DISCLAIMER: I don't own these songs, so don't sue me for free advertising ;) Truly Madly Deeply by Savage Garden -No description, 'cause everyone knows this song. In the Arms of a Woman by Amos Lee -A beautiful song you can hear for free (watch video) on Yahoo's music video site. The Reason by Hoobastank - Weird band name, emotional song, watch video same as above. The characters, however are entirely of my own creation, and are kept locked in my wardrobe (along with Mandy and Mel) until I let them out to play. [But I'm not mean in the slightest. I have a very luxurious wardrobe with hot tub and bar etc, and they love it in there :D ]
AUTHOR'S NOTES: I wrote this simultaneously with my other fic Chemical Romance, so it's also my first, if you follow the incredibly fuzzy logic. Feedback much appreciated (mail to tutto_ora_niente@yahoo.co.uk) and many thanks to my beta reader KC. Dedicated to my special girl.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Until the sky falls...
By Cali

The sunset burned in the sky like a fiery rainbow as the motorbike pulled into the car park overlooking the beach, the peaceful tranquility of the scene returning as the engine died. Holding the bike steady as her partner dismounted. Sarah ran through her rehearsed speech yet again before shaking her sun-kissed dark blonde hair free as she removed her helmet. Swinging her long leather-clad leg clear of the bike, Sarah stepped forward, boots crunching on the gravel as she approached her lover. Slipping her glove-warm fingers under the hem of Kate's T-shirt she began to tickle, her fingers tracing patterns along Kate's taut abdomen until she squirmed in Sarah's arms, giggling helplessly. Holding her close, Sarah turned to face the horizon, watching as the silhouette of a small sailing boat crossed in front of the sinking sun, so low in the sky it looked like an oversized orange floating out to sea. Hitting one of the buttons on her key ring, the gentle tones of Savage Garden filled the crisp air, the eact same song that had been playing when they had first met, not so long ago.

It had been after one of Sarah's karate trips to the beach, which had coincided with Kate's training runs. Sarah's karate club moved their training to the beach during summer, and it was an amazing sight to see thirty karateka standing firmly in the surf as they practiced their patterns and combinations. Until, of course, one of the lower graded pupils lost their balance, taking out the kids either side of them, of one of the jokers would start yelling "Shark Sensei! I saw a shark!" and Sarah would have to reassure the others that there were no sharks around, and if there were, they would most certainly have the good sense to stay away from an entire karate class.

After one such class, Sarah had waited for the class to leave the water, then wandered over to her kit pile, and removed her gi jacket. Running her fingers through her short blonde hair she contemplated going for a swim, but decided against it in favour of running through some of the advanced, and more aesthetically attractive, kata. Deciding that at the same time she would test herself, Sarah marked out the area the kata should cover, drawing a rectangle in the sand. Using her bandana to cover her eyes, she checked that there was no-one near her rectangle, then began her kata with the traditional bow. Having completed Sepai and Seiunchin satisfactorily, Sarah then began Saifa, an easier kata, but with the intention of making every technique as perfect as possible. Half-way through the kata, she heard a runner approaching from her left. Ordinarily, Sarah would have been able to place the athlete down to the inch, but she was hampered by the music playing from one of the neighbouring beach huts. Assuming the runner would have noticed the exclusion zone all the other beach users were avoiding, she continued her kata. Stepping back into long-forward fighting stance, she found her legs suddenly tangled, and felt herself fall to the sand, as someone, presumably the runner, landed on top of her. Arms pinned under her as she had tried to break her fall, Sarah was unable to remove her bandana, and therefore unable to extricate herself from the tangle without potentially injuring the other person.

