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What College Does

Chapter Text

Picture it: Litania University, flowering with that autumn feeling, students of all cliches trying to find themselves and become the adults they dreamed of becoming when they were five and believe adults had it easy. Yes, LU simply was the best college to be at. At least, that was the truth if your name was not Benvolio Montague and you did not have any sort of cousin who is prone to well, daydreaming.

Benvolio could do without the heat. He could do without the Capulets. He could do without that one skateboarding kid who always seems to have Starbucks in his hand but is never seen in the actual building (or even in class, for that matter). He could even do without the "It's Lit" posters everywhere. School spirit at it's finest. No one is sure how far the list of casual dislikes goes, but one thing everyone knows he could do without is constantly having to watch over his younger cousin.

Today, of course, Romeo Montague got stuck in an elevator.

To make matters worse: he got stuck in an elevator with Marius Pontmercy.

So Benvolio makes his way down the hallway, calls maintenance, and waits by the door of the elevator, listening for about an hour of "I'll never see Cosette" and "I'll die before I can kiss Juliet one last time." Ben had to admit though, Marius was much more pleasing to listen to when he wasn't passionately talking about his dead father whom he has never interacted with or crusading Napoleon's greatness.

"Jesus, how long have they been at it?"

Benvolio felt an icy object on his cheek and jumped a little. He glanced down at his phone, "about forty-six minutes since you said you would be here, so I would say an hour and three minutes total."

"Aw Babe, you did wait for me. That's so sweet."

"Mercy, you didn't give me much choice. I did give you money and as much patience as I could. The only thing I could do was wait--Mercutio what the fuck did you get me?"

"Your new favorite iced coffee and all of my wonderful personality." Mercutio threw back his head, laughing the sort of laugh that came from pure happiness. It was a nice change of pace, Benvolio half-shrugged and continued to sip the coffee.

"You aren't wrong. God, they've been at it forever. I think I would have gone insane if you didn't show up at all." He closed his eyes and laid his head against the cold wall.

"I wish more people felt the same," Mercutio mumbled, glancing at the silver doors of the elevator.

"Hmm? I didn't catch that."

"Nothing... Nothing, I was just wondering who that Juliet girl he keeps moaning about is." Mercutio slid down next to him.

"Probably another poor soul like Rosalind or Rosaline or Rose," Benvolio shrugged, "he must be on the Js now."

"Rose, like the art major dude?"

"No," Ben said, "like the girl with the pretty brown hair and always wore the ear cuff that was shaped like stars."


"Was that her name?!"

"Yeah, dude did you not know that?!"

"Mercutio, he's been through how many lost crushes in the past month?"

"True, True..." Mercutio took a sip of his drink and sighed. "They sure do take their time, don't they?"

"But you're here, so it's not so bad." Benvolio jokingly poked his shoulder and pushed Mercutio.

"I'm blushing." Mercutio laughed again, clearly neither one flustered in any way. In the background, the screams and cries of two lovesick men stuck in an elevator rang out.

After a few minutes or possibly twenty, Mercutio glanced around the rather boring hallway. The whole place smelled musty and strangely like bananas. A few posters hung on the wall, some clinging for dear life as the last bits of tape threatened to let go. He glanced at Benvolio. The other had his eyes closed, drifting in and out of what appeared to be sleep, but Mercutio knew he was trying to drown out his cousin's incessant self-pity. Marius, at least, finally quieted down.

"I spy with my little eye...something..."

"If it's another 'It's Lit' banner, I will never speak to you again."

"Oh come on Benny, it's not that bad!"


"Yes! Something...that will make your day." Mercutio grinned ear to ear.

"What do you mean?" Benvolio opened his eyes to the sound of the elevator opening.

"OH THANK GOD. I thought I would never see the light of...the ceiling ever again!" Romeo nearly collapsed on the ground but rather chose to dramatically fall against the glass walls of the common room. "How long was I stuck in there?"

"Just a little under two hours. It's been a slow day." Benvolio shared a look with Mercutio and the two of them smiled. "Wasn't Marius with you?"

"Oh yeah...right." Romeo turned on his heels and pressed the elevator button. Luckily, no one thought of trying to use it in the minute since it released him. He stepped in and slowly emerged with a fairly dead-inside Pontmercy. "We are safe now. Don't worry. You will see Cosette again."

"I didn't walk by her at the same time as every Tuesday. What if she thinks I have transferred or got expelled?" he whined.

"Buddy, pal, bro. I don't think you have to worry about that anytime soon." Benvolio stood up and took another sip of his unknown drink. "Romeo, can I speak with you over there."

"Ah yeah, what for?" Romeo followed Benvolio closely as they turned towards the stairwell, leaving Marius and Mercutio behind.

"What floor do we live on?" Benvolio frowned.

"The fifth."

"And do you know what this door leads to?"

"The stairs. Do you not know where they lead to?"

"Romeo, I know full well where this door leads to. I go through it every day. The benefit of stairs is you don't have to wait for the elevator, can get exercise without it being inconvenient, and oh yeah, there's no fucking reason why you need to take the elevator all the time. We live on the fifth floor. It's not that far away." Benvolio threw his hands up in the air. "Next time, don't make me wait outside for two least...not without warning."

"I'm sorry, if i knew it woul-"

"No. I'm done. I've had a long day and shouldn't have taken it out on you, although you did come back at three a.m. last night." Benvolio sighed, shook his head, and opened the door. He left a fairly confused and upset Romeo behind, but he knew better than to stay there and let his temper get the best of him.

"Oh look, it's a Montag-EW--woah what's your rush?"

"Fuck off Peter." Benvolio hissed and nearly knocked the poor boy down three flights of stairs in his haste.

"Yeah well-well fuck you too!" he sputtered, almost lifting Ben's mood. Almost.

Chapter Text

Trying new things is a great way to develop your college life. You could try swimming, poetry, painting, acrobatics, yoga, soccer, marching band, debate club and even join the hacky sack team. You could also sit alone in your dorm room, studying hours and hours on end as many high school teachers claimed you would be doing. Most freshmen find themselves drawn between the two, if they care enough, that is.

It could be that Pierre Gringoire cares too much. One moment he is in the courtyard taking photos of the flowers, the next in the ballroom learning to waltz. Yes, Gringoire was that freshman. He personally challenged himself to join every single club that came up to him as he walked through the activity fair without a care in the world. He loved the feeling of the sun on his face, the cool breeze, and the way people bustled about with a sense of eagerness and desperateness.

"Fencing! Join fencing!" a slightly less than enthusiastic man yelled from his booth.

"I'll join!" Gringoire announced, signing his name on the list. It took him a moment to catch the flyer the stranger lazily held out for him.

"You need to do a better job than this." His table-mate scowled. "You love fencing, so act like it."

"Laertes, you sound like Fortinbras when he manages not to fall flat on his face. Give me a break, my dad just died a week ago. I am not in the mood." Laertes patted the man on the shoulder and looked up at Gringoire--his cue to leave.

Only a moment later he found himself at the art table and seeing a familiar face, he grinned widely. "Rose! You are a part of the painting club?! How fitting!"

"Hey! Enjoying the fair so far? Are you going to join our club?! I am also advertising the ceramics club, which is on Tuesdays and Thursdays."

"I think I have time!" He scribbled down his name on both the painting and ceramics interest lists.

"You should check out the philosophy table. You know, say hi to Guildenstern." Rose smiled.

The sound of something rolling across the brick paths came closer and closer until that one kid who has the infinite Starbucks arrived. He tousled his unruly curls and did Pierre a once-over before turning his attention to Rose. "Sorry I'm late...Okay this kid really looks like Enjolras from behind. Like, I thought he got a haircut and almost had a heart attack."

"It's cool. Grantaire, this is Pierre Gringoire. He's a friend of mine from philosophy...or was it some sort of poetry course? Eh." Rose shrugged.

"So if you are such good friends with him," Grantaire took a sip and grinned a grin Gringoire has only ever seen on Jehan Frollo, "what is his first name?"

"Rose...Rosencrates? Crantz? Yeah, Rosencrantz." Gringoire looked for affirmation but was only met with laughter from Rose.

"Rosencrantz is my last name. Sorry R, guess you will never figure out what my first name is."

"And you'll never know mine." Grantaire huffed and sat down, the light catching his hair in such a nice light, but now was not the time to drift away into endless poetical babbling.

"Is this like a bet or something?" Gringoire tilted his head a little, letting his blonde locks tickle his ear.

"Something of the sort. So Guildenstern mentioned the other day how a lot of us have been friends for years but somehow, somehow none of us know each other's first names. All we have been using in our last names. He said 'think about it. Who do we know? Well we know Ophelia's first name, Laertes first name, that Tybalt kid, Richard, and of course we know each other's first name, but do we use it? No. All my life I have called you either Rosencrantz or just Rose, never by your first name. You would think I would but I don't.' He said, 'Who else have we known for years but not know their first name or never use them? Hamlet? He's one. I don't recall him ever telling us his first name. We know that kid Fortinbras but what's his first name? Why don't we know it?'"

"And so Rosencrantz told me and I went down the list of people I have known my entire life or a good part of it. The only person's whose first name I know is Jean Prouviare. Even then we call him Jehan. Wait, I just realized, I forgot about Marius! Courfeyrac's roommate!"

"Didn't he get stuck in an elevator today?" Rosencrantz squinted, trying to reclaim a memory or such.

Grantaire sighed, "Haha yeah..."

"Honestly, same." Gringoire mused. "Ah, I better get going if I want to see the rest of the booths before they all escape."

"Later," Grantaire waved him off and Gringoire maybe, just maybe, saw him finish off the coffee. It could have been his imagination. The man was something out of a photograph. He was a mess, but at the same time, he never looked bad. Sure, he wasn't the prettiest person on campus, but he certainly had this I-don't-care-but-still-somehow-pull-it-off look going about him. Paint scattered across his clothes, face, and hair. He smelled like a strange mix of an art store, a bar, and a nature park. He seemed to be everywhere and at the same time, Gringoire always ended up never crossing paths.

After a lovely conversation with the improv team, the ballet team, and a few drug addicts, Gringoire had successfully visited and joined every single club at the fair. Yes, it was ten minutes talking to people he knew, but the last few minutes gave him time to just practice his signature. Was he crazy? Yes, yes he was. But he was not least, not in joining everything. No, he was alone when it came to actually attempting to go to every single event. He was not a quitter, he just had too much time on his hands.

Chapter Text

Joly loved band. His whole life he's played the clarinet--when he was frustrated, when he was worried, when he overthought things, when he was afraid he was getting sick (though he couldn't continue playing without getting even more worried that his sickness would stick to the clarinet like glue). Most of the time, instead of fixing the problems, playing the clarinet made things worse. Still, he cherished it.

Someone convinced him to join marching band in high school. Who it was is unimportant. What it did is what counts. He became happier, more involved, and at one point his panic attacks diminished. Sure, they returned every time someone yelled in his face or kicked his clarinet. Sure, he threw out reeds every single time he used one outside or someone coughed in his vicinity, but it was worth it.

No one told him about the band plague, however.

It started with a sneeze emanating from the trumpet section to send a chill up Joly's spine. Then came coughing from the front ensemble. Next a flute player. Then a piccolo. And again, another trumpet. The band was catching one illness after another. Fingers pointed, some angry, some amused. Joly felt fear again. He began filling his pockets with tissues he'd never use. He consumed more citrus fruits than someone with scurvy. He stood five feet away from everyone and came home to his on-campus-off-campus apartment depressed, every day.

"Joly, what's wrong?" Musichetta handed him a cup of tea in a light green mug.

"Everyone is getting sick in band. They've been calling it a plague as if it was some sort of joke, but what if I get sick and bring it home to all of you and get you sick and--"

"Jolllly, it'll be alright. If we get sick, we get sick. We'll just have to cuddle up on the couch, watch movies, and sleep in late. Does that sound so bad?"

"No, but what if--"

"Anything can happen." She kissed him on the cheek, waiting for Bossuet to come home from his afternoon class.

Two days later, the entire low brass section simultaneously sneezes.

"Band plague!" They cheer, high-fiving each other while tying to hide how every single person was dying outside in the heat of the sun.

"Visual!" someone from his section jokes. They point their leg out and slide back upright, point their horn high, and snaps back down to attention in the form of a sneeze. There is laughter, but Joly is not amused. That night it takes both Musichetta and Bossuet to pull him from the covers.

"I'm sick!" he moaned, his glasses lopsided and his eyes puffy from crying. "They got me sick. Let me sleep."

"You're not sick." Bossuet wrapped his arms around Joly and held him close to his chest. Joly stifled his crying and tried to focus in on his boyfriend's beating heart. "It's been a long day."

"You'll be alright, just take it easy. We are here for you." Musichetta, overflowing with the sort of warmth most people hope to find somewhere in their life, gently took Joly's glasses off, and promptly joined the hug.

For Bossuet, the hug was like curling up next to a fireplace on a cold, snowy day with all the time in the world. For Musichetta, the hug was like the feeling after drinking something warm like hot chocolate, coffee, or soup. For Joly, the hug was like laying in the morning sun that sneaked through windows and half-shut blinds.

All the wonderful feelings and relief that came from the company of each other came to a halt.

"Shit, I am late." Musichetta's eyes widened in fear. She was the first to go, grabbing her bag.

"Wait!" Bossuet yelled, grabbing her forgotten keys from the table and handing them to her with great haste. And with a kiss to each, she took her leave, running faster than either have seen her run before.

The warmth was ripped from both of them--Joly trying to savor it from within the covers; Bossuet standing in the open, exposed to the cold room.

"I'm sorry Jolllly, I have class soon."

"See you later?" Joly poked his head out like a prairie dog.

"Of course." And out went Bossuet.

Now Joly, much to his dismay, had a sectional before they would return. It rang about 6:45 when he came back home, seeing his partners setting the table. They smiled in greeting as he came in and as a response, Joly sneezed.

Chapter Text

Robin Goodfellow’s lips curved into a nasty grin as they held the school paper up to the morning light. Three days passed since the activity fair. That means two nights passed since a masked miscreant stole a gorilla from Litania University’s local zoo. They left no evidence behind, made no ruckus, and assured himself safe passage into the woods within the college.

“Puck,” the ruffian was known as, became a notorious figure in prankery and harmless fun—which meant the entire school was in a panic and the police were searching for him at every corner and curve. If Puck was anywhere near the university, they would stop them, but Robin knew better. They never stopped Puck before and never would.

They glanced above the paper to where they knew the ape was lounging. The campus security knew the gorilla was within the university, rumors gave clues, but even the disquieted zookeepers could not follow the trail that Puck so graciously left.

Goodfellow was just that: a good fellow. They had no vendettas against them, no enemies, no complaints. They were the perfect example of a good noodle and even showed up to class in a suit (once getting mistaken for a teacher and had the student not transferred, they would have gotten in trouble for spooking the poor child). Yes, it is easy to see that even if Robin committed murder, no one would ever believe it was them.

So Robin Goodfellow grinned to themself, still admiring the paper. No one would ever suspect it was they who stole the gorilla. The latch clicked and they neatly folded the paper, placing it on the table.

“How long do you think it will take them this time?”

“Perhaps another day, maybe five hours at best. This is a gorilla we are talking about, Ariel, and I only stole one of them.”

Ariel let out a laugh. “How many cats did you let loose? Ten? They found thirty and there were still more roaming the woods around the dorms in Hart. How ever do you do it?”

“Magic...aaaallllso letting loose new cats every night.”

“Did Oberon put you up to this one?”

“No, but he did supply more cats.”

Ariel smiled and placed their bag on the desk. They were as tall as Robin, though both students being as tall enough to stand on the platforms of their feet just to see through the peep-hole of the door. Ariel had harsh blue eyes, like you were drowning in the ocean or falling, staring into the abyss that was the sky. Robin, by contrast, had eyes like a cat’s, bright green like the forest they so desperately loved. Ariel’s long hair greyed, though it was hard to tell from the blonde, while Robin’s hair looked like a torch (one could say it was “Lit,” but one could also be visited by Puck and a bucket of revenge). They appeared to be polar opposites, but both had more in common than Phoebus had with fuckboys (some beg to differ).

“What did you accomplish this week?” Robin launched themself onto the bed.

“Nothing in particular. I did flood that one guy’s dorm room. Don John, I think he calls himself? You know, Francis Flute’s roommate. I hate giving Flute the short end of the stick but that guy was an ass. Prospero has me working with Caliban so much, I don’t have time to do anything I want to do.” They glanced at their phone and sighed. “Speaking of which…”

“You need to drop him like a hot potato in the middle of July. He keeps ordering you around like, like—”

“Like Oberon. Don’t be so quick to judge. I know what I am doing. It’s not going to be like Sycorax. He will keep his word.”

“Okay, if you say so. I’ll believe you.” Robin called as Ariel left the room.

Fresh air and a good prank will do me some good , Robin thought, heading towards the elevators only a few minutes afterwards. The ninth floor wasn’t so bad, but the wait for the elevator could be from ten seconds to an hour, if it doesn’t get stuck, that is. A familiar ding pierced their thoughts and of they went, descending to the sound of smooth jazz. Robin did a little dance to it to get into the mood and when the elevator doors opened, walked through the lobby with the prettiest smile they could muster.

“Robin! Where are you headed?” a bright-eyed girl bounced up to them.

