Chapter 1: Cleveland, Ohio
Grantaire threw back the rest of his whiskey, the burn in his throat barely bothering him anymore, just as the camera started rolling. He’d have Eponine cut that bit out, his followers didn’t need to know just how much he had to pregame in order to actually be drunk, or at least tipsy, while he was actually cooking on camera. Yes, he knew he had a problem. Whatever. He gave it a few good, long moments of just grinning at the camera for editing purposes before he launched into his shpiel.
“Welcome back to Drink With Me,” he said, shooting the camera a wink as he usually did, “today we’re going to be attempting something a little out of my skill set. Because what’s better for trying out a new, complicated recipe than being drunk?”
Here he paused to pour his “first” drink.
“Today I will be drinking jack and coke,” Grantaire continued, “while I attempt to make soufflé.”
Upon hearing this, Eponine, who was off screen, began to laugh.
“What?” Grantaire asked his camera person and best friend, scowling slightly.
“No way in hell is that going to work,” Eponine snorted.
Grantaire sighed and gestured to her, “Ladies and gentlemen, my greatest supporter.”
“R they can’t see me,” Eponine added while laughing.
“And whose fault is that?” Grantaire shot back.
“Just make your damn soufflé,” said Eponine.
Grantaire gave the camera a long suffering sigh, but he was smiling through it, “See what I have to deal with folks?” He sent a sharp look at Eponine, “And quiet from the peanut gallery," he then turned back to the camera, "alright so now it's time to make this souffle!"
He stood for a moment before going to gather the ingredients. They’d edit it later so that all the items seemed to simply appear in front of him. Nobody cared about watching him find where things were stored in his kitchen. He’d learned that the hard way when he’d just started out.
"Time to make a souffle," Grantaire started singing to himself.
He tended to do that, make up little songs for his own amusement even when he didn’t have an audience. He started pouring the ingredients all this while sipping at his jack and coke in the process.
“Gotta make sure to whip up those eggs,” he said as he did just that, “That means our soufflé will be nice and tall and fluffy,” he paused and frowned, “I think? Don’t ask me, I never have any idea what I’m talking about.”
He continued to stir and he looked at the recipe he'd printed out while he was doing so. Eponine cleared her throat pointedly. Grantaire looked up, his concentration broken.
“Tell the people what you’re doing, R,” Eponine prompted, “They watch you for your pithy remarks not your pretty face.”
Grantaire stuck his tongue out at her, "Well they also want me to succeed."
"Nah...." Eponine replied, "failure is more fun, like with your first episode."
Grantaire couldn’t stop the blush that stained his cheeks. Even now several years later he didn’t like to think about The Incident. Not only had his video been overly long and kind of boring, but he’d also very newly burned the apartment building down. The only bright point had been that in the ensuing evacuation he’d met Eponine and they’d been best friends ever since.
Upon discovering it was his fault that she had to be woken up at 2AM and stand outside freezing in her pajamas at first she'd been upset. But upon revealing he'd attempted to make grilled cheese, that was more like toast since he had not cheese... Eponine decided he needed her, especially when the video had gone viral. At first it had just been helping him come up with ideas and making sure he didn’t hurt himself. But after a few more long-winded videos, Eponine had taken over as camera person and editor. That was what had really skyrocketed him into tens of thousands of subscribers and beyond.
That being said, they tended to tease each other mercilessly and Eponine’s favorite pastime was ribbing him about his past video mistakes. Grantaire let out a huff and moved on with the next step of the recipe.
“Anyway,” he said pointedly, “now that we’re all mixed and whipped and all that fun stuff, it’s time to bake. Now, I don’t have any of those fancy little ramekins you’re supposed to make a soufflé in, so I’ve had to get a little creative.”
Grantaire pulled out ceramic bowls of varying shapes and colors, "They're all about the same depth which is good enough for me.”
“I had one shaped like a dick,” he said conversationally, “but ‘Ponine pulled a veto. Which shouldn’t even be possible, by the way, this is my channel. I’m technically the president.”
“You just keep telling yourself that,” Eponine laughed.
Grantaire rolled his eyes, "Anyway I guess we're just trying to keep things as family friendly as a guy who gets drunk while he cooks can be."
He finished pouring the batter.
“To the oven!” Grantaire proclaimed, picking up his handheld camera so that he could get a close up of putting the soufflés into the oven, “And now that we’re baking, you know what that means. It’s time to drink with me.”
Whenever he had a recipe that required waiting for something to rise or bake or any other time consuming activity, while waiting Grantaire would take the time to sit, drink, and answer some questions and comments.
Grantaire reached for his phone and began to scroll, "Let's start with my friends on instagram."
He did actually run all of his own accounts, he didn’t have production teams or social media gurus like some YouTubers did nowadays. He was the most active on Instagram, often posting random pictures throughout the day. Probably far too many artsy shots of alcohol bottles and his own paint splattered hands. And that was one of the best parts of making the majority of his money from YouTube videos, it gave him plenty of time to pursue is other passions.
"Alright here is a good one," Grantaire paused and took a sip, "sorry ahead of time if I butcher your username terribly."
