Courfeyrac sighed, and leaned over the edge of the bridge's stone railing to look at the water. It was an old bridge, higher up than the stream waranted, and far larger than the stream waranted, as well. He smiled a little at it, contemplating with interest the reason for building such an outlandish structure. For, as he murmured to himself, "What's the purpose? It's just gaudy, and making a fool of itself. Too proud, and too high. It looks downright silly."

He sauntered over to an overhanging tree at the right-hand corner of the bridge, and plucked several leaves. He returned to his place, and dropped them, one by one, into the water far below. They fluttered out, and almost all of them missed the stream entirely, for the distance was too far and the gentle breezes destroyed the attempt.

He laughed, and closed his eyes, feeling a little sorry for the leaves blown out to the side, and the failure. He startled violently at a hand placed on his shoulder.


"Good God, Phillipe. Don't do that." He laughed, and meant it. "You'll kill me if you keep that up."

"I'm sorry. What on earth are you doing over here?"

"Just thinking. We're going to Paris soon..."

"Not too soon. A week longer."

"Now you make no sense, Phillipe. I'm the flippant one, and you the sensible. That's the way we were ordained. You can't exchange with me. I don't want your silly spectacles or your wonderful kindness."

Combeferre turned away, looking a little hurt. "I don't want your carelessness or your charm, either. I couldn't bear to attract women like flies."

"Oh, don't worry. You won't." Courfeyrac slipped an arm around Combeferre's waist. "You'll attract the men like flies, though. You can't escape that. Silly spectacles are simply too, too endearing." He kissed Combeferre quickly.

"I'm glad... I would be lonely in Paris with no companion."

"Well, I shan't let you be."

"No, you won't. I'm glad."

"See? It shan't be half as bad as you feared."

"Of course not.."

Courfeyrac withdrew himself, and caught another handful of leaves. He released them over the side of the bridge, and they cascaded down in a shower of crackling yellow and brown and orange. This time, two of them made it into the current and were washed out of sight. Courfeyrac leaned on his elbows on the bridge, and smiled.

"It's a sign."

"Thank you." Combeferre stood beside him.

"No trouble. I'm good at this sort of thing."

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