Alright you guys! I was reading up on Anna's bio in the Japanese Osu Tatakae Ouendan 2 official site, and I thought, "Wow, 3rd in America at Cheering. But why is she so awesome in America... and suddenly in Japan?" So I started writing.
Keep in mind that I homeschooled through all of Middle and High School. I have NO IDEA how actual high schools run. My friend says that it's good enough but I still don't know... anyway...
Also, keep in mind that while the story is written in English, there are plenty of Japanese exchanges. These will be translated for your sake... but it may be a little hard for you to tell which is "English" and which is "Japanese". A good word of thumb is "if the character is using Japanese Honorific Titles... then it's probably in Japanese". Common sense helps as well.
So anyway, without further ado, read the first half of this incredible journey of a young American cheerleader and her love of cheerleading!
Anna Lindhurst was American. Her family was all born in America, and so she was as well. However, she was also Japanese. She lived in Japan and she loved that land more than any other. It was small wonder that she became an Ouendan just like her friend.
It all started when she was three years old…
Anna really wasn't sure what had happened. One moment, she was playing "Call" with her phone toy, and her father was driving safely down the street. The next moment, a blaring sound, the screeching of tires… and Anna was upside down in her small seat.
She sobbed loudly, screaming and flailing. Where was Mommy? Where was Daddy? It seemed like forever until someone unfamiliar slammed the butt of a red axe into the broken window, shattering it. He reached out and unbuckled the child from her safety seat, and pulled her from the car. She refused to stop crying, and the man looked up and called to the other firefighters that there was a survivor.
Anna's parents died in the car crash that day.
Anna stared at the kind man that smiled down at him, "Hello, Anna. My name is Richard. I'm your uncle."
It turned out Richard Lindhurst was Anna's father's brother. He was also her godfather. He knelt down and took her hands, "I heard about your mommy and daddy. I'm here to take care of you."
"Daddy was handsomer than you…" Anna said in all blunt honesty, sniffling loudly and wiping her eyes.
Richard smiled, "He was, wasn't he?" he asked, reaching out to hug his niece. Anna sucked in a deep breath, and screamed in anguish.
Anna didn't speak much to Richard, and refused to call him anything short of Uncle. She didn't even ask why they were on a plane. Richard knew she wanted to know, though, "We're going somewhere new."
"Why?" Anna asked, staring out the window.
"Because I work somewhere far away. I have to stay there, away from America." Richard turned to his niece, "Do you mind?"
"No." Anna said halfheartedly. Richard shook his head. He really wished he could tell whether she was telling the truth or not, "There's nothing left for me there…" She suddenly said, pressing her face against the window and looking at the ground below her, "Mommy… Daddy…"
Richard wondered if she was always going to act this grown up.
Anna didn't understand what anyone said. They were speaking very fast in a secret code she never thought she'd ever learn, "Anna, do you know where this place is?" Richard asked, taking her hand. Anna looked at her uncle and shook her head, "This is Japan. This is where I live. This is where I work."
Anna soon learned from her uncle that he was a businessman. He was an excellent translator, and a master transactional worker. He had a home in Japan simply because he never had to leave America. He would work as a translator for a Japanese company, and help business transactions take place. Anna asked if she was going to learn the language too. Richard smiled in response, "If you don't mind."
The young girl looked at the various people, who spoke quickly in a secret code. She shook her head, "No, I don't mind," she said. This time, she meant it.
Many years passed. Anna grew up in grace and dignity. She was American, but she acted like a Japanese girl. Her uncle's maid, Moriko, lived with her in a house on the outskirts of Tokyo, six hours from downtown. For this reason, Richard would leave for work on the weekdays, and would not return until the weekend. The moment he returned, however, his whole world was Anna. He played with her and hugged her and read bedtime stories and helped her practice her letters.
As the years passed, Anna forgot much of her parents, remembering only snippets of her life before the accident. However, she knew that if her parents were still alive, they'd treat her just as wonderfully as Moriko and Richard did now.
