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Author Topic: Heartbeat (20/20) + Partners (23/23) + Destiny (41/41 END) [WMatsui] - REPLIES  (Read 162392 times)

Offline sophcaro

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (14/?) [WMatsui] (12/02/16)
« Reply #340 on: February 12, 2016, 11:36:40 PM »
How nice !!
I not remember the song of Rivalry from Mayu and Jurina ...
I think I should re-read the fanfic!

In that case, you should check chapter 2 of Partners ;)
My WMatsui fanfics:

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

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

Offline faanpal

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (14/?) [WMatsui] (12/02/16)
« Reply #341 on: February 13, 2016, 12:08:16 AM »
Ah.. So that's the CENTER project. How sweet. :wub:
I really like the part when Rena smiled in amusement on Ju's flirting on Ryoha. Churi almost choked, didn't expect that kind of reaction from Rena. :rofl: it's so heartwhelming to see their relationship recently. :shy1:
Jaa... 48 is about skinship

Offline culjurio

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (14/?) [WMatsui] (12/02/16)
« Reply #342 on: February 13, 2016, 12:44:53 AM »
woaahh finally an update.. :yossi: :yossi:
is Rena really not jealous with jurina action??  Haha, I smiled when imagine Rena smilling at jurina who flirt at ryoha  :lol: :lol:

Ah, Rena write song for jurinaaa..how romantic she is..  :inlove: :inlove:
but, there is a bit wmatsui moment, I need moreeeee  :sweatdrop: :sweatdrop:

And thank you for update author San  :deco:

i'm sorry for my poor english~
Matsui Jurina-Kojima Haruna-Yuko Oshima

Offline Genkikid

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (14/?) [WMatsui] (12/02/16)
« Reply #343 on: February 15, 2016, 04:04:57 PM »
I just began reading the first chapter of Heartbeat and finished reading the latest chapter of Partners in two days. At first I was not very interested of this fic as I thought it was a sad fic. But as I begin reading this I can't stop. I even read this fic between classes or late at night. Now I cant wait for another update.

Offline sophcaro

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (14/?) [WMatsui] (12/02/16)
« Reply #344 on: February 15, 2016, 07:38:38 PM »
I just began reading the first chapter of Heartbeat and finished reading the latest chapter of Partners in two days. At first I was not very interested of this fic as I thought it was a sad fic. But as I begin reading this I can't stop. I even read this fic between classes or late at night. Now I cant wait for another update.

It's always nice to have new readers! Especially when I started writing Heartbeat such a long time ago. At least, that's how it feels in my mind  :lol:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts  :) Always appreciated!
« Last Edit: February 15, 2016, 07:45:25 PM by sophcaro »
My WMatsui fanfics:

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

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

Offline Darathon

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (14/?) [WMatsui] (12/02/16)
« Reply #345 on: February 16, 2016, 04:06:48 AM »
The update was so good. I love your work! It was super cute
Please keep on writing your wonderful fanfics :D
Atsumina and Wmatsui for life.
Takamina Oshi!!!

Offline sophcaro

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (15/?) [WMatsui] (17/02/16)
« Reply #346 on: February 17, 2016, 07:21:34 PM »
CHAPTER 15



Rena let out a small, almost inaudible sigh when the doors of the elevator opened at the right floor. Grabbing the handle of her suitcase she stepped out, walking in the quiet hallway of the hotel. Tomorrow, she was participating at a handshake event with the other members of SKE48. And the current silence surrounding her this evening was a bit too heavy for her liking. Jurina who was walking by her side seemed awfully lost in thoughts: she had barely spoken on their way here. Behind them, Airi and Churi had not said much either. Rena was well conscious that this unusual situation was only the result of what happened a couple weeks ago, straight after the first rehearsal of SKE new single.

“You deserve it, Jurina,” Rena whispered.

Rena held the younger Matsui tightly, feeling her sobbing on her shoulder. Her reaction didn’t surprise her in the least. Jurina had always been a very sensitive person at core - no matter how much she tried to act strong on stage and in front of others - and she could tell getting her first solo in SKE was moving her deeply. Probably even more to know that the lyrics were written by her.

Rena murmured a few caring words in her ear, hoping they would soothe the emotional girl effectively. She received a few nods in reply, but no words left Jurina’s lips. Manifestly, she didn’t trust her voice enough to reply yet. Rena patted the back of her head gently and kissed her temple.

The older Matsui’s attention suddenly got distracted when she noticed over Jurina’s shoulder Airi and Churi leaving the building. She sent them a smile when their eyes met, but quickly realized something was wrong. The tension was manifest between the two friends, and the smile Airi sent her in return was somewhat shy. On the other hand, Churi’s features had never been so serious. In fact, it almost looked like she was fighting back tears. It was a very strange sight coming from the usually very cheerful girl.

“See you,” Airi said to Churi, a tentative smile on her lips. A weak nod is the only thing she got in reply. Churi didn’t look at her once during the whole time.

Airi et Churi’s arrival had also alerted Jurina who was now disentangling herself from the embrace to look at them. A quick side glance at her told Rena she was as surprised as her by the two girls’ strange distance.

Rena watched Airi walking away, and followed her a bit until she was no more in sight. What could have provoked such a heavy tension between the two friends? The only time she saw them acting this way, it was more than a year ago, when Churi got rejected by Airi. Since that moment, both girls had managed to get along again, and everything seemed to be back to normal. It was almost like nothing ever happened.

“Churi, what is it?” Jurina’s concerned voice brought Rena’s attention back on the mentioned girl.

Airi was too far away now for her to question her, but she could tell she would get the answer to her question pretty soon. Indeed, Churi had taken a few unsteady steps towards Jurina, before laying her head on her shoulder. The young Matsui immediately circled her waist, and Rena wondered if she didn’t hear a few light muffled sobs. Now, Rena was also starting to get really worried about Churi’s behavior.

“Airin told me she’s graduating,” Churi stammered.

Rena froze, suddenly feeling a bit ill-at-ease. Churi’s words did not surprise her as she had known about it for weeks, but she didn’t know when Airi would share the news with her friend. One day, during one of their conversations, Airi had voiced her concern about it. She didn’t know how Churi was going to react, and she feared she would not take it so well.

Rena wanted to reassure her that everything would be fine but if truth be told, she didn’t know Churi that much. How she was going to react to the news was a complete mystery to her. No one reacted the same way to graduations. Some girls took it with calm, others cried for days. It was always hard to predict how a member was going to take it.

Rena had to admit it was a bit strange to see the tears streaming down Churi’s face. It did not hold well with her typical joyfulness. Somehow, she felt a bit out of place witnessing such a scene. Jurina was tentatively trying to comfort Churi, but her shock at the news was evident in the ace’s somewhat hesitant voice.

Rena suddenly noticed out of the corner of her eye a taxi approaching, and she knew it was her time to leave. In that intent she took a step back, unsure of what to do or say. She didn’t want to go without saying goodbye to Jurina, but she didn’t want to interrupt the moment.

As if she could read her mind, Jurina stared at her over Churi’s shoulder. Rena could tell by the look she was giving her that she wanted to say something as well, but Churi was holding onto her and weeping softly on her coat. It was a tricky situation.

Rena imagined Jurina wanted to pepper her with questions. Probably ask her if she already knew. Make sure that she was fine. For a moment, she wondered if her lack of real surprise at the revelation didn’t betray the truth. Indeed, Jurina was watching her with a curious expression. No words were exchanged. In the end, Jurina sent her a faint smile, which she reciprocated. Rena gazed sadly at Churi’s back one last time, before getting in the taxi.

 




Rena took a seat on the side of the bed, watching Jurina who was kneeled on the ground and taking a few clothes out of her blue suitcase. They had barely shared a word since they entered the hotel room a few minutes ago and her thoughts went to Churi, knowing she was the reason behind Jurina’s unusual silence. To be honest, it had surprised her to discover Churi was going to share a room with Airi. She kind of expected her to request to switch room.

After all, she could still feel the distance between both friends. Yes, they were talking to each other and definitely not acting as strangers, but the tension was still tangible. It appeared the news of Airi’s graduation hit Churi hard. Much harder than it hit her. 

That day back in late November, when she got into the taxi, she received a text from Jurina shortly after: You already knew, didn’t you?

