Hanayo is twelve years old when she realizes that she wants to become an idol. Her entire life was focused on the topic itself; considering her mother was an ex-idol. She had grown up admiring her mother and what she did, and when she questioned her mother about why she became an idol, her mother would only tell her one thing.
“To make others happy.”
It stuck with Hanayo as a child all the way until her pre-teen years. Making others happy was something that she could see herself doing -- and it wasn’t that bad of an idea. She had always liked seeing people smile. She knew there was truth in it, because whenever Hanayo looked at her idols that she’d grown to love, she would smile, too.
But whenever she looked in the mirror she frowned. Hanayo wasn’t fit to be an idol at all, and she never thought that she would be. She cried a lot. She was too anxious to even talk to her own teachers. She certainly thought she wasn’t pretty enough. How would she ever become an idol like this?
Hanayo thinks that she’s fine sitting on the sidelines cheering on other girls.
“Gosh, Kayo-chin, your rooms so full of idols! You really do love them, huh?” Hanayo’s childhood friend Rin exclaims. It was the first time Rin had been over in awhile -- a while being a summer that set them apart for a few months. Hanayo was fourteen and started doing chores around the neighborhood -- not to exactly get money, no. She was just offered one day and was too afraid to say no. The money was a plus to it, and all of it went to Hanayo’s favorite thing: idols.
“I-I guess I do,” Hanayo replies with a slight smile.
“Do you wanna be an idol?” Rin asks, her eyes lit up with curiosity. “I think you’d be great idol, Kayo-chin!”
Hanayo shakes her head and laughs. “I’m not really fit to be an idol…”
“I dunno,” Rin shrugs. “I think you’d do great. You can sing, and dancing isn’t that hard. I could teach n’ya!”
At the thought of Rin teaching her how to dance, Hanayo smiles. “W-Well, what about if you became one with me? I think I’d feel more confident with you by my side.”
Rin looks around nervously. “I dunno… I don’t think I’m really fit, ya’ know? I’m not pretty or feminine like you, Kayo-chin.”
“I think you are.” Hanayo frowns.
Rin leans back against the wall. “I’ll think about it. We’ll see when we’re in High School. Maybe we’ll even get one of those cool School Idol clubs or somethin’!”
Hanayo lays her head on Rin’s shoulder. “I would like to think that we would.”
Hanayo’s eyes sparkle as she watches the three girls dance in the school auditorium. Their voices are mildly unstable and a little bit scratchy, and their dance is messy and unorganized -- but they have passion. With time and effort, they could be something. Something big.
At the end of the performance, the orange-haired leader stares at the almost empty auditorium. She takes a deep breath, obviously riled up from the performance.
“W-We’re looking for--” One more breath. “More members to join our club. The School Idol club! We want to save this school, so… please! Consider joining!”
Rin looks over at Hanayo. “Well?”
Hanayo shakes her head. “I’m r-really not…” her words disappear off of her tongue. What was she trying to say? She never even took her eyes off of the stage.
And here she is, asking to join the Idol group forming at Otonokizaka, her two best friends behind her as she bows to the leader, Honoka.
“P-Please let me be an Idol with you!” Hanayo stammers out. Honoka notices her shaky figure and grips her shoulders. Their eyes meet. Honoka softly smiles.
“Welcome aboard, Hanayo-san!”
“Well, if Kayo-chin’s gonna be an Idol, then Maki and I have to follow along, nya!” Rin grips onto Hanayo’s shoulders, embracing her childhood friend.
“Eh? I didn’t agree to that, Rin-“
“I think you’d be a cute Idol, Maki.” Eli adds before Maki can finish her sentence.
“... I’ll think about it. I like composing songs, anyways. N— Not for you guys, don’t get the wrong idea.”
Hanayo giggles, pulling Maki over into her other arm, Rin hogging the other.
When they practice a few days later, Hanayo knows that she’s made the right choice.
The crowd is bright green when Hanayo is up there alone, singing her solo song Nawatobi. The lights reflect off of her eyes and her voice cracks slightly. She has to resist the urge to cry.
Being an Idol was really the right choice for Hanayo. She’s sure of it now.
But when she’s told that her group will be performing for the last time, she’s not sure if she can do it on her own.
“No no no, Ima ga saikou!” The group shouts in sync for the last time the stage lowers. Hanayo’s hands are clasped tightly around Rin and Maki’s and tears are gathering in the corner of her eyes.
When they get backstage, they circle around each other and cry, clinging onto one another tightly.
Hanayo wants to thank them all for making her dreams come true, but she can’t find the words.
And now she’s here. After signing a record deal doubling as a modelling contract, she’s finally made it. It’s hard work being an Idol, but Hanayo doesn’t mind.
Hanayo still sees the others at times. Specifically Nico — because, well, once the world’s number one Idol, always the number one Idol.
Nico always congratulates her and praises her for her hard work.
“How’s the new album coming along?” Nico asks, sipping some tea.
“I-It’s good,” Hanayo smiles. “We just wrapped up all of the recording today. I think my favorite song on it is VIVID VIVID. I finally got to rap again,” She laughs.
“Good. It’s honestly what you deserve. I mean, I’m the superior rapper, but you learned from the best, didn’t you?” Nico winks and sticks out her tongue slightly, eliciting another giggle from Hanayo.
“Yeah,” Hanayo looks down at the ground, a smile still on her face. “I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without µ's.”