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|A Help With Music|
|Characters|| Niccolò Stradivari|
"Oh no! I can't believe my Violin broke!" A brown haired girl yelled in her room. Well... It's not technically broken it's just ALL the strings that was suppose to be attach to it finally snap and... Okay yes, there are bits and pieces that needs to be fix and polish but the Violin is her favorite instrument since she was a child.
Checking out her supplies, She saw that she is all out of strings for all of her string instruments and looking at the Violin now, She guessed that it wouldn't hurt for her to repair it.
Thinking about not playing any of the String Instruments she has, makes them feel so sad... And she doesn't like any of her friends sad! She pack up her backpack and got out of school to look for a store around here, and for some reason when she did find a store, the quality of the string isn't even good and it feels like it will snap in a week.
But luckily for her, "Huh? I never seen this store before." She said as she entered a really beautiful music store filled with wondrous Instruments. "Um... Hello~? Excuse me." She called out to the store.
Grand opening! Stradivari Music Shop Japan branch now opens! That was the plank that the Super High School Level Luthier of Heavenly Born Academy that he attached to his shop's door, looking very nice indeed. After moving to Japan, Nico started to open his music shop branch from this day. He hopes to attract many people to come to his place, he is sure with the shop grand opening, he would make his father proud.
The thing that Nico doesn't know was he doesn't know that the name of Stradivari Shop is already famous even in Japan itself. Many people flooded his shop during the grand opening day; some are so excited to meet the famous Niccolò Stradivari; some genuinely wanted to fix their broken music instrument; and some others are even attracted to Nico's handsomeness that they visited the shop only to seduce him.
Nico smiles brightly, commanding his workers to fight hard. He was busying himself in working with a broken violin when a talented girl come inside the shop after he heard the bell on the door ring. "Welcome!"
"Welcome!" A young handsome man said as he welcome Kazuko to his shop. Truth be told, he is handsome to the case where Kazuko too, would "Wow" to his appearance, but Kazuko remember something more important that needs to be taken care of "Ah! Hello~ Um... If it's alright with you Sir, can you please take a look at this." She said as she handed the Luthier her Violin.
"It's actually been years since I have last have it look at, but can you see how it's condition is? Oh! And also I also wanna purchase some strings if you don't mind." I ask smiling to the man.
With his gentle smile, Nico took the young woman's violin and inspect it clearly as he heard the explanation about the problem of her violin. It looks like the violin is already, deserted and broken due to the dust that already taken over the body of the violin.
"Of course, this is a very simple problem and I can fix it for fifteen minutes if you don't mind too wait. I also could choose the perfect string for the violin that you have. Please be patient." Nico smiles at the girl before go to the storage, searching for the perfect string.
"Hmhm~ Thank you very much Sir!" I said with a cheerful smile to the man. He really is a friendly store clerk. But... For some reason she kinda knows him. Waiting patiently, she decided to make small talk to the Luthier "Um, again thanks again for helping me with my Violin and by the way, I'm Kazuko Kanade, The Super high School Musician~ It's nice to meet you Sir." She said
Fifteen minutes passed and eventually Nico could fix the problem of the girl's violin and find a perfect string that match with the type of the violin that she has. "All good." He nodded and returned to the store, brought almost like a new and different violin that she gave to him earlier.
"Here you go miss." Nico smiled, handling the violin to her. "It's my pleasure to help someone talented like you, Kanade-san. I'm Niccolò Stradivari, the Super High School Level Luthier. It's a pleasure to meet you." Nico bows deeply to her, showing his politeness to the other Super High School Level student.
"Stradivari?! Are you by any chance had a little shop in Italy? I heard another Stradivari Shop somewhere in Italy but uh... I just want to know is all." Kazuko said shock and speechless at the same time.
"Oh, so you've already heard my last name? Yes, indeed. This is also Stradivari Shop, Japanese Branch." Nico smiled and pointed at the plank outside, written as "Stradivari Shop." Nico become aware that his name is already famous around the world, but he saw it as an ironic; since he hasn't reached his goal as the Super High School Level Luthier, yet he is already famous.
"Eh~?! That's really amazing! People knows you from two different branches, I actually heard that you and your father are actually the best in maintaining the Stradivari Shop in Italy! I'm very honored to meet such an amazing person, and who is also the Super High School Level Luthier~" Kazuko said with such excitement and amazement.
