The Bands of Seven: Transform Into The Next Generation!
Additional Spoiler Warning!
Don't read the ending part of this chapter, after "Far, far away...", unless you've seen all of Gundam Seed and Gundam Seed Destiny.
Genkai came forward and announced, "Next up is tonight's last act, a world premiere. Joining us all the way from Almost Mediterranea, is the Metamorphosis Middle School Band!"
The curtains parted to reveal seven beings on the stage. Most of them appeared to be middle-school aged, as one would expect from a middle school band, and there was one adult. She walked forward and introduced herself, "Hello everyone, I'm Emiko Niwa, the drummer! I'd like to introduce the other members."
"My son, Daisuke Niwa, is our male vocalist," she announced proudly. Daisuke smiled shyly and waved as the crowd clapped.
"His pet Wiz is our mascot," Emiko gestured to a small rabbitlike creature with large red eyes. It inquired of the audience, "Kyu?" and everyone exclaimed, "Aww!"
"The Harada sisters, Risa and Riku, are our female lead vocalists!" Emiko continued the introductions. The two sisters held hands and curtsied to loud cheers.
"Saehara is our guitarist!" Saehara played a short, enthusiastic riff, and the audience applauded.
"Our chief of police and our pianist is Satoshi Hiwatari!" Emiko completed the introductions by gesturing to the self-assured young man with short blue hair seated at the piano. The audience clapped slowly in confusion, trying to figure out how on earth someone in middle school could possibly be a police chief. Satoshi sighed and pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose.
"Now it's time for our first song, 'byakuya True Light'," Emiko said. She hugged Daisuke briefly, causing him to blush and the audience to coo, before she went behind the drum set near the back of the stage.
The song began with Daisuke singing alone, accompanied by Satoshi's competent and complex piano playing. The audience hushed as they listened to the verse, and then were pleasantly surprised as Saehara came in with a passionate guitar piece and Emiko with a thunderous cannonade of drums, while the Harada sisters provided a portentous background choral piece.
Their playing continued, full of dark passion and mystery, and Daisuke continued with the next verse, hitting the notes with amazing accuracy. Riku thought to herself that she was still amazed at how good a singer he had turned out to be.
The song ended with Daisuke drawing out his last few notes in an amazing display of prowess. Though his part and Satoshi's piano concluded soon after, Emiko and Saehara were transported with passion, and continued playing their stirring parts for several seconds afterwards until they finished dramatically.
The audience applauded thunderously. No one had ever heard a middle school band like this!
The Harada sisters smiled at each other, and Saehara raised his fists in triumph, prompting even louder cheering. Daisuke continued his embarrassed smile, while Emiko beamed at her son and Wiz hopped around the stage. They hadn't expected the crowd would enjoy the song this much. Even Satoshi allowed himself a tight grin.
"Really, thank you all so much!" Risa Harada said to the audience. "We've been practicing that forever, and we never dreamed you would like it so much! Now it's time for our next song, 'Yasashii Gogo.' It's one of my favorites. You like it too don't you, Riku?"
"Yes, I do," agreed Riku. "Let's do it!"
'Yasashii Gogo' was a peaceful song. The Haradas sung a duet as the main portion of the song. Emiko's drums and Saehara's guitar provided the beat, while the versatile Satoshi accompanied with a flute. Saehara appeared somewhat bored by the peaceful guitar playing the song required, but the audience appreciated the soothing music. There was a great deal of clapping at the end, in which Emiko also joined.
Wiz cocked his head at Daisuke and inquired, "Kyu? Kyu?" Nearly all of the theatregoers cooed and "Awwed" at the band's fluffly mascot. Wiz regarded the audience curiously. Daisuke patted Wiz's head and said, "He was just wishing me well on the next song, 'Caged Bird.' All right then, here goes!"
It was a sad song, melancholy vocals from Daisuke accompanied only by Satoshi's adroit piano playing. It was amazing to watch the two work together, so closely in unison it was as though the two were mirror images. When this song was over, there was again applause, but many tears as well.
Daisuke regarded the throng nervously. "Thank you all. Don't worry, we've got a more cheerful song next, 'Hajimari no Hi,'" he told them with an awkward smile.
