"I'm one of them, you know." Yvette smiled at him through her hair.
"You, Miss Moreau, are different."
Yvette got the feeling that Montague was trying to make sure that she wasn't interested in getting Damien arrested again. Or taking him away from Montague under the argument that Montague was just some poor sod who knew Damien. "Your water sounds like it's almost to the boil." Yvette smiled at Montague, and then said quietly, "Are we going to keep dancing around our questions?"
Montague raised an eyebrow, and then slowly relaxed a little. "Like about our motives?" Montague pulled the kettle off the stove and set it down so he can put the tea bags in it.
"Yeah." Yvette watched Montague work. For all of having a dead arm, Montague could still hold things with it. He just lost his ability to do detail work, and his muscle strength. That didn't mean he wasn't strong. Just that he wasn't strong in the same way he used to be. Hopefully, Damien was the same way. Not broken, but just changed. She added, "I don't want Damien to get arrested again."
Montague nodded. "I know. I know you care about him. I know you don't want him to be hurt." He paused. "He's angry. He's terrified and he's angry. He's too afraid to say why he's angry, and he's too angry to stay silent."
"About his arrest?"
"About everything." Montague poured two cups of tea and handed her one. "He's pissed that there's no elections anymore. That we can't get a real paper that isn't all p.r. and propaganda."
"You can't have foreign papers sent in anymore." Yvette sipped her tea. Sometimes it felt like the government was always watching everything she said or did. Not that they were, of course. She was too minor to even be selected out of a crowd. It was somehow worse to be angry and ignored. "They've been chopping books up or just holding them back. They held back a purely fluff mystery for about four months due to a mention of a fake terrorist group. I can see why he's angry. I'm angry."
"They're saying they won't let anything in that's published by Round Robin because a gang calls itself Round Robin." Montague's voice raised a little in anger. "You can't even go down and pick up your mail in peace anymore. They've got soldiers down at the post office which sit around and watch. And flip through your junk mail."
Damien's voice was sleepy from the other room, "Montague?" He looked like he just woke up and he was just starting to untangle himself from his blanket. "What's this about the mail?"
"Montague was telling me about the soldiers they've got at the post office now." Yvette set down her tea. "I missed you, loyal soldier."
Damien blinked at her, and it took him a while to connect her reference. "And you, my warrior queen." He headed over to where they were standing. "Sorry for not being awake."
"It's okay." Yvette moved over to hug Damien, and tried not to notice how he flinched before suddenly returning the hug. "What were you reading?"
"Just something Montague had sitting around." Damien buried his face in her jacket and inhaled shakily. "He keeps saying I should go out with him and get some more books. I don't know where we'd go though."
"There's some decent places down here that I've been to." Yvette slid a hand over Damien's back. He was thinner. She could feel the lines of his spine through his shirt. "Want some tea?"
Damien nodded and slowly stopped clinging to her. "I'd like that." He looked at her and he almost had that old cocky grin back on his face.
Montague silently handed Damien a cup of tea, and then he leaned back against the kitchen counter. Yvette settled again to sit on the table, and Damien slid into a chair. There was silence except for the sound of a police patrol boat going by. Yvette didn't know what to say. When she was younger, it would be easy enough to banter with Damien, but this - the man sitting before her wasn't the same Damien she had known. Damien was thinner and he seemed to be having trouble finding his smile. If Montague was right, Damien basically wanted to betray the government. Not that protesting was truly a betrayal, but it was illegal.
Damien said finally, "I'm - sorry for taking so long to contact you." He sipped his tea and cupped his hands around it. "I wasn't sure I was ready, and I didn't want you to see me while I was -"
"Still getting used to being out of prison?" Yvette offered.
"No. Still - so scared." Damien smiled crookedly. "That sounds silly doesn't it?"
Montague and Yvette both said "no" and then looked at each other.
"I mean, I should be happy. They let me out. I've got a pension . . . ." Damien looked down at his tea. "I should be happy that I'm not still there, and that I'm not drugged out of my mind and -"
"Damien," Yvette said softly, "You don't have to be happy about it." It was ridiculous to be happy that some idiots arrested an innocent man, drugged him with who knows what, and then let him go without any sort of pardon.
"They said I can't tell anyone about it." Damien sips his tea with carefully controlled movements. "I couldn't tell people about it. They wouldn't listen to some rich kid whining about being oppressed."
"You'd be amazed," Montague said. "Some people would think that you, of all people, would be safe."
"I wasn't though. I still don't feel safe." Damien set his tea down, and his hands were shaking before he clasped them together. "I couldn't tell people because I'm too afraid of them. I'm scared of going out to buy books from some harmless bookstore."
Yvette started to say, "Then don't tell your story -"
Damien interrupted her with a hint of anger in his voice, "I can't stay silent. This - this can't go on."
"Write it." Yvette reached out to touch Damien's hands. "I'll get the word out for you."
Damien looked up at her with wide eyes, "They might come -"
Montague's voice was a low rumble, "I'll kill any of them who try."