A/N above the original author note: I updated yesterday but I was having problems bc fanfiction deleted the small thing I use to divide time-skip / place-skip or pov, you know, like: O/O/O/ that little thing. SO I WAS PANICKING and overthinking that it may be a little confusing reading the chapter without it. I tried everything but it just won't show! idk why *cries* hope it works this time, if it doesn't I'll just leave it like that and if you have any doubts I'll be answering in the review section!
super special thanks to Wingless Blackbird!
A/N: Okay it's been months I know and I'm sorry! Just had the worst writer block but after watching the movie and re-reading the novel I recovered and here I am again!
Thank you very much to all the people who follow or review this story, and thank you too to the ones that read in the shadows. Special thanks to those last two people who reviewed (Wingless Blackbird and Guest), it really encouraged me! 3
Now, I know it's been a while, so I will list the most important plot points from chapter one till chapter six, in case you don't remember:
Esmeralda is to marry Phoebus soon
Clopin give quasi a ticket for him to call a Doll of pleasure.
Diane sees herself as a monster because she has this weird power which allows her regenerating from harm
Lord Raiden talks with a friend of his from Italy and he tells him that Marcel a former lover that Diane had, is on his way to paris in order to 'rescue her' from Raiden's hands.
Quasi and Diane meet, and they have a deep talk about what means to be a monster they both find each other interesting.
Raiden mutilated Mathilda's eyes and Diane finds out that he did this because Mathilda sneaked into his office and read information about Frollo that she shouldn't have read.
Now, without further ado, to the fic!
THE BLANK LETTER
The room was quiet and the night was as dark as cold. Diane sat next to the fire, grabbing the metal stick beside the chimney, holding it hard to remove the wood, stoking the flames. A deep sigh escaped her lips.
It had been one day already since her mate lost her eyes… one day since that information came to light. Raiden and Frollo had an alliance: Her Lord wanted gypsy slaves, and power in the military force of France. Both things could be granted by Judge Claude Frollo in exchange for — according to the document — some favors. But that wasn't the worst. No, the most monstrous thing about that matter was that among the documents both girls had read, there was this letter in which was stipulated that in return to those favors, Frollo specifically asked Raiden to murder the bell-ringer, among 'other things' that were sadly, not specified. "Can you make it look like an accident?" he wrote. Raiden's response letter to that was neither found nor read, but Diane knew her master well enough to be certain he had accepted. The question here was, why? Why did Raiden wanted to take romaní people as slaves? Why did he wish to have decision-making power over military issues in France? More importantly, was Raiden still planning to harm Quasi now that Frollo was dead? Unlikely, she thought, but with a person like her master one must always make sure. Diane snorted, mentally exhausted not to say worried.
The bell ringer wasn't her responsibility, but now that she knew his story it was rather difficult to do nothing before the possibility of him getting hurt. He was a kind spirit, he certainly didn't deserve to endure more shit. She had to meet him again in order to warn him.
Quasimodo was laying on his back looking at the ceiling. Two days had passed since he received the advice of the pleasure Doll and yet, he hadn't made up his mind on what to do for the damaged people. What could he possibly do now? It had been a year after all. The affected ones must certainly be dead or fully recovered. He let out a growl. Maybe Diane's advice wasn't very wise or perhaps he was the one who couldn't come up with anything good? He rubbed his face, tired of overthinking the subject and at the same time, weary of not being able to avoid doing it.
"Hello?" A female voice echoed along the wooden structure, snatching him out of thoughts. A thrill ran down his spine the moment he recognized it. "Quasi, are you there?"
The beautiful romaní woman made her way to the top of bell tower, unaware of the gaze upon her. Her perfect raven black wavy hair bouncing as she moved.
"Ah, there you are!" she claimed once she arrived upstairs.
"Hello, Esmeralda!" He exclaimed lively, trying to cover up his emotional unsteadiness as he approached her "H-How have you been?"
"Busy! There's a lot to do now that we are opening a bazaar" she said as leaned against the wall, smiling widely.
"A what?" Inquired he, frowning a little as a sign of incomprehension.
He indeed was out of the bell tower more often than before, but his outings limited to the market, the glassware, lumberyard, and painting shop, where he took the kind charity of the men who, out of pity, or respect, gave him what was left over from those materials. Which meant that since Clopin gave him the golden ticket, he hadn't return to the court of miracles.
"It's like a market, to buy and exchange products. Clopin recently brought us together in an assembly in which he assured that since we are no longer persecuted, we should start considering new forms of making money. People could go to share, exchange, buy, even have fun! I think it will be a good thing for us."
The bell ringer's eyes opened both in surprise and cheerfulness.
"Sounds great!" he exclaimed and she nodded. "B-But does that mean you'll leave the court of miracles?" she seemed to process what he said for an instant before noting:
"Don't think so. It's better if we go little by little, besides, there's a lot do in the court still".
