The Classical Side of Love

Summary: MO/MH AU. Shizuru is the second violinist in the famous string quartet Elysium. As the group ends their tour, they meet one of their biggest fans, Kuga Natsuki. However unlike any typical fan, Natsuki has never been concerned with what her idols actually look like, since all she ever cared about is the music.

AN: The group Elysium is based off of the British string quartet Bond. If you don't know who they are, I strongly urge you to check them out, believe me, they are amazing! Also a lot of the songs I will refer to in this comes from them.

Also I haven't given up on My Musume, but rather I just want to work on something less dramatic and angst filled. LOL. ;)

Disclaimer: I don't own the series Mai HiME or Mai Otome, Sunrise does. Also I do not own the song Dream a Dream by Charlotte Church and Billy Gram, and any of the songs referenced belongs to their perspective owners.

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Prologue

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Sleeping softly in a plush bed, surrounded by teddy bears and plush doggies, a small child hugged a plush wolf as she slept. Her golden blonde hair reflected the hallway lights as the door to her room was slightly ajar. Smiling in her sleep, the young six year old child snuggled closer to the large plush wolf. She was content in her dreams, resting peacefully until the other occupants of the house started yelling, causing the girl to wake with a start.

"You will respect me as your father!" A deep voice of boomed, and startled the little girl awake. Clutching the wolf doll tighter, blue eyes darted around her room wildly.

"The hell I will! You're not my father!" the voice of a young girl shouted back. It was her older sister. Gasping, the six year old on the bed quickly moved from the warm covers and dashed to the open door.

She heard her father yell back, "Damn right I'm not your father! He left your mother when she was three months pregnant with you!" They were arguing again. Hugging the stuffed toy wolf tighter, blue eyes began to tear up. They were always fighting lately, ever since Mommy got into a car accident two months ago and had to stay in the hospital.

"We were doing fine with out you!" The voice of her sister shouted in frustration. There was the sound of a loud 'thud.' It was probably her sister throwing things at their father again, as she did that when she was frustrated. Feeling dread creep into the pit of her stomach, the little girl pushed the door open, intent on rushing to her sister's side. However when she opened the door, she was stopped in her tracks as her guardian blocked her path.

Looking up pleadingly into dark crimson eyes, the little girl's lip quivered as she tried not the cry. "Miyu, father and Onee-chan are fighting again!"

"You ungrateful child!" a loud slap echoed through out the house. "You were nothing but a bastard child, and I took you in!" Blue eyes widened in fear as the little girl heard the scuffle take place downstairs. Tears were streaming down her eyes as the six year old tried to push past Miyu again.

The effort was in vain as the cyan haired woman knelt down, and hugged the little girl to keep her from going downstairs. "You mustn't go downstairs Alyssa-Ojou-sama."

"I don't need you! I don't need to take your shit!" The front door slammed open against the wall. Alyssa struggled to break free of the embrace and run to her sister, but she was too small, and too weak, to overpower her guardian.

"Natsuki! If you walk out that door, don't you dare come back!" the voice of the only man in the house shouted from downstairs. Miyu held Alyssa tight as she sobbed, and repeatedly pounded her little fist on the cyan haired woman's shoulder. It was hard for Miyu, but she was charged to protect Alyssa.

"Screw you bastard!" Natsuki's frustrated voice yelled back as the front door slammed shut.

"Onee-chan! Onee-chan! Miyu let me go! Oneeeee-chan! Oneeeeeee-chaaaaaan!" Crying hard and yelling for her sister loudly, Alyssa refused to be comforted as she continued to struggle against Miyu. She did not know if her sister could hear her, and so she yelled louder. Alyssa yelled and cried for her Onee-chan, but her sister did not return. Instead her father came up the stairs and looked at his sobbing child sadly.

"Alyssa-chan, why are you crying?" His blue eyes looked at the sobbing girl as he spoke softly to his daughter. However his little girl, the one that looked so much like him, did not, and would not, stop calling for her sister. The blonde man sighed as he watched his daughter cry herself to exhaustion. He had tried to comfort Alyssa too, but she had pushed him away. Not knowing what else to do, he turned tired blue eyes the cyan haired woman. "Miyu, please take care of her tonight." He did not wait for her acknowledgement, as he knew he could count on Miyu not leaving his daughter's side.

