A/N. My apologies! Life happened to me in the intervening months, so I hope no one has given up on me entirely, but here is Chapter 7 of Courfeyrac's arc which has grown exponentially.

Also, enormous thanks to KChann88 and chainsaw_poet, who help me enormously.

Chapter 7 : A Pox on this House

Courfeyrac seems to get warmer every time Enjolras touches him, tentative, wary of waking him, despite how fitfully he's sleeping. He's still in Enjolras' bed, tossing around in the search for the cool spots on the pillow and sheets, Enjolras realises. He's peeled the duvet back and replaced it with a sheet and much lighter blankets, which helps.

Enjolras finds it incredibly hard to concentrate. He's dragged a stack of files into his bedroom and is using the end of his bed as a desk. He couldn't sleep and couldn't fight the urge to fidget (and risk waking Courfeyrac) any longer. So he'd made good his attempt to extricate himself when Courfeyrac rolled away, clearly uncomfortable once he'd warmed up, thanks to the fever and the heat Enjolras always kicks out. However, he didn't think Courfeyrac would be pleased waking up alone, and Enjolras found he was reticent to leave him. So here he was, bent over a make shift desk, entirely failing to make head way into the new cases they'd been given and spending much more time glancing over at Courfeyrac, sighing, and fighting down the worry that was niggling in his belly. Was this how Combeferre felt all the time? He certainly seemed to worry enough about all of their friends, as did Joly, or perhaps they were just more accustomed to it?

Enjolras' hand jerks, sending ink shooting across the sheets from his fountain pen, as Courfeyrac suddenly sucks in a breath and starts coughing, waking himself up in the process.

He sits up too quickly and presses a hand to his head as the room spins around him.

"Hey...hey. Steady." Enjolras drops the pen, much to the detriment of the sheets and scrambles on to the bed to steady him. "Sat up a bit quickly, there."

Courfeyrac nods, breathing as though he'd been running, eyes wide. "Sorry. Bad dream. Strange dream."

Enjolras presses a hand to his forehead. "Thought so. You've been tossing around. I didn't know whether I should wake you...I heard once you shouldn't wake people up from nightmares and..."

Courfeyrac takes his other hand, to stop him. "It's alright. Stupid fever. That's all." He looks over at the chair at the end of the bed, the case files spread across it and looks up at Enjolras. "Have you been working in here?"

"Trying to. Haven't gotten very far."

Courfeyrac looks touched and squeezes Enjolras' hand. "Thanks. What time is it?"

"Just after 12."

"Is Combeferre home yet?"

Enjolras drops his head, irrational guilt flooding him. "No, Fey. He's had to stay. Too many other doctors off sick. He'll be home soon."

Courfeyrac tries really hard to keep his expression neutral, but knows he fails, watching Enjolras' face drop in reaction. Enjolras musters up a smile though, and wraps an arm around Courfeyrac's shoulders.

"R's coming over though. And he'll be a good distraction if nothing else. And I'm a much softer touch than Combeferre when it comes to these things, I won't confine you to bed for a start. So, what would you like to do?"

Courfeyrac shrugs and rests his head on Enjolras shoulder looking up at him plaintively, weighing his options before finally landing on one. "Die?"

"Oh. Fey, come on. Don't be like that."

"I'm sorry. I'm just…all hot and bothered, and miserable."

"Well I'm here to try my level best to make you feel even a little bit better anyway I can. Even cuddle all day if that's what you want."

"Really?"

"Really."

"Thanks 'jol. Love you." Courfeyrac says, nudging Enjolras with his shoulder.

Enjolras nudges him back, murmuring "Love you too," into his ear before easing Courfeyrac back down onto his pillows. Courfeyrac grins cheekily and reaches up to feel Enjolras' forehead.

"Maybe you have a fever too, if you're getting all soppy with me."

"Get off." Enjolras says with a laugh, and peeling Courfeyrac's hands away from his face. "You started it. And speaking of fevers, I should take your temperature again."

Courfeyrac sighs and stares at the ceiling. "Do you have to? I think it's pretty obvious I do have a fever."

"True, but Combeferre left instructions, and I'm man enough to admit I'm slightly scared of Combeferre in doctor mode."

"Fine." Courfeyrac' acquiescence doesn't stop him from pouting through the entire thing. Enjolras tries not to be amused, but it's difficult because Courfeyrac really does look like a petulant child.

"Are you going to take your medicine like a good boy too?" he teases lightly, partly in revenge for Courfeyrac's earlier dig and partly to disguise his concern that Courfeyrac's temperature has gone up rather than down since this morning.

"If you're going to tease you can bugger off, Enjolras."

"May I remind you, you are currently in my bed, where you asked to be, and I'm not above evicting you from it for your cheek," Enjolras says. "And you have no room to talk about teasing, Courfeyrac."

Courfeyrac sticks out his tongue and snuggles deeper into Enjolras' bedding until only a shock of brown curls can be seen.

"I'll take that as a 'yes, 'Jol, I'll be good'." Enjolras says.

Courfeyrac huffs from inside his bundle of blankets.

"Come on out of there. You've got medicine to take." He reaches an arm into the nest of blankets and curls his fingers into Courfeyrac's hair. "Come on. For me."

"You know you can't use that every time you want me to do something." Courfeyrac says, surfacing and folding his arms across his chest as he takes the medicine from the spoon Enjolras is pointing at him.

"No, but it won't stop me trying."

"You need to be more creative."

"Are you going to be difficult just to force me to think of cruel and unusual ways to make you behave?"

"Cruel?"

"If you're naughty, I may be tempted."

"Naughty? I'm not a child."

"Despite the way you act sometimes."

"Coming from you."

"Yeah, yeah. I'm a terrible patient, heard it all before. Currently, you're the patient so let's get you fed, hmm? Anything you want for lunch?"

Courfeyrac shakes his head. "Not hungry."

"You need to eat something." Enjolras says softly, giving in to the urge to comb Courfeyrac's hair away from his face.

Courfeyrac just shrugs. "Whatever you have." Normally Courfeyrac is pickier than this, especially when he's poorly, and Enjolras' concern increases.

"Alright." Enjolras says standing. "Well, it's me, so I'm sorry it's not going to be anything Michelin starred but I think I can manage soup."

"Not chicken! Lest it anger the pox!" Courfeyrac calls after him.

...

"Come on, Fey. You need to eat at least a bit." Enjolras wheedles, ten minutes later. "It's not that bad. Even I can't get tinned soup wrong." This is true, he can microwave along with the best of them, but he has to admit, tinned soup is never the most appetising thing.

