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Welcome to The Girls Party

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Kokoro skipped down the street, no destination in mind. Spending all day at home was getting boring even though she had so many things at home it still got boring at times. She hadn't made any friends at school yet so it's not like she could hang with anyone.

 

Before she turned to head down the road, a flyer caught her eye. It was covered over with a bunch of other flyers but somehow Kokoro still managed to spot it. She walked up to the pole, taking the flyer down away from the rest.

 

"Fun!Idol!Times Annual Idol Guerilla Concert" the poster read in a colour font. Kokoro skimmed through the flyer, looking for more information on the event.

 

'Come out and see your favourite local and underground idols perform at the special stage. The entire show is free and open for all!!'

 

"Idols…" Kokoro mumbled. She had heard about them before but never bothered to pay attention to them. She didn't really have anything to do anyway, the location wasn't too far away and the event would be starting soon. Without much thinking, Kokoro folded the flyer and shoved it into her before skipping off to the direction of the event.

 

Not too far away a girl was struggling to carry a drum kit by herself to a local music store…

 

______________________________

 

When Kokoro arrived at the event she was surprised to see how empty it was. A free concert with so many artists performing, surely a lot of people would be crowding the area ready to see what was in store. Even with the little people that were there, many of them were decked out in what seemed to be merchandise. Kokoro couldn't tell if they were bought or handmade but it definitely seemed fun to wear. The people (mostly older men, fathers maybe) were all congregating in little circles discussing amongst themselves. Kokoro smiled, they all seemed to be so excited to watch their daughters(?) perform. It would be nice to one day do the same for her father but he was always so busy.

 

Before Kokoro could dwell on that thought any longer, the announcer came out yelling at the top of his lungs. He gave the usual, overly enthusiastic introduction to the event and the crowd seemed to also be very engaged. After a few opening points and awkward jokes that only Kokoro laughed at, the first group was announced. They seemed a bit older than Kokoro, around college age. The costumes were cute and sparkly but also seemed a bit worn out. The group introduced themselves and quickly jumped to their first song.

 

The performance ended as quickly as it started with the group only performing 4 songs with one short break in between. The crowd wasn't very engaged for this performance either, lazily clapping along to the beat or just completely distracted. The same couldn't be said about Kokoro. She couldn't help but cheer and jump around during the performance. The songs were so cute and refreshing and the girls wore such bright, cheerful smiles. Even when they made mistakes they kept going, giving it their all even for such a dead crowd. It made Kokoro feel energized and excited. She didn't notice the weird stares she got from the other audience members, only the way the girl's face brightened up when glancing her way.

 

Kokoro's energy didn't falter the entire show. It was almost 3 hours in total yet she managed to cheer for all the girls. Some of the little groups cheered for a few of the groups but for the most part, the audience was pretty relaxed and even unimpressed at times. Kokoro didn't understand why All the groups did such amazing jobs and they all gave such great performances, even if you weren't a fan of that specific group it should have at least made you a bit hyped.

 

Kokoro definitely stood out in the crowd. Even getting called out by the MC a few times which she just cutely laughed off. Some of the groups or their managers even came up to her and offered her some form of memorial which she gladly accepted. All the groups did eventually ask to take a photo with her for the SNS accounts. Some of the girls even admitted to feeling nervous and discouraged before the performance but seeing Kokoro cheer them on really made them feel a bit more comfortable while on stage.

 

At some point in the show, The Suits did appear around her and even some extras showed up. Who knew they were such fans of idols. It was a bit upsetting when they kept getting in the way of Kokoro when other audience members tried to talk to her. In their defence, it is their job to guard Kokoro anyways, maybe they were just worried Kokoro would feel overwhelmed.

 

Kokoro felt a strange emptiness when the concert was over. She felt so energized yet there was no one left to cheer for. Now she just had to wait for the next live performance for any of the groups. Thankfully they gave her their information so she could even keep up with their activities.

 

"Kokoro-sama." One of The Suits said to Kokoro who was checking out the merch stands. "This is Mr Narukami. He's a local idol producer and he wanted to speak with you."

 

"Oh ok. Can you pick up 3 of everything for the stands while I talk to him! I'll need two extras of everything just in case I break one and misplace another." Kokoro said before walking over to the gentleman leaving the Suits to gather the merchandise. Only 2 of them stayed to stand with her.

 

"Good day Ms Tsukumari. It's a pleasure to meet you. My name is Mr Narukami Jun. I'm an idol producer for a company here in Tokyo currently trying to scout a new act to produce. You see this event is normally used to help promote underground and local idols to a more general audience. We selected the most popular, talented idols with the most potential to perform. On top of that, sometimes other companies would stop by to find their next act to sign."

 

"Wow! This event must be a big deal then!" Kokoro didn't know much about idols but an event to help promote them seems important. 

 

"Well, it used to be. Nowadays, most kids are interested in bands and stuff. Idols are slowly slipping back into being a niche making it impossible for idols to get popular among anyone but wotas. Normally the whole area would be packed out with teens and adults alike, looking for a new upcoming idol group to support. This is the 3rd year in a row this happened."

 

Kokoro stared at the man, shocked at this revelation. No wonder she didn't hear much about idols, it was a niche which meant it only applied to a specific demographic. Easy to miss for the average person.

 

"Most idol concerts, festivals and even theatres have been closing down. Companies are going back to focusing on the niche which means there won't be much room for underground idols and with support of the general public, local idols are essentially useless."

