jaimemieux: (pic#6705182)
Henri Combeferre ([personal profile] jaimemieux) wrote2016-07-30 01:28 pm

(no subject)

Combeferre can’t believe what the woman is telling him.

“She never came to get little Sybil,” the calm, no-nonsense voice of the nurse who runs the hospital day-care comes through his phone as clearly as if she was standing beside him. Sybil had taken Sybbie in with her to work that day to allow Combeferre to take some time for him to run errands on his own. “You haven’t heard anything from her, have you? You must know that you are supposed to call us to schedule a late pick-up time-“

“Yes, yes, I know,” Combeferre answers swiftly, imagining a dozen terrifying scenarios - an accident, a car crash, a sudden, terrible illness.

“I just don’t understand it. Sybil isn’t the kind of person to show up late for no reason. Are you sure-“

“Yes, I know,” Combeferre snaps, and then takes a breath to steady himself. No need to take his panic out on someone who is entirely innocent of wrongdoing. “Thank you,” he adds. “I will be there shortly.”

The mystery - and Combeferre’s panic - only deepens at the hospital. Taking Sybbie with him, he asks at the nurse’s station, among Sybil’s coworkers and friends.

“She never came back from lunch,” says one.

“I didn’t even see her this morning,” says another.

A third nurse, one he knows to be a good friend of Sybil’s, places her hand on Combeferre’s arm. “Her locker’s cleared out. It’s like she just…disappeared. It’s crazy.”

Like she just disappeared. Combeferre’s heart sinks, and his skin goes clammy. The nurse in question, Cynthia, might not mean to be so literal. He has never been able to pin down what any Darrow natives believes about their neighbors and friends who appear and disappear without warning. But he knows in his soul that she has spoken the truth. Sybil is gone.

He is clutching Sybbie tightly, and the girl begins to squirm. “Let me take her,” says Cynthia carefully, that practicality that makes her such a good nurse and a good friend arising to Sybil arising at just the right moment. Combeferre nods wordlessly. “I’ll look after her, and you go find Sybil. I’m sure it’s just a misunderstanding.”

Combeferre nods again, but he doesn’t believe it, and he isn’t sure Cynthia does either. He leaves nurse and baby standing under the harsh lights of the break room and leaves the hospital. He knows exactly where he has to go.

Courfeyrac opens his door after Combeferre’s second knock, his eyes going wide to see his friend looking so pale and rumpled. “Combeferre!” he exclaims, all but dragging the man into his apartment. “Marius, get another wine glass. Our friend here looks like he has seen a ghost."
pontmercyfriend: (Beating of the drums)

[personal profile] pontmercyfriend 2016-07-30 05:48 pm (UTC)(link)
Marius has been spending most of his time with Courfeyrac as of late. When he can't bring himself to be alone in his apartment, even with the cats and his other pets, he's knocked on the door of his best friend, just as though they were still in Paris.

Even as Courfeyrac requests another glass of wine, he catches sight of the look on Combeferre's face; the paleness and the sorrow. He knows that look too well from experience; he hurries to fill another glass of wine, maneuvering with his crutches to bring it out to Combeferre without spilling any of the drink.

"Combeferre, what's happened?" Marius asks, though he thinks he can guess. He didn't think his heart could hurt any more, but apparently he was wrong. Again.
pylades_drunk: (could it be your life means nothing)

[personal profile] pylades_drunk 2016-07-31 11:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Grantaire had woken up with a loudly meowing Glenmeower who would only briefly be mollified by food. He wasn't happy about it: the night before had been his best version of a Friday night in: a large pizza, a bucket of chicken wings and entirely too much soda. Edgar had come over for a while to eat and lounge, and left Grantaire and Gavroche to it: watching terrible horror films that made them jump and laugh in equal measure.

But bleary, he'd gotten to making some coffee and eggs. Usually at the first smell of food, Gavroche pokes his head out, but by the time breakfast had been ready, no sign of the boy or his dog; Grantaire had found it odd, but not overly concerning given their late hours.

When he'd stepped into his room and found it empty, though, his heart had double-timed. No clothes on the floor, nothing to reveal where he'd gone, no note. Nothing to worry about, he'd told himself. Crept out of the house at dawn, most likely, if he slept through the night here at all, and his chest had filled with fondness, and only the slightest bit of anxiety trembling at the back of his mind.