Courfeyrac gives him a sardonic look but eats another spoonful. "Sorry. I really don't want anymore."

"Is there anything else you'd like? Ice cream even, as long as you don't tell Combeferre..."

Courfeyrac smiles, because Enjolras is trying so hard, but shakes his head. "Jus' wanna sleep."

Enjolras looks intensely worried and presses his hand to Courfeyrac's forehead for what feels like the thousandth time that day with a deep sigh. "Alright. But you have to try and eat dinner. It'll be nicer than soup; Grantaire promised to help me, so it ought to be safe."

Courfeyrac smiles wanly, and presses his face into a cool spot on the pillow. Soup has made him feel uncomfortably hot, and itchier still, and he fidgets in bed, suppressing the urge to scream from frustration.

Enjolras looks desperately worried but Courfeyrac can't find the energy to do anything to absolve it. Enjolras shifts to stand and Courfeyrac's heart jumps.

"Where are you going?" He asks, hating his neediness as much as he is desperate for Enjolras to stay.

"Just to get you a cold cloth. I'll only be a second."

Courfeyrac's mood is unnerving him somewhat. Courfeyrac is usually needy and clingy when he's not feeling well, but he is also melodramatic and tends towards over-acting the part. This quiet, withdrawn and miserable Courfeyrac is foreign, and Enjolras worries more than he'd like to admit. He wishes Combeferre was here, but he won't be home for hours now.

He takes a deep breath before going back into his own room, feeling sure he's projecting anxiety onto Courfeyrac, which is probably the last thing he needs.

"There." He says softly, pressing the cloth to Courfeyrac's forehead. "Does that feel better?"

Courfeyrac nods and closes his eyes. "Will you read to me?"

"Of course. What should I read?"

"That one Ferre was reading a while ago?"

"The Pratchett one?"

"Yeah."

"Alright but I'll have to go and find it..."

Courfeyrac nods, and lets go of Enjolras' hand so he can leave. He hates the panicky flutter of his heart when he's alone when Enjolras is gone for several long minutes.

"Sorry." Enjolras says, slightly breathless, when he returns, "Took me a while to find it. Under his pillow, of all places."

Courfeyrac does crack the tiniest smile at that: a pale impression of his usually exuberant grin but it's something. "Should have figured Combeferre would sleep with a book."

Enjolras smiles back and opens it.

Enjolras has a good voice for this; he is a natural orator, able to imbue words with colour and emotion without it becoming forced or overblown and has just the right amount of dramatic tendency to do all the character voices as well. Combeferre, for all his skills, empathy and sheer wonderfulness, does not possess this talent. He has a nice voice, to be sure, smooth and soft and comfortingly soothing so it's very easy to slip into sleep when he reads aloud like this. This is largely, what Courfeyrac wants right now, to sleep through this ordeal but finds himself so pulled into the story by Enjolras' reading that he's wide awake an hour later, very much wishing that Combeferre was here.

Enjolras has broken off several times now to take a sip of water or to clear his throat and Courfeyrac feels guilty for failing to sleep.

"This isn't working."He says quietly. "You're just too entertaining. I could listen to you all day and not fall asleep until you lose your voice."

Enjolras coughs into the back of his wrist. "Sorry. I could try to be less...entertaining." he offers.

"No. I think it's quite impossible for you. Besides, it sounds like you really might lose your voice, if you carry on."

"I'm alright."

"Never said you weren't. But thank you for trying." He pats Enjolras knee as an idea occurs to him. "You know, you should do children's story time at the library, they'd love you."

Enjolras glances up at him, smile spreading slowly across his face. "That's…that's not a bad idea…"

"It was mine. Of course it's a good idea. Will you?"

Enjolras only smiles and closes the book.

"Do you want to try watching a film or something? I can set up the laptop for you..."

"Yeah, alright."

Enjolras has to leave again, and Courfeyrac isn't happy about it but is mollified when Enjolras sits next to him, with the laptop resting on his knees and he pulls Courfeyrac under his arm to cuddle in.

The film does a better job at sending Courfeyrac to sleep than Enjolras reading Pratchett did and after a while Enjolras is overheated again between Courfeyrac's fever and the heat emanating from the laptop. He extracts himself without waking Courfeyrac and gets a shock when he finds Grantaire half inside his fridge, muttering to himself. He emerges wearing an appalled expression and holding a jar of marmalade with distinct disdain, giving Enjolras' surprise a raised eyebrow in greeting.

"Hello." Enjolras says, smiling as he recovers himself. "Has my fridge done something to offend you?"

"You mean aside from lacking any and all necessities to make anything remotely palatable?"

"I...er...we've been busy?" Enjolras replies, uncharacteristically awkward; dealing with Courfeyrac today has thrown him somewhat.

"I'll grant you a reprieve, this time. As Courfeyrac's ill, and, I imagine, a handful. Although he can't possibly be any worse that you."

Enjolras rolls his eyes and pushes himself into one of the stools at the breakfast bar. "Yes, thank you. I've already had this from Courfeyrac this morning. I'm the worst patient in the world, god knows why any of you are still friends with me."

"We're inexplicably fond of you." Grantaire replies, holding up a misshapen lump which might have been a vegetable at one time or another. "This is a bio hazard. I expect this of you, of Courfeyrac even...but Combeferre? I shall be having words."

"Combeferre's been on nights, and pulled about half a dozen double shifts in the last two weeks. Hence me wanting your assistance in doing something nice for him, but if you're just going to criticise my ability to manage a refrigerator then..."

"Oh give over, Testy. I'm teasing."

"Sorry, I just...Courfeyrac's really not well, and this...well, it's not my forte."

"What? Looking after people?"

"Mmm."

"From what I've seen you're reasonably adept. I've seen you rip people to shreds if they so much as look at one of your little ducklings wrong."

"That's...different. This is...caretaking. I'm...I'm just quite sure I'm getting it all wrong." He says, resting his chin in his hands and watching Grantaire dive, apparently bravely, back into the depths of their fridge. "Ducklings?"

"Ducklings." Grantaire confirms, but does not elaborate. "Or bear cubs." He adds after a moment. "Because you can be as fierce as a mother bear when you want to be."

Enjolras blushes down to his collar bones, glad Grantaire is still half ensconced in the fridge so he doesn't see. "Thank you? I think."

"Mmm. Maybe; your protectiveness and strength of character is admirable, but you can be as prickly as a bear with a sore paw too."

"Is it pick on Enjolras day? Or just bear analogy day?"

"Oh, I'm happy whichever. Are you feeling persecuted? Put upon? Belittled?"

