everybody loves feuilly~
This sort of started for @thecoffeetragedy because they were kind to me when I was so angry and frustrated, and I think you deserve lots of kindness sent your way too. But then this also turned into me being delighted because i was writing, and also a clumsy way to try out this new FANTASTICAL HEADCANON about Enjolras being the son of a printer (well, in this case, nephew). So. Yeah. Not saying it’s good tho. It was actually my first time writing Enjolras & Feuilly in three years of fandom. I AM ASHAMED. I probably didn’t get them well.
Feuilly hadn’t known what to expect when he had agreed to follow Enjolras to his home. He hadn’t been able to predict in what sort of place Enjolras lived because he had spent most of the way to go there quietly freaking out about saying yes in the first place.
Enjolras wasn’t a stranger anymore, that he could not deny; they had spent too many evenings in the Corinthe, among the same midst of people, to be considered anything less than acquaintances. Some, who considered that a conversation that went well meant friendship, would have even said they were close friends by now, for they’d had their fair share of discussions about politics. But Feuilly didn’t know much about friendship, and was both wary and envious of those who threw the word so carelessly. Friendship required trust, in his opinion, and that did not come easily to him.
And yet, when Enjolras had said: “I have something I would like to talk to you in private. Would you care for a drink? I do no live very far from here.” Feuilly had nodded before his brain even screamed suspicion. In fact, it had taken him almost ten minutes of walking for him to start getting worried – some workers whispered about Enjolras’s smile and his talent for charming people into agreeing with him, but Feuilly, before tonight, had thought himself beyond that.
A couple nights ago, @robertawickham and I were complaining that Hugo took so much from Charles Jeanne’s story to make his Ideal Barricade Hero (Enjolras) and then class-bent him to be a bourgeois student, instead of the working-class guy Jeanne actually was.
And then we realized Hugo doesn’t ..actually say… Enjolras is a STUDENT. Just “an only son and wealthy”. And he LOOKS like a student (a ‘college escapee’) but that’s in the same sentence that claims he looks like a pageboy and we’re all pretty sure he’s not that. And hey, workers can BE wealthy! Class often correlated with income (very often) but it wasn’t dependent on that; it was dependent on what sort of work a person did– manual labor was working-class, intellectual labor was bourgeoisie, to oversimplify a ridiculously complicated social strata. So after like five minutes of shouting TO HECK WITH YOUR CLASS ISSUES, HUGO, WE’RE TAKING ENJOLRAS BACK FOR THE WORKERS we realized we…needed a plausible profession?
@amarguerite mentioned that printers could, depending on their job and position, be quite wealthy, and gave us a bunch of wonderful details and info which are included under the cut. And lo, IT IS GOLD. All of it goes together to make Enjolras being the wealthy only son of print-shop owning family work SO WELL?!?
A SMALL AND ONLY PARTIAL list of the ways that Enjolras being the son of a printshop-owner makes Everything Better and Nothing Worse
-As a printer Enjolras is a logical point of connection for many interest groups; people need printing done! I cannot even believe how easy this makes plothooks!
-Also as a printer, Enjolras would be in a position to earn trust very quickly, despite his age and appearance, by printing illicit materials, serving as a message center, and so on.
-Wealthy or not, he likely wouldn’t have the formal education needed to be student; but he would have access to a lot of books and a professional advantage in learning what he could. This explains his occasional slips with Latin and the like, as well as why he’s apparently managed to get an education that so much inspires his Republican convictions–he chose his own reading material, apart from the standardized curriculum.
– He WOULD be in a position to have the kind of knowledge we see him display in Enjolras and His Lieutenants–awareness of who’s ramping up their revolutionary discussions, who’s getting cold feet, what the general mood of the radical groups in the city are. He’d know because THEY WOULD TELL HIM, with the kind of work they give him and how often and what the tone of it is. He’s as close to an internet hub as they’ve got. A GREAT person to help organize your activist group!