“Ah, no where in particular. Are you okay, Julia?”

“Yes, I’m fine I just, well, I can’t find Proteus and he said he would meet me here an hour ago.” worry caked her face, yet somehow could not diminish the hope in her eyes.

“Launce passed me in the hallway.”

“Oh! Thank you!” She raced by them with a gush of wind, down the hallway, to the right. They had not been down that hallway since yesterday, though she was too far away to be notified. Robin also left out the fact that Launce passed them at three in the morning, when Launce decided it was a prime time to do laundry.

Robin walked out the doors and into the warm sunlight. It didn’t long for the first victim to be spotted.

“Did you hear about the escaped gorilla is on our campus? The police even issued a warning!”

Music to the ears. Robin stepped behind a wall nearby and stayed in the shadows.

“Yes, I heard. You really think that’s true? Come on, Bianca, you aren’t serious?”

“Katharina. It’s a gorilla.”

“I just don’t believe it exists. If a gorilla really is on campus, why would it come after us or in the dorms? Come on.”

On cue, Robin became Puck, cupping their hands to their lips and producing the most realistic gorilla noise they could come up with—they did spend an entire night with the great ape, after all.


“Well, where is it? We hear it close by, but where is it? Let’s just go. This is ridiculous!”

Puck snickered and swooped back into sight, letting their persona disappear in the light of day. Robin could barely make out two girls, one clinging to the other, walking off towards Pollux and Castor Halls, two of the largest dormitories.

The next victim came from within Hart Hall, though how they slipped past the front desk is a mystery to all by Robin and the security cameras. Within the common room, a boy with electric pink hair and the most horrendous pair of yellow crocs sat doing homework. He would switch between string at his laptop and his calculator in frustration and laughing at his phone.

Making sure the boy could not see them, Puck did another impression. The boy sat straight up in his seat, nervously glancing around the room. Puck called again and the boy got up. As he walked down one hall to find the source of the gorilla, Puck stomped down the other. After a few laps, Puck hurried down the stairs and left the building.

They sat down a little ways off, still in view of Hart. Zookeepers, police, and administrators alike rushed to the building. There was shouting and panic everywhere Robin looked. Yes, Robin was having quite a good day.

Chapter Text

Screaming. Why is it always screaming? Tybalt covered his head with a pillow. He couldn't take naps. He couldn’t relax. He couldn’t even get regular sleep. His cousin said it may be the reason he is always picking fights and struggling to keep up with homework, but he prefered to disagree with her only on that one subject.

The fatigue could suffocate him, his eyes failing to say open, but his mind could never rest. It raced with thoughts and all the screaming. His suitemates, names be damned, became hyenas when the two of them were together. They roared with laughter and he could make out their every word as if they stood next to his bed and screamed it in his ear.

He told them twice, but nothing has changed. He decided to devote his nights to homework, but with every one of his classes unfortunately scheduled before noon, he was at a loss.

“So this boy comes in, covered completely in clay, bruises, and paper stars. I said, ‘what are you doing’ and he goes ‘exploring my opportunities.’ Can you believe it? He ran out halfway through for ice skating or something.”

“No way!”

Cue laughing like a bad sit-com.

Tybalt checked his alarm clock: six minutes until he got to meet his new tutor for psychology. He pried himself out of bed, checked to make sure he didn’t look like a hot mess, and went for his bag by the bathroom door.

“And there is absolutely no sound absorption in the bathroom so you can hear everything. It’s so awkward to take a piss with everyone being able to hear you.” A voice came through, loud and clear. Fury ran through his veins and he stormed out the door with as much energy he could.

By the time he got to the psychology building, he had four minutes left. He would get there within a minute if he could, however there was one problem: the building was a literal maze. If he took a wrong turn, he could end up very lost.

He was very lost.

Being tired, he not only walked up three more flights of stairs than he needed, he also took a few wrong turns. He only realized when his timer rang and five minutes passed since he was supposed to meet whoever it was the teacher had with her.

So he walked down the stairs to the correct level and got lost again. His phone pinged, signaling worried texts from his teacher. He hashed out a response and took a few, very wrong turns. Ten minutes passed, then fifteen. Finally, the teacher sent a text saying she had to leave, but the tutor she assigned him was still inside the room. So he stepped inside and his blood, had it not already turned to lava, burned straight through his skin.

“Fuck it. This isn’t happening,” he hissed.

Benvolio looked up, first in confusion, then in disgust. “As if my week wasn’t already shitty enough. Let’s just get this over with.”

“No, fuck that and fuck you.” Tybalt began to turn towards the door but couldn’t. Benvolio was giving him the sort of half-pissed, half-amused look he always got when he knew he was in a fight he could win. It wasn’t a shit-eating grin like Mercutio had, nor was it the sort of overjoyed smile that Romeo had. No, it was subtle enough to not be a true smile, but the feeling was still there. Tybalt knew one thing—unless provoked, Benvolio Montague would not try to draw blood. No, Benvolio fought with words until they became ineffective. The man had something to say, so Tybalt waited.

“You want to get your money’s worth, right? Whether you walk out that door or not, I am getting money—your money—so why not get your money’s worth. Or are you too prideful to ever think a Montague could know more than you? Well here I am, your tutor.”

Tybalt shook his head and angrily sat down in front of Benvolio. He took out his books without breaking his glare at Benvolio. He wasn’t going to waste his money and he needs to pass this class.

“So what does a myelin sheath do?” Ben began.

“Your mom.”


“Oh wait, it’s the thing that she always forgets. That’s how you were born.”

“Ah yes, harlot mother. I bet you would know alllll about that too.”

“Did you just insult my mother?!” Tybalt slammed his fists on the table.

“What did this poor hunk of manufactured wood ever do to you? You don’t actually know what a myelin sheath is, do you?”

Tybalt stared.

“Jesus Christ, okay. This is going to be a lot.” Benvolio ran his hands through his hair and huffed. The tiny room glimmered with sunlight, scattered by the large oak that blocked the window. A tiny bird sat in the branch and sang a little tune, happy despite both men fighting the urge to strangle each other.

It was only an hour, right?

And hour of insults, yes, but Tybalt admits that he did learn something. Somewhere along the lines of “If I punch you in the face, your hippocampus will create a memory of it, and you won’t forget it” and “You seem to have more white matter than grey matter, which explains a lot,” did Tybalt begin to think that the hour wasn’t so bad. To him, the time just flew. He was having fun insulting Benvolio and Benvolio made it clear that he was having fun insulting him. He began to think that maybe there could be exceptions to hating Montagues. He didn’t admit it, but he did thank Benvolio (with disdain) and bid him a farewell (“Fuck Off”).

Things began to look a little bit brighter.

Sadly, the light was only the glare off of somebody’s sunglasses. He dodged a few skateboarders and headed for the woods, towards Pollux Hall. He saw Benvolio a few paces ahead of him, staring at the sky above as if wishing nothing more than to be a cloud or maybe have a cloud. Tybalt looked up too, watching the golden-red leaves cascade around him, spiralling, dancing to the ground.

“Watch where you are going, idiot.” Someone pushed past him and his mood dropped again.

He trudged up to his room again and flopped face first into the comfort of his bed.

It didn’t take long for his suitemates to start laughing again. The sun was setting and quiet hours would soon be upon them, but regulated time was no match to the power of sound. Somewhere in his hallway he heard someone mimicking a gorilla, or monkey, or maybe it was just their natural laugh.

He closed his eyes and the door to the bathroom swung open and every sound that the wall graciously muffled amplified by twenty times. He pounded on the door for them to shut up and then sat back in bed. He could still hear them, now talking and laughing at his outburst. What else was he going to do? Let them be insanely rude? He put in earplugs and crawled back into bed. All he wanted was silence, peace, and maybe a slice of cheesecake.

The bathroom door burst open one more time, only it was his door that opened.

“Dude, sorry about that—oh, you’re trying to sleep. Sorry, bye.”

Tybalt glared at his suitemate until they took a step back into the bathroom and closed the door.

It was Abraham. That meant the other suitemate was, without a doubt, Balthasar.

He remembered why he hated Montagues again.

Chapter Text

Joly carefully closed his case and looked up towards the setting sun. It painted the sky in beautiful hues of pink, blue, and gold.

Grantaire would like this , he mused silently to himself, brushing the dirt off of his pants and applying extra hand sanitizer. Bossuet was coming to meet him and walk down to the dining hall that was so graciously bestowed onto their organization for one reason or another (intimidation, he speculated but did not admit aloud).

“Later, Joly!” Sampson called, leaving with his trumpet in hand.

“Bye!” Joly called back. He stood straight up, a chill running up his spin. The familiar notes stuck his very soul—off-key and terrifying.

He turned his head and saw the sousaphones circling the empty field playing “Hey Baby” as horrendously as they could. He would not stay to get stuck in their circle. Not again.

One sousa in particular, a short man with brightest pink hair and the sharpest intonation, danced around. It was only fitting that Courfeyrac was a member of the sousaphones.

He’d never been happier. Band had been a way for him to forget about his problems—to get away from college and for just a minute. When the song stopped he felt the crushing feeling of homework, dirty laundry, and the meeting of their student union group, though that wasn’t too much of a problem.

Marius, his roommate, joined band last year and then quit (doing the same with the meetings, storming out one day after the subject somehow fell onto the topic of Napoleon). Seeing as Joly left ahead of him, perhaps because of him, Courfeyrac began of his own. His friends had places to be, food to eat, all away from the direction he was traveling in—he wasn’t going to ask them to come with him and go out of their way. Not today, at least.

It rained during practice, towards the beginning and stopping halfway through. The brick roads glistened with the last remaining bits of sunlight, the streetlights not yet turning on. He jumped into a few puddles, letting his light up sketchers twinkle and illuminate the water with bursts of yellow and blue. Courfeyrac hummed a bit to himself, the darkness of night creeping up overhead.

The music rooms were far, much too far for a kid to carry a sousaphone. He dragged the case along, listening intently to the sound of speeding cars and plastic wheels scraping across the sidewalk. Courfeyrac followed a line of marching band kids, all the way into the art building and past the auditoriums. He quickly locked up his instrument and scampered out of the empty-ish building.

He passes the greenhouses and one of the open gardens, glancing over in the off-chance that Combeferre was still inside or perhaps nearby. Upon not seeing him, Courfeyrac moved along with a sigh. He wasn’t disappointed just…

A bright, short laugh rang out. A familiar laugh caused him to pivot on his heels and hide behind the garden arch closest to the wall.

Amidst the gerbera daisies and green chrysanthemums, a tall man with glasses and a smile that could turn a snowman into clouds signed with a younger woman with flowers embroidered into her shirt and the prettiest eyes.

“See you tomorrow,” she signed, though Courfeyrac only really caught her brushing an “A” hand-shape past her left cheek. She moved far to fast for him to catch what she said before that and she disappeared too fast for him to really identify her. He glanced back at Combeferre, now only illuminated by the lamplight that glimmered across the center of the garden and skimmed the fountains. Combeferre’s smile still haunted his face. His fingers traced the constellations that emerged from the twilight and followed down towards the moths that danced around his head.

There came a rustling of leaves behind him somewhere, breaking Courfeyrac out of his trance and reminding him of the gorilla that ran loose within their campus. A shiver ran up his spine and he was running straight for Combeferre.

Combeferre turned his head and with great shock stared at a shaking Courfeyrac standing in front of him. Courfeyrac had a look on his face as if he rethought doing something and was too scared to do anything else.

“Courf? Are you—”

“I heard the fucking gorilla again.”

“I think...I think someone might be playing tricks on you because of what happened at Hart.” Combeferre looked deep into Courfeyrac’s light brown eyes, both men being masked by the descending darkness.

“I swear...I just, I…” He grabbed onto Combeferre’s sleeve, looking off to his side.

“Hey now, there’s no reason to be embarrassed. It’s only me here.” Combeferre gently lifted up Courfeyrac’s head. “It’s only me. You’re safe.”

Courfeyrac looked like an utter mess. He needed a shower, was probably still sticky with sweat, and couldn’t quite keep from crying a little. But there was something in the way the lamplight wrapped around Combeferre’s head like a halo, as if he was some sort of exquisite painting or untameable force in a state of calm. There was something about the moths trying to land on his broad shoulders and the way he smiled at him as if he was the only thing that ever mattered.

It was only him and he was safe.

This was not what he planned on doing or even how he imagined it would go if there was a slim possibility that something like this would happen. No, it certainly went unscripted and unrehearsed, but Courfeyrac stood up on his platforms and kissed Combeferre on the lips.

Combeferre’s kiss was soft and gentle, sweeter than Courfeyrac could comprehend. Courfeyrac was probably an utter failure at kissing, probably too brash and sloppy. No, he knew he was. But there they were: kissing. Combeferre wrapped an arm around him while the other cupped his face. Courfeyrac wanted that moment to last forever, but he stumbled back, breaking the kiss.

“I-I shouldn’t have, shouldn’t have done that. I am sorry, I wasn't thinking I—” He looked up at Combeferre, who was grinning ear to ear, glasses so close to falling off.

“Courfeyrac,” he began, “I love you.”

Courfeyrac swallowed, “You do? You’re serious? You love me back? I thought, oh god, I was worrying for nothing.” He laughed, unable to hide his smile.

Combeferre took a step closer, “May I?”

“Please do,” Courfeyrac almost burst into tears, out of pure joy, of course.

Combeferre leaned into another kiss, a less messy kiss. Their thoughts stopped buzzing around, although their heads may have still been a little fuzzy. When they broke apart, the two of them linked arms and headed towards their destination, now only twenty-six minutes late.

“Ah shit, Enjolras is gonna get pissed that we’re late. Weren’t you supposed to be doing minutes today?” Courfeyrac inquired as they rounded the corner, coming up to a building nestled on the edge of the woods. It looked partially like a church that decided not to be a church and a building from a foreign college.

“Yeah, but it was completely worth it.” Combeferre planted a kiss on Courfeyrac forehead and the two of them opened the doors and headed up the stairs.

The space opened up into a large buffet, except there was no food left. The soda machines still worked, guarding the entrance to meeting. They walked into the large room, Enjolras was standing on a table, shouting and hyping up the room. The room was fuller than it was last week or the week before, more and more people to meet and talk to or somehow never meet. Courfeyrac looked to the right of him, hidden in the back sat Grantaire. Courfeyrac almost went over to him, until Jehan pulled him over to where the others were sitting. He could just barely squeeze out a goodbye to Combeferre as he was pulled away.

“I have a surprise for you,” Jehan giggled. “You know how you couldn’t take your dog here right?”

“I’m reminded all the time”

“Well, we chipped in and got you a new pet!” They dug into their pocket and brought out a rock with googly eyes and curly pink yarn glued to it. “It’s Courfeyrock!”

“No way,” Courfeyrac cupped the pet rock in his hands. A smile was painted on in red and it brought a matching smile to his face.

“Hey, don’t take this pun for granite. We put a lot of effort into your pet and the name just fit.” Feuilly let out a laugh so grand the others joined in.

“Guys, guys, you rock, this rocks. Oh my god.” He gave Jehan and the others a hug. Whatever was going on during the meeting could wait.

Bahorel clasped a hand on his shoulder. “We’re here for you, you know.”

“Likewise,” Courfeyrac replied. He glanced over at Combeferre for a moment and then at his phone. “Ah, shit.”

“What’s wrong?” Joly furrowed his brows, “You’re not getting sick, are you?”

“Haha, no, my coworker just texted me that the guy who was filling in for me just quit halfway through the shift so I have to go in now.”

“Oh damn. Tell Laertes I said hi.” Bahorel waved as Courfeyrac quickly hashed out a text to both his coworker and Combeferre, running out of the building.


Maybe it was luck that he missed what happened after he left, maybe not.

Chapter Text

"What did you do?” seemed to be the reoccurring theme in every conversation Enjolras had with people.To be honest he had no idea what he did, only that he was entirely in the right and it wasn’t his fault. Yes, he lashed out at Grantaire, but it was only because he had one too many drinks and he was scared Grantaire would get alcohol poisoning or something along those lines. Yes, he was not thinking clearly because of all the noise and excitement, but he wasn’t in the wrong. He couldn’t be in the wrong. And yes, he will admit he forgot Combeferre’s advise to talk to him when he is sober. But that didn’t make him wrong, did it?

Everyone else seemed to think so. They also made claims to hearing some other comments before the alcohol was brought up and the report goes as followed:

“Why do you insist upon shutting us down every time we have an idea? It’s not like you actually believe in anything and you’re always a cynic. We don’t need a cynic here.”

“I’m not a cynic. I’m a skeptic. There is a difference.” Grantaire took another sip of his drink.

“Oh really? And what would that be?”
“You really—fine, you wanna know? Yes, I believe in your cause. I think you are an amazing leader and I respect you!”

“Do you now?”

“I fucking do. But while all of you are parading around under the idea that nothing could go wrong, I see it. I admit I find the worst in everything. Anything could happen. I’m sorry you think I am shutting you down because of it. And I do contribute useful things.”

“Like what? Telling us that standing on street corners and talking to people is a bad idea? Or how about the time you literally told us that our entire project was a waste of time and a death sentence?”

