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Chapter 12 - Twelve

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 12 - Twelve

Chapter 12 - Twelve

Ever since she could remember, Ryuko Sakuma has been a hardcore Bad Luck fan. She was told that even as a baby, when Ryuichi was still alive, she would go crazy with glee if a Bad Luck song were playing, or if they were on TV. To be the adopted daughter of the lead vocalist didn’t mean she wanted special treatment. No…that is not the way of true fandom. For her it means suffering, yes, suffering like any normal fan. She has always willingly slept over night infront of music stores with her fellow otaku; searched endlessly through 2nd hand stores and markets for old memorabilia; and waited in long queues for concert tickets. Sure, her papa may think she’s barmy, and her daddy may cry for her sanity while she rejects his front row tickets; some people just can’t understand what true course of fandom is. Easy street just ain’t it.
Ryuko bites on the curtains, slobbering like a baby, “They’re so damn cool! Gwaaaa, Gwaaaa!”

Himeka rolls her eyes, amused, as she checks the strings on her guitar. “Ha, she’s such an idiot. Probably forgotten all about her up and coming debut on real stage.”

“But Sakuma Senpai has been on real stages many times,” says Sara.

“Karaoke competitions are a little different…and the audiences are never this big.”

Ryuko turns around, still biting on the curtain; she gives them the V sign, muffling something.

“Don’t talk with your mouth full.”

She blinks, spitting it out, “I haven’t forgotten. You know Hime-chan, you’re wrong, what we’re going to be doing tonight is really nothing more than karaoke. We won’t be performing as us, we’ll be…imitators.”

Himeka lowers her guitar, sinking in her seat, “Jeez, way to kill the mood.”

“Miss Sakuma,” interrupts Sakano, bowing before Ryuko, “it is time for you to try on your outfit.”


That image in the mirror, hazy and bright, painful to the eyes; was that image her? Or was it an illusion? She tilts the mirror more up and steps back. Cosplay has always meant fun and the excitement of being someone else for a moment, but this image doesn’t appeal as fun or exciting. The jeans, the shoes, the frilly white shirt and piece of brown leather loosely tied around her neck…

“Oh boy,” she gulps.

“My, my,” admires Tohma, “if your hair was shorter and your chest flatter, I’d swear Ryuichi was standing among us.”

“Ah, I do wish I could see my cousin Ryu-chan,” loudly sighs Slacker, who walks behind his mother.

Mika claps, “And now I present to you, in the role of Tohma Seguchi, Setsu-chan!”

Slacker smiles at the rousing noises she makes, she steps to the side to show off her son. Ryuko and Sakano cling to each other in despairing shock.

“He l-l-l-l-l-l-looks just l-l-l-like…” Ryuko stammers.

“…the President!” wails Sakano, thrusting an arm at him almost accusingly.

Tohma beams a cool smile, just like his son, “Almost.” Tohma takes his black bowler hat off and lays it down on the head of Slacker, who is still shorter than his father. “There, much better.”

Slacker nods, his fringe darkening his eyes, Yes, just like you, Father.“So, I really look the part, huh?”

Mr. Sakano frantically scapes the support beams; freaked by the appearance of Setsuna Seguchi. Two bullets are suddenly fired, near-missing his ears, causing him to fall back. Four roadies spring into action, trampling all over him, putting pressure on the damaged beam.

“I’ll go with yes,” agrees Saki, sauntering onto the scene, flipping her hair. Her shiny blonde curls are in two ponytails, and she’s dressed in borrowed clothes from the coveted wardrobe of Noriko Ukai. “Cute little Saki-chan here, hi-hi!”

Ryuko steps back, “You’re…sober…right?”

“Huh?” Saki waves her hand, “Ryu-chan, you’re too strange. And so is that outfit. Someone get this girl a skirt.”

Tohma shakes his head, “For the purposes of tonight, this will do.”

Saki folds her arms, grumbling at her defeat. “I suppose she’s not even going to wear a skirt for her Bad Luck gig?”

“She’s chosen to wear one of Shindo’s costumes, so the answer is no, Miss Ukai.”

