Fic where Valjean starts talking to Feuilly in one of the slower moments during the barricade, and they get to talking about families somehow, and Valjean realizes who Feuilly is while Feuilly doesn’t make the connection. In the end Valjean somehow ends up saving Feuilly and Marius from the barricades because this young man is related to his sister and it’s been so long since he’s heard anything about them. He can’t just let him die after that.
oh god, this has the potential to be really painful too – doesn’t it?
(because we’ve talked about the one-ami-surviving-the-barricade scenario before; and even though Feuilly would probably be fine after a while, there’s something even more bitter about the fact that he was purposefully saved because of blood relations he never even knew while the people he actually considered his family died.)
Yep, so very very painful.
(Oh gosh yes. He’d hate feeling like his agency has been taken away as well. It’s established that most of the Amis went into the barricade fighting, understanding that a great many of them may die, and then continued knowing they would. I imagine Feuilly comes to terms with that pretty quickly. As a child on the streets, there was a chance everyday that they may die, of starvation, thirst, murder, etc. It’s completely out of your control, now that he’s older, and the looming threat of death is not there, if they all must die, then let him do it on his own terms for something he truly believes in. Valjean saving him deliberately deprives him of that decision to die with those he considered family for their shared beliefs.)
Oh god. It’s so sad, though, because Feuilly is not a bitter person by nature, but he has moments – about betrayal, and injustice, and I have a feeling that he’d struggle with seeing this turn of event as exactly that. Because he’d chosen to fight knowing that he would most likely die. Because he would have died, the way his friends – his family – had, but that choice was taken away from him too. And for what? Valjean doesn’t know what to tell him after that.
(and the rebellion was crushed, and there will be other fights, other barricades, and Feuilly will fight again, that he knows. He always fought for the peoples, but now he has to fight for eight more friends – and eight isn’t a lot compared to those suffering all over the world, but for a while it’s as if that new weight is finally too much. He still can’t shake the feeling that his own fight should have ended that day in June – and for months afterwards, every time he passes the stone wall where the Corinthe was on his way to work he avoids his eyes, because when he sees the words he scribbled there he feels the bullets again – this time in his heart.)
I imagine he sticks around as long as it takes for him to heal and for the police to start moving on, and then he takes off. He’s not unpractical, and though he expected to die on the barricades, he didn’t go there without making a few provisions should he happen to live, should they happen to succeed. He doesn’t speak to Valjean for several months after he leaves. When they meet again, it’s because he runs into them (in the park, he takes more walks now to clear his head, remind him that life goes on the same as always, even if wishes sometimes (often at first) that he did not. He avoids Marius for sometime too, knowing that wherever he is, Cosette is there next to him. He was never close to Marius anyways. He didn’t dislike him, though to be honest, he was never given much of a chance to form more than a first impression, and he knows too well how little first impressions can actually tell you about a person.
But then Marius invites him to his and Cosette’s wedding, and though he doesn’t want to, he attends, knowing how much it means to Marius. He’s shocked to see that Valjean is not there (he never expected he would miss his daughter’s wedding), and Marius is cryptic when he asks about it. He spends most of the reception sitting at a table in the corner, nursing a glass of champagne. A week later, he and Marius meet for lunch though, and Feuilly finds out the Valjean has died, and though he is still somewhat angry that he deprived Feuilly of his death at the alter of the Republic, he can’t help but feel sad at the loss of a man who would enter a barricade to save someone he did not know at all.
(He knows it is irrational, but he is almost ashamed. Why is he so special that he should be the one to have survived? Why not Combeferre who had so much to offer the world with his intellect and capability to teach and nurture? Why not Enjolras who loved his country so much that he was willing to fight for the potential that he saw in it? Why not Jehan Prouvaire with his beautiful soaring words that could inspire even the weakness of men to heights of greatness? Why not anyone but him? He has little to offer the world on his own, he feels. Now he drifts, feeling as though he has little purpose for some time. He still works, he still reads, writes, and paints. He avoids the Musain. He stopped by once, four months later, and felt instantly as though he couldn’t breathe. He visits their graves when he can find them. Joly, Bossuet, Courfeyrac, Jehan, and Bahorel all requested in their final wills to be buried in Paris. Feuilly never finds Enjolras and Combeferre’s graves, and assumes they were sent home to be buried. He assumes the same of Grantaire. So he waits, and tries to carry on each day, waiting for the day that he is called to fight again. He knows he will be. Paris grows bored of calmness quickly. She will become reckless once more, and he will be ready, with the strength of eight others behind him.)