AUTHOR'S NOTE: As ABO fics are ultimately based on wolves, the trope's focus is on smut. But in the animal world, males fighting over breeding rights with females is a massively important aspect of mating season, regardless of species. So basically this is the boxing scene in Becoming Jane applied to canon era Enjonine plus ABO. Because why do all ABO fics have to be modern? Why can't we have period drama ABO?
This is based on the 2012 film, with an addition of Douglas Booth in Great Expectations as Montparnasse.
The desire to breed wasn't the only urge during Mating Season.
Aggression between alphas, who were already volatile, increased tenfold in October. In aristocratic circles, upper-class alphas dueled over omega breeding rights with pistols. It was supposed to be a genteel exchange leading to a proper marriage between the omega and winning alpha. There were, of course, hasty and hushed weddings every year when a supposedly virgin omega was found to be expecting pups.
Éponine dreamed about such duels for her hand. She taught herself to read her mother's dime novels, and the omega girl imagined Marius with a silver gun in hand, fighting for her honor and sweeping her off her feet when it was over. But in cold, hard reality, he was enraptured by Cosette and no matter how desperately Éponine dreamed otherwise, she had to admit her chance with him was gone.
But the lower classes had a different approach to claiming omegas. Instead of guns and ten paces apart, street alphas settled things with fisticuffs. Informal boxing rings sprung up everywhere during October, in taverns, alleys, and the muddy streets of the slums. No one bothered to ask if omegas wanted to be treated like property. It was simply what was done.
Now Éponine found herself being fought over, but it wasn't by Marius.
In the basement of a seedy tavern, the alphas Montparnasse and Brujon brawled savagely. Their rage was fueled even more intensely by the fact that Éponine was in full heat. The crowd jeered and shouted as the men pummeled each other, surrounding the pair in a drunken ring of sweaty and dirt-streaked bodies. Éponine's own mother collected bets without shame and without concern for her daughter.
Éponine would have fled long ago, but two reasons kept her rooted to the floorboards. The first was her alpha father's hand cruelly gripping her arm. Thénardier had been the one to offer up his omega daughter as a prize; he had whored her out before, but tonight was different. Tonight the winner of the boxing match would mate and own her, regardless of Éponine's opinion. The second reason was Claquesous standing behind Gavroche. Thénardier's henchman had a knife in his belt, and Claquesous' hand rested on the handle, ready to draw the rusty blade and threaten Gavroche if Éponine protested.
So even though the omega would rather die of the pox than be forcibly claimed, she made no move to escape.
But Gavroche saw the fear in Éponine's eyes. The boy started to make his way towards his sister, but she shook her head to dissuade him. Gavroche then slipped through the crowd to the door, darting up the tavern's stairs as Thénardier bellowed his son's name. Claquesous shoved through the crush of people to follow the boy.
Éponine turned her attention back to the fight. Brujon was built like an ox, but the leaner Montparnasse was clever and light on his feet, tiring his opponent with quick, vicious blows. Even before the match had ended, she knew she wanted nothing to do with either. She had a wiry strength of her own, but the muscular Brujon could injure her by brute force. She might be able to fend off Montparnasse when it came down to it, but he had a sadistic quality that always unnerved her. Montparnasse was the assassin of the Patron-Minette, and a chill went down Éponine's spine at the thought of the twisted plans he had for her. But she had no choice in being sold like a broodmare, because Gavroche's life was at risk. She could only hope her brother had escaped Claquesous to fetch Marius.
Suddenly Brujon screamed as Montparnasse twisted his opponent's arm behind his back. Even Éponine was appalled when Brujon's arm was forced into an unnatural angle with a horrifying snap of breaking bone. "Yield! I yield!"
Montparnasse didn't release Brujon until Thénardier said, "Let him go, 'Parnasse."
Montparnasse obeyed, and Brujon fell to his knees, his arm broken and dislocated. The thinner alpha kicked the defeated man in the face, and blood gushed from Brujon's nose as Montparnasse turned to Éponine. "If there are no other challengers, I will now take what is mine."
She spit in his face, and Montparnasse backhanded her so hard she tasted blood.
"I challenge you to another duel!"
But it was not Marius at the top of the stairs. It was Enjolras, with Gavroche at his side.
Éponine, along with the rest of the room, could only stare. The golden-haired alpha clearly did not belong in a place like this. His clothes were fine compared to the crowd's drab and patched attire; he looked like he belonged in a drawing room, not the Parisian slums. But Enjolras was removing his red tailcoat and rolling up his shirtsleeves as he went to the center of the circle.
Montparnasse laughed. "A duel? We settle things with bare-knuckled fists here. Though I doubt you have ever soiled those pretty hands of yours in a fight."
"You would be surprised," Enjolras said coolly, giving his coat to Gavroche.
"I did not think any bourgeoisie wanted to fuck omegas as ugly as her," Montparnasse replied. "Still, a breeding bitch is a breeding b-"
Enjolras punched Montparnasse so hard that the dark-haired alpha spit out a tooth.