Grantaire answered several questions from Instagram, Twitter, and even some from his most recent videos. He never understood why people were so interested in him and his life, but they were. Most of the questions were for himself but there were a few for Eponine as well. Of course, the most popular question was whether they would ever see her on camera.
"Well Eponine? You ever going to be more than just a disembodied voice?" Grantaire raised his brow.
Eponine scrunched up here nose like she’d just smelled something terrible.
“She’s making a face at me,” Grantaire informed the camera, “so I guess that means she prefers to remain a unicorn, often spoken of but never seen.”
Eponine silently nodded in agreement as the timer dinged on the oven.
“Soufflé is done!” Grantaire jumped up, “now for the moment of truth, drumroll please.”
“Don’t loud noises make soufflés fall?” Eponine asked.
“Myth!” Grantaire said over his shoulder, “They simply fall with time.”
Grantaire reached for the oven door slowly even though he was certain it was a lost cause.
“Oh boy,” he muttered under his breath.
He gritted his teeth and opened the oven door and felt himself gaping. Slowly, he pulled the soufflé out of the oven.
“Holy shit,” Eponine breathed, “it actually worked.”
“You’re supposed to eat it right away,” Grantaire said, “but honestly I’m too afraid to touch it.”
“Just eat it!” Eponine called out, “And save me a bite.”
“Alright, alright, hold your horses,” Grantaire huffed, grabbing the spoon he had prepared earlier, “Here goes.”
As he stuck in his spoon Grantaire sighed, “This smells heavenly.”
“And...?” Eponine prompted.
Grantaire took a scoop of fluffy soufflé and blew on it lightly before sticking it in his mouth. Immediately, his eyes fluttered close.
“Okay if it’s that good don’t hog it all,” Eponine complained.
“If you would only come on camera,” Grantaire said through his mouthful, “Actually, let’s wrap this up so you can try some, otherwise I might eat the whole thing.”
“Yes!” Eponine whooped.
It was usually around this time that there would be some editing magic and then Grantaire would attempt to say something insightful and pun filled about his latest creation.
“We can do the outro later,” Eponine said as she switched the camera off, “let me get in on that soufflé while it’s still warm.”
As if waiting for that cue, a knock sounded at the door. Eponine and Grantaire exchanged a glance.
“Marius,” they said in unison.
Marius was another one of their neighbors, an old friend of Eponine and her childhood crush. He always managed to arrive at the apartment just as there was food ready to eat.
“You get the door,” Eponine replied, “and tell him I’m not sharing.”
Grantaire rolled his eyes, but went over to the door to open it anyway.
“Marius!” he greeted, “Perfect timing, as always. I swear you have a sixth sense.”
“It’s not on purpose,” Marius said, his eyes wide and earnest, “I swear.”
“I’m not sharing!” Eponine hollered.
“She hath spoken,” Grantaire said gravely, “I have no control over the matter.”
“What did you even make?” Marius raised his brow.
“Soufflé,” Grantaire replied, “and it actually worked.”
“I’m impressed, R,” Marius said with absolute honesty, clapping him on the shoulder.
“Unfortunately ‘Ponine has probably laid waste to whatever remained.” Grantaire sighed.
Marius shrugged, “She did say that she wasn’t going to share.”
“Yes, yes she did,” Grantaire nodded.
The two of them were silent for a moment before Grantaire spoke again, "So what exactly did you come here for?"
"Props," Marius sighed, "and I would tell you but Courf swore me to secrecy."
"Well now I really want to know," Grantaire smirked, "what kind of props do you need?"
“Underwear,” Marius replied, “I need your underwear.”
Grantaire started to unbutton his pants just to see Marius turn pink.
“If you wanted to get into my pants, all you had to do was asked,” he joked.
“Clean underwear!” clarified Marius, averting his eyes.
Grantaire sighed, "Well where is the fun in that?"
“I have been sworn to secrecy,” Marius said, “I’ve only come for the underwear.”
“How many does he need?” asked Grantaire.
“As many as you can spare.”
Grantaire raised his brow, "Okay..."
Marius made a zipping motion across his lips and Grantaire shrugged.
“Give me a sec.”
Marius made his way into the kitchen, which was immaculately clean especially compared to the rest of the apartment, since that was where Grantaire did all of his filming. Eponine was there finishing up the last bits of soufflé.
“Hey,” Eponine waved, finishing her bite of soufflé.
“Hey,” replied Marius with a small smile.
Although Eponine has gotten over her crush on Marius, things were sometimes still a little awkward between them sometimes.
“So, Courf making another video?” Eponine asked.
“Always,” replied Marius fondly.
“Well good luck with whatever it is,” Eponine nodded.
At that moment, Grantaire returned with a canvas bag.
“Make sure he doesn’t steal any,” Grantaire commanded, “I need those.”
Eponine furrowed her brow, “Do I even want to know?”
“Probably not,” Marius admitted.
Courfeyrac sent a string of happy emojis in response to the text from Marius that he was on his way with a stack of R’s underwear. He already had a bunch of his own and several donations from Marius as well ready and waiting. After watching another youtuber take the time to painstakingly paint 100 coats of nail polish he’d been very inspired.
