Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha or any songs

Songs: Not With You… Tegan and Sara

Almost Lover… A Fine Frenzy

This chapter could have been a lot longer if I wanted to include all the performances, but I was too lazy to write them and they were really unnecessary so I kept it down to two songs. But to think going back to Disney Channel stars would be how I'd find the song for the opening that would fit the ending to this chapter perfectly. It's amazing. Alright, please enjoy!

Confessions of a Band Camp Geek

What did I do to deserve this?
Tell me the truth and don't lie
You're pretty good at that but, no not this time
You walk around like you run the world,
Running your mouth, and talking about me now,
They think that you're the perfect girl,
They're gonna see everything so get back

-Demi Lovato "Back Around"

Confession #9: I'm still prone to stage fright

"Bank, we have a serious problem!"

"Have you ever considered entering a room without causing a scene? Here." Bank tossed me the wires that were once in his hand. "I need to set up my drums so finish hooking everything up."

"You don't want to hear about my serious problem?" I asked, closing the cabin door behind me, but closing the door didn't do much to block out the music coming from the other surrounding cabins. This being the afternoon before the performance, everyone either reserved a cabin or practiced somewhere outside. I passed about five different dance routines on my way here.

"Knowing you and how you usually blow everything out of proportion, I highly doubt it's all that serious." Bank pulled his kick drum pedal in front of his bass drum and started to clamp it on. "Where the hell have you been all day? I wanted to go over the top three songs we have to choose from, but you weren't in Songwriting this morning."

"Sango didn't tell you?"

"Oh yeah," Sango hit herself in the head. "It completely slipped my mind because I was actually doing what we're supposed to do in Songwriting. I wrote a song and it's actually pretty good if I do say so myself. Well, the music is. I'm not really a lyrics person."

"And breakfast?"

"We were late so we spent most of the time shoveling food into our mouths."

"Lunch?"

"Oh, well Sho and Raiden were telling this really funny story about how they got locked out of Raiden's house once and—"

"I didn't even know Sho and Raiden lived in the same city…" All the things I missed this morning because of stupid kitchen duty!

"So you were gone because?"

"Yeah, Kagome," Jakotsu said as he continued tuning his guitar. "We really missed your morning antics of trying to get Bank to express his feeling for Rei. Without you there they just had a normal conversation."

"Well that's boring," I huffed. "I had kitchen duty," I explained, catching the look of impatience on Bank's face. "Kiyoko caught me coming in late and put me on kitchen duty for a whole week. And I have to stay in the kitchen until after lunch. It's torture."

Really, spending my whole morning getting yelled at by Cook and stared down with the evil eye by Akira was horrible. And Cook slapped my hand so hard when I tried to sneak a cookie in my mouth while I wrapped them in saran wrap— it hurt for a full thirty minutes. And to top it all off, the only person I had to talk to at breakfast and lunch was Akira. She can't stand listening to anything I say so I was forced to listen to her go on and on about herself while I nibbled on any scraps left over after the other campers got their food. I do not believe I deserve a full week of this hell just because I came in a few hours late.

"You were late last night?" Bank asked, looking confused.

"Yeah, you would know that if you hadn't magically disappeared to stalk Rei."

Bank stopped what he was doing to give me a look that clearly said he thought I was crazy. "Do you hear the stuff that comes out of your mouth sometimes? Really, why would I stalk Rei?"

"Because you liiiike her," Sho answered for me and I only had to nod my head in agreement.

Bank's face was flat. "We need to practice."

"Okay, okay, practice, sure, but first I have to tell you what happened when I was loading the bacon this morning."

"Hojo popped out of the oven and scared the hell out of you?" Bank guessed.

"No, he caught me by the dumpster." Bank paused to process my response before turning to share a disturbed look with Sango. "Yeah, it's not normal at all," I assured them, "but that's not what's really important. Ichi—"

"You should think about filing a restraining order," Bank told me with a serious stare. "This Hojo guy is a creep."

