Chapter 1: I
“It’s going to be okay, it’s going to be okay” Louis whispered to himself in the dark.
“Don’t you think we’re a little too old to be holding hands, brother?” Philippe whispered back.
Louis held tighter.
“You’re crushing me!” Philippe complained.
“Philippe” Louis looked into the dark where he could dimly see his brother. “What’s going to happen?”
“I’m pretty sure I could ask the same of you”
There had been events happening for a while, throughout the end of the 1650s. The Third Estate were rising and consuming the others. The king had said it was only a matter of time. Buildings had been seized and guards killed. The royal family had tried to escape, but hadn’t gotten far. They had no guards left, no staff- not even Mazarin. Even Bontemps had gone into hiding- under the orders of Louis XIII. Yesterday, they had tried to flee Paris in disguise, but they were captured and imprisoned. Louis and Philippe were taken one way and their parents the other.
Louis sighed. “Perhaps so. I’m meant to know these things. Now I don’t even know if I shall ever be in charge”
Philippe didn’t answer. The two sat in silence for what felt like hours, until a noise of chains from outside made them jump.
“What was that?” Philippe asked.
“I don’t know. You’re taller than me. I’ll lift you so you can look out of the window” Louis replied.
The window in question was too high up for them to look out of, and had bars across. Philippe peered out and nearly fell over. He backed away from the window, pale, mouthing prayers.
Louis grabbed his elbow. “What’s the matter? What did you see?”
“T-they’ve got mother and father!”
“What?! Let me see”
“You don’t want to”
“Philippe I am ordering you to let me see”
Louis instantly regretted being able to see.
“What are they going to do to them?” Philippe asked, a slight quiver in his voice.
“You know what they’re going to do”
The two stiffened at the sound of the blade, at their mother’s screams. They listened to the sounds of both their parents being executed. Louis looked up. He felt sick. He looked at Philippe. Philippe was crying.
“We must get out” he said.
“Get out? How in the hell do you propose we do that?”
Later that evening, when a guard came to deliver the plain bread for the princes, he looked around in bewilderment.
“Where’s your brother?” he asked roughly.
Louis just shrugged.
“Answer me!” as the guard came closer, Philippe jumped out from behind a partition and hit him on the head with some wood the two had hauled up from the floor.
“Run!” Philippe grabbed Louis’ hand and hauled him out of the door, quickly following.
They ran faster than Louis had ever ran before, the prison walls blurring next to them.
“Ready? Through!” Philippe yelled, crashing through a glass window.
In his breathless state, Louis still admired Philippe. He would have made a great military commander. They smashed the window and continued running. Louis felt the glass cutting his skin but soldiered on, blood on fire, legs like lead.
“I believe we’re alright now” Philippe suddenly stopped. “We’re a fair distance away. I don’t think we can run much more, let’s shelter in there”
He was pointing at a shelter which Louis assumed was once a house. It was crumbling, but the rain was starting and the bells sounding so they crept inside.
Chevy heard a sound coming from downstairs. He turned to Henriette, seeing her eyes were full of fear.
“Do you think the authorities have finally found us?” she whispered.
“Don’t worry, Minette. Grab that mirror and your poker, we’ll go investigate” he replied.
They tiptoed along the hall and down the ladder. Henriette stuck out her mirror round the corner and gasped, dropping it. Chevy rounded the corner, pulling her behind him and came face to face with the future King of France and the Duke of Orléans.
Chapter 2: II
“Well?” Louis raised an eyebrow, trying to hide his fear with haughtiness.
The woman in front of him looked tired and she was wearing a ripped dress. The man had long blond hair, and carried a sword. Although messy, the two were unmistakeable nobles.
“You’re nobles. Introduce yourselves” he said.
The woman curtsied. “The Lady Henriette, your Highness- although I get called Minette. I come from the south. I’m in hiding for alleged witchcraft”
The man inclined his head and then flung out an arm flamboyantly. “Philippe, Chevalier de Lorraine- but you can call me Chevy”
He winked at Philippe. Philippe turned red. Louis frowned.
“Show some respect. Why are you here?” Louis asked.
“Why are you? I thought the monarchy had been deposed”
“You forget yourself. You can’t speak to your king like that!”
“You’re not your father”
“My father’s dead. I’ll be your king once this revolution is over. Don’t assume things you don’t know” Louis turned and walked out of the room.
Philippe watched him leave. Louis was acting deliberately cold because he was upset. Philippe had watched it happen for 20 years.
“I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. Your Highness” Chevy said, he dropped his sword and held up his hands.
“It’s alright. Don’t worry. Don’t worry about titles either, we’re all equal when we’re trying to survive” Philippe replied, “I’ll go after him”
Showing proper respect, Philippe paused to kiss Henriette’s hand. “Mademoiselle”
“Monsieur” she replied automatically.
He then swept out of the room.
Chevy waited until the door had shut before falling into a chair.
“They don’t even remember my family! Let’s hope they never find out” he exclaimed. “I’d better hide that Bible. It’s in the vernacular. The king would kill me. Better get out my vestments”
Henriette laughed. “I wish I were a heretic rather than a witch”
“Witches are so much more fun than Protestants, my lady” he twirled her around.
“We’ll be so much more than a witch and an exiled Protestant when they find out we’re sheltering the princes”
“Oh yes! We’ll be up to our knees in bother, it’ll be fantastic drama!” Chevy’s eyes gleamed with excitement.
Henriette playfully hit his arm. “Careful! We’ll have to plan out where to go next, we can’t let them be seen”
He gasped and clutched her hands. “Let’s flee Paris! It’ll be like we’re eloping!”
“I’m flattered! You’d elope with me? I must be your last resort then, if no man will have you”
“Well! Pretty Philippe will be coming too, won’t he?”
Henriette grinned. “I don’t even think you’re allowed to say you want to court the Duke of Orléans. The king will probably have you arrested”
“If he’s that jealous then I’ve no objections to his joining in! I’ve got a thing for-“
“Chevy!” Henriette slapped a hand across his mouth as footsteps came down the ladder.
Henriette and Chevy quickly stood to attention. Chevy noticed the golden high heeled boots and immediately removed his hat.
“I beg your forgiv-“
Louis held a hand up to silence him. “It’s up to me to beg yours. My ordeal is no excuse for my rudeness, as shown by Philippe’s manners- which do put mine to shame”.
“And I accept your apology. I just hope you accept mine. Let’s start again. I’m Chevy. I’m in exile. Obviously”
“I’m Louis. This is my brother Philippe. We’re in hiding after witnessing the execution of our parents this morning. We have escaped from prison and are taking the two of you into our confidence. If you keep us safe and let us come with you, once the Revolution is over and the monarchy restored, I am going to build my own palace outside of Paris and I will give you full noble rights and rooms. You won’t have to hide any longer”
“Thank you, your M- Louis” Chevy turned to Henriette, eyes shining. “Think of the clothes, Minette! We’ll be able to wear nice clothes again!”
“I’m glad that’s your first priority” Henriette replied, but she was smiling too.
“Oh, my dear Henriette. Don’t doubt me for a minute, although I’d love to be out of captivity, I also dearly miss the feel of silk”
“Well. Our real first priority is getting Louis and Philippe as far away from Paris as possible- and I believe I have a plan”
Henriette looked up at the sky. “It’s getting late. We should probably go now”
“Do you know a way out which doesn’t involve the street? We don’t want to be seen” Philippe said.
“On the one hand, I’m going to say that you look fabulous and you ought to be seen from every angle by every person. On the other hand, I have to say that we do indeed know a safe way out of Paris, but it involves going through the woods” Chevy added.
“As long as we won’t be seen in the woods I’ll do anything” Philippe replied.
“Come on then. We better leave now before the night guard” Louis said.
Louis thought he was used to the woods after a childhood of hunting. As he walked through with Philippe, Chevy and Henriette, he realised that he was only used to the woods on horseback. Walking in the woods was completely different. He jumped at every snap of a twig before righting himself and remembering that he was meant to be king. He wasn’t meant to be scared of twigs. Kings weren’t afraid of anything- not of revolutions, not of twigs.
“We’re going to have to stay here I’m afraid” Henriette said. “We‘ll try going back through in a couple of hours, the guard are already on the other side”
Sure enough, Louis could hear muffled conversation from a distance.
“Are we safe here? We won’t be seen?” he asked.
“We’re safe. Let’s get into that area there, we’ll be better hidden. We won’t be able to start a fire but it’s a warm night. I’m sure we’ll be alright if we move around a bit” she said.
“We should take shifts if we are going to sleep” Philippe said.
“Good idea. I’ll take first” Louis volunteered automatically.
Louis had struggled with insomnia for many years, even during his childhood. Judging by the look his brother was giving him, Philippe was remembering.
“If you’re sure. Wake us if you need us” Philippe added.
“It’ll be fine. Thank you though”
40 minutes passed, and they felt like both the longest and the shortest of Louis’ life. He thought about civil war, about revolution. He worried what he would do if he lost the crown forever. Philippe would probably go off the rails with all of the freedom he would gain. At least he would no longer have to worry about overshadowing Louis. They could even be equals. Eventually, when he heard footsteps approaching he whipped around, only lowering his sword when he saw Henriette.
“You shouldn’t be up. I said I would keep watch” he turned back around.
“I can’t sleep” she shrugged and looked up at the stars. “Never can these days”
“No. Nor can I”
The two lapsed off into an easy silence.