A lot of people were doing to with various kinds of makeup, but he hadn’t seen anyone try with clothes yet. Not to mention, his followers loved it when he went shirtless for videos. Not that he was doing it just for the likes or anything. Courf never did anything just for the likes.
Courf’s version on the challenge was more than just clothes however. It was one very specific...unmentionable. Hence sending Marius out on his mission. Sure it was silly, but it was going to be fun. Which was why he was doing it.
Of course, his channel hadn’t started that way, doing a myriad of random things for his own enjoyment. When he had first decided to make YouTube videos, Courf had taken cues from his name. Since his gmail account was AntCourf, inspired by his full name, that automatically became his channel name. And so he’d started out as a kind of agony aunt, Aunt Courf, making videos to answer life’s burning questions. But Courf could be fickle and that soon became boring and monotonous.
It was little things at first, like pulling pranks on Marius. It was remarkably easy to pull those pranks, not just because they were roommates so Marius was a convenient target, but also because the man could be a bit gullible. Which was why that was an ongoing series to this day. He'd even taken to dabbling in the Let's Play side of youtube, not too seriously, and not usually with the popular games.
While he was waiting for Marius to get back, Courf decided to film the intro to his video.
“Hey all, it’s me Courf!” He loudly proclaimed to the camera, “I don’t think you’re ready for what I have planned today.”
Courfeyrac dramatically flopped into his chair, “Who’s ready for a challenge?!?”
He never planned what he was going to say in advance, preferring a more improvisational approach.
“You’ve all heard of the hundred layer challenge by now,” he said, “but you’ve never seen it like this before.”
Courfeyrac gave his chair a twirl, “I may have been inspired by our favorite green underpants wearing sidekick...” He paused when Marius returned, “speaking of sidekicks.”
He smirked slightly at the camera before calling out in a sing-song voice, “Oh, sidekick!”
Marius sighed as he entered into the frame of the shot, a bag in each hand.
“I’m not your sidekick,” he said for about the millionth time.
“Oh yeah?” Courfeyrac raised your brow, “Then what are you?”
“Your unfortunate roommate,” Marius sighed.
“I resent that ‘un’,” Courfeyrac pouted, “you are very fortunate to have me in your life.”
Marius rolled his eyes and dropped the bags, “I’ve got work to do.”
“You sure do,” agreed Courfeyrac cheerily, “why don’t you start sorting the underwear. First by style and then by color.”
“Seriously?” Marius groaned.
“Chop chop!” commanded Courfeyrac, clapping his hands together.
Despite his outward annoyance, Marius set to work without any more complaints. Courfeyrac returned to the camera, “While my delightful noodle-“
“Stop calling me that!” Marius called out.
“-sorts the unmentionables,” Courfeyrac continued without giving any indication of having heard Marius, “I’ll start getting ready and you know what that means. That means I’ll be adding the sexy stripping music later.”
Courfeyrac sent a wink to the camera and began stripping down to his underwear.
“And yes dear viewers,” Courf spoke while shucking off his pants, “these are Iron Man boxers.”
He tossed his clothes away.
“And no, I won’t be getting out of these ones,” Courfeyrac said, shaking his finger at the camera, “so get your minds out of the gutter. This pair will count as number one. And also as a barrier between my skin and the underwear I borrowed from my friends. They say it’s clean, but you never know.”
“You know sometimes you’re disgusting,” Marius muttered while continuing to sort what was slowly becoming a rainbow of undergarments, “oh and ‘Ponine through these in for good measure, and told me she’d be disappointed if they didn’t make an appearance.”
He held up a pair of lacy panties in a bright, garish pink and Courfeyrac burst out laughing.
“Those cannot possibly be hers,” he said between laughs, “that’s not her style.”
“I didn’t ask where she got them,” Marius said, “I’m just the messenger.”
“Add them to the pile, I wouldn’t want to disappoint ‘Ponine,” Courf clapped his hands together, “Let’s do this!”
Marius reluctantly agreed to be the one to hand over underwear one pair at a time.
“We’ll start with the briefs and then move on to boxers,” Courfeyrac decided, “Prepare for fast motion!”
He had decided ahead of time that he would speed up the footage of putting on the underwear except for a few choice milestones and if he or Marius said anything particularly funny or enthralling.
Such as when he reached a pair of briefs covered in tiger stripes, “Whose are these?” Courfeyrac asked.
Marius turned a vibrant red.
“They were a gift, okay?” he defended, “From an old girlfriend. I don’t know why I still have them.”
Courfeyrac chuckled as he pulled them on, “That’s hilarious.”
The further they got into the challenge, the more difficult it was for Courfeyrac to bend over to pull on the underwear.
“Okay,” he said finally, “I give up. Come and help me out on my underwear, Marius.”
Marius grumbled but joined Courfeyrac, “You know we could be working on homework...”
“But where’s the fun in that?” chuckled Courf, lifting his foot to put it in the next pair of underwear.
“How about passing our classes, that could be fun,” Marius replied.
Slowly but surely they got through the pile of underwear.
“We did it!” Courfeyrac cheered, “how many pairs was that?”
