This story is not a romance one. Sorry LenxKaho lovers, but I would really emphasize the friendship through hardship between these Second-Year students in this story, which was rarely addressed. Maybe next time, on the other stories, I would write LenxKaho.
"Worthless bitch!" a man snarled and kicked a little boy on the ground. The boy was breathing heavily with bleeding wound everywhere on his little, skinny body.
"S-sorry papa." The little boy apologized weakly through his sobs even though he didn't know what he had done wrong. Maybe because he went into his father's room that morning? Maybe because he broke down after seeing his mother and father's fight tonight?
But the simple words didn't make the man cease his torture. He keeps kicking the boy's ribs until he's satisfied and left the boy there, lying on his back, barely conscious.
Slowly the boy tried to regain control of his limbs to go back to his room. He tried to stand up but found out that it's hurting too much. So he tried to move using his arms to drag his feet.
He hadn't move for far when he felt something on his neck and it's fastening quick until he couldn't breathe.
"Die you worthless bitch!" roared the strangler that none other than his own father.
He felt his eyes rolled up and panic started to fill his mind.
Tsukimori woke up with a jolt. He sat there for a moment, dumbfounded that now he wasn't at the same place again.
Straightening up, he felt his neck cramped because of his wrong way to sleep. He looked around and found out he's sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall with some paper of scores put next to him in the music room of his house.
Damn, this nightmare again.
"Hino..Hino.." Someone called while nudging her right arm.
"Mm..what?" She mumbled sleepily, already rising her head from the folds of her arms on the table.
"Hino, someone is looking for you!" Amou who was sitting at her side said.
"Who?" She swept her vision on her surroundings. She was inside a library. Some bookshelves were positioned ahead of the desk she's currently on. She wasn't a bookworm person, she was here only to find silence so she could sleep. Finally it darted on a certain blue-haired teen.
He sighed, feeling helpless with the girl's oblivion.
"Wha-OH NO!" She jumped from her seat.
"What time's it, Amou?" She asked, already busying herself packing her things.
"Huh?" said friend glanced at her watch, "Three thirty."
By now she had already zipped her bag and ran towards the annoyed Tsukimori.
"Bye Amou!" Hino shouted, earning some disturbed glares from the other occupants of the room. But Hino didn't notice that.
Once they're outside, she tried to keep her pace with her companion while not bumping into the other students. Tsukimori wasn't running, but his walking pace is simply very fast.
"Ne, Tsukimori-kun, has Tsuchiura-kun there?" She tried to walk side-by-side with him and this way, he's finally slowing down.
"Yeah. But he's only drawing." He gave a brief glance to her before he set his gaze forward-again.
"Huh, Tsuchiura-kun drawing?"
"I think the sofa must be placed here." said Kanazawa sensei, pointing at the paper.
"Hmm..that's right. But wouldn't that make this room looks small?" The other occupant of the room retorted.
They were sitting on a chair which placed face to face and a small table was set between them. There's an upright piano not far from the pair which was closed and a music stand folded in the corner like an abandoned black metal. Silence once again filled the room. The music teacher put his hand on his chin, while the other simply lean back on his seat
Suddenly the door of the room was opened, breaking the idleness.
"Konnichiwa everyone." Hino greeted.
"Now, now" the teacher said, fanning his hand to gather their attention. The girl immediately sat on the piano bench while the male newcomer simply chose to stand near the sitting pianist.
"Tsuchiura-kun, is that your drawing task?"
"Huh? This?" He said, pointing at his forgotten picture. Hino was already walking towards the picture and lifted it.
"Wow! It's very good!" She said, by now mesmerized. Now every eyes in the room were settled on the piece of paper.
"Nah, it's just Takamura-sensei's task." Tsuchiura replied, pulling back the paper, before Hino make anymore comment, and roll it. He tied a rubber band to secure it and put it on his bag.
"You're very talented, Tsuchiura-kun. I never knew you're also good in drawing. Maybe you should take architecture or interior design in university!" She said excitedly.
"So now, why did you call us here, sensei?" Tsukimori asked, cutting the conversation in silent demand that the meeting shouldn't be wasting his time too much.
