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[personal profile] kingess
So here's a thing I wrote while back. This takes place in Combeferre and Courfeyrac's freshman year at college as roommates.

His dorm room is empty when Combeferre gets back from campus, for which he is unspeakably grateful. It’s been a miserable day, finals are fast approaching, and he happened to step into a misleadingly deep puddle on his way home, so his pants are soaked nearly to the knee. It’s freezing. He has a paper due in three days. And he’s been forced to spend most of his study time in the library, which is becoming increasingly crowded, instead of his dorm room because his roommate is...well, his roommate is Courfeyrac, and there’s really no other way to describe him.

It’s not that he doesn’t like Courfeyrac. He’s alarmingly friendly and he even managed to win over Enjolras after two days in the same civics class. And Combeferre is glad that his childhood best friend has befriended his roommate, because Enjolras could use someone like Courfeyrac in his life--someone who is completely in touch with his emotions and the emotions of the people around him, who has no problem expressing himself so that Enjolras isn’t forever guessing and second-guessing how he’s supposed to act and react because even after all these years, Enjolras struggles to learn the way people communicate emotions. And if it weren’t for the fact that Combeferre shared a tiny dorm room with Courfeyrac, he’s sure he’d be just as enamored with him.

As it is, though, it’s hard to be enamored with him because he’s not the best living companion. He’s untidy--not grossly so, Combeferre has yet to find anything particularly disgusting in their shared room--but he doesn’t pick up after himself well. He owns more clothes than Combeferre thinks he’s ever owned, and most often these clothes are strewn on the floor, or on his desk, or on his bed. Combeferre is pretty sure that Courfeyrac never actually puts his clothes away, he just moves the pile from one place to another according to what part of the room Courfeyrac needs.

And Courfeyrac is loud--he laughs loudly when he watches shows on his laptop, he listens to loud music, when he talks to his family on the phone, he yammers at them in loud French--and he always offers to use headphones or take his calls out in the hall, but it only took Combeferre a couple of weeks to realize that Courfeyrac is going to go deaf by the time he’s twenty-five because he keeps his headphones so loud and that he’s just as loud in the hallway as he is in their room.

Their shared sink is constantly cluttered with an assortment of hair products that Courfeyrac needs to tame his curls into something mildly presentable. Courfeyrac stays up late and sleeps through his alarm for at least a half hour, even though Combeferre wakes up the instant Courfeyrac’s alarm goes off.

What probably bothers him the most, though, are Courfeyrac’s guests. Combeferre’s not sure if “guest” is the right word, but he’s not quite comfortable calling them Courfeyrac’s lovers or significant others or something, because Combeferre’s not sure if Courfeyrac has ever brought the same person back to their room more than once. Courfeyrac tries to remember to put a rubber band on the door to warn Combeferre off--and when Combeferre does see the rubberband, he normally rolls his eyes and then pulls out his phone to text Enjolras and see where he is--but Courfeyrac can be rather forgetful when he’s caught up in the moment, and twice Combeferre has walked in on Courfeyrac and some poor girl (who’s usually topless and straddling Courfeyrac’s lap as they make out) and once more he’s walked in on Coufeyrac straddling some guy’s lap--and that lead to an interesting full-disclosure “Oh, didn’t I mention that I’m bi? I hope that doesn’t bother you” conversation.

So coming home today, after a long morning of lectures and recitations and labs, to an empty dorm room is nothing short of divine. It’s exactly the break he needs. He changes into some warm sweats and unpacks his backpack and turns on some classical music to help him relax. Courfeyrac is probably out for the afternoon--Courfeyrac is one of those people who’s always aware of what’s going on anywhere on campus. He always know which department is having a party or where to find free food or free t-shirts. This is only their first semester, but already Courfeyrac seems to know everyone and he’s rarely at a loss for company. On the nights when Combeferre does want to get out and relax for a bit, he knows that Courfeyrac will always know of some free party or concert or campus event and Courfeyrac is always willing to go out with him. Combeferre has no doubt that wherever Courfeyrac is, he’s enjoying himself.

Courfeyrac seems to live to enjoy himself.

