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Author Topic: Portraits (Atsumina) Chapter 4 Part 2  (Read 30696 times)

Offline atsuminaFTW

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Re: Portraits (Atsumina) Chapter 3.5 - An Interlude
« Reply #100 on: May 05, 2013, 06:05:03 PM »
Wow, it's been a while since I last saw an update for this fic... Had to re-read the whole thing just so I could remember the plot :sweatdrop:

Nice job, Hitobo-san :thumbsup I'm definitely gonna be looking forward to your next update :panic:
SKE's Spanish halfie has gotten my heart without even trying

Offline lezperv

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Re: Portraits (Atsumina) Chapter 3.5 - An Interlude
« Reply #101 on: August 16, 2013, 10:20:36 PM »
YES!!! Finally they got together  :farofflook:

everything was really beautifully well written, my heart went doki doki at some parts  :nya:

I really hope you can update soon and more  :kneelbow:

ATSUMINA POWER!!!  :on GJ:

p.s. hopefully Minami would surprise Atsuko more with her love hugs and kisses  :shy2:
Forever AtsuMina/TakAcchan/TakAtsuko <3 . Follow me ^_^ .
My Fanfics: Shiroi x Kuroi Tenshi, Maji, Kowai!, Nisemono, Futari (Ong) Devil Wears Prada (Hiatus) I Want to Lock You Up (OS) Three Chances (Fanfic Winner 2014) Naze (Fanfic Winner 2015)
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Offline Hitobo

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Portraits (Atsumina) Chapter 4 Part 1
« Reply #102 on: September 27, 2013, 07:39:14 AM »
Aww, yeah!  An update!  To be honest, I was going to post this yesterday, but... To all of the brokenhearted Atsumina shippers of the world, I sincerely apologize.  More than once I've prepared an update to post the next day and woken to the news of something in real life that affects the pairing.  It seems my updates are cursed.  Should I stop writing?

Now let's see here:

This chapter comes with these warnings/general fan fiction reminders/random thoughts from the author:
1- From here on out, the majority of this story will be purely of my imagination.  (Sorry.)  That said,
2- Characters may or may not be out of... well, character.
3- Some events/happenings (like the secret 'election' already made reference to earlier in the story) are obviously of my creation.  If a real life event is mentioned, I will likely stray from the factual account of the event.
4- "Lullaby, and good night, sleep tight little Acchan."
5- This is not going to become one of those, "Will they or won't they?" teenage angst/hormone driven stories.
6- EXPOSITION
7- Even more exposition!
8- Buckle up; you're in for a (sort of) long haul this time.
9- My original intention with this fanfic was to focus not only on Minami and Atsuko's relationship, but also their friendships with the others.  With this and future updates, I hope to stay true to that goal.

Disclaimer: Though all characters contained herein are based on actual persons, monetary profit has been neither sought nor gained with the writing of this story.  This story is purely fictional, and nothing within it should be used as source material for Wikipedia.

Without further ado:
       “I told you we wouldn’t need to say anything, but you worried about it anyway,” Atsuko said with a sigh as she watched the two disappear.  Minami responded with a sheepish smile and was about to step away when Atsuko spoke again.  “So…” she began as she draped her arms around Minami’s waist.  When she felt the other girl take her hands, she bent down to whisper in her ear with a teasingly seductive tone.  “May I have an encore?”
Portraits
An AKB48 Fan Fiction
Chapter 4, Part 1


          [I miss you.]

          Minami stared at the message on her phone and smiled bitterly.  Placing the manga she was reading aside, she sat up against her headboard with a small groan.  Nyaachan stirred beside her, purring happily in her sleep.  Though Minami was always happy to receive a message from Atsuko, it served a heart achingly dual purpose of being a reminder that they were not presently together.  She had received this same message six consecutive evenings now and each time had replied in kind,

          [I miss you, too.]

          Thus began their nightly conversations.  It was late, nearly eleven, and yet it was apparent that Atsuko was still out working somewhere and so was unable to simply call.  Admittedly, however, there was a part of Minami that found a bit of relief in this fact.  If Atsuko were to call, Minami was certain that upon hearing the exhaustion in the other girl’s voice she’d be too upset to hold a pleasant conversation.
          It had been over three weeks since she and Atsuko had become “official”, as Miichan liked to say, though the younger girl was always quick to emphasize that it didn’t make a big difference.  As Atsuko had previously mentioned, the two had been a couple for years now as far as the other members were concerned.  For Minami, however (and she was certain it must be true of Atsuko as well), the new status of their relationship only proved to accentuate certain aspects, most especially the harsh realities that came with their busy schedules.  She didn’t quite understand why or how it was even possible, but she felt that she missed Atsuko more now that their relationship had evolved. 
          Minutes had passed, and just as she picked up her manga to start reading again, her phone chimed and she dropped the book immediately.
 
          [I couldn’t fall asleep last night, so finally I put a picture of you on the pillow beside me.]

          Minami, though blushing at the flattery, gave a slight frown at the admission, and a quiet, disapproving sound escaped her lips as her fingers quickly flew over the keys to type an answer.
          It appeared that she was not the only one whose separation anxieties had amplified.  Atsuko, too, seemed to be missing Minami even more.  Such a thing was certainly understandable, and Minami felt guilty thinking about it.  Due to her hesitance, Atsuko had been made to wait an extraordinarily long time before achieving the relationship she desired.  Then when they finally began that relationship, the two parties involved were too busy to spend any personal time together.
          They both knew that being together would not be easy and that their growing careers would consume most of their time, yet neither could help but to feel a twang of loneliness whenever she saw the other on television, right there before her and yet so far away.  Minami could count on one hand the number of times they’d seen each other in person, and all but one time had been at AKB events.  The day when the others had been informed of their new “official” status had been one of those times.  The majority of that day had been spent filming and bearing the teasing of others (namely Yuko and Mariko), though Atsuko had definitely not let any free time with Minami go to waste.

          [You should have called me.   I would have chatted with you until you fell asleep, even if my stories are not very good.]

          Minami leaned back with a sigh as she sent her message, remembering with a fond smile that the last time they had been together was five days ago, the day the election’s voting period had officially ended.  After a serendipitous discovery that they had the same evening free, they met for an early dinner at a restaurant of Sae’s recommendation.  Acknowledging their celebrity, the restaurant’s owner had offered them a separate room which they gratefully accepted.  Once seated and left alone, they shared a quick look before breaking into laughter.  It was no wonder the owner had recognized them; upon their arrival, they had noticed a large AKB48 poster displayed on the building opposite the restaurant.  It was an experience they’d grown accustom to over the years; the unusual sensation of seeing a fifteen-foot tall image of you looking down at you.
          Though the evening had been rather uneventful, nothing more than a simple dinner, it had been one of the best evenings Minami had ever had.  They did the things couples do, like playfully feed each other, all the while holding hands beneath the table.  However, it was that touch that made Minami more acutely aware than ever before that here was Atsuko, right beside her, a person whom she deeply loved and by whom she was deeply loved in return.  They hadn’t spoken much that evening; there was nothing that needed to be said.  Both somehow understood that by simply being in each other’s presence there was nothing more to be desired.
          Minami remembered (fiercely blushing, though with a smile) that after an awkward moment staring at Atsuko (who, naturally, stared back invitingly), it had actually been she that initiated their first kiss that evening.  It was brief, no more than a few seconds and not much different from any of the times before, but her mind, body, and heart felt a strange sense of satisfaction from doing it.  Atsuko quickly touched her lips to Minami’s once again, and the two spent the next half hour sharing more kisses between bites of food (or was it bites of food between kisses?), each kiss more passionate than the last, until the time came for the two to regretfully part ways for the evening.
          Reflecting on it now, the initial kiss was, perhaps, a reaffirmation in that not entirely private setting that Atsuko was hers, and she Atsuko’s; that this was the path they had chosen together, that they were willingly walking beside each other, and that there would be no retreating.  Yet the sensation that accompanied it was also evidence that in much the same way as their emotional relationship was evolving, so too was their physical relationship.  Kissing had since become an activity that Minami was comfortable with, and, though she was incapable of ever admitting it, enjoyed.  As their kisses were gradually becoming deeper, longer, and more frequent, their touches were also becoming more personal.
          Three messages arrived just then in rapid succession.  Shaken from her memories, Minami was instantly curious as to Atsuko’s reply.

          [I want you.]
          [I need you.]
          [I love you.]


          She chuckled at the obvious allusion, though a feeling of guilt instantly washed over her.  Atsuko had hoped for a date last night but it had been Minami that had to cancel.  Though Atsuko’s words had been nothing short of understanding and accepting, the disappointment in her voice was unmistakable.   Minami had tried her best to convince Atsuko to use the evening for herself, suggesting that she get some much needed rest instead.  Atsuko was wearing herself thin, determinedly spending more time at AKB’s activities while not compromising her flourishing acting career.  Like all the times before, Minami was genuinely worried about her.

          [I love you, too.]

          She knew that it was likely not their separation alone that was keeping Atsuko awake the past few nights.  The election results would be announced in four days’ time, and with them Atsuko’s fate within AKB would be decided.  Ultimately, it was a decision that would also have a profound impact on their relationship, for it seemed that the majority of time that they were able to spend together was at AKB events.
          Minami would be lying if she claimed she wasn’t nervous about her own positioning as well.  Though she wasn’t facing a potential graduation, she was well aware of the importance of placing well in the rankings.  Her popularity was a reflection of how well she would succeed if ever she achieved her dream of being a solo singer, which she was slowly beginning to fear might never come to be.
          Her phone ringing startled her from her thoughts and she answered it in a flustered voice.
          “A-Acchan?”
          “Those are not the correct lyrics, Takahashi.”  Atsuko’s voice was teasingly scolding, and Minami had no trouble imagining the playful smirk on the other girl’s face.
          “Yeah, yeah; I know.”  Despite there being no one present to witness their exchange, Minami felt herself growing embarrassed and her words came out a bit mumbled.  “But I felt them to be the more appropriate lyrics.” 
          The sound of light laughter filtered through the receiver before Atsuko spoke again.   “That confirms it; I really needed to hear your voice.”
          “You sound exhausted, Acchan,” Minami observed with a frown.  “You need to go home and sleep.  Where are you now?”
          Minami would have sworn she heard more giggling on the other end, but she cast the thought aside as Atsuko spoke again.
          “I’m in a taxi.”
          “On your way home?”
          “No.  I still have one last thing to do.”
          “What?” Minami exclaimed.  Her outburst startled the cat sleeping beside her and she reached out to pat its head apologetically.  “Where could you possibly need to be at this hour?”
          “I have an important meeting to attend, after which I’ll get a good night’s rest.  You’re worrying too much, Minami.”
Minami sunk back into the pillows with a sigh.  “Atsuko, I can’t help but to worry about you.”
          There was a lengthy pause and Minami could distinctly hear the sound of a car door closing followed by a whispered thank you, sure signs that Atsuko had reached her destination.
          “Why?”  Atsuko asked, returning to the conversation.
          “You know why.  Please don’t overexert yourself.”
          “Don’t worry.”
          A faint sound at the door caught Minami’s attention, something akin to keys jingling, and she rushed out of her bedroom apprehensively, phone in hand.
          “Acchan, w-where did you say you were?” she asked, approaching the door cautiously.   Hushed laughter was the reply, though it occurred to Minami that she had not heard it through the phone.   Casting a quick look through the peephole, she flung the door open in disbelief to find Atsuko standing there before her, her keys dangling from the lock.
          “Surprise!”  Atsuko cheered, stepping through the doorway to greet the dumbfounded Minami in a tight hug.
          “Wait; why are you here?” Minami asked when they broke apart, the high pitch of her voice betraying her disbelief.  Yet despite her words, her heart had leapt at the sight of Atsuko standing before her.  She ushered Atsuko farther inside, and as the other girl slipped off her shoes Minami quickly stepped into the kitchenette, setting some water on to boil.  She cleared her throat purposefully, earning a chuckle from Atsuko.  “Y-you were still working just a little while ago.  Didn’t you say you had somewhere you needed to be?”
          “This is where I need to be.”  Atsuko smiled mischievously, stepping beside Minami to grasp her hand and lead her to the sofa.  “I finished early,” she started, casting a flirty glance over her shoulder.  “I deceived you for the sole purpose of surprising you, because we both know if I told you I wanted to come over at this hour you would have told me no.”
          Minami could only shrug in agreement, as what Atsuko was accusing would likely have been true.  Quickly glancing over the girl now seated beside her, Minami blushed when her memories from the restaurant quickly returned to mind.  “Well, what about your pets?” she asked, catching a glimpse of Nyaachan slinking into the room to greet Atsuko.  It was a meager attempt to focus her thoughts on what was happening now.
          “I’ve already gone home and fed all the animals,” Atsuko answered, gently scratching the cat behind its ears.  “And now here I am, exhausted, but I’m thrilled to finally be able to spend some quality time with you, yet you seem to be attempting to get rid of me.”  Minami blanched and started to stutter out a response, but Atsuko silenced her with a light laugh.  Then, uncharacteristically, she looked aside and muttered, “I didn’t want to go another four days without seeing you.”
          Though she may not have said so directly, by her tone it was apparent to Minami that Atsuko was here not only out of a desire to see her, but also because of the pressure of the looming election results.  She looked away, feeling slightly ashamed that she hadn’t been able to sooner understand Atsuko’s sentiments.
          “Me neither,” she whispered.
          “I know you’re worried about me, Minami, but believe me: what’s best for me is to be here with you.”
          “I’m glad you’re here.  Honest.”  She paused.  “I’ve… wanted to see you, too.”  The words felt strange to Minami, spoken by a selfish part of her that had been woken from dormancy the minute Atsuko appeared before her.
          Feeling a slender finger beneath her chin, Minami let it guide her eyes to its owner’s gaze.   She felt her breath catch in her throat as Atsuko leaned in closer, claiming her lips in a soft kiss.  The contact sent a peculiar sensation down Minami’s back, a sensation she recognized from having felt it at the restaurant and all the times before when their kisses had become more intimate than usual.
          A moment later the two slowly broke apart, though neither really wanted to completely separate from the other.  Atsuko left her hand lingering against Minami’s cheek, cupping it gingerly.  They stared at each other silently; both were unsure of what to say or that anything even need be said.  Minami studied the look in Atsuko’s eyes, desperately trying to find a solution to ease the sensation that was now coursing through her body.  She watched enraptured as Atsuko shyly (or was it nervously?) bit down on her bottom lip, as if hesitating to say something, and in that moment Minami believed she found an appropriate answer.
          Slowly she lifted her hand, cradling Atsuko’s nape and drawing the two closer together, stopping with their lips just centimeters apart.  Atsuko, sensing Minami’s hesitance, gently yet eagerly closed the distance between them.  This kiss was more passionate, neither daring nor wanting to pull away until it became necessary.  As they ever so briefly parted and more exchanges were made, Atsuko fell back and pulled Minami closer to her still, resulting in not only a shift in their position but also a shift in targets, as each slowly began claiming more than just the others’ lips with her own.
          All sense of time had been lost when Atsuko huskily uttered Minami’s name.  Together with the moist breath on her ear and the warm feel of Atsuko’s fingers tracing the curve of her breast, Minami was suddenly brought crashing back to the reality of their situation.  She was bent over Atsuko with her lips firmly pressed to the exposed skin just below Atsuko’s collar bone, mere centimeters from her breast.  Minami sat up in haste, realizing with a sudden panic the intimacy of their position as Atsuko’s unbuttoned blouse spared nothing to the imagination.  Flustered, Minami hurriedly broke away from Atsuko, releasing her grip on Atsuko’s blouse and removing Atsuko’s hand from beneath her own.  She stared at Atsuko, wide-eyed in disbelief.
          “Minami, I-” Atsuko started, adjusting her blouse as she looked anxiously at the shocked girl before her.  It was then that they finally noticed the shrill sound emanating from the kitchen, and Atsuko’s concerns were left unaddressed as Minami leapt from the couch, rushing to remove the whistling kettle from the stove.
          Atsuko could only watch with a fearful heart as Minami wordlessly disappeared into the kitchenette.  She sank back into the couch, closing her eyes as tears threatened to escape.
_