Anna looked up worriedly to her uncle on the day of her first day of school. Richard kissed his niece on the head, "You will do fine, Anna. Moriko will be here for her you. I'll return on the weekend. You'll be a good girl until then, right?" The girl gulped, but nodded.
"Y…yes, Papa…" she murmured, making sure to remember that going to school entailed that she only speak in Japanese. Richard smiled.
"You don't have to call me 'Papa', you know."
"You're like my Papa to me…" Anna said, reaching up to kiss her uncle, "I want to call you Papa."
Richard smiled and hugged his niece, "Alright then, Anna. Thank you."
Anna excelled at schoolings. She spoke as if she had known Japanese her whole life (indeed, she could switch between English and Japanese interchangeably as easily as breathing), and she was loved by all of her peers. The strangest person in the school was the one that attracted the most attention. Ippongi Ryuuta, a young boy in her class, was loud and obnoxious. He yelled at everything he saw, even the bugs on the ground.
"Go!" He would shout at the bug, "Go to that rock! You can do it!" He shouted at the children in his class, especially when they wanted to step on the bugs he shouted at. He even shouted at the sakura that floated to the ground during the Hanami season, "Fall faster!" He roared, "You can do it! Fall!"
Ippongi Ryuuta's shouting was loud and obnoxious, but it was catchy. Anna soon became his best friend, and they took turns yelling at things, "Go bug! Run faster!" "You can do your homework! Work hard!" "Fall faster, you blasted sakura you!" and they even yelled at each other, "You're so awesome, Anna-chan!"
"No, you're better, Ryuuta-kun!"
"You're lying! You're better!"
And when all was said and done, the two would flop on the steps of the school and watch the clouds pass. Their cheering completed, they took deep breaths and simply talked.
"You're always so energetic, Ryuuta-kun," Anna said one day on the steps, when the two were nine, "Why are you always shouting so much?"
"You don't like it?" Ryuuta asked, always the one to make sure that he never annoyed his friend in any way.
"Well… I just never knew why…"
"My brother's an Ouendan," Ryuuta said in response, pointing at a cloud that resembled a duck.
"An Ouendan…?" Anna took a moment to recall what that was, "Oh! Like in school, cheerers?"
"Yeah," Ryuuta smiled, "My brother's the leader of his squad. Everyone likes him. I want to be more like my brother." He turned to Anna, "I'm going to be an Ouendan when I get older!"
Anna blinked at Ryuuta, and laughed, "Alright!" She proclaimed, "I'm going to be an Ouendan too! That way we can work together!"
Ryuuta got a little too excited, and started shouting again, "That'll be great! You'll be the best Ouendan ever!"
"No, YOU will!"
"Liar! You will!"
However, that dream was not to come true. As Anna grew older, and she and Ryuuta grew closer, life threw her another curve ball that changed her life. Life wasn't a rose garden, and Anna learned that the hard way.
Anna stared at her uncle, "Wh… what did you say…?" She said at the age of fourteen. She had noticed her uncle was graying, but what he said struck her like a bolt from the blue.
"You've met my sons, your cousins, right Anna?" Richard said. Anna continued to stare, "They already have sons and daughters of their own. Anna, I'm not getting any older. I'm going to retire." He looked at his niece, "I want to return to America and see my grandchildren."
"But… but…" Anna said, covering her mouth, "What about…?"
"Anna, before I decide to go home… I want to ask you one thing." Richard reached out and placed his hands on her shoulders, "Tell me, and tell me honestly, do you mind?"
The young woman didn't speak. Her wide eyes stared into her uncle's eyes, "I… I…" Tears were beginning to form in her eyes, and she murmured, "I can't say… not yet…"
Richard nodded, "I understand. Take your time, Anna. I won't ever pressure you."
Anna waited as he straightened up, turned around, and left his niece's room. Anna shivered lightly, took her quilt, and sobbed into it.
