27. Ring Out The Bells

July 14th

The small church where the wedding is to take place is not particularly full. The groom's family is seated on one side, as far from the bride's associates as they can get, and also hiding from the groom's friends as much as they can. These friends and assorted women are quite dressed up for the occasion. Too many faces are missing. Some will be in the wedding party; still others are not going to be here at all.

M.Sardou enters the hall.

Musichetta lets out a little sigh. Bossuet pats her on the shoulder, and offers Joly a handkerchief, because he's already on the verge of tears.

Enjolras enters next, looking awkwardly formal and uncomfortable. Renée is on his arm, overly pleased to be there. They take their places up at the altar.

Feuilly stands quietly with greying Annette, both fairly impassive.

It's a very small bridal party, as could be expected for such a hurried wedding, and hurried with very good reason. The best man and maid of honor enter next, both looking distracted. Combeferre gives Chantal's arm a little squeeze before they part, and then pats Enjolras comfortingly on the shoulder.

Chantal does her best not to look terribly flustered as she takes her place.

The bride's grandmother shakes her head. "This is all? Hmph." But no one pays her any heed.

M.Sardou produces a wan smile, at the grandmother especially and all others assembled.

Jeanne buries her face in her brother's shoulder."God, why did I come?" she asks, softly.

Courfeyrac enters, looking more uncomfortable than all the other men in the room put together. He pulls at his collar to no avail.

Grantaire, looking on from a back corner with his sister, slips an arm around her shoulders comfortingly. "Because you're an idiot, like me." He looks mildly amused at Courfeyrac's flusterment.

Joly blows his nose loudly. Musichetta pats him on the back. "Shhh, cher, the bride's about to enter."

And, finally, here comes the bride, surreptitiously twitching at her skirts and looking perhaps a bit annoyed for a woman on the happiest day of her life, but reasonably composed.

Jeanne sighs. "Ah, she's so pretty."

Renée glances from Manon, who looks as radiant as she is irritable, to Enjolras, who seems ready to drop through the floor. She sighs.

Courfeyrac looks at a point beyond the front of the church. When Manon draws up even with him, he smiles at her and takes her hand. "This is easy," he whispers, for her ears alone.

Feuilly actually quirks a smile at the couple. They're so... well... themselves.

Combeferre beams at Manon, who cleans up remarkably well, then sneaks a peek at Chantal and immediately looks at the floor. His hands are trembling. He may drop the ring.

"Right," she mutters, and takes a deep breath.

M.Sardou says, "Messieurs, mesdames...."

Chantal, for her part, is perfectly white, and not exactly looking up either.

Musichetta sits up straighter in her seat and squeezes Bossuet's hand.

Régine, among the onlookers, stops scrutinizing her daughter critically to give her attention to the ceremony.

M.Sardou says, "We gather today to witness the joining of this man and this woman in holy matrimony."

Courfeyrac's knees are shaking.

M. de Courfeyrac shakes his head. "Holy," he says sardonically, but quietly, to his wife. "Not with that one in it."

M.Sardou appears to mumble for a few moments. Not silently, but below the threshhold of comprehnsion.

M.Sardou says, "Does anyone here assembled have any objection to these two young want-- er, this man and this woman being wedded? If so, speak now, or forever hold your peace."

The grandmother of the bride tsks. "He's a cute enough boy," she says to herself, as if addressing Manon, "but he doesn't look trustworthy to me. A bit late now."

Mme. de Courfeyrac puts a quelling hand on her husband's shoulder. "He's his own man now," she hisses in his ear. "Let it go."

M. de Courfeyrac subsides slightly.

M.Sardou glances around the room. Anyone?

There is the silence of bated breath.

Manon stands absolutely rigid, just waiting for somebody to say something.

Grantaire looks as though he's contemplating telling the fellow to get on with it, but behaves himself.

M.Sardou says, "That being the case......."

Courfeyrac has forgotten not to lock his knees. He nearly swoons, then catches himself on Manon's shoulder and straightens again.

