Just a quick finale chapter! I really wasn't that confident in this fic since I wrote it a good while ago, so I'm really glad people seemed to like it all the same!
Disclaimer: I do not own Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight.
Chapter 8. Afterward
As anticipated, the weeks after Maya's accident are eventful and trying for both her and Claudine. But after only a couple of days of their new routine, they begin to get the hang of things.
Claudine fetches her in the morning and carries her things as they head to the common room to wait for the others. They all walk to school together and maintain a collectively slower pace that is comfortable for Maya.
During lecture classes, Maya can typically handle things fine on her own once she's seated, though whenever a fallen paper or pencil needs recovering, Claudine becomes awfully jealous if anyone else gets to picking it up for Maya before she can.
She carries Maya's tray for her at lunch and holds every door open for her. Whenever they have to travel to different floors, they take the elevator together.
During their dance classes and rehearsals, Maya participates via singing and speaking roles, and otherwise observes and takes notes on her classmates' routines from the sidelines. When classes end, she and Claudine often linger so they can continue privately, but some days Maya has physical therapy sessions to attend, so Claudine accompanies her to those.
Maya has regular check-ins with the nurse, her therapist, and her parents to ensure her body is healing properly. Claudine always leaves the room during such private and personal times, but she's never far away. Whenever each session is finished, she's right there again to walk Maya back to the dorms, help her in the bath, and get her into bed.
But she never leaves right away.
Maya always insists on 'repaying' Claudine for all of her trouble, and while of course that compensation isn't the reason Claudine has elected to do any of this in the first place, she certainly never complains about or denies the rewards. They typically spend half an hour before bedtime wrapped in each other's arms, peppering soft kisses and light touches wherever they can.
For the most part, Claudine manages to pull herself away in time to get back to her own room for the night. But there are a few evenings here and there where she doesn't have the will nor stamina to get up from Maya's embrace.
When she does fall asleep in Maya's bed with her, Maya enjoys those nights immensely. Claudine always scolds her in the mornings for not waking her, and for putting herself at risk sharing a bed with someone when Maya is still injured. But deep down, they both know Claudine loves those nights the best, too.
The students at Seishou put on a few more performances over the weeks. Maya is given a minor role of an ailing character who has to stay seated or in bed, and she is able to participate in a small recital once her ribs have healed.
After that, hers and Claudine's more intimate evenings together become more enjoyable. Although still cautious at first about kissing her too hard or for too long, Claudine gradually establishes an appropriate pressure and duration for their standard kisses, though Maya always encourages her to be a bit greedier.
The weeks pass by, until at long last, Maya enters the final days of being required to use her crutches. Claudine joins Nana and the others in planning a little celebration party.
And at last when the day arrives, Claudine nearly cries as she watches the nurse remove Maya's cast. Maya bows deeply and thanks her for all of her help, now able to stand perfectly fine on her own.
And as soon as both she and Claudine exit the office, the first thing Maya does is go to her with open arms. Claudine catches her and lifts her cleanly off the floor for a second, squeezing her tightly as tears of joy flow freely down her cheeks. She kisses her, no longer hesitant to celebrate.
Claudine then brings her to the common room where the surprise party is waiting for her, though as they walk, she keeps a hand on Maya's back just to be absolutely safe.
Maya hadn't had a clue about the party, and her friends surprise her with all kinds of treats, each taking their turn to hug her and welcome her back.
In their classes the following days, teachers and classmates alike welcome Maya back as well, and she gets straight into things. Having studied the techniques and routines they'd been learning over the past few weeks, she's able to perform them almost instantly now herself.
And she moves as though she'd never been injured at all, as though she hadn't spent the last 2 months in a chair on the sidelines. It's as though she'd even gotten a bit better, somehow.
But Claudine is only chagrined for a second; she's far too relieved to have Maya back to be anything less than thrilled.
As promised, the school announces the make-up performance date for the canceled play. The actresses involved have been rehearsing and reviewing things all the while to keep it fresh in their minds, and after only a couple of days, Maya agrees she is ready to take the stage once more.
And this time the performance is absolutely stellar. Maya dazzles and captivates every last person in the room, and Claudine matches her step for step.
When the play is over and it's time to take their bow, Nana gives a brief speech about Maya's recovery, which earns a round of boisterous applause from the audience.