"Going back to America?" Ryuuta asked, stuffing more octopus into his mouth. Anna didn't feel like eating her bentou, even though Moriko spent so much time on making it perfect. Ryuuta finished off his lunch and juice, and Anna passed the rest of her bentou off to him. He thanked her and dug in, "So he's asking you if you want to go back?" Anna nodded again, still amazed at her friend's amazing ability to talk with a mouth full of food. He took another swig of Anna's juice and looked at her, "Why don't you want to go back, Anna-san?"
Anna looked up at the traitor before her, "Why do you think, Ryuuta-kun?" She almost hissed, "What about you? And me? We won't…"
"I've always wanted a pen-pal," Ryuuta suddenly said, "Have you ever had one, Anna-san?"
"We can be pen-pals. What's the difference between being friends close or far?"
"It's easy for you to say, you don't have to move ten thousand miles away…" Anna murmured, sniffling, "What is there for me in America?"
"Is it true?" Anna looked up at her friend as he interrupted her, "that America's 'the Land of Opportunity'? Maybe you can get something there. You have the opportunity."
"You're not helping!" Anna said suddenly, standing up, "Ryuuta-kun, I should have known you weren't going to be any help."
"You can do it!" Anna took a step back at his sudden shouting, "Anna, you can go to America and be the best Ouendan over there!"
The teenager was taken aback. She suddenly giggled, and then laughed, "Ryuuta-kun, they're called 'Cheerleaders' in America."
"Chia Riidaazu?" Ryuuta butchered the English Language. Anna practically winced.
"Yeah," She said, suddenly smiling. Her friend always made her smile, "I suppose… I could always be a cheerleader…" She smiled sheepishly, "I suppose… America wouldn't be too bad to live in…"
"We'll still be friends!" Ryuuta shouted, standing now that both of the Bentou were finished, "And we'll always keep in touch! Anna-san, you can do it! You can!"
Anna smiled, nodding lightly, "R… right… Ryuuta-kun…" She smiled, "No matter what, we'll always be friends!" Why was it that whenever Ryuuta shouted at her, she'd suddenly feel all better? It was just so strange…
At the end of the week, Anna met with her uncle, who had returned from his work for the last time. She smiled at him, and wrapped her arms around him after dinner, "Father?" She said, "Let's go home to America. You've taken such good care of me, I want to repay you. Let's go."
Richard smiled at Anna, and hugged his niece, "Right, Anna. That sounds… thank you…" Anna squeezed her uncle harder, refusing to let him see her eyes fill with tears. This was it… she would never see Ryuuta again, and she would never go back to Japan. How could she? Why would anyone accept her here after going to America? She felt sick; she wished Ryuuta were there… he would have cheered her on… it would have made her feel better…
However, she knew she wasn't always going to be able to rely on Ryuuta. She needed to be able to take care of herself too. She knew she could handle this new decision. America wasn't THAT bad, was it?
Perhaps it was. Anna knew how to speak English well enough (although her light accent was still prominent in her voice), but the culture shock was almost too much to take. People were speaking so fast in English, dressing so differently, and acting so rude. She was amazed at how nasty the people were, how outspoken and tactless the women were, and how well the men acted like bastards.
Being a freshman in high school wasn't so bad though. She did her best and mostly kept to herself. Suddenly, as she walked down the hallway, she stopped and stared at a poster, advertising the place and date of cheerleading tryouts. A now rare smile fluttered across her features. She had recently received an e-mail from Ryuuta: he had recently become the leader of an Ouendan squad, just like his brother, and at such a young age! He was so proud… and now it was her turn to follow her dream. She wrote the time and date on the back of her hand with a pen and rushed off to her next class.
What surprised Anna most of all, however, was the fact that the cheerleading tryouts… was filled with nearly a dozen women. Not one was male. She had heard that male cheerleaders in America were really rare, but this surprised even her! She looked around, "A dozen people…" she murmured, "This is going to fun."
