as well as being a #spacenerd andrew can play the piano, because me and @happyminyards have decided that these boys deserve actual hobbies other than Exy and brooding tbh. see our artist!neil headcanon on tina’s bloghere.
cass teaches him the basics on her grand piano. after andrew leaves he doesn’t touch a piano for years, but up until then he was a natural at it, a lot of raw skill and intuition.
nicky is on a hobby spree in which he takes up arts and crafts, hiking, biking, baking, painting, knitting, writing and last but not least, piano playing (just fyi none of these hobbies stick, they all involve too much effort. instead nicky decides his hobby is watching tv and that’s perfectly respectable).
and of course, bc this is nicky he buys a grand freaking piano after like, two lessons. it doesn’t fit in the tower so he ends up leaving it in one of the unused rooms at the court.
so kevin, neil and andrew are doing one of their night practices but neil and kevin are lowkey arguing and andrew ends wandering off bc he just cba to deal with the Drama today. and he finds the piano.
listen. andrew has so many memories linked with pianos and none of them are dirty or marred by the bad things that happened. the only time he learnt to play or played at all was with cass and even if that all ended in tears it still reminds him of one of the rare times in his childhood when he was somewhat content (listen im making myself sad ffs).
ANYWAY kevin and neil are arguing about something and neil is this close to throwing himself bodily at kevin and strangling him
and then this. music. this. beautiful sound. just wafts in through the open doors. maybe andrew didnt think about who could hear him, maybe he assumed the doors were closed and would keep the noise at bay.
(he stared at it for a good five minutes before actually sitting down to play, torn between finding vodka and finding himself again in the music)(and yes part of him wanted to leave, and part of him wanted to get his exy stick and smash it to pieces, but he didn’t. instead, he took a deep breathe, and sat down).
the seat is almost warm, like he’d just gotten up for a snack with cass before returning, and if his breathing is a little strained, if his hands shake, well, thats just between him and the piano. he presses his fingers against the ivory keys, gently, until they make the softest ringing sound and he exhales. comes home.
at the same time as andrew starts losing himself to the music, in a way he hasn’t allowed himself to get lost in anything but neil, kevin and neil are on court, paused as the music swells. they exchange glances.
by now they can read each other’s minds pretty well and they move as one towards the sound. when neil realises it must be andrew he stops short, turns and shoves at kevin’s chest. he doesn’t know how comfortable andrew would be for them to witness this and he wont risk andrew losing whatever it is he just gained back.
when andrew has had his fill of playing he follows the winding corridors back to neil and kevin who both stop and turn to stare at him. kevin is caught between asking whether it was andrew playing or listening to the radio but one look from neil shuts him up.
when they get back to the tower neil darts into their shared room, grabs something and then darts back out again. andrew watches, bemused.
a few minutes later neil is back at their door, his hands empty (a few doors down nicky is staring at the chunk of money that got tossed at his face with the words “the piano is mine now, thanks.”
they don’t speak about it. andrew guesses what neil did though, when the piano is still there night after night when nicky has long since given up on playing.
(months later neil finally gets to hear andrew play while he’s in the room. he hadn’t wanted to push things bc he knows andrew but he’s been desperate to watch since night 1. it only happens because neil has a night terror so bad he wakes screaming, and blanks out afterwards, unresponsive. he wakes everyone on the floor. matt comes running with an exy stick bc he thought someone was being murdered).
(andrew doesn’t bother with words after his first few attempts fail. he half carries neil past the foxes to the car, ignoring the confused looks exchanged between the foxes who trailed him outside and drives to court. neil finally starts to respond as andrew gently helps lower him to the piano bench, leaving enough room to sit down himself, next to neil. neil still can’t talk so andrew fills the air with music instead and he can feel neil relax, half sagging into andrew’s side).
(he plays “because i love you” by yiruma, he knows that neil doesn’t know the title but andrew does and thats enough. years later neil will find the sheet music in their apartment. he always wondered why andrew kept it around and when he asks andrew to play it his breath catches in his throat. he remembers and he falls in love just that little bit harder).