by: V.K.Violette (aka anachronist_now )
by: V.K.Violette (aka anachronist_now )
Frederic Chopin was sure that he couldn’t love somebody.
He simply believed he didn’t have the right to love. He supposed it was like the way he wrote his music, wonderful music, but he was always too afraid to play it loud.
He viewed himself as being introverted, sickly, quiet, and meek. In a way, he viewed that all humans were, in some respect. All humans had their weaknesses; alcohol, money, pleasures of the flesh… addictions. Chopin thought that he was better weak and helpless in health rather than codependent on substance. But, there is always an outlier in terms that apply to “all humans”.
In this case, it appeared that Franz Liszt was the outlier.
Sitting up in his bed, Chopin grimiced, but it slowly transformed itself into a smile.
There was a time when Chopin believed that he could live the remander of his shortened life without ever meeting his “arch-rival”, or so the public claimed. Chopin didn’t, at the time, even know the man, much less hate him. As for his music and personality, by speculation Chopin just thought that Liszt was, quite simply, too loud. Perhaps, if he so desired to coin the term “arch rival” in such a situation, Franz Liszt was arch-rival to his peaceful silence.
Besides, Chopin could never get a glimpse of him even if he wanted to. Liszt was almost always flocked by women. It was almost impossible for any male to see him, but eventually, Frederic Chopin did make the acquaintance of Franz Liszt. Little did he know at the time, but the Hungarian would certainly change his life forever.
And it was all because of Delacroix.
Though he appeared at many cordially, Chopin hated parties. Every time he went to one, he ended up getting horribly ill, frustrated, flustered, and most of all, uncomfortable. But something had plagued him to go to a gallery opening of Eugene’s. Perhaps it was because the party was invitation only, or perhaps it was because his benefactor, Camille Pleyel would be there. Most likely, there was no direct motive.
Eugene was celebrating the success of his recent portraits, and in typical artistic, Parisian style, he was throwing a loud, boisterous party for it. Chopin had decided even before he arrived that he would just sit on the sofa like the wallflower he was.
For two agonizing hours, he was bored; listening to other performers play their various instruments (notably, Niccolo Paganini was there for some reason, as the devil Italian was rarely seen at parties and Chopin was quite entertained by his performance of the complex “Witches Dance” on a one stringed violin), and the various borgeoise laugh and dance with the ever smooth Delacroix and the strange, mingling women that he kept in his company.
Chopin himself wasn’t really a fan of upper-class ladies. He found them fickle, and agitating creatures. This didn’t apply to all women, he kept company with a few he seemed to like. Chopin didn’t like most men, either. He kept a close circle of friends, and while he was cordial to everyone, he was only his genuine self around his said friends.
The Polish man sipped at his fluke of champagne for about thirty minutes. Alcohol, be it the smallest of smallest amounts, always made his weak body feel woozy. He began to feel a little woozy when he was halfway through his third glass. The frail pianist cursed at himself, before (in an attempt to collect himself) closing his eyes to listen to the didactic, octave-scaling music that Ferdinand Hiller was playing on the Pleyel piano in the corner of the salon. When a calm adagio piece ended, he found himself calm enough to open his eyes, only to see from across a clearing in the room made from all of the patrons crowding around said piano, a parlour mirror.
Chopin felt his heart lurch.
He had serious self loathing issues when it came to his appearance.
He was a short man, but not enough to be stereotyped as such, with curly brunet, almost black hair, a thin, feeble frame, and a feminine face. His hands, although with pianistic fingers, were also small in stature, and sometimes Chopin had a hard time reaching some of the notes he so longed to play.
After looking at himself, the Polish man decided to finish off his current glass of champagne so he could put the glass down on the table (he was tired of holding it) when a man came and sat down beside him, flopping on the sofa most unceremoniously. Chopin quivered. He was scared of people who did whatever they wanted to with no remorse, as this young man just did.
The man gave him a cocky grin. Chopin, in a most uncharacteristic moment, almost blushed. The man was quite handsome. He had pin straight brown hair that went down to his chin, and pretty sea-colored eyes that sparkled when he grinned. The stranger was tall and very skinny, with a thin face. On that face, were his eyes, pretty as they were, a long nose which signaled to Chopin that this man had come from Eastern European descent, just like him, and below his nose, were a pair of thin, soft lips that added color to his creamy, yet pale skin tone. They hid perfect teeth.