“It surprises me, you know. I’m alone with 3 men and none of you have tried to have sex with me. Usually that’s all women are used for” Henriette broke the silence. “Since we have no domestic chores to be getting on with”
Louis was a bit thrown. “I think you’re a beautiful woman, H- Minette, but the thought hadn’t crossed my mind. I’m preoccupied. I have so many worries that I no longer have time to think about women. It just wouldn’t be fair for me to enjoy any kind of pleasure right now”
“You’re very wise. Not many men would take that position. Your brother... he isn’t attracted to women, is he?”
“What gives you that impression?”
“I endure Chevy on a daily basis. He has a love for men as well. I just wanted to say that I realise how difficult it must be for him”
“It’s difficult. The most difficult part will be marrying a woman and having children with her, to fulfil his royal duties. I believe that all he wants is to win glory for France in war. He doesn’t want to settle down, but I’m going to have to force him- and he will resent me for it”
“Perhaps sometimes it would be easier if we don’t restore the monarchy. If the rebels win I wouldn’t have duties and obligations. I could live here, in the woods, with you”
“You’re going to be a wonderful king” she grabbed his hands and looked earnestly into his eyes. “I can already see that. When you win the revolution, you’ll have your duties and obligations, but you’ll also have me. You’ll have me there, and Chevy, and Philippe by your side. You won’t be left to do it alone”
“I hope not”
Henriette leaned in against his shoulder. He put his arm around her and they sat for a while, just staring at the stars and saying nothing.
Louis woke to the sound of shouting. “You’re incredibly stupid sometimes, Louis!”
Louis realised it was daytime and he was on the floor. Chevy was pulling Henriette up next to him and Philippe was yelling at him, in the quietest yet angriest tone.
“You were meant to be keeping watch! You fell asleep. You were practically in sight! We could’ve been seen- scratch that, you could’ve been assassinated”
“Does it count as an assassination if you’re no longer king? Perhaps you should take that as a compliment” Chevy said, nonchalantly helping Henriette into her cloak. “You look dashing, darling”. He kissed her cheek.
Philippe watched in disapproval, feeling like they should still be shouting at Louis, who was currently walking around the area like he had done nothing wrong.
“What’s the matter? Don’t worry. I’ll help you into your cloak as well. Come here” Chevy repeated his actions with Philippe, letting the cheek kiss linger longer than he had done with Henriette. When he went to pull away, he licked the side of Philippe’s face, ignoring the disgusted shock coming from Louis.
“Thank you. I’ll always remember this as the first contact we’ve ever had” Philippe used his lace to dab at his skin.
“Come on. Let’s just get out of Paris” Henriette said.
The four walked for what felt to Louis like an eternity. They were all relatively used to travelling at least on horseback. Eventually they ended up in a small market town, and Henriette gave Louis a shawl, and Chevy gave Philippe his hat.
“Hopefully these people won’t recognise you, since they’ve only seen the portraits and glimpses from a distance, but we have to be careful” Chevy said, straightening out the hat and trying to hide as much of Philippe’s hair as possible.
“How do I look?” Philippe asked
“Extravagant. Divine. Magnificent. Almost as good as I looked in it. Now you’ll be the one doffing your hat to all the ladies”
Philippe laughed. “Why thank you. I’m not trying to inflate your ego anymore, but you’ll definitely be the first one I’d doff my hat to”
Chevy pretended to faint dramatically. “Oh, Monsieur!”
“You’ve been a ray of sunshine throughout this whole ordeal, Chevy. I just want to thank you for your optimism- and your jokes, even though they are terrible”
Chevy kissed Philippe’s hand. He didn’t say anything, but it was enough.
An hour after taking shelter in yet another abandoned house, there was a knock at the door. Henriette put down her bread and went to answer.
“Who’s there?” she said, wrapping her shawl tighter around herself.
“Afternoon, Madame. We’re looking for two escaped convicts, formerly known as the Dauphin Louis Dieudonné, and Philippe Duke of Orléans” the man replied.
“The Dauphin? No, sir. I haven’t seen them, nor have I heard anything” she lied, knowing full well of Louis and Philippe sitting a metre out of sight.
“Let the authorities know if you hear anything- and look after yourself, pretty young girl like you shouldn’t be living in a state like this”
Henriette nodded, said her goodbyes and closed the door, leaning a chair up against it.
“They don’t suspect anything- but they will if they recognise me. Thank heavens it was dim out there or they might have realised my face was the same one as the face on the wanted posters all over Paris” Henriette came through into the other room.
Chevy smiles sadly and turned to Louis. “I’ve seen a fair few posters about you two as well. The Third Estate are going to storm us before they storm any Bastille. What are your thoughts on... skipping the country?”
“You want to leave France? We can’t restore the monarchy outside of France!” Louis answered
“None of us are peasants, so I assume that we all have a grasp on a few different languages, just enough to pass. Also, we can restore it! We’ll have a counter-revolution of our own. One hears things on the streets, and what I’ve heard is that many old French nobles loyal to the king are sheltering in Germany”
“Germany? What about the Holy Roman Emperor?”
Philippe laughed. “Our dear cousin Leopold wouldn’t hesitate to give us up to the authorities”
“That may be true, but we can’t stay here, Minette is right. It’s too dangerous” Chevy added.
Louis sighed. “Do you know where in Germany?”
“A small town near Düsseldorf- although naturally we wouldn’t go without your consent”
Louis still looked sceptical so Philippe jumped in. “Well you have my consent, and that’s as good as any”
“If we must. But I have a bad feeling about Germany” Louis said.
“A bad feeling is better than no feeling at all, my dear brother- let’s go to Germany!”
Louis didn’t realise at the time how accurate his bad feeling would become.
I hope you’re enjoying the story- next chapter will introduce Montespan and bring in a bit about Chevy’s backstory!
Chapter 4: IV
Chevy put his arm around Henriette, and she slipped hers around his waist as they sat beside the dying fire. They both stared at the sleeping Louis and Philippe before them.
“Our lives have really changed, haven’t they? I’ve missed you” Henriette said.
“Missed me? You see me on a daily basis, dearest” Chevy replied.
“You know what I mean Chev. It’s different now. It’s not just the two of us anymore”
Chevy could remember how it used to be. His family were living in exile as Huguenot heretics. Some had already been burnt at the stake. He was scared everyday. He was attending an underground Protestant service at the time. They were meant to meet him there. They never showed. When Chevy arrived back, the house was reduced to a pile of ashes. His family had all perished. He decided to move to the outskirts of Paris, rather than the city, where he met Henriette, a lost and disgraced noblewoman who had been sentenced to death for witchcraft when all she was doing was helping save lives. There was nothing quite like death looming and a price on one’s head to unite two people. They became close friends, partners in crime. Since hearing about the revolution and the fall of the monarchy, as nobles, they went into deeper hiding in a run down shack- and then they met Louis and Philippe.
“It’s different but change isn’t always a bad thing. I hit rock bottom, you saved my life. I won’t forget that, no matter how many new people get here”
Henriette smiled sadly. “I do enjoy their company. It’s just going to take a bit of getting used to- being constantly on the run”
“We would have eventually inevitably had to go on the run anyway, Minette. Better make it sooner rather than later. I just want to help them. I want my own revolution. I want my power back”
“You’ll get it. We’ll rebel. If we don’t, Paris will go up in flames. Forget that. France will go up in flames”
“We’re going to win, I know we are. We’ll get them back on their feet” Chevy’s eyes softened as he looked towards Philippe. “I’m going to pray for him- while he’s still asleep. Them, I mean”
“Would you have to become a Catholic?” Henriette asked as she got up to go to bed.
“When...” she tilted her head meaningfully towards Philippe.
Chevy sighed. “If he didn’t accept me then yes, I’d have to pretend to be a Catholic. Maybe for him I’d convert. I’d give up my heretical beliefs for him, but Minette, it would never work out. Much as I’d love it to”
With that sombre thought in place, Chevy went to pray and Henriette went to sleep. She awoke only a few hours later to the sound of a crackling fire and an argument.
“You can’t piss on the fire, Chevy” Philippe was saying.
“Why not?! It would be fun”
“Just go in the bushes!” Philippe pushed him to the side.
Philippe returned from throwing Chevy into the woods. “What a handful he is”
Henriette turned to smile at Louis.
“What? What are these secret looks for? What do you know that I don’t?” Philippe asked.
“And I had almost forgotten how whiny you were!” Louis replied.
“I had almost forgotten that time when you-“
Philippe cut off quickly at the sound of hurried footsteps. They all turned around to see Chevy holding tightly onto a woman.
“I found her in the bushes” Chevy returned, dragging her along. “She was eavesdropping”
“I most certainly was not!” she replied angrily.
Louis went pale. He glanced at Philippe to check he too had recognised the Marquise de Montespan. Philippe’s look of anxiety suggested he had.
Chevy looked up, brow furrowed. “What’s wrong? Who is this woman?”
“My name is Madame de Montespan”
“What brings you to the... woods? Shouldn’t you be away in some castle?”
Montespan laughed. “I’ve been visiting a friend. I heard you and saw your smoke, thought I would investigate since I was heading by this way anyway. Please, introduce yourselves, as I already have”
Louis calmed down a bit. She didn’t recognise them. She didn’t have much need to, Louis had only met her twice in his life, but she was a noble, and was acting suspiciously. She could always be a spy.
“I’m Thomas. I work in the village” he didn’t meet her eyes.
“And you? You look vaguely familiar, have I met you before?” she asked.
Philippe jumped. “No! I also work in the village, in the mines. My name is Henry. Maybe you’ve seen me selling coal”
After Henriette had introduced herself as local dressmaker Marie and Chevy as “Baudraine, farmer and fashion icon”, Montespan started talking about her extensive net of relations, looking at Louis the whole time.
