Summary: Everything was just in the right place flawlessly. No redundant movements, no pretentious bowing.
Chapter 1: Lento con gran expressione
Letting out a deep sigh, Katsura Hinagiku carried her heavy footsteps to the Student Council Clocktower.
It wasn't like she didn't want to go there, but she hoped to avoid the heavy workload very much. Christmas was coming and the Student Council was instructed to organize a prom for the students. As the president of the Student Council of Hakuo Academy, eventually she was the person-in-charge of everything. And her playful committee members sometimes just weren't that much of a help. For the past week, she felt like yelling at them every time she saw them. Heck, she only had one month left and nothing had been accomplished so far, let along she still had a Final to prepare for a week from now.
Rather than yelling at her friends, it's more like raising her voice to let them know she's serious. She was on very friendly terms with all of them, so probably they knew her personality that every time they would smile apologetically, and she would find it hard to continue on lecturing them. She just couldn't get mad at them, her friends since they were young. The only problem was: if she couldn't order them around properly, how could all the work be done? She had other things to handle too.
That's also what she hated sometimes: people considered her being perfect. Everyone put their trust on her that she found it hard to turn or let them down. Teachers entrusted her by giving extra workload to her, such as handling tutorial classes. Her friends asked her for help and advice on things she did not even have any experience on. Her ambitions in pleasing everyone turned out to be her biggest weakness.
Sighing in defeat, she chose to retreat to the Student Council Clocktower, the tallest building around in the school campus, a symbol of status as Student Council members, and she was very proud of her position. The ancient-looking building had been established for years, and she spent most of her time in Hakou in the tower. Being the role model student in everyone's eyes and idol of all students was not an easy task for a fifteen-year-old. That kind of pressure thrilled her, but it made her wonder, occasionally, whether she's living a real teenager's life. It sounded like she was too occupied with school work that she had no time for leisure at all. Her overwhelming expectations on herself were also too easily notable for people around her. She wanted to keep her image, so as not to disgrace the name of the Student Council president of the most prestigious school around the region. Seeing her classmates going to karaoke together, hanging out in shopping malls without a care or even having had several boyfriends/girlfriends at her age...she couldn't help but envied them.
Leaving the elevator, she reached the top floor of the tower, the Student Council office. One could see the whole academy from the balcony in here. After all, Hakuo Academy was the largest school around the region. The view was always admirable, her colleagues constantly reminded her. The pink-haired was too proud to know that...wrong. Her acrophobia always triumphed no matter how other Student Council members tried to help her overcome this obvious flaw of hers.
Of course, the perfectionist tried to hide this fact from everyone she knew as much as possible. Apart from her close friends and some teachers, others probably knew not about this. Her pride was too high to accept her weakness to be exposed publicly.
Hoping to start her work as soon as possible, the sound of vibrating music notes knocked her senses away. She was startled: as far as she knew, her committee members never showed any interest (or progress) in learning musical instruments. Was it the Chairlady of the school again? That blonde liked to intrude into her favourite spot at times to pick on her, but she doubted if the Chairlady would come just to play the violin. Finding it suspicious, she tiptoed across the room to the source of the sound, the balcony. A lone figure was standing there, moving the bow freely and gently. Judging from the clothes, it seemed like a boy, she figured, but he had unusually girlish features. He was in a white shirt with black trousers, a hanging green tie with diagonal white lines that Hinagiku could instantly tell he was not Hakuo's student. His eyes were closed, oblivious to her intrusion to his performance. His light-blue hair being drifted by the gentle wind, his bang floating in mid-air. He looked certainly familiar, but she could not recall if they had met. Seemingly totally unaware of her presence, the anonymous continued to play his melody, a soft yet emotional tone that captivated her sensitive ears.
She should be enraged, she knew that. A boy appearing in the female-only Student Council room without permission was simply unforgivable, yet she felt no sense of anger from her mind. Rather, she felt attracted to this perfect scene in front of her. She had never seen something like this, with the yellowish-red sky portraying this unknown teenager's tender posture. She found herself mesmerized by each note he voiced with the perfect tuning. Everything was just in the right place flawlessly. No redundant movements, no pretentious bowing. The more she listened, the more she felt like she had listened to this style beforehand.