 

"That's horrible. What are you going to do about it?"

 

"Eh? Me? I can't do much honestly. My idea to start an idol band kinda flopped so. Now I'm just trying to find a perfect girl to mentor before everyone starts learning an instrument and forming bands."

 

Kokoro thought to herself for a moment. Form a band? Would that even be as fun as an idol group? Since every one would have to play an instrument there probably won't be much dancing. Not to mention instruments take time to master so it would probably be more boring than fun. The way the girls were dancing and singing on stage it was almost as if they didn't know that song. That seems fun.

 

"Aw. I wish there was something I could do. Idols are so much fun. But I guess if people don't want to, we can't make them can we?"

 

"Well, I mean. If they were to see one amazing idol that should surely catch their attention. Someone talented, a quick learner, energetic and good at getting people hyped."

 

"There were so many girls that could definitely do that! I wish you could take them all and form one big group."

 

"Haha, that's cute but it would be pricey. But I actually had someone in mind."

 

"Really? Who?" Kokoro mentally ran a list of all the girls who performed trying to narrow it down to the most eye-catching member. It was hard though because as far as she was concerned everyone did amazing and deserved to get signed.

 

"You." Well, she didn't think of that.

Chapter Text

Kokoro skipped down the street with a new goal in mind. To produce an idol group. She didn’t know where to begin but she knew what to look for. Talent and skill weren’t necessities, they need to be bright and committed like the idols she saw earlier today . She also received good advice from Mr Naruakami, it’s about the potential of the person not who she was at the moment. Even the best idols and musicians started pretty mediocre, you have to see what they can be and work your way up to that point . Well, it wasn’t advice, it’s what he said he saw in her when he asked her to sign with him.

 

“Me? An idol?” Kokoro asked, confused. Why would she be an idol?

 

“I mean why do you think I came to talk to you. The way you were dancing and singing down here caught everyone’s attention. I don’t even think anyone was paying attention to performances.”

 

Kokoro tilted her head with a slight frown, that must have made the other girls feel awful but they seemed so happy to thank her at the end of the show. “I wasn’t trying to draw all the attention, it was so exciting watching the girls on stage. I hope they didn’t feel bad”

 

Narukami laughed, “I doubt they even noticed. It seems like they were also captivated by you. I’m sure they would agree that you would be an amazing idol as well.”

 

Narukami grabbed Kokoro’s hand, giving it a small squeeze, staring into her eyes, “With you, I’m sure in no time you’ll be performing solo at Tokyo Dome, billboards of you everywhere, making more money than anyone around you, maybe even your parents. Trust me. I can get you there.”

 

Kokoro stared deep into his eyes as well, her eyes glowing as she was struck with inspiration.

 

“No thank you!” she said cheerfully, pulling her hand away. “That sounds boring and I don't think it's possible to make more money than my parents. Not to mention I don’t know what Tokyo dome is. But thanks anyway! I have to go now!!!”

 

Narukami stared in disbelief. As the girl skipped away, baffled that anyone would pass up such an offer so easily.

 

She did feel a bit bad, he was so enthusiastic but Kokoro didn’t want to do anything like that. She had a goal and it wasn’t to perform at some made-up dome or make more money than her parents (not like there’s enough money in the world for that) . She wanted to perform at the festival next year alongside all the other idols that were there. Being one of the top local idols was not going to be easy, she had tough competition and needed a decent fanbase. She also was going to need the best idols she could find with the best music.

 

Kokoro had her work cut out for her, she needed to get home and plan and organize. She had so many doodles in mind she needed her favourite sketch pad asap.

 

Kanon sat on the bench twiddling with her fingers, unsure what to do next. She had dropped off her drum kit at the local pawn shop in exchange for a few thousand dollars. She spent more on them than she got in return even though they were barely used but it was ok. She only sold them because they were taking up space in her room and she wasn’t using them anymore. It was fun at first but she was unable to commit to it. Now she was out of hobbies, it was back to heading home or work immediately after school again for her.

 

“Huff!” A girl said sitting down on the bench next to Kanon. She opened up a big sketch pad and grabbed a marker for the bucket she brought with her. She must be an artist or something.. Good for her. Kanon thought bitterly , it must be so nice having an actual interest you enjoy doing. She seemed so happy doodling away probably creating a masterpiece, while Kanon was just sitting on a bench .

 

The looked glanced over and made far too direct eye contact with Kanon. It was weird at first but the girl smiled and went back to her doodling. She wasn’t saying anything, humming a weird melody. Kanon should try talking to her, she did need to make new friends. Chisato was getting extremely busy these past few weeks anyway. Or not, the girl seemed eccentric and Kanon would get exhausted from spending a few minutes with her.

 

Before Kanon could even decide, the random girl blurted out, “Hi! I’m Kokoro and you’re pretty!”

 

“Eh?” Kanon exclaimed, shocked.

 

Kokoro laughed with a bright smile, "I saw you were staring at me and I noticed you had such a pretty face. What's your name."

 

"Kanon.." she mumbled quietly a bit unsure of the current situation.

 

"It’s nice to meet you Kanon. Would you like to see my drawing?" Kanon nodded, too scared to deny the girl. Besides she did want to know what she was scribbling so intensely over there. Kanon wasn't sure what to expect from Kokoro and she didn't know if she's surprised or if it seemed right. The drawing was bright, colourful, and over the place. Kanon had no idea what it's supposed to be. She could make out a few objects but she didn't understand how any of them were even related.