– Printers, whatever their more abstract politics, could hardly help knowing and caring about the various censorship and speech laws, which directly affected their business. A printshop owning family wouldn’t have to totally support Enjolras in his more dramatic views to agree with him taking dramatic action, especially in 1830; but they could still like Louis-Philippe, be more conservative– or very radical! So many options! (more on this under the cut)
– Printshop culture generally leaned heavily on the sort of jokes and teasing and goofing around the Amis are seen to love, and narratively applauded for, at least equally an evolution of working-class culture (which it really should be) as of student culture (which it still would be!)
– but as an expected heir and future manager of the shop he’d still be used to interacting with bourgeois clients and businesses! And probably dress quite well when out of the shop, in a subdued, professional way.
-Gavroche is mentioned as doing the occasional odd bit of work in a printshop. If anyone wants, this gives a really easy hook for Gavroche and Enjolras’ interactions at the barricade.
– Wait! (I panic.) Isn’t Feuilly the only workingman in this group of students?? **checks**! Wait, no, Hugo doesn’t actually say that! He only says that Feuilly IS a worker. Enjolras ALSO being a worker takes away nothing from Feuilly; a wealthy shop-owner’s only child and obvious heir will have dramatically more advantages than an orphan. But it does acknowledge that the working class wasn’t a homogenous block or single sort of life experience.
-Enjolras and Feuilly’s relationship is so much more interesting this way?? and it stops Feuilly being the Token Worker in a city full of workers in a worker-led movement. Seriously, Hugo, screw your class issues so much.
-I have an excuse to draw Enjolras in a printer’s apron with his sleeves up. :Like, ALWAYS. That is SO what I’m doing today.
Below the cut: Longer discussion and more explanation, and some Q&A with Amarguerite (shared with permission!) for the use of anyone else who wants to adopt this headcanon/alternate reading! (please consider sharing this headcanon it’s so great I am so happy right now) Warning: VERY LONG.
Enjolras and Feuilly aren’t Disney guys but by the end of Newsies they are sobbing and holding each other.
you know, there are so many great things to say about Enjolras’ canon List Of My Favourite Things About My Friends
one of them is obviously that you know that if he could have (and maybe he did), he’d have written that all down on a page of his diary, probably doodled a little in the margins and read it as often as he could
but another one is like. he lists Feuilly’s a like – his enthusiasm. Which is amazing. because honsetly it makes me thing of this one friend everyone has (or is) that is really, really into something and you really admire their passion even if it frequently goes into ‘too much it’s intimidating’ territory, but it doesn’t harm anyone so you’re just like ‘ah yes, they’re very – enthusiastic’ because they’re so cute.
so if like – Enjolras thinks your enthusiasm for the thing is a little overwhelming, imagine how freaking enthusiastic you’d have to be
and it ties perfectly and subtly to Feuilly’s intro where he just doesn’t shut up about his favourite causes and subjects
i love it so much
I MEAN I’m all for the obvious
oh gosh these two srs nerds though
- who steals french fries off the other’s plate
Feuilly. Because seriously, they’re sitting there just getting cold. Look, he’s not judgemental, but…it’s just terrible, all right. He can’t let it happen.
- who jokingly moves in for the kiss when someone asks if they’re a couple
It would never occur to either of them to do this, not in ten thousand years of jokes and comments. o_o
- who has to bust or bail the other out of jail
Feuilly is one of the group they try really hard to keep out of the arrests, so he’s usually the one coming around with the group’s Bail Fund money the next day. >_<
- who gives the other advice/comfort about dating issues
…Again, if we assume they’re dating France and The People, they give each other advice ALL THE TIME. If we assume anything else, then neither of them ever. 😛
- who shamelessly cheats at games by reaching over to cover the other’s eyes
Feuilly. It cracks Enjolras up because Feuilly is so obviously not cheating. For one thing, he’s using both hands to cover Enjolras’ eyes while he just shouts I’M CHEATING NOW and then he still has to explain how he would Never Cheat and Honesty Is So Important.
(You can tell Enjolras is cracking up because he does that Silent Laugh thing TWICE.)
