- Death-Major Character
- Action Adventure
- Alternate Universe
The next few moments were spluttering, spitting out sea water, and swimming after the boat. They swept past Azkaban’s wards, Sirius’ could feel the burn against his skin, and then it was much easier. The boat stabilized, Grantaire bounced out the sea like a seal and back on board. The boat, which had to be layered with heavy duty charmwork, danced around under his command and he leaned over the side and hauled them on board one after the other.
Sirius concentrated on sitting and staying down out of the way. His brain was still catching up with events and leaving the oppression of Azkaban’s wards had left stumbly and numb. The others seemed to know what they were doing so he left them to it.
The boat wasn’t any bigger but magic allowed them the space to sit comfortably. Sirius was hit in quick succession with cleaning, drying, and warming charms and a huge blanket came from somewhere to wrap around him.
“Sorry,” said Feuilly, “it’s a bit moth-eaten.”
“It’s fine,” said Sirius. The wool was rough, still rich with grease and solid with warmth.
“We have gloves somewhere, and scarves and hats. Eponine can you –”
Sirius grabbed his arm and pulled him close to quiet him, “Feuilly, you just rescued me from Azkaban. I’d swim ashore if you wanted me to.”
“It still might come to that,” called Eponine.
“Stop insulting my boat, woman,” said Grantaire, “or I won’t tell you to look in that cupboard over there.”
“Oh you bastard, you were holding out on me.”
“We needed to make sure there was some left so Feuilly can look suave.”
“Nothing is going to make Feuilly look suave.”
Feuilly sighed and slumped a little closer to Sirius, “Can you two please stop embarrassing me.”
“But Feuilly –,” they said almost as one.
“No stop,” Feuilly hastily waved one hand in negation. “One shouldn’t reach for the moon.”
“Poor Feuilly,” sing-songed Eponine, not sounding sorry at all, “I know what will make you feel better.” She started to ferret through that cupboard over there.
Under the cover of the distraction, Sirius leaned closer so he could whisper, “I like your friends.”
“That’s because you’ve only know them for twenty minutes. They’re awful. Terrible. The worst.”
“Is that any way to talk about the people who are going to make you look suave.” Eponine ducked under the beam and scrambled over to them. She had pulled on a sweater against the chill that clearly belonged to someone taller and broader than she was. The sleeves flopped over her hands each of which held a flask.
“One of them should be gin fizz,” said Grantaire. “My extensive research through the bars of wizarding London –”
“Suave,” Eponine hissed. “Classy. We’re supposed to be being classy.” She flicked her finger against her thumb and sent a shower of stinging sparks to make him flinch.
“I am classy,” he straightened up and beat at his enveloping blanket until it looked less like it was about to swallow him whole. “These were sophisticated bars. The type where you need to sleep with the waiter to afford the bar bill. Not that I would ever do that of course. Because I’m classy. Also clubs like that won’t let me in unless I’m with Enjolras and Enjolras has opinions about that sort of thing.”
Eponine sighed, “Well, you’re trying.”
“Very trying,” said Grantaire immediately and they snickered at each other. Feuilly groaned softly. Sirius bit his lip so he didn’t join in the snickering. He wasn’t sure which bars the friends had been going to, but none of the wizarding member’s clubs he belonged to had served gin fizz for at least a year, it was all rum nowadays, with fruit juice for the ladies and dry ginger for the lords. Not that Sirius went to those clubs very often but it was worth it to keep up with the rumor mill.
Eponine opened one flask, smiled, replaced the cap then opened the other. “Here we go. Gin fizz. Do we have –?”
“Cocktail glasses in that cupboard over there.” Grantaire pointed. “Feuilly are you being all classy and shit?”
“What’s my other option?”
“Musichetta’s super-secret hot chocolate.”
“Um,” said Feuilly.
“Actually hot chocolate sounds kind of amazing,” said Sirius. Because it did. He wouldn’t mind the buzz of a gin fizz, but the thought of the curling warmth of a hot chocolate made him ache.
“It has a kick to it,” said Eponine suspiciously.
Sirius couldn’t tell if that was a genuine caution, or was a warning-off from their special, friends-only, drink. He didn’t say anything but his yearning for the drink grew and he clenched his fists against the bite of it.
