A/N: This story is like none other I have ever written. It will often switch point of view and possibly style. I've even added a commentary for no apparent reason. A line of x's indicates a scene change or a change inpoint of view.Just remember that at heart this is a story about honesty.
Assembling the Band
The day she came back again was probably one of the best nights of my life. We met up on the remains of the Medical Mechanica plant for a midnight picnic. I really didn't want to go up there after all these years, but she insisted. Whenever she insisted, it seemed that I always gave in and I really never understood why.
As we sat side-by-side eating our food, I was struck by the eccentric nature of what we were doing. Sitting atop an abandoned factory while eating curry sandwiches under the bright glow of the stars. The setting was exotic, romantic, and crazy. It reminded me of something a person would do after having a mental break down. I think it fit Haruko almost perfectly. The only thing that was missing was the moon.
"Why'd you do it?" I asked quietly as we gazed into the stars.
"Do what?" she asked in a mock innocent voice that I almost took seriously. Almost.
"Why'd you get rid of the moon?"
She laughed at me a little and twirled her hair between her fingers. It was like a cheep imitation of a girl in an adolescent movie.
"No one can get rid of the moon, Ta-kun."
"Then why isn't it there? Last night was a full moon and tonight it's nowhere to be seen."
"Do you really want it? What did it do for you anyways?" I thought her question was quite ridiculous. Nevertheless, it took me some time before I was able to answer her.
"It does lots of things! It gives us light at night and… it keeps the tides going."
"The tides aren't messed up now are they? They flow more freely. So what difference does it make?"
"That's not the point! It's supposed to be there, it's always been there!"
"Yet once a month it's always gone."
"It's… it's good that it's here! Its glow is comforting!" I didn't realize I was yelling in her face till long after the fact.
"Yeah. But look at how bright the stars are without it." She unexpectedly leaned her head onto my shoulder and whispered, "You don't need it, you only think you do."
Seeing Haruko like that was very rare and I couldn't yell at her anymore.
"I just miss it is all. Weather it's good or bad for me doesn't matter. I just want it there."
"It's still there," she said quietly. "No one can get rid of the moon. You can only move it out of sight."
"Don't leave me again, Haruko."
We sat under the stars for the rest of the night, just talking a lot about nothing. She told me that she came back just to see me. She told me that she was amazed at how much I'd grown. She told me she missed me. She told me she couldn't bring herself to leave again.
The following morning she was gone. The moon did not return that night.
Two weeks later I began to assemble my band
"Do you want to join Ninamori?"
At the time I couldn't believe that Naota would ask me to be in his band. Sure, there were many practical reasons why he would. I'm probably the best singer in our grade. Not to mention one of the few people he knows that he pretends is a friend. But I still didn't expect him to ask me to sing for him. He's the kind of person who doesn't ask anyone for anything.
Normally I would have responded with some witty remark but I was so shocked I said the first thing that came to mind.
Naota went back to eating his lunch and I was left to stare at him in slight confusion. I didn't mind though. I always thought he was a nice sight. Gaku and Masashi weren't quite as content.
"Can I be in your band?" asked Gaku energetically. I always thought that he should be put on some kind of medication but didn't have the heart to tell him. "I can play the drums!"
"No," said Naota without emotion or any hint of farther explanation. Gaku instantly deflated.
"So you already have a drummer. I understand."
"No I don't have a drummer. I just don't want you to do it." I couldn't help but feel that it would have been more merciful for him to just lie.
"Why won't you let Gaku do it?" asked Masashi. He was more than a little upset at the way Naota was treating his friend. "He's not good enough for you?"
"No, he isn't. I've seen him play. He's fast but he's sloppy. He makes too many mistakes and he doesn't even realize he's making them. Plus he's too excitable. In front of a crowd he'd be just as likely to piddle on the floor as he would be to play the drums." Naota went back to eating his food.
Gaku looked remarkably hurt. I didn't expect him to be so sensitive. Masashi looked ready to hit Naota at any moment. I'm sure if I could have looked at my own face I'd have looked shocked. But the most interesting face of all seemed to be Naota's.
His face was oddly contorted. The edges of his mouth were slightly raised like he was smiling. But his forehead was furrowed. Almost like he was angry or concentrating very hard. His eyes were the worst. I could see something odd in them. Like a mixture between pride and fear. I seriously doubted all these emotions could exist together.
"How could you say that?" A brief silence had settled between the four of us and Masashi decided to break it.
"Because it's true," said Naota without missing a beat. He turned around in his chair to face his accuser. "How would you like to join the band Masashi? We need a bass guitarist."
"I wouldn't join your band if you paid me."
"I will pay you. We're all going to get paid." I found that a little hard to be believe. Who would pay to listen to a bunch of high school kids play?
"Save it Naota." Masashi rose to leave. "Any band that's too good for Gaku isn't good enough for me." Nevertheless I could swear I saw a spark in his eye at the mention of money.