By afternoon, though, with no word, no silly little text, that tiny nagging voice had turned into a knot in his stomach. He'd filled the time cleaning: washing his brushes, picking up around the house, things he so often neglected. Lunch passed uneaten, with no blond gamin tromping in for food or exclaiming over a new discovery.

He sends a quick text, composes several times to ensure it sounds rational, and goes out on his own then. R stops by the elephant, which is still there, pokes his head into Gavroche's normal haunts: no one has seen him, but each wishes him good luck and to say hello, that he must be about. He texts Combeferre to see if by some miracle Gavroche has sought out something new to learn, but there's no response quickly, and he doubles back around.

Gavroche is not at home waiting with a tricky smile on his face, as he hopes beyond hope. Glenmeower is still pacing, restless and meowing, and won't be soothed: exactly how Grantaire feels, but irritating to his nerves right now. This can't be happening again. Not again. Not after Tunny, the girls, Jehan. Not after everything. But everything in his heart tells him that it is. The boy is gone. Back to Paris, or --

As afternoon winds down, he tries to retrace where he's been and how, somehow he could be wrong. It's this that brings him without another thought in his mind to Courfeyrac's apartment, with a cheap bottle of whisky clutched in his hand like he might break it or like it might be the only thing attaching him to reality.

For what does it matter now? He had had to be good enough to not be the one taken care of, had wanted to take care of Gavroche as he'd deserved the first time. He'd wanted, so badly, to be better. But what does it matter? No matter what he does, everyone goes away. No matter how hard he loves them, he can't keep them. What's the worth in trying, when life is a random assortment of nothing but shit?

He pounds on the door with the side of his fist. Perhaps Gavroche is here. Perhaps they'll both laugh at him.
thepaladin: (pic#6976130)

[personal profile] thepaladin 2016-08-01 02:10 am (UTC)(link)
Courfeyrac has his arm slung around his friend’s shoulders, guiding a man who looks as though he might drop to the ground without support. Combeferre is wan - that is the word for it - like one of those drawings of cut-open corpses in his medical textbooks. Though lacking the viscera and signs of violence, Combeferre does not appear much healthier than those unfortunate models.

Combeferre sits heavily upon the sofa and takes his spectacles off to rub his eyes. Courfeyrac sits beside him, exchanging a concerned look with Marius. Whatever has happened, it must be bad to have shaken their steady comrade so.

“It’s Sybil,” says Combeferre, but he is interrupted by a sudden knock at the door that makes them jump.

“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,” Courfeyrac mutters under his breath, going to the door. When he finds Grantaire standing there, as panicked as Combeferre, his chest tightens with fear. What terrible fates have overcome his friends tonight, and who does he have to murder to stop them from feelings such sorrow? “You better come in, my friend,” he says with uncharacteristic graveness, ushering Grantaire inside.
pontmercyfriend: (Serious)

[personal profile] pontmercyfriend 2016-08-02 01:33 am (UTC)(link)
Marius walks with Courfeyrac and Combeferre over to the couch, sitting down with them and exchanging continued, worried glances with his friend. Truthfully, to see Combeferre, usually the most steady presence among them, so pale and subdued, unnerves him.

When Combeferre mentions Sybil's name, Marius' chest tightens. He can guess what the man is about to say, but then comes the knock at the door. He watches as Courfeyrac moves to open it, to find Grantaire, looking distraught, on the other side. Marius sucks in a breath, wondering what else could have possibly happened now. In this short span of time, he wonders how much more terrible news his friends have to bear.

"Grantaire, come sit with us," Marius calls over, too tired to get up, as much as he wants to in order to greet his friend. He moves to make room for him on the couch, gesturing for the other man to come join them. "Pray tell, what is wrong? It seems to be one hell of a night all around."
pylades_drunk: (Default)

[personal profile] pylades_drunk 2016-08-02 01:41 pm (UTC)(link)
Grantaire's eyes flicker over the rest of the amis gathered so conspicuously and, more conspicuously, Courfeyrac's somber tone that assures him this is no party he's been left out of. What has happened?