"Are you sufficiently entertained if I say yes?"

"Mmmhmm."

"Then yes. Could we stop analysing my character flaws now, please?"

"As you wish, dear Apollo."

"You are insufferable. And early. I thought you said 4."

"I did. But you didn't sound as okay as you claimed on the phone and I suspected I might need to augment your meagre supplies if I'm to have any hope at all of fashioning something delectable for our dear Combeferre."

Grantaire finally straightens and turns to face him, holding a jar of mayonnaise in one hand and a jar of pickles in the other. Enjolras sounded exhausted as he spoke and he wondered for a minute if the banter had gone too far, but, no, Enjolras is smiling, chin propped in one hand as he watches Grantaire.

"You look flushed. Are you sure you're not ill as well?" Grantaire asks with a brief frown, extending the hand which holds the mayonnaise to press the back of it to Enjolras' forehead.

"I've had Courfeyrac wrapped around me for hours, and the laptop on my knee."

"Ah. Well then. Were you aware that the date on this jar of mayonnaise actually predates you moving into to this flat?"

"I'm sure it's fine. It's mayonnaise, what can go wrong with mayonnaise?"

Grantaire looks at him in disbelief for a long, silent moment. "You're ridiculous, you know that. Luckily for you, actually, luckily for Combeferre and Courfeyrac, you have me at your disposal. Now, first of all, has Courfeyrac eaten today? Actually, have you?"

Enjolras rolls his eyes. "Yes. I had breakfast, and a sandwich. Now who's the mother hen? Courfeyrac hasn't eaten, really. A few bites of cereal this morning, and a bit of soup."

"Tinned? I assume?"

"Yes."

"Well, no wonder he didn't want it. Right, well I can't do anything with this atrocity you call a larder so I need supplies. I will prepare Combeferre a sumptuous feast, and something which will entice even the sickly one to partake."

"Grantaire, you are a life saver."

"You know, that might be nicest thing you've ever said to me."

Enjolras swats him with a tea towel. "It is not. I reiterate, you are insufferable. Is there anything I can do to help? You have my services until Fey wakes up, I suspect."

"Unsupervised, no. Just sit tight, oh godly one, and I shall return bearing sustenance."

"And he says I'm ridiculous." Enjolras mutters as he closes the door behind Grantaire. He hears Grantaire laugh as he descends the stairs.

...

Courfeyrac is still asleep when he checks on him, so Enjolras risks leaving him and raids Courfeyrac and Combeferre's beds for soft furnishings and sets about creating a nest of sorts for Courfeyrac on the sofa in the hope he'll feel like a change of scene which in turn might cheer him up, or at least relieve the monotony of bed rest.

"What are you doing?" An amused voice asks from behind him as he debates the best positioning of a small round cushion.

Enjolras whirls around, cushion clutched to his chest, to see Grantaire standing by the kitchen door, arms loaded down with shopping bags and smirk on his face. It occurs to Enjolras that he might have become a tad too involved in perfecting his nest building if Grantaire has been to and returned from the shop in the time it has taken for Enjolras to transform the sofa into an overflowing mess of duvet and pillow.

"I..." Enjolras clears his throat and straightens, gathering himself. "I thought Courfeyrac might need a change of scene." He says, and pointedly puts the cushion down with as much dignity as he can muster.

Grantaire raises an eyebrow for a moment. Enjolras holds his gaze, daring him to comment further and holding his own tongue for seeking approval on nest-building. He does not need Grantaire's approval on his nest.

"Good idea." Grantaire says and disappears into the kitchen.

Enjolras stares at the open door for a second wondering why Grantaire constantly wrong foots him. He supposes this entire situation wrong foots him. Enjolras is at home in the courtroom, at a rally, giving a speech, leading from the front and taking action; this is all sitting quietly and waiting and trying not to do anything wrong and Enjolras very much feel like he's flailing.

Giving his head a quick shake, he fluffs a final pillow with as much dignity as he can muster and follows Grantaire into the kitchen.

"Can you be trusted to put this all away, while I visit the invalid?" Grantaire asks without turning, looking in bafflement at a cupboard which clearly isn't organised in any way of which he approves.

"Can I be trusted to put things away in my own kitchen? Yes. I think I might be able to manage that." Enjolras responds drily. "Courfeyrac's in my room, he was asleep last I checked don't..."

"I won't wake him up. See, mother hen...what did I say."

"Mama bear, actually. And something about ducklings."

"My point stands."

Enjolras puts the tin he was about to shelve down and turns to look at Grantaire standing across the table from him, smirking. "Are you going to see Courfeyrac, or just mock me?"

"I live to mock you, dearest Apollo. But, alas, other friends have greater need of my particular charm at the moment, so whence I go."

Enjolras finds himself staring at Grantaire's departing back once again for a long minute before shrugging, and returning to putting away what seems to be the majority of Tesco's.

...

"Where's Enjolras?" Courfeyrac asks as Grantaire enters the room, laden down with a pile of DVDs.

"Well, hello to you too, sickie," Grantaire snipes. "And to think I brought you my treasured Lord of the Rings extended editions that are enough to entertain you for two days with action packed Middle-Earth shenanigans, and you aren't even happy to see me?"

"R," Courfeyrac says, drawing out the name. "Don't tease me, I'm ill. Of course I'm glad to see you. And your DVDs. I just was surprised Enjolras wasn't right behind you." He sits up groggily, sagging back against the head board.

"He's putting away the groceries I bought," Grantaire answers, taking a seat on the bed. "Wanted to do something, he said, since I'm not allowing him near the kitchen while I'm cooking. Bad vibes from that time he somehow burnt the bottom of a pot cooking rice."

"That was one time," Courfeyrac adds. "Though, the kitchen was filled with a lot of smoke…"

"Exactly," Grantaire says. "Which is why he called me, because I don't suspect his idea of a nice dinner for Combeferre involves burnt pots. Though I think Combeferre will be a bit too busy fussing over you to think about eating all that much."

"I think Enjolras actually gets pretty close to Combeferre in that arena, at least when it comes to other people," Courfeyrac says fondly. "Combeferre worries, certainly, it's just who he is, but illness and medicine comes so naturally to him, obviously, but Enjolras fusses because I think he worries he'll do something wrong. Bit of a mother hen." He chokes on the last few words, descending into a coughing fit which caught him by surprise.

"Mother bear, more like," Grantaire replies, withdrawing to the end of the bed with a faux horrified expression as Courfeyrac hacks into his hands.

"Oh come off it, R," Courfeyrac mutters, wiping his mouth and glaring at Grantaire. "If you've had the chicken pox already you aren't going to get it from me. Hell, Combeferre and Enjolras have slept in this bed and they haven't got a spot on them."

