Grantaire isn’t stupid.
He knows Enjolras is trying to break up with him.
It occurs to Grantaire that something is wrong when he catches Enjolras looking at him oddly, not exactly frowning, but not exactly pleased, for the billionth time of the day. Enjolras seems troubled, but he isn’t talking about it, isn’t making a big deal out of whatever it is that Grantaire probably did or said to him the last time he got drunk with Bahorel, and it isn’t like him to pretend that something isn’t weighing on his mind when it so obviously is.
Grantaire actually likes it when they fight. Amazing make up sex that they’ve got down to an exact science two days into their relationship aside, he thinks that each fight makes them understand each other better and grow into the relationship faster. The last fight they had (8 days ago, hail progress!), Enjolras had even been the one to seek him out. (It wasn’t an apology; it was a compromise. They don’t do apologies.) They were getting a lot better at this whole compromising thing, and that leaves one other reason why Enjolras is acting weird — Enjolras is trying to break up with him.
To be fair, he knew right from the start that it was always only going to be a matter of time before Enjolras decided that he wasn’t good enough, but it doesn’t really stop the hurt from surfacing, from crushing his heart into a million pieces.
He knows the healthy thing to do would be to talk to Enjolras about it, to let Enjolras go through his breakup speech, listen to him justify the breakup, nod and agree where he should, retreat to Jehan’s place to cry for a bit, and then move on, but Grantaire, being Grantaire, doesn’t.
Grantaire doesn't really know how he went from Enjolras is acting weirdly to Enjolras is going to break up with me to prevent initiation of breakup at all costs in the matter of seconds, but it sounds like a feasible plan, so he might as well stick with it.
He starts by avoiding Enjolras.
Well, that’s not right. He still sees Enjolras every day, but he’s just taken to not being alone together with Enjolras, because Enjolras may be stubborn as fuck and determined to break up with him, but he isn’t cruel, and he would never choose to do it in front of their friends.
So he shadows their friends, rotates among them so it doesn’t look so obvious to Enjolras.
He’s only just managed to get Jehan drunk and giggly when Enjolras extricates himself from what looks like a very serious conversation with Combeferre and makes his way to them.
“Can I have a moment with you, Grantaire?” Enjolras asks, and now that he’s closer, Grantaire can see the slight pinch on his forehead.
“Okay,” he replies, but makes no move to leave his seat next to Jehan. “What’s wrong?”
Enjolras starts to frown. “Can we talk in private?”
Grantaire forces himself to laugh. “Jehan’s completely out of it,” he says, petting the giggling poet’s hair. “If you’re going to dirty talk to me, I can promise that he won’t hear a single thing.” He waggles his eyebrows for added effect.
Enjolras’ frown deepens. “It’s imp—”
Jehan —bless him— chooses this very moment to let out a pitiful moan. “R, I don’t think I feel too good?”
Grantaire ruffles Jehan’s hair and says, “C’mon, let’s get you home.” He turns to Enjolras, shoots him an apologetic look. “Let’s shelve this conversation for later?”
He stays the night at Jehan’s place, and the next day when Enjolras asks about it, says that Jehan got cuddly and refused to let him go.
Enjolras still has that look on his face, and Grantaire makes a note to stick closely to Eponine that day.
“I feel like we haven’t been spending much time together,” Enjolras notes one day when he manages to catch Grantaire just as Cosette leaves to use the washroom.
Grantaire’s heart pounds and he hopes that Enjolras isn’t really desperate enough for a breakup to do it here and now. “Haven’t we?” he says, keeping his voice light. “I just saw you yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that.”
“That’s not the same. We see each other, but we’re not spending time with each other, and I want to,” Enjolras says, and there’s a slight hint of petulance in his tone, something that Grantaire would have laughed at and teased relentlessly before, but now just makes his heart clench because he knows exactly why Enjolras is so eager to spend time with him.
He forces a smile on his face and prays it doesn’t look more like a grimace than anything else. “We could do something together tomorrow?”
