Diary of a Moe-Tsundere
So, I fell in love with K-On! (and Mio <3) so much that I felt like writing a fun little story to express my fanboyism. There will be character development in this one, don't worry. :P But don't treat this like a professional Shakespearean literature piece, 'coz it's not. It's just a fun story expressed from my heart, with possibly lots of grammatical errors and the such.
This fan fic has officially turned badass serious. :P
The fic's now on FF.net:
This one is obviously Mio-centered, with her getting into a relationship and such. But beyond that cliche storyline lies a nice little development in the MioxRitsu friendship. And of course, some of my opinions of the show and the characters are incorporated into the story as well.
Other than that, enjoy. :)
Diary of a Moe-Tsundere
Chapter One - Spark!
May 4th, 2009
The fairy tale didn't receive its happy ending. I never imagined that something this chaotic would happen to the Keion Club.
I never imagined something like this would happen to me.
'C'mon, Mio. Everything's going to be okay,' he would say.
Heh. Like Hell it's gonna be. Nevertheless, that would comfort me anyway.
That's just Flare for you, always with his sugar-coating. But I guess I'm jumping ahead of myself for this entry…
Let's start when it all began, several months ago… when a moth flew too close to the flame.
It was the start of a new year. Ritsu, Yui, Mugi and I were entering our second year of high school, but I was placed in a separate class from the others…
Thank God for Nodoka. Turns out, she was in the same class as me.
And somebody else as well…
"Great. Since I'm in a different class than Yui, I was worried I wouldn't know anyone here. So, for this next year, le-"
"Let's work together!"
Nodoka was a bit freaked out when I jumped at her. Heh, can't blame her.
But, that was when I caught sight of him, staring at me from a nearby table. He quickly turned away when I returned that stare out of curiosity. I wasn't particularly annoyed, as it wasn't an unfriendly - or perverse - stare.
Rather quickly, I turned my attention back to Nodoka, who had also caught sight of that boy. Neither of us knew how significant an impact he would later bring to my life, but I guess that's just how fate works.
"Anyway, we'll be performing four songs at tomorrow's concert, so please come see us."
"Please vote for us!"
Ui and her friend, Jun, came along to visit our Keion Club that day. From Jun's expression, it was obvious that we didn't make the best impression. It would had been extremely downhearted if that person didn't came visiting our club later on…
No, no, not Azusa, though I am glad she came.
No, it was somebody else that came soon after Ui left…
"Sigh, that could've gone better," I commented, slouching by our little tea table immediately after Ui left.
"I thought Ui enjoyed that quite a lot," replied Yui, the sister of said person.
"I was talking about Jun…"
"Don't worry about it!" interjected Ritsu, being cheery about the situation - as always, "We're going to make an even better impression tomorrow at the concert! I know of it."
Her thumbs up and confident smile made me feel better, somehow.
But it was his entrance that really made my day, when he poked his pointed spike-head into our clubroom.
"Erm, is this the Keion Club?"
It was one of those unexpected moments which makes us pinch each other, to assure that we weren't dreaming.
We dashed forward towards the startled boy and welcomed him with open arms… Well, Ritsu did most of the 'open arms,' but I digress.
The boy has a slender torso. Though a bit plump down below, he is somewhat tall. And tanned. Not to mention having quite an appealing face- Ahem, I meant a distinctive one, such that I remembered it when he stepped into the room.
It was that same boy who stared at me in the classroom just now. Not that I was annoyed to see him.
"Welcome to the Keion Club!" Ritsu greeted warmly. "What instruments do you play?"
Compared to the former part of her greeting, her question regarding the boy's choice of instrument was shot out bluntly like a dagger. Ritsu had to make sure we didn't get another 'Yui' in the club. One is enough.
"Erm, I could play the drums a little bit."
Seeing Ritsu's enlightened expression, I figured she ignored the 'a little bit' part of his answer.
Drums, though easy to pick up, are of little interest to musicians, especially teenagers, irregardless of their importance to the band. Most would prefer to pick up the guitar or the bass. Not because either which has more potential in adding variety in music - simply because they are not as 'cool.'
Hence, finding another drummer, especially a guy, was probably the best thing that happened to her… so she thought at the time, anyway.
"So, what do we call you?" Tsumugi broke the silence, seeing how spaced-out Ritsu was.
"Ah, my name's Mosugi. Mosugi Tenjiru," he answered smiling.
"Mosu?" asked Ritsu curiously. "Kindle?"
Mosugi, without the '-gi,' means 'kindle.' A bad pun, really.
"Erm, yeah… it's just Mosugi, really."
I facepalmed, shaking my head. Our guest's nervous smile hinted that this was going to be another failed impression.
"I know! We'll call you Flare!"
"Be more serious, Ritsu!"
I quickly retracted my fist away when I saw him looking my way. Boy, how ironic it was for me to leave such a poor first impression of myself in trying not to make the club look anymore inferior than it seemed.
"Ah, sorry," I quickly remarked, my eyes staring on the floor. "We don't usually behave like this."
"We don't?" asked Yui with her usual absent-minded look.
The boy giggled. The sound ringed familiar to me and Ritsu. It sounded like the same giggle Tsumugi let out when we first tried to get her to join the club.
"Looks like you are a fun bunch."
We stared at each other. Words like those remind me of how close we really are, how innocent the days we spent together have been.
"Yeah, we are," I answered, looking at the boy in the eye for the first time. I couldn't stop looking for a while.
My mind didn't really register Ritsu's hand gestures in front of my eyes for a minute there. Guess that boy's smile was more eye-catching than I thought.
"Erm… pleased to meet you, uh… are we in the same class- I mean, we are in the same class together, so…"
I guess his stuttering was a big clue-in to the others about the real reason the boy might had joined. The boy nicknamed Flare.
"Erm, Akiyama Mio… Nice to meet you, too."
The others were amused by this sight, tempted to tease both of us, yet wanting to leave us to ourselves in the room.
Well, most of them were amused anyway. Ritsu might had been smiling, too, but something grew inside of her that day.
Something not pretty.
Ooooh. Only complaint I have is that the narrator (Mio) seems a little out of character. Then again, that's why it's fan-fiction :heh:
So, yeah, I decided to write the narration in third-person view rather than first-person with Mio, one of the reasons being that it might ruin her character as bloppyblue suggested, and another because it restrained so much more emotions that I could had put into with third-person.
Either way, I'm really glad I did the change, and I hope you enjoy this chapter as much as I enjoyed writing it. 'Coz I really enjoyed it. :)
P.S.: Sorry if it's too melodramatic for you, Mio-haters! :p
Chapter Two - Another Pinch!
"Eh? A boy?" said Azusa, the day after she joined the Keion Club.
"No, you got it wrong!" Mio replied quite defensively. "He's just interested in our band and wishes to visit us from time to time."
"Don't you mean interested in our band member and wishes to visit her from time to time?" teased Yui, giggling by the side.
"What are you talking about, Yui?" Mio pouted, looking away from her friends, her face burning red. "You're being silly, as usual."
At the other end of the tea table, another member of the band had her eyes away from her friends as well, though it was more out of daze rather than embarrassment.
"Ritsu?" called out Tsumugi, noticing her friend spacing out by her side. "Are you alright?"
"Huh?" She looked at Tsumugi with a disoriented face, worrying her friend even more. Finally noticing Tsumugi's anxious look, she quickly adorned her visage with a smile. "Ah, it's nothing! Sorry, I was just… thinking about something."
Though still slightly nervous about Yui's teasing, Mio was able to catch the whole episode of her bestfriend. Though she didn't really understand it at first, she would soon wish that she had paid more attention to her friend that day, when the moth accidentally led the butterfly to the flame.
"No, no! You are still not getting the beat right."
It was late in the afternoon. The Keion Club had just finished another tea party session when Mosugi - or Flare - entered the room, hoping to pick some drumming skills from Rtisu. So it seemed anyway.
"Here, let me show you," commented Ritsu. Though she was obviously not having the best mood that day, she was very patient with the new member of the band, smiling cheerfully as she showed each procedure carefully to Flare.
Just seconds after Ritsu began to perform her demonstration for Flare, however, he immediately got distracted by Mio, looking at her practicing her bass quietly on her own. Noticing his gaze, she returned it to him smiling, of course.
"Hey! Pay, attention, on the drummer!"
"Huh? Oh, sorry!" Flare quickly turned away from a giggling Mio, bowing his head repetitively towards a fuming Ritsu.
"Dammit, why are you really here anyway," she remarked thereafter, throwing one of her drumsticks on the floor.
"Hey, Ritsu!" reprimanded Mio, who, along with the other members, was quite surprised about Ritsu's sudden burst of temper, albeit knowing about her rashness when dealing with annoying matters - or people.
"Ah, sorry!" Ritsu smiled nervously, immediately picking up her drumstick. "I guess I'm just a little tired, that's all. Sorry, Flare."
"No, no," replied Flare shyly, rubbing the back of his head. "Sorry I was such a pain to teach. If you're tired, we could do this another time, when you are free…"
Somehow, that response wasn't as satisfying to Ritsu as she had thought it would be.
"Sorry, I'm gonna… go to the restroom for a while," she remarked with a weak smile, somewhat dropping her drumsticks on the floor again when she tried to place them down gently.
"Hey, Ritsu…" interjected Mio, with a more gentle voice this time, and a concerned look on her face.
"It's alright, Mio, I'm just… going to take a rest…"
After Ritsu left, it was as if sound itself had exited with her. The room remained quiet for a near half-minute. Everyone just rubbed their arms awkwardly, trying to act going about the usual business they attend to in the room.
Except for Mio. She stared into blank space for that half-minute. It was obvious what she should had done, and she only regretted that she hadn't done it a half-minute earlier.
"I'll be right back," she said, swiftly placing her guitar on the floor and briskly stepping out the room without another word.
And after she left, Flare became the one who went into a train of thought.
"I guess I should be going…"
"Flare, wait," halted Tsumugi immediately, stretching out her hand. But it was of no avail. Flare stepped out the room as fast as he reached for the door.
"Sorry for the trouble," he inserted before he left.
Again. Silence. For the third time.
"I don't know why this is happening," commented Azusa out of the blue, "but I know it wasn't Flare's fault."
