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Cooldown Hugs

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Cooldown Hugs

A Love Live! Nijigasaki Academy School Idol Club fanfic

Love Live! © Sunrise and Lantis


Today the school idol club is having their live show, actually the last show with their current third-years. After this show, Karin, Emma, and Kanata are officially entering hiatus to prepare for their university exams. Meanwhile, Mia, being a college graduate, decided to stay on the club longer.

It’s the last show they have as a 13-members group.

Despite the sad overtone, the girls are very excited to have such a big show. The student body is going overboard to support this show, after all. Staging, music, production, decoration, even their costumes are handled by various clubs. In short, they’ll just have to sing and dance on stage without worrying after many things. They even have an MC to fill between performances, to help the members to change and having longer breaks. After all, it will be their most intense concert!

 

“DiverDiva, you’re up!” the student council vice president, who acts as the stage director, commands from her spot behind the main stage.

“Ah, that’s us,” Karin drops her bottled water and walks upon her partner, who’s still chatting happily with her fellow second years, “Ai.”

The blonde drops her conversation and raises her hand, like answering teacher’s question in a class. “Yeah, me! That’s me!”

Karin chuckles at the antics, and holds up her hand in response, “Let’s go, Ai.”

Ai eagerly grasps the senior’s hand, and then walks hand-in-hand to the stage area, all while in the view of the entire Nijigasaki members.

“... I really can’t get accustomed of those two’s touchy interactions,” Ayumu mumbles, her face is slightly red.

“Why? I think those two are lovely!” Setsuna says. Her breathing is rather hard as Lanzhu tilts her head in confusion.

“Gee, those two are really good friends aren’t they?” Kasumi comments from where she’s seated with fellow first years (and Mia). But then she’s welcomed by tremendous sighs from the other girls. “W-what? What did I say?”

“I’ll tell you when you’re older,” Mia says while patting the auburn-haired girl.

“Mou! Mia-ko, you’re younger than me!!”

While the girls are debating about the duo’s usual interactions and teasing the clueless Kasumi, a curious Yuu decides to take matters into her own hand and stealthily follows said duo into the backstage. She (contrary to popular belief) is not THAT clueless after all...

And when she arrives, the twin-tailed girl is treated with the scene.

While waiting for the stage lift to take them up stage, Karin is hugging Ai from behind, with her head on the small of Ai’s shoulder. The blonde, meanwhile, is having a most serene smile on her face, her hands on top of Karin’s hands. Karin then could be seen whispering something to her partner, but it is lost between the hustle of the main stage.

That’s a very heartwarming (and intimate) scene that Yu feels a speck of tear forms on her eyes. Well, mainly intimate, as the twin-tailed girl is almost having a nosebleed at that instance.

Still, her hands move on themselves and she manages to take a picture (or two).

.....

“Hey, Karin.”

“Yeah?”

“Yuuyuu saw us.”

Karin chuckles at that, “Leave her be. And let me savor this moment.”

-xXxXx-

After DiverDiva’s performance, they come back tp the backstage and greeted by the crew bringing them refreshment. Among them, there is Yuu, still doing her job as a helping hand.

Karin, never missing teasing time, pounces on her immediately.

“Yuuu!” prolonging her names almost sensually, she hugs the aspiring songwriter. “Did you take a picture of us back then?”

The combination of a sweaty Karin in that tight DiverDiva costume stilts Yuu as she answers meekly, “A-actually I have several photos...”

Karin only stares at Yuu with her usual, cool smile.

“I’m sorry!! Do you want me to delete them?”

It is Ai who saves Yuu as she pinches Karin’s backside. “Alright, alright, don’t bully poor Yuuyuu.”

Karin leaves the blushing Yuu alone then, but not before throwing a last shade with a sultry wink, “By the way, I don’t mind if you watch, Yuu.”

It takes everything Yuu has to not drown in her nosebleed then and there.

.....

Why DiverDiva is so touchy, you ask? Well, let’s go back to their first show as partners...

After the sub-units were created, before their main show as the school idol club, Yuu decided to host a mini-concert for each of the sub units to make them get accustomed to sing as a group. Nijigasaki used to be a solo-focused group, you see, so their group contents are rare.

And Karin’s horrible luck of draw means DiverDiva is getting the first turn.

Now, as it was a mini concert, there are not many people involved. Mainly some members of idol club with some help from other clubs. So, the backstage area is kind of deserted with only the two of them, sitting and waiting for Yuu as MC to introduce them to the waiting fans.

Ai, being a boundless pit of energy that she is, cannot stay in one place. She’s been jogging around for some minutes already, while Karin is sitting calmly.

“Ai... could you stay still for a second? Seeing you running around is making me restless...”

The blonde ignores her senior and keep walking around, “No way! I can’t control my excitement! If I stay on one place, I will literally explode!!”

“What I say is, don’t waste your energy for the stage.”

“Oh, that’s logical,” Ai claps once in understanding. She then walks to the waiting seat and finally sitting there. Karin offers her bottled water, but she declines. “How can you be so calm, Karin? Oh, I know, it must be from your modeling gigs?”

“Calm...?” Karin chuckles, “I am anything but.”

That honest answer kills any puns Ai brewed in her mind. She looks at her partner more closely and true, the bluenette is kind of... shivering? Ai is then reminded of Karin’s solo debut at a festival way back then, when she ran away because she’s a nervous mess.

“Like I said, performing as a model is way different than an idol singer. In modeling you dont have to sing while dancing. Whose to say that my voice doesn’t break or that my dance steps don’t miss later? It is... difficult.”

“But we’re already performing as solo singers, right? How is it any different, now?”

“It is different. When I’m performing solo, I only have my own performance to concern. But, as a duet... my failures will affect you too, Ai,” Karin lifts her head to stare at Ai, “And I don’t want that. I don’t want to ruin our debut as partners. I don’t want to ruin your performance.”