"Oh, well, let me tell you the real story first." He stood and half-sat on the arm of the couch
"Actually there's a competition held for every music high school once in every three years." He explained. Immediately he could see the change in the girl's face. She looked burdened and scared.
"This year's representatives are the three of you. The sent team must consist of one accompanist and two main performers." he added.
"But why choose two violinists?" Hino asked bluntly.
"Nah, the headmaster asked me to choose two closest-affiliated performers from the last concour. And the two of you happened to be good friends to Tsuchiura-kun also, so I recommend him to be the accompanist."
Do we looked that close? Hino thought sheepishly, face already reddening.
We don't even form a special relationship.
"But," the teacher added," actually Tsuchiura's role were not only as accompanist. There would be some parts where he'll play solo or he take over the main melody. So we really should choose a fine pianist."
"Where will that be held? Here?" Hino asked.
"No. Actually we'll send you to Kyoto. It was held there every time."
"How long will we stay there?" Tsukimori asked
"One week. The competition is only one round. Now, do you all agree?"
Silent. Seemed everyone were in their own deep thoughts.
"It'll be held next month on 18 September, so there's still so many time to practice. About 5-6 weeks to prepare." Kanazawa convinced the students.
"Will we be freed from the mid-semester tests?" Hino asked
"When are the Gen-Ed mid-semester tests going to be held?" He asked back.
"It starts on 12 till 20." Tsuchiura answered.
"Oh. Yeah, of course you'll be freed."
"Okay! I'm joining!" Hino said cheerfully
"This is too tempting to refuse. I'll join." Tsuchiura said
"But what about your soccer team, Tsuchiura-kun?"
"There's no competition until the end of September. To miss practices for a week is not a big deal." He shrugged.
"Now," The teacher said while automatically all eyes directed to the male violinist.
"I'll think about it later." Tsukimori said.
"Aw, come on Tsukimori-kun.." Hino whined. All hesitation had gone swiftly because she wouldn't face any mid-semester tests next week.
"Do you have a plan for that week?" Kanazawa asked.
"It's not that..but I.." his eyes looked downwards, seemed to be lost in his thought. More than that, Hino can also see a hidden feeling trying to resurface in him. His eyes looked depressed and...frightened?
He never showed that face before. He's a cold-hearted, confident, and fearless violinist. Now all of it seemed to be lost and he looked really close to broke down.
"What? Scared in some other town?" Tsuchiura commented sarcastically, as if reading Hino's thought.
He glared at him while immediately his expression coming back to the usually stoic one.
"Ok, I'll join."
Hino smiled. Now, it's settled.
"Okay then, we'll start looking for the piece tomorrow." The teacher, contented with the easyness of the convincing Tsukimori.
"What are the requirements for the piece?" Tsukimori asked.
"Actually there's three pieces you have to perform. Okay, let me explain."
"I wonder what does the theme 'All Up to You' means" Tsuchiura said while opening an old score book. The pages were already yellow and dusty, almost making him sneeze.
They have to play three pieces but the other one is a compulsory song, given by the committee while the rest are optional. These two pieces can be a song made for any instruments. Later, after they gave the copy of the pieces to the teachers, the teachers would make the arrangement for two violins and one piano. That wouldn't be an easy job.
The performers knew it, so they tried to find a piece as soon as they can.
Now they're inside the score room in the Tsukimori Mansion. As expected, there are so many pieces in the room. The papers are grouped based on alphabetical order of the composer and put in the shelves which surrounded the three sides of the rather big room. On the fourth side, there's an upright piano to try the pieces. Just how many piano this mansion has?
The male violinist was sitting on a couch, looking for some good nominations at a stack of pieces while the guests were groping and reading on the shelves.
"What a funny joke.." Tsukimori mumbled.
"Maybe that's what they want." Hino told them. The others stopped their activities and Tsukimori nodded slightly as a sign for her to continue. "They wanted us to find a score which suited our styles."
"If that's the case then we're facing a great difficulty." Tsuchiura said.
"What do you mean?" Hino asked back
"Our preference for music is different." Tsukimori explained for Hino, "I prefer Baroque music while Tsuchiura likes pieces from the Romantic Era."
Silence once again.
"And you only play the pieces you've heard."
Hino blushed in embarrassment.
Tsuchiura sweatdropped. Yeah, that indeed is Hino's preference.
