A Love Live! Nijigasaki Academy School Idol Club fanfic
Love Live! © Sunrise and Lantis
Today is White Day in Japan.
Now, as Nijigasaki is an all-girls school, the day is not celebrated as massively as Valentine’s Day, as it is traditionally guys that are giving presents back to their girlfriends or special someone in White Day. There are only girls in Nijigasaki, so no need to celebrate it.
Or so Ai thought.
But, like everything else in Nijigasaki, the White Day celebration in this school is… weird. In retrospect, she should’ve known after studying here for 2 years…
That day, after Basketball Club’s training, the captain Kaede Rukawa handles Ai a box of present. Not only for her though; as she can see her teammates, manager, and even the coach all have the same box.
Regarding Ai's curious stare, Kaede smiles boyishly at her, “White Day present, of course.”
The tradition of White Day in Nijigasaki is as thus: the girls who had the most chocolate at Valentine’s Day (the journalist club had a tally for it somehow) are expected to give their response presents to their friends, be it in club, or classmates. Or even their special someone, who knows.
Kaede Rukawa, the club's captain is the 3rd girl who had the most Valentine’s chocolate this year. So, according to the tradition, she must give White Day presents to her friends at club. Speaking of which, last year Kaede had the most chocolate of all the girls at Nijigasaki, and she treated her teammates to a meal. Even Ai, who was just a newbie back then.
“Thanks, Kaede-cchi!” Ai receives the present with her usual grin.
In response, Kaede lowers her head to Ai’s ear and whispers teasingly.
“Yours is special, dear Ai.”
Ai can only cover her ear in embarrassment, while Kaede already went ahead to talk with the club manager. The blonde's normally not a bashful girl, but the way Kaede acts really grinding on her nerves...
“Ah, Ai-san is here.”
Outside the basketball clubroom, Ai’s usual entourage of Rina and Mia are already there. Usually it’s just Rina, but lately Mia joined the pink-haired kouhai without proper reason. Maybe she’s just jealous of Ai, though.
“Why are you smirking? On second thought, no, don’t answer. Surely it's just a bad pun brewing,” Mia says with a flat face.
“Hahaha! You went ahead and spouted a pun before me! Senpai is proud of you, Mia-cchi,” Ai went ahead and ruffles Mia’s hair.
“No, damn it!” Mia swore as she shoves away the blonde’s hand.
“Are you sure to go ahead of your teammates, Ai-san?” Rina asks, as she could hear the club is still buzzing about with activities.
“Sure! Kaede-cchi is still flirting there as usual anyway,” Ai hefts her bag onto her shoulder. “Let’s go to the school idol clubroom!”
“Nijigasaki, no. Japan is weird…” Mia says after Ai explained the school’s White Day tradition and that Kaede giving everyone on the club White Day present. Of course the blonde doesn't tell her about Kaede's special present.
“It’s fun, though! How it’s on America?”
“Well, as I said before, Valentine’s usually consist of couples going out together, be it for a movie date or dinner, or just hanging out. Presents are not usually involved except maybe flowers. White Day is less eventful.”
“In summary: Japanese’s chocolate companies are influencing the event so much here,” Rina says flatly.
“Exactly. Although you can blame a certain British company at this…”
As the trio talked about this certain chocolate company, they arrive in the school idol clubroom. Inside, they can hear the other girls are already there. Unlike on Valentine’s, Yuu didn't propose a club event on White Day. So, they’re here just to hang out together.
“Good afternoon!!” Ai opens the club door enthusiastically…
And greeted with a literal mountain of a chocolate cake. That thing is huge, like a wedding cake with three tiers of… cake? And everyone is around it, talking excitedly.
“What in the name of Cadbury?!”
“Holy shit, I can feel my blood sugar increasing just by looking at it.”
“Rina-chan board's sure that amount of chocolate is deadly.”
“Ah, they’re finally here!” Yuu motions them to come in.
"Come on, come on, let's start!" Kasumi says excitedly.
As Ai, Rina and Mia are putting their bags on the “bag sofa” at the corner of the room, Yuu explains what happened here.
