Background: Modern AU. No idea if it is in America or France or wherever? I was just randomly moved to write this. Minimum medical research was done.
Inspired by Les Amis headcanons shared with civilizedrevolutionary: 'Emergency room; what are they in for?'
Feuilly jolted awake at the pounding on his door.
Someone was screaming.
Feuilly was out of bed in a second.
An unnatural sort of light flickered faintly from outside his curtained window.
Call the fire department, please, my daughter-
Wordlessly, Feuilly ran to get his cell phone, handed it to the younger man, and left his house, breaking into a run to the house across the street, where stark flames illuminated the black sky and smoke mingled with the nighttime clouds.
Feuilly knew immediately which child his neighbor meant. There were two daughters in that family. The six-year-old was crying, wrapped tightly in her mother's arms.
The other girl was three years old. Feuilly didn't see her.
He didn't waste any time. "Is she inside?"
The young mother nodded. Feuilly went in through the front door.
Behind him, the woman found her voice. "Wait- No!"
. . .
He knew where her bedroom was because she had shown him. He'd come over last year, a month after they'd moved in, because he saw the father struggling with ladders and gutters and roofs. He'd helped because it was simply the right thing to do, that was all. The mother had invited him inside. For something to eat, she'd said. Feuilly had tried to decline.
Sitting down a minute later, he had admitted homemade cookies were almost worth the awkward acceptance of others' kindnesses. For some reason, Feuilly had always found it hard to let people return his favors.
A small girl with a face covered in cookie crumbs and a smudge of melted chocolate had climbed onto one of the stools that stood near their kitchen island, trying to make the seat spin around. "Come see my room!"
Feuilly couldn't help a small smile. "Well, I'd love to, but-"
But the mother from the kitchen had waved him on with a laugh. "We painted the girls' rooms last week; they're dying to show them off."
So Feuilly allowed himself to be pulled by the girl's eager hand down the hall and two doors down.
It was pink. Very pink. Feuilly blinked. "It's beautiful," he said, which seemed to please the child immensely. Her grin grew wider.
"Mine?" Feuilly looked down. A tinier girl with wisps of dark hair and wide eyes stared up at him, a little shyly, clutching an old but obviously treasured blanket in one fist.
His first thought was she's adorable.
"Mine," she said again, a little more firmly. Feuilly chuckled.
"Can you show me your room?" A delighted smile showed a few small teeth, and the child led him to the room next door. (He spared a glance back into the pink room and saw that the other girl was occupied with a large dollhouse in the corner, so he figured she wouldn't mind him leaving.)
This room was a soft green, like new leaves against the light. Feuilly's breath caught.
"Mine," said the little girl.
"Yes, yours." Feuilly knelt down on the soft carpet of her bedroom to better look into her expectant expression. "It's so pretty."
. . .
The heat conjoined with the pain so that Feuilly didn't realize at first that his clothes were on fire.
Only one thought occupied his mind.
Down the hall, three doors down.
. . .
He smothered her smoldering nightgown, held her trembling body, his voice hoarse from the smoke in his lungs. "It's okay, I've got you. Let's get out of here."
He moved as quickly as possible, seeing nothing but the way through, praying she would keep breathing, that he would keep breathing long enough to get them outside.
Feuilly stumbled. The way back seemed too long.
She was coughing and crying.
Feuilly's eyes stung.
But he had to keep going. Had to.
. . .
. . .
Dark. Someone lifted Feuilly, removed the little girl from his arms.
Finally, the blessed coolness of the night air. He couldn't inhale it very well, but the temperature against his burning skin was comfort enough.
Until the burning in his desperate lungs overcame it.
Darkness fell again.
. . .
Sirens. Other sounds, too.
There was a blackness, a haze.
They knew what he needed to hear. "She's okay. You saved her."
She's okay. That's good, then… everything's fine…
And suddenly Feuilly realized how much he hurt.
Something was over his face, and breathing became miraculously easier. The words around him came from several different voices, and they mingled so that he heard one phrase, then another, in ways that didn't make sense.
...second and third degree burns…
We'll have to…
Feuilly saw the mother and father, heard them, but the exhaustion or something else took hold before he could assure them it hadn't been any trouble at all.
. . .
Hospitals had never been Feuilly's favorite places.
Maybe it was the fact that they were necessary in the first place.
It shouldn't be like this.
. . .
He lost track of time between waking and sleeping. The surgeries were partly to blame. All the things he was scheduled to be doing came to a halt. Time wasn't standing still, but it was moving in such a way that Feuilly couldn't quite catch up.
I'm supposed to work tomorrow.
I was supposed to work today.
There's a meeting tonight. I said I'd be there; Enjolras won't take excuses.
The doctors came in far too often, inspecting his wounds, checking his breathing.
He found himself remembering the pale leaf-green on the child's wall. The stools by the kitchen island. The dollhouse. The ladders, the gutters, the roofs.
He saw the details of the fire he hadn't seen when he was inside it.
Feuilly's neighbors came to visit him. It was a short visit, only about five minutes, and their thanks made Feuilly uncomfortable, but truthfully, he enjoyed it. He kept the messy cards from the two girls next to his bed, and the gentle hug he received from the three-year-old was worth everything.
. . .
The nurse came in one morning. "Do you have any family we can contact?"
Friends. Amis. "Yes."
"Can you give me a number, please?"
"Can I call them myself?"
. . .
"Hello?" Feuilly found himself smiling at the familiar voice.
There was a pause, and Feuilly could hear the relief. "Feuilly?"
"Where are you? You never showed up last night." He had worried, Feuilly inferred, and it was strangely gratifying. "Is anything wrong?"
"You could say that."
"Feuilly, what happened?"
"There was a house on fire across the street, and-"
"That was you?"
That caught Feuilly off guard. "You know?"
"You saved that little girl, didn't you?"
"...Yes, but how do you-"
"It was on the news yesterday morning. Combeferre said it looked like near where you lived, but the footage had terrible quality, and no names were released. He'd said he'd go over to your house today, just to make sure. I have no idea if he's already gone or not."
"He'll find out the whole story, then."
"Yeah." There was another pause. "Are you okay?"
"Almost better. They might let me go home in a few days."
"That's good." Enjolras hesitated. "And the cost- are you-"
"The family's paying for everything. I told them not to, but they feel like they have to do something in return."
"Are any of the others with you?"
"No. You want me to text them, or…?"
"Alright. We'll all come to see you, okay?"
Feuilly smiled. "I'll look forward to it."
"See you then."
There was a brief silence. Then: "And Feuilly?"
Fluffy companion-fic now posted! "Shed More Warmth".