AN: Helllllooooooo wonderful people of the internet! I'm finally back and recovered from my 3-day trek through the wilderness that is the New Forest (YAY FOR SILVER D OF E! *sarcasm sign*). I honestly did try to upload this before I left on Wednesday, but, you know... life gets in the way. ANYWAY, I'm back with this installment and, honestly, I was awww-ing at myself as I wrote it. I don't know why, it wasn't even aww-worthy at some points, but I thought it was adorable and I loved writing it ^-^
I'm not going to give you the prompt because it's a surprise and you've probably already guessed from the title, so I shall simply say: Enjoy!
OH AND FOR THOSE WHO GOT THE MERLIN REFERENCE IN THE LAST CHAPTER I LOVE YOU. That is all.
Enjolras and Éponine's lives were finally starting to settle into something that could be classed as 'normal'.
Enjolras now had an official role in the French government: 'Government Representative of the People'. He had a say in how the country was run, he was helping achieve equality for all people, and he still got to go out and preach his beloved speeches. He and Éponine were almost ready for their baby to arrive, and he had never been so happy.
With the rather huge sum the government was paying him, (Enjolras suspected that it was partly to stop him destroying every item of furniture in the country in an attempt to prove his point again), he was employing Éponine, Marius and Grantaire as his 'advisors'. With his friends and his beloved at his side, his life was pretty close to perfect.
Which (along with some not-so-gentle persuasion from the Amis) was what pushed him to decide to ask Éponine to marry him.
Enjolras had had it all planned out; a romantic dinner at Éponine's favourite restaurant, then a walk by the river. And then, to end the night, the perfect proposal. The plan was faultless.
But, this being real life, it really was impossible for something so simple to go smoothly.
It was a May evening, and outside it was pleasantly warm with bright skies. In theory, this should have been Enjolras' first sign that something would go wrong. But he just counted himself lucky that it was such a nice evening, put on his jacket and offered Éponine his arm as they walked out the door.
"What's all this in aide of?" she asked, slipping her arm through his.
"Oh, nothing in particular," he said, barely able to hide the massive grin that was threatening to break onto his face, "I just thought that we haven't had much alone time together in a while. And we certainly won't have much after Baby arrives." Éponine smiled, absentmindedly rubbing her baby bump fondly as they descended the stairs form their apartment.
"Everything's going to change when Baby comes, isn't it?" she asked quietly.
"Maybe," Enjolras said thoughtfully, "But I doubt it'll be in a bad way."
"Aside from the severe lack of sleep, added pressure of looking after a baby and the no alone time?" Éponine teased.
"Well, yes, aside from that," Enjolras chuckled. Another thought came into his head, "Have you, er... told your parents?"
Éponine looking at his disbelievingly, "What do you think?" she asked, the fact that the answer was obvious relayed through her tone. Enjolras shrugged.
"I was just wondering," he said, "I can understand you not wanting to tell your father, but... what about your mother? Baby will be her grandchild after all."
"My mother's almost as bad as my father," Éponine said quietly, "I wasn't lying when I told your parents that I didn't want to be associated with them anymore. I'm done with my family, except Gavroche of course. I have a new family now, with you, and the rest of the Amis, and Cosette... I don't need my parents anymore."
Enjolras stopped, looking down at her with nothing but pure love in his eyes. The way her eyes shone with memories and almost glittered in the weak evening sun. The way her hair, loose for the first time in a while, hung down her back in perfect ringlets. The way she rested a hand protectively on her bump, making sure that no harm would come to their unborn child. His first thought when he brought all of this to mind?
I am doing to marry this woman if it's the last thing I do.
Éponine shook her head, bringing herself back to reality, "Shall we go?" she said, smiling slightly. Enjolras nodded, leading the way down the street towards the little restaurant they were going to.
It was then when Enjolras' plan started to go wrong. For, living in the small area that they lived in, it was near impossible to walk anywhere without bumping into someone you know. And the couple were just incredibly unlucky in the respect that their walk had to be interrupted by an already drunk Grantaire.
"APOLLO! ATHENA!" the shout came from behind them and Enjolras didn't even bother to disguise his groan as he and Éponine turned around to meet Grantaire.
