pro_patria_mortuus: (guide and chief)
Enjolras ([personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus) wrote2015-01-12 10:03 pm

(no subject)

Enjolras has, over his months here, gotten more or less accustomed to conversations with Bar. With Combeferre looking on in fascination, however, he's newly reminded of the depth of peculiarity inherent in a discussion in which one half of the dialogue comes in the form of notes in orange crayon (and legible but extremely strange and rather childish handwriting, to 19th century eyes) written on small paper napkins.

Nonetheless, the conversation is reasonably productive. Their request -- primarily Combeferre's request, though Enjolras raised the question with Bar -- was for either more shelving to be installed in their current room, or for a larger room intended for two and with enough storage space for the collection of oddities and equipment Combeferre is likely to keep amassing.

"And no cherubs," Combeferre added. "If you please."

Bar indicated, via orange notes, that shelving would be possible, but that a larger room was equally possible and likely more useful, and that she suggested examining the options to see if they would suit. It's fair enough, Enjolras has to admit. If none of them seem workable -- for example if every large room involves blue and cherubs or Bahorel's rocks-and-red-velvet... thing -- then they can always return to request shelves and any other modifications Combeferre would prefer.

So Combeferre and Enjolras are now making their way through the upstairs hallway comparing room numbers with those inscribed on a ring of keys.
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-01-13 03:39 am (UTC)(link)
Bar has thoughtfully provided them with a key to Paris Violets. It's Room 210.

Combeferre opens the door, and follows Enjolras inside.

It's...purple. At least, the carpet is, a deep rich violet that's not unpleasant in itself, but Combeferre wonders what it has to do with Paris. The walls are a buttery yellow. Again, not inherently ugly, but it jars oddly with the violet.

One bed is large enough to fit four Combeferres, possibly five Enjolrases (Enjolrai?). The other, though smaller, has a silky cover that seems almost indecent.

Walking around, he sees that it is large--more than large enough for their purposes. But not, he thinks, conducive to peaceful study.

"Well," says Combeferre. "Er. Not this one, I think, unless you like it?"

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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-01-13 03:59 am (UTC)(link)
By common consent, they leave the "Parisian" room with no tug of homesickness to call them back.

The next key on the ring is for Room 208: the Pony Room. Combeferre was always fond of horses, so he thinks this might not be a terrible fit.

They go in. His customary open-mindedness helps him in the adjustment process, as he changes his mind immediately. It's red, but not the red of roses, or of blood, or of cherries, or of Bahorel's waistcoats. It's an odd red not found in nature. And it's everywhere. There's no respite, no bit of calm.

Also, there's a horse in the middle of the room. Combeferre scrutinizes it. "Are we meant to sit on it?"

That might be
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-01-13 04:23 am (UTC)(link)
Combeferre looks more closely at the horse. It's got some sort of spring mechanism. It's clearly meant to provide some sort of motion when sat upon.

"Enjolras? Could you come here a moment?" Combeferre calls out to the bathroom, where Enjolras has gone to look.
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-01-13 04:30 am (UTC)(link)
"If you could indulge me for a moment? I think this horse is meant for someone to sit on, and to...well, bounce up and down, with this spring mechanism here, you see? Would you mind trying it? So I can take a look at the spring as you do."

Combeferre has let a wheedling tone creep into his voice, probably because he's aware that he's asking Enjolras to do something mildly ridiculous.

But Enjolras has done more than this to aid Combeferre's inquiries in the course of their friendship.
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-01-13 04:54 am (UTC)(link)
Combeferre has grown very used to Enjolras's appearance over the years, but every so often it does impress him anew. Such as now. Enjolras looks rather like a Romantic fantasy of a paladin of old, astride the horse and glowing in the room's brazen lights.

Turning his attention back to the spring, Combeferre examines it as Enjolras bounces. "Hmmmmmmm." He makes some mental notes about material and craftsmanship, and considers which section of the Milliways library is likely to be most helpful in understanding this toy.

After a moment, he says, with a wry smile, "Thank you. I've made my observations, so there's no need for you to stay on if you'd rather climb down."
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-01-13 05:08 am (UTC)(link)
Combeferre doesn't talk for long, by Combeferre's standards, but he does talk. With a digression on the history of the watch-spring and Robert Hooke's invention of it in 1678, and his description of the principles behind springs in De potentia restutiva, and how it's a fascinating illustration of the false hierarchy in the sciences between "mere" practical tinkerers and supposedly higher-thinking natural philosophers, and how Combeferre didn't fully appreciate this problem until he began discussing things with Feuilly...

...yes, well, maybe it is long.

When he pauses for breath, he decides to follow his whimsy and climb onto the horse. He does this awkwardly, with none of Enjolras's nigh-supernatural grace. Once on the horse, he bounces vigorously, enjoying himself more than a grown man should, until he hears a crack beneath him and topples to the floor.

