The Magic of Music [Raesha + Malice]

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  1. [​IMG]
    Name: Saya 'Strings' White
    Age: 22
    Gender: Female
    Orientation: Pansexual
    Occupation: Bartender, illegal violinist

    Saya White wasn't a flashy person, not usually. She didn't like to stand out on a day-to-day basis, but she did what she had to do when it was needed. Generally, she preferred to blend in with the crowd, to stick to the shadows. There was probably some sort of irony, then, at the fact that she spent so much time putting herself in the spotlight. But, it didn't really matter. It was a means to an end - the means to changing things, the means to bringing music back into the world. And music was what was really important. It gave meaning and colour to this grayscale world. It gave Saya life. And she figured that was good enough reason as any to put herself in the spotlight, like she was about to do.

    She walked down Dowler Street, hands shoved in her pockets, looking as nondescript as possible. She had her hood pulled up and her head down, and wove in and out of the crowd seamlessly. If there was one thing she was undeniably good at, it was not being seen. Quietly, she slipped down a shadowed alleyway. No one took any notice of one less person on the main road. Her foot splashed in a puddle as she made her way down the alley. She passed a few people lying together, huddling for warmth, but no one bothered to so much as look at her. As she approached the end of the alley, she pulled a black gas mask from her pocket and strapped it to her face.

    The alley came out at a small courtyard, unremarkable and hidden, yet strangely popular. People, mostly poor students, milled about, drinking cheap coffee and enjoying the sunlight. Saya stifled a sigh. Did any of them care about music? Did they even know about it? In any event, they would soon. She hesitated a moment, keeping herself hidden in the mouth of the alley, watching. There were no police in the area. That was good. That meant their information was correct. Her eyes flicked to the cameras in the area. She really hoped they were off, as planned.

    Taking a deep breath, Saya pulled her hood off and strode into the courtyard, now letting herself be noticed. She walked to the dead fountain in the center of the courtyard, and stood on the ledge, pulling her violin from the bag on her back. A few heads turned, eyes widening at the sight of a musical instrument. Then, Saya began to play. The tension in her shoulders relaxed as she lost herself in her music, her bow gliding skillfully over the strings.​
  2. [​IMG]

    Let me clarify one more time – it’s not real. It-is-a-trap.”

    Small hands shoved against the body of the voice, “Where is your sense of adventure?”

    Do you think that these people would slip up? No. You already know that. It’s a goddamn ploy, Juniper Carr – oh stop it, I can see your fucking eyes watering – now seriously, quit. Right now-”

    Fine,” she said, choking back the sudden flood of frustrated tears, “if you don’t want to come, I’ll go by myself. Honestly, I don’t know how I got a best friend as boring as you,” Juniper stood, leaving the room in a flurry of anger.

    I’m what keeps you alive!” she heard the man call out after her.

    That wasn’t true – Juniper had done a stand up job of keeping herself alive. She’d gone twenty-one years with only seven broken bones and none of them her skull. Generally, she failed to mention that all of those breaks had happened since she turned sixteen; she personally found it irrelevant. That year was when music had finally graced her ears, and since then, she had grown wild. Not only about hearing it again- which she had, three magnificent times- but about life.

    As a child, she was willful, but cautious. Mischievous, but never rash. As she grew, she found the strict prohibition on music less and less reasonable, and expressed it often, though the exact reasoning for the ban was never explained to her. Thus she continued to verbalize her passion for the unknown art.

    The first time it had been a cello, three days after her birthday. Her mother’s best friend played beautifully, and Juniper cried at the sound. A week later, her family had been taken. Only her brother returned, forever unresponsive until he finally drank himself into oblivion and took to the street. She found him several times, trying to reignite his substance addled spirit, but never succeeding. That alone deterred her from seeking out a melody, for a while. Rebellion seemed like the only proper path for her to follow. If music had been deemed that dangerous, then it must be something worth fighting for.

