CHAPTER 6 - Audition (Part 2) - Ready Steady Go... Let’s Sing a Song
As they took their places, Tackey whispered to one of the staff.
“Make sure you take a video.”
The staff nodded and readied the equipment.
“Ok boys we’re ready when you are. Just give us the signal ok?’ He told the five boys who were nervously standing in front of him.
“Ummm... Uncle Tackey, do we need to dance?” Aki asked.
“No Aki, that’s gonna come later. Right now I want to hear you sing.”
“We’re really gonna do this?” Jirou whispered.
“As if we have a choice. Get ready you’re up first.” Ryke replied as he motioned Jirou to face the eagerly waiting Johnny’s staff.
“Shin, breathe... you’re turning blue.” Aki told Shin who was standing still.
“ Aki, get back in line. Shin breathe. This is it. It’s now or never.” Hiro said.
Haji... na..na.. yea! su...... good!
Da..da..da..da..da.. wa boo!
That's all right!
Sore de..de.. de..de..de.. de...meru
Sou sa na... na.. na.. super boy!
We are cool.
Tackey stared at the five boys. They look exactly how their dads looked at that age. But there was something different. He tried covering his ears while continuing to look at the boys who were giving their all in singing.
They would sell. He thought. Who knows they might even be bigger stars than their dads.
Ya na ... na... na ...na dokka na.. na.. na.. na.. na.. ru
Yaru da... da... da... da.. da... desho?
Yu me... da.. da... da.. desho?
He can see the eagerness in the five boys, but unfortunately they’re making a fool of themselves. There’s no denying that they can sing. That they can carry a sensible tune if only they knew they lyrics.
You are my soul! Soul!
Itsumo hmmm...hmmmm... hmmmm... aru
Yuzurenai na...na.. na... na... dekinai
Kara... hmmmm... hmmm... hmmm...hmmm... makiokose
A-ra-shi a-ra-shi for dream
He was expecting to see Sakurai’s son to be a good rapper like his father, but the boy seemed lost on what to do. They seem to know only the first and last syllables of the lyrics. Well, if it’s worth anything, they got the English parts correct.
Kyou na... na... na.. na.. na... tteru
Hisan na... na... na... itchatteru
Bokura hmmmm. hmmmm. hmmmm... teru
Dekkai na... na... na.... na.... na...teru
Madamada na.... na... na... na... nai
Ima hmmm.... hmmmm... hmmm... nai
Let's get on! Let's get on yea!
Ok this is his last hope. He’s knows Ohno’s son to be as good as his father when it comes to singing. He has heard the boy sing once. Tackey’s keeping his fingers crossed.
Step by step butto hmmm...hmmmm.... hmmmm... hmmm....kome
Day by day taikutsu na.. na... na... na... na.... kara
Ookina da... da... da... da... da...you
The entire room went silent after the music has ended. All eyes were on the five boys standing in the middle of the room staring at the floor with utmost embarrasment.
“You don’t know the song?” Tackey asked breaking the eerie silence enveloping the entire room.
Five heads shook in unison to answer his question.
“But.. but... It’s impossible. I don’t believe it. One of you must at least know that song. It was their debut song.” Tackey added in disbelief.
“Uncle Tackey, it’s not as if we HAVE to know the song right?” Aki asked back.
“ I know but, you have heard of it, have you?”
“ Yes, maybe once or twice, but we never really listened to their songs.” Ryke replied, the last part was more of a whisper.
“ Ehh??? But you guys sing?”
“ Yes, during talent shows at school, well it’s more like Shin sings and we play the instruments.” Jirou added.
“ So what songs do you sing?” Tackey asked.
“ Well, we like different songs. For example, Aki’s into game music, which has basically no lyrics. Hiro is into rock or metal or whatever it’s called. Shin likes songs from the 80’s. Ryke’s into raggae music and I like listening to classical music. The bottomline is that we rarely listen to Japanese songs. Most of the songs we know are in English.” Jirou answered.
“Ok, ok, I can live with that, Let’s have you guys sing an English song. Oh, and you mentioned you play instruments right? Let’s do this like you would usually do it during talent shows.” Tackey said then turning to the staff.
“ Prepare the instruments. This is getting interesting. I’m sure...” Tackey was cut off midsentence when he felt his phone vibrate.
He looked at his phone and smiled when he saw who it was.
“Hai. Yup. We’re holding the auditions now. Where are you? Eh? Back so soon? Where are you right now? That’s near. You wanna come over? Ok. But go straight to the office don’t come to the audition room. I’ll just meet you there. Bye.” Tackey flipped his phone close, turned to the staff near him and whispered something.
Upon hearing Tackey’s instructions, the technical staff’s eyes widened. Not believing what he heard, he whispered something to Tackey as if confirming the order.
Tackey nodded and turned to the five boys again.
“ Ok, so who’s going to play what?” Tackey asked.
“Shin does the singing, Jirou plays guitar, Hiro, the piano, Ryke, bass, I play the drums.” Aki quickly replied while handing Jirou the guitar.
“You play the drums? How come? Your brother is a genius on the guitar , not to mention your dad taught himself how to play it way before he entered Johnny’s.” Tackey asked unbelievingly.
“My fingers are short. I can”t reach the strings.” Aki replied softly.
“Oh Ok. So shall we start? By the way what song are you going to play?” Tackey asked again.
“Ah, it’s the song we played during the talent show. Aki’s mom likes this song, it’s kinda old. We’re doing the male version.” Hiro replied.
“Ok get into position.” Tackey said then nodding to the staff he talked to earlier.
“ Wait!” Aki half screamed as he got off his seat behind the big drum set.
“What?” the four boys chorused.
“ Shin move a little bit to your left, you’re blocking my view . The camera’s not going to film me.” Aki said as he moved Shin’s mike stand a little bit to the left.
“We’re being filmed?” Ryke asked nervously.
“Standard procedure boys. We usually review the videos after, to double check. Why do you look so worried? You DID ask permission didn’t you?” Tackey asked.
Aki glared at Ryke before replying.
“Yes Uncle Tackey. Ryke’s just camera phobic.” He replied then mouthed SHUT UP before returning back behind the drums.
Aki sat on the stool, shifted it a little and began to count with his drumsticks.
“One, two, three...”
At three, Ryke began to strum his guitar.
After a few chords, Shin’s cool voice echoed throughout the room. (A/N: This is David Cook’s version... I love this song that’s why this is what I had them sing)
We were as one babe
For a moment in time
And it seemed everlasting
That you would always be mine
Now you want to be free
So I'm letting you fly
Cause I know in my heart babe
Our love will never die
You'll always be a part of me
I'm a part of you indefinitely
Girl don't you know you can't escape me
Ooh darling cause you'll always be my baby
And we'll linger on
Time can't erase a feeling this strong
No way you're never gonna shake me
Ooh darling cause you'll always be my baby
As the last chord faded out, the entire audition room erupted into cheers and applause. Tackey stood up clapping the hardest of all.
“That was brilliant. Where have your fathers been hiding you all these years?” He said as he got near the boys who were now standing in one straight horizontal line.
“Uncle Tackey does this mean we pass the audition?” Aki asked excitedly.
“Well, if you ask me Aki, you did, but the audition does not cover singing alone. There are still some things you need to do. And even if I want to accept you right away, considering YOU are second generation, we have to follow the procedure. Ok boys?” Tackey explained.
The five boys nodded, not erasing the silly but contented grins they have on their faces.
“Now I want the five of you to follow Yamamoto-kun. He will be in-charge of your group. he’ll be teaching you the choreography for the dance that you need to perform later.” Tackey said pointing at the older boy standing near the exit.
The five boys headed towards the older boy who led them a smaller room.
“Guys... I can feel it. I can definitely see us watching the concert.” Hiro said.
“ Don’t expect too much Hiro, we still need to dance.” Ryke reminded him.
“ Don’t worry we got this.” Hiro replied.
“That’s what you said earlier. But turns out you don’t know the lyrics either.” Aki reprimanded him after whacking him in the head.
CHAPTER 5 - Audition - Part 1
They stood near the entrace of the practice hall each holding a piece of paper while watching throngs of kids go in and out. Some alone, some with their moms. Some are busy practicing while others are just goofing around.
“Guys let’s find a space where we can fill this form out. A lot of people are coming in already. We might not be accommodated.” Jirou suggested.
The four other boys nodded in agreement and went on to search for a free space.
“I never knew applying to be a Junior would mean answering a 3 page questionaire” Jirou said.
“Why do they need all these information?” Aki added.
“Guys what’s my special talent?” Hiro asked.
“Just write anything. Wait they’re asking for our parents names and occupation.” Ryke said.
“ We can’t write our dad’s names. It’s too obvious. Why don’t we use codenames? Let’s just make it look like a name ok?” Shin suggested.
“ Like what?” Aki asked.
“ Like Ninomiya Kinjirou - occupation composer. See it’s not really that far from the truth right? OK wait give me your forms I’ll come up with the stuff to write . Ok, let’s finish Aki’s. Mother’s name, Ninomiya Sarah, occupation: English Teacher.” Shin began to write.
