Enjolras saw them all at once. He saw Bahorel punch a sandbag until it split open and then continue to punch, his knuckles going raw as they continued to ram into the stone beneath the torn sack. Jehan sobbed uncontrollably into his pillow. Feuilly wandered the streets with his hands stuffed into his pockets and his eyes concentrating on the ground. Courfeyrac found Feuilly, grabbed his arm, pulled him into an alleyway, and when their eyes met they drew each other into a tight embrace.

Joly and Bossuet were together outside of Enjolras' apartment, Joly in tears and Bossuet holding his shoulders, looking at him and speaking to him in a low voice.

"Go home to Musichetta. You need her more than Grantaire needs you."

"No, I can do this. I have to do this. He's our friend. He can't be left alone. We all know that but why is no one else—"

"Because we're all upset, but you can't do this. Grantaire can't see you like this. Not right now. Go home. Go to Musichetta. Tell her you love her and she'll tell you that she loves you and you tell her that I love her, too."

Joly nodded. "I love you, Bossuet."

Bossuet kissed him softly. "I love you, Joly. I'll be here if you need me."

Then Enjolras saw Joly in Musichetta's arms, crying into her bosom as she clucked and petted his hair gently.

Enjolras wanted to reach out to Combeferre who had returned to his own apartment and upon shutting the door, broke down and fell to the floor. He wanted to hold him, tell him that he was there, that he never stepped too close to the explosion, that Combeferre's desperate attempts to keep him alive had worked, but it was no use.

His blood was still on Combeferre's hands, a fact not lost upon his most cherished friend. Enjolras could not have been more relieved when Courfeyrac and Feuilly showed up to help comfort Combeferre.

Then Enjolras was back in the apartment he shared with Grantaire, and Bossuet was trying to keep Grantaire, his shirt still red from Enjolras' blood, from tearing the entire place apart. Bossuet fought against Grantaire's rage, he screamed over Grantaire's voice to get him to calm down, to listen, but Grantaire did not seem to notice that he was there.

After taking a few hits, Bossuet stepped back. He let Grantaire continue his actions until finally he collapsed in the middle of the room, punching the floor and violently sobbing.

Bossuet went to Grantaire's side and rubbed his back. Enjolras was at Grantaire's side too, and though he could touch Grantaire, Grantaire could not feel him. Nonetheless, Enjolras embraced him as best as he could, careful not to move in Bossuet's way.

"He's gone," Grantaire finally choked. "Why… why is he… it should have been me! It should have been…" Grantaire gasped for air. "He is gone, Bossuet! He is gone and he will never come back! He is gone and I am to live without him! How can I? I cannot! My life was nothing before him and it is nothing without him! He… he cannot be… this must be a terrible dream. It must be! It has to be. Let me wake up. Please, let me wake up! Bossuet, surely you know how to wake up from a nightmare such as this. How do I?"

Then Grantaire stood and screamed at the ceiling. "Let me wake up! Enjolras, wake me up! Come back to me, let me be in your arms! I want to wake up in your embrace, I want to kiss you, I want to hold you, I want to hear you say…" Grantaire closed his eyes and sobbed. "I need to tell you how much I love you. How much I need you. How I could never stand it if you left, how you complete my life and make it worthwhile, how I… please, Enjolras. Wake me up. I cannot stand this nightmare anymore. You cannot be… you need to be…"

And Grantaire stumbled into the sofa and dissolved into tears. Bossuet was at his side immediately, and Enjolras stood helplessly before them both.

"Grantaire," he murmured, reaching out to touch his hair, knowing that Grantaire would never be able to feel it. "Grantaire, I—" But what could he say? What could he say that he did not already say, and what could he say that Grantaire could hear?

I love you.


His first memory was of banging each white and black cold ivory key with his index finger, loving the noise that resonated as he did so. He sat with his knees against the cushioned bench and his left hand just below the keys to keep himself upright. After a few minutes, his father settled onto the bench next to him and pressed the white key in the center of the piano.

"This is middle C," he said, and thus Enjolras received his first music lesson.

High-pitched ringing and a blurry vision consumed his last memory, but one image and one sound stood out the most prominently: that of Grantaire's reddened hazel eyes and choked begging for Enjolras not to leave him.

A flash of pain ripped through Enjolras' abdomen. He cried out and then found himself standing in the sanctuary of an empty church.

