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Author Topic: Heartbeat (20/20) + Partners (23/23) + Destiny (28/?) [WMatsui] (15/09/2017)  (Read 99582 times)

Offline sophcaro

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OMG! I think problems are coming.

No. Don't you ever think to break up with Jurina, Rena. Please no

Can sense something bad gonna happen. Very bad.

Things surely don't look good, right?  :(


Firstly, as I remember, you've ever told me that there would be 25 chapters (if I'm not misread) for Destiny (or it's Back In Time(?) please correct me if I'm wrong). But now I'm glad that you'll extend it to 35 chapters.

You're right! When I started Destiny, I did mention 25 chapters. However, I also precised that it wasn't a definitive number, and this number may change if I needed more chapters to wrap up properly everything. Frankly, that's why I don't really like giving a number in advance, because there's no way to predict with accuracy how long it will take me to finish a story. To sum it up, consider that every number I may give is never definitive :nervous

Rena finally broke down. I'm glad she had Airi with her. She badly needed a good company and I think Airi was being a good friend; just like Churi or Mayu to Jurina.

I'm glad you mention it. The romantic relationship between Jurina and Rena is of course at the heart of this trilogy, but friendships also play a very big part. JuriMayu, JuriChuri, RenAiri... We will keep seeing those precious interactions throughout the rest of Destiny.

Quote
Rena was getting skinnier; she should take care of her own health or she would be sick. The last time she was sick was like years ago in the beginning of Heartbeat. (Jurina got sick more often.)  Maybe this time they would reverse their role. Rena would be in a hospital and when Jurina wanted to visit her, she accidentally overheard Rena told Airi about her meeting with Akimoto and Jurina's mom.

It's true Rena's health is not good at the moment, but it won't come down to that. Promise!

Quote
Ps. I super like the idea of Rena being a female detective for a drama. I hope she would take the job!

It's not a very big spoiler, so I can answer that question. She will accept that job  :yep:
« Last Edit: April 17, 2017, 02:45:59 AM by sophcaro »
My WMatsui fanfics:

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

OTHER FANFICS
- Back in Time | Ongoing
- Warriors | On hiatus (will return in December 2017)
- One Shot collection: Her Sun | Completed
- Fire and Water | On hiatus

Feedback is deeply appreciated, and comments motivate me to write!

Offline sophcaro

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CHAPTER 21



This Saturday evening of early April, it was almost midnight when Rena checked carefully one last time that everything was well in order in the kitchen after her dinner with Jurina. Noticing a forgotten towel, she placed it back in the adequate drawer, before switching the light off. As she was moving towards the bedroom to join Jurina, her attention was suddenly caught by a certain vase of blue flowers.

Her steps slowed down despite herself, deciding to make a last-minute change in her plans to once again take a look at the beautiful bouquet of forget-me-not decorating her living room table. Once within reach, she extended her arm to graze carefully the flower tops with her fingertips, a smile forming gradually on her lips in appreciation.

A little before 8 PM, Rena had been slightly caught off guard when Jurina had arrived for their dinner date with a bouquet of flowers in hand. The unexpected sight rendered her momentarily speechless, her mouth nevertheless soon tugging into a genuine smile as she accepted with pleasure the offered flowers. 

Rena felt deeply touched by Jurina’s gesture. No, it wasn’t the first time the young ace gave her flowers; she actually did it quite often at the early stages of their relationship. At first, Rena believed it was only Jurina’s way of manifesting her love for her, before figuring out that there was probably another deeper message her girlfriend wished to convey tonight through those flowers.

If there was one thing Rena knew for certain, is that Jurina never did anything by chance. That notion in mind, she progressively came to the conclusion that Jurina had chosen this type of flowers for a particular reason. Rena didn’t ignore the meaning of those flowers; a meaning that started to have real significance in the light of the complicated situation she was currently living with Jurina.

If her intuition was correct, then Jurina was subtly trying to indicate her that – despite the distance and the separation – her feelings for her had not changed, and she remained utterly faithful to her.

Rena admired the blue flowers for a little while, before retracting her hand when a small voice emerged inside her head. A voice that was telling her that there may also be another hidden meaning behind those flowers. At that thought, her smile vanished, now seriously wondering if Jurina was not also attempting to restore the emotional closeness and intimacy between them.

A connection that they were progressively losing.

More than two months ago, their little bubble of happiness had burst when their relationship – that they had cleverly managed to keep under the radar for two years - had unexpectedly made the headlines of a magazine. The fact that people’s opinion remained divided on the subject - some choosing to believe the assumptions and some others not to - didn’t change a very simple truth. Since that day, their life had never been the same anymore.

Rena’s initial hope and optimism regarding the future had progressively given way to a harsher reality. Believing that they could preserve what they had and keep on with their lives as if nothing happened was pure illusion. It was a foolish wish that Jurina wanted so badly to see granted, yet Rena wasn’t naïve.

The world simply wasn’t as forgiving.

It was a constant daily battle between her mind and her heart. When the first was urging her to do what was right, the other was too driven by her feelings for a certain twenty years old ace. Her conflicted emotions were impacting her mental balance in a devastating way and gradually eating her alive. Plagued by anxiety, she was sleep-deprived and had long ago lost her appetite. During the day, her work granted her with much welcomed distraction; enabling her to push her concerns at the back of her head for a few hours.

But the respite was only temporary. As soon as she went back home and was confronted with the deafening silence of her apartment, her negative thoughts surfaced with incredible ease - as if reminding her that they had never truly disappeared - and stubbornly refused to quiet down and leave her in peace.

For two months, she had desperately searched her mind for a satisfying solution that would finally put an end to her misery. And indeed, one quickly came to her mind. What if she and Jurina made a break?

One evening, she came really close to suggesting such an arrangement to her. Make herself convincing enough to have her understand that - in order not to take further risks of being caught in another scandal, one that could this time have severe consequences on their careers - they would cease all contact for a few months. However, Rena ended up dismissing this idea, realizing how little chance it had to work.

Already, Rena could see how much difficulty Jurina was having accepting their current situation. The distance she was imposing them was met with misunderstanding, and causing Jurina evident frustration and non-negligible pain. Meeting only once every three weeks had already been an abrupt and drastic change in their routine. What made her naively believe Jurina would agree to a temporary separation, especially when this time there would be no form of interaction to speak of?

The clock was ticking.

The longer Rena was refusing to take action, the more she could feel herself losing her last shreds of sanity. Soon or later, one side was incontestably going to take the upper hand, and win her internal battle at the benefit of the other.   

 



 

Rena was now lying in bed, listening distractedly to the sound of water running in the bathroom as Jurina was finishing getting prepared. After changing into her pajama, she had attempted to pass time by reading a book, much in vain. As interesting the story proved to be, she found herself incapable to focus properly on the words written. Soon, she was left with no other choice but to place a bookmark inside the novel, leaving it aside the moment after.

Rena heaved a deep sigh, hoping she would finally be able to get some decent sleep tonight. Lately, she only managed to sleep for a few short hours before waking up, constantly having real trouble closing her eyes again when she was wide awake and her brain refused to shut down. Some nights, when she couldn’t take it anymore, she would seek help from those precious pink little pills on her bedside table.

Much as their help was always greatly appreciated, she refused to rely on them too many times, aware of the side effects coming with a long-term use.

At the sound of the bathroom door opening, Rena diverted her attention to the young girl who had appeared, their eyes meeting instantly across the room. When Jurina inquired if she needed to use the bathroom again Rena replied negatively, the bathroom light being immediately switched off as a result.

The bedroom soon plunged into complete darkness as Jurina walked her way around her side of the bed, Rena feeling the mattress shifting slightly as she slid under the red sheets. Once the younger girl was properly adjusted and no more sound could be heard Rena prepared herself to go to sleep and laid on her side, taking in that it was way past midnight when she glanced one last time at the alarm-clock.

She had hardly closed her eyes that she felt the girl behind her moving and nearing closer, Rena’s small brown orbs shooting open when Jurina snaked an arm around her waist. At the contact, she tensed. Her throat felt thick, and she felt a twinge of guilt in her gut. Rena loathed so much the way her body reacted on instinct when Jurina initiated a moment of intimacy lately.

Her girlfriend wasn’t doing anything inappropriate or out of the ordinary; she was purely and simply in search of affection, and in need of the physical closeness she was missing. Those last two months, such moments had tremendously decreased, which was more than logical considering they were unable to meet as frequently as usual. 

Not only did it prove to be quite an issue for Jurina who had always been a very affectionate person, Rena didn’t feel completely at ease during those times. When Jurina kissed her she certainly never pushed her back, but she didn’t either let the intimacy develop into something more. Even though Jurina never protested, she didn’t miss the disappointment in her eyes a few times, when it was evident she wished to prolong the moment a little more.

Tonight, it appeared Jurina wasn’t going to be satisfied with a simple cuddle. Indeed, she didn’t have to wait long to feel a palm slipping under the hem of her red tee-shirt, fingers tracing light patterns on her skin. Her motions were unusually slow and hesitant, almost as if the younger girl was testing the waters, afraid her actions were not going to be well received.

