oh nooo. I’m going to have to try and fix this.
Feuilly wakes up long after the sun has risen. The first thing he’s aware of is of how bright the room is, even behind his closed eyelids; he feels more tired than he has been in, well, a month, and he’s cold, so cold. He may look human – no, be human – every other night of the month, it still takes his body a few days to adjust back to its human state, every time.
(He once read about a theory, that the werewolf’s human body was only a disguise that the, the monster’s real body, the wolf, was its natural state, always fighting the weaker human until it won. Intellectually, Feuilly knew it couldn’t be true, knew this was written bigoted human. But at that time, it explained why the wolf had the energy to destroy and hurt him every month, mere moments after the transformation had ended, while Feuilly felt ill and weak for an entire week afterwards, unable to do very much at all.)
The second thing Feuilly is aware of is of a soft hand running through his hair, fingernails gently scratching the skin behind his ears. Almost simultaneously, a third element comes to his senses: the distant smell of coffee and fresh pastries.
“Good morning, love,” a smooth voice is saying, and the warmth spreads to Feuilly’s bones.
He forces his eyes to open and meet familiar dark brown ones.
“Hey,” he croaks out. Then he remembers the day – “Merry Christmas, Cosette.”
His foster sister’s answering smile is brighter than the winter sun outside; it doesn’t have the strained, heartbreaking quality it does, sometimes, the kind of smile that doesn’t reach her eyes, and that’s how Feuilly realises he isn’t very badly injured, only sore and exhausted.
It was a good night; he was lucky. Long winter nights are usually the worst, but not this time. A Christmas miracle, maybe.
“Merry Christmas to you too,” Cosette says, still smiling. “It’s a little past 10, papa went out to get you at 7. Do you want to sleep more?”
She doesn’t ask how he’s feeling; she knows there’s no good answer, and Feuilly hates answering that question. Some of his friends still ask, not quite sure how know to approach him after a full moon. He can’t blame them, really. He wouldn’t know what to do in their place either – he barely knows what to do with himself, and it’s been his life for nearly 7 years now. But Cosette? She knows what to do. She knows how to talk to him, to hold his hand when he can’t reply. Even when she was so young, and he was barely older, a frightened, lonely boy, she was there. She was never scared of making a mistakes, and
He appreciate her more than he’ll ever be able to say. Maybe he should try, though. After all, it’s Christmas.
“I -” Go downstairs to your father, he wants to say. You should spend the rest of the day with him, not looking after me. It’s Christmas. I’ll be fine.
But the smell of coffee and breakfast food has fully reached the room, now, and even though Feuilly isn’t very hungry – won’t be until tomorrow, at the very soonest – it smells warm and good, and he actually does feel fine. The world isn’t swirling around him, and he doesn’t feel so weak he couldn’t drink a cup of coffee or have a light conversation. If Feuilly knows him well – and after so many years, Feuilly likes to think he does – Valjean is probably in the kitchen, wearing that apron Cosette gave him a few years ago – “Magic happens in papa’s kitchen” – and he might be playing Christmas carols on the old fashion muggle radio.
“I’m okay to go downstairs, I think,” Feuilly says eventually, forcing his lips to turn upward in a smile as he sits up – slowly, gingerly, used to feeling like every bone in his body feels like it’ll break at the first sudden movement. “If, uh.”
“Here,” Cosette puts a hand to his back and takes his hand and helps him get out of bed. She helps him put on a sweater, too, and the soft plushy fabric soothes his oversensitive nerves. When he turns to thank her, Feuilly notices her cheeks are flushed and she still hasn’t stopped smiling.
“What is it?” he asks, and Cosette shakes her head, curls bouncing around her face. She is a terrible liar, and even worse at hiding how she feels. Feuilly raises an eyebrow.
“It’s supposed to be a surprise,” she bites her lip. “But, uh. There’s someone waiting downstairs for you. Actually, several someones.”
It takes Feuilly a moment to comprehend what his foster sister is saying. When he does, his eyes grow wide.
“It was means to be a surprise! A Christmas surprise,” Cosette laughs a little. “So can you act surprised, please? Oh, Bahorel would probably kill me if he thought I ruined it…”
Bahorel. And some of the others, too, if he understood right.
Cosette must have taken his shocked silence for apprehension, because she takes his hand again.
“It’s alright if you’re not feeling up to it,” she says, more seriously this time. “They’ll understand. Papa’s made enough food to feed everyone anyway, that should appease them until you’re alright to come down.”
“Everyone? Everyone’s here?”
Cosette nods. “Grantaire suggested it, actually, earlier this fall when he saw the full moon was on Christmas this year. And everyone got into it, and of course, Papa agreed…”
“I’m alright to go downstairs,” Feuilly says quickly, “but, uh,” he blinks, tears already gathering at the corner of his eyes. “Why aren’t they with their families?”
Cosette wraps her arm around his shoulders.
“We are family, Feuilly,” and this time, he doesn’t care about stopping the tear that runs down his bruised cheek. “Merry Christmas.”