|What the Seasons Could Not Change
Author: O.G PM
Two men experience the fall of their barricade in the 1839 Uprising. Please read and review! I'm afraid I might have gotten a bit bogged down in trying to create a historically accurate setting and it may have interfered with the writing a bit. So please read it and let me know what you think! I do still have plans to revise, so any feedback would be just lovely!Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Tragedy - Words: 1,400 - Published: 09-29-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3061977
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Author's Note: Set during the 1839 Uprising. Just a little note. You'll see Lucien briefly refer to his "Dimanche". He was part of a secret society called the Society of Seasons. They were broken up first into "weeks", a group of six initiates plus a leader, the leader was called Dimanche, the French word for Sunday. Four months plus one leader, called Juilette, the French word for July, formed a "month". Three months, plus a leader called Printemps, French for spring, formed a "season". Finally, four seasons constituted, plus an Agent revolutionaire formed a year. I chose to have him think of his Dimanche because the "week" was the smallest unit and therefore he would probably be more familiar with the members of his week than the head of the larger units. Please read and review! I will love you forever.
"Pray with me." The request was so very out of character that Lucien was sure he must have misheard. Julian never allowed anyone to pray with him. However, sensing his confusion Julian repeated himself, this time more firmly. "Pray with me. Please." Though spoken softly, the words seemed to echo throughout Duval's café, which had by that point been turned into a pitiful sort of field hospital. Moments before, adrenaline had kept Lucien in a state of something akin to delirium. While he saw everything happen, he hadn't truly processed any of it. He had been too concerned with his own survival. There had been no time for grief or fear, which would have only dulled his reflexes. He had witnessed everything as an observer, seeing but not truly experiencing. But those three words seemed to made the world seem to stop.
Shaking his head, he knelt beside Julian and insisted, "No. You will not die here." But his voice lacked any sort of conviction. The shot didn't have to be fatal, but with only seven or eight left to defend the barricade there were no spare hands to help stop, or at least slow, the bleeding and even if there were, the last man with any sort of skill in medicine had fled hours ago. Without care, his chances were grew slimmer with each passing second.
"Please." Julian took hold of Lucien's hand and it took every ounce of will-power Lucien possessed to keep from pulling away. It was May. He had no right to have such cold, clammy hands. "Not alone…" There was a distinct pleading note in his voice that Lucien couldn't ignore.
"Of course." However, as he spoke he felt as though he'd been run through with a bayonet. He couldn't help but think it was cruel of Julian to allow this sort of closeness only at the very end of his life. He wanted to scream and rage at Julian and tell him how terribly unfair he was being. But Julian needed companionship and Lucien realized that he, too, would likely be dead by dawn. It wasn't as though he would live long enough to truly grieve… So he chose to cherish these last moments with his friend rather than spend them resenting him. He even managed a thin smile.
Julian squeezed his hand and raised his blue eyes, bright with pain, to the Heavens. "Thank you." He closed his eyes and began to murmur the sacred words he'd spoken so many times before. Lucien averted his eyes respectfully and made the sign of the cross, but his attention was focused much more on Julian than it was on prayer. The Lord's Prayer was punctuated with sharp gasps of pain, but all other signs of distress seemed to melt away. Julian's breathing slowly became steadier and the tension gradually left his muscles. It was amazing. He was bleeding out in a small café on the corner of the rue Greneta and yet, if one disregarded the crimson stain on his shirt and his pale, ashen face, he looked as though he was simply going to sleep. Anywhere else, the quiet, peaceful devotion would have been beautiful. Finally, Lucien understood why Julian had always insisted on being alone.
Lucien almost regretted not attending Mass more regularly. If he had, perhaps his own prayers would have served a purpose beyond comforting his brother in all but blood. His voice faltered as he felt Julian's grip on his hand growing weaker. Tears, long overdue, welled up in his eyes, not just for Julian but also for all the others who he'd not yet mourned. This wasn't how it was supposed to end. He had, of course, sworn to die for the cause if necessary; they all had. But at the time it hadn't been anything more than empty words. He hadn't understood exactly what he had promised. Not really, anyway… He knew full well how other revolts had ended, but he had been absolutely convinced this one was different. Lucien had only ever imagined victory—a republic rising up from the ashes of a corrupt monarchy—the deaths of his friends had never been part of the equation.
"I'm glad it's you here," Julian admitted quietly.
Lucien started to answer but was interrupted by the National Guard bursting into the café, guns at the ready. They passed by and in many cases tread upon the bodies on the floor with a shameful disregard for the fallen. Lucie snatched up his pistol and took aim, prepared to defend himself, but the butt of a rifle came down on his wrist, forcing him to drop the weapon. Two pairs of hands took hold of him, roughly pulling him away from Julian.
"Is the other one dead?"
A shot rang out. "He is now." Lucien let loose out an awful howl of grief. Tears slid down his cheeks as he struggled to free himself.
"Cowards! You goddamn cowards!" Though even a hospital likely wouldn't have been able to save Julian, they could have at least kept him alive long enough to have a priest give him his last rites. But he should've known better than to hope for decency from the king's dogs.
The officer kicked the body before turning to face Lucien. "Insulting the men who hold your life in their hands? Are you truly so eager to die?" Lucien couldn't manage to put up a strong front. There was no defiance in his posture, nor any foolhardy cries of "vive la republique" to show he that he was not beaten. There was only grief. He let out a great sob. "No. You will stand trial for your crimes." Lucien's froze. His legs gave out and his weight was supported only by the rough hands of his captors. They were supposed to shoot him, too. He hadn't expected to outlive Julian for more than a few hours. Looking passed Lucien to the men restraining him, he said, "Just make it look like it happened in battle."
A shot in the leg. It could have certainly happened on the barricade. A blow from the rifle between the shoulder blades. Necessary to subdue the rebel, naturally. A kick here, a punch there. No one would bat an eye at a few extra bruises on a republican anarchist. Lucien curled into a ball in a poor attempt to protect himself. At another time under different circumstances, Lucien may have marveled at how unbecoming their behavior was for the supposed protectors of the people. Blanqui would have loved it… If he were there to see it, he would have later spread the story all over Paris to gain support for the cause. But at that moment, he didn't care. There was too much pain for thought. Martyrdom was overrated.
His Dimanche would have been frightfully angry with him for giving the enemy the satisfaction of hearing him scream and watching him break. But Lucien was not as strong as his Dimanche and the man was dead anyway so his opinion no longer mattered. He was just another comrade that Lucien had not yet had time to mourn. And by the time he lost consciousness, Lucien found himself praying again. His appeals to the Lord had grown if not necessarily in conviction certainly in desperation. Perhaps the eventual blackness was the kindest answer God could give.