AN: I guess like many before me, I've been completely swept up by the musical Elisabeth. I saw a poster advertising the show during a trip to Austria (sadly, the show wasn't playing then D:) and just had to look it up on YouTube afterward (and the rest is history :p). This fic was inspired by the 2005 Viennese Revival show's first scene between Death and Elisabeth. It just seems so different from the other versions of that scene because despite Máté Kamarás' usual arrogant, physical, somewhat terrifying Death, he's so calm and "princely" in his first scene with Sisi; nothing like the guy who would throw her around the stage in his next scene...(and notably he's the only one who doesn't try to kiss her in that scene, which is kinda strange) ... (And Máté Kamarás is my favorite Death performance wise...Uwe Krger is my favorite vocally).
Disclaimer: I don't own Elisabeth, but this fic is mine.
Der Schwarzer Prinz
It was a spur-of-the-moment, unplanned, boredom-induced, altruistic whim.
In all honesty, Death had been perfectly content with letting the little fool fall to her death in front of all her relatives. By all means, the flighty little girl called "Sisi" should have come tumbling down that large cherry tree when her foot slipped from the nook she placed it in and she could only futilely grab a handful of loosely held leaves in her panic. She wouldn't have been the first to go that way, and most certainly not the last. Sure it would have been a waste of a youthful life, but Death had seen plenty younger than her meet worse fates. It was simply death.
Perhaps it was the audience that spurred him to act. The whole family had been watching her climb. Some were begging her to come down, some were standing around uselessly like statutes, and some were relishing the opportunity to criticize her father, her upbringing, and especially her.
"Amazing," he heard some woman whisper to her husband, in an uncaring merry tone, "The sister of our would-be Empress."
"There's one in every family," a man said this, "Can't expect all girls to become prim, proper little ladies."
A prim, proper little lady. Death found this amusing. When had been the last time he had seen a girl who was truly "prim, proper" through and through? Oh sure, some were better actresses than others, but in Death's experience (and he had quite a resume of it) all the prim, proper little ladies hid a maladroit fire behind their dainty little masks.
The little girl in the tree, Sisi, was no actress, however. She was quite open about her impishness, and Death liked that about her. She was very upfront about what she wanted, and refused to take "No" as an answer. She was so very much like him. And this was leading her right to him.
"Sisi, get down at once!" This was her mother yelling, and her older sister immediately hushed her, in a vain hope to keep her mother from distracting her with those yells. Death just smiled. Such things were just self-fulfilling prophecies. He glanced up. Little Sisi was almost at the top, willfully ignorant of her family's commentary. Any moment she would be his.
And then something strange happened. Boredom? A particular comment in the background? A premonition?
In a split second, the girl lost her footing, and with a startled gasp fell…
…right into Death's embrace.
Death was briefly struck dumb by this turn of events. There she was, the foolishly stubborn young girl, in his arms, about to be his…and he did not want to take her. To anyone around them, she was lying on the ground in a faint, possibly dead, but to the two of them she was right at the crossroads, with her life entirely at his mercy, and he was willing to be merciful.
She was warm—human girls usually were. The girl was beautiful—in her soul as well as her body; untainted by the harsh realities of her world. And even motionless in his hold, she was so lifelike. He could feel her burning spirit, threatening to become a wildfire and spread across the continent. Such a thing had no place with him. And yet…
Death carried her to her bed. Witnesses would later say some male relative did this, but the two of them would always know it was him. They had been alone when he set her, still uncertain about her fate. It was then that she opened her eyes.
Pretty things, they were; and so full of hope and trust. Their confusion had been quick to melt into happiness as they followed him. As Death lay little Sisi on her bed, even covering her with her blanket in a rare moment of kindness, and stepped away, her eyes never left him.
He wouldn't take her yet, he decided. Let those innocent eyes first learn what they put their trust in, he reasoned. He had already bothered to catch her, and imbued in her and her family some hope of life, so why take it now?
Death realized he needed to leave her. He had met plenty of others at the crossroads and chosen not to take them before, and this was no different. In a few days, she would regain her senses and forget all about this kindness he bestowed upon her, and he too would forget. He had little time to dwell on every human he came across.