Enjolras smiles, and wow, Grantaire is going to miss the stupid way Enjolras smiles so much when this is all over. He wonders if he’ll get smiles like that, bright and wide and easy, directed at him after they break up. He wonders if they’ll stay friends after. Probably. Or at least they’ll try for awhile, and then Enjolras will realize Grantaire isn’t worth all his time, or Grantaire will decide that the heartbreak is too much to bear, and then they won’t try anymore.
“I’d like that,” Enjolras says, and what were they talking about again? Oh, right, going out tomorrow.
“We could go on a picnic?” Grantaire suggests, blurts out, really, to stop himself from saying just do it now already. “We’ve never been on a picnic before. We should go on a picnic.” No, they shouldn’t, because they shouldn’t be alone. “I bet Courfeyrac knows some really good places to go to. Hey, wait, we should ask Courfeyrac and Combeferre to go along! It’ll be like a double date.”
Enjolras looks confused. “What?”
“A double date,” Grantaire repeats, and prances off in the general direction of Courfeyrac. “Don’t worry, I’ll arrange it!”
“Do you want to tell me what is going on?” Courfeyrac asks, when they get far ahead enough of Combeferre and Enjolras as they make the hike up the hill where Courfeyrac swears the best place for a picnic is. “You normally jump at every opportunity to be alone with Enjolras.”
Grantaire shrugs and tries for a smirk. “Why? Can’t a guy spend time with his friends now?”
Courfeyrac snorts. “Not when the other option is going on a date with Enjolras. He tells Combeferre everything; I know what you two get up to on your dates.”
Grantaire flushes. “Shut up.”
“Seriously, though,” Courfeyrac says after awhile. “What’s going on? Are you fighting?”
“Not really,” Grantaire says.
Courfeyrac arches an eyebrow. “Is Enjolras being stupid again?”
“Nope,” Grantaire replies. Dating him was a stupid choice, choosing to break up with him is Enjolras being smart.
Courfeyrac’s eyes narrow, and then widen in understanding. “Is this a sex thing?” he asks. “Keep your hands off each other for as long as you can, and then unleash the sexual tension after?”
Grantaire gives Courfeyrac a look. “I don’t want an insight to your sex life, Courf.”
Courfeyrac grins. “I am neither confirming nor denying anything.”
Grantaire shakes his head.
Courfeyrac doesn’t relent in his pursuit for an answer. “So, what is it really?”
Grantaire sighs. “We’re not fighting,” he says again. “Not yet anyway. I’m trying to, I don’t know, draw it out or something.”
Courfeyrac mock-gasps. “You? Try to avoid an argument?”
“You’re an asshole,” Grantaire tells him, grinning.
It doesn’t take long for Combeferre and Enjolras to catch up to them. Courfeyrac flocks to Combeferre the moment he hears his voice, and even now it makes Grantaire smile to see them together.
Enjolras comes over to Grantaire, smiling slightly, takes his hand in his and laces their fingers together, and Grantaire smiles at him, and pushes the panic out from his mind by reminding himself that Enjolras would never break up with him in front of their friends. Enjolras cares too much for his feelings to do that, probably even tried to talk himself out of breaking up with Grantaire before the cons severely outweighed the pros.
“This was a good idea,” Enjolras says. “The picnic.”
“We haven’t even started on the picnic,” Grantaire says, rolling his eyes.
“Well, everything leading up to the picnic that hasn’t happened yet has been great, so I have a lot of faith in that picnic,” Enjolras tells him, and then, God, and then he brings their joined hands up to press a kiss to Grantaire’s knuckles. “I miss spending time with you.”
“No, you didn’t,” Grantaire tells him, and grins to hide the fact that all the air has been sucked out of his lungs. “You just missed having someone to argue with you.”
“Combeferre argues with me,” Enjolras says with a sigh, in the well-worn tones of someone who has had to repeat themselves one too many times, and Grantaire hates (loves) this because this is normal, this is the perfect kind of normal, this is the kind of normal that they shouldn’t be having right now because it’s messing with Grantaire’s head, and wow, he’d always pegged Enjolras as someone who couldn’t pull off a lie, who would blush and get nervous and be obvious, but of course he isn’t because the stupid bastard is good at everything.
