'I just don't understand how this happened!' wails Marius, for what Grantaire would conservatively estimate to be the eight billionth time. He's crying into his jacket, and it's not like it didn't already have a pretty impressive collection of stains, but if he has to get bodily fluids on his clothing, he at least ought to be getting laid.
It started out pretty funny, in an 'I really should be comforting the recently dumped heap of puppy-man-child in the middle of my carpet but man was that a curveball' kind of way. But Marius is surprisingly heavy, and his backside is slowly going numb. He hadn't even finished his breakfast- he can see it on the windowsill, cereal slowly disintegrating into something with the texture of wet newspaper, and he wonders if it would be entirely tactless to use Marius's quivering back as a table. His stomach rumbles.
'Maybe we should start from the beginning?' he offers. He doesn't have high hopes. Given that Marius's current state of being is human puddle, coherent storytelling is probably too much to ask for, but he's really just kind of curious. He'll wrangle the real story out of Eponine later, of course, but while he's being slowly suffocated- seriously, what has the boy been eating? - he might as well get some gossip out of it. Even if he knows by now to always take Marius's version of things with several teaspoons of salt, and perhaps also a shot of tequila and some lime.
Marius hiccups. 'Well, they started- I mean, I don't think 'Ponine liked Cosette much to start with, and I didn't know w-why- but they started hanging out, and I mean, that was good, right?' His voice quivers. He blows his nose noisily into the back of his hand rather than on Grantaire's jacket, which Grantaire appreciates, at least until he wipes it on the sofa. 'So when Cosette told me they were having a girls' night out I was really pleased.' There's no resentment in his voice, which is one reason Grantaire hasn't yet hit him over the head with one of the many empty beer bottles strewn across every nearby surface. One of the things that makes Marius bearable, as well as occasionally hilarious to be around, is that despite his background, appearance and general personality, he doesn't have anything approaching a sense of entitlement. When bad things happen to him, he is sad, and then he recovers, and never once does he consider that anyone might be to blame. It's charming, in the same way that watching a puppy trying to befriend a monster truck is charming. He knows, he's seen the Youtube clip.
'Ah, the girls' night out. The downfall of many a young lover. Or, you know, I mean, probably. This really isn't my area of expertise.' He ruffles Marius's hair, mostly because it makes it stick up all funny. Once when Marius was passed out drunk he managed to get his hair into thirty-eight distinct spikes.
Marius raises his head. 'I s-suppose not.'
'On the other hand', Grantaire continues, 'It's me or Enjolras.' Enjolras wandered into the living room in his boxers and an Occupy London t-shirt some half-hour ago, when Marius was in the middle of a particularly violent fit of hiccups, froze like a startled rabbit and vanished upstairs. Grantaire is 95% certain he's 'working on a very important essay and not to be disturbed', i.e. hiding.
Marius shakes his head violently. 'That's what I thought. Where were we? Girls' night out? What was it, one too many appletinis and the dulcet strains of Katy Perry in the background?' He doesn't even know why he's encouraging him, really, except that he's almost as boggled by the whole thing as Marius is. He had no idea Eponine even swung that way, let alone Cosette.
'I g-guess- I don't even really know. All I know is that I w-woke up this morning and Cosette had made me pancakes. Did I tell you she makes pancakes? They're the b-best. Oh god, Grantaire, I love her and I don't know what to do-' His back shakes with a fresh wave of sobs. Grantaire strokes his back awkwardly and tries to ignore the moisture seeping through his shirt.
'Okay, something tells me that that isn't the end of the story. Unless pancakes are some kind of heterosexual code for 'I'm leaving you for your best friend.'' Marius whimpers. Possibly that wasn't the most tactful thing he could have said.
'No, she- she waited til I'd finished. And then- then she said that we needed to talk.'
Grantaire winces. 'I'm sorry, Marius.' Really, he's surprised at Cosette. She's doing an English degree, for fuck's sake, you'd think she could be a little more original.
Marius sniffs loudly. 'Thanks for, you know, listening.' His sobs seem to have mostly subsided. 'W-would it be okay if I had a nap on your sofa?' He really is about eight, Grantaire thinks, rolling his eyes. But he fetches him a blanket anyway.
Eponine is sitting on his bed looking sheepish.
'So.' he begins. 'Good night out, was it?'
She presses her lips together, the way she does when she's trying to suppress a giggle. There's lipstick on her jaw.
'Were you even going to tell me you got over Marius? When did that happen?'
Eponine has the good grace to look embarrassed. 'I didn't even really realise, not until last night. We were dancing and having fun and I realised I hadn't thought about him or wished he was there once. I haven't thought about him like that for a while, really, except sort of out of habit. I mean, I do love him. But he's an idiot, R. He reads Twilight! And have you ever seen him dance?'
Grantaire raises an eyebrow. 'Can Cosette dance, then?'
She throws a pillow at him. 'You've been watching too much Doctor Who.'
'No such thing. I didn't even know you were, you know, that way inclined.'
Eponine cackles. 'That way inclined? You sound like my grandmother. I mean, you sound like how I imagine grandmothers sound.' Eponine's parents are the kind of people it might technically be illegal to even know. It's hard to imagine either of them ever having had parents themselves. She shifts on the bed and glances down at her lap. 'Is he, um. Is he OK?'
'He will be.' He's not just saying it for her sake. Marius gets very attached very fast, but he forgets about things almost as quickly. 'Maybe you should actually talk to him about it, though.'
Eponine's eyes go huge and panicky. 'So how's Enjolras? Confessed your undying love yet?'
Grantaire chokes. 'Don't change the subject.'
'You don't change the subject. You're almost as bad as I was.'
'Eponine, I have an overgrown man-child drooling on my couch and an Enjolras who won't come out of his room. This is not my fault. In fact, it is your fault, and also a bit Cosette's fault, but Cosette isn't here and I don't know her well enough to berate her. Also, he is your best friend. GO TALK TO HIM. And get him off my couch.'
Once Eponine has shuffled reluctantly downstairs, he crosses the hall to knock on Enjolras's door.
'I'm working. Go away.'
'Marius has gone.'
There is a pause on the other side of the door. 'What has that got to do with anything?'
Grantaire opens the door. 'You are a terrible liar.'
'What part of 'go away' do you not understand?' He's put on pants. Grantaire doesn't know if he's relieved or disappointed. He flops into Enjolras's spinny chair and swings from one side to the other, dragging his feet through the papers scattered across the floor. Enjolras yelps, shuffling them back into place.
'Do I even want to know what's going on?'
Grantaire puts his feet up on the bed, just to see the look of torment cross Enjolras's face. 'That depends. Do you like tales of melodrama, infidelity and sapphic bonding?'
Enjolras looks momentarily constipated. 'Doesn't anyone around here have a normal love life?'
