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Author Topic: Heartbeat (20/20) + Partners (23/23) + Destiny (33/?) [WMatsui] (08/05/2018)  (Read 122065 times)

Offline Genkikid

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20) + Partners (23/23) + Destiny (31/?) [WMatsui] (04/02/2018)
« Reply #640 on: February 05, 2018, 01:18:02 PM »
You're back!!!  :jphip: :jphip:


The tension is coming up

Offline Minami-chan

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20) + Partners (23/23) + Destiny (31/?) [WMatsui] (04/02/2018)
« Reply #641 on: February 06, 2018, 10:41:46 PM »
The treatment that Jurina has had with Rena has seemed very sweet to me. (I love it)

Rena clearly still has feelings for Jurina, but we really do not know what Jurina thinks today.

I think Churi has reason to be angry at the situation.

Offline Guacamoolee

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20) + Partners (23/23) + Destiny (31/?) [WMatsui] (04/02/2018)
« Reply #642 on: February 07, 2018, 12:16:57 AM »
Hello S!
It's been a long time! XD
My inner self jumped in happiness when I saw this update.
Just like usual, I always skimmed first right after I saw the update.
But
When I was skimming this chapter, I little bit forgot how they ended up like this, so I didn't read this chapter right away. lol
I needed to refresh my memory about Destiny so I read some of the previous chapters to make sure what's going on XD
I'M SORRYYYYYYYYY :kneelbow:
Their meeting is surprisingly smooth. Despite their separation for three years, Jurina is still sweet as ever! Rena you're so lucky!
So Rena accepted to come just because Jurina invited her, is this the sign she wanted to go back together again???? :huhuh
Talking about Churi, I understand what she felt for her best friend but I hope her anger won't grow any further that will lead to something bad for her relationship with both Matsui. :k-mad:
I really enjoyed reading this chapter.
Just so you know that for me, reading your writing especially this fic is sooo satisfying. I like how detail you put their thoughts and acts into words.
Thank you for being a devoted WMatsui fanfic writer!!
Shall we celebrate your come back with eclair au chocolat???  :cheers

Offline Rhythm

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20) + Partners (23/23) + Destiny (31/?) [WMatsui] (04/02/2018)
« Reply #643 on: February 10, 2018, 12:57:06 AM »
Take me 4 hours to finish reading all the destiny chapter. Im glad I can catch up fast enough   :farofflook:
Anyway Rena came to jurina graduation concert fufufu I wonder will they perform kiss datte hidariki together.
it's funny how akane seems irritated at Rena presence while in real life they are close  :on drink:

Offline facarous

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20) + Partners (23/23) + Destiny (31/?) [WMatsui] (04/02/2018)
« Reply #644 on: February 11, 2018, 08:42:07 PM »
Hi, Sophcaro.

I'm really happy because you are back.

It's a good chapter but I was so excited that I read it fast and I had this feeling like "oh? that was short" LOL
However I read it twice and this time I could enjoy every part of it.

I can't help but feel some empathy for Churi, I understand her overprotecting feelings because she's afraid of Rena hurting Jurina again, but at the same time I hope Rena take this opportunity and try to reach Jurina's heart and fix all this big mess.

I almost scream at Rena "Come on just kiss her!!" when she and Jurina were talking but I know it's not how it works (regretfully).

Also I'm very curious to know what's happening inside Jurina's head. I don't know if she's feeling the warmth grow inside her chest or if she's being overwhelmed by her nervousness.

Great job author-san and congrats for overcoming your writer's block.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 10:16:31 PM by facarous »

Offline sophcaro

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20) + Partners (23/23) + Destiny (31/?) [WMatsui] (04/02/2018)
« Reply #645 on: February 21, 2018, 01:27:33 AM »
REPLIES TO COMMENTS

Glad you're back author-san :D
I have been waiting for your update
Nice story as always :twothumbs

Thanks for your patience!
I hope you'll keep enjoying the ride  :)

About Rena's song for that day, is it only Ame no Pianist? I hope she will have a duet with Jurina. Or at least, a song with both of them in it.

That's the song she began the rehearsal with, but Rena will of course sing more songs during the concert  :yep:

Rena clearly still has feelings for Jurina, but we really do not know what Jurina thinks today.

It's nice to see what Rena thought of her first meeting with Jurina after a while. Jurina was surprisingly calm, I want to know what happened inside her brain. Did she feel the beating heart like Rena's?

Also I'm very curious to know what's happening inside Jurina's head. I don't know if she's feeling the warmth grow inside her chest or if she's being overwhelmed by her nervousness.

We will know more about what's happening inside Jurina's head in the following chapter  :thumbup

You're back!!!  :jphip: :jphip:

I'm back, and hopefully for good   :prayers:

But
When I was skimming this chapter, I little bit forgot how they ended up like this, so I didn't read this chapter right away. lol
I needed to refresh my memory about Destiny so I read some of the previous chapters to make sure what's going on XD
I'M SORRYYYYYYYYY

Oh wow, that makes me wonder how much you would have forgotten if I hadn't updated in, let's say, six months.  :P

So Rena accepted to come just because Jurina invited her, is this the sign she wanted to go back together again????


Rena was pretty honest when she told Jurina why she accepted to come. She did it to please her, to make her happy. Of course, Rena still has feelings for Jurina, but she didn't do this in the hope that they would go back together. Her intentions are much more selfless, here.
 
Talking about Churi, I understand what she felt for her best friend but I hope her anger won't grow any further that will lead to something bad for her relationship with both Matsui.

I understand what you mean, but Churi pretty much already said everything she needed to Rena. I don't believe things will escalate any further between them, or dramatically affect her relationship with both Matsui.

 
Shall we celebrate your come back with eclair au chocolat???  :cheers

Why not try something different this time? I like flans à la vanille too  8) (it's also another popular French dessert)

take me 4 hours to finish reading all the destiny chapter. Im glad I can catch up fast enough 

Did you also read Heartbeat and Partners before? Because all three parts are connected (it's a trilogy), and you don't mention them (and I don't remember you commenting here before). So if you unvolontarily skipped them, I'm afraid you will not understand everything  :?

Anyway Rena came to jurina graduation concert fufufu I wonder will they perform kiss datte hidariki together.

Well no, they will not.
As I wrote in the previous chapter, Jurina will perform this particular song with Churi  :thumbsup





Thank you everyone who commented!

« Last Edit: February 21, 2018, 01:36:16 AM by sophcaro »
My WMatsui fanfics:

HEARTBEAT trilogy
- Heartbeat | Completed
- Partners | Completed
- Destiny | Ongoing

OTHER FANFICS
- Warriors | Will return in Summer 2018
- Back in Time | Will return in Summer 2018
- One Shot collection: Her Sun | Completed
- Fire and Water | On hiatus

Offline Rhythm

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20) + Partners (23/23) + Destiny (31/?) [WMatsui] (04/02/2018)
« Reply #646 on: February 21, 2018, 06:14:34 AM »
I have read heartbeat and partners as a guest until I decided to make this account.
And yes that was the first time I comment here. :sweat:

Offline Guacamoolee

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20) + Partners (23/23) + Destiny (31/?) [WMatsui] (04/02/2018)
« Reply #647 on: February 21, 2018, 04:25:04 PM »
I always happy to read your reply to the reader's comments and thank you for the explanation~
That's what makes you one of my favorite author :D

Oh wow, that makes me wonder how much you would have forgotten if I hadn't updated in, let's say, six months.  :P

Well, please don't do that. Maybe I'll happily read the whole trilogy lol

Why not try something different this time? I like flans à la vanille too  8) (it's also another popular French dessert)
Why not crème brûlée? You don't like it? (I think it's more popular among people. who. are. not. French) :P

Offline vickystar

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20) + Partners (23/23) + Destiny (31/?) [WMatsui] (04/02/2018)
« Reply #648 on: February 25, 2018, 06:44:23 PM »
Its such a long time, i’m back to read your fic, must be 2 years has gone. Nice to see you again:) :cow:
WMatsui in my heart <3
Kamaoshi : M.Rena

Offline sophcaro

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CHAPTER 32



2.55 PM.

Jurina wore a sleeveless yellow cardigan over a white long-sleeved blouse, a red bow around her neck, and a short, red and white pleated plaid skirt. She slowly walked in from the right side of the main stage, her feet only pausing once she found herself at the center of the stage. With her back turned to the audience, Jurina ignored the screams of the fans who had enthusiastically begun to call her name upon her arrival; she gazed instead at the majestic, high staircase looming in front of her.

The camera zoomed in on her intense, focused expression; Jurina taking a deep breath at the daunting task awaiting her, before beginning her ascension of the stairs decidedly. The idol’s determination never once wavered as she progressed and climbed the stairs one by one, the whole time scrupulously keeping her eyes fixed on the top. It was her ultimate goal, and under no circumstances would she let anything or anyone prevent her from reaching it.

Only a couple of stairs were left now and Jurina ignored the growing pain in her legs, acutely conscious that she could not afford to give up right now that she was so close to her objective. With renewed determination, she continued her ascension valiantly, until her feet paused abruptly on the penultimate stair. Stupefied, she saw a silhouette emerging from the shadows at the top of the staircase.

Jurina’s mouth dropped open, watching with unconcealed admiration the twenty-nine-year-old girl, her brown hair tied back in a ponytail and dressed in an elegant long black dress, slowly approaching the edge of the staircase. As her attention fell upon the younger girl below her, a gentle smile plastered the older girl’s features. This unexpected arrival had been observed and received by the audience with exclamations and gasps of surprise, yet neither of the two girls paid attention to any of it, seemingly wrapped up in their own little world as their gazes silently lingered.

“Acchan,” Jurina murmured in awe.

Atsuko Maeda raised her arm and extended her hand in invitation. Jurina forced her legs to move and climbed the last stairs separating her from the former and legendary first ace of AKB48. As they were finally standing on the same level, Jurina looked back and glanced down nostalgically to the path she had taken, before setting her eyes on the older girl before her and placing her fingers inside Acchan’s outstretched hand.

“Congratulations, Jurina,” Atsuko said solemnly. “You made it to the top.”

As soon as those significant words escaped Acchan’s lips, the music of Oogoe Diamond began to resonate, filling the packed stadium with its distinctive upbeat melody. Both girls immediately dropped the rehearsed little act to exchange a casual smile, eager and alive with delight, their hands still linked when they turned their attention towards the attentive audience.

