Matron Marcelle deCourfeyrac lived a long time. She saw her grandchildren to childhood rather than infancy. The students and former enfants du Musain kept in touch and enjoyed their times together but were deeply ensconced in their own lives. The coming of the telegraph made it easier to keep in touch, though Enjolras lived for Minette's weekly letters from the northwest of France. There was less and less cause to evacuate children and Enjolras now mostly practised land titles and marriage certificates. Kind of boring in comparison but every now and again a letter or visit would come from a G. Grantaire child. While a bachelor, Enjolras felt a father's pride in all of them. Saddened by the news of Matron de Courfeyrac's passing, it didn't surprise him as she had been ill and just slipped away in her sleep. A few times he went up to visit the family, as they had been so good to him while his mother was ill. Now, his concern was for his friend who lost both parents without having the opportunity to bid them farewell.
He arrived at the train station in Paris to see a man holding a card with his name on it. Courfeyrac's footman was there to take him to the funeral. The mood was somber but a lot of people honoured Marcelle's legacy by refusing to wear black. Her grandchildren, Jean Michel and Gervais in midnight blue and Marie in burgundy to match her father while their mother, ever the beauty wore deep violet. Marie's first desire was to bound to her uncle from Toulon but she had to sit still for now and had to settle for a momentary clasp of hands. The social after the funeral was for formal catch up and, as ever with the former Musain-ers was rather boring. They purposely avoided each other there so they would have plenty to talk about in the garden later.
"Gavroche." Enjolras said as the strapping young man approached him in the garden. He hugged him. "You are doing it!" he said, referring to the stir that he and his fellow student friends continued to make. "You are making a difference...down there..." he looked at the flea bites. "You look tired." he kissed his head, acknowledging that, in losing Marcelle, Gavroche had lost his dearest Mama. His last twelve years made his first eight years seem like it had all happened to someone else.
"I am tired." Gavroche said, now having to stoop over a bit to hug any of the adults there. "How did you do it?" he asked. "Studying and...rebel rousing?" he asked.
"Had me some good help." he waved around at the others but kept his arm around Gavroche. He was so proud of him.
"And a drunk for the corner?" Gavroche smiled.
"THAT wasn't intentional." Enjolras laughed but now that he thought about it, all of the frustration and exasperation Grantaire had been at the root of was long forgotten. "But you can't very well teach the people to unite if you're acting alone." His eyes strayed to the young man approaching them. "Oh my God..."
"THAT was meant to be a surprise." Gavroche said, a bit disappointed that the man who tapped his arm after the funeral wasn't hidden for awhile longer.
"Rene?" Enjolras scarcely dared to guess. "Un or Deux?" he asked as he hugged the man who now sported an English accent, you'd never know of his beginnings.
"Just Rene now." he smiled. "I haven't seen my brother since we were transported, I think he went to America." Enjolras caught up a bit with Rene, hearing about his wife and infant son Andrew. Rene just wanted to take a week or so down in France to look up some people, having no idea where they were but remembering that the students were studying law and that there may be a chance at least ONE of them was practicing there. He had stopped by Sainte Michel and found Gavroche. Rene was equally interested in everyone. He had sat at the funeral...a funeral of a woman he never knew and could only guess who was who. Fleur was obvious. She turned heads even as a child and was surprised that she hadn't just married a socialite and kicked back and relaxed the rest of her life. He wondered if she could still play football and walk fences like she used to. Probably but she wouldn't. She couldn't now in the dress that women wore. On the streets, you were just as likely to find her in trousers, at the cafe maybe considerably shorter dresses. Peep was just as obvious, now more than fluent in sign language and Grantaire keeping right up with her. He would never have recognised Father Nicolas. He was the man who officiated the funeral and still wouldn't have known him until Enjolras acknowledged him as "My brother the father." Once the priest role was off, however, the boys all had a lot of catching up to do.
"Marie." Gavroche said as Combeferre carried her to the clique. "You must greet people, even if you enter a room backwards." he remembered one of the first lessons of etiquette the doctor had given him. Marie was upset about her Grandmere and sort of lost in the crowd. Having been relieved of his own children in the schmauzle of other children, Combeferre picked little Marie up for a bit of comfort.
