Am I sorry I didn't update last week?

Yes.

But no.

BECAUSE UNI HAD ME NOT SLEEPING FOR THE WEEK BECAUSE I CAN'T GET UP. Ok, the not sleeping part was true, but I could've just made an effort to set more than fifteen alarms. But either way.

Please just accept that I will update irregularly, because I'm a horrible person like that.


Kikue looked at the black board incredulously. She didn't particularly comprehend her own hand writing. Well, she never knew her class was insane. Shouko was so going to laugh once she hears about this.

"So," She started in a much calmer voice than she felt. "We will be doing a cross-dressing café for the cultural festival." She made eye contact with Kise, who seemed to be pouting as if blaming her for not helping. She almost smiled, but she opted instead to continue the organisation. "How does everyone want to go about role assignment?"

"Let's just draw lots," Nito Tomoda, the other cultural festival organizer of her class said. She looked around the class, and found much of the class nodding. "Unless some people have specific roles they want."

"I will go borrow a box from the staff room," Kikue said and set down the chalk she had been writing with. "While I'm gone, can someone please make a list of roles to put into the box?"

"Kikue-chan, I can do that." Hatsuna said. Kikue blinked in Hatsuna's direction, and received a timid smile. She smiled back and existed the classroom.


"So, who even started the vote?" Shouko asked, laughing. Hatsuna had told her a few seconds prior that their class was doing a cross-dressing café. The three of them had gathered in the music room as always. "Before that Nakazuki, who's Matsui talking to?"

"I don't quite know either." Hatsuna replied. The two girls looked over at Kikue, who was frowning as she talked on the phone. Her voice was light, though it seemed as if Kikue just wanted to smash her phone from irritation. A moment later, before Hatsuna could continue, Shouko and Hatsuna saw Kikue walk over to the grand piano.

"I'm saying, it's not F sharp there." Kikue said, obviously irritated. "Guren-san, shut up for a second." Kikue pulled out the stool and sat down, checking the keys of the piano. Once she was happy that everything seemed to be in order, she started playing. After about three bars, she stopped and spoke again. "See, that's the original. And now I will play the same part on the one I wrote." Kikue played another three bars. "See?"

"Matsui could play piano since when?" Shouko asked in a small voice. Hatsuna looked at Shouko as if she grew a second head.

"Kikue-chan's mother was Kinoshita Kaede, that really famous violinist." Hatsuna whispered, having learnt a while ago that it was a touchy topic for Kikue. "Kikue-chan knows piano and violin. Mama said she used to win a lot of competitions when she was younger."

"Is there something she can't do?" Shouko shook her head.

"I give up, how about you just give the sheet music to the people who's actually going to sing it?" Kikue concluded, her irritation evident in her voice. "I'm at school so I need to hang up, if there's any more problems, tell the trio to ring me." Kikue hung up. She set the phone on top of the piano and sighed. "Why can she not understand the difference of one note."

"Matsui, are you alright there?" Shouko asked. Kikue looked in the direction of Shouko and Hatsuna, and as if for the first time, realised that she was not alone. Kikue bit her bottom lip and seemed to pale. "Wait Matsui, do you need to go to the infirmary?"

"Did you two, hear?" Kikue asked, seemingly trying to hold herself together. Shouko and Hatsuna looked at each other and approached Kikue, who didn't seem like she was doing too well. "Don't, just answer me, did you hear?"

"Well, we heard," Hatsuna replied hesitantly, gauging how her answer affected Kikue. Kikue breathed in and out a few times, and then the next sequence of events happened so fast neither Hatsuna or Shouko had the time to react. Kikue had first stood up from her stool, and then attempted to walk to the door. But she had made two steps and collapsed. Shouko and Hatsuna stood their ground for a second, completely stunned, before realising that Kikue needed immediate help. Shouko rushed out of the music room.

Hatsuna moved Kikue so that she leaned against a wall. Kikue was bizarrely light, which made Hatsuna's job much easier, but made Hatsuna incredibly worried for her friend. Somewhere at the back of her head, she remembered a story her mother had told her when she was in her last year of elementary school. She was sure it was about Kikue.

