31. Too Much Information

Enjolras and Grantaire are walking together. It looks like a pair of friends strolling, to people who don't know these men. Courfeyrac and Manon, however, don't think anything of the sort.

Courfeyrac blinks, and shakes his head. No, they're still there. "Enjolras?" he asks curiously.

Manon stops short, her hand tightening on Courfeyrac's shoulder. Oh my.

Enjolras smiles, a little too brightly. "Bonjour, René, Manon. How lovely to see you." Funny, he sounds as if he almost means it.

Grantaire glances wryly at them, and then yet more wryly at Enjolras, but says nothing.

Courfeyrac returns the smile, more weakly. "Is it? Oh, it is." He nods to Grantaire. "Pleasant afternoon."

Manon studies them, dark brows quirked skeptically. "And how are we today?" she inquires.

"Isn't it?" agrees Grantaire with that incongruous calm.

Enjolras glances at his companion. "We're fine." The answer is almost complacent. "How are you, Manon, or should I say Madame Courfeyrac?"

She blinks once, slowly. "We're fine," she echoes dryly, and glances up at René. "Aren't we, darling?"

Courfeyrac is not getting less nervous as this conversation continues. "Yes. Fine. We're fine." He has a very brittle smile just now. "Isn't the weather lovely?"

"Dazzling." Grantaire is perfectly serene, but less blithe than Enjolras.

Manon nods slowly. And then, because it is not in Manon's nature to beat around the bush or in fact do anything but attack it with a hatchet, she says, "What did we miss?"

Enjolras is not sure how to explain anything at this point, nor even if he can give a little speech, anymore. Instead, he puts a hand unsubtly on Grantaire's shoulder, in order to be overly obvious. "Oh, just a few things." His voice is unfairly smooth.

Courfeyrac stares. He says, eloquently, "Oh. Really?"

Grantaire looks exceedingly wry. Being this obvious in front of Courfeyrac and his terror of a bride is rather different from facing down Joly. But he reaches up to pat the hand briefly, by way of support.

"I... ah. See." Manon stares likewise, a moment; glances to Courfeyrac again, and rubs his shoulder soothingly. Then to Enjolras, "God, you don't do anything by halves, do you?"

Enjolras's eyes widen slightly, then he laughs. It goes on for quite a while. When, at last, he gets his breath back again, he answers, "No. What on earth would be the point of that?"

Grantaire puts a hand to his forehead. It might be embarrassment, or it might be an excess of rueful amusement.

Courfeyrac reexamines the situation and finds it even more frightening than his first impression. "Mon Dieu. You didn't."

"And a sense of humor too? God help us." Manon half-grins, shaking her head, and buries her face in Courfeyrac's shoulder for a moment.

Enjolras can't quite meet Courfeyrac's eyes. "Well, yes, actually."

Courfeyrac makes a small distressed noise. "Manon, do we know these people?" His voice sounds strange, and is definitely affected by fright.

Grantaire says too lightly, "If you're going to disown anyone publicly, now would be the time."

Manon shakes her head again. "I thought so." Then, dropping her voice, "Pull yourself together, chéri, you're the one was always telling him to be tolerant."

Enjolras extends a hand to Courfeyrac. "Bonjour, m'sieur. I am Marcelin, and you, and your lovely wife?" He's really not happy, but being mildly silly keeps him from turning red and running away.

Courfeyrac blinks at Manon's advice, and opts to take the hand. "I'm René, and this is Manon." He nods to Grantaire. "And you, m'sieur? I didn't catch your name."

But Manon breaks in just then, "Try not to be any more absurd than you already are, boys. Grantaire, stop looking like you're about to expire of jaundice, accept my condolences and tell my poor bewildered husband that it's not as bad as it looks."

Grantaire says obligingly, "It's not as bad as it looks."

Enjolras pauses at that, and doesn't let himself say, "It's worse." Instead, he shrugs slightly. "It's not bad at all."

Courfeyrac sighs. "Well, then. It's a pleasure to meet you both. To see you both. How has everyone been?"

Grantaire shrugs slightly. "It goes."

Enjolras nudges Grantaire in what he thinks is a subtle manner. "Very well. How is married life for you?" He's overenthusiastic. It's rather frightening, really.

Manon raises her eyebrows again. "Splendid," she murmurs.

Courfeyrac can, at least, agree with that. "It's been wonderful." He regards Manon with rather misty eyes. It might be a good idea to get him home soon.

Grantaire glances skyward at the nudge, but it's a tolerant skyward glance. He quirks a grin at Courfeyrac. "Well, congratulations. I don't think I mentioned that before, so I do."

Courfeyrac notices Grantaire after a slightly long moment. "Oh. Thank you." He's distracted by Manon. "Shall we be going, my love?"

Enjolras blinks, then makes some sense of the situation. "Adieu, René. Take care of him, Manon."

"Probably," she agrees. "We do have to be getting along." She glances amusedly at Enjolras. "Oh, I will. Never fear. Take care of yourselves." With another slight shake of her head, she moves to depart.

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