Sayo knew what started it. Band practice that day was taxing, even for Roselia. Yukina was in one of those moods where nothing was ever good enough for her—of course her singing was perfect, so she spent the entire session tearing down the others who performed fine. Ako got the worst of it, her drumming being constantly scrutinized to the point where she left in tears.
This had already happened to Roselia, and Sayo thought Yukina had learned since then, but…
She couldn’t stand up for Ako, either. She was too afraid of Yukina zeroing in on her and telling her exactly what she didn’t want to hear. And it got to her. When the rest of the members splintered off and left (Lisa still upset but trying to console Yukina, Rinko after Ako, and Sayo by herself as usual), she got home and dedicated the rest of her night to guitar. While she thought she had made strides towards improving herself, and her attitude towards guitar, it didn’t stop her breaths coming heavy and her hands from shaking when she recalled the events from earlier. She could feel the waves of loathing wash over her as every repetition was lacking, too slow, something out of place.
Again it came to her, the sickening thought that she wasn’t good enough to be in Roselia. And it hurt because she knew it to be true.
Her fingers ached, so she bandaged them and kept going. She felt trapped. She couldn’t escape her own head. She wished the day had never happened.
A knock at the door, and it swung open.
“Saaayooo!! Whatcha doin’?” Hina burst into the room, eyes wide.
“Not now, Hina, and I told you to knock. I’m practicing.”
“Awww! I just wanted to ask you if you wanna go shopping tomorrow…”
“I said, please, not now. Just talk to me later.”
Sayo’s knuckles grew white on her guitar. “Hina! How do you not understand that I said not now! Please talk to me later, or tomorrow, or just! Anything. Can you just…stop…”
Hina’s lip trembled, her eyes wet. “I’m sorry…” She slunk out of the room, closing the door.
Sayo collapsed into her pillow, guitar lying next to her. Why did she have to take it out on Hina? She was doing better, she never yelled, especially at Hina, but she usually at least told Hina when she came home…Today she had just gone straight to her room. She didn’t even think about her sister. Just like Yukina, she ruined her relationships with everyone. Sayo was just as bad as her. And that realization pushed her over the edge, and she cried into her pillow and didn’t stop. Her throat was dry and her breathing was fast, too fast, but she couldn’t break the cycle. Everything was just too much.
Hina tiptoed into the room, grabbing Sayo’s box of tissues. Sayo shot up and wiped her eyes. Hina perched on the side of the bed next to her, carefully setting the guitar on the table.
Hina offered her a tissue, and Sayo blew her nose. Loud.
“Um…I heard you crying through the wall…Do you wanna, talk about it?” Hina asked softly. She looked ashamed, and Sayo knew it was her fault.
“I…I…first, I’m sorry, Hina. I shouldn’t have,” Sayo sniffled, “snapped at you. I know you don’t deserve it.”
“Oh…that’s okay.” Hina smiled sadly. “You didn’t mean it. You don’t yell at me anymore, anyway. You’re a really nice person, ya know?”
Sayo looked away.
Took a few deep breaths.
“The reason I was so worked up earlier was because of band practice. Yukina was extremely critical of everyone’s performance, and it played into some thoughts I had about myself. …That I don’t deserve to be in Roselia. And I don’t deserve to be friends with anyone.”
She took a shakier breath. “It may be because I never contribute anything, in anything I do. I’m not as good at guitar as I could be for Roselia’s ultimate sound. I never show my friends that I appreciate them through my words or actions. I just…couldn’t escape those thoughts, but I know they’re true…There isn’t much you can do about that, I suppose. But I truly, truly appreciate you and your concern, Hina…”
Sayo started when Hina wrapped her in a hug.
“Sayo! Everyone I know thinks you’re totally boppin’! You’re cool enough to be in the student council, and you’re suuuuper good at guitar! You’re the most boppidy-boppin’ sister ever! And all of those things aren’t true…I could ask anyone! Yukina’s all grumble-grumble all the time, and she doesn’t understand how hard you work…Tomorrow, I’m gonna seriously knock some sense into her!!” Hina looked up at her, brow furrowed with intensity.
“Hina…please, don’t do that…I’m sure I can work it out with Yukina, and thinking on it now, it was almost certainly just a bad day for her. Just like it was for me. Regardless…I’m very thankful for your praise. I don’t know if I could ever be as kind, or supportive as you, but I’d love to try. Your presence helped me from a dark place…thank you…” Sayo gave a wobbly smile.
“Waaaaah!! Of course, Sayo! I love you sooo much!” Hina cried, tightening the hug.
“I can’t just stop thinking these things about myself…but I like to know that you believe in me, at least…”
“Sayo…I wanna help you as much as possible! It makes me really, really sad to see you all sad too, so just leave it to me! I’ll always believe in you!!”
Sayo carefully extricated herself from Hina’s arms. “If it’s alright, I’d like to be alone for a bit. I’d like to contact the rest of Roselia and apologize…”
“Hmmm…Yep! You absolutely look more boppin’ now! Good luck, I’ll be in my room if you need me!” Hina waltzed over and swung the door open, waving as she closed it behind her.
Sayo didn’t think she’d be sending any messages that night.