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Chapter 7 - Track Seven

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 7 - Track Seven

Chapter 7 - Track Seven
“Blind Game again, quite an indecisive doll
If it's a dream that can't be reached, well, then -- let's fling it away.
Drastic Game a Game, quite a worn-out, crumpled doll
Shatter the eternally unchanging nights.”

Himeka Nakano and Ryuko Sakuma sit in the livingroom of the Nakano family house watching the first promotional video Bad Luck released. Hiro and Shuichi stand behind them, leaning on the backing as they watch too.

“Remember when we did that scene?” Hiro asks Shuichi, “Must have taken fifty takes for you to finally get that right.”

Shuichi’s head droops as his bottle lip quivers. “Don’t be mean Hiro! It was a long day and I was tired!”

“It was the first scene for the day and you’d just had breakfast!”

Ryuko and Himeka beam a smile to each other.

“Wasn’t this video made before you sold your first million records?” Wonders Himeka. “Do you think it attributed to your success.”

Shuichi triumphantly raises a fist, “It was all part of Shuichi’s great plan! Videos; posters; concerts – all for the great goal!”

Ryuko’s heart raises, “To sell a million copies?!”

“To go on a date with Yuki!”

Ryuko and Himeka stare at the TV with a deer-in-the-headlights expression fixed on their faces. Shuichi stands like a statue, fist still raised, his eyes water gleefully as he remembers his wonderful date. The girls turn behind them, unable to blink.

“You…” began Ryuko, “You wanted to sell a million…for a DATE?”


Himeka’s jaw slightly drops, “All that hard work, all those sales, all that for…a DATE?”


They direct their stares to Hiro, who dolefully stares at the TV, unfazed by their disbelief. “Well, this is Shuichi Shindou after all.”

Ryuko scratches the side of her head, returning to the TV. “Was it a good date?”

“Yes! Yes! Yes!”

“Peppy, isn’t he?” Laughs Himeka. “Well we’re glad. By the way oh majestic stars of screen and stage, why are you here? Shouldn’t you be preparing for tonight?”

Shuichi lowers his fist. “Eh?”

“You know…the concert?”

“Oooooh, that!”

Himeka frowns, “Yes, THAT. Bad Luck hasn’t held a concert on this scale before for four years, aren’t you two at all concerned? It’s going to be LIVE for goodness sake!”

Hiro beams a smile, rustling her head. “Don’t worry honey, Daddy and his band will do what we always do and let Suguru do all the worrying. Besides, if Shuichi stuffs up, he has us to back him up. After all these years we’ve mastered ad-lib thanks to his routine incompetence.”

Shuichi falls to his knees in tears, “How can you say something so mean, Hiro - and so simply too? Waaaaaaah!”

Hiro continues smiling, ignoring his friend. Himeka and Ryuko take a note from him and also ignore Shuichi’s wailings.

Shuichi’s mobile phone rings, he stops crying and answers it, wiping his nose. “Hello? Oh, hi Fujisaki…eh…I see. Yes, ok, sure. We’ll be right over. Bye.”

“What did Mr. Fujisaki say?” Asks Kumagoro, as he’s waggled behind Ryuko.

Shuichi gulps down hard, trying to keep a cheerful smile. “He says there’s a problem with the station that was going to air the concert and we need to get to a meeting with them right away.”

“What?” Demands Hiro.

“What he said!” Yells Ryuko, leaning over the couch to stare at her father, “What sort of problem?!”

“I don’t know,” replies Shuichi. “Come on, we have to get to Mr. Seguchi’s office. Girls, want to come along?”

Himeka and Ryuko are already in Hiro’s car, honking the horn. “HURRY UP!”


Rested on the tufts of grass, Slacker draws a hand toward his rose garden, taking a rose between his fingers. He takes in the sweet aroma, sighing to himself. His other hand softly strokes the Labrador Retriever sitting by his side, basking in the warmth of the midday sun.

“Roses are so beautiful, with their velvety petals, vibrant colours, and rich smells; Smells that have inspired poets throughout the ages. But…would a rose cease to be as lovely if it lost its scent? Would it cease to be wondrous and be left as just another flower in the garden? What say you, Katsugan?”

His guide dog, Katsugan yawns in response, swaying his tail back and forward lazily. Slacker serenely smiles to himself. Without warning, his mobile rings. Katsugan barks. Slacker reaches to his belt with the hand that was on Katsugan and unclips his mobile phone, answering it. “This is Setsuna Seguchi, how may I help you?”

“Big news!”

“Hello Mr. K.”

“It has come to my attention there is a legal problem concerning tonight’s broadcast of Bad Luck’s performance. As we speak a meeting is about to take place between representatives from the television station, Mr. Seguchi and Bad Luck.”

Slacker narrows his eyes, “Thank-you Mr. K, but why are you telling me?”

“Because another will also be there, someone of interest to you. I am sure you know who I mean.”

Slacker snaps the rose. “Interesting…once again, thank-you.” Slacker ends the call and lets the phone drop to the grass. “I should have predicted he would try something like this, how careless of me. This will not go without punishment, Father.”


“And that’s how it is,” says the head representative for Channel DHX, “I’m afraid we can’t get out of our contract with the soccer federation. We agreed to air each match this season live, regardless of any changes on their behalf. It is unfortunate they have moved this week’s match to today. We apologize for any inconveniences.”

Ryuko folds her arms, mumbling obscenities and a few swear words Shuichi didn’t know she knew, to herself.

“Are you sure there is no arrangement we can come to?” Enquires Tohma.