A smile had moved to her lips at her perceptiveness. Of course, Jurina would guess it immediately. Her reply was simple, and short: Yes. As soon as they saw each other again, they talked about it at lengths. Rena quickly put an end to Jurina’s concern for her by stating that she was fine. At first, she got a few skeptical looks in return, until her calm tone and light caresses managed to persuade her.

They did not bring the topic up again. After that, Jurina spent more time with Churi than usual. Rena didn’t oppose any resistance when the young girl asked her a couple of times if they could cancel their dates. The hesitation she distinguished in Jurina’s eyes the first time even caught her off guard. “You don’t have to ask for my permission, Jurina,” she had affirmed, confused. “Spend as much time as you want with Akane. I understand perfectly.” Churi needed a shoulder to lean on; a friend to pour out her heart to. Jurina was going to be this person.

“How is Akane doing?” Rena broke the silence at last.

“It’s hard to tell,” came the hesitant reply.

Rena waited for her next words in expectation. The young girl had suddenly stopped emptying her suitcase, and was now looking in the opposite direction. It was not hard to guess her question was putting her ill-at-ease, but it was time to talk about the elephant in the room. Her wish to know more was not only motivated by her concern for Churi. Jurina also needed to share what was on her mind. Indeed, Rena had noticed the impact Churi’s sorrow was having on Jurina’s mood lately. It was obvious she felt down to not be more helpful to her dear friend.

The older Matsui followed her as she got up on her feet at last, and sat by her side on the bed. Her gaze was fixed on the floor when she continued. “The crying has stopped long ago, but she’s not speaking much.”

“I see,” Rena murmured, placing a comforting hand on Jurina’s and giving it a light squeeze. “Time heals everything. She’ll get better, don’t worry.”

“I hope,” Jurina sighed, feeling despondent despite Rena’s attempt to reassure her. “Manifestly, I’m not close to Airi as she is, but I can feel her pain.” This time, Jurina turned to look at Rena. Her somewhat confused look told her she needed to elaborate. “When Mariko graduated, I was completely devastated.”

“I know.” Rena felt the hand inside hers trembling slightly, and she immediately knew Jurina was remembering this difficult moment as she spoke. Oh yes, she recalled it pretty well too. Jurina had been through many difficult moments since she entered the 48group, but never had she seen the young girl so depressed. Not only the news had impacted her emotionally, it also put a strain on her body. She was completely falling apart, and no one seemed able to truly help her.

At some point, Rena even feared she wouldn’t make it and decide to leave SKE. Everyone knew Jurina had a somewhat fragile health. Now, there was no doubt she also had a sensitive heart.  But she did not leave. One day, Jurina stepped inside the dressing room and gave her a broad, genuine smile. It was at this precise moment that Rena realized that she had - against all odds - successively managed to overcome her pain.

“I never want to go through something like that again,” Jurina declared, getting up from the bed and moving towards her suitcase. “It’s too hard to see the people you care about leave.”

Rena didn’t reply. The pain was still obvious in Jurina’s quivering voice, and her gestures were less assured when she resumed emptying her suitcase.

There were so many things she wanted to add to that. Everyone leaves at one point or another, was one of them. You too, Jurina, will leave when time has come, was another.

Somehow, she couldn’t resolve herself to say any of those words.





Jurina had a divided opinion on hats being part of her costume. On one hand, she believed it gave her style and made her look definitely cooler. Kiseki wa aida ni awanai wouldn’t be the same song without its famous accessory. A part of the choreography even revolved around it! On the other hand, she always felt slightly apprehensive when she discovered she would have to wear a hat during a performance. Somehow, she couldn’t help but fear of losing it on stage during the execution of the choreography.

Jurina was currently sitting in the dressing room, looking at her reflection in the mirror. The SKE members had been performing a few songs for the showcase of the handshake event in Nagoya. Jurina had long ago put on her new white suit and boots for her solo to come, CENTER. However, her matching hat was causing her a great deal of stress. She couldn’t stop adjusting it on her head again and again. Up. Down. Left. Right. No position seemed to fit.

A groan escaped her lips in frustration when she was still unable to obtain complete satisfaction despite her many attempts. She was perfectly aware that she was supposed to be on stage in a few minutes, but the accessory was currently driving her nuts. Just a little bit.

A small laugh coming from her left distracted her, and she tilted her head in curiosity at the sound. Rena was coming her way and shaking her head at her in disbelief. There was no doubt she was not agreeing with her picky behavior. Jurina recalled her sometimes making a comment about it when she was confronted with the same problem on Darkness.

“Stop touching your hat,” Rena chastised her once she was sitting in front of her, “It’s perfect how it is.”

Jurina reflected on her statement and her fingers paused on the outline of the hat for an instant, until they started itching without her consent and she couldn’t help moving it again.

“You’re impossible!” Rena exclaimed in frustration at her stubborn behavior, slapping her hand away gently. “Fine, I’ll do it.”

The young Matsui didn’t speak and let her proceed. Deep down, she more than welcomed the unexpected help. This hat was really starting to make her nervous, and the prospect of making it fall during the first performance of her solo was terrifying. No, she couldn’t let that happen. Everything had to be perfect. No incident was allowed, even less on that particular song.

“There, you’re good to go,” Rena announced a few seconds later. Jurina was about to check herself in the mirror, when Rena’s voice stopped her in her tracks. “Wait, your knot is crooked.”

Jurina muttered under her breath when Rena started teasing her about her legendary issue with ties. She didn’t even try to reply to anything she was saying, knowing she was perfectly right. Maybe one day she would finally manage to make a proper tie without anyone’s help. Unfortunately, that day had not arrived yet. Jurina was even convinced she had done the worst job ever today. Blame it on her terrible anxiety.

“Everything will be fine,” Rena’s soothing voice jolted her out of her thoughts, and she gazed at the older girl. Judging by Rena’s knowing look, it wasn’t hard to guess she was perfectly aware of the turmoil currently going inside her head. “You know the lyrics by heart, and the choreography has no secrets for you.”

“I don’t want to mess up,” Jurina voiced her concern despite the reassuring words. Of course, the older Matsui was entirely right. She had worked on the lyrics so many times she even dreamed of the words at night. Moreover, the great and hardworking dancer that she was had mastered the energetic choreography in the blink of an eye. It didn’t prevent her from rehearsing it again and again until the last moment.

“You won’t,” Rena affirmed, grabbing promptly Jurina’s hand that was about to adjust her hat again. When she felt it slightly trembling inside hers, she gave it a light squeeze. 

A staff member suddenly entered the dressing room, and Jurina straightened up in alert at the calling of her name. Right now, she was thankful for the light breakfast she ate this morning at the hotel. Her agitated state had provoked a knot in her stomach as soon as she started dressing up for her solo, and her heart was now hammering inside her chest in anticipation.

Jurina stood up - sending a nervous smile to the few SKE members present in the room and wishing her luck - before heading towards the door. She knew that Rena was following her close by: she could hear the soft footsteps behind her. As it was a solo, she would be the only person on stage. No background dancers whatsoever. However earlier on, the older Matsui had stated that she would watch her performance from backstage.

At first, Jurina was moved that Rena wanted to be present for the first performance of her solo. Now, knowing that she would have this particular pair of eyes glued on her the whole time added more pressure on her shoulders than anything. This is why she didn’t manage to share a single word with Rena during the whole way leading to the stage. Her mind was entirely set on the important performance to come. There was no room for the slightest mistake.

Jurina halted just at the entrance of the stage - watching briefly the girls currently singing - but refusing to take a peek at the audience. Somehow, she knew the view would make her more nervous. Television cameras were even present to film the event. They had already recorded their first performance of the SKE new single early on. They were going to immortalize as well her first performance of her solo. For once, Jurina wasn’t so eager to be in front of cameras.

The young Matsui felt a hand slipping inside hers, and she tilted her head to Rena. The latter had a playful expression on her face when she leaned forward to whisper in her ear. “Even if you make a few minor mistakes, I won’t love you any less.”

A genuine smile moved to Jurina’s lips - the first one since she started getting ready for her solo - and she chuckled softly. In an instant, all the accumulated tension dissipated. “Promise?” Jurina decided to play along.

“You have my word,” Rena confirmed on the same teasing tone.

