Chapter 1: Technically
A groan escaped his lips as he attempted for the third time, in vane, to tame the untameable. To flatten the unflattenable. To uncurl the, well you get the idea. His mop of blond curls remained as wild as always. One day, Enjolras promised himself, he would figure out how to control the cascades of golden hair that everyone else seemed to love, but were to him simply an annoyance.
One person in particular had expressed his fondness for those curls.
Oh Apollo, why must you taunt me so with your golden halo of-
Other than the hair, he looked at himself in the mirror and decided that he looked acceptable enough for a first day of school. Despite the stress of being in the last year of secondary education, it did come with its perks, such as the freedom to wear whatever he wanted - within reason, of course. (Though his friend Courfeyrac took it upon himself to test this one day by wearing a unitard to school. It came as a surprise to absolutely no one that Javert was most displeased by this). The black jeans, the classic 'Enjolras' red shirt - as it had been coined by his friends - and sneakers. After nodding at himself, he grabbed his satchel, his notebook and began to head into the kitchen.
The window in the kitchen was open, the soft September breeze flowing into the room and washing over Enjolras refreshingly. He eyed the glowing digits of the clock in the corner of the room. 6.45am: his mother would still be asleep in the next room.
Enjolras and his mother lived in a flat in the city, around the corner from the Royal Courts of Justice. It had been the two of them for just over 10 years. But that was a story for another time.
Well living in the city came with its ups and downs, but having to get up at 6am every morning was definitely one of the latter. Enjolras went to school in South London – at least an hour away from where he lived, hence why he had to wake up so early. Enjolras had learned not to complain though; he knew that there were those far worse off than he was in his swanky London apartment. Swinging open the fridge, he grabbed the lunch he'd efficiently prepared the night before, shutting the door with his hip and shoving the lunch into his bag.
At 7.01, his phone pinged. A text from Courfeyrac.
I know this is your favourite time of the year and all, but how is it that time of the year already?
He grinned down at the screen and shot back his reply. You know me, I just can’t get enough of those early mornings.
Contrary to popular belief, Enjolras was not a morning person. A second later and the reply had shot in.
Bet it’s harder waking up without your summer lover ;)
Enjolras scowled. He knew, he knew that telling Courfeyrac and Combeferre that he had possibly met someone over the summer holidays was a terrible idea. He had never even confirmed it but his slight hesitation when he was asked led them to immediately jump to the worst conclusions.
Just don’t be late for once in your life Enjolras responded. He wished he could have come up with something a bit more stinging but alas, whenever he wasn’t talking about political injustices and the like he lost all forms of eloquence.
Once he was certain that he’d packed everything up for his first day back at school, he went into his mother’s room, kissed her forehead as was his usual routine, and headed out of the apartment. Setting off at a brisk pace, Enjolras looked at the city waking around him.
Though living in the city was stressful and meant he had to get up ridiculously early – as was previously mentioned, Enjolras was not a morning person – there was nothing Enjolras loved more than people, seeing people, hearing people, watching people. Not in a creepy way, but just looking around himself at the people that lived lives in exact details that Enjolras would never know. Even at just after 7am, the streets of Holborn were bustling with businessmen and businesswomen, with scowling faces and newspapers in hand. Descending into the tube station, Enjolras made his way onto the platform and waited the few short moments before the tube arrived.
During the journey, he allowed his thoughts to run away with him. After completing the same journey everyday for 7 (nearly) years, he had learned to put his body onto autopilot so he could think.
Enjolras loved to think, to dream.
As the train pulled into the final station, deep in the heart of SE London as Courfeyrac always said, Enjolras swung his backpack over his shoulder and headed out of the train. At 7.56, Enjolras was one of the only students jumping off the train – Enjolras always liked to be early and at this rate he was going to be getting into school at just after 8am. The only other person likely to be there already was Combeferre.
Enjolras smiled as Musain High School came into view. He didn’t care if it seemed slightly lame – or really really lame – but he loved his school. He was Head Boy, a straight A student with 100% attendance and excellent relations with all of the staff and student body. His subjects – French, History and Government and Politics – were all his passions and his friends, whom he loved dearly, were just the cherry on the top of the cake. So what was not to like about school?
At just after 8.03, Enjolras was, as he expected, one of the first to arrive in his Sixth Form common room and, as expected, Combeferre was there fiddling with a Rubik’s Cube, sitting in the sofa in the corner where their group had resided for the entirety of Year 12. Perhaps more unexpectedly, Courfeyrac was sitting across from him, smiling. Upon seeing Enjolras arrive, Combeferre grinned and placed the cube on the table, making his way over.
Combeferre was Enjolras’s best friend. Enjolras could still remember the day that they had met on the first day of Year 7 around 6 years ago. Combeferre had sat in the corner of the room, his nose tucked into a history textbook. The crowds of people in the room were loud and obnoxious, and Enjolras had immediately sat beside the small boy with ashy blond hair, asking him what he was reading. The rest was history – quite literally.
No less dorky, equally as shy and with the same ashy blond hair, Combeferre swung his arms around Enjolras and squeezed him tightly. The two were not known to hug, but after not seeing each other for over 3 weeks, it seemed to be necessary.
“Have a good summer?” Combeferre asked as he drew back from the hug.
“The best,” Enjolras replied with a grin.
“Oh yes, I can imagine,” Courfeyrac responded, running over to the two and throwing himself at Enjolras. “Your exchange to Paris must’ve been…insightful.”
Enjolras pushed Courfeyrac away, who then ruffled his hair in revenge – the hair that Enjolras had spent at least 3 and a half minutes trying to tame that morning.
Where Combeferre lacked confidence, Courfeyrac made up for it in spades. The boy with brunette curls and bright golden eyes was, in the nicest way, an annoying and boisterous toddler in the body of, well, an annoying and boisterous toddler; Courfeyrac was similar in build to an elf, though a very loud elf. A drama student through and through, Courfeyrac completed the trio of mismatched protestors – as their teachers often called them.
“I don’t know what that comment was in reference to,” Enjolras started, and before Courfeyrac could open his mouth to speak he continued, “and I do not wish to know!”
Courfeyrac made an incredulous noise but relented, though Enjolras suspected this was simply so that he could bring the topic back up once he had an audience.
“How were your holidays?” Enjolras asked, realising that he actually hadn’t talked to his friends since before he left for Paris – almost a month ago.
Courfeyrac smiled fondly as he remembered his six weeks of freedom from school. “Amazing, ‘Ferre and I went to this awesome bar last week. It had fairy lights and lanterns and there was this awesome live band…”
As Courfeyrac spoke, Combeferre’s face turned more and more into something that resembled an apple, the tips of his ears turning to the colour of grapes. Enjolras was tempted to say it sounded like a date, but didn’t want to embarrass his friend any further – his friend that he knew had had a crush on Courf for as long as he’d known the boy.
Over the course of their conversation, more and more people filed into the common room, smiling and waving at Enjolras and the others as they took their usual seats. At 8.15 on the dot, Jehan walked in, followed by Cosette and Marius and Enjorlas grinned.
