by J.C. Pickens
A fanfiction about an anime game. 3/? chapters completed.
|PSA: This is a fanfiction about the mobile game "Bang Dream!: Girl's Band Party". The story of the game focuses on five groups of high school girls in Japan who make their own bands. This story focuses on one of the girls and my take on her future. I understand this story is probably pretty hard to understand or keep up with if you're not familiar with the source material. I wrote it with the intention of putting it on a fanfiction website where only fans of the game would see it. I'm posting it here in hope of some critiques and help! I'm not really sure where to take the story next. (And if it's not obvious, the character named 'Tomoe' is the love interest.)
Poppin’ Party was the best thing that had ever happened to Saya Yamabuki. Her time with her friends filled her life with freedom, happiness, and the feeling of getting to be a kid for once. When they had all swore to find that sparkling dream Kasumi was searching for, Saya fully intended to keep that promise.
She never could have predicted that on the first day of her senior year her mother would collapse again. She had fainted while working but this time she wasn’t okay after a short stay in the hospital. She got worse and worse. Saya couldn’t bear not being there for her at every moment. Not when it had happened again while Saya wasn’t there. Taking care of her mother and her young siblings became more taxing. She would leave for the bakery right after school and sometimes show up hours late. Her grades declined as well as her time with the band.
When she realized she didn’t have the time for both Poppin’ Party and her family Saya bawled into her pillows all night. When she announced her departure from the band the next day she couldn’t stop the stream of tears spilling over her already red and puffy eyes. Her friends surrounded her in a tight group hug and wept with her. There were some pleads for her to stay but they all knew she had to take care of her family. She’d taken care of them for all this time, after all.
Saya was grateful that even after she left the band she was still able to hang out with her friends. During lunch they still had the same crazy conversations as always and it wasn’t uncommon for them to pass notes in class. Their friendship held strong throughout the rest of the year.
Suddenly everything came apart. The doctors didn’t have a clear explanation. Perhaps there wasn’t one. But just when it seemed like her mother was becoming well again she had died. She’d had a stroke in the middle of the night. “Passed away peacefully,” they assured. “While she was sleeping.”
Saya was inconsolable. She wanted to cry, scream, and let every feeling of misery and anger out. But she remained stoic as ever. If she let grief consume her, who would be there for her siblings who were too young to take care of themselves? Who would take care of the bakery while her widowed father was overcome with sorrow?
Saya was angry, yes, but not at her mother. Never at her. Every moment they spent together was full of love and caring for her was anything but a chore. She was angry at herself for not saving her mom as if there was any way she could.
She loved her family. She just didn’t know when to give herself a break. Her siblings tried to help out, of course, but were still just kids in the end. Poppin’ Party was there to console her as well but being unable to stand the pity she felt radiating from them Saya began to isolate herself. She came to school one or two days a week and spoke to her friends even less.
Without Saya the band couldn’t stay complete either. Without her motherly demeanor to keep everything peaceful arguments began. They weren’t large or dramatic but it was clear that it was time to take a break from the band. Each member began taking their own paths and focusing on studying for college.
Now here Saya was, the only one left in their hometown years later. Her mother had always talked about how important college would be but it just wasn’t an option for her now. Rimi was studying culinary arts in a somewhat fancy school in Tokyo. Kasumi ended up dragging Arisa along to a college a few cities away with her. Tae... well, they were all doing their own thing clearly. Saya was thankful for the warm memories they’d created together but tried her hardest to not think of her time in high school as it would only dig up the bad memories.
She shuffled her feet, feeling achey and exhausted inside the cramped subway car. Strangers’ arms bumped into her sides from every angle and in her arms she balanced a large box of baking supplies and a bag bulging with flour and sugar. The nearest supermarket was not near enough and she had to make this trek for ingredients every few days. The subway car jostled and she felt an elbow jab into her back. Regaining her composure, she sighed and glanced down at her watch. 7:25. She had less than an hour to make sure Jun and Sana were fed, bathed, and tucked into bed.
She glanced up as the subway car slowed to a stop, the doors creaking open and a sea of people pouring out. Fighting the stream of passengers entering the car, she got out just in time for the doors to snap shut behind her. As she hauled herself up the stairs and out of the subway, the cold breeze hitting her face was pleasant. She admired the setting sun as she made her way down the street. The sky was painted pink and yellow and the fall trees were adorned with red and orange leaves. She’d always loved this time of year.