As he and Gaku walked away I could see some slight distress on Naota's face. His dreams of a band seemed to be falling around him.
"Don't let him bring you down," he called after them. "Practice is tomorrow after school behind the old MM plant."
"Screw you!" said Gaku.
"I'll have your money Masashi," said Naota and he went back to eating. Once again I was left staring at him in confusion. Where had this Naota come from?
"What was that all about?" I asked with a smirk.
"Curse of the music business."
"Brings out the worse in some of us, huh?" I favored him with a smile that he could not return.
"Something like that," he said. And there was silence.
"So why start a band all of a sudden?"
"I won't tell you unless you really want to know." This was a statement, but I took it as a question.
"Yes I want to know."
"You probably don't."
"I said I do."
"Fine, but don't interrupt. Two weeks ago I realized something was missing in my life. It was something big that you can't replace. Its glow was so wonderful that it stifled the stars and its pull was so great that it moved the seas."
He was making no sense at all to me. I was so confused that I had to interrupt him.
"Are you talking about the moon?" I asked. But he ignored me. In fact he just continued to talk over me.
"It's gone now and I realize that I really want it back. I used to just love to look at it for hours on end. Dreaming of what it would be like to be as magnificent as it is. But as great as it was, it went in search of something greater. So the question is how do you keep the moon when it's chasing after the sun?"
He paused and looked at me as if he actually expected me to answer. I of course said nothing.
"To keep the moon you have to become brighter than the sun!" I could see him smiling then and there was definitely something odd about it. For a second he looked almost crazy.
"Naota, what does any of this have to do with a band? Besides missing the moon is foolish." I realized I had touched a nerve when I saw a flash of pain cross his face.
"Then maybe I'm just a-" But he stopped talking when I placed my hand upon his.
"Forget it Naota. I was wrong." I got up to leave but did not let his hand free. His face turned from one of pain to one of confusion. He kept glancing at his hand and back to me.
"I really didn't want to know."
I left him to do the staring this time as I silently laughed at one simple truth: to an adolescent boy, all touches are teases.
If God is a writer then the world is a book. Humans are the characters and our lives are the stories.
If our lives are all stories then each day is a chapter. Each action is a sentence and every thought is a word.
If God is a writer then philosophers are critics. A prophet is like a friend who ruins the story by telling the ending.
If God is a writer then he's writing my story.
If God is a writer, I don't think he's a very good one.
My name is Sanji Miyamoto. It's a name that was created by my American parents in order to make me seem more Japanese. My parents' last name was Smith. They always told me it was a common last name in America, but I think it would suit me better than Miyamoto.
I have many problems and most of them I don't think it would be smart to tell. When you're a cheesy original character designed to fill a gap in a story, it's best not to lay all your cards down on the table. I will, however, reveal to you my main problem.
I think too much. This in itself is not a problem. But the more I think, the more I see things the way they really are. The more I think, the more I realize that things aren't the way I want them. The more I think, the more I recognize how unhappy I am. The more I think, the more half-baked theories I come up with to make me happy.
My latest theory was that I just needed a hobby. I thought, 'all you need is just one thing that can divert your attention from your troubled mind.' So three months ago I took to playing music. I started with the violin. It's a delicate instrument that can move the soul. It took me a month to master the basic mechanics but I became pretty good. My old orchestra teacher thought I was a protégé of some sort. Then my parents died and I no longer felt like moving the soul.
A judge granted me the right to live on my own since I am 17 and almost a man. My parents were the only family I have in Japan, but they had many friends. I moved in with a man named John Gregory, one of my parents' friends that also came from America. He owns a bar in Mabase where many bands play. It was there that I learned the joys of the drums.
Playing the drums differ from the violin in many vital ways. As I mentioned before, the goal of a violin player is to move the soul. The goal of a drum player is to move the feet. Its purpose is plain, simple, and arguably easy, yet the drums have a way of bringing temporary joy to both the player and listeners alike.
I practice in the band room at high school everyday after school. It was here that Naota found me. I didn't hear him enter since I was very involved in my playing. I had just finished a complicated combination that I had composed myself. I don't think I would have ever noticed his presence if he hadn't started to clap.
"I don't believe I wrote that part into my composition," I say in a way that I thought was cool enough.
"I'm sorry to interrupt you, but I couldn't help myself." He gave me a wide smile that seemed surprisingly genuine. "You play extremely well. You're the first drummer I've met who could play a complete song with no accompaniments."
"Actually I don't believe we've met at all."
"I'm Naota Nandaba and I want you in my band." He offered his hand to me and I shook it.
"I'm Sanji Miyamoto and I'm not interested," I said. I noticed his face fall a bit at my words, but only for a second.
"Playing in a band could be very beneficial for you."
"And how's that?"
"You're a new kid in school. By joining my band you'll make at least three new friends right off the bat. Plus there are the girls involved. Women love guys in a band."