          I… w-we… what were we doing?  I-I mean, I know what, but…  Minami took a deep, calming breath and exhaled heavily.  How long were we…? she wondered, too embarrassed to finish her thought.  She absentmindedly retrieved two mugs from the rack at the stove’s side, the mugs clinking together as her hands shook with nervousness.  The feel of Atsuko’s breath lingered on her ear and she slowly brought her fingers up to touch it.  I’ve never felt that before; such a reaction to her presence, her touch…  She leaned against the counter with a sigh and shook her head in self-deprecation.  I can’t believe I lost control of myself.  I-I’ve never done something like that.  I never thought I could do something like that.
          Images flashed through Minami’s mind, her cheeks growing redder with each one.
          Wait- where’s Acchan?   Did she leave?
          Minami stepped from the counter and stole a glance at the sofa to see Atsuko, whom she noticed had since been joined by Nyaachan yet again, the cat lying peacefully on the young woman’s stomach.  Atsuko had an arm draped over her eyes, undoubtedly doing her own reflecting on what had just occurred.  Turning back to the counter, Minami hung her head in guilt, quickly losing herself in thought.  After what seemed like hours she took another deep breath, finally bringing her nerves under control.
          How long have I been in here?  she wondered.  The water’s still warm, so… fifteen minutes at most?  Why hasn’t Atsuko said anything?  Stealing one last glance towards the sofa, Minami noted that Atsuko hadn’t come after her, and she frowned at the negative thoughts that suddenly sprang to mind.  Carefully, she poured water into the two mugs before her.
          If she hasn’t said anything, she must be really upset with me for running away, she thought, grabbing the tea mugs and turning to rejoin Atsuko on the sofa.  At the very least, she probably thinks I’m upset with her, but… it’s me that I’m upset with.  With one last, deep breath, Minami determinedly stepped from the kitchenette.
          “Acchan, I brought us some tea.  I’m sorry I ran away, so let’s talk, okay?”
          There was no response, and as Minami looked down at Atsuko’s unexpectedly peaceful smile she realized with a mixture of shock and amusement that her girlfriend had drifted to sleep, the feline atop her stomach also slumbering happily.
          She was crying, Minami noted, seeing the tear streaks on Atsuko’s cheeks.
          “At least she’s smiling now,” she whispered as she set the mugs on the end table and grabbed a nearby blanket.  Shooing Nyaachan aside, she unfurled it over Atsuko and sat down beside her.  The cat immediately reclaimed her spot with a victorious twitch of her tail, earning a quiet laugh and pat on the head from Minami. With a small smile, she reached out and raised one of the mugs in a toast. 
          “Well, here’s to a good night’s rest,” she proposed, enjoying a few cautious sips.  Drawing her legs to her chest, she stole a quick glance at the slumbering Atsuko’s placid expression.  “I suppose we’ll talk in the morning,” she muttered, wondering if she’d be able to calm her nerves again when that time came.  She let out a heavy sigh, her thoughts once again settling on what had transpired between them.  She sipped at her tea quietly, wondering how best to conduct the morning’s impending discussion.  Knowing that she wasn’t especially skilled at expressing her thoughts properly or coherently during their most important exchanges, Minami was hopeful that Atsuko would be able to understand without her having to say much.
          “Minami?” a sleepy voice sounded beside her, summoning Minami back from her thoughts.  She felt a light squeeze on her hand and was mildly surprised to see that at some point she had absentmindedly taken a hold of one of Atsuko’s hands.
          “I’m sorry; did I wake you?”  Minami asked, setting her cup down to help Atsuko sit upright.  Nyaachan leapt to the back of the sofa and quickly curled up, unperturbed about having to move.  Atsuko watched the cat with sleepy eyes, reaching up to gently play with its tail.
          “Not really.  I wasn’t fully asleep,” she stated quietly, a small frown breaking on her lips.  “I can’t believe I dozed off.”
          “No mystery there, Acchan; your body must be exhausted.  I’m pretty beat, too; I can’t imagine how tiring it must be to have a work schedule as loaded as yours.”  Minami brought a hand to Atsuko’s back, rubbing it soothingly as she, too, frowned.  As she’d feared, Atsuko’s busy schedule was certainly taking its toll.
          There was a momentary, awkward silence in which neither spoke.  The unaddressed issue from earlier lingered heavily between them, neither sure of what to say.  Suddenly acutely aware of their position, Minami withdrew her hand.  Atsuko felt her breath catch when the touch faded from her back and she slowly began to weep, fearful that Minami might have been repulsed by her earlier actions.
          “Minami, I’m sorry,” Atsuko finally whispered, valiantly fighting back her tears while not daring to meet Minami’s gaze.  “That is not the reason I came here.  I just wanted to see you, honest, but… being so close to you like that, I was overcome by something and, well… I don’t know.  I don’t know what to say.”  She paused and shook her head.  “What I did… I shouldn’t have done that.  I realize it was probably too soon and you’re not-”
          “Atsuko.”  The named girl ceased her ramblings as she felt Minami take her hands firmly, drawing them closer together.  “Atsuko, you did nothing wrong.  I should be the one to apologize.”  There was a gentle touch on her cheek and Atsuko’s heart quickly lightened at the feel of Minami wiping away her tears.  “I’m sorry I ran away.  I was just… startled, and a little scared.”  Minami admitted honestly, pausing a minute in an attempt to organize her thoughts.  She was determined to get her feelings across properly.
          Atsuko couldn’t help but to smile when she saw the bright shade of red tingeing Minami’s cheeks.
          “You weren’t the only one.  I’ve never felt such a desire before,” Minami admitted, boldly meeting Atsuko’s gaze.  Her voice was unwavering, surprising both parties with its clear, unabashed tone.  “I only just acknowledged how I feel about you a couple months ago and since then we haven’t been with each other much and you know I’m not the most affectionate person and…”  Realizing that she was rambling, Minami paused to take a deep breath.  “I was surprised by how easily I lost control of myself.”
          Atsuko stared into Minami’s eyes, admiring the sincerity that she saw harbored there.  A small laugh escaped her as she swiftly wiped at her eyes to remove any lingering tears.
          “To be honest, I was pretty nervous, too, but…” she paused, feeling the heat on her cheeks, “…they say that’s what love is like.”  Atsuko gingerly cupped Minami’s chin, casting a happy albeit sleepy smile before drawing them together for a less passionate but no less heartfelt kiss than those from earlier.  She pulled away before Minami could reciprocate, earning a questioning look from her girlfriend.
          “Atsuko?”
          “Though I don’t want to admit it, I’m exhausted.  This visit was unexpectedly tiring.”  The last part was barely a whisper, but the sudden flushing of Minami’s cheeks was a sure indication to Atsuko that the other had heard her.  She continued with a smile, “I- no, we could use a good night’s sleep tonight.  We both have early appointments, after all.”  Sighing tiredly as she stood from the sofa, she took a moment to stretch before looking down at Minami, who sat looking up at her, awaiting further explanation.  “Besides,” she began, a light pink barely visible on her cheeks, “we’ve kind of… lost the mood.”
          “Well then,” Minami chimed, regaining her composure.  She gently picked up Nyaachan and handed her to Atsuko.  “Assuming that you intend to stay over, I happen to know a certain cat that would love to sleep beside you all night.”
          Atsuko’s eyes widened as mild panic settled over her.  “And you?” she asked, her voice wavering as she wondered if perhaps Minami really was now hesitant to join her.
          “There’s no sense in letting this tea go to waste,” she said, gesturing towards the mugs on the table beside them.  “Go on ahead; I’ll be there shortly.  Use whatever you can find for pajamas.”
          Atsuko could feel the tears returning to her eyes.  Worried that her voice would betray her current doubtful emotions, she nodded silently, slipping past Minami with the cat in her arms.  She paused when she felt a light touch on her elbow, enough to send a shiver down her spine, and turned to find Minami looking up at her earnestly.
          “I really am glad you came here tonight, Atsuko.  I don’t regret any of this.”
Atsuko gently wiped at her eyes with the back of her hand, relieved to know that everything that had transpired between them seemed to now be peaceably and responsibly settled.
          “Thank you for letting me be here tonight, Minami.  Good night,” she offered with a warm smile.  She walked to the bedroom door and paused a moment, turning back to Minami one last time.  “I look forward to waking beside you in the morning,” she whispered before disappearing into the bedroom.
          Minami turned back to the tea mugs with a sigh.  Taking a few minutes to enjoy the now lukewarm tea, she shrugged before downing the drink she’d brought for Atsuko as well.  Humming a familiar tune as she stepped towards the bedroom, Minami suddenly paused in the doorway for a moment, smiling contentedly as she watched Atsuko’s chest rise and fall evenly in slumber.
          “She certainly was exhausted,” Minami mused aloud, rubbing a hand along her neck before stifling a yawn.  Pushing off the doorframe with a small grunt, she stepped beside Atsuko and chuckled, noticing that Atsuko’s choice in pajamas had once again been Minami’s favorite One Piece t-shirt.
          Gently, she brushed aside Atsuko’s bangs.  “And yet, she still went out of her way to be with me.”  As she stood studying Atsuko’s peaceful features, Minami caught herself pondering about their future together, both the positives and the negatives that they were yet to encounter in their careers and their relationship.  It was doubtless that these, too, were issues they would eventually need to rationally discuss together.  The biggest question, however, was whether the times for such discussions would come sooner than desired.
          Realizing that no good would come from standing there and overthinking things all night, Minami reprimanded herself with a heavy sigh and set about preparing to sleep.  At some point Atsuko turned over, and as Minami quietly slipped into the bed a few minutes later she immediately claimed Atsuko’s hands in her own.  With that physical reminder to comfort her, she finally drifted to sleep, the cat nestled merrily between them.
_   _   _

