I know that you didn't mean it, but I think your story turned out to be something like a tragedy...Remember Nana, unspoken words will lead to unwelcome consequences. Spoilers up to ch 77.
despite my pain
I won't stop calling you
until you answer me
It's his turn to cut her with his eyes. "And I like girls in red dresses."
:::::: the last train to anywhere ::::::..
Osaki Nana is something like a statue; cold, beautiful, proud. The world is black and white to her; stars a million things that reminded her about what she couldn't have. Too many nights curled up in her bed after days of work and harsh words had stripped her of whatever strength she had left for the long days ahead. She takes orders from her grandmother with an indifferent mask, hands clenched with palms cut with little crescents from her nails.
She hates dreaming. They always ended up reminding her that no, she couldn't be who she wanted to be, she couldn't have and family, and no, she couldn't be loved-but she still ends up wishing.
Sometimes when the nights are unsettling and the snow falling outside her window fails to distract her, she thinks that it's because a long time ago, coated with false promises, her mother had taken her beating heart and carried it with her, alone into the unforgiving night, leaving behind a scared little girl hoping, believing, in something like a lie.
She hates school and the people in it. Especially the people in it. She knows what they talk about her, both in front and behind her back. But what could she do about it? It's not her fault that she doesn't talk to anyone because nobody was remotely appealing to talk to and that they'll just leave once they get to know her, because who would want to know a girl who was abandoned and lived in a tiny apartment with a grandmother who would care less about her? Her head is always head high when they talk, when they talk about the most useless things she's thinking about getting the hell away from the halls filled with stupid rumors, of things she shouldn't care about but does.
The rooftop becomes something like a sanctuary, nobody knows or cares about her up there. The near-empty pack of cigarettes is a blessing when she clicks the lighter and then reality is miles away. Her mind wanders to places far, far away, where she could be free, where she could be rich and famous and be somebody else. Instead of Osaki Nana, the hottest topic of gossip at school, instead of the poor girl she knows her grandmother wanted to get rid of.
Even when she's working around the store, her mind is off dreaming of about when she's old enough she'll leave this shitty town and everything it failed to offer.
She wants to sing.
It was a far-fetched dream, woven from fleeting thoughts and pieced together from everything she would never be.
He's a strange boy, that Terashima Nobu. He's also persistent and annoying and he draws even more unwanted attention to her than she'd like.
He's also the heir to the Terashima Ryokan; another well-to-do kid and yet another reason to not talk to him.
She begs her sore feet to walk faster. She really didn't want to deal with him today. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.
...Until he shoves her the CD's and she finds herself listening to them before she falls asleep. She keeps them for longer than she'd like because really, she didn't have the money to buy her own copies and that she wants to have nights that didn't end with her mourning her pitiful life.
Then they end up becoming friends; bonding over music and his guitar and he introduces her to a thrift shop where she finds some Vivienne Westwood clothes. The rooftop doesn't seem so lonely anymore and she thinks that she could bear a little more time in this town.
But then suddenly shit hits the fan and she's branded as a prostitute and everything goes to hell from there.
Somehow, she finds it in herself not to cry as she boards train to anywhere, somewhere, to get away, at least for a little while. She glances at the station clock and she has at three hours to spend before she has to come back to reality.
She wants to see the sea.
Osaki Nana is something like a mess when she cries into her arms; the salty breeze of the ocean air a cool hand soothing a patch of stinging skin after it's slapped you.
In the end, she hasn't gone to school in two months and she still feels like shit. Nobu comes over to her house on the first snow of the year, a month after her grandmother dies.
"Hey Nana, what are you gonna do now?" he asks, watching her boil tea from the floor.
"Moving into another apartment," she says resignedly. "I can't afford to pay the rent here, and besides, it's far from where I work."
"What about school?"
Her face hardens. "Don't ask questions you already know the answer to, Nobu."
His eyes flitter to the portrait of her grandmother resting on the small white shrine at the corner of the room.
"How are you holding up?" He sounds genuinely concerned, like any good friend, and she tries not to lash out at him.
"I...really don't know. She was sick for a while...and I think it's my fault." Her hands shake as she sets the tray down on the table. "I think she just gave up completely after she heard about the charges and that I didn't deny them." Her hands twist the edges of her skirt. "I think if I just fought back, she'll still be here, if not a little longer."
