Author/Artist: chromatic_coma @ animusia
Character(s)/Pairing(s) [in this chapter]: England, Prussia, Canada, France, Hungary, America, S. Italy,[ N. Italy, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Sealand, Poland, Lithuania, Spain] ; eventual FrUK (?), eventual PrussCan (?), RussAmerica, Austria/Hungary, France/Canada
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Warning: Human names used, fail!attempts at humor, language
Summary: Arthur is a young screenplay writer and director who wants to make a name for himself, but will that be possible with a flirt like Francis Bonnefoy as his star?
Chapter Summary: Pent up emotion finally explodes as the play becomes a perfect metaphor for what is happening to the cast.
Save the Drama for the Stage, Chapter 7
There was no one in the theater’s cast and crew who hadn’t heard about Francis and Matthew’s relationship. For the past ten days they’d been treated to Francis strolling off after rehearsals, always taking Matthew by the arm and leading him out of the theater, only to have them return several hours later when darkness was just about to fall.
Alfred knew for a fact that Uncle Berwald and Aunt Tino had pulled Matt aside once they heard about this new relationship, acting in place of Matt’s parents back in Toronto and giving him the dating lecture (which Al imagined was probably hilarious, given the fact that Matthew was nineteen years old and receiving the talk from an uncle and “aunt” he barely remembered from his childhood). But apparently whatever they’d had to say had not deterred him, and Matthew and Francis were still going steady.
That wasn’t good enough for him, though; Francis didn’t really seem like a creep, but more often than once Alfred caught him flirting with the local girls (many of which were his to flirt with), and he knew he didn’t want his cousin to be hurt by a player. Matt was the closest thing he had to a brother, after all.
So, on a rainy morning when Alfred was relieved of his advertising duties, he managed to catch Matthew in their shared bedroom while the latter was brushing his hair and asked bluntly,
“What is going on with you and Francis?”
Matthew hesitated, the brush freezing in his hair for a second before continuing through his tangled curls.
“I know you’ve heard, Al, you don’t have to ask.”
“Yeah, but I wanna hear it from you. I don’t even know what gossip to believe anymore.”
“Well, what have you heard?”
“Hm… well, yesterday someone told me they saw Francis take you to one of those seedy sex motels-“
Alfred laughed, seeing how bright red Matt was, even up to his ears.
“W-where did you hear that?! That never happened!”
“See?” Alfred smirked, “This is why I came to ask you, instead of trusting those nasty rumors.”
Matthew sighed, rolling his eyes slightly in annoyance at just how much of a brat his cousin could be.
“Francis and I are dating, Al. That’s it.”
“But… how? When did you two even talk, or spend any time together, or anything to decide that you should date?”
Matt paused, finally turning around and, with pink-tinged cheeks, tilted his head.
“Al, did you just say something…rational?” He beamed, “I’m glad I was here to share the moment with you.”
“Hey, I say smart things all the time!”
“Sure you do. Just like when you decided it was a good idea to tell Peter that if he jumped off the roof, he’d be able to fly.”
“Hey, Fuzzybrows liked the idea!”
“Yes, until he realized his baby brother was about to actually jump off the roof.”
Alfred coughed. “Yeah, well, I didn’t expect the kid to take me seriously. And quit changing the subject, would you.” His expression mellowed into something more serious, more concerned.
“I’m worried about you, Matt.”
Matthew hesitated, putting the brush back on the bureau and snapping, “Yeah, well, don’t. I’m not a kid anymore. I’m older than you, for Pete’s sake-”
“-Only by three days!”
“Yes, and you of all people should know that makes me old enough to make my own decisions! I’m sick of everyone treating me like a child, Al, why can’t you just trust me?”
Matthew didn’t wait for an answer, though; he turned around and made for the door once his plea was out.
“…You’re hurting Gilbert, you know. Even though he won’t say anything, everyone can tell he’s bummed.”
Matthew’s hand hesitated at the doorknob, but seconds later the door was clicking shut behind him.
Alfred sighed, running a hand through his unkempt bed head. “Geez, Matt, I’m the one who’s supposed to do the reckless things.”
“Right then, there are only seven days left until we open to the public, and our performance has to be better than perfect!”
“It’s impossible to be better than perfect, dumbass.” Lovino grumbled, but Arthur heard him and his scowl deepened.
“For that, Vargas, we’re doing one of your completely rubbish scenes. Maybe you can try a little harder not to be so dreadful.”
A string of muttered curses followed, which Arthur pointedly chose to ignore as he sat at his desk beneath the stage. “Act 4, Scene 1, from the top!”
While he waited for his actors to get in place, Arthur sighed, slumping over his desk and catching sight of his miniature William Shakespeare bust.
“Oh, Willie, give me strength.”
He sighed once again, turning his attentions back to the stage, where on Lovino and Elizaveta were all ready and waiting for their cue.
“Right then, start.”
“I saw you last night, Diana. What did you think you were doing?”
“Why, brother, I have no clue whatsoever as to what you’re speaking of. Care to be more specific?”
Arthur nodded, pleased with the barest hints of worry Elizaveta had managed to weave into her tone. Even Lovino had managed to channel his anger in his favor, making his body language and tone a lot more fitting than usual. The director made a mental note to infuriate Lovino again before the show.
Lovino narrowed his eyes, pointing an accusatory finger at Elizaveta.
“Last night, you were sitting with some… some commoner. Planning to run away and marry him, no doubt. Have you no sense of pride?!”
“Hardly. I know my place, brother; I wasn’t about to run away with a strange man-“
“But I heard you talking! You said you were going to have him, and no one else.”
“Yes, I did. However, I do not intend on running away with him. I am going to marry him legally, brother, and there’s nothing you can do about that.”