Hashiridasu basu oikakete  Chasing after the bus as it started to leave

Boku wa kimi ni  I wanted

Tsutaetakatta  To tell you

Kokoro no moyamoya ga kiete  The fog has lifted from my heart

Taisetsu na mono ga mietan da  And I’ve seen what’s important to me


The lyrics of the song left their lips as they began to descend the staircase together, this duet marking the opening of Jurina Matsui’s 2020 graduation concert.







The last notes of the 2009 AKB48’s hit song faded in the air, and the two aces disappeared along with it from the main stage. The audience of the Nagoya Dome directed its attention in curiosity towards the message written in large, black letters that appeared on the main white screen. The message was accompanied by the sound of a plane taking off echoing loudly through the speakers of the Japanese stadium. 

Twelve years ago, a young girl started her journey towards her destiny.

The message remained on the screen for a few, long seconds, enabling each fan to grasp the deep meaning of the words, until disappearing gradually from the screen as the two majestic doors of the main stage slid open. A group of fifteen girls could be seen aligned behind the door, but it was only when the lights and cameras fell upon them, that the audience was at last able to discover their identity.

The reaction was instantaneous: it was impossible for the fans not to manifest their great surprise, mingled with evident joy and pleasure. Despite being very familiar with every one of those faces, most of those girls had retired from the idol industry, and as such not participated in a SKE concert since countless years.

Each girl wore a white short-sleeved blouse with a panel down the middle decorated with braid, completed with a sailor’s collar. Their short pleated plaid skirt was several shades of brown; some of the girls had a short tie around the collar, whilst others had a bow tie. Finally, black knee-high stockings and simple black shoes finished the traditional costume. As the first notes of Tsuyokimono yo played in the air and the girls began singing, the audience, whilst still having a hard time believing their eyes, was becoming progressively conscious that they were extremely privileged. They were witnessing a scene they had not seen in almost a decade.

The entire first generation of the Team S: Rena Matsui, Kumi Kagami, Oya Masana, Yuka Nakanishi, Aki Deguchi and all the other girls who had shot this low budget videoclip in the small aircraft hangar of Nagoya were all present, exceptionally reunited on stage on this very special occasion.

Tsuyokimono yo  Be the strong person     

Shin no yuusha  Be the true hero

Tatakai oeta ato  After you’ve finished fighting

Dare no tame  For whom

Nagasu no  Do you shed

Sono namida   Those tears?


Emotion could be seen shimmering in a few girls’ eyes as their names were being called by a crowd of enthusiastic fans, whilst others tried not to be too destabilized by the general euphoria, attempting to remain professional and stay focused on the lyrics and the choreography of the song. As the first verse progressively came to an end, it didn’t escape the audience’s attention that all the girls were now standing at the front of the stage, except for one crucial member.

Jurina Matsui.

The doors began to progressively slide close, but not before the last missing first-generation member made her entrance, joining the other girls already dancing energetically on the emblematic, upbeat music. Jurina stopped her progression once she arrived at the front of the stage and, positioning herself at Rena Matsui’s left side, began to sing the second verse along with the other girls who had marked the beginning of SKE48’s story.







Akane, who was about to complete her Cross outfit and put the black hat on her head, was easily distracted once again as she listened to the music of Tsuyokimono yo resonating loudly in the Nagoya Dome. To be honest, she was still impressed by the prowess Jurina managed to demonstrate. A few weeks ago, when Jurina informed her of her desire to invite as many graduated members as possible on stage, Akane found herself naturally thrilled by the idea.

Jurina had certainly succeeded: not only had she brought the entire Team S first generation back, for the fans’ greatest pleasure, but also many other graduated members were scheduled to appear throughout her graduation concert. Regarding the song Akane would be performing in a couple of minutes now, the former idol was feeling quite impatient, and admittedly also a little nervous, to be reforming the original trio on stage.

Chancing a glance through the mirror of her makeup booth, Akane could see Tomoka Wakabashi and Rina Matsumoto who were finishing adjusting their black and pink satin costumes. While Tomoka was already wearing her jacket over her white blouse, Rina had just finished putting on her pink tiered skirt and was now taking a seat to complete her costume with the usual knee-high patent boots.

Akane let out a small sigh, a wave of nostalgia sweeping over her.

In a few short minutes now, a staff member would enter the dressing room and ask them to join the main stage. Akane was acutely conscious that, once on stage, time would fly by, and the performance would be over in no time. That’s why she was determined to take advantage of the incredible opportunity to savor this magical moment, conscious that she would likely never relive it in her life again.

When Akane heard her cellphone beeping, she diverted her attention from the two other girls and looked down to the device placed on the table in front of her. After checking the time, and discovering she still had a little time left before the beginning of her performance, Akane grabbed her phone in curiosity, discovering she had received a text from Airi.

“Hi Churi,

I heard that Jurina’s graduation concert has begun. I don’t know if you’ve already performed on stage yet, but I really hope you’ll enjoy yourself today!

When I arrived at Junkudo thirty minutes ago, there was already a long queue waiting outside, so I’m guessing the sign session will last a little longer than planned. By the way, a fan asked about you. He was wondering if you would make a surprise appearance during my sign session, like you did in February for my previous book. He looked a little disappointed when I told him it wasn’t going to happen, as you’re on stage today for Jurina’s graduation concert…

Say hi to the other girls for me!

Airi.”


Akane’s mouth tugged into a smile as she read the message, quickly typing a reply back to her friend. She barely had time to press the Send button, when the door of the dressing room opened and a staff member told them they were now awaited on stage. Akane immediately muted her phone and put it away in her bag, before checking her appearance in the mirror one last time.

Putting on her leather gloves, she carefully made sure her black, cross-shaped earrings were well attached, before grabbing her black hat from the table and adjusting it on her head. Over her shoulder, she heard Tomoka Wakabashi asking if she was ready and, once she was sure her outfit was complete, Akane followed the two other girls out of the dressing room in the direction of the main stage.







Rena grabbed her iPod from her backpack and placed each earphone inside her ears; her fingers slid over the screen of the device as she searched for one particular song. Once she found it amongst her tracklist, she pressed Play and adjusted the volume, closing her eyes to concentrate better and not be distracted by the agitation of the dressing room. As an upbeat piano melody began filling her ears, Rena’s lips silently moved in synchronization with the lyrics of the SKE song.

Ame no pianist ga  The pianist of the rain

Ai wo hiite iru wa  Playing with my love

Building no machi ni  From a building in the city

Kanaderu kanashii melody  There’s a sad song playing       

Mado no kenban wo  The keyboard made of windows

Tataku shizuku no yubi  Struck by the fingers made of rain

Watashi dake no concerto  Plays concerto just for me


Earlier on, Rena had studiously rehearsed in the dancing room the choreography of each and single song she was going to perform today, but she also wanted to make sure her memory wouldn’t fail her accidently when it came to the lyrics. Rena couldn’t be more familiar with Ame no Pianist, a 2010 song she had performed plenty of times in the past, yet she was determined not to leave anything to chance.

Feeling a sudden, small tap on her shoulder, Rena fluttered her eyes open and removed her earphones when she saw Yui Matsushita addressing her. “Rena-san, we’re leaving ahead in the direction of the stage.”

“Alright,” Rena replied, watching as she and Moe Yamashita - the two girls with whom she was going to perform that song – left and walked out of the dressing room.

The trio wasn’t due to sing until fifteen more minutes: there were two other songs coming up after Sansei Kawaii, the song the young SKE’s kenkyuusei were currently performing on the main stage of the Nagoya Dome. That’s why Rena knew she had sufficient time to go over the song once again. Placing the earphones back inside her ears, Rena resumed the music and focused her attention on the lyrics once more.

A few minutes later, when the music came to an end, Rena was now certain she knew the lyrics by heart. She put her iPod away, before carefully studying her dark and red outfit in the mirror. If there was one important thing that her career as an idol had taught her, it’s that you were never safe from an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction.

Rena raised her hand to her hair, checking that the large, red rose pinned on the right side of her head was well attached. Once she felt confident enough that the accessory wouldn’t fall, her gaze fell down to the red sleeveless top, then to the black cumberband that she was wearing. At last, her eyes landed on her red skirt, making sure that it was properly clipped around her waist.

Alright, I think I’m all good.

Now that she was all set for her next performance, Rena wondered whether she should use the time left to rest and relax. Soon, the music of Sansei Kawaii grabbed her attention again, and she chose instead to make her way towards the stage. Somehow, she was a little curious to see how well the kenkyuusei were doing with that energetic song. Despite having left SKE a long time ago, Rena followed the group’s activities from afar. 

And if there was one certitude she had anchored deep within her - and this even when she was still a prominent member of SKE – it was that the group’s future lied with the new, young generations.

“Rena-san! Rena-san!”

Rena had barely stepped out of the dressing room when her feet paused on the floor; her eyes widened in surprise as she heard someone call her name. It must have been years since she heard that voice, she would recognize its distinctive feminine, cheerful tone anywhere. Pleasure softened Rena’s face and she turned around, facing the familiar twenty-nine-year-old, former AKB48 member who was approaching her.

“Yuki-san,” Rena threw her a smile. “How have you been? It’s been a while. Aren’t you a little early for your performance?”

“Ah yes,” Yuki conceded willingly. “But I don’t mind waiting. Mayuyu’s duet starts in less than half an hour, so I figured we could arrive together.”

Rena followed Yuki’s gaze as she inclined her head and glanced over her shoulder, noticing Mayu and Jurina chatting together a bit further down the corridor. Even though Rena was too far to catch what the two other girls were saying, Jurina’s whole body language spoke for itself. Her radiant smile grew broader at every word exchanged; a genuine, small laugh occasionally left her lips.

Jurina’s happiness was nothing but manifest.

Rena’s mouth curved with affection; she hadn’t witnessed this kind of scene in years. It was all so familiar, that it brought back many, fond memories. Despite their often, conflicting agendas, she had never seen a friendship more solid and stable than the one uniting Jurina and Mayu Watanabe. The fact that they managed to remain friends throughout the years - even after Mayu’s graduation - didn’t come as a real surprise.

When it came to the friendships she forged, no one was more loyal, reliable and constant than Jurina Matsui. Despite this acknowledgement of Jurina’s personality, it didn’t prevent the moment from being any less touching in Rena’s eyes.

“I see your solo career is going extremely well,” Rena said, bringing her attention back to Yuki. “Congratulations.”

