AN: Oh, good lord, I am a terrible person and I've made you wait far too long for this installment! I apologise profusely; I'm afraid I've been swamped with extracurricular activities (I went on work experience for a week, then on a Geography fieldwork trip to Barcelona and THEN to Exmoor on my Silver DofE expedition :P).
Anywho, I've FINALLY finished this chapter, and it's something we've all been waiting for for quite a while. Enjolras' speech is inspired rather a lot by Tom Fletcher from McFly (his wife is so lucky!).
So, without further ado: What if Éponine and Enjolras got married? Enjoy!
Éponine frowned as Enjolras groaned, the knocking on the front door waking both of them up.
"Who comes knocking on the door at this time on a Saturday?!" Éponine muttered, swinging her legs out of bed.
"If it's for me, tell them it's my day off," Enjolras called to her, snuggling back under the blankets.
"If it's for you then they won't believe me," Éponine smirked.
"Two and a half years on and I'm still carrying that absurd reputation..." Enjolras mumbled into his pillow.
Éponine smiled as she walked to the door, poking her head into the nursery to check on the twins. It was now a proper nursery, the twins having been moved to sleep in there a month after their first birthday. After a few restless nights as they settled in, everything was once again calm in the flat.
As the person knocking on the door became more persistent, Éponine sighed.
"Alright, alright, I'm coming!" she called crossly; she was definitely not a morning person, a fact that was known by all of the Amis and taken into serious consideration when any of them were contemplating whether or not to visit her or Enjolras. All of the Amis, even Gavroche, knew that you didn't knock on Éponine's door before ten o'clock, unless it was an emergency. Especially if it was a Saturday.
So, with the clock barely having struck eight, Éponine was more than a little bit surprised to find Cosette to be the source of the persistent knocking, a determined look on her face. Éponine's face fell into a rather annoyed frown.
"Cosette," she said, her voice low and firm, "It is eight o'clock on a Saturday. It is Enjolras' day off. We were all still asleep, the twins included. The sun is only just up... what in the name of sanity do you want?!"
"You've put this off for long enough." Cosette said firmly as explanation, pushing past Éponine and entering the apartment, a slightly timid Marius following behind her.
"Sorry to wake you, 'Ponine," he said quietly as Éponine closed the door with an irritable sigh, "I just couldn't rein her in..."
"Enjolras, get up!" Cosette said, entering Éponine and Enjolras' bedroom without even bothering to check if it was alright to do so, "We need to have a serious conversation."
"Would you perhaps like to enlighten us as to what this important conversation is about?!" Éponine questioned, going to the kitchen to make some tea, seeing as it didn't look like her friends were leaving any time soon.
Cosette appeared at the bedroom door, a smile now gracing her face as she answered:
"Your wedding day."
"I honestly do hope that you realise that this isn't your wedding, Cosette," Enjolras grumbled as he did the last button on his shirt up, entering the living room after being thrown out of bed.
"Of course I do," Cosette huffed, "But you've made us all wait long enough, yourselves included. It's about time you made your love official in the eyes of both God and the law."
"Cosette, we don't want to rush things," Éponine reasoned, "Besides we've done some planning..."
"You've been engaged for a year and a half, 'Ponine!" Cosette whined, "Please stop torturing me with this unnecessary waiting! You both love each other, anyone can see it, and you both want to make it official; why not now?!"
Enjolras and Éponine looked to each other, both trying to silently agree.; in the two and a half years they had been together, they had become quite the masters of telepathic discussion. And whilst neither of them had any ambitions of being rushed into anything, especially when it came to their relationship, neither of them could argue against, nor disagree with, Cosette's logic.
"Alright," Enjolras said, his smile still in place, "We'll start planning. Properly planning. You're right, Cosette... we've waited long enough."
The next few seconds involved an event that would probably never happen again; it was one that shocked all four members sat in Éponine and Enjolras' living room and it certainly wouldn't be one that anyone would forget in a hurry.
