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How many times had Sayo fallen back into the same hole?

far too many

The first band she had left was surprisingly kind, protesting Sayo's attempts to leave, she had almost believed they were her friends. The second band was far more bitter, kicking Sayo out for not sharing the same ideals as them.

band after band after band after band

The thought of returning to CiRCLE and begging Yukina to let her stay had crossed her mind, yet Sayo was too prideful to follow through with such an idea. After such an outburst, who would want Sayo to stay? Especially when there were thousands of other guitarists just like Sayo, better than Sayo.

nothing but a pathetic excuse

Sayo tried to shake away the thoughts, yet the image of Lisa's horrified face plagued her, how the gyaru timidly stepped away from her. She was scared of Sayo, who wouldn't be? Especially when her reputation preceded her.


Sayo's guitar strap folded under her grip, the cheap leather chafing into her palm. What had Rinko said? Her piano was comforting to her? Staring at the rough black case of her guitar, Sayo felt nothing but anger, another reminder that she was destined to be a failure all her life.

no friends, no family

Wandering aimlessly through the streets like a ghost trying to find its way, Sayo's eyes brimmed with tears. Her phone rang incessantly in her pocket, yet she couldn't find the motivation to answer the call, or even silence it.

Sayo froze as a drop of water landed on her neck, the cold bead trickling down her back before being absorbed by her uniform. Sayo only sighed heavily before walking into a nearby alleyway, who else would be foolish enough to get stuck in the rain?

Sayo pulled out her phone to check the time, only to be greeted by two missed calls from Rinko. The vice around her heart only tightened further when she noticed the long message Rinko had left. Rinko finally saw Sayo's true colours.

as usual, nothing but a failure

"Hey there, beautiful," Sayo's shoulders stiffened at the unfamiliar voice, taking a step back into the alleyway and turning to the entrance, "trapped in the rain?"

"I've got a nice ol' umbrella here," Sayo studied the person who now stood at the entrance of the alleyway, a tall lean middle-aged man, a poorly done fake tan covered his body and his hair looked like old lettuce instead of the bold yellow he presumably wanted, "it's just a little tight of a fit but I'm sure we can make it work."

Sayo grit her teeth, realising she had fallen right into his trap, like a cat cornering a mouse, Sayo could only retreat further into the alleyway as the man stepped towards her. There was no way she could win against him through sheer force, her only choice was to slip past him and run.

running away from problems, as usual

Sayo shook away the thought, now was not the time.

"C'mon, I'm a nice guy! I know I nice hotel a bit from here, we can stay there for a while until the rain stops, we could even stay over-"

Sayo gave no warning as she charged towards the man, holding her guitar case in front of her like a shield. The man only yelped as he stumbled back, his umbrella flailing wildly as Sayo put all her strength into ramming against him.


The man fell back onto the floor and Sayo followed, the heel of her palm grazing against the asphalt. Sayo winced at the feeling of her skin ripping and tearing as her palm skidded across the asphalt, pointed stones digging into her flesh.

"You little-"

Sayo let go of her guitar case to punch the man on the nose, though not forceful enough to do any real damage, it would surely stun him for a few moments for her to run off. Pushing off the asphalt, Sayo tried to run, only to realise the man had a firm grip on the backstraps of her guitar case.

"You piece of shit!"

"Let go!"

Sayo tried to kick the man in the face, but this time he anticipated it, rolling to the side and pulling on the guitar case, causing Sayo to lose her balance momentarily.

"I'll fucking kill you!"

Sayo almost fell onto her attacker, barely releasing her guitar case and managing to catch the wall with her injured hand in time to stop her fall.

Sayo tried to reach for her guitar case a second time but the man was already getting up.

She had to leave her guitar.


Tears stung at the corners of Sayo's eyes as she ran, the loud splashing of the rain unable to mask the sounds of her sobs. Sayo glanced down at her palm, a large laceration wound filled with gravel covered the heel, it would surely get infected if she didn't treat it. Yet Sayo continued walking, her feet dragging her to a destination even she didn't know.

Sayo paused when she noticed a familiar café at the end of the road, its warm yellow lights still on. Stumbling forward, Sayo trudged towards Hazawa Coffee, her heart filling with dread when she saw Tsugumi laughing with a customer at the entrance.

What would Sayo even say? What could Tsugumi even do?

Sayo stepped back, the knot in her throat threatening to suffocate her. All Sayo knew how to do was screw everything up, Tsugumi didn't deserve that, no one did. If there was no place in the world for Sayo then-

"Ehehe, Tsugu-chan is the best!" Sayo froze as the door flew open, a transparent umbrella opening and a familiar face stepping through the door, "Ahaha! The rain is so..." Sayo watched the girl's face slowly morph, countless different emotions passing through until she became Sayo's spitting image, "heavy..."


Hina stepped back.

"Is something-"

"Onee-" hurt flashed across Hina's face, her lips contorted into a scowl before her hand managed to slap over them, "I- I'm-"

Sayo managed to open her mouth, yet nothing came out except for a strangled sob before she fell to her knees.

"Hi- hic I-I'm-" Sayo's hands raked through her hair, trying to find the words she needed yet none appeared, "Hin..."

Suddenly, the rain stopped pouring, or rather, the rain stopped pouring at the very spot she kneeled. Sayo didn't want to look up, but her neck moved instinctively, forcing Sayo to see Hina's bitter smile, her hand stretching over Sayo's head, shielding Sayo from the rain with her umbrella while subjecting herself to the elements.

"Why... Why?!" The knot in Sayo's throat threatened to suffocate her, "after all this time- after I-"

"I'm sorry... I'm sorry... I don't want to... I don't want to do anything wrong again..." Sayo couldn't tell if the droplets rolling down Hina's cheeks were tears or the rain, "but please, take this umbrella!"

"Ngh... I'm sorry..." Sayo couldn't stop herself, the tears overflowing as she buried her face in her hands, "Hina… ngh... I'm so sorry..."

Sayo had to make things right.

"Please- I… I want… I need to talk."