“Wait, you’re writing my mom’s real name. Why?” Aki asked again.
“ Our moms are not the problem, it’s our dads. Ok next. Hiro... Father’s name: Aiba... Katsu, occupation...”
“Wait, your making my dad’s name sound like food.” Hiro protested.
“ Hiro just leave it. We’re running out of time. Go on Shin.” Ryke scolded him.
“Moving on... Occupation: Pet shop owner. Mother’s name: Aiba Mika, occupation: veterinarian. Jirou, you next. Father’s name: Sakurai.... hmmm... what should we use? Shinji... don’t ask why... that’s the first name that came into my mind. Occupation: Salaryman. Mother’s name, shoot, we have to change your mom’s name too... people know who she is. Sakurai... Anna... it’s an anagram of your mom’s name. Occupation: Office lady. Ryke... Father’ name: Matsumoto... Matsumoto... Junnosuke, occupation: salesman. Mother’s name: Matsumoto Ryka, occupation: graphic artist. Ok last one. Father’s name: Ohno... Sami, occupation: fisherman. Mother’s name: Ohno Riya, occupation: baker. Done. See it wasn’t that hard.” Shin said handing back the boys their forms.
“You’re scary Shin. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day you’ll end up a swindler.” Hiro told Shin.
“Oh shut up Hiro. Just finish the form.”
A few minutes later they were done with filling out the form. Ryke gathered them and handed it to the one in charge who in turn gave him 5 numbers.
“ Hold on to that, we’ll be calling your numbers in a little while. You’re going in groups since we weren’t expecting this many people.” the staff told Ryke.
Ryke thanked the staff and headed back to where the other four were, handed them their numbers and patiently waited to be called.
The staff handed the forms of the next set of Junior wannabes to Tackey. He’s been auditioning these boys since 8 am and although there were those that showed promise, he is yet to see something extraordinary.
“Ok, next group... Aiba, Matsumoto, Ninomiya, Ohno, Sakurai.” The voice of the staff echoed throughout the entire practice hall.
“EEEHHHHHH? You’ve got to be kidding me.” Tackey said not believing what he heard.
“Did I hear that right?” One of the staff asked him.
“It’s been quite a while since we heard those names together.” added anotherestaff.
“ Send them in. Maybe this is what we’ve been waiting for.” Tackey told the staff.
The staff ushered the boys inside and directed them to stand in the middle of the hall facing Tackey.
“Now this is something you don’t see everyday. Do they actually know that you’re here? ” Tackey aked the boys while trying to suppress his laughter.
The boys mumbled a few inaudible answers while nervously staring at Tackey who was amusingly watching them.
“I’m going to ask you again, do they know that you boys are here today? I want to see you’ve got but I don’t want your fathers breathing down my neck.”
“You answer.” Shin said as he pushed Aki forward.
“So, did you or did you not ask permission?” Tackey asked once more.
“Yes, permission granted.” Aki replied.
“They know you’re here?”
“Ok so that settles it. I’ll take your word for that.”
“We aren’t really lying are we?” Jirou whispered.
“Not really.” Hiro replied.
“Aki did ask permission, his dad said yes.” Shin added.
“We just didn’t answer so, I guess we’re not lying.” Ryke said.
“What did you do that for?” Aki asked Shin as he got back in line.
Shin shushed Aki as he got back in line and waited for Tackey’s next instructions.
“Ok, let’s start. Let’s do some singing first. I’m going to ask you to listen to a song and then you have to sing the song according to how you heard it. Meaning, I won’t be giving you any lyric sheets so you have to listen carefully and sing by memory. Ok?. Don’t worry, I’m going to give you boys an easy one.” Tackey began as he placed the player on the floor and motioned the boys to sit around it.
“I’m sure you all know this.” Tackey said smiling as he pressed the play button.
The intro of the song echoed throughout the hall and almost all of the staff stopped whatever they were doing to watch the boys.
The boys looked at each other as they listened intently to the song that catapulted their fathers to stardom.
“This is what we’re going to sing?” Jirou asked.
“Unfortunately.” Ryke replied.
“Who’s going to to do the rap part?” Jirou asked again.
“ You of course. That’s your dad’s role.” Shin answered.
“But that’s impossible. I CANNOT RAP.” Jirou told them.
“How come?” Aki asked.
“Because... my dad mumbles when he raps and I’m used to pronouncing each word articulately. I don’t know how to “cut” the words or what ever it is that he does when he raps. I just can’t do it.” Jirou explained while shaking his head.
“Whatever, just listen to the music. Shin, I think this is your dad’ s part. Listen carefully ‘coz you’re singing it.” Aki commanded.
“Why me?” Shin asked.
“Stupid question. Of course you’ll sing it ‘coz it’s your dad’s part.” Aki replied before whacking him in the head.
“Ouch. But that’s unfair. Only Jirou and I have solo parts. What are you three going to do?”
“We’re going to sing with you. Don’t worry, we’re doing this together.” Hiro assured Shin.
“Yeah Shin, we’re here to back you up. So does any one know the lyrics because I don’t.” Ryke told the other boys.
“What? I don’t know the lyrics either. What about you Aki?” Shin asked.
“What makes you think I know the lyrics? In case you’ve forgotten, the songs I like are the songs from the games I play and most of them don’t have Lyrics.” Aki replied.
“What will we do?” Jirou asked.
“Don’t worry I know it.” Hiro told them confidently.
“You sure Hiro?”
“Trust me.” Hiro assured them.
“Ok. Let’s do this.” Ryke said as they stood up and got into position ready to sing.
CHAPTER 4 - Pre - Audition
Saturday Morning. Day of.
Shin woke up with a start. His alarm hasn’t gone off and he was quite sure he has set it the night before. It’s a Saturday and usually he gets to sleep in until lunch. But this isn’t a day to be sleeping in.
He got out of bed and went straight to the bathroom. He took a quick bath, threw a shirt, a small towel and some other things inside his back pack and went down.
His mom was preparing the breakfast table when he entered.
“Whoa! You’re early. Going somewhere?” His mom asked as she placed the newly toasted bread on the table.
“ Ahhh... I’m going out with Ryke. I need some paint for our project and Ryke wants to check out some remote controlled toys.” Shin lied.
“What paint do you need? There’s a lot of paint in the art room. If there’s none there, you can always use Dada’s paints. We can just replace them later.”
“ I’ve already checked Mom, but we don’t have the color I need.” Shin replied as he took a piece of toast and began eating as he headed for the front door.
“ Bye mom, I’ll be back before dinner.”
Jirou looked at his reflection in the mirror and gave himself a nod of approval. He was dressed casually. Just like he used to when going to soccer practice. He turned to the side one last time before heaving his varsity bag onto his shoulder and headed downstairs.
He secretly hoped that his parents have already gone to work so they won’t question him. Ahhh... the price I have to pay for being an only son. He thought.
His parents were already preparing to leave when they saw him enter the living room.
“Jirou, there’s food in the fridge, just heat it in the microwave when you get hungry ok?” his mom told him.
“You’re going out?” his dad asked when he noticed his big bag.
“Soccer.” was all he replied.
“I see. You want us to drop you off?” His dad asked again.
“No thanks Dad, I’m dropping by Aki’s to return the game I borrowed last week.” Jirou said not meeting his father’s gaze.
“Ok, but since you’re not having lunch at home, here.” His moms said as she handed him some some money.
“Thanks mom, bye Dad. See you at dinner.” Jirou said as he wavd and watch his parents set off.
“I hope I don’t get karma for lying.” He said softly as he closed the gate and headed towards the park.
Ryke looked at his reflection in the mirror. He was dressed in his favorite white shirt, jeans and sneakers. He even took the time to properly brush his hair. This was his best look, although compared to what people might imagine of him being the son of Matsumoto Jun, this was too plain.
“Why do I have to look so much like my dad?” he asked himself as he poked his nose.
“ I hope I don’t make a fool of myself. I got the guys into this mess, the least I can do is seriously do this.” He added as he swung his bag onto his shoulder and headed downstairs.
“Mom?” Ryke called out as he entered the living room.
“I’m in the kitchen.” his mother replied.
“Mom, I’m going out.”
“Where are you going? Your father might call. You know how paranoid he gets when he’s out of the contry.” his mom told him as she finished washing the dishes.
“Shin asked me to accompany him. He’s buying paint.” Ryke replied nonchalantly.
“ Buying paint? When did the Ohno household ever ran out of paint? They have a whole room dedicated to paint alone.” him mom asked again.
“Mom! What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Ryke that family has enough supply of paint and paper to last a lifetime.”
“Mom, I told you Shin’s looking for a different color. Oh and by the way I won’t be having lunch here, but I’ll be home by dinner. The guys and I are planning to meet up after Shin and I buy paint.”
“ Ok , but make sure to be home before 7.” His mom called out to him as he headed for the door.
Hiro hid behind the bookcase as he listened for any sound that might tell him where his parents might be.
There was the sound of something being chopped which means his mom’s in the kitchen. Hiro rarely sees his dad in the kitchen let alone see him cook. Although he usually brags that he was once the heir to their Chinese restaurant, which, by the way is run by Hiro’s uncle, Hiro has actually never tasted any of his father’s cooking.
