A/N: I AM SO GAR FOR AHRI
Akali just sort of stared intently with a firm resolve and a face of steel at Ahri's ears.
"Those look cuddly," she said, entirely seriously.
The two met for tea-time of some sorts at Akali's (very, very green and clean-cut) abode. Actually, the balance of the interior design was ridiculously spot-on. Every stool cut in a perfect circle was accompanied by a triangular drape, and the sliding doors had amazing postmodern art; an array of shapes and colors would bombard the eye in a very relaxing manner. Ahri wondered where Akali got the budget for this, but that pondering was soon answered.
"I have called you here for business." Akali presented a small white index card to Ahri. On it were scrawled the words: "Akali, Most Balanced Matchmaker. 50% Accuracy, 50% Satisfied Customers. 1001 Gold First Appointment Only With This Card!"
Exactly how this was a good track record or price evaded Ahri.
"I see you have found the price," said Akali. "It is free for you, Ionian fox. I am an avid attendee of Pentakill's concerts, and to see Sona happy would indeed create a balance in the world. And in their music. After all, the music has been rather dissonant lately." She nodded.
"... Right," Ahri replied, her mouth hanging slightly agape.
"So, since you are in the loves with Sona, clearly I should help you. Even if your particular track record has left people... dead."
At that statement, Ahri's eyes met the floor. She didn't need her guilt to occupy her mind again. It was all in the past, after all, and there were tasks before her right now that were more important.
"Worry not," piped Akali, after seeing Ahri dismayed, "I know your record will find balance. Just promise me you will not hurt Pentakill in any way."
"You sure love Pentakill," said Ahri, amused enough to lose the staring contest with the matchmaking ninja's hardwood floor. "Of course I'll promise. I... love Sona, after all." Her heartbeat accelerated rapidly at the admission.
So many promises to be kept, and yet she was on the verge of breaking another.
"Very well," the ninja said. "I will tell you a secret I have discovered. About Sona."
While Ahri's interest was piqued, she did not find it right to win Sona through foul play. "I don't have any need for secrets. Not about Sona, anyways; I'd love to hear a secret about your clan."
"The Kinkou has no secrets. It is that no one has bothered to learn about them," snapped Akali. "Regardless, you will need to know this secret. It is about Sona's muteness."
Ahri really didn't care. Sona being mute didn't get in the way much, and she supposed Sona wouldn't be so attuned to music or other people had she been able to speak.
The female ninja continued. "Sona is mute by choice. And – before you speak – there is more. This choice was made for her by her etwahl."
The gumiho cast a quizzical glance at Akali. "How'd you know this?"
"Regarding her choice, I have read her Judgment log. The summoners hear not the voice of Sona, but the voice of the etwahl. Why, after all, would Sona speak, even through a mental link, if she chose to deny the ability to do so in a less direct, physical manner? – And yet, there is another secret. But this is not one you would wish to hear, nor is it relevant."
"Exactly how is this relevant, anyways? So what if her etwahl made it so she couldn't speak, and her etwahl talks for her? Doesn't this just mirror how she plays her music? It doesn't change anything – it doesn't change Sona."
"Don't you think that if her etwahl speaks for her, she doesn't want Sona to speak? Wouldn't she be possessive? This would get in the way."
Okay, a certain pronoun was confusing. "Why do you say she? Her etwahl's a musical instrument. I'm stumped here."
"The etwahl has a female voice, so I am assuming. Is this not to your liking?"
A ding resounded.
"That marks 15 minutes. Any longer, and you will have to pay for another appointment."
After narrowing her eyes and raising her nose slightly in frustration, Ahri exited Akali's chamber. Her own room was nearby, but the Ionian fox figured any sleep would be restless.
Once again, she was faced with the dilemma of where to go, what to do. Once again, she was alone. Yet, this time, she hungered for someone's company in a tangible way. Sona's company. Her brief smiles, her fragile yet resilient mind, and the way her fingers played over anything they touched – Ahri wanted to be witness to these again. It was awkward, though; she left Sona downcast. Sad. Just left, without looking back. Even worse, she did this with the knowledge that Sona, too, was alone.
She was scared to see Sona again, to know the full impact of her actions. But she made a promise to Akali, and if she didn't correct that action from a couple hours ago, Ahri would have broken that promise. Sona didn't deserve to just be abandoned like that, either. She may have had her etwahl, but there was a reason she was lonely, even with that instrument always with her.
The etwahl had the ability to kill. The etwahl had the ability to revive. The etwahl had the ability to heal, to hurt, to make incredibly beautiful music. But where did each of these powers come from? Sona, or the etwahl? It didn't matter. The etwahl had to have emotions to be possessive of the Maven of the Strings as Akali said, and Ahri knew how those worked by heart. Well, she knew the kind the etwahl had by heart, anyways.
It seemed Ahri would have to win the etwahl's heart as well as Sona's. With that in mind, Ahri made her way to Sona's small villa in the whatever hall of whatever wing; the exact location is unimportant! She had resolve. She steeled this resolve. And so when she found a plaque with Sona's name on it, she rapped her fist against the door said plaque was mounted upon.
Ahri's voice was shaky. "Sona, I'd like to talk to you. Sona – and, uh, Miss Etwahl?"
