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The Counsel (M)


groundcontrol

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In my humble opinion, Amadeus is one of the best movies that exists, and therefore deserves more than I could ever write, yet here I go. I’ve seen virtually no fanfiction for this movie, which is sad, but perhaps others feel daunted (as I do) by the task of continuing perfection. That said, I’ve tried my best and I hope you’ll enjoy. Pray that I don’t completely destroy all that is good...

    I sat at the harpsichord, sheet upon sheet of empty scores strewn before me. I’d long since given up praying to God to fill the vacant lines. No note I pressed, no melody I hummed, no idea I nurtured had ever made the leap from a mere collection of sounds to true music. Aching for just one measure of something beautiful, I stared at the white wall before me, empty but for a tiny knick, a memory of the crucifix that had once hung there.
    There was a knock at my door. I dipped my quill in ink to feign productivity, but fooling no one. “Yes?”
    My servant stepped in with a bow of the head. “There is a Herr Mozart here to see you.”
    I clenched my jaw at the bitter words. “I will be with him in a minute.”
    My servant nodded again and eased the door shut. Once more I looked at the work I’d done: a sole arpeggio, A minor. Infantile, laughable, pathetic. In the same amount of time I had been sitting there, pondering, waiting for the voice of God to sing to me, Mozart would have written an entire movement, flawless of course. I crumpled the parchment and threw my quill down beside it, bristling at the uselessness of it all.
    I collected my coat and went to the foyer, monitoring my footsteps so they would not betray my anger. It wouldn’t do for Mozart to suspect me of anything, not so soon.
    He waited for me, slumped in a chair as if he owned the furniture. He stared abstractedly into the distance, so focused on whatever a man such as he sees that he did not hear my approach. 
    Standing in front of him, I cleared my throat to speak. “Mozart,” I said genially. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
    My voice startled him from his reverie, and he jolted so wildly he nearly fell from the seat. He coughed quickly into the back of his hand. “Salieri!” Even after regaining his composure, his eyes still fell upon me uneasily, as if he didn’t altogether recognize where he was or the reason for his being there.
    “Is anything the matter?”
    Mozart glanced to the side, then back up at me. The skin around his eyes was puffed and dark. “Who can hear us?”
    “I beg your pardon?”
    “Who can hear us?”
    “No one if you keep speaking that quietly.”
    I had already moved toward him to hear him better, but he beckoned me closer still. He coughed again, and I winced at the harsh sound but leaned in all the same. “Good. I won’t talk any louder, my voice is failing.” 
    At this he paused for a moment, giving me a shaky smile and a hoarse chuckle. He waited expectantly, as if I were supposed to glean valuable knowledge from the former display. He hiccoughed once. His clothes bore the unmistakable perfume of brandy.
    “Are you drunk, Mozart?”
    He waggled his finger at me. “I’ve had some sips, but nothing I can’t handle. A German can hold his liquor, no?” Rapidly, he smothered a sneeze in his shoulder, then turned very serious. “But just because I’ve been drinking doesn’t mean you shouldn’t believe me. Every word I’m about to say is true, Maestro. Every word of it!” He sneezed again, twice this time.
    “You’re ill,” I said.
    He ignored this latest remark and pressed on, his fever-bright eyes locking onto mine in a manner most unnerving. “Listen to me.” He took a deep breath and continued once he was sure he had my attention. “Something came to my door last night. I’d say it was a ghost, but ghosts can’t handle real things like money, can they Salieri?”
    Against my will I felt my posture stiffen. “I should say they can’t. Go on.”
    “He was dressed just like my Papa was at a party I forced him to go to. Oh I know I shouldn’t have forced him there. He just got mad at me after that, and Stanzi too…”
    “You’re becoming distracted, Mozart.”
    He nodded, sniffling, and accepted my redirection. “Anyway, he came, and get this…” There was a nervous exhale of breath that should have been his donkey’s bray of a giggle, but rather turned into more coughing. “He--” he cleared his throat roughly, “he wanted me to write a death Mass.”