"Good evening, Grantaire," Enjolras said through gritted teeth.
"Where are the two of you off to, then?" Grantaire slurred.
"Grantaire, it's barely even seven o'clock!" Éponine exclaimed, "How can you be drunk already?!"
"Where there's a will, there's a way, 'Ponine," Grantaire smirked, tapping the side of his nose clumsily.
"I think you should probably go home and sober up," Enjolras said firmly, "I'm quite surprised you're not sprawled on the pavement already."
"Go home?!" Grantaire protested loudly, earning him quite a lot of attention from people in the surrounding cafes and restaurants, "But the night's barely started!"
"And you're already struggling to stay upright," Éponine noted amusedly, "Go home, Grantaire."
Grantaire frowned like a toddler who had just been denied something they wanted, "You two are never any fun anymore!" he sulked, stumbling away (not in the direction of his flat, Enjolras noted), "Where did your sense of humour go, 'Ponine?!"
Éponine just rolled her eyes, not bothering to entertain him with an answer, taking Enjolras' hand and almost skipping down the street, a big smile on her face for no apparent reason.
"Why are you so happy all of a sudden?" Enjolras asked, also smiling and rather amused by her cheerfulness.
"I don't know," Éponine shrugged, "Life, I suppose. We've got a home, a decent amount of money, amazing friends..."
"Are we counting Grantaire as a friend?" Enjolras questioned jokily. Éponine nudged him in the ribs with her elbow.
"You know you love him really," she grinned, "And besides, you need someone who couldn't care less to advise you on what to tell the government people. We both know how... overdramatic Marius can be at times, and I certainly don't want the future of the country weighing on just our shoulders."
"I need him if I want to lose my job, if that's what you mean," Enjolras rolled his eyes, "I think if I repeated half of the things Grantaire has to say about the government and the monarchy, I'll be arrested for treason!"
"Up until recently you weren't much better," Éponine smirked, "Some of the things you used to say in your rallies were really quite insulting in the eyes of the leaders of our country." Enjolras smiled, memories of going out and preaching to the people flashing through his mind.
"Do you miss it?" Éponine asked. He raised his eyebrows thoughtfully.
"Sometimes," he admitted, "But then I tell myself to stop being such an idiot. I have an amazing life now. I never once thought that I'd work in the government, I didn't think I'd ever settle down, and I truly believed that I'd die in the battle for a better France. And then you came along." Éponine rolled her eyes.
"I really do think that you overdramatize my part in all of this," she said, "I really can't have made such an enormous impact."
"Oh, how wrong you are, 'Ponine," Enjolras said fondly, wrapping his arm around her waist and resting his head on hers, "Before I saw you injured on the barricade, I was definitely the Man of Marble that the Amis had always made me out to be. I didn't care for anything or anyone that wasn't my country, and that should have been my downfall. Had you not been there to, quite literally, hit some sense into me... I have no doubt in the fact that the rebellion would have failed." Éponine blushed slightly.
"You're certainly a lot more sentimental nowadays, Apollo," she smiled.
"Perhaps that's because I have someone to be sentimental towards," he said, chuckling quietly, "You have changed me more than anyone would believe, Éponine. Even I cannot completely comprehend it. But I am grateful, nonetheless."
Leaning into his embrace a little more, Éponine smiled again, "I love you, Enjolras."
"I love you too, dearest Éponine," he told her, planting a kiss on the top of her head.
In future days, Enjolras would often think that the sentimental exchange he had shared with Éponine on their way to dinner had lulled him into a false sense of security, as it seemed that fate was not done in trying to ruin his perfect night.
When he and Éponine reached the restaurant, they sat down at a table in the quaint outside area, the waitress noticing on Éponine's baby bump and wishing the couple luck with their newborn.
"I remember when my boy was just a little baby," she noted fondly, "They're the worst and the best years of your life, I can tell you that." It was safe to say that neither Enjolras nor Éponine were particularly reassured by this comment.
The night grew cloudy rather quickly, blocking any light from the moon and the stars, but it was still reasonably warm, and so Enjolras didn't worry; the rain had never stopped either of the two of them before.
It was when it got dark, and a few of the Amis started appearing from the Musain around the corner that their luck seemed to disappear again.