It was quiet and dim, the only light being the sunlight through the high windows near the ceiling. Enjolras knew this smell of oak and incense, and he knew the pictures in the stained glass. This was the church his mother dragged him to in his youth. At the altar, however, lied a wooden coffin adorned with flowers and candles not yet lit. Enjolras frowned. This was not a funeral from his memories.

The door opened. In stumbled Grantaire with his shirt wrinkled and his cravat untied and a bottle in his hand. Bossuet and Joly rushed in after him, and the woman Enjolras recognized as Musichetta stood in the doorway, wringing her hands together.

"We can't be in here yet!" hissed Joly.

Grantaire was unconcerned with propriety. "I need to see him!"

"You saw him last night, and the casket is closed now!"

"One last time!"

"Grantai—Bossuet! Are you two alright? You are not hurt, are you?"

Bossuet grabbed Grantaire and pulled him away from the casket. They fell backwards into the pew and Bossuet cried out on impact. Grantaire grunted and fell to his knees, crawling back up the altar.

"I'm fine," said Bossuet, rubbing his back and lunging for Grantaire again.

"Let me go! I must see him! One last time!"

"Grantaire, you are drunk!"

"I am dead!"

Musichetta rushed through Enjolras. Enjolras gasped from the sensation, but he kept his attention upon his lover and their friends attempting to restrain him. Musichetta moved in Grantaire's path and placed a hand on his cheek, saying softly, "Grantaire, my darling, please calm yourself. He would not want to see you like this."

"He is dead," Grantaire gasped but stopped struggling. Joly and Bossuet kept their grip upon him. "He is dead, what does it matter what I do?"

"Because he is watching. He is always watching over you, Grantaire. You must believe that. Please never doubt it. It would break his heart if you did."

Grantaire sobbed. Musichetta grimly smiled and gently took Joly's place by his side, helping Bossuet guide him out of the church.

"Come, let us get you cleaned up and sobered. It would do no one any good if you caused a scene like last night."

The door closed behind them, and Enjolras' heart sank. He was relieved that Grantaire had wonderful people like Bossuet and Joly and their mistress to look over him. With their help, perhaps Grantaire could emerge from his grief, and he could live once more.

Live. It was the last word Enjolras had spoken to Grantaire, and Enjolras hoped that Grantaire would take it to heart.

I am dead!

"No, Grantaire," murmured Enjolras. "No, you are alive, and you must live."

Enjolras looked back to the altar and tightened his jaw. That was him in that box. He was in that box, and this was his funeral. Enjolras approached the coffin and placed a hand on the smooth wood, doing all he could from trembling though nobody could possibly see him.

He was in there. He was dead. This was no horrible nightmare.

He remembered the explosion at the Musain as they were leaving for lunch by Courfeyrac's insistence. Enjolras had been the last to leave, and he had turned to bid a good afternoon to a patron who had recognized him.

What had become of that man, and the others inside of the Musain? Were they all dead as well? They could not have survived that blast.

Enjolras bowed his head in mourning for those souls. Such senseless violence. The republic was not so easily won, and many monarchists still lashed out. Enjolras never dreamed that they would go to such extremes. And for what purpose?

The doors opened again, but two silent figures made their way down the aisle this time. Combeferre and Courfeyrac, both with their gazes to the ground and Courfeyrac's hand tight on Combeferre's arm. They sat side by side in the first pew, Courfeyrac not letting go of Combeferre, but Combeferre seemed to be anywhere but with Courfeyrac.

"My friends," murmured Enjolras as he knelt before them both. "Courfeyrac… my dear Combeferre. These faces do not suit you."

Courfeyrac turned to Combeferre and said, "If you wish to speak to him, now is your chance."

"What is there to say? I have failed him."

"No!" Enjolras gasped. "No, Combeferre, you could never…!"

"There was nothing you could have done," said Courfeyrac. "There was nothing any of us could have done."

"I had suggested the Musain."

"If you had not, someone else would have. It was the first time the nine of us were to be together since the revolution. It was the perfect place for nostalgia's sake."

"I could have suggested the Corinthe."

"And we would have fought for the Musain instead. It is where everything began. No one blames you, least of all Enjolras."

Combeferre bowed his head lower and his voice cracked. "I couldn't save him."

