Hey everyone! Here's an AusCan! Does this pairing even exist? This is a result of lack of sleep, an abundance of classical music, and a complete obsession with Hetalia.
And hey look! More plot than fluff for once ;)
I don't own Hetalia. Just my headcanons.
Matthew walked into the band room for his third period music class. At Hetalia Academy, there weren't enough students for multiple musical ensembles, so the group was an odd mix of band and orchestral instruments. It worked out for the most part though and they could play full orchestra pieces.
He got his french horn from his locker and took his usual seat on the edge of the ensemble behind the violas by himself. He was the only french horn player at the school, but he made sure not to have any solos. He tended to play very quietly and all of the students who had horn cues were told to play along.
He was about to unpack his instrument when their director walked in. "Don't take out your instruments yet!" she called. Matthew sighed quietly while most of his classmates began talking excitedly. This never boded well for him. He just wanted to come to music class to play, even if no one could hear him, even if he wasn't any good.
Then the director wrote the words he'd been dreading most upon the whiteboard: Small Ensemble Performances.
"Ok, class, get into duets, trios, or quartets and start thinking about what piece you'd like to play. Our next concert will be in two weeks, and I'd like it to just be a series of small performances, no more than four minutes each, to show how much everyone has been learning. Make sure your instrumentation has pieces arranged for it or that can be arranged easily, don't just pair up with your friends." She looked pointedly at the self proclaimed "awesome trio."
Matthew looked at his brother as Alfred's face fell. Alfred played trumpet, and was really good. He could decently play most other brass instruments as well, albeit loudly. Gilbert and Mathias also looked disappointed; it would be nearly impossible to find a piece for trumpet, violin, and percussion.
When Matthew looked around again, it seemed as if everyone had already gotten into groups. His heart sank. Most of the small group pieces he'd heard with french horn required a second or third horn. He couldn't think of any groups to join. He really didn't want a solo either. Maybe the director would let him skip the concert or help backstage or-
"Matthew? Do you not have a group?" she asked as she walked over to his chair.
"Um...No, ma'am." he whispered.
She looked at him for a moment then smiled softly. "Come on." She led Matthew out of the band room and across the hall into the school's auditorium.
Roderich Edelstein was a senior and therefore during music class, he was allowed to spend his time in the auditorium where the piano was, rather than wasting his time in the band room. His hands flew over the keys as he ran through complicated scale progressions and arpeggios before opening his new book of works by Liszt.
"Roderich?" he heard a voice call and his fingers missed the next chord, causing an unpleasant dissonance. He turned around to see the orchestra director with a smaller boy almost hiding behind her. He recognized him as a junior, just a year younger than him, and he couldn't recall him ever speaking. He looked terrified. Maybe there was a chair placement or scale test he'd forgotten about.
"Yes?" he replied.
"This is Matthew Williams, he plays french horn. I don't know if you've met since you spend class in here, but at our next concert we're doing small groups and I'd like the two of you to do a duet." She smiled at them as if it was a brilliant idea. The blonde kid's eyes got impossibly bigger and Roderich stared in disbelief. Really? She was pairing him with someone? He opened his mouth to ask for a different option but she beat him to it, "no solos."
"Fine. What are we playing?"
"That's for you to decide. Try to keep it under four minutes. I need to know by the end of the week. Good luck!" she turned and left the stage, patting Matthew on the shoulder. Roderich got a better look at him. He had messy looking blonde hair, glasses, was wearing a giant red sweatshirt, and was clutching a beat up french horn case. Perfect. Someone who didn't care.
He sighed. "Well, I suppose we could do one of Mozart's horn concertos."
The kid mumbled something. Roderich hated mumbling. "Come closer, I can't hear you all the way over there." he said briskly. Matthew shuffled forward quickly as Roderich stood to pull a stack of sheet music out of the piano bench. "Sit." and Matthew perched himself awkwardly on the edge of the bench next to Roderich. The Austrian rifled through the music before pulling out a few sheets and spreading them across the stand.
"This is the condensed score, but do you think you could follow the melodic line? We could get the duet arrangement for tomorrow."
