A/N: So many words...so I'll make this short. Please review.
Disclaimer: I don't own Christina Aguilera's songs "Enter The Circus" and "Welcome".
"Welcome to the Circus"
"Ladies and gentlemen! Boys and girls! Step right up! Come closer and closer, see what's behind this curtain! See things you wouldn't imagine doing- not in your wildest dreams! Come see the most amazing show you'll ever see!" A man stood outside a large circus tent with a bull horn. Most people didn't go in, but enough people did.
Ladies and gentlemen
Boys and girls
Step right up, step right up
Come closer, you won't believe your eyes
Behind this curtain,
Witness something you've never seen before,
Heard before, dreamt before
The most amazing show on earth!
Warren James and his friends- Sean Smith, and John Wright- were one of the few who felt interested in going into the tent. It was towards the side of a very busy arboretum. Sean, as the undecided leader of the group had brought his friends to the pizza parlor, and they were walking out when they saw the man. Warren was the first to stop, and he stared blankly at the man who was shouting. He'd never actually been to a circus before.
"Come on," Sean said, horsing around with John, playfully shoving him, "I say we go watch some circus freaks." Warren stole his eyes away from the shouting man to his friend- his comment was slightly offensive- and followed after the other two. He probably needed this. His friends were always telling him to lighten up, enjoy himself. Don't worry so much about sanitation. (If maybe one of them would wash their hands once in a while.)
La la la la la la la
It's the most amazing show on earth
La la la la la la la
There was a large man, six and a half feet tall with more muscle strength than maybe the Hulk, to asked them to pay for tickets. Three dollars each was worth seeing the most amazing show on earth. Sean, John and Warren found their seats, fifth row, towards the center of all the seats. The seats were mostly filled, and Warren wondered if this was a spectacular turn out, or if the performers expected a full house.
More people came in, and by the time the shouting man, who looked like the Ringmaster, Warren could count on one hand how many seats were empty. The Ringmaster introduced himself as Maxwell, and the circus as Maxwell's Traveling Circus. Maxwell was a slightly graying man, it didn't surprise Warren that he probably wouldn't be doing any actual stunts.
Do you want to be widely entertained?
People to know your name?
Do you crave fame?
Well they say "things aren't always what they seem to be"
Even your greatest fantasies
You won't believe your eyes
Won't even recognize
The wonderment that lies
Behind the shimmer and the lights.
Maxwell continued to describe- in a magical tone that gave kids a wistful look- the events that would take place within the tent. Warren glanced around while the man was talking, to get a better look at the audience. (He didn't want to continue to listen to Maxwell anyway; why ruin the surprise of what was going to happen?) Warren noticed a couple of pouting toddlers, and he hoped that none of them would be too terrified of the clowns. (Coulrophobia was something that Warren himself had suffered when he was little. His wannabe rock-star big brother showed him a picture of an evil clown once, and needless to say, Warren had a reason for never being to a circus before.)
Several members in the audience looked almost bored. As if they actually had seen it all before? Why were the even there? Several of them were looking at their phones, and one or two were wearing business suits. Who would let these idiots into a circus?
Is it true what they say?
Is it all just fun and games?
Or is there more behind the makeup,
And the faces full of paint?
I ask you, do you want to come and play?
Get the world to come and play
Warren wondered if the circus performers felt the same way. Were they bored with the same old things? After a while, did performing become an endless routine that they just had to get over with everyday? Warren would hope not…everybody deserved to be happy.
Shaking his thoughts away and rubbing his forehead so his forming headache would go away, he turned his attention back to Maxwell. The Ringmaster had backed up, towards the area where Warren assumed the circus performers would come out of. Warren got more and more interested every second, almost sitting towards the edge of his chair. He only caught himself when he realized Sean would make fun of him if he looked truly intrigued by the idea. He gripped the handles of his seat, and didn't listen to the final words of Maxwell.
"So sit back, relax, fasten your seatbelts
It's going to be a bumpy ride to the other side."
Welcome to the greatest show
Greatest show on earth
You've never seen before
Hear the fairytale unfold.
What's behind the smoke and glass?
Painted faces, everybody wears a mask
Are you selling them your soul?
