Rain was flustered. After Leonardo’s easy awakening, she hadn’t expected Robespierre to freak out like he did. She also hadn’t expected the scar that marred his face, it looked ugly and like it hurt quite a bit receiving it. She’d forgotten that he’d been shot before he died. Rain wondered if there was a way to program it so they didn’t come back with scars.
She replicated clothing and helped Robespierre up to dress. He was short, with a nearly delicate frame. He kept squinting in light.
“I’ll test your eyes for your prescription next, don’t worry,” Rain assured him. Robespierre nodded, still quiet.
After she’d run scans on both eyes, and found he was almost blind in the light she replicated the glasses, tinted slightly.
“You aren’t wearing glasses in any of your portraits, or else I’d know ahead of time.” She said.
“I only sat for two,” he muttered, looking down at his hands and frowning.
It was then Rain noticed it. Alongside his bullet scar, there was one other Robespierre had.
On his neck there was a pale raised line that continued all the way around, like a grisly necklace. She stared at it for a long moment.
“Would you mind staying down here for a moment? There’s another person here, and I just want to warn him,” she asked. Robespierre looked up, and nodded slowly.
“Oui, I’ll stay.”
Rain kept her eyes on him as she walked towards the door. Robespierre was still staring at his hands as if he hadn’t ever seen them before.
Upstairs, Leonardo was exactly where she’d left him. It took several times of calling his name before Leonardo looked up.
“Ah, hello. All done?” He asked casually. Rain smiled. This was a man she could communicate with.
“Yes, he’s downstairs right now. I’m going to bring him up in just a moment but I thought I would just warn you he’s,” here, Rain hesitated. “He’s a little bit shaken, I don’t think his death was a peaceful as yours.”
Leonardo nodded. “Was he a solider?”
Rain shook her head. “Lawyer.”
Maximilien sat on the metal table, with his head in his hands. His fingers had brushed a rough patch of skin next to his mouth, and he cringed, mind shying away from what it could possibly be.
He had failed.
Max hardly wanted to think of what his death had wrought in France. Was there even still a France? Had England, Prussia and Spain carved up, put the chains back on the people, back into their miserable state?
His head hurt and tears burned just behind his eyes. He held his emotions back with self-taught stoicism that that’d been his companion since his mother’s death.
There was a soft swooshing noise, and when he looked up, Doctor Miller was walking back into the room.
“Hey, you can come with me now, okay? We’ll get you food, and I think I have another cot somewhere where you can rest.” She spoke softly, as if Maxime was a frightened child who she needed to comfort. Max frowned slightly.
Charlotte, Madame Duplay, and now Doctor Miller. Did every women he met feel the need to take care of him?
Regardless, Max nodded. “Oui, thank you very much.”
Miller smiled at him. “Alright. You can also meet your fellow resurrected historical figure.”
Leonardo was still in the kitchen, starting to wish for a window to see out of when Rain started coming back up, talking to someone out of sight.
“I’ll get you something to eat, if you want.”
She walked into the room with a shorter man in tow. He was blinking in the harsh, and Leonardo had recently discovered, electric light. (How curious! The same element that left trees split and fields on fire could now also be used to light people’s homes. He supposed this was a natural evolution, after all humans had been using a tamed fire for light and warmth for centuries now.)
Rain was still chattering away as she used the replicator to order a croissant and coffee, which she placed in front of the man who had done a sort of graceful collapse into the chair next to Leonardo. The two men blinked at each other for a moment.
“Here, eat, I’ll be right back.” She ordered. Rain darted out of the room, then poked her head back around.
“I’m sorry that was rude. Leonardo, meet Maximilien Robespierre. He’s from about 200 years after you.”
She left again, leaving a gaping silence.
Leonardo carefully marked his place in his notebook, and let it close and took a closer study of the man who was absent mindedly shredding and nibbling the tiny loaf of bread Rain had placed in front of him.
His face was heart shaped, with a small pointed chin and high cheekbones. There was a coin sized scar about an inch from his mouth. It splinted and looked like a star burst. It was very out of place on such a soft and gentle looking face. His rather frizzy coppery-brown hair hung around in a morose sort of way around his face, the same way it would on the face of a badly groomed tom cat.
His eyes were a sort of grey-green, a rare color to find, and easily the most notable feature. It was these eyes Leonardo was staring into.