Lovino froze, sighing harshly and shaking his head.
“That man is playing you like a fiddle, Diana! He told you that he would always love you, didn’t he? That you were always going to be in his heart. But it’s just a load of rubbish, Di!”
Now Elizaveta was taken aback, but her recovered quickly, eyebrows furrowing in determination,
“How would you know? Is that what you do to women, Lucas? Everything that Aaron said, he meant. So why don’t you allow me to make my own decisions and stay out of it, baby brother?”
Lovino held in a growl, but when he spoke it was still a snarl, “I want to protect you! Do you think I am doing this just because I want to make you unhappy?” His expression softened, then, as did his voice,
“You’re my sister, Di, I want you to be safe…”
“I am. And I will always be so long as I am with Aaron.” Her expression softened as well, and she gently kisses Lovino on the cheek. “Your concern makes me very happy, Lucas; you never fail to make sure I’m loved. But if you really love me, brother, you’ll let me go.”
Lovino sighed, and gave Elizaveta a rueful smile. “I wish I could, sister, but this is for your own good.”
With that, Lovino exited stage left, and Elizaveta was left on stage as Feliciano and Ludwig drew the heavy curtains closed.
Feliks, Toris, Peter, Alfred, Antonio, along with Roderich, Tino, and Berwald, managed to fill the auditorium with their booming applause and cheers. Arthur found himself joining in, despite himself, a small smile gracing his features as Lovino stalked off the stage and plopped into an auditorium seat. He might have been a harsh director, yes, and that might have earned him a repertoire of not-so nice nicknames, but none of the people in his crew could say it wasn’t effective after seeing acting like that.
Then Arthur noticed that Gilbert was clapping so weakly it couldn’t even be considered half-hearted, and the smile slipped off his face. Just in time, of course, for the curtain to open once again and the next act to begin.
Ludwig and Feliciano had hustled to replace the sets, changing out what was the interior of an elegant sitting room with fake plants and the backdrop of a lake. Elizaveta was seated center stage on a large (fake) boulder, one that struck Arthur as being very obviously Gilbert-less. Once he had been casted, Feliks and Toris constructed a large, papier-mâché grey rock costume for him to crouch under, and for the first entire week the albino had spent every waking moment underneath it, often jumping out at people as they walked by until they came to expect it and it was no longer fun for him.
But, since Gilbert had found out about Matthew and Francis, he refused to rehearse under it, stating that it was a pointless role anyways, and his behavior was too violent and uncooperative for Arthur to bother trying to change his mind.
So, Elizaveta sat alone upon an empty rock costume, and Arthur called for the scene to begin. She picked at her skirt, twisting the fabric in her fists and worrying her bottom lip.
Francis entered the scene, sauntering on stage with confidence in his stride. Arthur noticed a slight skip in his step, and for reasons he was unable to figure out the Briton felt himself getting angry.
“Stop swinging your hips like that, you look ridiculous!”
Francis paused, blinking down into the crowd. “But, the script reads that I am to saunter across the stage, which is what I am doing.”
“No, that is not what a calm, confident saunter looks like. That is you sashaying across the stage and shaking your ass in our faces as you go.”
Alfred snorted, and Berwald shushed him quietly, noticing how quickly Tino had gotten nervous. He was not the only one, though; it seemed everyone was either getting nervous about things getting bad quickly, or else excited with the promise of a fight.
“Why, monsieur, what horrid language-“
“Oh yes, please pardon my French.”
“I would, if only you could speak it. But, alas, just another thing you have to be jealous of me for.”
“WHAT?!” Arthur practically roared; Tino grabbed Peter and decided it was time the boy left the room.
“Admit it, mon cher, you are jealous of me.”Francis tone was still calm and cool, while Arthur was red faced and simmering.
“First off, do not call me that, and secondly, are you daft?! Why would anyone be jealous of a perverted Frenchman like you?”
“I don’t know, why don’t you ask yourself.”
“I- You- Wherever did you get such a ridiculous idea in the first place?”
Francis sighed. “Face it, in every one of the plays you’ve ever written, the lead is a man with charisma, with charm, with women and attention. All things that you lack.” And all things that I have.
Arthur slammed his hands onto his mahogany desk, causing the glasses on it to nearly spill over.
“My protagonists also hate themselves. They have to wonder who they really are, and if what they have is what they want. They don’t even know who they are looking at when they stare into the mirror. What does it matter, having charm when it controls you?”
Francis didn’t answer right away. When he did, his voice was quieter than before, and heavier.
“Is it not better to be out there, to do something and be loved for it, than it is to be too scared to be do anything and be hated in favor of self preservation?”
When Arthur replied, his voice was just as quiet, but he was impassioned and bold.
“Is it not better to be hated for being yourself, than to be loved for being something you’re not?”
Francis paused, clicked his tongue, and decided finally, “Well, our friend Aaron is lucky, then, for he has found a love with whom he does not have to be anyone but himself. Sadly, I do not think you will ever be so blessed, Directeur.”
With that, Francis was gone.
Arthur was standing behind his desk, head bowed, hands that were bracing himself against the wood shaking violently. It was Elizaveta who moved first, jumping off the stage and taking a tentative step forward.
“Mister Kirkland, sir…?”
Wordlessly, he removed himself from his desk and turned to leave the room, never looking up to meet the many concern faces that watched him go.
From his seat in the side, removed from the rest of the crowd, Gilbert saw tears streak down Arthur’s face.
To Be Continued
A/N: Notice, all, that Matthew was not there for rehearsal in the latter half of the fic. Interesting...
By the way, I had always meant for the play itself to parallel the events of the story, and now that you are seeing more of it, how well do you think I am doing with that?
Thank you all for reading ;)
Chapter 6 - Chapter 8