Of all the years that Grantaire had known Enjolras, he’d only ever seen him cry once.
It had been Bahorel who'd suggested it, that the group go to the club for some drinks after a meeting. Of course, mostly everyone had agreed, only Enjolras protesting that he had some sort of paper due soon ("--in a week, Enjolras, come on--"). He ended up going along for the ride despite his excuses, claiming that he had to make sure that they all got home without any incidents because incidents, of course, would undoubtably happen.
Grantaire would have been content to go back to his apartment and drink on his lonesome, or even curl up in bed and just sleep for the rest of eternity. He told this to Courfeyrac, who smiled knowingly and told him that Enjolras had agreed to come along for the evening. Which meant that yes, Grantaire was abandoning his bed for a few more hours.
The club was more of a bar with a dance floor that could barely pass for one--it looked as if someone had laid down sheets of plywood and attacked them with lacquer and a staple gun. The group bustled in and settled into a booth in the corner, Enjolras on one end and Grantaire on the other. Jehan had abandoned them the second that they had stepped into the club, and was already dancing with a drink in his hand on the barren dance floor to the muffled trance music that a DJ was spinning from up on a small stage.
"I'm... going to join him," Courfeyrac decided moments after everyone was seated. He'd chosen to sit in the very center of the booth and instead of making everyone get up and move, he was about to crawl under the table to escape instead. "No, no, it's fine, I'll just--"
"We'll move," Combeferre said with a sigh, pushing Joly's shoulder to make him stand up. "No need for you to catch something from the floor. God only knows what's on it." His shoes agreed, the soles of his Chucks sticking to some unidentified drink someone had spilled on the floor long ago.
"Let's go with," Bossuet told Joly with a grin. I like this song."
"You don't even know what this song is," Joly protested as Bossuet grabbed his hand and tugged him out towards the dance floor. He began swaying his hips reluctantly, a mild look of alarm on his face whenever Bossuet stepped too close to the edge of the floor.
Bahorel had only to look at Feuilly once before the two were off, twirling each other in circles. After only two minutes they had managed to nearly knock against Jehan and Courfeyrac from where they were swaying together, a shout of "Oi!" from Courfeyrac and a squeak of terror from Jehan when they realized what was coming for them.
Which left Combeferre, Enjolras, and Grantaire.
Grantaire looked across the table at Combeferre, who was watching his friends on the dance floor with mild amusement, and then at Enjolras, who was determinedly staring down at his hands. The thought flicked through his head that he needed to get the hell out.
"Drinks, I'll buy, gonna go—" and he left, scrambling towards the bar. He had no intention of returning any time soon, and the others knew that. When Grantaire looked back, Combeferre and Enjolras had leaned their heads together and were taking in low voices. Combeferre looked apologetic, showing Enjolras something on his phone, and Enjolras looked...
Enjolras looked crushed. His mouth was turned down at the corners, his cheeks were pale, and his eyes shined in the dim light, water pooling in them no matter how hard he tried to blink it away.
Grantaire turned back quickly towards the bar, accepting the beer that the bartender handed him. He lifted it to his lips, resolutely not turning around to look at Enjolras. It wasn't his problem, nor was it any of his business. And then, because Grantaire was an idiot, he turned his head again.
Combeferre was walking his way. Shit.
Grantaire turned again, and really, there was no way to pretend like he hadn't seen. So he stared at his still almost full beer bottle until he felt Combeferre standing by his side.
"I need a favor."
Grantaire looked up at Combeferre, who slid onto the stool next to him. "You... you do?"
"Yes," Combeferre confirmed, reaching out to swipe Grantaire's beer. He grabbed for it weakly but Combeferre held it out of reach. "I need you to take Enjolras home.”
Enjolras, Combeferre, and Courfeyrac, because they were a three headed monster where one head never did anything without the others, lived together in an apartment. It was in an okay part of town, better than their last place, and it was large enough to have get-togethers that didn't feel like trying to party in a broom cupboard. Grantaire had been there a few times (read: like, a hundred times) but he was mostly confused as to why Combeferre wasn't the one taking his best friend home, and instead pushing the task to the resident cynic and, most notably, Enjolras' least favorite.
"I have to stay and make sure they get home okay," Combeferre said, pointing out towards the dance floor when Grantaire asked his reasoning. Courfeyrac and Jehan were tangled together, Joly and Bossuet were on the floor as Joly inspected a scrape on Bossuet's leg, and Feuilly and Bahorel were thrashing to the music. The floor had filled up since they'd come in.
"He doesn't want to make everyone leave," Combeferre continued. "I'm the only one who isn't totally drunk. Besides you." Which was true. Everyone, thanks to the smaller bar against the far wall near the dance floor, was currently in various states of intoxication.
Grantaire opened his mouth to protest, but Combeferre reached out and pushed his chin up before he could speak. "Take the bus, get him home, and then you can come back here or go home or do whatever it is you'd like. Just get him home safe. Please."
