A moment of silence stretched on between the two at each other on the mostly, empty street. Mini finally broke the brief silence
"What'd ya mean 'who?!'" Mini pouted indignantly. Vanessa flicked her ear casually.
"Literally who? Never heard of you," she unintentionally rhymed, her lackadaisical response causing the streamer to pout.
"Awwwwww man, I was hoping you'd be convinced with my name alone…" Mini noted lowly.
"So, uh, can I help you? Otherwise if you don't have nothing to say I'ma head on home." Vanessa said, pointing behind her.
"Wait, wait, wait no, don't go –"
"Then spit it out already please. I got shit to do. Namely sleeping this bitch of a day off," She said, cutting her off. The cosplayer shook her head and gave a perky salute.
"R-right! The name's Mini Yaemori, a first year! Pleased to meet you, senpai and…" she paused, an insecure grimace crossed her face before finding her resolve and bowing her head. "...And please join my stream!"
Vanessa blinked and starred. The latina turned and looked to the empty street behind her checking for any possible onlookers with their phones out and then back to Mini.
"I want you to join my stream!" Mini exuberantly replied.
Her mouth twisted. "...But why though?"
"Can you imagine how popular my stream would be if I got the American Fuck Girl on call, it would be—" Vanessa turned and began to walk away. "W-wait, wait senpai please come back!"
She continued walking, "Nah."
"Come on, senpai, it'll be fun I swear, you'll love my chat they are great!" Mini cried out latching on to the other girl's waist. "They'd love you and–"
"-Are prolly full of simps wanting to suckle on your toes or some shit. Also get off of me." came the deadpan interruption.
Mini stared upwards, giving a seemingly offended glare."I'll have you know that there is hardly a simp in sight in my chat! My mods do good work and you hardly even see a 'awoogah' emote being spammed anymore."
"Mhm, sure, well, sorry but I don't really want to be used so you can get views." Vanessa said, as she managed to detangle the cosplayer from her. "Not really down for any more internet exposure, ya feel me?"
Mini adopted a contemplative look before nodding. "That's fair, I suppose. I can get how it can be a bit much sometimes especially after…"
"After I was exposed as being a sex worker minus the sex," the brunette finished for her. The girl across from her flinched a bit.
"Y-yeah that, I admit I didn't actually think this through much but," Mini admitted. "I just kinda figured on my stream you'd be able to speak your side of the story is all."
"What 'side' is there?" She raised her brow questioning the odd statement. "It was pretty obvious from the video I saw. It's pretty straightforward."
It was a pretty obvious conclusion from Vanessa's perspective. While she would freely admit she herself went too far in the heat of the moment, she ultimately felt her outburst was rather justified. Especially given that it was Kazuya that started it in the first place.
"A-ah huh, is that so…?" the girl across from her gave a nervous giggle. Vanessa narrowed her eyes.
"...It was pretty straightforward, right?" She questioned after a moment, a pit in her stomach forming. She knew since it was now public there would of course be people on either side of the debate as far as she and Kazuya were concerned because that's just how internet discourse went, especially with people with too much time on their hands.
However, given that both she and Kazuya were in part at fault, she would have at least assumed it was somewhat even, hottakes aside.
"It's just that, a lot of the videos that were uploaded mostly just have you yelling at that Kazuya guy with no reason seemingly and so…" Mini trailed off.
"Are you fucking kidding me? He started it!" Vanessa shouted, more heated than she'd like to admit, the pit in her stomach sprouting into butterflies. She's been on the internet to know what likely happened. Someone had either uploaded the recording right as she began ranting to Kazuya or intentionally edited it out the beginning and that was the version that likely got popularized and spread around the most.
"Yeah but ya know how the internet is, senpai. They just see someone kind of shitting on their date and they just kinda take it at face value sometimes, especially without any context" Mini said, confirming her fears. "And uh, I guess your occupation doesn't help either?"
"Context? Jesus, they should be able to intuit why I went off on him based on what I said!" the latina exclaimed. "The lack of basic context clues disgust me!"
Frustrated, she stayed silent for a moment before replying, "So how bad is it? In terms of ratio I mean. Fifty-fifty? Sixty-forty?"
Mini grimaced. "Ehhhhhhh, closer to like seventy-thirty in the circles I've seen. I mean, those you have in your favor who may have seen the original video or those who haven't but kinda realize that you may have actually had a reason for being so hostile. Though most people agree that you prolly went too far—"
"Evidently not far enough, then" Vanessa darkly commented under her breath.
