Grantaire threw back the rest of his whiskey, the burn in his throat barely bothering him anymore, just as the camera started rolling. He’d have Eponine cut that bit out, his followers didn’t need to know just how much he had to pregame in order to actually be drunk, or at least tipsy, while he was actually cooking on camera. Yes, he knew he had a problem. Whatever. He gave it a few good, long moments of just grinning at the camera for editing purposes before he launched into his shpiel.
“Welcome back to Drink With Me,” he said, shooting the camera a wink as he usually did, “today we’re going to be attempting something a little out of my skill set. Because what’s better for trying out a new, complicated recipe than being drunk?”
Here he paused to pour his “first” drink.
“Today I will be drinking jack and coke,” Grantaire continued, “while I attempt to make soufflé.”
Upon hearing this, Eponine, who was off screen, began to laugh.
“What?” Grantaire asked his camera person and best friend, scowling slightly.
“No way in hell is that going to work,” Eponine snorted.
Grantaire sighed and gestured to her, “Ladies and gentlemen, my greatest supporter.”
“R they can’t see me,” Eponine added while laughing.
“And whose fault is that?” Grantaire shot back.
“Just make your damn soufflé,” said Eponine.
Grantaire gave the camera a long suffering sigh, but he was smiling through it, “See what I have to deal with folks?” He sent a sharp look at Eponine, “And quiet from the peanut gallery," he then turned back to the camera, "alright so now it's time to make this souffle!"
He stood for a moment before going to gather the ingredients. They’d edit it later so that all the items seemed to simply appear in front of him. Nobody cared about watching him find where things were stored in his kitchen. He’d learned that the hard way when he’d just started out.
"Time to make a souffle," Grantaire started singing to himself.
He tended to do that, make up little songs for his own amusement even when he didn’t have an audience. He started pouring the ingredients all this while sipping at his jack and coke in the process.
“Gotta make sure to whip up those eggs,” he said as he did just that, “That means our soufflé will be nice and tall and fluffy,” he paused and frowned, “I think? Don’t ask me, I never have any idea what I’m talking about.”
He continued to stir and he looked at the recipe he'd printed out while he was doing so. Eponine cleared her throat pointedly. Grantaire looked up, his concentration broken.
“Tell the people what you’re doing, R,” Eponine prompted, “They watch you for your pithy remarks not your pretty face.”
Grantaire stuck his tongue out at her, "Well they also want me to succeed."
"Nah...." Eponine replied, "failure is more fun, like with your first episode."
Grantaire couldn’t stop the blush that stained his cheeks. Even now several years later he didn’t like to think about The Incident. Not only had his video been overly long and kind of boring, but he’d also very newly burned the apartment building down. The only bright point had been that in the ensuing evacuation he’d met Eponine and they’d been best friends ever since.
Upon discovering it was his fault that she had to be woken up at 2AM and stand outside freezing in her pajamas at first she'd been upset. But upon revealing he'd attempted to make grilled cheese, that was more like toast since he had not cheese... Eponine decided he needed her, especially when the video had gone viral. At first it had just been helping him come up with ideas and making sure he didn’t hurt himself. But after a few more long-winded videos, Eponine had taken over as camera person and editor. That was what had really skyrocketed him into tens of thousands of subscribers and beyond.
That being said, they tended to tease each other mercilessly and Eponine’s favorite pastime was ribbing him about his past video mistakes. Grantaire let out a huff and moved on with the next step of the recipe.
“Anyway,” he said pointedly, “now that we’re all mixed and whipped and all that fun stuff, it’s time to bake. Now, I don’t have any of those fancy little ramekins you’re supposed to make a soufflé in, so I’ve had to get a little creative.”
Grantaire pulled out ceramic bowls of varying shapes and colors, "They're all about the same depth which is good enough for me.”
“I had one shaped like a dick,” he said conversationally, “but ‘Ponine pulled a veto. Which shouldn’t even be possible, by the way, this is my channel. I’m technically the president.”
“You just keep telling yourself that,” Eponine laughed.
Grantaire rolled his eyes, "Anyway I guess we're just trying to keep things as family friendly as a guy who gets drunk while he cooks can be."
He finished pouring the batter.
“To the oven!” Grantaire proclaimed, picking up his handheld camera so that he could get a close up of putting the soufflés into the oven, “And now that we’re baking, you know what that means. It’s time to drink with me.”
Whenever he had a recipe that required waiting for something to rise or bake or any other time consuming activity, while waiting Grantaire would take the time to sit, drink, and answer some questions and comments.