“Combeferre pretends to argue with you because you get twitchy when he agrees with everything you say,” Grantaire settles on replying, because he can do normal too, if Enjolras wants him to. “I have ruined you for argument-free conversations. I should be ashamed of myself.”
“That would achieve nothing,” Enjolras says with a laugh. “You should focus on arguing with me more so Combeferre wouldn’t have to.”
Grantaire, naturally, interprets that as ‘I would like for us to stay friends after the breakup’.
“Or I could stop,” he says, trying to swallow the lump in his throat, “and get you used to having everyone agree with you again.”
“He would undergo a massive withdrawal,” Courfeyrac calls from the front, raising his voice slightly so they can hear him properly. “It would kill him.”
Combeferre turns over with a grin. “It actually would, I think.”
“You need to rethink your selection of friends,” Grantaire murmurs, and Enjolras laughs.
They walk in silence for the rest of the short walk up the hill, occasionally laughing at Courfeyrac’s mindless chattering, and Grantaire is trying not to think about anything else, really, he is. He’s trying to enjoy their day out, trying to enjoy the feeling of Enjolras’ hand in his, but his shoulders are tense and his palms are growing sweaty, and there’s no way that Enjolras has missed that.
“Are you alright?” Enjolras says quietly when Courfeyrac sets the picnic basket down by a tall oak and declares that they have found their perfect spot. “You don’t look so good.”
Grantaire forces a smile. “I’m probably just tired?”
Enjolras frowns, clearly unconvinced, but he doesn’t say anything. He keeps an eye on Grantaire, though, even when he babbled something about light and composition and started sketching just so he wouldn’t have to talk to him. Grantaire knows he’s watching because the prickle at the back of his neck is something he is very familiar with, something he used to love a lot because having Enjolras’ sole attention on him was the best.
“Something is wrong,” Enjolras says a little later. “You’re upset at me.”
Grantaire pauses where he’s trying to make a quick sketch of Courfeyrac juggling apples and looks at Enjolras. “No, I’m not.”
Enjolras’ frown deepens, and he looks unhappy, which makes Grantaire wants to laugh and cry at the same time, because oh, Enjolras is good, he is so very good at this. If he makes Grantaire withdraw from him and then act like everything is fine, when the breakup goes through, no-one will fault him because everyone would have noticed how odd Grantaire’s been acting and (rightly) assume that he caused it. God, Enjolras is good.
“You are,” Enjolras says. “You are upset at me, and I don’t know why. I want to know why.”
Grantaire smiles at him. “I’m not upset at you, Enjolras. I’m not, I promise.” He sets his sketchbook to the side and lets Enjolras rest his head on his lap, a position they would find themselves in after most of their fights fizzle out. They don’t make a habit out of apologizing —Grantaire is too stubborn, and Enjolras just really doesn’t see anything to apologize for— so Grantaire gets that this is the closest to a sorry for our eventual breakup he’s going to get.
And he’s— He’s not okay with it, but he can see why it’s bound to happen, and he’s okay with letting it happen. A little bit of heartbreak is worth it for all the happy times they had together.
“Enjolras has been texting me all day to ask me what’s wrong with you,” Eponine says. “I’m running out of ways to tell him that 1) it’s none of my business, and 2) I don’t know. The first one still stands, but I’d really like to rectify the second.”
Grantaire heaves a sigh. He’d escaped to Eponine’s apartment right after the picnic, and has been there the whole weekend, and he should really tell her about it, but he can’t stop himself from thinking that if he just doesn’t say it out loud, then it’s not going to happen.
“It’s nothing,” he settles on saying, because he’s stupid. “We had a fight, he’s mostly still oblivious about it. It will pass.”
Eponine’s eyes narrow into slits. “I don’t believe you.”
Grantaire shrugs, as if to say what can I do about that?.
“There’s no way he’d still be oblivious about a fight, because you get off on arguing with Enjolras, and kind of do all you can to make it a Big Deal.” Her frown deepens. “And you don’t hide out in my apartment when you fight. You haven’t had to hide out in my apartment when you fight since the both of you got together.”
Grantaire is saved from having to stumble for a reply when his phone chimes with a message.
