It was happening they were all here in Anaheim, California. Surrounded by tons of people, many of whom were fans of Marius’ best friend and roommate. It was surreal, and a touch overwhelming. Some of them even recognized him, which kind of sent his head reeling. Marius was taking a selfie with a fan when he saw her. She was halfway across the hall from him, but to Marius is was as if there was a spotlight shining, lighting the way to her. There felt like there was a world of people between them, and Marius was entranced. He had to meet her. He didn’t know how, but he just had to.
“Come on,” Courfeyrac put his hand on Marius shoulder.
But Marius had lost all interest in the panel they were about to see.
“Did you see her?” Marius asked.
“What? See who?” Courfeyrac sighed, “We need to get inside.”
“You must have seen her,” Marius persisted. It was impossible that he hadn’t, that radiance was impossible to miss.
“There are tons of people here,” Courfeyrac snorted, “you need to be more specific.”
Marius had no idea how to explain any better. In his mind, she had stood out so much.
“There was this girl,” he started his eyes darting around trying to find her again.
“You are such a noodle,” Courfeyrac said fondly.
Marius let out a sigh and followed Courfeyrac into the room. His mind wasn’t on the panel at all—some kind of political thing that he probably would have loved at any other point—it was stuck on that girl. The one he’d probably never see again. This is what had frustrated Marius the most. Several hours later, however, when he was wandering the floor with Eponine and Courfeyrac he saw her again. She was doing a meet and greet, surrounded by some people who were obviously fans. She seemed to be glowing and the smile she was sporting was sparkling.
“There she is!” Marius exclaimed.
“There who is?” Eponine asked.
“The girl,” explained Marius, “I saw her earlier today but then I lost her.”
Eponine couldn’t help but laugh a little, “And?”
“And she’s perfect!” Marius said.
Eponine raised an unimpressed eyebrow, “You know this just by looking at her.”
“Yes!” Marius declared.
“Alright what the hell have you been drinking,” Eponine snorted.
Marius either didn’t hear or didn’t care. “I have to meet her,” he said, “Come with me, ‘Ponine.”
“Why me?” Eponine whined as Marius grabbed her hand, “If we’re not back in five minutes assume one of us is dead!” She hollered as she was dragged off.
Marius didn’t let go until they were pretty much right in front of the girl, practically wading through her mostly female fans. Up close, she was even more stunning to him. For a brief second she looked at them and her eyes widened.
“Hi,” Marius said breathlessly.
“Hi,” the girl replied, just as stunned.
After a few moment of them just staring at each other, Eponine said sarcastically, “And I’m here too. If anyone cares.”
The girl looked at her and gasped, “‘Ponine?”
It was know Eponine’s turn to be taken aback, despite her voice being featured her face never appeared in camera, how could this random girl know her name?
“I...” Eponine stuttered, “I don’t...”
“It’s me,” the other girl said, “Cosette.”
And suddenly Eponine was thrown back in time. Long before moving to Ohio she’d had a life with her family in the Bay Area, a time that felt like a dream. In their apartment building right across the hall there as lived and mother and daughter. The little girl would often stay over when her mother worked late and she and Eponine would chatter away into the late hours of the night. Then one day when Eponine was eight, the other girl suddenly stopped coming over. A few months later the Thenardiers had moved to Ohio and Eponine hadn’t thought about that girl since. And now here she was right in front of her, after all this time.
Eponine didn’t even realize she had stepped forward until Cosette threw her arms around her and hugged her tightly. She stood there stiffly and confused before her arms finally made a move to return the hug.
“I tried to find you,” Cosette said, “after Papa adopted me I went back to the apartment to find you, but you were gone.”
“We moved,” Eponine explainer faintly, “I thought you’d forgotten me.”
“Never,” replied Cosette fiercely, “Mama died and I begged to stay with you but the city wouldn’t let me.”
Eponine could scarcely believe what she was hearing, outside of ‘Zelma Cosette had been her one true friend. Losing her so suddenly had been a blow to her young heart. She’d been upset for weeks, and when her family up and moved to Ohio she tried her best to forget her.
“We have so much to catch up on,” Cosette continued, “You need to tell me everything.”
Eponine began to smile. “Okay,” she glanced back at Marius who looked ecstatic.
“Oh, this is one of my friends Marius,” she introduced, “Marius, this is my childhood friend Cosette.”
And just like that, they were back to staring dreamily into each other’s eyes, heedless of everything else.
Grantaire watched in amusement as Marius pulled a reluctant Eponine away. She gave him a look that simply screamed ‘help me.’ Grantaire simply waved to her and grinned.
