Expo Mono No Aware


Staff member
His name was Daisuke Kobayashi. He grew up with adoptive parents in a small town east of Yokohama. He never knew he was different until moving to the big city, but kids have a way of finding that stuff out before the thought even crosses your mind.

His first day at this new school was already going to be an uphill battle. It was already the middle of the semester, at the start of the final year, in one of the larger middle schools in the city; to say fitting in would be a struggle was a massive understatement. Still, he was never one to let these odds get the better of him. That's what he told himself, anyway; sure, he may have his low points, but doesn't everyone? The important thing was that he was able to pick himself back up, to at least act like he was doing alright. That had worked pretty well so far- and, nerves aside, today was a pretty good day for him.

He walked into the classroom with a smile on his face.

"Class, this is our new student." The teacher gestured vaguely in his direction, "Kobayashi Daisuke."

"Good morning!"


Daisuke looked at the teacher, expecting her to tell the class to greet him back, but she seemed occupied with whatever was on her desk. So... what was he going to do? It was such a simple social blunder, surely it had to have a simple solution as well, right? He could greet them again, as if they hadn't heard him the first time, but- god, that would be embarrassing, wouldn't it? He could say something else, but... ah, the conversation seemed to have already moved on by now. He could... well, he could give up and return to his seat, but where's the fun in-

"Kobayashi, could you sit down, please?"

"Y-yes, ma'am. Sorry."

He awkwardly shuffled down the room towards an empty desk near the back, accompanied by the dagger-stares of his classmates. Oh, well- there was always recess, right? Or... how about extracurriculars? Yes, there would be plenty of other chances to make friends here- it wasn't the end of the line just yet! Hopefully these people weren't so shallow as to dismiss him after something as minor as that, right?

"Right. First things first- I have the test results for last week's math paper. Everyone got passing grades, but only a few of you got perfect scores. Those were, ah..."

She leafed through her notebook for a bit before continuing.

"Takada, Iwasaki, Inoue, and..." She snapped the book shut, "Matsuda. That is to be expected, isn't it?"

Daisuke's ears snapped to a harmony of whispers off to his left; a group of students excitedly muttering amongst themselves about the test results, with one student smiling with mock sheepishness in the middle. That must be Matsuda, then, he thought. None of the other names brought that much of a reaction.

"Oh, Kobayashi?"

"Yes, ma'am?"

"The test is mandatory. I'm afraid you'll have to stay in over lunch to complete it."

Fucking bitch.
"My name is Moriyasu."

"And the band?"

"MEMENTO. Latin alphabet, all capitals."

"Huh." The manager chuckled, "Oh, I get it. Clever."

He didn't mention that MEMENTO could only really hold two members: mysterious prodigy 'Moriyasu' and his college friend 'Akira'. Everyone else either couldn't commit to the schedule, couldn't handle the constant flow of shows and tours and impulse gigs, or held certain... creative differences. 'Leadership' of the band was a big one. It came as quite a shock that Moriyasu, the guitarist and backing vocalist, was the one who had creative control over the whole project. Akira, the lead singer, was at least thankful that the workload had been shifted, but too many people found them a little too hard to work with.

This was a one-night gig, at least, so there wasn't much need to get all that acquainted with the band's short, yet sordid history. The two stand-ins had been the ones to recommend this place, after all, though Akira seemed hesitant to take their advice. Said it was probably tied to organised crime in the area; I mean, why else would they be willing to take a chance on a band like MEMENTO? Moriyasu had to admit, the manager was skeeving him out a bit- but, unlike his friend, he wasn't one to back down from a good show.

"So, how much?"

"Twenty thousand."



"Come on."

He saw Akira grimace in the corner of his eye.

[font size="1"]"Mori, don't bargain with this guy; you don't know what he-"[/font]

"Forty, then." The manager smiled, extending a hand, "That's my final offer."

"We'll take it."

They shook, though the smile on the manager's face lingered for a little longer than Moriyasu would've liked. Gold teeth. Scarred gums. Akira took that as his cue to leave, and was followed shortly after, prompting a hailstorm of whispered complaints.

