[Written for Twelve Shots of Summer: Another D8. TW for suicide, even if this isn't exactly that.]

Ayano knew that there was a lot she couldn't do.

She wasn't all that good at school, especially not compared to Shintarō. He always made it look so effortless, but no matter how much she studied she couldn't come close to his grades. She wasn't particularly skilled at something like Takane was with her video games. She liked to think that she was at least pretty nice, but even Haruka seemed better at brightening up peoples' day.

Still, none of that had really mattered to her, because she had always been happy. She had her loving parents, and her adorable little siblings. If there was one thing that she did feel she was good at, it was being a big sister to those children. They had seemed so small and scared when her parents first brought them home from the orphanage, but she was able to see them all slowly come out of their shells, and she just knew that they were all going to grow into amazing people.

It was such a shame that she wouldn't be here to see it happen.

Ayano wasn't particularly smart or talented, but she had still been capable enough to figure out what was going on with her father after her mother died. It had been scary and confusing at first, but over time she had pieced together what really happened that day. Who would have thought that story her mother used to read to her was actually real? She would soon see for herself what this "Heat Haze" was like.

Honestly, she wished that it hadn't come to this. As much as she always tried to be brave for her brothers and sister, she had never felt more scared. Jumping off a building wasn't easy, with all her instincts screaming at her to get to safety. Looking into Shuuya's horrified face almost made her falter as well. She wished that he wasn't here to see this, but that was probably her fault. She had gotten him involved in all of this, as unfair as it was to him. If she had been a better big sister, she would have been able to handle all of this without his help. But it was too late now for regrets, for there was no turning back.

Maybe, if she had more time or more intelligence, then she could have thought of a better way to resolve this. But she was out of time, and if she didn't act now then her siblings and her friends would be in danger. The monster inside her father's body would stop at nothing to grant her father's wish, even if he would be horrified by the results. The only conclusion that she could come to was for her to enter the Heat Haze and not leave it. Without all of the snakes coming into the real world, the monster's plan would fail.

She sat on the railing at the edge of the roof and tried not to think of how far down that drop was. Based on what she understood, the Heat Haze would swallow her up before she could even hit the ground. Still, it was a little daunting to be so high up and know that she would need to jump. Ayano wondered what people would think when they heard the news that she had "committed suicide". There would probably be all sorts of assumptions about her, but only Shuuya would know the truth of what happened. She knew that Tsubomi and Kōsuke would be so upset, and she could only hope that they wouldn't blame themselves in any way.

"Ah, so this is what swallows people up when they die," Ayano said as she saw the Heat Haze in the form of a giant snake.

There were tears falling down her face, but it was too late to back out now, no matter how scared she was, or how Shuuya's pleas tugged at her heart. She was doing this for him and their siblings, and she could only hope that he would understand someday. She really didn't want him to hate her for this. Ayano offered Shuuya an apology, even though she knew that wasn't really enough. She wished that she could be a little braver in this moment, since it was her job as a big sister to be brave for her younger siblings. But as long as she still followed through despite her fears, that would be brave enough, wouldn't it?

Ayano leaned backwards and let herself fall off of the railing. She heard Shuuya's scream, but what really caught her attention was the demented smile on her father's face. Her eyes widened as she realized that she may have miscalculated after all, like the idiot that she was. But there was nothing more that she could do now.

It was too late for anything else, because the Heat Haze was swallowing her up.

Noiz: Here's the one-shot for week eleven! The prompts for this one were [Conclusions] and [Confusion].

I've been into KagePro since I was a teenager, so it was fun to write something for it. Even though Shintaro is the character that I connect with the most, Ayano is probably my favorite. She's sort of the common denominator that connects them all to each other, even if they don't realize it at first. It's very sad to me that she doesn't think much of herself, since the people in her life all admire her.

Title is from JubyPhonic's cover of Lost Time Memory. The line of dialogue is based on some dialogue Ayano says in Mekakucity Actors, which I recently decided to rewatch.

Reminder to check out what other people are writing for TSoS!