“Um,” Marius hedged.
“You counted them, right?” Courfeyrac raised an eyebrow. When there was no answer, he huffed in frustration, “Marius!”
“Sorry...” Marius muttered, his face turning red.
“Well, guess who gets to watch back the footage and count them all.”
“You?” Marius replied hopefully while stretching his back.
Courfeyrac looked into the camera with a deadpan expression.
“After everything I’ve done for him,” Courfeyrac sighed.
“Done to me, more like,” muttered Marius.
“Whatever,” Courfeyrac brushed him off.
He was mostly playing it up for the camera, Courf wouldn’t actually make Marius count alone even if it was his fault. They both had plenty of homework to get through, after all.
“With a little movie magic dear viewers we’ll get back to you with the final total,” Courfeyrac spoke to the camera.
After another big sigh, Courfeyrac turned the camera off and took it off its tripod.
“Hand me my laptop?” he requested, “Let’s get this counting done.”
“So you aren’t going to make me do it alone?” asked Marius hopefully.
Courfeyrac chuckled and shoved Marius playfully.
“Silly noodle,” he said fondly, “just grab the laptop.”
“Stop calling me noodle,” Marius sighed and went to fetch Courfeyrac’s laptop to playback the footage.
He removed the SD card from the camera and slotted it into the computer. With a few clicks he had the footage uploading. Courfeyrac never liked all the waiting that was involved video editing.
“Can I at least work on homework while we wait for the upload?” Marius sighed.
Courfeyrac pouted, “I suppose.”
Marius then disappeared into his room of the shared apartment while Courfeyrac waited, a little uncomfortable with the insane amount if underwear he was still wearing. But of course, if he didn’t have at least 100 pairs on he didn’t want to take them off if he would just have to put them back on again.
Courfeyrac shifted uncomfortably as his computer pinged telling him it was done uploading. Now the real work was about to begin. He considered dragging Marius back out of his room, but the poor guy sometimes had trouble drumming up the focus he needed for his pre-law work and Courfeyrac didn’t have the heart to drag him away from it. So slowly and starting at the beginning he went through the footage tallying the numbers.
It was a tedious process, really, watching this footage in real time. To make it slightly more interesting Courf also took the time to put in titles at the bottom of the screen that counted up the pairs of underwear. He also noted which numbers had amusing comments and which chunks of time he could just speed through in his final edit.
He could hardly believe it by the time he reached the end. “Damn...”
He saved his edits.
“Good news,” he called out, “we don’t have to get anymore underwear!”
In fact, Courfeyrac was currently wearing 117 pairs of underwear. Not only did he beat the 100 layers challenge, he smashed it to pieces. And now it was time to get out of the damn underwear, it was getting kind of hot and sweaty under all those layers. He could only hope this wouldn’t take nearly as long.
Chapter 2: Boulder, Colorado
“Welcome to the Mile High Club, bitches!” Bahorel said, pointing at the camera for emphasis.
“Is that how we are going to start every video?” Feuilly raised his brow and smirked.
“It’s worked for the past year and it still works now,” said Bahorel, “The fans love it, babe.”
Feuilly found himself unable to suppress the blush that spread across his face, “Aaaanyway, what are we up to today?”
“A test,” Bahorel told him, “You and I have watched and reviewed many viral videos over our time, but what I want to know is if you can remember what happens in them.”
“Probably not,” admitted Feuilly, “but do go on.”
“I’ll play the beginning of a video for you and then when I stop it you have to tell me what happens next,” explained Bahorel.
“Oh boy,” Feuilly rolled his eyes.
“Don’t be so down, I’ll give you multiple choice. For every one you get right, I have to give you a kiss. For every one you get wrong, you have to give me a kiss.”
“Wait a minute,” said Feuilly, “that doesn’t make any—“
“Number one!” Bahorel interrupted.
Bahorel had it set so that the video would display in time as Feuilly watched them.
The first one was easy, at least for Feuilly, “Oh, it’s Chewbacca Mom.”
So naturally he got that one right.
“If you made this easy on purpose,” Feuilly warned.
“Just easing you into the game,” Bahorel grinned.
Feuilly rolled his eyes fondly.
“Hey, wait a minute,” said Feuilly, “I got that right. Where’s my kiss?”
“Don’t worry, I’m keeping track,” Bahorel smirked, “I never said where I would be kissing you and you don’t want our video to be reported, now do you.”
"Fine," Feuilly sighed, "so what's next?"
To be perfectly honest, Feuilly wasn’t sure if he liked this whole game thing. Usually they just watched viral videos, laughed, and reviewed them. This was a bit more scripted than their usual fare. Even when Bahorel did his solo videos talking about conspiracy theories of when Feuilly did his solo speed drawings, neither of them really planned what they wanted to say. He wasn't even sure why Bahorel was trying to get them to do this sort of thing either, but for now he would try and play along.
“We’ve reached the final round,” Bahorel proclaimed.
“This is going to be impossibly hard, isn’t it?” Feuilly tucked a lock of his blonde hair behind his ear.
Bahorel’s grin was filled with false innocence, “Would I do that to you?”