Emiko nodded, and the twins did as well. Saehara shrugged in resignation. This song was also peaceful, with the Harada sisters supplying joyful lyrics while Emiko plied the cymbals and Saehara laid down a beat. Saehara was growing restless, but somehow stayed in time. The crowd applauded and cheered.
Wiz slipped quietly off the stage. This didn't worry Daisuke- Wiz was very independent and always liked to explore.
"Well, it's now time for our last song," Daisuke told the crowd. There were disappointed cries of "Already?" from the audience. In the meantime, Risa moved a xylophone on stage closer to herself and her sister, and Rika opened a clarinet case beside her. Daisuke continued with a grateful smile, "It's 'Michishirube,' and it's taken a lot of work from all of us. I'm sure you're going to love it!"
The song started out with Satoshi now playing the violin- the third instrument he had played that night. Satoshi was joined by several of the other musicians. Risa sounded out sterling notes on the xylophone, and a subtle drumbeat from Emiko kept the time. Riku performed with the clarinet, harmonizing perfectly.
After a moment, Daisuke joined in with his voice, singing a song of happiness and of triumph. He performed several amazing vocal flourishes that impressed the audience. Emiko beamed at him from where she sat at the drums behind him. Saehara sang backup but seemed content to have most of the attention on Daisuke in this sort of song.
After it was done, the audience was silent for a beat, then leapt to their feet for a standing ovation. There were tears and whistles and cheers for a solid three minutes.
"They're way too good to be a middle school band," Miaka's older brother Keisuke said to his friend Tetsuya as they stood in front of their seats and clapped.
"You're the guy whose sister was dragged into a book," Tetsuya reminded him, "and you want to say what's possible and what's not?"
The entire band, except for Wiz, who had run off earlier, came to the front of the stage and bowed, and the audience gave them yet another round of applause, then began to chant and wave glowsticks, asking for an encore.
Daisuke was considering what they should play when he noticed Satoshi Hiwatari leaving the stage, and shivering. "Are you all right, Hiwatari?" he asked solicitously.
"I'll survive," he smiled ruefully. "We're about to have company," he told Daisuke mysteriously as he went through the door to the backstage.
There was just enough time for Daisuke's eyes to widen before a large dark shape swooped down from above the band and landed on the stage in front of them.
It was Phantom Dark, now with great black wings on his back, spread wide during his glide from the rafters. He bowed as the audience cheered, assuming all this had been planned.
"Mr. Dark!" Risa exclaimed joyfully.
"What are you doing here?" Riku shouted at Dark.
Dark furled his wings and turned his head to the sisters. With a dashing grin, he told them, "The audience is asking for an encore, aren't they? Let's give one to them."
Emiko agreed immediately, "Yes, let's! What a wonderful suggestion!"
"Mrs. Niwa?" Riku exclaimed, boggling at Daisuke's mother.
"What exactly did you have in mind?" Daisuke asked Dark with some trepidation.
"I was thinking we could all jam and see what happens." Dark suggested.
"I was hoping you'd say that!" Saehara enthused.
"You wouldn't mind if I tried singing a bit, would you?" Dark asked Daisuke.
"Go ahead," Daisuke agreed, surrendering his microphone anxiously. As usual, he wasn't sure what Dark had in mind. "I'll sing backup if you need it."
"Thank you all," Dark nodded. He turned to the audience and said into the microphone, "I'm grateful to everyone for this wonderful welcome. My name is Phantom Dark! Please enjoy this number, 'Kodou Whenever.'" The audience gave him another round of applause, eager to see what this new player would do.
Saehara began the song with a hard rock solo he clearly was enjoying. When Dark felt the mood right, he began to sing, with a brooding, passionate intensity. Daisuke, not sure what else the mood called for, joined in with a choir. His tone was more ominous than normal, but it was what the song seemed to call for. Since Daisuke didn't know the words, he stuck to the sound "Ah". Emiko was delightedly pounding on the drums and cymbals.
