216/Sound of Sea And Sky

From Radiant Heart MUSH

Sound of Sea And Sky
Date of Scene: 08 August 2023
Location: A Swanky Amphitheatre
Synopsis: Haruka finally tracks down the girl with the ocean for hair that she met at the dance, and remembers that names and cellphones and flirting all exist.
Cast of Characters: Haruka Tenoh, Michiru Kaiou

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Haruka had joked with the sea-green haired woman that she met her in a dream. Well, half-joked. Part of her felt as if she had, as if she was being pulled to her, as if while she was in the room the other people mostly ceased to exist - that the girl in the oceanic dress was in full color bright and clear and the rest of the world was background noise. So, naturally, like the brilliant and smooth person Haruka always was - they had parted without exchanging names.

    Great move, Haruka, she told herself. And after that day, saying she had seen the girl in her dreams was no joke, no line. She saw the girl in her dreams every few nights. Sometimes they were good dreams and sometimes bad. She didn't remember much about them, though. Just the girl, that hair, the sound of the ocean, and heavy positive or negative feelings.

    Is this what having a crush is like, she wondered? And then, for insult to injury somehow the two did not cross paths again for a little while. But fate, it seemed, was still conspiring to bring them together in its own way. A piece of paper carried on the wind found its way under her foot, and when she looked down - she saw her. The girl in her dreams. The girl from the dance. Haruka leaned down and picked it up. It was a flyer, maybe, or out of the back of some magazine. The girl would be in concert. She was apparently a famous violinist. And yet, Haruka had not seen any mention of it. Maybe there just wasn't a lot of violin afficionados in the mechanics shops and car parts stores she'd been visiting since she agreed to fix the cars in Setsuna's garage.

    Since she was staying with Meiou-sensei, she hadn't had to spend her own money, and what better possible use for it could there be but to get a glance at the woman and try to catch her eye? Plus, it was a fancy Violin concerto held in an upscale amphitheatre, which meant fancy clothes. Which meant Haruka could have the excuse to wear the exact same tuxedo-suit she'd worn to the school dance.

    She had to admit, Michiru Kaiou was extremely talented. But you'd have to be a pure ruffian not to hear it in the way she played. Sitting in the second row, Haruka had been watching her the whole concert, fixated on her, entranced by the motions of her violin bow and the sound of her music. And a few times, she felt like Michiru's eyes met hers. But maybe not. The girl was extremely professional, extremely dedicated. And Haruka knew she was extremely smitten, so she was probably just imagining it all, right? But it still felt like it sometimes, and she still felt that connection, occasionally, just looking at her.

Michiru Kaiou has posed:
    Michiru had left that school dance almost in a trance. That _woman_ was _everything_, and she didn't know why. But she suspected it had to do with her past life that she was only just starting to remember. She was eager to find out more, but they parted without ever exchanging names. It never felt necessary. Michiru felt like she knew that woman _in her soul_.

    So, Michiru went about her life, trusting that whatever it was that connected them would bring them back together again soon enough.

    The concert was her first performance since her parents' funeral, and so naturally she was in all the news. There was a fair amount of promotion for "The Tokyo Symphony Orchestra Presents: A Night With Michiru Kaiou" with ads on the sides of transit vehicles, spots on TV, and flyers everywhere, like the one that the wind brought to Haruka. It was a sold out house.

    Michiru wore something more suitable for sitting in a chair and playing a violin concerto: a mint-green evening gown with textures to look like the vines and leaves of plants that float along the ocean's surface (https://imgur.com/LnPHbQL). When she plays, her face shows so much emotion. Her movements are always so precise, her bowing full of passion. Her long notes full of warm vibrato and her short notes played with sharp precision. She's a once in a generation musician, and it shows with every piece she plays.

    She noticed Haruka the moment she stepped out on stage, seated right there in the second row. How could she miss those eyes or that _tuxedo_? She allowed herself a small smile as she sat down, easy to miss, as her focus settled into her features and she brought her instrument up to her shoulder for the opening number. Not once did she look at Haruka thru the entire performance, but that's mostly because she didn't look at anybody but the conductor and her fellow musicians.

