Companion to "Neighbor". Set one week after that fic ended. Super fluffy. :)

Shed More Warmth

Feuilly limped into his kitchen, a little tender, a little sore, but maybe he could go to work today, despite the countless warnings he'd received from the doctors and his friends and his own aching body. If he called in to explain why he would be an hour late-

All his half-thought plans vaporized in a sigh of resignation when he saw Courfeyrac reading the comics section of the newspaper at Feuilly's dining room table.

"What are you doing here?" Feuilly yawned, waking up a little more.

"I made you coffee." Courfeyrac gestured to the counter. "You're welcome."

"You're not."

"Ouch," said Courfeyrac cheerfully.

Feuilly followed the smell of coffee automatically, as a bee follows the scent of a flower. "You didn't answer my question, Courfeyrac."

Courfeyrac leaned back on his chair and grinned. "I'm here to keep you company."

"You have school." Feuilly sipped from the mug, his taste buds cringing a little as the hot drink burned his tongue.

Burned. Feuilly's skin twinged. Stop it. Don't think about that.

He'd been given medicine to help with the pain. Feuilly looked at the bottle that sat on the counter. He'd taken some last night. He supposed it did help. A little.

Courfeyrac was talking. "I have school three days a week, and this, fortunately, is not one of them."

Feuilly pulled out his other chair from the table and sat down, careful of the slowly-healing burns on his legs. "Combeferre told you to keep me from sneaking off to work." It wasn't a question.

Courfeyrac chuckled. "That's not the only reason. You deserve a day off. We can have fun today! You never have any fun."

"What I'm going to have is breakfast."

"We can eat out," Courfeyrac suggested.

"I'm allowed to?"

Courfeyrac shrugged. "I don't see why not. It's not like you're under house arrest; you just aren't supposed to exert yourself."

"So I can drive?"

"Joly wouldn't approve."

Feuilly finally allowed himself a smile. "So I can."


. . .

A few hours later…

"I'm bored," Courfeyrac announced, stretched out on the sunlight-flooded carpet of Feuilly's living room, flicking through a twelve-inch stack of old magazines he'd found on the bottom ledge of Feuilly's bookshelf.

"Not my fault," said Feuilly absently from his place on the couch. He tapped his pen on the crossword he'd started a month ago and never had time to finish, trying to remember what matou* meant in English. Six letters.

His eyes fell on Courfeyrac, relaxing in the sun, and Feuilly laughed to himself. Tomcat.

"Don't you have any interesting hobbies?"

An idea struck Feuilly. There was something, although he didn't know whether or not Courfeyrac would find it interesting. He sat up too quickly, winced, and stood. "I'll be right back."

Courfeyrac's eyes lit up. "Okay."

. . .

Feuilly had to dig through his closet to uncover the thing he was looking for.

There. Feuilly sat back with the shoebox on his lap (trying to ignore how quickly his lungs were pulling in breath because of even this simple action) and brushed the dust from the lid. He hadn't touched these in forever.

Feuilly stood up, slower this time. How on earth he would have managed work today, he didn't know. Maybe it was a good thing Courfeyrac had come, after all.

Courfeyrac had taken advantage of Feuilly's absence to seize most of the couch and all the pillows. Feuilly lowered himself onto the space that was left for him and opened the box.

"Wow." Courfeyrac reached in and held the object in his hand. "You collect fans?"

"I made them. A long time ago."

"You made these?" The awe in Courfeyrac's voice stirred a sense of pride in Feuilly. Courfeyrac spread out the one he had in his hand and laughed. "Reminds me of Enjolras."

Feuilly watched the golden beams he'd painted flickering against a red dawn as the fan moved. "It's supposed to. I made one for each of you."

"Really? Where's mine?" Courfeyrac folded up the Enjolras-fan and gave it back to Feuilly. Feuilly rummaged gently through the box, feeling the material under his blistered fingers, and pulled out another fan.


A grin spread over Courfeyrac's face when he saw the picture. Like with Enjolras's, Feuilly had painted the sun, but Courfeyrac's was livelier, tendrils of light from the center growing tendrils of color that bled together into a bright miasma of hues.

Because, Feuilly thought, Courfeyrac was warmth, and Courfeyrac was color.

"It's amazing," said Courfeyrac. "Can I see the rest?"

Bahorel's scene was a thunderstorm, streaks of rain and shades of clouds and a long, thin branch of lightning.

Joly had a forest. Feuilly didn't really have an explanation for it, but birches and yellow leaves seemed to fit Joly, somehow.

For Jehan: A rose intertwined with a feather quill, writing music that swirled against a background the color of yellowed parchment.

Grapevines twisted into strange illusions that seemed to move on their own if you stared at them too long. That one was for Grantaire.

Bossuet had a set of wings on his. "L'aigle?" Courfeyrac asked with a knowing smile. Feuilly nodded.

He purposely saved Combeferre's for last. In Feuilly's opinion, it was the best one.

Courfeyrac spread it out and did a double take, spilling a few pillows. "This is-" He couldn't finish, just shaking his head and bursting out laughing.

On Combeferre's fan, Feuilly had painted in great detail the wings of a Polyphemus moth, eyespots and all.

Courfeyrac finally gained enough control of himself to talk again. "It looks so real! Why have we never seen these before?"

"I didn't think anybody could have any use for them."

"That's ridiculous."

"Can you seriously picture Bahorel with a fan?"

"They're art, Feuilly!"

"Can you picture Bahorel with art?"

"Look, Bahorel's not the point here. You're talented."


"Are you going to show the others?"

"I- wasn't planning on it, but you're going to make me, aren't you."

"No," said Courfeyrac, sounding offended. Feuilly shook his head with a smile.

"Will you accept a 'maybe'?"


They spent the rest of the day together doing various activities, including looking at their friends' pictures in the collection of old yearbooks Feuilly owned (Courfeyrac laughed for a good four minutes at Jehan's eighth-grade photo), discussing the oddities and quirks of Courfeyrac's history professor, and ordering a large pizza.

Feuilly began yawning around nine-thirty, and Courfeyrac noticed. He got up and stretched. "I should probably be getting home soon. I've got school three days a week, you know, and unfortunately, tomorrow is one of those days. Not to mention I have four assignments due tomorrow that aren't completed yet."

Feuilly nodded. "Thanks for coming, Courfeyrac."

"Thanks for letting me stay." Courfeyrac grinned. "Promise me you won't sneak off to work tomorrow."

"You know I won't," Feuilly teased.

"Promise Combeferre, then. He's less easily convinced of your word in matters such as these."

"Fine. I promise."

"I'll stop by after school tomorrow."

Feuilly wasn't expecting this sentence, formed like a suggestion more than a statement, but he realized then that really, it was nice, when he couldn't do much, having Courfeyrac here. "Okay. See you."

Courfeyrac went out and shut the door behind him with a wave and a sunny "goodnight".

Feuilly was left alone again. The house seemed strangely empty.

He let out a long sigh, aware once again of how his skin was raw and the pain still underlied it.

Feuilly went to the counter, fingered the medicine bottle.

Maybe he could make a fan for Marius tomorrow. He didn't know Marius very well, but Courfeyrac did.

A faint smile appeared on Feuilly's face.


* The word matou means killed in Portuguese, which is also six letters, but Feuilly's crossword is in French.