Maximilien had returned to the storage room, temper still running high.
He paced back and forth for a moment, hands tightly clenched behind his back. He clenched his jaw, eyes set on the cluttered floor in front of him.
Even over a thousand years in the future, and Max couldn’t escape the same infuriating entitlement of the bourgeois.
Or the disgusting rumors that had followed him since Brissot had accused him of aspirations of dictatorship in 1792. His lip curled. He should have known that Girondins’ calumny would follow him, sticking to Maximilien like a stubborn burr.
Abruptly Max was overcome with fatigue and he sat down heavily, body bowing under the weight of the past 48 hours.
He hadn’t dared to look up the Revolution, or his family on the database that Leonardo had shown him. Terror of the deepest sort gripped him every time he thought of it. He was desperate to know what had become of Charlotte, but the terrible thought that she’d died as well stopped him. Max didn’t want to think of his only surviving sibling, alone and frightened, all of her fire doused in the face of his enemies. He did not want to consider what had happened to the Duplays, if Eléonore or Babet had…had…
Maximilien shuddered. He didn’t dare think it.
A soft knock jolted him from his morbid thoughts. Rain stuck her head around the door.
“Don’t sulk in here all day, Robespierre. It’s looking like we are going to have to move this tete-a-tete back to my house, and I’ll need to give you a wardrobe update. Come back to the kitchen soon,” she said cheerily and then let the door slam behind her.
How did she factor into this? She didn’t seem like she held a grudge against him, as she’d implied so many people did. So why did she bring him back? He was not like Leonardo, a man who been brushed with the hand of Grace itself.
He was not a king either.
He was only Robespierre.
A chill went across the back of his neck and Maximilien reached up to rub a finger over the guillotine scar. He shivered and stood up.
The hallways were darkened and empty. Rain had already vanished and Max supposed that Leonardo and Richard were still in the kitchen.
It was silent as he approached the doorway, and he slowed to a stop before he entered.
Leonardo was leaning back in his chair, hand moving restlessly over the paper. With a blush, Maximilien realized it should have occurred to him sooner that this Leonardo was the Leonardo, who died in the arms of the King of France.
Richard, meanwhile, was still eating with the hunger of a man who’d been very active and hadn’t had food in a while. In a sudden flash, it seemed Max was back at the Duplays, after Phillipe Le Bas and Antoine Saint-Just returned from the army, putting away food like any other young person, talking to the Duplay’s daughters, one of whom would eventually be Le Bas’s wife. Max shivered and shook the image away.
He looked up when Max entered, eyes narrowed and mouth full of bacon.
Revolutionary and sovereign stared at each other frostily.
“I agree, I like this future as well, where a man is free to have a variety of opinions, and it is not impressed upon him by another.” Leonardo spoke conversationally, without looking away from his drawing.
“What?” Richard barked at the artist.
Leonardo looked up, a bushy eyebrow raised.
“I thought that’s what was being debated.”
Max managed a thin smile but Richard scowled.
“Are you saying that you agree with this,” he gestured to Maximilien, “revolutionary? This usurper?”
Leonardo held out a hand, palm out.
“I said nothing of the sort.” The Italian’s voice had gone hard. “I said that I was pleased to be in a future that will not force me to agree with either of you.”
Maximilien raised an eyebrow. “I wouldn’t impress my will-“
“You might think you wouldn’t, but by trying to turn my to a side, you have,” Leonardo cut across his words quickly. Richard smirked at Maximilien.
Rain returned before it could become another argument over the rights of people or the divine rights of Kings.
“Ah good, you’re back. I need to explain a few things before we leave for my house.”
She propped herself against the counter, fingers beating a rapid beat on her cane. Her brown eyes roved over each of them, her face inscrutable.
“I brought the three of you back to life, to the year three thousand.”
Promptly, Richard butted in. “Yes, why would you do that again?”
Rain stared at him blankly. “For science.”
At this Leonardo nodded his head in understanding, while Richard rubbed his temple, jaw set.