Grantaire reached for his phone and began to scroll, "Let's start with my friends on instagram."
He did actually run all of his own accounts, he didn’t have production teams or social media gurus like some YouTubers did nowadays. He was the most active on Instagram, often posting random pictures throughout the day. Probably far too many artsy shots of alcohol bottles and his own paint splattered hands. And that was one of the best parts of making the majority of his money from YouTube videos, it gave him plenty of time to pursue is other passions.
"Alright here is a good one," Grantaire paused and took a sip, "sorry ahead of time if I butcher your username terribly."
Grantaire answered several questions from Instagram, Twitter, and even some from his most recent videos. He never understood why people were so interested in him and his life, but they were. Most of the questions were for himself but there were a few for Eponine as well. Of course, the most popular question was whether they would ever see her on camera.
"Well Eponine? You ever going to be more than just a disembodied voice?" Grantaire raised his brow.
Eponine scrunched up here nose like she’d just smelled something terrible.
“She’s making a face at me,” Grantaire informed the camera, “so I guess that means she prefers to remain a unicorn, often spoken of but never seen.”
Eponine silently nodded in agreement as the timer dinged on the oven.
“Soufflé is done!” Grantaire jumped up, “now for the moment of truth, drumroll please.”
“Don’t loud noises make soufflés fall?” Eponine asked.
“Myth!” Grantaire said over his shoulder, “They simply fall with time.”
Grantaire reached for the oven door slowly even though he was certain it was a lost cause.
“Oh boy,” he muttered under his breath.
He gritted his teeth and opened the oven door and felt himself gaping. Slowly, he pulled the soufflé out of the oven.
“Holy shit,” Eponine breathed, “it actually worked.”
“You’re supposed to eat it right away,” Grantaire said, “but honestly I’m too afraid to touch it.”
“Just eat it!” Eponine called out, “And save me a bite.”
“Alright, alright, hold your horses,” Grantaire huffed, grabbing the spoon he had prepared earlier, “Here goes.”
As he stuck in his spoon Grantaire sighed, “This smells heavenly.”
“And...?” Eponine prompted.
Grantaire took a scoop of fluffy soufflé and blew on it lightly before sticking it in his mouth. Immediately, his eyes fluttered close.
“Okay if it’s that good don’t hog it all,” Eponine complained.
“If you would only come on camera,” Grantaire said through his mouthful, “Actually, let’s wrap this up so you can try some, otherwise I might eat the whole thing.”
“Yes!” Eponine whooped.
It was usually around this time that there would be some editing magic and then Grantaire would attempt to say something insightful and pun filled about his latest creation.
“We can do the outro later,” Eponine said as she switched the camera off, “let me get in on that soufflé while it’s still warm.”
As if waiting for that cue, a knock sounded at the door. Eponine and Grantaire exchanged a glance.
“Marius,” they said in unison.
Marius was another one of their neighbors, an old friend of Eponine and her childhood crush. He always managed to arrive at the apartment just as there was food ready to eat.
“You get the door,” Eponine replied, “and tell him I’m not sharing.”
Grantaire rolled his eyes, but went over to the door to open it anyway.
“Marius!” he greeted, “Perfect timing, as always. I swear you have a sixth sense.”
“It’s not on purpose,” Marius said, his eyes wide and earnest, “I swear.”
“I’m not sharing!” Eponine hollered.
“She hath spoken,” Grantaire said gravely, “I have no control over the matter.”
“What did you even make?” Marius raised his brow.
“Soufflé,” Grantaire replied, “and it actually worked.”
“I’m impressed, R,” Marius said with absolute honesty, clapping him on the shoulder.
“Unfortunately ‘Ponine has probably laid waste to whatever remained.” Grantaire sighed.
Marius shrugged, “She did say that she wasn’t going to share.”
“Yes, yes she did,” Grantaire nodded.
The two of them were silent for a moment before Grantaire spoke again, "So what exactly did you come here for?"
"Props," Marius sighed, "and I would tell you but Courf swore me to secrecy."
"Well now I really want to know," Grantaire smirked, "what kind of props do you need?"
“Underwear,” Marius replied, “I need your underwear.”
Grantaire started to unbutton his pants just to see Marius turn pink.
“If you wanted to get into my pants, all you had to do was asked,” he joked.
“Clean underwear!” clarified Marius, averting his eyes.
Grantaire sighed, "Well where is the fun in that?"
“I have been sworn to secrecy,” Marius said, “I’ve only come for the underwear.”
“How many does he need?” asked Grantaire.
“As many as you can spare.”