Wincing, Saki flips one of her ponytails, “Humph, no wonder Ryu-chan has image crises, if she spends more time promoting OTHER people’s. Damn and I had this little hot pink number picked out too; shows off her legs really nicely.”

“Saki…” Ryuko sighs, her eyes then blaze, “Hang on, you’re sober!”


“Yet you’re talking about me like you have the hots for me!”

Saki wickedly laughs at herself, and pats Ryuko’s back. “Silly little Ryu-chan. Hahahaha! Oh, but I do. Hey, your little friend Himeka isn’t too bad either.”



Himeka hugs her guitar, watching Bad Luck perform on a monitor backstage. Her father looks so cool and full of energy. She sighs, “Wow, he’s so awesome.”

“Ha, too bad you’ll never be!” laughs a mocking boy.

With a growl, Himeka elbows the boy behind her. He falls forward, gasping for air. A large blue box slides infront of her. “Akuto, what’s this?”

Her younger brother shrugs, kneeling by her feet. “Mum wanted me to give this to you. She said she sewed you a special kimono to wear for your performance; as if you already don’t look stupid enough.”

She pinches his ear, ignoring his pleas, as she airily stares at the box. “Wow, a new kimono…!” Himeka still holds his ear, dragging him to the box with her; she caresses it lovingly and opens the lid. Her excitement drains as she stares in puzzlement at the garment. “What the…?”


“Ah, soon my darling Ryuichi will kick that pink haired wannabe off stage and grace it with his loveliness,” Tatsuha dreamily sighs.

“You mean RYUKO,” Yuki sharply reminds his little brother, “Ryuichi’s long dead. This pathetic denial routine really is getting old; much like the stench of this pruned fossil.” His gaze has turned to his father, who is chanting by some burning incense.

Mr. Uesugi opens one eye, eyeing his eldest son coarsely, “When are you going to be a respectful son, Eiri?”

“When are you gonna die?”

The two men glare. Tatsuha ignores them, returning to his dream world.

Mika watches them, rolling her eyes. “Such idiots, I’m so glad we’ve done such a good job raising Setsuna, he’s free of that sort of weird behaviour.”

“Indeed Mika,” Tohma agrees, “If I were to die tomorrow I feel assured NG would be in safe hands. Setsuna is equipped with ruthless business perception, remarkable intelligence and the endless drive that has earned his status as the eternal slacker. However…I still don’t comprehend his fashion sense.”

Slacker sits close by, nursing his father’s hat, listening to their conversation in silence. I learnt all I know from you, Father, it’s all you’ve ever bothered to teach me. Did you really expect less?


Slacker tilts his head up at hearing Tohma’s voice.

“I’m entrusting you with my keyboard tonight.”

“Which one do you refer?”

Tohma smiles, “My most prized one, you could call it my lucky keyboard. I used it for all of my live performances. It’s invaluable, take good care of it.”

Wanting to scowl, he rejects the notion and returns the smile, “Of course, Father.”

“Setsuna, we have to go and make some calls,” says Mika, “You’ll be on soon, so good luck.”

“You won’t stay with me till I go on?”

“Is there something you needed?”

Setsuna sighs, “No, I suppose not. See you later.” He listens as they leave, playing with the hat in his hands.

“Now I see why my mother has a low opinion of yours,” sadly says Sara, “It must be painful, Seguchi Senpai.”

Setsuna quietly gasps, grinning sheepishly, “Sara-chan, you startled me. It’s impolite to spy on people like that.”

“Forgive me,” she begs, “I didn’t mean to. I was looking for your father, hoping he could give me some tips with the keyboard. But I saw he was busy.”

“Tohma Seguchi is always busy,” laughs Slacker, “some say even when he sleeps he’s conjuring business deals to execute come morning. He’s truly an ideal businessman.”

“How is he as a father?”

“You heard him; he’s taught me everything he knows.”

Sara giggles into her sleeve, “That’s not what I meant, Senpai.”

“And I meant what I said,” he dangerously replies, “he has taught me all he knows, that is all.”

