Autumn sunlight filtered down through the panes of tall French windows painting the small room an iridescent mixture of golden hues. Unsettled dust drifted through the rays of light to swirl on the slightest shift in the lazily warmed air.
All was quiet, the noises signifying the chaos from without the classroom muffled by the tightly closed door. One student sat at a desk in the corner farthest from the sealed portal, a neglected guitar lay across the desk before him as he tapped a set pattern of keys in rapid succession on the game in his hand. His short dark hair bobbed as he nodded his head silently to a tune only he could hear.
White specs caught in a pool of light above the floor before the door swirled into a cone before quickly dispersing as the relative quiet was broken by the sounds of many voices and moving bodies. The sound was muffled again with the soft click of the door closing once more. The distinct thump of a pair of dance shoes traveling with a sure gait caused the corner of Ninomiya's mouth to twitch and he frowned down at his game.
“Hey, I need you for a second,” Matsumoto Jun called from just behind the shorter boy as he finished crossing the desks to stand beside him. He waited somewhat impatiently, the command in his statement more than implied by his tone.
Nino did not look up from his game when he replied easily with, “You're interrupting important work.”
Jun spared a glance at the abandoned instrument before his friend and pursed his lips in annoyance. “Am I now? It just looks like you're fucking around on your DS to me.” He rose a perfectly shaped eyebrow as if defying the smaller boy to deny his irrefutable logic.
Still, without looking up, “For all you know I'm mentally mapping out the tempo of a new song.” Nino frowned as he hit the wrong sequence of keys and was forced to concentrate harder to recover.
“Oh, excuse me, I wasn't aware you wrote impromptus,” MatsuJun rolled his eyes as Nino tapped various keys deftly. It was a wonder that this boy managed to get any work done when he seemingly lived on his gaming systems, Jun's frown deepened.
With a derisive snort of laughter Nino countered, “Shows how much you know about music. There is a distinctive pattern to the beats of the keys I'm pressing, jack ass.”
“Eat me, Ninomiya,” Jun returned bitingly, beyond caring about the ridiculousness of his friend's superior tone based solely on the fact that he could count the beats and patterns playing a DS.
The DS chimed a cheery ditty informing Nino that his character had just died. Shutting the system off he lifted his head to face MatsuJun for the first time with a disarmingly sweet smile. “I'd love to, but unfortunately prissy bitch gives me indigestion.”
Jun glowered at the smaller boy. Had he not actually required Nino's assistance he would have been happy to continue the verbal warfare, however, Jun did not forget the reason he'd sought out Nino in the first place. “Seriously, I need you to follow me for a second.” He tried to stifle his wounded pride, promising himself he would exact revenge at a later date, preferably with an audience.
Nino frowned in annoyance, completely disinclined to give up the solitude of his abandoned sanctuary without reason. “What is it? I already told you I'm not joining your fruity musical.”
“It's not a musical, damn it! Which is besides the point. A new instructor is helping our group with the play and he doesn't like the music for a certain part. He didn't like anything we had available either. I said I knew a guy who was good with music,” here MatsuJun paused, hoping that his subtle note of flattery was enough to woo Nino over into at least listening to the proposal.
“Ugh, as if I don't have enough to do already. You're aware that while you get to prance around as Queen Titania I actually have to work on creating an original score, right?” Nino was beginning to pack his belongings despite his words. He was perfectly willing to be persuaded, but he was going to make Jun actually do the persuading.
“Right, because you've been set to the grindstone on that task so intently,” Jun sneered as Nino placed the as-of-yet untouched guitar in its case carefully. After a pause during which Nino made no sign of dropping his nonchalance towards the subject Jun ground out, “I'll make it up to you.”
Lips twisting into a sly grin Nino turned to his friend, possessions in hand. “Of course you will.” Nino motioned for Jun to walk ahead of him so that he wouldn't have to negotiate the task of opening a door while holding a guitar.
Navigating the halls of St. John's Academy of the Arts, Ninomiya liked to think to himself, was much like two virgins having sex for the first time; full of frantic gropes, accidental bumps, too much or too little speed, and when all is said and done—if you did it right—no one is happy but at least you're where you need to be. All things considered, however, Nino was quite aware of how off-the-wall this opinion was and frequently kept it to himself. He cringed as he had to squeeze his instrument case through the members of a practicing off-key quartet and continued to trot along beside (and occasionally behind) his friend.
The general chatter of overcrowded classrooms soon died away as the pair neared one of the larger auditoriums. Jun lead the way to the backstage entrance and waved to a spot where Nino could finally relieve himself of his belongings before being introduced to the instructor he'd be trying to assist. Nino straightened his uniform quickly before following MatsuJun to the stage.
At the back of the stage several students sat stretching and observing as a collection of their peers drilled steps to a count. Nino watched from the wings as Jun approached a short man dressed in a t-shirt and sweat pants. He was leaning against a large plywood box and staring in the general direction of the students, though Nino had the distinct impression that the man was not actually aware of what was going on in front of him. The young man was therefore unsurprised when the instructor across the stage started to a more standing position when Jun had to physically touch his arm to get his attention. The two spoke for a moment before Jun motioned for Nino to join them.
“Ah! That's a good start everyone, but why don't you take a break while I try and work out this music situation. Alright? Please continue to work hard!” He nodded and smiled at the students, waving them off.