“So, as Setsuna-chan and Karin-san won the first and second place respectively at Valentine’s chocolate tally this year, they decided to join forces and bought this cake for us as their White Day present!”
“Whoa!! Secchan is the first! Congrats!” Ai runs to the scarlet-faced Setsuna (in Nana form) and attempts to hug her, but the bespectacled girl evaded it nimbly.
“That-that cannot be! It was surely a mistake from the journalist club!” she reasoned.
“No, I don’t think so, Nana-san. After your emergence as the school idol Setsuna Yuuki, your popularity literally exploded,” Shioriko explains with a soft smile, like a mother proud of her daughter. “No wonder you beat the usual popular girls.”
“Yeah, you should be proud, Nana-chan! I still remember me, Ayumu, and Shioriko-chan helped bring back 5 huge bags of chocolates to her house!” Yuu says to Ayumu beside her.
“Hahaha, those were… intense,” her childhood friend laughs dryly at the memories.
“And… the second place is Karin, huh. Why am I not surprised,” says Mia while sneering at the blue-haired senpai.
“W-what do you mean by that?” Karin crosses her arms indignantly.
Emma giggles while nudging her dorm mate, “Because you’re flirting with any girls with pulse, no wonder everyone is enamored of you, Karin-chan.”
“Haaai, like what happened to Nana-chan, me and Emma brought all your chocolates back to the dorm. It was super tiring…” Kanata adds more fuel to the fire that is roasting Karin.
“Kanata, not you too…”
Ignoring the gnawing feeling at her heart, Ai asks to no one in particular.
“Now you mentioned it, our Kaede-cchi is on third. Who else on the list this year?”
“The fourth is… Aijou-senpai,” Shizuku answers meekly. As in, Aijou Hikari, the eternal (and handsome!) drama club president.
“As expected from Shizuko’s favorite senpai, huh!” Kasumi nudges the ribbon-wearing girl, earning herself a pinch on the forearm. “Ow!”
“The fifth is someone from the light band club, uhh… the guitarist if I'm not mistaken,” Shioriko touches her chin. Of course as the student council president she keeps the tally.
“Ah, Akiyama Mio? No wonder...” Ai says. As long as she remembered, the black-haired girl is pretty popular too.
“Lanzhu managed to get the eighth position! Pretty awesome, huh?” the Chinese-born is puffing her chest proudly. Yes, in fact she’s awesome considering she only joined the school at the second term.
Yuu claps once to gain the attention of the girls. She grins excitedly, “Now now, as it’s settled, let’s enjoy the cake! After all, its Setsuna-chan and Karin-san’s heartful White Day present to us all!”
In the end, even with the girls’ ravenous hunger to anything chocolate, the cake is not nearly finished. So, they split the leftovers to all girls to bring home, even as Setsuna and Karin groaned that they don’t even want to see chocolate again.
“You two brought it, so you must finish it!” so Yuu decreed.
After cleaning up, the club members said their goodbye and begun to go home. The usual group of Ai, Karin, Rina, Mia, Emma, and Lanzhu are going home together as the Nijigasaki dorm, Ai's house and Rina's apartment are on the same general area.
“Ugh, I don’t need dinner after that sugary nightmare…” Mia says while patting her relatively flat stomach, as Rina massages her back slowly.
“Aah, too bad. I plan to cook hamburg steak tonight…”
“… Emma, I swear if I become fat, I will smother you to death.”
“You must eat a lot as you’re still in growing phase, Mia-chan!”
“Don't treat me like a kid!”
“Ooh! Hamburg! Meat! Lanzhu will join Karin at exercising to make room in my stomach then!” Lanzhu says happily.
Karin massages her temples. More calories to burn, “Tonight the exercise would be harsher than usual then…”
“Living in dorm with everyone must be fun…” Rina mumbles.
“Rina-chan, you can join us any time, you know,” says Emma.
“O-oh?” Rina's eyes gleam in excitement. She stares at Mia who nods eagerly, and bows, “T-then, I’ll be in your care tonight.”
“Whaaat?! No fair! Ai-san wants to join too!”
“Of course you can, Ai-chan!” Emma continues. Then she looks expectantly at Karin, “It would seem we need more ingredients tonight for extra people, dear.”
