Dies Irae
by TangledAria


He wonders if he knew. Did God appear to Leopold Mozart and say, "Name your son as if he were my beloved and it shall be so"?

God's biggest joke on the world; the beauty and majesty of music, God's own incarnation of perfection was nothing but a perverted boy. And while he, while Antonio Salieri kept his body and mind pure, a perfect vessel for the divine gift, Mozart rutted like a wild animal with every woman he laid eyes on and God continued to bless him.

But the end was near. His plan was coming to fruition. It had played out perfectly so far, and here they were, Act Four, the Death Scene, the Triumph of Salieri.


His fingers are stained black with ink, the pink ovals of his nails glaring out of the darkness like spying eyes.

He looks up from the papers laid out before him, smearing his wet fingers against the table, letting the dry wood soak up the ink. "What shall we do next?"

That blond head lolls against the headboard, eyes turned upward as if in supplication. 'He's not there anymore,' Salieri thinks. 'He's abandoned you. It's just me now, only me, God's enemy, and so, your enemy.'

A pink tongue darts out and licks lips bled white. "Dies Irae?"

He dips the quill and ducks his head to hide the smile curving on his lips. "Day of wrath," he whispers.

Mozart's eyes fix upon him. "Yes, exactly how I would translate it."

Those eyes close, and he's gleeful at the fact that he's finally found this divine vessel's weakness: mortality.

Mozart's head tips and Salieri drums his fingers on the table. "Herr Mozart, wake up! We must finish this before tomorrow night."

Those pale, thin hands grasp at the bedsheets like claws and a thrill runs through him at the idea that this immortal incarnation is suffering. Suffering like he has suffered!

"Yes, yes," Mozart says. "Day of wrath."

Salieri's joy turns dark because at the thought of music, Mozart's body is renewed. He sits up in the bed, eyes open wide, and lifts his hand to keep the tempo. "Common time," he begins, eyes burning like coals in the shadowed depths of his face. "All voices, harmony." He starts to sing. "Dies irae, dies illa."

"What key?" Salieri interrupts.

"C minor," Mozart answers without looking at him; brushing him off, as if the answer were all too obvious. "Percussion, timpani, sounding on the same syllables." His hand turns into a fist, punctuating his voice, singing once again. "Dies irae, dies illa."

And Salieri is secretly delighting in this, watching the music spill across the paper, every note perfect, as if it were birthed whole and complete from his mind alone.

But then Mozart moves on the bed, leaning forward slightly, and the spell is broken. "The trumpets," he says, fists opening, fingers unfolding like long white petals in the sun. "On the Dies, bam, bam. Irae, rest, rest, and then, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam." His right hand curls closed again, beating against the mattress. He leans back, eyes closed, listening to the music in his head. Salieri can tell because the same look has come over his face that so transformed him earlier at the theater. While the Queen of the Night sang about death and revenge and the fires of hell, Mozart had looked enraptured, as if he knew he could stand in those very same fires and emerge unscathed.

Mozart's eyes fly open, and Salieri is amazed to look down and see the feather quill in pieces in his hand.

The other man's smile is kindly. "Perhaps we should rest for a few moments."

"No!" he says, a little too quickly; Mozart's brow is furrowing. "What I mean to say is that, if we rest now, you may forget the notes upon waking."

Again, that maddening smile. "It's already written," he says, tapping his temple. "Up here. I've slept many nights since I first wrote it. Another few hours won't matter."

Salieri can feel the rage burning within him again, a slow, steady fire. He pulls another quill out of the desk and begins to cut it. "If it's only the matter of writing it down, then I am not tired at all." He dips the quill in the well, watching as the white shaft is stained through with black ink. "Please," he says. "Continue."

Resigned, Mozart leans back, settling against the pillows. "How can I say no to such enthusiasm? You really are a true friend, signore."

He smiles. "You honor me, Herr Mozart. Shall we continue?"

"Yes, of course. Where were we?"

He doesn't have to consult the music to know. "Solvet saculum in favilla," he says. The earth reduced to smoldering ashes.

"Yes," Mozart says, a fading whisper.


Later, after the Confutatis, but before the Lacrimosa, when Mozart is asleep, he stands before the frost covered window and looks out on the streets below. Vienna, the city of all his greatest joys and sorrows. And soon, his greatest triumph. He's imagining how he will word it: 'It was there, standing and watching the sun rise, while my colleague and dear friend was dying that I was struck with the idea of the Requiem. Like a touch from God,' he would say, just to throw it in His face. And they would all eat it up, these foolish Viennese with their notions of art and music. And then, then, he could look at God, in the beauty of the cathedral, in the crisp lines of the priests' vestments, and he could laugh. He could stand in the chancel, Mozart's little black coffin a mere afterthought, and conduct his Requiem. Right there, in God's own house, he would take His gift, and claim it as his own.

Behind him, Mozart stirs, as if God can finally hear Salieri and is imploring his incarnation to rise and defend himself against the destruction to come.

Salieri turns, his features carefully schooled. But there is no need, Mozart is still asleep. He looks down at him from the end of the bed, at the bedsheets twisted around his legs, the arms flung wide, the face pinched tight in agony. Outside, he can hear the thundering of hooves over the cobblestones, the clatter of carriage wheels.

He lets his head fall back, his eyes closed in rapture, and he thinks, 'Amadeus.'


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