Disclaimer: Gakuen Alice is not mine, nor is the song Anything but Ordinary from Avril Lavigne.
Chapter 1. Taking the World by Storm
Mikan liked to think she was a very patient person.
She liked to think her soul was born at the wrong time, in the wrong place and in the wrong circumstances. There was no other way to explain why her patience waned startlingly quickly whenever her classmates were by her side.
It was almost funny just how out of place she felt in this small town. There was always that nagging feeling in her chest that reminded her there was a world outside of the invisible barriers of Nagoya. But Mikan wasn't much of a dreamer. There was just something about wishing for a better future and knowing there was a huge possibility in being disappointed that completely paralyzed her.
Mikan knew disappointment very well.
She knew it in the small reminder of her home. She knew it in the lonely ache in her heart. She knew it in abandonment and in trusting and in dependence.
Needless to say, Mikan didn't like to be disappointed.
So she wandered through the days with the silent reassurance of daily routine and the tranquility of repetition. She worked at a café that was in walking distance of her house (if you could call it that) and she did her homework as any rebellious child would (which meant whenever it struck her fancy).
What set her a part from the others would probably be her talent with the guitar. She'd tried playing piano and she tried playing violin, but there was something about the stiff strings of the guitar against her fingers and the calluses that spoke of the hard work she put forward, and especially the lull of the deep vibrations, that made her heart unclench the slightest bit.
It wasn't much, just an inch.
But in that inch, there was beauty.
"Oh, stop it!"
There was a feminine giggle of delight from her right and Mikan fought the urge to pinch the bridge of her nose when the sounds of a scuffle from behind her reached her ears. She was walking with a close friend of hers, Kokoro Yome, who'd insisted that she come along because there was something really cool I wanted you to see!
Yeah? Then why was the little girlfriend coming along?
What was her name again?
She vomited a little in her mouth thinking about the too cheerful, pink-haired girl beside her. Fixing her lips into something that wasn't a scowl, Mikan concentrated on the sound of her boots clunking against the cement, hoping that if she tried hard enough, she would be able to drown out the flirtatious giggles and the oh, you're so silly, Koko's that were continuously grating at her patience.
Mikan sighed and tilted her head back. She rolled her neck a little bit and narrowed her eyes as the sun scorched the back of her neck.
After another bout of giggles, Mikan pinned Koko with a dark look. "Koko, you'd better know where we're going because if I'm interrupting your date, then it'd be my pleasure to leave you two alone." She narrowed her eyes at the innocent smile on his face and almost groaned with disgust at Anna's accompanying squeal.
His eyes gleamed. "You'll see."
"Yeah?" Her voice was almost flippant. "Well you're about to see a big fat bruise on your cheek if you don't tell me where you're planning on taking me."
He laughed and sped up in order to walk facing both girls with a Cheshire grin on his face. "Chill, you. It'll be a surprise!"
"And you know how much I love surprises," Mikan deadpanned with a roll of her eyes.
He merely smiled reassuringly before turning around and continuing his conversation with Anna. Mikan was almost completely able to block them out when Koko actually shouted for the both of them to stop. He straightened and pointed across the street. "We're here."
Fighting the urge to make a condescending comment, Mikan darted a quick glance around the place and noticed immediately what he'd planned. They were standing in front of his father's red bricked radio station with flashing yellow lights that spelled Muzik on the front.
Mikan turned to him, unimpressed. "Koko, I know you know I've been to your dad's station before. What was with the whole 'surprise' deal?" She felt the annoyance radiating off of her body in waves and her right eye twitched.
It didn't take much to annoy the heck out of her.
The gleam in his eyes made her picture him mentally rubbing his hands together with glee. "Of course you have," Koko rolled his eyes. The reason she liked him so much was probably because he'd gotten her free visits to the station where she could listen to all of the songs she wanted. That and his tastes in music weren't as bad as she'd expect from somebody her age.
"But here's the skinny," he leaned in, as if telling a secret, "—my dad is getting you on air, how cool is that?" He took her arm with a smile and pulled her along, ushering her into the dimly lit studio.
Koko's dad was an eccentric character. There was something about him that made Mikan's freak-radar go on and off erratically. He was a fairly average looking Asian man, with a dark head of dark brown hair, closer to black than brown and a winsome smile always plastered to his face. He was very much like his son, actually, but his main eccentricities were given off by his style and his odd speech.
There was something just terribly wrong with a grown man trying to speak gangster and who wore clothes some teenage boys wouldn't even dare to wear.
