AN: I have good news and bad news... Good news: Yay! A stupidly long chapter just like all of you asked for! Bad news: I STILL didn't manage to fit it all in.
OH WELL! That just means our favourite non-canon couple (because E/R is obviously canon, and yes, it is possible to ship both [I really don't get why these two ships hate on each other! There is enough of our dear revolutionary leader to go around!]) get a longer holiday.
Prompt: What if Enjolras and Éponine's holiday didn't get off to the smoothest of starts? Enjoy!
Éponine waved out of the back window of the carriage until the Amis were out of sight. Enjolras took her hand in his, stroking the back of her hand with his thumb.
"We'll be back before you know it," he said, smiling. She smiled back.
"I know," she said quietly. She budged up closer to him and he wrapped his arm around her, "But that doesn't mean I won't miss them. The twins especially."
Enjolras kissed her head comfortingly, "We'll see them on Monday," he said reasonably. she nodded, leaning her head on his shoulder.
"I can't believe that we're staying with Cosette and Marius for two whole weeks..." she muttered, "Do we have some kind of death wish?!"
"Apparently so," Enjolras said wearily, "All four of us... in the same house..."
"I'll be surprised if we go home still sane." Éponine said, her voice deadly serious.
"I'll be surprised it we go home alive." Enjolras said, his tone also serious. Éponine sat up straighter, her head leaving Enjolras' shoulder and the two looked at each other. They went on to simultaneously start laughing, and sincerely hoped that it wasn't going to be as bad as they predicted.
They stopped halfway to the house to let the horses rest and eat some lunch (which Cosette had so lovingly packed, picnic blanket and all).
"You'll love the house, 'Ponine," Cosette said happily and Éponine helped her lay out the blanket and all the food, "It's so beautiful. It's right in the middle of the countryside, surrounded by the most perfect landscape..." Éponine wasn't particularly thrilled; she had grown up in the city, after all, and the countryside seemed a little... well, boring.
"I'm sure it'll be incredible, Cosette," she said, smiling at her friend; it really wouldn't do to upset Cosette before they ever got there.
Enjolras, meanwhile, was busy having the most awkward conversation with Marius that it was possible to have.
"So, er... Enjolras?" Marius said quietly. Enjolras looked up from the report for the government he had been writing in the carriage.
"Yes, Marius?" Enjolras said, looking back to the piece of parchment in his hand.
"You and 'Ponine..." Marius stopped for a moment, considering his word choice, "You two are parents now."
"Yes," Enjolras frowned, looking up at his friend once again, "Believe it or not, Marius, that's the reason I'm currently willing to spend a fortnight with you and your wife." Marius grimaced, but continued.
"Well... how did you... make that happen?" Enjolras gaped for a second, his eyes widening.
"Marius... obviously not your grandfather, but... I was sure Cosette's father must have had that talk with you..."
"No! No, no, no, that's not what I meant!" Marius said loudly, earning him a confused glance from Cosette. He waved, smiling, trying to cover up his hasty protest.
"Then... what did you mean?" Enjolras asked, now completely confused.
"I meant... how did you two agree to... do the deed, so to speak?" Marius said, his face red from embarrassment.
"Oh!" Enjolras exclaimed, "Well, we just sort of... we, er..." he sighed, "We were completely drunk out of our minds..."
Marius looked up in shock, laughing loudly, "Really?!" he said, "You?! And 'Ponine? Drunk so much that you... for the love of God, Enjolras, what on earth possessed you to do that?!"
"Enjolras, did you just tell him?" Éponine demanded from the picnic blanket, a frown on her face.
"He asked!" Enjolras called back, "I can't lie!"
"Of course you can!" Éponine protested, "It's easy!"
"What are you talking about?!" Cosette asked, looking ridiculously confused.
"Nothing." Enjolras and Éponine said simultaneously, their tones making the discussion final.
"I'd advise against doing it our way, Pontmercy," Enjolras muttered, clasping his friend on the shoulder, "It only gets your into trouble later on..." he walked back over to a sulking Éponine, who stubbornly looked away as he sat down next to her.
"Athena," Enjolras whined, "Please don't be angry at me!"
"I don't think I've ever heard Enjolras sound so vulnerable," Marius muttered, taking a seat on the blanket next to Cosette.
"Shut up, Pontmercy," Enjolras growled, "This is your fault."
"Don't blame it on Marius!" Éponine said angrily, "We promised to never speak of it!"
"There's not much point in being ashamed, 'Ponine," Marius said reasonably, "It did give you the twins after all..."