    She had become a master conspiracy theorist, attending any riots or demonstrations with a fierce belief that she was making a difference – that she was doing her part. Her friends understood her complete abandon to recklessness, but they never found a need to partake; and they definitely had not kept her alive since the fire had been lit. They never came with her to any protests, and they never even succeeded in talking her out of them. She alone ran through the streets, ducking through alleys and hiding in dumpsters. She alone had fallen from rooftops and grappled up the sides of buildings. Her friends were not the rebellious type, and for whatever reason, the other music lovers never got close to her. Something about being a bad luck charm.

    A rare frown lingered on her face as she walked briskly towards the coffee shop. True, many times the rumors were a lure, but Juniper had never missed one. Though others seemed to think she drew unfortunate situations like moths to a flame, she had never been arrested. She may have attracted disaster, but unlike the rest, she thrived on the chase – and on never getting caught.

    Halfway down the alley, the faint sound of a violin drifted towards her. Quickly securing the bag she carried over her shoulder, she broke into a run, a beaming smile glued to her lips. As she stumbled into the courtyard, her eyes immediately fell on the woman who was playing. Many said they couldn’t understand why some risked everything to bring music into the world, but Juniper never doubted; and she had a fierce admiration for all who played.

    A solid three or four minutes passed without event, surprisingly, until she caught sight of agitated movement. Some fink was going to call the cops, and this wasn’t a safe place to be playing. With sudden conviction, Juniper, with all the effort in the world to remain nonchalant, approached the girl. She smiled casually and flicked her eyes towards a group of women.

    Those ladies are reporting you,” embarrassment slid into her tone, and red crept up her cheeks, “W-which I’m sure you already knew – being a pro and all – I mean, you’re probably super prepared – but just in case you’re not, you should probably go ahead and slip. The only safe way out of here is through the coffee shop kitchen – the back door pops out right in an alley,” she stuttered, “Which again, I’m sure you already know, but, there’s a retractable ladder right around there too, and it’s usually pulled down and... well, how good can you run on rooftops?”
  3. The notes flowed from Saya's violin, giving her a good few minutes of pure bliss. Making music in itself was a wonderful experience for her - but to share it with other people as well? There wasn't a feeling in the world to match it. It was like dancing among the clouds, high above the world, bathed in the purest of sunlight. This was what she lived for. She only hoped that one day more people would come to understand and appreciate it. She watched the people around her carefully as she played - for signs of interest or caution. She noticed a girl standing in an alley, watching her intently, and she smiled beneath her mask. It was good to know that her music reached someone, at least.

    She played for a short while longer before the girl she'd seen earlier approached her somewhat awkwardly. She'd probably appear fairly normal to most people, but to someone who knew what signs to look out for, like Saya, she was definitely trying too hard. Saya didn't respond immediately when the girl spoke, but her eyes moved to the women she'd mentioned. She'd thought that they might be trouble, and now her suspicions were only confirmed.

    "Quite good," she said quietly, her voice distorted by a device in her mask. "I've done my fair share of rooftop escapes, but..." As if on cue, sirens blared from just outside the courtyard, and people began to scatter. Saya quickly shoved her violin back into its bag and grabbed the girl's hand. "I hope you are, too. They'll have seen you talking to me. Come on, let's go."

    Saya ran, pulling the girl with her. There were a few shouts and surprised cries from behind them, but Saya ignored them. She focused only on placing one foot in front of the other as fast as possible. She pushed through a group of people, tipping over a table. Hopefully that would at least slow down their pursuers. She dashed into the coffee shop, through the kitchen, and out the back, pushing a large bin in the way of the back door. She had no doubt that the police would get through it easily, but it would at least buy them a few seconds. Using a small amount of magic, she shot herself up onto the fire escape, and then dropped the ladder down behind her.

    "This way," Saya called down to the girl without looking back. "I'll take you somewhere you can lay low for a while." Then, she took off again, quickly climbing the fire escape, towards the roof. She just hoped the cops were far enough behind them that they wouldn't be able to follow.
  4. In her peripherals, the gaggle of women gawked blatantly. A few looked sickeningly satisfied. Authorities must be on their way. Her heart rate spiked as her eyes scanned the diminishing crowd. There were a few who lingered, either angry or entranced. Regardless of if they were listening, all would be taken in and questioned. Juniper chewed her lip and turned her attention back to the girl, whose distorted voice momentarily threw her off. The sound of sirens jump started her adrenaline; she would have been ready to run whether she had been doing something wrong or not.

