“Morning, sweetheart.” If Bossuet had hair, Musichetta would ruffle it, but she pats his head absently as she passes him on her way to the counter anyway. He's got some kind of breakfast-related sixth sense, because whenever she wakes up he's always got something ready for her, as the earliest riser in his apartment.
“Sleep well?” He's doing the crossword, badly, in pen, and there's a big blotch on the cuff of his shirt that tells her he's already had problems with the pen this morning. Bossuet's endless optimism that the world will work out in his favor eventually is perhaps her favorite thing about him.
She grins and pours herself coffee from what's in the pot. It's a little cold, but she can't really complain about the coffee in other people's apartments, even if she's in them more than she's in her own these days. “Always, here. Going to Courfeyrac's tonight?”
“Of course I am, it's game night. You and Joly are going to be late, right?”
“Right, it's soup night on campus and he wanted me to go with him. You're cool going over to Courfeyrac's with R, right?”
Bossuet rolls his eyes. “You two need privacy sometimes, we all know that. I have walked worse places with R than Courfeyrac's.”
That sounds like a story, but Musichetta doesn't have the chance to ask what it is before Joly stumbles out of his bedroom, yawning, eyes squinted shut because he hates bothering with his glasses before nine in the morning since he claims he can't absorb the world in clear and full detail that early in the morning without getting a headache. “Morning, people,” he says, patting Bossuet's head and pulling Musichetta down for a kiss.
“You're up early,” she says once he lets her go, leaving her arm around him and letting him steal a few bites of her toast.
“Yes, well, you left me alone on our conjugal bed and Professor MacBearson fell off the bed so I couldn't even cuddle him. I had no recourse but to get up. This is so good, Bossuet, why don't you ever make me toast in the mornings?”
Bossuet, who is staring at his crossword puzzle again, most likely in some kind of attempt to give them privacy, looks back up again. “Because you aren't a guest, of course. I know how to treat guests, you're always oversleeping and making your girlfriend quest for her own breakfast.”
“I'm not much of a guest, in all fairness,” Musichetta says, so Joly doesn't feel guilty. “I'm here all the time.” The only reason she doesn't live here, really, is because after growing up with four brothers it is really nice to live technically on her own for a while.
“You're enough of a guest for toast, just not for fancy breakfasts unless it's a weekend apartment breakfast,” Bossuet explains, and Joly nods, like as an apartment they've worked the rules for who gets breakfast when. She wouldn't be surprised. For three people who seem as disorganized as anyone she's ever met, Joly and Bossuet and Grantaire run a pretty tight ship where their apartment is concerned.
Musichetta squints at the stove clock, which has been an hour and eighteen minutes off since the last time there was a power blink because none of them know how to change it. “I wasn't expecting you up this early, I don't have to be anywhere for a while. Do you two want to watch a movie?”
Joly and Bossuet exchange a look, one of the psychic best-friends looks she's becoming used to from them after a couple months of dating Joly, and then nod in perfect unison. “A musical,” Joly says solemnly. “That way if we wake R up by accident he'll forgive us no questions asked.”
Musichetta laughs and picks up her toast so she can go to the couch and get the best spot before they think to fight her for it. “So what do you think, West Side Story or Oklahoma?”
Both of them scramble to come joining her, grabbing up their own breakfasts and Bossuet's paper as they go, arguing the whole way there about what they're watching.
Musichetta looks up from putting snacks together in Courfeyrac's kitchen to find Jehan standing in the kitchen doorway. “Is that bad?”
“Bossuet likes Valentine's Day.”
Jehan is looking at her like she's missing something, but Musichetta has no idea what that might be. “It's a nice holiday,” she offers, “despite all the commercialization. Do you think he'd like a date or something?”
Jehan continues to look at her. “Maybe.”
Musichetta frowns and continues chopping fruit up. “I'll talk to Joly about it, they share a brain, maybe he'll know if Bossuet wants to date someone. Maybe we could do a double date?”
“Sure. Right.” Jehan is speaking slowly and looking at her like there's something she's not getting, but Musichetta really doesn't have the patience for teasing it out, whatever it is. Especially not with Joly and Bossuet both in the next room, shrieking at each other over some game about running a ranch. Mostly they seem to be trading horse cards around, but no one at game night ever plays by the real rules. “I guess that's one way of going about it.”
“And I'll make him a card,” she decides. Normally she only does it for boyfriends, even if she's told that Courfeyrac and Grantaire and Cosette and sometimes Enjolras make them for everyone. “Thanks for letting me know it's important to him, Jehan.”
Jehan continues watching her for a few seconds more and then breaks out into one of his very bright smiles, the startling ones she doesn't get to see very often. “I don't want to overstep or anything, I just know you're a little newer than some of us.”
“No, it's—thanks, for letting me know. What did he do before?”
“Spent the holiday with Joly, mostly.”
Musichetta nods. “Okay. I'll keep it in mind. Now, do you want to help me carry this fruit in there?”