          //Atsuko sank back into the couch, resting her head on the armrest.  She closed her eyes in a vain attempt to prevent her welling tears from falling despite knowing that in the end it was useless.  As she wiped at the escaping tears, a slight pressure on her stomach was a sure sign that Nyaachan had deemed it a comfortable place to rest.
          “Nyaachan, I think I did something I shouldn’t have,” she whispered, absentmindedly stroking the cat’s fur.  “It must have been too much, too quickly, too soon.”  Atsuko sighed, upset with how the evening was turning out.  “I didn’t come here hoping that something like this would happen.  I just wanted to be in the same room with her, and now Minami ran away.  Should I have followed her?” she wondered aloud, the sleepiness in her voice going unnoticed as she stole a glance at the kitchenette where Minami had disappeared. Though she couldn’t see her, Atsuko could hear mugs clinking together, a sign that Minami was indeed in there.
          “No; I don’t want her to feel pressured.  I’ll wait for her,” Atsuko decided, closing her eyes again.  “This is her apartment, after all, so there’s no chance of her running away.”
          //Though there is a chance she might ask me to leave.//
          She shook her head.
          //Right now I need to calm my heart.//
          Taking a deep breath and then releasing it, she felt a tickle on her chest as her shirt’s fabric brushed against it.  She slipped a hand beneath her blouse, her fingers coming to rest where Minami’s lips had been mere moments before.  “That’ll definitely leave a mark,” she muttered, unable to keep from smiling.
As her thoughts grew foggier, she sank further into the sofa.  Thankful for the respite, her body succumbed to exhaustion.//


          “Acchan!”
          “What?”  Atsuko jolted her head upright, torn from her thought of just a few days ago.  The smile from her memory remained on her lips as she focused on Tomochin seated across from her, looking at her in a mixture of intrigue and worry.
          “I was calling your name for a full minute just now.  You’ve hardly touched your lunch at all,” Tomochin stated, gesturing towards the full plate of food on the table before Atsuko.  Her own meal had been delicious, and as she devoured the last few bites Tomochin glanced at the waitress loitering nearby, waiting for the right time to come take the soon to be empty dishes.  Tomochin returned her attention to Atsuko, happy to see her friend take chopsticks in hand.  “You mind telling me what’s wrong with you?  It’s not like you to leave food on your plate.”
          Atsuko glanced from her meal to her friend in wonder.  Embarrassed about having been so obvious, she shook her head and made a show of eating her meal.  “There’s nothing in particular.  I just have a lot to think about these days, that’s all.”
          “Oh?  Is that so?” Tomochin asked teasingly, not believing Atsuko’s answer.  Having since finished her last bites of food, she propped her elbow on the table to rest her chin in her hand, using the other to play with her hair absentmindedly.
          “Yes.”
          Still skeptical, Tomochin did not reply, instead watching Atsuko hurriedly attack her meal.  A smirk crept across her lips at the realization that Atsuko would not meet her eyes, a sure sign that she was indeed hiding something.  Tomochin remained quiet, letting Atsuko stew in her own thoughts, until an opportune moment arose and she cast her bait.
          “So then it wouldn’t have anything to do with Takamina’s strange behavior recently?”
          “Eh?” Atsuko squeaked, dropping the food she’d just picked up.
          Tomochin gave a small laugh as she ceased playing with her hair.  “So it is something in particular.”
          Atsuko remained silent, though a light blush again tinted her cheeks.
          “I’m honestly curious to know if it has something to do with Takamina’s lack of focus these past few days.  I’m almost certain it must, since I just broke you out of the same faraway gaze.  That was quite the smile you had.”
          “It’s true that I did see her a few days ago.  I just couldn’t wait until tomorrow,” Atsuko whispered, her words barely audible to Tomochin.  Her cheeks grew just the faintest bit pinker.
          Not giving up so easily, Tomochin went on.  “She’ll randomly stare off into la-la-land.  It’s bad enough that I caught her doing it during a TV interview yesterday.   When I managed to call her back to reality she started blushing uncontrollably.”  She paused a minute, hoping to gauge Atsuko’s reaction.  “And then there’s her ear.  She keeps touching it and smiling this goofy grin.”  She smirked when she saw a spark of realization flash through Atsuko’s eyes.  “So…”  Tomochin started as she lowered her voice to a level just above a whisper.  She leaned forward with both elbows now propped on the table, hoping her posture might seem either imposing or trustworthy enough to coax an answer from her friend.  “Are you sure what’s captured your mind today does not have something to do with that midget’s odd behavior?”
          Atsuko did not reply as she fumbled to take a sip of water.
          “So what did she do?”
          Still Atsuko did not answer, using the excuse of wiping up the spilled water to avoid Tomochin’s inquisitive look.
          “Okay, what did she not do?”
          Atsuko shook her head and blushed brighter then, which did not go unnoticed.
          Tomochin smiled coyly, knowing she was nearing the true answer.  “Perhaps I should be asking what you did?”
          “It’s more a matter of what we almost did, but in the end didn’t, do,” Atsuko finally blurted, her voice somewhat muffled behind the glass of water.  She absentmindedly reached her fingers beneath her collar, her fingertips resting against the mark on her chest.
          Tomochin stared at Atsuko in disbelief before realizing that the answer had indeed been sincere and not a joke meant to stonewall her.  “Really?” she asked disbelievingly, finding she was suddenly mildly embarrassed about having been so inquisitive.  She took a moment to let the new information settle, bringing her glass to her lips but hesitating to drink.  “Well,” she started awkwardly with a small cough, settling a serious but caring look on Atsuko, “If you don’t mind my asking, why didn’t you?”
          “I fell asleep,” Atsuko admitted sheepishly.
          “What?” Tomochin exclaimed, choking on her drink.  She looked about her cautiously, making sure to have not drawn any attention their way.  Only the waitress had glanced over, so she quickly signaled that there was no need for assistance.  “W-what do you mean you fell asleep?” she whispered incredulously.
          “Well, Takamina ran away and-”
          “She ran away?”  Tomochin repeated, both surprised and confused.
          “We had a small… misunderstanding.  She was gone for about… I don’t know; it was long enough that by the time she returned I had dozed off.  Thankfully we were able to discuss things a bit later, but by that point the mood had been lost.”  Atsuko paused a moment before quietly adding, “Honestly, it would have been a bit insulting for us to just pick up where we’d left off.  When it does happen again, I want it to be more natural than just resuming would have been.”
          “Like what nearly happened.”
          “Yes.  I don’t want us to be so conscious about our efforts.  I want it to just…”  Her voice trailed away, and she held her hands out before her, shaking them in frustration at her loss for words.  It grew quiet between them once again, enough that one could hear the ice clink in their glasses as it melted.  A loving smile slowly crept upon her lips as she stated somewhat bashfully, “Knowing how long it took us to get together, waiting a bit longer to reach that next step won’t hurt anything.”
          “I see,” Tomochin muttered, and she grew quiet for a moment.  “Wait… what’s the deal with her ear?”  She asked with a playful smirk, enjoying Atsuko’s apparent discomfort as she watched a fierce blush creep across her cheeks.
          “I may or may not have nibbled on it the next morning,” Atsuko mumbled, her voice barely above a whisper.  She didn’t dare meet Tomochin’s gaze.  A small pout settled on her lips.  “She wouldn’t wake up, and she had an early call time.”
          “Ah, so that’s what’s captured Takamina’s mind these past few days.  She’s coming to terms with desire.”
Atsuko laughed lightly.  “When you say it like that, it sounds almost too sensual, especially considering the person in question.  But…”  She trailed off then, and as Tomochin watched the light fade from Atsuko’s eyes she rested her hand on the other girl’s, gently encouraging her to continue.  Atsuko did, her wavering voice betraying her conflicting emotions.  “I can’t help but to think that perhaps things are better this way.  Now we won’t have taken that step only to have our relationship tested right away by what may come to be tomorrow.”
          “Acchan.”
          Tomochin stated her name ever so gently but with an utmost seriousness, and when Atsuko met her eyes she saw they were brimming with sincerity.  Seeing that she’d captured Atsuko’s complete attention, Tomochin granted her a warm smile as she spoke.
          “Acchan, no matter whether you are in AKB or not, Takamina will love you.”
The comment was true, albeit a tad unexpected, and Atsuko instantly felt a calming sensation course through her.  Her worries were for naught, it seemed, as her very heart steadied its nervous rhythm in response to her friend’s kind words.  “Thanks, Tomochin.  I know that, and yet… it does make me feel better to hear it coming from someone else, though truthfully I wish Takamina had been the one to say it.”
          “Would that dork really state something like that so bluntly?”
          Atsuko chuckled.  “Given the right situation it’s possible, though not without substantial amounts of stuttering and blush.”  A sigh escaped her lips then, and Tomochin caught a hint of glum in Atsuko’s voice when she next spoke.  “But… even though she has been more honest about her feelings lately, her “I love yous” almost always tend to be only in response to mine.”  Her voice was incredibly soft, as if the words weren’t meant to be shared.
          “Ah, I get it now,” Tomochin declared with a confident grin, wondering if perhaps it was best to pretend she hadn’t heard Atsuko’s last comment.
          “Get what?”
          “This was her idea, you know.”
          “What was?”
          “This lunch.”  Atsuko stared at her, puzzled.  “Takamina overheard me saying that you and I have not been able to get together for a long while.  Knowing that you had a few hours free around lunch time and that she couldn’t join you, she asked if I would invite you out, a request to which I happily obliged.”
          Atsuko stared blankly, unsure of what to say.  “But… why?”
          “The reason she gave me was that you’ve seemed a bit melancholy lately and that you could use some cheering up that could only come from one of your best friends.  She loves you, Acchan.  She’s worried about you.”  There was a brief pause, and then she added, “We’re all worried about you.”
          Atsuko stared at Tomochin in a state of mild shock and confusion. Wait… does she know?  When did she…?
          “It’s odd, isn’t it?”  Tomochin quipped, sensing Atsuko’s unspoken question.  “This unusual election they’re holding.  Ever since they announced it, you’ve been in more theater shows than usual.”  She looked Atsuko in the eyes and Atsuko gave a simple nod.  There was no reason to deny that fact.  “Also, when they announced it to us members they said to treat it as we would an election, but have you seen the supposed ballot on the backs of the tickets?”
          Atsuko shook her head.  She hadn’t taken the time to look at one of the tickets, though now she wished she had.
          “It’s more like a simple survey, really, with basic questions like, ‘Who is your AKB48 oshimen?’ and ‘What is your favorite stage unit?’  Most of us believe that the fans don’t know the importance behind the questionnaire; that they’re actually voting in an election.  They probably believe it to be generic, everyday information gathering.”
          Dismissing what was left of her meal, Atsuko sank deeper into her seat, her hands fidgeting nervously in her lap.  Why would management do things that way?  What reasons did they have to not inform the fans of the truth?
          “The theory making its way round is that the organizers were hoping to get more honest results from the fans,” Tomochin explained, as if having read Atsuko’s thoughts.  “They were probably attempting to avoid people voting for a member that might not be their true oshimen simply so that person can beat another member the voter doesn’t like.”
          The hypothesis brought to mind an unhappy memory for Atsuko.  How many people had voted for Yuko in that election simply because they didn’t want Atsuko to win?  How many people had freely stated their contempt for her?  She had pleaded with them then, asking that they not transfer their dislike of her to AKB as a whole, the very AKB which she would possibly be leaving soon.
          How many of those tens of thousands of voters, people that unwittingly held her future in their hands, still disliked her?
          "Many of us got to talking and it wasn’t hard to figure out.  Of course, that means that some of the fans could have figured it out as well.”
          Tomochin’s wavering voice shook her from her thoughts, and Atsuko glanced up to find her friend looking at her with a pained expression, tears threatening her eyes.
          “Why didn’t you tell any of us, Acchan?”
          “I didn’t want to burden any of you.”
          “So you’ve kept it secret this whole time.  You should have told Takamina, at least.”
          Atsuko smiled fondly.  “I never told her directly, but she does know.”
          “She never told any of us.”
          “When I realized she knew, I asked her not to.”  Her words earned a disapproving glare from Tomochin.  “From what you’ve told me, though, I’d guess that it’s because she knows and wanted to do something to help me that she was worried enough to suggest this lunch date.”
          Before either could say anything more, a chime sounded from Atsuko’s bag.
          “That’s my alarm.  I need to go now,” she said as she stood.  After a quick look through her purse she took out enough money to cover the entire bill, setting it on the table between them. 
          “Already, huh?”
          “Yes, sorry.  Tomochin,” Atsuko paused beside her friend and Tomochin looked up at her expressionless.  Without warning, Atsuko bent down to hug her tightly.  “I'm sorry I didn't tell you.  THat was stupid of me.  Thank you for today; for everything before today, and everything to come; thank you for being such a great friend.”
          “You’re welcome,” Tomochin said earnestly with a smile, patting Atsuko’s arms as she pulled away.  She sighed, watching as Atsuko disappeared out the restaurant.  Flagging down the waitress to pay the bill, Tomochin took one last sip of water and sighed.
          “We all would have been -and will be- nothing but supportive of you, Acchan.  We all love you.”
_   _   _