“Enjolras, you’re ideas are going to get us all killed one day if something slips when we put in risks. And what I said that day is that trying to overthrow our student government was a waste of time because we could lose all respect we have built and it is so ineffective! I told you that we should try to reform and work with them instead of possibly getting kicked out of fucking college because they spend a little too much on one thing and not enough on things that need attention. You are so wrapped up in this idealistic paradise that you can’t see anything else! I’m certainly not a cynic, but you seem to be.”
“Why do I even bother?” Enjolras threw his hands up in the air and then crossed his arms.

“Bother with what? Talking to me?”

“Talking to you. You’re fucking drunk every single time I see you. You need to stop. It’s disgusting.”

“My drinking is not a problem. I don’t do it all the time.” Grantaire leaned back in his chair.
“That’s not how it looks to me. Don’t bring alcohol again or don’t come back. We can do without you.”

“Why do I fucking do this to myself. We can never have a decent conversation. I don’t know what your problem is and I don’t know why I...why I still believe in you.” Grantaire shook his head and got up. “You got your wish. No alcohol or no me.”

Enjolras stayed silent, watching Grantaire storm out of the room, which didn’t take that long since he was right next to the door. He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. He kept telling himself he was right—that he knew what he was doing, except the hole in his chest said he just fucked up. Combeferre verified that, gently placing a hand on his shoulder.

“We need to call this a day and head home. Clearly, none of us should be here. There is chaos all around us and you just lashed out.”

“No, I’m fine. We can keep going.” Enjolras felt like lies were spilling from his mouth.

“You are not fine. Listen. You fucked up. You need to apologize to Grantaire tomorrow. Not tonight, tomorrow. Both of you need to rest before you see each other. If you go now it will only make things worse.”

“I won’t make things worse. I didn’t do anything wrong. He—”


“Fine. Can you?”
“Yes. Go home.” Combeferre gave a smile and went to the front to address the pandemonium.

Enjolras felt the cold hit his face, all warmth vanishing from his body. He zipped his coat up higher and sped down the pathways to Hart. He could only focus on the sound of his feet carrying him into the back of someone.

“Sorry, I wasn’t wat—” He looked up and met the deepest brown eyes of none other than Grantaire. Both men stood there, quite shocked at who it was that they bumped into. “I—” Enjolras’ mouth gaped open and close like a fish, the words he wanted to say swarming and for once he felt at a loss of what was right to say. Remembering Combeferre’s words, he tightly shut his mouth and walked past him. Tomorrow, not today.

He wanted to glance back, but couldn’t. His entire body stiffened at the thought.

When he got home, he didn’t even bother taking off his clothes. He jumped into bed and curled up into a ball. The next day came and he couldn’t pull himself out of bed. He only got up when Combeferre told him they were going to a football game to see Joly and Courfeyrac’s performance at halftime. He would NEVER miss that.

So on came the layers and on came the hype that marching band brought their lovely little friend group. One problem: Enjolras still hadn’t apologized to Grantaire. He also forgot Grantaire would be there. The two didn’t talk, didn’t even look at each other. They only moment they did happen to interact was purely out of instinct.

The band stopped by to play the fight song for tailgaters, so with a hot dog in hand Enjolras said, “Wow, they really are amazing.”

“Yeah,” Grantaire replied, staring at the look of joy on Joly and Courfeyrac’s faces as their group screamed in excitement as they passed. Enjolras and Grantaire shared a quick look, studying the vacant expression on each other’s faces.

I am right , Enjolras told himself, I did nothing wrong .

It was halftime when Grantaire said, “Wow, their show really is on fire .”

“Was that a pun? That was not a pun. No.” Enjolras shook his head, trying not to laugh as the marching band performed On Fire .

“Oh come on. They’re lit!”

Enjolras snorted, still, his supposedly guilty conscious hung heavy. He didn’t say anything the rest of the performance, though he did wonder how Grantaire was sitting next to him when clearly Enjolras sat on the opposite side of the group. They didn’t speak during the encore (one could excuse this due to obnoxiously cheering).

It was around the time when the fourth quarter began and Courfeyrac shouted, “One. Two. Three.”

“Move those chains. Move those chains. Move those chains. HOOOOO.” The entire sousaphone section (and a few winds) belted out.

Again, this time faster, Courfeyrac shouted, “One, two, three.”


“What is that all about, do you know?” Enjolras asked, though directed at Bahorel, Grantaire answered instead. Bahorel was a little too into the game anyways.

“I don’t know. I think it’s with those things on the field.”

“Very specific. Very helpful.”

Instead of getting angry like Enjolras thought he would, Grantaire laughed. He didn’t look Enjolras in the eyes at all since the tailgate, but still, it was more than an opportune moment to say something. Just not there.

“HEy, Grantaire? Can I talk to you?”

“We are talking now.”

“No, somewhere else. You know um less noisy?”

Grantaire nodded and the two of them slipped out. They walked a little ways past the bathrooms, to where no one was really within earshot. Most people had either gone home or chose to actually watch the game. Grantaire pivoted on his heels and Enjolras almost slammed into him.

“If you’re going to chew me out again for one thing or another, you might as well get it over with now.” Grantaire crossed his arms and Enjolras found it a lot harder to speak.

“No, I. R, I want to apologize, not yell at you, not argue with you. I wasn’t thinking straight yesterday and I was an ass. I shouldn’t have said anything and I thought I was right, but that doesn’t mean I should have spoken to you like that.”

“You couldn’t have said that earlier?” Grantaire shook his head. “I can’t not forgive you, even when you’re this shitty. I think I’d go insane. I need to apologize too. I shouldn’t have—”

“No, you don’t have to apologize for anything.”

“No, Enjolras, I do. We both fucked up. Next time I won’t get drunk during meetings. I won’t argue as much. Let’s just, let’s just go back to the others and enjoy the rest of the evening as decent human beings. I want to be friends not—” Grantaire began motioning the air in distress.

“I agree. Decent human beings sounds like a great does friends.” Enjolras gave a small smile.

The began to walk down, peering over the ledge only to find that half of the band was rhythmically hip-thrusting to a cadence. And amidst the noise of the crowd you could hear:

“Parking in the front, parking in the rear: we’ve got parking, but cha can’t park here.”

“You know, on second thought—it’s ten. We’ve seen their show last week and will next week. I’m just gonna head home.” Enjolras sighed.

“Suddenly, I know the feeling. I’m just gonna go finish my painting and maybe watch Harry Potter or something. There’s always a marathon of it on somewhere.”

“That sounds fun. Too bad my laptop is broken.”

“Enjolras, you did smash it with a hammer.” true.”

“Do you want to watch it with me?” Grantaire laughed, “I’ll be painting during it, but you are more than welcome to join me.”

“I don’t want to intrude.”

“You? Never.”
“Haha, okay. I’ll bring popcorn and then use your microwave. Isn’t your roommate there?” Enjolras asked as they began to exit the stadium.

“Basil? Pshhh, he leaves on weekends but to where? He won’t tell a damn soul.”

“That’s weird.” Enjolras watched his breath in the dark.

“Yeah and all he ever does is paint the same guy over and over and over again. Surprisingly, we have a lot in common.” Grantaire looked over at Enjolras, “You are going to your room first, right?”
“Yeah, why?”

“I just, I have to clean some stuff up. That’s all.” Grantaire shrugged. Hart came up faster than he thought it would. They entered the building and headed up the stairs, neither one trusting the elevators on campus since some unfortunate souls got stuck one time too many.

It took even shorted to arrive at Grantaire’s dorm room. Canvases scattered across the room, some empty, some half-finished. Basil’s side of the room was rather clean compared to the mess that was Grantaire’s. Enjolras took the liberty of popping the popcorn as Grantaire turned on the TV and went to work on a landscape of purples and golds.

“Make yourself at home,” was the only thing Grantaire told him. Enjolras jumped up onto the bed, able to clearly see both the movie marathon and Grantaire painting.

Both men would agree, they were finally acting like normal people—no arguing, no politics, no drinking, and no excuse to avoid relaxing. However, it didn’t take long before they received multiple texts from their friends, all saying exactly one thing:

“What did you do?”

Chapter Text

Mercutio put his earbuds in to drown out the noise. It wasn’t like him to shut himself off like that, people told him, distaste in their voices. He could care less. It was too loud, too much commotion, even for him—and he loved chaos.

“I don’t understand why everyone is at the dining hall now of all hours,” Valentine, his brother, huffed.

“I don’t understand why Paris wants to meet us now of all hours,” Mercutio whined, mimicking him.

“Shut up.”

“Shut up,” Mercutio echoed.

Valentine laughed and hit him on the shoulder before spotting Paris. “You. Why?”

“I can’t have dinner with my cousins without some sort of ulterior motive?” Paris stood up to greet them. He dressed far too nicely for a normal student, though even Mercutio would admit Paris was handsome enough to dress horribly and still look like a gentleman. Mercutio would also follow with a statement of how creepy it is, but that is besides the point.

“No, no you can’t.” Valentine shook his head.

“I thought we had an agreement to ignore each other in college? That’s why Val and I are rooming with our best friends and not each other.” Mercutio threw up his hands.

“Mercutio, take out your earbuds. That’s rude.” Paris crossed his arms, but Mercutio did not move.

“Whaaaat? I can’t hear you. All I hear is Mercutio, you are the most amazing person in the world! I’m so glad you are my cousin.”

“Mercutio!” Paris hissed.

“I’m not taking these out. I’ve turned it down. See? There. I am not taking them out and you know why.”

“Come on. It’s been what? 18 years? Even Valentine—”

“Don’t bring me up. Don’t use me to try and dismiss what he is going through."
Valentine crossed his arms, looking like a more serious version of Mercutio (with shorter hair, of course). “Why did you call us down.”

“I don’t mean to offend. I am sorry. Why don’t we get food and come back here to talk. I received an email from Uncle and we need to talk about it. Sooner rather than later.”

They agreed, though Mercutio’s appetite shrank the longer he stayed. When all of them returned, Paris began to speak again, “Uncle says that he is beginning to rethink giving the company over to you, Mercutio. He says that he would rather—”

“I know. I am aware he put you in front of me in the line of succession. You are older and you do have more qualifications than I do. I’m not exactly the image of corporate america. You or Val could do way better than me anyways.” Mercutio shrugged, poking at his carrots.

“I don’t want his business and if I end up marrying that one girl I met, which I plan to, I will probably get their business.” Valentine took a sip of his soda. “Her dad is pretty old school, but luckily she wants to be a doctor instead. It’d be a win-win.”

“I’m sorry if you already knew. He acted like he wasn’t going to tell anyone and I wanted to let you know what he’s planning.” Paris frowned. “Mercutio, are you okay?”

Mercutio leaned forward, almost with anger, but then took the salt shaker and waved it around, “I’m not salty or anything.”

“Mercutio!” Paris gasped, horrified.

Valentine snorted, very unprepared, “Ah damn, I spilled soda all over me.”

“Here, dab it out with some water.” Paris wet his napkin and handed it to Valentine.

“No. I’ve got it.” Mercutio held out his hand in protest and before anyone could stop him, he quickly dabbed around his brother. The victim could only laugh in amusement and utter embarrassment.

“Mercutio! Mercutio!” Paris whisper-yelled. He laid his head in his hands and whined, “Ohhhh my goooood.”

Mercutio heard his phone buzz on the table as his relatives counted their lucky stars he stopped, Valentine still laughing his heart out.

“Gotta run. Later, taters.” Mercutio practically skipped out of the dining hall. To where he was going was a hike, not that he cared. He loved the feeling of his hair flying in his face and the adrenaline making him want to run forever and never stop. He loved the feeling of each step pushing off into the air as if he was flying. He pushed onto the large doors of the art building and followed the diligent instructions sent to him via text message.

“Oh good! You’re here! I was afraid you took a wrong turn.” Rosencrantz looked behind him, his voice somewhat lost in thought, “Sorry, you came a tad bit early. Guildenstern will be done in a moment.”

“Benny, what’s the project this time?” Mercutio hopped over to Benvolio who was busy concentrating on getting Guildenstern’s intimidating stare down, though that proved hard since the subject kept squirming.

“We were told we had to get at least four people who look like each other and paint them. When we found out our partners,” he gritted his teeth for a moment, “we decided to do our closest friends. We are calling it something along the lines of ‘Apollo Guises’ or something like that. Damn! I just can’t paint people.”

“You’re just better at painting places—urban settings. You know, the complexness of simple places.”

“Rose, I’m not sure you know what you’re saying.” Ben looked over at the man next to him.

“You know, like buildings, cities, and forests. Even Basil envies your detail. Right, Basil?” Rosencrantz looked over to his far left.

“Huh?” Basil looked above his easel. “Did you say something?”

“Yeah, don’t you envy Ben’s detail?” Rose continued.

“Of course. We all have something to envy of each other. I envy your simplistic settings: meadows, large open skies, your strange techniques that somehow make everything look so calming and soft, and how talented you are with sculptures. I don’t know why you’ve taken this class. I envy Ben’s ability to turn complex scenes into something that feels simple and peaceful, or so chaotic despite no one pictured. I especially envy his sketches.”

“Thank you, I am in the room, don’t forget.” Ben smiled and went back to making faces at his painting.

“Grantaire, I love how you emphasis the beauty of people and somehow make even the most mundane look like gods.”

“I envy how you can paint hands,” Grantaire set his brush down and stretched. “Done when you are.”

“You know, if you wanted to paint people who look like each other, you could have just done yourselves.” Mercutio leaned back on the wall. “You know, dark long hair and shit.”

“Oh. Hello? When did you get here?” Basil’s face scrunched up.

“A moment ago. Man, you are absorbed in your work. No wonder it’s so good.”

“Thank you?” Basil look at Mercutio and then over at Benvolio to which he mouthed, “Was that a compliment?”

Benvolio nodded, and turned over to Mercutio. “It looks like it’s your turn now. Besides, we couldn’t draw ourselves. We look nothing alike.”

“No, but you all are giving me the same kind of feeling.” Mercutio traded places with Guildenstern who quickly took his leave.

“What feeling?” Grantaire asked, setting up a new canvas.

“And I look nothing like Guildenstern. He is much too scary and I am much too pretty. Plus, my hair is long!” Mercutio pouted.

“We lost him,” Rosencrantz shook his head and began to paint.

“He has the same jawline as Dorian,” Basil commented, though that was all he said for the rest of the sitting.

“And the same hair as Enjolras, though curlier, I guess.” Grantaire waved his hand in the air, gesturing towards the finished canvases beside him.

“He has the same hair color as Guildenstern and I think the same body shape as Dorian.” Ben commented.

“No, Enjolras had the same body as Dorian. Mercutio has the same body as himself. Um, that sounds weird. He has the same cheekbones as Guildenstern...maybe.” Grantaire glanced up and down.

“I think I look like me.” Mercutio commented.

“Definitely the same ears, not so much the eyes,” Rosencrantz mumbled.

“As who?” Ben asked.

“You know,” Rosencrantz tapered off again.

“Speaking of Enjolras,” Ben started.

“Um, we were talking about me. Hellooo.” Mercutio whined.

“How did you even get him to sit for this? I thought he hated you.” he continued.

“Convinced him over a Harry Potter marathon. For a moment, I thought I was gonna have to ask that Gringoire kid.” Grantaire shook his head and mixed a bit of paint.

“I like Harry Potter.”

“The kid who joined everything?” Ben asked.

“Yup.” Came the reply.

“He’s a fun guy to hang around with. Trust me.” Rose squinted at what he had so far and took a few glances at Mercutio.

“Are you guys even listening to me?” Mercutio tapped his foot.

“Sit still.” Rosencrantz mumbled again and Mercutio sighed.

He sighed again. And sighed again.

“I like apples.” Mercutio rambled.

“That’s nice, Grantaire,” Rosencrantz almost splattered paint on himself with his wild, unnecessary hand gestures.

“I also like puns. I would tell you one about provolone, but it’s pretty cheesy.”

“Hmm,” came the reply from Ben.

“The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.”

“I’ve never heard of that band.” Grantaire commented, though Mercutio couldn’t tell whether he was messing with him or not. Seeing as all of the artists were too involved in their paintings, he decided to take a shot in the dark. They weren’t listening anyways.

He swallowed. “I also like Benvolio.”

All four heads shot up and Mercutio found it harder to breathe.

“What?” He stumbled over the word. Everything tasted sour.

“Don’t. Move.” Grantaire commanded.

It’s not like Mercutio had a choice.

The painting happened a lot quicker than he expected. A thank you came from everyone, though he didn’t quite catch their expressions. He only ran off of the makeshift stage and disappeared from sight.

Feeling he was safe and secure in his bedroom, he began to pace around and talk to himself a bit—to clear his thoughts, of course. The key turned and he froze, staring at Benvolio as he stumbled into the room. Benvolio carefully put away his things and went straight to studying without a single word. It was his normal routine after all, but Mercutio couldn’t help but to feel on edge.

In the end, he fell asleep at two a.m., believing nothing changed.

Chapter Text

It’s not college until your friends are snap-chatting you, drunk out of their minds. But the thing is, Montparnasse was not friends with either of his suitemates and neither was his roommate, though Jean "Jehan" Prouvaire was a bit of an unknown to him. Nevertheless, he was still more concerned over being interrupted.

“Who are you and how did you get my number? This better be important of I will skin you alive.”

“Montparnasssssssty” Came one voice from the phone. He could hear laughter from the room next to him.

