pro_patria_mortuus: (the people have not stirred)
Enjolras ([personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus) wrote2015-10-27 02:53 am

(no subject)

He wakes.

He's in his room at Milliways. Not Auvergne; not France. In Milliways, in the darkness of the middle of the night, with a counterfeit moon pale in the sky outside and Combeferre a motionless sleeping lump on the other side of the bed.

Everything is too dark, too still, too empty, too Milliways. He swallows, but whatever's in his throat stays where it is.

The seconds tick past. There's no clock, of course. What would be the point of one, here?

At last he gets out of bed, moving as quietly as he can for Combeferre's sake. Everything seems at once loud and muffled, in the midnight stillness. He lights a candle, slitting his eyes against the match's flare, and sets it down on a table where some confusing but safely nonflammable gadget will block the worst of the brightness from Combeferre. It won't wake Combeferre, he hopes; it might, but they both sleep through the other's reading often enough, and he wants the light, right now. He settles on the couch.

There's nothing he wants to do, exactly. Nothing in his power, at least. But he won't be able to sleep again any time soon.
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-10-27 10:41 pm (UTC)(link)
If Enjolras looks back, he might see the motionless lump start to twitch.

Combeferre wakes with a start, and a sleepy "eh?" He sees the flicker of a candle and blearily assumes Enjolras is reading, which is nothing unusual, even at this time (whatever it is). Combeferre shuts his eyes again.

Minutes pass, and sleep doesn't return. With a mental shrug, Combeferre rises. He sees Enjolras isn't reading, after all, but just sitting there on the couch.

Combeferre frowns. "You can't sleep?"

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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-10-28 02:07 am (UTC)(link)
Combeferre stretches, and pulls a sweater on over his nightshirt, and eyes a bookshelf. "Is anything troubling you?" Combeferre asks the question almost absently, but casts a look in Enjolras's direction nonetheless.
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-10-28 02:48 am (UTC)(link)
Combeferre throws him another, sharper glance, while taking a medical text from the shelf.

"No," is all he says, but there's a questioning lilt to his voice.
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-10-28 03:56 am (UTC)(link)
"Yes," says Combeferre, sitting on the bed's edge. "It may still be real, even if I didn't share it."
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-10-28 04:27 am (UTC)(link)
Combeferre is too far from the sole candle to read by, and doesn't wish to turn on the bright electric lights.

He moves to sit beside Enjolras on the couch, which gives him a closer view of his friend's face: a shade graver than usual, but nothing evidently urgent. So Combeferre says nothing, and opens his book.
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-10-28 04:54 am (UTC)(link)
Combeferre notes the shift, and raises his eyebrows a little, but says nothing. It's unclear if Enjolras wants to discuss anything. Sometimes they both prefer to just sit quietly with their own thoughts, and Combeferre has already asked if something is wrong, and been answered.

Instead, Combeferre opens the book, and idly skims the marked page.
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-10-28 05:18 am (UTC)(link)
"I can't say," Combeferre says, supremely helpful. "There's no reliable evidence for it, but it also hasn't been disproven. To my knowledge, anyway."

Combeferre pauses, before asking, "Do you think your dream was a communication of some kind?"
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-10-28 05:36 am (UTC)(link)
Combeferre's first thought is that he's never dreamed of his father, or any of his family, since coming to Milliways.

His second thought is an awareness of deep sympathy for Enjolras, and his third acknowledges a sharp pang of compassion for M. Enjolras, whose only son is dead.

"Was it..." Combeferre searches for the best words. "Did it...did he tell you something, in the dream? Or you him?"

Edited 2015-10-28 05:39 (UTC)
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-10-28 05:56 am (UTC)(link)
Combeferre sees the gleam. He touches Enjolras's shoulder. "Then I hope it was a communication," he says. "It may well be. I can ask Bar for more information about real dreams in Milliways, if you'd like. Or check the Library."
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-10-28 06:33 pm (UTC)(link)
"Then I'll check the Library first thing tomorrow," Combeferre says. "I know where best to start."

He wishes he could do more, for Enjolras and his father, that fine old man alone in his house.

