Author's note: I am apparently not dead, which frankly surprises me as much as any of you. Don't take a full courseload, an independent study project, several extracurriculars, and hold down a job if you already can't manage your time well. It will not end well. But anyway! This piece of ridiculousness was inspired by a tumblr headcanon post, a truly dreadful week, and several important deadlines that needed ignoring. (See: can't manage time.) It owes a significant stylistic debt to 'The Giraffe's Corrective' by Sath on AO3, from which I shamelessly cribbed my Marius voice.
Courfeyrac's horrified exclamation cut through the low murmur of voices in the back room of the Musain. As this was not an unusual event, not everyone turned to look at him, but enough people did that Marius, the person who had elicited the exclamation, turned red and longed for quieter friends.
"I've never had girl scout cookies," he repeated, feeling as though he had inadvertently committed some terrible social faux pas. Marius was accustomed to the feeling, but Courfeyrac's shocked stare was not something which lost power with repetition.
"Blasphemy!" Courfeyrac said, still sounding thoroughly horrified. "You poor, poor thing. What a deprived childhood you must have had, to miss out on such a staple of modern culture. I weep at the thought of it, truly I do."
He was not, in fact, weeping, but Marius found it prudent to nod anyway. "I'm sorry," he offered. "My grandfather doesn't support the girl scouts."
This attracted attention from Feuilly. "Why not?" he wanted to know. "Is it the support for reproductive healthcare, or the inclusive admittance policies, or just the fact that as an organization they dare to tell women and girls that they can be people too?"
Marius shrugged helplessly. "All of the above, I think," he said. He considered quoting some of Gillenormand's words to that effect then thought better of it and prudently shut his mouth.
Feuilly scowled. Before he could derail the conversation away from its original point Courfeyrac intervened. "Marius' grandfather's politics aren't the point," he said. "The point is that you, my friend, have had one of the great delights of life cruelly withheld from you and we must remedy that immediately. Bahorel!"
Marius blinked, not entirely sure what Bahorel had to do with anything and far too intimidated by the man to say anything once his attention had been attracted.
"You rang?" Bahorel asked, turning in his chair to take in the scene.
"Marius has never had girl scout cookies!" Courfeyrac told him.
"So I heard," Bahorel said. "What do you want me to do about it, change the past?" He eyed Marius speculatively, causing this last to shrink nervously back into his seat. "Mind you if I did have that power I wouldn't use it to change that, at least not first thing."
"What would you do?" Jehan asked. Marius, who hadn't realized that Jehan was even in the room, jumped a little.
"Punch Hitler in the face," Bahorel said promptly. "And then go see Elvis in concert."
"Really?" Jehan asked. "I'd have sex with Lord Byron."
"I'd go for Hugo, myself," Bahorel said.
"You wouldn't last two minutes in his company without trying to kill him," Jehan objected.
Bahorel shrugged. "That's fun too," he agreed.
"Gentlemen!" Courfeyrac interrupted. "You are missing the point. Marius has never tasted a thin mint in his life and that is a travesty!"
Bahorel refocused on Courfeyrac. "How is this my problem?" he asked. "It sounds like yours or maybe his."
"You're the one with a direct line to a girl scout," Courfeyrac said as though it were obvious.
"My sister is three states away," Bahorel reminded him. "I still don't see how that will help you."
Courfeyrac glared at him. "As if you don't have a secret stash," he said.
"I do," Bahorel agreed. "But if you think I'm going to share it with you then you are sadly mistaken."
"But it's for a good cause!"
"No cause is good enough to share cookies," Bahorel said. He turned his back on Courfeyrac again, leaving the latter to keep glaring.
"Greedy capitalist bastard," Courfeyrac muttered, deliberately pitching his voice loud enough for Bahorel to hear.
"Says the man with three top hats," Bahorel returned, not turning back around.
Courfeyrac rolled his eyes then looked around the room for a new target. Marius wondered if he could sneak out of the room while his friend was distracted or, failing that, spontaneously discover the ability to become one with the wood of his chair.
Before he made headway with either of these options Courfeyrac spotted the person he was looking for. "Combeferre!" he exclaimed, causing Marius to redouble his efforts towards invisibility.
"No," Combeferre said.
"You don't even know what I'm going to ask," Courfeyrac said.
"You're going to ask me to give Marius cookies. The answer is no. You should have saved some of your own."
"I didn't know," Courfeyrac said. "How was I supposed to know that I would encounter such a situation? How could I have known that such injustice existed in the life of my own intimate friend?"
Despite having been assured that Courfeyrac had only the most innocent of intentions when using that phrase, Marius could not banish his initial associations and turned an even darker red. He began to hope his luck might suddenly match that suffered by Lesgle and cause a sudden localized sinkhole to open up beneath his chair and swallow him whole. A moment later it occurred to him that, as he desired that outcome, it would make more sense for him to long for good luck, and that perhaps his being here for this conversation in the first place was symptomatic of preexisting terrible luck. Yet, present situation notwithstanding, Marius could not exactly call the initial meeting with Courfeyrac bad luck, so clearly his sudden streak must be a new development. So engrossed was he in this contemplation that he quite forgot the conversation going on around him until Courfeyrac burst into laughter right above his head.
