Disclaimer: I do not own The iDOLMASTER
Project Fairy was an idol unit long disbanded since the members' move into 765 Productions. People remember it fondly, as the unit was considered to be very popular and the girls within it incredibly cute.
Miki Hoshii, the visual queen, well known for having abandoned her old company to join 961 Productions. Takane Shijou, the vocal master, a mysterious woman with a habit of keeping secrets. Hibiki Ganaha, the dance master, outgoing and brash with always plenty of energy to spare.
Onstage, the three were outstanding, giving every performance their all and never failing to please the crowd.
What the audience didn't know, of course, was what happened backstage.
"Takane, you were slow in your movements again," Hibiki accused the moment she entered the dressing room.
She was covered in sweat, still panting from their recent performance, in sharp contrast to her calmer teammates who were already changing. Miki ignored her, simply continuing to undress herself from the sparkling costume that had become the staple of every Project Fairy concert.
Takane herself only stared at Hibiki in a disinterested fashion, unblinking, looking very bored. Without responding, she resumed her own changing, but this only served to infuriate her teammate even more.
"You were a step behind the entire time. It threw everything off."
"Are you sure you were not simply going too fast?"
"At least Miki was going at the same pace as me."
"Don't drag Miki into this..." the blonde spoke up.
Hibiki slammed a hand firmly on the table. Takane didn't even blink.
"How can we be expected to be the top idols if we can't even dance in sync?" Hibiki demanded. "At this rate 765 Pro will be at the top before us."
Takane frowned. Miki scoffed. "That's not going to happen," she said dismissively.
"Like you would know. All you do is stand around and look pretty."
Miki's eyes widened.
"Hibiki, you seem to be in a poor mood," Takane said before Miki could retort. "Perhaps you should calm down before you say something you end up regretting."
Hibiki wasn't done. Her expression said as much. But Miki was glaring, too, and Takane was clearly challenging her. She wasn't about to lose face for something that was Takane's fault. So she bit back her words and began to change.
Takane did the same, pulling on more casual clothes before proceeding to pack her things into her bag. Miki soon followed suit, but not before muttering,
"Better a visual queen than some jungle girl who plays around with animals all day."
With a snarl, the dance master immediately launched herself at the blonde and a fight broke out almost instantaneously. Much hair-pulling and name-calling was involved. Eventually a few physical blows as well.
The vocal master let out a sigh and pinched the bridge of her nose, counting down very slowly from ten and then resuming her packing.
"Hibiki-san, what do you have to say about the inner workings of Project Fairy?" the interviewer leaned forward expectantly as he awaited the answer.
"Hm? Well, what can I say other than we're perfect?" Hibiki let out a hearty laugh, her fang gleaming prominently as she did so. "We take care of each other 'cause that's what units do. I mean, if you can't work together with your teammates how far can you even expect to get in a dog-eat-dog world?"
"Hey, Miki, can you come over here for a sec?"
The blonde ambled over to her black-haired friend, peering over her shoulder into the shop window curiously. "What's up?"
Hibiki tapped at the glass. "You see that collar over there?"
"D'you think Inumi would like that one more or that one over there?"
Miki glanced back and forth between the two collars, a thoughtful look coming over her face as she contemplated. "Hm~ that one's definitely cuter but it looks kind of tight, doesn't it?"
"Yeah, I thought so, too," Hibiki agreed. "But the other one's kinda boring-looking and I dunno if Inumi would be okay with that." She frowned, torn between which aspect meant more to her dog.
Miki thought this over for a few moments, and then questioned, "But wouldn't Inumi be happy with whatever you got her?"
Her teammate turned to look at her, a perplexed expression on her face.
Miki smiled and said, "A present's a present, after all. Miki would be very happy if you got her something, regardless of what it was. So in the end Miki thinks you should get Inumi whatever you think would be comfiest."
"And you know, Miki thinks tight clothes are kind of stuffy."
Takane took a quiet sip of tea, relishing in the feel of the hot drink slipping down her throat. Placing the cup back on the desk beside her, she shifted slightly in her seat and drew her attention back to the novel in her hands, allowing herself a small smile at how relaxed the atmosphere in the room was. Certainly rare for the aftermath of a concert.
Although to be truthful, this most likely had to do with the absence of both her teammates.
