lacewood: (Default)
Pei Yi ([personal profile] lacewood) wrote in [community profile] toxicskyremix2005-12-03 10:04 am
Entry tags:

bleach - black cat scat

For [livejournal.com profile] team7



Urahara is inordinately fascinated by the strangest things in the mortal world. She returns one day to find him seated before a large, unwieldy, foreign instrument he calls a piano, all gleaming black and ivory keys, with ribs of pale unvarnished wood and muscles of fine, taut wires.

The room is empty but for the instrument, the man, and the debris of the packaging she assumes the contraption came in. His fingers play across the board, notes tracing their process, high and thin, low and heavy, thunder and ice and the ranges between. He looks up as she enters and smiles.

"Well, if you haven't come just in time to see our latest acquisition," he says. She sniffs, climbing up on the bench he sits on and gives the thing an unimpressed look.

"And how long will this one last?" she asks.

"How long does it have to last? Enough to suit my purposes," he says. What those purposes are, he doesn't say. He turns back to his examination, plays a cascade of notes, watching the hammers strike the strings with surgical precision.

"Not very different from a zither," he observes. "Same structure, different mechanisms."

"And what's wrong with the zither?" Yoruichi asks.

"Nothing. But it's a point of interest, don't you think?"

Urahara and his new-fangled toys. Bored, she leaps up on the keyboard and stalks across the slippery keys, then jumps off and goes in search of milk, the cacophony of her disharmony still echoing behind her. Urahara smiles and keeps playing.




Urahara and Tessai dismantle the thing, rib by rib, wire by wire. Against Yoruichi's laconic predictions, they put it back together, good as new, maybe even better because Urahara's an irritation that way. Urahara learns to play it, in his own fashion, teasing discordant, half-broken melodies from the keys, filling the dusty, shadowed rooms of the shop with music.

Yoruichi even catches him playing a song they know too well one afternoon, a keening, melancholic lament from a childhood so long ago it feels like yesterday when she dreams of it. She pads into the room, ignores the look on his face (absent and old and far too lost in a fool's contemplation), examines a bright, sharp claw, then scratches him. Deep, but careful not to get any blood on the keys, because Yoruichi can value an expensive toy even if she has no use for it.

"Was that really necessary?" he asks later in tragic tones.

She ignores him.




"Perhaps I should write a song for you," he suggests one day, glint in his eye. "Something to remember you by, when you are far away and gone, that you may live on in--"

Yoruichi whips out a claw. He stops, but the glint doesn't go away. He's been reading bad French novels again, never mind that Yoruichi burned the last lot after he suggested that she learn to sing jazz. He teaches himself to read music instead, a process so noisy Yoruichi disappears into the streets for the month, far away from his appregios and attempts at dissecting Beethoven. She comes back only for the dish of milk he leaves by the back door every evening, and that only when it suits her mood to.

She finds him waiting one night, humming to himself.

"As sleek as ever. I see your exile is going well," he says, when Yoruichi settles herself by the milk.

She lashes her tail at him. "And how go your experiments in music reading? Given up on them yet?"

"Your faith in me is touching," he says, and grins. "But I believe we might have seen a breakthrough."

Yoruichi is unconvinced. "Tessai must be grateful."

"I suppose he is," he agrees, reaching out to run a finger down her back. His touch is sure, but careful, and she lets him scratch behind her ears, because she will (sometimes) concede that Urahara is good at knowing the right spots.

When he picks her up by the back of her neck, she gives a warning hiss. He looks at her with one of those darkly bright smiles of his. "I promised I'd write a song for you. Don't you want to hear it?"

She snorts. "You made no such promise, and I wouldn't listen even if you had."

"Oh, humour me, Yoruichi. I can't only play for Tessai. A performer needs a little variety in the audience sometimes!"

She's full of milk and feeling lazy today, so she bristles but lets him carry her into the room and doesn't scratch when he sets her on top of the piano. She looks down, disinterested, as he settles on the bench, limbers his fingers in a ridiculous show of dramatics, and begins to play. He has gotten better.

The little shelf above the keys is scattered with sheets of music, black and white and striped with its spiky, incomprehensible conversations and scribbled notes in Urahara's illegible writing. He makes no reference to them when he plays; his hands move to their own rhythm and law. The song is quicksilver and unpredictable, dancing under your skin, drawing you after and then slipping and sliding from the grasp. It ends with a trill and a crash, and he looks up in the silence that follows after.

"Well? And how do you find my masterpiece?" he asks, when Yoruichi doesn't speak. She stretches.

"You didn't write that," she says.

"Oh, you wound me to the heart."

"Don't be foolish. You didn't," she says, giving him a Look.

"Well. Perhaps his name was Gerswhin. Though I maintain that I would have if he hadn't done it first."

She jumps down onto the keys - they thunder their protest, and she climbs down to the bench. She gives the instrument a look. "I suppose it sounds well enough," she deigns to say.

Urahara grins. One hand drifts across the keyboard; this time, he plays a tune she knows, a lilting, silly song children in the Seireitei have sung for centuries and will sing for generations yet. Nostalgia is for fools, not cats. But perhaps she does not leave, just yet. Perhaps he plays through the night, songs new and songs forgotten, and tonight at least, she listens.




Eventually, Urahara will learn all he can learn of the instrument. Its mysteries unlocked, it holds no more use for his purposes, and he will wander off to a new toy, another fascination. It collects dust for years, until he sells it one day (Yoruichi can't imagine to who), or it simply disappears from the storerooms. It makes no difference to her, either way.

(She does, however, think a little fondly of it, in hindsight, when Urahara purchases an accordian.)

end

November 2005

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