Character(s) or Pairing(s): Eventual Germancest, France, N. Italy, S. Italy, China, America, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, Prussia, England, Sealand, Germany,
Warnings: None for now.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: Gilbert, a new performer at the circus with a little secret etched into his back. Ludwig, a long time performer who is half snake.
The show started with Kiku and his siblings performing their acrobats. Gilbert had thought that it would be too tame for people who had come to a freak show to see something amazing however even he couldn’t shake off the feeling of amazement he felt as Kiku and Mei went flying into the air, twisting and turning their bodies midair only to be caught by a single hand from Im Yong or Viet.
Props were then brought out onto the stage that the four acrobats would balance themselves on. When Kiku managed to balance on one finger on the point of a needle Gilbert felt sure that he was going to puncture his finger.
When they finished, with Kiku still on the needle with his finger and Viet, Im Yong, and Mei each balanced on top of one another on Kikus pointed foot, the audience was cheering them on.
As Yao came on to the stage at that moment to usher them away and introduce the next performer an agonizing scream filled the air that chilled Gilberts blood.
Both the audience and the acrobats were looking around with fear filled eyes as the screams got closer.
Kiku and his siblings were still in their position and were looking around wildly as suddenly Alfred ran onto the stage screaming as loud as he was able to and was ripping his clothes off and tearing even at his own skin.
He gave one more agonized scream as he fell to his knees, his entire body shaking and his fingers clawing at the ground. Before anyone could move towards him his skin rippled and he changed. Within seconds fur grew along his entire body and in Alfred’s place was now a giant werewolf that was growling and howling.
All of this happened within mere seconds.
The audience was screaming as Alfred turned towards them, snapping his long snout. As Kiku and his siblings tried to come down to the ground he turned his attention to them.
Gilbert felt his heart leap into his throat as Alfred, now in his complete werewolf form, was jumping and swiping his claws at the four of the acrobats. The only thing that kept him from running onto the stage to help was the strong and firm hand of Berwald Oxenstierna holding him back; he had never even noticed the other man coming up behind him.
Just as he was about to pull his arm out of Berwalds grip he Berwald took his head and forced him to look at the werewolf and the acrobats.
“Look closer.” Berwald growled.
Gilbert watched in growing horror as Alfred would jump or swipe his claws at either one of the siblings and the other in turn would flip around him, positioning their own bodies and twisting themselves so that they would dodge the attacks and would instead find themselves somewhere on his body.
Kiku was balancing on the toes of his right foot on top of Alfred’s left shoulder. Im Yong was holding himself up on Alfred’s left arm with two fingers, when Alfred would use that arm Im Yong would flip around from under Alfred’s arm and end up back where he was before. Viet was on top of Alfred’s head, differentiating between using her fingers and her toes. Mei was the only one still on the ground and who was performing flips and turns in midair to avoid Alfred’s attacks.
Or rather, to perform a good show.
Gilbert felt the tension run out of his body as he realized what he was watching, the same for the audience.
This was all part of the show. A hint of danger in the beginning but in the end showing that this was a part of the show the entire time.
Yao, who had been hiding in the shadows once more, came out at that moment and with a flourish called out “I present to you! The acrobats of the circus; Kiku, Im Yong, Viet, and Mei! And our residential werewolf Alfred Jones!”
The five of them ended with Kiku balancing on the balls of his right foot and his left leg crossed over his knee on Alfred’s left arm with Viet doing the same on the balls of her left foot with her right leg crossed on her knee on Alfred’s right arm, Alfred in turn was holding his arms out for the audience to see them clearly. Mei and Im Yong were holding hands and were balanced on top of Alfred’s head. Alfred then gave a loud howl and in unison the acrobats jumped off of him.
Gilbert saw Peter on the other side of the stage. Peter however didn’t see him and he looked to be focused on the window where, after a quick glance, showed the stars and moonless sky. Peter had a look of concentration on his face and he held his hand out towards where Alfred was.
Peters hand started to glow silver light and suddenly the werewolf gave one more howl before his body shuddered and Alfred in human form was back in his place.
Grinning widely Alfred took Meis and Viets hands in his and together the five of them bowed to the audience, who were clapping wildly, before walking off the side of the stage.
Gilbert felt his ear twitch slightly. He glanced into the audience and saw a man, well and sharply dressed in comparison to most of the members of the audience who were dressed in dirty and worked in clothes. He had a look of disgust on his face and so did the similarly dressed men around him.
Yao was clapping alongside the audience.
