Warnings: shounen-ai, TWT, fluff
Archive: Four Stars, FFN
Writing Conventions: scene change; emphasis/lyrics, "speech"
Disclaimer: If Earthian belonged to me, not only would the characters suffer from large amounts of UST, they would be traumatized in one way or another on top of that. eg As it is, it's Kouga Yun's. So much for wishful thinking.
Summary: It began with a little humming...
Notes: Some parts of this might sound a little weird. This fic has been written partly as an experiment -- not the original intent, but now it's an added thing -- to write the angels of Eden and the Earthians as different peoples (which they are). The angels did not develop as the humans did, and their society is far from paralleling ours. The story of the series is created in an Earthian style, for that is what we are: the Earthians. I wanted to dump that form of storytelling (as much as I could) and adopt something that is more 'Eden.' This fic is about music, but 'rock,' 'baroque,' and all the terms we are familiar with are not used for the most part, as the angels could have different concepts of it.
Erm... I don't think I can fully explain what I was trying to do, because even I can't actually think it out coherently, let alone attempt to get someone else to understand. If you do get it, then I commend you. g The experiment has, I believe, iffy results, so sorry for all the strangeness.
It began with a little humming.
Michael breezed in one morning with his usual smile and greeting to his partner. Raphael nodded in reply and continued in his review of the forms he had found on his desk when he came in. If his own smile was fainter than usual, it was not noted. And no one but him would notice the distracted way he read a paragraph four times before coming to terms with the fact that it was written in a language he knew. It was another two times before he understood what the words meant.
By the hazelnut scent that soon filled the room, the mug in Michael's hand was filled with decaffeinated coffee. He had not been working late the night before, and that always lifted his spirits higher than usual. Though of course it might have had something to do with the fact that they both had closeted themselves in their office for the previous three mornings -- and a good portion of the afternoons -- to review all the reports that had been backlogged for a while.
The weather report had called for sunny skies; indeed, there was not a cloud to be seen for miles. But the heat was gentle and the breeze was constant and blew at the right speed that it cooled but did not blow papers away. Raphael had shut off the air conditioning to the room and opened the windows and the sliding glass door to let the fresh air in. Michael loved sunny days. Not that he held any dislike for rain, but gray skies and the pattering of water droplets on the surfaces outside still had a quieting effect on him.
Raphael was not thrown off by the bars of music coming from his partner; it was no rare occurrence for Michael to be humming, after all. And even if it was, Raphael would not have minded it anyway. After all, this was his best friend first and office mate second, and he found that there were few things about Michael that could irritate him.
What distracted him was the song itself. When Michael was not humming, he had some sort of music playing on the sound system he had had installed in the office. Raphael liked to think that after years of working together in this room, he had at least some knowledge of the blonde's taste in music. Orchestral, Michael loved the most, especially the songs that featured the cello; it was his favorite instrument, with a range that ventured neither too high nor too low -- "between the levels of 'foghorn' and 'nails on chalkboard'" were his actual words, which had been accompanied by a laugh -- on the musical scale. The last time they had been to Earth, he had purchased quite a few compact discs of Earthian classical music and found a way to convert them into formats that could be played on Eden music systems. He had also taken to the fast-paced style the Earthians termed eurobeat, though he rarely played that here.
What Michael was humming now had a certain lilt that Raphael could only term 'odd.' The beat was fairly fast, though erratic enough that he wasn't even sure it fit the meaning of the word, but the notes seemed to flow together despite that, one right into another. It made for a tune that captivated anyone who listened, with its odd fluidity and odder structure.
The sound of Michael's voice called him back to reality. He did not know when he had stopped working to focus on his partner, but at some point he had. And now Michael was looking at him, a quizzical expression on his face. Raphael shook his head by way of reply and went back to the reports. He did not, however, miss Michael's sunny smile as the blonde went back to his own work.
And back to humming.
Raphael did not know how long it was before the other archangel began to sing.
