A/N: Switched hasn't been updated in ages due to school being a drag & upcoming exams. This is a quick one-shot to vent out my stress(?) and the results of a sudden urge to write; a K-ON! adaptation of the video 'Love Language'. I just couldn't resist not writing a K-ON!fied version of this.
DISCLAIMER: K-ON! belongs to Kakifly; all credits go to jubileeProject for 'Love Language'.
"Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections."
Winter had concluded to an end; there were no traces of snow left at all. And despite the slight chilly wind in the early spring, the glow of the afternoon sun was pleasantly warm.
She hadn't been outdoors for quite some time. She preferred the peace and quiet of reading at home by herself, instead. But recently, she decided that her life was a tad bit too quiet.
So here she was.
Mio exhaled softly. It was a nice change; basking in the warm rays and watching other people doing their own business in the park. She was glad that she had decided to revisit the park she hadn't been to since she was a child.
The sweet chirping of the birds were especially loud that day, as if celebrating the dark haired girl's return.
Stormy grey eyes looked up from the notepad in her lap, in hopes of searching for inspiration. She tapped the end of her pen to a random endless rhythm, nibbling her bottom lip in thought. Although writing lyrics was difficult, she truly enjoyed watching the words float and flow off the page. With her earphones snugly plugged in; Mio inhaled deeply as her gaze fell upon the blank, empty page in front of her. Frowning slightly, she sighed.
Ritsu sighed unhappily, mumbling under her breath. Her dorm was way too distracting, especially with her upcoming exams— heck, she hadn't even took a single glance at her notes yet.
Deciding to attempt to study outside, far far away the chaos, Ritsu trudged miserably to a nearby park, plonking down on the nearest bench. She paid no attention to the unusually loud tweeting of the birds, nor the dark haired girl sitting at the opposite end of the bench.
Releasing a frustrated exhale through her gritted teeth, Ritsu flipped through her notes with more force than necessary. Notes? What notes? She had fallen asleep in most of her lectures. She snorted inwardly, staring at the untidy scrawls as she tried to decipher her handwriting. Oh, joy.
She was royally screwed.
Lost in her thoughts, Mio didn't even notice that she wasn't alone until she felt the bench under her shift from a sudden movement. At the corner of her eye, she realized that a tawny haired girl about her age had accompanied her at the other end of the bench; and was now flicking rapidly though a notebook.
Mio tensed slightly, resisting the urge to fidget. She had never been comfortable with strangers, after all. She had always steered clear of them since she was a child.
A little nervous, Mio started writing— writing anything that came to mind as long as she seemed busy.
Raising an eyebrow, Ritsu noticed how the girl next to her suddenly started scribbling furiously in her book when the dark haired girl observed her arrival.
The stranger beside her was fidgeting ever-so-slightly, making Ritsu realize that the girl was nervous. Baffled, Ritsu sat there, wondering what could have possibly made the girl beside her so anxious.
It took a couple of uneasy glances from the dark haired girl directed at her for Ritsu to realize that the cause was her.
Ritsu had the sudden urge to snicker, but managed to stifle her laughter into an amused chortle. How cute! And she hadn't even done anything yet. Her expression softened. Determined to make the girl feel more at ease and maybe even get to know her, Ritsu tried to initiate a conversation by casually commenting, "Nice weather, huh?"
The girl didn't even look up after a ten second silence, and Ritsu realized the girl hadn't heard her. Deciding to change her tactics, she tried, "Can I borrow you pen?"
There was no response again, but Ritsu was stubborn. Tapping the stranger's shoulder, she earned a small jerk from the girl. "Can I borrow your pen?" Ritsu repeated, smiling at the entertaining reaction she earned.
The dark haired girl tilted her head, pointing to her earphones questioningly. Ritsu wondered what could be so engrossing about the song she was listening to.
"Your pen." Ritsu made a writing gesture and pointed at the stationer in her hand. In return, she received a small nod, followed by a pen from the raven haired girl.
Feeling accomplished, Ritsu couldn't help but to beam. "Thanks."
The girl gave a small nod before smiling back hesitantly, almost uncertainly.
Tainaka Ritsu blinked.
What exactly was she doing here?
Unsure of what unseen force had dragged her back to the same bench, Ritsu found herself eager to see the girl again. For some reason, she was disappointed when she discovered that the raven haired girl wasn't there, sitting at the bench.
What were the chances of her coming back, after all?
Despite that, Ritsu found herself waiting.
For a whole half an hour.
Why? She wasn't quite sure about that herself. However, she could just feelthat there was something different about the quiet raven haired girl. And frankly, Ritsu was curious.
Her fingers drummed against the weathered surface of the bench unconsciously— she had never been able to sit still for very long.
The torturous thirty minutes consisted of countless impatient groans and rolling around in boredom. Just as she was about to just give up and actually consider studying, the dark haired girl appeared.
Auburn eyes lit up.
Akiyama Mio had actually arrived the same spot ten minutes after Ritsu.
She caught the sight of the same girl from yesterday, on the very same bench. Mio immediately froze in her tracks, and started retreating slowly.
However, a certain sight caused her to hesitate in amusement.
After another five minutes of watching the tawny haired girl roll around, a small exasperated smile had formed on Mio's lips. It took her another nine minutes of battling with herself, conflicting whether to go home or to the girl who was obviously waiting for her; plus an additional six minutes of self encouragement and taunting to finally walk up to the bench.
Shooting a meek smile of acknowledgement to the tawny haired girl, Mio sat down at the other end.
After a brief second of hesitation, Ritsu edged closer to the girl, halving the distance but still leaving a comfortable gap between them. "What're ya listening to?"