 

"It looks...nice," Kanon said awkwardly . It's not that it was bad, it just didn't make any sense. Her art style was pretty childlike but who was Kanon to judge.

 

"They're concepts." She said, continuing to scribble in another small blank space.

 

"Concepts?" that's why they looked so scattered. Random thoughts popped into her mind. It wasn't some complex artwork she was doodling.

 

"Yup! Concepts for our idol group. Could be either songs or costumes I don't know yet."

 

"Oh well, they look nice. Wait, what do you mean our idol group????"

 

"I'm starting an idol group with you."

 

Kanon blinked, her eyes opened wide at the girl. That wasn’t something you declare, it was something you offer and give the person the opportunity to say no. Kanon shook her head, she should have stayed silent and ignored the girl. Now she had to reject her and possibly hurt her feelings.

 

“Hehe. That’s a nice offer and all but I don’t have any interest in being an idol.” Well, even if she did, she wasn’t going to join a random idol group with a stranger. She would sign with a company, train for a while, and debut an already established idol gr- oh what was she even thinking . She has no intention of being an idol under any circumstances.

 

“Why not? You’re so pretty and you have a nice voice.” The girl’s smile was starting to bother Kanon. Even after she's rejected, it stayed the same.

 

“You haven’t even heard me sing before?”

 

“Who said anything about singing?” Kanon stared at her in disbelief. Isn’t an idol's job to sing and dance? While sure, being pretty is a benefit, they do have to sing.

 

“Listen,” Kanon said, grabbing her hand, “I don’t want to be an idol. I’m not interested in music, I mean I can drum a little so we can start a band- actually no we can’t start a band, I don’t know you.”

 

“I don’t want to start a band, I want to start an idol group so that they can perform at Fun! Idol! Times Annual Idol Guerilla Concert. Doesn’t that sound like fun?”

 

“Fun...Idol..guerilla..?”

 

“Fun! Idol! Times Annual Idol Guerilla Concert! It’s this super fun concert that happened today!” Kokoro held up a poster right in Kanon’s face. She squinted trying to make out the details. It seemed like one of those events for smaller lesser known idols. She's surprised there were still enough idols in the area to hold such a concert or that it even brought in a crowd. “They had a bunch of cool idols there and they all had so much fun performing. Don’t you wanna do that Kanon?”

 

“You want to do a guerilla event?” The girl nodded so enthusiastically .

 

“You need a group and you have to be popular to perform. But don’t worry we have a year to build up a good fanbase.” Kanon's surprised how small of a goal Kokoro had yet she seemed so determined to do it.

 

“Why don’t you just do it yourself?”

 

“I can’t watch the show if I’m on the stage performing silly.”

 

“So you want to put together an idol group to watch them perform at a free concert that will be held a year from now?” The girl nodded vigorously , her eyes still begging Kanon to join tempting her to say yes. “How about I help you? I don’t have the confidence to be an idol but I’m sure I can help you find some members.”

 

“And what if we don’t anyone else?”

 

“If we can’t even find one person then I’ll join.” There had to be at least one person who would want to join Kokoro on her little adventure.

 

“YAYYY!!!” Kokoro yelled out, drawing all the attention to the two of them. Kanon bent over and covered her head and hoped no one saw her. Kokoro calmed and bent over to Kanon, “You can’t be an idol if you get so scared so easily , Kanon-chan.”

 

“No shit, Kokoro,” Kanon mumbled.

 

Kokoro jumped off the bench and stood up with her hands on her hips, “Come on Kanon-chan. Our future members aren’t gonna find themselves.” She yelled before running off leaving all her belongings behind. Kanon tried to pick them up but there was so much stuff and it was all so bulky. Suddenly , someone in a suit appeared in front of her taking them from her.

 

“Worry not Matsubara-sama, we work for Kokoro-sama. She might be heading to the shopping district.” Kanon (confused) nodded her head and walked in the direction where Kokoro ran off to.

Chapter Text

 

 

Kanon arrived at the shopping district. She immediately spotted the energetic blonde. She was standing in the middle of the street looking around. Before she could run off and forget about the girl, Kokoro spotted her from a distance. Like any normal rational person, Kokoro ran across the road heading straight to Kanon. The fact that she didn’t get run over was a miracle. ‘There you are Kanon-chan. Why did you take so long to come?”

 

 

 

“I didn’t run here,” Kanon said flatly. “Anyways Kokoro, don’t you think it’s a bit too late to look for members. Let’s do it next week.” Kanon had school and work next week.

 

 

 

“What do you mean? We’re surrounded by pretty girls. At least one of them would like to be an idol.” Kokoro was so optimistic about finding members. It made Kanon feel like she was the delusional one.

 

 

 

“Well some of them have instruments on their backs which means they are probably in a band.”

 

 

 

“Ok let’s ask the ones who don’t have any instruments on their back. You need an instrument to play in a band right.”

 

 

 

“Kokoro it doesn’t work like th-” Before Kanon could even finish her sentence Kokoro already took off running to a girl standing by a cafe. Kanon recognised the cafe and the girl. If she wasn’t already feeling anxious, she was now. The anxiety induced adrenaline surged through her body as she ran across the street. She had to stop Kokoro before she got herself into trouble.

 

 

 

“Kokoro wait!” she called out before the girl got close to the innocent cafe shop worker. Kokoro stopped and turned around to Kanon with a surprised expression. Kanon bent over and took a few deep breaths. She didn’t know whether it was the anxiety or the running that had her heart racing so rapidly.