Jurina let her eyes close shut, relishing the proximity. She didn’t know how long they stayed without saying a word, but Jurina completely ignored all the noises around her. The music playing loudly on stage. The girls dancing energetically. The sound of their boots on the wooden floor. The cheers of the crowd. She didn’t pay attention to a single thing, only listening to the sound of her heart progressively going back to its normal rhythm. Jurina knew she owed this appeasing feeling spreading though her chest to the older Matsui facing her. The girl she loved so dearly.

The first notes of her solo, CENTER, sounded on stage all of a sudden. This time, Jurina took a step back and opened her eyes. From her peripheral vision, she saw the SKE members exiting the stage in a haste. A staff member approached her and started the countdown with his fingers. The young Matsui let go of Rena’s hand and adjusted the mic in front of her mouth one last time, before moving towards the light. It was her time to shine.





It was the last performance of the showcase. After singing a couple of SKE songs - the new single and Jurina’s solo included - they were closing the showcase of the handshake event with Kataomoi Finally.

Rena really hoped the apprehension didn’t show in her eyes when the interviewer approached them at the end. Just before the showcase started Airi had taken her aside, and informed her that she wished to make the announcement today, at the end of the showcase. Rena could almost hear the seconds ticking in her head when the man in his thirties asked his first question to Jurina.

The young Matsui replied confidently, and with a broad smile on her lips. The performance of her solo had been perfect, and the song well received by the audience. Rena could imagine how relieved she must be feeling inside. It was even showing on the outside: she was literally glowing with happiness. Rena made a mental note to congratulate her as soon as they would leave the stage but right now, her thoughts were on her best friend. And what she was going to say in a few minutes.

If truth be told, she didn’t know why she was feeling nervous. It’s not like she was going to hear about it for the first time like all the fans watching them. So why was she having a bit of a hard time focusing on the conversation? Right now, she was definitely glad that Jurina was monopolizing all the attention on herself.

Out of curiosity, Rena took a brief and discreet peek at Akane. All the girls were looking at the interviewer with a polite smile plastered on their face. All except her. In fact, she was staring at him with an uncharacteristic uneasiness. There was no doubt that - in retrospective - fans would watch this interview again and draw the conclusion that she already knew what Airi was going to say.

Rena’s attention got back to the interview when she realized Jurina had stopped talking. It was a matter of seconds now. Indeed, Airi took suddenly a step forward and raised her hand. Rena held her breath when her best friend spoke up.

“I have an announcement to make.”

A few gasps were immediately heard amongst the fans, and Rena could feel the heavy tension in the air. Not a member was making a single noise on stage, their eyes glued on Airi in anticipation. A few girls had their eyes wide open and their mouth slightly agape. Even the few members who had not been informed beforehand were somewhat guessing what she was going to say. Those words were spoken too seriously to not mean something important.

Airi’s solemn words came without further delay. “I, Furukawa Airi, have decided to graduate.”

The news was followed by many desperate shouts in the crowd. People called her name, again and again. Rena took a peek at her best friend, watching her explaining calmly and with a confident smile the reason behind her decision. She had the same expression that when she told her the news in person that day in the restaurant. In a way, it reassured Rena. There was no hesitation whatsoever in her voice, proof that she had definitely thought this through.

From her peripheral vision, Rena noticed tears falling down the cheeks of several SKE members. Some were even trying to repress their cries with a hand carefully placed in front of their mouth. The shock was evident on the face of many girls. Those who didn’t know. Those who were learning the news at the same time as the audience.

As for Churi, she was not looking at Airi, but staring right in front of her. Despite that, her eyes were glimmering with emotion. The news didn’t come as a surprise to her, but it was evident hearing it out loud was affecting her again. Budding tears were forming in her eyes, but she was doing everything in her power to not let them fall. 

Maybe it was the emotion tangible on stage and amongst the fans. Maybe it was hearing Airi speaking about her graduation. Rena didn’t know exactly what had triggered it, but she could now feel her heart beating rapidly. All of a sudden, she felt a hand inside hers. Taken aback, Rena momentarily wondered where Jurina’s unexpected affectionate gesture was coming from.

When the young girl had asked her a couple weeks ago how she was feeling about Airi’s graduation, she had guaranteed her that she was fine. And she believed it strongly. In the end, Rena realized that she was still affected by the news of her best friend’s departure. Now that things were made official, there was somehow a different feeling to it. Airi was really leaving SKE48. There was no turning back.

How did Jurina manage to guess her true feelings? It was a complete mystery to her. They were currently standing side by side, and they had not exchanged a look since Airi uttered the fateful words. Moreover, she was almost certain her emotions were not showing. Her perfect smile was still in place.

Rena didn’t say a word and kept her gaze firmly on her best friend. Nonetheless, she accepted Jurina’s comforting gesture with gratitude, and laced their fingers together.




TO BE CONTINUED
« Last Edit: January 18, 2017, 03:28:37 PM by sophcaro »
My WMatsui fanfics:

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

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

Offline Minami-chan

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (15/?) [WMatsui] (17/02/16)
« Reply #347 on: February 17, 2016, 10:56:17 PM »
Noooooooooo! Airin... nooooo!
I know she told Rena a couple of chapters ago, but to say to the public officially .... it is very sad!

Offline Darathon

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (15/?) [WMatsui] (17/02/16)
« Reply #348 on: February 18, 2016, 01:44:22 AM »
Awww so sad :(
Great update! Are you going to make Rena graduate too?
I don't think I could take that lol.
Thanks for the update, it was super quick too!
Hole you update soon, can't wait to see what happens!!
Atsumina and Wmatsui for life.
Takamina Oshi!!!

Offline genkingblack

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (15/?) [WMatsui] (17/02/16)
« Reply #349 on: February 18, 2016, 04:17:13 AM »
So Jurina aware that Rena is going to have a hard time because Airi is graduating? like she did when mariko grad..
but even Rena didnt even know that she will eventually shock bcz of it.. finally when Airi announced it, the reality slapped her hard..

Ahhh... Now I remember the day when Airi announced her grad :(
My Projects :
GenkingBlack's Vault [OS/Short Stories] Last update 4-Apr-17
Brave Enough On Going Last update 16-Mar-17
Love is Serious, When War is Involved   Hiatus Last Update 12-Mar-17
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Offline culjurio

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (15/?) [WMatsui] (17/02/16)
« Reply #350 on: February 18, 2016, 06:19:19 AM »
Finally airin announce it.!!! Thank you for update  :yossi:
But, I want more wmatsui moment  :bow: :bow: :bow:
Can you make rena jealous with jurina author San???  :lol: :lol:
i'm sorry for my poor english~
Matsui Jurina-Kojima Haruna-Yuko Oshima

Offline Genkikid

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (15/?) [WMatsui] (17/02/16)
« Reply #351 on: February 19, 2016, 02:55:24 PM »
Airin's graduating :(... noooooo :cry:... what will happen to furuyanagi? ???

WMatsui moments till the end :thumbsup

Offline sophcaro

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (16/?) [WMatsui] (25/02/16)
« Reply #352 on: February 25, 2016, 08:37:59 PM »
CHAPTER 16




Some people really feared the idea of graduation more than anything. Rena still remembered the first time a fan mentioned it during a handshake event. It was in 2011, and a boy, who couldn’t have been much older than her, came to her all shaky and nervous, before blurting out: “You’re my oshi! Please don’t graduate!”

Rena found herself utterly speechless, her juvenile smile vanishing in an instant. She was so shocked she didn’t manage to utter a single word. When she finally managed to regain a bit of composure time was already up, and the boy taken away from her sight. After that unbelievable moment, she couldn’t concentrate properly the whole morning. The boy’s words were still engraved in her mind and she was unable to shake them off. Why on earth would she already be graduating? She had only been in the group for two years!

And it was definitely not a onetime thing. Years went by, and Rena got confronted with this subject again and again. She still didn’t understand why people seemed so obsessed with it but now, she could give a proper answer. I won’t, she would often say. Please don’t worry about that, was another typical reply. Her initial surprise was far long gone. Now, she always harbored a polite smile and replied in a calm, measured tone.

Today, at the handshake event in Nagoya, a few people had already mentioned it. When she heard the question for the third time, it was from a foreigner. Rena immediately recognized the blond girl. Of course, Rena couldn’t remember the subject of their previous conversations or how many times this particular fan came to see her. However, she knew the girl was a long time fan. 

