Title- Enjolras In Love
Characters/Pairings- E/E, general talk of the Amis
Summary- There was only one person whose romantic endeavors would have shocked les Amis more than Marius. It was lucky, then, that they didn't know. He was pretty sure he'd never live it down if they did. E/E
A/N- This is my first Les Mis fic. Expect more from me in future, mostly musical-based. I tried to read the novel once but never got through it (in my defense, I was nine). It's on my list of Things To Do this summer, but God only knows if I'll actually accomplish it. Anyway, look forward to plenty of E/E from me... including a crossover with Phantom of the Opera that's in the works that any Phan-Mizzies will hopefully enjoy. Anyway, on to my angsty-fluffy idiotic nonsense, most of which was written very late (or very early, depending on your perspective).
As Grantaire teased Marius for his new infatuation with some mystery woman, Enjolras couldn't help but smirk to himself. It was rather surprising that the young man had found love, when he had always showed so little interest in the women around the cafe. Indeed, there was only one person whose romantic endeavors would have shocked les Amis more than those of Marius, and that was himself. It was lucky then, he supposed, that they didn't know anything about the wanderings of his heart. He was pretty sure he'd never live it down if they ever discovered it.
Enjolras had been a serious child, who grew into a serious man. His true friends were few, his books were many, and his acquaintances were unorthodox and varied. By the time he was twenty he had dedicated himself utterly to his cause. The things that occupied so much the thoughts of his friends at the ABC, the endless nights of drinking and chasing women, held little appeal for him. That wasn't to say he was entirely made of stone, of course. He had been known to partake of one of the bottles Grantaire exuberantly passed around, and on more than one occasion he had taken to the streets to find a woman who would share his bed for a few coins. But the enjoyment was purely hedonistic, and always fleeting. He had a higher calling and he never forgot that.
Until, at least, the day she walked in.
Marius was the grandson of a friend of a friend of his father, and Enjolras had taken it upon himself to look out for the young man. He had been coming to meetings at the cafe for several months and Enjolras was impressed with his spirit. He was naive, that could only be expected in someone only a few years past his boyhood, but he had a quick mind and a sense of loyalty that Enjolras valued.
It was December the first time she trailed in after Marius. At first glance, he had almost thought she was a boy, in her scruffy trousers, the tattered old coat that was far too big for her, and the gray cap she hid beneath. It was only once the cap came off, revealing a fall of long dark curls, that he realized Marius' sullen companion was a girl. She was Marius' age or perhaps a little younger, obviously living rough and obviously undernourished.
Marius introduced her as Èponine Thenardier, and that was the end of any real trust most of the men might have given her. The name Thenardier was not unknown to them, and the stigma it carried in that district was unshakeable. That first day, she kept face downcast, avoiding the gazes of those around her and clinging to Marius like a louse. This trend continued the next several times she showed up. She seemed to mostly ignore them, and they mostly ignored her.
The fifth or sixth time she appeared in the cafe though, Enjolras found himself in a heated discussion with Lesgles on the subject of fair wages, most of the crowd in the cafe watching with vague disinterest (they had heard it all before, a thousand times over). He was in the midst of making his crucial point, slamming his fist down on the table to emphasize his words, and he glanced out at the array of blank expressions before him and there, at the back, was little Èponine, watching him with a shrewd look in her eyes.
Forever afterwards, he was sure it was the eyes that did it. He hadn't actually seen her face clearly before that moment, but as he met her gaze, ever so briefly, he was struck deeply and inexplicably by her eyes. Though her face was dirt-stained and her clothes were dingy, her eyes were a fierce, unashamed green that glittered against her pale skin. Judging by her appearance, calling her uneducated would be kind, but there was intelligence and vivaciousness in those eyes nevertheless. As their looks collided, one corner of her mouth quirked up in a little smirk.
Enjolras promptly forgot what he had been saying.
