A/N: This is my first Dog Sees God fanfic, and I was eager to write one as soon as I saw that a section for this play had been added. I saw the play awhile ago with my friend playing Van. He was a natural at it. Their rendition of it was rather inspiring, and they inspired me to write this.
It was a long time before he started sleeping at night again.
And it never helped that he had a piano at home. He remembered his dog jumping on top of it, perhaps even playing it in his accidental way. Then he would dance with his dog, paws in hands, and jump around on a Saturday morning. They would listen to music and dance away because no one else actually thought that CB was good enough. Maybe they thought he was enough as a friend, but he would not know. They were all too wasted on different drugs to understand.
Then, every time he closed his eyes, he saw Beethoven.
Pitiful Beethoven, in the music room, all alone, playing the run down thing called a piano. He saw his back and shoulders move purposefully, rhythmically as his gentle fingers manipulated the notes with skill. Not only was he attracted to his solitude, he especially found his vulnerability endearing. He had to admit it was also pity. He was such a broken character, such a fragmented soul, that he could not bear to leave it alone.
Their kiss was heavy. It reminded him of consequences and promises that he might not be able to keep. He reminded himself that he was unable to help himself, that Beethoven's lips were parted in dangerously sad ways, that it was not his fault. He felt compelled to fix him. Happiness was the ultimate glue. He needed it to piece everything back together. He was going to do it for him.
He saw fleeting images of their one night together, indulging in each other's solitude. He could not help but remember that they were both boys, but he also remembered that he did not care. He clearly recalled the glaze in his eyes that ultimately told him that Beethoven did not have to die and that he had hope in living. But only if he had this shared vulnerability, the strength that allowed him to be glued together. Beethoven allowed himself to move with CB that night and tried to save himself; tried to hope. He tried to be happy.
CB sat in the darkness, bags heavily darkening his eyes. If he tried to look into the dark corners and materialize someone in there, he would only produce a single unforgivable name.
Although unforgivable, he could not bring himself to hate him. He saw an internal struggle that Matt could not see, a dimmed light to what used to be his inner purity. A fear of having a dirty friend, a fear of seeing himself as dirty, a fear of vulnerability. CB did, however, hate the reaction, the severing of the glue that he had once called happiness, the killing of a person that he may have once loved. He hated his actions that led him believe that Beethoven was weak. He hated that it reflected his strength shared with Beethoven and that it was not strong enough, that he was not good enough to keep him rooted to the living.
Beethoven never loved him. And here he was, thinking that love existed in different shapes and forms. That he might have loved, as well, once upon a time.
CB closed his eyes and thought. He never knew what happened to Beethoven exactly. All he knew was that he had bloody, broken fingers in that coffin and that Matt had done it to him. He simply knew. Then again, at the funeral, he was reminded of the fact that he could not save Beethoven with all his vulnerability and exposure of himself. Beethoven could not trust that much. He trusted in God. He trusted in the welcoming arms of death. No one judged him there, not in death. CB could not blame him fully because he was not Beethoven, he realized. There were parts of him that he would never understand.
He opened his eyes. The room was dark, crowded by nightmares of a dead Beethoven and Matt's murderous face. He was not sure how long he could handle school by sleeping in classes instead of sleeping at night. It was because nighttimes brought memories of Beethoven, not only when he was dead, but when he was alive. He had kissed him, many times that night. He needed to keep reassurance in broken Beethoven that he would be fine, that he could survive. CB needed to forget. But he continued remembering his skin, his hair, his hands, his blinking, distrusting eyes, and his kindness. And all of it hurt him even more, all because he was also alone to let tears fall down his cheeks. It was fine as long as no one saw. As long as only Beethoven saw.
He sat up, blinking blearily and slowly. To his right was a bed stand, where an old lamp sat and the latest letter from his Pen-Pal sat. He glared at it. Beethoven never died happy. He was supposed to, but he never did. The guilt burdened him with involuntary tears that he could not completely remove from his life. He was not sure salvation was even an option. The thoughts inundating his mind soon overwhelmed him, and it was around two in the morning that he drank some water by routine. He glanced at his digital clock. It was one. A little earlier than usual, but he could not care at the moment.
He swung his legs over the side of the bed, standing up with caution. He thought that he might collapse into nothing if he forced himself too much. Suddenly, he recalled one of the cheerful songs Beethoven used to play that did not accommodate his mood one bit. He groaned a little bit, again pushing against the tears. What was it called again? It had something to do with entertaining. He rubbed his eyes a little from exhaustion. He needed to stop thinking about that. CB exited the room with heavy feet.
