Disclaimer: I do not own Beyblade, nor do I own Bartok's unfinished viola concerto.
A/N: Request from Panda Pjays. Have a request? Challenge? Review or PM me!
Sorry that it's kinda disconnected...ReiBalkov is such a weird pairing. And anything pertaining to Juilliard and its auditioning schedule is completely made up. I do NOT know how they do things - I'm just making it up, so if there's anything wrong, tell me and I'll go fix it!
To Panda: enjoy!
To others: cheers, and remember to leave a review on your way out!
So baby I will wait for you
'Cause I don't know what else I can do
Don't tell me I ran out of time
If it takes the rest of my life
Baby I will wait for you
If you think I'm fine it just ain't true
I really need you in my life
No matter what I have to do
I'll wait for you
- Wait For You, by Elliott Yamin
It started with Mariah.
Or maybe, not really. It also kinda started when senior year started, and Rei discovered that their music teacher, a Mrs. Gereth (a really nice old lady, always had a smile) retired and was replaced by this other guy, who was somewhere around his thirties, with dark green eyes and no smile whatsoever.
'My name is Boris Balkov, and before anyone asks, yes, I am from Russia and no, I will not speak any Russian while teaching here. This is Orchestra, yes?' was the first thing that came out of his mouth that first day.
Some nodded mutely, the others still getting over their shock of such a...cold, for lack of a better word, teacher.
'All right. String players, to the front of the stage, woodwinds and brass to the back where the risers are - and mind you don't disturb the shells, and percussion to the side. We will figure out the balance of this group the first week. Next week, I expect all of you to bring your instruments. If need be, there are ones that you can borrow from this school, but they are not in the best of qualities.'
The room was quiet, and Rei silently wondered how exactly this class was going to go down.
He sighed just as the bell rang. This was going to be a long and tiring year.
'He's so freaking cold!' Mariah exclaimed once the last bell had rang and they were at Lee's locker.
Her brother stuffed all his textbooks into the locker and raised an eyebrow, slamming it shut and shoving the lock closed. 'How so? I thought you got along with all your teachers.'
She huffed and crossed her arms. 'Not this one!' - here she deepened her voice - ' "My name is Boris Balkov, blah blah blah, there will be no excessively playing while I am talking, blah blah blah." No personality whatsoever!'
Lee gave a sympathetic look. 'I'm sure he gets better as the year progresses.'
'And I'm sure he doesn't! Just look at him! He's not even stopping to say hi to the other teaches.' A arm extended towards their teacher, who, as she said, didn't stop. ' 'Sides, Rei can be my backup. You had Orchestra with him, yeah?'
His eyes blinked open, and he removed one earbud. 'What?'
'What do you think of the new music teach?'
'Freezing. And a bit sadistic.'
Lee only shook his head at his sister, heaving a sigh and walking down the stairs. 'Wait and see, Mariah. Not everyone is as stationary as you think they are.'
Mariah had a plan.
To prove Lee wrong, that is.
See, she was in Leadership. And being in Leadership meant that they had control of almost all school activities, including dances, fundraisers, and whatnot.
And since Halloween was coming up...
She gave a tiny grin and raised her hand. 'I think we should have a ball for Halloween,' she said confidently. 'A masquerade ball.'
The teacher gave a start, nodding a tiny bit while musing over what she said. 'That's actually a pretty good idea...it can replace the Winter Ball, which no one seems to go to, anyways.'
'So it's a go-for?'
'I'll have to ask the principal, but otherwise, it should work. And you'll have to do some major fundraising.'
Plan Prove-Balkov-Is-An-Ice-Cold-Bitch is underway!
'Please?' she asked, turning on her puppy eyes to the max. 'For me?'
Her mood took a 180-turn, and she frowned. 'If you don't come, I will tell Lee about that really embarrassing story concerning you and that redhead at mid - '
'Okay, I'll go to the damned ball!' he yelped. 'Just don't tell Lee about that!'
Her lips twisted into a smirk and she said, 'Knew you would see it my way. Now, you'll need a costume and a mask that covers your eyes - it is a masquerade, after all...'
