Combeferre wakes at six—5:58, to be precise. (Combeferre loves being precise.) He tries lying in bed with his eyes closed on the slim chance his body will get the message that this is a day off, but he knows it will fail. He never goes back to sleep once he's awake. He gets too restless within minutes and gives up.
He makes the bed—hospital corners neat and even—then goes for a run, takes a shower, and gets dressed. By then it is 8:04, and he doesn't think it's unreasonable to think that at least one of his friends might be awake by now. He sends a text to everyone labeled "friends" in his phone:Breakfast, anyone?
Grantaire replies first.
Message from: Grantaire
if you txt me before noon ever again i s2g
Received 8:05 AM
Message to: Grantaire
Sorry, go back to sleep.
Sent 8:05 AM
Message from: Grantaire
UGH AGAIN SERIOUSLY?
Received 8:05 AM
The next two replies come simultaneously.
Message from: Joly
M & B making pancakes in a bit. Come over if you want.
Received 8:06 AM
Message from: Enjolras
I could use a break.
Received 8:07 AM
Message to: Joly
It's okay, I'm going to make sure Enjolras eats today.
Sent 8:07 AM
Message to: Enjolras:
Meet at Cracking. 8:30?
Sent 8:08 AM
Message from: Enjolras
Received 8:08 AM
Message from: Joly
Good call, p sure hes been up since like 4
Received 8:09 AM
Message from: Jehan
Berry-picking with Cosette. Sorry! :(
Received 8:09 AM
Message to: Jehan
It's okay. Enjolras is meeting me. Have fun!
Sent 8:09 AM
Message to: Joly
I've got it covered. Enjoy pancakes!
Sent 8:10 AM
Message from: Joly
Received 8:10 AM
Courfeyrac, Feuilly, and Eponine don't respond at all, which he guesses is fair, because it is rather early for a Saturday, and they're all deeper sleepers than Grantaire.
Cracking is a local breakfast restaurant specializing in omelets (cracking eggs, get it?). They discovered it one summer when Eponine worked there for six weeks, but have kept going since then out of loyalty. The food is good and ethically-produced, so it's their go-to for mornings that start early (or nights that never end). Sometimes on weekends the others come for brunch, but Enjolras and Combeferre are the only two who routinely leave their homes in hours commonly considered "morning," so it is more their place than anyone else's.
When Combeferre arrives, Enjolras is already sitting at their usual two-top in the corner and (predictably) is writing in a notebook. He closes the notebook when he spots Combeferre, and he waves as he caps his pen and stows both items in his bag.
"I ordered for you," he says. Combeferre always gets the same thing—a yellow pepper, basil, and bacon omelet with a side of fresh fruit—while Enjolras gets four slices of avocado toast and a cup of oatmeal, and when the mood strikes they share. Everything on the menu is good, but they rarely waver from this ritual. By this point, any other breakfast order would feel blasphemous, as wrong as wearing snow boots to the beach and on the wrong feet.
The waitress brings their carafe of fresh-squeezed orange juice, and Combeferre tucks the book he brought behind the napkin dispenser. He doesn't anticipate the need for a book at breakfast, but he never goes to social engagements without one; he isn't sure he can. Enjolras, who knows him better than his own mother (in either way that sentence can be interpreted), doesn't tease him for it the way Courfeyrac would. If nothing else, it is a convenient habit for when Enjolras inevitably gets distracted by work.
"What're you reading?" Enjolras asks. He unfolds his napkin and settles it in his lap. Enjolras is the only one of their friends who can rival Combeferre's grasp of etiquette.
"Alternating between the Hunger Games and a book of essays on life in prison. I sent you an essay I thought you'd find interesting."
"I know; I haven't had time to read it yet but I'm looking forward to comparing notes." Enjolras sips his juice.