“Poor ‘Ponine,” Courfeyrac sighed.
“Better her than me,” chuckled Grantaire.
“Truth,” Courfeyrac snorted, “alright well I’m sure we’ll catch up with them later.
“Unless Marius annoys Eponine too much,” said Grantaire, “Then we’ll only catch up with her.”
“You make a good point,” Courfeyrac nodded, “Come on, let's go get some food.”
Grantaire nodded and followed Courfeyrac towards the food court. As they walked, Grantaire recognized several big name YouTubers and some up and coming stars. When they were getting in line, he heard a voice that he recognized quite well. Courfeyrac watched his videos all the time and although Grantaire agreed with a lot of his views, he was a bit too ideal for his liking. Ideal to the point of being naive. He glanced back and noticed the blonde hair that caught his eye everytime he watched one of those videos over Courfeyrac’s shoulder.
Courfeyrac seemed to see the Grantaire’s eyes light up and he looked around to find the source.
“It’s your favorite person,” hissed Courfeyrac.
“Not my favorite,” Grantaire countered, “but I do want to talk to him.”
They waited to get their food, not wanting to give up their place in line, before going to talk to the other YouTuber. As always, Grantaire didn’t bother with grace or tact, simply sitting down at the table across from the blonde without invitation.
“Your thoughts on a national healthcare system have merit,” Grantaire began without preamble, “But your methods are never going to work.”
The blonde blinked in surprise, “I’m sorry, who are you?”
“Exactly that,” Grantaire replied, “I’m R. Now as I was saying, your methods on the creation of a healthcare system are not just unsustainable but also far to simplistic. I wouldn’t have taken you to be prone to naïveté.”
The blonde seemed taken aback, "So you do not support a single payer system?"
“Woah,” Grantaire laughed, “don’t jump to conclusions, sweetheart.”
“It’s Enjolras, not sweetheart,” the blonde told him, “and if you had watched my videos, you would have seen that I detailed how my system would be sustainable.”
“And if you had listened to what I said,” Grantaire shot back, “then you’d see that I said your methods for creating the system won’t work, not the system itself.”
Grantaire couldn't help but notice how flustered Enjolras was getting about the whole matter. Courfeyrac could see that this made Grantaire very glad.
“It’s going to be a long afternoon,” Enjolras’s companion said with a sigh.
“No kidding,” Courfeyrac rolled his eyes.
“Combeferre,” the other introduced, holding his hand out.
“Courfeyrac,” Courf replied, shaking the offered hand.
“We should probably just let these two talk until they’ve run out of things to say,” Combeferre nodded at the other two before taking a bite of pizza.
Courfeyrac hummed in agreement and the two of them listened for a few moments to the now heated argument the other two were having.
“Your friend is way too into this,” commented Combeferre.
“As if yours doesn’t love it,” Courfeyrac returned.
“I mean,” Combeferre adjusted his glasses, “it can be hard to tell with Enjolras, but I think you’re right.”
“I think I saw a Dippin Dots cart over there,” said Courfeyrac, “Shall we? They’ll be fine.”
Combeferre looked back at the other two fora moment, “I suppose they can’t get into too much trouble.”
“And if they do, they’ll probably join forces and argue their way out of it,” laughed Courfeyrac.
“Also true,” Combeferre nodded.
Musichetta wasn’t really into meditation, but Bossuet had begged to go to his favorite YouTuber’s live meditation session late in the afternoon on the first day of VidCon. To be honest, Musichetta wasn’t actually a big YouTube watcher, but honestly she would do anything if her boyfriend pouted at her. So here they were perhaps one of he most random panels Bossuet could have possibly found. Musichetta sighed as they went to claim spots on the ground to roll out their mats.
Of course, nobody had brought a yoga mat with them to VidCon, so a stack of them had been provided for their use. Musichetta couldn’t help but notice the cute guy who was furiously wiping down his mat with some disinfectant wipes. She wasn’t sure where he’d even gotten them, since she didn’t see wipes anywhere in the room. She nodded to Bossuet to follow her as they went and took spots nearby.
“Need some help?” she asked.
The guy looked up, his eyes wide.
“Um no,” he said, “I’m good, thanks, I just...don’t do great with germs.”
“Ah,” Musichetta found herself smiling, his way of tackling this aversion was incredibly cute, “well my name is Musichetta, but if that’s too much of a mouthful I also go by Chetta.”
“I’m Joly,” the guy introduced, “I’d shake your hand, but I’m a little Clorox-y.”