“Thank you very much.” Yuki’s cheeks flushed at the compliment. “There are so many talented artists; I wasn’t expecting my new album to sell so well. I’m going back on tour next month; a few dates have just been added. It might be a little tiring sometimes, but there’s nothing more gratifying and motivating than to do something you love.”

“That’s true,” Rena murmured. How could she object to such a statement, when she herself had embraced an acting career, thereupon fulfilling her ultimate, childhood dream? “I’m sorry, but I think I’d better get going. I was on my way to the stage; I’m expected in less than ten minutes.”

“Oh, sure. I’ll see if those two are done chatting,” Yuki said, swinging her head around to look at Mayu and Jurina. “I guess not,” she let out a small chuckle after discovering the two friends still profoundly immerged in a passionate conversation. “When those two are in their own little world…”

“It’s hard to get them out of it?” Rena offered, a warm note of amusement in her tone. From her peripheral vision, she noticed a staff member approaching her: she knew it was her cue to leave. “It was really nice talking to you. See you later?”

“Of course! I won’t hold you up any longer, I just wanted to say that…” Yuki’s friendly, cheerful voice took on an unexpected, serious tone. “I really miss this. I know it was a long time ago, but I sometimes remember the Summer the four of us spent at Mayuyu’s beach house. We had so much fun together, didn’t we?”

Rena blinked in astonished silence, a little taken aback by the abrupt change of subject. Even though she couldn’t really fathom why Yuki was bringing it up – nor the reason behind the strange, expectant look the other girl was giving her – casting her mind back to that particular week in July 2015 inevitably brought back a sense of nostalgia.

“Yes, we did. Everything about that week…” Rena smiled reminiscently. “Everything was perfect. We really had a great time.”

“Yes, and maybe one day…” Yuki’s voice trailed away.

Rena didn’t need her to finish. She knew perfectly well what Yuki was implying and could even hear the touch of hopefulness in her tone. Rena found herself momentarily distracted when the staff member addressed her, warning her it was time to leave. Rena absently nodded back in return and, after giving Yuki a small, apologetic look, couldn’t resist one, last glance in Jurina’s direction.

Rena was startled to find out the two friends were done talking, and now looking in their direction. Despite being acutely aware of the male staff member’s presence by her side, Rena was unable to turn away when she saw Jurina staring at her across the distance, the young girl making no attempt to hide the fact that she was watching her.

For a moment, they held one another’s gaze and, as Rena let the meaning of Yuki’s previous words sink in, found herself secretly wishing she could one day relive those carefree days of happiness. 







4.20 PM.

Jurina’s 2020 graduation concert was now halfway through. Unexpected guests, exceptional performances. On this day in late September, the lucky audience at the Nagoya Dome was definitely in for a treat. After such a memorable opening and an impeccable first part, it was hard to see how the second part would manage to surpass such a level of perfection. If the fans believed they had already seen it all, then they were definitely not at the end of their surprises.

The team KII had just cleared the stage after Kodoku no na Ballerina; Airi Mizuno rightfully owed herself the cheers of the public with her flawless technic in the title role of the graceful ballerina. A videoclip was now projected on the main screen, showing a short feminine silhouette - dressed in a black, masculine military outfit - energetically running in the woods. Her slightly inconstant breathing, heard distinctly through the speakers, was the evident proof that this little chase had been going on for a while.

“Dammit,” the complaint escaped her gritted teeth when she realized she was having a hard time keeping up the distance with the incredibly athletic, feminine silhouette she was chasing.

Suddenly diverging from her course, she hid and pressed her back to a tree, quickly pondering over her options. The camera - which had until now carefully avoided revealing her identity to the spectator – progressively moved upwards from her black boots to her combat fatigues, pausing and zooming in on her face. The image of a determined Mayu Watanabe flashed on the main screen of the Nagoya Dome.

“Mouse to Team B,” Mayu tried to keep her voice calm and steady when she opened the communication. “Nobunaga is approaching an inhabited area. Do you copy?”

“Team B to Mouse,” a feminine, slightly crackled voice replied in her earpiece. “We’re five minutes away from your location. Please don’t engage the target before our arrival.”

“It will be too late,” Mayu argued. “She will have escaped by the time you arrive. I can’t let that happen. I’m going after her.”

“No, it’s too dangerous,” her interlocutor protested in alarm. “Mouse, I repeat. Do not engage the targ-”

Mayu abruptly cut the communication with the rest of her team, her eyes fired with anger as she stared back at the agile, feminine figure quickly disappearing out of the woods. “Oh no, I’m not letting you escape,” Mayu grumbled, her fingers tightly gripping the pistol attached to her belt. “Not this time.”

The videoclip paused, the image froze and lingered on Mayu’s intense, focused expression, until her features gradually faded as the screen turned black. The audience waited in anticipation, an upbeat pop music filling the silence the moment after. Instantly, everyone’s attention flew to the main screen: large, white letters flashed on the surface, announcing the imminence of the next song.

R I V A L R Y

From a trapdoor carefully hidden underneath the stage, two feminine silhouettes appeared, the lights shining upon them immediately. Gasps of surprise echoed in the stadium as Jurina and Mayu Watanabe, both dressed in the black military outfits taken from the videoclip, were standing back to back at the center of the stage.

Anata wa watashi no raibaruda  You’re my rival

Watashi no eien no raibaru  My eternal rival

Watashitachi wa dochira mo  We both want

toppu ni tōtatsu shitai  To reach the top

Watashitachi hitori no tame  But there is only place

dake no basho ga arimasu  For one of us

Kore wa mujihina sekaidesu  This is a merciless world

Dare ga ikinokoru nodesu ka?  Who will survive?


As the pair began singing together the first verse of the 2015 AKB song - their first and unique duet in the history of the 48group – the unexpected appearance of the graduated and emblematic member Mayu Watanabe caused waves of euphoria among the already misty-eyed spectators of the Nagoya stadium.







Jurina tried her best to clear her head and control her agitation, somewhat frightened by the sound of her own heart beating wildly inside her chest. From the minute the concert had begun and she had stepped on stage in front of a packed stadium for her duet with Acchan on Oogoe Diamond, she had felt a shot of adrenaline course her veins. Her excitement was at its highest level and - as the first part of the concert went smoothly without a single incident to deplore - the electrifying sensation hadn’t left her since.

A few songs ago, they had officially entered the last third of the concert, and a completely different feeling monopolized her senses. Despite her best efforts, the muscles in her stomach wouldn’t stop clenching nervously at the imminence of her next duet. It was true that other SKE members sang that song occasionally in the past - mostly during theater performances - it hadn’t been her case in many years.

Yes, the possibility sometimes presented itself to her, but Jurina had a hard time imagining herself singing that particular duet with someone else than her original partner. Back in 2010, when she listened to the lyrics of Two Roses for the first time, she couldn’t break free from the feeling that song had been written specifically with both she and Rena in mind. Two Roses had always been a significant, special song; one that required detailed, careful preparation before going on stage.

When Jurina finally became fully conscious of her romantic feelings for her WCenter, this song only grew to be even more meaningful.

“Let me help you.”

Jurina came back to her senses when she heard a feminine voice softly addressing her, noticing through the mirror Rena - already elegantly dressed in a red, long dress - approaching her from behind. For a split second, Jurina wondered what the older girl could possibly want to assist her with, until feeling Rena’s fingers on her back, prudently pulling the zipper of her blue dress up to the top.

“Thank you,” Jurina voiced her gratitude, until her smile vanished when she noticed Rena’s slightly troubled expression in the mirror. It was true they hadn’t had the opportunity to exchange more than a few words since the beginning of the concert, not that she expected any less. The first twenty-five songs followed one after another at breakneck speed, even sometimes obliging her to sing a few songs in a row without a single interlude.

Even so, Jurina never missed the opportunity to steal a glance at Rena when she had the chance. When they crossed paths in the dressing room or happened to share the stage together: each and single time, Jurina was struck by Rena’s serious, intense focused expression. Despite the general restlessness and noisy environment surrounding her, Rena’s impeccable professionalism always seemed to take the upper hand: she never let herself get distracted unnecessarily.

“What is it?” Jurina asked in concern, turning around to face her once Rena was fully done adjusting her dress. “Is something wrong?”

“I just…” Rena hesitated. “I was just asking myself if it’s really a good idea to do that song together.”

Jurina frowned, bewildered. “I don’t understand. When I suggested we sing that duet together, you accepted. You don’t want to do it anymore?”

“That’s not it,” Rena nodded negatively. “I want to sing this song with you; I really do. But I also know what this song means to you: how very emotional you can get sometimes when you sing it. Believe me when I say I want nothing more but to please you and make you happy on this special day but when I accepted to come, I promised myself not to do anything to cause you pain or sadness. And this song…”

“I…” Emotion closed Jurina’s throat, trapping the rest of her words.

Unable to speak, Jurina stared back at her wordlessly, struck by the range of different emotions conveyed through Rena’s eyes. Hesitation. Apprehension. Concern. But it wasn’t everything Jurina realized as she desperately tried to maneuver her thoughts and studied Rena’s expression at length. If she wasn’t mistaken, there was also a perceptible note of genuine caring and affection in those brown eyes fixed on her. 

“See, that’s what I’m talking about,” Rena sadly murmured. “The performance hasn’t even started yet and you’re already crying.”

Jurina widened her eyes, startled when Rena delicately brushed away a tear from her cheek: she hadn’t even felt it rolling down. When Rena was about to pull her hand away again, she quickly trapped Rena’s fingers inside hers, keeping them closely pressed to her cheek. “Maybe you’re right. Maybe emotion will get the best of me and I won’t be able to hold my tears back on stage. I don’t care; it doesn’t matter. I don’t want to live with regrets.”







As Akane was pensively removing her Kiss Datte Hidarikiki black and red outfit, she couldn’t help but steal another discreet peek at Jurina who was by her side getting changed, still feeling a little disturbed by what had happened at the end of the song. She and Jurina hadn’t shared a word since they left the stage a couple of minutes ago yet, the more Akane looked back on this strange final spin and the unusual way in which Jurina behaved, the more she was convinced it hadn’t ended exactly as the younger girl originally planned.

A few weeks ago, when Jurina suggested centering this particular song with her, Akane hadn’t seen any valid reason to object and had gladly accepted her invitation. Teasing her friend about the infamous kiss, crucial part of the choreography, was way too easy. When she had confronted Jurina and the latter had proclaimed loud and clear she had nothing to worry about - advancing the fact that she didn’t kiss other members on the lips anymore - Akane had suppressed a knowing smile.

