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Phonographs

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After their walk, they returned home to spend the rest of the day alternating activities. With a focus on enjoying each other's company and light conversation gave the promise for a more taxing conversation tomorrow. Aro led them into the drawing-room with the intent of finding a chessboard.

"I can't recall if you play or not?" Aro asked as he knelt down to open a low cabinet door.

"Yeah, I mean, a little. I never was very good. Played more card games, like poker, than chess. But yeah, I've played." Peter watched as Aro began to search the depths of the cabinet when he saw a flicker of surprise pass over the vampire's face. 

The long-haired man pulled out several sleeves of records, standing as he said, "I forgot I had brought these here."

Peter glanced at the top one in the small stack Aro held, "Whatcha got there babe?" 

Aro, without looking up, began to flip through the selection, holding them at an angle so Peter could read the titles, "these are phonograph records."

Peter noted that, even with his limited interest and knowledge of classic music, he noticed each composure, and snorted, "of course, that's the only kind of music you have."

Aro lifted his face to Peter then, smirking, "I'm afraid I am rather unimaginative in my musical tastes in that the selection I hold here is limited to the more standard classical masters. Mozart, Bach, Bethoven, Vivaldi. I know that most individuals are familiar with their work and it is fairly common, but they are common for a reason. As overused as many of these compositions are, I have a fondness for them regardless of the numerous times I have heard them."

"Yeah, yeah. Classical music is pretty standard vampire shit. I know." Peter teased, "but why phonograph?"

"I also admit that I have a preference for older methods of listening to music. I understand that, for a mortal ear, you cannot hear the difference, but there is a more natural warmth in music recorded on records than on most formats it has been transformed with. Nothing comparable to a live performance mind, but these, and later, better quality, records, are the best quality to hear music as intended." Aro gestured with the phonographs, "as to the reason I have kept these particularly outdated variants, phonographs are rather outdated even for myself, I admit the ritual of setting the needle, winding the device, is...charming. I don't understand it myself but I find that I enjoy the process of setting my music up."

Peter's heart warmed at Aro's subdued enthusiasm as he explained himself. The way the vampire smiled, how his eyes scrunched ever so slightly as that smile reached them. Aro, while a collector of many things, having lived for as long as he had, rarely showed explicit interest or fondness for his possessions. He liked his stuff sure, flaunted his rare things, his expensive things, out of pride. But these were the moments that made Peter smile, fall in love more. When Aro Volturi expressed warmth and a personal attachment to things. Actual joy in something and explained it to him. Sharing it with him. He knew that Aro liked classical music (most vampires probably did) and not in a classist, pretentious manner despite his age and wealth. He didn't like it because it was expected of him to do so, because of the intellectual bragging rights many felt entitled to because they liked "real music", he truly enjoyed it. Aro would recline, alone in his study, and let the music wash over him.

Peter had only seen him doing this once when he walked into Aro's study and found the vampire, eyes closed, hands folded in his lap, listening to something he didn't recognize. So enraptured was he that Peter had been able to cross the room and kiss his cheek before the vampire registered his presence.

It wasn't that Aro didn't expose him to music in their time together, but it was usually played in the background while they did other things, or Aro was more interested in the newer things Peter was showing him and the human's hobbies rather than exposing himself and his hobbies. He wasn't secretive about his interests or hobbies really, he just preferred to indulge in Peter's. Caught up in something new for him. Peter got the feeling that it was one of those few things Aro liked to do alone, listen to his music. After all, he was often working, around his family or other vampires, or Peter and it was probably one of the few things he chose to have to himself.

It was nice to have Aro light up like this.

"That's really cool. Do you even have a phonograph here?" Peter cast his eyes around the room but saw nothing but the furniture.

"Alas, no. The one that I had here was unfortunately damaged beyond restoration efforts and it had simply slipped my mind to have it replaced." He cast a glance at the records in his hands before giving a small sigh, "ce la vie. It has been a number of years since I have been at this particular estate and it has not been a priority. Perhaps, after the wedding plans and eventual ceremony, I will remember to purchase a replacement."

Peter watched as Aro replaced the records in their spot in the cabinet and did his best to keep his face neutral as an idea occurred to him. He'd have to see what Aro said after tomorrow's conversation, but if it went well...he knew what he would do.

"Worse comes to worst, I do have the laptop. Can find any music you want," Peter said as casually as he could and grinned to himself when Aro let out another small sigh.

"I suppose." Aro clapped his hands together softly, "now, let us see if we can find that chessboard."