Well, you'll be left out in the cold.
"I.R. hurry up with the make-up, we're going up within minutes," Iris Rose's circus-sister Fiona ushered the red-head to finish. Iris Rose believed that if she had to wear that dastardly make-up, she may as well put it on right. She took her time. She really tried to use as little as possible, she hated the way make-up felt on her face when she was nearly sweating from her routine. Of course it's hard to use so little when you had to look like a doll for the greatest show on earth.
"I'm…all…most….done!" Iris Rose shoved the make-up box to the girl that could pass for her twin, if not for I.R. being a "ginger". Fiona haphazardly doused her face with the make-up, and the redhead had to wonder how she did it so well. Then she remembered, Fiona wore make-up like a regular girl everyday, even when they didn't have a show. She'd been wearing that stuff longer than I.R. had. She was fantastic at putting it on.
I.R. double checked that she had done her curls right this time- that activity definitely took practice- and was pleased that she looked perfect for the show. Her purple and green leotard fit her well, and everything else seemed to be…perfect. That was great, because if her appearance wasn't perfect, than it was a complete disaster.
She'd learned that after three years of being in the circus.
Is it all blue skies, fun and games until you fall?
Then you're left without anyone at all
You're riding on a shooting star
With a smile upon your face but soon the shine fades
And you're left out all alone
Wondering where did they all go?
Audiences weren't thrilled if something went wrong- which was perfectly understandable. They paid three dollars a head (one and a half for anyone three or younger) to see some people do their tricks with a good level of professionalism. They expected the clowns to be funny, (Jake and Elliot were hysterical, pure geniuses at what they do- they could never turn it off) and they expected the stilt walker to never fall, (Jack did excellent at faking bad balance, he was adorable out there) and they expected the strongman to really prove his stuff (Xander was the best, no question about it).
The acrobats and the tightrope walkers had the hardest jobs. It was a little harder to maintain a perfect routine every show and still do enough to amaze the crowd. Selena and Elena remained doing floor work with their gymnastics. Fiona typically did aerial stunts. Iris Rose was both- she had the best balance of them all, she had a strange awareness of every inch of her body, but only when she was truly focused. She had been on the tightrope when she first made a mistake.
One of her feet had slipped off the rope, and she fell, but her other foot flipped and she somehow managed to pull off the trick. She always knew how to catch herself.
The rest of the performers knew though. She made a mistake. They understood, but the circus was the one thing everybody gave their all. It was how they made their living. They couldn't afford someone screwing up their routine. Iris Rose knew that they didn't mind the one mistake, but she practiced all night on the tightrope- even coming up with a new routine- to make sure it would never happen again. She could never let them down.
Sometimes she hated this. She knew she would never be able to settle in one spot for the rest of her life, but they did enough traveling to ensure that she would be happy in one place for a long time when she did settle down.
Oh-oh, been jaded, hated
Who'll be around when the limelight's faded?
Been shut down, pushed out
Made to smile when I wanted to frown.
It was hard work. Never did she deny it. When she first started she had to keep herself from feeling much emotion at all, knowing that she'd miss her family, she'd have to create and perfect routines, and she knew that if the audience didn't like her some jerks might throw popcorn or other snacks at her.
She got good at keeping her emotions to a near complete minimum. Even after she had adjusted everything she had trouble feeling all of the things that she should have. Even when the other girls felt offended at some of the insensitive things the guys- the clowns- said, I.R. seemed to be completely unaffected by it. Sometimes she would play along with the other girls (as a part of a circus, she was good at faking) but most of the time she kept out the offending things.
Except when the guys intruded in her private space (one time when she was nearly naked)- She hated that with an undying passion. She respected their privacy- although they really didn't care what she did with them- they should respect hers.
Always taking a bow, always working the crowd
Always breaking new ground, always playing the clown
Who'll be sticking it out? Who'll be staying around
When the lights go down?
Iris Rose and Fiona always looked out to the audience so they were prepared how the feedback was going to be. A typical audience was enthusiastic, with a few guys who whooped and hollered, and several children shouted their praise. There were always a few bitter participants who never looked up to even enjoy the show, and didn't clap in the end, just stood up and waited for Maxwell to direct them to the exit.
