Je crois qu'elle regarde. . .
Qu'elle ose regarder mon nez, cette Camarde
Que dites-vous ?. . .C'est inutile ?. . .Je le sais !
Mais on ne se bat pas dans l'espoir du succès !
Non ! non ! c'est bien plus beau lorsque c'est inutile !
--Qu'est-ce que c'est tous ceux-là ?--Vous êtes mille ?
Ah ! je vous reconnais, tous mes vieux ennemis !
Le Mensonge ?
Tiens, tiens !--Ha ! ha ! les Compromis !
Les Préjugés, les Lâchetés !. . .
Que je pactise ?
Jamais, jamais !--Ah ! te voilà, toi, la Sottise !
--Je sais bien qu'à la fin vous me mettrez à bas;
N'importe: je me bats ! je me bats ! je me bats !

-Cyrano de Bergerac Act 5:6

Two men are aging, slowly but surely.

They visit in different places, sometimes in Paris, sometimes in Toulouse and periodically (more rarely) Marseilles, but as the years go on and time lovingly etches her artwork into each of their faces, they know that they are aging.

It is an inevitable process, one reluctantly accepted by some and vehemently denied by others, but bit by bit, they are nearing death.

Today the rendezvous finds itself in one of the aging men's houses, a medium-sized estate crouched between the bustle and mayhem of Paris and the lazy sereness of the countryside.

They have sat for a few hours in the study, talking, shifting uncomfortably in their chairs and reminiscing to the past – the wild, reckless and headstrong time of old.

But the room grows silent after a while, conversation tapering off to dull silence that falls heavily.

This is not the comfortable peace that usually preludes the end of a visit. It is thicker, more ominous.

Le Bret is the older of the two men, hair now gray where it has not been taken over by baldness. His eyes, lower, voice more quiet and words more thoughtful.

He was a careful man to begin with, never wasting a word or saying anything beyond the necessary. Everything meant something. But even now his words speak with a great resonance that before was not as evident.

Cyrano knows this.

Dreads this.

And as Le Bret glances over at the desk near his right arm, noticing the parchment and scrawls of poetry, of anger and love and hate spewed there, he makes a noise to clear this throat.

Sunlight drifts in lazily from the window, and dust motes dance.

"You should tell her," Le Bret finally says, voice low but statement echoing as if shouted.

Cyrano waves him off.

"You are getting old," the aging sword fighter says dismissively, and the beginning of a badly-needed conversation, old as it was twelve years ago, young as it is now, dies abruptly where it began

But he is crucifying himself.

Each day sparring becomes more painful, each parry, lunge and thrust becoming more work than the dance it used to be. The cadets do not joke with him anymore. Do not attempt to verbally joust with laPoét who conquered De Guiche and the Spaniards and Montfleury, that long time ago.

He is killing himself.

And he knows it. Because the part of him, the unromantic, the cruelly pragmatic whose anger is as great as that of the bulls of l'Espania, forces him to look in the mirror.

It is the truth, the twisted truth of a man who has always lived under the balcony of the great ones. His heart is slowly collapsing, stomped upon by the spiked boots of vengeful horsemen.

And yet he will not bow down. Will not tell himself that he is still in love with her, la precieuse. The untouchable beauty who always looked towards the high branches of the tree instead of noticing the trunk, which had always been there when the uppermost limbs were not.

The poet could go on like this – self-flagellationthat tears him like Hades' Cerberus. He could go on describing his agonies, his wishes and what he knows he will not have, cannot have because of his unrelenting, unflinching pride.

But he will not. He will rise as the sun does, each of the days he can, to visit with her, to haggle the young, naive nuns who stare at him with a frightened awe and to repost with laMére herself, when she is near.

Cyrano slowly but surely moves towards the future – though the skeletal claw of what he has attempted left behind still clings to his heel, a dusty, grim reminder of what he cannot abandon easily, but cannot have.

He doesn't even try to kick it off anymore.

One day, they are sitting under the great arms of an oak, spring dancing with her nymphs in the wood around them and Roxanne abruptly places her hand over his scarred one.

Cyrano looks up from the reading, startled.

"Your eyes," she tells him, gently, and with a terrible shock he realizes that tears are running down his face.

