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Mishaps And Comforts

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"Oy, Kaoruko!"


In one swift and childish motion, Kaoruko pulls the covers up over her head and curls tightly in on herself beneath them, as if trying to fuse with her mattress. Futaba - who's already dressed in her uniform for the day - puts her hands on her hips and sigh-groans.

"Geez, Kaoruko. You can't be doin' this kinda crap just 'cuz you don't like the dance lesson for today."

From beneath the blankets comes a muffled reply.

"I'm sorry. I can't seem to hear you, Futaba-han. My ears aren't working."

"If only it was your mouth that wasn't workin'…"

"H-Hey!" All at once Kaoruko sits up and throws the blankets off herself to glare indignantly at her roommate, puffing her cheeks out in a pout. "That was rather cruel, Futaba-han."

"Maybe, but it got you up, didn't it? Your ears seem to be working just fine to me." Futaba reaches out to pinch one and gives it a pull.

"Kyaa!" With a shriek, Kaoruko swats her away. "Okay, okay, fine! I'm getting up…"

"That's more like it."

"Ah, but my stomach sort of hurts~" she whines innocently. "I might not make it to dance lessons today."

Futaba heaves another sigh.

"Listen, you can't be faking stuff to get out of a lesson just 'cuz you don't like it. You should be using your acting skills on the stage, not in tryin' to keep yourself off of it."

"You don't have to tell me that…" Kaoruko mutters. "Ugh, it's just… I hate ballet! It's too difficult! It's such a major contrast to Japanese dance…"

Futaba tries for a more compassionate approach.

"I know it's not the easiest form of dance out there, but that's exactly why we gotta do these lessons. You can't make it as a proper actor just by doin' one kind of dance only, unless you're in a specialized field for it. But FYI, you're not, Kaoruko. You gotta expand your horizons and try 'em all out, 'cuz you never know what kinda role you might land and what kinda stuff you'll have to do for it-"

"All right, all right!" Kaoruko throws her hands up in defeat. "You're starting to sound like Hoshimi-han…"

Futaba grins and ruffles her hair.

"C'mon, then. Let's get to breakfast."

But Kaoruko sure does take her sweet time in getting dressed and ready for the day, clearly trying to demonstrate just how passionately she doesn't want to have ballet lessons in dance class today. Futaba crosses her arms and taps her foot as she waits at the door. When Kaoruko is finally ready, she limps over with a sigh.

"Carry my bag for me, Futaba-han?"

"Nope. I have enough stuff in mine."

"Fine… then we should at least take the bike so we're not late."

"Nice try, but we're walking. It's a beautiful day."

"Ehhh?! So cruel, indeed…"

"Quit whinin'. You're gonna have to do the ballet at one point or another."


They head down to the dorm's cafeteria for breakfast where Futaba greets their friends, while Kaoruko merely pouts. As they take their seats, Claudine tilts her head curiously.

"What's gotten into Kaoruko?"

Futaba waves her hand dismissively.

"Don't mind her. She just doesn't wanna do the ballet today."

"Oh!" Karen blurts around a mouthful of pancakes. "That's right! I totally forgot about that!"

"K-Karen-chan! Don't talk with your mouth full!"

"Ballet…" Hikari mumbles. "It's tough, but I like it."

"I agree!" Nana claps. She leans across the table to try and catch Kaoruko's eye. "Kaoruko-chan, ballet can be really fun if you let it!"

"And also," Junna adds in. "You can't just specialize in Japanese dance if you're at Seishou. You've gotta expand your horizons and try out all different kinds of dance, because you never know what kind of role you might land-"

"Ahgh, okay, I get it!" Kaoruko wails. "I already had this conversation first thing in the morning!" Grumbling, she pours some syrup on her pancakes and begins cutting into them like a pouting child. Futaba just shrugs and sighs again. Beside her, Claudine hides a chuckle.

"She really is a handful, huh?"

"You're tellin' me…"

Next to Claudine, Maya pads her napkin across her lips in a distinguished manner before joining in on the conversation.

"I can see Hanayagi-san's point. Ballet can very well be considered one of, if not the, most difficult form of dance."

"Ah!" Kaoruko cries. "Finally! Someone who understands my plight-"

"However," Maya continues. "It is also one of the most rewarding types to master, and mastering it can only come from practicing."

