pro_patria_mortuus: Enjolras in profile, head bowed, rifle in hand. (marble lover of liberty)
Enjolras ([personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus) wrote2015-07-27 12:40 am

(no subject)

Whether Enjolras has been asleep for a night, or a week, or some other and less easily definable stretch of Milliways time is a matter for metaphysical speculation. Not his, however. So far as he's concerned, he went to bed last night; now, slowly, he wakes.

The sunlight is bright on his face. There's a faint background noise of gurgling from Combeferre's copper still in the bathroom. The sheets are twisted around his feet, and Jeanne is--

No. There's no eagle on the bedpost, and why would there be?

Enjolras rouses himself enough to sit up, and scrub his hands over his face and through his tangled curls. That dream was not only long and extremely vivid, but it seems to be persistent. Scraps and shreds of it still hang about the morning air. One moment he's entirely present in the moment of this morning, and the next moment he's nearly convinced that Jeanne is a flash of white in the corner of his eye.

(The eagle -- the soul-birds that followed around each of them -- is obviously some unfathomable construct of dream-logic. But the rest of the dream is easy enough to account for. A vivid dream of coming from 1830 along with several of his friends, with action and anger fresh in their hands, with the Milliways library at their fingertips, with the ability to bring home notes and facts and forewarning and even microscopes and water filters -- it's easy enough to see how his mind manufactured such a thing. Even now he aches with the fierce urge to be doing something about it all. That's nothing new that this dream brought; every single day at Milliways he's felt that fierce aching frustration, and every day he's set it aside.)

He scrubs his face again, and extricates his feet, and goes to start the coffee and wash up.
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-07-27 01:23 pm (UTC)(link)
Combeferre wakes with a violent start.

"Come, Minerva," he mumbles, his eyes still half-closed. He reaches for his tablet to see if anyone's added anything to the spreadsheet of worlds with an 1830 stolen revolution, anything potentially helpful when they return to Paris...

Wait. 1830 was more than 2 years ago. None of them will ever return to Paris. And--Minerva?
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-07-27 06:00 pm (UTC)(link)
Combeferre, now fully awake, looks up to see Enjolras's stare.

"I had--a...a dream, I suppose." He laughs self-consciously. "Coming here after 1830 learn more for our next try. But a different 1830 in a different Paris. And we were different too. We had..." He trails off, not knowing what to call the birds.

"It was vivid," he finishes.
Edited 2015-07-27 18:02 (UTC)
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-07-28 12:39 am (UTC)(link)
It's Combeferre's turn to look sharply at Enjolras.

"Birds--Minerva and Jeanne, a raven for me and an eagle for you. You dreamed it--" No, it was no ordinary dream. "You remember it, too? 1830, but with our--our souls embodied in animals, our daemons? Coming here to plan afterwards? The spreadsheet?"
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-07-28 04:09 am (UTC)(link)
"Perhaps it was," Combeferre says, "but if we both had it, it may be something more. Especially in this place. A vision, a glimpse of a possible world--or an actual world."
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-07-28 04:28 am (UTC)(link)
Combeferre fishes his watch off the nightstand.

"Joly? Good morning. I have an odd question for you. Did you have a dream or vision last night, about 1830, and involving birds?"

Combeferre pauses and says, with a sudden recollection, "Alcmaeon. Yours was Alcmaeon."
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[personal profile] merryeccentricities 2015-07-28 04:41 am (UTC)(link)
"Yes!" Joly is ready to chatter about this for weeks. "Bossuet even remembered the real name of his Guignon. You had a raven. It must be some sort of--altered perception?"
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-07-28 01:38 pm (UTC)(link)
"Guignon! Oh, Guignon." And now the trickle of memory turns into a flood, and Combeferre remembers all their daemons, and their detailed, hopeful plans. "Yes, I had a raven. Minerva." Suddenly Combeferre realizes he misses her.

"It must be an altered perception, yes--perhaps a, a window of some kind, into a different world? Yet another different Paris, like the ones we found in the Labyrinth. It can't be a mere dream, not when all of us had it. It seems--"

Combeferre knows how mad this sounds, but once again, he tells himself it's no madder than Milliways itself.