"You know what your problem is Kagome?" Jakotsu asked and I shook my head. "You're way too nice. It's pretty obvious that you don't like Hojo at all, but instead of telling him to leave you alone you let him stalk you and try to run away when he actually talks to you. It would do you a lot of good if you just say, 'Hey, I have a sexy boyfriend, I don't like you, leave me the hell alone.'" Jakotsu hit his imaginary STAPLES button. "That was easy."

"But that's mean. And it's not like he's done anything."

"It's called being assertive." Jakotsu sighed at my incompetency. "Really, Kagome, do yourself a favor and tell him to back off. You know, so he can't do anything in the future."

"Okay, Hojo is not the problem right now. Ich—"

"The problem is that the first performance of the summer starts in four hours and we don't even have a song to practice," Bank cut me off, standing up and moving to the front of all of us so he could properly give a lecture. "I hate to be the tyrant—"

"No you don't." Bank glared at Sango and she just shrugged her shoulders. "It's the truth."

"We need to get it together," Bank bluntly put it. "We need to figure out the song, spend the next few hours practicing, and blow the roof off this place."

"Stage doesn't have a roof," I mumbled and Bank threw his drumstick at me, but I ducked. "That could have hit me!"

"All our focus has to be on practice, okay?" He looked around to make sure we all understood and we all nodded our heads. "So, Kagome, you save all your news and dramatics until later. And you can stay here for a while, but you have to practice your own song, remember?" No, I had conveniently forgotten about that. "Are we clear now? Can we focus?"

I really wanted to tell Bank about Ichiro actually liking Rei and his unknown special plan for Rei's still- to-be-determined special day, but I figured that would only add on to his stress and then he might explode. For the sake of his sanity, I'll wait until after Nameless performs.

"Okay, fine," I huffed in agreement. "So, what song do you want to perform?"

Bank looked at me wide eyed. "You were supposed to be keeping track of our best songs!"

"And I did." I rolled my eyes at Bank's overreaction and pulled my phone out of my pocket. "I wrote them down in my phone somewhere. Relax."

"Yeah man," Sho agreed with me. "Kagome's got it all together."

"That's what I'm worried about," Bank sighed. He walked back over to his drums, picking up the drumstick he threw at me earlier on the way. "Let's just practice. I'll feel better once we know what we're doing and it sounds good."

"I worry about you, Bank," I told him. "You're way too stressed to only be seventeen."

"You're the cause of it." Bank smiled at me to show he was joking and then played a quick beat on his drums. "Alright, seriously though, let's practice."

We ended up spending the next half an hour arguing over which song to perform before finally agreeing on I'm Not Okay (I Promise) by My Chemical Romance since it was, pretty much, the anthem of all Freaks. And then we spent another half an hour arguing over how we should change the song to better fit Sango's vocals (I wanted to slow it down some because I heard a really pretty version sung slower, but Bank said he wanted to hype up the crowd) and in the end we found a good middle ground that wouldn't strain Sango's voice or "put the audience to sleep", as Bank put it. I got to sit in for maybe an hour of practice before Bank kicked me out and ordered me to do my own practicing so I headed back to my cabin to get my guitar.

"Jeez fucking Louise," Aimi hissed just as I made my way over to my bunk. Her hands were clamped over her ears. She and Rei were both sitting on their bunks, listening to the noise of everyone practicing around them. A few girls pushed the first two bunks back and made room to practice their dance routine, one of their iPods plugged into speakers and blasting music. "Is there no place I can go for some peace and quiet!"

"Outside?"

Aimi glared at me. "I'm a demon, Kagome; I hear everything."

"Oh."

"Yeah, oh," Aimi huffed, and tried to press her hands further onto her ears as she continued talking to me. "I seriously hate Sunday afternoons, really. Everyone has to get up on stage to broadcast their amazing talent and the rest of us have to suffer from all the noise they make when practicing. I went to one of the art cabins so I could paint instead of sit here and let my ears bleed out, but a bunch of kids with tubas were practicing in there! I can't find peace anywhere." Aimi took a deep breath before turning to look at me. "So, what brings you back here?"

