- Death-Major Character
- Action Adventure
- Alternate Universe
Feuilly found Grantaire slumped against the kitchen table drooping miserably and repetitively tearing little squares from the edge of the newspaper.
“Enjolras is mad with me again.”
Feuilly gritted his teeth. If Grantaire was going to the bother of imagining up Enjolras, you would think he’d imagine an Enjolras that liked him. Only Grantaire would come up with a delusion that disapproved of him. He considered explaining yet again that Enjolras was dead, but he was so very tired of breaking his friend’s heart only to watch his eyes brighten all over again as they looked across the room and tracked a figure that wasn’t there.
The sensation of drowning under the weight of everything came back so strongly his breathing picked up, and no, Feuilly wasn’t giving way again. He an executive decision that this problem could wait until they were back in France. Maybe it wasn’t the healthiest for Grantaire but there was only so much Feuilly could do at one time. Also Eponine was Grantaire’s best friend, once they had her back, hopefully this at least would be easier.
Ignoring Grantaire’s words, he focused on the paper in his hands.
“Is that today’s paper?”
“Yes it came while you were out. It’s actually worse than normal.”
“I don’t want to know.” Feuilly had stopped reading that so-called newspaper months ago.
“No this is hilarious.”
He winced in anticipation because Grantaire’s sense of humor had been dark before they even came to this wretched country and had got steadily darker ever since.
“They’re talking about the Potters again, of course.”
“Are they saying that poor little boy somehow destroyed the dark lord?” Feuilly had heard the cheering crowds toasting the-boy-who-lived for defeating you-know-who but he’d been hopeful official sources had more sense. He hadn’t actually checked though. He wanted to keep his illusion for as long as possible.
“Yup.” Grantaire grinned at him, all sly malice. “But that’s not the good part. See they’re talking about Sirius Black again, and by the way he is so completely screwed, I thought Enjolras was about to have an aneurysm, you know how he is about injustice. And what they’re doing to Sirius Black, well it’s so obviously corrupt as hell even I can’t believe they’re trying it. And succeeding no less.”
Feuilly thought that perhaps he should have been paying more attention to the world outside their little house. “What are they doing?”
“He’s in jail for life – and so innocent of everything they can’t even manage a show trial.”
“Nope, no trial at all.”
“I’m not up on English law, but doesn’t habeas corpus apply?”
“No man may be imprisoned without trial, it’s been on the books since 1215. They’ve had some shockingly skewed trials and the Star Chamber was basically created to get the verdict the King wanted, but you had a trial.” He picked up Feuilly’s question without him having to ask. “I’ve been reading up on English law for Eponine. She’s guilty of the same thing Black is, having a dark family and not being dark herself.”
“Right, but that’s not actually a crime.”
“Yeah okay, that was stupid. But Eponine has a trial booked for Monday.”
“Which is why we need to get a move on. Because she’s getting a nice traditional rigged trial. After all somebody has to pay for the destruction of the Fawley Mansion.”
Feuilly still wasn’t quite sane on that subject. He maybe snarled.
Grantaire raised his hands to indicate lack of hostility, “Hey, hey, I agree with you. I double agree with you.”
The kitchen chair creaked violently as Feuilly flung himself down. It was possible none of them were quite sane on the destruction of the Fawley mansion.
“Her lawyer is still saying she should plead guilty and accept the slap on the wrist of time served.”
“And we don’t like this?” Feuilly checked. It seemed their best hope of getting out of Britain before the new year. And while they hadn’t destroyed the Fawley mansion, they had been there when it was destroyed. So they’d win a full trial eventually no matter how painful it was and that would embarrass the ministry. So why not have what was effectively an agreement they wouldn’t sue over Eponine’s imprisonment, and the Ministry would let them go home to France. If Eponine wanted to fight it that would be different, but she was as desperate to go home as the rest of them.
“We like the idea,” said Grantaire. “But, and Enjolras agrees with me, we’re not sure about the execution.”
“Well, once you’ve pled guilty and been sentenced, it’s very hard to unplead guilty.”
“You think the Ministry will go back on the deal? Of course you do.”
“It’s not exactly the Ministry’s deal. It’s the deal Eponine’s lawyer says is the Ministry’s deal.”
Feuilly sighed because it didn’t seem like they were getting back to France any time soon. “You think her lawyer’s crooked.”
“I think the whole system’s crooked. I’ve thought that since they arrested her. We shouldn’t have stayed quiet when they dragged her away.”
“We had no choice.”
Grantaire hunched in on himself. “I know Courfeyrac was in no position to, but I could have said something.”
Feuilly massaged his forehead with the tips of his fingers. If Courfeyrac couldn’t testify because at that time he was curled up in a ball barely moving enough to keep himself alive, Grantaire couldn’t testify because Enjolras’ had died in the wreck of the Fawley mansion and Grantaire was, well, not the most reliable witness on the subject.
“We had no choice,” he said again. “They’d have dragged Courfeyrac in regardless and –” he broke off.
