A/N: For, Colonel Despard who was having a bit of a rough time and asked for Enjolras and Jehan. Alas, no Samhain, but there is Enjolras punching someone.
Also, to explain the title, one customarily says, 'Chapeau!' in French as a form of congratulations on a job well done.
Courfeyrac was extremely worried and tried to hide it by sticking his hat on the top of his cane and twirling around the cane to make his hat spin. Enjolras had consented to try out Jehan, Combeferre's new pet since Joly had attached himself to Bossuet, and, to that end, Enjolras had sent Jehan to their printer on the Cour St. Louis, off of the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, with the final draft of a pamphlet. The pamphlet, of which the Amis were rather proud, was a scathing analysis of the results of the latest census and the shocking disparity in wages between the working, artistic and aristocratic classes. Combeferre had been particularly upset that, as an intern, he was paid five hundred francs a year, five to ten times more than the average worker, while his parents were still paying for all his expenses, and had been unusually vitriolic—
Courfeyrac shook his head to clear it. What odd things he found to distract himself from remembering that it was getting dark and Jehan had been gone for two hours on an errand that ought to have taken him one hour at the very most. He stared at his spinning hat.
It ought to have been simple. They were in Bahorel's apartment, on the Cour Saint-Bernard, two streets away from the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine. All Jehan had to do was walk down the Cour Saint-Bernard, walk down the Rue Saint-Bernard in the opposite direction of the church, take the omnibus down the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, get off at the Cour St. Louis and walk into the printing house. He then had to speak in some enigmatic metaphors Enjolras had made him memorize and repeat several times, hand over the draft, and take the omnibus back. Courfeyrac tried to make his hat spin faster. Even if the omnibus never came and Jehan had walked down to the Cour Saint-Louis and back that couldn't take more than an hour-and-a-half.
Perhaps he had gotten on the wrong omnibus? Admittedly, it was difficult not to realize one was heading away from the Place de la Bastille, and therefore away from the printer... no, thought Courfeyrac, sending his hat flying off of his walking stick and into the wall. Combeferre had gone with Jehan to the printer, and then presumably got back on the omnibus to the Place de la Bastille, so he could transfer omnibuses and get back to Necker in time for the evening rounds.
Even if Jehan, looking as harmless and Romantically quirky as was his wont (he had decided on a light green tailcoat from the 1780s that day, and paired it with a ridiculously ornate cravat and a wide-brimmed hat), had attracted suspicion, Combeferre was so good at seeming harmless and deflecting any police attention by rambling about his current obscure obsession or by checking any over-exuberance on the part of his companions that it seemed unlikely they had been arrested on the way there. No, Jehan must have gotten to the printer's. Courfeyrac stood up to go retrieve his hat. He must have gotten safely to the printer's.
But still, two hours when it ought to have taken one....
They were all dealing with their anxiety in different ways. Enjolras had withdrawn into himself and gone to the window to watch the street for any sign of Jehan and to ruminate on the fading light. Bahorel had gone downstairs yet again to ask the porter if a long-haired little fellow dressed several decades out of fashion had stopped by at all. Joly, of course, had decided that he had come down with smallpox and began to panic, thus allowing Courfeyrac and Bossuet to redirect some of their anxiety into calming his.
Since Bahorel owned a piano for God alone knew what reason, Bossuet had very calmly unlocked it and forced Joly in front of it. Joly's anxieties at least had an outlet, thought Courfeyrac, listening to Joly speed his way through Mozart's Rondo alla Turca.
"There's something marvellous about the memory," Joly babbled, as the church bells of Saint-Marguerite distantly informed them all that it was now eight-o-clock. "I learned this when I was twelve and I never have to think about playing, I just play. My fingers remember what my mind does not." The last stroke of the bell faded and Joly's hands shook so badly he could not manage to keep his fingers on the right keys. He shut the lid of the keyboard with a bang.
Bossuet very calmly went to stand behind Joly and rest his hands on his shoulders.
Joly turned and nearly flung himself into Bossuet's arms, burying his face against Bossuet's waistcoat. "This is driving me mad."
Courfeyrac tried to think of something to say and could not. He wished Combeferre had stayed an extern instead of an intern. It was wonderful for Combeferre and all, and Courfeyrac had cracked open a bottle of champagne to celebrate that Necker, that fickle mistress, finally allowed Combeferre to move in after two years of regular visits and sleepless nights, and everyone was naturally happy that Combeferre no longer had to sneak home unwanted arms or legs to dissect in his apartment, but Combeferre always had night rounds now that he lived in the hospital. Courfeyrac missed having Combeferre to keep order in the evenings.
