The premise? Two of your favorite characters get into some hijinks with the DCI World Championships as their backdrop. For anyone keeping record, this story will take place during the summer presented in The Line Up (chapters 4/5ish) and after the season in Somewei's Want. If you want a look at the girls together, just check out my profile (or Somewei's) for the link.

We don't own DCI, and we know they don't have a program like this – however, relax and go with it – I promise you're in for a fun story. Note that we both have switched to first person for the story - it will be easier to keep up with who's who.

Keep an eye out for characters from both of our fictional worlds!

AN: We do own the characters, but not DCI or any of the Corps portrayed in the story.

The Art of Sound

Chapter 1: A Summer Surprise

I looked at the letter again and couldn't believe my eyes. I mean, I have had more than my share of surprises in the past couple of months, but this one was finally square in the 'positive' category. Sorry for getting ahead of myself. I have manners – I promise! So, to catch you up, a few months ago, I submitted, er, rather Mr. Izzo, submitted my name for some "DCI intern contest extravaganza" that was going around to all of the band directors. Apparently, the winners – a lucky few from each state – would get to go to the DCI championships in Pasadena and help out/intern during the week – with accommodation and food provided! It was open to any potential (and talented) band student who had an interest in participating in music education later in life. Obviously, I fit that bill, because no matter what I did, I knew it was going to be either instructing, teaching or performing with all things percussion.

However, in the space of everything that happened in the Spring (i.e. getting Captainship over fellow senior Tony Clarke, breaking up with my long term boyfriend and former BHS Drum Major Drew, and the full introduction of a new percussion instructor, Spence) you could understand why maybe I forgot about even having a conversation with my band director about this. But there it was in black and white on pristine DCI letterhead:

Ms. Flueger –

Congratulations! You've been accepted into the DCI Interns of the Summer Program. Enclosed please find information telling you where and when to report. Your accommodation has been provided, but you will need to cover the transportation of getting to Pasadena.

After registration, you will be assigned a Corps to work with for the week. More instructions will follow at that point.

We look forward to seeing you in July!

It was currently late May…graduation had only been a few short days ago, and outside of getting my drummers ready for a killer season, I didn't really have that much in front of me. Ok, I'll admit it, a big part of me was trying to forget that there was going to be a giant Tony Clarke sized hole for the summer…and maybe this whole upcoming experience would be exactly what I needed to achieve that. I mean, it had only been a few days since he had left and I already had a few half written letters, e-mails, almost sent texts, and a half filled care package to my second in command on the Brookwood Drum Line. He had left abruptly with a last minute spot marching with the Crossmen, and did I forget to mention that he totally hates me?

This is why I'm one of the most messed up people I know. While the percussionist in me is fine – she's a hard-core drill sergeant and naturally very talented, really, the other side of me, the romantic girly Bronwyn is shy, scared and completely confused. I'm trying not to admit to anyone that the first thing I thought when I read the letter was: "I might get to see Tony!"

Seriously…I need help.

So, that may beg the obvious question, why am I, goddess of the Brookwood Drum Line, not marching Corps this summer? Well, I debated auditioning for awhile, but when it came down to it, being Captain was the most important thing for my senior year. In November, I didn't want to look back and say, "If only I would've been there over the summer." Plus, recently, I got the idea that I want to get Mr. Izzo to agree to send us to PASIC in the Fall and to do that, I want to be in town over the summer to help work with the Line and our instructor, Spence. It's a sacrifice I'm okay with, because I won't age out for awhile…there are still other summers for me. I walk downstairs to show my mom the letter and prepare myself for the ensuing excitement that will incur.

The summer passes in a blur of composing music with Spence (Brookwood's oh so dreamy, doesn't really do anything for me, Instructor), drumming all the time, and still trying to ignore my wanting to reach out to Tony. I keep thinking back over the last year – we had been doing so well and then, in the matter of one day, it all went to hell. I should hate him – he stood me up for Prom and basically insinuated that I slept with Spence to get my Captain position, but I can't seem to let things go. Call me a hopeless romantic, but their was definite potential of something…I think…

So, it's finally time for me to get packed and start worrying about the next week. I've been trying to keep up with scores all summer and it looks like the competition is going to be totally fierce and I'll get to be in the middle of it! I know, a normal girl would probably be excited for well…I don't even know, but I really can't believe this opportunity that I'm going to have. I mean, I'll be able to see the best drummers in the country and hearing some of the most difficult music. Of course I'm going to be taking notes on everything I see. All the best high school drum lines copy stuff from Corps…it's just how things work.

Megan and Meredith, my trusty and loyal friends (and of course, members of the marching band), have decided to oversee my packing. And by oversee, I mean, 'make fun of everything Bronwyn owns.' Meredith has brought over a number of her own clothes, and for that I am actually kind of thankful. I mean, I'm not usually superficial and shallow, but did I mention that I might see Tony?