The streets of their town were filled with small, welcoming shops and people coming in and out of their inviting warmth. As she waited before the crosswalk, a cold wind jostled Saya out of her thoughts. She pulled her coat closed tighter to fend off the wind. Looking up she noticed a small crowd across the street. It looked like a couple of street performers getting applauded. She turned away, not too keen about thinking about music.
The lights above the crosswalk signaled her to go, and she began to pace across. Though she tried to tune it out, she could hear as the street performers began another song.
“Saying I love you is not the words I want to hear from you...”
She stopped dead in her tracks. It almost sounded like... no. No way.
“If you only knew... how easy it would be to show me how you feel~”
She craned her neck towards the crowd but they were too bunched together to reveal anything. A car honked at her and she jolted, finally realized she had stopped walking. She jogged to the other side of the street, straining again to listen to the song.
“Then you wouldn’t have to say that you love me,”
She began walking towards the crowd, pace quickening until she was full on running and the box in her arms jostled around wildly. She forced through the crowd, panting.
“Cause I’d already knooow!”
There she was. Tae Hanazono, live and in the flesh. They locked eyes and the strumming of the guitar stopped.
The crowd erupted in a mix of confused and upset murmurs when the music suddenly stopped. Tae sprung up from the spot where she’d been playing and wrapped Saya in a tight hug.
“Sayaaa!~ I was just about to head to the bakery. Let’s find somewhere to chat, hmm?” She smiled.
Saya, still shaken up, just nodded bemusedly. It was only after that had she noticed that Tae wasn’t alone. Behind her was Rei Wakana of Raise A Suilen who was packing up Tae’s guitar and shooing away the crowd.
“There’s a cafe just around this corner. Why don’t you two talk there?” Rei said, leading them through the remains of the crowd by their hands.
The owner of the cafe shouted a greeting when the bell above the door jingled as they entered. After ordering some small snacks, they slid into a nearby booth. Saya set her supplies next to her and Tae slid in next to Rei. After getting a better look at them Saya realized Tae’s hair was noticeably shorter and a good section of the side of Rei’s hair had been shaved. They definitely looked like rockstars.
“It’s so good to see you,” Saya began, smiling. “What are you doing back here?”
“Yeah, I didn’t exactly expect it either,” Tae laughed, “but Chu-Chan’s grand plan of all of us attending that big music school together... well it just wasn’t for me as you can tell.”
That’s right, Saya had nearly forgotten how Tae had joined Raise A Suilen towards the end of senior year. She seemed to be having fun. Saya wasn’t angry at her for it. After all, if she wanted to play the music she was passionate about Saya wasn’t going to stop her. That wasn’t to say that some people weren’t upset about it, though. The incident had driven a stake through Tae and Arisa’s friendship. Arisa couldn’t forgive her for being a ‘traitor of Poppin’ Party’ and eventually she got the reluctant Kasumi on her side.
‘How are they doing these days?...’ Saya found herself wondering.
She then realized that she had gone completely silent and Tae and Rei had been staring at her curiously.
“Oh! Er, well, is that so? Well it’s not for everyone, right?” She chuckled.
“Yeah, this one is horrible at studying,” Rei said, nudging Tae playfully. “But anyways... I’ve heard a lot about you, Yamabuki-san. How is your bakery doing?”
“You don’t need to bother with formalities. Just call me Saya! And it’s quite well, thank you. We’ve recently added back that rabbit-shaped bread that Tae is so fond of.”
She saw a twinkle in Tae’s eyes at that. She looked like she had a lot more to say but was cut off by a plate being set in front of her. She began scarfing down the food immediately. Saya and Rei picked at their drinks, deep in an awkward silence.
“Ah, sorry, you first,” Rei insisted.
“I was going to ask— that is I mean, uh... how’s the band?” Saya asked, almost sounding unsure of her own question.
“It’s great,” Rei said, looking relieved to be talking about music. “We’ve been doing lots of shows solidly for a while now. Just taking a small break. Figured me and this dropout,” she nudged Tae again, a bit less playfully this time, “could come back home for some grade-A nostalgia.”
“Oh!” Tae exclaimed.
“What?” Rei said.
“You-you know,” Tae fumbled, struggling to finish chewing, “who else is coming back?”
“Ohhh,” Rei said.
“Uh, who?” Saya asked confusedly.
“Afterglow!” Tae shouted excitedly, receiving a wave of shh’s from the other tables. “According to my sources they’re taking a break as well.”
“That’s right. What do you think about us meeting up with Mitake-san to talk about...”
