It was then that Grantaire saw something terrible. A woman with dirty curls of red leaning against the wall of the Musain, cuts on her face and blood in-between her nails. She was hardly even conscious, wearing just a scrap of clothing.
“Jehan, Gavroche, Courfeyrac, stay back!” Grantaire warned, whispering for Courfeyrac to ensure Gavroche and Jehan didn’t see her blood-stained body.
“Ariel… are you alright?” he whispered to her body, which shivered.
“Of course, … you big ugly drunkard… the girl covered in blood is… fine and dandy.”
She struggled to joke, sarcastically.
Grantaire let out a pitying chuckle.
“Your skin is ice.” He told her, whilst putting a honey-coloured hand on her cheek.
“Really? … ‘Cause on your hand… looks like lava.” She smiled, wiping the blood off his fingertips as he put his own coat on her (she’d left Jehan his coat indoors).
“Roux, what happened?”
“Oh, I don’t … know. Perhaps words ha-a-ave literally cut … my skin.” She shivered, smiling.
“Just some g-g-guy. Almost as d-drunk as … you.”
“I need to get Joly to see you…”
“That…. That mal-lade imaginare? The… the one who told me-e that I would die … b-because I talk in this way? N-no thank … you.” Ariel joked.
“You talk like Enjolras.” Grantaire’s face fell.
Ariel whispered something in his ear her warm breath contrasting to the night-time air. It was question. A question no other member of Les Amis had asked before. None of them had even considered enough possibility of being true to ask. A question that never even crossed their mind. Grantaire furrowed his brows, before his eyes softened once more and he hugged her, there and then. How she had known, he’d no idea, though she wasn’t angry.
What he was is no crime in her eyes, but in the law’s.
“T-Trust me, you are … safe. I-I’m sorry.”
Grantaire gave her one last glance, thanked her and called Courfeyrac to get Joly to her rescue, as he went immediately.
“Hey, miss. Who are you?” Came a small voice from behind Jehan, revealing a small boy with messy dirty blond hair.
“I’m A-Ariel, monsieur.” She smiled. “P-Pleased to meet you, …”
“Gavroche!” the small boy told her excitedly as she took his hands and he sat on her lap.
“Monsieur … G-Gavroche. A name s-so perfect. … W-What can I do you for?” Ariel said with eyes gleaming. Grantaire’s news had made her wonderfully happy. Gavroche drew closer to Ariel’s ear, whispering, he told her,
“My brothers like you a lot.”
“L-Like me?” Ariel asked, as Gavroche shushed her. “Who … are your brothers?”
“Well, there are my younger brothers who live in the Elephant with me, they think you are spectacular. Then there is my big brother who you know, Courfeyrac. He loves you in a different way. He won’t tell me anything, but I can see it.” Gavroche gave a cheeky grin.
“Y-You’re brothers with … Courfeyrac?”
“Not technically. I have two sisters and real brothers but Courfeyrac looked after me when our parents abandoned us.” Gavroche replied, sadly.
“Oh… I’m s-sorry. My father abandoned me too…” Ariel nodded, putting a hand to her face to stop the blood that was now dripping, as Jehan lifted Gavroche up and off her knee.
Gavroche didn’t seem so sad anymore.
“Maybe Courfeyrac could look after you too! It could be like a family!” He said avidly, trying to jump back down.
“I-I don’t think th-that’s … going to happen … Gavroche.”
Before either of them could say any more, Joly was pacing around, tentatively looking to her wounds and announcing what he needed. The injuries seemed quite serious, but she didn’t need a hospital.