Which isn’t to say that his roommate is nothing but a party boy. He appears that way, but there’s so much more to him. He’s passionate about law and social justice. He cares about helping people and Combeferre has never seen Courfeyrac turn down the opportunity to do someone a favor, no matter how busy he may be. Courfeyrac is a wonderful person. Combeferre just wishes that sometimes they weren’t roommates.

He settles in at his desk, pulls out his text books, and sets to work, easily falling into a nice rhythm of work in solitude.

He has nearly two hours to himself before Courfeyrac comes home. He’s loud when he fumbles into the room, giving Combeferre the slightest apology for disturbing him, and he’s loud when he sheds himself of coat and scarf and backpack. Combeferre notices absently that Courfeyrac brought a small pot of purple and yellow flowers that he places gently on his desk before throwing himself on his bed. He doesn’t say anything as he pulls out his phone, frowns, and then responds to whatever message he just got.

Combeferre can’t help but glancing over his shoulder at Courfeyrac because this isn’t normal behavior for him at all. Courfeyrac has never before failed to come home without a smile and asking Combeferre how his day was. No matter how stressed or burdened Courfeyrac might feel, he always takes time to make sure that Combeferre is doing okay himself. So the fact that Courfeyrac is sullen and surly and keeps sending furiously-written text messages worries him.

He opens his mouth to say something, but then turns back to his computer. He doesn’t really know much about Courfeyrac outside of their life together in their dorm room. He doesn’t know much about Courfeyrac’s family or his homelife and Combeferre isn’t quite sure how to broach the subject without feeling rude or invasive.

After a few minutes of silences, Courfeyrac speaks.

“Combeferre, you have a car, right?”

“Yeah. Do you need to borrow it?” He looks up at his roommate to see Courfeyrac chewing at his lip.

“I was actually hoping you’d give me a ride,” he says. “And I know--you’ve got tests and finals coming up and you need to study because I’m sure your chem class is harder than anything I’ve got to study for, but this won’t take too long--an hour tops, I promise--and I don’t...well, I don’t really want to do this on my own.”

Courfeyrac looks so desperate for some assurance or some company that Combeferre doesn’t have the heart to even think of turning him down. “Do you want to leave now?” he asks.

“If you don’t mind.”

Combeferre smiles at him. “Grab your coat and let’s go.”

Courfeyrac’s answering smile is a little shaky, but like all of Courfeyrac’s smiles, its completely sincere.

They’re in the car together and driving out of the city when Combeferre notices that Courfeyrac has brought his little pot of flowers with him. Combeferre doesn’t ask what it’s for--Courfeyac isn’t Enjolras, he doesn’t need prompting to talk about emotionally sensitive topics, he’s quite comfortable bringing them up on his own--and he follows Courfeyrac’s directions without question or hesitation.

Courfeyrac leads them out of the city and down a country road. Combeferre is pretty sure that Courfeyrac mentioned growing up somewhere nearby and he wonders if something has happened with Courfeyrac’s family.

“It’s just up here on the right,” Courfeyrac says.

“The cemetery?” Combeferre says.

“That’s right.”

He doesn’t ask any more questions and pulls in through the open gates of the cemetery. It’s late afternoon and it’s just starting to get dark but Courfeyrac’s clearly knows where he’s going and he easily directs Combeferre through the winding roads of the cemetery.

“You can pull over here,” he says. He undoes his seatbelt as Combeferre pulls over. “Do you, uhm, do you want to come with me?”

Combeferre puts the car in park. “If you want me to come,” he says. “I can stay in the car if you’d rather be alone.”

Courfeyrac shakes his head. “I normally don’t do this alone. I’d rather have the company.”

“Of course,” Combeferre says and he follows Courfeyrac out of the car.

Combeferre feels his chest tighten as Courfeyrac leads him to the left, where the plots are all for deceased children. Courfeyrac still cradles his little plot of flowers to his chest and Combeferre only hesitates for a second before he wraps an arm around Courfeyrac’s shoulders. Courfeyrac instantly shifts closer to him. He’s shaking, though Combeferre can’t be certain if that’s because of the emotional stress or the cold.