"Haha, don't be so modest to yourself, Miss Kanade. You're also very talented in music, look, everyone is coming for you." Just after Nico said that, a bunch of people came inside the shop and greeted Kanade, also wanted Kanade to sign autograph for them. "Well, I'm going to help the other customers, you should give your fans your brightest smile, okay?" He winked at the young girl and continued his work.
Eh? What did he mean... EEEKKK! As soon as he said that, the Shop is filled with people who are wanting her to give them autographs. "W-Wait a minute! Don't leave me with these hungry fans! Niccolo!" Kazuko shouted to the Luthier, but he smiled and continue his work. As for Kazuko, she signs a lot and she means a LOT of signature's for her fans. She doesn't even know how did they find her but she showed her genuine smile to everyone.
A few minutes later "W-Wow... My hand has never throb like this in my entire life..." Kazuko said sitting down on a chair in the shop as her hand was in pain for signing a whole bunch of papers and posters for her fans. In all honesty, she really thought some of those fans are Niccolo's fans as well but... That's not the case unfortunately.
Another few minutes of enjoying the peace and quiet of the shop Kazuko then look at the Luthier and a question came to her mind. "By the way um, Niccolo? What made you came to Japan? Isn't Italy a very beautiful place? Actually, I can actually think of other countries in Asia that might suite's your taste so... Can I ask, why here?" She said tilting her head to the Luthier waiting for an answer.
Nico can only sighed and chuckled a bit, seeing how enthusiastic Kanade's fans are. She must be very famous among them, judging from the mass number of people that wanted her to sign autographs for them. Well, Nico just pretends to not notice it and busying himself in inventing his special violin.
Not long after that, Nico has drown himself in another different crowds; helping his workers to deal with the endless customers and crafting more instruments. He found this as both fun and challenging.
Nico also meet with Kanade again; now look much more terrible than before. "Oh, have you done?" He said, still with a gentle smile covering his face. He thanked a customer who left and drop some tips to him. "Hmh, so do you want to talk about my past? How about your hands, are you hurt?"
Hmm... He swiftly changed the question. Does he not like to talk about his past? "Oh! My hand? Well it's fine, a slight throbbing pain, but really it's fine! See!" Kazuko said waving her hands like normal. "Um... Is there something wrong Niccolo? I kinda sense that your a bit uncomfortable when I asked that question..." Kazuko said a bit sad thinking that she might made the Luthier remember something unpleasant.
"That's great. I'm happy to hear that." He said with a slight change in his tone, it seems like he's a little offended with people that wanted to discuss about his past. Well, not a "little" but instead, it is very, very offending him and could thrown him into bad mood. "I'm sorry, but I need to get this thing fix fast." Nico then moved to the other side of the counter, taking a violin and started to fix its broken string, trying to ignore the young girl.
'AH! Did I went to far?' she thought "Um..." Seeing the change of mood in the Luthier made Kazuko a bit guilty. She knows that she can be pushy at times but this is one of those times that she might gone too far. "Niccolo... I'm sorry... I just gotten a bit curious." She apologize slightly looking away as she doesn't like to see the reaction the Luthier might give.
"What are you talking about? I don't hear anything." Trying not to upset his customer, Nico put up his smile and just get rolled with his work until it done perfectly. He looked at the watch on the wall; oh, it's already break time. "Okay everyone, it's break time for some of you." Nico said to his workers, he then draws his attention to the young girl. "Want to accompany me for some time?
Not the type to decline a friend's offer, She accepts the young man's offer. "Y-Yeah sure! If you still have time that is Niccolo, sure I would like to accompany a friend~" She said giving her smile.
Nico feel very delighted when the girl accept his offer, it would be nice to get acquaintance with someone that share the same interest with him, furthermore, she is a Super High School Level student just like him. He wouldn't let this chance fly to expand his knowledge about music and Japan.
"Would you like to go to the park? It's not very distant from here." Nico brought his bag filled with his lunch and stepped outside from his shop.
"Hmm~ That sounds nice. It's a great day to so why not?" She said. She packed up her stuff along with her Violin, and luckily for her, inside her bag was her snacks for later. As they went to the park Kazuko stretch "Mmm~! Phew, It's been awhile since I last came here. This place is so quiet and beautiful."
