road_to_calvary: (Quiet Pain)
Jean Valjean ([personal profile] road_to_calvary) wrote2015-01-21 04:11 pm
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The bar caught Valjean as he walked onto the street, Baron Pontmercy's last words ringing in his ears. You shall come every evening. The man is kind, kind indeed. Too kind, but this is a boon he cannot bring himself to refuse. Indeed, he had no choice but to ask for it.

The bar is too loud, and people too much after the last few days. He heads for the church immediately, before remembering that he should not go inside. He starts to walk instead, round and around the building, lost in thought. He has no idea how bad he looks; how tired and drawn; he knows only that he feels he has been scoured from the inside out; hollow, as though he will never be able to feel anything again.

pro_patria_mortuus: (je ne comprends pas)

[personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus 2015-01-21 05:21 pm (UTC)(link)
Enjolras was not looking for Valjean when he came outside. He left the note for Valjean with Bar shortly after speaking to Bahorel, but there's no real urgency that would lead him to seek out the old man sooner than he wants to be found. He knows where to find Enjolras should he wish.

Still. He came outside to stretch his legs; he turned his steps towards the little church partly in case he saw Valjean around there, but mostly because he had no particular reason to pick one path over another. But Valjean is, indeed there.

There, and looking awful: like a man deathly ill, or struck down by awful grief. Enjolras halts for a different reason than the greeting he originally intended.
pro_patria_mortuus: (je ne comprends pas)

[personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus 2015-01-21 07:28 pm (UTC)(link)
Enjolras returns the bow, but without looking a whit less troubled.

"Monsieur, what's wrong?"

He would ask are you well, but it's plain to see the answer.

He won't pursue it if Valjean dodges the question; a man has a right to his privacy. But he's seen the old man flinch back behind a mask of polite imperturbability too often to be able to quite bear inviting that mask and the yes, monsieur, I am quite well, thank you he thinks he might get.
pro_patria_mortuus: (guide and chief)

[personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus 2015-01-21 08:33 pm (UTC)(link)
There's nothing to do, in courtesy, but to let it go. No matter what he privately thinks, Valjean is very clearly not inviting discussion of the matter.

"I'm well, thank you."

And now the difficulty: he had intended to speak with Valjean about Hugo's indiscreet work. It sits ill to him to keep silent, now that they're speaking, but now does not seem to be a good time for that kind of revelation.

If this were one of his friends, he would gently urge them to walk with him, an offer of distraction they could accept or reject. But he doesn't know Valjean well enough to be certain of what would be helpful or intrusive.

A middle course, then. "I didn't mean to interrupt you, monsieur. I was out for a walk."
pro_patria_mortuus: (let us welcome it gladly)

[personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus 2015-01-21 09:53 pm (UTC)(link)
"Yes." Enjolras's smile is small, but very real, and very glad.

"Eight of us, now, as well as Gavroche."
pro_patria_mortuus: (you're no longer a child)

[personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus 2015-01-21 10:56 pm (UTC)(link)


Enjolras has no idea what to make of that reaction.

"Joly said he'd spoken with you recently. He spoke well of you, of course. I gather it was an interesting conversation."

Well, it sounded more frustrating than anything else -- unsurprising, for a conversation that involved Javert -- but there's often both interest and long-term use in frustrating conversations. And certainly Valjean is not to blame for the spy's thoughts or words.
pro_patria_mortuus: (to days gone by)

[personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus 2015-01-21 11:27 pm (UTC)(link)
"Is he not?"

This is genuine curiosity, not a rhetorical expression of doubt.

"I've found him so, but I think I'm not the man to coax any concessions from him."

There's a certain wryness to this admission. Their dislike is mutual, and Enjolras is well aware that that rarely helps communication or persuasion. If others have better luck in discussions with Javert, he wishes them well, of course.
pro_patria_mortuus: (here upon these stones)

[personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus 2015-01-22 06:04 am (UTC)(link)
Enjolras allows, by gesture and by facial expression, that this is very likely the case.

"I will hope, monsieur, that that proves a new pattern."

The hope is genuine, even if he doesn't have much confidence in the likelihood of that outcome.

But Valjean and Javert have a history together, and what Enjolras knows of it is mostly enough to know he doesn't understand it in the least. That's all right; there's no need for him to understand it. It's Valjean's business. Still, the fact remains that he has no reason for certainty that Javert will extend this uncharacteristic mercy towards anyone else.
pro_patria_mortuus: (to days gone by)

[personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus 2015-01-22 05:09 pm (UTC)(link)
"Yes."

