Chapter 1: Cosette
Time for a yearly check up.
Cosette had it on good authority from several separate parties that she knew a lot more than she let on.
“You have one of those faces! One of those ‘oh I’m sweet and oblivious but secretly I’m storing all of this information away and I will blackmail you one day’ faces! You have a knowing face!” Courfeyrac had accused at one point.
While Cosette wouldn’t exactly classify herself with having a “knowing face” or would even think to use her apparent super power for evil uses, she would admit to being far more observant than people gave her credit for. She was simply being observant, that's all.
She could always see whenever Marius had another spat with his grandfather. The all too familiar gut wrenching worry that this fight would be the last straw and Marius would find himself alone would be etched on his face. Or the usually brave and confident Courfeyrac was feeling the slightest bit insecure with himself, he would cast cautious glances around at his friends, almost afraid that the rejection would come flying back at him. Or her father when he worried too much about the welfare of his children, Cosette would pretend she didn’t hear him check on their rooms in the middle of the night at least three times.
But one person she was particularly keen on noticing the slight quirks and twitches was her brother who was at the moment driving Cosette insane with his fidgeting.
“What’s ridiculous is the fact that he still thinks he can even make us come here to begin with!” Enjolras fumed. “He treats us like children!”
“We are children,” Cosette said with a sigh, flipping a page in her magazine idly. “His children.”
“I'm almost seventeen. I hardly think that counts as a child,” Enjolras argued. “And you always takes his side.”
Cosette let out another sigh through her pink lips as she contemplated for the eighth time that day on whether or not, she could strangle her dear brother. She crossed her legs, adjusting to sit in the uncomfortable chair on the cushion of her thigh instead of her tailbone and scanned the article exaggerating the argument two celebrities had, had weeks before the article had even been written.
“You know that’s not true. Just because I refuse to take your side does not mean that I'm taking a side,” she said. Enjolras huffed beside her and flipped his cellphone in his hands. His fingers tapped out a nervous beat on the surface and the screen turned on when he accidentally pressed too hard.
“Not taking sides, particularly mine, is by default taking his side. People who don't stand up to an oppressive government in the name of ‘not taking a side’ is allowing the exploitation to continue against the violations of basic human rights.”
Cosette slammed her magazine down on the armrest with a smack and stared at Enjolras with a straight face. “Did you seriously just compare our father to an oppressive government? It’s a check up, Enjolras! That hardly counts as a violation of your basic human rights.”
Enjolras had enough tact to allow a light wash of shame veil his face.
“He worries about us,” Cosette said. “Maybe a little too much but there are worse things in life than insisting on two yearly check ups.”
Enjolras pulled his face tight as he pointedly look anywhere but his sister.
"He said I was being difficult," he said, sullen.
"You were being difficult," Cosette sighed but she put her magazine down to nudge him. "But you're always difficult."
A pout was her only response.
She understood. The gripping fear that plagued them as children had never fully healed after their mother had died. Cosette could recall one time that her brother had ran away just to avoid going to the doctor. Her father had worried himself into a fit and had searched for hours until he had found Enjolras huddled under a couple of bushes only a few blocks away.
Valjean still made him go to the doctor the next morning.
So, while Cosette's trepidation stemmed from the tools such as needles and scalpels, Enjolras fear was solely on the people themselves. Fear and maybe a little resentment as well. Not that her brother would ever admit it. His pride was too big to acknowledge that it was perfectly normal to be afraid of something.
“I’m not afraid of anything,” he had said once when they were children watching a severe thunderstorm from the window in their mother’s study. The familiar scent of her perfume still lingered in the room even months after her death and the calm it gave her family was bittersweet. “Not anymore.”
He startled, of course. It was a natural human reaction when certain hyperactive teenagers--- Courfeyrac--- jumped out of closets and dark corners to catch Enjolras by surprise but Enjolras had meant every word. He often meant every word. He didn’t get scared. Not by heights or spiders or bullies.