Cosette threw herself at Enjolras, wrapping him in a hug so tight that Éponine wasn't sure if her fiancé's eyes were almost popping out due to the pressure Cosette had wrapped his body in, or the shock of her doing it.
"Thank you!" she squealed, "You won't regret it, I promise! Now, I had this idea for the flowers..."
*Eight weeks later*
Enjolras paced restlessly around the room on the second floor of the country house in which Éponine would soon become his wife, his hands clasped tightly together behind his back as he walked, "Are you sure it's alright? It's just... this is arguably the most important speech I'll ever make! What if Éponine doesn't like it? What if I can't get my words out? What if-"
"Enjolras," Marius interrupted calmly, "Life is too short to focus on the 'what ifs'; you should know that. You're speech is fine, and Éponine will love it no matter what you say. If she didn't, then she wouldn't be marrying you. Just... stop worrying." Enjolras sighed, collapsing into a chair, letting Marius answer the door when a knock echoed through the room. Enjolras barely refrained from rolling his eyes when Courfeyrac, Combeferre and Grantaire filed in, Combeferre with Evette sat on his shoulders and Grantaire carrying Elyse.
"Did we hear that right through the door?" Grantaire questioned teasingly, smiling, "The almighty Apollo is worried about his speech?"
"Not drunk yet then, Grantaire?" Enjolras retorted dryly, "There are people handing out champagne downstairs, or hadn't you noticed?"
"Oh, no need to worry, Apollo," Grantaire smirked, "There's plenty of time for me to get drunk out of my mind at the reception."
"Not around my daughters, you're not," Enjolras said warningly, taking Elyse from him, "Not least because Éponine will have both of our heads on platters if you do."
"Forget both of your heads," Courfeyrac muttered, "She'll have all of our heads is she disproves of anything that happens around the twins. I think the only thing that could ever contend for her heart or attention is you, Enjolras."
Courfeyrac's words hit home with Enjolras in a way very little of what Marius had said had done. It was obvious, now that he thought of it; Éponine had said yes to his proposal. That was the first clue to the fact that she really did love him enough to marry him. The second clue was that she had not only carried his children for almost ten months, but had been willing to die to give them to him. And, now, after two and a half years together, she wanted to give him, and him alone, her attention, her love, her life.
And he would rather die than do anything less than the same.
"She loves me, doesn't she?" Enjolras asked, not to anyone in particular, his voice both wondering and awe-filled.
Combeferre smiled, "Without a doubt and more than anything in this world, my friend," he told Enjolras honestly. Standing up, the revolutionary leader straightened his suit, readjusting the flower pinned to the pocket.
"Right then," he murmured, handing Elyse to Marius, "I think it's about time I got married."
Meanwhile in Éponine's room...
Cosette stood behind Éponine as they looked in the mirror together.
"Oh, Éponine..." Cosette breathed, tears in her eyes, "You look beautiful!"
"Please don't cry, Cosette," Éponine said, smiling as she turned around to face her best friend, "You look beautiful too. And... I want to say thank you, for everything you've done in the past few weeks. This truly is the perfect wedding day and Enjolras and I couldn't have done it without you. You've been incredible and... I'm so lucky to have you as my best friend!" With that, Éponine threw her arms around Cosette's neck in a tight hug, a few tears slipping from her own eyes. She hurriedly wiped them away; Éponine Thénardier (soon to become Éponine Du Fay) did not cry at happy things.
Cosette chuckled, slightly shocked at her friend's gesture but returning the hug nonetheless, "Goodness, Éponine, I don't think I've ever seen you being so... sentimental! I fear your time with Enjolras has resulted in you going soft!" Éponine laughed with her as she pulled away.
"If that is the price I have to pay to be with Enjolras, then I won't complain!"
Before the conversation could go any further, there was a soft knock at the door.