"Shut up, Pontmercy, this is all your fault!" Éponine snapped, looking away. When she looked back, Enjolras was smirking, "I don't know what you're smiling about!" she continued angrily, "It's your fault too! And another thing, I-"
Enjolras leaned in and kissed her, stopping her mid-sentence. When they broke apart, Éponine gaped for a moment, before looking down.
"Forgiven." She muttered, wrapping her hand in his. Enjolras smirked at Marius again, and Marius really would have considered saying something potentially very offensive if he didn't want to lose his job.
"Dare I ask?" Cosette asked wearily, emptying a paper bag of fresh strawberries onto a plate.
"You probably shouldn't," Éponine offered as an answer. Cosette held her hands up in surrender, leaning into Marius' embrace as he wrapped his arm around her.
"Dig in, then," Cosette said, passing everyone a plate, "I'm sure I'll find out soon enough..." the boys managed to demolish half of the food within the first ten minutes, Cosette stating that they were animals and only filling half of her plate up, refilling it when need be. Éponine ate a strawberry or two, but otherwise didn't eat anything, but no one seemed to notice as she told a hilarious story regarding Enjolras playing peek-a-boo with Evette.
At some point during their lunch, Éponine managed to manoeuvre her way onto Enjolras' lap, and was feeding him a strawberry when she sighed.
"I miss the twins," she muttered, leaning her forehead on his. He copied her sigh before frowning, leaning back so that her forehead left his and placing a hand where his head had been just moment earlier.
"Christ, 'Ponine, you're boiling!" he muttered. Éponine frowned.
"Maybe your hand's just hot," she suggested. Enjolras gave her a look that clearly said 'really?'. She shrugged, "It's plausible!"
"You've definitely got a fever," Enjolras assured her, "I should have realised you weren't well when you started arguing with me... you're always grumpy when you're sick..."
"I am not!" Éponine snapped. Enjolras gave her the look again and she glared at him, "you just like being right."
"Only when I know that I actually am right," he said grinning, "Perhaps we should turn back..."
"Don't you dare," Cosette said threateningly, "If 'Ponine is ill then the last thing she needs to two screaming babies around. No, you are most certainly not turning back." Enjolras held his hand up in surrender (honestly, the woman could be scary when she wanted to be!).
"Fine," he said grudgingly, "But we should at least get going."
"Agreed," Cosette said, nodding authoritatively, starting to pack up the last of the lunch.
"I feel fine!" Éponine protested, "Honestly! There's no need to pack up early."
"Oh, no," Enjolras said, "No way am I waiting for you to actually realise that you're ill before we leave. I'm not being stuck in a carriage with sick 'Ponine."
"You are a mean man, you know that?" she grumbled as she got to her feet, Enjolras following her lead.
"And you're ill, and I'm not prepared to let you get even more sick. Believe it or not, it is still February, and your shawl won't keep out endless cold. The last thing we need to you coming down with pneumonia or something..."
"Assuming that I'm not already coming down with pneumonia?" Éponine teased grumpily.
"You really are very tetchy when you're sick," Enjolras said with a smile, starting to help Cosette clear away their lunch but having her wave him off.
"Go and get Éponine in the warm," Cosette said smiling. He nodded, smiling back gratefully, leading his fiancée back to their carriage.
"I don't feel ill!" Éponine protested again as he helped her to climb in, before sighing and resting her head against the window, looking out with an irritated expression on her face.
"Yet..." Enjolras muttered so quietly only he could hear.
Éponine was in a foul mood by the time they reached the country house later that evening, and she had already screamed at the driver to stop the coach so that she could leap out and throw up in a bush.
"Please tell me that you're not pregnant again," Enjolras said wryly as he got out after her to see if she's okay.
"I'm not pregnant," she promised him, "I am definitely not pregnant again. I cannot deal with another pregnancy like the last one... no, two babies is quite enough thank you."
"You're rambling," he said, wrapping and arm around her waist as they walked back to the carriage.
"I know," Éponine whined, "I feel awful."
"I did try to tell you," Enjolras said.
"No one likes people who say 'I told you so', Apollo," Éponine said sulkily, kicking her boots off and curling up on the bench with her head in Enjolras' lap, "I have a headache..." she muttered bitterly, "Why do these things happen at the most inappropriate times?!"
"Because life is never easy," he told her, before kissing her forehead lightly, "Is your headache better?"
"No," she said quietly, "But thanks for trying."
Enjolras smiled fondly, "Always, 'Ponine."
