Sorry I haven't been updating Household Affairs! Trust me when I say I've written a lot and they're lined up to be published at some point, but not all of them follow the "in the house" kind of setting that I've established for the ficdump so I'm partially in the process of expanding some of them into longer pieces so they CAN go up with reason.
That being said, this is a prompt I got off tumblr once more that I really liked; it ended up growing a lot longer than I thought it would.
Without further ado, enjoy!
And that's what I call, Real Music
Because it's Blackstar.
That was honestly the reason she had never gone to any of his concerts.
The first few times she was invited to "hang out" when they still jammed in the garage, she passed up the opportunity to instead read a book, perhaps study – anything that wasn't being stuck in a stuffy space with four pubescent boys for their silly ruckus of which the called music.
The first few gigs they got, her father had even begged she went with her adoptive brother, because he was too busy with who knew what. But she had stubbornly put her foot down at the tender age of fourteen, refusing to go with a stubbornness so alike her mother that even Spirit had given up. After all, her argument was compelling: you adopted him, not me, so if you're not going, then I'm not, either!
And that was the end of that discussion.
Once their stupid band began to pick up publicity (Death City, she groaned, because four pubescent boys couldn't think of a better name to title their ruckus) she had been invited, by not her father – but her friends, who were initially mortified by her new brother, were now tittering with the very idea of seeing the blue-haired gorilla yelling into a microphone with his electric guitar slung over his shoulders.
Because it's Blackstar.
That's why they went.
And that's why Maka stayed the hell away.
Seriously, why would she ever go to her brother's concerts? One of the first things he did when he joined their household was refuse to adopt the Albarn name. Although Maka could understand not wanting to be associated with her Papa, she still seethed at his sheer tenacity. And from there it was disaster after another – they decided as a household that he should never be in charge of any of the meals, so then Maka somehow was stuck making food for two out of three nights, as long as Blackstar washed during both of hers, but even that devolved within a span of six months.
She didn't dare complain.
Though she had considered bashing his skull in with her skillet.
So then why, exactly, was she standing in the dark, musky hallway of a venue more than half an hour away from her house, on a Saturday night, when she could've been studying or watching a movie?
Because as much as she hated Blackstar, she loved Tsubaki. And when Tsubaki had been invited to Death City's gig in the downtown area of New York, her taller, Asian friend had all but begged her to come with. It wasn't as if the invitation wasn't extended to her through obligation, and as much as Maka wanted to insist that there were other people she could've gone with (heck, half of her class was here anyway) after trying to protest with the unintentional puppy eyes that Tsubaki had going for her, she had to give in. She refused to dress too nice though – just a hoodie and shorts. Unlike the other girls who'd shown up in tube tops.
And the venue was packed; it was a battle of the bands so the closer they got to the stage, the hotter and sweatier it got. Maka was perfectly content to stay near the back. Tsubaki didn't complain at all – she only brought Maka a beer as the two settled against the wall, the loud blaring of guitars and drums only serving as the very intrusive background noise to their otherwise tame conversation.
But their idle pleasantries were cut when an all-too-familiar Ya-HOOO caught both girl's attentions. What Maka didn't realize that her brother's eight-year old catch phrase was still applicable, and not only that, it somehow became theDeath City bird call. Because as soon as the deafening syllables rattled the venue, she noticed most of her class pouring in – Kim with her pink hair, Jacqueline who had dressed for the occasion; even Tsugumi and Anya had arrived as well.
"I didn't know they were this popular," she breathed to her seatmate, only to notice that Tsubaki had stood up, eyes were sparkling as she took another swig of beer.
Maka sighed. The poor girl had been harbouring a crush on her adoptive brother for the past four years, maybe five. All that she knew that it was sad how a nineteen year old could still be so infatuated with someone who'd hardly matured since he was fifteen.
She stood up to join her, letting her back rest against the wall as her brother began to squawk into the microphone, riling the crowds with his too-high voice. She really didn't get why the girls were swooning.
And then, he winked.
"How do you like this stuff," she found herself shouting as the guitar began its first rift. She wasn't familiar with all the band members – after all only Blackstar and Killik – their bassist – were from her high school. Even then she was never close to the dark-skinned musician; they only had one class together occasionally before they graduated. But he was there, a little off to the side, strumming the bass in conjunction to her brother's playing. It was all too much and all too loud at the same time.