Matthew stared at it for a moment and nodded hesitantly. "Um...I think so?" he whispered.
Roderich sighed. "Here. I'll play it, you read along. I'll accent your line, so pay attention."
Matthew nodded and he began to play.
When he got to the end, he looked at Matthew expectantly.
"Wow...um..." he began, but the bell rang.
"Meet me here tomorrow instead of the band room and be ready to practice." Roderich demanded before re-stacking the sheet music and heading off to fourth period without a glance back. If he had looked back, he would have seen a pair of violet eyes staring after him.
The next day Roderich got to the auditorium first and was already playing something beautifully complex by the time Matthew ran in. He had math before this and it was all the way across the school. He hastily got out his horn and sat in the chair Roderich had put by the piano with the sheet music already on the stand.
"Sorry," he muttered. "I had math."
Roderich just nodded. Matthew felt intimidated.
"Start at the beginning. I'll cue you in." And the Austrian started at full tempo.
Matthew jumped and tried to follow along. He missed the first note and Roderich stopped.
He started again. Matthew struggled to keep up playing the bouncing melody. The Austrian stopped again. "You're lagging."
"I'm sorry, I'm trying. I...just...I'm not warmed up or anything."
"Fine. Warm up then." he turned back to the piano and started playing some angry sounding nocturne.
Matthew hesitated, then played through some scales quietly.
After the first few measures, Roderich stopped again.
"I'm sorry." Matthew whispered.
"Just start again." Roderich was obviously getting aggravated.
"Maybe if we didn't keep stopping..."
"I wouldn't keep stopping if you didn't keep messing up."
Matthew didn't respond. This time they made it through the first three lines.
"You're still too quiet and you missed six notes. Also the rhythm in your tenth measure was off, your entrance was slightly too late, and pay attention to the key!"
"I-I'm sorry. I'm sight-reading. If you'd just give me a few days to practice, I'm sure I could-"
"We'll just find something else." Roderich snapped, grabbing the music off the stand.
"I promise I can learn it if you just give me some time to-"
"Well, we sign up tomorrow so we need something you're able to play." Roderich stood up to stack his sheet music, taking his time because the bell still hadn't rung.
"I'm sorry you have to work with me and that I'm not good enough, but you don't have to be so rude about it. I'm sorry I'm not as amazing as you!" Matthew retorted in a slightly louder voice than normal, then clapped a hand over his mouth, violet eyes going wide. He hadn't meant to say that out loud.
Roderich just stared at him, looking as if he was about to say something, then went back to straightening the sheet music. His lack of response was what Matthew dreaded the most. He hated, but could deal with people yelling or being upset with him, when it was warranted of course. But the blatant ignoring and disappointment was crushing. He knew he was easily forgettable, but on purpose? It was worse.
Matthew sniffed quietly, holding back tears, and started to pack up his horn, carefully cleaning it and placing it in his worn case. He felt Roderich's gaze watching him.
"I'm sorry, I misjudged you. You obviously care. I should have given you a chance." Roderich shifted his bag onto his shoulder. "You have a nice tone. We should find something better suited for that."
"No, I-I can play this, I promise, I-"
"Yes, but we can find something better. You go ahead and practice and I'll see if I can come up with anything else. It's good to have options. Do you want to meet after school? We can listen to a few other pieces."
"Um. Ok, I guess."
"The cafe around the corner at four then?" Matthew nodded.
"Auf Wiedersehen." Roderich turned to leave.
"Bye..." Matthew trailed off, still a bit confused about the drastic change in conversation.
Roderich spent his next classes thinking of different options for them instead of taking notes. He knew there were a fair amount of horn pieces that he could arrange for them to play by next week.
Roderich scrolled through his giant library of classical pieces and racked his brain for the perfect piece. It needed to be something that showed off tonal quality. It needed to make use of quieter dynamics. The tempo shouldn't be too fast, so that narrowed it down a bit.