“Montyyy!” cried the second voice.

“I threw up!” exclaimed the first one.

Montparnasse hung up immediately.

A knock and the worst fit of giggles rang out from the bathroom door. And again. And again. Montparnasse finally opened the door to reveal Guildenstern standing in front of him with a poorly drawn mustache on his face. The stench of alcohol hit him, but neither that nor the makeover led him to believe that Guildenstern was drunk. No, he was beyond drunk.

Montparnasse sighed heavily, realizing the extremity of his problems. Behind Guildenstern, easily hidden by the slightly taller man, was Rosencrantz. The two of them wore a stretched out hoodie and instead of Guildenstern’s arms coming out the sleeves, it was Rosencrantz’. Montparnasse regretted opening the door, yet his classes and plans were canceled for the day. What else had he to do?

“Yes?” The question hung in the air for a moment before the two laughed.

“Excuse me sir,” Guildenstern began in a voice Montparnasse would rather not hear ever again.

“Oh dear lord.”

“Is your refridgerator running?”

“You better go catch it!” Rosencrantz squealed. His suitemates broke down again.

“Not yet, Rose!” Guildenstern scolded and then looked Montparnasse straight in the eyes, “You better go catch—Rose! Stop!” Seeing the normally serious man act like a child was simultaneously amusing and horrifying. Guildenstern squirmed and Rosencrantz broke out laughing harder than before. They reminded him of little children.

“Sta-stop tick—” became the only coherent thing from Rose.

“I’m just gonna close this—”

“No!” Guildenstern blocked the frame with his body and Rosencrantz attempted to hold it open with his hands (only he couldn’t see so he just waved them frantically in the air). “We need to be free!”

Montparnasse watched as the two drunks collapsed in the door-frame. He stepped back and just decided it would be better to spend his time listening to music than dealing with them. He climbed onto his bed and closed his eyes, all the noise of the day disappearing into his own personal paradise.

He thought about how he was meeting the Patron-Minette later on that night. He thought about how Claquesous would wear one of their stupid masks again. He thought about how Babet would be the first to greet him and listen patiently while Montparnasse gave the instructions to the others. He could only imagine Gueulemer being the first to get caught again. They were his family, in a way, but that was another story--one meant for no one to know.

Montparnasse woke up to quiet breathing. He lost track of time and didn't know when his roommate got back, though it didn't quite matter to him. He sat up, looked around a bit, and shifted the blanket off of him. On the floor, the two fools laid soundly asleep, also draped in a blanket and propped up with pillows, though they were probably uncomfortable anyways.

"I couldn't move them by myself." Jehan whispered, as if any shred of noise could wake their suitemates.

"Well, I wasn't gonna do it." Montparnasse shrugged.

"Can you help me? That way they won't bother you." Jehan gave a slightly worried look. "I don't mean to wake you; I'm sorry."

"You didn't." He kicked Rosencrantz over with his foot and Guildenstern went with him: both still being bound together by the hoodie. "Here, we can use the blanket to drag them through the bathroom."

"That sounds good to me." Jehan got out of their chair and walked over to where Montparnasse was holding one end of the blanket.

The two of them dragged them across the room, Montparnasse banging open the doors as he backed into them. He decided the floor would be a good place to leave the two men and snagged the blanket from underneath them. The sun was nearly down, streaming through the window in fragments of pale light. Jehan's plants practically glowed underneath the window, as did Jehan. They sat down, next to the chair, not in it, and basked in the fleeting sunlight. Montparnasse flung the blanket on top of his roommate.

"Easier than hiding a body."

"It sounds as though you've done it before. All we did was drag two drunk men through a bathroom." Jehan laughed.

"You're right," Montparnasse replied, kneeling on the ground to get a better look at his food stash, "I am much more carefully hiding a body and covering my tracks than dealing with those idiots."

"They are very nice people who just make poor decisions from time to time."

"Prouvaire. One of them wears plaid shirts with orange and blue polk-a-dot scarves and crocs with sequins on them as if that look is iconic."

"Hey, I let him borrow that scarf!" Jehan scowled and after a while, "I also wear crocs!"

"In winter?"


"Okay then. You're alright. You do have...a few distasteful choices, but you are alright."

"I'm glad." Jehan didn't sound very glad. They stood up and for the first time that day, Montparnasse looked them in the eyes. There was something powerful emanating from the person in front of him--the way they stood with their arms crossed and the light attempting to silhouette them. Jehan walked past him without a second look, back to where the discarded book was, and something dropped inside him.

"Did I offend you?" Montparnasse asked as they walked past him again.

"No," came a sort of half-hearted reply.

"Really, did I?"

"Montparnasse, you aren't normally so involved in what I think. My feelings seem to be the last thing on your mind."

Jehan sat back down, this time in the chair, and Montparnasse looked back over at his noodle cup. He placed it on the bookshelf and looked back at the clock. It was only seven and the sky had already warped into the haven he so loved. The city masked the stars, though a few poked through from what he could tell. Jehan once told him, unfortunately in poem form, about the sky being filled with stars that danced and gleamed like snow falling from the sky. He knew what Jehan was talking about, though it wasn't the pictures that gave him such insight. That day, he saw the night sky in Jehan's skin, in their freckles and eyes. Jehan was alright, though he didn't think they understood how much that meant to him. A stranger of sorts meant something to him, enough to know a name and a few likes that surface through one subtle smile to the next.

Montparnasse placed his noodle cup underneath his Keurig and set it to pour a full cup. He glanced at Jehan again and almost smiled to himself at the way his roommate delicately turned each page. Out came the water--out came the water everywhere but into the cup. He pulled his hand away, not realizing he was still holding the fully packaged noodles until the water scalded his hand. He rested his head on the bookshelf.

"Oh my god! Are you alright?!" Jehan leaped at the power button and gently placed a hand on Montparnasse's back.

"I have no fucking clue by this point." He shook his head, still hiding his embarrassment.

"What happened?" They stared down at him, making it worse to stand up straighter and face his mess. His hot mess.

"I forgot to unwrap it," he mumbled.

"Sorry, what did you say?"

"I forgot to unwrap it."

"Quit mumbling, I can't hear you with you face in your armpit."

Montparnasse lifted his head quickly, causing Jehan to step back. "I forgot to fucking unwrap my noodles."

"I heard you the first time. I'll clean this up and make your noodles so you don't burn yourself again. Let me see that." They smiled and took a wide-eyed Montparnasse's hand, examining the large red blotch that began to form. "Good thing you never take off your gloves in public--this is gonna be worse than you think. The first aid kit is in my closet, clearly labeled thanks to Joly."

Jehan began to wipe the bookshelf with a paper towel and took the plastic and lid off of the noodles. Montparnasse found the bright red box and laid it on Jehan's desk. He slumped down into his own chair and couldn't decide between being shocked at Jehan's sass finally rearing its beautifully ugly head, or getting distraught over his fresh burn. What was he thinking anyways? He shook his head in spite of himself and texted the Patron-Minette he would not be attending their nightly rendezvous. He simply was not in good enough shape to sneak around the city.

"Here are your noodles. Let me see that burn again," Jehan commanded. He held his hand up to them and Jehan tskd. "This will be a nasty one."

"I can take care of my own burn." Montparnasse frowned and tried to take the cream from them.

"If you could," they laughed, "you wouldn't have waited for me to come over here to do it for you and you wouldn't have burned yourself in the first place."

"Give me the medicine, Prouvaire."

"Sit still, you limp noodle."

"Jehan!" Montparnasse screeched in horror as his roommate laughed wildly.

Jehan stopped and stared at him with a large grin.

"What?" Montparnasse glowered.

"You called me Jehan."

"No, I didn't." Montparnasse snatched the cream from Jehan and the latter just sat there.

"You did. You called me Jehan!" They grabbed his shoulders and shook him around.

"And if I did?" Montparnasse asked, but Jehan only giggled. They grabbed his hand again and took the medicine from the other. Jehan quietly applied the cream and wrapped Montparnasse's hand, smiling to himself. The two of them shared no words as Jehan put back the first aid kit and went back to their book, only they couldn't even read without putting the book over their face and laughing with such pure joy.

After a few minutes Montparnasse shook his head and threw out his empty cup. "Stop doing that. You're freaking me out."

"I can't help it! I'm so happy!"

"You are a lot."

"I just so happen to be a very happy person, okay."

Montparnasse thought for a moment before standing up and walking over to his roommate. He knelt down next to them and stared up at them as they tried to hide their eyes with a book. In a tone other than monotone and sarcastic, Montparnasse whispered, "Jehan?"

A new fit of giggles arose from them.

"Jehan?" he spoke a little louder and took the book from them. Jehan hid their face with their hands and Montparnasse couldn't tell whether he was amused or confused. He figured this was going to be a normal emotion while living with Jehan, but again he spoke a little louder, "Jehan, are you gonna stop hiding from me? You remind me of a five year old. How old are you Jehan?"

"Almost nineteen," they mumbled.

"Okay, so if you are nineteen, why do you shy away when I call you something other than Prouvaire?"


"Jehan?" Montparnasse watched their face grow even redder as they shook their head feverishly.

Montparnasse turned around and walked back over to his side to the room. A weak voice called out to him and he looked back over at Jehan.



"What's your first name?"

"It's a secret."

Chapter Text

Guildenstern woke to a terrible hangover. He made no sound as he slipped out of the trap that somehow befell him, hoping with every fiber of his being that it was not his idea. The hoodie was ruined, for the most part, stretched beyond its proper use. He left it on Rosencrantz, despite the hoodie being his, and stepped over him. The mirror reflected back a man who did not appear amused at the marker smeared across his upper lip.

He looked over at Rosencrantz one last time before shaking his head and attempting to move his roommate onto his bed--their bed. The two twin-sized beds were pushed together, blankets laying over top to make sure comfort levels were to the maximum. At first, this was merely done out of efficiency and giving the tiny room more space to be mobile, but overtime the convenience of it washed away into something much more personal. Simply put, Guildenstern did not know when things happened--they just happened.

He washed off his face to the best of his ability and began filling through his backpack for homework and other things to do. He, though not prone to admitting, regretting doing his homework early and found nothing to busy his mind. Guildenstern could just vaguely hear his conscious telling him that he should just go back to sleep and let the day pass on his own, but he needed to be wide awake for the evening. He did make plans with Hamlet and Laertes, after all. They were going to have dinner together and talk about the future. None of them really knew what it was they were getting themselves into, but nevertheless, it was a good idea for them to at least try and plan things around each other. The past year was quite a mess to the point where even Rosencrantz found himself missing out on every get-together. Ophelia would probably be there, though Laertes told him she was Deaf. He met her once or twice before, back in middle school or at holidays, but he couldn't quite remember her very well. And then again, Horatio would probably be there as well, maybe being a voice of reason when the group decides to do something stupid. Then again, he too had been unable to see them for the past year or so.

Guildenstern made himself some coffee and leaned up against the wall. The sound of cars raced by. It seemed as if unless you lived in Hart, you could only ever hear the city life roar by at odd hours of the day. He didn't have enough money to live in Hart and the scholarships didn't add up enough. It was only $600 more, but he wasn't gonna spend that much just for better housing. He might as well just pay for the Litania Apartments.

He tried to close his eyes and found himself staring at the way the scattered light danced across Rosencrantz face. Instead of getting his coffee the moment it finished spitting itself out of the machine, he crawled into the blankets and wrapped himself in Rosencrantz' arms. He felt the other man stir and looked up into bright brown eyes, so full of wonder and excitement. He couldn't help but peck him on the lips.

"I love you." He smiled and Rosencrantz squeezed him a little tighter.

"I love you, too," Rosencrantz mumbled, "Why does my head hurt?"

"We were idiots last night. It's noon."

"Ugh, I have class."

"No you don't. They canceled all classes in the language arts building because of the Gorilla somehow getting inside and climbing in areas they can't reach."

This woke Rose up a bit, furrowing his eyebrows a bit to transcribe the look on Guildenstern's face into something he could easily identify. "No they didn't," he replied and gave Guildenstern a quick kiss on the nose, "you're so silly."

Guildenstern returned the favor with a kiss on the lips and smiled. "Me? Silly? I beg to differ."

Even though the intense noise of civilization surrounded them, the two were at peace. Rosencrantz wrapped himself around Guildenstern and held him close. Guildenstern closed his eyes and slowly began to fall asleep to the sound of Rosencrantz' breathing.

"You have to leave soon, don't you?" Rosencrantz whispered as Guildenstern woke.

"Yeah, I don't want to, but yeah." He murmured back.

"Then don't."

"Rose..." Guildenstern buried his head in Rosencrantz' chest and sighed deeply.

"I know, I know." Rose kissed him again before Guildenstern pulled away and searched the room for his bag, papers and books still tossed about. "I just want you to take better care of yourself."

"I am." Guildenstern bit back a sour tone, though fear crept into his mind that he let it slip anyways. "I know, I just...Next semester will be better."

He didn't look back at Rosencrantz as he headed towards the elevator. The twelfth floor wasn't so bad, but the elevators were so prone to breaking down. He was late enough as it was and didn't want to walk into class sweaty and out of breath. The elevator dinged.

Standing on the elevator, eyes wide, was Hamlet.

"Rosencrantz--no, Guildenstern, I need advice. What does it mean when someone tells you they will always be there for you, even when things are falling apart beneath you and that you can always come to them no matter what?"

"That they trust you?" Guildenstern blinked a few times as Hamlet rushed out of the elevator.

"Yes, yes, I knew that already, but is there a double meaning to it?"

"Do you want there to be?"


"Listen, Hamlet, that is just a normal thing to say between people who trust each other--and I am assuming you trust them and know them well--so you don't need to worry about there being something extra. I am not the one to say whether or not they meant something more. I'm late for class. Who is it?"

"No one, sorry, I'll just go talk to...yeah. Bye." Hamlet waved halfheartedly and sauntered off towards Guildenstern's room.

Guildenstern hopped onto the elevator and quickly pressed the button over and over again. Sadly, it seemed someone on every floor wanted on. Some just watched the doors open and closed without a care. The only person to get onto the elevator was a younger man with the strangest blonde bob. He smiled kindly towards Guildenstern as if he'd met him before. Finally, it dawned on him.

"You're Pierre, right? The guy who joined the philosophy club?"

"Yep! You are Rose's boyfriend right?! Ah, yes! Guildenstern?"


Pierre Gringoire smiled brightly, even more so than before. "How's that going? He talks about you quite a lot! Then again, I don't know anyone who doesn't talk about their partner nonstop."

"Love is strange that way, I suppose. It is going quite well." Guildenstern chose his words carefully, not sure how to approach the other man who seemed to be drifting in and out of a daydream.

"I guess it is fairly strange. I have had some odd encounters, each one bringing their own sets of consequences."

"Bad ones?"

"Nope," Gringoire rocked back on his heels a few times, "both. My recent one is rather strange, so to speak, but overall it's not too bad. I did make a few friends from it!"

"That's weird. Was it an awkward breakup?" Guildenstern began to think the elevator was broken again, but the sounds and unnerving shaking said otherwise.

"Nope! I'm married!"

"I'm sorry, what? Married? You're like, 18."

"19, actually. I married a woman from France so she could get into America and work on her visas and citizenship. Her dad came up with it when he caught me on their property by accident. To make a long story short, I am married to her, but we don't have any relationship other than just being friends. You know, the more I think about it, the more I start to think it's more of a sibling relationship. Her father has warmed up to me and I do not see her in the same enchanting light as I did when I first met her."

"That is weird. That is good? I guess? But weird."

The elevator dinged again and Gringoire hopped off.

"Tell Rose I said Hi!" he hollered as the doors to the seventh floor closed. He could only get a glimpse of the woman who was waiting for him on the other side.

Guildenstern's ride down was far more peaceful than he expected after the awkward ride down. His hangover still clung to him, as did the ghost of Rosencrantz' hug. He wanted nothing more than to run back up and never leave his bed again, but

And the day went on.


Chapter Text

Eponine Thenardier liked to talk. A lot.

There wasn't a day where she wasn't passionately chatting up someone's ear. Sure, she enjoyed threatening people and defending her friends when the time came, but people often forgot how much she talked. Everyone saw her as the girl who taught kickboxing in the gym rather than the girl who enjoyed writing and playing video games with her two siblings, Azelma and Gavroche. There was that, and how she was madly in love with Marius since freshman year. She would tell people there wasn't much to her, not of any importance. She used to drink and smoke, but with careful guidance from the last person people would expect, she managed to quit. And when she wasn't going on tangents, she would be telling stories of sneaking around after her parents lost their inn. But through all of the chaos that crowded her so-called boring life, she ended up listening to someone more than she ever spoke.

It wasn't supposed to happen and it didn't make much sense, but as it were, Eponine found herself wandering through a greenhouse after one of her classes. She traced her fingers on large smooth leaves and smelled every flower she found strange. It wasn't normal for her, no, but there was always a first time. The white flowers that curled in at the tips reminded her of Alzema and the dresses she insisted on buying with what money her parents couldn't steal from her. The orange ones with red stripes reminded her of the shirt Gavroche never took off. The dark red that left a strange powder on her hands reminded her of Marius' hair.