M.Sardou says, "Do you, Manon, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband; to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, till death do you part?"

Feuilly glances heavenward. Brave Courfeyrac.

Enjolras may not approve of Manon, but he approves of weddings, and thinks that this may be a sign of Courfeyrac straightening himself out. He watches impassively.

Courfeyrac holds his breath.

Manon takes in a breath rather through her teeth. "...Ido." God, this is embarrassing!

Chantal smiles very, very faintly.

Courfeyrac smiles, and flashes her a nervous smile, that nevertheless looks just like his normal charming self.

Joly takes another hankie from Bossuet. His crying is quite audible for several rows in each direction.

M.Sardou turns. "And do you, René, take Manon Latour to be your lawfully wedded wife; to love, honor and cherish; to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, until death do you part?"

Courfeyrac can't think what to say for a moment. Then the words make sense, as they never have before, and there is only one answer. "I do."

M. de Courfeyrac frowns. His wife purses her lips, and shows none of the emotion that even the best man exhibits.

M.Sardou says, "Who here has the ring, please?"

Combeferre is glad of that question, because it distracts him from embracing them. "I have it." He fishes in his pocket, and hands it to Courfeyrac.

M.Sardou says, "René, as you place the ring on Manon's finger, repeat after me:"

Manon's grandmother sighs a little bit.

M.Sardou says, "'With this ring....'"

Régine watches coolly.

Musichetta bites her lip and looks over at Joly, then up at Bossuet with tears in her eyes.

Courfeyrac clears his throat. "With this ring,"

M.Sardou says, "'....I thee wed.'"

"I thee wed." His voice only trembles slightly.

Grantaire leans back against the stone wall, watching with a faintly melancholy expression.

Jeanne has long since stopped watching and buried her face in a handkerchief.

Renée is crying, though more quietly than Joly. A tear trickles down her cheek.

Manon is scarlet, and not quite looking at any of them anymore, even Courfeyrac.

M.Sardou says, "By the power vested in me by the Catholic Church and the seat of Government of France, I now pronounce you Man and Wife."

Enjolras frowns at the invocation of the government, and looks away.

M.Sardou turns more warmly to Courfeyrac. "You may kiss the bride."

Annette squeezes Feuilly's arm with a smile.

Courfeyrac looks at her, nervous again, then does so.

Combeferre applauds enthusiastically.

Manon almost falls down in sheer relief, but Courfeyrac manages to catch her in time.

M. de Courfeyrac watches for only a moment, then gets up and leaves, taking Mme. with him.

The grandmother of the bride calls out, "You've got a good one there. Keep him!"

Chantal breaks into a wan smile, though she ducks her head.

M.Sardou makes a brief gesture to the organist, who proceeds into a sedate rendition of Mozart's 'Wedding March.'

Joly sobs, though the people on either side of him are desperately trying to hush him.

Manon pulls away with a grin, not a smile, and shouts back, "I intend to!"

Régine casts a dour look at this coarse old woman, but refrains from comment. She's doing a lot of that today.

Combeferre goes over to them and embraces both at once. "I'm so glad for you." For the moment, he's forgotten his own troubles.

Enjolras stands where he has been, looking at nothing.

Renée looks at Enjolras again, and sighs deeply before she goes over to Manon to congratulate her.

Grantaire hugs Jeanne roughly. "There."

Jeanne sniffs and wipes her eyes one last time. "A lovely wedding."

Manon dissolves into slightly hysterical giggles, and hugs Combeferre and then Renée.

Courfeyrac whoops. "We did it." He kisses Manon on the cheek, this time, then accepts a back-pounding from Combeferre.

Enjolras composes himself and goes over to shake Courfeyrac's hand. "Congratulations." It is as somber as if they are strangers.

Mme. Latour gets to her feet and walks over to her granddaughter. "You've done well."

Feuilly allows himself a fleeting grin, then, as Annette leans over to exclaim to Musichetta and offer Joly yet another hankie.