"Jehan gets into Romantic flights of spirits from time to time," Courfeyrac said, remembering just in time not to run his hands through his hair and make it stick up. His current mistress kept scolding him not to, since he looked ridiculous instead of Romantic afterwards. "Perhaps he just… saw a sparrow in the gutter and just had to sit down and compose a sonnet about our drab, little selves being washed away by the tides of history, which shall wash away all human refuse and reveal the truth at long last?"
"The omnibus could be running late," said Bossuet.
"Even so, he could have just walked," Joly said wretchedly, though muffledly. "He would be back by now. He's not... you are sure that he is a friend...?"
Enjolras rested his hands on the ledge of the window sill. "Combeferre trusts him."
Courfeyrac stuck his hat back on the knob of his walking stick, for a lack of anything better to do. "I don't think we have to worry about that. Enjolras, remember how we met him? Bossuet, I do believe I never told you, which is a monstrous injustice on my part, because it's as oddly charming as Jehan himself. Enjolras always made me go to class with him instead of sleeping in last semester, so I always made him come to lunch with me afterwards. I am a dreadful influence." It was dark enough to see Enjolras's smile reflected in the window and it cheered Courfeyrac considerably. "At any rate, we always went through the Jardin de Luxembourg after class, and one day I forced Enjolras into having a picnic with me so I could flirt with that nursemaid with the charming dimples that kept crossing our path. When we went to wait near the nursemaid's preferred spot, under a tree by the Medici Fountain, we started in on some political discussion—"
"Sartorial protestation," said Enjolras.
"Ah, that's right! I was trying to be sly and get you to go and buy a new waistcoat because I was tired of seeing you rotate through the six equally drab ones you owned at the time. I won that argument, if I recall it correctly. You looked perfectly splendid in that red one I made you buy, Enjolras, so you don't need to smile at me like that. You ought to wear it more often. Right, but as I was making a brilliant point about sans-culottes, we heard a voice from above say, 'I agree with you entirely, gentlemen!' Enjolras of course, took it in stride, but I choked on my baguette when I saw Jehan hanging upside down off of a tree-branch just above our heads. If that wasn't enough, the fellow was wearing a doublet with a spray of pink roses pinned to his chest and had tied his hair back with a pink ribbon to match. His hair was dangling just over my own at the time, so I particularly remember that ribbon. He then proceeded to exalt bohemianism and criticize those Romantics who concerned themselves only with a revolution of art instead of society and I decided that I just had to befriend him."
The door swung open to reveal Bahorel, who grabbed his coat and hat off of the coat rack. "The porter hasn't seen him. I have a bad feeling about this. Come on."
"All of us?" asked Joly, pulling away from Bossuet in some alarm.
Bahorel jammed his hat on his head. "It is plainly useless to tell Courfeyrac and Enjolras to stay here, because the former will just argue me into submission and the latter will ignore me, and you ought to come in case Jehan has hurt himself. Therefore, Lesgles will come along, whether it is wise of him to do so or not. I might as well save myself the time and effort by saying we are all going. If we hurry we can catch the omnibus."
Though Joly was too nervous to be separated from Bossuet, they otherwise pretended not to know each other on the omnibus. Bossuet and Joly even got off a stop early to add verisimilitude. Upon Bahorel's insistence, the Amis staggered their arrival at the intersection of the Rue de Faubourg Saint Antoine and the Rue Saint-Louis. When Joly and Bossuet arrived, the door to the printer's opened.
"Ah, there he is," Bahorel said, in some relief, seeing someone with long hair and a ridiculously wide-brimmed hat poke their head out the door. "Was he waiting for us to come and get him?"
"Perhaps he misheard your instructions," Courfeyrac said, glancing at Enjolras.
Jehan walked out of the building, shut the door behind him and began walking towards them. He did not make eye contact with anyone else on the street, and thus managed to bump into a thin fellow in a workman's cap.
"Oh, pardon me," said Jehan. "I was contemplating the end of days and—monsieur, let go of my ar- oh Zeus, is that a pistol?" The silhouettes of two burly fellows appeared on either side of Jehan.
"Sir, I have some questions about the gentleman you just visited," said the thin fellow. "I would advise you to come with me."
