A/N-Damn you, Stephen Sondheim! Why must your brilliant music penetrate every part of my existance and insinuate itself even into my fics? I can't get the score of Sunday in the Park With George out of my head! If you know and love this musical, i hope you like this! If you don't know what Sunday in the Park with George is...find out. Now! You will thank me. *Ophelia runs off to finish the Hat*
Feuilly couldn't move. It was the usual terror that came between deciding to start a sketch and not having actually put pencil to paper yet. The terror passed as quickly as it came, the pencil touched the paper, and the all-too-familiar lines and shapes began forming.
"Can I look?" a voice said. Feuilly jumped. Standing behind the park bench that Feuilly had turned into an impromptu art studio was Jehan—only Jehan, he had learned that no one called him Prouvaire-or worse Jean-only a few days ago. Feuilly smiled at him. He was fond of the young poet.
"You surprised me. I didn't know you were here."
"I come here now and then. One has to get away from the city and look at nature now and then, don't you think? Mankind wasn't meant to live in cities—at least, not all the time." Feuilly grunted in response. Stupid sun had just vanished behind the cloud. And since when had there been a tree there?
"What are you drawing?" Jehan continued, peering over his shoulder.
" It's just a sketch." Feuilly said, putting his hand over what he had drawn, trying not to smudge it.
"People. The people strolling in the park." Feuilly shrugged and began drawing again. Jehan shifted his gaze.
"I won't look if you tell me not to—but can I?"
"Not until it's done." Feuilly said sternly.
"All right." Jehan agreed and collapsed onto the bench in a way that reminded Feuilly of a rag doll being thrown across the room. For a moment he was tempted to put down the current sketch and try to capture the way Jehan was draped across the bench, almost as if he was trying to become part of it.
"What are you doing here, Feuilly?" Jehan asked. "Don't you have to work today?" Feuilly didn't look up from his pad.
"It's Sunday." He said.
"Is it?" Jehan said in surprise. "It can't be—today's Monday. Yesterday was Sunday—wasn't it?" Feuilly smiled.
"No. It's Sunday. The day off." He looked up. "Jehan, I don't mean to be rude, but I'm trying to concentrate—"
"Do you want me to go?" Jehan asked, looking a bit hurt.
"No, not really." Feuilly responded truthfully. " Just—I've started this bit and I really want to finish it. Tell you what, let me finish the hat, and then we can talk." Jehan nodded.
"All right." He put his hand on a stack of papers. " Can I look at these?" Feuilly flipped through them idly.
"Yes, those are the good ones; feel free." Jehan was quiet for a moment as he began to flip through Feuilly's sketches. As for Feuilly himself, the world had contracted to only him and the hat.
"Oh, I like this one!" Feuilly was startled out of the world of The Hat. He turned to the young poet.
"Which?" Jehan held up one of his earliest sketches. "It's Joly and Bossuet, isn't it? It looks just like them." Feuilly held it at arm's length. He had never particularly liked that one. It was one of the first he had made of his new comrades-in-arms, standing side by side, Joly's hand casually resting on Bossuet's shoulder, Bossuet in the middle of a laugh that looked like it was choking him.
"It's not that good." Feuilly grumbled, with no false modesty. The more he looked at it, the more he hated it.
"I think it's wonderful!" Jehan interjected, and returned to flipping through the sketches. "I remember that day!" Jehan exclaimed again, just as Feuilly had begun work on The Dog. He held up a picture of Enjolras, who had his head in his hand, a piece of crumpled paper on the table, looking like the weight of the world was on his shoulders.
"He was so depressed that day—we all tried to cheer him up. I never did find out why."
"I'm sure Combeferre knows." Feuilly said. "That was also the day Enjolras began dating all his letters with the French Revolutionary Calendar."
"And you dated the picture with it, too! Lovely touch. It's just wonderful." Jehan said, looking at the sketch with near religious rapture. Feuilly was suddenly enraptured by the color of his hair, by the way he caught the light.
"Stand over there." He ordered gruffly. Jehan looked up.
"Please." Feuilly amended. "Just there, by the tree."
"Are you going to draw me?" Jehan asked, his face lighting up.
"I'm going to try, if you'll allow it." Jehan veritably leapt up from the bench and leaned on the tree, facing Feuilly. "No, not like that, look out at the water, not at me." Jehan turned. "Not so stiff, please. Just relax. Look out at the water. Good." Feuilly put a new sheet of paper in his lap. The light was perfect. After a few glances at Jehan he turned to his pad and began sketching furiously.
"It's hot up here." Jehan mentioned awkwardly.
"The light is perfect." Feuilly grunted in response. Was there any way to do justice to Jehan's waistcoat without colors? He would have to find some paints. Where could he get colors like that? How could he recreate that ridiculous pattern? Red, red ,red, red, red, red, orange, red, red, orange. No accounting for Jehan's taste.
