Actions

Work Header

And Let Us Speak Truthfully (And Let Us Be Clear)

Work Text:

Enjolras can’t help but wonder how many… outings , it usually takes before something happens. Admittedly, he is no expert in courtship rituals--that would be Courfeyrac, or perhaps Bahorel, or even Joly and Bossuet, as they seem to have courted each other quite effectively--so it is possible that this is normal, but it just… it doesn’t seem likely. It doesn’t seem likely, not when this was his seventh evening out alone with Grantaire and Courfeyrac had mentioned something suggestive about the third , and it’s been four more than that and nothing has happened.

Not to say that he knows what he’s waiting for, not really. Or, rather, he knows what he’s waiting for (he knows what he thinks of, late at night, his hand finding its way between his legs, he knows who he thinks of)--he’s no child, despite Courfeyrac’s teasing jabs. He knows that courtships do tend to lead to… relations, after some undetermined amount of time. He knows that men tend to fall into bed together, and, despite his own personal lack of experience, he knows what they tend to do there. He knows all that. And he wants all that with Grantaire, really, it’s just that…

Well, he also knows that it’s been seven times he’s been out with Grantaire, now, and Grantaire has yet to make even the slightest move to indicate any inclination to any such coupling. At the very least, no inclination to any such coupling with Enjolras. 

Which is fine, really, it is. Enjolras knows that not all men who enjoy the company of men enjoy the company of them as well. Be it related to interest or religion or whatever else, some men simply do not desire more than a pleasant dinner, perhaps a soft kiss in the privacy of their own apartment, perhaps one hand slipped into another in the evenings. But he’d be just fine with that, is the thing. He would be perfectly content if that was all Grantaire was prepared to offer, just…

Just, even that is a mere fantasy, because nothing has happened. Grantaire had asked him out to dinner, just the two of them--why he’d asked him , Enjolras still isn’t sure-- and they’d talked for hours, and then they’d parted with an agreement to meet again. And again, and again, and again, and again, and again. And that’s all. 

It would be one thing if Enjolras wasn’t sure as to whether Grantaire normally appreciated men. That would be one thing. But Enjolras has seen Grantaire flirt with young men just the same as he does with young women, and he’s heard him talking about the handsome poets he saw in the salon the night before, and Grantaire asked him to dinner and now it’s been seven times that they’ve met and nothing has happened. 

But it’s fine. Enjolras respects that. It’s Grantaire’s decision to make, and if he has no desire for anything more, Enjolras will still enjoy their conversations, will still want to spend time with him.

That doesn’t mean that he stops himself from slamming the door to Combeferre’s apartment when he enters. 

“Jolras?”

“This is infuriating!” Enjolras says, because at the end of the day, he’s never really been the best at holding his tongue. 

Combeferre sets aside the letter he’d been penning, leans back in his chair. “Your dinner was unsatisfactory?”

Enjolras throws his coat upon the sofa. Combeferre glares. After a moment’s silent dispute, he sheepishly fetches it, hangs it up by the door, and throws himself upon the sofa in its stead. “The dinner was lovely,” he says. “What was not lovely is the fact that Grantaire seems to be under the impression that I am more interested in romancing restaurants than I am him!”

Combeferre frowns. He is very skilled at frowning in thought--it is one of the reasons Enjolras likes him so much. “He has not acted? Even still?”

“No!” 

“Fascinating.” He drums his fingers on the desktop. “And that is the waistcoat that Courfeyrac recommended?”

He plucks at the fabric, tries to remember. He hadn’t even been aware that some of his waistcoats were superior to the others, not before he’d called Courfeyrac over for help only to learn that roughly half of them were ‘distressing’. “I’m fairly certain. But you don’t think… You don’t think he would spurn me for something so trivial as a waistcoat, do you? I understand that the manner of one’s dress is important to many, but I am not so skilled as Courfeyrac in this area, so I do hope that Grantaire wouldn’t value it that much.” Additionally, he doesn’t add, Grantaire is hardly a dandy, himself. Not that he minds--he rather likes the way he dresses. 

“I’m sure not.” Combeferre looks him over, anyways. “Was your waistcoat buttoned wrong the whole time?”

Enjolras goes cold. “It’s not-”

“It is.”

He looks down and groans. He always manages to mess something up, it seems. (Perhaps, his brain supplies, if he didn’t do foolish things like button his waistcoat wrong, Grantaire might like him just a little bit better. Perhaps just enough to kiss him.) He puts his face in his hands. “Oh, I can’t do anything right,” he mumbles.

Combeferre sighs. “Now, surely you-” He rises from his chair, sits down beside Enjolras on the sofa, begins unbuttoning and rebuttoning his waistcoat. “You know that’s not true. So this is taking longer than it might usually--there’s no standard for romance. Perhaps Grantaire is simply being cautious. After all, it’s no secret that he… admires you.”

Enjolras sneaks a peek through his fingers. “Truly?”

“Truly.” He finishes fiddling with Enjolras’s waistcoat and wraps an arm around his shoulders.

Enjolras leans into him and lets out a whine. “It was never this difficult for you and Courfeyrac.”

“Courfeyrac is a curious and bold creature who should not be used as a model for the average suitor.” He says it with a smile--Enjolras can remember clearly his dear friend’s baffled glee at Courfeyrac’s efforts.

“Still.” He sighs. “It’s been seven times, now, that we’ve seen each other.”

Combeferre hums. “You ought to draft a letter,” he says. “It’s traditional, after all. And, Jolras, and I say this with love, you’ve always been a bit better at written communication than casual conversation.”

He’s right and Enjolras can’t even muster up the indignation to pretend to protest. “A letter, you say?” It is a thought.

“Perhaps not a proper love letter, not if things are progressing as slowly as you say. But everyone appreciates a nice, well-written letter with words that come from the heart.” Combeferre truly is the smartest person Enjolras knows.

Only-

“Wait a moment! You don’t write letters to Courfeyrac!” Enjolras turns in Combeferre’s arms to more effectively expose the hypocrisy of his words.

Combeferre has the nerve, the gall, to laugh. “I do write to Courfeyrac,” he says.

And that’s all the more confusing. “You see him every day, sometimes twice. What on Earth is there to write about?”

“Oh, many things.”

Enjolras waits for him to continue. He does not. “Tell me, then.”

“I will not.”

“Tell me!”

“I will not.” 

“I am your oldest and dearest friend. Tell me what you write about! What do you discuss without me?”

Combeferre is still laughing. “You will never know.”

Enjolras crosses his arms and sulks and curses his entire situation.

