Author: Pairing: Courfeyrac/Feuilly Rating: PG
Feuilly's room was small, and exceptionally dusty, with a fine film over the windows and grime and mildew in the corners. There was a small bed, and although the bedclothes were clean, they were old and rather thin. There was a small desk, and an ugly, uncomfortable chair. The desk was truly clean; there was a dirty rag hanging from a little hook which had been pounded into the side with a rock when it was first purchased; the rag was for the purpose of polishing the surface. A small bolt of silk rested toward the top, and a few tiny brushes and pots of paint lay there as well. A half-painted piece of silk lay in the centre of the desk.
Courfeyrac surveyed the room with his eyebrows raised. "O, where has the master gone, the master of this abode?"
"He's right behind you. What are you doing in my room? How did you find it?"
"Sheer intuition, dear man. Why on earth do you live here?"
Feuilly cuffed Courfeyrac gently. "Tact, my friend, has prevented rather a lot of murders."
"Is that a threat? I just think you should wash the windows from time to time." With a swift movement, Courfeyrac seated himself in the uncomfortable chair. "Well, I expect you'll want to know why I'm here. And because I'm benevolent, I'll tell you. I've come to steal your waistcoat."
Courfeyrac laughed. "I'd come to steal it silently, so that you'd come ask for one of mine, or something of the sort. You see, yours is falling apart. I'd hoped to get you a better one. And now I see that you quite simply wouldn't, would you? You'd just squander money on a new. You'd never come to me, would you, would you, my good man?"
"No, I wouldn't. Perhaps I wouldn't waste my money, however. Perhaps I'd steal one from someone."
"Oh, would you? I can think of several reasons you wouldn't. Firstly, you're not a thief. Secondly, everyone would be sure to notice. One doesn't steal clothing. Someone would say, 'Gracious me, that Feuilly has a new waistcoat! I wonder where he got it!' When news of the theft got out, he'd go on to say, 'Aha!' and promptly turn you in. Besides that, I should consider it immensely difficult. You can't very well steal it right off a man, so you'd have to break into someone's house. All that trouble for a single waistcoat? Tch. You wouldn't."
Feuilly smiled an odd little smile at Courfeyrac. "No, I wouldn't. But you're wrong about one thing. I am a thief."
"You've never stolen anything from me."
"Yes, I have."
"What?" Courfeyrac blinked. "What in hell did you steal?"
"Your pocketwatch. Rather a long time ago."
"I used to dislike you quite a lot."
Courfeyrac threw up his hands. "God, give me patience. So thievery is better than charity?"
"Something of the sort," Feuilly murmured softly, moving over to the desk and picking up the painted silk.
"You're an idiot. No one would lock you up for charity."
"No one need know about thievery."
"I can't believe you."
"It's not as though I enjoy it." Feuilly smiled rather sadly at the silk. "I just have ill fortune and pride." He looked up. "A bad set. I'm sorry. I pawned the watch ages ago, or I'd give it back to you."
"Idiot. Suppose for a moment you married a rich woman. Would you take her money if she gave it you? Because she was rich, and it wasn't charity, for you were her husband?"
"I suppose I would. I wouldn't like it, however."
"Tch. An idiot. I give up."
"Why, have you a rich wife ready for me?"
"I'm afraid not."
"Would you like one?" Courfeyrac grinned suddenly. "I'm sure I could find you one. Girls find me quite persuasive."
"I find you quite persuasive, man. You're a charming rascal, and one needn't be a girl to be affected. Is that pathetic, on my part, that I'm affected?"
"Oh, no, only natural. I know that I'm a charming rascal."
"You're conceited, too. You're vain, and you like to seduce people into doing what you want. What's to like about you, if one avoids being blinded by the charm?"
"Exactly. And no, I've no wish at all for a wife. I didn't expect you to congratulate me on being a thief, so I'm not bothered over that. You can't accomplish what you came here for in the first place. Why don't you go? I need to finish my work." Feuilly's face was crinkled rather; he was frowning, and rubbing his fingers over his forehead in a sort of frustration, which also half-shielded his eyes.
