A Yukirin/Miichan Friendship Fic.
Kashiwagi Yuki (Yukirin)
Minegishi Minami (Miichan)
Continue to story…
By Suzumiya Yuki/Black Gekikara
Kashiwagi Yuki thought and thought and thought some more until her brain almost hurt. She thought about a girl, a fellow member in AKB. She thought about how that girl genuinely felt so lonely despite the number of members and potential friends she was surrounded with. Yukirin could not even begin to comprehend how that was even possible. She had gotten her own share of loneliness due to the fact that she was an only child and thus spent her home free time alone most of the time. True she had two best friends but once she got home, there was only so much one could discuss with their mother. The fact that she grew up with only one parent, her father and mother having divorced while she was still young didn’t help matters any. That all changed though when she was accepted into AKB48. She had made many great friends, closely with Haachan and later Mayuyu. She found that she prayed for some much needed alone time these days which showed just how much her circumstances had changed since joining AKB.
This is why she was so puzzled as to how Minegishi Minami, the girl who was like a neutral seeing as how she got on along very well with almost every AKB member, turn out to be so lonely. Thinking of it now, it all made sense. She had read somewhere that people who seem to be that much friendly; people who seem to get along well with almost everyone are those that are the loneliest. It was either the fact that they didn’t have real best friends and that was why they searched for one everywhere or they were either afraid to get attached to only a specific friend and that was why they seemed that much flexible as far as friendship was concerned. Was Miichan trying to find that one friend after all this time that was the reason she felt so alone?
The way the girl had made this known during the Girls’ Talk episode in Shuukan AKB show left Yukirin with more feelings than she cared to have. Until then, she had never thought about her fellow member’s lives in detail past their career responsibilities. She was not ashamed to admit that she was afraid. She was afraid of knowing what she could not do a thing about. Yukirin didn’t even know that much, if anything at all about Mayuyu’s life outside of AKB. She too hadn’t talked about her personal life with the girl she was supposedly closest to in the whole of AKB. At the end of the filming Yukirin had never felt as ashamed of herself as she had been then. Ever since, thoughts plagued her mind. Thoughts of finally getting over herself and opening up to Mayuyu more occurred to her often. She had yet to go through with those though because she knew Mayuyu might catch on as to the sudden change and know that it was not a genuine act but that Yukirin had done it out of guilt.
And so Yukirin left that train and boarded another that was conducted by one Miichan. She had tried to ignore the ill feelings that crept up her throat every time she would remember the face Miichan had made as she had bared her real self to Yukirin, Sae-chan and Mayuyu. Yukirin even went so far as to dismiss it as Miichan putting on a show but she knew deep down that it wasn’t the case. The more she denied it the more her memories showed evidence to support what she was avoiding. Finally Yukirin gave up on the avoidy. The only way she was going to be over this slump was to face the problem and overcome it. First she needed to lay down her problems then tackle them one by one until everything was alright with her world again. She would handle the root of the problem first. That root was one Minegishi Minami. Yukirin wasn’t mad at her or anything for making her life a little more complicated because now Yukirin was forced to see what she had closed her eyes to before. Really, if anything she was thankful to Miichan for opening said closed eyes.
And so she thought of how to go about helping Miichan. It made her so sad to think that there was a fellow member in AKB that was lonely. Did she just hide it so well that the members the other girl spent most of her time with, Takamina and NyanNyan – fellow members of sub unit group No Sleeves did not notice after all this time? Did they notice but turn a blind eye, scared, like Yukirin had done. How long had it been since Miichan had felt lonely? Surely it couldn’t be since the beginning! That would be just too sad for words seeing as Miichan was one of the first generation members. Yukirin’s chest tightened painfully at that thought.
“What is wrong Yukirin? Why are you crying?”
A concerned voice shocked her back to the world of the living. Yukirin’s vision began to clear and her eyebrows furrowed in confusion when she saw the person sitting across from her, half leaning on the table and watching Yukirin’s face in concern. Yukirin blinked a couple of times to get her bearing and memories straight. She looked at the hot pot in front of her then the chop sticks in her right hand. She couldn’t remember the last time she had hotpot. Remembering that she was not alone and what the person in front of her had said, Yukirin felt at her eyes with her free hand. Her cheeks were indeed wet from tears. She reached for the paper napkin on the side and quickly dubbed away at her face.