"Like what?" he asked as gesturing his makeshift table, offering her to have a sit with a small smile. Esmeralda took the hint and walked towards it with him. Quasimodo wasn't exactly in the mood for seeing anyone, but if she made all the way to the towel just to see him, if she needed a friend who listen, he would be there for her, no matter what.
"Our cultural dances, reunions, divination... my wedding" The hunchback boy forced his expression not to change into a blue one.
"O-Oh, yes… that is… h-how is Phoebus?" He managed to say, but his tone betrayed him. Esmeralda lifted an eyebrow.
"He is… good. Is something wrong?" She tried. The romaní woman was cunning. If regular men couldn't dupe her, let alone a friend.
Quasi on the other hand, was starting to panic. He couldn't tell her, if he did what would have been the point of hiding it till such a point? 'Tell her you're sick' he heard one of the gargoyles in the back of his head. 'No, no, she'll go if you say so! didn't you want to be a good friend and listen to her?' another one said.
"I-I… I hum…" his breathing started to be louder.
"Quasi?" she insisted, this time resting a hand on his cheek bone, worriedly.
To be completely honest, the Doll's advice had helped, but on further thought, it had not been enough. Maybe he needed one more, and he didn't necessarily have to tell Esmeralda the whole truth. What is certain is that she knew him better, perhaps, if he shared only the necessary, she could say something helpful.
"I was just t-thinking" he finally said while gently removing her hand from his cheek. "It would be nice of me to help those who w-were hurt last year… o-on the i-incident" he pouted "but I don't know how to help"
Esmeralda's gaze softened upon the fragile creature before her.
"Well, how about making something for them?" she suggested.
"L-Like what? Some of them l-lost parts of their bodies, Esmeralda!" he closed his eyes, trying to avoid the inevitable imagines that accompanied the thought. If only he could give them back their… his eyes suddenly opened.
"That's it!" he said, standing from the table, chuckling. "I could carve spare body parts!" Esmeralda's eyes widened a little, understanding what he was saying. Her expression changed to one of loftiness.
"That's a great idea" she agreed, giggling.
A week had passed after the incident with Matilda's eyes and all the fuss that situation caused. In that time Diane asked her clients if they knew anything about the former judge. The public opinion was divided in two: those who believed that he was better off dead and those who thought now that he was gone, the law and order would no longer be as effective. But nothing else. Warning Quasimodo was no longer the only reason for her desire to see him. Now, she also wanted to ask if he knew anything about the topic.
That day, In the early morning, Lord Raiden had decided to take some girls as companions for a business trip to a nearby town. No one wanted to go, but couldn't deny an order form him neither. He left a few hours ago, must be quite far by now. Diane thought. I could sneak out by the kitchen door. It would take me longer to reach the cathedral on foot –since a horse would drag too much unnecessary attention–. But it's worth the effort.
"You need to sleep" someone said behind her, pulling her out of her thoughts. Diane did not move a bit. It was again, Genevieve's voice.
"Don't think I can" she quickly replied, half smiling to her in replace of a proper greet. The youngest sighed heavily, as she allowed herself to fall into the smoothness of the couch beside her. There was no one else in the common room, just the two of them.
"Mathilda is healing well, Raiden is paying for a good medical service" She informed, since for some reason, Diane had not been as present as before in the common room when everyone was there, she preferred to go when she knew it was empty, like today. Genevieve did not know the exact reason but had her suspicions.
"It's the least he can do" Diane muttered. A few moments passed till Gen decided to speak again.
"I feel that you are avoiding us. Is it because you're still mad at Hilda?" she inquired.
"Dear, when am I not mad at Hilda?" Diane scoffed.
"True" She chucked. "So, if is not that, then why? You've been weirder than everyone else, I mean, after what happened to Mathilda."
"I feel terrible for saying this, but is not Mathilda what has been concerning me lately. Genevieve, sweet honey, can you keep a secret?"
"You know I can" she assured, taking her mate's hand between hers. Diane sighed and after a few moments of hesitation, she spoke again.
"I was planning on sneaking out by the kitchen door to see the bell ringer again; but sincerely I'm afraid Raiden's is back before I can make it back to the save house" She said, omitting –for her friend's sake– the reason why she wanted to see him, but Genevieve, as romantic as she was, found soon a cause for her friend's desire.
"Oh my goodness! You truly fell for him didn't you?!" she asked, excitedly. Diane smiled as thinking that a white lie to save another pair of eyes was valid.
"I did. My love for him burns with the intensity of the sun. It was love at first sight, I'm sure" she lied, dramatically closing her eyes as she smiled. Genevieve sighed longingly, then her expression changed and a mischievous grin appeared on her face.
"I might have an idea…" She said looking at Diane intensively. "Listen carefully: the records of the pleasure house are made by saving the letters of the clients who ask for a Doll so that Lord Raiden keeps track of which man asked a girl, right? Well, what if we create a fake letter every time you want to go see him?! We will seal them with a wax seal stamp of your initial."