"I know, I know I'm going to get in. I'm so psyched!" the young woman next to Anna said, "Hey, you're the girl from far away, huh? You just moved here. I'm Heather, nice to meet you."
"And to you too, Heather, I'm Anna." She shook the girl's hand, and the girl blinked at Anna's strange actions, "I have a question, could you answer it?"
"Well…" Anna looked around, "I can't find any men… why aren't there any male cheerleaders here…?"
Heather snorted, and Anna drew back when the other woman laughed quite loudly, "If you're looking for boyfriends in the cheerleader department, I'm afraid you'll only find them in the wrong kind of department."
Anna blinked, and Heather rolled her eyes, "Anna, they're all gay! Where have you been living, under a rock?"
Anna frowned lightly. That wasn't true, was it? Things in Japan were so much different than in America. She decided not to get in an argument with the other woman and she bobbed her head once to show she understood. "I see…" she muttered, trying to think of a homosexual Ryuuta. It just didn't fit…
"You know some of the greatest guys?" Heather asked, "You should avoid most of the jocks, but some of them are the sweetest ever. Another thing you could do is date a nerd and use him to do your homework! That's the best way to get your work done…"
Anna had blanked Heather's explanations out as she thought about her friend. For the first time since she arrived, she really felt the weight of her decision to come to America. It just never seemed to be such a horrible idea until now. Everything was just too different!
Heather suddenly stopped speaking, and Anna looked up as a woman stepped up and addressed the young women. Anna tried to keep her attention on the woman instead of Ryuuta. She just hoped she could do well enough that she would be at least part of the squad…
"Uncle! Uncle!" Anna said as she rushed into her uncle's home. She twirled around happily and practically floated to Richard's side. She hugged him tightly, and smiled brightly, "I was chosen! I'm going to be a cheerleader!"
"Congratulations, Anna," Richard said, placing a kiss on his niece's forehead.
"I have to tell Ryuuta. I'll be right back!" And with that, she sailed out of the room, cheering and shouting ecstatically. The entire house seemed to come alive with her bright and enthusiastic energy. The retired businessman rubbed his chin in thought, a smile spreading across his face as he returned to tending to his botanical garden.
Anna practically glided up to her room, cheering, singing, dancing, all the way up to her room. She settled down and began to write an e-mail to her best friend. Not being one to beat around the bush, she wrote exactly what she was so excited about. It was obvious, after all:
"Ryuuta-kun! I've been chosen as the lead cheerleader!"
It was the beginning of a beautiful time in America.
And so it remained, all the way to Anna's Junior year in high school. Anna became a star student, loved by teachers of all ages, and she was nominated by many for various presidencies. Most of which she would have won if she didn't already have enough stuff stacked on top of her. However, despite her various attributes, cheerleading was her one true love. Nothing in her schedule could get in the way of her cheerleading, and everyone could see why. She was a natural, and it would be a waste if she didn't cheer as much as she could.
Of course, being such a star student, it wouldn't be right if she wasn't slandered everywhere she went. People wondered if her uncle was bribing the teachers into treating her specially, and others claimed she granted "special" favors to people for their votes. She was always an odd one, even for a star. Her many and varied boyfriends all said the same thing: Anna wasn't really girlfriend material. She hardly touched them and it seemed she only kept them around because it was "right" for such a prominent student to have one. Many wondered exactly what kind of student she was, as she certainly wasn't a normal "popular but dumb blonde". They soon found out just what kind of woman she was when an unexpected transfer student was brought into the high school.
His name was Kawamura Arata, a young student that had moved to America from Japan. His English wasn't very good, but he was a bright pupil, and was sure that he would do well as a high school freshman. He soon found that it wasn't going to be. His "peers" mercilessly shoved him in the halls and made fun of his accent behind his back.
One day, Arata walked with a bundle of books and papers stacked high in his arms. It made him a perfect target, and pretty soon someone had slammed into his shoulder. The books and papers went flying.
"Iaaaaaaa!" Arata shouted, struggling to pick everything up as the man who bumped him shouted, "Watch where you're going, bastard!"