Feuilly squeezed his shoulder and said, ”I think we’ll have two hot chocolates please Eponine.”
“If you sure? You’re sure. Alright then.” She leaned over and flipped open another small cupboard and pulled out four tin mugs that rattled together. “Sorry we don’t have any of those smart chocolate glasses. I can try and transfigure one.” She squinted at one of the mugs in her hand and swayed slightly with the effort of it.
“You’re exhausted,” Grantaire told her bluntly. “Give it here, I’ll do it.”
“No way, your job is to keep your fussy little boat on an even keel. I’m finally dry, I’d like to stay that way.”
“I’m sure the mugs are fine,” said Feuilly and looked at Sirius. Sirius wasn’t sure why there was a problem but he could pick up a hint.
“The mugs are great. Just the thing for a jailbreak. Now please may I have some hot chocolate because it smells wonderful.” It did too, rich and spicy and not really like hot chocolate at all.
“You can smell that?” Eponine glanced at the flask and the lid she was still in the process of unscrewing, then looked at Feuilly. “Shit. I know you said he reminded you of Grantaire but I thought that was, you know, longing for the unobtainable, not the freaky ability to smell everything.” She shook her head, turned the lid another couple of times and started to pour out hot chocolate.
The scent of hot chocolate grew stronger and Sirius let himself luxuriate in it. It hadn’t really occurred to him he shouldn’t be able to smell the drink through the flask. He’d always had a too-good sense of smell, which he put down to being Padfoot part time, but he’d never managed to smell through a half-closed lid before.
“It’s not freaky,” said Grantaire. “The rest of you just go around with your noses turned off all the time and are too lazy to stop the toast from burning. Enjolras is the worst. He doesn’t even notice when the toast is actually on fire until somebody starts panicking about it.”
“That only happened once,” said Feuilly.
“Because nobody ever let him make toast again.”
“Still only happened once.” He smiled nervously at Sirius, “We are normal, I promise.”
Sirius wanted to point out that, as a bunch of French students with a grudge who’d wandered across the Channel to break mostly innocent wizards out of Azkaban, they couldn’t be considered in any way normal no matter how you stretched the definition, but Feuilly seemed anxious about it so he just accepted a mug of hot chocolate with a smile.
He took a sip, and wow, that just proved his point. This was not normal hot chocolate, not even hot chocolate with cinnamon sprinkled on top, although there was definitely cinnamon involved. He took another sip, it was the hot spice of chili and the punch of something alcoholic.
“This is brilliant.” He looked up to see three nervously watching faces break into smiles. “I shall have to ask your friend of the recipe.” Three smiles shadowed over.
“Sorry,” Sirius said, because he recognized those shadows.
“Musichetta left the recipe to Grantaire,” said Eponine with crackling brightness. “Just the recipe in an envelope like it was the only thing about her we’d miss.”
Grantaire sighed, “I told you before she meant it as an apology to us.”
“Well it was a shitty apology.”
“Never said it wasn’t.”
Eponine eeled her way across the bottom of the boat to slouch against Grantaire and use his legs as a back rest. She took a sip of her own chocolate and leaned her head against his knees.
“Sorry,” said Sirius again to Feuilly.
“You didn’t know.” Feuilly pushed in close and nudged against him in a move Sirius recognized from his own behavior when he wanted a hug and couldn’t ask. So Sirius unwrapped his blanket from around himself.
“Come here, I’m reliably informed sharing body heat is the thing to do.”
“Shut up,” Eponine scolded, slapping at his knees with one hand.
“Yeah, shut up Grantaire,” said Feuilly. “Leave the man to chat me up in peace.”
“Oh it’s like that is it.”
But Sirius wasn’t listening anymore because Feuilly was efficiently bundling them both up into the blanket and into a hug.
“I don’t know how it is,” Feuilly murmured, sounding happily drowsy, “but everything just seems more manageable when you’re here.”
“That’s it exactly,” Sirius agreed. He buried his nose into Feuilly’s hair until all he could smell was him and the spicy chocolate.
“Alright then,” Grantaire’s voice was soft, “if everyone’s settled, we’ll be off, straight on til morning.”
The boat picked up speed, the wind a faint ripple across the sail. They glided across the rough sea, skiffed once, twice, and then they were sailing up into the black night sky, stars all around them.