A/N: Revised form. Set after the 81st chapter of WAMP.
The Proper Way to Celebrate Shared Successes
Even before the applause roars through the gallery of the session hall, Eponine is certain that they have already won. 'He won them over, and that's how it happened,' she thinks as she gets to her feet, not clapping madly but simply covering her lips with her fingers. The truth is that it's all she can do not to shout out or even hurry down to the session hall floor, if only to really make her sentiments known to the fiery young man seated among the Parisian legislators. 'There will be time for that later, always,' she reminds herself, even as she is sure that he is searching the gallery too even as Lafayette and other people call for order.
"Eponine, this is cause for celebration. First the committee hearing, and now the plenary-two successes in one day!" one of the older women in the gallery whispers exuberantly.
'It's all the same success actually,' Eponine thinks, not hiding her grin at this secret truth. "Will we be celebrating right here, in the Hotel De Ville?" she asks.
"Where else?" the dame laughs. "Everyone is here already so we may as well save them the trouble."
"If there is a room big enough to hold everyone,' Eponine points out. 'Everyone' in this context may as well mean all the legislators; those from Paris and those visiting from the nearby towns, the secretaries of various government offices, members of the Radicaux party, at least half of the women in the gallery, and of course any friends and family who happen to be around. She guesses that will add up to at least three or four dozen people. It will be one uproarious celebration; most of them are young, most of them are known to be uninhibited, and all of them have been working tirelessly just to get this one law as far as the plenary and the voting, the last steps before Lafayette has to approve the law for its promulgation. The sense of victory is so intoxicating to the point that Eponine finally throws away what semblance of restraint she has and hurries down to him.
He finds her and catches her by her waist, telling her in no uncertain terms how proud he is of her. The whispered declaration has her feeling something squeeze in her chest, but that's nothing compared to the heat of his eyes on her. "I know you want to talk to me later," she says when he pulls her close.
Enjolras raises an eyebrow. "At home?"
"Someplace sooner," she whispers, giving him a knowing look. "Upstairs?"
The way his eyes widen at this single word is all too telling. "That is rather cheeky."
"Is it?" she asks before breaking away to speak to other friends of theirs. Yet she knows he has his attention already, for his eyes never quite leave her as they mingle with the celebrating crowd. At last she excuses herself from all the revelry, shrugging when people throw her questioning looks as she goes up the stairs, to the floor with the legislators' offices. Most of them already know exactly where she's headed anyway. 'I'd like to see them try to say I shouldn't be up here,' she thinks as she stops outside the last door in the hall and then fishes in her pelisse pockets for the keys she now keeps tied together on a ribbon. She locates the second key in the bunch and deftly uses it to let herself into the small office.
Eponine has been here a few times, but not to the point wherein she can find her way around this room even with her eyes closed. It is not that difficult a space to navigate, especially with the sparse furniture. There's only a desk, a very large and comfortable chair, another smaller chair, some bookshelves, and a small stove. She then slips off her dark green pelisse so she can just throw it over the smaller chair, and then tosses her gloves aside for good measure. Then she sits in the larger chair behind the desk and bends to take off her shoes. On most days she still wears rather tough shoes instead of dainty slippers since the latter sort of fussy footwear only slows her down. It's incongruous especially for the wife of a legislator, but she doesn't mind. He doesn't mind either.
She kicks her shoes under the desk and sits back in the chair, moments before she hears footsteps headed for the door of this very room. Eponine knows it's teasing and in fact it's almost cruel to do this, but she puts her feet up on the table moments before the door opens, knowing that the man she is waiting for has a tendency to get astounded whenever she does this. She is not sure if it's because of her audacity or because of the fact that he can see her legs from her toes still covered in stockings all the way up to just past the hem of her dress, wherever the skirt falls when she's deliberately being this careless. No one is complaining.
"You're late," she calls, managing to keep calm even as she feels her heartbeat begin to quicken as it always does when he is around.
Enjolras pauses as he gets a good look at her. His lips curve up in a smirk but the wonder and desire is clear in the way his eyes widen. "You're looking comfortable."
"I told you before, I like this chair," she quips.
"You always illustrate the point," Enjolras retorts as he sets down the papers he's carrying on top of one of the bookshelves. "I heard of what you did at the committee meeting," he says, and although he is not looking at her, the pride in his voice is evidence enough that he is smiling.