But he was nice.
Though Mikan was the type of person that found the majority intolerable, there was something about really nice people that she didn't mind as much.
Sometimes they did manage to rub her the wrong way, though.
"Are you ready, Mikan?" Koko's father asked distractedly, tinkering with the flashing switches and buttons on the dash. "We can have you in two minutes."
Mikan blinked and glared at Koko who was lounging just off to the side with Anna, his arms around her waist and a bright grin on his face. When he saw her looking, he gave her the thumbs up and proceeded to kiss Anna on the lips.
Mikan bristled slightly.
Koko sprung this gig on her at the last second and expected her to do her best? God, sometimes she thought he didn't think at all.
With great care, she loosened the straps of her guitar case and flipped open the top. Her guitar was a bit old. She'd managed to scrounge up enough money from her part-time job to get the thing. It wasn't the best, but it did the job and it was all she had. Her constant.
She brushed the neck of the guitar with the lightest of touches before another call from Koko's father had her pulling the strap over her neck and making certain it was tuned and the strings were appropriately taut.
She could feel gooseflesh erupting on her arms with the nerves.
She was going to sing on air.
As much as she'd like to say she was never nervous singing, Mikan wasn't a liar. It was fine when she was singing to herself, but singing with other people present was something else altogether. She knew she was decent enough at singing and writing, in her own opinion. But would others be able to relate at all?
Mikan let out a shuddering breath and tried to ease her nerves.
It seemed to work, until Koko's father ushered her over.
"Don't worry about the flashing buttons, Mikan. I'll handle everything and make sure everything's workin' like a dream." He smiled reassuringly and handed her a headset before he grabbed another and threw them over his ears.
She almost laughed at the way her fingers shook when she put the headphones on but her nerves were in a frenzy and it took everything in her to not just let her expression fall.
Her nerves only quickened when the man behind the glassy Plexiglas raised a hand and started counting down. Before she knew it, the On Air neon letters flashed into her eyes.
"Welcome back!" Koko's father started in his 'hip' voice. "It's DJ Yome and we're back with today's top rock hits. Before we get to the rest of our top twenty, I'm pleased to say we've got a guest singer visiting us today." He turned slightly from the mike to wink at her before saying, "She's a small town singer with a big voice. Please give it up for Mikan Sakura!"
Mikan, in spite of his slightly calming nature, could hear his voice ringing in her headset and all she wanted to do was throw it off and punch him one in the face. Maybe it was her nerves talking. Maybe it was just the Mikan that couldn't stand even the smallest annoyances. Whatever it was, all of her took a backseat to singer Mikan, the Mikan who sang and wrote and was currently almost trembling with anxiety.
She'd never sang in front of people before, except her best friend and Koko.
With shaking fingers, Mikan grabbed onto the mike in front of her and looked at Koko's father for direction. The man merely nodded his head at the microphone and smiled.
Seeing her reluctance, he prompted, "You're seventeen, are you not? When was it that you started singing?"
Hating that she was being so weak, Mikan tightened her grip on the microphone and said, "Hi, thank you for having me." She swallowed before responding, "I'm actually turning seventeen in a few months and I've sang for as long as I can remember. I didn't get serious about it until I was twelve."
"And what inspired you to become a singer?" he asked. "Was it the fame? The fortune?"
Glaring over the microphone, Mikan paused. She'd never told anybody her reasons for singing before. She didn't think she'd start by telling the whole city. "For my own special reasons," she said instead, trying not to sound annoyed. "But I don't think you guys want to listen to me talk about nonsense."
"Of course we do," Koko's father returned cheerily. "But you're right. Why don't we get to it? What will you be singing for us today?"
He leaned over and fiddled with a couple of buttons, urging her to continue the conversation while he played with the flashing knobs.
Unsure, Mikan replied, "This is called Anything but Ordinary."
She didn't know if he'd wanted her to make some flashy intro. She couldn't even if she'd wanted to. Instead, she picked up her cradled guitar and, after taking a deep breath, started strumming.
She had mutant butterflies in her stomach, but as her fingers moved and as the rough feel of the cords brushed the pads of her fingers, Mikan couldn't help but feel like… this was meant to be.
Sometimes I get so weird
I even freak myself out
I laugh myself to sleep
It's my lullaby
Sometimes I drive so fast
Just to feel the danger
I wanna scream
It makes me feel alive
Is it enough to love?
Is it enough to breath?
