Tangible Schizophrenia


Vice Missing Scene: Recognition

Author: Guede Mazaka
Rating: PG
Pairing: Arthur/Guinevere, Arthur/Lancelot
Feedback: Good lines, bad ones, etc.
Disclaimer: Versions from the movie.
Notes: Film noir AU. Makes little attempt to be really historically accurate, and much effort to both be true to genre tropes and to riff on them. Supernatural stuff. Fits between prologue and part I.
Summary: Arthur’s reaction, only without the composure.


Like each one was of the thinnest glass, he tiptoed down the stairs. His hands started shaking, and then so did his breath, but by then the car was in sight. Usually Arthur didn’t bother with a driver, but something prescient this morning had made him request one from the hotel staff, and he was glad he had. There was no way he could drive; he was having enough trouble remaining calm enough not to attract any casual attention from the crowded sidewalks.

Once safely ensconced within the black leather and chrome, he leaned over and pressed his folded hands to his mouth in an effort not to betray himself. Then he closed his eyes, pretending to doubt, to search his memories in order to make a comparison even though one wasn’t necessary. They hadn’t changed—and by that he included not only physical resemblance, but little gestures of the head and hands, angle of the shoulders and chin. Line of the mouth in humor or seriousness. Inflection of the voice.

It hurt. He’d nearly outwaited pain, but once he bowed the slightest bit to it, all of it came roaring back.

For one wild moment, he wanted to throw himself out of the car, down the street and up the stairs. His hand even made it to the door handle and his heel was turning to brace his weight when his reason reasserted itself—to his fear, for what would they make of a crazed man bursting into their office, shouting of things that were no longer even credible in the modern age? They would make a disappearance, for it was obvious they hadn’t remembered. And Arthur would lose them again.

He had to wait again. Drawing in a breath, Arthur hesitantly reached for the pain and embraced it to him again, forcing himself to settle in the middle of it. It had been so long already that a little longer shouldn’t cost him much. After all, he had little left that was dear to him, so he had nothing to lose.

But that wasn’t even true anymore. And Arthur laughed, low and hysterical beneath his breath while his professionally stoic driver ignored him.