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Pocky Day

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Pocky Day!

A Love Live! Nijigasaki Academy School Idol Club fanfiction

Love Live! ©Sunrise and Lantis


Ping! Pi-pi-ping!

Ai’s phone pinged repeatedly, as she scrambles from her very comfortable position on the bed to grab it. She read the notification: Yuyu@School Idol Club mentioned you and 9 other people!

She chuckles and slides open her phone, to enter the School Idol Club’s group chat. There, the usual daily discussion is already underway between the members...


Aira: sry I’m late to join, what’s up Yuyuu?

Yuyuu: welcome and good night, Ai-san!

Kana-chan: Ai-chan is finally here, yaaay

Rinarii: (yay emoticon)

Setsu: now that we’re all here, let’s continue, Yu-san

Yuyuu: alright. Do you girls know what day is tomorrow?

Emmacchi: Saturday?

Ayu-pyon: is it someone’s birthday?

Karin: it is November 11th, right?

Ai chuckles as she can feel Yu’s dejected face. Everyone is so clueless! "Let Ai-san tell you," she thought as her fingers typing quickly.

Aira: you girls are no fun! Listen, 11 November, or 11-11 is Pocky Day!

Kasumin: yeah! How could you all call yourselves school idols if you don’t know about this? Kasumin is flabbergasted!

Shizuko: wow, Kasumi-chan knew about ‘flabbergasted’, I’m impressed

Kasumin: Shizukooooo!! (knife emoticon)

Setsu: Ai-san is correct! Tomorrow is Pocky Day! The date 11 and 11 looks like a bunch of Pocky sticks, no?

Karin: what a marketing move

Yuyuu: anyway, as your club president, I present… the School Idol Club Pocky Game!! (clap emoticon) 

Everyone is typing…

Rinarii: (confused emoticon)

Emmacchi: I know that! Is that a game where two people eat a Pocky stick together between them, the one that break the stick first lose?

Setsu: exactly! For a foreign exchange student, you’re well informed about this "tradition", Emma-san!

Emmacchi: thanks! Karin-chan introduced me to the game, you know

Karin: Emma?!

Rinarii: (whistle emoticon)

Kasumin: wow, a scandal so early in your school idol career, Karin-senpai?

Karin: nothing wrong with playing the Pocky Game with a friend!

Ai cackled. Knowing Karin, the blue-haired senior must be blushing like mad right now. But she introduced Emma to the Pocky Game, huh...? Maybe because they’re very close friends, like herself and her dearest Rinarii. They did play the game every year ever since they became friends. 

Still, what is this prickly feeling?

Yuyu: anyway, let’s meet tomorrow at the club room. I want all of us to play the Pocky Game!

Ayu-pyon: ALL OF US?!

Yuyuu: well, think of this as a bonding experience (wink emoticon)

Setsu: excellent idea as always, Yu-san!

Kana-chan: alright. Let me bring some super special Pocky flavors from Haruka-chan’s collections

Rinarii: (shocked emoticon)

Kasumin: whoa, we have a connoisseur here!

Shizuko: what is with you and hard vocabulary today, Kasumi-chan? Do you bring a dictionary with you while chatting?

Kasumin: well, I had to! I have a Japanese remedial on Monday!

Rinarii: (good luck emoticon)

Rinarii: (let’s go emoticon)

Aira: it seems Rinarii is very excited about tomorrow! What time tomorrow, Yuyu?

Yuyu: 10 AM sounds good!

Setsu: then it’s decided!

Kana-chan: awesomeee

Karin is typing…

Karin: sorry, but I don’t think I can go. I have a modelling work tomorrow since early morning until night

As usual, Karin killed the mood in one smooth move, Ai smiles wryly as the atmosphere in group deflated.

Emmacchi: yeah, even now she needs my help to pack her clothes

Karin: Emma, is this conversation really necessary?!

Yuyuu: well, I don’t want to leave anyone. Should we-

Karin: you MUST still proceed with the game! I won’t hear anything about cancellation, you all hear me?

Rinarii: (salute emoticon)

Shizuku: yes, ma'am!

Setsu: of course! We will have extra fun for your part too!

Karin: thanks, everyone. And again, I’m really sorry

Yuyuu: don't worry, Karin-senpai!

Ayu-pyon: yes, good luck on your job!


Ai doesn't like this. Everyone knows about Karin’s super professional work ethic, and how hard she's on herself, so they cannot refute the bluenette third year. Still, Ai's heart aches knowing that Karin will be missing all the fun tomorrow...

And such, she comes up with a very good idea.