It was indeed true that the kissing monster’s ardors had considerably calmed down over the years, but Akane wasn’t naïve. Jurina’s flirtatious, mischievous behavior was an inseparable part of her personality. No matter her level of maturity, it would never entirely disappear. Moreover, Akane couldn’t ignore the great temptation this particular song always represented throughout the years for a girl as playful as Jurina.

That was why, as innocent, casual and sincere as Jurina tried to appear on the subject, Akane was practically certain her friend would never let such an opportunity pass. It was her graduation concert: the very last time she would ever be performing that song as a SKE48 member.

Kiss Datte Hidarikiki  You even kiss left-handed

Watashi me wo tojite kizuita yo  I noticed while my eyes were closed

Anata sukoshi hidari ue kara  You start a little from the left

Hora ne kuchibiru kasaneru  And there, our lips meet             

Yume wa anata no kikiude  My dream is your dominant arm


When Jurina seized Akane’s hand to make her spin, the latter clearly saw Jurina’s lips quickly approaching hers. Despite being fully conscious of the bad deed Jurina was about to commit, Akane didn’t try to avoid the imminent kiss. Somehow, she couldn’t find it in her to be upset at Jurina’s action, deciding to grant her that last little moment of pleasure.

As Akane was preparing herself to receive Jurina’s lips on hers, she was startled when the contact didn’t happen. Instead of following through with the kiss, Jurina changed direction at the last instant, pressing a chaste kiss to Akane’s cheek. Under normal circumstances, Akane wouldn’t have thought too much about it after seeing Jurina’s mischievous expression, understanding she had been played, and Jurina never had any intention of intimately kissing her.

Today, Jurina’s eyes reflected no sign of mischief, but an unusual flash of hesitation mixed with unease. It only lasted a few seconds: Jurina quickly regaining her composure when the lights went off and the music stopped. Yet, Jurina’s strange expression had spoken for itself: it was enough information to tell Akane that something had happened inside her friend’s head, making her change her mind at the last minute.

When they moved backstage, Akane absent-mindedly noticed the Team E – with the graduated member Rena Matsui at their head – patiently waiting at the entrance of the stage for their turn to perform. She didn’t miss either – although it was quite brief - the visual exchange between both Matsui, as Jurina shyly returned the gentle smile the older girl was sending her way.


Back then, Akane hadn’t thought much of the interaction between the two girls.

In retrospective, and in the light of all those elements, Akane wondered if Jurina’s unexpected change of heart during the final spin of the performance might be linked to a certain, twenty-nine-year-old, brown-haired girl. A girl who shared the same surname as Jurina’s, and who was currently performing Team E’s song Dareka no Sei ni ha Shinai on the main stage of the Nagoya Dome.

Akane couldn’t hold it any longer: she had to know if her intuition was correct. “You were planning on kissing me during the final spin, weren’t you? Why did you hesitate? How come you changed your mind?”

Jurina turned to look at her. “Are you saying you wanted me to really kiss you? I thought you would feel too embarrassed about it, so I changed my mind.”

Akane wasn’t in the least fooled by Jurina’s apparent relaxed attitude, even less by the playfulness in her tone. After more than a decade by Jurina’s side, she was capable of analyzing her reactions: the slight moment of hesitation in Jurina’s voice before she replied was the evident proof that her question managed to destabilize her.

“I don’t think it had anything to with me,” Akane said carefully. “I think you changed your mind for another reason: because you knew Rena was watching.”

“W-What? Why wouldn’t I want to kiss you because of Rena? It doesn’t… You’re not making any sense now.”

No, it doesn’t make any sense, Akane almost replied, but kept her thoughts to herself when Jurina turned her back on her and continued undressing as if nothing happened. Akane remained quiet, beginning to feel slightly concerned by her friend’s defensive tone and embarrassed answers. She was never one to jump to conclusions, yet one thing was for certain: she didn’t like at all how this whole thing was starting to look. 







Jurina hung up after her video call with Mariko, a smile of pleasure spread over her face as their conversation lingered in her memory. Of course, a part of her remained sad that her thirty-four-year-old friend wasn’t present today for her graduation concert. Unfortunately, Mariko had work commitments requiring her to be in Madrid, and she wouldn’t be back in Tokyo until the end of the month. Despite her absence, Jurina was extremely happy they were able to get in touch and exchange a few words on this special day.

Jurina put her tablet away, a small laugh inadvertently escaping her lips when she remembered the funny way her older friend appeared on the screen earlier on, wearing a ‘I love Spain’ tee-shirt, together with a wide-brimmed black Cordobes hat. If it wasn’t for her friend’s noticeably drawn features, Mariko’s goofiness would have easily made her forget about the difference in time zones, and it was barely past 9 am in the Spanish capital.

Distractedly, Jurina listened to the cheerful, KII’s pop song Disco hokenshitsu resounding loudly in the baseball stadium, before setting her eyes on the familiar hat laying on the table in front of her. Reaching out for it, Jurina’s fingers played with the white accessory for a short while, until raising her eyes and checking her matching white outfit in the mirror. In less than ten minutes, she would be stepping on stage for her solo, CENTER.

Feeling the white hat slowly moving between her fingers made everything rush back with vivid clarity. It might have been already five years ago, she would never forget the first time she sung that song in front of a crowd. Between the release of SKE’s new single, her first solo and the shocking announcement of Airi’s graduation, that specific Handshake Day in December 2015 had definitely been emotionally charged.

That time in the dressing room when Rena had gently chastised her as she was playing with her hat nervously. That other moment too, when Rena had noticed her crooked knot and carefully adjusted it, while playfully teasing her about her supposedly legendary issue with ties. But most of all, Rena’s last-minute encouraging, reassuring words after she had confessed to her how terribly anxious she felt about the idea of missing a single step during such an important song.

Even if you make a few minor mistakes, I won’t love you any less.

If there was one person who had demonstrated her unconditional support and successfully helped her get through this stressful day, it was the girl whose angelic face still haunted her days when she cast her mind back to the past and delved into her memories. It was the girl whose soft, lovely voice was currently filling the air of the Nagoya Dome with the first verse of the melancholic ballad Kareha no Station.

 





As the impressive doors of the main stage closed on her gradually, Jurina let her gaze wander around the Nagoya Dome, taking time to admire the amazing view of forty thousand green light sticks beautifully illuminating the stadium in her honor. As the fans kept chanting her name vigorously, aware of the imminent departure of their favorite idol, Jurina flashed one last smile and mouthed a ‘thank you’ of eternal gratitude to the audience, emotion shimmering in her eyes. The moment after, her face vanished from the screen entirely, the doors shutting once and for all in front of the first and emblematic ace of SKE48.

Jurina remained standing in front of the closed doors, silent, her heart beating wildly inside her chest as she listened to the cheers and the fans still calling her name from the other side. It was almost as if they didn’t want the concert to end quite yet and wished she would come back, surprising them with a couple more songs. But Jurina was perfectly conscious that - even though she would have loved to step back on stage and sing for them again - it was not going to happen.

Her graduation song, the one she had performed a few minutes ago, had marked the end of her 2020 graduation concert irrevocably.

Feeling incredibly moved by this vibrant testimony of their love for her, an unlimited affection that had motivated her to dedicate twelve years of her life to the idol group and to surpass herself at every occasion, it took Jurina a few seconds to capture a male voice addressing her behind her back. When she finally tore her eyes away from the stage she had just left and turned around, she discovered two staff members patiently waiting for her.

Mustering her most polite smile, Jurina was especially cautious not to trip up on her long, satin white dress as she slowly descended the few stairs - clearly appreciating the staff members’ help in the process - and following them when they guided her backstage. After more than two hours and thirty-five songs, numerous guests’ appearances, an impressive mix of AKB and SKE big names on Majijo Teppen Blues and an emotional, final reunion of the Team S first generation on Tooku ni ite mo to complete the picture, Jurina’s 2020 graduation concert had finally come to an end.

On her way backstage, Jurina was approached on many occasions by group members wanting to congratulate her; still she remained in such a daze after such a unique experience, that her voice was locked within her, barely managing to nod and smile back in return to every one of them. As Jurina reached the dressing room, the two staff members accompanying her left her side, Jurina’s steps soon pausing on the floor as she felt her eyes watering.

Startled, she raised her hand to touch the moistening sensation on her skin, wiping away the tear that had slowly found its way down her cheek. She had done her very best not to cry too much during the concert, especially during the last songs. So why were emotions getting the best of her now of all times? When Jurina sensed someone approaching, she tried to conceal her emotional state behind a fake smile yet was immediately caught off guard when she discovered the person’s identity.

Rena was standing by the door of the dressing room, giving her a look of mingled surprise, confusion and concern. “Jurina… what’s wrong? It was such a beautiful concert; you should be so happy and proud of yourself.”

The ghost of a smile flitted across Jurina’s sad features; Rena was entirely right. Everything did indeed go mostly as planned and without any major incident to deplore. Yet, she found herself incapable to answer Rena’s question. How could she give her a semblance of an explanation, when she ignored herself the reason behind her tears? Those inexplicable tears she had quickly attempted to hide, but which had unfortunately not escaped Rena’s keen attention?

And what about this strange, unpleasant sensation of emptiness filling her?

Jurina felt the tears rising unbidden behind her lids, threatening to trickle down her face. In the past, she always felt a tinge of frustration when a SKE concert reached its end, not wanting to leave the stage quite yet and instead sing a few more songs to please the audience. But this sudden aching hollow void inside her wasn’t like anything she had ever experienced before. It was disconcerting and disturbing, even beginning to frighten her.

“Jurina…?”

At the sound of Rena’s hesitant voice calling her name, she stepped forward and reduced the short distance separating them, leaning forward to bury her face against Rena’s shoulder. Tears began falling remorselessly down her cheeks and Jurina fought hard not to weep openly, until her breath caught in her lungs, shocked by her own actions when she realized what she had done.

What on earth was she doing?

Rena was only being nice and considerate; yet she was selfishly taking advantage of it for her own benefit, without thinking about the consequences. A feeling of profound unease mixed with guilt swept through Jurina’s chest, realizing she had completely let herself guide by her emotions and overstepped her boundaries with Rena. She and Rena weren’t that close anymore; she had no right to throw herself into her arms in such a shameful, casual way.