Combeferre extricates himself from the crush of people by the altar and catches hold of Chantal. He draws her aside slightly before going down on one knee. "This is the wrong time, but I may never see you again if I don't do it now, and I love you. Would you marry me?"

"I'm glad you approve," manages Manon between her giggles.

M.Sardou, thinking himself mostly unobserved, makes a small scratch on the shelf in back of the lectern, and wanders back into Chambers to hit the communion wine.

Enjolras was keeping half an eye on Chantal. When Combeferre pulls her away from the crowd, he makes his way over.

Régine's sharp eyes do not miss this. Even before Chantal can react, she is on her feet, but it's not going to be in time to forestall him.

Courfeyrac blinks at Enjolras's congratulations, then at the people wanting to pat him on the back.

Chantal gasps. Her hands tighten convulsively on Combeferre's; then, perfectly suddenly, she faints.

Combeferre stands up and cries out, "Chantal!" He's too late to catch her, but kneels by her side immediately.

Claudette heads over quickly before realizing she knows almost none of these people. But if they are friends of her dear departed cousin, they are friends of hers.

Musichetta nudges Bossuet and points to the prone Chantal and attendant Combeferre and Mme. Enjolras. "What's going on?" she asks, though he is unlikely to know.

Grantaire blinks toward the crowd. "Good God, what now..."

Enjolras makes it to Chantal's side after she has fallen unconscious. "What have you done?" he asks as angrily as if Combeferre drugged her.

Feuilly is virtually on Claudette's heels, suspecting that someone is going to need moral support before this is over.

Claudette looks up as Enjolras accuses Combeferre

Courfeyrac sits down in the first row pew. He does not want to be held responsible for any of this.

Régine pushes through the throng to her daughter's side, her face set. Maman's not happy, and if her son wasn't yelling at this boy already, you can be sure she would be.

Claudette starts fanning Chantal, keeping silent. She doesn't want to get in the middle of this.

Combeferre looks up at Enjolras with a stricken face. "I didn't do anything. I only wanted to make everything right. I only asked her."

Claudette asks quietly to anyone. "What happened? I didn't hear, what did he ask?"

Bossuet shakes his head. "I think we'd better stay back," he advises Musichetta. "If that's Enjolras's mother, she'll have a thing or two to say about all of this."

Manon steadies her grandmother, whom Régine's elbow caught on the way by, and at once begins to expostulate. "Combeferre, for God's sake, your timing is miserable. Enjolras, leave him alone..."

"Asked her," Régine says icily. "Dare I inquire what you asked her, monsieur, to cause this?" Not that she can't guess.

Combeferre protests, "I had to do it now, before she went home again." He pauses at Mme. Enjolras's question to catch his breath. He straightens his shoulders. "I asked her to marry me."

Claudette stands and backs out of the firing zone quietly, sensing that she might do more harm than good.

Chantal sucks in a breath and opens her eyes just then, and instantly winces. She clutches at the nearest hand, which winds up being Claudette's, and protests faintly, "But I..."

Enjolras goes pale white. "I thought you had more sense than that, Etienne," he mutters quietly, sinking to his knees beside Chantal.

Claudette holds Chantal's hand tightly, trying to wake her up further. "Are you all right?"

Courfeyrac puts his head in his hands. He knows he can't stop Enjolras, or Manon, and no one else is likely to listen to him, either.

"Marry him? How romantic!" Musichetta exclaims. Bossuet and Joly shake their heads at her.

"Indeed," retorts Régine. "This, young man, exceeds my endurance. I have allowed you to correspond with my daughter--"

Jeanne looks at her brother. "Does he even know her?"

Claudette ignores the arguments heating up around her as she helps Chantal sit up.

Chantal blinks blankly at the woman whose hand she's got hold of, and then looks rather desperately between Combeferre and Enjolras. "I don't... please..."

Grantaire coughs a bit. "I'll tell you later," he murmurs.

Combeferre stands up to contend with Mme. Enjolras on more even terms. "You must understand, Madame, that we have misrepresented the situation. I know your daughter much better than you think, and, for the sake of my own conscience, I must at least make the offer."

