Disclaimer: I do not own The iDOLMASTER.
A response to xXxWoLfwrIT3rxXx's challenge in the Idol Challenges! Involving Makoto, Yukiho, and a missing Producer! I really hope you like it and I hope to have the next chapter up soon.
"Yukiho's doing pretty well," Makoto commented offhandedly as she and the other idols on break watched the second group's rehearsal. She took a sip from her water bottle and then glanced around to see if anyone else agreed.
Haruka, of course, was all for it. "You're right! She's so much more confident in her movements than she was a few weeks ago."
"Her steps are still a little bit shaky," Chihaya observed, "but there's no denying that she's certainly improved."
Makoto grinned—it was good to know that all those nights spent practicing with the timid girl had paid off. She made a note to tell Yukiho what their peers had said later so that they could work on getting better. Surely Yukiho would be thrilled by the compliments awarded to her.
"Alright," their dance instructor announced once the number was finished, "good work, girls. I think we're done for today. Just make sure to practice so we don't have to go over what we already did."
As the girls were packing up and getting rehydrated, the Producer approached them, smiling kindly. "Hey, everyone," he greeted. "Good work today. I'm glad to see you're all working hard."
"Thanks, Producer-san," Haruka replied eagerly, her words echoed by a few others.
"You should all take a little break now. Be sure to check your schedules and see what else you have to do for today, though. Miki, we have a commercial shooting to get to in about fifteen minutes so make sure you're ready by then, okay?"
The Producer nodded, apparently satisfied by her enthusiasm, and then bid his farewell and left.
Once he was gone, Makoto nudged Yukiho, inviting her to come along to check the schedule. Makoto herself was sure she didn't have anything else to do for the remainder of the day so she wanted to know if Yukiho was also free.
"Maybe we could hang out today," she suggested.
After all, there was never anything wrong with spending time with your friend.
"You did great, Yukiho," Makoto assured her, trying not to smile as the brown-haired idol fretted over how her practice had been. "Even Chihaya said so, and we all know how hard it is to get her approval."
Yukiho only shook her head as the two continued down the street. They'd decided to go out to lunch together and from there decide how to spend the rest of the day, and so were now headed to a nearby café. "I was still slower than everyone else," she pointed out quietly.
"No, I think that was just Mami being too fast," Makoto replied in a thoughtful voice. She paused, running the last dance through her head, and then nodded confirmation. "Yeah, she was rushing it. You were fine."
"Are you sure?"
Makoto blinked, paused, and then laughed, running a hand through her spiky hair. At this, Yukiho stopped in her tracks and turned to face her, eyes wide as though she'd taken the meaning behind the laugh as something completely different.
"I'm sorry," Makoto said with an apologetic look in her eyes. She looked at Yukiho's concerned face and grinned. "You're just so funny. You were amazing during practice but you're still so worried over it. Just trust me when I say you did great."
A slight tilting of the head. An earnest smile.
Yukiho felt the heat rise to her face and promptly turned away. "O-okay... thank you, Makoto-chan."
The two continued their walk in peace, Makoto having changed the subject so they could talk more easily. After a few minutes they arrived at the café and selected a table inside so as to avoid the possibility of having any fans see them.
"I'm really hungry," Makoto said idly. "Ah, this looks good. Yukiho, what're you gonna have?"
"Ah... maybe just some tea."
"What? Come on, it's lunch and we just finished practice. You have to have something filling. Here, I'll order for you. Excuse me, miss!"
Yukiho sat in uncomfortable silence as Makoto placed both their orders. Was it considered childish to have your friend have to order something for you? She hoped she wasn't being a bother to Makoto. Quickly, she shook the thought out of her head. Makoto was her friend, surely she wouldn't think something like that.
"Thank you very much," Makoto said with a bright smile to their waitress.
Said waitress struggled to keep her legs from collapsing and wobbled away.
Makoto looked on with worry. "It looks like she's limping. Do you think she's okay?" When Yukiho didn't respond she turned around to see her friend in apparent deep thought over something. "Yukiho? What's up?"
"Oh!" Yukiho's head snapped up and she blinked twice before smiling nervously. "I'm sure she's fine. Just... maybe next time I should do the talking, okay?"
