After Prince Achmed disappeared behind the palace gates and the crowd dispersed, Aladdin was approached by a man his age with a dashing smile.
"That was impressive, standing up to Achmed like that," he said. "You're Aladdin, right? My name is Courfeyrac."
"You know who I am?"
"Who doesn't know who you are? In any case, I've been watching you today. I saw you giving up your bread to the children. And, of course, what happened with that prince. Come with me. I'd like to introduce you to some friends of mine."
Aladdin was suspicious, but he gave Abu a shrug and followed Courfeyrac anyway. If the guards were truly intent on capturing him, they would not do it so clandestinely. He doubted they were smart enough for that, and besides, they had the perfect opportunity after the scuffle in the street. This could not be a trap.
Courfeyrac led him to the cellar of a local watering hole, where he was greeted with the sight of a more young men, drinking, and more importantly, talking intently.
"What is this?"
"We're an underground resistance group to the current government," said Courfeyrac as he shut the door behind Aladdin. "You saw it for yourself, didn't you? Children starve in the streets, and all our sultan cares about is marrying his daughter off. And that Achmed is only one brand of the villainy the princess has for a choice. Imagine ifhe is the one she chose!"
"But she has denied so many already," said another man, "who is to say that she won't deny him?"
"Who is to say she will?" said yet another. "We all saw it. He is no better than the rest, but she is running out of time as the current law stands."
Aladdin's head was already spinning. "Wait. I don't understand what you're saying here."
"Revolution," said a man who was clearly the leader of the group. "We speak of revolution."
The next morning as Aladdin and Abu broke their fast with stolen watermelon, Aladdin thought about the group of people he had met the previous night and the words they had said. Enjolras, the leader, and Combeferre had spoken to him at lengths about the current laws and the injustices the people faced every day because of them, but Aladdin could barely keep them straight in his head. It was Aladdin's childhood friend, Feuilly, who simplified it for him: they wished to have the sultan step down and put a new government in his place.
"It will be one where the people decide who represents them in matters that concern them. There will be no sultan, no princesses who need to marry a prince from another kingdom, and we will be governed by those out for all of the people's best interests."
It was treason they spoke of, Aladdin knew. The guards would have a field day if they found out he was involved in an underground resistance like that. But Enjolras and Courfeyrac both told Aladdin that he could think it over before joining them. It was a lot to take in at once.
Could they really make life easier and better for everyone? Would there be less streetrats like him because they all would have made their way into honest living? Would there be no more children picking food out of merchants' garbage? Could they really do that?
Aladdin sighed. He did not know what to do. But as he gazed out into the street below him, his gaze caught the sight of the most beautiful woman he ever laid eyes on.
"We have trouble. Aladdin was captured."
They were getting ready to move their plan of retrieving Aladdin from the palace dungeon into motion when another prince made an exuberant entrance into Agrabah's marketplace.
"Look at him, showing off his riches and… and… slaves like that," said Bahorel with a scowl from the top of the building closest to the palace walls.
"Never mind that," hissed Feuilly. "This distraction is exactly what we needed. Toss me that rope."
Courfeyrac squinted his eyes as he looked upon the man atop the elephant. "Is it just me, or does this Ali character look awfully familiar to anyone else?"
Sure enough, Prince Ali was none other than the street urchin Aladdin that Courfeyrac had introduced to the revolutionary group. They sat in the cellar, eight deep in thought and debate about the boy's intentions, how he escaped, and what to do next. Only one kept to his drink by himself, leaving the others to their discussion.
Someone raised the theory that perhaps Aladdin had been a spy, but that was thrown out the window very quickly, for not only was Courfeyrac a good judge of character, but if Aladdin had wanted to expose the group, they would have been arrested and executed already. Perhaps he thought to enter the palace and try to overthrow the government from within? But if that was the case, why did he not come to them first?
"He can't be an enemy spy from a foreign land, can he? Feuilly, you said you knew him as a child."
"Yes. We only lost track of each other last year when I met you all. I cannot imagine how he would have amassed such wealth over the course of even a year, much less overnight."
"And that is the other mystery, isn't it? Where did he acquire those riches he displayed in front of the crowd?"
"And the slaves," Bahorel spat.
"This just doesn't seem like him," said Feuilly. Courfeyrac, only having known Aladdin for two days, agreed.
"Well, we cannot ignore that he is here to woo the princess, whether under a guise or not. Do you suppose he'll have any more luck than the others?"
Courfeyrac smiled. "I imagine he might."
"Then let us wait and see what comes of it. Best case scenario, we will be granted an audience, and perhaps the sultan will listen to reason, and the people will not need to rise. Worst case, we continue as we have before. I believe we can put faith in Aladdin not exposing us."
Nobody expected the Grand Vizier, Jafar, to launch his own coup.
Aladdin was exiled, and there was no better timing. It was time for revolution.
Unfortunately, the people lived in fear of Jafar's power, but the group knew that they could not abandon them. If only eight people rose to fight for them, then so be it, eight it would be. It was a pity Grantaire had drunk too much and fallen asleep, but no matter.
They erected a barricade in the middle of the marketplace, but the guards who fought against them were not enthused to do so. However, they were enchanted and had no choice but to fight. They cried for mercy from the revolutionaries, but nobody knew how to help them. Combeferre, for all his studies, could not decipher the spells Jafar had used upon them, and Jehan knew of no plant to cure them.
"Kill us!" they pleaded.
And then he fired the first killing blow.
Aladdin did not wait to become sultan to honor his fallen friends.
He told his future father-in-law about his friends who believed that he had little interest in the starving children in the streets, and the sultan immediately set about doing something about that. He told his future father-in-law about what the people wanted from their government, and the sultan immediately set about learning what it was that made his people unhappy. Jasmine helped by continuing her incognito trips into the marketplace, and Aladdin often accompanied her.
They erected a monument for these men that had once asked Aladdin to join their fold, and even after Aladdin became sultan, he kept their teachings in his head. While he could not create the exact government he wanted, he kept many advisors from all walks of life and made sure to consult each and every one of them before making a decision.
Every night, Aladdin went to bed wishing he had returned to Agrabah sooner, that he had tricked Jafar sooner, that he had never gotten himself exiled. But he freed the Genie, and the Genie could not bring people back from the dead, anyway. Could he have turned back time?
Sometimes, Aladdin wondered.