Claudette smiles kindly. "You don't know me, I'm afraid. I am Claudette Prouvaire, only recently acquainted with Les Amis."

Chantal blinks again at Claudette, but the name doesn't have time to register before Combeferre's answer. "Etienne--" she pleads in sudden panic.

Enjolras coughs, but says nothing that might provoke his mother further. Instead, he pats Chantal on the back, and asks, "Did you answer him, or just faint?" At the young stranger's words, he pales further, and whispers, "Prouvaire?"

Combeferre looks down. "Chantal, I have to tell her the truth."

Claudette looks at him oddly. "Yes, Monsieur. I believe you are acquainted with my cousin, Jean?"

That is the last thing Enjolras wanted to hear at the moment. He seems as if he may faint next. "Yes, I was."

Whereupon Chantal goes scarlet.

Musichetta evades Joly's efforts to stop her and makes her way over to the knot of people.

Claudette closes her eyes briefly, then turns her attention back to Chantal.

Feuilly observes all this quietly, Chantal and Combeferre and Claudette and Enjolras, and slowly shakes his head. He glances wryly at Musichetta.

Régine stares at Combeferre in perfect, frigid silence for a minute. "Really," she says at last.

Joly and Bossuet get up to watch.

Combeferre answers, "Yes, really. And she has not answered me, yet." He looks at Chantal pleadingly.

Chantal is sitting on the floor still, blushing furiously and looking at the carpet. Hyperventilating, possibly. Her hands knot frantically in her skirt. "I..."

Enjolras puts a hand on his sister's shoulder. "I hardly think that this is the appropriate time."

Claudette stays close by in case Chantal faints again.

Manon meanwhile has given up on all these insane friends of hers and gone to sit down beside her -- ye gods, husband. She rests her head on his shoulder, comfortingly.

Courfeyrac puts an arm around Manon's waist. "Shall we leave, ma chère?"

Combeferre shakes his head. "There is no better time; your parents have seen to that, Marcelin." He looks curiously at Mme. Enjolras. "I am surprised they even delivered my letters to her."

Régine says sharply, "I do not like your tone, M. Combeferre." And just what are you going to do about it, maman?

"Oh, stop it!" Chantal almost shrieks, and pushes to her feet and runs to Combeferre. "All of you stop."

Claudette looks around at the angry faces around her.

Combeferre opens his arms and embraces her.

Manon shakes her head slowly, watching, but doesn't answer.

Enjolras stands and takes hold of his mother's arm. "Let her decide. Trust her."

Claudette smiles slightly as she watches them.

Feuilly offers a steadying arm to Grandmama Latour, almost absent-mindedly, as he leans on the back of a pew.

Combeferre kisses the top of Chantal's head, and continues speaking to Mme. Enjolras. "I am surprised, but I am grateful." In a gentler tone, he adds, "I will take care of you, Chantal, if you will have me."

Musichetta puts a hand over her mouth, whispering, "Oh, they're so dear."

Claudette smiles, swallowing back a tear

Chantal buries her face in his shoulder, quaking. She can only nod.

Combeferre squeezes her for a second, then lets her go and looks at her family with calm eyes. "I promise. I will do a better job, this time."

Claudette looks slightly puzzled but makes a mental note to ask various Amis about this later.

Enjolras bites back harsh words, and looks at his mother, waiting for her verdict.

Régine is cold and composed and stiff as a woman made of ice. She studies the two for a long minute, weighing all this; glances to Marcelin, then around at the crowd. In the end she makes the best of it. "Of course I have no objection. But I must deplore your timing," she adds dryly to Combeferre.

Claudette finds herself relaxing slightly, though she hadn't realized she was tense.

Feuilly has the effrontery to snort slightly at this.

Claudette glares at Feuilly, not wanting tempers to flare again.

Combeferre grins broadly, and nods to her. "I must agree, Madame." He looks at Chantal, waiting for her response.

Enjolras sighs deeply.

Musichetta claps her hands. "Congratulations!"