He was slowly tiptoeing towards the main door when the door leading to the petshop opened.
“Hiro? Where are you going?”
“ Oh hi dad. I’m... I’m... I’m going to the library.” he lied.
“ Library? What for?”
“Oh...research, for my book report.” he replied without meeting his father’s gaze.
“Research? You can always log on to the internet? Why go to the library?”
“ Dad! That is absurd!Why would you even suggest that? What will people say? That the son of Dr. Mika Kohara - Aiba, one of the few lady veterinarians who topped the National Examination, is copying his research from the internet? I can’t do that dad. I have to live up to mom’s reputation, you know...”
“ You’re right son. People will make fun of you if they know you copied it from the internet. Don’t tell your mom I told you to copy it from the internet ok? Will you be coming in for lunch?” his dad asked.
“No Dad, after I’m done with my research, I’ll be meeting the guys. We’re doing something.”
“ Ah... a Secongen meeting?” his father asked.
“A what meeting?” Hiro clarified.
“Secongen. Second Generation. Sho suggested we call you boys that.” his dad replied smiling.
“Dad, that is embarrasing! Why does uncle Sho usually think of embarrasing things? I thought you were in charge of that?” Hiro said shaking his head as he headed towards the front door.
“Nii-chan?” Aki called out to his brother as he pushed the door open. He walked in and saw that his brother’s bed was made. And everything seems to be in place.
Where could he be? Aki thought.
“Mom, did nii-chan come home last night?” Aki asked his mom as he entered the dining room.
“Nope, but he called telling us he’s not coming home.” his mom answered as she continued to slice the carrots.
“Did he say why?” Aki asked again as he sat infront of his mom and started playing with the vegetables.
“ Aki, your brother does not have to tell us everything he does. He’s old enough and we trust him. And stop playing with the cucumber.” His mom replied.
“But he tells me everything. Wait I’ll ask Dad” Aki reasoned as he stood up to ask his Dad leaving his mom shaking her head.
“Dad? Are you doing something?” Aki asked as he entered his Dad’s studio.
“Hmmm?” was all his dad replied who was busy tinkering with the mixing machine in front of him.
“Do you know where nii-chan is? Seems like he didn’t come home last night.” Aki asked his dad as he too began tinkering with the music mixer.
“ Don’t touch that. I’m having trouble getting the right pitch on a note.”
“Is this the new music for the new Dragon Quest game series? Dad, if they ‘re sending you a complimentary one, can I have it?” Aki begged his Dad.
“ Yes Aki you can have it. Oh and yes, your brother didn’t come home. I think they’re finishing up the PV of the new single he’s releasing next week.” his dad replied.
“Wait, you’re out of your room at this time? That’s new. Where are you going?” His dad asked him.
“Oh, there seems to be an audition to be a Johnny’s Junior today. You know that one-time event we saw on TV last night? I’m thinking of trying it out. Is it ok?” Aki asked his father.
Kazunari stopped what he was doing, faced his son and placed the back of his palm on his son’s forehead.
“ Are you sick? You want to be a Junior? WHY? You hate dancing. There’s going to be a lot of dancing.”
“Well, I want to try it out. See if I can be popular like Nii-chan.”
“ Aki your brother is a rock star not an idol.”
“They’re all the same to me. So can I go and audition?” he asked his dad.
“ Ok, if that’s what you want just don’t let your mom know your skipping your English remedial classes for the audition.” Kazunari said returning his focus on the music mixer.
“Sure Dad.” Aki replied as he got out of the room.
“I don’t get it though, I’m good in English. I can speak and undertand English not to mention my mom’s an English teacher, so why do I still have to take remedial classes in English?” Aki asked himself as quietly headed for the front gate so as not to let his mom see him leave.
Once he was a few meters away from his house, he got his phone out and called.
“ Hiro I’ll be at the train station in 10 minutes wait for me.”
CHAPTER 3 - STRATEGY
Ryke pedalled as fast as he could. He glanced at his watch. 5 minutes to 10. He can’t be late, he was the one who called for the meeting in the first palce.
As he neared the park, Ryke saw three figures standing at the base of their tree house.
“Hey guys... have you been waiting long?” He asked as he ‘parked’ his bicycle.
“ Not really. We all just got here.” Shin replied.
“ Where’s Aki?” Ryke asked.
“He isn’t here yet. I thought you were passing by his house before going here.” Jirou said.
“ I think he’s still at home. better call him.” Hiro suggested.
Ryke fished out his phone from his pocket and began to dial Aki’s number.
“ Aki? Where are you? We’re at the park waiting for you. Come right now!”
A few seconds after Ryke flipped his phone close, they heard a scream. They turned around and saw Aki half skipping half running, in his pajamas. Holding his DS on one hand and a half eaten sandwich on the other.
“ Guys! Wait for me!” Aki said as he neared the tree house.
“ Aki, where are your slippers? And you’re still your pajamas.” Jirou asked.
“ Ryke said to come right away, so I ran. I forgot to wear my slippers. Ryke what’s this emergency about anyway?” Aki replied.
“ I’ll tell you once we’re up the tree house.” Ryke said as he took the rope ladder from it’s hiding place and began to climb.
They settled around the make shift table in the middle of the tree house and waited for Ryke to say something.
“Ok... we have a problem.” Ryke began.
“This can’t be good.” Aki whispered to Shin.
“Have you guys asked permission for the concert?” Ryke asked again.
“Yes and surprisingly my dad said yes without question. Why? Don’t tell me you haven’t asked permission yet.” Hiro replied.
“ I did ask. Last night. And that’s the problem.” Ryke said
“ Dad said I can’t go.” Ryke said softly.
“WHAT?” the four boys chorused.
“ Ryke, you have to be kidding me. I just promised my dad to walk Sabre everyday. Do you know how hard it is to walk that dog? I also have to bathe the Slimy twins everyday. They can get really clingy you know and do you know how hard it is to brush Psuedocrocs’ teeth? I might end up losing a finger or two. Ryke , you guys know that I am scared of animals but I promised my dad these things just so he’d say yes. You should have exerted a little more effort.” Hiro was on the verge of being hysterical.
“ I don’t get it Hiro, your dad owns a pet shop and your mom’s a veterinarian but you’re afraid of animals? Where did you come from?” Aki asked in disbelief.
“Aki, that’s beside the point. Ryke, what exactly did your dad say? Maybe we can work around it, you know find a loophole.” Jirou suggested.
“ Well, he wasn’t concerned about the price though. He was more concerned about the fact that people have died watching their concert. It’s my fault I did not research about it before hand. I’m sorry guys but I guess you just have to go without me.” Ryke apologized.
“No Ryke. We’re going to watch it together. Even if it means me begging and kneeling in front of your dad.” Hiro said.
“Thanks Hiro but I don’t think dad’s going to change his mind anytime soon. You know him, once he’s decided on something there’s no changing his mind about it.” Ryke replied gloomily.
“Guys, stop sulking. We just have to find another way. Aki are you sure you can’t have Kenji-nii buy another ticket for Ryke?” Jirou asked.
“Why pick on my brother? Why can’t you ask your dads to pay for Ryke’s ticket?” Aki shot back.
“ Guys... seriously, we need to think this over. If we can’t have our dads or Kenji-nii pay for Ryke’s ticket, we have to get the money ourselves.” Shin suggested.
“ Shin, I know you mean well but if you’re saying that we get a part time job, I don’t think it’s going to work.” Jirou said.
“ Why not?” Shin asked back.
“Well for one, no job is going to hire the 5 of us at once. And even if we did find a job, by the time we come up with the amount, the concert will be long done.” Jirou reasoned.
“Yeah you’re right. So what are we going to do now?” Shin aked looking at the other 4 boys for answers.
“So this is what it looks like from the inside.” A familiar high pitched voice said from the entrance of the tree house.
The boys turned around and saw Ruri standing by the entrance with Risa behind her.
“Ruri what are you doing here?” Ryke asked his sister.
“ Mom said you have to get a loaf of bread from the House of Pan.” She replied as she and Risa entered .
“Risa who’s watching Yori?” Shin asked his sister who was busy checking out the things stuck on the tree house’s wall.
“Oh, Baachan took Yori to the mall.” Risa simply replied as she continued to scrutinize the things inside the tree house.
“ Why didn’t you get the bread yourself? You went there to fetch Risa right?” Ryke asked.
“Mom said you have to get it. I didn’t go there on purpose. I was looking for you and I tought you were there checking out uncle Toshi’s remote controlled thingies. ” Ruri replied.
“But you could have gotten one since you were there already.”
“Whatever. Mom said you have to be home by lunch. What are you guys doing here anyway?” Ruri asked as she and Risa sat beside their brothers.
“ NOTHING.” the five of them chorused.
“ You know what when you guys say nothing, you are actually up to something so spill it out. Who knows we might be able to help you.” Risa said.
Ryke looked at the others and nodded.
“We’re actually thinking of what to do to get money for the ticket.” Ryke began.
“But dad said you can’t go.” Ruri said.
“I know but I just can’t give up.”