The blue-haired sighs, “Yes, yes. Let's shop before we go home.”
Ai stares sharply at the interaction. Dear? What’s with that?
So, the six of them went to the supermarket, bought more of the dinner ingredients (and more snacks, courtesy of Lanzhu) to have an impromptu dinner party at Nijigasaki dorms. Karin successfully bribed the dorm matron and the other occupants with her (admittedly leftover) cake, so they’re free to make nuisance tonight.
After a heavy dinner courtesy of Emma, the girls are dispersing. Lanzhu helps Emma at washing the dishes, Rina is playing at Mia’s room, and Ai is… unsure at what she wants to do. So, she went to the common room’s balcony to gaze at the night sky instead, mulling about her day.
“Ai, here you are.”
As usual, Karin finds the blonde quickly. The blue-haired girl is wearing her casual get-up, with a towel around her neck, which she uses to wipe at her hair. It seems that she just finished bathing.
“Don’t you want to take a bath? At this hour, the bath area is pretty deserted.”
“Nah, I’ll take a bath after going home. Ai-san still has to take Rinarii to her apartment after this.”
As the kouhai’s name is mentioned, Karin’s hand stopped moving. She then walks slowly upon Ai’s place at the rail, to stand there with some distance between them.
“What are you thinking?” Karin starts the conversation.
Ai, still looking at nowhere beyond the balcony, answers reluctantly, “Just... today in general.”
Karin chuckles at that, “You tell me! Before I joined the club, never I had a day as eventful as today. A chocolate cake party that continues into a dinner party? My figure is suffering for sure.”
“Well, you know how it is with 13 rowdy girls in one place,” Ai gestures wildly. “Even so, it is White Day! Of course they’d be hectic! Didn’t you experience the same every year?”
Karin lays her towel on the balcony rail, “Huh... last 2 years I only had Emma and my dorm mates to celebrate humbly.”
Of course Karin celebrated White Day with Emma. Come to think of it, they already knew each other even before joining the club. Maybe even since their first years, as they’re both live in the dorms. That’s why they act so… domestic when there are less people around.
Ai considers herself to be a friend to the blue-haired senpai. A close friend even, considering their grouping and everything that they got through together as partners… but, sometimes the blonde feels that they're not as close.
Now, they're already on the third semester and Karin is going to be graduating this April. Ai still want to get closer to her partner. So, tonight she impulsively decides to act on her selfishness.
“You know, Kaede gave me her White Day present,” the blonde says suddenly.
Karin tilts her head in confusion at hearing the name. Unlike the social butterfly Ai, Karin is not as good at socializing so she doesn't know many people at school.
“The basketball club captain, Kaede Rukawa.”
Recognition dawns on Karin as she exclaims, “Ah! That exotic beauty?”
Of course Karin comments on her captain’s beauty, the natural flirt that she is. Ai continues wryly, “Yeah, her. Today she gave me her personal present.”
“Personal present…” Karin’s eyes widened in realization. “Oh.”
On Nijigasaki’s White Day, a girl’s personal present is meant to be for her special someone, or someone she’s interested romantically. So, for this Kaede to gave it to Ai meant… she’s interested in the blonde.
Just like anyone would, because Ai is just so likable. Her energetic smile, her thoughtfulness, even her dorky sense of humor… Karin loves it all. Of course she won’t admit it to the person herself, though.
“Oh my, she’s so forward! If I’m not wrong, that Aijou Hikari also gave Shizuku her personal present,” Karin chuckles. “Girls these days are so bold.”
Kaede is aiming for my affection, you know! Ai thought, peeved. Even after driving the conversation to this point, this blue-haired dork is still not realizing anything?
“Still, personal present, huh…” Karin leans on the rail as she joins Ai at looking over nowhere over the balcony, “I'm not trying to boast, but ever since I got involved in this White Day 'tradition', I never gave my personal present to anyone.”
That remark made Ai whipped her head to Karin’s general position.
“R-really? Not even to Emma?”
“Why Emma?” Karin raises an eyebrow. “No, not even to her. You know I don’t have that kind of feelings for her.”