“I am sorry. I don’t know what came over me.”
She lied. Yukirin knew very well the reason why and that reason was sitting right across from her on a table with a hotpot filled with all kinds of quality foods in one of the back alley restaurant within Akihabara. Really she could have spent some more time thinking of what to do. Here she was, on Valentine’s Day evening enjoying great food with the object of her worries. How exactly was she going to help the other girl to get over her loneliness? Yukirin hadn’t laid out a plan of the evening which was why she had spent a great deal of time blanking out as she tried to come up with what to do for the rest of the night.
“Is the nabe really that good? Then I guess I will just have to make sure you have it more often.”
“No, it is not the nabe. I mean it is real good but not that good. I was just thinking about…”
She trailed off not finishing the sentence.
Miichan was not going to let it just end there though. If something had upset Yukirin Miichan wanted to know what it was so she could do something about it.
Yukirin set her chop sticks aside, picked up her glass to take a few sips before she gave Miichan her full attention. She took a few silent seconds to study the other girl before her. Minami had dressed up in a very elegant one low-cut dress in colours of purple and blue. She showed off enough cleavage to turn heads but since she had a fluffy coat on her when walking outside, Yukirin guessed it did not matter that much. The dark usually wild traces were tied up in one round bundle on the upper right side of the head. Two wavy bags swayed on either side of the face a cm or two from the end of the eyelashes. She had applied a dark purple shade on her lids that was a half gradient and she had darkened her lashes some. To complete the Dark Exotic look, her lips were also coated in a dark, almost black, lipstick. Yukirin could not help feeling overly underdressed. This hurt quite a bit seeing as she had picked up a date worthy getup. Shaking off the thought Yukirin got her mind back on track.
“You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to but I was just thinking of what you said last time to Sae-chan, Mayuyu and I during that Shuukan episode. I tried to think of how you would be lonely with so many people around you all day and I couldn’t come up with a valid explanation. So I was wondering if you…you know…”
Yukirin trailed off uncertainly when she saw the transformation Miichan’s feature underwent. The chopsticks that were on their way to the dark lips suddenly stopped in its tracks. A dark look passed over the beautiful face and Yukirin gulped. She watched nervously as Miichan closed her eyes as she exhaled and placed the mushroom back in the pot before she placed the chopsticks to rest on a side plate.
“I was wondering about the sudden get together since like, never! So that was the reason you are doing all this!”
Finally she opened her eyes and Yukirin braced herself for a backlash. She was to be sorely disappointed thought as Miichan only gave her a beaming smile instead.
“I am sorry if I did something unnecessary Miichan but I couldn’t stand the thought that you…”
Yukirin was cut off mid-sentence.
“No please, don’t be. I should be the one apologising to you guys. That wasn’t the right place or time to bring my problems up, was it? I must have made you guys uncomfortable.”
She looked down to her hands and paused for a moment.
“But I guess I just couldn’t hide it anymore. By the time I realised it I had already said too much to play it off. Taking it off my chest helped a great deal though so you really didn’t have to go out of your way for me.”
Those last words were spoken in a very low voice which indicated to the Captain that Miichan meant the exact opposite of what she had said. Yukirin placed her right hand over those of the other girl to get her attention. When Miichan didn’t look up Yukirin applied a little pressure in a grip which succeeded as big brown hurt orbs looked up and met her own pained ones.
“Please don’t feel like you did something wrong Miichan. If anyone here is wrong it is I and maybe the other members for not noticing how you’ve been hurting all this time. We…I needed the wake up call or I might not have noticed. You made me realise that there was a quality I was missing as leader and that was that I hadn’t even tried to get to know the other members past their studio times.”
Yukirin pulled back and took in a deep breath.
“You won’t believe what I have been noticing lately now that I know where and what to look for. It seemed that a lot of us had problems that even affected out performances and yet we had bottomed it all up. It is thanks to you that I managed to come up with a group function to help the team and it is proving to be quite a success. So please, don’t blame yourself. I am not doing this now as a correction of a mistake that we had all missed or out of pity. I want to thank you and genuinely think that you deserve a good friend.”
Miichan stared at the girl before her in wonder. Was Yukirin offering to…She shook her head and decided to not raise up her hopes only to be disappointed. She decided to return to the previously asked question.