With their smiles, Yui and Tsumugi mutually nodded.
The school restrooms of Sakura High were kept very clean - not surprisingly, considering their prestige reputation for an educational institute. The toilet seats were dry, the toilet paper aplenty, and the mirrors were sparkling crisp clear, allowing a hair-banded girl to gaze into her reflection properly.
Soon after, the reflection of a second individual grazed the glass, causing Ritsu to descend her eyes into the sink below.
"Ah, hi, Mio. Need to relief yourself, too, huh? Told you not to drink so much punch just now, didn't I?"
Mio tried and look away. She hated the sight. She hated the hypocrisy.
"Next time, I'll just have to beat you to the juice bar-"
"STOP IT, RITSU!"
That same awkward silence filled the room for a few seconds. The only two figures in the restroom remained motionless, as if someone had hit the pause button.
"I… I'm your bestfriend, Ritsu… am I not?"
Tears began to trickle down Mio's warm cheeks for the first time in many years. Tears not out of fear, this time - but out of desperation.
"Why are you always so dishonest towards me… Even if it's an insult, a scolding… I'd rather that you say something… instead of acting so cold towards me…"
Ritsu looked up at the mirror, at that blurred reflection across the glass.
She looked at herself, at the situation both of them were in at that moment, at this whole incident itself.
Then she giggled weakly.
"Sorry, Mio… I guess I was being an idiot again…"
The long-haired brunette looked up at the mirror her bestfriend's frowning face was reflected on.
"You were always… smarter than I am… much more caring and kind…"
"That's why you are an idiot…" replied Mio, an answer somewhat confusing to Ritsu. "You never admit the truth… that I always needed your help…that my so-called virtues were born from your support… that I was always too insecure, too cowardice to help myself…"
"Mio…" mumbled Ritsu weakly. She turned around and looked at her bestfriend's wet cheeks. She walked slowly towards them, raised her hand and brushed her fingers across the wet surface. "Idiot… you are definitely not weak… You've been much stronger than I ever was on several occasions… not because I helped, Mio, but because I didn't."
If Ritsu had more compliments to say, she didn't get to say them when Mio rushed in with her embracing hug.
"Sorry, Ritsu, I'm so sorry…"
That smile reappeared across Ritsu's cheeks again, except this time, it was a genuine, warm-hearted smile of sincerity. A smile that could only be gained from true friendship.
"Idiot, there's nothing to apologize about," she remarked, caressing Mio's back gently, calming her down. "Let's just…"
"…Never fight over a boy again?"
The laugh between the two ended the episode. And like music itself, it reconnected the friendship between people once again.
"Yo!" said the sunshine girl when she returned to the others in the Music Room, with Mio smiling equally brightly behind.
"Hey, you are smiling again, Ritsu!" commented Yui out of the obvious.
"Thank you, Captain!" Ritsu saluted, much to Yui's confusion.
"I'm glad everything worked out, seniors," Azusa added, smiling cheerfully at both Ritsu and Mio.
"Everything…" replied Ritsu, wrapping her arm around Mio with a grin, "…worked out just fine."
"Excuse me, I forgot my-"
His entrance pierced the atmosphere like a diamond sword. Of course, he was more awkward about it than the girls were.
"I'm sorry! I'll come back another-"
"Hey, Flare!" yelled Ritsu quickly before Flare had the chance to pull himself from the room completely. "Don't you want to take back what you forgotten?"
Flare paused behind the door, too embarrassed to get any closer into the room. "I'll… come back and take it another time…"
Ritsu smiled. "I don't think she'll wait that long, Flare."
"Huh?" cried Mio and Flare, both gaining a mix feeling of worry and confusion at that moment.
The boy poked his head a little bit further from behind the door, and saw Ritsu's winning smile asking him to return to the girls.
"Moron! What are you waiting for? It's not nice to keep a girl waiting!"
"Ritsu…" both Mio and Flare murmured in synchronicity.
"Go on, Mio…" Ritsu smiled, placing her hand on Mio's shoulder, "…I'll help you out… this once."
"Ritsu…" whimpered Mio, before she rushed up with a hug again, pouring her heart out on her shoulder.
"Now, now, watch the blouse there…" jabbed Ritsu cheekily.
As the day dragged on, both Mio and Flare had a great time together, only this time, there was not a sense of sorrow in the room, nor jealousy, nor anything that is impure or unpretty.
And of course, Flare gained the privilege of sending Mio home that day. However, of course, before he left with the beauty in his arm, he left a final remark to Ritsu.
"Hey, Ritsu, you know… you're a pretty awesome person."
And with a thumbs-up, she gave her reply with a big grin on her face.
Chapter Three: Downfall!
Everything was perfect for Mio. She remained 'BFFs' with Ritsu, she got herself a boyfriend, and the culture festival is coming.
Life was delightful.
Yes, that's right, readers. It was too delightful.
"You seem happy, Mio," observed Yui, drinking tea with the other members of After School Teatime.
"Huh?" she replied with surprise, jerking her chin away from her palms she had rested on. "Yeah… I'm just glad Ritsu's fever has gone down."
"Heh heh, don't you mean that you're glad the 'love-fever' in your life has gone up?" teased Ritsu from the other side of the table, scanning between Mio and Flare's faces.
"Shut up, Ritsu!" Mio wailed, gaining the same red, embarrassed look as Flare.
Mosugi 'Flare' Tenjiru, who had just joined the band recently, had been practicing playing each of the four main instruments the band uses, so as to stand in for them - if it ever comes to that.
"But seriously," Flare began, after giving a cough, "a guy being in a tea party-like setting… feels a bit weird."
"But this is not a tea party. We're just having a break," Ritsu remarked, shrugging. "Besides, if it's any similar to a tea party, it'd be too silly for my taste, either, anyway."
"Ritsu needs to get more in touch with her feminine side," commented Tsumugi, holding up her teacup with her pinky raised.
"Tch! My personality is just fine the way it is."
Yes, everything for the Keion Club, the After School Teatime was back to normal. Little did anyone expected the path to take such a sharp turn ahead…
"Eh?! A Mio fanclub?" commented Yui, who had, along with the others, learned about the existence of a Mio fanclub - an official one, rather than the panties-tease-parade that Ritsu had tried and conjure together. "Supah-cool!"
"Isn't it?!" added Ritsu, wrapping her arm around a very embarrassed Mio, whose eyes desperately sought help from a slightly annoyed Flare.
"Really?" remarked Flare with a stern look, his hand held around Mio's. "I don't think it's very good to have obsessive fanboys chasing Mio down like she's some kind of trophy."
"Of course you don't think so…" Ritsu couldn't help giggling at the thought of Flare being jealous. "That's why I need you to be Mio's knight and make sure her fans don't get too friendly when I'm not around, alright?"
Her wink somewhat reassured Flare and Mio of her innocence in the partake of this fanclub. Ritsu could get really mischievous in the act of teasing Mio, but they all knew she would never put Mio in harm's way.
"Sigh, guess there's no choice," responded Flare, trying to hide his grin beneath a distressed expression. "I'll just have to kick some ass if any of your fans try anything funny with you. Right, Mio?"
"Yeah, yeah…" replied Mio sarcastically, but with an amused smile across her cheeks. "If there's anyone whom I should be concerned about, it'd be you."
"Ouch. Burned, senpai!" inserted Azusa, who had been entertained by the conversation from the side. Though she was as happy as the rest of the gang about Mio finally being more sociable with her attainment of a boyfriend, she couldn't help feeling a little envious of her status, secretly wishing…
"…That you have a boyfriend, too, right, Azusa?" whispered Ritsu behind Azusa's ear all of the sudden.
"What are you mumbling about, Ritsu?" She looked away shyly. Being envious was one thing, but gaining an actual boyfriend was a responsibility she didn't want to have added to her life. She felt she wouldn't be able to cope with her studies as well as Mio would.
"It's alright, Azusa," assured Tsumugi by her side with a warm smile, "I'm sure someone as cute as you would get a boyfriend in no time, too, if your heart desires for it."
Azusa exchanged a friendly smile with Tsumugi in response. Out of the five, Tsumugi was probably the best person she could had connected with - second to Mio, of course.
As the six innocent people walked down the corridor with warmth and laughter, a sudden comment set the pieces down for the destruction of this carefree fairy tale.
"I think she's just a hypocrite," said a voice from one of the rooms the group passed by, "Akiyama Mio, that is."
Naturally, the gang stopped. They didn't catch every word, but some of the more important ones were quite distinct. Such as 'hypocrite' and 'Mio.'
"She puts up a mature persona, but I think she secretly enjoys winning over those boys with her cuteness. I'll bet she purposely tripped just to flash her panties."
The gang couldn't believe such ugly statements could be made with such innocent words. They listened with disgust, and wanted to get away.
"Mio…" murmured Ritsu by her side. She stared at Mio's emotionless face, just looking down on the ground, as if just waiting for her critic to finish judging her.
Ritsu felt powerless, that she couldn't help her bestfriend… just like that time. A surge of anger rushed through her body, asking every inch of her muscle to charge in and beat the crap out of the bitch… but she knew it would just make matters worse, especially for Mio.
"Sigh, such a shallow person," a more rugged voice remarked, seeming that of a male. "I don't really like her, either. She seems like the most childish of the band."
"Mio, let's just go!" whispered Ritsu loudly, but making sure to keep her voice down. "You don't have to listen to this!"
"She's right, Mio," added Tsumugi, tugging on her friend's arm lightly. "Don't listen to these pointless comments!"
""Yeah… you're right," answered Mio, raising her head to smile weakly at the both of them. "Sorry."
"There's nothing to apologize about, Mio," remarked Ritsu, beginning to walk away from the room while clutching Mio's hand firmly. "You've done nothing wrong."
"What was that class anyway…?" wondered Azusa, looking back to the closed door of the room.
"Class 3-A, Senior class," informed Flare bluntly. Among the gang, Ritsu and Flare naturally had the most distressed expressions of all, with Flare's face even hinting an intent to kill. "Freaking stuck-up people. They feel they have the right to judge anyone they don't like, like gods of their own in this helpless world."
