The sound of bickering reached Mitsuru's ears as she sat down once more at her computer. She had just gotten back from settling an argument between the two members of the idol group Bach-sama had created, but the peace had clearly not lasted long. She rubbed her temple. She adjusted her glasses. She tried to think of a solution.
The "solution" she had previously come up with was sitting on her desk, in need of a refill. How many had she had already? Three, four cups of coffee? At this rate, it would begin to affect her productivity. And if it affected her productivity, Bach-sama's plans wouldn't come to fruition. Instead of addressing her headache, it was time to address the cause of her headache.
Mitsuru pulled her coat on. Then she pulled her keys out of her coat pocket. Then she resisted the urge to pull her hair out of her head as the yelling grew louder. Did they never grow tired of having the same argument over and over again? She left her desk, striding past Tchaikovsky and Bądarzewska with the usual air of contempt she carried when dealing with them. Or existing near them.
"I'm going out." She briskly told a security guard. Since she wasn't going to take long, she figured she didn't need to elaborate. It was possible her boss wouldn't even notice she was gone. Furthermore, if he did, and subsequently noticed the other change in the agency (regarding the behavior of his idols), she might be praised.
Delighted, she quickened her pace.
The sound of her heels clicking on the pavement followed her all the way to the public library three blocks away.
The book was called "Meet The Universe" and was surprisingly thin considering it claimed to catalogue all cosmic bodies of any relevance. Its size aside, it was precisely what Mitsuru had been hoping for. The sound of the book hitting the vanity table was what alerted the idols to her presence at their rehearsal. Surprised, they glanced over.
Tchaikovsky's features twisted as she turned her wrath towards the intruder. "Where were you just now?" this, "I hope you weren't slacking off" that. Then came the complaining. "I can't work with Bąda!" which was followed by "I hate being treated like a little girl," which was followed by, ironically, a foot stomp. Her work partner bristled at the scene.
Despite the fact that both of them often acted as nuisances and were somewhat equal in that regard, Bach's assistant found herself preferring Bądarzewska. Said girl's behavior was generally more cordial than that of her colleague's. This perhaps stemmed from the fact that although they weren't friends, Bądarzewska didn't harbor any resentment towards Mitsuru.
Today, on the other hand, she didn't try to stop Tchaiko from throwing what was bordering on a tantrum. She didn't bow her head apologetically. She didn't even stand by silently. For whatever reason, she also needed to vent at that precise moment. Loudly. Mitsuru was hopeful enough as the young idol shouted at Tchaikovsky for making a scene, but her hopes were dashed when Bąda called Tchaiko overrated.
Next she picked a fight with Mitsuru herself. "How can you let her act like this? How does she get away with acting like this and then get all the solos anyway? It's unfair! Someone should do something about this. We're supposed to be equals. Shouldn't you make us equal? Can't you talk to Bach about this? You're supposed to be his assistant, but you never do anything!"
Bądarzewska's outbursts were rare. Quarreling with her partner was common, dragging others into it was less common. Demeaning the people dragged into it was what was truly the rarest. The book could not have arrived at a better time. If only the shouting would stop just long enough for them to head the marked page.
The sound of the door slamming shut as Mitsuru left was what eventually did the trick.
Tchaikovsky was good at escalating. Unless provoked, Bądarzewska was good at deescalating. In this unique situation, she took the deescalation path despite being provoked. The sound of pages being turned filled the room quickly as the composer's curiosity overcame her need to uphold her reputation as an artist.
Really, Mitsuru had been wise to leave. With no audience, arguing seemed sillier and a little bit pointless.
Meet The Universe, despite being relatively new, did not look new. It wasn't yellowish and it wasn't dusty, but the corners were littered with creases from dog-ears, caused by being taken out by so many students. It somehow smelled less like a book and more like a magazine. The pictures were all in black and white. After a few seconds, the girls happened upon the red leather bookmark shoved between pages 111 and 112.
"Sirius," Bądarzewska read aloud, "commonly called the 'Dog Star,' is a double-star system. This means that it is actually two stars in orbit around each other." It was evident by the shock on her face that she wasn't aware this could happen. She stopped to look at Tchaikovsky for a second.