    Juniper kept a tight grasp on the girl’s hand as they took off through the coffee shop. She barely dodged several surprised servers, apologizing profusely along the way. Dishes clattered all around her, and people outside were yelling in their direction. They reached the alley, and while helping the other push a bin in front of the door, she wondered if she should follow her or not. Originally, Juniper was going to lead her somewhere safe. She was the rescuer, not the rescued. Quickly brushing aside her pride, she turned in time to see an impossible jump. Her eyes narrowed and doubts returned, but without another second thought, she scurried up the fire escape and onto the roof.

    Despite the situation, she smiled. Once up here, the world -and the game- changed. The police weren’t completely incompetent, but that’s what made it fun. Half of her life these days was spent up here, searching or fleeing, laughing or crying, and as much as she loved it, there had never been a time she wasn't alone. It felt wrong. Others may leap across roofs to escape, but somehow it felt like it was her own; like no one else should be allowed in her second home. Selfish, she scolded herself and hurried after the dark haired girl. She caught up easily and kept stride while trying to convince herself this wasn’t a sick trap. Leave it to the government to come up with a scheme as elaborate as this. And on top of that…

    “What the hell was that? Do you have jet packs in your god damn feet?” Talking and sprinting weren’t her favorite pair, but she found the question flew out on it’s own accord.
  5. The wind rushed through Saya's hair as she ran. This, too, was one of her favourite feelings. Despite the danger, there was something about the rush of running after having played her music that was exhilarating. Though the air was cooling to a degree, her mask was almost unbearably stuffy. She really wanted to take it off, but it wasn't safe yet. She couldn't risk any onlookers - rare as they may be up here - or police catching sight of her face. The last time one of her crew's face was seen... Well, she didn't really like to think about that. They'd become a lot more careful since then. They had to be. One slip up and everything was over.

    She glanced over at the light haired girl, briefly wondering if this could be a trap. But... No. No, she didn't think she was. The cops and the government were smart - and would do just about anything to catch people like her - but they couldn't have known where she'd be playing today, and that girl had been there near the start. She was probably just good-intentioned.

    A small smirk tugged at her lips when the girl spoke. So she really didn't know anything. "Magic," she said. "But it's not safe to talk about in the open. We're almost there." After another couple more minutes of running, she found what she was looking for. A ledge, marked by a small, almost unnoticeable to someone who wasn't looking, treble clef. "Over there." She pointed to the mark. "Jump."

    Without giving the girl much of a chance to reply, Saya sped up. She found that it was best to tackle it at full speed, before she could get scared. She'd done it a hundred times before, but her sense of self-preservation still wasn't very happy about it. So, before her brain could do anything to stop her, she leaped off the side of the building. As she flew through the air, she felt the familiar pull of her crew's magic slowing her fall and lowering her safely to the ground. As her feet touched the floor, she let out a small sigh of relief. She was back home. Safe.

    Knowing the safety magic would be weakened, Saya turned and held out her arms, using some of her own magic to help steady and catch the girl.
  6. “Magic,” Juniper repeated the word like a child, mulled on it for a moment, even slowed her pace, trying to digest what she’d heard, “Wait- what?” she sped back up, the cold sinking into her fingertips but the rest of her body staying almost agonizingly warm. It had to be a lie, she was lying, that’s all there was to it. Magic was a lie, a fantasy laced into books to keep humans dreaming. However… books with magic were banned, too, though not as strictly. It had been easy to find them, and punishment for being caught with one was a slap on the wrist. Even so, if the government had even just their fingertips in something, it generally meant it was worth questioning.

    With squinted eyes, she managed to see the mark, but wasn’t fast enough to question the command before the girl got a running start and jumped. Juniper screeched to a stop and blinked, “Oh that’s it, huh?” she muttered sarcastically under her breath, glancing around the deserted rooftops, “Just run, jump and fucking fall to my death?” she shrugged, readjusting her bag and trying to shake off the trembling fear that was quickly setting in.

