A Snow Day
Author's Note: Reynaud's Syndrome is hereditary, and if you have it and happen to get very cold, you'll turn white and hurt a lot and need to be warmed up slowly to make it go away. My Prouvaire has it.
Jehan sat idly by his window, his fingers splayed against the glass. It was cold, the glass, and snowflakes blew against it outside, and his fingers turned white from resting against it. When he took his hand away, a very pale blue sheen stuck to the pane, blue ink that had rubbed off on him the day before and was now rubbing off on the wet from the cold window. Writing poetry was bliss, and calligraphising it was heaven, and therefore he was often sticky and blue, if not sticky and green, or sticky and red. He rather liked the effect it created on his window-glass, however. It looked rather like stained glass and reminded him of churches.
He was not writing now; he was simply listening to the silent snow falling, and watching the heavy, grey clouds that covered the sky. His purple-blue eyes reflected the clouds, and it seemed as though he were half-asleep. Perhaps he was. At any rate, the inkpot before him was capped, and the quill that lay beside it dry, and the parchment that was always scattered over his desk had only sentiments written on it that he'd written yesterday.
His room was a rather small one, with space enough for a small bed, a small washstand, and his small desk, with one window - though it was a large window - and a small fireplace, with a small, pathetic fire in it. The clothes in the chest in the corner were mismatched with quite tasteless combinations of colour. Indeed, the only thing that would have hinted he had some amount of money was the presence of the blue ink. The clothes he wore now were composed of a very loosely tied green cravat, a white linen shirt, fawn breeches, and a bright purple waistcoat; part of the reason he hadn't bothered to go to Musain was because he didn't wish to be teased by Courfeyrac. The waistcoat was his favourite, but Courfeyrac tended to rag him mercilessly over it. The other part of his reason was the snow. It was a beautiful snow, half-silver in the sun, and when he'd woken in the morning he'd wanted nothing more than to stay home and look at it, perhaps to write a poem, but only if he felt like it, and as it turned out, he didn't feel like it.
So he instead sat before his window in an old wicker chair, wrapped himself in a moth-eaten blue quilt, and smiled drowsily out at the snow. A few moments later, he fell asleep, and dreamed of hot coffee and feathers.
When Guillaume slipped in quietly at noon, Jehan was still asleep, one arm draped over the arm of the chair, and the other holding the quilt together limply. Guillaume looked fondly at him for a minute, then shook him gently.
Jehan woke quickly, as easily as though he'd never been sleeping, and beamed at Guillaume. "Combeferre! Oh dear, Enjolras wasn't displeased with me for not coming?"
"No, no, nothing like. He sent us home when the snow deepened. A revolutionary, but no madman."
"Oh. Good," Jehan smiled.
Guillaume ruffled his hair, and looked about for a place to sit. At that, Jehan tried to rise to his feet, blushing, and tripped over his quilt. Guillaume caught him before he fell, laughing.
"Gracious, Jehan. What you'll do to yourself if you're not careful." He unwrapped the quilt delicately. "I fancy you need a new one. It's a good thing Christmas is so close. You can ask."
"I shan't either. I love my quilt." Jehan buried his face in it, clutching it in both hands, and reddening at Guillaume's soft chuckle when his fingers poked through the fabric. "It's that way for conveniency! So I can wear it and pick things up. Like gloves with the tips cut off. It's made to be useful."
"Of course it is."
Jehan looked up at him, put out. "You're laughing at me. You're as dreadful as Courfeyrac. You all laugh at me because I don't dress properly, and I write lovesick poetry to whomever I fancy, and any time Enjolras asks me a question I answer with whatever daydream first comes to my tongue."
"But I'm not laughing at you. I'm laughing at your cleverness." He petted Jehan's hair. "Tell me, what were you doing before I came?"
"I was sitting at the window. I was thinking how nice it would be to run out in the snow and have snowflakes in my hair and be soaked, and then come back inside and have coffee. I'd have coffee in one of the nice cups Belle gave me before I left home. And I'd wear my lovely quilt. Then I realised I'd have to go for a cafe for coffee, and I didn't want to. So I fell asleep."
