[personal profile] lilychick

Peter Amos sighed deeply, rubbing his eyes with a mixture of standard weariness and a long-suffering martyrdom. "But frankly, your technique is nonexistent."

She watched the boy stiffen -- a dark-haired boy she thought she recognized from some distant time when she had felt she was still allowed to mingle with the mortals. "But that's what I'm going to school for, isn't it?"

"Yes and no." He tapped his pencil under his chin. "To be honest, if you were looking to be a standard Conservatory student, I would say no problem, we'd be happy to have you. But as it is, we only have so much scholarship money, and we have to be very selective with where it goes. We're looking for potential *genius* -- and I simply doubt that you have that. I'm sorry, Michael."

The boy nodded slightly, his face blank and numb. "Thank you for your time," he mumbled, instinctively moving off the stage; however, he paused on the steps, and when he spoke again, his voice was almost defiant. "Actually, I'm better on the guitar."

Peter didn't even look at him. "Then that's probably what you should have auditioned with. Good day."

He rushed from the room. She had to dodge from the doorway, so he didn't catch her standing there, listening.

"Next!" She heard Peter call, before the boy was even out of earshot. She straightened her black hair and walked briskly into the room.

He glanced fleetingly up from his notes, not paying her much mind. "It's been an incredibly long day, miss, and that was supposed to be my last appointment, so you'd better make this worth my time."

She simply nodded, sat at the piano and began to play -- a complex piece, to which she knew the accompanying vocals, but she was too nervous to sing. She played feverishly, cleanly, afraid to glance over at him for even a second and risk losing her concentration.

When she finished, he was silent for a long moment. His voice, when he finally spoke, was almost impressed, under the cold British tones that echoed in the auditorium. "You're holding something back. You're technically very sound, interesting creativity, but you're scared. We work here with people who *want* it, so bad they can taste it. I'm not convinced you want it." He raised his eyes, studying her. "You have tremendous raw talent and I believe you can be an asset to Amos Conservatory." He leaned forward. "However. There are many more people who need this scholarship more than you."

She stood up, silently, and gathered her music, heart still beating fast as she walked down the steps, shoes clicking. "Thank you," she whispered.

Peter didn't look up as she passed him. "I'm happy to satisfy your vanity, but, Sabrina, take off that hideous wig."

She did, wild red hair spilling over her shoulders, feeling ashamed. "I'm sorry, Uncle Peter."

"Really, child," he said. "The next time you want my evaluation? Just *ask*."


The word was disguise.
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