"That was nothing to you getting the session together," Eponine manages to say. Just the sound of Enjolras' voice is enough to send a thrill up and down her spine. He is the laconic one of the two of them, but he has the capacity to leave her speechless and make her set aside her usual loquaciousness. Today is one of those days, and so she gets up from her seat as he turns to face her. Their lips meet, far less clumsily than they are used to, and she almost gasps from the sheer potency of this kiss. It occurs to her that maybe he already knew that she was waiting for him in his office, but the thought is swiftly driven out of her mind by the feel of his large hand at the small of her back, pressing her form to his even as his other hand comes up to the back of her head. She feels his fingers in her hair, tangling in the strands she's taken great care to pin in place earlier that morning. "Antoine, I'll do it," she says in his ear, catching him by the wrist before he can start tugging at the hairpins.
Enjolras' breath catches, as it always does whenever he hears her use his given name. "No," he tells her firmly, bringing her fingers to his lips and kissing them. He smiles when he sees her shiver and he takes the opportunity to remove two hairpins, letting the strands fall to her shoulders. Before she can protest, he presses light kisses to her forehead, her temples, down her nose and all over her cheeks, but taking care not to kiss her on the mouth. She squirms but she wills herself to keep still since he is still busy removing the hairpins till at last her reddish hair is free from its confines, the way he likes it.
Eponine laughs softly because of this before she returns his kiss more fervently. Now that he's done this to her, she can have no qualms about running her own fingers through his own ever unruly hair, letting her nails scratch his scalp ever so lightly. He groans appreciatively against her lips before making a trail of kisses down her neck, lingering over her throat when she swears and tightens her grip on him. The hand that was in her hair is now rubbing the back of her neck in that way which is both comforting and maddening at once. It is just as well that he hasn't let go of her, otherwise between how his lips are caressing her collarbone and the way his long fingers are sliding down past her neck to undo the fastenings on her dress, she is sure she'd be on the floor by now. "Antoine..." she murmurs in his ear.
"Yes?" he asks, his eyes dark when he looks up from where he has just left a bruise on her collarbone—that sly man!
"The door," she reminds him. It is so easy to be lost in him, almost as readily as he loses himself in her day after day. Yet even if they are married, even if everyone knows they are together, she doesn't want to ever expose him to the scorn and derision of those who simply want to cause a scandal. And what better way than to catch them in flagrante delicto in the Hotel de Ville of all places?
Enjolras kisses her again, almost chastely, before he carries her to the desk chair and sets her down. "Don't move," he practically growls against her cheek before going off to lock the door.
Eponine nods as she watches him, feeling heat blossom from the pit of her stomach all the way up to her face, amazed that somehow he had the same idea of a celebration; normally he's more tentative and proper, keeping such things for home. 'That he could want this, with me,' she thinks, an idea so wondrous that sometimes she feels a lump in her throat from pondering it. There are beautiful women everywhere, some in the galleries, but she's the one his gaze always strays to. He is hers, and better yet, the other way around. She lets Enjolras know the second half of this when he comes back, as she loses no time in pulling him to her and swiftly divesting him of his coat and his cravat. They both know she likes seeing him in his shirtsleeves. "I s'pose we're almost even," she says before kissing him.
"Are we?" he quips even as he gets back to the work of removing her dress. She shuts her eyes, relishing the feel of his slightly callused fingers undoing the laces of her stays, making it just that much easier for her to breathe. She's thankful that he was the one who tied the knots that morning. His hands brush over her breasts, squeezing them lightly through her chemise and she gasps out his name, only to have him muffle the sounds with a kiss and a warning in her ear. His fingers eventually reach the hem of her chemise but she slaps his hand. "What now?" he asks.
"My turn," she says, not hiding the mischief in her tone.
"So you say?" he challenges her, pulling away so that his face is just hovering over hers, but he's not touching any part of her otherwise.
"You'll see," she giggles. She thinks of tackling him to the floor, right under his desk but the chair is just too comfortable and besides he looks so lovely when he's over her like this. So instead she reaches up and presses kisses to his jaw and down to his neck even as she removes his waistcoat, and then followed in short order by his shirt, making sure her lips move over where her hands were just seconds before. His face is covered with sweat and he is gripping the arms of the chair even as he is fighting to remain in control. The way he is muttering and eventually moaning her name makes it evident that this is a losing battle, not that he has any actual objections to it. It only makes Eponine kiss him harder, leaving her own marks all over his chest and once, even where he usually puts the knot of his cravat. "You know I'm the only one you'll allow to do this to you," she says teasingly in his ear.
"Of course." He grabs her hands before they can trail over the waistband of his pants and then pushes her back in the chair so that she's almost lying in it. This time he starts off by placing her right foot on his shoulder and ever so slowly removing her stocking, moving his fingers in tantalizingly languid circles that remind her all too well of what else his hands have done to her on other occasions. She throws her head back, hoping, almost begging for his kisses but he already knows that there are other ways that she likes being touched. She bites her lip to keep from whimpering too loudly when he's done removing both of her stockings and his hands are now pulling at her chemise till she is completely bare before him. It's his mouth that is driving her crazy as usual since every now and then he stops to plant kisses on the most unexpected places: her shins, the hollow below her kneecap, and on to between her thighs.