Ai stares at her partner with wide eyes. Who said that Karin is a cold person? Because... she thought of her friend first and foremost!!

Without thinking, Ai pulls Karin into a hug.

“You’re so kind, Karin...”

Karin is shocked of that physical interaction, but her hands move by themselves and reciprocate the hug nonetheless.

“... Thank you, Ai.”

“No worry! That’s what I’m here for!!”

.....

After that, a hug before performing has become DiverDiva’s ritual of some sort. Everyone in the school idol club knows this already, but no one has the gall to ask them about that. Maybe Emma once (to tease her best friend), but Karin responded coolly at that.

But they were totally innocent, platonic hugs.

“Not like this?!”

It is before DiverDiva’s second performance at the show today, where Yuu who was wondering around backstage is stumbling to the scene.  Again.

Karin and Ai are hugging as per their usual custom, but rather than normal, friendly hug this time... Karin's face is dangerously close to Ai’s. In fact, Yuu is really sure that the senior is kissing her partner platonically-

“Oh, it’s just a kiss on the cheek... but no! What part of this is ‘platonic’? Should I see them like this?!” the poor girl cannot comprehend the scene unfolding before her.

“By the way, Yuuyuu is here.”

And now her heart cannot take it anymore. She jumps like one foot in the air and a surprised yelp is flown from her mouth. Her cover blown, Yuu peeks around from behind the wall, and of course, those two girls are staring back at her with amusement.

She reveals herself and walks slowly upon the (still hugging tightly) duo, her face become hotter each seconds, “Um... yes?”

“Take a picture of us. Consider this a punishment for spying us.”

Yuu’s brain short-circuited at that. She loves to take pictures of cute girls, sure (much to Ayumu’s eternal discontent), and the club’s members are very much her favorite. But, to take a picture of those two... um, flirty and totally not platonic moments? And flaunt it to the club’s chatroom, and heavens forbid, the entire school and maybe the internet? It will cause huge scandals for sure!!

As if she’s reading poor Yuu’s scandalized thought, Ai quips with a teasing smirk, “Come on, it’s fine. I know that you took many pictures of us already.”

“Hue?!”

Oh yeah, her... erm, hobbies were already known by the girls. Still, to be called out like that, it looks like that Yuu is a voyeur or some kind!

“So...?”

“A-Alright, alright, I’ll do it! It is my job to take pictures for event documentation, anyway!” Yuu pulls up her phone as the duo chuckles at her panicked answer. As she’s preparing the camera, a question pops up on her mind, “Uhm, do you two want to... I don't know, take a DiverDiva pose or something?”

“No way. Take a picture of Karin hugging me!” Ai says. "I want to brag!"

“Adhsdfh,” Yuu is heard gurgling, “A-are you sure? Surely this would spark... riots or something if your fans see the two of you like those?”

“Let them riot, I say,” Karin smirks confidently.

“Yeah, let them jealous!” Ai continues.

“O-okay then...” Yuu sighs, “One, two, and...”

Click! Pictures are taken, but those two are not even changing poses. They’re still hugging affectionately, in fact they’re acting even more... flirty than before. Karin openly nuzzles Ai’s blushing cheek, Ai leans her head on Karin’s shoulder... and Karin makes a motion to kiss Ai-

“Stop, stop!! This is too indecent!!”

Suddenly Shioriko appears out of thin air and forcefully separates the overtly flirty duo. Her face is beet red, maybe from all the running she did from the members’ waiting area... or the indecency of the act she stopped. “Nana-san, say something! You’re still the president!”

Nana, or rather, Setsuna’s face is also red and she’s breathing hard. Maybe because she’s tagged to run alongside Shioriko, or-

“Y-yeah, keep those in bedro-” a dry cough, “I mean, keep them between yourselves, please.”

“Careful, Nakagawa, we can hear your thoughts,” Karin quips as Ai guffawed.

Setsuna coughed once again, and then uses her Nana voice, “Uhm. It’s very good to be close with your partner, but I don’t want our fans to have weird perception of our club. Are we clear?”

“Yes...” the duo answer in tandem.

“B-but...” her Setsuna voice is returning, “You two are very cute so I approve wholeheartedly!”

“What are you approving?!” Yuu and Shioriko thought.

“Hehehe, you see that, Karin? The prez herself is approving of our relationship!”

“Indeed. This is a cause of celebration, no?” Karin pounces on her partner again, and now really kisses her... corner of lips.

Yuu and Setsuna are really drowning on their nosebleed now.


- fin -


Omake

Little do they know, behind those overtly flirty interactions, those are actually pure and innocent things, if not platonic. The hugs are their own rituals to prepare for a performance, when they’re both at the very fragile mentally.

“Ai, do you nervous?”

“Nope, not at all! I’m very excited as usual, you know!”

“... I am.”

Here it comes again, the nervous wreck Karin.

Ai smiles warmly at that, “Relax, Karin. I’ll be with you on the stage! Everything will be fine!”

The blonde strokes her partner’s hand that is hugging her waist from behind. It seems to work as the previously shaken hand is calmed somewhat.

“Remember our hard practices, remember our struggles, remember our talks, and you will be fine. We will be fine.”

The junior said that like she’s trying to convince herself too. As if it is possible, Karin hugs Ai tighter. Her back... no, her everything feels warm.

“I’m glad to be your partner, Ai Miyashita.”

Ai could only smile even if tears forming on the edge of her eyes. To be this needed... and dare her to say, loved, is a great honor for her.

“And me too, Karin Asaka.”

“Like, I’m very glad that I could kiss you.”

“Our make up would be ruined, you know.”

.....

Okay, platonic my ass.