Of a Different Beat

This is a fan fiction. I don't own Star Ocean.

This story takes our heroes and puts them in different roles, so I apologize to anyone in advance if they seem a little out of character.

Arumat put his guitar down and sighed. Practice had sucked. Again. Why did he put up with that lousy manager and his naggy wife, anyway?

Beside him, Crowe sat down and fiddled with his red hair. "So, what did you think of practice?" he asked, tying his hair back.

Arumat glowered at him. "You know I only put up with Mr. Maverick and his wife for your sake, Crowe." He idly petted the cat, Mericle, then pushed her off his dressing table.

"Meow." Mericle complained. She looked over and bounced off to her kitty tower.

Baccus, the band's instrument tech, walked in, talking to the female singer, Myuria.

"I don't care what she says, Reimi is not our manager, Edge is. And if she shows her naggy person here for another practice, I quit." said Myuria.

"Miss Myuria, it is up to Edge whether his wife comes or not." Baccus reminded her.

"That's the thing. He only listens to her! We could be standing there, picking our noses for the whole practice, and he wouldn't notice." Myuria argued.

"I have to agree." said Crowe. "Edge didn't even notice our drummer is missing." He sighed. "Or our keyboardist."

"The drummer quit." said Arumat, downing a can of cola. He belched loudly, then continued, "And our keyboardist did, too."

"Just great." said Myuria. "Do you know how long it took to get those two?"

"Six minutes." said Arumat. "Cause all you had to do was bat those false eyelashes of yours at them, and they signed on."

Crowe tried hard not to laugh. That was exactly how they had gotten the original drummer and keyboardist.

Myuria sighed. "Well, I could always fill in for the keyboard, as long as it's the kind you wear over your shoulder."

"Against the wall." said Arumat. He fished out his phone and began scanning the pictures. He paused a moment, then looked at Baccus. "Hey, Bach."

Baccus looked over, a little miffed at his name being shortened off. "Yes, Mr. Arumat?"

"When's our next practice?"

Just then, the door burst open, and SHE came storming in. Mrs. Reimi Maverick, in all her raging, make-up caked glory.

"What the hell did you call that sorry excuse for music? Edge should fire all of you, your lousy and can't carry a tune if it was taped to you!" she screamed. "You'd better have it together in five minutes, or I'll have Edge kick you all out onto the road!" With that, she stormed out.

Arumat sighed and dialled the number. "Yes? – It's Arumat. – Yes. I have a favor to ask. Do you still play the drums?" He grinned. "Good. Can you be at the studio in five minutes? – Thanks, lad." He hung up. "Got us a drummer."

Crowe looked at the petit thing that sat at the drum kit. The person kept his hood up, and wore long sleeves and baggy jeans. It was obvious they were at least a little odd; his fingernails were painted green. They kept looking away, so Crowe didn't see his face.

Arumat tapped Crowe's shoulder. "Leave him alone, he's nervous."

"Nerves aren't going to help if he chokes during practice, Arumat." Crowe said, readying his guitar. He looked over at Myuria, who was just finishing adjusting the strap on the keyboard.

"Any day!" yelled Reimi.

The drummer gave her the finger.

"I like him already." said Myuria. "Well, give us a beat."

The drummer only sat there a moment, then started to whistle a moment.

"What's he doing?" asked Crowe.

Edge looked up over his glasses. "Uh, some music, guys?" he said.

The drummer continued to whistle, balancing the sticks on one finger. Suddenly, he tossed them in the air, and they landed behind him. He struck the high-hat with his bare hand, then started a rather fast beat. Bare handed.

Crowe stared a moment, then caught the beat that the drummer was using. He looked at Arumat, and the two started. Myuria caught on a second later, and they started.

Reimi glowered. "Make them stop, Edge!" she snapped. "What kind of wierdos are they? They were supposed to be practicing the new songs, not an old one."

The drummer stopped. Crowe and the others paused to see what was wrong.

"Lad, what is it?" Arumat asked.

The drummer stood, taking the pick from between his fingers and chewing on it, and picked up the top part of the high-hat cymbals. He walked over to Reimi, turning it over in his hands.

"Why are you here?" Reimi yelled. "You're supposed to be up there, practicing! Edge, make him do the practice!"

"And why are you here?" asked the drummer. He turned the cymbal over in his hands. "You're not the manager."

"I'm his wife, stupid! I'm allowed to be here!"

"Then shut up." the drummer said. He turned around and walked away. "And here I thought the circus was in town."

