Title: Masquerade
: M
: Ritsu prefers to show affection through her actions. Mio does too when words often fail her. And they, like any other human, aren't mind readers.
: A dozen, I think. Maybe more than that.
: After high school—Yup, again. Let's take what has happened in Season 1 and the beginning of Season 2 has happened. I'm ignoring the rest. As usual.
: Ritsu
: Stealing Bonnie Pink's lyrics and titles again; they're not mine. My half-assed translation of them is mine though. :3 And my OCs.


She's actually playing
behind that mask


Sunday, 10 June 2012


"Please stop yelling."

"Ambush the shit out of them," Ritsu continued, throwing the words at the TV, "Show that princesses aren't useless!"

Ritsu watched Mio roll her eyes. "C'mon," she said to her, "you have to admit that she's awesome."

"No, I agree with you. I'm just feeling the beginnings of a headache, that's all," Mio said, finishing it with a wry smile.

"The TV's louder than me."

"I kinda doubt that."

"You know," Ritsu said, raising her eyebrows in pure innocence, "I heard sex cures headaches."

The glass of champagne in her hand was snatched off and placed at Mio's side of the table. Ritsu lunged for it. But her legs became gooey after such a long time of inactivity that she fell heavily right onto her friend.

Mio pushed her away. "You've been drinking too much."

Ritsu rested on her weight so she could fall back onto Mio. Mio huffed. "My feet've gone asleep," Ritsu muttered, smacking her lips as if she was about to go asleep herself, "Lemme lie on you."

"You're heavy."

"You're heavier."

Ritsu received a thwack to the head.

"Must be 'cause of your boobs," Ritsu added, wincing. "Freaking C cups."

"I'm so sorry about the size of my chest," Mio deadpanned.

Ritsu detected a bit of hurt in Mio's tone, so she leaned in and closed her eyes. "You smell good," she murmured.

"Oh, really."

"Yeah, dunno why you always wear it though. Perfume, I mean."

"…I just sweat easily."

"I won't tease you if you stink."

"One less reason out of a thousand doesn't sound assuring."

Ritsu giggled. "Oh admit it, you secretly love it." She then realised that the volume of the TV had long gone low, so she mentally thanked Mio on her tact and sought out some sleep.


Wednesday, 13 June 2012

"Why don't you ask his email for me?"

Ritsu took another swig of her beer and cherished the cold, refreshing substance in her mouth. "He'd be more likely to cough it up if you were to do that, Reina. Believe me."

Reina looked at Ritsu's drink distastefully. "That's easy for you to say," she mumbled.

Ritsu gulped down the last drops of the can before she stood up to deposit it. When she settled back into her seat, she replied, "C'mon! I know someone who's as shy as you! And she managed to snag someone."

"That's her; this is me."

"Oh stop complaining. Use that cute mouth to talk to him instead."

Reina raised an eyebrow. Ritsu flung her hands into the air and gave up. They had this conversation far too many times that it was greatly taxing her patience. Maybe she should go and do what her friend had requested. But the boy in question was as shy as Reina—if not shyer—and if they were to get together because of her, she had a sinking suspicion that she'd be holding their hands as they kissed and went to bed.

"How are things with Daishiro-kun?" Reina asked.

"Hn?" Ritsu made a mental shake. "Oh, did I tell ya we're having another date this weekend?"

"No," Reina said, smiling dryly, "So it's going good?"

"Yeah, it is." There was a sudden vibration in her pocket. Pulling out her phone, Ritsu glanced at the caller ID. "And just look who calls."

Reina shrugged, showing that she didn't mind the interruption, so Ritsu pressed the phone to her ear and answered, "Hey."

"Hey," Daishiro replied, "you busy tonight?"

"Yeah I am. Promised I'll see my friend."

"When's the last time you saw this friend?"

"A few days ago."

"I haven't seen you for almost a week. Reschedule it; it's nothing important, right?"

"Did you miss the word, 'promised'? Anyway, I'm gonna be introduced to her boyfriend, finally." She then paused, thinking over what she had just said. "Oh hey, it can be a double date."

"I pass."


"Don't like double dates."

"Oh fine. So I'll see ya on Saturday."

"Yeah. On Saturday."


"Yeah. Bye, Ritsu."

Reina made a questionable face. "That's a short call," she commented.

Ritsu shrugged. "We're gonna talk again later, before midnight."

The face became wistful. "I wish I could talk to him like that."

"Go and fucking do it then," Ritsu groaned.


Friday, 15 June 2012

Ritsu clicked her tongue, browsing through a collection of CDs perched on rotting shelves.

