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Love's Sorrow

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Ever since Maki was little, she noticed that these random little doodles would appear on her arm. They were mostly rows of lines with music notes on them, but occasionally a cute cartoon cat or rabbit would show up too.

Maki asked one of the caretakers at the orphanage why these drawings were on her arm and why they wouldn't go away no matter how hard she tried to scrub them off and the caretaker gave her an amused smile and looked at the music note doodles etched onto the child's arm.

"Those drawings show up when your soulmate writes on their body."

Soulmate. The brunette frowned and scrutinized the blank ink staining her skin. "Why would they write musical notes?" She asked, pointing at the loopy scribbles stretching along her forearm.

The caretaker chuckled stood up, patting her head, "They must be very good at playing the piano. That's the first few notes of the song Liebesleid, or Love's Sorrow, by Fritz Kreisler. He's a famous composer. The violin song Liebesfreud, or Love's Joy, is a companion piece to it. They're like two halves of a whole, just like you and your soulmate!"

Maki stared at the notes in wonder. She wanted to learn how to play Love's Joy so that her and her soulmate would be fully connected.

But when she asked the caretaker for a violin, the woman gave her a pained smile and a pat on the head and told her violins were too expensive. 

Fuelled by her determination to connect with her soulmate, Maki smuggled a violin and the appropriate sheet music out of a music store, her heartbeat racing as the shopkeeper chased her down the street, her hands clenching tightly at the violin stuffed under her shirt.

But when she got to the orphanage and sat down on her bed, she had no idea what to do. She didn't know how to play the violin or even what the notes meant.

So, when the music store owner's back was turned, she stole a tutorial on how to play the violin from the same store and studied it rigorously, drinking up the knowledge and reading it thoroughly for information whenever she had the chance.

Every day, she would practice the piece until her arm ached and her neck was sore, her hands constantly hands shaking from constantly holding the bow up. She memorized the complex notes, committing them to her mind. Her playing sounded atrocious at first, but after relentless practice, it grew into something almost beautiful. Though, it sounded lonely and empty, like was missing something.

Maki would have liked to play more, but the opportunity to get money for the orphanage arose and she took it, training to become an assassin. Day and night she trained and fought and sparred, but still used her free time to play violin for the kids.

That was before she went in her first job.

She had to take out the leader of a very rich business, and she did. She got hired more and more and soon found that she didn't have any time for the violin. Though she yearned to have the violin and bow in her hands instead of a knife or gun, she listened to her boss' orders and stopped playing. He was an intimidating and strict man.

As she grew up, her urge to play disappeared over time until she forgot about the violin and Love's Joy completely.

Until one day.

Maki was out on a mission, posing as a beginner violinist going to watch a regional music competition, so that she could kill some young, famous pianist named Kaede Akamatsu. The person who had hired her had apparently got second place in last year's national competition and the anger he felt for the poor teen had grown large enough to hire an assassin. He assured she wouldn't have to play the violin, that it was very real but could just be used as a disposable prop.

Hearing that struck some sort of chord within her.

The time was 10 AM and Maki was wandering around the building's lobby, as there was still half an hour until the competitors had to go backstage to prepare. Maki was about to head to the seats to wait, when she heard the distant melody of Love's Sorrow. Eyes widening, Maki realized that she knew that song; she had listened to it many times it in the background to her own playing of Love's Joy. Her heartbeat quickened and she hurried to the direction of the music.

In the centre of the lobby, sitting on the bench of a decorative grand piano in the middle of a crowd, was a blonde woman. When Maki approached to get a better look at her, she noticed music note pins in her hair and how her magenta eyes were shut in bliss, not even looking at the keys or the sheets.

As if on instinct, Maki found herself placing her case on the ground and opened it, quickly getting the violin out and placing her chin against the rest. Raising the bow, she dictated which part of the song the girl was at, and began playing. She started rockily, but they quickly fell into a perfect sync. To Maki's ears, it sounded absolutely melodious.

As she began playing, the pianist startled in reaction to her suddenly joining in, but Maki saw that her eyes didn't open, seemingly stuck in her own little world of music. Maki felt her eyes also close, an unfamiliar warmth spreading through her as they played their duet pieces together.

The pianist flashed Maki an awed smile as they finished the song. The blonde stood up, brushed the wrinkles from her pristine pink dress and walked over to Maki, who was standing there and watching her with wide eyes. She looked stunningly beautiful. Like an angel.

"Wow! I never expected anyone to start playing Kreisler's songs with me!" The other girl exclaimed, knitting her fingers together and giggling, eyes sparkling.

"Yeah... This is the only violin song I know..." She mumbled, her cheeks flushing as the woman nodded in response, flashing a bright smile of brilliant admiration. "I wanted to learn it to complete Love's Sorrow, even though they're supposed to be played separately..." Maki mumbled, looking away in embarrassment.

The woman blinked, "Why did you want to complete it? Do you know someone who plays it?"

Maki shrugged. She didn't know why she was telling some random lady this, but she suddenly felt compelled to. Her expression was just so open and accepting, something about her compelled Maki to her. "I guess, in a way. I think my soulmate plays it."

"Your soulmate?"

"Yeah. They once had written the first few notes on their arm when I was little and I guess I decided that wanted to play Love's Joy with them one day," she confessed, idly placing the instrument back into the case.

The woman was silent, her eyebrows furrowed. She then shrugged a backpack off of her shoulders and dug out a black ballpoint pen from it. Smiling at Maki's confused look and bewildered, "What are you doing?", the blonde uncapped the pen and wrote on her arm. "An experiment. Look at your arm," she urged, voice laced with excitement.

Hesitantly, Maki rolled up her sleeve and her eyes widened at what she saw.

"I remember writing the notes for Love's Sorrow on my arm to remember it. I guess we're soulmates!"

The brunette stared at the smooth, fancy writing. It's fate!, it said.

A hand slipped under her chin, tilting her head up. The fingers ran along her jaw as two hands cupped her cheeks. The woman leaned mischievously towards her ear, nose brushing along her hair, "I've been waiting to meet you for a long time. My name Kaede Akamatsu."

And Maki swore her heart stopped.

It seemed fate loved to play terrible, terrible games.