Kazuko let out a sigh of happiness looking around the park when suddenly, she has the urge to play. She picked up her Violin and played it, letting out a very peaceful and calming tone that makes the listeners at peace.
"Off we go!" Nico told his workers that he gonna take a walk the Super High School Level Musician with him and let them know he probably would come back late. Without any doubt and uneasiness for leaving his shop for a while, Nico and Kanade went to the near park.
No longer after they left the shop, Nico and Kanade arrived at the beautiful park near a river. He let the young girl to wait for him to set a mat under the tree and took off his lunch from his bag, one large portion of onigiri. "I brought onigiri with me, this one is very delicious make by one of my worker. Try to taste it!" He offered the onigiri to the young girl and eat some.
He closes his eyes and leaned his back to the tree, listening to Kanade's soothing violin play. "Jean Sibelius: Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47?" He asked the girl who played one of the greatest violin concerto that he ever heard.
Playing the violin, she let pour her heart to the violin, till eventually she stopped for awhile since she saw Niccolo already done setting up the mat under the tree. Hearing Niccolo's question Kazuko smiled "Eh~? Haha, how did you know?" She said happily.
"I actually heard this music thanks to my Grandmother. She's really a great Grandmother. She was the one who also supported my dreams of becoming a musician. I..." Kazuko stopped for a minute biting her lip then continued "I actually played this music for her, showing my gratitude for her before she... passed." She said giving a sad smile.
"Hmh... I'm sorry to hear that." Nico puts his hand on his chest, expressing his deepest condolence to the young girl's deceased grandmother. "She must be happy that you pour your heart when you plays your dedicated music for her..." He smiles, trying to comfort the girl.
Nico munched his delicious onigiri and already become full after he ate the fourth. "I'm full! How about you Kanade-san, you should eat more or you'll lost weight. It's a serious problem for a musician, you know." He said as he throw one onigiri for her.
Pressing a hand on his chest to express his condolence, Kazuko smiled "Yeah she is. Though I tried giving her my original play but since I was still new to writing, It's kinda... Not balance? I think." Kazuko to the Luthier. But thinking about it now... She still hasn't finished that original piece.
As she was pondering about it until Niccolo throws an Onigiri to her "Hmhm~ Thank you." After taking a bite, she then pondered on what the Luthier meant by "lost weigth" then it hit her "Wait... Who are you calling thin? I am perfectly healthy, mind you!" Kazuko said giving a playful slap to the Luthier's arm.
"Ouch, that hurt." The young luthier moved his arms and rub his arm. With this, he confirmed that Kanade is perfectly okay and healthy if she possesses this so much strength.
"Writing music huh?" Nico then pondered to his past, when he still has a hobby for writing music. He has so much fun while it lasted, but this doesn't mean that he lost his knack in music writing.
"I could teach you a little on writing music." Nico let out a smile because of two things: He could make the young girl to forget her sadness and the second is he couldn't believe he offered his help in writing music to someone else.
Giggling, Kazuko was happy that she's enjoying her day. After finishing her Onigiri, Niccolo told her that he could help her in writing "Eh? Really? That would be nice! Hold on..." Kazuko fetch her half done music sheet and giving it to the Luthier.
"It's still a work in progress... For about 7 or 8 years now." Kazuko said a little ashamed that she forgot this music sheet since childhood. "I actually don't know how to continue this... Can you look at it and let me know what you think about the first part melody." She handed her half done music sheet to the Luthier to check.
"What do you think?" She asked him.
"For 7/8 years? That must be a long, long time ago." Nico checked the music sheet that was given by the young girl. The sheet was looking already fine in his opinion, but there's so many notes that will make the music glitch at some point.
"Let me fix this real quick. I promise not to change any lyrics." Nico took out his pen and started to write down a fixed version from the original. As he read the lyrics, somehow, he felt deep sadness and other emotions that he can't describe in words poured out from the sheets... The lyrics is wonderful that it teared his eyes a bit while writing.
Watching him write the notes for the revise music sheet kinda makes her smile. Though she wonders, what makes Niccolo special? Or maybe the correct term is, Why does he make her feel... Comfortable. Don't get the wrong idea, she loves making new friends and such but for some reason, she trust Niccolo with just the first glance.
