A/N: This is for the guest reviewer who wanted a fic concerning Enjolras and Eponine's first time in the "When Apollo Met Persephone: verse. Previous drafts of these bits exist on LJ. Warning for discussion of marital relations and the actual deed.
On Making New Starts
Part 1: August 2, 1833
There were some things that a successful revolution could not change, such as Antoine Enjolras' habit of being more than prepared for even the slightest undertaking. It was this very same trait that prompted him to make a discreet visit to his friend Combeferre in the latter's upstairs apartment on the evening of the second of August.
"Did I hear you right? You're asking me about this?" the physician sputtered when Enjolras revealed the reason for his inquiry. It was all he could do not to drop the heavy tome he'd been carrying. "You might be better off asking Courfeyrac about this matter."
"Courfeyrac is very busy nowadays taking care of his son. It would be insensitive to impose at this hour especially with such a trivial matter," Enjolras pointed out.
Combeferre burst out laughing as he set down the book and took a seat. "Your wedding night is not a trivial matter, Enjolras."
The younger man raised an eyebrow at his friend's reaction. "Secondly, inasmuch as Courfeyrac obviously has 'extensive experience', you and Joly are the ones with a more pragmatic and scientific view regarding these questions," he continued after a moment.
"Mostly for purposes of clinical practice," Combeferre said more calmly. "Do you want me to speak as your physician or as your friend?"
"Will that make a difference?"
"As a physician, I would simply say that you and Eponine are both sound in mind and body. Since it does not seem as if either of you have any physiologic impediments, and neither of you is completely ignorant of the act-at least of the basic anatomy involved, all will be well. There is no reason for you to have difficulty with consummating your marriage."
Enjolras shook his head at this less than helpful assessment. It did not make it any easier for him to picture anything. "What would you say then, as a friend?"
Combeferre gave him a querulous look as he wiped his spectacles. "Have you and Eponine ever discussed this?"
"Not extensively," Enjolras admitted. He sighed on seeing his friend's rather disapproving look. "I at least know that she's more than aware as to what this act entails, and she knows that I have never bedded anyone, ever. I am definitely not worried about frightening her or anything of that sort."
The doctor nodded slowly. "Might I ask, are you concerned about embarrassing yourself?"
Enjolras could already feel his ears burning. "To some extent."
Combeferre was silent for a moment as he contemplated his friend, clearly trying to figure out how to continue this conversation. "I will be frank with you; that first night could be a rather brief experience,"
"Why would you say so?" Enjolras asked a little warily, remembering how some of their more shameless friends would brag about the hours that they could pass in such strenuous activity.
"Since this will be your first time, you will not exactly be able to gauge yet how long you will last before finishing. It can be rather overwhelming, even for those who indulge in the solitary vice."
"How long is that usually?"
"A few minutes."
"Does it work the same way for women?"
"Unfortunately it can be quite the opposite."
This time Enjolras' eyebrows shot up even higher. "With that discrepancy, how is it possible then for the act to be mutually satisfying?"
"For one thing, as you become more used to lovemaking, you learn how to prolong the experience. I am sure it will not take you long to figure it out," Combeferre replied, smiling a little wickedly. "Also, you should pleasure her even prior to the actual penetration."
Enjolras nodded very slowly, trying to figure out the logistics of this situation. "How?"
"There are several ways. Kissing her is one way, but I do not mean just kissing her on her mouth or on her face. I advise moving even lower."
"To where? Her neck?"
"That's a good start. The neck is exquisitely sensitive. It is rather well enervated, especially in the area of the hollow of the throat. Then you can work your way even further down."
"I see," Enjolras said. Interestingly enough, he knew that Eponine liked to be touched at the back of her neck; somehow it served to calm her down. "When you mean by moving further down, do you mean..."
"Yes, to her breasts." Combeferre rolled his eyes on seeing Enjolras' jaw drop with disbelief. "For this particular purpose, you have to forget Rousseau's insistence on the importance of the woman's breasts as a source of nourishment. You'll never get anywhere that way and she won't forgive you for it. That part of a woman's anatomy is also a source of her gratification."
"You don't have to use your lips; you can do a great deal with your hands. You'll know if she likes what you're doing."
"I think knowing will be the least of my problems, given how assertive Eponine can be," Enjolras mused aloud. Unlearning his Rousseau would be far more difficult. "I take that is not the only way though?"
"The inner thighs. It's not only the male half of this species that is particularly sensitive in that area," Combeferre said in a matter-of-fact tone.
"More nerves there again?"
"Yes. Do you wish me to enumerate them?"
"No. That will not be necessary."
The doctor grinned, no longer even hiding his amusement at his friend's discomfiture. "From there you can move even higher-yes, there." He reached for some paper and a pen. "There is something about that particular area you must know."
"Please do not illustrate it," Enjolras muttered. Most likely the drawing would be misplaced and he would be hard-pressed to explain it to any of the younger denizens of the tenement. "I believe a simple verbal explanation will suffice."
Combeferre took a deep breath as he set aside the drawing implements. "Very well then. Just above a woman's entrance is a particularly sensitive area of flesh. Emphasis on the word 'sensitive'; you'd better watch your hold there. You will have to be attentive to her when you decide to stimulate that part, even perhaps while you are busy pleasuring her elsewhere."
"Using my hands, I imagine?"
"Yes. You can simply focus on that area; a repetitive circular motion is said by some to be best. Of course, that is only one of your options. "
"You mean..." Enjolras trailed off, realizing what Combeferre meant. The idea was almost mind-boggling; in fact he figured that some people could even construe it as perverse. Nevertheless he had to indulge his curiosity. "Would she even allow me to use my mouth on her in that way?"
"It is similar to how some men enjoy having their members being stimulated by the oral orifice. It is even more pleasurable for a woman particularly if her partner is perceptive as to her responses," Combeferre deadpanned.
Even this decidedly clinical sounding explanation was enough to make Enjolras fall silent as he tried desperately not to picture Eponine writhing beneath him. It took a few moments before he could speak again. "That sounds like a great deal to do even before the actual act."
"There are other ways to please a woman, but regardless of the means, the first and foremost rule is to follow what she wants, or all this effort will simply end in frustration or even resentment for both of you," Combeferre said very seriously. "On a less scientific note, do not stop showing affection to her, if that is what she needs. Talk to her. You know that she likes that."
'That might be one of the more important things he's mentioned so far,' Enjolras thought. It was something that perhaps would serve to make the act far less contrived or animalistic sounding. "Thank you for this advice."
"You're welcome," Combeferre replied. He wiped his spectacles again for a moment before speaking again. "Still speaking as a friend, I honestly think you should not have much of a problem if you continue to be earnest and attentive to her."
"What do you mean?"
"It probably hasn't occurred to you, but you will be the first man in a very long time, or maybe even the first in the truest sense, to make love to her."
"Perhaps," Enjolras said. In an unsettling sense, Combeferre was probably right. 'That puts a whole new weight on the matter then' he realized even as he heard the familiar sound of the tenement front door opening and the usual chaos of the Thenardier brothers on the stairs as they went to greet their sister.
"By the way, have you found someone who'll take in Gavroche, Neville, and Jacques for that night at least?" Combeferre asked as he glanced towards the door.
Enjolras looked at him confusedly. "No."
Combeferre sighed deeply. "They can stay here with me and Claudine then. You'd better ask Eponine to come up so I can inform her about it."
"Is that also necessary?"
"Yes. Unless you want to have another version of this discussion with those three." Combeferre laughed as Enjolras paled noticeably before excusing himself. "I thought so."