"It's all about light. Color and light." Feuilly responded. "Don't move the mouth, please." Jehan obediently shut his mouth so Feuilly could attempt to capture his lips. "Well, not all about light." He continued "Design, tension, composition, balance, light, harmony. It's all about a lot of things. I suppose it's not all about anything."
"Art isn't easy." Jehan said, pulling a strand of hair behind his ear, and quickly returning his arm to its original position.
"No." Feuilly agreed.
"Do you paint things like this on fans?"
"People? Not generally. I tend to do the landscapes and things like that. People are not my strongest suit—that's probably why I'm practicing drawing them. This fellow named Louis tends to draw the most graceful people. The others just are wild for him, but he's insufferably vain. Everybody loves Louis." A few more broad strokes, one that would have to be erased. Damn Louis. Louis wouldn't have screwed up the position of Jehan's arm, the way his fingers were wrapped around the bark.
"Oh." Jehan shifted his position slightly, and the fingers looked different. Feuilly cursed under his breath. Well, at least they were in a slightly easier position to draw. "Are you done yet?"
"No." Feuilly grunted. Stupid fingers.
"Can I move?"
"It's hot up here." Jehan repeated.
"Almost done. Concentrate."
"Concentrate." Jehan repeated. "It's not my strongest suit, Feuilly."
"You concentrate when it suits you. You concentrate on those poems."
"Well, yes," Jehan blushed. The blush, sweet as it was, was not going into the picture. "But that's different."
"No it's not." Almost finished. Just a few more lines on the tree. The details could be figured out later, at home, where it wasn't so hot. "It's all concentration. Being where you are. Focus." Feuilly held the paper out at arms length. It wasn't terrible. "All right, there. Come and see." Jehan eagerly galloped away from the tree and draped himself over the bench, peering over Feuilly's shoulder. "Well?" Feuilly asked, blushing a bit himself; he was not used to people looking at his sketches so soon after they were done. He rarely asked anyone to sit for him, preferring to capture them candidly, to avoid this very situation.
"It's absolutely wonderful." Jehan said with one of his sweetest smiles. "Am I that good looking?"
"I took a few artistic liberties." Feuilly teased. Jehan playfully swatted him.
"Well, I think it's great. Does look just like me. Can I see the other one you were working on? Of the people out strolling on Sunday?"
"Not until it's done." Feuilly responded.
"Please?" Jehan was intentionally trying to look cute, he could tell.
"Not until it's done." Feuilly insisted.
"When will it be done?"
"I don't know. I'll have to stop in a few hours, when the sun goes in, so I'll be finished, whether or not I'm done." Feuilly took out his old sheet of paper. "I'm doing a lot of studies of the people here. Just for practice. I'm hoping to get them all into one scene, but I doubt I'll ever get around to that."
"That would be nice. You must show that to me when it's done. You ought to paint it too—instead of just pencil." Jehan suddenly snapped his fingers, as if he had just had the best idea since the invention of the wheel. "You know, you should show the others your drawings of them at the café tomorrow!"
"Not on your life!" Feuilly exclaimed, nearly choking on his laugh. "They'd think I'm mad for spying on them like this! It isn't exactly normal, you know, to go around sketching people when they don't know you're doing it."
"No, it's not normal but the world would be a very boring place if everyone were normal. If everyone were normal, we'd have no art! And what is life without art?"
"That's what my grandmother, Marie, used to say." Feuilly responded, feeling Jehan's words get more and more distant, as the world of his sketches grew more and more near. "Only things worth leaving behind; children and art." The world had disappeared. A couple of young dandies and their mistresses, dressed in the height of fashion had entered the park. They had to be drawn. They were begging for it. A new sheet of paper flew onto Feuilly's lap.
"You're concentrating; I can see." Jehan said, with a smile, "You aren't interested in anything else but your paper."
"No—I am." Feuilly lied through his teeth. Was that a monkey on a leash? Did the woman with the blue parasol have a monkey on a leash? Or was that the ugliest dog he had ever seen—next to the boatman's dog he had sketched earlier.
"It's all right; I understand an artistic reverie when I see one. I'll see you later—tomorrow perhaps, at the café?" Feuilly stopped drawing the monkey—dog?
"Yes, tomorrow." He said.
"You know," Jehan said, getting up, "I feel particularly inspired. Perhaps I'll get some verses out of this by the time I get home—perhaps even a melody or two for my flute, based on your lovely sketches. What do you think?"
"Right. Who could write music inspired by inane sketches? They're just people in a suburban park. I don't think anyone could find inspiration from that sort of thing."
"Ah, well. Perhaps not." Jehan put on his hat and turned to go. "Good luck on your sketches, Feuilly." And he was gone. And Feuilly was back in the world of The Hat.