So she wonders... Why? As she was pondering about it a bit she saw the said man crying a bit "E-Eh? What's the matter Niccolo?" As she was looking at him, she saw him looking at the lyrics. "... Memory in the Deep." She said. "That's the song... Memory in the Deep. A song filled with painful memories. But also a song to help overcome those memories." Kazuko said closing her eyes along with a smile.
"Kuh..." Nico immediately took out his handkerchief and rubbed away his manly tears that run down through his plump cheeks. "Haha, I'm kind of pathetic, right? This kind of music hits me real hard right in my heart. It's not good for me." He smiled pathetically and laughed at himself.
"Yeah, it's just like what you say." Nico changes his position and sit in front of the girl. He took the girl's hands and lend her the fixed music sheets. "I want you to play this. Play it deep from your heart. I'm sure that your music will reach everyone's feelings." The luthier smiled and gazes at the park that started to get crowded.
There are so many people there: a pair of father and mother played with their baby while eating their lunch, a couple of kids playing with their pets, a grandma who listened to her granddaughter deeply about what makes her happy today, and so many people that he can't described. All of them have a similarity; they're all in great happiness. He is looking forward to impress all of them with Kanade's violin play.
Nico stood up with Kanade's violin on his right hand while the other help the young girl to stand up. "Go on, Kanade-san." As he offered the violin to the girl, he stepped away and waited for her grand performance patiently.
A bit shock at the sudden request. Kazuko could only smile at the Luthier. And like he said, there are tons of people in various ages at the park. The young man gave her the Violin and now in position. But before she starts "Niccolo. I'm gonna be honest with you. Your, a bit weird and at the same time good at heart. I'll promise to give it my all."
Now playing her violin, she pours her heart and emotion to the music, and as the melody flows, she starts to sing letting out a peaceful yet heart breaking vibe everywhere. Families, Friends everyone that shares a painful memory are able to move on thanks to them. Everyone isn't alone someone will always be beside them.
And now, It's Kazuko's turn to be filled with tears... And finally letting out the last part of the melody she finish with a bow she made everyone burst into tears and they all gave a round of applause, including Niccolo.
Finishing her performance she went to Niccolo, still wiping her tears. "*Sniff* Thanks Niccolo. For this day. Oh man, I can't stop crying... You made me remember my reason for giving music to everyone." She said wiping her tears.
"Oh, you think so?" Nico widen his eyes and surprised with the girl's honest statement. This is like his first time that someone called him "weird" for ages. "Hmm... But don't you think being weird is great? Like your weirdness is the one who could differentiate you with the others?... Hmm.. Nah, forget about it first. It's your time to shine, Kanade-san."
Before he go, he tapped the girl's shoulder and smiled at her, whispering "Do your best" at the same time. Nico lend to a tree near them, and closed his eyes as Kanade begin to play her violin. The fixed notes combined with Kanade's great plays mixed up so well that he began to imagine people from his past, those memories that he had hide from everyone. It swirls inside his head that it hurts him so much.
But Kanade's plays save him. He now imagines his lively and beloved classmates, smiling at him in the class, sharing their time together. He remembered that he've already make so much memories; many kinds of memories. Sadness, happiness, anger, pain, Nico and his classmates had gone through all of that together and it makes him even stronger.
He can't help but to hide himself somewhere else while Kanade deeply play her violin. Under a tree's shadow, he cries. His unknown past haunted him, but he knows, his future, his future with his classmates will become a happy and bright one. He rubbed away his tears with his handkerchief and saw that everyone on the park was gathering in front of Kanade, listening to her play deeply that some of them cried.
All of the viewers clapped their hands together after Kanade finished her performance, including Nico whose eyes are red, rubbing her hair softly. "You're one of the best violinist that I've ever known, Kanade-san." He smiles and pointed to everyone who is smiling at the Super High School Level Musician.
Still crying and getting a pat on the head by Niccolo she herself can now see a brighter future for not only herself but for everyone. And she has someone to thank for that. "Again thanks Niccolo. You know... I kinda wanna do something for you." She said and continued "I'll be sure to come to your shop once I am done with a certain thing. Can you wait for a bit? I promise it will only take about 3 days~" She said smiling brightly now.