"If you say so." Makoto still looked confused but agreed anyways. "So, is there anything in particular you wanna do after this?"
Yukiho tilted her head slightly, thinking over this. "Not really," she answered, "I guess I'm okay with anything. What about you, Makoto-chan?"
The boyish idol shrugged. "There's nothing I have in mind that I'm dying to do. It's just that..." she trailed off suddenly in a thoughtful tone. After a few moments she folded her arms against her chest and closed her eyes in concentration, looking for all the world like she was making a life or death decision. "Hey, Yukiho?"
"Why do you think people start conversations with 'so'?"
"... I'm not too sure. Maybe because they have nothing else to say?" Yukiho couldn't help wondering just where this question had come from. "I mean, it's a little hard to just jump right into a conversation."
Makoto nodded. "That's true. But why 'so'? Why not something like 'oh' or 'hey'."
"Well, that's not unheard of. But I guess 'so' just comes a little more naturally."
"Good point." Makoto considered this for a few seconds more and then nodded again, apparently satisfied. "That makes sense. Thanks, Yukiho!"
"Hey, is it alright if I visit your place?"
Yukiho gave a start at the sudden question and then immediately ducked her head in embarrassment. Makoto only laughed, seeming amused at her friend's timid behavior.
"I'm sorry," she said sheepishly. "Was that too sudden? The idea just sort of popped into my head so..."
"No, I should apologize," Yukiho mumbled. Then she realized that she shouldn't be mumbling and took a drink of water before replying in a clearer voice, "I... don't mind at all. Come to think of it, Makoto-chan, you've never been to my house, have you?"
Makoto shook her head. "Nope! That's why I'm kind of eager to visit. Are you sure your parents won't have any trouble with it?"
"My father's away on business right now, but I don't think my mother would mind."
"That's great! In that case, I'll have to impose on you."
Yukiho smiled and Makoto grinned back. Just then, the waitress reappeared with their food, placing the plates on the table (and strangely seeming to avoid looking at Makoto whilst doing so) before hurrying away once again.
"Hm... wonder if it's a busy day or something."
"Ah. Yeah. That must be it."
Makoto practically did a double take upon sight of Yukiho's house. "That's where you live?"
"Wow, it's huge!" The delight in Makoto's voice caught Yukiho slightly off guard. "You seriously grew up here? That must've been great! Your father really works hard, huh?" Makoto then paused, eyeing the front yard warily. "Wait, who're those sketchy looking guys over there?"
Yukiho winced as they approached the men guarding the entrance of her mansion. One of them, upon seeing Yukiho, turned and opened the large gate that sealed the path to the building and the other one bowed dutifully.
"Welcome back, Yukiho-ojousama." Both men greeted.
"Thank you," Yukiho nodded meekly and the two straightened up again. She turned back to Makoto, who had gone completely wide-eyed, and chuckled quietly. "Come on, Makoto-chan."
Once they'd gotten inside the house and properly greeted Yukiho's mother, they both headed up to Yukiho's room to decide what to do next. While there was always the possibility of practicing, that seemed a bit too tiring especially since this was a visit. So they settled for a conversation instead.
"Yukiho, are you some kind of princess?"
And yet another unexpected question arose.
Yukiho shook her head slowly, giving her friend an incredulous look. "Of course not. What would make you think that?"
"You've got a huge house and a bunch of servants everywhere," Makoto replied in all seriousness. "When we walked in there were people offering us hot towels and stuff. They even call you 'ojousama'."
"I'm sorry. Is it uncomfortable for you?"
"No, not at all. I'm just wondering if you're a princess."
"Oh... well... I'm not."
"Are you sure?"
Makoto leaned forward, studying the shorter girl carefully as though that would determine whether or not she was of royalty. Yukiho only smiled, happy to play along. Finally, Makoto said, "Are you lying to me?"
"I wouldn't lie to you, Makoto-chan," Yukiho responded honestly. "I'm really not a princess. I promise."
Makoto actually looked convinced by that, leaning back and smiling cheerfully. "Okay then. Sorry."
"It's no problem." Yukiho laughed briefly. "You're funny too, you know. You seemed so set on it. My father just hired a bunch of servants to maintain the household and keep it clean. It's not as though I'm from an old, important family."