It was a side of Flare they had not seen in the number of weeks they hung out with him. Though the natural response to this should be comfort for Mio, knowing that her boyfriend cared about her so much, it was also the face of a stranger that somewhat frightened her, even the other bolder members of the gang as well.
Meh, I don't really like writing this chapter, especially the last part of it. But the ending to this arc is rewarding enough - both to me, as the writer, and probably to the interested readers as well. Please skip through the last part if you don't like it, and excuse me this once. ^_^
Chapter Four: Lies!
"I don't get it. How could anyone hate Mio…?"
That was the question Hirasawa Yui and the other members of After School Teatime were pondering about as they readied themselves to head for home, grabbing their shoes from their locker.
"Who knows. Some people are just jealous of Mio's popularity, I guess," suggested Ritsu with an irritated tone as she sluggishly put on her sneakers.
"I can't believe there are people out here who are so cold," added Tsumugi while trying her best to focus on tying her shoelaces.
"We just forget that there are people like this in the world sometimes," remarked Azusa, indolently strapping her boots as she gazed at them deeply, as if holding an abstruse thought.
"That's right," Flare finally spoke up. "People can do the worst things for their own advantage."
This time, Mio could confirm that his words didn't bring any comfort to her at all. It was a different feeling. A cold, shivering feeling that crept down her back.
"Erm, are you alright, Flare?" she asked, staring at him along with the other girls.
Seeing that worried look on Mio's face was more than enough to distract Flare from whatever angsty he was going through just then. Immediately, he pulled a nervous smile on his face.
"Ah, sorry, sorry," he said rubbing his head, "I was just rather angry at what those guys said about you."
Mio smiled weakly. It's been a long day. She just wanted to head home. "Let's go," she muttered as she gradually stood up and walked towards the exit door.
Flare followed after, not feeling a sense of comfort, even after seeing her smile.
Just as he was about to catch up with , however, a hand behind halted his movement. It was Ritsu.
"Wait a minute," she ordered sternly. Before even turning his head around, Flare could felt the intensity from her glare.
"What is it, Ritsu?" Flare posed the question with equal somberness, although he had quite a clear image of Ritsu's current thoughts right then.
Both of them exchanged stares in silence for a while, leaving Yui, Tsumugi and Azusa to helplessly look at each other, hoping that someone would gain an idea to ease the tensity.
Then Ritsu sighed, resting her much burdened head by descending it. "Mio might be too shy to say it, but…" she began, raising her head again to look in Flare's eyes, making sure she had his full attention, "…there's something wrong with you, and you're not telling her, isn't it?"
Flare looked away with a tiny smile. His guess was right, and by seeing his expression, Ritsu knew hers was, too.
"Hey, Ritsu, what are you talking about?" inquired Azusa, worried that another conflict would begin amongst the band members.
Ritsu waited for an answer. She waited for the boy to convince her that she was wrong, that Mio would be able to rely on him.
"What do you mean by 'something wrong', Ritsu?" Yui added, sharing the same confusion as Azusa.
But there was no response from the boy, not even a murmur. His eyes merely strayed away from those of Ritsu, trying to escape from answering his past.
Her words stung Flare, impactful enough to make him look back up at her. Even so, the words weren't all that surprising to him, for he had shared the same thought.
"Stop it, Ritsu…" begged Azusa.
"If you really care about her, leave her and let her grow on her own, instead of having her rely on an undependable boyfriend. Let her find her true strength instead of fabricating one outta a fantasy."
Flare frowned once more, for he wholeheartedly agreed with Ritsu, and thus, he prepared himself to make the tough choice. That was until…
"Don't worry. I'll protect her if it calls for it…"
That statement made him stop. It made him realized something - Mio couldn't depend on Ritsu, either.
"Don't joke with me," he said, taking Ritsu by a little bit of surprise.
"What?" she asked, looking at him with confusion.
"Quit joking with me…" he continued, looking up at Ritsu with anger, "you sure did a Hell of a job protecting her this afternoon, didn't you?"
His words did more than sting her. They crushed her down as if heaven itself had given way. She stared into blank space, this time being the one not knowing how to respond.
And that person returned at the worst time.
"Ritsu?" she called out, noticing her bestfriend's horrible expression.
All eyes turned to her, the subject of their conversation.
"Ah, Mio!" replied Ritsu quickly with a forced smile. "Sorry, sorry. I was talking to Flare about something just now. Sorry if I made you worried."
"No, it's alright," answered Mio. Then she noticed the distressed faces of the other girls.
"I guess I'd better go, then," declared Flare, turning towards the exit doors. "I wouldn't want to impose on anyone any further."
Mio was undecided. She exchanged a stare with a distressed Flare as he stopped beside her, but then she turned back to look at Ritsu's false smile again, and everyone else's sullen faces.
"Erm, I think I better stay with Ritsu, Flare," she stated.
"Oh, nah, it's alright, Mio!" exclaimed Ritsu immediately, trying to put more strength into her smile. "I just remembered that I need to do something later on. You go on with Flare now."
Mio looked at Ritsu unassuredly, trying to get a confirmation from her bestfriend's false expression.
"She's right, Mio," Flare interjected, smiling weakly. "We'd best be going."
Mio didn't quite understand, but she nodded, and walked away with Flare. She took a final glance at Ritsu just before she exited, wondering about the secrets her friends are keeping from her.
When Ritsu was sure she was really gone, she surrendered her strength, falling on her knees and had her hands landing on the floor, with the others rushing in to help her up.
"Ritsu, are you alright?" expressed Tsumugi worriedly. "Dammit…" was the only murmur Tsumugi heard from her. It was barely audible, but the awkward silence of the doorway allowed all of them to hear it clearly.
Tears flushed out from Ritsu's eyes. She hated her hypocritical self for pushing her bestfriend into Flare's hands just so she could have a moment to cry about how she was as powerless as Flare had described, how she was once again unable to help Mio stand up on her feet.
Gratifying outcomes are gratifying.
Chapter Five: Cloudy!
As Flare and Mio walked down the road home, grey clouds above greeted them, stalking them like Death Gods.
"Looks like it's about to rain, huh?" remarked Flare, gazing up at the sky with a frail look.
"Seems like it," answered Mio indifferently, averting her eyes from Flare, who turned away from Mio as well in bitterness after seeing her reaction.
'It was all a mistake,' Flare thought to himself. 'Ritsu was right. I shouldn't had become Mio's boyfriend. As of now, her feelings are as good as being manipulated…'
He returned his eyes to her, whose face was still turned away from him.
'Can't help it then. Sorry, Mio… looks like I'll have to hurt you for now.'
"Mio…" mumbled Flare, forcing Mio to look at him from the corner of her eye. "Actually, there is something I need to tell you…"
A little smile appeared on Mio. He had her full attention this time. She was waiting for this, the confession between lovers…
"Let's break up."
No. She wasn't waiting for this.
"Wha… What did you just say?"
The air became thin, all sounds were blocked out by a stream of silence, as the girl stood still on the road with time itself.
"I'm sorry, Mio… They… they were right about-about you, Mio. I-I-I agree with them, that you ar-are just a-a…"
"Just a shallow pers-"
"I said stop it!"
Flare didn't take one look at Mio. He couldn't bear looking at her. He knew what her face must have looked like at the time. Wet. Moist. Filled with sorrow and pain.
"I know what you guys are trying to do…"
That comment, however, made him look. Her face was exactly the way he pictured, overflowing with tears and agony.
"Huh?" he uttered, trying to grasp the meaning of her words.
"I'm not a child… I can take care of myself. I know you guys are trying to help me… but if I let you do so, I'll just be the hypocrite they claimed I am!"
"Can't you guys just let me think for myself? Dammit, I am not as weak as you guys think I am!"
And just as cued in the fashion of a sappy romance novel, the raindrops poured, gradually meshed up with the tears on her face.
"I'm sorry… We didn't mean to make you feel this way. I didn't."
Mio didn't care. Not really. The damage was done. She had tried her best to stay strong, but things were too suffocating.
"I'm going home," indicated Mio, walking past Flare without a glance. "I need time to think this through. Don't follow me, please."
As Mio walked further away from him, Flare quickly reached for his backpack. "At least borrow my umbre-"
"I'll be fine on my own," she replied, grabbing out an umbrella of her own from her bag.
And that was all Flare could do. That was all they should had done in the first place, watching her from the distance. Nothing more, nothing less.
Nighttime. The temperature had gotten low around the weeks, especially at this period of the day. Added with her catching some rain, they served as perfect conditions for her to catch a cold.
"Sigh… I hate you," she murmured to herself while lying on bed, "irony."
Though being feverish should had made her sleepy, the night drew long for her as her train of thoughts kept her awake. She thought about Flare, whether if she had made the right choice staying with him. She thought about Ritsu, how her bestfriend had probably proposed Flare to break up with her to 'protect' her.
And ultimately, the train led to herself, how she was incapable of maturing as a person since that day at kindergarten… when that person made her that coward little girl forever.
Chapter Six: Betrayal!
12 years ago, unknown kindergarten
"Haha! You have pretty hair!" a hair-banded little girl shouted to her brunette friend as she hopped beside her table. The brunette, especially embarrassed when her other classmates noticed her friend's shouting, covered up her fringes immediately.
But that was not what made Mio the Mio today.
"Really? I don't think so." a voice remarked. But when the brunette attempted to see from whom it was from, a dark, blurry, ominous visage appeared before her instead…
"Wake up, Mio."
The brunette woke up from the dream. She was thankful that the nightmare was over before it even started, but its residue was enough to leave a dirty feeling in her mind.
"Class is over."
She looked up. It was that childhood friend of hers, Tainaka Ritsu, with her yellow hair-band and her cheerful smile. Standing by Ritsu were her other friends, and her boyfriend, Flare, watching with concern at her dreamy state as they waited for her to walk home with them.
Ritsu recognized that frightful expression of Mio's. Cold sweat beading her forehead. Tiny quivers across her hands.
"Sorry, guys," began Mio, standing up weakly, barely able to hold her own weight. Her navy-blue coat, part of her uniform, was not of much help with its heat. "I think I'm going to head home early today."
