Author: Pairing: Enjolras/Joly Rating: G
Enjolras shut the door behind himself quickly, hard, slamming it as he burst in. He was breathing heavily, and his face turned my way. His beautiful hair was coming loose, the black strip of cloth he used to tie it nearly gone, and the tousled golden was worthy of a god. His cold blue eyes held anger, surprise, and a hint of fear. There was no one else in the back room, so I pushed away from my medical textbooks to rush to his side.
He looked me straight on, and I saw that on the left side of his face there was a long grazed cut running the length of his cheekbone. The oozing red stood out so clearly on his pale skin that it frightened me for a moment.
I dug into my pocket and retrieved a handkerchief, and held up it to the injury. He pushed me away impatiently, throwing me a little off-balance. The white handkerchief was now striped with crimson.
"It's just a cut, Joly. I'm fine."
"The hell you're fine. You've no idea what kind of infection you could get from an open slash like that."
I tried again, and this time his hand came forward with more force, and I found myself reeling as the blow landed. I moved my fingers to my face and could almost feel the print of his fingers.
Instantly, a remorseful look crossed his countenance, and he darted forward, half-catching me, the same hand that had struck me now caressing my stinging cheek.
"I'm sorry, Dominique, that was wrong of me. Are you all right? I was afraid one of the Amis might come in. I apologize."
I sighed deeply, and knelt to rescue my handkerchief. It was no longer crisply white, but stained from the dust of the floor and limp from the wet blood.
He looked so stunned when I hit him. To be truthful, I had no idea what I'd done until a moment afterwards.
I fell to my knees beside him, and held his eyes. Their blue was so much softer than mine, less like ice and more like flowers. I reached out a hand to brush back his hair, pale yellow and full of curls. We looked so much alike and yet so completely different. I shouldn't have been acting so shamelessly affectionate in the back of Musain, but his amazed expression and his air of carrying himself, which showed he was in more pain than he let on, were spawning a gnawing guilt inside me.
"I'm sorry, you do understand that? I don't know what I'm turning into that I'd hurt you like that. You must forgive me."
"You'll only be forgiven if you'll allow me to see to you. You're still bleeding. How did it happen, Michel?"
"I was speaking, and some ba- " I stopped myself. "Someone took a shot at me. It's not a real wound, it only came across my cheek a little."
I sighed almost as deeply as he had, wondering at my anger. Normally I could have come up with some sarcastic remark to deal out about the man who had shot me, but all I could feel now was a frustrated, pathetic fury. I was confused, and he was leaving me with my thoughts as he disappeared from the room to find water and clean linen.
I couldn't understand at all why I had laid a hand on him. I had no right to strike him when he'd done nothing to me, nothing but try to help me. Such confusion filled me often now, more often than I wanted.
I returned in a moment, and opened the door to his bewildered, wounded face. He still sat on the floor, knees drawn up to his body, and his arms wrapped about them. I went down beside him, and set the bowl of water to the side.
"Nothing. It hurts a little. Nothing, really."
He does lie to me. But I can't change that.
I soaked a bit of cloth in the water and began to wash his face, gently I hoped, cleaning out the cut, and staining a napkin this time around. I couldn't help thinking that it was wrong for him to be hurt, for his lovely face to be disfigured in any way. Grantaire sometimes calls him Apollo. That fits. That makes sense.
He flinched a bit, and I drew back, half worried that I might have caused him a sharper pain, and half worried that he might hit me again. He saw both my worries in my face. He must have, because he spoke hurriedly, and his words were filled with a badly hidden anguish.
"Dominique. No, listen to me, I don't know why that happened, but it won't. God help me, I'm not going to strike you again. Am I making sense? I'm sorry. I am. Truly. I don't know why - I don't understand - I - "
My first reaction. The only thing I could think of to say. Not worth much, certainly, but it was all I needed to say, apparently, because he quieted unhappily. I carefully stroked the long golden hair back, my fingers adoring the feel of him. Then his hand closed on my wrist, and I stopped, looking him straight on. His eyes, so deeply, wholly blue, met mine, sorrow-full.
"Yes, I know. It's all right." My lips met his forehead, willing him to be silent.
But my dear Enjolras will never be silent.
"You're treating me like I'm a child." His voice was so petulant. He sounded like a child, for all his protests.
"You're acting it. I know you're sorry. I believe you. Hush, and let me finish." I went back to washing, and he actually did stay wordless for a while, allowing me. He seemed so young like that. I almost had to resist an urge to sing to him, the way I used to sing my little brother to sleep. At last he relaxed and didn't resist my putting one arm around him in a half-embrace.
Deep in my jumble of emotions there was the fear that one of les Amis might come in at any moment, but it was mostly pushed down by everything else crowding over.
He was acting better to me than I deserved, with a red mark rising on his face from my hand. He was showing more concern than I ever would if someone did the same to me. He offered more care than I had any right to.
And I liked the touch of his fingers in my hair much more than I ought to have.
I caught him humming under his breath, some old melody that I didn't recognize, sweet and dusty. It was soothing, and soft.
I nearly laughed, despite my other feelings, when I realized he hadn't spoken of his own "illnesses" since I'd come. Perhaps he'd forgotten them.
Am I really that important?
He seemed to be falling asleep in my arms. Though the idea pleased me, it would be a disaster if one of the other Amis came. His face was clean, the cut washed out, showing me the rawness of the flesh. I placed a kiss on his temple, and shifted, extricating myself delicately.
"Michel, we've got to get off the floor." I offered my hand, and he pulled himself up wearily. "The dust will do nothing for my sinuses, and will make you sneeze."
He laughed, then, clear and pleasant, and for once I chose not to be insulted at his disbelief in my poor health. I love his laugh.
He sank into a chair beside mine, resting his arm on the table with a gentle expulsion of breath, meeting my eyes tiredly as I sat. He seemed worn out by things, and I took his hand my own. He gave me a faint smile, and leaned forward to kiss me. I closed my eyes with a slight thrill as our lips met, because his were dry, and soft, and brushed mine beautifully.
It was he who broke away first, and I watched him tenderly as he made a cradle of his arms and laid his head down in it. I couldn't help smoothing back his hair, as much as it looked too precious to touch. The burnished gold was entirely loose from its fastening, and I swallowed my regret to retie it.
He didn't say a word, for he was asleep. He looked so innocent and uncomplicated that I continued stroking, offering a silent prayer that he would dream untroubled.
Vive la République. Let his dreams come true.