Length: 1000 words; chapter 2 (2/6)
Notes: written for Springtime in Montreal for maplesandroses
Prompt: France playing piano for Canada; the circumstances are up to anon, I'd prefer it to be all innocent and fluffy, but if this can strike an idea for over-than-PG-13, I don't mind. AUs of any kind are also okay, just please, no genderbending.
England was ominously silent as they moved through the streets of Vienna. Canada trotted behind him, afraid to say anything in case he evoked the monstrous mood his guardian was in.
“Finally! There he is,” England huffed, shouldering his way through the crowd. Canada followed and scanned the surrounding buildings until he located the theatre.
Canada’s attention snapped back to the person they had come to meet and he stared in shock.
“Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten who I am, Mathieu?” France smiled bitterly. Canada was too busy tracing all the barely healed scars and fresh cuts on the nation’s exposed skin to answer. “Rosbif …”
France and England traded hard glares, a mutual look of understanding passing between them, before England hunched his shoulders and turned away. “I’ll be back in a few hours to pick you up, Matthew, so don’t go wandering. As for you,” his eyes flickered back to France, “don’t you dare try anything.”
France’s smile grew until it became more of a defiant snarl aimed at England. With a final noise of disapproval, England disappeared into the crowd.
“Um,” Canada said, flailing about wildly in his mind for anything to say. “It’s been a while.”
“So it has,” France muttered, his eyes slowly making their way down Canada’s body as if he was studying a piece of meat he wanted to devour. “You’ve grown, mon petit Mathieu.”
“You left,” Canada blurted out, wanting to take the words back the moment they escaped. “Um, I mean - ”
“I did not choose to leave you,” France said slowly, taking a step towards Canada. He leaned down so that their foreheads were touching, and Canada inhaled the smell of his musky cologne. “I would never choose to leave you. You were taken from me by force. By him.”
“I missed you,” Canada admitted softly, biting his lip.
France sighed and shut his eyes. “I know. He came to my house every so often to tell me about you, to gloat about how he had you and I didn’t.” His voice wavered a little. “And now you’re bigger, Mathieu, and I didn’t even get to see you grow.”
“You had enough troubles of your own.” Canada raised a hand to gently touch a bruise on the side of France’s face. “I heard about the Revolution.”
France laughed, his dark chuckles filling the air as he stepped away. “He tears you away from me, but oh! Quel surprise! His own precious Amérique betrays him, and of course I was there to help and watch as he fell. Then it’s my people who are rising against their rulers and now, Bonaparte.”
Canada didn’t like the weary look in France’s eyes, and cast about for something to say.
“But,” France continued, flashing a more subtle smile at Canada, “You already know all that, and you certainly didn’t come here to listen to me discuss politics.”
“I don’t actually know why I’m here,” Canada confessed, looking up at the imposing theatre in front of them. “England didn’t tell me. He just said we were looking for this place.”
“Germany’s done it again,” France explained, pointing at the large sign in front of the main doors. “I listened to this the night it premiered, actually, and, well.” France took Canada’s hand and led him inside. Canada didn’t miss the upset look that flitted across France’s face when he realized he could no longer envelop Canada’s hand with his own. “You’ll just have to listen for yourself.”
The audience was just starting to quiet down as France and Canada slipped into their seats. The lights were dimmed and the orchestra onstage was illuminated. A rather short man strode to the conductor’s stand and gave a curt bow to the audience before turning to the musicians.
“You’ll be astonished to hear what this one man can do with just four notes,” France whispered just as the orchestra raised their instruments in readiness.
Canada didn’t have anywhere near the level of appreciation or understanding of music as France or Austria did, but even he could hear the timelessness in the symphony as it stormed through the theatre. Freedom, equality, fraternity, it whispered in the ears of its listeners.
You have to power to choose your own destiny.
Austria met them backstage after the concert, his violin case held firmly in his hand.
“What did you think?” He asked after greeting them, a pink flush in his cheeks.
“An architect,” France said immediately. “That man is the most genius architect this world has ever seen. I’ve never known anyone to do so much with such a little motive.”
Austria nodded, turning his attention to Canada. “How about you, Canada? Did you enjoy it?”
“Yes, a lot,” he answered quietly.
“I’m glad,” Austria said, smiling. “Which piece did you two enjoy the most?”
“The symphony,” France replied right away, and Canada nodded in agreement. “The piano sonatas were incredible, as was everything else, but that symphony …” France shook his head. “Would you mind if I spoke to him?”
“You can try, but he’s nearly deaf and can get rather irritable.” Austria patted France on the arm. “And if you do, don’t introduce yourself. He isn’t particularly fond of your boss, and quite frankly, neither am I.”
With a final cool and polite smile, Austria excused himself and left.
France and Canada watched him leave, the former with a tired smile.
“I suppose we can only hide from politics for so long,” he sighed, running a hand through his hair. “Come on, Mathieu, we better not bother him today. How about I buy you a drink?”
Canada nodded and fell into step beside France as he led the way out of the theatre. They hadn’t gone more than a few meters when England appeared, hands shoved into his pockets due to the cold night.
“Time to go home,” he grunted, casting a hostile look at France.
“Oh, I didn’t know you were shipping him back across the Atlantic already,” France responded coolly, a hand settling onto Canada’s arm rather possessively.
England snorted, beckoning to Canada. “You know full well where I mean, Francis. He’s not yours anymore.”
