You Never Knew
Apollo sat alone at His table, carefully setting down a few scattered words on paper, making sure His face betrayed no emotion, and forcing His hands not to shake. He held His body rigidly, unmoving as the door opened and a gust of wind rushed through the cafe, causing the candle to flicker and the empty bottles on other tables to tremble. He looked up, and beheld the youngest of His followers entering, unsteadily, coat pulled close and hands knotted in the fabric.
"Jehan," He murmured, allowing His voice no traces of concern, "Jehan, what are you doing here?"
"I've come to watch the dance," whispered the boy, bracing himself on the back of a chair.
"What on earth are you talking about?" Apollo stood, and walked over to stand before the boy.
"The dancers. Well, they're not here yet. They will be. They give me poems, though not very good ones. You'll see, if you wait. They won't know you're here. They never see me."
He brushed back the boy's hair sternly. "You must go home. Sleep off the wine."
"No, I drank absinthe tonight."
The boy turned as, suddenly, the cafe door opened again, and two figures entered. Apollo watched in mild horror as Darnel and Arnett embraced just inside it, twining fingers in each other's hair. Arnett smiled dreamily and spake the name of his love. Darnel laughed a little, and kissed his cheek.
Apollo drew His young follower protectively to Himself, crossing His arms over the boy's chest as if to shield him from the evil they saw.
"The dancers?" He asked.
"Yes, they are. They never notice I'm here. They won't notice you either. Aren't they pretty? Just watch."
Not for the King brought bound to Him would He call the scene before Himself pretty. He frowned, and released the boy, striding to the pair, who held one another's hands.
"Combeferre," He addressed His lieutenant, "Combeferre. What are you doing, man?"
Arnett's lips twitched in a smile, and he shook his head at Apollo. "The philosopher is learning to be a lover. But he hasn't forgotten how to be a warrior. Leave him be, Enjolras: he will come back to you."
Darnel nudged his shoulder. "Come, if Apollo mislikes us, we had best do our dancing elsewhere. Have you room in your apartment?"
"Not like the dance floor of the cafe, but it should do." Arnett turned back to Apollo a last time, and tilted his head apologetically. "The revolution and its ideals rule my soul, yet not my heart, Enjolras. It takes my days, yet not my nights. I'll come tomorrow, and the next day; you don't hold meetings at midnight. Bonne nuit."
"My manners as well. Bonne nuit, Golden one."
They left, and Apollo turned back to His little follower, who was fuzzily gazing at Him.
He stepped back to the boy, and rested both hands on his shoulders. They quivered a bit beneath His fingers.
"Yes, they've gone. You knew?"
"'Course I knew. I see many things that no one else sees. No one else sees me. They didn't. Oh, but, Lord, I believed him. I thought he meant it when he said we were to worship you together. He said you were the only thing we'd love, the two of us, the only thing we'd believe in. He promised me it would be that way." The boy buried his face in his hands. "He lied to me. He's always lying to me."
"He lies to everyone. He's a waste of your company," Apollo told him, reprimanding.
"But I want to believe... I want to believe someone else understands."
The boy looked up at Him, eyes wide. "That you're a God. That you were to be worshiped." Damnedly, Apollo could see he meant that, the silly, strange little child with his illusions.
"You needn't have a fellow to worship."
"I need the dreams that he gave me."
"Jehan," He smiled, "Jehan. Write me a poem."
The boy parted his lips in wonder, and his purple-blue eyes grew awed. "Write you a poem? Write... --Yes, Lord. I shall."
"There," Apollo told him, "you are able to worship very well on your own. You are giving a gift to your god, and sacrificing a little of your poetic soul. You worship very well." And He kissed the boy's forehead to assure him of this.
Back to Chapter Three.