"I needed to get my guitar to practice…" Aimi's entire face went blank. "I do need to practice though."

She fell back on the bed and turned her back to me, not saying another word.

"Don't worry about her," Rei assured me as I got on the ground to slide my guitar out from under the bed. "She's very overdramatic."

"So I've noticed." It seems I've met my match when it comes to melodramatics. "What about you?" I asked Rei, picking my guitar case up and turning to face her. She currently had her trunk opened up in front of her and a few different outfits laid out on her bed. "Don't you need to be practicing?"

"I practiced earlier today while I was in my piano class. Now I'm just trying to figure out what I'm going to wear," Rei said, gesturing to the clothes in front of her. "I usually try to look my best when I'm on stage."

"I didn't think about that at all." Stupid, stupid Kagome. "I mean, I have some fancy dress to wear at the end of the summer art gallery, but besides that I packed nothing but shorts and t-shirts." I looked over the clothes on Rei's bed; she had some nice clothes.

"Don't worry about it," Rei waved off. "You can borrow some of my clothes. We look about the same size."

"You are a life saver, Rei, really."

"It's nothing. So, do you to wear a skirt, shorts, or… Kagome?" Rei waved her hand in front of my face to get my attention. "What's wrong? You kind of zoned out and you had this really depressed look on your face."

"I don't suppose you have any fancy pants and long sleeved shirts that go together."

"No…" Rei answered and I groaned. "It's summer, Kagome. We were dying of heat yesterday in our shorts and t-shirts. Why do you ask?"

I shoved up the sleeves of my shirt to show Rei the ink on my skin. "And it's all over my legs too. And my back and my stomach."

"The ink didn't come off in the shower?"

"No," I groaned, falling back on Sango's bed. I'll get to go up on stage dressed like a bum. Great. I feel like I should leave Inuyasha an angry voice mail about this, blaming him and saying it was all his fault. "Oh well," I sighed, getting back up and grabbing my guitar. "Now I have to practice extra hard to make sure my talent will make up for the fact that I look like a bum."

Rei shot me a sympathetic smile. "Good luck."

"Thanks." I spared a look at Aimi, who still had her back to me. "Hey Aimi, do you want to come down to the lake with me while I practice?" I continued to be given the silent treatment. "You could go swimming and dunk your head in the water to help drown out the noise."

"…Let me get my bathing suit."

~0~

"Ladies and gentlemen of Talent, I would like to welcome you all to this summer's first Sunday Performance!"

"Boo!" Aimi shouted amongst the cheers that followed Mr. Otsuka's announcement and Sango elbowed her in the ribs. "What, I can't share my opinion now?"

"If you didn't want to come you didn't have to, you know," I reminded Aimi as the crowd settled back down, allowing our camp director to continue speaking.

"Believe it or not, I can support my friends," Aimi mumbled crossing her arms. "I don't have to be happy about it though."

"We actually prefer happy supporters…"

Aimi stared at Sango with wide eyes and forced the edges of her mouth to curve upwards as much as they possibly could. "Is this happy enough for you?"

"You know what, just stay grumpy," Sango told her, patting Aimi on the shoulder. "You look extremely creepy when you smile."

"And to think I came to support you." Aimi sucked her teeth and stuck her nose in the air. "I have never been so insulted in my life!"

"Stop whining," Sango waved her off. "I know you're only here to watch Raiden perform anyways." Aimi's face turned red and Sango and I both laughed as Mr. Otsuka went on to explain how tonight's performance was going to work.

Because Talent is a camp stocked full of teenagers who want to be performers and who tended to perform on Sunday night, the camp devised a plan to have ten acts backstage at a time so things don't get hectic. If you aren't back stage, then you just sit in the crowd and enjoy the show. And, since the best acts are chosen by the audience's applause and it's too hard to compare singing to dancing since they're two completely different things, the night is divided into three different categories of performers: dancers, campers playing only instruments, and singers/bands. After each group, the audience votes for the best by applause and then we move on.