“Very well done you five!” Arthur’s voice came. He stepped onto the stage with Yao. “Now for the next segment, we are going to need a volunteer from the audience for this.”
There was a silence as each member of the audience looked around them to see who would volunteer.
Arthur gave a small pout. “Surely no one is brave enough for this?” He held his hand to the side. “Especially not since you will have to work with such a beauty?”
Natalia walked onto the stage at that moment. Gilbert saw practically everyone in the audience start at what she was wearing. Skintight clothes that left nothing to the imagination. It showed every curve and spot on her body from her hips to her breasts. Whispers filled the silence as they glanced over her scandalous choice of clothes.
One of the more eager men in the audience jumped to his feet and all but ran to the stage where he confidentially walked up to Natalia and gave her a smirk.
Natalia didn’t even bother to look at him; she simply gazed out towards the audience with a blank look on her face.
Yao took the man by the arm and gently led him towards the wooden wall that was then wheeled onto the stage.
“Stand against that.” Yao instructed. “And if you value your life you will not move.”
The man raised an eyebrow. “Is that a threat?” he sneered.
Yao gave the man a smirk of his own. “A promise more than anything.”
The man rolled his eyes and created the impression of mock standing against the wall, smirking and sneered at the audience and at Natalia.
However when a knife buried itself up to the hilt in the wood that was directly next to his head the smirk and color on the man’s face vanished.
Natalia didn’t pause as she continued to fire more knives at the man, who Gilbert noted with some satisfaction, was now shaking. One of the circus members, they were all wearing black robes with hoods on so Gilbert couldn’t tell who it was, wheeled out a cart filled with more knives, each one bigger than the last, and swords.
When the man moved to get off the stage and back into the audience Natalia threw four knives to pin his pants to the floorboards, effectively stopping him in place.
Gilbert felt someone shift beside him and when he glanced downwards he saw Elizaveta standing next to him. When she saw he was looking at her she grinned at him and held up the objects in her hand.
A bow and arrow laid ready in her hands and a quiver of arrows were strapped onto her back.
Before Gilbert could blink Elizaveta pulled the arrow back and fired at Natalia.
Natalia, for her part, didn’t even blink as the arrow flew directly at her face. She simply grabbed a knife and cut the arrow mere centimeters before it reached her face. The now useless arrow fell to the ground in two pieces.
Elizaveta walked forward firing arrow after arrow at Natalia who would simply weave around with her knives to cut the arrows down.
They ended their performance with arrows and knives embedded in all of the surfaces, the man who had been pinned to the ground and who knives and swords just brushed past his skin had been weeping for the past few minutes. Finally he pulled the knives out of the ground and ran back into the audience as Natalia and Elizaveta bowed.
Gilbert was silently clapping alongside the audience at the finish when he noticed that snakes were now coming onto the stage. He narrowed his eyes and leaned forward, this was Ludwig’s performance.
Yao smiled as he saw the audience squirm in their seats at the sight of the snakes.
“There is no need to worry about those.” he assured them. “The small ones listen to their leader. The biggest snake of them all.”
Ludwig’s favorite snake at that moment curled around one of the pillars on the stage and slowly descended onto the ground. As it brought its head up with its tongue flickering lightly the audience was shaking and some of them were almost screeching in their seats.
“This snake however, we need to keep her happy. If we do then she protects us and controls the smaller snakes as well.” Yao said. “And the way we keep her happy? We keep her very well fed.”
A cage was wheeled onto the stage at the moment.
“What do we feed her?” Yao asked before he smiled. “Human beings of course.”
The entire audience and Gilbert gave a gasp. Then he realized that there was a person in the cage.
Antonio, all dressed up in elaborate silks and his regular eye patch, along with Francis, who was dressed as he always was in magnificent colors, came to the cage at that moment and opened it. Together they reached in and took the figure in it out. The person was wearing a long black robe that covered every inch of skin and didn’t even hint at a gender. The audience shifted and some of them were swallowing heavily.
Together Antonio and Francis took the person to the front of the cage where shackles were waiting. They cuffed the person, who hadn’t moved a single muscle the entire time and seemed that they were unconscious, to the cage and left the stage.
The figure finally moved slightly as the snakes circled around them. They lifted and then bowed their head forward which allowed their long blonde hair to fall forward.
Long blonde hair and snakes. Gilbert cursed himself for his stupidity.
“And in order to keep the peace, we need to keep our guards happy.” Yao said.
The giant snake had been circling around the cage before stopping in front of the figure. Suddenly the snake snapped forward with its jaws wide open and aimed straight at the figures face.
