AUTHOR'S NOTE: I don't normally do fluff fics. But I guess I wrote this to deal with 2020, because we all need some happiness right now.
There is a reference here to the incredible Les Mis fic Blood-Stained Memories by KChan88. In said fic, the National Guardsman character (played so wonderfully by Hadley Fraser) was named Antoine Bardin, and so I'm using the name as a tribute to Blood-Stained Memories, which is still one of my favorite fics ever in this fandom.
This is based mainly on the 2012 film, with references to the book, and the addition of Douglas Booth as Montparnasse.
The title is from "Something To Believe In" from Newsies by Alan Menken.
It began when Enjolras first went with Éponine to pick up Gavroche from school.
It was early in their relationship, when they had just begun dating. The social worker and lawyer got out of his car as students poured through the l'enseignement secondaire middle school doors. Éponine looked over the sea of children, and saw a familiar blond head as the Gavroche walked with a girl.
"Is that your dad?" his friend Fleur asked, pointing at Enjolras across the parking lot.
"No, he's my sister's boyfriend," the boy replied. "See you tomorrow."
As Gavroche joined Éponine and Enjolras, she was struck by how much her brother and boyfriend looked alike by pure coincidence. They both had the same golden hair, the same confidence, even similar noses. Based on appearances, Fleur's assumption had some merit.
Éponine watched Enjolras greet Gavroche. The lawyer never talked down to the boy but instead showed him respect, which was rare for Gavroche's age and the Thénardier siblings' social class. Life had made her brother wiser than his years, but he was still young enough that Éponine had become a surrogate mother to him, and anyone she dated would have to be a father figure.
"How about this, Gavroche?" her boyfriend said. "We can go to the skate park after you finish homework tonight."
It looked like Enjolras already was fitting the bill.
It happened again at the work Christmas party.
Éponine went as Enjolras' plus one to his law firm's holiday gathering. She always felt out of place among the Lamarque & Fauchelevent employees, and the cocktail event heightened it. Her red dress wasn't as elegant as the others' attire, and she had no expensive watch on her wrist or designer clutch in hand.
"You're a social worker, correct?" Maximilien Lamarque asked.
Éponine nodded. "Yes, I am." Her phone vibrated. "Courfeyrac says Gavroche drank an entire liter of Mountain Dew," she told Enjolras as she read the text, and sighed. "I'm not looking forward to putting a hyperactive kid on a sugar rush to bed."
Lamarque innocently inquired, "Is Gavroche your and Enjolras' son?"
"Oh, no, Gavroche is my brother," Éponine answered quickly. "I've had custody of him since I was eighteen."
"And she's done an incredible job raising him," Enjolras added.
"Well, you two would have stunning kids if you have some of your own," the receptionist Clémentine added.
Éponine flushed, and Enjolras cleared his throat. Thankfully Lamarque turned the conversation away from the delicate topic. "Enjolras, I've been meaning to tell you something important. I've assumed you've heard about the film producer Félix Tholomyès?"
"I did," Enjolras replied.
"I'm glad that monster was finally arrested," Éponine interjected. She again thought of Cosette's mother, an actress in Félix's movies who died of STDs.
"So am I," Lamarque said. "Zéphine, one of the actresses who accused him, has approached Lamarque & Fauchelevent for representation in court. I've decided to give her case to you."
Éponine gasped as Enjolras blinked, hardly able to accept the news of the most important case in his career. "Truly?"
His mentor smiled. "Yes."
"Thank you, sir!" Enjolras said passionately. "I won't let you down, or Zéphine."
Éponine took her boyfriend's arm. "Congratulations," she said, beaming, and kissed him on the cheek.
During a routine trip to the grocery store with Gavroche, Éponine and Enjolras turned when someone said the lawyer's name.
"Antoine!" Enjolras said warmly as a mustached man and a woman with nut-brown hair approached. "It's good to see you, and Cécile."
"It's been far too long," Antoine replied.
"This is Gavroche, and my fiancé Éponine," Enjolras added, "These are the Bardins. Antoine and I grew up together."
"Congratulations on winning the trial," Cécile said.
"We watched it on TV," she continued. "You did the world a great service by putting Félix behind bars."
"I have to say," Antoine added, "I didn't know you had a family. Your parents never mentioned you had a kid."
