The last place you expect him to be is your mind. But why wouldn’t he be there? You think about him constantly, half-awake dreams about his lips against yours, half-asleep visions of the two of you, together.
So, when you fall asleep, tired, mind filled with words and acidic happiness, no, that’s not happiness. You aren’t happy, are you?
Camille, my dearest sweetheart, pull yourself together.
Even the consciousness sounds like him. You blink away the tears. He is constantly awake, occupying your mind, restless and calm and so collected you find peace in his eyes.
That deep green eyes that shine rage and terror upon the unexpecting world. That blaze sweetest, most tender flames over your face every time you say something that resembles a solid idea.
You love him. Oh, you know that, my darling Camille. You are so profoundly fucked by that love. So thoroughly scattered around your mind. Around your soul.
Around your writing.
He doesn’t know. Even more. He doesn’t expect that kind of power over your mind. To his heart, you are yet another clay soldier of liberty. Still frail, soft. Changeable. You aren’t sure if he trusts you as much as he used to. As he used to when the two of you were schoolmates.
Your heart grows the most tender at this memory. You remember his copper stained hair, light in his young-but-always-terribly-old eyes. The smile. Laugh.
Oh, sweet heaven. There wasn’t a thing that didn’t make me love you, Maxime. There wasn’t a thing that didn’t make me fall so hard, so terribly permanent my heart still aches at the memories.
And yet he is clueless. Oblivious even.
“You are drunk, Camille,” he says, holding your hands away from his waist. To be honest, you are drunk – both on his closeness and vine, the most divine state allowed in this mortal, miserable life.
“And you aren’t?” you challenge, rising one brow at him in a mocking manner, as if he was the one making undignified advances towards you.
You wouldn’t mind, of course.
You wouldn’t mind his hands on your tights. You wouldn’t mind his lips on your collarbones. Even the hard rope of sin over your neck isn’t such a terrible idea of the end if you get him.
But you never will.
The thought nearly kills you. You let it drown the consciousness off your body. You let it choke you, mercilessly as the tears stream down your face. You are weak, Camille. And terribly human. Unforgivably human.
He will never look at you like that, with love in his eyes, and you know it.
Because he is unforgivably perfect. And perfect people don’t fall for shattered minds and scattered words.
And he is not another god. If he were, he’d have loved you. No, not like that, but the mercy of his love would keep you alive. Would keep you burning for the liberty.
Not burning for revenge. Not for undoing your choices, your letters, your words. Your papers.
Your love for him.
You smile the tenderest, hardest smile that ever bloomed on your face as if you lived through that and you endured the same pain yet again.
“They burned the Great Library of Alexandria and you think burning the Cordelier will do any good? Maxime, you amaze me.” Your eyes could be forged from basalt, unaffected and firm.
“Maybe we should add you to the stakes. Keep Paris nice and warm,” Maxime retorts unamused in his state, fixed on you.
“You wouldn’t. Even for France. Even for the people,” you whisper, shaking in your disbelief. Something cracks under your feet.
The thin layer of ice under your feet hides the deepest, coldest blue void known to humanity.
Maxime furrows his brows as if holding something that will hurt you.
“Before…” he starts, unsure of what he even wants to say. You blink in surprise.
He nods. Your heart sinks deeper. Right between the bottom of your ribs.
“But now you scare me, Camille. It’s like you make me do this, like you want me to do this”
“I just want you, you know that”
“If that’s what your brain tells you.” He doesn’t argue. He stopped doing that a few months (years?) ago. And he doesn’t lift his stare from the window, as you approach him. Angrily. Like a child, you are deep down.
“My heart tells me I love you”
He finally looks at you but his eyes are filled with pain. The ice cracks yet again. Harshly.
“A foolish mistake, my dear Camille. What do you know about love? Nothing. My heart tells me, my brain tells me, no, my love. This is just a desire to have me close. To have me care for you. And I care, even though your senses tell you otherwise.”
You want to scream. For an hour.
Also, you are tired.
“Why would I defend your suicidal mind all this time? You can talk all you want, but love, my dearest, isn’t something you can write. You just do. Love. And you just do things. Out of love.”
“So, there is nothing that would make you stay with me?”
Maxime smiles that one soft smile he keeps just for you.
“I am not the one that’ll leave”
He kisses you on the forehead and you close your eyes. A subtle smell of wood and heat comes to your face. You open your eyelids only to meet the hungry flames. There’s more snapping under your feet but now, there is no ice. There are branches, lots of. And some rags.
You breathe calmly through the smoke. And smile as flames lick your shins.
After all, witches don’t burn that easily.
Even in their own, fevered minds.