He takes an unsure step in and can't stand it, putting a hand to Courfeyrac's neck. "Tell me you know where Gavroche is," he says firmly. Even if something terrible has happened -- well, within reason -- and then that too runs through his head horrifically, a reason they might all be together. But Marius doesn't know why he's here.

"Tell me he's here for this hell of a night," he says, eyes flickering to Marius almost desperately. "And I shall let you be. Or stay to see you through it if you like."
pontmercyfriend: (Musing)

[personal profile] pontmercyfriend 2016-08-05 01:31 am (UTC)(link)
Marius pales visibly, trying not to wince beneath Grantaire's desperate, seeking glance. God, but of all the things to go wrong in the world today, adding a missing gamin to the mix seems the sort of cruel joke meant for them, in spite of everything that they've already been through.

He immediately gets back up from the couch again, using his crutches to guide himself over to where the rest of them all stand, shoulders hunched with grave concern growing graver by each passing moment.

"Surely, he must be somewhere in the city. Perhaps he's tucked away eating a pastry somewhere?" Marius tries for optimism, but after everything he's lost, he can hear the doubt in his own voice. He grips his crutches more tightly than necessary, his knuckles turning white as he focuses on ignoring the intensity bursting in his heart.

"Have you tried calling his phone?" He asks, reaching out to place a supportive hand on Grantaire's arm.
pylades_drunk: (perturbed)

[personal profile] pylades_drunk 2016-08-05 08:50 pm (UTC)(link)
Grantaire feels his stomach sink, and he looks uncertainly at Combeferre. Their friend is pale, serious, and he's not sure what's going on to begin with, which makes this all even more distressing.

"That's me," he says with a forced smile that doesn't quite reach his eyes when Courfeyrac shakes him and calls him a fool. "Not just a fool, but the Fool. I've searched that elephant's bowels," he says more directly to Courfeyrac, "and I found nothing but shit."

He looks up at Marius and sighs, knowing how much Marius has been through lately. Maybe it's just that they've both known loss, and he's presuming the worst. "Perhaps." He runs a hand through his hair and looks between all three of them. He can see his friend's pallor, the tension in his shoulders, and tries to summon a lighter tone even as he feels nauseated. "Perhaps. That would be Gavroche, wouldn't it? We send out the dogs and he comes out laughing at us all."

"I texted him," he says lamely. "It didn't go through -- perhaps a bad connection." He doesn't have to say that he didn't try calling. It's not like the island, here. Here, there's a sure way to confirm doubts. If Gavroche hasn't put it down somewhere. Sometimes when you know you're dying, you don't want to see the doctor.

"What brought you all here together, anyway?"
Edited 2016-08-05 20:50 (UTC)
pontmercyfriend: (All the little lights)

[personal profile] pontmercyfriend 2016-08-11 12:21 am (UTC)(link)
Combeferre sounds so optimistic and so very sure of himself, Marius thinks in wonder. Even with all that he is currently experiencing himself. Again, he finds himself in awe of his friend, who seems to possess the sturdiness of the ground beneath their feet.

Except he doesn't miss the way his friend's gaze falls; he moves to place a steadying hand on his arm, even as his own thoughts sink beneath the weight of more despair. Sybil gone, and Gavroche nowhere to be found, likely gone himself, he thinks, though he tries not to do so. His own recent experiences steer him even more firmly towards despair than normal, however; he finds himself thinking the worst in spite of his best intentions. He tries to smile at Courfeyrac's gesture towards Grantaire, but falters.

Marius follows them back to the couch, lingering a pace behind with his crutches. He stands next to Combeferre, not wanting to leave him on his own. Again, he reaches out to place a hand on his friend's shoulder.

"I am so terribly sorry, Combeferre," he says with as much sincerity as he can, wishing that his friend didn't have to experience this sort of hurt.
pylades_drunk: (perturbed)

[personal profile] pylades_drunk 2016-08-11 02:11 am (UTC)(link)
No need to worry. Grantaire's pessimism might take the form of a deep, solemn melancholy best lifted by outward means, rather than the sort of restless nervousness that say, Joly, had back at home. But even Combeferre must know this is a stupid sort of thing to say to him. Life is usually a reason to worry.