“Yeah. Enjolras thinks –”
Feuilly wanted to scream. Grantaire gave him a look as if he was being the weird one.
“ – thinks that was deliberate. They wanted somebody to blame. If they’d have gone for all of us, we’d have fought back then. But they didn’t, they acted like Eponine was the only one they had any evidence against. And she went along with it because Courfeyrac, and me,” he admitted softly, “were such messes. And now the Fawley’s have been cleared of being death eaters they are just innocents whose mansion was destroyed by a girl from a dark family.”
“That’s complete nonsense. The Fawleys kidnapped you and Courfeyrac. They,” he waved his hands in the air because neither Grantaire or Courfeyrac had spoken about what happened. Grantaire pursed his lips and folded his arms, settling firmly into instragence. Courfeyrac, the one time Combeferre asked, sucked in a breath like the question had struck him physically and slid to ground in a dead faint. Enjolras might have known, he was the one who received Grantaire’s patronus asking for help and his roar of rage had shattered the windows, but that was no use now.
Grantaire pursed his lips and folded his arms. Feuilly hastily continued,
“And Combeferre’s leg still isn’t right after that curse and being caught by the collapse of the house.” He did not add that Enjolras, fueled by fury, had been far ahead of the rest of them and they’d only managed to dig Combeferre out alive. Later that night they found Courfeyrac and Grantaire trapped in the suspiciously dungeon like cellar. There was no trace of the Fawleys, or anyone else, who had brought the house down on them.
“Right,” Grantaire agreed. “The Fawleys are dark as fuck but we can’t prove it, and nobody else is interested in proving it either. Can we really trust the Ministry will let Eponine go with time served? Because once she’s pled guilty, me and Courf could spill our guts on the stand and it still won’t help.”
“Can we trust the Ministry at all? I hear Malfoy was cleared the other day.”
“Imperius is such a handy curse,” said Grantaire, the words so sharp Feuilly could see a trickle of blood spill from where they cut at his lip.
“Grantaire, you uh,” he nudged his own lip with one knuckle in demonstration.
“Shit, sorry,” he smudged the blood away with the back of his hand. “Look my point is they’ve locked Sirius Black up and thrown away the key when the poor bastard hasn’t even done anything they can twist for a trial. Eponine, she still regrets some of the things she did when she was with her parents, and she was at least there when the Fawley mansion collapsed. I don’t think we afford to risk it.”
“Agreed. And I don’t like what they’ve done to Sirius Black. Is there anything we can do about it?”
Grantaire laughed out loud. “Why do I hang out with you hopeless people? Don’t we have enough on our plates? Enjolras is practically frothing out the mouth. Combeferre said he thought it was a great shame and got that thinky look. Jehan said we must immediately ride to the rescue of Lord Aquila immediately, which I think means he agrees but it’s hard to be sure with him lately. I was relying on you to be the sensible one.”
“Alright fine, it was a bad idea.”
“I didn’t say that.”
Feuilly coughed to hide his smile, Grantaire was so predictable sometimes.
“I mean, Combeferre found some first-hand accounts that reference the prison so it seemed silly not to at least look. Not when I know how hopeless you all are.”
“What does that make you then given you keep hanging around.”
“Me? I’m a different case of hopeless entirely.”
Feuilly sighed. “Oh so true.”
Grantaire grinned at him. “Be still my beating heart.” He thumped his fist against his chest. “Also, after the Prophet’s latest nonsense, I’m fully on Black’s side. Here, listen to this,” he picked up the paper, “it’s a sidebar on the Fidelius Charm and it says, the Fidelius charm can only be given up voluntarily, it cannot be forced, bewitched, or tortured from a Secret keeper who does not wish to give up their secret. I swear whoever wrote this has no idea what torture even is.”
Feuilly huffed. “Maybe I can see it protecting someone from things like imperius and veritaserum, but it seems unlikely to protect you from crucitatus.”
“And even if it did, there’s nothing stopping them trying muggle methods. Or crucioing your best friends. Or,” Grantaire’s hands clenched into fists as his mind obviously drifted, “Whoever wrote that hasn’t a clue what they’re talking about. They’re just trying to make Black sound worse. Look,” he thrust the paper at Feuilly who took it dutifully and smoothed the paper out, ready to look at the article and make what soothing noises he could.
Instead all he could do was stare at the picture on the front cover. He’d seen pictures of Sirius Black before, of course, even for somebody who didn’t read the papers they were unavoidable, but all he’d really seen was a struggling robed figure with a swirl of dark hair.
Now he stared. The photograph was of a pensive Sirius Black staring into the middle distance but every now and then he turned to face the picture-taker and smiled. Feuilly’s mouth went dry. Sirius Black was still the most beautiful man he had ever seen.
“He said his name was Paddy,” he finally managed blankly.
“Wait what,” Grantaire sat up in a hurry. “Who are you – hang on, was Sirius Black your posh boy.”
