A/N: So if you're reading "To Love a Beast" I sincerely have to apologize. The plot bunnies came for this story and would not stop coming, so it's probably going to have to be put on hold. XD But the good news is that you get a brand new story from me! This was inspired by "Magnet." Of course, the Rin and Len version, since that's the only one I listen to. ;) Once again, I mention that they are not twins and are, in fact, reflections. Anyway, I hope you enjoy!
Chapter 1: Thrill
"Is going to parties all these cretins do?" Len Kagamine thought to himself as he stepped out of his horse-drawn carriage.
He had no room to complain, however, because he was the very type of "cretin" he despised. After looking after his parents, who had already gone ahead of him, dressed in lavish clothing, he brushed and straightened his very own fancy garb. How troublesome. Masquerades always called for more costume-like attire and it was much more of a pain to manage. There was far too much gold hemming his clothing for his tastes, and far too much ornate design to appeal to him. Suddenly an unfamiliar hand was on his collar.
"Do I have to fix everything for you?"
Len's eyes moved lower to get a look at the face of the woman now standing before him. She wore an elaborate dress that matched the color of her hair, a striking teal, which hung in two tails on either side of her head. Designs adorned her dress around the the bust and the hem at the bottom and lace hung elegantly over the fabric. Ah, of course. This was none other than Lady Miku Hatsune—his fiance.
"Honestly, you should keep your appearance. You are the son of Earl Kagamine."
Miku very gracefully held out her hand. Len returned her gaze with a very blank expression before he moved his elbow up, positioning his arm so that Miku could grab hold of it. Yes, she was his fiance, but that's all she was to him. A mere person with just a title. Of course, the marriage was being arranged by Len's father, Earl Kagamine, and hers, Duke Hatsune. He felt absolutely nothing for her, and he was certain she felt absolutely nothing for him. To Miku, Len was just a pretty figure—an image to preserve aristocracy when they would get married. Len felt like she was more of a nagging mother, constantly telling him the proper way to look or behave. Grudgingly he'd comply according to his father's wishes—but he hated every decision made.
Len had once confided in a servant that he hated being a part of the aristocracy, that it was nothing but trouble.
"But why?" The servant replied, "You have everything a man could desire. Money, wealth, fame, status, and even a future."
But could an empty future in a gilded cage even be considered a future? Every time Len would attend a party like this, he would constantly be reassured that he was running in circles.
The couple walked forward, following after Earl Kagamine and his wife into the grand hall of the mansion hosting the event. The floor was flooded with people exhibiting masks of all types and colors, it was like staring out towards a rainbow full of luster and shine. Len touched a finger to his cheek. Ah, that's right. He was wearing one too. He had forgotten in his bitter feelings.
"Would that be the son of Earl Kagamine and his fiance, the daughter of Duke Hatsune?"
Len's head immediately was drawn toward to where the voice came from. He and Miku stopped to engage in a formal, tedious conversation. Len, of course, recognized the voice, he knew most of the nobles in the area. So he wasn't surprised when he turned to see a man garbed in purple, wearing the mask of a peacock, his violet hair tied in a high ponytail. This was the son of Viscount Kamui, Gakupo Kamui.
"Good evening, Lord Gakupo." Len smiled
"Are you supposed to be an eagle?"
Len chuckled. How ironic. An eagle was supposed to be a free creature, but he felt nothing like it—quite the contrary, "Yes, it is."
"Fancy that." Gakupo began, and then continued by gesturing to a woman next to him and wrapping his arm around her shoulder, "I'd like to thank you two personally for coming to the party to celebrate Lady Luka's and my engagement."
"It's a pleasure." Len replied.
"The idea of a masquerade for an occasion such as this is rather unique isn't it?" Miku interjected.
"I've always been entertained by the idea of a masquerade." The woman, Luka, next to Gakupo giggled.
Len curiously looked at her expression. It was far more cheerful than he expected. The eyes behind her mask were bright and almost shimmering. She then looked to Gakupo who returned her gaze with the same look of what Len recognized to be awe. But the way they looked at each other was different—unrecognizable even. The way they looked at each other seemed to carry a sort of passion behind it, and looking at them together made something within Len's chest churn. Was it possible they actually loved each other? Len could bear the sight no longer.
