|La Vrai Couer du Garcon
Author: Mirror and Image PM
Complete - After watching Queen Marie's fate, Robin's mind is a jumble of thoughts.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst - Words: 2,707 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 4 - Published: 08-16-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4477532
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Le Vrais Coeu du Garcon
By Mirror and Image
Robin ran through the grandiose palace halls, heedless to everything, unable to think of anything but what he had just witnessed. It hurt, his heart felt like it was going to burst, his head was exploding with images: blood, oh, so much blood, the sword in His... in That Man's hands, the Queen... Oh, god, the Queen!
He shut his eyes and shook his head, unaware that he'd been running down stairs while doing so, and he tripped, pitching forward and rolling down the steps until he hit a wall. It was almost good for him, for there were several moments where his mind was blessedly numb. At last, he sat up and looked around. He was in a stairwell, one that only he seemed to ever use. Breath coming out in heavy, uncontrolled bursts, Robin rubbed his eyes, realizing belatedly that the horrid sting was from his own tears. A sob escaped him before he forced himself to take a deep breath and stand up. His legs were shaking, his entire body was shaking and he could not control it. Durand wouldn't have reacted this way; he would not have been reduced to this.
All the emotion swelled up inside him again, and he growled in frustration as he took off down the stairs again. The blood was filling his mind again, Marie inelegantly dumped on the table, Anna's clutching hands, but he ruthlessly fought it back, escaping into the kitchens, ducking into a galley and opening a grate to a waterway. So many emotions were overpowering him as the water soaked through his clothes. He tripped again and landed face first into the muddy water. As he spat out water, it triggered a gag reflex, and for a moment all his mind could process was waiting to see his shoes fall out of his mouth.
He leaned back when he was finished, exhausted and unable to get up. Panting and sobbing at the same time, all he could do was relive what he'd witnessed. He was as a drowned rat, waiting for his heart to burst and finally leave him to die.
"What is your name, boy?"
A tall, filled out woman in an exquisite dress had asked him that once, as he played with a bird that was his only company out in the country. He'd never seen a woman so beautiful, riding an immaculate white horse like that, with a man of equally impressive dress beside her. He looked bored.
"What is your name, boy?" she asked again, and at the time the three year old had marveled that anyone had ever bothered to talk to him. He was, after all, a rat waiting to die. That was what any adult that did speak to him ever told him. They had said it so much it superceded any memory of his original name. As he stared at the beautiful woman, her clear eyes gazing at him without suspicion and contempt, without accusing him of stealing food, he thought that perhaps this woman would be nice to him.
And so, he answered honestly. "Rat."
An eyebrow quirked, and the bored looking man laughed in a way that the boy could only call polite. "He certainly does look like a rat," he had said.
The boy pouted slightly, but held his gaze at the beautiful woman and nodded his head. "Yes, I do," he'd said, the bird landing on his shoulder.
The woman smiled at him, actually smiled at him. "An honest boy, how delightfully rare. I find you interesting, child. Would you like to ride with me?"
He'd stared up at her, and then down at his muddy, grass-stained hands and feet, his dirty clothes that hadn't been washed since his parents had died of the flux, a memory that was dim at best, even at three, and he looked again up at the white horse and immaculate dress. He shook his head violently. "Dirty," he said, "You'll be dirty."
And then she laughed, polite like the man but infinitely more gentle. "Humble as well as honest. You interest me all the more."
"Are you a queen?" the question fell out of his lips, and both adults blinked at him. A flush rose to his face, and he thought perhaps he'd done something wrong. He sought to explain. "You're pretty. Like a queen." The bird twittered and flew to the other shoulder.
"Yes, my boy," she answered gently, leaning forward in her saddle. "I am Queen Marie. This is my Husband, His Majesty Louis XV."
Uncertain what to do, he lifted his hand up in greeting, as he'd seen other adults do to one another. "Please to meet you," he said, remembering some of his manners. "I'm Rat."
"Robin, my dear," Queen Marie had said. "From now on, your name will be Robin, like that bird at your shoulder. I do not care if you get my dress dirty, you are coming with me." She straightened and turned to Louis XV, "May I have him, dear? His eyes are much too intelligent to be left to suffer in poverty."