    She took a calming breath and started running before anyone could say she was scared. It was that moment she realized nothing kept her alive better than her ego, but right now, that pride was about to get her killed. As the ledge neared, she let adrenaline flood her, then jumped. At first she fell normally, then it felt as if she were simply being lowered. Before panic set in, she looked straight at the girl and knew that this was magic. When her feet hit home, her knees gave out.

    With her head down, she stared at the ground with a faint sense of embarrassment, but more than that, overwhelming confusion, and maybe even some nausea. A beat passed, and she stood, warily facing the one who had brought her here.

    “Well,” Juniper started after uncomfortably clearing her throat, “This has been...weird.”
  7. Saya watched her for a moment as she reached the ground, eyes keen and calculating, searching for signs of anything that might be off. Though she'd decided that this girl likely wasn't working for the government, she still couldn't trust her completely. After all, she was a complete stranger. A complete stranger that might have helped tip her off to what those women had been up to - but a stranger nonetheless. And she'd brought her here, her home, and the home of her friends. She had to be sure. She considered for a moment offering her a hand up, but the girl stood before she could do anything. After a moment of awkward silence, the girl spoke, and Saya was at least a little more convinced.

    "I can imagine," she said. "Come inside. We can talk there. There are too many possible listening ears out here." Saya moved past the girl to a metal door, rusty and unassuming. She opened it, holding it for just a moment, before walking inside.

    The interior was a bar that some - mainly those trying to make it sound good - might describe as rustic and homely. But Saya, in all honesty, couldn't call it anything other than a shithole. Half the lights didn't work, the musty smell of cigarettes had soaked into the furniture, and Saya had made a point not to look at the floor for the last six months. Better she didn't know what it looked like. But, it worked for them. It kept them, generally, out of the public eye - and cops and government ages definitely didn't want to come within a kilometer of places like these, unless a shooting was actively taking place. And even then, they wrinkled their noses at the prospect.

    Saya pulled off her mask, sighing in relief at being able to breathe freely again. "You must have questions," she said, moving around to the back of the bar. "Yes, magic is real. No, I'm not lying. I can prove it to you, but I don't have a lot left so I can't do anything flashy. If you want a fireball, I'll need to play another song. Yes, there are more of us. Reeves and Jess should be back any minute. Drink?" She pulled out two glasses, filling them both up with some shitty brand liquor Reeves kept for them. "I suggest you say here for a while. Maybe till tomorrow, at least. If you were seen talking with me, they'll be watching for you. They've been wanting me for quite some time now. You can try to leave if you want, I won't stop you, but it'll be dangerous until it cools down." Saya took a drink from her glass, and gave a small smile as she swallowed down the alcohol. "What's your name, by the way?"
  8. Against her better judgment, which was really how she did most everything, Juniper followed her through the door. She paused for a breath after stepping inside, carefully assessing the interior. A slow smile crept on her lips; the place appealed to her. As dingy as it was, it felt secretive – rebellious, and she couldn’t help but feel a thrill building. She could see how it would make a good hideout, safe house – whatever she called it, it was perfect.

    After the mask was off, she was able to soak in her new….friend? No, not quite. Her smile widened. Once here, her suspicions had melted away. This must be genuine.

    “Another song?” she gaped, “Is that how it works? Is that why music is banned? can that even be-” she sucked in a breath, “There are more of you?” It was a little too much for her to absorb, but the excitement and awe outweighed it. There were real rebels out there, as she had always suspected, even though everyone always denied it. For five years, she’d known, but had never been able to prove it. Best not get over eager, she thought to herself, calming her rising exhilaration.

