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give me the thing i understand

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Susan likes sitting next to Maglor on the piano bench when he's playing.

She doesn't bother him when he's composing, when his brow is furrowed in concentration, when he touches the keys haltingly, trying to work out what note goes best and when it should be played, when he scribbles furiously on the sheet music, cursing under his breath when the perfect melody seems to be escaping him.

She leaves him alone at such times, knowing he needs to be alone to get to perfection (which of course he always does). Susan has her own things to do while Maglor works — living forever means you pick up a wide variety of hobbies — and she finds it rather relaxing to work in the kitchen, or out in the garden, or on any manner of projects, while various bits and pieces of music echo throughout the house.

But he plays to relax too, to unwind, and it's always the piano he turns to then. They have an entire room full of instruments, running the gamut from flutes to drums to a wide variety of harps. There's more than one piano too — there's electric keyboards of all sorts, and a baby grand. But it's the battered upright he sits at when he's playing for pleasure, and it's then that she joins him.

He always has a smile for her when she slides onto the bench next to him, siting close, hip to hip. Sometimes she wraps an arm around his waist when he plays, and leans her head on his shoulder, letting the music wash over her. The notes lift and transport her to another place and time, the sound so clear and pure she can almost see what he was thinking of when he wrote it, where he was when he worked on it, feel his inspiration in her heart.

Other times he plays popular songs, and she sings as he plays. She doesn't know how to play, never learned, not in any of her lifetimes, but singing… she sang long ago and far away in Narnia, the Gentle Queen whose voice was often compared to a nightingale (the highest compliment the Narnians could give to her singing). She sang as a girl in London, listening to the popular music on the wireless. She sang in schoolgirl choirs and musicales, and since meeting Maglor, she's learned countless more songs. Wherever he is, there is always music, whether it's his own he's playing, or music he loves and listens to endlessly.

And he loves when Susan sings. She joins him on stage often, in front of the screaming crowds, and he beams at her when he plays the notes to her favorite song.

He gives her that smile now as she sings, leaning in to press a kiss to her temple. "You make the song sound even better, melmenya."

"Do I?" Susan smiles at his compliment, but her eyes are drawn to his hands, as they glide effortlessly over the keyboard, picking out each key without any hesitation or errors. There are so many things she loves about him, but she loves his touch, the way his hands skim over her body, as if she was an instrument he sought to master. Perhaps she is, because his touch makes her body soar, and spiral, brings out the best in her, as it does from all of his musical implements.

But there is always something new to learn, even after all these years together, and today Susan is realizing just how arousing it is to see his hands trip along the keys, and wondering how it's only now that she's noticed. She reaches out and covers one lightly with her own, feeling his fingers move under hers, and a thrill shoots down her spine.

"Finally!" His voice is filled with amused triumph. "Finally, you want me to teach you how to play."

"Mmm, yes," she agrees, voice low, feeling a warmth spread over her body. It starts in her fingers, resting over his own, and travels up her arm, becomes a need that leaves her near breathless. Another amazing thing, that after so long, she can still want him so much. "You should teach me. I want to play."

And after this long, Maglor knows her very well. She knows by the way he dips his head, and presses a soft kiss to her cheek, that he's taken her meaning. He shifts on the bench, pulling her onto his lap, and places her hands on the keyboard, this time covering them with his own. "This is how we start." His voice is soft and his breath hot against her skin as he whispers in her ear, pressing her fingers with his.

He's in no hurry and neither is she. He will teach, and she will learn, and it will be a wonderful lesson. And they have all the time in the world for it.