A/N: Alright, this is a really rough, only one time through edited version of this one shot. If you spot any glaring errors, please do tell me! I'm also not entirely pleased with the ending, so if you have any suggestions, feel free to let me know! I hope you enjoy it!
And Death Shall Have No Dominion
“And death shall have no dominion. Dead men naked they shall be one. With the man in the wind and the west moon; when their bones are picked clean and clean bones gone, they shall have stars at elbows and foot; though they go mad they shall be sane, though they sink through the sea they shall rise again; though lovers be lost love shall not; and death shall have no dominion.” –Dylan Thomas
It was cold; the kind of cold you can almost smell, coating your nostrils and seeming to freeze your thoughts from the outside in. The woman pressed a handkerchief to her nose as she walked next to a man who must have been her husband. Both looked uncomfortable; both looked afraid. They weaved their way through the marble slabs, trying to avert their eyes from each body though it was obvious they were looking for someone.
The morgue was full today. It was only three days prior that they had finished sorting through the bodies of what was already being referred to as the June Student Rebellion. The smell of the battlefield could not be entirely eliminated, even in this sterile environment. Gunpowder clung to the clothing that hung on racks next to each body. The smell of sulfur and smoke emanated from every coat, every waistcoat, and every pair of trousers. The giant glass window makes them feel trapped, like the animals one sees at the circus. The husband briefly brushed one of the coats hanging there. The wife clung to him like someone, dying and desperate, does to life.
She shivered, and her husband offered her his coat. “I do not like it here Joseph.” She said, frowning. “He was a good boy. He won’t be here. He won’t be here.” She repeated this to herself several times as though trying to convince herself and others of some great truth.
“Hush, Madeleine.” He finally said, sternly, though his eyes betrayed the same worries, unexpressed.
An assistant, young and inexperienced, led them through the main room to another door. “We cannot keep all the bodies out in the front, so the vast majority are kept back here.” He led them into another room, nearly identical to the first, except tighter packed. The bodies in here are less well cleaned, though water still drips on them to help preserve every one. Each body is riddled with holes or slices, little networks of red lines on their arms and legs; angry, puckered cuts on their heads. It was clear that this couple was unused to appearing so vulnerable, though even then they were a regal pair; the wife beautiful, like a painting, the husband straight-backed as a military man. Today they were searching for their only son in the morgue though, so the carefully crafted façade fell flat.
“We knew exactly who you were looking for the moment you described him.” The assistant continues to lead them to the far end of the room, trying to make conversation. “He was one of the last ones they brought in. Found him on the top floor of a café. He was one of the leaders you know?”
They must not have because both looked shocked. The husband spoke after composing himself. “I suppose that shouldn’t come as a surprise. He always was the type to lead and not to follow.”
And it was then you could tell that they had found who they had come for because the mother gasped, as though someone had pressed all the breath out of her. She recognized him immediately by his hair and clothing, though even without that she would have known it was him simply by the way he commanded attention even in death.
“He looks as though he’s only sleeping.” She whispered before bursting into tears. Her husband, the father pulled her close so that her tears were beginning to soak his coat.
The assistant looked uncomfortable, still unused to dealing with the families of the lost ones. “You are the mother and father of a Rene Enjolras, yes?” It was obvious they were, but it was standard that they verify.
“Yes.” M. Enjolras said. His voice was cold as ice; his eyes as hard as stone and locked on the body of his son. Even death could not hold dominion over Rene. Even from the cold marble table of the morgue he demanded your allegiance. And something about him was peaceful. He had not been in pain when he died, or if he had, it had been quickly fleeting. There was comfort to be had in that, though it wasn’t apparent at first, and maybe wouldn’t be for some time.
The assistant cowed. “He was found next to this young man.” He gestured to the next table over. “Do you recognize him?” It was a young man, skinny to the point of looking unhealthy, but with bullet holes similar to those of their own son’s. His countenance was one of peace too.
It did not take M. Enjolras long to know that he did not. He said so and continued. “My wife needs some air. We’ll sign the papers and leave immediately.” Mme. Enjolras was still crying, her sobs slowing to quiet, steady tears.
“She can step out onto the balcony if it is needed.” Mme. Enjolras clung all the tighter to her husband, seemingly afraid to let go lest he suddenly be gone as well.
“The papers please.” M. Enjolras followed the assistant, who had nodded resolutely, out of the back room to an office area, crowded with stacks of paper and cabinets.
“If you sign your name here, we can release the body to you by the next day. I trust you have means to transport him?” The assistant rattled off, not once looking up from the papers he was sorting.
“Of course we do.” Mme. Enjolras snapped, speaking for the first time since the appearance of her son. It was not in her nature to be offended by such a small question, and it was not as though they flaunted their family name with gaudy clothing and carriages, but the morning had pushed her to the limit. “Who do you think we are?”
M. Enjolras tried to interject. “Madeleine-“
“No. My son was not some lowly revolutionary. My son is…was…” She paused to take a shuddering breath. “He was a young man of high breeding. My son died for his beliefs, though I don’t understand them, or why he could not have gone some more peaceful route, but he is not a common person, a no name with no family!” Covering her face with her hands her sobs began anew. The assistant winced at her raised volume.
“Madeleine.” M. Enjolras pulled her close again.
The assistant handed M. Enjolras a pen, silent as the grave. The process of settling affairs was short, and within a half hour’s time they were back onto the streets. The sunlight seemed foreign on their skin, so long had it seemed they had been in the cold. The sunlight felt wrong. Every person believes the world should stop moving when theirs does, but that is never how it works. The people continue to move because death shall hold no dominion over anyone. They felt as though each passing person should be able to see the gaping hole they now felt in their chest, that they should feel that aching throb that no amount of medicine or sleep could take away.
But every other person moved on, even when it seemed that they could not, because death held no dominion over their son, and holds no dominion except over those who let it.
KITTENS AND UNICORNS AND RAINBOWS OH MY! *Sparkles*