'Says the world expert on normal love lives.' The morning light is filtering through Enjolras's hair in a very distracting way, making it difficult for Grantaire to concentrate on the conversation at hand.
'I have a perfectly normal love life.'
'No, Apollo, what you meant to say was 'I don't have a love life.' Just because you're a monk doesn't mean everyone else is.'
A flicker of a smile crosses Enjolras's face. 'I don't think anyone would accuse you of being a monk.'
Grantaire gasps, mock-offended. 'What exactly are you suggesting?'
'What I am suggesting is that the walls of this house are extremely thin. And also that next time you consider bringing home a mime artist.'
'Because nothing's sexier than a mime. Although, you know, I can't help but wonder if the paint goes all the way dow-'
'They are good with their hands-'
And so it is that Grantaire finds himself on his arse on the landing, staring at a closed door. He already knew how strong Enjolras is, but it's hardly his fault that being slung over his shoulder has left him with a raging hard-on even after being unceremoniously dumped on the floor.
The day Grantaire met Enjolras was the day he fell in love.
It was seven thirty on a Friday night and he was sitting at the bar at the Café Musain, trying to choose what flavour shot to make Marius try next. He'd got it narrowed down to either Toblerone or liquorice when someone tapped him on the shoulder and he turned to behold the most beautiful person he'd ever seen holding out a pamphlet.
The pamphlet is under his mattress. It's crumpled from being clutched, forgotten, in a sweaty hand throughout their first conversation. It was ridiculous to keep it; as if he'd ever join the student union. More ridiculous still to have it under his bed. Enjolras gave one to everyone in that bar who would take one.
'Grantaire', he blurted. He stuck out a sweaty, shaking hand.
Enjolras looked taken aback, but he grasped Grantaire's hand and shook it. His skin was warm and rough and dry, and Grantaire wondered if it was actually possible to come in your pants from a handshake, and then if the universe hated him enough to bestow that fate on him.
He doesn't remember much of that first conversation, since most of it was between Enjolras and Marius while he shamelessly stared. Instead, he remembers Enjolras's broad shoulders, and how the muscles shifted under his shirt. He remembers wanting to run his hand through Enjolras's curls. Most of all, though, he remembers the sickening combination of lust and absolute, stomach-dropping terror.
He bumped into him in the toilets several drinks later, somewhat the worse for wear for trying to drink away the problem. Enjolras looked at him with what could have been either concern or disgust. 'Grantaire?'
Grantaire swallowed hard several times and opened his mouth. Nothing came out.
'Are you alright?'
'You don't have to worry about me. I can l-look after myself.' His knees wobbled and he clutched at the sink for support. Enjolras strode over and grasped his arm.
'I think you need- I don't know. What do you need?'
He tried to speak, but his throat felt as though it was full of vomit fighting to surge upwards. It was embarrassing, really, Grantaire was no lightweight. He didn't want to consider how much of it actually was the alcohol.
'You're coming home with me.' Enjolras pulled one of his arms around his shoulder and put his arm around his waist. Grantaire could feel his hip, warm and hard through his clothes, and his stomach jumped at the thought.
'You know, I'm very flattered, but I don't usually do this on the first date. I have a reputation to protect.'
Enjolras's lips twitched.
'What about Marius? I can't leave him here on his own, he'd, I don't know, he'd run away to join the circus or get mugged or something. With idiot friends comes great responsibility.'
'He went home. He said to tell you.'
They limped out into the street, Enjolras still supporting most of Grantaire's weight. He didn't need it, honestly, but he wasn't about to complain.
'That little shit. It's probably for the best, any more of those shots and he'd be comatose. Boy can't hold his drink to save his life.'
Enjolras's face was illuminated by the streetlamps, but his expression gave away none of his thoughts. Grantaire realised how desperately he wanted to know what Enjolras thought of him- but then again, it was probably best that he didn't.
They reached Enjolras's flat around one in the morning. Enjolras deposited him on the sofa and sat in a chair opposite, his gaze fixed disconcertingly on Grantaire.
'Are you always like this?' It seemed to be a genuine question, but he had no idea how to answer.
Enjolras waved a hand. He, too, seemed to be struggling to know what to say. 'Never mind.'
There was an awkward pause. 'Look, you don't have to let me stay. You don't know me. I could be an axe murderer.'
'So could I.'
'That's a risk I'm willing to take. Just so long as I can stay on this sofa.' His limbs seemed to be getting heavier by the second, along with his eyelids. He thought that Enjolras might be smiling as he draped a blanket over him, but it was hard to tell.
Grantaire awoke the next morning with his brain apparently trying to burst out of his skull and absolutely no idea where he was. It took him several attempts to get off the sofa, but once he managed to blearily stumble into the hallway, he found a Post-It note stuck to the door.
I and roommates all at classes. Help yourself to juice etc. if you want.
Only much later, when he'd somehow managed to find his way home, did he discover that a contact had been added to his phone.
Enjolras likes to pretend that people don't interest him. Grantaire knows it isn't true. What is true is that Enjolras, while brilliant and charismatic and unremittingly, pants-tighteningly gorgeous, is ungodly awful with people.
Grantaire rolls over in bed and cracks open one reluctant eye. Three minutes past eight in the morning. He's starting to wonder if he'll ever get a decent lie-in again.
It doesn't make any sense, he thinks resentfully to himself as he paws through the piles of clothes on his floor in search of a jumper. Enjolras can wax lyrical about social injustice, he can give speeches that strike at the very heart of every listener, his pamphlet-writing skills are unparalleled. But he can't order a bloody pizza.
He drags himself downstairs to find Enjolras sitting in the kitchen, staring at his laptop.
'Jehan wants us to come to one of his poetry meetings.'
'This is why you got me out of bed at eight am?'
Enjolras looks panicked. 'Grantaire, I don't want to go to one of his poetry meetings.'
'I can't imagine why he asked you. All those hair products must finally have started affecting his brain.' A horrible thought occurs to him. 'Wait. Did you say us?'
It's not as bad as he imagined. It's so very much worse.
Jehan steps up to the microphone. 'Thank you all for coming. I'll start with something I've been working on for a while. It's about- and please bear with me, because I know this sounds corny- it's about love.'
He applauds loudly and elbows Enjolras in the ribs so that he does the same.
'I call it Apollo.'
Grantaire drains his glass of wine.
Twelve stanzas in and Enjolras is gazing into the distance with the glazed expression of a war veteran. Grantaire is staring at his wine glass in the tender hope that this will somehow cause it to refill when he's jolted out of his reverie by the sound of applause. He claps and attempts to whoop but it comes out as more of a wheezing noise.
What feels like centuries later, they join the crowd streaming out the door. Neither of them speaks. They're halfway down the street before Grantaire breaks the silence.
'I think my favourite was the guy who sang all his poems to the tune of the Full House theme.'