“And germs,” Musichetta said.
“Right, germs,” laughed Joly, “that too.”
“Is it alright if we join you?” Chetta nodded at Bossuet who’d managed to splay himself on the ground rolling out his mat. Classic.
Joly smiled as he watched Bossuet struggled.
“Sure, why not.”
“Boss is the clumsiest person I have ever met,” Musichetta sighed fondly, “He trips over nothing all the time.”
“I’m not clumsy,” Bossuet insisted, “just unlucky. I’m Bossuet, by the way, and you are adorable.”
Joly’s cheeks flushed and his smile turned bashful.
Musichetta giggled, “I would have to agree with that statement.”
“Goodness,” Joly murmured, “you two sure know how to woo a guy.”
“When you’ve been together for as long as we have, you figure these things out,” Bossuet returned with a grin.
Joly seemed a little confused.
“We’re polyamorous sweetie,” Musichetta supplied.
“Oh,” responded Joly, now looking a little curious and a little intrigued.
Before he could say anything else, the meditation lesson began. Musichetta couldn’t help but glance at him every so often, especially since she wasn’t as into the whole thing as Bossuet. He often had the cutest look of concentration on his face. It was adorable watching him try so hard.
“I’m pretty sure the goal of meditation is to relax,” Musichetta whispered at one point.
“I’m not a very relaxed person,” Joly returned, not opening his eyes or moving from his position.
“I can see that,” Musichetta noted.
“You’re ruining my groove.” Joly huffed, not actually sounding all that bothered.
“Mean,” Bossuet muttered from her other side, his voice filled with fondness.
“Already ganging up on me,” sighed Musichetta, “An auspicious start.”
When the session was over—finally, Musichetta thought to herself—they rolled up their mats, making sure to keep an eye on their new friend. Bossuet wasn’t kidding about being able to read each other so easily after all the time they’d been dating. It wasn’t their first time taking a third into their bed and hopefully this would work out too. Joly was cute and he seemed sweet in a flustered sort of way.
“So where are you off to next?” Musichetta asked Joly.
“Dinner,” Joly responded, “It’s just about dinner time.”
“Maybe we could join you?” Bossuet offered.
“I guess,” Joly asked blushing further.
“Did you enjoy the class?” interrupted a bubbly voice.
It was the instructor from the session, his long hair pulled into a low bun and a smile on his face that would seem vapid if it wasn’t for the serious gleam in his eyes.
“Very much,” Bossuet nodded enthusiastically, Musichetta was hardly surprised, she knew how much he loved those videos.
“He watches you all the time,” she put in, “On our joint computer, your videos are the only ones that pop up as suggestions.”
The YouTuber, Musichetta was pretty sure his name was Jehan, beamed.
“Thank you very much!” he said, “I’m not sorry for taking over your suggestions box.”
It was really easy to hear his Canadian lilt just then.
“There certainly worst things that could be there,” Musichetta laughed.
“And you?” Jehan asked, turning to Joly.
“Your meditation videos help me with my OCD,” Joly told him frankly, “It was wonderful to do a live session.”
Jehan smiled but even that had a softness to it, “Pleased to hear it.”
“Did you maybe wanna grab dinner with us?” Bossuet blurted out.
Musichetta gave him a look, but he didn’t see. She thought that they were going to spend that time with Joly, but Bossuet was too starstruck to think about that.
“Sure!” Jehan replied cheerfully, “Did you have any place in mind?”
While Bossuet and Jehan tried to figure that out, Musichetta crossed her arms and settled into a more comfortable standing position.
“What happened to our date?” Joly whispered, proving that he was definitely on the same page as her.
“Slight change of plans,” Musichetta sighed.
She couldn’t help but notice Joly seemed a little dismayed. Which was a good sign for their future prospects with him.
After much convincing Eponine was able to get Marius to help search for their friends. Cosette, of course, tagged along. It seemed that between the love at first sight with Marius and finding Eponine again she couldn’t bring herself to let go. Which was fine, Eponine didn’t mind. So off they went in search of their friends. Luckily, Eponine remembered that Courfeyrac and Grantaire had wanted to do a meet and greet with someone so they headed to that room. She couldn’t remember who, though, so it was only a little bit helpful.
“Do you remember who they wanted to see?” huffed Eponine. Marius was too lost in Cosette to respond and Eponine couldn’t help rolling her eyes.
“Some help you are,” Eponine sighed.
Of course, neither of them heard that either.
“Ponine!” Eponine turned to see Courfeyrac waving at her from the entrance to the backstage area where creators waited for their meet and greets.