Cosette had always known her brother to face things head on with a reckless set in his glare. It made him impulsive and short tempered in ways that always gave Cosette and her father a heart attack. She chewed on the inside of her lip simply thinking about the two month period where Enjolras and her father had barely spoken to one another after Enjolras had come home sporting a black eye, a split lip, bloody knuckles, and a stained shirt where someone had thrown a drink at him. Valjean had put his foot down and Enjolras had, of course, stepped on it. The house had been so tense and frigid. Cosette had spent more time in her mother’s study than in her actual room those days.
But despite their differences, Valjean loved his son with a fierce heart and he only wanted to make sure his children were happy and healthy. Enjolras knew that… most of the time. It killed her father inside knowing that there was something that terrified Enjolras so much that it sent him into hysterics that were anything short of begging.
With a sigh, Cosette reached for Enjolras’s phone and checked the time before she slid her hand into his.
“I don’t need you to hold my hand.“ Enjolras was cold as he tried to pull away, something Cosette was used to when it came to her brother. Cosette tightened her grip around his hand.
“But I need you to hold mine,” she said simply. “I think they’re suppose to take blood today.”
Enjolras froze beside her and cast a troubled glance down at her that he thought she didn’t see. She chewed on the bottom of her lip and twirled her hair nervously around her finger with her free hand. And because she knew her brother, knew that he knew she hated needles, she squeezed his hand.
He squeezed back and when the nurse called Cosette’s name no one questioned the glare Enjolras sent their way when he stood up to follow.
Chapter 2: Combeferre
A trip to the therapist.
“I still don’t see why I’m here.” Combeferre pretended not to notice the slight pout that was being directed at him as he held a pen threateningly above a half finished crossword.
“Because you promised you would,” Combeferre said pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose. “This was the compromise with Dr. Cassel. You don’t have to come in for weekly sessions as long as you make an appointment after a panic attack.”
It was true, Combeferre wouldn’t have said so if it weren’t. After Enjolras had graduated high school his monthly sessions had been moved to an as needed basis. Like a yearly cold, Combeferre could almost write down when he would need to schedule a trip to Dr. Cassel. One: around the time that midterms rolled around and the second around a specific time in August when Enjolras buried himself in enough work that he started to drown. It was a schedule, a good one that worked for Enjolras because he didn't even realize it was a schedule.
Everyone pretended that the visits during August didn’t happen. It was unspoken and most of their friends had gotten excellent at saying a lot without saying anything at all. Enjolras’s father, Valjean, was the same. Death wasn't something that healed, no matter how long ago it was. Not fully at least.
“Courf was blowing everything out of proportion. I’m fine. I was just---“
“Just hyperventilating to the point that you passed out.” Combeferre finished with a pointed look.
Enjolras waved at him dismissively. “I blacked out for like a second. It’s just been---“
“You really scared him, Enj,” Combeferre said simply and Enjolras froze. He’d scared all of them. It wasn’t August and midterms had been weeks ago. This panic attack had been completely out of the blue. Unscheduled.
“I… I… I didn’t mean…” Enjolras worried his bottom lip between his teeth. “I’m fine.”
“Then show us. Go in, have a session with Dr. Cassel, talk about what built up this time, and then it’ll all be over.” Enjolras was staring sullenly at the pastoral picture that had been dropped straight out of a 90’s lifetime movie. But Combeferre could see the way Enjolras’s hand trembled slightly, the way that his shoulders tightened to the point that he was going to have to go to the chiropractor within the next few weeks, and the stubborn set in his jaw that kept him from admitting what was really grating on his already raw nerves. If it had been perhaps, Courfeyrac or Jehan, he would have made a point to state something comforting and assured them that there was nothing to be ashamed of about feeling nervous around doctors. But Combeferre was not sitting with Courfeyrac or Jehan and any attempts at such reassurance would result in a scowl, a snippy remark about coddling, and Enjolras storming out of the office.
Instead, Combeferre turned back to his crossword.
Type of tubes used as detectors. Combeferre frowned and noticed that one of the letters he had already written in didn’t match the answer to his clue and went back through to check his answers.
Chapter 3: Marius & Bahorel
Marius most certainly did not need to call Cosette to tell her that he watched a chiropractor murder her brother in front of his eyes!
