There was music everywhere.
Jadzia had been noticing it ever since they got back from Trill. Now that she had Joran’s memories, she couldn’t help it. The rhythms of the station - the vendors on the Promenade, the beeping consoles in Ops, the hum of the turbolifts - all of it changed into music in her head, merging with the constant, insistent beat that she’d been hearing on some level since this whole thing had started.
She walked straight past the Replimat in a daze, and didn’t even notice Keiko until she was standing in front of her, waving.
‘Jadzia? Jadzia! Hey! Are you in there?’
Jadzia took a step back. ‘Keiko?’
‘We had a lunch date, remember? You just walked right past!’
‘Oh… oh, Keiko, I’m sorry! I guess I’m just distracted…’
‘I’ll say,’ said Keiko, steering Jadzia back to their usual table and planting her in a chair while she fetched their food. ‘I guess your trip to Trill gave you a lot to think about.’
‘I still can’t get that melody out of my head,’ said Jadzia. ‘I remember some of his other music too, but the memories are such a jumble that I can’t do anything with it, except play that one song. I wrote it… he wrote it, I mean, while he was an initiate. He poured all of his hopes into it, all of his dreams for joining… it was the last thing he wrote, before they gave him Dax. The last thing he did as Joran Belar. He wrote a few pieces afterward, but they were… different. And I can’t play any of them - or anything he wrote before. When I touch the keyboard, I can play that one piece perfectly, but nothing else. It’s kind of unnerving. I hear music everywhere now, but I can’t… I can’t get it out, and it gets so loud...’
‘Jadzia.’ Keiko’s hand was on hers across the table, her expression concerned. ‘Have you talked to Julian about this?’
Jadzia frowned. ‘I did. He said it’s psychological. I made an appointment with a counselor Nerys knows on Bajor, but, I don’t know if I want to go. It makes me feel scrutinised. I had enough of that at the Symbiosis Commission.’
Keiko chewed thoughtfully on her hasperat. ‘Would you like some music lessons instead? Maybe if you learn to play something else, Joran’s music won’t be so overwhelming.’
‘I don’t know... ‘
‘It can’t hurt to try, right?’
‘I don’t know anyone who could teach me, and I’m not sure I could relax around a stranger, with Joran’s music always there...’
‘Jadzia - I could teach you. I play piano and clarinet. I could at least get you started on the basics.’
Jadzia nudged her lunch around her plate for a minute before she spoke. ‘I guess you’re right. It couldn’t hurt to try.’
* * *
They started in a holosuite, empty except for a grand piano and a padded bench in front of it. Jadzia hesitated in the doorway until Keiko pulled her gently to the bench and sat down first.
‘Come on,’ she said. ‘I’m pretty sure it won’t bite.’
Jadzia rolled her eyes and sat beside her.
‘Let’s start with something simple,’ said Keiko. ‘Watch me, and copy what I do.’
She started in the centre of the keyboard and played what Jadzia recognised somewhere in her jumble of memories as a major scale.
‘Now you,’ she said.
Jadzia tried it. It was easy, even if her fingers trembled against the keys.
They played scales for a while, and Keiko corrected Jadzia’s posture and finger placement. Then she showed her how to play a short melody - just four simple bars with the right hand. She practised it a few times. She kept playing when Keiko added more notes with her left hand, making Jadzia’s simple little tune sound much grander and deeper than it had a moment ago.
A memory of Joran flashed past - he’d felt this too, when he’d learned to play, this same excitement that he was making real music, the same sensation of being swept away with it, caught up in something too big to truly understand. The elation… She stopped abruptly. Joran’s elation was also associated with other, more difficult memories.
‘Perhaps that’s enough for today,’ said Keiko. ‘Let’s get a raktajino.’
* * *
They worked at it. As Joran’s memories found their right places in Jadzia’s mind and settled down, it became easier. She woke up sometimes from nightmares where she wore his face, but his music wasn’t so loud, and sometimes the songs she was learning with Keiko drowned it out.
‘Something new today,’ said Keiko, one day, setting the PADD with the music on it where Jadzia could see it. ‘Give it a try.’
Jadzia frowned at the notes, playing them slowly, one by one.
‘I remember this!’ she said, after a few bars. ‘This was one of my favourite songs when I was little. My sister and I used to sing it together - how did you know?’
Keiko grinned. ‘I asked your sister. I thought it might be nice for you to reconnect with some of the music from your childhood. She sent over a few ideas. Actually she sent pages of them.’
Jadzia laughed. ‘That sounds like her. I’ll have to thank her the next time we talk.’
She looked at the music again and began to play, with more certainty now that she knew the tune. Keiko accompanied her, adding in the left-hand part. It sounded good. Jadzia peered at the music, wondering how anyone ever got to the point where they could play with both hands at once, reading two different lines of music.
And then something clicked into place - some part of Joran’s memories fitting itself into the right slot - and she knew.
‘Stop,’ she said.
Keiko sat back. Jadzia shuffled over a little and started to play the song with both hands. She could follow the music now, faster and faster until her fingers almost couldn’t keep up with her thoughts. Memories of Joran’s childhood music lessons merged with her own memories of singing with her sister, sunny days on the swing in their back garden. It felt… right.
She stopped. Joran was quiet inside her, peaceful.
‘Well… that was a rapid improvement!’ said Keiko.
‘Let’s try something else,’ said Jadzia, grinning. ‘Let’s try everything. Heck, go get your clarinet - we can duet!’
While Keiko hurried to find it, Jadzia kept playing.
There was music everywhere.