It was Courfeyrac and Gavroche who spotted them first, rushing over to say hello. Enjolras kicked himself for not telling the Amis of his plans; he could have so easily avoided bumping into anyone, had he made sure that he alerted everyone.
The others also gathered round, and Éponine, pleasantly surprised to see her friends, started making conversation whilst they waited for their main meals.
Marius caught Enjolras' eye, and the revolutionary leader lit up as he remembered that he had at least told Marius that tonight was when he was going to propose to Éponine. Enjolras gave him a look that begged him to get everyone away, at which Marius nodded in understanding, grinning madly as he took Cosette's hand.
"I've heard there's some kind of festival on the other side of the Seine," he said loudly to catch everyone's attention, "It's only there for one night, then it disappears to somewhere else, never returning to the same spot again. Cosette and I were going to go and have a look. Would anyone else care to join us?"
Many of the Amis looked sceptical at Marius' suggestion, but, as Enjolras would think many times afterwards, 'thank the Lord for Gavroche'.
"Oh, please, Courf! Please can we go? Please, please, please?!" he begged, tugging insistently on Courfeyrac's sleeve. The student sighed, but nodded.
"Okay, little Gavroche, if you insist," he said, smiling. Gavroche wooped in delight, earning a few laughs from the other Amis, who said their goodbyes as they followed Marius and Cosette back down the street.
"Are you two coming?" Gavroche called, stopping after ten feet to look back to his sister and Enjolras. Éponine beat Enjolras to answering.
"No thank you, Gavroche," she smiled, "We're having a very romantic dinner. You go and have fun!" Gavroche shrugged.
"Suit yourselves," he grinned, setting off at a run to catch up with the Amis. Enjolras sighed in relief, but he was subtle enough to make sure that Éponine didn't see or hear it.
The rest of the meal was rather uneventful for the two. In fact, very little happened besides the two making conversation and eating frankly the best meal they'd had in a while, until they stood up to leave.
As Éponine pushed her chair back and straightened up, she doubled over, gasping in surprise as she whipped a hand to her bump. Enjolras had skirted around the table in under a second, crouching down worriedly beside her.
"What's wrong?!" he asked, fear and worry for his beloved and their baby replacing every other thought in his head.
"I..." her eyes closed, her face contorted with pain. When she recovered, she continued, "I think Baby's coming. Now." Enjolras was struck speechless for a moment.
"But... but it's not time!" he spluttered, "And the midwife... the midwife's visiting her parents, she's not back until Monday!"
"Well, here's a funny thing, Enjolras," Éponine said through gritted teeth, "I don't think Baby is waiting that long." Enjolras could have hit himself.
"You're right, you're right, sorry," he said, involuntarily starting to ramble, "I just... I have no idea what to do in this situation! I always thought there'd be a midwife there, and that it would be controlled, and that there'd be a medical professional who actually knew what they were doing-" Éponine's hand connecting with his cheek cut him off. She gripped the fabric of his jacket and pulled him closer to her.
"Get. A. Grip." She said firmly, "The midwife's not here, I may or may not be giving birth, and we're getting very funny looks from the other people in this restaurant," she said, "We need to find Joly. Or Combeferre. And you need to calm down and start thinking straight, because if you're falling to pieces then I certainly won't be able to hold it together." Enjolras gaped at her for a second, before shutting his eyes and nodding, collecting his thoughts.
"Right," he agreed, "Joly or Combeferre. Let's go." He threw the money for their dinner onto the table, and supported Éponine with one hand around her waist, the other gripped in her hand, undoubtedly being squeezed to the point of breaking as she tried to deal with the pain.
Enjolras tried to recall what the midwife had said about the time when Éponine was going to give birth.
"Just remember," she said, "Stay calm and don't panic. That's only going to make things worse. The most important thing is that you get her to me, or to a doctor, or things could go wrong for mother and baby."
The thought did little to comfort him as they slowly made their way to Joly's flat. Enjolras never thought he'd be as pleased as he was for someone to have an apartment on the ground floor of a building. He hammered relentlessly on Joly's door, before it was opened by a slightly annoyed and very confused looking Joly, who had been reading a very interesting book about the progression of human anatomy, and was rather peeved at being interrupted.