The humming, he had gotten used to. Michael did it often enough that he could even discern several different tunes. They were all in that same lilting style, but with subtle differences in speed, the succession of notes, or changes in volume. It was still a little difficult to concentrate sometimes, and he learned not to listen too closely, lest all his attention become focused on the songs. No matter how many times he heard them, it was impossible not to get lost in the music.
The first time Michael began to add lyrics, Raphael nearly thought he was muttering to himself. It was only a few words here and there. Sometimes, his partner would stop, stare thoughtfully at the papers in his hand or the computer screen, or he would turn to gaze out the window. It would only be for a moment or two, then he would be back to work and his humming.
The language the blonde used matched the lilt of his songs. Raphael thought it sounded familiar. Perhaps he would have recognized it had he not been keeping himself from listening. It had been hard enough with the mere tunes, but the addition of lyrics seemed to enhance the entrancing quality of the songs.
It did not cross his mind, of course, to ask Michael to stop. And if it ever did, he had probably brushed the thought away and forgot about it. For one thing, he loved to hear his partner's voice, whether it was this soft humming or they were discussing something, or even if Michael was conversing with someone on the video link. For another, his humming was a sign that life was going well enough; if he was silent, which happened when he was stressed or something was bothering him, that was when Raphael worried. And, if anything else, but Raphael did not forget that Michael was still his superior. Even if the difference was not by a very large margin, he never forgot.
He made sure of it.
The sporadic lines and phrases slowly turned into whole verses. Now, Michael more often than not sang to himself. It was always in a quiet voice, almost under his breath sometimes, so soft that it was nothing more than a melodious murmur to Raphael. That did not diminish the music's effect on him if he listened close enough, however.
As each day passed, more and more of mere melodies transformed into words. It fascinated Raphael, this process of composition. He knew Michael had been praised for his musical abilities, back in their school days. However, until now he had never had a chance to witness his partner's talent. He had wondered, once, how much work the blonde put into his songs. Did Michael use an instrument to test out the tunes, or did he work with whatever came up in his head?
A hand lightly brushing against his shoulder startled him out of his thoughts and he looked up to meet the dancing blue eyes of his partner. "Hm?"
"Are you all right?" Michael seemed concerned, though a smile of amusement ghosted across his lips for a second. "You've been zoning out a lot lately. I thought we promised each other no late-nighters unless absolutely necessary."
Raphael looked at the batch of test results on his computer screen for a moment or two before murmuring, "Just thinking."
This drew a laugh. "Ah, I see." Michael leaned over his shoulder and ran a finger down the column of test scores. "We do have a bright bunch this year, don't we? Three sets of perfect scores for one class alone."
He made a noise of agreement, but said nothing. Michael's music had caught him off guard more than he thought and it had not gone unnoticed. His companion was oblivious to the fact that he'd had a hand in that, however, and Raphael did not know what to think about that.
"You should see the scores the twins just sent to me," Michael continued. "I do believe this batch of fledglings are reaching the performance records we set in our days."
It was easy to tell that he was pleased with this.
"They'll surpass those one day, when we're not looking," Raphael replied, smiling. "This calls for a more difficult curriculum."
Michael laughed again as he straightened and returned to his desk. "Because if they had what we did, they would have definitely reset the records, isn't that it?" He paused. "I think my self-assurance level just dropped ten points."
Raphael gave a small chuckle of his own. Michael flashed him one of his cheery smiles before they both went back to work.
Michael came to the office the next day humming a new song.
There was one thing that bothered Raphael, and that was the language Michael sang in. As each song formed, the familiarity of the words continued to nag at him. He knew he should have understood what the blonde was saying, but without devoting some time to listening closely, there was little chance that the translation would just come to him.
He spent a week getting ahead on various paperwork that had not been classified as high-priority, adding it to what usually came in everyday. Michael left the office before him during this time, but did not comment on the oddity of it. For this Raphael was glad, although he was somewhat sure that his partner knew he left two hours later at the most. The day-to-day things, like progress reports on students or requests from the workers or officials down on Eden, he worried about when they came. It was not so hard to keep up with them, anyway.
He had a set of newly received reports pulled up on his console when Michael came in, and was organizing them by sending locations and the times they had arrived. He greeted the archangel and received a smile in return before they both went to work, as had been their routine for the past few years.