          Where is she?
          Atsuko nervously bit her lip as she glanced around the auditorium.  All of AKB48’s members were gathered there, with the exception of, to Atsuko’s surprise and dismay, one very special person.  Convincing herself that it was just her nerves getting the better of her, she shook her head to clear her thoughts.  Minami had said she would be here beside her; what reason had she to believe otherwise?
          She took a deep breath, counting to ten as she slowly exhaled.
          Today was the day that Atsuko’s continuation in AKB48 would be decided, and to say that she was anxious would be an understatement.  Within the next hour, she would learn whether or not she would be able to continue performing with all of the girls that had become her family.  She loved everything about AKB48, of that there was no doubt.  Of course there were the other members, the performances, the fans’ smiles; but most importantly, it had been AKB48 that led Atsuko to Minami.  Of that she would always be grateful, no matter whether she was made to graduate or not.
          The fate of their future together in the idol group was soon to be decided, but...
          Minami, where are you?
          Sighing, she stared blankly at the stage before her.  It was certainly a peculiar feeling to be seated a few rows back, looking up at the stage.  How many days had she spent singing and dancing on that very stage?  How much of her sweat and tears had been soaked into its floorboards?  How many different emotions had washed over her during every performance as she stood up there, looking out upon the cheering audience?
          Just as Togasaki appeared on the stage, Atsuko’s attention was torn from her thoughts by the feel of a small hand slipping into hers.  Slowly, she turned and was relieved to find Minami seated beside her, an apologetic smile on her lips.  Atsuko smiled back nervously, giving Minami’s hand a small squeeze.
          “Sorry I’m late.  Aki-P had something to discuss with me.”
          Atsuko nodded understandingly, having caught a glimpse of AKB’s founder standing in the stage’s wing.  “I’m just glad that you’re here.”
          Togasaki cleared his throat and the excited murmurings instantly ceased.  Having gained everyone’s attention, he briefly and expertly summarized their reason for being there that day.
          “As all of you already know, for six weeks there was a survey printed on the back of the theater tickets, inquiring as to fans’ favorite member from AKB48 only.  Fans were encouraged to complete the survey for a chance to win a prize package of merchandise pertaining to their AKB oshimen.  Unbeknownst to the fans, this survey was actually an election ballot form.”
          Atsuko cast a side glance at Tomochin.  The others’ suspicions had been correct, and Atsuko grew even more nervous at the idea that perhaps some of the fans had caught on as well.
          “In this way, we were hoping to gage the opinions of those fans that know AKB48 and its members at their most intimate; those fans whose hearts were won by your performances here in this theater, on this very stage.  In other words, for this secret election, we have returned to the very roots from which AKB48 was started.”
          Despite Togasaki’s affections for the members, his emotions remained hidden behind his firm tone, a fine example that he was a true business man to his very core.
          “As it is our desire that the results of this election remain a secret from the fans, we will be announcing the results to all of you now, in private.  Those of you that place well will be rewarded by your placement in new stage units.  So then, we’ll start at number twenty,” he stated, clearing his voice as he withdrew a sheet of paper.  Then, without wavering, he started down the list of names.

          “Twentieth...”

          There were excited whispers, gasps, and cheers as all present turned to look at the girl who’d been called.  Shocked speechless, she stood and bowed.   After a half-minute’s time in the spotlight, she sat down again and the next name was called.

          “Nineteenth… “

          The process was repeated.  A name was announced, reactions were made; the named girl stood, bowed, and sat down again.  It was that simple.  There would be no speeches made this morning.  For the others present, it was just business again as usual.

          “Eighteenth…”

          And yet for Atsuko, it most definitely was not business as usual.  Despite her mental preparations leading up to this day, panic washed over her instantly.  Her chest was aching; her stomach was aching; her heart was racing; true, physical, nauseating pain, all a product of her doubts and anxiety.  Realizing that her nerves and thoughts were preventing her from focusing, she tightly shut her eyes in a vain attempt at relief and emotional stability.

          “Seventeenth…”

          Please…  I need to stay in the top fifteen to stay in AKB with Minami.
          Atsuko glanced beside her, hoping to meet Minami’s gaze, but the other girl’s attention was focused on the member whom had just been called.

          “Sixteenth…”

          She drew a sharp breath.   Her name was not among them.  As more names were read the fear grew and she withdrew further into her defenses, readying herself for the inevitable.  Everything began to grow darker as her worries resurfaced to the forefront of her thoughts.

          “Fifteenth…”

          What if my name isn’t called?

          “Fourteenth…”

          What if, after all the time it took for us to get together, Minami and I are unable to cope with such sudden separation? AKB is one of few things that let us be together.  If I graduate, that would mean less time spent by Minami’s side.  For me there would be no more concerts, no more PVs, fewer talk shows…

          “Thirteenth… “

          Suddenly, her breath caught in her throat alarmingly.  Calm came over her as her mind grasped upon a surprising revelation.

          “Twelfth...”

          There was an unusual ringing in her ears, accompanied by a comforting clarity.
          If I did graduate, would that really be…

          “Eleventh…”

          Her calm demeanor dissipated at the word and her anxiety returned, more debilitating than before.
          Eleventh.  Ten more names; ten more members; ten more rivals; ten more friends.  If my name is called, I stay.  If not…

          “Tenth…”

          To Atsuko, Togasaki’s voice now sounded as if he were standing underwater.  Or was it she that was now underwater, and he calling out from above?  Her breathing grew rapid and shallow, her thoughts murky, and though she didn’t believe it possible, she felt herself sink further still inside herself; deeper and deeper, away from her uncertainties and anxieties.  It was at this moment that she felt a gentle pressure on her hand and a light filtered into her internal sanctuary.  Instantly, the feel of Minami’s hand in hers served to anchor her to reality.
          That’s right, she thought, resting her head against Minami’s shoulder.  Minami’s right here.  As long as I have her beside me, no matter what happens, I’ll be fine.  She squeezed Minami’s hand tightly.  Perhaps even too tightly, but Minami was not the type to complain about such a thing.

          "Ninth: Takahashi Minami."

          Yet just as Atsuko let out a relieved sigh, Minami’s warm hand somehow escaped from her grip as the room filled with gasps and excited whispers.  Atsuko watched in wonder and incredulity as Minami stood and bowed, acknowledging her position in the rankings.  Then, as quickly as it disappeared, the hand returned back in hers.
   
          “Eighth…”

          “Don’t worry, Acchan,” Minami whispered as Togasaki continued, and Atsuko was startled to see tears threatening Minami’s eyes.  “They haven’t called your name yet, which means you’re in a great position, both in the ranking and in the fans’ hearts.”
          “But, Minami-”

          “Seventh: Maeda Atsuko.”

          The announcement of her name did not register in her mind.  Her eyes still wide with shock, she could not tear her focus from Minami’s unexpected tears.
“Acchan, stand,” Minami instructed softly in Atsuko’s ear.  It took a small push from her for Atsuko to finally shake free of her stupor and stand to be recognized.  Again, the room filled with whispers and sounds of surprise.  As Atsuko slowly reclaimed her seat, out of the corner of her eye she caught Minami hurriedly wiping away stray tears.  Still in disbelief she turned fully to Minami, unsure of what to say.
          “Minami, I-”
          “Congratulations, Atsuko,” Minami greeted, gathering Atsuko in a hug.  “You did it.  I told you, didn’t I?  That you needn’t worry.  The fans still love you.  I’m happy for you.  “
          Atsuko nodded, grateful to know that what Minami said was genuine and not just meant to comfort her.  Instantly relief once again washed over her.  But it was only momentary, as it was suddenly replaced by a peculiar sensation.  Although it was familiar, Atsuko could not yet put a name to it.

          “Sixth…”

          “Acchan, are you all right?” Minami asked worriedly, noting Atsuko’s pale expression.
          She nodded.  “I’m fine.  Just a little overwhelmed, I think.”

          “Fifth: Shinoda Mariko.”

          This time, instead of surprised gasps, the room filled with confusion-induced laughter.  They were all now honestly stumped.  It was expected that the results would show a direct relation to theater attendance and yet Mariko was notorious for being the member that was least at the theater.  She stood and bowed and then shrugged, as if to say that she was just as confused as the rest of them, but she was elated nonetheless.
          Atsuko was so lost in her thoughts that when she returned her attention to Togasaki, she realized that he had finished the list of names, no doubt concluding with a generic congratulations to all those that were called.
          “Ranks one through fifteen will be forming three new stage units, as follows: Ranks one through four, ranks five through nine, and lastly, ranks ten through fifteen.”  There was another round of applause and congratulations, during which Minami and Atsuko watched nervously as Akimoto stepped from behind the stage and whispered something to Togasaki.
          “There is just one more announcement before you ladies are free to go,” Togasaki stated flatly.  There were more hurried whispers as the members quickly speculated what it could be.  Knowing she’d just met with Akimoto, Atsuko glanced at Takamina, who shook her head negatively.  Whatever was happening, she hadn’t been previously informed.
          Regaining their attention, Togasaki continued.  “Until further notice, you are not to make any mention of what I am about to tell you to anyone not present here today.”  They all nodded, signifying their consent.  The previously stoic Togasaki could no longer mask his excitement, and he smiled as he announced, “In two months’ time, we will be staging a concert in the Saitama Super Arena.”
          There was a silent moment of disbelief before cheers rang out, yet even with a celebratory smile plastered on her face Atsuko couldn’t help but to focus on that strange, heavy feeling in her gut.  She’d placed well enough to remain in AKB with Minami and the others.  She should be elated, and she could honestly say that she was, creating a peculiar sensation of conflicting emotions flowing within her.
          What is it, exactly, that I’m feeling?
          A pair of arms about her shoulders briefly distracted Atsuko from her ponderings and she eagerly returned Minami’s hug.  She looked up to find that everyone was now bustling about excitedly, unable to contain their happiness. 
          “Let’s join the others,” Minami whispered in her ear, the feel of her warm breath combined with her husky tone sending shivers down Atsuko’s back despite their location.  The two stood and joined in celebration with the others, standing beside each other with their hands clasped together.  They were quickly greeted with hugs and congratulations, the room having since been pervaded with feelings of elation and disbelief.  Minami excused herself from their group after a few moments, taking it upon herself to greet the other members that had placed well in the election.
          As the others chatted, Atsuko remained uncharacteristically quiet.  The unusual feeling was still settled in her stomach.  Having trouble focusing on what the others were saying, she silently observed them with that not completely honest smile still on her lips.  A short while passed before she realized that, whether intentional or otherwise, she’d been keeping an eye on Minami’s movements throughout the auditorium, watching as she congratulated other members and was congratulated in kind, all the while with a large smile on her face. 
          Minami was holding a conversation with Yui when she glanced in Atsuko’s direction and their eyes briefly met.  The connection was there for no more than a second but it still elicited a small gasp from Atsuko.
          “Acchan, is something wrong?” she heard someone ask her, accompanied by a slight nudge.
          “I’m fine,” she answered dryly, returning her focus to Minami.
Behind the smiles and cheer in Minami’s eyes, Atsuko could see that there was something troubling her girlfriend.  Somehow, perhaps instinctively, she understood that the feeling Minami was hiding behind her cheerful act was the same, burdensome feeling that had taken up residence in her own heart.  Instantly she was overcome by the urge to return to Minami’s side.
          The number of members remaining in the auditorium had dwindled considerably by this point.  Easily arriving at Minami’s side, she claimed the shorter girl’s hand with a firm grasp.  All that she had wanted was the contact of their hands together, and now that she had it, she waited patiently for Minami to finish her conversation.
          Minami had turned to her with a smile at one point, her eyes once again locking with Atsuko’s, and the name of that mystery feeling crept upon Atsuko like a chilling fog.
          It was, unmistakably, doubt.
          “Acchan?” Minami’s worried voice sounded beside her.  Atsuko turned to find that the conversation had ended, Yui having since disappeared.  “Atsuko, are you feeling well?  You look a bit pale.”
          “I’m fine.  I’m just… over thinking things.”  She tightened her grip on Minami’s hand.  Quickly glancing about their surroundings, she leaned closer and whispered, “I love you, Minami.”
          Minami knew she was blushing as she returned Atsuko’s touch.  “I-I love you too, Acchan,” she stuttered, absentmindedly touching her ear.
Atsuko couldn’t help but to smile at the gesture.  “Would you like to catch lunch?”
          “Sorry, Acchan, but I have a photo shoot this afternoon.  I ought to be leaving here soon.  Dinner?”
          Atsuko shook her head.  “I have a 3am make-up call time tomorrow morning.  Dinner tomorrow evening, perhaps?” she asked hopefully.
          It was again Minami’s turn to shake her head.  “No good.  I have a meeting and then no3b is scheduled for a late-night radio program.”  It was an all too familiar conversation, following a strict pattern that had occurred countless times since even before they were dating.  Minami sighed, running her free hand through her hair.  “Things are only going to get busier with this new concert,” she murmured.
          Both knew the implication behind her words: getting together would be even more difficult now.
          “You know, Atsuko, I’m really glad that you’re able to stay,” Minami admitted happily.  “AKB wouldn’t be the same without you.”
          Atsuko turned away from Minami as she was quickly overcome with something akin to guilt, her unfinished thoughts from earlier suddenly returning now, uninvited.
          If I did graduate, would that really be a bad thing?
          “Minami-” she blurted suddenly, surprising even she with the small, emotional outburst of the other’s name.
          “Hm?” Sensing desperation in her voice, Minami gave Atsuko her full attention, but the taller girl did not say anything more.  Noticing her hesitance and the silence growing between them, Minami took Atsuko’s other hand in hers and held their hands up between them, lacing their fingers together.  For Minami, such a personal touch was a more effective method than words to express her feelings.
          Atsuko met Minami’s gaze once again, her heart skipping a beat as she saw the smile Minami wore.  It was a genuine smile, perfectly reflecting her true emotions of the moment.  It was not the smile from earlier, the mask that Atsuko knew had been hiding Minami’s doubts.
          ”Nevermind,” Atsuko whispered with a dismissive shake of her head.  She smiled down at Minami, wondering if her smile was just as genuine as her girlfriend’s.  “It’s time you left,” she proposed, leading Minami by the hand toward the exit.  “Let’s go freshen up and then share a cab.  We can at least spend the ride together.”
End Chapter 4, Part 1