"Come in," Éponine called, turning to face the doorway. Her eyes widened as Azelma's head appeared around the door, "'Zelma! You're... what are you doing here?!" Éponine was smiling uncontrollably; it had been many months since she had last seen her sister. Though they both knew it shouldn't, life had gotten in the way, and they simply couldn't find the time to catch up.
"Enjolras wrote to me," Éponine's sister said, also smiling as she walked in and closed the door behind her, "He said that you should have as much family around as possible on your big day. And I completely agreed with him, so I agreed to come. Then Cosette made me your bridesmaid..." Éponine turned to Cosette with an even wider smile on her face.
"You, my good friend, are ridiculously perfect," Éponine said, "And I have missed you so, so much Azelma!" she wrapped her little sister in a hug, desperately trying not to crease the bridesmaid dress, identical to Cosette's, Azelma was wearing.
"I'm glad you found someone who makes you happy, 'Ponine," Azelma said, pulling out of the hug and taking Éponine's hands in her own to prove her sincerity, "Someone who can help you, someone who makes your life better. It's the least you deserve."
Éponine smiled as the door opened once again and Marius entered, each of the twins holding one of his hands as they ran in.
"Look who I brought to see their Mama before she walks down the aisle," Marius said, grinning. Evette giggled as she ran to Éponine, who smiled as she picked the little girl up.
"Mama!" she squealed. It had been almost four months prior to the wedding when Evette had spoken her first word, followed only minutes later by Elyse, who simply copied her sister and was immensely proud of herself for doing so. Enjolras and Éponine found that they could only be annoyed for so long after seeing Gavroche's face light up when the twins said ''Vroche!'.
Elyse, realising that her mother had run out of arms to hold her as well as her sister, resorted to hugging her mother's leg. Éponine's smile intensified as Marius kissed her cheek, wrapping her in a one armed hug around Evette.
"Congratulations, 'Ponine," he said, his eyes shining as he smiled at her.
"Thank you," Éponine said, grinning back, "How's Enjolras?"
"Driving himself crazy," Marius chuckled, "You should see him, 'Ponine. I'm surprised, if I'm honest. He keeps worrying about what he's going to say at the reception! Of all the things, our ridiculously well spoken revolutionary leader, who literally transformed a country's government with his speeches, is worried about his speech!" Éponine smiled fondly as Marius greeted Azelma with a kiss on each cheek, going on to peck Cosette lightly on the lips and wrap an arm around his wife, pulling her closer to him. Even after over a year of marriage, Cosette and Marius still looked at each other with an expression of undeniable love, as if every second they were falling in love for the first time. It no longer occurred to Éponine to be jealous; she had found that for herself now.
"How long until we have to go downstairs?" Éponine asked, "All this waiting... it's torture!"
"At last!" Cosette exclaimed, "You understand how I've been feeling for the last year and a half, waiting for you and Enjolras to actually get to the marrying part of your relationship!" Éponine rolled her eyes, but a knock on the door interrupted her chance to protest.
Courfeyrac's smiling face appeared around the door, "It's time." Cosette squealed, picking up Éponine's bouquet from the table at the side of the room, as well as her own. Éponine breathed a shaky breath, suddenly a little bit nervous; she had waited for this day for almost two years, but only in the last two months had she realised just how much she wanted to get to this point of her relationship with Enjolras. She wanted to make it official that they were going to be together forever.
"Right then," Éponine murmured, placing Evette on the floor as she took her flowers from Cosette, "Let's go."
As Éponine walked slowly down the stairs, she saw Valjean waiting for her by the doors of the room in which she would soon become Madame Du Fay. She had approached him the same day Cosette had forced her and Enjolras to finally set a date for their wedding and asked him to escort her down the aisle. He had been so touched that he couldn't have said no, even if he'd wanted to. Now, as he watched her descend to the foyer of the country house, a feeling of pride started to swell inside him.
"My dearest Éponine," he murmured, "You look ever so beautiful."
