Grantaire always loved that statue. It was a memoir to the June Rebellion, standing proud in the place where the barricade had fallen. It was of a man who looked little more than a boy, staring defiantly ahead as he raised a flag. His other hand was empty, but it was clasped like it should have been holding something.
(Some nights, he wakes up panting and sweating from dreams of gunfire and shouting and blood)
But then again, everyone loved that statue. Tourists took pictures with it all the time, and occasionally one just walked up and touched it. Once, Grantaire asked a woman from America why she'd taken a photo of herself holding the statue's hand..
"There's a story," She had said, "That he was clasping the hand of his lover when he was killed, and that when they touch again he'll be turned back to flesh so that they can be reunited at last."
(Some nights, he wakes up confused and crying from dreams of golden hair and a glimpse of red fabric and a crushing feeling of loneliness)
He occasionally leaves his shitty apartment at midnight to come out and sit by the statue. Sometimes he talks to it, but sometimes he just sits and enjoys the silence that comes from your companion being made of marble.
Tonight, it's one of his one-sided conversations with the statue he's come to call 'Apollo.' He's not sure why. It feels right all the same.
(Some nights, he wakes up smiling sadly from dreams of nights laughing and drinking with friends he's never known, their faces blurred but still familiar)
"Do you know that feeling of déjà vu you get when you remember things you shouldn't?" Grantaire asks, and logically he knows that Apollo remains cold and deaf to his question, but he swears the statue is listening.
"No, of course you don't. You're a statue."
He brings a bottle to his lips and drinks.
"I've never had friends. Never been sad about it, either, because- because I remember having friends, but I can't, because I haven't, but I do. Do you know what I mean?"
"You know how they say your brain can't make up a face? Strangers in your dreams are actually people you've seen in real life. But the people in my dreams- they aren't people I've seen anywhere, I know it, because it's been the same people since I was a kid… Do you reckon they're my imaginary friends?"
Grantaire swears Apollo's marble lips are smiling for half a second. He blinks; it's gone.
He decides, without meaning to, that he doesn't like the tourists that come to take pictures with Apollo, slinging an arm around his shoulders or clasping his hand. They mean well, and he doesn't believe in stories like the one the American woman told him. He never believes in anything. But he still can't help hating them, or that feeling that's almost jealousy.
He makes his own picture of the statue. He paints Apollo as he must have looked in the flesh, and he isn't sure why he knows he was shot dead with eight bullets.
Maybe he believes in something after all. If only he could be sure what it is.
Grantaire can't hold down one job for very long, and he doesn't want to paint anything that people want to buy, so he keeps moving around. Eventually, he thinks, he'll have worked everywhere in Paris, and that'll be at least one thing he's accomplished.
He catches himself offering Apollo a drink one night, and he laughs at himself.
"Even if you were real," He tells the statue, "I doubt you'd accept anything from me. You'd hate me, if only you could hear me, see me, or know me."
He puts the bottle down.
"Things still aren't good, you know." He's pissed because he was fired from his latest job after his boss realized he was gay. He really thought society was past that point, and if he could get more pessimistic, he would have.
"There's still oppression. It's just prettier now, all dressed up, so people don't know what it is until it slaps them in the face. I bet you'd still be fighting it. You know, if you were real."
He laughs, dry and without humor, and then he stops, because it isn't really all that funny.
Grantaire doesn't expect it when it happens. He's walking through the rain to work one morning, pushing through the crowds, when someone shoves him aside, and he trips. He staggers, slips, and falls, back colliding with what can only be the statue.
He groans, and grabs the nearest object to pull himself off the ground.
Cold marble grows warm and soft beneath his hand.
(Something feels familiar in that touch, and he remembers the sound of gunfire and the sound of silence)
He looks up.
The stone is fading into flesh, and the hand he's still holding twitches. He knows he should let go but he can't look away from the transformation. There are gasps around him; he pays them no mind.
Apollo's waistcoat is fading from white to red, his hair to a golden blond, and when he blinks, Grantaire sees that his eyes have turned a startling blue.
(Something feels familiar in that touch, and he remembers meeting that gaze as they argued in the Musain or as he asked for acceptance in the last moments of his life)
Apollo, who always hated to be called that, steps off his pedestal, eyes not leaving Grantaire's, and he can't breathe. There is applause around them, suddenly, and he realizes that their audience thinks this has been set up for their amusement. The rest of his memories are coming back to him, not slowly, not quickly, but like they had always been there.
Enjolras lowers his flag as he tugs him to his feet. A few people in the crowd around them have started recording the event, he registers dimly.
Grantaire should say something, anything, but he finds that no words seem right. He takes Enjolras' other hand, who smiles and steps closer still.
"You remember? Enjolras asks uncertainly.
He nods, and the former statue smiles.
When Enjolras closes the distance between them, it's to a mixture of cheers and outraged gasps from their spectators, but both fall on deaf ears.
(There's nothing familiar in this touch, but it feels right all the same)