A/N: This story is already up on in the marching band section, but I'm revising it and (re?) posting it on here. After all, it is an original work of fiction. This is basically the story of Jen's senior year on the drum line at Windhaven High School. If you're reading my other story, The Pack, Jen does make a few appearances in there. Well, enough rambling. Enjoy!


Beginnings of a Line

A girl with hair dyed bright blue and deep green eyes picked up her marching snare drum and signaled her fellow drum line members to form their warm up arc around her. She wore faded military green shorts and a plain white tank top which turned many male heads. As a senior and captain of the drum line, she was known to almost everyone in the Windhaven High School marching band.

"Eights!" Jennifer Seagrace, known as Jen to all who were familiar with her, called out to the drummers. She tapped off the exercise and the drum line began their warm up for the three hour summer Tuesday afternoon practice.

Ten minutes later the drum line instructor, John, walked across the empty parking lot to where his students stood warming up. The line finished playing Eights and looked expectantly at John while he put his messenger bag down on the pavement. "How long have you warmed up for?" John asked.

Jen checked the watch she had strapped to the side of her drum and answered, "About ten minutes."

"Good," said John. "What have you done so far? Just Eights?"

Jen nodded. "Yeah, Eights at twelve and three," she said, referring to stick heights, not hours of the day.

John called to the line, "All right, Eights at three, second half Bucks!" He nodded to Jen to count them off.

The newly formed drum line sounded dirty on the accent-tap exercise; no one was really playing together, but they looked impressive in the June sunshine nonetheless. When John was satisfied that they had warmed up their chops sufficiently, he held up his hand in a closed fist to signal the last repetition of the warm up. The line finished the exercise and then expectantly waited for him to say something.

"Relax; put your drums down," John instructed. The drummers sighed in relief and put down their heavy drums. "Today is a very special day," John began. Several of the upperclassmen rolled their eyes at John's cheesy line. John, however, pretended not to notice, and continued, "Because today, for the first time in four years, you guys are getting your show music before band camp." Everyone on the battery smiled. Maybe this year they would have a chance to actually learn and memorize their music before section showdown, the annual end-of-band-camp competition between the eight sections of the marching band in July.

Jen was especially happy. This was her year: she was a senior and drum line captain, not to mention one of only two girls in her entire section. She decided on the spot that this year would be different from her past years of marching on the drum line. This year they had a head start on their music and only three members new to the battery: two sophomores and one freshman. Jen had the distinct feeling that this was the year the drum line was going to win one of their competitions.

A moment later Jen was zapped out of her daydream when John called for the drummers to pick up their drums again so they could sight read their new music. Jen leapt to her feet and scrambled for her drum, setting the example for her line. The eleven guys and one other girl, Tiffany, grumbled but followed Jen's lead and got to their feet. As soon as the entire battery stood ready with their drums on, John started passing out the music. When everyone held a copy he instructed, "Okay, we're going to break off into sectionals so you guys can at least hack through this before we actually read it together." He checked his watch and then added, "Come back here in half an hour ready to play just the first page. Ready, go."

"Snares in the drum room!" Jen called.

"Tenors shotgun the back classroom," Christian, the tenor lieutenant, said.

"Well, I guess that means the basses are out in the main part of the band room," said Kevin, the lieutenant and only senior on the bass line. "Come on gentlemen," he said. After a glare from a certain second bass player, he added with a half bow to Tiffany, "And lady."

The drum line members went their separate ways to sight read their freshly copied music.


In the percussion storage room Jen shut the door behind her and asked her fellow snare drummers, "Does everyone have a drum pad with them?" Three of the four other snares shook their heads. Jen sighed. "Well, that means drums and earplugs then." She set her drum and harness on the floor, climbed up to the shelf with the box of earplugs on it, and tossed down four sets of them to the other drummers. Then she grabbed a pair for herself and jumped back down to the floor. "I suggest you guys bring your drum pads next time so we can put our drums down for a little while."

"Can't we just play on the floor?" Kyle, one of the juniors, asked.

"No," Jen told him firmly. "I'd like to as much as you would, but since three of you didn't bring drum pads, the penalty is that we're going to play on our drums and not be lazy. Let this be a lesson."

The other four snares nodded and put in their earplugs.