As much as the pair hated to admit it, Marius and Cosette were both telling the truth in regards to the house: it was beautiful. Nothing too extravagant and it would definitely let Éponine and Enjolras to disappear for a few hours if the other two were getting on their nerves. Éponine didn't hesitate to murmur this fact to Enjolras as their bags were carried in by a butler.
"The only place you're disappearing to is bed," he told her, "I would like to have some kind of quality time with you during this holiday, and that's not going to happen if you're sick."
"Spoil sport," she muttered, followed Cosette and Marius into the house and dragging Enjolras behind her.
Despite Éponine's protests that her fiancé was a 'spoil sport', she managed to fall asleep reasonably quickly and without two much of a fuss.
"I feel like a child," she murmured as she climbed into bed, Enjolras fanning the covers down on top of her to try and reduce her fever slightly. He smiled slightly at a memory.
"And what, Monsieur DuFay, is so funny?" she demanded.
"Oh, alright, we're going with last names now, are we?" he asked amusedly as Éponine nodded at him smugly, "If you must know, Mademoiselle Thénardier, what you just said stirred a memory from after the barricades."
"Oh really?" she asked, "What did I say again?"
"You said 'I feel like a child'," he clarified, "Which was exactly what you said when you were first staying with me." Éponine smiled, now also remembering.
"They were good times, weren't they?" she asked quietly, pulling him down to sit on the bed next to her.
"Yes," he said, "But these times are better."
"Well, except for the screaming children and the being ill before our holiday has even started..."
Enjolras chuckled, "Apart from that." He agreed.
"Almost two years we've been together, Enjolras," she murmured, laying her head in his lap again, "Two whole years. And two beautiful children. We really should start planning the wedding, shouldn't we?"
"Probably," Enjolras shrugged, "It can wait. There's no rush, after all."
"No rush," Éponine agreed quietly, before falling asleep. Enjolras smiled at his fiancée; maybe the wedding planning couldn't wait too long...
He sat with Éponine a while longer, making sure that she really was asleep and not wanting to leave her alone if she was awake and sick (which really wasn't a good combination). When he finally went downstairs, he found a maid waiting at the bottom of the stairs for him.
"Monsieur Marius and his wife are in the dining room," she told him smiling, "It's down the corridor and the fourth door on the right. They're expecting you."
"Merci, mademoiselle," he said, nodding in respect to her. She blushed slightly at the gesture, before disappearing into another room.
Enjolras joined Marius and Cosette, sitting at the small dining table where his friends were eating dinner.
"How's Éponine?" Cosette asked worriedly.
"Sleeping," he told her, "She was fine when I left... well, she wasn't delirious with fever or anything like that. I think she's just got the flu. Joly's coming down with Courf and Gavroche on Monday, if she's still not well then, then I'll talk to him about it." Cosette nodded in approval, taking a sip of win from her glass.
"It's strange for Éponine to be ill," she commented.
"When you've lived with her when she's pregnant, the flu is nothing, believe me," Enjolras muttered, taking the wine that Marius handed him. In all truthfulness, Marius was surprised that his friend had accepted the drink, and then remembered that Enjolras had been stuck in the carriage with a sick Éponine all day.
"Éponine was definitely scarier when she was pregnant," Marius agreed, "But she's a lot more argumentative when she's sick."
"You should have been there when she was pregnant and sick..." Enjolras said, "It was ridiculous. Her only argument was 'I'm right because I'm pregnant', no matter what the subject was. It was a nightmare!"
"Why?" Cosette asked, smirking, "Because you actually lost for once?" Marius laughed and Enjolras rolled his eyes, ignoring his friends as he helped himself to the food sat in the middle of the table.
"Cosette is kind of right though," Marius said, changing the subject, "It is strange for Éponine to get sick, so quickly at least. She was fine when we left this morning."
"Well, we thought she was fine," Enjolras argued, "And, in all fairness, so did she. Even when faced with the evidence of grumpiness and a fever."
"Well, it's not exactly strange for her to be grumpy..."
"Watch what you're saying, Pontmercy, I'm sure there's a sword mounted on a wall somewhere in this house, and I will not hesitate to find it and-"
"And that's enough of that conversation!" Cosette intercepted quickly, "My point was I'm not used to seeing Éponine being sick. It's strange to me." Enjolras glared at Marius before starting to eat his food.
"The only thing I find strange about Éponine being ill is that she is missing dinner."
When Enjolras went back up to the room he and Éponine were sleeping in, he found her fever still raging and Éponine throwing the covers all over the place as she was plagued by a bad dream.
"Éponine?" he shook her shoulder lightly, "Éponine." He said her name more firmly and had to dodge her hand as it came flying at his face.