“What are you doing back there?” Eponine asked when she had dragged Cosette and Marius over.
“R and I ran into the guy we wanted to see,” Courfeyrac explained, “and now we’re friends. Kind of. I think. I’m friends with his friend, anyway, and R is making a nuisance of himself. In any case, come on back.”
Eponine sighed but found herself following Courfeyrac. Back behind the curtain it was much quieter than the large mass of people waiting to meet creators. Not to say that it was completely quiet, Eponine could easily recognize Grantaire’s voice in the tone it usually took when he was deliberately antagonizing someone.
“Oh boy, he certainly knows how to make friends,” Eponine shook her head.
Courfeyrac chuckled, “That’s true enough. But they haven’t killed each other yet, so me and Combeferre figure that they’re fine.”
“Because that is a really good benchmark,” Eponine pinched the bridge of her nose.
“For R?” Courfeyrac prompted, raising an eyebrow.
“I suppose,” Eponine allowed, “So let’s meet this guy, then.”
They followed the sound of R’s voice where he chatting with a tall blonde guy. Although chatting was probably not the right term, but it wasn’t quite arguing either. More like...chatting with purpose.
“Am I interrupting?” Eponine came up behind them in order to further assess the situation at hand.
“Never,” Grantaire replied, hooking an arm around her waist, “Apollo, this is my friend Eponine.”
“Enjolras,” the Apollo corrected, sounding disgruntled, “I wish you would stop making up nicknames for me, you’re insufferable and we’ve only known each other for two hours.”
“And twenty two minutes,” Grantaire added, “I’ve been keeping track very carefully.”
“If you are wondering he’s always like this,” Eponine decided to inform Enjolras, “but I’m sure you figured that out for yourself.”
“Indeed I have,” Enjolras confirmed, but he didn’t seem as bothered as his words implied.
This mildly shocked Eponine who took a step back, “Well then.”
She left them to it and they fell back into their discussion easily and with fervor. Eponine took a few steps back and, noticing the presence of someone she said, “I’m not sure if they want to kill each other or if they’re in love.”
“It’s hard to tell.”
It wasn’t Courfeyrac who replied, which was who Eponine thought was right behind her, but rather a slightly deeper voice that she didn’t recognize.
“Oh, hello,” she said, a little startled.
The stranger smiled, and it was certainly a great smile. It made her heart kind of flutter.
“I’m Combeferre,” the guy told her, “friend to Enjolras.”
“Eponine,” she replied, “friend to R.”
“Pleased to meet you,” Combeferre smiled
This was certainly not how Combeferre was expecting his VidCon experience to go. He’d figured that he would just be there to support Enjolras, add a little bit of fun to his panels, and maybe even get recognized a bit himself. Firstly, he’d apparently underestimated the popularity of his channel because he was recognized almost as much as Enjolras and people were bemoaning the fact that he didn’t have his own meet and greet sessions. Then, of course, there was this group of theirs that had kind of just formed. The guy that Enjolras has been flirting/arguing with all day sure had some interesting friends.
First there was the one who introduced himself as Courfeyrac who took great amusement in watching Enjolras go at it with his friend. Then there was the accidental meeting with Eponine, who was charming and sarcastic and witty and just his type of girl. Not that he’d thought about that. Much. But in this case he couldn’t help himself. And Combeferre was not the kind if guy who just fell for girls.
Eponine had been accompanied by a couple who seemed like they’d been together for years by the way they acted, but had apparently just met. Combeferre recognized Cosette, his cousin watched her, but Marius was not a known face before this day.
They made a kind of ragtag group naming their way through the convention, sometimes in the regular halls and sometimes behind the scenes when the fans got to be too much.
And steadily they picked up a few more on their journey as well. To be perfectly honest, Combeferre wasn’t quite sure how it happened. He just noticed people he hadn’t seen before every time he looked back at their entourage. They were from all across America, and including one Canadian by the time everything was said and done.
They were a rowdy group too, everybody talking to everybody else in a clamor of voices. Combeferre found himself struggling remembering who was who, who knew who. It didn’t help that most of them were vlogging at the same time. Because of course they were.
As VidCon came to a close a numerous numbers and contact information had been exchanged. Then finally it was time to say goodbye and go their separate ways. Combeferre had a feeling that they would all be seeing each other again in the near future. Especially with the way Enjolras was looking at his new-found debate buddy. Not that he would mind visiting Cincinnati, Combeferre thought as he watched Grantaire and Eponine walk away together with Courfeyrac and Marius close behind.