“Yes, yes you would,” Feuilly huffed.
“But I do it from a place of love,” said Bahorel, blowing Feuilly a kiss.
Feuilly sighed as his face turned red, “Alright, play it.”
Bahorel grinned and went to press play, “Here it goes.”
It appeared to be some kind of elaborate prom-posal that had gone viral. An extremely elaborate one. There was a goat involved. Bahorel paused it just as the guy came to a stop in front of the girl he was asking.
“Fifty-fifty chance,” Bahorel told him, “Did she say yes or no?”
Feuilly furrowed his brow in though pondering over the whole situation.
“Seems like a lot of work for one little high school dance,” he said honestly.
“But it’s romantic,” Bahorel batted his lashes.
“It’s high school,” Feuilly replied dryly.
Bahorel sighed, “Just answer the question.”
Feuilly pondered over it a little longer, “Alright, I think she said yes.”
“Drumroll please!” Bahorel said before starting one himself as he pressed play.
On the screen, the boy was holding his final pose, his face lit up hopefully, which morphed into an excited whoop as the girl said yes.
“Of course she said yes,” Feuilly sighed.
“Have you no romance in your heart?” sighed Bahorel, his lower lip pushed out into a pout.
“Oh stop that,” Feuilly rolled his eyes, “I can be plenty romantic and you know it.”
“Speaking of which,” Bahorel prompted, pointing to his cheek, “I think you owe me some kisses.”
“Oh fine,” Feuilly rolled his eyes but he quickly started grinning, “might want to turn off the camera, don’t want to get demonetized.”
Bahorel rushed to comply.
Chapter 3: Boston, Massachusetts
Unlike most youtubers, for Enjolras and Combeferre it was more of a side gig for fun. While the cut they got from their videos was nice, they would be just fine without it. Still every Saturday they would sit down and do something new for their channels each playing to their strengths. Today they decided to work together on a video and while Enjolras was waiting he for Combeferre he casually flicked through Instagram. Most of the blogs he followed were focused on social justice, protests and petitions that he supported. There was one blog The he followed, however, that wasn’t his usual MO, a guilty pleasure. It belonged to small Yorkie named Fae and Enjolras couldn’t get enough. Of course, he knew that the dog wasn’t actually making the posts but he couldn’t help but admire the owner’s dedication. Besides the pictures were just so damn cute.
“Sorry, had to finish my chem test,” Combeferre said as he emerged from his room.
Enjolras fumbled his phone slightly and clicked out of the Instagram app guiltily, as if Ferre would care what he looked at.
“You ready?” Combeferre asked.
“Yup,” Enjolras agreed.
Although they each had their own channels they often appeared on each other’s videos and since Combeferre was doing a Crash Course on Politics video he had asked Enjolras, whose specialty was political science, to be involved. It also helped that Enjolras’s hobby was researching the history of different political systems. The first part of their collab would be on Ferre’s channel while the second part, on Enjolras’s channel, would be a vlog if the protest that evening.
“I wrote out a few key points I wanted to make sure we hit,” Combeferre passed him a sheet of paper.
Enjolras glanced over the list of bullet points.
“Can I elaborate on some of these things?” he asked.
“I suppose,” Combeferre allowed, “but keep in mind that this is a crash course. I’ve only got ten minutes to work with, at most.”
“I’ve got this,” Enjolras nodded.
Combeferre looked at his friend incredulously but still reached for the camera.
All in all, the filming went well. Enjolras knew that he had a way with words when he got passionate, but it wasn’t the same as the way Combeferre got passionate about things and their styles were very different. As a result, he kept having to reign Enjolras in every so often when he got too involved.
“People are not interested in a 30 minute rant about why they need to care about midterm elections,” Ferre laughed removing the camera from the tripod.
“Well, they should be!” Enjolras huffed, “Voting in midterms is just as important as voting in presidential elections.”
“I know,” Ferre nodded, “and we can do another collab discussing it further.”
“You really should narrow the focus,” Enjolras continued, “the term ‘politics’ is way too broad.”
“Noted,” Combeferre said.
“Anyway we’ll need to edit it later,” Enjolras got up from his chair, “we have places to be.”
“We have some time, E, the protest doesn’t start for another couple hours,” said Combeferre, “Let’s at least grab a bit to eat first.”
“Alright,” Enjolras sighed, “we can stop at that sandwich place across from the park.”
“Score!” grinned Combeferre, “I love that place.”
Enjolras felt himself smile just a little but, “Don’t forget the signs.”
“I have the signs waiting by the front door,” Combeferre told him, “Now let’s get out of here.”
So the two of them went out for their evening’s activities. When he wasn’t doing a sit-down video, Enjolras was kind of terrible at remembering to record, so Combeferre took it upon himself to begin vlogging while they ate their sandwiches.
“You may want to swallow before continuing to speak,” Combeferre teased.
“I have too many things to say,” Enjolras said impatiently.
“Didn’t your mother teach you not to talk with your mouth full?” Combeferre raised his brow, “besides the fact it’s impossible to understand you.”
“Manners are overrated,” Enjolras said, although to be fair he did actually swallow first.
