A/N: For Colonel Despard, who requested something about Courfeyrac and Enjolras for her (belated) birthday. I hope you don't mind there is Enjolras/Grantaire for Marianne, who had a crappy day.
It was technically finals, but Courfeyrac had only signed up for one course that semester and was tired of pretending to study for it, in between bouts of actually reading the textbooks he was supposed to have read three months ago.
The Musain was annoyingly quiet.
Enjolras, who had, to everyone's astonishment, gotten his act together and decided to pass the bar, had thrown out Grantaire (or, rather, had glared Grantaire into submission, at which point Grantaire had thrown himself out, out of guilt) for rambling about the labors of Hercules while Enjolras was trying to memorize case law. Bossuet and Joly had, after spending an hour making increasingly bad puns about the fac, decided to temporarily part ways lest they flunk out of university and never see one another again. Across from Courfeyrac, Bossuet was currently skimming over the notes to the class he had theoretically attended that semester. Joly had, with his sweetest smile, asked Combeferre to quiz him for his midwifery exam, and was now regretting it. Combeferre had turned out not to be the sort of empathetic older medical student Joly had hoped he was; whenever Joly got a question wrong, Combeferre would patiently ask the question again, refusing to give Joly the right answer. It was, Courfeyrac thought mournfully, the most entertaining thing in the room, since Jehan had prevailed upon Bahorel to take him to a meeting of the bosuingos, Feuilly was still at work and Enjolras was hiding in a corner ignoring everyone else.
Though Joly had an almost encyclopedic knowledge of diseases, symptoms and treatments, he still could not remember what one did if the baby was breeched (whatever that meant), and had been trying to find the right answer for the past two minutes. His answers had become both desperate and desperately amusing.
"No, one does not offer nitrous oxide to the mother," Combeferre said. "I know you think nitrous oxide will play some integral role in surgery in the future, but your professor does not. If the baby is breeched, what do you do?"
Joly rubbed his nose. "Um…."
"At this point, the mother will be condemning you to a tour of hell without Virgil as your guide, the father will be pounding on the door demanding you do something already and the baby will be in serious danger. What do you do?"
"…panic?" guessed Joly, after a moment.
Combeferre stared at him. "Promise me you will never become a prenatal doctor."
"Willingly." Joly looked longingly at Courfeyrac's table.
Courfeyrac, feeling a surge of compassion for his fellow man, raised the half-full bottle of wine before him and tilted it towards Joly's glass. Joly eyed the wine bottle. The bottle tilted towards a forty-five degree angle. Joly glanced guiltily at Combeferre. The bottle smoothly continued in its downward tilt. Joly bit his lip. Courfeyrac, deciding that the bottle could not do all the work, added one of his particularly charming smiles.
Joly wavered, then resolutely turned to Combeferre and said, "Tilt the mother into a sitting position?"
"… no. Joly, did you ever go class?"
"I did! I just always had my endemic diseases lecture first and got too caught up in making sure I hadn't got cholera or the bubonic plague to pay complete attention."
Courfeyrac put down the bottle and, bored, tipped his chair back on two legs. Well, there went that plan. He began sorting through his pockets. A couple of francs, oh, there was that button he kept meaning to ask his mistress to sew back onto his green waistcoat, since it was her fault the button had fallen off anyways. Women never learned; a dandy knew his clothes as well as he knew himself and needed no external help to put them on or to take them off. A pencil stub, oh, there was his mistress's embroidery scissors, how did they get there?
Enjolras made an annoyed noise.
"Oh, are we bothering you?" Joly asked contritely. "We can certainly stop for a moment—"
"No," Enjolras said, to Joly's obvious disappointment. "I did not mean to interrupt." He bent his head back down to his textbook, causing his lo long blond hair to fall into his eyes. He gave a little 'tch' of irritation and tried to push it back, only to have his hair fall into his eyes as soon as he bent his head.
"Ah ha," said Courfeyrac, feeling as if he was on the verge of thinking up something terribly clever. "Worry not Enjolras, my dear fellow. I have a plan. I shall solve the problem that so hair-ries you."
"You shall?" asked Enjolras, momentarily disoriented. Enjolras sometimes got like that, so lost in thought that he became sure that the realm of ideas and archetypes and metaphor in which he liked to pass his time was real, and the external world just an odd distraction. When Enjolras did not move out of that world on his own, his idealism clinging around him like the halo of an archangel, he seemed oddly out of place, unable to relate to the world that seemed so unreal to him.