"Ugh, traitor. I thought you were on my side, Tendo-han…"

"Kaoruko-chan, you'll be fine!" Mahiru smiles. And even Kaoruko can't complain at that, but she does continue to pout throughout breakfast.

When they've all finished and get up to make the walk to school, Futaba feels another tug on her sleeve.

"Fu-ta-ba-haaaan…" Kaoruko whines. "My shoulder hurts. Carry my bag for me?"

"Nice try, but we already had this conversation," Futaba reminds her. "And no, we're still not takin' the bike."


"Allons," Claudine says. "Come on, Kaoruko, you can walk to school. I believe in you."

Kaoruko just mutters something else under her breath, but follows along with the rest of them regardless. But all the way to school, she continues to make complaints.

"Say, Futaba-han. If I tell the instructor I have a stomachache, do you think she'll let me skip?"

"No lying allowed," Futaba denies her.

"And besides," Claudine puts in. "Even if you did get to skip for today, you'd have to make it up eventually, right?"

"Saijou-san is right," Maya agrees. "If you're that unenthusiastic about it, is it not best to just get it over with sooner?"

"See?" Futaba pats Kaoruko's head. "Logic."

Kaoruko grumbles some more.

And all throughout the morning, Futaba is forced to keep her roommate in line. After history class, Kaoruko refuses to get up from her seat.

"Futaba-han… I have a terrible headache. Please tell our dance instructor I won't be able to do ballet today."

"Look, if you really wanna pull that, I guess you can," Futaba sighs. "But don't drag me into it. And besides, you'll just have to do it again some other time, and you'll have to do it alone without the rest of the class. Is that what you want?"

"Uweh… No, I suppose not…"

"Then tough it out." Futaba grabs her by the wrist and pulls her to her feet before slinging an arm across her shoulders. "You can do this, Kaoruko. Don't sell yourself short."

"Hm~? And you would know about that, wouldn't you, Futaba-han? Being 'short' I mean."

"H-Hey! I'm tryna help you out here!"

"Right, sorry~"


But again, after math class, Kaoruko is back to complaining.

"Futaba-han, my foot fell asleep and I don't know if it'll be better by dance class…"

"You're really layin' it on thick, y'know?"

"I haven't the slightest idea what you're talking about. My whole leg is numb!"

"That sucks. Well, good luck gettin' to your next class then."

With a flippant wave, Futaba heads off toward the door. Kaoruko whimpers and hastily stands to follow her.

"W-Wait! You weren't really gonna leave me behind, were you?"


"Futaba-han, you meanie!"

"But it worked, didn't it?"

More grumbling.

At lunchtime, Kaoruko keeps up her antics now that dance class is only an hour away. As she picks at her dumplings and soup, she keeps rubbing her eyes.

"Ahh, the steam is making my eyes water. I might not be able to see properly for dance class."

Futaba rolls her eyes. "Good grief…"

"You know, Kaoruko," Claudine cuts in. "If you keep crying wolf like this all the time, no one's going to believe you if something really does happen."

"I'm not crying wolf!" she snaps.

"Really?" Maya says. "And here I was about to praise your acting skills, Hanayagi-san."

Kaoruko can't help but smirk a little at that.

"Well, perhaps I was acting just a bit…"

"Hah." Futaba pokes her roommate's cheek with her chopstick. "So you admit it."

"O-Only a little!"

"Yeah, yeah. Either way, enough complainin' now. You're doing ballet whether you wanna or not."

Kaoruko looks to all three of them, and to the other five smiling from across the table before heaving a massive, dramatic sigh.

"Very well…"

Futaba gives her shoulder a pat.

"Atta girl."

"But honestly, what role will I ever had where I'll need to use ballet?"


"I'm joking! …Mostly."


After lunch, they have their language class, where Kaoruko makes one last lazy attempt at an excuse to weasel her way out of dance.

"Ahh, English is so confusing… My throat hurts, I don't think I can dance."

Futaba gives her a deadpanned stare.

"Those two things aren't even related, Kaoruko."

"Oh, you're no fun…"

"Come on." Futaba stands from her chair and offers her hand to her. "It won't be that bad. I promise."

Kaoruko pouts some more, but eventually accepts her hand.

