I own nothing.
Thank you to everyone who reviewed, I'm truly grateful and glad you liked it :) The ending is mostly shameless fluff. Also, please forgive me if Enjolras seems terribly out of character. He's just so hard to write!
Merci - thank you
Mon Dieu - my God
As the night wore on, the other Amis slowly left the Musain, one by one, until it was only Grantaire left alone at the bar. He sighed and ordered another drink.
"Actually, he's done for the night, merci," said a voice from behind him.
Turning slowly so that he didn't fall sideways off the stool, Grantaire was surprised to see Combeferre standing there. Usually it was En... well, it had been Courfeyrac or Bahorel lately.
"Whadaya want?" He slurred.
"I need to talk to you, but I need you to be sober." Combeferre said.
"Yeah, well, come back later," Grantaire said harshly.
He was just looking away, intent on getting that drink, when Combeferre's hand landed heavily on his shoulder, turning him forcefully back around. The same hand steadied him gently when he nearly fell off his chair. Grantaire stared stonily at him, but when it appeared that the man would not simply go away, he sighed in defeat.
Combeferre managed to help Grantaire back to his apartment, although it took far longer than it usually would. He guided the slightly shorter man to his bed, as by now he was barely awake. After that was accomplished, he quietly grabbed a random book from Grantaire's small collection, and settled down with it in the next room, intent on staying the night.
The next morning, Grantaire was rudely awoken by the sun streaming in through the open blinds, an insistent hand on his shoulder, and a familiar headache.
"Come on, Grantaire, get up already."
Groaning, Grantaire swatted the hands away and tried to roll over.
"Oh, non, you don't! It's time to get up. It's nearly eleven! I need to talk to you, and I've already waited all night."
Suddenly realizing what was going on, Grantaire's eyes flew open and he sat up, but immediately regretted it when the pounding in his head increased.
"Go away." He definitely was not whining.
"Here. You have two minutes. We need to talk." Combeferre handed him a steaming mug of coffee before leaving to wait in the other room.
Slowly, the memories of last night came back to him. It had been almost a week since the incident with Enjolras' father, and he had not seen nor talked to the man since. Grantaire had tried going back to the apartment the next day, but he hadn't received any answer to his knocking. Yesterday there had been a meeting, and it was the first time he had seen Enjolras since that night, but the man had ignored all of his attempts at conversation and avoided him as much as possible. He hadn't looked Grantaire's way once during his speech, and left immediately afterwards, giving him no chance to speak to the man. Feeling worse than he had all week, he decided that drinking himself into a stupor was a good idea, as usual. Then Combeferre had stopped him.
Sighing, Grantaire took a few large gulps of the hot, steaming liquid. Feeling slightly better, and used to dealing with hangovers as he was, he slowly got out of bed and dressed before going to meet Combeferre.
"You look terrible." Were the man's first words.
"Thanks, you too. Now what do you want?" Grantaire really didn't feel up to this right now.
"I want to talk about Enjolras."
"What about Enjolras?" He asked, making Combeferre glare at him. He really didn't know what the other man wanted from him. Combeferre was Enjolras' oldest friend, and if he wasn't talking to him, then there wasn't really anything Grantaire could do.
"You know exactly what I'm talking about. I'm worried about him. We're all worried about him. Last night was the first night anyone has seen him in five days. He even missed his class yesterday, which has never happened before. He's been holed up in his apartment and won't come out. It was a miracle he came to the meeting. He won't talk to me, and judging by the fact that you've managed to get yourself horridly drunk the past five days, he's not talking to you, either. Surely, there's something going on here, and I think you know what it is." Combeferre demanded.
It really was too early for this.
"Honestly, I don't know. All I know is that five nights ago, when I was at his apartment, his father showed up, and now he doesn't want to see me anymore." Grantaire said, watching as Combeferre suddenly went still and pale as a sheet. "Combeferre?"
"You said his father visited?"
"Yeah. I mean, I knew they didn't really get along, but I never realized he was such a pleasant guy." He said sarcastically.
"This is serious, Grantaire. Tell me what happened." The tone of his voice and the look on Combeferre's face made him stop for a second.
"Okay, okay. Well, long story short, his father said that he had heard that Enjolras and I were dating. How he found out, I have no idea. Anyways, he basically wanted Enjolras to break it off with me. He told him how our relationship was appalling and unnatural, and how he could do so much better than me, which Enjolras obviously took to heart, because after his father left, he told me to get out." He said quickly, trying not to sound too bitter. He had avoided thinking about the subject for the past few days, choosing instead to drown his sorrows, and saying it out loud to another person just made the hollow ache in his chest more prominent.
"Grantaire..." Combeferre sighed.
"No, it's alright. I mean, I knew it was only a matter of time. There was no way that Enjolras and I could last. He deserves so much better than me. I guess he just needed his father to help him realize that, too."
"Oh, mon Dieu, Grantaire!" Combeferre jumped up. "Trust me when I say you are not worthless. Enjolras cares about you, you fool. You need to talk to him."
