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The Memory of a Melody

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How many drinks had he had?

He didn’t know – he’d lost track of the count somewhere after three or four glasses of whiskey – but it had to be a high number because his eyes were warm, his eyelids heavy, his saliva tasting of rich alcohol, and his nose tingling with warmth.

He slumped back against the cushions of the couch, staring down at the empty glass in his hand. The cubes of ice rattled as they rolled about in the bottom of the glass. The pale moonlight trickled through the large wall of windows to his newly-renovated loft, making the ice cubes glitter like diamonds.

He drew in a deep breath and glanced across the loft.

It was quiet and empty.

The room was full of furniture: new couches that were stacked with cushions thanks to Lydia, the coffee table from Italy that Peter refused to let him get rid of, small end tables covered in books and photo frames that were filled with photos of Cora – who was now living down in Mexico to finish her studies – and various other photos of his family that had survived the fire.

The others had brought around various other things to make Derek feel more at home: Scott had brought blankets, Isaac had brought books, Erica and Boyd had bought him new bedsheets the day they came over to help him put together the new bedframe, and Stiles had brought the whiskey.

But it still didn’t feel like home; it was lonely.

Derek glanced across towards the large wall of windows.

They had moved his desk into another room, and in its place stood a grand piano: Laura’s piano.

She had taught him years ago how to play but, ever since the fire, he had left it in storage where it had done nothing but gathered dust.

Derek sighed and rose to his feet.

He staggered slightly as he made his way over to the piano, setting the glass down on top of the piano before lifting the hood.

He tapped at a few keys, listening to the fading echo of the notes. He moved his hands into place, letting his fingers move by habit as he began to play the soft, melancholy melody of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.

He shut his eyes, feeling the music calm him as he let his mind drift. He remembered all the times Laura had sat him on the tool next to her and teach him how to play. He couldn’t help but smile at the memories of when their parents would leave them home alone or in Peter’s care and Laura would play a lullaby or a soft melody on the piano to lull Cora and Derek to sleep and then carry them to bed. He remembered how he and Laura would play their mother’s favourite songs just to see her smile.

His body swayed slightly with the melody as it soothed his aching soul.

The song drew to an end.

He sat still for a moment, his fingers hovering over the keys.

A slow clap echoed through the loft, startling Derek.

“That was incredible,” Stiles commented, stepping into the light.

“When did you get here?” Derek asked, squinting slightly to make out the boy’s face in the haze the misted his vision.

“About half way through your performance,” Stiles replied. “I didn’t know you could play.”

“Why would I have a piano if I couldn’t play?” Derek slurred. “Do you really think I’m that materialistic and pompous?”

“No,” Stiles answered, raising his hands defensively. “It’s just that the wood is a little charred and it was really dusty when we got it out of storage. I thought it might have been from your family home, like a memorabilia but I didn’t know you could actually play.”

“My sister taught me,” Derek told him.

Stiles crossed over to the piano.

Derek scooted over on the small leather stool and pat at the seat next to him.

Stiles heeded and sat next to him.

After a moment of quiet, Stiles asked, “Do you know how to play anything else?”

Derek thought for a moment, setting his hands in position and playing a dinky little tune that made them both laugh.

After a minute or two Derek shifted his hands across the keys and began to play another tune, one from Beauty and the Beast. After a second, Derek began to sing, his voice low and husky as he recited the words,

 

“Tale as old as time,
True as it can be.
Barely even friends,
Then somebody bends,
Unexpectedly.


Just a little change,
Small to say the least.
Both a little scared,
Neither one prepared,
Beauty and the beast.”

 

Slowly, Stiles began to melt into the melody, his head falling to rest on Derek’s shoulder.

They stayed like that, Derek playing song after song and Stiles singing along when he could.

It was perfect: an apartment full of furniture, a piano full of music, a heart full of memories, and someone to share it with.