Kate had been on her usual afternoon run along the beach, when she had passed the remnants of the karate class walking up the causeway to the car park. Having seen a class in session the week before, she was awed by how young some of the students were, who were capable of such precision and timing. Looking ahead to the wooden groynes which served as hurdles, she rejoiced in the freedom she felt, energy coursing through her body as she covered the sand with ease. Zoning out, Kate was aware of nothing but her feet on the sand and the makeshift hurdles. A third dimension was added, as she became vaguely aware of music getting louder, until she recognised it as Truly Madly Deeply, one of her favourite songs.

'I wanna stand with you on a mountain,
I wanna bathe with you in the sea,
I wanna lay like this forever,
Until the sky falls down on me'

Smiling at the appropriateness of the bathing reference, she didn't see the blonde karate instructor until it was too late. Falling to the sand, she was about to berate the other woman for not noticing her, when she saw the bandana. Confused, she glanced to her left and saw her footprints crossing into the marked out area, and realised her mistake. Intrigued, she decided to remove the bandana, before helping the other woman to her feet, to avoid further injury. Reaching out, she tugged the bandana down, and found herself drowning in eyes of ocean blue.

At this point, Sarah was just about to vocalise her request for vision, when her bandana was removed, and she found herself face to face with an Amazonian beauty. A strange feeling washed over her, and all she was aware of was the line 'I wanna lay like this forever'. Agreeing wholeheartedly with whoever was singing, Sarah made no further effort to stand up.

Looking at the woman lying on the sand, the similarity to an angel was brought irresistibly to Kate's mind. Clad in white, with a halo of golden hair, the woman was....'beauty divine' Kate's mind supplied, before she even had time to think. Feeling a rush of affection and something else, Kate was shocked to realise that, unless she was very much mistaken, she'd fallen in love with the woman she was still pinning to the sand. Pulling herself together, she stood up and offered her hand to the woman lying on the sand. Helping her to her feet, brain kicked in and mouth opened. "um, sorry about that, I didn't realise...wasn't concentrating...anyway, um, I apologise. I'm Kate, by the way."

Still somewhat confused by the whole thing, Sarah had just enough backup brain power to reply "wha-? er, I'm Sarah, and I should have been looking where I was going, although I suppose I was, just not with actual sight, because my eyes were covered, so I couldn't see, you see." Cursing herself mentally for burbling like an idiot, and losing any dignity she might have still had, she was brought back to reality by the beautiful sound coming from Kate's mouth. It took a second for Sarah to realise that she was giggling. "What a pair we make, eh?" laughed Kate. "You looking but not seeing, and me seeing but not looking. There's probably a tree falling in a wood somewhere right now, and only those who listen will hear it!"

Bored with the training patterns, and sensing that Kate wanted to continue her run before her muscles cooled down, Sarah began to strip off her gi trousers, so she was left in a sportier pair of shorts and vest top. Pulling on her socks and trainers, she was surprised to hear footfalls behind her that heralded Kate's return. Spinning on the spot and adopting her fiercest karate stance, she greeted Kate with a grin. Highly amused, Kate revealed the reason for her return. "I was just wondering if you would like to join my on my run, I double back along the beach, so you could get your stuff then, um, I mean, if you'd like to". Now it was Sarah's turn to giggle, as she took a swig from her water bottle, then nodded to her new friend. "Sure, I'd like that".

And so it was that, every week Kate would meet Sarah after her class and they would go running together. After a couple of weeks, Kate began arriving early, and watched the class from a distance, marveling at the synchronised patterns the students performed together. During one of these sessions, Sarah noticed that Kate was watching, and asked her about it afterwards. Feeling rather shy, Kate told Sarah how intimidating the lessons looked, but that she'd love to join in, and was there a beginner's class she could join, that wasn't full of small children? As there were no such classes, Sarah offered to tutor Kate after their run each week, and soon found that she was a model pupil, progressing faster than Sarah had thought possible. After a couple of months, during which time the class moved back to the dojo training hall, and Kate's tutoring with it, Sarah graded Kate straight into the club at green belt. This was highly unusual, but Kate was an exceptional pupil, and was thoroughly deserving of the rank. The two women had become close friends, although both were aware that there was more to their relationship than just friendship and companionship, Sarah having realised her feelings during one particular bout of sparring. Kate had pinned her to the floor, and Sarah had found it incredibly difficult not to prevent herself from imagining knocking Kate to the floor also, rolling them both over, and kissing her senseless. After all, if that didn't make you realise your true feelings, God knows what would. However, she was sure that Kate just wanted to be good friends, so kept her feelings bottled up, not wanting to spoil the incredible friendship they had.

