I think I knew, the first day I met you. You walked in and introduced yourself, a comical figure with your thinning hair and your threadbare coat-- but the way you smiled. No one could help smiling back; you lit up the room. You sat down across from me and asked my name; and, still smiling, I gave it to you. "Delighted," you said, as though you truly were, and I saw that your eyes were bluer than my own.

You asked me how I was, and I told you, and you laughed. Have you any idea what a gift that was, to be laughed at? Or was it only that you made it so, with your talent for taking the sting out of things?

You were so full of laughter; it welled out of you like a cheerful spring, and overflowed. You could take no trouble seriously, and you dispelled my anxieties with friendly mockery. "Nothing wrong with you, Alexandre, don't be absurd!" --as though you understood instinctively my need for reassurance.

Within a few weeks it was as if I had always known you. Your mannerisms, your gestures, your turns of phrase had become as familiar to me as my own. Before long I was finishing your sentences, and you were anticipating my answers. It came naturally to lend you money, bandage your cut fingers, cheer you in your endless misfortunes. And when one day I met you in the street, rumpled and rueful -- "Do you know, mon ami, I've done a ridiculous thing!" -- it seemed natural then to invite you home with me.

And I have never been so contented, never known such an abiding joy as I did then. Talking with you, uninterrupted, till all hours of the night; falling asleep by your side, close together in the narrow bed. I began to feel, then, as though nothing could separate us.

And now you are asleep, with your head pillowed on my shoulder, exhausted. It must be after midnight. We are all supposed to be sleeping, but only a few have managed it. Enjolras is pacing; Pontmercy is brooding; Combeferre is hovering over the wounded, as though he can do anything more for them; Feuilly is marking up the walls. And I am thinking of these things, because I don't know if I'll have the chance to think of them, later.

This is not where I thought we would be tonight when I asked you to breakfast, mon ami. I don't know quite what I was expecting, but not this.

At least the rain's let up, and so has my cold. I could probably doze off now, before the night is quite gone, and sleep beside you again. For a little while.