"Lucien, will you stop that? I'm fine!" Annette snaps.
Enjolras pulls his hand away from the left side of his sister's forehead, a deep cut from shattered glass covered by a bandage. There's smaller cuts, scratch-like, on her hands, but otherwise, she's fine, physically, at least. She got the least of it, compared to Thatcher and Charlie. The left side of the agent's face is covered in white gauze and bandages, and a piece of glass near his eye had to be carefully removed with a pair of tweezers. Charlie, meanwhile, on top of the relatively minor injuries on the right side of him from the glass, received a grazing from the bullet towards the top of his head; another inch, and he'd likely be dead.
What confuses him, is what does Charlie have to do with the cover-up? Sure, Thatcher was in the way to block a clear shot on Annie, but why Charlie? What does threatening him give to the person who wants to remind Michel Fortier the danger his family's in if he doesn't…?
He thinks back to old family photographs, those taken at family gatherings. He puts together the appearances of his aunt and uncle in mind, trying to figure out the possible features any offspring based on bone structure. He glances at Charlie, trying to reverse the process.
Enjolras would have better luck looking at the physical photographs themselves. He was confident in his memory, at least anything past the age of five, but time causes blurs, and he could not confirm anything, not without the evidence in his hands, be it photographs, x-rays, or skulls.
He doesn't ponder much more when Eponine's voice reaches his ears.
"I think tonight's events pretty much settles it: none of you are safe, not in the open, not at work, until whoever's trying to keep this under wraps is caught and imprisoned." She settles her eyes on him, Annie, and Charlie. "So for your safety, it's best none of you leave this apartment. The two of you were lucky; you might not be the next time around."
"You can't just hold us hostage!" Charlie snaps, getting to his feet abruptly, only to slowly sit back down due to the headache he's had since the incident.
Eponine glares at him. "I'm not forcing you into anything, but it's your funeral."
"And we'll be taking shifts, then?" Thatcher asks.
"Given I'm suspended, I can't give any orders, and what mission I gave you I believe no longer stands. I'm sure Marchand will give you further directions as to your new assignment," she replies. "Don't risk your careers on my account."
Thatcher goes wide-eyed then turns to Bahorel. "You didn't tell her?"
"Tell me what?"
Bahorel answers, "The director put us on suspension as well, for our goings-along in this operation. Apparently taking orders from a direct report, fairly reasonable, too, are not good enough of a defense. Supposed to 'prevent such unwarranted shenanigans' from taking place just because 'a consultant in forensics has daddy issues.' If Thatcher hadn't been there, I'd have socked him in the nose. Wouldn't have cared what happened to me after-the-fact."
"Is anyone laughing?" he deadpans.
Eponine releases a loud exhale. "I'm sorry. The intention wasn't there to have you two suffer with me."
"Nonsense. It's no harm to us, really. Marchand's just frightened we're going to find something that links him in this, I'm sure that's why he did it."
"Top it off with Valjean under fire, any records we could access…there's no hope of that, now," says Thatcher.
"Let's go over what we have. Regarding the findings of the Lamarquian, Leclaire was killed by a sniper. Could have been Dumont. If we could get ahold of a list of who else in the FBI had such a weapon at the time as well as the training, we might obtain a few other suspects that will lead us to who is targeting the Enjolras' due to the missing weaponry." Eponine glimpses through the small notepad in her pocket. "Fortier might already know, and I think it would be in our best interests to watch for him as well; he could already be going after them."
A nod from both Thatcher and Bahorel signal an understanding.
"I'll try to call in a few favors, see if I can get such a list that way, and once I do, we'll all have to be on alert because as soon as I request that list, the channels it'll go through will likely go by whoever's after you." Eponine glances towards Enjolras and Annette, then towards Thatcher. "For now, I'd think it'd be best for you to rest a bit, especially since you're walking around with one-eye."
"It's just to cover the stitches until the blood clots," Thatcher argues. "I can handle as much now as before."