- who immediately calls dibs on the top bunk
…When did these two go to bed? Top Bunk is the sad fate of whoever takes the longest to pass out, so they have to climb up the ladder (or just pile into the lower bunk too, or pass out on the couch.)
- who starts and who wins the pillow fights
Feuilly! Well, Feuilly occasionally sort of mashes a pillow onto Enjolras and laughs at him. Pitched combat!
- who says “your pants would look better on their floor” to the other’s potential crush
…look it was a totally innocent, even critical, statement because he’d managed to wreck his pants, okay, neither of them thought ANYTHING about it until Courfeyrac and Bahorel started cackling, oh my god, SHUT UP I WAS MAKING FUN OF HIS PANTS AND YOU KNOW IT, I DISOWN YOU BOTH.
(Feuilly. Feuilly’s the malaproper. Enjolras has no idea what the joke is, but he’s ignoring Bahorel and Courfeyrac on the general principle of They’re Laughing That Way Again.)
ahhh I don’t know if I have more than I did before but.
- Enjolras works in the coffee shop for Experience. also because he loves it? He’s a student and he definitely could afford to not work – his parents could pay – but he’s proud of getting by mostly on his own means. He has a tendency to overspend on things because he hates shopping and doesn’t always think things through before buying them, and that’s lead to a few challenges but he’s proud of doing it on his own.
- The coffee shop where he works is absolutely ridiculous. it’s that fancy ‘we have three types of espresso and nothing under 5 dollars except drip coffee and if you take that we judge you’.
- Enjolras noticed, though, that though the neighbourhood the coffee shop is located in is quickly gentrifying, most of the locals can’t afford to go regularly. It’s mainly rich student and business people. In fact, there’s a homeless shelter a few blocks down and he really often goes, giving pastries there and sets up a pending coffee board on the counter, explaining it to everyone at the till!
- There’s this guy that comes by often enough – around Enjolras’ age, he looks like he might be a student, but he always takes his coffee to-go and Enjolras’ never seen him with a laptop or a textbook, just little paperbacks that look like they’ve been read dozens of times. His name is Feuilly, and he can never stay and chat for long but he’s very nice and always gets a drip coffee for himself and one pending.
- The pending coffee thing actually is their first conversation – Feuilly points it out, and says he volunteers at the shelter and he’s glad the coffee shop does these things and Enjolras doesn’t get crushes, he really doesn’t, that’s not a thing Enjolras does, but Feuilly is very nice and he has very nice eyes and his voice his cute and Enjolras wants to hear him talk more.
- but it’s ridiculous he comes by often but idk he probably doesn’t think very much of Enjolras, like, Enjolras’ just the barista making him coffee, right? Right.
- Except no! That first morning Feuilly went to the coffee shop, his own coffee machine had broken down and he was late so he went there, since it’s near his job. He never expected to go again – it’s way too expensive – but he was kinda pleasantly surprised to see the pending coffee board, and oh. The barista seems really nice. He has a nice face. He looks. Nice. Yeah.
- So Feuilly sorta keep going. And it’s just like – small talk. He doesn’t even know the barista’s name. But he thinks he probably looks weird going there to often so he’s like – “I uh I actually work nearby! The art supply store! yeah.” and then leaves with his drip coffee to-go, really embarrassed because oh my god feuilly how awkward can you be?!
- and he stops going to the coffee shop, because what if the barista thought he was hitting on him? god, the poor guy is just doing his job he doesn’t need creepy clients hitting on him! but mostly it’s that his hours have been cut back and he really can’t afford the coffee anymore.
- Enjolras notices, definitely. All the rich students and busy professionals seem so… boring suddenly? where did the (cute, nice) guy from the art supply store go?
- So after his morning shift one Enjolras decides to go investigate! To the art supply store! Probably the guy just doesn’t work here anymore, honestly Enjolras doesn’t even know what to expect he just wants to – make sure he’s gone, or if he still works there it’s because Enjolras somehow scared him off and not knowing Bothers Enjolras.