"Are you working on the trial?" Enjolras's section of the War Crimes class is competing with the other section in a mock trial of President Bush. Enjolras, who comes alive in a competitive setting, has been unanimously elected head counsel for his section. (Thankfully, his group won the coin flip for the prosecution, or he might have sabotaged the whole thing out of protest for having to argue against his convictions.)
"My closing statement, yeah," Enjolras sighs. "It isn't coming together the way I'd hoped, but I have time to fix it." (The trial is scheduled for Thursday and Friday afternoons.)
"I'll look over it, if you want," Combeferre offers, "after we eat."
Enjolras nods, stifling a yawn. "Thanks."
"You should sleep more," Combeferre tells him as he brushes a wild yellow curl out of Enjolras's eyes with a roll of his own.
"There's too much to do," Enjolras says. If he were talking to anyone else, he would be snapping, but this is Combeferre and he almost whineslike a small child. "Which you know, because I don't think you've slept since high school."
It's a fair criticism—between school, his practicum, volunteering at the hospital's free clinic, tutoring struggling kids, studying philosophy on his own, and being part of an amateur marauding social justice organization, there is a lot on Combeferre's plate, and sleep doesn't always occupy the amount of his schedule it should. It's part of why the idea of twenty-four hours with no obligations has him so thrown. But he always—well, nearly always—gets the six hours of sleep he requires to stay sharp (he gets seven on good days and eight if he has been extremely careful with his time). The same cannot be said of Enjolras, who will gladly work to the point of collapse if no one stops him.
"Sure," Combeferre says, "it was vital you work all night on an assignment that's a week away from being due."
Between anyone else, it would have been an argument. But that's not who they are. Enjolras is easy with Combeferre—he can act like a seven-year-old instead of a force of nature, and Combeferre will love him anyway. Combeferre is the only one who gets away with trying to mother him into better behavior. That's what they are to each other—a forever friend, an ally, a support system, and even a check on one another's worse traits when they need one.
Their breakfast comes. Enjolras spears the reddest strawberry from Combeferre's plate and pops it in his mouth. Combeferre snags a piece of avocado toast to grind pepper on (Enjolras prefers it plain and won't let him do it on the plate, so he lays it on some napkins instead).
"How's the day off coming?"
Combeferre sighs. "I don't think I'm cut out for it," he confesses, picking the honeydew out of the fruit salad to pass to Enjolras. "It's not even nine and I've already sent a mass text begging our friends to tell me what to do."
Enjolras raises his eyebrows (he's never been able to do just one). "Any suggestions worth following up on?"
"Let me guess. Courfeyrac told you to get laid, Jehan thinks you should lie in a field and imagine shapes in the clouds, and Bossuet has forbidden you to do anything at all."
"Those are the basics," Combeferre says.
Enjolras regards him thoughtfully while he chews. The curl from before eases its way back in front of his left eye. He might not notice; he shifts his head so he still has a clear line of sight on Combeferre.
"I think you should do what you want to do," he says finally, "and stop worrying so much about how you should be spending your day off."
He's not wrong, of course; Enjolras is not always right but he is rarely wrong.
"But what is that?" Combeferre feels helpless with this stretch of day ahead of him. He hates it. He just wants to be useful.
"I think asking me that rather misses the point," Enjolras says, batting the hair out of his eyes at last and returning to his oatmeal. "Read your books. Nap. Make tea and forget about it. Bake a cake. Memorize the Sibelius you've been working on. Watch all six episodes of Sherlock back to back. Or, you know, none of those things, but I'd be pretty surprised if you decided to try sky diving." Enjolras smiles at Combeferre's visible shudder. "And, please, edit my speech."
"What if I don't want to?" Combeferre bites his lip around a grin.
"I'd be surprised enough I might call on your medical knowledge to make sure I'm not having a stroke," Enjolras says. "But I would make do with an inferior speech, because that's what friends do for one another."
After breakfast, Enjolras asks him "what now?" There's pressure inherent in asking Combeferre to make any decision, but Enjolras simply waits him out.
"Can I come home with you?" Combeferre asks. His voice is smaller than he wants it; he hates that.