It was going to be a really long night.

From liquor stores

To the train stop floors

Your filthy room, your drama blues

I am nothing, if I'm not with you

I'm always right, always wrong

Dressing bad is like loving you

There is nothing I haven't worn

Nothing I haven't said before

We just started on the singers and my butt was numb from sitting in this seat for hours and I was starting to sweat because I was sitting in the hot summer heat wearing longer un-summery clothes to cover up all my "tattoos".

"Did you get some decent practicing in?" Bank asked as we waited for our turn to perform. "I think we're in the next wave to be called backstage."

"Yeah," I lied, concentrating on the girl singing on stage as an attempt to rid myself of the nervous energy coursing through me. In retrospect, taking Aimi to the lake with me was a mistake because I ended up joking around with her more than actually practicing. It was the reason why I was a ball of jittery nerves. "But do you think it's still too late to take my name off the list? I'm starting to get stage fright."

Bank turned in his seat and looked me in the eyes. "Don't flake on me right now, Kags. You're amazing and you should be excited to share your talent with everyone else. Okay?" I nodded my head. "Alright, now take some deep breaths. In, out. In, out." I followed Bank's instruction. "Good. Do I need to make you sing Eye of the Tiger or do you think you're good to go now?"

"I'm fine," I assured him, sinking my teeth into my lip. I'd be fine as soon as the butterflies stopped flying around in my stomach.

"Alright, that was Yui singing Not With You by Tegan and Sara," Mr. Otsuka said into the mic and Yui took a bow. "Please, give her a round of applause for that wonderful performance!"

"She's in our cabin," Sango whispered to me as we all clapped as Yui left the stage. So that's why she looked so familiar. "She's actually pretty good."

"Yeah," I agreed, nodding. Would I be that good on stage? Ugh! I should have practiced! "Hey Bank, I change my mind. We should definitely sing—"

"Next up we have Rei who will be singing A Fine Frenzy's Almost Lover," Mr. Otsuka read off the note card in his hand before looking up to smile at us in the audience. "Please welcome Ms. Asahara to the stage!"

I gave up on getting Bank to sing Eye of the Tiger with me to help build my confidence because he was too taken by Rei to even clap for her. She walked out wearing satin black shorts over a pair of black pinstripe tights, her feet sported a pair of black ankle boots that had a small heel. On top, she wore a black, three-quarter sleeve blazer over a white tank that said Je t'aime, with a heart in the middle of it, and she left her hair down to fall over her shoulders, wavy (she didn't bother to straighten it this morning.) And the fact that she was smiling and waving as she walked over to the piano that had been pushed out to the middle of the stage just amplified the fact that she was gorgeous.

I elbowed Sango in the ribs and pointed to the gawking Bankotsu next to me and we both laughed.

"Love struck, baby, love struck," I sang to Bank and he snapped out of his daze to roll his eyes at me.

"It's love shack, Kagome," he pointed out and I pursed my lips.

"Eh, well love struck fits the situation better because you couldn't stop staring," I teased, poking him in the side and he squirmed in his seat. "You want to kiiissss her."

"Kagome!" Bank's face was bright red as he pushed me off of him. "She's about to start."

I grinned at Bank's bashfulness, but kept my mouth shut as Rei positioned her fingers on the keys and her feet by the pedals and took a few calming breaths before finally starting to play.

Your fingertips across my skin
The palm trees swaying in the wind, images
You sang me Spanish lullabies
The sweetest sadness in your eyes, clever trick

"I actually like this song," Aimi mumbled, which was actually a great compliment considering she has to be the head of the anti-music/dance scouts club. The majority of the evening was spent listening to her complain about how she "suffered through all that noisy practicing for this crap" (Except for when Yuuki performed; She was way too good to criticize so Aimi and I both sat in our seats and grumbled about how it sucked that evil people got all the talent—Yuuki got a freaking standing ovation). I was glad to see my new friend didn't hate all music.

