Disclaimer: Glee is owned by Ryan Murphy, FOX, and all the grand high mucky mucks. No copyright infringement is intended and no money was made from this little ficlit. Any similarity to any other story not my own is a coincidence.
Title: Pas de Duex
Rating: PG; rated for mild swearing and some general content.
Genre: Glee, angst, Emma/Will; Will POV
Timeline/Spoilers: Beginning of first season
Author's Notes:I literally wrote this years ago when the beginning of the first season was the only season there was. *wry grin* It's been hiding on my hard drive I discovered, so I thought that I would dust it off and send it out in the universe. Oh, and no matter what happens, in my personal canon, Emma & Will are forever and ever. Fiat. *grin*
Oh and this is the piece that Emma and Will are playing: .com/watch?v=M9OaTiuqjRk
And on a totally random note, I can't seem to stop playing "Christmas Eve with You" completely out of season... *wry grin*
I shifted my shoulder against the door frame and smiled a little as I watched the school guidance counselor. Seated at the choir room piano, she was cleaning the keyboard with a thoroughness that would have impressed any member of the CDC. With delicately measured attention, and the light of a single music stand, Emma polished each black and white key clean with a small packet of sanitizing wipes. I could smell their pervasive fragrance drifting toward me where I stood, a not unpleasant floral scent with the sharp bite of disinfectant underneath, and I smiled a bit more, realizing that the clean odor would linger for a few days. So much so, that Ellis would no doubt comment on it tomorrow when he played for the kids' rehearsal.
The thought turned my smile into a grin for just a moment. I didn't fade until it suddenly occurred to me that leaning in a doorway, watching Emma for no real reason other than wanting to do so, might have been considered a touch strange. I stood up out of my lean and took a moment to glance reflexively down the empty hallway outside the choir room. It wasn't until I heard soft music that I turned my attention back to the sight that had originally stopped me in my tracks and diverted me from my original purpose of simply grabbing New Directions' sheet music and heading home to Terri.
Emma sat very properly on the piano bench, her posture perfect and elegant. The dim music stand light was almost like moonlight touching her hair and bringing out soft highlights that I hadn't realized before were there. And even though it was a light meant for function and not beauty, it certainly seemed to grant Emma almost an ethereal glow in the six o'clock, Ohio winter darkness.
Almost against my will, I took a step forward out of the shadows of the doorway and into the intimately lit choir room. I meant to make some sort of sound then, or perhaps say her name, something to alert her to my presence, but the sight of her hands stopped me for some reason.
They were deft and graceful as they played over the keys. I had seen glimpses of it in her everyday movements of course, but somehow seeing them so in this context was moving in a way that I hadn't anticipated or could ever have expected.
I took another almost involuntary step towards her.
It was more than the fact that Emma was surprisingly adept at playing the complex Barber piece or even that she played it beautifully. It was... it was something indefinable, or more precisely, something that I was hesitant to define.
Another step and I was close enough to see the way that her hands lingered softly on some of the keys before dancing away in a bright run of notes. Still another, and I was near enough to notice that her eyes were closed so that her lashes fell lightly against her cheeks, brushing them with warm color. A final step, and I was standing next her, breathing in the surprisingly pleasant fragrance of floral disinfectant and the sweet scent of Emma herself.
Her eyes flew open and her hands stopped jarringly on the keys, making us both wince a little.
"I'm sorry," I apologized. "I didn't mean to startle you."
She turned wide eyes and flushed cheeks in my direction.
"Oh... oh... Will. What are... I mean, hello," Emma stammered, trying to regain her composure.
I walked over to my desk and scooped up a small pile of folders filled with sheet music before walking back to her.
"I just needed to grab these," I explained, shoving the folders into my messenger bag.
"That was... it was beautiful. I didn't know that you played," I said, gesturing toward the piano.
"Oh... oh... I don't... I mean, I'm not..." she stammered, blushing lightly.
I raised an eyebrow and smiled.
"I mean... what I meant was..." she continued before taking a quick breath. "It's the Pas de Duex. It's really meant to be played... I mean... it's best played... by two people, but..."
Emma gave me an embarrassed look, blushing, before quickly glancing to the small package of disinfectant wipes that she had carefully placed at the edge of the piano. She looked down to the keyboard, a faint trace of pink still making her cheeks glow.
"So, I'm not really playing the song... not really..." She took another quick breath. "And I don't suppose... I mean... I'm not sure I ever really will," she added nearly underneath her breath as she placed her hands rather primly in her lap. "Play it properly I mean..."
"Emma..." I replied, not quite sure of myself, or what I should say.