Arata tried to catch the falling papers and pick up his books, but people walked by in a furious attempt to get to their class in time. He would never get everything picked up in time! However, suddenly a young woman knelt next to him, "Need help?" She asked, picking up the leaflets.
The new student stared at the cheerleader. It was Anna! He smiled brightly as she hummed lightly, picking up all the papers and books. The two worked together at a furious pace, and Arata hardly noticed that the two were already done! With Anna's light cheering, the two got the job done quickly, and it was as if nothing ever happened.
"Ariga-…! Sank yuu!" Arata said, remembering to keep speaking in English. He smiled happily, and Anna smiled in reply.
"You're welcome," Anna said in Japanese, bowing lightly. Arata's eyes lit up when he heard her continue in his native tongue, "Now, hurry!" and with that, she pressed lightly on the new kid's back and sent him on his way.
"Thank you so much, Anna-senpai!" Arata shouted again as he rushed off to his class. Anna smiled and went to her own class, smiling all the way.
Anna found herself walking home, like normal, but this time she had a visitor, "Anna-senpai! Anna-senpai!"
"Aaa, Arata-kun… that's your name, right…?" Anna asked as Arata fell in step with her.
"Yes, it is!" The young man said, ecstatic that he found someone who spoke his language, "It's nice to meet you!"
"It's nice to meet you too."
"Wonderful weather we're having, huh Anna-senpai?"
"It sure is…"
And suddenly, Anna was home again. She was back in Yuuhi town, speaking with her good friends about the weather and sports and her favorite foods and movies and what she did over the summer and everything! There really was no feeling like the feeling that you were lost and suddenly found your way back home. Arata gave her that feeling, and she thanked him internally for it. She was sad when she got to her home, and had to say goodbye.
"Aaa, Is this your house Anna-senpai?" Arata wondered when he realized Anna was walking up the stairs towards it rather than the sidewalk.
"It is. See you tomorrow."
"Goodbye for now until we meet again!" Arata called, waving at the junior and practically skipping off. Anna felt like she would burst from excitement when she entered her home. Everything seemed so perfect, so RIGHT now that she had a friend to speak to. She wanted to tell Ryuuta immediately.
It was the last piece of mail she ever sent him…
The next morning, Heather glared at Anna. Anna blinked lightly, "I can't believe it…" The cheerleader hissed.
"What can't you believe?" Anna asked, completely oblivious to whatever she did wrong.
"I saw you talking that stuff to the new kid. I should have known." The cheerleaders pointed at their leader, "You're a Japanophile!"
One of the cheerleaders cackled horribly, "So what's your favorite show? The one where everyone powers up for fifty episodes?"
"I bet you like saying 'KAWAII DESOO NO NEE CHAN!!'" another of her former friends hissed.
"I think all she does is watch that garbage where the two token girly-guys make out," Heather said with a laugh.
"Hey, yaoi's kinda nice…"
"Shut up before you join her, Melissa," The cheerleaders glared at the offender. Melissa shut up.
"Now listen here," Anna said quite angrily, "I was raised in Japan. There's no reason…"
"Oh, so now you want to LIVE there?" Heather said as the others surrounded Anna and jeered, "You're not class president material; you deserve to sit in the 'Anime Club' and watch your favorite One Piece episodes, Weeaboo!"
Anna listened to the girls as they chanted and jeered "Weeaboo! Japanophile!" And the young cheerleader trembled lightly. She didn't even like One Piece! "All of you!" She said, "I'm warning you!"
"What are you going to do, geek?" Heather crowed, stepping forward and trying to stand up at Anna's height (and failing), "You're going to hit me? You WOULD too. All your anime is so violent; I bet it really breeds all the school shooters!" Anna trembled in anger and rage, "Go ahead, bitch, take your best shot!"
Anna did. Heather fell backwards with a scream. The cheerleaders gasped and they gathered around Heather, whose nose was spilling blood, "You…! YOU BITCH!" she screeched.
