A/N In this chapter, Keiko goes shopping with Azusa, but her bad sense of direction could lead them into trouble. Be sure to let me know how you like this story and my OC character. I do not own The iDOLMASTER.

Chapter 11: Keiko and Azusa

Yukiho: "I can hardly wait for Makoto-chan's birthday to come."

Takane: "You must remain patient, Yukiho. Her birthday is not until tomorrow morning."

Yukiho: "I-I know. I'm just… really excited."

Ami: "We're excited too, Yukipyon!"

Mami: "Yeah, Makochin's party is gonna be great!"

Ritsuko: "All right, settle down. We'll discuss how we're going to get what we need for the party once Keiko gets here."

Azusa: "I wonder where she is. She's usually here by now, right?"

All of the idols of 765 Pro, excluding Makoto after she had already left and Keiko for not arriving to the studio yet, were inside the breakroom to prepare for the party to celebrate the boyish idol's birthday that was one day away. Shortly after, the redhead makes her appearance in the room.

Haruka: "Ah, here she is now."

Ami and Mami: "Hi, Kei-neechan!"

Iori: "What took you so long?"

Keiko: "Sorry if I'm a lil late. I, uh, had some trouble waking up this morning."

Kotori: "Well, now that you're here, we can work on planning for Makoto-chan's birthday."

Ritsuko: "That's right."

Producer: "Okay, everyone. Let's go over on how we're gonna get everything we need for Makoto's birthday party; Keiko, you and Azusa will be in charge of getting the cake and a bouquet of flowers."

Keiko: "Sounds easy enough."

Azusa: "I agree."

Producer: "Haruka, Chihaya, Yukiho, Hibiki and Takane, you'll all work on getting the decorations."

Haruka, Chihaya, Yukiho, Hibiki and Takane: "Right."

Producer: "Miki, Iori, Yayoi, Ami and Mami, all of you can get the snacks and refreshments."

Ami and Mami: "You got it, Nii-chan!"

Yayoi: "Yeah, we can do this."

Miki: "You can count on us, Honey! How about you, Deko-chan? You think we can do it?"

Iori: "Stop calling me that!"

Yukiho: "Um, s-shouldn't we all get a gift for Makoto-chan, as well?"

Kotori: "Of course we will, Yukiho-chan. I'm sure everyone will work on finding a gift for Makoto-chan that she'll like before her birthday comes."

Yukiho: "Oh… Y-yeah, you're right."

Producer: "All right, now that we all know what to do, let's all get to work."

Everyone agreed as they circled up, placed their hands in the middle of the circle and said,

All idols: "765 Pro, fight-o!"

All of the idols headed out the door to leave the agency. Yukiho was at the very back of the group along with Keiko, and tugs her sleeve, which causes them to stop while halfway down the stairs, and she says,

Yukiho: "Keiko-chan?"

Keiko: "What is it, Yukiho?"

Yukiho: "Um, I… I-I need help."

Keiko: "Okay. What do you need help with?"

Yukiho: "W-well, I… I've been trying to think of a gift that Makoto-chan would really love; something that'll be just as good as the gift she had gotten for me on my birthday, but… I just can't seem to think of anything."

Keiko: "Oh, okay. Well, um… hmm… hey, I know! How about you get her a tiara?"

Yukiho: "Tiara?"

Keiko: "Yeah, sure. Makoto admires princesses, and a tiara is something that a princess wears. So, I bet if you got her one, she'd be able to feel like a princess."

Yukiho: "Ah, right, a tiara. That's what I should get her. Thanks, Keiko-chan."

Keiko: "You're welcome. Come on, we better not keep the others waiting."

When the two had exited the studio, they got into their groups and had set off to do their tasks. Keiko and Azusa decide to head down to a bakery and get a cake first before getting a bouquet. As they were heading down to the bakery, the older idol began talking to herself as she says,

Azusa: "I wonder what kind of cake we should get… oh, I probably shouldn't eat any of it during the party since I'm on a diet."

Keiko: "Hm?"

Azusa: "Oh, never mind. Hey, Keiko?"

Keiko: "Yeah?"

Azusa: "I really like how your hair looks. Especially with the color. It makes you look very unique."

Keiko: "Thanks, Azusa. You know, sometimes I wonder if I should let it grow out and try a new look or something."

Azusa: "There's no need for that. It looks fine the way it is."

Keiko: "All right, I'll take your word for it."

Azusa: "That's good. And you know, my hair didn't always used to be this short."