 

He does write Grantaire a letter, though. It takes a few drafts (six, to be exact) and a few days (four) but he finally reduces all that he desires to say to four pages, which Combeferre deems acceptable with a heavy sigh. He’s never been one for flowery language or for the saccharine, but he does his best to produce a letter that conveys his feelings, nonetheless. 

He writes that he is pleased that he and Grantaire have begun spending so much time together. He writes that he is always happy to dine with him, but that perhaps in the effort of spending more time together, they might pursue other endeavors. He writes that the affections of men are a curious thing, and that one never truly knows where they lie or of their true nature, though one may try, and may even write letters. He writes that he appreciates Grantaire for many reasons, one of which being the fact that unlike other unnamed compatriots of theirs, he cares more for conversation than for silly things like waistcoats. (He writes that, as Grantaire knows, there is a meeting on Thursday, and that perhaps Grantaire might use his artistic talents to provide a flyer that may be distributed, details to follow, should he have the time.) (He writes that also, at the meeting on Thursday, it will be Feuilly’s birthday, and that it is important that nobody forget, as Feuilly is, of course, one of their most treasured friends, and that if Grantaire would like to provide some small token of appreciation in celebration, it would not be compulsory but would certainly be appreciated.) He writes that he hopes to see Grantaire again soon, perhaps not only at their meeting on Thursday (which is an important meeting). 

And then he rewrites it all, for he had a few words scratched out in the first copy, and slips it into an envelope and sends it off. 

And he waits.

And waits. 

And waits, and as Thursday rolls around, it becomes evident that he will not be receiving a reply before the meeting. It is both disappointing and vexing-- he’d thought his letter quite to-the-point and very well-written. Surely, he’d thought, Grantaire would derive its meaning and reply accordingly.

Evidently not.

But he goes to the meeting (and carefully checks that he has buttoned his waistcoat correctly) and makes up his mind to make nothing of the fact that Grantaire did not reply. (Perhaps, he thinks as he opens the door, he is simply writing a letter so well thought-out that he is not even finished with it yet. That would make sense.)

Feuilly is not yet arrived--which is to be expected, as he often comes ten or so minutes late on account of his work, and as Enjolras often comes ten or so minutes early, on account of, as Bahorel so politely put it, the stick that has found its way up his butt. 

Grantaire, surprisingly, is also there, despite the fact that he usually also prefers to arrive late, for no reason other than the fact that he had other things that he was doing. “Enjolras!” he calls from his table in the back, and he waves something in the air that Enjolras can’t quite identify. 

He approaches. “Hello, Grantaire,” he says, which is all he can manage, as Grantaire seems to be growing out a beard, which is incredibly distracting.

Grantaire thrusts the papers at him. “As ordered.”

Enjolras frowns, shuffles through the papers for a hint of-

Oh.

Oh, these are the flyers he’d asked for in the letter, done up on nice paper with neat printing. “Oh,” he says. “Oh, thank you, Grantaire.”

He shrugs. “Do they meet the standard?”

“These are wonderful,” Enjolras says. “Really, really, thank you.”

Grantaire looks as though he’s biting back a grin and he says, “Just doing as asked,” but he’s flushed pink in the cheeks.

Enjolras smiles, too, but he can’t quite keep himself from thinking that if Grantaire had so evidently read his letter, why hadn’t he-

Why hadn’t he-

Feuilly opens the door, an apology on his lips, and Bahorel lets out a raucous hoot. And then there isn’t really time to think about silly things like letters, because it’s Feuilly’s birthday and that’s important. 

Enjolras waits for Feuilly to emerge from the pile of young men that has found their way about him. He’s never been much of a piler, himself, after all. But he stands off to the side and watches and doesn’t try to keep a smile off his face, because he really does love his friends, doesn’t he. 

(He watches Grantaire give Feuilly a hearty thump on the back and hand him a carefully-wrapped package. Pencils, he sees, when it’s opened--the nice, sturdy kind. It’s a good gift, and not a cheap one, either; Grantaire is a good, kind friend.)

Ah, but Feuilly has now made the rounds and is approaching Enjolras. 

“Feuilly!” He says. “Feuilly, my dear friend. Happy birthday.”

They embrace. “Apologies, Enjolras,” Feuilly says. “I did not mean to distract from the meeting, but it seems Bahorel has purchased biscuits, and that he will not be dissuaded from causing a ruckus.”

How ridiculous. “Feuilly. You are my cherished friend.” He takes Feuilly’s hands in his, holds fast. “You are an invaluable addition to the group. Your perspective, advice, and commentary are unparalleled. You will find that you are loved firmly by all--do not be surprised that they wish to celebrate you. And do not apologize--I, expecting this, have scheduled in thirty minutes for such celebration before the meeting, as well as an early ending.”

Feuilly thanks him kindly, though there is a hint of a flush on his cheeks and an amused glint in his eye.

Grantaire, off to the side, is in the process of attempting to muffle a laugh in his shirtsleeve. 

Enjolras does his best to ignore this, for the time being. “I have brought you a gift--a small token. Here, it’s just-” he looks about himself, and on the tables. Strange--he had it when he entered.

“It’s in your bag on the chair. You set it down, earlier,” Combeferre says, from across the room.

Thank God for Combeferre.

He fetches it, hands it over. 

Feuilly unwraps it with care, as he does all things. It’s a simple gift-- a copy of some of Saint-Just’s writings, which Enjolras had read and appreciated and deemed an appropriate gift. And Feuilly smiles, and clutches the book tightly, so it appears that his assessment had been correct. A good thing, too--he’d agonized over it. 

Grantaire finds his way to Enjolras’s side once Bahorel has commandeered Feuilly for biscuit-related purposes. “You scheduled in time for birthday celebrations?” he asks, and if it were six months ago, Enjolras would be peeved. Only, Grantaire is smiling a little, and Enjolras is starting to suspect that he teases Enjolras a lot more than he says anything out of malice.

“Of course,” he says. “Normally, I would simply expect it and let it occur, but I worried that he might worry about stalling the meeting, so I simply built it in. Easy.”

And there’s nothing truly exceptional about any of that, but Grantaire-

Grantaire huffs a laugh, smiles, and sets a hand on Enjolras’s shoulder for just long enough to make his heart pound. And then he takes it away, slips it back into his pocket, but Enjolras’s heart still refuses to settle itself for the rest of the meeting.

 

The meeting ends. It was… less productive, one could say, than most, as Bahorel kept insisting that Feuilly be sat upon his lap, and as Joly was unable to concentrate on any critical assessments of the state of the government on account of his fear that he may be developing gout. 

