"Why Don't You Ever Smile, Monsieur?" -- Scarlet Pimpernel Fanfiction by J'aimie "Jai" Graham

Disclaimer: It goes without saying that I do not own Chauvelin. Which really isn't fair. But anyway -- Citizen Armand Chauvelin of the Republic is sole property of Baroness Emmuska Orczy, even if she is dead. (Much to my dismay...) Anyway... Francesca is my creation, and this entire bit of fluff is property of me, J'aimie "Jai" Graham, 2001. Please do not take any credit for this creation. Thank you very much.

I'd like to dedicate this piece of fluff to Lisa -- because the bad guys can be good, and the good guys can be bad. I'm really glad you enjoyed this piece of fiction -- you were the first who ever read it, and because you enjoyed it so, I decided to dedicate it to you! Luv ya! ~~J

France, 1792

As the last traitor was killed under the shimmering blade of the guillotine, Citizen Chauvelin of the Republic looked to the other gendarmes. They would be responsible for finishing whatever needed to be done, allowing the French Official to be on his way home.

Looking past the scum of the streets, Chauvelin made his way to his flat. As he fished for the key in his pocket, he looked down to the entry way to his building. A tiny, shaking figure lay, with her hands covered in blood, and her sandy-blonde hair stained a reddish-brown. Chauvelin only stared at her for a moment, before carefully nudging her with his boot. This child was quite obviously a prostitute’s unwanted brat.

The child responded to Chauvelin’s boot with a tiny cry, and tried extremely hard to pick herself up. He sighed, and picked her up, something he would have never done. The girl’s large brown eyes examined Chauvelin, taking in his every detail. He only shrugged, wondering exactly why he was doing this.

Upon entering his flat, Chauvelin sat the girl down on his bed, and went for a basin of water. The girl only looked around, confused and somewhat in shock - a government official was taking in some brat? That never happened, according to all of her ‘friends’ in the streets. She sat quietly, trying to keep her rags on her shoulders, until Chauvelin entered again.

“Why did you take me in, Monsieur?”

Chauvelin thought about correcting the girl - France was a Republic; he was a ‘Citizen’, never a ‘Monsieur’. He quickly changed the subject. “How did you get such a gash on your forehead?” he asked, cleaning the source of the blood all over her hair and hands.

“I don’t know, Monsieur.”

“How old are you?”

“I think I might be five or six, but I ain’t sure. I don’t even think I got parents. The people in the streets look out for me good, though. I still ain’t sure about the cut…” she said, with a little Parisian shrug.

“Do you have a name?” Chauvelin asked her, cutting a bandage for the cut on her forehead.


“I see. Well, so long as you’ll stay with me, you’ll be Francesca.” Chauvelin told her, naming her after the country that had cared for her, and had spared her from an early death.

“Francesca?” she asked, in a childlike manner. “Uh, alright… Who are you, Monsieur? Why do you care for me?”

“Because.” He said simply. Why was he taking care of this brat? Perhaps, in this brat who had so recently been named Francesca, he saw the loyal people of France. Not the aristocrats that were executed every day, but the honest, humble people of the fair country - the people for whom the Revolution smiled. Chauvelin himself wasn’t sure.

She only shrugged again, and looked to her savoir. “Monsieur?” she asked quietly.


“Do you have anything…” her voice never rose above a whisper, “Anything I can eat? Lately, no one brings me anything to eat, and I’m really hungry… usually the - ”

Chauvelin cut her off, “Come with me.”

He took her into the kitchen, and sat her down at the table. He cut a few slices of bread for his little visitor, and then a few slices of cheese. As he set them on the table, her eyes widened.

“I haven’t ever eaten this much, Monsieur. Merci! Merci beaucoup!” Francesca said happily, eating the bread and cheese.

Chauvelin just watched the little girl, his face showing no emotion. The child continued to eat until she couldn’t stand anymore and then looked up to her newfound friend and God.

“Monsieur?” she asked quietly.


“What’s your name?” Francesca dared to ask. She wasn’t sure what was appropriate to ask, and what wasn’t.

“I’m Chauvelin. Just Chauvelin,” he told her, still with no emotion.

“Monsieur Chauvelin?” she asked again.

“Citizen Chauvelin, but you, my dear, can just call me Chauvelin.”

“’Right then. Chauvelin?”


“Why don’t you ever smile?” Francesca’s dared to ask.

“I’ve never been given reason to do so.”

After he finished washing her, and sacrificing one of his shirts for her to wear, Chauvelin had laid her down on his bed. There was no other place for the child, and he figured that he could stand sleeping on the floor for one night, when the child had never once slept in a bed.

“Chauvelin,” came Francesca’s tiny voice from under a quilt and between pillows.


“Stay with me. Please?” she asked, in her irresistible, sweet voice. She tried to sit up, but fell back on the pillows, giggling. “I can’t even sit up!”

Chauvelin sat on the bed beside her, and just studied her face. Francesca was a total change from when she was first found on the doorstep. Her hair was now clean, free of the blood from her now-bandaged wound. The dirt was gone from her arms, legs and face, and the rags had been discarded - she was now clad in one of Chauvelin’s shirts, which reached past her knees.

“You should probably go to sleep. It’s been a long day, has it not?” he asked her.

“Yea, I prolly should,” Francesca said, looking at her savoir. “Can you stay with me? Please, Chauvelin, just for a little while?”

He nodded to her and watched her fall asleep. Once she was asleep, he quietly made his way out of the room, and found another place to sleep. Citizen Chauvelin of the French Republic smiled, satisfied with the day’s work.

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