So like… There are so many cute posts/fics of Enj and R and who’s a dog or a cat person etc and I am 100% behind that but also what if one of them had an animal and the other had a genuine phobia of it… Like R has the biggest fluffiest friendliest dog in the world (called Dog because if Audrey Hepburn can call a cat Cat…) but Enjolras is terrified of dogs.
And this wasn’t a problem really. Since Enj rarely went to R’s place and the few times he did it was just to drop something off and R tends to keep Dog in the living room when he answers the door incase he runs out and up onto the street… Or occasionally on Les Amis gatherings but everyone loves Dog so much he can avoid interaction because he’s preoccupied with the others.
Except now they are dating and R is starting to get suspicious that Enj is holding back because he’ll walk R back to his flat but always comes up with a reason not to come in and if he asks him over he’ll find a reason for them to go out to do something instead and it’s beginning to feel like Enj just doesn’t want to be alone with him… Going to Enj’s flat hardly counts since Courf and Combeferre are always around…
And Enj knows he can’t keep this up forever but he’s torn because he knows how much R loves that dog and he doesn’t want to cause a problem or hurt his feelings in some way… He doesn’t hate Dog. He just can’t be around him.
But meanwhile like a million Bad Thoughts are going through R’s head and he’s worried maybe Enj doesn’t really like him/has realised he made a mistake but doesn’t know how to admit it so he’s just keeping what distance he can… And then one day he has the horrible idea that maybe he’s been doing something wrong regarding Enj’s boundaries and that he is afraid to be totally alone because he thinks R would overstep and he flies into a panic wondering what he did wrong and resolving to fix it but not by open communication because these two are both dumb idiots.
Instead he pulls back his physical contact to show he’s completely okay with the no sexual stuff thing.
Except now Enj thinks R is having second thoughts / he did something wrong / R wants to be with someone who’ll give him what Enj can’t.
This goes on for a few weeks until finally Enj hits a point where he can’t take it anymore and he goes to R’s flat completely forgetting Dog.
Dog whom R has not properly secured elsewhere. Dog who smells someone he recognises but barely ever sees and is very excited. Dog who bounds past R as he opens the door and suddenly Enj is halfway down the corridor almost in tears whilst R wrestles his very large very bouncy dog back and looking up at his boyfriends terrified face things make sense.
So finally they talk. Dog is closed off in R’s bedroom with a chew toy and a bone and is perfectly content. They sit in the living room. Grantaire apologises for how he has been acting and explains why and Enjolras is super relieved. Then Enj fully owns up to his crippling fear and how he didn’t want to tell R and have him think he was putting pressure on him because he would never ever ask R to give up Dog.
So since R is the kind of person who knows literally everyone he goes to a friend of his who helps people phobias (they worked with Joly over his germ phobia and Joly swears they are magic) and they give him some advice of steps they could take which, with Enj’s consent, they try.
Enj writes down a list of things he’s worried about, and steps he wants to take to try and get over it.
First things first R imposes new house rules. If Dog jumps, he gets no attention. He makes sure the others are involved too. Dog is thankfully eager to please and a fast learner but it takes a little time so in the meantime… R buys one of those baby gate things for the kitchen because gradual exposure is the best thing for phobia’s. Whenever Enj is coming round Dog goes in the kitchen that way he can still be with them and see them so he doesn’t panic or start barking (which will also scare Enj) because he can tell they’re there but can’t see them, but also Enj knows Dog can’t get to him.
It also means though that Enj has some proximity to Dog without the buffer of their friends and can get used to the idea of being in the same room as him, without being afraid of being jumped on or bitten or whatever. It takes a while but after a few weeks he actually starts greeting Dog when he arrives.
After a little time, a couple of times a week R will sit beside Dog, get a good hold on him and Enj will come into the kitchen and make tea or something. Eventually they get to a point where he feels safe with R just holding Dog’s collar.
They graduate to Enjolras occasionally making Dog his breakfast or dinner because it might help build a relationship to do something specifically for Dog, plus he soon realises that Dog is so interested in the food he basically ignores everything whilst he eats… so R doesn’t have to hold him at all as Enj leaves the kitchen anymore.
They go for a walk all together and R keeps Dog on a super short lead with Enj walking on his other side, til they reach the park. Enj stands on the other side of the fence and watches them play. When Dog finds another dog friend to play with R comes and stands with him.
The first time Enjolras pets Dog, it’s really brief but R swears he can feel Dog vibrate with joy from where he’s got a strong hold on him. Enjolras is still kind of freaking out but also Dog is super fluffy and soft and he looks so pleased that it’s… kind of cute?
Once Dog is well and truly trained not to jump up Enj has reached a point where he can be in the same room with him without the gate. Though if he ever feels overwhelmed the gate is still there and R immediately puts Dog back in the kitchen.
Mostly when he’s in the room with them he seats himself on R’s side of the sofa at his owner’s feet but just occasionally he’ll test the water with Enj. For a while Enj just tries to focus on other things but one day whilst R is making dinner, he’s sat on the sofa and catches those big soulful eyes looking up at him and he steels himself and reaches down to scratch Dog’s ears. Dog is content and pads away to R.
They go on for several months just building up Enj to the point where he can pet Dog with barely any anxiety. When Enj is in the kitchen making his dinner he’s started talking to him, and he can even put the bowl down without R having to hold Dog because he knows Dog won’t move until he moves away and tells him ‘Go’.
He’s still not great with dogs he doesn’t know though he’s noticed even they don’t scare him like they used to. He still gets jumpy if Dog barks particularly loudly at a cat outside or gets a little over excited. But it’s better. He can even take him for short walks around the block where he knows he’s not going to get too excitable and pull the lead.
And the thing is, he likes Dog. Dog is sweet and fluffy and loving and loyal and really not that scary at all. Scratch that. He loves Dog. He actually loves walking into his boyfriends flat and finding him sat good as gold in the middle of the living room, tail wagging, just happy to see them both. He loves watching R play in the park with him, both of them rolling around and coming back to the gate with grass stains and twigs in their hair/fur. He has found that brushing Dog sends him to sleep, so it’s an activity he feels safe and comfortable doing and it helps him bond with him even more.
The day R knows that they’ve been successful is when he comes back home to find his boyfriend lying flat on the sofa with his law books piled around him, and Dog lying across his outstretched legs, both fast asleep, one of Enj’s hands tucked against the side of Dog’s head. He’s just so happy and grateful this all worked out, and that he has this little family to come home to.