[Shot #1: Consisting of the interior of a dance bar, a haze of smoke hovering above the shadows of several patrons]
The stocky man's breath hissed between the gap in his teeth, his eyes flashing and shoulders hunched. "Don't call me that!" He snapped, but the tone of his voice is almost a whine, far different from the anger, the cold iron he wanted so much to exhibit.
Bernie had said he would be back, patted his shoulder and called him Reggie before disappearing from the smoky dark bar out to the flashing lights on the dance floor with a girl in tow. Or rather, it looks like she is towing HIM. And so this dark-haired angular-faced man had done the same as Bernie had; leaning over and putting the nickname together with what it must be short for, he had asked "Can I buy you a drink, Reginald, darling?"
At the sharp reply, lips purse over the teeth of the dark-eyed individual, and a flicker passes through his rich brown gaze. "Well. How shall I address you, dear? I'm Freddie Mercury the fabulous," he twirls one hand with a flourish and a smile.
Behind his thick-rimmed glasses, the other's eyes widen. He lifts his chin and flings the end of his feathery scarf up around his neck, and as a test to mask his discomfort at the response to his ire, replies "I'm Elton John, but you may call me Sharon."
"Yes," Elton cocks a brow, continuing to test him. "It's a drag name, my dear."
A beaming smile spreads across Freddie's face. "Well then call me Melina--I have always longed for a drag name." Leaning in and growing serious, all long dark hair and gentle eyes, Freddie--Melina--adds "I understand not having a taste for the name that one was born with; my birth name was Farrokh. Farrokh Bulsara, which is certainly not rock 'n roll. Nor is it easily pronounceable."
His breath hitches and full lips tremble. On impulse, Elton reaches out and pats his hand. "Nor is mine," he says. "It's not palatable, I mean. I am--I was-- Reginald Dwight."
"Oh, mother," Freddie whistles. "What a pair we are! Can you honestly imagine?"
"No," Elton says. Well, actually.... "Yes, I would be like a ruddy banker going out onstage."
Freddie laughs. "And everyone would certainly assume I was a circus freak or... whatever else people believe; thinking I'm from Pakistan." He sighs, a darkness filling his face. "Which has happened before."
"...But you're not," Elton says, a fierceness in his gaze as he now squeezes Freddie's hand in his. "We're not what other people think."
Freddie's expression softens and warms, a spark of something--an understanding, a connection--blooms between the two men.
Elton smiles. He feels it too, and the rush makes his eyes prickle with tears. "If it's all the same to you, Freddie, Melina--I'll have that drink now."
Freddie absolutely BEAMS at him, as though the chance and ability to purchase a beverage for Elton is the most wonderful experience in the world. It's astounding; even John Reid hadn't looked at him like that the first time they met. No one has ever looked at Elton like that, apart from Bernie. But Freddie's expression is open and sincere. He genuinely appears pleased, not to mention gratified.
"I am so glad, and of course! -I'll have two vodka tonics when you get the chance, please, love," he tells the bartender before turning back to Elton wearing an engaging smile. "So tell me, what's your inspiration for your music?" Freddie asks, flourishing one arm around. "I am amply certain that there are many," he flutters his lashes cheekily, and Elton cannot take his eyes off him. Freddie's makeup is a rich dark patina around his eyes. Those deep orbs lower shyly as he adds "...For example, my strongest inspiration is the ballet--it contains such power and joy, the costumes, the pieces, the pageantry--those ballerinas fly, darling! They have such grace." His entire expression lights up, and Elton's fingers itch to compose a song, then and there, encapsulating the beauty that is Freddie's joy.
Instead Elton dips his face and swallows, and Freddie spots his awkwardness, born from not being heretofore understood; and yet he can tell this man wants--he practically aches--to speak. To sing from all of the rooftops. He knows Elton's name from John Reid, and is aware of his music, the mastery he has over his instrument. And yet this man appears so unsure, like Brian; so much like Brian acts in his intellectual effusions that he is certain about which nobody cares to know or hear--and that realisation breaks Freddie's heart.
So he smiles, and sips the drink he has just been given, passing the other to Elton with a "thank you, darling," for the barkeep. "I long to know some more about you, darling. I'm a fan."
Elton feels his heart thump painfully, and he can hardly stop a smile from shooting across his face like a falling star. But he does stop it there. "...Why?" He asks softly. "What makes you a fan of mine?" It is probably Bernie; has got to be Bernie--those are his lyrics in the songs Elton composes. Elton prepares himself for the words, the pride in his friend mixed with disappointment as he knows he will have to explain well, no, you're a fan of my mate Bernie, then; Bernie Taupin. He writes our lyrics, you see. I'm just the composer.
But what Freddie says instead of complimenting the lyrics is "Because of your playing, the way you touch the piano as if it is a living thing-- in every composition you are absolutely magical."