Author's Notes: Lan is a perfectionist audiophile and techno-geek. Gingetsu has a tin ear. Go figure.


By Alexandra Lucas


He would kneel next to the cabinet, a cushion in his lap and his chin cupped in his hands, listening to music with his head tilted lightly to one side like a bird. He would get lost in the music, in the notes and chords and words. A month after he had moved in, Gingetsu had come home with the parts for a new set in his arms.

He had been about to throw the old set out, perhaps to give it to Kazuhiko, but Lan had caught him with it the next morning as he was about to leave, and protested, claiming that he could still find use for it.

He had come home to find a new sound system that was totally unrecognizable, larger and sleeker and with far fewer buttons than it had had when he left. It was playing a song he did not know, which was no surprise as he knew little of such things. The halls of the academy where he had grown up were like the offices of government, and, he was just starting to realize, like his home had been before Lan - large and empty and prone to echo when you were alone.

Lan sat on the floor, legs askew and tangled in wires. He looked up as Gingetsu came in and Gingetsu stopped him before he could get up. His visor supplied that the mess at Lan's feet were the guts of the old machine he had left that morning - chips and metal and things too small or too insignificant for even his visor to identify. Lan poked at... something... and it morphed into something Gingetsu assumed to be a speaker, since the song was now blaring from it.

They stared at the maybe-a-speaker in Lan's hand, and the song went "Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there with open arms and open eyes..."

Lan looked at him and asked, "Does it sound a little... tinny to you?"

"So if I decide to waiver my chance to be one of the hive..."

Gingetsu didn't know, but he tilted his own head, anyway, and strained his ears to listen more closely. It all sounded the same to him, even when Lan flipped back and forth between the ones already on the cabinet and the one in his hand, giving Gingetsu a slight sense of vertigo from the voice which seemed to come from two directions at once.

Lan looked at him in question again, but Gingetsu could only stare uncomfortably back.

"Would you choose water over wine..." The voice sang from the middle of Lan's palm. He pursed his lips in thought.

"Hold the wheel and drive?"

"Tinny," Lan half-muttered, half sighed, and put it down on the floor.

It collapsed in on itself, becoming smaller and smaller until Gingetsu could no longer tell it apart from the rest of the pieces.

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