his Oneechan will always be his Oneechan.

“How old are you again?” Nami asked Minoru as she raised her eyebrow at him.

“Twelve.” He sighed defeatedly as Nami nodded her head. Yup, his Oneechan will always be his Oneechan.

“He’s only twelve?” Mariko asked as she raised her eyebrow.

“I’m twelve AND seven months!” Minoru answered back before his sister could answer for him.

“Trust me, saying the months doesn’t help the fact that you’re still a kid.” Mariko smiled at Minoru who pouted.

“She should know. She too often says her age with months and it doesn’t change the fact that she’s older than us.” Hinata nodded her head. Asahi quickly took hold of Mariko as she took a step towards Hinata, growling.

“Even older than Marilyn-san?” Minoru asked as he looked at Mariko whose glare turned to him.

“I’m not THAT old!”

“Hey!” Marilyn glared at Mariko finding it a bit offensive. Asahi and Nami sighed knowing quite well that things are getting off topic again. Just a little comment from Hinata and they once again went on a detour.

“Mariko-sama and Marilyn’s age aside, the point is you’re still young. The only time I’m going to stop worrying about you is when you surpassed my age.”

“But…that’s never going to happen.”

“Then I won’t stop worrying about you. Deal with it.” Nami shrugged.

“You’re worse than mom.” Minoru sighed as he shook his head. Having two mom’s suck, really.

“Speaking of mom, does she know you’re here?”

“Kinda.” Nami raised her eyebrow at that indicating that Minoru explain further. The boy complied with his sister’s silent wish as he sighed.

“I told mom we have a school field trip for a few days. Shachou forged a letter for that just in case.” Minoru said as his eyes were on the side. Nami shook her head not really surprised at all. It is Shachou after all. She’d do anything to get what she wants.

“Hey, that reminds me.” Hinata slowly made her way to Minoru, took hold of his chin and turned it slowly to the right, revealing his moleless left face. Hinata frowned.

“If you’re looking for a mole…he doesn’t have one. We just placed a marker on his face earlier.” Marilyn explained as she smiled. The four nodded in awe. Saeko and Marilyn even thought of that? That’s…impressive.

‘It’s a good thing Okuma didn’t check up his fake mole up close then. If he did then…nah…if they see that Okuma was going to check Minoru’s fake mole then it’s probably the job of the mood maker or even Shachou to protect him. Okuma never had a chance to check Minoru’s fake mole.’ Hinata thought as she took a step back from Minoru, grinning. Her mind was elsewhere as she stared at Minoru who was now whining as Nami tells him that he should go home. Now that the pieces were complete, she can’t help but be impressed at whoever orchestrated that ingenious plan. She really needs to learn a few things from that person.

Maybe she could take Hinata as an apprentice or something.

“You know, it’s funny watching the two of you. Nami really doesn’t look like the older sister at all what with Minoru being taller than her.” Asahi giggled making Nami’s eye twitch.

“She’s right. Drink your vitamins and milk for goodness sake.” Mariko sighed while Hinata and Marilyn nod their head.

“Hey! He’s only 8 cm taller than me!” Nami defended.

“That’s a lot, believe me…especially in your case.” Everyone except Minoru who was smiling awkwardly and Nami who was narrowing his eyes agreed at what Mariko said.

“Plus he’s only twelve and he already surpassed your height.” Hinata added making Nami wonder why the hell did their attention suddenly turned to her. Oh right, it’s Asahi’s fault. Maybe she should thank Asahi later on.

Nami felt a hand on her shoulder and turned to see Minoru smiling at her.

“Regardless of her lack of height, my Oneechan is still the best since she got Ray-san as her girlfriend.” Minoru smiled proudly at his sister. His sister sure is lucky to have Ray-san. Hmm. Maybe he should act more like his sister so that he could attract girls like Ray-san.

He took a mental note about it as he smiled at the others unaware of the sad look in his sisters’ eyes as she looked at the floor. Mariko and Asahi seemed to notice, frowning slightly. Somehow they didn’t like that look in Nami’s eyes. Knowing the girl, she’s probably brooding again on something.

Something Ray related?