(Needless to say, all others present held a vote and unanimously decided that Joly certainly does not have gout, but he could not be placated.)

And so the meeting was not very productive, but it was jovial, and it was pleasant, and Enjolras ends it twenty minutes early without complaint, as it is, after all, Feuilly’s birthday. He’s just packing up his bag, and carefully slipping in the flyers Grantaire made, when he hears somebody come to a stop beside him.

He looks up. Grantaire stands at his side, his hands behind his back. 

Enjolras suddenly feels very stupid and a little numb. “Oh,” he says. “Grantaire!”

“Enjolras,” Grantaire says. He clears his throat. “Are you occupied?”

He rushes to stuff the rest of his affairs into his bag and sling it over his shoulder. “No! No, I am not. I am available. What do you need?”

Grantaire clears his throat again--Enjolras has to wonder as to whether he’s getting ill. “Would you like some company for the walk home?” he asks, and Enjolras-

Well, Enjolras can’t really breathe for a moment. He can’t really hear anything, not with the blood rushing in his ears. He swallows. “Yes,” he says, and tries to sound fairly sane, which is difficult over the sound of his mind singing this-is-it-this-is-it-this-is-it-this-is-it like a depraved and repetitive church choir. “Yes, I would like that very much. Lovely.”

“Yes. Lovely.”

Perhaps, Enjolras thinks, Grantaire has deemed seven (or eight, depending on how important the walk is) as the appropriate number of outings before he initiates any intimate matters. Perhaps he will pause at the door, and Enjolras will have the time to invite him in for a cup of tea, and then once the door is shut behind them, Grantaire will move in close and cup his face in his hands and kiss him and-

Grantaire is watching him, a curious look on his face.

Anyways.

“I read the short story you mentioned, the last time we met,” Enjolras offers, once they have left the Musain and gone a full block without talking. “The de Balzac.”

Grantaire makes a funny sort of sound in the back of his throat. “You did?”

Enjolras nods. “I picked it up from the bookshop the very next morning.”

“And?”

“And what?”

“And, what did you think? Was it worthy of your time, or did I detract from your valuable revolutionary planning?” And that’s a bit harsh, but when Enjolras looks over, Grantaire looks… Nervous, almost.

He shrugs. “I liked it.”

Grantaire, being far quicker and all-around smarter than anyone Enjolras has ever met, (though, Enjolras realizes, he has been calling an awful lot of his friends smarter than anyone he’s ever met, lately) frowns, catches on. “But?”

Enjolras sighs. He’d been hoping to avoid the but. “But I don’t really think I’m quite as skilled at fictional analysis as you are. I read it, and I liked it, but I kept trying to remember everything that you said about it at dinner, because it all made more sense than whatever I was thinking. I kept wishing I’d just waited until we were together again to read it, so that I could have you explain it again.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah.”

“Hm.”

“You know, it-” He glances over again. Grantaire is flushed that dark, violent pink again, and he won’t meet Enjolras’s gaze. Enjolras bites back a smile. “Yeah.”

They round a corner. 

Grantaire, yet again, clears his throat. “I suppose we could meet for coffee to discuss it. If you wanted to, Apollo. After all, I’m always happy to help.”

Enjolras lets his hand brush up against Grantaire’s wrist. (Grantaire stumbles over a paving stone before he can recover himself.) “I’d like that,” he says.

Grantaire, Enjolras notes, talks a lot less when Enjolras is already paying attention to him. 

They keep walking. It’s not warm out, not exactly, but it’s warmer than it maybe ought to be, and besides, Enjolras isn’t cold. And it’s so nice, walking with Grantaire, and chatting aimlessly, that he hardly notices how close they’ve drawn to his apartment until they are the both of them standing on the stoop.

“Well,” Grantaire says, and Enjolras suddenly remembers that this was supposed to be a seduction, the denouement of it all being an invitation and, ideally, some sex. 

“Would you like to come inside?” Enjolras asks, before Grantaire can say something about that being all, then. 

And Grantaire-

Well, for a moment, Enjolras is sure that Grantaire is going to say yes, sure, of course. He leans in, even, if only just a bit, and Enjolras very nearly reaches out, maybe just to take his hand in his own, and then-

And then Grantaire is saying, “No, I don’t- I don’t think that’s a very good idea,” and Enjolras no longer understands what is happening.

“I- I have tea?” he tries, but it sounds a haphazard excuse, even in his own ears.

Grantaire shakes his head. “Sorry. I should get home,” he says, but Enjolras knows, from what he’s overheard, what time Grantaire usually stumbles his way onto his bed, and it isn’t anything close to the hour at hand. And then he turns, a little, makes to move, and-

And Enjolras, somehow, with gall he hadn’t even known he possessed, grabs his hand before he can leave Enjolras’s stoop. “Chopin is playing on Sunday,” he says. “I have an invitation to attend, courtesy of Combeferre’s cousin. It’s the first time he’ll play in Paris, and I know you have an appreciation for the arts, and I can bring a companion with me, would you- would you want to come?” (In reality, what he has is one invitation to attend, for one person, and the knowledge that Combeferre also has an invitation, and the knowledge that Combeferre is a good friend, but no matter.)

Grantaire breathes, stares down at their two hands, still twined together. “You- Alright.”

“Yes?”

“Yes, let’s go.”

“Okay,” Enjolras says, and it’s not… it’s not what he was hoping for, but it’s something. “Goodnight, Grantaire.”

“Goodnight, Apollo,” Grantaire says, and he turns, and walks away, but when he’s only gone a few steps, he stops and looks over his shoulder. “I’ll see you on Sunday?”

Enjolras lets out a breath. “Yes, Sunday.”

And then Grantaire is gone, and Enjolras fumbles for his key in his bag and nearly trips going up the stairs and throws himself upon his sofa and very much considers the pros and cons of going over to Combeferre’s to complain over there.

(He decides against it. He does not, however, decide against going to Combeferre’s first thing in the morning for breakfast and council. Because this is ridiculous. Why would Grantaire even walk him home in the first place, if not to want to come in after? For heaven’s sake, it wouldn’t even have needed to be sex. Enjolras would have verily melted into the floorboards if Grantaire had come in and had a cup of tea and sat down on the sofa to talk about de Balzac like he’d promised. He also pleads for the ticket--he is nothing if not efficient.)

 

Sunday rolls around. Enjolras finds himself sitting on his own sofa, watching Courfeyrac and Bahorel rid his dresser of every item of clothing he owns, that they might lay them out on the floor for a collective view. 