“We go back years, Louis and I. That’s why the authorities sent me to find him, see I have a sixth sense when it comes to Louis. I would recognise him in any crowd, whatever state he was in. There’s more than a fancy cloak and a crown to him. That’s why when I do find him, we’re going to elope. Maybe to England. I wouldn’t hand him in. Philippe can go though. He was always a waste of space” Montespan said.
Chevy leaned forward, resting his head on his linked hands, eyes glittering dangerously. “How so?”
“I spent so much time at Court growing up, and he was ridiculous. Always tagging along after Louis, constantly living in his shadow. He also liked to dress up as a woman- a complete homosexual really, not at all suited to his duties. Then again, it would have been highly unlikely for him to ever be king” her eyes flickered involuntarily in Philippe’s direction.
“Do you really think so? I think he sounds a fine, and not to mention handsome, young man- not that I’ve met him” Chevy winked at Philippe across the fire.
“Obviously you haven’t. You aren’t exactly top drawer people. I could always give you a few lessons in etiquette”
“It would be much appreciated” Louis said. “An extremely generous offer...Madame”
He immediately wished he hadn’t said anything, as Montespan’s eyes lit up.
Philippe prodded at the fire with a stick. “Looks like it’s going out”
“Well I could always run back down to the village, I need to pick something up. I’ll bring you your firewood if you help me find Louis” Montespan offered.
“Seems a fair trade” Louis replied, “shall we accompany you?”
Montespan paled at the thought. “No! No thank you, I’m picking up some... sensitive material. Don’t go anywhere, I’ll be a minute away”
With that, Montespan turned and practically ran down the path.
“She’s gone!” Philippe whispered.
“We can’t just... run, can we?” Henriette replied.
“We’re going to have to! We need to leave” Louis said.
“She’s acting suspiciously. I think she’s up to something” Philippe said.
“She looked at me in a strange way earlier, and the way she kept mentioning that she knew we were just mere peasants. I believe she knows who we are, or at least who I am” Chevy added.
“And she did say she heard our voices! It’s not like we were disguising them”
“This is just surmise but... I think she’s a spy, and she’s gone to fetch the authorities. I’m sorry, Lou Lou, but I don’t think she’s actually in love with you” Chevy said. “I think she’s gone to find the Big Bad Executioner- after all, Philippe did call me Chevy earlier. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out Chevalier from that”
Philippe made the sign of the cross and murmured a quick prayer. “Let’s get away before she comes back- quickly!”
The four scrambled to pick up their belongings and then they ran, faster than they had ran before, out of sight but not out of mind.
When Montespan returned to the camp she was furious. She turned to her guards. “Right! They’ve escaped, but they were here. I heard enough to track their movements, they’re heading to a small town outside of Düsseldorf. We must go at once”
“And when we get there, my lady?” the largest man asked.
“When we get there, we kill the lot of them and I’ll be your Queen”
They had only just crossed the border when Louis cried out.
“We’re being ambushed!” he yelled.
Around 7 people leapt out at them, carrying knives and sharpened sticks, yet still clearly just peasants. It seemed that they didn’t recognise the four, due to the ripped peasant clothing they wore.
“What have you got in here?” one of them came up to Louis’ cloak.
“Don’t touch it” he pulled out his sword.
Philippe and Chevy both had swords and were duelling their own opponents.
Louis heard a thud and looked around in terror before seeing the man on the ground. Henriette was standing triumphantly over him with her poker. She smiled at him, and then turned to duel. He smiled back and the world seemed to stop for a while- until he was stabbed in the arm.
In fury, Louis turned and wounded his opponent, knocking him to the ground. He did the same with two more. By now there was only one man left, and Chevy walked up to him, twirling his sword.
“You wouldn’t!” the man yelled.
Chevy smiled sweetly, and hit the man over the head. He dusted his hands off and turned with a flourish. “They’re all gone, but it’s likely we could face more. We must go”
“Is anyone hurt?” Henriette asked.
Louis waited to see if anyone would speak. They were fine. “Minor cut to the arm”
“Let me see” Henriette came over in a flurry of skirts.
“No! No. Please, Minette. Montespan is on her way, we don’t have time to stop. We need to move” Louis said.
“Are you sure you don’t need to stay here? You’re wounded” Chevy replied.
“It’s just a scratch. It’s already stopped bleeding. Please. Let’s go” Louis lied, shifting his hand to hide the flowing blood.
Henriette looked doubtful.
“Stitches? Has anyone a needle?” Philippe asked. “Can either of you sew a wound?”
“Trust me. There’s no time for needles. We need to find shelter. We’ll stop at the next place we find” Louis said. “It’s too dangerous to stay here. Have a look at it when we get there”
“Fine. If you insist. Let’s leave now, but make it fast, and you’re letting us see when we get there”
By the time they made it to a shelter in the town and made sure nobody was around, Louis felt more than a little worse for wear. They had travelled a long way and it had rained. He was still bleeding.
“Come on, we’re safe now, finally” Henriette whispered as they walked into the main room.
Louis was gripping the mantelpiece strongly. “We’d better see if that fire works, and find some food”
“Drying our clothes wouldn’t go unwelcomed” Chevy added.
“We could...” Louis coughed. “Do that with the fire”
“And we must look at that cut” Henriette chimed in.
Louis was clutching one hand to his arm. “Yes. We should- do that”
Philippe eyed him sceptically. “Are you sure you’re well?”
“Believe me. I’m fine” and with that, he fell to the floor.
Philippe caught him and felt sick at the amount of blood on his hands.
“Well! He did contradict himself, didn’t he?” Chevy chimed in.
“He’s bleeding” Philippe said. “Somebody help and stop making smart arse comments!”
“I’ll see if they have any supplies here” Chevy ran into another room.
“Don’t worry. I’m a witch, remember?” Henriette sat down. “Nothing can happen to him”
Philippe didn’t reply. Everything was getting a bit too fast. He couldn’t breathe. His chest was tight. Was this God’s punishment for being useless in the situation? Was this God’s punishment for letting Louis get hurt? God. God. God. God was always judging him.
Chevy came rushing back in. “I couldn’t find any bandages so I ripped up an old shirt” he glanced at Philippe. “Oh, Mignonette. Come on, breathe for me. Your panicking isn’t going to help any of us, let alone your brother”
Philippe tried to steady himself. “I’m okay. It’s fine. Please- just fix him. We can’t let him die”
“Keep breathing. We don’t want you out on the ground as well” Chevy said.
“Stay calm, Philippe. He’s going to be fine” Henriette chimed in, “lift his arm please”
“Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”
“She knows what she’s doing. Trust me” Chevy squeezed Philippe’s hand. Philippe noticed that he was holding Louis’ hand on the other side.
Henriette applied pressure with the bandages. “Do we have any water?”
Chevy shook his head. “There is none”
“That’s fine, we can just bind the arm. We’ll make sure he doesn’t jostle it. I’ll make a sling” she said. “He’s going to be fine”
Watching Henriette tie a bow and move Louis up onto a bed made Philippe realise that when they did gather the nobles and restore the monarchy, he would never criticise ‘witches’ ever again.
Philippe looked up. “Is he-“
“He’s almost as good as new” Henriette smiled.
“We’re in your debt” he bowed his head to Chevy and Henriette, “France is in your debt”
“It was no problem. Are you okay? Quite the ordeal you had through there- you were very brave”
Philippe smiled weakly back. “I’m fine. I might just need some time, if that’s alright?”
As they left the room, he grabbed hold of Louis’ hand and waited. It reminded him of simpler times when they were younger, and he was afraid of thunderstorms. He would always go into Louis’ room and they held hands until the storm passed. Philippe sighed. What had happened to those boys?
A few hours later, Louis woke up in an unfamiliar room as the early sun came in through the window. He was in one bed and Henriette was sleeping in another. Philippe was in a chair next to Louis, fast asleep. He was clutching his rosary and looked just like he had been praying. Louis was puzzled. He tried to sit up and felt a sharp pain in his arm. It was wrapped in what looked like an old shirt. He rubbed at his temples in frustration at not being able to remember what happened, and then decided to walk downstairs and explore the place a little. Once he got downstairs, the first thing he noticed was that there was blood everywhere. Was that his?
“Morning!” Chevy walked through the door. “I’ve just been out to fetch some water- before the townspeople wake up”
He put the water down. “How are you feeling today?”
“Is that mine?” Louis gestured towards the blood with his good arm.
“Indeed. Impressive, wouldn’t you say? I should congratulate you on a job well done”
“We were ambushed on our way out of France. Someone got you in the arm. We travelled here, you were out like a light, dear Philippe just about lost his head. The usual”
“Are we alright to continue moving?”
“You want to travel? I think those two would die rather than hear of it”
“Well... I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to stay for a bit. Montespan will be heading straight past, she doesn’t know we’ve stopped after all”
“Now you’re making sense! For a king, sometimes you are terribly impractical”
“I’m not a king, Chevy”
“For... whatever you are then”
Louis rolled his eyes and went to wake Philippe and Henriette. He thanked them but waved off their concern casually, like a king would, and didn’t mention the throbbing in his arm.
“I appreciate it” Louis pulled Philippe quietly to the side, watching Philippe tuck the rosary back out of sight.
Philippe didn’t need to ask what he meant. “You would’ve done the same for me”
Louis just nodded once, smiled cautiously and edged away to go and talk about travel arrangements.
“We’re not going anywhere” Henriette’s arms were folded and she was decided on the matter.
Louis sighed. “That’s what Chevy said”
Philippe nodded at Chevy with approval. Sometimes he could be sensible.
“The question is when can we go?” Louis asked.
“You needn’t be so desperate to leave. The real question is what our plan is going to be. We can’t just show up to this town and expect to find the exiled nobility” Philippe said.