Enjolras squeezes his hand and starts walking in the direction of his apartment.
It often seems obvious to their acquaintances that they are roommates. They know each other's body language and habits intimately, and are so frequently together at any hour of the day that outsiders assume they must live together; how could they live apart? But in actuality they live alone, each in a small apartment less than a mile apart. Enjolras informs interested parties that he prefers to live alone, which is true enough that there are rarely follow-up questions. The true story has come out only once, and Jehan has sworn never to tell anyone that after an amount of alcohol he intends never to ingest again—honestly—Combeferre confessed that he declined Enjolras's offer.
Combeferre likes Enjolras's place. He spends almost as much time there as Enjolras does, tutting with good humor over the study materials strewn across the couch that Enjolras won't permit anyone to move because although it all looks like chaos, he claims to know exactly where everything is. Combeferre keeps a toothbrush at Enjolras's, and he sleeps there almost once a week. It wouldn't be half as comfortable if he lived there. Then it would be his business whether the fridge door was ajar or the toothpaste cap screwed on. If Enjolras's three failed roommates from freshman year of undergrad were to be believed, he was a difficult man to live with, and the one who finished the year still refuses to speak of that time with the ribbons. Combeferre is particular about certain things—space, quiet, cleanliness—and it's as much for Enjolras's sanity as his own that he insists on living separately.
As he follows Enjolras up the stairs, he feels his phone vibrate in his pocket.
Message from Courfeyrac
just got ur msg sry sry! U still need company?
Received 10:16 AM
Message to Courfeyrac
It's fine! Had breakfast with Enjolras, going over to his now.
Sent 10:17 AM
Message from Courfeyrac
be there in 1 hr
Received 10:17 AM
"Courfeyrac is coming over," Combeferre says, slipping his phone back into his pocket.
"We'd better finish my speech quickly, then," Enjolras says, forcing the door open. It's a process that requires his whole concentration; despite the building's general state of well-being, the door only opens when great energy is exerted upon it by the entire right side of Enjolras's body.
They don't need the hour to fix Enjolras's closing argument; it takes Combeferre less than five minutes to pinpoint the rhetorical falter and only ten more to correct it. When he's finished with his penciled annotations, the speech is tighter, cleaner, and more impactful than before. Enjolras will probably spend a few more hours tinkering with it, moving words to and fro until it feels like his own, but on the whole he seems pleased with Combeferre's edits. (He usually does.)
Combeferre makes a poor public speaker—he's too mechanical, he lacks the passion necessary to engage an audience, and the proper balance of eye contact in a crowd eludes him entirely—but he is a natural speech writer. It comes from reading constantly as a child, or possibly he was just born with an instinctive knowledge of the strengths and flaws of logic and language. He can always supply the focus Enjolras needs. His mastery of the technical aspects of argumentation augments and nurtures a good idea, the perfect counterpoint to Enjolras's fiery but sometimes sloppy argumentation style.
Courfeyrac takes closer to two hours than the promised one, which is to be expected. By the time he appears, they've finished reading over the speech drafts and have settled onto opposite ends of the sofa for companionably solitary activities—Enjolras checking his email, which seems to have multiplied while he was away, and Combeferre thumbing fondly through the full-color illustrations in the textbook on the phylogeny of Lepidoptera (he'd forgotten he'd left it at Enjolras's, and it feels good to be reunited). Courfeyrac settles between them on the sofa without removing his sunglasses.
"Late night?" Combeferre asks.
Courfeyrac rubs his hand on the back of Combeferre's neck, which is nice. His friends are rarely tactile with him, excepting these two. Courfeyrac's hair is still wet from his shower, and it drips water onto Combeferre's shoulder. "Later than yours. Grantaire and Bahorel found a new place to try."
"And you took that as a challenge." Enjolras looks smug. "No wonder you had trouble getting started today."
"When you compete with your superiors, you are bound to fail," Combeferre says. "I hope you're drinking water?"
