Rain and wind often come together, which, Enjolras think, is the worst part. Still, at this exact moment she is tempted to curse the heavy materials of her dress more than the elements themselves. At least she knows Feuilly kept the pamphlets that had just been printed, so they won’t be too damaged – although Enjolras can’t say as much for her clothes; she can’t remember the colour her shoes were before they were covered in mud. Every step she takes, she feels like one of her shoes will leave her feet and stay stuck, probably sinking in the mud.
Thankfully, Enjolras manages to keep both of her shoes on, though by the time she reaches Feuilly’s rooms, she is certain she will never feel dry again.
“Here.” Instead of a greeting, Feuilly hands her a towel as soon as she opens the door to let Enjolras in, her expression a cross between amused and disapproving. “You didn’t have to come in this weather, you know.”
What a pitiful sight Enjolras must be to warrant that look. Feuilly’s face is pale – she has been working longer hours than usual, Enjolras knows, her workshop having lost several workers in the recent breakout of cholera. There are ink stains smudged over her cheek and nose, but she looks more respectable than Enjolras does, at the moment. Enjolras can feel cold strands of hair sticking to her face, dripping down her back. She choses not to address Feuilly’s question.
“I couldn’t even find a ‘bus,” she says instead.
“I can’t blame them, really.” Feuilly shakes her head stiffly. “Take off your dress and your shoes. Hopefully they will have time to dry a little by the fire while we work.”
A few minutes later, Enjolras is standing in front of the fire, wearing a linen nightdress of Feuilly’s that was too short for her, tickling her lower legs were it falls. Her thick blond curls are still dripping, but the dry clothes make her feel, at the very least, a little more human.
Feuilly is sitting on her bed, shoulder slumped. Enjolras had noticed she was looking tired earlier – but now that she, herself, is calmer, she can’t help but notice her friend looks especially exhausted.
“Sit here with me?” Feuilly calls, probably noticing Enjolras’ staring.
“Oh. I wouldn’t want to drip all over your bed,” she says. Feuilly’s bed looks so carefully made, every corner of the blanket tucked under the thin mattress, the thicker wool blanket folded at its foot.
“I’d rather you did that ruin the pamphlets.” Feuilly says, and Enjolras feels her own face heat up despite the chilly humidity of the room. She sits down.
“Besides, my bed is worth much less.” Feuilly continues, nervousness punctuating her words. “I’m not sure I could get them printed again so soon – ”
“We can be patient.”
“Well, you’re here, aren’t you? Because you weren’t patient.” Feuilly’s tone is disapproving, but she reaches up to comb a hand through Enjolras’ ruined curls. Enjolras’ closes her eyes.
“I’m sorry,” she says. Feuilly doesn’t respond, but her fingers continue combing through Enjolras’ hair, closer to the back of her neck, short trimmed nails scratching her scalp. Enjolras won’t force her to talk – she knows that rarely yields any results with Feuilly – but she lets her play with her hair, untangling strand after strand, a small puddle of water forming on the blanket. The pamphlets are still carefully hidden away inside a book on Feuilly’s shelf, and neither of them makes a move to grab them.
“I’m sorry, too,” Feuilly says eventually. “It will be alright.”
Enjolras feels herself nod, and Feuilly tugs her closer. She rests her head on Feuilly’s shoulder, and notices the room feels a lot warmer.
His name was Javert, and he belonged to the police. – Victor Hugo
When I was nine, possibly ten, an author came to our school to talk about writing. His name was Hugh Scott, and I doubt he’s known outside of Scotland. And even then I haven’t seen him on many shelves in recent years in Scotland either. But he wrote wonderfully creepy children’s stories, where the supernatural was scary, but it was the mundane that was truly terrifying. At least to little ten year old me. It was Scooby Doo meets Paranormal Activity with a bonny braw Scottish-ness to it that I’d never experienced before.
I remember him as a gangling man with a wiry beard that made him look older than he probably was, and he carried a leather bag filled with paper. He had a pen too that was shaped like a carrot, and he used it to scribble down notes between answering our (frankly disinterested) questions. We had no idea who he was you see, no one had made an effort to introduce us to his books. We were simply told one morning, ‘class 1b, there is an author here to talk to you about writing’, and this you see was our introduction to creative writing. We’d surpassed finger painting and macaroni collages. It was time to attempt Words That Were Untrue.
You could tell from the look on Mrs M’s face she thought it was a waste of time. I remember her sitting off to one side marking papers while this tall man sat down on our ridiculously short chairs, and tried to talk to us about what it meant to tell a story. She wasn’t big on telling stories, Mrs M. She was also one of the teachers who used to take my books away from me because they were “too complicated” for me, despite the fact that I was reading them with both interest and ease. When dad found out he hit the roof. It’s the one and only time he ever showed up to the school when it wasn’t parents night or the school play. After that she just left me alone, but she made it clear to my parents that she resented the fact that a ten year old used words like ‘ubiquitous’ in their essays. Presumably because she had to look it up.