Jehan picks up a tray of melon slices. “Let's go out there, the people who bring snacks are automatically everyone's favorites.”
“Shut your mouth, I'm already everyone's favorite,” says Musichetta, and picks up her own tray.
Joly, busy drawing what she suspects is a unicorn on her back with his fingertip, hums like he's listening. “It's in a couple weeks. Want to talk date plans?”
“Sort of.” Now that she's bringing it up, it feels ridiculous, but she forces it out anyway. “I was wondering about Bossuet, actually. I feel like I'm sort of stealing you from him. Should we find him a date?”
The imaginary unicorn, by her reckoning, acquires several accessories, possibly including a feather boa, before Joly answers. “I don't know. I guess I didn't think about it.” He moves until he can look her in the eye. “You aren't stealing me, you know? You're my girlfriend, and I—love you. You know.”
Musichetta can't help beaming at that, because they're fairly new words and still treasured every time she hears them. “I know,” she assures him, because it sounds like he needs the confirmation. “But that doesn't stop him being your person, and if you had some kind of tradition, I don't want him to be unhappy. If you just want to watch a movie, all three of us or even just you two, that's okay. But if you think he'd want a date, we can probably find him one.” She can't think of anyone off the top of her head who would be nearly as charmed by Bossuet as he deserves, but they can do it together.
“I don't know.” Joly frowns, nose wrinkling as he thinks. “I'll ask him. We'll ask him. It's not like I want to spring a date on him, that would be weird.”
“Surprise dates could maybe be fun, but not for Valentine's Day. You're right, we'll ask him. That's best. And Valentine's Day isn't that important to me, except for the ridiculous cards, so whatever you want to do, whatever he wants to do, it's fine.”
“Valentine's Day is truly the punniest holiday,” Joly muses, and leans into her. “I need to make you a card with the largest possible amount of glitter. And we'll talk to Bossuet tomorrow, it's decided, and figure out what to do with him. I want everyone to be happy.”
Musichetta pulls him in closer. “Around you, it's impossible not to be.”
“You're here!” says Bossuet, like it's some kind of unexpected miracle even though she texted him on her way to ask if the apartment needs groceries because Joly is terrible at knowing what to stock. “We're learning about how elephants have families.”
“Elephants are amazing.” Musichetta puts down her grocery bag on the counter, since apparently they urgently needed snack cookies. “Am I welcome to join?”
“Couch is big enough for four,” says Grantaire, scrunching into one arm like he's proving it. Bossuet is in the middle today (they seem to rotate, she's never actually seen them work out a roster or negotiate it out, but nonetheless it always seems to end up fairly even, even when she's there. She's been folded into the middle of them more than once), and he makes an expansive gesture as Joly moves into his side, leaving a small person-sized space for Musichetta.
None of them talks much during the documentary, though Joly, his chin on her shoulder, hums along with the music in the background like he's seen it before.
Grantaire, when it's over, groans and stretches and climbs his way out of the couch where the cushions attempted to swallow him. “If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go scatter a canvas liberally with my tears and call it art. Have a good night, kids.”
They all wave him off and Joly says something about salt water and degrading canvas, and then the three of them are on their own, watching the beginning of something about the fishing industry that promises to be less enthralling than the elephant show. It still takes almost ten minutes for Joly to break the silence. “Valentine's Day.”
“It approacheth,” says Bossuet, right away. “I'm thinking I'm doing dinosaur puns this year.”
“Are there that many Valentine puns to be made about dinosaurs?”
“Did you know that a T. rex's heart is about the size of a whole human? That's a good fact,” says Bossuet, frowning into the distance. “I think Combeferre gets that fact.”
“You're the tricera-tops,” Joly offers.
Musichetta hums. “Ve-love-ciraptors?”
“You guys are the best brainstormers.” Bossuet looks between them. “You had something to say. Do you need my help planning dates? I'm an amazing date planner. You should take a gondola ride.”
Musichetta, who was about to open her mouth to ask if he wants a date, stops and considers that for a moment. “Where would we find a gondola?”
“You could build one. That would also be an awesome date.”
Joly looks mildly horrified. “I don't think carpentry is exactly my top skill, much less the boat-building kind.”
“I don't mean to hammer on something you don't want to do.”
“We would be lumbering around, it would be a disaster,” says Musichetta.
“We would be screwed,” says Joly, and then frowns. “Do you want a date?”
Bossuet looks back and forth between them, brows drawing together like they always do when he's puzzled. “Did we segue into fruit jokes without me noticing?”
Musichetta can't help smiling at that. “No, it's that—well, you like Valentine's Day, and I want to make sure you have a good one, and Joly and I were talking, and we wondered if maybe you would want a date.” She still doesn't know exactly who to ask, but she thinks Louison from her economics class might be a good choice.
“Just in general? Or with someone in particular?”