 

 

 

“You won’t make a very good idol with such poor stamina, Kanon. From now on we’re running everywhere, you need to exercise more.” Before Kanon could protest, Kokoro grabbed her hand and pulled her towards the girl. The girl turned around and looked at them confused.

 

 

 

“Oh, hi Kanon-san!” She greeted brightly, blissfully unaware of what was about to happen. “Are you here for a coffee with your new friend?”

 

 

 

Kanon couldn’t respond before Kokoro jumped in, “Hi! I’m Kokoro and this is Kanon and we’re starting an idol group.”

 

 

 

The girl’s eyes widened at Kokoro’s declaration. She's surprised Kanon's interested in doing something like that. “Oh well, I’m Tsugumi and congrats on your idol debut Kanon-san.”

 

 

 

“Anyways, we’re here to recruit you to be a member.” Tsugumi flinched at Kokoro’s question. Her eyes darted between the two girls trying to figure out what was going on. Kanon tried to hint at Tsugumi to disregard Kokoro’s dumb suggestion but she didn’t seem to get it. Her eyes looked behind them. Funnily, at the same time, Kanon began to sense a strong presence behind her. Kanon swallowed drily, this was it this was the day her anxiety finally finished the job.

 

 

 

“You would make an amazing idol. You’re pretty and you’re cute, right Kanon?” Kanon let out an awkward laugh. “And she doesn’t have an instrument so that means she’s not already in a band!”

 

 

 

“She IS in a band.” a deep scary voice said from behind. At this point, Kanon couldn’t feel her heart racing and she couldn’t feel any part of her body. Maybe that was a good thing.

 

 

 

Kokoro turned around and looked up. Still, she didn’t show any sign of fear, facing the tall redhead with confidence. Kanon found herself cowering behind the confident Kokoro. “ Really? I mean she doesn’t have an instrument. And hey neither do you. Do you want to be an idol?”

 

 

 

Tomoe stared at Kokoro confused. Kanon didn’t even know what to say. “Do I look like an idol to you?”

 

 

 

“Of course! You’re cute and pretty like Kanon and Tsugumi. You’ll make a great idol! The cool one that sings the cool songs.” The tough girl act dropped the minute Kokoro said cute. The tall, buff and intimidating Tomoe was a blushing mess.

 

 

 

“Tomoe!” another voice yelled out. Kanon looked over and saw the rest of Afterglow walking over, Ran looking the most annoyed.

 

 

 

“Right,” Tomoe said, clearing her throat. “Neither Tsugumi nor I am interested in joining your idol group. Thanks for the offer though.” She mumbled the last bit.

 

 

 

“That’s ok! I’m guessing those girls are also in a band with you?” Kokoro said.

 

 

 

“Yes, we are.” Ran said, glaring at Kokoro. Kanon gulped awkwardly, she hoped this would be enough to make Kokoro stop.

 

 

 

“Y-yeah Kokoro. They’re all in a band and so are a lot of the other girl’s our age.” Kanon whispered into Kokoro’s ear. “There’s a very high chance you won’t even find a single girl who's interested.”

 

 

 

“For someone who doesn’t want to do this with me, you’re very determined to convince me that no one is gonna do it and I’m gonna have to work with what I have… which is you .” Kanon flinches at the suggestion Kokoro was making. She groaned, accepting that Kokoro wasn’t going to give up and let her go anytime soon. She prayed this would fade past by tomorrow and Kokoro would forget her.

 

 

 

“Idol’s aren’t really trending right now, especially not in this area. Idols were created for smelly old men and there aren’t that many here. It’s a cute idea but you probably won’t get that far with it.” Himari said smiling empathetically.

 

 

 

“Don’t give up yet Kokoro and Kanon, I’m sure you’ll find some members. And then you can start as a little club and dance to some popular idol songs. Start small and have fun.” Tsugumi said. Kanon glared at her unintentionally. Why were they giving her advice? They should be telling her to stop.

 

 

 

“If ole Moca-chan saw two pretty girls dancing to cute songs on stage she would definitely drop afterglow and try to join or at least dedicate all her money to supporting them," Moca said clutching her chest with an annoyed Ran glaring at her.

 

 

 

Kokoro's eyes lit up (as if they could get brighter than before) struck with inspiration. Kanon bit her lip nervously as any chance of her getting out of this slipped away. "Kanon-chan they're right! I was inspired to start an idol group watching other idols perform so that's what we need to do. We have to show them how fun it is to be an idol!"

 

 

 

"That's the spirit!" Tomoe cheered high fiving Kokoro.

 

 

 

Kokoro turned around and grabbed Kanon's entwining fingers. She looked at the panicked Kanon with a bright enthusiastic smile. "Come on Kanon! We need to go prepare our live show." She said cheerfully before running out of the cafe with a frazzled Kanon.

 

 

 

God can this day end. Kanon groaned. Why she didn't get up from the bench and run away before Kokoro even got a chance to speak. Now she was being dragged up and down the shopping district to prepare for a live concert to recruit people for their idol group. How did her life become so messy so quickly? She needed to learn how to tell people no and be more assertive.

Chapter Text

"Wait! Wait! Kokoro wait! Can we talk about this first?" Kokoro stopped running and turned to look at the out of breath Kanon.

 

"Sure! It is our live so I'll need your opinion of course."