Goodbye, my almost lover
Goodbye, my hopeless dream
I'm trying not to think about you
Can't you just let me be?

So long, my luckless romance
My back is turned on you
Should've known you'd bring me heartache
Almost lovers always do

Rei played with her eyes closed most of the time, opening them only to double check the placement of her fingers and she moved with the music as she played, leaning in to the piano at all the right moments. I always wished I had learned to play the piano because I wanted to look like Rei did on stage at the moment. And Rei was a really good singer which made the performance even better.

I watched Bank during most of the song, finding great joy in the captivated gaze that dominated his face. It wasn't until Rei started the bridge when Bank actually frowned.

"What?" I asked him, confused as to why he was suddenly frowning.

"She's crying."

I whipped my face to the stage—tears really were falling down Rei's cheeks as she sang.

I cannot go to the ocean
I cannot try the streets at night
I cannot wake up in the morning
Without you on my mind

So you're gone and I'm haunted
And I bet you are just fine
Did I make it that easy to walk
Right in and out of my life?

I was momentarily jealous of the fact that Rei could cry on stage and still look ethereal while I looked like blubbering idiot, but that only lasted for a second because I tried to figure out why she was crying. Maybe it's—

"Her boyfriend," Sango whispered the answer in my ear and it all made so much more sense. Rei still loves He-who-will-not-be-named, but she can't be with him because she knows he's bad for her, but she just can't forget him. Why didn't I catch on to that immediately?

So long, my luckless romance
My back is turned on you
Should've known you'd bring me heartache
Almost lovers always do

The last note lingered in the air and Rei stared down at the piano for a few more seconds before she got up and quickly bowed. As she stood up, she wiped the tear stains away from her face before giving the crowd a fleeting smile. She was already speed-walking off the stage by the time Mr. Otsuka made it there with his mike. In the wings, I could see Ichiro step out (he performed in the same group as Rei), opening his arms for Rei to run into.

Crap.

"So that serious problem of yours?" Bank asked and when I turned to look at him, he was still watching Ichiro hug Rei as he walked her behind the curtains. "It has to do with Ichiro, right?"

"Yeah… How'd you know?"

"You started to say his name twice but we kept cutting you off." Bank finally turned to face me. "What is it?"

"Are you sure you want to know?" Mr. Otsuka was already calling out the next ten performances that needed to head back stage and I heard both Nameless and myself being called and the rest of the band was already getting out of their seats. I didn't want to throw off Bank's concentration right before a performance.

"Yeah, Kagome, tell me."

I hesitated for only a second before I told him. "Ichiro showed up in the kitchen and asked Cook to make something special for some special day of Rei's that's coming up and then he talked to me because he recognized me as Rei's friend and he remembered that I hang out with you and he told me to tell you to stay away from Rei because he likes her."

"Huh." Bank ran his tongue over his top teeth. "That is a serious problem."

~0~

On our way to the stage, we passed Rei and Ichiro on their way back to their seats. Rei's eyes were red and puffy just like they were the night I first found out about He-who-will-not-be-named.

"Hey, Rei," Bank called to her, stopping when we were about to pass each other, and I didn't miss the way Rei hurried to shake her hand out of Ichiro's when she smiled at Bank. "Your performance was really good."

"Really? I'm kind of embarrassed. I hate crying on stage."

"Well you looked good doing it." Bank's face immediately turned red when he processed what he said and Rei giggled. They're flirting; how cute. "I mean—"

"She looks good in everything she does," Ichiro said, winking at Rei as he brought himself back into the conversation. He looked at me and cracked a grin. "Hey, Miki."

"Miki?" Rei and Bank both turned to me with questioning stares and Ichiro laughed in response.

"It's a long story," I grumbled. Next time I pick an alias, it'll be much more believable and not just the name of the blonde girl in my cabin.

"I met her when she was about to feed the entire camp bacon she dropped on the floor."

Bank's face fell. "I ate bacon this morning…"

"I didn't do it!"

