Author: Roses for Ophelia PM
Courfeyrac and Combeferre discuss the nature of waiting--and of death--minutes before the second attack.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama/Friendship - Courfeyrac & Combeferre - Words: 1,168 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 3 - Published: 04-10-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5887751
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
a/n-I don't know how long i'll be able to keep up this writing-almost-every-day business. But since i am currently procrastinating on my real novels, i find these little fics are falling out of my brain faster than the roadrunner on speed. anyway, this is my first try at Courfeyrac, albeit in a very dark situation, but it's nice seeing Courfeyrac's serious side sometimes.
" It isn't so terrible being doomed," Courfeyrac remarked, as he and Combeferre were sitting behind the barricades, keeping watch. " I thought it would be worse."
" How so?" Combeferre returned, determined, even hours away from death, to understand everything.
" I've never been good at waiting for anything, even things like Christmas presents when I was a child. Christmas Eve seemed to me like a day suspended in time—each minute feeling twice as long, each hour an eternity. I felt as if Christmas would surely never come, though, of course, eventually, it did. When I first realized that we might not survive this, I thought to myself ' the worst part will be the waiting—the knowing you are going to die.' After all, the waiting for Christmas was terrible—surely the waiting to die is a thousand times worse. Isn't the cart ride to the guillotine worse than actually being guillotined? That's what I've always theorized. Death is quick; anticipation is interminable." Combeferre smiled.
" What changed your mind?"
"Ah, Jehan, I suppose." Courfeyrac returned, casting an unconscious look towards the wall where Jehan had been shot. "Before, if someone had mentioned being executed by firing squad, I would have thought how terrible it would have been—to stare down the barrels of the guns, to hear the drum beats. I would have much preferred a death like Bahorel's, if it had only been described to me--quick, painless, he probably didn't even see it coming. But now that two of my friends—my brothers—have died, I find myself preferring Jehan's death to Bahorel's. In his last moments, he saw death—he understood it, he had a moment to reflect on it. He probably saw his life pass before his eyes, like mine is doing right now. He could have thought about his sins, his great deeds, his loves, his regrets, like I'm doing now, only I have even more time to do so. In the moments Jehan must have had before he died, he was probably calmer than Bahorel, and since I have had hours to reflect, and might have hours more, I am calmer, probably than both of them. I am ready. When the moment comes, I don't think I'll even mind much—if I notice it. Waiting is a purification—I'm not sure if Christmas would have been as sweet if it had not been preceded by a Herculean effort on my part at waiting." Courfeyrac smiled and looked down at his gun.
" Do you think we notice our deaths? Do you think we feel it? Or is it nothing--is that what death is, a sudden nothing?"
" I don't know." Combeferre said, a phrase he had only delivered perhaps ten times in the past six or so years Courfeyrac had known him. " But if I find out first, I'll try my best to tell you."
"And if I find out first—" Courfeyrac said, his smile turning into a smirk, " I won't say a word. It's the sort of thing you would like to figure out for yourself, isn't it?" Combeferre smiled now as well.
" Yes, death is the sort of thing that must be discovered only though one's own experimentation."
"Besides that, it would be very bad manners to reveal the ending before the play is over." They were both laughing now, good naturedly, as if on a picnic or having a drink in a café.
" You don't suppose—" Courfeyrac began, when their laughter was through, " There's a slight chance we'll survive this?" Combeferre seemed to be seriously considering that, looking as if he was figuring the mathematical probability of death on a barricade.
" There might be a slight chance. Enjolras could be wrong—the people could still rise up, we might still have our revolution. Or we could be captured in battle, and tried as traitors. Then of course, there is the possibility of escape—we are not trapped here. We could always run, any one of us—"
" Never!" Courfeyrac exclaimed indignantly.
" I didn't mean to imply either of us would, only that we could. Other than that, I don't see us getting out of here."
" Ah." Courfeyrac said, seeming to have nothing more to say.
" Progress takes time." Combeferre said, by way of comfort.
"And the purpose of our deaths is to lessen that time, isn't it?"
" That's right."
" Then I don't mind waiting." Courfeyrac said, and attempted to lie down on the rubble filled street. " After all, we only have a few more hours to wait. The people who will be alive tomorrow might have to wait years—centuries!—before progress takes its course. We will not be around to see progress when it finally happens, but at least we won't have to wait for it forever." Combeferre said nothing, he only looked out into the distance.
" Say something, Combeferre, I don't like the quiet!" Courfeyrac almost whined.
"Just say—that someone will remember us, after we die here. I feel like someone should."
" Someone will." Combeferre said, laying a hand on his shoulder, " Our friends and families, of course. The teachers at the university. Imagine what they'll say about you! ' So, de Courfeyrac was one of the rebels, was he? So that was what he was doing when he was cutting class! And I always thought the only sans-culottes he was interested in were the ones in petticoats!'" Courfeyrac grimaced.
" Imagine being remembered in history as 'de Courfeyrac.' That's depressing." Combeferre grinned.
" But we will be remembered. Both as individuals, and as something greater than individuals, as part of a movement, of a desire—personifications of an idea—" Courfeyrac cut him off with a wave of the hand.
" I'm not in the mood for philosophizing. Just tell me it will all be all right."
" Eventually, yes, it will all be all right. Christmas always came, didn't it? No matter how long the wait seemed."
" Yes, it always came. But I always knew how long I had to wait. Progress doesn't come as punctually as Pere Noel." Courfeyrac put his hands behind his head. " Progress can never come soon enough. But at least it comes, eventually." The ominous rattle of muskets in the distance and the sound of marching feet reminded both men of what must also come, eventually. They left their posts to inform the other soldiers that the National Guard had returned.