“Well... that does seem to be our only option” Louis bit his lip.
“He’s right” Chevy nodded.
“Oh God. Fine. We’ll go searching, bring them out of exile, then what?”
“Then we can march on Paris and have a little rebellion of our own. We’ve still got a lot of popular support” Louis said.
“It may not be perfect but a plan is a plan” Henriette added- and because she was Henriette, her word was final.
The following day, Chevy left Henriette and Philippe to fuss over Louis and went to see if he could find anything for them to eat in the market.
“Baudraine!” a distinctly feminine voice called.
He whipped around in fear and was face to face with Montespan once again.
Montespan smiled. “Ah! Hello again. Where are your dashing companions?”
“Madame” Chevy inclined his head. “They’re indisposed”
“I’m sorry to hear that, but it’s lovely to meet you again so unexpectedly! I remember you telling me you were quite the fashion icon. Funny how things turn out”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Chevy looked at her in distaste. He looked fine as was. “Where are your friends tonight? How did you find us?”
“My friends? Oh, they had some other business to attend to. Lucky that small matter has been sorted now- and I have my sources. My bandits helped in that they slowed you down a little”
He narrowed his eyes. “What business?”
She leaned forward to whisper in his ear. “I know who he is. I know you are sheltering the king and I know who you are. If you’re not careful I have the power to get you strung up for harbouring a fugitive as well as for being a heretic, Chevalier”
“And if I don’t care?”
“Then I’ll see to it that your little friend is taken care of just as his parents were and just as his brother will be. The Duke is unimportant in comparison to Louis- a spare, shall I say. They would dispose of him quite easily, probably wouldn’t even be worth the ransom or the axe-“
“Wh- what do you want me to do? Say the words and I’ll do it” he hated himself for even saying it.
She leaned to kiss him on the cheek. “Good. I knew you’d make the right decision. Now- my masterplan. I need you to get information from Philippe. You get the information I want, I have my men and my spies stationed to find you. You will meet me, or a messenger and you will pass on my required information”
“What if I can’t get it? Why should I do this for you?”
“Because, my dear. If you don’t do me any favours, how can you expect me to do you any? Get me my information and I’ll spare his life. I know you’re soft for him”
“What about... Louis and Henriette?” Chevy bit his lip.
“That depends on how well you behave for me”
“And if I walk away right now?”
She raised an eyebrow. “But you won’t. I’m dangling Philippe’s life in front of you. I’m holding him by the neck. If you walk away right now, it’ll be your life or his”
“I’ll do it. Of course I’ll bloody do it”
“Good. I’ll be in touch” she tossed him a packet of apples and melted into the crowd.
Chevy arrived back to the shelter half an hour later, still shocked.
“What’s the matter?” Henriette asked, taking the apples from his hands.
“Nothing” Chevy replied, “everything is fine”
Oops! I’ve just suddenly changed my entire plot because I was desiring more Montespan. hopefully I can manage to make this work. hope you’re all enjoying the story- and happy Easter!
Chevy managed to keep his secret for two days before he broke. He had received a note from Montespan requesting another meeting. Lord only knows how she found him- or rather how her people did. It was too much for him to handle alone.
“I need to speak to you” he cornered Henriette while they were getting supplies.
She raised an eyebrow. “Is it about Philippe again?”
“In a way”
“What are we planning? Proposal or the first child?”
She looked up at him quickly, eyes frightened. “Something’s actually wrong?”
He told her. He told her everything.
“Montespan is planning on becoming Queen- but how would the rebels allow for a monarchy again?” Henriette asked, confused.
“It’s her family, they’re very well-respected. She’s done a lot to help the poor and has gained a charitable name for herself. With Louis and Philippe, the rebels didn’t like the idea of nepotism and the spending on various wars and such. They’re fine with having a leader, but it has to be all democratic now” he replied.
“And her husband?”
“Apparently he’s pulling strings abroad to help. He’s going to come back to France once everything settles down, there’s no need for the risk quite yet”
Henriette bit her lip. “So why can’t Louis and Philippe just win over the rebels like Montespan?”
“They could do, we’ll need to speak to Louis about his strategies for doing that though. She’s already in a better position. I think we’ll be getting together the old loyal nobles to help- but that means finding them first. Our best bet is probably to talk to the rebels as friends, but there’s always a risk. I can’t be seen operating for both sides”
She smiled sadly. “You’ve gotten yourself into quite a spot of bother here. You won’t be telling them?”
“Heavens no. I love them both but they don’t know me like you do. I’d probably be poisoned in my sleep, knowing how paranoid Louis gets”
“I’m so sorry. Let me know if I can help”
He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead. “You’ve done plenty. I’m the one who ought to be sorry- I just had to tell someone”
She put her arms around him and didn’t let go until Louis and Philippe woke for breakfast.
“Where are you going?” Louis asked, tone too casual.
He had just gotten the bandages off his arm and was once again acting like every inch the king he never got to be.
“Just out to get a few more things. I also left something at the market yesterday and I think I really should go and get it” Chevy replied.
Philippe frowned. “Don’t be too long. Remember we’re leaving again tomorrow so don’t get too much because we won’t use it. Do you want one of us to go with you?”
Henriette looked at him in alarm.
“Goodness, no. Don’t worry, I’m the least likely to be recognised out of all of us” Chevy answered.
With that, he sauntered out of the shelter.
Philippe turned to Henriette.
“What’s wrong with him? He’s acting strangely” he asked.
“Suspicious is the word I would use. He’s not keeping anything from us, is he?” Louis added.
Henriette straightened her skirts and coughed for time to think.
“No, I asked the same thing earlier. He’s just homesick, doesn’t leave France often. He misses Paris and says he needs some time to himself” The lie tasted sour.
“Ah” Louis nodded in acceptance. “We can respect that... so long as he keeps himself out of trouble”
“I need you to find me information about the rebels” Montespan wasted no time in asking.
“With all due respect, Madame, I don’t understand why you can’t find this information on your own” Chevy replied.
“I’ve got everything I can on my end. I need you to speak to Louis for me- get all of the possible information you can from him about who the rebels are”
“And how would he know that?”
“Trust me. He knows a lot more than you think. Get back to me or I’ll get my bandits to slash his other arm”
“I’ll do it. But we’re moving closer to Düsseldorf tomorrow”
“We’ll be watching the roads. We meet again on the 16th, I’ll know where you settle”
He nodded. “And- after...”
“Just do what I ask and no one will get hurt”
“But- what are you going to do to Louis and Philippe? In the long term?”
“They support my reign, they get to go into exile. My husband is already making arrangements in Italy. They choose not to support me- well, I think you’ll be able to picture that one” Montespan smiled.
Chevy felt like she had poured sand down his throat. “I understand” he whispered.
“Good! Now, go. Make sure you aren’t seen”
“How will I know where to meet you?”
“I’ll let you know. Please get me what I’m requesting”
Chevy nodded, hating himself more every second, and turned and left, not forgetting to buy something from the market sellers on his way out. He walked blindly back, realising he was ruining everyone else’s lives, not just his own- but he had no choice. Philippe would one day know, and would one day understand that he didn’t mean for it to happen. He didn’t mean to be a spy, he was just trying to protect his friends.
Once he got back to the shelter, he threw the fruit down on a dusty table and continued into the other room, where the other three had found a pack of cards to play with.
“Welcome back, Chevy. Do you want to join in? We don’t have anything to gamble with I’m afraid, so we’re just using whatever we find. Henriette found buttons” Louis’ eyes were open and welcoming.
Clearly Henriette had said something in his absence.
“I’m fine, thank you. I actually need to speak to you” he said. Better to get straight to the point.
Louis didn’t look surprised in the slightest. “Of course. Would you like to speak upstairs?”
Chevy nodded. “Please”
Louis dusted himself down. “Please excuse us”
Philippe inclined his head, and turned to chat to Henriette about the new card game he learnt from Bontemps back in the day.
Once Louis was upstairs with Chevy, he turned to him with sympathetic eyes. “Is this about your missing Paris? I honestly didn’t think I’d be the one you’d choose to speak to”
“I’m afraid not. I actually have a more...pressing matter to discuss”
“About Philippe?” Louis asked sharply.
God, was he perceptive.
“No. Don’t worry, I’m not here to ask for your brother’s hand in marriage or anything. I just wanted to ask you... what do you know about the rebels?”
“The rebels? The ones who ruined France and killed my parents in front of me? The rebels who ruined my entire fucking life?”
“Erm.. yes, those are the ones”
“How can you even ask?”
“I just want to understand. Have you any names? Motives?” Chevy hated asking.
“There’s a time and place for this! I’d really rather not talk about it”
“Are you sure? It’s just-“
“Chevy! Please! That’s enough”
“What’s going on? We heard raised voices” Philippe and Henriette appeared at the door, breathless from running upstairs.
“Everything is fine. Maybe you can answer some of his queries” Louis glared at the floor.
“Queries?” Philippe turned to Chevy who in turn felt his heart crumble slightly.
“Queries, my lovely Philippe. I was just wondering if your brother knew anything about the identities of the rebels”
Philippe frowned. “Why do you ask? I hardly think this line of questioning is appropriate”
“Yes... and who did you see when you went out this morning? You’ve arrived back with a desire for strange information, which makes me wonder” Louis asked suspiciously.
Henriette looked at Chevy and a silent understanding passed between them. “I suppose I better go and run those errands I have to do!” she interrupted loudly.
“Oh... are you sure you don’t want one of us to accompany you?” Philippe asked.
“That’s very kind, but please don’t worry. You could accompany me to the door though”
Philippe and Louis both made to go, but Henriette waved them down.