“That reminds me. Shouldn’t we get the heroine since she’s no longer in the clutches of Dr. Yuu?” Hinata grinned feeling a bit giddy. Finally! Nami and Ray will have a happy ending that they deserve! She actually have this image of Nami and Ray running towards each other for a hug while all of them are watching, with tears in their eyes.

Too cheesy for Nami but…it might happen. Hell she even imagined Mariko wrapping her arms around her waist and leaning her head on Hinata’s shoulder as they watch the two.

Now that seemed like it would never happen. That’s too cheesy for both of them. Plus it’s Mariko! Knowing her she’d just stand there watching, trying not to smile.

Yup, that’s the way of the Mariko-sama.

“Wow. That sounded like something out of a comic book!” Minoru said excitedly. He too felt a bit giddy for Ray-san and his sister to reunite. He really just wants to see his Oneechan and Ray-san happy and thinking that he helped out for that purpose makes him feel proud.

“Doesn’t it? Doesn’t it?” Hinata grinned at Minoru who beamed nodding his head. Watching the two, Mariko couldn’t help but narrow her eyes. Looks like Nami’s brother and Hinata share some common interest. She really doesn’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

“The prince in girly clothes doesn’t seem to think so though.” Mariko pointed out as she looked at Nami. The two turned to Nami who was still looking at the floor, a dejected look across her face. Somehow seeing that look Nami has emptied their giddiness meter.

“Nami…” Asahi said softly worried for her friend.

“I’m sorry but…Ray and I are over.” Nami sighed. Slowly, she looked at everyone, her voice etched with pain as well as her eyes. It hurts for her to say it but…

 “I’m not going back to her.”

Hinata, Asahi and Minoru stared at her, their eyes wide with shock, their mouths gaping slightly. Did they just hear Nami say…that she’s not going back to Ray?!

“WHAT?!” The three voiced out their shock. Mariko and Marilyn just stared at Nami, their reactions unreadable. Somehow they had a feeling Nami was going to go with this path. They have an idea as to why Nami decided this but…it still would be nice to hear Nami explaining her side on why she decided this.

Nami better explain it good or else Mariko would definitely kill her.

“I’m sorry. I know all of you worked so hard just to see us back together…but…” Nami trailed her eyes downcast to the floor.

“…realizing how she can just throw away everything…everything that’s important to her just to protect me…just like that? It…hurts me.” Tears suddenly fill her eyes once again. Her hand formed a fist, clenching it tightly.

“It hurts me especially since it’s my fault. My anger and jealousy towards Okuma got the best of me. I’m not worth her sacrifice. It was my fault she had to…” Nami felt a tear escape her eye, her voice cracking a little.

“If we stay together…it’ll all happen again. I don’t want her to throw away everything just for me. I don’t want her to suffer because of me. I don’t want to be a burden to her. I don’t want that…I…don’t. She’s…better off without me.” The pain felt unbearable that she didn’t fight the tears that escaped her eyes. She suddenly felt alone...just standing there as tears continue to flow down her eyes. Only when someone pulled her to a hug did she finally let out the sobs as she cries in that someone’s chest.

Oddly enough, it was Mariko who pulled Nami to her, beating the five who also wanted to comfort the girl. 

Nami wrapped her arms around Mariko’s slim waist while the other girl caressed her hair. She leaned close to the girl’s ear to whisper…

‘“It’s okay…it’s okay…just let it out.”’ Mariko and surprisingly Inner Mariko-sama simultaneously whispered to Nami, trying to comfort her. Both had a sad smile on their face as the girl cries her eyes out muttering how sorry she is for causing Ray and everyone else trouble. Nami kept these feelings of hers for days now. So somehow, Mariko and the others felt a bit relieved that she finally let it out. But it breaks their heart…seeing their strong friend crumble down like this. Its heart wrenching that the only thing that they can do for their friend is to whisper comforting words.

It breaks their heart that their friends wouldn’t get the happy ending that they deserve.

Mariko sighs as she rests her cheek on the top of Nami’s hair. She can’t help but remember what Hinata told them a couple of days ago. Remembering that…she can’t help but question…

Is this the price of fame?