Flare noticed her trembling body. Something was wrong. Quickly, he rushed forward to try and grab her. "Are you alright, Mio-"
"I said I could handle myself!" she yelled before he could get close to her.
Her other classmates that were just leaving passed by her with stares and glares. As she gradually realized what she had done to herself, taking another bite out of her already bitten reputation, she landed her palm on her face, to both smack herself for the idiotic action and to rest her feverish head on her her hand.
"I'm sorry…" she slowly muttered, "I… I didn't mean to yell…"
"Oh, no, no, it's alright," stammered Flare, pivoting his hands before him. "You need to be alone to rest yourself, I understand."
With force, Mio turned around frailly to look at his face, just so she could smile at him.
And with that, she made her departure from the room., leaving two regretful souls to repent over their actions.
"Looks like Mio-senpai really caught that rain yesterday," noted Azusa.
"Yeah. I thought she wasn't looking too good in the morning, too," Tsumugi stated.
"Maybe we should go visit her later on, after we finished practic-"
"Don't do that!" Ritsu cut Yui off before she could finish in a reprimanding tone.
"Ritsu…" murmured Yui, still not used to seeing Ritsu's angry side.
Momentarily, however, Ritsu realized the harshness of her tone, and quickly turned around to her friend and smiled nervously. "Oh, sorry, Yui! I meant, it might not be good to disturb Mio when she's this feverish."
"Yeah, you're right, Ritsu," Yui bowed apologetically. "I'm sorry I made such a silly remark."
"It's alright, Yui!" Ritsu quickly rushed by her side to raise her head back up.
From the side, it occurred to Flare that the tables had turned. Ritsu was hiding something from the others, from him.
As each of the members of After School Teatime made their departure, Flare gradually joined them in exiting the room, but made sure he walked fast enough to catch up with Ritsu.
"Hey, Ritsu," he called out, grabbing her by the shoulder.
"What is it, Flare?" she turned to answer with an annoyed look, being more offended by the force he used than him calling her out all of the sudden.
Flare lightened his grip and softened his stern expression, knowing that he didn't have the right to be hostile, especially not towards Ritsu.
"Sorry…" he began, removing his hand from her shoulder. "And about yesterday, too… I didn't mean to be so hard on you…"
She sighed, turning her head away. "It's alright… I have to thank you for dragging Mio away, too…"
Being left behind from the others by a short distance, the pair brisk-walked to catch up with the waiting party.
"She said that, huh?" answered Ritsu, after learning about what Mio said to Flare in the rain.
"Yeah… It's exactly like you said - she's attaining her true strength on her own now."
"Seems like we shouldn't have interfered in the first place, huh…?"
"No, what we did wasn't entirely bad. I had the same thought as you, too, yesterday. But, it seems that she was appreciative of our actions."
"What are you talking about?"
"Didn't you see just now? She was feverish enough as it is to even walk… let alone smile. She was exerting herself in order to assure us that she was happy - that we were there for her…"
Ritsu frowned at Flare's explanation. "You mean…"
"Yeah, she was glad that we chose to protect her, even if it meant it would do her no good. The thought itself was good, and if we had chose to do nothing, it would've been more cruel than what we did."
"Who's more cruel?" inquired Yui, whom Flare and Ritsu had arrived beside without knowing, while they were focused on their conversation.
"Uh, no one really," replied Flare nervously, putting his hands before him just like before. "Just some really ignorant people, that's all…"
Ritsu didn't quite understand Flare's words in regards to her actions dealt to Mio, but she had a feeling that he might have more humanity in him than she had thought… that he was not just a being of pure hatred."
'Guess it's fine to tell him…' she thought to herself as the group began to walk again.
"…There's something I need to tell you guys, about Mio… particularly you, Flare."
The others stopped, looking at Ritsu with utmost curiosity, with Flare looking more concerned than intrigued.
Just as Ritsu was about to confide in Flare, however, she once again saw that same disturbing face he had while he was making those hateful comments yesterday.
"…Flare?" murmured Ritsu with fear in her heart, that she was wrong about him.
"Those voices… I recognized them…"
"Voices?" queried Ritsu as she scanned her eyes through the area with the others, trying to see what Flare was talking about.
Then she heard them, and soon, the others, too. They were coming from in front of the group, increasing in volume with each second.
That's when they noticed Tsumugi's constant shivering beside them.
"Mugi-senpai, what's wrong?" asked Azusa, gently shaking the arm of her trembling senior.
"Those voices…" mumbled Tsumugi, "they are… they're…"
"The same voices we heard yesterday," stated Ritsu, completing both their sentences, "am I right?"
And that was when the two voices arrived beside them.
"Oh, it's Ritsu!"
Ritsu couldn't believe her eyes. The same tremble that caught Mio and Tsumugi haunted her, too.
"Are you alright, Ritsu? You look terrible."
"What the…" she murmured, so softly even the ones directly beside her couldn't catch it properly.
"Eh? What did you say?" the voice inquired.
"What the heck… It must be a joke…"
"Ritsu, are you alright?" the person voiced her concern once again, reaching out to grab her shoulder. "Let me take you ho-"
However, the moment her touch contacted with Ritsu, Ritsu immediately slapped her hand away out of instinct. "Get away!"
"Ritsu!" the person reprimanded, being shocked and appalled.
After a few more moments of breathing, Ritsu composed herself, trying to recover from the shock of learning the face that went with that voice. When she finally became calm enough, she looked up at the person's offended expression and gave a friendly smile.
"I'm sorry, Nodoka! I'm just not feeling very well today."
'That's right,' the other girls thought. 'there's no way someone as kind as Nodoka would say something as horrible as that.'
Flare, however, glared fiercely at their glass-eyed friend.
"Do you know these people, Nodoka?" inquired the friend who was with Nodoka. She looked like an intellectual being, one of a much higher class of standard than most human beings.
"Yeah. They are my friends," Nodoka replied, averting her eyes from Ritsu for a while. "Hirasawa Yui, Tainaka Ritsu, Kotobuki Tsumugi, Nakano Azusa, and, erm, this is…"
"Mosugi Tenjiru," noted Flare with a forced smile, reaching his hand out towards Nodoka. "Nice to meet you."
"Nice to make your acquaintance," replied Nodoka, giving a little bow before the new addition to the group.
"So," Nodoka's well-dressed friend cut in between the introduction, "she is drummer you were talking about yesterday."
They five of them had the same thought. That one word triggered something inside all of them. Something that's about to explode.
"Yep. Despite their looks, they are quite a talented band."
Azusa looked up and down her body. 'What's wrong with the way we look?'
"Hey, Nodoka… what were you doing yesterday?"
Ritsu's sudden question seemed a little imposing to Nodoka, even if she was a close friend to her. Nevertheless, she ignored the suspicions and answered.
"I was in the class of my friend over here, talking about the band… Why?"
"Lemme guess," Flare voiced out all the sudden from the side, "class 3-A, is that right?"
"Wh-wh-what are you trying to imply, Tenjiru?" she questioned defensively, disliking the way this conversation was going.
This time, Ritsu's murmurs were slightly louder, enough to make Nodoka feel disturbed, especially after seeing the overflowing tears across the other girls' faces.
"Wha-what's going on?" stuttered Nodoka, her fear towards the perturbing scene increasing. "What is this?"
"HOW COULD YOU SAY SUCH A THING ABOUT MIO?!"
Ritsu's accusation was thunderous, spreading through the hallway, catching the attention of every student around the corridor.
"Quit acting innocent, Manabe!" Ritsu continued her berating. "How could you… Mio trusted you… so much… she thought of you as her most dependable friend… and yet you stabbed her on the back like so…"
"I don't understand what you are talking about, Tainaka."
"It was yesterday, when you called Mio a hypocrite!" shouted Ritsu when Nodoka attempted to leave with her friend. "WHEN YOU SAID THAT SHE FLASHED HER PANTIES ON PURPOSE!"
Then the memories came back to her mind, the remembrance about the conversation they had about Mio the day before. Then came the shock of learning that the others had knowledge about this, and a horrified expression appeared on Nodoka's face.
"You were eavesdropping?" accused Nodoka's friend, her face blunt and emotionless.
"We were passing through," defended Ritsu instantly. "Mio and us walked past your class, and you were so loud that we could hear you from outside!"
"Nodoka… how could you…?" cried Yui, tears flooding down her cheeks. She looked away from the monster she had once called a friend - her childhood friend. "…Mio is such a nice person… WHY WOULD YOU DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT?!"
"Yui… you guys… you got it all wrong! I didn't-"
"And you called her a hypocrite…" Azusa added, also shying away from Nodoka's face, "yet you put up a false image as her friend while making stuff up behind her back…"
"That's not it! I didn't mean that comment in an offensive way, Azusa!"
"Oh, I'm sure," replied Ritsu with her arms folded against her chest, "calling her a slut sure wasn't offensive at all!"
And as if the fire hadn't rose high enough, Flare noticed something that was gonna make it all the more worse.
"Hey, Ritsu, stop it!" he warned Ritsu immediately, but she was already too agitated to stop.
"How could Mio be so dumb as to think of you as a better friend than me?!"
Then she saw it, the ominous sign Flare was referring to. All of them stared at her, choking at the horrified feeling they had when they saw that person. Ritsu, in particular, felt a dirty feeling going down her back, as if she was the filth of a traitor she had accused Nodoka to be.
Standing before them, still feverish and quivering, a sobbing brunette felt that her world had came to an end, and that she would just like to fall and never get up. Her cold had deprived her of all the strength she needed to be angry, or sad, or express just any appropriate emotions at all. Heck, she wasn't even able to stand properly.
Instead, she was only able to utter a few words while leaning against the wall, before blacking out.
"Ho… how could you…"
"Hey, hang in there, Mio!"
"Someone get help!"
The movements of Flare and the others were blurry to Nodoka. While they rushed in to help the unconscious Mio, she tried desperately to get ahold of her own sanity, trying to realize what had just happened.
However, something was able to snap her out of her trance, the glare of an infuriated demon knight, whose eyes told her that he would do anything to get his revenge.
"There's an infirmary up downstairs!" informed Tsumugi, stretching Mio's left arm over her neck.
"Let's hurry," remarked Flare with Mio's right arm over him, taking one last, long look at Nodoka as he briskly but carefully carried Mio down the steps.
