Hi guys! It's been ages since I've updated anything, and I know that and I'm sorry. Thing is that a lot has been happening and I haven't had the time or spirit to write. That being said, I have for you here the final chapter of this story. It's not my best work, I'm aware of that, but I didn't want to keep you waiting and I wanted to conclude this story. I hope you'll enjoy it nonetheless. Thank you all for your support throughout this whole thing. You mean the world to me.
When Combeferre woke up the following morning, Enjolras was still fast asleep; curled on his side with his face buried in a pillow and his arm slung around Combeferre's waist. The talk they had last night had been hard on both of them and Enjolras was truly exhausted by the time Combeferre helped him to bed. But even though his younger friend was emotionally drained by the end of their conversation, Combeferre believed that they had made some significant progress. He got the feeling that Enjolras understood where he was coming from and it seemed as though he truly meant it when he said he would consider the possibility of talking to a psychologist.
He gently brushed the few blonde locks back that had fallen in Enjolras' eyes and carefully twisted out of his best friend's grip. Enjolras stirred but did not wake and for that Combeferre was glad. God knew he could use all the sleep he could get. Quietly, he made his way out of the bedroom – he left the door open in case Enjolras woke up – and into the kitchen to make himself a cup of tea and some breakfast. He sat down on the couch and pulled out his phone only to see that he had a dozen missed messages and calls from his friends. He hadn't checked his phone since he and Enjolras had their conversation. And since both he and Enjolras fell into a much needed sleep afterwards, none of their friends had heard from them ever since four o'clock in the afternoon the other day. No wonder they were concerned. Combeferre smiled and sent a quick group message to all of them that everything was fine, that bringing Enjolras back home had been the right decision and that some of them could come and visit in the afternoon if they wanted to. He'd rather not have them come over in the morning, because he wanted his roommate to be able to rest as long and as much as he could.
After sending his group message, Combeferre noticed he had another text from none other than Enjolras' father. It was short, as usual, with only one question: "How is he?" That was all it said and Combeferre felt that familiar rage coil somewhere in his stomach. He hadn't heard from that man since the accident happened. And Combeferre knew he hadn't sent anything to his son. Not a single message. He wanted nothing more than to block the man's number from his phone and never speak to him again, but that just wasn't in his nature. With trembling fingers he started to type a message back; keeping it short and vague. "He's alive. Hasn't heard from you." Combeferre refused to let the man know that Enjolras was already back at home and faring relatively well. If it was too much for the man to contact his own son than Combeferre would definitely not strive to sooth his concerns. If he even had them. But Combeferre thought he did, because why else would he send these texts. The medical student wouldn't be surprised if after all these years of neglect, Enjolras' father was just too much of a coward to reach out to his son himself. There never came another text back and Combeferre didn't expect there to be. Nor did he tell Enjolras that his father had asked about him. In this case Combeferre thought it would be better for his friend if he didn't know.
He finished his tea while scanning through the morning newspaper, patiently waiting for Enjolras to wake up. When his young friend hadn't stirred for another hour and a half, Combeferre stood from the kitchen table and silently walked back into Enjolras' bedroom where he found him still sound asleep. He hadn't moved an inch since the last time Combeferre had checked on him. The medical student frowned amused. Enjolras barely slept longer than six hours a night. If he hit a more normal seven or eight, he was usually annoyed with himself for wasting precious time. But now, his younger roommate had been asleep for eleven hours at least and he was still out cold. Of course, that wasn't all that odd in Enjolras' situation. Doctor Richieu had told them that Enjolras could get tired easily and needed a lot of sleep. Apart from that, the blond had some catching up to do. Combeferre preferred not to wake him up and just let him get the rest he so clearly needed, but it was time for his medication. Furthermore, Enjolras had hardly eaten anything the night before and he was due another bowl of yoghurt to start building up his strength. And so Combeferre quietly entered the room and sat down next to his friend on the bed. He gently started to card his fingers through the blond curls and softly called Enjolras' name. It took him no more than five minutes until Enjolras stirred and blinked his eyes open.
Enjolras needed some time to wake up. He blinked slowly and stared up at his friend for a few moments before realizing he was actually seeing Combeferre. His whole body still felt numb and tired from sleep, but his mind was starting to clear quite quickly and he offered his friend a small smile. Then he closed his eyes again and mumbled something unintelligible. He turned his head away from his friend and buried his face further into the pillow; letting out a soft sigh and already sinking back into sleep.
"Don't go back to sleep," Combeferre chuckled softly, "Come on, Enjolras, I need you to wake up. You have to take your meds and I want you to eat something."
Enjolras let out a 'hmpff' and turned his head towards Combeferre. "What time is it?" he mumbled softly, without opening his eyes.