Keiko: "No?"

Azusa: "No. I used to have much longer hair, but then I had gotten it shortened after I had become a part of Ryuuguu Komachi, and I'm also hoping that would bring me one step closer to being with my destined someone."

Keiko: "Destined someone?"

Azusa: "Yes. It's my main motivation for when I became an idol, just like you are motivated into following your mother and father's footsteps."

Keiko: "Yeah, I guess you're right. I hope that you do find your destined someone."

Azusa: "That's sweet of you, Keiko. Thanks. But truth be told, I'm hoping that my destined someone will find me."

Keiko: "Oh, all right. Anyway, the bakery should be right around the corner."

Azusa: "That's good. My sense of direction isn't all that good."

And then, shortly after, the two had arrived to the bakery to find a birthday cake for the party that was going to take place tomorrow. They stepped inside and started looking through the cakes that were available in the shop.

Keiko: "Hmm… too bad Makoto never mentioned what her favorite kind of cake is. I guess we'll just have to decide on what we both like the most, and hope for the best."

Azusa: "Good idea. You know, Keiko, I think it'll be nice that we're only going to bring one cake to the office."

Keiko: "Hm? What do you mean by that?"

Azusa: "Well, you see, back when we all came together to celebrate Yukiho's birthday and Christmas, almost every one of us had picked out a cake to bring for the party."

Keiko: "Whoa, really?"

Azusa: "Yes."

Keiko: "Huh, well, at least you guys had plenty of leftovers, right?"

Azusa: "Ha, ha, ha, that's true, we did."

After a while of browsing through the cakes, they finally picked one that they both liked. Just then, Azusa's cell phone started ringing, she answers it and started talking to her friend while stepping outside. Keiko tells the bakery lady the cake that she wanted and pays for it after she was given a box with the cake in it. When Keiko stepped outside, she couldn't find Azusa anywhere.

Keiko: "Azusa? Hey, Azusa! Where are you?"

When Keiko tried to call Azusa with her cell phone, it switched to the voice message system. Keiko then tries to find Azusa by walking around the streets. A few minutes later, she wasn't having any luck and tries to call her again, but it switched to voice message once again.

Keiko: "Damn it! Why doesn't she answer? Where did she run off to anyway?"

She starts asking the people around town if they've seen Azusa around and most of them said no until one of them tells her the direction that he last saw her walking and heads in the same direction, but when she ran down three blocks, she unexpectedly runs into Makoto as she walks up from a corner. Keiko had gone wide-eyed for a second and quickly hides the cake in the box behind her back before the boyish idol noticed her and says,

Makoto: "Oh, hi, Keiko."

Keiko: "Um, h-hi, Makoto."

Makoto: "Hm? Hey, you feeling all right?"

Keiko: "Oh, yeah, I'm good."

Makoto: "Are you sure?"

Keiko: "Yeah, absolutely."

Makoto: "Well, what's that you got behind your back?"

Keiko: "Oh, uh, nothing. Just, uh… well, any chance you know where Azusa is?"

Makoto: "Azusa? Um, no, I haven't seen her recently."

The redhead idol started walking backwards while saying,

Keiko: "Oh, okay. Well, I'd better get going. I'll see you later."

Makoto: "Oh, uh, okay, well, see ya."

Keiko managed to get away without the cake being seen, the surprise not being spoiled and resumes her search for Azusa. She asked another guy on the sidewalk if he had seen her, points at the direction he saw her walking and runs off to follow her. The whole thing had started to become a wild goose chase as Keiko spent the next half hour to find Azusa all around the city until she hears her cell phone ringing, which she hoped that it was Azusa since she quickly took it out of her pocket and answered,

Keiko: "Azusa?… Oh, uh, hi, Kotori… Uh, yeah, we got the cake, but not the bouquet yet, but, uh, we're working on it… all right, we'll be back soon."

But then, after Keiko hung up, she heard someone calling out to her from behind, turns around, sees Azusa running towards her and then she runs toward her. When they got close to each other, Keiko says,

Keiko: "There you are, Azusa. Where have you been? I've been looking everywhere for you. I even tried calling you, but you wouldn't answer."

Azusa: "Ah, dear me. I'm sorry, Keiko. I was talking to my friend, Tomomi, until the battery of my phone died and I found myself at some different part of the town. I was trying to find you as well, but then, a little girl asked me to help bring her to her father and that's how I ended up down the block right over there."