"I'll take the first shift, Bahorel the next," she replies. "Enjolras, first thing in the morning, check in with the Lamarquian, see if they've come across anything that might be of relevance."
"Will do," Enjolras says with a curt nod.
"What are we to do then? Be sitting ducks?" Charlie asks, one hand pressed to the side of his head where the bullet grazed him.
"As I said before, you're welcome to leave, but it's your funeral." Eponine gestures to the apartment door.
Charlie huffs, but gives no further argument.
Enjolras finds himself in the recliner this time. With the apartment crammed with guests, the younger Thenardiers occupy Azelma's room, Bahorel and Thatcher in Gavroche's room, Annette again in Eponine's room, and Charlie on the couch.
He's surrounded by darkness, save for the nightlights glowing in the hallway and kitchen. He can feel the heaviness in his eyes, but when he tries to close them for good, his mind jolts him awake.
He feels himself moments away from his last breath, sometimes gasping when he comes to. There's sweat on his brow as he shivers.
Not to mention the sight of Joly and the pain he was in from the injury to his leg. And the blood…And so little material to try and get it to stop. No bandages, no disinfectant. Just a book, a pen, some water, and a mostly-useless cell phone.
"If I don't survive this, tell Bossuet and Musichetta I love them," Joly says, pain-filled eyes amidst shallow breath.
Enjolras sits near the wound, doing what little he can to repair it and minimize the pain. The panic is clear in voice, as he tries to keep it even. "You will tell them that yourself. Thenardier, Combeferre, Feuilly, they'll find us. They will."
"Leave a note for Thenardier," he suggests, gesturing to the book. "Admit it since it's unlikely you'll see her again."
"Don't be like Grantaire right now." Enjolras narrows his eyes. "None of the major arteries were severed, but this compound fracture will take some time to heal."
Joly scoffs, amusement in his eyes. "Will you stop being so dense?"
"Courfeyrac, now you sound like him," he replies. "Between the limited amount of oxygen and the pain clouding your judgement, that's the only rational explanation for such nonsense."
"Perhaps," Joly says, shrugging his shoulder.
"You are not dying today," he says, partly as a reassurance for himself. "We are not dying today."
"There is only enough oxygen for twelve hours. You know this from what happened to those twin boys. We don't have the time, we don't know how long we've been here," Joly says, his eyes focusing on Enjolras' expression and away from the leg wound. "The Gravedigger was only after you, I'm just an accident."
"If you are saying this to make me kill you so I have more time, it isn't going to work."
"I was in the wrong place at the wrong time."
"Doesn't matter. They will find us," he says. "They will."
And they did, with just a few moments left.
He's okay, they're alive. That's all that matters.
He knows this, knows he's safe from that grave, knows he isn't going to wake up and be trapped in that buried car. The only physical darkness he's in is that of a living room at night. If he closes his eyes, when he opens them, that's where he'll be.
But he cannot convince himself of that, not well enough to calm himself enough to allow sleep to overcome him. Despite Eponine watching the door, there is the lingering fear he will be paralyzed and attacked and with nothing to do about it.
All logic states he'll be fine. So why is he so…so…against believing it?
"If you keep staring at the ceiling, it won't burn a hole in it no matter how long," says Charlie, who takes a deep breath from the couch. "I've tried."
Enjolras turns his head in the direction of the couch.
"How many nights has it been now? Four, five?" Charlie asks. "You need help."
"Says you and everyone else," he says, a trace of annoyance in his voice. "I have little faith in psychology, so I have no reason to seek any help that surrounds it."
Charlie rolls his eyes. "Lucien, let me try and lay it out as I'm sure others have. In the matter of a few months, you found out you aren't who you really are and that you're parents are criminals, you found out your mother was dead after working with her remains, your father has killed and has had people killed for him, perhaps for your protection, and you've been buried alive. Not to mention you're a target due to things your parents did."