Grantaire raised his brow, "Okay..."
Marius made a zipping motion across his lips and Grantaire shrugged.
“Give me a sec.”
Marius made his way into the kitchen, which was immaculately clean especially compared to the rest of the apartment, since that was where Grantaire did all of his filming. Eponine was there finishing up the last bits of soufflé.
“Hey,” Eponine waved, finishing her bite of soufflé.
“Hey,” replied Marius with a small smile.
Although Eponine has gotten over her crush on Marius, things were sometimes still a little awkward between them sometimes.
“So, Courf making another video?” Eponine asked.
“Always,” replied Marius fondly.
“Well good luck with whatever it is,” Eponine nodded.
At that moment, Grantaire returned with a canvas bag.
“Make sure he doesn’t steal any,” Grantaire commanded, “I need those.”
Eponine furrowed her brow, “Do I even want to know?”
“Probably not,” Marius admitted.
Courfeyrac sent a string of happy emojis in response to the text from Marius that he was on his way with a stack of R’s underwear. He already had a bunch of his own and several donations from Marius as well ready and waiting. After watching another youtuber take the time to painstakingly paint 100 coats of nail polish he’d been very inspired.
A lot of people were doing to with various kinds of makeup, but he hadn’t seen anyone try with clothes yet. Not to mention, his followers loved it when he went shirtless for videos. Not that he was doing it just for the likes or anything. Courf never did anything just for the likes.
Courf’s version on the challenge was more than just clothes however. It was one very specific...unmentionable. Hence sending Marius out on his mission. Sure it was silly, but it was going to be fun. Which was why he was doing it.
Of course, his channel hadn’t started that way, doing a myriad of random things for his own enjoyment. When he had first decided to make YouTube videos, Courf had taken cues from his name. Since his gmail account was AntCourf, inspired by his full name, that automatically became his channel name. And so he’d started out as a kind of agony aunt, Aunt Courf, making videos to answer life’s burning questions. But Courf could be fickle and that soon became boring and monotonous.
It was little things at first, like pulling pranks on Marius. It was remarkably easy to pull those pranks, not just because they were roommates so Marius was a convenient target, but also because the man could be a bit gullible. Which was why that was an ongoing series to this day. He'd even taken to dabbling in the Let's Play side of youtube, not too seriously, and not usually with the popular games.
While he was waiting for Marius to get back, Courf decided to film the intro to his video.
“Hey all, it’s me Courf!” He loudly proclaimed to the camera, “I don’t think you’re ready for what I have planned today.”
Courfeyrac dramatically flopped into his chair, “Who’s ready for a challenge?!?”
He never planned what he was going to say in advance, preferring a more improvisational approach.
“You’ve all heard of the hundred layer challenge by now,” he said, “but you’ve never seen it like this before.”
Courfeyrac gave his chair a twirl, “I may have been inspired by our favorite green underpants wearing sidekick...” He paused when Marius returned, “speaking of sidekicks.”
He smirked slightly at the camera before calling out in a sing-song voice, “Oh, sidekick!”
Marius sighed as he entered into the frame of the shot, a bag in each hand.
“I’m not your sidekick,” he said for about the millionth time.
“Oh yeah?” Courfeyrac raised your brow, “Then what are you?”
“Your unfortunate roommate,” Marius sighed.
“I resent that ‘un’,” Courfeyrac pouted, “you are very fortunate to have me in your life.”
Marius rolled his eyes and dropped the bags, “I’ve got work to do.”
“You sure do,” agreed Courfeyrac cheerily, “why don’t you start sorting the underwear. First by style and then by color.”
“Seriously?” Marius groaned.
“Chop chop!” commanded Courfeyrac, clapping his hands together.
Despite his outward annoyance, Marius set to work without any more complaints. Courfeyrac returned to the camera, “While my delightful noodle-“
“Stop calling me that!” Marius called out.
“-sorts the unmentionables,” Courfeyrac continued without giving any indication of having heard Marius, “I’ll start getting ready and you know what that means. That means I’ll be adding the sexy stripping music later.”
Courfeyrac sent a wink to the camera and began stripping down to his underwear.
“And yes dear viewers,” Courf spoke while shucking off his pants, “these are Iron Man boxers.”
He tossed his clothes away.
“And no, I won’t be getting out of these ones,” Courfeyrac said, shaking his finger at the camera, “so get your minds out of the gutter. This pair will count as number one. And also as a barrier between my skin and the underwear I borrowed from my friends. They say it’s clean, but you never know.”
