Her entire life, Tomochika has been as sure of her beauty as she has of her voice: they are her in her entirety, both of them, and anything she does now or forever can only add on to them. She learns to wear her hair loose and laugh like she owns the world, pick the right lip gloss colors and find her flattering facial angles, choose clothes that flatter her figure. She finds out how to sing to win people over and to smile to make them love her, how to charm people with witty conversation so they wouldn't forget her, to kiss boys silly and to drop them your beauty, darling, it's all you have. If you have a golden voice but an ugly face, you won't sell. If you won't sell, you can't win.

She enters Saotome Academy with the grace and confidence only a teenager groomed for success can possess, making friends left and right and leaving a trail of boys gaping in her wake, worming her way into Ringo-sensei's good graces with the tiniest of smiles and the bluntest of comments. It's everything she's ever dreamed of.

But then there is Haruka – dear, sweet, Haruka, whose kisses taste of strawberries and whose skin feels like rose petals, who does not know how to fix her hair or carry herself properly or talk without stuttering. Haruka, who is not as pretty or popular as Tomochika but has handsome boys swooning over her all the same. And of course she doesn't notice, because above everything Haruka believes in the goodness of people and the sincerity of hearts.

Show business is a rotten world, honey. If you're gonna make it, you gotta get your hands dirty.

Tomochika had ascertained from their very first meeting with a rueful smile that Haruka has never loved, has never felt the thrill of someone else's lips on hers. And Tomochika, good friend that she is, tells herself – someone's got to help her, now, because it doesn't matter how talented she is: the industry will ruin her. And none of those fool boys can give Haruka what she can.

It's not that Haruka minds, really, and she really is quite pretty writhing under Tomochika, and does make the loveliest sounds when Tomochika's hands roam where they shouldn't, and does leave the sweetest kisses along Tomochika's jaw. She thinks, in a fit of blind pleasure, that she has only found her voice when she is with Haruka, despite everything she's done; that it is with Haruka that she learns how to moan and groan and scream, to feel as if her lungs were being turned inside out. Haruka is most beautiful like this, wild and tired and primal, untrying, when Tomochika herself is prettiest when she tries so hard.

And Tomochika knows, one day, that Haruka will pick one of those fools and go waltzing into his arms, write beautiful music for his beautiful voice to sing. And she's known that for a long time – In show business, nothing stays constant for very long. It is those who adapt who survive. She, herself, does not want to deal with the societal stigma, she tells Haruka later. I still love you. But this will pass. So she cracks jokes with Ittoki and pokes fun at Kurusu's height, sings along with Masato's piano and bakes with Shinomiya, but slips Haruka secret smiles in the hallways. They are silent promises. She will fulfill them when she can.

Idols, who give their beauty and voice to the whole world, can afford to be selfish sometimes. And Tomochika will take what she can.