It was difficult even to make it seem as if he was reviewing the list of current assignments and locations of the students of the academy. He had almost forgotten how bewitching Michael's songs could be; for the past weeks, he had been concentrating on not listening and had not thought about the original reason why. His companion did not seem to notice his distraction, however, typing up replies to his daily correspondence and singing away. In a soft voice, of course, so much so that Raphael had some trouble catching the words.
"Il elrah shel'eth tír qën, dun shaldír sen qu sír'al shey
Er sür'ai di shan, dun es'chai min." (1)
Perhaps he could have laughed then, had he been anyone but himself. Instead, Raphael stared hard at his faint reflection in the monitor, willing away the dumbfounded expression that so wanted to show itself right then.
It was an archaic language used in Eden millennia before. Not many had survived through time to this day and a mere handful of them could still be understood. His familiarity with the words had come from the fact that students of the academy were at least introduced to the few languages that could be learned and taught and, among the student body, rudimentary knowledge of one or two had been encouraged. For one thing, this was one of the few institutions with these languages as part of their offered educational courses; the other reason was one that could be viewed as purely selfish, to have a way of communication with others in which understanding was limited to those who had learned the same language.
As it was, Michael had taken up Ilshei during his academy days. Out of personal interest, of course, having been fascinated with the ancient languages in general and this one in particular for its peculiar lilt. Or it could have been the fact that it was the most difficult to learn, thus posing what the blonde had deemed back then as 'an adequate challenge.' However, like with most things, Michael had excelled at it, and was fluent by the end of their schooling days.
Raphael had taken the language, too, at his friend's insistence. While not as versed in it, he knew enough to understand what Michael was singing.
'Wider than the boundless ocean, fiercer than the storms of winter
Strong, unbreakable, more than words could say' (2)
Each song blended into the next, some seamlessly, others not as much. Raphael listened in silence to them, sparing what little attention he could to the work he was supposed to be doing. He had been out of practice in the language, and wasn't as good as his partner was in the first place.
But he knew enough.
The singing stopped and blue, knowing eyes lifted to gaze at him. Michael said nothing, just cocked his head to one side in question, a smile hovering on his lips. Golden curls fell loose from where they had been tucked behind an ear at the movement, but he made no attempt to fix them.
"Are you singing love songs?"
The elusive smile alighted finally, and Raphael almost did not notice the mischievous twinkle in his partner's eyes. Michael's answer was a simple one -- guileless, sincere, telling everything and nothing all at once.
Raphael would not notice for a long time that those songs never, ever left the office.
1: This is gibberish. In case you didn't know. :D
2: Because Michael-sama is cute singing horribly trite lyrics. g This is Raphael-sama's rough translation (though the correct lyrics are still trite pieces of drivel, anyway). Some of it's wrong. You don't need to know which part(s). ;3
Addendum, 091304: Holy crap, I found this piece of drivel while clearing my laptop's hard drive a couple of days ago. When did I write this? No freakin' clue. Apparently, the last time I saved the file was last November. Wow. And this has been lying around my hard drive for-freakin'-ever. Or, well, hot damn, nearly ten months to the day. And I didn't even notice it. O.O So, uh, here you have it. As always, thank you to the readers for giving my writings a chance. And thank you to the reviewers for your ego-boosts, criticisms, whatever you might want to hurl at me-- even the flames. And last but not least...Thank you thank you thank you big fuckin' THANK YOU to Met-kun, who agreed to give this the once-over it needed and finished within a day. (Then again, it wasn't that long to begin with, but it's the principle of the thing... ::grins::)
Oh, and before I forget, you may or may not have noticed that this fic's title has a subtitle. Because it needed one. o.o
Next projected update: Heavenly, of the Gensomaden Saiyuki fandom. Which really needs an update, but K is the most unorganized person she ever did see. And it's somewhere near the end of chapter 2, needs typing up, and needs beta-ing. In fact, I think I'll go crawl off to finish the damn thing. Until next time, guys! Zhai'helleva