"Well, then, if you'd excuse us." His voice was slightly shaken, as if something had smothered him.
With that, Len ushered Miku along and walked as fast as he was able with his fiance barely trailing behind.
"Is there something wrong, Len?"
Len slowed his pace once he realized how fast he truly was going, and when he saw that they were now in the midst of a crowd. He paused for a moment, wanting to wipe away the sweat on his forehead and calm the tension in his chest, but he kept his composure. He turned toward Miku with expressionless eyes.
"I am eager to get to the party."
Miku giggled, "How unusual of you."
Len chuckled sheepishly at her response as if the whole conversation was rehearsed. He glanced past Miku to get one more look at the newly engaged couple, laughing and smiling together. He felt his eyebrows arch together and the skin on his forehead tighten. For that moment, he was thankful that a mask rested on his face. Len's line of sight was intruded upon when he saw a familiar figure pass by.
"Ah, Lord Kaito!"
At that, Miku immediately turned away from Len and faced the direction that he stared off to. The man he addressed as Kaito immediately turned and smiled. Len could recognize that head of blue hair, even if his face was covered by a mask. Kaito drew closer, a grin remaining etched onto his face and reached out a hand toward Len. For once, a smile passed Len's lips as he accepted the gesture, and took hold of the hand before him. He had known Kaito from childhood since the houses Kagamine and Shion were on friendly terms. So Len had felt that Kaito had known him the best in this world of such arrogant aristocracy.
"I haven't seen you since your engagement party!" Kaito beamed, "How long ago was that? A month? I digress, I must know how you're doing!"
"I'm doing well." Len smiled.
Len chuckled to himself. What a lie that was. Even with his supposed best friend, he could only keep up formalities and rehearsed conversations.
"Good evening, Lord Kaito." Miku had stepped forward from Len's side and curtsied.
"And good evening to you, too." Kaito gently lifted Miku's hand and touched the back of it with his lips before looking up at Len once more, "Your fiance is very admirable, Len."
Len rubbed his lips together, debating for a brief moment on how to respond to that. So instead, he decided to turn the conversation around, "I understand that you have a fiance now, too? I only heard it was just recently."
"Yes, indeed, it was just the other day that it was arranged." Kaito smiled.
He then gestured behind him to a figure that Len now just noticed, as if she was hiding the entire time. When Kaito had first revealed the woman next to him, she was staring off in some other direction, as if dazzled by something far off and unreachable. Kaito gave a short, hard cough and the woman whirled her head around toward Len and Miku. The first thing that caught Len's eye was that she was wearing a mask of an eagle as well. When she had brought herself into position at Kaito's side, he gestured toward her once again.
"Allow me to introduce my fiance, Lady Rin Kagami, daughter of Earl Kagami."
Len of course, knew the name, but he was unaware that there was a daughter in the Kagami household. Naturally, he could not make out her face, but what he saw was stunning, piercing blue eyes. The way she gazed at him was unlike any other woman. Her presence was bold and fierce, but somehow seeming to be contained within that horrible vessel of royal nobility. The thought had crossed Len's mind that he was somehow looking into a mirror—his own reflection. For a moment, Len forgot that he was standing next to Miku, forgot that Kaito was looking on him, forgot that he is in a world full of the aristocrats he so despised. In a word, to Len, Rin was intriguing.
"A pleasure to meet you," Rin curtsied.
Her tone of voice seemed dead and monotone. The color of it hinted to Len that she despised doing what she was doing and it only drew him in further to her.
"The pleasure is mine."
And for the first time, Len was telling the truth in such a rehearsed conversation. And at that moment, Len felt something peculiar flow between them as he looked into Rin's eyes. It was like some electrical surge flowing back and forth. The air was becoming hot and something under Len's chest began to pound. For a brief moment Len reminisced about what he saw with Lady Luka and Lord Gakupo—the two of them had some unknown connection that was communicated with their eyes. Here, Len, thought, was some sort of thrill that he had not felt before. With each passing moment, he was being pulled in farther and farther to her, as if her eyes were putting him under a spell.