    When the concert is finally over, she rises up from her seat, her violin in one hand and her bow in the other, and takes a deep bow, and then rises up. She moves her bow from one hand to the other and lifts up her free hand to wave to the audience and smile, then she looks _right at_ Haruka and smiles even bigger, before turning to head off the stage as the curtain falls on the show.

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Did Haruka imagine most of those times their eyes met? Yes. A combination of so much time in their past life staring into each other's eyes combined with the desire to do so again meant she saw a pattern when none existed. But the point at the end - when the music stopped and the crowd clapped - that was when she didn't imagine it, and when she couldn't tell herself she made it up. That woman looked right at her and Haruka could feel her heart beat like it wanted to escape and run up on stage to be near her. Haruka kind of wanted to, as well. But she had regained a lot of her composure, and she just smiled back at Michiru. She didn't realize that she was smiling a little bit more earnest, a little bit more even goofy, than she thought, when she got up to clap for the talented musician as so many others did.

    The hall started to empty, and Haruka... hung back. She just was... waiting. Hoping, maybe. How could she just go back to her temporary home now? Just leave?

    She even tried to walk backstage, by simply acting like she was confidently supposed to be there. That sort of thing worked more often than others might expect - simply acting like she had the right and permission to be there. It didn't work this time, though, and she was turned away. Since she also didn't want to make a scene, she didn't push any further than that. But she also couldn't bring herself to leave, so she stayed back. Cool and confident, at least externally, and noticing she got a lot of attention, a lot of glances. But in this moment, at this time, there was only one person who's attention she really wanted. Maybe she'd catch her as the place emptied. She only started walking outside when it became hard to justify her presence with the handful of people there... putting her hands in her pockets and looking up at the stars. The wind was still, quiet. And she didn't want to run - well, not away.

Michiru Kaiou has posed:
    Preparing for the concert had been a slow and methodical process. Michiru had routines. But as soon as she stepped back stage, the young virtuoso moved like the ocean currents, swiftly and with a singular purpose. She had to make sure that she intercepted that woman before she left the venue. There were, however, things that needed doing. She had to pack her violin--so famous it has a name, Marine Cathedral--and gather her things. Usually there were interviews at these sorts of things, but her people had arranged for there to be no media circus this time.

    That didn't stop the conductor from catching her in the hall and striking up a conversation, which she could not just brush off. He was a colleague and a friend. And so it was that despite all her best efforts, Michiru didn't get out of the venue until nearly ten minutes after Haruka went outside. But she steps out of the door, hoping against hope that she'll find that tall blonde woman that tugs on her soul. She believes in whatever it is that connects them. She can feel it in the currents around her.

    She still feels like a smitten school girl, though, because she is, and so she's anxious. She _bursts_ out of the main doors onto the walk in front, and casts her eyes about frantically looking for that blonde hair and impeccable tux. And when she spots Haruka, she lets out a sigh of relief, and starts walking toward her just as quickly as she can.

    "You found me," she says, sounding very pleased.

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Haruka wants so desperately to say something cool, something very her, when Michiru approaches and smiles at her and states that she found her. A dozen possible options, attitudes, and everything else flow through her mind in the moment.

    "Yeah." is all she says. "I don't really go to many things like this but when I saw who was playing... I had to make an exception." she says. Okay, not the coolest thing she could have said, but... honestly, not that BAD either. She stands there, almost unsure of what to do with herself, leaning against the wall after a moment. "I have to admit, the music was great, but the view was much better." she says and then winks. Okay. Now she's in the zone. Maybe. Ish.

    She watches her, ready to walk back some of her words at any sign of offense. She felt like she was much more in command, in control, at the dance. But then, at the dance she had met her for the first time, and now, now she had been without her after that first meeting for so long and she was afraid the girl in front of her might slip through her hands again, like sand on a wind-buffeted beach. "This time, I know your name." She says, smiling. "Michiru Kaiou. And so it's fair you know mine. Haruka Tenoh." she says. Well, at least getting that out of the way, lest fate pull them apart again. They had names. "And... I think you've been braving those storms most nights." she says, a half smile playing on her lips. And her heart rattling in her chest once more, as she managed to mostly remain confident and calm on the outside of her mind. She is every bit the androgenous angel she was at the dance, having gone to great pains to make sure that she would be recognized by the one woman who's eyes she NEEDED to draw, that she was as good or better at looking the part of the prince she wanted to be for her.