Maybe Beethoven? No, too many people would be playing Beethoven arrangements. He didn't want to be repetitive. That ruled out Bach, Mozart, and some modern composers. Probably Tchaikovsky as well. Some of the woodwinds were playing a piece by Grieg and a few brass players took Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man. He sighed. Maybe it could be part of a suite. Bizet had some nice horn melodies in the second movement of L'Arlesienne. But then he remembered hearing Arthur mention something about L'Arlesienne's Farandole. He needed to pick something else.
Though it seemed the Canadian cared about his instrument, Roderich was still wary about their duet. Matthew did have a nice tone, but he seemed too hesitant about most of the notes. Maybe he could think of something that opened with a french horn so Matthew wouldn't miss the first note or be late.
Stravinsky suddenly appeared in his mind. The Firebird Suite had a beautiful horn solo that started off the finale. It wasn't too loud or too fast, and the main crescendos were gradual. The notes and progressions weren't too difficult, it was mostly the same theme interpreted with different dynamics, accents, and emotions. He could give Matthew most of the melody and variations of the different wind instruments while he covered the rest of the parts, the glissandos, and the flourishes.
He hoped Matthew would agree to play it, and that he'd heard of it. And that he could learn it in less than a week. Otherwise they were really running out of options. He packed up his things and left the school right as the bell rang to walk to the coffee shop around the corner.
He ordered his coffee and took a seat at a table by the window in a decently secluded corner. Just as he was pulling out his laptop, Matthew walked in.
"How do you feel about Stravinsky's Firebird Suite?" he asked as soon as Matthew sat down. "There's a nice horn solo in the finale and I could arrange the rest of the finale to be a duet. It's just around three minutes as well."
"Have you heard it?" he held out his headphones.
"Of course I've heard it!" Matthew managed to look nervous and affronted at the same time. "I just don't...I don't play solos. Or really where people can hear me...and did you say you were going to arrange it?"
"Yes I'm going to arrange it, where else would we get the proper music?"
"Wow. Ok." Matthew mumbled, looking a bit impressed.
They spent the rest of the time finishing their coffee talking, Roderich mostly, about the piece and then moving on to other topics. Roderich was surprised at the ease of the conversation and that Matthew seemed to understand what he was talking about, whereas most people didn't really get him.
The next day, Matthew and Roderich patiently stood in line waiting to tell the director their music selection. It was taking all class since she was going over the sheet music with each group. They decided to go last since they didn't have their actual music yet. Finally it was their turn.
"And what are you two playing?" she asked with a smile.
"The finale from Stravinsky's Firebird Suite." Roderich said confidently.
Her smile faltered for a moment as she glanced at Matthew, who stared back with wide eyes. "Do you have your music? I haven't heard it arranged for just horn and piano before."
"No, but I'll have it finished by Monday."
"Well, Roderich, I know you're good at that sort of thing, so I'll leave you to it. The only space left for the concert is last, is that ok with both of you?"
They both agreed.
"Great!" she replied just as the bell sounded and turned to put the copies of music from the other students in her office.
"Do you mind if I do all of the arranging? It's just easier for me to write that way. Unless you have anywhere specific you'd like to solo?"
"Um. Yeah. That's fine. I trust you. I don't really know how to arrange music anyway. I...I just don't really play solos. You can have them all."
"Matthew, it's going to be a duet. We'll both have to solo at some point. And besides, you need the opening notes; they were meant for french horn anyway."
Matthew paled. "O-ok I guess." he practically squeaked.
Roderich regarded him warily. "Ok, well, see you Monday then."
Roderich grabbed his favorite pen and a large stack of blank sheet music and sat in front of his piano. He put on his headphones and set the Firebird's finale on repeat. Time to start writing.
Hours later, he had managed to compile a condensed score of the piece. He played through it a few times, experimenting with the tempos and dynamics a bit, trying to decide which parts would be best suited for Matthew.
All of Saturday he spent picking out parts for Matthew so he could finish the writing on Sunday. The piles of rejected music were growing around him. It wasn't perfect yet. He had to change things. Every time he would fix one thing, he'd find something else that wasn't quite right.