“Whatever,” Combeferre snorted.
“Anyway,” Enjolras continued as if the conversation had never happened, “today we’re going to be joining dozens if not hopefully hundreds of people protesting about increasing gun control. I know of at least two local high schools whose students will be joining in in support of their compatriots in other cities around the country who have been victims of gun violence at school.”
“We can only hope that all of us gathered in marches across the nation will send a message,” Combeferre added.
“Thoughts and prayers won’t do anything if they aren’t accompanied by action,” finished Enjolras. He then glanced at his watch, “We’ll continue with updates from the protest, come on Ferre.”
Combeferre turned off the camera and tucked it into its carrying case. After throwing out the wrappers of their sandwiches they continued to walk towards where the protest would be.
People were already starting to gather, they could hear the low hum of a crown talking amongst themselves. A large group of people gathered for a common cause, Enjolras could not think of anything better. Combeferre turned on the camera once again as they waded through the crowd.
It was inspiring to see so many people from different ages groups and different walks of life all coming together for a common cause. Combeferre managed to get a fantastic shot of Enjolras, his eyes burning with righteous fury, chanting and holding his sign aloft, surrounded by like-minded individuals. These days it sometimes felt there was little to bring people together, this was a nice change.
The protest broke up naturally when the sun went down and the light began to fade. Enjolras was flushed with the excitement of it all; he’d actually led a few chants over the past few hours. Combeferre continued to man the camera as they made their way home.
“Just spectacular!” Enjolras was gushing, his excitement causing him to gesticulate more than usual, “I feel so alive, so hopeful!”
“All in all a good protest?” Ferre asked.
“For what it was, definitely,” Enjolras said firmly, “But protesting isn’t enough. We need to actually enact change, get the support of our political system.”
Combeferre made a noise of agreement and gave Enjolras a sign to elaborate slightly.
“What we are showing you today while exciting, it is only a small fraction of what we can do together,” Enjolras added.
“You’re going to change the world one day, you know,” Combeferre said fondly.
Enjolras flushed, “I am not including that comment in my final video.”
“Why not?” Combeferre asked, “It’s true.”
Enjolras rolled his eyes fondly, “Whatever.”
Combeferre put down the camera, “I think we have enough here for a good video.”
“Agreed,” said Enjolras, “Now let’s get home. I have class at eight tomorrow morning.”
Cosette has always loved the view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the window of her bedroom and it quickly became the trademark of her videos. When she was showing close-ups of herself doing her makeup, she was speaking in front of that very window. Today happened to be Cosette’s birthday and she decided to make a special video.
She’d already gotten some sweet birthday messages, especially from some people who had followed her since her days as an Instagram makeup model although some of the newer YouTube-only fans had also been quite kind.
At first she wasn’t sure what the video would be, until the mail arrived. As a rule, she didn’t have sponsors for her videos. For some time, she’d been sponsored on Instagram, but she’d gotten tired of having to give products good reviews as part of a sponsorship deal. She just wanted to show off we skills and speak her mind about which products she preferred. So with the move to YouTube, gone we’re the sponsors. Of course, this didn’t stop companies from trying. Every so often she got a big box of sample products from a company in an effort to secure a sponsorship.
Which was precisely what had happened today, so Cosette decided it might be fun to do a review of its contents as well as put together a look.
“Hey everyone!” she chirped once she was in front of the camera, “So as many of you may know, today is my birthday and I thought it might be fun to do a little video. I got this box in the mail.”
She pulled a big box onto her lap. The outside was a dusty pink color with splotches of color that were very eye catching.
“I figured I would give it a brutally honest review,” Cosette grinned.
She grabbed a pair of scissors and began opening the box.
“So first we’ll try each item individually,” she explained, “and I’ll give my review. Then as an added challenge I’ll come up with two different looks and except for basic foundation and concealer, I’ll only the items in this box, an every-day look and a nightlife look.”
Cosette shifted through the various items, displaying them briefly for the camera.
“Ooo what’s this,” Cosette pulled out a small, rose gold colored box.
Inside the box was a small, rectangular compact, which Cosette opened to reveal a pink blush.
“Blush!” she said, turning it to the camera, “You know how I love blush.”
She had once done a challenge where she’d created an entire look using only different colors of blush.
She proceeded to swatch a little on the back of her hand, “Ooo, very pigmented.”
“I wonder what color it is...”
The box it came in simply said ‘Just what you needed for your birthday’ so Cosette closed the compact and turned it over. She burst out laughing.
“Orgasm,” Cosette read out, “Thanks, Nars, my dad watches these videos. Well that was mildly embarrassing,” Cosette set down the blush, “so let's just dive in!”
As she had pulled things out of the box, she’d been categorizing them by their usage. There was definitely enough stuff to make a couple of looks. At this point, the video switched to a close up of her face, lit by the lights around her makeup mirror. It also switched from live voice to a voiceover. She preferred to listen to music while she was actually putting on the makeup.
“Okay,” voiceover Cosette narrated, “let’s start with the daytime look. I started out with my usual concealer and foundation routine. As always, the link to the video where I explain that process is in the description. The box didn’t have any contouring products in it either, so I did some mild contouring as well. That video is also in the description.”