Alyssa did not see her father walk away, as she was still clutching Miyu tightly, too tired to struggle free. "Onee-chan…*hic*…Onee..*sniff*…chan…*hic, hic*…Onee-chaann…*sniff*" although her cries were muffled by Miyu's embrace, Alyssa never stopped calling out for her sister.

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Chapter One

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Sitting on plush chairs, five beautiful women sat gracefully as they waited for the camera man to signal the start of the live broadcast. The man operating the large camera signaled three seconds with his finger…two…one. The red light atop the camera flashed on as the host of the show turned in his chair and smiled handsomely at the camera. "Welcome back to the Earl's Morning Show. You just saw an exclusive performance by Earl's sensational string quartet, Elysium playing one of their hits, Duel. I'm your host, Rei Kanzaki, with special guests Elysium."Applause rang out as the camera panned out from the host to capture the five beautiful guests. "Starting from the left, allow me to introduce you lovely ladies to our audience, and those of you just tuning in."

Turning in his chair, Rei Kanzaki motioned to the young woman with stylishly chaotic rust brown hair. Tilting her glasses up a bit, the young woman smiled at the camera. "We have Yukino Chrysant, age: 21, from our very own Windbloom City. She plays the Viola, and I must say: you do a very good job at it. To her left, we have Chie Hallard on Cello. Also from Windbloom City, she's currently 21." Chie gave a boyish grin and wink at the camera before the lens moved on to the tallest of the group.

Sweeping back chocolate brown hair and smiling seductively at the camera, lavender eyes sparkled playfully. "Anh Lu from An Nam. I understand you play the First Violin, and you've recently turned 23 too. From everyone here at Earl's Morning Show, we'd like to wish you a happy birthday." The host earned a flirtatious wink and thank you from Anh, before he turned to the last two seated women closest to him. "We also have Shizuru Fujino from Zipang, on the Second Violin. I believe you're to turn 22 later this year." Seeing a polite nod from the chestnut haired woman, the handsome man turned to his last guest, the one sitting closest to him.

"And finally, Elysium's poster child, and Earl's favorite singer, The Golden Angel: Alyssa Kruger!" Smiling indulgently at the youngest guest, the talk show host leaned atop his desk as he spoke to the young blonde child. "So tell me Alyssa-chan, you've recently turned 10, and you've been on tour with Elysium for almost a year now. How does it feel to be so far away from the Aries Republic?"

Smiling up at the older man, and chuckling at the way the light reflected off of his bald head, Alyssa nodded to the camera. "Well Rei-san, I have to admit I do miss home a bit, but I love touring with Elysium."

Nodding at the girl's polite answer, Rei turned to Anh Lu. "Anh tell me, as the leader of this amazing group, what possessed you to choose Alyssa-chan to be the group's vocalist?"

Smiling playfully at the host, and turning slightly in her seat, Anh answered sweetly. "Well Rei-kun, we first discovered Alyssa-chan's vocal talent when she was only seven. We were on tour three years ago, and did a special performance at the Aries Musical Academy. Alyssa-chan was only in the choir then, but she practically blew us away! I have never before seen such raw talent. Alyssa-chan was literally a 'Golden' child with her voice. She can duplicate any voice type, and reach any pitch. Alyssa-chan is a genius when it comes to singing, and we just had to have her join our group." Anh winked at the youngest member of their group as Alyssa stared at her in embarrassment.

Gathering herself quickly, the blonde ten year old cast a cheeky smile at Anh. "Why Anh-onee-chan, I'm flattered. And here I thought you wanted me in your group because I was cute." Everyone laughed at the little joke, as it was common knowledge Anh Lu was a play girl.

"Well I personally, would rather buy a CD with Alyssa-chan's cute face on it, than Anh's." Chie smirked handsomely as she twirled a blue rose around her fingers.

