Life, Love and Getting an Education: Music Theory
Part I: Trowa
Trowa shifted on the bed, scratched lazily at an itch in his right armpit and stared at the ceiling. Water was running in the room next door. Other than a couple of low voices talking, his neighbors were quiet for a change. He heard a door close down the hall, and footsteps pass by his room. An arm thrown over his eyes, Trowa wondered why he wished for sleep.
University life wasn't quite what he expected, but it beat pumping gas and changing tires at his uncle's garage. Opening books and writing research papers didn't bust knuckles, and playing sax, he needed his hands. Trowa made a hard fist over his face. Releasing his fingers slowly, he felt the muscles and ligaments pull, stretching the tendons to the wrist. With his hand extended, the scar from index finger to wrist appeared as a jagged white line.
A slip of a wrench, and he'd nearly lost the use of his hand.
In the parking lot two floors below, a car attempted to start, and after the third crank, Trowa rolled out of bed; there were thing he had to do. He cast a passing glance at his roommate's bed, noted its unmade state, and gave a snort. The boy was never in for long - at least not when he was around. Picking up the towel hanging over the closet door, he entered the bathroom.
The joint dorm bathroom shared between two rooms held a shower stall, toilet and sink. All personal items had to be removed between each use. The shower didn't take long; Trowa had only wanted to wash off the stink from laying in bed. He thought about shaving but his cheeks and chin were still good. The soft almost baby fine hair that grew between shavings hardly showed, and he didn't want to be bothered. A handful of gel slicked through his hair, a comb through and he was done.
Before his closet, he hesitated on what to wear. He wanted to project a casual but cool look - he wanted to be himself. But he also wanted the job. Walking out on his uncle at Christmas cost him more than a home-cooked meal. If the old man forked over another
A black turtleneck and the jeans he'd been wearing all week would work.
He shrugged into his jacket just outside the dormitory building, and zipped it up. The air was cold, crisp enough to make breathing hurt his throat. Shoving his hands inside the deep pockets, he decided he'd have to stop on the way into town to replace the gloves left on the visit back home. The normally ten minute walk across campus seemed unusually long. The quad and commons were empty and silent. A string of Christmas lights twinkled inside the Media Center building, but everywhere he looked, the place appeared a ghost town.
Entering the Music Complex, he headed straight for the storage lockers. He wanted to practice a little, loosen up his fingers, and clean his saxophone for the audition later in the afternoon. Taking the case and the portfolio of music from its storage, Trowa removed his coat, and shoved it in the locker before he made his way to a practice room. With it being just after lunch, and his almost appointment with the club manager at four, he thought he could squeeze in a couple hours of practice before he had to leave.
The soft sound of a Miller piano piece arrested his steps, and he sought out the music room. What he was hearing could only come from the baby grand in the main stage, and from the faint strands filtering out into the hallway, he knew he had to meet the talent behind such genius. Trowa opened the door as quietly as he could, and stepped inside.
He could barely make out the fair head bent low over the keys, and stood enthralled, listening. Setting his own instrument against the wall, he padded noiselessly closer. His fingers itched, wanting to pick up his sax and join in, wanting to match the warbling tune. His steps faltered when the player came into view.
Trowa wasn't aware he'd made a noise, but he must have for the boy looked up, opened his eyes and stopped playing. "Don't stop," Trowa hurried to say, coming closer.
The fair headed teen smiled hesitantly. "I didn't know anyone else was here today." And though his fingers still rested on the keys, he only watched Trowa with polite interest.
"I came to pick up my piece..." Trowa gestured to his case by the door. "I heard you playing and had to see." He offered a slight smile. "You play well."
"Thank you." The boy inclined his head and dropped his hands to his lap. "And what do you play?"
Tossing the hair from his eyes, Trowa leaned an elbow against the piano and widened his smile. "Sax." His voice deepened even as a thumb hooked itself onto the belt loop of his jeans.
The boy only nodded. "Jazz then?" his tone held conversational interest, but his eyes had darted from thrust out hip with long fingers spread over the bone, up the lean lines of his turtleneck to lock gazes. Until that moment, Trowa hadn't been sure. Watching the boy swallow, he knew.
