condition: on going
author: Krimhild K
beta reader: Mia
I still feel the warmth of your hand in mine for the last time … your small, soft, and wrinkled hands will never rest on my forehead seeking for signs of fever, giving me relief again. I took them in mine, brought them to my cheeks and I put my head on your lap, for the last time. Nanny, what should I do now when you are gone too? Even though this mansion is ridiculously huge for just two people: father and I, it still seems like there is not enough room for the both of us. Wherever I go, wherever my unconscious feet take me, wandering through the empty halls, I feel his hatred and contempt. I feel it in his silence, in the way he ignores me and in the monosyllables he leads me from time to time, on those occasions when it would be ridiculous to pretend that I’m not there. Nanny, you know how much it hurts me. You know that I have lived for many years trying to please him, trying to be the son he always wanted, and I faced him only when our beliefs turned irreconcilable … You know I prefer his cries, his insults and blows more than his indifference … The servants barely dare to speak to me, they look at me with pity, like I was a sick and dying animal. Maybe that is what I am. Unfortunately I’m not sick enough. Your old heart, weak and tired, can’t resist André’s death. My heart is still pounding, and I curse him for it. I only want to go with you and André… Nanny, what’s the point for me to stay still alive, when you and him are forever gone? Why am I still here if I’m dead, anyway? That bullet that pierced his chest also killed us both.
“Mademoiselle Oscar … Mademoiselle… it’s time … wake up, please.”
Oscar sat up painfully on one elbow. It took her a few seconds to focus on Juliette’s face, and to understand where she was, why she was there. When she realized that she was in Andre’s bedroom, lying on his bed, her confusion became anguish.
Why do I have to wake up every day like this? Why do I dream about him every night, why do I have this illusion which fade away when I come back to reality? He’s dead! Dead!
“Mademoiselle… “ repeated the maid, giving her a look full of compassion.
Oscar was thin and pale like a ghost. Juliette took out of from her mistress’s hands the brown jacket of André. Oscar had fallen asleep holding that old piece of clothing. Juliette dared to touch the cheek of the former commander of the French Guard. Oscar had the mark of a button pressed against her face, for fallen asleep over the jacket
“Everything is ready for Madame Montblanc’s funeral.” said Juliette slowly
Oscar stood awkwardly, and was unable to maintain balance. Juliette grabbed her, both fell sitting on the bed.
“You have not eaten in three days, have you?”
Oscar shook her head.
“Mademoiselle, you can’t go on like this … you will get really bad …”
“Why should I care …”
“Mademoiselle, I can’t stand to see you in this condition … if there is anything I can do for you …”
“Thanks Juliette, but nobody can help me now.”
The girl took the hand of her mistress in hers, with a bit of insecurity, seeking a way to comfort her.
“What will you do now? Your father …”
“I don’t know… waiting, I guess.”
“Wait… wait for what, Mademoiselle?”
“For my time. The sooner, the better.”
“Oh, Mademoiselle Oscar, I’m so sorry” – said Juliette.
A shiver ran down her back when she heard the dull and indifferent Oscar’s voice, speaking those last words
“You… you loved him? André, I mean …” continued Juliette, Oscar flinched as if she had been whipped
“I don’t know what you mean” the former commander answered dryly.
“Mademoiselle, It has no sense to conceal your feelings at this point” Juliette said, exasperated by Oscar’s stubbornness, and her obstinacy in spending hours locked in André’s room, rejecting to eat “It was so obvious that he loved you! Everyone knew about it. He was your shadow. So, seeing the way you have reacted to his… death… I wonder if you felt the same … and if you told him. Because if he knew you loved him too, I’m sure he was immensely happy…”
– Yes, I loved him, and he knew it. But I will not talk about it. Take me to the garden, please. I want to say goodbye to my Nanny.
‘Marron Glacé Montblanc. July 14, 1714 – July 16, 1789’
Oscar put a bouquet of white roses on Nanny’s grave. She felt very sad, thinking that the old lady was the one usually adorned her room with these flowers. Looking at the headstone, Oscar felt that there was no limit to her suffering. Pain could always be deeper, more heartbreaking. She hardly ate because physical weakness and numbness were the only things that kept the pain away for some times.
Oscar didn’t want to look at the tombstone next to Nanny’s. She closed her eyes and hid her face behind the balms of her hands, like a child who is deluding himself, pretending that what he fears so much doesn’t exist, simply because he refuses to see it. But Oscar couldn’t deceived herself, for the memory of the man she loved that had been bleeding in her arms was too real, horribly real. Opening her eyes, Oscar turned her head slowly …
‘André Grandier. August 26, 1754 – July 13, 1789’
She bit her lips until a drop of blood oozed from her mouth. She drew in her mind another tomb, next to André’s grave. Hers tomb. How she wished to be dead! Suddenly, a long shadow covered the grave.
“Do you intend to stay here all day?”
“Why? Is there anywhere else you want me to go, father?”