'A dance?' said a voice, and he looked up. Someone taller than him and dressed up as a vampire (really, how typical) was bent into a bow, a gloved hand in front of him. The other's face was covered with a black mask, one that curled down to frame his face and plain.
'Eh, why not,' he accepted, and took the hand, not really caring that he was the girl in this waltz. He had more important things to worry about - mainly, how to get back at Mariah. Maybe posting her diary entries all over the school...nah, too mean, even for Rei. Maybe Tala would have done it, but Rei, he wouldn't put his somewhat-sister up for that kind of humiliation.
'You're going to bump into the pillar,' the voice said, and he looked up - and wouldn't he know it, the other was right.
Moving a bit closer to his dance partner to dodge it, he caught sight of Mariah (despite it being a masked ball, that vivid dyed-pink hair was pretty...hard to miss, let's say) twirling with another guy, angelic smile apparent. At least someone was enjoying herself.
One dip later, the song was over and applause for the quartet was ringing through the hall Mariah had convinced the school to rent for the night. Rei retreated back to his corner, fingers twitching for his MP3 and his earbuds safely nestled in the back pocket of his jeans.
Or...he could just go outside the stuffy old room and listen to his music there. Genius, Rei!
'Do you mind if I join you?' came that same voice, and Rei shrugged, his head bobbing to the beat.
'Doesn't matter, it's public property.'
'It's good manners to ask.'
He was listening to the soft intro of 'Broken' when he feels an almost nonexistent pressure on his lips and then it's gone, poof.
His eyes flew open, but no one else was in the foyer with him.
'For the seniors in this class, auditions for Juilliard and other universities for the arts are coming up. Anyone looking to audition can come by after school if they require extra help or...yes, Michelle, question?'
'Do you, like, know anyone that went to Juilliard and stuff, or know something that can help us with the auditions?'
A corner of Balkov's mouth twitched, probably the closest he was ever going to get to an actual smile in that class. 'I went to Juilliard myself, as a matter of fact. Any other questions, or can I continue on with the class?'
As expected, there were no questions, but Rei didn't really care. He was captivated by that almost-smile, and he knew that one of his goals that year was to see to it that Balkov did smile, no matter how small. Just that it be a complete smile.
And, it didn't hurt that one of his dream schools was Juilliard. So, two birds with one stone and all that.
'What piece are you going to be playing?'
'Bartok's viola concerto.'
'The version completed by Tibor Serly.'
And that was how these weekly...lessons, let's call them, began. In addition with lessons with his private teacher, one can imagine it's awfully taxing on a senior...
Rei sighed a tiny bit as he pulled himself up the stairs, science and math textbooks in hand, and a whole stack of homework due within half a week. God, he so was not looking forward to this...especially since he had skipped practicing to finish the more pressing homework assignments.
'Kon, there is no need to look like the Arctic just warmed over and all of those lovable bears have died of heat stroke,' a sarcastic voice bit into his thoughts. Unable to help it, he snorted with laughter.
'I didn't think you knew how to joke, Mr. Balkov.'
'Yes, well, just because I don't do it, doesn't mean I can't.' He sensed dark green eyes raking over his form, lingering over his disheveled hair. 'Perhaps today, you can stay here and finish whatever homework you have left from other classes... I can imagine that the orphanage isn't the best place to study. You have made considerable progress over the last month, I'm sure one missed day won't harm any.'
The violist almost fainted from shock.
'Rei, you look loads better now than two weeks ago. What's new?'
He gave a smile and capped his pen. 'Balkov let me use one of the lessons for homework - the practice room is so much better than the orphanage to study and to do work in, much more quiet. I finished everything in a tiny bit over two hours, even managed to get in extra credit to make up for turning in some stuff late.'
'What's so funny?'
'This is going to prove Mariah so wrong! Rei, you're the best. Remind me to get you some of those truffles you like so much.'
'Why don't you just get them now while you still remember?'
'Empty wallet!' his friend called as he speed-walked his way out of the library. (No running allowed in there...he swore, the librarians were hawks when it came to these things.)
