Grand R and the Seven Amis

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Re: Grand R and the Seven Amis

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Tue Jul 16, 2013 6:05 am

Oh this is super cute. Chapter 3 though...oh poor thing!
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Re: Grand R and the Seven Amis

Postby WhoIam » Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:58 pm

A/N I was bored today, so I set my boredom to a purpose and wrote more. I got a whole chapter done!

CHAPTER FIVE

Grand R quickly fell into a routine. Get up two hours after everyone else has left, eat, dishes, try to pick the lock on the alcohol cabinet, eat, walk outside, and play solitaire until the others returned from whatever it was they did all day. They would talk and drink until one by one they drifted off to bed. Grand R slept on the sofa, so he was usually awake until everyone else had gone upstairs.
In the time he'd been here, he learned many things about the men who lived in this house. Feuilly painted fans for a living, and Prouvaire wrote poetry. Bossuet had worse luck than anyone Grand R had ever met. Bahorel picked stupid fights but was calm about important things. Combeferre knew everything, or so it seemed, and appearing to be sick didn't stop Joly from enjoying himself. Courfeyrac loved talking about his many romantic adventures, which changed every time he told each story.
It was a comfortable existence, he supposed as he lay down a card. The men who lived here called themselves Les Amis, but Grand R wasn't sure yet if he was one of them, a friend. He was probably inconveniencing them, eating their food and sleeping in their house, drinking their wine into the early hours of the morning.
He could tell they were curious about him. He strictly avoided talking about the palace, or anything remotely serious, for that matter. He kept to his drunk nothings, building a precarious wall between his past and now.
A high soprano voice broke a silence he hadn't noticed. A high, haunting song wove through the air, cascading into melodious lower notes.
Needless to say, Grand R was a bit confused by this obviously female voice. He leaned out the window, craning his neck to find the source of the voice.
An impossibly slim woman rode a perfectly white horse, her shimmering auburn hair in a braid down her back. Her eyes were closed, her pale skin flawless and glowing. When her eyes opened, they revealed startlingly crystalline emerald eyes. Or were they aqua blue? No, they were a clear jade green.
Something about the innate perfection of this woman threw Grand R off. In fact, he couldn't help but be highly suspicious of a striking young lady riding a horse in the middle of the woods.
The woman broke off her song when he saw Grand R. “Good afternoon,” she called, her voice delicate. “Pray tell where I am?”
“Um,” Grand R said. “Hi.”
“Do you have room for me tonight?” The girl asked. She tossed her head flirtatiously, her braid falling over her shoulder. She dismounted her horse and tied him to a tree with fluid movements.
All of this was sickeningly sweet. What. The. Hell.
“Um,” Grand R said again. “I, um, don't know. It's not my house, you see.”
The girl laughed, the sound tinkling and bright. “That's all right. I will wait until the owner returns.” She made as if to open the door.
“I'm sorry, but, um, I'd really rather you stayed outside. I don't have permission to let people in, uninvited.” This was exceedingly awkward. He didn't want to let her in, but she could be innocent of anything, and sending her away into the woods as night fell would just be cruel.
She pouted. “Please? I assure you, I'm very well-behaved.”
“Thanks, but no thanks. I would prefer you to remain outside. That is, until the owners return.”
The girl smiled sadly. “No rest for the weary, I suppose. My name is Giselle.”
“R.” He politely kissed her hand, which she offered through the window.
They remained, awkwardly silent, for a few minutes. Grand R glanced at her every few seconds uncomfortably.
“I'm sorry, they usually don't take this long,” he said of his friends, more to break the deafening quiet than anything else.
The girl leapt on his words. “I don't mind, it's nice to be able to rest, even for a short while. I'm glad you're keeping me company.”
But I don't trust you, Grand R thought.
She continued speaking. “It has been such a long journey, and I've been so weary, I woke so early, you see, and I haven't eaten since this morning.”
Grand R quickly stood from his place at the windowsill. He opened a cupboard and pulled out a loaf of bread. “Would you like some?” He offered a piece to her. It can't hurt.
She shook her head. “No, no, you have been too kind already.”
Grand R held it out a bit more forcefully. “No, I really insist.”
She took it with a smile. “Thank you, so much.”
Again they sat in silence. When she finished, she thanked him again. “I cannot repay you for your kindness. Allow me to make an attempt?”
Before Grand R could respond or refuse, she drew a silk handkerchief out of her pocket.
“I pray that you accept this gift as thanks.”
Grand R took the kerchief reluctantly. “Um, thank you?” It came out sounding more like a question.
“It's scented, you see,” she said.
Grand R gingerly sniffed the silk square. It didn't smell like much of anything. “I'm sorry,” he said, drawing the handkerchief away from his nose, “but -”
Her hand forced the cloth against his nose. He tried to push it away, but suddenly he could smell it – an overpowering scent that made his head feel fuzzy. His vision blurred, but as the kerchief fluttered to the floor, he saw the face of the girl change into the face of his stepmother.
She smiled a slightly insane smile. “Funny, the things a potion can do.”
Grand R swayed, trying to clear his head. The Queen laughed, the sound nothing like the high giggle of the girl she had pretended to be.
The image of her retreating back was the last thing he saw as he blacked out.
He awoke coughing and spluttering, hardly able to see, as some vile liquid was forced down his throat.
“Hold him still,” a familiar voice ordered.
A few pairs of hands held him down as he swung wildly. More of the disgusting liquid dribbled into his mouth. The instant he swallowed it, his vision cleared up.
“What the hell happened?” he demanded, struggling to sit up straight.
“You tell me!” Courfeyrac shouted, his face red. “We came home to your lifeless body on the kitchen floor! We thought you were dead!”
“Well, I'm sorry. When your stepmother shows up and tries to kill you, it's hard to worry about how your friends will feel.”
“Wait. Your stepmother tried to kill you? As in, the Queen?” Combeferre asked.
“Yes. She was, I don't know, disguised as some pretty maiden. It was exceedingly awkward. And then of course I played the gentleman, and she tried to kill me and turned back to herself. I don't know how she did it,” he said, interrupting Joly's question. “She has other magic things in the castle, a mirror that speaks.”
Bossuet frowned. “Why didn't you tell us she would try to kill you?”
“I didn't think she would! She sent an assassin after me, and I thought that was the end of it.”
“An assassin?” Prouvaire asked.
“Some vain pretty-boy murderer. I paid him off so he wouldn't slit my throat, I thought she would think I was dead after that.”
“Clearly not,” Feuilly said dryly.
Bahorel frowned at Grand R. “Why did she try to kill you?”
Grand R turned his head. “I don't want to tell you.”
“It's important, all right?” Courfeyrac said angrily. “Your stepmother almost killed you. The Queen tried to murder someone, and unless you're a criminal, that someone was innocent. The people she rules have a right to know.”
“No, they don't, because it's my life and my life is none of their business,” Grand R said stubborny. “And you'll think less of me if I tell you.”
“We'll think less of you if you hide your past from us,” Combeferre said coolly. “Not telling us is selfish.”
Grand R sighed. “Are you going to pester me about it forever if I don't?”
“Yes,” they replied in unison.
Grand R shook his head. “Fine.” He sat down in the living room. “When I was eight, I overheard her talking to her mirror.”
Bahorel snorted. Grand R stood up. “I don't want to tell you this,” he said. They were just going to think it was stupid.
Combeferre and Prouvaire grabbed his arms and sat him down again. “Please, R, continue,” Prouvaire said.
“Ignore Bahorel,” Combeferre added.
Grand R took a deep breath. It's okay, he tried to reassure himself. They won't judge you.
“On my eighth birthday, I overheard my stepmother talking to her mirror. The mirror was enchanted, I think, because there was a man's face inside it, and he spoke to her. He told her...” Grand R thought back. “He told her she was ugly, but she didn't believe him. He finally said that even I was fairer than she was. I know I'm not attractive by any means, but she's much worse than I am.
“She was furious. She broke into my chambers and beat me. She broke my nose,” he added, touching the crooked bone. “She beat me nearly every day until I was sixteen. That's when I started drinking. I tried fighting her back while drunk, and people asked her why she had a black eye for days afterward. She didn't want people to find out what she'd done, so she stopped beating me.
“On my half-sister's sixteenth birthday, I didn't drink. And my stepmother came and beat me again. I just... I couldn't take it anymore.” A lump formed in his throat. Tears blurred his sight. “I ran away, like a coward. She sent an assassin after me, and I couldn't even fight him. I paid him off. I thought I was safe with you, but I'm not safe, I'll never be safe as long as I'm living.”
He fell silent, not letting a single tear fall. The men he had come to think of as friends stared at him, clearly unsure of what to do.
Then Prouvaire stood up and crossed from the sofa to Grand R in his armchair. He leaned down and hugged him gently. “It's all right, R, it's okay, do you hear me?”
Combeferre nodded. “She was cruel to you. None of that was your fault. She could have killed you if you had confronted her. Running away placed you out of direct danger, however temporarily.”
Courfeyrac fidgeted. “She's an ogress, that's what she is. A filthy, disgusting monster who enjoys beating children. I pity everyone who crosses her path.”
“She deserves to be taken down a peg or twenty,” Bahorel added.
“I promise you that we will do everything we can to keep her from harming you.” Feuilly's voice was colder than death, and Grand R looked up in surprise. Feuilly's eyes were filled with rage, his hands quivering in fists.
Joly clasped Grand R's hand. “Are you feeling all right?” he asked kindly.
Grand R shook his head. “I don't know. I guess... I thought that you would all think I was, I don't know, weak, or something.”
Bossuet clapped him on the shoulder. “Combeferre, I think he needs a drink.”
Grand R nodded, too exhausted to say anything more.
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Re: Grand R and the Seven Amis

