pro_patria_mortuus: (Default)
Enjolras asked the bar for enough dinner for two or three, something that would keep for a while if required to, and received a basket. He hasn't investigated its contents. Instead, he just thanked Bar and went upstairs to put it in his room, and then to see whether Combeferre had gotten lost in the library or the infirmary.

As it turns out, minimal searching is required: Combeferre is in the room already.
pro_patria_mortuus: (to days gone by)
Here's a sight common to any public park of Paris in the 1830s. Two young men, friends, university students, strolling together across a grassy lawn, talking of this or that.

Granted, this is Milliways, so there are a few unusual factors. The lake contains a giant squid and at least one mermaid (neither visible now); the 'park' is a self-contained magical reproduction of a certain piece of Scotland; both young men are dead. Nonetheless.
pro_patria_mortuus: (we strive towards a larger goal)
He brings Dr. Tam's notes upstairs. He has felt like this before; he knows this lightning crackle under the skin. This feeling of too many thoughts for one mind to contain, of racing to keep up with himself, of possibilities and horizons and horrors all roiling together in a swelling cloud, bigger than one body's flesh can hold. And yet he is flesh -- now dead. There is never enough time to channel everything he wants into action. He feels detached from himself. These bones and muscles, these hands, this body that walks down a hallway and turns a key in a latch and closes a door behind itself; it will do these things, his mind is tied to these hands and eyes and tongue, but all that is Enjolras is immersed in the storm of thought.

There's a lump in his throat.

He sets the folder carefully on top of his desk.

The next step is obvious. He needs to tell Bossuet of this. They both need to understand it as completely as possible, every detail. So many lives can be saved.

He rests a hand on the desk for a long moment, looking down at the innocently closed folder with its few simply written pages inside.

Then he straightens, and picks up the folder once more, and goes to knock on Courfeyrac's door.
pro_patria_mortuus: (Default)
He hasn't been to the infirmary before. He hasn't had cause; he hasn't needed a doctor's care. He's curious, a little, but curiosity isn't sufficient reason to disturb doctors at work. They're likely busy.

Now, however, he has cause.

He knocks before he enters. Then, stepping into the doorway, looks around with interest and bafflement in equal measure.

(Tidiness is laudable, but he's never seen a doctor's belongings or office so formidably, obsessively clean.)
pro_patria_mortuus: (Default)
Bossuet is here. Grantaire deserves to be told.

For several reasons, Grantaire deserves to be told. If possible, before they encounter each other.

Accordingly, once he's seen Bossuet to his new room, Enjolras sets out in search of Grantaire. His lodgings first; if he isn't there, then the library, or the lawn after that.
pro_patria_mortuus: (Default)
[Previously: Bossuet's arrival.]

He speaks to Grantaire. Not an easy conversation for either of them, but that doesn't matter. It's necessary.

(The strangest alteration of all: in that conversation, there are feelings easier to show, easier to have understood, by Grantaire than by Bossuet. Unprecedented. But Grantaire is dead too, and knows what and whom Enjolras mourns. Bossuet comes from a time when all their closest friends were still alive, and when it seemed that unseating Charles X was all the republic needed to come to fruition, before a tyrant was replaced with his cousin.)

Then he returns to his room. There are paper and pens there already, and everything else he needs is in his head. There's work to be done.

He knows that he can't change everything he wants to change. As dearly as he would love to alter the course of June '32, to bring the insurrection to success, that's not for one man to bring about. He can't put that on Bossuet. The question isn't merely one of kindness -- it's tactics, it's principle, it's common sense.

But the barricade at the corner of the rue de la Chanvrerie. Planning -- the right push here, the right mistrust there -- can alter that.

(It feels fiercely, finally right to have this work again. This is what he's made to do; this is something that matters; this is a bright flame of hope flaring into conflagration inside his heart.)

He writes. He thinks more. The spartan, lamp-lit room around him fades away; in his head are tactics, contacts, mud and mire and gunpowder stores, the blood of his friends, all the dozens of interlocking pieces that form the puzzle of a revolution.

He sleeps, because he knows he must. But only lightly, and not for too long.

When the knock comes the next morning, he's sitting at his desk in his shirtsleeves, going over the matter yet again in his head. He rises and goes to let Bossuet in.
pro_patria_mortuus: (the people have not stirred)
[Shortly before.]