"Hitobo, how can you still write Atsumina?"
1- I will see this story through to completion no matter what.  I will not abandon it.  The writer in me would never allow such a thing to happen.
2- I've stated elsewhere on this forum that when I write RPF, I write as though the people the characters are based on are themselves fictional characters.  In other words, the events of Real Atsuko's life (Congratulations, by the way) will not affect my writing unless I choose to let them.

Until next time folks.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2019, 12:41:53 AM by Hitobo »

Offline cisda83

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Re: Portraits (Atsumina) Chapter 4 Part 1
« Reply #103 on: September 27, 2013, 11:33:24 AM »
I actually already forgotten about this story...

I needed to go back and read from the beginning...

But it's good that Minami is starting to be more and more aware of her feeling and desire

And Atsuko is getting more and more anxious about everything from her love life to her career

What's going to happen next?

Would you follow the real life about Atsuko going to graduate at saitama arena?

Well whatever it is, can't wait to see the next

Thank you for the update

 :twothumbs :twothumbs :twothumbs

Offline lezperv

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Re: Portraits (Atsumina) Chapter 4 Part 1
« Reply #104 on: September 27, 2013, 05:06:33 PM »
Wow, I'm really happy that you finally updated this story. I was really missing it so I re-read it at least 2 more times lol

This is really well written and honestly, one of my favorite fic, if not most favorite :D

I was sooo nervous the entire time, wondering if Atsuko would make it and she did, so i'm happy about that. Though it seems like Atsuko really wanted to graduate, now that she was able to stay in AKB.

I assume the story will follow the real event at the Saitama concert where Atsuko announce her graduation? I hope she would inform Minami first because I don't want their relationship to have a rift...

please update soon  :heart:
Forever AtsuMina/TakAcchan/TakAtsuko <3 . Follow me ^_^ .
My Fanfics: Shiroi x Kuroi Tenshi, Maji, Kowai!, Nisemono, Futari (Ong) Devil Wears Prada (Hiatus) I Want to Lock You Up (OS) Three Chances (Fanfic Winner 2014) Naze (Fanfic Winner 2015)
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Offline Tanchan

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Re: Portraits (Atsumina) Chapter 4 Part 1
« Reply #105 on: September 28, 2013, 06:49:43 AM »
No no no don't stop writing, it hasn't come to and end yet and I'm with you in which I don't like author leaving their fics unfinished(although sometimes they have their own reasons to do so). We do not let the reality affect our fanfic world.

I also think that Atsuko's pondering about graduation after the announced results. She may or may not tell Takamina about it but if things go according to what happened in the real world, she will tell her.

Of course, a little AtsuTomo excerpt is always welcomed :wub: and do I need to even mention Atsumina? Nope I don't think I have too.

Offline FlameHazeKatsu

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Re: Portraits (Atsumina) Chapter 4 Part 1
« Reply #106 on: September 28, 2013, 05:26:55 PM »
kyaaa xD  :mon inluv: ohmygawd! 
those scenes always make me squeal...phone in hand saying that she gonna go somewhere else but really she's going to the other party's house! that never fail to make me squeal~  :farofflook:
thanks for the update! T_T we needed this!  :mon fyeah:
I'm just speechless...I don't know how to express my feelings...gah...but luv this~  :mon thumb:

Offline Hitobo

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Portraits (Atsumina) Chapter 4 Part 2
« Reply #107 on: October 04, 2015, 09:35:11 PM »
I'm pretty sure I left an unfinished story around here somewhere.  Just gotta blow off all this dust...

A-ha!  There it is.

Disclaimer: Though all characters contained herein are based on actual persons, this story is purely fictional, and nothing within it should be used as source material for Wikipedia. Monetary profit has been neither sought nor gained with the writing of this story.

Notice: Hints of WMatsui below.  (Is WMatsui still a thing?  Is Atsumina still a thing, for that matter?)

          Atsuko turned away from Minami as she was quickly overcome with something akin to guilt, her unfinished thoughts from earlier suddenly returning now,
uninvited.

          If I did graduate, would that really be a bad thing?
          “Minami-” she blurted suddenly, surprising even she with the small, emotional outburst of the other’s name.
          “Hm?” Sensing desperation in her voice, Minami gave Atsuko her full attention, but the taller girl did not say anything more.  Noticing her hesitance and the silence growing between them, Minami took Atsuko’s other hand in hers and held their hands up between them, lacing their fingers together.  For Minami, such a personal touch was a more effective method than words to express her feelings.
          Atsuko met Minami’s gaze once again, her heart skipping a beat as she saw the smile Minami wore.  It was a genuine smile, perfectly reflecting her true emotions of the moment.  It was not the smile from earlier, the mask that Atsuko knew had been hiding Minami’s doubts.
         ”Nevermind,” Atsuko whispered with a dismissive shake of her head.  She smiled down at Minami, wondering if her smile was just as genuine as her girlfriend’s.
         “It’s time you left,” she proposed, leading Minami by the hand toward the exit. “Let’s go freshen up and then share a cab.  We can at least spend the ride together.”


Portraits
An AKB48 Fan Fiction
Chapter 4, Part 2


          Atsuko’s eyes fluttered open as she slowly drifted into consciousness.  She squinted against the bright, headache inducing lights overhead.  From somewhere beside her there sounded a rhythmic beep, and a tight grip on her hand alerted her to the presence of Minami, who was asleep in a chair at her bedside.
          I’m in a hospital, she realized immediately.  This is definitely not how I imagined our next time together would be.
          “Hey, roomie.  You’re finally awake,” a familiar, childish voice greeted quietly from her other side, just a few feet away.  “What a relief.  You have a lot of people worried.”
         “Jurina?” Atsuko whispered questioningly, turning to confirm that her assumption as to the voice’s owner had been correct.  The teenager was sitting on the next bed over (theirs being the only two in the spacey room, Atsuko noted), absentmindedly swinging her legs inches above the ground.  The I.V. in her arm drew Atsuko’s eye, and she looked down to find one in her own arm, too.
          “What happened?” Atsuko asked, though she was already certain of the answer.
          “The way I hear it, you collapsed during filming on the set of your drama.”  Jurina paused, watching Atsuko’s reaction.  “I’ve been here a couple days now, and this place is actually quite busy, so I guess they figured you wouldn’t mind sharing a room with me.  It’s some sort reserved room for celebrities.”
          Atsuko didn’t comment, so Jurina attempted to lighten the conversation.
          “You know, Maeda-san, if you wanted to visit with me so badly, there must have been an easier way to do so,” she teased, smiling playfully.  It was a youthfully innocent smile, the same that Atsuko herself perfected just a handful of years ago.
          Jurina was relieved to see Atsuko finally give a small smile in response. Sensing that she should give Atsuko some time to think, she swung her legs up onto the bed and rolled over to the other side, where she had a clear view out the window.  It was a nice, sunny day, but she couldn’t shake that tingling feeling that a storm lay in wait just beyond the city’s skyscrapers, potentially ruining her plans for a relaxing walk in the hospital’s inner garden.
          “Who called Takamina?” Atsuko finally asked a few minutes later, her gaze settled on Minami sleeping beside her.
          Jurina turned around with a knowing expression.  “I did,” she admitted.
          Atsuko nodded.  At this point, it was no surprise to her that Jurina or any other member would have thought to call Minami.
          “The hospital couldn’t get a hold of your parents.  Takamina-san took it upon herself to contact them and she eventually got through.  She said your mother would be here by early evening.”
          “What time is it?” Atsuko asked, the concept of time only just now occurring to her.
          “Around three.”
          “Three?”  Atsuko repeated disbelievingly.  The last indication of time that she could remember was the set manager announcing lunch in twenty minutes.  That was… just before noon. “How long have I been in here?”
          Jurina shrugged.  “I’d guess a few hours, give or take thirty minutes.”
          Atsuko stared blankly at her hand being held tightly by Minami.  But that would mean…  “How long has she been here?”
          “Almost the whole time.  She appeared not long after I called her.”
          That means she skipped afternoon practice.  Atsuko closed her eyes with a sigh, suddenly feeling guilty about inconveniencing Minami, though she knew Minami would argue otherwise.
          “She was out of breath when she got here,” Jurina said with a light laugh.  “She probably ran up the stairs chanting your name, just like in a drama.  You’re really lucky, you know?”  She sighed forlornly.  “I wish I was lucky enough to know how it felt to love someone and be loved by them in return.”
          It was a sigh unlike any Atsuko had ever heard Jurina make, and she glanced over to see the younger girl give a small, lightly pained smile.  She returned the expression with an inquisitive raise of her brow.
          “Teenage love troubles,” Jurina clarified with a small shrug.  “My target’s playing hard to get.  What else is there to say?”
          This time is was Atsuko’s turn to give a quiet laugh.  “Let me tell you about hard to get,” she said, gently stroking Minami’s hand.
          Jurina smirked, mockingly bowing to Atsuko as if to say, “All hail the one that achieved her love.”  Atsuko waved a hand before her, dismissing the fake adoration.
          “Never give up hope,” Atsuko encouraged her, feeling she ought to say something.  “You never know when things might change.”
          Jurina unconsciously tucked her hair behind her ear and shrugged.  “She says I’m still just a child, and that I should wait a couple more years to be sure what I’m feeling is real.  I think she’s just uncomfortable with the age gap.  She’s using our status as idols as an excuse, too.  When you two finally got together I was so excited, hoping that maybe she would change her mind, but- oh, yeah.”  She paused and then, with a nod toward Minami, murmured as if just remembering, “She wanted you to wake her.”
          She’d said this in a gentle whisper, and it suddenly occurred to Atsuko that the younger girl had been whispering the whole time for Minami’s sake.  Minami was able to slumber on peacefully, oblivious to the conversation.
          Atsuko shook her head.  “Not just yet; I’d like to let her rest a bit longer.  I don’t want her to end up here, too.”  Freeing her hand from Minami’s grasp, she ran her fingers through Minami’s hair soothingly.  It had been nearly two weeks since she’d last been able to spend time with Minami, and she honestly hadn’t expected to see her again so soon, especially not in such a situation.
          “She brought you flowers,” Jurina noted, pointing to the small table along the opposite wall.  Atsuko glanced up to see two vases full of vibrant, colorful flowers.
          “Two?” she muttered.
          “Takamina-san came to visit me just yesterday,” Jurina explained, reclining against her pillows.  She crossed her arms in a slight pout.  “Of course, she hasn’t come to visit.”
          She was undoubtedly Jurina’s crush, whom almost all members knew to be Matsui Rena, including Rena herself.  Remembering her own similar heartaches and worries, Atsuko easily identified with Jurina’s unrequited feelings.  She felt compelled and a bit obligated to say something, something more than the ‘Never give up’ from just a few minutes ago, so she took a moment to ponder the right words, trying to think of what she had hoped someone would have said to her back then.
          Finally, she settled disappointingly on the cliché truth.  “It can’t be helped; you know how busy her schedule is.  And perhaps she’s considering your feelings more than you think.  It may be that she doesn’t want to hurt you more by giving you any false hopes by visiting.”
          Jurina gave a displeased grunt, the kind typical of a girl her age.  Atsuko sighed again, ready to admit to her failure as a love counselor, when Minami’s voice drifted to mind in a memory.  Atsuko closed her eyes for a moment, reflecting on the advice that Minami had given her years ago.
          “Okay, how’s this?” she asked, regaining Jurina’s interest.  “Do what she asked you to do.  Make sure it’s not just a crush but that it’s really a love deserving of your time, tears, sighs, and frustrations.  In the meantime, don’t grow apart from her.  If you two are meant to be, then something will happen eventually.  Until that time, if you truly love her, then you should be happy for her and respect her decisions.  Besides,” Atsuko paused briefly to flash an honest smile, “she’s not so crazy that she would reject having you around as a friend.”
          “Well, enough about that,” Jurina mumbled, trying to hide the blush on her cheeks.
          It seemed to Atsuko that her paraphrase of Minami’s words had had some effect.
          “Guess what Takamina-san said when she visited me yesterday.”
          Atsuko shook her head, so Jurina continued with a cryptic smile.  “I quote, ‘I’m worried about some of the others; that they might end up here with you.  Everyone is working so hard lately that I can’t help but to think that.’”
          “And here I am,” Atsuko sighed.
          The younger girl gave a small, amused laugh before she continued.
          “I almost laughed when she said it because she sounded like a middle-aged man worrying about his daughters.  True Takamina-papa.”
          Atsuko chuckled, causing Minami to stir.  She waited with bated breath until she was certain Minami was still asleep to say, “The others do lovingly call her the papa of AKB.”
          Jurina smirked.  “Which would make you the mama?”
          “I wouldn’t be so sure about that.”  Atsuko sighed, gently brushing Minami’s cheek with her fingertips.  “I’m a pretty awful mother, if that’s the case.”
          “You just listened to me complain about my teenage love troubles and even gave me some advice.  Isn’t that something a mother would do?”
          “That might be true.”  Atsuko sighed, a nostalgic smile on her lips.  “Though to be honest, it was Takamina that said those things to me years ago.”
          “Eh?”  Jurina stared between Atsuko and Minami, dumbfounded.  “That Takamina?”
          Atsuko nodded proudly.
          A sudden silence settled between them then and Jurina took the opportunity to snuggle into her sheets.  She watched intrigued as Atsuko began stroking Minami’s hair again.  Atsuko had started to hum a familiar song and Jurina quickly grew frustrated, unable to put a name to it.  She sank deeper into her pillows, trying to remember the words.  Humming the melody together with Atsuko, she closed her eyes and slowly drifted to sleep.
          A knock on the door a little while later failed to wake either of the two slumbering young women.  Atsuko ceased her study of Minami’s placid sleeping face to look up and see a familiar middle-aged doctor at the foot of her bed.  It was her usual doctor, the same one who’d treated her numerous times before for the same reason.  He glanced from Minami to Jurina and then settled his gaze on Atsuko with a gentle smile.
          “How are you feeling, Maeda-san?” he asked quietly, not daring to risk waking the others.
          “Tired, and a bit hungry.”
          The doctor stifled a chuckle.  “Your appetite never ceases to surprise me, Maeda-san,” he said, walking to stand beside her.  “Do you understand why you are here?”  The nice guy voice was suddenly gone, immediately replaced by the condescending doctor tone Atsuko dreaded hearing. 
          She nodded in response, resting her hands in her lap.
          “You’ve forced your body beyond its limitations.  A few days’ rest might be enough for you to recover this time, but next time the damage could be irreparable.  You must stop exerting yourself so much.  You must rest more.”
          Here it comes, thought Atsuko, casting her gaze downward.  She clenched her hands, her fingers tightly gripping the bed sheet.
         “Your schedule must change.”
_   _   _

