A/N: Tadah! I have returned, and I come bearing slash! It's been way too long for my taste since my last update. ^_^ I've really wanted to get something decent written and posted but school has just been killing me. But now that I have an easier semester I'll be able to get lots more done! *is happy* Er, anyways. The title of this story, Unexpected Song, is taken from the musical Song and Dance by Andrew Lloyd Weber. I'm going to try and make all the chapter titles tie in with the 'musical' theme as well. Because I'm a nerd like that.
Anyway, enough rambling now. I'm really excited about this story... I don't know when the next chapter will be appearing but hopefully it'll be soon. Hope you guys like ^_^
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Nine-year-old Teddy yawned as he dangled his hand out the side of his uncle's car. It was a small car, but Teddy was a small boy, and it was difficult for him to rest his arm in the window the way his uncle could. So he had to content himself with poking his hand out instead, feeling the wind rush between his fingers like something heavy and fluid. It was beginning to rain, but Teddy took no notice. He was trying to perfect his arm resting so that one day he could do it just like his uncle. Teddy had always admired his uncle Lucas. And just three years earlier, he'd needed him more than ever. Teddy could still remember the car crash that had killed his parents. He recalled the flash of the headlights as the truck sped toward them, manned by a careless drunk driver. He could still feel the way the car spun and lurched as it jumped away from the road and landed on its side, tires spinning uselessly. He remembered the shrieks of the metal that sent up sparks too close to his face, the cold seatbelt digging into his neck. That was what had saved him, in the end, that little strap of fabric. But it hadn't saved his mother and father, and after that, Lucas had taken Teddy in, to raise him and look after him. He'd been the only person who'd wanted to.
Lucas Fosburgh looked over at Teddy and gave him a warm smile. At twenty-five, he was hardly a typical single father, but he'd settled into a lifestyle with Teddy that suited him just fine. The only thing he really had a problem with was finding a boyfriend. Teddy knew Lucas was gay, and the young boy didn't seem to mind at all. To him, it was just another small detail. Unfortunately, though, the men that Lucas wanted to date didn't seem to view Teddy as any sort of small detail. He was always the reason that Lucas and his boyfriends would break up, because none of them wanted to be tied down with a child.
"We're almost there," he said, seeing that the thin, sandy-haired boy was getting restless. "Just a few minutes."
"I don't want to take piano lessons," Teddy said for what felt like the umpteenth time that afternoon. "Remind me again exactly why I have to waste a perfectly good Saturday on a dumb old instrument? It's April, Uncle Luke! I should be playing outside! Did you know that over half the youth in this country are obese?"
There was one thing about Teddy that never ceased to amaze Lucas: his astounding articulacy. His teachers had nothing but praise at every interview, constantly saying how bright he was, that he was years ahead of the other students. He takes after his mother, Lucas thought, remembering how quick-witted his sister had been. "You can't play outside in the rain, Teddy. And you're doing it because your grandmother wants you to, and if I don't take you they'll find some way to make me lose custody of you," Lucas sighed. It was true, too; Teddy's grandparents on his father's side were always doting on him. They wanted the best for him no matter what, and they had a very narrow idea of what the best was. They were forever telling Lucas how to raise Teddy, what rules to make and what behaviour to disallow. Lucas knew that if they had their way, they'd take Teddy from him in a second.
"Why is grandma such a bitter old cow?"
Lucas looked at his nephew, trying to hide his amusement. "Teddy, that's not a nice thing to say. She can't help it."
"Yes she can," Teddy whined. He wriggled around in his seat trying to get more comfortable. "She can just mind her own business and stop meddling for a change."
"Don't be rude. She and grandpa do a lot for us, you know," Lucas said half-heartedly. He knew he should have been discouraging the badmouthing, but he really didn't care all that much, seeing as how his own opinion of them was much the same as Teddy's.
They rode in silence for another few minutes, and then Lucas realized they'd reached the J.T. Patterson Music Academy. It was an unassuming grey-brick building with lots of windows and only one storey, with a flashing sign out front declaring reduced prices on guitar lessons. The parking lot was in slight disrepair, and Lucas' car bumped loudly through several rain-filled potholes as he pulled into a spot near the door.