Keiko: "Oh. Well, it's good that we found each other and all, but we should go find the nearest flower shop so we can get the bouquet."

But then, when they notice the shop that was right across the street, it actually turned out to be a flower shop.

Keiko: "Huh."

Azusa: "My, my. That was very convenient for us."

Keiko: "You can say that again. Come on, let's get that bouquet and head back to the studio."

After the two had picked out the bouquet at the shop and paid for it, they walked all the way back to the studio, gave the cake and bouquet to Kotori and Ritsuko, and the Producer tells Keiko that she has another half hour left until he had to take Keiko to another location for another job. She decides to use this free time to go pick out a gift that she had in mind for Makoto. She heads down to the book store, steps inside it and asks for a certain manga book.

THE NEXT DAY…

Everyone of 765 Pro, except Makoto, had arrived to the studio a half hour early to get the party ready. Haruka, Yayoi and Yukiho were working on decorating the cake in the kitchen while everyone else was working on putting up the decorations and setting up the snacks and drinks. Even Junichirou was lending a hand or two. After most of the decorations had been set up, Ritsuko puts Keiko on lookout duty to let everyone know when Makoto was coming. After a while of watching the streets, Azusa walks up to Keiko and says,

Azusa: "Hey, Keiko?"

Keiko: "Huh? What is it, Azusa?"

Azusa: "Well, I just want to let you know that I'm sorry for causing you so much grief yesterday, and I didn't mean to worry you about me."

Keiko: "It's okay, Azusa, I know you didn't. These things just happen, you know."

Azusa: "I suppose. Well, I'm just glad that you're not upset about it. Oh, there's also something I'd like to ask you. When exactly is your birthday, Keiko?"

Keiko: "It's on the 17th of February."

Azusa: "Oh, so we missed it, then."

Keiko: "Yeah, but no worries. I look forward to the day when you guys throw a surprise birthday party for me."

Azusa: "That's good."

Just then, Haruka, Yayoi and Yukiho came in with the now fully decorated cake.

Haruka: "Hey, everyone, we finished the cake!"

Yayoi: "Come take a look!"

All the idols had gathered to check out the cake as it was set down on the table where everyone's presents to Makoto were. When Keiko went back to look out the window, she could see the boyish idol walking toward the studio and alerts the others.

Keiko: "She's coming! The birthday idol's coming!"

Yukiho: "Ah, Makoto-chan!"

Ami and Mami: "Yay! It's party time!"

Producer: "All right, everyone, get ready. Ritsuko-san, you got the camera ready?"

Ritsuko: "You bet."

Yukiho: "I-I've got the bouquet."

Producer: "Okay, Yukiho."

Junichirou: "I'll get the lights."

Producer: "Right, Chief."

Junichirou had turned off all the lights in the room and await the arrival of the birthday idol. After a moment of waiting, Makoto had entered the room and walked into the darkness.

Makoto: "Uh, hello? Anybody here? Hm, I could've sworn I saw somebody at the window."

And then, the lights suddenly came on and everyone shouted,

All idols: "SURPRISE!"

Makoto: "D'ah!"

All Idols: "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MAKOTO!"

The expression on Makoto's face changed from surprised to glee. Yukiho handed her the bouquet of flowers, and Makoto says,

Makoto: "Wow, thanks everyone. You guys are the best."

Ami: "We really got you, Makochin."

Mami: "Yeah, you looked like you had seen a ghost when we surprised you."

Iori: "Hm, for once, I agree with these two. You should have seen the look on your face."

Makoto: "Hey, I wasn't that surprised."

Keiko: "Come on, you guys, cut her some slack. I mean, surprising Makoto was sort of the point."

The idols giggled a little bit and Yukiho says,

Yukiho: "Makoto-chan, come look at the cake we decorated for you."

Makoto walked up to the table the cake was on, looked at it, and says,

Makoto: "Wow, it looks very good."

Azusa: "You like it, then?"

Makoto: "Yeah, I do."

Azusa: "That's great. Keiko and I picked out the cake and the bouquet ourselves."

Makoto: "Really?… Oh! So, that was what it was all along yesterday then, right, Keiko?"

Keiko: "Ah, yeah."

Ritsuko: "Hm? Keiko, what is she talking about?"

Keiko: "Oh, nothing. I just sort of ran into Makoto while getting the cake and bouquet with Azusa."

Ami: "What? Kei-neechan, why did you do that?"

Mami: "You could've spoiled the surprise!"