As she lingered around the freshly watered flowers, a, airy voice floated among the greenhouse, echoing off of the flora and fauna that shrouded Eponine. She peered around the corner and watched a young girl with brown hair and a flowing dress danced across the room, watering as she went. The song ended as quickly as it came and Eponine stepped out of the clearing.

"That was beautiful," she called out, but the woman was far to invested in the roses to hear her.

"Um, excuse me?" she called out again, but no response, not even a sign of acknowledgment. Eponine walked over to the side of the woman and gently tapped her arm. The woman jumped, stared for a moment, and then smiled kindly.

"I just wanted to say that was beautiful." Eponine swallowed but the woman just furrowed her brows in what appeared to be confusion. "Your song?"

The woman licked her lips a second before nervously speaking, "I am having trouble reading your lips."

"Are you...Are you Deaf?"

The woman nodded.

"I'm sorry. I wish I could sign to you, I..." Eponine felt her face flush.

"I've taken speech therapy. I don't know how well I sound, but it's alright."

"You are beautiful, I mean, you sound beautiful. Shit."

The woman laughed, "I'm Ophelia."

But that was a few years ago. Eponine knew a little more sign language by the time the two of them became juniors. All it took was mentioning to Grantaire about wanting to communicate better with Ophelia and suddenly Combeferre was meeting her in the garden to teach her ASL. It's not like she didn't slip up. At one point she signed "I like weed" instead of "I like fruit." Ophelia never let that go. Neither did Combeferre, who, it turns out, was friends with Ophelia and was her lab partner during biology.

Esmeralda, her roommate, patiently listened as she rambled about Ophelia, Marius, and Combeferre. Cosette even giggled a little when Eponine started talking about her new adventures.

"It sounds like you are having a lot of fun." Cosette took a bit of her pizza.

"I am having a good time." Eponine laughed and waved two girls over to her table.

Rosaline and Juliet looked more like sisters than cousins. If anything, they acted like siblings too.

"Sorry we're late," Rosaline began, "Juliet--"

"Had to wait thirty minutes for Rosaline to get out of the bathroom." Juliet interjected.

Rosaline rolled her eyes and sat down with her plate of pasta. "She didn't understand the difference between five minutes and ten minutes, so I only got in there late because of her."

"Anyways, how have you two been?" Juliet smiled.

"I'm good, Eponine has been telling me all about what she's been doing with Ophelia the past week." Cosette took a sip of her coke.

"Did you see her marching?! It was amazing!"

"I can't tell anyone apart in those uniforms." Rosaline shook her head.

"I'm sorry, I didn't go. I went to a party." Juliet bit her fork. "How did you guys do on the geography test?"

"Failed." Rosaline shook her head again.

"Bombed it," Eponine said.

"I think I did pretty well," Cosette shrugged.

"I think the study guide was wrong. The questions weren't the same as what was on the test." Juliet sighed, "I fear the worst."

"I'm sure everyone does too." Eponine smiled and began to sculpt her mashed potatoes into a tower.

Marius, of all people, walked by, bumping into a few people and apologizing to an empty chair as he passed by. Cosette blushed, trying not to give him too many passing glances as he scurried over to where Courfeyrac and a few others waited.

"Oooooooh, do you have a crush?!" Rosaline squealed.

"No, I, yes." Cosette hid her head in her hands.

"Oh my god, you need to tell us everything. I just love a good romance." Juliet leaned over the table to take Cosette's hands. Eponine swallowed nervously.

"I know little of him, except he passes by me when I am studying outside the library. He is so sweet, even smiling at me from time to time."

"Cosette, that's weird." Rosaline folded her arms.

"I think that it's wonderful!" Juliet giggled, "Eponine, don't you know him?"

"He lived next to me freshman year, yeah."

"What's his name?! Where does he live?!" Cosette stood up a little straighter.

"His name is Marius and he um, he lives at Hart now. Sometimes, he will be at Pollux talking to Balthasar." Eponine's mouth tasted dry. She took a sip of water but found no relief.

"Your father might not approve of him," Rosaline continued to eat.

"Eh, who cares, as long as they love each other?" Juliet frowned.

"It matters in the end." She shrugged at her cousin's attitude.

"What are you gonna do now?" Eponine asked.

"I never thought about it."

Chapter Text

Halloween was upon them, creeping into LU like a welcomed nightmare. Sure, homecoming was happening at the same time, but who cared about that when the Halloween party was going to be lit (pun intended of course). Craft stores and Costume departments alike were cluttered with college students trying to throw something together at the last minute. Of course, someone had the bright idea of combining homecoming with the costume party.

That meant some people were dressed like they were in a formal ball and others dressed in bee costumes. And by other people, that of course means Courfeyrac.

In between Thriller and Highway to Hell, Courfeyrac found Hamlet and began reciting "To bee or not to bee...that is the buzz" or something along those lines. Hamlet, in his Phantom of the Opera costume, shook his head in a regretful sigh.

"I understand this was an informal bet, but come on Courfeyrac."

"I did like your poem, but this is too funny." Courfeyrac wiggled in his bee suit.

"I can't believe I actually let you show me the bee movie afterwards."

"Bee lieve?!"

"Oh my god."

"It was a fair trade: I go to the poetry competition and you watch the bee movie with me."

"Courfeyrac, I don't think that is a very fair trade," Horatio waltz up to them in early 20th century period clothing, suspiciously looking as if it was stolen directly from a museum.

"Ay, Horatio! What are you supposed to be?" Courfeyrac patted him on the back.

"Lord Montague D'Ysquith Navarro, Ninth Earl of Highhurst." Horatio took a bow, ignoring the many heads that turned at the name "Montague."

"Erik, you should probably watch your back and not consume anything, else you might actually turn into a phantom." Courfeyrac elbowed Hamlet.

"I tried to get him to go in Scout's costume from To Kill a Mockingbird."

"Wait, the—what was it—paper mache thing with the word 'Ham' painted on it? Oh my god, Hamlet! Why didn't you do it?!"

"Because the world just hates me right now." Hamlet shock his head.

Someone walked by him dressed as Zuko. It is only assumed that what he whispered was "Your phantom costume is pretty good, but the mask is on the wrong side," because the noise that came from Hamlet's mouth was so unique and indescribable to be transcribed into something humanly comprehensible. In short, he did not sound human but instead an entity comprised of pure emotion.

Courfeyrac busted out laughing.

On the other side of the ballroom, Mercutio was hula-hooping on one foot, dressed so extravagantly that one would wonder how it was he got the hula-hoops on in the first place.

Nearby, among the jack-o-lanterns, Esmeralda attracted a crowd, only to be dispersed, of course.

Among the crowd of dancing skeletons, someone shouted, "Has anyone seen Antonio?"

"Which one?" came the response.

"Ah, shit."

And in a huddled group in the corner: "So, what did you say?”

“I told him to kill Claudio--to destroy that sort of horrendous ideology. I think he got the message. I did say I would rip his heart out and eat it in the school store because of what he did to my sister, so I might have mislead him.”

“Let’s hope he doesn’t take things too literally. My mother told me men do that sort of thing a lot.”

“Sibyl, I thought your brother told you that they just want to use you.” Beatrice shook her head.

“It’s all the same when the world is against you.”

“How dramatic,” Katharina rolled her eyes and laughed.

“College isn’t about finding love,” Beatrice said.

“No, but it certainly seems that way for everyone else, don’t you think?” Katharina shrugged and looked out at the crowd.

“But, isn’t it the best part!” Sibyl practically bounced where she stood.

“”Um, nooooo.” Katharina furrowed her brows.

“Didn’t you say you got a new boyfriend?” Beatrice crossed her arms, spiderwebs wrapping around her like a shawl.

“I did, well, we aren’t officially together—”

“Did you sleep with him?!” Katharina asked horrified.

Sibyl couldn’t answer as Juliet Capulet bumped into her, looking frantically across the room.

“I’m so sorry,” she sputtered, “I wasn’t watching where I was going. Have you happen to see my cousin Tybalt? He saw someone he knew and the two of them just...kinda...vanished.”

“No, sorry Juliet.” Katharina looked around.

“I’m rethinking how good of an idea it was to combine a masquerade with a costume party. I can’t recognise anyone in a mask.”

“You aren’t wrong.” Beatrice stood on her platforms and tried to look into the crowd. “What’s he dressed like?”

“Why is everyone dressed like Montparnasse but with top hats?” Katharine frowned. The group roared with laughter.

“It’s funny, because it’s true.” came a voice of a passerby. A chill ran up Katharine’s spine.

“He’s dressed like the guy from Corpse Bride,” Juliet managed to say in between laughs.

“Whyyyyyyyyy?” Sibyl whined, looking at how everyone looked the same.

“Thanks for trying,” Juliet waved goodbye, disappearing into the crowd. Katharina could just barely make out the image of a bee trying to outdance someone in eight inch heels and large purple feathers. There was a dinosaur joining in as the crowd filled in around them.


Chapter Text

Basil didn't exactly like parties--no, that is an understatement. He despised parties and did his best to avoid them, but he couldn't say no. That is also a lie. He could say no to anyone--Henry Wotton, Rosencrantz, Hero, Horatio--the list goes on. He simply couldn't say no to Dorian Gray.

So there he was--dressed like a vampire in the middle of a suffocating dance floor, alone. Dorian had found a few people to dance with, all young and beautiful, without a care in the world. What was the point of coming if the people you came with left you? He took a small sip of the obviously spiked punch and watched Mothman out-dance someone in a dinosaur costume.

"Come on snake, let's rattle." Someone laughed behind him and Basil turned around.

"Petruchio, are you some sort of greaser?" Basil frowned at the man towering over him.

"Basil, are you some sort of vampire?" He retorted.

"Why are you smoking in here?" Basil took another sip of his drink. It was going to be a long night.

"Is there anything better to do?"

"I guess not but--"

"Later." Petruchio laughed and began to awkwardly dance towards a group of girls that caught his eye.

Basil shook his head and turned his attention elsewhere. The more he dwelled on Petruchio, the more he began to wonder where Henry went. The older man was dressed like either the monopoly man or the pringles face. By this point, the man was probably drunk and his costume worse than it already was before. Basil pushed through the crowd, searching, obviously not noticing someone's grab on him until he was yanked back into the back hallway. The large double doors slammed shut, muffling the chaos inside. Basil turned his head and watched as a man dressed in stunning red silk pulled him even farther away from the party.

"Dorian, wait." Basil stumbled, his arm practically being ripped from his body. "Dorian!"

Dorian stopped and Basil slammed into his back.

"What's wrong?" Dorian raised an eyebrow that poked just barely over his mask.

"Noth-nothing. Why did you drag me out of the party?"

"You weren't having fun anyways, so we are leaving." Dorian finally let go of Basil's arm. "Am I wrong?"

"No, but--"

"What's the matter Basil?" Dorian frowned.

"Nothing! Nothing! What about Henry or that girl you're dating?"

"Who? Sibyl Vane?" Dorian scoffed, "Who said I was dating her? She's beautiful, yes, but we are not dating. Come on."

Dorian looked around the hallway and in one of the alcoves. He waved Basil over. The two stood there for a moment. Basil looked around, confusion written all over his face, his mouth gaping open and close as if trying to form words. Dorian took a step closer to Basil and smiled in a way he only ever did alone.

"I think I--" Basil began but was cut off and melted under Dorian's rough touch.

Back inside, two women whispered underneath the loud music.

"What's worse: hot or cold?" Eponine asked, slow dancing with Cosette.

"Hmmmm....I'd have to say...cold, I guess."

"At least with the cold you could do something about it. It's the heat. The heat is worse."

"Not unless you don't have a heater and it's the middle of winter."

"Truuuue." Eponine laughed.

"Okay," Cosette smiled, "what's worse: a bad wi-fi connection or a phone that dies an hour after it charges."

"Are these things consistent?"



Cosette roared with laughter. The two women spun around in a circle about the dance floor, both dressed in similar costumes: they went as each other. Eponine wore a pleated green dress; Cosette wore a red blouse and skinny jeans.

"So, tell me, did Marius ask you out yet?"

"Nooooo. He didn't. I think he's afraid of--stop changing the subject!"

"Ugh! Fine! I guess the phone."

"Really? I would have guessed the wi-fi. But since we are on the topic, a little birdie told me you have a crush on someone."

"Cosette, we literally just had a conversation about this like a few days ago."

"Oh?" Cosette giggled, "I guess you were the birdie."

"You're so silly!"

The party faded off into the darkness, a storm approaching the opposite side of the campus.

"And it's time for letters! Oh boy! My favorite part of the night," a less than enthusiastic man laughed to himself a bit, his voice distorted through the old radio. "Oh look here! Another spam letter for Professor Caesar. Let me guess, beware the ides of march? Yep. Sorry Pro--"

"And now for the weather. We are expecting a large storm to come up the coast, but don't worry folks: clear skies for Thanksgiving for those of you who are traveling."

"50! 40! 30! And! Ahhhhhhhh, so close!"

"Letter from Michael Cassio to Bianca--no! Desdemona! What a plot twist! It says--"

"Valentine, pick a station or turn it off! I'm trying to do my homework." Proteus shook his head.

"Is it lit?" Valentine stayed on their school's radio broadcast, the sound of Iago reading off letters becoming white noise.

"You set me up."

"You set yourself up." Valentine laughed. "You wouldn't last around my brother."

"And you have?" Proteus laughed and turned the page of his textbook.

“Fair enough. I thought you would be at the dance”

“I thought you would be at the dance. Didn’t you say you were going?” Proteus scribbled in his notebook, “Silvia was expecting you?”

“Thurio took her and she knew her father would find out one way or another if she denied him. What about Julia? She is your girlfriend.”

“Valentine, she is not my girlfriend. Yes, we talked about it, but no, it’s not official.”


“I do love her, Valentine.” Proteus closed his book. “I love her beyond comprehension.”

“Yes, yes, you said so before.” Valentine rolled his eyes and turned the radio towards the music stations. The music faded out through the walls and into the next room where their suitemates argued with the Patron-Minette rather loudly.

"I'm just saying," Ariel scoffed, "that we are more likely to get killed or caught if we don't go through the roof."

"But how would we get up there?" Babet shook his head as Puck entered with a masked Montparnasse and Brujon, both rather reluctant. "Montparnasse, you are late."

"Enjoy the party?" Claquesous laughed, "No, wait. I know this one. Enjoy the sex?"

"My sex life is none of your business. And yes, I did enjoy the party." Montparnasse crossed his arms and leaned up against the shut bathroom door.

"Your sex life seems to be everyone's business these days," Babet laughed in spite of himself.

"Down to business, then." Claquesous crossed their arms.

"Roof or basement window?" Ariel asked. Puck crossed their arms and began to mimic Claquesous until they received a punch in the jaw.

"Basement. All in favor?" Claquesous frowned. Everyone in the room except Ariel, Puck, and Brujon raised their hands.

"It's settled. Basement." Montparnasse led the group outside into the night.

Nothing lasted, however.

Montparnasse barely escaped, one leg inside the building, one leg in the streets. He was trapped, but as all fights went, he won as well as one could against a large group of oversized men. Claquesous followed close behind him, the two running through the streets and into the campus woods. Branches cut open Montparnasse's face and snagged his costume. The two slipped in through a back door of the Castor dormitory. He headed up to his dorm and opened the door for Claquesous.

"You need to leave as soon as you can." Montparnasse gritted his teeth in the dark.

The moonlight shrouded Claquesous' face and a nasty grin appeared. "Hart isn't so far away. Besides, you owe me."

"I owe you nothing. We failed. The. End." Montparnasse stretched.

"That's not quite all and you know why. I have a way of getting what I want." came the reply.

"Claquesous, I am going to go a few floors up and try and see if Babet returned. I'll be back, but you need to be gone before then."

"Okay," Claquesous hissed as Montparnasse from his line of sight.

Montparnasse trekked up the stairs and circled each floor. Babet's room was empty, or if it wasn't, Babet was hiding. After a good half hour, he steadily made his way down towards his room, blood still dripping down his face and staining his clothes. Claquesous was gone when Montparnasse returned. Claquesous was merely replaced by Jehan, who hid themself in a ball on the floor. At first, Montparnasse thought they were sleeping, the way their head laid in their arms. He quietly stepped around the room, but the faintest whimper caught his ear. Montparnasse knelt down next to Jehan, unsure what to do, finally seeing the bruises in the distorted moonlight.

"Who did this to you?" He felt his voice cut sharp.

No reply.

No movement.

"Jehan. Who. Did. This?" Montparnasse barely touched Jehan before they yanked themself away in fear. Jehan's head shot up, tears streaming from wide eyes. Montparnasse felt himself falter, "Jehan..."

Jehan became more concerned with the blood on Montparnasse than the subject being dwelled upon.

"This is nothing." Montparnasse gently moved Jehan's hand from his face, "You need to tell me what happened."

Jehan shook their head.

"I'm not going to pressure you. I just need to know who did this." Montparnasse stared into their eyes. "Just nod if I get it right."

Jehan nodded.

"Did it happen at the party? No? Okay, did it happen on the way here?"

Another shake of the head and Montparnasse bit back anger.

"Did it happen here?"

A nod.

"Was it someone you know?"

A shake of the head.

"Did they wear a bird mask?"

A nod.

"I'm going to fucking kill Claquesous." Montparnasse hissed under his breath. He felt something struggle in his hand and realized he never let go of Jehan's hand. He loosened his grip, but Jehan didn't move their hand away. "We need to report this."