Jehan, in pink pastel dungarees and flower espadrilles, was the light of Enjorlas’s life, and he believed that anyone else who had had the joy of meeting Jehan would say the same thing. In their arms – which were somehow already covered in paint – Jehan carried a sketchbook and they grinned back at Enjorlas when they saw him.
Cosette, with Marius drifting along lovingly behind her, was a petite girl with long flowing brunette hair. Always smiling and friend to the world, Cosette too carried a sketchbook and was in fierce conversation with Jehan about something, probably to do with art. Marius behind her seemed dazed and confused, as he always did when he was around the girl.
“What are you two gossiping about?” Courfeyrac asked as the three of them arrived at their usual spot in the corner of the common room.
“Only the new gorgeous art teacher,” Jehan responded, their eyes gleaming. “He’s young, in his early 20s, with this gorgeous curly hair and bright blue eyes.”
Enjolras smiled to himself, a memory stirring of another 20 something art student with gorgeous curly hair and bright blue eyes. The conversation continued around him as he allowed himself to get pulled back into memories of the summer and the last few weeks in Paris.
When Enolras had snapped back into the conversation, he saw that three more of his friends, Joly, Bossuet and Eponine had arrived. The discussion had progressed now, and Courfeyrac was passionately re-enacting something that he found particularly funny. That was until Joly turned to Enjolras with a grin on his face.
“So, Enjolras, how was Paris?” he asked before blinking at him sweetly. Enjolras turned to look at Combeferre, who had become a shade of light pink, and Courf who was grinning at him malevolently.
He sighed before responding. “It was lovely thanks.”
“See any of the sights? La Tour Eiffel, Notre Dame-“
“The naked body of an attractive French man?” Courfeyrac interrupted Cosette in a singsong voice whilst batting his eyelashes at Enjolras, who joined Combeferre in the flushed-slightly-pink club. Everyone else in the group turned to look at each other incredulously before gazing back at Enjolras, who had one-upped Combeferre and had now turned a shade of light beetroot.
“Pray tell, Enj,” Bossuet piped up. “Tell us about this naked French man.”
“He wasn’t French,” Enjolras retorted.
“Oh but he was naked?”
“That’s not what I meant.”
“But you’re not denying it.”
“Courf I swear to God,” Courfeyrac dodged the scrunched up piece of paper that Enjolras had chucked his way.
“Still don’t know any details about the naked French man,” Eponine shouted. “Sorry, not French.”
Enjolras gazed at the wall and prayed, prayed that someone would come and save him, welding his eyes and ears shut and hoping that his friends would just move on and start talking about something else.
He didn’t know who he was kidding though, this was the hottest news the group had ever had to stew over – Enjolras was not exactly the “relationship” type.
“Enjolras, I’m talking to you,” a voice called, and Enjolras noticed that the entire group had gone silent. He turned to see the commander of the voice, and saw the familiar face of M. Valjean.
Valjean with kind eyes and slightly greying hair was the Deputy Head at Musain High School. As Head Boy, Enjolras had to work with Valjean often, and thankfully he was a pretty cool guy.
“Sorry sir, I was just in my own head,” Enjolras replied sheepishly, hoping that Valjean hadn’t been in the room long enough to hear his friends taunting him. “What can I do for you?”
“Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten your duties already, Enjolras,” Valjean said, not unkindly. “It’s assembly this morning.”
“Oh, yes of course, sorry sir.”
“Don’t blame Enjolras sir, he had a very busy summer in Paris, you see,” Courfeyrac started, though as Enjolras got up to leave he may have accidentally kicked Courfeyrac’s shin as he left, causing a shout to burst from the boy’s lips.
Enjolras followed Valjean back out of the common room, turning and glaring at his friends as he left who all smiled at him, waving.
“How were your holidays, my boy?” Valjean asked as they headed through the school towards the Assembly hall. Enjolras had always liked Valjean – conversational but not to the point of being annoying.
“Not bad, sir, thank you.”
“And your exchange to Paris was eventful, I gather?”
Enjolras blushed again. How had he blushed so many times within being in school for less than half an hour. “Yes, sir. I learnt a lot about French history. It was very insightful.”
Valjean hummed, a smile tugging at his lips. Enjolras was unsure as to whether the smile was just to be nice or because Valjean had overheard something from before, but decided that he was already too stressed to find the answer to that question.
They continued to chat as the time ticked back and eventually the first couple of classes began to arrive for assembly. Enjolras took his place by the door at the back of the hall and welcomed people inside.
As the hall had begun to fill, Enjolras scanned the crowd from his spot at the back of the hall, taking it all in. It had only just hit him that this was his last ever first day back at school. He was never that sentimental, but looking at the young 12 year olds looking terrified at the front of the hall and knowing that he was in their position 6 years ago made him feel oddly emotional.
He didn’t like it.
Then his eyes caught onto a figure sitting with the teachers. He could only see the back of his head, but the brown curls caught his attention. The brown curls that looked so like the curls he had so often run his hands through over the summer.
He immediately found himself slipping back into his memories, and before he could stop himself he was falling…
Paris, Aug 12th
“Is anyone sitting here?”
Enjolras felt odd, out of place. He didn’t usually come to bars, but one of the boys on his French exchange had suggested the spot. Enjolras had resisted the urge to leave his hotel room, but after four days he found himself going slightly stir crazy. So here he was, in a bar. Full of people. None of which he knew and all of which were conversing in French.
French, shit. Enjolras hadn’t even thought to ask the question in anything other than English.
“Pardonnez-moi, est-ce que je peux-“
“Hey man, don’t sweat it, you can sit there,” the man responded. He swivelled around to smile at Enjolras and whoa.
Enjolras caught himself grinning giddily at the man and immediately told himself to calm down. “Thanks.”
“No problem,” the guy responded. He looked young, only a couple of years older than Enjolras probably, with brown curly hair and bright blue eyes that shone even in the dim light of the bar. “Actually quite nice to have someone here that isn’t speaking at 60mph in an language that I can understand.”
Enjorlas smiled widely again. “That I can understand.”
“I’m Grantaire,” the man said, reaching over and extending a paint-stained hand to Enjorlas for him to take. “Don’t worry, the paint’s dry.”
“Enjolras,” he responded. For some reason, he couldn’t wipe that stupid grin off of his face. “What brings you to Paris, Grantaire?”
“I’m on a politics trip for my degree,” Grantaire pulled his glass to his lips and sipped it. Enjorlas had to drag his eyes away from the other mans mouth. “Going into my final year at Edinburgh, though to be honest with you I don’t really want to go back. Art is my real passion.”
Enjolras listened thoughtfully to what Grantaire was saying, not even realising he was staring before Grantaire laughed. “Can I get you a drink?”
Enjolras blushed and nodded, before Grantaire ordered in perfect French. “What about you, what brings you to l’Hexagone?”
“I’m-“ Enjolras started, then stopped. “I’m visiting family.” He felt a twinge of guilt for lying to Grantaire, but he wasn’t about to tell the guy that he was a 17 year old on a French exchange. “My grandparents live in Paris.” This was also true. So technically he wasn’t lying.
