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In Need Of Fine Tuning [FF.NET]

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters in Axis Powers Hetalia, nor do I own Nodame Cantabile, from which this was inspired.

Summary: When Arthur woke in a room that was definitely not his own he was struck by two thoughts - one, that he’d never heard the flute solo from Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe played quite like that before; and two, how on Earth could anyone live in such a pigsty?

| Prologue | Track One | Track Two | Track Three |

Track One
In Which Arthur Turns Tail Like A Startled Rabbit

It had been ten minutes since he had staggered into his flat and sat down on his bed, head in hands. He’d moved only once, to collect a glass of water with which to wash down the paracetamol he’d dug out of his bed side table. During that time, he’d been racking his brain for what exactly had led to the disastrous event earlier that morning – no, he wasn’t being melodramatic; he was just naming the debacle for what it was.

He was fairly certain of how the previous morning had started; the same as any other morning really. He’d got up, dressed, and had breakfast while watching BBC Breakfast. After that was half an hour on his piano before picking up his bag and realising he couldn’t remember where he’d left his keys when he’d got in the night before – under one of the chairs by the dining table that day.

He’d locked up and left for his classes, the same as usual. His theoretical classes had taken place in the morning, after which he’d grabbed a quick lunch from the Student Union shop and settled on a bench to look over the sheet music he’d need to play in his practical session that afternoon.

It had been when he’d arrived at his usual practice room that things had gone downhill. His lessons were held with a woman called Elizaveta Héderváry; she was known for turning out a lot of brilliant musicians and was married to the famous Roderich Edelstien whose recitals were always sold out. He’d played with many orchestras around the world, and many of the Royal Academy’s students strived to emulate his career.

Arthur? He wanted to make a name for himself.

“Arthur.”

He’d been playing Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody #12, not a note out of place when Ms Héderváry had placed a hand on his shoulder to stop him. She’d drawn her stool closer so that she was next to him and made him turn around. Arthur had felt his stomach sink to his feet.

“I’ve been playing exactly what’s on the score.”

“…Arthur,” she’d sighed, tone sounding full of what he could only identify as remorse. “You’re right, there’s nothing wrong with what you’re playing. It’s how you’re playing it. There’s still no feeling there – no emotion.” She’d looked at him seriously, sadly, and Arthur had just wanted to turn away. “The technique and keying is all exceptional, but at this stage you need to be thinking about style and individuality as well for when you’re performing. I think I’ve done all I can for you; there are other teachers in the department who are better suited to developing this aspect of your work so I’m going to put you in for a transfer of tutor.”

It was at that point that Arthur had stood up, shoving the stool back as he trembled with disappointment and rage. So he was being shrugged off onto another teacher because he hadn’t turned out exactly how she’d wanted? Had all of those extra hours of practicing counted for nothing?

He’d reached for the sheet music intending to leave, but his hand had slipped. Pages tumbled to the floor, scattering. Arthur had stooped to collect them still intending to storm out, but Ms Héderváry had also slid down to help him collect the papers. Her hand paused over one sheet, before scooping it up and holding it closer to her face.

“You’ve been composing?”

Arthur hadn’t replied; it was a rhetorical question, after all she could see the answer to that herself couldn’t she? He had kept his head ducked, studying the sheets in his hands instead of facing her. Her voice had still been soft and apologetic, and had made Arthur want to cover his ears. He could take being ridiculed or shouted out, but he absolutely could not take being pitied.

He glanced up long enough to see her scanning the page, catching her eye as she opened her mouth and there was something there in her gaze that made him need to leave to room before she spoke.

And so he had.
He’d taken the score back, noting the surprise in her eyes before striding out of the room.
He knew he needed the theory before he could compose. He knew the piano course was different to composition, and he also knew that he’d fare much better in his composing if he had a stronger base in his piano playing. He knew that his performance lacked expression; knew that it was what was holding him back.
He didn’t need to be told by anyone.
He didn’t want to hear it from anyone.

And so he had traipsed off campus and ended up in a small pub in the middle of the afternoon hoping a drink would cool his temper.

One drink had turned into two, and two into three until he’d stopped counting – stopped caring – and had rather predictably ended up royally plastered. From then on his memories of the evening were rather vague; he remembered a rowdy argument between the Turkish pub owner and a patron who he’d sworn had looked a lot more docile only moments before. He vaguely remembered someone egging him on as he’d shrugged out of his shirt… And the rest of the night may as well have not existed for all that he could recall.

