She had found it deep within Beat's collection, underneath all the boxes, underneath all the books and toys, and after a little curiosity. It was a mini toy piano, painted crimson red and simplistic in all of its design. It stood up on its little legs as she set it on the ground, and played satisfying little chimes on the keys that were there.
It reminded Polka of him. Beat had commented on how talented a pianist he was, and she had now regretted not playing more attention to him as he was playing. Whenever she recalled the dance back in Baroque, she could remember a beautiful, flowing melody – but not the face behind it.
She gently pressed the first ivory key. It made a little low note.
Their first meeting. She could still remember it. Sat high atop the cliffs overlooking Ritardando, he had sat down with her. Everything about him that night had been mysterious; where he had come from, his extravagant clothes, and most of all, the story that he told. Thinking back on it, Polka had truly believed he was weaving a fairy tale, a story that was made for little children, and Polka had not believed it for a second. And yet now…
She pressed the adjacent ebony key, wedged in between the two ivory ones.
The more she thought about, the more she believed him. Frederic had that air about him; she felt he could really trust him. And now, here she was. Back then; she had thought she had to distance herself from others, but now… She was sat here, in Allegretto's and Beat's hideout, waiting for the other three to arrive. She had met people she could truly trust… And Frederic was the very first she could talk to.
She continued to press the keys slowly, listening to the delicate little notes. By the third ivory key, she noticed a black key missing. Three ivory keys, two black ones in between… Polka guessed it must be the piano's design.
She had rarely seen such an instrument as grand as a piano before, truth be told. In her tiny town of Tenuto, she had not expected she would now be on a grand adventure such as this. To see such sights as the Baroque Ship, it was like the last, big finale before she died.
Polka played the last final ivory key on the piano. It was a high, gentle tone, reverberating in the cave despite the size of the toy. It lingered in her ears, even after she had played it several seconds prior.
"Oh, so you were the one playing that, Polka?"
Surprised by the sudden appearance of his voice, she turned around. Frederic was just descending the ladder as she turned, and he greeted her with a warm smile just as he touched the ground.
She had always liked his smile, a warm and gentle one that she felt he would only give to her. And yet, the love within that smile… It was a brotherly love, a love for his lost sister that he found within her image.
Polka smiled back, standing up from her spot on the crystallised floor. "Frederic, I'm glad to see you're here… But, where are the others?"
"They should be here very soon," Frederic said gently. He walked over, next to her, and bent down to pick up the toy piano from the ground. He inspected it with a curious eye, looking it up and down. "This is an interesting toy."
"I found it in Beat's collection," Polka said quickly, pointing towards an ever-increasing pile of cluttered mess.
"Yes…" Frederic muttered, continuing to examine the piano. "He does collect interesting things…"
He pressed an ivory key gently, and the piano chimed in delight. Polka watched him press the different keys in amazement, and then, after a little thought, she looked up at him.
"Frederic, may you play a melody for me?" Polka asked. Frederic turned to her. "…A melody that you would have played for Emilia?"
There was a slight pause in his actions, perhaps he was pondering whether he would or he would not. But in the end, he smiled. It was a sad smile, nonetheless, and Polka noticed the nostalgia amidst this smile.
"Sure," Frederic said, nodding.
He looked back at the toy piano, the piano with just a few keys, and began to play. It was a simplistic melody, and it reminded Polka of a music box she had also found amongst Beat's collection once upon a time, but before she knew it, he had finished playing.
"It was quite simple, but I guess Emilia would have enjoyed it," Frederic said with a sigh. He held the piano limply, before he set it upon the ground once more.
"Don't worry, Frederic," Polka said gently. "She would have definitely liked it."
"…Thank you, Polka," Frederic said quietly, continuing to stare at the tiny piano on its tiny, little legs.
"And… Thank you, Frederic."
He looked up then, in surprise and in shock. "…What for?"
But all she did was merely smile and shake her head. "…Just… Thank you. Thank you for that melody. It was beautiful."
A slight smile graced his lips, before he slowly stood back up. "That was kind of you, Polka," Frederic said, ever humble. "…The others are very late. Shall I go get them?"
She turned away to think for a moment. "Yes, I believe that is best."
"I'll take my leave then," Frederic said, before proceeding to leave.
Polka waited until the creaking of the ladder faded away before she sat back down again. She faced the piano in a grim silence, staring at the glossy red paint and the shiny black keys. The memory of Frederic's melody burned in her mind, and she dragged the piano to her gently. She began to press the keys, one by one, one after another, in the ghost of Frederic's own fingers.
A/N: For people who stalk Japanese fanart sites like I do, you might recognise that little red toy piano XD! It was a cute little plot bunny in my head and then I started developing it and then, well…
Sorry if I got any piano terms wrong XDD; I play the violin, so I based the toy piano on the piano!telephone my friend has :D!
Agaga, I guess that's it.