❝ Interesting take, monsieur. But I believe
it to be a wrong take.The people of the upper
city care not for our lives; we are pests, and we
are the disgrace of the city. However, they much
prefer a submissive, controlled pest to one who
is willing to burn. To place fire by their boundaries
at first would promote confusion. Is the fire within
or no? And then, perhaps, apprehensive, about
something. About what? They are uncertain. But
I will say again, we might gain some unwanted
“Do you really think our beloved dictator would
allow us to burn fires so close to his perfect
city? Surely he would eliminate us. At least
those responsible for the act. If no one fessed
up, he might take it out on those who just
happen to be close enough to him at the time.
He won’t allow it to happen— not twice. It’s an
entertaining idea, mind you, but I don’t think
it’s a very good one. Too many unpredictable
variables. Enjolras would be disappointed.”
Combeferre pauses. Grantaire tried — Combeferre could
see it now. Grantaire just did not succeed; however, it
was the attempt that mattered to the guide. Combeferre
rakes his fingers through his hair, pulling up a chair
before the drunkard.
“ It’s all right, Grantaire — I understand.
…I can wait to speak with Enjolras.
How have you been? “
“I have been the same as I always am.”
Bitter, tired, t o r m e n t e d. It is all the
same to Grantaire. Never does he feel
any different. He can be joyous, it’s true,
but he cannot truly be happy. He can’t
remember the last time he felt happy.
At least, that’s what he tells everyone.
He can remember it perfectly. His sister’s
smile, her warm presence… He was happy
when she was around— truly happy— and
now he only had faded memories of her.
❝ Wrong. I’m entertaining the idea
of doing it at present. But whether actually
doing it would be worth it… Again, unlikely.
Far too — widespread for my taste. There wouldn’t
be much to concentrate singularly on. But
unwanted attention would not come from the
upper city — No. I’m far more intrigued about
what else would notice fires that large.
— And we all know you
think it fun. ❞
“We all know that I enjoy anything that brings
a crease to Enjolras’ marble forehead, but I
am far too lazy to implement such an act. It
would require way too much energy, and I am
feeling particularly lethargic today. Perhaps
some other time I will have the motivation
required for creating havoc. Until then, I will
sit here on my ass and enjoy this beer. Join
me, won’t you? I have far too much to say
to say it all to myself. No one cares to listen.”
“ Grantaire, you know I come to
the Outer City whenever I can…
I was able to pocket some unused needles
from the lab. If we distribute medicine this
way, we can make it last longer.
I can’t stay for a drink. I have to
speak with Enjolras.
…And there are some things I’d rather
not forget — like my senses. Perhaps
you should consider that, Grantaire. “
Grantaire watches Combeferre as he speaks, and
his expression doesn’t change. What does change
is the drink he’d been holding is now a joint, and
he places it gingerly between his lips, taking a hit.
He thinks his reply over, aware now how roughly
he’d shoved his foot into his mouth. Of course he
didn’t want to talk about it— neither did Grantaire.
There was a reason a drank, a reason he did the
worst d r u g he could find. He finally speaks, and
the words he chooses are more careful this time.
“—My apologies, mon ami, I was only trying to be
of some help. If you would rather speak to our
fearless leader, I understand completely.”
”—Combeferre! It’s a treat to see you
on a visit from the Inner City. Please,
come have a drink with me. I desire
to forget, and certainly you do, too.”