I think we need to talk. Can we have dinner tonight?
Grantaire lets out a resigned sigh. He’s dragged it out long enough. It would be ridiculous to do this to Enjolras.
The second he sends the message, he panics. His lungs constrict and wow, he cannot really breathe, how does one breathe, he needs air right now, why aren’t his lungs cooperating?
Eponine is at his side in a split second. “Hey, hey, R, I’m here, you’re okay, breathe with me, you’re alright.”
They sit there in silence, slumped against the wall, for minutes, maybe hours. Eponine doesn’t stop talking to him, doesn’t stop reassuring him that he’s okay, and after, when he is, when his breathing is even and inhaling doesn’t hurt anymore, Grantaire talks.
tell everyone to be at r’s place for dinner.
i am not your messenger
ffs will pay you to do it fast and without e finding out. this is for r.
Enjolras is still glaring at him as he lets the last of their friends into his apartment. Grantaire puts on his best innocent smile and shrugs. “Is there a problem?”
Enjolras’ glower intensifies. “When I said dinner, I was thinking something more private.”
“Oh, I must have misunderstood you.” He is pretty sure Enjolras can tell that he is faking his surprise, but as long as he doesn’t call him out on it, which Grantaire is pretty sure he won’t, he should be fine. “But, well, they’re all here now, so there’s really nothing we can—”
“Out!” Enjolras yells, and everyone turns to stare at him. “I’m sorry, but all of you need to leave right the fuck now.”
Jehan frowns. “But Gavroche said—”
Enjolras’ look effectively shuts Jehan up.
“I’m not leaving R with you—” Eponine growls, but when Grantaire shakes his head minutely and mouths don’t, it’s okay, she stops.
He doesn’t really want to have this fight in front of everyone. Enjolras normally has very good control of his emotions, and for him to flare out like this, especially with Combeferre round, is rare. Grantaire must have pushed him to his limit.
Enjolras stalks to the door, wrenches it open and repeats, “Out!”
Everyone scrambles out, Eponine glowers at Enjolras the whole way out, and Enjolras obviously takes great pleasure in slamming the door after them.
“Was that really necessary?” Grantaire asks, breaking the silence. Enjolras is still facing the door, and his shoulders are shaking with what Grantaire thinks is probably anger, and wow, Enjolras must really want to break up with him as soon as humanly possible.
“Was that really necessary?” Enjolras parrots, turning over slowly to face him. “I haven’t had the chance to speak to you alone in almost two weeks, Grantaire. You knew I wanted to talk to you.”
“Yeah, well, now you can,” Grantaire replies, and it’s hard to keep the bitterness out of his voice, so he figures he shouldn’t even try. “C’mon, Apollo, you have me now, if we get this over with quick enough, I can still catch Bossuet at the bar,” he says, and feels a surge of satisfaction in him when Enjolras flinches at the nickname. He knows Enjolras doesn’t like it, and ever since they got together, he’s made it a point to only use it when they’re in a fight, when he’s really angry at Enjolras.
“Get what over with quickly?” Enjolras asks.
Grantaire rolls his eyes. “Give me a bit of credit,” he says. “You’ve been acting weird for two weeks now, I know what’s going on. I want to keep Ep, Jehan and Bahorel. I’m pretty sure they like me better anyway.”
Enjolras frowns. “What the hell are you talking about, Grantaire?”
Grantaire gets angry, because it’s either that or to start crying, and he isn’t about to give Enjolras that satisfaction. “I’m talking about the breakup, Enjolras,” he bites out. “I’m talking about the nice speech you probably already memorized telling me to fuck off.”
“The breakup,” Enjolras mouths, and he looks-
Fuck, Grantaire doesn’t really know what Enjolras looks like right now. He can’t really see Enjolras properly because his eyes are stinging and tearing up and fuck, he’s not going to cry. He isn’t.
“What the fuck,” Enjolras says, and now that his vision has cleared up slightly, Grantaire can see that he looks absolutely livid. “What the fuck, Grantaire? I don’t want to break up with you. What the fuck?”
Grantaire blinks up at him. “You don’t want to break up with me?”