The girl beside her was positively sparkling, though, as she nodded along to the song they played as if she'd heard it before. Tsubaki probably has, Maka realized, for she was pretty sure the taller girl had never missed a concert before. Made sense.
But after the first three minutes of ear screeching noise, the music suddenly slowed and breakthroughs of claps actually became audible. "What's happening?" Maka said, her voice still raised but not yelling like before.
"They're playing a ballad," Tsubaki half-shouted back, taking another sip of beer. Maka blinked – she never thought Blackstar of all people would include a ballad in their set. Tsubaki seemed to pick up what she was thinking, as she leaned over and said, "Soul always puts one in to change up the pace, granted, Blackstar at first didn't see the point in it, but he grew to accept it overtime, and now even he's the one picking which one of his ballads to put in – but you know all that, I'm sure."
She definitely didn't.
She didn't even know who Soul was.
The name sounded obnoxious enough.
And at her mistake, Tsubaki blinked and giggled lightly. As the drum beat kicked in to the guitar's serenade, with one hand, her friend inclined towards the stage. When Maka's eyes followed the gesture, finally singling out the drummer who was tucked in the back left corner, somehow obscured in the shadow. But that didn't give her any excuse to miss him the first time. Not with his shock of white hair.
The more she watched, the more mesmerizing he was. Really, all he was doing was banging out the rhythm with those two sticks of his, but she couldn't deny the necessity of the kit – the way the beat worked with the lilt of the song, the surprisingly decent sound of Blackstar's voice – he was the glue to all of that. Even someone as musically illiterate as her could understand that concept.
Too soon, the song was over and even she found her hands clapping together.
She watched as his eyes darted to the crowd, his expression – partially obscured by the shadow of his puff of hair – ultimately unreadable. And for some reason, she couldn't tear her eyes off him.
"And as usual, that was written by our very own drummer and songwriter, Soul Eater-!" Blackstar's overly zealous voice was nearly drowned by a smattering of applause, hollers coming from the crowd who'd known the band when they had started up six years ago. But for Maka, all she felt was the icy surprise when the implication sank in.
"Wait, he wrote that?"
"He writes almost all of Death City's music," Tsubaki supplemented as she stopped her polite applause. Maka only whistled under her breath as she let her hands clap a couple of times, still observing the drummer as he straightened from his slouch. She could've sworn his eyes lingered on hers as his gaze swept the crowd, his lips quirked in a lopsided grin as he gave a half nod of acknowledgement.
She caught herself before she nodded back. As if she knew him somehow.
Well, maybe she did. After all, he'd been one of four who'd been frequenting her basement for the past six years.
The next group was finishing their second piece of their three-song set when Death City finally came out of the back, instruments locked in cases and drum kit disassembled. Maka idly followed Tsubaki out of the room, only pausing half a step back as her brother put down his guitar when he saw the duo.
"Tsubaki, hey," he said pleasantly, a tone Maka herself wasn't exactly familiar with. She stared as the two hugged – she didn't realize they were so close. She coughed into her fist as they disengaged.
Blackstar's eyes widened and he gave his sister a grin. "Maka! Hey, you finally made it out!" And it was like she was seeing a younger version of her brother, the one who'd asked her to hang out with him and the boys before, always telling her as he went out the door that she was welcome to listen 'to the music of the Gods'.
She couldn't help but to grin at the memory, or at her brother. "You guys were really good," she said truthfully. She didn't miss the way her adoptive brother's eyes widened and as the grin spread further across his cheeks.
"I've been tryin' to tell you, I mean we didn't start out so great but when Soul joined – it was like everything came together." And then he perked up. "Actually you know what, why don't I- Soul!"
Maka could've sworn he never needed a mic, for the white-haired boy in question set the snare drum down and sauntered up to greet the two. She never noticed his slight slouch, nor the way his hair was held back by a black headband. Classy.
He gave Tsubaki a small head-dip of acknowledgement before he turned to Blackstar. "What's up?"
"'s Maka, my sister," her brother introduced, taking a half-step back as to not obscure his view. She felt her face flush as he gave her a very obvious once over, before his mouth relaxed into a grin.
"Nice to meet you, Maka," he said politely. She could only quietly return the greeting before Blackstar turned to Tsubaki.
"Let me buy you a beer, I owe you for always coming out to my concerts."