"It's past eleven in the morning. You've slept for more than eleven hours…" Combeferre answered with a smile. He briefly wondered what response Enjolras would have to that, because on any normal day, his roommate would be downright ashamed with himself for sleeping that long. But judging by the look on Enjolras' face there was only surprise and maybe the smallest hint of annoyance there.
"Really?" Enjolras whispered as he carefully turned on his back – wincing slightly while he did so – and looked up at Combeferre. "That must be some kind of record…"
"For you, yes," Combeferre said with a sly smile as he helped Enjolras sit up a little straighter, "Though I'm sure Grantaire or Courfeyrac could easily top that."
"Yeah, I have no doubt about that either," Enjolras muttered, breathing heavily through his nose to ride out the wave of pain. The longer he was awake the more time his brain had to realize how much pain he was actually in and Enjolras already found himself longing for the pills Combeferre was undoubtedly about to offer him. He secretly loathed himself for wanting them but if he was honest with himself he'd rather be drowsy than in pain. Luckily Combeferre knew him well enough not to say anything about it when he silently – and gratefully – took the pills from him and swallowed them dry.
"Lay back for a little, while I go and get you some breakfast. I don't want you to take those antibiotics on an empty stomach. Then after you've eaten we can move you to the couch if you'd like, or you could just stay here and go back to sleep."
"I'd actually like to take a shower," Enjolras mumbled softly. He felt disgusting, as if he hadn't washed in days – which wasn't far from the truth – and he really longed for a hot and steamy shower. But judging by the look that Combeferre gave him, that wasn't going to happen that easily. His friend gave him an apologetic look and pressed his lips together before speaking.
"I know you don't want to hear this, Julien, but you won't be able to take a shower… Not on your own at least. You can barely stand for longer than a few minutes and it's just too dangerous with that leg and arm in a cast."
Enjolras frowned and looked away. Combeferre's answer didn't really come as a surprise. He knew he was too weak to shower on his own, but he wasn't really looking forward to let Combeferre help him do so. That would be embarrassing. Besides, he had this thing called 'pride' that was really important to him and it almost hurt him to think about needing someone to help him shower. "I'm sure I can manage a quick one on my own 'Ferre…" he tried again, but Combeferre's face showed no sign of caving.
His medical friend just gave him a small, sad smile and shook his head. "Absolutely not, Enjolras. It's either shower with my help or not shower at all. You think about it while I go make you some breakfast." Combeferre turned around and walked out of the bedroom but just before he disappeared out of sight, he called over his shoulder. "Try to get out of this bed yourself and I'll chain you to it."
It was a good natured joke, of course, but Enjolras had no doubt that Combeferre would actually chain him to the bed so he let out an exasperated sigh and sank further down in his pillow. The painkillers were starting to kick in so even if he wanted to try and get out of bed himself, there was no way on earth he would succeed. He didn't have the energy for it. He really did want to shower though. Would it be so bad to let Combeferre help him? Well, of course it would be humiliating, but it was not as if it would be the first time. Besides, it wasn't like Combeferre was going to climb into the shower with him... He'd just be helping him wash up; he'd be a silent pillar to lean on if necessary. But still... it would be humiliating and Enjolras found himself his own weakness for the umpteenth time even though he knew this whole thing was nowhere near his control.
Enjolras stared at the ceiling and let his thoughts drift from his childhood to his father to Combeferre and the Amis. He thought about the accident; about Grantaire's shocked expression that still haunted his dreams. He thought about the fight Combeferre and Grantaire had been in because of him and about the fact that they had made up. Well, at least sort of made up. He still had to ask Combeferre about the details. But most of all he thought back to their talk of last night. Never before had he allowed himself to see things from that point of view, but now that he did, Enjolras felt strange. As if he had been walking on eggshells his entire life; a ticking time bomb, ready to explode at any time if only it were triggered the right way. Enjolras suddenly felt uncertain and uncomfortable with his own behavior. What might his friends think of him? Had they noticed how dependant he was of them like Combeferre pointed out last night or did they think nothing of it? Was he really such a clingy person? Surely, if people saw him they would never think that of him. But maybe those who knew him better... Maybe they did. And maybe the whole therapist thing wouldn't be such a bad idea. No one needed to know... Well, maybe he'd just tell Combeferre...