Courfeyrac holds up the Nalgene bottle in his left hand. "It's not so bad," he says, dropping his head onto Combeferre's shoulder (soaking the shirt irrevocably). "I gave up at one. I have no idea if either of them is still alive."
"Grantaire yelled at me this morning for texting too early, so my guess is they're fine." Combeferre pretends not to notice the way Enjolras's end of the couch has gone tense and still at these mentions of Grantaire.
Courfeyrac, however, obeys no such compunction. Courfeyrac is constitutionally incapable of respecting boundaries, especially with Enjolras, who erects so many. "Something bothering you, darling?" He licks Enjolras's ear.
Enjolras grimaces and wipes Courfeyrac's saliva out of his ear. "That is disgusting."
Courfeyrac beams. "Are we going to play a guessing game? I love games. I bet I can win. What's got you all knotted up? Does it double as a name for a letter in another language?"
Combeferre lays his hand on Courfeyrac's forearm. "Leave it," he murmurs.
Enjolras doesn't look at either of them, and Combeferre is just about to propose an alternate topic of conversation when his voice, so low as to be almost inaudible, rolls forth: "I just don't get it."
"I knew it." Courfeyrac bites back a smirk, but not well enough not to be spotted.
Combeferre is more inclined to be helpful. "Don't get what?"
A red flush colors Enjolras's cheeks and the tips of his ears. It makes him look angry. "Grantaire. Any of it."
Courfeyrac's eyes dart between Enjolras and Combeferre. "He's—we're really going to talk about this? He isn't going to tell me to mind my own business and get back to work?"
"I'm right here," Enjolras snaps.
Combeferre eyes him over the rims of his glasses. His eyesight is atrocious—genetic predisposition exacerbated by two decades of habitual straining over books—but he doesn't need to see to be able to communicate his feelings to the beige-and-yellow blur that is Enjolras. "This may sound—I know how this sounds, but. Have you considered having a conversation with him?"
Enjolras casts him a withering look. It's a look honed over the course of a lifetime to shut down protestation, but if Combeferre weren't impervious to Enjolras's temper by now, they wouldn't still be friends. "The possibility has been brought to my attention."
Courfeyrac wriggles. "Kind of impossible, though, isn't it? He might drop of shock if you admit an explicit interest." He doesn't make a pun out of explicit, though they all know he's capable. For all Courfeyrac's jokes, he is a solid friend. He may not know when to be serious, but he does know how.
"I haven't been that awful, have I?"
"No, you've been nicer lately," Courfeyrac shakes his head. "I think it confuses him. I'm just pretty sure he thinks you—ah—aren't interested in that sort of thing."
"What sort of thing?"
"What? At all?" Enjolras looks startled (Combeferre feels startled). "Why would he think that?"
"It might have something to do with the time you told that girl at Get Out the Vote that you were married to justice and were therefore honor-bound to refuse all other offers." Courfeyrac suggests. "It sounds like a witty way of saying you're asexual."
"It was a metaphor." Enjolras groans. "Perhaps a bad one."
"How big of you to admit it," Courfeyrac smirks.
Enjolras digs his elbow into Courfeyrac's ribs, but he huffs out a small laugh while he does it. He leans forward to lock eyes with Combeferre. "So what should I do?" He falls short of the oh-wise-one mockery he sometimes adopts when asking Combeferre for advice, and he lands somewhere around desperately earnest instead.
Combeferre hums thoughtfully. He can't keep himself from reaching over Courfeyrac to smooth a stray blond curl behind Enjolras's ear. This is a new area for Enjolras. This isn't an abstraction, it's Grantaire. Enjolras likes him not because he's fixated on the plight of the downtrodden and disaffected but just because of who he is, and that scares the shit out of Enjolras. He's so good at fighting for the people in general, but sometimes he struggles with relating to people in specific.