“In general. I've got a couple ideas, but I didn't want to approach anyone unless I knew that you really want a date.” Musichetta leans more into Joly and puts the television on mute because hearing about mercury poisoning isn't making this conversation any easier. “Don't feel like you have to, either. I just don't want you to be lonely.”
“We don't want you to be lonely,” says Joly, firmly, when Bossuet looks at him. “We'll spend the day with you, if you want, we like you a lot in case you didn't notice.”
Bossuet grins. “I maybe had some vague idea.” The grin drops. “I don't think I want a date. I don't know what I want to do besides draw dinosaurs, but I don't want to be starting out with someone I don't know at all for Valentine's Day. It's about love, not weird awkward dates. But I don't want to interrupt you two.”
“You aren't interrupting, we adore you. It's about love,” she parrots. “And it's maybe not the same kind of love, but that doesn't mean it isn't love at all.”
“I think I have to kiss her,” says Joly, an apology to Bossuet, and turns until he can, pulling her into him and kissing her harder than usual, like her saying she loves his best friend is the best thing she ever could have said. And maybe it is, for Joly, which is one of the many reasons she loves him as much as she does.
“And a nine point five from the Russian judge,” says Bossuet when Joly releases her.
Musichetta grins over Joly's shoulder. “Doesn't the proverbial Russian judge grade abysmally low?”
He shrugs. “That was a really good kiss, though.”
“One of my most marketable skills,” says Joly. “If the doctor thing doesn't work out, I'm going to either be a cruise ship captain or Musichetta's love slave, only Enjolras will cry so I'll be her love equal.”
“That means we both wear the silks and rose petals.” Musichetta looks back at Bossuet. “So we'll think about Valentine's Day plans? The three of us? Unless you say you want to do something on your own or with R or someone. But we're happy to be your plan, or your backup plan.”
“You two aren't my backup anything,” Bossuet says, smiling at them. “Except, like, my action movie backup.”
“We would be the best action movie leads,” says Musichetta. Bossuet can either take the bait and change the subject and take time to think or he can let it pass as an aside. She's learned, by now, the way the two of them leave silly things out as bait for each other after serious conversations, to see if they're ready for that again yet.
Joly is watching Bossuet too, waiting for him to respond one way or the other, and after another second, Bossuet's smile turns into a grin and he says “So, I think Musichetta is on a mission of revenge against someone who wronged her terribly ...” and continues plotting an action movie for the three of them to star in, with Grantaire appearing as the mentor and Combeferre as the unlikely mastermind villain who's secretly on their side, letting all three of them relax while the fish documentary continues on mute on the screen.
“Everyone is weirdly into this holiday,” Grantaire says with great sympathy when she gives in and asks him over coffee at the Musain. “Everyone exchanges cards and Enjolras makes an embarrassing grandmotherly Facebook post about how much he loves all his friends and Jehan usually sends everyone a personalized song about how he feels about them. But yeah, those two would appreciate gifts, probably.” He frowns, thinking, and takes a sip of his coffee. “Not if it stresses you out, though.”
“It doesn't stress me out. I just want them to be happy.”
“They will be.” Something about that makes Grantaire snort and shake his head, but she doesn't ask. Sometimes, with R, it's best not to. “Baked goods, movies, action figures, model rockets … those two are pretty easy to please, you know? I've been working on my detail work this semester so everyone's getting mini paintings from me.”
Musichetta has to smother her grin, because of course he's just as sentimental as everyone else, and she couldn't be gladder about it. “What are you painting me?”
“You'll spoil the surprise,” he says, scolding her. “Seriously, Musichetta, whatever you give them, they're going to love it. They love you, you know?”
Maybe it should be weirder, to have her boyfriend and his best friend as a “they” in that instead of just Joly, but it makes her smile instead. “That just makes me want to find them something wonderful even more. Most guys, some pretty lingerie would do it, but I don't think that's going to help much with Bossuet.”
“You could write them a book about astronauts who wear lingerie,” he offers. “I would make you some illustrations. But really, I'm more about making things or doing things for presents, when I give them.”
He's looking increasingly pained, so Musichetta laughs and lets the subject drop. “I'll think of something. There's still almost a week before Valentine's Day, something will come to me in that amount of time, I'm pretty sure.” She blows on her coffee even though it's probably cool enough to drink.
“Seriously, don't stress too much over this. Anything you give them is going to be treasured and scrapbooked and Instagrammed with the weirdest possible filter.”
“An embarrassment of ideas is just as bad as no ideas at all,” she says. “Now, tell me about your miniatures and exactly how it can be applied to nail art.”
Grantaire laughs, then, whatever's been making him so tense fading away with the change of subject, and Musichetta puts the subject of Valentine's Day on the back burner for a while.
She loves Joly. That's not changing any time soon. And she wants to be with Joly, which ditto. But with Joly comes Bossuet, and while Musichetta understands it's normal to be a little annoyed when a boyfriend is always with his best friend, she's never felt that with the two of them, just wanted to keep Bossuet around, an integral part of everything.