As the two began a long conversation about music, Saya thought back to what had happened with Afterglow. Everything seemed so distant and fuzzy but she remembered them suddenly getting huge after graduation. They’d been touring for quite a while up until now.
“... her solos have always been— oh?”
Tae was cut off mid-sentence by her phone beeping loudly with some annoying ringtone. She received another onslaught of glares from the other tables. As she read whatever message she had received, she seems to go through several emotions; happy, confused, sad, and happy again.
“I’m sorry about this Saya but we’ve got something we gotta go see about. I’ll come by the bakery real soon, okay? We have a lot to talk about!” Tae stepped out of their booth and took Rei’s hand.
“No worries. I’ll see you soon!” Saya smiled.
As the two left the cafe, Saya returned sipping to her drink. She was confused. She should’ve felt happy after seeing her dear friend again after so long. In a way, she was, but why did she still feel so... strange? The feeling was like a heavy stone sitting in her stomach. She waved the thought away, instead looking at her phone.
“8:05?!” She yelped. After receiving a third wave of death glares from the other customers, she apologized quietly and gathered her things. How had so much time passed? She needed to get home ASAP.
She shoved through the door, turning to head down the sidewalk. She was about to start rushing home when she stopped frozen in her tracks.
There was Tae and Rei on the sidewalk, doing what seemed like... no. No, it was just the cold getting to her. She wasn’t seeing it right. She was just tired.
Oh, who was she kidding? They were standing there, kissing!
Fortunately the two were too...busy to notice Saya as she turned around sharply and began speed-walking away.
Gee, you sure pick up some weird habits from living in the big city. Yeah, that must have been it. She pushed the thought of what had happened far into the back of her brain and set off.
“I’m home!” She shouted as she pushed through the bakery door. She let out a sigh of relief once the heavy supplies were set down on the bakery counter. As she shook off the cold she realized that the bakery was filled with a strange quietness. An eerie quietness. A something-is-terribly-wrong quietness.
“Dad? Jun? Sana?” She called out, voice echoing through the store. There was no reply, but when she strained her hearing she could make out faint noises from the kitchen. She tiptoed over and pressed her ear to the door.
“... gonna get caught!”
“Only if you don’t shut up!”
“Kids, come on...”
She recognized her family’s voices and felt her stomach settle when realizing they weren’t being kidnapped and were probably just up to no good. She gripped the doorknob of the kitchen door and flung it open.
“What are you— EEK!”
Saya nearly fainted at the sight that appeared before her. The entire kitchen was filled with large piles of soap suds. Her siblings, completely covered in soap, screeched as the door flew open.
“Saya! We’re so sorry!” Jun cried.
“Please don’t be mad!” Sana added.
Saya shot a look at her father, eyes pleading for an explanation.
“They wanted to help out by doing the dishes,” he said from where he knelt, messing with the dishwasher. “I’m sorry, sweetie. I should’ve been watching them.”
Saya sighed. It was a long, long sigh filled with all of that days exhaustions. But in the end she couldn’t help but smile. On second glance she knew her siblings couldn’t have been that sorry about it. She had noticed the bubble beards and mustaches they had given themselves. But she knew that in the end she couldn’t keep spoiling them. She tried her best to put on a stern face.
“I’ll forgive you... IF,” she emphasized with a point in the direction of the storage closet, “you mop this mess up.”
She let out chuckled once her siblings had scurried out of the room, trailing soap suds behind them. There was never a quiet day for the Yamabukis.
It was nearly midnight when Saya could finally let herself fall face-first into bed. She went through her mental checklist as she snuggled into the covers. The kitchen had been cleaned. The kids had been fed and bathed. Jun got his math homework finished. The counters were wiped down and the dough for tomorrow morning was made. She went through nearly every detail of her day until she suddenly was shocked once more by the memory of what she had seen outside of the cafe. She'd been trying so hard to forget that she ended up remembering it anyway. But Saya was a busy woman. She had responsibilities. There was just no time in the day to ponder the idea that her friend was in... that kind of a relationship. Fortunately, the thought was pushed from her head when the waves of exhaustion finally rocked her to sleep.
Saya's eyes shot open and her brain screamed expletives. She knew she had been asleep but it felt as though it were only for a few minutes. She went through this routine nearly every day. She groggily checked her phone. Huh, six hours. She got more than usual. Wait... five hours?! She threw off her comforter and leapt out of bed and slipped on her bunny slippers.
"Fuck fuck fuck fuck," she muttered. She'd forgotten to set an alarm last night. There was so much to do.