Jehan shook their head intensely.

"No? Why the hell not?! He fucking--" He faltered as Jehan drew attention once more to Montparnasse's bloody mess. "I'll be fine. Nothing happened. If anything does, I'll be fine. You really should--Jehan?"

Jehan began to shake more violently than before, the tears returning. Montparnasse wrapped his arms around them and tucked the bright orange hair behind their ear.

"How long have you known? Never mind, that's not important. I understand your decision. I think it's a bad one, but you are in control here, not me. I'm not going to leave you, okay?"

Montparnasse cried a few times in his life, all years and years ago. The anger inside him swelled, begging him to find Claquesous and make them suffer for a very, very, very long time. He didn't like getting attached, but family or not, Claquesous crossed the line for the last time. This was serious. It was supposed to be a great night, but Fate hated him. All he could do was watch as what little joy he had left become crushed, though it was never his intent for his roommate to become his solace. He kissed the top of Jehan's head, silence enveloping them both.

And all he could do was cry.


Chapter Text

"Spring semester. That's all I am saying. We will have everything in action in the spring, maybe even a little ways into the summer." Enjolras piled his papers together rather roughly.

"Ew. The summer is all hot and sticky." Ariel sighed. "I like the storms, though. Maybe you will get caught in one."

"Hopefully, you won't get caught in the one coming up." Gringoire stared out of the window at the darkening sky.

"No, no, I thought it was tomorrow." Ariel shook their head.

"I really hope you guys make a difference." Gringoire smiled brightly.

"You could join us." Enjolras sat up in his chair as his books and binders were neatly stacked on top of each other.

"I would, but I have--"

"Please don't go down the list again." Ariel interrupted him.

"But I haven't told you before?"

"You haven't, but you're more notorious than Phoebus' left sock."

"Ariel, please explain." Enjolras scrunched up his face.

"No," Ariel replied, sticking out their tongue.

Enjolras looked behind him and then quickly gathered up his things. "I guess I'll be going then."

"Later." Ariel waved.

"See ya," Gringoire said, balancing a pencil on his nose.

"Enjolras, wait!" Grantaire did a sort of half-jog, slowing down the moment Enjolras darted by. "Ah, shit. Whatever."

"Is he avoiding you?" Gringoire put his pencil down.

"No clue, at this point." Grantaire shook his head. "I had to tell him something, but it wasn't that important. He'll find out later from someone else, most likely."

"What was it?" Ariel grinned.

"Nothing." Grantaire waved them off. "I have to speak with you." He pointed to Gringoire.

"Did I do something wrong?"

"No, you actually did something right. Well, I guess it depends on you." Grantaire pulled a semi-crumbled piece of paper from his bag. "Here."

"I don't understand."

"Simple: the architecture club saw your painting of that one building and want to use it for flyers and shit. I don't know. I didn't really listen to them, but money is involved."

"Ohhhhh," Gringoire grasped the paper, eyes lighting up, "This is amazing! I am glad they liked my design! I came up with it on my own, you know. The inspiration came to me when I was walking through the back of an old bri--"

"Hush!" Ariel snapped, then laughed. "Sorry, sorry. Keep going!"

"They put a number on the paper for you to contact. I am gonna be late for my job if I stay." Grantaire checked his watch. The old thing was stuck on one o'clock, but he couldn't bring himself to take it off.

"Where do you work? Starbucks?" Ariel snickered.

"Just because I always have one doesn't mean I have ever stepped foot in that building." Grantaire smiled.

"What do you--"

"Spring semester. That's all I am saying. We will have everything in action in the spring, maybe even a little ways into the summer." Enjolras piled his papers together rather roughly.

"Ew. The summer is all hot and sticky." Ariel sighed. "I like the storms, though. Maybe you will get caught in one."

"Hopefully, you won't get caught in the one coming up." Gringoire stared out of the window at the darkening sky.

"No, no, I thought it was tomorrow." Ariel shook their head.

"I really hope you guys make a difference." Gringoire smiled brightly.

"You could join us." Enjolras sat up in his chair as his books and binders were neatly stacked on top of each other.

"I would, but I have--"

"Please don't go down the list again." Ariel interrupted him.

"But I haven't told you before?"

"You haven't, but you're more notorious than Phoebus' left sock."

"Ariel, please explain." Enjolras scrunched up his face.

"No," Ariel replied, sticking out their tongue.

Enjolras looked behind him and then quickly gathered up his things. "I guess I'll be going then."

"Later." Ariel waved.

"See ya," Gringoire said, balancing a pencil on his nose.

"Enjolras, wait!" Grantaire did a sort of half-jog, slowing down the moment Enjolras darted by. "Ah, shit. Whatever."

"Is he avoiding you?" Gringoire put his pencil down.

"No clue, at this point." Grantaire shook his head. "I had to tell him something, but it wasn't that important. He'll find out later from someone else, most likely."

"What was it?" Ariel grinned.

"Nothing." Grantaire waved them off. "I have to speak with you." He pointed to Gringoire.

"Did I do something wrong?"

"No, you actually did something right. Well, I guess it depends on you." Grantaire pulled a semi-crumbled piece of paper from his bag. "Here."

"I don't understand."

"Simple: the architecture club saw your painting of that one building and want to use it for flyers and shit. I don't know. I didn't really listen to them, but money is involved."

"Ohhhhh," Gringoire grasped the paper, eyes lighting up, "This is amazing! I am glad they liked my design! I came up with it on my own, you know. The inspiration came to me when I was walking through the back of an old bri--"

"Hush!" Ariel snapped, then laughed. "Sorry, sorry. Keep going!"

"They put a number on the paper for you to contact. I am gonna be late for my job if I stay." Grantaire checked his watch. The old thing was stuck on one o'clock, but he couldn't bring himself to take it off.

"Where do you work? Starbucks?" Ariel snickered.

"Just because I always have one doesn't mean I have ever stepped foot in that building." Grantaire smiled.

"What do you--"

Grantaire broke out laughing, "I work behind it at a bagel shop. You know, Circle of Pain? Someone trades me a bagel for Starbucks every morning."

"Circle of Pain? What the heck?" Ariel frowned.

"Well, it's sort of a play on words because pain is the french word for bread, but no one can pronounce it here. And a bagel is a circle of pain, because for some reason, they thought it would be a good idea to make all the bagels homemade. So yeah, Circle of Pain."

"That...makes sense." Gringoire's mouth parted a bit, signifying the understanding he came to terms with.

"Gotta blast!" Grantaire laughed and stepped out of the classroom.

He twisted and turned out of the psychology building and ran a ten minute walk in two minutes, just barely getting into the back door at a minute til three. The smell of cinnamon and fresh bread wrapped itself around him and he smiled widely. With a quick twist of a wrist, he had his burgundy apron on and was transferring hot trays of bread to cooling racks.

"I almost didn't think you were gonna make it." Eponine smiled brightly. "Mac was waiting out back so long that Beth scared him off."

"Is it safe to assume you drank my coffee?"

"What kind of friend would I be if I didn't?" Grantaire laughed as she patted him on the shoulder.

"A very, very good one," he mock frowned.

"I'll have you know it is nice and frozen with your name on it."

"Charming," he laughed, "I think it'd do nicely with the weather."

"Grantaire!" Beth rounded the corner. "We need help up front."

"On it." He stepped by the tall woman and looked the beast in the eyes: the largest line he ever braved.

"Can I get a bagel?" the first person asked.

"What kind of bagel?"

"Ummm...that one." The customer vaguely gestured over to the large display if bagels.

"Can you be a bit more specific?" Grantaire bit his lip.

"Yeah, uh, the bread kind?"

"So, a plain bagel with cream cheese?"

"Yes." The customer nodded.

"Anything else?" Grantaire's mistake dawned on him as the custom continued to stand there, jaw dropped to the floor.

After a stressful five minutes, the line continued to move along at a measly, yet reasonable pace. A familiar face appeared in line.

"Basil! How are you? Last I saw you, you just had the best Halloween of your life. That was three days ago. What happened?"

"Ugh, we are literally roommates. Just get me a cinnamon bagel and a regular coffee." Basil shook his head. "He's talking about marrying Sibyl Vane now."

"Marrying? Dude. He's what? 18? 19? He's fresh out of college. Marrying is even out of the question for us and we're both juniors. I don't get it." Grantaire's frowned deepened.

"I'm happy for him. If this is what he wants, who am I to get in the way?"

"A friend, Basil. A very decent human being." Grantaire handed him a receipt. "Good luck."

"Thanks." Basil walked off.

The next two people in line stood close together, the taller one looking around with great disdain for the crowd or perhaps with caution.

"Hey! I know you!" Grantaire's smile returned, more genuine than before. "Jehan, is this your roommate?"

Jehan nodded.

"Montparnasse." came the response as if he was going to reach out and shake his hand.

"You're as pretty as I heard." Grantaire chuckled as he received a slap to the chest and a look of betrayal. Montparnasse made no motion, to Grantaire's notice. "So what'll it be? The usual?"

Jehan nodded again.

"And for you?"

"Um, same, I guess." Montparnasse glanced at the board and shrugged.

"Two blueberry bagels and two black coffees?"

Montparnasse glanced at Jehan and then back at Grantaire. "Yes."

"Here you go: your receipt and change." Grantaire handed Jehan the change but suddenly frowned. "Where's your cane?"

Jehan shrugged and pointed behind them.

Grantaire looked at Jehan and then at Montparnasse. He looked back at Jehan and sighed, dropping the change into Jehan's hand, "I am here for you, if you ever want to talk. If not, I'll get Eponine to teach me sign language just in case."

Jehan squeezed his hand and walked off with Montparnasse, arm in arm. Grantaire continued to serve customers until his shift was over. He stepped out of the back door with a wave goodbye to Eponine and headed off towards Hart. Forever would he curse the day he left his skateboard in art class. For all he knew it was probably stolen or used in some obscure sculpture (not the first time it's happened). He received a tap on the shoulder.

"Mind if I ask you a question?" Benvolio stepped beside him.

"Go for it." He almost didn't recognize him outside of art. The two didn't have other classes together and Grantaire seemed to always be on the move, too much to be contacted.

"What do you do if you fuck up badly?"


"Okay...let's say you get drunk and despite being fully aware of how stupid something is, you still do it anyways and all you feel is guilt from it." Benvolio licked his lips for a moment, "Say, you did something that is irreversible and if the wrong person finds out, things would get a whole lot worse."

"Benvolio, why are you telling me this? Me? Of all people?!"

"I need an outside view. A very outside view. One without let's say strong connections to the parties involved."


"Look, I fucked up. Badly. I remember it. I was drunk and I guess I was trying"

"To convince yourself things never happened?" Grantaire stopped walking with Benvolio, the cold creating clouds in the words that struggled to escape.

"Yeah. And it's not like I don't want them to be false either. I want to be right, but if I am right, I am very, very wrong."

"I know the feeling, but I can't help you. You need to do what you think is right."

"Thanks. Sorry." Benvolio shook his head and walked away.

"Damn. People are being weird today." Grantaire said to himself, staring at the puff of breath in the air. He closed his eyes and breathed in the icy air, his lungs exhaling with a sore feeling paired to it.

"Are you okay?" Footsteps stopped a little way away from him.

"Am I ever?" He opened his eyes to stare directly into Enjolras' eyes.

There was a moment of hesitation but Grantaire just nodded slightly--enough for Enjolras to take a few steps forward and hug him. The embrace was tight and warm, something Grantaire didn't realize he needed until Enjolras' wrapped his arms around him.

"I just feel so lost. Something isn't right." Grantaire mumbled into his chest.

"I understand." was all Enjolras said, rubbing his back a bit.

"I'm just going to go watch a movie or something. Nap, maybe." Grantaire said as Enjolras let go of him.

"Do you want company?" Enjolras asked after a small moment of quiet thought.

"Will you?" Grantaire tried to read his expression but couldn't.

"Of course." Enjolras furrowed his brows and frowned, as if offended or confused.

"Thank you."

The two walked back to Grantaire's dorm with a slight haste--the cold stole what little warmth they shared.

Basil wasn't back. The dorm was dark, curtains shut tightly. They silently climbed into the bed and sat up, laying the blankets over their shoulders in a sloppy fashion. The comforter kept slipping off of Enjolras' shoulders so he wrapped it around him tighter and poked one arm out to change the channel to a documentary. Grantaire scoffed, almost laughing while he did it, and decided to rest his head on Enjolras. He closed his eyes and drifted into an unrestful sleep.

The feeling simply wouldn't leave.

Chapter Text

When Grantaire awoke, he found himself lying on Enjolras' stomach, the two of them collapsed awkwardly on his bed. He didn't feel rested, sleep still clung to him with an empty, wanting feeling and despite the warmth that surrounded him he felt cold. No, Grantaire didn't wake up on his own either. He didn't wake up to the bright sunlight flooding the room, the sound of music blasting from another room, or even Enjolras shifting uncomfortably beneath him. He woke to Basil violently jerking him, eyes wide with utter horror.

Hart Hall was a dormitory of ten floors, large open rooms, and a beautiful view of the campus forest on one side, large open skies on the other. It was smaller, cleaner, and more expensive than the twin dorms of Pollux and Castor. The windows even opened up and people could view the gorgeous campus from small balconies, something the other dormitories did not have. The campus was large, yet quite safe compared to surrounding areas. High level courses and popular study abroad programs defined the university, thus gaining a large population of foreign students.

Having said this, it should be noted that Grantaire came from Paris, France. He was proficient in English, but upon just waking up could not understand a word Basil was speaking to him. Basil's accent didn't help either.

"I'm sorry, what?" Grantaire groaned and slid off of Enjolras and the bed altogether.

"It's easier if I just show you." Basil pulled him over towards the window.

Grantaire felt wide awake, heart pulsing as if he drank three coffees and ran a marathon.

"What's going on?" Enjolras rolled out of bed and lazily headed over towards the window. He looked down and swallowed sharply.

"I called the police, but they took no rush getting here. Henry told me she was still alive. She just didn't land the right way. He told me that she poisoned herself before the fall, as a precaution should she fail. It was found in her pocket," Basil spoke low, his voice piercing the silence.

Grantaire closed his eyes, the image of Sibyl Vane's body, twisted, blood pouring still from the side of her face and her leg--the one that was ripped clean off and tucked neatly underneath her back. He burst through the bathroom door and slunk to his knees, vomiting into the toilet. A gentle hand brushed what hair it could from his face, the other rubbing his back. His stomach turned horribly, feeling utterly empty and painful. He stumbled, struggling to stand up, but Enjolras caught him. He led Grantaire back to the bed and Basil gave him a glass of water. Enjolras glanced at Grantaire and then over towards Basil, who was getting frustrated over a call that refused to be answered. Basil wouldn't put the phone down and began pacing the back of the room. Enjolras looked back over at the dead body, a white sheet covering what once was a beautiful life. His mouth ran dry, but he watched the crowd gathering around, people filling all available windows.

"I need to find someone." Basil rushed out of the room, slamming the door behind him. Grantaire jumped a little and with a scowl Enjolras drew the curtains shut.

"Enjolras?" Grantaire looked up at him with his face scrunched up.

"You need to brush your teeth; you smell like puke."

Grantaire laughed a little.


"You barely spoke to me since you came over and that is what you decide to say?"

"I didn't mean to offend you--"

"No, no, you didn't. I'm just confused. Normally, we're fighting; now, we aren't. I just don't get it. I broke down in front of you and even threw up for eight minutes in front of you and yet..."

"And yet?"

Grantaire shrugged, "And yet, you are still here and are quiet. I didn't think either were possible, let alone both."

"If, if you want me to leave, I can--"

"Enjolras, I just want to know why."

Enjolras looked at him for a minute or two. He wiped his mouth and stared down at the floor, as if it was whispering life's answers to him all at once. He opened his mouth, closed it, and finally looked back at Grantaire. "I want to do everything I can to help you. I would do that for all of our friends. It's just...I'm unsure how to go about it--"

"You?" Grantaire interjected.

"And for once in my life, Grantaire, I am at a complete and utter loss for words."



"Will you stay here with me, if you have nothing going on later?"

"Only if you brush your teeth."

"Yes, mother," Grantaire scoffed, sliding off the bed and heading over to the sink. Enjolras perched himself on the edge of Grantaire's bed and checked his phone, nearly dropping it when it range.

"Hello? Hello? Courf, stop talking over him. I can't hear a word you--yes, I'm fine. Grantaire's? Don't act like that. Yes. Yes. No, no, no, no--why? Yes. Everything is okay here, but I am staying. I'm not particularly worried about the time. Should I?"

Grantaire spit and ran the water. He could just barely hear Courfeyrac chatter through the phone, a deeper and calmer voice getting a few words in. Enjolras made a face and stared at the ceiling with a very dramatic sigh.

"Woke up to it. We had the perfect view of...yeah. Worse than that. Look, I wasn't as phased as I should have been. I don't know. Once all the details get in, I might. For now, I just want to get the image out of my head, you know? I--" A large crack of lightning escaped the barricade of cloth and lit up the room. "You heard it too? I thought that it would rain later, not now. You mean it's not raining?" Enjolras checked behind the curtains at the darkened sky. It was only eight and the sun rose long ago. "You're right. I'm just gonna--I don't know a movie? I'm just gonna go. Take care."

