Disclaimer: Everything in this series belongs to Kure Yuki, Ruby Party, and Koei.
This is a set of ten drabbles written for a music meme that instructed the writer to put her playlist on shuffle and use only the duration of each song to write the story that goes with it.
Warnings: Spoilers for Ousaki's paths on all the games to date, both mild and not so much. Specifically:
#s 1 and 2 for game 1;
#s 4, 5, and 9 for 2; 9 is based on the omake event unlocked after his ending
#s 6, 7, 8, and 10 for Encore; 10 is based on the omake event unlocked after his ending though the scene has been altered.
In the Space of Ten Melodies
1. seesaw - yasashii yoake
He watched her as she performed on stage for the first time, a redhead in a blue dress with a violin that sang out to every corner of the auditorium. Unaware that his mouth had dropped open slightly, Ousaki Shinobu wondered where in the world this young woman had hidden her talent. Her sound carried him away on sparkling beams of light, and even though he wished to close his eyes to further let the music envelop him he couldn't tear his gaze from her slender form and the flower-laced ribbon in her hair. From the distance to the front row of chairs he could barely make out the trembling in her limbs that indicated her nervousness, but he couldn't understand what she had to fear. Her performance was flawless; one might go so far as to call it magical.
2. The Indigo - Under the Blue Sky
Ousaki was certain he was never going to stop blushing. He hadn't meant to admit the truth while they had been up in the giant ferris wheel together, but it had slipped. Hino really had been cute, and even the dim evening couldn't hide her inner radiance. Still, for him voice the words... He was glad that he had spoken too quietly for her to hear. The telltale flush across his cheeks after she asked if had said something was hidden by that same darkness. Maybe, if he had more courage some day in the future, he would be able to tell her the same thing in a louder voice underneath a daytime sky.
3. Hihara Kazuki - Hajimete no Kimochi
During the time since he had met her, Ousaki realized, Hino had brought out a lot of firsts in him. The need to hear a certain someone play, the longing to spend time with her, the desire to play solely for the sake of another, and there was one more yet that he couldn't quite put his finger on. Whatever it ended up being called, the feeling was strong and it drew him closer to Hino with each passing day. Ousaki had a sneaking suspicion of what the emotion might be, but he kept it secret for the time being.
4. Tezuka Kunimitsu - Road
It hurt to smile when she waved Ousaki off outside the church after the ensemble, but Hino kept a cheerful smile on her face for his sake. The international competition was such a great opportunity for him to grow as a person and as a performer. She knew without a doubt that he would do well, perhaps even place within the top three. It was selfish of her to wish he didn't have to leave the country, and there was no way she would actually tell him that. Ousaki was a caring and selfless individual who wouldn't think twice of sacrificing his happiness for that of someone else. Knowing that, Hino contented herself with his promise of frequent emails.
5. Rachmaninov - Vocalise
A slightly sad calm fell over Ousaki as he looked out his window at the falling snow. The soft flakes drifted slowly to the ground and covered the world in a cold blanket of white, and while the sight brought him peace it also caused loneliness. It made him think of the one he wanted to show the scenery to, the young woman that he wanted so badly to see at that moment. He couldn't continue to put himself through this misery whenever homesickness and longing took hold of him, not when he had a competition he needed to concentrate on. Not enough time had passed to justify the strength of his desire to talk to Hino. He held his cell phone in his hand, finger hovering over the button that would dial her number, and fought internally to justify the call. Just as the pad of his finger brushed against the plastic the screen lit up and a bright melody began to play. Ousaki stared at the caller information for a moment before a gentle smile spread across his face.
6. Tomomasa, Eisen, Suefumi - Tamayura no Shizuku
He told himself that it shouldn't have bothered him as much as it did, having to leave the concert hall because he had been recognized. He did feel badly that Hino's anticipation had been for nothing, but as they stood under an awning to get out of the pouring rain Ousaki allowed himself to direct his pity inward. He hadn't asked for fame after winning the international competition. He wasn't prepared for all the demands people made of him because they recognized his name. Most of all, he didn't want people to intrude on his time alone with Hino now that he finally managed to secure it. The drops clung to his glasses, and as he took them off to wipe the moisture clear his fuzzy vision glanced in her direction and somehow managed to catch the concern on her face.
7. Eric Clapton - While My Guitar Gently Weeps (live cover)
When Hino thought of the possibility that Ousaki might leave her again it brought forth a string of mournful notes from her violin. A nameless melody of sadness lingered in the air as she let her fingers move however they wished. She found it too hard to practice her sheet music for the ensemble when the idea of another separation hung over her head. Instead, she let her feelings for Ousaki color the song her strings sang. She opened her eyes, which had fallen closed as she started to play, and startled when she noticed Ousaki standing before her with tears in his eyes. Her fingers stopped and she numbly brought both violin and bow to her sides just as he stepped forward and reached out a hand to gently brush away the tracks created by her own tears.
8. Fujiwara no Takamichi - Aoba Shigure ni Tatazunde
Ousaki stood back and just listened at first when the school board members began to interrogate Hino about her skills and credibility, but with each disdainful remark he grew a little bit angrier. Who were these people to judge that vibrant young woman and her beautiful music? They, who had purposely refrained from attending the ensemble Hino had led earlier that evening, looked down their noses at her for being a general ed student and an amateur at the violin. While they spoke of how Hino taking on the role of concert mistress would ruin the reputation of the school they didn't realize their blatant elitism degraded the school even more. Unable to take the insults anymore, Ousaki stepped forward and greeted everyone, ready to stand up for Hino and her music.
9. Takahashi Naozumi - Boku wa Hiiro
Nothing made Ousaki feel better than to help out those who needed a helping hand or a smile brought to their faces. It was the reason he volunteered at so many places and often spent his free time playing violin in public places. He would see people with peaceful looks on their faces as they listened to him, and the knowledge that he could provide anyone with a moment of serenity made his efforts more than worthwhile. He shared in their joy and smiled right back as adults thanked him or children waved exhuberantly before they ran off toward their parents. Yes, he thought as he closed his eyes for a moment, nothing beat the feeling of making others happy.
"Good work today, Ousaki-senpai!"
Ousaki opened his eyes and turned to where Hino looked up at him with a bright smile on her face. A rush of emotion ran through him at her sweet expression and he had to amend his thoughts. Perhaps one thing was higher on the list of things that made him feel good.
10. Tsukimori Len - Tsuki no Kakera
It took all of Hino's will to keep her emotions in check when Ousaki followed his applause to her performance with a song of his own. Knowing that his sound, his violin, he himself were leaving for Vienna again tinged every note with a bittersweetness that made her heart clench within her chest. There were so many things that she wanted to say, pieces she wished to play for him, but none of that would happen anytime soon.
"Hino-san..." Ousaki had finished while she stood lost in thought and watched her, puzzled. As if the words were written on her face, or perhaps because he could read her thoughts, he raised his bow once more. "We still have a few more minutes. Would you care to play a duet with me?"
Surprise left Hino unable to answer except to nod as she picked up her violin and readied herself. They began on Ousaki's count, and the notes spoke without words and expressed all that they both longed to say.