"You're insane. You're fucking insane- you know that, right?"

"Twenty thousand yen is not enough for all four of us." He shrugged, "Besides, he clearly had the money to spare. He was the one who went higher in the end, not-"

"He has the money to spare, dumbshit, because he's a fucking-" Akira checked over his shoulder before continuing, "He's a fucking criminal, that's why. You know that. Fucking hell, Mori..."

"It worked, didn't it?"

He opened his mouth to retort, but nothing came out. Moriyasu was right- it did work. Somehow, some fucking how, his little deal had gone through.

"Fucking- whatever, man." He sighed, "It starts at nine, right? I'll meet you guys at eight- [font size="1"]if you haven't been fucking shot first...[/font]"
Music club was scheduled to take place ten minutes after the final class had ended, and Daisuke was seriously weighing up his options here. The day had beaten him down so much, he didn't really see much point in going. The math paper was tedious, the new teacher was shit, and the kids in his class... well, he wasn't one to assume the worst in anyone, but they all seemed to revel in his misfortune. Every mistake, every missed cue, it was all met with hushed whispers and silent laughter. What was it about him that made them like this? Was it just because he was new? God, there wasn't anything wrong with him, was there?

No. No, of course there wasn't. Daisuke was normal- he knew he was normal, and normal people don't skip out on their goddamn extracurriculars. He couldn't let this get the better of him- if he couldn't make friends in his class, he'd have to make friends here instead. That's what he told himself this morning, wasn't it? He took the guitar out of his locker and made his way down the empty halls, steeling himself for a moment before pushing open the classroom doors to the music club.


And they all seemed distracted. Great. Even this was cliquey. Daisuke slouched his way towards the back of the room, just about ready to resign himself to his fate, before he felt a light tap on his shoulder.

"Oh, Kobayashi!"

He turned around, almost shocked at the interaction- and seemingly even more so at who it came from.


The boy laughed.

"You, ah... you alright?"

"Yeah, I'm just-"

"Just wasn't expecting to see you here, that's all." Matsuda smiled, "Are you down on the register? I could write your name for you if you'd rather-"

"Sure I-"



He gave Daisuke a thumbs up and turned to walk back to the front, but something made him pause.

"Are you alright, though?" He said, voice a little quieter, "I mean, it looks like you've had a rough day and-"

"I'm fine!"

Matsuda raised an eyebrow.

"The test go okay? It was a tough one this year."

"Yeah, I mean- like, this stuff comes naturally to me." Daisuke laughed awkwardly, "I mean, you of all people must understand what that feels like, given your, uh..."

"Reputation?" He shrugged, "I guess, yeah. Some people just... really gel with numbers, I suppose."



They stood there in silence for a moment. Matsuda broke it by clearing his throat, then pointing to the front of the classroom.

"Teacher's not in today, so I'm in charge of things- club president, and all." He said, "We'll be playing from page two of the sheet music- you can take mine, if you want. If you get lost, then, uh..."

He laughed.

"Just play quietly, okay? That's what I do. Saves me the, um..."

He stopped laughing.

"Saves me the embarrassment."

Daisuke didn't know someone like Matsuda could be embarrassed.
"I fucking told you it was a good idea."

Moriyasu laughed and shook his head.

"Nuh-uh, I was the one who had to convince you to not fucking..." He gestured towards the door, "To not fucking book it out the door the second we came in, you pussy. I told you it was a good idea."

They both laughed, then turned back to their drinks.

The gig had gone well, despite both of their concerns. The crowd seemed to love them- MEMENTO hadn't got this kind of reception since they first started, playing locally to people who already knew them by name. They had all gone to the venue's bar after it had wrapped to celebrate, as per usual, but this time it all seemed uncharacteristically genuine. Jesus, these two temps certainly were a cut above the rest- Moriyasu was tempted to keep them on for the foreseeable future.

"Hey!" Akira flagged down the bartender, "Can we get another round over here?"