"Thank you," she said, blushing slightly, "And thank you for agreeing to walk me down the aisle. I can think of no one better to fill the role of my father. You have been more of a parent to me in the last two years than either of my real ones have ever been." She inwardly cursed herself as tears formed in her eyes for the second time that day. Pull yourself together, Éponine, she thought.
"When I caught sight of you in your parents' inn all those years ago, Éponine, I never once believed that you would grow up in the way that you have. Neither would I ever have expected you to use your life to grow into one of the most respectable, wise and extraordinary people I have ever known. I am proud to call you one of my daughters. Enjolras is a very, very lucky man." As she had done with Cosette just minutes earlier, Éponine hugged Valjean, willing the tears in her eyes to stay put.
As Éponine pulled away from her honorary father, Cosette and Azelma came down the stairs, helping the twins climb down the stairs one at a time. Cosette smiled warmly at Éponine and her father when she reached the bottom, "Everyone ready?" The two nodded returning her smile.
The door to the room before them opened slightly, and a bright eyed and smiling Gavroche edged out. He froze when he caught sight of his older sister, his mouth dropping open.
"Wow, 'Ponine," he said, smiling widely, "You look amazing!" Éponine chuckled.
"Thank you, 'Vroche," she said, kissing him on the cheek. For once, the Gavroche didn't make a face, merely grinning at his sister. Now twelve years old, Gavroche had grown over half a foot, his growth rate getting back on track now that he was living with both Courfeyrac, and Éponine and Enjolras, receiving three meals a day as well as snacks whenever he wanted them. His days on the streets, however, were far from behind him, and it wasn't unusual for the Amis to be wandering the streets of Paris to find him dashing and darting under carts, occasionally slipping a money pouch or a pocket watch from an unexpecting passer-by's coat.
Gavroche offered his oldest sister a cheeky wink and quickly gave Azelma a hug as a greeting as the music started up from inside the room. Valjean offered his arm to Éponine, who took it, smiling nervously, gripping her bouquet tightly with her free hand.
Walking down the aisle was something that Éponine had not expected to be scary. The people in the reasonably large room were her friends, her family or Enjolras' family, all of whom she had met at least once. They weren't intimidating, and they weren't strangers. She shouldn't be scared by them.
But she found herself to be almost shaking with nerves and anticipation as she slowly made her way down the aisle, Gavroche taking the lead with both of the twins, grinning as the proud little brother and uncle that he was. Cosette and Azelma followed a few steps behind, with Éponine and Valjean at the back.
However, as Cosette and Azelma broke away to the side at the end of the aisle, and her view of the front of the room was cleared for the first time, her nerves disappeared instantly. Because there, standing up straight with his hands clasped behind his back, Marius at his side, a smile spread across his face and his eyes solely on her, was Enjolras. Never in her life had it been more important to her that she made sure that he was the one she would spend the rest of her life with.
*. . .*
As Enjolras watched Éponine walk down the aisle towards him next to Cosette's father, his face lit up. All nerves regarding vows, speeches or whether or not Éponine loved him disappeared in an instant. Because, seeing her walk down the aisle, she was the most beautiful woman he had ever laid his eyes upon. But, at the same time, she was so much more.
This was Éponine. Her life was cold and dark, once upon a time. But now, she had Enjolras and Enjolras had her.
And they were going to get their happy ever after.
The ceremony passed quickly, and before either of them realised it, Éponine and Enjolras had made their vows and were exchanging rings.
The priest before them spoke again as Enjolras took Éponine's hands in his, "Do you, Enjolras Phillip Du Fay, take Éponine Isabelle Thénardier, as your wife in the eyes of the almighty God?"
"I do," Enjolras said.
"And do you, Éponine Isabelle Thénardier, take Enjolras Phillip Du Fay, as your husband in the eyes of the almighty God?
"I do," she said, a smile spreading across her face
As Enjolras slid the ring onto Éponine's finger, she looked up and caught his eyes in a gaze full of love, devotion and happiness; a look he willingly and readily returned as she slipped the second ring onto his own finger.