Rena was no different from other members. She was always pleasantly surprised when she noticed foreigners in her waiting line. Despite being far from fluent in Japanese, they always did their best to speak the language. Somehow, the thought that they would make such effort for such a short conversation moved her each and single time. Foreigners were not that common during handshake events, but they were always glowing with happiness. Their enthusiasm contrasted so much with Japanese fans, and their typical reserve.

Rena wrapped her hands gently around those of the blond girl, noticing her somewhat troubled expression. Indeed, her smile was not making a very good job at hiding her true emotions. Something was obviously bothering her. It didn’t take long for Rena to grasp what it was.

“I’ve been following you for many years,” the girl with an Italian accent declared in Japanese. Rena nodded, distinguishing the light nervousness in her voice.“Airin announced her graduation today, and I hope you won’t follow the same path. Your presence in SKE has brought me so much needed joy. I would be very sad to see you leave.”

Rena did not blink at the statement, used by now to people mentioning her potential graduation. The first years, it did frustrate her to hear people talking about it so many times. However, no matter how hard she tried to reassure her fans, the question still kept on popping up. In fact, there was not a single handshake event without at least one person mentioning it. As time went by, Rena understood she couldn’t do anything about it. No matter what she said, her words had little to no effect. People would still keep on worrying.

“Thank you for coming again,” Rena answered politely. “Please don’t worry about that. I’m not going to graduate this year.”

A pleased smile plastered the fan’s face, and the older Matsui could tell she had managed to ease her mind. She barely had time to squeeze her hands in comfort that time was already up, and the Italian girl vanished from her sight. Just as Rena was about to shake hands with the next person waiting in line, she heard a small laugh coming from her left. She tilted her head in curiosity, noticing Jurina who had stopped shaking hands with her own fans, and was now watching her in amusement.

“Really? That’s the best you can offer?” Jurina’s laughing intensified.

Rena sent her a bemused look, wondering what could be wrong with her answer. It was the typical one she gave when she was asked about graduation. Why did the young Matsui suddenly find her words so funny? Rena couldn’t figure out why. However, she didn’t need to question Jurina when the latter added. “Rena! 2015 will be over in two weeks!”

Rena let her statement sink in, admitting progressively that she had a valid point. She had been repeating those words so many time over the past year, that she didn’t realize the year was already about to end. Despite that, no words managed to leave her lips. Fans who had caught their conversation were now joining the young Matsui in her laughter. 

“You could have at least said: not anytime soon. I’m sure your fan would have felt more reassured,” Jurina continued on a teasing tone. “Don’t worry everyone,” Jurina now addressed the people waiting in Rena’s line, who were following their interaction in great interest. “Your oshi is not going to graduate.”

Rena noticed from her peripheral vision her next fan approaching to shake hands with her but somehow, her eyes were still glued on the delighted Jurina. The young ace was desperately trying to calm down but still laughing a little despite her best efforts, before resuming the handshake as if nothing happened.

Jurina’s last words echoed in Rena’s head. The young girl was not paying attention to her anymore, a broad smile on her lips as she welcomed her next fan. Rena didn’t know how long she stared at her without saying anything. All of a sudden, she heard the guard’s hesitant voice calling her name, and she turned finally towards the waiting fan.

Rena greeted the young man with a polite smile, but couldn’t ignore the tinge of unease now filling her chest.





Rena looked up from her book when she heard a soft knock on her hotel door. She frowned a bit, wondering who could it be at such a time of the day. The handshake event had ended an hour ago, and the sun was already down. Rena had taken a quick bath to relax after the tiring day, before deciding to read while waiting for Jurina’s return.

The young Matsui had been asked to do a couple of interviews after the event, mostly to talk about SKE new single and her unforeseen solo. Rena had no doubt magazines were going to talk about it at length for the following weeks. That was definitely news that Jurina’s fans were going to appreciate greatly.

Rena put her manga aside and walked to the door in curiosity. She was more than startled when she noticed her best friend on the other side. Were they supposed to meet after the event? No, Rena was pretty sure they were not. Despite that, a smile soon moved to her lips. Her best friend’s company was always welcomed. She let her in without further ado.

“Jurina is not here?” Airi inquired, taking a step forward and looking around the room in curiosity.

“No, she had a couple of interviews,” Rena replied, offering her visitor a seat. Airi immediately sat on the bed by her side. “She’ll be here soon. How are you feeling?”

“A bit tired,” Airi admitted, letting out a small sigh. “People haven’t stopped asking me about my graduation: fans, members, journalists. But it was expected.”

“They will clearly have a lot to speak about after today,” Rena nodded in agreement. “Our new single, Jurina’s solo and your graduation. This day will stay imprinted in a lot of people’s minds.”

Airi noticed the slight melancholy in Rena’s voice and she let a few seconds pass by, trying to understand its origin, until her features grew more serious when she spoke up again. “I didn’t have the opportunity to speak with you after I made my announcement on stage.”

“Don’t worry about that,” Rena shook her head lightly. “You were surrounded by many members who were questioning you about it. I already knew.”

“I know you said you were okay with it,” Airi trailed off in hesitation. “But if you ever want to talk about it, I’m here.”

Rena pondered on her offer, noticing the genuine look Airi was now giving her. It was quite unusual for her to openly share her feelings, but if there was one person she always felt comfortable enough to do so, it was definitely Airi. “It was a bit strange to hear you say those words out loud in public,” Rena conceded. “It made it seem suddenly more… real.”

“I know,” Airi murmured. “That’s why I wanted to make sure…”

“I’m fine,” Rena cut her off gently. “You really don’t have to worry about me.”

Airi watched her best friend attentively. Was Rena really speaking the truth or hiding her true feelings behind a mask of indifference? She saw her doing it so many times in the past. And the older Matsui had perfected it so well over time. Right now, Airi was having a hard time telling. Somehow, she wanted to believe her friend’s current smile was nothing but sincere.

“Something quite funny happened today,” Airi affirmed on a light tone, deciding it was time to put the somewhat heavy subject aside. “A fan in my line was sad I was graduating, but relieved because you declared you had no intention of graduating.”

“What?” Rena widened her eyes in confusion.

“During handshake, a boy from my line told me that,” Airi clarified. “Apparently, he heard it from a fan of your line.” Airi chuckled a bit when she noticed Rena’s stupefaction. “Fans are truly resourceful, aren’t they?”

Airi had only brought the subject up in order to lighten up the mood, but it appeared her words had the opposite impact on Rena. Indeed, the latter was now looking the other way, and her face had slightly darkened. Airi frowned, wondering what could have triggered Rena’s sudden change of mood. She truly believed the anecdote would amuse her best friend. After all, it did manage to make her smile at the time.

“I didn’t say those words,” Rena uttered in a feeble murmur. “Jurina did.”

Airi found herself a bit confused, failing to see the point of her correction. Moreover, she couldn’t fathom out the reason for Rena’s slight nervousness. Airi searched in her head an explanation for her current strange attitude, until a potential one emerged. She wasn’t sure to be right, but decided to go for it nonetheless when Rena was still not willing to talk a few seconds later.

“You’re not thinking about leaving SKE, are you?” Airi questioned tentatively.

Two small brown orbs looked back at her, and Airi read the hesitation in them quite well. No words needed to be exchanged to guess what was going through Rena’s head right now. Yes, she was thinking about doing it. And was feeling apprehensive about it. Airi could tell her friend wanted to add something more, so she waited patiently for her to speak.

The air had become suddenly slightly heavier, and Rena was now playing nervously with the phone in her hand. Airi placed a comforting hand over that of Rena’s, in an attempt to calm her agitated state. It seemed the simple gesture had some effect, as Rena’s features relaxed progressively.

“I would lie if I said your decision didn’t have any impact on me,” Rena started, now looking straight into her eyes. “It made me think about a lot of things. Mainly about my future.”

Rena paused, and Airi took the opportunity that she was now staring pensively at her feet to watch her attentively. Evidently, something was bothering her. It was written all over her face. Somehow, Airi could tell it was not completely related to her possible future graduation. The clumsy and shy girl who entered SKE was far long gone. Rena was now a decisive person, who never hesitated when she wanted something.