"Very well…"

They head to the changing rooms with the others to get dressed in their leotards, then enter the dance studio to begin stretching as they wait for their instructor. Kaoruko sits on the floor and extends one leg in front of herself before reaching down to her shoe. Futaba kneels behind her and gently pushes on her lower back.

"You've gotta loosen up, Kaoruko. You didn't stretch over the weekend, did you?"

"It may have slipped my mind…"

"Geez… All right then, I'm gonna push a little harder."

Futaba does as she says and leans a bit more weight onto her. Kaoruko reaches her arms out further toward her toes, panting with effort. At just the slightest strain of her muscles, she lets out another whine.

"Owww, Futaba-haaann…"

"S-Sorry! Was that too much?" Futaba eases off of her, helping her sit up straight again. Kaoruko snickers a little.

"Oh, were you that worried, Futaba-han~?"

"Hey, Kaoruko." Claudine gives her a disapproving look from where she's stretching with Maya nearby. "What did I tell you about crying wolf?"

"I wasn't!" Kaoruko huffs. "It did hurt a little…"

"She's just bein' a big baby," Futaba mumbles. "All cuz she doesn't wanna do ballet." She gives a firm pat to Kaoruko's back, one that makes a good thud, and Kaoruko whines again.

"But it's so hard!"

"You'll never improve with that attitude." Futaba turns and begins stretching out on her own. "Enough messin' around, Kaoruko. Sometimes you just gotta suck it up and do it."

"Very well…"

"You keep sayin' that and then complainin' more anyway."

"Fine, I mean it this time." Kaoruko slumps forward onto Futaba's back to help push her down more. Futaba scoffs.

"Are you helpin' me stretch or fallin' asleep?"

"Mmm, both?"

"You're hopeless."

"Maybe. But only when it comes to ballet. In everything else, I'm superior."


"Do you doubt me?" Kaoruko reaches around to pinch her roommate's cheeks. Futaba sputters.

"H-Hey! Kaoruko!"

From beside them, Maya puts a hand to her lips in amusement.

"My, my."

"Why don't you two get a room?" Claudine says.

At that, both Kaoruko and Futaba sit up in unison.

"Oh, please-"

"I don't wanna hear that comin' from you two, of all people."

Claudine huffs and turns away, and Maya says nothing.

At last their instructor arrives and begins explaining today's ballet lesson. She gives a brief overview and history of the style before having everyone get into formation to start the lesson.

Futaba keeps a close eye on her pouting roommate, but Kaoruko finally seems resigned to her fate to go through with this. Futaba's proud of her for that, so she sticks close to her side and gives her an encouraging pat on the back.

The lesson begins, and their instructor coaches them all through exercises to enhance their balance and equilibrium while still remaining poised. Futaba follows along fairly easily, with only a few minor slip-ups here or there, but she fixes them all quickly. It's the same for everyone in the class - save for Maya who is excellent as always - but Karen especially makes a fuss and almost falls over a few times. When that happens, Futaba mutters a comment to her roommate.

"See, Kaoruko? We're all finding this one a little tough. It's not just you."

And she can tell Kaoruko is trying to hide her smirk at Karen's misfortune, but she's doing a poor job of it.

"Oh yes. I suppose you're right."

Futaba grins.

"See? It's not so bad."

"All right. You've made your point, Futaba-han."

Futaba ruffles her hair, and in turn Kaoruko pokes her cheek.

They continue on through the lesson, and Futaba's able to enjoy it and engage much more now in knowing Kaoruko isn't having a terrible time.

They go through a few leaps and twirls, practicing the poise and elegance this style calls for. Futaba keeps an eye on Claudine, Maya, or Hikari, whom all seem to be particularly well-versed in it. But she makes sure to also keep stealing glances at her roommate.

Now that Kaoruko's actually in the middle of the lesson, she's trying surprisingly hard, to the point where she's worked up a sweat. Futaba's glad she's opted to take this seriously after the day of complaining.

The class practices as a whole for about twenty more minutes before they break up into groups and begin going through different parts of the routine to music. Their instructor saunters around the room to observe everyone's progress, and only when she has her back turned does Kaoruko slump onto Futaba with a groan.

"Isn't this enough? I'm tired."

"Not yet." Futaba shrugs her off. "We still got fifteen minutes of class."


