The ways in which Combeferre loves Enjolras are innumerable and often ineffable. It seems to Combeferre that Enjolras is something incarnate, some soul of old, an irrepressible being returned to corporeal form time and time again to mould and wield revolution like other gods wield lightening and fire. Enjolras is revolution and change; it is what he was born for, what he lives and breathes and how he will die. His is an ancient soul, wise beyond his years, classical in every sense of the word, in body, in face, in soul and in heart. In many ways he makes real the very ideals all of them treasure so dearly; fraternite, egalite and liberte and he will stand for nothing less than bestowing those gifts on all of mankind.

This is Enjolras the idea, the idol, the symbol and, Combeferre knows, the martyr. This is Enjolras when he gives speeches in front of the Polytechnic, the passionate cries and chants he leads them in on the streets, the rhetoric which gathers them all into a single entity of awe, hope and adoration in the back room of the Musain. This is the public face of Enjolras, the charming, the terrible, the glorious.

But Combeferre thinks he perhaps loves Enjolras most of all when he is like this; poorly, sniffly and curled up against Combeferre for warmth and comfort.

Enjolras always takes cold when the year turns it's very coldest and the air is frozen and stings the skin. The Seine is icy, the pavements glitter with frost and unthawed snows from falls long past. It is beautiful, but it is deadly, and as soon as he starts to hear the roughness in Enjolras' voice and the barely there, concealed into breaths sniffs, he knows a cold won't be far in coming.

Combeferre is glad of it; Enjolras will hide it as long as he can, evading his friends' concerned glances and queries and refusing to retreat to his bed until it's much too late and he comes to Combeferre, quiet, chid and not a little feverish and says "'Ferre, I'm really not feeling quite myself." And he transforms from the god, from the ideal, from the symbol, from the leader, from uncrackable marble into a little boy, who just wants to be cuddled and made to feel better. So Combeferre is glad, because this is the signal for their mutual retreat to their shared rooms away from the chill, away from the bite of the wind and away from the world which demands so much of them. Enjolras can simply be Enjolras the man, Enjolras the boy, Enjolras his friend.

It happens every time. So Combeferre will feel his forehead, and sure enough there is an unnatural heat there, a pallor, a pink tip to his nose and rim to his eyes. Combeferre will put him to bed and bring him tea and bread and read to him until he falls asleep. In the morning Enjolras will blush when Combeferre asks how he's feeling but with a little coaxing the truth will come out and Combeferre will have him bundled up on the sofa in their tiny living space, sniffling and sneezing and curled into Combeferre's side. For just a little while Combeferre has Enjolras to himself, warm and close and safe, and their roles are reversed; Combeferre takes charge, prescribing cups of tea and poultices or balsams, and Enjolras will meekly submit to his ministrations; as long as he gets cuddles, he doesn't much mind.

All too soon normality is restored and Enjolras picks up the reins again far too soon, and Combeferre will watch him surreptitiously in meetings, still a touch flushed with fever, still pale and still hoarse but hidden beneath the marble mask, the unstoppable and incomparable Enjolras is back at the helm. Combeferre wishes Enjolras would realise that his friends, his brothers in arms, follow him out of love for him as their friend, that they have achieved their beloved fraternite and he doesn't need to be indestructible, infallible. They will love him all the more for his frailties; if they could see him as Combeferre does, the little boy inside that statuesque frame.