The narration paused as on the screen Cosette finished setting her base.
“Don’t forget to bake it on with some setting powder, and then we’ll move onto the eyes,” Cosette’s narration considered.
On camera, she held up the eyeshadow palette that had been in the box.
“Now, to be perfectly honest this palette doesn’t exactly flatter my skin tone, but I’m going to make it work.”
Cosette first selected a dark coppery color for the main part of her eyelid.
“Note that I also put a primer on my lid,” Cosette continued, “it just helps the color stick and stay for longer. Gonna go on with this darker brown in my crease,” Cosette continued.
On the screen, Cosette scrutinized herself in the mirror while the narration went on.
“I usually prefer something more vibrant but neutrals are what I’ve got to work with right now.”
She then used a soft shimmery beige to finish highlighting her eyes. “Now to test this eyeliner, and we always know I’m searching for the blackest of blacks for a perfect cat eye.”
On camera, Cosette showed off the eyeliner pen and gave it a small shake, waggling her eyebrows.
“I favor gel personally so I will be judging you harshly,” Cosette spoke to the pen.
She shook it slightly before uncapping and getting to work.
“Yes,” her voiceover said, “I know I make weird faces when I put on eyeliner. No need to keep telling me in the comments.”
When she was done Cosette looked herself over.
“It was decent...” Her voice narrated, “I didn’t love it.”
Cosette looked into the camera and crossed her eyes while sticking out her tongue.
“Moving on to blush,” the voiceover continued, “There was only one included in the box, so I went with that on the apples of my cheeks for a sunkissed look. As noted before it was highly pigmented, so a little goes a long way.”
Then she moved on to the final touches: false lashes, which she used for everything, and a lip color.
“I’m pretty pleased,” Cosette commented.
She finished off that part of the video with some glamour shots of her daytime look, both inside the house and out in the garden.
“For night time I wanted to do something little more fun,” Cosette continued to narrate.
The video cut back to her in her makeup chair, again wearing only her base.
“I decided to focus on some of the brighter colors in the palette this time,” Cosette explained.
As with the daytime look, Cosette described what she was doing in voiceover until the look was finished and then took several glamour shots in a few locales.
“All and all this could be deemed a success,” the camera switched back to Cosette still sporting her look, “and the makeup has held up quite well.”
Of course, since the foundation was her own daily use she knew that would last, but it was nice to see that the other stuff was lasting too.
“I’ve put a list of everything down in the description,” she continued, “in case you want to get any of it. My favorite product has to be this blush. The pigment is great and it’s stayed on fabulously. My least favorite was the eyeliner pen. I’ll stick with my gel, thank you very much. Don’t forget to like, comment a subscribe so you know what I’m up to,” Cosette smiled.
The video finished, Cosette put her makeup and filming equipment away. She had gotten the filming done quite early in the morning because she had kind of a full day. Her adopted father was the Mayor and she had to make appearances at several events today since he was coming up for re-election very soon. When that was done they were going to out for Cosette’s birthday.
Cosette removed the nighttime look she had created and quickly did her everyday makeup, which was a lot less involved than the looks she did on camera.
“There,” Cosette smiled after applying some setting spray, “and we’re good to go.”
Down in the kitchen she found her father drinking his mid morning coffee and reading the newspaper.
“Good morning, Papa,” Cosette said, pressing a kiss to his cheek on her way to the tea kettle.
“Good morning Cosette,” Her father replied, “busy morning?”
“Just filming a birthday video,” she said.
Cosette’s father had always been supportive of her dreams from the moment he adopted her back when she was nine. Although he hadn’t always been thrilled with some of the Instagram modeling, he certainly supported her YouTube channel and enjoyed hearing about her rising follower count.
“What was this one about?” Her father asked.
“Trying out some new products,” she replied.
Her father simply nodded in reply
“So what are we doing today?” Cosette asked.
“A couple of interviews for the local news,” he told her, “and a Q and A session at the capitol building with media and citizens.” He smiled, “And, of course, your birthday celebration.”
Cosette smiled, “Sounds very fun.”
Her father chuckled, “You’re an angel. There’s no need to lie. I know that being the daughter of the mayor is no picnic.”
Cosette, “Can’t you just let me be nice?”
“Or you could have a rebellious phase like a normal teen,” Her father replied.
“Except almost not a teen anymore,” Cosette laughed.
“Don’t remind me,” Valjean said ruefully, “If you’re growing up, that means I’m getting old.”
“There are some things that just can’t be helped,” Cosette smiled.
“I suppose you’re right,” sighed Valjean, “Come, dear, we should go if we want to miss the traffic.”
The whole thing with a blush called "orgasm" actually happened to JetGirl, it was her free birthday gift from Ulta.
Chapter 5: Detroit, Michigan
The video opened with Joly looking directly into the camera, a long-suffering look on his face.
“People,” he said, “I beg of you, don’t be idiots. Have some common sense.” He shook his head and let out a sigh, “Today we’re talking about basic lab safety.”
He cleared his throat.
“To those of you who laugh this is important,” Joly spoke in a serious tone.
