A Loner's Idol Family

Changes

It has been a week since my outing with Noire, and it's been almost half a month since Nep Jr. and the others stayed home.

Yet…

It hasn't been that long, hasn't it?

In fact… It feels… almost natural. Like…

I've been doing this for most of my life.

Not that I'm complaining. I really am enjoying my life in this crowded abode.

Blanc reading a book on the couch…

Vert playing video games next to her…

Chika staying close to Mina and Mina trying to deal with her…

Rom and Ram doing whatever they do, from games to… games…

Uni and Nepgear either on the their phones or just talking next to each other.

They're really close. In fact, I rarely seem them apart. Huh… I think I might've lost my sibling position to Uni…

On the other hand, I'm pretty sure that Nepgear whispering into Uni's ears, which in turn causes her to blush a bright red and then ending with Uni yelling… something at her. Seriously, whenever this happens, Uni speaks so fast that I can't even comprehend what she's saying. Also, whenever Uni reacts, Nep Jr. giggles. And I don't mean giggle, as in laughing, but a different giggle. I have no idea what that giggle is, but it's strange. I've never heard Nepgear make that sound, not even around our parents. Well, whenever our entire family is together, anyways.

But that's another thing.

And finally…

Noire.

After our shopping trip, she's worn that hat so happily. However, she's tries to not look at me in the eye. When we do make eye contact, she would stare at me for the longest time with a blank look and then she would glare at me for a second and then turn away.

It's confusing, but at the same time… it hurts.

I never thought that I see would hate me. I don't think I did anything wrong.

Did I?

Also, Noire didn't hug me anymore at night.

Well…

There's a good reason for that.

Sometime between the time we bought the hat and now, the Nishizawas' residence had finished renovating. Funny, it didn't take long. Yet, the Jinguujis' haven't been able to move into their house. Weird. Come to think of it, I never asked Ms. Jinguuji where she's staying. I'll ask later.


On the night they were allowed to move back in, they took the chance immediately.

They packed their bags and were standing at the front door. Mina and Chika were standing at the door, waiting for everyone to say goodbye. Actually, more like good night, since they were just moving next door. But that's beside the point.

Rom and Ram were standing next to their parents. Ram was pouting and repeating the phrase "Boo! This stinks." while Rom was nodding sadly. I guess they really liked this lifestyle. I can't blame them. They spend a long time traveling, barely able to spend time with their parents and one of their older sisters. Also, I guess they also wanted to be with Nep Jr. and Uni.

Vert was wiping her eyes with a napkin while giving Noire some advice that I could not catch. I think it was for the future, as Noire was nodding her head, although she would blush and flinch from time to time. Vert would chuckle from her reactions.

Uni and Nepgear were trying to convince Rom and Ram that they could still play together and be friends. That part was fine. The hard part was to get them to understand that they were moving next door and that they wouldn't have to take "Three million hours" to get here. Quoted by Ram.

I stood by the side. Glaring hard at the ground.

Why wouldn't I?

I finally had something close to a family.

Well, more like three families stuffed into one house.

But we were a family.

And now…

Our house was basically halved now, maybe even more.

"Neptune." I moved aside to see Blanc standing beside me, book open in her hands.

"What?" She flipped a page. After looking at the page and seeing that it was a new chapter, she folded a corner and closed the book. Turning to me, she smiled.

"See you tomorrow." Heh. Of course…

"Thanks," I patted Blanc on the head. A small smile, a sad one, was forming on my mouth. "Blanc." I raised a hand.

"Good night, buddy." Blanc high-fived me.

"Yeah. Good night."


And that's what happened. Because of the Nishizawas' moving, Noire and Uni got their rooms back. Noire's absence of hugging at night and odd behavior wouldn't have bothered me. It was kinda nice not to wake up with someone basically tying you to the bed with her arms, but at the same time… it didn't feel right.

