|The Rusty Dancer|
Serenity is already in the dining room, but (fortunately for those others who might want to dine there) is using it for something else instead. Ren seems to be practicing the same dance moves as the other day, but is having more success in doing so while not trying to move about. In contrast to the usual posture, Ren is lying horizontal for this one. With the edges of the fins scalloped into finger-like projections with fan-folds between, Ren makes an undulatory wave of the fins. Rather than a smooth sine wave, this one has a sharp discontinuity between 'raised' and 'lowered', a stretched spot that rapidly travels backward through the fins.
Rayne stops as she enters the room to watch Ren for a moment before she moves on to the coffee machine to get herself another cup. "I'm not sure how you're able to dance so well without music to move you along with it." She loads the cup up with sugar and cream before walking to take a seat at the table, grabbing a pastry on the way. "I can work with good music."
Serenity doesn't notice Rayne right away despite the fact that she's clearly within Ren's line of sight. Continuing for a sort while, Ren shimmies the fin edges briefly like a peafowl shaking its tail, then snaps the extended fan inward with a wave of retraction that passes quickly from front to back. Rayne's voice makes Ren falter for a moment while twisting to look, but a shift to vertical and and folding of the fins over the ventral side attempt to cover for that. "Hh... Hello there," Ren replies, turning to Rayne with a fin-flick. "Imaginary music is the key," Ren says with a smile, then motions an extruded 'finger' to the side of the head. "Or a key. The lesser-known aspect to rhythm is making the audience to imagine that it's more precise than it actually is."
Rayne says, "Well, yeah, but you've also got to tune out noises in the real world to keep up with the imaginary... though the fact that you didn't seem to notice me until I spoke seems to show you're better at that than I am." She takes a swig of her drink, then frowns. "Meanwhile, the few times I've gone out dancing with you have really shown just how rusty I've gotten at it, myself."
Serenity finishes with a cape-like swoop before rippling over to Rayne's side with a more ordinary series of undulation. Ren shifts to a height that matches her seated height, albeit with tail end bend backwards along the floor rather than legs bent forwards into a lap. Ren seems to consider the explanation for a moment with a thoughtful expression before smiling. "I suppose that you're correct about focus. You and I have practiced different sorts. I suspect you could detect a sneaking mugger while simultaneously plotting four escape routes in the time it takes me to notice a sign advertising 'fifty percent off on Gouda cheese'." Ren motions to Rayne, "I wouldn't call heightened awareness a liability in this town."
Rayne says, "Hey, hey, hey. These are two completely different situations we're talking about here. Different situations call for different levels of focus... And no. I'd not detect the mugger, I'd just make him pay for it when he targets me. Screw escape routes." She takes another swig. "Seriously, though... okay, maybe not that serious... but I'm sooo out of practice with dancing. I did it professionally for five years! Okay, that was over three hundred years ago, but still!"
"Yes, you have a point," Ren acknowledges her initial distinction. "Then I will say it's the ability to adjust focus that I need to work on." The remark about how to deal with a mugger doesn't get a reply, but the mention of several centuries gets a smirk. "Yes, yes, the problems of living several lifetimes," Ren says with a note of amusement and a wave out to the side. "I would try to set you up with lessons from Johann, who knows a bit of ballroom dancing, but I don't want to steal any of his limited free time from him."
Rayne holds up a finger. "That and ballroom dancing isn't my thing, as I said before." She then smirks. "And don't you mean you don't want me to steal his free time from you?"
"Well, yes, I do admit to an impulse to steal all this free time," Ren says with a waggle of the rhinophores at Rayne. "That wouldn't be a healthy relationship, though. The fact that he is an independent man with his own life apart from mine is part of what I find attractive." Ren brings eyes back from gazing at the ceiling to Rayne's face and continues, "In any case, I would be happy to trade your knowledge about the dances you learned long ago for some advice in re-creating them."
Rayne says, "I'll have to take you up on that sometime. It would be nice to get back into that, I think." She sighs and leans back, looking up at the ceiling. "It'd be nice to have someone for me to steal the free time of like that, too." She munches on the pastry, staring a bit blankly upwards.
"Certainly!" Ren replies enthusiastically to the request. Her next thought has Ren leaning in curiously. "You must still be exhausted from your scouting mission to let slip something like that," Ren playfully teases, nudging her in the shoulder with a pair of fins. "I supposed you had other things on your mind and were not in any hurry."
Rayne says, "Meh. I'm never in a hurry for anything. But rolling with the flow doesn't mean I wouldn't prefer the flow to go one way or the other." She stands up again. "But you're right. It is a bit outside my typical MO to let something like that slip. And yeah, I'm exhausted, but I still have more work to do... So we'll have to continue this conversation later. If ever, on that last point."
"Having all the time in the world counts for little if one isn't actually accomplishing something with it," Ren observes. "Mind you, there are more productive things to be accomplishing than romance. Saving the world is a rather less fleeting mission, for example." Ren shifts posture more vertical as Rayne stands, and says with a grin, "I will see you later. You can impress on me then how much you don't want me to try playing matchmaker."