"Enjolras?" he questioned, "Éponine? What is it?"
"We think the baby's coming," Enjolras said, "Right this second. And the midwife's out of town. So, you're our next point of call. Any chance of a hand?" Joly hurriedly helped Enjolras walk Éponine into his flat, sitting her in a chair.
"When did these contractions start?" Joly questioned.
"It was just as we were leaving the restaurant," Enjolras told him, "Ten minutes at the most."
"Did you're waters break?" Joly asked Éponine, crouching down next to her. She frowned for a moment, thinking back.
"No," she said, "They didn't. They definitely didn't."
It was Joly's turn to frown, "Are you sure?" he asked. He reached out to feel her bump, "May I?" Éponine nodded, looking up to Enjolras.
"They didn't break, did they?" she asked him. He shook his head.
"We would have noticed if they had," he assured her. Joly smiled slightly.
"Then you're not giving birth," he said, "Not yet anyway. This kind of thing happens sometimes, I believe, not that I'm an expert. Just make sure you tell the midwife when she's back, and don't overexert yourself, 'Ponine. The baby obviously didn't like something that happened tonight, so it thought it'd give you a bit of a shock. The contractions should stop soon enough, just try not to break Enjolras' hand in the meantime." He smirked, seeing the tight hold Éponine still had on her beloved's hand.
Éponine and Enjolras stayed until the contractions had subsided and said their goodbyes to Joly, making their way home. Éponine was exhausted and was silently panicking about what the real birth was going to be like; if this was how she felt after such a small insight, how would she feel after the real thing?! It made her shudder just thinking about it.
Enjolras on the other hand was positively gutted that his perfect night had been cut short. Though glad that Éponine and the baby were still safe and well, he had yet to present her with the ring he still had concealed in his pocket.
They walked slowly back to their flat in silence, content with each other's company, but both occupied with other thoughts.
It wasn't until they reached the door to their apartment that Enjolras was struck by a realisation.
"Wait," he said, catching Éponine's hand as she went to open the door. She frowned in confusion.
"What is it?" she asked. He smiled.
"I may not have been telling the truth when I said that there was nothing special about tonight," he told her, "And I so desperately wanted it to be perfect. I had it all planned out in my head, every little detail. I truly thought that it was flawless, perfect in every way. But then things started getting in the way, and going wrong and I thought that I'd have to abandon the whole thing and wait for another time, wait for the next perfect moment.
"But now... I don't want it to be perfect. Because the best thing about our lives is that nothing is perfect, but we still love the way we live. And I know that I love you unconditionally and will do for every minute of every hour of every day that I am alive. So, Éponine Thénardier..." he crouched down onto one knee, taking the ring out of his pocket with one hand and taking her hand in his with the other, "Would you do me the honour of becoming my wife?"
Éponine's eyes shone with tears as she smiled happily, "Yes! A thousand times, yes!" Enjolras smiled in a way he never had before, a smile of pure happiness and love, magnified a hundred times as he slipped the simple silver ring onto Éponine's finger.
As he rose to his feet again, Éponine kissed him passionately, then wrapped her arms around his neck in an embrace that neither of them ever wanted to break away from.
And, later on, they were both agreed on the fact that the imperfections of Enjolras' proposal, were the things that made it perfect after all.
TADA! For those who didn't guess, the exact prompt was 'What if Enjolras' proposal to Éponine went wrong?'
Opinions, reviews, prompts and general interaction with me is muchly appreciated. You guys have no idea how happy your comments make me, I actually just sit at my computer and go 'AAAWWWWWWW' at some of the adorable, lovely, kind things you guys say :')
The Extended Edition is making me very excited, and I have lots of random bits of paper floating around with spider diagrams and the like of little added bits and extra chapters that I can add in :D I can't wait for it, but unfortunately you lot have to (because I'm evil... mwahahah ;D).
I really, really hope that you enjoyed this chapter, and feel free to chuck me some prompts or comments if you fancy it. Thanks for reading!
P.S. I apologise for any typos etc. I normally re-read these a few days/weeks after I publish them and fix my typos then, because I'm lazy XD