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:12 pm

Interesting! I'm glad you included the previous attempt at killing before the apple bit; shoutouts to the original tale are always great.
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Re: Grand R and the Seven Amis

Postby WhoIam » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:17 pm

CHAPTER SIX

Bahorel and Bossuet protested vehemently when Combeferre refused to let them drink, and even Joly complained. Combeferre was adamant.

“You've just been through a stressful experience, R,” he said. “Alcohol will enter your bloodstream faster, and you'll get drunk much more quickly.” Combeferre sat next to him and added, “Besides, I don't know if the drugs that nearly killed you are entirely out of your system. I don't want to cause more damage.”

Grand R rolled his eyes. “Well, my mouth tastes like vinegar, so if you don't mind, I'd like to wash it out with something.”

“Water only,” Combeferre said.

“I'll get it.” Feuilly jumped off the sofa.

Grand R smirked when Laigle sent Combeferre a pleading look.

“I said no,” Combeferre said.

Bahorel muttered mutinously under his breath. Combeferre fixed him with a glare and repeated, “No.”

Joly sneezed twelve times in a row, effectively distracting everyone. He quickly grabbed for the first piece of cloth he could find and covered his mouth and nose. Unfortunately, Grand R started laughing at the scandalized look on Laigle's face when he realized that his shirtsleeve was being used as a handkerchief.

The entire room burst into laughter as Joly sniffled and attempted to hand Laigle his arm. He flushed bright red when he realized what he'd done. This only made everyone laugh harder.

“It's all right, really,” Bossuet insisted as Joly offered to wash the shirt. “It's just my luck.”

The tension in Grand R's chest eased. They didn't feel uncomfortable with him around. That was of some relief. Sort of. He still wanted a drink.

Jehan edged closer to him as Combeferre started playing chess with Feuilly, and Bossuet, Bahorel, Joly, and Courfeyrac dealt a pack of cards. “Hey, R? I just thought of something. Since, well, your stepmother knows where you live now. If she could find out that you weren't dead before, she might be able to find that out again. If you feel more comfortable, you could come with us tomorrow?” When Grand R gave him a confused look, Jehan added, “To town, I mean. If you don't want to stay here alone all day.”

Grand R nodded. At the very least, he wouldn't be playing solitaire all afternoon.

Prouvaire brightened considerably. “That's wonderful!”

Joly went to bed early, saying something about resting being good for the flu. Bossuet quickly followed, having lost the game and about twenty francs. Courfeyrac tried to use his winnings to bribe Combeferre into unlocking the wine cabinet, but Combeferre flatly refused.

“Why not?” Courfeyrac whined petulantly.

“Because it's late and we have to be somewhere tomorrow, in case you'd forgotten.”

“Fine. Be like that. But when you want advice about courting some pretty young lady, I won't help you and your romance will die without my expert touch,” Courfeyrac warned.

“Okay.”

“Come on, please?” Courfeyrac wheedled.

“No. If you can't think of anything better to do than bother me when Feuilly has my king in check, go to bed.” Combeferre said placidly.

Courfeyrac huffed, and stomped sullenly up the stairs. When he reached the top, he turned around and said, “You're such a child.”

Grand R snorted. “Good night, Courfeyrac.”

“Don't you need someone to tuck you in?” Combeferre asked dryly.

“Very funny.”

Feuilly won the game, very narrowly. Jehan looked up from writing in a book to say, “Combeferre, can I talk to you in the kitchen for a moment?”

Grand R lay on the sofa, where he'd insisted on sleeping. “Don't give up your beds for me,” he had said. “I'm the one who broke into your house.”

He was asleep before Feuilly was even all the way up the stairs.

The next morning, Grand R awoke when he hit the floor. “Wake up already!” Prouvaire said, clearly exasperated. “I've tried how many times to get you up.”

“Was pushing me out of bed really necessary?”

“Yes.” Prouvaire grabbed his arm and tried to tug him into a standing position. “Come on, R, we have places to go. Courfeyrac needs to be at the printer's as soon as possible.”

“So I can get my job done and see if there are any girls up for a good time,” Courfeyrac added. “No woman can resist my powers.” He winked and gyrated his hips with a smirk.

“Courfeyrac! Don't be crass,” Jehan said, swatting him on the arm as he blushed.

“First of all,” Courfeyrac said, rubbing his arm, “that wasn't crass. I can show you crass.”

“Please don't,” Feuilly said.

