The sound of cutlery and porcelain clinking still echoed through the gardens of Musee Rodin as Enjolras leant over to Grantaire beside him, planting a kiss on his cheek. The light was dying beyond the trees and the rooftops, the strings of lights roped between the trees dancing like fireflies above them in the light wind. With the speeches over and the cake cut, Enjolras could finally relax; there was nothing left that was expected of them.
Grantaire was scraping the last of the cake icing off the tiny decorative plate in front of him with his finger. Enjolras couldn’t help but smile as he looked at him, all dressed up and looking so handsome in his wedding suit, his curls tamed for once. His jacket was already discarded on the back of his chair but he was still wearing the jewel green waistcoat and gold tie Enjolras had picked out with him; one of his best looks, even if Enjolras still preferred the sight of him in the morning in nothing but pajama bottoms with stubble on his jaw.
Looking up as he sucked the icing innocently off his finger, Grantaire’s face broke into a smile so loving and full of joy that Enjolras felt a swell of emotion building behind his eyes, almost enough to make him cry.
It had taken them so long to get here, but it was worth every troubled step of their relationship for tonight. For this commitment. For Enjolras’ ring on Grantaire’s finger. For forever. June 5th, 2019 would go down in history as the anniversary of his wedding to the most wonderful man in Paris.
“Stop that,” Enjolras murmured, command betrayed by his own smile.
Grantaire quirked an eyebrow, tongue swirling around his finger. “Stop what?”
“You know what you’re doing.”
As soon as the finger left Grantaire’s mouth, Enjolras stole a kiss. It felt so good to have it returned in ernest; the lead up to the wedding had been stressful, the cause of more arguments than the last year of their relationship combined. They’d almost called it off twice - always apologizing profusely in the morning, taking back all the nasty things they’d both said - and shared more tears than such a happy occasion should have justified.
But they’d made it, and Enjolras loved him more than ever.
“We should be dancing right about now,” Grantaire chuckled, keeping his voice low as though he were keeping some secret from the people around them. To Grantaire’s left sat his sister, Jehan and Feuilly, discussing the flower arrangements adorning the table. To Enjolras’ right, Combeferre, Courf and his grandfather, engaged in some deep discussion Enjolras hadn’t been following. It didn’t matter what they heard, but Enjolras enjoyed the secretiveness of it all the same.
“Lead the way then,” he said, standing and offering his arm.
Navigating the tables, they made their way to the dance floor, laid out at one in the middle of the lawn under the trees. The guests began to fall quiet table by table as they noticed the two of them standing there, the wedding band strumming the first bars of the song they’d chosen months and months ago for this exact moment.
“Everyone’s looking at us, you know.”
“Funny that,” Enjolras teased. He glanced around him, overcome with pride and joy at the sight of all their friends and loved ones watching them. Watching the two of them starting their lives anew, as one.
“Enjolras,” Grantaire said, just audible above the music. “Take my hand.”
“I said, take my hand.”
“Grantaire, you’re drunk.”
Grantaire offered out his hand once more, thinking how angelic Enjolras looked in that moment, the last rays of the sun passing through the rain clouds that gathered above Paris, streaming through the window of the Musain and crowning him in fire.
Tomorrow was Lamarque’s funeral. June 5th. Grantaire had no intention joining the revolutionaries at their post, although he knew if Enjolras were to ask him again right now, alone in the back room of the café, he would likely follow him anywhere. He hated the thought of brandishing a sword or a carbine, but for their leader in red, he might just do it.
“Not as drunk as you’d imagine. Take my hand so I can dance with you.”
Enjolras watched him for a long moment, expression a mixture of confusion and consideration. “And why, exactly, would I want to do that?”
“Can I stay like this with you forever?” Enjolras asked, pressing his hand into Grantaire’s and pulling him close until their bodies were flush.
“That’s the idea,” Grantaire said, one hand settling on Enjolras’ shoulder, the other tight around his waist. “Hey, I thought we agreed that I was going to lead?”
“You can lead when you grow four inches.”
Swaying gently, Enjolras leaned in, laughing to himself at Grantaire’s scowl. He moved them across the floor, feeling the music as much as he heard it, lost in the sensation of Grantaire pressed against him and the warmth of the summer air catching in his hair. It was such a perfect night, had been such a perfect day. He couldn’t imagine a time now when he hadn’t loved Grantaire, when they hadn’t been together.
It felt as though they’d known each other for a thousand years.
Grantaire reached out and took Enjolras’ hand, laughing gaily as he pulled him closer.
“It’s enjoyable,” he said. “Besides, there is no one else around, they’ve all gone home to their beds. What have you got to lose? Not your dignity, for sure.”
Enjolras glared at their clasped hands, although he made no move to pull away.
“I did not give you permission.”