Michiru Kaiou has posed:
    Michiru always assumes people know her name. She's famous, after all, and she's correct more often than not. But all the same Haruka's comment makes her blush. Her eyes cast down for a moment and she echoes back the other woman's name, her voice quiet and tender, "Haruka Tenoh."

    She has a violin case in her hand--she never lets it out of her sight when it's away from home--and she doesn't seem to care. She steps closer to the taller woman, her eyes drawing up along her frame until they meet once more. She smiles and nods. "Yes, every night. I don't always make it, I'm afraid," she says quietly. "The storms are rather strong these nights."

    She reaches out with her free hand, her fingertips raising up to rest against Haruka's lapel. Almost as if to make sure she's not a dream, that she's really right there. She's daydreamed about this moment often enough. She knew it would come, she was _sure_ of it, but the waiting was almost unbearable. Just a heartbeat later and she steps in close, her elbow bending as she traps her hand between them.

    She looks up, clearly not at all offended by any of the words that passed through Haruka's lips, and she smiles. "Now that I know your name, you'll not get away from me again," she says. The words sound kind of ominous, but she says it so sweetly.

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Haruka absolutely adores the way her name sounds coming out of Michiru's mouth. It's so much more elegant and clean than she's ever heard it spoken before.

    Words. Words. Haruka was good at words, right? But for the moment she's quiet and Michiru has the words. She just has her eyes, looking, drawing her in, feeling like she's in a dream in this moment herself. Finally, she manages to say words. "Should I be worried?" she asks, in a chuckling response to the proclaimation that she won't get away. "You chase me in dreams, and now you're telling me you intend to chase me in the waking world too."

    "But if I had to pick someone to chase me, I would have picked you every time." she adds, after a moment. "At first I thought of you like a mermaid, but after hearing you play your instrument, I think you might be closer to a siren - an alluring creature of the sea who can draw me in even when doing so might be dangerous." She smiles, and reaches up with her hand - putting it on top of the soft hand that has rested on hers, running her thumb over the other girl's fingers. Haruka's heart is beating ever faster - she's sure Michiru can feel it through her chest now - but she also feels more at ease. "I don't care if it is dangerous, either." she adds. "I need to see you much more often than just when I sleep."

Michiru Kaiou has posed:
    Michi's breath catches in her throat when Haruka's hand rests on hers. "So much more often," she quickly agrees. "Whatever this is between us, it is _important_," she says, her voice just barely above a whisper, and yet still firm with her certainty. "And we'll just have to spend as much time as we can figuring it out." It's really as simple as that. There's a mystery to solve and so they'll just have to become inseparable to solve it. That makes _perfect_ sense, right?

    There's just one thing that's bugging Michi now. Here they are, meeting after her big concert event, but last time they met at the _school dance_. So that really just puts one singular question on Michiru's lips. "So, why don't I ever see you at school?"

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
Haruka takes Michiru's hand and squeezes it. Plays her fingers in the grooves between Michiru's own, until they're palm to palm and her fingers squeeze in and grip Michiru's hand like she's afraid she's going to run away now, even though hse was the one who said they'd have to be together. "I agree. I've never felt like this with anyone. I don't think I even wanted to. But I can't deny it." she says, shaking her head. "And it certainly didn't end when we weren't near each other."

    She sighed. "I tried to look for you a little bit but things have been... chaotic... for me. For the last few months. I've... had to do a lot of running, because I can only really think when I'm moving fast. I've got a new last name, from when you saw me, because I... I have, spent a lot of time with lawyers... and with a close friend... and now I am my own woman, unhindered by people who were trying to slow me down." she says, explaining without delving deep into it. "So I haven't been on campus much. But when I have been there I looked for you too. I guess I didn't realize you were famous, that sure would have made things a lot easier." she admits, scratching the back of her head with the hand not entwined with Michiru's.