Anyway, Mr Scott, was doing his best to talk to us while Mrs M made scoffing noises from her corner every so often, and you could just tell he was deflating faster than a bouncy castle at a knife sharpening party, so when he asked if any of us had any further questions and no one put their hand up I felt awful. I knew this was not only insulting but also humiliating, even if we were only little children. So I did the only thing I could think of, put my hand up and said “Why do you write?”
I’d always read about characters blinking owlishly, but I’d never actually seen it before. But that’s what he did, peering down at me from behind his wire rim spectacles and dragging tired fingers through his curly beard. I don’t think he expected anyone to ask why he wrote stories. What he wrote about, and where he got his ideas from maybe, and certainly why he wrote about ghosts and other creepy things, but probably not why do you write. And I think he thought perhaps he could have got away with “because it’s fun, and learning is fun, right kids?!”, but part of me will always remember the way the world shifted ever so slightly as it does when something important is about to happen, and this tall streak of a man looked down at me, narrowed his eyes in an assessing manner and said, “Because people told me not to, and words are important.”
I nodded, very seriously in the way children do, and knew this to be a truth. In my limited experience at that point, I knew certain people (with a sidelong glance to Mrs M who was in turn looking at me as though she’d just known it’d be me that type of question) didn’t like fiction. At least certain types of fiction. I knew for instance that Mrs M liked to read Pride and Prejudice on her lunch break but only because it was sensible fiction, about people that could conceivably be real. The idea that one could not relate to a character simply because they had pointy ears or a jet pack had never occurred to me, and the fact that it’s now twenty years later and people are still arguing about the validity of genre fiction is beyond me, but right there in that little moment, I knew something important had just transpired, with my teacher glaring at me, and this man who told stories to live beginning to smile. After that the audience turned into a two person conversation, with gradually more and more of my classmates joining in because suddenly it was fun. Mrs M was pissed and this bedraggled looking man who might have been Santa after some serious dieting, was starting to enjoy himself. As it turned out we had all of his books in our tiny corner library, and in the words of my friend Andrew “hey there’s a giant spider fighting a ghost on this cover! neat!” and the presentation devolved into chaos as we all began reading different books at once and asking questions about each one. “Does she live?”— “What about the talking trees” —“is the ghost evil?” —“can I go to the bathroom, Miss?” —“Wow neat, more spiders!”
After that we were supposed to sit down, quietly (glare glare) and write a short story to show what we had learned from listening to Mr Scott. I wont pretend I wrote anything remotely good, I was ten and all I could come up with was a story about a magic carrot that made you see words in the dark, but Mr Scott seemed to like it. In fact he seemed to like all of them, probably because they were done with such vibrant enthusiasm in defiance of the people who didn’t want us to.
The following year, when I’d moved into Mrs H’s class—the kind of woman that didn’t take away books from children who loved to read and let them write nonsense in the back of their journals provided they got all their work done—a letter arrived to the school, carefully wedged between several copies of a book which was unheard of at the time, by a new author known as J.K. Rowling. Mrs H remarked that it was strange that an author would send copies of books that weren’t even his to a school, but I knew why he’d done it. I knew before Mrs H even read the letter.
Because words are important. Words are magical. They’re powerful. And that power ought to be shared. There’s no petty rivalry between story tellers, although there’s plenty who try to insinuate it. There’s plenty who try to say some words are more valuable than others, that somehow their meaning is more important because of when it was written and by whom. Those are the same people who laud Shakespeare from the heavens but refuse to acknowledge that the quote “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them“ is a dick joke.
And although Mr Scott seems to have faded from public literary consumption, I still think about him. I think about his stories, I think about how he recommended another author and sent copies of her books because he knew our school was a puritan shithole that fought against the Wrong Type of Wordes and would never buy them into the library otherwise. But mostly I think about how he looked at a ten year old like an equal and told her words and important, and people will try to keep you from writing them—so write them anyway.
*sobs for like the umpteenth time this day and reblogs the fuck out of this*
Reblog, Facebook, and sending it to myself so I can always find it…
This brings back so many memories of my childhood stories that I may just weep.
“I wont pretend I wrote anything remotely good, I was ten and all I could come up with was a story about a magic carrot that made you see words in the dark, but Mr Scott seemed to like it.” Are you KIDDING me, that is the most beautiful metaphor about writing and you used the man’s own PEN as the central symbol I’m crying and I can’t even imagine how he felt sdlfkajsdf GOD.
aestheticstorytelling: – marius pontmercy
Courfeyrac, how dapper you are today! Today, and every day.
