Is your life just one more lie?
A/N: I don't usually write fiction based on the musical – I prefer to stick to book canon, but this story is musical verse, inspired by a youtube video (Night of Anguish/First Attack/Drink With Me, uploaded by marla9430) of David Thaxton and Keith Anthony Higham as Enjolras and Grantaire respectively. The characters are therefore necessarily rather OOC, and I must confess it's not very well written as I was trying to follow the video as closely as possible, but I hope it works.
Warning: Implied slash.
Disclaimer: I, of course, do not own either Victor Hugo's novel or Boublil & Schoenberg's musical. All characters are Hugo's and the song 'Drink With Me' is from the musical.
Grantaire did not know what possessed him, at that critical hour, to pour out all his doubts. He had agreed, for Enjolras' sake, to join his fellow students at the barricade, and he did not regret his decision. For Enjolras, he would do anything. He was not afraid of death – his life, he knew, was not of particularly high quality, and he certainly did not want to continue living it if Enjolras were to die. It was, rather, the students' unwavering belief in The Cause that disturbed him. Each one knew that they faced almost certain death, and all were willing to undergo this for some intangible ideals, apart, perhaps, from Marius, whom Grantaire suspected of having another motive for getting himself killed. For Grantaire, for whom the only reality was so often only the bottle, such steadfast faith in the abstract was beyond his grasp, and the sceptic in him felt compelled to question it.
"Can it be you fear to die? Will the world remember you when you fall? Can it be your death means nothing at all? Is your life just one more lie?"
As he spoke, he was unbearably conscious of the fact that he was addressing his words to Enjolras alone. He found that he needed Enjolras' assurance, and he knew that this would suffice. He believed resolutely in Enjolras, even if in nothing else. However, he had little hope of anything more than a disdainful reprimand, for while Grantaire was a dedicated cynic, Enjolras was a devout believer, and had always shown a low tolerance towards both Grantaire's principles and his drunken habits. He showed only scorn and derision, and was always quick to criticise and reproach the man who looked up to him with so much admiration. Grantaire, although always able to bounce back from such attacks, was, in fact, deeply hurt by them. And yet, such was his adoration for Enjolras, that he preferred to have even such attention as this, than to have none at all; as a result, he often went out of his way to annoy the leader.
As he saw Enjolras approach, he already began to cower in expectation of a sharp, scornful remark, but was surprised to see Enjolras simply gazing at him with an unreadable expression. Moving past Feuilly, who was trying to press wine upon the persistently sober man, Enjolras knelt down in front of Grantaire.
"I – I'm sorry," Grantaire stammered, looking down. "I wish I could believe, but…"
"Then why are you here?" Enjolras shook his head softly in bewilderment.
Grantaire looked at his leader, who remained so dignified, despite kneeling in the dirt of the street, and then impulsively threw his arms around him. He felt Enjolras stiffen, felt his shock, and then, as he was about to pull away in shame, he felt a strong pair of arms clasp him tightly. "For you. Only for you," Grantaire whispered in Enjolras' ear, and then added, in a voice so low he himself could barely hear it, "I love you."
He regretted the words as soon as they were said, and could only hope that Enjolras had not heard them. It seemed, indeed, that he had not, for as he pulled away, he asked, "You would die just for me?"
"I would even give up wine for you ," Grantaire replied with a shaky smile, thrusting the bottle he held at Enjolras, who clasped it to him, without taking his other hand from Grantaire's shoulder. Enjolras gazed once more at him, and this time, Grantaire thought he could discern some of the emotions contained in that gaze. There was sympathy and compassion, and was that admiration? Grantaire decided he must be hallucinating – he knew that Enjolras felt only scorn and contempt towards him.
And yet, as he thought these things, a small smile appeared on Enjolras' face. Grantaire watched in a daze as he leant in towards him, and rested his own forehead against Grantaire's, while his free hand stroked Grantaire's hair. Grantaire was almost convinced that, in his delirium, he imagined the next words Enjolras spoke, even softer than he himself had first spoken them. "I love you too."
Grantaire looked at him in disbelief, seeking confirmation, but Enjolras merely patted his shoulder and left him alone. Grantaire, still refusing to believe, felt only pain. He was indeed desperate if he was imagining things, and he was torturing himself with hopes that he knew would never be realised. As he regained some measure of clarity, however, he could not entirely discard the idea that Enjolras had indeed said those words. This brought him only more pain, for it was clear that the only reason for Enjolras to say such a thing was to torment him, a last revenge for all the times Grantaire had mocked him and his cherished beliefs.
He was rudely brought back to Earth when Marius grabbed his arm. "Do I care if I should die, now she goes across the sea?" Grantaire was so submerged in his own sorrows that he had no tolerance for anyone else's, and so he simply shook his head, snatched back his arm and walked away.
"At least," he thought grimly to himself, "his love is returned. He does not have the infinite pain of rejection." At that moment, he looked up and briefly caught Enjolras' eye, and he remembered how tightly Enjolras had held him, and that look unplaceable look in his eyes, and how pleased Enjolras had seemed when he had agreed to fight at the barricade. Perhaps that hope, impossibly small though it might be, was indeed worth sacrificing his life for.