“You know sometimes you’re disgusting,” Marius muttered while continuing to sort what was slowly becoming a rainbow of undergarments, “oh and ‘Ponine through these in for good measure, and told me she’d be disappointed if they didn’t make an appearance.”
He held up a pair of lacy panties in a bright, garish pink and Courfeyrac burst out laughing.
“Those cannot possibly be hers,” he said between laughs, “that’s not her style.”
“I didn’t ask where she got them,” Marius said, “I’m just the messenger.”
“Add them to the pile, I wouldn’t want to disappoint ‘Ponine,” Courf clapped his hands together, “Let’s do this!”
Marius reluctantly agreed to be the one to hand over underwear one pair at a time.
“We’ll start with the briefs and then move on to boxers,” Courfeyrac decided, “Prepare for fast motion!”
He had decided ahead of time that he would speed up the footage of putting on the underwear except for a few choice milestones and if he or Marius said anything particularly funny or enthralling.
Such as when he reached a pair of briefs covered in tiger stripes, “Whose are these?” Courfeyrac asked.
Marius turned a vibrant red.
“They were a gift, okay?” he defended, “From an old girlfriend. I don’t know why I still have them.”
Courfeyrac chuckled as he pulled them on, “That’s hilarious.”
The further they got into the challenge, the more difficult it was for Courfeyrac to bend over to pull on the underwear.
“Okay,” he said finally, “I give up. Come and help me out on my underwear, Marius.”
Marius grumbled but joined Courfeyrac, “You know we could be working on homework...”
“But where’s the fun in that?” chuckled Courf, lifting his foot to put it in the next pair of underwear.
“How about passing our classes, that could be fun,” Marius replied.
Slowly but surely they got through the pile of underwear.
“We did it!” Courfeyrac cheered, “how many pairs was that?”
“Um,” Marius hedged.
“You counted them, right?” Courfeyrac raised an eyebrow. When there was no answer, he huffed in frustration, “Marius!”
“Sorry...” Marius muttered, his face turning red.
“Well, guess who gets to watch back the footage and count them all.”
“You?” Marius replied hopefully while stretching his back.
Courfeyrac looked into the camera with a deadpan expression.
“After everything I’ve done for him,” Courfeyrac sighed.
“Done to me, more like,” muttered Marius.
“Whatever,” Courfeyrac brushed him off.
He was mostly playing it up for the camera, Courf wouldn’t actually make Marius count alone even if it was his fault. They both had plenty of homework to get through, after all.
“With a little movie magic dear viewers we’ll get back to you with the final total,” Courfeyrac spoke to the camera.
After another big sigh, Courfeyrac turned the camera off and took it off its tripod.
“Hand me my laptop?” he requested, “Let’s get this counting done.”
“So you aren’t going to make me do it alone?” asked Marius hopefully.
Courfeyrac chuckled and shoved Marius playfully.
“Silly noodle,” he said fondly, “just grab the laptop.”
“Stop calling me noodle,” Marius sighed and went to fetch Courfeyrac’s laptop to playback the footage.
He removed the SD card from the camera and slotted it into the computer. With a few clicks he had the footage uploading. Courfeyrac never liked all the waiting that was involved video editing.
“Can I at least work on homework while we wait for the upload?” Marius sighed.
Courfeyrac pouted, “I suppose.”
Marius then disappeared into his room of the shared apartment while Courfeyrac waited, a little uncomfortable with the insane amount if underwear he was still wearing. But of course, if he didn’t have at least 100 pairs on he didn’t want to take them off if he would just have to put them back on again.
Courfeyrac shifted uncomfortably as his computer pinged telling him it was done uploading. Now the real work was about to begin. He considered dragging Marius back out of his room, but the poor guy sometimes had trouble drumming up the focus he needed for his pre-law work and Courfeyrac didn’t have the heart to drag him away from it. So slowly and starting at the beginning he went through the footage tallying the numbers.
It was a tedious process, really, watching this footage in real time. To make it slightly more interesting Courf also took the time to put in titles at the bottom of the screen that counted up the pairs of underwear. He also noted which numbers had amusing comments and which chunks of time he could just speed through in his final edit.
He could hardly believe it by the time he reached the end. “Damn...”
He saved his edits.
“Good news,” he called out, “we don’t have to get anymore underwear!”
In fact, Courfeyrac was currently wearing 117 pairs of underwear. Not only did he beat the 100 layers challenge, he smashed it to pieces. And now it was time to get out of the damn underwear, it was getting kind of hot and sweaty under all those layers. He could only hope this wouldn’t take nearly as long.