"I'M COMING!" She shouted back, bursting through the door of her bedroom and making her way to the kitchen. Her dad was hurriedly trying to set up shop for the morning. There was bread in the oven but it wasn't nearly the amount they had done by this time. Her siblings ran to her and pulled on her pajama bottoms.
"Saya, we're hungry!" Jun complained.
"Why didn't you make those little frozen waffles? Remember how I showed you?"
"We're out! Dad forgot to buy more!" Sana cried.
Saya groaned and opened the fridge. It was going to be a long morning.
The bakery was pleasantly quiet once everything had calmed down. Today's breads were finally baked and Jun and Sana were sent to school. Saya's father let her work in the front of the store-- a welcome break from the heat of the kitchen. From where Saya leaned on the counter she had a nice view of the middle school kids walking to school and the adults rushing to work. One of her favorite things to do was people watching. It was one of the only things she had time for nowadays and she liked to make up stories about the people walking past the store. The kid who walked past was actually an undercover princess trying to blend in with the common folk. The guy in the all-black ensemble was secretly a vampire. The girl with the bright red hair was... coming inside?
"Ah! Welcome!" Saya smiled, straightening up from her relaxed position. "Can I help you with any-- wait... Tomoe?"
"In the flesh!" The redhead chuckled. "Nice to see you. I'm here on a bread run for Moca. She wouldn't stop bugging me about it."
"Is that so? Where is my best customer anyhow? I heard you guys were coming back and prepared everything just for her." Saya joked.
"She's busy getting her guitar fixed right now. Poor thing is smashed to bits. Our last show got a little crazy," Tomoe explained as she browsed the display of baked goods.
"Oh my... well I'll be sure to give her the freshest of breads to take her mind off it. They'll be out in just a minute if you dont mind waiting. Anything else you need?"
"Hmm..." Tomoe scratched her chin. "I'll take one of those chocolate coronets. Always meant to try one."
"Good choice. Here, its on the house!" Saya wrapped up the bread and handed it to Tomoe. Their fingers brushed for just a second and Saya was taken aback by how rough Tomoe's had become. Years of drumming would do that, she supposed.
"Really? You're too sweet!" Tomoe grinned, biting into the coronet. "Ugh... but this might be even sweeter. Yep, this was a bad idea. No offense."
Saya let out a chuckle watching Tomoe cringe at the absurd amount of chocolate she'd bitten into.
"None taken. I didn't peg you as a sweets person anyhow."
"Yeah, not usually my thing. You want the rest?" Tomoe held out the coronet.
Even though it was way too early for sweets and Saya had grown tired of eating chocolate coronets from being around them her entire life, her body ended up moving before she could stop it.
"Sure!" Saya said, a bit too eagerly. Thankfully Tomoe didn't seem to notice-- or just ignored it. She took the coronet and and gave Tomoe's appearance a sneaky second glance. Her hair had gotten longer and the roots were showing. She had a few new piercings in her ear and sported her usual crop top (wasn't she cold?). She'd also gotten much taller. Tomoe had always been one of the tallest girls at their school but now she had at least 6 inches on Saya. Finally Saya noticed just how ripped she was. She had muscles before but her arms were so defined now. She wondered if it was from playing the drums or because... oops, yep, now she was staring. Her eyes snapped back up to Tomoe's face and were met with a smug grin.
"Ya like? I usually have to lug around all our equipment so it pays to stay fit," Tomoe joked, playfully flexing her arm. Saya blushed.
"Ahaha... let me see if those breads are ready!" Saya blurted out, excusing herself to the kitchen quickly. She took a moment to regain her composure.
"Everything alright, sweetie?" Her father asked from where he was working.
"Just fine!" She assured, grabbing a tray of bread that had just come out of the oven and making her way back to the front.
"Alright, here's six breads for my favorite customer," She said as she bagged them. "These are on the house too."
"Are you sure? I'd feel bad not paying..."
Saya paused for a second.
"Then how about this," She smiled. "Your payment is... that you come back again so we can chat!"
"For sure!" Tomoe grinned. "Thanks again. See ya later!"
As the door to the bakery shut Saya let her head thwack onto the counter. She let out a groan. Why did she say that?! Her and Tomoe weren't even that close. She definitely thought she was weird. And why did she keep staring at her muscles?
"Oh, and one more thing."
Saya's head shot up from the counter. She hadn't even seen the door open again and Tomoe's face peek in.
"Yes?" She asked, putting on another smile.
"I like the new uniform."
The door shut again and Saya glanced down, confused. She felt her soul leave her body when she realized she was still wearing her pajamas.