A/N: I has a livejournal but the community has too many rules. If I don't feel like updating for two months, I shan't!

Theme 15: Radio/ Cassette player.


The Dark Ace held no illusions.

He strode purposefully towards the throne room, and even if he didn't know the paths by heart he would have been able to find it by ear alone. Pulsing music coursed through the veins of the stronghold, blaring out of every speaker, wailing guitars and drums. He, the fallen Sky Knight, ignored the many salutes he received as he passed the lower ranking Talons, barely contained anger radiating from his blood-red eyes. They winced, trying to ignore the music assaulting their ears, and tried to go about their daily routines.

The Dark Ace knew what he was.

He held intelligence beyond that of the cruel cunning of a petty thug, and with it came a human self-awareness. He knew that betrayal- his desertion from the Sky Council of Atmos, his joining with the likes of Ravess, Snipe, and of course Cyclonis, the careless way he threw his knighthood away and ruthlessly murdered the greatest Sky Knight squadron that ever was and ever will be- he knew it was "evil", according to the many religions, codes of honor, needless morals that normal people burdened themselves with. He knew he had a deadly temper, quite literally. He would turn upon his own Talons in a rage when things were at their worst.

But this…

This act transcended everything he'd ever done.

He stood in front of the automatic doors, which did not open for him. Muted, he could hear the very source of the disruption, the heart where cables connected to let the rest of the stronghold listen as well. The fact that they were songs from his private record collection only threw fuel on the fire. Kicking open the doors to the throne room, he was almost thrown back by the intensity of the music, unable to even hear himself breath, hear nothing but the pounding in his head.

He found his master exactly where he had left her a few hours ago, before he flew off on another mission. The only difference about the teen aged Queen of Cyclonia was that now, she held the Dark Ace's first love in her arms. One pale hand rested on the long, graceful neck of his girl and the other on her body, fingers roaming along her delicate curves.

Cyclonis had left her cape discarded on the floor. Angry as he was, he managed to sidestep the moving spikes that adorned the neck. They coiled and uncoiled as thought confused, not sure whether to take the shape of a hood or curve out from the neck in a deadly fringe

"The Dark Ace. What a pleasant surprise," Cyclonis said in her girlish, whispering voice, and miraculously the music stopped. His ears rang, but he could hear her clearly. See her clearer than ever, fondling his girl, after having stolen her from his quarters along with a sizable amount of his records. "I didn't expect you back for some time, servant."

She smirked, as though she wasn't holding the Dark Ace's love in her loose embrace. He managed to bare his teeth in a matching grin, not allowing his often-troublesome master to get under his skin. Not this time. Show your military training, soldier. This is enemy tactics at its prime.

"That's my guitar," he finally said. "And those were my records you were just playing."

Cyclonis cocked one eyebrow up, glancing down at the instrument that hung at her waist from a strap that wound around her shoulders, across her back. It was a beautiful, sleek, black thing. She plucked at a few of the strings, a hesitating melody, and he winced at his prized Robin being mishandled so. Not many people knew the Dark Ace could play an instrument- when they think of Cyclonian music, they generally thought of his co-worker, Ravess, who was a violinist without peer.

"I decided to give your music a try," she responded, cool as always. "Perhaps to get a better insight on my most enigmatic servant. I'm making copies as we speak."

"If you wanted my records, Master, all you had to do was ask."

"And miss you barging in here like a deranged cow?" She hit a sour note and blinked in surprise at the guitar, twisting the tuning pegs a bit until the sound rang out clear as a bell. "Not likely."

"I nearly had a heart attack when I saw them all missing."

"Well, you are getting on in years." Idly, she plucked at the strings of his guitar a bit more.

The Dark Ace had to physically restrain himself from lunging at her and ripping Robin from her grasp so that he could clutch it protectively close to his chest. He had a different sort of temper than the girl- while she let hers slowly build up like the snowfall that eventually erupts as an avalanche, his was a raging inferno of emotion and easily-slighted ego. Clenching his fist, he grinned wider, because there really was nothing else he could do. "I suppose you have an explanation for this act of thoughtless teenager behavior?" he asked.

"Now, now, my dear. Who said this was thoughtless?" She waved her finger in the air like an adult reprimanding a child, sprawled out on her throne in civilian clothing. He wondered where her battle suit was- wondered what possessed his master to act in such a way. "There was a problem. And this was the most amusing solution."

In spite of himself, even though he wanted to remain angry with her, he found himself wondering what was the story behind this. "...Amusing?" he asked, unable to hide his curiosity.

"Yes. Ravess was practicing that ridiculous song on her violin... again." The teen's eyes narrowed, her lips pressed thinly together in distaste. Shaking her head, she continued. "So rather than go through the messy business of forbidding her to play on pain of pain, I decided that she simply needed to stop of her own accord." A delighted, shark-like grin lit up her face. "If Ravess can play her music, the Dark Ace surely should be allowed to as well. I drowned her out quite effectively with some of your more obscene albums, and I saw her carrier ship leave abruptly not too long ago with a half-baked excuse. Going on patrol, or something."

A surprised laugh escaped from his mouth before he could control himself. He never kept his dislike for his fellow Cyclonians a secret- especially Ravess and her brother, Snipe. "I think of all the diabolical plans you've ever concocted, Master, that was the best."

She set the guitar aside, shrugging carelessly. "Oh, I know. And after she was long gone, I decided to keep the music going so you'd know exactly where to find your missing records."

"With you?"

"No, Dark Ace." She stared at him in disbelief. "With the Sky Council." He only twisted his mouth in a frown, eyebrows both rising up into his dark fringe of hair. She sighed, irritably. "Of course with me. Now are you going to teach me how to play this contraption or not?"

"You seem to be doing just fine, Master. For a beginner."

"Well, I can't stand it when someone knows something I don't. If you ever want this guitar back, you'll have to teach me how to play as well as you do."

Sighing in defeat, he walked up to his master, who was standing now with the guitar strap back over her shoulder and a determined look on her face. He knew it was no use to tell her had been playing for over twenty years- since he was younger than her- and that it might just take her that long to get to the same level of mastery. Then again… he let his eyes roam over to her crystal station, where her latest projects were still waiting to be completed. She did have a complete understanding of crystals, a subject considered to be difficult at best. Such a genius shouldn't have too much trouble learning a new instrument. It would be like a duck to water.

Standing behind her, he put his arms over her bony shoulders and gripped her hands, placing them in the right form on the guitar. "Your thumb shouldn't be so high," he said, "Otherwise you'll have to stretch the fingers of your left hand further in order to reach the right chords."

"I see." From his vantage point, all he could see was the sharp profile of her face partially behind a thick veil of black hair, her violet eyes trained on his hands. She always got like this when something new was being taught to her. She absorbed it.

"I noticed you playing earlier- you seemed to have gotten the right sounds by trial and error, but you don't know the proper names for the chords, do you? So you can't read music sheets in case you want to learn a song. Here…" He pried her fingers loose from their death grip around the neck, pressing some of them against the strings.

"What are those little divisions along the neck called?" she wanted to know.

"Frets. They affect the way the notes come out, making them higher or lower, et cetera."

"I see," she said again, this time smiling thinly. Turning around in his arms, she planted a kiss on his cheek. "You're being very helpful to me, servant. I don't know what I'd do without you."

"Die," he said without much interest, still focused on the guitar. "Now hush, and let me teach you."

She scoffed. "Yes, Master," Cyclonis intoned, rolling her eyes.