          Minami collapsed to the floor in a disheveled heap.  She was exhausted, the good kind of exhausted where one's bones ache and one's muscles burn as the result of putting one’s all into an arduous work-out.  Her chest heaved as her lungs and diaphragm valiantly attempted to steady her breathing.  She closed her eyes, the bright lights on the ceiling of the lesson room a bit too brilliant to stare into.  Immediately an image of Atsuko flashed through her mind, and Minami let slip a small frown.
          Atsuko had left lessons early today due to an afternoon photo shoot for yet another magazine. She’d resumed her busy schedule as if her three day stint in the hospital last week had never happened.  Yet ever since her release, Atsuko had been behaving strangely and Minami was certain that something was troubling her.
          Something cold and wet suddenly touched Minami’s cheek and she bolted upright with a yell.
          “That’s the Captain for ya!  She’s still so full of energy even after such an exhausting lesson.”  Yuko was squatting beside Minami, grinning like the Cheshire cat and with a cold bottle of water in hand.  “For you,” she piped merrily, holding the bottle out to Minami.
          “Thanks,” Minami mumbled.
          “Oh, come on now.  Don’t be so grumpy.”  Minami cast Yuko a stern glare, to which Yuko responded with a tilt of her head.  “Say, care to talk about it?” Yuko asked.
          Minami took a couple sips of water, looking warily at Yuko through the corner of her eye.  “Talk about what?” she asked, wiping the excess water from her lips with a swipe of her hand.  "Why is it that everybody's trying to get me to talk these days?  Normally all of you ask me to stop talking."
          Sensing Minami’s defensiveness, Yuko plopped down beside her with a sigh.  Neither said anything for a moment, both simply observing the others in the room with indifference.  Like Minami, many others had collapsed where they once stood, their bodies worn out and their energy depleted.  The lesson had been quite grueling of late as next month’s concert in the arena was expected to be nothing short of their best yet.
          Minutes passed.  Five.  Ten.  Their now empty water bottles sat forgotten between them.  Almost fifteen minutes ticked by, in which the two sat quietly beside each other, absentmindedly watching the present members’ number dwindle until there were only a handful of people left in the room. 
          “So,” Yuko began cautiously, breaking the silence between them.   “Care to talk about it now?”
          Minami stared at her blankly.  “Talk about what, exactly?”
          “Don’t feign ignorance,” Yuko scolded, watching as Minami stood.  Not wanting to let her friend escape without talking, Yuko quickly played her trump card. “Ever since Atsuko left the lessons early this morning, any time after that that we’ve had a break you’ve had a frown on your face.  Takamina, did something happen between you two?”
          Minami froze for just a second, a telltale sign.  She sat back down and crossed her arms in a pout.
          Bingo.
          “We didn’t have a fight, if that’s what you’re asking,” Minami grumbled.
          “But there is something wrong.”
          There was a brief pause, and then, “Yes.  No.  Argh, I don’t know!”  She grasped at her hair, shaking her head in frustration.  “I don’t know if there’s something wrong, and that’s the problem!”
          Yuko flinched and stared at Minami, a bit taken aback by her sudden outburst.
          Unfazed by Yuko’s reaction, Minami continued, "We went on a, uh, a d-date the other night."  She paused, feeling her cheeks redden at the implications of her admission.
          Watching her, Yuko had to suppress a giggle at the other girl's honest reaction.
          "We finally had the chance to get together and catch that movie she's been bugging me to see with her.  I thought she'd be really excited, but it hardly seemed like she was there.  She barely touched her dinner, and that's not like her at all!  She's been like that ever since she was discharged.  She's so... unusually withdrawn.  I’m worried because her body can only take so much more before she ends up in the hospital again.
          "I can tell there’s something troubling her.   I'm sure of it, but every time I try to talk about it she avoids the topic.  She insists that there’s nothing wrong, but...”  Minami sighed, shaking her head before turning to Yuko.  “I can’t get her to talk to me.  That’s not to say that we’re not talking, because we call each other every day, but she won’t talk to me.” 
          “Ah, so that’s it,” Yuko stated simply.  She reached out to pat Minami’s back soothingly.
          Minami nodded.  “I can’t help but to wonder if maybe I said something I shouldn’t have, or maybe I haven’t done something that I should have done already.  I just-- if I’m the cause of her troubles then I’d like to change that.  Oshima-san,” Minami paused, and then muttered, “what should I do?”
          “Eh?” Yuko squeaked, unsure that she’d heard Minami correctly.  “You’re asking me for advice?”
          Minami simply nodded, her gaze fixated on a spot between her feet.
          Yuko sighed, unsure of what to say.  Her relationship with Haruna certainly wasn’t perfect, as they’d had their fair share of quarrels and misunderstandings, and she still hadn’t the experience necessary to aide Minami.  Atsuko’s behavior was definitely baffling, and Minami, the dutiful girlfriend, had good reason to worry.  So why wouldn’t Atsuko share her troubles with Minami?
          “Well,” Yuko began hesitantly, and Minami whipped her head up to look at her expectantly.  “Maybe she doesn’t want to burden you with whatever’s bothering her.”  Yuko had meant it to sound firm and convincing, but in the end it seemed more of a question than a statement.
          Minami grunted.  “Maybe.  I don’t think that’s it, though.  She knows that I’m willing to help her with anything.”
          “Maybe it’s something that she’s not sure of herself and so it’s not a matter of her not wanting to talk about it with you, but rather that she truly can’t.”
          “Why would that be?”
          Yuko shrugged.  “Or maybe…  Hey, have you been completely open and honest with her?”
          Minami nodded noncommittally.
          “Girls can sense these things, you know.  Maybe she thinks you’re keeping something from her so she doesn’t feel comfortable being so open about her issues when you're not reciprocating that trust.”
          Minami didn’t say anything, and Yuko could see that the younger girl was pondering her words seriously.  Deciding to give Minami a few minutes alone, Yuko flopped to the floor and closed her eyes to rest.  A short time passed before Minami finally responded.
          “I suppose I could be a little more honest,” Minami admitted.  Yuko cracked open an eye to see Minami give a sheepish smile.  “But how?”
          “Alright, Takamina,” Yuko said, sitting up again with a groan.  “Just this once I’ll give you my all-star love advice for free.”  She grinned cheekily, earning a disapproving humph from Minami.
          “I don’t think I want it.”
          “Aw, don’t be like that.  Just hear me out.  You suspect that Acchan might be upset because of something you have or have not done, right?
          Minami nodded.
          “So, let’s discuss ‘Good Not Doing Something’ and ‘Bad Not Doing Something.’  First up is good, which I think you’ve got a decent grip on.  ‘Good Not Doing  Something,’ means not doing things like ignoring her phone calls, not respecting her opinion, or physically harassing her.”
          “Heed your own advice please,” Minami deadpanned.
          Yuko chuckled.  “And then there’s ‘Bad Not Doing Something,’ like, hmm... like not telling her you love her every day.”
          “I… do," Minami replied, her hesitation earning her a scowl from Yuko.
          “You don’t sound so certain.”
          Minami blushed.  “I’ll say it in response if she says it to me, but it’s kind of embarrassing to say without being prompted, especially now that we’re both aware of the emotions and commitments that those words encompass.”
          Yuko stared at Minami, a bit confused as to how someone putatively inept at love and relationships could compose such a statement.
          “But with everything that I do for her, she must know how I feel about her.  That ought to be enough, right?”
          Yuko shook her head.  “You would think so, Takamina, but alas, women still like to hear that simple phrase.  I make sure to tell Kojipa that I love her every day.”
          To Yuko’s amusement her words caused Minami to whimper, the younger girl afraid to think that Atsuko might really be upset with her.  They were not even three months into their relationship, and already she’d seemingly committed a great error.
          “So what you’re saying is that I need to tell Atsuko that I love her.”
          “Maybe, maybe not.  Doing so certainly won’t solve everything, and it may not solve anything,” Yuko replied cryptically.  She stood and stretched before offering her hand to Minami.  “Don’t think too hard about these things,” she suggested as she helped Minami to stand.  “You’ll get the hang of it in no time.”
          “I hope so,” Minami sighed, casting a glance outside the studio windows.  Outside, a ray of sunlight was fighting through a break in the storm clouds.  “I love you, Atsuko,” Minami practiced under her breath.  Sighing, she turned to leave, jogging to catch up with Yuko at the studio’s exit.
          "All set?"
          "Yes."
          "Then c'mon, comrade.  Let's go find a nice meal."
_   _   _
 
