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The Top Star Disunification

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If one peered close enough, you could just about see the tendrils of smoke egress off of Maya's head.

Her gaze switched amongst the A4 sized cards that Kaoruko, Yachiyo and Tamao were holding.

The last of the three gave Maya an apologetic smile having had been roped into this 'experiment'.

"This is for science" Kaoruko had insisted.

"How is frying Tendou-san's brain for science?" she had asked.

Kaoruko's devious snicker was all the answer Tamao was going to receive, looking to Claudine for help but the blonde was on board with her significant other's plans.

Messing with Maya was a past time for Claudine at this point.

Which led to the current predicament.

Kaoruko holding up an image of freshly baked, decadent baumkuchen which was neatly sliced into two to display the rings.

Yachiyo with an image of a batch of robust potatoes and the many forms one could prepare them in arranged artistically.

Tamao having a refulgent image of Mahiru in her role as Yukimura Sanada as she was asked to perform again recently.

"Only one of your favourites can be saved in the upcoming apocalypse, choose wisely".

It had been 1 hour since Kaoruko's declaration and Maya was on the brink of combusting, as was the efficacious goal of this exercise.

Claudine had abandoned her magazine, just about concealing her laughter as the brunette's eyes shifted from each image. The level of rumination she was going through was admirable and while they all knew what the answer would be, it didn’t hurt to rattle the woman now and then.

Maya had relinquished her poised posture and was slumping on the kotatsu, focusing intensely whilst muttering under her breath. 

"What's it going to be, Tendou-san?" Yachiyo grinned, giving the image of the potato a shake, "Only one will remain. Which is worth spending the rest of your life with".

"I.." Maya began to speak like she had an answer but no, Kaoruko had decided to up the ante.

"Would it not be your sweet, rich baumkuchen? Soft in the mouth, a pleasure to the senses the moment you cut a firm yet delicate piece. That smell, so buttery and indulgent as the texture dissolves beautifully with every bite. The golden appearance makes you wonder if that is what gold tastes like".

Yachiyo followed her lead, "Or is it the potatoes? Versatile and delicious in any form. Be it crunchy fries or creamy mash which melts the moment you eat it, you can never tire of potatoes, can you? Not when they suit every mood, any mood and are always there for the taking".

Tamao resigned to her fate, "Perhaps it has been Tsuyuzaki-san all along? Her inviting presence, the endlessness of her compassion, that smile which makes the worse of days feel insignificant. How about those arms, an abundance of strength and..ah, Tendou-san!".

Mahiru, Fumi and Shizuha returned home a few moments later from a grocery run to find Maya sprawled on the living room floor, eyes up at the ceiling.

Yachiyo and Kaoruko were in stitches as Claudine had a hold of them by the back of their dresses while Tamao attempted to revive Maya.

"What the actual f-".

"Fumi" Tamao interrupted, a pause in her shaking of Maya.

The blonde relented, a hand up in apology.

Her usage of profanities had been exponential as of late much to her lover's dismay.

That being said, Mahiru and Shizuha shared Fumi's sentiments as the latter took Mahiru's bags so that she could tend to Maya whom appeared unresponsive from their angle.

Shizuha chuckled when she deduced what had occurred when she saw the images lined up on the kotatsu.

It never failed to amuse her how the redoubtable Tendou Maya could be thrown off her game in such a manner.

Then again, one look at Yachiyo reminded her that she too would be in a similar state if she had to choose.

"I take it that this was your doing?".

"Shizuha" Yachiyo said, tone in mock aghast, "What do you take me for?".

"Someone too easily influenced by Kaoruko" Claudine answered.

"Exactly that" Shizuha smiled, more so as Yachiyo winked which was her way of admitting it.

"Maya, are you okay?".

Mahiru was by the woman's side, one hand on her cheek and the other on her shoulder after she sat down next to her.

"Welcome back" Maya smiled, somewhat dreamily whilst peering up at her lover, "A pleasure to the senses, versatile and delicious in any form, and those arms. Yes, a trifecta of perfection".

Mahiru was perplexed at what Maya was saying, her eyes going to Kaoruko and Yachiyo to see that the two were in tears now. 

Even Tamao and Claudine seemed to be stifling their laughter.

"What are you talking about?" Mahiru enquired gently as Maya started squeezing her bicep, "Wait, what is happening!?".

"I choose you, Mahiru".

"What is she, a Pokémon?" Claudine snickered and released Yachiyo, "That one is your problem" she said to Shizuha, "I've got my hands full with this" she motioned to the heiress with her phone out and recording.

"We left for an hour. How did you all end up killing Tendou-san?" Fumi managed, glancing to Tamao for an explanation before the paucity of her sanity ejected itself.

"That is all the time needed for those two to act, Fumi".

That’s fair.

Meanwhile, Mahiru had managed to coax Maya up to a sitting position, rubbing her back and sending a disapproving frown to Kaoruko and Yachiyo.

"You know what happened last time when you did this, Kaoruko-chan".

A similar situation where Maya did indeed short-circuit when she had to choose between saving doves or swans.

"And that was hilarious" the heiress smirked "But this reaction was even better. Three options is the way to go, especially with adding Mahiru-han into the mix".

Mahiru returned her attention to the brunette, "Are you okay?".

The woman looked up, blinked her eyes in rapid succession and fixed her hair as some semblance of her Mahiru infused dream featuring baumkuchen and potatoes dispersed.

"No harm done. Though I do stand by what I said and have always said. You come first".

Touched by her lover's quirky mannerisms, Mahiru smiled, "Well, luckily for you, today we are having potatoes and baumkuchen".

Maya's eyes lit up, causing the others to grin.

"Really?".

"Yup".

"And to complete all three, you get to have Mahiru-han for dessert. Keep it to the bedroom though, that kind of dessert is not for the kitchen, Tendou-han".

"Kaoruko-chan!" Mahiru exclaimed, cheeks aglow though that was the least of her worries when it dawned on Maya as to what Kaoruko was referring to, "Maya!".

Maya had returned to her Mahiru infused dream, featuring baumkuchen and potatoes and promptly fell back onto the floor.

"Why did I let Tamao convince me into moving in with you all" Fumi remarked, exasperation lacing her tone.

"Because you have a thing for good girl turned warlords and can't refuse her requests?".

Fumi glowered and was about to refute Claudine when she took in Tamao trying to help Mahiru pick Maya up again.

That was also fair.