“Really, please,” Joly added. “We hear edough about your codquests whed you've beed dridkidg.”

“You're just jealous,” Courfeyrac said, but he didn't press the point.

They were out of the house in less than twenty minutes, and Joly said through his stuffed nose that it would take around an hour to get to the town.

When they arrived, it was chaos. Bahorel instantly took off to catch up with a man in worker's clothes. Combeferre told Joly to meet him at some café after Joly spoke with someone. Prouvaire broke away from the dwindling group to enter a bookshop, and Feuilly sat down on the street and opened the box he'd brought.

“I paint fans,” he said by way of explanation. “The richer people around here buy them, at least.”

“Come on, R. Are you coming?” Courfeyrac asked, tugging his arm.

Grand R looked at his friend suspiciously. “Are you going to drag me all over looking for girls?”

Courfeyrac placed his hand over his heart in mock offense, though his wide grin ruined the intended effect. “How could you believe such a thing of me? And I dared to think we were friends.” He let go of Grand R and said, “We're going to a printer's and then a tavern. Best place to give out pamphlets, since so many people are there.”


“Pamphlets?”

“Just come with me.”

The printer appeared to know Courfeyrac. They chatted casually as Grand R browsed the printer's work. When the printer went into the back room, Courfeyrac's attention immediately switched to the black-haired beauty stacking paper in the corner.

Grand R rolled his eyes. “If you're going to flirt, do you really need me here?”

“Okay,” Courfeyrac said, clearly distracted by the girl's curves.

Grand R browsed the papers in the shop, and when he tired of that, he sat out on the front step of the shop and looked out at the street.

The town didn't look as deathly poor as the one Grand R had been in – how long ago had that been? Two weeks? It felt like forever. There were no sobbing mothers in the streets, no coughing grandfathers or starving children.

Well, there were the poor and miserable, but most people appeared to be scraping by. The children were clothed, regardless of the fact that the clothes were dirty, torn, and far too large. A white-haired man gave francs to some of the more desperate-looking individuals.

That was something, at least. But a few francs couldn't save everyone.

Grand R saw Combeferre standing on a fountain, talking to a small crowd of young men, but he couldn't hear what was being said. A police inspector was walking quickly toward the assembly, and Combeferre jumped down from his position.

The inspector seemed to be on the lookout for suspicious persons, so Grand R went back into the shop.

“Are you still flirting with that girl?” he asked when he saw Courfeyrac talking to her.

“Is it any of your business?” Courfeyrac shot back.

“It is when I have to stick with you all day. I'm not in the mood to watch a giggling girl cling to your arm.”

Courfeyrac sighed. “Monsieur Laveuve will be back any moment with the pamphlets.”

A moment later the back door swung open and the printer staggered into the room with a tall stack of paper.

“What are these for, anyway?” Grand R asked, picking one up.

Courfeyrac snatched it back. “No touching. These are expensive.” He took the stack from the printer and gasped at the weight. “You know what? This was a very stupid idea. Why did he order so many?”

“Why did who order so many?”

Courfeyrac stammered, “Um, uh, no one.”

Grand R didn't entirely believe him, but he let it slide.

The café Courfeyrac brought Grand R to was between a hat shop and a small bakery. Courfeyrac set the pamphlets on a table and passed them around to the men around them. Grand R didn't notice, as he was preoccupied with the amount of liquor in the café.

“Okay, I'll meet you back at that fountain back there in a few hours. Don't...” Courfeyrac hesitated. “Don't do anything stupid.”

“Like carve adjectives into headboards while drunk? Yeah, I think I can avoid that,” Grand R said teasingly.

“That was a low blow,” Courfeyrac said.

“What, no comebacks? No insults of the most severe? Come now, Courfeyrac, surely you have some ammunition against me.” Laughing, he saw Courfeyrac off at the next café.

He barely caught a glimpse of Prouvaire and Laigle talking inside before the door swung shut.

The air was hot and humid. If there had been even a ghost of a breeze, the heat wouldn't have been so stifling. As it was, Grand R hadn't realized how hot it was getting until now. He supposed it could only get cooler from here on, it being noon.

Feuilly passed him as he lounged by the fountain, half-submerging himself in the cool water.

“What are you doing, R?”

“I'm relaxing, of course!”

Feuilly wrinkled his nose. “Yes, it really... looks... like fun.”

Grand R scooped up water and flung it at his friend. Feuilly threw up a hand to defend himself, but it splashed on his clothes anyway. He sighed and said, “I have to be somewhere, R. Can playing in the water wait?”

Grand R's spirits deflated. “Okay. Where are you going?”

Feuilly hesitated. “Um, just... down the street. I'm supposed to meet with Joly?” He sounded very uncertain of his destination, but Grand R didn't question it.

When finally Courfeyrac met him at the fountain with Bahorel, Grand R was completely soaked, his clothes dripping.

“What did you do, take a bath?” Courfeyrac asked.

Grand R rolled his eyes. “I went for a swim. Can't you tell the difference?”

Courfeyrac chose not to answer that. “You're going home with him.” He pushed Bahorel at Grand R unceremoniously and left.

“We're leaving already?”

Bahorel fixed him with a glare. “Do you want to walk in the woods at night?”

“No, sir, Bahorel, sir!” Grand R said with a mock salute.

“Then march.”

When they reached the house, Bahorel unlocked the door and sighed. “One more day of this, and I swear,” he said, not finishing his sentence.

“One more day of what?” Grand R asked, throwing Bahorel a piece of bread.

“Oh, nothing. The, um, work I do in town.”

“What do you do in town?”

Bahorel quickly changed the subject. Somehow, Grand R got the feeling that his friends weren't telling him something.
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Re: Grand R and the Seven Amis

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:30 am

More please? I love the sense of mystery here!
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Re: Grand R and the Seven Amis

Postby WhoIam » Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:45 am

Here, have another chapter.

CHAPTER SEVEN

Over the next few weeks, Grand R noticed that whenever everyone but him was in a room together, the conversation stopped as soon as he joined them. The usually talkative Courfeyrac was surprisingly reserved and serious. Joly and Laigle were drinking more than usual, and what was more astonishing, Combeferre didn't refuse them. They shared when they could, but Combeferre kept a strict watch on Grand R and kept him firmly away from alcohol.

“You were drinking far too much,” he insisted when Grand R protested. “It wasn't good for you, and I would rather you stayed out of the habit.”

It was maddening, but Grand R stayed busy and often didn't notice that he wasn't drinking. He almost found it funny that his friends wouldn't tell him what they were up to, but they didn't hesitate to make him carry pamphlets and keep watch for inspectors when they were in town.

Bahorel punched out a police officer and earned a few hours in the local jail before Combeferre paid his bail. Feuilly refused to tell Grand R what he did with the money he earned from fan painting, no matter how much Grand R pestered him. Prouvaire did not wax poetic at random intervals, and the rare poem he penned was ominous and foreboding.

“Read this, tell me what you think,” he ordered.

