"First guitar, second guitar, melody and harmony. It dances in my head and my heart sets the rhythm."

Written for No Apparent Reason in 2008

Warnings: Drug refs and slash.

Requests: R&R will bring you cookies!

Thanks: To my marvelous beta, Pure Imagination, and to Theological Medusa for the lovely constructive criticism!


"It's David," he likes to remind them in that clear English accent of his. He's David, and I'm Jasper, and that explains it all.

He is David, of legend. David-and-Goliath, but even Goliath is too scared to take him on. I'm Jazz, short for the name that my parents thought was ritzy at the time, that would encourage me to make the best of myself. Also short for my love of my guitar, but that's a misnomer too—I didn't play jazz until high school. I've had the nickname for as long as I can remember, though. They don't like it, of course. They never do.

I'm the kid who spends four of his seven periods a day in the band basement because he's taking Jazz Band, Guitar, and Marching Band and uses his free period to practise. I'm the kid who gets kicked out of the gym in the morning before school because he's playing his guitar too loud. I'm the kid who's the only guy in the band who isn't legitimately using at least one recreational drug. Yeah, that's me. The shaggy-haired drummer/guitarist in the corner of the library with the headphones, speaking to his instrument and listening to the world.

He's the artist, the one who spends two periods a day next door to the band room, and the other five in AP classes, preferably those of the math or science persuasion. The one that all the girls go for—the one that doesn't go for them in return. Plays soccer, calls it football. Smokes pot recreationally but would never get caught. I have my suspicions, but nobody else does.

Two worlds never destined to collide, in short.

So I turn up the sound, tune up the focus, let the music happen the way it's supposed to. Ignoring what's not going to happen and paying attention to what makes sense. The tempos, the rhythms, the arpeggiated chords that write my life story.

Mr. Scott wants me to run Guitar Ensemble auditions. "It's your perogative," he says, because he knows he can use those sorts of words with me. I haven't killed half my brain cells with a joint. "You are the only returning member this year," he points out, and I nod and get the audition sheets ready, put the time slot signup on the door. It's a classical group, so it's not one that gets much attention. Usually a couple girls sign up, but ever since Brody graduated at the end of my sophomore year, those have been kind of scarce too. But whatever—I'll be here after school on Monday anyway. Not interested in going home and getting yelled at until I have to, so if anyone decides to show up, I can deal with it then.

--

It's a delicate mood that's being held here, pedal tones and dancing eighth notes precariously nudging the listener into a sense of anticipation. My fingers slide easily across the frets and my thumb and first three fingers of my right hand flit across the strings, helping the composer explain what needs to be explained.

"Are these auditions?" he asks, his accent dancing with the eighth notes for a brief moment before I stop, surprised, and my gray eyes meet his hazel ones. The last pedal tone quickly fades into the embarrassed silence as my ears turn red under my hair. Unnoticeable blush of embarrassment—at being caught performing what I love instead of what is expected for me to love?

"Yeah," I say. I look at my music and it stares silently back at me. It gives me no answers now, I've silenced it and the ringing silence is all that fills the space where the dancing anticipation once was. Is this what it was anticipating?

David looks at me and the guitar, looks at the stand and the music, and looks at the guitar in his own hands. It's smooth, and so is his skin. You can't see the callouses, so he's either a newbie or he's been playing as long as I have. "Can I try?" he asks. I silently nod, silenced with the music. He stands behind me, puts his right leg on my chair, begins to play. Gavotte, the second guitar part. It is a duet, but I have no partner. It is hardly incomplete without the second guitar, but it would be more complete with it.

I join in after a moment, adding the dancing melody to the careful and complex harmony. The music fills the room once more, less anticipation this time and more celebration. The notes bounce to the sides and back and the tension has dissipated. He gives the music what it wants and in return it responds with an alacrity and accuracy that would inspire jealousy in some. The melody eagerly responds, and the combination makes me grin in surprise. I've never played the piece with a partner before. I haven't had a partner since Brody left.

"Am I in?" he asks, the music fades and his grinning hazel eyes meet mine again.

"Yeah," I say.

--

We're out of milk, but I don't mention it. I just eat the cereal dry, then rinse the bowl and put it away, returning to the sheet music on the table. All duets, some I've written but would never admit to. We work well together, David and I. He always takes second guitar and I always take first, but that's not surprising once you think about it. He makes things happen, I only look like I do. It's music in life, or life in music.

"So is he your new boyfriend?" Emily asks across the table, but I ignore her. She's a sophomore this year, two years younger and six years smarter. Plus, they like her. Like they've never liked me. I concentrate on the music, trying to decide what to give him next. Nobody else tried out, but it's better that way. Mr. Scott was disappointed, but I wasn't. I couldn't tell him why though. I knew that it only made sense to the music and I.

Emily won't shut up. Annoyed, I gather the music and head upstairs to my room. My stomach is growling and I know I should have grabbed some food, but I don't want to turn back now. It's funny, though. I know something is going to happen as soon as I turn the knob on my door.

"Hey," he says, his accent still dancing with the eighth notes, even though they stopped being played so long ago. He brought pizza, even though it's only 10:00 in the morning. He also broke into my room, even though it's only 10:00 in the morning and he had pizza with him. David never ceases to amaze and astound.

"Hey," I say, and I sit on my bed next to him, ignoring the staff paper strewn everywhere and the drumset in the corner and the guitars all over. He is very good at holding my attention.

And what happens next is no less amazing and astounding, although the music is only in my head. It is one part surprised, one part triumphant, and one part discovery. It is a theme with variations, and the variations intrigue him as much as they do me. The theme itself is hardly uncommon, but it is special now, special to me, unique to us. First guitar, second guitar, melody and harmony. It dances in my head and my heart sets the rhythm.

--

"It's David," he likes to remind them in that clear English accent of his. He's David, and I'm Jasper, and that explains it all.