He waved the bow for the last time on a long fermata in soft vibrato, gradually reducing the intensity with a fluent diminuendo. To her, time just froze.
'Quite charming, don't you reckon?'
The teenage girl jumped in surprise. For a brief second she thought the boy just opened his mouth, but the voice belonged to a female. She turned around to see a blonde in black, as if gothic, dress with curly hair around her age, sitting comfortably on the sofa, sipping what she smelt as English tea. Somehow, she just froze. She was too immersed in the violinist's charm that she completely paid no notice to the sitting girl.
'My,my, even the almighty Student Council president cannot react under the influence of music.' The blonde spoke again, this time in a more teasing tone. Hinagiku blushed and turned her face away. 'I'm not embarrassed, I'm not.' 'I never said you were,' smiled the blonde, and the pink-haired fifteen-year-old found herself even more embarrassed. Whenever she was in such a situation, she would somehow speak her mind out bluntly, making her thinking process known to everyone around.
'And what business does the great Tennosu Athena have in the Student Council Clocktower?' She fought back, not willing to lose a battle in any way.
'What a hot-tempered girl as always, Hina,' the girl named Athena replied shortly, continuing on drinking her tea. 'I am merely showing my friend,' she glanced at the standing figure a few metres away from them from the corner of her eyes, 'around Hakuo Academy, and he said he wanted to see Hakuo from the Clocktower, so I took him up here.
'And then he decided to play a tune,' Athena's dark red orbs landed on the musician who confused over their conversation, but Hinagiku noticed her eyes softened upon looking at the boy, 'whenever he started playing, he deliberately pays no attention to his surroundings.
'Beautiful, isn't it?' Athena put her tea cup on the coffee table, 'Frederic Chopin's Nocturne in C-sharp minor.' The blonde kept her eyes close, ignorant of Hinagiku's accusing glare. Frustrated, the president sighed in defeat.
'I apologize for my intrusion,' the violinist moved towards them and bowed, sounding his entry to their conversation, 'it's a bad habit of mine to play whenever I just feel like so.'
As their eyes met, Hinagiku got to observe his features more carefully. He did have a girlish face. His mid-length light-blue hair was just appropriate to give a clean appearance. His tall figure gave off a sense of charisma that any girl would easily fall for. And his eyes that shared the same colour as his hair, sparkled even without the portraying sunlight. Judging from his features, he should be around her age. However, his blue eyes looked abnormally sad, the pink-haired noted. She gave out a sigh.
'It's not like I can object to the Chairlady's decision anyway.' She put her bag on the coffee table. Athena looked amused. The usual Hinagiku would argue for a while before retreating to defeat. 'Are you a transfer student? I don't remember any teacher mentioning there will be one though.'
'No, actually,' he continued, 'I am a student in Shiomi High School, but I have been friends with A-tan for long.'
'A-tan?' she looked questionably at the only possible person in the room, and found Athena hitting the boy in the head. 'Don't call me that in front of other, Hayate!' She shouted, blushing embarrassingly. 'Didn't I tell you about this before?'
Shocked, Hinagiku could only blink as a teardrop almost fell from his eye. 'But A-tan, what's wrong with calling you that?'
The blonde simply hit him again, acknowledging the fact that this boy had no sense of others' feelings sometimes. 'Anyway,' her face was still red when she turned to Hinagiku. 'I forgot to introduce: I've known him for ten years, you can say we're childhood friends.' Somehow, Hinagiku's instinct told her it's more than that, but she dropped the thought.
The boy smiled apologetically to the pink-haired fifteen-year-old as Athena gave him a cold glare. He quickly shifted his bow to his left hand, which was also holding his violin, and stretched out his right hand towards her. 'Ayasaki Hayate,' he stated calmly with a smile, 'nice to meet you, Katsura Hinagiku-san.'