"Hey Jen, do we have to wear earplugs?" asked Joey, the rookie sophomore. Since he had been in the pit his freshmen year he wasn't fully a rookie, but this was his first season on the battery, the section of the drum line that actually carried drums and marched on the field. He hadn't yet realized just how loud marching drums in small rooms could be.

"If you want to be deaf, that's your choice," Jen said. "But personally, I'd rather be able to hear. It makes talking to people much easier."

"Yeah, I suppose it does," Joey agreed.

"Okay then, let's get started," Jen said, putting her music on the stand in front of her.

In the back classroom on the other end of the band room, the three tenors had opted to drum on the floor. Each of their forty pound drums were neatly lined up against the wall with their music propped up against them. Christian and Eric, both seniors, helped Harrison, a sophomore, with the challenging music. Although it was Harrison's second season on the battery, he was new to tenors as he had marched first bass his freshmen year. Harrison proved to have some natural ability for playing the set of five pitched drums; he played through the new music with minimal help from Eric and Christian.

Out in the main part of the band room the basses were having more trouble than the other two sections. The bass line music was similar to the snares' music, but spilt up between five people. Since each bass drum held a different pitch, when everyone played their part correctly it formed a melodic line. However, this also meant that none of the basses had exactly the same music, as the tenors and snares did.

To make matters worse, the bass line included the only freshman on the battery, Adam, on first bass. Adam had proven himself worthy of his place on the battery at auditions and had no trouble at all playing the split parts on warm ups. But now that he had actual show music in front of him, and no one else with the same part, Adam was starting to struggle and get discouraged. "This is so hard!" he cried out in frustration. "How did I ever get on the battery? I suck at this music!"

"It's okay; this is first time we've looked at the music. We're all having a hard time with it," Tiffany, on second bass, consoled him.

"Yeah, but when you guys play it actually sounds like something. I can never play my part right; it always sounds off," Adam said.

"Don't worry, we're just trying to hack through it," said Jason, the junior on third bass. "You don't have to be perfect right now."

Adam regained his composure as Kevin called, "Top to A again," and counted the basses off.


Twenty minutes later the snares emerged from the drum room to go back to the parking lot. Jen opened the door to the back classroom to tell the tenors to go outside, but was distracted when she found them drumming on the floor, their drums lined up against the wall. "Why aren't you guys playing on your tenors?" she asked them.

"Um, well…." Christian couldn't meet her eye. He knew she hated people on the line being lazy and playing on the floor.

Harrison interrupted, "Jen, do you know how heavy tenors are?"

Jen explained in a dangerously calm voice, "Yes, I am aware of how heavy tenors are, Harrison. If you wanted to slack off and not have to carry a drum this season, you should have joined the pit. Since you three seemed to have insisted on not working hard now, you'll all join me for a lap around the school after practice. Perhaps next time you'll pick up your drums and play on them instead of the floor?"

The tenor players all looked at the floor and nodded.

"Good. Now what I really came to tell you guys is that we're going back outside, so pick up those oh-so-heavy drums of yours and let's go," Jen said. The tenors quickly put their drums on and joined the snares and basses as they walked to the parking lot.

John, who had been working with the pit in the theater, came back outside just as the battery emerged from the band room. He fell in step with Jen and asked her, "How far did the snares get?"

Jen looked at her music. "We didn't get to the bottom of the page; we only made it to C."

"All right, that's a good start for only having half an hour."

When the battery was standing at attention in their warm up arc, John asked the tenors and basses where they had played to.

"We made it halfway through B," Kevin reported for the bass line.

Christian said, "We almost got to D."

John flipped through his score of the percussion music for a moment before saying, "We'll play from the beginning to B a little under tempo, and then we'll see how far we can go from there." Several worried looks from the bass line greeted this remark. "Don't worry, we'll hack through it in chunks," John quickly reassured them.

The drum line's effort to learn their new music made the remaining hour and a half of practice seem to fly by. After rehearsal ended, Jen called her line together. "Make sure you at least look through the rest of the piece so we can play all the way through it next week. Cool?"

"Okay," the drummers nodded to their captain.

"You guys can go once you put your drums away. Tenors," she said with an icy look at their lieutenant, "let's get running."

The sophomore and two seniors put their drums down and started to jog around the school with their captain while the rest of the battery members put their drums neatly on the shelves in the percussion room and went home.


A/N: Hopefully this chapter was inticing, or at least killed off a little bit of boredom. Reviews are extrememly loved.