“Sure there is, pay off the soccer federation,” replies a blue haired woman bursting into Tohma Seguchi’s office. “But of course that requires money and these suits would rather lose ratings for one night than the amount it would cost to get out of their contract for the week. Isn’t that right, gentlemen?”

The three representatives nod. “Just as she has said. And who are you?”

Suguru lowers his head in embarrassment. Sara follows the woman, struggling to keep a cheerful smile, “Mama…!”

The woman, who is dressed in a red business dress and is holding a black briefcase, invites herself to take a seat next to Tohma. She grins, crossing her legs. “My name is Umi Fujisaki and I am Tohma Seguchi’s lawyer.”

Everyone in the office stares at her as if she’s a lunatic. Tohma blinks repeatedly and goes wide-eyed, as if to say, “You are?”

Umi opens her briefcase and goes over assorted documents. “I have already contacted the federation and they are willing to move their match to tomorrow, however a fee will have to be paid to cover expenses. I was able to talk them down 40%, I am sure you can afford that.”

“We at DHX have no interest in taking on a bill for a situation we did not create.”

Umi fiercely glares, causing the men to step back in fear.

“Perhaps if you opted for a more flexible contract, you wouldn’t be in this mess, now would you?”

“How hang on – “

“If NG were to flip the bill, would you allow broadcast the Bad Luck concert tonight?” Demands Umi, growing increasingly testy.

“The total of the bill?”

“All of it.”

The three reps look at each other. “We will have to consider this.”

“Go into the next room and talk then,” Umi opens a door in Tohma’s office, and frowns dangerously at each rep as they creep out, almost clinging to the wall. Umi slams the door shut. She dusts her hands and flips her hair back. “Ah, I love my job.”

Ryuko and Himeka clap and whistle their praise.

“Wow, they nearly wet their pants I bet!” Giggles Ryuko, “That was so awesome!”

Suguru sinks in his seat, “Umi, as much as I appreciate what you just did, what are you doing here?”

“Darling, when I heard from Ayaka that some bastard network was trying to ruin what Bad Luck worked so hard for over these several months, I knew I had to do something.”

“Ayaka?” Gasps Hiro.

“Yes, she promptly called me just after you called her,” explains Umi, “So I got to work right away in sorting out this idiotic situation. So here I am, working free of charge I’d like to remind everyone. So, Tohma, satisfied with my work?”

Tohma grins, “Yes, very nice. However, I don’t plan to pay for a situation that I didn’t cause either.”

Umi’s eyes bulge. “WHAT?! It’s not as if you can’t afford it!”

Tohma closes his eyes. “It is a matter of principle, and business. I am terribly sorry.”

Shuichi clunks to the floor in shock.

Unfolding her arms, Ryuko rises from her chair, eyeing out Tohma. “Mr. Seguchi, can I talk to you for a second?”

“Of course.”

“I meant alone.”


“Why won’t you fund the airing?” Demands Ryuko, taking a seat in the blue couch in Tohma’s other side office. “Like Mrs. Fujisaki said, you can afford it.”

Tohma casually sits on the couch opposite, smiling to himself. “I believe I gave my answer before.”

“What did you mean by business then?”

“Reunion concerts are all well and good, but in the end do you think it would influence Bad Luck album sales? Such events have only momentary effects, nothing to call lasting. Unless…”

Ryuko hugs Kumagoro anxiously. “Unless what?”

“Unless it has something memorable, something that would talked about for years.”

“I see,” she quietly replies, “Something like Ryuichi Sakuma’s daughter singing in tribute of him.”

Tohma grins. “Yes, that would do I believe. But since she isn’t willing to, that is out of the question.”

Ryuko looks up, her deep emerald eyes glinting in knowing. “Maybe she can be persuaded.”


Slacker sits in the back of his limousine with Katsugan, clinging to his lead restlessly. K sits opposite him, polishing his rifle. “You look tense, like to stop and fire a few rounds? It’s very calming.”

“I appreciate your concern Mr. K, but I’ll be fine,” replies Slacker. “You know, it is odd that you are not with Bad Luck at such an important meeting. Care to explain your actions?”

K blows on his gun. “Ah, that will fine. This is not a Bad Luck state of affairs; it is for NG to sort out. If worst comes to worst, I’m sure Shuichi’s crying will break them into submission.” K laughs to himself.

Slacker lays his head back on the seat. “Yes, that makes sense. The first part of your statement I mean.”

“What are you planning, if I may ask?”

Slacker doesn’t reply, and instead drifts off to sleep.


“Yay! The broadcast is saved, and Ryuko says she’ll sing, this is the happiest day of my life! Well, this month…but it’s so awesome!” Yells Shuichi into his phone. “Aren’t you happy too, Yuki?!”

Yuki remains silent on the other end as he takes in what Shuichi has just said. “There was a problem with that station?”

Shuichi rubs the back of his head, “Oh, right, you didn’t know…but there was! And Seguchi’s going to pay that hockey federal…uh…”

“Soccer federation,” Suguru says over his shoulder.

“Yes, that! Seguchi’s going to pay the costs so Bad Luck can still get the airtime tonight! And for more good news, Ryuko said she’d sing with Nittle Grasper tonight!”

Yuki falls silent again. “I see…this doesn’t strike you as odd?”

“Should it?”

“Never mind, congratulations, see you later. Don’t do anything stupid in the meantime.” He disconnects.

Shuichi blinks. “What did he mean by that? Ah, who cares, let’s celebrate and get drunk!”

Hiro knocks him over the head. “Shuichi, you idiot.”

Ryuko stands alone by the door, her eyes covered by her brown hair. She hugs her bunny, Kumagoro. “Kumagoro, did I something good or bad?”

“Kumagoro cannot answer that, only Ryu-chan can,” he replies.



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