At one point, Dark simply stopped singing for awhile, allowing Saehara another guitar riff. Then he gestured at Saehara to stop, and Saehara reluctantly began to wind up his riff. Dark then gestured Riku and Risa to the piano. Risa's feet flew, but Riku glared at the back of Dark's head while she moved. When she and Risa reached the piano, they looked at it blankly. Risa glared and motioned with her arms at Dark, wordlessly asking what he expected them to do. He grinned infuriatingly back at them. Irritated, and worried by the total silence that was growing, Riku pressed one key, then pressed it again. To everyone's astonishment, it was an extremely dramatic sound in the sudden silence, like the tolling of a great bell. Dark grinned at the sisters as though he had planned it all along, and Risa hurriedly pushed it a few times as well, and Dark gave her a thumbs up.
Saehara started playing his guitar again, and Dark didn't seem to mind. He seemed to be studying the audience, finding a good place to begin again. To his surprise, a chill swept across him as a pipe organ joined in the song. The audience looked about, but there was no pipe organ on the stage.
Genkai muttered to herself, "Has someone gotten at that old pipe organ under the stage?" She headed down to take a look.
Dark decided to simply accept the pipe as part of the song, and the chill as part of life. He began to sing again, and after a few more verses, finished up the song. He let Saehara play himself out for the end, and then ended the song with Risa playing the dramatic key.
The audience cheered and began to wave their glowsticks again.
Dark had just turned to Daisuke to suggest something when he began to feel even more disturbed. A trap door opened nearby, and a tall man dressed in white, with large white wings and blonde hair, clambered up out of it. This man was known to Dark- it was Krad. Dark sighed- he'd managed to hide his discomfort at Krad's presence during the song, but things were about to get ugly.
"Hiwatari!" Daisuke exclaimed mentally, disturbed at his friend's state. Hiwatari must've been unable to stop transforming into Krad since Dark was so near.
Krad announced, "Phantom Dark, how fortunate that you've arrived. I've written a song dedicated to you. It's called 'Rakuen Fanatic.' Please allow me to sing it for you before I kill you."
Without further ado, he grabbed a nearby microphone off its stand and began to sing. He turned out to be an accomplished vocalist, but the lyrics of his song were quite disturbing.
Risa confronted him angrily, "Stop that, you awful thing! What a horrible song to sing at Mr. Dark!"
"Thanks, Risa, but I think I'd better go now so you won't get hurt. I'll see you later," he winked at her.
"Please, wait, Mr. Dark!" Risa begged of him.
"I hope he doesn't go," a young lady in the audience said to her friend.
"Yes," her friend agreed, "he is cute." She then whispered, "I think he's actually cuter than that Yuki guy."
Motoko, president of the Prince Yuki Fan Club, was sitting nearby, and managed to overhear this, and frowned at them. The vice president, Minami Kinoshita, had also overheard, and remonstrated, "Our Prince Yuki is the most handsome man on the face of the earth!"
"Oh, surely you're exaggerating," laughed the first young lady. "The whole world? Now, me, I think Hotohori is the most handsome guy here."
Even though he was on the other side of the theater, Hotohori somehow managed to hear that, and commented quietly, "That simply goes without saying."
The argument had somehow begun to sweep over the whole theater.
"Hayate is definitely the one for me," one woman asserted.
"He is cuter than Go, but I liked Hatsuhara's look better," said another one.
"Daisuke's my hero! He's such a good singer!" a lovestruck high schooler screamed as she jumped and waved at the stage.
"Sasame! Sasame!" some of his fans began to chant.
"You know," junior member Goto of the Prince Yuki Fan Club noted, "Sasame is cute because he resembles Prince Yuki."
President Motoko eyed her severely before stating, "We'll be starting with standard fan chant #3 now. Everyone to your positions."
Krad extended his hand, pointing a white feather menacingly at Dark. A sphere of white energy began to form in front of Krad's feather as Krad smirked at Dark. Dark grabbed Risa's arm and pulled her behind him, out of Krad's line of fire.
Just as Krad was about to launch the energy at Dark, Krad was knocked to the floor several feet away by a solid punch to the jaw. Kuwabara grunted at him, "What kind of a man are you, taking a shot when a woman's in the line of fire!"