Marius tends to surprise a lot of people when it comes to fighting. He wasn’t really sure if he was suppose to be insulted by that actually but at the end of the day he understood, he supposed. When he was growing up, he had always been the small one. Thin wirey arms, too long legs for the rest of his body that made him look like a miniature baby giraffe, it was a wonder he made it to puberty at all! But eventually there came a time in Marius’s life, as all for boys, where things began to grow and his body started to proportionalize with the rest of him. Muscles formed where baby fat used to rest and while he wasn’t as big as Bahorel or as broad as Grantaire he was still… scrappy. Usually, when he’s racing into a fight, his fist at the ready, he doesn’t even notice how much bigger his opponent is until after. His most recent endeavor of racing into a bar fight earned him a hard pat on the back with a shot of whiskey and an added half hour at the gym with Bahorel. A reward and a punishment for being “so blindly stupid” according to Feuilly, who while preferring to only separate his friends from whatever drunken bigot they were fighting, was the only one to match Bahorel’s strength during an arm wrestling competition. Years of hard labor had made his biceps and calves quietly strong. So, unlike Marius and Enjolras, the lankiest two of their friend pool, Feuilly didn’t have to work out with the wannabe exercise video coach, Bahorel.
Which is how he ended up sitting beside his blond friend. With his added half hour and Bahorel driving both Enjolras and Marius to the gym to “prevent their escapes”, he was somehow saddled with Enjolras duty after being forced to go along with them to the chiropractor. He didn’t even know what chiropractors did aside from making your body make terrifying sounds. Bahorel had been called in ten minutes earlier for a massage of all things!
He’d never even needed to go to a chiropractor! His back was in perfect condition. His grandfather had demanded proper posture at all times. However, he knew a lot of people, such as Enjolras, came because of stress. Even though he never said it to any of them, they all knew Enjolras’s shoulders bothered him. Marius had accidentally walked in on Grantaire and Enjolras once when he had forgotten his scarf. Enjolras had been lying face down on the kitchen table, Grantaire hovering over him as he tried to work out the knots that had formed along his shoulders. It had been all too tender and quiet to interrupt so Marius left his scarf and texted Cosette asking if she could bring it to him another time.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t go because Enjolras had a tendency to leave doctor appointments before they even happened. Bahorel must have been able to see something that Marius wasn’t trained to notice because Bahorel had simply called the chiropractor and gotten Enjolras an appointment within the hour. The receptionist had acted like this nothing new and she had smiled at Enjolras with pity, apparently seeing the same thing Bahorel did. Whatever that was…
Stress points where a common occurrence amongst his friends and Marius could feel the slow fidgeting itch crawl up his skin because he really didn’t think he could stop Enjolras if he got fed up and left.
He almost looked pathetic, glowering at a plastic plant in sweats and t-shirt, in an adorable sort of way. Marius would almost say sad, even. But he valued his life too much to think too long on that. He wasn’t a complete idiot!
Should he say something? They all knew you had to practically drag Enjolras to the doctor by the hair and Cosette had explained once when she had to go to a check up with him. It was unspoken among them. But Enjolras was saying nothing and glaring and that muscle in his jaw was twitching. No, definitely not. He wasn’t going to say a word. No, he was just going to sit and be moral support.
He may have gone a little green when the chiropractor cracked Enjolras's neck six different ways but the relaxed sigh at least kept Marius from texting Cosette telling her that he had watched a man murder her brother right in front of him.
Chapter 4: Courfeyrac
Courfeyrac has discovered the secret weapon: Property Brothers
“So this is how they do it,” Courfeyrac mused aloud, his mouth not fully closing as he eyed the television suspiciously. “This is how they keep you sitting here like some kind of masochist...Waiting for your turn with the torture implants of doom.”
Enjolras hummed his agreement but his face, though fully focused on the TV in front of them, was pulled into an impatient twisted expression.
“You should probably leave the word play to Jehan,” Enjolras finally said after another solid three minutes of the rough scruffy twin narrating the dramatics of sticking to a schedule. Enjolras could appreciate that. Courfeyrac looked torn between being extremely turned on and disgusted at his new obsession that was gluing the friends to the suspicious leather couch that had seen far too many asses and not nearly enough cleaning supplies.