Enjolras throws his hands up in frustration. “Of course I don’t want to break up with you!” he yells. “I’ve spent two whole days trying to figure out if you want to break up with me.”
“What?” Grantaire says. “No!”
“Then why would you think— What the fuck is wrong with you?”
“What the fuck is wrong with me?” Grantaire asks, incredulous. “What the fuck is wrong with you? If you hadn’t been acting all weird, I wouldn’t have jumped to the wrong conclusions!”
“I haven’t been—”
Grantaire gives him a look.
“Okay, fine,” Enjolras concedes. “I was acting a little off, but it wasn’t because I wanted to break up with you? How was that ever in the picture?”
“What was I supposed to think?” Grantaire says. “You weren’t telling me shit.”
“I was trying to figure out how to tell you,” Enjolras tells him, and he’s calmer now, which is a good thing, because it helps to ground Grantaire, helps to stop him from freaking out about how he almost made a mess out of everything from nothing. “I am still trying to figure out how to tell you.”
“I don’t know, Enjolras,” he sighs, “maybe just try telling it to me straightforwardly.”
“I love you,” Enjolras says. Well, blurts it out in a rush, really.
Grantaire blinks, slowly. Then tries to remember how exactly he got here, tries to make sure that he’s not passed out on Bahorel’s couch, having some kind of drunken hallucination. “What.”
Enjolras takes a breath, and this time when he says it again, he does it slower. “I love you.”
Grantaire stares at him, gaping.
“I love you,” Enjolras says, “and I don’t know how you could ever think that I wanted to break up with you, because fuck, R, I’m so stupidly in love with you.”
“No, you’re not,” Grantaire says dumbly.
“Yes, I am,” Enjolras tells him, uncharacteristically patient. Some of the anger has ebbed out of him, and the look in his eyes is softer now, laced with fondness and affection that Grantaire really can’t understand. “I love you.”
Grantaire makes a noise high in his throat. “You love me,” he squeaks.
Enjolras smiles and takes two steps forward, crowding into Grantaire’s personal space. “Yes.”
“You have fucking terrible taste in men,” Grantaire says, and then crushes their lips together in a kiss that is just this side of too much, teeth clacking together painfully, before Enjolras pulls away to pepper his jaw with tiny kisses.
“I don’t,” Enjolras says. “You’re not terrible.”
Grantaire snorts and Enjolras looks at him for a long moment before he says, quietly, “You’re wonderful. I am better with you.”
Grantaire’s breath catches in his throat. “I am not,” he says, hearing his own voice wobble and feeling his eyes sting. “You’re going to wake up one day and realize that I’m not.”
“I know how I feel about you, and I know that feeling isn’t going to change,” Enjolras says. “You’ve said it yourself, I’m stupidly stubborn. I never change my mind after I’ve decided on something.”
Enjolras cuts him off with a kiss. “I love you,” he says when he pulls away.
“This is a bad idea—”
The rest of his words are muffled by another kiss. “I love you,” Enjolras repeats.
“You’re just going to keep doing this until I give in, aren’t you?” Grantaire asks, a smile beginning to twitch at the corner of his lips.
Enjolras nods. “I can do this all day. I’ll say it as many times as you need me to. I’ll say it every day for the rest of my life. I’ll say it all the time, everywhere, and eventually you’re going to give up fighting me on this because I’m going to be horrible about it. I’ll pop into your lectures to yell that I love you, I’ll pepper it in my speeches at the Musain even though it’ll have nothing to do with anything I’m saying, and I won’t stop, ever, because you can’t stop me from speaking the truth.”
“Stop being ridiculous,” Grantaire says, trying to sound chiding, but missing the mark by a long shot because his pulse is quickening and he can’t stop his grin from growing, because this is actually happening.
Enjolras loves him.
“You love me,” he breathes, and at Enjolras’ fierce affirmation, lets out a laugh that’s full of relief and delight and pulls Enjolras in for a kiss.
“I can’t believe you thought I was going to break up with you,” Enjolras says when they part, scowling slightly.
Grantaire just laughs and laughs and keeps laughing.