Roderich sighed as he scratched through another line on a large stack of sheet music in front of him. That wasn't quite good enough. He played through the line he had just rearranged and transposed, stopping suddenly and scribbling furiously over a measure. It had to be perfect. Finally he had a decent enough arrangement, in his own opinion. Any other instructions for the piece could be implied. Deciding to sleep on it and begin copying the final compositions the next day, he looked up from his music and saw that it was approaching three in the morning.
It was getting somewhat late on Sunday evening when he realized he was copying Matthew's part in concert pitch. He put his face in his hand. French horns weren't in concert pitch. They were usually in F, sometimes in Bb. Which one did Matthew have? He thought back to their few short rehearsals. It was probably in F. Hopefully.
On Monday they only managed to get fifteen minutes in the auditorium to practice because they had to meet as a class to go over the concert logistics. Matthew looked at the pages of neatly handwritten music in awe.
"I won't make you sightread this time since you don't really have enough time to warm up, but I'll play what I have for you, so follow along with your part." Matthew nodded, standing awkwardly by the piano. "Sit." Roderich said, scooting over slightly on the bench. Matthew hesitated, he didn't want to be in the way. "Matthew, sit so you can follow along properly, you won't be in the way." Roderich said, sensing his nervousness.
Once Matthew was settled on the edge of the bench, slightly pink and nose buried in the sheet music, Roderich began to play. Matthew let his gaze fall on Roderich's fingers, entranced.
When Roderich reached the powerful chords, one of his fingers slipped and landed a half step flat.
"Verdammt." he cursed softly and stopped playing.
"I missed a note."
"You could have kept going."
"It wasn't good enough!" Roderich sighed. "Of course it's still not good enough." he said almost inaudibly.
"I...I'm sure it's fine, you can just start over, eh?" Matthew said, unsure.
"But it was obviously wrong. I don't miss notes like that."
"Well, maybe it just needs a little practice?"
"Practice? What do you think I was doing while writing this?" he snapped back. He raised a hand up to rub one eye. Now that he was looking, Matthew noticed how tired the Austrian looked.
"Roderich? Were you writing all weekend?" he asked quietly.
"Is it that obvious?" he replied after a moment.
"Did you sleep?"
"Not much...it wasn't good enough."
"It looks perfect."
"Well, it's not. And I had to re-do yours because somehow I managed to forget you aren't in concert pitch."
"I'm sorry." Matthew knew it wasn't his fault, but he still felt guilty about it. "We have enough time to try it again."
Roderich nodded and started the piece again. This time he made it through the whole thing.
"That was amazing." Matthew said honestly.
Roderich shook his head. "It could still use some work. But at least we have until Friday."
Matthew just smiled sadly at him. Could the Austrian not see how perfect it was? He was about to say something when Roderich spoke again, standing up.
"Just try to practice it as much as you can before Wednesday, remember we have an assembly tomorrow so we can't play." Matthew nodded as Roderich briskly walked out of the auditorium.
On Wednesday, Roderich got there first as usual.
"Have you been practicing?" he asked as the Canadian walked in.
"Yes." Matthew whispered, looking nervous.
"Let me hear it, just you. I want to make sure I transposed everything right and see what sections we need to work on. Is the key alright?"
"Um. Yeah, it's fine...you want me to play...by myself?" Matthew looked incredibly nervous. Roderich didn't know what the big deal was, he seemed able to play decently enough when they played together.
Matthew hesitated, then nodded once and took a deep breath to begin to play.
Roderich took in a hesitant breath at the same time, desperately hoping Matthew wouldn't mess this up. It wasn't that hard of a piece, note-wise, but it had some difficult technicalities, especially dynamics. Matthew could get the pianissimos fine, but could he get the crescendos and accents that made the piece what it is? Could he appreciate the emotions behind it?
The first note pierced his racing thoughts, high and clear, the perfect tone for the opening note, and Roderich let out the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. He was afraid Matthew was going miss it, after all, a lot of the french horn players he'd had concerts with took weeks to master always hitting the right note, ending up fifths above or below the right pitch.
Matthew played the first line exactly as written, staring at the sheets of music intently and avoiding eye contact, then seemed to gain a bit of confidence when he looked up for a second and he realized he wasn't getting stopped. He continued, adding his emotions and playing just slightly with the tempo, holding a few notes a bit longer and grouping some together skillfully through a crescendo.