"Then I now pronounce you husband and wife," the priest smiled at the two of them, "You may now kiss the bride." Enjolras dropped his hands to Éponine's waist and closed the space between them. As she wrapped her arms around his neck, he pressed his lips to hers in their first kiss as a married couple. Éponine smiled against his lips, kissing him back as the people gathered clapped in congratulations. As they pulled apart, Éponine laughed aloud as Grantaire whistled suggestively, then wrapped her arms around Enjolras' neck again in a tight hug.
"I love you, Éponine," he murmured in her ear, and she could hear the smile in his voice.
"I love you too," she replied. She had never meant those words more than she did in that moment.
Much like at Marius and Cosette's wedding (Éponine and Enjolras' big day had been influenced by a certain blonde beauty after all), the wedding reception took place in a large, spacious room adjacent to the room that was acting as a chapel. Round tables were dotted around the dance floor in the centre of the room, and a meticulously planned and highly compromised seating plan was in place, with little name cards situated in the correct seat for each person.
A semi-circle of tables was found at the head of the room, with Enjolras and Éponine sitting at the centre, Marius and Cosette to Éponine's right and Enjolras' parents to their son's left. Valjean was sat at the far right of the table, with Gavroche and Azelma conversing happily at the far left. The twins sat here, there and everywhere, being passed from person to person who marvelled at how much the little girls have grown.
"Goodness, it seems so long ago that they were staying with us whilst you two tried to get a break," Jacqueline said quietly to Enjolras as she bounced Elyse gently on her lap, "You've grown so much, Enjolras." Enjolras smiled at her, stroking his finger down Elyse's face as she tried to grab hold of it.
"I feel like I appreciate that fact more now that I am a parent myself," he replied as he turned to look at Éponine, who was talking to Cosette, "I'm glad that I have someone to share it with." His mother kissed him lightly on the cheek.
"Never in my life have I been more proud of you, my son," she told him, resting her hand on his cheek, "I know we've had our differences, but you've truly come so far, not just for yourself, but for your family and your country. I know that I disapproved of Éponine when I first met her, but I know that she makes you happy, and I am glad that she is a part of our family." Enjolras wrapped his mother in a hug, hoping that he could portray his thanks and gratitude through the gesture.
As he returned his attention to the reception, Marius stood up, tapping his champagne glass with the blunt side of a dinner knife to get everyone's attention.
"Ladies and gentleman, if I could have your attention please," he called as the room fell quiet, "Thank you. I'd like to kick off the speeches with my own: I've known Éponine for over five years and Enjolras for what must be going on a decade."
"Don't exaggerate, Pontmercy, it hasn't been that long!" Grantaire called from a table, smirking. Marius simply chuckled, ignoring his comment.
"In that time, they have both changed more than anyone would ever have imagined they would. Éponine was distant, untrusting and ridiculously good at avoiding people. Enjolras was focused and would rather hit himself on the head repeatedly with a wine bottle than put any passion into something that wasn't for his country. Never in a million years would I have ever seen them together.
"But now, after two and a half years together, two beautiful children and their fair share of difficult situations, I can't see them anywhere but with each other. They have grown into loving, caring people and fantastic friends. I know I speak for everyone when I say that I wish them a lifetime of happiness. So, if everyone will please raise their glasses: to Enjolras and Éponine!" a chorus of 'To Enjolras and Éponine' echoed around the room, and the happy couple smiled to each other. "Now, without further ado, I introduce the groom, Enjolras, with his speech, which he has been panicking about since the early hours of this morning."
Enjolras rolled his eyes as he stood up and Marius sat down, "Thank you, Marius for that wonderful introduction... I'd like to start off my speech by saying thank you to everyone for coming; today truly has been very special, and it wouldn't have been the same without you. There are a few, however, who I believe require special thanks:
"First, Courfeyrac and Combeferre, two of my greatest and most true friends. You have been at my side for so many years and have supported me in everything I have done, be it stupid or not. I am truly grateful to the two of you for your guidance and support and I can safely say that I am an incredibly lucky to have you as my friends. I thank you both for being our ushers, and also for being my friends; I know that I can be insufferable at times, and you are both saints for putting up with me.