Moreover, Airi was well aware that there were many things Rena wished to accomplish, and couldn’t because of her current idol job. They had already spoken about a few missed opportunities, mostly this past year. Roles in TV shows and movies she was forced to refuse because of her tight schedule. And Rena’s ultimate wish was to become an actress. So why did it look like she was facing a dilemma? It didn’t hold well with the Rena she knew. When her mind was set on something, she didn’t give up. What could possibly be holding her back? Airi was about to interrogate her when it suddenly hit her. Why didn’t she see it sooner? It was not something that was holding her back. It was someone.

“You haven’t told Jurina,” Airi stated. She knew she hit the bull’s eyes when Rena turned to look at her and confirmed her thoughts with a silent nod. “You don’t know how she’s going to take it if you decide to graduate.”

Airi was taken aback when a small, nervous laugh escaped Rena’s lips. The older Matsui didn’t speak for a while after that, and Airi wondered what could have triggered this peculiar reaction. Just as she was about to break the silence surrounding them, Rena spoke up at last with a troubled expression. “I think I know how she’s going to react. That’s precisely the problem.”





Jurina was supposed to be back in time for dinner, but had sent her a text warning her she would be delayed, and therefore she should eat without her. Rena was still with Airi when she received the message, and she offered the latter to join her for dinner.

They took some take away, and spent the rest of the evening eating and chatting in front of the television. They didn’t talk about her potential graduation anymore. Airi showed her the new drawings she made for Weekly Shonen Jump, and managed to make her giggle when she noticed a character obviously based off her. The melon pan in the girl’s hand gave it away instantly. Airi admitted with a knowing look she may have been inspired by her.

At some point, Rena wondered if her best friend was not purposely trying to distract her from her worried thoughts. In any case, whether it was intentional or not, it worked. Unexpectedly, she managed to spend a carefree evening with Airi. 

When Airi left her hotel room a little while later, Rena resumed the reading of her book while waiting for Jurina. Sometimes, she wondered if the young girl wasn’t able to read her mind. Indeed, she received a text a few minutes later, telling her not to wait for her and go to sleep. The thought that the young Matsui guessed effectively what she was currently doing put a smile on her lips, until she decided to lay down and rest.

However, she didn’t wish to go to sleep quite yet. No matter what Jurina suggested, she was decided to wait for her return. In that intent she put her pajamas on and got into bed, watching mind-absently a movie on the television. The older Matsui felt her heavy eyelids closing a few times halfway through, and she could tell her weariness was starting to get the best of her.

It was not that surprising after the long, tiring day she just went through. Handshake events always managed to drain all her energy. Rena knew there was no point in fighting it. She had tried in the past, to no avail. In the end, her body always won against her mind. Reluctantly, she turned the television off and rested her head on the pillow to sleep.





Rena felt her heart skip a beat when she heard the hotel door open, the sound startling her and waking her up effectively. She opened her eyes sleepily, gazing at Jurina who was making her way in the dark room as quietly as possible. The older Matsui checked the time on the alarm clock: 11 PM.

Rena straightened up, Jurina’s startled eyes immediately falling on her when she noticed some movement in the bed. Jurina stopped dead in her tracks when Rena switched on the bedside lamp and their eyes met.

“Sorry,” Jurina winced. “I didn’t mean to wake you up.”

“It’s fine,” Rena stifled a yawn. “How did the interviews go?”

Rena saw Jurina taking her coat off and heard her talking, but soon realized she wasn’t really listening to anything she was saying. Indeed, her mind was already back on her conversation with Airi. Rena could see the bright smile on Jurina’s lips as she spoke with enthusiasm, but all she could think about was the terrible impact her graduation was going to have on Jurina if she decided to go through with it.

Rena realized Jurina had stopped narrating her day when she suddenly saw her entering the bathroom to get ready to go to bed. Rena watched her silently while she got into her daily routine, her thoughts on the conversation she was supposed to have with the young Matsui. Her mouth opened a few times in that intent but somehow, no words left her lips. She simply couldn’t bring herself to put that sensitive topic on the table.





Rena wasn’t feeling tired. Was it because of the small nap she had against her will taken earlier? Or were the thoughts currently juggling in her head keeping her awake? It was hard to tell. Her eyes were wide open, and boring into the back of the girl laying by her side in bed. Rena didn’t know how long she stared at Jurina’s back. All of a sudden, she felt the irrepressible need to get closer to her.

The older Matsui reduced the small distance between them and wrapped her arms around her waist. The light groan escaping Jurina’s lips in reaction told her she was still not sleeping. Rena held her for a little while without saying anything, relishing their proximity. Fear of losing those simple but precious moments of intimacy progressively invaded her mind. Rena did her best to brush off this negative feeling but it spread in her mind like a cobweb, soon guiding her lips and her hands.

Rena left a trail of wet kisses along the nape of Jurina’s neck, while her hands slipped under her tee-shirt in determination. Jurina let out another groan at her bold actions, and Rena could well discern the confusion mixed with tiredness in her voice when she called her name. “Rena…?”

Rena paused for a split second. Of course, she had not indicated beforehand in any way her wish to get more intimate with Jurina tonight: she had not planned any of this. She was merely letting her growing apprehension speak for her. As a result, Jurina was taken aback by her unforeseen move on her. It didn’t stop her for all that. When Jurina turned to face her, Rena didn’t waste a second to climb on top of her and press her lips against hers.

The kiss was hard and demanding, and Rena could feel Jurina was having a hard time following the rhythm she was imposing her. After a while Rena broke the intense kiss and straightened up to remove her own shirt in a haste, before tugging at the hem of Jurina’s top in determination. For a moment, she wondered if her request would be denied. Indeed, Jurina didn’t move an inch, as if she seemed to ponder on it. Just as Rena was about to reiterate her demand, Jurina complied to her wishes and removed her shirt.

Rena was conscious that she was not being completely herself when she connected their lips rapidly, and her fingers caressed Jurina’s exposed chest. There was another force controlling her. It wasn’t love or lust. It was fear. Fear of losing the girl she came to feel so strongly about. Never before had she let that particular negative feeling enter her heart when it came to her relationship with Jurina. Yes, their relationship was somewhat hesitant the very first months. Jurina’s heart had not completely healed at the time and needed to take things slow. She respected that fact and granted her wishes willingly.

But never did she fear of losing her affection. Jurina loved her. She could see it in every word, look and touch. If truth be told, her adoration for her was sometimes a bit overwhelming. She didn’t always understand how the ordinary, twenty-four girl that she was managed to place such a deep emotion in Jurina’s eyes. But it was here. It had been here for a year. Maybe even longer, without her noticing. And now, she was afraid of not seeing it anymore.

While still kissing with fervor the girl trapped under her, Rena’s hand traveled down Jurina’s body until the waistband of her pajama prevented her from going any further. This time, she didn’t ask or wait. She slipped her fingers underneath Jurina’s underwear, eager to touch the young girl more intimately. She had almost reached her destination when she felt Jurina breaking the kiss and stopping her hand rapidly.

“Rena, you’re going too fast,” Jurina uttered in surprise.

Rena froze instantly and opened her eyes. She stared at Jurina but the darkness was preventing her from properly seeing her. Nevermind, the tone in her voice had been enough. She removed her hand as if it had been burned and straightened up at once, not daring to touch another inch of Jurina’s body anymore.

“I’m so sorry. I don’t know what took hold of me,” Rena stammered in embarrassment. A blatant lie. She knew exactly what had motivated her actions. A feeling she refused to speak of. A conversation she feared to have. A girl she was dreading to lose.

“Are you alright?” Jurina asked in a small concerned voice.

No, she was not alright. Quite the opposite. She was feeling awful. Now was the time to explain her behavior. Announce to Jurina what she was thinking of doing. Rena knew all of this. So why could she still not muster the courage to say the words? Why was she completely incapable of speaking the truth?

From her peripheral vision Rena noticed Jurina extending her arm to switch the light on. However, she quickly grabbed her hand before she could ever reach it. She refused to let her see the distress in her eyes. Nor the solitary tear now rolling down her cheek in silence. Rena knew emotion was starting to take hold of her, but she did her best to compose herself. She wanted to make sure her voice did not betray her true feelings when she spoke up.

“I just want to be with you tonight,” Rena whispered. “I promise I’ll be more gentle.”

