Disclaimer: I don't own Hetalia.
A/N: I fear that there has been a misunderstanding.
Kuroneko3132 has described this fic as 'ongoing,' and a lot of you have added it to your alerts, but it isn't. Ongoing, that is. See the little complete sign. I said that I would probably continue to write little scenes/oneshots for this universe, because I love it, but this particular narrative has reached its conclusion.
But anyway. I have a few little prequel-bunnies hopping about, and just now I (got sick of writing my history essay) and decided to write this, and since all you people have this story on alerts, I thought I'd post it here so that you know what's what. So just to clarify: This fic=over, this universe=ongoing.
If I ever have the time to write another fic again oh help me God…
The main music room of the school was a blessed oasis of quiet compared to the canteen and corridors. Out there every table was crowded with teenagers, talking too loudly and filling the air with their dominance-displays and shrieks of laughter. In here Alfred Jones' cheerful exclamation as he bounced his basket-ball was the exception, rather than the norm.
Roderich breathed a quiet sigh of satisfaction. A quietly humming room waiting to be filled with music was one of his favourite things in the world.
In between bounces, Alfred was scooping up pasta salad out of a plastic box and chatting away nineteen-to-the-dozen to anyone would listen. It was another ten minutes before choir practise was due to start, but the music room was as good a place to eat lunch as any, and there were always a few misfits using it as a sanctuary from the rest of the school.
Not that Alfred was one of those. In fact, he was something of a beacon of hope for the choir: proof that souls could be reclaimed even from the nether reaches of Hell – otherwise known as the school gym.
And today, Roderich reflected with satisfaction, they were about to reclaim another one.
He made his way over to the piano, where Elizabeta and their conductor were rummaging together through boxes of music, trying to decide on the repertoire for the new term.
'…could do 'The Lord is my Shepherd' again; it's always nice to give one of the younger ones a chance to sing a solo. And we need something pleasant for whole-school welcome assembly on Friday… 'For the Beauty of the Earth –' '
'No, no, no, no, no!'
Roderich made his presence known by giving his loud opinion, striding forward and slapping a hand down firmly on top of the piano. It worked; Elizabeta and the teacher both jumped and looked up, and most of the students turned around as well.
'We are going to be joined by a very special new member today,' Roderich declared, 'and that means no Rutter, no Chilcott, and absolutely nothing from any musical.'
'Nothing from a musical?' Alfred exclaimed in consternation. Then his face brightened. 'But I guess we could always do –'
'Or Glee!' Roderich snapped. Alfred visibly drooped.
'Who is this new person, Osutoria-kun?' the teacher asked. She would never have let any other student behave this way, but Roderich, who handled most of the accompanying that needed doing in the department and was the choir's official pianist, was a bit of an exception.
None of the relish Roderich was feeling at his bombshell showed in his face.
'Doitsu Ludwig,' he replied.
Several of the music students recoiled in horror, most looked blank, Elizabeta clapped her hands and the music teacher said, 'who?'
'Oh, some ghastly jock Feliciano's taken up with,' Roderich shrugged, sliding himself onto the piano stool and plunging into the box of music.
'Oh yeah, I know him,' Alfred put in. 'Really tall, blond hair, constipated expression –'
'Alfred!' the teacher exclaimed.
'Yes, that's him,' Roderich nodded, coming up again with his hands full of sheet music. 'So anyway, it turns out he's actually a pretty decent guy, apart from being surly and monosyllabic and entirely ignorant of music…' He shuddered. 'But, anyway, Feliciano has asked him out because he's…well, Feliciano, and has persuaded him to come to choir, and we mustn't scare him off.'
'Why ever not?' asked Arthur Kirkland. He and Alfred alternated between bosom friends and bitter enemies depending on how cheeky Alfred was being, and were staunch allies on the basketball team.
Roderich stared at him in astonishment. 'Arthur, how can you ask such a question? If we choose the right music, we could save a soul today! But get it wrong and he'll run a mile – which he's actually physically capable of doing. Let me think.' He turned his attention to the music in his lap. ' 'Bogoro Ditsye Dyevo,' I think, because it's by Rachmaninov whom he already knows and trusts… 'Beati Quorum Via' for classical control and 'Cantate Domino' by Monteverdi for Baroque perfection…it's harmonically interesting; if he doesn't like it then there's no hope for him. And…alright, throw him a bone; let's do Bohemian Rhapsody.'
'Well, alright,' the music teacher sighed. 'But who's going to play all this?'
'I am, of course,' Roderich assured her. 'Don't worry; I practised Bohemian Rhapsody specially. Had a feeling we might need it. Well, I…' He got up from the piano, and for a moment felt suddenly and inexplicably nervous. He caught Elizabeta's eye and she flashed him a quick smile. 'I'll go and get him, shall I?'
'It's difficult to sing on a full stomach, ve,' Feliciano warned.
'Well it's hard to think on an empty one,' Ludwig replied somewhat testily. He was shovelling in his lunch with vigour but not much gusto, trying to keep his mind off his impending doom – sorry, choir practise. 'You would not believe how hungry football makes you.'
'Hey, Ludi?' Feliciano had caught his brusque tone. 'Are you okay?'
Ludwig threw down his fork. 'Why do I keep getting talked into these –'
'Bearing up, Ludwig?'
'Hey, Roderich,' he sighed without turning round, pulling out a chair for the other boy. Roderich sat down, cracked his long fingers a few times as he always did when preparing a speech, and leaned forward.