"-But most people kind of just take it as a meme that it is."
This is an acceptable and wanted outcome in Vanessa's eyes. "Good."
"Butttttt, there is a vocal portion that has been uh, pretty …"
Mini nodded. "Yuppers."
Her eyes closed in frustration. After a moment, she opened them and muttered to herself, "It doesn't matter, just sheep on the internet. Shit doesn't matter, ignore it, it'll just make it worse…"
"...Are you okay, senpai?" Mini asked cautiously.
"...Hm? Yeah, I'm good. So yeah, thanks for the offer but I'm good on the whole stream thing."
"That's fair, I suppose…"
"Then, nice meeting you but I'ma head on ho–"
"BUT! I can totes treat ya to something to eat!" Mini expressed enthusiastically, patting her chest. "Cuz it looks like you need something on your belly, senpai. You look like you just ran through a marathon."
Vanessa grunted. "Meh, I'll be fine. I just missed breakfast and everyone knows that breakfast is the weakest link on your daily nutrition."
Mini hummed smugly. "Vanessa-senpai, you're the type to eat some burnt bread with butter cause you have no idea how to cook, aren't you?"
She snapped her head towards the fanged shrew. "How dare you? I'll have you know that I can cook my fucking ass off, I will literally punt you into the trash can, midget. I just didn't have the time."
"We're the same height!" Mini breaking her smug facade before attempting to save face. "I-I mean sure thing senpai, if that's so then there should be no issue with it then. Come on, I'm treating!"
Vanessa studied the face of the streamer, trying her best to scan for signs of deception and was having a hard time finding any.
Is she really serious? She thought to herself. She found admittedly sketchy that just some random girl claiming to be some famous cosplay streamer would suddenly approach her to not only be on her stream, but when denied, offer her something to eat? To Vanessa, either she was just really nice and dumb or more likely in her now cynical worldview, up to something. On top of that, Vanessa was also suspicious of the amount of encounters she is having today.
The video was one thing but the fact she has come across multiple people in such short succession has left her with the sneaking suspicion that whatever anime version of Japan she was in, she had become a part of it's plot to some capacity. The thought left that part of her that she suppressed the first day she arrived to echo dreadfully in her chest.
Her thoughts went back to Mami and her plastic act and then looked towards Mini. The girl's genuine, almost puppy-like pep differed from Mami's fake and mechanical smile.
Should I? She doubted herself. With all the evidence presented, the smart move was to just go home. Ignore this girl, ignore everyone and just live her life. That was what was safe. It was a smart move to make, especially after today. But…
Mini frowned at the girl's silence."Um, senpai are you okay? Home to senpai! Are you in therrrrrree?"
But, going back to that solitary, lonely apartment. With no one there to greet her or even ask her how her day was, no matter how annoying she used to think it was. Expecting to sit in a room, just waiting for the day to pass in a slow blur just to do the same the next day. The same tedium of her existence for the past several months since arriving here.
It was at that moment that Vanessa realized that she hadn't really been living her life for a long time now. So, it was at that moment, she decided to take a chance.
She traced a hand along her stomach before slowly replying, "...I guess I could go for a crepe or two?"
Mini gave a joyous smile as she quickly looped an arm around Vanessa and led her forward. "Yes! I promise you won't regret this senpai. I know a great crepe place. Oh! And they also have this salted ice cream thing that tastes great."
"Oh since, we're friends now—"
"Can I call you by a nickname? Please, please, please pleasssssse."
Vanessa cringed. "Ehhhhhhhh, I don't know about that one, chief–"
"How about Van-Van?"
"You may not."
Mini smacked her forehead, eyes wide. "Oh! Do you know you have the same name as Vanessa from FNAF?"
"Oh god, that's here too? Don't you dare—"
"Can I call you Vanny-senpai?"
Vanessa narrowed her eyes. "You're doing this deliberately. You are deliberately trying to cause me pain."
"Whaaaaat? Noooo, I would never sen~pai," the girl gave a teasing grin.
"That's it, you're getting yeeted," Vanessa said as she began to drag the girl to the nearest trash can.
"W-wait, wait, I'm sowwy," Mini began to flail in the under the other girl's surprising grip. "Senpaaaaiii!"
Despite herself, Vanessa couldn't help the genuine smile that spread across her face at the time.
Neither noticed the other young woman, watching the pair from a distance.