“For the love of God, Enjolras,” Courfeyrac says. “This is it? This is all?”

Enjolras scowls. “It’s served me fine until now.”

Bahorel shoots Courfeyrac a look that, were the both of them not agreeing to give much needed help, Enjolras would resent. The Has it? remains unspoken, which is better than nothing. “So you’re really courting Grantaire?” he says, rifling through Enjolras’s stockings.

Enjolras huffs; he doesn’t have to answer that.

Unfortunately, Courfeyrac answers for him. “He’s trying. But trying to be courted, more like.”

“Huh.”

“What?” Courfeyrac asks, evidently making the decision to take over Enjolras’s romantic life completely while Enjolras himself buries his face in the upholstery. 

Bahorel shrugs. “Interesting, is all.” He throws a pair of stockings at Courfeyrac, apparently satisfied. “Have you told him as much?”

As if. “It doesn’t work like that,” Enjolras says, though, to be frank, he’s not quite sure how it does work. “One doesn’t simply go around asking to be courted.”

“Well,” Courfeyrac says. “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, Jolras, but most people, if they are already not a lady, do not go around expecting to be courted at all. They simply…” he makes a crude gesture.

Bahorel snorts a laugh. 

Enjolras, already proficient in the art of scowling, scowls a little harder and reminds himself that Courfeyrac is there to help. (He also, secretly, tries not to think about that fact that Courfeyrac is probably correct.)

He watches Bahorel and Courfeyrac rifle through clothing and thinks about whether or not Grantaire will like whatever they pick. Perhaps it’s a bad idea to let somebody else select his ensemble, he thinks, and then he cannot stop thinking it. Perhaps Grantaire would like him less when he’s dressed fashionably, not more, perhaps he will laugh at Enjolras’s attempt, perhaps Courfeyrac’s influence will be too evident and Grantaire will see right through him and understand just how desperate his is and he’ll resolve to never see him again, perhaps-

Enjolras pulls a pillow over his face and groans and tries to resist the urge to simply smother himself with it then and there, if only to spare himself of the mortifying disaster the evening is sure to be.

 

He doesn’t end up smothering himself with the throw pillow, so he gets dressed in his Courf-and-Bahorel-selected outfit and does his best to fix his hair and leaves for the salon the good M. Chopin is to play at, because damn his pitiful romantic endeavors, he has been looking forward to this for weeks, and it hardly matters if Grantaire decides he isn’t worth the trouble because-

Because-

Enjolras sighs and tries, once again, to fix his hair before he enters. This serves the dual purpose, of course, of both making him look just a shred more sane, and of giving him another moment to catch his breath, because his heart is pounding either at the concept of Grantaire being inside or of Grantaire not being there, but it’s pounding, all the same. 

He opens the door.

He doesn’t see Grantaire, at first-- the salon is dimly lit in the evening gloom, and just for a moment, he’s sure that he’s been stood up. It’s almost a relief--it saves him the embarrassment of what’s sure to be an awkward evening. Almost, though, is the operative word, because if Grantaire doesn’t show, it’s a sign that-

That he doesn’t want this. Doesn’t want Enjolras. That-

Grantaire waves from a table in the corner, catches his eye.

Enjolras, in an instant, can’t breathe.

“Apollo!” Grantaire calls, just a bit too loud, as though Enjolras could have missed him. He raises his wineglass-- the wine catches the candlelight, sends a cast across his face. “Apollo!”

Enjolras makes his way over before Grantaire draws any more attention to himself. “Hello,” he says, clears his throat, “Grantaire.” 

Grantaire snorts a laugh, which Enjolras doesn’t understand. He doesn’t think he’s done anything that merits laughter. “Hello, Enjolras. Very kind of you to grace me with your presence this evening.”

He scowls, sits down in the chair beside Grantaire, and silently reminds himself that if he wants to be courted he must first be liked, and therefore, courteous, even if Grantaire has decided to poke fun.

Enjolras looks back up at Grantaire, sure he’s going to find a self-satisfied smirk upon his face, but instead, he looks… nervous, almost.

“I like your waistcoat,” Grantaire says, when neither of them has spoken in a little while. “You’re very sharply dressed.”

He flushes hot, high in his cheeks. “Thank you,” he says, and he almost adds, though it’s none of my own doing, of course, but he just can’t, not when Grantaire’s looking at him like that. “Thank you,” he says again.

Grantaire, too, looks more finely dressed than usual--he’s shaved, so his cheeks lack their perpetual dark shadow, though he does seem to have nicked himself once or twice in the process; his shirt is pressed, and Enjolras doesn’t recognize it; his hair is vaguely more in-order than it sometimes is. It’s strange. Enjolras likes it, of course (he likes most things that have to do with Grantaire), but it’s strange.

“You look rather nice, as well,” Enjolras finally manages. 

Grantaire picks at the stem of his wine glass, clears his throat. “I admit, I played very little part in it. This is Bossuet’s shirt. Hence the scorch marks.”

Enjolras doesn’t- “I don’t see any scorch marks.”

“They’re beneath the waistcoat,” he explains, and then he smirks a little, like he does when he’s trying to goad a reaction out of Enjolras. “Perhaps you’ll see them later in the evening.”

Enjolras swallows. His face is suddenly very hot, his cheeks flushed. “Perhaps I will,” he says, and his voice is rougher than it usually comes out. Because if that- If- If Grantaire is saying what he thinks he’s saying, God, all this waiting will have been worth all of the confusion and the wondering and the craving. If Grantaire means to bed him tonight, he-

Grantaire splutters, nearly chokes on his wine. Enjolras has to reach over and pat him on the back, if only to make him stop coughing (and definitely not to feel the way he’s oh, wow, really muscled from boxing and running hot beneath his hand, definitely not). “You-” When he looks up to meet Enjolras’s gaze again, he’s flushed, as well. 

“What?”

“You can’t just-” he starts, and he’s looking at Enjolras like he really intends to tell him what, exactly, he cannot do, and it’s suddenly infuriating. Who is Grantaire to- to- to court him, to take him out to dinner and to walk him home and to meet him at salons, and then to act surprised when Enjolras makes any sort of move at all?

“It is very presumptuous,” Enjolras says, “To assume you are in a position to control what I say at all.” As soon as he’s said it, he knows, he just knows, that it was far too harsh, especially when all he needs is for Grantaire to like him, but Grantaire isn’t scowling, or gathering his effects to leave, or rearing for a fight, he’s just laughing and leaning back in his chair. 