"We don't," Enjolras explained. "Gavroche is Éponine's brother."
"He looks just like you, Enjolras," Cécile said.
"You're not the first to say that," Gavroche quipped.
Éponine heard whispers all throughout the wedding reception.
There were some murmurs from Enjolras' side of the family about his bride being trailer trash and a gold digger. But there were other comments of a more positive nature. As the newlyweds danced, Gavroche and other guests' children chased each other through the tables after a feast of cake and sparkling cider. Cosette, the pregnant maid of honor, and Marius danced near the bride and groom. Their friends were close enough that Éponine heard Cosette's quiet comment. "Wouldn't they make such great parents?"
Éponine looked at Enjolras as they slowly swayed in each other's arms. "Here we go again," he said in a low voice, but there was a smile coloring his tone.
"Imagine combining their drive and passion in a kid," Marius commented. "Their kid would be a world changer."
"Oh, there's no doubt about that," Cosette replied.
Éponine rested her cheek against the lapel of Enjolras' tux, and they slow danced together in a contented silence.
"Meet Georges Jean Pontmercy," Cosette said as she carefully put her newborn son in Éponine's arms.
"Georgie for short," Marius said proudly from beside his wife's hospital bed.
"Hello, Georgie," Éponine said. "I'm your Aunt Éponine." As Cosette and Marius' son fussed in her arms, Éponine saw Enjolras gazing at her. He had an odd expression, almost stunned, but there was something else she couldn't quite name.
"Do you want to hold him?" she asked her husband.
"Sure," he said, and Éponine placed Georgie in Enjolras' arms.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Marius and Cosette exchange a smile. "You are naturals already," the blonde said.
"Have you ever thought about having kids?" Enjolras said as they watched TV that evening. Gavroche was staying at a friend's house, and the newlyweds were enjoying a rare night to themselves.
Éponine muted the television. "With how much people talk about it," she replied, "it's hard not to. There is something I wanted to ask you, actually, on this topic. When we were at the hospital, you had a certain look on your face. What were you thinking in that moment?"
Enjolras didn't answer right away. "Seeing you holding Georgie, it looked… right."
"What do you mean?"
"You looked so natural. I was thinking about what a wonderful mother you'd make. You're already an incredible one to Gavroche, but I started imagining you with a child of our own."
"I didn't think you wanted kids."
"I didn't, for a while," he admitted. "It's not that I was against it completely, I just didn't think I have time. I was so busy with work and protests that I thought there was no room for love or a family." His blue eyes met her dark gaze. "But then you came along and turned my world upside down. Now I know there's more to life than politics."
"I didn't know myself if I'd ever find love," she said. "Or happiness at all. But I have both with you. So do you want to start trying?"
"Yes, but only if you want to."
She nodded. "I do too."
He reached for her jaw, and they kissed. She moved to sit in his lap, straddling him on the couch as his hands plunged into her black hair.
"I love you," she breathed, resting her forehead against his.
"I love you too," he said, and they kissed hungrily.
"There's one more gift," Éponine said on their anniversary.
They had just dropped off Gavroche at his new lycée secondary school, and she and Enjolras had exchanged gifts to celebrate their one year anniversary. With crumpled wrapping paper around them, she gave him a bag, and he removed the tissue paper before taking out a pregnancy test.
He looked up, hardly daring to breathe. "Are you…?"
"Yes," she said, smiling so hard she thought her face would split in two.
He kissed her, and she responded with equal fervor. Only when she felt his tears did she realize she was crying herself.
Six months later, Éponine left work as a sunset painted the sky over the city. She stood outside the social services agency, pausing to put one hand on her aching back and the other on her rounded stomach. Then she saw Montparnasse across the street.
He still had the same neck tattoo as before, along with his familiar black leather jacket and dusting of roguish stubble on his jaw. Her ex-boyfriend did a double take, and then his green eyes went to her noticeable bump. Just then, Enjolras drove up to the curb. As Montparnasse watched, the golden-haired lawyer got out of his sleek car to hug his wife.
"How was work?" Enjolras asked, his hand going to the curve of her belly.
"Good, but tiring." As Éponine embraced him, she put her hand on her husband's arm so her wedding ring glinted in the light. He didn't notice Montparnasse on the other side of the street.
"Then let's go home so you can rest," Enjolras said, kissing her temple, and opened the car door.
