The Overture (Part I)
Rating: PG-13?
Warnings: Underage drinking, oh my! :P (In other words, nothing ;D)

This was, Joshu thought, simply unreal. There was no other word for it. Of course, being on his third glass of cabernet sauvignon probably didn't help, but the unreality had started somewhat earlier than the wine.

He was currently sitting on a black leather sofa, separated from the owner of this luxurious condo by a stylishly low, glass-topped coffee table. Currently sitting on said coffee table was the offending bottle of cabernet, a shallow black dish holding a display of black river-rocks and white columnar candles, and several sheaves of hand-written sheet music. The aforementioned owner was regarding his half-full wine glass, but, as if he felt the younger man's gaze, he looked up at Joshu with a dazzling smile.

"I think all of the legendary composers were a little mad, you know," the dark-haired man said cheerfully, perhaps ignoring the fact that he was destined to join those "legendary composers" himself. Or at least, Joshu thought so.

Daniel Renard was one of the most renowned composers of the century — at least among the classical set. Your average man on the street had probably never heard of him, but those in the art, like Joshu, who was gaining his own recognition as a solo violinist, had watched Daniel's ascent with awe. He was a bit too old to be considered a young prodigy, but at twenty-five, to be able to write orchestral scores with such a depth of feeling, music that sank its claws into your very soul... Well, if that didn't deserve recognition in the years and decades to come, what did?

"Isn't there some saying about genius and madness going hand in hand?" Joshu said hesitantly, wanting to continue the banter, but unsure of the composer's sense of humor. He seemed very amicable, but having only been acquainted with the man for a few hours, Joshu preferred to err on the side of caution.

He seemed to have done all right; the older man's grin stretched into a configuration reminiscent of his surname — Renard, a fox. He laughed and set his wine glass down. "Is that what people mean when they call me a genius?" he asked rhetorically, with a self-mocking smile. "Ah well, if this is madness, I'll take it. Here, your glass is looking rather empty..." Picking up the significantly lighter wine bottle, Daniel gestured for Joshu to hand over his glass.

"Er... I really probably shouldn't," the violinist stammered, already feeling fuzzy-headed and overly warm. "Matter of fact, I don't... know if I can walk to the subway..." he said with growing embarrassment. Being absolutely plastered wasn't a great way to make a first impression...

Daniel waved his hand dismissively. "This is Manhattan, we'd have no problem waving down a cab... Or," he said suddenly, with a bright grin, "you could crash here, you know, place is bloody big enough..."

Well, the condominium was on the... lavish end of the scale... but no, that was just being too familiar. "Oh, God, I couldn't do that —" Joshu started to protest.

The composer regarded him steadily, with a smile that seemed to speak of offered friendship. "I don't see why not," he said amiably, "unless you have someone waiting for you..."

"No! I mean... no, I don't..." Dammit, I'm already starting to sound like an idiot, he thought, mildly horrified. But he was eighteen, out of the house, and single... no, he didn't have anyone waiting for him in his tiny studio apartment, not even a pet.

Daniel sat back in his chair, seeming to relax even more than he had thus far. "Then just stay the night and sleep it off," he suggested in a that's-what-friends-are-for tone.

"You look terribly sober," Joshu blurted, because it was astonishing to him that the man had such composure after going drink for drink with him. Not that he was a strong drinker, by any means, but... was he just that weak? Or...

"You'd never know it to look at me, but I've been known to drink people under the table," his host said with an amused shrug. "I probably should have cut back a little for your sake, though. I'm such a villain, pushing wine on a minor!" He leaned forward and looked at Joshu appraisingly. "You can still speak coherently, though, that's a good thing."

"I'm not sure how long that's going to last," the violinist mumbled, looking away slightly. Daniel's grey? blue? eyes were too intense, too deep. Was Joshu looking straight into the soul that poured into those disturbing melodies? Isn't that what they said about eyes? They were windows to the soul? It was too much to take in, especially with his mind as foggy as it was right now.

"I think you're right," Daniel said thoughtfully, his voice sounding much closer. Joshu snapped out of his reverie to see the man standing before him, leaning so that their faces were perhaps six inches apart. "You have had enough to drink..."

6/13/2005: Part one of.. 4, maybe? I'm thinking this will be a 10-pager, but I'm posting it in pieces here. Part of a long-term effort to bring Joshu and another character of mine into the universe of Devin Mercure's stories, for fun character interaction. ^__^;;