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Healing Kisses (ch12)

momoxtoshiro Oct 14th, 2019 134 Never
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  1. EARLY RELEASE FOR MY $30+ PATRONS!
  2.  
  3. Returning to this fic with a P-atreon reward for nadie95! Maya getting a little too overprotective, to the point where Claudine loses her patience... I've written one in this fic before where they have somewhat of a fake argument (for their 'punishments'), but this one is more real.
  4.  
  5. Tiptoes a bit into the mobile game territory, though I don't know the characters there so it isn't much.
  6.  
  7. Disclaimer: I do not own Shoujo Kageki Revue Startlight.
  8.  
  9. -----------
  10.  
  11.                                                         Chapter 12.
  12.  
  13. Just when they'd all thought the peculiar revues had come to an end, Claudine and her friends find themselves back on that secret stage in their battle attire with weapons at their hips.
  14.  
  15. Only, it isn't the giraffe that summons them now, but a strange girl named Elle.
  16.  
  17. At first, Claudine hadn't believed a word of her nonsense about Korosu and "saving a play," not until she'd seen the little shadow demons with her own two eyes. Once the entire group was on board and believed in their new purpose, things had set into motion right away.
  18.  
  19. And part of Claudine was almost a little relieved that they wouldn't have to give up their fights on this stage. She rather enjoyed honing both her acting skills and her fighting skills, so long as none of her friends were actually at risk of harm.
  20.  
  21. Hardly anything was more satisfying to her than the feeling she received upon slaying a Korosu, of knowing she'd rid the stage of just a bit of darkness. She can only imagine that the only thing better than beating the Korosu would be beating Maya. Naturally, that goal still hasn't changed.
  22.  
  23. And lately, she's been fueled to best her more and more, because for whatever reason, Maya had been getting in her way at the revues recently.
  24.  
  25. Rather, Maya called it "helping," but Claudine called it "getting in the way."
  26.  
  27. She always just seems to appear in front of Claudine right as she's about to give the final blow to a Korosu. Just as she raises her sword to bring it down, Maya jumps in and finishes the creature herself. There's always a haughty smile and a brief apology on her part while Claudine pouts. She can't tell if Maya has started doing this for glory, or simply for the sake of pissing her off.
  28.  
  29. Either way, it's working.
  30.  
  31. Whatever play they reenact and save - be it about heroes or thieves, genies or mermaids, vampires or the Mafia - as soon as the Korosu appear and the stage girls begin to fight, Maya is always in Claudine's line of sight. Not because she puts her there, but because Maya barges in.
  32.  
  33. She fights and finishes every Korosu that comes Claudine's way, robbing her of the chance to defeat any of them. While all of her friends get to experience that satisfaction, Claudine is recently the only one left out. And no matter how much she scolds Maya and shoots her disapproving looks, Maya always brushes it off with an infuriatingly charming smile.
  34.  
  35. Claudine's been patient with her until now. And her being patient with Maya is already saying a lot. But even she has her limits.
  36.  
  37. That's why, at the present revue, as she's just about to finish off probably one of the peskiest Korosu she's ever encountered, raising her sword high above her head with a cry of triumph only to have Maya's blade get there first-
  38.  
  39. -Claudine snaps.
  40.  
  41. Presently, as the creature vanishes into thin air, Claudine's sword comes down on nothing but the stage. She snaps her head up and lets all of her pent-up frustration out into a seething glare.
  42.  
  43. "Tendo Maya!"
  44.  
  45. Her shout echoes all around the stage, causing all of the other girls to look up, effectively ruining their celebrations at having beat the monsters.
  46.  
  47. But Claudine doesn't pay them any mind right now. Her eyes are narrowed on Maya, sheathing her sword with grace and elegance. She looks up at Claudine curiously, as if she has no idea why she's so angry.
  48.  
  49. "What is it, Saijou-san? You seem upset."
  50.  
  51. Claudine growls; she's definitely doing this to piss her off. Claudine lifts her sword and points it accusingly at Maya.
  52.  
  53. "Why must you constantly get in my way? I had that Korosu, and you just came in and snatched it from me like you've been doing for weeks now! I haven't managed to kill a single one recently because of you!"
  54.  
  55. Maya regards the sword pointed at her with confusion, tilting her head curiously.
  56.  
  57. "But isn't that good? I thought it would be nice to spare you the trouble."
  58.  