Courfeyrac wrapped his arm around Combeferre and pulled him in tight. "Short of any being of the heavens, no one would have been able to. You must not blame yourself, Combeferre. He would not want that. I do not want that. Nobody wants that. You know what Enjolras would want as well as I do, and we must continue working for that, for his beloved France."

"Our beloved France." Enjolras was not sure if he said it or if Combeferre said it.

Courfeyrac smiled. "Our beloved France."

They were to return to Paris tomorrow, and so they made one last trip to his grave together.

Enjolras remembered Courfeyrac saying once that he wished he had more than two arms, and Courfeyrac looked as though he wished for it now more than ever. He had one hand on Combeferre's shoulder and his arm around Jehan's shoulders, and Courfeyrac looked desperately among everyone else as though he wanted nothing more than to take them all into one giant hug. Instead, he pulled Combeferre and the weeping Jehan closer and went back to staring solemnly upon the gravestone.

Bossuet assumed Courfeyrac's role with Joly and Grantaire, where he kept Joly to his chest tightly and his other arm locked around Grantaire's. Joly huddled close to Bossuet, but Grantaire's empty eyes locked in one place and his free hand twitched as though it yearned for the cold green glass of his escape. Bahorel paced behind the group, wringing his hands together. Feuilly held his hat to his heart and whispered a few words in a language Enjolras never studied.

"This is not goodbye, you know," said Courfeyrac finally with a smile Enjolras so missed. "Knowing Enjolras, his spirit is probably already back in Paris and waiting for Combeferre and I to return to finish that bill. Or perhaps he has found a way to poltergeist Monsieur Grimaud's home. The one monarchist who managed to weasel his way into the republic! You see, Enjolras never gave up on France, and I do not see how death will stop him now."

Combeferre and others smiled at that, but Bahorel and Grantaire did not. In fact, it appeared as though Grantaire did not hear Courfeyrac, while Bahorel did.

"So what are we waiting for? Let's go! And maybe while we're at it, we can figure out who put those explosives in the Musain—"

"Peace, Bahorel, peace!" cried Courfeyrac. "You know Enjolras would not approve of us become vigilantes for revenge!"

"But we cannot trust the police!"

"No, but we can work to make sure that this does not happen again," said Combeferre, pulling away from Courfeyrac's grasp. "I do not understand the purpose of the attack, but whatever it was, we must not change what we were doing. The riots will cease in time."

"And how many more of us must die in the process? How many more innocents?"

"Bahorel," said Combeferre firmly, and that was that. Bahorel huffed and resumed pacing.

"Do you suppose Enjolras is with us even now?" asked Jehan quietly. Enjolras smiled; even in all black, Jehan had found a way for absolutely nothing to match. No wonder Courfeyrac did not protest too loudly when Jehan wiped his face with his sleeve.

"If he's not in Paris, then he is probably here, yes," said Bossuet easily. "Listening to every word we say. Maybe he can even hear our thoughts now; wouldn't that be a terrifying thing!"

Enjolras smiled as most everyone, even Bahorel, laughed. Enjolras' attention was quickly diverted to Grantaire, who murmured beneath everyone's laughter, "He's not here. He's not here. He will never be here again.

"Don't you see!" he finally cried above everyone, jerking away from Bossuet. "Don't you see! Enjolras is dead! He is dead and he is not coming back! He cannot come back! He cannot hear us, he cannot see us! He is gone, and he is gone forever and out of our grasps until sweet Death comes to welcome us into His embrace too!

"Well, let him come! Let Death come for me, as He should have come for me at the Musain that day! You missed your mark, Death! I am here! I am here and I am waiting! Come for me! Save me from this wretched existence! My life was nothing without Enjolras, is nothing without Enjolras! You have my heart and soul, now come for the rest of me!"

A heavy silence permeated through everyone as Grantaire stared at the sky, damning the heavens with tears flowing down his cheeks. Enjolras dreadfully wished that he could bring Grantaire into his arms and comfort him.

"Come for me!" he screamed. "Come for me!" Then his sobs overtook him, and he fell upon Enjolras' grave in a heap. "Why won't You come for me? Why did You take him? Why couldn't You have taken me instead? I should have died that day!"

It was Courfeyrac who took Grantaire by the shoulders and met his eyes. "Grantaire, Enjolras would never have wanted your death over his, or your death because of his. Please, do not speak like this. Do not act upon your words. Death will come for you in His own time, when it is your time."