'You were supposed to get me out of it.'
'It's Jehan. No-one can say no to Jehan.'
There's a pause. Enjolras tugs at one of his curls. 'Grantaire-'
Grantaire's heart pounds against his ribs. He feels the familiar nausea rise.
'Has he said anything to you?'
His heartbeat dulls. 'What?'
'Jehan. About- why would he call it that? I'm not good at this sort of thing. And you know I don't- he knows I don't-'
He should be relieved. This feels dangerously close to disappointment. 'He hasn't. Said anything, I mean.'
He doesn't want him to know. But sometimes the thought of him finding out makes his heart race in a half-painful rush. Sometimes he jerks off to the thought of telling him, and comes with his heart thumping and nausea gripping his throat. It's the same instinct that tells him to jump off cliffs and fuck strangers.
'And I do. Know you don't.' He tries not to say it. It sounds pathetic and needy and he wants to claw it back into his mouth, but it's too late.
Enjolras looks at him with something sad in his eyes. He opens his mouth. Grantaire goes cold.
'Wait up.' A familiar hand claps him on the shoulder. He turns to see Jehan, out of breath and clutching a notebook stuffed with loose pages and Post-Its. 'So? What did you think?'
'Yours was the best', Grantaire says, because it's true, and not even entirely because everyone else was awful. Some of them were almost kind of good, not that he knows anything about poetry.
Jehan beams. 'Enjolras?'
Enjolras looks profoundly uncomfortable. Grantaire kind of wants to hit him. 'What Grantaire said.'
A flicker of a frown crosses Jehan's face, though only for a second. He talks all the way down the street, until they get to the corner and Enjolras says that he's going to the library. Grantaire waits until Enjolras is just out of earshot before turning to him.
Jehan winces and takes a step backwards. 'Before you say anything-'
'You know, I'm pretty sure I dated a spy once. I have ways of making sure no-one finds the body.'
'He had cheesewire in his bedside table. That doesn't mean he was a spy. He might just have been a… cheese enthusiast. Or really disorganised. And did you ever exchange words besides unh, unh, harder, yeah, right there?'
Grantaire lunges for him. Jehan skips neatly out of the way and dances backwards down the street like a startled deer.
'You are changing the subject, Jean. Now hold still so I can kill you.'
Jehan's eyes widen at the sound of his real name. He fiddles with the hair behind his ear. 'Lots of poets take inspiration from their friends, you know.'
'Why did you have to invite Enjolras?'
Jehan's face falls a little. He chews at the skin by his thumbnail. 'I thought it might help.'
Grantaire deflates. It's impossible to stay angry with someone as perennially optimistic as Jehan. 'It's not going to happen. You know that.'
'You don't know that. He might-'
'What? Change his mind? He never dates. And if he did, he wouldn't date me.' He wishes he still had that glass of wine. Jehan's optimism makes him feel old, even though he's only a few months younger than him. Somehow that just makes it worse.
Jehan puts a hand on his shoulder. Grantaire jumps. 'You deserve more than you think you do.'
He stares at the ground and says nothing.
'How long has it been like this? You can't go on this way forever.'
'I can.' It's been a long time since he heard such bitterness in his own voice.
'Fine. But you shouldn't.'
As soon as he gets home, he shuts himself in his room and finishes the half-bottle of wine he keeps under his bed. He hates himself for allowing it as close to the surface as he did. He tries not to think about that look in Enjolras's eyes, the possibility that he was preparing to let him down gently, because he knows that he couldn't take it if he did.
Cosette has had kind of a strange week.
She wakes to find another body in the bed next to her, softer and warmer than she's used to. For a moment she's utterly confused, until she remembers and her heart thumps painfully. She isn't freaking out but she isn't exactly not freaking out, either, but it doesn't matter because then Eponine stirs and her eyes flutter open and she smiles. 'Hi.'
Eponine shifts closer. Traces of yesterday's eyeliner are smudged around her eyes, and her hair is thoroughly rumpled at the back. Cosette has never seen anyone so beautiful. She feels Eponine's hand slide up her thigh and her stomach jolts.
Cosette nods. Eponine leans in and kisses her, and her lips are so soft Cosette doesn't care that both of them have morning breath. So much about Eponine is soft- the old t-shirt she sleeps in, the skin in the hollow of her collarbones, the brush of her fingers on Cosette's jaw. Cosette slides her arms around Eponine's shoulders.
Eponine mumbles something against her lips.
'I said, it's a Saturday.'
Cosette's brain is still a little sluggish from sleep. 'So?'
Eponine grins, slowly, wickedly. 'So, neither of us have lectures.' Her hand inches further up Cosette's thigh. 'So, there's really no reason for us to get out of bed at all, is there?'
It's been a strange week. Cosette thinks she can probably live with it.
Grantaire wakes up with the aftertaste of the wine sour in his mouth and a fog of headache seeping into his brain. There's no-one else in the house. He makes himself cereal, eats two bites, and throws it away. He turns the TV on and then off again. He sits at the kitchen table and hates himself so actively and viscerally it almost makes him feel better, until finally he can't stand the silence anymore.
Courfeyrac answers the door in pyjama bottoms and a hoodie. At the sight of Grantaire, unshaven, with dark circles under his eyes and smelling of wine and old sweat, he doesn't say a word but steers him inside by the arm, deposits him on the sofa and goes to put the kettle on.
Grantaire stares into space and thanks any number of deities he doesn't believe in for Courfeyrac, who will take in a wine-soaked waste of space like him without even asking why.
Courfeyrac comes back with a steaming mug of tea that Grantaire accepts gratefully. He makes excellent tea.
'Wanna talk about it?'
He grips his mug with both hands. 'I can't do this anymore.'
Courfeyrac raises his eyebrows. 'Are you breaking up with me?'
'I can't- I can't-' He feels stuck, broken. Courfeyrac rubs his shoulder.
'Come on. Drink your tea.'
He takes a long drink and closes his eyes as the warmth spreads through him.
'Take deep breaths.'
'I'm not a fucking child.'
'Hey now, I didn't say talk. I said deep breaths.'
Grantaire rolls his eyes, but he does as he's told.
'Right, okay. Go.'
'I'm- it's- Enjolras. I- I love him. Oh god, I love him. I don't just- I barely exist, it's just him, and that was okay, it was like- it's like religion. He is the one and only thing I believe in in this miserable, stinking world. And I was okay with that. I thought I was okay with that.'
There's a long silence. 'Aren't you going to say anything?'
'Not until I've thought of something helpful. I'll be honest, it might take a while.'
Grantaire puts his head in his hands. 'I sound like Marius.'
'Grantaire, I can tell you with some authority that no-one has ever sounded less like Marius.'
'Thank Christ for that.'
'Yeah. Small mercies, right?' Courfeyrac pauses. 'So. What changed?'
