Feedback: This is my first MR fic, so please comment!
Disclaimer: The characters depicted in this story aren't mine, unless otherwise noted. Baz, they're so yours!
Summary: It is 1890, and the height of the Industrial Revolution. Years before the sizzling Satine rules Paris as the "Sparking Diamond," she must work her way from her position of Garden beer maid to feature Moulin dancer. Watch as the innocence of her childhood falls away, and a brilliant diamond emerges. This Chapter: Satine and the Prince discuss her future in the Gothic Tower.
Author's notes: Is it possible to fall in love with your fanfic??? My god, I've fallen in love with writing it! And this particular part came out quite quickly, in the span of 3 hours today. I'm proud of myself for that. The inspiration for this writing fit came from U2's "Electrical Storm."
We reached the door leading into the main room at the top of the staircase, and Satine fumbled with the medieval doorknob, not built to be used for someone left-handed. Knowing this tower quite well, I reached around her, and opened the door for her. She stared at the knob, and her eyes followed it as the door swung a few inches open due to its own momentum. The expression was pained—that door was the last portal of her youth, and Satine knew it.
I stood behind her, still clutching her right hand, and waited for her to make the move. I could have watched her forever. A tiny window across from us on the landing provided barely enough light to see, but I was able to drink in her image from this new perspective, her shaded profile against the moonlight. I desperately wanted to know what she was thinking. I wanted to be able to prepare myself to help her ease into the change. Yet I realized that Satine was still merely a child, and was still dependent on the leadership of those around her. Satine would not enter the room so willingly on her own, yet it would be cruel for me to force her inside. She was unlike so many others—I wanted this to be her choice, I wanted her to trust me, and so I had to provide the catalyst to make her move.
She raised her head, and then seemed to stare at the grain of the wood of the door. I saw my chance to penetrate her resolve. "What are you thinking?" I quietly asked, studying her face.
Satine inhaled deeply, and then moved her gaze to the marble floor. "May I speak freely with you, or will my forwardness be punished?"
Normally, with any other girl, I would have told her then that she was never to express her own feelings with any man if she wanted to be handsomely paid. In this case, however, I decided she could say whatever she wished. I was there to listen. Somewhere inside myself, I chided myself for being so soft-hearted, but since I wanted to have so much time with her, so much time to refine her progress, I dismissed the thought. "You may say whatever you wish."
"Why me? What did I do for this?" she asked, looking up at me.
Our eyes met again, and I tried to find a piece of the truth that could satisfy her. "I saw something inside of you that is meant for so much more than the world you were given. You are a wondrous bird locked in a rusted cage. I want to give you the means to set you free."
Her resolve hardened as she responded, and she let go of my hand. "Or perhaps you only want to gild the cage?"
I was hurt that she said this, but in essence, it was more true than what I had said. "But eventually, you will be free to fly away to wherever you choose."
She turned and threw the door open completely, and stormed down the hallway towards the main room of the tower. Perhaps I had said the right thing, and perhaps I had only angered her. As I followed her, I was about to find out. She threw back the black curtains that separated the hallway from the main room, and stopped beside the grand dining table in the center of the room. I caught the curtains as they fell back, and slowly let them down into their place, watching her every move. I was becoming quite thrilled at the swing in mood of this being. Satine stepped forward and laid her right hand on the mahogany table, polished so immaculately that her reflection in the candlelight provided by the few lit candles around the room could be seen as clearly as a mirror would provide it. It was tiny and stark white compared to the massive and earthen-colored surface. Staring ahead of her and out the leaded glass French doors that opened onto the balcony, she merely stood there, as if waiting for a command. I took this as an opportunity to engage her in relaxing conversation, and crossed the room to open the door she was staring at. She caught my movement out of the corner of her eye, and followed me with her eyes to the door, apathetic as I carefully opened them to the Paris night. I decided to take a chance, and once again, wait for her to make a move. Leaning on my shoulder against the doorway, and shoving my hands into my pockets, I gazed upon the red mill of the Moulin Rouge, then beyond to the skyline, and waited. In the brief transgression from the courtyard to the balcony, the snow had stopped falling, and began to melt.
