Adam roused a couple hours after sundown to the distant but unmistakable pluck of instrument strings. The sound alone sent him into a furious panic. Who was in their house touching his instruments? Eve wouldn't dare; she didn't even tease him for being so protective of what little was left of his collection. She knew how dear his music was to him. She wouldn't even allow a friend or stranger to touch them. Without wasting a moment to orient himself, Adam leapt out of bed and lunged down the stairs. The sound was coming from the sitting room. The sound didn't relent, each twang sending another pulse of rage through him. He'd strangle the culprit. He'd kill them.
He turned the corner into the sitting room then froze. A young woman knelt on the carpeted floor, her messy cherry red hair pulled back by a scrap of tattered blue silk. In her lap, she held the head of an elegant, four-foot-long stringed instrument. The instrument had twenty-one strings laying over the top suspended on their own moveable wooden arches. The woman plucked a few strings, shifting the arches from side to side to tune the instrument. Adam caught his breath in relief. It wasn't one of his instruments.
Eve was lounging on the chaise, watching the girl with an endeared gaze. Eve smiled at Adam.
"Good evening, darling," she greeted. "Hal was just about to play some of her music for me. You're just in time."
"I see," Adam knelt on the floor a couple feet in front of Hal. "Is this your girl?"
Hal had spoken dearly but humbly about her gu'zheng on a number of occasions. Adam was glad to finally see it. Hal smiled.
"Yeah," she said. "It's a travel-sized gu'zheng. It's not fancy or old or anything; it's kinda cheap..."
"That hardly matters," Adam couldn't tear his eyes away from the instrument. "May I?"
"Sure, go ahead." Hal set the head of the gu'zheng on the ground and leaned back on her hands.
Adam was perfectly careful and respectful as he looked at the instrument. Hal didn't try to embellish the origin of it. The strings were make of nylon over steel instead of German wire, and the body was painted. Its size and sound quality attested to its origins. As Hal said, it was a brand new, mass-produced gu'zheng, identical to tens of others of its kind. Still, Adam wouldn't act snobbish in consideration of his own collection, for an instrument's quality didn't guarantee its results. If anything, any good musician or artist could make true art with literal garbage, and Adam wouldn't put such skill past Hal.
He felt the strangest longing tug in his chest as he returned the instrument to Hal and sat at one end of the couch. Perhaps it had just been too long since he found a new instrument. But he couldn't distract Hal any longer. Eve had been patiently waiting for a show and knew better than to get restless or rush it.
"Okay." Hal breathed, then her pale fingers writhed over the strings of her beloved therapist, and the room was engulfed in the sound of mild, bright oblivion.
A/N: Just a short one to start off. I plan to make this fanfic just a collection of drabbles, with no clear beginning, end, or plot. For context: I kind of vent-write all of these chapters whenever I'm having a hard time with my own chronic illness, but I decided to post it anyway because I feel like there isn't enough Only Lovers Left Alive fanfic, let alone with an OC, let alone with a platonic OC, let alone with lowkey EvexOC vibes in some chapters. So yeah, I am fully aware that the vernacular isn't the greatest, the liberties taken from a medical standpoint are unrealistic, my upload schedule is nuts, and I'm probably never going to finish it. But it heals me, and I know we all need a little easy kindness right now in particular. So I hope you enjoy!