The bartender handed Enjolras his drink, which he immediately drank to calm his nerves. He spluttered a little when he got to the bottom and Grantaire laughed, though not unkindly. “Easy tiger.”
Enjolras rolled his eyes and nudged Grantaire’s shoulder with his own. The two looked at each other, locking eyes and –
He shook his head and gazed around, still in a slight daze. The entire hall was silent, blank faces staring over at him.
In his daydream, Enjolras had not only missed the entire assembly, but also the dismissal of the staff, upper students and all except for the Year 7s. Valjean stood at the other end of the hall, beckoning him over with a questioning look on his face. Enjolras hurried over, mouthing sorry to Valjean as he approached.
“As I was saying, this is our Head Boy, Enjolras, who will be happy to help you with any questions you should have, though I assure you he will not be as hard to get ahold of next time,” Valjean explained, earning a snigger from the younger students.
Enjolras nodded at the students, then at Valjean before running hurriedly out of the hall, embarrassed, with his head in his hands. Why couldn’t he get Grantaire out of his mind? He would kill Courf for telling everyone about this. Not like it was any of his business anyway. Typical behaviour from him.
In his anger, Enjolras forgot to look where he was going, and turning the corner he crashed into someone at full speed, knocking whatever was in their hands flying everywhere through the thankfully empty corridor.
“Crap, sorry,” Enjolras said, immediately kneeling and picking up what he now realised were paintbrushes.
“No, it’s my fault,” the other person said, also clearly in a hurry. “I was rushing.”
“Me too,” Enjolras continued. Grabbing the final paintbrush, he got up from the floor and sighed, turning to look at who he’d just flung himself on to.
Chapter 2: Obviously
The lovers are reunited and things are...awkward.
Well here we are with part 2. i couldn't help but churn it out so sorry for the brevity of this chapter, although it was always going to be a short-ish chapter.
hopefully i'll have part 3 up by wednesday at the rate i'm going, but don't hold me to that/
When Enjolras had said goodbye to Grantaire, he had imagined their reunion to be romantic and loving with perhaps a hint of sexual healing.
Never did he ever imagine that they would be reunited in the science corridor of his high school. The high school that he wasn’t supposed to be at seeing as he’d told Grantaire he was a Law student at Cambridge.
Before he could even think, he had grabbed Grantaire and whipped him into the nearest available classroom, hoping not to draw too much attention to himself. Grantaire’s face had not moved in around a minute and it was starting to worry Enjolras.
Once the door had been firmly shut behind them, he huffed out a breath that he didn’t even know he had been holding. Flicking on the light switch, he turned to face Grantaire who looked as shellshocked as before.
Enjolras would have said something, but he had lost all power of speech – a feeling that he was not used to.
Grantaire eventually filled the void of silence. “What…what are you doing here?”
“Right, well,” Enjolras started before he realised he didn’t know how to finish that sentence. “What are you doing here?”
“That’s not an answer,” Grantaire sighed.
Enjolras looked at him pleadingly and he sighed again. “Fine. I dropped out of Edinburgh and I’m working as an art teacher until I can find my feet. I was going to come and surprise you at Cambridge this weekend, but I guess you beat me to it. Surprise!” He huffed at the end of his sentence, exasperatedly. “Your turn, and it better be good.”
“Um,” Enjolras started, but once again the end of the sentence was an incomprehensible mess of words in his mind. “So…there’s a slight chance that…I could have possibly…lied…at some point…” Enjolras spoke every word as if he were treading on eggshells, which he supposed – metaphorically – he was.
“I gathered as much. Please continue.”
Grantaire was growing impatient. “Okay so maybe I’m 17 and I was in France for the exchange programme my school runs and I was so crazy about you but now I’ve fucked it up because I lied and you’re gonna hate me and I just wanted you to want me and I knew you wouldn’t if you knew the truth and I’m so sorry and I guess this is my fault for being to shy to just tell you the truth in the first place but what would a 20something artist want with someone like me I mean I’m only 17 well now you know I guess you can just go and I promise I won’t make any of this weird for you and I won’t tell anyone bu-“
Enjolras finally breathed and realised that tears threatened to fall at any minute.
“Hey, hey,” Grantaire reached out to Enjolras but then caught himself, settling his hand on Enjolras’s forearm. The slight contact was enough to calm Enjolras down completely – he had forgotten how blissful it felt to have Grantaire just touch him. “I could never hate you.”
Enjolras smiled weakly at him before the severity of the situation dawned on him again. “Grantaire what are we gonna-“
A bell screeched loudly and Enjolras, realising he had neither his bags nor his books, swore knowing he would be late for his first lesson. He had a reputation to uphold, now more than ever.
“I’ll see you round, let’s just keep this between us for now,” Grantaire said. Though he appeared calm, Enjolras could see the fear in his eyes and immediately felt awful.
“Grantaire, wait,” Enjolras started, but Grantaire had already taken his brown curls and fled from the room, bumping into someone on his way out and apologising quickly.
Gathering himself quickly, he started to head out of the classroom before he too bumped into someone.
“Careful,” the person said, and Enjolras cursed. It was Marius. “That new art teacher just did the exact same thing. Hey why were you in there with him?”
“It’s a long story Marius,” he sighed. “Just please, do me a favour and don’t tell anyone about this.”
“Sure thing,” Marius said, smiling. He held out Enjolras’s bags and French books. “We’ve got first period together so I thought I’d grab your things.”
Enjolras relented and the frown on his face twisted upwards into a smile. “Thank you.”
The morning slipped by and try as he might, Enjolras couldn’t concentrate for the life of him on the task at hand – which at 11.38am just happened to be planning an essay on the impact of the New Deal on African Americans.
Even Combeferre couldn’t get him to snap out of his daze, and normally discussing the effectiveness of the New Deal would rile Enjolras up so much that he would be asked to leave the class. Hence why everyone knew there was something wrong.
“You haven’t been yourself since assembly,” Combeferre said worriedly.
Courfeyrac hummed in agreement. “Wonder what you were daydreaming about…”
“Courf, I love you, we’ve been friends for years. But if you make one more comment I swear to all that is holy I will end you,” Enjolras hissed.
Combeferre looked scandalised whilst Courfeyrac simply continued to grin towards Enjolras. “You still haven’t denied any of it.”
Enjolras huffed and went back to scribbling nonsensical notes into his book. Courfeyrac nodded smugly but knew not to push it any further. Enjolras had been known to lose his temper every once in awhile and today was looking like one of those days. Courfeyrac was wise enough to know not to be the one to place the last straw on his back – God knows he didn’t want to suffer from the wrath of Enjolras. Combeferre wondered who the unlucky bystander would be to suffer from it this time.
How had any of this happened? Not one week ago, Enjolras had been lying on Grantaire’s bed in his hotel room in Paris, laughing as the other man serenaded him whilst prancing around the room.
The same Grantaire that was now teaching a bunch of 11 year olds about the colour wheel.
How could he have let this happen? Not that anyone had any say in coincidences but Enjolras should have just been straight with Grantaire. Although straight was the last thing he’d been, in more ways than one.