With this particular audience, I.R. knew it would be a pleasant show, and with little to none adolescents, which Iris Rose could most definitely do without. There were three boys that stood out to her, two brunettes of which were joking, and one of the two were pointing. The third boy, who had styled up blonde hair, on the right, was scanning the audience, and occasionally his eyes would flicker back to Maxwell as he gave his "beginning of the show" speech. The boy looked tense and wonder filled at the same time.
Iris Rose only saw boys who were tense and stilled mystified when they'd never been to a circus before. She'd do her best tonight, so she wouldn't disappoint him.
"Let's go," Fiona and I.R. whispered to each other with devious and excited grins. They started to run towards the flap where they would be coming out of, and once they did took off in different directions doing cartwheels. Serena and Elena followed after them, heading straight forwards. Fiona and Iris Rose preferred to work the sides a little bit.
Iris Rose twirled around, jumped around and paraded around doing mid-air splits and when Fiona and her came to the middle at the same time- as was rehearsed- I.R. jumped over Fiona while Fiona dove jumped under her. Both girls could hear a small amount of clapping for it.
Eventually, Selena and Elena finished their routine, and Iris Rose and Fiona were set to do their tightrope act, followed by their trapeze act. I.R. particularly loved their finale, because she felt so free, swinging from one bar to another. Doing flips and twirls in the air, relying on momentum to fly, and not fall to the ground.
Then, because Fiona and I.R. could endure falling twenty feet to the ground, did a quick somersault when they land to take off the force of the impact, and then finishing down on one knee and their hands tossed up in the air. As soon as the hands went up, the hands in the audience began to clap. Rose smiled when she saw a few children clap wildly, there cute baby-fat faces smiling. A few of them had dimples, and that was always the best picture to see at the end of a good show.
She also saw the teenage boys from earlier, standing up just like the rest of the audience. The two boys towards the left were making asses of themselves by clapping as quickly as possible and showing mock-smiling faces, and the boy on the far right was obviously pleased with the show.
It made her think that maybe the one on the right- who dressed with a button up and jeans as opposed to graphic tees and drooping jeans of the other two- wasn't a part of that group. They were obviously a bit different.
Fiona and Iris Rose bowed, and then circled the ring once more, as all of the other performers fled into the circle for a final bow. When Fiona and Iris Rose met at the entrance, now on the other side of the ring they finished their performance on, they held the flaps open (in a very poised fashion) so their "Circus Family" wouldn't have to do it when they finished their bowing and blowing kisses to the audience.
As soon as everyone was back in their trailers, it was off with the make-up (except for the clowns). They didn't take off their uniforms just yet because some of the mothers took their children behind the curtain to meet the person who did their favorite show. Xander, the strongman, loved meeting the children, because despite his intimidating size was such a complete mush.
"Did you see those boys- towards the center of the crowd? They're behind the curtain. You wanna go show them what we look like without make-up?" Fiona nudged I.R. The redhead laughed and nodded. Boys at that age were always interested in seeing the pretty gymnasts who wore so much make-up that they looked like old dolls. (It seemed that girls who wore ten pounds of make-up on their faces attracted teenage boys- go figure.)
"Oh, I'm always up to look at their disappointed faces," I.R. spoke as she and her adopted sister walked towards the crowd. She could faintly make out the faces of the teen boys that were waiting towards the outside of the crowd. The sun was starting to set, and the air felt good, except a little muggy.
The brunettes had the expected response, and they were a little uncomfortable when Fiona confidently walked towards them. She liked to give them a good view of the real thing.
Iris Rose stood back about twenty feet, and caught the gaze of the boy who'd never been to a circus before. She beckoned him, and she nodded when he pointed at himself and mouthed "me?". He glanced around, making absolutely sure no one else was being called to, and started to walk towards her. He took turns watching his feet and then staring into her eyes. His hands were stuffed in his pockets.
"Hello," she started softly when he was no more than two feet away from her. He was staring at his shoes until she spoke again.
"My name is Iris Rosalie Grey. You may call me Iris Rose," she introduced as she held out a hand. He took it, and looked up at her finally.