"I love you Courf," Grantaire says, staying put. "But this is as close as I'm getting to your spotty-skinned self."

"You spent much of yesterday with me already, anyway!" Courfeyrac points out.

"Yes, but that was when you were miserable and upset and it was normal, run of the mill chicken pox. Not this mutated rendition of the virus you seem to be incubating." Grantaire says, indicating the patch of spots Courfeyrac is absently scratching on his collar bone.

Courfeyrac huffs in frustration and jerks his hand away, crossing his arm across over his chest. "If you're going to get it twice, you are already doomed. Since when did you have Bossuet's luck?"

"Didn't say I did," Grantaire counters. "I only know that I could get it, and there's no way in hell I want it."

"The chances…" Courfeyrac begins, rolling his eyes..

"Exist," Grantaire finishes.

"Then you best leave entirely then. You could catch it from just being in this room with me. How I got it from Gavroche." Courfeyrac says sulkily, scratching his leg before he realises and stops again.

Grantaire's eyebrows raise in surprise and he finally shifts to sit right beside Courfeyrac. "I was only teasing really." He says, apologetic enough that Courfeyrac gives him a tiny smile. "Come on, misery-face. Do you fancy a change of scene? Enjolras has made you...something..."

Courfeyrac's expression transforms into curiosity as he nods and starts to climb out of bed and follow Grantaire down the hall. He feels horribly light headed and trails a hand along the wall for support, half afraid he'll fall, and half relieved Grantaire hasn't seen how shaky he is.

He is even more relieved to see Enjolras come straight to him and offer his arm gallantly, as soon as he reaches the living room. He leans heavily on Enjolras for support as he looks at the sofa, drowning under a sea of blankets and duvets.

"You built me a nest." He says, rather pleased, and Enjolras sets him down in the centre of the thing.

Enjolras flushes and nods, "I..." He gives himself a mental slap for stammering again. He shrugs, aiming for nonchalant and feeling as if all he achieves is awkward. "Thought you might be sick of my bed..."

"I only like your bed because it occasionally it has you in it. You weren't in it anymore...thus..." He smiles up at Enjolras, who is looking down, rather concerned at the flush the short walk has brought to his cheeks, an apology on his lips. "It's alright. I knew you wouldn't be far away." He adds to make the guilty expression fade.

Grantaire is watching them, leaning in the kitchen door, amused smile on his lips. As well as he knows both of them, it is still strange to see them so far out of their usual context, and stranger still to see the concerned affection Enjolras exudes as he feels Courfeyrac's forehead, and that concern descend into outright worry.

Courfeyrac for his part flushes and his eyes flick to Grantaire, pushing Enjolras away.

"'Jol, don't, I'm okay."

"You're not, you're roasting hot." Enjolras murmurs, ducking his head so his lips are close to Courfeyrac's ear and only he hears.

Courfeyrac takes his hand and squeezes. "I know, but just…don't, alright. Stop worrying and come and sit with me?"

"You're too hot, but I'm no good at telling…can I…?"

Courfeyrac's eye flick to Grantaire for a split second. "Please don't…it's alright. Please?"

Enjolras eyes are round with indecision, his lip pulled between his teeth, glancing between Grantaire and Courfeyrac.

Grantaire takes the hint. "Well I need to get on with my masterpiece, exusez moi," and ducks into the kitchen.

Enjolras looks back to Courfeyrac, eyebrows raised for permission.

"Please don't." Courfeyrac says, near whimpering now. "I can't stand being fussed over right now. Combeferre can take my temperature when he gets back. He won't be long now, will he?"

"No, course not." Enjolras says lightly; Combeferre will be a good few hours yet, but hopefully Courfeyrac might sleep through some of those and not notice. "Well, let me make you comfortable at least."

Enjolras arranges the pillows so that Courfeyrac is propped up in the corner of the sofa, with the duvet tucked over him. He worries for a moment that Courfeyrac might be too hot, but he hasn't complained, and seems more content that he has been for a while, especially with Enjolras perched on the arm of sofa, stroking his fingers through Courfeyrac's hair.

"Enjolras where did you put…" Grantaire asks, reappearing in the doorway wiping his hands on a tea towel. He stops short when he sees the two of them on the sofa, Courfeyrac with his eyes half-closed leaning into Enjolras's touch. Grantaire presses his hands – and the tea towel to his heart. "That is literally the sweetest thing I have ever seen."

Enjolras rolls his eyes, fighting the instinct to get up as Courfeyrac mutters a quick "Stay."

Grantaire laughs. "Where did you put the garlic?"

"In the fridge." Enjolras replies.

"Would you like me to put this on for you?" Grantaire asks, amused, holding up the Lord of the Rings box set.

Enjolras looks down at Courfeyrac, who nods.

"Please." Enjolras replies.

Grantaire does so, and passes the remote control to Enjolras before squatting down by the sofa and looking at them with a smirk. "Can I get you two anything else?"

"I think we're good, thanks," Enjolras says, returning Grantaire's smile as he heads back into the kitchen.

Courfeyrac sighs, watching Enjolras' eyes follow Grantaire as he disappears.

"Go on." He says, nudging Enjolras with a shoulder to his ribs.

"Hmm?" Enjolras replies, distracted.

"Go help Grantaire. You've done enough cuddling for one day, and you must be bored stiff. Go play."

"It's alright. I can stay if you like."

"Really?" Courfeyrac asks with a disbelieving expression.

"Well, maybe I should help…"

"Go! Really, it's alright. I'll be alright, I'll probably fall asleep in a minute"

Enjolras slips himself off the sofa, but can't leave before checking Courfeyrac's temperature once more. Worry comes in sharp swoops and stab in his gut as he ghosts fingers over Courfeyrac's forehead, unable to tell if he's hotter or just as hot as he's been all day.

"Stop looking so worried." Courfeyrac grumbles, taking his wrist and giving Enjolras' hand a quick kiss. "You'll get wrinkles."

"Is that the thanks I get for my concern?" Enjolras says, trying for a light hearted smile. He leans over him to straighten out the blankets and peels a few off. "If you want anything…even it's just me…"

"You'll be ten feet away, 'jol. I'll be fine. Go help. Don't burn anything."

"As if Grantaire would let me."

Courfeyrac chuckles softly and rolls over, making a bid for more sleep.