“ Well I have to give it to you nii-chan. You’re willing to go against dad just for your friends. So what have you planned so far?” Ruri asked her brother.
“We’ve decided to find a job. The only problem is where and how are we going to get a job that pays good.” Shin said.
“Why don’t you apply?” Risa suggested.
“ Apply where?” HIro asked.
“Johnny’s. I heard the Junior’s allowance is quite big now adays.” Risa added.
“That is definitely out of the list. Even if what you said is true about the allowance, by the time we can actually recieve one, the concert will be over. You have to go through a lot of auditions and stuff.” Jirou replied.
“That’s where you guys are wrong. We saw an advertisement on TV just before we left. There’s going to be a special One-day audition this coming Saturday. All you need to do is show up, fill out the application at the venue and you get to audition right away. I think they’re doing this since they need a lot of juniors of the simultaneous concerts they’re going to have. And once you pass the auditions, you start getting allowances right away.” Ruri explained.
“Ruri, that’s not going to work. Dad’s goign to find out.” Ryke said.
“Nii-chan, dad’s not in charge of the Juniors remember. He’s in charge of the concerts. The one in charge of the Juniors is uncle Tackey.” Ruri explained.
“ But your dad will still find out once we get to the concert right?” Shin asked.
“ Don’t worry by that time you would have gotten your part of the allowance and you could just skip the concert itself.” Risa suggested.
“But that’s wrong. We’re going to ruin a concert if we do that.” Jirou said.
“Wow! You think so highly of yourself. You think they’re going to cancel a concert in case you 5 don’t show up? Come on there a lot of juniors to replace you. So are you up to it? And trust me right now, this is the only solution to your problem.” Ruri said as she and Risa stood up ready to leave.
“But Dad’s going to find out. Uncle Tackey’s just going to call him.” Ryke told his sister.
“ I don’t think so. Dad’s leaving for Taiwan on friday. So there is a big possibility that uncle tackey might even forget to tell him about you guys auditioning.”
“How did you know dad’s leaving?” Ryke asked his sister as he helped her and Risa down the rope ladder.
“ I saw it on his planner in his office. Think about it. It’s your only hope. Don’t forget the bread.” Ruri called out to her brother as she and Risa walked away from the park.
“So what are we going to do?” Shin asked as Ryke got back in.
“I think they’re right. This is the only plan we have.” Jirou said.
“So we’re going to go for it?” Hiro asked.
“We have no choice. It’s this or no concert.” Ryke relied.
“OK so it’s settled. We have to wait for that advertisement and get all the details. Then we have to think of our alibis for Saturday.” Shin recapped.
“Guys, I’m sorry for dragging you into this.” Ryke apologized once more.
“Don’t worry Ryke. Who knows this might be a lot fun. Are we done? Can we go home now? I need to charge my DS.” Aki assured Ryke.
“Hey Hiro, can you give me a piggy back to my house? I have no slippers and the pavement’s like really hot now.” Aki added.
Hiro just rolled his eyes in resignation.
"Mom, you need help?" Shin asked as he entered the bakeshop's kitchen.
" What do you need Shin?" his mom asked back.
"Nothing mom. What makes you think I need something. Can't I just help you? Coz I think kneading bread and making pastries the entire day is a tiring job." Shin replied as he sat on a stool.
"Shinichi Gabriel Ohno. I carried you for 9 months. Gave birth to you, reared you, fed you ,changed your diaper and stayed up every night to watch you sleep. I think I know you better. So spill it out what do you need?”
" I'm that obvious mom?"
" No son, I just happen to be your mother. So what is it?" His mom asked again.
Shin smiled as he watched his mom decorate a batch of cupcakes.
Shin has always been baffled by the fact at how his parents get along so well despite the difference in personalities. His dad is as quiet as a mouse while his mom can talk for the entire day non-stop.
His mom graduated from college, his dad dropped out of high school on his third day to concentrate on being an idol.
His dad is known for his artistic abilities while his mom can't even draw a straight line. But when he sees them together it's like they're made for each. They seem to compliment each other's personalities. Not to mention his mom realized his dad's lifelong dream of owning a bakeshop.
Being the only boy and having two younger sisters, Shin grew up being overprotective of his sisters especially the youngest. He is a hero in their eyes. Strong and brave. But what they do not know is that he is one hell of a scaredy cat. Shin does not like watching scary movies let alone sleeping without the lights on.
He is scared of the sight of blood and has never been inside the horror house before. People ,especially those close to their family, think that he would be just like his dad. Not easily scared. But no, he only has his dad's looks but not his courage.
However, talent wise, he happens to be his dad's exact replica. Some even say with the proper push and the right motivation, he would even be better than his dad. But Shin seems to have no interest in dancing, singing or creating art. Ever since he was young, he has always dreamed of being a racecar driver. Watching fast cars gives him a different kind of rush. But that will have to wait until he comes of age and leave their house, since he is quite sure his mom would never allow him to race.
"So what is it that you want?"Shin's mom asked again.
"Ummm... Well..." Shin began but can't seem to get the words out.
"Mom wait... I need back up." He said before disappearing into the shop's front.
He got back after a few seconds with his dad in tow, who was stuffing his face with bread.
"Baba, did you change the recipe for this bread? It tastes different." His dad asked as he settled on a stool beside his mom.
"Dada why do you insist on calling mom 'Baba'? It actually isn't pleasant to the ears. My father calling my mom an old lady or worse a witch." Shin asked his dad unbelievingly.
"Shin, let your father be. That's the only word in his vocabulary that rhymes with 'dada'. And yes Satoshi, I changed the recipe. It's more cost efficient. So what was it you were going to ask Shin?"
"Ok, here goes... Dada, Mom, the guys and I would like to watch a concert. It's actually in celebration of Hiro's birthday so all of us are going to watch the concert. It's Hiro's favorite band and it's a one night concert only. So we decided to watch it with him. It's actually a concert of a band that Hiro likes a lot and the concert is just for one night. So we really want to watch the concert of Hiro's favorite band and because it's for Hiro's birthday we wanted to watch the concert with him since he likes that band so much and..."
"Shin stop! You're saying the exact same thing over and over. We get it. You want to watch a concert together with your friends. Why do you have to be so redundant." His mom stopped him midsentence.
"I was?" he asked.
"Yes you were. Why are you so anxious? You were only asking permission to watch a concert. What's the big deal?" His dad asked.
" So you were going to say yes?" Shin asked his dad.
"Why would I say no?" His dad asked back.
"So you would say yes? Regardless of the conditions, you would still say yes? You see Dada, saying yes without hearing the entire clause is like signing a contract without reading the entire provisions. In this case, since you asked me "why would I say no?" when I asked if you were going to say yes, is equivalent to saying yes to my question and all the fine print that goes along with it. So I'm concluding that you just gave your permission when..."
"Shinichi, if you don't stop blabbing I'm going to plug your mouth with this french bread! Geez, you talk too much, where did you ever get that?" His mom said.
"You're wondering where he got that from?" His dad asked.
" Don't you even say it Satoshi or I'm going to whack you with this rolling pin."
"I'm not saying it..." His dad said trying to hide his amusement.
"Mom, please let me watch." Shin begged.
"Shin, I don't see anything wrong with watching a concert with your friends. What's the fuss all about.?" His mom asked.
"The ticket costs 25000 yen." Shin replied softly.
"What?" His parents chorused.
"Shin that is too expensive." His mom said shaking her head.
"Shin I don't think it's reasonable to buy a ticket that costs that much." His dad added.
"But that is the exact same price as Dada's new fishing rod which he bought last week." Shin reasoned.
"You bought another one? You said the one you bought 3 weeks ago was the last one." His mom asked his dad.
"Well, I... Shin how did you know?" His dad asked.
"I saw the receipt when you asked me to return one of your rods back into the storage room." Shin replied.
"And mom, 25000 yen is equivalent to that new crafting machine you bought online 3 weeks ago. Not including the shipping. So I'm guessing it costs more." Shin added.
"Wait. You bought another one too? Baba, you have 5 die cutting machines already why do you need another one? You said you're set with the machines and all you need is paper and other stuff." His dad interrogated his mom.
"It's the newest version. There are more upgrades on the new machine. How did you find out I ordered a new one?" His mom answered his dad before asking him.
"I accepted the delivery mom. I saw it on the paper on top of the box." Shin asnwered smiling to himself.
"But Shin what we bought are fixed assests. We could use it anytime. It’s not a one time thing. You're going to a one night concert."
" Baba, maybe there's another way."His dad said.
"Actually Dada, I have thought of another solution. You see I have thoroughly thought this over, just in case you would say it's not within our budget. I have planned this out and even calculated how much..."
"SHIN! Just tell us what the plan is. Stop beating around the bush!" His parents chorused.
"We~ll we could sell "Nitoushin" on eBay. I'm sure I'ts going to fetch a price more than 25000 yen. Or even just one of Dada's figurines." He said while shifting his gaze between his parents who were listening closely.
"NO! You are not touching, much more selling any of your father's paintings, drawings or figurines. Why would that even cross your mind? That drawing is older than you and belongs here, not at somebody else’s house. No, you are not selling 'Nitoushin'." His mom protested.