  59. Claudine feels a fresh wave of heat rise through her chest.
  60.  
  61. "It would be nice if you'd let me fight my own battles!" she barks. "You think you're sparing me trouble, but you're only causing me more! What if I'd accidentally struck you instead?"
  62.  
  63. Maya lays her fingers on the tip of Claudine's blade and gently pushes it down.
  64.  
  65. "I know you would never strike me."
  66.  
  67. "Is that a challenge?" But in spite of her words, Claudine slowly lowers her sword and sheaths it. "Honestly, you are so infuriating."
  68.  
  69. Maya takes a step closer to her, casual in her efforts to pacify the situation.
  70.  
  71. "Your concern for my wellbeing is flattering."
  72.  
  73. "It wasn't meant to be," Claudine huffs. "Why can't you just mind your own business?"
  74.  
  75. Maya steps closer and reaches for Claudine's hand. Dipping down into a half-bow, she kisses her knuckles.
  76.  
  77. "But protecting you is my business, Saijou-san."
  78.  
  79. And even their fellow stage girls stiffen and gasp at Maya's grave mistake. From their distance, they're much more capable of reading the scene, of gaging Claudine's near-explosive emotions.
  80.  
  81. And Maya's just lit the match.
  82.  
  83. Just as she'd been beginning to calm down, Claudine is suddenly overcome by a fresh surge of anger. She yanks her hand away from Maya and balls her fingers into fists at her sides.
  84.  
  85. "Excuse me?" she shrieks. "Is that what all this has been about? You think that just because you're better than me that I need protection? I've never been more insulted in all my life, not even by you!" She stamps her boot in a threatening step forward, and shock registers on Maya's face.
  86.  
  87. "Saijou-san-"
  88.  
  89. "No!" she snaps. "I've had it with you constantly patronizing me, Tendo Maya! I'm not helpless! I can fight my own battles! I don't need you to protect me! The best thing you can do for me is to just- stay out of my way!" She whips around and storms off behind the curtain without so much as a glance back.
  90.  
  91. The stage falls quiet, and the other girls don't budge. Maya stands at the center of it all, hand still outstretched, Claudine's name fading from her lips.
  92.  
  93. The curtain falls and the lights go out as the scene reaches its tragic end.
  94.  
  95. The following day, Claudine wakes up irritated. And at first she wonders why she isn't nestled up beside Maya in her girlfriend's bed like usual, until she recalls.
  96.  
  97. "Damn it…"
  98.  
  99. She knows she'd overstepped. She knows she'd let her frustration get the better of her. And she also knows she's too damn prideful to apologize for it all.
  100.  
  101. She's hopeful that she and Maya can simply act like it never happened and get on with their daily lives.
  102.  
  103. But when she walks into the dining hall at breakfast that morning and spots her table of friends, Maya isn't sitting in her usual spot next to Claudine's seat. Rather, she's sitting at the far end, eating quietly.
  104.  
  105. Claudine picks up her tray of food and heads over, trying to act normally.
  106.  
  107. But that's just the issue. For all the flawless acting she's ever done, it's always been onstage. She's never had to act around Maya at school before. She's never had to think about or put effort into her actions and behavior. She was always simply herself around Maya.
  108.  
  109. But now that she has to think about what she's saying and doing, it only serves to stress Claudine out.
  110.  
  111. "Good morning," she says as normally as possible as she sits down at her usual spot, trying to act like the change in seats isn't fazing her. With Maya missing, Kaoruko is directly to Claudine's right, and when she glances over there's a snide snickering grin looking back at her. Claudine narrows her eyes but simply begins eating her food normally.
  112.  
  113. And she can tell everyone else is doing their best to act normally too. Karen is scrambling for random topics of conversation while Junna and Nana overcompensate with feedback, Futaba throws in a few unneeded comments and even Mahiru stutters on about things as if she's trying too hard.
  114.  
  115. All in all, everyone is clearly perturbed about the events of last night. But none more so than Claudine herself.
  116.  
  117. Well, maybe one more so.
  118.  
  119. Claudine can't see Maya very well from her position, but she can hear the forced smile in her voice whenever she's prompted to speak.
  120.  
  121. Claudine loses her appetite after only a few bites of her food. She feels like she's kicked a puppy and is far too guilty to function.
  122.  
  123. Breakfast drags on for what seems like hours until the warning bell sounds. Claudine tries to catch a glimpse of Maya as people begin standing and cleaning up. But when Maya actually looks up and meets her gaze, Claudine is too flustered and quickly looks away.