Courfeyrac sent Enjolras a dismissive wave as the commercial broke the tension of whether or not a rogue wooden beam was going to fall on one of the workers and pulled out his phone. Enjolras fidgeted in his seat without the distraction of Property Brothers to keep his mind off the impending doom that was a dentist appointment. The couch dipped with the restless weight change and groaned.
Me too couch, Courfeyrac sympathized. Me too.
“It’s been four episodes.” Enjolras’s attempt at sounding casual was dismal and Courfeyrac couldn’t hold in his snort. Enjolras ignored him, that determined twinkle in his eye. “We should just go. They’ve probably forgotten about---“
“Shush!” Courfeyrac slid a hand over Enjolras’s face as the commercial break ended. The wooden beam, the fiend that it was, did not fall on the scruffy twin’s comrade and everything was back on schedule. Enjolras had the decency to wait until after the reveal of the new house was over before he cast a sideways glance over at him.
“I’ll give you fifty bucks.” Courfeyrac laughed, loud and vindictive enough for the receptionist to peer through the little check in window. Enjolras, bless him, was dead serious and knew his friend so well. Unfortunately for the blond, so did someone else.
“Your dad is already giving me a hundred.” If Enjolras’s eyes could narrow any further, they did and were practically on top of his nose.
“Courf,” he said with a warning flare of his nostrils. Sending his friend a rueful smile, Courfeyrac snapped a picture before Enjolras could snatch his phone away.
“You can’t scare me. You’re too adorable to scare me.” He cooed as he showed Enjolras the picture. Cheeks red, blue eyes widened a fraction in surprise, and blond curls, Enjolras looked like a sulking five year old on the brink of a temper tantrum. “Your father on the other hand… he’s terrifying!”
“You can’t be serious?” Enjolras asked.
“Enjolras,” Courfeyrac said slowly, his eyes incredulous and wide. “He’s been arrested before. He went to prison.”
“I’ve been arrested!” Enjolras frowned. If it had been anyone but Courfeyrac, he would have bristled at the accusation. That had been a string of extenuating circumstances and as much as they fought, Enjolras loved his father fiercely. He refused to let someone hold that over his head.
“What makes me any different?” He asked.
“Yes,” Courfeyrac said with a wide smile, patting him on the thigh with a comforting hand. “But you’ve only offered me fifty bucks. Valjean has been arrested and has offered me a hundred bucks. Do you see the difference?”
“I refuse pay you over a hundred dollars to let me leave when I am perfectly capable of simply walking out on my own.”
"But you won't," Courfeyrac said with a surety that Enjolras was half tempted to challenge. But with a scowl Enjolras crossed his arms across his chest. Refusing to watch the opening credits to yet another episode of Property Brothers, he pressed out a sigh from between his mouth and tapped an erratic beat against his thigh. Snowballing into a knot in his stomach, the impatience twisted into frustration.
“You don’t even like the dentist.” He snapped.
“Yes, but I do like you and I would prefer to keep you. And if you walk out of another doctors appointment Cosette may actually kill you. So,” Courfeyrac guided Enjolras’s face to point towards the TV and held his jaw until the blue eyes glazed over in concentration as the young couple showed the clean shaven suit wearing twin their disaster of a home. “Watch on my friend. We may be here for a while.”
Chapter 5: Grantaire
Enjolras woke up.
"My stomach just hurts. It'll be fine." Enjolras had reassured him before they had curled in bed to watch a movie. Enjolras had barely made it half way through before he had been fast asleep and Grantaire had turned the TV off. A small fever and stomach ache, that’s all it had been. All jokes aside, Enjolras was human and they hadn’t thought anything of it. But he hadn't been fine and his stomach hadn't just been hurting because the next thing Grantaire knew, he was waking up to a cold bed with Enjolras barricaded in the bathroom. It was a pitiful sight, seeing Enjolras wrapped around the toilet, his face flushed with a fever and pain. He didn't even fight Grantaire when he had decided that they were taking Enjolras to the ER, which spoke volumes. Enjolras hated going to the doctor and would avoid them even if he was shot and bleeding out.
Why hadn't he had called Joly before? Maybe then they would have come in sooner!
We R on Way.