"Hahaha, Chie you're so silly! However I suppose you do have a point. Alyssa isn't Earl's 'Golden Angel' for nothing." Smiling at the handsome woman, Anh leaned against Chie to covertly jab at the younger woman's ribs. The crowd didn't notice a thing, which made Anh's smile widen with glee. Chie on the other hand quirked a pain filled grin, but otherwise made no further comment.

"True, true," Rei agreed as he steered the conversation back to topic. "Okay ladies, we have here a few questions that all of Earl has been wondering about. The first one comes from a loyal viewer in the United Kingdom of Lutecia. He writes: 'Elysium is my favorite Neo-Classical group. I've been a fan since the debut of the group, and I can't get enough of you ladies! How do you girls manage to stay together, when other musical groups fall apart?'"

Feeling a light nudge to her ribs again, Chie casts a sidelong glance towards Anh. The brunette smirked, and looked away. A little annoyed, Chie cleared her throat and looked directly at the anchorman. Giving a dazzling smile, the carbon haired woman spoke. "It's simple really, Kanzaki-san. We love what we do, and we have fun doing it. I think for us, one of the factors of our success, is that we've all been friends since middle school." The other group members nodded, except Alyssa who smiled politely as she watched Chie continue to talk. "You see, Yukino, Anh, Shizuru and I, all attended Windbloom's Academy of Music and Arts, and although Anh and Shizuru are older than Yukino and myself, we attended the same after class activities and clubs. Elysium has been around for a little over three years, but our group has been together for almost a decade! We just love what we do, and we do what we love. It's just that simple."

The entire group nodded in agreement, and Rei smiled as he shuffled through the note cards with various questions. "Ten years! That is truly impressive. Okay, here's another question from a long distance fan, from all the way out in Aswad. She writes: 'The people in my village absolutely love your music! Do you think Aswad will ever be apart of your tour someday?'"

Hearing the village 'Aswad' mentioned, Alyssa instantly sat up straighter and looked to the other members of her group for the pending answer. This was a question Alyssa had posed several times, but she has never received a clear answer. Aswad! Natsuki-Onee-chan is currently living in Aswad village! Feeling her heart beat a little faster, the blonde child eagerly awaited the answer.

Tilting her glasses up, Yukino spoke for the group, as she noticed all eyes looking towards her. "That's a wonderful question, Kanzaki-san. We are very aware of our fans in remote places, like Aswad village, and we—Elysium—are very eager to take our tour to Aswad village and other cities in the near future. We had never in our wildest dreams thought we would be so widely favored, and we only have you fans to thank for that. Thus every year our tour expands, as we perform in new cities and villages. It is simply our way of thanking the support we've received by you wonderful fans."

"Indeed!" Chie leaned on Yukino to enter the camera frame. "We love each and every one of you fans out there, and we can't wait to visit you in your hometowns and cities. If we didn't get to visit you this year, we'll try our best to see you next year!"

"Ara, ara…it is a shame that our tour will end next weekend. However, as always our next tour will begin again soon. Please wait till then, ne?" The chestnut haired woman smiled charmingly, and winked at the camera.

It was not often Shizuru openly flirted on camera, or even spoke for that matter, so it was a real treat to all those in hearing range of the sensual accent, and caused many to blush or pass out. Rei Kanzaki however did not blush, but his ears turned a little red. "Ah, it seems that we're out of time." Rei spoke hurriedly as he noticed his camera man had passed out from Shizuru's flirtatious wink. "Thank you for your time, Alyssa-chan, Fujino-san, Lu-san, Hallard-san, and Chrysant-san." Flashing a toothy smile, Rei turned to the camera, "That was one of the Neo-Classical leading groups: Elysium. You heard it here first, on Earl's Morning Show. I'm your host, Rei Kanzaki. Thank you for watching." Holding his smile until the red light atop the camera died out, Rei sighed as he palmed his bald head.

"Thank you again ladies, it really means a lot to me that you appeared on my show first thing on your return to Windbloom City." Rei bowed deeply from his seat behind the desk.