Although, there's something strange happening at night:

Sometimes, when I have to use the bathroom at night, I would hear sounds coming from Nepgear's room and it sounded like Uni was in there. I wouldn't be so concerned about it since Nep Jr.'s room is far enough from my room for me to not hear it in my room.

But… they didn't sound like friendly noises, nor did they sound like arguing noises. They were soft and somewhat… desiring. I have no idea what's going on, nor can I care right now.

But…

With the absence of a Noire and along with the Nishizawas' move. I felt…

Empty.

I felt lonely.

It was like…

I was going back to the way that I used to be.

Speaking of my life…

I forgot to mention one thing: The reason why I haven't done anything was because all my attention was on another problem I have right now…

And that was that college entrance exams were right around the corner.

...Yeah.

Which means…

Over the next few days, I was studying my butt off with Blanc, IF and Compa, leaving the house duties to the other three. Currently, I was coming down to get lunch for the rest of the study group.

"Sorry…" I yawned as Nepgear handed me the tray that held everyone's food. I tried to rub the sleepiness out of my eyes. I hadn't gotten any decent sleep as I tried to learn as much as I could. I heard from the seniors from last year that their exams were tough and since I'm guessing that this year's will be as hard, or even harder. I have to go all out.

"It's okay, Neptune. You just work hard." Thank whoever is divine that I have such an understanding little sister… even though we barely spend time together.

"Yeah…" I turned, the tray in my hands wobbling. "...Time to work." I walked up the stairs, nearly dropping the thing.

As I walked inside my room, I met my fellow soldiers in the battle of college.

IF had bags under her eyes, frowning as she had to give up her phones in order to prepare for college. Yes, plural. Not singular. I'm not going into detail. I'm too tired.

Compa was nodding off, her eyes fluttering and her head bobbing up and down. Blanc had to shake her roughly to wake her up.

Blanc… well, I think she has the worst of it. From what I heard, she had to stay awake keeping her twin sister happy playing video games, along with the body pillow thing she's caught up in. Also, the younger twins. I don't have to say much about them, obviously. Two younger twin sisters who have as much energy as puppies. Human puppies, but puppies nonetheless. She was glaring at her books, her pencil clutched in her hand. That was her third pencil, she broke the other two out of sheer frustration.

"Guys…" Everyone turned, either tired or annoyed. "...Food." There were tired cheers of joy as I nearly dropped the tray onto the table. As I did so, I nearly dropped onto the table.

"Nep-Nep…" I turned my head to Compa because I was too tired to lift my head. The girl let out a huge yawn, covering her mouth. "I think we should stop for now."

"Good idea." IF stood up, closing her books. Blanc and Compa packed up too.

...Compa, you're a genius.

I forced myself up from the table and collapsed onto the bed. Ugh, my head hurts and… why does everything feel so cold?

Meh, I don't care...so tired.

"Bye, Nep."

"Later, Neptune."

"*yawn* Bye bye, Nep-Nep."

"B...ye…"

Sleep…

Never felt so…

Good.


When I opened my eyes, I was lying down on a grassy hill while facing the sunset. Although I couldn't see her, I knew that a girl was lying next to me. I don't know how, but I felt that as long as I was with her, my life was complete.

Maybe… that's what I need.

When I tried to look at her, I felt a small tremor, causing me to sit up. Now all I could see her body.

She wore a dress that was a cross between a maid's and a princess's dress that had a lot of gold trims and frills on it. There was a cutout that revealed the upper portion of her chest and her bare shoulders. It was alluring, but I don't want to look for too long or else she'd catch me… Anyways, she also wore detached sleeves that were actually long fingerless gloves that had large gems on the back of her hands. Finally, she wore extra long boots that stopped at her thighs…

Geh! Another bad spot to look at! Look at something else! Look at something else! Look at something else before sh-!

*giggle*

Notices... Damn it.

She sat up leaned close to me. Yet, for some reason, I couldn't see her face. The damn sun was making a shadow over face… Wait. It's a sunset! Can that even happen!?