A couple of months, and exceptional gradings later, Kate had worked her way up to brown belt, and was working hard towards black. Sarah was astounded by Kate's progress, and jokingly suggested she change her name to Mr Miyagi. The weather was beginning to improve, and both Kate and Sarah, being outdoors types as they were, were keen to return to training on the beach.

The first training session back at the beach was short-lived, however, as the weather showed its schizophrenic side and began lashing down with rain, soaking the two women to the skin. Diving into Sarah's beach hut, they settled down to wait for the rain to ease up. Kate began to shiver, then Sarah, and she soon realised they were candidates for pneumonia or worse, hypothermia, if they didn't warm up soon. Wishing that they'd come on her bike, to be able to change into leathers, Sarah contemplated abandoning the beach hut for the heated interior of Kate's Mini. However, the causeway would be treacherous, and a risk simply not worth taking. Taking off her gi and hanging it over a chair to dry, she rummaged around in the cupboard and found an old blanket. Tossing it to Kate, who had also taken off her gi, she looked in the all important drinks cabinet, only to find that it had been ransacked, and all that was left was half a bottle of whisky. Taking a swig, and feeling warmth spread down her neck and across her torso, she handed the bottle to Kate, who was huddled up on the mattress that served as a sofa. Searching through the other cupboards, Sarah couldn't find any more blankets, and the only non-soggy item of clothing in the beach hut was an odd sock lying at the back of a cupboard. Steeling herself against the cold, Sarah sat down at the opposite end of the mattress, and took another swig of whisky. Seeing that there were no more blankets Kate motioned to Sarah to join her under the blanket, rather than freeze out in the cold. Shuffling up the mattress, Sarah sat as far away from Kate as possible, not trusting herself to sit too close. Noticing this, Kate began to wonder if Sarah's feelings for her might run deeper than she had known. Deciding to risk it, she put her arm around Sarah, pulling her close, trying to impart a little body heat to the freezing woman. Feeling the effects of the whisky, and possibly hypothermia, Sarah began to feel drowsy, and snuggled up next to Kate, feeling comfortable and safe in her arms.

Eventually, dawn broke, and sunlight filtered into the beach hut, waking the sleeping women, still wrapped in each others arms. Both waking, yet keeping their eyes firmly shut to prolong the time spent together, they were surprised to hear music filter through from a nearby radio, playing Savage Garden again. Reminded so forcefully of how they had first met, Sarah found the coincidence too much to bear, and opened her eyes, looking at the beautiful brunette in her arms, praying that she was not about to make the biggest mistake of her life. Bending down, she brushed her lips against Kate's, so gentle that Kate wasn't sure that she hadn't imagined it. Opening her eyes, and seeing the love tinged with fear in the eyes of the woman in front of her, she knew that the kiss had been real. Without a second thought she pulled Sarah down into a kiss so passionate, so full of love, that neither of them wanted the moment to end. But end it did, and they sat together in silence, deep in thought. Kate was the first to break the silence.

"How long have you kept that secret?"

"I'm not sure exactly. Maybe since you pinned me down in sparring, maybe since I felt so much pride when you graded, maybe even since we first met, tangled up on the sand. I don't really know, nothing like this has ever happened to me before."

"So you've never been with a woman before?"

Sarah blushed beetroot red. "I've never been with anyone before...Anyway, what about you?"