"But I guess preference is not a big deal. It's not like I've never played a Baroque or Renaissance pieces before." Tsuchiura said.
"It'll affect greatly on the way you're playing it."
"Nah," Tsuchiura said, already turning back to face the shelves. " Let's just continue to find a piece. We'll discuss after we found some. "
"Tsukimori-kun, how do we reach the pieces that placed up there?"
"You can drag that ladder."
"Look at this, Hino" Tsuchiura called her, his eyes not leaving the book he's holding while Hino walked towards him.
"This is a piece my mother performed on her wedding day."
"Wow! Really Tsuchiura-kun? That's very cool!"
"What's it? Tsukimori asked.
"Debussy's Clair de Lune." He answered, meeting the house owner's eyes
"Can you play it for us? Now?" Hino asked excitedly.
"Mmm.." he considered, "Let me try."
The soccer player then approached the piano and started playing. He played just the half of the piece, only to give Hino the impression.
"It's a very beautiful one. Ah.. I wish I can perform something on my wedding day."
"And what about yours, Tsukimori-kun?" She asked after Tsuchiura got up and put the piece book back.
"Yeah, my parents too." He lifted his face from the book.
"What did they play?"
"Tchaikovsky's. One of the piece from The Nutcracker Play."
"Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy?" Tsuchiura guessed.
"No, not that jumpy song." he replied, closing the book in his hands, put it back and started to find the something on the shelves.
After he found the book he's looking for, he mumbled, "Waltz of the Flowers."
"Let me see." Hino said and joined reading with Tsukimori.
"Which instrument does it?" Tsuchiura asked, approaching his companions.
"Solo violin and piano accompanist." Tsukimori straightened and reply while Hino silently humming the song.
"It's a very good song. The melody is very beautiful and relaxing." Hino said, lifted her head. "Hey, what about if we pick them for the competition?"
"What?" the boys asked altogether. They shared a brief glance and quickly broke the eye contact.
"Yeah. For your parents. How about that?"
"But..what about yours?"
"My parents aren't a musician so they don't perform anything on their wedding day. It's fine, really."
When the two of them nodded she exclaimed happily.
"Then it's settled." She looked slightly relieved knowing that soon she'll be out from this cramped room.
"Um, do you have any photocopy machine, Tsukimori-kun?"
"It's on my father's working room."
Hino and Tsuchiura exchanged look. Both looked dubious and unsure.
"If it's in your father's room, I think we shouldn't use it, Tsukimori-kun, actually we can-"
"No, it's fine. I'll manage it."
"Fine, then you'll give the copy to Kanazawa sensei-sensei personally." Tsuchiura said.
He nodded slightly in approval.
"Hah," Hino stretched, obviously stressed with the environment of the room, "Let's get outta here."
The Next Day
"Hino Kahoko," the gaudy-faced old teacher called her deliberately loud, breaking her daydreaming and make the whole class turned their attention to the poor girl.
"Would you solve the problem I've just written on the board?"
I don't understand differential for trigonometry at all.
Shakily she rose from her seat and walked as slow as possible to the blackboard.
She took the chalk and started to read the question
"By the way, we're going to have a test next week, students." The old woman announces.
She stopped dead on the tracks.
"Is there something wrong, Hino, or-"
"Attention please," came the sound from the speaker which usually used for announcement broadcasting, cutting the teacher's insult.
"Tsuchiura Ryoutaro from class 2-2, Hino Kahoko from class 2-5, and Tsukimori Tsukimori from class 2-A are to go to Practice room number 5 immediately. Once again I repeat.."
OH GOD!THANK YOU!
Suppressing the happiness from emerging in her action, she got down from the board towards the teacher.
"Ma'am," Hino addressed politely, "May I go to the principal's office now?"
Feeling like there's no choice, the sour-faced teacher just nodded as a silent dismissal.
The girl ran along the corridor of second year classes. She saw Tsuchiura walking ahead of her.
"Tsuchiura-kun!" she called. He apparently didn't hear her call. He continued to walk forward without even turning his head.
She decided to walk faster until she was close enough to see why. He was listening to a music player.
The teen's appearance was as expressionless as always, not even drumming his fingers or closed his eyes.
