((A Rose of Versailles Fanfiction.))
I know that I said I could not bear to see you in pain, that I would gladly go first because I did not want to see you die.
But here I am, watching…
You look majestic with your sword held high, your voice strong and loud and clear as you take charge, shouting orders. "Fire!" you say. "Fire!" And the former French Guards of Company B burst into action, stuffing cannons and firing at the exact moment your sword splits the air, the tip of it gleaming as the noonday sun reflects off of the surface.
You've never looked more beautiful, I think, but I know that's a lie.
Only yesterday morning, as the sun rose, filtering through the trees and across your face, causing your eyelashes to flutter gently against your cheeks, you were, as always, the loveliest woman alive.
I see the men of the Bastille aim their guns; all of their barrels turn to you at the same time. Does it take a small army to take you down? I wonder, for a moment, if you would be proud to know that they felt insecure because of you. I want to call out to you, to say something, anything… Watch out, I think, but I cannot say it. Even if I could, if I could force the words to form, you would not hear them.
I am frozen in place as you turn to look at me. Can you see me, Oscar? I suppose not. I can do nothing but watch helplessly as, in unison, the guns are fired; you are caught in the middle.
Suddenly, I'm there at your side, and in the instant you are struck, in that fleeting amount of time before you fall against the cobblestone street, I see your face.
Have you been crying, Oscar? But…why? For you? For me? For our France, for Marie Antoinette; for Alain and Bernard and Rosalie who are all rooted in place as the force of the bullets send you backward, as you struggle to get up again, as you look blankly into the sky? Are you looking for me? Perhaps you are. I'm standing here, Oscar.
Your breath is whispery as you speak my name before falling onto your back, your head rolling to the side. You stare blankly ahead, your eyes wide; perhaps you cannot quite believe you are where you are. Ah, but hearing you say my name… It might be hard to believe, Oscar, but that one long day without you, without hearing your voice… It was too long.
Seeing the blood run down the side of your face, it hurts. But I also feel a strange sense of relief. I can see you, Oscar… I can see you! And you are so very beautiful.
Everyone gathers around you. I wonder if any of them know that I am here among them. Ah, Alain, Rosalie, Bernard… It's nice to see you again. Did you take care of my wife for me while I was gone?
"I'm sorry that we'll never be married in a church," I tell you, my fingertips tracing the delicate lines of your face, the outline of your trembling lips as you struggle for breath.
The blood runs over the bridge of your nose, but I try not to let it bother me. You're still amazing. Trivial things like blood and dirt cannot mar you in any way; if it had been your eye instead of mine, I would feel the same.
Alain kneels beside you, shouting your name and telling you to hang on. I want to disagree with him…but he cares about you, too. Did you know that? He doesn't want you to leave him, just as you did not want me to leave you. I can't fault him for that…
Alain calls for help, and four others step forward to lend their assistance. Did you know that these men of Company B have all come to like and respect you? I would be jealous of Alain, but I don't have it in me. Not anymore. He's holding you so carefully, his hands under your arms, his steps light as he slowly maneuvers backward.
He's watching your face, and he knows, Oscar. He knows you won't make it. Perhaps it's the blood—there is more of it, now—or perhaps he can just tell. You're very tired, aren't you, Oscar? Ah, five minutes…
Do you know that you are dying? Rosalie is holding your sword. Bernard speaks with the doctor. Everyone there, everyone around you, they know. They know you will not live much longer. Even those who don't know you at all.
Oh, Oscar… The cannons… You're a fighter, you always have been. Don't worry, Cherie, you won't have to fight much longer… Yes, men, seize the Bastille! Why do you hesitate? Are you worried about Oscar? She will be fine. I promise to take care of her. Ah, but can you see Alain's face, love? No, I suppose you cannot. He is crying for you. Please don't cry, Alain—things will be better this way, I swear.
As they leave, Alain turns and salutes you. I salute back to him, but he can't see me or my fingers caressing your face. You can feel me, though, can't you, Oscar? I wish you could see Alain for yourself. He knows that he will never see you again, that your last words to him were a plea to complete the mission you'd started but cannot finish.
Ah, Oscar…it will be over soon, I promise. Can you hear Bernard? He is asking if you can hear the shouts of the people as they charge into the Bastille, as they try and take it over. Can you hear them? Their voices are filled with unspeakable passion. If it hadn't been for you and Company B, the Bastille would never have been taken. But you know that, don't you?
Your eyes close, and I know it's time. You are coming to me, now. I press my lips against your cheek, and let you go as I hear you whisper your final words. But do you say them, Oscar? Your voice is so soft that I am not sure if you spoke them aloud, or if you only thought them.
My arms wrap around you, not the mere shell below us that can only pretend to be you. Adieu? No, my dear Oscar, "Bonjour."
Not much to say. André was fun to write, I think. Feedback is appreciated, as always! Thanks for reading.