    When she poured two glasses of alcohol, Juniper couldn’t help but laugh, “Oh no,” she rummaged through her bag and pulled out a hefty flask. After taking a decent swig, she handed it to the other, “Don’t worry, I’m not an alchie, I just love good whiskey, especially after a close call,” she pulled herself up on a stool and stuck her hand out, “I’m Juniper. Thanks for the quick getaway, by the way. I don’t like to tempt fate twice in one day, so I guess I’ll stick it out here until morning.”
    #8 malice, Aug 25, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 25, 2016
  9. Saya gave a short laugh, more of a snort than anything else, as she listened to Juniper speak. She was aware that the government kept the general populace in the dark; Saya herself had only learned the truth about magic and music when she was sixteen. But it was still baffling to her how little someone could know - especially someone who had gone out of their way to listen to music. She took another sip of her drink, the burn in her throat like a homecoming for her.

    "You really don't know anything, do you? Yes, that's how it works," she said, a tinge of amusement in her voice. "There are a few of us. Not a lot as many as we used to be, but enough to at least annoy the government."

    She accepted the flask and took a sip, humming happily at the taste. Much better than the whiskey they kept here. Reeves liked to skimp out on costs wherever possible; if there was a cheaper alternative, he'd take it, not matter how godawful. But, Saya supposed that Reeves' money-managing was what kept them afloat and able to do what they did. Maintaining musical instruments wasn't cheap, especially when even the black market didn't like to keep too much of it at once.

    "Not bad," she said, handing the flask back to Juniper. "I have to agree with you there. Nothing better than a drink after a good run from the police." She took Juniper's hand and gave it a shake. "It's not a problem. What kind of violinist would I be if I left a fellow music-lover to the police? You can call me Strings, for now. Maybe I'll tell you my real name if Jess decides that she likes you. She's usually a good judge of character." She unzipped her hoodie and slipped it off, tossing it onto the counter behind her, and then leaned her elbows on the front counter. "So, when did you discover music? I have a feeling that this wasn't your first time hearing it."
  10. Juniper laughed in return, taking another pull, “Everyone thinks I’m a narc,” she shrugged, setting the flask between them, “I always knew there was a catch – a real reason why the ban was so strict, but no one tells me shit.” She glanced down at her hands. Her parents must have known, and they may have told her, if they had lived long enough to do so. She briefly wondered what hole her brother was currently sinking in and considered finding him again – it’d been over a year since she’d sought him out. He was more than likely dead, too. The cello flooded her memory. Strange how she had never felt at fault for her family’s undoing, not until now.

    Brushing off the sudden rush of guilt, she looked back up at the girl, forcing an awkward smile, “Strings, huh? Well, maybe if I decide I like you, I’ll let you call me June,” she pushed a stray hair from her eyes and took her bag from around her shoulder, setting it on the stool next to her. The unreality of the situation and the adrenaline were finally wearing off and the comedown was weighing on her shoulders. A mix of exhaustion and sadness were creeping in. She kept to herself after a chase, usually to avoid anyone seeing the emotions that lay under her nearly impenetrable layer of childlike joy and wonder.

    Usually, talking about music, especially the first time hearing it, was her favorite topic. Now, her stomach rolled at the thought, “When I was sixteen, a few days after my birthday. My parents-they-” she shook her head, “I’ve loved it since, spent so much time chasing it down that you would think I’d know about this magic bit. But what about you? When did you start playing? You’re fantastic, by the way, didn’t get the chance to tell you before we took off. And thank you, for that, by the way. I’ve never been arrested, and I’m trying it that way,” a pause and frown, “Though come to think of it, maybe that’s why everyone thinks I’m a cop.”
  11. Saya's eyes picked up the little ticks in Juniper's behavior. The girl was obviously tired. Saya couldn't blame her, really. She was a music lover, and she'd probably been on her fair share of runs before, but Saya doubted that she'd gotten quite this involved before. Plus, learning about magic and how it was made - it was a huge shock. Saya knew. She hadn't even fully believed it herself for weeks afterwards, despite getting a very flashy first-hand demonstration. So the little slump in her shoulders and the exhaustion in her eyes were no real surprise. Saya could sympathize, after all.

    "June," Saya repeated. "That's nice. I don't mean to offend you, it's just... Names can have power. And I've only just met you. I've had to learn the hard way to be careful about stuff like that." She took another sip and wondered briefly where Reeves and Jess were. They were usually back by now. A small spark of fear flared up within her - had something happened? Had they been caught? No, they were too careful for that. She hoped. She forced the fear down and was careful not to let her anxiety show on her face. She couldn't let someone else see that. Especially not someone she'd just met. She was Strings. She had to keep people believing in her.