Waving her hand as if to shoo away a fly, Anh chuckled, "Not at all, Rei-kun. What kind of friends would we be if we didn't show up for your program? Besides, I think you should thank your little brother, as he is out current manager."

"Oh Anh-san, your implication wound me so." Chuckling, a tall handsome man walked to the set. His straight black hair lightly falling into his golden eyes as he smiled at the five seated woman, "You all did wonderful. Now as promised, you have the rest of the day off. Please enjoy being back in Windbloom City. Oh, and don't forget to be back at the studio tomorrow morning at five o'clock. We have a photo shoot at Kala Mountain, and we don't want to be late for the first train out, it'll be a three hour ride, so you can sleep on the way."

Smile never faltering, Reito watched his charges groan at the thought of an early train ride. It was a sympathetic smile. After a round of 'yes Reito's and 'later Reito-kun', the young man watched as his four charges wave goodbye before heading out for a well deserved day off.

After ten minutes, the stage was cleared off, and the lights were dimmed, Reito noticed he was left with the youngest and newest member of their group. Sitting by herself, Alyssa stared at her polished black ballet shoes for a long moment, as if in her own world and unaware of her surroundings. Reito's hazel eyes looked around for the mysterious Miyu, and found the guardian standing watch in the distance. Not knowing what else to do, Reito Kanzaki approached the Golden Angel. "Alyssa-chan, are you alright?"

Looking up at Reito's clam face, Alyssa quirked a smile, "Reito-onii-chan, is it true? Will we really visit Aswad Village next tour?"

Seeing the hope in bright blue eyes, Reito kneeled in front of the ten year old. "It's hard to say Alyssa-chan. Aswad Village is in the middle of the desert, and not very many sand cruisers go there. It would be difficult for Elysium to go there on tour." Although he spoke gently and softly, Alyssa sill turned her head down, and her eyes beginning to water. Reito knew that Alyssa had been asking to go to Aswad Village as a tour spot since she joined the group three years ago. However they just couldn't get the transportation to the remote village, as it was almost impossible to reach the secluded area. Placing a gentle hand on Alyssa's tiny shoulder, Reito smiled warmly at the girl. "I tell you what, Alyssa-chan. If we end this year's tour really well, I'll personally take you to Aswad Village with Miyu-san." Seeing Alyssa's bright smile, and happy hope filled eyes, Reito felt like it was the best decision he had made all year. He smiled a little wider.

"You promise?" Alyssa tentatively asked as she rubbed her hands together. When she saw his firm nod, she leapt for joy, and hugged Reito tightly. "Thank you!" Smiling happily, Alyssa quickly dashed off to tackle hug Miyu's legs as she excitedly told her guardian of the promise. Miyu's red orbs eyed the handsome manager critically, and seeing no fraud in him, smiled gratefully at Reito. Nodding her head in thanks, Miyu lifted Alyssa in her arms and carried the Golden Angel off the set.

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Natsuki Kruger smiled as she tapped her foot along with the tempo of the classical music blaring on her headset. She was busy at the shop, Aswad Motors, working on a damaged car. The vehicle was in an accident, and the passenger side needed to be completely remodeled. Easy stuff. Turning the volume up a bit as Duel by Elysium began to play; the blue haired mechanic twirled a wrench in her hands as she began to work.

Although she was the only person working at the garage at the moment, she still wore her headset, preferring the quality of the little buds to the stereo. It also allowed her the freedom to get lost in the music as she worked. Hearing the dueling violins challenge each other, Natsuki grinned, the music was truly beautiful.

Natsuki only recently became a fan of the group because her sister Alyssa had sent her a copy of the disk a year ago. At first Natsuki only listened to the first song on the disk, and didn't care for the music. Thus the shiny new CD rested in her tent at Aswad Village for months untouched, until her friend Erstin saw it, and asked to borrow it.