(And for Combeferre's own family--though at least he's not an only child, and never was his parents' favorite. Still, he thinks of his quiet, decent-hearted father, and his melancholy mother, and his sister and brothers, and wishes he could do more, or anything at all.)
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-10-28 08:52 pm (UTC)(link)
There's no point to dwelling on many things, and so Combeferre turns his thoughts back to his medical text, but finds himself unable to concentrate.

Instead, he thinks of communication beyond the grave. He has no books on the supernatural here, he'll have to check the Library for that, but perhaps the book on the neurology of dreams---

He rises, pulls it from the shelf and replaces the first book, and comes back to sit by Enjolras.
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-10-29 02:18 am (UTC)(link)
Combeferre reads about the neurology of dreams, which is thoroughly unhelpful. At least, this book is.

He doesn't even know what sort of help he's looking for. Their daemoned selves had left behind spreadsheets to verify their presence, so Combeferre hadn't had to rely on neurological clues of their reality. Enjolras's visit with his father had apparently left no such trace.

Combeferre wonders if Bar can pass notes to the living. If she can open doors...

He lets out a soft sigh.
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-10-29 03:03 am (UTC)(link)
Combeferre stares at the book for a few more minutes before closing it.

"It occurs to me that Bar might send messages to the living, should we ask her to," he says, finally. "It also occurs to me that...the closeness of a bond between two people might influence the likelihood of them turning up in each other's real dreams. Of having dreams that are really messages between them."

He turns the book over in his hands. "Our counterparts from the daemon-world were our very selves, and so the connection is obvious. You and your father shared not only love, but understanding, so the principle would be similar. It would also explain--"

He breaks off.
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-10-29 03:40 am (UTC)(link)
Combeferre hadn't meant to talk about this. But since he's accidentally started, he won't lie and say he meant to say nothing at all, nor will he insist on dropping the subject.

"It could explain why I've had no such dream about my parents, or my sister, or brothers. We never had that sort of mutual comprehension. I--"

Combeferre gives a half-shrug. "It would be nice to be able to tell them I'm all right, but our lack of understanding in life may have prevented that. If I'm right about this." He may, of course, be wrong.
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-10-29 05:00 pm (UTC)(link)
"You're right," says Combeferre, but he can't get the idea out of his head, now that he's thought it. "It's fruitless to speculate without knowing more."

He wouldn't need to tell them much. Just that he was all right, that he was--for a given definition--happy. And to make sure they were, too.
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-10-29 06:42 pm (UTC)(link)
Combeferre's mouth quirks into a wry smile. "Human, yes. And I can't seem to banish it from my mind...all the more so because I hadn't thought of it very much until now." A cold fact, perhaps, but there it was.

He shrugs. "Perhaps the research will shed light on this as well."
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-10-30 02:28 am (UTC)(link)
Combeferre feels a sudden, earnest gratitude. What a comfort Enjolras can be, cutting off anxious and speculative self-castigation with a simple reminder of facts.

"Do you know what Victor Hugo said about me? He remembered others' mothers, but forgot his own, or something like that." Combeferre laughs a little, and shakes his head. "Of course, I had reasons for choosing as I did. We all did. And I don't regret it, even when I'm reminded of the costs. This was simply a cost I had temporarily stopped thinking about, and now I'm reminded of it again. But it's as you say--there's no use in dwelling."
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-10-30 05:07 pm (UTC)(link)
Combeferre snorts--he can't help it. "A very good point," he says dryly. "I wouldn't take his criticisms seriously for a moment, if they didn't accord with my own at all."
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-10-30 07:44 pm (UTC)(link)
Combeferre considers this seriously. "Here, at Milliways? None at all. You're right about that, and I thank you for the reminder."

"But while I was alive? Perhaps some good may have come about if I'd spoken frankly to her, and to my father, about what I was doing and why. Perhaps at least they would understand better. Of course we all had good reasons for discretion in life. I left a letter to be read after death, and maybe that's the most I could have done." He shrugs. "I simply wish I had found a way to do more. A way to avoid the sacrifices, or blunt their edge. I don't think on these matters to self-flagellate. Simply to remind myself to do better in the future, if possible."
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-10-30 09:49 pm (UTC)(link)
Combeferre nods in acknowledgement. He raises a hand to cover Enjolras's, where it still rests on his shoulder. There's nothing more he can say, nothing that hasn't already been said; he has no more words, only friendship and gratitude.