**************************


Somehow the walk felt longer than ever for Ray as she finally reached her dressing room. Maybe it’s because she kept replaying the events that happened that made it feel like she was experiencing it over and over again.

Or perhaps it’s because her steps felt a bit heavier than before.

Shaking those thoughts, Ray slowly opened the door to her dressing room. She walked inside casually and sat in front of her mirror ignoring the familiar figure sitting on her couch.

“You look like a person who just lost her soul.” Saeko glanced at her, grinning slightly. Oddly enough, Saeko saw Ray’s eyes darken, seemingly affected by what she said. It’s just a figure of speech…so why does Ray…?

“What do you want? I’m not in the mood to play…whatever it is that you play.” Ray sighed as she slumped in her seat. She was exhausted and if that madwoman wasn’t there, she’d be lying at her couch right now resting.

“What? No thank you? After all the work we’ve done? Not even giving me a glass of water…with ice?” Saeko said as she placed her hand on her chest, feigning shock. Ray glared at her through the mirror remembering the unnecessary things Saeko did.

“Why should I thank you when you went overboard?!”

“You told me to act like I normally would.”

“You stripped Nami’s little brother in front of the press! And even suggested to strip him naked! In front of the press!”

“Again, you said NORMALLY.” Saeko calmly said making Ray roll her eyes.

“I forgot that you’re not from this world.” Ray mumbled. Somehow working with Saeko to defeat Okuma, Ray realizes the cause of Hinata’s abnormality. It’s because of this person right here. Hell, she wouldn’t be surprised if this woman over here is Hinata’s long lost mother…from another world.

“I just did what I think was best.” Saeko shrugged as Ray sighed and shook her head.

“Whatever. Just get out.”

“A bit moody are we?” Saeko asked not moving from her seat.

“I’m tired. Plus, you shouldn’t be here. Sarukawa might come in and see you.”

“He already did. Once he saw me he quickly closed the door and ran away.”

“What with you two anyway? Why does he look scared everytime he sees you?” Ray asked as she raised her eyebrow. She’s been wondering for quite sometime as to why Sarukawa was like that with this woman. Sure she looks scary and intimidating but that wouldn’t make a person run away like that or even scream for that matter. Surely saeko did something that traumatized the poor manager.

“I slept with him.” Saeko shrugged nonchalantly. Ray narrowed her eyes as she looked at the woman through the mirror.

“That explains a lot.” Ray said flatly as she shook her head. Now she knows why her manager is traumatized. Anyone would be traumatized if they sleep with this woman. Just the thought of sleeping with her, would traumatized you as well.

Poor Sarukawa.

“So no thank you? Not even a little thanks for advising you on how you should let someone follow those three in case they planned something which I’m right?” Saeko grinned, reminding Ray of the time they argued about how they should monitor Nami and the others since there was a high possibility that they might do something. Ray didn’t believe her at first thinking that Nami would probably drown herself to her work what with the girl being a workaholic and all. But Saeko was adamant about it that she secretly sent out Gori for a spying mission. Eventually Ray found out and got mad at Gori since he did something that Ray didn’t order him to do. Knowing Gori, he probably got scared of Saeko and decided to comply with her wishes. Ray decided to just let it slide…again since the man gets easily scared of strong women.

She really needs to get Gori trained or something.

Saeko was right though. The girls were planning something. Ray found out from Gori that Katsuyuki was taking a part in their plan. She immediately contacted him and met him that day of their mission. Katsuyuki didn’t mind telling Ray what he knows about Hinata’s plan which somehow surprised the diva since…it is Hinata after all.

Goes to show she doesn’t know them that much huh. Somehow, that thought saddens Ray.

“That was just a coincidence.”

“I don’t think so. It’s because they think of you as their friend that they wanted to help you out. They’re that kind of people.” Saeko said as she smiled while looking at the coffee table in front of her. She can’t help but remember the determined look the three gave her back them when they decided to sing to a fan who was unknowingly to them, the princess of Waataru, rather than sing at the Music 10 which was the most watched music program in Japan. Somehow thinking about that and how they decided to help Ray out did Saeko realize that the three hadn’t changed one bit.