"Indeed I shall!" replied Courfeyrac, lifting aloft the scissors.
"You are neither a Sampson or a Saint-Just," Courfeyrac informed him grandly. "Your flowing blond locks do not give you strength, nor do they make you the envy of all the other, less fashionable representatives-on-mission. Step into the nineteenth century, my friend!"
Enjolras just looked at him.
"It will keep your hair out of your way," Courfeyrac added.
"Have you any experience cutting hair?" Enjolras asked. Courfeyrac was mildly surprised that Enjolras didn't care about his personal appearance to the point where he would let Courfeyrac cut his hair, but, then again, Enjolras's closest friend was Combeferre, and Combeferre, even while drunk, would not let Courfeyrac show him how to use a curling iron. Courfeyrac decided to just run with it.
"I am a master barber," replied Courfeyrac, tugging on his lapels in what he hoped was a suitably snooty bourgeois fashion. "I once played Figaro in an amateur version of The Barber of Seville."
"That is immensely reassuring," said Enjolras, returning to his textbook. His hair slid into his eyes again. Enjolras massaged his forehead. "Courfeyrac, be serious. Do you know how to cut hair?"
"Yes, I trim my own." Courfeyrac did not also add that he curled it himself as well, since he saw no reason to tell anyone that God had been so negligent as to give him waves instead of a crop of dandyish curls. "I do not trust anyone else with such a vital task. I solemnly swear to give you a haircut that would make Beau Brummel bite his lips in envy."
Enjolras glanced at Combeferre, to gauge his opinion, but Combeferre had returned to the textbook and merely informed Joly that he had just killed a baby.
"Why am I always killing babies?" Joly demanded fretfully. "Was I Jonathan Swift in another life?"
"No, you just haven't studied," Combeferre said reprovingly. "Really Joly, people's lives will depend on how well you know your course material."
Enjolras pulled at a strand of hair and said, a little doubtfully, "Mind you, Courfeyrac, I have to sit for the bar, so I cannot look too bohemian. There is much to be praised in the open statements of one's belief, but we must all occasionally bow to the outside pressures of society, so that, in future, we might change it."
"Really, my dear fellow," said Courfeyrac, as his chair legs made contact with the floor once again, "you have no need to justify accepting the kind offers of friends who only wish for your good. I cut back at the things that hair-ry you, eh?"
Enjolras almost smiled at that, but, since he generally did not smile at puns, refrained. Courfeyrac even snipped at the air for good measure, but Enjolras had lowered his head and again discovered that his hair would not stay in place. He began looking seriously annoyed, an expression he rarely employed, since a cold look or a frown worked so well.
"Right," said Courfeyrac, jumping to his feet. "Your hair has lovely waves. Does it curl at all?"
"It did when I was a child," Enjolras said, holding his hair back with both hands.
"Then we shall cut it dry," Courfeyrac announced and went for Enjolras's hair before Enjolras realized what he had agreed to and glared Courfeyrac into submission. "I thought it was a marvelous idea when you started growing your hair out past that horrible Brutus you had when you came to Paris, but you just don't know when to stop, really. One would think you simply do not care what you look like!" Since Enjolras was still sitting, Courfeyrac took full advantage of being taller (for once) and rested his chin on Enjolras's head. "I could use all this to stuff a pillow. Granted, it would have to be a small pillow, but I saw Jehan looking enviously at your hair. His never grows long enough to be pulled into a queue, but all would queue up to see Enjolras the republican Rapunzel."
Bossuet had already given up on his notes to laugh at Courfeyrac's attempts at playing Figaro, and Joly had given up trying to answer Combeferre to watch the proceedings.
"That was not a particularly good pun," Combeferre said, polishing his glasses.
"They cannot all be clever," said Courfeyrac, stepping back to better observe Enjolras's hair. "Some of them can just be puns. Hm… oh, Enjolras, dear fellow, the styles of the day are made for you! If only you had interest in women beyond republican motherhood."
"Which reminds me," Combeferre said pointedly, lifting the textbook and causing Joly to slump into his chair.