There is a table of the sort that appears in libraries everywhere: dark wood, of heavy construction, somewhat abused by pen marks and scuffs; matching chairs; a small lamp, electric, with a gold chain and a shade of green glass. A few others of its kind are placed around it, all empty. Beyond, bookshelves, lamps, shadows.

Enjolras sits straight-backed, and very still. A book lies open before him. On the visible page is a detailed account, in merciless blocks of type, of the events of 1915. He will read on -- he must read on -- but not in this moment.

His eyes are dry and burning, though his face bears the mark of earlier tears. His gaze is fixed upon a bookshelf, unseeing. In his head, in his heart, a tempest.
pro_patria_mortuus: Enjolras in profile, head bowed, rifle in hand. (marble lover of liberty)
Enjolras goes often enough to the library. Its geography is peculiar, its collection vast, its organization impenetrable; the librarians are sometimes of assistance, sometimes less so. He does not always ask. His interests are narrow, but he will read anything within them, and his spare time for reading is far more copious than he'd like. He finds books to occupy himself.

(Every library has a connection to L-Space buried deep within its stacks, but at Milliways that connection is naturally quite close to the surface. This is not a concept with which Enjolras is familiar.)

It takes him some weeks to find a French history section. He has nearly concluded that perhaps there is none when he finds it. A treasure trove. The titles stamped neatly on the spines are often heartening, often ominous.

The only thing which prevents him from immediately selecting a book is this fact: that Milliways has taught him that there are alternate worlds and alternate histories. A truth of the world, a thought experiment proven true, a vast delusion of a peculiar afterlife -- it doesn't matter, because the pragmatic fact of the matter is that not every book on this shelf will reflect the truth of what happened to the France Enjolras lived for and died in. He has no way to know which do. An author's bias is inevitable, but variation in the root facts is something quite different.

He studies the rows of books for a long time. Then he turns on his heel and walks away.

He makes very certain he remembers the location of this shelf.

Enjolras has requested news of France's future before. What Bar doles out to him is newspapers, each day's at a time, the next day's only after he's finished, a detailed but painfully slow progression through the months of 1832 and 1833. This digestible course of information has its advantages, but as a sole source it's unsatisfactory.

The conversation Enjolras holds now with a bartop and a succession of scribbled napkins is long, low-voiced, and intense. (Bar is a mechanism which he does not understand; the limits of its internal operation are fathomless. That doesn't matter either.) At the end of it, he holds a napkin with a title, author, and a numerical code which Bar assures him will signify that he has selected the correct universe's version of A Complete History of France, 1789-2200, in 3 volumes.

He returns to the library.

He locates the shelf, the book, an empty table. He starts from the beginning: the Revolution and what followed are events he knows in minute detail, but this book's account of them will give him a good idea of its author's loyalties and biases.

He has no plans to stop before he has finished.
pro_patria_mortuus: (the people have not stirred)
Room 89 is precisely as Enjolras left it. There is no layer of dust. The water still streams forth from the taps, hot and cold. His second pair of boots sit in the corner, scuffs still at heel and toe. The newspaper he last requested from Bar -- March 12, 1833 -- lies on the desk. (A pointless habit, perhaps, this reading of the news he cannot affect, at the swiftest pace Bar will dole it out to him. He maintains it. Worse than a pointless habit would be to give it up in favor of nothing.) The walls are as sparse as ever, and as clean: the makeshift flag he died with hangs as the only decoration, bullet-pierced, liberally stained with dried blood. There is no stove, but somehow the room is warm. His bed is unmade.

The paper is yellowed. His pen is clogged with dry ink. A warm woolen overcoat and muffler have insinuated themselves onto a hook behind his door. The window shows a snowy landscape.

A few hours. Four months. The blink of an eye.

What is time, after all, to the dead?

Enjolras sinks onto his bed. He rests his elbows on his knees, and closes his eyes. His hands dangle limp. They are useless here. He is useless here. There is no use to put himself to.

"Combeferre," he whispers to the empty, silent room.

Combeferre. Courfeyrac. Feuilly. Joly, Lesgles -- Bahorel -- Prouvaire --

Only silence answers him.

If he wished to delude himself, he could pretend that one of them is in the other room. That they will answer him, any moment; that any moment a warm hand might fall upon his shoulder, an arm slip round his back or tuck itself through his, an affectionate voice speak to him.

He is not that far gone. He will not wallow in pretense.

"My friends." Hot tears prickle now at his eyes. He is alone, he is tired, the world makes less and less sense here. He doesn't fight the tears. "I wish I could hear your voices."

Only silence answers.

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Enjolras

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