    And then Haruka leans in - not for a kiss, but she's looking deeply into Michiru's eyes. She pauses. "Who are you?" she asks. "I know your name but... there's more, more that I don't know." She's felt that way with a few people, lately. Like there's something pulling at the back of her mind, like a thread on a shirt that keeps brushing against the small of her back.

Michiru Kaiou has posed:
    Michiru wants to tell her _everything_. She wants to bare her soul to this woman. On some level, she feels like she already has. But the thing about secret identities is they don't work if you don't keep them secret, and it's not as if she fully understands who she is yet anyway. And that realization is what helps her find the words to answer the question posed to her.

    "I don't fully know," she says quietly, never looking away from Haruka's eyes. "I'm still remembering."

    Maybe that will trigger something. Maybe that will help them _both_ understand what this is. At least, that's what Michi hopes for.

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Haruka scrutinizes her eyes when she says it. But it's not like she can talk. She doesn't know why she's drawn to the girl. "I hope... we can figure it out then." she says, quietly. Is she saying it about Michiru? Herself? Both?

    "My whole life, I've felt like I was looking for something and I didn't know what it was. And now for the first time I feel like I'm close, when I'm here with you. I wasn't sure at the dance... maybe I was even scared of it. But when I didn't see you for so long I knew. Either you're the thing I'm looking for, or you're the key to it... or somehow both." she says, and at that moment a firce blast of wind cuts through the night air, blowing both of their hair. "I'm scared of it now, too." she admits. "I am not used to being scared..." she adds with a smirk. "... I can fight or I can run, but this... is different. I don't know if I'm supposed to do either, or just stand here with you until it all makes sense?" Both Michiru and Setsuna - she felt like she could sense an underlying 'more' but she couldn't quite process what it was. And some part of her didn't want to, for reasons she would only understand too late.

    "I think... I've been looking for you a long time, Michiru Kaiou. A very long time. A lifetime. Or more." she whispers. "Doesn't that sound silly? But my heart says it's true."

Michiru Kaiou has posed:
    "I've spent my whole life being shuffled from one place to another: a performance here or a tutoring session there. I was never in control, just like flotsam in a storm," Michiru explains, quietly. "But these last few months, I've been finding myself. I, too, am my own woman now, and it is so incredibly lonely. The world is so much scarier when we are responsible for ourselves, accountable only to the consequences of our choices." This girl, does she talk like this all the time? "I feel safe with you, though."

    Michi squeezes her fingers around Haruka's and then leans in, planting her temple against Haruka's chest. Her hair floofing up against Haruka's chin. Tall girlfriends are the best girlfriends, Michiru thinks, and then catches herself. They're not dating yet! Yet. Are they? What even is this? It feels so inevitable. It feels already decided. It is. Her heart decided the moment she saw Haruka by the refreshments table at the dance, and it's been deciding it again and again every moment since. She just needs to understand why.

    "You said things have been chaotic," she muses, her words coming out against the gold fabric of Haruka's vest. "Would you say you feel like a _whole different person_?" The way she says that, it's like she's trying to imply something with the emphasis. Suggesting a subtle second meaning that Haruka might understand if it applies to her.

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    "I've spent my whole life feeling like I was in the wrong spot." Haruka replies. "I've been trying to go from place to place, looking for something and then dragged right back into a place where I already knew I didn't belong." She said. Like she'd had the opposite experience. "I'd rather be accountable for my own choices than be unable to make them." she said, softly - but very, very firmly. And she puts her other arm around the girl who's pressing her head to her chest, embracing her. It feels right, to embrace her.

    Haruka pulls her hand away suddenly, like she'd touched a lightning rod, or perhaps done something she shouldn't... but the hand finds its way back to the same spot anyways.

    "It feels like I'm still building the person I want to be." she says softly. "Like it's still... a project I'm working on." And she gripped Michiru a little tighter, hugging her. It felt fine. Normal. And then the wind blew. And the words a whole different person... suddenly hit.