He felt a tug on his arm when the soft sound of strings filled the air. The sudden beginning of the music washed away his hypnosis. He glanced down toward Miku, who had been the one who tugged on his arm, then he looked to Kaito, who returned him with a smile. Len couldn't help but feel he was pulled out of a dream.
"It seems the music has started," Kaito exclaimed, "If you'll excuse us."
With that, he placed a hand on Rin's back and turned her away and walked toward the crowd of waltzing couples. Rin turned her head away from Kaito and looked back at Len with the same eyes, but now much more full of life than they were a moment ago.
"Let's dance as well, Len."
"Y-yes," It took Len a brief moment to find his voice.
His eyes lingered on Rin's back for a while before he ushered Miku to dance with them. The music slowly twisted and turned in a dull waltz. Couples all over the grand hall rehearsed their doll-like movements, swaying side-to-side and in circles. The peculiar thrill Len had felt when looking into Rin's eyes quickly faded as he went along moving through the structured dances with Miku. He looked down at her face blankly. After feeling such fire within himself before, he now realized how truly empty he felt holding Miku's hand.
The first dance ended, and as expected, everyone ceased to move and applauded the musicians for their performance. It was then customary to find a new partner to dance with. Miku gave one glance to Len and curtsied.
"If you'll excuse me..."
And with that, Len was alone.
He hardly had the desire to dance anymore, but when he saw his father glancing at him from a distance, he was urged to find another partner to dance with. Len moved through the crowds stiffly, glancing emptily in every direction. Then suddenly something brushed against his shoulder.
"Ah, excuse me—" He had turned to apologize, but quickly stopped when he realized he was staring in a familiar pair of blue eyes.
"Ah, the son of Earl Kagamine."
A butterfly seemed to take flight within Len, and something in his body was yearning to pull himself closer to her. When Rin spoke, it was like an arrow piercing his heart. The thumping thrill was returning. And without a second thought, Len held a hand over his chest and bowed, still looking up at her.
"Lady Rin," his voice softly trembled in excitement as he extended his hand, "may I have this next dance?"
In the next moment, what seemed to be soft brush of velvet brushed Len's palm. Heat traveled through his body.
He looked up to her masked face, seeing a smile just under the mask that rested on her nose. Just then, the strings once again slowly lulled into a waltz that already seemed more beautiful than the last. Len's heart was pounding more and more as his and Rin's feet. What seemed to be an ember at first turned into a blazing fire burning on the edge of his heart. The world around them disappeared once more as they drew closer together in more ways than one. Acting on a brief impulse, Len leaned in close to her ear and whispered sweetly,
"Won't you take off your mask for me?"
"I believe it's customary to be masked for the entirety of the ball, Lord Len."
"Please... just Len."
"Then you must call me Rin."
A smile broadened on Len's face listening to her voice curve into a soothing whisper. His eyes trailed down from her face down her slender figure. He found it amusing that she wore a cream-white dress hemmed with gold and adorned with shimmering embroidery. It perfectly contrasted with his black and gold attire—truly like a reflection. Suddenly a finger was set on his chin, lifting it back up so that he was staring back at her face once more.
"Pardon." Len smiled.
"I would like to talk with you more," Rin started, "But I don't think this kind of atmosphere would allow us to do so."
As Rin spoke to him, Len could see in the corner of his eyes, his father staring at him—that aristocratic presence that loomed over him every day of his life. A part of him wanted to shrink away and obey that threatening demeanor, but the thought of straying just once from the very rehearsed life of a noble seemed to be exhilarating. The other part of him that did not wish to submit wanted to pursue Rin, and pursue the flaming passion that seemed to come along with her.
"No, I don't think it will." Len found himself saying.
"Then would you..." Rin seemed so shy now, and to Len, the very sight seemed so adorable, "would you meet me in the courtyard just outside in five minutes time?"
The orchestra was reaching their final phrase.