As soon as they had finished changing, Miki and Hibiki had dashed out of the room, leaving Takane to relax by herself. Not that Takane was going to pass up such a precious opportunity to have some peace and quiet for once. Still, she did have to wonder where they were. Hopefully not running amok causing trouble to the poor staff that helped make their entire concert possible.
Takane made a mental note to question, and possibly lecture them about this, when she saw them again.
Suddenly, the door burst open, effectively ending the peace Takane had been hoping to enjoy for a few moments longer.
Miki rushed in, eyes wide open in panic and her voice breathless as she spoke, "Takane! Hibiki fell down the trapdoor in the stage and she can't get back up!"
"What were you two doing on the stage?" Takane asked. She took another sip of tea as she awaited her answer.
Miki shifted her feet impatiently. "You know... playing around. But you gotta come help!"
"I suggest you alert one of the staff, instead. I'm afraid I'm not particularly knowledgable in how to get small girls out of trapdoors."
"Takane!" Miki whined.
"Who're you calling small!" Another voice rang out. Then it yelped and the sound of someone clapping a hand to their mouth was heard.
Miki scowled, but Takane smiled with a hint of triumph.
Sheepishly, Hibiki appeared at the doorway, a camera in her hands. She rubbed the back of her head, looking very much embarrassed. "Ehehe... I screwed up."
"You sure did," Miki pouted. Then she turned to the still-sitting silver-haired idol. "But Takane~ how come you didn't believe me?"
"Yeah, you were supposed to freak out and come running to my rescue," Hibiki added.
Takane merely smiled and brought a finger to her lips. "Well, I'm afraid that's classified," she said with a wink.
Not to mention this wasn't the first time they'd tried to pull this trick on her. Even Takane learned eventually.
"Takane-san, how would you say the leadership responsibilities are divided in Project Fairy?"
"They are divided very evenly, of course," Takane responded plainly. Her expression was careful neutral, maybe even a little mysterious, as she spoke, the slightest hint of a knowing smile on her lips. "Project Fairy itself is an even group. As a unit we are evenly balanced, and it makes sense to have the role of leader balanced out as well."
"Takane, you're not going to the interview dressed like that, are you?" Miki sounded appalled.
Takane stopped in her tracks, looking down at her outfit questioningly and then back at the blonde. Her completely blank expression more than answered Miki's question.
"It's a casual interview you know," Miki sighed as she walked over, examining Takane's clothes at a closer angle. "You don't have to dress so... weirdly."
"Is that so?" Takane hadn't considered it particularly weird at all. "Then what would you suggest, Miki-san?"
"Hm... Well, why don't you just show Miki your wardrobe? Miki can help you pick from that."
Takane nodded. "Very well then."
They had just turned to head off when their third member arrived.
"Hey, you guys, I'm all set- Takane, what the heck are you wearing?" Hibiki appeared at the scene, staring incredulously at Takane's choice of dress. "You look like... some kind of prince or something."
"Completely stuffy, right?" Miki said. "Hibiki-chan, you should come, too. We're going to pick out a new outfit for her."
"Really?" Hibiki grinned. "Sweet."
There was something about the tone in their voices that threw Takane a little off. And she knew what that meant... With a sigh, she allowed herself to be pushed along by the two. She'd lost the second she agreed to Miki, after all. And now she would just have to play along with being their dress-up doll.
"Miki-san, a lot of people seem to regard you as the leader of Project Fairy. Do you have anything to say about that?"
Miki put on a pleasant smile as the microphone was shoved in her face, waving a hand in a modest manner. "Miki doesn't like to think of Project Fairy as something with a leader. We're a unit - that means we're a family. You don't have a leader in family, do you?"
"I'm sure you all know why you're here, correct?"
None of the three answered, instead all meeting Kuroi's stare with their own defiant eyes.
"Do you understand how damaging it would be to your reputation if news about your scuffle had gotten out?"
Again, no response.
Kuroi sneered. "You're lucky we managed to quiet you down before any of the reporters heard you. But that does not mean you're getting off the hook so easily."
He stood up, walking out from behind his desk and strolling over to where the unit was seated in a neat row, smiling down at them almost menacingly. Takane held his gaze calmly with her own blank stare, and if anything Miki merely looked bored. Only Hibiki was hesitant when her eyes met his, and he pounced on that immediately.