The blonde, irritated at the sudden silence, continued reading. "Seen from Earth, it appears larger than most bodies in the night sky. It was discovered by Alvan Graham Clark in 1862." The entry ended there, unlike the sound of her voice. "Why do you think that woman wanted us to read this?"
Bądarzewska was pretty sure she knew the answer to that. She began her explanation.
It had been four hours since Mitsuru had fled from the awful fighting. She'd had a good time thus far. Her headache had disappeared, she'd seen and spoken to Bach-sama, she'd managed to wrap up her work quickly so she could focus on her virtual ClassicaLoids for a while. It could be argued that masochism made her go back. The sound of the door creaking open echoed off the walls.
The two idols sat together at the vanity table. It was an enormously surprising sight, for the table had only one chair to go with it, so they were practically in each other's laps. It was reminiscent of the time following their rebirth before jealousy soured their friendship, back when they'd gotten along better.
"Two suns. We can both be the sun." Bądarzewska said, perhaps attempting to greet Mitsuru. She did pick up on human behavior like that, especially considering her first incarnation had been human. Bach's right hand "man" sighed. Rather than explain how the correct phrase was "hello," she smiled, mayhap a bit smugly.
"I'm pleased that you've stopped being childish." It was the only response the genuinely relieved woman could bring herself to utter. Tchaiko shot a glare at her. She didn't say anything, though. It could have been because she was exhausted from yelling earlier (unlikely), or it could have been the calming hand on her shoulder, courtesy of Bąda (likelier).
The latter leaned down to whisper something into the other girl's ear. Locks of fluffy blonde hair tickled her nose. She bit back a giggle. "Before you get mad at her for being a prick, remember that she was the one that solved our drama." Despite her internal struggle not to get distracted by the faint scent of shampoo, her tone was cool and playful.
Tchaikovsky brought her head to her friend's shoulder. Said friend closed her eyes and hummed contentedly. It was the sound of the humming that made Mitsuru question just quite how much she'd altered their relationship.
With skirts swishing, microphones screeching (as they are tend to do), and smiles shining, the members of CK rehearsed. As much as their shenanigans irritated her, Mitsuru loved listening to them. Their voices blended together to make an almost perfect sound. Harmonious, melodious, youthful, sweet. If Mitsuru had not heard the music of the great Bach, she'd omit the "almost" from her description of it.
The main reason she didn't mind supervising practice was that the idols were nothing if not organized. It was a trait she had to respect.
Ever since reading about Sirius, they'd lived the double sun metaphor to the fullest. They took turns suggesting notes/rhythms in the composition process. They timed themselves to ensure that their solos were of equal duration. Even while quarreling, they made an effort to listen to the other's side before retorting.
It extended beyond the professional world, too. The sharp switch from rivals to buddies wasn't an act put on for their fans, or for their boss, or for Mitsuru. They helped each other with their makeup, they built an array of inside jokes, they snuck alcohol into their room for girlish sleepovers, they watched sports together on TV until someone started cussing.
Balance turned out to be an unexpected benefit. The two fiercely competitive girls were learning that they worked better as a team, and would likely use that to their advantage against others. Yes. Their organization, raw chemistry, and passion made rehearsals enjoyable for their supervisor.
The sound of clapping marked the end of the song. Tchaikovsky ran over to hug her friend.
"What are you doing?" She asked over the sound of wind rustling in the trees. Her heels were beginning to sink into the soft earth. Her bangs were getting into her eyes.
Tchaiko whirled around, her pretty blue dress floating up with the movement. Bąda looked away to hide her blush while her colleague replied. "I figured we could sleep outside tonight." As spontaneous as she was by nature, it was still difficult to get used to. Her naïve nature made her oblivious to this fact.
"We'll get cold. You brought sleeping bags, but no tent. How did you expect this to work?" The less-spontaneous musician demanded. Her tone held no real malice. Their banter seemed more and more forced lately. It was as though neither of them really wanted to stop their shallow, petty arguments because they might find something underneath it.
Her tone did hold real irritation, though. Somehow Tchaiko picked up on this.
"Don't start! I'm trying very hard to be nice! We were supposed to watch the stars, but I suppose you don't want to since you love ruining everything. I hate you." A stutter crept up around the last couple of words, ruining her whole outburst. How could anyone be successfully guilted without a convincing monologue?