Chantal wipes helplessly at her eyes. "So do I." It comes out petulantly.

Feuilly returns Claudette's gaze quite tranquilly, before glancing back at the emotional Enjolrati and luckless Combeferre.

Manon clears her throat, and speaks up. "If you've all got that quite settled..."

Claudette shakes her head and watches the group of people arguing.

Combeferre offers Chantal a handkerchief and kisses her on the cheek. "I'm sorry." At Manon's interruption, he looks up, chagrined. "Of course, yes, forgive me, Manon."

Courfeyrac stands up and offers Manon his hand. "Did we plan a party of some sort, my love, or shall we send them all home hungry?"

"Idiot," is Manon's response to Combeferre. No one can make that word sound quite as much like an endearment as Manon. "You might've let her sit down first. Yes. As I was saying, if you've all quite finished, perhaps we can get out of this bloody dank church and all enjoy ourselves now." She regards the lot of them quizzically.

Joly chimes in, "That's a wonderful idea," sniff.

Bossuet stands up to escort Musichetta from the church.

Combeferre offers Chantal his arm. "Shall we be going? I think I've caused enough trouble today."

Chantal takes it gratefully. "Yes."

Régine almost objects, then, for once, shuts up.

Enjolras offers his mother his arm in a similar gesture. "It will be all right, Maman. We'll explain."

Régine takes her son's arm with a sigh. "Yes. I suppose so."

Manon slips her arm about Courfeyrac's waist, and starts for the door.

[Some time later:]

The reception is in Le Cafe Musain, in the back room, which is newly decked out with white flowers for the occasion. Courfeyrac makes sure that everyone has a glass of wine, which means everyone, though Enjolras looks a bit worried about the concept.

Feuilly is slung in a seat opposite Jeanne and Grantaire, as cheerful as his normal impassivity allows.

Claudette is standing next to a table, glass in hand, trying to become acquainted with people, though the looks of pity they give her whenever she mentions her last name are becoming tiresome.

Combeferre has his arm around Chantal's waist, almost possessively. They are sitting with the rest of her family, near Manon's grandmother, and across the room from Joly, Bossuet, and Musichetta, as that was the best the hosts could arrange for peace. Renée, Annette, and Claudette have seats a little way down from the Enjolras clan.

Jeanne looks very tired, and a bit depressed.

Joly has, thank heavens, ceased crying, and from time to time will make big eyes at Bossuet and comment on how lovely Manon was. Musichetta is quite used to this, and will swat him in the arm for his troubles.

Manon is nestled against Courfeyrac's shoulder and is cheerfully trading insults and epigrams with Grantaire.

Enjolras has his head in his hands and does not look at anyone very often unless they address him.

Feuilly murmurs to Jeanne, under the uproar, "You all right?"

Jeanne nods. "It just reminds me of my husband. I miss him more than I thought I would, when I'm with all these happy people."

Claudette gives up trying to make small talk with the other women and turns her gaze across the room, hoping to find someone less gushy to talk to. One can only discuss the beauty of weddings so often, after all.

Manon casts a bit of a smile to the girl, with a tiny wave.

Combeferre lets go of Chantal and stands to give a toast. "Excuse me, everyone, but I believe I have the right to thoroughly embarrass the bride and groom at this point." When they have settled a bit, he begins, "I have known René and Manon for years. They are staunch friends, both to each other and to everyone around them. Neither has ever abandoned someone in need. Together, they have already overcome one of the greatest obstacles that could exist to a relationship -- each other -- and the lesser trouble of political turmoil. God bless them. May they live together in happiness."

Claudette smiles and raises her glass with the others, noticing a certain expression of reluctance on Enjolras' face with interest.

"Hear, hear," from Grantaire, quite enthusiastically.

Courfeyrac chuckles. "Thank you, Etienne." He kisses Manon on the cheek.

Feuilly casts Jeanne a small, sympathetic smile, and lifts his glass in token of agreement.

Enjolras lifts his glass, but does not drink from it until he catches Feuilly's eye, and then it is only a little sip to be polite.

