"Catch 'em as they fall; never know your luck..."
~ One Day More
A brief lull in the fighting. Joly came to Combeferre, his forehead slick with sweat and blood. "How are you holding out?"
"As well as any of us. Joly, your head?"
Joly waved him off. "Don't worry about it. It's not bad."
Combeferre permitted himself to let out a long sigh. "How many are dead?"
A new voice broke in, grimly cheerful. "I prefer to think of it as how many are yet alive." Bossuet limped over, a small smile on his face.
Joly cried out in alarm. Bossuet looked down at himself, at his right arm that hung from a shredded sleeve, open and red, trails of blood running down to his fingertips and collecting, drying, in his fisted palm.
Combeferre sucked in a gasp. "No."
"Come, don't be like that!" Bossuet tried to tease, holding back a wince as Joly touched his wound. "It barely hurts."
Joly's voice trembled. "It's terrible. It's a wonder you can feel it at all!"
"To tell the truth, I really can't," said Bossuet in a low voice.
Joly didn't say anything, but the look on his face was enough.
Bossuet saw it and said softly, "It's alright."
Combeferre shook his head, his worry rising rapidly, dreading to speak his opinion. "Bossuet, you need it bandaged, at the very least."
"I see no point in it." For once, Bossuet was completely serious. "Others are hurt worse than I, and you know full well, with my good fortune, that as soon as this-" he nodded to his arm- "-is fixed up, another will come. Our time and effort have better ways of being spent, and we shall die soon. You know it."
"If you live, Bossuet," said Combeferre, hating what he was about to say but unable to keep the fact to himself, "it will have to be cut off."
Bossuet only smiled and shook his head. "It won't matter."
Joly stared, then blinked, swallowing before speaking quietly. "You're foolish sometimes, 'Aigle."
"I know it, Jolllly. I know it."
Combeferre marveled how Bossuet could keep that relentless smile. "Get inside. You are not fighting with that wound."
"Yes, I am."
"You can't use your arm!"
"I can use my other one."
Enjolras shouted suddenly not far away. "To your posts! Take aim!"
An identical glance was shared three ways. Combeferre tried not to think that this might be the last time he'd see his friends alive.
There was so much he needed suddenly to tell them.
From the other side of the barricade thundered the word "Fire!"
Amid the terrific noise, Bossuet fumbled with his gun. Joly loaded it for him, and Bossuet nodded in thanks.
Combeferre's whole being shivered. He won't last long. "Please, Lesgle, be careful." Bossuet must have heard the pain in Combeferre's words.
"I will. I beg you, Combeferre, stop worrying. Joly's not worrying."
"Joly's too afraid to say anything."
"That's not true," Joly said bravely. Combeferre had to smile.
"There," said Bossuet. "No more anxieties over me, understood?"
Combeferre understood. That didn't mean he'd obey.
. . .
The next round of bullets killed Courfeyrac. Combeferre couldn't breathe.
Joly cried out in pain from behind him, but at the moment Combeferre couldn't turn around, because Bossuet-
"No!" Combeferre reached out in time to grab his friend by the sleeve as Bossuet moved in Courfeyrac's direction, the shock on his face wiping away all trace of his former smiles as their friend's body lay still where he had fallen. Tears nearly broke Combeferre's voice. "There's nothing you can do for him."
The gun dropped from Bossuet's hand and his breathing was ragged. "We will fight."
You're not well, Combeferre wanted to cry, You cannot fight like this!
And then Bossuet slumped forward, his knees giving out as blood poured from the holes the bullets had made.
Combeferre crashed to his knees, unaware of what he was saying, calling Bossuet's name in its every variation, pleading.
Bossuet's breathing slowed and stopped.
Good day, Guignon.
Guignon: "ill luck"; fatality's nickname according to Bossuet.