He turned back to the audience briefly and called to his friends, "Say, this guy's energy-"
Hiei cut him off, "We don't want to hear it."
Kuwabara stalked towards Krad, seething, "You guys and your transformations or whatever are really making me look bad!"
"I'll see how you do with an aerial attack," Krad muttered as he began to pick himself up. His body spasmed, and he croaked hoarsely, "Master Satoshi?" But it was no use, Satoshi was regaining control. Krad fled the stage, hoping to be out of sight when he transformed back.
The Pretear, her Knights, and her family left through the theater's main door.
"You were wonderful, tulip-head!" Himeno's father complimented her.
Himeno shouted, "I told you not to call me that!"
"You were," Hayate said abruptly.
"Thank you, Hayate," Himeno said, surprisedly turning to see him at her side.
"Yes, you sung very well, tulip head," Hayate finished. The corner of his serious mouth nudged upwards.
"Hayate!" Himeno shouted. He barely dodged her karate chop, as usual.
Tanaka pulled up with the limousine, and Natsue said regretfully, "Dock Mr. Tanaka for not showing up before Himeno and Hayate got into an argument."
A few of Mr. Tanaka's balding hairs drifted away in the breeze.
One girl in the theater said to another."You know who's really cute? Chiriko!"
"Oh, yes, and Shin was a darling!" suggested one of her friends.
"And did you see how scared he was! What a cute little boy!" cooed another.
The band Animal Basket crept quietly out the back door of the theater.
"I'm sure glad we got out of there before we had to listen to too many stupid 'L-O-V-E Yuki!' chants," Kyo grumbled.
"Indeed," Yuki agreed.
"I think it all went rather well," Tohru said happily.
"Yes, it was a splendid performance," Shigure agreed.
Saehara suggested to Daisuke, "Hey, why don't we argue about which woman is most attractive?"
Daisuke edged nervously away from Saehara as silence descended on the theater. Saehara saw that Riku, Risa, and Emiko were glaring at him. "What?" he asked.
Slowly, more and more people began to glare at him. "How come it's okay for females to argue about which male is cutest, but not males to argue about which female is cutest?" he asked of the world in general, bewildered.
The angry crowd began to walk slowly towards the stage. Saehara's nerve broke, and he bolted through the backstage door. The throng followed.
Daisuke and Dark reached the men's room during the chaos. Dark held out his feather, and he and Daisuke recombined.
"That's quite a relief," Daisuke sighed. "Do you think there's any way we can help Saehara?"
"I'm afraid he's beyond our help now," Dark told him mentally.
Satoshi was standing outside near the deserted box office, talking on his cellphone with his adopted father.
"I examined Daisuke's food," Satoshi hissed. "You had someone slip kodoku into it, didn't you?"
"A rather neat solution, I thought," his father said chillingly. "Phantom Dark could be destroyed and your friend saved."
Satoshi said firmly, "I've told you before: I'll get Dark on my own." He hung up angrily.
Saehara, shaken by his narrow escape, said to Yusuke, "What was I just doing? I feel like I'm forgetting something. I was just on stage, and now I'm here. I don't know. I mean, I remember it was a great concert, and the audience loved it, but why do I feel so antsy, and-"
"Why ask me?" Yusuke shrugged. "Maybe it's a performer's thing. Anyhow, you'd better get back to your friends."
Saehara trundled away. Yusuke rolled his eyes at Saehara's back, then opened a nearby door and called into it, "Grandma, we finally pacified the crowd."
It was the door to Genkai's office. Genkai lit a cigarette and asked, "How much damage?"
"None, Hiei erased their memories with his Jagan eye," Yusuke reported. He paused, then noted, "You look cheerful. I thought pigs would fly before that happened."
"Can it, dimwit," she grunted. "I just so happen to have booked some of the most famous acts in the world."
"You're kidding. Who are they?" Yusuke questioned, his curiosity piqued.
"Wouldn't you like to know?" Genkai smirked.
Far, far away...