Marius had sent the text message, which meant Cosette was probably driving. God help whoever was on the road!
Valjean coming. B there soon.
Any other instance Grantaire would have been inconsolable with nerves at the thought of Valjean coming anywhere near him in regards to Enjolras but at the moment he couldn’t help but feel the relief uncoil in his chest. Good. At least someone would know what to do because frankly Grantaire was one step away from panicking. A sharp hiss escaped from between Enjolras's clenched teeth.
“Grantaire.” The whispered call of his name had him tightening his hold around his boyfriend.
“Ssh." He pressed his lips against sweaty blond curls, desperately wanting to help somehow. “I know.”
“It hurts,” Enjolras gasped sharply and curled back around his stomach. Grantaire scrambled to keep a hold of Enjolras, feeling the blond teeter dangerously off his perch on his knee and the other waiting room chair. Jesus, he could feel the heat radiating off Enjolras’s skin even through his shirt.
He wasn’t cut out for this. Seeing people in pain had never been his thing. He could barely stomach his own emotions let alone the pain of someone he cared for with his whole being. That’d been Enjolras’s thing. Grantaire had fallen in love with a man who’d confronted everyone else’s pain and promptly told it to fuck off. He’d seen Enjolras work himself into exhaustion organizing an event that was simultaneously a charity event raising money for the homeless and a protest on the decrease of minimum wage. This all while fending off a couple opposers to the cause that had tried to claim that they hadn’t filed for the proper permits with a strong jaw and an even stronger choice of words. He’d seen Enjolras lecturing a bunch of drunken assholes to the point of one of them nearly crying after they had called Eponine and Cosette a slew of derogatory names. He had taken a punch for Courfeyrac. He’d let Marius sleep on his couch when his grandfather had kicked him out again.
He was by all accounts an avenging angel and way more qualified for something like this.
A shuddering sob ripped Grantaire from his musings and instincts took over. Sliding his arm to wrap around Enjolras’s chest, he grabbed his legs and pulled him to his chest with ease. Enjolras’s fists were trapped in between them and Grantaire’s shirt was quickly getting wet as Enjolras cried heavily into his shoulder but neither of them moved.
“It’s alright. I’ve got you.” Grantaire murmured. “I’m not going anywhere.”
And when the doctors had finally seen Enjolras, had discovered that his appendix had ruptured earlier that night, Grantaire hadn’t gone anywhere. Clinging to Grantaire, begging Grantaire that he was fine, it had nearly ripped him apart because he was not equipped to handle Enjolras like this. Scared, in pain, and desperate enough to beg not to be admitted into the hospital. He hadn't gone anywhere when Enjolras, delirious with pain and down right terror, had exclaimed he wasn’t going to wake up again.
“You’ll wake up. I promise.” He had kissed Enjolras because it was the only thing he could think to do and desperately wanted this all to be over so he could have his fierce sharp Enjolras back. “You’ll wake up.”
They had to practically tear Enjolras away from Grantaire for surgery and he swore he was going to make Combeferre trade waiting room duties with him because he wasn’t sure he could do this. Cosette had been pacing furiously between the nurses’ station demanding answers with Marius behind her and Valjean was beside himself with worry. When they had finally been allowed to see Enjolras they had all practically ran into the room much to the chargin of the staff.
Blue eyes had blinked lazily up at him and his fever was still making his skin hot but Grantaire smiled, brushing a blond curl away.
“’Taire?” Enjolras had asked, his voice slurring with exhaustion. Grantaire kissed him on the temple for the both of them because he needed it just as much as Enjolras did.
“You woke up,” he said. And then he kissed him again.
Chapter 6: Feuilly
The longest waits are the most uncomfortable.
“Sit down, Enjolras,” Feuilly said without opening his eyes. He had reclined back into the uncomfortably upholstered chair, feet stretched out and propped on the coffee table with ancient magazines littering the surface, and had closed his eyes the moment they had checked in at the desk. The room was far too cold and way too bright than was necessary but Feuilly didn’t really care. He’d worked a double and had yet to sleep a full three hours before he had gotten back into his car to pick a bleary eyed Enjolras. The entire trip had been relatively silent, both content to simply sit with the other’s company but Enjolras’s patience could only take so much. When they had made it to the office and Feuilly had made camp in the stupid chair, it took Enjolras a solid ten minutes to realize what had been seriously wrong with the otherwise quiet waiting room.