He leaned closer as if he was going to whisper some great secret. "Best music to make love by."
"Oh!" he sounded startled and the faint reddening confirmed it. "I would imagine so." His hands went back to the piano keys, and a note resonated throughout the room.
"I'm Trowa Barton," his voice smooth, his move from piano side to bench seat fluid. He held his hand out, liking the light flush highlighting the boy's cheeks. He longed to feel how soft he knew the blond hair would be, longed to see those expressive blue eyes dark with passion.
"Quatre," the boy responded immediately, his hand clasping Trowa's firmly.
"Are you a student? Or the son of a professor?" Trowa asked, letting go of the hand.
Quatre tossed him a grin and looked at his hands back on the keys. "I'm a student. I've just transferred from upstate and will start after winter break." Trowa caught the quick glance before he questioned, "And you? I assume you are a student. What year and what's your major?"
"This is my third year. Double major in Music Theory, and Composition." Trowa straddled the bench, and bent forward to see the face trying to hide from him. "How about you? What's your sign?"
"I'm majoring in... What?" Quatre laughed at the sudden change. "Capricorn, in the house of the seventh sun, born under Mercury rising." Turning a mischievous grin Trowa's way, he asked, "And you, I'd guess to beľ" he paused and looked Trowa up and down again. "A Gemini."
Trowa choked. "Not hardly." He played a scale one-handed and answered, "Virgo."
"Virgo?" Quatre looked surprised. "I never would have guessed an Earth sign." His fingers plunked out a soft chopsticks.
Picking up the duet using only one hand, Trowa answered, "What can I say? I'm an earthy kind of guy." He grinned at his companion, pushed his shoulder into Quatre's in a playful gesture.
Quatre shoved back, and sped up his finger work. "Like to get your hands dirty?"
"You don't know the half of it," Trowa murmured, adding his other hand to the play, keeping up with the piano player.
"Enough!" Quatre cried with a laugh. "I need practice but not like this." The notes died out, and Trowa saw that the flush had returned.
"Would you like to play with me?" Trowa asked, keeping the amusement from his tone.
A note jarred from the piano as the boy jerked and looked at him. "Pl-lay?" His eyes jumped from Trowa's face to the case and back. "Oh! Your saxophone." His smile returned and the blush deepened. "I've never played duet in jazz before. It would be an experience."
"Great! How about now?" Trowa held his expression in a pleased, neutral way. "I was planning to practice this afternoon anyway." The boy gave a slight incline to his head and Trowa jumped up to go to the door. "The piece you were playing when I came in would work, at least from a starting off point."
Quatre ran a few scales while Trowa set up his sax. His hands put the components together, as he watched the blond's body move with the playing; the reed felt slick in his mouth. He caught Quatre looking his way and he raised a brow. A flash of teeth showed and the piano notes sounded louder.
"Ready?" he asked, slipping the reed into place. Quatre nodded. "Let me warm up a bit first." He blew out his cheeks, stretching the tissue, working it into a relaxed state. Knowing Quatre watched, he took his time wetting his lips before putting the sax to his mouth and blowing the first note. A long steady blast, followed by a few finger exercises. He finished off with a quick and dirty rendition of Vail's Ben-Jamin. At a particularly long note, he'd closed his eyes, leaned back, and held it, letting the music flow. Quatre's clapping caught him unaware, even if he wanted to impress, and he stopped abruptly, pulling his instrument away from his mouth.
"I've always wanted to play a woodwind," Quatre was saying. He'd risen from the bench, and moved to stand in front of Trowa. "You play well, and I like how long you can hold a note."
His lips twisted into a lopsided grin. "I can always teach you, if you don't mind learning something new from me." He fingered the notes lightly, running his hands over the smooth metal.
Quatre's eyes locked onto Trowa's hands, watching in fascination. "I would be pleased to learn what you can teach."
Trowa laughed softly, and handed the sax over. "Your first lesson, then, would be learning how to blow."