Manon laughs delightedly. "Yes. Thank you-- I think."

Claudette stifles a laugh at his discomfort at drinking the toast as she sips from her own glass.

Combeferre grins at Manon and René. "You're welcome, my friends." He drinks, and sits down again.

Enjolras takes his seat as if it will protect him. He looks at Chantal, sadly. "Good luck. Perhaps I should go home."

Claudette looks over sharply at the mention of Enjolras leaving.

Chantal protests, "But we'd miss you."

Feuilly glances over, and raises an eyebrow.

Combeferre shakes his head. "You can't go, already, Marcelin. When will you see Chantal again? Besides, it would be rude to abandon the party before it's even begun."

Claudette debates with herself briefly, then finally decides to turn on the feminine charm, against her will. She gets up and goes over to Enjolras and Chantal. "Did you say you were leaving, Monsieur?"

Enjolras frowns. "I did say that, mam'selle, but I don't believe I will be allowed to do it." He glances at Combeferre and Chantal, and sighs. "I must apologize. If it were not for my negligence, your cousin might well be alive today."

Manon levels a look at Enjolras briefly, but refrains from more than that. It wouldn't do to pressure the boy. She snakes an arm lazily about Courfeyrac's neck.

Claudette swallows slightly, blinking. "I don't... really know very much about what happened to Jehan."

Chantal looks down, nestling a little closer to Combeferre.

Combeferre holds her gently. He cannot help Marcelin, much as he would like to do it.

Claudette sighs, sitting. She stares into her glass. "After he left for Paris, he didn't write as often as he used to..."

Enjolras swallows, but his throat is dry even after that. To ease it, he sips wine. "He was in the barricade at the Rue de la Chanvrerie on the night of June fifth. I left, and returned in the morning with reinforcements. When we arrived, he was facing a firing squad. We were only moments too late to save him." His head is bowed, and his voice is rough. "I am so sorry."

Grantaire glances at the demoiselle Prouvaire, and away again rather swiftly with some mocking remark or other to Courfeyrac to cover the hesitation.

Claudette closes her eyes, trembling slightly. A tear falls from her face, landing on her glass and sliding down it, leaving a shining trail. "It's all right, there was nothing you could do."

Chantal bites her lip.

Enjolras has been through this conversation before, but it still takes all of his strength not to protest that there was. "I apologize. If I could make amends, I swear I would."

Feuilly leans his elbows on the table with a slight sigh, hands clasped in front of him.

Claudette breathes in sharply, shaking her head. Her eyes glisten with tears that she's struggling to hold back. "I know... I understand, thank you." She takes a sip of wine, trying to keep herself from bursting.

Combeferre quietly offers a handkerchief to Claudette.

Claudette takes the handkerchief silently, drying her eyes.

Enjolras seems to need a handkerchief of his own, but does not take it out. Instead, he drinks again, not meeting anyone's eyes. When he puts down the wineglass, it is empty.

Claudette hands the handkerchief back to Combeferre and takes a long sip of wine, finally managing to gain control of her emotions.

Luckily Chantal is not looking at her brother just then. She is watching Claudette, with violet eyes grave and slightly damp.

Claudette refuses to meet anyone's gaze, afraid it will bring back the feelings she's managed to keep under control. Quickly she drains her wineglass.

Combeferre looks at Marcelin and sighs deeply. He shakes his head slightly, as if to say "You're not my problem anymore," and kisses Chantal on the cheek.

Grantaire's eyes inevitably wander back to the corner of the Enjolrati, and he winces faintly at the evident distress therein. He hesitates for a moment, but in the end finds it best to do as Marcelin does.

A waitress, hired to assist Louison for the night, comes around with a bottle of wine and fills the glasses that have been emptied.

Claudette nods at her gratefully and sips from her refilled glass. She feels much more confident now that she has some wine in her.

Chantal returns the kiss somewhat shyly, and twines her fingers with his.