His smile doesn't reach his eyes, either, and Marius puts a hand on his arm. Grantaire looks at them both in suspicion for a moment, before Courfeyrac's ushering him away from answers. "I'll take your best tonic for making bad news easier to swallow," Grantaire says, and his eyes plead with Courfeyrac just a little to not say anything. Not now.

He lets out a breath of surprise when Combeferre admits that Sybil is gone. "Dieu, you must be joking," he manages, distantly, feeling rather as though someone's punched him in the gut. He knows that Combeferre is not.

He shakes his head, looking from Courfeyrac to Combeferre and back again, a rising panic in his chest. "On the same day? This must be one of Darrow's tricks, there's no sense to it --" But even as he says it, he trails off. How rarely is there sense to anything, particularly involving them?
thepaladin: (A knight-errant)

[personal profile] thepaladin 2016-08-11 03:14 am (UTC)(link)
Courfeyrac is sensible enough not to mention Grantaire’s sobriety, but it does leave him with an odd conundrum. What the hell does one pour a man who needs a drink, but most certainly doesn’t need a drink? Staring into his refrigerator while awkward silence coalesces in the living room behind him, Courfeyrac opts for literalism, grabbing a can of tonic water, and then finding a glass to pour it into.

“I hear they drink it in the tropics,” he says when he returns, setting the glass in front of Grantaire. “Medicinally. Et alors with the weather we’ve been having, we could nearly call this place the tropics, yes? It won’t make sense of anything, but you won’t contract malaria.” Courfeyrac smiles, but it doesn’t last long. “Combeferre, sit down. And you, Marius,” he urges. “You’re making the place look untidy.”

Combeferre sits, scrubbing his hands through his hair. He is unable to quite look at any of the three men, afraid their shared grief might rupture what calm they all have left. “I-“ He shakes his head and pinches the bridge of his nose. He cannot quite say, I am fine, or I will be all right. That would be too gross a lie. “It is what it is. Now we must make sure that Gavorche is all right, if he is still here in Darrow.” Combeferre clasps his hands together tightly, fixing on the problem to be solved. “Grantaire, try calling him again, perhaps?"
pontmercyfriend: (Stylish)

[personal profile] pontmercyfriend 2016-08-17 12:12 am (UTC)(link)
Marius doesn't want to leave the side of Combeferre, nor Grantaire, but Courfeyrac asking him to sit seems to trigger a flare of pain in his leg, making him wince. And then Combeferre sits, and Marius moves to the sofa without protest. Even for all of his stubborn nature, Marius recognizes when making an argument is futile; he has learned something from his time in Paris, after all.

Again, he lends his hand to Combeferre's shoulder, trying to be as supportive as he can. He wonders how one city can be so cruel, with all that it has taken away within the past few days, and he wonders at Combeferre's resolve, firm and unyielding as ever, trying to look for a solution.

"That's a good idea," Marius nods. "Or I can try calling, if you'd like?"

He knows that, likely, he will hear the message informing him that the number has been disconnected. He would be happy to spare Grantaire from that pain, if his friend would let him.
pylades_drunk: (Default)

[personal profile] pylades_drunk 2016-08-22 11:14 pm (UTC)(link)

"They take it with gin," Grantaire says. "I was a bartender, until recently." He gives Courfeyrac a bit of a pointed look. On a day such as today, he's trying to watch over Grantaire's sobriety for him? Later, he knows, he'll feel better about himself if he doesn't drink, but right now he'd rather feel anything at all but like he's standing on the edge of a great chasm. Anger at himself, he can handle and has.

He doesn't have the energy to argue with Courfeyrac, though. Not now.

"I lived in the tropics, you know," he says instead, and takes a sip of the bitter, fizzy drink. It's objectionable only in its lack of potence, with a slight lingering sweetness that he's relatively sure is added, from what he can tell of modern palates and their intolerance to bitters. "Though I don't recall anyone contracting malaria." What is he talking about? Tabula Rasa isn't a good memory for this evening, either, and his throat closes against remembering more lost friends.

But he is the non sequitur of the group. R tries to think of something cheery, or ridiculous, to make Combeferre laugh, and can't: even the idea of it is itself a farce. Instead he pulls out his phone, staring at it, willing his fingers to page through his contacts as he's been bidden.