General de Jarjayes went a circle around Nanny’s grave and stood right behind the tombstone, in front of Oscar, who was still on her knees with a rose in her hands. Keep his icy blue eyes on the almost lifeless face of the daughter he loved the most, he said:
“Do I need to tell you that you’re not my daughter anymore, Oscar? You can live your life as you please, I don’t care. You’re dead to me.”
Oscar gave a hint of a bitter smile.
“It’s funny, Sir. I also consider myself dead. At least we both agree on something”
The old general made a gesture of disgust and retreated a few steps.
“I want to say thank you…” Oscar called him before he came back to the mansion “despite everything, you’ve allowed me to bury André in the garden…”
“It’s not for you, but for his grandmother” the man replied bitterly “She served faithfully to this family for her entire lifetime, and I can’t blame her for the stupid things that has made a bastard of her grandson.”
Oscar stood up much more lightly than it could expect in her deplorable state. All the thing her father talked about herself, made her sad, drover her deeper and deeper into the abyss of depression. However what he said about André makes her furious. There was no word could offend Oscar right now, but only a single word against him.
“How dare you to call him that!”
“And you, how dare to defend him! You two, traitors …”
“André didn’t involved me into this, if that is what you mean” Oscar interrupted “it was my decision.”
“I always knew that, Oscar. I knew it was you who dragged him into it. It was ever thus, since you were children. You were his life, his reason for being and ultimately his misfortune. His absurd devotion to you led him into this. André and Nanny have died because of you, don`t you see? You are a calamity. You have ruined the lives of all those around you, including my own.”
After those last words he left Oscar, who was now speechless, dropped down on the turning earth under her feet, hands pushed against the ground to to give herself a far enough distance for her head bend to her chest. She had no strength even to keep crying or to stand up. For a long time she remained motionless, believing no one was looking at her. But she was not alone. A young man with an arm in a sling was standing across the entrance gate, accidentally observed the scene between Oscar and her father. He didn’t know whether to do what he had planned on, or to go without saying a word. Looking at Oscar collapsed on the ground, he thought that maybe she wouldn’t want to see him; he was afraid that his presence would only rubbed salt on her wound. At the end of the day, nothing left to say… during the day elapsed between André’s death and the fall of the Bastille, he had not abandoned her for a single second. He supported her, encouraged her and even forced her to rise up and lead their men, completing his last mission in command of the French Guard. They also cried together after having deposited André’s body in the small chapel. No, he had nothing to say. He turned to undo the road traveled from his empty house in Paris.
What could I say? Wish her luck? It would be a mockery in her sad state. What could I do for her? There’s no relief for her pain but time. Only time calmed my grief over Dianne’s death… No, it wasn’t only time. It was as her too. She didn’t bring a magic potion to forget. She didn’t gave a great sermon that changed my hatred toward God … she just showed up and let me understand she would be there whenever I needed her … her very presence, her gentle hug and sincere tears were a hand helped me to climb up from the abyss I was plunged into, but … I can’t see how I could be a helping hand for her …
The young man hesitated for a moment and returned to the gate.
“Hey! Commander!” called out loud, he waving his healthy arm.
Oscar turned to look at him slowly. She walked to the gate, more for inertia than curiosity. She blinked in the midday sun before recognizing who was the tall and slender guy that smiled at her, nervously. First her face expressed surprise and almost instantly she smiled back.
Ugh, at least she isn’t annoyed…
“I’m not your commander anymore, Alain.”
“Well, Oscar …”
“Come in!” Oscar tried to run the lock of the gate, but it was too heavy. Alain helped from the outside with some awkwardness. He had to twist the arm to reach the iron handle. She charged the full weight of his body on the handle and touched Alain’s hand with hers. He was surprised about how cold it was her touch. He looked at her. She was livid and her cheekbones stood out more than usual. Alain wondered what the hell was doing Oscar in there, when it was obvious that she should be in bed… Finally, they could unlock the handle. Both of them looked at each other for a moment, without knowing what to do, until Alain decided to surround her shoulder with his healthy arm, and she rested her head on his chest.
“How’s your arm”
“Good. It was nothing, really. The bone is healthy. How are you?”
“I’m so sorry, Oscar … but he …”
“I don’t want to talk about that!” She said harshly, moving away from Alain. Then she softened his tone “please … I really don’t want to talk about it.”
“Okay. I just came to tell you that if you need anything, if there is anything I could do, you can always count on me. I will never forget anything you’ve done for me … and if I can give you back somehow, I’ll try my best …
“That means a lot to me, Alain. Thank you.”
“I also come to say goodbye.”
“Yes, I will leave Paris, and try my luck on the field. I want to see how my life would be as a farmer. The truth is that the city depresses me and if I keep living alone in these rooms where I can not call home anymore, I’ll go crazy.”
Oscar looked at him sadly.
“I thought I could see you more often …”
“I’ll write when everything has settle down. I will come to visit you, Bernard an Rosalie sometimes.”