'I don't know. I guess I just- I thought for a moment he was going to say that he knew, he was going to tell me it wasn't going to happen, and it hit me that I couldn't- I couldn't live with that, if it happened. I'm scared, I'm shit fucking scared.'
He's sobbing now, shaking so hard that Courfeyrac takes the mug gently out of his hands and places it on the table. He moves to sit next to him and rubs his back like someone comforting a child. Grantaire buries his face in his shoulder and Courfeyrac holds him as he cries, for the first time in he doesn't know how long.
It takes a long time until he can breathe normally again. Courfeyrac puts a hand on his shoulder and looks him in the eye. 'Grantaire?'
'You said you can't keep doing what you're doing.'
'Yeah. Yeah, I did.' His head feels weirdly light, as though something has been emptied.
'So change something.'
It doesn't matter who he chooses. All he knows is that they have to be nothing at all like Enjolras.
There's a guy dancing alone on the edge of the crowd. He's tall and skinny, with curly brown hair gone limp from sweat, and he's drunk enough to be dancing way out of time to the thudding beat of the music. Either that or he just has no sense of rhythm, which bodes poorly.
It's possible that getting drunk and fucking a stranger wasn't what Courfeyrac had in mind, but it's a start. He hasn't had sex in almost a month. It's not outside the realm of possibility that this guy might be the push he needs to finally move on. Maybe he'll even be the one he moves on with. It's not impossible.
Grantaire finishes his drink.
Enjolras is woken at two in the morning by the sound of voices in the hallway.
'It's- mmph - 's thesecond door down. Shh, you'll wake my housemates.'
Grantaire is stage whispering the way he does when he's drunk which somehow attracts more attention than his speaking voice. There's some muffled giggling and a series of thumps suggesting bodies crashing floorward.
'Shit! Shit, sorry, sorry, are you alright? Here, let me-'
He doesn't recognise the second voice. Grantaire must have brought someone home. For some reason, this realisation sends an unpleasant jolt to his gut. He lies in the darkness, trying hard to regulate his breathing, in case he might somehow hear him. Then Grantaire's door clicks shut.
For a minute there is quiet, broken only by the unaccountable thumping of his heart. He hopes against hope that the walls are thick enough to block them out.
Enjolras's stomach turns over. He feels nauseous, but there's something else beneath that, something that increases with each new sound from the next room. He realises with horror that he's half-hard and puts a pillow over his head to try and muffle the sounds, but he can't help but strain to hear them. He can hear heavy breathing and grunts from Grantaire's conquest, and feels a flash of irrational jealousy. Then Grantaire moans again, loud amongst the stream of muffled noises, and his cock is aching but he can't, he can't let himself do anything about it.
He gives up on trying not to listen, and clenches his fists in the sheets.
Enjolras comes into the kitchen the next morning to find Grantaire frying bacon. A guy he doesn't recognise is sitting at the table.
Grantaire turns around as he comes in. 'Enjolras, this is Anton. Anton, Enjolras.'
'Hey.' Anton extends a hand. Enjolras hesitates for just a second too long, then shakes it.
No-one says much during breakfast. Grantaire avoids his eye, but whenever they do make eye contact his stomach jolts sickeningly and it takes him a moment before he can continue eating.
'So, uh. What do you study?'
Enjolras turns to look at Anton and feels a surge of dislike so strong that he can't meet his eyes. 'Politics.'
He knows he ought to say something else but he can't bring himself to. He stares down at his plate instead.
It seems like forever before Anton leaves. Grantaire kisses him goodbye at the door and Enjolras's heart thumps, hard and uncomfortable.
Grantaire turns on him as soon as the door closes. 'Did you have to be such an asshole? I mean Jesus Christ, Enjolras, I know you look down on me, but-'
'I don't look down on you.'
'It's none of my business who you sleep with.'
'Right. That's why you treated him like he had the plague.'
'Perhaps if I hadn't been kept awake all night listening to you fucking-'
The silence stretches for what feels like hours. 'You heard.'
'How could I not?'
Grantaire sneers and looks away. 'Invest in some earplugs. I'm sorry that I have a sex life-'
'Do you know', Enjolras says slowly, 'how it- how that made me feel?'
'Oh, I expect you were disgusted to your marble core. But when aren't you disgusted with me, Apollo? I know it's hard for you to understand, but us mortals, we have urges, and emotions, and sometimes we fuck. If only I were above it all, like you.'
'I'm not above it.'
'Grantaire- I heard everything.'
'Hear anything you like?' Grantaire looks briefly horrified, as if he didn't mean to say it out loud. Then his jaw sets. He stares at Enjolras as though challenging him, but the rise and fall of his chest suggest that he's struggling to control his breathing.
'I heard you.'
'That wasn't what I asked.'
'Yes, it was.' His heart is pounding so hard he can barely breathe. Is this what Grantaire feels, when he's with his nameless conquests? Is this why he does it?
Grantaire stares at him wide-eyed for a moment, before his expression hardens.
'Don't you fucking dare.' He turns towards the door, but Enjolras grabs his arm.
'No, you don't get to do this to me. Even I don't deserve it. Do you know how long it's been, Enjolras? I can't do it anymore. You'll have to find yourself a new acolyte.'
'I know you heard-'
'No. I didn't just hear.' He has to fight to say the words out loud. 'I listened.'
The silence is ringing. His blood thumps in his ears, and Grantaire is staring at him, and what has he done? How could he admit to something like that? What has he-
Grantaire moves towards him. Enjolras can hear him breathing.
'Stop me', he says. 'This is probably the stupidest fucking thing I've ever done, but I am so past caring. If you don't- if I'm doing the wrong thing, just stop me.'
Enjolras doesn't move as Grantaire closes the distance between them. He jumps at the feeling of Grantaire's hand on his jaw, but he doesn't let himself move, in case any sudden movement might make him stop.
Grantaire licks his lips. 'I'm going to-'
Enjolras kisses him.
It's confused at first. Their teeth clash together and he doesn't know what to do with his hands and why isn't Grantaire moving?
Then Grantaire makes a noise halfway between a moan and a sigh and kisses him back. His hand slides from Enjolras's jaw into his hair, his fingers winding into it so hard it almost hurts. Grantaire's lips are chapped but soft and he can feel the brush of his stubble against his skin; he tastes of breakfast and toothpaste and something animal and alien.
They stumble backwards and Enjolras's back hits the wall. He ought to feel claustrophobic, but Grantaire's weight is pressing in on him and his hand is fisted in the front of his shirt and he doesn't want it to stop.
They spring apart. Combeferre is standing in the doorway, holding an empty mug and smirking.
'Don't mind me. I'm sure you've got a lot to get out of your system.' He pulls out his phone.