 

"Well I mean do you know any idol songs we can cover-"

 

"Of course! I heard a bunch of songs at the concert earlier."

 

"Do you even know the names of the songs? How are we even supposed to learn them? Where are we going to practice and perform? Do you even have any idea what you're doing?"

 

"Nope!" God be with us. "Kanon-chan you're thinking too deeply about this! The point is to have fun and excite everyone else."

 

"Yes but-"

 

"No buts! You're just overthinking the whole thing. We obviously don't have to do it today. Let's just meet up tomorrow after school and work out the details. Ok?" Kanon nodded defeated. Maybe she'll go to bed and forget everything, including Kanon's existence. "Are you ok?"

 

Kanon looked at her surprised. "Ah, I'm fine. Just a bit worried about the concert, that's all!"

 

"You do seem a bit stressed. Maybe we should get something to cheer you up!"

 

"Actually, I think it's best we just go-"

 

"Like some balloons!" Kokoro cheerfully pointed over to someone wearing a bear suit handing out balloons to little kids. Kanon didn't even respond when Kokoro grabbed her hand and pulled her across the street to the bear.

 

"Hello, Mr Bear, what's your name?" Kokoro asked like a small child.

 

"Hello! My name is Michelle." Despite the smile on its face, Michelle sounded exhausted. Its voice lacked any emotion, like any good mascot.

 

"Hi, Michelle! My name is Kokoro and this is my friend Kanon. We're starting an idol group together! Doesn't that sound like fun?" Kokoro honestly sounded like a delusional kid rambling to a teddy bear. Even some of the kids had stopped to watch the exchange.

 

"Idols? Are people still into that?"

 

"Apparently not. But that doesn't matter. We're going to put on a big show and everyone is gonna see and decide they want to be idols too." Kokoro threw her hands up in the air, spinning around enthusiastically. Her theatrics even made some of the kids giggle.

 

"Good for you Kokoro. Not sure what that has to do with me."

 

"Well, my friend Kanon, is feeling a bit blue about the whole live concert thing." The slowly growing crowd of small children all cooed in empathy for Kanon, a few giggling at the blue joke. "So I was wondering if you can give her your prettiest balloon. One that's just as pretty as she is."

 

"Five hundred yen," Michelle responded flatly.

 

"Huh?" Kokoro tilted her head confused.

 

"She's saying the balloons cost 500 yen." One of the kids said to Kokoro.

 

"Aw, I don't have any money on me right now." As soon as Kokoro said that, all the kids began freaking out. Those who had got balloons from Michelle began offering them to Kokoro and Kanon, asking if they were pretty enough. Some had rushed to grab their parents begging for some money to buy Kanon a balloon. Others began attacking Michelle… for some reason, Kanon didn't get the point.

 

"Hey, don't kick Michelle." Kanon cried out trying to pull the kids off of the mascot while trying not to trip over all the kids that were surrounding her.

 

"Don't worry you guys, I'll just ask the suits for some money and then I will buy Kanon a balloon. Ok?" The kids quickly calmed down. Within a second, the women from back by the train station arrived and handed Kokoro a wallet. The kids watched in amazement clearly not expecting actual suit people to just appear out of the blue. Admittedly, neither did Kanon. "Here you go, Michelle. Five hundred yen for your prettiest balloon."

 

"Put it in the box. And here." The bear stuck its hand out with a bunch of balloons. Kanon took the blue one.

 

"Thank you, Michelle. And sorry for causing you so much trouble." Kanon mumbled, bowing to the bear, feeling guilty for the chaos they caused.

 

"Kokoro-san. Can I get a balloon too? My mom won't buy me one." One of the kids asked while hugging Kokoro's waist.

 

"Of course! Just take the one you want, ok." Kokoro placed another coin into the box while the kid quickly grabbed a green balloon before running back over to their mom to show her their new balloon. The mom was surprised but mouthed a thank you to Kokoro while trying to calm down her now jumpy child. It didn't take long for all the kids to ask for a balloon as well. "Wait, wait, wait. How many of you want a balloon, raise your hands. Kanon-chan can you help me count?"

 

Kanon flinched suddenly, being pulled into this kindergarten field trip Kokoro had going on. Kanon watched over the sea of children before starting to count, "one...two… three...four…" the kids quickly joined in counting along with Kanon, "twelve...thirteen… fourteen. Fourteen kids."

 

"Hmmm, 14 times 500.." Kokoro mumbled. "If 5 times 4 is 20 and 5 times 1 is 50 then 5 times 14 should be 70 so then you add on two zeros and you get 7000!" The kids looked at Kokoro, shocked and amazed. Kanon was surprised she just had 7000 yen to give away so casually, putting it into the box like it was nothing. She kindly distributed all the balloons to all the kids until only 2 balloons were remaining in Michelle's hand.

 

"Oh no. Now those two balloons are all alone." One of the kids said. They sounded like a marketing team trying to maximize sales.

 

"That's ok! I'll just buy them. One for me and one for Michelle." Kokoro dropped another 1000 yen into the box with ease.

 

"I'm free!" Michelle said, throwing her hands up. The little kids soon began to cheer as Kokoro took her balloon. "Thank you so much."

 

"Thank you Kokoro-san." The kids said bowing down to Kokoro. Kokoro smiled before telling them you're welcome a few times. The kids quickly ran off once Kokoro dismissed them.