"This isn't a room." Marie said, looking around the garden and slipped into the arms of her Godfather so she could greet everyone. Rene saw Courfeyrac making his way over. This was the only visible evidence left that the rebellion had actually happened. Enjolras pretty much overcame his injuries, just stiffness in his back and his legs got tired more easily. But then he was forty, what's to say he wouldn't be slowing down anyway?
"Last I saw you were lying injured, I didn't know if you would make it." Rene said to Courfeyrac
"None of us did." Courfeyrac said. Remembering the last time he saw the twins they just witnessed the death of one of the few people who had ever been good to them. "I wanted you to stay with us, where did you go?" he asked.
"Home." Rene said "and then the next week with someone who took us to Calais for a year and then someone took me to Devon. I'm sorry, I guess I didn't write because I was scared of what I would hear." he said and his gaze shifted to Grantaire's beautiful daughters. Three of them now, Peep a young woman, Laurette now seventeen and Vianne a spunky ten year old with almond shaped eyes and a fondness for swinging from the arms of Gavroche. Little Alain had passed away the year before due to a bad heart that often accompanied the disability he had.
"A brother, too." Vianne said. "Sylvain is five."
A carriage stopped in front of the garden and the footman helped a young woman down. She wore a simple floral dress, her fairy hair in a neat bun under a bonnet and a smile for everyone. Enjolras broke from the crowd and stalked over to her and hugged her. "Why didn't you tell me you were coming, I could have met you or at least sent for you." he said.
"And now what, we're too good for hired carriages?" she asked. "I wanted to see your face." she stroked his cheek. "Careful!" she said when he picked her up and swung her around. "Careful." she said, patting her belly.
"Really?" he asked, breaking into a bigger smile and hugging her, patting her stomach as if to apologise, looking around. "Is Bernard coming too?" he looked for his brother in law to congratulate him.
"Working." she shook her head. "Some bighead is coming to town and asked him to cook for their kitchen." she said, disappointed and held up her hand. "This close we were to leaving and they couldn't have gotten hold of us in time." she whispered.
"I'll come back with you so I can visit with him, too." Enjolras said. Bernard was a character. Eclectic, a concert singer and chef and their son Clement was following his dad's joking ways even though he was only three and Enjolras got a kick out of him. "Well, you saw my face, come see everyone else's." he led her over. "How's the writing?" he asked.
"THIS is what I wanted to see your face for." she handed him a book.
"Nettie!" Enjolras smiled. "Your first book." he looked at it. "La Belle Fee." he sighed. "Great pen name." he grinned "...by Jean-Minette Prouvaire."
"Had to think of something people would remember." she said and squealed when she saw Ayisha and Fleur.
With the exception of serving staff, the social hardly had the appearance of a high society function. While many of them knew the etiquette for any other occasions they might attend, there was never anything but casual good times to be had at their "private parties".
Grantaire escaped to a smaller patio for a bit of rest. In overwhelming crowds, his body reminded him of his mystery infection that left him zapped of energy even if he knew all of the people and they knew to give him space. Enjolras knew it and left him for awhile, then grabbed two glasses of brandy and joined him. They chatted for awhile before they saw Combeferre coming to join. He didn't have to walk up the few steps, with his long legs the doctor just stepped over the railing. ""You okay, 'Taire?" He asked.
"Just a bit short of breath, need a rest." he said. "I'm okay, really." he said when the doctor took his pulse.
"Yeah, you are." he nodded, noting his colour and senses were okay.
"Drinkin' for two?" Enjolras asked, noticing Combeferre put two glasses of cognac on the table.
"Courf is coming, just needed his drinking hand for the stair rail." He took his place and opened the garden gate for Courfeyrac to get through. Oddly, the whole time they knew each other, the three always sat in the very same chair formation. Enjolras at the end, Courfeyrac on one side and Combeferre on the other. Grantaire was never there, he was in the corner but for the past 15 years graduated to the other table end. Today though, they sat in a row against the wall, enjoying the sun and looking over at their friends and families. Their plans and rebellion failed, but they all agreed that THEY were not failures. "Look what we've done!" Grantaire slurred and toasted the crowd.