Even though Rena had her back turned, she could literally feel the apprehension emanating from her girlfriend. It transpired in every tentative move she made, in every chaste kiss she gently pressed to the nape of her neck.

When she felt fingers progressing upwards to her chest, Rena knew she would have to intervene very soon. A part of her wished so much she could give her what she longed for, but another couldn’t go through with it when her mind was not at it. Even if she let her proceed, she wouldn’t be able to deceive her. It wouldn’t take very long before Jurina would sense she wasn’t enjoying herself.

Rena squeezed her eyes shut, dreading the way Jurina was going to react to her rejection. Until now, Jurina had never been pushy and always followed her wishes, but a little voice inside her head was telling her the tide was very soon about to turn. “I’m… I’m not in the mood.”

Jurina stilled her hand at once.

Rena didn’t have to wait long to feel it slowly withdrawing from underneath her tee-shirt, yet Jurina didn’t completely move away from her. For a little while, she didn’t say anything, until her slender fingers caressed her bare arm in a soothing gesture. “What’s wrong?”

Rena heard the question well, but no words managed to leave her lips. Until now, Jurina had been very patient with her, but Rena didn’t fool herself into believing her compliance would last forever. One day, Jurina was going to press the matter and she could sense they had reached that point.

“I know that you’re tired and worried about a few things lately…” Jurina conceded. “But I can’t shake the feeling that there’s something more. Since I reintegrated SKE, you haven’t been the same, and you barely let me touch you. If I did anything to upset you… then I need to know what it is. I want to fix it.”

Rena’s sense of guilt increased when she distinguished the helplessness in the very last words she uttered. Jurina wasn’t blind. Being anything but a very attentive girlfriend, it was evident she would end up calling into question her explanations. However, if there was one thing she didn’t anticipate, is that Jurina would start convincing herself that she may in some way be responsible.

When did such an idea form inside her head? Rena was conscious she hadn’t been completely honest with her these last two months, but she refused to let her believe such a thing. “No… you did nothing wrong. Of course not.”

Her answer visibly had a positive effect as Jurina seemed a little more relaxed, even placing a lingering, loving kiss against her shoulder. “Can you turn around? I want to see you.”

It was a very simple request, but Rena realized she couldn’t consent to it. Until now, she had done her best to keep her emotions in check every time Jurina was visiting but tonight, her mask was progressively slipping. Was it due to her terrible unease of hurting Jurina with another rejection? Or was it because this time, Jurina wasn’t letting it go easily as usual? Gradually, she could feel her eyes moistening, and it was inconceivable to let Jurina see her in such a state.

When she felt a hand on her shoulder and Jurina hovering over her to try and take a peek at her, she covered her hand with hers, making sure her voice remained neutral enough to not betray her true emotions. “Can we… Can we just sleep?”

For a short moment, Rena wondered if Jurina wasn’t going to persevere as her hand didn’t move from her shoulder, but her fingers ended up slowly and progressively retracting. “Alright,” Jurina capitulated.

After that, the younger girl put some distance between them, Rena believing the matter was truly over when she didn’t add a single word. The minutes passed, Rena wondering if the younger girl had not fallen asleep when - after tossing and turning a few times – she stopped moving altogether. That was precisely the moment when a small, hesitant voice chose to break the silence. “Maybe… Maybe I should sleep on the couch.”

Rena widened her eyes and turned around in alert, her eyes falling on the girl who had gotten out of bed and was now sitting silently on the side. “W-Wait,” her heart raced. “No, don’t leave. You don’t need to leave.”

Petrified, Rena watched the younger girl who wasn’t making a single move - internally praying her words would reach her and she would change her mind - but to her dismay Jurina reached for her pillow, cleverly making sure their gazes didn’t meet in the process. “I don’t want to…” Her voice quivered as she slowly placed her blue pillow onto her lap. “But I think it’s best if we don’t sleep together tonight.”

Rena tried to protest but Jurina was already standing on her feet, walking progressively out of the bedroom. At the sound of the door closing behind her, Rena couldn’t contain herself any longer, tears springing to her eyes. Leaning her back against the headboard, she buried her face in her shaking hands, the truth now impossible to deny. Slowly but surely, they were drifting apart. 







Rena couldn’t sleep at all.

For the past few hours, her brain had refused to shut down and kept her wide awake, her latest conversation with Jurina playing in her head over and over. Each time she arrived to the part she hated the most – the one when her hurt girlfriend left the room - her chest constricted in pain. Tilting her head to the left, her eyes lingered on the empty space beside her, well aware that she was the only one to blame for Jurina’s absence.

Her thoughts drifted towards the younger girl currently staying in the living room and – as she suddenly felt the irrepressible need to see her – gradually got out of bed. Not a sound could be heard in the apartment when her bare feet progressed slowly on the floor, relieved when – as she gazed down at the motionless form on the black couch – she discovered that Jurina had thankfully managed to find sleep.

Kneeling down by her side, her fingers seized the end of the blanket that had slipped below Jurina’s waist, pulling it up bit by bit to cover her body and protect her from the chilly nights of April. After that, she didn’t pull away quite yet, her fingers venturing upwards to caress tenderly the long dark locks of hair falling down her shoulders, until retracting when she didn’t want to take any more chance of waking her up.

After what happened last night, it was evident she couldn’t afford any more delays. For both their sakes, they couldn’t keep on like this. Her indecision had only served to make things worse, causing them both great suffering. Yes, she had been very selfish. By stubbornly refusing to take the next step, she had only attempted to keep her precious girlfriend by her side a little while longer. The simple thought of not having Jurina in her life anymore had just been too unbearable to consider.

Rena studied the sleeping girl before her. It may now be past 4 am, she didn’t feel like joining her bed yet. The temptation to run her fingers through Jurina’s long black hair and relish the feeling of her smooth skin under her fingertips was hard to resist, especially when she was so very close. Nevertheless, she refused to give in to her selfish desires, instead settling for quietly observing her. Her eyes being now accustomed to the partial darkness she could distinguish Jurina’s features a little better, admiring at length the beautiful, juvenile face of the girl she adored so much.

For so many years, solitude had been one of Rena’s best companions, persuading her that she had no void to fill. As she progressively grew more confident over the years, she believed her heart to be well protected and safe from what those foolish songs called ‘love’. Against all odds, Jurina was the one to prove her how terribly blind she had been all this time.

Jurina was her sun.

Caring, affectionate and utterly faithful. From the instant the younger girl had found a place inside her heart, her life had never been more complete. Jurina had left her mark on every inch of her skin, unleashed so many unsuspected desires. These last two years, she had relied so much upon that constancy in her life; relished day by day that pleasant warmth enveloping and protecting her.

They had undoubtedly reached a point of no return. Her selfish side emerged once more, advising her to take advantage of this last moment of proximity before it was too late. This time, she surrendered to her heart’s yearning and pressed her lips gently against Jurina’s, her voice breaking a little when she whispered her last words of affection. “I love you, Jurina. I always will…”

There was no time left to dither. Now, she knew with an absolute clairvoyance what needed to be said and done.







Jurina, who was sitting at the dinner table, watched helplessly the older girl who was finishing doing the dishes. This morning, they had merely exchanged a few platitudes, the food having a somewhat bitter taste when Rena served them both breakfast. As soon as breakfast had been over, Jurina had offered to give a hand but Rena had declined, immediately busying herself in the kitchen.

At this point, she couldn’t tell what was hurting the most. The fact that Rena was persisting in keeping something from her with an uncharacteristic stubbornness, or the fact that she had absolutely no idea what was going inside her head. This morning, the atmosphere had never been heavier; almost to the point of becoming suffocating. Jurina simply couldn’t bear it any longer.

She had to do something. Anything.

Decided, she stood up from her chair, walking towards the kitchen where the older Matsui was busy washing some dishes in the sink. Once she stood by her side, her eyes fell on the white bowl previously full of rice that her girlfriend was now finishing to wash, Jurina immediately extending her arm across the sink to take it away from her grasp when Rena was about to dry it next.

Rena jumped a little, the contact of their fingers touching briefly snapping her out of her daze. Jurina didn’t miss her reaction, somehow hoping her arrival would provoke some sort of interaction between them. To her great dismay, Rena didn’t look at her nor did she address her, remaining desperately silent despite the fact she was now standing a few inches away from her.

While drying the bowl with a towel, Jurina stole a few glances at her, pondering over what to do to alleviate the evident tension. More than anything, she wanted to help her get better. Rena’s declining health concerned her a great deal, and you didn’t have to be a genius to figure out she had had more than a few sleepless nights lately. But how on earth was she supposed to come to her aid, if Rena was reluctant to share her problems with her?

Much as she searched her mind for an explanation, she couldn’t find anything to justify the gradual changes in Rena’s behavior. The only thing she knew for certain, is that it had all started around the time she joined SKE back. Yes, Rena was still somewhat worried about the pictures released by Bunshun; she had more than once mentioned it to her. However, since that day, their private life had not been exposed in any sort of magazine.

That was why Jurina was convinced it had to be something else. Something Rena was – for a completely unknown reason – deliberately choosing not to tell her.