"You terrible at taking peeks." She poked in cheek as she said this. Ah, stop it. Stop it….

Sthap!

GAH! I bit my tongue!

As I tried to soothe the pain, I heard her giggle once more.

"Hey, it's not that funny." She shook her head, her long black hair cascading down her shoulders.

"It's not that, it's just… being around you makes me so happy." ...My heart. I think it just stopped.

"Heh… me too." I saw her smile, but I couldn't see her eyes. Dammit, I wanna see them!

"Anyways, aren't you going to be sad?" Huh? "I mean, I'm going away for a long time." Oh… right.

"Yeah… it's going to be a bit lonely without you." She put a sad smile.
"Don't be so sad, the others are still going to be here." I sighed.

"Yeah…" I felt her head on my shoulder and I slowly turned towards her. I couldn't see her eyes, her smile, everything.

They were red. A blood red, but still attracting either way. They look… exactly like…

Come to think of it…

That dress…

I've seen it before, haven't I? ...No, it can't be her.

Suddenly, I felt pressure on my hand and warmth wrap around it. Oh, she's holding my hand…

I look at her face one more time, this time taking in her features as much as I can before she had to leave.

...It… It is her.

Her eyes were beginning to water and her smile turned into a frown.

"Good-bye…" What? But I'm still here! What are you… WHOA!

I looked around as the sunset, the hill, even her, faded into white, leaving me behind. As she disappeared, I reached out for her, attempting to keep her with me and holding her tight. However, my arms passed through and I fell. When I landed onto the ground, everything was gone.

"Why…?" I got on my knees and looked around. The whiteness that took everything was gone, leaving me in an empty black void.

"It's not fair…" It's not right. "I didn't… get to say goodbye…" Nor, did I get to say her name once, and when I finally realized who she was too.

As I sat there, whatever I saw on began to shake. I got to my feet, and the tremors got worse. But then, they suddenly stopped.

That was… weird. Hey… does it feel like something's pulling me? But, there's nothing except for… Oh.

I looked do- OH MY GOD!

The darkness had begun to ripple were my feet were, and slowly drag me in. I didn't even notice for a second and my knees were already underneath.

"Gotta struggle!" Fight it! Fight it! Fight it! FI- It's not working. In fact, the harder I struggled the faster I sunk. How do I know this? Let's see here, I struggled for about a couple seconds and now I'm elbow deep.

Great.

Wait…

WHAT IS THAT!?

The ripples from around me rose into the air and floated above me. Oh, no. I hope they don't do what I think they''re do- Oh no they're doing it!

The risen ripples collapsed over me, wrapping over me. Only parts of my eyes and my head were visible now.

"No! NO!"

I haven't said goodbye yet! I haven't even seen her leave!

Just let me see her!

Please!

My internal pleas were meaningless as I dragged deeper and deeper under the black void.

No…

I didn't even…

Say her name…

To her at all…


"Noire…"

"Huh? Neptune, what's wrong?"

...What? My eyes closed, but I could feel something around my hand.

I opened my eyes to see my ceiling again. Phew, never thought I would be glad to see that again. Wait, why is it the afternoon and not morning? I sat up, only to feel something cold and wet fall off my bed and onto my blanket. Huh, is that a wet towel?

I touched my forehead. Yep, it's wet.

"What happened?" Noire looked over me concerned.

"This morning, Uni came to check up on you since you didn't come down for breakfast and when she found you lying facedown on with a high fever." Oh. That happened.

"What about school?"

"Nepgear called in sick for you." Ah, good ol- not old- Nep Jr. "While you were resting, the three of us took turns taking care of you. Also, Mina came by with some rice porridge

"Thanks." Noire nodded… Uh… Why is she not moving? Come to think of it, my hand is oddly warmer than the rest of my body. Considering that I just had or am still having- gimme a sec… Nope I'm better- a fever, I'm pretty sure that my hand shouldn't be warm at al…

Why is Noire holding my hand?