 

"Thank you for that. I thought I was going to have to stand here all day telling these kids they couldn't get the balloons for free."

 

"No problem Michelle! Come on Kanon, let's go get something to eat. Bye-bye Michelle." This time Kokoro didn't have to grab Kanon's hand, as she was the one who reached out to grab it.

 

"Goodbye, Michelle. I'm glad we could have helped you."  Kanon did feel a bit guilty that she didn't get to ask the girl inside the suit her name.

 

"I'm glad you feel better, Kanon-chan," Kokoro asked while the two of them walked away. Kanon looked at her confused. Kokoro reached out and poked her cheek making Kanon notice that she had been smiling the entire time. She blushed profusely, hiding her face away.

 

"Haha. I guess watching you buy the balloons for the little kids did make me feel better. And you did that girl a favour too. That was really nice of you." Kanon said, smiling at her. Maybe Kokoro wasn't bad company.

 

"I just like watching other people smile. That's why I want to start an idol group that will make people smile." Kanon pondered on that statement for a bit. Not anyone could do what Kokoro just did. Her enthusiasm alone had the little kids flocking and she didn't even do it on purpose. Imagine what she could do if she wanted to draw attention herself. No doubt about it, she would make an amazing idol.

 

The fact that she taught Kanon could also do something like that was a bit flattering. Was it possible? Kanon didn't think of herself as someone so interesting you just had to stop and watch but neither did Kokoro. She does just put herself out there and carries herself with confidence and enthusiasm. That alone is enticing. Maybe if Kanon was a bit more relaxed and confident she could do it. Just go on the stage and smile. There wasn't much to it.

 

"Hey Kokoro, let's exchange phone numbers. So we can text and plan a more formal meet up." Kanon said. Before she was just planning on not giving Kokoro her number and praying they would forget about each other. Now she thought it would be good for them to stay in contact. She was going to at the very least try. If someone who was clearing an expert saw something in her, surely there had to be something worth investing in. They probably weren't going to get that far but there was no harm in doing a cute little live performance.

 

Kokoro jumped up at the suggestion, quickly digging her hand into her pocket. In her excitement she forgot she was holding a balloon, letting it go immediately. Kanon quickly noticed it and grabbed it before it got too far. Kokoro laughed bashfully and Kanon couldn't help but giggle along.

 

"Here." She said, handing the girl her balloon to hold, grabbing the girl's wrist and tying the balloon around tight enough to not slip off. Kokoro quickly thanked her before grabbing her wrist and tying the balloon for her. "Thank you, Kokoro. I had a lot of fun today."

 

Kokoro smiled before embracing the girl, "so did I. I can't wait for tomorrow so we can start planning for the show."

 

Kanon smiled, hugging the girl again, this time holding on a little longer. Once they finally broke their hug, the two quickly exchanged their numbers. They then separated ways as Kokoro skipped down the street. This time Kanon noticed the suits following close behind. They must have been running around with them all day too.

 

Kanon looked up at the balloon and smiled lightly, maybe she would enjoy being an idol. Although she wasn't very familiar with idols, it probably was going to be a fun experiment. She wondered if she knew anyone who knew anything about idols who could help her and maybe recommend a few songs.

 

Suddenly she remembered someone, although she wasn't sure if they would want to share any information with her.

 

Or if they would even encourage her to be an idol…

Chapter Text

Kanon flopped down onto her bed with a loud sigh. She had a long day and she was tired but still so excited. She quickly took out her phone and opened the search app. She stared for a minute, asking what exactly she was supposed to look up to learn about idols. A simple search would only give her outsiders perspectives she needed to know more about what goes on behind the scenes. Or maybe she should just focus on finding songs. But where would she even start, there were so many idol groups with so many different kinds of music it would take forever to listen to all of them and see which one would be best.

 

What type of music would Kokoro prefer to perform anyways? She seemed energetic so maybe she would want something just as energetic as her. But Kanon wasn’t as energetic as Kokoro, she would prefer something soft and cute with a feminine choreography. But those types of songs always had such creepy lyrics, Kanon wasn’t sure if she would be comfortable performing such songs in public. So many things to consider and so many songs to find.

 

While lost in thought trying to figure out what type of music she should look up, Kanon felt her phone vibrate indicating she had gotten a notification. It was a message from her friend, Chisato. Kanon’s eyes lit up as she remembered that Chisato probably knows a thing or two about idols. The thought of asking Chisato about idols made Kanon feel uneasy given her history with idols, but who else would Kanon ask? There was that one girl from work but they didn’t really know each other and it would probably just be an awkward conversation.

 

Kanon: Hey Chisato-chan! What’s up?

 

Chisato had messaged first which means she probably had something to say first. Eventually, she could casually mention idols and then ask Chisato which one’s she thinks would suit Kanon.

 

Chisato: Nothing much. Just came back from Hazawa cafe. It was late and they were getting ready to close, but I could sneak in and get a cake before. Now I just need to convince myself to take more than a bite.

 

Kanon: fufufu, you’re always buying cakes from there and never eating them. So wasteful.

 

Chisato: I can’t help it, I can’t resist such pretty things. Why do you think we’re friends?

 

Kanon: cheesy lines won’t work on me, Chisato-chan. You need to stop buying those expensive snacks if you’re not going to eat them.

 

Chisato: Kanon-chan are you bullying me? That’s not very idol-like of you.