“I…” Jurina’s voice trembled, as she began to pull back. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have-”

Jurina was taken by surprise when Rena refused to let go, instead sliding an arm around her back and keeping her close. “It’s alright, I’m here. Talk to me.”

Jurina shuddered when Rena’s soft fingers caressed her back delicately through the fabric of her dress, her eyes fluttering close as she couldn’t help despite herself but relax in Rena’s protective, warm embrace. “Is this… Is this how you felt when you graduated?” Jurina finally managed to ask, still somewhat distressed by the multitude of conflicted emotions overwhelming her. “This immense happiness when you were singing on stage, then a terrible void inside you when it all… stopped?”

“Ah, I see,” Rena quietly murmured. “This bittersweet sensation you’re having right now; I think every girl who graduated went through the same. But, it won’t last. In a few weeks, maybe months, it will have passed. I promise you that.”

Jurina didn’t say anything, relishing instead the sensation of Rena’s fingers beginning to caress her hair slowly and tenderly. To be honest, Jurina was having a really hard time understanding the reason behind Rena’s patience and incredible gentleness. By now, Jurina would have expected the older girl to release herself from her hold, and make sure she didn’t try to invade her personal space again.

Fearing that another word from her might ruin this incredibly pleasant moment between them, Jurina kept her mouth closed, while desperately attempting to make sense of the situation. Rena was only trying to bring her comfort and ease her worries: it didn’t mean anymore than that, Jurina tried to convince herself. Yet, as Jurina was careful not to jump to conclusions and falsely misinterpret Rena’s actions as more than a simple act of friendliness, she couldn’t deny how happy she had felt all day to have Rena by her side during such a crucial moment of her life.

As the seconds flew by, and Jurina was more than conscious she would at some point have no choice but to extricate herself from Rena’s arms, realization dawned on her that she didn’t want this reunion to be the last. Jurina swallowed a nervous lump in her throat, uncapable of keeping to herself any longer the question burning her lips. She needed to ask. She needed to know. 

“Will I… see you again?” The question left Jurina’s lips in a whisper. In fact, she had uttered those words in such a feeble voice, she wasn’t even sure Rena had heard her at all. A glimmer of doubt that grew and developed within her as she waited and waited for a reply but didn’t receive a single one in return. But she didn’t want to let this opportunity pass, Jurina was sure of herself when she slowly disentangled herself from Rena’s embrace to look at her.

The great surprise plastered on Rena’s face told Jurina she had definitely heard her before, contrary to her initial belief. And Rena’s reaction, coupled with her lack of answer, made her fear she might have been somewhat presumptuous by believing there was a chance Rena would accept to meet her again. Maybe for Rena, this day was a one-time thing; an exception she had agreed to make only because it was her graduation concert.

“I know it’s already been three years and maybe today didn’t mean anything to you but…” Jurina paused, her voice trailing away uncertainly. “But after seeing you today, I realized how much I missed you and I didn’t want this moment to be the last of us. So, can we… can we see each other again? It could be for anything you want: Dinner, lunch, or even a simple coffee.”

Jurina watched Rena’s lips parting, yet she didn’t have time to speak that a staff member interrupted them, informing Jurina she was expected for a short, exclusive interview with Nikkan Sports. Jurina silently nodded back to the male staff member and began to follow him obediently, before abruptly halting when she realized she had no assurance the other girl wouldn’t have already left by the time her interview ended.

Decidedly turning on her heels, Jurina asked politely for the staff member to wait a little longer, before glancing back at Rena in apprehension. She couldn’t wait: she needed to hear her reply at once. She had to know if they still had a chance to mean something to each other. If Rena refused her offer and preferred to keep her distance with her, then she wouldn’t insist and accept Rena’s decision.

But what if she said yes?

What if they had an opportunity to reconnect?

Jurina mustered the courage to speak up. “Rena, can I…” She tried to steady the shakiness in her voice. “Will I see you again?”

Rena’s mouth curved into a smile and gave her a small nod in return; it was all Jurina needed to have her hopes rekindled and feel the tension in her body dissipating. Jurina’s heart leaped inside her chest; joy warmed her from within. On this particular day of September 2020, she had unquestionably turned an important page of her life.

It was now up to her to begin a new chapter.   







TO BE CONTINUED
« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 02:07:40 AM by sophcaro »
My WMatsui fanfics:

HEARTBEAT trilogy
- Heartbeat | Completed
- Partners | Completed
- Destiny | Ongoing

OTHER FANFICS
- Warriors | Will return in Summer 2018
- Back in Time | Will return in Summer 2018
- One Shot collection: Her Sun | Completed
- Fire and Water | On hiatus

Offline Bukiyou Taiyou

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It’s 3 a.m. in my place but I can’t wait any longer to comment on this touching chapter. You really wrote Jurina’s graduation concert beautifully that my heart is full of gratitude. :farofflook: It felt heartwarming and nostalgic. (In my wildest dream, I kind of hope some IRL SKE48’s staff really read this and apply some of your ideas for Jurina’s real graduation concert. The plane thingy with those words were cool.)

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t expect that “twenty-nine-year-old girl, her brown hair tied back in a ponytail and dressed in an elegant long black dress” in the beginning of the concert to be Matsui Rena. She was on my mind when I read it. And I was like, “Oh wow, their duet is too soon.” What a plot twist when later I found out she was Maeda Atsuko. :stoned:
I don’t know if you did it unconsciously or not to mention the age, but Acchan and Rena had the same age, so some readers (not only me I guess) could mistake the girl to Rena, too. Acchan’s appearance on Jurina’s concert symbolized how important and meaningful Jurina had been for the group as their ace. It somehow showed that you write this for the sake of the story, not only to feed the preferences as a fan.


The presence of the whole original Team S was a nice surprise. I hoped they would sing Kamigami no Ryouiki but I believe you selectively chose which songs to show on this chapter. The fact that you included some lyrics of some songs tell much about it. You even write original lyrics of Rivalry! I super like the concept of military outfit with all the acts between Mouse and Center(?)! :on gay:


Rena’s short conversation with Yuki surely brought back memories. Everything was fine back then. (I’ll re-read those certain chapter of Partners.) I hope they can repeat the moment.


And those affectionate words from Rena to Jurina: “Even if you make a few minor mistakes, I won’t love you any less” make me weak. I’M WEAK FOR THIS. I awww-ed inside that Jurina still remembers it clearly. :on speedy: Jurina did have a memory like an elephant. (This might explain why she was having a hard time to move on even after years.)  :on cloudeye:


Jurina’s empty feeling after the concert was very human. She was a part of SKE48 for half of her life. It’s good that Rena was there for her. Actually it’s not only Rena. Mayu’s appearance and Mariko’s video call gave mental support for Jurina, too. I’m happy she is surrounded by lifelong friends.


This chapter answered most things. Every character had their own path and you showed it; briefly but clear enough for the readers. When Rena said yes to Jurina’s question and you ended this chapter with “It was now up to her to begin a new chapter”, I almost got a tiny heart attack to think that it might be the end of the trilogy of Destiny, that you might intend to write a cliffhanger ending since the very start. My heart is not prepared for a final goodbye when I read this chapter. :on speedy:


Then I saw this infamous “TO BE CONTINUED” and I was so relieved, knowing that a new chapter will come.

After reading this chapter, I watch some AKB48’s songs with Jurina in it and I feel thankful that Jurina hasn’t graduated yet. I think I’m still not ready to watch her graduate in the near future, though I know it’s inevitable eventually.

Thank you very much for this long and well-thought-out chapter. I should give you a standing ovation for this. :kneelbow:


Ps. I’m happy that I can still read your fics on JPHIP because if you only put them on Tumblr, I can’t get any access to read them at all. The authority in my place just blocked Tumblr since a few weeks ago. :k-mad: It sucks, but we can’t do much about it.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2018, 03:45:45 PM by Bukiyou Taiyou »

Offline Minami-chan

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A really good chapter. Of the best I've read.
Thank you very much, you have really put a lot of feeling and dedication in this part and I'm sure we all appreciate it.

Offline Guacamoolee

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Yo S! Miss me? :P
Finally the time to read this awesome chapter had come yay!! :cow:
Reading this chapter feels like like I'm already watched Jurina's graduation concert in advance. I can mentally picture scene by scene clearly as if it was real! Perfectly done! It's perfect, beautiful, and excellent! They shall hire you as one of the staffs!!
I couldn't hope the future concert to be any better than this! I love the idea of inviting old members, the pioneers. It feels nostalgic yet sad somehow.
Also I've been wondering what would Donchan feel about Jurina's graduation concert.

Aaaaaaand..... my favorite WMatsui moment in this chapter is this one:
“See, that’s what I’m talking about,” Rena sadly murmured. “The performance hasn’t even started yet and you’re already crying.”

Jurina widened her eyes, startled when Rena delicately brushed away a tear from her cheek: she hadn’t even felt it rolling down. When Rena was about to pull her hand away again, she quickly trapped Rena’s fingers inside hers, keeping them closely pressed to her cheek. “Maybe you’re right. Maybe emotion will get the best of me and I won’t be able to hold my tears back on stage. I don’t care; it doesn’t matter. I don’t want to live with regrets.”

OH MY GOD I almost shed tears :cry:
I hope that Rena will present at Jurina's grad concert in the future though I know that the one who will stand by J's side all the time is MASANA!! I'm so prepared for this lol But let's just give reality a break for a while :lol:

Honestly, I've never expecting that this story would be end in this chapter. NO I CANT EVEN IMAGINE! I knew there would be more. And that's why I enjoyed reading this chapter word by word with no worries.
Overall reading this chapter was more like watching an epic concert than reading a story and I'll patiently waiting for the continuation. :nya:
Thank you for the beautiful writing! See you in the next chapter that I hope it's not going to be the last!

Cheers!
 
PS. I'm still not clear about Rena's feeling. She wasn't saying a word when Jurina asked that certain question is somewhat showed a hesitation though the simple nod gesture was loud and clear. I'm just afraid that J will misinterpret that sign and end up hurt again :(
« Last Edit: March 21, 2018, 11:28:15 PM by Guacamoolee »

Offline facarous

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Hello, Sophcaro.

I was waiting for this new chapter and I must say it was worth it, besides, seriously you should consider offering your services to Aki-p as a concert producer.  I enjoyed the concert as if it were a real one!
It was very surprising to see Acchan  waiting for Jurina at the top, sincerely I thought it would be Rena. And although this is fiction, it was very exciting to have the original team S reunited and performing "Tsuyokimono yo".

