It started innocently.
Francoeur was very new to this way of life, and as such knew nothing of what was expected or acceptable, but he felt like he was making progress. He knew he was improving.
Sometimes it just got difficult, like when walking down the street with Lucille on his arm, oh how hard he had to fight the urge to crouch down to a more comfortable position, or climb a lamppost because that light behind the stained glass was simply fascinating.
And sometimes it was just plain odd, the people of Paris were as different from each other as they were the same, and the things they did and said. They were confusing, contradicting in their ways, and the way they spoke was perfectly understandable French, and it was just the things they said that were such a puzzle to him.
He never did get the answer from Lucille when he asked why the woman from the chicken stand gave him some sort of odd eye-blinking, and what she meant by "You can come by later to fertilize my eggs, hun." it was never explained, she didn't even answer, Lucille had just turned tail and dragged him down the street, the oddest thing was that her face changed color.
Which he found pretty, and fascinating.
Talking about Lucille, she was strange too.
Of course, she was beautiful, and because she was so beautiful, she always drew his attention.
Whether it be by simply talking; the way she would use her hands, or the quirky movement of her mouth. She'd talk and laugh; he especially liked her laugh, the noise was airy and so different from screaming, it was a happy sound.
Or she could be doing nothing, and he would stare at her and stare and stare until his eyes felt dull and dry so he had to blink and then get back to staring. She sometimes caught him, and he would drop his gaze and twiddle with the guitar strings, she would coo with amusement. It was a bit like hearing a white dove, croo-ooo-crooo-crooon."Oh, Francoeur."
She acted strange sometimes.
They had passed a couple on their way to The Rare Bird, and while the woman had stood quietly in the man's arms, he stroked her face like this, the woman had laughed, a rosy patch appearing in her face. He later had asked Lucille, barely a minute before the curtain rose, what it meant, and when she didn't understand what he was asking, he'd shown her.
Stepping closer, he'd reached out with his hand, bringing his face closer as well to hear her answer; the sounds of the audience could drown out any noise. And he'd stroked her cheek gently, like that man had, "…like this." Lucille hadn't answered that question either, could it have been because she didn't know? She had gasped very softly, about to speak to him, but the curtain had swept aside, and she was forced to step a little ways to the side, once again they had been caught in a moment.
After the performances; they would go home.
Because he had no home; Lucille had offered him hers, because he never had a bed; Lucille opted to share hers. Within reason that he would keep to his side of the bed and that he kept his hands to himself. "All four of them."
It started on one of these nights, Lucille had bought him 'nightclothes', which were just as interesting as his white suit, but this one had stripes, and Lucille had to fight him for it because he wanted to trace every little blue line, because he didn't know that some things came in stripes.
After losing the fight for the stripy night shirt, Francoeur had sat down and let Lucille button it up, he didn't really like having to put two of his four arms into the sleeves, he had to do it every night for Lucille when they had to sing together. But she had said it was cold, and was going to rain.
Francoeur disliked rain.
He couldn't not hate rain, he was, and had been, a flea.
Fleas, as a rule, avoided water. Of course, one measly drop couldn't kill him now that he was taller, but that didn't mean he liked it.
Bath time had been an experience too, but that was for another time.
So, it had started on one such night, nothing weird of different had happened the day before, other than that Lucille gave him some sweet dark thing called, 'chocolat', something she had liked since childhood, and would only eat it now if she felt like she deserved it. He'd watch – fascinated- as she broke it in half, gave him a piece and showed him how to eat it, she would close her eyes and a little patch of pink would suddenly appear on her cheeks. The same patch of color rose to an even brighter tint when he'd forgotten about his piece, and had to lick the sweet dark tasting from his fingers before it dripped on his trouser leg.
The taste had lasted for the whole day, and sometimes he would lick him lips and still taste it; Lucille often gave him a look whenever he did this, maybe because every time he did he couldn't keep that slow smile from forming. It was such a delight!
Here he was, awake and in a sour mood because it was raining and the sound was stopping him from sleeping. Lucille was sleeping, so he didn't want to wake her for something to do, she liked to sleep. She said she had dreams, wonderful and colorful things that humans have from the day they're born till their death, and never the same dream. It could be anything, and in a dream, you could be anyone, you could fly, you could discover fascinating new species as an explorer, you could do anything.
But you could also have nightmares.
Francoeur might not have known how a dream looked, but he knew what a nightmare was. People had called him a 'nightmare' right alongside 'monster'. It wasn't a very pleasant thing, a nightmare.
And Lucille seemed to be having one right then and there.
She twisted and turned, causing the sheets to tangled and bunch around her legs which were tensing and curling around her body. She ached her back and a sound escaped her mouth. It was a little sound, a human wouldn't have heard it, even without the rain, but Francoeur could.
It was the sound of pain.
Breaking Lucille's first bed-sharing rule: stick to your side of the bed, Francoeur carefully moved aside the wall of pillows between them; Lucille had told him that he kicked in his sleep.
Well, if he dreamed, it would be of jumping, there was no feeling greater than jumping as high as you could.
Then, just as gently, he stroked a hand over Lucille's shoulder, shaking it as he whispered; "Lucille?"
When she didn't wake immediately, he placed his second right hand over her ribs, he shook her a little more, "Lucille, are you hurt?" There was still nothing, she was still sleeping, and still making little sounds of pain.
Becoming worried Francoeur lowered his hands to that they pressed against her back, one below the other, he rubbed hoping that if shaking didn't woke her, the pressure of his hands maybe could. Hissing just as quietly.
Startled Francoeur tore his hands from her, and surely she made another noise, it sounded sad and just as painful.
Placing his hands on her back, he pressed, just a little. She gasped again, but this time it was quieter and less painful sounding.
Pressing harder, he felt her curving her back to his hands, retreating them, she followed till she had scooted at least a foot closer.
He set his hands on her lower back and, pressing hard, he pushed her all the way till she was but an inch away from the edge of the bed, she countered by scooting back, trying to get back into the bed and at the same time pressing her back against his hands.
Francoeur smiled. This was a game.
He spend a long time just pressing his hands against her back, retreating them, and then laughing quietly whenever she followed them without conscious thought.
Then it came to the point where he didn't need to reach out; Lucille had scooted much farther and was now pretty much lying against his side, her back trapping his hands between them.
Smiling a little sillier, Francoeur took a deep breath that ended in a jaw-cracking yawn. The rain hadn't stopped, but was very softly patting the window, like it tried to be very quiet for his sake.
Untangling the sheets a little, he covered Lucille so that she'd be warm, and then turned his back to her, curling into a ball so that he could sleep, it was his favorite position. It felt safe.
Sighing deeply Francoeur felt his eyes droop, barely aware that Lucille was tight against his back, softly twisting but no longer making sounds of pain. She was sighing too, and here and there he could make out a little "Aahh" noise, although he had no word for it.
That night he dreamt of dancing.
It was a strange dance, not much footwork was involved, and he didn't need to wear his human disguise, and neither was Lucille while she was embracing him, they swayed in an odd manner, they weren't moving too much either, but it felt like it was a dance.
A good dance.