Noticing Chopin’s badly masked discomfort, the other man smiled in a less predatory fashion. Chopin eased up when he saw the stranger’s kind expression, idealized by the premature crow’s feet forming in the corners of those ocean-colored eyes.
“Are you alright?” the man asked Chopin, after noticing the Polish man’s distress. Chopin nodded fervently, further eminating from him his own discomfort. The room suddenly began to swirl around him, blurred with people yelling, dancing and singing. And then this man, this stranger, was only a hair’s breadth away from him. It was all to much to bear for the poor pianist.
The man with the sparkling eyes noticed Chopin’s discomfort. He grabbed the trembling man by his gloved hand and led him to the grandiose patio outside Eugene’s back porch.
Once he was out of the throngs of people, Chopin started hyperventilating, compensating for the myriad of breaths he didn’t notice he withheld.
The stranger, who was clad unceremoniously in a black turtleneck and corresponding slacks, sipped idly at his champagne while watching Chopin with an amused look before asking
“Are you alright, dear friend?”
Chopin coughed and wheezed before managing to give the man a nod.
“Go…back to…the party…I’ll…be alright.” He managed to whisper in-between deep breaths.
“Certainly not,” the man snorted. “the air here is not good for you at all. Let me treat you to something, and take you home.”
“No, I’m sure I’ll be quite alright—“
The man smiled serenely at Chopin. “No, I insist.”
The man showed Chopin to a fancy, very Parisian restaurant., with exquisite, if not overly grandiose food. Chopin had been far too shy to speak to the man that accompanied him, and who was now staring at him with fascination.
“I’m terribly sorry, I have not asked you your name yet, kind sir.” Chopin blushed realizing his faux pas, before looking down sheepishly at the white napkin that occupied his lap.
The man let out a hearty laugh.
“Well! I’m just surprised you don’t know who I am!” he cackled. The man held out one of his long, bony hands for Chopin to shake. Chopin took it with hesitation, and was startled at its warmth. The red painting his cheeks darkened.
“My name,” the man began, pausing for dramatic emphasis, “Is Franz Liszt.”
Chopin felt his blood go cold.
This kind, smiling, man was his dubbed “arch-rival”?! There was no way. Franz Liszt was supposed to be a womanizing and vain peacock, parading everywhere with a half-dozen women on his arms and alcohol bottles in both hands!He couldn’t be this, charismatic, artsy, classic gentleman! It didn’t compute with Chopin. Not one single bit.
“Is something the matter?” Franz Liszt asked, looking at the poor man who was sinking down gradually into his chair.
“N-nothing!” Chopin forced a smile that almost shook on his face.
Franz let out a laugh that sounded like the ringing of bells to whomever heard it, except the now petrified Chopin.
“Well then sit up! Introduce yourself!”
Chopin composed himself. “I’m terribly sorry. My name is Frederic Chopin, and I’m pleased to make your acquaintance.” His voice almost faded into a whisper by the end of the short sentence.
Liszt went wide-eyed. “Ah! The fellow pianistic genuis which I’ve heard such grand things about! Why I’m delighted. I had no idea that I would meet you under such humorous circumstances. It’s an honor.” Franz Liszt stood up out of his chair and gave Chopin a deep bow.
Chopin did something that was a rare for him. He genuinely laughed. He thought this eccentric man was so funny for some reason, that he laughed so tremendously hard that by the end he was coughing profusely but with little chuckles in-between.
His face turned red, and his eyes normally so lifeless and terrified lit up. Seeing the look upon Chopin’s face made Liszt feel like he’d just witnessed something special and life changing. He took it upon himself to laugh in harmony with his fellow pianist.
And it was since then, that Liszt and Chopin became best friends.
(five months later, after the invasion of Poland.)
Chopin stared dead-eyed at the piano in front of him. It didn’t sing to him. It didn’t say anything to him. It didn’t speak to him. It just stared ominously back at him, the grey cloudy day filtering through the windows only adding to the austereness of the picture.