Not a single person screamed as it seemed that the snake would devour the figure.
However mere millimeters with its teeth away from the person the snake froze. She closed her jaws and flicked her tongue out a few times before curling around the person. Then clear to the entire audience the snake bit down hard into the locks of the shackles so they fell to the ground, broken.
Then the snake curled around the figure and lifted them to the top of the cage. When it snapped towards the audience the audience shrieked.
Arthur came forward now. “Ladies and gentlemen, may I present. Our beloved snake-boy, Ludwig.”
At Arthur’s announcement Ludwig allowed the robe to fall to the ground. He then stood in front of the audience with only his shorts to cover him and showing the world his snake skin covered body. The snake herself was curled around Ludwig’s shoulders and hips almost lovingly.
Gilbert glanced into the audience once more. His eyes found the same well-dressed man and saw the disgust deepen on his face and his friends.
Suddenly he stood and called out “So this is a circus of freaks!”
Arthur had been in the middle of a speech and started out of what he was saying. When he located the man he tilted his head to the side and said “Pardon?”
“I came to see a circus with some acts.” the man said. “I didn’t come to see, and I especially didn’t pay, to see a bunch of freaks thinking that they are special and trying to show off their freakish bodies.”
Yao motioned with his head to the entrance. “If you are displeased then you are free to leave.”
“Then I, and my friends, want a refund.” he said, waving his arm around to his friends.
“No refunds or exchanges.” Arthur said. “It said so very clearly on the tickets.”
“I’m not wasting my time and my money on freaks!” the man screamed. He started towards the stage “I want my money back!”
As he took one step onto the stage the snake that had been curled around Ludwig shot forward towards him. It curled around the man’s body in a tight grip and hissed.
“Ludwig!” Yao called. “No.”
Before anyone could move one of the men’s friends jumped forward brandishing a pistol in his hand and aiming it at the snake.
The smaller snakes that had still been on the ground jumped forward and bit the second man’s hand. The man screamed and dropped the gun as blood started to fall.
The audience erupted in pandemonium. Suddenly everyone was screaming and running towards the exits.
Ludwig jumped off the cage and gathered the snakes to him as helpers quickly wheeled the cage off of the stage. Berwald appeared again and pulled Gilbert away.
“We need to pack everything and be quick.” Berwald instructed in his low voice. “Everything. Quick.”
Gilbert nodded and ran forward to help as other members of the circus were climbing up banisters, throwing things into boxes, and running back and forth around the entire land they were on.
Gilbert huffed as he pushed the last box into the wagons. He then ran to a separate one and climbed into it as per his instructions. Two more people climbed into the wagon before they started forward, in one giant group.
Ludwig was sitting next to him in his robes and curled around his wrist was one of the smaller snakes he was friends with. He stroked the scales lightly as he was looking out the small area of open space in the wall.
“So what just happened?” Gilbert asked, placing his elbow on his knee and his chin in his hand.
“Occasionally some of the higher class people come to our show and cause problems.” Ludwig answered. “Some of them don’t mind as long as the show is good but as you saw, some people don’t like us to be in ‘their’ shows and they cause a ruckus.”
Gilbert sighed as he leaned against the wooden wall and tried to ignore the bumps in the road.
“So why did we just pack up and leave?” he then asked.
Ludwig was silent for a moment before he answered “People with money have power. Especially the police power. According to them we didn’t satisfy their needs and they wanted their money back. We disagreed and we attacked them, despite what the entire audience would say that they attacked first. With their money they will get the police on their side with no trouble and create more problems for us. Its simpler if we just leave before the police come.”
“Get used to moving around either way.” Ludwig added as he settled into the wall as comfortably as he could. “We don’t really ever stay in one place for very long.”
“Does this happen often? Higher classes getting involved and needing to run from the police?”
“A bit more than we like.” Ludwig answered.
Gilbert rubbed his eyes tiredly. “What was the point of your performance?”
Ludwig gave a small smile. “I play the sacrificial lamb that suddenly becomes powerful. People enjoy seeing others get hurt and sometimes killed. Did you notice?” he added. “How no one protested when they thought I was about to be eaten? They didn’t expect it so they were slightly thrown off but not a single person protested or cried out.”
Gilbert closed his eyes. He was tired from the past few hours of getting the stage ready and then running around to pack everything away.
“I wonder.” he said sleepily. “Why they hate us so much.”
“They don’t hate us.” Ludwig said, the last thing Gilbert heard before he fell asleep. “They fear us.”