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The Music Score

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         Scrapper’s didn’t have to be hidden anymore, but the interior atmosphere only changed slightly with that fact; Malone was still at the bar, there was a theatre upstairs, and there was still the absolute house rule of ‘no fights’.

The night had begun as a small get together for the former Rebels; Anne had declined his invitation to come along, despite Fig assuring her that her presence wouldn’t be an issue. Now, it was rolling around to the point in the evening where the former Rebel Forgotlings has dispersed into smaller groups at different tables or had taken the stairs up to the theatre. Fig remained at the bar, contemplating the drink he had ordered but only taken a sip of.

“Now I know you’re serious.” The fridge said, wiping down the counter of the bar with a spare rag, “You’re barely into your first Anima and you’re already mooning over that girl worse than that trigger-happy fool of a Chief Inspector did.”

As a bartender, Malone figured it was part of the job to listen to whoever hung out at the bar alone, offering advice if they wanted to or at least cutting them off when it looked like they were going overboard.

As a Forgotling, Malone felt a small amount of regret about choosing to stay and listen to Fig. A casual question about how Anne was doing, and why she hadn’t come with him tonight when they seemed to go almost everywhere together, was all it took before Fig took a longer sip of his drink, and Malone realized belatedly he had opened the floodgates.

Which led to the current situation; Fig had a way with words, on the dramatic side, somewhat flowery, but heartfelt all the same, and he spent the better part of several minutes talking only about his admiration for Anne.

Most likely from comparing him to Chief Inspector Magnum, Fig made an offended noise.

         “Well, I think that’s going a little far to call me mooning over her…”

Even without a proper face, Malone had a Look to convey just the right amount of judgment that he wanted, even if he was topping off Fig’s glass at the same time.

         “Believe what you want to believe. I figure she’s nice enough. When she came through here hunting you down she respected the bar’s rules about fighting. Even told a fridge like me that I could try music.”

         “She is right, Malone, the Realm’s entering new times. Why not?”

         “When I don’t have a bar to run and lovesick mannequins to pour drinks for, then I’ll think about it.”

Laughing good-naturedly at his dry tone, Fig took a long drink, setting down the empty glass with a clink when he was done.

         “…Actually, Malone,” He began after a moment, “Perhaps it’s a good thing Anne declined to come along tonight. I’ve been trying to think of an idea, but I’m afraid I’m at a bit of a loss.”

         “You, at a loss for ideas? And I thought wonders would never cease.” Putting aside the rag, Malone looked at him curiously, “Something to do with your lady?”

         “I was trying to think of something I could do for Anne—to show my appreciation and everything.” Fig frowned, honestly troubled by this, and Malone felt a pang of sympathy, “Of course, we’ve all been so busy; not just the two of us, but everyone has things to do now that Bonku is gone… It has to be something out of the ordinary. Something special.” Thinking hard on it, he tapped the side of his dummy head absently. Malone refilled his glass after another moment passed.

         “It has to mean everything… Ah, but she usually tucks important things into her journal if she can…”

Half-listening, Malone poured a few more glasses and placed them on top of one of the tables who served drinks.

         “…Something to make her happy…”

         “We’ve all seen how the two of you act around each other. Anything from you would make her happy.” Malone drawled, taking some used glasses off of a returning server to clean.

At one of the tables on the main floor, someone had convinced a record player to play a song from the Ether, the sound of a piano accompanied by the slightly grainy human voice floating about the low light of the bar. Fig was almost done with his current glass, and Malone was fairly certain that the next one would be his last for the night.

Fig had fallen quiet, listening to the music with a faraway expression on his face, drink apparently forgotten. He was so quiet, Malone was almost about to interrupt whatever he was thinking of to suggest he better stop for the night, and the fridge wasn’t above sending a message to Anne this late to collect him if he went past his limits.

Luckily, it didn’t come to that.

Perhaps also unluckily, because Fig jumped, slightly unsteadily, to his feet with a triumphant expression on his face.

         “I have it! A genius idea! Thank you for listening Malone—this is perfect!” With far too much energy for a Forgotling more than two drinks in, he crossed the floor in a few strides to talk excitedly to the record player with much gesturing.

As cynical as Malone found he could be, he had to admit it was nice to see how close the two of them were, now that things like ‘Validated’ and ‘Rebels’ were over.

However, he still reached across the counter with his cord to take back Fig’s abandoned glass, deciding that this was about the point to cut him off if he came back for more.

 

         Pushing open the door to her and Fig’s shared apartment, Anne could only think of how much she wanted to get off her feet and kick off her boots. Rebuilding and moving forward was hard work, and not all of the Forgotlings trusted her, with the memories of Bonku and her time as the Enforcer still relatively recent.

Shutting the door behind her, Anne let out a long sigh, before making her way to the bed and fumbling with her boots to pull them off. Fig wasn’t back yet, but that was hardly surprising; it seemed like half of the city wanted his attention for one thing or another, despite his insistence that he was no longer a leader.

Letting out another long breath, she fell back against the bed, not bothering to undo her braid, and tried to shift around so she was resting her head on the pillow and stretched out comfortably. Turning her head to the side, she paused, and then pushed herself up again, reaching over to the nightstand for a carefully folded piece of paper. Sitting properly, she opened it, following along with the music notes written on an elegant script, humming softly to herself.

When she reached the end, a small smile had found its way onto her face, reading the words at the end.

Forever yours your friend,

F.