He is sleepy, the quiet murmur of Enjolras and Grantaire bickering in the kitchen close enough to keep the need for company at bay and give Enjolras at least a bit of break. His mind drifts but every time the tendrils of sleep come for him, something itches and he has to shift. After several frustrating incidences of this, it's all Courfeyrac can do not to scream into the pillow and he sits up with a huff, intent on distracting himself instead.

To a degree, it works, until he glances down when something stings his arm to find his fingers clawing at it, blood smeared over his arm.

Ah.

...

In the kitchen, Grantaire sighs with exasperation. It is a comical reversal of roles; where Enjolras is usually the one despairing of Grantaire and his political apathy, his cynicism, it is Grantaire who is perplexed by just how incapable a man as smart as Enjolras can be in the kitchen.

"Julienne is the other way, Enjolras. Sticks, not discs."

"Oh." Enjolras replies, and dutifully begins to dice the carrots the other way.

In fairness, once corrected he produces good work, straight and even length and thickness, that is, until…

"Whoa…whoa…just…" Grantaire darts acorss the kitchen and divests Enjolras of the sharp knife before he can inflict any damage. "Slice the veg, not your thumb."

"Sorry. I…"

"It was your thumb, not mine. I just prefer you with both opposable thumbs. Much easier to navigate things like doorknobs, you see."

"Oh. Yes."

"If you're so distracted, maybe I shouldn't trust you with a knife?" Grantaire says.

"No. I can handle the knife. I was just…" Enjolras says firmly, and picks up the knife again.

"Distracted?"

Enjolras looks up at him, knife held a safe distance from all digits. "Yes. I suppose."

Grantaire pauses in what he's doing and comes over to Enjolras' chopping board and leans his hip against the counter.

"Stop worrying about Courfeyrac, so much. It's just the chicken pox. He's fine."

Enjolras shakes his head. "He's running a temperature."

"Yes. Because he has the chicken pox. It's normal. Stop fretting."

"I'm not…fretting. I'm just…"

"Worrying? Concerned? Anxious? Uneasy? Disquieted? Perturbed? Constipated? Disconcerted? Distressed? Ill at ease? I could go on."

"Please don't. Constipated?"

Grantaire shrugs. "It's one explanation for that expression on your face."

"I do not look constipated."

"No. You look worried."

"Grantaire…"

"Enjolras."

"Ugh. Fine. Yes, I'm worried. He's not himself and I don't know how to make him feel better."

"I reiterate. He has the chicken pox, of course he's not himself, of course he's running a temperature. You don't know how to make him feel better because there isn't a way to make him feel better. Bar what you are already doing."

"I'm still not any good at this."

"If I was ill, I'd happily have you as my nurse." Grantaire says, and it's the honest truth, but he twists the sentiment by raising his eyebrows leeringly.

But Enjolras, who seems almost as out of sorts as he claims Courfeyrac is, doesn't bite and responds in honest surprise. "Really?"

"Yes. Are you available for hire? And do you come with an outfit because…"

"You are infuriating." Enjolras says, elbowing Grantaire sharply in the ribs, the moment ruined. Grantaire almost regrets it, but the exasperated half smile on Enjolras' face is just as pleasing as the unsure, half-hopeful one of a moment before.

Satisfied that Enjolras has been thrown, and then restored to his usual humour, Grantaire turns back to prepping the meat.

"Enjolras?"

Enjolras is out of the kitchen, knife clattering to the chopping board, before Grantaire can even turn around at the sound of Courfeyrac's voice. He smiles, amused, and follows more sedately.

"What's the matter, Fey?" Enjolras asks, sitting down next to Courfeyrac.

"I...uh..." He holds out his arm, where there's a small trickle of blood. "I couldn't help it. It just..." he smiles, apologetic and abashed.

"I know. It itches. I know. It's alright. Let me get something to clean it up and a plaster. I'll be right back." Courfeyrac nods and lets him go.

Grantaire grins and comes over to take Enjolras' place as he dashes off to the bathroom to find supplies.

"Best not do that your pretty face, wouldn't want to ruin that complexion of yours." He says, chuckling.

Courfeyrac glares at him. "That's a horrible thing to say." He snaps, turning away from Grantaire.

Grantaire is taken aback. Courfeyrac is always up for a bit of banter; Grantaire can't honestly remember a time when he's not taken teasing in good faith, or a time when Courfeyrac snapped at anyone. Perhaps Enjolras' fretting isn't as displaced and exaggerated as Grantaire had initially assumed.

"I'm sorry." Grantaire says sincerely. "I was trying to make you laugh."

"Well, that's a pretty awful way to go about it...what if..."

"What's going on?" Enjolras asks, back in the room, cotton pads, antiseptic and plasters in hand, looking quizzically at Courfeyrac's glare and Grantaire's guilty expression.

"Me being a tool." Grantiare says by way of explanation and stands so Enjolras can resume his position. "Sorry, Courf. Really. I better...get back to the dinner." And disappears before Enjolras can question him further.

Enjolras sits back down and raises his eyebrows at Courfeyrac instead.

"Doesn't matter. I just over reacted."

"If you're sure..." Enjolras says slowly, tipping a bit of antiseptic onto a cotton ball. "This might sting."

Courfeyrac nods and turns his head away, squeezing his eyes shut as Enjolras presses the cotton wool against the spot he's made bleed. Enjolras makes quick work of applying cream and pressing a plaster over the top, fingers little touches of cool against his hot skin.

"There." He announces when he's finished.

Courfeyrac looks at him expectantly.

"What?"

"Combeferre always kisses it better."

Enjolras repeats his words silently, lips moving before he smiles, fondly, indulgently, and presses a soft kiss against the plaster.

"Better?"

Courfeyrac nods.

"What is it, Fey?" Enjolras presses when Courfeyrac's face falls again. "Did Grantaire say something?"

"He was only trying to help. It just..."

"It's alright, Fey..."

"Is it going to scar?" Courfeyrac says so quietly Enjolras almost asks him to repeat himself.

"What? Your arm? I shouldn't think so. That's why I've covered it so..."

"No. I mean...you know..." He gestures to his face.

"Oh. Oh Fey. No, no, of course it won't." Enjolras says, heart melting at the miserable expression Courfeyrac wears under his spots. He shifts and repositions himself, folding his long legs under him so he can join Courfeyrac on the sofa and hold him close. "You have to try not to scratch, but you've been so good. It won't scar, I promise."

Courfeyrac nods and presses his face into Enjolras' shoulder.

"Should I sit with you for a bit?"

Courfeyrac shakes his head. "No. I'm just being silly, and I can't sleep. Help Grantaire, I want Combeferre to come home to a nice dinner too."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah. I'm sure."