She had hesitated on her way out of the house, wondering if she should not smell so plain—a self-conscious effect whenever she was with Mio. And she had leisurely made a trip back to her room to do just that. But still, she had managed, possibly due to the lack of crowd, to arrive ten minutes earlier than agreed.

So now she was flicking through titles of old songs, flashing back to her times in high school.

She missed those moments, for they were simple and easy. Every day was predictable and fun when they were together. Now, things were predictable and boring, dotted with lectures and breaks that were hardly ever efficiently used. But Tsumugi's 21st birthday was coming up, and Ritsu was looking forward to seeing the other three again. It had been months.

The familiar vibration cut her nostalgia short. Shaking her head at being so sentimental all of a sudden, she picked her phone up and immediately said, "Yeah, Mio, I'll be right there."

"You're probably still on the train."

"Nah uh, I'm in the shop right next door."

"Ha ha. Very funny, Ritsu. But just to amuse you, I'll check it and…."

Ritsu turned around, spotted a gaping Mio and cheerfully waved. "Hello," she said to the mouthpiece.

When she had made her way to her, Mio was still looking gobsmacked. Ritsu flapped a hand before her face. "Hellooo to Mio."

"You're on time."

"Uh huh."

"Who are you and what did you do to Ritsu?"

Ritsu smirked. "Missed me already, huh?"

"You wish."

"You keep flirting, ja?" came a voice that Ritsu didn't recognise. She watched Mio glare at the boy beside her.

Ah, the boyfriend.

He bowed his head to her. "I'm Weber, Souta. Nice to meet you."

What, Souta?

Ritsu gave a shallow bow back. "I'm Tainaka Ritsu, nice to meet you too."

Souta seemed to appraise her for a moment. "You're small."

Ritsu blinked, taking a good look at him. He was a head taller than Mio, had hair the colour of morning urine, and eyes that reminded her of fresh toilet water. And that accent … ugh. "I'm what?"

"Small," he repeated, waving his hand vaguely. "Uh, short. Same shit."

Ritsu's mouth ticked. She watched with satisfaction when Mio jabbed Souta on the side.

"Why the serious face?" Souta asked, having quickly recovered from the stab. "Mio told me Ritsu was a joker."

"Is it alright if I call you on a first-name basis then? Your surname's hard to remember," Ritsu drawled.

"Sure. Don't see why not."

That was supposed to piss you off.

"So," Souta continued, darting his eyes towards the restaurant, "should we enter now or tomorrow?"

Ritsu's stomach rumbled, cutting off any sharp replies at the tip of her tongue. She shrugged and followed them inside.

A waitress quickly appeared before them. "Welcome. Would you like the smoking or the non-smoking area?"

"The non-smoking area, thank you," Mio replied.

Souta leaned over and whispered something in her ear. Mio then smacked him, hissing something that looked like, "No you're not."

"Please come this way," the waitress said, guiding them to a table for four. Ritsu idly dropped her handbag on the empty seat next to her, ignoring the supposed presence. It was his own damn fault for not liking to socialise with her friends.

"So, Ritsu," Souta said after they had ordered, "tell me about yourself."

Ritsu raised an eyebrow at the reversed roles. She glanced at Mio, who was inspecting her nails, before she replied, "I'm a joker."

"Something I don't know."

"My birthday's coming up in two months. My blood type's B, and my three sizes—"

"I don't need to know. I already have a girlfriend, you know."

So he's faithful, Ritsu thought. Still, the way he had replied irritated her. "Why don't you tell me about yourself. Mio doesn't tell me anything."

Souta laughed. "Well of course. Let's see, my birthday's coming up too. I think I'm type O. And Mio's three sizes are—"

"I already know."

Souta tilted his head towards Mio's way. "She's beautiful, ja?"

"Yeah, she is. So you'd better take care of her."

"Trust me," Souta said, smirking, "I do that a lot."

Ritsu blinked. She didn't think that Mio would be that liberal in the bedroom. She glanced at Mio. She was avoiding her eyes but she wasn't blushing.

"Were you born here?" Ritsu asked.

"No, no. I was born in Germany. I have been living here for about eight years."

"Why Japan?"

"My grandmother is Japanese. And my parents wanted to care for her. So we moved here."

"Oh, okay. I thought you were one of those freaky nerds that, you know, read more comics than me."

"Comics are nice to read."

Ritsu rolled her eyes. "So you are one of them."

"Does it look like there are glasses? Uh, wear them. I." He clicked his tongue and quelled the girls' amusement with a sharp look. "Anyway, they helped on my kanji. And, there's a Japanese politician that's a nerd, ja?"

"Are you talking about our last PM?" Mio asked, finally speaking up.

Ritsu looked at her. "Oh, that guy? Doesn't he often misread?"

