AN: Yay! Another update! This excites me ^-^ This one is all very friend-y and nice, because the next one is either going to be stupidly long, or in two parts (not sure which... feel free to help me decide :3)
This one was quite long actually... yay! We like longness, longness is good!
Prompt: What if Enjolras and Éponine were struggling with being first-time parents? Enjoy!
For the first few months, Enjolras and Éponine were blissfully unaware of the true troubles that accompany parenthood. The twins were very quiet for newborns, they slept through most nights, only waking once or twice for a feed (which Enjolras' mother assured Éponine was 'most unusual'; apparently, Enjolras had a habit of waking up ever half an hour until the age of two) and they rarely did anything more that grizzle when out in public.
Now, however, as the twins approached almost six months old, Éponine and Enjolras were both starting to feel the pressure of caring for two babies simultaneously. Evette started teething at around four months old, causing her to scream throughout the night. This, of course, kept Elyse awake and, much like her mother, would produce a very grumpy and sleep-deprived character throughout the next day.
Even Enjolras, still so often noted as the Man of Marble by the Amis, was beginning to crack. He not only had the pressures of being a father, but also of being the peoples' link to the government, and so had to maintain a professional attitude. It was safe to say that this wasn't easy with thirty minutes sleep a night.
It finally got to a point where Enjolras arrived for his monthly meeting with Monsieur Moreau, who was still working both with and against Enjolras (depending on the exact topic they were debating), and the elderly man sent him straight back home.
"I am not prepared to discuss anything with a man who is half asleep and can barely form words coherently," the government official had stated when Enjolras walked into his office on the third Tuesday of January.
Enjolras had proceeded to mutter incoherent words about him being completely awake, before the elderly man pushed him out of his office and sent him stumbling down the stairs.
Éponine, too, was feeling the pressures of being a mother to twins. It wasn't the fact that she had to deal with both babies alone most days; in fact, it wasn't like that at all. The Amis were always popping in to see her, whether they knew if they would see her at the Musain that evening or not. She and Enjolras were a great team and they managed to look after the twins together without too many major dramas.
However, both of those factors were what made the times when she was alone with the twins even more daunting. She found herself sitting on the bed she shared with Enjolras, staring at the crib on the other side of the room, not daring to try to sleep for the fear that the second she started to doze one of the twins would wake up and scream the building down.
Finally, just as the twins turned half a year old, the Amis decided to do something about it. Since the rebellion, which was now almost two years behind them, they had all learnt to be much more observant of each other. Of course, this meant that they also became a lot better at hiding things, but it, essentially, gave them all the skills to realise that Enjolras and Éponine weren't coping.
The pair very rarely branched into the outside world; Enjolras had postponed his meetings at the government for the next three months, because he could barely stay awake for long enough to even think about the latest problems affecting the people. Éponine hadn't been to see her sister on the other side of Paris for weeks, and had cancelled her meetings for the last two months, because she couldn't trust herself to take the twins out alone, and she didn't want to burden Enjolras with both of them when he'd most likely be alone for the whole day.
And the most important thing: the Amis missed their friends. And so, they conspired against them.
"We haven't been conspiring, per se," Grantaire told the pair when Enjolras accused the Amis of precisely that, "We're worried about you, that's all."
"And I suppose it's completely too difficult to simply approach us and state that you were worried?" Éponine asked wearily, rubbing her eyes tiredly.
"Look at you, 'Ponine," Combeferre said quietly, "Both of you. You're exhausted. I'm really quite surprised that you've managed to keep the twins satisfied!"
"Well, perhaps you could tell them that, and maybe they'd sleep through the night as a thank you," Éponine muttered, before groaning, leaning her head on her arms, which were crossed on the dining table in front of her, "I shouldn't say that," she said, her voice muffled, "I love them. Truly, I do. But they're just so..."
"Demanding?" Combeferre smirked, "I know. I have two sisters. Which is exactly why we were... 'conspiring' against you, though I use that term loosely."
The Amis had all agreed that Grantaire and Combeferre were the best people to send to confront their friends; Grantaire because anything genuinely serious coming from him would have to be believed, since it was so rare, and Combeferre because he, at least, would know to approach the subject with a little tact.