Grand R cleared his throat and read,

“The fire is coming
a wildfire catching on the houses
and scorching the streets
and searing their hearts
will they fan the flames
will they run as cowards do
will they stay to watch the city burn
will they come to fuel the fire

“The storm is coming
dark clouds brewing on the horizon
and blackening the sky
and blocking out the dawn
will they embrace the thunder
will they hide themselves away
will they stay to watch the lightning
will they dance in the storm”

He pushed the paper back. “It's good, but I don't think I really understand it.”

Jehan smiled. “You don't need to.”

Grand R pressed for more details, but Prouvaire refused to say anything more, even when Grand R used his best pleading eyes and quivering lip.

Bahorel occasionally challenged him to a boxing match. Grand R was readily willing to admit that he was terrible at it. Bahorel usually ended up getting a bit overexcited and giving him a nice bruise before he remembered they weren't just fighting.

Grand R tried to talk to Courfeyrac, but he usually ended up uncomfortable when Courfeyrac listened with uncharacteristic solemnity.

They were so serious that it was almost funny. He caught Feuilly praying one night and casually said, “What are you praying for?”

Feuilly didn't answer.

“I don't believe in God. What good is a creature who doesn't do anything but watch?” Grand R asked, not really expecting an answer.

“God is in all things. He intervenes only when necessary.”

“Keep telling yourself that. I know better.” He left before Feuilly could ask what he meant.

The nights started to grow warmer and shorter. Where it had been spring, the days began to feel more like summer.

“Soon,” Prouvaire whispered as he gazed out the window one morning.

“What's soon?” Grand R asked, hoping to catch his friend off guard.

“Nothing,” Jehan said, a little too quickly.

Grand R scoffed. “I don't believe you.” He sneezed.

Prouvaire didn't respond. Grand R leaned closer.

“All of you are acting so strangely. Like you're preparing for something. You're poetry is dark all of a sudden, and Feuilly's been praying, and you drag me all through the town on errands to printers' shops and cafés, passing out pamphlets and watching for the police. What could be so important that it has you all so serious?” He then sneezed six times in a row.

“Are you all right?” Prouvaire asked, ignoring Grand R's question.

Joly gasped. “Are you getting sick? I felt as though I had a fever this morning, am I coming down with it too?” He grabbed Bossuet's hand and pressed it to his forehead. “Tell me the truth, Laigle. Do I feel warm to you?”

“I'm fine,” Grand R said, but come to think of it, he felt a little dizzy. He had been sneezing a lot lately...

“You aren't fine, you're pale, even for you,” Combeferre said.

“It's because you won't let me drink. It's unnatural to go without alcohol as long as I have.”

“That's not why you're so white, and you know it.”

“I'm white because I'm ugly; I'm sure the first time I looked in a mirror I scared myself pale.”

“Fear is supposed to turn your hair white,” Courfeyrac corrected him.

“My hair stayed black to contrast the pale of my skin. I'm sure that when I was small I resembled a rather undersized gargoyle, and all the blood drained from my face in fear to think those stone demons lived and walked among us. I know I am ugly, it doesn't matter to me either way. I looked as if I'd seen a ghost when I first saw my reflection, I assure you. And perhaps I am one; a ghost, that is. Who is to say that I am not a mere wraith, a vapor, a haunting specter who sees all and floats through the walls? I've never tried to pass through the walls.” Saying this, he attempted to walk through the kitchen wall into the living room. When he failed, he straightened up and said, “Then again, perhaps I am just a gargoyle.”

“Is it the fever?” Joly asked.

“Is what the fever? I am as healthy as the day I was born,” Grand R said before he was seized with stomach pain, doubled over, and threw up.

“I think the illness is confusing him. He should stay here today, he's in no condition to be walking about.”

“Feuilly, help him into bed.”

“He needs medicine.”

Grand R tried to assure them that he was fine, but delirium overtook him quickly. A pair of delicate hands with long fingers tucked him under a blanket on the sofa. He begged for more blankets, feeling freezing cold. A voice said he was burning hot, and he tried to protest.

“M'not, m'not. M'cold, more blank'ts please.” His words slurred, like when he was drunk. Gentle hands made him drink some awful-tasting brew. When he finally settled down, he started to doze.

When he awoke, his vision was blurred and he felt sick. He fought the blankets around him. When he finally managed to disentangle himself, he slipped off the sofa and threw up the medicine he'd drunk earlier.

The acid burned his throat. He needed to find something to wash it away with. Where was everyone? Of course they didn't bother staying here with him. They have more important things to do, and he isn't that important anyway.

The world spun far too quickly, and he pressed against the sofa for safety. The world was a blurry mess, and he couldn't think straight. He had the vaguest idea that he was scared, but he wasn't sure why. The illness had gotten very bad very quickly. What was he thinking about again? He couldn't remember, he was confused and the lines between floor and wall were blurred and he thought he was standing but when he tried to walk he kicked the floor instead.

He realized dully that he was half lying in his own vomit, but he couldn't even care, he felt too wretched.

The burning in his throat finally drove him to crawl around the sofa. He felt as though tiny needles were sinking into his temples, the way his head hurt. He nearly threw up again when he was almost at the kitchen door. He managed to crawl a few feet into the kitchen before he retched and couldn't move. He had dry heaves; nothing came up. There wasn't anything to puke.

It hurt to move, so Grand R curled up into the fetal position and panted. Why was he in here again? Was it for wine? Was he supposed to meet someone in here? The taste of vomit wasn't helping him focus. Was that why he was in the kitchen? It probably was.

Grand R stayed that way for a while, trying to regain control of his breathing. He was shivering uncontrollably and his head pounded. He flailed, trying to find something to use to pull himself into a standing position.

Grand R's hand caught on the edge of the counter, and he tried to lift himself up. He managed to get onto his knees and stagger to his feet, swaying and shaking. This was a really stupid idea. He spun around, trying to find something, anything, to wash his mouth with. He was on the verge of using soap when he spotted it.

He was across the room in an instant, fumbling with the bottle. He struggled to open it, his usually deft fingers inhibited by dizzyness and his aching head.

The moment the bottle was open, he brought the absinthe to his lips. A contented sigh escaped his mouth as he drank, swishing it through his mouth and then swallowing it down, all of it.

It tasted terrible, worse than any he'd drunk before. He nearly spit it out, but what a waste that would be. He drank half the bottle before it slipped from his fingers. He didn't hear it crash to the floor and shatter, his ears filled with an awful buzzing.

He tried to get control of his body, his sight blurring as he swayed slowly. He lost his balance a second later and flung out his arm to catch himself.

He hissed as the sting of glass cutting into his palm pierced him. He must have landed on the fragments of the bottle.

He heard a gasp, and rolled over weakly to see two Combeferres standing over him.

Combeferre was yelling about something, but Grand R was really too tired to care.

“It's poisoned absinthe, Courfeyrac!” Combeferre was really loud.

“It's poisoned?”

Shh, Grand R tried to say. I'm trying to sleep.

“I don't know the antidote!” They needed to be more quiet.

“Do something you idiot!!” Couldn't they just give him a break and leave him alone for one second?

“R? R, can you hear me?”

Grantaire curled up and smiled dazedly. He could still taste the awful absinthe, but he found he didn't mind. He closed his eyes.