'Who are you-'
'Oh, no-one. Just Joly, Courfeyrac, Jehan-'
Grantaire tries to grab his phone from him, but Combeferre holds it out of his reach. 'Are you seriously telling me you don't want everyone you've ever met to know about this?'
Grantaire hesitates then grins, looking happier than Enjolras has ever seen him. There's a slightly embarrassed pause while Enjolras rubs the back of his neck and tries to think of a polite way of getting Combeferre to leave, or getting Grantaire upstairs. Then Grantaire solves the problem by grabbing his sleeve and dragging him towards the door.
'See you later. I've got something that needs doing.'
Combeferre snorts and waves as they stumble into the hall.
They barely get into Enjolras's room before both of their phones go off in unison. Grantaire looks down at his to see an influx of new messages.
Joly: GET IT. p.s. did i leave my antihistamines in your room?
Jehan: :D :D :D :D : 3
Courfeyrac: Jehan is doing a celebratory dance. I am eternally in your debt. (Let this serve as a lesson- my advice is always golden.)
Marius: combeferre just texted me saying 'e and r is a go' do you know what he's talking about? where are you going?
Marius: nvm ponine just told me congratulations!
Eponine: You're both idiots. (Now go rock his virginal world.)
He looks up to see Enjolras staring at his phone with what looks like fear. His stomach twists.
Enjolras looks up at him, eyes wide. 'Grantaire-'
And there it is. It's remarkable he got this far without Enjolras coming to his senses, really. He should be grateful. Maybe eventually he will be. 'Yeah?'
'I don't- I haven't- I've never done this before.' It's so quiet he barely hears it, but it makes his breath catch in his throat. It's hard not to fall to his knees. 'Oh.'
'It never seemed- worth it.' He lifts his eyes to meet Grantaire's. 'I thought maybe it was just a thing that other people did and I didn't. Like skateboarding, or watching- you know, that show? With the girls with the shiny hair and all the characters are terrible human beings?'
'Gossip Girl?' Is it actually possible that this conversation is happening, outside of some extended, alcohol-induced dream?
Enjolras pulls a face. 'Yes, that. I mean, don't see the appeal of either of those things, but other people might not see the appeal of reading Robespierre.' He deflates slightly. 'It made sense at the time.'
'It makes sense.' I have never wanted to kiss anyone so badly in my life, he thinks, and then remembers that he can. So he does.
'It doesn't have to be a thing that you- we- do. If you don't want it to be.'
'I want it to be.' Just hearing those words makes Grantaire feel like all the air has been sucked out of the room. 'I just- don't want to disappoint you.'
And because that might just be the most ridiculous thing Grantaire has ever heard, he laughs. Enjolras looks confused and slightly put out, so he kisses him again. 'Has anyone ever told you that you're an idiot?'
He's managed to back Enjolras into the bed. Enjolras sits down on it and leans backwards, looking up at Grantaire, and Grantaire's mouth goes dry.
'Care to join me?'
'Oh, God.' Grantaire climbs onto the bed and hits Enjolras with a pillow. 'Really, Apollo?'
'Go easy on me. I'm new at this.'
Grantaire bites back about twelve innuendoes that probably wouldn't be all that helpful, given the situation. Enjolras leans in, hesitant, and kisses him, slow and soft, one hand cupping his jaw. Grantaire's tongue slides into Enjolras's mouth and Enjolras moans in a way that makes Grantaire's stomach turn over.
Enjolras slides back and then Grantaire is straddling him. Enjolras is laid out beneath him, hair disheveled and lips obscenely red, his shirt riding up to reveal a strip of skin. He's the most beautiful thing Grantaire has ever seen. He leans up to kiss him, and Grantaire fumbles for the first button of his shirt. His fingers shake as he undoes it, then works his way down. Grantaire runs his fingers over the smooth skin of his chest and down to his abdomen, and Enjolras shivers. He shrugs off his shirt and throws it over the side of the bed.
Grantaire drinks him in. Enjolras is long and lean, taut muscles beneath pale skin, but not built like Bahorel. In places he's almost feminine, like the long, smooth line of his neck and the hollow of his collarbones. He's breathing hard, his chest rising and falling rapidly. He slides a hand underneath Grantaire's t-shirt, over his hip, and then pushes it up, his hands desperate and hungry. Grantaire has never seen him so uncontrolled. He pulls his t-shirt over his head and fumbles at the zip of Enjolras's jeans, pulling them down over his legs, then does the same to his own.
He kisses a line down Enjolras's neck, dragging his tongue over the skin so that Enjolras lets out a whimper. Enjolras's hips buck when Grantaire sucks on the skin over his collarbone, grinding desperately against him. Grantaire leaves a trail of kisses over his chest, catching his nipple between his teeth.
Enjolras's head thumps back against the bed. 'Fuck- 'Aire-'
Grantaire presses wet, open-mouthed kisses over Enjolras's stomach and the knob of his hipbone, just above the waistband of his boxers. Enjolras hisses and his hips jerk. His cock is hard and straining against the material of his boxers. Heart thumping, Grantaire peels his boxers over his hips and down his legs. Enjolras's cock lies against his stomach, so hard it's almost painful-looking, leaking pre-come. Grantaire places kisses on the inside of Enjolras's thigh, moving upwards as slowly as he can stand. Enjolras shudders when he licks a stripe up the underside of his cock. His fists are clenched in the sheets, white-knuckled. When Grantaire sinks his mouth over the head of his cock, he moans Grantaire's name in a way that nearly makes him come in his pants. He's achingly hard, desperate to touch himself but determined to focus on Enjolras. He lowers his head, taking as much of him in as he can. Enjolras is keeping up a litany of swearing, babbling things that might not even be words. Grantaire has hardly ever heard him swear- he's usually so composed. He drags his lips up the shaft of his cock as slowly as he can, just to extract as much noise from Enjolras as he can. When he pictured it before, he'd never imagined that Enjolras would be so loud in bed. He likes to think that at least some of the credit is his.
Enjolras's hand tugs on his hair. ''Aire- I'm not- I can't-' He's using every trick he knows, but he still feels a glow of pride. It takes one last drawn-out pull with his lips to push Enjolras over the edge. The sound he makes as he comes, hips jerking, makes Grantaire rut frantically against the bed, coming in his pants like a teenager, messy and undignified and so good.
Grantaire flops on the pillow next to Enjolras and kisses him, slow and deep. He can't stop smiling, even though his jaw still aches. Enjolras's chest is flushed and his lips are wet and shiny. Grantaire can't look away.
'I think I see the appeal', says Enjolras, straight-faced. He kisses Grantaire, first gently on the mouth, then his forehead and neck, then his shoulder. It should be ridiculous. Grantaire feels as though his heart might burst from happiness.
'I love you.' He's too blissed-out, too damn happy to debate the timing, to do anything but tell the truth. He can't even find it in himself to be scared of the response.