Now ... Rena, Jurina ... this is very complicated!!
Jurina thinks that Rena is just being nice and is afraid of getting too close and Rena on her part, is afraid of getting too close and causing her pain ... argh !!
Just kiss each other you two!!
Speaking of kisses ... Jurina kissing Churi on the cheek because Rena is watching ... LOL
Jurina still keeps worrying about Rena seeing her kissing another girl.

I have a special mention for Yuki. Sweet and tender Yuki! Reminding Rena of the summer at Mayu's house and telling her it would be great that maybe, just maybe, they could repeat the experience ... yep! Yuki is the heroine of this chapter XD

And finally ... the whole chapter was great, but the part that moved me the most was the end:
"Will I ... see you again?"
Yes!! Rena !! You just have to say yes!!!
Waiting for that answer seemed like an eternity.
At least the door to reconciliation has opened ... right? Right??
Although I admit that I would have liked Rena to be more verbal with the answer, I understand that she didn't expect that question.

Thanks and cheers you are doing great!
« Last Edit: March 22, 2018, 10:50:05 PM by facarous »

Offline Genkikid

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Oh my god. I was reading through the chapter and get interrupted in the middle of the grad concert and I forgot I was reading untill now.  :banghead:

I'm happy I'm imagining it was such an amazing grad concert, but I'm sad too that Jurina has graduated :) :(  But WMatsui is talking again!!
Owh yesss I want to see WMatsui back together :jphip: :jphip:

Offline Kyuartz

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I totally didn’t know that you posted your story here too. I’ve commented on your story in ao3. And I really couldn’t wait for a new chapter. Keep up the good work. Honestly I am re-reading your writing again. It’s like a must read story to me now.  :D

Offline sophcaro

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    • sophcaro
REPLIES TO COMMENTS


(In my wildest dream, I kind of hope some IRL SKE48’s staff really read this and apply some of your ideas for Jurina’s real graduation concert. The plane thingy with those words were cool.)

Reading this chapter feels like like I'm already watched Jurina's graduation concert in advance. I can mentally picture scene by scene clearly as if it was real! Perfectly done! It's perfect, beautiful, and excellent! They shall hire you as one of the staffs!!
I couldn't hope the future concert to be any better than this! I love the idea of inviting old members, the pioneers.

I was waiting for this new chapter and I must say it was worth it, besides, seriously you should consider offering your services to Aki-p as a concert producer.  I enjoyed the concert as if it were a real one!

I'm really happy you all enjoyed my choice of songs and ideas for this concert. In the whole trilogy, it's not only the longest chapter I had ever written; it's also the one that required the most planning/brainstorming/researches for lyrics, songs & costumes. I didn't only want to please myself by including some of my favorites SKE songs, I also wanted to be as accurate as possible. I also needed to take into account various parameters when it comes to the plot, without forgetting all the characters included in this chapter and interactions possible. And there were a lot!

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t expect that “twenty-nine-year-old girl, her brown hair tied back in a ponytail and dressed in an elegant long black dress” in the beginning of the concert to be Matsui Rena. She was on my mind when I read it. And I was like, “Oh wow, their duet is too soon.” What a plot twist when later I found out she was Maeda Atsuko.
I don’t know if you did it unconsciously or not to mention the age, but Acchan and Rena had the same age, so some readers (not only me I guess) could mistake the girl to Rena, too.

It was very surprising to see Acchan waiting for Jurina at the top, sincerely I thought it would be Rena.

To be honest, I didn't expect readers to believe it was Rena  :nervous
As a writer, I didn't imagine the concert to open up with Rena, even less a duet with Jurina. I wanted the first song to symbolise Jurina and her ascension in the group, hence why I included Atsuko Maeda. In retrospective, I understand why the age thing (amongst other stuff) might have confused you. Sorry about that; it wasn't done on purpose.


You even write original lyrics of Rivalry! I super like the concept of military outfit with all the acts between Mouse and Center(?)!

I really enjoyed writing about the shooting of the videoclip of Rivalry back then in Partners, and a part of me always wished I could have found a way to expand its universe in a future chapter… unfortunately the opportunity never presented itself. That’s why when I began elaborating this chapter, I simply knew I had to include this duet with Mayu and play a bit more with that fun spy concept.


Rena’s short conversation with Yuki surely brought back memories. Everything was fine back then. (I’ll re-read those certain chapter of Partners.) I hope they can repeat the moment.

I have a special mention for Yuki. Sweet and tender Yuki! Reminding Rena of the summer at Mayu's house and telling her it would be great that maybe, just maybe, they could repeat the experience ... yep! Yuki is the heroine of this chapter XD

I adore Yuki in this story. I really do. Her character doesn't only serve to lighten up the mood, she's also sometimes... the voice of reason?  :P

Now ... Rena, Jurina ... this is very complicated!!
Jurina thinks that Rena is just being nice and is afraid of getting too close and Rena on her part, is afraid of getting too close and causing her pain... argh !!
Just kiss each other you two!!

I agree.
Wouldn't it be great if everything could be easily solved with a simple kiss? XD


When Rena said yes to Jurina’s question and you ended this chapter with “It was now up to her to begin a new chapter”, I almost got a tiny heart attack to think that it might be the end of the trilogy of Destiny, that you might intend to write a cliffhanger ending since the very start. My heart is not prepared for a final goodbye when I read this chapter. Then I saw this infamous “TO BE CONTINUED” and I was so relieved, knowing that a new chapter will come.

I might sometimes choose to end certain specific chapters on cliffhangers, I would never finish a story on one, as I personally dislike it when books/movies finish on an open ending. So fear not! The main storyline will be properly tied up by the time the story ends  :yep:

A really good chapter. Of the best I've read.
Thank you very much, you have really put a lot of feeling and dedication in this part and I'm sure we all appreciate it.

Thank you very much! I'm really glad you enjoyed reading it  :)


I'm still not clear about Rena's feeling. She wasn't saying a word when Jurina asked that certain question is somewhat showed a hesitation though the simple nod gesture was loud and clear. I'm just afraid that J will misinterpret that sign and end up hurt again :(


And finally... the whole chapter was great, but the part that moved me the most was the end:
"Will I... see you again?"
Yes!! Rena !! You just have to say yes!!!
Waiting for that answer seemed like an eternity.
At least the door to reconciliation has opened ... right? Right??
Although I admit that I would have liked Rena to be more verbal with the answer, I understand that she didn't expect that question.

This passage was written from Jurina's POV, but I think it was obvious by Rena's immense surprise that she wasn't expecting such a question at all. Like, not for one minute! Hence the lack of proper verbal response on her behalf. Nervertherless, I don't think you can misinterpret Rena's intentions: of course she wants to see Jurina again too.


But WMatsui is talking again!!
Owh yesss I want to see WMatsui back together :jphip: :jphip:

Let's see what happens next!  ;)

I totally didn’t know that you posted your story here too. I’ve commented on your story in ao3. And I really couldn’t wait for a new chapter. Keep up the good work. Honestly I am re-reading your writing again. It’s like a must read story to me now.  :D

Oh you did? Maybe under another nickname then, as I don't recognize this one  :?
I'm glad you're enjoying my trilogy so much that you want to read it again. :oops:



Thank you everyone who commented!
Next chapter is coming up soon  ;)
« Last Edit: May 04, 2018, 10:31:07 PM by sophcaro »
My WMatsui fanfics:

HEARTBEAT trilogy
- Heartbeat | Completed
- Partners | Completed
- Destiny | Ongoing

OTHER FANFICS
- Warriors | Will return in Summer 2018
- Back in Time | Will return in Summer 2018
- One Shot collection: Her Sun | Completed
- Fire and Water | On hiatus

Offline Kyuartz

  • Member
  • Posts: 45
ah.. I just remember I am under different name in ao3. haha. if you dont mention it to me, I don't even realise it XD
your trilogy almost like a bedtime story for me now, so yeah  :yep: :yep: :yep:

Offline sophcaro

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  • Posts: 280
  • Faithful WMatsui shipper
    • sophcaro
CHAPTER 33



Tuesday, September 22 marked the very first day of Autumn. Jurina exited the taxi that had stopped in front of an apartment complex in Nagoya, her steps unconsciously slowing down as she was approaching the entrance and she noticed a maple tree by the side of the street. Under the force of the strong wind of Autumn, its old branches swayed ever so slightly and Jurina contemplated the beautiful bright, red-colored leaves so characteristic of this season of the year.

Since her childhood, this majestic hundred-year-old tree that seemed to stand guard – as if protecting the walkers and inhabitants of this peaceful neighborhood – had always been right in front of her nose, yet Jurina had never paused and taken time to truly admire its beauty until today. How many times in the past had she purely and simply ignored it and passed in front of it without second thoughts, too much in a rush to get to a television studio or a shooting location to pay real attention to her surroundings?

It wasn’t the first time Jurina came to such a realization; she slowly tore her eyes away from the imposing tree and resumed her walk towards the familiar building. These last twelve years, her demanding life as an idol hadn’t really enabled her to appreciate the simple joys of life, such as seeing flowers coming into bloom or the leaves of a tree turning a different shade of color with the passing of the seasons.

However, Jurina strongly wanted to believe that all this was soon about to change. This day of September 2020 didn’t only mark the beginning of a new season: it also represented the beginning of a new chapter in her life.

Four days ago, Jurina’s graduation concert had taken place in the Nagoya Dome in front of a fully-packed stadium of 40 000 fans. Since that moment, not a single day passed without Jurina thinking back to her final hours on stage with SKE48. More than once, she found herself replaying in her head the events of that day; from the outstanding performances to the numerous memorable guests. At last, but not least, the extraordinary love of the public for her she had received each and single time she had stepped on stage, would forever remained imprinted in her mind.

At the age of 23, Jurina was saying goodbye to a 12-year incredibly successful career as a prominent member and ace of SKE48. Within the idol group, she had fulfilled all her dreams; she had even managed to grab that so-coveted first place at the SSK.

Even though Jurina didn’t have the slightest regret in graduating, it was still hard for her to project herself in the future. Officially, she wasn’t a member of SKE48 anymore, yet her existence in the idol group still represented half of her life: it was simply impossible for her to turn the page so quickly and easily. A part of her still viewed herself as an idol and Jurina wondered how long it would take for this unpleasant feeling of melancholy to leave her once and for all.

