Raven's Wing: Chapter 8

Sage played for a long time before he stopped. However, he did not move from his spot nor open his eyes. Shary still sat in the corner, afraid to move. But she looked over at where she last heard the flute's music. Wiping her hands on her skirt, she released her knees and wipes her eyes once more with her sleeve. She spoke in a low voice, her throat sore from all the crying she had done.

"Date-san... domo arigato..." She leaned back against the wall, resting her head against the wall. Her head throbbed painfully and she felt sick in her stomach. Sighing deeply she began to play with her ring once more.

Sage left the lights off but moved quietly off the table to Shary in the corner. He did not need to see her to know that she was deeply distressed and not feeling well. As he came up to her slowly so as not to startle her he reached out and gently pulled her away from the wall. As he pulled her close he wrapped his arms around her in a loose embrace as he smoothed her hair and just held her quietly. The tears were needed and he understood it all too well. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a kleenex for her to use and lead her over to the piano bench. Sitting her down with her back to the keys he sat next to her, as she blew her nose he pulled her shoulder so that she could lean against him.

"I know it’s hard," he whispered, "But we will always be there for you. Would it be easier to talk to just one of us??" He asked softly indicating that he was willing to listen in the dark if she so chose. His soft tenor voice like the caress of his hand on her hair to console her.

Shary leaned against him, nodding her head and sighing softly. "Gomen Date-san. It's just I was never even allowed to cry." She looked up at him, holding the Kleenex tightly in her hand. "I loved them so much... why didn't they care about me?"

"Tears are the release of everything. Stress, frustration, pain, sorrow, and joy. Tears are good and even I cry at times. Your parents did love you. They wanted you to succeed, even though their methods were painful to watch and harder to bear up under, that was probably what they grew up with and with no other model to go after, they used the techniques that were used on them to help them raise their children." Sage was unhappy with her parents but it never showed as he spoke.

"I'm not saying that it was right or anything. But can you see it from their side of the wall?? They wanted successful, prominent, independent children. All parents do, it is just that the methods of teaching those lessons differ from one set of parents to the next." Sage kept his voice soft as he spoke to Shary, he hoped that she understood what he meant and would keep thinking and keep asking questions.

"I think... I understand what you mean..." she said softly. She rested her head on her shoulder again. "I just wish it didn't hurt so much..."

Shary admitted that she liked this feeling. Being comforted as she got her emotions under control once more, it felt good somehow. It was certainly better than holding them like she always did. Sage was very different then what she first thought. In fact, he was the opposite of what she thought. But in the back of her mind she was wondering what it would feel like if someone else were comforting her right now.

Sage continued to caress her silky hair until he felt her completely calm down and then looked down at her. "It is almost time for the past class to let out. Would you like to rehearse one of the pieces that we will be performing? Or shall we do an impromptu piece; I have a feeling that music will help you sew things up until you can talk to Cye. Am I right??"

"Maybe we should practice a piece for the show... Music has always been my refuge from everything." She slowly sat up and gave him a small smile. "You're a good friend, Sage."

Sage nodded and stood up to get another music stand for his music. "I think we should site read a piece of the vocal music. I need to warm up my vocal cords for class anyways remember??"

Moving over to get his folio of music and pulled out the easiest piece for them both to sight read and showed it to Shary. "How bout this one. I don't sing for many people that often and I really need to warm up. Think you can sight read this one??" Sage’s eyes twinkled in an obvious challenge hoping that he could spark her through her love of music.

Shary smiled and looked at him. She nodded and took the sheet music and turned to face the keys. "We'll soon find out. Just give me the word and we'll soon see how well you can sing." She took one last moment to wipe at her eyes and smoothed her hair down. "Ready when you are."

Sage looked over the music quickly and then looked to Shary. Raising his hand into the director's position he counted out the time and gave her the downbeat. The introduction was played beautifully and students were already coming into the classroom as Sage started into the vocals of the music letting the piano weave around his sight-reading, rising and falling with his clear tenor voice.

The song was an old country song that had been used embellished in several operas. Accompanied with the piano only, Sage brought out the pain the country boy felt, as he had to kiss his love goodbye to face his destiny as a young boy fighting in a war. The boy knew that he was most likely not going to come back alive and so he left instructions to the valley not far from their home where he wished to be buried should he meet Kami-sama in battle

The girl's part was sung in the upper register of the Tenor voice where the young man's voice was the lower tenor, proving that the singer of the song had to have a good range and support to sing the song. The second part of the song was the girl singing of her loneliness and fear for her loved one's life. And then her unending sorrow as she received her young husband's dead body.