  124.  
  125. Damn it! She's going to interpret that all wrong!
  126.  
  127. And so rather than pausing a moment to explain herself and clear up any potential misunderstandings, Claudine instead chooses to hurry off without giving a proper explanation.
  128.  
  129. Brilliant.
  130.  
  131. All throughout their lecture classes - where they are so (in)conveniently seated next to one another thanks to their alphabetical last names - the two of them try with painfully awkward desperation to 'act' normally. They give each other hollow greetings and guilty looks all day long, so much so that their guise to act normally is only giving off the most abnormal vibes Seishou Academy has ever experienced.
  132.  
  133. Everyone is on-edge and nervous when they walk into a room where Claudine and Maya are. Their friends get so bothered by it they know it can't go on like this, lest the entire school implode under the immense pressure. So when the seven of them put their heads together, they devise a plan.
  134.  
  135. "It's simple," Junna mutters to the other six out in the hallway between classes. "We'll each tell them the studio is being cleaned today so they won't think the other person will show up there. Then we'll go to each of them asking them to drop something off there around the same time."
  136.  
  137. "It should work!" Nana says. "The two of them always go there after classes to practice, but with things as they are now, it's obvious neither of them will want to go today."
  138.  
  139. "But," Futaba cuts in. "With how desperate they both are to impress authority around here and get brownie points for being top student-"
  140.  
  141. "They simply wouldn't be able to refuse a request they believe to be coming from a teacher," Kaoruko finishes. "My, what a devious plan."
  142.  
  143. "I-It's not devious," Mahiru mumbles. "We're just trying to help them reconcile."
  144.  
  145. "She's right!" Karen blurts out. "If it's for their own good, it's all right to lie a little bit, right?"
  146.  
  147. "It's for the greater good," Hikari agrees.
  148.  
  149. And so they finalize their plan and prepare for the remainder of the day.
  150.  
  151. The rest of their morning classes are just as awkward as the first, and lunch is just as awkward as breakfast. But by the afternoon, Claudine and Maya have been putting on their act so thickly it's almost suffocating.
  152.  
  153. Their final class today was dance, and the instructor had kept everyone strictly in their usual pairs. Meaning Claudine and Maya had gone through every intimate partner stretch and every dance number together. But instead of the usual flirty quips, there'd been nothing but silence between them.
  154.  
  155. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief once the final bell rings, and anyone not directly involved hurries out the doors.
  156.  
  157. Claudine walks stiffly into the locker room and brings her uniform into the restroom to change so she won't have to disrobe in front of Maya. Karen, who had volunteered to speak to her, quickly tip-toes in after to meet Claudine at the sinks.
  158.  
  159. "Kuro-chan!"
  160.  
  161. Claudine looks up from washing her hands.
  162.  
  163. "Karen?"
  164.  
  165. "I'm so glad I caught you! Our instructor wanted to know if you could, uh, deliver something to the studio!"
  166.  
  167. Claudine looks down.
  168.  
  169. "I hadn't planned on going there today. I'm not feeling up for practicing…"
  170.  
  171. "D-Don't worry!" Karen jumps in. "It's being cleaned today so no one is gonna be there using it anyway!"
  172.  
  173. When Claudine hears there's no risk of accidentally bumping into Maya - even though the entire plan is that she'll accidentally bump into Maya - she lifts her head once again.
  174.  
  175. "All right then. If it will help out our instructor."
  176.  
  177. "Perfect!" Karen claps.
  178.  
  179. They walk back out into the locker room together, where Karen hands her a small box containing a random stage costume Nana had dug up earlier in the day. Claudine bids her farewell and hurries off down the hall. Across the room, Junna is giving Maya a similar speech.
  180.  
  181. "The room's being cleaned today," she lies. "No one's gonna be practicing there, so you can just swing by, drop off the box, and be on your way."
  182.  
  183. Maya also seems relieved at the notion that she won't accidentally bump into Claudine there.
  184.  
  185. "Very well."
  186.  
  187. Junna hands her another random box and sends her on her way. Once she's gone, the others share worried and hopeful looks.
  188.  
  189. "Good job, girls," Nana praises them. "The timing was perfect."
  190.  
  191. "Saijou-han will arrive first," Kaoruko predicts. "And Tendo-han will be walking in just as she's walking out."