"Being yourself seems to be a good start," he says gently. "If you want anything to change—which I think you do- you're going to have to make yourself clear. He isn't likely to risk upsetting the balance by making any type of move himself, not when you're finally getting along."
"He used to hit on me every other day," Enjolras says.
"And you used to beg him to stop," Combeferre points out. "Time changes many things." He sends his most encouraging smile and pats Enjolras's hand.
"He doesn't even want me anymore," Enjolras says, looking away. "I waited too long and it's—it's too late now."
"You didn't get that idea at the senior art show, since you didn't go." Art isn't Enjolras's thing. Aesthetic principles he understands, but true appreciation of beauty is hard for him to muster. He tends to skip galleries and recitals whenever he can find a plausible excuse. One such occasion was Grantaire's most recent art show, for the graduating seniors—after five straight "final" semesters, he's finally set to graduate this time.
"Those sun god paintings," Courfeyrac breathes, "you wouldn't even believe."
Enjolras looks blank.
"They were you," Combeferre says. "It was—well, unmistakable, really." And a bit uncomfortable.
"Enjolras and Grantaire, sitting in a tree," Courfeyrac sing-songs.
"Not helping," Combeferre cuts him off.
Enjolras looks unconvinced.
Combeferre sighs. "It's—look, you like him, right? So you tell him. You're good with words. You'll figure it out."
Enjolras shrugs instead of answering. He looks defeated rather than built up; Combeferre wants to try again for the most helpful version of this talk (he does everything better after a rehearsal), but Enjolras looks too tired for another go. It's an impression he reinforces by yawning into his shoulder. He looks every inch like someone who has been awake and fretting since before dawn.
Combeferre taps his shoulder. "Nap," he says.
"It's my day off," Combeferre reminds him, "and I say I want a nap. Courfeyrac could certainly use one; he's like a toddler when he's hung over."
Enjolras rolls his eyes, but there's a faint smile on his features. "Okay. I did say you could have whatever you want." He reclines against the arm of the couch.
Combeferre flips open his book.
"Best day off ever." Courfeyrac throws himself across Combeferre's lap, pillowing his head on Combeferre's thigh. "Reading first?" he asks sleepily.
Combeferre hmms his assent.
"Out loud," Enjolras suggests, closing his eyes. "It helps."
Combeferre smiles to himself and begins. "Heterobathmiidae is a family of diurnal, metallic-winged moths endemic to South America. Only one genus is known to survive…"
He wakes up an indeterminate amount of time later under a blanket. He's alone on the couch and his glasses and book have been taken from him and set on the end table. He rubs his gritty eyes and slides his glasses on.
Enjolras has retreated to his desk and is typing at his computer. His hair is still tangled from sleep. Courfeyrac hovers nearby, texting furiously (his hair has dried into a hopeless flyaway; if there were a mirror in this room, Courfeyrac would be glued to it).
Courfeyrac spots Combeferre first. "Welcome back, Sleeping Beauty."
"What time is it?" Combeferre asks.
"After seven," Enjolras says, looking over his shoulder. "We thought about waking you to feed you dinner, but it seemed unkind. Are you hungry?"
Combeferre thinks about it. "Famished," he decides. "What is everyone else doing?"
"There's some kind of party on at Feuilly and R's," Courfeyrac says. "I think we should go over there."
"Not a real party," Enjolras says. "Feuilly used the phrase 'hoping for death,' so I think there's more commiserating than celebrating going on." Enjolras passes his phone to Combeferre so he can read the message on the screen, which provides a slightly more complete but no less confusing set of details.
Eponine Thenardier: Absolutely do not listen to C! You are NOT INVITED! It's a pity party and you neither feel nor deserve pity.
Combeferre isn't finished puzzling that out when his phone alerts him to a message of his own.
Message from Grantaire
you're welcome, because days off are hard for you.
If he has to come with, so be it.