"Slow down, man, I haven't even finished this one yet."

Akira punched him in the shoulder.

"Well hurry up, dumbass." He winked, then turned back to the bar, "Hey! Over here! Fuckin- fuck, it's too loud in here. Hey!"

Moriyasu left him to it, turning away from the bar to gaze lazily out over the crowd. They were... hardened, by the looks of things. The more he looked, the more relieved he was that the show went well- if people like this got rowdy, they would've been looking at... fuck, he didn't even want to think about that. They seemed calm now, at least- huddled around tables, playing cards, drinking, as they all were. Moriyasu let himself relax.

His eyes slowly drifted towards the venue's manager, standing recognisably at the back, his gold teeth catching the light as he spoke to... someone. He couldn't tell who it was from this distance- some shorter, older-looking guy with a suit and an eyepatch. The only thing Moriyasu could discern from where he sat was the manager's face. The manager's teeth. The manager's... worried grimace. Whatever the pair were talking about, it was making him very nervous- he could tell just from the man's posture that this other guy- well, he didn't know if it was his boss or what, but-

The man turned around.

Moriyasu averted his gaze immediately, catching only the briefest sting from the stranger's stare. It was so brief that he couldn't even process what he looked like- what his expression was, whether he was angry. Something in the back of his mind, against all the context in the world, seemed to tell him he was not. He felt himself tense up as he turned back towards the bar.

"Hey, Mori, what are you having?"

"I'm not-"

It wasn't like him to stutter.

"I'm not drinking any more yet," He shrugged, "Not until I've finished this, anyway. I'll save you the money."

Akira laughed.

"Alright, suit yourself."

And, so, the night went on. Akira kept drinking, Moriyasu kept nursing his pint- wary, but otherwise fairly unbothered. The couple drinks he had before was likely helping his mood. God knows they were helping Akira, who was practically manic when he was drunk. Well- he was manic, and...

"Woah, hey there..."


A pair of women had approached the band, giggling coyly between themselves. Within seconds of spotting them, Akira had turned around completely to face them, almost falling off his stool in the process. He leaned his arm against the bar and smiled—however unintentionally—awkwardly. The girls ignored him.

They seemed more interested in their bandmates- the two temps who had suggested this place. Neither of the leads could hear what they were talking about, but, whatever it was, it didn't take long to work. Within less than a minute, the temps had stood up, each pairing off with one of the strangers, eager to follow them out of the bar. At least one had the manners to awkwardly wave goodbye to Moriyasu.

Akira was furious.

"Lucky bastards..." He scowled once they had left, "How come they managed to pull? This was our show, for fuck's sake- we were the leads. What, do they think we're-"

"Hey, let 'em have it." Moriyasu shrugged, "I wouldn't trust any girl around these parts, anyway."

Akira sighed.

"Since when were you the voice of reason?"

"Since your sixth beer."

"Fuck you, man."

They both turned back to the bar. This wasn't awkward, this back and forth- they had been through it enough times that it couldn't possibly be. There was a reason MEMENTO had two stable members, rather than just one. Soon enough, they both started laughing about it. Quiet, at first, but growing more boisterous as it went on, and as the reality of their situation began to sink in. It didn't matter. They both knew it didn't matter. They were sitting here, in this crime-funded bar, getting drunk after possibly the riskiest gig of their lives. What did they have to fight about?

Moriyasu felt a light tap on his shoulder.

"Moriyasu, right?"

He turned around, somewhat annoyed by the interaction- but seeing who it came from made him change his tune entirely.

It was the manager.

"Yeah?" He said, nudging Akira to turn around as well, "Was the, uh... was the performance alright?"

The manager didn't respond. He just handed the pair a pair of envelopes.

"Twenty thousand each." He said, "Take it or leave it."


"Twenty thousand?"

"Take it or leave it."

"We'll take it, we'll take it..."

"Fucking hell, Mori, I knew we did well, but not-"

Moriyasu took the envelopes, and the manager grasped his hand.


He let go.


He turned away.

