Of Mars and Moon: Music to Drown By

by Cecily Hawkins



Disclaimer: This is a not-for-profit fanfic containing characters inspired by copyrighted characters. No damage is intended. This story may contain same-sex romantic and sexual relationships. This is part 4 of an ongoing series. Violence/Language Warning: Mild. Oh, and love and kisses to

Shandryl for beta-reading these things. :)

The old hairbrush was wooden and comfortable and well-suited to her grip. The soft bristles separated strands painlessly and smoothed nutrients from root to tip. She gave her hair one last long stroke and then set the brush neatly on the dresser, inspecting her appearance in the mirror.

Only the smile needed adjustment.

Picture-perfect, she proceeded to the kitchen, where a bowl of granola waited for her on the table. She sat, mumbled a quick blessing over the food, then proceeded to eat her breakfast in silence.

The rustling of a newspaper preceded Father's entrance. "Good morning, dear."

"Good morning," Shaye replied, then spooned the last few bites as quickly as possible without being obviously rushed. She carried the bowl to the sink, rinsed it out, and set it along with the other dishes. That task accomplished, she fetched her bag of books and fished out a pink
square. "Father, I won't be coming to services tonight."

The paper folded shut. "Oh?"

Shaye entered the invitation into evidence. "This girl asked me to come to her performance. She seemed lonely and said she really wanted me to be there."

Father glanced at its contents. <On Wednesday, January 27, 1999, at 7:00pm, Shannon Miere will be performing the works of... > "A violinist? That sounds like a very nice activity for you."


"Perhaps she will be a good person for you to reach out to." The paper crinkled open again. "Have a good time, and remember your mission."

"I will."


Terry's phase-shifted morning generally fell between eleven am and one pm; whatever would grant her just enough time to grab a Dr. Pepper and some Doritos before rushing to her first class or appointment. Today it had been Electricity and Magnetism, a class which definitely required a second shot of caffeine. Terry liked science; it was real and dependable. Especially at the lower levels, it had rules that anyone could learn and follow, not like the subjective arts. Scientists studied
the real world. What did graduate students in English do? Read books, make up theories about them, and write essays trying to show off how deep and insightful the thing they'd made up was? Science was more predictable than people.

She slumped into the lab chair, meaning just to check her email before her next class.

Hey babe what's up?
- kdh

She sighed. "And I thought I was the one who was on the computer too much," she sent to him.

I caught someone trying to break in this morning.
- kdh

"What, to your room?"

No stupid my machine.
- kdh

"No kidding? Do you know who it was?" she messaged.

I know what machine it was coming from but there were
several people logged in and I don't know which it was. cab,
dtc, jde, emh, ajt, or xi, unless he logged out before I
- kdh

Terry frowned. Alan Talvi, ajt, was the student with the strange error in the program she'd graded last night. If he knew that Karl had been in the class previously, might he have been trying to steal his old homework off his computer? She shook her head. She hadn't the slightest hint of proof that Alan had done anything wrong at all, and here she was blaming him for anything that happened. "How do you know it was a he?" she sent teasingly.

How many girl hackers do you know?
- kdh

Well, there was a question she'd rather not answer. She ignored it and returned to her email inbox. Nothing important there. She moved the pointer towards the "Log Out" button.

Hey you wanna come with us to the Mirage tonight?

She replied, "Sorry, got plans."

Hot date?
- kdh

"Not quite. Going to a music recital."

What about that little ChristianGirl of yours?

"What *about* her?" she typed.

Is she going?

"Yes, but only because Shannon asked her to."

She wants you!

"Yeah, right. Look, I really have to go now," she sent, and logged out before he could respond. Terry looked up at the clock on the wall. About five hours until the recital... and five minutes before
class. She exited in a hurry.


The Baldwin was the smallest of the spaces in which student recitals were customarily held, and most of the seats were already taken when Terry arrived. There was no sign of Shaye. She suppressed a twinge of disappointment and picked a chair near the end of one of the three rows, setting her program on the seat beside her. Shannon was nowhere in sight, probably off somewhere warming up, but Alex was a beacon of light in the front row in her white tuxedo jacket and pants. Terry wondered fleetingly if she should have dressed up more.

"Is this seat taken?" It was Shaye, of course, in a dress of creamy lemon yellow with a lace collar and little pearly buttons. Terry snatched up her program so the other girl could sit down. She looked around at the room and the people now beginning to stand against the wall for lack of chairs. "I thought you said she was afraid no one would come?"