"Ow," says Combeferre, rubbing his elbows. "Do you think Bar will penalize me somehow, for damaging the horse?"
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-01-13 05:32 am (UTC)(link)
"I'm all right," says Combeferre, taking Enjolras's hand and heaving himself up. "And I can't fix it, no. It requires tools and materials I don't have with me. I suppose apologizing is the best course." He winces.

"Not this room, either, I think. Shall we leave a note of explanation and apology, and move on?"
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-01-13 05:56 am (UTC)(link)
"No," Combeferre agrees, with a shudder. "Is Bar mocking us?" Others speak of Bar like a person. If so, it--she--may be capable of teasing.

Not amusing, Bar.

"Shall we go on, then?"
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-01-13 01:08 pm (UTC)(link)
Combeferre blinks.

"The shape and size and layout seem fine," he says slowly. "And the water wheel." The water wheel, with its little animated figures, seems pretentious for Combeferre's tastes--but it's a water wheel, and therefore somewhat interesting. Though if this is truly meant to approximate a mill, Combeferre will laugh.

"The glitter, though." Combeferre can ignore the glitter, but he'd be just as pleased not to. Though there's something amusing about watching Enjolras against a background of a wall bedecked with glitter. It clashes with his Spartan sensibilities, yes; nevertheless, it still suits him on a purely aesthetic level. A painter or sculpture would no doubt enjoy the sight. Combeferre suppresses a grin.

"Shall we mark this down as a possibility, and look to see what else is there?"
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-01-14 03:03 am (UTC)(link)
Differently bizarre. Yes. Well, now Combeferre knows that Bar is mocking them. (Also disregarding their specific requests, he thinks, noting the golden cherubs). Combeferre can be blissfully unaware of sexual implications to some extent, especially when absorbed in another subject.

But even he can't miss the construction that Bahorel or Bossuet, just for instance, would put on the rose-pink triangle of converging beams.

Combeferre does not share this insight with Enjolras. "No," he says firmly. "Trust me. And anyway, we told Bar we didn't want cherubs. Let's move on."
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-01-15 01:34 am (UTC)(link)
No offensive colors. No carnal innuendo. No outrages against the human eye.

Also: a large room, plenty of space for whatever Combeferre might want.

"I think this would be adequate," says Combeferre. "Better than the one with the glitter. Shall we mark this down as our current favorite, and keep searching?"
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-01-15 03:54 am (UTC)(link)
Combeferre has no idea why the room is apparently called Vous. Is this another statement of royalist or aristocratic allegiance, perhaps? Another teasing jab from Bar?

...and it is, in fact, extremely blue. There is a single blue round bed--at least, it must be a bed, though it looks more like an overgrown pillow thrown on the floor--which is a particularly dark and intense blue. The walls have some sort of light blue floral design over darker blue. The chairs are a sky-blue leather. The lamps have a blue pattern. There are one or two pink objects, but it's mostly just blue, blue, blue. Relentlessly so. At least the barricade's flag would stand out properly against such a background--but that sardonic thought isn't an actual endorsement.

(Given Bar's previous choice of rooms, Combeferre also has a niggling suspicion about what she's implying with the sole bed. It would be wholly ordinary and innocent for Enjolras and Combeferre, as for anyone of their time and place, and Bar likely knows that, but--well. Combeferre has read things that imply that future times and places are different in this regard. And Bar evidently likes to joke. Well, let her; it does no harm.)

"Well, we would match Joly and Bossuet," is all Combeferre says, dryly.
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-01-15 04:53 am (UTC)(link)
"Let's keep searching?" No, Combeferre isn't likely to want to.

Room 133 is next, called Cabin Still. Combeferre raises an eyebrow, but opens the door anyway.

And likes what he sees. Rock floor, copper walls and pipes, a copper boiling tank...Combeferre walks into the bathroom and sees a still. He immediately begins to think of all the things he could do with the tank and the still. This room offers more than space to keep curious objects. It has built-in equipment.

Combeferre will probably keep looking at the still and envisioning possibilities until someone nudges him.
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-01-15 05:37 am (UTC)(link)
Combeferre eventually pries himself away from the still when it occurs to him to ask how Enjolras likes the room. "What do you think? And, oh--what is that thing?" The flat rectangle must serve some purpose, unless it's decorative? Surely not.
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-01-15 06:05 am (UTC)(link)

The rectangle blasts out the question. A succession of mobile drawings appear on its surface. Combeferre peers at it, stunned, before he remembers reading about something called television.

He's still stunned. He hadn't imagined this.

A woman in a red coat and hat is running about the world stealing things, or having her employees steal things. In response, schoolchildren are...answering questions about geography?

"Oh," he says suddenly after a few moments of puzzlement. "It's an educational story! This tale of a daring lady thief--it makes the children eager to learn, of course!"