“My apologies, Apollo. Allow me this?” Another hand sat politely on Enjolras’ waist. “We both know what tomorrow brings. I may never get the chance again.”
Still Enjolras didn’t pull away.
“There is no music.”
“Who needs music to dance? I can hear the music of our souls. The beat of the drums of change. Can’t you?”
Despite his protests, Enjolras allowed Grantaire to move him, fumbling slightly with his steps. Grantaire knew his lack of interest in romance, but he was sure a family like Enjolras’ would have taught him at least to dance. Not that it mattered at all. He could lead, and no matter what happened tomorrow, he would always have tonight.
Grantaire let Enjolras spin him, although slowly. They’d briefly discussed the idea of a choreographed dance, something that showcased of Grantaire’s talents and made for a better wedding video, but the idea hadn’t made it as far as dance lessons. The two times Grantaire had tried to teach Enjolras a few steps at home had been an utter disaster - he must’ve been born with two left feet. Despite the beliefs of so many of his friends, Enjolras was such a mess.
And somehow, Grantaire loved him still.
“Why does this matter to you?”
Grantaire had dreaded a question like this, but he supposed in the light of all to come his answer did not truly matter. He held no hopes tomorrow would turn out well for any of his friends. What was the truth in the face of death? The world could not hold it against him now.
“Let me ask you something Enjolras, why do you think it matters to me?”
“I couldn’t say. You care not for my values, my beliefs-”
“Wrong. You know I believe in you.”
It was easier to talk peacefully, almost in one another’s embrace. He would hold his cynical tongue to keep this precious thing going.
“Is that why you wish to dance? Do you mean it when you say I’ve made you a believer?” There was something different in Enjolras’ voice now, an honesty that spoke more than just his words. “Or is this a drunken fool’s fancy? The truth, if you will.”
Drunken, maybe. The dust stirred up off the café floor as they moved across it. Enjolras couldn’t meet his steps but Grantaire kept their motions slow, sweeping between the tables and chairs and laughing as they bumped against them from time to time.
But it was certainly not a fool’s fancy. Enjolras was asking for the truth and so he should share it. He could never deny Enjolras anything he asked for, after all.
They stopped, and Grantaire found himself closer, so close that he could lean in and claim what he wanted.
“I love you. I love you so much my chest hurts,” Grantaire said, pulling back as the last bars of the song played out. His eyes shimmered slightly, his bottom lip trembling. “Thank you so much.”
Enjolras couldn’t help laughing. Just a little. “Thank you?”
“For marrying me. You’ve made me the happiest fool in the entire world.”
Resting their foreheads together, Enjolras let out a long breath he hadn’t realised he was holding in. “I asked you, idiot. I should be the one thanking you.”
He hadn’t even noticed the other couples joining them on the dance floor, not until Marius swung past him with Cosette as she yelled out to them how sweet they looked.
Grantaire’s eyes closed, his hand slipping from Enjolras’ shoulder and wrapping around his waist until he had him in a tight embrace. “Getting to be with you for the rest of our lives is all the thanks I need.”
“I love you too,” Enjolras whispered at last. He tipped Grantaire’s chin and caught him in another kiss, as deep as he was willing to share in front of their guests. They’d stilled, and although the dance floor was alive with movement it felt as if the whole garden was empty but for them.
This was it, their happy ever after.
He hoped they’d gotten to share it in every lifetime.
Footsteps on the stairs tore them apart, Enjolras pulling away fast, although Grantaire could swear he had been leaning in moments before.
His heart tore in two with the sudden motion.
Enjolras’ fingers lingered in his for just a second, but his hand snapped to his side as Combeferre reached the top of the staircase and beckoned him down to inspect the provisions they’d gathered for the barricade they were all anticipating tomorrow.
“I’ll be right down,” Enjolras said with a nod. As Combeferre disappeared back down the stairs, he made to move to them.
Grantaire wanted to reach out and stop him. Finish what he was saying. What he swore they were doing. Oh, to dance again one more time… but he did nothing. Nothing was all he ever did.
Enjolras paused at the top of the staircase and glanced over to him.
“I still want the truth,” he said, half a smile reaching his lips but fading just as fast. “Tell me on the other side of this, won’t you?”
“Anything you ask, as ever.”
He took two steps down and stopped again, one hand on the railing. “I would not ask anyone to lay down their life for something they did not believe in. I do not expect it of you. Bare that in mind tomorrow, my friend.”
With that, he disappeared downstairs. Grantaire’s heart shrivelled further, a hole left in his ribcage where it used to beat. Tomorrow. If they survived this, he would tell Enjolras what he wanted to know, no matter the consequence. It was time to be done with this, one way or another.
“I’ll be there,” he whispered to the empty room. “You’ll see.”