"Hibiki-chan," he said. The idol flinched slightly but responded duly. Kuroi's smirk widened. "Would you like to explain just how the situation in the dressing room got to be like that? After all, you were found pulling rather violently on poor Miki-chan over here."
Hibiki looked uncomfortable under the questioning. "We just kinda... got into a little disagreement."
"Oh, but from the sound of it, it was certainly anything but little. Any idea as to how it could have... escalated?"
Kuroi opened his mouth to press on further, but Takane spoke up before he could.
"It was but a minor scuffle over who would use the better hairbrush," she said. "Nothing more."
The president of 961 Pro turned to her, missing the obvious relief on Hibiki's face as he did so, and brought his questioning now on the oldest member of the unit. "Is that so, Takane-san?"
"Yes," unlike her teammate, Takane did not waver under his gaze.
"The better hairbrush?"
"The hairbrushes provided to us in that dressing room were not of the highest quality. Miki-san and Hibiki-san both wanted to use the one we deemed the best, and unfortunately attempted to settle it with a few blows. It was not a major problem and would have been resolved quickly even if you had not intervened, President."
Kuroi arched an eyebrow. "Really?"
"She's telling the truth," Miki said, her expression suddenly challenging, as though she was daring Kuroi to speak against her.
Kuroi only made a "hmph" noise and returned to his desk. He sat there wordless for a few moments, and in turn the idols were silent as well. Finally, he said, "Takane-san, you did not do anything to quell your teammates'... disagreement?"
"With all due respect, I know them better than you do. Allowing them to fight it out was the best possible solution for everyone."
"Even if it meant injuries?"
Takane's voice was level as she responded. "Miki-san and Hibiki-san would not hurt each other. You cannot give yourself the privilege of calling yourself our president if you do not even know that much."
An audible shifting in Hibiki's chair was heard, and even Miki reacted slightly to this. Takane had just completely challenged their president even in the midst of getting in trouble, despite the fact that the fight had had nothing to do with her. Words like those could very well result in her getting punished - fired, even.
Hibiki quickly leaned forward, mouth open and ready to confess when Kuroi let out an amused chuckle.
"Well then. Thank you for your time, girls. You're free to go."
Hibiki turned at the sound of her name, and promptly grinned when she saw the blonde running up to her. "Yo, Miki!" she greeted cheerfully. "How's it going?"
"Good~" Miki replied with a happy smile. Then she leaned forward expectantly. "So?"
"... so what?"
"Did Inumi like her present?"
Hibiki paused for a second, and then her face lit up and she nodded vigorously. "Yeah! She was so happy she was prancing around all day. She wouldn't even stop looking at herself in the mirror, it was ridiculous." She grinned. "Seriously, thanks for the help, Miki."
"No problem," Miki said. "Miki's glad Inumi liked it!"
"I also have something for you," Hibiki lifted up the plastic bag she'd been carrying and held it out. "It's not much but I thought you might like it."
The visual queen looked absolutely ecstatic as she accepted the bag and peered inside. "Onigiri, nano!" she cheered, giving a little bounce of joy. "Hibiki-chan's the best! Definitely the best!"
Hibiki put her hands behind her head, glad that her friend was so pleased. "It was no problemo," she said dismissively.
"Onigiri is never something to be taken lightly," Miki said sternly. She took one out of the bag and offered it to Hibiki.
"Eh? They're all for you, Miki."
"Miki knows~ that's why Miki's giving one to you! Because it's Miki's choice, isn't it?" She smiled and waved her hand a bit, insisting that the other girl take the snack. "There're a lot in here, anyway. Miki can save one for Takane, too!"
Hibiki relented, taking the rice ball and returning the smile gratefully.
"So about the next concert," Miki went on, "do you think the president will let us dress up in our vampire girl outfits? They're super cute."
"Only if we're singing Kyun! Vampire Girl," Hibiki responded, taking a bite from the rice ball.
Miki nodded. "That's alright, then. Miki likes that song!"
"I thought you liked Overmaster."
"Miki likes both of them," Miki replied. "After all, they're both songs Miki gets to sing with Hibiki-chan and Takane."
Project Fairy was a little dysfunctional, yes. The members perhaps a tad sadistic to each other. Sometimes they lost their temper with one another. Sometimes they bullied each other.
But in the end, a unit was a family, and Project Fairy took that meaning to heart.
Thanks for reading and please review!