“All of their information is irrelevant and pointless! They’ve shown the same clip of coverage three times now! Just because you put a different headline doesn’t make the story new!” Enjolras spat the insult narrowing his eyes at the screen, personally offended by the middle aged anchor in an outdated suit. The nurse behind the desk glanced up at them with raised brows, looking torn between being amused and alarmed.
“Stop squinting,” Feuilly instructed. Enjolras’s eyes widened a fraction behind the thick frames of his glasses, as if he hadn’t even realized he had been doing it but his faced turned into a sour frown. With a huff, he stalked back to the sit beside Feuilly and dropped into the chair. The cushion hissed dramatically at the weight. Feuilly sighed and tucked his head into the curve between Enjolras’s shoulder, effectively trapping his friend in his seat. His nose felt freezing against Enjolras’s skin but his face was fevered compared to the rest of Enjolras’s temperature. Really, who thought it was a good idea to make the temperature subzero in this place?
Feuilly dropped the hoodie into Enjolras’s lap, trying not to be too smug when Enjolras wrapped his hands into the warm material.
“It’s the middle of summer, Feuilly!” Enjolras had argued weakly when Feuilly had insisted he bring it inside.
The ophthalmologist’s waiting room was always freezing without fail every single year.
Neither Enjolras nor Feuilly had an ounce of body fat to talk about being able to withstand the dreaded climate control in the waiting room.
He feigned sleep on Enjolras’s shoulder, evening out his breathing and allowing the inadequate news broadcaster to lull him into a light meditation of sorts. It worked for a while. Each of his friends valued something that was sacred above all else and the others would have protected it with their very being. Jehan’s poetry, Bahorel’s tactility, Grantaire’s sanity, were all unspoken treasures that the others kept a constant check on. And somewhere along the way, someone had decided that what was sacred to Feuilly was his sleep. The others thought they had been quite clever in the ways that they coaxed him into relaxing--- a hand playing with his hair and massaging his scalp or extra room on the couch to curl up on--- and for the majority of the time Feuilly allowed them.
Feuilly, also, was not above using it to his advantage. Enjolras wouldn’t move an inch if he thought Feuilly was sleeping soundly on his boney shoulder.
But the tactic was only temporary and Feuilly couldn’t feel the way Enjolras’s jaw stiffened.
“Stop squinting,” he repeated, elbowing Enjolras in the ribs and passing the nudge off as if he had been merely hiding his cold hands further into his pocket. “You’ll give yourself a headache.”
“I already have one,” Enjolras muttered, shifting to stretch out his legs. Feuilly sighed and sat up. Plucking Enjolras’s glasses from his face, his blue eyes narrowing down the length of his nose making him go cross eyed, Feuilly folded the frames neatly.
“Close your eyes,” he said. Enjolras hesitated but relented when Feuilly waited for him to obey. Closing his eyes, he leaned his head back, though his body was stiff. Feuilly reclined back into his seat, mimicking Enjolras’s movements before resting his head back into the crook of his neck. Pressing himself as close as he could despite the armrest blocking them, Feuilly sighed and waited for Enjolras to relax. One minute. Two minutes. Three minutes. Enjolras's breathing evened to match Feuilly's and his body softened.
The waiting room was uncomfortable. The temperature was borderline freezing, the television was annoyingly pointless, the lights were bright, and the wait was unnecessarily long. But nothing could compare to the crippling flow of energy that buzzed beneath Enjolras’s skin. Feuilly understood. It was like a fluorescent light. It was why he didn’t mind having to stay with Enjolras for the longest of the doctor visits. Where a check up could only last about half an hour, the eye doctor took over an hour and a half. And it drove Enjolras crazy. A wait in the waiting room. A wait in the exam room. A wait for the doctor to show up. Enjolras was fiercely protective of his friends and what was important to them. The least Feuilly could do was make the wait as comfortable as possible because for Enjolras, what he valued above all else was the security to be able to close his eyes and wait.