Now it was Kate's turn to blush. "I fell in love with you when I tugged down your bandana and looked into your eyes for the first time. You stole my heart and held it captive, although I would have given it freely had you asked. As for the other... um... My long term girlfriend of six years dumped me for my brother, and when he found out how close we had been, my entire family wanted nothing more to do with me, but I felt freer than I had for ages, knowing who I really was and not hiding. That was a couple of years ago, and since then I've dated occasionally, but not met anyone really worth spending time with. Until I met you, that is." Seeing the blind trust on the younger woman's face, Kate felt the swooping adrenaline rush of exhilaration as she realised. She Knew. Sarah, was The One.

Months passed, and the two women spent every spare moment together. Kate graded to black belt, and became assistant instructor in Sarah's classes. Watching her lover patiently explain the correct form for one of the new techniques to a young yellow belt, Sarah realised just how much she needed Kate in her life, how empty it would be without her. An idea began to form, and Sarah began to lay her plans.

And so it happened that one weekend, Sarah checked the weather forecast, checked the tides, packed a picnic, loaded up the bike, dressed in her sexiest leathers, and sprang a 'surprise picnic' on Kate, having already ensured that she would not be busy, by way of a few phone calls to well placed contacts. (Well alright, Kate's secretary who went through secondary school with Sarah, and Kate's hockey club captain, to find out if there were any matches playing.)

Hearing the familiar lyrics on the night air, Kate's heart skipped a beat. She had known something was up from the way Sarah kept fidgeting, constantly checking her pockets. That, plus the music, led Kate to suspect that...no, it couldn't be....could it? Turning around, she wrapped her arms around Sarah's shoulders and began to dance, rocking slowly to the music. The song finished, and Kate was curious as to what the next song would be, whether another song from the Savage Garden album would fill the air, or if Sarah had gone to the effort of making a compilation CD. It seemed that she had, as Kate felt her heart swell with love 'til she could scarcely breathe on hearing the first line of the next song Sarah had chosen.

'I am at ease in the arms of a woman'

Pulling away slightly, to look in her lover's eyes, Sarah smiled as she felt the arms around her shoulders tighten, pulling her back into the embrace. Leaning in close, she whispered "And I'm never more at ease, than when I'm in the arms of the woman I love. I don't ever want to let you go." Sighing happily, Kate nuzzled Sarah's neck, silently promising that she would never leave.

At the end of the song, Sarah disentangled herself from Kate's arms and laid a blanket on the ground, unpacking the small picnic, mainly consisting of a bottle of champagne, two glasses, and a bowl of delicate chocolate dipped strawberries. Settling herself down on the rug Sarah thought, not for the first time, that their relationship, from the moment they'd met, had been perfect. Well, practically perfect, given Kate's initial doubts about the motorbike, Sarah's most treasured possession. The phrase 'practically perfect' sparked a childhood memory, and suddenly faced with a mental image of Kate in a Mary Poppins outfit, Sarah began to giggle. Awakened from her reverie, Kate was puzzled by Sarah's random giggling, but her giggle was one of the things Kate couldn't get enough of, (more on that later, if you're good), the mischievious glint in her eyes making them dance. Snaking her arm around Sarah's torso, she suddenly pulled the blonde close, their noses touching, before being completely taken in by the moment, flicking her tongue out to tickle the end of Sarah's nose. Wrinkling her nose, Sarah put an end to the brunette's antics with a mind-numbing kiss. Rolling across the blanket, Kate almost squashed the single remaining strawberry, but stopping herself in time, she took it delicately between her teeth and offered it to Sarah, teasing her with the treat, until she decided to relent, pushing Sarah gently to the ground, lowering herself until they were as one, lying intertwined under the glowing sunset, sharing the strawberry, their lips, their tongues, their passion, their souls, themselves.