He was ugly in the face of music. The piano was shunning him, throwing him to the wind. What did he have to write for? He certainly had no love, no ambition, now that he was out of his home country forever. He could have fought for Poland’s rights, but he instead enjoyed luxurious days of playing in gallant parlors. His friends and family were perishing back home, and he didn’t know about it. What pained him the most was, he wasn’t even curious at the time to find out.
Chopin lived alone in a small, yet richly decorated flat located on the outskirts of Paris, consisting of a kitchen, a bath, two bedrooms, and a parlour, within which he kept his piano.
Even the most minor of minor keys didn’t depict how lonely Chopin was.
His thoughts drifted to Franz Liszt.
Franz had told him in a shorthand letter that he was to elope with his paramour, Marie, and that he would write to him often.
How could a man be stupid enough to leave with a married woman?
In a surge of sudden anger, Chopin beat his fist down on the piano causing a horrid chord to ring out from it. Chopin let it linger sourly.
Does love make one so blind?! Liszt was an intelligent, musical man like himself! Why would he do something so irresponsible?! In the five short months he had known the Hungarian, Chopin became closer to him than he had anyone else. And he felt horribly betrayed by the fact that his friend had just left him here to rot by himself indefinitely.
Delayed pain shot up Chopin’s arm. He was so numb he couldn’t even feel it. A tear fell bitterly down his cheeks, followed by another, and another, until they formed one constant stream of hateful, lonely tears.
He sat like this, unwavering, for a full two days.
And then…a miracle happened.
Someone knocked on the door.
Chopin ignored it. There was only one person he wanted to see, and that person was gone forever. The person at the door knocked again. And then… a voice.
Chopin spun around to look at the door. Only one person called him a nickname as obscene as that.
“Franz!” he cried out, bounding towards the door, throwing it open just so he could stare at the man who was standing in his humble doorway. Just to see if he was really there.
The joy in Liszt’s eyes quickly faded to concern as he saw the etches Chopin’s tears had made in his face. Without even thinking, he threw his arms around the feeble man, who instantly froze up, but settled down gradually before returning his friend’s embrace.
Liszt always embraced Chopin with pride after the feeble man had performed. He was famous, and therefore he was unabashed. Liszt loved the look Chopin gave him when he could tell that the Hungarian really was enthralled by his playing. They would have tea together on weekends, go to parties together sometimes, and Chopin tried to attend many of Liszt’s concerts, just so they could cordially congratulate each other like anyone would, afterwards. Liszt thought that everything Chopin did was genius. Chopin had come to love the music his friend had made.
He got a look of envy in his eyes when Liszt consorted with a woman who was so fake, you could read her as if she was etched in stone. To Chopin, Liszt deserved an intelligent, musical woman who understood how he worked.
But when Chopin was in Liszt’s tender embrace this time, he felt his heart sink down into his stomach. After a while, Liszt smiled at Chopin, kindness sparkling in his eyes.
“Come, let’s chat over tea.”
The two traversed to Liszt’s personal estate, where he had servants prepare some tea and scones for him and his guest.
They dined in Liszt’s sunroom, enjoying each other’s presence. Liszt knew Chopin was quiet, and did not pressure him to speak. Chopin found this quite admirable.
“So, Franz, what happened with Marie?” he asked, nervousness weaved within his words.
“I left her with my daughters,” he scowled. “Actually, it was mutual. I missed performing, and I missed Paris. England is far too strict for my liking.”
Chopin nodded in understanding, although he himself had never been to England. Liszt was far more worldly than he was.
“And how have you been, old friend?” Liszt asked, looking at Chopin with genuine curiosity.
“My health has worsened, I’m afraid. I’ve been quite depressed. Honestly, I’m quite thankful for the fact that you are here now. Though the fact that you just ran off like that is quite discerning to me.”
Liszt felt a pang in his heart.
“Poor Chopinetto. Well I’m back now. And I shall love Paris more than any woman!” He declared with triumph. Chopin smiled softly before gazing at Liszt with soft, inquisitive eyes.
Chopin took one of Liszt’s hands in his own, looked at him with sadness. Liszt felt heat course throughout him.
“Does love make one truly blind, Franz?” he asked with true interest, as if he didn’t even realize he was holding Liszt’s hand in a most intimate manner.
