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Old 11-13-2018, 04:12 AM   #4
Little do they know...
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: London, England
Posts: 773

When he returned to the wings, Takamura was waiting for him. His accompanist stood with his narrow back to Haru, rocking lightly on his toes and clasping his hands before him, gazing through the curtains at stage right. His head was bobbing to a rhythm that didn’t match the onstage orchestra’s. Haru drew level and planted his cello before him like a cleaver sword, bow hanging from a spare finger.

"Thank you for bringing it," he whispered, with a slight bow.

The other man nodded distractedly with the flutter of a smile but did not speak. Haru gazed at Takamura a moment longer, enough to take in the light sheen over his shaven head, the tremble at the corner of his eyes, and the glimmer of a different smile behind lips parted to mouth melodic nothings. He always got like this; it was just Takamura’s habit of the craft. Nerves before a performance, driving him forward, the rocking in his feet keeping him moving enough to contain his kinetic energy. How he always kept his fingers so still was a mystery to Haru.

His own were tapping the rounded crest of the cello’s scroll in time with the orchestra’s shamisen section. He wasn’t thinking about his own piece. Thinking wasn’t going to get him anywhere but into a state of second-guessing. Feeling was key. He knew the piece they were going to perform — knew it in his soul, in his body. It was a part of him. He was more likely to forget how to walk onstage and raise his arm or shake his head.

Haru took a step closer to the edge of the wings, where shadow met stage lighting, and tracked his eyes across the small mountain range of peaked black hats to the sea of faces beyond and up, up to the grand circle, where they began to thin out. The upper circle was practically empty. He had hoped that in the hours since his arrival, the audience would have grown. It was good, still, but not the best. However, their applause chased the disappointment away. Loud cheers, yips and whistles punctuated the ovation.

That’s right.

This was not your average crowd. These were people from all walks of life in Sougen and beyond, drawn to see all manner of performing artists in the space of a day, while the festival was not purely about the music. Nor were the cheers. It was also about hope, and community — unity in the face of an epidemic sweeping their nation.

The orchestra took their bows, twice, then shuffled out stage left, while the stage hands swarmed onstage to reorder seats for the next large group and push everything upstage, leaving space for Takamura’s grand piano, which was rolled on from the wings and fixed in place. After its stool was set, a single chair was positioned horizontally across centre stage with a music stand in front of it.

Haru quickly caught one of the retreating concert hall employees by the shoulder and shook his head firmly, causing the man to pause, grimace and hurry back onstage to remove the stand. A rustle of intrigue issued from the seating galleries, backed by a bristling of new commotion as the lights began to dim. He ignored whatever it might be and looked instead to Takamura, who was still as a statue. Gone was the nervous energy. Only the perspiration remained, but Haru could tell it had cooled. The man finally met his gaze, his features devoid of doubt, and the pair nodded. Then they walked out under the cover of darkness to take their seats.

Last edited by Calibur; 11-13-2018 at 04:07 PM..
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