"Yeah, he does."

"I'm right here, you know," Souta said, "And it seems I'll be here for a while. So don't backstab too much 'til you are home."

The waitress returned and served them their food. After chorusing the mandatory line, Ritsu immediately dug in. Souta spoke a lot even when he was eating, although he managed to digest every bite before he did—leaving Ritsu to take Mio's litanies alone. But Mio had stopped fidgeting, and for that, Ritsu was glad for this meet up.

Souta had a strange, rambling sort of humour that would either amuse or annoy Ritsu. It largely depended if he was making fun of her, Mio, himself or the waitress that returned to serve their drinks. He brought up a variety of stories that took place when he was in high school. And Ritsu was transported back again, as she and Mio joined Souta's trip to memory lane.

After they had paid the bill—or to be more precise, Souta did—and were making their exit from the establishment, Ritsu decided that Souta really was okay. But then he paused at the door, almost making her bowl into him, and said, "Small people go first."

Ritsu's mouth ticked for the umpteenth time of the night. She so wanted to joyfully strangle him, she'd even said it out loud.

"Sure you can reach me? I can help you. Just let me find a chair for you."

Don't kill Mio's boyfriend, Ritsu. Don't kill him.

He hugged Mio goodbye before he went the opposite way. Ritsu wished for a downpour of rain, but she then realised that she would have to walk through it too.

"Wiedersehen, Tainaka!"

Ritsu frowned as he disappeared around a corner. "Your foreign boyfriend's a jackass."

"Foreign," Mio repeated, her mouth mirroring hers. She turned towards her and demanded, "Since when did you disparage people that aren't full Japanese?"

Ritsu grunted.

"You didn't have a problem with Mugi."

"Mugi doesn't have a weird accent."

"That's because she's born here. And how does that relate to my question?"

"Didn't you hear what he just called me?"

"…He was saying bye. Quite nicely, too."

Ritsu felt completely stupid now. She huffed and said, "You still deserve better."

Mio's eyebrows shot up. She looked at the shops across from them and muttered, "Do I?"

"Yeah. Want me to find a better guy for you?"

"…You won't find him."

"Huh, you think Souta's the one or something?"

Mio shrugged. "Yeah. He's a nice guy." She looked back and smirked. "He just likes to tease short people."

"I'm not that short," Ritsu growled. "And Dad says I'll grow."

Mio snorted, giggling. "You're nearly 21, and you haven't grown since elementary."

"Damn do I miss the days when I was taller than you."

"Very short days."

Ritsu glared at Mio. Mio laughed and added, "Where are you going now?"

"Home, duh."

"Okay. Go on ahead then."

"Huh, where are you going?"

"I'm going to the convenience store."

"That's along the way then. I'll wait for you."

"I'm going to see my grandfather after. So you don't have to."

"Oh," Ritsu said, squinting at the sprinkling sky and remembering. Mio was such a doting granddaughter; she seemed to visit every month. Ritsu had even met him a few times. He was a quiet man who liked his solitude and disliked her mildest jokes.

"Can I have the honour to walk you there, then?"

Mio rolled her eyes. "What's so honourable," she started slowly, "about walking someone to a place that's along the way?"

Ritsu wanted to point out that at least she offered, unlike Souta who went on his merry way. But she then realised Mio would have probably said the same thing to him, too. She sighed at how Mio was a hopeless romantic whenever they watched mushy movies, but a bitch whenever such situations were targeted at her.

"I'll take that as a yes, then."

"Do whatever you want," Mio said, starting to walk off.

Ritsu exhaled loudly and matched her steps.

Mio was right; Ritsu wouldn't be able to find a better boy than Souta. They had been together for several months, proving that he could stand his ground whenever Mio's mood swings become out of hand. When he had hugged her, she hadn't complained at the intimate act, even when he had placed his stubbled chin on her head.

Fucking tall people.


"Am I really that short?" Ritsu muttered, kicking a pebble off the moist footpath. She saw Mio's shadow sneak towards her, and she was startled when a hand rested on her head.

"Don't worry about it. Short people are cute."

Ritsu blinked and looked up.

"It's easier for you to find a guy," Mio added, giving a ruffle of her hair before she withdrew it.

Ritsu cocked an eyebrow. "I already have a guy."

"Easier for him to hug you."

Ritsu looked at the sky again. The sprinkling had paused. "Daishiro's actually not that tall, too. Well, for a guy that is."

"That's perfect for you then."


"Well, I'll see you later."


Mio had stopped and was pointing at the convenience store nearby.

"Oh," Ritsu said. "Yeah, see ya."

It would be another fortnight or so before she'd see her again.


End of Chapter