“Chevy? You may as well. Philippe, if you could check Louis’ stitches that would be a great help”
Chevy went over and grabbed Henriette’s arm, practically running out of the small room. They heard the distant sound of Louis complaining as Philippe touched the cut on his arm and Philippe’s quick apologies.
“I’ll disguise myself. I can go out there and speak to the rebels myself” Henriette put up the hood of her cloak as they reached the door.
“I can go- I’ll go alone or with you”
“They’re already suspicious of your outings, so you can’t go alone. We can’t go together because you need to keep an eye on them both- they’re high quality fugitives, remember?”
Suddenly, he understood. “It’s not just for me, is it? You’ve got an ulterior motive”
“It’s about my past. Of course it’s still for you, Chevy. I just need to find out something else as well- something which may help me clear my name” she whispered back.
“Good luck. Be careful- remember that I love you” he replied.
She laughed. “Thank you. I will be, but you should be saving those words for darling Philippe! Give him a goodbye kiss for me?”
“Oh, I promise you I’ll make sure I do! Provided he forgives me for asking those questions”
“On the lips?”
“That’s what I like to hear. Now, I better go. Keep that promise and give me something to look forward to when I get back. Try get some answers”
She nodded at him quickly, smiled, and left.
Chevy, Louis and Philippe had mainly sat in silence after Henriette left, only once trying to play a game of cards with little enthusiasm. It was with relief that Chevy finally heard the door and sprung up from his seat. “Henriette!”
He ran towards her and quickly realised something was terribly, terribly wrong with one look. He was proven right when without saying a word, she fell into his arms, covered in blood from a stab wound in her side.
Hi, guys! Thank you again for reading and for continuing to ignore all of my terrible historical inaccuracies.
Everything is starting to get a bit complicated now, there’s going to be a few hurdles from now but a lot more of Philippe/Chevy! Other characters will also be introduced later.
Chapter 7: VII
Henriette was on the ground, bleeding profusely, head in Chevy’s lap. Louis was stroking her hair on one side, Philippe holding her hand on the other, with one of his own hands hiding the wound from her.
“I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry” Chevy whispered. He couldn’t stop.
“It’s alright- it wasn’t you-know-who” she murmured back.
“Who did this to you? I’ll have them hanging by dawn” Louis said angrily.
“Rebels. Seems my disguise wasn’t enough” she replied, calm as ever.
“We shouldn’t have let you do this” Philippe was torn by guilt.
“Not your fault. Their fault” she said.
She started coughing and Chevy angled her head so it would be easier to breathe.
“I’m a w-witch, remember?” she choked, “nothing can happen to me”
Philippe smiled down at her. “You said those words to me once before, when I thought my brother was dying in my arms”
Henriette seemed touched that he considered her words worth remembering. “Well- I would never have let him die”
Her words were slow, slurring and painful. As Louis listened, he wished he could say the same back to her.
“We’ve came so far, and we would never have been able to do half of it without you” Louis said. “If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be here right now. I guess what I want to say is thank you”
Philippe looked at him in surprise. He had never heard his brother genuinely thank anyone before.
“You don’t need to thank me” Henriette replied, “am I dying?”
“You are many things, dear Henriette, and dying doesn’t come into that” Louis said.
He hoped that a vague answer would be enough.
Henriette seemed tired. She was slowing down. Even the blood was slowing.
“It’s been a lot of fun. I would go on the run with you again if I could” she smiled.
“It’s been an honour....Minette” Louis replied truthfully.
Henriette leaned into his hand, before falling into another coughing fit. Chevy ripped off some of his lace cuff to wipe up the blood.
“T-thank you. I love you” she gasped, reaching up a hand to stroke his face. Chevy kissed the hand.
“I love you too, Minette. So very much. I do have one question- are you really a witch?”
Henriette laughed. It was shaky but it was the sound Chevy wanted to hear. “That’s for me to k-know and you to find out”
“Shame. I guess we won’t be eloping on that broomstick after all. And to think of all the preparations I made for our wedding- gone! I’d even bought the dress”
“What did it look like?” she whispered. “Am I going to look pretty?”
“I’m sure you are, whatever you choose to wear, but the dress is for me”
“Chevy, you foolis-“ Henriette suddenly started coughing louder.
“Minette? Henriette!” Chevy urgently leaned forwards. “I never thought I’d say this but please finish insulting me”
Henriette was coughing up more blood and she couldn’t speak but she smiled at him, mouthing that she loved him, keeping her eyes fixed on his until she stilled and her own eyes went glassy, a trickle of blood running from her mouth.
Philippe looked up to meet Chevy’s eyes and an understanding passed between them. He went over and put an arm around Chevy, who was crying silently at the loss of his best friend. For a second, Louis hesitated, but at Philippe’s pleading look, he went to sit on the other side of Chevy and the trio sat for a long time. Louis forgot his anger with Chevy over his questioning and Chevy forgot about his own betrayal and secrets. They stared into the sunset and mourned the loss of a brilliant woman, a wonderful friend. Louis didn’t know how long they stayed, but for once, time didn’t matter.
“Please let’s just get out of this place, it’s nothing but trouble” Philippe said as they all stood up.
He was shivering. Louis noticed that he had covered Henriette’s body with his cloak.
“You take Chevy back, make sure he’s going to be alright-“
“Louis I can hear you, I’m not a stray dog!”
“-and I’ll... do this part”
“I don’t really want to leave you after what just happened” Philippe bit his lip, “What if they come back?”
“They won’t. Not so soon” Louis tried to sound confident.
“We’ll keep an eye on you. Come back at the first sign of trouble, I mean it”
“Of course, Your Highness” Louis raised a mocking eyebrow.
Philippe smiled quickly, as if it was inappropriate to do so, and then turned on his heel and walked back towards the shelter, anchoring Chevy.
Louis quickly got to work digging the grave with an old shovel he found. It seemed to take hours, but he accepted the pain from the blisters on his hands as his penance.
“I’m so sorry I let you die. I’m sorry I underestimated you, that I let you go out on your own. I’m sorry I didn’t know you better, or that after you saved my life I should’ve saved yours in return” he whispered to Henriette as he picked her up.
Louis wished that she had told them more about where she had been and who she was seeing. He would have to question Chevy. He couldn’t risk putting the others in danger.
“I’m going to miss you. Thank you so much for- well, for everything”
He unclipped the diamond brooch he kept hidden under his peasant clothing. It was the last valuable thing he had. After resting Henriette into the grave, he clipped the brooch to her bodice, kissed her hand and rested it over the diamonds, before averting his eyes to start covering her.
A short while later, Louis left with one last look at the grave. He picked up Philippe’s cloak, knowing he would need it, and went back to the shelter. He didn’t see the men in the bushes who quickly ran to get their superior.
“She was a remarkable woman” Chevy said, staring blankly into the distance.
“She deserves the highest honours of the world” Philippe replied, drawing Chevy into his side.
Chevy was crying. “I miss her so much”
“I’m so sorry she’s gone. It’s going to be difficult”
“She’s in a better place. Being on the run wasn’t the best situation”
“We’ll pray for her. She’ll get to Heaven. If I was still in power I would pay every clergyman and family in France to pray for her”
Chevy bit his lip. “Yes” he said, “She would like that”
“We’re going to be fine from here” Philippe leaned in closer, “I know we are”
Philippe saw Chevy’s eyes change. The depressed cloud had been replaced with desire.
“I-I’ve liked you for a long time. She knew about it. She would always give me advice” Chevy said quietly.
“What advice did she give you?” Philippe whispered.
“She told me to do this”
Chevy leaned forwards in his chair and kissed Philippe fiercely. It seemed to last forever as they both forgot how to breathe. Henriette, Louis, rebels, Montespan, everything disappeared from their minds as they clung to each other in the dying light, a mixture of hope and sadness.
Louis dusted the dirt off his hands. He had found a shovel which was helpful, and left it sitting outside the door, just in case he needed it as a weapon later. He was going to kill those rebels after what happened to Henriette. He walked into the main room quietly, not wanting to wake anyone up, however, no one was asleep. Philippe and Chevy were desperately kissing, Philippe practically on Chevy’s lap, Chevy’s hands messing up the hair Philippe took so much pride in.
Louis cleared his throat and the two spun around in shock before realising who it was. “Sorry to interrupt but Philippe, can I have a word with you, please? In private” His voice was unusually high.
Philippe sighed and smiled at Chevy. “I’ll be 2 seconds”
“Take as much time as you need- I can wait” Chevy replied easily.
Philippe waited before Louis had pulled him into another room before turning around. “What is it?”
“Philippe, brother, you can’t do this. He’s in a vulnerable place right now and you can’t take advantage of that” Louis said calmly.
“I would never!”
“Calm down- I’m just trying to say that I don’t think it’ll work”
“There’s more to this than his emotional state, isn’t there? There’s something else... what is it? There must be something in this for you”
Louis sighed. “It just doesn’t give the right image. You’re 20 now, you’re going to have to get married and produce an heir. Your... dalliances- shall we say, aren’t reflecting well on our family”
Philippe raised his eyebrows. “As if our dead parents have an opinion on the matter. And get married when exactly? It’s not like I’m a prince or a duke or even a king’s brother anymore! I’m just... me. Just Philippe”
“But you will be! You can be all of those things again. You still are. A revolution doesn’t mean you lose your identity. Listen, I understand you’re afraid and Chevy is your way of coping but we’re going to restore the monarchy once we find the loyal nobles”
“I don’t care! I don’t want to be royalty anymore, and the loyal nobles can fuck off”
“I don’t want the monarchy. I don’t want to have to live in your shadow. I want to be in love with a man and wear what I want, do what I want, do anything without the glare of the court burning into my back”
“I know it’s frustrating sometimes-“
“And you! You’re the worst of the lot! Always there, always judging me. It’s all about you”
“So you’re saying I don’t have my own problems?”