They’re still the stupid, ugly, naïve girls that she had grown to love.

“Friend huh?” Ray mumbled, her eyes down at the table to look at the box of monkey cookies in front of her.

“Yeah. Maybe it’s unfamiliar in your world?” Saeko smirked while Ray rolled her eyes.

“I’m actually impressed at their plan. For the newbies to come up and execute that plan…it seems that there is still hope for them.” Saeko smiled smugly proud at how her girls handled the situation. Maybe those girls…especially Hinata learned a few things from her.

“Don’t tell me you’re going to teach them your ways. Please…don’t.” Ray sighs as she shook her head. She could already imagine Hinata having the same hairstyle, clothes and even the whip as this woman has and already…she could feel the impending head ache coming.

Ugh. The world doesn’t need two or more Saeko’s.

“Why don’t you? Your plan worked perfectly. Why not teach them a few things?” Saeko glanced at Ray, grinning. She wouldn’t say it out loud but the person who impressed her the most is Ray. Thanks to Gori who tracked down the location of Saeko and Marilyn, Ray easily conversed to Saeko about what was happening and asked for her assistance to help Nami. Hearing that coming from the selfish diva she knew surprised her. Ray didn’t say that she needed Saeko’s help for herself since she obviously needed it. Rather, she told Saeko that she needed help…for Nami’s sake.

Both Ray and Saeko are women who have high sense of pride especially towards each other. And for one of them to ask the other for help? Well, it probably took a lot of courage for Ray to do that. That alone impressed Saeko. But that wasn’t the main reason she came back. No, it was because her girls were in trouble.

Sure the two argued a lot, much like Saeko predicted, but it was the thought of saving the girls did they set their differences aside.

Ray sighed and looked at her hand. It was then Saeko saw it again. Ray’s dark eyes…dark eyes that seemed empty.

“I don’t want their hands…to be stained.” Ray whispered softly. Saeko frowned at that, wondering what she means. But like earlier, she decided to brush it off.

“Oh well, I think those girls can learn for themselves anyway.” Saeko shrugged as she stood up. 

“So what are you going to do with Okuma now?” Saeko asked curious to know what is the diva’s next plan for Okuma Yuu. Saeko doesn’t know Okuma that much, but while exchanging words with him earlier, she had feeling that that man wouldn’t give up easily. He’d probably plot another foolish plan to spite the diva or Nami.

“I won’t worry about him anymore. But…if he once again becomes a threat…I’ll take care of him myself.” With Kuroda’s help that is. Kuroda, whom she encountered at her brother’s office, their meeting was just a coincidence. Who would have thought that an assassin was working with her brother? Was it fate? Perhaps it was.

Nonetheless, she decided to grab the chance and talk to him.

“And the girl?” Saeko asked as she looked at Ray directly at the mirror. A sad feature of the diva could be seen at the mirror as she looked away from Saeko’s gaze.

“You were right…the girl…is better off without me.” Ray sighs feeling the familiar pain in her chest as she stares at the box of cookies.

“Looks like you finally realized that I’m right. That you, Ray, being the top selling diva, would cause problems if you were to engage a romantic relationship with Nami.”

“Did you have to say it exactly how you said it last time?” Ray mumbled but Saeko ignored her as she continues.

“Being the top selling diva, you’re bound to have a lot of enemies. And those enemies would not only target you…but also Nami. So it just wouldn’t work out.” Saeko said in a matter of fact voice making Ray heavyhearted. The mad woman is right. Proof of that is Okuma. Surely there are a lot of people like Okuma who want to destroy her status. And if Nami stays with her…she’d get dragged down as well. She didn’t want that. Nami’s safety is her number one priority. So…it’s better for Nami to stay away from her…for her safety. This is the price she gets.

The price for being the top selling diva.

“Ray and Nami wouldn’t work…” Saeko trailed as she walked towards the girl. She stopped when she was behind Ray and placed her hand on Ray’s shoulder, giving her a soft smile through the mirror.