  192.  
  193. "And the studio really is being cleaned today," Junna puts in. "So we weren't really lying in that regard."
  194.  
  195. "So hopefully-" Futaba mutters. "Being alone in a quiet room together will make those two idiots talk to each other instead of run away…"
  196.  
  197. "Hopefully…" the others agree.
  198.  
  199. Now all they can do is wait and pray.
  200.  
  201. Claudine struts down the hallway with the box in her arms, her nails digging softly into the cardboard. She's felt so horrible all day, like there's something tight and prickly twisting around her insides. She's almost glad the studio is being cleaned today, because it takes away the guilt she would've felt from skipping out on her extra practices. She's already feeling enough guilt about other things as it is.
  202.  
  203. She quickens her pace when she nears the empty studio, where the floors are still slick after having been wet-mopped. She carefully makes her way to the storage room on the far side of the studio and drops off the box as instructed. As she stands back up, she heaves a sigh.
  204.  
  205. "Now then, I'll eat and shower early and just go to bed…" She's already got the rest of her evening planned out, and seeing Maya isn't a part of it.
  206.  
  207. So naturally, when she turns around to see Maya entering the studio, Claudine jolts in surprise. Consequently, her shoe ends up slipping on a wet section of the waxed floor, and she loses her balance. With a yelp, she falls back against the wall, banging her head with a fine sound before sliding down onto the floor to clutch at the back of her head.
  208.  
  209. Equally startled, Maya drops the box she'd been asked to deliver and rushes forward.
  210.  
  211. "Claudine!"
  212.  
  213. But Claudine winces and holds up a hand to stop her.
  214.  
  215. "Hold it!" she mutters through grit teeth. "Do you want to… end up slipping too?" She raises her head slowly, flinching at the throbbing in the back of her skull. But when she eventually meets Maya's gaze, she's sure not to waver. "Besides… there's something I wanted to say to you…"
  216.  
  217. Maya holds still despite how much it pains her not to go to Claudine when she's hurt. She stays still for the moment, as per her request.
  218.  
  219. "Claudine…" She looks down and exhales slowly, fingers gripping the edges of her skirt. "I'm sorry-"
  220.  
  221. "Mechante!" Claudine snaps. "Didn't I tell you I had something to say? Let me finish, will you?" She lowers her hands away from her head so she can look up at her fully now. Her heart flutters like it always does around her, but there's still an unpleasant feeling of guilt squirming around. Claudine feels a sting behind her eyes and quickly lowers her head again before she can start crying.
  222.  
  223. "I'm the one who's sorry... I shouldn't have lost my temper like that." She fiddles her fingers together in her lap, now too nervous to look up. "As you said… you were only looking out for me. There was no reason for me to get so angry. I'm sorry."
  224.  
  225. There's a ringing in the back of her head and a pounding in her chest, and everything is so noisy she doesn't even hear Maya's footsteps as she approaches. Claudine squeezes her eyes shut and bows her head further, willing the tears away as much as she can.
  226.  
  227. But then there are arms around her shoulders, hugging her gently.
  228.  
  229. Maya crouches before her and pulls Claudine up close to her chest, making sure to rest a hand over the pounding pain in the back of her better half's head. Claudine sniffles, but she refuses to cry. She refuses.
  230.  
  231. "I'm sorry, too…" Maya whispers against her hair. "I know you can take care of yourself, Claudine. I shouldn't have interfered so much in your battles. I'm sorry I upset you…"
  232.  
  233. Before Claudine can say or do anything back, Maya begins to hiccup against her shoulder. Claudine's heart clenches.
  234.  
  235. "Oh, come now…" she mumbles. "Don't you… start crying on me, Tendo Maya…"
  236.  
  237. "I'm sorry…"
  238.  
  239. "You fool…" Claudine can't hold herself back anymore either. She would've been able to if anything else had happened. But Maya's tears are always the last and final straw for her.
  240.  
  241. Claudine lifts her arms and hugs her in return. And it's only now when her hands can rest across Maya's shaking shoulders, and her fingers grip and pull her in closer, when she realizes just how much she'd missed this. Her smallest and only victory in all of this is that Maya shed the first tear, so now Claudine can let loose with hers.
  242.  
  243. The sounds of soft sobbing echo throughout the studio, the sounds of healing and reconciliation.
  244.  