Grantaire closed his eyes and shook his head but said nothing more. Courfeyrac looked at Combeferre, who was staring at Grantaire with a look that Enjolras had never seen Combeferre give Grantaire before: a look of understanding and of mutual sentiment. This was not lost upon Courfeyrac either.

"Nobody should have died that day, not even Enjolras. But it was Enjolras who died, and it would have done nobody any good had it been any of us instead of him. To have his best friend or his lover or any of those he cherished trade their lives for his would be the last thing he would have ever wanted. So let us never speak of how one of us should have died instead of him!

"And let us not wait for Death to come to us or seek out Death ourselves. Let us live on as he would have wanted us to. Let us work for France as he would have wanted us to. Let us not live in regret or sorrow, but we will always remember him, for he is not a man so easily forgotten.

"This is not goodbye. He will be with us always. He always had faith in us and we claim to have had faith in him. Let us prove it to him! He is always watching and always listening and he will never leave our side. As long as he is in our hearts, he will always be here."

The others nodded and Enjolras would have smiled at Courfeyrac's speech, except that neither Combeferre nor Grantaire seemed to have listened to a word Courfeyrac said. Courfeyrac patted Grantaire on the back and stood, heading back for the road as all but Combeferre and Grantaire followed.

"Come now, Enjolras' mother is cooking for us a fabulous meal. Never say that a rich woman cannot cook, for I have received a preview of tonight's dinner for myself!"

Then Combeferre and Grantaire were left alone. Enjolras braced himself; he did not know what to anticipate.

"Is there anything you would like to say to Enjolras before we go?" asked Combeferre quietly.

Grantaire stared at the gravestone for a long moment before answering, "No."

Combeferre frowned. "You do not?"

"Do you?" It was not a challenge but an honest, simple question.

"No." There was no hesitance in Combeferre's answer but a hard, solid look upon Grantaire. Enjolras knew then that Combeferre was lying, and his heart ached at the possible reason why he lied now. "Come, Grantaire. Let's join the others. We can't have them worried about us."

Combeferre helped Grantaire to his feet and the two walked side by side towards Enjolras' childhood home. Enjolras stayed behind, standing atop his grave and hoping dearly that what he dreaded would not come to pass. Surely, with Combeferre's help, it would not happen.

It could not happen. Enjolras missed holding Grantaire, but he could wait for an eternity to do so again if he must.

He hoped Grantaire would allow him to wait.

Enjolras met Courfeyrac through Combeferre. It was the evening before the first day of classes, and Combeferre and Enjolras had quickly established their friendship the afternoon before after spending five minutes in their shared apartment. They went out for dinner at a little Italian bistro when Courfeyrac noticed Combeferre.

"Combeferre! Wonderful to see you, my friend!" said Courfeyrac as he pulled up a chair and sat between the two. "And who is this? It is rare to see you out with someone, but it is also refreshing and good for you!"

"I would have thought you would be more disappointed that I was not eating dinner with a lady," said Combeferre dryly, glaring at Courfeyrac over the brim of his wine glass.

"One step at a time, my good man. Are you not going to introduce us?"

Combeferre sighed. "Courfeyrac, this is my roommate, Enjolras. Enjolras, this is Courfeyrac."

Enjolras and Courfeyrac shook hands, Enjolras with a polite smile and Courfeyrac with a large one. "It's a pleasure to meet you," said Enjolras.

"The pleasure is all mine!"

The last image Enjolras had of Courfeyrac was just before the explosion. In Courfeyrac's nature, he laughed as he ushered everyone out of the Café Musain, joyfully exclaiming that the sun was too bright and warm to be cooped up all day.

"We'll have dinner here in the evening, just like old times!" he cried with a smile to rival the sun. Then Enjolras was blinded by a white, searing light.

Enjolras would have been happy to remember Courfeyrac always like that: laughing and smiling. The warmth of his spirit always soothed Enjolras, but ever since Enjolras' death, Courfeyrac's laughs and smiles were forced no matter how hard he tried to soothe everyone else's pain.

That was why when Courfeyrac returned to his apartment in Paris and broke down into tears over his desk, Enjolras was more heartbroken than surprised.

Enjolras had caught Courfeyrac like this a few times before and after the funeral, but he had always held back or only allowed himself a brief moment of grief before wiping his eyes and returning to the others. For a while, Enjolras wondered why Courfeyrac did not ask for the comfort he gave freely to everyone else, but he remembered Courfeyrac's generous heart, and Enjolras mourned for Courfeyrac.