Grumbling, Teddy got out of the car, and Lucas led him inside. The school was quite small – it consisted of a rather drab, under decorated waiting room, a reception desk, and a hallway leading off the waiting room. Lucas supposed that the rooms for the lessons were down that hallway. Shaking the rain out of his dark blonde hair, Lucas stepped up to the reception desk with Teddy at his side.
The secretary smiled down at the little boy warmly. "You must be Teddy," she said. "I hear this is your first lesson?"
Teddy nodded. Lucas prayed that he wouldn't say anything insulting about her obvious facelift – he was the type of child who tended to do things like that. But he didn't, he just gave her a polite smile.
As Teddy went to take his seat in one of the plastic chair, Lucas began filling out the sign-in book for his nephew. Teddy shot him a desperate look that he pretended not to see. He knew how badly Teddy wished he didn't have to be here, and he really did pity the boy. But it was the way things had to be, at least for now, if they were to keep peace in the family.
Lucas sat down beside Teddy and opened up one of the outdated National Geographic magazines on the nearby coffee table. The first article he skimmed over was about gorillas, and so intensely boring he felt his eyelids begin to slide shut within the first thirty seconds. However, he didn't have long to sit there before a tall, slim, dark-haired man who looked about Lucas' age stepped into the waiting room and announced that Teddy could come in for his lesson. Lucas was startled by how handsome he was, and then shook his head to dismiss the thought. Snap out of it, Lucas, he's Teddy's piano teacher. This is supposed to be about him, not you.
Looking very reluctant, Teddy rose from his chair and approached his teacher. They were about to turn and retreat down the hall when the man locked eyes with Lucas and seemed to remember something.
"Are you Teddy's father?" he asked.
Lucas was startled. "Uh, I'm his uncle."
"Would you mind coming in with us today? I always like to meet the family if I have a new student." He smiled, the kind of genuine and warm smile that never fails to get another in return.
It was then that Lucas noticed Teddy giving him a hard stare. He recognized the expression perfectly. It was the 'don't embarrass me or you'll hear about it for weeks' look.
"Sure," he replied levelly, and stood up to follow them out of the room.
The hallway was just as boring as the waiting area, but Lucas was hardly focusing on the lack of artwork or inspired paint colours. However, when they entered into the flat brown door at the very end of the hall, he couldn't help but catch his breath. The walls were vibrant green, and one wall had a jungle mural painted on it. The curtains were drawn back to reveal crayon pictures and cards taped to the big picture window – no doubt gifts from students. A wooden bookcase held a stereo, CDs and boxes of sheet music in the far end of the room. There were kites and little bits of tinsel hanging from the ceiling, which was decorated in a blue and white clouds pattern. The piano was a shiny black upright model, clean and well-cared for. Any child, Lucas thought, would adore being in here. He looked at Teddy, and noticed the generally reserved little boy had taken on a look of wide-eyed awe.
"This is the biggest lesson room in the place," Teddy's teacher remarked. "I don't know why they gave it to me. But I mostly teach kids, so I thought I'd make it look bright, you know?"
"It's great," Lucas said in wonderment.
They took their seats on three armchairs that were sitting near the piano, in a sort of circle, and Teddy's teacher pulled a small folder out from a nearby box. "Well, as you've probably guessed, I'm Teddy's piano teacher. Jae Medious."
What a weird name, thought Lucas. "Nice to meet you," he said, smiling, as they shook hands. Jae had a strong grip, and the way he looked into Lucas' eyes nearly mesmerized him.
"I suppose I should introduce myself, or something like that," Jae continued. He spoke with a slight hesitancy, betraying that he was nervous, but that only made him more endearing. "I'm not good at it, so you'll have to bear with me."
"It's okay," Teddy put in, a devious smile flashing across his face. Lucas recognized the look immediately and knew no good could come from it. "Neither is Uncle Luke. He stutters a lot whenever he talks to men. It's because he's obsessed with getting dates, that's what I think."
