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Written for #RCReadathon2020 Prompt and Pairing, Please! Challenge. Jill and Shinta are characters from the Playlist series, starting with Songs of Our Breakup and also in Songs to Make You Stay.

Prompt:  Shinta plans Jill’s 30th birthday party



Shinta Mori took birthdays seriously. Specially the landmark ones, like the 30th, which was turn-of-the-decade important.

Since he’d made Manila his home base, he had been hearing it referred to as the advent of the tito-slash-tita stage of life, where one would get excited about purchasing rice cookers and tea. Fascinating, really.

When he turned 30 he already had an interest in household machines and errands, having moved out to his own place early on. And tea, while it was not sake or beer, was always nice.

Anyway, this wasn’t about him. This was another person traversing into an exciting new decade, and this person was important.

This person also nursed a firm dislike of birthday parties.


His palm fell on Jill’s thigh, squeezing. “Do you want to go to Sapporo?”

One eyebrow rose. “Randomly?”

“Not right now.”

“Yeah, cos I’m supposed to be up there in 5 minutes.” Her mouth curved to his favorite smirk. She tilted her head towards Commute Bar’s floor where Nino was testing a beat on his drums.

“I actually can’t go on a trip next month,” Shinta muttered, gaze dropping on the sticky table.

Why did he have filming schedule around this important birthday? It was an extra challenge but he was up to it.

Jill was looking at him with narrowed eyes, which meant she was figuring him out, which meant she would get there soon, with the way she knew him.

He needed a distraction.

He leaned over and captured her lips, her face in both his hands, thumbs tracing her cheekbones. His kisses ran deep, bordering on inappropriate in public despite the dim lights of the bar.

He felt her smile against his moving mouth, palm smacking his chest.

“Fine, be that way.” She broke away from him and she stood up, aiming for her bandmates, fingers through his hair as she went. “I’m going to pretend I don’t know what this is.”


“She hates parties.” Miki’s tone was as flat and no-nonsense as Shinta imagined his expression would be.

“It’s not a party,” he said to his phone. “It’s an intimate congregation.”

“Also hates surprises.”

“I am walking a tightrope, I know.”

Shinta flopped face down on the sofa, his feet dangling from the edge. He raised his head to peek at his door in case Jill was coming in, but he had only imagined the faint jangling of keys.

Birthday planning was fun but he was making this year’s extra stressful for himself, with how much he wanted it to be perfect. Also with how he was involving more people. It was usually a trip or a quiet day of just the two of them, how she preferred it.

But really, one did not turn 30 every year.

“What do you have?” Miki’s voice called him back.

“Sushi, guitars, Tokyo, Trainman, girl squad, me. A list of things she likes.”

“No better place to start.”

Shinta sighed. “Hai.”

He reached for his laptop, open on the side table. He had been searching for inspiration, for a hint of something that would be the perfect not-quite-a-surprise, not-big-enough-to-be-a-party idea.

He had been searching for weeks, thinking about this for months. He’d thought of a lot but nothing was sticking. He swiped his finger on the trackpad and typed some more, going back to his usual website haunts for possible clues.

He was scanning on social media when he saw the announcement. He and Jill had been waiting for this. And for it to fall on this date.

His face stretched into a grin.

“Yatta.” He shifted his cheek to speak to his phone where Miki was holding his end of the call. “I think I got it.”


“Perfect seats.”

Jill released a low whistle as they dropped on the cushioned seats, eyes scanning the arena’s many floors, the rows filling up with fans bearing light sticks and banners. She turned to the stage, to the flashing lights around them, then to his face. He thought her eyes sparkled the most then.

He nodded, proud of himself. He’d fought an intense online battle with fellow warrior fans to secure these tickets. The show was sold out in less than three hours and he was one of the lucky ones.

It was a special birthday gift. He was blessed.

“Not in the VIP, because that means standing in the mosh pit with energetic teenagers for 3 hours and that’s not fun for the lower back,” he said, slipping his fingers through hers. “Not too far that you have to rely on the big screen to see the band’s faces. They charged extra for the faces. This is—”

“Perfect. Just right.”

Jill planted a kiss on his lips and he knew it was meant to be sweet but no wait—his palm cupped her nape and pulled her back to him, making the kiss last. When her palm came between them, it cradled the curve of his neck.

“Happy 30th birthday in 3 more hours,” he whispered.

She wrinkled her nose at ‘30’ but was laughing when she wrapped an arm around his shoulder.

“Thank you. You don’t have a surprise party waiting after this, do you?”

“Only an intimate congregation with your favorite people.”

“There’s cake?”

“Of course. I made everyone promise not to sing the birthday song. They can just whisper or text greetings to you.”


The lights had dimmed, spotlights bursting, dancing, then zooming in on the stage. The crowd rose, a single collective yelling, screaming their hearts out, light sticks waving in the air.

Jill and Shinta stood with everyone else, but her smile was on him.

He lifted their linked hands to nudge her chin. “Tomorrow I can help you look for the best rice cooker.”


When she laughed and kissed him again he knew she meant tonight, this birthday, his plans, the chaos and the music around them, and the two of them together, always. Perfect.




Note: Jill and Shinta were 21 and 24 in SOOB and STMYS lol so this was fun to write and also made my head spin cos a lot would have happened in the years in between. But for sure there were constants–like music and friends and Shinta.

Special thanks to Day6 World Tour 2019: Gravity in Manila and rice cookers.

#RCReadathon2020 Prompt and Pairing, Please! Challenge thread this way for more ficlets of your Romanceclass faves.

No one asked for it but I wrote a Jill-Rhys fic here.

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