“I said NO Shin. And that’s final!”
“ Dad please... please... please...” Shin begged his father.
“ Baba... let’s say yes. He never really asks anything from us. So I guess this counts as his first time. Don’t worry we’re not selling ‘Nitoushin’. Ok?” His dad turned to his mom smiling.
His mom sighed in resignation before saying,
“Whatever you say. You’re the boss.” then turned around and continued with decorating the cupcakes.
“ Thanks Mom.” Shin said as he hugged his Mom from behind.
“ Thanks Dada, you’re the best. Though I’m still wondering how you could always get Mom to say yes even with a personality like hers.” Shin whispered as he hugged his Dad.
“ Now that’s a secret I’m not yet ready to share with you. Come on, help me close the shop.” His dad replied as they walked towards the shop’s front.
“ Dad, I know this will come as a shock but please hear me out.” Ryke began.
“ Dad, the guys and I have decided to celebrate Hiro’s birthday by watching his favorite band who happens to have a one night concert here in Japan. We know this will be the best birthday gift for him. Unfortunately, the tickets are expensive, so I am wondering what are the chances of you shouldering my ticket? if you’re going to ask, the price the ticket is 25000 yen. I know it is quite expensive but I’m going to propose a bargain. Can this be my Birthday, Christmas & New Years gift?” Ryke explained in a serious tone.
“What are you doing? Why are you talking to dad’s old uchiwa?” His sister asked as she stood by the door with her hands on her hips.
“ Ruri! What are you doing here?” Ryke asked his sister as he hid the uchiwa behind his back.
“ Mom’s been calling you but you weren’t asnwering so she asked me to come and get you. What are you doing anyway?” She replied.
“ Nothing.” he said gloomily as he sat on his bed.
“ Oh... I get it. You’re practicing a speech. What for?” She asked again.
“ For Dad.” he answered.
“Why?” She asked as she sat beside him.
“ The guys and I are going to watch a concert and I’m rehearsing what I’m going to say and how I’m going to deliver it to dad.” Ryke replied.
“ What concert? You want me to ask him?” His sister offered.
“ Thanks , but no thanks Ruri. I need to do this on my own.” he sighed.
Growing up with a father like Jun Matsumoto is both a blessing and a curse in Ryke’s opinion.
A blessing since, to put it simply, being the son of a celebrity has a lot or perks and priviledges not to mention the free stuff that’s always delivered at their house. On the other hand it becomes a curse since he has a lot of putting up to deal with. As his sister would say, “they have to live up to the legacy that is Matsujun.”
Don’t get him wrong. His dad is the best father there is but sometimes putting up with his eccentricities and rules is a lot for a 13 year old to deal with.
One of which is fashion. His dad is a sucker for anything fashionable. There are times that he thinks his dad is too flamboyant which is so in contrast with is love for anything simple. His dad is so into colors while Ryke likes things in black and white.
His dad is so particular when it comes to his face, while he has suffered 2 broken noses, and a 3 stitch cut near his eye. All because of his love for martial arts.
Rules in the Matsumoto household is like etched in stone. There’s no going around them. If the curfew says 7pm, he has to be home at least 5 minutes before 7 pm. It doesn’t matter whether his dad is home or not since at exactly 7pm his dad calls to check on him and his sister.
His dad is a sucker for perfection while Ryke likes the imperfection in things. He thinks that’s what makes it unique. Once when he was 7, their class made fathers’s day cards to be given to their dad. When Ryke handed his card to his father he commented that Ryke colored outside the line. Ryke got hurt by what his dad said that he replied
“If I wanted it perfect, I wouldn’t have made it myslef, I would have bought one from the store.”
That earned him his first punishment ever. And since then Ryke tried so hard to be like his dad, but whenever he’s with his friends, he feels so free and acts the way he wants.
His dad tamed down a little when his sister was born. Jun’s attitude towards Ruri is the exact opposite of how he used to be with Ryke. Whenever Ruri gets into trouble he just lets it slip. That’s how Ryke learned to use his sister. He knows it’s unfair but it works and his sister loves the fact that her brother depends on her.
To point it out, Ryke has been instructed never to practice his karate moves inside the house as his dad has a lot of glass on display. Being the spirited boy that he is, he tried to do a roundhouse kick beside his dad’s collection of vases thinking he wouldn’t hit one. Unfortunately, as he was landing his foot hit one of his dad’s newly acquired vase which shattered into pieces.
Ruri was the first to arrive at the scene and mouthing to his brother that their dad heard the crash. Jun’s brow couldn’t be more scrunched up as he saw the glass on the floor. He looked at his children and asked who broke the vase in his most terrifying voice.
Ruri instantly began to cry.
“ Oh well, things like this happen. Get away from the glass.” Was all Jun said when he realized his daughter did it.
Or so he thought. LIttle did he reliaze that the reason for Ruri’s crying was the fact that Ryke was pinching his sister so hard that she cried.Once they were out of their dad’s earshot, Ruri hit Ryke hard on the the arm.
“ You did not have to pich that hard. It felt like my skin was about to come off.”
“Well I had to do it so you could act more realistic. I owe you one Ruri. Thanks.” He said.
“What do you mean you owe me one? You’re doing my turn in washing the dishes for a week.” His sister replied as she turned he back and headed towards her room.
So now, asking permission on his own feels like being on a weighing scale. Not knowing which side his dad is going to tip over.
“ You sure you don’t want my help?” Ruri asked once more as they both headed towards the dining room.
“ I got this.” He said smiling at his sister.
“What took you so long?” their mom asked as they sat.
“ Oh nothing, Nii-chan was showing me some of the remote controlled cars in the magazines.” Ruri lied.
“So Ryke, when’s the quarterly tournament again? I need to make my schedule for this quarter so I have to know so I wouldn’t miss it.” Jun asked his son after saying grace.
“ The coach hasn’t given us the exact dates but I will tell you as soon as it’s out.” Ryke replied.
Ryke looked at his sister who was sitting in front of him mouthing the words.. DO IT.
“ Ruri? What’s that?” his dad asked when he saw his sister mouthing.
“ Nothing Dad.” She replied smiling sweetly at her father.
“Ryke what is?” His dad turned to him nstead when he got not asnwer from his sister.
“ What is Ruri mouthing at you?” his dad asked.
“Anou... ehhh... ummmm...”
“ Ryke...” his dad said warningly.
Oh what the hell. It’s now or never. Ryke thought.
“Dad, the guys and I are thinking of watching a concert to celebrate Hiro’s birthday. I was wondering if it would be alright. But the ticket price is quite high. It sells at 25000 yen per ticket.” Ryke finally said.
“25000 yen? That’s the same price as your dad’s new shoes. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind. Right Jun?” Ryka asked her husband.
“What’s the name of the band?” Jun simply asked.
“ See Ryke, he doesn’t mind shelling out 25000 yen. All he’s concerned about is the name of the band.” His mom added.
“ What’s the name of the band Ryke?” his dad ignored his mom and asked again.
“Hell’s Angels.” Ryke whispered.
“What?” Jun asked again.
“ Hell’s Angels.” Ryke answered. this time loudenough for his dad to hear.
“ Hell’s Angels? What kind of band is that? It is a pop band, a rock band? what kind of band?” Jun interrogated.
“ I don’t know...” Ryke replied softly.
“You’re going to watch a concert without even knowing what kind of music they play? And don’t give me the reason that it’s Hiro’s favorite band and not yours. You should at least do some research on what kind of band it is. Ruri, google it.” Jun lectured before turning to his daughter.
“ Dad can we do that later? I’m in the middle of a meal.” Ruri reasoned.
“No Ruri I mean it. Google it now.”
“ But Dad...”
“ Sinjun, NOW!”
Ruri knew that it was not worth arguing with her father especially when he starts calling her her second name.She stood up and logged on using the family laptop.
“So what does it say about them?” Jun asked his daughter who was busy searching for answers.
Ryke was looking at her sister shaking his head as if tellingher to make up some stories. Unfortunately Ruri was too engrossed scrolling down a website.
“ Ok Dad, here it is... according to this article, Hell’s Angels is the world’s most popular heavy metal band. it’s composed of three girls who are named after Angels. The drummer is Mikayla named after Michael the archangel, the bassist is Gabriella, after angel Gabriel and the guitarist and vocalist is Luciana named after Lucifer. Wait... isn’t Lucifer a devil?” Ruri asked.
“ He was an angel before he became a devil sweetheart.” Her mom answered her motioning her to go on reading as their dad’s eyebrows have now become a unibrow.
“Ok... moving on, Their current tour is a comeback tour after going on hiatus for almost two years since the horrible riot in Los Angeles that has caused the death of...” Ruri trailed at her sentence while looking at her dad.
“ Go on Ruri.” her dad said warningly.
“ ...caused the death of 7 individuals. The authorities have cleared the band of any liabilities and have charged the concert promoters accordingly. The Angel’s next stop in their world tour is in Tokyo, performing a one night concert only at the Tokyo Dome on September 16.” Ruri finished reading the article.
Jun looked at Ryke who was not busy fiddling with his fingers.