    Saya gave Juniper a sympathetic smile at the stumbled words. There was obviously something painful there. Like that last night at their old place. When Juniper brought up her music, Saya blinked in surprise a little, and fought, unsuccessfully, against a blush. She never did well with compliments. "Oh, well, thank you. I can show you how to play, if you'd like," she offered. "Of course, listening to music and playing it... It's a big leap that you can't come back from. They'll always know that you've done it, especially if you use it for magic. And you? A cop? The people that think that must not be very good at reading people. I can tell you're here for the music, not anything else. But, no, you really don't want to be arrested - especially not for playing music, or for helping someone play it. I've been arrested a few times, and only once for that, and... Let's just say it's something you should avoid." Saya paused, and then sighed. "I'm sorry, you must be tired. Reeves and Jess are late, but once they get here I can show you the spare room. We're open every night, though, so you'll have to bear with that."
  12. Juniper laughed without moving her lips, tilting her head slightly, “Nothing offends me. I understand, kind of. I should be more like that… cautious that is. I only thought you were the cops for like, thirty seconds, then it was gone. I mean, I don’t really understand how I haven’t been arrested yet. It’s-” she stopped herself from the rambling that usually came with exhaustion and chewed her lip. She wondered what had made her so careful about others, what had caused her to never use her real name. Maybe they were more similar than she thought, though Strings seemed much stronger, calmer and, well, wiser. Next to her, Juniper already felt like a noisy child.

    Her eyebrows arched as she watched the red rise in Strings’ cheeks, and she grinned sheepishly. The girl didn’t seem like a blusher – Juniper loved when the most human of qualities shone through.

    “I would love that,” she responded suddenly, leaning even further forward, still smiling, “I don’t have any rhythm, but maybe eventually-I think it’s interesting how you offer to teach me music, but keep your name hidden. Not that I mind, like I said I understand,” Juniper leaned back a little, almost lost her balance, then gripped the edge of the bar, “I’m a little tired, but it’s fine. I can wait. Can you maybe… play something? I’ve never got to listen without fear of being caught since the first time.”
  13. Saya's smile widened, just a little; she was feeling a lot more relaxed than she had been earlier. There was something in Juniper's laugh and smile that set her nerves at ease. At heart, Saya was a trusting person. Sure, experiences had taught her to be more cautious about it - but trusting people came natural to her. She tried not to let it get in the way of her better judgement, though. There were still a number of things that could go wrong with Juniper. She could be a spy - a really good one. Or, the police could simply get to her, and she could tell them about this place. The police could be quite- persistent with getting what they wanted.

    "The others would say the same," she chuckled. "They think using a code name is silly when the government already knows who I am." Saya's hand shot out when Juniper fell backwards, hand landing on her elbow to help steady her. Her smile softened at her question. "Of course. I haven't played for someone outside the crew without fear of being caught for a long time, either."

    Saya turned and took her violin out of its bag, and then turned back to Juniper and began to play. She glided her bow over the strings, her fingers moving precisely with the changes of the notes. It was a slow song, calm and tranquil - one of the first ones that Saya had learned to play. She imagined that this was something goers of balls might have danced to long ago. She envisioned the whirls of the dresses and the smiles of the peoples' faces, and tried to convey the feeling that the image gave in how she played. Magic swelled within her with each note, feeling like a breath of fresh air. As she ended the song, as if on cue, the back door slammed open.

    "Saya!" It was Reeves' voice. "I'm back! Jess had to go pick something up, she said she'll-" He stopped short as he noticed Juniper. Green eyes widening at the sight of a stranger during their closed hours. "Oh, who's this?" Saya sighed. There goes keeping her name a secret.
  14. “It creates a sense of security,” Juniper said, wondering if she could take a fake name now that she was in with the big timers. Don’t get ahead of yourself, she thought, Strings is the only that likes you, the rest could think you’re a disaster - like everyone else does. She glanced at the hand caught her by elbow, laughed under her breath at her clumsiness then grabbed the flask for one last drink.