Nobu is quiet as he sips his cup of tea, a thing she's thankful for. He says with her, basking in the silence until it's dark and he has to go.
"Hey...I have two tickets for a concert," he says. "It's at the Live House on Christmas..."
"Go with your girlfriend."
"But she has plans with her family," he whines and pleads with his eyes.
She smirks. "Fine, but only because you'll be lonely if you go alone."
"And there's a guy I want you to meet-"
She cuts him off. "I doubt it."
"Then you have nothing to loose, Nana!" he says as he steps out into the snow and into the night.
"Love doesn't last," she calls out after him and she says it like a fact that she's absolutely sure of.
He hits her like a hurricane when he plays, that Honjo Ren. Against her will, her eyes remained fixated on him for the majority of the show. At this point, she's utterly disappointed in herself to think that he's absolutely gorgeous; with the stupid perfect face complete with the stupid smirk and the unzipped black jacket taunts her with the expanse of bare skin underneath.
Nobu leads her backstage after the show, where she spots him with his guitar and talking to the bald drummer, a cigarette hanging off his fingers.
He spots them first as they approach him.
"Hey Nobu," he says languidly, taking another drag. Then his eyes dart to her, and suddenly the room is much more smaller. She also hates it that all the attention is now fixed on her. "And...?"
She cuts him with her eyes as she smiles coldly and replies with a simple "It's Nana."
The air is suddenly thicker; atmosphere tense.
"Mind giving us a ride?" Nobu asks, oblivious to the minefield between them.
Ren turns to the drummer. "You have the keys, Yasu."
Baldy turns and tosses them to Ren. "Now you do."
When he drops her off, she doesn't say thanks and she thinks he probably thinks she's a bitch, but that's okay.
Osaki Nana has simply ran out of things to give a fuck about.
He chases after her when she drops off Nobu's CD; her heart is telling her one thing, her mind the other.
Her feet don't falter, but then he reaches for the ribbon around her neck, she know's she's a goner.
"Come sing for my band!" He's panting now and his eyes bore into hers and she thinks that it's the first time anyone's looked at her like that; something like being needed.
His bathtub is bigger than her's, and the water is warmer. She likes soaking in it for lengthy periods of times and she thinks he's annoyed with her now.
Then he barges in unannounced, right when she's about to get out, of all times.
"What the fuck? What the fuck, Ren!"
"Chill. Don't hurt yourself."
"What the hell are you doing in here? Get out, you creep!" She tries to reach for the curtain, but it's suddenly too far away.
He smirks at her as he rifles through the drawers for something.
"Which one? Answer the question or get out?"
Her glare intensifies. "Get out, I'm naked."
He snorts. "Obviously. Normally people don't wear their clothes to go shower. But if you're one of those who do, I can respect that."
She wants to clamber out of the tub and drown him in it.
"What's wrong with you?"
"Known information. But really, you couldn't wait?"
"Nope. Besides, you take too long."
He closes the drawers and heads back to the door.
"There's nothing to see, anyways."
She takes the fish sponge thingy and throws it at him, but it sails past him and into the hallway.
"Wonder where this has been...?"
"I fucking hate you, pervert."
"Your aim sucks too."
She thinks she's found something to care for.
She likes the feel of his fingers running through her hair and the feel of his mouth on her skin. His kisses are poison and his words are wine; she simply couldn't get enough. He likes miso soup and he says he likes the guitar more than her but his brown eyes are full of mirth and she likes coffee and strawberry cake and Ren flowers and Sid Vicious. The smell of citrus and Seven Stars fog the room and she wraps her arms around him as he plays.
She thinks this is as close to heaven as she could get.
It's Christmas again, and Yasu yells at them through the phone to hurry their asses up and get to the live house right now.
"Hey Ren, remember to tell Nana, okay?" Baldy says.
She turns to face Ren. "Tell me what?"
"When Yasu got his skinhead, I thought he turned bald."
They laugh and he wraps his arm around her, leading them back to the apartment through the falling snow.
"I'm going to Tokyo."
She doesn't know what to think anymore.