Jehan spun around made a mad dash in the opposite direction, dodging past a man in a tailcoat that lunged at him. The thin man's pistol went off, but Jehan, aside from leaping into the air in terror, ran on unhindered.
Bahorel raced down the Cour Saint-Louis, Enjolras eventually outstripping him, and Courfeyrac, Bossuet and Joly trying desperately to keep up.
They arrived at the odd turning at the end of the street in time to hear an indignant, "Leave me be! The liberty of one citizen ends where the liberty of another citizen begins!" and to see one of the burly fellows grab Jehan from behind and drag him into an alley, with the thin man holding a pistol to Jehan's temple.
"Oh, hell," said Bahorel, shoving the rest of the Amis against the side of a building. "They were waiting for him, then. The rest of this part of the street is shaped like a capital 'L'; they probably dragged him to the very end... Joly, give me your hand mirror."
Joly fished it out of his coat pocket and handed it over at once.
Bahorel, his back to the wall, tilted the mirror carefully, to try and see down the street without being seen himself. Courfeyrac peered over Bahorel's shoulder as best he could.
"Ah, they left a look-out, even though he lost his hat in the scuffle."
Courfeyrac studied the reflection in Joly's mirror. A hatless man in a tailcoat with lapels too large to be fashionable stood down the street, in front of an alley, and right next to a lamp post. It was odd what one noticed in times of crisis, Courfeyrac thought, a little wildly, like the fact that the man's head looked abnormally small…
"Oh," said Courfeyrac. "I have a plan."
"Tell us," said Enjolras.
About thirty seconds later Bossuet and Joly turned around the corner and crossed the street, arms slung around each others' shoulders, singing an absolutely dreadful rendition of Mozart's Dies Irae. They walked down past the alley, then swivelled around abruptly so that the lookout had his back to the other Amis.
"I say," said Joly, pointing at the lookout. "That man has no hat."
Bossuet squinted at him. "No, he does not."
"A man ought to wear a hat out of doors," said Joly, much to the annoyance of the lookout. "Not right not to wear a hat outside. Monsieur, where is your hat?"
The hatless man suddenly found that he had one as Courfeyrac had snuck up behind him and jammed his own top hat over the look-out's head. Bahorel punched the lookout in the stomach and slammed his head against the wall as Enjolras darted down the alley, Courfeyrac right behind him.
Once their eyes adjusted to the darkness, they saw Jehan valiantly resisting either arrest or interrogation while pinned to a wall with an arm twisted behind his back by a burly man in a workingman's smock. Another, equally muscular man in a shabby overcoat stood slightly to the side, rubbing his knuckles and glaring at Jehan, while a man in a far-too-new workingman's cap, his back to Enjolras and Courfeyrac, said, "Would you like two black eyes instead of one?"
"I told you, I was just getting some poems published, for God's sake let me go, I was just quoting the Declaration to get you to leave me alone—ow, ow ow stop that—" the man in the smock yanked on Jehan's arm.
"Once you tell us the truth," began the ersatz-ouvrier before Enjolras interrupted him by slamming Joly's walking stick down on the far-too-new workingman's cap. Far-Too-New Workingman's Cap spun around dazedly, clutching his head, just in time for Enjolras to punch him in the jaw.
"Who the—" demanded Shabby Overcoat, before Courfeyrac tackled him to the ground. Courfeyrac distantly heard the interrogator crumple to the ground and two pairs of boots—Bahorel and Bossuet, Courfeyrac thought—clatter ever closer. Shabby Overcoat rolled over and would have had Courfeyrac pinned if Courfeyrac hadn't had several older brothers and cousins fond of tackling him to the ground when he was being a particularly annoying younger relation. Courfeyrac kneed Shabby Overcoat in the groin and used the momentum of their roll to shove him against the wall.
Courfeyrac scrambled to his feet. He had lost his walking stick when he had launched himself at Shabby Overcoat—ah, there it was! Courfeyrac grabbed it and got into an en guarde position, which was potentially the least useful thing he could have done aside from dropping his walking stick altogether. Curse his aristocratic upbringing.
Shabby Overcoat grabbed at the wall to pull himself up.
With a quick balestra forward, Courfeyrac smacked Shabby Overcoat on the hand in a coup lancé that would have made any fencing teacher proud. Shabby Overcoat hissed in pain and tried to lurch up unaided. Courfeyrac lunged forward, the tip of his walking stick catching the wide sleeve of Shabby Overcoat's shabby overcoat and pinning it to the wall.