    With wide eyes, she watched as Strings took out her violin, “Really? I honestly thought you’d say no, I’m sure you’re tired and-”

    Once she started playing, her words were lost. She let her eyes drift shut so she could fully listen. Now that she was paying attention to it, and not distracted by the outside world, she swore she felt something different. That feeling was always assumed to be part of the emotion she felt when she heard music, but it was bigger than that. Not cast a fireball feeling – a lightness of heart, an inexplicable desire to dance, laugh and play.

    She opened one eye to get a better look at Strings, then eased off the bar stool to bow to an imaginary partner. Taking this partner by the invisible waist, she danced in a way she imagined you should to this music. Slow, long strides and delicate twirls. A sense of elation was growing inside her, and she was half tempted to grab Strings and make her dance, too, if she hadn’t been supplying the song.

    When the door flew open, her heart stopped, only starting again when it was clear this was a friend.

    “Well it looks like I don’t have to pass the test, huh, Saya?” Juniper shot her a grin and crossed her arms over her chest, “I’m Juniper,” she said to Reeves, “You must be Reeves.”
  15. Saya grinned at Juniper's dancing. It made her unspeakably happy when people, especially new people, enjoyed her music. Most of the time, when she performed in public, all she got were dirty looks and judgement from those who were loyal to the government - which was most people. Not many people thought outside of what they were taught these days; the government made sure to keep people in their little boxes, and anyone who strayed from them where quickly shut down. So, it was nice to have someone appreciate it.

    She snorted at Juniper's remark. "I guess not. But does that mean I get to call you June?" Saya shot back. "It's only fair." She turned to pack away her violin, resting the case on the back counter. Once her violin was packed away, she grabbed another glass off one of the higher shelves and poured a drink for Reeves. He didn't need to ask - it was tradition for them, after all, to have a drink after a job.

    Reeves made his way over to the counter, a sheepish smile on his face. "Whoops, I guess you were doing that 'Strings' thing again, weren't you, Saya?" He laughed, accepting the drink when she handed it to him. She just rolled her eyes at him and took another sip of her own. "Yep, that's me. Bar owner and police distracter extraordinaire. What brings such a pretty face to our little establishment?"

    Saya rolled her eyes again. "Ignore him. He's a troublemaker," she said.
  16. Juniper grinned, “Fine, but don’t abuse it.”

    She carefully watched Saya pack up her violin. Never in her life would she have expected this moment. Wandering back over to the counter, she kept a smile on her face and her eyes on the violinist. A part of her didn’t want to her learn how to play; she felt that it would take the wonder away. She pulled herself back on the bar stool and shifted so she could see both of them at once.

    “Your Strings here swept me off my feet and brought me here in a daring rescue,” a slow smirk crept on her lips, “Though I will say, I was the one supposed to be rescuing her,” she laughed quietly, “So what happens around here?”
  17. Reeves' grin widened. "Saya's like that. Very noble. Always the rescuer. It's been a while since she brought someone back to our base, though," he said. "Usually she's way too paranoid for that. Last time she brought someone in was..." Saya shot him a sharp look. She didn't want him talking about that. She didn't like thinking about it, let alone having a discussion about it. It was her screw-up, after all. "A few years ago," he corrected quickly. "Back at the old place."

    Saya hummed, leaning on the bar again. She pursed her lips, thinking of the best way to explain without giving away too many specific details. "We don't do jobs that frequently," she said. "Not as frequently as we used to, at any rate. The police are watching more carefully than they used to. We mostly do small-scale musical protests, sometimes some heists when we need money, but we get most of our funding from the bar. Reeves does most of the scouting and watching on the job, along with a few of the others, and Jess and Alec are in charge of hacking the security. Everyone here is a musician, though."