Enjolras had gone back to his usual occupation of Thinking Lofty Thoughts while the other occupants of the backroom amused themselves by being inane, and appeared to have forgotten that he had given Courfeyrac permission to cut his hair. This suited Courfeyrac. Enjolras was sitting by a wall scone and the light was excellent.
Courfeyrac attempted an elaborate wrist flourish to shake back his cuffs and ended up dropping the scissors. Well, strike one against classical comedy, Courfeyrac thought, picking up the scissors again. Although, this did give him a good angle to look at Enjolras's hair… if it was shorter and better maintained it would probably wave perfectly when wet, damn him, and curl at the ends, double damn him. Courfeyrac gave an envious sigh, told himself that Enjolras wasn't interested in having a mistress anyways, and set to his task without more than a confused blink from Enjolras.
Eventually Courfeyrac had scattered golden hair all over the floor, the table, himself, Enjolras's tailcoat and Enjolras himself, but had neatly trimmed Enjolras's Romantically flowing, badly kept mane into a fashionably cut crop of blond almost-curls, parted to the side. "There," said Courfeyrac, dusting off of Enjolras's shoulders and probably bringing Enjolras abruptly back into reality. "I shall earn the hatred of Louison, but I simply could not let a thing of beauty go to waste. It is a disservice to humanity."
"Oh," Enjolras said vaguely. "It's not in my eyes anymore." He bent his head down and turned the page of his textbook.
Courfeyrac put his hands on his hips in mock offense. "Tch! Not in your eyes, when I tell you I have worked Aphrodite's transformation on Galatea!"
"I give you all due credit for cutting marble with a pair of embroidery scissors," Enjolras said. "Courfeyrac, you have exams."
"Yeeees, but it isn't as if I need to study for them. I passed the first year exams while hung-over."
Enjolras's disapproving look was not as effective from the side, so Courfeyrac only felt mildly guilty for distracting everyone. Combeferre looked at Enjolras a little oddly and said, "It suits you."
"Hm?" said Enjolras, looking up only because Combeferre had spoken.
"It suits you, is all," said Joly, with one of his quick, bright smiles.
Enjolras very clearly thought this was irrelevant and returned to this textbook, some of his not-quite-curls sliding over his brow but not into his eyes.
"Now no one will mistake you for a girl," Courfeyrac translated, none-the-less pleased with the transformation he had wrought. "Before it was too short for a queue, but too long to be anything but failed bohemian. Now, ah, how I do surpass myself!"
"Others of us still have exams," Combeferre pointed out, since Enjolras had forgotten he still existed in the corporeal universe.
Courfeyrac pouted at him, which did absolutely no good what-so-ever because Combeferre had started to polish his glasses in disapproval and couldn't see Courfeyrac at all. "Alright. I shall wander, a neglected, unappreciated artist, through the streets of the Latin Quarter, mourning the waste of my time and talents. What shall the world say of me when I have died of a broken heart, collapsed in a gutter, unable to so much as croak out the names of my former friends?"
"He failed out of the law school," said Combeferre, "but he was an excellent hair-dresser."
Courfeyrac had no response to that so he attempted (and failed) to find his hat and walked out the back way just as Grantaire peered in to see if Enjolras was in a forgiving mood.
"I sobered up," Grantaire said, with the sort of painful earnestness that meant he had not quite finished achieving his noble goal. "I would black his boots, if he asked, he only had to ask me to stay silent and I would…." Grantaire trailed off, leaving Courfeyrac the uncomfortable task of smiling uneasily and not knowing how to respond. Courfeyrac did not always like dealing with a sober Grantaire, since a sober Grantaire was often a depressed one who would not laugh at any of Courfeyrac's antics.
"Er," said Courfeyrac, because he did not like being unexpectedly forced into seriousness. "Well, he…." Courfeyrac turned and was momentarily bewildered. Enjolras's hair had fluffed up, though Courfeyrac hesitated to apply the term, after its trim and managed to catch the light so that a sort of halo formed behind Enjolras. Courfeyrac was momentarily under the impression that he had acted as a very odd and half-assed sort of Aphrodite, beautifying a statue to near perfection, or polishing a marble angel of Michelangelo's, without ever really bringing it to life.
Grantaire cleared his throat and Enjolras looked up with a slight frown.
"I brought you something," Grantaire said, holding out a folded piece of paper, as one might hold out a treat to a dog that might bite. "It's the gendarmes' orders about enforcing censorship laws. I drink with some of the sergeants. You see, I drink for the good of the republic."
