United States of Hetalia Productions
Inspired by the song Austria always plays. I don't own Hetalia.
"I dare you to go in there!"
"Looks like someone's too chicken to go in! Kesesesesese!"
"Why don't you go in there then if you're so brave?"
"I already went in there last week. I stayed in there all day until sunset!"
"Only until sunset? I'll stay in there all night."
Concern flashed through Gilbert's red eyes for a moment. Then his arrogant grin was back on his face. "Sure, whatever you say, Liz. I bet you can't."
Elizabeta crossed her arms. "I can and will!" She turned around and opened the rusted steel gate.
The girl looked up at the old abandoned house. The windows were cracked and dusty. Wooden boards were rotting away and falling off. The lawn was almost like a jungle; a jungle of weeds and untamed grass and dandelions and withered roses. She gulped and walked up to the front door.
All she had to do was push it for the door to swing open with a creak. The main hallway would have looked elegant if it weren't for the heavy layer of dust and cobwebs dulling the room. Elizabeta jumped when the door behind her slammed shut.
"One night in here... I can handle that..." she told herself. "Just a big empty house..."
For several hours, Elizabeta wandered around exploring the house. She had long since come to the conclusion that whoever had lived there was some sort of aristocrat. There were several dozen paintings on the walls. There was a study filled with old leather-bond books and books that dated back to the 18th century. Fine carpets covered the hallways and stairs. She found the only thing in the house that was not covered in dust was a grand piano she found in an almost empty room. When Elizabeta at last found the master bedroom, there was a huge canopy bed across from a highly decorated wardrobe.
By then, Elizabeta was exhausted and it was dark outside. She pounded some of the dust off of the bed and flopped on to it. She clutched one of the pillows in her arms and slipped under the heavy sheets.
Elizabeta was awoken by the soft sound of music.
She sat up in the bed and looked around the unfamiliar room before she remembered why she was there. She slipped out of the bed and listened hard for the sound.
It was the sound of a piano.
Now Elizabeta was confused. The house was supposed to be abandoned.
She followed the music until she found her way back to the room with the piano. She quietly opened the door and poked her head inside.
Sitting at the piano was a man. He was wearing a deep purple coat and boots. He had dark hair and, from what Elizabeta could see, one strand was sticking up. Elizabeta came into the room completely and inched closer to the man. She saw his hands dancing across the keys of the piano; his fingers never still for more than a moment. The man wore glasses that framed his purple eyes.
The man didn't notice her. Not even when she was close enough to reach out and touch him. He was too deeply focused in his music to feel another presence in the room.
She couldn't blame him. The song was beautiful. It had a sort of gentleness and dynamic that would be difficult to achieve on an electric keyboard. His fingers were so swift that for several parts of the song, she only saw pale blurs.
At last the song was finished. The man removed his hands from the piano and let the final note hang in the air.
"That sounded really pretty, Mister."
The man nearly jumped. He whipped around to see the girl staring at him with a look that was either amused or startled. He almost thought it was a boy for a second because of her jeans and short ponytail.
"I... W...Who are you?" he asked.
"Elizabeta," she answered. After a brief moment she added "sir".
"And... what are you doing here?"
She frowned and crossed her arms at the memory of that morning. "My friend, Gilbert, dared me to go in here. I wanted to prove to him that I'm better than him, so now I have to stay in here all night."
The man's brow furrowed. "Won't your family be worried?"
"Nah." Then it was her turn to be confused. "What are you doing here?"
He raised an eyebrow. "I live here."
Elizabeta's eyes widened. "Wait! Really? Oh gosh, I'm sorry, Mister! Everyone says this house is abandoned and I didn't know you lived here! I didn't mean to break into your house!"
His confusion grew greater. "Why would...? Don't worry. I'm not angry."
"So I'm not in trouble?"
"No. You're not in any trouble."
Elizabeta let out a sigh of relief.
The man was thinking hard about something until he heard Elizabeta ask a question.
"What's your name? I don't want to have to call you 'Mister' all night."
The corner of his lips twitched upward ever so slightly. "Roderich Edelstein."
For the rest of the night, Elizabeta listened to Roderich play piano. In between songs, the two would chat. Neither of them even noticed when it became morning.
"Mr. Edelstein? How long have you lived here?"
"As long as I can remember."
"Does anyone else live here?"
"No. It's only me."
"But don't you get lonely?"
Roderich looked away. He had a slight frown on his face. Elizabeta noticed the grip on his yellowed sheet music was tighter. "I... I don't really feel like that most of the time because I like the quiet. But... sometimes I do feel a bit... lonely."
Now she felt bad about asking that last question. Then an idea came into her mind that she thought was excellent. "Well, can I visit you again?"
The papers nearly spilled out of Roderich's hand. He quickly catch them before turning around to give the girl an flustered look. "W-What?"
Elizabeta laughed. "I want to visit you so that you won't feel lonely anymore, Mr. Edelstein!"
It was then that they both heard a voice outside. The voice of a boy calling out Elizabeta's name.