The silence left when the commotion was gone was more deafening to Nodoka than anything else. It felt like a nightmarish judiciary, passing its long period of judgment over her sins.
Her friend, however, saw nothing to this nonsense. It was just a silly episode of melodrama.
"Let's go, Nodoka," she said, turning away from the myopic girl.
Snapped back into reality by her friend, Nodoka began walking away as well. "Yeah… let's go."
As she left, she looked back at the shadowy stairs once more. She could almost hear the faint echos of whimpers and cries below.
I know that my previous chapters were rather, I could say, poorly written, but I dare say that this following one was written with that writer's trance I had when I was a great writer many years ago (particularly the last part of the chapter, actually). It might still have a few errors here and there, but I am sure you would notice a significant difference between this one and the previous few.
Enjoy. The stunning (or not so much) conclusion... is probably not going to be done until another two chapters. Ah well. :P
Chapter Seven: Growth!
"What do you think about her hair now?!"
"Well, looks like…" the nurse at the infirmary began, covering Akiyama Mio with a blanket, "she is going to be just fine."
Her friends, Flare and the others, crowding around the unconscious girl, breathed a sigh of relief. The fever was probably not as worrying as they had made it seemed, but the sudden black-out of a girl after learning of her friend's betrayal was something even the calmest person would be minority concerned about.
The nurse looked on to the patient's friends. She felt a little unwilling to send them away, but Mio needed her rest.
"We understand," replied Flare. He exchanged smiles with the nurse and gave her a little bow, with Ritsu and the others doing the same. "Please take care of her."
Quietly, the five teenagers exited the room, with Flare gently closing the door behind them as they hoped for the best. So much trouble had hit them consecutively with the culture festival arriving. It was as if God Himself was intentionally pushing them into Hell.
"Well, that could've gone better," remarked Ritsu with a heavy sigh, sluggishly walking on down the corridor with her uniform coat hooked from her fingers, draped down her back.
"What are we going to do for the culture festival if Mio doesn't recover?" pointed out Yui innocently, sharing the same pout that was on the faces of the group.
"It's alright," Ritsu answered energetically, giving Yui a thumbs-up, "a fever like this won't last more than a week. She will be playing again in no time."
Even the usually dull Yui noticed the tiny trembles across Ritsu's hand, let alone the others.
"Yeah." Flare nodded and placed his hand on Ritsu's shoulder, giving her an assuring smile. "Like the nurse said, Mio is going to be just fine."
Ritsu frowned at her own hypocrisy of convincing others not to worry, when she herself was troubled by making that selfish remark in front of Mio just now.
"Besides," Flare continued, folding his arms behind his head, "we should probably think about how to help Mio out than brooding over our mistakes. Isn't that right, Ritsu?"
The tomboy looked up at the boy that had cleared her doubts. She smiled at him, thankful for the relief from the confusion. He was right. Whining about who being in the wrong was a waste of time, nor would it do her bestfriend any good.
"That's right," agreed Azusa, raising her index finger, "maybe we could bring her some tea to make her feel better."
The whole gang stopped instantly, leaving Azusa to walk on without notice, till she realized the others were not around anymore seconds later.
"Huh?" she uttered, searching around her, only to find the others staring at her with surprised expressions.
"Heh heh, sorry, Azusa," apologized Ritsu, forming a line of awkward smiles with the others, "it was just so surprising to hear you being enthusiastic about tea."
"Oh, I'm not." Her reply shattered their line of smiles. "It's just that tea is good for a case of fever…"
The ponytailed lowerclassman decreased the volume of her voice with each word, feeling as if she had said something wrong to have her seniors staring at her this way.
'Heh heh… Azusa is just too pure…' thought Yui while grinning at the mocking outcome of her junior's answer.
"Erm…" another voice that was not of the group let out behind them.
And when they turned around to look at the source of the voice, synchronicity hit them again, in the form of a stream of annoyed expressions this time.
"What do you want, Manabe?!" started Ritsu, thrusting out the hatred from the group with her raised fist.
"It's alright, Ritsu," said one of them amongst the group. Ritsu was bewildered about from whom that comment was from. "I'll talk to her. You guys take a leave first."
"Flare…" muttered Ritsu, still trying to grasp hold of the reality of how the boy, who promoted hatred upon humanity, was acting so calm at that moment.
Then she had a thought of what he was trying to do. Rage came to her mind.
"You can't do that. Mio would be hurt even more if you-"
"Don't worry," the self-proclaimed knight of Akiyama Mio replied with an assuring smile, "I won't do anything stupid."
To Ritsu somehow, his voice sounded sincere, full of confidence, without hypocrisy.
"I don't want to see that tearful face of Mio, not ever again…"
The tomboy nodded. It was a quick nod. Fast and confident, one that expresses trust between friends.
As she walked away with the others, a wind of change - in both the literal sense and metaphorical - blew across her coat, forcing her to clutch tighter to the garment with her digits.
"You better keep your word, Tenjiru!" she turned around and demanded one last time, before continuing her exit with the gang, while slipping on her coat to escape the cold draft.
With a bright smile on his face, Flare gave the same trustful nod. "Mhm. I will."
When his loyal friends were almost out of sight, he focused all his attention back on the seeming traitor, constantly reminding every inch of his body not to trust her.
"So… Nodoka," he began, with his judgmental eyes locked on every single movement of the girl, "what do you want?"
that was many chapters...i could say that the plot is good...and although Mio's moe feel seemed to decrease for a bit...for me it's still on-character ( a bit )
I actually spent 30 minutes reading all of this :eyespin:
This is defiantly gorgeous work WBoon
1. If you think I'm just depicting Nodoka as a backstabbing bitch (completely out of character), wait for the next chapter. Nodoka will explain everything herself...
2. Mio's moeness is cute, but it's not why I like her in the first place. I might insert a few moe scenes here and there, but don't expect anything that would affect character growth. :P
3. Moe is annoying, and when it's not annoying, it's less fun to read about it than watch it happening on-screen.
4. Ritsu is brotherly protective member of the gang. That would change, soon, however, with Mio becoming bolder...
Hope that cleared some of your doubts. :) Watch out for the next chapter soon.
Oo, Nodoka tsk tsk tsk. I'm surprised she hasn't had any interaction with Yui so far.
I gotta say, being a Ritsu fan, it makes me uneasy reading Flare take over her place as the "defender" of the group. Ritsu's number one value is really friendship, and it's just a bit odd how she'd give Mio away to Flare like that.
Oh well, I guess I'm a tad biased anyways xD
Don't rush :P
Don't worry, Flare is not the protective one of Mio (that role still belongs to Ritsu). In fact, if anything, Flare needs Mio's kindheartedness more than she needs Flare. :P
Okay, I couldn't wait anymore, so here's the first part of Nodoka's explanation about what actually happened. Also, new fanmade character, Aniya Algreim makes an appearance (Nodoka's high-class friend).
Lots of subliminal messages in this chapter. Hope you'd enjoy this.
Chapter Eight: Immature!
"Stop it!" screamed a tiny child in the corner of a room, her arms clutching her petite legs together.
"Loser! Hahaha!" a rougher voice howled with laughter.
"Stop it! Stop it, please!"
"She doesn't look that pretty anymore, does she?" another voice commented.
'Crash!' The noise of breaking glass shattered the voices, sending a wave of silence across the building, leaving the faint cicada chirping as the only remaining sound to be heard.
"I… I didn't mean to…"
"She pushed him! I saw she pushed him!"
As the accusations increased in quantity and acceleration, the little girl tugged forcefully at her ears, wanting to rip them away to shut out those horrible voices.
"No! I didn't mean it! It wasn't my fault!"
"Thanks for taking care of Mio."
"Thank you for your hospitality!" The five students bowed in unison, readied to depart their fever-bounded friend whom they had just dropped home.
The mother of their friend, a middle-aged woman barely looking her age, smiled compassionately at her daughter's loyal classmates. "I'm glad Mio has such great friends like you," she said. Though her own child had blacked out at school, her friends could not detect a speck of of sorrow in her voice. Instead, it was filled with sincerity. It was filled with appreciation.
"Yeah… great friends," murmured Ritsu, shying her face away from the woman's sight. Her attempt at constraining her voice was less than successful.
"Erm, is something wrong?" the mother inquired with a finger placed beneath the smile she was still adorning.
"Oh, nothing, Mrs. Akiyama!" exclaimed Azusa quickly. "We hope Mio would recover soon."
"Yep," Akiyama nodded confidently, "I believe she will."
With the altruistic parent waving behind them, the group left, bathed in the relieving shimmer of the sunset that signified the end of the day, and perhaps their distress as well.
"Thank you, Azusa," Ritsu expressed her gratitude for her junior's quick distraction just now. She would rather not causing any more emotional pain to the Akiyamas.
"It's alright," she replied. "You are a great friend. To all of us."
The statement would had sounded comforting to Ritsu, if it wasn't shrouded with ignorance. 'Heh, if she only knew…' she thought, producing that frown again, only seconds after Azusa complimented her. Naturally, the lowerclassman was confused as to whether if she had chose the wrong words.
Back at the Akiyamas' detached house, the ill-stricken daughter of the family was having her own inner-struggle. Her instincts had her tossing herself around the bed, as she fought her hardest in escaping the demons in her sleep.
"Don't get close to her, son…"
"She probably flashed her panties on purpose…"
As if retrieved from the depths of Hell, a breath of relief entered her soul.
"Hey, Mio! Please wake up, Mio!"
Though she had always saw her mum as a doting parent, her hallucinating state left her seeing her mother's approach as redemption from an angelic figure, here to take her away from the pain-filled world.
Gaining back what little amount of her consciousness to make a clearer image of the figure, however, she was reminded of the loving guardian that needed her in that pain-filled world.
"Mum…" she mumbled weakly.
The woman sighed, smiling with relief. 'It was probably just that bad dream again, she reminded herself. She caressed her child's moistened forehead benevolently in a stroking fashion, wiping away the filth she had gained from her latest battle with her demons, while making sure her body was tightly wrapped with the cottony blanket covering her.