Maka stared – Blackstar, being nice?! Granted, he had mellowed out over the years, but he never thought he'd be as …. courteous as to buy someone a drink. Even Tsubaki blinked and she stammered, "You really don't have to –"
"Nah, you even dragged my stubborn silly sister out to my concert, let me repay you for that." Maka tried not to seethe at his words as her brother grabbed Tsubaki's wrist, only shooting the blonde a helpless glance before she was dragged away.
Soul shrugged, and to her mild surprise, slunk off and back to the disassembled kit. She didn't know what she was expecting really, but she found her eyes lingering on his form before she walked over. "Let me help you."
"You don't have to."
"I don't want to third wheel, I mean, Tsubaki's my best friend and Blackstar is my brother," she complained. He gave a quick guffaw of laughter – surprisingly loud, though somehow familiar as she realized she had heard him laugh before. And she was annoyed that a laugh could carry from the basement to the second floor and past her closed door.
Now, not so much annoyed as he gestured to the kickstand. "You can start with that then, thanks," the drummer said with another lopsided smirk. His teeth were sharp, she noticed, as in they seemed almost shiny, a feat within itself in the dim lighting. She ignored the thought as she picked up the pieces to the kit, following his retreating back as they made their way into the still-warm summer air.
"You can leave them there," the drummer instructed as he too, placed his piece down. Maka followed suit and followed him back inside. The silence was long, almost uncomfortably so, as they strode down the long hallway back to where the rest of the equipment was.
"I liked your song," she said quietly.
"Oh yeah?" Soul said as he picked up the next piece of equipment. "Which one?"
"I wrote all the songs we played tonight," he said nonchalantly, another earnest laugh escaping his lips as she stared. "Wow, you really went out of your way to avoid our band, huh."
"It's not that," Maka flailed, trying to disguise her rapidly growing discomfort by reaching for the biggest drum. To her further embarrassment, one heave wasn't enough to lift it on her own. In fact, it was stupidly heavy.
He laughed again as she heard him setting the equipment down. "Nah, I don't blame you, we sucked when we started." She felt breath behind her shoulder and she tensed, slim fingers sliding down her forearm. She withdrew immediately at the contact, more shocked by the electric currents that had raced through her veins than the actual finger-to-skin contact. "Why don't I take the bass?" His voice, quiet and velvety, was surprisingly closer to ear than she expected.
She turned quickly, her eyes locking into his. They were red, she realized, and somehow, not off-putting at all, after all they were warm, if not light with amusement. She took a quick half-step back as he lifted the drum, giving her a small smirk before he carried it out. Maka grabbed the hi hat, the cooler metal even colder against the heat of her palms as she tried to swallow back her blush.
Jesus, it was like she never had met a hot person before.
Granted, she had never met someone as hot as him.
When she had set down the hi hats beside the bass drum, he was already there, chatting to Killik as him and the fourth member of Death City that she didn't recognize were loading the van. Killik turned and gave her a half nod of hello before he went to join his other bandmate with the loading. "Just the guitars left," Soul told her before he was, once again, wordlessly leading her back to inside. There was a few more moments of rather tense silence, despite the applause as the band on stage finished their set.
"The ballad, I really liked the ballad," Maka said quietly as the drummer handed her one of the cases.
"Oh yeah? That one's one of my favorites, too. Can't always have too much of the same thing, gotta change it up," he said lively, a hint of pride evident in his voice as he hoisted the other, soft case over his shoulder.
"That's what Tsubaki said," Maka giggled as she turned on her heels. Soul gave a quieter chuckle along with her.
"Girl probably knows us better than we do. Better than Blackstar… she's so out of his league, the idiot," he said fondly, his pace quickening so soon they were actually side by side as opposed to one behind the other. Maka couldn't help but laugh into her fist again. Of course, everyone knew about her crush but the one who it mattered to.
Conversation with him was easy, and surprisingly, fun. Maka didn't know why she never – after six years of invitations – gone to hang out with Death City at all. Well, she knew why, after she had invested in a good pair of earplugs she probably missed the inevitable change in their sound.
And here she was, with the primary source of the change, as they had finished packing the equipment and had now found themselves sharing a table, beer in her hand, water in his. And they had talked and talked until the last band were halfway through their set, herself surprised that they hadn't ran out of topics yet. Though he did tease her in her taste of music, she poked fun at his teeth, to which he only bared in an exaggerated grin and she found herself giggling into her drink once more.
