Heart beating fast. Breathing uneven. Palms and underarm flesh moist. Calves aching, feet burning, scalp searing beneath the plastic box of a hat. It was no surprise I was smoldering to a crisp, trying to look as immobile as possible under the watchful eye of six severe judges, our calm-yet-anxious band directors, the hot yellow sun high in the sky, and a shifty, silent crowd ranging in the numbers of triple digits.

This… this was a near every-week occurrence. After the last day of the school week, under the Friday night lights, our football team was given the field for four quarters, set apart by sixteen minute intervals, which usually ended up being about 30 minutes per quarter. A game could range anywhere from four hours to seven. But no matter how long it took before we could pack up and head for home, the bands were given sixteen minutes to show their stuff in the halftime show. It usually wasn't anything to sweat over, as the crowd didn't take our marching-and-music combo too seriously and neither did we. Our marching was typically traded out for a lethargic shuffle, and our music was muddled by shifty feet, hollow metal clangs and the frequent chatter among the stands.

But this… this was the real deal. That crowd up in the bleachers, whose numbers ranged in the early 300's, hadn't come for the football game that bordered the band's halftime show – they came purely for us… no unintended background sound, chatter, or shuffling. You couldn't just blow off this invitational. Your marching had to be prim. Your music had to be proper. Even your approach – from when you walk on the field right before the band ahead of yours plays to when you leave after your show – had to be, as Mr. Mace would say, 'on the money.' This is how it should be watched.

Stock still, decked out in red wool jackets and black Urkel pants, arranged in specific rows like an army ready for combat; in a way, we were… just, instead of sharp swords and sniper rifles, we were armed with saxophones and base drums. If there was any point in time where all labels, shapes and sizes that set you apart from cliques and acquaintances at school were dropped and forgotten, it was now. The band was as one, no matter who you may be as an individual. A band geek was a band geek, and it was here that we united. For this reason, I loved this point in time… no matter how uncomfortable it could get.

I take a deep breath, otherwise impossible due to the tight proximity of my uniform jacket. The urge to reach under my broiling hat to relieve the pinprick of heat on my scalp is overwhelming… but this late in the game, there's no moving permitted. We're on the field and in sight of the judges, waiting at the side as the band just before ours works their stuff. Eyes at front, instruments up at the ready, and formation, if not close to, perfect. Wisps of the hair I hadn't gotten completely tucked beneath my hat tickle the back of my neck. To avoid moving and further making myself aware of the pressure at my Adam's apple, I focus on the back of Alliston Underwood's head.

The judges prompt the applause for the band currently on the field… I didn't catch their name. With the speed of a slug, they pile together, then march off. With just my eyes, I watch them go, and suddenly feel the nerves in my stomach twist.

Silence settles, thick and heavy, on the entire field. Judges calculate, and we stand quietly, some shifting with the occasional anxious nerve. Mr. Mace strolls beside me, whispering encouragement. "Relax. We can do this. Don't tense up." I press my lips to the tip of my flute's crown, gold in contrast to the rest of the silver ones. Trill seemed just as nervous as I did, her metal cold and slick (though I'm half sure that's from my own hand…). Breathing comes uneven and heavy from all of us, most nervous. Finally, in a moment that has my heart drop to my stomach, the judge calls us out. "Fredonia Chieftain Band, you may begin your five-minute preparation."

"Remember," Mr. Mace hisses in a rushed last-minute reminder, "stay in step!"

And then we proceed to march onto the field. My lungs hitch, and my heart speeds up. No time for mistakes. Just do what I've been doing. I take a breath, and with renewed vigor, I straighten up and extend my legs in a march. Time to shine!

(A/N)

Hey there! This is my first admission to the FanFiction website. First off, thanks for reading!

Secondly, this is told in the point of view of Kai Bishop, an OC that's, basically, a renamed me. In fact, all these characters in here are renamed versions of real people in my life; this is a written section out of my Kai world, but since it was mainly wrapped around marching band here, I figured I'd put it on this website below Marching Band. Hope I did that right O.o

Thirdly, since this is my first admission, I'm not expecting reviews, but they would be so nice. I want to improve on my writing skills and expand my style horizons, so please, leave a comment, a suggestion, or a constructive criticism. You'll make my day :)

And yes. Trill is the name of my flute, in case you were wondering. Hee ^^

-IceChalk-