That night, the girls have another celebratory party and dinner. They talk, play games, and watch movies until midnight, when Junna decides it's time to have them clear out.
It's only now, as she pauses between her own door and Maya's, that Claudine isn't sure which way to go. But before she can even start to consider it, Maya has already taken hold of her wrist and gently tugs her along to her bedroom.
"Don't think," she murmurs. "That just because I'm healed now, that I no longer require your presence."
The door closes behind them as they enter the room, lit only by the faint beams of moonlight seeping in through the curtains. Claudine follows her to the bed, where Maya sits with ease and all but pulls Claudine straight into her lap.
"H-Hey!" Claudine huffs. "You still need to be careful!"
"I am well-aware," Maya mutters against her neck, slowly wrapping her arms around her. "But I am not worried at all, for the only things your presence could ever grant me are positive."
Claudine breathes a few mutterings of her own against Maya's lips as she cups her face and kisses her to shut her up. And also because she likes it.
Maya gently tangles the fingers of one hand in Claudine's hair, and uses her other hand to pull her in ever closer by the small of her back. Claudine leans forward into her a bit to deepen their kiss.
With a short giggle, Maya lays back all at once, pulling Claudine down on top of herself and earning a short shriek. Maya laughs, gathering Claudine securely in her arms as she draws her legs up onto the bed. She lets out a deep, contented sigh.
"How wonderful to be able to move my own body as I please once again." She thumbs a strand of hair out of Claudine's face and smiles. "And of course to be able to do this with you as well, Ma Claudine."
Claudine does her best to brace as much of her weight on her arms as she can, but gradually she settles on top of her with a bit of a huff.
"I guess I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss this too," she grumbles. "But if anything hurts you even a little bit, you'd better tell me immediately or else I swear to god-"
"I will," Maya vows. "I promise, Claudine."
"But nothing hurts. Nothing at all. In fact, I feel better than I have in months." She shifts her legs as she pleases beneath Claudine's until their knees fit in together like puzzle pieces. Claudine gives a mild glare back down at her.
"To think it would actually heal up to be stronger than it had been before," she snorts. "It almost seems a bit unfair. Weren't you unbeatable enough already?"
"I guess this just means you will have to keep working hard in order to stay by my side and one day surpass me."
"Oh, you can count on it." Feeling more smug comments oncoming, Claudine quiets her with another kiss. Maya happily accepts.
They don't hold anything back any longer, enjoying their time together to the fullest and without the need for too much caution.
Eventually, Claudine slips off of her to lie next to her instead, looping both arms around her shoulders before easing away to catch her breath. Maya is left panting for a moment as well, but she rests her forehead against Claudine's and gazes so adoringly into her eyes it makes Claudine lose her breath for a little bit longer. Draping her arm across Claudine's waist, Maya begins lazily rubbing her fingertips in lazy patterns.
"You were right," she says softly. "About everything, Claudine. Even when I was so worried I might not make a full recovery, you saw the pragmatic side of things. You truly believed with all your heart and soul that I would come out of this stronger, and I really did. You stayed by my side and offered me unconditional support through it all. I cannot ever possibly thank you enough." Maya curls herself closer, tucking her head against Claudine's chest.
Claudine gives her shoulders a little squeeze and nestles her face into Maya's hair.
"You don't need to thank me. What kind of partner and rival would I be if I hadn't made sure you made a full recovery? There's no way I ever could have continued with my own career without you, so I guess you could say I was just being selfish, really."
"Nonsense," Maya purrs. "We both know how you feel about me deep down."
Maya laughs again and closes her eyes, pressing her ear against Claudine's chest.
"Your voice says those things, but your heart says something very different."
Claudine has nothing to say to that. She just huffs again and closes her eyes too.
"Whatever… I'm just glad you're back, Tendo Maya."
"And I am very glad to be back, Saijou Claudine."
"We're going to have to stay later after school now in our practice sessions to make up for lost time. Prepare yourself."
Little by little, the steady rhythm of their shared pulse has them drifting off to sleep.
At last they are able to put this incident behind them, both emerging from it a little bit stronger in all sorts of ways.
From this moment on they simply look ahead to the new stages that await them.
A/N: There we have it. At the time I just wanted to write an 'accident' fic, and I'd already had Claudine be the victim of a stage accident before, so this time it was Maya's turn. As usual, I mainly chose to do angst for the subsequent fluff. I hope you enjoyed!