Montparnasse ducked the blond's next blow, and returned it with a fist to Enjolras' eye. The two alphas began fighting in earnest, and Éponine's heart leapt into her throat every time Montparnasse landed a hit on Enjolras. But the upper-class alpha more than held his own. Montparnasse was now on the defense, dodging Enjolras' fists rather than attacking his rival. And perhaps it was Éponine's heat talking, but she felt a bone-deep realization that Enjolras was the alpha worthy of being her mate and sire of her pups. Not even Marius had done so much for her.
"Twenty francs on His Highness beating Montparnasse!" Madame Thénardier cried, and the crowd shoved more money at Éponine's mother.
With a growl at the spectators no longer supporting him, Montparnasse rammed his shoulder into Enjolras' chest. The golden-haired alpha was knocked off balance, but managed to stay on his feet. He grabbed his opponent's arm to twist it; but unlike what Montparnasse had previously done to Brujon, Enjolras did not fracture the dark-haired man's arm. He released Montparnasse the moment the other alpha cried out, and the limb was not broken. Kicking Montparnasse's legs out from under him, Enjolras punched Montparnasse in the jaw so hard his rival went reeling and hit the floor. Montparnasse tried to stand, but struggled and finally gave up.
A bruise forming on his eye, Enjolras offered an open hand to his battered opponent to help him up, but Montparnasse only spat a mouthful of blood at him. Babet hauled Montparnasse to his feet as Enjolras turned to Éponine. "Are you alright?"
Tears pricked at her eyes. No one other than her brother had cared about her wellbeing, not even her parents. "Well, I-"
"You may have won the fight," Thénardier said with a grin, flashing yellowed teeth, "but you still must pay for her."
"I am not a cow!" Éponine protested.
"I will do no such thing!" Enjolras declared.
"I am her father," Thénardier retorted, "and if I say you will pay for her, bourgeoisie boy, you will!"
Enjolras took a threatening step towards Thénardier, and the older alpha paled. After seeing what Enjolras had done to the young and strong Montparnasse, the aging Thénardier knew he might not best Enjolras himself.
"Unhand her," Enjolras ordered, "or I will inform the police of your illegal operations!"
Thénardier finally released Éponine's arm, and she darted to Enjolras' side. Gavroche joined them, still holding the alpha's coat.
"Let us depart from here," Éponine said. As she started to follow Enjolras, Montparnasse boldly grabbed her ass.
She turned and punched him in the face. "Do not ever lay your hands on me again!" she snarled as Montparnasse held his nose, thick blood oozing between his fingers.
Enjolras held out a hand to Éponine. She willingly took it, and they left the tavern with Gavroche.
Once outside, Enjolras took his coat from Gavroche. "Here," the alpha said, putting the crimson garment around Éponine's shoulders.
She smiled. "You are too kind."
"No, not at all." His hands lingered on her arms before he stepped back.
But in the cool night, Éponine could no longer ignore her heat. Watching alphas brawl over her had provided a distraction, but now she reeked of pheromones. Her state drew the attention of passing alphas, but with Enjolras at her side, no one approached her. Yet she could not simply pull Enjolras into an alley. Her brother followed them like a shadow, chattering about Enjolras' skill in the fight.
"Gavroche," she said, "we should find you somewhere safe to spend the night."
"But I want to be with you!" the boy protested.
"You can join us in the morning," she countered evenly, glancing at Enjolras.
"Courfeyrac lives not far from here," the alpha said. "Your brother can stay with him."
A tired and frustrated Courfeyrac opened his door. "What the blazes are you doing, it is the middle of the ni-"
"Could you watch Gavroche tonight?" Éponine interjected.
He blinked at Éponine wearing Enjolras' coat, and the golden-haired alpha standing close to the omega clearly in heat. The good-hearted dandy inhaled. It was obvious Courfeyrac smelled her pheromones, but was decent enough not to make advances on Éponine.
"Of course," Courfeyrac said, the kind alpha brushing his black curls from his forehead. "Do come in, Gavroche."
"You can see them tomorrow," Courfeyrac said, and Gavroche huffed as he went inside.
"Thank you, Courfeyrac," Éponine said.
"What happened to you?" Courfeyrac asked, raising an eyebrow at Enjolras' black eye and bloodied hands.
"It is a long story for another time," the blond replied.
"Then have a good time, you two," Courfeyrac grinned with a wink as he closed his door.
Enjolras put a hand on the small of Éponine's back. His touch, light as it was, set her body aflame. "We should go," he said, clearing his throat.
When they reached Enjolras' flat in a well-to-do neighborhood of the city, he unlocked the door. But before they went in, Éponine went up on the balls of her feet to kiss Enjolras. "Thank you for everything."
His blue eyes met her dark gaze. "It was simply the right thing to do. Yet you are under no obligation to stay with me."
She looked up at him. "I wish to stay."
They kissed again, stumbling inside, and he kicked the door shut behind them.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: If you think this isn't a very feminist fic - well, neither were the 1830s or most animal societies.
It's been a long time since I wrote Enjonine, and it's good to be back with my darlings.