It occurred to him that maybe he should have researched his new companion before Rain had unceremoniously brought him back.
Leonardo did an awkward half bow from where he was still seated and with a concentrated effort, said “Bonjour, monsieur Robespierre.”
The man still stared at him quietly and head tilted ever so slightly to the right.
“I- Buon giorno, signore.” His accent was odd, not bad but clearly foreign. Regardless Leonardo beamed widely.
“Ah, you speak Italian sir?”
Robespierre shook his head. “I was, before I-” His voice stopped and he dropped his face back to his plate.
“Before you died?” Leonardo finished for him, softly. He wondered how old the other man had been when he died. He didn’t look any older than Leonardo, but Rain had explained that she’d set his body to be a younger version than the one he had died in. So thirty? Forty? Fifty? Who could know, until it was confided in him?
Robespierre had covered his eyes with a hand, looking distraught. Leonardo reached out and slowly put a hand on his shoulder. The other man pulled away slightly, nearly flinching.
Leonardo touched all of his friends and if he was going to be stuck with this man for Dio knew how long he was going to make friends. He placed his hand back on Robespierre’s shoulder. The Frenchmen looked startled, gaze going from the hand to Leonardo’s face.
“I know,” he murmured right before Rain returned to the room.
“I’m glad you guys are already making friends,” she said cheerfully.
Robespierre nodded, still looking wary of Leonardo.
“Yes, thank you citizen-ness.”
“Citzen-ness?” Leonardo asked, bemused.
“I think it was a French revolution thing.” Rain whispered. Leonardo also looked interested.
A what thing?
“Has the form of address changed in France?’ He asked the other man. Robespierre gave a proper little nod.
“Yes. Or at least,” the gloomy look came back over his face. “It was supposed to. I do not know if it would have been kept after the Committee of Public Safety fell.”
Leonardo tilted his head.
As Leonardo and Robespierre discussed politics that had been dead for over a thousand years, Rain quietly moved away to one of the wall mounted screens, and pulled up the video feed for outside the building. Usually she did not bother to leave it on, but after Kam stormed away last night she thought it best, just in case Kamala thought to try and bring law enforcement back to her lab. There were no thugs outside, however sitting on the doorstep was a plain brown package.
Leonardo volunteered to give up the bunk in the spare room to Max.
“I don’t sleep very much, especially when my mind is as full as it is right now, but you probably should.” The inventor advised, once again gently touching Robespierre gently on the arm. He was extremely dubious of how much sleep he would be getting but vowed to attempt anyway, mostly to assuage his new companion.
He had a most unpleasant shock when going to use bathroom to wash his face for the night, and be quietly amazed by the running water, in hot and cold, and he looked into the mirror.
Max narrowly avoided shouting in alarm. For one sick moment he’d seen Danton’s face, broad, nose crushed into his face and scarred, before he realized that Danton had never worn green tinted glasses.
Max, breathing heavily, leaned forward to stare at the strange reflection.
It was him but very different from how he remembered his reflection the morning of July 9th 1794 when he had left his bedroom in the Duplays.
His cheek was knotted mess of scarring. The bullet had torn the thin flesh as it passed through and dented it, the caved in flesh a lighter color than his already pale skin. Several tendrils seemed to come off from the center, towards his lips, his eyes his chin, making it look vaguely star like. On the right side where the bullet had exited, several teeth towards the back were missing and there was another small scar pointing to where it had left his skin.
Maxime had never been vain, at least not about his appearances. Augustin had always been the one who followed fashions and chased women, not him. True, he’d been fastidious, but after a childhood of wearing clothing until they were filled with holes, Max had taken a special pleasure in dressing well. Respectability was valuable to a lawyer. However the change to his face was dramatic and shocking. His fingers trembled when Max touched the scar gingerly. For one moment he imagined he could still taste the iron of blood and mineral from his shattered teeth in his mouth. Max shuddered and his eyes twitched at the memory.
But perhaps the most damning was the small scar around his neck. Max traced it with his hand, feeling the slightly raised flesh go all around his throat.
Here it was: incontestable proof that Maximilien Robespierre had died on the guillotine blade.
He shook slightly through washing his face and cleaning his teeth.
There is nothing to do but go to the small cot that Leonardo had volunteered to him, curl up and not sleep.