"What do you mean by you're not going with Ren? I'll come with you, me and Yasu, and we'll go pro, too!"
She's silent as she flips the pages of the book she's reading, but her eyes are elsewhere.
"Don't be ridiculous. You're an heir, and Yasu's a law student."
"I don't wanna play guitar for any other vocalist."
"I know but…Nobu, I'm really not going with Ren."
"What? But Nana-"
"I'm not gonna be anything other than his girlfriend. I'd like to sing for a living too, you know."
"That's why I'm gonna go with you!"
She sets down the book and turns to face Nobu for the first time.
"One day, when I get everything together, I'm going to Tokyo," she says, and her eyes trail to the bright blue sky outside the window. "I'm not going to let Blast disband."
"And I'm gonna keep singing."
Snow is still falling when she walks him out to the station with Nobu and Yasu the next day and she absolutely dreads the moment the train comes to take him away; her heart is thudding so loudly she's surprised that he can't hear it.
They talk and she nods along because really, her mind is off to a place where she's still happy and that he doesn't have to leave like everyone else in her life.
When she runs from him and from that train she feels like all the pieces of her life that she has pieced back together is falling apart and crumbling away to dust and she hates the feeling of knowing that she's utterly powerless to do anything about it.
All she can remember is that stupid last kiss and then she's a mess on the cold tiled floor, and she tries and tries but the tears won't goddamn stop and she hopes that somewhere on the train that took him away his heart is breaking too.
She heads home to soak in the tub that holds too many memories than she'd like.
When the redness of her eyes has faded to a ruddy pink, the skin around her left bicep is scrubbed red and raw, the flower radiant and burning with the pain of heartache.
She hates trains.
She turns to Yasu as she can't bear to stay in the apartment anymore, at least not now. The scent of citrus and Ren still lingers, and she finds Seven Stars no longer comforting.
"What am I supposed to do?"
He's quiet as he takes a drag of his cigarette; she revels in the way the smell is so homey and comforting compared to the fact that it tastes like shit.
"Yasu?" She's both thankful and distressed that she could never tell what he's thinking because of those black shades. She's scared of what she might find and she can't tell if he's being honest or not.
"Hang on to your dream."
She buys a one-way ticket to Tokyo for her twentieth birthday, carrying her guitar and cigarettes.
Komatsu Nana is a unusual girl; she's fickle, bubby and a bit of an airhead and she has no clue about her future. She guesses that they're similar in that way. During the long ride, she talks about herself so openly, it scares her, but she's silent and listens to her story because she knows there's nothing to say about hers. When the train finally stops and she runs off to her boyfriend, her heart feels suddenly lighter in months and she walks out alone into the night.
They end up being roommates and she finds herself smiling.
When Hachi holds up two tickets for a Trapnest concert, she feels the walls she's built up over two years start to crumble.
"I wanna see Takumi!" Hachi beams and she doesn't find it in her to say no.
"I'm gonna go for a smoke."
She doesn't want to go in. She doesn't want to see him; she can't handle facing him.
Front row seats.
She's jealous. She's jealous that he's getting along fine with his life and he's rich and fucking famous and she's still here, a total nobody with something like a broken dream to hang on to and she feels like he'd left her for the dogs.
One more minute left.
She closes her eyes and lets the cigarette drop to the ash tray.
His arms encircle her, and she tries to shake him off but goddammit he's too fucking strong and she wants to cry.
"I shouldn't have come," she whispers through tears. "I shouldn't…"
The phrase plays through her mind; an endless loop of shouldn'ts and wouldn'ts. But through it all, she finds her arms around his neck, fingers digging into his stupid leather jacket.
"I wanted to see you so badly," he says.
The walls crumble and fall.
"Flowers wither and die," she whispers through half-lidded eyes. "But you never will, Ren." They sit in the tub like old times, even though she knows that it'll never be the same. But right then and there, she doesn't care because it was enough and it's all they have and she learns that if life was kind enough to give her a second chance she'd fucking taking it.
They talk of the future but she's at a loss because he's so sincere and she's a pessimist so she tries hard to believe in his words.
"When we're older...when pride and vanity don't mean a thing anymore...and if I'm tired of singing...I think I'd like to go to back to the town beside the sea where it all started...if you'd let me."