"You think I haven't been trying? He obviously doesn't want to talk to me!"
"Well, try harder!" Combeferre sighed, looking conflicted. "Listen, there's a reason why seeing his father has affected Enjolras so much. I can't tell you what it is, he should tell you that himself. But I don't think he meant to hurt you, Grantaire. You need to talk to him. You need to get him to come to his senses."
"Why me? You're his closest friend. You've known him the longest!" He doubted that he could get anything out of the man that his friend couldn't.
"Yes, but he won't listen to me. He'll listen to you, Grantaire, he cares about you more than anyone."
"Yeah, well, he sure has a funny way of showing it." Grantaire realized at the last possible second that perhaps he was pushing Combeferre a bit too far, when the man grabbed him forcefully by the collar.
"Listen to me, Grantaire. You need to get over yourself for two seconds and go make sure that Enjolras is okay. I know you're both hurting right now, but ignoring each other the way you have been is not going to solve anything!" Apparently realizing what he was doing, Combeferre released his grip and stepped back quickly, muttering an apology.
"Non, it's alright. You're right. I'll talk to him." Grantaire relented.
"Thank you, mon ami." Combeferre said, looking at him gratefully. "Well, I've got to get to class. Don't give up on Enjolras just yet." Grabbing his bag, he quickly left the apartment.
He sighed. He was not looking forward to this.
"Enjolras, I know you're in there." He banged on the door later that day. "Let me in, we need to talk."
Waiting a few more minutes, he sighed and knocked loudly again when no one came to the door. He had been there for about half an hour, but had not received a reply. It would be getting late soon, but there was nowhere else he wanted to be.
"I will stand outside all day, if I have to. I'm not going anywhere. We are talking about this, Enjolras." He called through the door. Enjolras was stubborn, but Grantaire knew he could outlast him. He had waited months for Enjolras just to notice him, and he was not about to give up on the man without a fight.
He was about to knock again when the door suddenly swung open, revealing the golden-haired man, looking very unsettled. He appeared thinner than Grantaire remembered, and his eyes were dark and dull, their usual fire nowhere to be seen, dark shadows underneath them, which worried him more than anything else.
"What do you want, Grantaire?" Enjolras asked, and he sounded very weary.
"We need to talk."
"I suppose we do." The man sighed, but he moved aside so that Grantaire could slip past, closing the door quietly behind him. Grantaire was shocked at the state of the apartment. Enjolras usually kept his things very neat and tidy. He didn't like it when things were out of place, and yet now there were pieces of clothing lying everywhere, books taken from the shelves and left lying around haphazardly, pictures and other knickknacks tossed all around, bits of paper and random odds and ends all over the floor. He decided to stand rather than move everything in order to sit down.
Grantaire was the one to break the silence; now that he was finally here, alongside Enjolras, the words poured out of him in a rush.
"Enjolras, I don't want this, us, to be over. Your father was wrong the other night. Our relationship isn't disgusting or unnatural. In fact, being with you has felt more right than anything in my entire life. I'm sorry if me being with you brings shame upon your family. I'm sorry that I'm so pessimistic and don't believe in anything. I'm sorry that I'm just a dirty sewer rat from some back alley of Paris. I know that you deserve better than me, I know that, but I'm just not ready to give this up. Enjolras, I believe in youand I want to be with you. So please don't send me away. We can make this work. Please say that you'll try, that you want to be with me, too. If not, at least tell me, so that I know for sure that this is over, and I'll never bother you about it again." He stopped abruptly, worried that he had said too much. Looking down, wringing his hands, he waited for a reply, a demand for him to get out, anything.
"Say something already!" Grantaire spat, sick of this stifling silence. He looked up, afraid of what he would see, but was shocked to see Enjolras smiling at him.
"Why are you smiling?"
"Grantaire, how could you be so thickheaded?" Enjolras was almost laughing now, making him even more confused.
"What are you talking about?"
"Grantaire, you are not the problem. It doesn't matter what my father says about you. You are most certainly not a dirty sewer rat, and quite frankly, I don't care what any one else thinks about our relationship. I'm not going to give you up. I want you, Grantaire, and no one else." Enjolras said, and suddenly he could breathe again.
"If that's the case, then what's wrong? Why have you been stuck up here, avoiding me for five days?" Grantaire asked incredulously.
Enjolras looked away. "I didn't want to face you, Grantaire. After you saw my father, saw how weak I was..."
"What are you talking about?"
"Grantaire, there is a reason I do not talk about my father. Even after all these years, he still holds power over me."
"I don't understand..."
Enjolras sighed. "My father and I have never gotten along. Even when I was younger, our fights were legendary. However, the one and only thing we had in common was our love for my mother. She managed to smooth over most of our conflicts, and he would restrain himself around her. But she had always been frail and often ill, and when I was 15, she passed away. After her death, my father became a terrible drunk. All we did was fight, and eventually it became easier just not to talk. When he wanted something, he would send a servant or some one else to tell me. When we did see each other, most times, it ... did not end pleasantly. When I was 18, I moved out and decided to study law, which he was, of course, not supportive of. As you know, I moved here and took the job at the library in order to pay for my education. But even now, after not seeing him for many years, he is still able to wound me with his words. I was ashamed that you had to meet him, Grantaire, under such circumstances. I thought that you would be upset with me, angry that I did not defend you to him. I was afraid of telling you the truth, that you would be ashamed of me or pity me, so I sent you away."
There was a long moment of shock. His heart filled with love and affection for the strong, stupid, man in front of him. He couldn't control himself a moment longer, he abruptly got up, walked over, and kissed Enjolras hard on the lips. After a moment, he broke the kiss and said, "You fool, I could never be ashamed of you, or think you weak. It isn't your job to defend me, I can do that by myself. But I am sorry that you had to have a man such as him for a father, Enjolras."
"Be quiet," He said, silencing the man with another kiss. This time it was returned, Enjolras' hands coming up to tangle themselves in Grantaire's hair. Grabbing the slimmer man's hips, he pulled Enjolras flush against his body. Enjolras moaned against his lips, but when he was about to go further, Grantaire felt his body unconsciously stiffen against him. His hands fell away, and he slowly broke the kiss. Enjolras' cheeks were flushed, and that familiar spark had appeared once again in his eyes, but something still didn't feel right.
"Why do you always do that? You say you want me, yet your body tells a different story." Grantaire said angrily.
Enjolras took a step back, looking away. "Grantaire, I..."
"Non, Enjolras, there's still something you're not telling me. If we're going to continue this relationship, there can't be any secrets."
There was a long moment of silence, and for a moment, Grantaire almost thought that Enjolras was going to send him away again, that all of this had been for nothing. But when the man finally turned back to him, his eyes blazed with his familiar fire.
"When my father used to get drunk, he would get violent. Often, he would simply throw his empty bottles at me if I was in the room. But other times, he would... he would beat me. I was younger then, not able to defend myself, and I couldn't tell anyone. My father is a very powerful man. Even if someone did believe me, he could certainly make them go away. I tried to avoid contact with him as much as I could, but I wasn't always able to, and many times his assaults left scars. I was afraid to show them to you..." Enjolras said, his voice breaking slightly, his eyes no longer meeting Grantaire's gaze.
"Look at me," he said, grabbing Enjolras' chin and tilting his head up so that he could look into his eyes, "I believe you. You didn't deserve that. He had no right to do that to you. I don't care what you look like. You're the strongest man I know, Enjolras." Suddenly a thought occurred to him, sending ice through his heart.
"So that's why you were so cold to me when we first met. I reminded you of your father."
"Enjolras, I..." Now it was Grantaire who couldn't meet the man's eyes.
"Non." Enjolras said firmly, making him glance back up. "I know what you're thinking, and don't. You are nothing like him, Grantaire. He is a terrible, violent drunk. While I admit, I was wary at first, you have never done me harm. You have proven yourself to be gentle, and loving, never pushing me farther than I wanted to go. You've also stopped drinking as much since we started dating, don't think I haven't noticed. That, alone, is something he would never do for me. So don't you ever think that you are anything like him." The man held his eyes until Grantaire smiled. Enjolras knew him too well. Not saying anything, he simply kissed the man again.
Continuing where they left off, they slowly drifted towards the bedroom. Enjolras fell back on the bed, breathing heavily. Grantaire stripped off his shirt, but when he turned back to his boyfriend, he could tell he was hesitant again.
"Do you trust me?" Grantaire asked. There was a moment of hesitation, but then Enjolras nodded firmly. Calmly, he went to remove Enjolras' shirt. The man tensed for a split second, then relaxed, and helped him get it over his head.
Anger choked him, bleeding his vision red.
I'm going to kill that man.
The perfect, marble chest had been marred by scars. The worst one was on his shoulder, jagged and particularly larger than the rest, the skin only a few shades lighter than his natural skin tone. The rest of his skin was relatively unmarked, with smaller, darker scars dotted randomly across his body. Enjolras looked away in shame, but Grantaire didn't miss the tears that filled his eyes. Slowly, he unclenched his fists. Now was not the time for him to get carried away by his anger. He needed to be there for Enjolras.
"Oh, Enjolras. You're beautiful," he said, and he meant it. The scars didn't matter to him, merely proving to him once more how strong the man he loved was. Even with the marks, he was the most beautiful person he had ever seen.
Joining Enjolras on the bed, Grantaire wiped the tears away and kissed him slowly, passionately, trying to put all of his love for the brave man in front of him into one kiss, which was happily returned.
"I love you," Grantaire breathed, making Enjolras look up at him, and he saw that same love shining in his eyes.
"I love you, too," Enjolras said, without hesitation, making Grantaire gasp.
"You're beautiful." He told him again, and Grantaire kissed every single one of Enjolras' scars until he believed him.