Enjolras hung up and sighed. He sat back on the bed and leaned his back up against the wall.


"And, of course, Courfeyrac. I forgot to tell him I wasn't gonna be back at the dorm and didn't respond to his texts because I fell asleep. They worry for me a bit too much."

Grantaire hopped up next to him. "Maybe they care just as much as you do them."

"That's a warming thought." Enjolras smiled. "You smell better. The question is, do you feel as good as you smell?"

"No better than yesterday, I'm sorry. People are less weird, I guess, but I mean, not by much." Grantaire awkwardly looked over towards the window.

"Don't apologize. This isn't your fault." Enjolras leaned over Grantaire and stole a blanket. "The only thing that is your fault is how cold your room is."

"Yeah. I keep forgetting to call maintenance."


"What?! I have paintings to finish!"

"Speaking of paintings, how well did you do on your group project?"

"We were told the expressions were unique, yet everyone we painted looked like someone told them something about them that no one was supposed to find out. It was the other way around, we think. I mean, I get so absorbed in painting that I focus less on listening to others and more on how to get the right shade of a 'justice red' petticoat."

"Was my coat really such an issue?"

"I ran out of red halfway through." Grantaire huffed and the closed his eyes a bit.

"I am going to sleep again. I hope you don't mind." Enjolras pushed Grantaire towards the edge of the bed and stretched out.

"Yes, I mind. You stole my blankets and I want to sleep too." Grantaire pulled on the comforter and Enjolras pulled back in a child-like behavior.

"Get your own."

"Enj, those are my own." He sat up a little straighter before leaning in and whispering, "You know, you would be warmer if we shared the blankets."

Enjolras frowned, his bright eyes staring into Grantaire with a meticulous thought. "Fine. I suppose you can join me."

He rolled a bit and extended the blanket so that Grantaire could slip in. Then, he dropped the blankets, but left his arm to rest lazily on Grantaire's side.

"Move closer, I'm still cold." Enjolras commanded and Grantaire moved closer, inches apart. "Your feet are freezing."

"Thanks. I know." Grantaire rolled his eyes and eventually closed then. Of course, the image of a dead girl kept popping up as an unwelcome visitor. He shifted a few times before Enjolras tightened his hold and touched their noses together. Grantaire opened his eyes; Enjolras did not.

"It's alright. It won't last. You are not alone." Enjolras whispered, his warm breath blowing into Grantaire's face.

"Your breath smells."

"Oh, shut up." Enjolras laughed to the sound of thunder and rain.

Chapter Text

Combeferre took a sip of coffee, feverishly typing away into the darkness of his room. He groaned. This was taking a lot longer than he intended. A knock rang out, echoing around the fairly empty room. Pristine, white dishes were neatly stacked, bowls and cups beside them. Every book had a shelf, every paper had a folder. Thunder roared, drowning out the knocking but did not distract him from his phone buzzing all the way off the table. Thunder crashed again and he reached down, dropping the pile of journals that were nestled, left forgotten on his lap.

Three missed calls. Fifteen unread text messages.

He glanced at his watch and nearly jumped when the knocking came again, this time louder and paired with shouting. Combeferre rushed to the door and swiftly opened it, letting Courfeyrac in.

"What are you doing here?"

"What, I can’t see my boyfriend?" Courfeyrac's laughter danced in the air.

Combeferre stepped back in front of Courfeyrac and kissed the top of his nose, earning him a smile. "You still didn't properly answer my question."

"Ferre, I am here because I was lonely and I know you haven't been sleeping properly."

"And who did you hear that from?" Combeferre raised his eyebrows.

"Our fearless leader."

"Tsk, he is one to talk. I don't think he ever sleeps."

"Well, I don't think anyone sleeps anymore after..." Courfeyrac trailed off and almost as if he was speaking his thoughts aloud added, "I can't help but wonder if they canceled classes next week because of the storm of because of the suicide."

"For one, this is a really bad storm," Combeferre wrapped his arms around Courfeyrac and swayed a bit.

Lightning flashed from behind the curtains and Courfeyrac pulled away to open the curtains. Combeferre went back to his laptop, thinking for a moment before saving and closing the file. He opened Spotify and began to play a smooth song, one with words that glided off the tongue and never went too high or too low. He took Courfeyrac's hands, placing one on his shoulder and began to waltz.

They spun around for what felt like an eternity, the music fading into the background, only their beating hearts keeping time.

"You're crazy," Courfeyrac laughed as Combeferre dipped him.

"Crazy for you," Combeferre grinned and kissed him deeply.

The door swung open, clattering against the wall.

"You two are so gross!" a small gremlin shouted.

"Ohhhhh," Courfeyrac dramatically moaned, "Combeferre! Take me now!"

"Anything." Combeferre quickly kissed his boyfriend's face and trailed down his neck. Courfeyrac took no hesitation in being as loud and inappropriate as he could.

"Ewwwwww! Ew! Stop! No!" the gremlin covered his eyes and gagged.

"Okay, okay, we will. You can uncover your eyes now, Gavroche." Combeferre smiled. The two stood up properly, Courfeyrac still laughing his ass off.

"I'm sorry Gav. What's up?" Courfeyrac finally breathed again and patted Gavroche on the head, only to be swatted away angrily.

"How did you get here anyways?" Combeferre asked.


"Is he watching you?"




"Where is Grantaire?"


"Okay then, Courf?"

"I am sure," Courfeyrac tapped the side of his chin, "Grantaire wouldn't mind if you stayed here with us. We could watch a movie, play a board game because Marius locked me out of our room and these two heathens refuse to get a TV or anything fun, run up to Grantaire's room so I can climb the balcony to my room and get video games because my boyfriend and my other best friend do nothing besides work--"

"Courfeyrac, that stings." Combeferre clutched his heart and mock gasped.

"So, what say you, leader of the little people?"

"Don't be gross and I might stay." Gavroche crossed his arms.

""I'll check anyways, just in case." Combeferre.

"Wait! Before you go!" Courfeyrac grabbed Combeferre's arm as on foot was already out the door. With a very serious face, Courfeyrac said, "I will wait for you forever," and kissed him on the lips quickly.

"Stop!" Gavroche covered his eyes and stuck out his tongue.

Combeferre closed the door quietly behind him and walked around the large common room towards the staircases. The steel door, cool to the touch, refused to move at first, finally allowing him to pass and trek up a floor to room number nine. When he knocked, it wasn't answered by Grantaire or Basil. Instead a lanky blonde greeted him.

"Is this where you've been hiding?"

"You sound as though you are accusing me of living here instead of in our room," Enjolras placed a hand on his hips.

"I thought you two hated each other."

"What? No! Never. I mean, sure, we argue, but I don't hate him."

"Clearly, I was wrong." Combeferre shook his head. "Gavroche found his way to our room and said Grantaire was watching him."

"Keyword: was," Grantaire spoke from out of Combeferre's line of sight. He found his way to the doorway and leaned up against it. "The little shit ran away right when we got into the stairwell."

"I see. Do you want him back?" Combeferre smiled, "We are going to be watching a movie or something of the sort."

"Combeferre. You know better than anyone that constantly watching TV and movies is bad for you and--"

"You are such a hypocrite. We've been watching documentaries all day. If it makes you feel any better, I've got a soccer ball." Grantaire interrupted him.

"You never told me you played soccer." Enjolras gave him a look of betrayal.

"I told you I played futsal."


"Indoor soccer." Combeferre raised his eyebrows.

"I knew that," Enjolras continued.

"Right, well, in short, I lasted about three games until I got into a fight with one of the kids and ended up stealing his ball. Never saw him again so I just keep it with me for nostalgia's sake."

"Grantaire!" Enjolras tskd and shook his head. "Well, that is a better option than a movie."

"I'll text Courf and see if Gavroche is up for it. We could use the empty field by the gym."

"We have a gym here?!" Grantaire gasped. Combeferre couldn't hear what happened, but he assumed the thumping sound was Enjolras hitting him.

"I'm hurt. You hurt me, Enjolras." Grantaire whimpered and then snickered.

"Courf says he'll meet us outside." Combeferre slid his phone into his pocket.

"I feel like we are forgetting something." Enjolras scrunched up his nose.

Darkness plunged through the halls and throughout the dorm.

"We forgot about the rain." Courfeyrac laughed, standing behind Combeferre, who jumped and swung around at an alarming rate. Grantaire turned on his phone's flashlight.

"Boo!" Gavroche shouted from behind Enjolras and Grantaire, receiving the bright light in his eyes.

"Ow! Stop that!" the child hissed.

"What now?" Combeferre asked.

"Well, my room is out now that the power is off and I assume so is Grantaire's. His roommate probably wouldn't want us sticking around for long anyways." Courfeyrac shrugged.

"Basil left."

"Already?" Combeferre inquired.

"His classes already ended, so he left. I don't know where or if he is still somewhere on campus."

"No one may ever see him leave now that the power is out." Combeferre frowned, "This may be the safest campus, but that doesn't mean it's the newest or the most up to date."

"I mean, they finally caught the gorilla." Courfeyrac sounded a bit more relieved than he intended.

"We do have bored games," Enjolras added.

"Guess we'll have to sit around and do absolutely nothing," Grantaire sighed heavily.

"Or Ferre and I could just start making out again." Courfeyrac added. Combeferre became grateful for the storm's wrath.

"Ew! No! Not again!"

"Again?" Enjolras raised an eyebrow.

"I'll just walk back to my sister's" Gavroche continued.

"In the storm? Alone? In the dark? On this campus? And do you even know which dorm hers is?" A crack of lightning proved Enjolras' point.

"Fine. Let's just play Monopoly." Gavroche threw his hands up in defeat.

Courfeyrac knelt down and let Gavroche climb onto his back. The group traveled down one floor to room sixteen, the a bright red poster for "Friends of the ABC" greeting them in five different languages. Enjolras unlocked the door and went straight over to his closet to pull down Monopoly.

"No, I am the thimble. You are the car." Courfeyrac frowned at Enjolras.

"I am not the car, I am the thimble! Gavroche is the car!"

"I'm the dog!" Gavroche presented his piece.

"Who's the top hat?" Grantaire asked.

"I am. Why are we fighting over this so soon." Combeferre shoot his head. "Courfeyrac is the thimble, Grantaire is the car, Gavroche is the dog, and Enjolras, you had the ship."

"Oh," Enjolras looked down at the piece that was sitting in front of him and moved it nicely onto the starting point.

"Are we ready?" Combeferre asked.

"Let's hope so," Grantaire laughed.

The lights never came back on that night, so in the scattered light of cell phones and flashlights the following happened:

"I'm just saying, that is my property. you need to pay up!" Enjolras held out his hand to Combeferre who high-fived it. "Combeferre!"

Grantaire looked at each person in the room and silently added the wheelbarrow to the board.

"I'm not going to pay you anything!" Combeferre shook his head, only forking over a few of his dollars to Enjolras when Courfeyrac began to pout.

"Come on, play fair." Courfeyrac cried.

"Fine, for you." Combeferre handed the dice off to Courfeyrac who rolled and gave money to Gavroche. Enjolras went next and handed the money to Gavroche. Grantaire went and handed money to Gavroche. Gavroche rolled the dice and made a point of handing himself the money and thanking himself, shaking his own hand and everything. Combeferre went again and sighed, giving all of his money to Gavroche. It hadn't even been fifteen minutes into the game.

"Oh god, that sucks." Grantaire laughed.

"Don't worry babe, I've got your back. You can live with me." Courfeyrac smiled widely.

"That would mean I would be in your debt and care. I'll just stay the banker." Combeferre frowned and pushed his glasses back onto his face.

Five more minutes passed and Grantaire watched as Enjolras forgot which piece was his again and began to use the wheelbarrow. He was too busy arguing with Gavroche over the boardwalk.

"You know, I think I should make a tax, a fee if you will, on the money you collect when passing go. Let's say one hundred dollars." Combeferre announced.

"What that's not fair!" Enjolras pouted.

"How is the bank supposed to keep up with people just taking money? I will also be enacting small loans of five hundred dollars."

"I don't--"

"Enjolras, we need a challenge. I say, we go with Combeferre's plan. Besides, he is the banker and you are in dire need of those loans." Grantaire pointed out and the other members nodded in agreement. Enjolras put his head in his hands and screeched. Grantaire raised an eyebrow when Enjolras' head shot up. Courfeyrac was taking a snapchat of the board when Enjolras lost it. He flipped it without any sense of remorse.

"Oh, come on." Grantaire frowned.

"Don't worry, I took a picture." Courfeyrac laughed. "Such a spoil-sport."

"Combeferre flipped the board back and they placed all of the pieces on the board back where they belonged. Grantaire, however, removed the ship entirely. Still, no one payed any mind to him.

"Enjolras. You are in a predicament." Courfeyrac laughed.

"No, I've got this."

"But you need that property if you don't want to go bankrupt." Grantaire pointed out.

"I have loans." Combeferre received a dirty look.

"You know, I could buy the property for you and you can pay me half now and half later, with interest of course."

"Gavroche, who taught you these things?" Enjolras shook his head and took the loan from Combeferre, who smirked. And during this exchange, Grantaire switched the wheelbarrow with the ship.

"Gavroche, what are you doing?" Enjolras asked rather harshly.

"None ya," Gavroche stuck his tongue out and 'discretely' received a card, sliding over two hundred dollars.

"You're cheating! I can't--Grantaire, why are you over there?"

"I am meeting with my banker, excuse you." Grantaire traded off a one thousand dollars for two cards.

"It's the underground, baby. Deal with it." Gavroche stuck out his tongue again. "Besides, you have four very nice properties now, your debts are payed, but I think you should give me one."


"Fine, I guess they'll have to find out about the email."

"You wouldn't," Enjolras' eyes went wide.

"I won't if you give me one of your properties."

"Gavroche, you cunning child. I think you broke him."

"I wouldn't talk if I were you Courfeyrac. I know what you did to get the best class for your first internship."

Courfeyrac grabbed all of his property cards and held them out to Gavroche. "Pick a card, any card. Just keep that between us."

"Pleasure doing business with you." Gavroche smiled. "SO, anyways...Enjolras once emailed all--"

"Gavroche! No!" Enjolras' face drained of color.

"Of his teachers a five page rant on the education system in which each sentence contained the word 'fuck' and insults each and every single one of them"


"You little shit," Grantaire laughed.

"Should I do another one?"

"Do it," Courfeyrac laughed.

"No!" Enjolras  put his hands on his head.

"Enjolras failed the third grade."

"Really?!" Grantaire cackled.

"He wanted to keep it a secret from everybody so he worked hard to skip a grade just so that he wouldn't be left behind." Combeferre shook his head.

"I will shut up for three of your properties."


"Take it or leave it, fearless leader." Gavroche smiled, fairly proud with himself.

"No! I won't give in."

"Your turn to roll," Courfeyrac handed the dice to Enjolras, who landed on Gavroche's property.

"Enjolras once punched five people in one day over a cup of coffee."

"Believable," Grantaire was nearly in tears. He got up and poured three shots of vodka, giving them to Courfeyrac and Combeferre.

"That was not me." Enjolras huffed. Everyone took a shot. "Where did you get that anyways. We don't keep vodka in this room."

"To your knowledge," Grantaire grinned.

"You guys are stupid. This economy is stupid--" Everyone took two shots. "And this game is so unfair and All of you are cheating." Everyone took two more shots and Gavroche howled with laughter.

Gavroche whispered in Combeferre's ear, who laughed either out of drunken stupidity or drunken power.

"And another thing, you don't know how to bank--" Another shot.

"Your turn," Courfeyrac handed the dice to Enjolras. He clearly was the only one not having a good time.

"Hey, Courfeyrac," Combeferre leaned in closer.


"Did I ever tell you you have the prettiest eyes?"

"Omg stoooop." Courfeyrac giggled and covered his face with his eyes. Combeferre kissed by his ear and Courfeyrac giggled harder. "That tickles!"

Unfortunately for some of them, Combeferre passionately kissed Courfeyrac and the two of them got a little too into it. A little. Juuuust a little. Gavroche took the liberty of stealing all of Coufeyrac's property.

"Ugh, do I have to do this myself?" Enjolras slid the bank over to himself.

"I could do it." Grantaire offered.

"No, you like to cheat. I will not have this kind of corruption." Enjolras frowned.

Grantaire smiled and took another shot.

In under two minutes, Gavroche won the game. He did a little victory cheer, but halfway through it, his fatigue became more prominent and he let out a powerful yawn.

"Come on, buddy. Let's head to bed." Grantaire scooped up Gavroche in his arms and looked over at Enjolras. "You can come with me, if you want. I believe those two have the room."

"Yeah," Enjolras scrunched up his nose, quickly grabbing a change of clothes and his toothbrush.

He scampered after Grantaire and they entered his room. It was exactly the way they left it--curtains open, bed unmade, popcorn scattered about. Grantaire gently laid Gavroche in Basil's bed, tucking him in. The two took turns in the bathroom changing. Grantaire was already in his bed when Enjolras exited the bathroom. He neatly set his clothes on the desk and crawled under the sheets next to him.

"Fun night," Grantaire laughed.

"It was until everyone started cheating and drinking. Thanks for that, by the way. You reek."