"I just wanted to say I'm sorry."
Tap tap tap.

Tap tap tap.

Tap tap-

Daisuke's eyes snapped open, still heavy from sleep. He rolled over to turn the light on.

Tap tap tap.

The sound was coming from the window, not the door. He'd have to stand up either way, but the extra step of drawing the blinds was... annoying, to say the least. Was it really worth the effort to look at a stupid fucking bird? He needed the sleep if he was going to have a better day tomorrow- if he went into that classroom sleep-deprived and miserable, he wouldn't make it through the year alive. No- no, yes he would. This was insignificant, wasn't it? He could shrug off one night of interrupted sleep, there was no need to catastrophise. The best thing he could do now was try and get some sleep- hopefully this interruption didn't throw his cycle off too much. Daisuke turned the light off and rolled over again-


He was going to skin that fucking thing alive.

Daisuke slammed his fist against the lightswitch, imprinting the rectangle into his hand. He dragged himself out of bed and over to the window, fumbled with the blinds for a moment, before finally getting through and throwing the window open.


No bird, no feathers, nothing except a faint rustling by the hedge beneath the windowsill. What, was it a cat or something? He knew they had stray cats in the area, but he didn't know knocking on windows was a thing they tended to do. Actually, come to think of it, he didn't know knocking on windows was a thing birds tended to do, either. Was it- oh, for fuck's sake, was it a prank? Did the neighbours hate him too? He had been in Yokohama for less than a week- it hadn't taken long for literally every single person in the entire city to hate him personally, had it?

He grabbed a flashlight from his desk and leaned out of the window, shining it down into the hedge. More rustling, but no sign of anyone there- though, there did seem to be a shape somewhere in the shadows. His room was on the second floor, and the hedge stretched up the entire side of the house. It took a few moments before he realised that climbing the hedge would be a stupid idea, even for a prankster. There wasn't anyone in there. Why would there be someone hiding inside his hedge? They must be further down, somehow reaching his window from the ground beneath. He leaned further out, his whole torso crossing the windowpane, stretching forward to squint through the darkness. They had to be there, whoever they were- he had to get closer, he had to see them...



"God, Daisuke, get down from there!"

His mother rushed into the room, grabbing him by the shoulders to pull him away from the window and into a panicked embrace.

"I- it wasn't- I wasn't going to-"

"Are you okay?"

"I- yeah. Yeah, I'm... I'm fine." He muttered, "I wasn't trying to... I just thought I saw someone outside- I wanted to get a closer look. I promise, I'm not-"

"Are you sure?"


His mother sighed and let go.

"Daisuke, talk to me. Please." She said, "You never talk to me as much anymore. Is everything okay? How was sc-"

"School? Yeah, school was fine."

Daisuke smiled. It didn't seem too convincing. He stepped away from the window to prove his point, but even that wasn't enough.

"Really? You seemed in an awful rush to get upstairs when you came in..."

"Oh, that was just... I just wanted to study, that's all. Just learned the new curriculum- gotta keep on top of that if I want to get into-"

"I'm not worried about that, Daisuke. You know I'm not." She frowned, "I know you'll do fine academically. I'm more worried about... ah, did you make any new friends?"

Daisuke felt his voice catch in his throat.



"Yeah." He said, half-lying, "We, uh... we spoke in music club- he's the club president. Really, uh... really helped me feel welcome."

"That's good."

His mother smiled, patting him on the shoulder.

"Just as long as you're doing okay." She said, "We don't want... well, I... I don't want you..."

"I won't." He said quietly, "I've got that under control now. I'm doing a lot better- I think... I think moving to Yokohama really helped."

She nodded.

"I'm glad."

They stood in silence for a moment.

"Well, um..." Daisuke said, "I should really be getting back to bed."

"Right. You sleep well, okay?"

"Of course."

