[Sequel to Pain of Heart]
They had of course noticed. Something was up with Kasumi and Arisa this week. There was this awkward tension between them. Something had happened. The rest of the band: Rimi, Saaya, and Tae had all noticed.
Kasumi seemed nervous, and distracted. She kept glancing towards Arisa with a look Rimi would describe as desperate and helpless. Arisa seemed subdued, and distant. Her regular fire was gone. She didn’t even protest the same way as usual, if she protested at all. They both seemed to have trouble meeting each other’s eyes. They both looked miserable.
Practice was still going, but it was obvious something was missing. Arisa sometimes just spaced out, and seemed to be playing on auto. Not always noticing when the others stopped. Kasumi kept apologising whenever she messed up something. She was still her regular cheerful self at school, or at least pretended to be.
Dia had confessed her feelings for Kanan and Mari before they went to Tokyo their first year. They had told her they’d give her their answer after they came back. After Aquors had shone on stage. But they didn’t shine. And Dia never got her answer.
Dia had agreed with Kanan’s reasoning, she just hadn’t predicted things would deteriorate as far as they did. Her confession got forgotten in the ensuing misery. At least by Kanan and Mari. Dia couldn’t make herself bring it up again, so she never got her answer.
She’s still not sure whether telling Ruby to give up on idols, and never talk about them again, hurt her sister or herself the most.
Yui had told herself she was okay.
During the first year of high school, when Ayano had finally gotten her act together and confessed to Kyouko, Yui had told herself it was okay.
When Kyouko and Ayano started dating, Yui had told herself she was okay.
She had missed her chance, that was all. She had been too late. Nothing to do about that now. Yui had told herself it was okay.
Yui had told herself she was okay.
But Yui wasn’t okay.
[Sequel to: Fearful Reunion]
AN: As I didn’t feel the “only one person’s POV” format would work for this part, and switching back and forth a lot with the — markers might be too distracting, I decided to go for a more traditional “show a bit of both” approach here. I hope you’re not too disappointed in me.
“H-hi Ruby,” Yoshiko said nervously. Ruby briefly thought about how this was one of the few times she had seen Yoshiko in casual clothes. It was typically either the school uniform, the practice clothes, an idol outfit, or one of her fancy, stylish outfits that Ruby adored so much… no, this wasn’t the time to think about that!
“Yoha-Yoshiko-ch-san,” Ruby said. She wasn’t sure how she wanted to address Yoshiko right now. Ruby still felt hurt, and a bit afraid. But there was also anger bubbling underneath, that made her want to hurt Yoshiko back. To make her understand how Ruby had felt.
Just seeing Yoshiko standing there, sheepish and uncomfortable, made Ruby feel an urge to hit Yoshiko where it would hurt. She was perhaps more scared of how she was feeling than she was of Yoshiko.
[Sequel to: Fallen Angel Hunt]
Kanan didn’t have the full story. She only had Dia’s take on it, plus a few words from Hanamaru. And Dia was livid.
Which Kanan could understand. Dia was very protective of Ruby, and Kanan would have probably felt similarly if she had a younger sister.
And she agreed that Ruby and Yoshiko needed to talk this through. Ruby wasn’t doing well, and clearly neither was Yoshiko. Though the latter might be in part due to how Dia was laying into her.
Yoshiko hadn’t said much. Maybe Dia couldn’t pick up on it, but Kanan could clearly see the girl was feeling guilty and awful. What little she had said made it just seem like a misunderstanding gone horribly wrong, though Dia wouldn’t hear it.
Kanan knew she had to intervene, or they weren’t getting anywhere. It had already been 10 minutes they’d just been standing here, and people were looking at them.
[Sequel to Cracked Gem]
Ruby hadn’t come to school today, and Hanamaru was concerned.
What Dia had told her seemed really bad, so now Hanamaru was waiting for school to be over so she could go see her.
However that was not the only thing bothering Hanamaru right now. Yoshiko was acting strange. Stranger than usual. Suspicious, almost.
Thinking back, she had been a little strange all day. Hanamaru had just written that off as fairly standard for Yoshiko though. She always had weird stuff on her mind. But ever since Dia stopped by, Yoshiko had gotten even stranger.
Ruby wasn’t coming out of her room, and Dia was worried.
When Ruby hadn’t shown up for practice yesterday, Dia had gone home afterwards prepared to give her sister an earful. Only to find her sobbing in her room.
Ruby was a delicate soul, and easily upset, but Dia had never seen anything like this.
She had held her little sister for a while, but Ruby had refused to tell her anything about what had happened. She had just clung to Dia and cried until she fell asleep from exhaustion.
And now Ruby was refusing to come out of her room. She had sounded outright furious when Dia had tried to force her to come down for breakfast and to go to school. It wasn’t the first time Dia’d had a plush or two thrown at her, but there was something so raw about the anger Ruby had displayed.