Courfeyrac stood, and made a short little bow. "I can see that. Au'voir, M. Feuilly." He was gone in a moment, and in another moment poked his head back around the door. "By the by, get a new chair. That one is incredibly uncomfortable, and it's no way to entertain guests." Then he was truly gone.
Feuilly sat heavily on the bed, still rubbing his forehead. "Damn it..." He looked quite miserable. "And he will have every reason to despise me now." With a little sigh, he got up and wandered to the desk. He sat down in the chair, and ran his hands down the legs and over the back. It was knotty, hard wood.
Unhappily, he picked up one of the tiny brushes, and uncapped one of the small pots of paint.
Feuilly went out early the next morning. When he returned, an unfamiliar lump on the bed brought him up short. "What in hell?"
The lump rolled over, and Courfeyrac, resplendent in a new and deep purple waistcoat, grinned diabolically. "Hello, my good man. I have, as you can see, purchased a new waistcoat. As a result, I wish to give you my old one. I will add now that this is the blackest, basest, most obvious form of charity imaginable. It's enough to make the proudest poor man in existence go spinning in his grave in a manner to put a top to shame. Also, the waistcoat is grey with a pattern of black flowers, and will suit you enormously."
Feuilly simply stared. "I--wait a moment, I've no intention of taking it."
Courfeyrac leapt to his feet, and, due to the size of the room, was at Feuilly's side in less than an instant. He pulled Feuilly's coat off and threw it to the side, and then began unbuttoning Feuilly's waistcoat. "Ugly thing, isn't it?" he said cheerfully. "Oh, yes, mon cher ami, you'll look much better in a new one, even if it's an old one!" He discarded the old waistcoat, and from out of nowhere produced the new.
Feuilly was far too surprised to protest, and Courfeyrac was extremely quick. He pushed Feuilly this way and that, and joked loudly, and several minutes later Feuilly found himself redressed in the soft, rather pretty new waistcoat.
"There!" Courfeyrac stepped back proudly. "You look dashing. I like it."
"What are you doing? Why did you---?"
"I'm determined to reform you. Non iam Feuilly furabit. If I have to, I'll put you in a dress and make you my wife."
"Goddamn you, man, what's got into you?"
"Gracious, I need a reason? Just a moment ago, I said 'mon cher ami'; now why don't you take me seriously? I like to consider you my friend. I don't give a damn if you don't, and I have every intention of making sure you aren't arrested for your thieving, even if it is from a warped sort of necessity. I shall cause you to see to the beautiful, blinding light and true love of Our Saviour--"
"Oh, for God's sake--"
"Our Saviour Charity," Courfeyrac continued loudly. "You're a darling idiotic Feuilly, and if you think I'm going to let you risk freedom when you could just as easily dine with me every night, you, my boy, had better go dunk your head in the Seine to clear it."
"I don't want you to--"
"But I want to."
Feuilly sat on the bed with a sigh. "You don't understand."
"You're right. And I don't want to. I don't care. I'm going to ride rough-shod over every single one of your principles. I consider you mon cher ami, whether you like it or not." So saying, Courfeyrac sat himself down beside Feuilly. "There you are."
"I wish I hated you when you did such things."
"That would present an enjoyable challenge," Courfeyrac admitted happily, "but it works out much better if you don't. I prefer it if you kick me in the shins and say, 'thank you, dear old beansprout', like the English."
"Go to hell."
"Willingly. Give me your colours, and I'll come back with Lucifer's head."
Feuilly stood, walked over to the table, and ripped a long strip of silk off the bolt. He brought it back, and tied it around Courfeyrac's upper arm. "There you are. Colours. Now go away and kill the devil."
"Now, it's time for an interesting thought. Can the devil be defeated by love, do you suppose? I was always told so."
"Perhaps," Feuilly said cautiously.