When Joly wakes up, it's nearly ten, and Musichetta has been chasing her thoughts around in circles for an hour at least and has gone through four pieces of toast, two cups of tea, and half a banana. “You look upset,” he says around a yawn when he sees her. “And Bossuet texted me to say we're in the clear, Grantaire is fit as a fiddle this morning. Movie night's back on, yay!”
“I'm not upset,” she says, but he doesn't exactly look like he believes her. That's fair, because she's not sure she believes herself. But she's been thinking about Grantaire, and how she adores him but the thought of dating him sounds exhausting, and Bossuet, and how she adores him and how dating him would, in the end, really only change how many people are in bed with her at night. “Have you ever wanted to kiss Bossuet?”
Joly stops in the middle of a yawn. He looks like he's doing a really terrible lion impression. “I have kissed him about four times,” he finally says, more cautious than Joly should ever be. She hates upsetting him. “It was nice? But it was all during games, and things.”
“Really nice? I don't know what you want me to say.”
Musichetta takes a deep breath. “I think maybe you should sit down and eat the other half of this banana, potassium is good for you.”
“Did you know that avocados actually have more potassium?”
“Guacamole isn't a breakfast food, even if it should be.” She hands him the banana when he sits down, feeling sort of like she's feeding an innocent woodland creature to tempt it closer. This is good, though. If she figures this out, if everyone wants it, this is good. She even thinks she's not the first person to think of it, judging by Grantaire and Jehan's awkward opaque conversations with her recently. She just has to figure out how to say it without letting Joly think for a second that she doesn't want to be with him anymore. “How do you feel about polyamory?”
Joly opens his mouth, closes it again, and then eats his entire half of the banana with her question still hanging in the air. It's maybe a little funny watching him deepthroat a banana when she's just asked if he wants to date his best friend, because Combeferre says Freud is bullshit and he is but sometimes things just go in that direction, but mostly Musichetta is ready to vibrate out of her skin by the time he manages to make a sound. “Huh.”
Bossuet, she knows, would be able to interpret every nuance of that syllable, that he would already be three exchanges on in the conversation giving her just enough context to catch up. She misses him, but they need to have this conversation on their own first, and all she can tell right now is that Joly isn't asking her to repeat herself, because he knows exactly what she said, and he's got to know exactly who she means. “That doesn't seem overwhelmingly positive. Which is fine! Anything is fine. I want to be with you no matter what, unless even thinking of this means we're over. I just want to know if you want him along for the ride too.”
Joly puts his head on the table and takes three deep breaths. She counts them. “He's my best friend,” he finally says. “I don't want it to not work. I can't have it not work.”
“You know him better than anyone on this planet. Do you think he loves us?”
It's a deliberate word choice, and one she doesn't know if she's really ready to use, but it's better than “wants” or “likes” or anything else she can think of. It makes Joly straighten up and look at her, and she finally recognizes the shaky-excited look she must be wearing right now as well. “I think he'd like to,” he says, and that's just as careful as her phrasing. “What brought this on?”
“I missed him when I woke up. I don't think that's exactly normal with your boyfriend's best friend.”
Joly puts his head back down on the table. “Sorry,” he says, muffled. “This is just kind of a lot to deal with first thing in the morning. I promise I am taking this conversation seriously. I'm just thinking slow.”
“Slow is fine.” Musichetta risks reaching across the table to put her hand on his arm, and it pays off when he relaxes instead of tensing up. “We can change the subject if you want. Combeferre texted everyone an article about cave paintings this morning, it's an interesting read.”
“That sounds amazing, and we are definitely talking about that later, but I don't want to change the subject.” He sits up again, and Musichetta scoots her chair a little closer to his. “Don't think I've been pining after him or anything. That would be so unfair to you, and I never … we never … it's like background radiation, you know? In the universe?”
“That's really sweet, and definitely what you should tell him if we decide to seduce him,” she says.
“Seduce him. Seduce Bossuet. We may seduce Bossuet.” Joly seems to inspect the words from every possible angle, turning his hand over while he does and letting her take it. “Thank you for doing this on a Saturday, I couldn't possibly go to class today and I don't think you can get a doctor's note for paradigm shift.”
“Wouldn't it be great if you could?”
“Combeferre would take a day off a week. Several days, even.” Joly shifts until he's meeting her eyes. “Valentine's Day is coming up.”
“That's really soon, and you're really surprised. And he hasn't even said he wants to spend the evening with us.”
“Of course he wants to spend the evening with us. He wants to spend all the time with us.” Joly frowns, but it's his thoughtful one, not his unhappy one. “That's probably a good sign, if we're going to do this.”
“We'll think about it. We should definitely think about it.” Musichetta squeezes his hands. “Can I kiss you?”