His attempt to wake her unsuccessful, he walked into the en-suite bathroom and picked up a bowl that was sitting on the side and a washcloth. He filled the bowl with water from the jug of water that had been waiting for them in their room when they arrived (he had put it on the window-ledge and shut the windows behind it, fearing that an event for freezing cold water would arise when Éponine had a fever). The water had been successfully cooled in the freezing February night, and Enjolras allowed himself to thank the Lord for making him such a genius.
Wetting the washcloth, he wiped the fever-induced sweat from Éponine's forehead, dodging flailing limbs every so often as the nightmare continued. After a while, he left the cool cloth laying on her forehead, and began to sing her a lullaby that she was particularly fond of.
After a while, Éponine's subconscious seemed to register his voice, and Éponine sat up suddenly, almost head-butting Enjolras in the process.
"'Ponine?" Enjolras said worried, "Are you alright? I tried waking you but all I got in return was the threat of a black eye..."
"I'm fine," she said shakily, "Bad dream... very bad dream. Only-capable-of-being-caused-by-a-fever-bad dream. Have I ever mentioned that I hate being ill?"
"Do you want to talk about it?" Enjolras asked. Éponine shook her head.
"Not tonight, she said quietly, "Maybe in the morning, if I remember. My head hurts."
Enjolras retrieved the washcloth from the end of the bed, where it had been flung from Éponine's forehead. She smiled as he handed it to her. "You are perfect." She told him, kissing him lightly.
"Go back to sleep," he said smiling.
"Only if you come with me," she said, though she said it through a yawn and her eyes were already drooping.
"Of course," he promised, "Let me get changed first.
"That is a very good idea," she agreed, laying back down with the washcloth covering her forehead and her eyes, curled up on her side in a tight ball. Enjolras smiled at the scene, getting change and climbing into bed next to her.
Éponine immediately curled into his side, "Love you." She murmured.
He kissed the top of her head, wrapping his arm around her, "Love you too."
The next morning, Éponine's fever still hadn't broken, and she seemed to be getting hotter by the minutes.
"Maybe we should get a doctor..." he said, crouching beside her side of the bed and refilling the bowl with cold water, placing the cloth back on Éponine's head.
"I don't need a doctor," she said, her voice croaky, "It's the flu, Enjolras. It won't kill me."
"It might!" he protested. She glared at him, so he sighed dejectedly, "Fine," he said, "But... don't die on me, Éponine. You know why." She smiled slightly.
"Because you can't risk losing me again," she said, pulling on his shirt so that his face with close enough for her to kiss him, "I know. Believe me, Apollo, if you were in my place, I'd probably be thinking the same as you. But I'm not in your place, so you're going to go and enjoy the holiday without me, and I promise to not die." She concluded her speech by coughing, the action causing her to collapse against the pillows and moan in pain.
"How very reassuring..." he muttered, rolling his eyes, "I'm getting Joly to make sure you're not dying when he arrives on Monday."
"Fine," she muttered, "Now go away and enjoy yourself."
"Charming!" he said, laughing.
"You know I love you really," she said, smirking as she rolled on her side again to try to get back to sleep.
Enjolras smiled, "I love you too."
He made his way down to the dining room for breakfast and found Marius sitting alone.
"No Cosette?" he questioned, taking a croissant from the tray in the centre of the table.
"She's ill," Marius said, frowning concernedly, "With whatever Éponine's come down with, no doubt. I've left her with a maid."
"Ever the romantic..." Enjolras muttered to himself.
"What was that?" Marius questioned.
"Nothing, nothing," Enjolras said hastily, "So, did you have any plans for today or..."
"I thought we could go horse riding?" Marius suggested. Enjolras choked on his croissant.
"You thought what?!"
Éponine sighed as Enjolras left the room; it was so bloody typical for her to get sick when they were supposed to be having a relaxing fortnight away (if staying with Cosette and Marius could be considered 'relaxing' that is).
She felt awful, not just because her entire body was aching and every cough made her chest feel like it was ready to explode, not to mention the fact that their seemed to be a rather large marching band drumming in a parade inside her head. She also felt bad for making Enjolras worry.
She was lucky to have him, she knew she was. He was always there when she needed him, and he never once complained about having to take care of her when she was ill (or pregnant as the case had been). But it did make her feel like she was keeping him from things much more exciting.
She fell asleep about midmorning, and when she woke the position of the rarely-seen sun outside told her that it must be early afternoon. She turned away from the window, the light from the sun hurting her eyes, and found a piece of bread and a glass of water sitting on the bedside table with a note lying next to them. Smiling, she unfolded the piece of parchment, recognising Enjolras' flawless penmanship.