"You've always been braver than I, Pontmercy," he says when Marius offers, and moves over to the couch beside him, thrusting it at him. He can't decide if he'd rather think Gavroche is gone, or that something has happened to him that he can't be found or answer a text. Neither goes down easily.

thepaladin: (pic#6976130)

[personal profile] thepaladin 2016-08-23 03:10 am (UTC)(link)
“Do they? I fear I am all out of gin,” says Courfeyrac, full of innocence. If Grantaire decides to reach for the wine, no one will stop him, surely, but he isn’t about to encourage it. At least not until they are certain that the situation is as dire as all that. They are all tense, Courfeyrac included, and though he has just commanded his friends to sit, he rises restlessly and begins to pace the living room, his wine glass clutched in his hand. Marius is worried and temporarily crippled, Combeferre looks ready to fall to pieces, Grantaire is about to burst with anger, or mania, or fear. Courfeyrac is inclined to like Darrow, generally, for it is a city of good cheer, and opportunity, and life. But lately, the city’ machinations have made quite a mess of his friends.

“Go on, then, Marius,” he says, clinging to hope until the last. “Let’s see what the little beggar has to say for himself.”

He will not believe that Gavorche is gone until they have absolute proof.
pontmercyfriend: (Empty chairs)

[personal profile] pontmercyfriend 2016-08-25 12:13 am (UTC)(link)
"Now, that's a lie," Marius says, uncertain himself if he is attempting to make a joke or admit to his own shortcomings. But he takes the phone regardless, willing to make the call. He's already dealt with several of the damned recorded voices informing him that this number is out of service; and he will gladly do so again if only to spare his friends more pain. "But I appreciate the vote of confidence, Grantaire."

"Courfeyrac, please sit with us. All your pacing is making me nervous," Marius says, trying to hide the way his fingers tremble as he prepares to make the call.

He inhales deeply, breaking his gaze away from his friends to concentrate on the task at hand. He can't stop shaking as he dials Gavroche's number, nor even when he brings the phone to his ear, to better listen.

At first, the phone rings. Hope nestles in his chest like a stray cat settling in for the night. The phone continues to ring, and hope continues to settle in deeper.

"We're sorry. The number you are trying to reach is no longer in service."

Hope flees out into the night; Marius flinches, stutters on a breath as though he's just been punched in the chest. He presses his face into his hands as the phone falls to the wayside; he tries not to cry.

"Shit," he says from behind his hands.

He fails.
pylades_drunk: (could it be your life means nothing)

[personal profile] pylades_drunk 2016-08-29 04:32 am (UTC)(link)
Grantaire gets up just as Courfeyrac is called to sit down, and perches again against the arm of the couch apologetically. It is his fault, after all, that Marius has to make this call, that he's not man enough to just find out for himself; he shouldn't add to any stress.

It allows him a moment on Combeferre's side of the couch, however, and he puts a hand on 'Ferre's shoulder, unsure how to even express something like solidarity in the sudden loss of a lover. A wife. He'd masked his own losses in good cheer when he found the Amis here after losing Tunny on Tabula Rasa just the day before, but they hadn't known, then. And they had hardly been a married couple.

Marius looks up hopefully; Grantaire can hear his own phone ringing, and his heart picks up in his chest. Perhaps -- perhaps the boy's just lost. Hiding, or has dropped his phone along his way somewhere, or -- something. Something.

Then Marius takes a breath and drops the phone, pressing his face against his hands, and Grantaire chokes on whatever it is he's about to say. A million things fill his mind, the boy sleepy last night -- just last night! -- and full of pizza. Of the patient way he'd so often dealt with R drunk and the determination Grantaire had felt at first, setting that aside, to give Gavroche a better home than that level of responsibility on his shoulders. A home he deserved. The dirty streets of Paris that are now, perhaps, what he returns to.

But he doesn't. If he returns to whence they came, he -- Marius had told him --
What the hell is the point of all this?

From the floor, the phone echoes again, robotically, The number you are trying to reach is no longer in service,.

He scoops it up, ends the call with a flick of his wrist and hurls the phone away from him with a curse.