Requiem and Resurrection
Inspired by "The Three Musketeers" by Alexandre Dumas and the BBC series, "The Musketeers".
Pairing: Book!Athos x Milady
Rating: M (for violence and sexual references)
Summary: The Comte sentences his wife to death but but unbeknownst to him, she lives.
It felt as though it had been days since he threw me into this wine cellar and forgot about me. I needed to cry but I couldn't cry anymore. I had no more tears left. I threw myself back into the stone wall I was sitting against. I wanted the rough, jagged surface to cut into my skin, make it sting and bleed. Make the pain mean something.
My hand strayed to my ripped dress sleeve and traced the raised bumps and groves of the scar that betrayed me. Beneath my fingertips, I felt the fleur-de-lys brand I hoped I would never have to remember in my new life with Olivier. But I betrayed my true nature for love. It all seemed so silly now.
There was no time after that to reflect on anything more. The door swung open, banging against the stone. The violent sound penetrating the room. I shielded my eyes from the blast of light which hit me. All I could see was the dark, looming figure in the entrance.
"Olivier, mon loupe..." I begged but he refused to listen to me. He stalked towards me with a piece of rope in his hand. He pulled me to my feet. I tried to search for his face, to see his eyes but the shadows hid him from me. Olivier's large hands crushed my wrists together and bound them.
"Follow me." He commanded and dragged me out of the cellar. He marched at a fast pace and I was desperate to keep up with him, lest I risk my arms being ripped out of their sockets.
I hung my head in shame. I couldn't look at any of the house servants in the eye. All at once I remembered all the times I forgot myself and assumed the role of Comtesse Charlotte de la Frere. I had ordered them around as if I were above them and they meant nothing. Now they knew. What they must think of me.
Olivier threw open the double doors to his study and pushed me inside. He slammed them shut and I heard him turn the key to lock it. The room was in shambles; books and papers thrown and torn allover the tabletops. The air was thick with a rich, oaky small of liquor, of which the half-empty bottles poured out onto the hardwood floor and stained the oriental rugs. I trembled in fear. I was truly afraid of what he might do to me.
"Sit." He pushed me down into one of the chairs across from his desk.
"Please, I beg you mon loupe, understand me..." I sobbed. My sadness was renewed and I was able to cry again. My words were an incomprehensible babble of sounds.
"You lied to me." He growled. "You are a thief. A criminal."
"No, no, no. Mon loupe..." I started but he slammed his fist into the desk which made me jump.
"Do not call me that again. Ever." He bit out. I bit my lip and reluctantly nodded.
"You have to understand. Yes, I lied to you but it was because I loved you. I didn't want... I didn't," I paused and looked down at my bound wrists. I showed them to him, "This."
"It was my past Olivier." I continued. "I'm a different person now - "
He interrupted me with a laugh that erupted from his cruel place of judgement and contempt he had for me.
"You are a demon escaped from Hell. You tricked your way into my life - "
"No!" I screamed and stood up. "I loved you! I love you! Can you not find one part of your heart that seeks to forgive me?! I was terrified of losing you!"
"More lies." I expected him to stand up and shove me back down or to yell at me, to do something beside sit there. Instead, he sat further back in his chair and stared out the window. There was a strange sense of resolution hanging between us and I knew it wasn't going to end well for me.
He refused to look at me. The light filtering in through the window reflected on his face, the creases around his eyes and mouth. He must have felt so worn and defeated. I wondered if I looked the same to him. But it was his outright refusal to acknowledge me or my defense enraged me. A renewed energy shot through my body. I clenched my jaw and felt my wrists twist in the ropes, burning my skin.
"Look at me!" I demanded as I freed my hands and threw the rope down. I may have wanted to forget my past but I didn't forget the skills I learned from the streets.
I circled his desk and slapped him across the face. My hand stung and it amused me to think a mere moments before, inflicting such a blow would have broken my heart. But there was nothing left to break now.
He blinked up at me as if he didn't recognize me at all, but then his expression changed. The rage returned and he realized the rope was gone. The fire flickered back into his eyes and now we were both facing each other, smouldering over our loss and new found anger.
"I knew you would betray me like this, you bastard!" I accused. "You are just the sort of man to have everything in life handed to you and when something isn't to your liking, you toss it aside in the name of honor or justice." I couldn't stop myself if I tried. "God damn you, Olivier."
"You are nothing to me now Anne. Or is is Charlotte? You have so many aliases, it's as if you're a ghost. You might as well not exist." He reciprocated, standing to his full height, towering of me. This time I didn't back away.
"But I do! And now you're going to play judge, jury and executioner to this mockery of a trial? Go ahead! I dare you. What will do with me now? Take me to jail?"
"No." He swallowed. It almost pained me to see it. "Charlotte, it is within my rights as seigneur to serve sentence to any criminal found on my property." He explained. I could see that he was bracing himself for what was about to come. His body stiffened. I almost wished he offered me the same courtesy.