France was silent for a few moments before letting go and taking a step back. “No, he’s not. But he’s not yours either, Angleterre. Just look at him, look at how petit Mathieu has grown. He’s strong enough to leave you, to leave both of us, just like his brother.”
“Leave Alfred out of this,” England hissed, taking Canada by the wrist. “And don’t think I’ll allow anything like this to happen again. This was a lapse of judgment on my part, clearly.”
“Until next time, Mathieu.” France offered a strained smile, completely disregarding England’s words. “Maybe next time we’ll actually meet Beethoven, hmm?”
“Yeah,” Canada managed to whisper before he was dragged away by England. “I’d like that.”
A/N - I'm personally a huge fan of Beethoven myself, and I love his fifth symphony in particular because I wrote an essay about it on my History 3 RCM exam and got a pretty decent mark XD;
On the music side of things:
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827) belonged to the generation that felt the full impact of the French Revolution. Born in Bonn, Germany, he visited Vienna when he was seventeen and played for Mozart. He took the music-loving aristocracy by storm with his talent as a pianist and he was welcomed in the great houses of Vienna as a friend and equal.
He began to lose his hearing in his late twenties and retired in 1802 on the advice of his doctors to Heiligenstadt (a summer resort outside Vienna). His Heiligenstadt Testament records the time when he was torn between destructive forces in his soul that urged him to suicide and his desire to live and create. He slowly realized that art must give him the happiness that life withheld and fought his way back to health. The remainder of his career was spent in ceaseless effort to achieve his artistic goals.
He adopted Austria as his homeland during a time of great tumult and change and watched the French general Napoleon Bonaparte rise to power after the French Revolution. At first, he greatly admired Napolean and dedicated his Third Symphony, Eroica, to him, but when the ruler declared himself emperor in 1804, Beethoven tore up the title page bearing the dedication. After the French forces invaded Vienna, his dislike of the French intensified.
His music is often divided into three compositional periods. The first consists mainly of Classical elements he inherited from Haydn and Mozart. The middle period introduces characters more closely associated with the nineteenth century, including strong dynamic contrasts, explosive accents, and longer movements, with a goal of powerful expression rather than elegance. His third period include the years of his final piano sonatas and string quartets, as well as his Ninth Symphony, which used more chromatic harmonies and developed a skeletal language from which all nonessentials were pared away. His career bridged the transition from the old society to the new, and his commanding musical voice and all-conquering will forged a link to the coming Romantic age.
Symphony No. 5 was published in 1808 and starts off with the rhythmic idea of short short short long that is then pursued with an almost terrifying single-mindedness through the entire symphony.
He is considered the supreme architect in music - a genius who found expression in the structural type of thinking required in large-scale forms like the sonata and the symphony. His music is full of thematic development (expansion of a theme) and cyclical structure (when a theme returns throughout movements as a unifying thread). He created music of a heroic age and, in sounds never to be forgotten, proclaimed a faith in the power of people to shape their own destinies.
On the history side of things: (vast majority once again copy+pasted from Wikipedia)
The Seven Years' War was a global military conflict between 1756 and 1763, involving most of the great powers of the time affecting North and Central America, Europe, the West African coast, India and the Philippines, which carried over to North America.
On 13 September 1759, following a three-month siege of Quebec, General James Wolfe defeated the French forces at the Plains of Abraham outside the city. The French staged a counteroffensive in the spring of 1760, with some success in a victory at the Battle of Sainte-Foy, but failed to retake Quebec due to a lack of naval support. French forces retreated to Montreal, where on 8 September they surrendered in the face of overwhelming British numerical superiority. In the Treaty of Paris (1763), New France was ceded to Great Britain.
The American Revolution (1775–1783) was the result of escalating political tensions between the Great Britain and the Americans. The colonies declared independence and formed a new nation, the United States of America in July 1776. France, Spain and the Dutch Republic all secretly provided supplies, ammunition and weapons to the revolutionaries starting early in 1776. After early British success, the war became a standoff. American success convinced France to openly enter the war in early 1778, bringing the two sides' military strength into balance with each other. Spain and the Dutch Republic also went to war with Britain over the next two years, threatening an invasion of Great Britain and severely testing British military strength with campaigns in Europe and an escalating global naval war.
French involvement proved decisive, with a French naval victory in the Chesapeake leading to the surrender of a second British army at the Siege of Yorktown in 1781. In 1783, the Treaty of Paris ended the war and recognized the sovereignty of the United States.
I'm just going to offer the full first paragraph of the Wikipedia article of the French Revolution, since I'm assuming most of you already know the basic gist of it (which is all I know, anyway XD).
"The French Revolution (1789–1799) was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years. French society underwent an epic transformation as feudal, aristocratic and religious privileges evaporated under a sustained assault from liberal political groups and the masses on the streets. Old ideas about hierarchy and tradition succumbed to new Enlightenment principles of citizenship and inalienable rights."
Liberté, égalité, fraternité is French for "Liberty, equality, fraternity", which is the national motto of France. It originated from the French Revolution.
Napolean Bonaparte seized control of the French government on 9 November 1799 in the coup of 18 Brumaire, which then set off the Napoleanic Wars in Europe.
The notes are so long ... But really, if you want to learn anything about Europeen history, it's best to just search for it yourself, as all I can do is quote Wikipedia ^^; Music history and the Seven Years War, on the other hand, are subjects I know enough about to go into depth without Wikipedia.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed ^^ The notes should be shorter next time orz.