The piece was a bit odd without the rest of the parts being covered by the piano, but it didn't seem to throw Matthew off. He played through the tenuto section, accenting the notes just the right amount, and the subito piano was perfect.
He soared through the accelerando, each note becoming more powerful than the one before and reaching the proper dynamics.
The rallentando was perfect and his forte-piano crescendo was executed masterfully. He held out the last note for longer than Roderich had expected, and the Austrian felt better knowing he could play with the tempo a bit at the end when he was playing the flourishes under Matthew's solid note. He didn't want to have to rush through them.
When he took in a breath when he finished the piece, Matthew looked up hesitantly at Roderich, his violet eyes showing his rapidly draining confidence as Roderich just stood there for a moment.
"Matthew, that was...incredible. Beautiful." He was finally able to say and the Canadian turned pink.
"R-really? I'm sure there's something I need to fix, eh?"
"It was perfect. You portrayed all of the emotions exactly right. You really seem to understand Stravinsky."
Matthew's blush deepened.
"Of course, it'll be different when you aren't just playing by yourself. We have to match and be able to play off each other without one of us dominating the music."
"Right." he looked nervous.
"Something wrong? You got nervous all of a sudden."
"I just...I don't like being on stage. Having attention put on me. Any of that."
"Well, it certainly takes some getting used to. I've been doing this pretty much my whole life. You wouldn't be able to tell, but I get nervous about performing too."
"Yes. I'm good at blocking it out though."
"Can you teach me?"
"I can try. Do you want to meet for coffee again? We could talk about it some..."
"Sure. After school?"
As their conversation progressed, Roderich realized they had begun moving closer together. He now found himself staring into Matthew's eyes that were a unique shade of violet. The bell rang and the Canadian blinked, taking a step back.
"S-see you after school!" he called quietly and left the stage quickly, leaving Roderich staring after him.
"The best advice I can give you about stage-fright is to try to block out the audience. Focus solely on the music. Pretend no one else is there, like you're practicing, but don't stop playing. Don't look at the audience, don't make eye contact with anyone, until it's over." Roderich explained as they got their coffee.
Matthew nodded. It would be harder than it sounded.
"So why are you so afraid to play in front of people? You're good."
"I...I don't like attention I guess. What about you? Why do you still get nervous? You're perfect."
The Austrian flushed slightly. "Well, thank you Matthew, but I'm not. There are a lot of things I could work on in each piece I play."
"Do you not hear yourself? You're amazing, Roderich. I've never heard anyone play as well as you."
"I...I just can't see it. I know I get most of the technicalities, and I can understand the emotions, but they're not quite perfect. Not yet. Maybe if I worked on them longer. But I keep finding more and more I want to play. And there's always room for improvement.
Matthew shook his head. "Really, Roderich. You've reached it. The only way you could get better would be if you were the composer yourself. Maybe you should try writing."
"I have, I..." he thought of the shelves of sheet music in his room. "They need work."
"I'd love to hear them sometime."
"They aren't finished."
"Will you ever think they are though? You barely slept this weekend just rearranging a piece, I can only imagine how much time you'd spend on your own music."
Roderich looked down at the cup in his hands. Matthew was right, of course. He hadn't had a piece he considered finished in years.
"Well, if you finish one, will you let me hear it?"
Roderich paused, considering. "Maybe if it's good enough."
Matthew sighed and gave him a small smile. "I have to go. See you in class tomorrow."
Roderich nodded his response, deep in thought.
The pair sat together on Friday in the audience for the first few pieces of their classmates, then moved to take their place backstage.
"Are you nervous?" Roderich asked.
"Yes." Matthew said. Nervous was an understatement.
"Don't be. You're great. Just remember to play where people can hear you."
He gave a little nervous laugh in response as their director walked on stage again between pieces to introduce the next group.
"Lastly we have a french horn and piano duet of Igor Stravinsky's Firebird Suite's Finale. Please welcome Matthew Williams and Roderich Edelstein!" their director called.