Besides, Emma already has someone else in mind, Karin chooses not to add.
Thus Ai remembering their heart-to-heart conversation before the idol club’s Christmas concert last year, where she and Karin bare their heart to one another for the first time. In there, Karin revealed to Ai that she only thought of Emma like a big sister she never had.
Suddenly Ai feels a weight on her chest is gone. Yeah, even though she knows that Karin doesn’t think of Emma like that, that braided senpai somehow weighting her heart every time she talks about it with Karin.
“Then, you still don’t have a person in mind for your personal present?” Ai clutches her head in laughter. “Really, you’re a third year, Karin! This is your last White Day at this school! What are you waiting for?”
Karin laugh dryly at the blonde’s laughter, then sighs heavily.
“Actually, you’re right, Ai. If I don’t follow the tradition at my final year, it would be bad omen, right?”
“Of course! Anyway, just so you know, it must be delivered today on March 14 or it's moot! You only have, what, 6 hours until midnight-” Ai's monologues stopped as she sees that suddenly, somehow, Karin produces a box of present. Where did she store it after all this time? Maybe on her cleavage-
Regarding Ai’s curious stare, the blue-haired girl chuckles. Her face is slightly red, which is surely not because she just got out from the bath.
“You’re a popular girl today, Ai."
Without further explanation, Karin grabs Ai’s hand, and entrust the present to the gawking blonde.
A thousand - no, that is too many - a myriad of thoughts are swirling inside Ai’s blonde head at that moment.
Firstly, it’s just so damn sudden!
Secondly, wait what Karin just gave her personal present?!
Thirdly, wait, does it means Karin is…
The storm of thought is abated when Ai realizes that Karin is waving in front of her face.
“Hello? Hello, Ai?”
“H-huh? Uh!” Ai stammers, while fumbling with the present on her hand. “Ai, I mean, I… uhm, thanks?”
Karin sighs worriedly, “Somehow, your reaction is frightening me…”
“N-no, my bad. I think I was day - or should I say - night dreaming.”
The blue-haired senpai chuckles, “That is not a word.”
Ai brought the present closer to inspect it more clearly. It is a flat-shaped rectangle, encased neatly in an orange and blue – DiverDiva’s color scheme – wrapping paper. She tries to shake it to hear what is inside, but stops at seeing Karin’s impatient face.
“Go on, open it,” the blue-haired says.
So Ai tears open the wraps slowly with much deliberation, unlike how she usually acts. Inside is a velveteen box. As it is wide, it’s surely not a ring or bracelet or anything. At Karin’s silent urge, the blonde opens the box, to reveal a diamond-shaped pendant with royal blue jewel on center.
It is simple yet beautiful.
“Pretty…” Ai’s usually not a tearful one, but she could feel her eyes waters. A little bit.
“Although I feel bad for that Rukawa after knowing that she gave you a present, but it is mine. Only for you,” Karin smiles confidently.
Ai shakes her head, “Nah, knowing Kaede-cchi, she only did that to tease me. Just between you and me, she already has someone outside of school.”
“That cheater... ah, but maybe she just want to appreciate you?”
“Maybe you’re right,” the blonde's eyes never left the necklace. “Is this… you know, expensive?”
“Not really. It’s not real jewelry, as I know you hate those tacky things. And you would be screaming at me if I bought something expensive.”
“Man, you know me so well,” Ai laughs lightly.
Yeah. This is their usual interactions. They could be teasing each other, discussing something serious, or just plain flirting (as Kasumi often teased them), but in the end they act like a pair of good friends. So Ai decides that she doesn’t want to know the meaning of this present...
For now, anyway.
“... could you put this on me?”
Karin is taken aback of this request, but she still answers the same, “Of course.”
The blue haired senpai takes the necklace from Ai as the blonde turns her body away. Karin gingerly reaches into Ai’s neck and very slowly, clasped the necklace. Ai could feel herself not breathing at all; her heartbeat is pounding hard on her skull. Behind her, she could also feel Karin does the same. Although they often held hands on training and on stage, have some friendly hugs here and there, those were not the same as they do now.
Clasping someone’s necklace feels… strangely intimate.