Keiko: "Hey, relax! I didn't. Honest."

Makoto: "It's true. The whole thing was a complete surprise to me."

Mami: "Hmm… Oh, okay, Makochin."

Ami: "You got lucky this time, Kei-neechan, but how about try being careful next time, okay?"

Keiko: "All right, deal."

Azusa: "Dear me. Should we light up the candles now and allow Makoto to blow out them out?"

Ritsuko: "Yes, Azusa, but we at least have to sing the birthday song first."

Chihaya: "I agree, and a song like this deserves some music."

Producer: "Right. Keiko, would you like to do the honors?"

Keiko: "You bet I would."

Kotori lights up all the candles on the cake, the lights in the room dim out and Keiko plays the birthday song with her flute while the rest of the idols were singing it. When they finished, Makoto took a deep breath and blew out all the candles in a single blow of air.

Yukiho: "Wow, nice one, Makoto-chan. They all went out."

The lights were turned back on, and the Producer says,

Producer: "Okay, so, you wanna go ahead and start unwrapping some gifts, Makoto?"

Makoto: "Yeah!"

Mami: "Hey, open ours first, Makochin!"

Ami: "Yeah, Ours is really cool!"

Makoto: "Hey, it's my birthday. I'll decide which one I wanna open first. Hmm…"

The boyish idol looked at the many gifts there were on the table and decides to start with the gift from her best friend. It was a small box with a ribbon on it. Yukiho began to blush when she saw Makoto pick it up. She opened it, and gasps at what was inside it.

Makoto: "Ohh, it's… it's a tiara! Wow, I always wanted one of these."

Yukiho: "Ah, s-so then, y-you like it, Makoto-chan?"

Before she answered, Makoto picked up the tiara and placed it firmly on her head.

Makoto: "Ha, like it? I love it! This is really great. Thanks so much, Yukiho. You're the best."

Yukiho gave her a quick hug to show that she appreciates her gratitude. Makoto goes back to deciding which one she wants to open next, and eventually picks out a gift bag that was from Keiko. She takes out the gift that was inside, and says,

Makoto: "Ah, this is a manga of that shoujo series I like so much, and… this one just came out a couple days ago."

Keiko: "Well, I knew how much you like reading those kinds of manga, so I figured I'd get you one that was recently on sale."

Makoto: "Wow, thanks, Keiko. I'll be sure to read this soon."

Keiko: "That's good, but that's not the only thing that was in that bag."

Makoto: "What? There's more?"

Keiko: "Yeah, check it out."

Makoto dug around the bag some more, and takes out two more small things from it.

Makoto: "An origami and a… poem?"

Keiko: "Yeah, I told Yumi and Grandpa that your birthday was today and they wanted in on the gift giving."

Makoto: "Oh, that's cool. Be sure to tell them that I said thanks."

Keiko: "I will."

The boyish idol continued to open more presents that were from her idol companions. Although most of them were boyish things, she did appreciate the thought that they had put into them. After the last gift was opened and they all talked for a while, the president of 765 Pro spoke up.

Junichirou: "All right, girls, listen up. I have an important announcement to make."

Everyone quieted down and paid attention when he announces,

Junichirou: "Now then, because you have all put so much effort into all the work you have been doing, I am pleased to announce that 765 Pro will be having another concert with all the idols together that is going to take place in mid-November, and I believe that it will also be a certain flute playing, red-hair idol's very first concert, as well."

Everyone looked very cheerful by their president's news and turned to face Keiko as she looked very surprised by what she had just heard.

Keiko: "Whoa, a concert? Really?"

Ritsuko: "That's right, Keiko. That means that from here on out, you're going to start working harder than you have before with everyone else."

Producer: "Exactly. It'll also be your chance to show everyone what you are really made of, and it will bring you all one step closer into becoming top idols. So, what do you say, Keiko? You think you're ready for this?"

Keiko knew that 765 Pro was going to do another concert sooner or later, but the announcement about one taking place in three months had caught her completely off guard. She thought about it for a moment, and knew that she was going to have to work real hard and do lots of practice before the day opening night of the concert comes, but the Producer was right about what he had said. This concert would be Keiko's chance to show the city what she can really do, show them why she is the daughter of the Rising Cranes, and also to help her friends achieve the goal of top idols. She throws her hand in the air after she said,

Keiko: "I say… 765 Pro, fight-o!"

All idols: "Yeah!"

TO BE CONTINUED