Courfeyrac stops them at a tidy little plot marked with a simple grave marker and a small bouquet of daisies. There’s only one date on it--today’s date, three years previous--and the name is simply Baby Bean Courfeyrac. Courfeyrac bends down to brush off the snow around the edges of the grave marker. He nestles his pot of flowers right at the head of the grey stone.
When he stands up, there are tears in his eyes.

“Courf,” Combeferre says, resting his hand on Courfeyrac’s shoulder. He’s not sure what else to say.

“This is my sister’s baby,” Courfeyrac says. He swallows thickly. “She had a late term miscarriage. Fifteen weeks. Tiny enough that I could fit him--her--in the palm of my hand.”

“I’m so sorry,” he says. Late term miscarriages are rare and can be extremely traumatic for everyone involved. The mother still has to go into labor and birth the child, even though it’s already dead.

Courfeyrac just nods. “It looks like the Pattersons were already here,” he says. He leans into Combeferre, who’s quick to wrap his arm around Courfeyrac’s shoulders. “I think they brought the daisies. They were going to adopt the baby. My sister was only seventeen and she didn’t want an abortion but she knew she couldn’t take care of a baby either. They come every year, but they always make sure not to be here when my sister and I are.”

“Does your sister normally come with you?”

Courfeyrac nods. “We come every year. My parents don’t--I think it’s too hard on my mom--but my sister likes coming. She likes being close to the baby, but she’s got the flu this year and she can’t get out of her apartment. She was crying on the phone when she told me, and I promised her I’d come on my own. Her boyfriend was supposed to give me a ride, but he kept making excuses and shoving me off, and you know, it’s fine if he didn’t want to come. He didn’t have to be here. I know a lot of people probably find this weird, but if he didn’t want to come he shouldn’t have told my sister that he could give me a ride.”

“I’m glad I could come with you,” Combeferre says.

“Thanks for coming,” Courfeyrac says quietly. “I wasn’t sure I could do this on my own. I was only fifteen when this all happened. The whole family was devastated. I was devastated.”
Combeferre turns Courfeyrac around and pulls him in for a hug and he’s a little startled at how quickly Courfeyrac clings to him, like this was the assurance that he wanted all along but didn’t know how to ask for it. He can feel his own eyes welling up as Courfeyrac shakes against his chest. But he waits patiently, softly shushing Courfeyrac the way he’s done with any number of younger cousins over the years, and he doesn’t let go of Courfeyrac until Courfeyrac pulls back himself. Even then, Combeferre doesn’t break physical contact completely. He’s noticed how much Coufeyrac delights in physical touch, and he’s not going to deny his friend that now.

“Sorry,” Courfeyrac says, hastily wiping at his face.

“You have nothing to apologize for,” he says. “Losing a baby is hard for everyone involved. There’s no shame in being upset by it.”

Courfeyrac seems to be at a rare loss of words, but he nods.

“Are you ready to go? We don’t have to if you don’t want to.”

Again, Courfeyrac nods.

Combeferre wraps his arm around Courfeyrac’s shoulders again and steers him back to the car. Courfeyrac doesn’t say a word. “How about this,” Combeferre says gently, as they pull out of the cemetery. “When we get back to the dorms, we forget all about studying for the night. You can queue up whatever movies you want and I’ll make you some tea and we’ll just spend the night in together.”

“Can we do hot chocolate instead of tea?” Courfeyrac asks.

“Anything you want,” he says.

“Anything at all?”

“Within reason.”

“Then can we invite Enjolras, too? I thought about inviting him to come to this--I think it would have been nice to have him here--but I know he’s still a little...weird about emotional stuff. I didn’t want to overwhelm him.”

Combeferre imagines that Enjolras might balk at the idea of losing an entire night’s worth of studying, but he also knows his best friend well enough to know that once Combeferre mentions this is for Courfeyrac, Enjolras will gladly put aside whatevers he’s planning on working on tonight. Besides, a night off will probably be good for Enjolras anyway. “Of course we can invite him,” he says.

“Good,” Courfeyrac says. “It’s always better to have friends around after stuff like this.”

“We’ll be here for as long as you need us,” Combeferre says.

Courfeyrac smiles at him. It’s not quite as bright as his normal smile, but it’s still sincere. As always. “I’ll hold you to that, you know.”

“I wouldn’t have it any other way.”


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June 2015

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