"You may do as you like," the bored man said. "Consider him Our gift to you, so that you will be entertained when We are away attending to things other than yourself."
And now Marie was dead. Killed by the man she loved, the man she served as much as D'Eon and Durand. Only, Durand was dead, too. Robin clutched his head, shivering. He couldn't fathom it, he couldn't understand it, couldn't wrap his mind around it. What was death? What did it mean to die? He'd never witnessed death; even his parents had died behind a closed door that he spent hours staring at, waiting for them to come out. But they never left that closed room, never opened that door. Durand was behind that closed door, too, never to be seen again, his existence smote from the world. He would never admonish Robin, never offer obvious advice in that teasing tone, and for what? What was it all for? What was any of it all for?
D'Eon and Telligory didn't understand, they didn't know what he was going through. Death was something common to them, Telligory had lost his son, had lost countless comrades; while D'Eon had lost his sister, his friend Bernice, and others; they were warriors, they lived with death. A good death? An honorable death? That was what they tried to tell him, but Robin couldn't believe such a thing. What was honorable about going beyond that closed door, never to be seen again? It left him alone, like he was before Marie had found him. He didn't like it; he didn't like it!
And Telligory! Betraying them like that, and for what! Anger welled up in Robin, and he shook his head, trying to banish another bloody image, but they were coming up one after the other. The four of them, Telligory had named them the Four Muskateers, they had traveled together for months, months! They were friends, comrades, more members of a family that Robin cherished like he cherished his beloved Marie. They protected each other, defended each other, fought for each other, and to see it all end like that, like this...
A knight's battle? It was a joke, a horrible, twisted, cruel joke. What point was there for two friends, two comrades to ever lift a blade to one another? All that talk of loyalty to the country, to the Duc d'Orleons versus King Louis, what did any of it matter between two friends? What about loyalty to comrades? Robin didn't understand it, still didn't understand it. The Duc attacking D'Eon, that was nice and simple: protect your friends. But even that ended in betrayal, as Telligory stepped in to take the bullet. What was it D'Eon had said? That in doing so he protected Robin from being punished for killing a member of the royal family? Robin wanted to believe it, wanted it to be something so noble, but how could he make that kind of judgment when Telligory had betrayed them all, what if he wasn't the proud, honorable man he'd acted for all their months of travel? And even still, it was all pointless because now even he was behind that closed door, never to speak to Robin again, never to explain his actions or give a sage bit of advice.
He'd told D'Eon he'd had nothing in him to cast judgment, that all he had left were royal orders, and even that had now ended in betrayal, the ultimate betrayal. Oh, Marie.
Struggling, Robin pulled himself to his feet, soaking wet and shivering as he again plunged forward. Escape, he had to focus on escape. He had to find D'Eon, tell him, tell him... he had to tell him about Anna. Robin winced at the picture of the blonde's reaction. No, he couldn't expect comfort from D'Eon, he was suffering in his own right, and it was wrong to be so presumptuous. But that left no one, Queen Marie had been the only one to ever sense his need and take the time to comfort him.
She had offered it just a few hours ago, before his tired body had given in to those few precious moments of sleep. The era of knights is over she said, and so she hoped he would show Auguste the new form loyalty would take. She had taken his hand and given him the same, gentle smile she'd had when she'd offered a ride with her.
"I'm so proud of you," she'd said.
And now she was dead. Killed by the man she loved more than anyone, that bored-faced man who so casually called Robin a gift, who so casually given the four of them the suicide mission of retrieving the Royal Psalms, who so casually killed Marie. It had been easy to lift the gun then, too, to avenge the death of yet another member of his family. Brouglie got in the way, damn him, but then Marie, Marie had sheltered Louis, sheltered The Man who'd killed her. Why? He was the most worthless of all, he'd kill anyone to protect whatever his damn secrets were!
He was under a tree now, near the gazebo where the four of them had met, before they set out to Russia. Robin yanked at the cross under his neck, staring at it's lettering.
"Tell me, Robin, do you know what vengeance is?" Marie had asked him once.