Jun stood up, picked up his plate and started to move towards the kitchen as he said firmly.
“You’re not going.”
“But Dad, everyone’s going. I don’t want to be left out.” Ryke reasoned.
“Didn’t you hear what was on the article? People have died watching their concerts. You think I want my only son to die while watching a concert?” Jun asked as he placed the the plate in the sink and faced his son.
“ Dad that was two year ago.”
“ What difference does it make? What happened then can still happen now Ryke.”
“Jun, let him go. The incident happened in LA. This is not LA , this is Tokyo so loosen up.” his mom came to his rescue.
“ Ryka, I can’t loosen up thinking that my son might die in that concert if I allow him to go.”
“ You are over reacting. I’m sure the security at Tokyo Dome will be doubled, tripled even to avoind these kind of incidents.”
“ You don’t understand me Ryka...”
“ No YOU don’t understand. You’re treating your son like a kid. He’s a young man and needs to be trusted with some responsibilities.”
“ This is not the responsibility I have in mind.”
“ Then what is? Are you going to decide everything for him? Jun, you need to let go.” His mom insisted.
“ NO!. My answer is still NO!.” Jun said with finality.
“ MATSUMOTO JUN, YOU ARE AN IMPOSSIBLE MAN!” His mom screamed at his dad.
“ No amount of screaming will let me change my mind Ryka. This boy nows that you’ll always side with him that’s why he isn’t always thinking.”
“ That is not the point here Jun.”
“ Then what is? I don’t care what you say but my answer is still NO!”
“ ARRRGGGHHH... I hate you. You are sleeping on the couch tonight.”
“ Oh no... I can’t sleep on the couch tonight, I slept on the couch last night. Rules are rules remember? You can only have me sleep on the couch once a week.” Jun said sheepishly.
“ Fine I’m sleeping with Ruri then.”
“ Dad... can’t you reconsider and let nii-chan go?” Ruri asked her dad.
“ Your magic’s not going to work this time Ruri. This is a different situation.” Her dad told her.
Ryke gloomily stood up, whispered an inaudible ‘gochisousama...’ before heading to his room.
Once inside, he took his cellphone and started conposing a mail.
To: Aki; Jirou; Hiro; Shin
Let’s meet at secret place tomorrow. 10 a.m. Don’t be late
He read the mail one last time before hitting the send button.
CHAPTER 2 - PERMISSION
At first glance, one would not think that 13 year old Hiro is a fan of the world’s most popular heavy metal band. Hiro is a happy child. Energetic, naive, curious and so full of life. Any one who knows him would never associate this gangly 13 year old with this kind of music and genre. But here he is inside his room listening to the ear shattering sound of his favorite heavy metal band as he jumps on top of his bed singing along with the music.
The room, in contrast to the music he was listening to, is very bright. A small cage sits by the window where his pet hamster is sleeping. On one side of the wall is a huge collage of pictures. His family, friends and classmates. On a chair beside his dresser sits his huge black dog plushie, Ku-chan. A gift that his 4 best friends gave him for his 5th birthday.
Hiro was too engrossed with head banging to Hell’s Angels newest single that he did not notice his mom standing by the door.
“Hiro... Hiro... Hiro... HIRO!!!” his mom screamed as she stood by the foot of Hiro’s bed.
“Mom! What are you doing here?” he asked surprised as he yanked the earphones out of his ears.
“ What are you doing? I’ve been calling you for the last 2 minutes. What are you listening to anyway?” She asked back.
“ Nothing. Is there anything you want from me mom?”
“ Dinner’s ready. You’re dad’s waiting downstairs.”
“Ok... I’ll right down.” Hiro said as he was gently pushing his mom out of his room.
The moment his mom was out of his room, Hiro heaved a sigh of relief.
“ I got to be careful. Mom might freak out when she hears what I’ve been listening to. Yosh! this is it. I have to ask permission now. I hope dad’s in a good mood.”
When Hiro got to the dining room, his dad was already seated and was stealthily trying to grab a piece of karage.
"Ah Hiro, good you're here . We can start eating." His dad said as he motioned him to take his seat.
"Dad? Are you in a good mood?" Hiro asked softly after saying grace.
"Why?" his dad asked back as he began to stuff his mouth with karage
"Well are you?" Hiro asked again.
" My son... I'm always in a good mood! Why wouldn't I be? I have a job that I love, I have a beautiful wife who understands me, I have a handsome son who's just like me..." His dad began enumerating as he winked at his mom.
" Dad, dad... I get it. So you're in a good mood, that's going to make it easier."
"Make what easier son?" his mom asked.
"Dad, my favorite band is coming to Japan and they're having a one night concert. Can I go watch? Please say yes! I promise to help out in the shop even longer, not just 2 two hours a day. I promise to feed and walk Sabre everyday for the rest of the year. I promise to bathe the Slimy Twins for the rest of the year too. I promise to pass out flyers after school. I'll even pass them out in school. I promise to brush Psuedocrocs teeth. Mom I'll even help out in the clinic. I'll clean the counters, do the inventory, stroke and hug every dog, cat, hamster, bird, chicken, snake and what ever scary animal that comes in. Just please let me go and watch. Please Dad say yes... Please..." Hiro explained, promised and begged in record breaking time of 30 seconds.
Hiro was surprised to be suddenly enveloped into a bear hug. He looked up and saw his dad teary eyed.
"Hiro... You're finally coming around eh? I'm so happy that you're finally taking interest in the family business. You're finally becoming an Aiba!" His dad said as he hugged him even tighter.
"Yes dad and I'm FINALLY losing air!" Hiro replied as he pushed his dad away to catch his breath.
Masaki let him go without wiping the grin off of his face. " Oh sorry son. I'm just so happy!"
"Who are you going with son? Don't tell me you're going alone?" his mom asked.
"No mom, the guys are coming too. But there's a problem dad..."
"What? What? What's the problem son?" Masaki asked in panic.
"The ticket's kind of expensive. I would have paid for it but my savings isn't enough."
" That's not a problem. How much is the ticket?"
"25000 yen" Hiro replied softly.
" Hiro! That is too expensive." His mom reacted.
" Mika honey that's all right. Anything for my Hiroyuki." Masaki told his wife.
"Whatever. Just don't take it out of the family coffer. Take it from the pet shop collection and don't you dare touch the clinic's profit." Mika said in resignation.
" Dad, thanks. You just don't know how happy I am. Ohhh I can't wait for the concert. It's going to be a riot." Hiro said as he was finishing his meal.
"Riot?" His mom asked.
" I mean, it's going to be a blast, a great concert just like the ones dad used to do. Right dad?"
Great save. Hiro thought.
"Right son. You see when we used to do concerts it was always a blast. We always had fireworking BLASTING off over us as we danced. And then there were the..." Masaki said as he began to reminisce.
Here we go again. The litany of how big Arashi was back then. Oh well, it's a small price to pay just to watch my angels... My Hell's Angels. Hiro thought while grinning from ear to ear as his dad ,continued to enumerate the wonderful and amazing concerts they used to do.
Aki was sitting on his bedroom floor crossed legs, his tongue sticking out at the side of his mouth while staring intently at the tv monitor as his fingers moved swiftly over the buttons of the game controller. The video game music was so loud that it masked the repeated banging on his door.
He was nearing the end of the level and is barely hanging on as his HP was on the edge of the bar when suddenly the screen went blank.
"Ehhhh? What happened?" Aki said as he checked the monitor, checked the connection of the game console to the monitor. Everything seems connected.
"Wait, there can't be a black out. I can hear the neighbors singing karaoke." He said as he hurried downstairs.
"Mom, Dad, did we forget to pay the electric bill?" He asked as he entered the dining room.
Aki knew it was a stupid question as his parents are very particular with paying the bills on time to avoid additional charges.
"At last you decided to come down from your tower to grace us with your presence. Sit down. We're going to have dinner together. And no we did not forget to pay the bill. I cut off the power to the sockets since that seems to be the only way to get you to come down." his mom replied as she placed a bowl of rice in front of his dad.
"WHAT? But mom I was on the final stage. I was about to battle the boss. Why?" Aki asked in disbelief.
"Because I want us to have a nice dinner as a family. As a COMPLETE family. Now sit down. We're saying grace." His mom motioned him to take his seat right in front of his dad.
" I'll eat later. I'm going back go my room." He said and did an about face.
"Akito Carter Ninomiya you come back here this instant or I'm going to throw all of your game consoles out of the window." His mom threatened him.
Aki stopped dead on his tracks. It wasn't the thought of his game consoles being thrown out that irked him. He hated being called his complete name. He did not mind if his mom sometimes calls his Carter, it was his second name and it sounded masculine not to mention it was his mom's way of reminding him that he's part American.
"Mom stop calling me Akito. I hate it! I don't understand why you had to name me Akito. My classmates tease me about it. They say that it's not a name for a boy. They say it can be for both girls and boys, that maybe I am both a girl and a boy that's why you named me that. Why can't I have a more boy sounding name like Nii-chan." He ranted.
"How many times do I have to tell you? I named you after my favorite character from Fruits Basket." his mom replied.