Which brought the four of them to the dining area in Enjolras and Éponine's apartment, the twins sound asleep in the crib, which had been brought out into the living room.
As if realising that she were being talked about, Evette chose that moment to wake up and cry loudly, causing Éponine and Enjolras to turn to each other and simultaneously say, "It's your turn!"
They both groaned, which just made Grantaire chuckle, "How about it's my turn?" he asked, pushing his chair back from the table, "And you two can go and get some sleep."
"Oh, we can't do that, Grantaire!" Éponine insisted, "It wouldn't be right to burden you with them."
"Tough," Grantaire shrugged, picked Evette up and rocking her gently in his arms, "I wouldn't be fulfilling my duty as an Uncle if I let you two work yourself into insanity."
"I can't believe I'm saying this, but 'Taire is right," Combeferre shrugged, "You two need rest. It's not going to do either of the twins any good if you're too exhausted to look after them. Grantaire and I will look after them for a few hours. Maybe even take them for a walk later. But you two honestly look like the dead have started walking."
"Charming," Enjolras muttered, but pushed his chair back nonetheless, "Thank you," he said sincerely to his two friends, "And I mean, really: thank you. You have absolutely no idea how much we appreciate this."
"Agreed," Éponine said, though it was barely understandable due to the fact that she yawned whilst saying it. Grantaire laughed.
"To bed with you," he said, "'Ferre and I will wake you when you two need to take over. If it's dark when you wake up and there's no one home, then we've gone to the Musain and taken the twins with us."
"Don't even think about it," Éponine said sternly as Enjolras took her hand and pulled her towards the bedroom, "I am not prepared to let you take my children to a social event when I or Enjolras are not present. I know exactly what you lot get up to in your spare time."
"Whatever you say, Athena," Grantaire said absentmindedly, sitting on the sofa and bouncing Evette on his knee, clearly not listening to a word Éponine was saying.
Just as she was about to scold him, Enjolras pulled her more firmly towards their bedroom, "Just leave it, Athena," he said, somewhat amusedly, "I trust Combeferre to supervise if they do take the twins to the Musain. And even if I didn't, Marius and Cosette will be there; they're going on a trip to their holiday home in a few weeks, and I'm sure they can't wait to tell everyone about it."
Éponine glared at him for a moment, but sighed, "Fine," she muttered grudgingly, "But if I find out that someone has 'misplaced' one of the twins, or that they 'accidentally' caused someone an injury, so help me, you will be the first person I kill."
"I can deal with that," he said, kissing her lightly on the lips before the two fell into bed, not bothering to change, the covers draped loosely over the two of them as they slept properly in each other's embrace for the first time in months.
Little did they know that the surprise was not yet over. Combeferre and Grantaire did take the twins later that evening, reluctantly waking Éponine (and feeling her wrath because of it) to feed the twins before they left.
Leaving their two friends to sleep, they reached the Musain and entered to find everyone already assembled, as they had agreed the day before.
"Okay, first point of business," Grantaire said, "I need a drink. Second point of business: Evette needs changing, and I don't have a clue how." He looked around at his friends, all of whom were suddenly busy with something. Cosette rolled her eyes and sighed dramatically.
"Give her to me," she demanded, "I'll do it." Taking a bag of baby supplied from a very grateful Combeferre, she disappeared into an empty side room, muttering about mean being incapable and childish.
"Marius, take your goddaughter," Combeferre begged, handing Elyse to him without even waiting for an answer, "My arms are aching."
"Man up, 'Ferre," Courfeyrac said jokily, Gavroche sitting on his lap, "You should try carrying Gavroche around all day."
"Oi!" Gavroche said indignantly, "I take offence to that." Courf laughed.
"No offence intended, of course, mon ami," he said, winking cheerfully at Gavroche who poked his tongue out at his friend.
"Anyway," Grantaire returned with a bottle of wine, considerably happier now that he had alcohol in his system, "Third point of business: where are we at on the mission?"
They spent the next few hours discussing their plans, ironing out the details and trying to make sure that it would work.
"Okay, mes amis," Grantaire said loudly later that night, receiving an angry 'shhh!' from Cosette as she rocked a sleeping Elyse in her arms, "I think we've done it. Now all we need is to contact our dear upper-class devils..."