Oh, Lord, he’s lovely when he laughs. “Oh, believe me, Enjolras,” Grantaire says. “I know that that’s impossible.”

Whatever that means. 

Grantaire takes another sip of wine. Enjolras watches him, watches the line of his throat, watches the drop that catches at the corner of his mouth before he licks it away, and he nearly, nearly looks away in time. Grantaire catches his gaze, anyways.

“So,” Enjolras says, once he’s managed to tug his gaze away from Grantaire’s and has successfully dropped it to the tablecloth. “How is your painting going?” 

“My what?”

“Your-” he clears his throat. “Combeferre said you showed him a painting you were working on. He said it was wonderful. How has it been going?”

Grantaire cocks his head, keeps staring him down. “You don’t know the first thing about art. There’s no need to fake an interest simply because we’re out for the evening.” 

“I’m not-” he huffs, picks at a loose seam on the hem of the tablecloth. “I just wanted to know.”

Grantaire is still, still, looking at him oddly. “It’s going well,” he says, finally. “It’s taking longer than I expected, but it’s going well.”

“Good,” Enjolras says, and he bites back what he wants to add-- the Please, let me see, let me watch, let me in. “Good.”

“And yourself?” Grantaire near-blurts out, after just a beat too long of silence.

Enjolras frowns. “My… painting?”

“How are you doing?”

“Oh.” Enjolras should really look into the fact that being around Grantaire seems to make him significantly less intelligent than usual. “I’m well.”

“Well?”

“Well-” Well, Enjolras supposes, he would be a bit more well if he knew what, exactly, Grantaire wanted out of this. If he hadn’t had to wait seven--or is it eight, now? Eight times, thinking that surely, surely, at the end of the evening, something would happen, only for Grantaire to clear his throat and nod stiffly and turn away at the door, and oh, God, if he does that again tonight Enjolras is going to scream, really, he is. “Yes,” he says, sitting up a little straighter. “I am quite well.” 

Grantaire nods. “Good. I-”

There is a bit of a rustling, and the clamoring of a few too many people making way for yet one more, and then a young man is taking a seat at the piano but more importantly Grantaire is moving his chair around beside Enjolras to better view the music and he’s close, so close, and Enjolras feels, yet again, breathless.

The man--that young M. Chopin--begins to play.

Grantaire wasn’t incorrect when he had accused Enjolras of knowing very little of art--it is hardly his driving passion. For once, though, Enjolras figures that’s a good thing, because here, and now, with Grantaire so close beside him and so entranced by the music, Enjolras finds himself completely unable to tear his gaze away from the cut of his profile, lit up by candlelight; from the soft crinkling around his eyes, dark and large like those of a doe; from the way his fingers tap softly, restlessly, on the tabletop in an imitation of those, on the other side of the room, on the piano keys; of the corner of his jaw where he missed a spot, shaving. It’s- it’s-

Enjolras breathes, leans a bit closer--he can hardly help either one.

The piano plays on.

The two of them, they’re both sat together in the darkest corner of the salon (Enjolras can’t help but wonder if it was intentional, if Grantaire picked this table on purpose, if it means something). And so it’s dark, and far enough away, and everybody is watching the pianist, anyways, and Enjolras lets himself shift in his chair, just enough to hook his ankle around Grantaire’s--and even then, only barely. Deniably. 

Grantaire starts, turns to look at Enjolras with those wide eyes of his. He takes a breath, as if to begin to say something, but then says nothing, and just keeps staring.

Enjolras wills himself to be brave and carefully, carefully, does not move, because Grantaire can move away if he wants, but Enjolras wants this.

Grantaire does not move away. 

A minute passes. He turns his gaze back to the piano.

Enjolras keeps his eyes on Grantaire.

Their ankles are still hooked together under the table. Enjolras waits, he waits and waits, for Grantaire to slip away, but he never does--if anything, it feels a little more secure.

It just isn’t-

It isn’t really enough, is all Enjolras can think. Maybe it would be, if Grantaire had made any kind of indication at all--any stop, or go on, or come closer, or slow down, or come in, please, stay the night --but as it is, with the way it is now, he-

It’s funny, because right now, it’s him who has the urge to push, to go too far, to go past the limit if only to get a reaction. 

Grantaire is still watching the good M. Chopin at the piano and Enjolras takes a deep breath and reaches out a tentative hand and lets it settle on Grantaire’s thigh. 

Not too high up, mind--somewhere near the halfway point between knee and groin, but enough to feel, and enough for Grantaire to startle, to nearly knock over his wine glass, to reach down and wrap a hand round Enjolras’s wrist. And Enjolras thinks, then, that at least he will know, at least he will have an answer, but-

But then he stays there, frozen, just like that, and Enjolras’s hand is still on his thigh, and this is it, this is contact, finally. 

Grantaire shuts his eyes, sucks in a deep breath. “You tease, sir,” he hisses, and it’s so quiet under the sound of the piano but so sharp, so cutting, anyways.

Enjolras makes to tug his wrist from Grantaire’s grasp, then, because there is nothing nice to be found in lingering, not now, but his grip holds firm. “I do no such thing,” he whispers back, because he doesn’t, he doesn’t tease, he doesn’t do anything he doesn’t mean to follow up on, it’s just that Grantaire won’t let him get any closer, and it’s been so long, and-

Grantaire opens his eyes. He’s looking at Enjolras so strangely; there is everything and absolutely nothing to be divined from his face, but Enjolras can’t help but to hope, because God, maybe, maybe- “Then you lie, I suppose,” he says, and Enjolras, in an instant, can’t breathe. He continues, anyways, voice still low under the music. “Or you trick, or you- you scheme, I don’t know, but it all comes down to a lie at the end, doesn’t it, whatever- whatever your reasons, and I want none of it, I want-”

He pulls his hand away, breaks the contact. “I do no such thing,” he says, again, and he makes sure to keep his voice quiet, because he’s fairly certain that if he doesn’t, he would be close to shouting. “I would appreciate if you would refrain from accusing me of- of-” He forces himself to breathe in, out. “I have not once misrepresented my intentions for this relationship since the moment you asked me to dinner, though I am beginning to feel as though you cannot say the same, for you- you-” he stands, and his chair scrapes too loud against the floor, but he can’t think to worry about that when his face is flushed hot and his heart is pounding and he is-

He’s angry, now, because how dare Grantaire accuse him of lying when Enjolras has only ever wanted the one thing, has never intended to do anything but to see it through to the end, has never wanted anything but Grantaire. 