God he sounded like Courfeyrac.
By the end of the lesson, Enjolras had resolved to find Grantaire before lunch to talk to him. He should try to explain himself at a normal talking pace, to try and salvage a friendship at least. There was nothing to say that he and Grantaire couldn’t be friends, there were no rules against that surely.
Enjolras sighed. This was going to be a long year.
The bell sounded and Enjolras immediately leapt out of his seat and grabbed his bag, muttering to Combeferre and Courf something about meeting Valjean. The surreptitious looks he received made him think that somehow he hadn’t been all that convincing.
Heading up the winding stairs to the art workshop at the top of the school, Enjolras ran through what he was going to say in his head as he brushed past the cascades of kids sprinting down the stairs to the lunch hall, wafts of whatever was cooking floating up through the building.
Enjolras poked his head into the art workshop and saw Grantaire at the back of the room with a couple of Year 8 students. He was sketching something and they were all crowding around eagerly, before they all erupted into fits of laughter. Enjolras couldn’t help but smile at the look on Grantaire’s face: utter joy at the happiness around him.
He also couldn’t help but feel a little disheartened when the smile dropped when he saw him in the doorway.
“Alright you lot, off to lunch before I eat all of it,” he shouted over the still-laughing 13-year-olds. They all scampered out of the classroom, yelling their goodbyes to Grantaire.
“They love you already,” Enjolras said, with a soft smile on his face.
“Who wouldn’t?” Grantaire joked as he cleared up the palettes that had been left scattered around the workshop. “How can I help you, Head Boy? You’re a famous name around here.”
Enjolras blushed. Again.
“I thought I could maybe give you a tour of the school, it’s one of my duties anyway so technically I have to,” Enjolras explained. “Not that I don’t want to, because I do want to but I also have to-“
“It’s okay, I’d like a tour,” Grantaire interrupted. “I actually have no idea where I’m going most of the time.”
“What’s new?” Enjolras was in awe that he was actually able to make a joke when he felt so awkward. Life was full of surprises, as he was gradually becoming aware of. Grantaire laughed heartily and it was like medicine immediately fixing Enjolras’s headache. “C’mon then, I’ll show you around.”
Grantaire finished tidying and followed Enjolras out of the workshop as they made their way down through the building. Enjolras occasionally pointed out various classrooms, but other than that the conversation was stunted and awkward.
“Let me show you the music rooms, they should be pretty much empty, they usually are around lunchtime,” Enjolras waffled on, spewing useless facts about the music facilities at the school. He’d given so many tours of the school at this point that he simply allowed the words to come out. Grantaire was polite enough to listen, or at least pretend that he was listening.
Arriving at the music rooms, Enjolras held the door open for Grantaire, who’s face immediately lit up when he saw the grand piano in the centre of the room. Enjolras knew how much Grantaire loved music.
Which totally wasn’t the reason why he’d brought Grantaire to the music rooms.
“So, I also wanted to explain myself,” Enjolras said once Grantaire had taken a seat at the piano. “I didn’t really do it, efficiently before.”
“You could say that,” Grantaire responded, not unkindly, His fingers tapped away at the keys, playing a soft melody. “Go on then.”
“Well. There’s no easy way to say this but I lied to you and, God, I’m so sorry R. I never wanted to lie to you, I felt so guilty from the get-go but I just really wanted to get to know you, and, well, you know,” Enjolras trailed off, rubbing a hand against the back of his neck awkwardly. “Anyway, I’m never going to forgive myself for lying to you-“
“You don’t need to apologise,” Grantaire interrupted, rising from the piano and walking back over to Enjolras. “To be completely honest, I don’t think that you being 17 would have stopped me.”
Enjolras blushed again.
“However, there is a serious problem at hand,” Grantaire said, stopping in front of Enjolras and staring at him with those bright blue eyes. “It would be illegal for us to continue this,” He said, gesturing between the two of them. “As much as I want to.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” Enjolras sighed. “As much as I want to, too.” He reached out to take Grantaire’s hand and clasped it tight. “Can we at least be friends?”
Grantaire grinned at him brightly.
Enjolras thought he couldn’t possibly smile any harder if he tried.
“What makes you think I want to be your friend, Apollo?”
Enjolras was wrong.
Chapter 3: Thankfully
Les Amis express their views on Enjolras's romance, with Courfeyrac playing the role of ringleader.
I enjoyed writing this chapter. this is the first time meeting the Amis properly and enj's mum, but neither of these are in that great detail. that's coming up next chapter though hopefully! this was a fun chapter to write, hope you enjoy it!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“So, let me get this straight. Enjolras, the oh so innocent and pure Head Boy, who spent half of his school holiday in Paris on a school trip to, and I quote ‘boost his studies and his linguistic skills’, actually spent those three weeks partying and Lord knows what else in lieu of attending said school trip, in the paint-stained arms of a 24-year-old college dropout?”
Enjolras, though he loved all of his friends dearly, really fucking hated his friends sometimes.
Marius, though he had sworn not to tell anyone of the events he had encountered earlier that day was not the best at keeping secrets. This was a universally acknowledged fact.
Upon being told by Marius about the events of the morning – or rather after Marius was interrogated by Courfeyrac – Courfeyrac was able to piece together where Enjolras had rushed off to at the end of their history lesson and then proceeded to follow Enjolras and Grantaire on their tour around the school.
The cheeky bugger.
And Combeferre being Combeferre could not possibly say no to Courfeyrac and had tagged along. With their combined evil genius they had managed to fit the missing pieces of the puzzle together and had sat in the common room awaiting Enjolras’s return. Enjolras was surprised they didn’t have a Powerpoint presentation – something that Combeferre had been known to do in the past (memories of interrogating Bossuet about his thing with Joly sprung to mind, though Enjolras had been in on the joke that time).
“He’s not a college dropout,” Enjolras snapped. “He’s stopped studying politics to do art, to do what he loves.”
“How adorable,” Combeferre teased, though immediately blushed once Enjolras had shot him a look.
“And I did attend the school trip,” Enjolras continued, “…just not in the evenings.”
Courfeyrac whooped loudly and threw his head into his hands. “This is just too good,” he laughed, barely able to contain the sheer joy in his voice. “I’m so proud of you, although even I would have steered clear of the teacher category-“
“He was not my teacher when we met,” Enjolras sighed.
“No, but he was still 6 years older than you,” Combeferre pointed out.
“Yes…” Enjolras muttered.
Courfeyrac’s eyes lit up once more, his grin turning maniacal. “You didn’t tell him you were 17, did you.” It wasn’t a question. “This is too good!”
Enjolras had given up on telling Courfeyrac to shut up. It was probably easier at this point to simply let him burn out of his own accord, though it could not be stipulated when that would be.
“I can’t believe this,” Courfeyrac continued, mostly to himself – but also to Combeferre who as always was listening to Courfeyrac intently with a small smile ghosting on his lips. “Enjolras, who has never kissed anyone in his life, except for myself that one time Joly threw mistletoe at me and Enjolras was the closest living thing, got more action in three weeks than everyone in this school combined has got in their entire lives.”