"And devils, interestingly--this is an interesting thought, don't forget--can be whatever one makes them. Whatever is presenting a devilish tricky problem, in my book."
"What are you getting at?"
Courfeyrac laughed triumphantly. "Your pride is the very devil in this moment! Watch me try and defeat it." He put his arm about Feuilly's waist and kissed him.
Feuilly made a soft little noise that sounded like 'ghh' to show that he had very nearly died of surprise, and found himself clinging to Courfeyrac, returning the kiss with his eyes scrunched shut. He stayed like that when Courfeyrac ended it and drew back, laughing.
"My dear Feuilly, is the devil quite killed?"
"Don't do that," Feuilly said, gasping.
"What, you don't like it? Ah, well, a shame. It proves the devil still lives on."
"Can't you stop harping on the devil?"
"Tch. That's the very soul of evil with its voice coming from your lips, you see." And he promptly kissed Feuilly again. "I fancy you think me a cad. Nevertheless, I shall kiss the evil spirits away from you, and then the devil of your pride will melt. And then--" Courfeyrac jumped to his feet dramatically, and hit his head on the ceiling. This resulted in his collapse back to the bed.
"Are you all right?" demanded Feuilly, kneeling on the bed and attempting to support him.
"Perfectly. God, my poor head. Your demon hates me."
"I don't think you a cad."
"What did you mean by kissing me?" Feuilly put a hand to his lips.
"Not particularly much. I meant, I believe, 'I fancy you, and I am determined not to see the object of my fancy locked away.' I'd hoped you'd be more inclined to listen to advice from a lover, since you won't from a friend." Courfeyrac smiled brightly.
"Oh, is that all? For God's sake, Courfeyrac, just go away."
"See if I do."
"You can't make me move off this bed. Especially as I'm infirm, dear man, what sort of courtesy is that?"
"So you intend--"
"--To lie here till Doomsday, if need be."
"Never doubt a man in love."
"What love? You're trying to seduce me into doing what you want."
"You're infinitely crude, mon cher. In fact, I am trying to seduce you into doing what's good for you."
"Would you just go away?"
"Not in a thousand years."
Feuilly sighed, got off the bed, and sat down on the uncomfortable chair.
"You know," Courfeyrac said, "I think you'd like me if I'd stop harassing you. Isn't that so? If I threw it all up, said 'live the way you want', came back to-morrow, and kissed you tenderly, would you protest then?"
"Perhaps not," Feuilly said softly.
"Exactly." Courfeyrac sat up. "Feuilly, just listen to me. You're dear and I'll love you forever if you'll only be reasonable and let me lend you money and stop, for God's sake, with the thievery. I suppose one can't kiss away all the demons in the world, but let me try for yours. Won't you, won't you please? Only let me try."
"But if I say yes, what will I do? I'll lose my dignity."
"Supposing once you've lost it you find you don't miss it? Let me try."
"Try, then," said Feuilly, giving up.
"Firstly, I love you. Don't forget that. That's the first thing." Courfeyrac gave him a little smile. "The second thing is that it is a basic truth, with nothing to do about it, that I have money, and you haven't. Therefore, I will share with you what I have because I love you. It won't be charity. I shall be sharing what's mine with you. Thirdly, you will have no reason to feel obligated to pay this money back. Little boys sometimes share their apples. It'll be just like that. All right? Those three things you mustn't forget."
Feuilly sighed. "All right."
"Now come here."
Feuilly sat on the bed. Courfeyrac wrapped his arms about him, and began kissing Feuilly sweetly. "The average devil can't stand love. It's a powerful antidote, my dear fellow. Your devils are writhing in agony."
Feuilly's head was spinning. "I'm sure they are." He paused. "I--I love you."
"Hush. I've known that all along, dear Feuilly-with-the-soulful-eyes."
"Then why in hell didn't I know?"
"Because you're silly. Now kiss me, and help me make the nasty little demons scream."
Feuilly obeyed. It was difficult to do anything else.