As Nino closed the distance between them he noticed how incredibly young the guest instructor was. If he had to guess he would say the man—if you could call him that at all—was hardly older than himself or Jun, a maximum of 20 years old. The young face turned and smiled, bright white teeth flashing from behind partially separated lips, dark eyes far more focused than they had been moments ago.
“Ohno-san, this is the friend I was telling you about, Ninomiya Kazunari. He's a student in the music program here, he's quite good with composition,” Jun began the introductions, moving aside to bring Nino forward. “Ninomiya-kun, this is Ohno Satoshi. He's a member of Tempest and has studied under Kimura Takuya. Tempest has seen fit to generously lend us his talents for this production.”
Nino nodded his hello. “I hope that I can be of help.” He watched the new man's face curiously. There was no mistaking, he was obscenely young, especially for an instructor.
“Thank you for your assistance. I'm sure you'll be quite helpful,” Ohno smiled a small smile. Nino did not smile back but he liked the seemingly comfortable air the man seemed to posses.
The two continued to regard each other with no more words for a minute. Nino stared expectantly at Ohno, waiting for the man to begin explaining what it was he might require assistance with. Ohno simply continued to smile.
Jun cleared his throat and Ohno's eyes left Nino and he raised his brows in question. “Uh, I'm sure Ohno-san would like to speak to Ninomiya-kun about the matter of getting new music.” Ohno continued to stare questioningly. “For the performance,” Jun clarified. Ohno continued to stare and Jun nodded at the stage.
Eyes following the younger boy's nod Ohno's expression brightened into a smile, as though the thought had just occurred to him. “Ah! Yes that's actually exactly what we need to do. Matsumoto-kun, you can come with if you'd like. Or go on break, if you'd rather not.”
Jun frowned slightly at the noncommittal proposal, unsure which option he was supposed to take. Deciding he'd rather not play interpretor and instigator any longer MatsuJun nodded. “Well, then, I'll be...” he looked around casually, “Over there,” he gestured vaguely to the direction of the stage and wandered away.
Ninomiya was silently cursing his good friend's date of birth and health for leaving him with the flighty guest instructor. Writing a new song to someone else's specifications was difficult enough without having to try and get them to tune in to planet Earth as well. However, he turned and smiled politely at Ohno and nodded again. “Shall we?”
Ohno smiled cheerfully, as he had before, and nodded. He walked over to a portable CD player that had the tracks for the performance so far and picked up a packet of paper that sat beside the machine. Folding into a seated position on the stage he gestured for Nino to follow the few steps to his location.
“I don't know if you're familiar with what we're doing, but I'll try my best to kind of explain...” Ohno began. Nino crouched to look over the script Ohno gestured to, occasionally nodding his understanding and acknowledgement as the older man described the scene as it was written. The issue that seemed to need resolving was that the tone of the scene, as Ohno read it, called for more abrupt movement to better convey the harried feeling of the characters. Nino felt he understood this point well enough and nodded when Ohno offered to play him a segment of the music that had been made available for the performance.
“Here we go,” Ohno lilted in a sing-song to himself before pressing the 'play' button. When the first few beats of the track drifted out of the contraption Nino's brow furrowed into a visible cringe. The song was a languid, smooth R&B tune. A good song, but certainly not in any way fit for what Ohno seemed to be aiming for.
Without asking permission Nino reached out a hand and paused the track, still frowning. “That doesn't sound right.”
“I know, right!” Ohno sighed, relieved that the boy had comprehended his problem. “It needs to be...” he motioned helplessly with his hands, groping for the words but coming up empty.
“More urgent?” Nino suggested.
Ohno grinned and nodded. “Exactly!”
Nino nodded his understanding, trying to formulate in his mind the basis for a piece that might suit the performance's needs. Turning his gaze from the script to Ohno the younger boy asked, “Could you show me how some of the dance is supposed to go?”
“Hmm,” Ohno pursed his lips. “It's kind of an issue to come up with a dance without appropriate music. But...” Ohno trailed off as he stood, walking to the center of the abandoned stage. “I was thinking that it should incorporate something along the lines of...”
Nino watched carefully as the man before him began to move about the stage. There was no music, the restless students in the wings and backstage shuffling about, noises filtering in from outside the auditorium. Ohno stepped forward briskly, confidence in every move. A few beats in movements and gestures began to stop seemingly abruptly in an expert display of control. The small man would twist into a smooth motion to halt part way through, recovering instantly into another beat, another step. As Nino watched a tune began to formulate in his head and he bobbed his head as he counted along to Ohno's steps silently.
Ohno ended his demonstration with a well executed back-handspring and paused a moment before looking at Nino. “Or something like that,” Ohno shrugged indecisively. Nino couldn't help but stare openly at the nonchalance the man seemed to have about the various feats of athleticism just performed, appearing to be more concerned about whether or not he'd actually keep any of the things he'd just thrown together.
As Ohno continued to look at him expectantly Nino found himself shaking his head inwardly at the simplicity of the young instructor's mind. Outwardly he stood and bowed his head politely. “I think I might be able to do something for you.”
Nino was taken aback by the large grin of gratitude and relief that broke across Ohno's face. “I'm so glad to hear that!” Nino did his best not to smirk.