“Of course,” he growled. “Why didn’t I assume that?”
Rain waved his complaints away with an airy hand. “Well you weren’t doing anything for anyone dead. So here you are. Anyway, it now appears that we need to move this operation back to my domestic residence. And to do this I’m going to need to take you out into public.”
Her gaze suddenly sharpened.
“We’ll need to change your clothes, you can’t go wearing pajamas. I suppose your hair isn’t so out of fashion.” She frowned considering. “That can always be changed later, anyway.”
Maximilien reached up to finger his hair self-consciously.
Rain stamped her cane on the ground decisively and smiled at all of them. “That’s decided then. I’ll replicate your clothes and then explain the transporters after.” She smiled at all of them. “This’ll be easy, right boys?”
Maximilien glanced at Richard who was staring at Rain like she’d come straight from Charenton, to Leonardo who was smiling benignly at her.
“Okay, I’ll grab the clothes, stay here.”
She said the last part through her grit teeth, before limping her way out of the room.
Richard seemed to wait just long enough for the sound of her footsteps to fade before he was out of his seat, pacing like a caged bear, head set low between his shoulders and grinding his teeth.
“I’m going nowhere with that woman.”
Maximilien let out a polite cough.
Richard swung his head around to stare at him.
“Yes?” He snarled, his meaty breath invading Maximilien’s senses.
“You don’t really think you ‘ave a choice here, do you? It’s obvious that she has us captive here,” he pointed out.
“She’s one women. Between the three of us, we can overpower her and leave.” Richard said, as if Max was thick. He bristled at the tone out of principle.
“I will have no part in overpowering a helpless, lame woman. I’d rather go with her and try my luck leaving her at a later date. Usually if you go along with a person they more likely to be agreeable later.” He sat back and crossed his arms, as if to challenge either of them to try and move him by force. Both of them looked to Max.
“And you, Robespierre?” Richard asked, lip curling over his name just slightly, as if the taste in his mouth disgusted him.
Maximilien turned his back on the two for a moment, clenching and unclenching his hands.
On the one hand, even though Max was loath to admit it, his instincts went with Richard. Rain hadn’t given them any explanation as to why they should trust her, or even why she’d brought them back, taking their gratitude and therefore their loyalty as a given and it rankled Maximilien badly.
Loyalty is never a given, he thought to himself.
However, Leonardo was also right: Rain hadn’t done anything yet, other than bring them back to life. If this was a good or bad thing, Max had yet to decide. She was also unarmed, and he couldn’t quite justify what they would have to do to a lone woman to escape. Leonardo also appealed to a base level of Max’s philosophies: independent artisans. He’d take that any day over a former king of England.
He chewed his lip then decided, turning around to face them again.
“I agree with Leonardo, Doctor Miller hasn’t shown herself to be a threat yet, and it’s be monstrous to attack an unarmed woman.
Leonardo smiled thinly at him, but Richard threw a hand up in exasperation.
“It’s obvious that she means no good, kidnapping us like this. We haven’t seen another person since we got here. And she’s clearly mad,” Richard snorted. “For science, saint’s blood.”
Leonardo frowned at him. “Science is a noble pursuit. It explains how the world works.”
“It could explain why the sky is blue, I care not. I’m leaving,” Richard declared.
Maximilien moved to block him. Richard was taller than he was, and probably much stronger, but his stubborn nature won out.
“You’ll go nowhere, not until we find out more. I won’t let have Miller distrusting all of us, simply because you can’t accept another’s will,” he said, meeting Richard’s hard grey-eyed stare.
“I will move you by force if I have to.” The ex-king said softly. Out of the corner of his eye, Maximilien saw Leonardo tense in his chair, looking ready to separate them by force.
However all three turned when the sound of Rain’s cane came tapping out of the hallway.
“All right, here we go,” she announced grandly when she entered. She looked around at all three of them, from Leonardo gripping his chair, white knuckled to Max’s and Richard’s posturing.
“Am I interrupting something?”