My friend, a proud member of the Brookwood Color Guard, unloads practically her entire tank top collection and says with a wink, "You never know who you might see there."

Both Megan and Meredith release identical romantic sighs. For some reason, they are both convinced I am going to meet some dreamy hunky Corps boy and bring him back home, sneak him to band camp a la Wes Mallinson, and well…I don't know what else they have planned for him. Sheesh, the last thing I need in my life is another boy. Seriously. Between Spence and the snare line (and the majority of the drum line), there is enough testosterone in my life to last for the next ten years or more. I have no idea how Lucy lasted as the only girl on the Battery for two years…

Selecting a few tank tops that look cute, I reply, "I hate to disappoint both of you, but the whole week is going to be about me running around and copying things. I doubt I'll even have time to interact with any of the Corps kids."

They both roll their eyes.

"Look, I'd love to take both of you with me…"

And it was true. Although I didn't want to admit it, I was kind of nervous about how I was going to do on my own. I mean here, at Brookwood and most of the county drumming circles, I have credibility and respect everywhere I go. People know who I am and they get out of my way, but none of that would follow me to this program. There, I would just be the random redhead who taps on everything. Being outgoing around strangers was so not one of my strong points.

"…but I'll call you and let you know how everything is going."

Megan asks, "Do you know who your roommate is?"

I shuffled through my papers, "Actually, no. I mean, it is going to be a girl, but I think we get assigned based on which Corps we're assigned to."

Meredith said, "I hope it isn't someone like Dana."

Dana was, of course, the most annoying girl in the band and my arch nemesis for a number of seasons. If I had to room with someone like her for a week, well, I might have to kill myself, or at least think seriously about coming home early.

Megan brightened up and suggested, "I'm sure you'll be too tired to even care. Your schedule looks intense."

And it was…in the last packet I received, the proposed itinerary looked completely filled – I couldn't wait! Although, it was going to be weird not to have Stewie with me. This would probably be the longest I had been without my snare drum in the past three years. I would be taking my drumsticks and practice pad, but there wasn't really room to take my beloved marching snare drum, Stewie.

Megan played with my cat, Fisk, and wondered aloud, "Too busy to run into Tony?"

Currently, the only person who knew of my continuing ridiculous feelings for my section mate was Lucy Karate, former Brookwood Drum Line girl, and now college junior. I wasn't sure what the girls would say, and for the most part they were doing a good job of hating Tony. It was a good thing he wasn't going to be coming to Band Camp, because they had enough pranks to thoroughly embarrass him for a week.

I answered awkwardly, "I'm sure I won't see him."

Megan sat up, "You should find him and steal part of his uniform so that he can't perform."

Meredith added, "And his drum sticks!"

"Settle down girls, I promise that if I see him, you'll be the first to know. Anyway, I don't want to totally destroy him – I mean, do I need to remind you that he's in my section? And that this year is really important to me?"

Meredith and Megan both looked away grumbling. I decided to change the subject, "Anyway, I'll be back before you know it."

"And then it's time for band camp!" Meredith exclaimed.

We were all totally excited as this would be our last band camp at Brookwood. Ever since I was a freshman and been introduced to all things drum line by Molly and Lucy, I lived for this particular week in August. All I had to do was make it through the next week…

My parents were nervous for me at the airport, but I assured them that everything was going to be ok, "I'll call you as soon as I land."

My mom, who traveled a lot for work wasn't as nervous as my dad, who wasn't looking forward to sending his oldest daughter to the wilds of Los Angeles. I added, "Dad, it's not that big a deal, I'll be flying into Ontario, not LAX, plus, they will have vans ready to pick us up."

"If you're sure."

I nodded and it occurred to me that I had come a long way from my freshman year. Apparently, the intern program would accept people as young as upcoming sophomores. I took a moment to inwardly cringe at the thought of myself at that age, and vowed to help any younger student in need. It's funny because it's probably something I would do naturally. I've always had this natural pedagogic streak. I want to help people learn and get better at their drumming. I always have…well, except maybe Tony, but that's just because most of the time that I've known him he's been a total ass. Ok, must not think about Tony. Still, it's hard not to think about him as the plane takes off. Looking over the broad expanse of country below, I wonder where his bus is right now. Shaking my head, I vow that it will probably be healthier if I try and get rid of all thoughts of Tony by trying to find some sort of DCI crush of the week. Which reminds me…I dig into my carryon bag and pull out a thick envelope from Megan and Meredith – it's my plane letter – a first! Laughing out loud, the flight passes quickly and soon I hear the stewardess say, "Welcome to Ontario Airport, the local time is…"

AN: I'm sure you can see the potential in the story here. Vanessa's chapter is up next and it's looking great. It feels awesome to be back!!!

P.S. Plane letters are a tradition I've been doing for a long time now. Whenever a friend/family member is about to take a big trip you write them an extended funny quiz about what will potentially happen during their trip…just message me if you want more details. Now, I actually have to go work on a plane letter. Lates!