I carefully sat down next to her on the piano bench, and the silence that fell between us wasn't exactly comfortable, but neither was it entirely unpleasant. Like the low hum of a tuning fork setting off sympathetic vibrations between us, it was a pleasurable ache waiting to be eased. So much so, that I nearly sighed when Emma finally spoke.
"My grandmother used to play the Pas de Duex with my grandfather often," she said quietly, half speaking to me, and half to herself in soft remembrance. "I'd stay with them for a few weeks every summer, and I remember, there was this perfect spot on the tenth step to sit... I would sneak out of bed at night just to listen."
Emma smiled a bit wistfully.
"It wasn't note perfect, but it was lovely."
She turned to smile at me and I found myself instantly responding with my own grin, picturing a small Emma, in pigtails maybe, with fluffy bunny slippers and little cleaning cloth for the step.
"But she stopped playing after my grandfather... after he died..." she murmured, turning her attention back to the piano keys and running her fingertips lightly over the 'C.' "That's when I knew... it's just not the same if..."
"Emma..." I didn't know what else to say; what else I could say. "Em..."
She had a small melancholy sort of smile that I thought could very nearly break a heart. I had to look away, and when I did, I caught a flash of blue out of the corner of my eye. I saw the package of disinfectant wipes perched perfectly on the edge of the piano top. Before I could fully consider exactly what it was I was doing, I grabbed one and gave my hands a quick wipe.
Emma watched me with wide eyes as I set my hands to the keys. It had been a while since I had really played the piano, but I was pretty certain I could play Barber. Though as I my fingertips brushed over fake ivory, I suddenly realized what it must have felt like for her that time with the chalk, because it certainly felt like the longest ten seconds of my life waiting for Emma's hands to join mine on the keyboard.
I released the breath that I hadn't realized I had been holding and encouraged her to do the same.
She did in a soft 'whoosh' of sound that made me smile a little.
"Okay," I whispered, and began to play the first quiet notes of Pas de Duex. After a moment's hesitation, Emma began to play too, bravely brushing her fingers against mine to find them.
"Okay," I whispered again, half in encouragement, half to steady us both as we played. "Okay..."
I took a deep breath and hoped that Emma couldn't tell that my heart had begun to race in a sudden counterpoint that was entirely too fast for the song. Every time my hand brushed hers, I was certain that she would feel it pulsing clear to my fingertips.
"Okay," I repeated under my breath.
"Okay," she echoed softly, and I glanced over, momentarily breathless at the sight of her. My fingers suddenly tangled with hers and notes scattered unheeded over the keys and bounced brightly against the walls.
"Oh," Emma gasped, staring down where our hands were unexpectedly joined on top of the black and white keys. I looked down too, abruptly realizing that I was holding her hand as if it were the only natural thing to do; as if I had done so a million times before.
I never wanted to let go.
It was Emma that let go first, sliding her hand out from beneath mine with a giddy, nervous little breath.
She turned to look at me.
She was so close then; close enough to kiss. The thought came to me like a revelation as I felt her breath against my skin. And now I was blindsided by the desire that threatened to overwhelm me. I wanted to kiss her. No, I needed to kiss her. Just lean a little...
The sound of my cell phone calling for attention in my messenger bag made us both jump. The persistent ring forced me to say, "I'm sorry. I should..."
She nodded and I ducked down to reach into my bag. I felt, more than saw, Emma take the opportunity to get up from the piano bench and walked behind me, her skirt brushing against my arm as she moved.
I didn't want her to leave, but she was walking past me and away as quickly as she could. I reached almost desperately for her hand, grasping at fingertips. My other hand held my phone and I cracked it open just enough to stop the interrupting ring.
"Will! Will are you there. Answer me! Will!" Terri's voice, sounding strident and hollow invaded the space between Emma and I.
"Let me go, Will, please."
The guidance counselor pulled her hand from mine with a sad expression and nearly ran from the room.
"Answer me damn it!" My phone demanded suddenly.
I stared at my empty hand, flexing my fingers. It had never felt so empty. I had never felt so empty.
All I wanted was for Emma to walk back through the door. I watched the empty space as I picked up the phone.
"I'm here," I answered my wife before falling into a well worn conversation, one we had had more times than I was certain I could recall. When the call was over, I tossed the cell in my bag before setting the leather strap over my shoulder and rising tiredly from the bench. A small, plastic tap sound stopped me and I looked down.
Emma had left behind the package of disinfectant wipes. I reached down to pick them up and push them into my pocket. My hand followed after and I gripped the package tightly before turning out the light and heading home...