"That's Gilbert!" she said. Elizabeta stood up and went towards the door. "Bye, Mr. Edelstein! I'll see you soon!"
She went outside to see a nearly worried Gilbert.
"You didn't have to stay in there all night! You're not as awesome as I am so I thought you would be scared off by the spiders in there or something!"
Elizabeta pouted. "I didn't see any spiders in there, but I didn't meet a nice pianist who has a lot more manners than you do, Gil." She started walking off without him.
Gilbert looked back at the house. "Pianist?"
He didn't notice Roderich looking down from the window.
"'I'll see you soon', huh?"
"I'm back, Mr. Edelstein!"
Roderich looked up from his sheet music to see Elizabeta there. She was smiling at him and holding something behind her back.
"I have something for you."
Before he could what, she nearly shoved the answer into his face. It was a pile of papers covered in notes.
Sheet music. Sheet music of the exact songs he was already playing.
"Thank you?" he said uncertainly.
"It's so you can see it more clearly. Those old papers must be hard to read."
Roderich frowned and mouthed the word 'old?'. He looked down at the sheet music, comparing his to Elizabeta's. As if he didn't notice that his were 'old'.
"Is something wrong?" Elizabeta asked.
There was concern in her bright green eyes. Roderich didn't like that. He shouldn't make such a sweet child worry.
"No. Everything is fine," he lied. "Just... where did you get these?"
"We have a piano at home. These came with it. Nobody in my house really plays it, so I figured you could have the papers."
He was surprised by this. "What kind?"
"Electric." Elizabeta laughed at the man's confused expression. "What haven't you ever seen an electric piano?"
"No... How come you don't play it?"
"I don't know how to play piano." She indicated the notes. "I can't even tell what that says."
"Well...would you like me to teach you?"
"But... piano is hard," she said lamely.
"Not with practice." He walked over to the piano. "Now for your first lesson." He gently pressed on of the keys. "This is Middle C..."
Gilbert heard the sound of music as he approached Elizabeta's house.
It was awkward and stiff and slow, but it was still music.
Gilbert poked his head through one of the windows. He saw Elizabeta practically glaring at the piano she was attempting to play. Every time she pressed the wrong note, she would mutter "Darn it" under her breathe and start over.
"Hey, Liz! What are you doing?"
"What does it look like? I'm playing the piano."
Gilbert let out a laugh. "Yeah, right! Since when did you start playing the piano?"
"Mr. Edelstein started teaching me how to play."
"Your parents actually got you a tutor?"
"No. He's the nice pianist who lives up in the old house."
Gilbert was about to say that no one lived in that house when he changed his mind. "I forgot that I have to go do something. See you later, Liz."
Gilbert walked away from Elizabeta's house and to the withered house. He tried to ignore any chills the place gave him and shoved the door open.
"Hello?" Gilbert called out.
He heard a piano. It was the song his friend was playing, but smoother. He figured that this must have been the man he was looking for.
"Hello? Piano guy?"
The boy followed the music until he reached the piano room. He opened the door a crack and peered inside. He could see the corner of piano, but he couldn't see where the man's legs where they were supposed to be.
Gilbert completely opened the door and started shaking. There wasn't anyone there. The piano was playing; he could see the keys being pressed down. But there was no one there playing it.
He let out a scream and ran out the door as fast as he could. Without a glance back, he ran home.
He didn't hear the piano stop playing when he started screaming. He didn't see the Austrian man get up and reach out to him.
If Gilbert had stopped to listen, he would have heard a faint and gentle voice ask him what was wrong.
Roderich listened as Elizabeta played a song by Chopin. It was messy, but it soothed him. It took his mind off the white-haired boy that was afraid of him.
He raised an eyebrow when the music stopped before the song ended. Elizabeta was looking up at him with concern.
"Mr. Edelstein... What's wrong?"
"N...Nothing." The look on her face told him that she didn't buy it. "There was a boy here a few days ago."
"Yes. A white-haired boy came in here while I was playing."
"Oh! That must be Gilbert!" Elizabeta had an exasperated look on her face. "He didn't bother you, did he?"
"No. He ran off before I could speak to him though."
"I wonder why..."
When the girl went back to playing, Roderich started pondering about all the strange things that had happened since Elizabeta entered his life.
His sheet music turning out to be old without his notice. 'Electric' piano. Now a boy running away from him.
Something was wrong.
Roderich reached out a hand to tap Elizabeta on shoulder. Perhaps she could help him figure this out.
His eyes widened in confusion and fear.
His fingers slipped right through her.
He swiped his hand right through her head. She didn't react. Probably didn't even feel anything.
She turned around. She almost started panicking at the sight of how pale Roderich's face went. "What happened? Are you sick?" She reached out a small hand close to his face. "Let me check-"
"No!" Roderich jerked away from her hand. He instantly regretted it, seeing the hurt look on her face. "I... I forgot about something. Something important that I was supposed to do... I hate being rude like this, b-but could you please leave?"
She left the Austrian man alone with his thoughts.