“…Thanks Yuki-chan. It started from the very beginning I guess. I remember thinking that I should be someone who was friends with everyone back then. During breaks I would travel from group to group never staying in one circle. I guess that was the catalyst of the spiral. Soon everyone had someone they sat with on the bus or during lunch, someone they always chatted with about personal stuff. When I realised it, I was too neutral to fit in anywhere, too neutral to jump into the middle of conversations. Then when I tried to get closer to the newer members, there seemed to be some kind of senpai wall where it seemed that despite the fact that some were older than I, they had a look that screamed ‘Why is senpai talking to us instead of hanging out with Takamina or Maeda or Mariko-sama’. It was then I realised that it was too late. That I was always going to be the third wheel.”
Miichan finished as she looked into the distance with a melancholic look.
“Surely that isn’t the case with Takahashi and Kojima. You’ve been members of No Sleeves for a while now, right?”
Minegishi gave her a ‘Are you serious’ look in response.
“Believe me, it changes nothing. Think about it this way, now that you are a member of French kiss, do you see yourself in the future closer to either Aki-chan or Mocchi more than you are with Haachan or Mayuyu?”
Yukirin leaned back into her seat and thought about that. She played the future game and saw that there was very little probability she would be closer to her fellow French kiss members than Haachan or Mayuyu for that matter. Her thought train was derailed when a waiter came by their table asking if they needed anything. She realised that they had spend quite a while not eating that the attendees probably thought they were done or needed something. Miichan dismissed the guy politely apologising that they were in the middle of a conversation but that they would be done soon. Yukirin watched the waiter move to another table before turning back to face Miichan.
“You are right. I am sorry I wasn’t thinking. I mean, of course we wouldn’t be here if that was the case.”
Yukirin bowed her head in shame. Was she ever going to do the right thing this evening?
“Don’t mind it. Now, how about we forget this depressing talk for a while and finish up here? The food is getting over cooked.”
Miichan picked up her chopsticks once again and picked up a potato from the bubbling soup before she continued.
“Look at this potato crying because we had neglected it. Well, fear not delicious protein for you are about to be digested. Aah…”
Yukirin couldn’t resist the laugh that bubbled up from her belly. Miichan soon joined her and the conversation turned light through the rest of the meal. They discussed their recent projects out of AKB. Yukirin talked about her Weather Girl work and what had kept her busy these last few weeks seeing as she hadn’t been appearing on AKBINGO. Miichan discussed the TV show she is doing and No Sleeves’ new project. They then went into deep discussion about the two new dramas each giving their own thoughts on their respective characters. And thus their dessert plates were now empty and each had a drink in hand.
“So, what have you planned for our first evening out?”
Miichan asked Yukirin as she sipped casually on her tea cup looking to the entire world like an Ojou-sama. That now explained the looked they had been getting. At first Yukirin had thought that it was because they were recognised by their identities but seeing as no one came up to them asking for autographs, and the fact that now that Yukirin looked, the stares seemed focused not in her direction but Miichan’s, it was the truth. Clearing her throat with a gulp from her glass of vanilla milk Yukirin answered.
“Sorry but it’s a surprise. You will just have to wait.”
Miichan pouted but that was soon replaced with a grin.
“Ooh…Surprises on our first date. I like that.”
Yukirin almost crushed the glass in her suddenly tensed fingers.
“Wh-What? A d-d-date?”
Unnaturally wide eyes stared into amused Miichan’s.
“Tell the whole restaurant, why don’t you?”
Yukirin wished she could fuse with the chair she was sitting in. Her face burnt with embarrassment.
“Well, if they had any doubts before they sure don’t now.”
“What are you talking about?”
Yukirin stammered as she tried to compose herself.
“Oh come on Yuki-chan. Look around you. Today is Valentine’s Day. Everyone is with their sweethearts and in comes you and I dressed like this! Surely you noticed all the looks we’ve been getting since we stepped inside. And I doubt it was because they know we are AKB48.”
Minami chuckled and continued to sip at her tea as she watched Yukirin’s mouth open then close and repeat.
Yukirin finally looked to the side in a sulky pout. In doing so, her eyes caught the time on the wall clock. They had spent more than the planned time on dinner. It was time. She reached for her hand bag and carefully pulled out a small fashion paper carry bag. She held the bottom with both hands in a polite gesture before she presented the gift to Miichan whose eyes widened as she stared at the offered bag.
