NODAME CANTABILE (isn't mine)
Title: Type B Orchestra
Word Count: 944
Genre: Exposition-heavy character study
Note: Based on the drama, not the manga, despite the fact that I have only seen the first two episodes. I also don't know anything about music.
...feel free to beat me with sticks okay?
What will be, will be. Or at least, those were the words of their fearless conductor when normally-shy second-year violinist Tawaka Rie, bolstered by alcohol she was technically not old enough to be consuming, had given voice to what they'd all been thinking, and asked how was it that a group of players who hadn't been able to fit into any of the school's conventional orchestras was now expected to fit together in this one?
Actually, Streseman's exact words were, "What will be, will be, baby!"
A week later Rie paged through their newest practice piece looking for potential rough spots and noting tricky signature changes in pencil. She paid particular attention to unexpected shifts in mood -- her more inwardly focused neighbors wouldn't necessarily honor them -- and pragmatically ran through the a few of the more technically challenging fingerings.
Her approach would have been standard in any other orchestra. In this one, it was exceptional. At the end of the row, their first violinist stood beside his seat (his creative energies, he claimed, made sitting impossible) holding his instrument in one hand and sheet music in the other. From his closed expression and the way he was swaying back and forth, it was clear that he was hearing the music already: not in a mechanical way, but with his entire being. It was as if, merely by seeing the notes on the page, he had already begun the process that would transport him to a world of allegro and marcato and mezzo piano. Molto con brio -- again, with feeling.
Personally, she wasn't a great genius or a virtuoso. Her solo performances scored well -- "wonderful precision" was the usual assessment -- but at the same time she always lost two or three points for mysterious reasons. She got comments like "Not memorable" or "Lacking something..." Her favorite comment was from Chiaki's piano instructor, who noted that while beautiful, there was nothing in her performance to mark it as hers.
That was fine. Her strength as a violinist didn't lie in her solo work, but in her ability to adjust within a group -- to smooth out the sound, to provide continuity, to compensate for the excesses of others. Given a choice between first and second violin, she'd take second. She didn't care if no one realized why.
Had Stresemann had some kind of plan for their group when he'd created it? She couldn't be sure, but was leaning toward the "insanity" end of the genius/insane continuum. Who else but a madman would create an orchestra from all Type B personalities? Were they supposed to be held together by the stars, to rise and fall with Neptune? Their group lacked balance, all water and no earth. In a group with so many Pisces, an Aquarius like Streswmann was the last thing they needed; it took a Virgo like Chiaki kept them in the realm of the real.
In return they adored him. Nodame was their group's official pet but it was Chiaki they'd adopted, from the moment circumstances had conspired to bring him within reach. Whether he liked it or not he was theirs now, and even if his former acquaintances asked for him back, they wouldn't give him up easily.
Rie sometimes wondered whether the adoption was mutual. Chiaki had the power to change them, but did they have the power to change Chiaki? His time with them felt unreal. In the end it was impossible to imagine him, ten years in the future, as anything other than a world-class conductor. The year he was spending with them -- his senior year -- felt almost like a diversion.
Their first concert was an unexpected success, though there'd been little doubt in their own minds that they'd succeed.
Rie pushed through the crowd of students offering congratulations without difficulty, even with her violin. As the least flashy member of S Orchestra, she could be certain that none of them were looking for her. She was surprised when two underclassmen from the piano department stopped her, and assumed they were looking for someone else.
"Mine-kun is over there," she told them.
They looked at each other in confusion. "Who's Mine-kun?" the short one with glasses ventured.
"Our first violin...I'm sorry, I thought you were looking for him." She set her case down so she'd have a hand free to point out whoever it was they were really looking for.
"We're looking for Tawaka Rie," the taller one put in. "That's you?"
She was so surprised that it was a moment before she remembered to say "Yes."
"We wanted to congratulate you! Nodame told us you're the most important person in the orchestra."
Rie wasn't sure she'd heard right. "Nodame said that?"
Both girls nodded. "She said something about binding the sound together. It sort of went over out heads..."
Rie nodded absently. "Thank you," she said. She herself was looking over heads, to where Nodame was enthusiastically sketching something in the air for Stresemann while a few feet away, Chiaki glowered powerlessly, hemmed in by well-wishers. Suddenly she smiled. Whatever Nodame had said, she could only have heard from Chiaki.
However he might feel ten years in the future...now, at this moment, he was paying attention.