Grantaire is still fucking looking at him, and he still can’t breathe. “Enjolras,” he says, weakly, softly, and he might reach out a hand, but Enjolras can’t be sure because he’s already turning to leave, already storming out of the salon, damn the other guests, damn Combeferre’s cousin.

He can’t quite say where he’s headed--only that his heart is still beating far too fast and that he is furious and that it is cold but that he doesn’t feel it much and that he hears someone open the door after him, follow him, and that he is simply heading away from the salon and away from Grantaire.

Grantaire, who is calling him, who is running after him, who catches him in an alley and grabs him by the arm and stops him, there in his tracks, because he’s looking at Enjolras with such a desperate look in his eyes that Enjolras simply cannot continue walking. “What do you-”

“I am not a liar, Grantaire,” Enjolras says, because this matters. “And I do not-” his voice breaks, and he swallows, tries again. “I do not tease.”

Grantaire tightens his grip on his arm. “Then what are you doing? What do you intend to do, why are you doing this, what do you want from me?”

“What do I want? What do I-” He stomps his foot, pulls his arm free of Grantaire’s grasp. “You were the one who asked me to dinner! And I have waited, and I have waited, and I truly have enjoyed our time together but nothing has happened and I feel as though I am going to go mad! And so I believe that the question is what do you want from me, because I- I thought I knew, but evidently, I do not.”

Grantaire is staring again. “You-”

“I do not tease, that’s not- I just wanted-”

He wants Grantaire to cut in, wants him to say it for him, wants him to mock him, even, if it means not having to admit it, but he stays silent.

He feels the cold a little more, now.

He clears his throat. “You asked me out to dinner,” he says, once more, and his voice is softer than he meant it to be.

Grantaire takes a step back. Enjolras can’t quite say if he likes that or not. 

“You asked me to dinner.” He brings himself to meet Grantaire’s gaze. Because this is it, apparently. “And that has… implications, and I’ve been waiting, but-” he shrugs.

“Implications?” Grantaire says, finally.

“I was not teasing, ” he says. 

And Grantaire… Stops, almost, freezes in his place, as though he were an automaton that had wound its way to a halt. His gaze softens, grows more tentative. “Enjolras?” he asks. He hazards a glance around; the alley is deserted, isolated, secluded. 

Enjolras nods.

“Tell me if…” he steps forward, and then he’s close again. “Tell me this is not what you meant to say, and I swear on God, I will not make one move more, I will leave you be, I will not pursue it, I swear.”

He nods again.

He nods, and Grantaire reaches out a hand, slow as anything, and lets it settle against Enjolras’s jaw.

Enjolras is having trouble breathing and he is having trouble caring about it, too. 

“Enjolras,” Grantaire says, and he sounds pained, somehow. Enjolras blinks. “Tell me.”

He swallows--his throat is dry. “There is nothing to tell,” he says.

And Grantaire kisses him. It’s almost chaste, really--slow and simple, only Grantaire can’t seem to bring himself to pull away. 

No matter. Enjolras kisses back, lets himself relax into Grantaire, lets his eyes slip shut--but only for a moment, and then he pulls back. “We shouldn’t do this here,” he says. 

“Right.” He lets his hand drop--Enjolras mourns the loss. “Right, of course.”

“You should walk me home.”

Grantaire is watching him with wide eyes, glazed-over eyes, eyes glittering by the distant streetlight. “What?”

“Walk me back to my apartment.”

“Okay,” he says, and his voice is so soft that Enjolras can only hear it because of In the way he still lingers close. 

They walk. 

Enjolras has never known Grantaire to be so silent for so long. He walks beside Enjolras, keeping pace, but his eyes are trained on the cobblestones and for as much as Enjolras wants (oh, God, he wants) to reach out, to brush the back of his hand against Grantaire’s, if only for a second, he stays stubbornly out of reach.

Enjolras turns his head to watch a carriage ride by and when he looks back, Grantaire is watching him instead of the street. He drops his gaze in an instant, but Enjolras still feels flushed and- and giddy, almost, in the strangest way.

The walk to Enjolras’s chambers isn’t long--perhaps twenty minutes, perhaps a little less, what with the speed they’re walking. In any case, it isn’t long before they’re the both of them at Enjolras’s door. 

Grantaire turns to face him, but he seems to be determined to look anywhere but at Enjolras’s face. “So,” he says.

“So,” says Enjolras.

“So,” Grantaire says, again. He’s fiddling with the hem of his waistcoat, twisting it between his fingers. “I suppose I’ll see you on Thursday, then?”

Enjolras has to take a moment, just to process what exactly he just said, and by then Grantaire is already turning away, and he’s reaching out to grab his sleeve before he can think, before he can stop himself. 

“Enjolras?”

“You will not see me on Thursday!”

“I… Won’t?

He huffs a sigh. “Well, I suppose you will, but that is not the point!”

Grantaire turns back to face him but he’s hesitant, questioning. “And your point is-”

“My point is,” he says, and he forces himself to whisper, now. “My point is that if you do not wish to- to bed me, you have every right to say so, but otherwise, I am at a loss of what else I could possibly do to move this along! I asked you to walk me home! What else could that possibly mean?”

There is a moment of complete, utter silence. “You-” Grantaire clears his throat. “You wish to bed me?”

Enjolras is fairly certain that he is going to be driven completely mad before he ever even gets the opportunity to see Grantaire’s cock. “Was I not clear?”

“Enjolras,” Grantaire says, and there is a desperation in his voice that he has never heard before. “Be serious, please.” He lists closer, as though unable to help it. “Are- Do you-”

“I am being serious,” he says, but Grantaire is still watching him with such caution, such… fear, really, in his eyes. He reaches out to take Grantaire’s hand in his own. “Come upstairs,” he says.

And Grantaire draws in a deep, unsteady breath and says, (thank God), “Okay.”

Enjolras keeps hold of Grantaire’s hand as they climb the stairs. Not because he thinks that Grantaire is going to leave, going to run away (or, alright, perhaps a little), but because the closer they get, the tighter Grantaire’s grip grows, the more he clutches at Enjolras like the very act of holding on is a lifeline itself.

By the time he unlocks the door, he’s fairly certain that Grantaire has stopped breathing.

“Alright?” He asks, once they are inside and he has lit a candle and the door is firmly shut, locked.

Grantaire nods mutely.

Enjolras kisses him. It’s not like that kiss back in the alley--not soft, not chaste--but he can’t help that, because Grantaire is finally here, here in his apartment, and Enjolras has still got one hand intertwined with one of Grantaire’s and the other is settled on his cheek and the only problem is that Grantaire isn’t kissing back. 