The crepe place that Mini dragged Vanessa to was, in fact, some food stands right outside the main buildings of Nerima University. Vanessa knew of it but often avoided it as it was often usually too busy with other uni students clamoring around there and the area, preferring the location closer to her apartment.
Mini with Vanessa in tow walked towards the stall vendor, waiting in line. Mini looked somewhat dour as she then weakly glared towards Vanessa.
"I can't believe you actually tried to throw me into the trash…."
"As you deserved, you dumpster gremlin," the latina deadpanned. "Be thankful that I didn't dump you head first."
Mini scoffed. "More like couldn't. I could tell how much your twig arms were struggling to even get me over into the can."
Vanessa's rebuttal was instant. "Yeah, you're right. You were pretty heavy. Are you putting on some weight for some cosplay or something?"
"I'm not fat!" Mini hollered.
"Whoa, I didn't say all that now," Vanessa smiled trollishly. "I was just asking. Besides, having a little junk in the trunk is a-okay, I am a whole hearted believer in body positivity. You keep chugging down those Doritos and Mountain Dew on stream. Who knows might even get you some new followers."
"M-maybe I should have the crepe after all…"
"Huh? But we're already in line, might as well commit and treat yourself. Again, body positivity is important, kouhai."
Mini's eyes twitched before grinning. She could play her game. Showing off her signature fang, she replied. "You're right, senpai. I am gaining some weight for a new cosplay. I plan to cosplay Vanny from FNAF."
The Texan cringed and made a choking sound with her throat from hearing her answer, "W-what?"
"Mhm~plan to gain loooots weight," she nodded cheekily. "'Cause I hear vore is super popular nowadays and I hear Vanny is some top-tier vore bait so just imagine the crowd I'd be bringing in on stream!"
Vanessa choking turned into a coughing fit, drawing the attention of passersby. "Y-you –you..-"
"Hehe~ just kidding, senpai." Mini gave a toothy grin with the classic peace sign to accompany it.
Vanessa jabbed a finger into Mini's face. "Satan woman. I hope you get drowned in all the inflation smut that will be made of you."
"Ooh, that's actually a good idea. I can review all my inflation smut on stream!" Mini hollored, drawing the attention of those in line in front of them. A pair of boys in front of them side eyed the two young women, their faces wrinkling at their conversation before deciding to leave the line to go elsewhere.
Vanessa and Mini watched the pair leave before turning back to Mini. "See? I told you if you talked cringe that it would help us shorten the line. Good thinking with the FNAF vore stuff though."
"Y-yup," Mini sheepishly said, looking away. "Totally a part of the plan."
Vanessa merely adjusted her glasses as she and Mini stepped forward to the street vendor. "Mhm"
Mini turned to the middle aged street vendor. "Yaa-hoo~Watari-jiisan. I brought a friend!"
The street vendor, Watari, merely sighed at the girl's exuberance. "I told you before Yaemori-san. I'm only 38 years old, hardly an old man."
"Ehhhhhh," Mini gave a questioning look and turned her gaze towards her compatriot. "Do you think thirty-eight is too old right, senpai?"
Vanessa gave the question some thought. Given that she was a 25 year-old woman within her 19 year old self, she didn't have to give it much thought for long, "Eh, I mean, I think it all comes down to how you view it. I mean, a 50 year old could have more pep in their step than a 15 year old. So I guess it comes down to perspective."
Watari gave an appreciative smile while Mini nodded her head.
"Wow, senpai," Mini started lightheartedly. "That was a real boomer copium answer. Are you actually older than you look?"
The vendor and spectacled girl gave the cosplayer a glare before Watari sighed in resignation. "So, your orders?"
"The regular with me, I'll take the spiced apple crepe, jiji," Watari nodded before turning to Vanessa. "And you, young lady?"
"Umm," Vanessa looked towards the menu on display before coming to a decision. "I'll take the fresh fruit crepe, with extra whipped cream, please."
"Coming right up." the man said as he turned around to work his figurative magic.
While waiting, Vanessa decided to make some conversation with her. "So aside from cosplay and feet, what do you actually do on most of your streams? Do you even play anything or are you just one of those talking boob streamers without the boobs?"
Ignoring the jab, Mini answered. "I play all kinds of things. Fortnite, Apex, Valorant. Anything really. Usually while I'm cosplaying."
"Oh wow, a real life Gamer Girl. What a novelty."
"Right? I was gonna start selling my Gamer Girl bathwater but someone already had a market on that." Mini noted sarcastically.