She got into the vehicle with some difficulty, and he went to the driver's side. When he started the engine, Éponine glanced out the window at Montparnasse again. Her former lover hadn't moved, still observing his ex-girlfriend and the father of her child. She made a point of taking Enjolras' hand that wasn't on the wheel to kiss his knuckles.
They drove away into Paris traffic, leaving Montparnasse behind.
As they laid in bed that night, Éponine pulled up her tank top to expose her rounded stomach. "I wish I was more…" She trailed off.
Enjolras set aside his laptop. "What?"
"I don't look very… I don't know, maternal," she admitted. "I'm not soft and sweet like Cosette. She almost literally glowed. But I'm wiry, bony, and definitely not glowing."
He brushed a lock of dark hair behind her ear. "I love you just as you are."
"And I love you too," she said, voice catching, and pulled him to her so she could kiss him. But then she leaned back. "Wait, the baby just kicked."
She took his hand and placed it on her stomach. "There is it again," he said, and kissed the spot where he had felt their child. His wife's heart went gooey, but her smile faded a bit as she contemplated how differently things could have gone.
"What's that look for?" he asked quietly when he saw her expression.
"I want this kid. But I'm glad I'm having a baby with you and not someone else. The other guys I dated, like Montparnasse, would've made terrible fathers. Or ditched me without paying child support when they found out I was pregnant. So thanks for being you, I guess."
She could drown in his blue eyes as his gaze met hers. "I'll be here every step of the way, I promise."
He kissed her again on the mouth. Continuing his path down her body, he kissed her bump, and then her left knee before he nudged her legs open.
"Now let me prove I love your body as it is."
The next summer, Éponine woke to an infant's cry.
"It's my turn," Enjolras said groggily beside her. "Go back to sleep. I'll take care of her." He kissed her on the temple before getting up and leaving the bedroom.
But the crying continued, and Éponine swung her legs over the side of the bed. She went down the hall to the nursery to find her husband holding their daughter. "It's okay, Marianne," he crooned, his back to the door as the three-month-old wailed on his shoulder. "It's okay."
Éponine lingered in the doorway, leaning against the wooden frame as she watched her family. Then she stepped forward, putting a hand on Enjolras' side to let him know she was there before kissing his shoulder blade. She wrapped her arms around his waist from behind and rested her cheek on his back as she said, "Hey."
"Hey," he repeated. "You didn't need to feel obligated to get up."
"I wanted to." Éponine moved to stand before him, and reached up to stroke Marianne's dark curls. "Hello, cherie. What's all the fuss about?"
Their daughter quieted at her mother's touch. Just then, a bleary-eyed Gavroche walked into the room of his niece that he viewed more as a younger sister. "Is Marianne okay?"
"She's fine," Éponine said softly. "Go back to sleep, Gav."
"Okay," the fourteen-year-old yawned, and padded down the hall.
Enjolras gently placed the quiet Marianne in her crib. "Turns out I was right. About what I said before we had her," he said in a low voice. "You did turn out to be a wonderful mother."
Éponine smiled. "And you turned out to be a wonderful father."
She took his arm, and the husband and wife watched their daughter fall asleep.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Man, I've missed writing Enjonine.
One thing I love about the general Enjonine fandom is that we give Éponine the life she deserved to have. We say that she got herself out of a terrible situation, she raises Gavroche, she becomes stronger by standing on her own two feet without anyone else, she stops obsessing over Marius and moves on to healthier relationships.
But one thing that's less appreciated is Enjolras' development in this ship.
Aside from the Le Cabuc incident in the book and Enjolras losing hope when the people don't join the revolution, he doesn't change fundamentally in canon. It's my belief that the general Enjonine fandom develops not only Éponine but also Enjolras further than Victor Hugo did. We discover who Enjolras is away from the barricades. Who is he on days off? Could he change and see there's more than revolution? Could his all-consuming passion for justice, while noble, ever be tempered by realizing that he should have a life outside of it? Perhaps even love and a family?
I genuinely believe the Enjonine fandom has long since moved past wanting Enjolras and Éponine to live. We've all taken these already dynamic characters, and created a rich world by turning them into deeper and complex people. We made them more real than they even were before. There's many reasons why I've missed writing for this ship, and it goes beyond "Éponine and Enjolras would look great together".