Liszt felt his stomach flop, and his face heat up, as if Chopin had made a great confession.
“I wouldn’t know,” he snorted. “I’ve never been in true love, mostly it’s just lust.”
Chopin gaped at him in pure, unadulterated shock.
“Then why did you leave with the Countess?!” he cried, his head in shambles.
Liszt looked at him as if it was the stupidest question ever asked in the history of language.
“She was very talented in bed, I must say. And it’s not like I could escape her either.”
Chopin’s face turned a bright, rosy red. When Liszt said things like that, it often unnerved him, and made him think thoughts that he crossed himself for.
Chopin looked outside, and saw that it was getting dark. His watch said that it was ten thirty. Well, with the carriage ride (Franz’s house was terribly far from his own) and with their conversation…yes, it was ten thirty.
“Franz,” Chopin started. “It’s getting quite late. I don’t think I can make it home in time for a good night’s sleep. I’m sorry to impose on your hospitality, but do you mind if I stay at your house tonight?” he asked.
Liszt composed himself before looking at Chopin with kindness. “Of course you may, Chopinetto.”
Liszt did not know why Chopin holding his hand affected him so much. Surely it wasn’t romantic! Chopin was a man, and his best friend. They were equals in music. Besides, Liszt’s weakness was pretty women.
Although, Liszt had to admit, Chopin was one of the most feminine men he’d ever seen. The small pianist was quiet and nervous around people, shy and conservative. When he played, he blossomed into a passionate and beautiful person. Sometimes, Liszt himself felt fake when in the presence of Chopin’s music. He’d played some of it before at a couple of his own recitals. But it was never quite the same. Once, Liszt had spent a week trying to play a Chopin piece exactly the same as Chopin had. It was impossible. Liszt was a boisterous, raucous, and exuberant individual with no sense of shame. He was a performer, an actor, a charmer. Chopin wasn’t. Chopin was an artist, a thinker, a quiet and tender man.
Chopin had already gone to one of the guest rooms to turn in for the night. Chopin had never stayed at his house before, and Liszt had never stayed at Chopin’s.
Liszt’s room was probably the largest in the house. He had a king-sized bed with burgandy sheets, a couch to match, and a baby grand piano in the far off corner by his dresser- it’s brother, a corresponding nightstand sat loyally by his bed with a candlebra and clock upon it.
Liszt glanced at his bedside clock. It was already past midnight. His thoughts had plagued his ability to sleep for a full two hours. He wondered if his Chopinetto was awake.
Quiet as a mouse, Liszt found himself tiptoe-ing down to the room Chopin was staying in. He pushed open the door, and stepped in, watching carefully for squeaky floorboards.
Sleeping Chopin was so different from awake Chopin that Liszt almost had to do a double take.
His features were girlish, soft, and peaceful. Liszt inhaled sharply. Today, he realized, something had dramatically changed beween them. Or at least within himself.
It was, at this time, when Liszt realized that he had romantic feelings towards his good friend. The thought, though it scared him, did not repulse him.
He spent at least five minutes watching Chopin sleep before finally dropping to his knees beside the bed. He wanted that face. He wondered what that skin felt like.
How those parted, quiet lips would taste.
Subconsciously, he leaned in and before he knew it, his lips touched those of Chopin. Chopin’s lips were soft, unsullied like smooth marble. They were warm, and Liszt felt hazy breaths puff against his cheeks when he pulled back. He didn’t know what had possessed him to kiss him. He felt squeamish and excited at the same time. Chopin really was…alluring.
The small pianist shifted in his sleep.
Liszt stirred, terrified that he had woke the other up. He sat absolutely still, not even daring to move.
He heard a mumbling.
Liszt panicked, fearing that Chopin had seen him, but when he looked over, he saw that the petit man was still slumbering. Liszt let out a sigh of relief. The Hungarian smiled gently at Chopin, reaching to cup the other’s cheek in his hand. Chopin’s skin was like cashmere; unsullied by blemishes, and glowingly pale due to illness. Liszt saw Chopin smile serenely in his sleep at the touch.
Whoever got to keep Chopin, thought Liszt, was a lucky woman.