"I'm Warren James. Future lawyer," he shook her hand, and then shook his head when he finished.
"I'm sorry, that lawyer stuff comes out whenever I shake someone's hand," he smiled sheepishly. She laughed.
"I suppose that makes a little sense. What college are you planning to go to?" she asked. He shrugged.
"Stanford," he answered.
"Ah," she mused. "Our snake-charmer went to Stanford," she spoke. He raised his eyebrows. Not once had he seen a snake inside that ring.
"You have a snake-charmer? He didn't do an act," he said. She hummed in amusement.
"Snake-charmer is what we call our lawyer," she informed him. His lips formed an unspoken "O".
"You don't look old enough to be traveling in a circus," he blurted after a second of silence.
"I'm nineteen, actually. Maxwell has been my legal guardian for three years. I've been doing this for three years," she said softly. He became very intrigued when she mentioned that.
"Since you were sixteen. What caused you to join the circus?" he inquired. She shrugged.
"I was a foster child with a talent. I was with my last family at a gym jumping on a trampoline when Max saw me. It wasn't long after that that I hopped on a trailer with Fiona- the girl who does my act with me- and lived happily ever after." Not so much happily ever after but she wanted to leave him with an untainted good experience.
"Wow," he breathed. She smiled as the look on his face reminded of why she beckoned him over to her.
"So you've never been to a circus before," she stated, crossing her arms over her chest. He blushed.
"How did you-" she cut him off.
"The expression on your face when Max was starting off the show. The fact that you're a teenage boy and when you applauded us at the end you looked like you meant it- that's a give away sign, by the way," she mentioned. He nodded, a comfortable smile on his face.
"I guess you're used to guys like Sean and John, then," he guessed.
"It's a bittersweet deal- if I wasn't, I'd be irritated by it, and this way, I feel like I've seen far too many," she sighed. He chuckled.
"They can't be that bad," he insisted. She shook her head.
"You'd have to be called a circus freak several times before you really knew what it's like," she retorted. His expression seemed a bit shocked.
"How often do you get ridiculed like that?" he questioned. She shrugged again.
"A couple times a month. It's not an insult to me- I embrace the term, just not the fact that they're trying to hurt my feelings. So I get Xander to scare them off," she smiled. Warren narrowed his eyes.
"Xander's the strongman isn't he?" She giggled and nodded. He grinned widely at her.
"I guess being in a circus isn't so bad," he said as he looked at the other entertainers- they were all laughing and smiling.
"It's the constant moving that gets to you. We're all a big family, but sometimes it couldn't hurt to make new ties that you'll see more than once," she explained. He nodded.
"What about performing? Is that a yay or neigh?"
"It's both. As a future lawyer I hope that you can figure out why," she told him. He nodded once again.
"You know, I guess I wouldn't mind being part of a circus like this," he mused. She did that amused hum again.
"It'd be bad for you," she told him. He stared at her.
"What gives you that impression?" he demanded softly.
"You seem very controlled and frankly, like a little bit of a tight-ass. Joining a circus is far too big a step for you to take, if you wanted to do something a little, I don't know, freeing. I don't mean it personally, I just have met a lot of people, some were like you," she explained. He sighed.
"Your friends are calling you," Iris Rose informed him. He looked to where he last saw them. He frowned.
"Yeah, I have to go," he sighed.
"You're going to Stanford soon right?" she asked. He nodded a yes.
"In a few months, we'll be doing a show near there. Would you be willing to see us again? Our acts won't be completely the same," she bribed. He started walking away, but she grabbed his arm, pulled him back, and kissed him on the cheek before letting him go.
"Come to the show?" she whispered to him, just loud enough for his retreating figure to hear.
"Sure!" he called. She smiled and made her way back to her trailer. She watched Warren meet his friends and she laughed when they clapped him on the back. They thought he was getting her number, or something. He was a nice boy, she hoped to see him at their show near his campus.
He wouldn't miss that show for the world.
A/N: Oh, several line breaks. Okay, so please review, and please view my profile for a link to a link of the songs this story was based off of. Yes, I did say "link to a link" and I don't regret it. Just copy and paste the damn thing.
Also, review, (I've said that several times now) and answer the poll on my profile.