Auditions were over, and all that was left for the seniors was waiting for the eventual acceptance/denial letters.
Rei found that that was the hardest part of the whole thing, one day in Orchestra. Balkov was absent, the substitute didn't really know how to teach a music class, and so, they were all sitting in the cushioned seats, chatting and music blaring from iPods and MP3s.
'How'd you think you did, Mich?'
The blond cellist gave a wide grin and said, 'Pretty good, actually, considering how nervous I was before I got called in. Though I did screw up the long notes...I think I flew by it too fast. I was always better at runs. You?'
'I'm not sure. I mean, I think I did good, but it all depends on what those other guys think, no?'
She laughed just as two guys got into a mock-fight near the back of the theater. 'Always the smart one, Rei. I guess that's why they let you skip a grade?'
He shruged. 'Just common sense. I'm pretty sure they're selling it over at the cafeteria.'
Michelle laughed harder. 'Rei, if I didn't know you, I would've been insulted.'
'No offense meant, of course.'
'See, that's what I'm talking about.'
'Ah, just forget it...it's nothing that important. Oh, by the way, d'ya know why Balkov's absent today? He's usually the most...what's that word...eh, whatever. You know?'
'Not really...maybe he just got sick? That bug is going around, maybe he caught it.'
'Yeah, that might be it. Well, seeya tomorrow, Rei!' she added brightly when the bell rang, a nasal sound that grated on his eardrums.
The Russian looked up from a score of Bach's 'Little Fugue' to see a mass of tanned skin and white teeth meet him, as his student planted a huge, somewhat sloppy kiss on him.
He only raised an eyebrow and waited for an explanation from a sheepish Rei. 'Sorry 'bout that, Mr. Balkov, I'm just really happy and - '
'You are aware that being in jail is not an exhilarating experience?'
Rei stared at him with confused eyes. 'What?'
'You were kissing me.'
He flushed a deep red. 'Ohmigod, I'm sorry about that.'
'Not to mention, it can lead to me, being an adult, arrested for statutory rape, and let me tell you right now, jail is not fun.'
'...You were in jail?'
'I wasn't thinking clearly at the time, but yes.'
'...Are you still sick? 'Cuz, no offense, but this is really out of your personality.'
Dark green eyes just stared at him, and he very pointedly coughed.
'Okay, I get it, I should leave, I'm going - but, before I go - ' Rei leaned up and pecked his cheek, grinning mischievously. 'I won't tell if you won't.'
'There's also the matter of you being a student of this school, and my being a teacher.'
'But, if this were entirely different circumstances, you would want to give it a go?'
'...' Balkov paused in thought, looking into Rei's earnest eyes and somewhat naive mind and just thinking harder on this than anything else he'd ever spend the mental energy on. 'I might,' he said, breath flying out of him in a whoosh.
'All I needed to hear. Seeya in class, teach.'
(Five years later, hotel in Russia)
'I would like a room with a view - '
The receptionist began to babble away in Russian, and he groaned. 'Why oh why didn't I pick Russian as my foreign language in school,' he mumbled to himself, and ran a hand through his bangs, trying to calm himself down. It would not do for him to blow up in a country where he couldn't even speak the damned language.
'How about you give him a few moments - he's a bit frazzled from the trip here, you know how tourists are,' said a cool, flowing voice in Russian, barely stumbling over the words. A hand on Rei's shoulder led him away from the desk and to the rest of the lobby. 'Rei, I didn't expect you here so early.'
He smiled at the elder. 'Hey, teach. You one of the judges?'
'You wish. I'm just here because my friend is here - he's the judge.'
'And you just had to be with him, right.'
'Actually, no. I just wanted to see if you would have made it this far.'
Rei's smile grew, if at all possible. 'You still remembered me?'
'It's not often an underage senior kisses you out of the blue and offers to continue it, despite it being against the law.'
'So, the offer still stands.'
'How you feel. I mean, really, I'm almost forty, and you're still in your prime.'
The violist sighed and stepped closer to his ex-teacher. He leaned up and pecked the elder's cheek, grinning. 'As I said before, I won't tell if you won't.'