Vanessa smirked while Mini continued. "Been playing through Kingdoms of Amalur and Yakuza Kiwami. Kinda confused at first though."
"Did you not play Yakuza 0?"
"Well, that's why."
"Hey, I can follow along well enough! Besides, I only need to know that Kiryu lives rent free in my head and will be my future husband."
"Finally, you exhibit good taste." the brunette replied, nodding her head in solidarity.
"Yeah but aside from that, I was thinking of biting the bullet and just going full Vtuber," Vanessa quickly turned towards her fellow shortie. "It's just a matter of sitting up on a model rig from Etsy."
"Okay, yeah about that—"
"Here you go, young ladies. Your orders," Watari interrupted, having finished their orders.
"Oh, thanks/Thankies, jii-san," the women say simultaneously. Watari gave them a smile and thumbs up. "No problem, be sure to come back next time. To Watari's Crepe Place!"
"Like I said, Jiji. You really need to workshop that name," Mini said as she handed him the money.
Watari shook his head. "Foolishness! It's not about the name, it's about the quality of the product!"
"That's technically true…" Vanessa trailed off.
"Jiji, are you following what senpai said after being old is all about perspective and trying to be all peppy?"
"O-of course not, I'm always like this."
"Come on, Mini, don't call the man out like that."
"No, I like it. Keep on keeping on, Watari-jiji-san. See ya!" Mini began walking away with a pep in her step. Vanessa gave a quiet 'peace' to Watari before following after the cosplayer. Watari's shoulders deflated as he shook his head and turned to take the order of his next customer.
Mini takes a massive bite of her crepe before turning to Vanessa, chewing. "Sow I was thinkang, Van-Van…"
"Don't call me that. Also don't eat with your mouth full, you gonna send yer nasty mouth shit all over my crepe," Vanessa commented while moving her crepe away from the little weirdo.
The ahoge girl swallowed before continuing. "Like I was about to say, since I mentioned Yakuza earlier. It gave me a great idea!"
"Are we going to beat up gangsters dressed as babies?"
"Ew, what? No," Mini frowned before gaining an impish grin. "We're doing Karaoke!"
Vanessa gave the girl a lidded side glance, "No."
"Awwww, come on, please, please please—"
"No, I don't think we will."
"It'll be fun!"
"It'll be cringe."
"But–but, I want to sing the Kiryu songs!" she pouted towards the brunette who stood still at the reasoning. Vanessa had to admit, it was a good reason but she wouldn't falter.
"We have Kiryu songs at home." Vanessa shook her head, adopting the tone of a mother explaining to their child why they couldn't get McDonald's.
"It's not the same and you know it! I want to sing it out in an actual karaoke place! Pleasssssssse~, I'll even let you sing the Majima ones."
"No, fuck you, I want the Kiryu songs–no wait, shit."
"See, even you want to do it!"
Vanessa decided she had to put her foot down. "We're not doing it, and that's final."
Son of a bitch, she's dangerous. Vanessa thought to herself as she stood outside of Karaokemura. The designated spot that Mini had decided for the duo.
Mini was giddy with excitement. "Okay, senpai, let's get to it. I want to sing Baka Mitai. You can sing Cinderella after."
Vanessa squinted at the brat aside from her. "Fuck you, Baka Mitai is mine. I will allow you to have Today is a Diamond though."
"But I haven't even gotten to Yakuza 6 yet!" The streamer complained. Vanessa merely shrugged. "Sucks to suck."
Vanessa opened the glass door entrance to the karaoke parlor as a disgruntled Mini followed behind her. At the counter stood a girl Vanessa surmised was around 17 or 18 years old, with what Vanessa would describe as a baby face but it was evident that the girl was beginning to blossom into young adulthood regardless. A distinctive yet bright yellow bow stood out amidst her deep brown, almost black hair.
The worker greeted the pair with a smile. "Hello! Welcome to Karaokemura, how can I help–Ah."
The counter girl stared at the pair. Vanessa whispered to Mini, "Hey, I think one of your fans recognize you, midget woman."
"Nope," Mini said as she tilted her head. "She's staring at you, dwarf woman."
"Aha–ahh, y-you are–!"
"Oh. Is it that time again huh?" Vanessa asked no one in particular, having gotten used to this particular scenario.
Maybe I should have just gone home?
"F-fuck girl-senpai–!" exclaimed the bow-headed girl as Mini immediately broke down laughing.
...Yeah, prolly should have just gone home today.