This bittersweet sensation you’re having right now; I think every girl who graduated went through the same. But, it won’t last. In a few weeks, maybe months, it will have passed. I promise you that.

Without warning, Rena’s words came to the forefront of her mind, immediately reminding Jurina of her conversation with the older girl at the end of the concert. Against all odds, and after three years of separation, Rena had left the door to reconciliation open when she had astonishingly agreed to meeting her again. If truth be told, Jurina half-expected a rejection when she gathered her courage to ask: a part of her was still having a hard time understanding the reason for such a positive outcome.

The idea of being able to interact with Rena again undoubtedly lifted her mood; seeing the other girl at her graduation concert made her realize how deeply she missed her. Yet, the prospect also made her feel terribly nervous. Jurina didn’t know what to expect from such a reunion, nor where their relationship stood after so much time apart. On a few occasions, Jurina had grabbed her phone and almost sent Rena a text to ask when she was available to meet.

In the end, she had never been able to go through with it and changed her mind at the last minute. Only four days had passed since their last encounter; Jurina feared she was rushing things and moving too quickly. Moreover, if there was one thing she had recently discovered about herself, it was that she was far from being in control over her emotions when Rena was concerned.

She wasn’t trying to reconnect with a friend she had lost contact with because of unfortunate life circumstances; the identity of the person made the situation all the more difficult.

On one hand, Jurina didn’t want to take the risk of waiting too long before contacting the older girl, anxious Rena might reconsider and go back on her words. On the other hand, she didn’t want to make a complete fool of herself and ruin everything between them when evidently, she wasn’t mentally ready yet. One thing was for sure; she didn’t want to mess things up, which simply meant she would need to be a little more patient before taking the next step.

Jurina had barely pushed the front door of the main building when she felt her cellphone vibrating. Retrieving the device from her vest pocket, her attention fell on the message she had received. Are you still far from home, honey? Dinner is almost ready. Jurina quickly typed a reply to her mother, before moving decidedly towards the elevator. This morning, when Jurina realized she had the whole evening free, she hadn’t hesitated twice to seize that opportunity.

Since Jurina had announced her graduation back in April, she had been swamped with work, barely having a minute to herself. TV shows, interviews, photoshoots; every media wanted to have a last piece of her. Her last handshake sessions as a member of SKE had not been easy on her either. Between the devastated, crying fans questioning her about her decision to graduate and others renewing their support for her and promising they would keep on following her, it had definitely been quite an emotional rollercoaster.

Yes, these last few months had definitely been quite hectic – not to mention emotionally charged – and Jurina was well-conscious it would take a couple more weeks before things settled down and her schedule would finally become a little lighter. Even if she kept contact with her mother on a regular basis, it was mostly through texts, and only sporadically had they been able to spend time together since last April.

This available time in her program was unexpected, yet greatly welcomed and appreciated: it didn’t take her long to know with whom she wanted to spend some quality time. Just after her photoshoot for Girlpop, Jurina had called her mother to check if she was free tonight, delighted when the latter had replied by the affirmative.

“I’m home!”

The nice, easily recognizable smell that instantly reached Jurina’s nostrils when she passed the door immediately brought a smile to her lips: she knew what particular dish her mother was preparing for dinner. When her stomach began to groan, the pangs of hunger hit her. These last days, with her busy schedule, she had been forced to skip lunch more than once. The delicious food awaiting her had awoken her appetite effortlessly.

Jurina placed her vest and shoes in the entrance before slipping into a pair of slippers. When she progressed in the apartment and took in the sight of her mother cooking in the kitchen, her face lit up in pleasure.

Her mother greeted her with a gentle, welcoming smile. “Hello honey. How was your day?”

“A little tiring,” Jurina confessed. “But it went well.”

Seeing her mother wearing her all-too familiar slightly used black apron around the waist while carefully turning and mixing the chicken, carrots and potatoes in the pan brought back a great sense of nostalgia. The 23-year-old girl who had always looked up to the woman who had given birth to her suddenly felt a little child again. Leaning against the counter, Jurina quietly observed her mother preparing the curry. There was truly nothing like going back home and bathing in her mother’s warm, comforting presence.

“Do you want me to help you?” Jurina offered.

Her mother briefly diverted her attention from the pan to check the content of the rice cooker. “No need, food will soon be ready. Why don’t you go and take a shower? It should relax you.”

“Alright, a quick one then,” Jurina agreed.

As she turned on her heels and headed towards the bathroom, a small yawn managed to escape her lips inadvertently. Jurina blinked a few times to fight back sleep, having felt the lack of energy kicking in a few times on her way here. Lately, her work hadn’t only led her to skip a few meals: she had also been forced to cut down on sleep.

As Jurina passed by her old bedroom, her feet slowed down on the carpet. She didn’t know exactly why, but curiosity got the best of her and she couldn’t help but open the door. For a while, she stood on the threshold, letting her gaze wander around the room and taking in every little detail of it. For the most part, her bedroom remained the same as she had left it a month ago after moving out.

If she felt like staying here for the night, it wouldn’t be an issue: she had plenty of clothes and belongings at her disposal. 

Jurina stepped forward and approached the shelves on the wall; her mouth tugged into a nostalgic smile when she faced the one stacked with her collection of plushies. Perfect testimony of her mother’s pampering during her childhood, they came in all sorts of shapes and colors. The oldest ones, more threadbare than others, showed the evident passage of time; they also happened to be her favorites.

Jurina diverted her attention to the second shelf, going through her console games. As she checked a few titles, it hit her that she had never finished a few of them. In fact, much as she searched her memory, she couldn’t even remember the last time she played a videogame. Jurina brushed off some dust from her old – yet she discovered still functional – Game Boy Advance, before noticing that the Nintendo DS laying by its side showed similar signs of neglect.

When Jurina checked the last shelf, she noticed in surprise that many of her old, childhood reading books were gone, replaced by magazines that weren’t there before. As she took a closer look, it appeared her mother had indeed taken the liberty in her absence to make a few adjustments to her room. Yes, Jurina liked to buy magazines about AKB and her other favorite groups when she was a teenager, but her mother had definitely also added a few magazines that didn’t originally belong there.

Bomb, BLT, Friday, Shonen Champion and many more; all were in fact magazines she had appeared in during her 12-year career in SKE48. Of course, she figured her mother might have purchased a few of them, but she never believed she would have kept so many. Where on earth had she put them all this time? For sure, she didn’t remember seeing any of them in the apartment before.

Jurina went to take a seat on the bed, frowning when she felt something hitting the back of her feet. Standing up, she turned around and knelt on the carpet, finding a large box hidden beneath her bed. As she pulled the box and opened it, Jurina smiled inwardly when she discovered that it was full of more magazines and articles about herself.

Yes, she definitely needed to have a little chat with her mother later.

Retrieving a couple of magazines from the box, she made herself comfortable on the bed and browsed through one of them. At first, she went through a few recent ones, admiring proudly the adult she had become. However, when her fingers encountered an old 2010 Pure Pure magazine and she stumbled upon a very young version of herself clad in a sailor uniform, she made a face and hurriedly closed the magazine.

She didn’t know why people always claimed that she looked cute and adorable at such an early age. When she looked back to those moments and this specific period of her life in the idol group, she found those pictures anything but awfully embarrassing.

As she was about to put the magazines away, she paused when her eyes fell upon a familiar 2014 Bubka magazine, more specifically on the other girl sharing the front cover with her. Admiring the image of a smiling 23-year-old Rena standing by her side and clad in a stunningly beautiful white lace wedding dress, Jurina couldn’t help thinking she clearly wasn’t the only one to have physically changed over the years.

From the shy, introvert girl who had joined SKE at the age of 17, Rena had grown into a mature, self-assured woman. Those changes transpired in every pose and smile she gave to the camera, the difference especially noticeable around the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014. For some reason, Jurina remembered almost every detail of that Bubka photoshoot, before concluding it probably had to do with the special circumstances surrounding that tricky period of her life.

Back then, Jurina was desperately trying to keep her feelings for her WCenter in check, which proved to be an arduous task. For this photoshoot in particular, the newlyweds theme certainly didn’t help in the least. Since she was a little child, Jurina adored trying on new clothes and posing in front of the camera. Her classy black suit might even have prompted her to flirt with Rena a little, eager to witness and provoke adorable blushes.

That day, she had acted far from the collected, professional girl that she was, finding herself simply incapable of controlling her nerves in Rena’s presence.

Her unease during the photoshoot had certainly not escaped Rena’s keen attention. The latter had tentatively tried to calm her down on a few occasions, even helped her with her tie when Jurina was dressing up and miserably failing to do a proper knot. The whole duration of the photoshoot, Rena had been a model of perfection. She had willingly followed each and every photographer’s demands; not afraid to initiate physical contact when they were asked to get closer.

Jurina lingered especially on the third picture: Rena had her arm gently wrapped around her waist, while she had herself shyly laid her head on the older girl’s shoulder. When Jurina had opened the magazine for the first time, she found herself baffled, wondering why on earth the photographer hadn’t removed that shot. If there was one picture that showed her nervousness the most, it was definitely that one.

In retrospective, Jurina wondered if it wasn’t precisely for that reason that the picture had made it to the final list: because it captured her true feelings for her WCenter with such striking accuracy.







“How is it?”

Jurina looked up, her eyes shining with happiness. “Delicious!” She immediately took another spoonful of her curry to prove her point. “As usual, mom.”

Affection glowed in Yumiko’s eyes. “I’m glad you like it.”

“I don’t think I could ever not like your cooking,” Jurina admitted truthfully. “In fact, I always thought you could easily have opened a restaurant if you wanted to.”

“Really?” Yumiko’s lips curved up into an amused smile.

“Of course!” Jurina went on enthusiastically. “In comparison, I’m just an amateur. My modest cooking will never manage to surpass yours.”

“You’re underestimating yourself,” Yumiko answered, shaking her head in protest. “In that case, why don’t we open a restaurant together?”

Detecting the light teasing in her mother’s tone, Jurina decided to play along. “Why not? It’s not like I have any other plans at the moment.”

“But you must have a small idea already, haven’t you?” Yumiko asked in curiosity. “An idea on what you want to do next?”

Jurina averted her gaze and lapsed into silence, letting her mother’s question sink in. Since April and the announcement of her graduation, she had been too caught up with work and the preparations of her upcoming graduation concert to think about anything else. Yet, Jurina was conscious she had been delaying the inevitable for far too long and she would one day need to seriously think about her future. Now more than ever, as an important page of her life was indefinitely closing.