Enjolras remembered the months he visited a therapist when he was younger. Combeferre was right: he had been in a really dark place back then. He couldn't remember a time being that unhappy with himself. He had truly believed that the world – and most of all his parents – would be better off without him. Luckily those thoughts were banned from his mind soon enough after his sessions started and if it weren't for Combeferre and his family, Enjolras was sure he would have fallen back into depression when his father cancelled his therapy. He vaguely remembered how angry Combeferre's parents were when Enjolras' father told them that he didn't agree with his son going to some psychologist because only mentally unstable and therefore weaklings went there. But in the end there wasn't much they could do. They weren't his parents and so they couldn't make that decision for him. And Enjolras tried to do everything his father told him in the hope to please him and make him proud. It wouldn't take long for the young blond to learn that no matter what he did, that was never going to happen.
Enjolras was so deep in thought that he didn't hear Combeferre come back in until his friend had laid a hand on his shoulder. When Enjolras looked up, his friend eyed him worriedly with a concerned frown on his face.
"What?" Enjolras said softly.
"Are you okay? I was talking to you, but you completely zoned out on me. What were you thinking about?" Combeferre asked as he carefully handed his friend the small bowl of yoghurt and fruit which Enjolras eyed with more than a little disinterest.
"Nothing really," Enjolras mumbled, taking the spoon in hand and forcing himself to swallow the first few bites. "Just thinking about all that's been happening in the past few days."
Combeferre smiled, sat down on the bed next to Enjolras and took off his spectacles to clean the glasses with his friend's duvet. "Well that doesn't classify as 'nothing' if you ask me. Quite a lot has happened."
They were both silent for a moment. Enjolras obediently ate as much of the food he could and Combeferre was content to just sit there patiently with a small smile on his face and one hand still on Enjolras' shoulder. After his friend had enough to eat, Combeferre dissolved the antibiotics in a large glass of water and gave it to Enjolras who slowly but surely drank it all.
"You know you can talk to me, right Julien?" Combeferre asked quietly. "If you have any questions or if you want to discuss the things that have been happening lately... Or if you just want to talk about random things... I'm here if you need me. I'll always be here."
Enjolras smiled slightly and nodded. "I know," he answered truthfully and he took a deep breath; closing his eyes as he spoke the next words. He knew he was already blushing, but this was Combeferre and Combeferre would never make fun of him. "C-Could...I...uh...I really want to take a shower," he muttered softly.
Combeferre couldn't suppress the small smile when he saw his young friend blush a deep red. He knew Enjolras must really feel dirty if he was willing to let Combeferre help him take a shower. But as a best friend and an almost older brother, teasing the blonde about it would really be the last thing on Combeferre's mind. He nodded and squeezed Enjolras' shoulder. "Alright, if you really want to, we can do that. You'll just have to let me help you get there and washing up won't be all that easy, but we'll just do it the same way the nurses did it in the hospital. Only you'll be sitting in the bathtub. So no shower."
Enjolras avoided looking at Combeferre as his friend helped him up and let his greasy blonde hair fall in front of his eyes. Together they made their way to the bathroom and Enjolras let Combeferre help him strip down to his boxers. And even though Enjolras felt humiliated all through the washing thing, in the end it really wasn't a big deal. It was only Combeferre and Combeferre knew everything about him. All the good and bad things. And while Combeferre poured some shampoo into his hand and gently massaged it in Enjolras' hair, the blonde suddenly knew he never wanted his best friend to be concerned about him again. He wanted his best friend to be happy. And for his friend to be happy, Enjolras knew he had to make himself happy. And everything was so clear to him, all doubts and shame disappeared. He closed his eyes and let his head fall onto Combeferre's shoulder.
"I want to do the therapist thing, Ferre," he said with determination in his voice.
Combeferre's hands stilled. "Just like that?" he asked surprised but with the beginnings of a smile on his face. "You weren't that sure yesterday.."
"Yes," Enjolras answered, "There really isn't that much to think about. You were right. You're always right and I don't want to trouble myself or anyone around me any longer… I think this might be for the best… So, yeah… I want to do the therapist thing."
"Well, I think it would be the right decision, mon ami, you know that. And I'll support you through the whole thing if you want me to. But I'm prepared to keep my distance if you want me to."
"I want you to come with me the first time, if you want to," Enjolras said a little unsure. "You're such a big part of who I am, it only seems natural for you to be a part of this too. But I don't want anyone else to know… Not yet… I'm not ready for it."
Combeferre's smile grew and he continued washing Enjolras' hair. "They won't hear it from me," he said with a little squeeze of his friend's shoulder. They were both silent for a bit and then Combeferre added: "You always amaze me, Julien… I'm so proud of you."
Enjolras didn't say anything but his heart swelled at hearing those words. He sank a little further into Combeferre's touch and enjoyed the feeling of the huge weight that had lifted from his shoulders. He knew he didn't have to respond to those words; they understood each other even without speaking. And he knew they would be okay. Everything would be okay. So instead Enjolras only smiled and decided to start another topic of conversation.
"So… tell me about you're talk with Grantaire?"