Next chapter for nadie! Now involving Hisame!
Disclaimer: I do not own Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight.
Chapter 2. A Fourth Wheel
Once Claudine has finished with her early-morning weekend laundry, she meets up with her classmates on the way to the dorm cafeteria for breakfast. Of course, Maya greets her first and foremost.
"Good morning, Saijou-san."
"Shall we spend some time together today practicing as well?"
"Bien sûr. What better way to spend our free time, after all?"
They get their food and join their friends at the table to eat, chatting about their plans for the day.
But when Claudine feels her phone vibrate in her sweatshirt pocket, it surprises her a little, since she hadn't been expecting a message from anyone. Clearly Maya is curious too, giving her an inquisitive, though not altogether prying glance, as Claudine takes out her phone.
"Huh…" Claudine flashes her partner a look. "Change of plans. That was Koharu."
"Yanagi-san?" Maya tilts her head. It's been a few weeks since Maya had last seen her.
After their little fiasco at the mall where Maya had admittedly let her jealousy get the better of her, she and Claudine had eventually understood each other properly. And as promised, Claudine had rescheduled her date with Koharu where Maya had played no part whatsoever, and the week after Maya herself had gone out briefly with Koharu in order to connect with her as well.
And after that, Maya and Claudine had gone on a few dates of their own, as promised, though it was never really very different from anything they'd done together before; at this point they've been together so frequently and for so long, it just feels natural.
Though Maya had gotten Koharu's number in order to arrange their outing, she wasn't one to text very often otherwise, so Claudine is the only one of them who has been communicating with her for a few months now, since the exchange program with Seiran.
Maya is still very much intrigued to learn more about the girls from one of their rival institutions, however, so she listens intently to what Claudine has to say about Koharu's message.
"She asked if we could meet up today at the park. Hisame, too. Apparently they have a few things they want to ask us."
"Us?" Maya is both delighted and a bit confused. Claudine nods.
"That's right. She asked if we were both available today to come and meet them. Do you mind?"
"Not at all."
"All right. Then I'll tell them we're coming in an hour or so."
"What could they possibly want to ask the two of us, I wonder…?" Maya murmurs.
After all, if Maya and Claudine were considered the two top-ranked students of Seishou, Koharu and Hisame were likely of the same positions at Seiran. But even so, she knows very well there is always more they can learn from one another; especially in terms of theatre, and especially because they are all rather high-ranking students. Maya becomes a bit eager to consider this may very well be a good learning opportunity for herself as well.
So once they've finished eating and wave their friends off for the day, Maya and Claudine retreat to their rooms to get dressed a bit more formally, considering they'll be meeting up with people from another school. When they're ready to head out, they visit the main office together for permission to leave campus, then begin the walk to the park side by side.
It's a beautiful warm day, and as she walks, Claudine closes her eyes and tilts her face to the sky to soak in the sunlight.
Maya can't help but smile as she watches her - and she nearly walks into a street pole in her distraction. She quickly covers up the blunder before Claudine can open her eyes and notice.
"My," she says quickly. "I wonder what those two could be wanting us for? Yanagi-san and Honami-san."
"Who knows?" Claudine opens her eyes again and looks ahead, unaware of Maya's mishap. "Maybe they've got questions about an upcoming play they're doing. For those sorts of things, it would be easier to meet in person and talk directly instead of just texting. Maybe they'd like to practice together sometime?"
"That would be quite interesting," Maya muses. "In fact, now I'm rather curious as to what a training session between the four of us might look like…"
"Well maybe we can propose that sometime," Claudine reasons. "But let's hear them out on what they have to say today."
They saunter at a pleasant pace as they head for the park. When they arrive, it appears as though a traveling market of sorts has been set up near the entrance, because it's bustling and busy with crowds.
As they weave their way through, Claudine gets jostled a bit and pushed apart from Maya. Maya swiftly goes to retrieve her, taking her quietly by the hand before guiding her out.
"Are you all right?"
"I'm fine, I'm fine."
Neither really notice that they continue holding hands as they finally enter the park.
It only takes them a moment of searching before they spot the pair they're looking for.
Koharu and Hisame are also dressed for the weekend in skirts and blouses, much more colorful than they typical uniforms allow. They're waiting together chatting on a bench, but the moment Hisame spots Maya and Claudine, she takes Koharu by the hand and stands with her to wave.
"Koharu, they're here!"
"Yes." Koharu gives a small bow to the other girls. "Claudine-san, Tendo-san, good morning."
Maya bows as well.
"Good morning, Yanagi-san, Honami-san."
"Bonjour! It's a lovely day, isn't it?"
"It really is!"
