Marie's jaw dropped when she saw Jacques, and demanded he tell her what was wrong.
"It's your brother," he said. "And my group."
"The Sons of Freedom?"
"Brothers," he said, but continued. "Anyway. He came back, because the leader found out his name and tracked him down. He found out where your family lives-"
"How? We're unlisted-"
"I have no idea," Jacques said. "I told him they couldn't use your brother anymore. Jean wouldn't listen to me, I tried to talk to him, but he was insulted. He didn't want to be told he was too young to do something. But Marc, the leader, said I had to choose. I told him he could not hurt your family."
"What did he say?"
Jacques gulped. "He said he could not be comfortable with your father knowing details about the group. Which is why he got Jean to come back, so he could find a way to your family."
"No," Marie said, putting a hand over her mouth.
"So I tried to leave. But they wouldn't let me go without a fight, so-"
"Where is Jean?"
"He was still at the cafe when I left. I don't know where he is now."
"Come inside," Marie said, standing up and taking his hand. "We need to dress your wounds."
"Alright," he said, and followed her in. It was after midnight, and the house was asleep. Marie knocked on the door to Nicolette's quarters and then ran upstairs to wake her parents.
She returned a minute later, as Nicolette came out of her rooms with some wet linen cloths to clean his cuts and bandages.
"My parents are coming," Marie said, her eyes wide and worried in the candlelight. "I just woke them."
"Why were you out in the garden?" Jacques asked. "It's cold outside. I thought I was going to have to knock on your windows, to wake you up."
"I was busy thinking," she said, not looking at him. Instead she patted some ice on his bruised eye, gently soothing his wounds. "I read Jane Eyre."
"You did?" he asked. "What did you think?"
"I thought it was good," she mused. "But both Lizzy and Darcy were very daft. They let so much get in the way of the fact that they loved each other. I thought one of them would get wise, but they didn't seem to."
"Until the end," Jacques said. He looked at her, trying to see whether she would realize anything about what she was saying, but she didn't. He chuckled.
"What?" she asked, bothered at his laughter.
"You have a brilliant mind, Marie," Jacques said, "when it comes to facts and figures and ideas. But as you told me once, you are not very reflective."
"Pardon? I don't understand."
"Every day, after that day you saw me out and said goodbye, I hoped you would read that book. I hoped it would make you realize something. But it seems it didn't. Marie; don't you understand?"
She froze up and grew very still, her mouth grimacing. "What is it you are trying to say?"
"I am trying to say that you are missing something important. Lizzy and Darcy let so much get in the way of the fact that they loved each other- I love you Marie. We shouldn't let something ruin that."
She glared at him. "I think it's completely inappropriate for you to talk to me that way. Besides, I didn't let something trivial ruin things for us. You ruined things yourself. You lied to me. You hurt my family."
Her words stung, but they were true. "I know. Marie, if I could change anything that I've done in my life, it would be that. Believe me."
She said nothing, and their conversation was ended when her parents came into the room.
He repeated his story again, and then Marie's father asked the address of the place.
"You're going there?" Marie asked, eyes wide. "Papa? They might hurt you!"
"Marie, I have to go. They have my son. I don't have a choice."
"It may well turn into a full-fledged fight," Madame Pontmercy said, looking upset, but torn. She wanted her son home and safe, but she also wanted her husband.
"Would it be more prudent to go to the police?" Marie asked.
"Yes," Marius said. "Jacques, would you come with me? You should tell the police about it, if you're willing to help. I can make sure you don't get into any trouble."
Jacques once would have been torn, but not anymore. He'd realized that these people were not at all his friends. If they were going to hurt the Pontmercys, they were going to hurt Marie, and he was going to stop them, no matter what. Marie, little Victoire and Isabel and Courfeyrac, her brother Leon... they could not be harmed.
"He can't go," Marie said, feeling suddenly protective. For some reason that she did not want to think about, she did not want Jacques taken from her in that moment. She tightened her grip on his arm. "He's hurt! What if they hurt him again?"
Her parents and Jacques all turned to her, slightly astonished. Jacques' eyes grew bright in a way that infuriated her.
"I just mean- oh, you all know what I mean," she said, turning brilliantly red. "Fine, go. Just be careful, both of you."
They left a minute later, leaving Marie and her mother to camp out in the living room to wait the night out.
"This is torture," Marie said. "Poor Jean... why would he go back?"
Cosette did not answer. Her eyes were full of tears.
"Maybe he just wanted to be part of something," Marie reasoned. "But it's so frightening. How could he do something so stupid? Maman, what if he gets hurt?"
"Don't," Cosette said. She put her arm around her daughter and held her close, feeling her soft, dark hair, and trying desperately not to think about her other child, her boy, with a group of people who wanted to hurt him.
"Your father will fix everything," Cosette said, sounding unsure. "It will all be alright."
Marie waited with her mother for a very long time, until Cosette went upstairs and changed out of his nightgown and into a regular dress. She came back downstairs and suggested she and Marie make something for breakfast.
"It's not even five in the morning yet," Marie protested.
"Yes, but Nicolette went back to sleep and I'm not going to wake her, and I am hungry. I'm not usually up like this... I need something to busy myself with."
Marie agreed, though she was not sure she could eat. Her mother was the type who always enjoyed being busy and was always practical. Loss of appetite did not strike her.
Cosette got out a complicated recipe for quiche and some pastries, which would take a long time to make.
"Best keep our hands busy, right Marie?" Cosette asked, a falsely chipper attitude on.
They had just taken their quiche out of the oven when the key scraped in the lock.
"Father?" Marie asked before he had even come in properly. Jacques followed him, as did Jean. "Are you-"
"We have to go," Marius said quickly. "I've called the police, but they are sure to come here-"
"What happened?" Marie asked.
"We'll tell you on the way. Marie, go get your sisters out. Cosette, could you pack some clothes? Jean, get the boys. I'll go talk to Nicolette and Basque and the Porter."
"How can I help?" Jacques asked Marius while he watched the other Pontmercys run up the stairs.
"Stay here, please. Make sure no one has followed us home."
A few minutes later, and the Pontmercys were in their family carriage. The littler ones were frightened, but Cosette tried to assure them it would be an adventure. Marius whispered a hurried explanation to Cosette, but would not say it all so as not to frighten the other children.
"Jacques, please tell me what's happening," Marie said when she piled into the carriage and sat next to him.
"Your father and I went to the cafe, and it was in tumult- they did not want to see me back, and your father was clearly not welcome. Some people ran, but others stayed. People were yelling, but that wasn't what was frightening... it was Marc. It was clear that your father aggravated him, by coming... and now we're worried he was going to come and retaliate-"
"Who is this man?" Marie asked.
"He's a manipulative leader," Jacques explained. "He has his vision of how things should be, and he's willing to do almost anything to make sure that happens."
She shivered. "Where are we going?"
"My mother's," Jacques said. "They have no idea where I live. When my father was dying, he changed the will of the house so it rested under my mother's maiden name. That way no one could take advantage of her or try to take it away since he was gone. It's rightfully in her name. But that way, even if anyone in the group knew my last name, they won't find the house."
"I hope not," Marie said.
"You'll be fine," he assured her. "Nothing is going to happen to you."
"What about Jean?" Marie pressed.
"I think it's a lot bigger than Jean, now," Jacques said. He turned and looked out at the waking city. People were just starting to open their shutters and curtains and to light their fires. It was surreal; he was exhausted, and the day had only just begun. He shook his head and took Marie's hand.