Liszt swore he heard Chopin whisper his name, but it was probably his imagination. He quietly sat up and began to leave the room to ponder his already confused emotions, until he heard an almost inaudible whisper.
“Franz…kiss me again…”
Liszt was now positive that he was dreaming. However, something had compelled him to approach the occupied bed and lean over the sleeping, serene form of Chopin. Liszt’s heart by now was beating a million miles a minute as he slowly and slightly pressed his lips cautiously to Chopin’s. The feeling that coursed through his veins was remarkable, and in his moment of weakness, he let the kiss linger longer than he should have, figuring that this was the last time he was ever going to kiss his dear friend again. After a moment of indefinite time, Liszt pulled back, but not before brushing his fingers over Chopin’s small, limp hands.
With a hint of sadness in his gaze, Liszt left Chopin’s room feeling more starved than he was satisfied.
The following morning at breakfast, Liszt sat with a harried gaze upon his features which were sharpened by his lack of sleep.
Chopin walked down to the breakfast table some time later, with a perturbed, and shocked look on his face.
“Good Morning, Franz. How did you sleep?” Chopin asked nervously, pulling out a chair and taking a seat at Liszt’s long, grandiose banquet table.
“Fine,” Liszt lied smoothly. “And you?”
Chopin’s face turned a ruddy red. “F-fine.”
Liszt looked at Chopin quizzically. He rose from his seat and languidly walked towards the other pianist, eventually towering over Chopin’s left shoulder. Liszt gazed at him with concern, and reached down to touch Chopin’s forehead, to see if he had a fever, but his attempt was thwarted, and his hand was slapped away by the now quivering Chopin.
“Chopinetto?” Liszt asked cautiously. He felt something within him shatter as Chopin clambered out of his chair, and ended up sprawled onto the floor. Liszt made a motion to help his frightened friend up, but Chopin inched away from him even more with terror in his eyes.
“D-don’t touch me!” Chopin shouted, holding his hands up in a fashion that shielded his frightened face from Liszt.
“Chopinetto? What’s wrong? Please, let me help you!” Liszt’s voice had begun to tremble, fear weaving its way through his syllables.
Chopin started hyperventilating before calming himself down. He looked at Liszt pleadingly.
“Please, dear friend. Leave me be for a bit. I’ll come explain my actions in a moment.”
Liszt nodded, before cursing himself on how foolish he was, and with this, he walked out of the room.
The time that Chopin was taking to calm down seemed like eons to Liszt.
He was so selfish. He was so undeniably selfish. His impulse caused his friend great pain, or at least he thought it was his impulse. Liszt instinctively touched his lips. Chopin’s were so warm and soft, while his seemed so cold-
His thoughts were interrupted however by the door clicking open.
Chopin offered Liszt a small smile before looking down at his feet.
“Can we go for a walk, Franz?”
Liszt nodded, still too harrowed to offer the grin he was longing to give.
The two walked in Liszt’s garden for a while before Chopin felt weak and decided that he needed to sit down.
“Now, please, Chopinetto, tell me what has been plaguing you?” Liszt asked as carefully as possible, taking the liberty of holding Chopin’s hand in his own. Chopin shivered, and something close to… delight… ran up his spine.
“I-I had a dream last night, Franz.” He said reluctantly.
Liszt’s heart pounded against his ribcage.
“Go on,” he said.
Chopin gulped. “I had a dream that you kissed me, Franz.”
Liszt’s heart wouldn’t slow down, and he thought that he was going to have a heart attack.
“I don’t know why I would dream of such a thing…” Chopin paused. “But that’s not what scared me. I asked you to kiss me a second time. And you did. A song I have not composed yet ran through the background. But the dream….it seemed so vivid…”
The question was bubbling in Liszt’s mind, and suddenly he blurted it out.
“Did you like it?” Liszt bore into Chopin’s eyes, his face the epitome of serious. “Kissing me, I mean.”
Chopin looked at Liszt in disbelief before red flooded upon his features.
Liszt smiled bitterly.
“I’m sorry. What an absurd question of me. It was rude.” Liszt’s voice was almost caustic. He felt unexpected rejection flood through him. He felt hurt. He felt…heartbroken. Of course Chopin didn’t like kissing him! Why would he? What satisfaction could he receive from a man?
