(A/N: I'm sorry, but I'm so goddamn sick of all the cliched Contestshipping/Advanceshipping/Pokeshipping fics, I HAD to put something up before I lost faith in the shippers community entirely. :/ It's Les Miserables, and even if you don't know the fandom you can still understand it. So anyway. Here goes )
Fields of Gold
There was that one place he remembered the most. That one place that he knew he could go to in order to get away from the hustle and bustle that was the poor life in Paris. There weren't many that knew it was there...most people simply passed it by when they walked, or perhaps they stopped by to pick a few flowers for their love... very few people knew the true grandeur that was this field, just outside of the city. Few knew about the massive oak tree in the center, few had waded through the oceans of fragrant, colorful wildflowers deeper into the field...but he knew. He knew it all. However, he didn’t know exactly how important it would become to him.
There were a few occasions where he would go there by himself in order to think, to ponder recent happenings, to relax quietly without bother or distraction. His stress seemed to melt away in the presence of nature's beauty, it seemed to make him forget about any and all of his trials and tribulations for awhile as he breathed in the sweet, fragrant air. Because of this, people had always seen Feuilly as out-of-touch with reality and perhaps that was true to some extent. This, however, didn't concern him in the least. There were other things that they whispered to each other that made him discontent, something as trivial as being ‘out-of-touch with reality’ was not hurtful in the least in comparison. Those things, those rumors, they were what was troubling him today. He thought perhaps he could sit in the usual quiet shade of his oak tree, thinking to himself, humming The Marseilles or Ça Ira, that his troubles would simply melt away as they always did.
This day, however, he had a visitor.
Now, this 'visitor' was not an unfamiliar sight. This 'visitor' was a fellow revolutionary, a cheerful character who went by the name of Joly. In fact, Feuilly knew him quite well indeed. He was a common visitor to Feuilly's other place-of-interest, the Cafe Musain. As the name implied, it was a small, quaint little cafe...but it was not only this. A society against the French monarchy, Les Amis de l'ABC, met here several times a week. Les Amis consisted of mostly students between the ages of eighteen and twenty-eight, though there were some exceptions, like Feuilly, who could not afford an education or were simply busy drinking and whoring to pursue one. Those exceptions were often the most fiercely outspoken advocates of revolution, most of them uneducated and tired to death of the monarchy’s indifference towards the unfortunate.
Feuilly was one of these unfortunate. His parents passed away, when was only eight years old. Most of his lonely childhood after that was spent working at a blacksmith shop lugging coals so he could buy food. Not the ideal way to spend seven years of your life. Thus, he believed strongly in revolution for the good of the people. This secret society, these ‘Amis de l’ABC’, Friends of the Abased, they were intent on doing just that: revolting against the monarchy. That was where he met Joly.
He was reclining lazily under Feuilly's favorite oak tree, looking as though he might be asleep. But as Feuilly approached, he slowly opened his eyes and looked towards him with an inquisitive look.
"Hallo, Feuilly." he said simply, as though he'd been sitting there since the beginning of time. "You know, the leaves are beginning to fall. Autumn's on its way."
"Joly, what are you doing here?" Feuilly asked, his hands on his hips. Joly couldn't help but laugh at the sight: he looked absolutely female when he did that. It was sort of cute.
"I've seen you around here before on my way to the cafe. I figured since there wasn't a meeting today you'd be here." came the reply as Joly pushed up his spectacles. "It's very calming here. Low-stress. No wonder you're here so often...you've got a lot of stress, don't you?"
Feuilly nodded. "Being poor will do that to you...people talk, people stare, and so I come here to get away from it all. It seems silly, I know..." He began to fidget with his tattered gray coat, pulling at some loose threads, obviously not wanting to go down that road.
"It's not silly, at least I don't think so. I don't know what it feels like to be the subject of such scrutiny, but...if it works, it works." Joly twiddled his thumbs, looking down at them for a moment before looking back up at Feuilly. "...if you don't mind me asking..."
"...what kinds of things do they say about you? If the things they say cause you so much stress, they must be terrible things...I don't think you're a bad person, ugly, unattractive in any way..."
Feuilly sighed, sitting down beside him and leaning against the proud oak tree. His hand briefly touched Joly's, and he blushed, pulling it away. "They...they say I'm nothing but a fleabitten orphan brat. Don't think I'm worth the time of day. Say that I should get up off my lazy ass and earn some money, but that's easier said than done!” Tears began to form in his eyes, but he blinked them away. “I do try, really I do! Now I paint fans and I sell them...but I don't earn near enough. Three Francs a day at the most. Do you know how hard it is to try your hardest with what you have and STILL earn peoples' scorn?"
Joly shook his head, a sympathetic expression on his face. "I'm sorry, I don't...I've always been very fortunate. Born into money and all that. But Jesus. Poor or not, you still deserve basic human respect! I mean, you taught yourself how to read and write...that's amazing."
"People overlook that sort of thing."
"Further proof that you're smarter than they are." Joly replied, folding his arms.
The orphan boy shook his head slowly, a smile across his face. "Damn it, Joly, you bloody optimist." He punched him playfully on the shoulder, laughing slightly.