Erstin loved the CD so much she kept it for months, never returning it since the younger girl was addicted to listening to it. Then by chance Natsuki heard the last track on the disk as she was passing by Erstin's tent. She instantly recognized Alyssa's voice as she sung 'Dream a Dream,'and demanded to see the disk again. By that time the only thing left of the compact disk's case, was the disk, as everything else was lost in the last sand storm that ripped through the village a few months prior. There was no disk jacket, no list of lyrics, or booklet and usually comes along with a music CD, just the group's name and track titles that were printed on the disk.

The only thing Natsuki knew about the CD was that it was a string quartet called Elysium, and Alyssa sang the vocals. It was the only real thing that Natsuki cared about, and the only reason why she listened to the group. It was because she missed Alyssa—having not seen her little sister for almost four years—that finally allowed Natsuki to connect to the music. Now one year after receiving the music disk, the cobalt haired mechanic continued to listen to the old CD to be reminded of her little sister that she misses dearly.

With the music on endless loop, an hour passed by unnoticed, and the passenger side door was almost complete. Finishing up reinstalling the glass window, Natsuki was unaware of a taller redhead sneaking up on her. Midori wore a playful grin as she tiptoed closer to the working mechanic. Reaching out a quick hand, the older woman pulled the wire connecting Natsuki's white ear buds from the music player. She instantly got Natsuki's attention, as the younger girl whirled around with a screwdriver in hand, gripping the tool like a club.

"The hell?!" the young mechanic shouted as she was determined to kill her boss. Emerald eyes glared into playful lime green orbs for a moment, before turning away. It was better to not instigate the taller woman when she was in such a playful mood. Natsuki had learned the hard way, and after four years of being tutored by the genius mechanic Midori, Natsuki had long ago learned her tutor was too playful. Sighing to herself, Natsuki huffed in annoyance. "What do you want Midori?"

Used to the gruff nature, and killer glare of her employee, Sugiura Midori chuckled. "You know Natsuki-chan, its 6 o'clock. We've been closed for over an hour now." Smiling as she watched the younger girl process the information, the redhead stretched. Grinning as she felt a few tired bones pop, Aswad Motors' owner lazily motioned for Natsuki to follow her. "Come on, the night is still young! Let's go drinking together! I've found this neat place, they do Karaoke there too; it'll be fun."

Signing at the tall redhead's cheerful mood, the lone mechanic tossed the screwdriver into the tool box, "Thanks, but I'll pass," she replied as she made her way towards the locker rooms to change.

"Aw, you're no fun Natsuki-chan! C'mon, we've been in Windbloom City for almost a week now, and you haven't gone partying with me once! Stop living such a boring life, and live a little!"

Annoyed that her long time fired called her life boring, Natsuki continued to head towards the changing room, emitting a low growl. "Shut up. Why would I want to waste my time and money by going to some stupid Karaoke bar with you and Youko? That's just dumb." Pushing the door open, the emerald eyed woman didn't see Midori's smirking face. It was a long day, but it didn't bother Natsuki too much as she often gets lost in the work and the music. Although Aswad Motors was a new branch in Windbloom, and thus much slower than the main branch in Aswad, the week that they have been in the city, they were busy. Aswad Motors is a very elite mechanic repair shop, and many have heard tails of the great Sugiura Midori, as she is one of the best mechanics throughout Earl. So the few days that the garage was open, Midori, Natsuki, and the three other employees were busy.

Opening up her blue locker, Natsuki grunted as she stripped out of the messy oil-stained gray jumpsuit. Tossing the dirty suit into her bag to wash later, Natsuki changed into her street clothes and washed up at the small sink before heading out of the locker room. Dressed in simple old, faded blue jeans, a black tank top, and worn sneakers, the young mechanic padded out of the building, and into the cool evening air of Windbloom city.

Midori was waiting for Natsuki by the door, and locked up behind the raven haired girl. It was only a little past six o'clock, but it was still bright out. Emerald eyes looked to the sky for a moment before darting around the small parking lot. It was empty save Midori's custom four wheeler, the Gakutennou. The Gakutennou was a beautiful machine, and a powerful ride. With its four wheels, it allows the rider the ability to tread any terrain, from the urban streets of Windbloom City, to the sandy mounds of Aswad. In all the years Natsuki has spent working with Midori, she has yet to see a terrain the Gakutennou could not tread.

