At first, she enjoyed it. Not having Hina bothering her every second of the day was a welcome relief. For once, she could focus on herself and not have to deal with Hina.
A few days later, it wasn't enjoyable anymore. It was worrying. Not having the constant presence of Hina at her side was a lot harder to adjust to than she had thought. But, that wasn't the only reason.
It didn't take much to notice that something was wrong with Hina. To see that she seemed different. It was hard to really miss. Hina was... just everything besides what she normally was.
She wasn't jumping around. She wasn't excited to do anything. She barely smiled anymore. Sayo couldn't even remember if she had said anything since this all began. Hina was... not Hina.
It was extremely worrying. Someone like her just suddenly changing like that... it wasn't normal. Something was wrong. And, Sayo knew she had to do something about it. She couldn't stand seeing Hina like that. It wasn't like her.
However, their relationship was not very good. Sayo wasn't too sure if Hina would open up to her. She had been nothing but mean to her. What if Hina didn't trust her enough?
No. Hina never seemed to get the message. She was always trying to friendly with her. She probably would be fine with talking to her, right?
There was only one way to find out. Sayo found Hina laying on the couch. The TV was turned on to a random cartoon. Sayo recognized it as one they had always loved watching when they were younger. However, Hina was staring at it with dull eyes.
"Hina?" Sayo called as she sat down on another couch.
"Yeah?" Hina didn't move.
"Are you okay?" Sayo didn't know if she should be that straightforward, but she didn't know what else to even ask.
"Yeah. Why?" Hina finally moved to look at her.
"You've been acting strange. Are you sure you're okay?" Sayo wasn't convinced with the answer.
Hina returned her gaze to the TV, "I'm fine. I'm just tired."
"Hina, it's been a week of this. Something is wrong." Sayo stated.
"I told you, onee-chan. I'm fine." Hina continued to insist.
"You are not fine!" Sayo said, "This behavior is completely opposite of your usual. So, what is wrong?"
"Nothing is wrong."
Sayo was starting to grow frustrated, "I don't believe you."
"I'm fine." Hina's voice was sharp and defensive.
"Then explain why you're suddenly like this? Why are you quiet? Why aren't you hyper? Why haven't you spoken a word to me until now? And don't tell me this tired crap. That's a lie and I know it." Sayo was frustrated now.
"I'm fine! Leave me alone!" Hina yelled, before she ran off.
Sayo heard a door slam shut. Hina must've ran to her bedroom. Sayo sighed. This was going to be a lot harder than she anticipated. Hina was not cooperating at all.
Sayo got up and went to Hina's room. She had locked the door. Sayo listened. She could hear crying. She couldn't remember the last time she had ever heard Hina cry.
Sayo knocked on the door, "Hina... please. Whatever is going on, I want to help you. I know I... might've not been the nicest to you recently, but I don't like seeing you like this."
Hina didn't respond. The crying became muffled, leading Sayo to believe she was trying to hide it. Sayo remained standing by the door. She was hoping that maybe, just maybe, Hina would open it and let her in.
Minutes passed with nothing. The crying had eventually stopped. Sayo couldn't hear anything now.
"Hina, please open the door?" Sayo pleaded.
She was growing worried. She didn't know what to do. She wanted to help her, but she was being pushed away.
Hina didn't open the door. Sayo sighed. Looks like she wasn't getting in. She waited for a few more minutes, before giving up and going back to her room.
Sayo laid down on her bed. She was an anxious mess. She was really starting to worry about Hina. It was hard not to after seeing her like that.
Sayo didn't know what to do. She was at a loss. Without Hina cooperating, there was not a lot she could do to help her. Hina had to work with her. But, she wasn't.
This was going to be tough.
Hina didn't come out of her room for the rest of the day. She came out the next morning to head off to school. Sayo wasn't able to catch her before she left. She debated following her and seeing if she could notice anything, but decided against it.
Sayo ended up texting Lisa and Yukina and asking them to keep a close eye on Hina if they could. She just explained she was worried about her recent behavior change and wanted to make sure nothing at school was the reason for it. They agreed to do so. That was at least something.
Sayo couldn't focus in her classes. She was too caught up in her worries. She was trying to puzzle together what might be going on with Hina. She was coming up blank for the most part. Nothing made sense.
Sayo decided to try and talk to some of Hina's band mates. Maybe they knew more? It was worth a shot.
Sayo found Aya first. She asked to talk to her alone. Aya was obviously nervous about that, but agreed. They went to an empty room in the school.
"What do you want?" Aya asked nervously.
"Do you know anything about what's going on with Hina?" Sayo questioned.
Aya's eyes widened, "H-huh?"
"Her recent change is making me worried. She won't talk to me, so I was hoping you might know something." Sayo said.
"Oh... she hasn't said anything to me. I haven't asked. I didn't want to make her upset." Aya mumbled.
"I see... do you know if the others know anything?"
"I can quick ask them." Aya offered.
She pulled out her phone and texted the others. It only took a few minutes to get replies.
"No one knows anything." Aya said, "I'm sorry."
Sayo sighed, "It's okay. Thanks for your time."
Practice was a nightmare. If school was bad, this was even worse. Sayo wasn't on tempo at all. She wasn't keeping pace. She kept missing her entrances. It was bad.
