Enjolras’ head spun and he felt sick as he slowly opened his eyes. His chest was heaving as he blinked up at harsh light. He couldn’t remember what had happened. The last thing he remembered was being at his barricades. He had been fighting alongside his friends. He had been so hopeful. His new world was so close to being within his grasp, his friends were fighting by his side, but the people weren’t. He closed his eyes again, remembering sudden details. The people weren’t rising. The people had abandoned them. Enjolras felt his heart sting at the painful reminder. What had happened? Had they lost? Had he been shot? Where were his friends? He snapped his eyes open again, squinting in the pale yellow light as he tried to make sense of his surroundings. He slowly tried to sit up, gasping as a searing pain shot through his shoulder and he fell back, clutching the wounded limb. He hissed in pain, grimacing. He took deep breaths, trying to regain the breath that seemed to have left him. He heard sudden footsteps, it was only then that he was struck with the fear that he might be in some sort of prison or hospital. He looked around for something to defend himself with quickly.
“Enjolras?” the blond froze when he heard the familiar voice. “You’re awake, thank God!” Combeferre ran to his friend, throwing his arms around him. “You’re awake. You’re alive. Thank God.” Enjolras was too in shock to respond immediately. He barely had time to even register that Combeferre had hugged him before he was pulling away. “Are you alright? Did I hurt you? Oh god, I’m sorry.” the doctor said quickly, adjusting his glasses. “I was just so relieved. I was scared that you weren’t going to make it. So many didn’t.” he whispered. Enjolras suddenly realized that Combeferre was crying, the man taking off his glasses to clean them. “I’m sorry, Enjolras. I’m so so sorry.” he wiped his eyes quickly, obviously not wanting to cry.
Enjolras was quite overwhelmed to say the least. “Combeferre, yes, I’m alive. Calm down.” he said in a clear, but firm tone. “I need you to calm down. Please.” he told him, running a hand through his hair. “I don’t remember what happened.” he admitted. “I remember preparing for the battle, I remember setting up the protest, I remember brief flashes of fighting. That’s it. I’m going to ask you to take things one step at a time while explaining things to me.” he said, clutching his pounding head. “I’m going to ask you one question at a time, okay?” Combeferre quickly nodded. “Alright. Where are we?”
Combeferre took a deep breath, appearing to have calmed down at least a small bit, looking more professional. “We’re at the home of a man by the name of Jean Valjean.” he explained slowly and patiently. “He refuses to tell us much about himself, but he seems a kind man. He provided us food, water, shelter, and medical materials. I believe him to be the father of the girl Marius claimed to be in love with.”
Enjolras nodded, listening to every word. He remembered Marius droning on and on about the girl he had met and fallen in love with. Joly had been concerned that the boy was ill and Grantaire found the entire thing to be quite amusing. The blond sighed at the memory, glad that things were starting to make a little sense. “How did we get here?”
“Valjean brought us.” Combeferre said. “He turned up about half-way through the fight. We thought he was a spy, but he proved his loyalty. He fought with us.” Enjolras smiled a little at that news, it was somewhat comforting to know that not everyone had abandoned them. “We snuck through the sewers after retreating. He led us here.”
Enjolras balled his hands into fists. “We retreated?” he asked, struggling to keep his voice level. He would never retreat, never. He would fight for his country until his dying breath. Why would he ever retreat? “I wouldn’t retreat!” he snapped bitterly.
Combeferre flinched at the harshness of Enjolras’ tone. “You did.” he said calmly. “There were too many of them and too few of us. We were dying, Enjolras. We had already lost some of our own. You were wounded.” he looked down. “You did what was best. Trust me on that.”
Enjolras took deep breaths, trying to keep his anger under control. He hated to think that he would just retreat like that, but then Combeferre’s words truly began to sink in. We had already lost some of our own. Enjolras closed his eyes. He had known that not everyone would live. Everyone who went to the barricade knew that they might not make it out. He still had no way of knowing how much it would hurt once they actually lost people. “Who did we lose.” he asked gently, not opening his eyes.
“We don’t know.” Combeferre admitted gently. “Some are still missing, others are in critical condition. Some have been arrested.” the doctor sat down in a chair beside the bed, cleaning his glasses. “We don’t know how many are dead or how many are still going to die.”
Enjolras inhaled sharply, his head spinning. He had to know whose deaths he had caused. “Who are the confirmed dead?” he asked. “Tell me the status of everyone, one by one. Tell me everything you know.”
Combeferre frowned. “Enjolras, you just woke up. I’m not going to do that to you.” he said gently. “I’ve already said too much.” he took a breath. “You need rest. Please, try to get some. I’ll get you some water. You need to lay back and take it easy.”
“Don’t bullshit me, ‘Ferre!” Enjolras snapped. “I need to know.” his blue eyes were watering and he quickly wiped them. “Please, just tell me. That’s all I ask. I need to know who I’ve killed.” his voice was barely above a whisper.
Combeferre looked at his friend sadly, taking his hand and squeezing it tightly. “None of these deaths are your fault.” he said gently, tilting the blond’s head to look at him. “Everyone knew what they were doing.” he told him. “But I’ll tell you, as long as you drink some water and rest afterwards.” he conceded. Enjolras nodded his consent and Combeferre sighed. “You were shot in your shoulder, in case you couldn’t tell.” he began. “I was the lucky one. I got out with a few bruises and a graze, but nothing serious.” he closed his eyes. “Courfeyrac is in critical condition. There’s no way of knowing if he’ll make it yet.” he didn’t elaborate, tears in his eyes. “Bossuet and Joly are both in critical condition, but odds are that Bossuet isn’t going to make it.” he took a deep breath, trying to even out his breathing. “Bahorel is dead.” there was such a finality to it, the way his voice shook and the silence that followed. “Jehan is missing, along with Grantaire, Feuilly, and Marius.” he leaned back in the chair. “The girl Marius brought with him, Eponine, died. Gavroche died. You killed Claquesous.” he took off his glasses and buried his face in his hands. “That’s all we know.” he murmured, sounding ready to completely break down at any moment.
Enjolras was staring up at the ceiling, listening to each name be called out one by one. He took a shaky breath when he felt something damp hit his pillow. He hadn’t even realized he began crying. He closed his eyes as a pitiful sob escaped him. He couldn’t even try to hold it back. Sob after sob shook through his body and it hurt. Everything hurt. Every breath he took, every tear he released, every shake of his body caused another wave of pain to crash through him. He hadn’t cried in years. Not like this, but now he couldn’t stop. His entire body shook with the weight of them, air difficult to get into his lungs. He didn’t know what to do, it was like a flood had erupted inside of him, all of the wrath and fury pouring its way out of him. He clutched the sheets and just cried, allowing himself to be vulnerable for the first time in a long time. He felt a pair of arms wrap around him and he quickly turned to bury his face in Combeferre’s shirt, clutching his friend tightly. It felt like he was a little kid again, playing with his friends. It was like he had fallen off of the swings and scraped his knee and Combeferre had to come and comfort him while he cried. He whimpered, sobbing into Combeferre’s chest before he felt exhaustion overtake him, letting everything go back to black.