Edge stopped him. "What did you say?"

"I said, I thought she was a clown." The drummer walked back up onto the stage, turned the cymbal, and returned it to its place on the high-hat.

"Where did you find him, Arumat?" asked Crowe.

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you." Arumat replied.

Down below, Edge was trying to calm Reimi.

"He called me a CLOWN! Get rid of him!"

The drummer looked at Arumat. "May I?" he asked, gesturing to the guitar.

"Help yourself." Arumat handed his guitar to the smaller person.

"Thank you. Oh, and you might want to cover your ears." He turned the volume knob up.

Arumat saw what he was doing and ducked for cover, taking Myuria and Crowe with him.

"What's he doing now?" Myuria asked.

The drummer put a pair of headphones over his ears, over the hoodie. Taking the pick he'd been chewing on the whole time out of his mouth, he pinched a string.

"E sharp." said Arumat. He covered his ears.

The drummer hit the note, and a loud blast came from the speakers. Edge and Reimi looked over, startled.

"Thank you." said the drummer. "Now, could she shut up and you actually pay attention, and we can continue." He put the pick back in his mouth, handed the guitar back to Arumat, turned the volume dial back to where it was supposed to be, and took his seat.

Crowe looked confused. "I thought you said he was a drummer?"

"He's multi-talented." Arumat replied. He adjusted the guitar and looked over at the drummer. "Any time you're ready."

The drummer was looking at the sheet music a moment, then readjusted one of the drums. He clapped his hands the way one would normally tap the drumsticks together, then started the beat.

"Edge, it sounds horrible! Why isn't he using the sticks?" Reimi whined. "Edge?"

Edge wasn't listening, either to her or the music. He was watching the drummer. "Hold!" he suddenly called out.

Arumat looked over. "Yes?" he asked.

"This isn't your regular drummer. What happened? And why's Myuria got the keyboard?"

"Keyboardist and drummer quit because of miss-yells-a-lot." Arumat replied. "So Myuria took over the keyboard, and I had to find a new drummer."

"He's not in uniform." said Edge.

"Unless we can make his uniform include a hood, I think he'll stay in that." said Crowe. "He doesn't seem to want to take it off."

"He can't see us, so he's not nervous." said Arumat. He looked over. "Hey, come here."

The drummer got up and walked over, his headphones around his neck. "Yes, Arumat?"

"They want to see who you are."

"Oh." He pulled back his hood, showing a very pale face and bright green hair. "My name's Faize."

"The genius?" asked Crowe.

"The nerd?" said Myuria.

"The Goth?" gasped Reimi.

"One and the same." said Faize in answer to all three questions. He kept his face turned, though, as if he were hiding something.

"Is something wrong?" Edge asked.

"I . . . can I put my hood back up?"

"You used to play just fine without it." said Myuria.

"Go ahead." said Arumat.

Faize put his hood back up.

"One question. Didn't you use sticks before?" asked Edge.

"Used to, but I can't find a pair with the right balance, so I play barehanded." He kept his fingers curled in slightly.

"Something wrong?" Crowe asked this time.

Faize was quiet a moment. "Nothing." he said, returning to his seat. "You have a concert in a few days, don't you? We should practice."

Concert day came. Everyone was dressed in their leather outfits behind stage. Everyone, that is, except Faize.

"Come on, lad." said Arumat. "You'll be fine."

Faize looked again at the black leather outfit. There was no hood, no way to hide in it. He sighed. "Alright, just, don't stare."

"Is something wrong?" Myuria asked as Faize went to change.

Arumat sighed. "It probably has something to do with his face."

"What about it?" Crowe asked.

Faize stepped out, trying desperately to claw his hair so it covered the left side of his face. He paused when he saw them staring at him. Again, he kept his finger curled inwards.

"Is something wrong that we should address before we get on stage?" asked Edge.

"I . . ." Faize sighed and brushed his hair back, showing the twisted black-red scar tissue that graced his face. He turned his hands palms up and showed the identical markings on his palms and fingers.

"What happened?" asked Crowe. "You didn't look like this in school."

"A fire." Faize replied. "Recently."

"Make up won't cover this." said Myuria. She took a few pins from her dressing table and fiddled a bit with his hair. "There. Feel better?"

Faize blinked. His hair properly covered his face so the scars didn't show. "Thank you." he said.

"You're on in five." said Edge.

The band took their places. The curtain rose, and they began.