“No! Even if you became king it would be easy. You’d have pretty women and courtiers throwing themselves at your feet. Me? I’d just be the spare. I don’t want to bring my children up to call themselves useless like I had to. I don’t want to marry a woman I’ll never love and become Monsieur, playing card games in the palace and pretending everything is fine when really it is not, I’m just so used to being second best that I can’t tell the difference”
“You have it easy in comparison to some people. How can you be so selfish to complain that you get to play games, eat nice food and wear pretty things?”
Philippe scoffed. “My whole life isn’t about games, food and clothes. You of all people should know that”
“But you’re luckier than the majority. Perhaps you should consider their hardships”
“You’re defending them now, are you? Defending the workers who ruined France? The workers who ruined you? God, you’re a joke, Louis. You always pretend to care, but you never do! You have no emotions at all”
“I’m doing everything that I can! Why are you being so difficult?”
Philippe’s eyes filled with tears. “You didn’t even care about Henriette- and you’ve certainly never cared about me” he stormed out of the room, taking care to slam the door behind him.
Louis sat down and stared moodily out of the window. Things were never going to get better.
The men who had been hiding in the bushes decided it was time, after they had waited for the shelter to grow silent and dark.
“You’ve clarified with the boss- it’s him?” the first man asked.
The second nodded, and the two ran into the shelter.
“There’s the king! Grab him!”
With just one urgent whisper, a sack was shoved over Louis’ head and he was bundled out of the shelter and into a wagon.
Philippe woke to the sound of Chevy’s yelling. He ran downstairs frantically towards the sound of his voice.
“What? What’s the matter? Are you okay?”
“Philippe- it’s Louis, he’s gone”
“Gone? Gone where? He’s not... dead?”
Remembering what had happened to Henriette yesterday and picturing Louis being the one pale and still on the ground sent cold panic through Philippe, especially since they had argued.
“No! No he’s been taken”
“Taken? That’s not much better than dead! How do you know?”
“Exile or not, he’s the king of bloody France, he’s not just going to go walking about. Look- signs of a fight”
Chevy motioned towards the floor where there were indeed marks. Philippe still felt uneasy.
“We need to go find him. They’ll kill him like they did our parents”
“They might also kill you. I’m thanking God that you weren’t sleeping downstairs last night” Chevy was staring at him anxiously.
“I’d rather it was me. I just feel guilty. This is my fault. If I hadn’t argued with him, he would have shared a room with us upstairs. Now he’s going to die, we’re all going to die. We should have insisted! I thought our job was to keep him safe”
Chevy came forward and wiped away the tears from Philippe’s face with his thumbs. He pulled Philippe in so his head rested on Chevy’s shoulder.
“It’s okay. We’ll find him. They can’t have gone far”
“Chevy! They’ll have horses. We don’t”
“In that case, we better go now. Where do you think they’ve gone?”
“Paris” Philippe mumbled. “That’s where they kept us before. That’s where they have their guillotine. We’ll have to get to Paris and then come back to rally the nobles. Was this Montespan’s doing?”
“Somehow I don’t think so. I think there are more forces at work than we know about. Whether they’re in league with her or not- well, that’s something we’ll have to work out”
Chevy felt incredibly guilty and was surprised Philippe hadn’t called him out on it. It seemed all Philippe’s previous suspicions had been thrown out of the window after Henriette’s death and Louis being kidnapped. Chevy hoped to keep it that way. He quickly scrawled a note on some scrap parchment which he left open, in the hope that Montespan or her minions would come across it. He was sure to disguise his handwriting.
I heard that the death of my dear friend Henriette was due to rebels, but I am not dropping my suspicions against you or your forces. I also suspect that you have kidnapped somebody. I can’t reveal their identity, but you will know who I mean. I would like to meet and discuss this, as clearly this deal isn’t fair anymore. I still have time to find out what you wanted from me, and you promised you would leave them be.
We need to talk. Urgently. We’re heading to Paris, as I’m sure you already know. Next Wednesday. Bastille, or find me. I’ll get your information, just leave my friends alone.
Your unwilling yet faithful spy.
“Chevy! Hurry up, we must go” Chevy could already hear Philippe’s foot tapping.
Chevy forced down the guilt and placed his letter down. He sighed heavily before painting a neutral expression on his face and walking out of the room.
“Do you think that’s... theirs? Do you think they hit him over the head with it?” Philippe was staring at a shovel in the doorway, expression unreadable.
Chevy paled. “Perhaps- if there’s blood on it. If they did, wouldn’t they have taken it with them though?”
“Maybe they forgot. Maybe they were in so much of a hurry rushing him out before we woke up. Shall we take it with us?”
“We shall” Chevy picked up the shovel with a grimace. “We need all the help we can get if we’re going back to square one. All that trouble trying to escape Paris just to go back”
“She would have done the same thing. If someone she loved was in danger, she would have dropped everything to help” Philippe replied.
Chevy closed his eyes at the mention of Henriette.
“I’m sorry. Too soon?” Philippe asked cautiously, one hand on Chevy’s.
He sighed. “Not too soon. She deserves to be remembered. She deserves for the whole of France to talk about her as we do- not as an outcast or a witch but as a friend and an inspiration. We should be talking about her more, I don’t know why I’m so averse to it”
“Because you blame yourself” Philippe said softly.
He shrugged. “Perhaps. Who else is there to blame? I certainly don’t blame her”
“Don’t worry. We all blame ourselves a little”
Chevy looked across to where she was buried. The weight of Philippe’s arm around his shoulder started to feel crushing. He was the only one to blame, and everyone was going to know. He wriggled out of Philippe’s grasp and started the journey, swinging the shovel as he walked.
After an hour of walking, Chevy and Philippe had made almost no progress. They were tired, and it was starting to rain. There would be no chance of getting to Paris soon. That was until Philippe spotted a nearby farm.
“We need to steal the horses” he said without hesitation.
“Philippe, we can’t”
“If we are too late they’re going to kill my brother, and if the monarchy is restored then I’ll have to become the king! I don’t want to be king. He’s the king. I can’t lose more family. He’s the king” Philippe kept repeating these words like a mantra.
“Breathe, Mignonette” Chevy sat down beside Philippe on the ground and held his hands, his anchor until the world stopped spinning.
Once Philippe had calmed down, Chevy turned curiously to look at him. “Do you have a lot of panic attacks?”
“I always have, it’s just hushed up. It isn’t proper for someone of my position- he always knew what to do. Always sat with me no matter how long it took, even if Mother told him he had duties to attend to”
“I’m sorry” Chevy didn’t know what else to say.
Philippe smiled and squeezed his hand. “Me too. Now, we’re going to have to grab these horses, it’s a life or death situation. I could even leave a little note that the horses were borrowed by the prince, not by some peasant. Naturally they will be returned”
“That’s one small comfort at least. My most pressing concern in this battle to rescue the king of France is whether or not the stolen horses get back alright- sorry. I don’t mean to be so sarcastic. I’m worried about him too, but I don’t know how to express that properly”
Philippe understood perfectly. “You don’t have to. I already know. He would have appreciated that”
Chevy noticed that Philippe had started referring to Louis in the past tense, as though he had died. Neither of them mentioned it. They both knew to prepare for the worst.
Louis was thrown unceremoniously into a cell, hitting the dusty ground hard.
“Get your hands off me!” he yelled, ripping the sack off his head.
The guard smiled sadistically and pulled the door shut.
“Bastards!” Louis punched the stone wall.
Hearing a sharp intake of breath from his side, he turned around.
“Bontemps?” he said in surprise.
“Sire! Where have you been? Let me look at your hand”
“My hand is fine, Bontemps. No need for titles either, I’m no longer king”
Bontemps paled. “King?”
“My father is dead. Executed actually. In front of myself and Philippe. We managed to escape”
“My condolences. He was a good man” Bontemps bowed his head. “Is Philippe alright?”
“They didn’t kidnap him. He’s with an exiled noble, the Chevalier de Lorraine. They’re in hiding, he should be alright. We just- we just lost a friend, Henriette. I’m more worried about how they’re coping with the loss. He seems to be expressing it in anger more than anything”
“I’m so sorry. I had no idea” Bontemps replied.
Louis waved his hand dismissively. “Enough about me. Why are you here? I thought my father ordered you to flee?”
“He did, but I was caught. Armed rebels on the outskirts of Paris. They dragged me here, clearly I didn’t manage to get far”
“How long have you been here?”
“A few weeks now”
Louis nodded sympathetically. “There’s an opposition movement out there under the Marquise de Montespan, I’ve heard rumours that she’s trying to restore the monarchy with herself at its head. Makes me wonder why she hasn’t tried to execute me yet, and Philippe too. Have you heard anything?”
Bontemps frowned anxiously. “Bits and pieces. I do know that she’s been questioning rebels. Perhaps she’s biding her time. She needs support from the rebels and the nobles- foreign support too if she can”
“Foreign support? Of course! She’s recently married, is she not? Her husband will be rallying”
“You still have the Pope on your side”
“Not with the breakdown of the First Estate. He’s wavering, it’s only a matter of time” Louis put his head in his hands. “Bontemps- I don’t know what to do”
Bontemps grabbed his hands and looked at him, eyes calm and stable as ever. “I know where we can find Colbert and Louvois. Perhaps that should be our next step, once we get out of here”
“Our next step?”