'You ready? We've got about five minutes to walk over to the music block, so let's go –'
'Let me eat my Mars bar,' Ludwig said firmly. Roderich sighed and sat back in an exaggeratedly "settling down to wait" manner, while Ludwig tipped his chair back against the wall. Roderich and Feli glanced at one another while he ate the bar with deliberate slowness. It was a small enough modicum of control, but it made him feel better.
'Ready?' Roderich asked again the moment he was done.
'Nope.' Ludwig stood. 'Let's go.'
'So brief me,' he said as they stepped out of the canteen. 'What's it like in choir?'
'You'll be standing next to Arthur Kirkland,' Roderich said, 'and he's pretty good at reading the music, so you won't have to worry about not being able to follow your part. I told the teacher you'd be singing bass by the way; that's the deeper of the two male-voice parts. Ummm, what else to say? We're normally pretty informal and use first names, but they won't use yours until you say they can, they're quite a decent bunch really and I don't think any of them have any specific reason to hate you…'
'And there's Antonio-sempai who you know and Alfred Jones who's friends with everyone…'
'Oh yes. Him.'
'I'm not worried!'
'Guys?' Feliciano jogged to catch up with them and caught hold of Ludwig's hand. 'I'm so glad you're coming to choir, ve; it means we can all hang out together!'
He pecked Ludwig on the cheek.
'I, well, uh…'
Roderich watched him turn red with a patiently knowing look and pushed open the door to the music room.
Alright, now just walk in quietly, keep focussing on Feliciano, everybody else talk amongst yourselves and…oh shit, it went quiet.
Roderich breathed in deeply through his nose, a technique his first piano teacher had advised him to use if he ever felt nervous before a performance. Well, it wasn't performances that made him nervous these days…
'It's rude to stare!' he snapped at a first-year girl.
'Gomenasai, sempai!' she squeaked, ducking her head. Ludwig gave him a look, Roderich rolled his eyes, and he might have heard Romano mutter 'hero' from the tenor section.
'Well,' Roderich said, 'here's your seat, here's Arthur whom I believe you know, I'm going to go and play piano.'
He darted away and Ludwig lowered himself warily into his seat. To his relief Antonio turned around to speak to him almost at once, while the rest of the choir decided to at least pretend to get on with what they were doing.
'I'm so glad you're here, Lud,' Antonio whispered. 'Kirkland and I have been trying to growl away on bass and I'm really a tenor and he's a baritone, so…'
'Glad to be of service,' Ludwig said tersely. 'What's a baritone?'
'A sort of a halfway house between tenor and bass,' Arthur Kirkland explained. 'We're always short on male voices, I'm afraid. Have some music.'
Ludwig took the proffered sheets, reflecting how much he had always liked Arthur, a no-nonsense stalwart of the football team.
'Can you read music?' Arthur asked.
'Uh, no,' he answered with a shaky laugh. He could hear whispers coming from the girls' section.
'And I heard he…after the test match…ten stitches…'
He raised his head to glare at the whisperer, and she, to give her credit, glared right back, until Elizabeta poked her sharply in the ribs. Good old Elizabeta.
'Ah yes, jocks are rather the enemy here,' Arthur explained apologetically. 'The other side, you know. Cultural opposites. But Jones and I are both sporting chaps and they accepted us, and Hangari-san over there is a cheerleader and they accepted her, so just sing up, prove your metal and – ah, we're ready to go.'
Standing seemed to be the thing to do, so Ludwig stood, scraping his chair. Romano gave him a baleful look before turning to face the teacher, and Ludwig felt his stomach squelch uncomfortably. Can I really do this when I know nothing about music –
'Will you all find the Russian Ave Maria, please? 'Bogoro Ditsye Dyevo.' A nice gentle piece to get our voices warmed up…'
With a feeling of doom Ludwig shuffled to the correct piece of music in his pile. He glanced without much enthusiasm at the title, the words – in Russian, as if this wasn't already hard enough – and the black blobs which he supposed represented musical notes. Then he realised, with a jolt, that he recognised the composer's name printed beneath the heading.
'Ah,' he said. 'Rachmaninov!'
Every head in the choir swivelled simultaneously towards him.
'Uh…' He resisted the urge to ask 'what?' Had he said the wrong thing?
The music teacher broke the silence.
'You like Rachmaninov, Ludwig?'
'Oh, um…yeah. He nodded. 'Marvellous composer. Er…' He was momentarily distracted by Roderich looking over the music teacher's shoulder. He caught Ludwig's eye, grinned broadly and winked. Ludwig took a deep breath and went for gold.
'Best composer of the Romantic movement. Arguably.'
'Well, I know for a fact that there are those in the choir who would argue against that,' the teacher said. 'But I agree. Absolutely the best. Alright everybody, I'll give you a bar in. One, two, three…'
It could have been his imagination, but he thought he detected a softening in the people around him as they drew breath for the first note. Romano was grinning, shaking his head, but it looked more tired than hostile. Ludwig smiled to himself.
He might be a whiney pain in the neck, but Roderich had come through for him after all.
A/N: I'm afraid that Roderich is coming out too much like Arthur. I know it's difficult to gauge because Arthur only had two lines, but does Roddy sound too British? Also I know this is rushed, but I'm going to Russia at ten to four in the morning tomorrow and it's half ten at night now and I'm STILL TYPING. APPRECIATE what I go through for you, people!
And this fic is OVER. OVER.