Roderich was in his happy place.

For him, there was truly no better place than standing on the podium and guiding that little baton with his fingertips. There was no better feeling than knowing that some fifty people were before him, adhering to his every command and executing them with perfection. Nothing made him feel more magical than the sound of an entire orchestra, perfectly together, perfectly in tune, perfectly following his rhythm. It made him absolutely euphoric.

The only thing that would make it better would be to have an audience. But in a week he'd have one; for now he settled for rehearsal.

His orchestra was just reaching the climax of their piece. So far it'd gone flawlessly; the part that the celli normally played out of tune had actually flowed perfectly, and the brass section was at just the right volume. It was a hard song that he'd been working with them on for weeks. Roderich was very pleased.

They'd reached the most exciting point, where the instruments got louder and louder, and then there would be three measures dedicated to a long timpani roll, after which the orchestra would play one final note together.

They were nearing the end of the phrase. Roderich took a deep breath, feeling the crescendo deep in his person. The orchestra played the final chord. Then -


Absolute silence.

Three whole measures of silence so harsh, you could've heard a bow hair snap.

Roderich, confused, continued conducting through the measures, and the orchestra played their one last bewildered note. Then he threw his baton down at his stand furiously.

"GILBERT BEILSCHMIDT!" Roderich shouted so loudly the orchestra flinched. They looked around at each other, but he wasn't among them.

"Where is he?" Roderich couldn't believe it. He couldn't believe it. That ridiculous albino was ditching rehearsal again? But there were the timpani with no one behind them. The mallets were still sitting atop them neatly.

He would have Gilbert's head mounted on a bassoon.


The first chair baritone lowered his instrument, and Roderich recognized him as Ludwig, the offending percussionist's brother. "He said something about getting a burrito…"

"A burrito?" Roderich's face was beginning to turn red. Everybody in the usually outspoken ensemble knew it was wise to remain silent as their conductor began to fume about his least favorite student. "Where is he?"

Ludwig, who was beginning to wish he hadn't spoken, gestured towards the back practice rooms.

Roderich looked out at them for a moment, spluttering. Then he stomped off the podium, shouting over his shoulder "I'll be back!"

He stormed back into the practice rooms, slamming open and closed the doors to each empty room before coming upon the largest one. From within he could hear Gilbert's laughter mingling with two other voices…Roderich detected a French accent, and perhaps a Mexican one?

He threw open the door. There, just as Ludwig said, was Gilbert, sitting perched on an amp and devouring an overflowing burrito. Two other men (who Roderich knew were certainly not members of his orchestra) were inside the practice room with him, eating various combinations of meat and tortilla out of Taco Bell bags.

"Get out!" Roderich screeched at them. "These practice rooms are for employees only!"

The three men looked at him reproachfully. When they realized he wasn't going to budge, they began to gather up their things. "See ya, Gil," the blonde one said, waving a goodbye. Gilbert jerked his chin at them in reply; his mouth was full of burrito. On their way out, Roderich heard the tanner man saying "What a puta…"

Roderich turned to Gilbert.

"What are you doing back here?" he shouted at the albino. "We're having rehearsal! You're required to be on call the entire time! You are not allowed to leave the stage unless I tell you to! We played that entire piece perfectly for the first time in weeks! Heavens, Gilbert, for a burrito?"

The Prussian set down his burrito on a napkin and stood, raising his hands in surrender. "Chill, Roddy, it's not that big of a deal -"

"GILBERT!" Roderich shouted. "IT IS A BIG DEAL! What if that had been a real concert? What would the audience have thought about three measures of silence? That roll makes the entire song! I always tell you, play every -"

" - every rehearsal as if it was a performance. Yeah, you've drilled that into my head a couple thousand times. But like you said Roddy, they played it perfectly. Maybe they're better without me." He grinned teasingly at Roderich.

"We are not! Dammit Gilbert, if you weren't the best percussionist in the county I'd have fired you long ago." Roderich huffed, face still scarlet with rage. "And that's Mr. Edelstein to you during rehearsal," he said as an afterthought.

"But I am," Gilbert said smugly. "I'm the most awesome percussionist that ever lived!" He reached forward to wrap his arms around Roderich's waist. "And you love me!"

But Roderich shoved him away. "I won't if you keep pulling stunts like that! I'll be forced to give your position to someone else," he threatened. "There are much more compliant percussionists out there. I don't want to, but you leave me with no choice."

Gilbert pretended to pout slightly. "God, Roddy, you can't do that to the Awesome Me," he said. "I won't do it again."

Roderich glowered up at him. "Promise?"

Gilbert grinned again. "I promise," he said, then leaned in to kiss Roderich's forehead lightly.

Roderich sighed. "I'm still going to have to give you an hour extra of private rehearsal time as a punishment."

"An extra hour of time alone with you?" Gilbert chuckled. "I can live with that." He pulled Roderich into his chest again, and this time the Austrian didn't object. Gilbert's hand running up and down his back put him in a slightly comatose state, and Roderich found himself leaning in further. Gilbert placed gentle little kisses down his jaw before tilting his chin up slightly and bringing their lips together.

"Ungh…" Roderich had been wrong. Heaven wasn't conducting. Heaven was Gilbert's tongue making it's way slowly along his bottom lip…

"Okay, okay," he said, flustered. He pushed Gilbert away again. "Get out there. We need to rehearse."

Gilbert's momentarily passionate face broke back into a smile. "I'll make it awesome, I swear," he promised, pecking Roderich's cheek one last time and starting to leave.

"And…that'll be two hours of extra rehearsal."

Gilbert turned around, smirking. "Don't worry, I'll be there," he said before leaving the practice room, leaving a rumpled Roderich standing alone.

"AND THE ONLY THING YOU'LL BE BANGING IS THE TIMPANI!" the Austrian called into the hallway.

Gilbert's "kesesesese" echoed off the walls of the hallway.

By the time Roderich decided himself presentable enough to drag himself up onto the conducting podium once more, Gilbert had already made himself comfortable behind the timpani. When he saw Roderich, he grinned and saluted the Austrian with a mallet, winking.

Roderich rolled his eyes.

"Okay, everybody, from the top…"