"Hey, you can always go back to your own room, but I don't know how those two would react." Grantaire frowned.

"I'm not leaving. You smell of alcohol. That's all."

"I always smell of alcohol, Enjolras." Grantaire shook his head.

"I'm just saying-- No!" Grantaire shoved Enjolras off of the bed, or at least tried. At the last second, Enjolras grabbed onto Grantaire and pulled himself and Grantaire into the middle of the bed. "Don't do that again," Enjolras said, shaken.

"I'm just saying," Grantaire echoed quietly, raising an eyebrow as he did it.

After a moment of totally not staring into Grantaire's eyes, Enjolras whispered, "I am overreacting. The game got me wound up. I am sorry. You were fine, I..."

"Enjolras, it's alright." Grantaire's expression never changed, the sound of Gavroche sleeping breaking the silence between them.

"I just worry about you. A lot." Enjolras frowned. Grantaire turned away and sleep greeted Enjolras.


Chapter Text

"You need to stop studying eventually," Mercutio quietly said from the couch behind Benvolio.

"It's late, I thought you would be asleep," Benvolio mumbled. Mercutio narrowed his eyebrows.

"I could say the same to you. Besides, it's quieter in here." Mercutio trailed off, the latter wouldn't turn back and look at him, wouldn't smile. He got up and gently touched Benvolio's shoulder, only for him to jerk away. "So-sorry."

"No, I...what time is it?"

"When I walked out here it was two in the morning. Benny, are you feeling alright? You've got bags under your eyes and you're practically shaking."

"I'm fine. I just need sleep." Benvolio mumbled and gathered his things. He grabbed his flashlight and pointed it towards the door. "After you."

Mercutio walked towards the seventh floor, wrapping around the back of the common room. He opened the door and let Benvolio through, wincing as the thunder boomed loudly. He crawled into his bed and wrapped himself tightly in blankets. Benvolio went about his normal routine and crawled into bed without looking at Mercutio.

"Do you hate me?" Mercutio called out into the darkness.

"No, why?"

"You seem to be...avoiding me."

Benvolio turned and faced him, concern etched into his face.

"I don't hate you, Mercutio, and I am not avoiding you."

Mercutio didn't respond, only gasping as the thunder shook the entire room, lightning being the only light the dorm had left.

"Shit," Benvolio tripped out of his sheets and rushed over to Mercutio, "How could I be so stupid? Shit. I am not going to leave you alone unless you want me to, okay?"

Mercutio nodded, tears forming in the corner of his eyes with each crack of lightning. Benvolio snuck into the sheets and held him closely, brushing the hair out of his face. Mercutio tried not to shake beneath him, but each loud bang brought the memory to the surface. He swallowed and closed in on himself.

Mercutio could still see the sunlight pouring through the windows and dancing across the glass ornaments in his parents' room. He was four at the time, playing a game of war with two year old Valentine. They pranced about the room, hiding behind the old furniture and the bed with soft floral sheets. His mother stared fondly at them, never speaking a word, but her voice still sang in Mercutio's ears. She brought them there to play, glancing at the closed door as if it would swing open any moment.

And it did.

It battered against the door as a deafening sound of two gunshots echoed in Mercutio's ears. His mother's head hung down, staring at him with unblinking eyes. The third shot sent them both crying, there father appearing in the doorway with a gun in his hands and the killer just inches away from his feet. He began to walk towards them only to fall to the ground in front of them with another deafening bang. Valentine was clinging onto Mercutio for dear life, but the man simply walked over to the body of his accomplice and their father, retrieving something from each. He spotted the two boys, a twisted smile playing on his lips, and formed a gun with his fingers. He pretended to shoot them, whispering "bang" and then casually walking out the door, leaving them to be stared at by the three dead--

"Mercy, hey," he felt soft fingers wipe tears from his eyes and break him out of the memory that repeated endlessly with each bang. Everything got louder: his breathing, the rain slamming against the window, the wind swirling about like something from a cartoon.

"I wish this would end." Mercutio mumbled, laying his head on Benvolio's shoulder.

"You'll get through this. You'll be okay. I promise."

"No, you don't get it." Mercutio sat up a little straighter and stared into Benvolio's eyes, "I want this to end. I want everything to end. I don't..." His mouth gaped open and closed, searching for words he couldn't bring himself to say. The lightning painted their faces with a blueish light.

"I know, Mercutio, I know." Benvolio placed his hand on the back of Mercutio's head and touched their foreheads together. "There is a lot going on. Everyone is uneasy, the stress is getting to people, and I'm starting to think we've all gone insane and haven't realized it yet. I've fucked up. Badly. I haven't been myself and for that, I can never apologize enough. I want you to know that I am here for you, no matter what happens, no matter what either of us do. If you ever need me, tell me, and I will be there without hesitation. Mercutio, I am here. I will always be here."

"Benvolio..." Mercutio mumbled, beginning to cry, the storm getting worse.

"I am here." Benvolio whispered and drew him into a hug. Mercutio shook beneath him.

Lightning flashed again, quickly followed by another extremely loud boom. This time, however, Mercutio felt something warm against the top of his forehead. It disappeared as quickly as it came, only appearing again the next time the thunder rolled.


"I have been lying to myself for a long time," Benvolio whispered under his breath, "I was scared and when you finally said something, I panicked. I thought I was imagining it, but the more I thought about it, the stupider I acted and..." He kissed him again as lightning lit up their room, "I love you, Mercutio, more than anything I have ever known. I'm done pretending that I can't love. I'm done screwing up."

Mercutio looked into Benvolio's eyes, searching for something that wasn't there. "What did you do?" he whispered and then shook his head, "I don't care. We've both done shitty stuff that we aren't, we aren't proud of. I am not going to let the past destroy what we have now." He let a small smile play onto his lips, almost mischievously, "The future is all that matters now."

The thunder crashed, but Mercutio didn't witness his parents' deaths again. Instead, he felt strangely calm, still smiling. He gently took the side of his face and leaned into a kiss that left him breathless. He broke for a quick breath and didn't let a second longer be wasted, feeling as though he was starved his entire life for this moment and this moment alone. He leaned into Benvolio and the storm faded out, though he still jumped every time the thunder crashed.

The only thing that broke them apart was the obnoxious sound of Benvolio's phone ringing three times. On the fourth one, Benvolio sighed and dragged himself over to the other side of the room. He answered, glanced over at Mercutio and sighed. He spoke low, in whispers Mercutio could not make out. He got louder and louder as the frustration began to build up.

"I said no. I am not--this is not important. Please stop calling." Benvolio pressed his back against the wall and listened. Mercutio felt his skin prickle, feeling more vulnerable than he would like. He watched as Benvolio closed his eyes and let whoever was on the phone with him drone on and on.

"I get that, but I am not leaving. No! I am busy. Like you care." He sighed again. "No, that is final. Good--" He covered his face with his free hand, only moving it to wipe underneath his eyes. "Please stop talking like that. No, I know. Please just...You're right. All I do is take and take and take...please just...It's better if this ends now. Are you even surprised? I don't know either. Look, I want to go. You can yell at me later. Goodbye." He threw his phone on the bed and stood there for a minute, eyes still closed and face still covered.

Mercutio sat there, sheets still wrapped tightly around his waist, trapping him and yet, he couldn't bring himself to move. He just sat there and stared into the dark at the silhouette of Benvolio Montague, only ever lit up by the lightning. Neither made an effort to move, simply staying where they were at. Mercutio could hear the silent sobs across the room--the past clawing its way towards the present, but nevertheless, Mercutio was set on sticking to his word. He reached out into the darkness towards Benvolio, shaking a little. He couldn't see Benvolio's eyes open or his head lift up. He couldn't see him force himself off the wall and stumble across the room. He could, however, feel their fingers lace together and the warmth of Benvolio as he collapsed into an embrace.

"I don't deserve you." He mumbled into his chest.

Mercutio gently kissed his tear-stained face, "I could say the same thing."

Benvolio laughed a little, the deep sound vibrating through Mercutio's chest and he smiled. In his arms, Mercutio didn't feel the storm tremble through his bones as it normally did--the world was too far away. In his arms, Benvolio felt utterly guilty. It was true, he'd never been happier, but he never felt worse either. But the darkness masked them both, shielding them from what could have been seen in the brutal light of day. It took away every shift, every passing glance, every small smile, and every unintended tear that raced across their faces. What else could they do but feel the emotion in the air, listen for the change in tone or watch for the flashes of bright light that disappeared as quickly as they came?

The world would be brighter the next day as people raced to their cars in the downpour. The morning would dawn with boxes and trash bags soaked to the brim, waiting for family who would come too late. Tomorrow would be a better day as the students all went home for Thanksgiving break, though many international students not leaving the campus, only to watch them all race against the weather from the windows of their dormitories.


Chapter Text

The cold graced Jehan's face with an overwhelming feeling. They felt alive, alive with more passion and energy than before--almost being tempted into stripping and dipping into the icy lake that was blanketed in vibrant leaves. The trees were dying, yet the world never felt more alive. They couldn't bring themself to voice this, however. All the words a poet could say remained hidden within Jehan and scribbled onto the faded pages of their journal. Jehan couldn't speak--wouldn't speak--for fear of harm coming to those they loved. It would be their own fault, they told themself, if any harm would come to their friends. They were drunk that night and didn't do anything to prevent that which happened all too quickly. They just let it happen and took every threat to heart, something those who knew them long enough would find shocking.

Montparnasse spoke softer now. His words melted and sank sweetly in the air like chocolate melting on the tongue. He no longer appeared to Jehan as a stranger who lurks in the shadows. He seemed to crawl out of a shell he made for himself, showing more clearly the beauty he held close and the utter mystery that could be solved in plain sight. Jehan could only find comfort in his eyes and felt it neither odd nor familiar. They couldn't help but mull over the same few words that settled in their mouth--a riddle or theory of sorts: something borrowed, not bought; something won, not given.

Jehan smiled and put flowers in Montparnasse's hair, who anxiously held his phone in his hands. He looked over at Jehan for a moment as his phone vibrated madly in his hands. "You remember the plan?"

Jehan made a face and nodded. Montparnasse answered the phone and put it close to his face, Jehan leaning over to listen closely.

"Why don't you come here and question me yourself, you coward?" Claquesous' voice hissed through the speaker.

"Because, Claquesous, if you are guilty, you don't want me to be there when we find out. This isn't the first time we've been suspicious of you." Montparnasse let his voice grow cold and deep like the woods in the winter.

"I haven't done anything."

"Really? Brujon, did you find their mask like we asked?" Montparnasse raised an eyebrow.


"Okay, Claquesous, where is it?" Montparnasse shifted against the tree, careful not to lock eyes with Jehan.

"I left it in your room."


"Why do you fucking think?" The voice on the other line began to sound agitated. "I left it because I couldn't leave with it. I knew you'd destroy the evidence. Why does my mask fucking matter?"

"It wasn't in my room. You did threaten me before I left too."

"You want to know what fucking happened? I'll tell you what fucking happened. I stole twenty dollars from your fucking dresser, leaving my mask on the top, and then I left, leaving the door open because you forgot your fucking keys. I figured it would be bad for us both if you had to pick the lock to get back in."

Montparnasse closed his eyes, thinking back to the door that was ajar as he originally left it. His money was indeed missing and his keys were still on the desk. He glanced at Jehan, giving them a quizzical look. Jehan shook their head.

"That's all I needed to hear. Thank you for your time. Let them go." Montparnasse hung up and looked at Jehan. "Are you sure?"

Jehan nodded and pointed down by their neck. Despite what their friends thought, they didn't know a lick of sign language and for that, tried to communicate through typical gestures and general body language. Montparnasse was still getting used to it. So instead of interpreting the gesture as a lower voice, he looked down at Jehan's crossed legs and then back up at their face.

"What? I don't--" his face grew red, "shit. Sorry. You mean, yeah okay. Claquesous' voice is higher than...yeah."

Jehan wanted nothing more than to tell Montparnasse that he didn't have to waste away doing this. He was bent on what was probably a mixture of guilt and revenge and their heart broke to pieces watching the anger boil and swell. They placed their head on his shoulder and hugged his arm closely.

"This isn't over yet." Montparnasse said under his breath. Jehan closed their eyes and frowned. "I don't care if I have to break into every room on campus. I--Hey, what's wrong? Are you crying because you're remembering or?"

Jehan shook their head.

"Is it because of me?"

Jehan nodded slowly.

"Me? Why you want me to stop?" Montparnasse felt stiff to Jehan, who simply shrugged. "I need to know what you want. I don't want to make you sad."

Jehan pulled their bag closer and slid out a journal and uncapped a dark blue pen, feeling it roll across the page as quickly as they scribbled.

"It's not your fault." Montparnasse read aloud, pausing to look into Jehan's eyes, flecks of color dancing like the leaves in the water. "Jehan, I let this happen. I shouldn't have left the room. 'You didn't know.' I know, but I, I could have stopped it...'Why do you care so much now?' Why now? I've--hey, look at me for a moment--I've always cared."

Jehan scribbled again, shaking their head and flipped the page before Montparnasse could catch what they wrote. They began to write something new.

"I won't get hurt. No, they hurt me the moment they hurt you." Montparnasse scowled. Jehan watched his jaw clench as he turned his head and stared out at the orange trees, now kissed by the sunset. All they did was stare, occasionally locking eyes with Montparnasse when he tried to sneak glances. After about the sixth glance, Jehan gently took one of the flowers that had fallen and placed it back in Montparnasse's hair. Then they stood up and took off their jacket and then their shirt. Montparnasse's eyes grew wide.

"Prouvaire, what are you doing? You're gonna get sick." He stood up and gathered Jehan's clothes as they fell to the ground.

Jehan smirked and took of their skirt.


Off came the shoes and the long socks.

"Prouvaire. Seriously." Montparnasse covered his face and sighed deeply. When he uncovered his eyes, Jehan placed their hands on their hips and raised their eyebrows. "Jean, don't you dare. Jehan. No."

Jehan laughed and wiggled their hips, turned, and pranced all they way into the water for a swim. The icy water stung a little, and the wind didn't help, but Jehan swam for probably an hour, dipping in and out of the surface like a mermaid coming up for air. They made little whirlpools and looked over to where Montparnasse was standing.

Was standing. He had vanished, clothes neatly folded next to the tree he sat by. They weren't close to the campus and Montparnasse wouldn't leave them alone, would he?

The last bits of sunlight sank below the trees as the stars began to reveal themselves.

A rustle came from the trees and Montparnasse stepped into view carrying a small bag. He sat down next to the clothes and took out what looked to be an old lantern and lit it. Jehan mused to themself of how unnecessary and fitting of him to own one. They stepped out into the open, all the warmth gained from moving so much disappeared from their body, causing them to shiver and chatter their teeth. Montparnasse shook his head and took a towel from the bag and headed over to Jehan. Without a word, Montparnasse wrapped the towel around Jehan's head and began to dry their hair, letting it fall to their shoulders and down their back. Jehan smiled brightly at Montparnasse, darkness now shrouding them. The lamplight flickered softly behind him as he smiled back, flowers stuck in his hair as if he fell asleep in a meadow. He tucked a strand of hair out of Jehan's eyes and rested a hand on the side of their face. Then he pulled away completely.

Jehan scowled and began to dry off completely. They put on each piece of clothing Montparnasse handed them and sat back down by the lantern. Montparnasse slid down the tree next to them and stared out into the lake. Jehan scooted over and curled up underneath his arm.

"We should probably head back," Montparnasse whispered, but neither one stirred. Instead, Jehan listened to the soft beating of Montparnasse's heart--though some may claim he had none--and fell asleep, Montparnasse absentmindedly stroking their wet hair.

Montparnasse checked the time and groaned. He shoved the wet towel that laid forgotten in the dirt into the small bag, slinging both his and Jehan's bag over his head. He hooked the lantern to his bag, debating whether or not that was a good idea, and scooped Jehan up in his arms. Jehan made no sign of discomfort as he headed to his car and set them down in the passenger seat. He buckled them in and blew out the lantern. Montparnasse put the stuff in the truck, careful not to remove Jehan's bag, and then got into the driver's seat. The drive back was smooth yet slow, only the sound of Jehan sleeping to break the silence. Montparnasse parked, retrieved Jehan, and carried them through the back door of their dormitory--something the school really should invest in fixing.

The next part was tricky--Jehan wouldn't let go. Montparnasse laid them in their bed, but they kept their arms around him tight--so tight he had to stay bent over just to not hurt himself. He tried slipping underneath their arms, tried prying them off by force, but ultimately gave up. He pushed the rather heavy sleeper over and slid into the bed. He would just have to explain to Jehan in the morning about the death grip they had. He would not admit that he reveled in the excuse to fall asleep holding Jehan closely--not that he had much choice.


Chapter Text

Okay, so I have to admit, I will probably not continue this despite having a draft of the next chapter and having the end picture still clear in my head. Frankly, a lot of this story started to reflect my actual college experience and before you ask, no, there was no gorilla, but a few days ago my teacher had a stuffed chimpanzee crime scene laid out in which we still don't know if the chimp got in on his own or if someone murdered the chimp. Details are sketchy at the moment.
I will finish off my other stories and continue posting more short stories.
I will respond more on other websites under the same name and will answer any questions there as well as here.
So in short, this is a mess and I want to push it under the rug for a long while. Again.