Combeferre paused in the doorway of his room, looking gently at the figure curled up on the bed, lying on its side. Enjolras' long golden hair was unbound, and streamed across the pillow. He was dressed, contrary to his fashion, in a white shirt, waistcoat, and cravat, and his skin was paler than usual. The blankets had been drawn up to his waist, and he seemed to be asleep. One arm was acting a second pillow, his fingers tangled in his hair. His other arm lay out across the blanket, clutching a letter.
"Marc, wake up." Combeferre walked to the bedside, and sat very carefully. He touched Enjolras' cheek, brushing lightly with his forefinger.
Enjolras did not stir.
Combeferre took the letter, flattening both pages on his knee, and peered at the script, written quite small with a tilt.
The princess lived happily until her sixteenth birthday. On that day, while the entire palace was preparing for the celebration, she took it upon herself to explore the rooms she had not yet visited. It was such a large palace that even at sixteen she hadn't seen everything there was to be seen. She wandered up staircases and past huge windows with beautiful stained glass.
At last, she came to a staircase leading up and up. She climbed it, for now she wanted nothing more in the world to see what was at the top. After a long while, she came to a little door. She opened it, and saw an old woman sitting in a corner, beneath a tiny window, spinning on a spinning wheel.
The princess had never seen a spinning wheel before, and she rushed to the woman's side. The woman had never left her tower before, and she didn't know of the rule: that there were to be no spinning wheels. When the princess asked to be shown the wheel and how it worked, the woman obliged, guiding the girl's hand.
Suddenly, the princess's finger touched upon the spindle. She fell to the floor, senseless, and she slept for one hundred years.
Combeferre reread the letter over again, in confusion. He looked over at Enjolras, and once again stroked his cheek, greatly worried.
"Marc, please wake up."
He shook Enjolras, and then, in despair, he kissed Enjolras' lips, sweetly, resting his hand on the sleeping man's shoulder. Enjolras stirred, and his eyes opened slowly, staring up at Combeferre in surprise.
"Are you all right? When did you come here?"
"Oh... there was no reason. I'm sorry." Enjolras pushed himself sitting.
"That letter. It makes no sense. What did it mean?" Combeferre told himself silently that the letter was clearly the cause of this trouble, and it didn't matter that he was prying. He reminded himself he shouldn't feel guilty. It was because he was worried. He didn't flinch when Enjolras looked sharply at him.
"You read it?"
"It didn't mean anything. Truly, Phillipe. Nothing."
"Of course not!" Combeferre burst out. "Am I always to believe it's nothing? Is that how you want it to be? God, what do you take me for? I've been allowed to love you, but you have secrets, and I mustn't step over all the invisible lines that you expect me to see!" He was shaking, and he couldn't tell at all if it was because he was angry, or frightened, or because he might break pathetically down and cry before Enjolras.
Enjolras stared at him in shock, and abruptly pulled him close, rocking him a little, and stroking his hair with a slender hand. "Oh, God, Phillipe. It really wasn't anything. It was only my sister taunting me."
Combeferre took off his spectacles and wiped his eyes, feeling idiotic for doing so. "How...?"
"A few years ago, Marie-Therese told me I was like the princess in the story. I had a charmed life. And when I was sixteen, I died, for my parents disowned me because of my mad political views." He smiled, although Combeferre couldn't see. "Marie-Therese is the old woman in the story, who betrayed me. She informed my parents of the facts regarding my life in Paris. She found some of my papers. So you see, it's really nothing. I just have a childish family."
"But before now, you've always never told me anything. I never know. Are you truly a god apart from us all?"
"A god, Phillipe? A frightened god. I'm not to let you or anyone else know when I am afraid, but all the time... I worry about what I'm doing, you know."
"Damn it, you should have told me." Combeferre straightened his back, looking levelly at Enjolras. "You should have said. I wouldn't have been disillusioned. I wouldn't have thought any less of you. If I'm your lover, please allow me to support you. Tell me things. Please."
"No, listen to me, Marc. I believe in your dreams, and I believe in you, and I believe in fear. And I believe you can be afraid. I'm not like some of them, and it wouldn't kill me to know things hurt you. I want to be something useful to you. I want you to trust me. I want you to need me."
"Can I?" Enjolras said softly, and looked past Combeferre's ear, to his extreme annoyance.
"Of course you can. Don't be difficult, please. You can't do everything all on your own."
"I can't." Enjolras laughed shortly. "You're right. I can't. I'm sorry, Phillipe. I shall tell you things, if that's what you want. To know my idiotic problems."
Combeferre smiled in relief, and rested his chin on Enjolras' shoulder, settling against him happily. "Thank God. Now you must sleep here, and talk to me. And we'll burn the damned letter."
"You a page, and I a page?"
"Dear Lord." Enjolras looked across the room at the window, stroking Combeferre's hair with what seemed like wonder. "Je t'aime, Phillipe."
"You've never said that before."
"I havn't, either. Mais je t'aime."
"Je t'aime, Marc."
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