Merope It was a cool night at Lake Artemis, with a thin crescent moon peeking above the trees.
Merope hurries up, somewhat out of breath. "Sorry, work kept me later than I thought."
Furud looks up skittishly from his meditation, which seems to involve skipping rocks across the lake. "Oh.. Hi Mero. You startled me." He tosses another rock out onto the lake, spinning it so it skips off the surface. "Wasn't sure you were going to make it."
Merope "Wouldn't have missed it for the world." She smiles, still a little flushed from the run. "Thanks for waiting."
Merope "So, uh... what's this going to involve?"
Merope frowns slightly, looking at Furud with concern. "Furud?"
Furud flashes a smile at her, dropping the small pile of rocks and standing. "Yeah, no problem. It's nice to be out here, anyway. Peaceful." He runs his fingers back through his hair, leaving a trail of spikes behind. "Do you ever meditate? Free your mind from distractions and such?"
Merope "Um." Merope drops a small bag she was carrying. "Not so much. I mean, I had a go at trying to sleep a bunch of times when I was twelve, but I could never stop my mind whirring, you know?"
Furud nods and tilts his head to one side. "Well, that's the only way i know how to control mine. Do you want to try to learn how?
Merope "Well, I mean.... mostly I want to learn how to not do it. Fly, that is."
Merope She looks uncomfortable with the word.
Furud "Either way, same thing. Gotta know how to do it to know how not to."
Merope nods, slowly. "Okay. Then... yes. Lay it on me. Let's get, uh, meditative."
Furud "Okay." He digs into his pocket and pulls out a small rounded gemstone, smoky black. "It helps to have something to focus on." He offers the stone to her. "If you hold it up to the light, you can see through it a bit."
Merope "Right." She takes the stone and stares intently at it, her brow wrinkling slightly. She's wearing jeans and a long-sleeved, mossy green top, her hair straightened again, down to just below her shoulder. "Should I sit?"
Furud is dressed in his typical black jeans and a long sleeved shirt. He tugs at the end of one sleeve as he shrugs. "Um sure why not. Probably best, yeah." He sinks to the ground, staring out over the lake for a minute, before looking back over at her. "So the thing you have to do is just... look at the stone, don't let anything distract you from it. If you get distracted don't get angry with yourself, just stop and go back to your focus."
Merope sits, out facing the lake. "Okay. Do I hold the, uh, focus out in front of me? Because that could get tiring after a while."
Furud sighs. "Do you want to learn or not?" He rubs his forehead. "You can rest your elbows on your knees if it helps."
Merope She holds the stone out, arm bent with her elbow on her right knee, keeping it level with her blue-gray eyes. She frowns intently.
Merope "So... what should I expect should happen?" She keeps staring at the stone, not turning her head.
Furud "Er... nothing yet. This is part one - control over yourself. Finding harmony."
Merope "Right, but like, how do I know when I've found harmony?"
Furud "Your mind will be calm and focused, like the whole world is far away. Your whole world becomes the stone, and then that becomes unimportant too. You feel yourself through it, and you can hear the music..."
Merope absorbs all of this silently.
Merope "Right." A few minutes pass without apparent incident, then Merope laughs.
Furud jumps a little, startled from his own attempt at meditation. "...what?"
Merope "Sorry, sorry." She shifts her legs around and passes the stone from one hand to the other. "I just.... feel a bit ridiculous?" She laughs again, slightly nervously. "I just keep thinking how we must look, sitting here."
Furud "What, two kids staring at rocks?"
Merope "Yeah! People would be like, wow, those must be some interesting rocks." She giggles.
Merope "Okay, okay, I know. Focus!" She shakes her hair back and resumes a settled position, staring at the stone.
Furud snorts, smiling. Then he looks over his shoulder at the woods for a long moment. "We'll just... have to hope no one is watching us then," he says lightly, though there is a hint of strain behind it.
Merope There's another few minutes of silence, and then: "Furud? Are you okay?"
Furud "Yeah," he says immediately. "I'm just peachy. More focusing now."
Merope "...just, if you want to talk to me, you can, okay?" She turns her head.
Furud shakes his head shortly. "Yeah." His last somewhat disastrous conversation with her on matters of the heart runs through his head. "I know."
Merope The next twenty minutes or so pass in faintly uncomfortable silence. Merope, for her part, shifts position a few times, scratches her nose, lets out the occasional heavy sigh, the occasional nervous glance back at Furud. But each time she returns to the focus.
Furud stares, unmoving, out over the lake. He is outwardly calm, but inside he keeps trying to find the harmony... and missing.
Merope Merope's head seems to drop slightly, then she jerks her head up. "...woah."
Merope "That was... weird."
Merope "Felt... I dunno, felt sort of... warm. Felt like the ground shifted underneath me.."
Merope She looks down - she's firmly on the ground.
Merope "Maybe just some blood rushing to my head or something..." she mumbles in a far-away voice.
Furud "That's good ...I think. Try it again...but next time don't pull away from the feeling, just let it wash over you."
Merope nods, picks up the stone again, and resumes focus.
Merope Merope touches Furud on ths shoulder. "Furud? Furud, it's morning. We should go."
Merope The sun hasn't quite risen yet, but there's a definite lightness to the sky.
Furud blinks, shaking his head. "What, already?" He stretches his back with a wince. "Now what are you going to say to folks when they ask if you've been alone with me all night?" A rakish grin.
Merope rolls her eyes lightly. "I guess I'll tell them we found some really interesting rocks to look at."
Merope "How did you get on? You seemed a bit... frustrated."
Furud "Off night, I guess. Did it work for you?"
Merope "There were moments where I felt like I almost had something. I wonder how the, uh, sleepers do it. They must drop off all the time..." She frowns at herself a little after the word "sleepers".
Furud smiles a bit. "Not sure, they must have coping methods or something though. Anyway, it doesn't always come right away. Sometimes it takes a while. Practice."
Merope She nods, hitching her bag back over her shoulder as they start walking away from the lake.
Merope "You gonna be at school today?"
Furud picks up a rock from his almost-forgotten pile and tosses it into the lake. "Yeah. Just like always. Funny how things don't change, isn't it?"
Merope "I dunno, Furud. I think stuff changes. Last week I hated you, last semester you were all I could think about. Today, you're..." She lapses into silence. "You seem different, anyway."
Furud clenches his fingers around a stone. "Maybe you're right... things do change."
Merope puts her hand over Furud's hand, over the stone.
Merope She just looks at him, trying to look into his eyes, if he'll let her.
Merope "Furud..." she begins.
Furud looks down at her gesture, closing his eyes, then opens them and meets hers with his clouded gaze.
Furud "We should go. We'll be late," he says hoarsely. Then he clears his throat and looks down again. "Tomorrow night, okay? I'll be here."
Merope Merope looks away. "Okay. I'll be here too, Furud." She looks back at him, with a faint smile. "Tomorrow."