 Enjolras lessens the kiss, then breaks it. Grantaire’s eyes are shut tight, his free hand in a fist, tight by his own side. “Grantaire,” he says. 

Grantaire does nothing.

“Grantaire,” he says again.

He lets out something akin to a whimper, keeps his eyes closed, and Enjolras stops, then, and he drops his hand from Grantaire’s cheek, but Grantaire is still holding on, tight like a vice, to the other.

Enjolras takes a deep breath. “Do you not want-”

“No,” Grantaire grits out, and Enjolras could swear that his heart nearly stops, but then Grantaire continues. “No, no, I do want, I want, I want-”

“What do you want?”

“Enjolras,” he manages, and Enjolras doesn’t know if it’s an answer or a plea or a strange, blasphemous prayer.

Grantaire still won’t open his eyes.

“Grantaire,” Enjolras says, and he moves slowly, so slowly, when he lifts his hand to cup Grantaire’s jaw once more but he startles, anyways. “Grantaire, look at me.”

And as though unable to resist, Grantaire opens his eyes. He opens his eyes and he looks at Enjolras and Enjolras has never seen so much… feeling, lingering there before. So much desperation, so much fear, so much-- is that lust?

Enjolras lets his thumb brush over the corner of Grantaire’s jaw, lets it linger on that spot he’d noticed earlier in the evening, the spot where he must have forgotten to shave, where it’s just the slightest bit rougher. “What do you want?” he asks, once more.

He swallows. 

They’re standing so close, now; if Enjolras didn’t know what was about to happen, he is fairly certain that the hammering of his pulse beneath his skin would be driving him mad. As it is, it serves only to focus. 

Enjolras lets his hand slip down, sit heavy on the side of Grantaire’s neck, instead. He can feel his heart beating its own frantic rhythm beneath that hot, lovely flesh. When Grantaire breathes, it is shallow, rapid, unsteady. 

And when Grantaire speaks, finally, Enjolras can feel that, too. “I don’t know,” he says. “I don’t know, Enjolras, God, anything, anything you’ll give me, anything at all.”

“Alright,” Enjolras says, because there is nothing else he can possibly ask for. “Alright,” he says, again, and he leans in, then, but stops a hair’s breadth away. “Kiss me back this time,” he murmurs, and then he kisses him.

Grantaire, for once in his life, does as told. He kisses back deeply, thoroughly, entirely. Enjolras knows nothing but the warmth of Grantaire’s mouth, nothing but the sting of teeth against soft flesh, nothing but the heat of a body against his own, nothing but Grantaire’s hand hot against his side and the other, God, the other still holding fast the Enjolras’s own. And then Grantaire releases his hand, reaches up to entangle it in Enjolras’s curls, and Enjolras hadn’t even realized that they were moving backwards until he feels the press of the door at his back.

He finds himself clutching at the back of Grantaire’s cloak. Grantaire just keeps- he keeps kissing him, and of course it is exactly what he wanted, exactly what he wants, exactly what he fucking needs, God, he needs this, it’s just that he can’t really breathe, not with the way he is being held so, so close, not with the way Grantaire kisses him as though he, too, needs nothing else in this world.

Grantaire bites at his lip and Enjolras, despite whatever shreds remain of his will, hears himself let out a whine. “Good?” Grantaire asks, and he pulls back to ask it but not so far that their lips cease to brush.

And what is there to say to that? What is there to say, when his heart is pounding and his blood is rushing beneath his skin and he can hardly keep his eyes open with how much he wants to lean back in, to feel Grantaire against him once more. He dares not speak, lest he err as he always seems to do, but he nods his head and draws in a breath and oh, heavens, he is surrounded by the way Grantaire smells--faintly of sweat, faintly of wine, but also of clean wool and a well-made, dark perfume. 

“Enjolras?” Grantaire asks again. His voice is rough, low. 

He tips his head to press his forehead to Grantaire’s and he tries his very hardest to unclench his fingers from Grantaire’s cloak. He clears his throat, though how effective it will be, he doesn’t know. “Can we- can you-”

Grantaire sucks in a breath. “Anything,” he murmurs, and he presses a kiss--light, quick--to the corner of his mouth.

“Can-” Enjolras has never been much one for words when they are not written into a speech, and now, with Grantaire so close and saying things like Anything as though he really, truly means them, his abilities are certainly not improved upon. He settles for action instead--he frees his hands from the back of Grantaire’s cloak and brings them around to the front, where they fumble with the clasp, to no success. His fingers feel clumsy, slow. “Please, Grantaire, can you-”

Grantaire brings his hands up to join Enjolras’s, and they brush for a moment before he deftly works the clasp free. 

The cloak falls to the floor.

Enjolras is faced with strong shoulders, a bold chest, shirtsleeves erring on the side of sheer beneath a waistcoat. “Oh,” he says, or, rather, he hears himself say. 

“Oh?” Grantaire says, and there is humor in his voice, but when Enjolras looks up, there is a shade of anxiety in his eyes. 

Enjolras reaches for the waistcoat. “May- May I-”

Grantaire nods. One by one, the buttons slip free of their buttonholes until the waistcoat hangs open, and then he is reaching up for to remove his stock from round his neck. And then he is left in naught but his shirtsleeves and trousers.

Enjolras is beginning (or, perhaps, simply continuing) to feel weak in the knees. 

“And for you,” Grantaire says, and yes, yes, this is what Enjolras wants. This is what he wants--less between them, less nonsense, fewer waistcoats and certainly fewer cloaks. But his hands still at the clasp, his eyes seek Enjolras’s. “Yes?” he asks, and it is only then that Enjolras realizes that he had been expecting an answer.

“Yes,” Enjolras breathes. “Yes.”

And then there are deft fingers working clasps, undoing buttons, untying knots and unraveling, but in front of him there lingers Grantaire’s chest, and his shoulders, and his arms, and Enjolras cannot help but to reach out and touch, to press his hand to the side of Grantaire’s neck, now bared, and let the other settle on his ribs. 

When the two of them are both left in their shirts and braces, Grantaire kisses him again. And they are closer, and it is hotter, than before, and Enjolras wants little more than he wants to touch. He wonders-

He wonders if it would be improper to ruck up one side of Grantaire’s shirt, to slip a hand up under, to feel hot skin directly, to touch, to-

Oh, heavens, but he is hard in his trousers. He is hard in his trousers, and Grantaire is still so close, and if he moves wrong, Grantaire will certainly feel it, and he is surely far too enthusiastic but he has never felt like this in his life, he has never wanted like this in his life, and he feels as though his heart is about to beat out of his chest, and-

Grantaire’s thigh, muscled and broad, brushes against his cock.