-xXxXx-

Days come and go, and now Karin is on journey back from her modelling work. It is Saturday night 11.00 PM, the day almost ends. Usually the dorm has a strict curfew on 9 PM sharp, but they gave a special permissions to every student that have part-time works or prep school.

Karin sighs tiredly. Her schedule today is very packed since morning: a series of photo shoot indoor with various outfits, an interview, and she even posed for a public information poster. The pay and especially the experiences are very good, but she’s sad that she missed the school idol club activity (again). Especially something as fun as a club-wide Pocky Game!

She sighs again, and grabs her phone to open the club’s group. Even now, everyone is still chatting happily about their activity this morning. As she didn’t participate, she skips the conversations and go straight away to the group’s photo book. In there, everyone posted photos from the game this morning.

True to their discussion last night, Kanata brings tons of Pocky with unique flavors such as mikan, azuki, roasted soybeans, even some weird ones like kombu seaweed, consommé soup and roast corn. Karin shuddered at some of the flavors pictured, especially when she sees Setsuna devouring the consommé flavor excitedly. Is her taste buds okay...?

Setsuna then, of course, posed with Pocky sticks in between her fingers, looking very much like a dorky otaku that she was. Shizuku copied her, with two sticks in her mouth like some kind of vampire, while Kasumi made a crown with yellowish Pocky sticks. In the background, Yu is rolling on the floor laughing at her friends’ antics. Or it was because Ai’s puns who’s standing proudly near her.

Rina brings a specialized camera that will capture the moment a stick break and detecting who broke it. Her equipment looks like something out of a CSI drama.

Ayumu and Emma brew some tea to accompany the sweet treats, of course they act like housewives. Karin smiles, they never change.

Then, the photos from the game itself… in which there are so many.

It seems they draw lots for it, as the first “victims” are a reluctant Ayumu and a very excited Setsuna. Of course, Setsuna won this round in a flash, as Ayumu is too flustered to play. Then, Kanata and Shizuku. Karin laughs softly at seeing Shizuku’s poker face that is countered hard by Kanata that looks like she’s sleeping. Kanata won easily and Shizuku is left to lament her loss dramatically.

Next is Yu and Kasumi. The impish junior looks so confident in one frame and flustered greatly in another frame as Yu’s lip moving closer to hers. In the background Karin could see a flickering aura around Ayumu, so scary.

Emma and Rina next. As they both have great poker faces, the match ended in a draw because Setsuna stopped them before they kissed for real. Well, it seems that she’s still acting as student council president unconsciously, Karin thought.

Of course, the funniest one had to be Yu and Ayumu. Karin never sees a human with face that red, it seems Ayumu become a tomato. And it looks like the reddish Pocky they ate is tomato flavor too as the two of them are struggling to eat instead of playing the game. In the end Kasumi intrudes with a clearly jealous face.

After that, everyone took turns playing the game with each other. Everyone looks like they’re having so much fun, Karin’s heart aches in envy… especially when she reaches the photos of Ai and Rina’s turn to play.

In there, she sees that even Ai cannot pierce Rina’s famous poker face. In the next frame, the blonde senpai broke her own part of stick... and then, kissed Rina on the cheek while everyone cheered in background. Karin feels a sting somewhere on her body.

She… doesn’t like this feeling at all.

As Karin doesn’t like being in a crowd, she only creates shallow relationship with her classmates at school, but everything changed when Emma invited her to the School Idol Club. In there, she meets many wonderful girls that stay with her so patiently despite her often-cold and harsh demeanor. Of course, she’s very grateful to Emma, but then there is Ai.

Her partner and friend that she interacted with almost every day, whether they have club activities or not. She likes hanging out with Ai, they even have some dates! While Karin won’t name her feelings about the excitable blonde, she just knows that Ai is one of her dearest friends in the school beside Emma.

But why is that seeing Ai getting affectionate and very touchy-feely with her friends makes her heart feels all weird?

Sure, she kissed Ai on cheek once, but she never receives one from the blonde. N-not that she wants to be kissed!

Shaking that thoughts away, Karin stepped outside the train. After getting out from the station, she must walk for 15 minutes to the dorms. It is already 11.30 PM, and she feels very tired. She decided that she will instantly hit the hay after getting back to her room. She doesn’t care that Emma will chastise her in the morning because she sleeps on her stuffy work clothes without even cleaning her makeup.

Or, that was her plan before-

“Ah, you’re really here!”

The voice of someone that was so recently in her thought, reels Karin back from her stupor. Her eyes widen in surprise at seeing none other than Ai, in her signature brown jacket, standing outside the station with a can of hot drink in her hand.

“As expected from Emmacchi, she really knows everything about you.”