Enjolras groaned and dropped his head into his hands. This couldn’t get any worse.
Except, of course, it could get so much worse.
“What are we talking about?” The usually comforting voice of Jehan made Enjolras want to rip out his hair.
Jehan brought with them almost every other member of their friendship group: Feuilly with one hand clutching a text book and the other dragging Bahorel along behind him, Marius blushing heavily as he walked beside Cosette, who had blue paint on her neck that he was kindly pointing out to her. Behind him was Eponine, scowling at the couple in front of her and whispering to Montparnasse angrily, and at the back of the group were Joly and Bossuet, trailing behind with their hands entwined.
The nine of them sat with the other three on their collection of sofas in the corner of the common room and Enjolras groaned again, knowing that his year was going to be an eventful one.
“Oh, nothing much, just about Enjolras’s summer fling being in this very school,” Courfeyrac responded in a scandalised tone.
The group immediately turned to Enjolras and all shot him questions, except for ‘Parnasse who as usual, couldn’t give a fuck. For once, Enjolras was grateful for his calming yet terrifying presence.
“But there aren’t any new students in our year,” Jehan piped up, receiving hums of agreement from the other members of the group. “Unless it was a younger student…”
“Getting colder, my friend, think in the other direction,” Courfeyrac said in a sing-song voice and waggling his eyebrows at Enjolras, who at this point was scrunched up in the corner and feigning tears. Although any minute now he would probably start crying from frustration.
Everyone hushed for a minute, confused looks on all their faces, until Cosette grinned widely. “Don’t tell me your summer fling was with Grantaire.”
With that the entire group went completely silent and stared at Enjolras expectedly. His hesitation was answer enough, and everyone immediately squealed in delight.
“No way,” Bossuet started. “Not this guy, he’s never stepped a toe out of line.”
“Think again,” Courfeyrac sang, delighted. Enjolras could have punched him in the face.
“Oh my god, that’s why you didn’t Skype me at any point whilst you were gone,” Jehan said. “You were with him every night?!”
Enjolras had given up many minutes ago, and nodded, resigning himself to Combeferre’s shoulder when the room erupted into squeals again “I hate you all,” he mumbled into Combeferre’s jumper.
“There, there,” Combeferre said, patting his shoulder soothingly, though Enjolras could hear the smug smile on his face and scowled again.
“What I want to know is how you guys even got together?” Bahorel shouted over the din. “How old is this guy?”
“More importantly, how did you land him?” Courfeyrac said. “Have you seen him? He’s gorgeous!”
The crowd all hummed in agreement, though Enjolras felt Combeferre physically tense beneath him. Combeferre cleared his throat, “However, there are some serious issues here. What are you going to do?”
The one thing Enjolras loved about his friends was that despite the constant teasing, they all cared about each other a lot. They all looked at him thoughtfully, and Enjolras could see that some of them were even wracking their brains for possible solutions, which brought a small smile to his face.
“We’ve talked about it,” Enjolras said, ignoring Courfeyrac who placed his hand over his heart and sighed dramatically, “and we’ve agreed to just be friends.”
Enjolras spoke with such a tone of finality that the group knew the conversation had ended. Even Courfeyrac knew not to push it further.
The one thing that Enjolras felt proudest about was his ability to focus on the task at hand, no matter what was going on in his life.
However that all seemed to go to shit as soon as Grantaire had strolled into his school.
Thankfully, Enjolras had a free afternoon which meant he was able to head home early.
Clear his head.
Saying goodbye to his friends, he headed out of the school and grabbed his headphones from his bag. Enjolras didn’t often listen to music, but at moments like this he found it helpful to, well, to clear his head.
Eponine had once stolen Enjolras’s phone and created a playlist for him entitled ‘if you ever want to SMASH someone’s HEAD IN’, which he supposed was fitting – the someone being Courfeyrac at this moment in time. He selected the playlist and hit play, the pounding drums and rush of guitars making him immediately feel more at ease.
There was something about the aggressive music that made him feel like the tension was being siphoned out of him through the headphones.
He definitely didn’t turn to look back at the art department as he left.
The journey at 2 in the afternoon was much calmer, with most people already at work, so Enjolras allowed himself once again to drift off into his memories and think back to the ease at which he had lived his summer holidays.
Grantaire lying beside him in bed. Grantaire painting him as he sat by the windowsill humming to himself. Grantaire twirling his hair around his fingers. Grantaire.
Finally arriving at his door, he twisted the key in the lock and strolled into the empty apartment, throwing his backpack onto the sofa and then proceeding to sink onto it himself.
Eponine’s music had helped him a bit. He was no longer angry. Just, well, he didn’t really know what he was feeling. Upset?
He remembered what Grantaire had said to him that morning, that he was going to come and visit him in Cambridge. The fact that Grantiare had wanted to come and visit him was enough to make Enjolras’s heart flip in his chest.
Cursing the world for this unfair situation and cursing himself for, well, for everything, he dragged himself up from the sofa and into the kitchen.
His mother had always said, if in doubt, eat some food. And so he strolled over to the fridge where said mother had left a note.
Home late again, sorry honey.
There’s a frozen pizza and some salad in the fridge. Love you! Mum x
Enjolras sighed again for what felt like the hundredth time that day. It would have been nice to talk to his mum about everything that had happened, though not in extensive detail. He was very close to his mum, but not that close. Just someone to talk to that wasn’t full of hormones and desperate for some kind of drama as everyone at high school was nowadays.
Resigning himself to his bedroom, he collapsed onto his bed and closed his eyes, only for a second so that he could gain the strength to do some work again.
Five hours later, with the sun starting to go down outside, Enjolras swore to himself and rose out of bed. He knew lying down had been a bad idea, and now his hair was sticking out in every direction, taunting him for falling asleep when he could’ve gotten ahead with his homework.
Seeing the illuminated screen on his phone, he realised what it was that had woken him up. A text from Grantaire.
I wish it wasn’t like this. I’ve been doing some thinking, and I feel like my resigning is the best thing to do in this situation. X
Enjolras woke immediately and began to dial his number. Grantaire couldn’t leave, not because of him. He’d dropped out of university, he probably had no money and nowhere else to go.
Grantaire picked up on the third ring, his voice thick with something that Enjorlas couldn’t quite put his finger on. Hope? “Hey.”
“You can’t resign,” Enjolras spluttered. “This is your job, you haven’t got anywhere elset to go. What are you going to do about money?”
Grantaire chuckled humourlessly. “Don’t worry about me, Apollo.”
Enjolras smiled at the nickname. “You can’t stop me from worrying about you. I care about you.”
“There’s no way out of this situation though,” Grantaire sighed.
“Look, where are you? Let me please come and convince you to stay,” Enjolras said.
“Are you sure that’s a good id-“
“Shut up, where are you?”
Enjolras could practically hear Grantaire grinning through the phone. “Peckham.”
“You’re living in Peckham?”
“Not all of us can live in swanky Holborn, Apollo.”