“I don’t think I will have the time to give this to you later so here you go Miichan.
Happy Valentine’s Day Minegishi Minami.
I hope you will find me suitable enough to be your friend.”
Yukirin bowed her head and pushed the bag a little farther forward. Miichan’s stunned gaze shifted from the black mass of hair then to the bag. She swallowed painfully as she reached for the gift, her fingers trembling.
“T-thank you very much Yuki-chan.”
Miichan went to reach for what was inside but a hand resting on her own stopped her from going father. She gave Yukirin a confused glance.
“Sorry but do you mind opening it when you get home later on? It is kind of another surprise. You will understand when you get home and open it.”
Miichan swallowed her disappointment and put the gift in her own handbag. She got her own gift out but held onto it in her lap as she turned to look at Yukirin.
“I would love to be friends with you Yukirin but don’t you already have enough?”
Yukirin gave a dumb stare. She let out a laugh after a few seconds of disbelief.
“What is it?”
Miichan was puzzled to say the least.
“Sorry Miichan but I couldn’t help myself.”
After she got her laughter under control Yukirin continued.
“You can never have enough friends Miichan and besides, I am talking about a real best friend. I did say that I have been thinking quite a lot lately didn’t I? Well, I thought of my life both the work and the private and I realised that I actually never discussed serious issues of my life with anyone. I have never had a friend to whom I told all my problems, with whom I had a big fight with only to make up the next day or a friend whose shoulder I lay my head as I cried my sorrows away.”
Yukirin let out a pained laugh as she turned to look into Miichan’s eyes. She didn’t even remember when she had turned to look away.
“Would you believe me were I to tell you that I have yet to do either of those things with Haachan? The fact that we are in different teams now also has strained our closeness some and I know that the gap is going to stretch even farther as time passes.”
Miichan took the break as a chance to ask.
“What about Mayuyu then?”
She raised an eyebrow when Yukirin went from sad puppy to an embarrassed kappa.
“My relationship with Mayuyu is…complicated.”
Silence reigned for a few seconds.
“Would I be right to say that it is the kind of relationship that requires advice from a best friend then?”
The amusement in Miichan’s voice didn’t go unnoticed by Yukirin who was trying her best to not get her face any hotter or it was sure to melt.
“You could say that.”
Miichan could not resist the offered apple from Eve.
“So, have you guys like, experimented yet?”
Yukirin was one moment away from ordering a bucket of ice and dunking her whole head in it. Her eyes widened in shock!
“WHAT?! How could you even ask that? Mayuyu has like, just turned 16.”
Miichan gave her a look.
Yukirin asked nervously.
“Oh, it’s just that someone in our line of work would have a different default reason than what you gave. Also come on, 16? Really? Girls these days do it way earlier than that.”
Yukirin really needed that bucket of ice like, now!
“A-Anyway, I realised that I never put the effort into this friend gig. I guess you know of my social skills, or lack there of like the text message thing every one talks about. I want to have a true friendship and if you are okay with it, I wanted to try with you. So what do you say?”
Two sets of large brown eyes stared into each other. Miichan raised her hands above the table and presented a small box wrapped with a black silky ribbon.
“Happy Valentine’s Day to you too Kashiwagi Yuki. I would be very pleased to be your friend.”
Yukirin took the small box and inspected it before she looked over to Miichan. The shorter girl gave her a content smile in return. Yukirin placed the box in her own bag without saying a word then stood up from her seat and walked around the table to stand besides Miichan. She raised her arms in an invitation for a hug. Miichan understanding the gesture stood up and the two embraced.
“Thank you very much Miichan. I promise you I am going to be the best friend you deserve.”
Yukirin whispered into the Miichan’s ear. In response, Miichan tightened her hold on the taller girl and the two stayed like that for a while, unaware of the gazes they were receiving. They soon parted and after sharing a smile they got back into their respective seats.
“So, are you ready to officially spend the night away?”
Yukirin asked with a grin as she searched for something in her bag.
“Oh yes, let me get the tab then we will…”
She was cut off as Yukirin motioned for the waiter with a card in hand.
“Oops my card is already out. Guess I am paying.”
Miichan mock pouted.