After the moment that feels like an eternity, Karin is done putting the necklace. As they separate, they could feel themselves breathing again. It was… intense.
Ai gingerly touches the base of her clavicle, where the necklace now hangs. The fake jewel on the center is glistening thanks to the light of the common room.
“Yes…” Karin has a very tender smile on her face. “Like I thought, blue is a very good color on you, Ai.”
“T-thank you?” Ai answers gingerly. Usually, for the moment like this, she already has some kind of witty remark to fire back… but now, there is none. She just stood here, basking at her senpai’s tender... and dare she says, affectionate gaze.
Emboldened by her feelings, Ai takes a cautious step towards the senpai. And then two, and then three… until there is no more space separating their bodies. Karin gulps, as Ai flicks a coy smile to hide her own nervousness. The blonde then grasp Karin’s arm and… tiptoeing a little to kiss Karin’s cheek.
“Hehehe. Usually you kiss me without any shame, now it’s my turn,” Ai grins, as her heart pounds so hard she could hardly hear her own voice.
That’s right. Karin used to steal kisses to Ai’s cheek between training and concerts, even posting those moments on the idol club’s group chat to cause chaos. Now the situation is reversed and contrary when Karin did that with her professional calmness, she’s a blushing mess. The blue-haired girl could not say anything, she only touches her blazing cheek gingerly.
Seeing the state her partner is, Ai is tempted to do... more. So, she steps forward once again, but now she brought her arms into Karin’s shoulder. She gazes at Karin’s brilliant blue iris, and when she sees the pure desire on those, the blonde brought her lips closer to her counterpart…
“Karin! Why are you already bathing?! How about our training-”
Only for a certain pink-haired gremlin to disturb.
As if on reflect, Ai pushes Karin back where she collides with the railing rather hard, causing the towel that Karin left hanging there to flutter down from the balcony.
“Aaah?! My towel!”
Seeing the mess before her and the… situation before, Lanzhu feels really bad. Like bad bad, when she still antagonize the club. So, with teary eyes, she bows while saying, “… I’m really sorry.”
But, contrary to what she expected, Karin pats her shoulder while whispering, “It’s okay. In fact, we are saved by your timely interruption.”
Lanzhu lifts her head to a smiling Karin, which then walk to the common room, stating that she would get her fallen towel. After that, Ai grasps her arm while grinning.
“Yeah. Thanks for the assist, Ranran,” the blonde said. Lanzhu couldn’t help but sees a glistening necklace upon her neck, but as she still feels bad, she doesn’t ask anything. “I will bring Rinarii here, we have to go home.”
After that, Lanzhu is left alone on the balcony, confused as hell.
The pink-haired girl jumps in surprise at that soothing voice. Emma, still wearing an apron, appears before her.
“Emma, what… just happened here? Lanzhu thought that I was interfering their... moment, but they instead thanked me?”
The motherly girl puts out a wise smile, “I think, even after all that happened between them, they’re ultimately still not ready to take the next step. In fact, you actually did well by interrupting them.”
“Uh… sure?” Lanzhu stares at her senpai inquiringly. “Lanzhu is actually still confused, but I guess you know Karin better than me. I still have to apologize to them tomorrow, though.”
“That’s good, that's good,” Emma nods while walking back to the kitchen. Then she pauses, and Lanzhu could swear she sees a menacing aura about her. “But still, Lanzhu-chan… for interrupting them, tonight you only get two marshmallows on your hot chocolate!”
She said it with such severity like it’s a harsh punishment.
“Whaaat? No faaaair, Emmmaaaa!!”
- fin –
“Rina, should you go home? It’s already 8 PM.”
“Nope. Ai-san is having her moment right now.”
“What moment... and how do you know?”
“Rina-chan radar says so. Besides, I still want to hang out with you.”
“Whatever. Do you want to stay here for the night?”
“Ai-san could kill you, Mia-chan.”
“Don’t care. Want snuggle.”
“Let's train, Lanzhu! I want to cool my head!”
“W-what? Why now? It's already 9 PM you know!”
“I want to forget that intense moment! And I still want to punish you for interfering!”
“Again, no fairrrr!!”