A/N—So it's time to give Les Amis a go. Starting with the brave poet, Jehan, who has a special place in my heart. This one is a little strange, but hope you enjoy it any way.
By the way, thanks to everyone who has reviewed my stuff so far, it really makes my day! I'm feeling so inspired in the past few days, writing almost every day, I wonder how long I can keep this up.
Oh, and for all those who said my fics are disjointed, YES, it's intentional. This one, however, I tried to make extremely coherent.
Meter was off. Syllables weren't adding up. There simply was no way that last line was ever going to—
In a fit of righteous energy, Jehan leapt up from his small table, strode over to the fire, and tossed the paper in.
" Four." Joly whispered.
" No, that's five." Bossuet corrected.
" You're both wrong. That's six since this morning, four since he got back from class." Bahorel said.
" Have you been…" Jehan blushed, " Keeping count of how many poems I've consigned to the flames?"
" Certainly not!" Joly exclaimed with a sheepish smile.
" Well…perhaps." Bossuet admitted. Jehan's features rearranged themselves into an expression of fear and embarrassment.
" You've been watching me?" he managed to creak out. He looked about to burst into tears, or burst out the door.
" Jehan, honestly, we meant nothing by it!" Joly said, in an attempt to calm him down. " You've been doing it all day, every couple of hours. We couldn't help notice!"
" That doesn't mean you can keep count and---and—turn it into some sort of joke!" The embarrassment disappeared from his face. The fear was gone too. Now, he looked nothing but angry " None of you ever take me seriously, because I'm the youngest, and because I don't look a day over sixteen. It isn't my fault! And I can't stand the way you laugh at me for writing poems!"
" We don't laugh at you, Jehan." Bahorel said, trying to console him, and area in which he did not really excel.
" Yes, you do! You all do! You make fun! You don't understand how hard I work on my poems, how I need to make them just right. It isn't just an idle hobby, it's an expression of my soul, and the way I would like to earn a living!" All four were silent. It was true, Jehan's poetry was a sort of running joke among them. They were rarely allowed to read anything he had written, and because of this, they all speculated on the sort of thing he wrote. Were they love sonnets to various mistresses? Scathing criticisms of the governemnet? Bawdy limerics? Voltaire-esque satires? Some combination of all four? Everyone had their suspicions of the sort of thing Jehan wrote when he consigned himself to his corner, silent and pensive, to work out another poem.
" I'm sorry, Jehan." Bossuet squeaked out. Jehan pressed his lips into a thin line.
" You all don't respect art." He said loftily.
" Maybe we'd respect it more," Joly tried, choosing his words carefully, "If you let us see just one of your poems."
" Yes, Jehan, really, we'd love to read them! You do work so hard on them and we never get to read anything!" Bossuet put in.
"We'll give you criticism if you want it—or not." Bahorel said, adding the last two words at Jehan's sharp glare.
" They aren't any good." Jehan said firmly.
" Some of them must be, Jehan! You don't burn all of them!" Bossuet tried to smile reassuringly. Jehan blushed.
" No." he repeated.
" But Jehan, you've had some published, we know you have." Jehan's blush grew deeper.
" You know? Did you read—"
" Not a word, honestly, none of us did!" Joly protested.
" We could have—of course. Once things are published, they're free for anyone to read. But we wanted to respect your decision." Bahorel said. Jehan looked down at his feet. He was back to shy again. Joly and Bosseut exchanged a quick glance—he was cracking, they could tell. Bahorel leaned forward in his chair. Jehan lifted his head. He looked vaguely anxious, though the reason did not seem clear.
" No." he pronounced. " Nothing. They are not good enough yet. Perhaps, when I am truly an artist, and not just a craftsman, I will let you see some of my great works, and then we will laugh about the miserable refuse I am turning out now. But right now, as I see my current works for the mediocre musings they are, you may not see any of them."
" But what are they about?" Bossuet asked eagerly.
" They are—they are—love poems." Jehan said, " And they must be perfect because their subject is perfect."
Bahorel leaned back in his chair with a slight sigh. Bossuet and Joly rolled their eyes at eachother, Bossuet mumbling something about ' artistic temperament,' and they all returned to their former occupations—Joly and Bossuet playing dominoes, and Bahorel reading some royalist newspaper or other, which he seemed to read only because it made him angry.
Jehan returned to his corner, bent over a new piece of paper. This one would be it—he could feel it. After all, seventeen was his lucky number.
It was only after he died that anyone read Jehan's poems. His family had found them hidden in a book in his apartment. They had been surprised to find out their son was a revolutionary, but were stunned upon discovering he was a poet as well.
Jehan himself had been wrong—the poems were quite good, and they were, with very few exceptions—all the same. They were, as he said, love poems, the subject was a woman named Marianne. His parents, overcome with emotion, did not give a second thought to who this Marianne was. They assumed she was his mistress, and left it at that.