Lucas was horrified. If a black hole had suddenly opened up in the middle of the room right then and there, he would have gladly jumped right in. "Thanks, Teddy," he muttered. He looked over at Jae, who was now throwing his head back in laughter. Even in his embarrassment, Lucas couldn't help noticing the adorable twinkle in his blue eyes.
"Do you always go around advertising things like this about your uncle?" Jae asked once he had calmed down enough to speak. His voice was tight, and it was obvious he was still struggling not to laugh.
Teddy folded his hands across his knees and his voice took on a matter-of-fact tone, as though he were broadcasting the weather. "Well, no. But his love life has been kind of barren lately, he's in a bit of a slump-"
"Thank you, that's enough now," Lucas said loudly. He felt his cheeks growing warm and knew he was probably blushing furiously.
At that moment, Jae saved them from what could have been an uncomfortable silence by changing the subject. Lucas made an internal vow to thank him for it later. "So, Teddy," Jae said as he turned to the boy, "Why exactly did you choose the piano?"
"I didn't. My grandma chose it for me. Lucas has to do everything she says or else our family will fall apart."
Lucas buried his head in his hands. He's doing this on purpose because he's mad at me. That little creep. I swear he's too smart for his own good… certainly my own good, at least.
"Excuse me," Teddy said, getting down off his chair. "I need to use the restroom. I'll be back in a minute." With that, he walked out the door and shut it quietly behind him, the picture of childlike confidence.
Lucas gingerly looked up to see Jae smiling at him in amusement. It was such a kindly gesture that he couldn't help returning it even in his flustered state. He wanted to sink into the floor and disappear, and it seemed that Jae had picked up on this, because there was a distinct sympathy in his expression.
"Teddy seems like a really smart kid," Jae remarked. He didn't seem put off or nervous, and the fact that he was so collected helped put Lucas more at ease.
"He is," sighed Lucas. "Unfortunately, he's precocious too. Not a good combination."
Jae laughed again. "I understand. I don't think he'll give me too much trouble, but I have a feeling I might be learning a lot about his home life during our lessons."
"So do I, and that's what I'm afraid of."
"Is it true you're obsessed with getting dates?" Jae teased. He leaned forward and propped his chin in his slender hands.
Lucas was slightly startled by this. "Uh, well," he said lamely, "Not in my opinion. Teddy seems to have other ideas."
"Don't worry. I teach kids, I know how it is. They like to hyperbolize."
"Something like that, yes." Lucas let out a relieved breath. Okay, so far so good. He doesn't think I'm psycho. Wait… what am I doing this for? I don't even know this guy! He could be straight as a pin for all I know! Note to self: stop jumping to conclusions.
As Lucas' inner war with himself raged on full-force, Jae smiled and gave him the most smouldering look he had ever received. The most amazing thing about it by far, though, was that it was completely unintentional. In actual fact, Jae seemed to have drifted off into his own little dream world. His eyes were a deep, shining blue, and for the first time Lucas noticed the little gold flecks near his pupils. His delicate lips were set in a contemplative pout, and Lucas was so engrossed in staring at them that he nearly fell out of his chair when Teddy walked back in the door.
The little boy crossed his arms and made an unappreciative huffing sound. "God, Uncle Luke. You've known this guy for half an hour and you're already making googly eyes at him. You disgust me."
Lucas and Jae stared at each other for a moment. Jae raised a hand to his mouth to hide a grin.
"Look, I really think you've said more than you need to. Maybe you should just leave the talking to me from now on, okay?" Lucas sighed and rubbed his temples, feeling the beginnings of a headache. He knew that any damage control he had just attempted, any dignity he had managed to salvage, had just been completely voided.
Before Teddy had a chance to respond, Jae cut in. He was looking at Lucas out in his peripheral vision, a teasing smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. "Not all of us find it disgusting, Teddy," he remarked under his breath. Teddy regarded him with a confused look, and then shook his head as if to dismiss it.
Lucas' heart jumped. So much for the importance of a good first impression, he thought. Maybe these lessons aren't going to be very interesting for Teddy… but at least somebody's going to get something good out of them.