- so he goes. Sees Feuilly reshelving some paints and Enjolras kinda goes ‘oh. so it’s my fault then.’ So he grabs some idk – some scrapbooking supplies, thinking he’ll give them to Joly or Jehan or someone, and goes to pay –
- – but to his horror, it’s Feuilly who finishes his shelving and goes to check his items out.
- IT’S SO AWKWARD. feuilly’s like ‘I didn’t know you were into that stuff!’ and he smiles and he looks kinda tired like he hasn’t been sleeping or eating well and enjolras just thinks fast and goes – ‘yeah, actually, I love it!’
- and kicks himself for it later, but Feuilly brightens up at that. ‘oh! So I guess I’ll see you again here soon? we have lots of nice scrapbooking stuff, we get new stock every first tuesday of the month, you should come check it out.’
- and of course, Enjolras goes. buys more scrapbooking stuff. picks up some paints. he has no idea how to do this – the stuff is really just piling up on his desk at home – but he gets to hear Feuilly talk more and it seems to make him happy when he comes in?
- but another thing that Bothers Enjolras: Feuilly doesn’t come to the coffee shop anymore. And he always looks tired, like, it seems like everytime Enjolras sees him it gets worse. So one day after his shift Enjolras grabs a coffee and bring it to Feuilly at the shop. First step towards friendship yay! and it’s slow at the store and they chat a little more and learn a little more about each other!
- Feuilly’s like “hey you seem to really like crafting, I’d like to see the stuff you do, I bet you’re so talented!”
- GRAVE MISTAKE. Enjolras has no idea what to do. he enlists his friends’ help but there’s no way he can do something that’ll impress Feuilly before he sees him again, so next time he admits he’s been buying that just to come by and see him. Feuilly’s super flattered and kinda embarrassed to say he’d gone to the coffee shop just to see him too, but he just couldn’t afford it anymore after a while.
- They end up using all the craft stuff Enjolras bought (and more!) do have free crafts and art and coffee nights at the coffee shop, inviting people from the homeless shelter!
- or something! their relationship probably starts going deeper from there.
i’m so stupidly emotional about enjolras&feuilly? just their relationship in general.
and feuilly loves enjolras so much, because he’s so wonderful? he does so much and he’s such an amazing speaker and he’s so bright and kind and thoughtful, but he’s also really funny when he wants to be, in a awkward but earnest way that never ever fails to make feuilly smile. he has so much energy, just being near him feuilly feels like he has more energy to do all he wants to do, too. so he’ll always be happy and proud to stand by enjolras’ side and work with him and just be with him day to day; it’s like living with your own personal sun.
and enjolras loves feuilly so much too, admires him and how he thinks and his enthusiasm for learning that never, ever falters, even when things are shitty. how he always succeeds at everything he tries to do, because when he does something he works so hard at it, he gives it all he has, always. and how independant and strong he is, though he’ll always feel a little protective of him too because he knows feuilly deserves all the most wonderful things in the world but for most of his life he had fuck all, so enjolras will make sure feuilly gets to have good things and be happy now.
ahhhh i’m just.
I want to write a “fake dating that doesn’t quite turn into a real dating because they don’t really date but they still keep living together and holding hands and being each other’s plus on way long after they don’t have to anymore because yeah maybe both want to do this long term for real” with Enjolras/Feuilly.
…for the record, I would read the FUCK out of that. *_* ^_^ *_* Just saying.
Feuilly probably hasn’t thought much about getting a tattoo, since they’re expensive and who has the money for that? He’d been living hand-to-mouth for so long he sort of missed the point when he could start to afford luxuries. But when the thought does occur to him that this IS a thing he could do, he could go out right now and get a tattoo on his body, he quickly falls in love this the idea.
It takes him forever to decide what to get, though, and it’s a running joke in the group that he’s never actually going to be able to go through with it, because he won’t be able to decide. At one point, Bossuet and Bahorel both offer to pay for an additional tattoo (for some reason, Bossuet has some disposable cash at the moment), just because they’re afraid if he has to narrow it down to one thing, Feuilly’s never going to do it. But he doesn’t want to get the words unless he really loves them enough for them to be the only ones he ever gets.