She closed the door and turned off the light, and Daisuke went back to bed. He... he wasn't really lying, was he? Matsuda was his friend, technically- he was as close as he had come to making a friend, at least. However brief their interaction was, it was still friendly, and that had to count for something, right? Besides, the kid seemed popular- if he could be friends with Matsuda, then making friends with his friends would be a cinch. That was a plan, right? Get in with the popular guy, keep attending music club, then his social life would be fixed, and everything would be fine. All he needed for the first step was a good night's sleep- he could figure out the rest tomorrow.

Tap tap tap.

He wasn't going to let the noise bother him anymore. Whether it was a bird, or some neighbour kid, it wasn't worth his time.

Tap tap tap.

It wasn't worth his energy.

Tap tap tap.

It wasn't worth sacrificing his plan.

Tap tap SMASH-
Last edited:
"Moriiiii, my head hurts...."

"What am I, your fucking maid?" Moriyasu scoffed, "What do you want me to do about it? Go get yourself some water- or a painkiller, if it's that bad."

"I'm just complaining, man."

"Damn right you are."

Akira pulled himself somewhat upright and slouched over the back of the couch, frowning at his bandmate from across the room.

"You're way nicer when you're drunk."

"Isn't everyone?"

Moriyasu, of course, refused to turn away from the computer. He refused to take his headphones off, as well- they were open-backs, he would claim, so he didn't have to. He could still hear everything perfectly fine, so taking them off would be pointless. Unfortunately, this made it pretty hard to tell if he was actually listening to what was being said- though, it didn't take a genius to figure out that the answer was probably no.

"What are you even doing over there, anyway?" Akira scowled, "Oh god, don't tell me you got them to-"

"Record the gig? Of course. You know I like to have a record of these things."

"They don't fucking sell. It's a waste of time."

"We don't need them to sell." Moriyasu shrugged, "I mean, you saw what happened with that guy- I reckon, if we keep doing risky shows like that, we can con more people out of-"

"It wasn't a con, man."

"He didn't pay the others."

Akira stopped dead in his tracks.


"He didn't pay the others." He repeated, "They must've been in debt to him or something, so all the money went to us. That's what I'm saying- if we keep finding people in debt, and keep playing shows to the people they owe, then maybe we can-"

"You're fucking crazy, man. We're not doing that."

Moriyasu responded with a shrug, and continued to focus on his work. It was true, though- the others hadn't been paid at all. In fact, he hadn't heard anything from them since the gig. It was safe to assume the worst, as strange as that was to say. I mean, what were they thinking? Agreeing to play in front of people like that was stupid- although, weren't they the ones who suggested the venue in the first place? Is that why the manager apologised?

"Akira, come here a sec."

Oh, well. It wasn't his place to pry. It didn't affect them at all- in fact, it made things better, seeing they had pocketed the full salary.

"What now?"

He took off the headphones and put them over Akira's head, then pressed a button on the keyboard. A song started playing, and- fuck, he could still hear it, even though he didn't have the headphones on.

"You hear that?"

"The drums?"

"No, dumbshit- when I sing. There's like- like mic feedback, or something. Here, I'll play it again-"

"Nope, I don't hear anything."

Moriyasu frowned, snatching the headphones from Akira and putting them on.

"It's there." He said, "Right when I come in, there's a fucking- listen, I'll put it through the speakers."

He played it through the speakers. Akira shook his head.

"You're imagining things, man."

"I'm not-"

"Look, you ever heard of tinnitus?"

"Tinnitus doesn't go that low." Moriyasu snapped, "Besides, I- I know it came from me. I just- look, I just didn't know it was an actual sound, I thought it was just-"

"Your inner monologue?"

"My inner monologue."

Akira laughed.

"Well, it is your inner monologue." He said, "Can you get me a glass of water now?"

"What am I, your fucking maid?"
It felt heavy, for such a small thing. Could they see its weight as well- through him, somehow? Was that why their stares seemed especially pointed?

It was the second day, now, though it seemed to be going exactly as well as the first. Ignored in class, left behind by the unfamiliar curriculum, and left in the dark about that math paper he spent so much time worrying over. They had homework as well, apparently, but he seemed to be let off that one. Still, that did mean another whole chunk of time was spent sitting there, left out of their stupid, almost ceremonial little hand-in. He could barely stifle his frown. It showed through his smile like a cut bleeding through bandages.

