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Title: Antiphon
Author/Artist: Koren M. (cybermathwitch)
Disclaimer: Not mine. If they were, there'd already be a Black Widow/Hawkeye movie.
Pairing: Coulson/The Cellist
Rating: PG
Warnings: language
Spoilers: None
Type: Vignette
Word Count: 878
Summary: Antiphon: a liturgical or other composition consisting of choral responses, sometimes between two choirs

Author's Notes: See Chapter 1 for more notes.

Thanks again to kadollan, anuna_81, and sweetwatersong for the beta work. :)

An Interlude to Heavy in Your Arms.

This was originally posted after Chapter 12.
The companion Interlude is "Fugue".

Toronto, Canada

"We've got to be out there in fifteen, Maddy! Come on!" Juliet swept into the dressing room with the same huge flourishes she used with her bow at the end of a piece with a particularly dramatic ending.

Madeline Hargrove took one last look in the mirror and touched up her lipstick before tucking an errant strand of hair back into place with an extra pin. Despite the size of the auditorium, she knew there would be cameras up close enough to catch any imperfections. She could already tell, just by the energy of the place and the staff, that it was shaping up to be a full house.

"How does it look out there, Julie?" she asked without turning around. She was still pulling her thoughts together, still trying to get herself into the headspace she needed to let go and just play.

"Huge. Packed. Excited. It's a good crowd, Maddy, and we're gonna do great." Juliet rested her hands on Madeline's shoulders, and despite her virtually unbridled enthusiasm, she was a solid and grounding presence.

"Do you think he's out there?" she asked before she'd entirely meant to. Juliet frowned.

"Him again, really? Maddy, we've got to get you a real date."

"I don't want a date," she insisted and got up from the chair to finish dressing. She looked through the black shirts hanging up even though she already knew exactly which one she'd decided to wear. "I'm perfectly happy with my life like it is!"

Juliet fiddled with the collar while Madeline worked on the numerous and tiny black buttons that marched up the front of the shirt. "I could get you a date, a guy you'd really enjoy. Not like a one night thing, but really datable. Is datable a word?"

Madeline tugged out of her best friend's grasp. "No."

"If you weren't interested, and you were happy being single, I wouldn't care. You know that right? But it's not that you're not interested, or that you want to be single, it's that you're pining after some idea and some guy that doesn't even exist!"

"I know he exists, I've met him. You've met him."

"No one's been able to find him since, Mad. He just vanished."

"He's been here. To see me play - I can tell sometimes. It feels different when he's out there."

"If we weren't best friends, and I hadn't know you since high school? I would really, really worry about your sanity right about now. Look. What happened with Terry was horrible, all right? We lost the group, most of the patrons, the works. It's a minor miracle we ended up with the jobs that we did afterward, especially together. That whole evening was one big nightmare, and I don't blame you for wanting to find something good out of it, somehow. But soulmates... that doesn't happen to people like us, and it doesn't work the way you're imagining it does. It's a guy you've said maybe five words to, never touched, never kissed. You can't just 'sense his presence' sight unseen ten years later." She took her hands, laced their fingers together in a complicated puzzle they'd developed as children. "We looked for him. We couldn't find a Reinhardt anywhere. Not even the event staff from that night could figure out where he went, and you know what that tells me?"

She did know, because they'd had this discussion once or twice over the years since, but Madeline asked anyway. "What does that tell you?"

"It tells me he was there because of what was going on with Terry and the drugs. That's it. I don't know if he was undercover, or if he was one of the bad guys, but the person you were introduced to probably - almost certainly - doesn't exist anymore. And it's not that I don't want you to find that kind of a connection, because I'd love for you to. It's that I don't want to watch you waste your life watching from the wings, waiting for someone who won't show up."

She nodded, because it was three minutes before they needed to be in their seats to tune, but no matter how well meaning Juliet was, no matter how sensible her arguments were - and Madeline could admit to herself, almost certainly, that the man she'd met wasn't really an arts patron, and probably wasn't really named Reinhardt - but she still believed deep down that something had happened, even in that brief instant, and that he was out there somewhere, still thinking about her.

They took their seats, and tuned their instruments, and by the time the curtain rose on the sea of faces come to watch them play, she knew that he wasn't among them. She couldn't feel it tonight, there was no subtle nudging pointing her in his direction, and so she let herself sink into the music and just be carried away for awhile.

She could accept that she might not see him again. If she didn't, then her days were still full, enjoyable, and worthwhile. She could go on living her life without him, but she didn't think that meant that she had to give up on hope at the same time.

Chapter 13


( 2 comments — Feedback is an Act of Love )
Jul. 8th, 2013 09:32 pm (UTC)
You're killing me tonight with all these FEELINGS! Ugh! ;)
Jul. 9th, 2013 12:24 am (UTC)
Hooray! Yep, that was the evil plan ;) Thank you! :D
( 2 comments — Feedback is an Act of Love )


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