“Well, you didn’t think I would let you do everything on your own, did you?”
Louis threw himself on Bontemps, hugging him like a small child would. He knew his Mother would have disapproved, along with the rest of court, but he didn’t care. For once, as the stress left him, he felt less like a deposed monarch in the midst of a revolution and more like the happy child he used to be, playing board games with Bontemps and Philippe in the palace and laughing until it physically hurt. If only times were still so simple.
A short one, but hopefully it should fill in a few gaps before we can get to the rest of the story! I get the feeling that there are going to be a lot more chapters than originally planned, especially with season 3 on the way!
The duo approached a small town on their route and Chevy turned anxiously to Philippe.
“It’s alright. I’ve got my cloak, they won’t recognise me” Philippe looked down at his own peasant clothing. “Don’t know how they could”
Chevy frowned at him. “Here- wear mine as well, it is hooded, they won’t be able to see your face”
“I can wear your cloak?” Philippe chuckled. “Heavens, you really are a gentleman after all!”
“I can be. Be careful with it though- I don’t lend this cloak to just anyone”
“And I’m not just anyone?”
“You’re so much more than that” Chevy pulled Philippe’s hand up from the reins and kissed it.
Philippe laughed. “You’re lucky we’re both good on horses, or that could’ve ended badly”
“Horses aren’t the only thing I’m good on”
“Hmm... we’ll see about that. Could I have the cloak please?”
Chevy passed over the cloak, gently folding it. Philippe put it on, and they rode forward into the town.
Philippe spun around quickly, just in time to see Chevy flinch at the shout.
Chevy was pale.
“You’re going straight to Hell!”
They were staring at Chevy, gazes hostile.
“Who’s that under the cloak? Another lover our God would reject?”
Philippe felt angry.
“How can you show your face here again, Chevalier?”
Philippe’s hand moved to his sword.
“Don’t. It’s not worth it” Chevy murmured as they rode quickly past.
“Do you know them?” Philippe whispered, eyes wide. “Who are they?”
“I used to”
“Shall I go back and say something? Say the word and I can have them hanged, drawn and quartered”
Chevy smiled hesitantly. “Thank you but I’m used to it. You could always go back for them later”
“It’s not right that they can say those things- even if you were a heretic” Philippe paused. “But you’re not a heretic, right? You just have...different views. Heretics are burnt at the stake. You’re not like that”
Chevy wouldn’t have expected Philippe to understand, not with Louis as his brother. Chevy always thought that if Louis hadn’t been born Dauphin, he would probably have ended up Pope. “Of course. Not like it matters now- there isn’t much to pray for”
“Pray for Henriette’s memory. Pray for my brother. Pray that we reach our destination without harm. There’s always something to hope for”
Chevy smiled. He looked back towards the town he used to frequent, the town where the people shouted abuse at him. He took Philippe’s hand and they rode away from it together, facing Paris and the future.
The next day, it was raining and optimism was lacking. The future seemed pretty far off. Chevy and Philippe were cold and soaked through and seemed to be getting no closer to Paris.
“There’s a place here, looks like we can stop and have a rest. These trees should provide some shelter” Chevy pointed, and they rode into the trees.
“This is nice. Louis would have liked it here. We should have came here before he went” Philippe said casually, glancing around the clearing.
“Can you please just stop saying things like that? First Henriette and now you’re acting like Louis is dead as well” Chevy snapped.
“How can I help it? I’ve already lost everyone, I’m just trying not to get my hopes up”
“You lost everyone? That’s so selfish! You’ve still got me! Or am I not enough? I was certainly enough for you when you were practically begging for it that night”
“You forget who you’re addressing”
“I thought I knew. I suppose I never did”
“Chevy-“ Philippe opened his mouth.
“No. I’m sorry, it’s just... fresh from Henriette. Among other things” Montespan
He sighed again. “I shouldn’t have said those things to you. I shouldn’t even be making excuses”
The rain started falling heavier.
It was raining. Louis looked unhappily up at the ceiling.
“It’s leaking” he frowned, putting out a hand to catch raindrops.
“Always does” Bontemps replied. “You get used to it after a while”
“People live like this?”
“Some. We’re very lucky that we never had to”
“Very lucky indeed”
The two sat in silence and the rain didn’t stop.
Philippe and Chevy settled in for the night in yet another run-down shelter. Chevy has been acting strangely all day. After the argument, he had remembered that he had to speak to the rebels for Montespan and it was a distracting thought. Philippe had tried to make conversation, but his efforts fell on deaf ears. They ended up arriving at their shelter in stubborn silence.
“I need to go and do some investigating. Please- for your own safety, stay here” Chevy pleaded.
“Fine. I’ll stay, but I’m not happy about it” Philippe sat with his arms folded.
Chevy kissed the top of his head. “I promise I’ll be careful”
“You’re a magnet for trouble”
“Not today. It’ll be fine. I’ll be back soon”
Philippe heard Chevy leave and immediately pulled out his hidden parchment. Chevy wasn’t the only one who had a secret. Philippe was mapping out potential clues- everything he had heard about Chevy, the dates and times he went out, everything those men had called him and a list of possible people he could be meeting. Philippe wasn’t stupid, he was going to find out what was going on, and to do it he was going to have to follow Chevy. He pulled out his own cloak, and went out, dusting mud on his face as camouflage. Making sure he looked enough like a commoner, he hid his sword and set off, following Chevy’s retreating figure down the road.
Louis had recently started praying for Philippe and Chevy. He didn’t know where they were or what had happened to them and it was seriously beginning to worry him.
“What do you think has happened to Chevy and Philippe?” Louis asked, staring at his hands. “I hope they’re alright”
“I know they are. Your brother is very intelligent, he knows what he’s doing”
“I hope they got away. I hope he isn’t foolish enough to come here”
“Well, with Philippe, he’s a loyal one. Even though you had a row, he wouldn’t be able to stand it if he just left you behind”
Louis sighed. “He always does have to play the hero. It’s horrifically endearing. If he had any sense, he would be escaping, going abroad”
“Perhaps. All we can really do is pray for him. Imprisonment really is the best method for making people feel helpless”
Bontemps traced a cross in the dust and settled down to pray, over and over again. God would answer eventually. God would fix everything.
I’m sorry it’s so late! Everything has been busy, but from now there will be regular updates. Short chapter today but hopefully should get some longer ones in soon- including the super exciting dramatic rescue.
Hope you’re all still enjoying the story! :)
Chapter 10: X
Chevy couldn’t shake the feeling that he was being followed. He kept looking over his shoulder, however, but there was no one there. He shrugged, put his head down and walked faster. He arrived at his destination, a run-down housing area, and gathered some people to speak to.
Philippe rounded the corner into the housing area. He couldn’t get any closer, it was too much of a risk- but he had a vague idea of what was going on. He noted it all down, and turned around, hurrying back before Chevy realised he had left. His plan was to find out what Chevy was doing once they had found Louis.
“Here, now” one of the guards unlocked the door, and grabbed Bontemps, dragging him out.
Louis stood up. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? Let him go right now”
The guard stared at him. “We don’t take orders from you anymore, kid. Keep your mouth shut or you’ll be next”
Louis opened his mouth angrily, but Bontemps held up a hand. “It’s alright” he said.
“No! It most certainly is not alright! What are you doing with him? Take me instead”
The guard just chuckled and pulled Bontemps away, down the corridor and through a heavy door. Louis pushed on the walls of the cell in desperation, but nothing happened. He eventually fell into a routine. He slept. He prayed. He ate. He worried. That was all. Bontemps hadn’t returned and Louis didn’t know how long it had been. There were no windows in this particular cell, no way of figuring out whether it was daytime or nighttime.
“Excuse me?” he waved to a passing guard.
“Make it quick. What do you want?” the guard grumbled.
“The man who was in here with me. The other guard took him earlier”
“I can’t tell you that. Stop asking questions or I’ll cut out your tongue”
Louis took a step forward. “Tell that guard that if anyone lays a finger on Bontemps, they’ll have me to answer to”
The guard laughed, looking Louis up and down. “Yes, I’m sure he’ll be terrified”
“You forget who I am”
“We don’t take orders from you or your family. We have a new source of obedience to answer to”
“If your new source is the person I think it is, then she is more corrupt than my family ever were. She’s an upstart usurping noble with no real claim to the throne. No monarchy at all would be better than a Montespan monarchy”
The guard slapped him. “That’s bordering on treason, my friend. Watch your mouth”
As the guard turned and walked away, Louis shouted after him. “Please! I’m sorry. Please can you tell me anything about my brother or Bontemps?”
The guard ignored him. The cell was silent once again.
After what felt like hours, two more guards returned, holding Bontemps between them. They threw him down and Louis jumped up.
“This is what happens to traitors. Watch and learn, boy, maybe it’ll teach you not to be such a smartarse” the first man said.
“He’s not a traitor!”
Louis was quickly silenced by a punch which knocked Bontemps out cold. They kept punching and kicking him. Louis screamed at them to stop, over and over again but they just kept going. At the end, Bontemps lay on the cold ground, unmoving and covered in blood. Was he dead?
The first guard stood up and wiped Bontemps’ blood from his hands. “All in a day’s work”
“That’ll teach you not to step out of line” the second said, “You’ll be getting your punishment soon enough”
The guards picked up Bontemps easily and dragged him out of the cell, hitting every floor bump possible on the way. Louis was left, helpless in his cell, watching as one of the guards threw him a wink over his shoulder.
They left him alone, afraid in the dark with blood at his feet.
Chevy returned to the shelter, relieved to find Philippe still in one piece.
“Nice trip out?” Philippe asked calmly.