Combeferre turns to Enjolras, beaming widely. "There has been progress in educational methods, then--great progress! This seems much more effective, more imaginative, more cleverly designed to instruct a child while holding his interest, than anything I've seen in our time! And it appears to be universally accessible--look, see that symbol there? It says Public Broadcasting Services. If it's truly public, then surely anyone may watch this, at no cost?" He pauses for breath, and shakes his head. "What a marvel!"

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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-01-15 01:41 pm (UTC)(link)
Combeferre has not yet spent enough time in the main barroom to take note of television, so this is his first encounter. And what an encounter it is!

"I suspect it's a very effective form," he says. "Though I would want to read more."

Enjolras is smiling, and Combeferre feels a bone-deep contentment at the sight. But he remembers to ask, "So--you like this room, too, then? Shall we mark it down as the current favorite, and look at a couple of others before deciding?"
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-01-16 01:10 am (UTC)(link)
This, of course, is Combeferre's cue to press the tiny lumps repeatedly. He makes the rectangle get deafeningly loud and then whisper-soft. He brings back the picture of the singing men, and then changes it back to the laboratory filled with food, then to a couple locked in passionate embrace, then to two women in odd dark suits arguing in front of what looks vaguely like a judge, and then to men in blue chasing after another man and tackling him to the ground. The last picture he switches to has one man in yellow, a pointy-eared (like Elrond?) man in blue, an ordinary-looking man in blue, and a black lady in red, all standing about some important-looking gray machines.

Combeferre finally pushes the tiny lump that shuts off the sound and pictures, and turns to Enjolras. "Shall we, then?"

The next key is for Room 183.

Combeferre opens the door, only to be confronted with pink. Violent pink. Bahorelian pink. He shudders.
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-01-16 02:37 am (UTC)(link)
Now Enjolras has joined Bar in teasing him. Well, Enjolras is here to be glared at, even if Bar isn't, so glare Combeferre does. "Shall we go on?"
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-01-16 03:07 am (UTC)(link)
Rock and skins. Like a...well, like a trite poet's imagination of what a savage's lair would look like.

(Yes, Combeferre thinks of some people as "savages." The narrator apologizes on his behalf, since he wouldn't think to do so for himself. Combeferre is a broad-minded man for his time and place, but he's still of that time and place).

Combeferre steps into the bathroom and sees a stained glass picture of a nearly-naked man carrying a stone club.

He turns around and speedily walks back out. "I vote no," he says.

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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-01-16 03:31 am (UTC)(link)
Combeferre has the vocabulary! Combeferre has words for most things.

The words that come to mind here are ouch and appalling and oh god why.

The carpet looks like it's made from scraps of odd, irregular geometric shapes, all in aggressive and ugly colors: bright pink, harsh blue, bilious green, red, black. It not only hurts the eye, it dizzies the brain. And then on top of that carpet there's a bed with a cluttered pattern of flowers.

The whole effect is the opposite of peace and quiet. Combeferre can't imagine studying anything at all there.

They move on to Room 122.

Which...does not look terrible. Or especially interesting. It's almost obscenely large--three bedrooms and a sitting room, each bigger than his Parisian apartment--but nothing in the room is wounding. He turns to Enjolras. "What do you think?"

Combeferre doesn't expect a detailed answer. He knows Enjolras too well for that. But he wants to make sure their living quarters are acceptable to Enjolras, even if Enjolras's aesthetic preferences are few and mostly not very strong.
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-01-16 04:00 am (UTC)(link)
"It feels excessive, yes. Let's look at the last one?"

The last one is Room 161.

Combeferre enters, and groans. The room looks like a particularly boring vision of the Christian afterlife. Pale pinks and golds, crystal stars, and--

"Cherubs," says Combeferre.

Really, Bar?
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-01-16 04:17 am (UTC)(link)
"Not this one, unless you're fond of it, then?"

Combeferre takes one last disgusted look around. "Very well--Cabin Still? Room 133? The one where we watched the--the television? I liked that one, and I don't think there was any room either of us liked better."
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-01-16 04:29 am (UTC)(link)
"So how do we tell Bar that we want that one? Shall we go back downstairs?"

Idly, Combeferre wonders if Bar will play further jokes on them, or if she's exhausted her mischievous spirit for the nonce.
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[personal profile] wings_of_a_swan 2015-01-16 04:51 am (UTC)(link)
They return to Bar, and Combeferre places the old keys on the counter.

In their place appears two shiny golden keys, each with the number 89 carved into them.

Well. Combeferre throws a sidelong glance at Enjolras. It appears that number is following them.

He writes a note to leave with Bar, with five duplicate keys for their friends to replace the old ones:

Dear [Courfeyrac/Joly/Bossuet/Bahorel/Feuilly],

This key is for the new rooms Enjolras and I have moved into. The room number is the same, thanks to Bar's inscrutable motives. Naturally, you are welcome to look in on us at any time. The room has with some equipment for scientific experiment and is an excellent place to study. It also has a