    "But Saya's our main performer," Reeves interjected. "Amazing, isn't she?" Then, Reeves leaned forward a little. "So, what, you want in?" He asked. Saya frowned at him, and opened her mouth to say something, but then closed it again when she realized she wasn't sure what to say. He was always far too forward, but she didn't want to cause a fight in front of Juniper.
  18. Juniper shot Saya a sideways glance when Reeves mentioned the last time she brought someone in. Though no specifics were said, she could feel the tension and...something else. Needless to say, she had obviously taken a personal risk, bringing her here. A shy smile played on her lips, and for some reason, her cheeks reddened slightly. The old place, she mused. She’d have to ask about it, later, much later, when the ice was more sufficiently broken.

    Listening intently while their inner workings were tentatively described, she nodded at the right intervals. It sounded less complicated than she knew it was, “Everyone-all of you play?” Jealousy swelled in her chest. Her smile returned shortly, “Yes,” she said, pointedly looking back at Saya, “She really is.”

    When Reeves bluntly asked her if she wanted in, she began to stutter, and the previous blushing took over her face, “I-I mean-no, that’s not why-” desperately, her eyes moved to Saya, pleading, “I can only run away, I’m not much good at hacking," what she wasn't saying was that she'd always planned out imaginary heists, but those were her strange daydreams - they would never work, "Besides...I can’t even play.”
  19. Saya could sense Juniper's curiosity, but chose to ignore it. Maybe it's a story she'd tell one day in the far, far future - if Juniper stuck around long enough for that. But admiring the music scene and being dragged into the middle of it were two very different things. Saya wouldn't blame her if she ran tomorrow and never resurfaced. It'd probably be her wisest decision, at any rate. When things went sour, they went sour. So, they made sure they didn't. But there was always a risk. Her cheeks turned a little pink at Juniper's look, but this time she was able to keep her expression fairly neutral - at least more so than before.

    "Well, not the violin, and not like Saya. I play the guitar. The others play different instruments, as well," Reeves answered. Either he didn't notice Juniper's discomfort, or he didn't care. Saya knew from experience that it was probably the latter. He opened his mouth to continue speaking, but Saya stopped him with a cuff on the back of his head. As endearing as she found Juniper's blush, she knew from experience that being on the receiving end of Reeves' blabbering could be quite... Difficult.

    "Enough, Reeves," she sighed, crossing her arms over her chest. "Can't you see she's a little overwhelmed? Stay here." She then turned back to Juniper. "Like I said, ignore him. He likes to run his mouth off. Come on, I'll show you where you can crash tonight." Saya pushed off from the bar and walked through another door, making her way towards another set of stairs. "For what it's worth," she said, glancing over her shoulder. "We can always use good runners. For distractions, get-aways, heists - rooftop running is a good skill to have. And my offer to teach you still stands. I don't think you'd be a bad player. We could even see if you have some talent for magic." Pausing, she gave a nonchalant shrug. "But that's not why I brought you here, and you don't have to force yourself. It's a dangerous business, and the government can be brutal. So, don't do anything unless you're sure. It won't be safe for you once you involve yourself here."
  20. Juniper had no intention of running, not when she had finally found people who not only loved and played music, but took her in – without continually wondering whether or not she was a cop. It felt strange to be suddenly accepted, however in the same breath, it made her nervous. After a lifetime of questionable friends and losing those closest to her, she had learned not to become attached to people, places or things. Though as she looked around the bar, studied Reeves and Saya, she found it difficult to not feel connected.

    While smiling and nodding at Reeves wasn’t too hard, but she was quickly becoming embarrassed, on top of the fatigue. When Saya finally cut him off and began walking away, she hurried off the stool, grabbed her bag and rushed after her.

    “Oh no, he’s very nice – I just – I’m not that good with people. I like them and all, but, I – I don’t know,” she sighed, shifting her bag around her shoulders, then smiling gently, “I’d like to stay...I think. It makes me nervous, to be relied on, to have actual friends. I’ve always wanted to do something important, but now that the chance is here…” she kept her gaze downcast for a moment, “I’ll have to sleep on it. Usually when I dream about something, it means I should do it.”

    Her eyes twinkled and she put her hand out, “Thank you, for today. All of it. Whatever I decide, you’ve shown me a world I didn’t even know existed.”
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