He started to walk.
"Where are you going Black Prince?" Death stopped. He turned just enough to see that Sisi was still fixed on him. She had tossed aside the blanket and sat up, a marveling smile plastered across her face. Her mother, governess, and some other servants were fussing around her, trying to lay her back down, but she resisted strongly. "Why not stay here? I felt so secure in your arms."
Death just stared. Did the fool not understand what she was asking? After he whimsically chose to save her, was she really so eager for him to return? What a notion! As if she even realized who he was! Death took another step forward.
"I want to be free," she continued, "like a black gull. They are so proud and independent."
"She's raving!" her mother shrieked, and Death was inclined to agree. He didn't stop though, not until her next words.
"I know you are. You're Death and all fear you." She sounded like an excited child who was privy to a great secret. Death looked at her once again. So she had understood after all. Despite her words though, there was no fear in her eyes. Just a wide grin and sparkling eyes. She still resisted her family's attempts at comfort, and instead sought a way to flee her bed and run to him.
"But guess what? I'm always thinking about you." Someone exclaimed that she sounded like her father, which made Death wonder if she wasn't simply deliriously parroting something she heard from him. A vivacious girl like Sisi didn't think of Death. If not for her intended doom, he wouldn't have even met her, and he always took care to meet those who thought of him. The girl dreamt of freedom. Her dreams were within her grasp if she chose to fight for them. It was well within her power to be the black gull she wanted to be, was it not? She didn't need him.
"No one understands me like you do."
Or perhaps she did. Those words, said in a slightly wistful tone, revealed a certain darkness. Death fully turned to her then. Sisi still stared at him, but her strength was sapped. She let her governess guide her fevered body back under the blanket, but she was still completely fixated on Death. He could see it now; the desperate desire in her eyes. She really was true to her word. She did think of him fondly.
What a paradox the girl was: so full of life and wanting death. As her stare was finally broken Death felt her blazing soul again briefly, and felt her beloved black gull flying through the flames to him. He fled her sight.
Sisi needed him, truly. That odd premonition confirmed it. But what was this feeling? Plenty of humans needed him, and he was always willing to come at their cries. It never particularly mattered who they were and why they called. They were all forgettable, faceless. But Sisi? Death could still feel her trusting gaze on his back and still picture that excited smile. She marveled at him as if he were the Austrian Emperor himself! And Death liked it. A lot.
This was very strange indeed. All at once he wanted her. He wanted to immediately appear at her bedside, and claim her as he should have done when he caught her. But then, what was the hurry? What was the point? Why extinguish that lusting fire when it could be nurtured spread. He had the power to spread it, did he not? Was that not what she wanted from him?
Again the black gull flying through the flames crossed his vision.
Yes…that was what he was supposed to do. He would turn Sisi into an inferno, and unleash her on the world, before finally becoming a nest for her to fly home to. He wanted her to want for him. She was so young and innocent, and her desire was true and pure.
Yes, Death would let her want him. And then when she was ready to be truly free, he would free her. He would be her guide, and ensure that she remained the honest spirited girl that fanned her flames into his soul.
It was a spur-of-the-moment, unplanned, boredom-induced, altruistic whim. And already, Death could feel the world turning in his favor.
I hope this was okay. I mostly followed the script for Elisabeth's lines but I took a few liberties in some spots since spoken language isn't exactly so poetic and melodic. I also changed the black bird into a gull for two reasons. One, as a nod to "Wenn Ich Tanzen Will" where Death calls her a "Black Gull" and two, for symbolism.
As it turns out, gulls represent freedom, care-free attitude etc...but also ironically, "going with the flow" and versatility (which considering Elisabeth's resilient attitude throughout the show, are not qualities I would really give her...). But it also turns out that gulls are considered messengers to mortals from the heavens (a sign that Sisi is Death's messenger?). And of course, a seagull perched on a ship is supposed to be a good omen...let's combine that with the Hapsburg monarchy being a ship and Sisi constantly flying away from them...or add in that she's a "black" gull and that black birds are usually associated with bad omens or death...
...I'm probably reading way too much into this ^^"