“You don’t have to make a decision right now,” Yumiko intervened when she noticed her daughter’s troubled expression. “I’m not worried about your future. You’ve only just graduated; you still have time to think about it. Besides, I’m convinced you can become anything you desire if you truly want it.”

Jurina’s eyebrows rose in amazement; her mother’s reassuring words immediately resonated within her. “A few years ago, Rena said exactly the same thing.”

“Did she?” Yumiko looked hardly surprised.

“Yes…” Jurina smiled reminiscently in spite of herself. “Acting, modeling, singing. She said that if I wanted to remain in the entertainment industry, I could easily do all those things.”

“Well, Rena-san is right,” Yumiko nodded in agreement. “Life is full of possibilities; you can even choose to return to a normal, simpler life far from the spotlight if that’s what you wish. My daughter is truly gifted; what matters the most is that you follow your heart and enjoy what you do.”

Warmth spread through Jurina’s chest, touched by her mother’s endless support for her life and career choices. Since her childhood, her mother had never tried to authoritatively impose her ideas or to mold her at her image, instead always encouraging her to follow her dreams. Another parent might have been completely opposed to the idea of letting their only child join the entertainment world, especially at such a young, vulnerable age.

Not her mother. 

When Jurina had manifested her desire to become an idol, her mother knew by her daughter’s decided, determined look that it wasn’t just some childish, passing fad. Jurina was conscious of being extremely lucky and – in a sense – to have been blessed by life: without her mother’s full approval, she would never have been able to enter the idol group and make her dream come true. 

“By the way, how is Rena-san doing? When I heard she came to your graduation concert, I felt really happy for you. Are you going to see her again?”

“I…” Jurina was taken aback by her mother’s genuine interest. “We talked together and yes, that’s the plan.”

Yumiko’s eyes brightened with pleasure. “I’m glad. I really am.”

Jurina didn’t know what to make of her mother’s strange reaction; this conversation had surely taken quite an unexpected turn. It wasn’t that she felt embarrassed or refused to talk about the other girl; she just didn’t understand where her mother’s sudden enthusiasm was coming from. Apart from one, short conversation that had occurred a few weeks after her painful breakup with Rena, Jurina had never mentioned the older girl again. As for her mother, she had never brought Rena up again either, almost as if she could sense it was a somewhat sensitive subject for her.

The sound of lightning violently striking in the sky jolted Jurina out of her thoughts, immediately prompting her to stare outside in astonishment. As she noticed drops of water beating against the living room’s window, Jurina’s face fell in disappointment. Indeed, the weather forecast had warned this morning that it might rain during the day, but Jurina believed their prediction to be wrong after all when the sky had been nothing but bright all-day long.

“Now that you’ve graduated and after discovering that you two made contact again, I think it’s the right time for me to discuss something with you.”

Jurina diverted her attention from the window and lowered her spoon, destabilized by her mother’s serious tone and enigmatic words. “What is it?”

“It’s about Rena-san. A few years ago, I know that your relationship with her evolved into something… something more profound.”

“W-What?” Jurina cleared her throat nervously. “What do you mean by that?”

“It took me a while to realize it…” Yumiko’s voice held a note of regret. “For so long, I thought what you felt for her was only admiration and natural affection for the girl you had been paired with. But when the scandal broke and I saw the explicit pictures the paparazzi had taken… everything made sense. It hit me how incredibly naïve I had been all these years; how I refused to see what was happening right under my nose.”

Yumiko paused for a moment’s reflection, before continuing with assurance. “When Rena-san graduated and I saw how devastated you were, I completely misinterpreted the reasons of your sorrow. I tried to comfort you by assuring you that you didn’t have anything to worry about as you would clearly remain friends. But it wasn’t about that at all, was it? You weren’t crying because you were afraid of losing a friend. You cried because you loved Rena-san with all your heart, and she loved you back all the same.

You cried because you were terrified of not knowing how to lead the group without her precious presence by your side anymore. Am I wrong?”

Silence enveloped the room.

Jurina stared back at her mother in stupefaction; she couldn’t believe what she had just heard. Multitudes of questions began piling up in her head yet words stayed stuck in Jurina’s mouth, having an incredibly hard time taking in the shocking revelation. All these years, she had been so afraid of admitting her mother the truth, for fear that it would be too hard for her to handle it and she wouldn’t accept her relationship with Rena.

Yet here she was, announcing almost casually that she had known for years, without showing any apparent sign of reproach or disgust as she would have expected.

For some reason, denying it didn’t even cross her mind. And, after a while, Jurina finally summoned the courage to speak and ask the question burning her lips. “If you knew it, then why didn’t you say anything?”

“I don’t know if you remember how you felt when this article got released, but you were really affected by it and terrified by the impact those pictures could have on your position in SKE. I wanted to talk to you about it, but I felt it wasn’t the appropriate time. Besides, I was hoping you would be the one to come and talk to me… But you never did, so I figured out you didn’t feel comfortable enough talking about it. And when I met Rena-san later on, our conversation put an end to my last shred of doubt.”

“You met Rena?” Jurina whispered in astonishment. “Why? When?”

“She never told you?” Yumiko asked in some befuddlement. “It happened a few weeks after you were reinstated in SKE. You were so relieved and believed the danger to have passed, but I couldn’t share the same faith. I feared your future was still compromised. That one more mistake and you could lose everything you had build and fought so hard for. That’s what I went to talk about to Rena-san. We met in a small café in Nagoya and talked about you and what could be done to protect your future.

She didn’t say much, but she evidently shared my concerns. Just like me, she knew actions needed to be taken to protect your position in the group. It was more than obvious to me how deeply she cared about you…” Yumiko shook her head thoughtfully. “Well no, not just cared. How much she loved you.”

Jurina fell silent and dragged her eyes away in unease. Somehow, it was still hard for her to wrap her head around the idea that she wasn’t imagining the whole thing but this improbable conversation was truly happening. Not only had her mother discovered the true nature of her relationship with Rena – something she would never have suspected – she had also met with the other girl behind her back.

None of it made sense.

Why would her mother do such a thing?

And how come Rena hadn’t told her anything about it at the time?

A flicker of apprehension coursed through her as one small piece of information her mother had just shared suddenly caught her attention. “You talked about taking actions. What did you mean by that?”

“We both loved you so much,” Yumiko said with unrestrained sincerity. “We were only trying to do what was best to protect your position in SKE.”

Jurina’s heart began to thump nervously. “How? What did you tell her?”

Jurina waited in expectation for her mother to reassure her that she was being paranoid and it wasn’t what she starting to fear, but her mother’s lack of reply and unreadable expression did nothing to ease her worries. As Jurina was slowly putting the pieces back together, her head began to spin. Her mother didn’t only know the truth about her relationship with Rena; she had also played a major role in the events that had unfolded the following weeks leading to that fateful day of April 2017.

“You told her to break up with me, didn’t you?” Jurina couldn’t hide the sudden tremor in her voice.

“You have to know I never forced her hand,” Yumiko assured. “If Rena-san had disagreed and chosen a different path, if she had found another way to protect you, then I would have trusted her instincts and not interfered anymore.”

Jurina’s features contorted with shock and consternation. “Maybe you didn’t force her, but you played a part in her decision. You influenced her. If you hadn’t spoken with her that day, then maybe she… Maybe she wouldn’t have…”

A suffocating sensation tightened her throat as realization dawned on her. Back then, she was so convinced to be at the origin of the problem that she had completely disregarded any other explanation. Consider the possibility that an external element might have motived Rena to come to such a drastic decision. In the light of her mother’s recent confession, something important suddenly occurred to her.

If her mother hadn’t meddled with her private life, then maybe she wouldn’t have gone through those painful months of sorrow and anguish. If her mother hadn’t intervened, then maybe Rena wouldn’t have broken up with her and they would still be happy together.

“I didn’t know what she would do.” Yumiko reached forward across the table, her fingers gently closing around Jurina’s in a light squeeze. “But when you came by one evening and I saw the way you reacted when I mentioned Rena-san… I understood what had happened.”

“If you knew that I loved her, then how could you… How could you do this?” Jurina felt sick to her stomach. 

“I know how much this separation caused you pain,” Yumiko murmured regretfully. “But I hope one day you’ll understand why I did it. Why we both did this.”

“Understand?” Jurina’s every muscle tensed as anger seared through her. “I will never forgive you for doing this to me.”

“Please don’t say that…”

Jurina could see that her mother sounded genuinely shaken by her words but she ignored her and looked away, abruptly retracting her hand from her mother’s grasp. Decidedly, she rose to her feet and left the table, not wanting her mother to see the tears that threatened to come suddenly to her eyes. If there was one person she trusted more than anything in this world, it was undoubtedly her beloved mother.

And yet, three years ago, this same person had betrayed her in the worst way possible: she had taken away her greatest source of happiness.







Rena slowly looked up from the book she was immersed in when she heard the doorbell ringing, blinking in confusion when she checked the time and noted it was way past 9 p.m. An hour ago, she had seriously considered going out to the cinema – enthusiast to see the latest Ghibli movie – but the sudden downpour outside had quickly discouraged her, opting instead for a quiet evening at home.

Rena carefully placed the bookmark at the page she was reading and rose from the sofa, wondering who could be visiting at such a time. One thing was for sure: she wasn’t expecting any company for the evening. Airi was spending a few-day holiday with her family in Kyoto, while she hadn’t seen Yosuke in weeks, the actor completely absorbed with his work on his latest 15-episode police drama. 

When Rena approached the front door and turned the handle to open, her lips parted in surprise at what awaited her on the other side: Jurina, eyes swollen with grief and completely soaked from head to toe, was standing on her doorstep.







TO BE CONTINUED
My WMatsui fanfics:

HEARTBEAT trilogy
- Heartbeat | Completed
- Partners | Completed
- Destiny | Ongoing

OTHER FANFICS
- Warriors | Will return in Summer 2018
- Back in Time | Will return in Summer 2018
- One Shot collection: Her Sun | Completed
- Fire and Water | On hiatus

Offline Rhythm

  • Member
  • Posts: 35
  • Just a silent reader passing by~
Oh god- i know it! jurina mom ask rena to break up... I know it... :on speedy:
Jurina don't cry, come here Jurina  :on comhere:

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