"I'll take it from here," rumbled Bahorel, bringing his fisted hands down on Shabby Overcoat's head.
Courfeyrac beat a retreat and glanced back down the alley. Enjolras's hair nearly glowed in the darkness; Courfeyrac saw him dodge an uppercut from the man in the workman's smock and, with an almost bizarre gracefulness, land a right-hook that sent his opponent crashing into the wall.
There was Joly-in-outline in the lamplight at the end of the alley, watching the street, two dark figures approaching that Courfeyrac assumed to be Bossuet and the unconscious look-out, a darker patch of ground that Courfeyrac thought was Far-Too-New Workman's Cap, and a vaguely green lump by Enjolras that Courfeyrac was rather sure was Jehan.
Bossuet stood, walked down the alley and handed Courfeyrac a dented top-hat. "Chapeau, citizen."
Courfeyrac grimaced. "I could buy a chateau with the money I spend on chapeaus. This is the fourth hat I've bought this quarter."
Bossuet went back to grab the look-out again. "Never before have you so deserved a chapeau. Bahorel?"
"Deeper into the alley," said Bahorel, glancing back at the main street and shaking out his hands. "Lift up his arms and grab him around the ribs. It's easier to drag him that way. Come on." Bahorel hefted Shabby Overcoat over his shoulder, staggering slightly under the weight, and disappeared into the shadows, Bossuet painstakingly dragging the lookout after him.
Courfeyrac went over to Jehan, leaning against the wall, and Enjolras, crouching down beside him.
"You were like the Archangel Michael," Jehan said, smiling vaguely up at Enjolras.
Enjolras took Jehan's chin in a gloved thumb and forefinger. "The light is bad, but I think your eye is swelling already. A split lower lip... blood?"
"They slammed me against the wall a few times," said Jehan, as Enjolras lifted aside Jehan's bangs to examine the blood trickling down from his temple. "I was as faithful as Penelope and I honestly did try to avoid them. I saw them outside the window and waited until they had disappeared to leave. The publisher warned me that there were narks spying on his visitors. Oh Enjolras, that really was magnificent of you. Your hat fell off when you hit that nark and your hair shone out in the darkness. I have never been so happy in my life as when I saw your hair and knew it was you. It was like seeing an archangel visiting divine wrath on the unrighteous. Oh, it was sublime."
Enjolras smiled faintly as he took out his handkerchief and wiped the blood off of Jehan's face. "I am proud of you, citizen."
Jehan beamed, which was so godawfully pathetic with his split lip and swollen eye that Courfeyrac's heart went out to him. "You are?"
"Der Hölle Raaaaache kocht in meinem Herzen," Joly warbled out desperately.
"Oh hell, the police," said Bahorel, running out of the shadows and panting slightly. "Enjolras, help me shove these bastards where they belong. There's a pile of disgusting rubbish at the end of the alley. You take the thin one, I'll grab the other."
"Courfeyrac, get Prouvaire out of here," said Enjolras, grabbing the unconscious man in the workingman's cap around the ribs and dragging him deeper into the shadows. "I trust you and Joly to get him back to Bahorel's safely."
Courfeyrac mimed tipping his hat at Enjolras since his actual hat was too dented to fit on his head anymore. "Aye aye captain. Jehan, my brave, brave fellow, can you walk?"
Jehan took Courfeyrac's arm gratefully and managed to lever himself into a standing position. "I think—yes, my head is spinning as if the angels of revelation came down before me, and revealed the end of days, but it's no worse than having too much hashish."
"Lean on my shoulder, then, and let me put my arm around your waist for now. Where's your hat? Ah ha, that'll hide your eye." Courfeyrac tilted it to keep Jehan's scraped forehead and swollen eye in shadow and Jehan, catching on, sucked in his lower lip. "Chapeau! When we get out, Joly will see to you, alright? I'm proud of you, too, Prouvaire. You are a true patriot."
Jehan beamed again.
As they neared the mouth of the alley, Courfeyrac heard Joly saying, somewhat desperately, "I have no idea what you mean, officer."
"You did not hear a gunshot?" came the very unwelcome voice of an unamused policeman.
"To be honest, all the high notes I was singing were ringing around in my head, so I couldn't hear much of anything."
"Right. I saw your friend drag someone into this alley."
