Author/Artist: chromatic_coma @ animusia
Character(s)/Pairing(s) [in this chapter]: England, Prussia, Canada, France, Hungary, S. Italy,[ N. Italy, Germany, Spain, Austria] ; 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: Elizaveta is getting quite sick of the UST floating around, and I'm with her on this one.
Save the Drama for the Stage, Chapter 9
The next morning’s rehearsal was running smoothly, Feliciano noticed with a smile from his post painting the last of the sets in the backstage area. Everyone had come on time, even his brother and Francis, who were quite often purposely (or, as Francis put it, fashionably) late.
As he smoothed his brush over the fabric-y canvas, Feliciano could hear the bustling noises of the rest of the cast and crew, the loudest of which, he realized with a smile, belonged to Gilbert. Gilbert, who’d walked into the auditorium with an arm wrapped tightly around Matthew’s waist. Every few minutes, Feliciano saw him duck down and give Matthew a quite peck on the cheeks, or the nose, or the lips. It looked rather silly, coming from someone as rough and crude as Gilbert, but still Feliciano thought it was cute.
Sadly, not everything in the room was as cute and happy as Gilbert and Matthew were; Francis was standing off to the side, eyes shut as he recited from the script he was holding. Feliciano realized it was the first time he’d seen Francis not speaking to anyone else. It was a little scary…
“Feliciano! Stop lazing around and get back to work; we only have four more days and you’re not done with sets or props, are you?!”
Correction: Arthur was scary. Feliciano squeaked, hiding behind Ludwig for cover and picking up his paintbrush with a shaky hair, swiping it nervously in a wide stroke over the canvas. The blond shifted slightly, intentionally or subconsciously (Feliciano would never know), and the younger Italian was shielded from the brunt of Arthur’s glare.
Lovino, not about to be one-upped by the German, threw the director a dirty look.
“Leave my brother the fuck alone!”
“If he did his work properly, I would!”
“He’s been in this fucking business longer than you have, bastard, and so have the rest of us. Stop treating us like shit when we all know what we’re doing!”
Feliciano briefly wondered if Lovino got mad at Antonio the night before; that would explain this sudden rage.
Arthur seemed taken aback for a moment, and rubbed at his throbbing migraine. Stupid alcohol…
“Just get on the stage and do something…” He muttered crossly, falling into his seat and staring up at the stage. Elizaveta took the initiative, flipping through her script to one of the last acts in the play and staring them off.
“Aaron… are you sure you have to go?” Her hands were clasped at her stomach, her eyes soft and pleading. Francis looked away, his gaze fixed on the stage floor but his voice carrying to the back of the auditorium in a shaky tone.
“Yes. I can’t… be here anymore.”
“Why?” He repeated dolefully, “Why not, Diana?”
She opened her mouth, about to speak again, but closed it quickly when he sighed.
“I tried. I tried so hard to be better. To… stop spending my nights out on the town, to stop drinking and to clean up my act. To sleep at a normal hour, to wake up at an even more normal one. To… to impress your friends, your brother…”
Francis’ fists were clenched, and his arms were shaking as he trailed off.
“Forget them! Forget my company… forget my brother, even-”
“No, Aaron. You can’t leave. I… I’ll go with you.”
He looked up, locking his warm azure eyes with her moist jade ones and gently thumbing at her tears, a palm spreading to caress her cheek.
“Look at you, look at what I’ve done to you. You love your family… you love them so wholly, so beautifully… I can’t take you from them. I’m getting old, Diana. My hair is falling out, my body is tiring. I already have so little to offer you, and soon I will have nothing. You have to stay…”
Elizaveta bit her lip, tears sliding down her full cheeks. “You can love me, Aaron. No one else can give me that.”
“Any man would be foolish not to.”
“I don’t want it from them!” She snapped, shaking her head and furrowing her eyebrows. Her expression softened, though, as she continued.
“I want it from you.”
“…I can’t stay.”
“You can stay.”
“I won’t stay…”
She looked at him sharply, determination shining in her eyes.
“You will stay.”
She punctuated her sentence with a kiss. It was obviously forceful, but also too short for what the scene needed.
The cast burst into applause, many of the members rising to give a standing ovation (Antonio had chided Lovino to join in). Roderich, standing at the piano bench, looked especially pleased.
It was Francis’ best performance of this scene yet, Arthur grudgingly admitted to himself, maybe even of all the scenes. There was no senseless flamboyance, no excessive acting; each movement was subdued, each gesture and expression controlled and thought out.
“Well, Mister Kirkland? How was it?” Elizaveta asked, skirt twirling with her as he turned to face the director, rubbing at her itchy, wet eyes with a smile on her face.
“It was decent. Fine. Better.” He grumbled, running a hand through his messy hair. Elizaveta smiled, but it faded slowly when Francis did not make a comment. That, coming from Arthur, was definitely a compliment, and the fact that the Frenchman was not jumping on it was slightly concerning.
Arthur took notice of Francis’ selective silence as well, giving a soft sigh and looking away from the stage, hangover making him too uncaring to start anything.
“Everyone just… go take a break or something. We’ll back here later…”
Elizaveta sighed as everyone started to get up from their seats and leave; she could swear she heard him mutter a ”maybe” at the end of his sentence. Roderich was waiting for her, but she waved him off gently, telling him that she would meet him in his room in a bit (Feliciano heard her as he was leaving with Ludwig and winked; Roderich flushed).
“Gilbert! Gilbert, wait a minute!”
The albino, who was leading Matthew out and talking a mile a minute into his ear, turned around and snapped.
“I’m busy, Eli!”
“Well, I need you now, so too bad!” She countered, coming up behind then and the smiling at Matt. “May I borrow him? I promise to bring him back in good condition.”