Still, he was almost glad it did. It meant someone noticed.


He was looking directly at him, mouthing something he couldn't quite make out with a look of genuine-seeming worry on his face. Daisuke could only nod in response, offering an uncomfortable smile. It felt fake- it all felt fake. Even his concern was fleeting, quickly turning back to his stupid little social circle, leaving Daisuke alone again. Stupid, arrogant bastard. Who did he think he-

Who did Daisuke think he was, actually?

He paused. Composed himself. Remembered what he had been told to think in times like this. Why would Matsuda make a show of fake-concern when he knew nobody was watching? That would be stupid- and Matsuda definitely wasn't stupid. It was probably genuine- he probably genuinely cared for Daisuke, and... oh god, was he... was this it? Did he finally make a friend? Finally?

Could he... could he bring up last night?


The bell allowed them outside, and Daisuke knew exactly what to do. He had to talk to Matsuda- this was his only chance to so this, to really solidify this friendship. Not only that, but Matsuda would likely be hanging out with his friends as well, and if he wanted to hang out with Daisuke, then maybe... maybe they would as well? Maybe? Gah, he was too nervous to even think straight! This wasn't like him at all!

He composed himself as he walked towards the group, who were talking by the back wall. Matsuda's peers stared at him as he passed, clearly not showing the same level of concern. It wasn't until he tapped him on the shoulder that Matsuda himself finally turned around.

"Mm- oh, Daisuke!" He smiled, "How... how are you?"

"Great!" Daisuke said, "I'm, uh-"

"Oh, I thought you were sick, or something. You... you look sick."

His voice caught in his throat.

"I'm not sick." He said, a little too defensively, "I'm just tired, that's all. My face gets kinda... kinda pallid when I don't sleep properly."


Why the fuck did he say that?

"Well, uh... me and the guys were going to get some lunch, if you wanted to join."

'The guys' didn't seem too enthused. Matsuda continued regardless, pointing to each member individually.

"Oh, this is Takada, Inoue, Nomura..."

"I'm not- nah, I can't today, man." Takada interrupted, "Not with... look, I thought it'd just be us guys, y'know?"

"Yeah, me too."


That's three for three. Daisuke's smile tightened.

"Oh, that's alright- I, uh..." He stuttered, "I could always see you in music-"

"No, no, I wanna have lunch with you." Matsuda said, "You're sick- you need to eat. And, I... look..."

His voice dropped to a whisper as the pair were left alone.

"I hang out with those guys every day, man. I need a change of pace."

"I'll take that."



They stood in silence for a moment. A long moment. A heavy moment. Matsuda broke it with a question.

"So... why couldn't you sleep last night?"

"Well, uh..."

Daisuke reached into his pocket, and produced that heavy thing- a stone, river-smoothed, with an eye painted on its surface in red.

"Someone threw this through my window."

Mhm, yeah. Yeah.

Good to hear. Thank you for this.

Three-thirty? Yeah, I- yeah, we should be good for that. Outside the lobby, right?


Cool, we'll meet you there."

Akira leaned over, gesturing vaguely in Moriyasu's direction. Moriyasu ignored him.

"Right, yeah- yeah, we're all set up here. Just waiting on you," He continued into the phone, "Thanks, again. I'm sorry things worked out the way they did but- look, if anything happens, we'll just leave, okay? We've got your back. Let's talk about it when you're here, okay?


See you soon."

He snapped the phone shut and put it in his pocket, before finally turning to face Akira. God, what was he looking so expectant for? Was he trying to listen to the conversation from where he stood? That was stupid. Moriyasu frowned.

"What's with that look?"

"You didn't tell me you got girls for the band."

"You're right, I didn't." Moriyasu scowled, "Can you guess why that is, hm?"