"Who me?" Courfeyrac asked, emerging with Jehan. Joly whirled around like cat after someone stepped on its tail, and the police officer, a plump, bourgeois fellow with an impressively bushy moustache and a much nicer uniform coat than an average officer, glared at them. Oh hell, thought Courfeyrac, an inspector. Courfeyrac tried his most dazzling smile. "My friend wasn't feeling well."
"So you dragged him into an alley?" the inspector asked sceptically.
"To be sick," Joly said quickly. "I think it must be food poisoning. Or possibly gastroenteritis."
Jehan kept his head down and faked a groan.
"The, ah, pain was so bad he collapsed before," Joly went on, with surprising calm. "We thought it best that he rid himself of bad humours by vomiting them up. Not as effective as a purgative, I daresay, but for a quick fix—"
"And while he was in the alley, he just magically changed into riding boots?" the inspector demanded.
"Are you an Orientalist?" Jehan asked, looking up from the inspector's fancy, carved coat buttons. He made an odd sort of gesture before holding out his hand.
The inspector took Jehan's hand and moved it around bizarrely. "I... hold on, have I seen you before?"
"At the orient on the rue de Grenelle-Saint-Honoré?"
"Ah ha. The poetic apprentice with a Master as a father. The hat threw me off, brother. You are…?"
"Oh, I wrote some poems to my mistress and went to see if I could publish them," said Jehan, smiling vaguely. "Some dastardly brigands tried to beat my love out of me. One of them even tried to shoot me, but they missed."
"Your mistress?" asked the inspector, a little puzzled.
"Yes, Marianne. You must know her."
The inspector smiled. "Yes, very well. I see that you were faithful. I also see that I must have been mistaken earlier. No doubt the gaslight was playing tricks on my eyes. I shall come back in a half-an-hour and probably find some drunkards with no appreciation of poetry who are going to very quickly find themselves off of the police payroll. I am going to walk back to the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, towards the Place de la Bastille. Wait a few minutes before following me." He made an odd hand gesture. "Until the next, brother."
"My very many thanks," replied Jehan. "Until the next."
The inspector strode off and Enjolras, hat in hand, emerged from the alley. He waited until the inspector had rounded the corner and said, "Jehan, are you a Freemason?"
Jehan nodded, his hat sliding off and to the ground. "Yes, and he had the square and compasses carved into his buttons. That's how I knew we were in amity."
Enjolras looked thoughtfully at Jehan. Joly, seeing Jehan's injuries, immediately began fussing. Jehan submitted wearily to Joly's ministrations, closing his eyes and leaning against Courfeyrac.
"Why couldn't Combeferre be an intern at Saint-Antoine?" Joly muttered, forcing Courfeyrac and Jehan to sit down, and pouring some of the brandy in his flask into a handkerchief. He dabbed at the cut on Jehan's forehead. "It... ah, not deep. Thank God. I can take care of this. Sorry, Jehan, but open your eyes as best you can. Follow the movement of my finger with your eyes... good, no concussion, just a black eye. I wish I had something for it with me. That lip looks painful... I know it's going to sting, but drink some brandy for me, will you? There we are. Take another swig and spit it out so I can see where the actual injury is."
"Ow," said Jehan, though he did so.
Joly peered anxiously at his face. "Ah ha. Split bottom lip, but no missing or loose teeth, I think. If you put some beeswax on it, you ought to be fine at the end of the week. The scrape on your head is worrying me, though. It's not deep, but it's large and needs to be cleaned im—Bossuet, what did you do to your hand?"
Bossuet walked into the lamplight and glanced down at his hand with some surprise. "That is a surprising amount of blood, isn't it?"
Joly immediately turned his attention to Bossuet. Enjolras knelt by Jehan and picked up the brandy-soaked handkerchief from where Joly had left it, in Jehan's lap.
"There is much that I admire about the masons," Enjolras said, calmly wiping Jehan's temple with the handkerchief. "Our society could learn a great deal from their example; I think we ought to be in amity with them."
Jehan looked up hopefully at Enjolras. "And so...?"
Courfeyrac squeezed Jehan around the waist. "And so we shall call you an Ami."
Jehan beamed. "Me, an Ami?"
"Indeed, my friend," replied Enjolras, with one of the odd, almost luminescent smiles that made one want to follow him to hell and back. He pressed the handkerchief to Jehan's forehead and carefully set his own hat on Jehan's head, to hold the handkerchief in place. "Chapeau."