"There seems to be a lack of those nowadays." Joly said, examining an oak leaf that had decided to make a landing pad out of his hair. He frowned at it, then tossed it aside. "Maybe when the poverty situation is taken care of..."
"It won't be." Feuilly interrupted, resting his head on Joly's shoulder. "The monarchy won't do anything about it, they're too busy counting their Napoleons and complaining about the street rats and prostitutes that 'contaminate our country'. They complain but they won't DO anything about it. If anything is contaminating our country, it's the bloody monarchy. I thought we took care of it fourty-someodd years ago...? Or was Louis XVI just a story to scare children with at night? Did the Committee of Public Safety just sit around eating jam tarts?"
Joly laughed. "You, Monsieur Feuilly, have a sick sense of humor. But I digress; there will always be poor, no matter what we do. We can only help so many. But that does not mean we should not help them at all or turn a blind eye to those in need...some of them are living on the street for God's sake!" he paused, looking thoughtful for a moment. "...is that the case with you, Feuilly? ...are...are you that destitute?"
He did not give him a verbal answer, nor did he answer right away. He seemed shocked by Joly's question, and he hung his head as though he were shamed. Slowly, he nodded. Joly placed a hand on his shoulder, startling him into looking up.
"Mon ami...why didn't you tell me? Or any of the Amis, for that matter? I...I had no idea you were so...so..." He embraced Feuilly, pulling him close as though he were protecting him. "I...I have plenty of room at my apartment. I can take you in, you can live with me...! In fact, I insist upon it. You are a very dear friend, and I absolutely cannot stand back and let you live on the streets, God knows what you could contract!"
"I couldn't." Feuilly replied, the pink flush on his cheeks gong unnoticed. "I couldn't burden you like that."
"Burden nothing, you bloody Pole. You're staying with me and that's that. Autumn is coming and following that, winter. I won't bloody well let you freeze out there. I won’t. I won’t, I won’t, I won’t. You’re a wonderful friend, you mean a lot to me, more than you’ll ever know!"
Things got very quiet for a short while, and even though Joly had finished speaking, his embrace did not desist. It wasn't until Feuilly murmured his name softly that Joly realized he was clinging still. Upon realizing this he let go, cheeks reddening to a deep scarlet.
"Sorry." he muttered. "I just get very...touchy-feely a lot. Protective. I guess it comes with…with being a hypochondriac…trying to nursemaid people and all that bit…I sort of… cling."
“I…I noticed.” Feuilly replied, wide eyes blinking rapidly with surprise. “Don’t worry, I don’t mind. I don’t. You’re…you’re very sweet.”
More silence reigned, and both suddenly felt that things had become very awkward very fast. Now, if the two hadn't felt anything for each other or didn't think so far into things, perhaps they would have simply laughed this awkward situation off and continued laughing, joking and complaining about anything and everything. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
It was Feuilly who courageously made the next move. Slowly, very slowly, he inched his hand towards Joly's and grasped it gently. This startled Joly, turning his scarlet blush an even deeper shade. He looked at Feuilly inquisitively, expecting some kind of an explanation but instead finding a mutual blush and an embarrassed smile. Any uncertainty Joly had previously felt had been decimated now.
"Feuilly...?" he whispered, not looking directly at him. He didn't say any more than that; he could not think of the right words to say. He wrung his hands, trying to think of a roundabout or less blunt way to put it. Nothing came. But when he finally did look up at him, he saw the obvious expression of adoration in his eyes, crystal clear, and knew exactly what to say to him.
"...I love you."
Feuilly looked at him with an expression of pure shock. He opened his mouth to say something, but all that came out was,
Joly bit his lip, grasping Feuilly’s hand tighter. “If you don’t love me back, if you only want to be friends with me, I will understand…” He sighed, giving him a sweet smile. “I mean, I tried, right? I must sound…really stupid right now. I probably should have-”
He didn’t get to say any more than that, as Feuilly placed a finger on Joly’s lips to silence him.
“From optimist to pessimist in a matter of minutes…that’s amazing.” Feuilly laughed, then leaned in to pull him into a deep kiss that made Joly feel lightheaded and fluttery; Joly couldn’t believe this was happening. It was like every dream he’d had in the past week or so was coming true. When Feuilly broke the kiss, Joly could only stare in dazed wonder at him.
"I love you too." the orphan remarked, stroking Joly's cheek with his thumb. "It's no wonder they call you Joly. Jolie. Pretty. But you are far more than pretty. Beautiful. Rich. Intelligent. Respected. Everything I could never be."
Joly's lower lip trembled; once again, he was starved for words. But he did not need them. He pressed his lips fiercely against Feuilly's, initiating a second kiss that became a fair bit more passionate when Feuilly slid his tongue slowly into his mouth. This time, Joly was the one who broke the kiss. He gave Feuilly a sly smile, placing a hand on his thigh. Feuilly smiled back just as slyly.
"Joly, you devil." he laughed, as he proceeded to whisper lewd things into Joly’s ear, his hands wandering all over Joly’s body. He wondered as he did this what the other Amis would think if they found out.
Perhaps he could try telling them that it was all for the good of the republic…