"You're making several assumptions, Naota was it? First of all, you're assuming that I like you and will like whoever else is in your band. You're also assuming that I want a girlfriend."
Once again my new acquaintance appeared to be flustered. He seemed to be concentrating on what to say next. Even then, when I first met him, it struck me as odd how easy it was for me to read his face.
"Every guy wants a girl, for one reason or another. Even gay men want to want women. Besides, you know you like me. People who are honest are more popular."
I had to smile at that. The guy had a lot of what my father would call spunk. He was right too. I couldn't help but like this kid for reasons I didn't quite understand at the time. I decided to tell him so.
"Sure, I like you well enough, but I don't think I trust you. A man is only honest when he has nothing to lose. Honesty doesn't require one to tell the whole truth."
"If you want to know all the truth, then ask me all the questions."
"Ok, I will. Why do you want me in your band."
"You're the best drummer within 5 miles of Mabase."
"Is this the first time you've herd me play?"
"No. It's more like the 6th or 7th."
"Why do you want to start a band?"
"The same reason you took up playing the drums. I think something's missing in my life and I may have found a way to be happy again."
"Who else is in your band?"
"There's myself, of course. I'll be playing lead guitar. Our lead singer is Eri Ninamori. You may have heard of her. She's got the top grades in our class. The girl has a voice like an angel and she's not a bad sight either. And last but not least there's my friend Masashi playing on base guitar. Well I doubt he thinks I'm much of a friend right now, but I'm 90 percentsure he'll play with us. He's a good guy, but he has some troubles accepting things the way they are."
"That's all well and nice, but are you guys any good?"
"We will be if you join us. So will you? They'll even be money involved."
I turned all this information over in my mind. It really did seem like a nice deal. I'd get to play some music, make some friends, and earn a little money as well. In a matter of seconds I had made up my mind.
"No, I don't think I'll join."
"What?" His face said it all. He had expected me to gladly accept his offer.
"I said I don't think I'll join. You're a nice guy and all Naota, but I really don't see much advantage in this for me."
"Then what were we just discussing for the past 10 minutes?"
"You said yourself that I really don't need any accompaniments. The only drummer you've heard that sounded great all by himself. Why would I spoil that image by joining a band?"
Naota unexpectedly responded with a command.
"Play something on your drums again." I hesitantly did as I was told.
"Now what do you feel?" he asked me with an annoying tone of superiority.
"Nothing." He smirked at me in a way I didn't like at all.
"My point exactly. Practice is Tuesday after school behind the Medical Mechanica plant, the old broke down one that looks like an iron. You do know where it is, don't you?"
"Yeah I know where it is, but I didn't agree to join your band."
His smirk didn't leave his face as he uttered some final words to me.
"Just make sure you're ready to play for real. No more faking like you've been doing." And with those words he left the room.
For a few minutes I didn't quite know what had happened. The conversation had been going my way but somewhere along the line I missed something. It wasn't till I got home that night that I realized how angry I was. How could some guy just walk up to me and have the nerve to say I'd be in his band.
I cursed and swore under my breath a lot that night. I just couldn't believe someone would have the audacity. Nevertheless, when Tuesday evening came around I found myself behind the MM plant with my drum set at the ready.
On Tuesday April 1st four teenagers assembled themselves behind an old abandoned factory. It was a chilly evening and ironically none of them had remembered to bring a jacket. All of them new that they needed to be there, yet only two of them actually knew why they had come. The cold wind threw the two guitars out of tune and valuable time was wasted fixing that problem. However, there was a sense of purpose in the air that went beyond the loosening and tightening of strings. A monumental moment had occurred. It was a moment that in many years to come VH1 would classify as "The beginning of the Missing Moons."
As I stated in the Author Notes up above, this story is largely about honesty. I could not create a story with action that centered mostly on a concept so I just randomly threw in the band element, which will dominate the majority of the story. Through this story I plan on displaying honesty at its purest form. You (the reader) will be offered pure honesty through the view of the characters and narration. This is not to say that everyone in the story is honest. Quite the contrary in fact. The only person whose view you can trust 100 is the person whose eyes you are currently seeing the story through. As the author of such a fan fiction I feel that I must level with you completely.
If this story seems well planned out, it's not. Most of this all comes off of the top of my head. I'm trying to fit as many genres as possible into this story because life isn't divided into sections. I'm not sure if I'm accurately depicting any of the characters in FLCL with this story. I'd like to think I've added my own special twist to all of them. I think my favorite character in this story has to be Sanji only because he admits to the simple fact that he is "a cheesy original character designed to fill a gap in a story." One thing you all must know about me is that I really do appreciate reviews. I believe that all authors are review whores at heart. I also don't plan on ever mentioning that again. I'm not sure if I plan on adding a commentary to each chapter, so you'll all have to tell me whether you like it or not. I also used the word I way too much in the second half of this commentary. I hope you all enjoyed it because I have no idea when you'll see the next chapter.