“Definitely.” Joly leans in first, so it's easy to kiss him, long and firm. Maybe he doesn't think she needs to prove she still wants him, but she wants to anyway. It can't hurt to make everyone feel as wanted as possible. That should probably be rule one, if they do this. “Sometimes I think I should swoon after you do that,” he says when she pulls away. “You make a great romance novel hero.”
“Bite your tongue,” she says, and stays where she is, leaning her head on his shoulder until she's pretty sure she'll get a crick in her neck if she stays any longer.
Musichetta looks at her scrambled eggs and cheese, which Bossuet made her exactly the way she likes them and was putting onto her favorite plate when she stumbled to the table. “Many things are okay, like the weather most Octobers and my muffins. We, Lesgles, are great.”
“It's just that things don't feel great,” he says, and her heart aches, because she knows she and Joly have been weird, shy in some ways and just barely restraining themselves from whispering about offers and how to make them. “They feel kind of awkward. Are you and Joly moving out?”
“No. Still a little soon to live together.” Even if she's spending less and less nights alone now. “We're just figuring some things out. Good things. You haven't done anything at all except be your excellent self, if you've been worrying.”
“I try not to worry about things, it gives me wrinkles.”
“Then you succeed, because you are as smooth as a baby.” Musichetta takes a bite of her eggs. “Also, you're my hero and my very favorite breakfast chef and one of these mornings I am going to take you out for waffles to make up for all the breakfasts you make me.”
“Apartment breakfast sounds awesome.”
“Or just the two of us.” They're going to need to do things in pairs as well as all three of them, as well as not neglecting poor R, who's been scarce, spending all his time in his studio on campus and even missing time with their friends. She'll have to deal with him once she's figured out how to make the leap into polyamory. “I don't spend enough time with you, except for breakfasts.”
Bossuet grins at her, any troubles forgotten, and Musichetta wants to kiss him, all of a sudden, just to try it. For all imagining the relationship is easy, she hasn't really imagined the sex yet, how to kiss him without both of them giggling all the way through it. Though maybe the giggling could be good, as long as they get some kissing in too. “I'm always up for spending time with you.”
She points her fork at him. “Speaking of, you never said anything about Valentine's Day. Want to hang out?”
“You're completely sure I'm not interrupting?” He ducks his head, and she's annoyed with herself for ruining a nice moment, but it's a necessary question anyway. “I just … I know you'd do a lot to make Joly happy, but I don't want to mess up a holiday for you.”
“Oh, sweetheart. You aren't messing up anything at all, okay? I'd rather spend the holiday with both of you than with one of you, and that's the completely honest truth.”
“Then yeah.” He looks up again, and his smile is shyer this time, but at least it's back. “I'll double check with Joly, but yeah. Maybe we can all do dinner somewhere low-key or order takeout and then watch a movie.”
“That sounds perfect.”
He changes the subject then, and Musichetta barely follows the conversation even though they're the only two participants, something about Bahorel and Joly and a story that neither of them will ever tell in its entirety. Mostly she's busy thinking about how easy this is, and how much she's starting to want it, not just as something she's stumbling into. “I should probably go,” he finally says, when Musichetta has long been done with her eggs and neither Joly nor Grantaire has made an appearance. “I'm meeting up with Cosette and Feuilly to study and Cosette promised me cookies if I make it on time.”
“Steal a few and bring them back,” she suggests, waving him off. He collects his coat and boots and mittens from where they're stashed in four different places in the apartment and only takes his hat when, channeling Joly, she points sternly at where it's resting on top of the dish drain until he gives in and takes it even though he says the wool gets itchy on his scalp if he wears it too long. It's the only hat he's taken more than twenty-four hours to lose in ten years, she's been told, so it's clearly his destiny to wear it. “Have a good day, talk to Joly or text him or something, I would do it but I don't think you'd believe me if I said Joly said it was fine.”
“Right you are.” He hugs her around the shoulders with his coat half-zipped, and it's only a miracle that keeps her hair from getting tangled up in it. “Don't have any parties without me.”
“Never,” she promises, and shoves him gently, making sure he leaves with his wallet in his pocket and his boots on the correct feet before she looks away.
Musichetta lets herself savor the silence for one minute before she puts her dishes in the sink to be washed and goes back to Joly's bedroom to drop back on the bed beside him, jostling him a little deliberately so he'll wake up and smile blearily at her. “Good morning,” he says, blinking his way into consciousness. “No breakfast this morning?”
“I can make you some breakfast. Bossuet just left.” She swings her legs back up on the bed so she can sit with her back against the headboard and watch him come awake, disappointed that Bossuet is gone, glad she's sitting there, every single waking thought chasing across his face. “He's going to talk to you sometime today about if it's really okay to hang out with us for Valentine's Day. I've already told him yes.”
“Of course it's really okay.” Joly frowns and props himself up on an elbow. “We should maybe talk about it.”
“I want it. Definitely. I want both of us to date Bossuet. I thought about kissing him this morning and it was a nice thought.” She runs her fingers through Joly's hair. “How about you?”