"I would love to."
The beautiful waltz came to an end. Rin and Len lingered together for a moment, but the applause forced them to detangle their fingers and step apart from each other. They walked away from each other and retreated into the enclosing crowd, trying to glance over shoulders to get one last look at each other before their designated meeting. Another dance had just begun to start when Len found a new partner. Across the way, he could see Rin dancing with another man, but her eyes were staring across the floor toward him. Five minutes seemed to pass by as slowly as a cold winter and Len found that he was growing more and more anxious for his heart to burst out into his new found spring.
The song had ended, and before Len took off, he politely bowed to his partner that he had randomly took hold of at last minute. He then pushed his way through the crowd avoiding the glance of his father, steering away from Miku's presence, and bypass Kaito's conversation. He had ran into Luka and Gakupo who had curiously inquired of him as he passed, however.
"Are you enjoying your stay, Lord Len?"
"Ah... yes, I am." Len smiled, "I just need a breath of fresh air, I'll be back in but a moment."
He then moved past them, now recognizing what flowed between them. It was a passion of emotion, and he beamed to know that he now felt this radiance as well. Len continued to move forward, and the crowd thinned as he approached the door out to the courtyard.
The cold air of the night hit his face suddenly and he shivered. He couldn't help but notice how alive he felt—how every little thing seemed to affect him so much more now. Was he that numb before tonight?
He searched the courtyard for Rin, looking from side-to-side until at last, he spotted a figure sitting on the edge of a fountain. The moonlight bounced off the water's surface and gleamed onto Rin's beautiful figure—she appeared to be glowing. Len's body immediately pushed him forward, drawn to her like a magnet.
"Good evening, Rin." He smiled when she turned around meeting his gaze.
Their eyes locked, urges traveling through their spines, but both of them still restrained from each other and instead moved on to conversation.
"You seem different from the other nobles." Rin began.
"And you also."
Rin paused for a moment, "Then you must have noticed... how rehearsed this whole society is."
"So I'm not the only one who noticed." Len laughed.
"That fiance of yours... did you choose her?"
Len was slightly taken aback from Rin's sudden question. Not because of what she asked, but mainly due to the hint of jealousy coloring her tone.
"No," Len began, reaching his hand to the mask resting on his face. Then with a smooth motion, he pulled it away, his golden bangs moving back to his face, "My father arranged it... for diplomatic purposes."
Len could see Rin's eyes widen behind her mask and he couldn't help but see her drawing closer to him. As if she caught herself in what she was doing, she quickly glanced to the side.
"My father did the same for my engagement... He didn't even consult me."
"I've never thought much of engagements or even much of so-called 'love,'" Len interjected, "At least in this aristocratic world we've found ourselves to be bound in."
Len realized he could not control his body anymore as he moved his hand gently over Rin's and curled his fingers around the back of her hand. He now gazed intently into her eyes.
"Do you think there might be something more to 'love' if we search it together, though?"
Rin moved her free hand to her face and with a graceful motion, removed the mask that hid her beauty. And truly, she was striking—it was as if cherubim had descended to carve her face into its beautiful being. Her golden hair gently brushed the sides of her ivory cheeks and the moonlight was caught just right in the pools of her eyes. As Rin and Len's gazes locked again, the world around them began to disappear once more.
Len thought of many things in that brief instance as they drew closer together. They were both of noble birth, both caught in engagements by their parents. They lived in a world of high standard and firm customs and traditions with a predestined image set upon their shoulders. Len was drawing closer to the fiance of his childhood friend, something that most definitely his father would look down upon. What was happening in that instant was truly unforgivable, but perhaps that's why Rin and Len were so enthralled. It was a chance to break free from the world that had them bound so tightly. A heated fire of passion was blazing now, and Len could not deny that he was now passionately in love with Rin and no doubt, he could feel the same surging feeling from her.
Their lips finally met, and they made a mark on each other that they could not erase.
A/N: What did you guys think? I tried to go for a very suspense, anxious feel with this chapter. Did you get any sense of that at all? Reviews are appreciated!