"Oh, are you talking about this?" Noire released her grip and used the hand that held mine to cup her cheek, her face dusted red.

Oh no. Did I just give her my fever? I hope not.

"While you were asleep, you began to talk in your sleep…" Noire looked away. "And then you grabbed my hand and wouldn't let go." Oh… that's embarrassing. "So…" Hmm? "Why did you call out my name?" Although it was hard to see, I could see that Noire was biting her lip while she fidgeting.

Uh…

"Neptune?"

"NEPU!" Gah! I grabbed my chest as Noire stepped back surprised. "Oh… sorry." Heart… beating so fast. I don't even… know why.

"A-Are you okay?"

"Yeah…" You could say that.

I gotta distract her.

Distract her…

Distract her…

Dis-

*growl*

I'm hungry… Perfect!

"Noire…" The girl looked at me. "You said Aunty Mina brought some rice porridge, right?" She nodded. "Could you bring me some?"

Noire snapped out of her surprise.

"Yeah, of course! I'll go warm some up for you." She turned and left the room, a look of relief on her face. Wait… now that I think of it… wasn't she avoiding me?

Yeah, she was, but now she's taking care of me. I would be confused, if not for the fact that I was sick.

Huh, what's wrong with her? I don't get people sometimes.


Noire came back with a big hearty bowl of the soup, the steaming rising out of the bowl and into the air. Uni came alongside her with the small tray that you could put on beds. Upon helping me set up the table-tray, Noire sat down on the chair next to my bed- which I didn't even know that was there- while Uni politely let herself leave.

"Thanks for the food!" I grabbed the spoon beside the bowl and dipped it in. Pulling out the spoon from the mush, I put the spoon out of my mouth and… HOT! HOT!

"Ah! Ah! AH-!" I closed my mouth and tearfully swallowed the mouthful. Argh! Now I remember why you blow on soups! As I recovered from my stupidity, I could hear Noire muffling laughter.

"...Wh-What?" Was all I could muster after swallowing. I narrowed my eyes as Noire waved her hand.

"I'm… I'm sorry. It's just that was funny." She wiped away a small tear from her eyes.

*sigh*

"Yeah, yeah…" I attempted to blow on my spoon before taking another mouthful. Agh! Still too hot.

"Here, let me help." Noire took a deep breath and blew at the bowl with one long breath.

Uh…

"...Thanks." That was… a thing.

I looked at the bowl and there was less steam coming out of the bowl now… Okay, how'd she do that?

"How'd you do that?" Noire puffed out her chest and thumped it with her fist, a smirk on her face.

"You get a lot of practice from breathing exercises from singing… that and also from ways to stop yourself from being nervous."

"Oh yeah, that idol stuff." I guess that makes sense. Noire looked around, as if she was thinking about something.

"Speaking of idols…" Noire seemed nervous now and began to do some deep breathing. Well, looks like that practice is paying off… for what reason is she nervous? Now this is strange.

Noire pressed her index fingers together and attempted to not make eye contact by looking side to side.

"What do you think of their dances?" Dance? I guess she's asking seriously. I better answer her seriously then.

"Well, I believe that a person should be able to dance by expressing their own individuality while staying comfortable with their steps." Noire blinked.

"Oh, then what about your sisters' group?" Pfft, that's easy.

"For Nep Jr., she can do anything. However, she might need to practice from time to time in order to not lose sharpness. For Uni, she shouldn't do any strong hip movements, it doesn't look like something she wants to do anyways. For Rom, she should stay away from anything that's energetic or powerful. It doesn't look good on her. For Ram, the exact opposite. Why do you ask?" Noire stared at me, dumbfounded.

What? What's wrong with-

"AHA!" Whoa! Noire stood up and pointed at me, nearly causing me to drop my food.

"Wh-What?" What does she mean?

"You're the choreographer! The Candidates' choreographer!" ...What!?