Enjolras could feel Grantaire’s eyes on him as soon as he entered the bar. Enjolras couldn’t deny that he attracted attention – being 6 foot 2 with curly blond hair that juxtaposed his brown skin meant he couldn’t really walk through a room without being noticed. He couldn’t help but think about the night they met.
Shaking that thought from his mind, he slid into the booth opposite from Grantaire and said immediately, “You can’t resign.”
“Nice to see you too,” Grantaire laughed, before taking a swig from his beer bottle. “Look, it’s the best solution to this problem.”
“I refuse to believe that.”
“Of course you do.”
“And what is that supposed to mean?” Enjolras shot back, but it did feel as though something had finally slipped back into normalcy. Arguing with Grantaire just felt right. It felt like they were back in France, back where everything was so nonsensical yet made so much sense.
“Well, Apollo, when have you ever agreed with me?” Grantaire shot back with a glint in the eye. He was clearly thinking the same thing.
“Alright fine, convince me then,” Enjolras responded, smirking at Grantaire. “Convince me that this is the ‘best solution to this problem’. What do you say to Valjean when you quit?”
“I’ll tell him that something’s come up at home,” Grantaire said, shrugging.
“And what about the kids who need an art teacher, what happens to them?”
Grantaire paused before shrugging again and responding with, “there are always more art teachers.”
“Alright then,” Enjolras said. “What about you?”
Grantaire took another swig of the bottle. “What about me?”
“Well, R, do you have any money? I’m guessing, seeing as this is only your first day of school that you haven’t received your first paycheque yet, and you certainly won’t be paid if you quit tomorrow. So how are you going to get by? How are you going to find another job in time?”
Grantaire, for the first time since Enjolras had known him, didn’t have a counterargument.
“Art colleges would consider being the art teacher at a high school to be extremely good experience,” Enjolras continued. “Not to mention you’d have access to all the art supplies you’ll need to make your portfolio when you apply for colleges next year.”
Grantaire’s eyelids thinned and he scowled at Enjolras.
“You know I’m right,” Enjolras said, not unkindly. “There are other, better solutions to this problem.”
“Such as?” Grantaire replied cynically.
Enjolras paused. “Friends.” He hated the word, now more than ever, because it was not the category that he wanted to put Grantaire into. “I know, it’s not going to be easy, to see each other around school and everything. But if you think about it, we’re not going to have to spend that much time together. I don’t do art, so we’ll never be alone together. And if we agree to just be friends, then we can keep things civil.”
“But-“ Grantaire stopped himself abruptly, clearly thinking carefully about his choice of words. “Do you think you can do that? Just go to being ‘friends’ or whatever, after these last few weeks?”
“We don’t have a choice,” he said softly. “I wish things weren’t like this, but they are so we have to make the best out of this situation. Friends for me is better than you leaving now.”
“I guess that’s true,” Grantaire said, sighing and clearly admitting defeat.
There were so many things that Enjolras wanted to say, but as soon as he had opened his mouth to speak, his phone began to ring. His mum.
“Shit,” he muttered, looking at the time. “Shit!”
“It’s 10.30,” Enjolras said, running his hand through his hair. He and his mum had a good relationship, built on trust, but he had no idea how he would react to him being at a bar with an older guy on a Tuesday night. Grantaire looked at Enjolras’s phone expectedly. “My mum.”
Grantaire laughed, “Oh yes, You’re 17.”
Enjolras shot him a look before answering the call. He figured lying to his mum would result in worse consequences than telling her the truth now.
“Where are you?” she said immediately, the worry evident in her tone. “The pizza hasn’t been cooked, you didn’t leave a note and the door was unlocked!”
Enjolras swore under his breath, he must have forgotten to lock it in his rush to convince Grantaire to stay. “I’m sorry, mum. I’m… I’m with Courfeyrac.” Oh well, there went telling his mum the truth. “He had a bit of a breakdown about school work and exams and everything and I rushed over to his house to make sure he was okay.”
“Enjolras, it is 10,30 on a Tuesday night,” she replied matter-of-factly. “Also, why does Courfeyrac’s house sound like a bar?”
Enjolras’s eyes widened in fear. His mum always knew when he was lying. “The rest of the gang is here, you know what they’re like.”
“And were you planning to come home tonight?”
“Yes, I was just about to leave,” he replied quickly.
“Do you need me to pick you-“
“No! Um, no I’m fine thank you. You’ve had a long day, I’ll just get the train. Be there in 45minutes,” he said, quickly gathering his things. “Sorry, mum.”
“That’s okay honey, I’ll probably be asleep when you get in. I’ll heat the pizza up for you,” she said, her tone relaxing.
“Thank you,” he said softly. “Love you.”
“Love you too, honey,” and with that she was gone. Enjolras released a breath that he didn’t know he was holding.
“You need to go,” Grantaire pointed out after a minute, and handed Enjolras his coat that was draped over the table.
“Sorry,” Enjolras said whilst grabbing the coat. He wasn’t quite sure why he was apologising or what he was apologising for, but it felt like he should. The two of them made their way out of the bar into the cool September evening. “Where are you headed?”
“Just around the corner,” Grantaire said. “Let me walk you to the train station.”
“You don’t have to-“
“That’s what friends are for,” Grantaire said, the word making Enjolras cringe. They walked in silence the short distance to the empty train station, save for two or three people making their late journey home. “Get home safe, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Enjolras smiled down at Grantaire. Why was the fact that the man was smaller than him so endearing? He was filled with the desire to hug Grantaire, but felt that it was probably inappropriate given the circumstances.
“See you tomorrow,” he said before heading up onto the platform. He turned, hoping to see Grantaire watching him go but found he had already left. His heart sank. He sighed once again. Thankfully it was only a 10minute wait for the train.
so there you have it. "Friends" sheesh. see you later in the week for the next chapter!
Chapter 4: Truthfully
The secret remains a secret, until it's no longer a secret.
It was raining.
The rain filled the silence, falling on the roof above them in a consistent pitter-patter of raindrops.
Three nights ago, Enjolras had stumbled into a bar and met a gorgeous guy who he then went home with. He had woken up in his arms, lazy kisses being pressed on his forehead, hands stroking up and down his bare back.
Two nights ago, he had called Grantaire and they had gone out on a date. Grantaire joked that they were doing everything in the wrong order. Enjolras smiled. Grantaire had pressed another kiss to his lips.
Last night, he had stayed the night at Grantaire’s again. He had wrapped his arms around him and whispered ‘I’m yours’ into his ear all night.
The evening came round again, and Enjolras was pounding on Grantaire’s door. It was briskly opened and he had rushed inside, whipping off clothes, kissing each other in a frenzy, collapsing onto the bed together, and now, it was raining.
In the comfortable silence, Grantaire stroked Enjolras’s hair and kissed his head every few minutes.
After what could have been hours passed, Enjolras asked him a question. “What is this?”
“Whatever you want it to be,” Grantaire responded softly.
“This feels like more than what it is,” Enjolras said, raising his head and resting his chin on Grantaire’s shoulder, gazing up into his blue eyes. “I want this to be more than what it is.”
“So do I,” Grantaire said, smiling and kissing Enjolras softly.