“…but maybe Hanako and Nami would.” Saeko squeezed Ray’s shoulder. Ray stared at her for awhile, a bit surprised to hear her name come out of the woman’s mouth. Was it really her name being uttered that’s surprising? Or was it because of the woman’s suggestion?

“Anyway, I think I should go now. I have another meeting to attend to.” Saeko said as she pats Ray’s shoulder. She walked towards the only to be stopped by Ray’s voice.

“Saeko.”

Saeko glanced at Ray who nodded her head, smiling slightly.

“Thank you.” Ray said softly…genuinely making Saeko smile.

“You’re welcome. I had fun…working with you.” With a nod, Saeko opened the door and walked out leaving Ray to momentarily stare at the closed door. Slowly, her eyes made it’s way to the box of cookies. She opened it and took a cookie out, a smiling monkey greeted her. She smiled at it sadly as thoughts of the person who gave it to her plagues her mind.


**************************


Nami’s POV


 “Are you sure you’re okay?” Asahi asked as we walked the hallway of the theater. We came back as soon as we found our angry manager. Luckily, Marilyn eased the anger that our manager has as she talked to him privately. It made us wonder what she told him because as soon as their talk was over, our manager looked…relieved. Just what was it that she told him?

“Yeah. Don’t push yourself too hard.” Hinata said a worried look across her face.

“I’m fine. Really.” I smiled assuring the two who seems to be adamant on staying on my side ever since I cried my eyes out earlier. These two have been pampering me. Ugh. Just thinking about how I cried that much in Mariko-sama’s arms in front of everyone embarrasses me. I hate it whenever I show people how weak I am.

‘You’re not weak.’ Inner Mariko-sama said softly.

I feel weak.

Thinking that somehow made Inner Mariko-sama speechless. I couldn’t help but sigh feeling a bit weak. Hinata and Asahi moved closer to me upon hearing me sigh. Hinata took hold of my hand while Asahi wrapped her arms around my waist. Somehow that brings me comfort as I smiled at them.

‘If you feel weak, I’m sure they’ll be there to push you. Same goes with me.’ Inner Mariko-sama said. I squeezed Hinata’s hand while I rested my head on Asahi’s shoulder.

Yeah, I know. Thanks.

“Ugh. Yukarin sent me another message.” Mariko-sama, who’s been busy with her phone, groaned. I turned my head to look at her, chuckling.

“Still pissed at not being at the conference?”

“Yeah. That’s her 5th message now.”

“At least she only sent you 5 messages. Yuko’s been sending me a lot since the end of the conference that I’ve lost count already.” Asahi sighs as she shook her head.

“I’m sure not all of those are conference related…if you know what I mean.” Hinata wiggled her eyebrow at Asahi who rolled her eyes blushing slightly. Looks like Hinata is right with that assumption.

“Anyway, Yukarin says you owe her another date dressed up like you did when we went to karaoke since she wasn’t at the conference.” Mariko said as she sighed. Asahi and I groaned not liking it as well. Ugh. Not another Persona group date!

“I’m in!” Hinata beamed obviously liking the idea. Not surprising really. Her smile was short lived though as Mariko-sama glared at her, probably remembering the incident Hinata caused at the group date.

Can’t blame her really. It’s like that’s what you will automatically think about when you mention group date. Maybe with that still fresh in our minds, that group date would be cancelled.

We finally reached Akimoto-sensei’s office. When our manager opened the door, Akimoto-sensei greeted us with a smile. We stepped inside and bowed politely as we greeted him.

“Ah. You guys finally arrived. I was waiting for you.”

“We could’ve arrived earlier if they didn’t run away from me earlier.” Our manager for today reported to Akimoto-sensei. Ugh. What a tattletale. But then again, he is only doing his job.

“No worries. You still got a plenty of time to meet the president of your agency who will be handling you three from now on.”

Agency? We’re going to meet them right now? I didn’t know we’d meet them now. I glanced at Hinata and Asahi who seemed confused as well. Mariko-sama looks like she wanted to go out of the door probably feeling a bit left out.

