Basically, this happens—
vega_ofthe_lyre: You know what that makes me want: MODERN AU. Modern royals? Barrymore-esque acting family? Can you imagine. Can you imagine. Actually, can you? CAN YOU WRITE THAT FOR ME.
marketchippie: MMMM. I'll think about that. I want to go there. And by "acting family" we all know I'd go for STAGE ~ACTORS~ because fields of faded glory and grasping for relevancy and—you know Juan would just go out and make B movies for zeh cash (and Prince Djem would be like dude!Paris Hilton) while Lucrezia would be this intensely trained artistic idealist with a secret good head for business and Rodrigo keeps telling her to do shitty movies for his friends, and Cesare would be business-schooled but would have artistic ambitions and ERM THINK OF ALL THE PARALLELS I COULD CHOOSE WITH PLAYS. Young!Cesare/Young!Lucrezia reading Shakespearean romances and doing R&J and not understanding the lark scene yet? Doing Macbeth? HABITUAL LINE REHEARSALS, ALL RIGHT.
...oh lord you just played to like every flaily neuron in my brain right there.
AND IT WAS SO.
Graphics by Emma, words here by me.
(And if you don't understand the need for theater!AU between bouts of historical fulfilment, you have obviously never read Drama Queens. Protip for life: read Drama Queens. It is Margaret/Suffolk in, yep, contemporary theater AU. And it's the single most awesome thing.)
AND SO IT CAME TO PASS.
The spotlights are new, freshly installed that day. Father’s paid for the strongest bulbs; when Cesare stands too close, they burn his face, warm his hands. Sitting in the back of the auditorium, he can feel the new hear above him; onstage, the light catches in Lucrezia’s hair and stays there.She’s pacing, biting her lip. “Come on, Cesario,” she sings out, “come and help me.”
Her voice echoes, clear and bright. “With what?” he asks, “not Twelfth Night, is it? Don’t woman me.”
“Don’t be silly,” she replies with no little pleasure in her voice. “No, it’s not that.”
“I’m never playing Juliet again.”
She tips up her chin and waits for him as he makes his slow way down the aisle, doesn’t drop her hauteur even when he’s standing on the edge of the orchestra, looking up the narrow pillars of her legs. “What, then?”
“I thought I’d try my hand at something new. Bigger.” She tosses him the script. “D’Este’s doing Macbeth, you know.”
“It will have blood, they say,” he tosses out at her. “Father won’t like it.”
“Perhaps not. But it’s high time I tried my hand at being the Lady.”
Why yes, I am fully aware that this is the single most self-indulgent project that it is possible for me to ever come up with.
(It is just a rampant excuse for incestuous OTPtime and quoting Shakespeare, you say? You e'nt wrong, I say.)
But try and tell me it's not just a little bit perfect.
(It's called Borja Theatrical Studios first; it becomes part of Alexander Productions when they get famous. Also there's totally murdering in the theater world, what are you talking about.)
He lights a cigarette, the flame burning its reflection against the pale hollows of his face. He hasn’t eaten enough, lately, she thinks. She’s caught him in the theater in the off hours when she walks by—upstairs, several stories above the stage. Cold lights and flat glass; she’s never much liked visiting him there, for she can’t take her eyes off the shadows beneath his eyes, the sharp unhappy twist of his mouth. It softens when he sees her, but the etch of it remains, deeper and deeper every day.
Here in her bedroom, in the pool of tossed cushions and percale sheets, the bed that swamps her when she sleeps (she dreams of drowning just as she dreams of stage fright, arms tight around a fat pillow so when she wakes up she won’t keep shaking), the light is softer and she can almost pretend that he is merely her brother, not the shadow-sharpened figure trapped tracking Borja Theatrical Studio stock. “What’s wrong?” she asks, and his voice is moody, sharp:
“I don’t want to discuss this. I came here for a reprieve.” He looks at her with something like longing, reaches out to touch her cheek, fingers dry and warm against the curve of her cheek. “Won’t you just talk to me without worrying? Tell me about La Caterina.”
”La Caterina’s—it’s beautiful, it’s wonderful, but Cesare,” she says before she can bite it back—she has never tried, she will not start now—”I don’t know what father talked to you about, but it’s killing you, you need to get out of there, you need to come back—”
“I’m stepping in,” he says. Cuts her off, and looks at her with that slow, exhausted expression. “I’ll be head of the company. Probably soon. It’s done, now.”
“It’s not.” She shakes her head, fingers digging into the pillow in her lap. “It can’t be.”
“Father would have it so.”
“He’s wrong.” She can’t, won’t stop shaking her head, hair tumbling into her face to be pushed back with shaking fingers. “He can’t ask that.”
A faint, sharp smile slices through his mouth. “He didn’t. Ask.”
He sits there, silent, shoulders hunched. When she touches the small of his back—lightly, so lightly, her small fingers a pale star against the dark of his suit—he flinches, and then she has him wrapped in her arms, her face pressed against his shoulders, holding and holding as if she could slip into his skin. Her fingers dig into his arms like she could leach it—the duty, the exhaustion and the unhappiness, the shadows of their father shaping themselves into his face—out of him and into her, god help them both, and god help her, because she holds him and he’s laughing.
“It’s not the end of the world, Crezia.” Her forehead against the blade of his shoulder, she feels him shrug, bones relaxing against hers. “Not yet, any rate.”
“You know—” She lifts her face, rests her chin on his shoulder, her face neighbor to his. “I’d plead your case if you just asked. Fight for you. You’re not one of his actors, you know,” she says, and the words feel absurd in her mouth, false as they are furious as they are fucking satisfying to say; “he’s not—he isn’t paid to direct your life!”
“You’d fight for me.” He laughs again, low in his throat and almost inaudible. She feels it more than she hears it, and dips her face; she thinks she means to kiss his cheek, a reassurance and a promise, but her mouth slips into the crook of his jaw, the hollow curve of his neck. Lips brush, and he is suddenly, utterly still.
“I’m pleased,” he says. She feels his throat swallow softly. “You’re the best cavalry I could possibly request.”
Borgia fic winter: going to greater and crackier places than you can possibly imagine.
This post has been a warning. Or an explanation, as best I can give. But probably a warning.