 

Kanon's smile dropped as she stared at the phone blankly. She had no idea what to say. How did Chisato find out about her plans to form an idol group? Or was it just a weird coincidence? Chisato always had a weird way of figuring out what was going on in Kanon’s life; it was impossible to keep secrets from her. Not a very fun trait when you’re trying to plan a surprise birthday party.

 

Kanon wasn’t sure how long she was staring at her phone but suddenly it was ringing. Chisato was calling her. Kanon reluctantly answered the call, ready to be scolded by Chisato.

 

“Hi,” Chisato greeted with a teasing tone, “I had a feeling you were spacing out on me again.”

 

“Fueee…” Kanon cried out feeling embarrassed. “How did you find out about that? I promise I was going to tell you about it.”

 

“Don’t worry Kanon, I’m not mad. I’m just surprised that you were interested in such things.”

“I’m not!” Kanon quickly denied it, she didn’t know a thing about idols, she wasn’t even sure why she was doing this in the first place. “The girl just came up to me and asked me if I wanted to be an idol- well she didn’t ask. She just grabbed me and said that we were going to start an idol group. How did you even find out about it?”

 

“Tsugumi-san mentioned it to me when I passed by the cafe.” That’s right, she dragged her to the cafe and harassed poor Tsugumi. “She said you were hanging out with another blonde girl, I had to investigate.”

 

“Don’t worry Chisato-chan, you’re still my favourite blonde friend. No need to get jealous.”

 

“Jealous? Who’s jealous? I, personally, am glad you found another friend. It’s about time.”

 

Kanon gasped, offended, “What is that supposed to mean?”

 

Chisato only laughed quietly. Kanon pouted with a loud hmph ensuring Chisato could hear from the other end. “Aww don’t get mad, I’m only kidding. Besides, I’m auditioning for this big movie so if I get it I don’t want you to be alone.”

 

“Really? That sounds amazing! It’s been a while since you got a big role in a movie right?”

 

“Yeah. This role is a bit different from what I’m used to, but hopefully, I can pull it off with a bit of training. And it would be nice to have your little idol group perform a song for the soundtrack.”

 

“Hehe, we’re probably gonna disband before the movie starts looking into the soundtrack, don’t worry.” The line went quiet for a while, neither of them having anything to say but not wanting to hang up either. Suddenly, a thought popped up into Kanon’s mind. “Hey, doesn’t your talent agency also manage idols?”

 

“None of them has been all that successful, I wouldn’t get my hopes up. You should probably look for a different company. This one will waste your time, trust me.” Chisato always had problems with her company, they barely respected her and just made demands she had to abide by regardless. Her parents recently forced her into a 5-year contract when she was 13 so she’s stuck with them until she was 18. It didn’t help that her new manager hates her (or so she claims, Kanon never met the guy.)

 

“I didn’t want to join the company.” Kanon clarified, “I was just wondering if you would know anything about idols. Like maybe music or popular ones.”

 

“Hmm, sorry but I don’t pay attention to the other people in my company. I don't care much about idols either, I just find them annoyingly optimistic.” Kanon sighed. Chisato knew a lot about the entertainment industry but maybe it was about the nitty-gritty behind the scenes stuff. “I do know a girl though she might be able to help. She might even want to join-”

 

“That won’t be necessary.” Kanon quickly cut her off. “I don’t want to get anyone else in this mess. I wanted to find a nice song to cover that would suit us both but I don’t even know where to look.”

 

“Cheer up. I’m sure you guys will find something. Or maybe you can get somebody to write it for you. There are a bunch of wannabe musicians popping up, surely one of them can write music.”

 

“Fufu I guess you’re right. I’ll wait and see what she’ll come up with. For now, I’ll just listen to songs that pop up,  hopefully, one of them stands out.” Kanon was going to have to dig down deep. She wasn’t going to perform just any stupid song. It had to be some good that they both liked and that wouldn’t be too embarrassing. She had her weekend cut out for her. Hopefully, Kokoro does some work as well and doesn’t just forget about it.

 

“It seems like you have your weekend cut out for you. I think I’m just gonna go over my script and try to perfect it. My company also has me doing this stupid project for them so there’s that. At least we’ll both be busy.” Kanon felt a bit bad, if Chisato was busy then she would have probably wanted to distract her when things got stressful but since they’re both busy it won’t be possible.

 

“Well if you need me you can still call or text!” She said quickly, hoping Chisato didn’t feel abandoned.

 

The girl only laughed at Kanon’s panic. “Don’t worry Kanon, I'm a big girl and I can handle myself. Anyways, I have to go. I’ll see you on Monday. Bye-bye!” she said, making a kissing sound through the phone.

 

“Bye-bye,” Kanon muttered before sending a kiss back. Chisato hung up the call leaving Kanon holding her phone up to her ear in silence. She placed the phone down with a soft smile on her face. Conversations with Chisato always made her smile, she always understood her in a way no one else did and was always so patient. It was nice to have her as a juxtaposition to the energetic girl who had her running around the shopping district.

 

Speaking of Kokoro, she probably should go start looking up some songs for them to perform. And maybe a location of some sort. There were so many live houses around town but they were all for bands, she doubts they would be able to house a group that just dances. She would have to go and ask in person- on second thought maybe she could leave that part up to Kokoro and just focus on finding songs to perform.

