Pairings: Matthew Hawksworth/Lia Somerville, original characters by me and nymeria, respectively.
A/N: The explanation I owe you for this can be found right here.
It was the summer of 1792. A rainy evening.
The memory was so clear - like it happened just yesterday.
Upon his dismissal as Kapellmeister to the Esterházy family, Franz Joseph Haydn had traveled to London to conduct a series of concerts for the general public.
A fan of Haydn's for many years, Matthew decided that the concert was a perfect gift after fifty years of marriage and over a century together (and counting), so he surprised his wife - who was just as passionate about music as he was - with tickets to the performance.
The concert hall was packed with people; the upper echelons of society had all come out dressed to the nines, showing off to one another, of course, but most importantly, to see this maestro doing what he did best. When the clock struck eight, the concert promptly begun, and the ethereal sounds coming from the various instruments filled the room.
Seeing and hearing his favourite pieces by his favourite composer performed live before him - with his wife by his side, no less - was an absolute dream come true for Matthew. Anyone around him would have seen the light in his deep blue eyes and the enthralled expression on his face; one might have even seen the slightest tinge of colour in his pale cheeks.
If he'd still had a beating heart, it would have been racing that entire evening.
They played a few excellent selections of Haydn's work: one of his violin concertos, followed by what was likely the highlight for most in attendance, all six of the Paris symphonies. For Matthew, however, the highlight was his final selection - Violoncello Concerto No. 1 in C Major - what would be his absolute favourite work of Haydn's until his dying day.
As the strings began playing the opening measures of the first movement, Matthew's eyes fell shut, and he sighed (out of expression, not respiration), absolutely enamoured.
"This is heaven," he had muttered, just enough for Isabelle to hear. She promptly reminded him to converse with her in his thoughts, just as she had taught him to do over the years, but understood that his mind was already much too distracted just taking in all of the music.
The rain hadn't ceased by the time the concert was over. Matthew recalled attempting to rush and find a carriage to take them home. The rain soaked through his tailored coat, waistcoat, and seeped into his skin, chilling his already-cold body to the bone. After a number of failed attempts at summoning a carriage, Isabelle had convinced him that it she didn't mind walking, and so they did.
In the pouring rain.
Matthew was positive that her gown was entirely ruined (though knowing the miracles she worked, Isabelle would find a way to salvage it), but the smile on her face when she looked at him told him that her wrecked dress was the last thing on her mind.
He replayed the second movement of the cello concerto in his mind as they strolled along. It was played adagio - perfect in time with their steps.
They stopped at a street corner as a number of carriages crossed past them, and Matthew took the opportunity to press his lips to the cool skin of her temple. Some might have considered it a bold gesture - at the time, anyway - but neither of them seemed to mind. She smiled at him once more, and Matthew found himself disarmed by it, just as he always was.
For every flaw and imperfection Isabelle may have had, to him? She was absolutely perfect.
A carriage rolled by especially close just then, and its wheels clickity-clacking against the cobblestone street jarred Matthew's thoughts.
The third movement of Cello Concerto No. 1 was blasting from his computer speakers, and it took Matthew a moment to realize that he was no longer lost in a reverie, but back in the present. In New Orleans.
He stood up from his desk and paced to the window; rain was coming down in sheets, and the wind made it fall at a sharp angle, making clickity-clacking noises as it hit the window pane.
It was the summer of 2010. A rainy evening.
Sighing, he shoved his hand into his pocket and retrieved a plain gold band from within. After a few moments, he slipped it on his ring finger and stared at it. Not since he entered King Cromwell's court could he wear his wedding ring freely, and especially not now, given what side of this war his wife was on.
He left the ring on his finger for a few more minutes before keeping it again, and that was when he made his decision.
Tomorrow, he thought. Tomorrow, I need to see you again, Isabelle.