          Minami sat unmoving at the end of the sofa not daring to risk waking Atsuko, who was stretched out beside Minami with her head in Minami's lap.  The movie they'd been watching had long since ended, and Atsuko's gentle stroking of Minami's knee had ceased soon after.
          Minami yawned unexpectedly, triggering a reaction from Atsuko who shifted her position.  Turning away from the television and into Minami, Atsuko's movement was enough to cause the blanket that was covering her to slip away.  Atsuko's now exposed pajamas left little to the imagination, and Minami knew she was blushing as she reached out to adjust the blanket over her girlfriend.
          "Mmm, this is nice," Atsuko murmured as she shifted again to snuggle closer to Minami.  Her breath seeped through Minami's shirt, the sensation of it against Minami's stomach sending an involuntary shiver down Minami's spine.
          "Wh-what's nice?" Minami asked, caught off guard by the sudden interruption of the quiet that had settled around them.  She kept her gaze on Atsuko's face, studying her features in the soft glow of the television.  Overcome by a sudden desire to touch the other girl, Minami gently brushed aside Atsuko's bangs.
          "This is nice," Atsuko answered with a fond smile.  She covered Minami's hand with hers, pressing it firmly against her cheek.  "A quiet, relaxed evening at home."
          "All we did was watch a movie.  It wasn't even a good movie."
          "You're right, that movie was awful," Atsuko agreed with a chuckle.  She lowered their joined hands and held them intimately to her chest.  "Still, it would take more than a bad movie to ruin this evening.  Thank you.  I needed this."
          “Needed what?” Minami asked, her scrunched brow a clear sign of her confusion.
          “All of this," Atsuko explained.  She momentarily released Minami's hand to gesture around them.   "The seclusion.  The chance to rest. The freedom of not having to worry about anything for the rest of the evening.  Most especially, I..." She paused briefly, the faintest blush upon her cheeks.  "... I really needed this opportunity to spend time alone with you.”
          “Well, if that’s the case then I definitely needed this, too," Minami stated sincerely.  "I was worried about you, Acchan."
          Atsuko sighed contentedly, and Minami's heart skipped a beat as she felt Atsuko's warm breath tickle her stomach again.  Being so close to each other for the first time in weeks only served to heighten Minami's awareness of the unfulfilled desires between them.  She could feel Atsuko's heart beating rapidly, and she knew that despite her relaxed demeanor, Atsuko was also aware of their intimate situation.  Minami stared down at her, wondering if Atsuko was intentionally teasing her with her every breath.
          "Ack!” Minami squeaked a moment later, broken from her thoughts by a poke in the cheek.  She playfully swatted away Atsuko's hand, only just then realizing that Atsuko was now seated upright beside her.  “What was that for?"
          "You were staring, Takamina," Atsuko scolded teasingly.
          "I'm sorry.  I -"
          "Don't be," Atsuko asserted, smiling mischievously.  She slowly dropped her gaze down to Minami's chest and then back up, grinning even broader when their eyes met.  "I got to stare back."
          Minami glanced down to find that at some point her own shirt had slipped down her shoulders, giving the now seated Atsuko an excellent view of her chest. Flustered by the revelation, she hurriedly adjusted her shirt.  She heard Atsuko laughing softly beside her when she was suddenly hugged tight.
          "Please don't ever change," Atsuko whispered and kissed Minami's cheek.  Resting her head on Minami's shoulder, Atsuko wrapped her arms tightly about the other girl's waist.
          Atsuko's heartfelt whisper brought Minami's recent worries about her to mind. Taking a moment to prepare herself for the potential consequences of asking her next question, Minami leaned over to tuck the blanket around them.  Frustrated by the ridiculousness of her hesitation to ask Atsuko a basic, everyday question, Minami released the breath she’d been holding in a huff.
          “Is everything okay, Acchan?” she asked, suddenly serious.  She felt Atsuko tense up beside her, and instantly Minami felt pangs of regret at having asked.
          “Why do you ask?”  Atsuko countered disingenuously.
          “You’ve been different lately.  Not quite your usual self.  I just thought that maybe there's something you want to talk about, something that’s been weighing on your mind.”
          “Everything’s fine.”
          Atsuko’s answer was terse and dismissive.  Minami frowned, hurt by the knowledge that Atsuko had just lied to her.  She could feel the tears threatening her eyes, and she willed herself not to cry as she spoke again.
          “If you don’t want to talk about it, or if you can’t talk about it, or if you’re not ready to talk about it; that’s fine, Atsuko.  I understand.  When and if you’re ready to talk, I’m willing to listen.”  Minami took a deep breath, letting it out in one puff of air.  She pulled a little bit away from Atsuko to look her in the eyes.  The battle with her tears lost, she quickly wiped her cheeks dry.  “Please, just… don’t lie to me and tell me that everything’s okay when I can tell that it’s not."
          A strong feeling of shame immediately washed over Atsuko at the sight of Minami's tears. Here was someone that loved her dearly, someone that wanted nothing more than to help her, and yet her childish behavior had brought that person to tears.
          “You’re right.  I’m sorry, Minami," Atsuko apologized, her own eyes quickly dampening with tears.  She took Minami's hand in hers, absently playing with her fingers.  "There is something that I've been thinking about lately. It's something that involves making a big change, and I'm not sure if I'm prepared for it.  When I'm ready to talk about it, just knowing that you'll be there, willing to listen... that's a great relief.  Thank you."  Leaning in closer, Atsuko whispered in Minami’s ear, “I’m so grateful to have you.”
          They sat together in a comfortable silence, Atsuko soothingly stroking her fingers along Minami's bare arm.  With her other hand she held tightly to Minami's, not daring to relinquish the connection.  Minami was her anchor in all matters, and Atsuko wished to always remain tethered to her.
          Minami sniffed, the tears that had come over her now subsiding.  She stared down at their joined hands, a frown quickly forming on her lips.   Despite Atsuko's reassurances, Minami couldn't help but to worry about what could be troubling her girlfriend to the point that she felt she couldn't talk about it.  Her own doubts and worries came to mind, and the distressing thought occurred to her that perhaps Atsuko had reached the same conclusion about her own career.
          Minami was suddenly broken from her thoughts by Atsuko tickling her. She twisted away in a fit of laughter, swatting Atsuko’s hand out of her shirt.
          "Cut that out!" she yelled amidst a fit of giggles.  Atsuko laughed with her, still tickling her.  Minami squirmed away again, causing Atsuko to collapse on top of her.
          "What did I do to deserve that?" Minami managed to ask, still laughing. 
          "You had that super serious look on your face," Atsuko scolded, propping herself up to point her finger accusingly.  "Don't you dare stay in serious mode. Tonight is supposed to be worry free.  It's just the two of us and it's all so... right."
          Atsuko smiled fondly at Minami, and Minami felt herself mesmerized by the girl so intimately close to her.  “Tonight… right now, here in this moment; I’m fine, Minami. I couldn't be better.”  She slowly ran her fingers up Minami’s arm as she spoke, the faint touch having an electrifying effect on both of theirs nerves.  “It's enough to be able to escape from it all with you, whether it's just for a few hours or..."
          Her voice trailed off, and she paused for an instant with her hand at the base of Minami’s neck, her hair brushing Minami’s cheeks.  Minami followed Atsuko’s hand with her eyes as Atsuko slowly traced it down her torso, her fingers coming to rest with slight pressure on Minami’s abdomen.  Minami slowly looked from the hand to its owner, who had dropped her own gaze to Minami’s lips.
          As Atsuko leaned toward her, Minami absently wondered if Atsuko’s heart was beating as rapidly as her own.  All thoughts left her mind entirely when Atsuko’s lips met hers, and in that instant the sensation with which Minami had become so familiar these past few weeks returned, her whole body tingling in reaction to the touch on her lips, the caress on her abdomen, the smooth skin beneath her fingertips…
          "...or for the whole evening," Atsuko whispered breathlessly as she slowly pulled away.  Daring to look at Minami, she held her gaze steady, her eyes screaming the question that she didn’t have the courage to ask aloud.  Minami stared wordlessly up at her in an apparent state of shock.
          Taking Minami's stunned silence as rejection, Atsuko smiled and leaned down to rescue Minami from her stupor with a kiss to the forehead.
          "You're right," she said, turning away to hide her emotions. "It's kind of late. We should think about-" She stopped the second she felt the soft touch of Minami’s fingers.
          Minami gulped nervously, her heart beating wildly.  Too reserved to voice her reply, she’d raised her fingers to Atsuko's chin and gently coaxed Atsuko to look at her.  Now as Atsuko looked at her, eyes questioning and tears threatening to fall, all uneasiness disappeared and Minami leaned in and kissed her.
          Minami felt Atsuko settle on top of her, and she was powerless as she felt her body shift of its own accord so that she could more easily hold Atsuko to her.  Her breath caught as the hand that had previously bewitched her slowly moved under her shirt and up to her breast.  Acting on instinct, Minami reciprocated the caress, and Atsuko’s pleasured moan died on Minami’s lips.
          Spurred by a desire to somehow be closer to Minami, Atsuko moved her free hand to adjust her position.  Where there should have been cushion, however, there was nothing, and the force of Atsuko’s full weight caused them both to nearly fall from the sofa.
          Their kiss broken, both sat up with a laugh.  As their eyes met, neither dared break the gaze.
          “I can’t believe that just happened,” Atsuko muttered incredulously.
          “Yeah,” Minami hedged, but the one word was enough for Atsuko to detect Minami’s hesitation.  “Maybe we should…”
          “Stop?” Atsuko suggested, anxiously biting her lip.
          “I was going to say move, to… well, somewhere better,” Minami shyly admitted.
          Surprised by the admission, Atsuko found she could no longer hold Minami’s gaze.  She glanced away with a shy smile, unable to respond.  A silent moment passed before she stood and offered Minami her hand.
          Minami looked from Atsuko’s offered hand up to her face.  Though obscured by her tousled hair, the tint of Atsuko’s cheeks and her genuine smile did little to hide her emotions.  With a smile of her own, Minami reached up and accepted the proffered hand.
          Hand in hand, Minami followed Atsuko to the bedroom.
_