"Grantaire, that really is very offensive!" Cosette scolded, thought the Amis around her were howling with laughter, "Besides, they only dislike you!"
"And me!" Courf said, still laughing hysterically, "I was banished remember?!"
"They weren't particularly fond of me, either," Marius said, his laughter reduced to a smile at Cosette's glare, "Not at first anyway. We get on now."
"Enjolras would probably agree with me, Cosette," Grantaire shrugged, "Even he had to warn Éponine before she met them."
"That is besides the point," she huffed, and they all made a silent pact to not mention it again, though they were in higher spirits now than they had been earlier, having to debate and organise something that certainly wasn't an easy task.
When Enjolras and Éponine woke again, it was morning. Éponine was the first to wake, and, looking to the other side of the room where the crib normally was, panicked at the site of a crib-less corned.
"Apollo," she shook him desperately, "Enjolras! Wake up!" he jerked awake, looking around wildly.
"What is it, what's happened?!" he said loudly, his bearings all over the place. When he realised that he was in bed, however, he relaxed somewhat, "'Ponine? Has something happened?"
"The crib!" she said, her voice high pitched with worry, "Where is it?!" Enjolras frowned.
"Maybe Combeferre and Grantaire left it in the living room?" he suggested, slightly worried at the fact that the twins had slept without company all night.
He and Éponine, however, upon entering the living room, found that this wasn't the case. For, sprawled on the floor and on the sofa, were a snoring Combeferre and Courfeyrac. They could hear Gavroche's light breathing through the open door of his bedroom, and, sleeping in their crib, were Evette and Elyse.
"What... on Earth?!" Éponine muttered, taking in the scene.
"I would be annoyed at the fact that they practically broke in to our apartment," Enjolras said quietly, "But that was the best night's sleep I've had in weeks."
"Months." Éponine corrected him, tiptoeing across the room and starting to make breakfast.
Courfeyrac lifted his head off of the hard wooden floor, hearing their voices.
"Good morning," Enjolras said, smirking.
"I think I've damaged every muscle in my body..." he muttered grumpily, "You should get a comfier floor."
"Or, failing that, you could have used the bed in the spare bedroom...?" Éponine suggested, putting a pan of water on the stove to boil for tea.
"There's a bed in the spare bedroom?!" Courf said regretfully, "I thought that was the twins' nursery?!"
"It is," Enjolras told him, "But not yet. When they're old enough for 'Ponine and I to leave them alone at night, then it will be their nursery. Until then, it's still a spare bedroom."
Courf groaned, "I really wish I'd known that before saying that 'Ferre could take the sofa," he murmured, getting up and trying to stretch the aches in his back and neck out.
Gavroche then entered the room, yawning and rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, "Morning," he said, grinning as he saw Courf's discomfort, "I did ask why you weren't sleeping in a bed."
"And forgot to mention that there was a spare one!" Courf grumbled, "Can we just stop talking about it, please?"
"Talking about what?" Combeferre asked, sitting up on the sofa.
"Nothing." Courfeyrac insisted hastily.
"Thank you for last night," Éponine said, changing the subject before the boys got onto a full-scale debate, "It was a much-needed break."
"Don't mention it," Combeferre grinned, "It was good to have some quality time with the twins. And, er, to talk about... other stuff."
"What other stuff?" Enjolras asked, frowning, "And, just a warning: there's only one right answer. It begins with 'r' and ends in 'evolution', and it is most commonly preceded by the word 'the'."
"Actually, it had nothing to do with that," Courf said, shrugging, "There were more important matters to talk about."
"Careful, Courf," Éponine said, her tone deliberately serious and sarcastic, "You may still have his weapons in your possession, but Enjolras can get pretty creative when he's annoyed..."
"For example, there's a rolling pin in the third drawer from the left in the kitchen," Enjolras smirked. Courfeyrac rolled his eyes.
"Whatever you say, dearest leader," he said, bowing mockingly, "And whoever said that Enjolras' weapons were in my possession?! They could be on the other side of Paris for all he knows..." Enjolras' face darkened.