Bąda sighed as loudly as she could. It was the most passive aggressive response she could think of. "Oh fine, alright. Since you won't stop bitching otherwise." Would a smile seem mean here? She sincerely wanted to smile. After all, the gesture itself was sweet. Two young idols falling asleep while stargazing and chatting.
"How dare you. I don't 'bitch.' I've never 'bitched' in my life. You're the bitch." Tchaikovsky took three large, rapid steps in her direction. She preferred being in the near vicinity of others, close to them. It wasn't that she was lonely, not at all. She just sought companionship.
In no time at all they'd taken each other's hands. They were more comfortable this way.
"Do you really think I'm a bitch? Or a one-hit wonder or talentless or whatever else you call me?" Bądarzewska managed to ask. She hated that sometimes she needed that sort of reassurance. She thought highly of herself! She was beautiful and successful and goddess-like. Yet she was also a shadow of sorts, always hidden behind others.
It was nice to be told she was a light, sometimes.
A soft snort was heard. "Of course I don't. We work together, don't we? You're just as good as me and the others in every regard."
Tchaikovsky leaned forward until she felt her own forehead touching another one.
Bądarzewska smirked. "We're better than them. We're cute and famous and happier."
Inexplicably, there was an awkward pause. The declaration could be construed as entirely mundane. Happiness was certainly something they'd managed to achieve, this much wasn't questionable. However, something about the phrasing exposed a doubt they had. No, not a doubt. It was a sure thing, they just hadn't blurted it out yet.
"Would you really say we're happier, with how much work we have at the agency?"
"Certain people make me happy," Bąda answered.
Tchaikovsky then buried her head into the other girl's shoulder. She thought about bouncing ideas off each other in the studio, dancing with her at concerts, shopping undercover for shoes with her, trying to embarrass her in interviews for Lord-knows-what-reason, putting flowers in her hair while out hunting for mushrooms, how beautiful she looked using her Musik and transforming into a being of light, how her dorky smile made Tchaiko want to pull her down by her tie and-
The sound of Tchaiko's sniffling made
Bąda burst into laughter. Still amused, she lead the blonde to their sleeping bags in the dirt, under the stars.
The sound of a gasp woke Bądarzewska up. Her eyes flew wide open, wondering what could have startled her partner. A quick glance around the area was all it took to confirm that they were still alone, at least.
Let us rewind a couple of minutes. A different sound awoke the Russian composer: chirping birds. It was an overall peaceful awakening. Hazy reds tinted the sky as a lazy sun began its ascent. One could just barely make out the city noises as the morning crowd began their day in the distance. The air smelled earthy, and dew drops glimmered on the grass around her. She stretched slowly.
She picked a stray twig out of her wavy hair. She tied her usual white ribbon around her head. She took three deep breaths to oxygenize her brain because she didn't have a glass of water next to her. She glanced over at her sleeping friend.
Said friend was illuminated solely by the sunrise. The lead to everything about her seeming softer somehow, as if a rosy golden mist had wrapped itself around her, slightly obscuring her figure. Even her messy hair caught the light so as to mimic a halo. Oddly enough, it reminded Tchaiko of how badly she'd dreamed of shining like the sun.
Despite how gorgeous she already was, how artistic and creative and stubborn and fiery and fearless and girlish she was, she was always pushing herself to be better. It made Tchaiko want to be better herself. The following was the only way to put it: they were perfect for each other, or at least that's how she saw it.
It was the conclusion she came to, hence the gasp, hence Bądarzewska's alarm-turned-confusion.
"Are you alright?" She inquired. Her voice could be compared to the voice of an 80-year-old man. It was her first attempt at speaking that day, thus the grogginess was only natural.
Tchaikovsky gestured for her to sit up, and she begrudgingly obeyed. It was quite idyllic out where they were. It set the mood for her docile side to fully come out. "Are you alright?" She tried again.
"I brought you out here so we could look for Sirius together," Tchaikovsky started. "We fell asleep before that happened, but, uh. Um. I wanted to tell you that now, now that we've chilled out because we can share the spotlight, I like you."
Of course there had to be an unwanted interruption. "I- I like you too." Bądarzewska mumbled, groggy but sweet.