"I… I didn't mean to…!" Anna said quickly once she realized exactly what she had done. She took a step back and tried to calm her rapidly beating heart, "I just…! I…!" Heather immediately burst into tears, picked herself up and rushed off, screaming for help. On the inside, however, Heather was smirking nastily. The cheerleaders glared angrily at Anna and rushed to tend to their friend. The young woman stood in shock, wondering why she did that. She couldn't even think, her mind had gone white with shock.
What would Ryuuta say…?
Anna Lindhurst shivered lightly as the adults stared down at her. She was sitting in her cheerleading coach's office, "You even had the gall to do it during practice, too, Anna. We had to cancel the whole thing! What do you have to say for yourself?"
Anna shivered lightly, "I… I didn't mean to… I'm sorry…"
Anna's coach sighed, "That's it… that's all you have to say…?"
"Oh, Coach!" Heather suddenly said with a devilish smile, "it's all okay! I'm sure Anna didn't mean to do it!"
"Yeah, in fact, I'm sure if Anna just apologizes for ALL of her wrongdoings…" Heather turned to Anna with a smile that made the young woman's stomach flip, "then we can keep going as if nothing ever happened…"
Anna stared at Heather, "What…?"
"That sounds fine, I suppose. Anna?"
Anna was stuck. Heather wouldn't let Anna live a normal life until she became "a normal cheerleader". It shouldn't be such a terrible thought for a cheerleader to know Japanese, but according to Heather, it was a heathenistic sin that needed to be stamped out immediately. Anna sighed; she loved Japan, but she loved cheerleading even more. If she had to give up liking Japan to keep the women from attacking her… she would reluctantly do so.
"Hey Heather? I'm really sorry… for everything."
Heather clasped her hands together, eyes shining behind her soft exterior, "Oh Anna, that's all I ever wanted!"
"I'm glad this could be resolved so peacefully!" The coach said with a smile, "Now, I want you two to head on home, and keep your nose up like that, alright Heather?"
"Yes, Coach…" Heather said, whose face had been facing the ceiling the whole time to keep her nose from bleeding all over the place. Anna had to admit, she was kind of glad to see her that way…
However, that wasn't enough to make her happy. She had to pretend she didn't hear Arata as she walked home, and the moment she arrived home, she couldn't bear to look at the mail that Ryuuta had undoubtedly sent her. She simply slipped into her room, flopped on her bed, and cried so loud that Richard had to rush up to see what was wrong.
"Anna, Anna, what's the matter?" Her uncle asked with deep concern, "Darling, you can tell me." Anna rubbed her puffy eyes and looked up at her uncle. She wrapped her arms around Richard and quietly cried, "Anna, Anna, please don't cry. I love you so much…"
"I'll never be able to speak to him again…"
"How can I talk to Ryuuta-kun now, after everything I did…?" She asked no one but herself.
"Anna… Will you tell me what happened?" Anna's uncle asked. She clutched Richard harder, but didn't say anything. Richard sighed lightly; he supposed this is what teenagers always did, "Well, if you must, Anna, I'll be here to cry on whenever you need it." The student shifted slightly, and after a moment, she murmured a "Thank you" so quiet that Richard hardly heard it.
The young woman's uncle smiled at Anna as he stroked her beautifully golden hair, "I'll go make some dinner. What would you like?"
"We have some, I'll go make that. You start your homework and forget everything that happened at school, alright?" Anna released her uncle and nodded. Her tears had stopped falling, but she knew inside that she couldn't fulfill her uncle's task. Richard walked past Anna's computer, and blinked at the blank screen staring back at him. She hadn't even turned it on. With a "hmm…" he left the room, and went to prepare dinner for his niece.
And... that's it... for now.
I'll upload the second part later. Hope you don't mind and stuff.
I'm debating whether to write something about Hajime or Shinta next... Hmmmm...
Review please. I keep wanting to say it but I think it really makes people not want to review. I wonder...