"Is that so?" Makoto rubbed the back of her head. This time she was the one looking embarrassed. "I guess I was looking too far into it." And without missing a beat a gleam appeared in her eye as she exclaimed, "Hey, Yukiho!"
Not seeming too surprised by the sudden subject changes anymore, Yukiho dutifully answered. "Yes, Makoto-chan?"
"You write poems, don't you?"
"Yeah you do. I heard you talking about them to the Producer."
As soon as she saw the flash of recognition (and despair) in her friend's eyes Makoto knew she'd won.
"Yukiho, you have to let me see them!"
"I... I'd prefer if you didn't, actually."
"Aw, come on. Please?" Makoto immediately turned on her puppy-dog eyes, looking at Yukiho in a begging manner. "I'd love to read your work. I'm sure they're great. They're by you, after all."
Yukiho only shifted uncomfortably, averting her gaze to the floor before her. "Um... I..."
"I wouldn't make fun of them.
"I know... I just..."
Of course she trusted Makoto. She knew that the boyish idol wouldn't ever do anything that she thought would hurt Yukiho's feelings, and she was always so kind to her. Encouraging her, practicing with her, and really just being with her. Yukiho loved that about Makoto. She knew that the least she could do was show her something she wanted to see. This was what friends did anyways- share things.
Immediately sensing that something might go wrong very quickly, Makoto straightened, looking apologetic. "I'm sorry. I was being annoying, wasn't I? You don't have to show me if you don't want to."
And there it was again, her perfect understanding of everything. Yukiho couldn't help the shame that came over her, even if it was unnecessary. I could at least do something for her sometime...
"No, it's okay, Makoto-chan. I don't mind." Taking in a deep breath, Yukiho stood up, heading over to her desk drawer and opening it. After a few moments of rummaging around her many poems, she finally found one she liked and took it out, handing it over to Makoto with a smile. "I hope you like it."
Rather than diving right into it, Makoto looked at the brown-haired girl worriedly. "Are you sure it's okay? I didn't mean to be so pushy."
"I really don't mind," Yukiho insisted. "In fact, I'd love to hear your feedback on it. Please be honest."
"Okay then... Thanks, Yukiho."
It really was a good poem. Even if it wasn't written in the traditional Japanese style, Makoto found herself amazed by the complexity and maturity of it. Upon finishing it, Makoto eagerly complimented it and Yukiho smiled bashfully.
The rest of the day was spent in peace, the two of them reading over Yukiho's several poems and Makoto enjoying every single one.
"I'm really sorry for troubling you last night. I didn't mean to stay so late."
"Makoto-chan, I already told you it's fine. Besides, I had a lot of fun."
"Your poems were great. Thanks for letting me read them."
Yukiho smiled, gratefully accepting the praise. "I'm just glad you liked them."
The next morning found the pair walking together towards the agency, Makoto having stayed so late that she wound up spending the night at Yukiho's. They were sure that today wouldn't be nearly as relaxing as the previous one, as having two consecutive days off was practically unheard of, and so were trying to get their last few minutes of freedom in before returning to their usual busy idol lives.
Unfortunately, these few minutes were even less than they'd anticipated, as they soon found out once they'd reached the agency.
Yukiho stopped in her tracks, eyes wide in surprise and dread at the sight. "Makoto-chan... is that...?" her voice caught, unwilling to finish the sentence.
"Yeah." Makoto had also paused, although the expression on her face would probably be more akin to fury. Fury at whoever had done something to her agency that would require a police car to be parked in front of it.
"Just what the hell happened here?"
Ohh cliffhanger! Although I guess it should already be pretty obvious what happened so in the end... it's not really much of a cliffhanger. Aw. Well, anyways, all the search scenes and the epic conclusion happen in the next chapter so I hope you're interested enough to read it!
I'm sorry if Makoto saying 'hell' seems out of character. She's just kind of upset and worried and I think I read somewhere that when she gets like that her manner of speaking is a lot rougher. Just to warn you, there will probably be more of it in the next chapter too.
Also, the thing about Makoto asking Yukiho if she was a princess was because of the theories going around that Yukiho's father is a yakuza (since he has all these servants and apparently Yukiho was almost kidnapped by gang members once).
Anyways, thanks for reading the first chapter and please review!