Her request was met with silence. Jurina didn’t say anything for a little while, her hand still awfully close to the switch of the bedside lamp. Rena could guess that she was hesitating and pondering over her options. Her better judgment was telling her to check first what was apparently wrong with her. If their roles had been reversed, she would have done the exact same thing.

Rena closed her fingers around Jurina’s hand carefully, willing to carry on with her plan. In the hope of destroying her last shred of resistance, she planted a chaste, loving kiss on her lips. “Please?”

Rena knew Jurina had surrendered when she felt the fingers inside her hand relaxing and the young girl responding to the kiss softly. Rena felt relief filling her chest instantly. She knew she was only delaying the inevitable. They were going to have that conversation she dreaded so much soon or later. But not tonight. Right now, she wanted to make Jurina’s heart race with love and desire.





TO BE CONTINUED
« Last Edit: February 10, 2018, 12:31:06 AM by sophcaro »
My WMatsui fanfics:

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

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

Offline Minami-chan

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (16/?) [WMatsui] (25/02/16)
« Reply #353 on: February 25, 2016, 10:37:26 PM »
Great! just got off work when I get home I'll read it!



----------

OMG!
« Last Edit: February 25, 2016, 11:20:36 PM by Minami-chan »

Offline Darathon

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (16/?) [WMatsui] (25/02/16)
« Reply #354 on: February 25, 2016, 11:39:00 PM »
Ooooh I sense drama :O
The visuals were really good, the anticipation, the nervousness, the fear.
BUT RENA IS GRADUATING :(
Really great chapter! I can't wait to see what happens next!
Atsumina and Wmatsui for life.
Takamina Oshi!!!

Offline culjurio

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  • whatever you say about my oshi, I still love her.
Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (16/?) [WMatsui] (25/02/16)
« Reply #355 on: February 26, 2016, 04:04:02 AM »
Your fic always have some such feelling.
Great job.!!  Thanks you for update  :lol: :lol: :lol:
i'm sorry for my poor english~
Matsui Jurina-Kojima Haruna-Yuko Oshima

Offline genkingblack

  • not hiatus/abandon my fics but really have no time to write.
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Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (16/?) [WMatsui] (25/02/16)
« Reply #356 on: February 26, 2016, 02:19:28 PM »
ah... this finally happening

but on Rena's hand also in pinch because she could see Jurina's reaction..
I wish Rena will told Jurina in person directly..

as always good job soph-san~ : :twothumbs :twothumbs
My Projects :
GenkingBlack's Vault [OS/Short Stories] Last update 4-Apr-17
Brave Enough On Going Last update 16-Mar-17
Love is Serious, When War is Involved   Hiatus Last Update 12-Mar-17
Heartsmith | On Going Last Update 19-Oct-17
Hidden Vault | Perv Section

Offline Genkikid

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (16/?) [WMatsui] (25/02/16)
« Reply #357 on: February 26, 2016, 04:45:45 PM »
I really wonder how you can illustrate those feelings. It feels so real. The fear, the sadness, the uneasiness,  the insecure feelings.

Rena's going to graduate... No!!!! :cry:

Offline sophcaro

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (17/?) [WMatsui] (06/03/16)
« Reply #358 on: March 06, 2016, 09:55:39 PM »
CHAPTER 17



Rena took a seat in the last row of the SKE theater, and watched pensively the empty stage in front of her. She had performed so many times in the past on this stage. The first years, SKE was just a new formed sister group of AKB, and this small stage was the only place where the group could sing frequently.

A nostalgic feeling spread through her chest. This place held so many memories. It was where everything started for SKE. Rena still remembered vividly performing the first times in front of a half empty theater.

Nevertheless, it never affected her enthusiasm. Each time, no matter how many people were present, she gave her very best. After all, that was what they were taught to do. To demonstrate SKE’s energetic side everyday on stage. To always have a broad smile on their lips, no matter how much their shirt was soaked with sweat after an exhausting two-hour concert.

And that’s precisely what she did. She gave everything she had during rehearsal and on stage. It didn’t matter that she was at first positioned at the back, and that the audience could barely see her. The view at the back gave her a unique angle: she could watch the other members dancing. Admire an eleven Jurina thriving to do her best and leading the group at the front.

Despite her very young age, Jurina had incredible energy and charisma. Not one complaint ever left her lips. She wasn’t afraid of physically demanding choreographies. Their dancing coach’s relentlessness didn’t deter her either. She worked hard every day, until she was completely satisfied with herself.       

Jurina’s unfailing motivation propelled Rena into surpassing herself. When times were hard and Rena’s body was hurting so much she couldn’t help the tears from falling, Jurina didn’t stop. She kept on. Danced through the energetic choreography, no matter how many times their coach asked them to rehearse it again. Rena simply knew she couldn’t give up when she looked at Jurina. She was her driving force.

And, one day, Rena got offered a front position. After all these years, she still didn’t understand why she was chosen to be paired with Jurina. Without contest, there were better dancers and singers in the group. In fact, she could name a dozen of girls who could have easily occupied her spot.

Yes, she was a hard working person. But she was definitely not an exception. Everyone worked hard to meet their coach’s demands. There was no place whatsoever for laziness in SKE. Every girl was well aware of it. Their energy was their trademark.

In the end, Rena stopped wondering why she was chosen and decided to relish her new position. It truly happened when she least expected it, and she seized the opportunity with gratitude.

SKE's popularity increased progressively, and the girls were able to perform in larger venues. The Nagoya Dome was their biggest achievement. It took years to get here but finally, they could compete with AKB. They did not have to stay in its shadow anymore. SKE had success. They were playing in the big league. People seemed to love SKE’s unique, very energetic side. Popular members had lots of fans coming to see them during handshake events.

Rena was more than happy that SKE finally had reached a certain level of fame. However, it also meant she saw the inside of the SKE theater less and less. Indeed, her growing popularity prevented her from standing on this stage as much as before. With her busy schedule, she simply couldn’t perform every week. In fact, much as she searched in her head, she couldn’t recall the last time she stood on this stage.

A few staff members suddenly appeared on stage, and Rena knew they were preparing the place for tonight’s Team KII concert. Her nostalgia progressively gave way to melancholia. Even if she spent less and less time on this stage as the years went by, it would always hold a special meaning to her. This is where it all started for the 1st generation of SKE back in 2008.

And it was the place where it would end for a particular member of the Team KII. The person she considered as her best friend in the world. A girl who had joined SKE only a year after her: Airi Furukawa. Tonight would be the last time she would sing and dance in front of an audience. Today, the 15th of January, was her graduation concert.

Rena was feeling slightly nervous about what was going to happen tonight. It had only been a month since Airi announced officially her graduation. Why did she have to leave the group so fast? In her opinion, it felt rushed. However, Rena knew perfectly well that Airi was not at fault. When it came to SKE activities, management planned everything. Members didn’t have a voice in the decision-making process.

Rena wanted to voice her disapproval when the graduation date was officially announced to the other members of the group. She didn’t understand why it was taking place at such an early stage of 2016. Despite the words that were threatening to fall from her lips, she remained silent. No matter how popular she had become in the group over the years, she had no influence whatsoever on their management’s decisions.

Rena took a peek at her phone, and discovered there was still an hour until the beginning of the concert. She had arrived a bit early today, not wishing to be late for this special event. After that, she observed again distractively the staff members who were checking the lights, and making sure the moving stages were working properly. Her phone suddenly vibrated, and the text she received made her stand up at once. Her best friend had arrived.





Airi looked up from her book when she heard the door of the dressing room opening, and saw Rena appearing. They exchanged a genuine smile, until the older Matsui took her coat off, and came to sit by her side. For now, they were the only two members present in the room.

“I see I’m not the only one who arrived way too early,” Airi noted with a soft chuckle.

When Rena told her a few weeks ago that she would do everything in her power to be present for her graduation concert, she felt deeply moved. After all, she was well aware that the older Matsui had a busy schedule. Moreover, the graduation date had been set very early after the announcement.

Airi would lie if she said the date had not surprised her. She expected to have at least three months left in the group. Nevertheless, she didn’t protest. She accepted the date with a polite smile, and went through the graduation process obediently. Photoshoots, interviews, last handshake events. She barely had time to breathe during this month.

“I’m particularly glad I was able to make it,” Rena answered, letting out a small sigh in relief. “Until a few days ago, I wasn’t sure I could.”