Enjolras seems to take a moment to absorb this. 'I love you, too.' He smiles a small, rare smile. Grantaire leans in for a kiss and things are just starting to get interesting when Enjolras's phone goes off. Enjolras reaches for it and his eyes widen comically.
'Who is it?'
'No, no, no no no.'
Grantaire sits up. 'Enjolras?'
'Someone told Gavroche.'
His phone dings again.
'Who taught him that word?'
Bahorel is the last to text him at nearly two in the afternoon, having probably only just woken up. From the baffling and highly anatomical nature of the text, as well as the spelling, Grantaire deduces that he's still a little drunk. Still, the sentiment is in there somewhere.
'Who is it this time?' Enjolras has his hand held out for the phone.
'You don't want to read this.'
'It's from Bahorel.'
Enjolras pales. 'On second thought, perhaps you're right. Gavroche was bad enough.' He casts around for his jeans. Much to Grantaire's chagrin, it goes against Enjolras's moral code to spend all day in a state of semi-nudity, even in the highly practical cause of having almost non-stop sex. 'Why are they all so interested? It's not as if they're, well-' Adorably, he stops and flushes slightly. Grantaire feels as if his heart might explode.
'You can't say it, can you? Can you actually say the word sex? Not even after several hours of spectacular and surprisingly dirty-'
'Sex', says Enjolras through gritted teeth, mostly addressing his lap. Grantaire leans over and kisses him until the tension is released from his shoulders.
'Apollo, have you met our friends? 'Co-dependent' doesn't begin to cover it. I think Joly and Bossuet might have actually morphed into one amorphous blob.'
There's a knock on the door.
'You can't still be having sex in there. It's not medically possible.'
'Go away, Combeferre.'
Combeferre opens the door. 'You know, if it stays up for more than six hours, you're supposed to see a doctor.'
Grantaire throws his sweaty, balled-up t-shirt at him. Combeferre bats it away. 'What do you want?'
'Uh, perhaps you don't recall, but we're supposed to be having a meeting in twenty minutes at the café. Or we were until our front door was nearly broken down by what I would charitably call well-wishers and uncharitably call a battalion of leering perverts.'
'Keep safe!' comes Joly's voice from down the hall. There's a scuffling noise, a yelp from Combeferre and then the door is wrenched almost off its hinges to reveal Bahorel grinning down at them.
'He's wearing pants', he yells down the hall, to a chorus of disappointed moans. Enjolras strides across the room and slams the door shut.
'Try putting a chair under the handle', Grantaire suggests. Enjolras is not looking his usual composed self. His hair is a wild, sweaty mess and his shirt is done up crooked.
Grantaire crosses to the door. 'We're not coming out until you all go downstairs. You're scaring my Apollo.' Enjolras glares at him.
'I made you brownies!' calls Jehan. Grantaire's stomach rumbles. There's been an awful lot of physical exertion between now and breakfast. He turns to Enjolras.
'Brownies', he repeats longingly. Enjolras tries to maintain his scowl, but he shoots a glance at the door.
'Downstairs, all of you', Grantaire shouts. 'We'll be out in a minute.' There's some muttering, followed by what sounds like a small herd of gazelle stampeding down the stairs. He waits for the thumping to stop.
They end up having the meeting in the living room, all nine of them spread over the two couches and the floor. Enjolras initially tries to sit next to Jehan, but Jehan immediately slides onto the floor and sits between Courfeyrac's legs, leaving him next to Grantaire. Bahorel sprawls across half a couch, a move which no-one contests. Combeferre goes back and forth between the living room and the kitchen, producing seemingly limitless quantities of tea and coffee.
It's not their most productive meeting. Brownie-eating is not a naturally seductive activity, but when Grantaire makes a show of sucking the crumbs of chocolate off his fingers one at a time, Enjolras loses focus mid-sentence and, for perhaps the first time in his life, has to be reminded of what he was saying by a smirking Combeferre.
Grantaire is watching Courfeyrac absent-mindedly feeding Jehan bits of brownie when he feels something brush over the back of his hand. He looks down and sees Enjolras's long, slender fingers resting against his. After a moment, when no-one seems to be looking, he entwines their fingers. Enjolras's thumb rubs back and forth across the knuckle of his index finger. Jehan catches his eye and beams. There's a smudge of chocolate at the corner of his mouth.
Enjolras doesn't let go of his hand for the rest of the meeting.
It takes forever for everyone to leave. The general lack of focus combined with the effects of brownies and sugary tea leads to hours of giggling, a brief interlude while Bossuet pins Joly down and licks his face and Joly screeches like a howler monkey, and an arm-wrestling contest started by Bahorel and won by Jehan. By the end, even Enjolras has given up trying to restore order. He doesn't even complain when Courfeyrac insists on giving Jehan his 'prize' (i.e. making out with him on the coffee table while the rest of them shout encouragement).
He herds the last of them out and collapses on the sofa with an audible sigh of relief. Combeferre left with Courfeyrac and Jehan, making unsubtle remarks about 'leaving them to it' all the way, so it's just them in the house. Enjolras hovers. He looks tired.
'C'mon.' Grantaire pats the sofa beside him. Enjolras hesitates, but comes to sit next to him. He lets out a breath like a sigh and then takes Grantaire's jaw in his hand, turning his face towards him and kissing him. When their lips break apart, he keeps their foreheads pressed together. His eyes are closed. Grantaire takes in the forest of his eyelashes, so close he could count them, the faint redness of his eyelids like a wash of watercolour. He breathes the smell of him, like coffee and deodorant and still, faintly, that whiff of sex that makes his gut jolt. His hands slide into Enjolras's hair, his beautiful golden hair, curling between his fingers like strands of precious metal.
Enjolras opens his eyes. 'It's nearly time for the news.'
Grantaire huffs. He hates the news. He's never bought into the creepy reverence people seem to have for the BBC. They're no more above bias and bigotry than any other news source. Enjolras, on the other hand, insists on watching it every day. Usually Grantaire shuts himself in his room until it's over. Today he's going to sit through it.
Enjolras turns on the TV. Grantaire leans into him, resting his head on his shoulder. To distract himself, he plants little kisses on Enjolras's shoulder, his neck, his jaw, lazy, exploring kisses with no real intent.
Enjolras squirms. ''Aire, I'm trying to concentrate.' Grantaire gives the screen a cursory glance. There's been some sort of riot in Manchester- they keep cutting to grainy footage of figures in hoodies smashing shop windows. He'd rather look at Enjolras.
'I'm not distracting you, am I?'
Enjolras shoots him a Look. Grantaire places one last rebellious little kiss, just above his ear by the hairline, and then settles down, eyes closed, his head resting on Enjolras's shoulder.
Combeferre comes home much later to find them fast asleep. Enjolras's head rests against Grantaire's, the blonde and the dark hair mingling. The fingers of his right hand are loosely curled around Grantaire's.