"We all know he's a freak of nature," Marius' best friend said, and Marius jerked his head up, all thoughts of luck and philosophy vanishing in the face of this clear insult. Determined that such a thing was not to be born, he gave up hoping for nature to intervene and took action, standing and making stiff excuses before rapidly leaving the room and heading for the apartment he shared with Courfeyrac, quite determined to take his leave of the place by the end of the day.
In the end Marius did not move out of Courfeyrac's house. Courfeyrac caught up with him before he had made it even halfway home, apologized profusely but sincerely for offending him, assured him that he had not even been the topic of conversation at the time, and promised never again to mock Marius for eating pizza with a knife and fork if only he would deign to stay in the apartment. After a brief moral battle during which his sensibilities fought his empty bank account and lost, Marius agreed to Courfeyrac's terms and the two gravely shook hands. The matter of Girl Scout cookies was not brought up again.
Indeed, Marius was granted nearly two months reprieve in the matter of Girl Scout cookies, long enough that he hoped Courfeyrac had forgotten the entire incident. In this he had misjudged his friend, and he found himself rather bewildered when Courfeyrac bounded into his room one afternoon with a delighted, "Guess who I just saw at the grocery store?"
Marius, who had been genuinely attempting to get work done and was thus a little resentful of his friend's exuberant interruption, said, "Napoleon?"
Courfeyrac paused for a moment to stare at Marius, who remembered belatedly that his father's hero was tragically deceased and thus could not possibly have been at their local grocery store buying bananas or, indeed, anything else.
Before Marius could fall into a serious contemplation of Napoleon Bonaparte's potential grocery list, Courfeyrac gathered his wits about him once more and said, "Girl Scouts!"
Marius blinked. "Girl Scouts?" he echoed doubtfully.
Courfeyrac nodded, curls bouncing with the force of his gesture. "Girl Scouts!" he agreed. When Marius failed to be appropriately excited about this he gave a long suffering sigh and said, "Cookies? Thin Mints? That staple of American junk food culture that you missed as a child? We've discussed this, remember?"
Marius began to frown, remembering the outcome of the last discussion on this topic. "I really think," he began but Courfeyrac cut him off.
"Think later," he ordered. "Cookies now." With that he grabbed Marius' arm and levered him out of his chair, dragging him out of the room before he could quite formulate an objection. Seven minutes later Marius found himself standing with Courfeyrac outside the grocery store, facing two girls and their mothers standing behind a flimsy looking card table stacked high with colorful cardboard boxes.
"One of everything," Courfeyrac said, reaching for his wallet. "And three, no, four extra boxes of Samoas."
One of the girls began selecting boxes of cookies to put in a bag while the other took Courfeyrac's credit card.
"Courfeyrac, I can't accept this," Marius hissed. "I don't have the money to pay you back."
"Nonsense," Courfeyrac said, waving this objection aside. "No man should have to buy his own cookies the first time. Everyone knows that."
Marius looked at him doubtfully. Courfeyrac was forever coming out with things that supposedly everyone knew and Marius had never heard in his life. "Are you quite certain?" he asked.
Courfeyrac nodded firmly and reclaimed his card. "Positive," he said. "It's tradition."
Marius was still unconvinced, but before he could object further the girl handed Courfeyrac's bag of cookies to him and, after thanking the girls and offering them a brilliant grin, Courfeyrac renewed his grip on Marius' arm and marched him back to the apartment. There he led Marius to the sofa and sat him down, thrusting the bag into his arms.
"Take your pick," he said.
Marius hesitated, looking at the multitude of boxes without the slightest idea of where to begin. Courfeyrac gave him a minute or so then, clearly unable to restrain his impatience, reached in and withdrew one of the purple boxes, ripping it open eagerly. He took one of the donut-shaped cookies and bit into it, eyes closing as he stilled completely. He stayed in that position for several seconds, an odd expression on his face.
"Courfeyrac?" Marius asked hesitantly. "Are you all right?"
Courfeyrac's eyes popped back open. "I was having a moment," he informed Marius.
"Oh. I'm sorry for interrupting."
"I accept your apology," Courfeyrac said. Then, unable to maintain even mock seriousness for long, he asked, "Have you decided yet?"
Marius sighed. "I don't think…" He trailed off, quite unable to find the words to explain that for the twenty years of his life he had been taught to have nothing to do with the Girl Scouts and that he did not know his father's opinion of them and, furthermore, that he really couldn't allow Courfeyrac to keep spending money on him like this.
Seeing his hesitation and, perhaps, misinterpreting its cause, Courfeyrac laughed. "They're just cookies," he said. "I won't disown you if you don't end up liking them. God knows I'm still friends with Enjolras, who can't stand any of them and doesn't even have the excuse of having been deprived as a child. I'm quite open-minded enough to overlook such a deplorable lack of taste, I promise. I'll even promise not to bring it up again if you'd rather."
Marius hesitated. "This is important to you?" he asked.
"It is," Courfeyrac said. He offered Marius the open box of cookies and, after another instant of hesitation, Marius took it. Courfeyrac, when all was said and done, was the best friend he had ever had, and, after all, eating one cookie was hardly a tremendous sacrifice, especially as Marius did not know that his father had disapproved. He selected a cookie and took a cautious bite.
The taste of chocolate and caramel filled his mouth. He squeaked a little, not having expected quite that much flavor from something that, in all honesty, looked a little like cardboard.
"Good, aren't they?" Courfeyrac asked, grinning. Marius nodded and, motivated as much by the desire to make Courfeyrac smile again as by the taste of chocolate, finished his cookie.