“I’m happy you’ll be on stage with me tonight,” Airi said sincerely, taking Rena’s hand and squeezing it lightly.

“You deserved better than that rushed departure,” Rena murmured. “You were captain of Team KII, and in the group since 2009.”

Airi distinguished fully the displeasure in her friend’s voice. Even though they had barely been able to see each other this last month - being each of them caught up in their own busy schedule - they had had this particular conversation once before. It happened in December, merely a few days after the date was announced. Rena was not only surprised about it: she was unhappy.

In fact, it almost looked like her friend was more impacted by the date than herself. Yes, she was startled to learn she would graduate so soon, but it didn’t bother her so much. Her mind was already set on her future. Of course, she would always keep a fond memory of all these years she spent in the idol group. After all, it was a big part of her life.

However, it was now time to move on. She had nothing more to offer SKE48. And SKE48 had definitely fulfilled a few of her dreams. Now, she was going to try and accomplish her ultimate goal. She knew the road was still long until she would fully become a recognized manga artist, but she had made a huge step with Weekly Shonen Jump’s latest job offer. Never once, since she entered the group, had she lost hope. And the path now ahead of her had never looked brighter.

“I made the most of it while it lasted,” Airi affirmed softly, but with conviction. “Now, it’s time for me to let another girl take my place.”

Rena’s silence told her she didn’t completely agree with her. Yes, Rena would have liked things to end differently. To be able to spend a little more time with her in SKE. Unfortunately, this short month period didn’t give them that. Despite the fact that an important page of her life was turning, Airi knew it didn’t mean the end of their relationship. They would keep on seeing each other: Airi had absolutely no doubt about it. Their friendship was too precious to let it end with her departure. 

Airi took a quick peek at the clock on the wall, before gazing at her best friend who was now staring into space. She knew that the other members would be here in about half an hour, but she wanted to take advantage of the fact that they were still alone to broach a certain sensitive subject with Rena.

Since that day in the hotel room after the handshake event, they had not spoken about Rena’s possible graduation again. Airi was never one to pray, always preferring Rena to come and speak with her when she felt the need to. She had adopted this pattern for years now, a pattern that was always greatly appreciated by her introverted friend.

However, she was conscious of her friend’s inner turmoil. She had made it quite obvious a month ago, and she really wished she could do something to help Rena. But what could she really do? It was an important decision that affected her future. Only Rena could make such a decision. No one could tell her what to do, or influence her.

Airi was still a little unsure about their following conversation. As a result, she couldn’t help the hesitation from entering her voice when she uttered her next words. “Have you spoken to Jurina about your… possible future plans?”

She had not. Airi could immediately tell this in the way Rena grew still, and her features darkened in discomfort. The older Matsui didn’t turn to look at her, nor did she speak. For a moment, Airi wondered if she had not made a mistake by putting that topic on the table. Maybe it was too early for Rena to speak about it. Maybe she still hadn’t made any final decision.

The silence surrounding them had suddenly become a bit heavy, and you could almost hear a pin drop. None of them was making a single move. Their breathing had slowed down considerably. Seconds went by painfully slow. Airi could almost feel the unease growing between them. Just as she was about to change the subject to alleviate the tense atmosphere, Rena spoke up unexpectedly.

“I tried a few times,” Rena admitted helplessly. “I never found the courage to go through with it. Lately, she has been so happy. I fear…”

Airi nodded silently when Rena didn’t continue. In a sense, she could somewhat relate to what Rena was going through. She also waited a lot before confessing the truth to Churi. She feared her friend would not take well the news of her graduation, and she had been right. She still remembered vividly the expression in Churi’s eyes when she announced it to her.

At first, the shock completely prevented Churi from uttering a single word. It took a while until she asked her first question. Why? Airi had expected that question in particular. She had even planned a whole answer in her head in anticipation. Nevertheless, it was painful to see the way her friend was looking back at her when she started her explanation. Airi decided to keep a smile on her face the whole time, but she knew it had faded at some point during their conversation. She simply couldn’t help but be affected by the despair that progressively invaded Churi’s eyes. It was an expression she never believed she would see in the usually cheerful eyes of her friend.

Of course, both situations were not completely similar. Airi and Churi were close, and shared a lot. Most of their hobbies were common, and they saw each other quite frequently outside of the group. They enjoyed spending time together. They always had so much fun. But they were just friends. There was no romantic feeling involved.

On the other hand, Rena and Jurina had taken their relationship to a new level a year ago. Airi knew that the older Matsui loved the young girl dearly, and the feeling was more than mutual. If Rena made up her mind and decided to graduate, there was no way to predict how badly Jurina was going to react. And Airi guessed that was precisely what Rena was worrying the most about.

“Have you made a decision?” Airi finally asked the question that was been burning her lips.

Rena nodded, this time looking straight into her eyes. “I thought about it at length. Weighed up the pros and cons. I have no other choice but to leave SKE if I want to pursue my dreams.”

There was an air of finality in her voice. A determination that left no room for discussion. In a sense, it reassured Airi to hear it. Yes, her decision was going to have an impact on Jurina. But it would also have an impact on SKE48. The group was going to lose one of its figureheads, and management would surely need to cope with this great loss. Their efficiency in doing so would decide SKE’s future.

All of a sudden, the door of the dressing room opened, and both friends looked up in curiosity towards its direction. Churi was standing on the doorstep, and by the look she was giving them, Airi immediately feared the worse. She couldn’t have heard their conversation, could she? Her heart beat faster in apprehension when she noticed the girl staring at Rena in utter shock. Churi’s next words put an end to any doubt she ever had.

“Rena… You’re going to graduate?”





When Churi arrived at the SKE theater a few hours ago, she surely never expected to eavesdrop that kind of conversation. She had arrived a bit early and was about to open the door of the dressing room, when she caught the words falling from Rena’s lips. At first, she refused to believe she heard correctly. Rena couldn’t be thinking of graduating. If she did, Jurina would surely have informed her about it, and definitely not looked so cheerful for the past few months. Unless…

Churi widened her eyes when she came to another conclusion. One that she didn’t like at all. The idea that Rena could have kept her graduation secret from her. She wouldn’t do that, would she? It was her wish to get answers that led Churi to push the door. She wanted to hear directly from Rena that it was only the fruit of her imagination. Rena was not deciding to leave the boat only a month after Airi. And certainly not keeping it from Jurina, the young girl who loved her so much. It was simply impossible.

In the end, Rena didn’t need to answer her question. Her petrified expression spoke louder than words. Churi was still about to ask her about it, when a few members of the Team KII appeared in the corridor a few seconds later, and entered the dressing room. By the look of it, Airi was the only one who seemed to know about Rena’s plans. So there was no way this particular conversation was going to happen while they were surrounded by so many people. 

After that, Churi tried to focus fully on Airi’s graduation concert. She managed to do quite a good job when she happened to be on stage. However, the conversation she had unintentionally eavesdropped would often invade her mind once she found herself backstage, or in the dressing room to change into a new outfit. Quite often, she noticed Rena gazing at her briefly. Her discomfort was more than obvious. Nevertheless, they didn’t speak at all during the whole concert. The heavy tension between them would have been obvious to keen eyes.

During the last song, Churi couldn’t help the tears from rolling down her cheeks. Albeit the fact that she had promised herself not to cry, the idea that Airi wouldn’t be in the group anymore was too overwhelming. And hearing the audience shouting Airi’s name in despair again and again certainly didn’t help.

Once the concert was over, Churi watched the other members of the Team KII speaking with Airi in the dressing room. A lot of girls were crying, and the graduated member was comforting them as best as she could with a hug or a kind smile. Churi didn’t join them and kept her distance. Airi knew how she felt about her graduation. They had already spoken about it many times since she announced her decision to her in private.

What more could be said? Did Airi need to see her tears again? See her distraught expression another time? No, she didn’t. She had already enough to deal with the members currently gathered around her. This is why Churi left the SKE theater as soon as she was dressed in her casual clothes. She didn’t exchange a word with Airi, but she noticed the genuine smile her friend sent her as she passed the door to leave. Churi didn’t hesitate to reciprocate it.