"It seems that, instead of traveling to a different Paris, our different selves--from this world of daemons--came here. And...supplanted us, perhaps, for a time. Since we have no recollection of meeting them."
Edited 2015-07-28 13:39 (UTC)
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[personal profile] merryeccentricities 2015-07-28 02:06 pm (UTC)(link)
Joly's nodding enthusiastically, though of course Combeferre can't see it over the watch. "Yes! and then both realities were-combined, somehow? I know there are theories about such things, but it hasn't been anything I've really studied." There is so much to study! He feels a little rush at the thought of it. "--Do either of you remember anything past 1830, past our--their- visit to Milliways? My memories of it end with falling asleep in one of Milliways' usual rooms on that trip, though I know I wasn't Bound." he and Legle had been making plans for dinner back home, for one thing.
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-07-28 04:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Combeferre, now sitting on the side of the bed in his night shirt, runs a hand through his already unruly hair. "Yes, my last memory is of reading a book about a France in a world where humans remained almost entirely arboreal. I entered it in the spreadsheet--in that France, 1830 resulted in a monarchy, but then six months later it was overthrown again, and a republic took its place." Combeferre remembers the descriptions of the protests-turned-battles in the trees, the hacking of branches, the close-quarter knife-fights, and the monarchy's last desperate attempt to start a forest fire...

"And then I went to bed. I had a pile of books I meant to read when I woke. They're gone now. I remember nothing after that. Not returning to Paris, not how our--our other selves' efforts in that other world, after 1830, turned out."
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[personal profile] merryeccentricities 2015-07-28 08:25 pm (UTC)(link)
"Oh, what an interesting world! Is your spreadsheet still there?" It seems like the obvious question.
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-07-28 09:41 pm (UTC)(link)
"I doubt it--I was using a completely different tablet in that other world--but wait just one second..."

Combeferre opens a drawer, pulls out his tablet, and hesitantly logs on to a website he's never used before, not in this world, with a username and password he doesn't remember creating, but they come naturally to his fingers. Username: Minerva. Password: JLSC1789.

The spreadsheet appears when he touches a file name. "Yes," Combeferre breathes, half-awed and half-unnerved. "Yes, it is."
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[personal profile] merryeccentricities 2015-07-29 01:33 pm (UTC)(link)
"That's fantastic!" Combeferre can probably hear Joly's grin. "We were talking about trying to leave ourselves messages, in case this happens again, and now we know at least we can see notes from them. I'll want to see that spreadsheet later. Oh! we can figure out how to send each other messages then, too, if you're using one of the computers. Maybe later today--"

Joly's certain Combeferre can hear the thump-crash of a two cats and a beetle careening into an overloaded nightstand. Joly laughs. "Maybe later today." It's not urgent, right?
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-07-29 05:40 pm (UTC)(link)
"Yes, later today. Goodbye, then." Combeferre clicks the watch off, and tilts the tablet so Enjolras can see it better.

"I'm sure we ourselves can find some use for this," he says.
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-07-29 10:53 pm (UTC)(link)
"They may well succeed," says Combeferre. "The cholera was a factor in June, and they've--we've--marked it as something to consider, and prevent if possible."
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-07-31 01:36 am (UTC)(link)
"Oh, yes--Bossuet only knew it was a factor because he had a half-memory of you telling him so. These other selves...they could come and go, read everything and compare different universes..."

Combeferre pulls himself up short before he disappears into a world of envious speculation. "We could certainly leave notes. Our most detailed accounts of the events between 1830 and 1832, left with Bar, could save our other selves time and trouble. They would have everything we consider relevant, which would be very similar to what's relevant to them, at their fingertips. They wouldn't have to search the depths of the Library for pertinent facts."
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-07-31 03:04 am (UTC)(link)
Combeferre nods. "Perhaps each of us should write a separate account of, well, everything? And then we can all read one another's accounts, and perhaps compile a shorter distillation of the key points of each, and leave that with Bar, as well as the longer separate accounts."
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-07-31 03:30 am (UTC)(link)
"Hmmmm, yes," Combeferre says, after mulling it over a moment. "We must go through the spreadsheet, perhaps improve upon it--and then, in our distillation of points, we must include all facts we find that are of relevance to any world. If possible. And in our accounts, perhaps we should begin earlier than 1830. Because, well, imagine if we could avert the theft of the revolution in some world! If we could provide information that would be helpful to someone who comes here before 1830. Perhaps we should each begin with...our earliest recollections of political activity."
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-07-31 03:47 am (UTC)(link)
Combeferre considers this for a long moment. "Well," he says, stifling a yawn, "this daemon-world's situation isn't necessarily any more immediate--if they never come back, or come back in 1835, then all we do to aid them will be useless. But yes, for efficiency's sake, we may focus first on creating accounts that would aid them." A thought strikes him. "What about other visitors from our world?"
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-07-31 04:14 am (UTC)(link)
"I meant others of the wider citizenry, perhaps from before or during our time, whom we might aid in altering events." Combeferre frowns. "As to how we would know which world--we wouldn't. Although..."