Matthew took a shaky breath and stepped out onto the brightly lit stage with Roderich, trying to remember everything the Austrian told him and tuning out the polite applause of the audience that was making his heart rate erratic.
He took his seat next to Roderich's piano and looked back at him. The Austrian poised his hands over the keys and gave him a small encouraging smile.
Matthew returned it and turned back around towards his music stand. He raised his horn to his lips, took a deep breath, and began to play.
When he hit the first note, somehow, miraculously, everything vanished from his mind except the music. He could only hear himself and Roderich. He listened carefully for the right dynamics and played how he felt, Roderich's complicated flourishes matching perfectly.
They ended and the auditorium was instantly filled with thunderous applause. Matthew looked up in shock, he had almost forgotten where they were. When he was playing, it was just him and Roderich. The audience was standing, his classmates were staring in awe. He looked to the right and saw their director between the curtains, frantically clapping with tears in her eyes.
Roderich stood up and held a hand out to Matthew to help him up. They bowed together, then Roderich dropped his hand, taking a step back and sweeping an elegant hand towards Matthew.
The loudness of the applause was renewed and Matthew heard Alfred yelling excitedly over the crowd. He gave a hesitant smile and looked over to see Roderich clapping as well. He raised a shaking hand to gesture towards Roderich and the Austrian gave a small smile and bow, still clapping for Matthew.
The pair picked up their music and left the stage as their director went out to give final announcements.
"That was amazing!" Matthew said excitedly. "Was I loud enough?"
Roderich let out a small laugh. "Perfect."
"Well, you were brilliant."
"I could have fixed a few things. Maybe a crescendo or two."
"No, you were...perfect."
He smiled softly. "Thank you."
Matthew stared into Roderich's eyes. They had somehow gotten so close again. He bit his lip nervously as the Austrian stared back.
"Mattie!" Matthew jumped back hastily at the sound of his brother's loud voice. "Dude! That was awesome. I could totally hear you and everything!"
"Thanks, Al." he muttered back. "Um, Roderich, this is Alfred, my brother. Al, this is Roderich." Matthew introduced them quietly.
"Nice to meet you." Roderich held out his hand politely.
"Nice to meet you, Austrian dude! I'd say Mattie's told me so much about you, but he doesn't really talk much. Especially since he's been locking himself up in his room to practice." Roderich looked sideways at Matthew, expression unreadable.
"It was pretty cool that you two picked that song from that movie!"
"It...It's not just from the movie, Al, the piece is more than that." Matthew mumbled.
"Whatever, bro, it was still awesome! And everything is better as a movie!"
Matthew didn't reply.
"But anyway, bro," Alfred began again, "we gotta go!"
"Oh. Um." Matthew looked at Roderich almost regretfully.
"Auf Wiedersehen." He looked disappointed.
"See ya, Austrian dude!" Alfred said loudly, clapping a large hand on Matthew's back as they turned to leave, the Canadian wincing slightly.
Matthew was upset he had to leave like he had after the concert. Roderich had looked so sad, especially because most of the time you couldn't tell the Austrian's emotions from his face at all.
When it was third period, the class was going to meet as a whole and go over the concert. Everyone was sitting in their small groups, so Matthew dragged a second chair over to where he usually sat. But Roderich didn't show up. Right when the bell rang, he hurried to the auditorium but it was deserted.
By the end of the day, Matthew was disappointed he hadn't been able to find Roderich at all. He decided to walk to the coffee shop just in case. He opened the door just as the barista handed Roderich his cup and the Austrian dropped the giant stack of papers in his other hand as he tried to shift them to take the cup.
Matthew rushed forward to help re-stack them.
"Oh! Matthew! Hi. Thank you."
"No problem. Um...you...you weren't in class today."
"Sorry, I was composing. An idea hit me and I just had to write it."
Matthew nodded. He looked down at the steadily growing stack of papers. They were all original hand written pieces by Roderich. He froze when he saw the one his left hand brushed. Variations on a Firebird. Underneath in small script, it read for M.
Roderich hastily scooped up the piece, causing their hands to graze each other. Matthew jumped slightly. "Do you need help carrying these?" Both of them had a decently sized stack cradled in an arm.