From that moment on, he was a man bewitched. Try as he might to divert them, his thoughts continually reverted to one Èponine Thenardier. And he did try, that could not be denied. He knew of her father and his gang, and his good sense warned him that the daughter of such a man was not to be trusted. Another voice within him, though, one that was far easier to listen to, reasoned that Marius trusted her implicitly and he had proved himself a good judge of character in the past. And so his mind continued to drift to Èponine with every thought that wasn't carefully directed elsewhere.
He watched her. She certainly was a devious little thing, not above bending or outright breaking the law to survive. Her morals were questionable, she was constantly dirty and it was obvious to absolutely everyone but the man himself that she was hopelessly infatuated with Marius. So why did he continue to feel so drawn to her?
For several months, he did an excellent job of convincing himself that the lure she held for him was a result of her condition. She was practically the poster child for his cause. Turned aside by her family, nearly friendless, forced to live on the streets, forced to steal and live by her wits just to get by, she was the epitome of everything he was fighting for. Of course he would be intrigued by her, right? This method of diversion worked quite well for some time, but it grew harder and harder to pretend that was all that his interest consisted of.
The tipping point, he supposed afterwards, came when Grantaire, in one of his typical semi-cogent stupors, made a particularly vulgar pass at her. Unabashedly she punched him for it, so hard his nose bled, securing him a great deal of good-natured ribbing from the rest of les Amis. Enjolras, meanwhile, could only sit and stare at the ragamuffin now perched nonchalantly on the counter, absentmindedly shaking out the hand she had used to hit the man.
He had never encountered any woman quite like Èponine. She was not fair or sweet or delicate. She swore like a sailor and had been involved in more than a few of her father's cons. In short, she was the perfect opposite of everything a wealthy young man was supposed to desire in a woman. But then, he thought wryly, he always had been something of a rebel. He had watched her from afar over the months, had observed her as she gradually came out of her shell around the boys of the ABC and a tiny bit of the woman beneath the hard exterior showed through, and she was absolutely fascinating to him. Her fearlessness amazed him, the untrained but promising intelligence she displayed on the occasions when she partook in their conversations intrigued him, all the while she was charming the handful of the revolutionaries she allowed to know her a little with her witticisms, and he had come to find her beautiful. Very, very in need of a bath and some proper clothing, but the promise was there, in her high cheekbones and the long, graceful lines of her body she must have inherited from her mother for it certainly hadn't come from her father. And so, despite his very best intentions, he found himself unable to deny it any longer.
Yes, Èponine Thenardier had touched a part of Enjolras he hadn't known even existed. He was still dedicated to his cause to whatever end, but it was no longer the only preoccupation in his mind or heart. She had invaded him and enchanted him, and by the time December rolled around once more he was forced to admit- if only to himself- that he had well and truly fallen in love with her.
Which was, of course, utterly ridiculous because any fool could see she herself was blindly in love with Marius.
How goddamn ironic.
She moped after Marius, the pining looks obvious to everyone but him, and he was proceeding to pine after her. He liked to think he was rather better at it than she was, because at least no one had any idea just how much he desired her for his own.
It was idiotic, he told himself repeatedly. They spoke very little to each other, though he observed her closely, and he knew she knew something of him because Èponine watched everyone (he suspected it was a method of self-defense). She belonged to Marius even though he obviously didn't want her, and Enjolras himself belonged to France. He wanted something he couldn't have. She was a distraction, and a frustrating one at that.
He had, as a consequence, thrown himself more deeply than ever into his commitment to the cause. The stirrings of his heart didn't matter to her, and they didn't matter to the thousands starving in the slums. This futile love did not count in the grand scheme of things.
This method of dealing with his feelings- burying them in the excitement of revolutionary spirit and treasonous talk- proved effective. He shared that particular bit of wisdom with Marius when the younger man made his complaint of lovesickness. And in the back of his head, he thought of Èponine. She would undoubtedly be heartbroken.
Selfishly, Enjolras imagined her at last realizing the futility of her infatuation. Selfishly, he imagined that perhaps in the aftermath, she would be more open to an approach by someone who might appreciate her.
Realistically, he knew her ways too well to hope for it. Besides, he had bigger concerns.