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Chapter 4 - Track Four

The legend Ryuichi Sakuma is dead, he leaves behind the gift of a daughter which is passed to Shuichi and Yuki to raise. Now that she is 16 can she find the truth in her existence she has been searching for?

Chapter 4 - Track Four

Chapter 4 - Track Four
Morning light hits her eyelids. Warmed by the light, she opens her eyes, and hides under blankets to save herself from the rude awakening. “Morning,” she whispers, “But I’m not on the floor?” She puts her hand out to shield herself from the light and eyes her surrounding. “My room?”

“Good morning!” chirpily greeted Shuichi as he opened the door.

“’Morning Daddy,” she sleepily muffles, pulling down her covers. “I’m so sorry about – “

He sits by her bed with a silver tray. She can smell food – tasty food. As Ryuko sits up, he sets the tray on her lap. On it are freshly cooked bacon and eggs, two slices of toast spread with blueberry jam, a cup of grapes and a glass of warm milk, hinted with vanilla essence. It was her favourite breakfast, and usually only made as an apology.

She looks at him cockeyed, “Did you kill another goldfish?”

“Can’t a dad show his love for child without her getting all suspicious?” He defensively demands.

“You’re a really bad liar,” she sleepily laughs, taking a bite of toast. “Yummy, so, Papa made me breakfast?”

Shuichi sweat-drops, he isn’t the greatest cook in the world and usually ends up as the happy little helper to Yuki or Ryuko. “Yeah, he did. But it was my idea!”

Ryuko finishes her toast, and sadly sighs, “But shouldn’t I be making this for you? I’m the brat who ran out on your last rehearsal. I should be grounded for a month! No, three months!”

Shuichi stuffs the other piece of toast in her mouth to silence her. “As long as you’re safe it doesn’t matter. And don’t worry about tonight, we said straight off to Tohma that it was your decision and he just has to accept it. So no worries about that, ‘k?” He playfully beeps her nose with a smile. “Are you ok with me dedicating the special tonight? Because if not, I – “

Ryuko counters by a few grapes in his mouth. She beams a smile and beeps his nose back, “It’s because of him that my favouritest band ever was formed. He inspired you to do your best and I’m happy to see you pay tribute to that fact. Knock ‘em dead!”

Shuichi and Ryuko raise their fists high in agreement.

“Oh hey, speaking of dead, where’s uncle?” She suddenly wonders.

In the loungeroom, Tatsuha is just waking up. He sleepily feels around the cold of the floor. His body is a little numb from the awkward position he’d slept on. “The floor?” He shoots up, wearily looking around the apartment.

“You’re finally awake,” says his elder brother, who’s sipping a cup of coffee at the table, as he reads the newspaper.

“Why didn’t you wake me up!” He rudely demands, “Or at least put me on the couch!”

Yuki turns a page of the paper, “You looked so peaceful, almost like you were dead.”

Tatsuha is about to spring into a fit when he smells a lovely scent from the kitchen. “Excellent, food!” Tatsuha runs to the kitchen, to unfortunately find only burnt eggs and toast. “Did that brat try to cook again?”

“I’m not a brat!” Shouts Shuichi from Ryuko’s room.

“Brat! Brat! Brat! Brat! Brat! Brat!” He cheekily yells, “You should learn to cook! You’re supposed to be the mother of the house after all!”

Shuichi bounds out of Ryuko’s room and landed in Tatsuha’s face. “Hey, I’m a grown man, I’m not a woman!”

Tatsuha ignores his protests, turning away to scour the cupboards for edible food. Shuichi follows him trying to get his attention. “Hey, are you listening?! Get back here! Waaaaah!”

Tatsuha opens a box of cereal. “You sure dog like a woman.”

“Be nice to Shuichi, brother,” warns Yuki, turning another page.

Shuichi sticks out his tongue to Tatsuha.

“My wife is very sensitive after all.”

“YUUUUUKIIII!” Shuichi wails, streaming tears.

Ryuko walks out of her room, to see her uncle making funny faces at her daddy, as he makes angry squawking noises at him. She beams a smile, and gives her papa a kiss. “They’re so energetic!”

“Among other things,” he says, pulling her onto his lap. Yuki lays her head on his chest, just as he did when she was a little girl. Ryuko nestles into the warmth of his body, drowning out the chaos surrounding her.

The phone suddenly rings. Shuichi forgets his rage and answers it. “Hello? Oh, hi. Yes, she’s here. Ryu-chan, it’s for you!”

Ryuko pouts, jumping to the phone. “Hi there, Ryuko here!”