Koharu and Hisame share a smile together, and it's an expression neither Maya nor Claudine has quite seen on either of them before. As far as either of them knew, Koharu was a rather shy person, even around those within her own school at times. And while Hisame was a bit more sociable, it was their interpretation that she wasn't yet very comfortable around others either.
But their mirth is clearly genuine; a difference that's easily discernible to any actress who has portrayed such emotions onstage before purely for the sake of acting. It has Maya and Claudine smiling for a moment as well, before the latter eventually addresses the topic at-hand.
"So then," Claudine begins. "Why is it you two called us out today?"
"Yes," Maya says. "Is there perhaps something you would like assistance with? Saijou-san and I were discussing on the way here how it might be rather interesting for the four of us to train together someday."
"Together with you two?" Hisame blushes faintly, but her excitement is clear as she gives Koharu's hand a little tug. "That sounds wonderful! What do you think, Koharu?"
Koharu dips her head shyly, also blushing at the thought.
"Yes… I think it would be something to really look forward to. But as for today, you're right that Hisame and I wanted to ask the two of you some advice."
"Bien sûr! Ask us anything at all!"
"It would be our pleasure to assist you in any way we can."
Maya and Claudine share a determined look. They're both enticed by the idea of sharing ideas and collaborating to train together with two of their strongest rivals from another school. It would provide great insight for both parties and challenge them all to strive for even greater heights.
Koharu and Hisame share another jubilant look with one another. Hisame starts swinging their entwined hands back and forth enthusiastically.
"Then-" she begins. "Tendo-san, Saijou-san… if you wouldn't mind… please give us some advice on how to be such a successful couple like yourselves!"
There's a brief beat of silence. Maya and Claudine blink in confused unison.
Koharu speaks up, still blushing, but clearly persistent.
"Hisame and I have been dating for a little while now," she says. "Most of our classmates already know."
"But we want to make sure we're doing it properly!" Hisame continues. "So we decided we should ask the two of you. We would like your advice on developing a strong, passionate, sweet, and loving relationship like the two of you have!"
Again, another beat of silence falls. Maya and Claudine don't budge.
By now, their silence has caused both Hisame and Koharu to frown and become a bit panicked. Koharu quickly bows her head again.
"We're sorry if this was too intrusive," she says. "After all, I know we only just recently got to know each other better. Perhaps this was a bit too personal."
"Y-Yes! We're sorry!" Hisame frets. "We didn't mean to ask something so personal if you would rather not discuss it with us!"
"You see," Koharu continues. "Ever since we were first able to watch the you act together onstage, Hisame and I were drawn to the two of you, even before we started dating."
"Yes!" Hisame agrees. "It was just so amazing. We wondered what it was like for the two of you to be romantically involved and acting onstage together! You're always able to read each other's movements perfectly, and respond exactly according to each other's voices and hidden cues! It's truly amazing!"
"Not only that," Koharu says. "But the way you work in the revues as well. Even without lines or scripts, you're always able to tell exactly what the other is thinking. You're always in-sync, and always able to move together and support one another by simply sharing a glance."
"And even off the stage!" Hisame adds. "Even just in your everyday lives, you're able to tease and laugh with each other so affectionately. It really warms the hearts of everyone around you and shows just how deep your bond truly goes."
"We were just wondering if we could ask for your advice on those things," Koharu finishes. "In order for us to be able to nurture our own relationship so it can be as successful as yours."
Hisame gives an earnest nod, squeezing Koharu's hand a bit tighter as they both nervously wait for an answer.
By this point, Claudine and Maya are entirely speechless for a solid minute. Maya blushes very faintly, but her lips have curved upward into a bit of a smile, whereas Claudine's face has now become entirely pink, and her jaw has dropped incredulously. She looks in horror from Koharu and Hisame to Maya and back again. Maya lets a slight amused purr come into her tone.
But by that point, Claudine has finally regained enough of her sanity to form words. And she forms them with a shriek.
"Y-You've got it all wrong!"
At this, both Koharu and Hisame blink, puzzled.
"Wrong about what?"
Claudine looks back to Maya in a fluster, clearly hoping Maya will help her explain things and clear the misunderstanding. But to her chagrin, Maya simply gives an infuriatingly innocent smile and does nothing to help her on the matter. Claudine sputters and whirls back to face the other two.
"You've got it wrong! Tendo Maya and I aren't a couple! We aren't dating at all!"
Now, it's the Seiran girls' turn to be confused into silence.
"You two… aren't dating…?"
"No!" Claudine yelps, still red all over. "What in the world ever gave you that impression?!"