As carefully and discretely as she could Sarah tapped a few keys on her mobile, buried it back in her pocket, and lay contented, with the woman of her dreams wrapped tightly in her arms, lest the reality fade away. Feeling the phone buzz in her pocket, Sarah gave a silent prayer of thanks for modern technology, and gently propped herself up, mindful that she didn't jolt the somewhat sleepy woman lying in her lap. Whispering softly, she told Kate that they would stay the night in the beach hut, then picked her up, and carried her down onto the beach. Looking carefully in the sand outside the beach hut, Sarah could see the result of her collaboration with one of her senior karate students who also owned a beach hut. The lines of sand lay waiting.

Inside the beach hut, the lighting was soft, and the manky old mattress replaced with a soft mattress, silky rug and casually strewn floor cushions. By this point, Kate had woken up considerably, and was looking around the beach hut in awe. "You did this all for me?"

In answer, Sarah hit play on the newly installed CD player, sitting beside Kate and motioning to listen, whilst taking Kate's hand between hers, and gazing into her eyes, marveling at the brilliant blue orbs, that right now, were softened with love and affection.

'I'm not a perfect person
There's many things I wish I didn't do
But I continue learning
I never meant to do those things to you
And so I have to say before I go
That I just want you to know

I've found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
And the reason is you

I'm sorry that I hurt you
It's something I must live with everyday
And all the pain I put you through
I wish that I could take it all away
And be the one who catches all your tears
Thats why I need you to hear

I've found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
And the reason is you [x4]

I'm not a perfect person
I never meant to do those things to you
And so I have to say before I go
That I just want you to know

I've found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over newAnd the reason is you

I've found a reason to show
A side of me you didn't know
A reason for all that I do
And the reason is you'

Listening to the music fade out, Kate found she could not speak, such was the emotion conveyed by the song, and by the look in Sarah's eyes. Resting her hand on Kate's arm, Sarah told her "I'll explain in a minute, but I just need to get some air." Stepping outside, she pushed the door gently to, and fished out her lighter.

Feeling a rush of nerves, but grateful for the adrenaline coursing through her veins, she knocked on the door, asking Kate to join her outside, claiming "the stars look incredible tonight, the sky is really clear..."

As soon as she stepped through the door, Kate felt hands slip around her shoulders as Sarah quickly covered her eyes. Making her promise not to look, Sarah put her arms around Kate's waist instead, and spoke softly into her ear.

"I said I'd explain about the song, so...um...here goes. I've made up my mind to tell my family about you, about us. That's the change I'm going to make. And you really are the reason for, well, for me, really. I'm totally involved with you, even when we're not together. I want to show you how much you mean to me and how committed I am to you, so I arranged a surprise. Open your eyes now babe."

Trying hard to stop her heart leaping from her chest to join with Sarah's, Kate felt more love for her partner than is possible to put into words, the rush of emotions utterly indescribable. Opening her eyes, she saw the surprise, and was barely able to contain a squeal of excitement. Sarah was now facing Kate, kneeling in the sand, with a ring in her hand. Behind her, flickering in the sea breeze, were rows of delicate candles, carefully arranged, spelling out the words 'Marry me.'

Taking a deep breath, Sarah looked into those beautiful blue eyes and asked "Kate, will you do me the honour of being my wife?" Eyes brimming with tears, Kate pulled Sarah to her feet and into loving arms.

"Of course I will babe, you mean the world to me, I don't think I tell you enough. I love you, you are everything I need, my mentor, my lover, my partner, my friend, and most important of all, you are my soulmate."

The two women embraced again, as Sarah slid the ring gently onto Kate's finger, kissing her palm as she did so. Extinguishing the candles together, they retired to the silken rug, their bodies expressing what words could not, their passion continuing long into the night, until they fell asleep in each others arms.

Awakening together to a carefully planned alarm clock, the sounds of Savage Garden filling the air, taking both women back to when they first realised the way they felt about each other, shortly before their first kiss. Recreating the moment, Kate brushed her lips across Sarah's, reveling in the returning kiss, as the sun dawned on the first day of the rest of their lives.

The End

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