Grantaire wakes up slowly, with that strange disorientation that comes from sleeping during the day. Beside him, Enjolras is still asleep, his face blank, his lips slightly parted. Before he can stop himself, he reaches out to trace a finger across Enjolras's bottom lip. Enjolras frowns and his eyelids twitch, then fly open.
'We fell asleep.'
Enjolras sits up abruptly. He looks confused and a little wild, hair rumpled by sleep. 'We were-' He stops, then his eyes widen.
'Watching the news. The things I go through for you, Apollo.'
'Not that.' He stares at Grantaire for what seems like an eternity. Then a smile quirks at the corner of his mouth. ''Aire.' It's an old nickname, but it's never seemed more meaningful than it does now.
Grantaire smiles. 'Apollo.'
A frown crosses Enjolras's face. 'I missed the news. I never miss the news.'
'I think the universe will forgive you just this once. You've had kind of a weird day.'
''Aire, I- I'm not really- this is not my area of expertise.'
'Mine either.' Enjolras snorts. 'Seriously. I've fucked a lot of guys. I've never really dated one, and I've certainly never dated you. There should be a correspondence course- How To Date A Grumpy Activist With Excellent Bone Structure And Poor Social Skills.' Grantaire hesitates. 'You know there's a ninety-nine percent chance I will completely fuck this up, right?'
Enjolras smiles. 'I have a little more faith than that.'
Jehan talks in his sleep.
It's generally very quiet, almost inaudible. Courfeyrac probably wouldn't even notice, except that when he wakes up in the middle of the night he'll sometimes hear a murmured ''kay' or 'nottheblueoneno' or, sometimes, 'C'frac'. Today Courfeyrac is woken early by the sunlight streaming through the curtains. He watches the dust motes swirl for a while and then, when he gets bored, he watches Jehan. His mouth often moves even when he isn't speaking, the way it does when he's working on a difficult essay or the stubborn last stanza of a poem. Sometimes he pulls faces.
Courfeyrac takes him in. Jehan is so beautiful like this that it makes it hard to believe that there's anything bad in the world at all. His freckles stand out in the early morning sunlight, which catches the almost imperceptibly fine down of his skin. His lips are slightly parted. Very carefully, so as not to wake him, Courfeyrac slips out of bed and pads over to the windowbox. He picks three pansies and tucks one behind Jehan's ear, another in his hairline. He's trying to find a place for the third when the stalk trails across Jehan's cheek and he stirs, scrunching up his nose. His eyes open slowly and he smiles.
'I dreamt I was Peter Pan.'
Courfeyrac thinks his heart might burst. 'Did you, now?'
'I always wanted to fly.' He puts a hand up to the pansy behind his ear and his smile spreads still further across his face. Without disturbing the pansies, he tilts his face up to kiss Courfeyrac on the nose, then takes the last flower from his fingers and tucks it behind Courfeyrac's ear.
After what Courfeyrac lovingly refers to as the 'honeymoon period', where Enjolras lost his train of thought any time Grantaire did something distracting, like sit down, stand up, take a drink, breathe and so on, meetings more or less go back to normal. Sitting in the Café Musain with Bahorel gently snoring on his shoulder while Enjolras declaims from atop a footstool (and earns glares from passing waitresses), Courfeyrac wonders if they couldn't recapture the magic, perhaps by buying Grantaire a pair of booty shorts.
Bahorel makes a noise like 'snnrkk' and drools on his shoulder. Courfeyrac looks around the table. Bossuet is surreptitiously playing Angry Birds- he can tell by the way he keeps swearing and then trying to pass it off as a cough. Joly keeps trying to make helpful suggestions and getting batted away. Feuilly is meticulously folding a napkin into a fan.
He feels something press against his wrist and looks down to see that Jehan is drawing on him. He keeps as still as he can, even though the ballpoint tickles. Jehan has his arm held firmly in place and when he looks up to smile at him Jehan makes a 'tsk' noise under his breath. Courfeyrac tries not to breathe. He doesn't even look down to see what it is he's drawing until Jehan makes a tiny noise of satisfaction and the scrape of the nib goes away. He relaxes and Jehan yelps and hisses 'Careful! It's not dry.'
He looks down. Stark against the skin of his wrist is a pansy, drawn in a few swoops of still-shining black ink. Jehan is gazing at him and chewing his lip, which is Jehan-speak for 'I can't tell if you like this (poem/drawing/thing that I baked)'. Courfeyrac kisses him on the nose.
It's late when he sneaks back into the house. His forearm throbs under the bandage. He thinks Jehan will be asleep, but as he passes the kitchen he hears:
Jehan appears in the doorway. He looks rumpled and sleepy in a floral cardigan, pyjama shorts and one of Courfeyrac's old t-shirts. His hair is coming out of its braid and there's a smudge of ink on his cheek.
'What are you still doing up?'
Jehan shuffles. 'Trying to write. Were you out?' He stays quiet, suddenly nervous. What if Jehan doesn't like it?
'What happened to your arm?' He takes Courfeyrac's wrist. Courfeyrac hisses and pulls away and Jehan looks at him with big, sad eyes. 'You're hurt.'
Courfeyrac shakes his head. 'It's okay. I'm okay.' When Jehan just looks at him, confused and apprehensive, he begins to unwind the bandage.
The skin of his forearm is red and tender. He winces several times as the bandage brushes the sensitive skin, but it's worth it for the look of wonder on Jehan's face when he sees the flower, permanently imprinted on Courfeyrac's skin.
'Do you like it?'
Jehan smiles like the sun. 'It's forever.'
Jehan pushes him gently into the kitchen and onto a chair, straddling his lap and kissing his face, his neck, every bit of skin he can reach. 'Keep saying that.'
'Yes or forever?'
'Shhhhh.' His little poet is laughing, and Courfeyrac is tired and in pain and happier than he can ever remember being. Jehan leans in to whisper in his ear.
'If I'm very careful…'
Jehan's lips brush over his earlobe, and he shivers. 'Upstairs. Now.' His breath tickles his ear. Courfeyrac does as he's told.
The first time it happens, Cosette and Jehan are watching Game of Thrones. Jehan keeps absent-mindedly plaiting bits of her hair. It's been a long day, and Jehan's slender fingers feel almost like a scalp massage. She wriggles back against his chest, and he makes a tiny sighing noise like a happy kitten.
'Zette?' Eponine yells from the kitchen. 'I can't find the noodles.' She's making stir-fry, which is the only thing she can cook without setting things on fire. It's sort of adorable how proud she is of it, having (so she claims) spent years perfecting the formula.
'In the cupboard', she yells back. She doesn't register anything out of the ordinary until she notices that Jehan has stopped fiddling with her hair. She turns to look at him. 'Why'd you stop?'