Because of course it’s going to be words, what else could it be? He goes back and forth between a lot of things. At first, it’s quotes from the people who inspire him, words that keep him going and give him the strength and courage to dream of a different world: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” “It is in giving that we receive.” “What gives light must endure burning.” Then he thinks maybe that’s too holier-than-thou, to put these words on his body as if labeling himself as a perfect representative of social change or something. (He admits this worry to Enjolras, late at night–only the fact that it’s 2 am brings it out–Enjolras trips over his tongue trying to find the words to convince Feuilly that he so does not need to worry about people taking it that way. Feuilly’s still not sure.)
So then he goes to words that are just beautiful, things that have stuck with him, lines from poems his friends have shared with him, scraps of stories that meant a lot to him. He flirts for a few months with “There is a crack in everything / That’s how light gets in.” Then he considers “Made weak by fate and time, yet strong in will / to strive, to seek, to find / and not to yield.”
But there are so many beautiful words, and it’s hard to pick between them, to say THIS one, this is so beautiful I want it with me forever. And in the end, they’re just words, and maybe theyre reaching for the beauty that fills the universe, but they can’t ever really get there, and after all there are more important things than beauty.
When the right idea comes to him, he sleeps on it barely three weeks before he finally gets the tattoo: A very small cluster of stars on his left shoulder. They’re simple and really pretty, like a little scatter of freckles, but everyone’s a little surprised that he didn’t go with words, like he’s been planning to for ages. Enjolras asks him one evening, and Feuilly explains that the stars stand for a story–something he wants to remind himself of, that can’t be summed up well with words.
He was 17 and in 10th grade–and just barely so. This was right around the time he started to realize that the one he was hurting the most with his bad choices was himself–but he wasn’t there just yet. He was still really angry, just at everything in general; he was fighting a lot; he was skipping a lot of school. He ended up staying after school for this science expo not actually because he was interested in science but because he’d pissed off a kid in gym that day and was avoiding him so he didn’t have to fight (because his foster parents were going to take away his phone if he fought any more that month).
But the old dude at the astronomy table didn’t know that. He looked at Feuilly, slouching around between the exhibits, and he didn’t see the three-inch-thick disciplinary file, the foster care paperwork, the scars on his left shoulder from his stepdad. He looked at Feuilly and saw a potential future scientist. And that’s how he talked to him: He showed him photographs of Jupiter and the craters on the moon and Saturn’s rings; he explained the data from the state university’s most recent experiments; he pitched the local observatory’s summer camp for young astronomers. At the time, Feuilly was laughing inwardly at this clueless old fart who actually thought that he was interested in this nerd stuff … but afterward, it stuck with him. The old man thought he was the kind of person who could be an astronomer. And who said he wasn’t?
It wasn’t life-changing–at least, not in a big dramatic way. He didn’t break down in tears or discover some long-suppressed dream of becoming an astrophysicist. But he did start to question some of the assumptions people had about him–things he’d come to believe about himself. When he took the end-of-year exams, he asked himself who said he would never pass a final, and he sat up straight and actually read the directions (he still failed, but with much higher score than he’d ever gotten–enough to convince him to do summer school and try again on the exam in August). When he saw posters around school about college applications and the FAFSA, he asked himself who said he was the kind of person who couldn’t go to college?
And that’s what Feuilly wants to remember every morning when he sees those stars in the mirror: How much it meant to have someone look at him in a different way. He wants to remember how far he’s come, and how lucky he is that his life turned around the way it did. He wants to remember that people really can change. He wants to remember that the same thing that was true of him is true of the people he works with every day: No matter how they seem on the outside, everyone has incredible potential inside them–to love, to hope, to grow–and that they deserve to have other people recognize that in them. He wants to remember to see everyone around him the way that old man saw him that day.
It takes half an hour to tell Enjolras the whole story and to explain exactly what it means to him. Much easier–and less painful–Feuilly says, laughing, to get seven little stars than to try to get all that down in words.