She lightly touched his shoulder to get his attention.
"Hino?" he turned and quickly took one of his earplugs off.
"Tsuchiura-kun, what are you listening to?"
"Music player, iPod." he fished his waist pocket and took out the said thing.
"Wow, iPod Touch!" she exclaimed. She took the music player and examined it in her hands. The light was off.
"How much when you bought this?"
"My sister gave it to me." they started walking again in a slower place. By now they're going down the stairs of the second floor
"Oww, how lucky.."
"Do you want to buy one?"
"Yeah. But it's very expensive..I don't have that much money..What're you listening to anyway?" Hino added, turning the light of the iPod on.
"No, it's just a regular song." He replied but Hino was already pressing the one and only button it has and the light turned on.
"Flo Rida? You like his kind of songs?" she said astonished.
"No, I just-just imagine you're a 'classical music lover' and won't even listen to this kind of music."
"Nah. They're just fine with me. What's yours, Hino?"
"I like all kinds of music. But I want an iPod so I can listen to the classical music more often."
Unnoticeably, they have arrived on the Principal's office. Hino opened the door.
"Believe me, there's not even one classical song I put inside my iPod."
He stepped in while taking off the handsfree from his ear, folding the handsfree on the body of the iPod and turned it off.
"Now the participants are complete."Kanazawa sensei said, apparently he's informing the other people in the room.
Hino noticed they're other music teachers that she had never known before. One man and one woman. The woman was blonde and looked a rather old, maybe on her mid forties. On the other side, the man looked much younger, approximately on his early twenties with shocking red hair
"Let me introduce these teachers." he said to the two Gen-Ed students.
"This is Yukimura sensei and he's Takashi sensei."
Both of the newcomers nodded to the teachers, who replied with a small smile.
"Yukimura sensei here is to help you with the violin arrangements including fingering and setting the notes while Takashi sensei will help with piano fingering and accompaniment. When you got a question with the materials, don't hesitate to tell them."
The two of them proceeded with a slight nod. Then they took their leave, saying that they have a class to attend. Those teachers were holding some paper when they got out. It seemed Tsukimori has given the copied piece to the teachers
"Actually there's one more person in this team." Kanazawa sensei added. But it seemed he's going to be late.
"Who's that, Kanazawa sensei?"
"Wait till he arrived." he smirked playfully.
"So are we just going to wait for him?" Tsukimori asked impatiently.
"Fine, we'll discuss the next matter." Kanazawa sensei said, crossing his arms. "Actually I want to inform all of you that for the first practices, you're not going to do it together."
Hino narrowed her eyebrows, "What? Why?"
"Well, actually you and Tsuchiura-kun will be handled by Yukimura sensei while Tsuchiura with Takashi sensei."
"Oh," she said, starting to understand, "When we've become good enough, we could practice together."
"Are all of you okay with that?" the braided teacher tried to make sure. When all his students nodded, he continued. "The editing process would need approximately 2 weeks. So now, I'm going to discuss which day can all of you practice?"
"Is it going to be a weekly practice?" Hino asked, a little afraid the answer would be yes.
"Yeah. But if you can make it twice or thrice a week that would be better."
"Saturday?" Tsukimori suggested.
"No!" said Hino and Tsuchiura almost at the same time.
"I can't go hang out with my friends." the girl argued.
"Fine then, what about after schools?" the teacher proposed.
"It's ok, but I hope we can use Monday because that day, we Gen-Ed students got home earlier." Hino said.
"But the Music-Ed students don't go home earlier on Mondays." Kanazawa sensei said. "You will have to wait for Tsuchiura."
"What time do you go home on Monday, Tsukimori?" Hino asked.
"1.30" he said, not bothering to elaborate.
"Then we don't have to wait." Tsuchiura sighed. Music students don't have to face many kinds of school materials, at least less than the Gen-Ed students. So their studying time at school was less than the Gen-Ed students.
"On Monday, we got home the same time with your regular time. Ah I wish the teachers of Gen-Ed would take the Music-Ed's example." Hino said, pouting a little and it made her looked kinda cute.
"We got home at 2.30 you know." She added.
"Nah, don't be sour, we do have our own difficulties." Kanazawa sensei tried to console the two students. Okay then, it is settled on Monday after school." Kanazawa sensei scribbled down on his notepad.
