1830 again

ratheralark:

i don’t actually know what to do with this idea, so here have a baby thing 


Admittedly, in the early days of August, they did not venture out much. It was hot, a suffocating, wilting heat, and their spirits were low, and it seemed easier to go nowhere, do nothing, until one of these things changed. So that someone came knocking on their door was not itself a surprise– though the person knocking was, somewhat.

“Oh– Grantaire!” Joly said when he opened the door. Grantaire said nothing: he simply looked Joly up and down, then leaned to peer past him, to see Bossuet sprawled on the couch. Then he turned and started to go. 

“Wait!” Joly cried. “Where on earth are you going?”

“I only came to satisfy myself that you were both, in fact, still alive,” Grantaire said. “Seeing as you both are–”

“Yes, yes, point taken, and very well deserved,” Joly interrupted. He stepped aside to hold open the door. “Now come in.” 

Grantaire did. For a moment, there passed between the three of them an unheard-of phenomena in their gatherings: silence. 

“Well,” Grantaire said at last. “These past days have put me in mind of a phoenix. A great deal of fire, smoke, and noise, and in the end– the same bird as before, with a new name.” 

“Don’t,” Bossuet said, breaking in for the first time. The word almost had an edge to it, but there was something beseeching, not commanding, in the hand Bossuet held up to silence him. “Please, not now. Tomorrow, if you must– next week would be better– just– not now.”

“We shall make an appointment,” Joly jumped in. “Specifically for the purpose.” 

Bossuet started to grin. “At three in the afternoon, one week from today, Grantaire will once more have free license to mock our dashed hopes– by then, I expect, renewed– and we will once more indulge him.” 

“A week?” Grantaire said. “Is that wise? It will only give me time to think of even more devastatingly clever things to say.”

“So you threaten, but I know you better than that– you only ever work extempore.” 

“So this, I must assume, is why I have not seen you. You did not think me capable of holding my peace.”

“Well, you aren’t,” Bossuet said. “And I would know– neither am I.” 

“But it’s no excuse,” Joly said, shooting a quelling glance at Bossuet. “We should have let you know we were unharmed. To be quite honest, it was the last sort of thing on my mind these past days. I suppose I should write to my parents, they will have heard there was fighting by now…” 

“Oh, the longer you take, the less they will think of it,” Grantaire said with an airy gesture. “Dear maman and papa, it did not once occur to me that you would worry, it was all so distant from my life as a quiet, respectable student–

“And you are the resident expert in writing lies home, I’m sure.”

“Oh, Bahorel and I have regular contests for the title. Would you like to join?” 

Joly laughed, and Bossuet gave him a nudge.

“Just go do it now, while you’re thinking of it,” he said. And perhaps his gaze did drift to Grantaire as he added, “They do care, whatever they may think of it. They deserve to know that you are well.”