Confused thoughts that kept wandering back to one word.
Roderich lifted his from his hands when he heard a creak of the floorboards.
Outside of the room, he saw, was that white-haired boy once again. He was holding a golf club out in front of him as if it were a sword. The boy's red eyes were wide in fear, darting about the piano room.
Roderich removed his glasses and tried to wipe away the tear stains that were still on his cheeks. What did Elizabeta say this boy's name was? Gilbert? He straightened himself in his seat and cleared his throat. "Gilbert?"
The albino froze. The grip on the club grew tighter.
So apparently he could hear him. More firmly, he repeated "Gilbert."
Gilbert snapped his head in Roderich's direction, though the man could tell he wasn't looking at him. He was looking past him. As if he were made of air.
"Me," he answered. "Right here. Can't you see me?"
Gilbert shook his head. "Where are you? If this is some sort of trick-"
"It's not a trick." Roderich walked up and stood right in front of Gilbert. He waved a hand in his face. "You really can't see me..."
Gilbert jumped at the sudden closeness of the voice. "A-Are... Are you a ghost?"
"I'm not even sure..." Roderich responded. "I don't remember dying but..." Everything is so strange.
"Are you the guy who's been teaching Elizabeta the piano?"
"Yes. My name is Roderich."
"Gilbert, but I guess you already know that."
"So... Gilbert... Do you mine doing me a favor?"
"I'm not letting you haunt me or something if that's what you're thinking," Gilbert deadpanned.
Roderich raised an eyebrow. "What? No. I wondering if... you could not tell Elizabeta what I am."
She might run away if she knew.
"That would be a bit hard to do. I guess you want to tell her yourself. Now do me a favor."
"Don't hurt her," Gilbert said grimly.
"I can't even touch her. How could I hurt her?"
Nimble fingers were moving swiftly across the keys. What once was a clumsy tune was now a soothing melody.
Roderich smiled down at the young woman playing his piano. Much better than when they had first met ten years ago.
Elizabeta stopped and turning to look at him. Broad smile on her face. "How was that, Roderich?"
"A few more years and you'll able to compete with Mozart when he was seven."
Elizabeta stuck her tongue out at him and got up from the chair. Roderich slipped into the seat and started off where she stopped.
"You need to relax a bit. You're too tense. You're focusing too much on what note comes next instead of the notes you're playing at the moment."
"I can't really help that. I have to play this for a recital in two days." She tilted her head to the side. "You are coming, right?"
Roderich frowned, knowing that he would cause a panic if anyone discovered him.
He vaguely wondered if he could even leave the house. He evidently hadn't done so in ages.
"Please...?" Elizabeta gave him her best puppy-eyes.
"But you never come to any of my recitals!" Elizabeta huffed. "This is my last one before I graduate. Why can't you come?"
Roderich sighed. "I hope that one day you could understand."
Elizabeta got up and left.
As she was on her way home, she finally let the tears roll down her cheeks. She didn't even notice Gilbert on the way stop in his tracks and ask what was wrong.
Roderich jumped when he heard Gilbert's loud voice yell at him angrily. The albino had a steely look on his face as he slapped down a yellowed newspaper onto the piano.
"I finally found the stupid thing for you, but that's not important right now! What the hell did you do to make her cry?"
Roderich looked to the floor. "I can't go to her piano recital. Again."
"Why the hell not? It's not like you're doing anything besides playing your own freaking piano!"
"But, I don't know what would happen if I leave here..."
"So you go out in public for an hour!" Gilbert ran a hand through his hair. "Listen, I'm leaving since I delivered your big mystery thing. I'm actually being awesome and going to listen to Elizabeta do a great performance. Because if you don't go, she won't think you care."
Gilbert slammed the door behind him.
Roderich sighed and looked out the window.
Just this once.
He stepped outside.
Elizabeta looked out to the audience.
Strangers come to hear her play.
Not the one she wanted to impress the most.
She silently sat into the stool before the piano. The only sound in the auditorium was the sound of the first measures of Nocturne Op. 9.
She glanced up at the audience for a moment, just before the crescendo.
That's when she saw Roderich, standing in the back. Smiling proudly at her.
Her heart and soul were heard by everyone there.
The next day, Elizabeta ran into Roderich's house.
With a bouquet of flowers, to thank him for coming.
"Roderich!" She opened the door to find the piano room was deserted. "Roderich...?"
She saw a yellowed newspaper resting on the piano.
She picked it up and read the headline before screaming out "NO!" She ran out the room and started searching for Roderich Edelstein.
1870 MYSTERY: MANSION OWNER, RODERICH EDELSTEIN, FOUND MURDERED IN HIS OWN HOME.
Roderich never appeared again.
For several years the house stayed untouched.
Until Elizabeta came back one day to get the piano.
Their precious piano.
Sometimes, when her house was silent, she could still hear it.
The sound of Nocturne Op. 9 softly playing.
Over a month. Over a month writing this and I lost my train of thought somewhere in the process.
Anyways... Review, please?