A one-shot inspired by an audio clip originally posted (I think?) by aheartfullofjolllly on tumblr.

No plot, much sadness. You have been warned. I'm not even sure what universe this is- book? movie? musical? I don't know. Not connected to my other barricade fics ("That I Live And You Are Gone", etc.).

...Enjoy reading Joly's suffering!

"How fast the minutes fly away and every minute colder...There's a darkness that comes without a warning..."

~Fantine's Death (Come to Me)

Part of him burned with pain, and that was terrifying. Part of him was so much without pain he wondered if all of him was there, and that was even worse.

Perhaps part of him was still normal, still alright, still working, but if that was so, there was no way Joly could tell.

Voices rushed around him, and with his own voice he tried to call.

They were dying.

And so was Joly.

Fear was a winged monster with talons that tore at his heart. Dying wasn't peaceful at all; dying was terror and torment and the pain that he knew should be there but was not.

Dying was falling, wavering on the edge of two worlds, one bloody, the other black, and waiting only for the last breath of wind to topple him over.

One person stood out amid the blurs that should have been distinct citizens, distinct friends. It wasn't a surprise. Not really.

Enjolras had always stood out in a crowd.

A scream or a cry or a groan struggled from Joly's throat. He couldn't hear himself over the sound of crashing waves in his own head.


His friend was by his side in an instant, a strong hand grasping Joly's, very much alive. Still not enough against the gravity of death that seemed to swarm around Joly and wrap him in curtains of horrifying darkness.

I don't want to die.

Joly's breath formed itself somehow into panicked words, begging, "Help me."

Hastily (but scared, so scared) came the questions. "What's wrong? Where are you hurt?"

Everything's wrong, replied his staggering heartbeats, Everything's wrong. Everything's wrong.

The only answer Joly could give was a small whisper. "I can't feel my legs."

Enjolras bit his lip, his mouth opening to say something that was never actually said. His fingers squeezed tighter around Joly's, and it hurt, but Joly was thankful for it, thankful that he could at least feel something. Enjolras turned suddenly and shouted. The sound was loud to Joly's ears. (Death seemed to make all of his senses fragile. Easier to break.) "Combeferre!"

The world was cold now, but Joly was too weak to shiver.

He heard Enjolras again. "Can he be moved someplace safer?"

"I don't know." A different hand was touching Joly now, a different voice was speaking. Combeferre was there. His arm lifted Joly up a little, then was suddenly removed. Joly heard a low gasp.

Too much blood. Far, far too much.

To keep from whimpering his fear was a battle. To keep breathing was a war.

Combeferre was shaking, his words barely held together, falling apart.

"He won't make it."

Dying was falling, and Joly was dying. Held by a thread to the brink of the living world.

"No," said Enjolras. "Joly-"

The thin edge of the void crumbled.

Joly closed his eyes and let himself fall.