Of course, her smile was somewhat different from hers. It was tinged with melancholia. But, behind all the sadness Airi’s graduation had caused her, there was hope. Hope that this wasn’t the end for them. That their friendship - that meant so much to her - wouldn’t suffer from it. Churi was not naive: she knew her friend’s departure from the group would have an impact. They were going to see each other less: of this she was certain. However, it didn’t mean their bond was going to be severed. Airi had held an important place in a heart during all these years. And she was going to make sure it would keep being that way for the following ones.





“Akane… Can we talk?”

Churi tensed when she heard Rena’s tentative voice calling her. She was outside the SKE theater and about to call a cab to go home, when her fingers stilled on the screen of her Smartphone. Akane placed the phone back into her pocket, turning to look at the older Matsui who was standing a few feet away from her. Churi ignored the cold wind that suddenly blew into her face and stared at the girl. Well, it appeared they were going to have that conversation, after all.

Churi nodded, and watched Rena reducing the distance. So many questions were currently juggling in her head, but she wanted to leave the other girl the time to explain herself first. If truth be told, it felt a bit weird to have that particular conversation with her. It felt wrong in so many ways. Churi had spoken on many occasions with Rena this last year. Definitely more than the previous ones. But it was only due to their common relationship with Jurina.

Churi still didn’t consider Rena and her as friends. And she knew Rena didn’t either. A few times, Jurina had admitted she felt a bit saddened that the two girls apparently didn’t manage to get that along. They were cordial, and could hold easily a conversation without any sign of unease. But they were both aware that they were merely interacting because of Jurina.

Churi was currently finding herself a bit torn. On one hand, she wanted to know what had motivated Rena to make such a decision. Why now. Why so soon after Airi’s decision. On the other hand, she felt bad knowing Jurina still didn’t know. This wasn’t right. She wasn’t supposed to know about this before the young girl. 

In the end, Churi was the one who broke the heavy tension between Rena and herself. She took a quick look around to make sure no one could hear them, before speaking up. The disapproval was definitely showing in her voice, but she simply couldn’t help it. “You really are leaving?”

“I’m sorry you had to hear that,” Rena answered in unease. “But please don’t tell Jurina. I want to be the one to tell her in person.”

“I hate keeping something from her,” Churi declared in all honesty. Rena’s words were confirming again what she feared. Rena was really going to graduate. When? Why? In the end, she didn’t ask any of those questions. Her thoughts went to Jurina, and the pain she could foresee in her eyes when she would hear the news. “Don’t wait too long. She doesn’t deserve to be kept in the dark.”

Rena didn’t answer. However, Churi guessed by her discomfort that she was dreading her conversation with Jurina. Of course, it wouldn’t be easy to admit her such a thing. It was going to hurt Jurina: of this Churi was certain. But there was no point in delaying the inevitable. Rena had decided to graduate, and would have to announce it publicly sooner or later.

Decisions always had consequences. Rena had made plenty of decisions these last seven years. She accepted her transfer to Team E despite the pain it caused Jurina. Didn’t refuse when she got offered a kennin in Nogizaka46. Much to Jurina’s disagreement. As time went by, she received more job opportunities outside of the group. Opportunities that she didn’t let pass. Churi may very well not be that close with Rena, it was not hard to guess this decision in particular was probably the hardest she ever made. And definitely the decision that was going to have the most devastating impact on SKE’s ace.





Jurina knocked softly on the apartment door, waiting for the girl on the other side to open. If truth be told, she was feeling slightly nervous. Her hand was clutching the plastic bag tightly and her heart was beating faster in expectation. Why? Because today was very special. It had been exactly one year to the day that Rena confessed her feelings to her after the AKB48 concert in Tokyo.

That is why she had bought a present for the occasion, and booked one of Rena’s favorite restaurants for tonight. Of course, she was positively sure Rena would be completely surprised about her plans. After all, it was common knowledge that the older Matsui didn’t really attach importance to dates. She still remembered vividly last Valentine’s Day. Rena had invited her to her apartment and Jurina believed it was because of it. Much to her surprise, it was not. In fact, Rena had entirely forgotten about it.

In the end, it didn’t matter if they didn’t always attach the same importance to things. January 30 marked the first day of their relationship. This day would always have a special meaning to her. This day symbolized too much for her to ignore it.

When a few seconds passed by and Jurina didn’t hear the sound of footsteps, she frowned a little. It is true to say she had not warned Rena of her arrival, as she wanted to make her a surprise. However, she knew that she was spending the afternoon at her apartment. She had casually checked her schedule with her the day before.

Maybe she had momentarily gone out to run an errand? Jurina pondered over her options, before taking out her spare key from her handbag. A little while ago, Rena had given it to her, stating it would be easier that way for her to make her way in and out of her apartment.

Jurina was completely speechless when the object was placed nonchalantly in her hand. Jurina imagined she must have looked very shocked, because Rena couldn’t help teasing her about her attitude for the following minutes. Of course, Jurina was well aware that Rena was mostly giving her the key out of practicality. However, her heart still raced at the idea that Rena was entrusting her with it. She felt deeply moved.

Jurina turned the key in the door, her arrival met with complete silence. Yes, it appeared Rena was truly away. Jurina took her jacket and shoes off, and placed them carefully in the hallway as usual. Her steps led her first to the living room, until she pushed the door of the bedroom. What she found behind made her pause: Rena was sleeping on her desk.

Jurina didn’t move, and watched with a loving smile the older girl’s sleeping form. The light that was penetrating the room through the small window was illuminating the sleeping girl, enhancing her shiny, long black hair. Jurina found the view simply beautiful. It was just impossible not to stare.

Jurina finally entered the room after a little while. When she happened to stand by Rena’s side, she leaned over to place a kiss on Rena’s temple. It was a tender, very light kiss, as she didn’t wish to disturb the girl in her sleep. The position certainly didn’t look comfortable, but Jurina was aware that Rena had not been sleeping well lately.

These last two months, she found her working at her desk in the middle of the night a couple of times. Jurina knew how hard working Rena was. But lately, it seemed her work was draining all her energy.

Jurina also guessed Airi’s graduation was affecting her emotionally. It didn’t matter how much she stated she was fine. Someone’s graduation always affected other members. It was even worse when it was a girl you were especially close to. Rena was not made of stone. No matter how well she had perfected her mask of indifference over the years, there was still a sensitive soul behind.

Rena still had her glasses on, and Jurina guessed she must have fallen asleep right in the middle of what she was doing. Indeed, there was a pen in her hand, and a white paper under the sleeping girl’s face. Jurina retraced her steps back to the living room to retrieve her present in the plastic bag, before entering the bedroom again.

She carefully placed the object wrapped in red paper on the desk, along with the matching red envelop. A pleased smile moved to her lips when she observed the disposition. Her gift would be the first thing Rena was going to see when she would open her eyes. It was perfect.

Jurina pondered over what to do next while waiting for Rena to wake up. She clearly wanted to be here when she would wake, to watch her reaction when she would discover her present and read her letter. Her attention got drawn again to what Rena was doing before falling asleep, and she took a curious peek at the white sheet. Most of it was covered by Rena’s face, but she could still see fragments of words.

It was apparently a letter Rena was writing to someone, judging by her handwriting. In order to take a better look at it, she leaned forward a little. She frowned slightly when she noticed the letter was addressed to their producer. What could Rena possibly be writing him about? She had not mentioned her anything about it.

She could tell it was something important. Indeed, Rena had crossed out a few things, obviously not satisfied with her choice of words. Because she couldn’t see the sheet properly, most of the sentences didn’t make sense. Rena’s handwriting also definitely lacked its typical neatness. In the end, Jurina decided to give up. She made a mental note to ask Rena about it later.

Just as she was about to straighten up and leave it alone, a word captured her attention. A word that made her heart stop. Graduation.





TO BE CONTINUED
« Last Edit: February 10, 2018, 12:33:04 AM by sophcaro »
My WMatsui fanfics:

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

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

Offline Minami-chan

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Re: Heartbeat (20/20 END) + Partners (17/?) [WMatsui] (06/03/16)
« Reply #359 on: March 06, 2016, 11:56:21 PM »
Just as she was about to straighten up and leave it alone, a word captured her attention. A word that made her heart stop. Graduation.

I think the surprise is ruined .... (Irony)

 :cry: :cry:

Poor Jurina...
I hope this does not affect her, we all know how delicate health Jurina is.

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