Title: The Gift of Music
Author: Kari
Rating: G

“The Gift of Music” was always a mixed blessing for Daniel Renard. Every year, the young composer, along with every other upper echelon musician, gathered in New York City to raise money for musical charity to the local schools. The concert had a love/hate relationship with the composer because he loved to extend the love of music to every child he could. However, the downside to that was a large three-hour benefit concert that had to be planned, practiced, and performed in New York’s large Metropolitan Hall.  Daniel found himself musing these things for the hundredth time as he sat in the thirteenth row from the stage, listening to various musicians complain about acoustics or sound quality. He hadn’t stayed to listen to the bickering of over-rated musicians, though. He had stayed to listen to a certain violinist of whom he had been seeing a lot of lately: Joshu Laurent. He watched as the young musician stepped out onto the stage to tune his violin before he began to play. Daniel leaned forward his chair and propped his chin upon his palms, intent on listening to the concerto he had written for his biggest fan and current lover.

Joshu looked up from his violin into the crowd of empty seats and smiled as he spotted Daniel’s lone figure. Daniel smiled and watched as his young gentleman friend blushed slightly. He could not comprehend Joshu’s adoration of him not only as a composer, but also as a vampire. It puzzled him to sit there in the thirteenth row and watch as Joshu picked up his bow to not only play a piece that he admired, but a piece that he adored from the many corners of his heart. It took Daniel a moment to realize that his beau had begun the piece. He laced his fingers in silent concentration, but it was only to his consternation that he found he could not focus on the merits of the piece. He found himself concentrating, instead, on the gentle glides that the violinist’s arm pushed and pulled the bow across the slippery strings of the violin. His elbow lead Daniel’s mind’s-eye up his arm and to the violinist’s soft, peaceful face. Daniel knew that the young violinist often lost himself in pieces, but this time he wondered what thoughts ran across the young man’s mind as his own eyes stopped at Joshu’s closed ones. Daniel cocked his head to the side, and took in a deep sigh. Was the young musician focusing on the notes and the merit of the piece, or was there something more behind those closed eyes? The composer wondered if, perhaps, the man was thinking about him. But what about him, exactly, was Joshu thinking? Daniel shook his head, wondering if he merely looked too deeply into the situation. Joshu then opened his eyes momentarily, looking down at the violin and its peaceful movements. Daniel could swear he saw something there, but he could not quite put his finger on it.

“Dammit…” He thought to himself, his frustration at not being able to read into the music about to boil over. What was that?! What was in his mind? There was a brief temptation to read Joshu’s aura, but then, that would be cheating, wouldn’t it? Is this how his own audience felt as they heard his own fingers dance across the ivories? The melodic sorrow wasted on deaf ears…?

Sorrow. Was that what he heard in his lover’s song? Daniel leaned in to listen closer. He had to know. If he did not discover what was behind that slow, haunting melody, he felt he would die for a second time. Maybe it was sorrow…with a bit of happiness? Daniel’s mind raced. Why was it so important he knew? Was the young musician toying with the frayed ends of his dangling nerves? Happiness and sorrow could not exist in the same moment…in one daring note after the next. He must be hearing it incorrectly. He leaned in again, watching his beau with such intensity that if he dared look any closer, he feared burning a hole straight through him. He listened intently, but only heard the same two emotions spring from the piece. He grabbed his fingers in his hair, trying in some way to make sense of it in some way. He quickly stopped and looked to see if anyone had seen him, and thankfully no one had, especially not the young musician upon the stage.  Daniel fell back into the chair and closed his eyes, rubbing his temples in an effort to clear his mind. Note after note…pounding in his head and in his heart.

His eyes suddenly burst open, letting the light into his wracked brain. “Bittersweet.” He said to himself in a mutter. Bittersweet. He acknowledged that thought clearly. It was not the notes he heard either, he realized, but it truly was the man behind him. Daniel, once again, leaned forward in his chair, this time trying to see through the man, but in the man, himself.  What was Joshu Laurent thinking, and why did it remind him so much of himself?

The bow continued to slide across the strings of the violin. Daniel rubbed one of his hands across his jaw thoughtfully, careful not to betray the fangs that were hidden beneath his lips. Was this…a message…about them? Was Joshu relaying a message about their bittersweet relationship? Daniel’s heart sang and sank at the same instant. He…he was playing about him, and as much as Daniel loved to hear that sweet melodic happiness ring throughout the auditorium, his heart sank at the sadness that seemed to intermittently rear itself within the unspoken notes. Was it just as he had feared? Was he pulling Joshu into a world that he was never meant to reside in? Would it all end as it had with himself, years ago?

Daniel shook his head, and had to restrain himself for fear of blood tears streaking down his pale face. After hearing Joshu’s testament, in his own “words”, would he be able to deal with the consequences? Would he be able to break Joshu’s heart, and tell him, for his own safety, that he would have to leave? Break his own heart, for that matter…. Daniel wrestled within himself for a moment, pondering these things with such intensity that his own thoughts drowned out the music once again. Throughout the red haze of self-loathing and pity, he found his eyes locked on the young man once more. He had finished playing the concerto and was looking up at Daniel for his approval. Daniel was quiet for a moment, causing the man on stage to cock his head. He could see Joshu’s lips mouthing his name, and he froze, realizing he was too selfish to give up this mortal. And then, Daniel Renard smiled as he realized that the song’s true meaning was: he realized that Joshu was too selfish to give him up either.

~~The End