A/N: Please review, tell me what you think!! Concrit is welcomed and encouraged!
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Re: Grand R and the Seven Amis

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:38 am

Interesting bit with the absinthe. I like the description there.
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Re: Grand R and the Seven Amis

Postby WhoIam » Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:25 am

CHAPTER EIGHT

Everything was fuzzy when he returned to consciousness. He couldn't open his eyes. That didn't make sense.

He tried to move his arm.

It didn't move.

He tried to curl his fingers. They refused to shift. He was limp and completely relaxed, and he simply couldn't move.

Someone was crying. A voice that sounded a lot like Courfeyrac whispered, “It's my fault, I didn't stay here with him. We knew she was going to try again but we didn't do anything to protect him.”

“Shh, it's okay, you didn't know, none of us knew she would try to kill him again.” Feuilly was talking, his voice soft and sounding sort of choked.

We left him here alone! How could that foul, vile, evil woman resist?”

“We can't do anything about it except what we've been doing for three years.”

“The hell we can. When I find her, I'm going to kill her. No one is allowed to interfere with that.” Bahorel's voice, suddenly.

“Not if I get to her first,” Courfeyrac said.

“We will not make this into an act of revenge.” Combeferre sounded like the voice of reason, as usual, but he sounded like he'd been crying as well.

“It was revenge anyway, we just never had any personal vendetta against the actual members of the monarchy. Now it's another reason to win. For him.”

What are they even talking about? It sound's as though someone has died. Who's died?

“Courfeyrac. Just because the Queen killed her stepson doesn't mean the people will do anything about it. We have to maintain a realistic view of the situation.”

“I still want to be the one to make her regret everything she did to him.”

They're talking about him. The reality hit him like a brick. He's dead. He's dead, he must be, because he's never heard Courfeyrac cry, even when he's drunk, and he can't move and Bahorel is threatening death and destruction on his stepmother, and why else would any of that be true if he wasn't dead?
He must be in hell after all, he decided. He can't move, can't do a single thing except listen
to his friends weep over his lifeless body. He always knew he'd somehow vexed the gods.

He felt a hand close around his own, and tears dripped onto his cold cold skin.

Grand R listened as his friends mourn him. As they gave him his own funeral, as Feuilly and Bahorel laid him down in a coffin. He didn't know where the coffin came from, but he guessed that it came from the town nearby.

Courfeyrac said suddenly, “We aren't burying him. He won't decay, the glass will seal him in. I want him to be in the sunlight. He deserves the sunlight.”

Combeferre said, “You have to let him go, Courfeyrac. You're denying his death, trying to keep him in sight so you don't have to accept that he's gone.”

Courfeyrac sniffed. “I know, it's just, I feel like, like this is a dream, that he's asleep, and he'll wake up soon but for now we just have to let him get his rest.”

Prouvaire whispered, “Seeing him every day will just be reopening the wound.”

“I don't care.” Courfeyrac was suddenly firm. “He's staying aboveground, and that's they end of it. He wouldn't have wanted to be covered in dirt anyway.”

“He wouldn't,” Laigle added solemnly. “He'd ask us, if we intended to disrespect his body by covering it in dead leaves and hiding it away.”

“Then we'll leave him as he is,” Combeferre said, sounding resigned.

Grand R heard the sound of his friends closing the coffin, and the top of the coffin sealing shut. He was alone, but he could still hear the soft sound of someone trying not to cry.

As days passed, he tried to busy himself by making up stories. By rambling his drunk orations and replaying all his memories. It was not part of the plan to die so early.

At least here he could hear his friends when they visited him and the wind in the trees and thunderstorms, and he could sense the sun through what he assumed was a glass coffin. If he was buried below the ground, he would be cold and alone with no one to listen to. Alone with his thoughts, that was the worst hell of all, wasn't it?

Courfeyrac visited the coffin every day, talking to him like they usually talked, except he almost cried occasionally.

Prouvaire left flowers, he knew that Jehan would. Every few days, Jehan would return bearing a bouquet.

Combeferre rarely came. When he did, it was usually only for a few minutes, and he spoke like he was reading from a letter. He probably was.

When Bahorel visited, he left promises that Grand R's stepmother would regret what she had done.

Joly talked about his illness, and about the trivial little day-to-day things in their life. Grand R didn't know how he felt about them going on with their lives. Courfeyrac hadn't. Joly confessed how worried he was for him.

Feuilly was quiet. Grand R only knew he was present by the way he cleared his throat, as if he was about to speak, but then said nothing. Whether he felt stupid talking to a corpse, or if the words he wanted to say escaped him, Grand R didn't know.

Bossuet reminisced on the days they had spent drinking and playing cards and dominoes. He chattered, like he was trying to make up for Grand R's lack of responses.

It hurt to feel them grieving like this, but it was better than wondering if they even mourned him at all.

He didn't really know how long it had been since he'd died. He sort of drifted off every now and then, he didn't know if he ever missed days, or if he'd only been asleep for a few minutes. There was no real way to tell.

Courfeyrac was talking to him when suddenly his friend swore. Loudly.

“Enjolras, what the hell are you doing here?” he asked.

A voice Grand R didn't recognize responded, “You haven't been coming to the meetings.”

“So?”

“So why haven't you been coming? You know how important they are.”

“R was important too. You can't even let me mourn in peace?”

“Combeferre said you wanted to help even more because of what that woman did to him. Why aren't you helping plan, helping stir up the people, if it means so much to you?”

“Because I miss him, okay? He wasn't involved, he was only killed because of who he was, and I miss him. If you're too cold to understand that, I don't want you to lead me to my death either.”

“Courfeyrac.” The unfamiliar voice was gentle. “I respect your grief. I mourn him too, but I did not know him. All I knew of him is what you said of him, but I mourn him still. You have to let go, Courfeyrac, because if you don't you can never move forward.” The voice paused. “How did he die?”

“He was sick and delirious, so we left him at home on the sofa when we went to the meeting. We came back and found him in the kitchen. There was... there was absinthe everywhere, that awful-tasting stuff he likes to drink. Combeferre tried to do something, but he could tell from the spilled stuff, it was poisoned. R died right there, in front of us, and Combeferre didn't know how to save him and I sure as hell didn't know. He died right in front of us, Enjolras, and we couldn't do a single thing.” Courfeyrac paused. “I hate myself because if I'd just stayed in with him for one night he wouldn't be gone now.”

The voice, which apparently belonged to Enjolras, was silent for a moment. Then he said, “Do you know how absinthe is poisoned?”

Courfeyrac sniffed. “What? No.”

“It isn't. It's very esoteric, but I read a book once, about crime and dark magic. In it, there was a chapter on poisons. The book said that absinthe, for whatever strange reason, actually neutralizes ordinary poisons and as such is sometimes served at feasts to counteract assassination attempts.”

“Okay, so?” Courfeyrac asked.

“Magical spells are the only kind that can thwart absinthe, and those types have catches. For example, there's one that transforms the afflicted into a deer who turns into a human during lunar and solar eclipses. Usually kisses are the only possible cure. The book said it had to do with purity. You kiss a virgin, you come back to life. You kiss the one you love, and you're normal.”