The story went a little something along the lines of a genius girl, whose parents were famous. But it was not about her life with her parents. It was a story following the tragic deaths of her parents. She had walked onto the stage of a piano competition in funeral wear, her face emotionless and her eyes devoid of life. She had played her last piece of music, and then fainted before she could walk off stage. From then on she lost her ability to play music.

"Kikue-chan?" Hatsuna looked up to a panting Kise who burst into the room with Shouko on his heels. His expression told Hatsuna that Shouko had briefed him about the situation, and he wasn't happy about it. Kikue hadn't told Hatsuna or Shouko about her relationship with Kise, but the two girls had guessed from their recent interaction. Kise picked up Kikue with ease. Well, Hatsuna could've probably picked Kikue up with ease, she was that light. "I will get her to the infirmary, could either Nakazuki-san or Sato-san please get her belongings?"

"I will go get it, Nakazuki, do you think you can get your mum to pick her up?" Shouko said, and Hatsuna nodded. "Alright, we will go with that."


Kikue woke up to her own ceiling. Her head hurt and immediately she knew what had happened. She had experienced one of her worse episodes at school, in front of the two people she thought of as her best friends. She had subconsciously treated Shouko and Hatsuna with distrust. And that was the thing she hated the most. Her brain was still suffering from its previous lack of oxygen. She decided she was not going to try to sit up.

She turned her head, and to her surprise her phone was on her bedside table. She was sure she had left it on the top of the piano. Someone must've gotten it for her.

"Ah, Doll, you're awake." Kikue was surprised to hear the voice of Kise Ria. She must've shown her surprise on her face, because Ria laughed. "Ryōta called and said you weren't feeling well. One of your friends apparently stayed back for the school festival meeting in your stead, the other one is at club activities?"

"Ah, sorry to have bothered you," Kikue started, sitting up despite her headache. Ria set a cup of water on Kikue's bedside table and sat down on the floor. "But how did Ria-nee-chan manage to, get in?"

"I came to substitute Maiko-san." Ria said simply. Maiko was Hatsuna's mother, and Kikue nodded. She caused some incredible trouble this time. "So, what happened?"

"I don't like to play piano in front of people." Kikue said after a short silence. And then corrected herself. "Well, it's not really that, I just, have trouble."

"Even though you used to be so famous?" Ria asked. "Erika-nee looked you up a while ago, because she kept getting the feeling she's seen you somewhere before."

"I'm always lurking in the news somewhere or another." Kikue laughed drily and drank some water.

"You are, and so were your parents." Ria shrugged, as if nothing bothered her in the slightest. "And you've got all the talent to be all over the news. But you don't want to be in the spotlight at all do you?"

"No, I enjoy being in the spotlight," Kikue replied truthfully. Ria, like her siblings, was one of the people Kikue found herself unable to lie to. "I just can't find it in myself to stand in front of people as I am now."

"There's nothing to be ashamed of if you be true to yourself." Ria said. "Ryōta's motto is being true to oneself, and I agree with that."

"I'm plenty true to myself Ria-nee-chan," Kikue smiled. "But being true to yourself and having the courage to face something is different."

"Fair point," Ria nodded. "But, you really can't play the piano anymore?"

"If I don't realise it, or not pay it any attention, I'm pretty sure I can." Kikue thought about it, and replied. "If I think about it, I freeze up and then…well, have an episode."

"You don't hate music?"

"No, I love music."

"What about the violin?" Ria asked. "You were pretty good at that too, when you were younger."

"Is there still footage of that?" Kikue laughed. "I can play through a piece, more or less."

"I honestly don't understand what you see in Ryōta sometimes." Ria shook her head. "You're smart, and talented."

"Well, if you look at it," Kikue started. "If everyone finds out that I'm dating Ryōta, I'm the one who will be hit by jealousy, no?"

"Wait, when did you two start going out?" Ria asked, turning to look at Kikue. "How come my idiot brother never mentioned?"

"Ah well, at least, I think we're going out." Kikue replied quickly. "It's not as if either of us clarified?"

"What's the situation?"