Sighing wistfully at the impressive all-terrain-vehicle, Natsuki turned on her heel and started walking down the street to the bus stop. "See you around, Midori." Natsuki yelled back to her employer over the purr of Gakutennou's engine.

"Need a ride, Natsuki-chan?" the taller redhead asked as she eyed her favorite employee walk down the streets of Windbloom city. Although it was not dark yet, and it was a warm summer evening, the older woman was still concerned about the girl.

Not bothering to turn around, Natsuki replied as she readjusted her messenger bag. "Nah. The last time I accepted a ride from you, I ended up at a night club and had to lug your drunk-ass home. I'll pass, it's a nice evening."

Midori chucked as she donned her helmet, and revved Gakutennou's engine again before she peeled out of the deserted parking lot after the walking mechanic. "Darn, it seems like you've seen through my plot!" Midori joked, and they both shared a laugh as the Gakutennou kept pace with the walking mechanic. "But you know; things would be a lot easier if you would just move in with Youko and me. That way you wouldn't have to spend so much money on rent, and you could afford that engine you wanted for your bike. I see it as a win-win solution."

Sighing heavily, Natsuki sent a sidelong glance to the Gakutennou and its rider. "I'm doing fine on my own, thanks." Even though the offer was really the best and most logical solution, Natsuki would never impose on Midori and Youko like that. She already owed a lot to Midori and Youko for their kindness, so she didn't want to bother them more than she needed to. Natsuki was much too proud to do that. She was after all, the daughter of the former President of the Aries Republic: Saeko Kruger.

Releasing an exasperated breath, Midori shrugged. "Well if you ever need anything—anything at all—call me. You know I'm here for you, right?" Seeing the younger woman nod, but kept on walking, Midori sighed, they had reached the bus stop already. "Got any plans for the weekend?"

Standing at the curb, waiting for the bus to arrive, Natsuki adjusted her messenger bag absentmindedly. "I was thinking I'd go to Kala Mountain. Nina's dad owns an ore mine over there, and they said I could pick up a few kilos of the stuff if I want it. It's a great offer since I would be saving money by cutting out the middleman. I just have to go into the mine and get it myself."

"I don't know Natsuki, that doesn't sound like a good idea. I heard the people working for Nina-chan's dad were on strike. Who would be there to guide you? You could get hurt by yourself down there. Or worse, you could meet one of those crazy people that I've heard live up on that mountain." Midori frowned as she regarded Natsuki's stoic profile.

Shrugging her employer's concern off, Natsuki kicked at a pebble by her foot. It was five times more expensive living in Windbloom City than in the Aswad Village, and although they've only been in the city for a week, Natsuki had already spent 5,000 Riels for her apartment, utilities, food, and other supplies. Almost half of the money she had saved and earned for the past four years was spent in a week. It was crazy, and very frustrating. That money Natsuki was saving to build her very own custom motorcycle—one that would surpass the Gakutennou—and be worth the time and effort Natsuki had put into saving up for it. So far she only had most of the frame built, but she still needed custom tires and the metal to build the engine. For that she needed the ore from the mine on Kala Mountain.

This was a great opportunity, as it would be cheaper to take the ore to be purified by a blacksmith and cast the parts she needed, than to buy the specialty parts that would cost ten times as much from a third party company. It made more sense to Natsuki to just risk the slim chance of danger and get the ore herself, than to have to pay an outrageous price for a few parts of the engine she was going to build herself.

"I'll be fine on my own, and besides, if I run into any trouble, I'll call." Natsuki's answer didn't sit well with Midori, but before she could say anything, the bus pulled up to the curb, and Natsuki boarded. "Take care, and tell Youko I said: 'hi.'" That was the last thing the young mechanic said as the doors shut behind her. Midori could only nod as she watched the public transportation vehicle pull away. Sighing to herself, the redhead revved the engine once more, and headed home.