Enjolras doesn't look convinced; Courfeyrac tries to flash him a charming smile, but all it seems to do is confuse Enjolras further. He potters about for minute, Courfeyrac watching him in amusement, before disappearing into a kitchen.

Courfeyrac feels his absence as soon as he's out of sight, and takes a steadying breath. He's a grown up. He doesn't need his friend and partner-in-crime to hold his hand every minute. He even forces a chuckle at his own (poor, he'll admit) pun.

"What?" Enjolras asks, reappearing with a tray.

"Nothing. Just keeping myself amused." Courfeyrac says with feigned brightness and accepts the glass of juice Enjolras hands him.

Enjolras looks at him suspiciously but says nothing as he sets down a plate of nibbly things on the coffee table.

"I know your throat's sore, but I thought you might want something to…um…"

"Pick at?" Courfeyrac guess.

"Sorry yes."

"Maybe a 'spot' of tea?" Courfeyrac tries.

Enjolras lips quirk.

"Don't you dare. Don't you laugh. That was a terrible, and inadvertent pun from you and obvious and unoriginal one from me. No laughing for you." But even Courfeyrac feels his lips twitch, watching Enjolras try to suppress a laugh.

"Sorry." Enjolras says again, in a wobbly voice. "There's yoghurt too." He adds, gesturing to the tray.

To Enjolras' pleasure, Courfeyrac actually picks up the yoghurt and begins to eat it, albeit slowly. But as he returns to the kitchen, to resume chopping whatever else Grantaire sets him to, his mind is in the other room, definitely worrying.

He doesn't ask what Grantaire said to Courfeyrac, whatever it was between them, but it is out of character for Courfeyrac to take anything more than lightly and Grantaire unlikely to say anything to truly wound. Grantaire is slightly subdued now, so Enjolras chops and thinks and worries until there is a sharp pain in his finger and Grantaire's hand like a vice around his wrist, holding his hand under the tap.

It looks like an awful lot of blood, Enjolras thinks and sharply wrenches his line of sight away as his head suddenly turns woozy.

"For heaven's sake." Grantaire mutters, inspecting the cut. "You are a liability." He says and carefully wraps kitchen roll around Enjolras' finger while he searches for an appropriate plaster in the box Enjolras conveniently left out. Enjolras makes a point of not looking at his finger.

"Are you…? God, Enjolras, you look like you're going to faint. Here, sit down." Grantaire pushes him onto one of the kitchen stools, and Enjolras feels embarrassment flush his cheeks.

"I'm alright. Not going to faint."

Grantaire gives him a look, and notices Enjolras' eye flick away as he peels back the kitchen roll.

"It's not deep. Phew. Good job, didn't really fancy running you down to the hospital with a finger hanging off. Combeferre would have killed me. And it would have rather spoiled the surprise. And thanks to Courfeyrac, we've already got everything we need down here. The two of you really are quite the team." Grantaire chatters away to himself, turning Enjolras' hand this way and that. Enjolras continues not looking at the bloody kitchen roll, or his hand, and muses instead, on how surprisingly soft and warm Grantaire's fingers are on his arm, around his wrist.

"This is going to sting."

There is pressure, the smell of antiseptic and then burning. Enjolras swallows a gasp, and keeps his face impassive until the sensation passes and he feels a plaster being wrapped around his finger.

"There." Grantaire declares. "Hardly even needs the plaster really. Make sure you take it off tonight, so it can breathe."

Enjolras nods numbly, and finally looks at his finger, where a plaster covered in cartoons is neatly wrapped around his finger between the first and second joint. Strangely, Grantaire hasn't yet let go of his hand, but then again Enjolras hasn't pulled his hand away either. Their eyes meet for a moment, and Enjolras smiles slightly, and a second later, Enjolras's hand is at Grantaire's mouth, and Grantaire's lips are brushing over Mickey Mouse and friends.

Enjolras makes a sound which is somewhere between a laugh and a cry of shock. "What was that?"

"I heard that Combeferre always kisses it better." Grantaire says, before he can stop himself.

There is a very, very loud silence in the kitchen. Then, slowly, carefully, Enjolras extracts his hand from Grantaire's lips.

"God, sorry, that was really stupid." Grantaire shakes his head. "It's that Courfeyrac said… and I thought…. I thought it would be funny," he finishes, in a tone which suggests that it wasn't what he was thinking at all. "I should stop making jokes. I'm dying with the crowd here today."

"No, you're fine," Enjolras says quickly. "We're…we're just not much of a crowd today, really," Enjolras admits. "But it was nice, so thank you. For that, and for patching me up. " He wriggles the plastered finger.

"Least I could do. Especially as you looked as though something had sucked the life out of you." Grantaire is back on surer ground now, teasing Enjolras again. "Don't much like blood, do you?"

"Does anyone like it?"

"Most people manage to avoid fainting."

"I did nothing of the sort."

Grantaire stares at him, mirth bubbling in his eyes as Enjolras feels his face grow hot. His reprieve comes in the form of a pot bubbling over and hissing on the stove.

"Ah! The potatoes." Grantaire cries, darting to their rescue. "You." He says, turning back to Enjolras and pointing at him with an oven glove. "Out. And stay out. Banished."

...

"Hey, where are we up to?" Enjolras asks coming back into the living room and folding himself into a space in the nest. Courfeyrac immediately uses him as a pillow, coughing a little as he sits himself upright.

"Lothlorien."

"Ah."

"R's kicked you out, hasn't he?"

"No. I...um...retreat is the better part of valour?"

"You know the meaning of retreat? At least I don't smell burning."

"That was once!"

"The rice was. You burning toast is a daily occurrence."

Enjolras pinches the bridge of his nose with a sigh.

Courfeyrac lifts his head to look at him, concerned himself.

Enjolras opens one eye and smiles. "I'm alright. Well, except for this."

He wiggles his cut thumb, and Courfeyrac grins and holds out his arm.

"Plaster buddies," he says reaching out his fist to bump against Enjolras' own, and Enjolras complies, rolling his eyes with a chuckle. "But you're sure you're all right? No migraines?"

"No migraines. Stop fretting. Stop looking at me like that."

"Swear?"

"I swear." He's saved further convincing by his phone ringing.

"How is he?" Combeferre asks as soon as Enjolras answers his phone.

"Feverish and itchy. And grumpy."

" 'M'not grumpy'," Courfeyrac grumbles, mostly into Enjolras's chest. Combeferre clearly hears this because there's laughter on the other end of the line.

"Oh dear." Combeferre says. "Try a cool bath or a shower for the itching and the fever and there's cream somewhere."