He faced the hallway with inevitable doom. He knew that the piano was there, ready to haunt him and curse him with another sleepless night. He approached it slowly, with such precaution and suspense that he thought something might jump out at him at any given opportunity. He was not sure why he was so afraid. With little steps he stood in front of it, gazing down at its glossy finish.
It was a regular upright piano, rarely used now because he could not think about it too much. A little worn out maybe, but the memories attached to it were continuously cycling in his head. He suddenly remembered Beethoven calling him an "awful piano player, if he ever heard one." His laughter echoed in his mind. Then it was as though Beethoven was sitting there in his piano bench, examining its quality. CB shook his head absentmindedly. He could not start hallucinating now because then he will be sharing a padded cell with Van's sister. He sighed and continued staring at the piano.
He did not know what possessed him to commit the next few actions. He pulled out the bench and sat on it. He lifted the piano cover up and removed the long cloth protecting the keys. He placed his hands on the keys, unfamiliarity rising in him. He did not know how to play any songs. And the only one he could really think of was—
"That's called the key of C major. Even you should be able to figure that out."
CB froze right into his seat. The source of the voice was so clearly painted in his mind, a perpetual constant that always brought him back to that person, the reason for all his problems. He was not going to turn toward him. He was going to cherish this voice as long as it was speaking to him, and he was not going to let it go. He knew it was not real. But he was so desperate, so agonized that he needed to pretend. He needed this imaginary role play. Maybe he would be able to sleep again if he could simply…
"Yeah?" he asked shakily, heart pounding loudly and steadily in his ears. He stared straight ahead of him. "You know that I don't play."
He thought that he would not receive a response from his imagined friend, and his hope faded a little. But he was relieved as soon as he heard the familiar voice.
"I can teach you."
He could swear he felt hands covering his and placing his fingers on the right keys. He closed his eyes. The tears were stinging again. And, he needed to concentrate on the hands guiding him. "C major has no sharps and no flats."
CB opened his eyes. He smiled a little, a sliver of relaxation gracing his features. "I know that."
"Sure you do. Now let's see, a song that you can play…" he paused for a moment as though he was truly consulting through a list of songs he knew, "How about 'The Entertainer?' That's a good one." He felt a tug in the back of his mind. He recognized the title, but he did not know exactly where he had heard it before. He felt stuck and still stared directly ahead of him, afraid to look where imaginary Beethoven would be sitting. While he sat in turmoil, he heard a soft laughter to his right. He nearly turned his head but just barely stopped himself. He felt his hand tremble a little under Beethoven's touch. "The song was a ragtime composition created by Scott Joplin. Very talented. It goes like this…"
He felt his own hands moving, and maybe it was Beethoven who moved it, or he was playing by subconscious memory. He was playing it. And he knew this song. He remembered hearing this song once in a while when Beethoven would sit in that music room and CB would simply listen to his talent outside the door. He was carefully content in doing just that. His house was now echoing with the sounds of the piano. It was echoing with the wounds of his memories. He smiled widely and played even faster. Tears were rolling down his face in pure desperation to keep the illusion alive. He continued to play, slamming down on the keys in painful forte. He saw colors swimming before his eyes and in the dark of the piano, and he played in a pent-up arduous fashion. He slammed his hands down onto the piano keys. He thought of the people he would wake up. His parents were not home. His sister was probably not home, as her partying grew harder a few weeks ago.
"Am I doing this right, Beethoven?" he half-screamed, hands now clenched into fists and hammering the piano keys without discrimination. He laughed and watched the keys bend against his touch, eliciting every note possible into an indubitable mess. He expected a calmly devised, soothing answer, but none came. CB dared to look to his right. The piano bench was empty excluding himself, without any signs of someone else sitting on it. Although it was ridiculous, and although he should not have even hoped that Beethoven was sitting right next to him, he clung to that hope and desperately sought benediction from his deceased friend, without reason or logic to support it by any means. He collapsed atop the black and white keys which made a horrible, helpless sound and began to sob uncontrollably into them. Beethoven never loved him enough.
He probably never loved him at all. CB blinked wearily into the dark, his head against the piano. The tears pooled around him and seeped in between the keys. His lashes felt heavy every time he blinked.
When the wind was blowing outside, quieter than usual, CB fell asleep.
A/N: I thought that Beethoven and CB's relationship in the play was rather tragic. I tried to illustrate that through my writing.
Please drop in a little review if you have the time, as it will be greatly appreciated.