"Do you want to add the practice frequency?" he asked after he lifted his head.
"Of course." Tsukimori said, "four times a week would do." This ambitious boy..
"Oh man, just make it every day!" Tsuchiura snarled. "We also have another duty to do. Not just to practice music."
"We only have 4 weeks for practice. I hope your little mind understand what 4-short-weeks means." Tsukimori replied sarcastically.
"Ok,ok." Kanazawa sensei said before the boys went down to a fight,
"We make it twice a week. But we can make an appointment out of schedule when we thought we need more. How about it?"
"I agree." Hino replied and smiled. That way she looked very beautiful. The two boys just nodded. Despite Kanazawa sensei's attitude, the teacher actually got many skills up to his sleeves. One of them is to think a solution quickly so he could handle the situation better which in this case, set apart the almost-arguing students.
The boys were still glaring hatefully towards each other when suddenly someone knocked on the door.
"Let me answer it."Kanazawa sensei said.
"Kanayan!" came the familiar squeal from the closed door. Soon the door was opened and her speculations proved right.
"Ah! Kaho-chan, Tsuchiura and Tsukimori. I'm sorry if you wait for long.." he said, stepping in to join them
"Hihara-senpai, are you one of the editing team?" Tsuchiura asked
"That's right." Kanazawa sensei said and walked towards the students.
"But isn't editing is the task of the teachers only?" Tsukimori responded.
"No, this competition is not only for the teachers and the representative, but also the whole school." The teacher explained.
"So what's Hihara-senpai's task in this editing team?" Hino said out loud.
"Hihara is well-known among the music students for his chord creativity." Kanazawa sensei supplied.
"So he'll be the one who set the keys?" Tsuchiura inquired. Both black uniformed students looked astonished with the senpai's true ability.
Hihara just scratched his head sheepishly.
"It's not that great." he said. "There are still so many people smarter in that than me."
"But they don't beat their own teachers." Tsukimori said.
"WHAT?" The red head reacted. The green one just lifted his one eyebrow.
"Ah, it's not that big." he smirked and tried to change the subject. "By the way, what song did all of you choose?"
"Waltz of the Flowers by Tchaikovsky and Clair de Lune-"
"OH NOO" the senpai exclaimed loudly, hands darting on his head.
"Those songs' really difficult!" he said. "But I think I'll try.."
"Here's the copy, Hihara." the teacher took out some stapleted papers from the table.
"Huh?" he took them and scanned the papers. Found something strange, he scrunched his face and show out a paper so everyone can see.
"And what's this piece?"
"Oh it must be the compulsory song. Hey, I've never looked at it. Let me see." Tsuchiura added and stretched his hand.
Hihara observed once again and gave it to him.
"It contains only the main melody. We'll have to make the arrangement and the keys ourselves."
"Ok sensei, I'll take the copies and start doing it now."
"When can you finish them?"
"Um, maybe two weeks? That's if I work every day."
"Ok. I expect you to finish it in the exact time you said."
"Kanayan, I think I'll go back to class. This meeting has been concluded, right?" he asked while silently demand the soccer player to gave back the paper he took before.
"That's fine. You can go now.
"Okay then. Goodbye everyone." he got out of the room after Hino and Tsuchiura replied.
"He seemed to be rushing around." Tsuchiura commented.
"Who knows? That kid." Kanazawa sensei shrugged.
"Ok then sensei, I think I'll be going back to the class." Tsuchiura said. "It's math after bell and I don't want that old woman interrogate me just because I'm 5-minute-late with whatever reason I got. Also, there will be a test next week and she might reduce my score if that happened."
"Oh! I almost forget. I also have a same test next week! Waaa, what should I do?" Hino whined.
"Maybe you can join Tsuchiura's class." Kanazawa sensei said.
"The teacher will notice me, of course."
"I can teach you." Tsuchiura concluded, already gripping the door handle to go out of the room. "Don't you want to come back, or not?"
"Ah, I guess I'll wait until the bell rang."
Okay guys! Thanks for reading my first La Corda d'Oro fiction. Please review, if you wish to say something. I will be very glad if I could have building feedback from my readers ^^