Sara nods, stepping back, “Yes, Senpai.”

Slacker folds his arms, holding the hat in one hand, “So you still plan to perform keyboard tonight I hear. You know you’ll make a fool of yourself, why’re you continuing with this?”

“Because we’ll be together.”


“Sakuma Senpai, Nakano Senpai and I will be together. We will…reek up the stage together,” she happily replies, “whatever happens we will do it as one, and that’s all that matters – that’s all that should matter. Don’t you have that same feeling towards playing with Ukai Senpai and Sakuma Senpai?”

Slacker smirks at such sentiments, “With NG Record’s reputation, as well as Bad Luck’s on the line, I don’t know how you can be so optimistic. As long as I make NG look good I don’t care who I play with.”

“But you’ll be playing on your father’s most prized keyboard, doesn’t that make tonight special for you?” implores Sara.

His most valued asset playing on his most irreplaceable possession.“It doesn’t mean anything to me.”

Sara lowers her head. “I see.”


“RYUICHI, MY HONEY!!!” screams Tatsuha, racing in full force towards Ryuko. Ryuko steps to the side, and watches him fall offstage.

“Someone please tie him down,” she demands.

“He sure is a strange one,” comments Kumagorou, Ryuko making him fly around.

“The transformation is complete, eh?” asks Yuki, “Did they give you his underwear too?”

Ryuko laughs, hoping it was a joke, “Eww, don’t be gross, Papa! Thanks to this costume business I’ve missed most of the first half of the concert. I can’t wait to get this over with so I can get back to watching. Have I missed anything?”

“Hmm, the mic wires got entangled around Shuichi’s foot while he was dancing around like an idiot. A song later he fell over and nearly landed in the audience. He’s a true professional.”

Ryuko goes chibi and bangs at the floor, “IT’S NOT FAIR! IT’S JUST NOT FAIR!”

Yuki lights up a cigarette, “You’ll see it when the DVD comes out; that and his skipping an entire verse in one of his lame love songs. By the time he realized his error he had to make a whole new ending to kill time.”


Saki bends down and picks chibi Ryuko up by her hair, “You’ll live Ryu-chan.”

Chibi Ryuko sulks, “But…is life really worth living if I miss these precious Bad Luck moments?!”

Yuki tosses the cigarette to the ground, stepping it out, “You see Shuichi act worse every day, the only difference here is that he has a larger audience.”

Ryuko returns to her normal size. “Shuichi Shindo the vocalist and Shuichi Shindo my daddy are two different subjects. Daddy acting like a moron is embarrassing at best, while the vocalist doing it is totally cool!”

Saki scratches her head, “That made no absolutely no sense. I need a drink.”

“We’ll be on next,” Slacker reminds her, creeping behind her, “I expect you to be in perfect form, so no liquor for you till we’re done.”

“Fine, fine.”

Bad Luck finishes their last song for the first half. Shuichi tells the audience to lend their support to a different band, one surely to evoke memories and brighten their spirits. The audience roars in anticipation. Bad Luck exits the stage, leaving it dark and bare.

Shuichi almost trips, running off-stage. He laughs at his own stupidity, sweating vigorously from his performances, “What a rush! I could do this all night!” Laughing mindlessly, he falls flat on his face. “Oh…I can’t move.”

“Idiot,” scolds Yuki, “you pushed yourself too hard.” Sighing at Shuichi’s feebleness, he bends down and wraps Shuichi’s arm around his shoulder for support, “Such a fool.” He opens his mouth and kisses Shuichi’s pale, sweaty lips.

Shuichi jumps to his feet energetically. “A kiss from my dear Yuki, I can do anything now! Ha!” With that, Shuichi falls flat on his face again.

“You did that on purpose,” accuses Ryuko.

“It never gets old,” Yuki says with a smirk.

Shuichi grabs hold of Ryuko’s ankle, “Tag Ryu-chan; shine for them the way you shine for me every day.”

Ryuko’s eyes water, she nods as if on a mission. Her gaze turns to the darkness of the stage. “Watch us shine.”


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