She winked, and Matt flushed a little, nodding. “Go ahead. I’ll see you later, Gilbert.”
He turned to leave, pausing at the door and calling out, “Oh, and you did really well today, Elizaveta!”
The door shut behind him, and Elizaveta giggled. “You caught yourself a cute one, Gilligans. I’m impressed.”
Gilbert made a noise of frustration, but there was a smile on his face when she’d said that.
“He is… so why would you interrupt our awesome make out time?!”
“Because I need your help setting up Francis and Arthur?”
Gilbert’s grimace deepened. “You realize I’m not a big fan of either of them, right? I don’t fucking care about their happiness.”
Elizaveta huffed, crossing her arms over her chest and pouting. Gilbert shook his head, chuckling.
“That’s not cute anymore, Eli. You grew out of it forever ago.”
“You’re going to help me because you’re my friend, though. And because I know things about you that you don’t want your cute little Canadian to know. Things that involve flutes and a boy named Fritz…”
She trailed off, smirking proudly at Gilbert’s scarlet face.
He cleared his throat, coughing. “Well… hey, you can’t do that!”
Now Gilbert was grinning. “You can’t. You owe me a favor, remember?”
“Since Francis first came here, when I told you about him. You still owe me a favor. And my favor is that you never bring that up again and leave me alone for the rest of the day.”
“That’s two favors.” Elizaveta countered smugly.
“Well, then, my favor is that you leave me out of this matchmaker thing, and my threat is that if you tell anyone about that brief mental lapse I’ll show the painting your secret boyfriend Sadiq made of you at your wedding to Roddiekins.”
“Y-You wouldn’t show it anyways. Don’t bluff!”
“Wouldn’t I? It’s quite a lovely piece, he captures the swell of your breasts juuuuuuuuust right.”
“…you’ve seen it.”
“I own it. Had to give him my grandfather’s sword for it, but it was worth it.”
“You gave up your grandfather’s sword for that?!”
Gilbert raised an eyebrow. “Would you rather he had it?”
Elizaveta ran a hand through her curly brown hair in frustration, her cheeks pink. “Why are we even discussing this?”
“Because you want me to help you get Director Fuzzybrows laid by the French bastard. You’re just a matchmaker extraordinaire.”
Elizaveta sighed. “Go, then. Don’t ever mention that thing again.”
“Only if you do the same, princess.”
They shook hands, and Gilbert ran off to find Matthew, leaving Elizaveta alone to carry out her plans.
Hours had passed, and early evening had fallen. As expected, Arthur did not call the cast back for anymore rehearsals, no matter how much they may or may not have needed them so close to opening night.
Elizaveta, to her credit, had finally managed to get them both to meet her in the backstage area of the theatre. Francis was not terribly difficult to coax out; all she had to do was telling him she needed more practice, and he was very willing to help.
To get Arthur out of his room was much tougher; at first there was no answer and Elizaveta feared he’d fallen asleep. Soon enough, though, he’d opened a door to snap at her and she calmly told him she had a few questions about the role that came up in her re-reading of the script, and would he please come and discuss it with her?
So, at seven-thirty sharp both men were backstage, with no woman to be found. Francis had gotten there first, and had been tapping a rolled up script against his leg until he heard clonking too uncouth to be Elizaveta. When it was Arthur who’d come through the door, he stiffened, but decided he was not scared and so he would not leave.
Arthur grimaced. “What the fuck are you doing here?” He spat, but somehow it was still not as angry as it could have been.
“I’m here to help Mademoiselle Héderváry, so if you will excuse us.”
“I’m here to help Elizaveta as well. She asked me to come.”
Francis paused. “What time did she ask you to be here?”
“Seven-thirty.” Arthur answered quickly, and Francis smiled ruefully.
“I believe, monsieur,” he started calmly, “that we have been set up.”
“It is obvious that someone wants us to speak to one another, though I cannot imagine why.”
Arthur could; he was thinking back to those damn tarot cards, and how excited Elizaveta had been reading his fortune. But it was her intention that bothered him; was she actually looking out for him here? And, if so, why Francis of all people?
Well, he wasn’t so bad looking. Sure, his hair was long and rather feminine, but… it fit a pansy like Francis. And his eyes were clear, and his skin clean and soft looking. He always focused on his work… even if always felt like embellishing it, it was because he put bits of himself into the character. Like a trademark, Arthur supposed, not always such a terrible thing.
“Directeur, you are staring.” Francis commented softly. It was strange, not hearing him make a lewd comment about him “liking what he saw”.
Arthur didn’t answer. There were words eating away at him, and yet he could not say anything. So he simply looked away, at his own shoes (they needed to be shined before opening night, he noted), until Francis sighed.
“It looks like Elizaveta will not be joining us. Bonne nuit, monsieur.”
Arthur heard his shoes click against the wooden floor. It was only when the sound of the door handled creaking was heard that Arthur found his voice.
“I know. That you weren’t lying, I mean. I… know.”
Francis paused, door at the handle as if he was waiting for more. When nothing came, Arthur caught another rueful smile.
“Je suis désolé, mais, vous n'êtes pas.”
The door clicked shut. Arthur growled.
“…I don’t even know what that means, frog.”
To Be Continued
A/N: I keep forgetting to mention this, so I will add it in now. The play within this story is based on a poem that I am a big fan of, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.
Elizaveta's nickname for Gilbert, Gilligans, was an idea given to me from orangepencils. Thanks for letting me sneak it in here~
Only one chapter to go, and an epilogue. As I am excited for these two, they should be written and posted soon~
Feel free to ask questions and leave criticisms in your comments, if you have any. I love hearing from you guys <3
Chapter 8 - Chapter 10