When Salieri had burst through the doors, Mozart's head turns towards him. He seemed almost as pale a white rose, his vibrant eyes dulled down to an empty gray, yet when they met Salieri's, a sliver of light seemed to glow within them and he lets a faint smile grace his face, his paper-thin fingers lifting themselves almost as if they were reaching out to something that Antonio couldn’t see.
"It is not time for me to go yet, monsieur, for I have not yet bid my lover goodbye," Mozart whispered to the emptiness surrounding him, the words sounding almost as if they were part of a hauntingly beautiful lullaby.
"Don’t say that!" Salieri yelled, though there was no anger, only a fragmented mess of desperation and heartbreak. The second he reached out to caress his beloved’s face, the truth dawned on him.
There would be no way for Mozart to survive past this night.
Tears threaten to fall from the corners of Salieri's ashen gray eyes, the corner of his mouth still curling up into the ghost of a smile as he held Mozart’s hand to his lips, his entire body shaking as he held back the sobs he tried so desperately to suppress.
Mozart’s once-bright eyes seem to fill up with stardust as he holds Antonio close, his frame as cold as an untouched glass bottle.
Feeling despair creep into his heart, Antonio forces his head up to stare at his soulmate once more.
"..Please," he croaked, his teeth clenching together to keep himself from breaking down at that instant "Please, you promised, we still have eternity to spend together, we still have to get married, to see Alois grow up, you…you can’t just…"
"…I’m sorry, Maestro. It seems as if my song is coming to an end." the tips of Mozart’s lips curl upwards, his eyes gentle as he brushes a lock of Salieri’s dark hair away from his face. A single trail of tears leave Antonio’s eyes, his arms wrapped around his husband, his soulmate, his forever.
"…but I promise you that our symphony is far from over, Antonio." whispered Mozart, his voice no louder than the whistling of the wind outside.
Even now, as Salieri stares as his face, trying to engrave it inside his memory, he can see the flame that once burned so brightly begin to burn out.
"How can you say that when you are dying, Wolfgang? How can a symphony continue if there is no longer music to play?" replied Salieri, his fingers clenching around the corners of Mozart’s jacket. Even as he is dying, the man was still dressed in bright colors and his face donned with glittery, golden makeup. Had it not been like this, Salieri might have laughed.
"I trust that Antonio Salieri, the greatest composer of all time, would be able to compose forever, even if he must do it alone." Mozart smiled, his fingers brushing through the back of Salieri’s matted hair.
Salieri let out a quiet chuckle.
"Mozart, you must realize that the greatest composer will forever be you, both in the eyes of others and my own."
Mozart’s angelic laughter rings through Salieri’s ears for the last time.
"If Maestro Salieri believes me to be the greatest, then I will truly be able to pass on with no more regrets."
Salieri’s heart seems to freeze at his words, the ice blooming through his veins, almost as if his blood vessels themselves are freezing.
His mouth opens, then closes once more, almost as if the words that were about to be spoken were stolen. Yet, when he opened his mouth to speak once more, his eyes seemed to hold the smallest flicker of determination and satisfaction.
"Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. I have fallen so far for you and your music, for your smile and the tiniest details of your face. You have become the center of my universe, I hoped to be able to be enough to make you happy for the rest of our existences and…I..I promised to love each and every piece that make up the beautiful puzzle that you are. I hoped to one day understand your mystery, but perhaps I will no longer be able to. Being your husband was the greatest honor and..and I truly do love you, forever and always." Salieri recited, though the words seem to be so much more heavier than the day they had first been said.
The playful glint in Mozart’s eyes had long since vanished; the words seemed too fragile. Even saying them now, it felt cruel to recite them when they were nowhere near as happy as when they had been when these sentences were first said.
Their marriage vows.
"I love you, I love you, I love you, and I could repeat it a thousand times more; I would’ve wished for nothing else but for you to be able to hear each and every one of my infinite ‘I love you’s but I realize that perhaps reality is really too cruel. I pray that one day we will meet again, my dearest Mozart."
When Antonio’s mouth closed, tears had already stained his cheeks through. Mozart’s gentle expression seemed so much more delicate now, the tips of his eyes red as he sat up so that he was facing Antonio.
"My love, Antonio, I have been in you for years and will continue to for thousands more. I promised to love every part of you, each and every note that makes up your symphony. I promised to love every version of you, past, present, and future."
Just as Mozart's had, Antonio's heart had stopped beating the second the other began reciting their vows.
"I wished for nothing else but an eternity to make you smile and to allow us to become the best we will ever be. You will always be my sun, my moon, the stars, and more. It is my greatest regret to have not been able to continue on this journey by your side, but I know that you are strong enough to do it alone as well. I promise... I promise that I will-" an almost-violent cough racks Mozart's body, his weakened frame almost knocking against the wall.
Instantly, Salieri leaps forward, cradling Mozart's body in his hands, the tears streaming down almost as if his eyes were overturned pools of starlit-water. Grabbing and clutching onto Antonio's hand, Mozart stares into his lover’s eyes for the last time, a thin streak of blood still by the corner of his mouth.
"I-I promise to love you beyond the grave, to continue our symphony even in death-"
Another coughing fit interrupts him again, yet this time Mozart makes no move when the latter pulls him even closer.
"…Mozart?"Antonio whispers, his voice filled with both dread and despair.
The younger looks up and a final expression of both sadness and joy, despair and hope, of acceptance and defiance settles on his face, all in the form of a smile.
"I love you, Antonio Salieri."
With a final sentence, Mozart Amadeus Wolfgang takes his final breath, wrapped in the embrace of the one he had been destined to spend eternity with.
The storm peaks through the edges and cracks of the sky as Antonio holds the corpse of his lover close, wordlessly clinging on to him for as much longer as he could.
"…I love you too, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart" he whispers to the empty room, a soon-to-be-familiar numbness settling into his heart as he feels the once-warm presence of his soulmate vanishing.
"…Do you know why I said our vows to you again?"
The rain answers him, beating against the window in a pathetic rhythm.
"I thought that maybe…maybe we could steal our previous happiness and fall in love all again."
This time, the sound of thunder replies.
"But it seems as if we truly have bid each other farewell now, Wolfgang.”