Jurina placed the bowl back inside the cupboard above her head, a despondent sigh leaving her lips as none of her questions were getting an answer. Even though Rena was physically present in the room, she was not with her right now. In fact, the more she observed her, the more it looked like she was lost in a distant, foreign place. A very dark place she badly wanted to pull her from.

In a small attempt of restoring the emotional and physical connection she raised her arm and reached out to her, before thinking against it when she remembered the bad response her actions had provoked the last time she had tried to initiate a moment of intimacy between them. Last night’s events were still imprinted in her mind, the pain still vivid after her girlfriend’s inexplicable rejection.

Regardless, she refused to give up. Going back to her seat and ignoring the elephant in the room was not an option. Eventually, Rena would have no choice but to let it out. And when she would finally be ready to share whatever was burdening her, she wanted her to know that she had an attentive ear at her entire disposal. It was precisely those ideas that Jurina wished to convey when she spoke up. “I don’t know what’s happening between us, but I’m here for you. I know we can solve it.”

Because, if there was one thing Jurina refused above all, it was to be pessimistic. They had been through so much together these past eight years. Overcame successfully every single obstacle on their path – on a personal and professional level - even the most challenging ones. Why would this situation be any different?

“No, we can’t…” The words left Rena’s lips in a calm, monotone voice.

Jurina frowned - trying to comprehend why she had made such an absurd comment - but the girl who was now drying her hands remained completely unreadable.

This time, Jurina didn’t hesitate to initiate contact, caressing her back in a comforting gesture. “Don’t say that,” she protested softly, “If you tell me what’s wrong, then we’ll find a way to make it work. We always do.”

Rena stayed quiet for a little while and Jurina studied her attentively from aside, wishing she had the magical power to get inside her head. When she opened her mouth to speak again, Jurina held her breath in anticipation, hoping her girlfriend was at last going to reveal what was troubling her. “I don’t want to keep on doing this.”

Jurina stared at her in utter perplexity. Right now, Rena – who was for a weird reason purposely avoiding eye contact - was not making sense at all. “I don’t understand… What are you talking about?”

“Us… It needs to end.”

Jurina’s heart stopped.

The room had been pretty silent before but now it felt deafening. She couldn’t feel anything. She couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t even think for a few long seconds. The words made her feel like she was being constantly stabbed in the heart.

For months, she was convinced not to play any role in Rena’s transformation. Last night, Rena had even assured her she hadn’t done anything wrong. Was it just a lie then? Was she, after all, truly at the origin of the problem?

“I love you,” Jurina’s voice broke, her heart quivering as she slipped her arms around her waist from behind. “I will fix this. Please tell me it’s not too late. Please say that you still love me.”

“It’s over…” Rena’s emotionless voice ended up destroying her last shreds of hope. “Leave… Please leave.”

Tears formed inside Jurina’s eyes. She had wanted so badly to know what was wrong with her girlfriend, yet never could she have imagined one second the possibility of Rena falling out of love. When did Rena’s feelings start to change? How come didn’t she notice anything? Despite hearing the demand loud and clear she refused to comply, on the contrary tightening her hold around Rena’s waist.

Her lungs constricted, making it so hard to breathe. Despite how badly her heart was currently aching, she was still willing to forgive the person responsible for her distress. If Rena apologized right now and said she didn’t truly mean it, then she would gladly forget everything. It was not too late yet.

Rena was her everything.

She couldn’t possibly be losing her.

Yet Rena never came back on her words.

Slowly and gradually releasing her hold, tears were streaming down her face when she took a step back. Jurina found it now impossible to stay in Rena’s presence any longer. She couldn’t even muster up the courage to look at her. With a blurry vision and unsteady steps, she left the kitchen and moved towards the entrance, desperately trying not to break down when she put her vest on.

When her shaky hand came in contact with a small metallic object inside her pocket she realized what it was and retrieved it, leaving her spare key near the front door. No words were spoken when her fingers circled the door handle, nor did she turn around to gaze at the girl who had just shattered her heart to pieces.

If she had looked into Rena’s direction one last time, then she would have witnessed the silent tears falling down her cheeks.







TO BE CONTINUED
My WMatsui fanfics:

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

OTHER FANFICS
- Back in Time | Ongoing
- Warriors | On hiatus (will return in December 2017)
- One Shot collection: Her Sun | Completed
- Fire and Water | On hiatus

Feedback is deeply appreciated, and comments motivate me to write!

Offline Minami-chan

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 :err: :err:

I think I have perfectly understood the feeling of Jurina.
Because I have felt very sad with the end of the episode. I have empathized with Jurina totally.
I also regret Rena because she is a victim of the circumstance, she is not the bad of the movie.

Offline junchan

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This chapter too frustating.The clueless Jurina and the secretive Rena.
This is too much to bare :frustrated: :on cloudeye: :on cloudeye: :on cloudeye: :on cloudeye:
I'm a hardshipper of many pair! lol
Yoroshiku~

Offline Bukiyou Taiyou

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This chapter is bitter yet beautiful. My heart was tortured reading this but my mind didn't want to stop. I kinda...enjoyed all the feels since it was thoughtfully narrated with fancy words like "clairvoyance" or appropriate metaphorical idioms like "the elephant in the room".

Anyway...

“Us… It needs to end.”

I should've seen it coming that Rena would eventually decide to take a break from Jurina. Though I thought it would be only for a while, temporary. I thought Rena only wanted to take a distance from Jurina, not really want to break up with her.

"End" is a strong word. Jurina didn't deserve such treatment, NOT when she just gave Rena forget-me-not flowers and was so patient with her all these time after Bunshun scandal. Moreover she was clueless with what urged Rena to come to her decision. I believe she deserved an explanation. Nothing is worse than being left without any explanations. Jurina would keep wondering and blaming herself. It was not a smart move, Rena.

The words made her feel like she was being constantly stabbed in the heart.

I know right. :on cloudeye:

It was painful to see Jurina decided to sleep on the coach. It took a strong heart to do that despite missing Rena so much.

But I don't know why this hurts the most for me:

When her shaky hand came in contact with a small metallic object inside her pocket she realized what it was and retrieved it, leaving her spare key near the front door.

Their separation is real.

Brace yourself, winter is coming.

Thank you for the update, author-san. Kudos!
« Last Edit: April 19, 2017, 06:52:01 PM by Bukiyou Taiyou »

Offline Genkikid

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The taboo word has been said :fainted: :imdead:

Offline Guacamoolee

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I always skimmed before read the full chapter. And frankly speaking, I needed some times gathering my courage to read the whole chapter since I found the word "us" and "end". I was so not ready for that and never expecting that. :on blackhole:
But eventually I managed to read it. Thanks to you, I really enjoyed torturing my poor kokoro reading this chapter.  :fainted:
I'm standing on Jurina's side this time.
"End" is a strong word. Jurina didn't deserve such treatment, NOT when she just gave Rena forget-me-not flowers and was so patient with her all these time after Bunshun scandal.
I'm agree with Bukiyou Taiyou-san that Jurina doesn't deserve to be treated that way.
Aaaaaaaand........
The most confusing statements of the year goes to........
“I love you, Jurina. I always will…”
“Us… It needs to end.”
What does it mean, Rena????
It's so frustrating!
My biggest concern is I'm afraid that if what happening right now could worsen Jurina's state of mind more than her current state, remembering that Rena is been on her side for these past eight years. Has Rena never thought that far?

Nice chapter, author-san!
Always waiting for your update!
 :cheers
« Last Edit: April 23, 2017, 11:12:35 AM by Guacamoolee »

Offline Minami-chan

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Offline sophcaro

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CHAPTER 22


“What do you want to do after SKE?”

The words fell from Rena’s lips in curiosity, observing Jurina who had casually laid her head on her stomach a few minutes ago. Even though the younger girl didn’t move an inch from her comfortable position inside the bed, Rena had no doubt she had been perfectly heard when she opened her eyes gradually to glance back at her. Rena lifted her palm to caress her long, dark hair affectionately, wondering what could possibly be crossing her girlfriend’s mind right now as her expression remained completely unreadable.

They had a few times mentioned this subject in the past, but never really seriously. Since Jurina had entered SKE at the early age of 11, nothing had ever been more important to her than seeing the idol group grow and thrive. During all those years, she had devoted herself body and soul to it. No one was more actively involved in the group’s activities than Jurina. However, the time would inevitably come when she would also graduate and leave the group into the caring hands of younger and talented generations.

As they were both back in Nagoya after spending Christmas at Yuki and Mayu’s apartment, Rena realized that 2016 was coming to an end and the young ace would be turning twenty in only a few, short months. Her entrance into adulthood was an important milestone, and she wondered if Jurina was starting to think about her future.

Thinking of what laid ahead of her after SKE.

Rena could now predict her answer when Jurina averted her gaze and let out a small sigh. When Rena passed the audition to enter SKE, she was already 17. Her ultimate goal was crystal clear and she never hid her intentions: she aspired to become an actress. For Jurina, the situation was totally different. She had spent her entire adolescence within the idol group. SKE had been all her life; other ambitions never had the chance to form inside her young, innocent mind.