The dark haired girl gestured to her earphones, and went back to scribbling in her notepad.
This time, however, Ritsu was prepared. Taking out her little booklet of Post-its that she had just purchased from a news agency that morning, she wrote on the first page before tearing it out and sticking the sheet on the bench between them.
'What are you listening to?'
Mio smiled as she read the little message, amused by the girl's inquisitiveness and stubborn personality. Although she was slightly reluctant with talking to a complete stranger, Mio couldn't help but to enlighten her. Picking up the stack of Post-its that the stranger had left next to the memo, Mio wrote her reply on a fresh page before sticking it over the previous note.
'A special song.'
The raven haired girl's penmanship was amazingly neat, compared to her not-so-neat one, Ritsu noticed. And the reply just sparked and lit Ritsu's curiosity even more.
'Can I listen?'
The reply was instant.
'No, it's embarrassing.'
Ritsu decided not to press, since they had just met and had finally got the girl to start talking— well, writing. Instead she started asking questions based on different topics.
'You're left-handed! That's cool!'
Mio's smile grew bigger at Ritsu's child-like enthusiasm as she watched a new memo appear.
'What's your favourite colour?'
The innocent yet random question made Mio chuckle noiselessly.
Their good humoured conversation continued, with no spoken words included.
'What movies do you like?'
'Anything without horror and gore.'
Ritsu's sadistic side was ignited immediately as she greedily absorbed the information, smirking internally.
'Favourite cake flavour?'
The number of pages on the pad steadily decreased; while the scattered and overlapping colourful memo papers across the gap between them amplified.
Just before her supply of Post-its came to an end, Ritsu decided to step it up a notch.
'Can I have your number? An email address works fine too.' There was a hastily drawn, rather deformed face of Ritsu sticking her tongue out below.
'I don't have one.'
'Lying isn't very nice.' Another deformed face, this time of her pouting while pursing her lips.
Mio's stormy grey eyes softened sadly.
'If you want, I'll be here again tomorrow.'
Ritsu didn't miss the brief flicker of pain that had been quickly replaced with a smile. Regardless, she didn't push.
Finally attempting to study and actually focusing for once, Ritsu's concentration was completely shattered when a hand appeared in her line of sight, sticking a bright yellow Post-it above her messy notes.
'It's nice to see you again.'
Ritsu looked up from the elegant handwriting on the memo that she had recently grown accustomed to, and was greeted with a sweet smile.
Ritsu grinned in return.
Watching Mio sit directly next to her, who still had her earphones on, Ritsu's grin grew even wider as she distinctively noticed that there wasn't a gap between them. In fact, their shoulders were almost brushing each other's. Revealing a brand new, sky blue memo pad, she stuck her reply over the cover of the book in Mio's arms.
The dark haired girl smacked Ritsu's arm light heartedly.
They began trading random questions and answers on paper, continuing where they had left off from the day before. After a series of heart-warming laughs— which were mostly from Mio's side— and a couple of teasing whacks, Ritsu decided that she loved hearing the soft, unique and almost rugged laughter.
The sense of awkwardness had completely evaporated. Both grew more daring and playful even, to the point of sticking memo notes on each other, one including on Ritsu's forehead.
'Do you like music?'
Mirth danced in Mio's expressive grey eyes, which weren't stormy but clear and blissful for once.
Her reply caused Ritsu to start bobbing energetically.
'Do you play?'
Mio smiled wistfully.
'I used to.'
'Really! Which instrument?'
Mio's hand trembled ever-so-slightly as she wrote her answer.
'The electric bass.'
Ritsu was in the midst of writing her reply when a new memo appeared in front of her.
'Would you like to listen to my song?'
The reflective expression on Mio's face didn't go unnoticed.
'You bet I do.'
Overwhelmed by nostalgia, Mio's hands moved on their own accord and handed the earphones to the tawny haired girl.
There was a pregnant pause as Ritsu keenly plugged the white earphones into her ears.
"… Um." Puzzled, Ritsu unplugged them and stared at the girl by her side. "Can you turn up the volume? I can't hear anything."
Mio flinched as soon as Ritsu opened her mouth. With an expectant look on her features, the dark haired girl looked extremely tensed. The smile on her face had vanished, and the dark haired girl looked regretful, even.
Melancholically, Mio raised her hand to her chest and pointed to herself before making a series of hand gestures.
Unbeknownst to Ritsu, Mio had signed 'I'm sorry, but I am d-e-a-f,' spelling out the word 'deaf' to emphasize what she was trying to tell her.
Ritsu's jaw dropped slightly. She didn't understand during the first three seconds, but caught on as she recognized the gestures— the same ones the deaf or mute use to communicate with.
The world around them seemed to slow down dramatically. Their surroundings fell silent. There was no sound at all— the chirping of the birds ceased, as if awaiting Ritsu's reaction. Even the mild whistling of the wind had died down.
Ritsu wondered if this was what Mio had to endure through every day.
Alert amber eyes searched through apprehensive stormy grey, and realised that the dark haired girl was trembling uneasily. Almost as if she was frightened.
Slowly, the tawny haired girl picked up her pen and memo pad. Deliberately taking her time, Ritsu wrote her reply painstakingly slow before gently flipping Mio's wrist and firmly sticking the Post-it on the former bassist's palm.
The wind picked up once more; and the birds resumed their singing, almost approvingly. A jogger trotted past, sparing the two a quick glance while the loud chattering and excited squeals of children resounded through the park. The atmosphere was bustling once again.
Flashing Mio a tender smile; Ritsu couldn't help but to feel blessed— to be able to hear and meet the beautiful girl beside her. She promised herself never to let music go, for both their sakes.
'You're still perfect.'