“I haven't thought about kissing him yet this morning but it's a really nice way to wake up.” He yawns, even as he tries to look up at her seriously, which is more adorable than it really should be. “I want to do it. And I'm really bad at keeping secrets from Bossuet, so maybe we should make a romantic Valentine's Day move.”
Musichetta takes a deep breath. That's a weirdly scary thought, when it's exactly what she wants right now. One day is not a lot of time to prepare herself and her relationship for polyamory. “Yes,” she says, and kisses Joly even though her breath probably tastes like eggs and his tastes like sleep, because it seems like the kind of moment that should be sealed with a kiss.
Everyone makes it through dinner okay, though, sharing food across the table and ignoring the fact that they're the only table of three in the entire restaurant. Musichetta pays, mostly because the waiter pointedly puts the check down in front of Bossuet, and the three of them bundle up again to go out in the cold. It's a slushy Valentine's Day, intermittently spitting snow, not the most romantic of days and with a layer of ice under the slush that makes Musichetta and Joly firmly keep a hand each on Bossuet because a concussion isn't in their plans at all.
Grantaire, when they get back to the apartment, has made himself scarce, but he's left their miniatures out for them in her favorite of Grantaire's styles, where his paintings look like the illustrations from a children's book, all animals wearing funny hats and drinking tea. There have been cards exchanging hands for the past two days, and Grantaire wasn't wrong about Enjolras's grandmotherly Facebook post, which almost made her cry. “It seems to be the time for presents,” says Musichetta, when they've all exclaimed over the pictures and sent Grantaire a series of well-staged Snapchats responding to them.
“You didn't have to,” says Bossuet.
“You gave me a dinosaur and a mix CD, obviously I had to,” she says. “It's not much, obviously not as special as that.” The envelopes are both in her coat pocket, and she snags them out before she takes it off, handing them over. Both of them are terribly careful undoing any present, like they need to save a pair of tan envelopes festively decorated with stickers she stole from Bahorel's surprisingly huge collection. Though some of the stickers are sort of badass, so maybe they'll want to save them after all.
“Coupons!” says Joly in great glee, and turns red when he turns a few pages in the little coupon booklet she made him. “Dirty coupons, oh my God.”
She's going to have to tell him to share the fellatio and kink exploration with Bossuet once they seduce him, but that's not really how she wants to bring polyamory into the conversation, so she turns to Bossuet instead. “Yours is mostly food, sorry. It's not the most creative gift ever.”
Bossuet is clutching his coupon book to his chest, though his cheeks are pink too. It may have something to do with the terrible crayon doodles she put on every coupon and Joly's complete lack of subtlety waving them around. “Are you kidding? You will pry this pie coupon from my cold, dead hands. I wouldn't trade naughty things at all.”
“Well, you'll have to let me pry it from your living hands at some point if you want me to make key lime pie,” she points out.
“No, see, I have a clever plan involving telling you I'm using my coupon and then coincidentally forgetting to give it to you and getting at least five pies out of this deal.” Bossuet is solemn and wide-eyed and she wants to kiss him.
“Telling her that was possibly not your best strategy.” Joly looks between them, and smiles when he catches Musichetta's eye. “Do you guys want to put the movie in?”
“You haven't given us presents yet,” Musichetta says, mostly as a joke.
“I have plans,” says Joly, ominously, and shepherds them into the living room to put a movie in. “Also I chose the movie and it's a great movie so it's a present to us all.”
“The only thing that deserves the word 'plans' in that tone of voice is if you hired a zeppelin to fly by the window with a personal message for us,” says Bossuet, the first to make it to the couch. He sits to one side, and Musichetta has a brief, silent, conversation with Joly to decide who gets to be in the middle.
“That would be awesome, I need to figure out how to hire a zeppelin.” Joly concedes the middle to Musichetta mostly by virtue of needing to go put the movie in the player.
It's Singin' in the Rain, from the cover, and Musichetta has seen it enough times to know one of the reasons he might have chosen it, so she grins to herself as Joly joins them, pulling an afghan she's pretty sure Grantaire's grandmother knitted over them all.
Watching movies with Joly and Bossuet is always a delight. The two of them have a conversation just quiet enough that she can still hear the movie and just distracting enough that she has to remind herself to listen. She's usually quiet, and tonight only chimes in when they desperately need her opinion on which musical number is better or whether Lena Lamont is really that bad.
She's not expecting to have the conversation yet, so it's hard not to straighten in surprise when, after Don, Kathy, and Cosmo wish each other good morning, Joly says, halfway to casual if it weren't for the way his voice shakes, “Do you think they have a threesome?”
Bossuet misses a beat. “Not with the Hays Code in effect.”
“But, like, in the order of the universe, they should have a threesome.”
Musichetta looks between them. Joly is still pretending to watch the movie. Bossuet is staring at Joly, but he catches Musichetta looking since he has to look over her, and he's frowning, but it's more confusion than anything else. He hasn't figured it out yet. It's not exactly the first conclusion anyone would jump to. “I think maybe we should pause the movie,” she says. “We'll miss the good part, because all of them are good parts.”