“Ai… what are you doing here?”

The blonde jumped from her position and throws the empty can to a bin, a three-point shot that of course entered smoothly. She then approaches her senpai, grinning all the way.

“Ai-san want to meet you, duh.”

That simple answer brings a warm blush to Karin's face.

“W-well, here I am,” the bluenette crosses her arms. “But really, what are you doing here so late?”

Ai’s grins only got wider, and she rummages into her jacket’s pocket… to take out a box of unopened Pocky.

“Ta-dah! Pocky Day is not over yet, and I don’t want you to miss it!” she doesn’t use third-person here.

Seeing that, Karin smiles softly in gratitude. Really, she feels that she doesn’t deserve to have a very kind and thoughtful junior like Ai. Still...

“Eating sweets so late at night is bad for you though?” Karin teases.

-xXxXx-

They walked into their usual meeting spot, a small park that is now devoid of people because it was that late. They take a seat in a bench where Karin lays her bag.

“So, what flavor is it? Don’t tell me that consommé one.”

“Hehe, you know about Kanachin’s, or rather, Haruka-chan’s collections? But relax, this is just the plain ol' chocolate,” Ai opens the package and offers it to Karin, who takes one stick and eats it.

“Mmm, Pocky never changes,” said Karin delight.

Ai takes another stick and slips it into her mouth. “So, how’s work today?”

“Very tiring… but very fulfilling. I think it was a very great experience, I learned a lot.”

What a Karin-like answer, Ai thought while chewing her Pocky, “You’re too hard on yourself.”

“So I’ve heard repeatedly from Emma,” Karin laughs dryly. “Still, I’m glad that everyone is having fun today. I saw the photos on group, who took them?”

“Everyone that are not playing, taking turns. Think we can use those photos to boost our popularity?”

“Fufufu, don’t. All I can see is massive wave of jealousy, seeing everyone’s favorite idols fooling around with each other like that.”

They both laugh heartily. True, if their photos today fall into the News Club, they can’t imagine what kind of meltdown it will cause.

As they converse and eat the sweets one by one, Ai checks on her watch. It is 11.58 PM, two minutes left before the date changes and the day ends. And, like fate itself smiles upon her, there is exactly one stick of Pocky left in the box. Ai swipes that from Karin's grasp, and stands up.

“Ai…?”

“Pocky Day is not over yet,” Ai waves the stick up and down, “And as I said before, Ai-san won’t let you miss it… so, let’s play the Pocky Game!”

Karin widen her eyes, pink creeping to her cheeks.

“R-right now?!”

“Yeah! We literally only have 2 minutes left on November 11th, so chop-chop!”

“In this park?!”

“Yeah, yeah, time is running!”

Karin’s mind is a mess right now. Sure, she’s grateful that Ai is so keen to let her experience this fun day, but to do *that* game with Ai?! And outside?! Her heart is not ready-

But then, she thinks about everything that happened up until today. Yu’s invitation, her rejection (again), the group’s disappointed atmosphere when she voiced it, Emma’s concern this morning, and above all, Ai. Her kind junior that willing to get out late at night to talk with her.

If Karin rejects Ai now, she feels like the worst girl on the planet.

“F-fine, let’s do this,” the bluenette stands up.

Ai’s grins grow wider and she plops the stick into her mouth. Karin walks slowly upon her, but Ai grabs her arms and force her closer (time is still running, she heard Ai mumbles). Karin yields and bit the other end of the offending stick.

She bits it gingerly, as Ai do the same.

Their eating pace quickened, as Karin’s heart rate increased.

The distance between them become closer, as Ai grips Karin's arm even harder.

They can feel their breath on each other’s burning face.

But, no one relents. Even though their lips almost touching. Even though they’re not ready for this step in their… friendly (?) relationship.

Ai closes her eyes. Karin does the same.

Then, the predictable thing happens… the stick breaks upon the pressure they gave. The two of them jolts in surprise, and instantly turns their body around, not facing each other anymore. Their faces are burning red.

After a minute of calming themselves…

“… and that’s that. We’re ended in a draw,” said Ai.

“It seems so,” Karin answered.

“Maan, and I only won once today. It seems Ai-san need more training!”

“Training at… Pocky game?”

Silence again. But this time Karin ended it quickly as she touches Ai’s shoulder and hugs her from behind. The blonde doesn’t turn to face her senpai, though. She doesn’t want Karin to see her still bright red face.

“Thank you, Ai. I’m... glad I meet you here,” Karin’s voice is thick with unshed tears.

Ai held Karin's hands as she smiles softly, “That what’s friend for, Karin.”