"Miki's actually a really funny girl," Ichiro smiled. "Really fond of bacon," he added, winking and I groaned. I do one stupid thing and this guy is hell bent on reminding me of it every time we come into contact with each other. Jerk.

"First Hojo and now this guy?" Bank shook his head at me and Rei laughed again. "You're on a mission to break Inuyasha's heart this summer, aren't you?"

"Shut up!"

"Come on, Rei," Ichiro said, taking Rei's upper arm and motioning down the pathway that led to the seats. "We need to get our seats before the other performances start."

"Okay." Rei turned back to us and smiled—more at Bank than me, but that's absolutely fine and dandy. "Good luck, guys. I'll be cheering for you!"

"Thanks!" I called back to her, since Bank seemed too dazed to respond.

Ichiro hooked his arm around the back of Rei's neck and started leading her away before she could say anything else, but the spell had already been cast on Bank.

"Love struck, baby, love struck!"

He snapped out of it and frowned. "Do you ever get the lyrics to songs right?"

"I get the lyrics to my songs right." Bank rolled his eyes, but still smiled. "You know, you and Rei should talk more often. You're always in a better mood after you do."

"Just come on already- before we're late for our own acts." Bank grabbed my guitar from me so he could carry it and grabbed my wrist and dragged me behind him. "We really don't need you wondering off because you see something shiny."

I hit his arm. "I'm not that easily distracted."

"Suuure," Bank sarcastically agreed and I hit him again and we both laughed.

When we finally made it backstage, Mr. Otsuka and a few other counselors were ordering people to get into order by performance times, but nobody listened (they were too busy doing vocal warm-ups and mouth exercises and reading over lyrics they printed out). Not far from the back of the line we found the rest of Nameless, all doing exercises to get rid of any nerves. Sho was shaking his hands out and bouncing on the balls of his feet; Jakotsu was sitting crossed legged on the floor, meditating; and Sango was pacing in circles while she sang the lyrics to herself, tapping out the tempo with her hands.

"Took you two long enough," Sho said when he saw us approaching, starting to do a few jumping jacks. "They're going to start with the first performer in, literally, a minute."

"Good thing we got here when we did then." Bank handed me my guitar and sat down on the floor next to Jakotsu doing absolutely nothing.

"What, you don't have a tradition to help you get rid of nerves?" Sho asked Bank as he moved into lunges.

"Nope," Bank told him, shaking his head. "The nerves make me play better. And I don't even have that many nerves to start out with because I am extremely confident in the fact that my band is amazing."

"He's a cocky fella," I admitted to Sho, patting the top of Bank's head.

"What about you?" Sho asked me. "Any tradition that helps you get rid of nerves?"

"I usually throw-up," I shrugged and Sho grimaced. "But that's only when I'm really nervous- I'm doing pretty good now. See?" I held my hands out in front of me "My hands aren't shaking, which is good. And my leg isn't bouncing up and down which is usually a tell-tale sign that I'm terrified to get up on stage."

"Higurashi Kagome!" A random counselor shouted, walking around backstage looking for who I had no other choice but to assume was me. "Higurashi Kagome!"

"Here!" I called out, stepping forward so the lady could see me better.

"Oh, thank God!" The woman grabbed me by my arm and began dragging me towards the front of the line. "I found her!"

As she dragged me further away from my friends, I shot them a panicked expression and they all furrowed their brows in confusion. Bank was the only one who followed me, though.

"I got her," the woman sighed in relief and placed me at the front of the line and Mr. Otsuka smiled graciously at her. "We're all good to go now."

No, we are not good to go. What the heck is going on!

My eyes grew wide and I glanced back at Bank anxiously, but he only shrugged his shoulder, just as clueless as me.

"Great. Where's my mic?" Someone handed Mr. Otsuka his microphone and a note card and he thanked them with a smile. "Wonderful." He patted me on the shoulder, wished me good luck, and then walked out to introduce the next act. Except there was nobody standing in front of me to be introduced which meant…

"Oh shit," I cursed, burying my hands into my hair. "Shit, shit, shit."