Bossuet is still looking at both of them, frowning. “Talking about the Hays Code and threesomes is going to make us miss the movie?”
Joly, having brought the whole thing up, is now worryingly silent. They've paused right after the musical number, and Musichetta only lets herself look at the screen for a few seconds before she takes a deep breath. “You were the one who brought up the Hays Code. He—we … we brought up the threesomes.”
Sometimes, very foolish people think Bossuet is stupid, because Bossuet is a clown, and clumsy, and more inclined to laugh with his friends than crack a textbook open. None of that stops him from being very, very smart, and Musichetta clutches her hands in the afghan on her lap and doesn't look at Gene Kelly's smiling face on the television, just watches the gears turn in his head for long enough that she wants to scream. “How long?” he finally asks, and his voice is shaking like her hands want to.
“Depending on which way you mean that question, as long as you'll have us or not as long as we should have considering we're both usually pretty smart people,” says Joly, shaking off his silence. His voice is shaking too.
“Only if you want to,” says Musichetta, because she has to say something. “Only as long as you want us. But we wouldn't have asked, we wouldn't have risked this, if we didn't think it could be important or long-term.” And then, because maybe he needs an out, or maybe he needs time, “Do you want to finish the movie?”
She's a little envious, sometimes, of their telepathy, the way they don't even need to talk, or the way they skip most of their conversations except the good puns they like to savor and say out loud. Maybe she's starting to get it, though, because she can see Bossuet thinking, the way he looks from the television back to them and pats his pocket and then meets Joly's eyes. That's right, probably. As much as she has to lose, here, they have more. “Be really sure,” he finally says, probably for her benefit.
Joly leans across her lap so fast he almost topples into it, hands planted in the afghan, his hair almost in her nose while he gives Bossuet his full attention. “We wouldn't have brought it up if we weren't. You're my best friend and I love you, and also I love you. I had this great speech about background radiation planned but then I fell in a Wikipedia hole when I tried to make it more scientific.”
Musichetta twists until she can see Bossuet over Joly's head. “And I'm not doing this for him. I miss you when I don't get to have breakfast with you. I'd like to kiss you. I don't ...” Honesty, there's no way this is going to work without honesty. “I don't love you yet, but you matter a lot to me. And not in the same way as Grantaire or Courfeyrac or anyone. You're you.”
Bossuet looks like he wants to ball up like an armadillo, which he sometimes does when he's upset or laughing really hard, but he stays where he is. “What if you stop wanting me like that? Or what if it screws things up for the two of you? Or any of us?”
That's the million-dollar question, the one she and Joly have been avoiding because they're best-case scenario people, all three of them are. She doesn't think the first one's going to happen, but if relationships with two people are hard, she can only imagine three. “Then we all talk, and we do anything so we don't lose each other. It's not all going to be sunshine and plastic dinosaurs, but we'll try. If you want us to try.”
She wants nothing more than to hug Bossuet, because he's unsure and still looking between them like maybe there's something they're missing, but he looks at his lap and then at the television and sighs. “Maybe another musical number? While I think?”
“Anything you need,” says Joly, and vacates Musichetta's lap while he reaches for the remote.
Musichetta doesn't take in anything, through Gene Kelly tapdancing around in puddles and playing with his umbrella. Joly, on one side of her, is twisting his hands in his lap, and Bossuet on the other is almost vibrating with tension. She can't be the only one worrying that everything is ruined now, that Grantaire is going to come back tomorrow morning from wherever he's spending the night and find them all quiet and awkward and avoiding each other's eyes.
“Okay,” says Bossuet when Gene Kelly wanders, humming, off the screen. “Promise me we'll stop if it changes things in a bad way.”
“Instantly,” says Joly, like he's been waiting on that exact request.
“And promise me you aren't giving anything up for me.”
That question, Musichetta suspects, is for her. All of them are giving something up—the ability to have parents and acquaintances easily accept their relationship, the safety of having part of the relationship platonic, the kinds of attention they're used to getting from each other. She thinks, though, that he means he doesn't want her to do this to make Joly happy. “Nothing I wouldn't give up a hundred times over,” she promises.
Joly pauses the movie again. Musichetta doesn't think they're going to finish it tonight, which is kind of a pity because it's a good movie, but something better might just be happening. “You don't have to decide now,” says Joly. “This isn't a limited-time offer. We're just really bad at keeping secrets from you.”
“I don't think there's a possible permutation of the universe where I say no to this,” Bossuet admits, and Musichetta wants to cry and kiss him and laugh all at the same time. “Except, like, in the timeline where Combeferre and Jehan are warring villainous masterminds and Enjolras wears leather catsuits and we're the resistance.”