“I don’t know…” Jurina finally confessed. “Should I start thinking about it?”

Rena smiled and shook her head slowly. “No, I was only curious. I’m not worried about your future. I’m convinced you can become anything you desire if you truly want it.”

“Really? Like what?” Jurina looked back at her in interest. “Tell me.”

“Acting, modeling, singing,” Rena offered. “If you want to remain in the entertainment world, you can do all of those things easily. You are truly gifted. I know you will keep on shining long after SKE.”

“Thank you…” Jurina seized the hand that was gently brushing her cheek to lace their fingers together. “But for now, I think I want to focus all my energy on SKE. I’m not planning on graduating anytime soon.”

“I know,” Rena conceded with a small nod. “When the time has come, you’ll decide what career you want to pursue.”

“But if I became an actress, then we may have the opportunity to do a movie or a TV show together,” Jurina’s eyes lit up in realization. “Yes, I want to work with you again. We have to make it happen!”

Rena suppressed a laugh; Jurina’s enthusiasm was too adorable. “You should do what makes you happy. Stay in SKE as long as you wish, then listen to your heart and fulfill your other dreams.”

Her last words seemed to have triggered something within her, as Jurina’s expression turned very serious and thoughtful. Rena frowned a little at her change of mood, but waited patiently for her to continue. “What if…” Jurina spoke up hesitantly. “What if I’ve already realized most of them? What if I was truly at my happiest in SKE?”

“You’re still very young,” Rena reminded her kindly. “I know how much you’re attached to SKE and yes, it’s a significant period of your life, but Jurina Matsui can’t only be summarized as the center of SKE. You don’t realize it yet, but I’m convinced you’ll soon enough find something else you’re passionate about.”

Rena’s words didn’t receive any reply, and she could tell Jurina was truly processing her words when she looked away, and played absent-mindedly with her fingers. As she watched the younger girl lost deep in her thoughts, she wondered if Jurina wasn’t also dreading the immediate void that would follow her graduation from SKE.

It is true to say that a lot of members chose a normal, simpler life and never ventured back into the entertainment business once they graduated, but she somehow doubted the active and energetic ace who had enjoyed being under the spotlights for so many years would like to return to anonymity.

“I can’t manage to project myself so far in the future,” Jurina’s small murmur broke the silence. “I only want to think about the present.”

Yes, maybe it was still too much to ask; Rena admitted. Right now, Jurina’s main goal was to see SKE overcoming its difficulties and being successful again. Rena had one absolute certitude: Jurina would never leave the ship until she was positively sure it could sail without her. But when would that be?

Rena was a little disturbed when she found herself incapable to answer that question.

For so many years, the idol group had relied entirely on their faithful WCenters; the spotlight, responsibilities and pressure having fully shifted on their remaining ace since she had graduated. When would Jurina be able to pass the torch to younger generations? When would management finally be ready to place a new center at the head of the group?

Rena snapped out of her thoughts when a weight was suddenly lifted from her stomach and she gazed back at Jurina instantly, noting her mischievous expression as she leaned forward and inched closer to her lips. “Will you still love me… in 2017?”

“Well, it depends…” Rena wrapped her arms around her neck, her mouth tugging into an amused smile as she decided to play along. “Will you not get bored with me? Maybe you’ll prefer a younger and more athletic girlfriend. One that can go jogging with you every week-end, and that doesn’t put great emphasis on cleanliness. One that is not an avid collector of sneakers and a weird ota-”

“Oh, shut up,” Jurina sealed her lips hurriedly with a kiss. “I’ve known you for eight years. I think I can handle eight more ones without difficulty.”

“E-Eight more?!” Rena chuckled, staring back at her in disbelief. “Where is the girl who couldn’t project herself in the future five minutes ago?”

“That’s different,” Jurina’s tone softened. “You have always been precious to me. Why would it change now?”

Rena looked straight into her girlfriend’s eyes and smiled tenderly, planting a sweet kiss on her lips. When she pulled away, she rested her forehead against hers, smiling inwardly as Jurina’s previous, silly question submerged her mind.

How could she stop loving her? Jurina made her so happy.



 


 

Those moments of happiness were irrevocably gone.

Jurina had left her apartment barely a few seconds ago, and tears silently rolled down Rena’s cheeks as she stared at the front door, her fingers clutching the edge of the sink for support. In the distance, she could register the sound of Jurina’s footsteps fading away in the corridor, followed by the elevator’s doors opening the moment after.

Rena held her breath. More than anything, she hoped the other girl was not going to change her mind at the last minute and retrace her steps back to her apartment, knowing deep down she would never be able to maintain her mask in place if she faced her again. The second their eyes would meet, Jurina would notice her distress, and see through her lies right away.

One single look would be enough to understand that none of the words she had just uttered in that kitchen was true.

When the elevator’s doors closed to never open again, realization dawned on her that her girlfriend was truly never coming back. Now, she didn’t try to contain her tears any longer, tears streaming down her face as she detached her eyes from the door. Her knees weakened and she leaned her back against the sink, letting herself slid down to the cold, tile floor.

“I-I’m a monster…” Rena stammered, feeling sick to her stomach. “How could I… How could I do that to her?”

Burying her face in her shaking hands, deep uncontrollable sobs squeezed the breath from her lungs. After her graduation, she had promised not to hurt Jurina again. Jurina trusted her heart to be safe with her. And yet, only a few seconds had been enough to break her girlfriend’s heart in the most horrible way, and put an end to their beautiful two-year relationship.

Sorrow, anger, desperation – all spun and solidified into an ache unlike anything she'd ever experienced. As the sound of her endless crying resonated throughout the quiet and small apartment, Rena already knew she would never be able to forgive herself.


 


 

When, a little after 11 am, Airi arrived in front of Rena’s apartment and rang at the door, she couldn’t help - while waiting patiently for her friend to come and open - to reminisce the strange message she had received. Having an autograph session for the latest release of her comic book she had been busy all morning, and had only been able to check her phone once freed from her obligations. When she had opened it and read the message from Churi, she had to read it a few times to make sure her sight was not deceiving her.

Her immediate reaction was complete disbelief. None of it could be true, she kept repeating to herself again and again, wondering why on earth Churi would send her such a ridiculous text and ask impossible questions. A brief instant, the crazy idea of her friend playing a bad prank on her crossed her mind, before quickly realizing Churi would never joke about something so serious.

No matter how many times she read the message, she remained in denial. Rena couldn’t possibly have done what Churi stated. A few weeks ago, she had met Rena at Tokyo Disneyland. Even if the latter mentioned indeed encountering a few problems in her relationship with Jurina, her profound love for her was evident. She even hadn’t been shy to voice it loud and clear in front of her.

Maybe both girls had a fight, Airi tried to reason. A fight that led to a terrible misunderstanding on Jurina’s side. Yes, the young girl known to be sometimes very sensitive had to be growing things out of proportion. Most probably interpreting falsely something Rena had said or done. Because it was absolute nonsense to believe Rena would have come to such a decision.

The more Airi thought about it, the more she was convinced it was the only explanation possible. Yet, she couldn’t simply disregard the serious content of the message, and decided she needed to go straight to the source. Under normal circumstances, she wouldn’t have liked the idea of meddling in Rena’s private life in the least, but she felt an exception ought to be done. If only to alert her friend of Jurina’s current state of mind.

Airi had attempted to join Rena but had never managed to reach her, falling on her voicemail after a few seconds. Not concerned, she figured her friend may simply have left her phone in another room or muted the sound, as she had the habit to do when she was busy working from home. Having the afternoon entirely free, she put her phone away and – as the signing session was taking place not too far away from Rena’s place - decided to pay her a visit.

When a few, long seconds passed and the front door remained desperately shut, Airi wondered if Rena had not left momentarily to run an errand. Taking her phone out to assess it for herself she dialed Rena’s number, staring back at the door in confusion when she immediately recognized the familiar ringtone across the door. In fact, it sounded so close, that she was practically sure Rena had left her phone near the entrance.

Airi hung up, now having the confirmation that her friend was well present in the apartment as she initially believed. So why wasn’t she answering her phone or the door? Airi frowned a little, destabilized by the lack of response. There was no way Rena would have left her apartment without her phone: she never went anyway without it. Raising her arm, Airi decided to knock this time. “Rena? Are you here?”

Her second attempt proved to be as fruitless and Airi blinked, completely dumbfounded. As she was trying to grasp why her friend was refusing to answer when every bit of evidence indicated that she was home, Churi’s message came back to the forefront of her mind. She remembered vividly each word written in it and for the first time, considered the eventuality that there could be some truth to it.

As the idea nurtured inside her head, unease filled her chest. What if something serious had really happened between both Matsui? Something that led Rena to… No, it’s not possible, Airi’s guts were telling her not to trust Churi’s alarming message. They have a few issues, but she wouldn’t do that. She would never…

Searching her bag for her spare key, she retrieved it as soon as her fingers encountered the metallic object. When she turned the key inside the lock and entered Rena’s apartment, she chose to remain confident. In a few seconds, Rena was going to clear things up and confirm the situation wasn’t as bad as Churi described. 