“Don’t call him that,” he said without much hope of being listened to, they never had before.
“He was! Oh my God, I have to tell Eponine. Damnit why has she gone and gotten herself arrested.”
“Yes because that’s the problem with Eponine being arrested.”
“Exactly. She wasn’t mad before but she will be now. Sirius Black was your wild fling.”
“It was not a fling it was a one night stand.”
“It was a very hot one weekend stand that you were dreamy-eyed over for weeks. You never get dreamy-eyed.”
“Shut up.” Feuilly’s cheeks were burning and he hoped it wasn’t showing as badly as it felt.
“This was the guy you said was even prettier than Enjolras.” Grantaire snatched the paper back to give it an evaluating stare, before scoffing, “Not a chance. I guess he’s pretty enough but nowhere near Enjolras’ level.”
Feuilly opened his mouth to tell him how wrong he was, then realized the gross stupidity of trying to argue with Grantaire about Enjolras. They couldn’t get him to accept objective fact, there was no chance with something as subjective as attractiveness – even if Grantaire was wrong.
“You’re hopelessly biased,” he said instead. “You don’t get to have an opinion.”
“And you’re not biased?”
“Uh,” Feuilly ducked his head, if his face got any hotter it would catch fire. “Maybe a little.”
“Maybe a lot. And you’re blushing too. This is amazing. Why is nobody else here. None of them are going to believe me. Where’s Bahorel –” Grantaire’s voice grew smaller before breaking completely, “when we –” He bit his lip. Feuilly reached out and took his hand.
“Bahorel is undoubtedly sitting up there laughing at us and elbowing the others to get a better view.”
Grantaire’s hand squeezed his tightly, then he pulled away. “Alright then. Plan Jailbreak Times Two is a go. We’ll get Eponine, and go straight for Azkaban. If we go now we should be back before C-squared’s sleeping potions run down.”
Feuilly grabbed his arm and hauled him back, “Just one minute. I know what you’re like when you’re planning. We’re going through this plan with a fine-tooth comb before we go anywhere.”
“Oh hell, do we have to? I spent all afternoon arguing every move with Enjolras. The plan’s fine-tooth combed to death.”
Feuilly pulled on his arm and twisted slightly, “Sit.”
“Alright, alright. Geez, just because it’s your posh boy.”
“I don’t know how you can even say that given Enjolras.”
“Enjolras isn’t actually heir to a lordship. And because I’m a nice person I won’t call him down to tell you exactly what he thinks about lordships in excruciating detail.”
Feuilly figured he deserved the lurch in his heart for mentioning Enjolras in the first place. “Plan. Now.”
“Plan it is,” said Grantaire with an annoyingly indulgent look.
Weirdly the plan Grantaire had come up with did read like it was actually the work of Grantaire and Enjolras combined. Feuilly wasn’t sure if that was because Grantaire was better at planning if he wasn’t trying to provoke Enjolras into argument, or he’d just got used to what Enjolras might say.
Whatever the reason, it was a good plan.
“Let’s do it. We’ll leave Jehan here to watch the Cs, we should be done by midnight. Are you sure you want to risk Azkaban?”
“What the hell,” said Grantaire. “Of course we’re rescuing your posh boy.”
Feuilly groaned. He would have argued that a one-night-stand, no matter how great, was no reason to break into Azkaban. But Grantaire had come up with the plan before he even knew about that. And really Feuilly understood, with all the hits they’d taken it was nice to feel they could hit back, even if it was just rescuing someone the wizarding community wanted to throw away. (Also, well, it had been a really great weekend, with a kind man who adored his friends – he reminded Feuilly of Grantaire to be honest – and he deserved so much better than to be abandonned to Azkaban)
“Now hush,” Grantaire told him, “I need to concentrate.”
Feuilly hushed. He always enjoyed watching Grantaire summon his patronus wandlessly.
Grantaire and Eponine had been equally horrified at the idea of having their respective crushes revealed by their patronuses. Personally Feuilly thought both objects of affection were far too dense to notice such things, but the two of them had researched and struggled and argued until finally they discovered they could produce a small patronus wandlessly with their original shape.
So Grantaire pointed one finger, his hand glowing with magic that slowly focused down his finger and out as his ugly little gargoyle took shape. He hummed softly and it croaked back at him, then flapped its bat wings and launched itself into the air.
“I told Eponine an hour, so we can take the Knight Bus. Better than leaving apparation traces.”
“Alright,” Feuilly agreed, because Grantaire was right, then, “I hate the Knight Bus.” It was ridiculous form of transportation, even for wizards.
“It’s okay, we’ll get a bed cubicle and you can tell me all about your fling again now I have context.”
Feuilly smiled, he’d missed gossipy-Grantaire, “My life’s not going to be worth living is it.”
“Not for the foreseeable future,” Grantaire told him cheerfully. “And just think, once I’ve got it out of my system you get to do it all over again with Eponine.”
Feuilly groaned and allowed himself be dragged to his doom.