“What exactly are you saying?”

“I'm saying if this Grand R died because of poisoned absinthe, there's a possibility he isn't actually dead, but rather cursed.”

“Are you trying to give me false hope? Because if you're lying to me, I will not appreciate it,” Courfeyrac said, his voice harsh.

“I swear. I read it for one of my law classes. We were studying crime, and I did a report on that book. I remembered the absinthe stuff because I was studying in a tavern – you were there, I think that's why I was in a tavern to begin with - and someone spilled the very same drink all over my notes.”

“You're lying. You're lying, you just want me to come back to your stupid meetings, you don't actually care, do you?” Courfeyrac was pissed. Really really pissed.

“You don't think I would tell you the truth? Fine. I was hoping you'd take the hint, but you're neither a virgin nor is he in love with you, I'm sure, so I suppose I have a better chance than you do.” There was the strange sound of the glass coffin opening.

“If this doesn't work, it isn't because I'm lying to you. It would be because the curse has some other cure.” There was a shuffling sound, then Enjolras said, "I'm giving my first kiss to a corpse, so this had really better work. It's awkward enough as it is."

“Are you seriously-” Courfeyrac's words cut off. Grand R couldn't exactly pretend he didn't know why, not with someone he'd never met kissing him softly on the lips.

When Enjolras pulled away, Grand R breathed in very slowly, trying to calm down. He hadn't been kissed in over a year, and never by a man. Were all men as awkward at kissing as this one? No wonder Irma Boissy gave him the cold shoulder if he was as inexperienced as this man.

When Courfeyrac gasped, Grand R mentally rolled his eyes.

“Did you see that? Holy shit what the hell did you do?”

“I broke the curse,” Enjolras said.

What?

Grand R realized quite suddenly that he was breathing again.

He opened his eyes and saw three things. The sky, which was clouded over and gloomy, Courfeyrac, who was looking very confused and seemed to be having a hard time deciding whether to be happy or upset, and the single most handsome specimen of mankind Grand R had ever come across in his life.

“Hello,” the man said. “Welcome back to the world of the living. My name is Enjolras.”

Courfeyrac fainted.

A/N: I'm trying to decide if I should make this e/R, one-sided e/R, or romance-less. Can someone help me decide?
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Re: Grand R and the Seven Amis

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:31 am

Romance-less would be interesting; I'd like to see something that's more platonic for a change.
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Re: Grand R and the Seven Amis

Postby WhoIam » Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:08 pm

CHAPTER NINE

When Courfeyrac came to, Grand R was still staring at Enjolras. “You kissed me,” he said confusedly, “and you brought me back to life.”

“Yes,” Enjolras said. “It's bad enough Courfeyrac was too dense to do it, you'd think someone who sleeps around as much as he does would be able to handle something like kissing-”

“I resent that. You were asking me to kiss a corpse.”

“- but no one else was around to do it either.”

“I am many things, Enjolras, but I am not a necrophile.”

“How was I supposed to know that? I make it a point not to know your habits in the realm of romance.”

“How do you expect me to seduce a dead body, Enjolras?” Courfeyrac asked rhetorically.

Grand R shifted. This was getting awkward. “Not that talking about you getting it on with dead people isn't fascinating, Courfeyrac, but I'd rather ask why I'm not still dead.”

“You aren't dead because what killed you was magic, and magic has loopholes. I found a loophole, used it, and you're alive.” Enjolras said it simply.

Grand R's head was spinning. He had just been kissed, by a man he'd never met, and was subsequently awakened from death. It is a strange world we live in, he decided. “My stepmother poisoned me, didn't she?”

Courfeyrac had regained his composure. “That's what we believe.”

“And I'm aboveground... why?”

“Holy shit! What the hell is going on?!” Bahorel's voice boomed through the air. “Am I hallucinating? I must be drunk, or asleep.”

“You aren't,” Enjolras said, beginning to sound irritated. “I kissed Grand R to break the spell that killed him. Now he's alive and well, so Courfeyrac can start coming to meetings again. The time is near.”

You kissed R?!” Laigle asked, following close behind Bahorel. “I have to hear this.”

Bahorel embraced Grand R tightly. Grand R tried to breathe, and found that he couldn't. “Ow. Ribs breaking, not breathing, let go now please?” Bahorel laughed, and released him. He was immediately replaced by Combeferre.

“Yes, I kissed him, now he's alive, can I go now?” Enjolras asked. “Courfeyrac here didn't realize that was what I asked him to do, would it have been as intriguing if he'd caught on right away? No. Therefore, since I only did what he would have done, the matter is resolved with minimal damage.”

Combeferre pulled away from Grand R in surprise. “Did you really... was he your first kiss, Enjolras?”

Enjolras frowned. “It doesn't matter, I only did it to save his life, but yes, I suppose he was.”

There was a wolf whistle from behind them. Enjolras rolled his eyes. “You shouldn't stay here anymore, it isn't safe if that woman finds out he's alive.”

“Can that wait?” Jean Prouvaire asked. “I'm still sort of trying to process the fact that you not only kissed R, but that R is now alive.

“Will you all please let it go already?” Enjolras asked, now clearly irritated. “We don't have time for this, and it doesn't even matter.”

“I take it I wasn't a satisfactory kisser,” Grand R said in a very serious voice.

Enjolras looked confused. “What? I wasn't kissing you for... what are you even... it doesn't matter!”

“Precisely. Obviously I must improve on my kissing skills if your kiss with me wasn't even memorable beyond the fact that you were kissing a lifeless corpse,” he said, acting miffed. Courfeyrac snorted.

“Your kissing skills are not under discussion,” Enjolras said coolly. “We have more important things to discuss than your lips.”

“I am offended! Or perhaps you would like to avoid discussion of your own ineptness? For all you look like a statue, I should have known you'd kiss like one!” Grand R said, barely concealing the laugh in his voice. Bahorel and Joly snickered, Bossuet trying to suppress his own laughter. Grand R allowed himself a smirk. He hadn't lost his wit while dead.

Enjolras glared at him. “I don't have time for this. There are -”

“More important things to be done, of course, but what? No one ever did say what they were concealing from me for so long. All those pamphlets and meetings, and no one would tell me what they were for.”

“We,” Enjolras said in an attempt to regain his calm, “are planning to overthrow the queen. Nothing you'd be interested in, your mind is clearly preoccupied with the mechanics of kissing.” Grand R raised an eyebrow.

“Well, there's the secret out! At long last, and it wasn't even worth keeping a secret. I died and you never were honest with me, for shame!” Grand R said.

Combeferre looked a bit guilty at that comment, but there was a statue to unbalance. “And I'll have you know, dear statue, that I,” and here he paused for effect, “have three funtions; they are to kiss, which is the function of life; to dream, which is the function of sleep; and to drink, which is the function of death.”

Enjolras ignored him and turned to Courfeyrac. “Can I count on you to come to meetings now?”

Courfeyrac nodded.

“Good. You all should come to live in town. If the queen realizes Grand R isn't dead, she might come after him again, and I don't want any of you to get hurt on his account.”