After what seemed like only a minute, I heard the timid click of heels on marble grow louder, and smiled to myself. I slightly turned my head to the left, and saw her appear in the corner of my eye. She was fiddling with the rhinestone heart on her chest and staring at some unknown point in the night and frowning. She made an adorably attractive picture at the moment, her lower lip protruding seductively, and her hand tracing lines upon her bosom. Turning on her heel to face me, she propped herself up against the opposite side of the door frame, and narrowed her eyes at me.
Then looking out once again upon Paris, Satine asked, "Who are you?"
I smirked, giddy from success of my plot. "That, my dear, really is no concern of yours. But since we will be spending an immense amount of time together in the future, you may call me 'Prince Alexi' or 'my Prince.' Whichever you prefer." Thinking that my response was somewhat harsh, I continued. "My address of residence would be Saint Petersburg, Russia, but I haven't stepped foot within her boundaries in well over a decade. My prime business now takes place in Paris, London, Berlin, New York, and I live where my business takes me. And before you ask, no, I am not in line to be the Czar of Russia. Just about every aristocrat in Russia has a title of some sort, so the title is meaningless to me. I might as well just be a nobody, but the title still calls for a certain level of respect from those without it."
Genuinely curious, Satine pressed on with her inquiry. "What kind of business?"
"Land, primarily, but I also deal with providing ships for the navies of many foreign powers. To be frank, I acquire things for less their value, and sell them for well over it. I believe one of my American comrades classified me as a 'real estate baron.' I like to think of myself as one of the few rich that works to increase their networth, rather than feed off of the less fortunate. Money decreases in value over time, while land is forever. How much do I have? All together, about the size of Spain. America is the easiest place to build up a mass of it. They give it away like it was nothing. That with the highest value is in England. They all fight for it like mad."
She sighed, and tucked both hands behind her. "What do you want to do with me?"
"Both of us know that you were not meant for the life you were born into. You have been given a unique talent that is for the world. Unfortunately, your current financial status and class do not provide the opportunity for you to embrace this talent and use it to your advantage."
"I don't have any money," Satine said, worried.
"Exactly. But I have more than I will ever need in my lifetime. So I offer you this wonderful chance: the chance to grasp that talent and become a star. Unlike a woman of privilege, you cannot play any stage in Europe whenever you please. Instead you must reach that level through a different path—through that of a courtesan. You will be trained by the best dance and song instructors in Europe. You will be outfitted by the best Parisian seamstress. You will be sent to learn the refinements of a lady. Then, with these skills honed to precision, you will once again take stage at the Moulin Rouge. There you will attract the eye of the highest paying men, whom you will make believe whatever they want to believe. With that, and over what will probably be a very short time, you will have earned a large enough fortune and a grand enough status that any stage in Europe would be clamoring to have you. You will be a grand actress, Satine. A star." I gave her a moment to absorb all I had laid out before her. "The only thing I ask for in return, the only demand I have, is that you will come to me whenever I wish. And at those times, I will teach you those skills that you will need to know."
Satine was deathly quiet, and contemplated my offer. Little did she know that by now, she had no choice, she would be forced to go through with the transformation if I had to make her, but I wanted her to feel that there was a choice, and that she made it. I looked at her face, and she finally looked into my eyes. "What if it fails? What will become of me then?"
Tenderly smiling at her, I replied, "It will not fail if you do not wish it so."
She then tried to read my expression, to look for a lie, to expose it all, as if it were too good to be true. But she saw only what was there: the chance to be everything she wanted to be. She pushed herself away from the door frame and stepped in front of me. I stared down at her as she moved close, and into her eyes as she lifted her head up to me. Suddenly it struck me—Satine had never kissed a man before, let alone been intimate with one. I stood up straight, and gently grasped her head in my hands, and bent it upwards for her first kiss. Instinctively she closed her eyes, and as our lips locked for the first time, as the electricity between us ignited the fire of passion, I knew that it was to be so. Satine was to be mine.
Somebody'll be getting some in the near future... *giggle*