Liszt stood up, holding back every urge within him to cry and run away from the still seated pianist. He could hold back no longer, and bounded away, tears beginning to form within his eyes. Liszt blinked them away. Chopin’s eyes widened.
“Franz, wait!” he shouted, bounding from his seat and chasing after Liszt whom was already a good one hundred feet ahead of him.
However, the words penetrated through the shell Liszt had put up in order to run away. He heard wheezing in the background grow closer, until, when he spun around-
There was Chopin.
Chopin collapsed to the ground, wheezing and coughing from the strain his health had put upon his physique. The man had not even ran one hundred feet, yet he was already on the brink of collapse.
Liszt instinctively dropped down to Chopin’s side, and he looked at the sickly man with honest concern.
“Franz…” he coughed. Liszt wrapped his arms around the poor man, pausing to caress his cheek with concern. Chopin gazed at Liszt with pleading, childish eyes. The Hungarian ran his hands through Chopin’s curly locks. The quiet man leaned into Liszt’s touch, and Liszt bent down matching his face with Chopin’s. Their eyes slipped shut as they gravitated towards each other. And then…
their lips met.
Liszt had kissed plenty of girls. But none of them could ever give him the same feeling that Chopin gave him now. Warmth spread through his body, and he felt like he was walking on air.
Liszt placed his hands on Chopin’s shoulders in order to steady him. Their lips fit together perfectly- like the white and black keys of a piano. Their breaths mingled like the chords the two made. Liszt looked at Chopin hazily. Who knew the lips of a man could taste this good?
“Frederic,” Liszt whispered before pushing his lips back to Chopin’s, kissing him once, twice, three times. The Hungarian let his tongue pass over Chopin’s lower lip, causing Chopin to shiver and melt in the other pianist’s arms.
“Frederic,” Liszt breathed, the name coming out more sensual than expected. “Let’s go inside.”
Upon entering Liszt’s house, the Hungarian almost dragged Chopin into his room, the place where no servants would be.
Liszt, after closing the door behind him, turned to the red-faced pianist and crashed his lips against the other’s, before pushing the Polish man down on the sofa in the corner, and straddling him. They enjoyed heated kisses, Liszt running his hands down Chopin’s clothed body. Chopin looked at the Hungarian with fear before taking Liszt’s wandering hands in his own. Liszt understood the message and returned to simply kissing the smaller man until they were both short of breath.
“Franz, please don’t take offense. I just…I want to be sure that it is more than just lust, like with Marie. You must think me innocent, but I have shamed myself upon arrival within the brothels of Paris. I promised myself afterwards that I wouldn’t…um…ever again. Even if we don’t, I want to make sure you’ll stay. Besides, I don’t know how two men could possibly…” he blushed.
Liszt gave him a gentle, enamoring smile.
“I admire you, Frederic, for that. I really do. For you are a much better person than I.”
The Polish man smiled sheepishly, thankful for the absence of rejection from his now-paramour.
The two sat in silence for a good minute before Liszt’s eyes brightened with an idea.
“Chopinetto, play me a song?” he gestured at the grand piano juxtaposing the couch where they lay.
Chopin smiled at Liszt. “Of course.”
The sickly man took a seat at the piano and played a beautiful, slow tune- an F major Andante. Liszt let his eyes slide shut, as he imagined fields of flowers, and clear blue skies. And Chopin, in the middle of it, sitting at a piano, absurdly located in the middle of a field, playing a beautiful song just like the one he was now; for Liszt and only Liszt.
The room became illuminated with golden sunlight, unsheilded by the clouds.
Now, when ever Liszt sees Chopin, plays the piano, or happens to come upon a garden…
The world feels sunny again.
Author’s Note: This, I must say, is one of my guiltiest pleasures.
The story takes place just before George Sand, and the incedent of Chopin’s engagement. I didn’t mention that here, because I didn’t want to add that extra plotline into a short ficlet such as this. Besides this is all brainless fluff.
Start time: 11:00 PM, 2.17.09
End time: 9:41 PM, 2.19.09
Editing: 12:50 PM- 1:20 PM 3.1.09
Frederic Chopin (for his birthday)
and as always, my beloved Capriol, whom will never know how loved he truly is.