"C'mon, I'll do it with you."

So with a sigh, Kaoruko accepts and begins going through the routine together with her. Futaba wears a smile the entire time, and it works like a charm, because eventually Kaoruko can't help but smile back.

"It's not so bad, right?" Futaba grins.

"Japanese dance is still better," Kaoruko says snobbishly. "But yes, I suppose you're not wrong…"

"Just admit you kinda like it."

"I do not!"

"Heh heh." Futaba stretches forward in her dance, extending her arm in a fluent motion. Kaoruko copies her and does the same.

And for a moment, they're in their own little world, and the rest of the class fades away around them. It reminds Futaba of the times when they'd dance together as kids when no one else was looking. Kaoruko would complain back then too, even if it was Japanese dance they were doing. But in the end, she always went through with it, and though she wouldn't always admit it, Futaba knew she had fun.

With a sigh, Futaba closes her eyes as she gives a spin, hearing the squeak of Kaoruko's shoes on the floor as she does the same.

For a moment, the entire studio is just quiet; full of music and a soft, easygoing chatter.

And then a yelp.


Futaba can't finish her turn and open her eyes quickly enough to do anything about it. She can only watch as Kaoruko stumbles over herself and crashes to the floor with a loud thud. Futaba winces at the impact.


Everyone gasps and stops what they're doing to look at the source of the noise. A few of their friends call out.


"What happened?"

"Is she all right?"

"Kaoruko?" Claudine says. "She better not just be faking it again to try and get out of this..."

Futaba grimaces as she crouches down beside her roommate who's lying on her side. While she hates to admit it, she can't deny Claudine's theory might've been correct; Kaoruko could be horribly petty at times, and it wasn't unheard of for her to play tricks.

But Futaba knows that isn't the case this time. Not when she'd actually started having fun with the lessons.

When she turns her over and rests Kaoruko's head in her lap, Futaba feels a knot of dismay twist in her gut.

"O-Oy! Kaoruko?" She can tell right away her friend isn't faking. Kaoruko's face has gone pale in a matter of seconds, and her brow is knit tightly in pain. She's gasping out little whimpers, and Futaba can feel her shaking.

"Kaoruko!" Panicked now, Futaba pulls her a little closer, cradling her face. "What's the matter? Talk to me!"

With a moan, Kaoruko winces and cracks her eyes open a bit.

"My ankle…" she rasps. "I think I twisted it pretty bad… And now my head hurts too…"

A small crowd has gathered around them, but Futaba doesn't really pay them any mind. She just sighs, relieved at least that Kaoruko is still conscious and that it was just a common sort of injury. The sprained ankle might not have been so debilitating on its own, but to fall and hit her head on the hardwood floor like she had is what had made it so much worse. She can see tears clinging to the corners of Kaoruko's eyes, and that's what breaks her. Futaba cradles her head gently, trying not to let her move around too much.

"Kaoruko… just take it easy."

By now their teacher has made her way over and Futaba explains what happened.

"I can take her to the nurse's office," she offers.

"All right," the teacher nods. "Do you need someone to help you?"

"Nah. I've been carrying this girl my whole life."

"All right." Her instructor straightens up again and addresses the rest of the class. "Everyone else, back to practice."

With worried mumbles and sighs, the other girls do as they're told and continue with the lesson. In the meantime, Futaba slowly props Kaoruko up in her lap.

"Easy," she murmurs. "Do you feel sick or anything?"

"Uu… No… but my head is ringing…"

"I'll bet. That was a nasty fall. Here, I gotcha." Futaba slips her other arm beneath her friend's knees and readies herself into a crouch. She tucks Kaoruko close to her, then slowly gets to her feet. Kaoruko whimpers.

"Futaba-han… aren't I too heavy? I've been eating too many sweets lately…"

"You kiddin'?" she laughs. "This is nothin'. I may be short but I'm stronger than you, that's for sure."

"Hmph. I suppose you're not wrong…"

"Again with the double-negatives, huh?"

"Ufufu… ow."

"Easy does it. Just close your eyes."

Futaba makes her way across the room, and everyone clears a path for her. All of their friends look on worriedly, and Nana quickly hurries over to slide open the studio door for them.