“Of course you can stay and meet them too Shinoda-san. Since your manager called me up to say that he’s going to be a little arriving here. Plus I’d be a good thing if you meet them as well.” Akimoto-sensei smiled while Mariko-sama just looked uncertain.

“Oh. Could you guide them here just in case they get lost? They should be here any minute now.” Akimoto-sensei said to our manager who without hesitation, walked out of the room leaving the four of us standing in front of the mighty AO.

“I just saw the news earlier. Looks like you girls had quite an experience.”

“It was great! I learned a lot.” Hinata beamed seemingly forgetting that she’s in front of the mighty creator. Akimoto-sensei didn’t seem to mind. In fact, Hinata’s enthusiasm made him laugh.

“I’m glad you learned a lot. Watching these kinds of conference would help you to know what to say and what not to say in future interviews.” He pointed out while Hinata nodded her head as if agreeing. I couldn’t help but narrow my eyes knowing quite well that that’s not what Hinata learned at the conference. Glancing at both Mariko-sama and Asahi, I think their thinking of the same thing as their eyes are narrowed as well.

We made small talk with Akimoto-sensei until we were interrupted by a knock on the door.

“Looks like they’re here.” Akimoto-sensei slowly walked towards the door and opened it greeting the people behind it. He motioned the guests to come inside and when they did…our eyes went wide and our jaw dropped as we stare at the two guests smiling at us.

No…way!

“Girls, I would like you to meet Kamonohashi Saeko-san, president of Ogi Productions and her assistant, Marilyn. You three will be working under them now as a subunit for Akb48.” Akimoto-sensei explained briefly but we were still out of it as we continue to stare at the two.

“Hello girls.” Shachou grinned while Marilyn waved at us, beaming. Nope…still out of it.

“This is a dream. It has got to be.” Mariko-sama mumbled as she shook her head. I agree this has got to be a dream. Please let it be a dream.

“I think this is like those movies wherein we’re sleeping in the real world and now we’re in another world.” Hinata nodded her head.

“What you said is the definition of a dream you know.” Mariko-sama sighed.

“Ah. But we’re all dreaming together. You don’t usually dream together you know.” Hinata pointed out but Mariko-sama just rolled her eyes obviously not agreeing with Hinata’s theory.

“Maybe we should test it if you girls are dreaming or not?” Shachou suggested. Her eyes held that mischievous and dangerous glint that she often has whenever she whipped us back then, pulling out her whip making us cower to Mariko-sama who narrowed her eyes.

“That’s child abuse you know.”

“I’d rather call it tough love.” Shachou answered as whipped the floor making us flinch. Ugh. This is so much like before.

“So uh…Shachou…I mean Saeko-san is going to be our manager from now on?” Asahi timidly asked still cling to Mariko-sama’s arm.

“That’s right. I’ve appointed her for that task. I’m sure you guys won’t have a hard time getting used to her since all of you worked together in the past.” Hearing that from Akimoto-sensei somehow brought me to question the one thing that is apparent in our minds.

“Does that mean…Akimoto-sensei knows about…?”

“If you mean that you three were once Persona, then yes. He knows everything.” Shachou answered as she shrugged like it wasn’t a big deal. That’s another shocker right there.

“He’s actually the composer of Persona’s songs you know.” Shachou added.

“Even that out of nowhere song we sang at the park?” Hinata asked tilting her head slightly.

“Yup. Even that.”

Wow. This day just keeps on getting weirder and weirder huh.

“Now…LINE UP!” Shachou barked. As if on impulse, the three of us quickly formed a line and stood up straight in attention. Mariko-sama looked at us with her eyebrow raised probably weirded out by the situation.

Ah. This sure brings back painful memories.

“Let’s see. According to Akimoto-san here, you three are going to be a subunit.” Shachou rubs her chin as if thinking as she looked at us.

“You guys need a name. And well, I’ve already come up with a name for you three.” Shachou grinned making us gulp nervously.

“No…” She pointed at me.

“…three…” Then at Asahi who raised her eyebrow.

“…busu.” Lastly at Hinata who looked insulted, probably thinking that Shachou just called her ugly. I couldn’t help but smirk at that.

“No-three-busu?” Asahi tilted her head slightly.