Now Courfeyrac did not risk being discovered by the others in such a state, and so he freely wept. Enjolras hated that all he could do was put his ghostly hand upon his shoulder. Courfeyrac could not feel it; it was a useless gesture but one Enjolras could not keep from making.

A soft knock came at the door. Courfeyrac hastily wiped his eyes and cleared his throat.


"Monsieur Courfeyrac, you have returned! It is me, Justine Blanc. May I come in?"

"Yes, of course! Please give me a moment."

Courfeyrac rushed to the sink and washed his face. After checking himself in the mirror, he let in his mistress. "Darling mademoiselle, I was not expecting to see you—"

"Ever again?" cooed Justine Blanc as she pushed past Courfeyrac with a box in her hands. "Oh, Monsieur Courfeyrac, like I told you, you provide a wonderful distraction from my fiancé. He remains as insufferable as always. Besides that, I was worried about you! Ever since I heard about your friend—oh! You have been crying!"

Courfeyrac shook his head. "It is nothing. I am fine."

"But you are not! Here, dear. I made you cake. I can go prepare some tea for you if you would like."

"Thank you, mademoiselle, but I must refrain tonight. It has been a long journey and I am very tired. Perhaps we can entertain each other some other night?"

"I am not here to entertain, monsieur," said Justine Blanc as she set the cake upon the table. "I am here to give you a shoulder to cry on. I am only surprised that I am the first of your mistresses to show up to do so."

Courfeyrac smiled weakly. "I do not need—"

"Pardon me, but you do. Everyone does. Especially since you have obviously been crying here alone! Nobody should cry alone. Is that not what you told me when we first met?"

Enjolras knew that Courfeyrac's defenses were compromised the moment Courfeyrac closed his eyes and walked into Justine Blanc's embrace.

"I miss him."

"I know you do, darling."

"And everyone else is hurting so badly."

"So are you, my dear."

Enjolras shifted and turned his gaze away, though a smile played upon his face. He should have known better. He should have known that Courfeyrac was a man who could never be alone no matter how hard he tried. And though Courfeyrac had many lovers and kept none, at least one returned as a friend to help him where he would let no one else see that he needed it.

But the moment could not last, and Joly burst through the door then. "Courfeyrac! We might need your help. It's Grantaire."

Jehan often described his favorite ways of falling in love: friends to lovers, love from a distance united at long last, finding something in someone you never saw before. But his favorite, he always declared proudly, was love at first sight.

Enjolras paid as much heed to Jehan's words as he did to any of his non-political poetry. Enjolras politely smiled, he listened, and he found beauty and art in his words, but rarely thought about it more than that.

Sometimes, however, he did think upon it, especially after he and Grantaire shared their first kiss. He thought about the first time they met when a ragged Grantaire followed Bahorel into the back room of the Café Musain as though he wanted to be anywhere but there.

"My comrades," proclaimed Bahorel, "this man is good with his fists and fierce in his beliefs, and though he has no strong political leanings one way or another, I have seen for myself how he fights for injustice and I believe he will make a valuable asset to our group."

Grantaire pursed his lips and did not meet the eyes of anyone in the room. "The injustice was that it was a bottle of wine I had paid for with the very last of my sous. For us to have become allies in that brawl was an accident, as I have told you many times already. I care little for your quarrel. Why have you brought me here?"

But Enjolras trusted Bahorel's eye for talent, and even one with no inclinations could be persuaded to have some. He approached Grantaire and held out his hand with a smile. "It is a pleasure to meet you. I am Enjolras."

Grantaire looked up and met his eyes, his scowl melting into wonder. He cleared his throat and took Enjolras' hand. "Grantaire."

"Welcome to Les Amis de l'ABC, Grantaire."

Grantaire attended nearly every meeting after that, keeping to the corner alone with a bottle of wine or absinthe. He never spoke up and he rarely seemed to listen and only if Enjolras spoke. It was only after the others insisted he share his drink with them that he slowly began opening up to them.

That was when Enjolras found the half-truths in Bahorel's words about him. He was fierce in his beliefs that he had no beliefs; he had absolutely no political leanings; and the injustice he fought for was the injustice when his drink was snatched away from him by those who decided that he had had more than enough. Every time Combeferre suggested to Enjolras that they turn out Grantaire, Enjolras found himself looking upon Grantaire and believing that there was something in the drunkard that none of them but Bahorel had yet to see.