"Tomorrow at dawn, you will be taken outside and hung by the neck until dead." He finished.
My body turned cold. That was it. Fini. We were finished. He was going to have me executed. My beloved husband was going to have me murdered. I watched everything happen as if it was in slow motion and I was completely removed from my body.
Olivier took the rope I discarded and bound my wrists together again. This time, it was a knot I couldn't escape from. He escorted me back to the wine cellar and when I saw the door open to the darkness again, I screamed.
"No! Please Olivier! I will do anything. Don't put me back in there! Don't condemn me to death!"
I wrestled in his arms; twisting and turning, not to free myself but to look at him and make him see me. There had to be a chance. One last chance.
I was wrong. There was no hope. He pushed me into the wine cellar and as the darkness engulfed me once more, I turned around and shouted,
"You will regret this Olivier! You want a ghost? Then a ghost you shall have!"
I was surprised at how well I slept through my last night on Earth. I did not shed a tear, nor did I wail into the night, begging for him to forgive me.
At dawn, he came for me. When he dragged me outside, I saw the priest and the executioner by the horse-drawn wagon beneath the large oak tree.
"You will sentence me to death but you don't have the courage to hang me yourself?" I hissed at him as he left me with the two men. He sat off to the side on his horse where he would witness the proceedings.
The stout bald-headed executioner stepped forward with a short knife in his hand.
"Forgive me Madame but we must strip you of all your valuables including your clothes." He explained as he took the knife to my sleeve.
"I will do it myself." I ordered and waved his knife away. I readily stripped myself of my dress, tossing away my jewelry in the grass. If Olivier wanted to them for sentimental value, he would have to search for them.
Then I looked down at my wedding ring. It was the last piece connecting me to him. I didn't half-hazardly toss it away like the others. I looked up at him, sitting at a safe distance from his judgment. I threw it at him and spat. Even though it didn't reach the distance, I wanted him to see how little it meant to me now. I refused to die with one piece of his ownership on my body. I took my place on the wagon.
"Do you have any last words?" The priest asked me as the executioner fitted me with the rope. I shook my head, still focused on Olivier. My eyes bore into him and I hoped he felt me watching him. I wanted him to cower and cringe under my gaze and let it be my lasting impression.
I didn't hear the priest recite his useless scriptures about God's grace and salvation, nor did I feel the rope tighten around my neck. All I could focus on was my fury.
The wagon was pulled out from under me and the rope lodged itself into my esophagus. I gargled and struggled against the blurry figure of Olivier riding away becoming a dot on the horizon. The coward.
From my vantage point, I could see the executioner and priest watching me twitch and fight against the inevitable. I didn't have much time left. I narrowed my eyes, pursed my full lips and arched my back as best I could, jutting my breasts out towards them. I opened my mouth and tried to gasp for breath. I could only try to picture what I looked like with my breasts heaving and my blond curly hair in disarray. The perfect of petite mort.
I was feeling dizzy. I would soon lose consciousness if this didn't work. I closed my eyes.
Laissez-moi avoir ma vengeance. I prayed to any God or devil who would listen.
"What are you doing? She's a criminal, condemned to death." I heard the priest say as I felt the rope give way and I fell to the ground.
"She cannot die like this." The executioner argued as I felt him surround me with the warmth of his cloak.
I coughed and sputtered but kept my eyes closed. My mouth was dry and hoarse. The perverted man stole the opportunity to "revive" me and smashed his mouth to mine. I shivered in disgust as I allowed him to fondle my breast beneath the cloak.
Little did he know I was biding to time, for while I allowed him to fondle me, my hand was inching towards his pocket. When he felt my hand clasp around the handle, he gasped and drew back but there wasn't enough time for him to escape. I took the knife and slashed his throat. His eyes rolled over white while his hands made a futile gesture to suppressing the fatal wound. He fell back to the ground dead.
"Sàncte Michael Archàngele defénde nos in proélio..." The priest stammered through his reciting of the prayer of St. Michael for protection.
A cruel laugh rose from deep inside me as I cut the rope from my hands. I stalked towards him, clad only in the executioner's black cloak. The priest held up his rosary to his face as a sign of feeble protection from me.
"Please, have mercy. I am a servant of God." He pleased. "You must forgive."
"God forgives. I don't." I snarled and ripped the rosary from his hands before plunging the bloodied knife through his heart. The old man of the cloth pitched forward as I allowed his body to drop at my feet. I let the useless crucifix fall to the ground beside him and looked at the horse-drawn wagon.
I swiftly untied the horse from its reigns and climbed onto its back. Without taking a second glance back, I began to ride away.
I didn't care if the word would be sent to him about the slaughter of those two men and the case of my missing body. I would make him regret everything.
If he thought of me as a criminal, I was going to be the deadliest criminal he ever witnessed. I was going to raze Paris, perhaps France itself, to the ground. I was going to annihilate everyone around him that he held dear and I would make sure that I was the last thing he ever saw.