I may or may not have gotten a little overenthusiastic with the white gel pen.
Spring is in the air
It’s okay if you write fanfic as a way to hone your skills until you are comfortable writing original fic.
It’s okay if you write fanfic because you love fanfic and don’t intend to ever write something original.
It’s okay if you only ever write one fanfic to work through some problems in your real life.
It’s okay if you write fanfic your whole life because you just can’t help falling in love with characters.
There’s no wrong way to write fanfic. THERE IS NO WRONG WAY TO WRITE FANFIC. Write what you love. Love what you write.
Be proud of your accomplishments, not everyone could achieve them.
It’s okay if you STILL write fanfic once you’re comfortable writing original fic.
It’s okay if you like coming up with fic ideas but never actually write them.
It’s okay to play and write the bits you like without making it a long, comprehensive epic.
It’s okay to write a long, comprehensive epic.
And the best part is: no matter what you like to do, there will be someone out there who loves to read it.
I probably said that! Even if I didn’t, I think they are, but that would definitely depend on what you’d like to read. Almost everyone road trip fic I’ve read was mostly about how which character acts in the car itself, the bickering and the mom friend threatening to turn the car around, etc. And that’s kind of boring to me? I mean, a little of it is fine, but it gets old pretty quickly.
Okay. Les Amis road trip, hm?
Let’s say they’re all going to an important protest across the country. Or continent. Either way, everyone has week-long break (magically! it’s a vacation), so it’s a good opportunity.
“Let’s just fly over there,” someone, Enjolras maybe, says.
Combeferre nods. “It’ll give us time to visit the city while we’re there too.”
Both Bossuet and Feuilly pale a bit at that; Bossuet hates flying and while neither of them can afford a ticket, and while Bossuet could be convinced, Feuilly definitely isn’t going to let anyone pay for him.
Courfeyrac notices, and without drawing attention to them, suggests something else. “How about a road trip? That would be way more fun!”
“And we’d get to enjoy the scenery more,” Prouvaire pipes up. He loves watching the scenery, it inspires him – to him, the trip itself would be worth it if they go through less travelled road.
(”This isn’t supposed to be fun, guys,” Enjolras frowns, but everyone seems excited, immediately planning the itinerary , sights to see, places to stop, snacks to bring. Oh well. He rolls his eyes fondly and gets his phone out, checking which hotels they could stop at that would fit everyone’s budget.)
They pile in in three different cars; actually, only three of them have cars that are reliable enough: Courfeyrac has a populare, fashionable and relatively practical car, either a Honda Civic Touring or a Volkswagen Golf Highline; Combeferre something nice like a Hyundai Veloster or a Fiat 500 and Bahorel has a red Jeep Renegade, I mean come on.
They don’t each have a spot in a particular car, besides the driver. They’re not organised enough for that. .. which means they do forget someone at the rest stop and/or hotels at least once.
Rule: no one is every allowed to take off their shoes inside the car. It’s a question of survival.
Courfeyrac takes so many pictures, guys – Joly, Bossuet and Grantaire always make goofy faces in landmark pictures. He also take pictures in the car, of Bahorel sleeping with a little drool on the side of his mouth and Enjolras, Combeferre and Feuilly cuddled up together in the backseat.
Combeferre and Feuilly always slow down the entire group because they have to read everything in every little local museum they stop at.
Joly is definitely the one who has to stop for a bathroom break nearly every hour. (“You drink too much, Jolllly.” “The car’s hot! Hydratation is important!” “Joly you’re drinking fruit punch. It’s more sugar than liquid.” “So?!”)
At one point they stop near a lake; it wasn’t planned, and while they all have changes of clothes no one brought their bathing suit; but Bossuet and Grantaire end up throwing each other in the water so everyone strips to their underwear/tshirts and just enjoying the water for a couple of days.
At one point, the motel they were supposed to stop had didn’t book their rooms right, and there was no vacancy for them.
“Okay,” says Enjolras firmly. “Forget the motel. The weather is nice, we’re going to camp in that field next town over.”
“Illegaly,” Combeferre raises an eyebrow.
“Yes. Civil disobedience. Besides, this place is nearly deserted. As long as we’re quiet no one will notice.”
None of them gets much sleep that night; they just lie around, quietly chatting and watching the stars. They leave as soon as the sun starts rising and need an industrial quantity of coffee to get through the next day, but they all agree it was a godo decision.
YES I LOVE COURF SUBTLY SUGGESTING A CHEAPER ALTERNATIVE WITHOUT POINTING OUT FEUILLY AND BOSSUET. YES.
Also like… everything else.