"How did you manage to fuck that up?!"

"I'm sorry!" thwack. Lazarus flinched as his father slapped his back angrily, leaving a stinging hand print under his shirt.

"Sorry won't cut it when you fuck up on stage!" Lazarus lifted a hand and rubbed his back, staring miserably at the score in front of him. "Try harder this time!"

"Oh just fuck off," Lazarus growled, not turning to look at his father as the man's expression flew from irritated to shocked to irate in half a heartbeat.

"Wash your mouth out you little brat!"

"Fuck off!" Lazarus yelled, standing and turning sharply, pushing his father away from him, "I can play it perfectly when you're not breathing down my goddamn neck. I don't think hitting me is really helping me, do you?" His father ignored his words, striking him hard across the face.

"I won't stand for this kind of impudence in my own home!" He snarled, grabbing his son as the teen made to move past him.

"Then I'll move out. Problem solved," Lazarus hissed, shaking off his father's grip.

"Good luck with that one," he laughed cruelly, shoving him forward, toward the door. He tripped and fell flat on the floor. Rolling his eyes, the man grabbed his shirt and pulled him up, pushing him again in the direction of the door. "Go on then. Find a place to stay." Lazarus pushed his lank hair out of his face, his pale eyes glinting irritably in the dim light.

"I've had enough of you, and I've had enough of the way you treat me!" Lazarus cried, lunging for his father. The man only laughed as his son battered him weakly, his lanky form barely strong enough to lift a sack of hops let alone cause much harm. In fact he was laughing right up until Lazarus' knee connected sharply with his groin. He howled angrily, doubling over and collapsing as his son bolted, running away as fast as he could.


Lazarus ignored his father as he walked into the theatre before his performance. He was beginning to get used to people staring intently at him as he played, and relaxed, knowing they wouldn't beat him for playing a wrong note. Not that they would know if he had played a wrong note; the only things he would play for them were his own, original works.

He walked out on stage and bowed, before sitting and filling the theatre with harmonies that made his head swim with the emotions that had fuelled their composition. Most of it was the desire to escape, which had lead to dreamy, flowing melodies, dreams of drifting away and leaving it all behind.

Eventually, the show came to an end and reluctantly, Lazarus left the stage behind, doing his best to avoid his father, ending up talking to the rich families in an attempt to boost his popularity as well as to evade the man he detested with every fibre of his being.

"Lazarus," a voice from behind him spoke, "you look as though you are trying very hard to disappear," the voice turned amused as he twisted to see who was talking to him. Another teen, a little older, a little taller and a little fuller figured than him. He guessed the young man's age might be somewhere around seventeen, three whole years his senior.

"I don't mean to," he murmured, attempting to mask his accent. Blending in and being accepted as one from an unknown family with a status to match those of the families around him was all that seemed to matter once he was done sharing his soul with them.

"It's quite alright. I think I know who you're hiding from," he indicated to Lazarus' father across the room from them, "he's been asking after you. I can't say he looked best pleased, either."

"No, I can't imagine he would be too happy," Lazarus nodded and looked away from his father, taking in the young man's appearance. He tried not to stare as he drank in his features, the dark, untamed hair, the warm brown eyes that seemed permanently amused by whatever was in front of him and his soft lips that parted slightly in a small smile.

"Sorry, I never introduced myself. I'm Gabriel. Gabriel Emerson," his lips pulled into a wider smile as he offered his hand for Lazarus to shake. He took it, their grips firm and self assured. "You have a good shake, Lazarus. Only the insecure and weak attempt to crush your fingers when you shake hands. I would know; my father's one of them," he laughed softly and Lazarus simply smiled back, absorbing the man's voice, rapt. "So, who is that man asking for you?" The question made Lazarus blink and he looked away at his father again, hiding the blush as he realized he ended up staring anyway.

"That man is my father. Apparently. We look nothing alike, though I suppose we share a similar temperament." He looked back at Gabriel.

"He's a bit... rough, isn't he?" Gabriel arched an eyebrow slightly, glancing at the man.

"Rough isn't the word," he murmured, his blush returning as shame burned in the back of his mind. Who was he fooling? He wasn't an aristocrat or a descendant from a family of wealth. His father mended shoes and worked in the oast houses.

"I know. You come from the village," he smirked as Lazarus' eyes widened, "don't worry. I shan't tell."

"Thanks," he muttered, dropping the smooth accent.

"Perhaps you should encourage him to work on his accent as well," Gabriel murmured, watching as Lazarus' father moved ever closer, "you may have fooled more people if he had."

"Yeah, well. He's never listened to me. Why should he?" Gabriel smirked once more at Lazarus' common register.

"I should go. My parents will have a heart attack if they find me talking to a village kid," Lazarus nodded, wishing he would stay longer, "good night, Lazarus."

"Bye, Gabriel," he muttered as the young man walked off, his voice replaced by the harsher tone of his angered father.

"Home. Now."


The End

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