"Kagome?"

Did I say I was fine a few seconds ago, because that was the biggest lie of my life.

"Excuse me," I called out to the lady who had so rudely dragged me to the front of the line without any explanation. "Why exactly am I at the front of the line?"

"Because you're the first to perform," the woman answered in a duh-like tone, looking at me as if I was stupid to even ask and I gaped, shocked. This lady is out of her freaking mind if she thinks I'm getting up on stage first. "The first two acts spontaneously dropped out so you're on, but don't worry, Hon, you'll do fine. You didn't make it into Talent if you didn't have talent."

Which is why I didn't make it into Talent for singing; I'm here for art! What the hell was I thinking when I signed myself up!

I should just follow in suit and drop out like the first two acts…

"I can't do this, Bank," I turned to him as I heard Mr. Otsuka announce my name to the crowd. "I lied to you when I said I practiced today. I took Aimi down to the lake with me when I went to practice and we basically spent the whole time goofing off."

"Don't worry about it, Kags," Bank assured me. "You practiced with me the every other day this week and you know this song. It's going to be amazing."

"But what if this is the wrong song choice? What if I screw up the lyrics like I always do? What if I sing, 'You're going to be the one that hates me,instead of saves me?' I'd completely ruin the meaning of the song!"

"I highly doubt that will happen."

"What if I forget the chords? Crap." My eyes widened. "What if I forget my name?"

Bank's face was flat. "Now you're pushing it."

"But seriously, what if I completely mess up and get laughed off the stage?"

"It's the eye of the tiger, it's the—"

"That's not going to help!" I shouted at Bank, slapping his claw down. "I'm really freaking out!"

"And without further a due, Higurashi Kagome!"

Shit.

"Here's the honest to god truth, Kagome," Bank started, taking me by the shoulders and looking me in the eyes. "I've been practicing on this song with you, you know all the chords, you have an amazing voice and you're going to do great. Okay?" I took a deep breath and expelled all the nerves in my stomach.

"Alright, I'm good now." Bank let out a relieved breath of air then smiled at me. "Can you record it for me?" I asked, handing Bank my phone. "I promised Inuyasha I'd send him a video of my performance."

"I gotcha'."

I smiled as I handed him my phone. "Thanks," I told him meaning it for more than just recording my performance. "You're the best."

Bank smirked at me. "I know."

"Go!" The woman who had dragged me to the front of the line ordered, shoving me out on stage. I waved back at my phone which Bank was already recording on and then headed to center stage where the mike was.

My tradition for getting rid of nerves: freak the hell out seconds before I'm supposed to go and let Bank talk me back down to sanity.

~0~

"And the winner for this Sunday's performance among the singers is…"

I waited impatiently with my arms crossed for the crowd to hurry up and decide who the best was. They had narrowed it down to five finalists and now we had to wait for the crowd to choose who they thought was the best out of those five by cheering when Mr. Otsuka held his hand over each person's head.

Although I actually did pretty well on my performance I didn't make into the top five, but I still had to wait on stage like a loser in the background. Nameless wasn't in the top five either, even though they did a really good job with their performance (I know we've put on better ones, though).

The finalists were Rei, Ichiro, Yuuki, some guy whose name I forgot but he danced while he sang and that was really good, and a girl who covered a song by some English chick I've never heard of before.

As much as I wanted Rei to win, I already knew who the crowd was giving it to.

"The audience has decided, and the winner is Saratoga Yuuki!" God, I was getting tired of hearing her name come after the words "and the winner is…"

"Life is such a bitch," Sango mumbled to me as we all headed down the back stairs of the stage after Yuuki did her annoying celebratory bow that we all had to stand around and watch. "Why do the people we hate have all the talent?"

"Because life's a bitch," Jakotsu answered as he squeezed in between us. "Hey, Kyouta!" A boy with brown hair and blonde streaks stopped and waved at Jakotsu, waiting for him to catch up. I think he was the guy playing Go Fish with Aimi and Jakotsu yesterday.