"If you have placed my weapons anywhere that will prevent me from reaching them in an emergency, Courfeyrac, so help me, I will implement some of my more creative methods of combat with you as my opponent." Courf merely laughed again, joining Combeferre on the sofa as Éponine produced tea for everyone.
"So what were you talking about?" she asked, looking over the side of the crib to check that the twins were , a) alive, and b) still asleep, smiling at how the twins were almost curled around each other as they slept soundly. She brought a chair over from the dining table to sit with the boys in the living room, Gavroche scrambling back into his rightful spot on Courf's lap. Enjolras sat down on Éponine's chair before she could, and she looked at him, her eyes wide with shock and her face annoyed, before gasping as he pulled her onto his lap, almost spilling her tea all over the floor.
Before answering, Courf and Combeferre shared a knowing look that clearly said 'Shall we tell them?'. It was Gavroche who saved Enjolras and Éponine the annoyance of having to wait.
"Just tell them," he told his friends, rolling his eyes. Combeferre chuckled.
"We've been conspiring again." He said simply.
"Again?" Enjolras said, rolling his eyes.
"Well, technically it's still the same conspiracy," Courf grinned, "You two are going on holiday."
"You expect us to take the twins on holiday? In a hotel, where we are surrounded by people? I think not." Éponine said defiantly.
"The twins are staying with Enjolras' parents," Combeferre said smugly, "We got someone to take a letter last night, and we got a reply this morning. And you're not staying in a hotel."
"Then where?" Enjolras asked, a confused frown on his face.
"Marius' grandfather's country house," Courf smirked, "Apparently the usual tenants are going away for a few months. Something about the woman's mother being sick. Whatever it was, the house is empty and Marius' grandfather has said that he may use it as he pleases. So you're going away, for two weeks, with Marius and Cosette."
"Don't worry, the estate it huge; you'll probably barely see them," Combeferre added, seeing how Enjolras reacted to the announcement that he would be staying in the same house as Cosette for two weeks.
"And I suppose we don't get a say in this?" Éponine asked, thought a small smile was tugging at the corners of her mouth.
"None at all," Combeferre agreed, "Doctor's orders."
"But, what about the twins?" Éponine asked suddenly.
"They'll be with Enjolras' parents. I've already told you that!" Courfeyrac said indignantly, thinking that Éponine hadn't been listening.
"Yes, yes, I know that!" Éponine said, "But... I don't think I could last two weeks without seeing them." Courf and Combeferre frowned.
"I suppose we could bring them to visit," Combeferre suggested, "Maybe after the first week."
"You need a break, 'Ponine," Courf said, serious now, "A proper break. You and Enjolras are killing yourselves trying to cope with both of the twins. It's not forever, you know."
"I know," she sighed, almost sadly, "I miss them, that's all." Enjolras hugged her, his arms wrapped around her waist.
"They'll be fine," he promised her, "You saw how much my parents love them. Though, I honestly don't think they know what they've gotten themselves in for..."
"You don't leave for another couple of weeks," Combeferre reasoned, "By then, you'll be welcoming another break."
"And you'll bring them to visit?" Éponine asked again, "More than once?"
Courf sighed, "If that is what Lady 'Ponine wants, then I suppose it's what she'll get." He said, grinning cheekily at her, standing up, "Now, I'm going home to sleep in an actual bed. Thanks for the tea, Éponine."
"I want my weapons back!" Enjolras called as Courf and Gavroche left.
"Not a chance," Courfeyrac called back, laughing. Enjolras rolled his eyes.
"I should be off too," Combeferre said reluctantly, "I've got to get to work. Sorry for leaving you two so soon."
"You've done more than enough, 'Ferre," Enjolras told his friend, smiling, "Truly, you have. We're really grateful."
"And thank you in advance for the holiday," Éponine added as he left.
"What are friends for?" he questioned, smiling, before shutting the door behind him.
"We do have great friends, don't we?" Éponine said fondly, turning her head to look at Enjolras.
"Yes," he said, kissing her softly, "We do indeed."
Reviews, prompts and answers to 'should the next part be stupidly long, or in two parts?' are muchly appreciated (feel free to do all free if you want to make me metaphorically explode with happiness!). Typos are, once again, apologised for (I'm still lazy... I doubt that will change :3). Thanks for reading!