"Thanks," Futaba says. "Don't worry, you guys. I'm gonna take good care of her."

"Of course!" Mahiru says.

"Feel better, Kaoruko-chan!" Karen wails.

Kaoruko just blushes, moans, and hides her face in Futaba's shoulder.

"How embarrassing…" she sighs. "To have such a mishap in the middle of class…"

"Hey, it happens to the best of us," Futaba says. "Remember that time Karen turned the wrong way and knocked into Kuroko and she hurt her foot?"

"Yes… And Hoshimi-han also stumbled once if I recall, as did Mahiru-han…"

"And I've had my fair share of falls too. It's just part of being a Stage Girl, really."

"Even so…" Kaoruko tapers off, burying her face once again into her roommate's shoulder. Futaba smiles sympathetically as she continues her way down the hall.

When she reaches the infirmary, she has Kaoruko knock on the door. As the nurse lets them in, Futaba explains what had happened. She carries Kaoruko into the small bathroom and helps her change out of her leotard and tights in exchange for a clean t-shirt and shorts provided by the nurse.

She then guides Kaoruko to one of the beds and helps her lie down, taking a seat in a chair beside her. The nurse gives her an ice pack, which Futaba presses to the back of Kaoruko's head, while the nurse herself tends to her ankle. All the while, Kaoruko covers her face with both arms to hide how embarrassed she is, and Futaba just smiles hopelessly.

The nurse diagnoses a swollen and slightly-sprained ankle and recommends at least three days without dancing, on top of keeping it elevated and iced properly. Futaba is glad to find out Kaoruko doesn't have a concussion either, but she's going to have a headache for the rest of the day for sure.

When she's finished with Kaoruko's treatment, the nurse heads back to her desk to get started on paperwork, leaving the two girls alone for the time being. Only now does Kaoruko finally lower her arms from her face, heaving a massive sigh.

"What a fine mess…"

"You're tellin' me." Futaba reaches out to card her fingers through her friend's bangs. "And you weren't doin' half bad with the ballet, either."

"You really think so?"

"Yeah! You were doin' great, Kaoruko."

"Oh? You flatter me."

"Just shut up and take the compliment, would ya?" Futaba pokes her cheek, and Kaoruko whines.


"You poked me before!"

"That was different."

"You're not makin' any sense, dummy." Futaba pokes her in the side this time, and Kaoruko shrieks.

"Kyaaa! F-Futaba-han! That tickles!"

"I know. That's why I did it."

"Why you-"

"Psst, hey keep your voice down. We're in the nurse's office."

"You're the one who's tickling me!"

They banter back and forth for a few good minutes. Futaba's just relieved Kaoruko isn't moaning in pain anymore and is acting as lively as she normally does. Futaba continues to poke her just to make her giggle.

"F-Futaba-han!" she cries. "No fair! Attacking an injured person!"

"Survival of the fittest!"

"You tyrant!"

Futaba sticks her tongue out at her as Kaoruko makes a weak attempt to swat her away. It's then when another set of voices sounds from behind her.

"My, and here we'd been worried."

"Guess everything's all right then."

"Oh, Tendo, Kuroko." Futaba sits back and withdraws her hands from her tickle victim as Kaoruko wheezes to catch her breath.

"Why… you…"

"Easy, girl."

"I'm not a dog!"

As they start squabbling again, both Maya and Claudine smile.

"So then, I take it's nothing serious?" Maya wonders.

"Nah, thank goodness," Futaba says. "She'll just have to skip dance for the next few days."

"I see. That is rather unfortunate, but this kind of injury is quite common in our department."

"Everyone is worried," Claudine says. "We just came by to see how you were. We should head back to tell them you're all right. But first…" She trails off for a moment and glances down at the floor. Futaba tilts her head.

"What's up, Kuro?"

Claudine flashes a guilty-looking glance up at her, then to the occupant of the bed.

"Kaoruko… I owe you an apology for thinking you were just faking it. I'm sorry."

"Oh, think nothing of it," Kaoruko says with a dismissive flick of her hand. "You were right, Kuro-han. All those times of crying wolf got me what I deserved in the end, I suppose. Now as punishment I'll have to do the ballet lesson all over again next week, and by myself…" She heaves a huge dramatic sigh and grimaces. "I'm not looking forward to it…"

"Aw c'mon," Futaba grins, ruffling her hair again gently. "It won't be that bad. I'll do it with you. I don't mind."