"Do you still not want to go to a cafe?"
"I... wouldn't mind, now, I suppose."
"Then we shall go out in the snow."
"Truly?" Jehan forgot instantly the he was supposed to be annoyed with Guillaume.
"Truly. I'd like to. If you would?"
"Combeferre! Merci!" He flung his arms about Guillaume, for which he received a gentle smile.
"Please call me Guillaume. If I call you Jehan, you must call me Guillaume."
Jehan looked troubled. "Guillaume doesn't have as many rhymes as Combeferre."
"Don't rhyme. Just come with me."
Jehan did. Without bothering to put on an overcoat, he scampered outside, turning his face up to the snow. Guillaume followed at a run, feeling rather innocent of a sudden. Jehan was so shameless, as though he were still a child, unconcerned with propriety. He twirled about, sometimes with his arms thrown out, sometimes hugging himself. He ran around in circles, hopping, just to see the flurry of snow that kicked up and scattered on the air. Guillaume couldn't watch him for long without wanting to join in, and when he did, Jehan seemed utterly delighted to have him. They caught hands once in a while, and jumped and danced and fell. Three times Jehan tumbled into the snow, and twice Guillaume slipped and ended on his back. Jehan must know they were being stared at, Guillaume thought, but he never reacted to it. It was only in what must have been the space of an hour later that he finally fell panting at Guillaume's feet, and breathlessly told him, "We must have our coffee now..."
"Oh, yes, right, the coffee. I'd forgotten about it." Guillaume pulled him standing.
"I hadn't. We must hurry. It's getting dark."
"But, Jehan, that's only because the clouds are thickening."
"We must still hurry. We could be snowed into a coffee shop. It would smell like heaven, but be very upsetting if we couldn't get home."
"Very well, we shall hurry."
So they hurried, and Guillaume held the door open for Jehan when they arrived. Jehan had snow in his hair, and in his pockets, and it was melting through his shirt as well, and his hands were white as china. Guillaume felt a surge of worry, but it passed as they ordered coffee and sat together, laughing over the steaming cups. When he looked again, the colour was coming back to Jehan's hands; terribly slowly, but still coming back.
When they had finished, Jehan insisted that Guillaume come home with him, for the streets were becoming even more covered in snow, the sky was even darker, and Guillaume himself was soaking wet.
They had just sat down before Jehan's tiny fire, and Guillaume was jabbing it repeatedly with the poker, and trying to make it burn with an old newspaper, when they heard a church clock somewhere strike three, muffled by the ever-deepening snow. Jehan shook his head.
"It's clear you can't go home tonight."
"I suppose it is. I hope you won't mind my being here."
"Of course not. I should never mind a chance to avoid loneliness. My flowers have died, and I can no longer see out the window, and I don't want to write. I should be terribly ungrateful if I minded your being here."
Suddenly the fire burst into light as the newspaper caught, and they were both utterly distracted, trying to feed more paper into it and keep it going. By the time it became clear there was no possible way to reason it to burn, they were helpless giggling, and clinging to each other. Then Jehan composed himself enough to fetch a book, and they read for a while. Jehan lay on the floor beside Guillaume, and listened to his voice as he read, and thought how nice the day had turned out to be after all. When they tired of the book, they began to tell each other stories of things that had happened to them ages ago. Jehan explained the reason behind Belle and the peculiar coffee cups, and Guillaume spoke of his brothers, and the idiocy that went on when they were all young: how they laughed about things that weren't amusing, and how they made fools of themselves doing simple tasks. Jehan told all about the play he'd seen last week, and Guillaume about the lecture he'd attended three days ago.
And when at last the muffled church-clock struck nine, they managed to both find a comfortable position in Jehan's small bed, and Guillaume fell asleep with Jehan's now-warm hand pressed against his heart, wondering if anything so lovely could ever happen again.
Jehan waited until he heard Guillaume's breathing even, then kissed his forehead, and promised himself he'd find a rhyme to the name. It wasn't proper to fancy someone this much unless he could write the person lovesick poetry.
Back to the Index.