Being as heated as it was, her choice of the skimpy, sleeveless pink top and denim pants was suitable in keeping her from becoming too uncomfortably warm, while the thick layer of blanket ensured that the heat would get 'squeezed out' with forced perspiration.
"Everything's going to be just fine…"
Under her mother's comforting words and revitalizing touch, the teenager produced the innocent smile of a child. At that moment, the world could had called her a baby for all she cared - she wanted to forever bath in the relaxation that her mother's assuring protection had brought her.
"…Nodoka is here to see you."
Everything good that she had felt, every one of those good feelings she had, they were all truncated by the utter of that name. Gone, washed away by the glass-eyed Devil. For a second, she felt an increase of heat on her head, be it her fever or her vengeful rage.
Nevertheless, her mother wasn't the least bit ignorant about her daughter's woes. She had heard about everything from Ritsu and the gang, about Nodoka's actions. It was precisely why she let in that person into their household. To force Mio to grow.
"Do you want to see her?" she asked nonetheless, still unwilling to push Mio all the way down the hill.
Receiving the answer she had hoped for, her mother let out the smile she had kept in, being that much more optimistic about the situation. She walked to the bedroom door and pulled it away to let in the beast, exiting the room after that to let her daughter fend for herself.
The click produced upon the door's closure echoed across the next few moments of awkward silence. It was a horrible period of time for either individuals, with one of them struggling with her all strength to withhold her tears and weakness before her opponent.
"It's just like you, Akiyama," one of the two began, fruiting that smile she had used to convince the other of her loyal friendship, "always so kind-heart-"
"Don't mistake my intentions!" the other bellowed, clutching her cloth armor tightly around her. Her wrath could be easily perceived from the quivers across her body that signified the inception of her lost of control over her emotions. "I only… I only let you in for the sake of my mum… not you…"
Nodoka stood in silence, allowing Mio to take every punch out of her, if not a tad worried about the severity her anger might add to her fever.
You don't deserve anything from me!"
Waterworks began. With Mio's face turned away from her, she could not see it, but the tight clutches on her dark-streaked hair was more than a giveaway that she was at her limit. She knew then, that she was at her limit, and that her boldness was wearing thin.
"I understand." She inserted her reply cautiously, with a toned down voice. She knew that she needed to end this swiftly, however. "I'll make this quick."
"The bassist?" asked Nodoka's friend, Aniya Algreim.
That there was a fine-complexioned young lady with a clean-crop bun of pink hair, three blunt pins sticking out from it. Well-dressed in her freshly ironed uniform. Well-mannered to her allies. If anything, she was the avatar Akiyama Mio had tried adorning; a top of the line Mary-Suzette.
"Yes," answered Nodoka, sitting at the opposite end of the table, where both girls were having a session of afternoon tea - though Nodoka herself was doing coffee. With the rest of the class gone home, the room was left for free use by the class president, Aniya Algreim.
"So, she accepted my proposal?" Aniya enquired, displaying a tiny grin of elation that contrasted her usually frigid nature. Her voice disrupted the serenity, echoing throughout the cubicle.
Though Aniya knew as well as any other that she was an obvious wannabe compared to herself, Mio was the subject of admiration to many girls, particularly those of higher intellect. Few of them could claim themselves to be both smart and adroit at the same time.
"I'm sorry, Aniya," sighed Nodoka apologetically, taking a sip from her teacup, "seems that Mio intends to remain in the Keion Club."
As if irony was in the works, when that answer was given, the light from the window that was lilting Aniya's face before gradually diminished from the visage as a dark cloud hovered above the sky. And at the same time, her gleeful grin dissolved away as well, replaced by the return of that dispassionate face Nodoka had recognized.
Nodoka pushed up her red-rimmed glasses. It was not the most pleasant news to her either. Rather, it was like a soiled rice-roll with the filling of a dash of disappointment and mild confusion to her.
"Maybe another time, Aniya."
"Did she say why?" the class rep probed further, bluntly and straight.
"I'm sorry, Nodoka, but they are a bunch of people I can't leave now."
"…I see." Aniya swiveled her head away from Nodoka, a hint of despondency in her eyes. "Seems like my speculations were correct."
"Speculations?" Nodoka helplessly repeated the word out of instinct.
"That Akiyama Mio is an immature hypocrite."
Nodoka jerked her hand a little, somewhat surprised at the negative remark made towards her friend. She admit that Mio had her flaws, but to accuse her of hypocrisy seemed a little adverse.
"So? Let's hear them," Nodoka commented, leaning behind against her chair with her arm folded and her legs crossed.
She knew Aniya well. Her genteel friend wouldn't make an accusation of this level without substantial evidence.
"When Akiyama first arrived at the campus, some innuendoes, albeit not innumerable, tagged along with her as well."
"That was what I did a search on. Being the president of the Literature Club, I had to make clear of those rumors and their accuracy."
Aniya paused, taking a sip out of her tea.
"It turns out that something shady happened to her, dating back to her kindergarten years."
Nodoka glared at Aniya sternly. Doubting her was as difficult as antagonizing Mio.
"What was it?"
"Undisclosed," she continued, taking another slip from her cup. "However, it seems that it was significant enough to cause a major affection to her social life. Her records stated her history in her Elementary School to be "Recluse, withdrawn, and forlorn"."
"Mio was always a shy girl."
"I thought the undisclosed incident might had merely tarnished her confidence, too. However, another line on the "Remarks" field also stated, "Has tendency to bruise herself while upset"."
"Multiple bruises were found on the student, all of which she disclaimed to be of anyone else's doing."
Nodoka breathed in, trying to take in this new accusation of Mio being either an emo, or worse, a masochist.
"She couldn't have done that to herself. It was impossible for her to be reduced to such a state when Ritsu had been by her side since kindergarten."
"That wasn't my point. It is absurd enough to picture her as a wrist-cutter. No, my point was that she might had been mistreated by her classmates since that unacknowledged incident. The reports for her Middle School are of a similar nature, although it seems that her social status had vastly improved compared to Elementary School.
"I don't get it. How do all these back up your argument?"
"Although the cover-up of that said incident had left her social status taking a better turn, especially in high school, she didn't have the benefit of fully improving her social skills. It was only by a stroke of luck that she had garnered as many fans as she do today, due to a certain embarrassing incident regarding her undergarment."
"Now here's my theory; having people adoring her for the first time rather than the opposite couldn't have been a better chance for her to finally begin the social life she never had. Normally, it would mean a fresh start in life for a girl, but do not forget of what origin her fans were born out of."
A warm drop of sweat dribbled down Nodoka's forehead. She didn't like where the accusations were heading for at all.
"Don't get me wrong - I am not labeling her a slut. No, it is her maturity I am questioning. You see, when she didn't submit her form of application for the Literature Club last year, I couldn't help but be curious about it, especially when I had just ran that background check a short while before that. When I asked her about it, she had explained to me that Tainaka Ritsu was the one who dragged her into the club. She then talked to me about overseas studies, Harvard, and how she had wanted to make a bright future for herself. Naturally, that was how my admiration for her came to be. She had strong visions, even under the pressure of her haunted past. Instead, I found her frolicking in this silliness now."
"Maybe…" Nodoka muttered thoughtfully, "maybe she grew attached to her friends."
"I would had given her the benefit of the doubt for that, if not for what I saw. A little while after the panties incident, I felt remotely sorry for Akiyama. She'd often talk to me about how humiliating the incident was. Feeling sorry for her, I paid her a little visit one day, at the Music Room. When I arrived at the entrance, I peeked in and saw that she was the only one inside."
"I also saw that she was playing dress-up with the maid outfit that had contributed to the embarrassing episode."
Nodoka sighed, understanding the misconception that image must had brought to Aniya's mind.
"I'd even give her the benefit of a doubt for that. Perhaps she had an upcoming performance involving that outfit. Who knows. Perhaps the system in the Keion Club forced her to adorn such costumes."
"However, just three weeks ago, I caught one of the many scenes of her reveling in the accompany of her fanboys, where she was taking pictures with a group of them. It wasn't the first time. I even overheard some of them speaking of the panties incident in her presence, yet she merely smiled at those remarks, not making any attempt in defending herself at all."
"Taking all that into account, and how she chose her friends over her own future, I think I could rightfully say that she's just a hypocrite, Akiyama Mio. That is, her lack of growth throughout her childhood has left her choosing her actions based purely on her emotions rather than logical thoughts."
"And of course, to keep her social status amongst the normal people lacking of servility, she needs to keep up with her studious appearance as well. Hence, she puts up a mature persona, but secretly enjoys winning over those boys with her cuteness. I'm confident in my basis enough that I'd say, her embarrassing episode was also an act, that she purposely tripped just to flash her panties."
Today is not a good day to write. I'm being as impatient as usual, without the calmness of a writer, or the brightness of a writer in trance. Moreover, there's just a whole lot of stuff I have to say about Mio that I just had to cramp inside this chapter, making Nodoka say it for me. Hence, her character (Nodoka) might still seem out-of-character for you guys - but that doesn't matter now.
Why? Because I officially declare that this would be like an 'Ultimate' universe of K-On. AU (Alternate Universe), if you will. The characters would resemble the mainstream ones, but they are altered to fit the writer's vision.
For those Marvel Comics fans out there: I had always preferred the mainstreamed ASM, but that doesn't mean the 'Ultimate' universe was a bad idea for Marvel. ;)
Enjoy. Seems like this arc will take long than I expect. Next up: Mio reveals her horrid past.
Chapter Nine: Kindness!
Akiyama Mio, 16 years old Sakura High School student, had just finished listening to a tale of ironic twists. how her genuinely innocent actions were mistaken to be Machiavellian methods crafted to raise her status.
"And that's what happened," Nodoka finished with a sigh. "I'm sorry you heard our conversation yesterday."
Ironically, knowing the truth left Mio pondering more than ever. It left her questioning her subconsciousness, the lies she had used to protect herself all these years. Was it a really sinful act of hypocrisy for her not to be honest to people about herself?
The only confirmation she had was that Nodoka was innocent, just as she had wanted to believe it.
"I wasn't…" she stuttered, unsure of her genuineness. "I wasn't trying to manipulate anyone… I was just…"
"Scared, I know."