A hushed twinkling that wavered occasionally and resembled a yawn emanated from the door's threshold, where the little crack was. Sona was notifying Ahri that she was going to answer the door – as soon as she could get up!
A few discords and jumbled notes later (Apparently Sona had trouble getting her pajamas off and her gown on), the door slowly made its way open. Sona had on a smile. This smile had sadness. And this sadness was somewhere Ahri wanted to reach.
"May I enter?" Ahri asked, a little too stiffly.
Sona nodded, groggily, and lit a candle that rested upon the table in her living room. She warmly motioned for Ahri to follow, and the gumiho did so.
They seated themselves in silence. Ahri fidgeted a little, though it was barely noticeable, as her ears were doing all the fidgeting.
"So..." said Ahri, "... umm."
She inhaled deeply, exhaling the same way.
"Miss Etwahl," she said, looking at the instrument (though not knowing exactly where on the instrument to look, considering its lack of a face), "Is it alright if I'm in love with Sona?"
The etwahl quivered, trembling a bit. A small humming came from it. Sona was doing decidedly well in containing her panic.
"I know you love her too," said Ahri. "You're both lonely, aren't you?"
The humming rose in pitch and volume as the etwahl shook more violently. Her player swallowed. Sona's mouth was dry. She didn't want that to happen again. Her etwahl was the only important thing to her: that was the concept Sona kept repeating in her mind. But she knew. Lestara was important. Ahri was important now, too. That gumiho was the only person who kept persistent and friendly company.
"It's... going to be okay," whispered Ahri, timidly. Her voice became strong again. "I won't take Sona away from you. And I won't take you away from Sona. Love is not something that takes, and loneliness is not something that gives. I know this. And, Miss Etwahl, I love you too. Well, not in the same way I love Sona, but you don't love Sona in the same way I love her, either, do you? I promise I won't let either of you be lonely, like I was before I met you two."
The etwahl thrashed briefly during this speech before settling calmly, drooping a bit.
Sona couldn't really think at this point. Ahri, the seductress, just made a long and sincere speech about how she loved her, and that her companion, the etwahl, too, didn't need to be lonely either.
Lestara was gone.
It didn't matter, though. Because Ahri was right here. And she promised to alleviate the torture that had plagued Sona and the etwahl for years.
The guilt that was slowly eating away at Sona's mind withdrew. It was in the past. She didn't have to think about it.
Ahri took Sona's hand and placed it to her throat. She mouthed words, her vocal cords bobbing simultaneously.
I love you.
The gumiho grinned shyly after she met Sona's eyes. To tell the truth, Ahri didn't even know what she was doing. A good deal of this was outside of her field of expertise.
Sona slowly withdrew her hand.
Ahri held her hand out to the instrument, beckoning. The etwahl edged closer.
She closed her hand, all of her fingers meeting her palm except for her pinky. "You two, I'll accompany you. As long as you want. Pinky promise."
Seeing as the etwahl had no fingers, it couldn't really do the whole pinky promise thing. Ahri realized this a little too late, but before she could withdraw her hand and make up an excuse for messing up so badly, Sona reached her hand out.
The Maven gently grasped Ahri's pinky with her own, slowly tightening her pinky's grip on Ahri's. Their pinkies rubbed against each other slightly, due to Sona wiggling her small finger against Ahri's slowly.
Ahri took her breath in sharply, and blushed. She did not avert her gaze from Sona's now intense one, however, and rubbed Sona's pinky back. Her heart was squirming, and her stomach was threatening to start break-dancing.
Their faces neared each other. Their lips each brushed against the other, before both sharply withdrew, embarrassed. Their pinkies still did not leave each other.
With her free hand, Sona, played a short, tranquil melody, upbeat, yet somber. She smiled the whole way.
For some reason, the etwahl's notes sounded clearer. Ahri closed her eyes, her lips upturned, enjoying each measure.
It was too awkward for Ahri to stay the night or anything like that, so after a few more songs and some brief handholding, Ahri left, with a promise to greet Sona in the morning.
"Wh-what'd you do that for?" Ahri exclaimed, her face suddenly heated.
"Well, you never gave me that kiss I asked for," said Kyou.
"I – I don't... think I can... respond," Ahri muttered, looking off to the side.
"It's okay," said Kyou, embracing her senior in the world of former animals. "I don't mind. Take as long as you like. Just that the longer you take, the more awkward it'll be. Oh, and that promise."
"I promise you on that one, I guess," Ahri said, hesitantly. At this point, she didn't know why she said that at all. "I won't leave you alone."
"Alright!" said Kyou victoriously. She nuzzled her face into Ahri's shoulder. It was a bit too comfortable for comfort.
Ahri had just finished a meal. His sudden terror at his life force escaping after his obscene, primal grunts disgusted her. But she couldn't help but feel pity for her food. Sympathy, even. He had a son. And this village thrived on the inheritance of trades. Who would this boy apprentice under?
A tingling at the back of Ahri's head alerted her to one of the many problems she attempted to stuff away and keep from bothering her during her work.
No wonder this felt so wrong. Ahri finished slipping on her clothes and silently left the inn. How many of her prey told her they loved her? She dashed away their hopes and their love. Ahri tried to just pass this off as survival, but there had to be another way.
What was the point of becoming human if humans themselves feared you?