"I'll behave!" Akira laughed, "I'm just... pleasantly surprised, that's all- especially given those last two. Oh, speaking of, have you heard anything back from th-"


They were dead. Moriyasu had heard that they were dead- killed by those they owed, paying for their lost revenue with their lives. He didn't know the details. He didn't want to. What mattered is that they got paid instead- and what mattered more was that they managed to get paid with no consequence.

"Guess we're in the clear then, huh?"

Moriyasu laughed.

"Guess we are."

At least Akira could see that side of it, though it was clearly from a place of unknowing. They were in the clear, he could almost guarantee it- men like that didn't tend to be subtle about such matters, after all. If they had a problem, they would surely be made aware of it in much the same way as their previous bandmates. None of that had happened, thank fuck. The only lingering consequence Moriyasu could count was the increased tendency to check over his shoulder whenever he was alone.

It was enough of a green flag to tempt him into trying again.

These two girls, they were in debt as well- both to some sketchy older woman they refused to name. Moriyasu assumed they were talking about some brothel owner at first, but that didn't seem to be the case, looking into it. It looked to be a loan given to them to kick-start their careers- careers which, given their willingness to join MEMENTO, didn't seem to be going too well. Apparently something happened to their benefactor that made her rescind her kindness. He didn't know. He didn't need to know. They were desperate, she was dangerous, and those were the only facts which mattered.


An envelope was posted through the open window.

"Huh?" Akira turned towards the door, "Fuck, is that a bill?"

"It's not a bill, we don't live here." Moriyasu frowned, "Besides, why would they stick a bill through a window? That's-"

"Oh, it's for... me?"

Akira picked up the envelope and turned it over in his hand, pointing to a hastily-scrawled letter on the front.

"A." He stated, "As in 'AKIRA'. That must be it, right?"

Moriyasu shrugged.

"I gue-"

"Aw, and she even drew a little heart..."

Heart? She? Moriyasu forced himself to hide his envious frown. He knew Akira was the frontman and all, but- come on, how was he getting fanmail before him? Akira was... well, he was just a guy, just an instrument- he may have been the lead singer of MEMENTO, but it was Moriyasu's project. Why wasn't he getting any attention like this? God, was this how Akira felt at the bar the other night?

"Well, go on, then." Moriyasu muttered, "Read it."

Akira tore open the envelope and placed the letter down on the desk, squinting a little to read the hasty scrawl.


Our chance encounter was to be expected, in some ways. I knew one day we would meet, but it still feels so soon- ah, how the time has flown! These years have felt like weeks, yet there is not a doubt in my mind that these weeks will feel like years. Excitement will do that to you!

You aren't excited.

But you will keep these letters, will you? I'll make them worth keeping, I promise. I have a lot to say!

Ah, you always were a musician, weren't you? I can tell by your form, by the way you control yourself onstage. It's very impressive, but I wish you'd sing alone next time. Will you do that for me? I want to hear your voice more clearly, now that I know what to listen for. I've got to say, I love it! Hardly a new approach, I'd imagine, but still! New to me! You should be an idol- oh, you'd do so well as an idol. None of this niche, punk music nonsense- you deserve a crowd, a horde! I suppose I'm your first follower. Or... would this make you my last?

I'm going all-in- I can't wait to see your hand~!

- K♡.


"Well, that's..."

"Weird thing to-"

"I was going to say, that's all the convincing I need." Akira laughed, "I'm singing solo this next show."

"What- no you're not, what the fuck?"

"Look, you were complaining about that little... I don't know, your monologue-hallucination thing. Maybe you need to give your voice a rest, okay?"

Akira laughed.

"Hey, if we do what she asks, maybe K will send us some money as well! Y'know, as a gift for her sweethear-"

"God, stop, you're going to make me throw up." Moriyasu rolled his eyes, "Now, let's go. We've gotta set everything up for when these new hires arrive. Hopefully this K bullshit is enough of a distraction that you don't screw this up for me."

It was envy. That was why he felt so uncomfortable, wasn't it? Envy.

He checked over his shoulder regardless. Something told him that habit was going to persist.