"I will. Cream helped earlier. How's work?"

"Will you still be alright by yourselves until 7? I can try to get cover..."

There's the barest pause that only Combeferre would detect before Enjolras answers. "We'll be fine. Don't worry."

"You're doing fine, 'Jol." Combeferre says softly, and hears Enjolras sigh. "Really. I'll see you soon."

"See you later."

"Call me if you need anything."

"Will do."

"Bye."

"Bye."

...

"You're squirming again."

Enjolras can't deny it. Besides the fact that he just can't sit still for very long, it's unbearably hot underneath the blankets and pressed up against Courfeyrac, as it had been that morning.

"Sorry. I am trying."

"You are trying. Very trying indeed." Courfeyrac manages a smile, but it's a weak one even by his pox-ridden standards. "It's all right. You managed half an hour. Besides, I'm too hot to cuddle anyway."

"Half an hour? It's after 3!" Enjolras hadn't realised how much time had passed. "Then you need to have some more paracetamol."

"Really?"

"Yes, especially if you're too hot. And itching."

Enjolras taps Courfeyrac's hand, because, probably without even meaning to, Courfeyrac's scratching at the side of his abdomen. Courfeyrac frowns and folds his arms.

"Do we only have tablets now? It'll really hurt my throat to swallow them." Courfeyrac has been fussing over taking medicine, but judging by the state of his voice, his throat probably really does hurt. But the tablets are all they have, and Combeferre had said how important it was to keep his temperature down. Not that paracetamol seems to be doing all that much, but it has to be better than nothing.

"Sorry, only tablets. I'll text Ferre and ask him to bring some more of the liquid kind home for the dose after this one, ok?"

Courfeyrac's expression suggests that this is very much not ok, but he says nothing. Somehow that's worse.

When Enjolras returns with the pills and a glass of water, Courfeyrac has kicked off most of the blankets, so that they are now lying in puddles of fabric on the floor. Between the angry spots which are still dotted all over his face, poor Courfeyrac, his cheeks are flushed pink. His hands are balled up in tight fists, which suggests that he's trying not to scratch. Perhaps it's time for more cream after this, if he'll take the fussing.

"Here." Enjolras sits down on the sofa and holds out the pills and the glass. Courfeyrac doesn't move. "Please, Courfeyrac."

"When is Combeferre coming home?"

"Soon."

"You said that last time."

"Well… sooner than last time?"

"Why can't I just wait for him to come with the liquid stuff, then?" Probably without meaning to, Courfeyrac raises his voice a little as he asks the question, which results in a series of nasty sounding coughs.

"Because we need to keep your temperature down." Enjolras tries not the let the frustration at repeating himself creep into his voice.

Perhaps he doesn't succeed entirely because Courfeyrac's frown deepens and he snatches the pills and water from Enjolras, swallowing them sharply – which only makes him cough more.

"Careful," Enjolras warns without really meaning to.

"Not like… 'm trying… to choke to death," Courfeyrac gasps between coughs.

Sighing, Enjolras reaches over to rub Courfeyrac's back, thinking that it might help to ease the coughing a bit. But the instant his hand touches Courfeyrac, his friend flinches away like he's been struck.

"Don't do that." Courfeyrac has stopped coughing now, but his voice is horribly roughened.

"Do what?"

"Touch me. It makes the itching worse. So, just don't – all right?"

"All right," Enjolras says. "I'm sorry, you should have said. I didn't know."

"So it's my fault for not saying?"

"'Fey I didn't mean…"

"Oh, just leave me alone, Enjolras." Courfeyrac begins to cough again, curling in on himself into the arm of the sofa – away from Enjolras.

Reminding himself that Courfeyrac has a raging temperature, prickling, itching skin, and hasn't left the house in three days, Enjolras swallows any retort that might be forming and stands up.

"I'll make you some tea," he says steadily. "It might help your throat."

He walks into the kitchen and closes the door behind him.

"Oi, have you forgotten what 'banished'…" Grantaire stops talking as he looks up from the pan he's stirring to see Enjolras leaning heavily against the counter. "Everything ok?"

"Are people normally bad tempered when they're ill?"

"Well, if you're anything to go by then…"

"Oh, not that again, please." Enjolras sounds so genuinely exasperated that Grantaire drops the teasing.

"What's the matter? You're worried about Courfeyrac?"

Enjolras nods.

"Normally, he won't be by himself when he's ill. When the three of us all ended up in bed with the 'flu once, he wouldn't even sleep without one of us next to him. Now he bites my head off for touching him and tells me to leave him alone. Yes, I'm worried."

"He snapped at me earlier," Grantaire admits. "But that was probably something I said. It usually is."

"Don't say that. It's not true." Their eyes meet again for a moment, and there's a pause before the thought of Courfeyrac in the next room brings Enjolras back to the matter at hand, and he turns away to flick on the kettle.

"Will you try talking to him?" Enjolras asks.

"I think I'll probably make his temper worse."

"Please? Just see if there's anything he wants."

Grantaire looks hesitant for a moment, and then says, "I'll try. If I don't come back, and dinner is ruined, then you're to blame."

Turning down the heat under one of the pots, Grantiare places the wooden spoon across its rim. Hand on the kitchen door handle, he pauses and looks over his shoulder.

"I'm going outside. I may be some time."

Enjolras can't help but smile. Grantaire winks, and slips into the living room, leaving the door open behind him.

Courfeyrac's chills have clearly returned, because he's retrieved a blanket from the floor and has wrapped it around himself clumsily, probably too tired and achy to do a better job. And he looks thoroughly miserable.

"How are you feeling?"

"How do you bloody think?" Courfeyrac snaps, beyond sick of that question. But he sounds more exhausted than angry.

Grantaire's eyebrows shoot into his hairline and he throws a wary look back towards the kitchen.

"Sorry." He says with a half smile. "Habit. Stupid question. Enjolras was… That is, we both were wondering if you needed anything?"

As the kettle begins to bubble in the background, Courfeyrac asks in a very small voice, "Is Enjolras making tea?"

"Yep," Grantaire nods.

"Tea would be nice."

"Tea we can do," Grantaire says with a warm smile, which Courfeyrac – who looks almost tearful now – can't really return. "Anything else?"

Courfeyrac swallows hard, winces, and shakes his head.

"Well?" Enjolras asks, once Grantaire has closed the kitchen door behind him.

"Just tea. And sympathy, I think."

"Should we be worried?" Enjolras asks suddenly. "I know we talked about this earlier, and you said it's just the chicken pox. But how sick do people get with chicken pox?"