"Well…" Hisame says hesitantly. "For starters, everything that we mentioned before. Like how you're always able to read one another's thoughts and movements perfectly. How you're always so supportive of one another, and how you can tease each other and laugh together. Even when you have a difference of opinion, you always communicate honestly in the end. And you generally seem to know and enjoy one another more than anyone else-"
"Also…" Koharu gives a simple answer as she glances at Maya and Claudine's still-very-much-interlocked hands. Only now does Claudine realizes she'd still been holding onto Maya, and with a short shriek she quickly pulls away.
"Oh my, Saijou-san?" Maya muses. "Are you certain we aren't dating after all?"
"Shut up! We most certainly are not!"
Koharu and Hisame watch them, completely baffled for a moment before they begin to understand their mistake. Once they do, they both blush even harder and simultaneously throws themselves forward into a bow.
"W-We're so sorry for misunderstanding!" Hisame yelps. "We just honestly thought the two of you were romantic!"
"We're sorry for making assumptions on our own." Koharu lifts her head bashfully. "Especially because of what happened at the mall a few weeks ago… Since Tendo-san got jealous of Claudine-san and I spending time together, it resulted in a lovers' quarrel…"
"But they're not lovers!" Hisame hastily reminds her. Koharu gasps.
"R-Right! I'm sorry!"
By now, mention of her jealousy has caused Maya to blush a bit more deeply again and glance down at the ground, while Claudine's face has turned a feverish color.
"No, no! I'm telling you, you've got it all wrong! Tendo Maya and I aren't dating! We never were!" She grabs Maya's arm and pulls her out of her trance of reliving her embarrassment. "Tell them!"
Maya snaps her head up before bowing it again more slowly.
"Yes. Indeed, I'm afraid Saijou-san is telling the truth."
"You're 'afraid'?" Claudine mumbles. "What the heck does that mean?"
"What I mean," Maya clarifies. "Is that yes, I am afraid the two of us are not dating."
"Like I said, that's not something to be regretful about!" After rounding on Maya, Claudine draws in a sharp breath and tries to face the other two more normally, in spite of her rampant blush. "Sorry that we mislead you. We really aren't dating."
"Y-Yes, of course!"
"We're sorry as well."
For a moment, all four girls fret softly and bow to one another. Once Claudine has recovered from the shock and embarrassment of the situation, she lifts herself up again. Maya casts her a faint smile, to which Claudine responds with a huff.
"Don't get ahead of yourself."
"I would never."
Koharu and Hisame are still mumbling apologies for making assumptions about their relationship. At the very least, Maya and Claudine can read each other perfectly (just as the other pair mentioned they could), and understand they don't want things to become awkward and end up like this with the Seiran couple. Without a word, Maya and Claudine come to the agreement to start making efforts to gently mend things.
"Koharu, Hisame," Claudine says.
"Please lift your heads," Maya finishes. "You have nothing to apologize for."
They both step forward. Claudine places a hand on Koharu's shoulder, and Maya places one on Hisame's, and together they coax the two girls to stand up straight again. They're both clearly still frazzled, and even nervous at the possibility that they may have upset the Seishou girls because of their mistake.
But both Maya and Claudine, though still blushing faintly, only smile kindly at them.
"It's all right," Claudine says. "Judging by all the things you listed off about us… I guess it's no surprise you thought we might be… in an intimate relationship…"
"Indeed," Maya nods. "I suppose that there are certain things we, as participants, cannot observe for ourselves. Some things can only be perceived by onlookers."
Koharu and Hisame are both visibly relieved that they hadn't upset them.
"Even so, we really are sorry," Koharu says again.
"We shouldn't have assumed," Hisame agrees.
Claudine pouts slightly and crosses her arms.
"To me, it sounds like you didn't assume at all. We just really… seriously seem like we're in that kind of relationship, don't we?"
"How peculiar," Maya hums.
Claudine sends her another glare, to which Maya responds with a casual smile.
Koharu and Hisame are still baffled by the news; the two of them are demonstrating the exact kind of interaction that caused the misinterpretation in the first place, reading each other perfectly and being able to tease each other in such a way. But even so, they don't want to damage their relationship with them, so Hisame speaks up.
"Then, if that isn't the case after all, we shouldn't be asking you for advice on that kind of relationship."
"Maybe we can just discuss theatre instead?" Koharu proposes.
Neither of them want to just end their meeting today on an awkward note, so they do whatever they can to continue spending time with the other two.
Maya and Claudine share another glance, once again able to pick up on each other's feelings flawlessly.
"Of course," Maya says. "We could always discuss theatre."
"But we could probably give you some sound advice anyway," Claudine says. "N-Not that we have any experience with anything romantic!"
"Of course not," Maya smiles. "But I believe it's safe to say that Saijou-san and I have a strong-enough bond as rivals, as classmates, and as friends."