"You got a way home?" Soul asked as she finished off her drink. Maka chewed on her lip – she wasn't sure how she felt about leaving, though she knew she'd definitely see him again.
"Yeah, Tsubaki drove me," she said, and she scooted her chair to begin searching for her friend.
"Don't bother – she left with Blackstar."
He laughed again – it was an earnest laugh, really, that was carefree and somehow didn't suit the gruffer-looking nineteen year old. "I saw them leaving earlier, I didn't say anything because I think they deserve some alone time."
Maka pinched the bridge of her nose. "Ugh, don't tell me that, last thing I want to do is go home and –"
Soul winced too. "God, that's my best friend you're talking about."
"Do I have to remind you?"
"Point." He gave another laugh as he sat up, her following suit. "I can take you home, if you'd like."
She stared at his offer. During their discussion she realized why she never really met Soul before – he lived in the heart of the city and had known Blackstar prior to him joining her family. But that was the point, he lived close to the venue, and she lived more than half an hour away. He seemed to read her thoughts and he quickly dismissed her before she could even attempt to protest.
"Your only ride is gone. Come on, it's the least I can do for stealing you away from your brother all night."
She scoffed. "I get more than enough at him at home."
He laughed. "Also on point." But then he twirled his keys around one finger and she gave an exaggerated sigh, followed by an apologetic smile. He grinned. "Sweet. And then we can listen to some real music."
"Like what, classical?" she grumbled playfully as she turned to walk with him.
He gave her a pointed look. "Real music."
It wasn't that bad of a ride, she realized, and it wasn't all classical as he had led her to believe. Granted there was the occasional jazz that threw her off, and a couple of songs that even he had flipped through quickly (something about her definitely not understanding it, and she didn't question it). And the entire time their conversation persisted; somehow they both had a lot to say even though she usually wasn't the one talking – nor was he, she suspected.
But as they pulled into their driveway in less time than it took to get there, they both fell into silence as Soul shifted his car into an idle. He gave her a sideways glance and rolled down their windows.
"You know, we should hang out sometime."
Maka turned and gave him a grin. "Yeah, I'll come to the basement when you guys practice or something."
The drummer blinked, and then laughed once more, his fingers drumming the wheel in a complex rhythm before he lifted his hand and instead ran it through his hair. "That'd be cool." And then his hand went to his thigh, curling into a fist as he pressed back against his chair. "But what I meant was, I dunno, just the two of us?"
She blinked in surprise as the hand still on the wheel began to drum once more. She felt the heat rise to her cheeks as the driver stared pointedly away, only giving her a half glance before tearing his eyes away once more.
"Sounds cool," Maka replied.
Soul smiled – truly smiled – and finally locked gazes with her. Even in the darkness, his red eyes still shone, and they were warm, if not slightly affectionate, as his hand reached out and ruffled her hair. She gave a rather ungraceful squeak of surprise. "Goodnight, my best friend's sister."
She pouted as she pried the hand out of her hair and curled her fingers with his briefly. "Night, my brother's drummer."
He pulled his hand back as she clamoured out of his car, he gave a half salute as he pulled out of the driveway before disappearing into the night sky. She stared at where the car had been, one hand subconsciously where his hand had been and the other tightly against her thigh.
Maka was, admittedly, half surprised to see Blackstar on the couch, a soda in hand and the remote in the other. "Where's Tsubaki?" she asked as she dropped hung her housekeys up against the wall, reaching back to pry off her shoes.
"Left when she dropped me off." Poor girl, she couldn't help but to think as she kicked her heels to the side. "Who drove you home?"
"He didn't even come in to say goodbye," her brother said half angrily as he took another sip. She wasn't convinced – she knew Blackstar well enough that he was more interested in whatever was on TV and not with actually talking to her – at least not at the moment. "So you liked the set?"
"Mmhm. You guys were awesome." She saw him grin into his can. She paused. Oh there was no way she was going to pass this up. "By the way, he's pretty hot."
"Soul?" Blackstar said distantly as he leaned in, cracking open another soda. "Didn't think he was your type."
"I didn't think so either," Maka said nonchalantly as she climbed halfway up the stairs.
Then she dropped the bomb.
"Buuut I have a date with him on Sunday."
The payoff was so worth it, as Blackstar sputtered so hard that he sprayed Coke all over the tv, his earsplitting WHAT?! somehow – compared to everything else she'd heard that night – true music to her ears.