The look on her face makes his stomach snarl into the legendary knot no sailor can untie, and as fear drowns in his throat, Cyrano flees, claiming avoir mal á la tête.

His hands are shaking by the time he sweeps out the front doors of the abbey, but when he visits her the next evening in the decaying remnants of a rainstorm, they speak nothing of it.

Neither of them know what the tears could've possibly been about, because Cyrano never cried.

Le Bret does not visit for months, but in his stead arrives Rageneau.

Thinner but still jolly. With poetry still horrible, caught in the world of pastries and éclairs and harps of the eatable variety. With bright eyes and a happy, joyful smile. With a patisseriestill limping along, bankrupted from the flood of so-called "poets" whose invasions continued until two years ago.

"It is difficult," Rageneau says, munching thoughtfully on the baguette and brie that Cyrano hands to him, "but I am still here.".

"Why?" Cyrano asks, and offers up the wine bottle.

Rageneau smiles – that goofy, awkward grin of children and men who revel in life always and without restraint.

"I still have poetry."

Cyrano snorts, but maintains a straight face, even as Rageneau takes the bottle from him and swigs deeply.

"Mais oui," Cyrano responds. "mais oui."

And then there is death.

Final, eviscerating, cruel. It is everything Cyrano has longed for and everything he has wished away. It is the one thing that has playfully waved at him for the past fifteen years, a finger to its lips as it idly strolled down the rue, touching the occasional child here and the old beggar there.

Death knows him, as he knows Death.

That heavy plank falling down upon his head with the agility of a fat, old drunk fighter who didn't know his time was up. He realizes now that it was Death, balancing up on the rope with the grace of a gymnast, the smile of sadist and the face of the dream assailant – the being whose identity was never fully known, nor questioned.

Death sits beside him now, as he feels Rageneau sobbing softly behind him with Le Bret in stride.

Roxanne is here, too, soft hands of the dove cradling his head, dancing over his eyes and cheeks and, moving to his forehead and recoiling at the bloodied cloth – the mark of his approaching mort. He no longer attempts to shy away from her touch, move away from her and everything she's meant to him.

It's too late for Cyrano. Too many years too late. He has broken the final wall, revealed the trick to the audience for the last time.

Roxanne knows his love. He denies it to her as vehemently as he denies Death the sweetness of this lateness victory, but she knows everything now.

And it is too late. Death is leaving his side, briefly touching his arm as a reminder of what needs to come.

Like a faintly flickering battlefield – the images of a dream not yet awakened from – he sees himself rising, fighting to his feet. The love and friends of his life, unsure, fall back, and Cyrano plows forward, reaching for his sabre.

Je touche. How long ago he had said those words, in a frenzied strike of brilliance, poetry and the admiration of the audience running through his veins like a potent elixir.

But such fantasy than will not save him now.

Death faces him with the elegant beauty of the black widow. She has no sword. No weapon of man.

And she doesn't need one.

When he strikes her with words, she beats him with memories. When he snarls in her face, she clubs him with sorrow, compromise and all the demons that held him back, that chained him.

In the end, she wins, leaving his sight only to come up next to him, cruelly seated on the ground which Roxanne sits, and which he rests against Roxanne.

The world is gently ebbing away, the tides of a light ocean being pulled back to their master, la lune.

But just before Death takes his hand and gently pulls him away from what he has lived, Roxanne pulls him back, one hand beneath his chin and another on her cheek.

"Je t'aime," she whispers to him, and kisses him, softly, lovingly on the lips. "Je t'aime."

...he doesn't fight Death when she finally takes him away.

A/N: To a film I love and adore, one that I think shows the downside of love more beautifully than anything Romeo and Juliet could crank out. We were translated/reading/watching Cyrano de Bergerac in my French class and I was bitch-slapped by the muse.

I hope you enjoy. I don't own the basic premise -- that's property of Rostaud. I'm just a Francophile fangirl. I don't know how I'd exactly explain the plot to you, so therefore I recommend you look to for info. That might be your best bet.

I'll try to provide a cheap Megan translation of the text at the top when I can, but the basic guist is this: Cyrano's dying, and he begins to see all his enemies of the past gang up on him, from Compromise, to Prejudice and Death herself. "Je me bats!" is essentially "I'm fighting" or "I strike."

But to all others? Enjoy.