"Um well," Kikue told Ria the story after they had left Ria's part time store. "I mean, it's not as if we clarified that we're boyfriend/girlfriend."

"And you two just, went back to normal?" Ria questioned, as if Kikue had just told her something incredibly stupid. Kikue nodded. "You and Ryōta both, are beyond me."

"It's not like, anything is going to change if we clarify it?" Kikue had no idea why Ria was frowning, but she tried her best to save the situation. From Ria's expression, she failed.

"Of course things change Doll," Ria sighed. "I can't believe I'm helping my stupid brother." She muttered, then, as if she was about to give a very important lecture, straightened up and spoke again. "Kikue-chan, think about it, would you kiss a friend that is of the opposite gender?"

"No?"

"Would you have the given right to be jealous when some other girls make advances on him?"

"Well, I guess not, but-" Kikue did not get a chance to finish her argument.

"If you don't clarify it, there's no saying if one day Ryōta would forget how you're probably the cutest thing on this planet." Ria concluded proudly. Kikue looked at her quizzically.

"Ryōta's free to do as he pleases," Kikue started. "And he's a model, so he needs fans."

"Oh come on Kikue-chan, would you really be ok if he decided he liked some other girl?"

"Well yes, because that's his feelings." Kikue replied. Ria looked as if she was about to hit her right on the head.

"I mean, if some girl made moves on him and his stupidity took over?" Kikue stopped herself from laughing. Ria glared. "I'm being serious."

"Well no, I don't mean that Ria-nee-chan isn't serious," Kikue smiled. "But Ria-nee-chan is trying really hard to convince me to clarify my relationship with Ryōta, it's cute."

"See, Erika and I have trouble liking Ryōta's fans, and you're not one of them." Kikue felt instinctively that Ria's point was anything but that, but she did not comment. She just smiled and nodded.

"We will see how things go then."


Kikue took out the key from her bedside drawer. It seemed almost comical that she felt like going to her old house after her episode at school. The house she had lived in with her parents back when they had been with her. The house where she had dropped off her violin quite a while ago. The house she had stepped into quite a few times since she entered into high school though she had not once had the courage to step into during her middle school days.

Kikue stared at the key. It led to a place where she might have the least trouble playing the piano. But it was also the place where she would have the most trouble playing the piano. Kikue smiled. She was such a contradiction.

Ria had left after making Kikue promise she would eat properly, because according to her sources, Kikue was most likely underweight. She was painfully aware of how much she had neglected to eat lately, so she probably was underweight, but she decided she had more important priorities. She noted an estimate list of people who would be angry at her for not making eating her first priority, and decided that she might be in deeper trouble than she first thought.

She got out of her bed, and put the key in her school bag. If she wasn't too busy, she could go there the next day after school.

Well, she imagined she might be too busy. The ringing of her phone brought her attention away from her thoughts and she picked up the phone. It was from an unknown number.

"Hello?"

"It's me, Takigawa Izumi." Kikue knew it wasn't a lie, purely because Izumi had quite the distinct voice. "The arrangement for the song, I think it's great."

"Well, that's a good start." Kikue said, unsure why he would be ringing her if he thought it was good. She had told Saki to have them call her if they had a problem with it.

"I want to thank you, Matsui-senpai." Izumi said.

"You're, younger?"

"I'm in third year of middle school, Matsui-senpai." Izumi replied. "I would've thought Guren-san told you."

"I don't like talking to her." Kikue replied simply. She had thought Takigawa Izumi was in her year at least. Well, she was wrong.

"Either way, I want to thank Matsui-senpai for the arrangement, especially since you quit music."

"I wasn't particularly given a choice now, was I?" Kikue shrugged. "But if you three liked it, then it's fine."

"I was just thinking, Senpai," Izumi started. "Why don't you give music a second chance? I would like to see what songs Senpai can compose."

"I'm a performer, not a composer." Kikue smiled. "But it's an interesting suggestion, I will think about it."

"Matsui-senpai, you can be both."

"Do I want to be both?"