"I don't know – don't even remember how ill I was with it as a child. But he's still coherent, right? And he ate something, and he wants tea – all good signs?" But Grantaire doesn't sound quite as convinced as he did earlier than morning.

"Yeah, I suppose." Enjolras pours boiling water over a tea bag and pokes it around a bit with a spoon.

"And Combeferre will be home in a couple of hours. He can decide is anything's really wrong then."

"Right. Good point." As he fishes out the teabag and adds milk, Enjolras wonders which of the three of them will be most glad to see Combeferre this evening. "Ok, then. Tea. Wish me luck."

Grantaire grins and nods, and turns back to his cooking.

"Here we are then." Enjolras hands the mug of tea to Courfeyrac, who cradles it to his chest like a hot water bottle, and shivers. "Cold?" Enjolras asks.

Courfeyrac's lip trembles and he nods.

"Your fever might be going up again. Do you want to cuddle to get warm?"

To Enjolras' growing alarm, Courfeyrac shakes his head. "I'll get too hot, and then I'll itch."

He fiddles with the blanket, looking very much as if he's fighting tears. "Sorry I snapped…I'm just…I just really want it all to go away now." He whispers, voice quiet and thick.

"You know I'd take it away in a heartbeat, if I could." Enjolras whispers back, crouching beside the sofa and tentatively reaching over to brush Courfeyrac's curls out of his eyes, appreciating not for the first time how difficult this must be for Courfeyrac to cope with. Courfeyrac isn't vain, but he's aware of his looks, and Enjolras knows him better than a brother and understands that for all his confidence Courfeyrac has insecurities as does any man; he questions how much of his personality, his affability is tied up in his looks. To Enjolras, who doesn't overly think about appearances, the answer is simple, none of it; Courfeyrac is beautiful because of his soul. But poorly, feverish, itching and covered in spots, Courfeyrac is struggling to cope. "I'm sorry it's me here, and not Combeferre, I'm doing my best. I just wish I could fix it for you." He says gently.

Courfeyrac bites his lip, eyes burning but determined not to let tears fall. "I like having you look after me, 'jol. I'm sorry, I don't know why I'm being like this, I don't mean to be…it's like some kind of monster takes me over and says things I don't mean. I'm really sorry."

"You don't have anything to be sorry for. You're being this way because you have a high temperature, and I'm sorry if I'm being over bearing, but I'm worried about you. So…can I feel?" Enjolras asks, trying to be understanding and sympathetic to Courfeyrac's irritability.

Courfeyrac hesitates but then nods and leans into Enjolras's touch with a sigh, which Enjolras echoes; he'd much rather have a poorly Courfeyrac who takes comfort from touch than the miserable, irritable one who can't stand it. It's so unlike Courfeyrac, ill or well, to not want touch in some form, and Enjolras finds he's not sure how to offer much comfort in any other way.

"That nice?" He asks, as Courfeyrac sighs again and finally, settles against him.

Courfeyrac nods into his hand. "Y'r hands 'r' cold." He mumbles. "Don't understand it…feel all shivery, but my face is burning."

"Ah. Here then." He switches hands when he feels one grow warm from Courfeyrac's forehead.

"Cold hands, warm heart." Courfeyrac says sleepily, tapping a finger on Enjolras' chest, over said heart.

"So they say." Enjolras pets Courfeyrac's hair with his free hand. "Oh. I've had an idea. Let me up..."

Courfeyrac makes a noise of protest, sounding much like a wounded puppy.

"For two minutes, I'll be right back."

Courfeyrac takes a sip of the tea, before putting it down and pressing his own hand to his hot head. It's not the same. Enjolras' hands are nice and cool and comforting, his own feel clammy and all together unpleasant. He closes his eyes and nestles back into the pillows on the sofa, trying to find a cool spot that mimics Enjolras's touch.

He opens his eyes when something wonderfully cold presses against his forehead.

"I'm not sure why I didn't think of this before." Enjolras says holding up an ice pack that they usually have in the freezer, mostly to deal with Enjolras' migraines, occasionally the odd strain or sprain or bruise. "Here, sit forward for a sec..."

Courfeyrac complies and feels another patch of cool on the back of his neck and finds himself propped up on a pillow resting against Enjolras' lap.

Enjolras is leaning over him now and he feels another two ice packs pressed inside his elbows and another two against his wrists. "I seem to remember Combeferre doing this to me once when I was poorly. It helped. Is it helping?"

Courfeyrac nods because the urge to rip his own skin off is fading and he feels like he can lie very still and just enjoy the cool spreading over his body.

The backs of Enjolras' cool fingers are stroking across his feverish cheeks, and Courfeyrac closes his eyes – trying to focus on that sensation rather than vestiges of itching that remain.

"Tired?" Enjolras's voice is soft and low.

Courfeyrac blinks his eyes open.

"And bored." Courfeyrac whispers.

"We could play dot to dot on your chest?" Enjolras says, poorly restraining a smirk.

Courfeyrac throws him a filthy look and huffs.

"Oh...'Fey. Come on. I'm sorry." Enjolras hesitantly touches Courfeyrac's shoulder, only to be rebuffed. Cautiously, he leans over to press a kiss to Courfeyrac's temple, then to his cheek, his neck and wherever he can reach.

Courfeyrac can't help it, he has to laugh. Enjolras is so rarely like this, playful, it is hard not to indulge him.

"Stop! Stop! You really are making me itch." He manages between giggle after a minute.

"Sorry." Enjolras is apologetic but grinning, his hair in complete disarray, standing out in a fluffy mass around his head from the tussle. Courfeyrac elects not to tell him.

"So just how long have you been sitting on that truly horrendous joke?" Courfeyrac asks.

"Mmm. About 2 hours." Enjolras admits. "I am sorry. Come on, I'll make it up to you." Gently leaning Courferyrac forward, he rearranges the pillows behind him, and retrieves one of the blankets which is still floor and tucks it over Courfeyrac's legs, adjusting the other blanket which is already over his shoulders. Then, he lays Courfeyrac and the pillows against himself – hopefully providing enough contact to be comforting, but not so much as to make Courfeyrac hot and itchy once again. Then, slowly and softly, Enjolras begins to card his fingers through Courfeyrac's curls.

"That's not fair. How do you expect me to remain angry with you if you play with my hair? Most underhanded tactics." But, as predicted, Courfeyrac's eyes have fallen closed again and his face is relaxed and blissful.

"You can never stay angry with me." Enjolras replies.

"Mmm..." Is the only response Courfeyrac gives, lost to the tender ministrations of Enjolras' clever fingers and the growing need to sleep.

Please review, it's much appreciated!