Stepping In the Light
By: Manna


Roses and daffodils and gladiolas were beautiful.

She'd always loved sunflowers.

He could remember commenting on the beauty of the rose whose petals she had been fingering. She'd looked up at him and smiled charmingly before she told him that sunflowers were far more beautiful if one bothered to look.

He swore that was the moment he fell in love with her.

She had more wit than any other woman at Versailles. She was spunky and stunning and splendid. Seeing her face light up made his heart constrict with joy. She was a lover like no other, and he found himself buying her dresses and jewelry and everything she might not have ever had.

He soaked up her happiness like the sunflowers she loved so much soaked up the sun.

She said that she was like a sunflower basking in his light, but as he lay dying, he thought it was the other way around. Was he afraid of death? Yes. He was afraid to die, afraid to go to hell.

He sent his sun away.

Guilt burned through him as he gasped for the air to fill his lungs that he needed to live. He was going to heaven. That was what the priest had said. But why did he feel as if the sunlight was gone?

Without it, the sunflower would never look up again. As he took what he knew to be his last breath, he recalled her charming smile the first time he'd met her. Her eyelashes were dark, her green eyes sparkling as she delicately brushed her fingertips over the pink petals of the rose. She'd peered up at him through those lashes. "Sunflowers, Your Majesty, are far more beautiful than any rose if one bothers to take the time to look."

He remembered every smile and every gentle caress, the feel of his lips against hers, the sound of her laughter when he brought her a new dress or new earrings…

"A sunflower cannot bloom without the sun!"

She was right, he realized. The flower would turn its head. It would wilt. And then…

Then it would die.


Author Notes:

I always thought Louis XV loved du Barry quite a bit, or else he wouldn't have bothered to keep her around even when she acted childish. It broke my heart that he sent her away for a lot of reasons that I don't have time to explain here, but the saddest thing is that he calls for her after she's gone. She would have stayed with him until the end, and it's terrible that she wasn't allowed to.

The title came from a church hymn, but I thought it fit the theme of sunlight and sunflowers. Feedback is always appreciated. Thank you for reading!