"Eh?" muttered Mio, pivoting her body around to look at her classmate's face.
"I never believed Aniya's words from the start. Her hypothesis was flawed from the start, lacking of knowledge about your true character."
"Nodoka…" Mio blurted her name, confounded by the artlessness of her statement.
"Like I said, it's just like you to be the kind-hearted girl of genuine sincerity that I know."
A blush of heat came to Mio's face, though it wasn't as discomforting as her fever. "I'm… not really that kind-hearted…"
Nodoka chuckled. "By saying that, you have already let me confirm that you are."
The mood was nice, cheery for once in what felt like a long period of time. But then, the remembrance of the other remark ceased her smile.
"But why did you say that I am childish?"
Nodoka's smile faded away as well.
"There were two voices. One of them was remarking about my hypocrisy, and according to your explanation, it was Aniya."
Nodoka looked away. She knew exactly where Mio was heading with this. A sense of sorrow appeared on her face.
"The other voice claimed that I was shallow, that I was "the most childish member of the band". Why?"
"Because you are," snapped Nodoka instantly, her head pivoted towards her.
Mio stared at her, taken aback by the disheartening answer.
Nodoka sighed, nudging the rim of her glasses. "You are a sweet girl, Mio, but you just lack focus on your future. Though I know the reason you chose to be with your friends was because you love them, succumbing to your emotions and desires, and forgoing your scholastic future wasn't a bright choice at all, let alone mature."
Mio cringed back into the comforts of her blanket. "I know…" she muttered.
"The Literature Club was a great opportunity for you. Your band just recently had two new members to more than meet the quota, one of whom is capable of playing all of the four instruments of the band, albeit not smoothly. Furthermore, you claimed to me yourself that all the prep works for the culture festival had been completed, so why is it so difficult to leave behind a band that doesn't even participate in serious music? I just… want you to grow, Mio. You can't be stuck with your friends forever."
Mio loosened her grip on her blanket. "Maybe not forever. Maybe choosing the casual Keion Club over the Literature Club is not the most beneficial move I made for my education…"
Then, Mio looked sharply at Nodoka, an unexpected confidence in her eyes.
"But I have other principles! I… want to be more true to myself. I want to enjoy life as it is, with the friends I love so very, very much… to continue loving them by their side, especially…"
"Flare?" Nodoka guessed with a smile, to which Mio returned with a grin on her roseate cheeks.
"Him, too… but it is Ritsu I really owe my life to. If not for her… I would have probably been the wrist-cutter you guys had almost pictured me to be."
Nodoka placed her warm hand on Mio's blanketed body. "You want to tell me what happened?"
And that was when she sensed a different kind of vibe pulsating from Mio's body, one out of extreme fear.
"I… I… there was this…"
Nodoka removed her hand, smiling with a nod, as if displaying perspicacity. "It's alright. I don't have to be the one you tell."
Relieved from having to relive her chilling memories again, Mio's throbbing came to a halt. She took a careful look at Nodoka's compassionate face, trying to perceive the meaning of her last sentence.
"But you'll have to tell someone soon," Nodoka said with a wink. "You will only become more miserable as time goes on, if you continue to run from your fears."
"I know that… I've been fighting it for years…"
"Then maybe it's time you fight it with those friends you love."
Mio smiled. She had someone in mind she wanted to fight those demons with her. However, her gut feeling alone had also left her uncertainty of his trustworthiness.
"Or maybe your boyfriend. He seems to be quite the sensible guy."
"Huh?" Mio muttered, surprised about Nodoka's perception of her thoughts.
"He talked to me yesterday, told me he was your boyfriend. And instead of chewing me out, he asked me to explain myself."
"He did…? Flare… did that?"
It was the confirmation Mio needed, that Flare had that little humanity that she had sensed in him, that he, too, had his own demons to battle.
"Yes. And when I finished telling him about Aniya, about my intentions at that time…"
"But you know, she really isn't as helpless as we pictured her to be."
"I might not know her for a long time, but whatever nightmarish past she had, I feel that, rather than escaping it, she is trying her might to battle it. Otherwise, she would've accepted our help, instead of insisting on fending on her own. I have faith that she has a good grasp on her future. She won't go down that easily."
Mio tightly wrapped the blanket around her again. Rather than fear, her cringing this time was out of the love she felt for Flare's words. If not for her fever, she might even have squealed with happiness.
Though she did not quite understand it, Nodoka smiled at Mio's sudden shift in emotions. "From your expression, I take it that it was the answer you were hoping for."
"Kind of," answered Mio with a dreamy look.
"Either way, I guess I now understand a little bit better as to why Tenjiru, along with the rest of your friends, looked up to you as much as they did. Because if there's anything you would never let your cowardice get the better of it, it is probably your love for those treasured people in your life, right?"
"I guess…" replied Mio softly. She blushed at Nodoka's compliment, clutching her blanket against her chest once again while trying to hide her face away from her classmate. To her, it was far too noble a veneration for her worth.
Mio's denial had only served to increase Nodoka's fondness for her.
"Seems like I was wrong, Mio. You are far from being the most childish member of the band. You are the strongest. You endured your worst fears just to help out your friends. But it's time to help yourself as well. Your friends deserve that much from you."
With that, Nodoka stood up from Mio's bed, leaving an enlightened Mio to ponder. She had done all she could to help Mio stand up. The rest was up to her, but Nodoka knew she would walk just fine.
"By the way," Nodoka remarked before she left, it's not too late if you wish to visit Tenjiru."
Upon the click of her bedroom door, Mio let out a smile. She could almost see the egression of that helpless little girl now.
Sorry this took so long... not that any of you probably care anyway. :P But, yeah, I was giving a lot of thoughts to the future of this fan fiction. Seems like it would be diving into that dark aspect I was talking about in The Creative Writing Thread (All writers come all!) thread after all. Hmph. *giggles*
Yeah... this is going to become K-On-less very soon. If anything, I'm just borrowing elements of the characters and using their names.
Chapter Ten: Demons!
On the earliest hours of a fog-day morning, few items of the scenery in the backdrop could be made out by our naked eye. Like an oil painting, one needs to squint, carefully examining each and every aspect to cast out the fog from his vision and perceive the true beauty that lies behind. That is the power of a lack of visuality - it forces you to look. With obstruction comes speed. With pain comes growth.
And on that particular day, the fog had indeed forested the subject of our current chapter, whose home in the apartment building could just almost be seen - if one squints.
"So bored…" remarked our other main attraction of the story, Mosugi 'Flare' Tenjiru, lying lazily across his black cushioned couch. "There's nothing to do at all…"
As to why he had woken up this early, barely upon the peak of the sun, Flare did not know. He then thought it would perhaps make for a good subject to ponder about.
That was, until the bell was hit.
The youngster sprang up like a bullet. 'This early in the morning, too?' he thought, sluggishly pulling himself from the comforts of pulpy cushion as he mumbled to himself the complaints of his life.
"Yeah, yeah, I'M COMING!" he furiously yelled upon another hit of his bell, so loudly his voice was that his father's pet arowana jerked itself out of the water. "Stupid fish…"
Opening the door, however, revealed no one being there. Not at his eye-level anyway.
Initially more infuriated than before, Flare gazed down while looking around, and saw a trembling girl in skimpy clothing, clutching her head in fear.
"I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!"
"I'm sorry, Mio… I didn't mean to yell." The boy wrapped his hands around the girl's palm, caressing it gently in attempt of calming his timid girlfriend down.
"No, it's alright…" Mio blushed shyly, fixating her vision on other objects of Flare's household. "I'm sorry to have visited so early…"
The doting boyfriend returned that blush, noticing how adorable his girl looked in her pink sleeveless tee with "K-On!" stitched across it, not to mention her white denim shorts. In fact, when he thought about it again, her cuteness was too much to be concerned about.
"Erm… why are you dressed like this…?"
Mio turned her head to look at him. Then at his pointing finger. Then at where he was pointing - her bulging chest.
"Gah! Don't look!" she squealed, wrapping up her body in shame.
Flare facepalmed. "Then why did you wear that in the first place…"
After a brief explanation, Flare learned that his own girlfriend was just living a block down the road… little to his knowledge.
"So that's why you came in your briefs…" he pouted, still rather upset about not knowing that much about his flame. "But you know… it's not that troublesome to at least put on something decent."
"Erm, no… actually, there's something I wanted to tell you urgently before school… that's why I rushed over first thing in the morning…"
Yeah… it's about… about…"
From the extreme coloration of her cheeks, the bursting of droplets across her body, and that familiar stuttering of her voice, Flare had a guess about the subject Mio had wanted to share.
"…Erm, Nodoka came yesterday."
Her digress from the subject he was expecting slightly disappointed him.
"Oh, she did?"
"Yeah… She explained everything to me…"
Another stream of awkward silence. Mio sighed, disappointed in herself as well.
"I'm glad, Mio."
"I'm glad that you recovered so quickly... from your fever, and your fears."
Another warm blush came to her face, painting it as bright a red as an evening sun.
"It's alright. You don't have to confront it now… But I'm glad you chose me. I'm really glad, Mio…"
She stretched her hand over to his and clutched it firmly. "Of course…" she said, fixing her eyes onto his. "After all, you had faith in me, too."
Flare breathed in deeply. It was time to tell her. She deserved that much from him.
"Actually, I have something to tell you, too…"
Mio tried her best not to jerk her hand away from the fear that it was going to be something hurtful again. No, she wanted to have faith.
"They probably started when I was just in Kindergarten, too… demons of my own."
Mio smiled, glad that it was not another overprotective speech, and that her wait for him to confide in her had finally ended. She wrapped around his arms, assuring him comfort as she began his fight with him.
"I was never a really likable person. Hot-tempered. Ill-mannered. Full of insecurities… just like you. I didn't know how to social well, either. On the day when I first attended school, I remembered clutching to my mum, unwilling to leave the comforts she brought me…"
Flare recalled a little boy, barely able to dress properly in his uniform, holding ever so tightly onto two legs of a taller figure. Tears flowed from his eyes as the parent grudgingly parted her child's hands from her, aided by the teacher in charge of the facility.
Sympathetic with the situation, the female civil servant comforted the crying child with a balloon, easing his tears.