Received 7:11 PM
It's a sadder, drunker version of their gathering this afternoon. Eponine lies sprawled on Grantaire's ugly orange couch, legs thrown on top of Feuilly's. Both their faces are bleary and miserable, and Eponine dangles an unlit cigarette between her fingers. She says she's quitting again, but it doesn't seem to be going that well. (As long as she's seeing Montparnasse, she's unlikely to kick any of her vices.) Feuilly, who has never even tried to quit smoking, puffs away next to her.
Grantaire, who doesn't smoke himself but is probably as addicted to the secondhand smoke at this point as any of them are to the real thing, looks marginally more cheerful as he sets a six pack on the table. "You've got to state a grievance to enter," he says. "Those are the rules." He plops into his favorite ratty armchair and regards them over the mouth of his bottle.
Enjolras looks pained. "Does being friends with all of you count?"
"He's with me," Combeferre volunteers, "and it's my day off because my adviser says I'm getting too 'emotionally invested' in the clinic and need some time to sort my head out."
Courfeyrac, who has never heard the full version of this story, winces; Enjolras squeezes Combeferre's hand.
"Rough," Grantaire says, sounding impressed. "Okay, your blond monkey can stay, but he isn't allowed to talk. You're here for moral support only."
Enjolras opens his mouth to argue, but evidently he thinks the better of it; he closes his mouth and nods once before turning away.
Courfeyrac grabs a beer for himself and flops onto the floor beside Marius, who is sitting in front of the couch between Eponine and Feuilly, looking stricken.
"What about you," Grantaire asks. "Did the blonde from the Corinth turn you down again? You know women don't really like it when you slap their asses."
"I don't slap anyone's ass," Courfeyrac grumbles. "Well, not without consent. Can I just be upset that the rest of you are upset?"
"Allowable," Grantaire says.
"We're here because I didn't get the scholarship," Feuilly sighs. His voice sounds a little slurry. "So I'm not going back to school this year after all." He raises his glass, and Courfeyrac clinks with him in a toast.
"As you are all no doubt aware, Marius is suffering from the pangs of unrequited love," Grantaire cuts in, eyeing Feuilly with a serious set to his mouth. (Behind Marius's head, Eponine and Feuilly roll their eyes.) "It's hardly a pity night without Bossuet but his luck has called him to the impound lot to pick up his car, so he is here in spirit only."
"What about you, 'Ponine?" Marius asks, turning his despair-painted face to her ad he nudges her with the half-full wine bottle making its rounds through the room. "What're you sad about?"
"R and I are both here to bemoan our mutual pining over Zachary Quinto," Eponine supplies. She takes a swig directly from the bottle before passing it back.
"I would've said I'm here because I live here," Grantaire says, "but Quinto is a pretty good reason too."
"Come on, R, you know it's all about Quinto," Courfeyrac teases.
"He is rather my type, isn't he?" Grantaire does not seem cheered by this.
Eponine reaches out long to run her fingernails comfortingly over his bare arm. "I know, sweetheart," she soothes. "He's perfect for you. Frightening and unattainable."
Combeferre risks a glance at Enjolras, who has arranged himself atop the table in the far corner of the room. If he's been listening to the conversation, he shows no signs of it. Instead he shuffles through a pile of sketches he's sharing the table with.
"Cosette had a bad day," Grantaire reads from his phone. "Anyone against her joining?"
"Misery loves company," Eponine says, gesturing with the bottle of wine which is back in her possession.
Marius looks troubled. "Is she okay?"
"Are any of us?"
Grantaire texts Cosette back, and she joins them half an hour later, still in her scrubs. "The mother of a patient yelled at me for twenty minutes about a bedpan," she says as she shuts the door behind her. "I couldn't get a word in to tell her I don't even work on that floor. I just came down to use the bathroom because ours is closed for maintenance."
Eponine pulls a face and passes her the dregs of the wine. "The rest of this is for you."
Cosette knocks it back in one. "That's good," she says, sounding surprised. "Why are we swilling nice wine?"
"I was out of the cheap stuff," Grantaire says, "and we're all too depressed to go get more. But that was the last, so if you don't want to graduate to hard stuff, you'll have to switch to beer."