My dearest 'Ponine
Marius has taken me horse riding. If you dare laugh, I will tickle you into submission as revenge the second you are well again.
Cosette is ill too; Marius is slightly lost without his beloved. He hasn't stopped talking about how worried he is from the second I walking into breakfast. Please tell your best friend to never, ever, be sick again.
I asked one of the maids to keep an eye on you (Marius and Cosette have far too many members of staff at their disposal). I left some bread, if you haven't seen already; you haven't eaten in two days (and I know you'll be thinking it, so you're right when you say I'll lecture you if it isn't gone when I get back).
Remember your promise.
Éponine found herself rubbing her thumb over the small 'x' at the end of the note; the ink was slightly darker than it was on the rest of the letter, making Éponine assume that he had added it as an afterthought.
Looking at the note for a few more moments before putting it to one side, Éponine pulled herself into a sitting position, which was apparently easier thought than done. Her body screamed at her for even trying to move, but Éponine just frowned frustratedly; she hated being ill.
She picked at the bread uninterestedly, still not hungry despite missing the last four meals. After finishing the bread to avoid a lecture from Enjolras later, she sipped at the water, actually examining the room she was in for the first time. It was a pretty room; not too over-the-top, but not bare. It had beige walls, with paintings in frames dotted around. The bed was comfortable, and the bedside tables matched the desk in the corner and the chest of drawers to one side. There were little ornaments on the chest of drawers, and miniature chandeliers hung from the ceiling. Éponine smiled; she could definitely get used to living here.
Then her thoughts drifted to the fact that there was no crib in the corner, no homemade patchwork quilt hanging from the back of a chair by the bed, no little bears on the floor that often fell out of the crib when Éponine and Enjolras picked a screaming twin from the crib late at night.
Éponine sighed; she missed her twins.
Desperate to take her mind off the longing to hold one of her babies in her arms, Éponine leant forward and opened the drawer of the bedside table, hoping to find a book of some sort. What she found was the book she had been meaning to finish for weeks, but had been too exhausted to even look at. As she got to the place where she had last marked her page, she found another note from Enjolras.
I thought you might get bored. Try not to make your headache worse.
She chuckled slightly; her fiancé really was perfect.
Said fiancé would beg to differ at that point in time. Sitting awkwardly atop a rather large horse, he was honestly ready to kill Marius Pontmercy.
"Marius, honestly, this isn't my thing." Enjolras protested once again.
"You haven't even tried it!" Marius argued, "Just give it a go!"
"Horses are much better at pulling carriages," Enjolras muttered to himself as the horse he was on followed Marius down a gap in the trees surrounding the house, "Just because you rode a horse to the barricades, Marius, doesn't mean that everyone has an undeniable love for horses!"
"Will you just stop complaining?!" Marius begged.
"No I will not!" Enjolras said stubbornly.
"I think you're getting sick too," Marius muttered, "You're always argumentative when you're sick..."
"I'm always argumentative."
"You said it, not me," Marius said smirking.
"If I... get thrown off this horse, Pontmercy, I want compensation." Enjolras said.
"Of course, dearest leader," Marius laughed, "But you won't get thrown off. Old Daisy's a big softie." The following events occurred as if Marius had spoken some kind of spell.
Marius honestly did try to find it less funny as 'Old Daisy' then got spooked by a squirrel and raced off down the lane with Enjolras clinging onto the reigns for dear life. But, truly, it was the most hilarious thing he had ever seen, and so he dissolved into hysterical laughter.
"MARIUS!" Enjolras roared, "MAKE IT STOP!"
By the time Marius had reached where Daisy was now grazing happily and Enjolras was massaging a sprained ankle, he had managed to stem his laughter slightly.
"Enjolras, honestly, that was hilarious," Marius assured him as he dismounted his horse.
"No it wasn't," Enjolras muttered, "And just for the record, trying to get off a bolting horse is a very bad idea..."
"What did you do?" Marius asked, sitting down on the cold ground next to his friend.
"The stirrup came lose," Enjolras told him, "Excellent workmanship there," he added sarcastically, "So I thought I might as well try and get off. I landed on my foot at a rather displeasing angle..."
The only sympathy he received was Marius bursting into laughter again.
I know, awkwardly-timed ending, but I honestly feel that if I'd let this get any longer then you'd all get bored AND THAT IS NOT ALLOWED. I'll try and write the rest of their holiday by about Thursday... no promises though :3
As always, typos are apologised for, reviews and prompts and much welcomed and begged for and I very much hope that you enjoyed. thanks for reading!