Combeferre doesn't know exactly how to put this. "Well. It's possible that worlds with only minor differences...fold into each other, and become one? As, well, your world and mine perhaps did? Or, if that's not so, then you and I are of different worlds, albeit very similar ones, and the Enjolras of my world had a different fate than Milliways after death."
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-07-31 05:01 am (UTC)(link)
Combeferre takes the coffee cup and stares at it, leaning slightly against Enjolras.

"Yes, I hope so too--and surely the fact that only those of us who came here before Bossuet's voyage back to 1830 did not come here again in 1832 suggests the worlds became one."

This is fruitless speculation, which does not mean Combeferre abandons it. He simply pushes it into the back of his mind. "But if there are visitors who share our common purpose, and who come from worlds greatly similar to ours, surely we can help them. If I understand this place correctly, there's no reason why, say, Camille Desmoulins may not stroll in the door."
Edited 2015-07-31 05:01 (UTC)
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-07-31 05:23 am (UTC)(link)
"If he, or another of his era, comes here--well. I suppose we may make ourselves wink out of existence if we induce them to change anything." Combeferre squeezes Enjolras's hand as he speaks; he doesn't believe this will happen, but the barricade even now is too fresh in his mind to take it lightly. "Though I doubt it. I think it will simply make their world split from ours. would be worth it."
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-07-31 09:02 pm (UTC)(link)
Combeferre nods in fervent, somber agreement. "Yes. We must decide what to tell them--any of them, anyone who could act decisively. We'll discuss this with the others, as they will no doubt think of considerations we overlook...I imagine Prouvaire will put in something about Chénier," he finishes dryly.

Suddenly it occurs to Combeferre that his list of things "we must" do is growing in length, without gaining in coherence or order. "But I now see how right you are. The immediate matter comes first. The daemon-world, and then second, I would say, prospective visitors from our own world. And after that, any others."
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-07-31 09:27 pm (UTC)(link)
"Yes, we have eternity. Or something like it." Combeferre isn't sure how he feels about that, and it reminds him of his conversation with Athelstan about the front door.

Should he bring that up now? No--it's much too speculative, when they have an immediate task at hand. But he will discuss it with Enjolras sooner or later, he knows.

For now, he drains his coffee cup, puts it down, and picks up the tablet from where it rested next to him on the bed. "Do you have any thoughts on how to organize our efforts with respect to helping our daemon-world counterparts?"
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-08-01 06:25 pm (UTC)(link)
Combeferre nods along. "Yes, that's sound. Regardless of what exactly we give to Bar, we'll need to ask her to give the materials to absolutely no one but our counterparts with daemons. I believe she'll do so."

He scrolls absently through the spreadsheet with one finger on the tablet screen. "Shall we ask everyone to meet us later today, then?"
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-08-02 02:01 am (UTC)(link)
Combeferre nods, and accepts the coffee refill with a grateful murmur.

"Do you think Grantaire will wish to be involved?"
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-08-02 10:33 pm (UTC)(link)
"That sounds very like him." Combeferre only gets the joke on an intellectual level; he cannot laugh at it. "But I agree, we should ask him to meet us with the others later."
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-08-02 10:46 pm (UTC)(link)
"Yes." Combeferre drains his coffee cup, and checks his unreliable watch and the sun. "The others won't all be awake for an hour or two, if then--shall we go to breakfast, in the meantime?"

Combeferre sometimes remembers things like breakfast, when there's nothing else very immediate grabbing his attention, and when he's finished his coffee but knows having more on an empty stomach will be unpleasant.