"What you say is nothing new."
"Your life has flipped itself upside down and backwards. That messes with one's mind, and yours has been messed with a lot before all this." Charlie pauses for a breath. "That accident when you were five, for one. Your parents leaving, another. I'm sure there's more you haven't mentioned to Annette."
Enjolras shakes his head. "I have handled worse things than what happened. I'll be fine."
"For someone who's supposed to be smart, you're being stupid."
"It's not your business."
Charlie shakes his head. "Fine, have it your way, but you aren't doing yourself any favors."
Enjolras takes a deep breath. He knows what happened. He'll be fine, a few more days and this will seem like nothing.
But the Gravedigger is still out there. What's to stop them from coming after you again?
If the pattern is of any indication, he will not be targeted again. As for the current situation, that is of higher concern, especially since they came close to having a funeral.
"Do you know why Fortier contacted you over Annie or me?" Enjolras asks. "To tell us to 'keep low.'"
Charlie shrugs. "I'm not in his head. How am I supposed to know?"
"He's called me before, knows how to get ahold of me if necessary. How he did that, I don't know, but why send a message through you if he can do that?"
"The man raised you; you'd know better than I."
He isn't who I thought he was, growing up. "I know it wasn't because he thought we would listen to you."
"Well, I suppose that eliminates one possibility, then, doesn't it?" Charlie shifts on the couch. "Can't this wait until daylight? It's 1 a.m."
Enjolras lets a few seconds pass. "Do you know why you were shot at?"
"For being a messenger?" Charlie answers incredulously. "Honestly, what difference does it make? Good night!"
The blankets shuffle, and Enjolras can just make out in the dim light the form of his cousin with his back to him.
You suggest it now, and he may be turned as upside down as you are, he keeps to himself. You say anything with no way to back it up, and if you end up being wrong…
"I…it's…" Enjolras stumbles on his words, then takes a breath. "Good night, Charlie."
Another night, staring at the ceiling.
When sunlight starts to peek through the curtains, Enjolras grabs his work laptop from his bag and takes it into the kitchen. He sets it up on the dining table, then works on video conferencing Feuilly. When the other man' face shows up on the other side of the screen, there's a look of concern in his face.
"You still aren't sleeping," Feuilly states.
Not the greeting Enjolras was expecting.
"You have dark circles under your eyes, and unless you were up all night researching or studying remains, you wouldn't be up this early," he continues. "I know you were doing neither."
"I'll be fine."
"Not without help. I know you don't believe in psychology, but you need help, even if it's from a neutral party." Feuilly takes a deep breath. "You don't want to talk about it, you don't like others thinking you're fragile; I understand that, Combeferre understands that, and I'm sure Agent Thenardier does, too, but Lucien…you are walking down a dark path and if you continue on it, things are only going to get worse if you don't act on it."
"I don't need to hear the lecture; I've had enough of it," Enjolras says with irritation.
"My goal isn't to give you one, but you've seemed to neglect the fact you have many people around you who are there to support you through this," he replies. "It's rough, but we're not abandoning you."
A moment of silence passes. It feels like one of those instances were they face-to-face, Feuilly's hand would be covering his, grasping it, maybe.
"We're here," Feuilly says softly. "Please remember that."
Enjolras nods, releasing a breath. 1…2…3…1…2…3…
A slight smile forms on Feuilly's face. "Alright, so now that that's been said, what has you reaching out?"
"Thenardier was interested in any updates you might have."
"There hasn't been much since last night. Courfeyrac is still working on the bullet fragments, seeing if he can get prints off them, but it's a long shot," Feuilly replies, looking over at some notes on his desk. "While I think of it, how's your sister and cousin holding up?"
"A few cuts, but they'll heal. I think Agent Thatcher got the worst of it when the glass shattered," Enjolras replies. "Charlie had a close call. The bullet grazed his head. May have a minor concussion, but will make a full recovery."