Terry shrugged. "Almost nobody has recitals this early in the year. Hers must have been bumped over from last semester. I guess they didn't have anything else to do, so they all came here. Besides, she's really good."

Further conversation was limited as Shannon entered the room followed by a man, apparently her accompanist, who went straight to the piano. Shannon's long dress was the same glossy black as her hair, with hints of blue where it reflected the lights of the room. She said nothing to her audience, only smiled, raised her bow, and began.

Terry was not a passionate fan of classical music, but she found herself drawn in by the sweet promise of the opening melody. Shannon's tone was pure and effortless throughout her range, spinning notes like a cool breeze, beautiful but longing, calling out for something more even
in their trancsendence. Movements flew by the spellbound listeners, and then Shannon was bowing her head to their appreciation and retiring for her intermission.

Terry leaned back in her chair, relaxing, then noticed Shaye glancing nervously about. Suspecting it was a question of etiquette, she offered, "It's okay, you can go talk to people."

Shaye shook her head. "I don't know anyone."


And then someone came over to speak to them. "Hello," Alex said, looking very much the dashing gentleman. "We're very glad you could come tonight."

"W- I'm enjoying it," Terry said. There is no "we", she reminded herself sternly.

Alex extended an elegant hand to Shaye. "I don't believe we've been introduced."

She clasped it lightly. "Shaye Badrian."

"Alexandra Makane." She began to raise their joined fingers. Oh gods, Terry thought suddenly, please don't kiss her hand, she'll freak out, please don't... But Alex halted the motion. "Charmed," she murmured. Shaye took her hand back with a nervous smile.

"Good turnout," Terry commented.

Alex only shrugged, watching the blush slowly spread across Shaye's face.

"Um... how long is intermission?" Shaye asked.

Alex chuckled. "Just long enough to be polite. For most people, the partita she's doing would probably be a whole concert, not the second half. But most people here haven't already toured and recorded albums."

Shaye's eyes went wide. "She has?"

Alex winked. "You're cute when you do that."

"Ah.. uh.." Shaye bit her lip and looked at Terry, who blinked, surprised.

Alex made a little bow to them. "I'll leave you two ladies alone." She walked away.

Neither of them found anything to say before Shannon reappeared, this time without an accompanist. The second half of the concert was more astounding than the first, with Shannon breezing through the multiple stops while bringing out the same haunting air that had characterized the earlier performance. The piece itself might not have been intended as romantic, but Terry could see couples' hands creeping together around the room, influenced by something more than just the notes. Without looking, she could *feel* Shaye's presence beside her, and the temptation to reach
out gnawed at her. She's not interested! she screamed at herself. Leave her alone! And the music went on.

At last the Ciaccona ended, and Terry wrested her mind free of its ramblings to join in the applause. Alex produced a bouquet of roses and presented them to her lover, who accepted with a smile. "Like yin and yang, only reversed," Terry murmured, looking at the couple's white and
black clothing. Shaye glanced at her curiously, but didn't ask. The two of them left the crowd of congratulators pressing around Shannon and headed for the cool night air. The parking lot by the music building was nearly empty.

"Well, hello there, beautiful," drawled a voice.

Terry glanced over to see a young man, beer in hand, leaning against the building. Deciding to ignore him, she kept moving.

"Hey, blondie, I was talking to you! Let's get friendly!" He staggered forwards, reaching out a meaty hand for Shaye's shoulder.

Quick as a flash, Terry intercepted it, twisting his arm painfully and shoving him backwards. He wasn't that big, and she was stronger than she looked. "Back off, buddy. The lady is not interested."

"Whatsa matta? You some kind of lezzie? Honey, you just need a good taste of me, you'll forget all that shit..."

An eyeblink, and Terry had knocked him to his knees.

"Stop it!" Shaye screamed.

Terry grabbed his hair and pulled it backwards. "Don't you ever say anything like that again."

"He didn't even do anything! Stop!"

"And if you *ever* touch her I will break your fingers one by one, do you understand me?"

"Violence is wrong!" Shaye wailed.

"Do you understand me?"

He tried to nod, but couldn't with her grip on his hair. "Yeah," he hissed, and she let him go, watching carefully to be sure he didn't spring up and after them again. He only stumbled away into the night.

Terry ran a hand through her hair. "Sorry you had to see that."

Shaye looked at her, expression unreadable. "We need to talk."

She blinked. "About what."

"No. Not here. How about Friday, lunch?"

"Umm..." She was asking her for a *date*? *Now*? "...okay?"

"Fine, I'll send you an email." She turned to leave.

"Wait! Do you need a ride home?"

"No." And she was gone.


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