"Mom that character was a confused character. Born a girl and raised as a boy. See? No wonder my classmates tease me." Aki said not letting the topic go.
"He was not confused he was just misunderstood. And let me remind you again that if not for that manga I wouldn't have met your dad let alone learn enough Japanese to understand him. If that had happened, you wouldn't be here today. So you have to be thankful I got interested in that character." His mom said.
"I thought you met dad because Kenji-nii was failing English class?"
" Oh and that too. That's beside the point. Now sit down and have dinner."
Aki sensing his losing battle turned to his brother who was amusingly watching his verbal banter with his mom.
"Nii-chan can I just eat upstairs? I need to start from the beginning since I was not able to save it. Please Nii-chan." Aki begged as he looked at his brother.
" Kenji... Don't you dare give in... Kazunari don't just sit there. Do something." his mom threatened his brother before turning to his dad.
" Sarah... Let him be. If we force him to eat with us he's just gonna mumble and play with his food all through out." Nino told his wife while suppressing his laughter.
" I don't know why you two always let him have his way. Before we know it he'll have us dancing at the palm of his hands." his mom said giving up.
" It's ok mom, let him go. I need to talk to you and dad anyway." Kenji said.
"Talk about what?" Aki asked as he was about to go back to his room.
"It nothing Aki. Just go to your room I'll bring you some food later then we'll go and have ice cream." Kenji told him.
"Ok. And before I forget, Nii-chan I'm going to watch a concert with the guys. Will you buy my ticket? It's 25000 yen."
"25000 yen for a concert ticket? That's impossible. Aki you are too much." His mom almost screamed.
"It's ok Mom I got it. Ok Aki just tell me when you need it." Kenji said.
"But Kenji... It's too expensive. Oh what the heck, no matter what I say you'd still give it to him anyway. You're doing the dishes tonight and you, you're sleeping on the couch." His mom said before turning to his dad.
Aki skipped happily back to his room smiling like a little devil.
Aki - 1, Mom - 0. He thought sheepishly.
Aki is the youngest, and the saying that the youngest always gets what he wants is an understament in his case.
In his case, there is no need to throw a tantrum to get what he wants. All he needs to do is ask his brother.
Kenji-nii is 9 years older than Aki. He adores Aki so much and hates it when when little brother cries or gets upset. He tries to please him all the time, giving in to what his brat of a little brother wants.
"I want him to feel loved." Is what he'll always say when people ask him why he gives in to Aki.
A knock on Jirou's door woke him up. He didn't realize he had fallen asleep. He looked at his watch.
That must be mom calling me for dinner. He thought.
And sure is, after a few seconds he heard his mom's voice.
"Jirou, dinner's ready."
"Ok Mom I'll be right down." he replied as he began to fix his desk.
He looked at the words and sentences scribbled on one of the sheets of paper.
ASK PERMISSION TONIGHT!
This sentence was encircled and underlined a couple of times. Along with a few phrases that he could possibly use as reasons or examples.
What are the odds that Dad might not allow me to go and see the concert? Maybe 1 in 100? Well if worse comes to worst I can always ask grandma. He thought as walked down the stairs going to the dining room.
When he entered the dining room, his parents were already seated. His dad was busy reading the evening paper.
At a glance, Jirou's family seemed to be the typical Japanese family. Parents had an arranged marriage, Dad works, Mom stays in the house , son goes to school, etc. But don't be fooled. His family is a little far from typical. For one, both his parents are working. Not to mention colleagues.
And to top it off, his Dad is a runaway groom. His father was supposed to marry the granddaughter of a shipping magnate. Their marriage had been signed and sealed since the day they were born. But his dad fell in love. And so he ditched his bride on his wedding day and eloped with his mom.
It took 2 years and a "cute" and bouncy baby boy for his grandparents to forgive his dad and accept his mom.
Long story short, he now has a happy family and loving grandparents who dote upon him.
Downside? They dote upon him too much and treat him as if he was 5. He had to argue his way with his grandfather just so he could go to the same school as his bestfriends. It's not that he did not want to go to his dad's old school, he just wants to steer clear of the cliche`.
To appease his dad, he signed up and got accepted at his school's varsity soccer team. He knew it made his dad proud seeing him in his soccer uniform.
"So when's the next game?" Sho asked his son after they said grace.
No matter how busy his schedule is, he makes it a point to have dinner with his family at least 2 times a week. He wanted to show his son he was making an effort of reaching out to him. It was his way of compromising for not being able to attend some of his son's school functions.
" We're still on vacation dad so it's mostly practice right now." Jirou answered.
" I see... So aside from that what are doing? You and the rest of the Secongen still use the tree house we built you?"
"Secongen? Who's that?" Jirou asked his dad confused.
"That's what your dad calls you and the 4 other boys. Secongen. Second Generation." his mom replied.
"Dad, please don't call us that." Jirou begged not believing what his dad has come up with.
"But that's what you boys are. Our second generation." his dad insisted.
" Dad no... I beg you... It's embarrassing."
"Well would you rather want to be called Arashi Junior?"
" Sons is fine..."
" Sho stop teasing him. Don't worry baby, your dad's not going to call you that in public" his mom said.
"Mom stop calling me baby. I'm turning 14 in a few months."
"But Jirou, you will always be my baby." his mom reasoned.
" Why don't you and dad just start making another baby so you have a new one to call baby." Jirou replied suddenly and then quickly realized what he had said and clasped his hand over his mouth.
"Jirou..." his mom did not know what to say.
"It's not that easy son. Especially with a schedule like ours. It's hard to find the time to..."
"SHO SAKURAI WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?" his mom was now screaming while brandishing the wooden spoon in front of his dad's face.
"Ah! Gomenasai! Shojirou Sakurai where did you learn about making babies????" Sho shifted the focus onto his son.
"Dad we have health class in school." Jirou answered calmly.
" They teach that now?" he asked.
"Dad, they don't teach us the step by step on how exactly babies are made, but they teach us that it takes a mom and a dad to make one... Yabai... This conversation is getting too awkward. Can we change the topic dad?"
"Yes we better or else you mother is going to have a heart attack."
Jirou nodded seeing the color drain from his mom's face.
" Ummm dad... Can I ask a favor?" Jirou said after all the hype has died down.
Ok this is it.it's now or never. He thought.
"You know how you went 'crazy' over Luna Sea and X Japan before? Have you ever gone to one of their concerts?" He began.
"Of course I have. It was one of the best concerts I have been to. Not counting our concerts of course.
"Well a really good band is coming to Japan for a one night only concert and the guys and I have decided we wanted to go and watch."
" Oh that's fine. What ever gave you the idea that I'm not going to allow you?" Sho asked.
"Well maybe the part where the tickets costs. 25000 yen?" Jirou replied softly.
"WHAT? Concert tickets cost that much now? During the time when we were doing concerts they were only 6000 yen." Sho asked shocked.
"Dad that was ages ago... Dad please I really want to go. I would have paid for it from my savings and christmas money from last year, but I just bought 5 books and 4 magazines."
"Jirou that is a lot of money... I'm not sure if it's worth it."
"But dad it's a sort of birthday celebration for Hiro. It's Hiro's favorite band and we really want to support him by watching the concert with him. Please dad... Mom, help me out please..."
"Sho, why don't we let him go and watch? It can be our early birthday present for him."
" Well we could do that, not to mention we would have the house to ourselves." Sho said winking at his wife.
" Sho stop it. Your son can hear you."
" Yeah Dad I can hear you and it's going to give me nightmares thinking about what you just said." Jirou replied rolling his eyes.
"It's natural to talk about these things with your wife, son. Someday you'll understand when you have a wife of your own."
" I think I'll wait for that someday. But right now you're giving me goosebumbs. Can we go back to the topic please? Dad please let me go." Jirou begged.
"What if we don't say yes?" Sho teased his son.
"Then I'll roll out plan B." Jirou replied.
"And what is plan B may I ask?"
" I'll go and ask grandma and tell her that you did not want me to go, thus hurting my feelings and not giving me the chance to have fun with my friends. I'll tell her that you, her son did not want me, her grandson and heir to enjoy life like you had before." Jirou said seriously while looking straight into his dad's eyes.
"Yes dad I would! So please dad... Please let me go and watch."
"Hahaha... Your son is learning fast Sho." His wife said laughing.
" Ok.ok. I'd rather shell out 25000 yen than have my mother breathe down my neck the entire day." Sho replied in resignation.
"Thank you dad. You're the best!" Jirou said as he hugged his dad.
" I don't remember blackmailing my dad at this age. Nor do I remember my grandparents saying yes to my every whim. I think his right. We need to make another one. I don't want Jirou turning into a spoiled brat like Nino's son." Sho told his wife as they watched their son's back disappear into his room.
Author: In collaboration with raene_9
Disclaimer: We unfortunately do not own any of the guys... The kids though are figments of our imaginations. Any resemblance to people alive or dead is purely coincidental.
Summary: Arashi has long stopped their group activities and pursued different careers and had families of their own. And just like what they predicted before, each one had a son of their own. So does the saying like father like son apply?