"Who's that?" I asked Bank as we continued on our way to the mess hall where they would be serving late night snacks after the performances finally ended.

"Some guy in our cabin." Bank scratched his head as he watched his brother walk away with one of his cabin mates. "I think he's going to be Jak's new boyfriend."

"Awww," Sango and I cooed at the same time and Sho and Bank both just rolled their eyes.

"Look at that," I sighed. "Little seeds of romance blossoming in the savanna."

"The savanna? We're in Japan, you know, not Africa." Sho's pointed out, but his tone made it sound like I was crazy.

"Lion King quote," Sango and Bank both answered at the same time.

"I'm so proud you two are finally starting to understand my obsession!" I hooked both my arms around their necks and pressed their cheeks against mine and they both groaned. "Oh, come on, it's not that bad."

"It's incredibly unhealthy," Sango said as she pulled away from me. "Really, Sho, you should see her trunk. She's got was has to be at least fifty—"

"Higurashi!"

Note to self: get better Yuuki senses so I have time to avoid her before she makes an appearance. These senses could possibly be more valuable than Hojo senses.

I watched Yuuki saunter up to us and a feeling of dread dawned over me. Why, God, why?

"Great show tonight, right?" She asked all of us in a sweet-like tone and I inwardly groaned. "Did you see my standing ovation? I mean, it was only obvious that I would win; and not just because I'm amazing, but the competition tonight was awful. First of all, you?" Yuuki looked my outfit up and down. "In all honestly, you look like some hobo they picked up off the street and just let perform because they felt bad for you. And you sounded like you were gargling vomit when you sang that horrible song. That had to be the worst thing I've ever heard.

"And your little band should actually try making music and not a bunch of noise because it's not pleasant," Yuuki went on to say and Bank's eye twitched. "Oh, heads up, Sango, it might do you a lot of good to dress like a girl instead of wear those… rags," Yuuki added, pointing at Sango's baggy camouflage cargo pants that were held up by a studded belt and her black t-shirt that showed half an inch of her torso. "And I don't even know how that purple-haired freak friend of yours made it into the top five because she looked almost as pathetic as you crying on stage except she's not a fat cow." My jaw dropped and Yuuki just smiled like she was the nicest person to ever come into existence. "Well, I hope this experience doesn't stop you from performing in the future because without losers like you there wouldn't be winners like me." She grinned and waggled her fingers at us and then turned on her heel, headed off in the other direction. "Ciao!"

"Uh… what exactly did we ever do to her?" Sho asked, looking at Bank extremely confused. "I feel like she just hates us for absolutely no reason at all."

"Well, I hate her just as much," Sango ground out. "I hate her fucking guts."

"I really don't get people," Bank grumbled to himself, rubbing his temples.

"Hey, Aimi!" I called out when I saw a head of red and black hair not too far off, digging inside my pocket for my phone when she turned around to acknowledge us. "You are not going to believe the picture I took a couple of nights ago when I was out on a bathroom run."

If Yuuki was going to hate us this much, I should at least give her a reason.

-0-0-0-0-

J'ai fini! It feels really good to be updating this story again. I WAS going to have this updated yesterday, but I was too engrossed in the Olympics (I was skyping hanmajoerin while she was editing and she saw all my cheering and frustrated faces). The next chapter is actually going to be pretty short in comparison to this one when I look to what I have planned for it, but I usually tend to drift away from my plans. Spoiler alert: the cabin wars begin in the next chapter. I'm so excited! But yeah, please review!

Funny thing about last chapter: I was at lunch during my volunteering last week and everyone at the table had food services before and we were just ranting about how awful kitchen duty was and all I could think about was the last chapter. It feels good to know I wasn't the only one to hate it.

~Kimiko888~

Yuuki = Kikyo version 2.0, people. Personally, I didn't see Yuuki's criticism rant coming. Also, for those who follow Walking Tightropes, Erin's birthday was yesterday (August 1rst) so happy birthday to our shoe throwing, tyrannical band manager!

~hanmajoerin