Lemon and Parsley, and Cayenne

This time the floor is just as cold, and just as hard, saving now it's his back that's pressed into it. He thinks perhaps he could arise, but his arms feel oddly weak, and it's difficult to move. When he looks down, there's blood trailing from a thin wound along his collarbone. He manages to brush a finger over the spot, smearing it, and he sighs. It doesn't really hurt so much, only as much as he'd expect a rapier cut to hurt, but there's something wrong with it.

He becomes aware, slowly, of someone holding him, and he looks up to a frightened face. He cannot help but smile, attempting comfort, and then with an effort, he pulls a twig of rosemary from his tousled golden hair, and presses it into the hand of the other.

"I am dead, Horatio." And he doesn't quite mind. He's just rather surprised. "Wretched queen, adieu." He turns his head to see the body of the queen, and feels a gentle sadness, and then he tries to look out to all those around. He lifts his hand and waves it in a lifeless way at them. "You that look pale and tremble at this chance, that are but mutes or audience to this act, had I but time, as this fell sergeant Death is strict in his arrest, oh I could tell you--- But let it be." He looks up at his companion. "Horatio, I am dead; thou liv'st; report me and my cause aright to the unsatisfied."

The young man, however, chooses to be difficult. He whispers softly that he would not live, that he will die, that suicide is honourable to him, that-- He reaches for the chalice, whispering still:

"Here's yet some liquor left."

The golden-haired boy frowns, and places his hand over the rim of the goblet. "As thou'rt a man, give me the cup."

His companion doesn't, but tugs on it.

"Let go!"


"By heaven, I'll have't!" He jerks it away, pulling it to himself, nudging it under himself. He glares, feeling foggily stubborn, almost as though he were drunk. But then, of course, he softens. "Oh, God, Horatio, what a wounded name, things standing thus unknown, shall I leave behind me! If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart, absent thee from felicity awhile, and in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain, to tell my story."

And the other man nods, blinking rapidly.

He smiles in a sort of content, and then frowns again in bewilderment, having not the strength to startle. "What warlike noise is this?"

A man rushes in and speaks, hurriedly, saying their enemy Fortinbras has stormed the castle, he's here, it's over. And ha! It is over.

"Oh, I die, Horatio..."

Fingers brush back a tangle from his forehead.

"This potent poison quite o'ercrows my spirit. I cannot live to hear the news from England, but I do prophesy th' election lights on Fortinbras. He has my dying voice. So tell him with the occurent more and less, which have solicited..." He can't remember what he was going to say, and he's dreadfully tired, so he doesn't protest his companion's gathering him close. "The rest... is silence..."

Christophe-Marie suddenly notices that there is a light weight on his stomach, and peers in confusion at the script-book that resides there, open to the second scene of the fifth act of Hamlet.

"Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest." It is a rough voice, a familiar one, and yet now it is gentled, with touches of sorrow.

Christophe blinks fuzzily at the arms around him, holding him delicately, and pokes one of the wrists. It is then that he realises he is lying on the floor, in the back room of le Cafe Musain (of course), and that the arms belong to Grantaire. He squeaks, and tries to push himself up, dislodging the script to the floor.

"What are you doing?"

"Helping you rehearse. You asked." The voice is rougher now, and Rodolphe has his protection back. He gazes at Enjolras, considering the boy. His demi-god looks amazingly vulnerable like this, with his golden hair ruffled and unbound, staring with those dark blue eyes.

"Oh..." Christophe sighs, and gives up worrying about it. "Well, thank you. We'll continue."

"We can't. You're dead."


There is a prolonged silence.

Finally, Rodolphe breaks it. "Why the hell were you drunk enough to let me help you?"

"Frederique quit our theatre. He couldn't stand M'sieur Clavier any longer. But I don't blame him. Sometimes I can't either..."

"Why don't you quit, as well?"

"Because I can't. I have a responsibility. I play the lead. I couldn't just leave..."

Rodolphe scowls. "You ought to anyway."

Christophe shoots him a far fiercer look. "I can't."

"All right, then. Far be it me to argue with Apollo. Or rather, Prince Hamlet." He pulls to his feet. "Good luck. Best wishes. Don't kill yourself. Bonne nuit. Au revoir. Adieu." He's gone.

Christophe glares after him, and then wonders what he's going to do. He's in an awful state tonight. First drunk, now this... But he will miss Frederique. And now they'll need a new Player King. Clavier will manage that somehow, though.

He sighs again. Better go home. It wouldn't do to sleep in the cafe, even if Courfeyrac would come early and wake him in time to be prepared. Besides, he has schoolwork to do, and a speech to write, and the lines for the other play to learn. Often, lately, he thinks he doesn't have time for this. Often, it seems as though he must choose between acting and the revolution.

Once Hamlet is done, he promises himself, he'll stop with plays for a while. The people are more important than his theatre time. And he sighs once more. The wine, of course. In the morning, he'll have gone back to normal, and then it will be the Republique again. Tonight was a slip. And it shan't ever be repeated.

Chapter Three.
Back to Chapter One.