Chapter 1 - The Reason
Hiro stared at the poster for another 5 minutes before realizing what he had to do. He ran as fast as his 13-year old feet could carry him to the village park. When he reached the far side corner, he looked around, checking if some one was nearby. He tiptoed towards the tree and swiftly pulled the rope that was hanging on one of the lower branches.
A rope ladder appeared out of nowhere and Hiro climbed the ladder in record time. He smoothed the poster on top of the make shift table on the center of the tree house before fishing his phone out of his pocket.
His fingers got busy as he sent a group message.
To: Aki; Jirou; Ryke; Shin
Waiting at secret place. Please come ASAP!
P.S. AKI!!! DON’T IGNORE YOUR PHONE!
Hiro began pacing the tree house while checking his watch every 10 seconds. 10 minutes after he heard the rustling of the leaves below. He hurriedly looked out the window and saw Jirou starting to climb.
“What took you so long? Where’s the rest of the guys. I told you this is an emergency. Where is your sense of urgency?” he asked non-stop.
“Can’t you wait for me to climb first before interrogating me?” Jirou replied sounding a little bit annoyed as he was trying his best to climb the rope ladder with his varsity bag in tow.
As Jirou got in and threw his bag hitting the make shift table, sending the poster on top of it flying.
“ AHHHHHHHH. Watch it! Can’t you put your bag down slowly? You’re going to ruin my most prized possession.” Hiro screamed as he gently placed the poster back on top of the table.
“ So what’s this emergency about? Can we make it fast? I’ve got practice in 30 minutes.” Jirou said as he stretched his legs.
“ We have to wait for the rest of the guys, I don’t want to repeat myself later. It’s going to ruin the excitement. Where are they anyway? I tried calling Aki and he isn’t answering his phone.” Hiro replied.
“ What do you expect from him? Are you still not used to him not answering any of our calls or our messages? Why can’t you just tell me ahead so I can go and leave for practice. Then when they arrive you tell the three of them together.” Jirou said.
“ NO! I have to tell ALL of you together. It’s tiring to repeat what I have to say. Oh wait someone’s here and I bet it isn’t Ryke.” Hiro said as he stood up to look out of the window.
“Hiro what’s the problem?” Shin asked as he looked up and saw Hiro peering out of the window.
“ Just hurry up and climb. I’ll tell you when you’re up here.” Hiro replied impatiently.
As Shin entered the tree house, Jirou flipped his phone close.
“ Ryke’s on his way, so that just leaves us waiting for Aki.”
“ He isn’t here yet? His house is the nearest. I called him up before I left.” Shin said.
A few minutes later, they heard the distant screeching of tires.
“ Ah. That must be Ryke.” Shin said as he stood up, looked out of the window and waved.
“ Ryke, what took you so long? You have a bicycle. Couldn’t you have pedaled faster? And you, you should have been the first one here. You live just around the corner. I could practically see the roof of your house from here” Hiro said as he stood beside Shin looking down on both Ryke and Aki.
“ I would have been here sooner but Aki called and told me to pick him up.” Ryke reasoned.
“ Aki, your house is just a few meters away. Why do you have to wait for Ryke?” Hiro asked as Aki was now climbing the rope ladder.
“ It’s hot and I don’t want to walk. Ryke has a bike so I hitched. Whats your problem?” Aki retorted.
“ Just hurry up so we can start.”
“ Guys we have to make this quick. Practice starts in 15 minutes.” Jirou said.
“So Hiro, what’s the emergency?” Ryke asked as they all settled down on the floor of the tree house.
“You guys have to go with me. I’m not asking you. I’m telling you. YOU HAVE TO GO WITH ME!” Hiro started.
“ Go where? And why do we have to go with you?” Aki asked.
“ Hiro, go where? When?” Shin seconded.
“September 16. That’s a month from now.” was all Hiro replied.
“ September 16? I can’t. I have a game.”
“ Me too. I have a tournament.”
“ I think I have something planned on that day. I think we’re going on a vacation.”
“ I can’t because... well, I think I just can’t.”
Jirou, Ryke , Shin and Aki replied respectively and in overlapping voices.
It’s a cliche, but if looks could kill, the other four would have died that instant at the way Hiro looked at them.
“ I told you, I AM NOT ASKING YOU TO GO WITH ME. YOU HAVE TO COME WITH ME ON THAT DAY!” Hiro was now screaming.
“ Hiro calm down! all of us seemed to have something planned on that day.” Shin replied calmly.
“ No Shin! I don’t care if you have something planned. Cancel it! You have to come with me.” Hiro insisted.
“ Hiro, it’s the start of the quarterly tournament. I can’t miss that.” Ryke reasoned.
“ Me too.” Jirou added.
“ Me too.” Aki added too.
“AAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! Why can’t you understand that I am not asking you. I am telling you whether you like it or not, you have to accompany me on that day!”
“ Hiro, it’s you who doesn’t understand...” Jirou said but was cut off by Hiro’s palm in front of his face.
“ You guys leave me no choice. I don’t want to do this but in desperate times like this I have to.” Hiro said as he pulled out a piece of paper from his back pocket.
“ Ok, Let’s start! You, who did you ask to buy you that porn magazine and sneak it into your room? Did you know my mom reprimanded me when she saw me with that? Did you know the lecture I went through with my dad? It was pure torture. And you, who ran all the way from school and back just to get you the cream and bandage because you broke your sparring partner’s arm? I had an asthma attack that night. And you, who went to Akihabara just to look for an otaku who knew how to play your dad’s freaking game right from the start because you accidentally erased the entire saved data? I even paid the guy from my own allowance. And lastly you, who did you drag out to sea when you went fishing. Not to mention, you asked me to “steal” your dad’s favorite fishing rod which you broke by the way. I told you to let it go, but no, you said it was a big fish. Turns out it was a pair of old boots. I had 2nd degree burns from that, it was so hot. My entire body stung like hell! Now, will you all go with me on the 16th or shall I march to your parents right now and tell them the truth?” Hiro read his “litany” animatedly.
“ Hiro, it’s your fault you had your mom catch you with that magazine.” Jirou said trying to find a loophole.
“ That’s beside the point. The fact is you are a 13-year old pervert.” Hiro snapped back.
“It was an accident on my part. Plus who asked you to run, you could have hailed a cab. Not to mention, the bandage and the cream were for animals not humans.” Ryke reiterated.
“ Where do you think will I get money for the cab? Besides your mom told you not to practice your karate moves on your classmates. Excuse me, that cream and bandage works wonders on dogs who are hit by cars.” Hiro countered.
“ Exactly! For dogs not humans.” Ryke said not letting the topic go.
Hiro shushed him.
“ Hiro, you said you were bored that day and wanted to do something exciting. So I asked you to come with me. And I told you to get the the rod near the door, not the one inside the glass case.” Shin said defensively.
“ When did fishing and getting burned under the scorching heat of the sun become exciting? And you said I could grab any rod, it was the nearest so that’s what I grabbed.” Hiro shot back.
He then turned to Aki and said,
“ You, you want to defend yourself?” He asked the 12 year old seated next to him.
“ No. What’s all the drama about anyway?” Aki asked.
Hiro took a deep breath, picked up the top corners of the posters with his fingers and showed it the the other four boys.
“ This!” he said dramatically.
“ Ehh?” Ryke, Aki and Shin chorused.
“Wow!” said a small voice from the back.
All heads turned to the direction of the 13 year old who had completely forgotten about practice and was intensely staring at the poster.
“ Jirou, stop entertaining perverted thoughts. They’re not porn stars!” Hiro said accusingly.
“ Who said I’m having perverted thoughts?”
“Your pupils are dilating” Ryke replied.
“ Jirou, you’re drooling. Wipe it.” Aki added.
“No, I’m not”
“Yes you are.”
“No, I’m not.”
“ Guys stop it. we have to settle this.” Shin said breaking off Aki and Jirou’s banter.
“ Hiro, who are these girls any way?” Aki asked poking the poster.
“ Stop poking! You might tear it. This, Akito is the world’s best heavy metal band. They’re coming to Japan for a one night only performance and I have to see it live as I may never get the chance to see them again.” Hiro replied dreamily while staring at the poster.
“ Stop calling me Akito! Where do you plan on getting that amount may I ask? Do you have enough savings?” Aki asked.
“ I only have 5000 yen in my piggy bank.” Hiro replied gloomily and turned to look at Jirou.
“ Don’t ask me. I just bought some educational materials last week. And that was the last of my savings.” Jirou said and looked at Ryke.
“ Educational materials? What kind of educational materials are those? And no Hiro I do not have that amount either. What about you Aki? I’m sure you have a lot of money hidden somewhere.” Ryke asked.
“ Who do you think am I? I am not my Dad! I do not hoard money! I only have 100 yen.” Aki replied.
“ Well, I was thinking we could ask Kenji-nii ~” he said looking at Aki.
“ Are you crazy? what do you think of my brother? A money making machine? Even if he has that amount I don’t think he’s going to pay for all of our tickets. He might pay for mine but not yours.” Aki replied.
Jirou was supposed to butt in when Shin’s serious voice stopped him.
“ Guys, this is serious. We need to have a plan.”