  245. Maya assuages the pain in Claudine's head, relaxing her until she can sigh happily. In turn, Claudine clings to her, knowing that's what Maya has missed the most these past few days. Maya threads her fingers through Claudine's locks, turning her head to one side so she may kiss the injury. Claudine is grateful for the treatment. She gives her thanks by reach up to cup Maya's cheeks and kissing her on the lips.
  246.  
  247. How either of them had survived a whole day without this, she'll never know.
  248.  
  249. The tears roll to a stop, and both girls clean the other's face gently, trailing soft tiny kisses behind. Maya kisses Claudine's forehead and her temple.
  250.  
  251. "I'll try not to interfere so much in the future."
  252.  
  253. In return, Claudine kisses between her eyes, and then on her cheek.
  254.  
  255. "And I'll try to control my temper."
  256.  
  257. And then another mutual kiss, soft and quiet.
  258.  
  259. At last, they help one another to their feet, and, cautious of the drying floor, they make their way to the exit.
  260.  
  261. "Should I bring you to the nurse?" Maya inquires.
  262.  
  263. Claudine shakes her head. "I'm fine. What you can do is take me to bed."
  264.  
  265. "Oh?"
  266.  
  267. "N-Not like that!" she yelps. "I didn't mean it that way! It just sounded-"
  268.  
  269. "Oh, I have a feeling I knew exactly what you meant," Maya smirks.
  270.  
  271. "Mechante!"
  272.  
  273. Maya laughs as Claudine blushes.
  274.  
  275. And just like that they're back to normal, bickering and bantering as they walk the halls. The other students as well as their group of friends breathe sighs of relief to see that balance has been restored on campus.
  276.  
  277. When Maya and Claudine walk into the dining hall for supper hand-in-hand, their friends clap and smile. They sit beside one another as always and join the conversations normally.
  278.  
  279. And later that evening, after they've showered and changed, the others keep an eye out for teachers in the hallways so Maya may sneak her way to Claudine's room for the night. She knocks softly, and Claudine is ready for her, opening the door and pulling her in swiftly.
  280.  
  281. "My, my," she says. "You wasted no time in getting here."
  282.  
  283. Maya takes her hand and kisses it.
  284.  
  285. "I must make up for the time we so foolishly lost today. How is your injury?"
  286.  
  287. "Good as new. Now, enough of that. I'm exhausted. Being in the mindset that I had to avoid you was more draining than it was worth." As she begins leading Maya to the bed, she feels an arm drape across the small of her back.
  288.  
  289. "I agree," Maya says quietly. "I didn't sleep a wink last night without you. Thinking you were upset with me was anguishing."
  290.  
  291. "Then let me make up for that."
  292.  
  293. Claudine takes her hand and sits on the bed, coaxing her forward with her. Maya falls lightly on top of her, nuzzling her into the pillow until Claudine cracks a giggle. She loops her arms around Maya's back as they settle beneath the blankets, breathing in her scent. Idly, she plays through Maya's hair and rubs all up and down her back for a while. At the same time, Maya peppers kisses all over her face and chest.
  294.  
  295. Even though both had expressed how tired they were, it takes them quite a bit of fooling around before they actually decide to close their eyes. But not before a few final tender words are exchanged.
  296.  
  297. Maya begins, since she feels it was her fault for upsetting Claudine in the first place. She presses a warm kiss to the bridge of her nose before looking down into her eyes.
  298.  
  299. "I'm sorry for fighting your battles."
  300.  
  301. Claudine slides her hands up to the nape of Maya's neck and brings her down until they're nose to nose.
  302.  
  303. "You're forgiven." She kisses each of her cheeks, and then the corner of her mouth before giving her own apology again. "I'm sorry for yelling at you."
  304.  
  305. Maya lays over her and sighs.
  306.  
  307. "You're forgiven."
  308.  
  309. They stay there for a long moment, savoring the matching rise and fall of their chests, the comfortable rhythms of their hearts beating together.
  310.  
  311. Then, there's a mutual shift as they find each other's lips one more time, murmuring into the kiss.
  312.  
  313. "Bonne nuit, Ma Claudine."
  314.  
  315. "Bonne nuit, Ma Maya."
  316.  
  317. And all is right with the world.
  318.  
  319. ----------
  320.  
  321. A/N: I can never have these two stay mad at each other for longer than a day and a night. The world would just stop turning if they didn't bicker-flirt constantly.
  322.  
  323. Hope you all enjoyed!
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