Copernicus City, Earth's Moon
Athrun Zala stared at Lacus Clyne in shock. "Lacus," Athrun said slowly, "you're accepting a singing engagement in these circumstances?"
Lacus looked at him calmly. "It is precisely because of these circumstances," she told him, "that I am accepting. What with the perilous situation between Earth and the PLANTs, another opportunity may not come for some time."
"But it's a great risk," Athrun disagreed. "Now that Meer, your duplicate, is dead, Chairman Durandal will not hesitate to send assassins after you. And he's stirred up the people of Earth against you as well. We need to return to the PLANTs and confront him directly."
Kira Yamato, Athrun's childhood friend, put in, "Probably we will have to do that, eventually. But we need something to remind people that Lacus and Orb are on the side of both Earth and the PLANTs."
Lacus nodded. "It's an opportunity I don't intend to miss," she determined.
Athrun frowned, but said, "I respect what you're trying to do. And I'd like to help. But, ah," he looked questioningly at her, "are you sure that you want us in the band with you? You're the pop star. This is your area of expertise."
"The entry requirements specifically called for a band of seven," Lacus smiled, "and I'd like for us all to be together for a bit, before we may be separated for some time."
Kira smiled at his friend, "You have been keeping up your violin practice, haven't you?"
"It's been hard to find the time lately," Athrun said dryly. "I don't imagine you've still got your old guitar?"
Kira laughed, "No, I've got a new one now. Probably I won't be that great, but it will be fun. And I know Cagalli's been excited about this ever since we raised the possibility. She's been doing her best to practice even with all of her other responsibilities."
Athrun finally smiled. "Very well, then. I wonder though, who else we can round up on such short notice?"
"I'm sure we can do something about that," Lacus said confidently. "But first, I should get to practicing myself. It's been too long since I've done this."
Bridge, ZAFT Battleship Minerva
Capt. Talia Gladys, Commanding
Capt. Gladys looked around at her crew and announced, "We've received our latest orders from Chairman Durandal. As a peacemaking gesture with the peoples of Earth, we're going to be performing in a musical concert."
There were confused looks around the bridge. Arthur Trine, the excitable executive officer, gaped a moment before his cultured British voice asked, "Captain, you are not joking, are you? This is a battleship!"
"Those are our orders, Arthur," Capt. Gladys said firmly. "I'm assigning Shinn Asuka, Rey Za Burrel, and Lunamaria Hawke to be part of the band."
These three people had been invited onto the bridge and were standing behind her, but this was the first they'd heard of the new assignment. Shinn said in bewilderment, "Captain? I don't understand. We're mobile suit pilots. We don't know the first thing about being in a band."
The captain told them, "You've all practiced and worked hard to become some of the finest mobile suit pilots I've ever seen. I'm sure that with effort and dedication, you'll do us all proud."
Rey nodded solemnly. "I'm sure you're right, ma'am. Don't worry, Shinn, I'm sure the Chairman knows what he's doing."
Shinn looked at Rey in surprise, but he shrugged and acquiesced.
Lunamaria asked, "We will remain mobile suit pilots, though, right, Captain?"
"Of course," the captain nodded.
"Very good, ma'am. May I ask where the concert is going to be held?"
"It'll be held a theater owned by a person named Genkai," the captain said. "That's all the information I have at the moment. We'll be using an experimental flight mode to reach there, so I want all hands to attend training sessions for the next few days. Our crew has done fine service on this new class of ship, and I want to be sure that we uphold our record."
"Ma'am!" everyone saluted, encouraged by her words.
I completely made up Saehara starting a photography club in Chapter 3. But it seems like something he'd at least have an interest in.
I also made up the Prince Yuki Fan Club having a "standard fan chant #3" - if they have anything even remotely similar, it's just a coincidence.
I used the following as references, but any errors or departures from facts established in the series should be blamed on me.
Wikipedia: D.N. Angel
Wikipedia: List of D.N.Angel episodes
Wikipedia: Takeshi Saehara
Wikipedia: Fruits Basket
Wikipedia: List of Fruits Basket episodes
Gundam Seed, Gundam Seed Destiny:
Wikipedia: Minerva Class Battleship
Yu Yu Hakusho: