SUMMARY: Grantaire cannot think why Enjolras is here, why he should concern himself at all with Grantaire. But here he is, bending over to catch up Grantaire's hands in his and curl his fingers around them. "Your hands are ice." His touch feels like fire, as if his fervor burns him from within, and Grantaire nearly flinches away, unable to bear it. Enjolras frowns a little, thinking, and then says, half to himself, "You'll freeze if I leave you alone."
CANON: Mostly movie/musicalverse, with some details drawn from the book.
PAIRING: Unrequited Grantaire/Enjolras
NOTES: Thanks to Petra for the beta and the title, and Sineala for enabling. Written for Trope Bingo, "huddle for warmth" square.
The Transmission of Warmth
Enjolras looks strange from where Grantaire is sprawled on the floor, curiously comical, although he is wearing his sternest Apollo face, Apollo Alexikakos, although Grantaire does not know what evil he means to ward off this time. The evil of Grantaire sleeping on the floor does not seem worthy of Apollo's attention, although it is now foremost in his own thoughts. The effect of the wine is beginning to fade, enough for him to remember that it is still snowing outside, and his lodgings are drafty on the best of nights. If he can even find them, in his current state.
The corners of Enjolras's mouth quirk up, just a little, and he sighs. "Get up, Grantaire."
Grantaire tries to obey, as he always tries to obey, with the careful coordination of the habitual drunk. But his arms do not seem to wish to push him up from the floor, so he only sits there, the last of the wine he had spilled earlier soaking stickily into his trouser-leg, and smiles up at Enjolras. "I regret that I cannot even do that." He can feel his mouth twist, without him willing it.
He does not mean to smirk; really, he doesn't. He is not happy to have failed Enjolras again, even in so little a task. It is only that his mouth is made for it, and Enjolras looks so exasperated in that moment that he almost looks like a man, like—but there are things Grantaire carefully does not think about, especially when he is drunk. He is content to venerate from afar, to mock with words and smiles and let his eyes say what his tongue cannot, for he, who can rant for an hour on any topic given, cannot even tell himself what he wants. He only knows that Enjolras cannot give it.
Enjolras stoops, then, and hauls Grantaire to his feet, slings an arm around his waist and props Grantaire's arm over his shoulder, grunting a little at the weight as Grantaire stumbles against him. "At least your lodgings are close," Enjolras says, his breath stirring Grantaire's hair. "I have no wish to carry you through a snowstorm."
Grantaire manages to fumble into his overcoat without much help, and he can nearly walk straight by the time they reach the door. The biting cold air that strikes him when he steps outside banishes the rest of the warm wine-haze, and his head is suddenly achingly clear, even as his teeth begin to chatter.
Thankfully, there is no cause for talking outside; the wind is too cold, and it is not as if they would be able to hear each other. All the warmth of the Café Musain is drawn away, like a lampflame guttering out in a draft, and Grantaire tucks his chin down into his coat and stumbles along with Enjolras' hand clamped like iron on his elbow to keep him on course.
His lodgings are cold, and the fire in the stove has long gone out, by the looks of it. Grantaire slumps down into a chair, still shivering uncontrollably. He plucks a bit of snow off the shoulder of his coat, but it takes a long time to melt, and he can hardly feel his hands. Enjolras has busied himself laying a fire again, although it will be some time before it heats the apartment at all.
Grantaire cannot think why Enjolras is here, why he should concern himself at all with Grantaire. But here he is, bending over catching up Grantaire's hands in his and curling his fingers around them. "Your hands are ice." His touch feels like fire, as if his fervor burns him from within, and Grantaire nearly flinches away, unable to bear it. Enjolras frowns a little, thinking, and then says, half to himself, "You'll freeze if I leave you alone."
"I have managed to survive the winter before," says Grantaire. "You need not fuss like a mother hen."
Enjolras presses his hands a little, and Grantaire winces, for they have begun to tingle and smart as they warm up. "Clearly I must," Enjolras says drily.
What follows is incomprehensible, so incomprehensible that Grantaire cannot bring himself to comment at all. Enjolras has piled every blanket and quilt in the apartment atop the bed, wrestled Grantaire into it, and crawled under the covers after him. He is muttering something irritated, which if he were any other man might be obscene, but Enjolras sounds almost fond, which is how Grantaire knows he must still be drunk. Enjolras is not fond of him at all, not in the slightest. He does not show Grantaire even the brief affection he can spare for Combeferre or Courfeyrac. And he does not wrap his arms around Grantaire until Grantaire stops shivering and falls asleep at last, floating in warmth.
Grantaire dreams that he is Pylades, and Enjolras his Orestes, and there is a chasm between them. It is a narrow one, that Grantaire could leap over, but it is a long, long fall, and the roaring of the water below is loud in his ears.
Enjolras holds out his hand, and for once the look in his eyes is neither pity nor disgust.
When he wakes the next morning, there is a fire burning in the stove—the room is almost tolerably warm—and Enjolras is gone. The bed feels miserably empty in a way it never did before.
But the worst of it is that Grantaire cannot even remember whether he jumped.