“Meet me at pier 10-A in an hour,” says the mysterious voice on the line.

Ryuko blinks. “Who is this?”

“Please, just do it.”

“Ok, but you better not be an insane murderer,” she sweetly warns, “Kumagoro may get mad if you try to hurt me.” Ryuko hangs up and grabs her coat. “See you later, I’m off to meet a mysterious stranger.”

“Have fun,” the three farewell. Ryuko cheerfully steps out of the apartment.

Tatsuha looks from Shuichi to Yuki. “Aren’t you two at all concerned?”

“Not at all,” replies Yuki.

Shuichi scratches his chin, “When she gets a call like that it usually means one thing.”


Salt taints the cool sea air, rising from the waves that crash against the wooden palings of the pier. With a hand-made, frail fishing line dangling lifelessly in the current, a lone boy sits cross-legged near the edge of pier. A straw hat covers his eyes, resting on his nose. His clothes are faded red shorts, and a loose white singlet. He can easily be mistaken for a street urchin, or strayed beach bum.

A shadow is cast over the boy; he doesn’t react. “So, you finally made it.”

Ryuko takes off his straw hat and whacks him over the head with it. “Why do you always have to do that, Slacker?!”

Slacker reels in his fishing line and casts it again. His wild blonde hair is thrust over his eyes, his face once again hidden. “I thought you liked games, cousin.”

“I don’t like your games, Slacker,” she pouts, “and nor does Kumagoro. For once quit being creepy.”

The one who is known as Slacker doesn’t reply, but gestures for her to join him. Growling to herself, she and her bunny sit beside him, taking in the calm of the ocean.

“This is a plot by Mr. Seguchi, right?” Laughs Ryuko loudly, “He actually thinks you can convince me to perform tonight?”

Slacker reels in a little, seemingly ignoring her.

“Hey, she’s talking to you,” says Kumagoro, “be nice and answer back.”

Slacker stops reeling, but doesn’t respond.

“Come on,” she cutely urges, “play fair, Setsuna.”

He turns to face her; the wind blows half of his long, thick fringe away from his face, to reveal a serene blue eye. An eye that looks everywhere, but is sees nothing. He is blind. Not that Setsuna Seguchi, aged fifteen, has ever seen it as a negative force in his life. If anything he values this so-called disability for heightening his other senses. His intellect is also second to none, and partly why his nickname is “Slacker”. To be the best he has to the push himself to a new limit in each step he takes. Nothing he does ever satisfies himself, there is no such thing as “personal best” for Setsuna. He is the eternal slacker. His reputation as an intriguing figure among his school and the media has earned him numerous fans and enemies. He knows it. Whether he cares nobody knows for sure. One has to wonder if he even understands his own mind half the time.

“I hear Uncle Tatsuha is in town,” he quietly says, a small smile sweeping his face, “I take it he’s staying at your place.”

Ryuko grumbles to herself, “Yeah, he is. Why isn’t he at yours? Your family has that big mansion after all, it’s not like you’d notice him!”

Slacker sits back, resting his rod beside him. “You’d be surprised. Father doesn’t appreciate his constant Ryuichi questions, and especially the rummaging of his belongings from the days he was in Nittle Grasper. Then of course there is Mother, who feels she doesn’t need to explain her position on her kid brother.”
Ryuko scratches her head, “So you called me out here to ask about Uncle?”

Slacker silently rises to his feet, stretching his head out to catch the breeze. “No. I came to tell you I don’t want you performing tonight. It will ruin everything.”

“What do you mean?”

“The past should be left in the past. A person has to be left a person. But a god cannot be left forgotten. You will taint the memory of Ryuichi Sakuma if you sing. If you do, he will be just another dead singer; he will cease to be a legend. If you perform tonight with Nittle Grasper, you will regret it.”

Slacker brushes past her, leaving his straw hat and fishing rod behind. A shiny black limousine drives near the pier. Slacker enters it, leaving Ryuko alone, cold and numb from shock. What did he mean? She wasn’t even planning to perform!

“Jerk,” she scoffs.

“Meanie,” agrees Kumagoro.

“I’m with you,” concurs a third party.

Ryuko turns around, dazed from Slacker’s speech. Sara stands where the limousine had just been, it seems she’d gotten off as he had got on. She’s dressed in her private school uniform, barrette and all. She kisses her index finger and points it at Ryuko, “Bam!”


“My love gun didn’t work?” She mockingly sighs to herself. “Oh well, you’d better come to Mr. K’s house to get – the treatment.”

“I’m gonna get what now?”

“Bam!” She giggles. “You’re going to love this.”


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