"My second thank you goes Cosette, Marius, Azelma and Gavroche. Cosette, without you, today may still have been a long way off, so, I can't believe I'm saying this, but thank you for being your wonderfully persistent self; it has taken far too long to make Éponine my wife, and it's down to you that everything was organised so quickly and perfectly. Marius, you have become more of a friend to me in the last few years than almost anyone I know. You've been a godsend these last few weeks, and this speech may not have been spoken at all had I not had your honest input. You've been the friend I've needed in times of relationship doubts and wedding problems, so thank you for being there for me. Azelma and Gavroche, you have been incredible siblings to Éponine and I know that you are the family that she needs to be around for her. I am grateful to both of you for being there for her in ways that I can't be; thank you for being a part of both our special day, and our own little family.
"Next I'd like to say thank you to my parents, Jacqueline and Phillip, for truly being the best parents I could ever have. You have brought me up to be strong, independent and passionate, and I would never have achieved what I have without your love and guidance. Another thank you goes to Monsieur Fauchelevent, for being an incredible honorary father for Éponine; she has learnt so much from you, and I am forever grateful to you for being there for her when she has needed a parent.
"And, before I give my most important thank you, I'd like to thank all of my friends; you fought with me on the barricades so very long ago, and without you, your support and your readiness to give your lives, I would never have survived to be here today with all that I have. You are an astonishingly brilliant group of people and I'd like to thank you all: Bahorel, Feuilly, Bossuet, Joly, Grantaire, Jehan. You are all extraordinary.
"And so, to end my speech, I'd like to thank my beautiful new wife Éponine. You have achieved more in your life than anyone would ever expect you to, and you have made my life so much more special than anyone could believe. You have given me two beautiful daughters, fought alongside me for a better France and have never once doubted my judgment. When I think back to the day our relationship first started, when you were on the brink of death, I never would have foreseen that I would be lucky enough to have you as my wife. You are truly one of a kind, my dearest Athena, and I cannot portray my thanks to you in a way that will make you fully understand. So, ladies and gentleman, if you could please raise your glasses: to my wonderful wife, Éponine."
Everyone once again raised their glasses and Enjolras sat down again, exhaling slowly.
"That... was beautiful." Éponine said quietly to him, taking his hand in hers.
"I'm glad you liked it," he said, smiling sincerely, "I was worried you wouldn't."
"I loved it," she assured him, kissing him lightly on the lips, "And I love you."
Enjolras smiled as the chatter started up around the room again, "I love you too, Madame Du Fay." Éponine smiled kissing him again as she thought of what her life would be like now; the two had their entire lives ahead of them, after all. And they would be spending it together, in their perfect little fairytale. Happily ever after.
Sorry if Enjolras' speech went on a bit... But I feel that it fits his personality for him to want to thank everyone in the only way he really knows how: with a well thought out speech!
OH! I HAVE NEWS! 'What if... Enjolnine: The Extended Edition' will soon be on fanfiction! I realise that the end of this chapter may seem like the end of the series... it's not! Ha, you're not getting rid of me that easily! ;)
My plan if to continue the one shots as I currently am, until a time when I run out of ideas for installments that simply won't work as individual stories. In the meantime, the Extended Edition will be updated whenever I improve/add to/write new chapters for this story. The idea is to make the one shots little insights to Enjolras and Éponine's lives, and to make the Extended Edition a completely flowing, no-little-bits-missed-out fic.
Yup, I might just be crazy. Meh :D
Thank you all for reading and I apologise for my tardiness in writing and posting this installment; I hope the length and fluffiness make up for it! Reviews and prompts are muchly appreciated. TTFN!