Nonetheless, the others enjoyed his company. Gradually, Grantaire included himself more and more with Courfeyrac and Bossuet and Bahorel's activities outside of the Musain, and his solemn demeanor became alight with a passion in nothing but a passion all the same.

Then, one day, after Combeferre asked why he did not turn Grantaire out ("They can still be friends with him, but he does not belong in the Musain."), Enjolras realized that perhaps the biggest reason he refused to banish Grantaire from Les Amis was the simple truth that he was drawn to him. Enjolras caught himself glancing over at Grantaire more often than not, and his disdain for Grantaire's drinking had as much to do with his worry for the man as it did his continuous interruptions of the meetings.

Later that evening, Enjolras had his first real and careful glance into Grantaire's hazel eyes, and he was shocked to find them beautiful.

They suffered many setbacks in their relationship, but after the barricades rose in 1832 and the revolution won, somehow, they were able to reconcile.

Now Grantaire sat in between Bossuet and Joly in the fiacre returning to Paris, his head bowed and those hazel eyes more empty and dead than when Enjolras first met him. Enjolras' heart ached for Grantaire, and he held his head between his hands.

"Please do not do this to yourself," he murmured, though he knew that Grantaire could not hear. "I promise you have so much more to live for."

The fiacre stopped. "We are here," said Bossuet. Enjolras looked out the window and saw the apartment he had shared with Grantaire.

"I can go in alone," said Grantaire as he moved past Bossuet and out of the carriage.

"Are you sure? I do not think you should be left alone," Bossuet said.

Grantaire mustered a weak smile. "I will be fine. Please do not worry about me. I will be fine."

Bossuet and Joly glanced at each other, and Bossuet shook his head. "No. We will stay with you."

"No, it is fine. I know it has only been a day since Musichetta returned to Paris, but I know she must miss you both. Go to her, for me. I have burdened everyone enough the past week."

"You are not a burden," Joly insisted. "Come stay with us! Please!"

"I need to be alone."

"Alone is the last thing you ought to be right now," said Bossuet as he hopped out of the fiacre. "Then I will stay with you, and Joly will tend to Musichetta."

Grantaire scowled and stepped away from Bossuet. "Can I not just mourn him in peace, alone? Can I not just have this to myself? I have not been alone since… since… and I want to be alone now! I want to mourn him and remember him in my own way, in a way I cannot with you lot around! Leave me be! You do not understand how I feel, you cannot understand! Leave me alone with my memories and my drink, with my tears and my empty heart. I want to be alone, I need to be alone! Give this to me, just this once, and I will never need to be alone again!"

And without waiting for an answer, Grantaire stormed into the building. Bossuet did not chase after him, and Enjolras was glad for Joly.

"We need to go with him!" he cried. "I am afraid is about to do something desperate! We cannot let him!"

Bossuet pursed his lips and nodded grimly. "I know. Go get help, Joly. I think we may need it. Courfeyrac, Bahorel, anybody. Everybody. Send them here, quickly."

Joly nodded and gave the driver directions to Courfeyrac's apartment. Bossuet waited until the fiacre disappeared down the street before he dashed inside.

The next sight appalled Enjolras. He was back in his apartment with Grantaire now, and Grantaire stood with his back against the locked door. He hung his head and took in a few deep breaths, listening for the clacking of hooves against the pavement outside. When it quieted, he made his way to Enjolras' desk and opened the top drawer, and he pulled out the gold-trimmed revolver Combeferre had gifted Enjolras.

Enjolras gasped and yelled, hoping that if he was loud enough, Grantaire could somehow hear him. "Grantaire, put the gun down! Now!"

But it was not his voice that stopped Grantaire but the loud crash of the door falling beneath Bossuet. Startled, Grantaire fired, and if he were not dead Enjolras was sure his face would be as pale as Grantaire's as he realized who had barged in.

"Bossuet!" cried Grantaire.

Bossuet sat up, his eyes wild but, fortunately, not in pain. Enjolras sighed in relief when he saw the bullet hole in the wall.

"What the hell are you doing?" demanded Bossuet as he climbed to his feet. "Grantaire, give me the gun."

Grantaire held the revolver to his chest but said nothing. Bossuet repeated the order.

"I cannot," whispered Grantaire.