“Uh-huh. Since you girls are ugly…” Shachou trailed making Asahi and I narrow our eyes. Hinata seemed happy probably because Shachou considered us ugly as well.

“…we’ll make people think you’re not ugly. Thus the name ‘No-three-busu.’”

“It actually sounds like ‘No Sleeves’ as well which suits the theme I’m thinking for you girls.” Akimoto-sensei nodded. Looks like he agrees with the name Shachou gave us. Don’t know if I like it though especially the meaning behind it.

“You can also say it as ‘No3b.’” Mariko-sama nodded wearing a grin on her face. She’s clearly enjoying this.

“It’s decided then! From this day forward, you three are now called No Sleeves!”

Everyone except the three of us started clapping, congratulating our new name. Asahi and I just smiled painfully while Hinata beamed looking at the happy and teasing faces directed at us. Don’t we have any say in this?

“Yay!” Hinata beamed as she pumped her fist up looking at Asahi and I as if she’s silently telling us to imitate her. We looked at each other then let out a hesitant ‘yay.’ Hinata shook her head and let out another energetic ‘yay.’ I couldn’t help but chuckle while Asahi smiles, nodding her head.

“Yay!” The three of us simultaneously yelled as we pumped our fist up.

‘Looks like it’s a new beginning for you.’

Looks like it.

‘And you know what they say about new beginnings?’

What?

‘Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.’ Inner Mariko-sama smiled softly.

I returned the smile as Hinata engulfed us in a hug.




The End?


**************************

End Note: Sadly that's the end...or not.  :lol: Nah, I'm not THAT evil. There's an epilogue, don't worry. Don't load the guns just yet.
I have to say though:
@Keichan ^_^: Yeah, sitting can be a pain sometimes. Makes your butt hurt.  :lol: I'm glad I can brighten up your easter break.  XD Bring the ninja back!  :lol:
@ bou-j525: I'm impressed about that doubts of yours. A woman's intuition perhaps?  :lol:
@dark-atrox: I didn't write END for you. I wrote THE END? just so you won't feel sad.  :lol: Kidding. But you never know what might happen in the epilogue. Plus there's the AxY fic which is next...after the Hinata chap.  :lol: Oh yeah, get back to writing too!!!
@Arakawa: Sorry you had to reread again. Don't worry, you're not alone.  :lol:
@kahem: Honestly, I feel bad for making Ray that kind of person. Though it suits her...still, I feel bad.  :(
@HartAKL85: I agree, Mendol ain't complete without hitmans :lol:
@immo: I just had to add Kuroda. He's part of the crazy mendol family and all.  :lol: Hey, get back to writing will you.  XD

Sorry about the whole MIA thing. I think I told this a million times now...WORK IS HELL!!!  :smhid  Anyway, thanks so much for reading this fic!  :bow: :bow: :bow: If you have comments, suggestion, confusion, killing motives and such...please feel free to say it. This was rushed...so the quality is  :smhid So if ever I forgot something or whatever, just tell me. I'll try to answer it in the very best I can. Thanks again and I'll update next week for the final final.  :lol:
« Last Edit: April 24, 2011, 10:14:15 AM by FoF »

Offline dark-atrox

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Re: [AKB48 x Mendol] The Price of Fame (FINAL UP)
« Reply #170 on: April 23, 2011, 03:37:20 PM »
Just finished reading it :) and I...I...I-I finally read the word... :cry:
I can't say it.... :cry: the word E-END  :bleed eyes:
I mean...this words below
The End?
Yup, that one ^ :(
Well, its great that you made Shachou the president of Ogi Pro! :lol: :lol: :lol:
Kind of expected it :D and to think the mighty AO was involved with
their Persona days  :P (that was unexpected :nervous)

Okay...I will wait patiently for the epilogue :yep:
Another Persona Date, perhaps? With Ray with them? :w00t:
I mean, Hanako?  XD XD XD
'Price of Fame'---so, it's all about the title eh? ;)
It's true, but i still want my sappy dramatic NamixRay ending :inlove:
Wah! I said the word end-ing without stuttering...LOL Okay im rambling :nervous

PS: Great Ending  :bow: :bow: :bow:
(KojiYuu version next--->excited)
« Last Edit: April 23, 2011, 05:16:50 PM by dark-atrox »



Offline Hart

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Re: [AKB48 x Mendol] The Price of Fame (FINAL UP)
« Reply #171 on: April 23, 2011, 03:47:32 PM »
Quote
Nah, I'm not THAT evil. There's an epilogue, don't worry. Don't load the guns just yet.