Had his neighbour picked him up at the bar? (This begged the question if he’d been ‘picked up’ or if he’d been ejected from the premises for being drunk and disorderly and the kind soul had lent him their sofa for the night. He didn’t really want to consider either possibility.) Perhaps he’d actually made it back to the apartment complex but not as far as his room?

Thinking about it all just made his head hurt. More than it already did

With a final groan, he downed the water remaining in his glass and curled up into a ball, before finally sinking into oblivion.

He’d deal with it all tomorrow, when his body had stopped trying to torture him for his stupidity.

x X x

Somehow, it had completely slipped Gilbert’s mind that the post office would be shut on a Sunday.

It had sort of become a habit for him to leave his weeks’ worth of errands to a side until Sunday, when he’d be bored and listless and glad for a reason to take him out of the flat. He’d managed to miss a delivery the previous day when he’d been practicing, the sound of the buzzer at the door lost between the notes his flute produced. Oops.

Either way, he couldn’t stay staring mournfully at the building forever. Heaving a heavy sigh, Gilbert shoved the slip of paper back into his pocket after confirming that he would still be able to collect his package on Monday and was on his way. The only thing left to do now was pick up a few groceries to keep him going during the week. Then it’d be back to the music stand to practice some more Daphnis et Chloé, because something just didn’t sound right with it.

…Perhaps he could have another look on youtube to see how it was being played by others…

It was with these thoughts that he strolled into his local supermarket, absently grabbing a trolley on the way in and throwing in the usual suspects; bread, milk, cereal, potatoes, sausages…

As he rounded a corner, trying to remember if he had any soup left that he spotted him; Sleeping Beauty from yesterday! The blond was staring at the tea section as though his decision were akin to picking the right wire when diffusing a bomb, thick brows furrowed deep in thought. He’d looked a lot worse for wear when Gilbert had found him slumped outside his flat door half naked and mumbling incoherently under his breath.

Gilbert had managed to haul the man inside, one thin arm thrown over his shoulders to make the task easier, before dumping him on the sofa with a spare pair of clothes and chucking a picnic blanket over him as an afterthought.

And the gratitude he’d received for his trouble?

Well, that would be the last time he listened to his brother about ‘Helping his fellow man’ at least.

Completely forgetting about the soup conundrum, he peered at the man – Gilbert was still sure that he’d seen him somewhere before…

Perhaps feeling the gaze on him, the blond looked up, green eyes growing wide and skin going slightly paler. The corner of Gilbert’s lip twitched. The poor guy looked like a startled rabbit. He didn’t think Gilbert had molested him in his sleep or anything, did he?

They just stared at each other for a few moments, before Gilbert finally broke into a smirk. “I remember! You’re that Kirkland kid!”

He’d barely given himself a mental pat on the back when Kirkland broke out of his daze and grabbed a box from the shelf without looking and stalked away (presumably to the checkout).

“Ah man,” Gilbert cackled to himself as he made for the alcohol isle. “I can’t wait to see his face on Monday.”

-Hollyrose-

A/N:  Again, slightly rushed but since I  had it written I  wanted to upload it before my exams started again ^^' So unless I  can get my contribution to [info]love_and_tea's monthly fanwork spree finished on time I  should be disappearing for a week or so, so I  can get on with my revision... Wish me luck!  XD
I  know there's not an awful lot going on in this part, but hopefully there should be more fun in the next chapter (as you may guess from the ending, or if you've seen/read Nodame Cantabile - though you'll notice that this won't completely be sticking to how things were in NC ^^' )

I've only done up to Grade 2 flute, and that was quite a while back, so if anyone with better musical knowledge has any corrections or advice, feel free to drop me a line!  XD  I hope you enjoyed reading this~  ^^

Date: 2011-06-22 09:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] revolutionjack.livejournal.com
;; *wibbles at Arthur* It'll be fine. Really. (Okay, maybe not.) And idiot, that's why you have teachers, to tell you what you're doing wrong! *cuffs him over the head*

<33333 Gilbert. Adorable. That was redundant and I don't even care. I cannot wait to see what happens on Monday~!

Date: 2011-06-23 01:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hollyrose-hime.livejournal.com
XD I'll have it up as soon as its been written~ ^^ And Arthur'll be okay, he just needs to calm down a bit XD It'll be better for him in the long run~ ^^ (Ah man, there are bits that I can't wait to write but I have to get to them first =3= /is impatient)

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