"Wh-What are you talking about?" Just gotta play it off and change the top-

"No one would be able to say something so professionally with such detail!" …Crap.

"Well?" Noire crossed her arms and stared at me. "Why? Why did you hide yourself from everyone?"

I stared at the bowl, the soup starting to get cold.

Why did I hide myself?

"That's simple."

"Huh?"

"Why would someone like me, a person shadowed by his parents and his sister, hide his face from the world?" I moved my bowl to side and sat dropped my legs over the side of the bed. I looked at Noire, narrowing my eyes at her. "My family is always away from the house for months at a time- years even!" I stood up and spread out my arms. "Why would I want to leave my home and abandon everything for a long time!" I put my hands on my sides, leaning closer to her. "And I don't want to abandon my family!" Noire stepped back, surprised.

"F-Family!?" I nodded at her.

"Yeah, my dream. I want to have a family and not leave them for years at a time, unlike certain people!" Noire stared at me, unsure of what to say. "There's only one problem…"

"Problem?" I turned away, glaring at the wall.

"I'm a loner. I don't talk to people. It's impossible to get a girlfriend more or less a family." I clenched my fist, refusing to turn to look at Noire.

It's the truth.

"What about IF, Blanc or Compa?"

"Oh please. Those three are practically sisters to me. I mean, how would it feel to marry your sister?" Silence. "Yeah, exactly."

I accept my life.

I am a loner.

I always will be.

There's nothing I can do about it.

"Well, if you can't get a girlfriend…" I heard Noire walk up to me, wrapping around her arms around me.

What is she doing?

"I can fill the part, I mean… It's not like I have to or anything." What? There's no way this possibly be happening.

"No. That was a lie. I don't have to. I want to!" She tightened her hug around me, pressing her face against the back of my neck.

"Wh-Where's this coming from?" Noire shook her head.

"I don't know. When we first met, I didn't think I would ever like you, with the shower accident and all that, but somehow… over the short time we spent together… I just… can't help but fear that someone might take you away…" I could feel my neck get wet from her tears as she sniffled behind me.

This…

"When I kept my distance, I had already known that you were the choreographer and I didn't like the fact that you hid like a coward. But now I know... and I'm sorry."

That's not a problem anymore, but this…

This isn't a dream is it?

I reached to my cheek and pin-

OW! Not a dream. Not a dream. Definitely not a dream.

So that means…

"Noire… do you really mean it?"

"YES!" Uh… No way...

I…

I…

I don't…

My brain can't even process what happening right now…

Someone likes me?

"So… you... like me?" I turned to look at Noire, she had stopped moving after I had spoken.

"No, you idiot." What…

"But you said-"

"I didn't mean 'like'." What? Then what does she mea- "I meant more than 'like'." Oh.

Oh.

OH.

"That means…"

"Are you listening?' Noire began to giggle nervously. "I… love you."

So… that's it then. I'm loved. I'm... loved...

That's... unreal...

"Wha-?" Am I crying? I put a finger up my ch- Yep, definitely crying. Wait, I'm not sad. Why would I cry if I'm so hap- Hold on. I heard that some people actually cry when they're happy. So, this is happening to me?

I guess there's nothing else to say… but this.

"Noire?" I gently held Noire's hands and released her grip. Turning around while holding her hands in mine, I looked the girl before me in the eyes. "Will you be my girlfriend?"

Noire's eyes were still teary, and she let go before one of my hands to wipe away her tears. Although it didn't do too much since they were still spilling from her eyes, but that's beside the point.

All I needed to see was her smile and the joyful gleam in her eyes. Those, beautiful red eyes.

I guess it wasn't just Noire who happened to fall in love over a short time.

"Yeah, I'd love to."

A smile crept on my face.

"Let's take good care of each other."

I don't know when…

But…

I fell in love with Noire too.

And I don't I'll ever regret it, but there's one thing I do know.

I will get used to this. Trust me.



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