Nico happily waves to the park visitors in Kanade's absent (because she couldn't respond to them because she constantly crying everytime she tries to talk). After some time later, finally the young girl opened her mouth without trouble. "It's my pleasure to help my customer, it's my duty as both a luthier and of course, as a friend." Nico once again patted the girls shoulder and looked up at his watch.
"Oh, it's time for me to head back to the shop." Nico immediately packed his lunch again on his bag and returned to the young girl. "You're planning to leave? Well, that's quite sad but okay. I'm looking forward to meet you again, Kanade-san." Nico walks passed the young girl without asking what she'll do in three days.
Before he return to his shop, Nico turns his back and shouted to the girl, "Just call me Nico next time, okay?"
Smiling brightly once again and waving goodbye to the Luthier, Kazuko rush all the way back home and enter her little studio. She work day and night on a little something that only a Super High School Level Musician can do and then finally... She was able to pull it off in exactly 3 days!
Though her hair is a bit messy though. She tied her hair in her usual way and once again cycle all the way to the Stradivari Shop and like yesterday the place is busy as always. Asking one of the workers, he pointed to where Niccolo is and when she found him working on an instrument again...
She covered his eyes and said "Drop what your doing and give me your money." She said holding back a slight giggle.
Three days passed after Nico and Kanade's faithful encounter in his own shop. It's just another normal days with him working on the shop and continuing his projects. He dislike to procrastinate things and forced himself to overwork. Well, his effort is always worth it.
On the third day after Kanade left, Nico was busy fixing a broken guitar string of one of his customer until a girl covered his eyes; and he does seem to recognize her voice. "Kanade-san... is that you?"
"No I'm-- Pffft, Hahaha~ Okay you got me~" Finally releasing her hands on his eyes. "Hehe~ I want to give you this." She look at her bag and took out a very new music sheet "Here you go, Nico. Hehe~" She says giving her new music sheet to the Luthier.
"I was able to make this new music with lyrics. Thanks to your smile and your personality, and also that one special day that you and I spent together, I give you this. I called it, "A Help With Music...". What do you think?" She says asking the Luthier's opinion, and a bit excited to see his reaction.
"Woah!" Nico was surprised and checked the new music sheets composed by the Super High School Level Musician. "This is too much you know, even for me." He suddenly feels so guilty for this after he noticed that the girl has a big eye bag under her eyes. He scratched the back of his head and read the beautiful sheets.
"You must be forcing yourself these past three days. How could I express my gratitude, Kanade-san? Tell me anything that you want." He says, concerned with the girl's health.
"Hmm... Well, I wouldn't mind if we hang out again! That is... Once I feel refresh that is." She said "Ah! There's actually one more thing! Close your eyes and hold out your hand!" She said trying to get something in her bag.
"Ehh... Would that be suffice?" Nico somehow feel both relieved and guilty at the same time. However, he is grateful that Kanade shows her sincerity through her music sheets. It gives him so much hope and determination to not being lose to her as a music dedicated.
"Do you still have more surprise? Okay then..." Nico covers his face with both of his hands, trying not to take a peek.
When she was pretending to get something in her bag, she make sure to see that Niccolo was keeping his eyes close. She took a deep breath and then... Gives a small kiss on the cheek on the Luthier.
When she pulled a away seeing the reaction of the young man she giggled. "Hehe~ Sorry that's all the time I have for today, I really wanna stay and chat but I have an appointment in about a few minutes now. Hope to see you again. Bye Nico!" She wave goodbye to the Luthier and climb on her bicycle.
Cicyling away, she then thinks about the Luthier's reaction with both the music sheet and that tiny kiss on the cheek. Hehe~ She can't wait to see her friend again.
Nico was stunned when the girl kissed his cheeks and before he could respond to that, the girl escaped and delivered her farewell for him. The workers and customers who saw that laugh together and tease him. He still doesn't know how to react to this, rubbing his cheeks while blinking his eyes repeatedly.
After he no longer being stunned, Nico smiles and gazed out through the window, then looking back at the music sheets. "A Help With Music...", "That doesn't sound bad for a title. I guess she really is the Super High School Level Musician...
Nico goes to his room and put the sheets on his drawer full of the other music sheets that he've created. "I'll treasure this until someday we could meet up again, Kanade-san.