The piano rose and fell supporting Sage through the piece and the Girl's suicide to be with her love again while she was over his grave moved all who were in the room as the piano came to a sudden and very soft fine.

Sage had tears in his eyes from putting all he had into the music to feel both parts and knew that he would have to practice again as he felt a little raw in the vocal chords after the song's conclusion. Bowing deeply to Shary he smiled slightly at the applause that was coming from in the room and out of the room. He had not realized that there were so many people that had heard him. Taking Shary's hand he lead her around the piano to take a bow of her own, He murmured softly to her so the others could not hear him. "You deserve to take a bow too, you were magnificent."

Shary blushed lightly and bowed as well. She felt a little better and it showed. True the signs of her crying were still visible but they weren't bad as before and she didn't feel so sore anymore. Sage was right; music did help her feel better. In fact, the lyrics of an old song came to mind. Music is Magic.

"Well done Sage, and Shary, You raised my expectations of you yet another notch. Ladies and Gents, I was going to have Sage demonstrate the possibilities of one of the less popular vocal ranges later on this class hour, but it seems that he beat me to the punch with that fine sight reading of that song.

Sage blushed slightly at the praise and led Shary to her seat. "It was nothing Sensei, it's the other music I'm going to have to practice." He smiled impishly at the teacher as the old joke between them that Sage could sight-read anything in front of him worked its way to the surface. Smiling because the stress of the day had worked itself out through the efforts of the music made that day and he could tell that Shary felt better. This was good, as things still felt dark in the corner of his mind.

{Shary-san, Again I must tell you that you were wonderful. You have a rare talent and I, for one, am glad that you use it. A small gift of my appreciation.

Date Sage}

Included with the note was a delicate crane sitting on a poem/pond.

Music and souls with the right words unite
Shivering gently in the darkness or light
They allow our minds and our hearts to take flight.

Shary looked as Sage and blushed once more when they're eyes meet. This was one of the sweetest gifts she had gotten; next to the flower Rowen had given her yesterday. They both put her in better moods and she cradled it in her hands for fear of letting it go. In fact, she wanted to do something for them. In return for their kindness but she wasn't sure what. Looking back at the crane she had an idea.

For the rest of the class she focused on what the sensei was saying. She was smiling softly and the feeling the music left her in was apparent in he eyes. She was slowly becoming the person she was deep inside herself. The scared little girl was slowly growing up. But from the hallway, peering into the classroom was a pair of cold eyes watching her. Then they disappeared.

Sage could feel her mood stay up through out the class and was glad that he was able to be there for her. She was going to need them all and if they could all get close to her in one way or another then they would be one step closer to making her independent of them.

From what he could see, if things kept up in this fashion, there would not be a whole lot that would be needed by them to get her to blossom into the powerful independent young woman that Raven had seen. Soon, she would be able to fight her own battles. Until then all seven of them were on hyper protective mode and Kento and Sage were even more so then the others.

When the class released Sage being the gentleman he was brought up to be again, got Shary's things for her and then followed her out the door. "Shary-san? When would you like to get together for a serious practice? I mean before class isn't exactly the best time to try and properly warm the vocals and then try to sing as well as get the flute playing in with your Piano music." They were walking down the halls and Sage looked like he was deep in thought as a student picked that particular time to try and tackle Sage.

Sage, being Sage saw it coming out of the corner of his eye and taking Shary into a classical dance pose he swung her out of the way in a fast waltz step. After getting a good look at the guy Sage grinned and let go of Shary. "Carl-san, how are things in the Kendo league for the next competition??"

Carl shrugged and smiled. "What martial arts are you taking now Date-san?? Karate-Waltz??"

Sage laughed and waved his hand, "You know me, Can't leave the ladies in danger."

Carl rolled his eyes and smiled even wider. "Yeah I know, I know, your Grandfather would hang you out to dry wouldn't he."

"Don't you forget it! Always be a gentleman to the ladies Carl, or I'll let Grandfather hear the little birds about it." Sage mock threatened his teammate and then moved Shary forward. "We're off, catch you later!"

Shary was still slightly smiling as she gave the young man a small wave. He and Sage talked in a positive manner, they seemed like friends. And it was confirmed that he was also in the same sport as Sage. She was caught off guard when he pulled her into the dance but her body reacted to it. She waited until they had walked out of the building and into the courtyard before she opened her mouth.

"What you said earlier... I think it's a good idea. Don't think me too forward but maybe we could have the practice at my house. I have a piano and we wouldn't be disturbing the neighbors or anything. And everyone is invited if they want to watch." She gave me a small smile, still holding the crane in her hands.