Closing the front door behind her, her feet paused at the entrance, taking in the silence surrounding her. It would have been logical to deduce Rena was absent, but Airi didn’t get fooled when she noticed the familiar black vest and pair of blue and red sneakers in the entrance. The white Smartphone, currently on charge, was the last proof that her friend wasn’t very far.

Aligning carefully her shoes next to Rena’s, she progressed slowly in the hallway. “Rena?” she called tentatively, sweeping over the place, her attention soon drawn to a vase of blue flowers laying in the middle of the living room table. Airi guessed it had to be a gift from someone, considering forget-me-not wasn’t a type of flowers Rena usually used to decorate her apartment.

Advancing further inside the quiet place, she now asked herself if the older Matsui wasn’t resting in the bedroom. It would be a little strange for Rena to take a nap at such an early hour of the day, but it could explain her absence in the rest of the apartment and lack of response. Just as she was moving past the kitchen to check her theory, her feet stilled on the ground at once.

From her peripheral vision, she had distinguished a small silhouette in a corner of the kitchen, and she immediately tilted her head in its direction. When she saw Rena huddled up on the white tiled kitchen floor, her heart stopped. Given her puffy eyes and dried tears, there was no doubt possible something terrible had happened this morning.

Now more than apprehensive to learn the truth, she walked in the kitchen and knelt down before her, looking her straight in the eye as she placed a comforting hand on her knee. “What happened?”

Rena didn’t react.

Airi expected the other girl to acknowledge her presence at any time, but she never glanced back at her or said a word. In fact, the more she watched her sitting there motionless and staring into space, the more it looked like she was completely oblivious of her surroundings. Removing her hand from her knee, she brushed away delicately a few strands of hair covering her face, the action finally snapping Rena out of her daze.

Blinking, two small brown orbs gazed back at her in astonishment. “A-Airin? What… What are you doing here?”

“I received a text from Churi…” Airi started hesitantly. “She said something happened between Jurina and you. She said you…”

Airi stopped, finding it impossible to utter the fateful words. A part of her still naively wanted to believe it wasn’t as terrible as it seemed. Maybe they only had a fight. A very bad one, judging Rena’s current emotional state, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed. They would find a way back to each other; they always did.

“It’s true,” Rena’s voice quivered. “I broke up with her.”

Rena’s statement made her froze, and she stared back at her in incredulity. “I don’t understand.” Despite hearing the words loud and clear, she couldn’t believe what she had just admitted. None of it made sense. “Why?”

“I had no choice,” Rena stressed, holding back budding tears. “I needed to protect her.”

Airi was conscious this conversation was causing her friend a great deal of suffering. Maybe was she even reliving as she spoke painful memories. Memories of what she had said and done before her arrival. Despite it, Airi desperately sought answers. She needed to understand what was going on. “Protect Jurina? From what?”

That’s when it hit her. The conversation she had with Rena at Disneyland submerged her mind instantly, and she gradually put the pieces back together. That day, Rena was worried they may both still be targeted by a paparazzi. Another scandal wouldn’t just fragilize again Jurina’s position in the idol group, it could purely and simply force her to graduate. 

Rena was breaking up with Jurina to protect her career.

Airi took a seat back on the floor, letting the shocking information sink in. She hadn’t detected the warning signs. She had completely failed to read between the lines. But how could she one second imagine Rena would resort to such drastic measures? She loved Jurina from the bottom of her heart. By doing this, she wasn’t only hurting Jurina. She was also hurting herself.

“I understand what you’re trying to achieve. I really do,” Airi couldn’t hold it against her for wanting to protect the one she loved. Yet, she couldn’t in good conscience let her make a decision that would ruin the beautiful relationship she had with Jurina. “There has to be another way. There has to-”

“There isn’t,” Airi was taken aback when Rena cut her off abruptly. “Trust me, I’ve already been trying to come up with a solution for months. It’s the only way. It’s the only…”

Airi’s heart sank when tears suddenly poured down Rena’s cheeks, and she didn’t wait to gather her into her arms and hold her tight. It wasn’t a decision taken on the spur of the moment; of this she was certain. And, as she felt the thin body trembling against her, she blamed herself for not comprehending her turmoil much sooner. Rena was only trying to do what was right, but at what cost? Airi refused to believe protecting Jurina’s position in SKE implied such a heavy sacrifice.

This business couldn’t be so cruel. It couldn’t be separating two human beings who loved one another so unconditionally.

“If you talk to Jurina and explain her why you said that, I’m sure she’ll forgive you. Together, you’ll find something. A way to protect her career in SKE while preserving your relationship. What if you took a temporary break? I know it’s not ideal, but…” Another time, Airi wouldn’t have kept on insisting so much, but there was too much at stake right now. “I’m sure it’s not too lat-”

“Please stop,” Rena’s small, sobbing voice prevented her from continuing. “I’ve already thought about all that. What would a few more months change?”

Airi wanted to reply something; anything that could succeed in changing Rena’s mind, but she was quickly running out of arguments. Rena had visibly already thought this through, and she was having the bad impression that everything she was saying was falling on deaf ears.

“Don’t do this,” Airi refused to relent. “Jurina believes you don’t love her anymore. You need to tell her why you did this…”

“She must never know,” Airi was caught off guard when Rena suddenly broke their embrace. “You have no idea how much I feel bad you got involved into this, but I beg you. You can’t tell Jurina or Akane the truth. Otherwise, I would have done this for nothing.”

Another retort was threatening to fall from Airi’s lips at any second, but she kept her mouth shut at Rena’s pleading look. Airi was well conscious of what her friend was demanding. Not only she wanted her to finally accept the situation and let it go, she was also asking her to keep a secret. Every fiber of her being was telling her this wasn’t right; that Rena would later regret it deeply if she didn’t come back on her decision and tell Jurina the truth.

But what more could she add? She had already stated her point of view clearly; tried a few times desperately to reason her. And not once her words had managed to sway her interlocutor. Not even a little. Rena was determined to go all the way – no matter how much she was suffering from such a decision - and she was powerless in stopping her.

Airi nodded a little reluctantly, the small relief spreading across Rena’s features failing to alleviate her discomfort. Breaking her trust was obviously out of the question; she owed it to her to respect her wishes. Disclosing the content of their conversation would never had occurred to her anyway. Only one person could tell the truth to Jurina; and that was Rena herself.

Airi looked into her watery eyes and reached for her hand, the urge to comfort her stronger than anything. As Rena leaned forward and rested her head on her shoulder, Airi promised herself to never let her best friend down. The future was murky and uncertain, but she would faithfully remain by her side to help her go through the difficult times coming ahead.







TO BE CONTINUED
My WMatsui fanfics:

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

OTHER FANFICS
- Back in Time | Ongoing
- Warriors | On hiatus (will return in December 2017)
- One Shot collection: Her Sun | Completed
- Fire and Water | On hiatus

Feedback is deeply appreciated, and comments motivate me to write!

Offline sadrilim

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  • I create and I read. Silent Reader
Hi author San,

Good day, I been absent so long in the fanfic things, but even after a long break, your fanfic still caught me off guard.
Love how you write the story. But I do hope you give them a Happy endings, not like the real relationship between them. For every pairing I ship, wmatsui is the one that I hardly make again since Rena graduation ( since I realize their real relationship just based on business type).  :cry:

Offline Genkikid

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I want this story to end soon so their agony could stop but yet I don't want one of my favorite story to ends

Offline RenaHaruka

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Author -san, I'm a fan of Rena and a BIG fan of Wmatsui, so really thank so much for all your wonderful fanfic. The moment I started reading the 1st chapter of Heartbeat fanfic, I can't stop until the end, really a masterpiece  :luvluv1:
For the lastest chapter of Destiny, eventhough I am sad with the separation of Wmatsui, but I do think it is a necessary story development. However, I'm sincerely praying the ending of this story will be a Happy Ending instead, because Wmatsui is meant to be together  :luvluv2:

Offline Minami-chan

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I feel really distressed by Rena's situation.
She has really had to interject her feelings for Jurina to continue her career as Idol
What makes me doubt will be ... in what emotional state would leave this separation to Jurina.

Offline Blackdawn

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  • Blackindisguise-tendtoforgetbutnotmahfavfics

Offline Bukiyou Taiyou

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I really love the first part of this chapter. The flashback is like a breath of fresh air after gloomy days. How I miss that moment when everything was okay.

I like this part when Rena was being playful:

>> “Well, it depends…” Rena wrapped her arms around her neck, her mouth tugging into an amused smile as she decided to play along. “Will you not get bored with me? Maybe you’ll prefer a younger and more athletic girlfriend. One that can go jogging with you every week-end, and that doesn’t put great emphasis on cleanliness. One that is not an avid collector of sneakers and a weird ota-”


But I like Jurina's reaction more! It was SEXY!

>> “Oh, shut up,” Jurina sealed her lips hurriedly with a kiss.

*cry a river*

Anyway, it's sad to see Rena in a such devastated situation. She thought she didn't have options. In fact, she could actually choose a whole different choice like offered by Airi. Well...at least Airi was there with her. Rena badly needed a friend.