Somebody rip my heart out
And leave me here to bleed
Is it enough to die?
Somebody save my life
I'd rather be anything but ordinary please
To walk within the lines
Would make my life so boring
I want to know that
I Have been to the extreme
So knock me off my feet
Come on now give it to me
Anything to make me feel alive
Let down your defences
Use no common sense
If you look you will see that this
world is a beautiful accident
opulent permanent, no way
I wanna taste it
Don't wanna waste it away
Sometimes I get so weird
I even freak myself out
I laugh my self to sleep
It's my lullaby
I'd rather be anything but ordinary please
I'd rather be anything but ordinary please…
Mikan shivered a bit before opening her eyes and clamping a hand over the chords.
"That was Mikan Sakura, everybody!" Mikan blinked at Koko's father before letting a small smile grace her lips. She'd done it. She was done. And it felt damn good. "—I was simply blown away. I would continue to ask questions but I'm so… speechless, I can't come up with anything! Let's get to some callers, shall we?"
He fiddled with several buttons before asking, "Hello, Yome here. Who's this?"
"Hi, it's Shisame! I just wanted to say I'm so proud to come from the same city as you. You sounded amazing, I'm so jealous! Um… my question was, did you write that song and if yes, where you got your inspiration from."
Koko's father passed her the microphone she'd been using earlier. "Um, yeah. I wrote it. I guess I'm just inspired by everyday life." Before she could lean back, Koko's dad had ended the call and had picked up another one.
"I just want to say I thought you sounded good, if not a bit manly. You are a girl, right? If yes, are you single?"
Mikan's eyes narrowed before she all but snarled, "Koko, if you think you're funny, you're not." Honestly, leave it to her berk of a best friend to make fun of her and embarrass her on live radio.
"… damn. Okay, fine. Mikan Sakura was awesome! Support her!"
Mikan merely shook her head while Koko's father took another caller.
"Okay, hello and who is this?" he asked, all smiles.
"Hello, my name is Narumi from Music Stars. I'm hoping you aren't already signed because I've never heard anything that sounds as fresh and as modern as you for a long time. If you'll agree to a meeting with a Music Stars scout, we'd love to have you."
Mikan's eyes bulged and it took all she had not to slap herself in the face to see if she was dreaming. Things like this just didn't happen.
"If you're interested, Ms. Sakura, I'd like to schedule a meeting."
"I…" Speechless, Mikan gaped at the talking speakers and fumbled with the chords of the microphone before putting it to her lips. "I'd love to. Whenever's fine."
"Perfect, I'll keep in touch. Once again, incredible job just now."
Koko's father was in the midst of patting her on the back when the line went dead. He slid over to his mike before exclaiming, "Well, that was an incredible turn of events. I'd like to personally thank Mikan Sakura for taking the time to sing for us today. Who knows, you might see her in a year on the big screen and know this is where she came from, the little town of Nagoya. Let's take a break."
Koko's dad pressed a flashing red button and soon, there were commercial breaks playing over the headphones.
Mikan took off the headphones, still slightly dazed at what had just happened. Was this just a joke? It was probably just a prank caller trying to get her hopes up. Again, this just never happened. What are the chances a big scout from Music Stars would be listening right when she sang? Very slim.
"Mikan," Koko's father called. He stood up and patted her softly on the back, knowing from experience that she wasn't one for touch. "I'm so proud of you, kid. You've come a long way."
Before much could be said between Anna's little squeals and Koko's smug grins, there was a knock on the studio doors. A boy in black pants and a blue polo looked around the room before asking generally, "Is Mikan Sakura here?" he asked, politely scanning the studio.
Koko's father answered in the affirmative before Mikan stepped forward, immediately catching the boy's eyes. "That's me," she said slowly. "Are you—"
"From Music Stars," he grinned boyishly, flipping up the envelope in his hands. "I have a message from one of our representatives, Narumi, but then again, I'm sure you knew that."
That was fast.
When he was just a few steps away, he stumbled a bit before blushing to his roots. Apologizing, he looked down at her (since he was freakishly tall) and extended the envelope. She barely noticed him as she took the envelope with a thank you.
Breezily, she called, "Koko, let's go."
At sixteen years, Mikan Sakura was ready to take on the world.
Or if she was being honest, she'd been ready for a long time.
With her head held high, her boots clunking on the ground, Mikan looked at the world with new eyes. She was ready to take the world by storm.
Bring it on world, because you won't know what hit you.
My Hopeless Romantic