✦ Status: Finished
✦ Date: 22/03/2020
✦ Chapters: 1/1

Thanks for your company!


Finally, Spring arrived. Flowers bloomed and spirits seemed to lift up after the dark and cold nights that Winter brought. But most importantly, everyone went out more, which meant that things were finally going to get busier around Dead Bird Studios.

And there was the Bard, always watching from the sidelines. Her warm presence and magic lyre certainly eased up things for the poor overworked crew, as well as keeping the Conductor from getting too mad at any of them. She made a very colorful visitor, despite being black and white in aspect, as if she jumped out of an old television show.

However, visits from the Bard were becoming a rarer sight as time passed. She'd greet everyone as soon as she arrived, and then she was gone before anyone could notice-- Until she stopped visiting altogether.

Grooves noticed right away: how the owls were less motivated during work hours (which was already not an easy task, bossed around by such a loud old bird), the quieter moments between the recording sessions... but the most obvious one was the Conductor himself. He seemed less focused, irritated more than usual, and easier to get mad at any tiny detail that didn't go his way. Sure, he was a perfectionist, but this was unusual even for him. 

Something needed to be done.

As expected, he found the Conductor on his office, sitting behind the old dark cherry wood desk. The jacket was tossed on the carpet, sadly abandoned like some used rag, along with many crumpled papers. He lifted his head from the paper he was writing, instant displeasure as clear as day on his face.

''Whatever you have to say, make it quick,'' he said. ''I'm busy.'' 

He was always busy. Grooves was familiar with the job as well, but as much as he disliked to interrupt, he couldn't back down now.

''Something is troubling you, darling, and I suspect the Bard has something to do with it.''

The Conductor said nothing, drumming his claws on the table.

He went on. ''I'm sure she'll tell you why she stopped coming. If you talk to her, of course''

''Why don't ye talk to her? Yer friends too, aye?''

Grooves frowned. ''Because I'm not the one throwing a tantrum over his crush not visiting!''

If looks could kill, he would... probably still be alive, having no eyes and such. But the Conductor was facing him with such an intense aura that he expected the desk to start burning at any given moment.

The old bird was quiet for a long time. Eventually he said, ''Get the peck out of my office. I have a script to write.''

Grooves looked at him one last time before leaving the office. He released a tired sigh when he was out, feeling as if he just left from a fight from an angry cat.

You're friends too, yes?

That was true, they got along really well! Their mutual love for music brought them together. Then again, no matter how much she tried to hide it behind her energetic personality, the Bard was as easy to read as his rival. Grooves hoped that their short ''conversation'' would anger him enough to prove him wrong and finally talk to her.

Back at the office, the Conductor sat back on his chair, staring at the framed picture he had on his desk of him and the Bard back when they went to last year's New Year Gala.

He usually rejected the invitation, but his friend seemed so excited about that he ended up going with the Bard as his partner. He remembered how much the other directors pestered her just because they attended together-- and how well she managed in front of them. It was as if she did all of that before, like she was used to it. Annoying guests aside, the night had been fun, specially when she dragged him out of there and together watched the fireworks display from her ''secret place''... and admittedly, she looked dazzling in a dress.

The Conductor shook his head, trying to not get distracted by the strange feeling on his chest. He put the picture back on its spot and went back to the script. But his efforts were to no avail, his mind reliving memories from that lovely night.

He threw down his hat in annoyance. Darn it, he was completely unfocused now. That guy caused this with his annoying lies.

He would prove it.

He would prove that DJ peck neck that he was wrong and then he could focus on his movies again.

He stood up and left his office, not even bothering to close the door behind him. He had a gut feeling of where the Bard could be now. No doubt, she had to be there. Their secret place.

There was a nip in the air as the day grew darker, the few flowers that already greeted the new season swaying gently with the breeze.

The Bard sat on the hill watching the beauty of dusk, the remaining rays of sunlight reflecting on the sea. She summoned her old instrument, and her fingers barely plucked the strings when she heard footsteps behind her.

''Ah, there ye are.''

That voice, she'd recognize it anywhere.

The Bard turned around to face the Conductor. He was not wearing his distinguishing black hat, nor his slightly oversized jacket for that matter. In that moment, he looked so vulnerable.

He didn't say anything else after that, merely taking the empty spot next to her and sitting down cross-legged. She stared at him for a while, but after a moment of silence, she took a breath and started to play her lyre. The old bird looked at the distant orange-tinted sea as the calm melody filled the silence between them. Alone but together, enjoying the sunset in her secret place.

Not long after they first met, the Conductor quickly noticed that the Bard rarely played in front of others, and he wondered why--- after all, she did so well at the party back then, it couldn't be stage fright, right?

The Bard explained that it had magical properties, and some of the songs had powerful abilities (like the time she accidentally summoned rain inside the studio). But she played for the grandkids countless times, and nothing happened. It was a small mystery that got him curious since then.

''You want to know why I stopped visiting, don't you?'' She didn't stop playing, her eyes still focused on the sea.

He didn't look away from the water, his ear tufts dropping as he spoke. ''Is it me? Something I said? My temper?''

The Bard shook her head. ''None of that... Although your temper does need work, hehe.''

''Then... why?''

The music then stopped. The long silence that came after that question was loud in the Conductor's ears. She snapped her fingers and her magic lyre disappeared completely. She took a deep breath and finally she looked at him.

''I'm in love with you.''

The Bard noticed how he started to fluff up slightly, but besides that, there were no words. Had she been too forward? He didn't even face her. It would be nice if he straight up told her that it wasn't mutual, instead of staring at the horizon endlessly!

The Conductor tittered. ''Ye have a very strange sense of humor, lass.'' 

''Wha- no, I'm serious!''

''Aye, aye, sure thing.''

''But I am!'' the Bard grabbed his shoulders, forcing him to face her. ''It's fine if you don't feel the same, but I am telling the truth!''

The startled fluff ball poofed up even more as he stood still. The pair was silent for a few moments until he took her hands off the shoulders, the monochrome girl looking at him visibly confused. She had no chance to question if he was angry before he slowly took her hands on his claws

''You...'' He grasped for words. ''Yer full of surprises.''

The Bard blinked a few times before she laced fingers with his claws. ''I am your surprise now.''

The couple leaned towards each other, gently resting their heads together with a smile. 

''The most precious one in a long time.''

Perhaps flowers weren't the only thing that bloomed in Spring after all.

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