Cosette frowns. "Not really in a beer mood. Guess I'll go to water."
"I can get more," Marius ventures.
"You don't have to," she says. "It's fine."
"No, I want to! It was, uh, good." Marius stands up and heads for the door. "I'll be back soon. With the wine."
As soon as the door closes behind him, Eponine shakes her head. "He really likes you," she says. She doesn't sound happy about it, but she doesn't sound upset either.
"Does he?" Cosette looks doubtful, but her eyes sparkle with blue excitement anyway.
"Definitely," Combeferre assures her. "Just—trust us on this."
Cosette smiles. It's a smile out of one of Grantaire's paintings, sweet and mysterious at the same time. "Interesting," she says.
"Just don't hold it against him when he comes back with the wrong wine," Courfeyrac says. "There's no way he'll remember what he was supposed to get."
"He doesn't know anything about wine," Grantaire says regretfully, "but he's a sweet kid."
"Like you're particular," Eponine laughs.
When Marius walks in with four bottles of wine (none of which are correct, though Combeferre can't fault the attempt), Cosette rushes to him and kisses him full on the mouth.
Marius could take it better. He stands completely still for the first few seconds, before he realizes he isn't being pranked and curls his arms around her waist, nearly dropping the wine.
Cosette saves the wine and sets it on the floor with a giggle before kissing him again. It's a good kiss, like in the movies, and Combeferre looks away (although not all his friends observe the same sense of decency).
"You want to go out sometime?" Cosette whispers in his ear.
Marius nods. "I—I would like that very much."
"What about right now?" she asks.
"Uh-huh," he replies. He grins at her, all freckles and boyish charm. "Right now is—I think I'm free."
"Get out of my house, you disgusting happy people," Grantaire calls. "Ugh."
Marius blushes all the way under his collar, and Cosette pulls him out the door.
"And then there were five," Eponine says gloomily, picking up one of the new bottles of wine. "Five and a half if you count Enjolras, but I think Courfeyrac might have to leave because he's looking dangerously not-miserable himself."
Courfeyrac, indeed, is vibrating with glee. "Sorry, Ep, but you have no idea how long I've been waiting for that. I live with him, it's been unbearable."
"Out," Grantaire sighs, waving his hand toward the door. "Gods and goddesses, where have all the unhappy people gone? We're dropping like flies here."
"Why do they say drop like flies, do you think?" Combeferre asks. "Flies don't really drop dead in midair, and it isn't like we see it happen all the time, so you'd think—"
Feuilly groans. "No intellectualizing tonight, I can't stand it."
"Sorry." Combeferre pats Feuilly's head. "It's getting late, anyway. I should go—I can take the other unwelcome with me."
"You sure?" Eponine looks up at him. "There's plenty of spiritual agony to share."
He smiles. "No, it's fine. I'm back at work tomorrow, so I shouldn't stay."
"Just let the man go, Eponine," Grantaire says. "Everyone but alcohol and chocolate always leaves us, remember that."
"And me on this ugly couch," Feuilly supplies. "I'll probably die of old age before I can replace it so you're stuck with us both."
Courfeyrac presses sloppy kisses to everyone as a goodbye, but Enjolras hasn't looked up from the table in over an hour. Combeferre contemplates leaving him, but it seems like the cruelest method of achieving peace, so he walks over to Enjolras's corner and sets a hand on his shoulder.
Enjolras doesn't quite jump, but it's clear he's surprised.
"Hey," Combeferre says. "Ready to go?"
Enjolras nods. He sets down the drawing he's been clutching in his hands, smoothes the corners where he's rumpled it.
"Are you okay?" Combeferre asks quietly.
Enjolras looks up. His eyes are very big and very round in the half-light. "You were right," he says. "They are me."
Notes: Thank you for reading! Please let me know what you think of it and it you have any questions! I'm totally not scary and I love to talk.