"Yes." Enjolras said softly. "Look what we've done."
Gavroche Francois Thenardier (his name was never legally changed but he didn't care. He was a Courfeyrac as far as he was concerned). Continued Les Amis mission and brought the people closer to equality. After earning a degree in business, he moved to southwestern France and ran a small hotel. A nice one with a friendly pub, good food and clean guests. This Master of the House grew to be 6 1/2' tall, had to duck through doorways. Married the bar maid. Two children.
Father Nicolas Lucien LaMonde. Did mission work in Africa for ten years but did return to France occasionally to officiate all "Musain" weddings and baptise their children.
Helene (Minette) LaMonde married a very likeable fellow and moved to the northwest coast where he worked a few jobs and she bore seven children. From her home she was able to continue her writing. Novels, mostly but her one book "La Belle Fee" was the first book donated to the Jean Prouvaire Biblioteque at the Victoire Grantaire school for the Deaf in Paris.
Daphne Yvonne (Fleur) Combeferre. Married a man from Sainte Michel and they worked at the free clinic together. When they weren't there, they were non-medical staff at the hospital and Fleur sold her water colours. Six children. Okay, did you all want to know what was on the piece of paper she was so desperate to hang onto? In her "learning-to-write" scrawl was simply written the names of everyone who lived at Cafe Musain. It was all she kept out of her childhood box of treasures.
Margurite (Peep) Victoire Grantaire. Had only two jobs her entire life and both were at the school named after the dear aunt she had never met. Years of teaching before promotion to headmistress. She was an advocate for the rights and advancement of handicapped children and had her hand in several institution closures. When she was promoted to head mistress, the handsome replacement teacher had a hard job ahead of him. Not just to live up to her teaching record but to break through to her father in asking for her hand. Five children, all delivered by Dr. Combeferre.
And what of the founding Musain Amis?
Sylvain Lucien Enjolras - retired from law practise at age 45 (remember, lives were shorter back then). Lived his golden years with Minette and family...never getting comfortable with holding babies but enjoying his nieces and nephews after they got past that stage. After beating two severe spinal infections, it left him weak and bedridden. Finally succumbing to pneumonia, he died in his sleep at the age of 62.
Yvan-Michel Combeferre - a young widower, raised his two children on his own but along side his nieces and nephews, courtesy of Danielle and Fleur. He took the children to the slums often to play with the other children there and taught them about not putting on airs and acting like they were better than the hard working people there. He watched conditions improve slowly which included building a new clinic on the site of the Cafe Musain. His beautiful sister, Fleur found him, one day slumped over his desk after a stroke. At age 57, the head injuries from the barricade managed to do what they had failed to do 25 years earlier.
Francois deCourfeyrac retired at age 50. He and Ayisha raised their children to appreciate what they had and to share. After retirement, they traveled to Britain and Ireland for a year, getting home to their first grandchild..a girl called Eponine Marcelle. Having no feeling in his leg by now, Courfeyrac hadn't noticed an infection begin. They were unable to stabilise it. He asked Dr. Combeferre to be by his side, as he had seen death before and his wife and children had not. It was hard on Combeferre but he honoured his friend's wishes and held his hand until it totally relaxed.
Georges Henri Grantaire continued as a legal adviser and funding research on what they gave a name to Down Syndrome. Vianne lived to be in her late teens, which was about five years longer than life expectancy back then. Along with his two deaf daughters he adopted and 'tamed' four others who had only known institution life. On a visit to see his first great-grandchild Georges in Rome, he told his granddaughter that his body was starting to protest the number of birthdays he had. He lay down to nap with the baby. It was Grantaire's 65th birthday. Eight children, twenty two grandchildren and one great grandson, he was the only one to not succumb to injuries during the June rebellion. 65 was a long life back then. Must've been the brandy.