“In that case, I wish you the best of luck. Who knew that one day I’d regret your distance, my excruciating headache …”
Alain blushed and raised his hand to the neck, twisting the hair of his nape.
“You can’t deny that you like my style to make you rage …”
“You are a obstreperous boy!”
“It’s part of my charm“- he said, folding the ends of a long red scarf around his neck.
Oscar gave him an affectionate look. Alain reminded her so many things! Many scenes came hastily to her memory. They had faced uncountable times, telling each other terrible things. Alain challenged her until she had lost her temper, but slowly and with great effort, she managed to conquer him and the rebel French Guard. She remembered the faces of his men, and their place in the training… and next to Alain’s haughty brown eyes, she always found the sweetness and sadness of André’s green eye…
“ I will miss you …”
“And I’ll miss you, Oscar. See you soon.”
She did not answer, because she had an idea …
“Alain, have you thought about where to settle?”
“Do you know of Arras? It is in the province of Artois in Pas-de-Calais.”
If general de Jarjayes ever regretted the departure of his youngest daughter, he didn’t show it. No surprise, or sorrow, or joy. Nothing expressed his stone face when she introduced him to the arrogant man that and had served under her orders, and now was going to Arras with her.
“I told you that you can do whatever you want“ it was his only reply.
He locked himself in his office while the maids prepared Oscar’s luggage and bring to the carriage. She get off hardly of the maids’ tearful hugs, to say goodbye to his father. However, he did not respond to knocks on the door, or looked at her as she entered the room.
“Everything is ready, father. I’ll leave now”
“Have a nice trip” – the old man said without looking away from the cup of wine he was drinking. Oscar saw his gray head. She had not noticed how age had been affecting him.
Again, there was no response. Oscar, as stubborn as her father, stood in the doorway waiting for a reaction. But all she got after ten minutes of waiting, and a big hard cough, was a cruelty demand.
“Get out of here, Oscar.”
“What happens, my love? Do you feel bad? Is something wrong with the baby?”
Bernard ran to his wife. She was looking throught the window toward the street. Her hands rested on her swollen belly and her eyes poured bitter tears.
“It’s Oscar” Rosalie said, pointing outward. “ with Alain accompanies her… Look how thin she got ! My dear Oscar…” Tears fell down on her cheeks. Bernard embraced her, supporting his chin on her shoulder.
Both go to the streets to greet them. Rosalie felt indignation to see that Oscar had risen to be so ill, and her anger at least tripled when she learnt about Oscar plan going to Arras with Alain.
“Are you insane? Oscar, please… you can’t take a trip in this conditions.You could die.”
“Death is not a bad choice… “Oscar said sarcastically.
“How can you say that! If you don’t want to live with your father, you can stay with us. I will take care of you as you did for me so many times before. Don’t take this risk, Oscar.”
“No, Rosalie. I want to leave Paris, and Alain want the same too. In Arras I will calm down and he can work in the field as he desired. Arras was André’s. I want to live there”
“Rosalie, let us go in peace” Alain stepped in “I swear to you I’ll take care her. You will see that she’ll recover soon…”
“You, taking care of her? You were not even able to take care of your own sister, who ended up committing suicide. I would not be surprised if Oscar did the same in your taking care…”
Alain stood up so violently, the chair where he had been sitting down made a loud noise falling down the floor. For a second it seemed as he would kill Rosalie, for the fiery gaze that sparkled in his brown eyes. But Bernard broke the tension in time.
“Rosalie, how could you say something that’s so horrible!?”
“…I’m sorry” she said, but looked at Alain furiously. He ignored her.
“ I’ll wait for you in the carriage, Oscar “– he said, and leave the department.
“You didn’t need to be so cruel, Rosalie. Besides, I’d never do something like that to Alain.”
“Oscar, forgive me, but what you are doing it’s a crazy thing, and that exasperates me. Anything could happen… and Alain … well, it’s a good person, but he’s also a big bruteo f a man.
“André asked Alain to protect me.”
“I can do that better than him…”
“No, Rosalie. André asked him, and I’ll respect his will. Now, be a good girl and and give me a hug. I don’t want to go being upset with you …”
Rosalie hugged her carefully, Oscar looked so fragile as if she was made from crystal and Rosalie was afraid that with any tough contact, she could break her.
“Promise me that we’ll meet again.” said Rosalie with the sound of tears in her voice
“Of course.” Oscar said, trying to sound natural “you can come to visit me when your baby be able to make a trip … I know you will love Arras.”
Rosalie feared that Oscar would not live long enough to see her baby, but she remain silent.
This idea came to me while I was listening to the song that appears in the beginning, although the lyrics do not exactly fit with Orcar’s situation. it’s a beautiful song.
As you can see in this fic André will not appear, and maybe you find it less interesting. It will focus primarily on Alain and Oscar. Alain’s character is taken from the manga, who is 25 years old.