'That's new.' He smiles. 'It suits you.'
''Zette'. I didn't know you'd got to the nickname-giving stage.'
Cosette says nothing, turning it over in her head. It's the first time anyone she's dated has given her a nickname. Marius used to say her name slowly and with audible italics like he was speaking the name of a saint, which was sweet but slightly weird when they were discussing cereal and more than a little awkward during sex. None of her other boyfriends ever called her anything but Cosette, or babe (which she hated).
She smiles to herself. 'I guess so.'
'You play the flute.'
Jehan is cross-legged on the coffee table. The rest of them are draped unconscious over various surfaces (Feuilly, Marius) raiding the fridge for more alcohol (Bahorel), snogging in a closet (Cosette and Eponine) or sitting around drinking (everyone else).
Jehan smiles serenely. 'Yep.'
Grantaire takes a swig of his beer. 'Jesus Christ, are you actually an elf? What else can you do?'
'I used to be a gymnast.'
'Yeah, he did!' shouts Courfeyrac from the other side of the room. Bossuet thumps him on the back, making him choke on his beer. Jehan blows him a kiss.
Grantaire sits back. 'Okay. Okay. Could you- could you walk along the back of the sofa? While- playing the Marseillaise. How about that? Could you do that?'
Jehan considers. 'I think so. Is that a dare?'
'Do you accept?'
'You're on.' Jehan hops off the table and exits to cries of 'Dare! Dare!' from around the room. Marius jerks, raises his head, looks blearily around and falls asleep again.
Jehan returns moments later with a flute in one hand and shucks off his shoes. He climbs catlike onto the back of the sofa and raises himself to a standing position to scattered cheers. The first wobbly notes of the Marseillaise sound out as he takes a step.
And then a lot of things happen very quickly.
Jehan's foot slips. His arm lashes out for balance. Grantaire scrambles to his feet just as his arm, along with the rest of him, comes down. Something connects sharply with the top of his head, and for a second, everything goes black.
The room lurches. He sees Enjolras lunge towards him, sees him trip over Bossuet's leg and barely notice. There are voices everywhere, faces coming in and out of view, but one voice cuts through the rest.
''Aire. 'Aire! 'Aire, look at me, can you see me? Joly, get Joly. Someone get-'
'He's here, Enjolras. It's okay, he's here.' Combeferre has his hand on Enjolras's shoulder.
Then Joly is there, hands on either side of Grantaire's face. His palms are cool. 'Grantaire? I want you to focus on me, alright? Can you hear me?'
'You're not unconscious, so that's a good start. Can you understand what I'm saying?' Grantaire nods again. His head still throbs, but the room has stopped moving. 'Do you feel like you want to fall asleep?' He shakes his head. 'Okay, there's no bleeding, so unless he starts vomiting everywhere I'm not too worried.' Enjolras buries his face in his hands and exhales. He's paler than Grantaire has ever seen him.
'Did I get you worried, Apollo?'
Enjolras opens his mouth and closes it again. He runs a hand through his hair. Grantaire tries to sit up and a surge of dizziness hits him. Enjolras catches him.
'That was Joly.'
'No, I think it was you.'
'You're welcome', says Joly, reminding him that they are not alone- that they are, in fact, surrounded by the rest of the Amis. Even Marius has woken up and is peering worriedly over Feuilly's shoulder.
'Are any of you lot going to help me up? Or are you just going to leave me here as a footstool?'
Enjolras puts Grantaire's arm around his shoulder. With some help from Combeferre, he is deposited on the sofa. He puts a hand to his head and winces. 'Ow.'
'Here.' Enjolras hands him a beer. He raises it to his lips, but Enjolras stops him.
'It's not for drinking. It's for your head.'
Grantaire starts to protest, but Enjolras presses the cool glass against the sore spot on his head and he lets out an involuntary sigh.
'Fuck, yes. Just like that.'
Joly snorts. 'Ooh, yes, right there, Apollo. Don't stop, Apollo.' Grantaire lobs a cushion in his general direction, although his aim is a little off and it falls into Marius's cereal (why is he eating cereal? Does the boy do anything besides sleep and eat?).
Cosette and Eponine edge none-too-subtly back into the room, giggling and covered in lipstick. Cosette has an enormous purple hickey just above her collarbone. Eponine has her hand in the back pocket of Cosette's jeans.
''Ponine!' yells Marius, waving and slopping milk and cereal all over his lap. 'Hey, 'Ponine! Looks like you came out of the closet!' Eponine hides her face in her hands. Cosette kisses her on the cheek. Grantaire is happy to see that Marius and Eponine seem to be interacting more or less normally (i.e. Marius embarrassing her in public). From what Eponine has told him, things have been more than a little awkward in the Pontmercy-Thenardier flat of late, and no wonder. Still, Eponine practically lives with Cosette these days, not that she'll admit it.
Grantaire shifts on the couch to give himself a better view of his surroundings. Enjolras makes a worried noise he swiftly turns into a cough. Joly and Bossuet are deep in conversation in the corner, as they have been more or less without interruption ever since they arrived. They seem to have gravitated closer and closer together without noticing, so that their legs are now entangled and Joly is practically sitting in Bossuet's lap. Heterosexual life partners, Grantaire's shapely arse.
Jehan sidles up to the sofa and crouches beside him, his chin on Grantaire's arm. 'I'm sorry I hit you over the head with a flute.'
Grantaire fiddles with Jehan's hair and he leans into the touch like a cat. 'It's okay, little poet. I'm just glad it wasn't fatal. Death by flute is not exactly a dignified way to go.'
'I would have written you a poem', says Jehan, yawning. 'It would have been dignified. And very noble.'
Marius, he realises suddenly, is talking to Enjolras. This can only be a portent of doom.
'You know what I love? I love Glee. Glee makes me happy.'
Everyone in earshot winces. Enjolras's feelings about Glee are widely known among the Amis. It's something of a taboo subject. Apparently no-one thought to tell Marius this.
Marius peers earnestly into Enjolras's stony, unmoving face. 'Do you watch Glee? I love it. Do you love it?'
A muscle jumps in Enjolras's cheek. Grantaire can't resist. 'Do you like Glee, Apollo?'
Enjolras opens his mouth just as Combeferre seizes Marius by the arm and drags him bodily towards the kitchen.
'Let's get you a nice drink of water somewhere far, far away. How does that sound?'
Marius goes, looking befuddled but uncomplaining. Grantaire grins at Enjolras, who is glaring at him. His grin fades as Enjolras takes a step towards him.
'Head injury, remember? Not to be held responsible for anything I say, head injury, head-'
And so it comes to pass that Grantaire's second injury of the night results from a fairly impressive dive over the back of the sofa, initiated from a reclining position and marred in execution only by the unfortunate collision of his left buttock with an Xbox controller.