"Doesn't it mean to take action against a person who has done you wrong? To make the wrongdoer suffer as you have?"
"Yes," she said, stroking the skull she often called Belle. "To most people, a definition that broad will do. But there are many levels of vengeance. To the aggrieved, they often seek the strongest kind of vengeance possible. You are right to say they make the wrongdoer suffer, but many would have such a person suffer to the utmost, to take their life, their property, everything possible from them. True vengeance, 'naqam' vengeance, is to make them suffer only to the point where the balance that was broken is restored."
Ten-year-old Robin was confused. "How do you know when the balance is restored?"
The queen had smiled. "That, Robin, is perhaps the most difficult part of vengeance: determining when it is equal. That is why those that seek vengeance must be very careful indeed. Theirs is the hardest path to tread."
Robin stared at the cross. Where was the balance in this? How could all this blood be returned to balance? Lia, Durand, Telligory, Anna, Queen Marie, and the others: the women of France, Carin, those dogs, Voronsov, Elziveta, Piotr, the man at Medmenham Abby, so many had died for the Royal Psalms, died for the king's secrets!
His hands were shaking again, as he stared at his gun. How much blood would Robin need to spill to make all this right? He prayed then, to his beloved Marie. Help me! Show me the answer!
And that was when Maximillian Robespierre appeared to him.
"I will show you the vengeance you clutch in your hand."
As he sat on the steps, staring blankly at the book on his lap, the H:O glowing on the cover, he realized with a start that something in his pocket was ticking. Fumbling briefly, he pulled out the watch, Durand's watch, which had been bequeathed him before everything had gone so terribly wrong. It was working again. Robin wondered if it meant that time was moving forward, for France as well as him. To his surprise, the title of the book shifted, drifting from H:O to NQM. Naqam. Vengeance to the point of restoring balance.
The cover opened, the pages flipped, and Robin saw. The destruction, the devastation, the ruin of Versailles. He was shocked at first, disgusted that the book was foretelling such a nightmarish future, such a terror.
But then he saw it. He saw the French flag, shining in the sky, shafts of its sun-like quality touching everything. And he felt the relief, the deep sigh of resolution and the blessed return to balance.
And he understood.
"Robin, knowing you, there's still time to turn back." D'Eon was holding his hand out, offering him friendship? Or to take the book back?
It didn't matter, Robin stood and held up the book, the new book. "This isn't the Royal Psalms anymore, it's the Psalms of Revolution!" And he smiled as he realized what his path would be, dashed down the steps and took Lorenzia's hand as she pulled him into the running carriage, Caglliostro at the reins.
"My, my, the boy is smiling," she said as they sat down. "You look very cute when you smile. Did running from that pansy make you smile?" She leaned forward, her body alluring in every gesture.
"No," Robin, no Maximillian said. He realized dimly it was the third name he had taken, the fourth if he included the one he had forgotten, the one his parents had given him. "I've seen it. I've seen how to take vengeance on this country, how to return it to balance." The smile faded as he said, "There is much blood yet to be spilled. The people must understand Terror; fear will spurn the desire for change, for revolution."
"Bold words indeed," Loranzia said, a coy smile on her face.
Maximillian shook his head. "Not bold. Sad. But the change it will bring about," he smiled again, "I'll gladly become the Terror if that's what it takes to make France change, to restore balance to the country. The scale has tipped the other way, and now it's time to swing to the center."
The coy smile appeared again. "You're very interesting. I think this will be fun."
And that was how it started.
Author's Notes: ... I have no idea where half of this came from, except reading all of Mirror's stuff and watching the last volume again made me want to peek into Robin's head in those last two episodes so I could even pretend to understand why he made some of the decisions he did. In a way, he held true to Marie's last missive, to show Auguste the new form loyalty took for the next generation. I'm going based on the assumption the Robin turned into the Robespierre who created the Terror in France, especially considering its implied he died via guillotine in the last episode, as the historical Robespierre did.
Poor Robin, after D'Eon, I think he's my favorite character. Or maybe he beats out D'Eon, I'm not sure. It's very close, at any rate.