"If you don't mind, that would be great. Thank you, Matthew."
Matthew got his coffee and the pair left the cafe to walk to Roderich's house. After sipping in silence for a moment, the Austrian said "I...I would be honored to play with you again sometime."
"Really? You'd want to play together again? But you're so good! And a lot of pieces don't really need french horns..."
"You understand the music, Matthew, you don't just play it. I can adapt pieces for us. There's a solo and ensemble competition in a few weeks. Do you want to go?"
"I...I'd like that."
Roderich smiled. "You know, the music you saw. The Variations...I actually wrote it because of you. Well, for you, really."
"Yes. It's not completely original, I was playing with some themes, and, well, it sounds like you."
"How does it sound like me?" Matthew said after a moment.
"You're like a firebird, Matthew."
"What?" That hadn't answered his question, and it caught him off guard.
"When you play, when you show yourself through your horn, it's like you're reborn. You rise up and really shine. It's beautiful." Matthew blushed and couldn't think of anything to say. "I wanted to show that more. It's a bit softer and quieter than Stravinsky's, and I...I wrote it just for horn and piano."
"Do you want to hear it? I...I think I've finished it."
He was going to let Matthew listen? And he had finished a piece?
"I'd love to." Matthew admitted as he tossed his empty coffee cup into a nearby trash can and Roderich followed suit. Walking a bit closer, their empty hands brushed against each other a few times before Roderich hesitantly slid his fingers across Matthew's palm, gently interlocking their hands. Matthew's blush increased as he saw Roderich look sideways at him as if to gauge his reaction.
They got to Roderich's house and the Austrian led him upstairs to his room. The room could have been big, but a baby grand piano took up a large portion of the room. Everything else seemed to take second place, though the room was mostly neat.
A bed and desk were pushed up against one wall while another wall was entirely shelves. Upon closer inspection, Matthew noticed that the shelves were filled with music. Books, folders, scroll, and loose pages all stacked. A third of them looked to be Roderich's own compositions. There were pages of music on his desk and a book of Chopin's nocturnes on his bed. The only chair in the room was piled high with blank staffed pages.
"Um...sorry about the mess." Roderich said, setting his stack down on his bed and looking as if he was contemplating moving the giant stack on his desk chair.
Matthew followed his lead and set his stack next to Roderich's. The Austrian picked up the top few pages of his stack and moved to the piano. Matthew sat next to him and earned a small grateful smile. He spread the sheets across the stand and hesitated for a moment, then began to play. It took Matthew's breath away.
Roderich played through the piece, the different parts of the Firebird Suite flowing together and weaving in ways Matthew hadn't heard before. It wasn't as loud and didn't have as many different sections as the original, but everything was overlapping perfectly. He heard Roderich in the gentle flourishes under the melody.
Matthew couldn't help but watch Roderich play. His eyes were shut as his fingers flowed expertly over the keys. His face showed slight emotions as he played through the different parts from his mind, not using the sheet music he had written. Matthew realized you could really see Roderich when he was playing.
The accents were all much softer, but the piece still held a power that progressed through it. He ended with a clear chord that faded out. Matthew noticed his eyes had filled with tears at some point during the piece.
After not moving for a moment, the Austrian lowered his hands and opened his eyes to look at Matthew, who stared back. At Matthew's silence, he began to look a bit nervous, then opened his mouth to say something, but hesitated.
"Roderich, that was..." Matthew whispered, unable to form words. "I love it." He felt speech didn't do it justice.
Roderich smiled and reached up with one hand to gently cup Matthew's cheek and wipe away an escaped tear with his thumb as Matthew's eyes fluttered shut from the tenderness of the gesture. He felt Roderich's lips brush lightly against his own.
"Thank you...for understanding me." Roderich said quietly.
Matthew smiled softly. "I could say the same." he whispered and leaned forward for their lips to meet again.
Thanks for reading everyone! This is the longest one-shot I've ever written.
Fun fact: I cry every time I hear the Firebird Suite. Not gonna lie.
Reviews make me happy! I always reply :)