The wonderful, terrible thing is that Musichetta has heard of this timeline before, that it's something Joly and Bossuet discuss sometimes, the universe where everything goes terribly wrong, and she thinks it's telling that even there, even if Bossuet would say no, they still always imagine themselves and her there together. “So it's a yes?” she asks, and does a really poor job of controlling her tone.
Bossuet takes her hand, and both of them are shaking. “I'm in.”
Joly, apparently unable to contain himself anymore, launches himself across Musichetta's lap again, grabbing Bossuet's face in his hands and kissing him. Musichetta can't even begrudge him the first kiss, from the way Bossuet stops shaking and the way they're both laughing.
“It's my turn,” she says when it's lasted long enough, and Joly pulls away immediately, letting her duck in and kiss Bossuet. It's been a while since she kissed anyone but Joly, but it's nice, even if his lips are twitching like he's doing his very best not to grin.
Everyone is breathless when she pulls away, and Musichetta can feel the giggles building up in her chest, but she's not the first one to clamp her hand over her mouth and start laughing—that honor goes to Bossuet, but Musichetta and Joly are only seconds behind him, all considerations of personal space erased, Joly still halfway on both of their laps and Musichetta leaning against Bossuet's shoulder while they laugh and laugh until her lungs and face both ache.
“I think we should finish the movie in the morning,” she says when they've calmed down a little, and within five seconds both of them are scrambling out from under the afghan, Joly stopping the movie properly as he goes, leaving her to bring up the rear as both of them run into Joly's bedroom like it's the most natural thing in the world.
Joly, when she gets into his bedroom, is proudly holding out two cards, both completely covered in glitter, both of which read YAY, WE'RE AFRICAN MOLE RATS! Musichetta is willing to bet any money that mole rats are polyamorous somehow, and probably even more specific to their situation than that, and she grins and takes hers. “I made sad cards too,” he tells them, “but I'm really glad I get to use this one.”
Musichetta puts hers down on the nearest flat surface. “I am too. Now, are we going to go to bed?”
“Then we'll be naked mole rats,” Bossuet says, face barely straight, and then all three of them are tumbling into the bed, which is barely big enough, a little cloud of glitter coming off Bossuet's card as they all fall together.
Since he was in the middle when they fell asleep, she's not totally sure how he got out of the bed and got to the kitchen without waking her, but nonetheless he's there, making French toast in rocketship boxers and quietly humming “Make 'Em Laugh” to himself.
“Do you want to put the spatula down before I kiss you, or do you want to risk splashing egg stuff everywhere?” she asks, because she gets to do this now, gets their quiet morning moments the same as ever and completely different. “Also, have you heard from R?”
“Woke up to a text that he spent the night on Enjolras and Combeferre's couch.” Bossuet grins and puts the spatula down. “He says congratulations, and he'll be back to take us out for celebratory lunch. Good morning.”
“Morning,” she says, and kisses him. She hasn't done it vertical yet, and he's taller than her instead of shorter. It takes a second to adjust, but she likes it, likes knowing for sure without ever opening her eyes which one of them she's kissing. When she pulls away, his eyes are closed and he breaks immediately into a beam. “Hi.”
“Hi. I like this.”
She knows what he means. “Me too. Let me slice more bread for you.”
They haven't cooked together before, not without Joly or R anyway, and it's nice to find a rhythm with him, making an unspeakable amount of French toast that they're going to have to make into leftovers somehow. They don't talk much, or kiss much, though Bossuet keeps humming and sometimes Musichetta joins him.
It's most of an hour before Joly joins them, stumbling out of the bedroom with a hickey peeking out from under his shirt and a grin on his face. “It's so good to see you both, hi,” he says, and they almost burn a piece of French toast because they're so busy kissing him good morning. “Is R home yet, or is he murdered on the street?”
“He slept on Enjolras and Combeferre's couch, apparently, which sounds suspicious if you ask me,” says Musichetta, and turns back to the stove to give Bossuet a break. “Want to get the juice out for us, and some plates? We're about finished with this loaf.”
“And we'll finish the movie after breakfast?” Joly asks through a yawn. “And also maybe update all of our friends on our happy polyamorous adventures.”
“I think Jehan will be happy. And R. Both of them have been kind of expecting this, I think,” says Musichetta.
“I'm not even going to ask,” says Bossuet, shouldering her out of the way to move the last of the French toast onto the serving plate. “But yes, we can tell everyone. But not until we've watched the movie.”
“Good to know we've got a plan,” says Musichetta, and makes sure Bossuet gets the first piece of toast just to see the way he grins and the way Joly smiles at his grin even though he's still half-asleep and pouring orange juice. “We can do anything with a plan.”
“Dibs on the next piece,” says Joly. “I deserve it, I'm always coldly left out of breakfast with you two.”
Bossuet has an answer for that, of course, and Musichetta sits down at the table, listens to them bicker happily, tossing breakfast jokes back and forth, ankles tangled together under the table since they're all too busy eating to hold hands, and she never wants to start a day a different way.