Enjolras, having begun, does not intend to stop, and drinks some of the new wine. He asks Combeferre, "When is she moving in again?" and seems only half-aware how unpleasant the question is.

Manon meanwhile is dividing her time between scolding Courfeyrac lightheartedly and talking to her grandmother.

Claudette glances up at the question, noting the more relaxed way Enjolras is sitting. Then at the refilled wine glass. She looks away, stifling a grin.

Combeferre blinks, and looks speculatively at Chantal. "After the wedding. It would be only proper."

Renée is slightly taken aback that Enjolras is drinking, and it's a good thing for her that she cannot hear what he is saying. She makes light conversation with her tablemates, and keeps at least half an eye on Him.

Chantal goes white, then crimson.

Enjolras snorts. It's very undignified. "You're never concerned with what is 'proper,' Etienne. Why begin now?"

"Marcelin," protests Chantal in half a voice.

Claudette looks at him, puzzled. She's only just met him, but senses that he's usually much more... conservative.

Feuilly, during all this, is exerting what charm he possesses to keep Jeanne amused with small talk, which distracts him from Enjolras, which is perhaps just as well.

Enjolras shakes his head. "Don't 'Marcelin' me, Chantal. Not today. I know what's happened to you, and I don't have to like it." He laughs bitterly. "I was going to be more human. Can you believe that? Is this more human? Better to hate my friends and my sister for things they should never have done, than not to feel at all?" He pauses to quaff wine, the appropriate verb because a good amount spills on his hand. "I'd rather be a damn' statue."

Tears come to Chantal's eyes, and spill over. She presses a hand to her mouth, then stands quickly and makes her way out of the room.

Claudette moves to go after Chantal, but stops. It's not her place. She settles for an acid glare at Enjolras instead.

Even Combeferre can only be provoked so far. Before he goes after Chantal, he must answer the insult. His voice is very quiet. "We are human, whether you are or not, Marcelin. We make mistakes, and then we must fix them as best we can. I am trying to make everything right. Allow me the opportunity. Everyone else in the world is." He goes after Chantal without waiting for a response.

Claudette takes another drink of wine, unable to think of anything to cover the awkward silence after he departs.

Enjolras finishes the glass of wine that is in front of him, because it is the only thing he can do at the moment, and he does not feel guilty enough to go chasing after Combeferre and Chantal.

Manon looks up as the door twice opens and shuts, locates the empty chairs, and frowns.

Claudette watches the wine disappear with a slightly amused look, having a feeling that Enjolras isn't used to that much wine.

Grantaire is more or less matching pace with the ill-tempered Enjolras, though in his case it's not so disturbing, and it's not making him as grouchy. Still, he's gotten quiet.

Enjolras stands up a bit unsteadily after the third glass of wine, and declares, "I'm going home." He pauses, expecting opposition, because there was some earlier.

Feuilly glances up at this announcement. His eyes widen slightly, but he doesn't intervene. It's probably best if he does go home, after all.

Courfeyrac is slightly distracted. "Good night, Enjolras."

Manon's jaw is a trifle tight. "Good night," she echoes, and with a trace of irony, "Thank you for coming."

Claudette smiles up at him, amused. "Good night, Enjolras..."

Enjolras smiles fatuously. He didn't expect to be let go so easily. "Good night," he repeats. "Thanks." On the way to the door, he only has to take hold of two chair-backs in order to stay upright.

Joly shakes his head. "He's not going to make it home," he observes, too loudly.

Claudette stirs slightly, making a motion to assist him, but sits back as she looks around. there's sure to be someone else who knows him better.

Grantaire raises his eyes and observes this progress dourly. Joly he ignores, but a moment after the door closes he gets to his feet, leaving his sister in Feuilly's capable care, and follows. He does have the courtesy to throw in a "good night" to the newlyweds en passant.

Manon sighs. "...and good night, Grantaire." She throws an expressive look toward Musichetta.

Musichetta giggles. She's had a bit too much wine, too. "Goodnight, Grantaire. Don't let him fall into the gutter!"

"Won't." The door closes.

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