Erika smiled as she watched Yuki and her friends leave the store.

<Yanagisawa, Piro and I are going to bring that stuff back down from upstairs. >

Yanagisawa looked up from the display he was changing and nodded. Ping was sweeping the sidewalk in front of the store. She looked up and smiled at Piro as he and Erika passed her.

Erika didn't speak until they reached the second floor landing. <So, how did it go? >

Piro looked over at her; <She did exactly what you said she'd do. >

Erika stopped and leaned against the railing, <And? >

<She bumped me head and nearly knocked my glasses off. > He paused for a moment <Then I fell out of my chair. >

Erika continued to look at Piro, <Well, did you do what I told you that you should do then? >

Piro nodded, <I gave her a little peck on the lips when the lesson was over. I felt so bad for her. >

Erika started on up the stairs, <do you think you would have done anything else if you didn't know that there was a camera in there? >

<No, I couldn't live with myself if I had done something to her. I feel kind of guilty for even kissing her there by the door. >

<Well don't, that was exactly what she needed. She thinks that she's competing against me for you. Now when you give her lessons back downstairs she'll blame me and not you. >

Piro was silent as they entered the apartment, <I don't get it, this really wasn't about me and Yuki at all was it? >

Erika looked at Piro then glanced back up at the camera over the door. They were silent as they folded the small table and carried it out. Erika spoke again once they reached the landing, <No it wasn't, it was about Masamichi. > She shook her head, <This country is so corrupt, Masamichi was using police surveillance equipment to spy on his own daughter. The other cops would t hink nothing of it because they all do it. >

Piro suddenly felt uncomfortable, he wasn't sure where this conversation was going. Erika continued, <Masamichi is one of the good ones too. > Once more she leaned against the rail, <I didn't really mind too much when I was active as an Idol, Now it bothers me a lot. > She shook her head and picked up her end of the table. She didn't speak again until they had returned to the landing to go back up and get the two chairs.

<Why do you think that we have Ninja's wandering around with masks on? Things had gotten so corrupt with the Yakuza that something had to be done. The Machine somehow came up with that crew of moronic masked murderers and wiped the Yakuza out. >

Erika looked into Piro's eyes, a deep sadness written on her face, <I'd leave here if I could but they'll never let me go. >

Piro didn't know what to say he reached out and took her hand then looked at her uncertainly. She smiled an d then drew him close.

<I shouldn't have asked you to stay like I did last night. Soon Kimiko will be gone to pursue her career and I won't have anyone around that I can talk to. >

Piro shook his head; <I always wanted to come to Japan. It seemed like it would be so perfect. >

<Fantasies are always better, Piro >

They went on up to get the chairs, holding hands as they climbed the stairs.

<Erika, what about Ping? I do care about her, I really do. I ignored her so much when she first came to me but now I know that she has feelings too. >

<We'll have to take that as it comes, Piro. She likes me and she wants more than anything for you to be happy. >

Piro was quiet for until they reached the sidewalk again, Ping had finished sweeping and had gone back in, <What about Kimiko? What will she do if you and I are together? >

Erika gazed off into the distance; <She will become very successful and eventually find happiness after her career is over. Idols gain inspiration from their emotions. I was always a Happy Girl, when Hitoshi left me it destroyed that and I was unable to perform. The Machine at least understands that much, they didn't try to force me to continue. > She took a deep breath, <Hitoshi was such an idiot, I tried to tell him what he was doing to me but in the end I don't think he really cared. >

A tear coursed down her cheek then, <No, that's not right. He did what he did because he couldn't control me. > She shook her head, <Everyone was always saying how terrible I was, how I ordered everyone around. That was the only way I could keep any freedom. >

She looked back at Piro and smiled then hugged him, <Kimiko is a Sad Girl, all the things that will happen to her will only make her stronger. I've done all that I can to help her. Now I just have to get out of her way. >

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