They lay there until the sun came up and the rain stopped falling.
Two weeks later
The only thing that was keeping Enjolras going at this point was coffee. He wouldn’t say that he was dependant on the hot black liquid, but, well, that’s exactly what he would say. The stress of the situation with Grantaire topped with the stress of A Levels and just life in general had almost tripled the amount of coffee that Enjolras consumed in a day.
It wasn’t like things were awkward between him and Grantaire, it was just that nothing happened between them. He barely saw him, just the familiar hint of cologne passing him in the hallway, brown curls disappearing around a corner before Enjolras could even mutter the word ‘hello’.
It stung that Grantaire was avoiding him, but at least he was still here. Although Enjolras wasn’t sure whether it was worse to have Grantaire always out of reach.
Enjolras was pleased, however, that his friends had appeared to drop the subject after a couple of days, probably under the influence of Jehan who, upon discovering Enjolras crying in the toilets one day had stormed into the common room and sternly told everyone not to mention Grantaire. Jehan was the cutest, but no one dared get on the wrong side of them.
Sitting in history class between Courfeyrac and Combeferre, Enjolras was having a heated debate on the influence of Reagan. He says a debate, but it was mostly him angrily saying words at Courfeyrac and Combeferre who every so often nodded in agreement.
A knock at the door and Enjolras stopped.
“Finally,” Courfeyrac said, receiving a glare from Enjolras. “I mean, yeah the SDI programme was a complete waste of money, damn.”
Enjolras rolled his eyes and continued writing, before shrieking out in pain as Courfeyrac elbowed his side.
“Are you asking for a punch?” he hissed angrily, but then turned his attention to the door where Courfeyrac was pointing. Grantaire stood there talking to his history teacher quietly. “And..?”
Courfeyrac looked at Combeferre worriedly. “Um, look at his neck…”
Enjolras tutted before looking back at Grantaire’s neck. From across the classroom, he could see purple bruises and he froze. Grantaire turned to smile at him and Enjolras felt his cheeks flush, though whether it was from the smile or from anger he wasn’t sure.
“Are you okay?” Combeferre asked once Grantaire had left from the classroom.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Enjolras said, spitting the words out. “I don’t know why I wouldn’t be fine, because it’s not like we’re together. In fact, we never were together, we basically only had sex, but we kind of agreed that we both wanted things to be more than that and now that he’s here we obviously can’t have that, we can’t even have sex because you know, the law, but it’s just irritating that he can go and just get with other people and I can’t because I still want to be with him.”
Courfeyrac and Combeferre stared at him with wide eyes. “Did I say that out loud?” Enjolras asked sheepishly. The two of them nodded at him slowly.
“Not just out loud,” Courfeyrac whispered. “But quite loudly as well.”
Enjolras’s heart dropped and he looked up to see that the majority of his history class were looking at him puzzled, including his teacher. “As interesting as your personal life is, Enjolras, I think we should probably go back to discussing the impacts of Reagan’s ‘Star Wars’ Initiative.”
“I want death,” Enjolras said, dropping his head to the table with a loud bang. Combeferre patted his head soothingly, and Courfeyrac opened his mouth as if to speak, but then closed it rapidly. Courfeyrac didn’t have anything to say. That was a first.
By the end of the lesson, Enjolras’s blush had only just gone down. The whispers, on the other hand, still hadn’t ceased and as he made his way out of the classroom with Courfeyrac and Combeferre in tow, the hushed whispers followed him on his way out.
“Do they not have anything better to talk about?” Enjolras hissed once they’d finally made it to the safety of the bustling corridor.
“Well, you did just reveal the best secret this school has ever seen,” Combeferre said softly, receiving a nod from Courfeyrac in agreement.
“What,” Enjolras spluttered, “it’s not like they know I was talking about Grantaire.”
Courfeyrac scoffed and started to laugh loudly, drawing the attention of those around them. Enjolras, sick of all the attention he’d received, scowled at the younger students, who immediately squeaked and moved away. “Of course you were talking about Grantaire, everyone could hear you!”
Enjolras groaned again as they made their way to the dining room. “Even M. Lamarque?”
“Even M. Lamarque,” Combeferre affirmed, patting Enjolras on the back in a feeble attempt to sooth him. “Don’t worry, it’ll all be fine.”
“But how do you know?” Enjolras whined. He hated being like this – it was the exact behaviour that he so frequently accused Courfeyrac of.
“I just do,” Combeferre said wisely, and somehow his tone did manage to make Enjolras feel a bit better. Courfeyrac was smiling at Combeferre with admiration and something else that Enjolras couldn’t quite pinpoint.
Enjolras grabbed his usual sandwich from the counter and moved to sit at the table where Joly and Bossuet were already seated, whispering excitedly.
“What are you two gossiping about?” Courfeyrac asked, sitting himself down beside Bossuet.
“Have you seen the new girl in the year below?” Joly said excitedly. “Her name’s Musichetta and she’s-“
“Gorgeous,” Bossuet finished and the two nodded excitedly at Courfeyrac. Enjolras shook his head. He’d given up trying to keep up with Joly and Bossuet a long time ago.
Enjolras tucked into his sandwich and begun to discuss excitedly with Combeferre their history coursework – which only the two of them would ever be able to find interesting.
Jehan then arrived with a bowl of pasta in his hand and sat beside Enjolras, slinging an arm over his shoulder and grinning at him. “I’ve been hearing some little whispers about you.”
“How do rumours spread that quickly?” Enjolras muttered and angrily took another bite from his sandwich.
“I think ‘rumour’ is the wrong word,” Courfeyrac said. “That suggests there’s a chance they could be false-OW!”
Enjolras stuck his tongue out at Courfeyrac, who was rubbing his shin soothingly where Enjolras had kicked it. Jehan smacked Enjolras on the shoulder, and that was when he noticed the familiar purple bruises on their neck and arms.
For a moment, Enjolras’s mind flushed red with anger, but then he saw the same purple marks on Cosette.
“Um, Jehan, what are those?” Enjolras asked slowly, pointing at the marks.
Jehan looked down at their arms and grinned. “Oh, aren’t they awesome? Grantaire was bored with the specification so he started to teach us some prosthetic makeup, showing us how to make bruises. Aren’t they realistic?”
Something rushed through Enjolras, he didn’t know whether it was relief or, or, something, but he was brought back to reality by Courfeyrac bent double over the table with laughter. Even Combeferre was chuckling softly, though was clearly making more of an effort of concealing his laughter from Enjolras.
“What, what?” Jehan was asking, looking from Courfeyrac who had laughed so hard and was now turning a rather dark shade of purple. “What did I miss?”
“Never you mind,” Enjolras snapped, and swept the remains of his lunch into his bag, turning and walking away from the table. After a few seconds he heard another burst of laughter as Courfeyrac had somehow managed to explain why he was laughing. Or maybe it had been ‘Ferre. The traitor.
He decided to head early to l’ABC club and wait for his friends to arrive in a hopefully much calmer state.