I wonder how Jurina deals with her broken heart. I hope she could fix it soon.

Thank you for the update, author-san!

Offline Guacamoolee

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First of all, it hurts seeing Rena broke down like that while I couldn't do anything about it. I felt like giving her a bear hug at that time :mon whine: :err:
Secondly, why do I surprise when I found out that Airi got a spare key of Rena's apartment? Did I miss something here? :mon dunno:
Now that Rena has Airi by her side, I assume Akane is the one whom Jurina overcome this difficult time with. I'm so glad that Furuyanagi always been a great help for both Matsui. Just how many chapter of frustration more we need to get through? :cry:
Thanks for the update!
Still waiting for Jurina's pov of this situation~

Bravo!
:mon thumb:

Ps. I just noticed your profile description, it says "Faithful Wmatsui shipper" and I can't help but laugh! When did you change it? XD

Offline sophcaro

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    • sophcaro
REPLIES TO COMMENTS


Hi author San,

Good day, I been absent so long in the fanfic things, but even after a long break, your fanfic still caught me off guard.
Love how you write the story. But I do hope you give them a Happy endings

Glad to see you back and I appreciate your kind words. You know I can't spoil anything about the story, but I hope you'll still enjoy reading until the end!

I want this story to end soon so their agony could stop but yet I don't want one of my favorite story to ends

I understand what you mean. It's difficult when characters we are attached to go through painful times. But this story is not about to end. There are still many more chapters to come!

Author -san, I'm a fan of Rena and a BIG fan of Wmatsui, so really thank so much for all your wonderful fanfic. The moment I started reading the 1st chapter of Heartbeat fanfic, I can't stop until the end, really a masterpiece  :luvluv1:

Hi! I'm always happy to learn this trilogy attracts new readers  :)

For the lastest chapter of Destiny, eventhough I am sad with the separation of Wmatsui, but I do think it is a necessary story development. However, I'm sincerely praying the ending of this story will be a Happy Ending instead, because Wmatsui is meant to be together  :luvluv2:

I also think it was a necessary development to the story, so I'm glad you share my opinion on that aspect. Stick to the end to discover what happens to our beloved WMatsui!  :thumbup

I feel really distressed by Rena's situation.
She has really had to interject her feelings for Jurina to continue her career as Idol

Yes, Rena really had to make a heavy sacrifice, and it was important to show how much this decision was also affecting her.

I really love the first part of this chapter. The flashback is like a breath of fresh air after gloomy days. How I miss that moment when everything was okay.

I'm glad you enjoyed that flashback scene! As you well described, I wrote it for its 'breath of fresh air' vibe, but also because I needed to convey a few important ideas about Jurina and SKE.


I wonder how Jurina deals with her broken heart. I hope she could fix it soon.

We will see Jurina's side of things in next chapter!

Secondly, why do I surprise when I found out that Airi got a spare key of Rena's apartment? Did I miss something here? :mon dunno:

Airi has a spare key of Rena's appartment since the beginning of the trilogy. Maybe reading again chapter 3 of Heartbeat will refresh your memory  ;)

Just how many chapter of frustration more we need to get through? :cry:

Define 'frustration'?  :nervous

Ps. I just noticed your profile description, it says "Faithful Wmatsui shipper" and I can't help but laugh! When did you change it? XD

I didn't think anyone would really notice.  XD I think I added that a month ago?
I've seen so many former WMatsui shippers moving to other fandoms or shifting their focus to new ships, that it was my simple way of saying I would always remain completely dedicated to WMatsui :heart:
« Last Edit: May 23, 2017, 03:53:03 PM by sophcaro »
My WMatsui fanfics:

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

OTHER FANFICS
- Back in Time | Ongoing
- Warriors | On hiatus (will return in December 2017)
- One Shot collection: Her Sun | Completed
- Fire and Water | On hiatus

Feedback is deeply appreciated, and comments motivate me to write!

Offline sophcaro

  • Member+
  • Posts: 267
  • Faithful WMatsui shipper
    • sophcaro
CHAPTER 23



Churi opened her eyes slowly as she distinguished the light, familiar sobbing behind her back. It was the middle of the night and she was feeling awfully tired, but Churi couldn’t hold it against the other girl for unconsciously waking her up. A small, helpless sigh escaped her lips as she listened quietly to the heartwrenching manifestation of Jurina’s sorrow. It had already been two weeks, and Churi still couldn’t conceive what Rena had dared to do.

That Sunday morning of early April was still vividly imprinted inside her head, and she didn’t believe she would ever manage to erase that dreadful day from her mind. How could she? Without notice, Jurina had appeared on her doorstep, shaking like a leaf and tears streaming down her face. Deeply worried, Churi had listened intently as Jurina opened her mouth a few times to speak, but her speech was slurred and barely comprehensible.

When the revelation had finally left Jurina’s quivering lips, Akane had stared at her in incredulity for a few long seconds, before hugging tightly the girl who sought solace from her grief in her arms. When they entered her apartment, many questions piled up in her head. At some point that morning, she had texted Airi in search of answers, but the latter had remained strangely very silent.

Was it because she didn’t know either anything about it and was discovering the facts through her message? Or was she already well aware of them but refusing to say anything in order to protect the other party involved? In the end, Churi chose to leave her interrogations momentarily aside, focusing her attention instead on consoling the devastated twenty years old ace.

As the day went by and Jurina proved to be completely inconsolable, Churi felt it wasn’t wise for her to resume her activities on Monday as planned. She just had her heart shattered into pieces; she was emotionally too fragile. Nevertheless, she thought it best to keep her thoughts to herself, knowing in advance Jurina would never accept to take a break anyway.

When they both went back to work on Monday, she kept a close eye on her. One thing was for certain: Jurina’s moral was at its lowest when the SKE members arrived at Roppongi in Tokyo, and entered one of the dressing rooms belonging to TV Asahi.

The whole time they got prepared for the performance, Churi couldn’t help stealing worried glances in Jurina’s direction. Before leaving her place, Jurina had already cleverly covered her red and swollen eyes with makeup but she still made her sure her appearance gave nothing away when she checked herself in the mirror, not hesitating to apply a little more here and there when needed.

The illusion was perfect. Not only members failed completely to detect Jurina’s distress, the performance went on smoothly, a fake smile plastered on Jurina’s face while she danced in rhythm with the energetic song, and assumed her leading role effectively when she answered politely after that to questions asked.

As the week went by and Jurina never showed or expressed her suffering in public, the truth always emerged once they reached Churi’s apartment and found themselves alone. That Sunday, Churi had invited her to sleep at her place as long as she wished, and Jurina had taken up upon her offer. As soon as the door was closed and she was confronted with her darkest thoughts, tears would inevitably spill from her eyes. Tears she didn’t bother to brush away or hide in front of her.

Churi was always careful not to pronounce a certain name in Jurina’s presence, aware of the great deal of pain this person was already causing her.

No matter how many times she mulled it inside her head, she still couldn’t fathom the reason why she had suddenly decided to put an end to their relationship. A few months ago, she had witnessed clearly in Rena’s eyes her deep concern when she had come unannounced at her apartment to see Jurina. As soon as the pictures were released, the actress hadn’t waited nor hesitated to come back from Osaka to be by her girlfriend’s side and support her.

Undeniably, Rena wasn’t the most expansive person in the world but her actions spoke louder than words. That day, when she let her come inside her apartment and saw her walking towards the bedroom, her love for Jurina made absolutely no doubt to her.

It is true to say they had had a few disagreements in the past. More than a few times, Churi had been truly bothered by certain decisions Rena had made. For reasons she still didn’t understand, the latter had a bad tendency to keep certain things secret from Jurina, involuntarily hurting her in the process. Why didn’t she straight away inform Jurina of her decision to graduate? Why did the poor girl have to discover the truth through a graduation letter placed on her desk?

Not once in her life, Churi had ever expressed the slight resentment towards anyone. Human beings had qualities and flaws; they made mistakes. You couldn’t expect them to be perfect. Moreover, she believed to have a very forgiving nature. It simply wasn’t like her to hold a grudge against someone. In the light of the recent events, she could feel her opinion about the SKE’s ex-member changing. Little by little, she was losing the respect she always had for Rena Matsui.

Churi released another sigh when Jurina’s crying showed no sign of stopping, and she slowly turned around. As her eyes bored into Jurina’s back, she pondered over what to say to alleviate her pain. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the first time she heard the younger girl weeping during the night, even if it had diminished a little these last few days. Again, she was thinking about her. And again, Churi feared her words would only have a limited impact.

Her sole desire was to help her go through this difficult time, but there was no miracle cure. Not only had she no idea how long it would take for Jurina to recover from this, she deeply hoped it wouldn’t leave permanent scars. Rena had always been a constancy in her life, and now she was completely disoriented without her. After losing her WCenter, she had now been separated from her lover. A lover she had cherished and remained utterly devoted to for two long years. 

It wasn’t an act of thoughtlessness; the unfortunate consequence of an honest mistake on Rena’s behalf. This time, Rena was fully aware of what she was doing. Aware of the consequence her terrible words would provoke. No, Rena had absolutely no excuses for causing Jurina such pain. 

