A/N: Lumânări means 'candles' in Romanian (well, according to the internet, don't quote me on that) and I just like the way the word looks. This is a little bit dark, but I think it came out pretty well. Based more on the musical, I think, as it refers to the women being at the barricade at some point. Beta-ed by Vu Par un Ange.
She wished she knew how to still the tremors of her hands as she lit the candle. She had a feeling that even God Himself would not have been able to still her violent shivers tonight.
It was too late to go to a church, and she did not fancy breaking into one. The ten candles she had managed to dig up from around the house, of varying shapes and sizes, would have to take the place of votive candles. Musichetta was now perched on the front stoop of the building, lighting the candles slowly, reverently, meditating on each name as she lit the corresponding candle.
She didn't know where the other women had gone – as they had left the barricade, they had scattered, all attempting to avoid detainment by the police. It had been easy for her – she was one of the last to leave and most of the police were already occupied.
So now Musichetta was perched on the stoop of a rundown building in a secluded street in Paris in the middle of the night, praying, pleading that tomorrow night she would not be lighting vigil candles for ten martyrs instead of votive candles for ten revolutionaries.
No matter how much she begged and pleaded, he refused to give up, to leave his friends. Not that she blamed him; her attempts were halfhearted at best. They were her friends as much as his and she understood the cause – sometimes she even thought she believed in it.
But when the decision had come; when the women were told to leave, she didn't argue. She numbly embraced him, kissed him gently, and walked away. No hesitation, no poignant parting words.
Why? As she replayed the situation in her head, she wasn't quite positive on the actual answer. So that she could keep herself together? To make things easier on him? She supposed it really didn't matter. She had somehow kept the tears at bay, and walked calmly home.
She didn't know what made her angrier: that he didn't try to escape that death trap for her, or that God was taking him away from her. Trembling, Musichetta wrapped her shawl tighter around herself, more for something to clutch than to stave off the late night June chills.
In her reverie, she didn't notice a woman approaching until she was right in front of her. "Do you hold a vigil tonight, mademoiselle?" the newcomer asked, the candlelight flickering across her features, illuminating the lines of grief lodged there.
Musichetta recognized the woman vaguely as a mistress that had been at the barricade as well. A plain, rather unremarkable girl who had clung to Feuilly with more vigor than even she had clung to Joly. "I do," she affirmed. "My prayers are that tomorrow night this will not be a martyr's vigil."
The other woman said nothing more, simply took a seat on the stoop as well.
When dawn finally came, eight women were perched there, surrounding the candles, sitting in silence, each lost in her own thoughts and prayers.
People began to walk the streets, hurrying into work or wherever they needed to go. Musichetta was aghast that the world could go on today, that the people the barricades were attempting to liberate could continue on as if nothing was wrong, as if nothing was happening.
It was at that moment she realized that all was lost; the barricades had no chance. Without the support of the people, the man she loved and his brave friends would most certainly die. "If they are not dead yet, they soon will be," Musichetta murmured softly, emotionlessly.
The other women turned to look at her, but said nothing, letting the words hang in the air, permeating the stoop.
Finally, one of the youngest girls spoke up. "Well…perhaps…perhaps they were merely arrested! The government doesn't kill unnecessarily…"
"They would never have surrendered," another responded.
"They would have fought to the death."
"And the punishment for…treason is death," Musichetta finished. "Come inside, if you wish; I am going to pull out my black clothing."
The women gathered up the candles, but no one wanted to blow them out. It was too final, too painful. They set them on Musichetta's table and stood around for a moment, simply looking at each other. Musichetta sighed, turning away from them. "Life will go on," she muttered. "Get out," she told the rest of them. "Find your mourning clothes."
More hesitation. "Meet me tonight, at the usual time and place."
As the others filed out, Musichetta knew that there was only one thing she was sure of.
Life would go on.