"Not the best of things, but easily could have been worse."
"Agreed." Enjolras glances out towards the living room, able to see Charlie's feet resting on the arm of the couch. He lowers his voice to a murmur. "On a related side-note, I need you to do a favor for me."
"I need you to research Charlie's birth records."
Feuilly's willing expression turns to a blank stare. "Pardon?"
"In most cases, I would be certain about these things based off bone structure, and granted, the thought didn't occur to me until after he was shot at, but I—"
"Hit pause on that explanation," Feuilly says, as if still processing the request in his mind. "You do know what you're asking of me, right?"
"I do, but with Thenardier cut off from her resources, I can't go through her. Also, even if she did, there's the possibility whoever is after us would find out about the inquiry as well, and with all that is going on already, I want to eliminate the chance of the individual not finding out if they don't know already." Enjolras takes a deep breath. "If my hypothesis is correct, then Charlie being shot at was not an accident."
"Watching Thatcher and Annette…It's just as bad as Pontmercy and the girl in pysch," Bahorel says at breakfast after finishing his shift. "'Let me get that for you,' he says. 'I'll help you re-bandage your eye,' she says. At least you two keep yourselves professional."
Eponine turns her head from the files in front of her with her coffee at the table. "Excuse me?"
"Thenardier and I are not like that at all. Platonic," Enjolras says, leaning against the counter with his tea. "Friends."
Bahorel scoffs. "Yeah, and I'm in the CIA. The whole 'we are not sleeping together' act, if it wasn't for the 'I would kill and/or die to save the other' part of it, would be quite convincing, but only to a blind duck."
Eponine's eyes flicker to Enjolras, as if expecting him to react. There's a brief moment of eye contact, and Eponine gives him a small smile before going back to work.
"I saw that, I saw that!" Bahorel points to the two of them.
"Enjolras and I are not sleeping together!" Eponine snaps. "And what was it about being professional?"
"I said 'you two.' I did not include myself." Bahorel takes a sip of his coffee. "Knowing you, Dr, Enjolras, I'm rather surprised about how well you're content with the situation."
"Annie is an adult who can make her own decisions," Enjolras replies. "My opinion has no weight in the matter, even if I am her brother."
Bahorel shrugs. "That wasn't the impression you gave the other day."
Enjolras turns to glare at him, and the sound of footsteps entering the kitchen stops him from firing a strongly-worded retort. Gavroche walks over to the cupboard of cereal and grabs a bowl.
"So you're going to stop the serious talk now since a kid entered the room?" he asks, turning towards Bahorel and Eponine, then glancing at Enjolras.
"Work matters that do not involve you," Eponine says sternly, looking up from her files. "Eat that quickly. 'Zelma is taking you to school on her way to the university, and she normally leaves within the next thirty minutes."
Gavroche waves a hand dismissively as he finishes preparing the bowl of cereal with milk, and then leans back against the counter with breakfast in hand. "It's not that far out of the way."
"Yes, but traffic is a nightmare at this hour, and she won't be the only one frustrated with you if she's late to class," Eponine counters. "Don't forget: you have your driver's test next week. Combeferre will pick you up here at four today so you can practice. You're still having issues parallel parking."
Gavroche nods, in a similar fashion to one hearing what was said, but not necessarily committing it to memory.
"Driving already?" Bahorel asks, a half-smile on his face. "Wasn't it just the other day you couldn't reach the top shelves?"
The teen shrugs a shoulder, used to this form of teasing. There was truth in Bahorel's words, though. When Enjolras had first met the Thenardiers, a few years ago now, the youngest Thenardier stood at around four and a half feet, twelve years old with what Courfeyrac had described as a "soft face." Now, while only sixteen, stood at almost six feet, taller than either of his sisters by at least four inches, if not more, though still had traces of a youthful roundness in his face. Standing a full height, he and Gavroche were met eye-to-eye, though it was likely that would not remain the case for long, Gavroche still having time to grow.