    Haruka's eyes went wide, and for just a moment, she wasn't looking at the world outside or the girl beneath her. She was seeing something else.

    Something much less pleasant, less enjoyable, less wholesome. A silence. A quiet. A wave of destruction. An apocalypse. An end. Something she'd seen in dreams - no, in nightmares - before those dreams became filled with Michiru

    Haruka's hand left Michiru's back again, abruptly. She made a noise of discomfort. She felt like she should, at once, grip Michiru tighter than anything before... and like she needed to run farther, faster, further than she had ever run before. The words caught in her throat. "I think... I think..." she didn't finish her thought. But she released Michiru's hand and moved like she was at least considering trying to squirm away. And it wasn't just because she was the one leaning against the wall with Michiru pressing against her.

Michiru Kaiou has posed:
    With her ear pressed close to Haruka's chest, Michiru hears it as the taller woman's heart begins to race as she sees her vision of apocalypse. She feels it, like eddies in the shallows, rippling through the currents around them. She knows her words hit home, but she has to be _sure_. Secrets must be kept secret, after all. She has all the time in the world to get an answer to her question, but right now her whole world is trying to squirm away, and she can't have that.

    She lifts her head up and then her hand, and reaches up to place a single, solitary finger across Haruka's lips as she stutters. "Don't think," she says firmly. "Just walk me home."

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Haruka is pulled from that moment of fear, of worry, of prophecy - by that single, slender finger. Her eyes blink. She calms. The regulated tide of the oceans is different than the chaotic turbulence of wind. She breathes again, and then she kisses the finger that's pressed to her lips. "Well, if that's the request of the siren, I can't refuse, can I?" she asks. And puts her arm around Michiru's shoulders. And grips that shoulder with a gentle strength, like she too is afraid Michiru is going to run away - or that she'll want to run away.

    "Which way is home for my siren?" Haruka asks, softly. "I'll guard you but for a little bit you have to lead." and then she pauses and, chuckles to herself. "Don't get -too- used to that though."

Michiru Kaiou has posed:
    Michiru giggles, and says, "Cute."

    She slips her arm around Haruka's waist and starts to lead off farther into downtown, toward some of the tallest skyscrapers. Her penthouse suite occupies the top two floors of a sleek, modern residential tower right in the heart of the city. It's an easy drive from her home to the academy, and an even easier stroll from the venue back to her home.

    When they get there Michiru stops them on the sidewalk just outside the door, and turns to step in and push up onto her tippy toes, rather abruptly moving to place a kiss on Haruka's lips. A soft, tender, and entirely-too-brief kiss. "Thank you, Haruka Tenoh. For finding me."

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Haruka might have expected the kiss to shut her brain off for a moment, based on how she'd been acting, and reacting, to the sea-bluegreen haired girl and her actions before now. But the kiss doesn't do that. She just... smiles, happily, and looks down at her. "Oh, I think we found each other, I can't take all of the credit. But... try not to get lost again. My world doesn't feel right without you in it, now that I know you exist." she says, firmly. It's almost an order, a command, or a desperate incantation to the universe itself, the force with which she says it.

    "How can I make sure I can find you again? Without relying on fate, or destiny, I mean. Is it too much to ask for a phone number to go with that kiss? Too bold?" she asks, with that impish, roguish grin plastered on her face. "Buying near-front-row tickets to your concerts is going to get pricey as a way to see you... but don't think I won't if I have to."

Michiru Kaiou has posed:
    Michiru reaches into the purse that she's definitely been wearing this entire time. She gathered up her things backstage, remember? She pulls out a marker with a blue cap, and then reaches for Haruka's hand. In one swift motion she brings the marker up to her mouth, bites the cap and yanks the marker out of it. She writes some digits in sparkly blue Sharpie on Haruka's palm. Then she lets go and puts the cap back on the marker before dropping it back in her purse.

    "Don't you worry. I'll find you, but if you need to hear my voice, you can always call," she says. She purses her lips to blow Haruka another kiss--from mere inches away--and then says, "Thank you for walking me home. Maybe I'll see you on campus." Then she turns and heads into the building, greeting the doorman with a friendly smile.