Rose Of Versailles Fan Fiction ❯ Truest Friend ❯ One-Shot

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Disclaimer: I do not own Rose of Versailles. It belongs to Ikeda Ryoko and TMS, but I hope they don’t mind what I’ve done with the characters too much.

Truest Friend

Oscar Francois de Jarjeyes leaned back in her armchair by the fire. She held a half-full wineglass in one hand and the remains of her dinner lay scattered over the table. The firelight played on her red uniform half a room away, the gold embroidery throwing back sparks as the shadows danced. Oscar took a sip of wine and said to her companion, ‘You are the only friend I have. The only one who never expects anything from me except my company, the only one who’s always there for me, the only one I can trust with my secrets.

‘What? You think I trust the sky and the water after what those reeds did to Midas [1]? My horse has no patience for my complaints and he’d just tell me to soldier on the way I expect him to after a hard day’s ride. My sword and gun would urge me to kill whoever was bothering me. The piano? Don’t be silly. That thing’s just a parrot with a golden tongue. You, you at least listen and try to make sense.’

Oscar paused to refill her glass before continuing. Her friend didn’t say anything; he rarely did, and then only to ask for clarification. ‘The women at court think of me as some sort of novelty, someone to whisper about in corners and dream about because I’m a little different from those bowing idiots they see all the time.’

Her companion suggested that one young woman felt differently about her. Oscar said, ‘Rosalie? She wants more than I can give. I’ve told you about the time I saw her sniffing my old uniform. She’s had a hard life and I feel sorry for her, but she needs someone else.’

A man was the next candidate. Oscar opened her shirt collar and laughed, raising her glass to salute the jest. ‘Gerodere? He’s a good soldier and he’ll be a good Commander if anything happens to me. I’ve heard the soldiers gossiping, but our relationship is completely professional.

‘The Queen now….’ Oscar let out a mirthless chuckle. She looked around to make sure the door was closed and the curtains drawn. ‘I can tell you this, but no one else must ever know: If I’d been born a man, His Majesty would have another pair of horns [2]. She’s so beautiful I don’t think anyone can feel differently. I know what the people say about her, but you can’t deny her beauty. But I was born a woman and I can’t do anything about that, no matter what that bitch said at her trial.’

The young soldier drained her glass and filled it again. Her friend suggested another name, someone she had been close to. ‘You know how I feel about him. But he belongs to the Queen and I’m not sure he even remembers I’m a woman half the time. He didn’t even know until that time I was wounded– Andre told me later. And the one time no one could believe I was a man, he didn’t recognize me! Fersen thinks of me as a friend, no more; and there’s nothing I can do about that, either.’

Oscar drew back her arm as if she meant to throw her now-empty glass against the wall, but thought better of it and filled it again. As the last drop fell from the bottle, she said, ‘Don’t look at me like that. You’ve seen me drink more. You and Andre both know I can handle it. Andre…Don’t sound so jealous of him. I always find time for you, don’t I?

‘He’s my right hand. If anything happened to him, I don’t know what I’d do. I’ve seen how he looks at me, how he worries whenever some other man comes into my life. He protects me, fights with me, and I trust him with my life. But you know how he gets after a few drinks: he gossips the way only servants can. And there’s the point: he is who he is and I am who I am and neither of us can get beyond that.’

A clock somewhere in the house struck eleven. Oscar started and sank deeper into her seat. She said, ‘You have to leave now? Well, I’ve kept you long enough. Until next time, then. And remember me to your comrades.’ She dropped the empty bottle on the floor to roll beside the four others she’d drained that night.

Notes: (minor spoilers; and these really worth reading anyway)

This little bite of nothing or something very much like it might have happened at almost any time within the years covered by Rose of Versailles, but it fits best in the last few years. A few details point to some time after the coronation of Louis XVI when her duties became heavier and more involved with politics. I suppose I had in mind a time shortly after the ball at the end of episode 25, but before André lost his eye in episode 26.

The idea was born after I saw a scene where Oscar is lying back in a chair with a bottle in one hand and about half a dozen empty ones rolling around on the floor. I seem to remember that it was in the first half of the series, but I have not had time to track it down. If anyone of legal age decides to watch Rose of Versailles, I suggest the following drinking game: take a drink every time Oscar takes one (for more fun, add the rest of the cast).

1) This refers to a tale from Book 11 of Ovid’s Metamorphoses; beginning at line 145 or a little later. Apollo cursed Midas to grow a pair of hairy ass’s ears after the King claimed Pan beat him in a musical competition. Midas hid the ears beneath a high hat, but his barber saw them. Eventually, the barber felt that he had to tell someone or burst. He dug a hole in a riverbank and whispered the secret into the earth. Reeds grew over the spot and told the secret whenever the wind blew. Oscar’s knowledge of Latin and the classics is mentioned in one episode and I would like to think she knew this tale, which fits my story so well. In truth I think she would rather imitate that Cretan maid Ovid mentions at the end of Book 9. I doubt Andre would like that, though.

2) A cuckolded husband is commonly referred to as having horns, though the phrase is not so often used in the States.