Well, they'll see.

Valjean is distracted, melancholy, thoughtful, but he doesn't seem to be begrudging this conversation.

"Will you walk with me, or shall I leave you to your thoughts?"
pro_patria_mortuus: (a charming young man)

[personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus 2015-01-22 07:07 pm (UTC)(link)
"On the contrary."

The path runs right by the church. Easy to turn towards it, and stroll onwards towards the trees and the lake beyond.

"I find your company quite congenial. I have never minded quiet, nor a man occupied with his own thoughts."

The very faint amusement is mostly directed at himself: not only the understatement, but the fact that Enjolras knows full well what a hypocrite he would be if he did object to that.

Also, as dearly as he loves all of his friends, it's nice sometimes to speak with someone else as well, who has the familiar manners and cadences of home. Milliways is full of foreignness. It's fascinating, but it's also a continual source of mild disorientation. Enjolras genuinely likes Valjean, as well as respecting him.
pro_patria_mortuus: (here upon these stones)

[personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus 2015-01-23 12:17 am (UTC)(link)
The Baron Pontmercy? He hopes Marius isn't actually using that title, after everything; he may have a right to it, but that's not remotely the point.

Then again, Valjean is polite to a fault, and his daughter has just married the man. Perhaps he thinks he's being scrupulous and complimentary to his daughter's husband, or to Enjolras's friend.

Enjolras doesn't know a great deal about weddings -- particularly from the parents' perspective -- but he's quite certain the usual reaction is meant to be happiness, and not looking as if someone has just died.

Did someone die? Marius, or Mlle Fauchelevent? Surely Valjean wouldn't be saying that nothing was wrong in that case.

And Marius cannot possibly have married anybody else. He's not of age to do so on a whim, and more importantly, it's not remotely his style. Marius is dreamy and utterly devoted.

"Congratulations to your daughter. I wish them both all happiness."

The sentiments are quite genuine. Still, though it doesn't show, he's also feeling his way carefully on what Valjean's mood has made somewhat uncertain conversational ground.
pro_patria_mortuus: Enjolras in profile, head bowed, rifle in hand. (marble lover of liberty)

[personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus 2015-01-23 04:30 am (UTC)(link)
Enjolras is faintly relieved, in any case, by the normality of the reply, despite its exhaustion. Both Marius and the man's daughter -- Marius's wife, which is somewhat strange to think of -- must be well, then.

"Indeed," he says, a little wry.

Well. If he could speak to Marius directly, there are many things he would say besides pleasantries about marriage, in any case.

"Well, all the same."
pro_patria_mortuus: A few dozen fighters of the barricade sitting together at night, drinking and talking, with a red flag above them (where misery encounters the ideal)

[personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus 2015-01-23 07:01 pm (UTC)(link)
Unless he means someone else -- Madame, for his own daughter? The man is scrupulous.

Scrupulous in a way that sits ill with Enjolras, combined with calling Marius Baron, with the way Valjean said I am no gentleman, monsieur to a university student whom he knew to be a republican and a murderer, with the way Valjean once begged his pardon for saying he respected Enjolras. In the undertones here is a great deal that Enjolras and his friends set themselves against with their lives and their deaths.

"I'm sure he would be."

It's only truth. Who wouldn't be comforted by word of their friends, even if only of their friends' shades? Comfort admixed with grief remains some degree of comfort.

Enjolras isn't pushing the man to tell -- it's not his place, for any number of reasons -- but he can't imagine keeping such a secret. He doesn't know much of wives or marriage, or what level of secrecy and failure to comprehend can abide within the domestic sphere*, but surely a secret like that would be a wedge in any trust that might otherwise exist between Valjean and Marius.

"It's an unbelievable story, I know, but he has you to corroborate as well, and you are not a fanciful man."

*Once again, the narration would like to apologize for 19th century Europe.
pro_patria_mortuus: (here upon these stones)

[personal profile] pro_patria_mortuus 2015-01-23 08:16 pm (UTC)(link)
"That's good."

Trust, love, honesty -- they're bedrocks. Foundations of fraternity. Whether or not that's required for a marriage, it can't help but be a good thing for one, he's sure. (Sure with the vagueness of someone who has not spent much time thinking about a situation, but nonetheless.)

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