Diane frowned, not quite understanding.
"And what will the letter say?"
"Nothing. It will be a blank letter. Raiden doesn't know that there is no priest. We didn't tell him you were with the bell ringer, Diane! We will say that you agreed with the 'priest' to go every time that a black letter came to the house of pleasure."
Diane's eyes widened, as her expression lit up.
"And it will make sense that it is blank because that way, no one could prove that there is a 'corrupt priest'!" Diane exclaimed, finally understanding the plan.
"Exactly" Sang Genevieve. "It's perfect. Raiden won't suspect that you are really having an affair and your lover will be safe. Besides, you can also explain the plan to him, in case he wants to send for you too"
"Oh Gen it's perfect! Heavens! We have to warn the other girls who heard my story the other night. So that they won't tell on me by accident" She said and her mate nodded in agreement.
"Well? What are you waiting for? Go Diane, go now!" She said excited. "Let me do the rest"
"Hey boy! What you up to this morning?!" Hugo asked lively.
The sunlight of the morning filtered through the wooden beams in the ceiling of the bell tower, providing a cozy feeling.
"I'm making arms!" Quasi answered, concentrating on the final details.
"You what?!" Hugo exclaimed back, shocked.
"For those who lost theirs last year when Notre Dame was… when… after I…" he sighed. Laverne patted his shoulder, encouraging him to keep talking. "Also, I've been craving some canes. I'm not sure what they need, but I figured I could make general helpful things" he scratched the back of his head, reflective.
"That's a nice idea!" Lavern cheered and he smiled. He felt visibly better, there were these times on the day when his spirits fell a little, but unlike a week ago, he was no longer so negative, or much hard on himself.
"I don't know if this will help now, but it's the only thing I can do" he sighed for himself.
"Diane would be proud of the idea" Hugo teased as he hit him with his elbow in a friendly gesture.
"You think?!" He chuckled, his gaze traveling unconsciously outside the bell tower, spotting the big red building that, given to the distance between it and the cathedral, seemed to be smaller.
"Why don't you show her? You could arrive at the Pleasure House with your finest cloak and..." Victor was suggesting but was brutally muted.
"Oh no!" Quasi exclaimed almost outraged "I-I could never go there!" he said, his gaze fell to the floor.
Even when he could now go out in the daylight and almost no one said nothing derogatory about his looks, the revulsion gazes over him hadn't disappear and let's not forget that one half of Paris believed he was a killer. Besides, he was sure the workers of the new Red Palace, commonly known as house of pleasure, wouldn't let him in.
That thought took him to think about what Diane said about her master. Someone abusive, manipulative and evil. I wonder if she is alright, he thought. Quasimodo had been so busy thinking about wooden arms, legs, and canes he could carve that he completely forgot about the part of the conversation –the one which involved her problems–. He felt a pang of regret. How could he be so selfish?
"Oh come on Quasi don't be like that!" Hugo said, jumping to his shoulder. "Don't you want to see her again" His gaze was still on the red building as a deep sigh escaped his mouth.
"I will not see her again" he stated and the three gargoyles fell silent. "I told you don't want to do this again, please" he politely asked in a gloomy tone. There was no way they could meet again. She had no reason to go back to him and even if she had, would her Lord allow her? Not likely, and he had no more golden tickets.
The day passed slowly. Quasimodo finished the arm he was working on, which was meant to me steady and fist semi-closed so it could be easy hanging stuff as to help the person using it. He had spent the whole week just to finish one piece, so he'd figure, the task he had chosen wouldn't be easy. Snorting with exhaustion, he began to clean his makeshift table. It was almost meal time. His stomach had been growling for a long time, but for the sake of the progress of his work he had ignored it until now.
He was about to take out the dishes when he saw the two glasses and plates that belonged to his master. In silence, he looked first at the silver cup and then at the clay one. He had never thought of that before but at that moment it seemed to him that the cruelty implied in that simple detail was always a subtle indicator of the kind of person Judge Frollo was, and yet he failed to see it. Why did he fail to see it?
A crack in the wood coming from the stairs caught his attention. For a second, his heart stopped before the possibility of seeing him go up there again, with his long face and hostile words. Unintentionally, he leaned over the small cupboard door, breaking it as ripping out its content. Frets and cutlery spread across the floor with a hard crash. The wood creaked again, Quasimodo looked up and before him, a red cloak appeared, revealing a female figure he recognized as soon as she took off the hood. The doll of pleasure he didn't think he'd seen again was now standing in front of him. The surprised look on her face became a smirk when she saw him.
"Is It bad time?"
Will the girls be able to fool Raiden?
What is going to happen between Quasi and Diane now that they are reunited again?
Find out in next chapter!
This is it for know! thank you to all the people who follow, heart and review my little story! I love you all very much! See you in next chapter, which I hope to be posting soon!
Take care, bye-bye!