Who's this?" Kahoko asked, practically shoving a CD in Hiroto's face in excitement. She had made the recent discovery that the teacher knew a lot more about music than he let on, particularly about European musicians whose compositions he had preformed in the past. His days as a famous tenor had provided him with a wonderful amount of knowledge. Who knew the lazy man was actually qualified to be a teacher?

Already this morning they had discussed Bach and Mozart in full, and Kahoko was still every bit as enthusiastic as she was when she stumbled upon him on her way to the practice rooms before school began. Strangely enough, he wasn't feeling the least bit fatigued or irritated by her onslaught of questions. Her childlike excitement was genuine and constant, even as he recalled the most boring pieces of history. Her good mood was actually infectious.

"Well?" She asked, waving the CD in front of her.

"Joseph Haydn," he replied, and then continues without needing to be prompted. "He was another child prodigy, known for his lovely voice. He was almost castrated to avoid losing such a precious gift," he paused to laugh at the face she made, even though the story of a singer loosing his voice made him feel nostalgic and pained. "They didn't," he continued, "but in the his voice did break. He moved to Vienna in the early 1790's, where he taught famous composers such as Mozart and Beethoven."

The story was practically his own, and he wondered how long it would take for her -or any of his students- to reach such a high status in their time. Hiroto's voice was broken as well, after all, as painful as it was to admit it. Before she could catch his hurt expression, he lit a cigarette and brought it to his lips. Inhale, Exhale. Quite sad, considering the range of motions and that had once passed between those lips. Now they were but a sigh.

Oblivious to his internal suffering, Kahoko pulled a health bar from her bag, offering it to him before biting into it herself. He declined, bringing the cigarette to his mouth again.

Inhale. Exhale. How simple his life had become!

He continues to explain things to her, his eyes straying from her content face and working their way toward the cat that was nestled contently into her side. She took no notice of his distraction and chattered on happily.

If all of his students had her enthusiasm, perhaps he wouldn't mind teaching, he mused.

Too soon, they were at the bottom of the stack. The last CD had no title, the cover was adorned with only a picture of a treble clef. It was a mystery, giving away nothing, and his interest was picked immediately. Hino plucked it from the case and set it into her sticker-covered player, before shooing the cat away from her and hopping up beside him. Actions too quick for her own two feet, she tripped a little and placed a hand on his knee to keep herself upright.

"Sorry," she murmured, blushing pink as she plunked down on the bench beside him and fixed her shoe with her free hand. When she finished tying the laces, she handed him an ear-bud headphone and settled into place to his left.

Inhale. Exhale. (Try not to be wary of their sudden proximity.)

"There isn't any title," she explained to him as pressed play, "so consider this a test."

'What do I get if I pass?'' he thought to himself with a smirk, before chastising himself and nodding briskly.

The music that flowed through the headphones took him by surprise, but he answered her question anyway.

"No one knows his name for sure, this composer had many aliases. He was a man of middle age who wrote music for a woman much younger than himself, whom he both loved and lusted after. He said nothing of his feelings for her, as he knew that any love for her from himself would go unrequited."

"How do you know all of this?" the general studies student asked in awe. Even Keiichi didn't know that much!

He swallowed hard, considering telling her about how much he identified with the musician, before deciding on a safer, if not equally painful explanation.

"It used to be one of my favourites to perform, back when-"

Interrupted by the sound of the bell, he sat still as Kahoko hopped up and gathered her things in haste. "See you, Kanazawa Sensei!" She called over her shoulder.

One earbud hanging off of the bench, the other still in his ear, the man leaned back once more and let the music wash over him.

Inhale. Exhale. Unrequited love, indeed. How music loved to mock him, a fallen star.