"An excellent idea. We can rehearse whenever you have the time. My schedule is open for quite a while until the Kendo team gets their act together enough to need the captain." Sage winked at her letting her know that he was kidding. Picking up a pebble he grinned at Shary as he lobbed it through the air and into the tree that Cye was in yesterday. Shortly after the pebble landed on the ground Cye followed and managed to land on his feet.

Muttering to himself he grinned at Sage and Shary as they walked up. "Sage only does that cause he knows that I'll fall out of the tree and land on my feet." Looking at Sage he pinned the slightly taller blond with a look.

"Yeah, well you at least know that you didn't take all those years of gymnastics for nothing right??" Sage shot back and the good-natured ribbing continued for a few more moments then the guys settled down.

Sage looked at Shary and nodded. "Call me when you’re ready for that rehearsal k??" And then promptly walked back into the building to get to his next class on time, leaving Cye and Shary out on the short walk that lead up to the building.

"Too bad you’re in a skirt Shary, I'd invite you up into the tree, nice and cool up there and if you wanted we could talk or what not." Cye smiled and took her by the hand to sit down on the other side of the tree away from the building. "But since you are in a skirt, and I am a gentleman, we'll just sit over here and talk about what ever. Sound ok to you??"

"Well... you never know until you try, now do you?" she smiled at him. She stood up on the bench and reach up to a low branch. Testing it she pulled herself up and sat down on it. She kept on climbing until she had reached approximately the same spot Cye was at. She tucked her skirt neatly and crossed her legs. Then she slowly leaned back until she was hanging upside down. She giggled as she looked at him, crossing her arms over her chest to hold her shirt down.

"You know... you take on a whole new look at things when viewing the world like this."

"Well I guess I will just have to come up there and have a look see for myself then won't I?" Cye gave her a wicked grin as he gauged his jumps and grabbed the first limb. Knowing that it would hold him, he swung around on it until he had the momentum to flip to the next branch up. Squaring the landing on the thick branch he walked along it until it was springy enough for his liking and he jumped up and over to the branch Shary was hanging on. Turning himself around he also turned himself upside down and hooked his knees over the branch. Looking at Shary he laughed, as she did look a little silly from that perspective.

"Amazing how it takes knowing one person to turn your world upside down ne?" Smiling he knew where he was going with the question even though it seemed random at the time.

"I would hit you for the remark," she smiled back. "But I don't want to be known as the girl who flashed the courtyard. But you do have a point." She looked at the buildings, trying to read them upside down. "I think... maybe I know why I was meant to survive that accident..." She looked over at him. "So I could meet you and the others. Arigato, Cye-san." She gave him a small smile and looked at the few people in the courtyard.

"Do you trust me?" The question was definitely spontaneous this time and there was a glint of mischief in his eyes as he looked at her.

"What do you mean?" She looked at him curiously. " 'Do I trust you’? I don't understand."

"Do you trust me? I am going to drop to the ground. Do you trust me to catch you and keep your dignity intact?" His smile promised that it would be fun for her and his eyes promised that he would do everything he said.

Shary bit her lip and thought for a moment. She had only known him for a day but she had already told him about her painful Life. What did she have to lose? She nodded her head slightly. "Yes. I trust you." she told him softly.

"I promise, you won't fall far. Just go with what you feel, your instincts are never wrong." Cye straitened his knees and seemed to drop strait to the ground when he curled up and spun around enough to land on his feet. Bowing to her he held his arms out to indicate that he was ready for her to drop.

Shary looked at him for a long time and closed her eyes. She took a deep breath and held her shirt tightly in her hands, slowly unhooked her knees and felt herself falling. She felt like someone catching her and clung to the person. She wasn't sure if it was Cye or not since she had her eyes closed the entire time.

"Can I open my eyes yet?" she asked.

The voice chuckled, "Blind faith, I like that." Cye's voice was warm and comforting as he set her upright on her feet. He kept his arm around her in case she needed to get her bearings and looked at her. "You're not as mistrusting as you think you are. You just need to be shown who you can trust in the end."

"I guess you're right." She smiled up at him and slowly sat down. "But you know what? It was fun. Next time I climb a tree though I'm going to wear pants." She bowed to him, still smiling slightly. "Arigato, Cye-san."

Cye bowed back grinning. "My pleasure. Shall we get going? It is almost time for school to let out and you have books to retrieve if I am not mistaken. Kento and I will be walking you home tonight if you don't mind. That way you can ask questions about all of us if you have them. Rowen, Ryo, Sage, and Nikki all agreed to let Ken and I answer what we could about everyone."

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