Master and Mage
By Sam Davidson
Disclaimer: Susan Cooper graced the world with these characters, and we mortals may only pick them up and play with them, putting them back gratefully when we are done.
This story is slash. If you have a problem with that, then do not read it. Or do, but don't get mad at me if it offends your homophobic sensibilities. For the rest of you: enjoy!
A/N: Sorry for the short chapter. I meant to write a longer one, but I'm hoping that posting this will give me more momentum to keep writing.
Lastly, this story is meant to be set circa 1980. If you notice any anachronisms or other such errors, please let me know. Now, on with the story…
Chapter 7: Gloria
Not long after Will got back to his room, he heard a soft knock on his door. Thinking it must be Bran, he steeled himself for another strained conversation, then called, "Come in."
It wasn't Bran. In fact, it wasn't even anyone he had ever spoken to before. Will recognised the girl standing in his doorway as an alto with a very pleasant voice from the college choir, but he had no idea why she had come to his room. "Will?" she asked hesitantly.
"Yes, that's me," Will replied. "I'm sorry, I don't remember your name, though."
"That's alright." The girl let out a soft laugh. "I wouldn't have remembered yours either, except for the fact that it's written on your door. I'm Jane."
Will did not allow his facial expression to change, but on the inside he was startled by the force of the wave of emotions that the name evoked. He knew that this girl was not Jane Drew. Jane Drew was, last he knew, living in Surrey, where her family had moved three years earlier, and was currently considering whether to take a gap year before starting university. She was slight of build and still wore her long, straight hair in a pony tail, while the girl standing in front of him seemed like the athletic sort, with bushy brown hair pulled back in a knot. Realizing she had extended her hand toward him, Will shook it and forced a smile. "Nice to meet you in person," he said.
"I just came by because I noticed that you lived on this hall, and I live just upstairs, and so I thought I'd come and see if you wanted to walk over to choir rehearsal together."
In the midst of his preoccupation with Bran, Will had completely forgotten about that night's rehearsal, though of course now that Jane had mentioned it, he could clearly remember the choir director reminding them all about it. It was a good thing Bran hadn't agreed to that drink, he thought to himself. It also meant there was no question about accompanying Bran to his meeting.
"You know, I'd forgotten all about it," Will said out loud. "So I'm glad you came by. Let me just dig out my music folder, and then we can walk over." Coming up with the folder after rummaging in a desk drawer for a moment, he shrugged on his jacket and directed a genuine smile at Jane. "Shall we?"
Rehearsal that night was dedicated to a 14th century setting of the Gloria that they had begun working on the last time, and which Will found himself warming to after an initial scepticism. He was grateful, as he had often been before, that Merriman's prediction had come true and, after a difficult period in which his throat had emitted sounds entirely out of his control and the vicar back in Hunter's Combe had relegated him to the back row of the choir, his voice had eventually settled into a pleasant baritone. When it came time to sing pieces such as the Gloria, in which the tenor part was full of impressive but tricky runs of notes, Will was more than happy to sit back, as it were, and provide the relatively simple backup of the bass part.
Gloria in excelsis Deo…
Will enjoyed watching the faces of the other choir members as they sang. Some had their faces buried in their music folders, while others watched the director as closely as they could, following the movements of his hands as if hypnotised. Some, when they got lost or made a mistake, would scowl at their music, while others would just laugh.
Laudamus te, benedicimus te, adoramus te, glorificamus te…
Jane caught Will's eye from across in the alto section, and grinned at him. Will, caught up in the pleasure of singing, grinned back.
Gratias agimus tibi, propter magnam gloriam tuam…
Jane looked back down at her music, but Will kept watching her. Something about her seemed more lively, more animated than the rest of the girls around her. She seemed, to Will's eye, to radiate pleasure as she sang.
Hosanna in excelsis…
Then, a thought came to him, so unexpected that it almost dried up his voice right then in his throat. Jane was beautiful.