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It was a little late when Shizuru had finished her most of her personal errands. Smiling softly as she drove, the chestnut haired woman parked in front of a large music store. Large red letter in neon lights stylishly displayed the store's name: HiME Instruments. Stepping out of the fancy sports car, Shizuru entered the large three story building. The whoosh of the automatic doors sent a breeze of cool air pass the famous musician. High heels clicked along the polish tiled floor of the establishment as Shizuru made her way into the mostly empty store. It was a little past seven, and only a few patrons and sales associates were lingering around as it was close to closing time.

Walking past the many display unites of organs and pianos, a soft melody lingered in the air. It was a melancholy tune, one Shizuru had never heard before. Feeling mildly curious, but knowing she had little time before the shop closed to get her needed bow string, Shizuru quicken her steps from the piano and keyboard department, to the string instruments section of the building. There she found Irina Woods standing at the counter, leaning over the polished glass case of violas. The girl's wire rimmed glasses were reflecting the overhead lights in a blinding glow, as the short red head stood motionless facing the piano department.

Tiling her head, Shizuru regarded her long time acquaintance for a few moments. Although she was standing close to the counter, only a few feet away, a more attentive person would have already noticed the chestnut haired woman's approach. Irina however, was too caught up in whatever it was she was looking at to notice she had a patron. Turning her head to the side, Shizuru followed the clerk's gaze and saw a lone pianist. The person sitting at a polished black grand piano was the one that played the melancholy tune. From where Shizuru stood, she could see the profile of the girl as she played with a passion that captivated the viewer. From the pianist's active hands as they stroked each key, to the way raven hair fell like an inky waterfall, to the girl's serene posture. Everything was breath taking.

All too soon the melody finished, and contrary to the music's soft slow tune, the pianist stood abruptly, as if she was caught doing something wrong, and closed the lid to the keyboard with an audible clunk. The noise caused Irina to jerk up as she snapped back to reality, and looked wildly around her. She noticed Shizuru then, and with a blush greeted her friend. "Ah, Shizuru-san, when did you get here?"

As Shizuru's gaze shifted from the back of the pianist's black tank top to the clerk, ruby eyes did not see a pair of emerald orbs glance at her briefly. "Ara, ara…Irina-han, I've been standing here for quite some time now." Looking back towards the grand piano, Shizuru did not see the raven haired girl, and shrugged in mild disappointment. "Unless you mean, when did I return to Windbloom?"

Used to the gorgeous smile, Irina simply waved the question off with a grin of her own. "Welcome back, Shizuru-san. You look great! So what can I do for you today?

"Thank you, Irina-han, you are most kind. I am in need of a new bow string, please." Shizuru answered calmly as she returned to the business at hand. The mysterious pianist forgotten as Shizuru recalled the purpose of her visit to the music store at such a late hour.

Nodding to her customer and turning back to open the file cabinet, Irina busied herself looking for the appropriate item. "The usual?" A small 'yes' was her reply, as Irina continued to thumb through the organized cabinet. "I saw Elysium's performance and interview on Earl's Morning Show today. You guys looked amazing! Ah, here it is." Turning back to Shizuru, Irina closed the cabinet and moved to the register. "So what are you going to do before the last concert next weekend?"

Placing her purse on the counter, Shizuru smiled politely as the clerk rang up the item. "Ara…Reito-han and Haruka-han were going on about the fans pleading for a group poster or some sort." Although Shizuru spoke with a dejected voice, it was mostly for show, as she was more than amused at the prospect of a group poster. "I suppose it cannot be helped. Elysium has been together for more than three years now, and we have not once submitted a group photo of us for any of our albums."

"It's a wonder anybody recognize you, when it's only Alyssa-chan's pictures is in all of Elysium's albums." Irina chuckled. "The fans finally requested some pictures of the lovely ladies of Elysium eh?"

"More like demanded." Shizuru joked as they both shared a laugh. The purchase was made, and placed in Shizuru's large purse. "Well all I can say is that after the concert next weekend, there will be a special CD with a bonus poster inside." Winking at the girl, Shizuru strolled out of the establishment, waving goodbye to Irina still standing by the counter. She had to get home and rest up, tomorrow would be a big day.

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