"Enjolras, I have a test on the skeletal system for bio next week. Do you think you could help me prep for it this weekend?" asks Gavroche. "Rumor has it there will be an essay portion, and I don't want to be saying tibia when I mean fibula or parietal when I mean occipital."
"I don't see why not, as long as there isn't a case needing urgent attention," he replies, glancing at Eponine before turning to Gavroche.
"Thanks," the teen replies with a smile, setting his empty bowl in the sink.
A few moments pass in silence as Gavroche exited the room. There's another set of footsteps in the hallway, hurried ones, as Azelma goes between her bedroom and the bathroom to get ready. Annie, meanwhile, plugs in her laptop and start drawing using her pen after taking a seat on the couch while Charlie watches TV.
"He's a mini you, or will be," Bahorel says, turning to Enjolras. "Has he called you 'dad' yet?"
"No, and why would he?" Enjolras' brows furrow as he walks over to the sink and refills his mug with water.
Eponine cuts in. "I think what Bahorel is trying to say is that he thinks Gav has taken an interest in what you do. And I can confirm he has. He's still got a couple years yet, but his intentions are to study forensic anthropology, at least."
Enjolras pauses, considering the truth within her words. He hadn't taken notice of that before, only had taken the youngest Thenardier's interest in the subject only as a fascination. Then again, in the few times Gavroche has come to the lab, he hasn't cringed at remains like most newcomers. Eponine still has her moments that has her holding her hand to her mouth and turning away.
"He plans on taking advantage of some college courses his school offers, too, starting next year," she adds, pride in her tone. "I'm glad for it. Were he still in foster care or with our parents, I doubt he would be."
"He has had many good influences once you were able to have custody of him," Enjolras says, placing the mug in the microwave and setting it for a few minutes. "You, for a start."
Eponine smiles, her cheeks turning red, then goes back to the files.
"Oh, come on!" Bahorel says, glancing between the two of them.
She rolls her eyes, then her phone buzzes. She glances at the text. "Thank you, Musichetta."
"She got the list?"
Eponine nods. She reaches for her work computer. (Fortunately enough, she has at least limited access still to some of the files.) "She also managed to get the list of operatives working the events surrounding Pouliot other than Dumont and Leclaire. Cross-reference those, and we may have our killer."
"We don't have solid evidence, unless Fortier mysteriously forfeits the location of the weapons," Bahorel says, walking around the table to peer at Eponine's screen. "Musichetta didn't risk her career with this, did she?"
"She covered her tracks, knowing her," Eponine replies, clicking and tapping the keys. "However, there's a good chance that whoever is responsible for any of the cover up is going to know those records were pulled, so we have to act quickly."
"Then let's open the docs and go after the bastard, assuming Fortier hasn't killed them already."
What would happen if his father did find them first? He was responsible for Dumont, for Batamabois…with blood on his hands already, he wouldn't hesitate to kill again, would he?
Enjolras doesn't know anymore. All he was under the impression of knowing about his parents was a lie. Eleven years of façades, this show of a happy, innocent, stereotypical family. His parents were nothing more than playing this deep game of pretend, playing roles that were intended to keep them all safe as long as no one dug too deep beneath the surface.
Was there any truth in his early years?
"Your father, Michel, Raymond, whichever you think is appropriate, he did as he's always done: protect his family."
And look at how that turned out.
The microwave goes off, distracting him from his mind to finish preparing his second mug of tea before joining Eponine and Bahorel around the laptop. Just as he reaches them, Bahorel mutters something under his breath, then clenches his fist.
"Forget Fortier; I'll take care of him myself!" Bahorel says, more audible. "If Thatcher hadn't been there—"
"Then you'd be either facing a life sentence if not the death penalty," Eponine points out. "Beyond the ending of your career."
"What is it?" Enjolras asks.
Eponine takes a deep breath. "There's only one name that is on both lists and isn't dead: Robert Marchand."