Enjolras's frown cleared and he stood, one hand on his book, with a finger extended to mark his place. He moved with sudden energy, enthusiasm lighting his blue eyes; before Courfeyrac's amused gaze, Enjolras came to life. He had that odd, indefinable air of confidence, of interest, of energy that meant he was out of his own world and ready to change someone else's. Enjolras, almost smiling, extended a hand to Grantaire, and Courfeyrac found himself wondering if the gesture was more Atheanian in its elegance or Spartan in its sparseness, and if Grantaire, who was a classicist, would know who to cast as Pygmalion.
Courfeyrac got bored of the mental debate, however, and went out the back steps to find his latest mistress and see if she wished to rip more buttons off of his waistcoat. In doing so, she discovered several strands of gleaming golden hair adorning Courfeyrac's coat and threw Courfeyrac out of her rooms. His clothes, with Enjolras's hair on them, followed after.
Courfeyrac returned to the Musain feeling very ill-used, only to see that Enjolras and Combeferre had left and Bossuet had made himself very comfortable by putting his feet on the table, lighting a cigar and balancing a medical textbook in his lap. Grantaire was sitting beside him, drinking, as usual, and Joly was very valiantly abstaining from both cigars and wine by pacing back and forth and trying to answer Bossuet's questions.
"Make sure the mother pushes out the…?"
"Baby?" guessed Joly.
"Yeees, that is always advisable. But, afterwards?"
Joly rubbed his nose with the knob of his walking stick. "I, er… starts with a p, doesn't it?"
"Yes, and Courfeyrac and Grantaire, it is absolutely not what you are thinking of."
"That comes before the baby," said Grantaire, who had yet to drink himself into a good mood. He was not exactly sulking, but kept running a finger around the rim of his wineglass, and Courfeyrac was too annoyed to probe deeply into Grantaire's behavior.
"Ah, poor fellows," sighed Courfeyrac. He collapsed dramatically into his chair, realized that he was now looking at the soles of Bossuet's boots, got up, and collapsed dramatically into Joly's vacated chair, so that he was on the other side of Grantaire. "We none of us are happy. Well, except perhaps Bossuet, the cigar-hogging reprobate that he is, not offering one whose heart has broken and whose life is at an end the healing balm of a tobacco leaf."
"Shall I write you a funeral oration?" asked Bossuet, blowing a cloud of smoke up to the ceiling quite nonchalantly. "Besides, this is Joly's. He gets it back when he answers a question correctly."
Joly looked longingly at the cigar. "Post-birth?"
"That was terribly wrong, Jolllly."
"You should worry about post-mortum procedures," Courfeyrac said, trying to sound poetically languishing instead of as petulant as he felt. "My mistress has left me because she found Enjolras's hair on my overcoat."
Bossuet winced. "Bad luck. Did she think it was someone else? I had a mistress who did that too. I took Joly's overcoat by mistake, she shrieked that all that blond hair had to come from somewhere, since I had no hair so to speak of, and if that somewhere was my roommate, my roommate was a filthy whore."
"Tut tut," said Joly. "That's a cruel thing to say about someone she had never met."
"It was something along those lines," said Courfeyrac, managing just in time to keep himself from running a hand through his hair and spoiling the curls he worked so hard to perfect. "She wouldn't even let me explain before she burst into tears and called me an amoral, unfeeling cad with no respect for the feelings of others."
"Why did you have Enjolras's hair on your overcoat?" asked Grantaire, who had stopped playing with his wineglass to look intently at Courfeyrac.
"I cut his hair for him," explained Courfeyrac, with a one-shouldered shrug. "I was bored, it was bothering him, it makes sense, doesn't it? Not to Joséphine, however!"
Bossuet passed him the cigar, at a nod from Joly. "Cheer up, Courfeyrac old fellow. Her name wasn't even Joséphine. That was a nickname you came up with when you got too drunk to remember her real name. Besides," he added, as Courfeyrac blew a cloud of smoke at him in retaliation, "she would probably have gotten jealous that you got to play with Enjolras's hair when no one else has."
Courfeyrac laughed and did not notice when Grantaire carefully picked several shining, golden strands of hair off of Courfeyrac's overcoat and, with an odd look of longing, held them up to catch the light.