Then he remembered that other boy who popped that balloon.
"That's horrible," commented Mio, proceeding to rest against Flare's arm that she was clasping.
"Heh… if you think about how kids work, it wasn't that surprising. But, of course. I was thrusted with the law of "survival of the fittest" ever since I was a toddler…"
Flare continued reminiscing. He remembered how his years in Kindergarten were not as unpleasant.
"In fact, I made a few close friends during that time, not that I was old enough to recognize the significance. Instead, it was Primary School that really made the difference in my life."
Flare remembered his first bestfriend in life, how he had talked to Flare when no one else would, how he would went on to become the other part of Flare… and how he crafted Flare's fiery chain of distrust towards mankind.
"His name was Konoe Karebu. Karebu was brought up under American influence due to his parents' travels, sharing the American ideas and views. Hence, he didn't interact well with his fellow Asian classmates that well. We were two wolves brought together on one fire-pit, simply forced to befriend someone who needed a friend. Someone else who would accept us, even."
"Though we had our obvious differences, we somehow ended up being loyal to each other, never backing down when the other needed help."
"However, Karebu always complained how I was whining about the people who bullied me. Instead of fending for myself, I had thought that heading for the teacher was the correct, proper action. Hence, he taught me how to hit back. Heh. Perhaps he was too good a teacher. I soon became more aggressive than he ever was, always resulting to violence whenever someone mistreated me. I became too violent for his liking."
"I got into lots of trouble ever since then, got separated into a more inferior class than him. Though we still meet up during break-time, he got sick and tired of me over time… like the true hypocrite he was."
"You're far from being what he was, Mio. You're kind, sweet, and generous. Karebu, however…"
"Being in that class of rotten apples left me just as rotten. Naturally, being the insecure bitch that I was, their teasing led to me being involved in frequent class fights. I was thrown into Hell alone. I needed help. Karebu, however, couldn't care less about his rotting friend. To him, I was already dead when I went into that class. He constantly digressed from our conversations when I talked about my life in there, how I was so alone and helpless. I hated him… so much."
If hatred was fuel, it was leaking out of Flare's head like molten lava. Mio got up from his body after feeling the vibrations pulsing from it. "Now, now, it's alright…" she gently rubbed his back, caressing Flare's fumes of rage down his body. "There's only me here now…"
Upon realizing how maddened he must have looked, he instantly lost all expressions of wrath from his visage. He looked at Mio with shame. "I'm sorry…"
"It's alright," she smiled compassionately. "It natural to get angry at something that displeases you. Just don't let the hate get to the good part of you."
Flare returned the smile, appreciative of everything Mio had brought to his life. "I just… wish that someone like you was there for me… to warm up those cold days for me."
"Live for the now, Flare…" she replied, leaning her head against his chest. "I am here now…"
Flare gave a tender nod. "You're right. Meeting you, Ritsu, Yui, Azusa, and Tsumugi was the best thing that ever happened to me."
However, his smile, unbeknownst to Mio, diminished suddenly, replaced with a snarl.
"But there are people out there, even now, who only live for themselves. Kindness for the stranger is not something many would live by. In fact, the quantity is simply decreasing rapidly."
Mio's smile was washed away as well, by his ireful words. "Why do you hate people so much…?"
"Because people keep on reminding me that they should be hated!" he answered sharply, without hesitation. "Especially those people who left you scarred and demoralized…"
Mio lurched away from Flare, retracting her limbs against her body. That familiar sense of insecurity was haunting her once again. "It's not like that…"
Flare waited patiently, a long awkward pause in the room. He could be angry at anyone in the world, but for Mio to confront her demons, he could wait forever… even if it meant that she would never grow.
When there was still no response from Mio, he exhaled a snuff of breath and got up. "It's alright, Mio," he said, smiling at her with tolerance.
As he walked away to grab some refreshments for both of them, however, he felt a tug on his hand. He turned around to find a pair of desperate eyes staring up at him.
"Wait…" she cried out.
Relieved that she was about to open her doors, Flare quickly sat down beside her. He wrapped his fingers around her hand, as if to remind her of his support if all Hell went down for her.
12 years ago, across the schoolgrounds of a kindergarten
"Haha! You have pretty hair!"
"Really? I don't think so."
That's right. It all began that day, with an innocent little remark that began the ignition.
"What are you saying, Yamaguchi?!" retorted the audacious little girl wearing a hairband. "Are you jealous?!"
"Jealous?! Hah!" the plump brute sneered, thrusting his body away from her brunette friend and her. "Who would be jealous of that weird-haired girl?"
Of course, there were others who had also sought to protect the innocent little girl, but failed to do so inevitably. Power is the rule of this land, and those without power falls to the dominance of those who wields it triumphantly.
"Hey, leave her alone, Haruo!"
"Why? You gonna make me?"
Along with a group of other boys, Yamaguchi Haruo wielded dominance over this place. His background was not one belonging to the rich and powerful, but simply powerful without control.
And unlucky little Mio just happened to amuse Haruo this time around. If not for Tainaka Ritsu's watchful eye over her, her fate would had probably been of a worser state than what was to come.
One innocent morning amongst the many others, Tainaka and Akiyama had just finished class and were about to depart for home. However, a simple reckless act of leaving her bag in the class parted the two close friends for just that short period of time. Despite her cowardice in the present day, little Mio was once a normal little girl full of energy and spirit, more than capable of handling the retrieval of a backpack without company.
"Do you need me to go with you?"
"Nah. I'll be quick, Rit-chan."
Upon her return into the classroom, Akiyama had sealed her fate behind the purgatory gates. The beast had been awaiting her arrival after noticing her item of retrieval in the room just moments ago. As soon as he saw the chance, Yamaguchi spread his dark wings over little Akiyama, with his followers blocking all means of exit around her.
"Wha… what do you want, Haruo?"
"I have been waiting for you, Akiyama. Seems like, you and Tainaka don't know your place around here. We'll have to change that."
And with the enunciation of his intentions, the hulking animals closed in on their prey, cornering her squirming body to one side of the room.
"No, stop it, please! Get away from me!"
"Hey! What do you think you guys are-"
What seemed that an utter defeat became brightened with hope upon Tainaka's entrance. Nevertheless, her ingress had only granted her visions to the ruination of her friend's future - or the next eight to ten years, at least.
In a human response to defend herself, the child stretched out her hands against Haruo's hovering face, and one of her fingers stabbed him in the eye, causing him to pull back immediately out of instinct. Being the weighty figure as he was, one could simply imagine a little to predict the occurrence that took place next. Falling back onto the floor on his beefy bottom would not had been a problem. Having that bottom landing on a petite chair, pivoting his skull against the hard floor, however, was something of entirely different consequences.
In addition to the spillage of that red liquid from his head, residue caught from the piercing of his eye was also caught on Akiyama's finger. The sight of their leader whom they had followed loyally lying unconsciously across the floor with blood flowing from his head was enough to cause a wild uproar from any child, let alone toddlers.
Mio glanced at that red puddle that had formed around her bully, then at the blot of the same coloring across the tip of her index finger.
"No… no, I didn't…"
"Help! Someone help!"
"No! I didn't mean to push him!"
"Don't you run away, Akiyama! Someone, come hurry!"
Seeing how the situation had suddenly turned for the worse for the friend she had left behind, Tainaka rushed past the fleeting boys, pushing her way to reach by the side of Akiyama.
"I didn't… I didn't do it… I didn't see anything… I didn't hear anything…"
"It's alright, Mio. It's his fault! Let's just get away now, okay?"
Upon the pronunciation of her last syllable, the two individuals were robbed of their voices. One of them was stupefied by the level of hardship that, not only made the mockery of his classmates seemed like an innocent joke, but also perturbed him as to how an innocent girl could be dealt the cruel title of 'murderer' as a child. The other, was simply worried that the title, the revelation of her sins, would finally finish the job, depriving her of all she loved.
But she needed to finish what she came here for in the first place.
"After that, my schoolyears were Hell. My classmates physically abused me. Parents and teachers were either too terrified of me, or hated me so much that they wished I would die… Naturally, I hated them as well. But, do you know, Flare? As I grow up, with Ritsu always taking care of me… always loving me as a friend, I didn't care anymore about my hatred. I just wanted to live happily with my bestfriend, with the ones I love."
"In other words," Flare spoke up suddenly, "you're saying that it's pointless to hate… am I right?"
"Mhm." Mio gave a slight nod.
Flare had been listening attentively to every word she had spat out. He could not agree with her declaration.
"Not having hate in your life is like not wanting change in the world. I grew as a person because I hate."
"I grew because I love," snapped Mio suddenly, pivoting her head towards Flare. "I wanted to grow up because there are people around me that deserves courage from me. And Responsibility. And Hope. You grew up, too, because you love me… didn't you?"
Flare remained silent for a while, pondering carefully his next few words.
"Yeah… to some extent. But having me completely leaving my hatred behind… that's something I couldn't do, no matter how much I love you, Mio."
A countenance of disappointment rose in Mio's face that swiveled away from Flare.
"But, for your sake… I'll fight it."
Immediately, that countenance was washed away by a smile.
"It's still a part of me, so I'd need time."
She gave an understanding nod, and proceeded to hug him from behind. "It's alright. I'll be there fighting with you, too."
At that moment, the rays of sunlight that crept in from a nearby window seemed to promise a clear sky. At least for the rest of the day.
Hey, are you uploading this to ff.net?
Soon, my friend. Soon. ^_^ There are still a few chapters I want to get out of my way first, and I want to make sure that this isn't something I would quit halfway through first. I don't want to upload something to FF that might end up being half-written... like all my previous works.
Just a little update: next chapter is finally going to conclude this arc (at last!). From there, the story would move on from the current setting in between S1 Ep 11 and 12 to a little before S2 Ep 7 (yes - the fanclub episode). Yeah... it's going to be a little (well, a lot) more perverse from there. But of course, no explicit stuff. :p Mostly just to address the perverse nature of Japan. And to address Mio's fanservice. And all those doujins of Mio out there. Yeah.
Oh, and next chapter sees the battle of wits (and words?) between Mio and Aniya.
|All times are GMT -5. The time now is 16:54.|
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.