Riiiiiight. That's what all good fanfic writers say.  :P

If you hadn't said there's gonna be no epilogue..... just be lucky that you're writing an epilogue.  :yep:

Like what Sachou said, Ray and Nami can never be together. But that doesn't mean that Hanako and Nami couldn't.  :D

Offline Keichan ^_^

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Re: [AKB48 x Mendol] The Price of Fame (FINAL UP)
« Reply #172 on: April 23, 2011, 03:59:13 PM »
Haven't read it yet just finished late night work... But all I can say for now is.... Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!

Offline Arakawa

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Re: [AKB48 x Mendol] The Price of Fame (FINAL UP)
« Reply #173 on: April 23, 2011, 07:47:30 PM »
I can't believe its over...
It was so good! Like, amazing..

Are you going to start something else? Haha

Offline A1

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Re: [AKB48 x Mendol] The Price of Fame (FINAL UP)
« Reply #174 on: April 23, 2011, 10:30:48 PM »
I'm a little heartbroken right now, I will try to add more to my comment later.

Offline kahem

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Re: [AKB48 x Mendol] The Price of Fame (FINAL UP)
« Reply #175 on: April 24, 2011, 10:24:06 AM »
WOW so fast!!!
Quote
Honestly, I feel bad for making Ray that kind of person. Though it suits her...still, I feel bad.
Hum I think a too kind Ray it's not Ray lol and I like this side of her

The part with Minoru was cute ^^
When I saw "END" I almost throw my bb away, I thought why there is not Namy x Ray scene but I the word "epilogue" so I didn't do it xD

Anyway thx for the fast update can I hope the epilogue will come soon?

Offline bou-j525

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Re: [AKB48 x Mendol] The Price of Fame (FINAL UP)
« Reply #176 on: April 24, 2011, 05:43:00 PM »
Ooohhhh so it's the end? I think I'm still half asleep for not being really upset at you right now  :roll: It's the end.... just wait for the info to come in my brain and you'll see me like this -->  :angry:

Wait... THERE IS NO RAY/NAMI MEETING?!? It can't end this way  :cry: I don't care (maybe) if they can't be together (coz seriously, after EVERYTHING that happened, how can they even have a normal relationship now)... but I want a meeting!!!!!! If it is not in the epilogue.... I'll blame you for the death of my computer  :smhid

I like the protective sister Nami :P It's cute ^^

And I know I'm a bit out of the subject, but will something happen with Atsuko in the future? Like will she ever learn about Nami and Ray relationship? Imean since she helped so much Nami.... :/

And thank you for updating! I'm waiting for your epilogue... and I hope it won't come in three four parts  :nervous

Offline Arakawa

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Re: [AKB48 x Mendol] The Price of Fame (FINAL UP)
« Reply #177 on: April 24, 2011, 06:29:37 PM »
I posted this in the general thread but I thought I'd post this here

RAY GOT MARRIED
http://www.tokyohive.com/2011/04/nishina-masaki-and-takigawa-hanako-enjoy-a-brilliant-wedding-reception/

Offline crazywota

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Re: [AKB48 x Mendol] The Price of Fame (FINAL UP)
« Reply #178 on: April 25, 2011, 07:41:30 AM »
oohh, it's the end
im really sad that nami and ray didn't end up together   :cry:

im not really commenting on fics that im reading  :nervous
but i just wanna thank you for making this awesome fic  :thumbsup  :bow:

Offline khryz0421

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Re: [AKB48 x Mendol] The Price of Fame (FINAL UP)
« Reply #179 on: April 28, 2011, 05:14:51 PM »
THE END... whahah... it has an end... so many chapters... but awesome fanfic....^^

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