Refusing to hear Jurina’s painful cries any longer, Churi scooted closer to her in the bed, and slipped an arm around her waist. “I’m here… Try not to think about it.”

The body against her tensed a little in reaction, but the sobbing thankfully ceased after a little while. “I’m sorry I woke you up…” Churi wished so much she could erase the culpability she easily detected in Jurina’s trembling voice. “I should have slept on the couch. Yes, I should-”

“No, don’t worry about it,” Churi tightened her hold when the other girl tried to move away.  “I don’t mind if you wake me up. I told you I would be here for you, and I meant it.”

Jurina didn’t protest, and stopped resisting the strong arms that were keeping her in place. Once Churi was sure she wouldn’t attempt to leave the bed she loosened her grip, finding Jurina’s fingers to lace them together. They stayed in that position for a little while, and Churi was relieved when she felt the other girl relaxing.

Even if she had apparently managed to calm her down, she remained cautious. Considering Jurina’s small movements inside the bed, she knew she was still awake, and experience had taught her a moment of relapse was always possible. One second Jurina was smiling and looked perfectly fine; the next she could be crying her heart out.

These last two weeks, she had witnessed so many times those changes of mood. When she thought she had succeeded in putting an end to her tears, they would roll down her cheeks a few minutes later without warning. That’s why she refused to close her eyes before being sure Jurina had fallen asleep again.

All of a sudden, she felt the other girl breaking the embrace, and she gazed at her in curiosity as Jurina slowly turned around to face her. “Thank you for letting me stay at your place.”

Churi lifted a hand and cupped her cheek tenderly. “You don’t need to thank me. You know you’re welcomed to stay here as long as you wish. I’m your friend. You can always count on me.”

“I know…” Jurina’s throat constricted. “Thank you. Thank you for not letting me down. I don’t know what I would do if you… if you weren’t…”

“I’m not going anywhere,” Churi wiped away a tear with her thumb.

When Jurina buried herself deep against her chest, she slowly wrapped her arms around her body, longing to bring her the necessary warmth and comfort. Jurina’s breathing was shallow and fast, and she knew she was doing her best to control her emotions and prevent new tears from falling. Churi dipped her head down to hers, kissing the hair on the top of her head. Jurina needed a friend by her side; a shoulder to lean on. And she was going to be that person, no matter how long it would take.

If only she could find a way to take her pain away, then she would gladly do it.







It had taken a few days and a lot of reflection for Jurina to finally decide to go back home. These last two weeks, she had spent every night at Churi’s apartment, and mostly communicated with her mother through texts, and short phone calls. When she had informed her mother of her desire to stay with Churi for a little while, the latter hadn’t protested, not that she expected her to. These last years, she had slept quite a lot at Rena’s and Churi’s apartments; her mother was obviously pretty much used to her sleepovers by now.

To be honest, she still felt a little nervous when she entered her home, not knowing how she was going to face her mother. Since she was a child, she had always been very close to her, and there were very few topics that they didn’t discuss together. Her mother had always been her greatest ally; encouraging her to enter SKE and supporting her unconditionally these last eight years.

However, when her relationship with Rena took an unexpected turn and they ceased being simple co-workers, she never managed to find the courage in her to admit the truth to her mother. It wasn’t because her mother disliked her WCenter; quite the contrary. Each time the girl who shared the same surname was mentioned in a conversation, her mother always had very nice things to say about her.

Her mother appreciated Rena sincerely; Jurina never had an ounce a doubt about that. Nevertheless, she feared her opinion about her would change altogether if she discovered the true nature of their relationship. Maybe it was a mistake on her behalf; maybe she should have trusted her mother more and believe in her capacity to accept and embrace their relationship. In the end, she would never get answers to those questions.

Because she didn’t have anything to admit, anymore.

As she turned the key inside the lock, she prayed her appearance was appropriate enough. These last two weeks were pretty restless, and she knew her lack of sleep was definitely showing when she didn’t wear any makeup. Obviously, her mother would immediately notice the bags under her eyes, but she hoped she wouldn’t interrogate her too much about it.

“I’m home,” Jurina announced her arrival, removing her shoes and putting on the blue slippers waiting for her at the entrance.

As she progressed slowly inside, she swept the place in search of her mother, her feet stopping on the floor when she arrived in front of the kitchen, and saw the one she was looking for wearing a black apron and just about to open the fridge. At her approach, the warm smile of her mother greeted her instantly. “Welcome back. I was going to prepare your favorite for dinner.”

“You were?” Jurina’s eyes lit up in surprise. “Let me help you, then.”

Jurina detached the blue apron from the hanger and passed it around her neck, before tying the knot behind her back. Jurina always praised her mother for being a great cook; she had learned so many things by simply watching her in action. Much as she was pretty much used to cooking alone by now, she still enjoyed doing it with others, most especially her mother. Taking a deep breath, Jurina opened a cupboard to retrieve her favorite pasta, hoping secretly the activity and presence of her mother would enable her to take her mind off things for at least a few hours.







“How is Akane-san?”

Jurina looked up from the TV screen, watching her mother who had just arrived in the living room, and recognizing instantly the familiar red rectangular box inside her left hand. Well, it appeared her mother truly had every intention of pleasing her this evening, Jurina mused as the latter placed the brand-new box of Pino on the coffee table in front of her. Those small vanilla ice creams covered with chocolate had always been her favorites.

“She’s fine,” Jurina replied, scooting a little further away on the sofa when her mother manifested her intention to sit by her side. “She’s busy with SKE and her extra activities. Her scenic pictures are now featured in a magazine once a month.”

“Really?” Jurina’s mother’s voice pitched up in surprise. “It seems like things are really going well for her. It’s true she has always been passionate about photography. Maybe she’ll want to seriously continue on that path after SKE?”

“Maybe,” Jurina leaned forward to take a red plastic pick from the box. “Photography is not her only passion. She can do so many things; but I don’t believe she’s thinking about graduating quite yet.”

After that, they both quietly watched the movie playing on the screen, Jurina eating a few ice creams before leaning casually her head on her mother’s shoulder. Unconsciously, her thoughts drifted to Rena a few times, and she hated the pain the mere thought always provoked deep inside her. She couldn’t help it; it was stronger than her. Much as she wished she could forget about the girl who had broken her heart, she refused to let her mind in peace very long.

During the day, her work for SKE and extra-activities were thankfully keeping her busy enough to not think about anything else, but it was a complete nightmare once she had a little spare time, or when she reached Churi’s apartment at the end of her day. Under normal circumstances, a small respite would enable her to physically and mentally rest. Lately, Jurina dreaded those specific moments. Not only did they serve to make her brain even more active, she could never prevent a familiar face from invading her mind.

Rena wasn’t by her side anymore, but she remained constantly in her thoughts. Her simple image provoked fresh tears with incredible ease. Each time she cried over the girl she had lost, she desperately wished she had the power to go back in time. A part of her still stubbornly refused to accept the possibility of not having the other girl in her life anymore.

Some days, when the pain became unbearable, the thought of running back to Rena’s apartment crossed her foolish mind. Maybe if she demonstrated all the love she had for her, then the other girl would come back on her decision and give her another chance. When the idea grew to the point where she almost considered taking action, Rena’s words submerged her mind once again.

Rena had broken up with her because she had fallen out of love with her.

There was nothing to repair anymore.

It was already too late.

“I’ve always loved that ring on you,” Jurina came back to reality at the sound of her mother’s delicate voice, looking down to her hand when she felt her mother lightly brushing her ring finger. “It’s simple and elegant at the same time. How is Rena-san doing? You haven’t spoken about her all evening.”

Jurina tensed. For a short instant, she found it a little curious the way the conversation had suddenly switched from her ring to Rena, almost as if her mother was making a connection between both. She was only being paranoid, Jurina quickly brushed it off as a figment of her imagination. Her mother believed this ring to be a simple gift she had one day bought for herself at Shibuya; she knew nothing about the existence of the matching rings.

“I don’t know,” Jurina replied, keeping her eyes glued on the screen as she refused to meet her mother’s inquisitive gaze. “We haven’t spoken in a while.”

“You haven’t?” Her mother sounded genuinely surprised. “Did… something happen between you two?”

“Things have changed between us,” Jurina made sure her voice stayed steady, but she could already feel her eyes moistening. “We’re not as close as we used to. I don’t think we’ll spend much time together in the future.”

“Oh…”

Jurina’s chest tightened, hoping deep down her answer would satisfy her mother, and she would finally drop the subject. As she pretended to be interested in the movie playing on the television, she was suddenly caught off guard when her mother slipped her hand inside hers. “I’m so sorry to hear that. I know you were very close but sometimes, people drift apart. It doesn’t mean they forget about you or stop caring.”

Jurina felt tears springing to her eyes and she slowly slipped her fingers away from her grasp, mustering her best smile when she stood up from the sofa. “I’m a little tired. I think I should go to sleep.”