          The din of Tokyo's late-night streets was but a whisper in Atsuko's ears. Her focus was elsewhere, her mind filled with other distractions as she sat on the sill of her condo's largest window, wrapped up in a blanket as she absently stared out at the city below. She watched as bright lights reflected off the windows of the other buildings nearby, and she took a shaky breath as she wondered how many of their inhabitants she might disappoint in the near future. This was Tokyo, after all, home to millions of people. Many of whom, for one reason or another, loved her.
          I don't know if I can do this.
          She'd left the bedroom twenty minutes ago, having woken for a fourth time in just two hours. Her restless thoughts made sleep difficult, so not wanting to disturb Minami, she'd quietly stolen away to the main room.  Despite her best efforts, however, she heard the bedroom door open a few minutes ago, followed by a soft footfall coming to rest in the doorway behind her. Minami was here, her worried gaze boring a hole in Atsuko's back. Minutes passed like this, with her looking out the window, gathering her thoughts, and Minami nervously shifting from foot to foot but being otherwise unobtrusive, giving Atsuko the space she needed.
          Finally, Atsuko heard Minami step farther into the room and then in a shy voice say, "No wonder it suddenly got so cold in there. You ran away with the blanket."
          Despite her current emotions, Atsuko couldn't help but to laugh. She didn't need to turn around to know that Minami was standing at her absolute tallest height, with her hands on her hips and her chest puffed out, trying to look cool and unaffected by the night's events despite the telltale timbre of her voice.
          "You know as well as I do that I took this from the couch," Atsuko said, gesturing with the blanket wrapped loosely around her otherwise naked form. Turning, she met Minami's sheepish smile with a mischievous grin.  "But if you're still cold, you're welcome to come join me," she offered, opening the blanket with a welcoming sweep of her arm.  A quiet chuckle escaped her as she watched Minami quickly avert her gaze, flushing bright red up to the tips of her ears.
          "N-no thanks, I'm fine," Minami stuttered, her bravado from just seconds before suddenly absent. "I mean, I want you. To join you! I want to join you. But, umm... could you go put on your shirt or something?"
          Atsuko's lighthearted laughter drew Minami’s inquiring gaze back to her.  "I can't. You're wearing my shirt."
          Minami glanced down at her clothes and back up to meet Atsuko’s eyes, a mortified expression on her face.
          “I, uh… Well, I, um… that is to say, it, I mean your, er-”
          "Takamina,” Atsuko said flatly, ceasing Minami’s embarrassed blabbering.
          "Yeah?"
          "Come here."
          Minami gave in, and as she got closer Atsuko saw her eyes widen in shock.  Too late, Atsuko realized that the tear stains on her cheeks must be clearly visible in the light from the window.  She turned away suddenly in a vain attempt to hide them.
          "Acchan, were you crying?" Minami asked as she drew the blanket around herself.  Atsuko could hear the unmistakable concern in her voice. “What’s wrong?”
          “It was nothing,” Atsuko said as she wiped at her cheeks.  “I was just feeling a little emotional, is all.”
          “Atsuko.”
          Her name was but a loving whisper on Minami’s breath, and the emotions it drew forth caused a lump in Atsuko's throat. When she didn't immediately respond, Minami continued, "Acchan, nothing has changed from earlier. I meant what I said. You can talk with me about anything.”
          Atsuko felt Minami take her hand and tried to take a deep breath. "Are you still willing to listen, Minami?” she managed to choke out.  "Even if what I have to say might hurt you?”
          There was a sudden silence, filled with uncertainty on Atsuko's part, and just when she thought that perhaps Minami hadn’t heard her, she felt the other girl’s grip on her hand tighten.
          “Always." 
          At Minami's solid show of support, Atsuko's tears began to fall once more.
          “Huh? Wait. No. Why are you crying?” Minami asked, her voice already strained by the effort of keeping back her own tears. “Please stop crying. If you don’t stop, I’m going to start, and I won’t even know why we’re crying.”
          She bit her lip and tilted her head back, trying her best not to laugh at Minami's comical though failed attempt to keep from crying. Minutes later, the both of them now calmer, Minami heaved a big sigh and spoke.
          "Atsuko... I," she hesitated, her nervous behavior capturing Atsuko's undivided attention.  “Please tell me what's wrong.  I’m worried about you.  I… I love you.”
          Atsuko couldn’t help but smile at Minami’s confession, knowing how difficult it must have been for Minami to say.  “I know you do, and that's what makes this so hard to discuss with you."
          Minami met and held Atsuko’s gaze.  They stared at each other for a moment, eyes searching for an answer to questions both spoken and not.  Finally Atsuko gave a small laugh, realizing that Minami was determined to help her and that there was no need or point to delaying the inevitable any longer.
          "I want to graduate," Atsuko blurted, surprised to feel relief upon her admission. She looked to Minami to gauge her reaction, and her breath hitched at what she saw.  A dark emotion clouded Minami's eyes, an otherwise unreadable expression on her face. Fearing the worst, Atsuko hurriedly explained.
          "I'll understand if you're mad or upset.  I just... There's a whole world outside of AKB, Minami, full of freedoms and opportunities. I want to be an actress, to live and work in that world, but I can't do that and remain loyal to the group.  The effort required to participate in both AKB events and my acting obligations is taking its toll on my body.  And the fans..." She paused, taking a deep breath and wiping away fresh tears with an unsteady hand.  "I miss too many events, too many shows, and too many rehearsals. It’s obvious that I've been a failure for our fans lately.  They're upset with me, and I can't say that I blame them.  I can't be who they want me to be anymore, the ace of a group that I want to leave. I want to graduate. I need to graduate, but I can't bring myself to do it."
          Even in the moonlight, Minami was noticeably pale. The concern that was in her eyes at the start of Atsuko's explanation had gradually morphed into resignation.  She stood slowly, carefully slipping out of the blanket and stepping a few feet away. Atsuko felt a new wave of anxiety wash over her as Minami turned away, her back to both Atsuko and the window.
          "What's stopping you?" Minami asked softly. By the telltale shake of her shoulders, Atsuko could see that Minami was fighting her own tears.
          Atsuko stepped up behind her then, one hand holding the blanket closed, the other gently resting flat on Minami's back.
          "You."
          As the word left her mouth, Atsuko was reassuringly struck by the revelation that she was prepared to leave AKB years ago. It was Minami from whom she couldn't bear to separate.
          "Leaving AKB would be like leaving you, and I can't leave you. Not now, when we're finally together."
          Suddenly overcome by the irrational fear that Minami would run away, Atsuko slid her hand down to and then around Minami's waist. The blanket hung loosely on her shoulders as she drew her other arm around Minami, holding the smaller girl's body tightly to her own. She dropped her head onto Minami's shoulder, and she felt rather than heard Minami take a shaky breath.
          "Tell me you don't want me to graduate," she pled, her voice muffled against Minami's back. "I'll stay."
          Minami wiped her cheeks then, her hands coming to rest on Atsuko's. In a small voice, she responded, "I could say that I don't want you to graduate, but it wouldn't be the truth."
          Atsuko felt a deep pain in her chest, and for a moment she forgot to breathe. "What do you mean?" she asked, fearing the answer.
          Minami said nothing. Instead, she stepped from Atsuko's embrace, and Atsuko stood dumbfounded as she watched Minami quickly disappear down the hallway. She hadn't moved at all when Minami returned a moment later wearing her own shirt, silently offering Atsuko the one that she'd been wearing.  Atsuko took it and put it on, noticing that it held the lingering scent of Minami's perfume. She didn't miss the fact that Minami averted her gaze as the blanket slipped from her shoulders.
          "Let's sit down." Minami grabbed the blanket from the floor and sat on the sofa. As Atsuko sat down beside her, Minami covered them with the blanket.
          "Minami?"
           Minami turned to her then and spoke with uncharacteristic resolve. "Lately when you’ve been at AKB events, you’ve been smiling a lot.  You’re a great actress, Atsuko, and you might have fooled the others, but… I could tell that all of your smiles were forced.”  She took a calming breath.  “I want what's best for you, Atsuko. I want you to be happy, to wear a true smile again, and if that means you need to graduate, then so be it."
          Atsuko sniffed as she fought back another round of tears.  "We'll barely see each other."
          "We barely see each other now. I don't think things will be much different after you graduate. Things might even become better."
          Despite Minami's positive sentiments, Atsuko could see a dark emotion settling in her eyes. She hugged Minami and placed a light kiss to her temple.
          "You don't look so certain of that," she posed.
          Minami shrugged. "I'm still in shock, I guess."
          "I'm sorry."
          “It’s just that…”
          Minami paused, and Atsuko pulled away in time to see an unfamiliar expression flash on Minami’s features.  Before she could question it, however, Minami briskly shook her head and continued with a small smile.
          “You’re a successful, amazing actress now.  You’ve achieved your dream.  AKB was only ever meant to be a stepping stone toward a career, so it makes perfect sense for you to graduate.”
          Atsuko curled up to Minami’s side and rested her head on Minami’s shoulder.  “You’re the amazing one,” she said with a sigh.  She slipped her hands under the blanket and took one of Minami’s hands in her own, absently playing with Minami’s fingers as she spoke.  “I don’t know exactly how I was expecting you’d react when I finally told you, but I didn’t think you would be this cool and collected.  I guess I was kind of imagining you to be this big, emotional, blubbering mess.”  She heard Minami sniff, and looked up to see that Minami had begun to cry.
          “You just had to say something about it,” Minami grumbled, vainly fighting her tears.
           Atsuko chuckled.  “It’s all right; I don’t mind.  I happen to like your crying face.  I think I love this part of you most.”  She kissed Minami’s cheek, eliciting an unintelligible but no doubt flattered response.  Wordlessly, she slipped one of her hands onto Minami’s bare thigh and kissed her again, slowly trailing to Minami’s lips.
          They kissed for a few minutes until Minami brought her hands up between them, forcing them apart.
          “Is something wrong?”  Atsuko asked.
           Minami smiled sheepishly and cleared her throat.  “It’s, uh… almost five in the morning.  As much as I want to stay here with you, I need to get going.  I have a 6:15 make-up call.”
          “Is it really morning already?”  Atsuko pondered.  Her disbelief turned to content as she smiled broadly.  “Then again, we had a pretty late night,” she observed, running her fingers along Minami’s sides.
          “Cut that out!” Minami squeaked, playfully swatting away Atsuko’s wandering hands.  “I really do need to leave.”  She stood quickly, though whether to emphasize her point or because she didn’t have the resolve to withstand another advance, Atsuko couldn’t tell.  Minami quickly disappeared into the bathroom with a change of clothes.
          Sighing, Atsuko slowly stood from the couch to go check on the animals.  As she knelt in front of the excited dogs, she heard Minami clear her throat behind her.  Turning, she found Minami dressed and ready to leave.  Neither said anything for a moment.  Atsuko watched as Minami’s gaze settled everywhere but on her.  Unsure of what to do, she walked over to Minami and hugged her. 
          “Thanks for listening, Minami.”
          “You’re welcome.”
          “Be safe at work,” Atsuko wished, not knowing what else to say.
          Minami nodded.  “I will.  You, too.”
          "I feel like newlyweds," Atsuko teased with a chuckle, earning a groan from an embarrassed Minami.
           They stepped apart and Minami made to leave.  She paused a moment in the doorway and then turned back to Atsuko, looking her in the eye.
           “Atsuko, when you’re ready to tell Aki-P and the others… If you don't mind, I’d like to be there.  And when you make your announcement, I’ll be right there by your side.  I promise.”
           Atsuko felt her tears returning at Minami’s unwavering support.
          “Thank you.  I’d like that.”  She walked with Minami to the door, conscious of Minami's suddenly reserved behavior.
          "Are you okay?"
          "Mm-hmmm," Minami replied almost reflexively and with what Atuko sensed was little conviction as she evaded Atsuko's gaze.
          “See you later?” Atsuko asked apprehensively, not daring to voice the question that she desperately wanted to ask.
          Are we okay?
          “Yes,” Minami replied quickly, firmly locking eyes with Atsuko.  The assurance in her voice eradicated any doubts that Atsuko thought Minami might have about their relationship.
          Minami left, and though once again on her own, Atsuko was calmed by the feeling that she was not now, nor ever would be, alone.  However, it was clear to her that something was upsetting Minami.
          Atsuko felt a pressure on her leg and, spotting the offender, she stooped to pick up her cat.
          "It's her turn to trust me and talk to me, right?" she asked the cat, receiving a blank stare in response.  "You're right," Atsuko replied anyway, giving a small nod.  "I'll let her have the time and space she needs, just like she gave me."
          She snuggled the cat to her chest, peppering it with kisses as it squirmed in valiant effort to escape.  Laughing at the cat's antics, she set it down amidst the pack of puppies that had appeared at her feet.  She headed to the kitchen to start preparing their meals, the animals fast on her heels as she happily hummed AKB's latest single.

End Chapter 4 Part 2

Long time no see, eh? As always, thanks for reading!

Until the next time (and who knows when that might be)
« Last Edit: October 11, 2019, 12:37:40 AM by Hitobo »

Offline Minami-chan

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Re: Portraits (Atsumina) Chapter 4 Part 2
« Reply #108 on: October 05, 2015, 12:19:49 AM »
thanks a lot!!
I  had to reread the last episode to remember where he had been the fiction.
thanks a lot... saitama arena.... Saitama arena, brings back many memories ... the first transfers of the group Jurina and Milky to AKB and the announcement of Acchan ...

Offline black_maa

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Re: Portraits (Atsumina) Chapter 4 Part 2
« Reply #109 on: October 05, 2015, 08:30:02 PM »
This update was in some way sweet and in other way sad..  :shocked
..but still good.  :thumbsup
Now there will be more harder time for both of them and hope those two can get thru of it with at least not so heartbroken result.. be strong Atsumina..

Thank you author-san for this update..  :) .. take your time for writing next chapter..  :thumbup
                                                                             Look at the sky,
                                                                             Imagine, how you can fly,
                                                                             If you wanna reach a top,
                                                                             Then never try to stop.
                                                                                        
                                                                                           ^__^
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                                                                Last update: [26.01.17]  "The games of sins"

Offline cisda83

  • ecchi
  • Member+
  • Posts: 3088
Re: Portraits (Atsumina) Chapter 4 Part 2
« Reply #110 on: October 06, 2015, 03:13:02 PM »
Oh... Minami now is the one that have some troubles that need to be solved

What's going to happen next?

Can't wait to find out

Thank you for the update

 :twothumbs :twothumbs :twothumbs

Offline phoenix0i

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  • Posts: 313
  • Aigoo! Hwaiting!
Re: Portraits (Atsumina) Chapter 4 Part 2
« Reply #111 on: October 06, 2015, 08:06:45 PM »
Yuko being the adviser is really epic.
Atsuko's graduation would be hearbreaking.
Atsumina Fighting!
Thanks for the update!
Discovering the wonders of your vague imagination.
Taeny, Atsumina and SayaMilky <3

Offline ~roxas~

  • Member
  • Posts: 5
Re: Portraits (Atsumina) Chapter 4 Part 2
« Reply #112 on: October 06, 2016, 09:43:25 AM »
Just wow. Your work is so realistic. Seriously. You're the writer I'll be looking up to. I hope you do finish this story and if you're planning to include issues in real life,I'm ready to read it. Though honestly speaking I'm scared of how much crying I'll be doing since you're way of writing is too great not to be true. I'll prepare myself for all the angst and dramas but just let it still be atsumina in the end. 😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢 thank you!!!!

Offline cisda83

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  • Member+
  • Posts: 3088
Re: Portraits (Atsumina) Chapter 4 Part 2
« Reply #113 on: January 28, 2017, 08:40:54 AM »
Been a while...

Hope you will continue this story

Though it would be telling of some of the truth about AKB history up until now

But I would like to know how the AKB is continuing from your point of view

Can't wait to see how the story is going to develop

Also the develop love lives of the members...

Thank you for the story so far

 :twothumbs :twothumbs :twothumbs


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