The distance between them is still there but she finds it to be slowly closing.
They fall asleep with his arms around her and she lies awake and thinks that she should just revel in this moment before it becomes a memory.
She doesn't say anything but she thinks that the road ahead will be filled with lies and betrayal all the way through and she knows that sooner or later they'll fall with no one to catch the other. The fact that they had a beginning and an end and that their middle is unscripted makes her want to just fall apart.
The drama in her life escalates day by day, until she just wants to burrow in her bed and never come out. Blast has a record deal, Yasu makes sure of that, but she never hears about the debut and then Takumi comes and steals yet another person in her life.
Room 707 has never felt so desolate before and the memory of the broken strawberry glasses say that much.
"Why does Trapnest keep stealing people from my life?" Her hands are clammy and clenched around Yasu's shoulders. He smells like smoke and coffee, and his hand running through her hair fails to give an answer but she's okay with that.
"Hachi's pregnant. It's Takumi's."
In that moment, she's pretty sure Baldy doesn't know what to do either.
The way Blast debuted is a major blow to her image, but she'd rather take the hit than let anyone else take it. She plasters on a fake smile as the cameras are rolling, even though deep inside she just wants to smash them all.
She lets it all out at a concert, and she thinks she's never felt better. Misato and Hachi are probably out there too supporting her with their hearts and she's happy because she still has purpose.
The ring is heavy on her left hand, the stupid diamond ring acting like a cheap proof of their love. A tiny part of herself is relieved that nobody will ever take him away like they did Hachi, and the other part is utterly disappointed that she has to rely on something like that instead of the one thing she'd always wanted in her life.
When he tells her that there's no way that he'll play for them, she understands but she still feels something like betrayal but that's fucking stupid because if Reira asks her to sing for Trapnest she'll flat out deny it too.
She's never hated herself this much before but they still hang up on bad terms and she knows she's dying on the inside.
They don't talk for more than a month and soon they'll be heading their separate ways. Valentine's day is spend sleeping alone in bed and she knows that's how she'll spend her birthday too.
She wants to call him the day before but her fingers don't seem to want to press the call button.
She's fucking pathetic.
She doesn't believe it when Yasu breaks the news to her. She doesn't believe it when Nobu and Hachi break down. He can't be dead. He's Honjo Ren; just because they haven't talking doesn't mean that he's gone.
When Takumi and Nobu say that they'll check the body it finally hits her but her eyes are wide open and she doesn't know what to feel, how to feel.
Later on that night she's choking on her tears because she finally knows that she's never gonna see him again and the ring is a punch to her face because it was something within easy reach but now it's worlds away.
In the morning Ren's still dead and she realizes that she'd never got to say goodbye. The realization is bitter in her mouth and it's enough to send her crawling back to bed. She doesn't touch the cigarettes for the remainder of the day.
The rest of the days are a blur, a canvas of grey and the snow falling outside the window doesn't help her either. His birthday gift still sits on the table, the prim black wrapping paper with the plaid ribbon somewhat mocking and she can't bring herself to open it.
It's a constant reminder to what they've chosen: fame and fortune and pride. And they both had chosen what they thought they wanted over things they really needed but it's too late now.
She wants to run away from it all to anywhere that doesn't remotely bring back memories that she'd rather not remember now.
England is beautiful and the weather is warmer but it still snows and she can still see the sea; it's enough for her.
She sings for a pub and the flower is still radiant on her arm. When she sings she thinks of him but at the same time he's miles away and singing is the only thing that is keeping her grounded. Late at night she still thinks of Hachi and everyone else she'd left behind but she's sure everyone's fine even though the rift she's placed between her and them will never be fixed.
Her songs say that much.
When she drinks because she needs to let go she feels like shit because she's so selfish and the guilt is still there and she's a coward. She's not the proud and beautiful Nana anymore. She's not Hachi's hero anymore; she wonders if she ever was. She's just somebody who's great at running away when things really do get bad and disgust is the only thing she can feel now.
Christmas isn't the same anymore. In the years she's been here, the fireworks in July in Tokyo is all she can think of. As she stumbles into her darkened apartment, she reaches for the bottle of pills she'd always relied on when she wants empty dreams.