Jurina didn’t wait for her mother’s reaction and left the living room, relief filling her chest once she was safely inside her bedroom. Leaning her back against the door, she didn’t try to suppress her tears anymore, letting them fall down her cheeks freely. As she lifted her shaking hand and stared at the silver ring circling her ring finger, she cursed the object for inadvertently triggering this whole conversation. She had so desperately wished her mother wouldn’t mention Rena tonight.

Since that day of July she had exchanged matching rings with Rena in Kyoto, she had never removed her ring once. How could she? It was too meaningful; it symbolized her love and eternal devotion to Rena. But there was no more Rena and she. So why was she still wearing that ring? Tentatively, she tried to slid her ring off her finger, but stopped when she simply couldn’t find the strength within her to go all the way.







When Airi arrived that evening at Rena’s apartment for dinner, she couldn’t help feeling a little apprehensive at what she was going to see on the other side of the door. These last two weeks, she had visited her friend quite often, willing to stand by her words and be by her side to support her. After that dreadful day, she had never shed tears in her presence again, but Airi knew her all too well.

In eight years, Rena’s perfect polite and graceful smile – the one she loved to show in public or for magazines - never managed to trick her in the slightest.

Even if she didn’t manifest her pain verbally or physically, it literally transpired on every inch of her skin. The dried tears she would sometimes witness on her pale face betrayed her true feelings. They indicated with absolute clarity what she had been doing behind closed doors, out of sight and away from prying eyes.

Tonight, when Rena opened the door and they faced each other for the third time this week, Airi was admittingly a little relieved not to witness the usual signs of distress. Yes, her friend still looked awfully pale and tired, not to mention quite thin. However, her face didn’t show any sign of crying. Maybe was she only catching her on a good day… Nevertheless, the reassuring sight still managed to be of small consolation.

The state of her apartment; that was another matter altogether. As long as she remembered, Rena had always been a very organized person, who made a point of maintaining everything neat and tidied around her. Lately, she had never seen her place so messy. Dishes forgotten in the sink. Magazines and DVDs scattered all over the floor. Clothes piling up in the washing basket.

If she didn’t know any better, she could easily believe she had stepped by mistake in a complete stranger’s apartment.

Airi never dared to say a word about it, knowing perfectly well what had triggered those abnormal changes in Rena’s habits and routine. Her breakup with Jurina had devastated her, and turned her life completely upside down. Yes, the person standing in front of her technically looked and spoke like her best friend, but she wasn’t the same anymore. That Sunday of early April, something had broken inside her.

And she didn’t know when she would finally be able to see the light returning inside her eyes again.

Dinner was nearing its end as they were both finishing eating the profiteroles Airi had brought for dessert. Since her arrival at Rena’s apartment, they had mostly engaged in small talk, talking about how their day went, and a few shows and movies they had watched lately. Now, they had both fallen quiet, and Airi couldn’t help stealing a peek now and then at her friend eating the French patisserie made of vanilla ice cream opposite her, wondering what could be going on inside her head right now.

Of course, Rena’s calm appearance gave nothing away of her feelings and thoughts, and her eyes fell absent-mindedly on the necklace she was wearing. When she had spot for the first time the silver chain around Rena’s neck, it was merely a few days after her breakup with Jurina. It was a new piece of jewellery Airi had never seen before, and that Rena wore each time she visited her. More than once, she wondered why her friend didn’t make the pendant visible, but constantly kept it carefully hidden underneath her clothes.

“I’m happy to see you,” Airi looked up from the mysterious necklace when Rena addressed her, “but you really don’t have to come and see me so often.”

“I was just passing in the neighborhood,” Airi answered, but she had always been a terrible liar. A fact that got confirmed once again when Rena gave her a knowing look. “Alright, I was not. But I wanted to see how you were doing.”

“I’m fine,” A faint smile formed on Rena’s lips. “Actually, I’ll soon be leaving Nagoya for a little while. I’m shooting a drama next month in Tokyo.”

“How long will you be gone?” Airi asked, a little surprised by the revelation. Yes, she remembered Rena mentioning being offered an interesting, new role recently – something about a pair of detectives investigating a series of murders - but she had no idea she had accepted it.

“I’m not quite sure,” Rena replied thoughtfully. “The total number of episodes has not been established yet, but I would say for at least a month. Do you want to take a look at the script of the first episode?”

“Of course,” Airi nodded, the other girl standing up from the table and moving in the direction of the living room. Unfortunately, her search proved apparently much fruitless as – after checking the coffee table, shelves and even the sofa a few times – she ended up turning towards her with a puzzled expression, and very empty-handed. “I was sure I had left it there. It has to be in the bedroom.”

Airi watched her silently until she disappeared around the corner and inside the bedroom, her attention soon drawn to the vase of forget-me-not placed on the table. Airi recognized them instantly: it was the exact same blue flowers she had seen on Rena’s table two weeks ago. After all this time, the water had turned yellow and cloudy, and the petals that were once a beautiful light blue had faded long ago…

Airi didn’t know why her friend still hadn’t thrown them away. Another time, Rena wouldn’t have waited to dispose of them as soon as the flowers would have lost their colors and freshness. In the end, she deduced it went along with the general bad state of her apartment. Maybe Rena had noticed, but didn’t bother to take care of the problem. Or maybe she hadn’t even paid attention to the flowers at all.

When Rena appeared still busy searching her script in the bedroom and showed no sign of returning immediately, Airi decided to put her time to good use. Rising from her chair, she gathered their empty plates from the table, and carried them away with the vase of faded flowers to the kitchen.

Opening the door below the sink to access the bin, she slipped the faded flowers inside. They looked really beautiful when she first saw them, Airi had to admit as she closed the door, and emptied inside the sink the water from the red, crystal vase. Unfortunately, fresh flowers only had a limited lifetime. They couldn’t bloom eternally.

“Where are the flowers?”

Startled, Airi jumped a little at the sound of Rena’s voice. She had been so lost in her own little world that she had completely failed to hear her friend leaving the bedroom and approaching. Placing cautiously the empty, cleaned vase on the counter, she turned around, noticing the other girl standing next to the living room table, the found script in hand.

“The forget-me-nots?” she asked for clarification, receiving an immediate nod in reply. “I threw them away. They had faded.”

“You… threw them?” Rena repeated.

“Wasn’t I supposed to?” Airi had only meant well, but Rena’s upset look was a clear indication that she had made a mistake. “We can buy new ones if you like. I’m sure I saw them at the flower shop at the corner of the street.”

“I don’t want new flowers,” Rena murmured back. “I liked those. I just liked… those.”

Airi stared at her in perplexity, not knowing what to make of Rena’s declaration. Her behavior was making absolute no sense to her, and she failed to grasp why her friend seemed so strangely attached to those forget-me-nots in particular. Even if it was a present from someone – a beautiful one indeed - they had faded long ago. Who would keep faded flowers in their home?

Unless…

That’s when realization hit her. Wait, that was it.

Those flowers were a gift from someone.

But not just anyone.

“I’m so sorry, I didn’t know,” Airi stammered. “I didn’t know they were from her.”

Airi swallowed in unease, waiting in apprehension for Rena’s reaction. Why on earth didn’t she put two and two together when she came by Rena’s apartment two weeks ago? It would have prevented her from making a colossal blunder just now. Rena hadn’t simply forgotten to throw those flowers away as she initially believed, she had left them here on purpose.

Rena didn’t say anything.

After a little while, she slowly took a seat at the living room table, her fingers tracing absently the space where the flowers were previously placed. “Between the two of us, Jurina has always been the romantic. She constantly liked to shower me with affection and presents. I told her more than once that she didn’t need to do all those things, but she never listened. No one could stop Jurina once she had something inside her head.”

With empty eyes and a melancholic smile, Rena fixed the blue petals that had fallen around the vase on the table.

“When she came by that evening for dinner, I almost considered cancelling at the last minute. I was feeling so terrible; I doubted being good company. But the simple view of those flowers managed to put a smile on my face. For a short instant, it brought me back to the past. To a time when we were so happy.”

Airi walked out of the kitchen and took a seat opposite her, reaching out for her hand when she distinguished tears gathering in her eyes. “Maybe leaving Nagoya for a little while will do you some good,” she tried to sound reassuring.

A weak smile was all she got in return, and Airi gave her fingers a comforting squeeze. She couldn’t help blaming herself a little for her unfortunate mistake, hating being the indirect reason for Rena’s tears. However, this incident also served to reinforce one of her deepest convictions. Yes, they avoided mentioning Jurina when they were together, and Rena was careful never to show her tears in front of her.

She remained completely inhabited by the memory of the love of her life.





TO BE CONTINUED

 
« Last Edit: May 30, 2017, 04:25:00 PM by sophcaro »
My WMatsui fanfics:

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

OTHER FANFICS
- Back in Time | Ongoing
- Warriors | On hiatus (will return in December 2017)
- One Shot collection: Her Sun | Completed
- Fire and Water | On hiatus

Feedback is deeply appreciated, and comments motivate me to write!

Offline Genkikid

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Offline Minami-chan

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New chapter!
I'm so glad you've updated. Besides, I was thinking about it the other day.
The point of view of Churi is being very important because we were seeing the real state of Jurina.
It seems that Rena is just as bad or worse than Jurina.

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