He folded his hands in front of himself on the table.
“As you all know, I am a pre-med student and so I have to take various biology and chemistry labs, which of course means dealing with any number of dangerous chemicals and sharp surgical instruments. But this is important for everyone to know,” Joly spoke with emphasis.
“I’d like to point out,” he continued, “that this advice all comes from personal experience. And from being in labs with people who can’t follow the rules and nearly burn themselves. Oh! There’s my first, and most important, piece of advice,” he cleared his throat purposefully, “Follow all directions.”
“And I mean, there are no shortcuts in experiments,” Joly warned, “You will soon discover most of this is common sense.” He nodded.
He pulled out a box and placed it on the table.
“I brought props,” he explained, “because my next piece of advice has to do with PPE. That’s personal protective equipment, for those of you who don’t know.”
“This is very important,” Joly stressed, “I’ll put more notes in the description below.”
Joly pulled out a pristine, white lab coat.
“One of the most important piece of PPE,” he said, “I wash mine after every lab which,” he rubbed the back of his neck and gave a slightly embarrassed smile, “even I can admit is probably a bit excessive. But I really can’t help it with the OCD and all.”
“These aren’t just for looking cool you know,” Joly continued, “Although that is an added bonus.”
By the time he finished going over all of the PPE in his bag, in addition to his lab coat Joly was wearing a paper apron, a cap, booties on his feet, latex-free gloves, a mask, and a pair of lab goggles.
“Ta da,” he said, his voice very slightly muffled, “Who said science isn’t glamorous?” He posed for the camera. “Of course, your high school or college lab may not have every single one of these items for every experiment. I just volunteer at a hospital so I managed to swipe some from the supply room. Now that we have gone over some basics of what to, and what not to wear in a lab, let’s move on.”
He stripped off all of the PPE, since it would get hot and sweaty, except for the lab coat. Because it looked cool.
“Continuing our little foray into lab safety,” Joly took a seat in front of the camera, “One of the most important things is to keep your eyes and ears open. The other side of that is to make sure the people around you know what you’re doing as well. For example,” he continued, “if you’re walking behind someone with an uncapped scalpel, make sure that they know and won’t step backwards and nearly get stabbed, Sarah.”
He raised his eyebrow meaningfully. Sarah was his biology lab partner and he dreaded dissection days for the simple reason that Sarah+sharp objects=danger.
“It’s easy enough to fall into your own little world of focus,” Joly continued, “don’t. I did say most of this was common sense,” he nodded.
He happened to glance at his watch and his eyes widened.
“Whoops, I’ve got to head to class soon,” he said, “I guess that’s what I get for trying to vlog in the middle of the day!”
Chapter 6: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
We're sooo sorry for the unexpected delay in getting this chapter up. We've been having difficulty finding time and focus to write lately and tomatopudding recently lost her 21-year-old cousin and found out that she's going to have to make her move overseas a month earlier than originally anticipated. It's been kind of hellish lately. But now we're back with the final character introduction. We know that it's short, but you'll be getting a much longer fic in this series next week!
“Take a few more breaths, in through your nose, out through your mouth,” Jehan instructed.
The ambient music that was playing was very quiet, but he’d be able to fix that in editing if he wanted. The important part were his words.
“Inhale all of the good things in your life,” he said gently, “and expel all of the bad with your breath.”
He let the silence linger for a moment before opening his own eyes and going to turn down the music. Once he was back in front of the camera, Jehan smiled beatifically.
“I hope you all enjoyed this week’s meditation,” he said, continuing the soothing, gentle cadence he’d used throughout the entire video, “Next week we’ll focus on increasing our self worth through actualization. As always, you can check out my blog in the link below if you want daily poems, inspirational quotes, and life updates. And if mediation isn’t your thing on Fridays I do things a little different,” Jehan smiled, “because slime can be just as relaxing as guided meditation.”
He gave the camera a small wave.
“Have a great day and until the next time, au revoir.”
Jehan reached for his camera to turn it off, he then went to stretch out his back. Many people thought that Jehan’s calm nature and melodious, soothing voice were something that he put on for the camera, but the truth was that Jehan was simply always that way. He also had a large international following because he provided subtitles to his videos in several languages that he transcribed himself.
Many of his fans had tried time and time again to get him to VidCon, but it had never panned out. Therefore, Jehan had dubbed himself “one of those elusive Canadian YouTubers.” It was also why a particular announcement he wanted to make would certainly thrill his many followers.
Next week he planned to announce that this year he would be attending VidCon. His tickets were purchased, and his passport was ready to go. Even the thought of it was exciting and he let out a little happy hum. Many of his favorite YouTubers would be there and he was sure that the stars would align and they would meet. Jehan then walked over to his computer to upload his newest video, soon enough he’d be in sunny California, but for now he had things to do.
After plugging in his camera and setting up everything to upload Jehan decided to watch some of his favorite YouTubers. He had quite an eclectic mix of people he followed, from political to make up. He flicked his cursor over to video titled “Souffail?” and grinned.
Jehan didn’t like to pick favorite of his favorites, but if he had to then it would be the drunk chef. Hands down.