"And so that's why I've been receiving an incredible amount of stares today." Kikue commented once Shouko finished telling her how Kise had princess carried her the day before. It was probably a good choice that they were back in the music room, since she was sure Kise's fans would've been rather triggered by Shouko's elaborate retelling. Kikue put down the yogurt she had been drinking and stared blankly at her friends for a moment before she spoke up. "I'm sorry about the episode yesterday." Kikue started. "The piano's, still a little impossible for me."

"There's nothing for you to apologise about Matsui," Shouko said. "You just need to go your own pace as you usually does, and that would be fine."

"Shouko-chan is right Kikue-chan," Hatsuna seconded. "If it's apologising, you should apologise to yourself for not eating enough."

"That hardly makes sense Hacchan," Kikue smiled. "But if it's eating, I'm eating." Kikue pointed to the yogurt in front of her. "And, once I can play piano again, it's an exclusive recital especially for my friends. I used to be pretty good."

"Is there anything you are bad at, Matsui?" Shouko questioned instead.

"Everyone seems to think I'm bad with relationships." Kikue said with a slight frown. "I've been told that by Miyuki-nee, Miichan and Ria-nee-chan."

"The first two we know, but the last one?"

"Ryōta's sister." Kikue clarified.

"Kikue-chan, what exactly is your relationship with Kise-kun?" Hatsuna asked.

"I don't know," Was Kikue's reply. "Why does everyone want to know?"

"Well, at least when Kise-kun's fans approach you, it would be better if you had an answer." Hatsuna said. Kikue shrugged. "Kikue-chan, this is a serious question."

"We didn't really clarify." Kikue replied.

"Matsui, do you like Kise?" Shouko asked. Kikue felt herself blush slightly, and she nodded.

"Or at least I think so-" The rest of Kikue's sentence was cut off when Kise opened the door to the music room to reveal not only himself but a bunch of other males behind him. "Ah, we have guests."

"Kikue-chan, that's hardly the time to say that, help me-ssu!" Kise said as he ran into the room and stopped next to Kikue, who had stood upon his entry. Kikue did a rough head count and concluded that there was about ten odd people who was with Kise. They looked ready to kill Kise.

"Ryōta, what happened to your bravery?" Kikue asked, temporarily ignoring the guys standing at the door. For some bizarre reason, they didn't enter. Besides Kikue, she saw Shouko's expression morph into understanding. Shouko was trying not to laugh. Kikue wished she knew what was going on. Kise looked at her with the same expression he had looked at her when she had shouted him lunch, but he looked genuinely troubled, so Kikue turned to the guys. "Did Kise Ryōta do something strange?"

"My name is Takeuchi Kon, third year B class, the president of Matsui-sama's fan club." The leader introduced himself. Kikue was caught between laughing, or being incredibly afraid. She tried her best to understand the reasoning behind a third year who had addressed her with the royal suffix. And also the fact that she had a fan club she didn't know about. Somewhere in her head, the fact that Shouko probably knew she had a fan club and didn't tell her registered. She was so going to kill Shouko. "We only wanted Kise for a short chat, it was not our intention to disturb your lunch time, Matsui-sama."

"First," Kikue started slowly, feeling her life slip away from her every time the third year called her with the royal suffix. Her speech was, of course, conducted in respect form. "It would be nice if Takeuchi-senpai can stop addressing me with -sama." Kikue paused, composing herself, and turning to Kise. "Second, if they only want a chat, I don't see why you are not going, Ryōta."

"Kikue-chan, if it's within five people I can do something about that-ssu." Kise said seriously. At which point, Kikue gave up trying to make sense of the situation. She was so tempted to call Mion, at least Mion would know what to do in such a situation.

"Then ask the other five to leave Ryōta," Kikue muttered with a frown. She looked at Takeuchi and the guys behind him. "What do you even want Ryōta for?"

"Matsui-chan, they are jealous." Hazuki Mai pushed through the strange parade. "They want to know the relationship between you and Kise-kun."

"I hate this situation." Kikue said. Mai giggled as she turned to Takeuchi and his gang.

"See, that's what the princess says, you're causing her discomfort."