"Neither do I," Claudine agrees. "I could always do with some more practice."

"Oh," Maya smiles. "Then I suppose I'll do it as well."

Claudine crosses her arms and flashes her a glare. Futaba rolls her eyes.

"You two never quit it, do you?"

"You're one to talk," Claudine retorts with a smirk. "In any case, we'll head back to tell the others the good news."

"Yes," Maya agrees. "Aijou-san was so distracted by the ordeal she still probably isn't paying attention as we speak. We must ease their minds."


Both Maya and Claudine dip their heads before taking their leave. Futaba waves them off and turns back to her roommate.

"See? Even if you have to make up the ballet lesson, you don't have to do it alone, Kaoruko."

"I suppose." She shifts a little, adjusting how her head is positioned on the ice pack. She heaves another sigh. "Futaba-han…"

"What's up?"

Kaoruko looks away and puffs her cheeks up a little.

"I need to apologize as well."

"Huh? For what?"

"For always crying wolf," she admits. "And for causing you trouble like this…" Her voice wavers at the end, and Futaba nearly chokes when she sees a tear slip down her cheek.

"O-Oy, Kaoruko-?" She nervously reaches out to rest one hand on her shoulder and the other over the hand on her stomach. Kaoruko sniffles a little and shakes her head.

"I'm sorry… and now to be showing such a disgraceful side of myself like this…"

Futaba's eyes and voice alike soften.

"Please. As if you haven't cried in front of me a million times before." But even if she's used to it, it doesn't mean she likes it. Tentatively, she rubs her hand in slow, comforting circles over Kaoruko's stomach, and brings her other hand to the side of her face. Futaba cradles her cheek, gingerly brushing her thumb across her skin to wipe away her tears.

"Geez…" she mutters. "You always were such a crybaby, Kaoruko… You know that… when you start cryin', then I- crap…" Futaba has to withdraw one hand in order to wipe away her own tears. Kaoruko sniffles again and chuckles softly, resting her hand over Futaba's.

"Heh… And you're calling me a crybaby..."

"Shut up…"

They both lightly paw and swipe at one another for a few moments until the sniffles turn into giggles. And eventually, Kaoruko lets out a catlike yawn. Futaba ruffles her hair again.

"I bet you're tired, huh? You had a hectic day."

"I'll say," she mutters. "I wouldn't mind a nap now that classes are over. And besides, it's proven that sleeping heals the body, no?"

"All right, you don't gotta make excuses." Futaba flicks her nose. "Just get some rest."

"Mm…" Kaoruko closes her eyes, but as Futaba makes a move to ease away, she feels soft fingers wrap around her hand.

"Stay with me, Futaba-han?"

She sighs.

"Guess I got no choice, huh? I can't just leave you alone when you're like this." Futaba slides her chair closer to the bed and gets comfortable. "I'll stay. Rest up now, cuz you're gonna have a lot to catch up on after missing three days of dance."

"Ugh, don't remind me…"

Futaba laughs softly before leaning down over her. She leaves a small kiss on Kaoruko's forehead, then one on her nose, and finally one on her lips. Kaoruko peeks one eye open.

"My, my, Futaba-han~," she whispers. "In the nurse's office? How risqué~"

"Oh, shut it and go to sleep."

Kaoruko giggles mischievously before closing her eyes once more, though her hand squeezes Futaba's with tenderness.

Futaba sits beside her, lacing their fingers together and returning the contact. She brings Kaoruko's hand to her lips and kisses her knuckles before bringing it back down to the bed.

Without really thinking about it, she begins to hum a random tune, and slowly traces circles over Kaoruko's stomach. Within minutes, she can tell by her breathing that she's fallen asleep.

Futaba decides to close her eyes and relax a bit as well.

And all the while she never lets go of the hand in hers.



A/N: Just a very basic, generic hurt/comfort/fluff fic, but yeah I never really did this for Futaba and Kaoruko before, so here it is! Kaoruko was actually the first character who really spoke to me in Starlight, so I feel I should write her and express my love of her more. Even if she is a handful~

Sprinkled in some Gang Stars as well hehe

Please leave comments or kudos!!