“...Yes. Very pleasant, thank you”
“Good. Get some rest and we’ll get on the road to Paris. God knows we need to get a move on”
Chevy left and Philippe pulled out the parchment he had quickly hidden, quickly making a note before storing it away and waiting. Once Chevy woke up, they would be back on the road to find Louis.
2 hours later, they were travelling again. Tired and hungry but travelling.
“You don’t think they would kill him or anything, would they?” Philippe asked, consulting his map.
“I would be terribly angry if they did. This trip would have all been for nothing”
Chevy stopped laughing at the look on Philippe’s face.
“I’m sorry. Of course they wouldn’t kill him” he said.
“We can’t ever be sure of that”
“Perhaps not, but we’ll be a lot better off if we look at the situation optimistically. They’re more likely to take him hostage for money”
“Just doing my job”
Philippe smiled quickly and looked down. Whatever Chevy was doing, it seemed to be putting a gap between them. He just hoped they could get to Paris in time.
It took a further two days to reach Paris. Whether that was in time or not, Philippe didn’t know. He kept his head down as they entered, and remembered only a little while earlier when they had left. If only they had fled abroad. Chevy squeezed his hand. Philippe smiled at him.
“How are we going to bypass the guards?” Chevy whispered. He was worried. It was already Tuesday. He hadn’t forgotten that he had to meet Montespan on Wednesday.
“We’ve done it before, they aren’t the most observant bunch. You carry a knife?”
Chevy nodded. “I do”
“Come on then. For my brother and for France”
The actual entrance into the prison was anti-climactic. The guards were, as Philippe suspected, completely unobservant. Chevy distracted the ones at the door.
“I’m here for inspection” he put on his best noble voice.
“Inspection?” the guard squinted suspiciously. “We weren’t expecting anyone”
“That’s the point, monsieur. Surprise inspection. Wouldn’t be much good if I had given you time to prepare” Chevy replied easily.
“Does Thomas know about this?”
“Yes, I spoke to him yesterday”
“What’s your name?”
Unfortunately the guard didn’t get to find out because Philippe approached from his side and hit him over the head before knocking the other out too.
“Nice!” Chevy exclaimed, grabbing Philippe’s arm and pulling him into the prison.
Philippe stopped, shock-still in the doorway.
“What’s the matter?” Chevy asked.
“I’ve got an idea”
10 minutes later saw Chevy and Philippe rushing down the corridor in the guards’ uniforms they had stolen.
“I can’t believe we are doing this” Chevy huffed.
“No law and order in a revolution, remember?” Philippe replied.
“You’re going to get us killed”
Philippe just smiled in reply, like he didn’t care at all.
The prison was larger than expected, and they had to hide on multiple occasions, just to be careful.
“Are you sure he’s even here?” Chevy whispered on one of these occasions.
“No, but it’s the most likely place they’d take him”
“Dominic? Is that you?” came a voice from outside their hiding place.
In the darkness, Chevy and Philippe couldn’t see each other but grabbed hands on instinct.
“It is” Chevy tried to make his voice sound deeper.
The man outside sounded puzzled. “What happened to your voice?”
“Bit of a cold”
“Oh. Sorry to hear. Hopefully it isn’t consumption, you know how that’s going round the prisoners. We just can’t get a break here”
Philippe’s grip on Chevy’s hand tightened.
“Hopefully it isn’t. Anyway, it was lovely of you to stop by but I must continue-“
“Wait” the guard threw him some keys. “I’m going home. It’s nearing Jean’s due date so sir said I could be at home as much as possible. Check on 1370, would you?”
“Our new prisoner. You know who he is. No special treatment either, alright?”
“Wouldn’t dream of it. Good luck with Jean”
The guard nodded and retreated.
Chevy let out a breath he didn’t even realise he had been holding. “They’ll fall for anything”
“Consumption though? Please, let’s just get Louis and get out before we die”
“Of course, Highness”
Chevy theoretically bowed. Philippe shoved him. They continued.
Whenever someone looked their way, they lowered their hats and Chevy jingled the keys he was carrying, looking purposeful.
“You look familiar” one had commented.
Chevy’s response was that they must have recognised him from his interview. They continued.
Eventually, they reached a block of cells.
“Can you point me in the direction of 1370?” Chevy asked a passing guard, showing him the keys.
The guard hardly looked at him. “Up there” he pointed, before rushing past.
“Split? You go left and I’ll go right” Philippe said.
Chevy nodded, and they split. He ran along a narrow corridor, following the numbers on the cells and trying his best not to look at the prisoners. If he looked at them, he would want to free them all and they didn’t have the time. He wondered how Philippe was going on. He was lost in thought until he briskly walked past a cell. He had to do a double take, recognising the man inside.
“Louis?” he said.
“Louis!!” he repeated more urgently when he got no response.
He paused and thought for a second before sprinting down the corridor.
“Philippe? Philippe! I’ve found him!” Chevy yelled, sticking his head out from around the corner.
“You’ve found him? Is he okay?” Philippe quickly knocked out the remaining guard on his side.
Philippe rushed over and Chevy quickly unlocked the door with shaky hands. The two men went inside, where Louis was sitting against a wall, staring blankly into space and making no sign that he had heard them.
“Louis? Can you hear me?” Chevy sat in front of Louis with his legs crossed.
Philippe frowned. “Perhaps...” he slapped Louis. “Snap out of it”
Chevy looked surprised. “Wasn’t that treason?”
“I won’t tell if you don’t”
Chevy smiled slightly. “On my honour, Mignonette- and with all due respect, I would love to do this all day but we don’t have time to just sit here. We need to get out. We’re going to have to grab him and go”
Philippe hesitated. “Louis?”
“Oh, Philippe. It was Bontemps! They’ve taken Bontemps! They’re hurting him” Louis snapped out of his trance and dissolved into tears. Philippe and Chevy quickly rushed to sit at the sides of him.
“Hurting Bontemps? They didn’t make you watch?” Philippe sounded horrified.
Louis’ silence seemed to confirm everything.
“Oh, I am sorry. Come here” Philippe drew his brother into his side.
“Sorry, who is Bontemps?” Chevy whispered. “Do we need to stage a dramatic rescue for him as well?”
“He is our father’s valet, well, mine now I suppose. He’s my friend. He used to play hide and seek with Philippe and I when we were children” Louis said.
“And the rescue?” Chevy prompted.
“Is entirely necessary” Philippe said, “we’ll find him and he can come with us. We need him to help us rally the loyal nobles. Now, did they hurt you?”
“Not yet, though I do fear that once they finished Bontemps off they were going to turn on me” Louis replied.
Chevy chewed his lip. “But why is Bontemps here?”
“He was trying to leave France. They thought he might have information”
“Alright. We’ll find him. Come on” Chevy pulled Louis and Philippe up to their feet. “Make it quick though. We don’t have time to waste, those guards will be coming round soon”
“Do you have a- no of course you don’t. Take this” Philippe swiped a sword from one of the unconscious guards.
Louis took the sword, weighing it up in his hand. “I like this”
“We could have done with a spare uniform for you as well” Philippe said.
“I’ve got an idea. I’ll take Louis. You get Bontemps. We’ll meet in the small house around the corner from here and regroup. It’ll be too risky to take Louis to get Bontemps, he’s too recognisable” Chevy said.
“That’s a good idea. We’ll do that” Philippe agreed.
“I’ll come back for you if you aren’t back in good time”
Philippe nodded, looking nervous.
Chevy held his hand out for Louis. “I’m going to drag you down the corridor, okay? In case anyone sees us, act like you’re in pain”
Louis turned around to look at his brother. “Thank you” was all he said, and then he left.
Philippe took a minute to steady himself, taking a deep breath and closing his eyes. He had to get Bontemps and get out. Taking the time to close the cell door neatly, he sauntered down the hallway like a confident officer. He didn’t want to speak to anyone in case he was recognised. Keeping his head down and his pace quick, he searched the prison cells.
After 15 minutes, when he was really starting to worry, he came across a solitary cell, much smaller than the one Louis had been in- and Bontemps inside, thankfully conscious. When Bontemps saw him, he flinched, until he realised who it was and his eyes widened as he quickly stood up.
Philippe shushed him. “I’m getting you out of here. Give me a minute, I’ll have to pick the lock”
After picking the lock, he rushed inside. “Are you okay?” he winced looking at Bontemps’ injuries.
“I’m fine. Is Louis? Are you?”
“We’re all fine, no worries. Let’s get out of here before we get discovered. Our friend Chevy knows a safe spot where we can go and I’ll have a look at those injuries. You might need a stitch or two”
Bontemps smiled. “It’s lovely to see you again. I was worried”
“It’s wonderful to see you too, Bontemps- but we really do have to go. The guards. Can you run?”
“I can. They didn’t really touch my legs, mostly head injuries”
Philippe grabbed his hand. “Come on then. Run!”
As they ran, Philippe was strongly reminded of escaping prison with Louis just a month before. They managed to get out of the doors and along the street without being caught. Philippe assumed the uniform had worked in his favour.
“I can’t believe that worked” he gasped, clutching at a stitch in his side. “God must have been on our side”
“Where are we going?” Bontemps asked, leaning against a tree.
“There’s a house along here. We need to get away from the prison, they’ll realise you’re both missing in a minute”
They ran a bit more until they reached the entrance of the abandoned house. Philippe looked around him quickly, scanning for potential onlookers before opening the door and bundling Bontemps inside. As soon as he got inside and saw Louis and Chevy back in one piece, all of the adrenaline drained from him and he just dissolved into tears of sheer relief, leaning against the doorframe and thinking of everything they had achieved- and everything they had lost. It had been a very long day.