"We're really sorry Matsui-sama!" Came the chorus of apology as they all bowed. Kikue was sure she jumped, or at least flinched very visibly. But before she could say anything, the ten people who had crowded the entrance of the music room left. But not before saying something else. "We will conduct our conversation with Kise another day!"

She felt like she needed to sit down.

"I was coming here to ask Matsui-chan a favour, but I will come back some other time." Mai smiled good naturedly. Kikue looked at the choir club president and shook her head.

"What's the problem Hazuki-senpai?"

"I just wanted to ask Matsui-chan to give some pointers to the choir if you had the time, but it's not that important so you don't have to worry about it." Mai said quickly. "You look like you've got plenty to deal with."

"I'm sure Hazuki-senpai is more than capable of instructing the sopranos." Kikue said. She thought for a moment. "I know someone who can help the baritones."

"Eh?"

"I will give him a call and see what he says." Kikue said. "I would help, but. Well, the least I can do is to find a replacement."

"If that's ok with you, Matsui-chan." Mai smiled. "Thank you."

"No worries." Kikue replied, and then silence fell until Mai closed the music room door behind her. The moment the door was close, she turned around and looked at Shouko with disapproval. "I'm so going to end you for not telling me that, Shouko. Hatsuna, you better keep very quiet if you knew." She said, and then looked at Kise. "And Ryōta." Kikue paused as Kise smiled at her sheepishly. "I don't even know what to say."


Kikue gave Kise's fans her sincere respect. They had waited until she finished up her day duties, attended the school festival meetings, and then ambushed her. Really, that was some next level dedication. And, she noted weakly, they haven't interrupted anyone's lunch time.

But then she had went as far as being the basketball club's somewhat manager.

She could not talk.

The group of five girls looked at Kikue, as if trying to judge her worth. Which, Kikue thought, was definitely better than the group of girls looking at her with pity. Kikue decided to speak first.

"Um," She started. "If you're asking me about my relationship with Kise-kun," Kikue caught herself. It seemed like forever since she had called Kise by anything but his first name. But she wasn't stupid enough to think that his fans would be ok with her calling Kise by his first name. "I don't particular have a conclusive answer either."

"You two are really close, and we cannot allow someone who's unworthy to stand by Kise-kun's side."

"If you are such good judges, why don't you go confess and see if Kise-kun chooses you?" The question slipped out before Kikue had a chance to catch herself. She regretted saying it the moment it was out of her mouth. She must've been affected by the scene at lunch time. "Sorry, that came out really harsh. But look, I don't mean anything bad, and if you like Kise-kun, then you should go tell him straight up. I'm sure he doesn't dislike people who are honest to themselves."

"What would you know?"

"Good question, since I don't even know my own standings with the guy." Kikue shrugged. "But at least I can be honest about my jealousy if I had to." Kikue swallowed the 'probably'.

"Kikue-chan, found you-ssu!" Came Kise's voice before any of the girls could say anything. "Ah, did I interrupt something?"

"No, they just wanted to know our relationship." Kikue replied.

"I thought that was a given-ssu," Kise frowned. He took Kikue's hand and urged her to leave. "I'm sorry girls, but from now on, it's private time with my cute girlfriend."

"Ryōta, that was so cheesy." Kikue said once they were out of the school. She was sure she was still blushing. "So, is that an official thing?"

"What is?"

"Us, going out." Kikue muttered.

"Of course-ssu." Kise said. "That's what I told your fan club as well."

"Anything, but that fan club." Kikue visibly paled. Her hand held onto Kise's tighter. "That was terrifying."

"Kikue-chan, I'm sure this is not your first fan club-ssu." Kise laughed, but he pulled Kikue closer to him. "You probably had one in middle school too."

"Let's hope you're just joking." Kikue said.


Whelp, the chapter was super long.

Also, my cat hates me.

I'm pretty sure I was meant to respond to a review. If I didn't respond, yell at me in another review. Otherwise just hate my uni for being an hour away from my house and we have 8 a.m. classes so RIP.

Pretty sure it wasn't this story that someone told me there was a lack of romance. That was the One Piece fic. Yup. But One Piece...is adventure...

I will stop whining now.

Murasaki xx