She was promptly shoved. "Don't interrupt me, I'm not done. That's what I wanted to tell you last night. But this morning I figured out that maybe I don't like you. Maybe I love you. So yeah! You don't have to say anything, I can't believe I just said all of that, it must be because I'm tired, otherwise I'd never-"
Suddenly she was aware that Bąda was much closer than she was mere seconds ago. She could feel her breath against her lips. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. Should she yell? Kick? Run away? Twirl her magic baton and hope it knows what to do better than she does? It was very confusing having her crush's mouth at that proximity to hers after she'd just told her how she felt in such an embarrassing way. Fuck.
"I haven't kissed anyone in this body yet, so I might not be good? And you're also the first girl I've ever kissed in either life. And I don't even know if you'll say yes so I don't know why I'm rambling so much. But can I kiss you?" Bąda asked. Her face was so hot, Tchaiko could feel it. Or perhaps that was heat of her own, dancing atop her cheeks.
Too stunned to speak, the only thing she could do was nod. The taller idol closed the gap between their mouths for a short peck and almost immediately jolted back, very red in the face. It had been brief, stiff and weird. Tchaikovsky reached for her hair, thoroughly tangled her fingers in it, and brought her back for another, much more satisfying kiss.
It was a new experience. Now that they weren't rushed or nervous about wrecking everything, they could savor each other slowly. Bąda was wearing watermelon-flavored chapstick, Tchaiko was wearing cherry-flavored chapstick. They tasted fruity, they smelled fruity. They were entranced by each other. It was nice how intimate the whole thing was. Bąda felt eyelashes that weren't hers tickling her cheek.
The sounds of their pounding hearts drowned out the world for approximately one exhilarating minute. When they broke apart, they were both smiling sleepily.
Mitsuru turned her head at the sloppy sound of kisses. Her intention had been to tell CK to stop making out, but instead she almost drove into a sports car. She swore under her breath. A reporter catching sight of the controversial couple could be just as disastrous as a crash, though.
"Eyes on the road!" Tchaikovsky's bossy voice rang out. Bach's assistant rolled her eyes. 'Stop being a brat or you're walking,' she wanted to say, but she had to be the professional in these situations. After all, her independent research would prove vital to showing the world Bach-sama's power.
She decided to say, "Bądarzewska, please control your girlfriend." For a glorious second, there was silence. Except that her comeback seemed too patronizing in the eyes of a certain idol, and then all hell broke loose. Mitsuru would have killed for more coffee.
"I'm not a child! If you've got a problem with me, say it to my face! Don't tell anyone to 'control' me!" Tchaikovsky screamed, kicking the back of Mitsuru's seat. "Stop it, stop being so loud! I have a headache! Look at what you did, Miss Mitsuru! Now she's yelling!" The second girl's voice joined the cacophony.
"Grow up, both of you. I was merely suggesting you be more secretive while we are out in public."
It was another statement that did not go over well. While Tchaiko reminded everyone in the car that she had been gay in both incarnations and thus shouldn't be told to hide, Bąda agreed empathically. After a while, they grew tired of proving a point with their words and moved on to kissing more aggressively than they had been previously.
Bach-sama had not been much help. He'd been entirely supportive of their romance when Tchaiko had pressed for his support. The combination of her cuteness and short-temper made it near-impossible to deny her anything. He'd also seen how in-synch he they were onstage. Lately they were unstoppable.
Mitsuru sighed. Maybe all this was truly for the best. If they learned to combine their Musik, they'd make a formidable weapon. So far they'd mostly been... watching cheesy movies, watching horror movies, picking out each other's outfits, serenading each other, playing Twister. All perfectly okay, but the potential that came with such unexplored territory was what thrilled Mitsuru.
She'd run a simulation on her computer later, figure out what would happen if two ClassicaLoids joined their Musik in a flawlessly coordinated duet. In the meantime, she'd drive them to a café and let them share an ice cream sundae.
The idols caught a glimpse of her not-as-angry-as-she-could-have-been face in the rear-view mirror. Perhaps the woman had grown fond of them. If she hadn't, well, it was of little importance. They were stars and they were content and they were in love.
The sound of Mitsuru's sigh was blocked out by the sound of the vehicle's engine as she sped ahead to the sound of wet pecks.