"Sayo. What is the problem? You've never had this much of an issue before." Yukina questioned after they had stop again because of her messing up.
"I..." Sayo didn't know how to respond, "It's nothing."
"It's obviously something." Yukina rejected her answer.
"I'm sorry. I don't think I can tell you." Sayo said, "I'm going to go home."
"Very well. If you need anything just let us know."
Sayo nodded and left. She made her way home. She didn't want to tell them exactly what was bothering her so much. Yukina seemed to know, though. Sayo wouldn't be surprised if Lisa guessed it as well.
Sayo entered her house. She went up to her room and sat on her bed. She was a mess. This thing with Hina was really getting to her. She needed to solve it soon.
Sayo went to check if Hina was home. She couldn't remember if she also had practice today. It appeared not.
Sayo found Hina's door unlocked. She quietly opened it. Hina was sleeping on her bed. Sayo entered the room very cautiously. She didn't want to wake her up.
Sayo glanced around the room. She spotted Hina's laptop. She walked over to it and looked to see if it was still on. It was. Sayo didn't have to enter the password now, so she had access to it all.
She saw that Hina had a web page opened up. She opened it to see what it was. She froze in place at what she read.
How do you tell if you have depression?
That one sentence was all she could focus on. Hina... was depressed? It made sense. With her actions, it probably was the case.
Sayo hesitantly opened up the search history. Was there more she could learn? The stuff she saw wasn't a welcoming sight.
Symptoms of depression
How to hide having depression
How do I hide self-harm from my family
How to stop cuts from being infected
None of those searches brought her any comfort. Especially the last three. Sayo walked over to Hina. She hadn't paid it much mind, but Hina had only been wearing longer sleeves.
Sayo carefully rolled up one of her sleeves. On her upper arm, there were many scars. Sayo couldn't process all of this. To think Hina was going through all of this alone. To think she was trying to hide it all.
Sayo rolled down her sleeve. Should she just leave? Or, should she confront her right now? Sayo didn't want to wait. What if something worse happened because of that?
So, Sayo shook Hina awake. Hina groaned as she sat up. She rubbed her eyes.
"Onee-chan?" Hina mumbled.
Sayo didn't say anything, she just sat down on the bed and pulled Hina into a tight hug. That action was enough to tell Hina that she knew. Hina started crying. She clung to Sayo as she sobbed.
"Let it out..." Sayo whispered as she rubbed Hina's back, "Let it all go..."
"O-onee-chan... I-I'm scared..." Hina said between her sobs, "I don't know what to do anymore."
"I'm here... I'll help you through it." Sayo soothed, "You're not alone anymore."
"Don't apologize. It's okay." Sayo pulled her closer.
They stayed like that for a long time. Sayo didn't let go of Hina even long after her sobbing stopped. Hina didn't let go either. She had a tight grip on the back of Sayo's shirt.
"Hina, will you tell me what happened that started all of this?" Sayo asked. If she was going to start helping her fix this, she needed to know what started it.
"I... I don't really remember..." Hina mumbled, "I'm sorry..."
"It's alright." Sayo reassured her, "So, first thing is... we need to tell mom and dad."
Hina went stiff. Sayo expected that. She doubted Hina would be willing to tell them. But, they needed to. It was the only way to get Hina into therapy to talk about all of this.
"I know it's scary, but you need to. It'll help a lot if we can get medical professionals to help you." Sayo explained.
"You tell them... please?"
"Alright. I'll tell them." Sayo agreed.
Hina pulled back so she could look up at Sayo, "Are you... mad?"
"Mad? No. Why would I be mad?" Sayo frowned.
"Cause I hid all of this from you..." Hina mumbled as she lowered her gaze.
"I'm not mad, Hina. I get it's pretty tough to open up about. If anything, you should be mad a me for snooping around." Sayo pulled her close again.
"I... I was careless on purpose..." Hina whispered, "In the back of my head... I wanted you to find out... but I was too scared to say anything myself..."
"I see." Sayo sighed, "Were you scared of how I'd react?"
Hina nodded, "I thought you'd think I was lying..."
"I promise you don't have to be afraid to tell me things like this."
"What have you been using to cut?" Sayo questioned.
"Where is it?"
"Under my lamp."
Sayo let go of Hina so she could get the razorblade. She took it and tossed it in the trash.
"Keep it there, please."
"So... they won't be home for another hour..." Sayo mumbled.
"Will you cuddle with me?"
Sayo was caught off guard by the request, "H-huh?"
"I... I wanna go back to bed... but... I have a lot of nightmares..." Hina whispered.
"Alright. For now." Sayo climbed back into the bed, "Don't think that this'll become a common occurrence."
Hina snuggled up to her side, "Will you at least do it until my nightmares go away?"
Sayo sighed, but she gave Hina a soft smile, "Alright. Until your nightmares go away, I'll stay with you."
"Thank you, onee-chan..."
Sayo smiled as she ran her hand through Hina's hair. Hina soon had fallen asleep. Sayo laid down and pulled her close. Hina curled up in her embrace.
Sayo made a promise to herself that from now on she would do her best to always be there when Hina needed her. She may have hated her before, but even then, she couldn’t bear the thought of something bad happening that took Hina away from her. So, she was going to try and fix her wrongs. Time for a fresh start between them again.