L’ABC was the first club that Enjolras had established after becoming Head Boy, and though he always denied the jokes that he thought of it as his child, he did truthfully consider the club to be his baby. At first, the club had simply been another opportunity for he and his friends to discuss world topics and things they could change about the school, and it simply justified Enjolras’s need to chair all of their group discussions. Since then it had become a whole school affair and at some meetings, they could expect nearly 50 people, sometimes even teachers. However, today was a Thursday and Thursday meant exclusive chair meeting – basically that only his friends were coming.
As expected – seeing as he was 10 minutes early – Enjolras was the only one there, and he swiftly pulled up this week’s presentation on homelessness that he had prepared the night before.
Once everything was ready, he sat at the desk and waited the remaining 7 minutes for everyone else to arrive, drumming his fingers on the hardwood of the desk and thinking.
Had it been stupid of him to force Grantaire to stay? No, of course not. Grantaire would be out of a job and probably homeless if he’d left.
And Enjolras could control how he felt. He knew that he could. He just had to avoid Grantaire as much as possible. How hard could that be?
It wasn’t like Grantaire would come l’ABC – he and Enjolras had never exactly seen eye to eye about, well, anything. And he wouldn’t be in any of Enjolras’s lessons or free periods. The only times they would have to be in the same room as each other were assemblies and lunch time.
Enjolras could do that.
He was interrupted from his train of thought by Eponine swiftly storming into the room and dumping her bag on her usual desk at the back of the classroom with a thump.
“Let me guess,” Enjolras said, “the swooning idiot?”
“You talking about yourself? No you’re not the problem, Enj,” Eponine bit back, though not unkindly.
Enjolras smiled. People thought Eponine was harsh and unkind, but once you got to know her and her ‘humour’ she was a great person to be around. With long flowing black hair, dip-dyed blue and her usual combat boots and skinny, ripped jeans on, Enjolras could perhaps understand why people found Eponine so intimidating, although it also probably had something to do with the permanent glare and facial expression that read ‘I will kill you if you say anything stupid to me’.
“He’s just so oblivious to human emotions!”
“If it helps, Marius is pretty oblivious to everything,” Enjolras offered. “Besides, you’ve got another swooning idiot to worry about and that’s ‘Parnasse. He won’t shut up about you! And by that I mean he’s said probably three words about you in the last four days, but you know, for ‘Parnasse that’s pretty good.”
Eponine laughed and rolled her eyes. “’Parnasse is an old family friend, Enj. He doesn’t feel like that about me.”
Enjolras raised his eyebrows, believing that was answer enough for how he felt about that statement.
Next through the door was the man himself, Marius Pontmercy. Enjolras was surprised that Marius wasn’t late. The lanky, ginger was partial to strolling into meetings at least two minutes late, raving about something adorable that Cosette had done. Enjolras sometimes struggled to see what Eponine was so crazy about with Marius – sure he was a good-looking boy, but his ginger hair terribly juxtaposed the blush that he almost always carried on his cheeks – especially when around a certain 5”3” brunette girl with a large smile.
“Marius, you’re early,” Enjolras said, still somewhat in shock. Marius simply smiled at him brightly in response and sat beside Eponine, who had replaced her usual glare with a soft look that made Enjolras’s heart break a little.
“Recovered yet?” Courfeyrac shouted as he made his way into the room next with Combeferre. “I’m not going to lie, I probably stopped laughing about 10 seconds ago.”
“Just shut up and get up that website you found last week,” Enjolras responded. He rolled his eyes as the two made their way past him and sat in their usual spots on either side of his desk.
Following them, Joly came bounding into the room and up to Enjolras. “Okay, okay, so I know we have rules and this is just an elite squad meeting-“
“Executive Members of l’ABC,” Enjolras corrected.
“Right, yeah, whatever, well can Musichetta come? You’re going to love her, I promise,” Joly continued. “And if you say no, she’s going to come anyway because she’s with Bossuet on the other side of the door.”
Enjolras rolled his eyes and nodded, showing his consent.
Joly pumped his fist and ran back over to the door, opening it for Bossuet and a beautiful, tall and skinny Hispanic girl with a sharp smirk on her face. She waved at Enjolras as she entered and then followed Bossuet, who had nearly tripped over three things as he had been too busy staring at Musichetta to look where he was going. Enjolras thought that Joly would have been annoyed by this, but he too was staring at Musichetta with what Enjolras could only describe as heart eyes.
“So, we’re just waiting on Feuilly, Bahorel and Jehan?” Enjolras said to Combeferre once the three of them had finally made their way to their seats.
“And Cosette!” Marius shouted, earning him a scowl from Eponine, which as expected went unnoticed by Marius.
“And Cosette,” Enjolras replied under his breath. “Well, we have a lot to cover today, so I’m thinking we should start without them and they can catch up once they arrive.”
“So, we’ve been looking into charities that support homelessness in London,” Combeferre started. “There’s one called Crisis.”
“We’re thinking some kind of partnership with the school would be great, where we could do something to support the charity, fundraise for them or send volunteers to help them out,” Enjolras continued, and so the meeting continued on as fluently and eloquently as always, the dialogue switching between Combeferre and himself as usual.
After around 15 minutes, and halfway through a rather heated debate on the influence of Thatcher on the homeless – Marius had brought it up, he really shouldn’t have – there was a knock on the door.
Everyone stopped and looked at each other. Jehan, Feuilly and Bahorel had all arrived – “And Cosette!” “Yes, Marius, and Cosette!” – so they were not expecting anyone else. And no one ever knocked at an ABC meeting.
“Come in,” Combeferre shouted after realising that no one had said anything for a few seconds.
The door eased open and Grantaire eased in.
“Um, hi,” Grantaire said, though his easy tone did not reflect the distressed look on his face.
“Can we help you?” Enjolras asked, trying to sound effortlessly cool and suave but instead sounding something like how Courfeyrac had sounded that time they had helium balloons at a party.
“Actually,” another voice said, and Valjean stepped into the room behind Grantaire, his face contorted with anger, “you can help us, Enjolras. I was wondering if you could come with me.”
Enjolras’s eyes widened in shock and he looked at Grantaire, who looked every bit as much distressed and helpless as Enjolras felt. Unable to formulate words, Enjolras nodded in response and began to make his way to the door. Valjean turned swiftly on one heel and began to make his way to his office.
“What’s going on?” Enjolras asked, panicked, to Grantaire.
“I don’t know,” Grantaire responded, his voice low with fear.
Enjolras knew, he knew he shouldn’t with all of his friends in the room, but he couldn’t restrain himself with that panicked look in Grantaire’s eyes, and he reached a hand out and placed it on Grantaire’s cheek. “It’ll be alright.”
Grantaire smiled, and leaned into the touch, softly pressing his lips to the inside of Enjolras’s palm. “It always is with you,” he replied so that only Enjolras could hear.
He then pulled himself away from Enjolras and followed Valjean. Enjolras turned helplessly to his friends, who were all sitting there in shock – Combeferre still had his mouth hanging open from when he had been speaking, Courfeyrac hadn’t blinked in around two minutes.
“Right, well, carry on then,” Enjolras managed to splutter out, and then followed in Grantaire’s footsteps.