    I feigned surprise. “For whom?”
    He sneezed again, this time without bothering to turn away. “He wouldn’t say. But he payed me.” His voice grew warm. “More money than I’ve held in one palm in years. Stanzi loves it. She’s always on me about writing it, because he wants it done in a week. He says he'll pay me even more then”
    “A week,” I repeated wryly, careful of where I trod next. “A Mass in such a short timeframe surely demands all of your attention, no?”
    “It demands more than I can give!” He leaned his elbow on the table and rested his head in his hand. In a soft, weak voice, as though it agonized him dearly to admit it, he confided, “I’ve been sick with this fever ever since he first came by.”
    This time the man was not pulling any tricks, he was surely not lying about his health. His coughs wracked his lungs, his voice grew more ragged with each use. He searched my face with sunken eyes and found none of the envious pleasure that boiled deep within me. I was as good at concealing as he was composing. My plan was working. 
    “What do you plan to do?” I asked him.
    He smiled and shook his head. “That’s why I’m here, Salieri. I don’t know who else to ask for advice. All Stanzi does is tell me ‘Work, work, work!’.” He paused; for a moment I thought he wanted a reply, but he sneezed instead. He sniffed deeply. “Surely the emperor requires a lot of you, doesn’t he? You must understand what it’s like to have deadlines.”
    I smiled at the question, at the opportunity to reinforce my desires. “Of course he does. Songs, symphonies, lessons. And what he demands of me, healthy or not, I fulfill.”
    Mozart seemed to consider this for a few moments, his brow furrowing. He leaned even closer and dropped his voice still lower. “But don’t you think it’s odd?”
    “What?”
    “A--a thing, dressed like my Papa, showing up at my door like that?” He gulped, his eyes growing wide. “Do you think God is trying to tell me something?”
    “You think too much into this, Mozart,” I said with a chuckle. “Money is money, and a requiem is a requiem. For you, it should be an easy day’s pay, no?”
    He gave a strangled cry. “I don’t want to die, Salieri! There’s so much I haven’t done. I have a dozen operas floating around in my head--”
    “Enough, Mozart.” I stood and gave an invitation for him to do the same. “You’re talking nonsense now. You’ve had too much to drink. Come, let me help you out.”
    He stood shakily, and all but collapsed into the arm I’d held out to him as support. He directed a handful of wet sneezes in the vicinity of his coat sleeve, and I clung to him to keep him from falling as we walked.
    At the door I bid my servant show him out. “Remember,” I said to Mozart, laying a hand on his shivering shoulder, “Doing, and not simply worrying, is what relieves even the heaviest of tasks that lie before us.”
    He looked at me with the purest expression, still not suspecting a thing. ”Thank you, Maestro.”
    I waved a hand dismissively. “Ah, please, a bit of advice is the least I can do.”
    At this, my servant showed Mozart out, shutting the door to my now peaceful foyer. Pressing my ear to the door, I listened to his wheezes and uneven footsteps continue down the hallway until they faded. Then, I turned away and smiled to myself.

Fin

If, even after all that, there’s anything anyone would like to see within the universe of this movie, let me know and I’ll be happy to consider writing it :) 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 12/1/2017 at 8:16 AM, mystic-chibi said:

Amadeus is my favorite movie as well! I think you did a splendid job!! :)  

Thank you so much. I'm glad I didn't ruin it too much for you :) Also it seems I've forgotten to indicate the fandom in the title...sigh oh well. 

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On 12/29/2017 at 6:47 PM, Pirka said:

Holy mackerel, an Amadeus story? That’s so cool! I would love to see more if you wish to write more. But in any case thank you for writing this! 😊

I'm thrilled to see another Amadeus fan. If there's anything you'd like to see, feel free to let me know. Thanks for reading!

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OMG, I can't tell you how thrilled I was to see an Amadeus story... I would love to see more if you want to write it, though I'm not sure what to request other than more sick Wolfie, of course. ;) 

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