Grand R tried to regain Enjolras' attention. “It must be said, however, that statues have but one function; that is to glare down upon those of mortal fragility. You are a statue, resting on a pedestal as an homage to some god of mythical lore. Your immovable countenance is stern, yet condescending; your features convey not only your regal and commanding nature, but the superiority inherent in gods themselves. Of course, statues fall as the deities they represent fall. They symbolize their own destruction. Their haughty belief that they cannot fail is their own undoing; their hubris ends them. Mortals end the gods and tear down the statues that honor them as they become wiser. The gods must make use of the time they have before their subjects dethrone them and place themselves under a new rule. It is in man's nature to be ruled, you see. They build palaces for their kings, who rule over them, and temples for their gods, who rule over the kings. A god is deposed, man will create a new deity to tyrannize over him. A ruler is deposed, and man will anoint a new king to order his life. Kings and gods change with the fashions. When a kind god is fashionable, the strict are removed from their pedestals and replaced. When a cruel king falls into fashion, the people will destroy the generous man and submit to the cruel ruler on his throne. Mankind was created to be subjugated, and gods and kings were created for the sole purpose of subjugating.” Grand R looked around, his dramatic pose faltering. As he spoke, Enjolras had left, though the rest of his friends remained.

“R, you ought to get some rest,” Joly offered, though he seemed hesitant. “You've been through quite the, ahem, experience.”

“I have done nothing but rest since my death,” Grand R replied. “I have slept and thought and dreamed and reflected upon my past and my life. I'd rather drink than sleep. I should like to be left alone in a cellar with a thousand bottles of wine and be allowed to sup as much as I wished. I should drink until I could hold no more and became a cask of liquor myself. I've gone weeks without a taste of absinthe, and still longer without a drop of wine. I should like my thirst to be sated, and a hazy stupor is preferable to a dark slumber. My dreams are fitful and my nightmares worse, and I would rather drink to spy a vision than to sleep and see a specter. I would -”

“You'll get your drink, calm down,” Combeferre said. All eight of them went into the house, Grand R seating himself on the sofa.

“You're exceptionally talkative today,” Bossuet said.

“It comes of spending days trapped in the sepulcher of death,” Grand R responded. “I could hear but could not speak or see, so I occupied myself with the composition of lengthy discourses I would give, should I ever part with my body and be able to speak again. To speak is a marvelous gift, given with gravity and taken for granted all too quickly.” He was cut off again as Combeferre returned with a bottle of wine.

Grand R drank himself silly, growing increasingly more garrulous, until every one of his friends excused himself to bed. He found himself talking to an empty room and resigned himself to his own bed.

The next morning dawned bright and hot. Enjolras woke Grand R long before he would have woken himself.

“My friends will be accompanying me to the capital city in two days' time. You may come if you wish, but I warn you that inebriation will not be welcome among us.”

“As the statue wills, so may it be,” Grand R said ironically before pouring himself a glass of water.

“Don't call me that,” Enjolras said, but Grand R was not willing to let it go.

“You're a fine statue, I'll admit, but a statue nonetheless.”

“Stop being ridiculous.”

“I can't. It's in my very nature,” Grand R said with a smirk.

The next two days were very entertaining, at least for Grand R. He spent his time drinking, as he had finally found the key to the wine cabinet, and loudly talking over everything Enjolras said.

The day they were leaving, Grand R took nothing but a sack and as much liquor as he could fit into it. “I'll need it to survive him,” he said, gesturing at Enjolras.

They stopped in the town. Everyone seemed to know where they were going except Grand R, and that was beginning to get on his nerves. They led him to a tavern, where Enjolras climbed up onto an elevated platform – a pedestal, Grand R thought – and before Grand R knew it Enjolras was talking.

“Citizens, the time is near. The Queen has done enough harm to the people. The future is close and bright ahead of us, but the monarchy stands in our way and we must stop it from further hurting the people it is supposed to protect.” There are calls from the others in the tavern, some of support and others asking what Enjolras is going to do about it. “We are going to bring down the Queen and set up a government that will not destroy its people. We are going to take the palace, and fight for the right of the world. Do you see the future? The children happy instead of lost and frightened, mothers content, brothers in arms, not fighting one another for a scrap of bread. We are tyrannized by a person we have never seen, we blindly follow the rule of someone who has done nothing but harm to us – so we must end it! We must even out the balance and make the world equal, each man no greater and no worse than any other.”

He sounded like he actually believed that he and seven men can defeat the Queen, and for a moment, less than half a second, Grand R did too. Despite all the proof he had to say Enjolras was a fool for believing it could be done, he thought he could see a future where his stepmother couldn't do anything to him.

Then the brief flash of belief was gone, and he raised his glass, if with a bit of new respect in his eyes.

The men in the tavern were enthusiastic about Enjolras' plans. Some offered weapons, others themselves. Before they left the tavern they had gained fifteen men and their weapons, and twelve swords whose owners didn't need them. The men from the tavern ran off to tell and recruit others, and through the commotion Grand R saw Enjolras smile the smile of a man whose dream was coming true.


A/N: Please please review! I really want to know if there's even one single thing I can improve upon.
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Re: Grand R and the Seven Amis

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Wed Aug 14, 2013 10:11 pm

This was fun, honestly. Maybe more of the other Amis or description (couldn't visualize as well), would be a good idea for revisions. But I like it as it s all the same.
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Re: Grand R and the Seven Amis

Postby redmiserable » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:37 pm

So is Enjolras just a student in here as well? I'd like his role to be explained more.

This story started out cutesy and then got all serious. I love how Enjolras just brushes aside the kisses as though they were nothing (and they pretty much were aside from the fact they saved Grand R's life). So in character!

I can't imagine staying in a glass coffin. *shudder* I think the idea is even to make even the most adoring of small spaces into claustrophobics!

Though the attention is starting to shift from Grand R to Enjolras' revolution. Which I think make sense because it's a plot point. xD But

It was easy to read in a nice and quick manner up until the end with the Enjy speeches! Keep it going! :mrgreen:
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Re: Grand R and the Seven Amis

Postby WhoIam » Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:50 pm

Chapter Ten

They'd done a lot of walking and a bit of riding as Les Amis de l'ABC spread the word about the coming of the revolution. When they left, usually they had a few more men at their backs who were headed for the capital for the rebellion. Apparently Grand R's friends had connections outside of the tiny town they'd been working in. Finally Enjolras had declared that they were ready to go to the capital.

Grand R was walking to a little restaurant he knew, when he bumped into someone. “I'm sorry,” the man said quickly.

“Don't be, I wasn't looking either,” Grand R said, handing the man his hat. “Wait a moment, I know you,” he said. “You're, ah, I can't remember your name exactly. It was a while ago, but I recognize your face.” He snapped his fingers. “Baron Marius Pontmercy, that's it.”

“You were that man who gave me directions here,” Marius said, smiling when he remembered Grand R. “Thank you again. What brings you back here?”

“My friends,” Grand R said shortly. “I see my directions were accurate.”