Enjolras freezes. “I-” he makes an effort to breathe. The fact that Grantaire has yet to move away is not helping his efforts. “I- I apologize,” he says, and it comes out at a whisper. 

“Don’t,” says Grantaire, and then they are kissing, wet and filthy-like. “Would you let me?” he asks. 

“Let you?” Enjolras chokes out. 

Grantaire nods. “Would you let me- You know, let me-” And then he presses his thigh between Enjolras’s legs, grinds up--as if to demonstrate.

Enjolras gasps, buries his face in Grantaire’s shoulder and hopes that the thin cotton of his shirt muffles his moan somewhat. Because oh, Lord, that felt good, that felt- He ruts up against his leg, his hips jerking. 

“Enjolras?”

He nods, face flushed and buried solidly in soft cotton and firm muscle. “Please,” he manages. 

Grantaire obliges once more. He lets one hand grasp tight to Enjolras’s hip, lets the other roam his side, strong and hot. “God, Enjolras,” he says, and he presses closer still. The pleasure is driving Enjolras mad, and that is even before he feels the stiff heat of Grantaire’s cock against his hip. 

He whimpers. Grantaire lets out a shaky breath, pulls him in close. 

With Grantaire’s thigh between his legs, and with his cock firm and insistent against him, Enjolras cannot resist the urge to rut forwards, to grip tight to his shirt, to moan, to let his hips jerk fast and unsteady. 

He has never felt pleasure like this, never.

Surely, surely, now, he is allowed to touch. In any case, his self-control is gone, it is shattered, it is torn to bits, it is thrown out of the window, never to be seen again. And, because he is bold, (and because Grantaire is hot ), he pulls at Grantaire’s shirt and tugs at his braces until the shirt is untucked and he has skin beneath his hands. 

Grantaire groans at the touch--a wonderful, intoxicating sound--and gets his hand twined in Enjolras’s hair just to pull his head back and kiss him. “Fuck,” he says, against Enjolras’s lips. “Fuck, fuck, Enjolras, God.”

Enjolras certainly understands the sentiment. He is close to the quick, now, and maybe if he were in his right mind he would be embarrassed at the speed at which it had occurred but as it is all he can think of is the fact that he needs more and the fact that this is euphoria and- and- and Grantaire. 

And surely, surely, if he just reaches down, it wouldn’t make much of a difference, if he just- if he just gets a feel, surely that is allowed, now that they are pressed together against Enjolras’s door. And so he slips a hand into Grantaire’s trousers--Grantaire gasps, groans, and his kiss grows messier, more desperate--and wraps it around Grantaire’s cock and-

And Grantaire fucks up into his fist, and he kisses sloppily across Enjolras’s cheek, and down his neck, and he holds Enjolras so close he is fairly sure his ribs might crack but that’s alright and when he comes he bites down on Enjolras’s shoulder, just hard enough to ache. 

Enjolras waits, nearly patiently, as Grantaire’s breathing slows to something that could be considered moderate. He withdraws his hand from Grantaire’s trousers. It’s wet, sticky, slick with Grantaire’s seed. “Was that-”

Grantaire drops to his knees.

“Grantaire?” Enjolras asks, voice hushed. 

“Let me,” he says, once more. 

Enjolras doesn’t know what Grantaire wants him to let him do but he does know that he wants it, as well. “Yes.”

And then Grantaire is undoing the front of Enjolras’s trousers and shuffling in close and burying his face in the space between his legs and he is only human, he can only survive so much.

He gasps when Grantaire’s mouth meets his cock. It is… It is pleasure in its purest form, it is ecstasy. He knows he is speaking but he knows nothing of the words that leave his mouth, save for, “Grantaire, Grantaire.” His eyes have long since fallen shut. 

He does not last. He comes, into Grantaire’s mouth, with a moan and a realization that Grantaire is surely the most gifted man in the whole of the city of Paris. He says as much, when he is ever-so-slightly more recovered, and Grantaire laughs. 

“I never expected such high praise from our dear leader,” he says. “I believe I’m in shock.”

Enjolras believes he’s in shock, as well, though for a different reason. He grasps at Grantaire’s shoulders, pulls him up as best he can to standing. When they are of a level, he succumbs to the exhaustion and the need to be close and wraps his arms round Grantaire’s waist and leans his weight against him. 

Grantaire lets out a near-hysterical huff of laughter, but it’s soft, kind. “I did not expect you to be one to linger close, after such an endeavor.”

Enjolras breathes in the smell of Grantaire’s shirt. “So you were expecting?”

He freezes. “I-”

“I was. Wondering, that is. About you.”

Grantaire lets out a slow breath, relaxes. “You will be my end, mark my words.”

“Mm.” Enjolras would much like to kiss Grantaire again, but he can’t bring himself to lift his head. 

Grantaire ruffles his hair. “You are tired, Apollo. Do Gods sleep?”

“If I am one,” Enjolras says, around a yawn, “Then surely, and surely soon, as well.”

“Of course.” They stay together, propped up against one-another, for a few moments more, but then Grantaire pulls away. Enjolras mourns the loss. “Should I- Should I leave you to do so?” he asks.

Enjolras certainly hopes not. “Not if you would share my bed.”

Grantaire flushes pink. “Very well,” he says. “If you are sure.”

“I am.” Enjolras takes him by the hand, leads him to his bedroom. 

They remove their trousers and their shirts. Enjolras does his honest best not to watch Grantaire but ultimately does not succeed. By the look Grantaire gives him when he realizes, he does not mind. 

In bed, they lie together. Enjolras has donned a nightshirt; Grantaire wears nothing at all. 

“You are a man full of surprises,” Grantaire murmurs, when Enjolras is nearly asleep.

Enjolras has his head pillowed upon Grantaire’s shoulder, his arms wrapped around his waist. Grantaire holds him closer than he has ever been held. “Indeed?” he asks, and it is slurred, sleep-heavy, even in his own ears.

“Indeed,” says Grantaire.

Enjolras says something to the approximate form of, “How so?”

Grantaire laughs quietly; Enjolras can feel it beneath his cheek. “I suppose we’ll discuss it in the morning,” he says. “For you are already asleep.”

And Enjolras intends to contest that, to say that he is not asleep, thank you very much, but he is drifting off before he can even begin.