The sight of Enjolras' head between her legs and the feel of his breath on her skin makes Eponine feel a little dizzy and she can feel herself growing so wet that she's sure that she's leaving stains on the seat. His chair. 'There's no way he'll ever be able to sit here properly again, 'she catches herself thinking only a split second before she feels his mouth on her, and this time she has to muffle her cries with her hand. She digs her heels into his shoulders as she becomes so aware of his fingers parting her folds as he slowly runs his tongue up into her. His thumb finds the most sensitive part of her center, and soon he has her nearly writhing in the chair as his mouth and his hands establish the most maddening of rhythms. He's the only one who'll ever do this to her; the only one who will ever know what makes her feel this way, and she loves him all the more for it. She tugs at his hair as she feels her body begin to clench, a sign that she is so close. Yet even so she can feel his breathing growing harsh against her and his muscles are also taut under her ankles; he too is on the brink. "Antoine, please," she nearly sobs, tugging his hair harder so he has to look at her.
He looks up at her and takes her hands. His eyes are darker than ever with desire but the concern is evident in his voice. "Should I stop?"
She feels almost too far gone to say it, and almost submits again to his ministrations but she manages to pull him up further so that they are face to face. He licks his lips before kissing her and she ends up moaning into his mouth, so aroused by everything he does that there's no point in hiding it. "I want you with me," she finally says when she can break their kiss.
"You need it too." She trails her hand down to his hip, to a spot that only she knows and she grips him there, hearing him mutter her name before he picks her up off the chair. Eponine wraps her legs around his waist and presses herself closer so she can feel every inch of him against her, even that now familiar hardness that is surely making him a little uncomfortable. Enjolras groans into her hair as he manuevers them both to the floor; not under his desk since he's too careful for that but near the bookshelves. It's almost enough to make her laugh since it reminds her a little of their own room at home, with all the books they end up strewing on the floor, on her dresser, and over the cabinets. However she focuses immediately on helping Enjolras get rid of his trousers and she smiles to hear him sigh with relief.
Enjolras slips his hand around hers such that her small fingers can slide between his. She nods and adjusts her position, parting her legs so he can settle his hips over hers. Eponine doesn't shut her eyes this time when she feels him enter her slowly, giving time for both of them to adjust as they are still learning each other. She uses her scarred hand to caress his face and pull his sweat-soaked hair out of his eyes, only to have him also grip this hand in an attempt to steady himself as he begins to move in and out of her. He kisses her all over her face and neck as she moves with him, and it isn't long till they find their pace, that sure rhythm that has her encouraging him with her hands on his back and her feet on his hips, while he eventually resorts to burying his face in her neck, murmuring endearments incoherently until he at last reaches his release. It is enough for her to also tumble over the edge, aware of little else but the sheer pleasure coursing through her as well as her hand grasping his, seeking something to hold on to before she gets too overwhelmed.
It feels as if hours have passed till at last Eponine feels more sensation return to her body. She blinks and smiles when she sees Enjolras' face next to hers, his skin still flushed and his damp hair sticking to his forehead. The satisfied and slightly languorous curl to his lips turns into an affectionate grin as he moves them both so that they are side by side and her head is pillowed on his chest. There is no need for words to reassure each other or even more kisses; just lying on the floor like this is already enough.
Enjolras breaks the silence first. "We should do this more often."
"Manage to practically pass a law, or stay in your office like this?" she asks, pushing herself up on her elbows so she could look at him. She giggles when she sees his eyes narrow in a look that is supposed to be affronted but only looks just mildly cross on him. "I'm so proud of you," she again says sincerely.
"As I am of you," he replies, running his hands through her hair.
She grins as she kisses his fingers. "How long have we been up here?"
"Maybe half an hour. Do you think we're being missed downstairs?"
"Maybe. Someone is bound to notice."
"We'll have to disappoint them for a few more minutes," he remarks, pulling on his trousers.
"For discretion's sake," Eponine agrees. They have to be very careful to hide all the marks, even if some more astute friends have probably already guessed what they have been up to. Again, there's no use fuelling the gossip. "You'll never be able to come in here again without remembering me," she remarks as she retrieves her chemise and her dress.
"The point is moot, Eponine. You've made your mark well enough," Enjolras points out as he finally puts on his shirt.
She smiles by way of reply, knowing that she too will cherish this moment stolen in this very public life of theirs. After all, it's the only way they have made things work so far, in this world that they have somehow always wanted to see.