"And the advice we could give on how to maintain those sorts of relationships should work in helping out a romantic one just as well," Claudine finishes. "After all, any kind of relationship pretty much boils down to the same important things."
Both Koharu and Hisame brighten at the notion of getting to spend time with them after all. Maya invites them to sit down, and all four girls get comfortable on the bench together.
"First of all," Claudine begins importantly. "Communication is key. Be it with words or expression or actions… if you can find out however it works best for the two of you, that will make things much smoother."
"Next," Maya says. "I would have to say honesty. While of course it's all right to keep some things to yourself, you must understand that you're in a partnership with the other person, and that your actions and inactions will affect them as well. Being open and honest about important things is crucial."
Koharu and Hisame have taken on serious expressions now, still holding tightly to one another's hands as they take mental notes, hanging on every word their companions tell them.
"And finally," Claudine says.
"If I were to wager one more thing…" Maya considers.
They both answer in unison.
Both Koharu and Hisame take the advice to heart and continue to listen intently as the other two continue.
"You should be able to trust the other person," Claudine says. "With anything and everything. Whether it's something as basic as catching you in a dip for a dance, to as serious as taking care of your deepest secret."
"You need to be able trust your partner for anything," Maya agrees. "Even if she is out on a date with someone else…"
She tapers off for a moment of self-reflection, smiling a bit guiltily. When she grows quiet, Claudine reaches out to touch her hand. Maya meets her eyes, reading Claudine's feelings with ease, knowing she's been long-since forgiven for her childish actions from weeks earlier. Comforted by her support, Maya continues.
"And not only should you trust your partner, but yourself as well."
"Oui," Claudine agrees. "Trust that she trusts you as much as you trust her. If you can both be confident in each other and in yourselves, there's nothing in the world that can stop you."
And all the while as they listen, Koharu and Hisame share similar thoughts of their own; that Maya and Claudine give advice about this sort of thing effortlessly; as though they've actually been dating for years. But neither of them dare to breathe a word on that matter.
When Maya and Claudine have finished giving their honest advice, Koharu and Hisame thank them humbly.
"Truly, thank you both so much," Koharu says. "And we're sorry again for misunderstanding your relationship."
"Don't worry about it," Claudine smiles. "Congratulations to the two of you, by the way. If you ever want to chat, feel free to message me any time."
"The same goes for me," Maya offers. "Should either of you feel the need, I will do what I can to hear you out for any matter as well."
"Thank you so much Tendo-san, Saijou-san!" Hisame bows to them again, and Koharu does the same. Maya and Claudine reflect the motion.
The four girls move on to discuss a next potential get-together, perhaps where they can all practice lines or dance together one afternoon.
When all is said and done, Koharu and Hisame get up and take their leave, both smiling and bounding off hand-in-hand.
Claudine and Maya watch them go, feeling the slight prickle of awkwardness now that they're alone together. Claudine clears her throat and gives a huff.
"Well… that was quite something…"
"Indeed." Maya leans over a little bit, bumping softly against her partner's side. "I know that we were the ones to give them advice, but perhaps we should consider being a little more like them as well?"
Claudine huffs again, but does lean into Maya a little bit more.
"How so? After all, the communication level in our partnership is already a bit further along than theirs, isn't it? As is our honesty and our trust."
Maya lifts her head from Claudine's shoulder and meets her gaze with a knowing smirk.
"And it is precisely because our bond is stronger than average that I'm certain you know exactly which aspect I am referring to."
"Oh?" Claudine dares to meet her halfway on this notion, being so bold as to lean in and leave a brief kiss on Maya's cheek. "Then by that same token, can't you see that answer for yourself, Tendo Maya?"
Now it's Maya who turns a feverish shade of red for an instant. But that isn't to mean she doesn't get quite excited.
"My, my, Saijou-san. If you're going to do things like that so brazenly out in the open, I do hope you're prepared for what it means when we're alone."
"Mechante va. Come on, we've got practicing to do!"
Claudine promptly jumps up from the bench. Maya follows with a chuckle.
"But of course, mademoiselle."
And as they begin the walk back toward school, their hands find their way together again, somehow or another.
A/N: My first time writing KohaHisa and it's them as crushing schoolgirls full of fluff... not exactly how they are portrayed in any form of the franchise, but I tried my best for them! I feel Koharu is like Hikari, a bit awkward and quiet, and Hisame is a bit skittish too, but a bit more confident and sociable. I really like that ship, so putting them alongside Mayakuro was really fun!
And yeah for real... even though Mayakuro aren't dating in this fic, they've been dating for like 10 years lol
Not sure if there will be more for this or not. We'll see!