"This is the only way. This is the only way I can be with him again, this is the only way I can live again. And I almost shot you. Don't you see, Bossuet? Breathing, I am dangerous. In death, I will be alive once more. This is what Enjolras wanted, was it not? He told me to live, well, this is how I intend to do that!"

Bossuet approached Grantaire slowly. "This is not what he meant, Grantaire. You know that."

"I am a burden, an eyesore! With me gone, the rest of you can live on and your lives will be all the easier for it. And I will be with Enjolras again! Everyone wins!"

"Everyone loses! You cannot guarantee that you will be Enjolras like this, and we cannot lose another friend again so soon!"

"So how long am I to wait then? A couple of weeks? Months? Next year?"

"You will wait for your time to come, as Courfeyrac said. We will mourn you. We will be heartbroken over you. But no one would be more heartbroken than Enjolras, and Heaven has no place for those who take their own lives! So please, give me the gun!"

Grantaire shook his head. "No. Even if I am condemned, I will still be closer to Enjolras than I am now, and I will be more alive. Even if I become nothing more than food for the rats and maggots, I will be closer to Enjolras and I will be alive."

Bossuet looked to be at a loss for words. "Grantaire, please."

"I am sorry, Bossuet, my friend."

Then, to Enjolras' surprise, Bossuet lunged for Grantaire. They fell to the ground in a heap and they wrestled, grunting as Bossuet reached for the revolver Grantaire kept moving out of his reach. Enjolras worried that Grantaire would accidentally pull the trigger and kill them both, and he hoped that either Bossuet was successful in his endeavor or that someone would barge in and end the struggle.

Two large hands grabbed Bossuet and lifted him off of Grantaire. Before anyone could catch their breath, Bahorel yanked the revolver out of Grantaire's hands and tossed it to the other side of the room.

"Joly said that you might be doing something horrible," snarled Bahorel. "I just didn't imagine how stupid that something could be! Bossuet, get those bullets out of there and go see if he has any other weapons lying around."

Bossuet scrambled to his feet and did just that. Enjolras wished that he could point to Bossuet exactly where everything was; he had not kept much weaponry in his home, at least not to the extent of Combeferre and Feuilly, but there were knives in the kitchen, a rifle from the revolution in the closet, and rope stuffed in the bottom drawer of his dresser. As Enjolras glanced to each location, Bossuet made a beeline for those exact spots, which would have caused Enjolras curiosity if his attention wasn't monopolized by Bahorel and Grantaire.

Bahorel helped Grantaire to his feet and led him to the bed. "Just what in God's name did you think you were doing? Do you really think you are alone in your grief? We loved him too! We miss him too! We may have not been fucking him. We may not have wanted to have been fucking him. He may not have been our whole world but he was our world too! And you are a part of that world, Grantaire! With or without him, you are an important part of our lives and don't you dare remove yourself from it."

Joly ran in with Courfeyrac and Combeferre in tow. Bossuet handed them the knives and guns and rope, though Combeferre only reached for the revolver, staring at it with knitted brows and a frown that mad Enjolras' heart cry out. Courfeyrac took the rest and whispered to Joly, "Go home and remove all your medicines somewhere where Grantaire won't be able to find them. He should stay with you, like you said."

Joly nodded and promptly left once again. Courfeyrac set the pile onto the desk and sat by Grantaire. Grantaire refused to look at him.

"I know what you are going to say," he muttered.

"I was not going to say anything," said Courfeyrac sadly. "Words did not prevent you from doing this. Right now, words will not change your mind about doing this. Instead, you should rest, but not here. Bossuet, I believe you and Joly had offered your place for Grantaire before?" Bossuet nodded. "Stay with them. They will not leave your side. You have much to live for, Grantaire, and we will do all we can to prove it to you."

Grantaire snorted quietly. "You only care because of Enjolras."

"We care because of you, too. Come along now."

As Courfeyrac, Bahorel, and Bossuet led Grantaire out of the apartment, Courfeyrac cast a glance back at Combeferre. "Are you coming?"

Combeferre started as though he had been lost in thought. "Yes, in a moment. I will catch up."

After they left, Combeferre traced his finger along the gold trimming of the revolver. His eyes watered and he sighed and pressed his lips to the metal. Combeferre glanced around the room, stuffed the revolver into his coat, and picked up the fallen door.

"Goodbye, Enjolras," he murmured as he propped the door against the opening to the apartment.