One, two, twenty, she doesn't care anymore.
She's tired of running and she longs for somewhere, anywhere, that feels something like home.
A memory stirs at the back of her mind, behind all the darkness that comes to take her away.
"If I died, Ren, would you die with me?"
Promises went both ways; nothing's really changed.
The station is strangely empty and she hears the wind whistling through the tunnel. She takes a drag of her cigarette and she watches the smoke mingle with the falling snow. Suddenly she feels like a little girl again, the world beautiful through glass eyes. She glances at the station clock and is mildly disappointed that the last train had left half an hour ago, and she fears that just like that night on her 20th birthday the next one with be delayed.
The train still doesn't come and she walks up to the booth and a pale young woman greets her with stony eyes.
"When will the next train come?"
"Where's your destination?"
Her mind's blank all of a sudden.
She rifles through her coat pocket, but comes up empty.
The woman sighs. "Where do you want to go?"
"Anywhere," the word slips out of her mouth so easily that she couldn't stop it and she feels like an idiot because that's not really a place even though she wants it to be. Before she can say anything else the woman hands her an unmarked ticket with something like a half smile and she's left standing there alone in the night amid cigarette smoke.
She sees the lights through the tunnel and they're so bright it's almost blinding and she lets the cigarette butt fall down onto the pale grey tiles. The doors open and she's surprised that the whole car is empty except for a guy at the back looking out the window. Against her will she's gravitating towards him and she drops her guitar on the seat across the aisle and stands next to the vacant seat next to him even though there's a multitude of empty seats to take her pick from.
He smells like citrus and Seven Stars.
She feels exactly like the first time she'd met Hachi on the train to Tokyo but this time she wants to do the talking and she hopes he'd listen.
"Is this seat taken?"
His baseball cap is shielding his eyes as he replies with a simple "No."
And so she sits and the train's moving faster and faster and the silence between them is still there and she wants to break it.
"So where are you going?"
"Where are you going?"
She leans back and thinks of the unmarked ticket.
"I don't know."
"How can you not know?"
Her eyes glance at the landscape outside the train; it's a mess of black and white streaks.
"I..." She lets her words trail off but then he's looking at her.
"Anywhere," she finishes and somehow she feels like a burden's been lifted off her chest. The train screeches to a halt and the feeling of déjà vu hits her and the intercom crackles to life but dies within a second.
"Looks like we'll be here for a while," he says and lights a cigarette, and the smell is suddenly overwhelming.
"Oh sorry, should I not smoke?" He's apparently noticed the slight change in her demeanor.
She shakes her head. "No; it just brings back memories."
"Oh?" Great. Now she's caught his interest and even though she wants to talk she doesn't think she can put her story into words.
"Reminds me of someone," is what she ends up saying and he's quiet, a silent request for her to continue that she hears anyways. She brushes back her hair and she misses the way his eyes lock onto the ring on her left hand.
"It's okay if you don't want to talk about it, you know."
"But I want to even if I don't know how." She's back into being statue Nana, and she inwardly cringes at herself.
He laughs. "I'll start then."
"I grew up in a seaside town as an orphan where it snows for half the year. I played guitar and formed a band with friends; for once in my life I felt happy." He suddenly stops and she tries hard to catch his face but it's damn near difficult to do that without being obvious.
"Go on," she encourages.
"Wait till it's my turn."
He looks out the window and tries again, but it's a completely different route.
"I love long baths, music, my guitar, the Sex Pistols, and salty miso soup."
It's his turn to cut her with his eyes and all of a sudden she's finding it rather hard to breathe.
"And I like girls in red dresses."
You know, Nana,
Young girls in love still talk about your story
you and Ren's
whenever they listen to your songs
But I know better
I didn't want to see
such a sad outcome.
-Hachi, ch 43
the last train to anywhere
where were you
when everything was falling apart
you've got some kind of nerve
so why'd you have to wait
to find me
re-read Nana and never got past the chapter in which Ren dies. And so, this oneshot was born out of midnight ramblings and coffee.
This story sounded wayyyyy better in my head. Oh wells.
EDIT: Nana's dead at the end. Just to clear things up.