“Yes, of course. I'm renting a room in the city now, the palace was a bit uncomfortable.”

Grand R laughed humorlessly, trying to think of a way to escape the conversation. “Um, well then, I suppose you have places to be.”

“Not really,” Marius said. “I'm not busy at all, in fact. I'm afraid I don't know the city well enough to know where to go to enjoy myself, and I haven't spent much time befriending anyone, just studying.”

“Studying?” Grand R asked absently.

“Yes.” Marius launched into a tale about his grandfather, his father, some war, becoming a lawyer, and a pretty girl. Grand R only half-listened, occasionally adding a vague comment when Marius paused. Marius kept pace with him, oblivious to Grand R's impatience and lack of interest.

Grand R stopped in front of a café. “Well, here I am.” He hoped Marius would take the hint, but instead the baron followed him inside.

The café Les Amis had taken to visiting was nearly empty, but the back room contained Courfeyrac, Combeferre, and Joly.

“Hello, I'm Baron Marius Pontmercy,” Marius said.

“Hello, Marius,” Combeferre said. R, what is he doing here? he mouthed when Marius' back was turned.

“Welcome, my name is Courfeyrac. How do you do?”

“I'm well, thank you.”

The silence that followed stretched on until Courfeyrac finally spoke. “What do you think of the monarchy?”

Grand R rolled his eyes as Marius began his lengthy discourse all over again. “My grandfather is a dedicated royalist, but my father was foreign, from an empire, and from what I've learned about it the empire was much more useful. It was glorious and exciting and it was genius to have such a wonderful empire. It conquered many lands, it added the glory of others to its own, it was a sparkling wonder that took away the breath of all who beheld it. I believe that what was done there would do astonishing things to our own nation, it would take it and carve it into a beauty and the world would stand in awe. What could be greater?”

The question was posed rhetorically, but that didn't stop Combeferre. “To be free,” he said coolly. Marius hesitated. Combeferre smiled. “You need an education on liberty, Marius.”

Marius shook his head slowly, apparently trying to wrap his head around how Combeferre had managed to dismantle his entire argument for an empire with three words.
Combeferre and Courfeyrac started talking about some new law, and Joly bought Grand R a drink as Marius stood there, not moving. He sat down quite suddenly. “So teach me,” he said quietly. No one noticed. “So teach me,” Marius said louder.

Combeferre turned around in his seat. “Excuse me?”

“You said I need an education on liberty. So teach me.”

That ended Grand R's conversation with Joly as all three men began to explain exactly what they were going to fight for. Marius seemed rather uncomfortable when they started talking about revolution. Enjolras, Bahorel, Bossuet, Prouvaire, and Feuilly joined them eventually. With each new voice preaching republicanism, Marius looked more and more confused.

A week later, the nine of them – Enjolras, Combeferre, Jean Prouvaire, Feuilly, Courfeyrac, Bahorel, Laigle, Joly, and Grand R – were crammed into the back room of a café in the capital together as they discussed the plan for the days ahead.

Well, everyone except Grand R discussed the plan. Grand R was really only there to drink. Sometime after his third glass of wine, he decided he was also there to listen to Enjolras get passionate about the future.

“La Société de Liberté will be here within four days' time,” Bahorel reported. He had affiliations with quite a few revolutionary groups, it seemed.

“There is no time to waste,” Enjolras said. “Courfeyrac, you know where those men, the Polytechnicians, meet? You'll go there and make sure they're prepared. Feuilly, will you go to the men of la Glacière? Combeferre, you will go to Picpus, Bahorel can go to the Estrapade, and Prouvaire, to the Rue de Grenelle-Sainte-Honoré. Joly, you will visit the medical school, and Bossuet can meet with the lawyers. I'll go to the Cougourde.”

“Then it's settled,” said Courfeyrac.

“No,” Enjolras said.

“What else is there?” Joly asked.

“The Barrière du Maine,” answered Enjolras. “There are artists there, very passionate when the moment strikes them, but subject to cooling down and losing that passion at a moment's notice. Someone must talk to them, get them riled again. I'd planned on that Marius fellow doing it, but he hasn't been around at all, and I don't know any of the newer men well enough to trust them on this. There's nobody left.”

Grand R hesitated. Enjolras needed someone, and here he was. “Me. I'm here.”

Enjolras stared at him. “You?”

“Me.”

“You, to indoctrinate republicans! To warm up hearts that have grown cold!”

“Well, why not?”

“Can you be good for something?”

That stung. Enjolras didn't believe he was worth anything at all. It wasn't as though Grand R had given him reason to believe otherwise, but he'd still hoped. “I have a vague ambition in that direction.”

“You don't believe in anything.”

That was also true. Grand R had made it very clear that he didn't believe in anything, nor did he want to believe. Except no matter how hard he tried, he still believed in something, as silly as it sounded. “I believe in you.”

“Grand R, do you want to do me a favor?”

“Anything.”

“Don't meddle in what we have to do. It might not matter to you, but it certainly matters to the rest of us, and I'd rather go without sabotage when the stakes are so high.”

“You aren't very grateful to someone who offered to help.” He vaguely noticed that his friends had left.

“I won't allow it. I'll do it myself after I finish at the Cougourde.” With that, Enjolras left, not adding anything more.

Grand R muttered to himself, “I could do it. I could. He doesn't think I can. I'll show him.” He ran after Enjolras.

“I'm capable of going down there and talking about principles. I can do it, and besides, I know the capital far better than you do.”

Enjolras shrugged him off. “You!”

“You don't do me justice. I've listened when you spoke, I've heard enough of what you say to repeat your morals back to them, I know enough about the sovereignty of the people to convince them.”

“Be serious.”

“I am wild.”

Enjolras didn't answer.

“I can do this, Enjolras,” Grand R whispered.

“Grantaire,” Enjolras said, “I agree to it. You will go to the Barrière du Maine.”

The men Enjolras was talking about, the artists, met at a tavern called Richefeu's. Somehow, in the course of talking to them, Grand R was caught up in a game of dominoes. He suspected it had to do with the drinks they offered him.

He played against several different men, dropping in a reference to Enjolras' plans every now and then, and the men he spoke to agreed that when the time came, they would fight.

When Enjolras found him playing there an hour later, he didn't even have a chance to explain himself before Enjolras turned on his heel and left the tavern.

Grand R quickly excused himself to his opponent.

“Enjolras, wait!”

Enjolras turned slightly and frowned. “What is it? I trusted you with a task, and instead you wasted an hour playing dominoes.”

“I did, but they've promised me that they will join you when the time comes.” Grand R offered.

“How do you know they won't back out the moment the blood starts flowing?” Enjolras asked.

Grand R paused. The hesitation was enough for Enjolras, and he left before Grand R could say another word. This time, Grand R didn't follow.
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All the world's a party, and I'm usually the awkward wallflower in the corner with a glass of water and a copy of Les Mis.

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Aurelia Combeferre
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Re: Grand R and the Seven Amis

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:39 am

Ouch. Poor Grand R. That ending was cold!
"...all aptitudes having equal opportunity; politically, all votes having equal weight; religiously, all consciences having equal rights."


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