"Lesgles... can I talk to you?"
"You've a mouth that works, have you not?," Said Bossuet with a doomed cheeriness, "Why not? Speak up, Courfeyrac, as you can; and I'll listen, as i must."
Characteristically, Courfeyrac would have perhaps laughed. Thus it was singular in the extreme to see him bite his lip for a good thirty seconds or so before responding.
"Um, Bossuet... I was wondering... are you and Joly...?" He trialed off with a pointedness that made the Bald Eagle sigh inwardly and laugh outwardly, gracing the table with his boots.
"Are Joly and I...? A question mark? Going to the Voltaire tonight for billiards with Bahorel? If you mean the latter; you've the right of it, my friend; but why do I suspect that you mean something else?"
"Because I do, devil take it," he spluttered vehemently; making Bossuet's eyebrows dance across his gleaming forehead, "What I mean to say.. to ask is... You and Joly, you are roomates, n'cest pas? Are you also..." Bossuet waited with a diabolical patience while Courfeyrac searched for just the adjective or noun to complete the thought. "...Les Amants?"
Bossuet regarded him with no small amusement, plucking his feet from the table to lean forward a bit; that their confrence could retain some modicum of privacy.
"Now, that was entirely more painful than it needed to be, mon copain. No. Contrary to popular belief, we are not lovers-- another wobbly tile from my caving roof! Cher Joly is devoted wholly and soully to his fickle Musichetta; and cher Lesgles..." He sighed heavily, "Must endure the rumors."
But Courfeyrac missed most of this, focusing only on a point here and there.
"You are not? He is not..." The flood of relief that suffused Courfeyrac's features was a trifle startling to the Eagle of Meaux; for all it's brevity made him blink. Courfeyrac stumbled on oblivious. "...if this much is so, then, I was wondering... I mean; given his mistress, you are surely in the way, And I have quite a bit of room... so to speak... if you wouldn't like to stay with me, for a while?" His voice nearly squeaked on that last; and poor Bossuet nearly tumbled out of his chair onto his unprotected pate.
"M. Courfeyrac!" He gasped, when he had sufficiently recovered, "Are you inviting intimacies between ourselves? As often as I have sheltered under your roof, and visited you for breakfast, lunch, or supper, with not a whisper..."
"I hadn't realised before that you might be of a responsive nature, were I to make any such advances." Courfeyrac replied swiftly.
"And you've no garuntee of that now, mon copain pauvre." He shook his head with a chuckle. "You must understand; save such anomalies as my cher Joly, Pontmercy and-- so had been supposed-- yourself; the lot of us are of a consumately Athenian nature. You, my friend, if you but snap your fingers, could have almost any one of us..." He sighed amiably, "Almost. Women are our distraction; like so many baguettes or bottles of wine; an acessory. When the need is for true companionship..." He lowered his eyes bemusedly at his glass. "Really, until his distraction over his mysterious mam'selle, conventional wisdom held that you and Pontmercy were on connuvial terms."
At which it was Courfeyrac's turn to nearly fall out of his chair.
"No! Pontmercy and I... mais non!"
"Such a pity." Murmured Bossuet. Courfeyrac did not hear him.
"No, no, never. Rather I... that is to say, I don't..." He spluttered on, until Bossuet could not but save him from himself.
"I'll admit to being flattered, cher Courfeyrac-- mais, of the lot of us, you have picked the wrong one to become infatuated with. As my Joly pines over his Musichetta, I, Gaspard Legles, remain devoted unto him."
Courfeyrac stared. Bossuet studied the bottom of his glass patiently, until Courfeyrac cleared his throat.
"Have I missed something...?"
"You've missed everything, copain. You've certainly missed the fawning looks and sighs Jean Prouvaire bestows upon you everytime you pass by..."
"Naturellement. He's been a terrible cad to poor Feuilly, all for your sake."
"Feuilly? He's not...?"
"Smitten by Enjolras? Of course he is, isn't everyone? But no one-- save, obviously, Grantaire-- is such a fool as to hold out for that statue. And who can blame him... when you believe in nothing, what can you do but love something that not even you can refute? Poor sot. If-- and it is a rather weighty if-- Our Hero needs a moment's leisure, it is a fairly confident guess that he takes it with Combeferre." A sip for him and a gag for Courfeyrac, who subsequently drained his glass and another; then allowed Bossuet to pour him a third. Or perhaps fourth; counting had become something of an chore.
"He and Enjolras!? mais... mais..." He spluttered. Bossuet laughed enormously.
"What, you didn't know? Or at least suspect?" He had to admit a certain amount of gratified pleasure, watching the typically suave Courfeyrac so very out of sorts. He was actually kind of cute when he spluttered, un peu, thought Lesgles to himself with a grin.
"Non non non, i knew... well, about Combeferre, I mean I..." He broke off with a deep crimson blush. Bossuet gaped-- at the blush in itself, not that which fathered it, and chuckled into yet another glass.
"Oh haven't we all, my friend, haven't we all? You must hand it to René, he's terribly discreet-- but everyone has sought solace upon that pillar of sympathy at some point or another, and everyone knows it." Courfeyrac opened his mouth, then closed it.
"The devil!" he exclained finally, slamming down the bottle empty. Bossuet sighed.
"I'm terribly sorry, my friend..."
"Non, non, it is I who am sorry, Gaspard." Courfeyrac staggered up, partially feeling the effects of what drink he'd hitherto consumed, partially consumed by a need to be affected in a far heavier way. But somewhere else. "I shant trouble you again... I'm sorry." And he all but ran from the Musain, biting back tears.
The Eagle of Words sat silently for the length of half another bottle, staring at the swinging door through which came Joly, after having been nearly knocked down by the hurried and harried Courfeyrac. Seeing Joly was entirely too much; Courfeyrac's choked sobs could be heard through the thin walls for several minutes after he had gone. Unsurprised but shaken, the hypochondirac sat across from the bald eagle with a sagacious sniffle, regarding him concernedly until he finally spoke.
"I think my heart is broken, Joly."
"I have a digitalis elixir that might..." The hypochondriac offered anxiously.
"Oh, nevermind. Or better yet, give it to Courfeyrac."
"Hmm? Oh yes; right. I did catch that." He tsked, shaking his head. "Discretion being the better part of valor, I waited outside."
"Merci beaucoup... well, I told him about half of the truth. At first you see, I thought he was going to ask about you..."
"You flatter me, oh acellerator of my own pulse-rate."
"Now you stop that; and lets us get home before I'm blind and comotose to go with being a perfect rat."
"Pauvre." Joly murmured, scratching the end of his nose with his cane before standing, and offering Bossuet his arm. "All right let's." Greatfully, the wobbling schlimazl accepted the support and the pair of them made quietly towards their shared abode. By the time they arrived, all manner of sad things had been completely forgotten.