Chapter Text

Kanon flinched at the loud blaring sound of her alarm, swiftly sitting up in her bed looking around confused. She quickly grabbed her phone and turned off the alarm before letting out a loud sigh. She had spent the entire weekend falling down a rabbit hole of Japanese idol groups, both the good and the bad. It gave her a much better idol of how idol groups functioned and what was necessary to pass an idol. Thanks to all her extensive research, she concluded that she was going back to the pawnshop, getting her drums back and confusing Kokoro to form a band instead.

 

Kanon never had a boyfriend before but she would prefer that if she got one she wouldn’t run the risk of being attacked with a chainsaw (well that’s not why the girl got attacked but getting it’s still a possibility). Not to mention, no one likes idols nowadays and she had no plans of moving to Akihabara in hopes of finding one or two wotas to fund her career. Being an idol was not a fun and easy job to pick up out of boredom. It was a gruelling job only for the strong of mind. That was not Kanon. Kanon can’t even order properly at the fast-food restaurant despite working there and knowing all the workers. The number of times she ate a fish burger because she was too scared to correct Tomoe (who now thinks it’s her favourite food and just orders it for her the minute she reaches the counter). She had no business up on stage hyping up an audience, she has anxiety.

 

Today, she was going to go find Kokoro and talk her out of starting an idol group. A band would be better, she could just sit in the back and her drums while Kokoro stood in front and did her thing. Besides, Kanon already knows how to play the drums. Kanon could not dance or sing and she was not in the mood to learn. It was a fun idea at first but after a weekend of research, she would rather not. She still would perform with Kokoro but not like that, definitely not like that.

 

Kanon went to school determined. She needed to change Kokoro’s mind. She wasn’t 100% sure but somehow she was going to. Kokoro was pretty stubborn but this was a life or death situation, she couldn’t back down. She needed to come up with a solid plan to present to Kokoro, a well thought out speech and she needed to be stern with it. She already sent her message to meet her at the train station after school. She wasn’t sure where Kokoro’s school was. She chose a familiar location that should be easy to get to regardless of school.

 

“Kanon-chan?” Kanon screamed out when she heard a voice suddenly appear behind her. She turned around and saw an equally shocked Aya Mayumara. She quickly bowed and apologized to the girl repeatedly. “It’s ok Kanon-chan. Sorry for scaring you, I’m just surprised to see you in this area since school is in the opposite direction and you don’t live around here. Where are you going?”

 

Kanon stopped and looked around before letting out a soft groan. She was thinking too much about talking to Kokoro. She didn’t even realise she had gone in the wrong direction and found herself in a completely different residential area. “Fuee... I got so lost in my thoughts and I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going,” she whined realizing that she was going to be late to school now and was going to have to wait until lunch to talk to Chisato.

“It’s ok Kanon-chan! We can walk the rest of the way back together.” Aya said with a sweet smile. Kanon immediately relaxed, she knew she could trust Aya. The two worked at a nearby restaurant for a fast-food chain. They both had problems with anxiety so they would schedule shifts together so they could support one another. Coincidentally, they also attended the same school and were in the same year. Kanon admittedly didn’t know much about Aya and they didn’t hang out much outside of school but still, they got along very well. She was a familiar face Kanon could trust.

 

While walking back, Kanon tried to think of something to talk about. She contemplated bringing up the whole idol fiasco but she wasn’t sure if Aya would be interested in something like that. Still, an outsider opinion would be useful.

 

“Hey, Aya-chan. Can I ask you a stupid question?” Kanon blurted out before blushing at her sudden question.

 

“Hehe, of course, Kanon-chan.”

 

“Do you think I’d make a good idol? Like I don’t want to be an idol or anything but I mean just say an opportunity fell into my hands- someone just came up to me asked ‘Hey you want to be an idol?’ would it make sense for me to say yes or just brush them off. I mean I did some research on idols and-” Kanon stopped her nervous rambling once noticed Aya wasn’t walking beside her anymore. Kanon looked back and saw Aya standing there looking paralyzed. “Aya-chan..”

 

Aya suddenly flinched looking up at Kanon as if she was also surprised that she had stopped. “Oh! I’m sorry! I just wasn’t expecting a question like that.” The girl giggled as if signalling that everything was ok. Kanon giggled awkwardly along, also trying to lighten the mood. Aya skipped towards Kanon before latching arms with a bright (forced?) smile on her face. “So, you said someone approached you? Do you know what agency they’re from? Is it a local one?”

 

“Uh no. It wasn’t anyone from an agency, just a random girl. She said she saw an idol performance and decided she wanted to start an idol group. At first, I was against it but then she kind of talked me into it. But when I got home and looked into it I got a bit nervous.”

 

“Hmm.” Aya looked down for a bit. “Well, it can be a very stressful job. And idols aren’t so popular nowadays so there probably won’t be much payback. I mean if you’re not doing it for profits or anything then you can just sit back and have fun.”

 

“I guess you’re right, Aya-chan. She is just looking for something fun and easy to do. It won’t go that far.”

 

“Exactly!” Aya chirped up. The conversation died down after that and the two girls continued to walk in silence. Kanon decided not to question her weird reaction earlier, she wanted to move past it. While they were walking, Aya did seem a bit lost in thought and Kanon would occasionally catch her staring but not in a creepy way.

 

Eventually, they arrived at school arms still entwined. They awkwardly separated and Kanon made a beeline straight to her first class of the day, worried she would be late. Thankfully, she wasn’t and she had a few minutes to spare. Kanon sat at her desk and sighed in relief. Maybe they can just do a unit for fun, she just had to convince Kokoro to cancel the concert. Somehow.