This is my first attempt at this fandom, brought on by my love for classical music and Chiaki-senpai, haha. I don't know why it's taken me so long to write something for Nodame Cantabile...actually, that's a lie. This was written a while ago but I just never got around to posting it because I haven't made much progress of the next few parts.

Oh look, I'm rambling already. Really, I'm not that much of a chatterbox...usually. XD

By – Hime no Ichigo

A collection of (attempted) character studies, perhaps their could-have-beens, and may include their perception of Nodame and/or Shinichi. Takes place at various points of the timeline.

Genre: General/Angst
: G
: hinted Chiaki x Nodame
: Alone on the balcony, he thought he could hear Chopin.

Recommended listening: Frédéric Chopin; Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11: I. Allegro Maestoso

Disclaimer: Nodame Cantabile belongs to Ninomiya Tomoko.

Warnings/Spoilers: Lessons 127-129, if you're not caught up with the manga.


Yesterday's Lesson: Chiaki, Shinichi


It had been his dream for thirteen years to listen to his teacher conduct again, live. And here he was, in the great opera house of Italy, in the solitude of one of the balconies, while the stage and pit were a flurry of movements. The orchestra was playing through the section almost flawlessly; the voices were coming in at the right places and blending well. He didn't expect anything less.

Yet at this vantage point, he didn't see Vieira-sensei waving his baton, the movement of the bows, or the breathing pattern of the singers; nor did he hear the bass' line fading towards the end of his aria, or the wrong semitone by one of the violas, or the rapping on the stand to signal a break.

He wanted to "listen to the music" – or so he had told Jean. That had been his sincere, original intention, to see how far the performers had come since their first rehearsal. But sitting in a music hall, he couldn't help but be transported back to London after closing his eyes.

Gone was the stage and pit, and in its place was the London Philharmonic Orchestra with a black grand piano between the conductor's podium and the audience. The comparatively simple orchestral arrangement could easily be pushed into the background of his memory, serving only as the foundation to the following torrent of the piano, but Chiaki could recall every other detail of that piece on the programme: the grumpy look on her face, the slight tension in her body while waiting intently for Streseman's signal before she gave herself up fully to the music, the faulty piano entrance and Streseman's close saves, the movements of her wrists and nimble fingers, giving each note its deserved clarity, volume, care, and emotion. She had been more than just good, he could now admit – he had underestimated her abilities yet again.

I thought you wanted to perform your first concerto with me.

He had heard other Chopin interpretations before, by famous pianists who had already established their places in the musical world, but none sounded quite like Noda Megumi's version. The piano concerto had been lovingly delivered to the spellbound English hall, from the first movement until the very last chord of the third movement. She had taken them by storm and she herself by surprise.

And now she was gone again.

Where are you, Nodame? Why aren't you back home yet, at Paris?

If only he had ignored her wishes after the concert; if only he had gone into the dressing room regardless of any consequences. Chiaki had always been stubborn but could respect another's request if he felt the same way, if trouble could be avoided. Likewise, had Nodame actually wanted to see him, he would have probably shied away; her last question before he left hung over him like a persistent cloud.

Is there still a 'us'? Or is it back to 'you and I'?

At this moment, all he wanted to do was to take the train back to Paris, to the family complex. Or find Streseman, Elise, Oliver – any one of them. But most of all, he wanted to be by her side, where he could hold her close and tell her how stupid he had been. If there was still a chance, he would take it. He wasn't sure if actually carrying out his idea would be satisfactory – after all, Vieira-sensei was here, in Italy, and it wasn't a ten-minute walk to France – but he knew, deep down, that it would be worth it.

Home is where the heart is...right, Nodame? So come home.

- Owari -

Story Word Count: 606

Authoress' Notes: I'm sure I haven't made Chiaki suffer enough yet, though I do want to do other characters before I come back to him.

Here's likely how this compilation will proceed: by character appearance, manga-wise. Unsteady updating schedule as of now.

posted 02/15/10