After sighing, eyes shut, Grantaire nodded. This would be fine, he told himself. Just get Enjolras home, tuck him in bed, and leave. He had this.
Except, when Combeferre disappeared down with the rest of their friends and Grantaire was left to approach Enjolras, he found it much more difficult than normal. Mostly because Enjolras was still sitting with his shoulders hunched, curled in on himself, trying to make himself small and invisible.
Taking a deep breath, Grantaire stepped forward. “Enjolras?” he said hesitating as he approached the table.
Enjolras turned, sniffing. “Hi,” he said, his voice quiet, barely audible above the music coming from the dance floor.
“Combeferre wanted me to get you home,” Grantaire said, eyes taking in the barely visible quiver of Enjolras’ lips and the way his hands, clenched together on top of the table, were shaking. “He said—“
“Yeah, he told me,” Enjolras said, easing himself up and out of the booth. He coughed, wiping at his nose. Grantaire could tell that he was trying to be discrete, but. as much as he hated to admit it, Grantaire was someone who catalogued every single thing that Enjolras did. It wasn’t exactly a thing he did on purpose, just something that happened. Nothing was discrete.
“Well then come on, let’s go.” Grantaire began to reach out to offer his hand but then pulled back, an aborted movement that only went so far as his hands twitching at his sides, but Enjolras’ eyes locked on the movement. He nodded, shoving his hands in the pocket of his jeans as he made for the door, leaving Grantaire to follow behind him. He wasn’t sure if he was more confused, curious, or worried, based on the unassuming way that Enjolras was walking, like he didn’t want to be touched or seen or talked to.
Once the two reached the curb, Enjolras sank down on the bench only to jump up almost immediately after, a surprised noise slipping past his lips. He turned, looking back at the bench, which was covered in drops of water from the rain earlier.
“You alright?” Grantaire asked, a small smile on his face despite himself. It was a little funny, he had to admit, and all he could hope was that Enjolras would smile, laugh a little, and go back to being okay.
But one look at Enjolras’ face told him differently.
“I—“ Enjolras started, his whole lower jaw quaking. “No, I—the bench was wet, and now my pants are wet and I—“ His eyes clenched shut tight, and Grantaire could see tears beginning to leak out of the corners of Enjolras’ eyes.
“No, no, don’t do that—“ Grantaire said gently, reaching out this time to set his hand on Enjolras’ shoulder. He didn’t stop himself this time, and honestly he’d thought that reassurance was all that would come of it—a sympathetic hand on his friend’s (friend’s? Were they friends?) shoulder. He didn’t expect Enjolras to turn, step closer, and bury his face in the crook of Grantaire’s neck, his shoulders shaking.
This was new, uncharted territory for Grantaire. He was good at pushing Enjolras’ buttons, at making their fearless leader question every move he made, at being the drunk of the group… but not at comforting Enjolras. Others, sure. When Jehan had been dumped by Montparnasse, the asshole that he’d decided to start dating last year who had a fondness for knives and blood and with whom Jehan had been head over heels in love with, Grantaire had sat with him while he’d muffled his face in his pillow and screamed until his voice gave out. When Bahorel had gotten into a fight that left him hospitalized with a bruised collarbone and four broken ribs, Grantaire had held his hand while he’d cried from the pain.
But Enjolras crying was entirely different. Marble wasn’t supposed to cry, and Enjolras was chiseled out of the finest limestone there was.
“Hey, c’mon, what’s wrong?” Grantaire asked, his hand shifting to rub Enjolras’ back. “Let’s get you home, yeah?”
Enjolras pulled back, sniffing as he wiped at his face. His cheeks were already turning pink. “I’m sorry,” he said weakly, letting out a watery laugh. “How embarrassing, crying because I sat in a puddle…”
Grantaire knew there was something else wrong, something else that had started with whatever it was that Combeferre had showed Enjolras on his phone. He wasn’t going to push though, not now, when the two were standing awkwardly at the bus stop. He didn’t push on the bus either, not when Enjolras sat next to him with one leg bouncing up and down, nor did he push when they got off the bus a block away from Enjolras’ apartment building.
It was only once they got inside and Enjolras had shut the door behind him, that Grantaire took a deep breath and decided to suck it up and do what he needed to do. He took Enjolras by the shoulder, leading him to the sofa. Enjolras protested weakly, but his heart wasn’t in it, Grantaire could tell. He sank down onto the soft cushions of the sofa that probably cost more than everything in Grantaire’s entire living room, and looked at Enjolras expectantly.
Enjolras blinked, staring back with red rimmed eyes. “What?” he asked, challenging, but the word had no heat behind it.
“You’re upset,” Grantaire told him, “and you’re going to tell me what’s going on.”
“I—no, I’m fine,” Enjolras said, moving to get up. But Grantaire reached up and grabbed onto his arm, keeping him seated.
“No, you’re not going anywhere until you talk about it.” Grantaire was firm, gentle but firm. “I know that if I leave you here, you’re going to go in your room and you’ll be upset about it the entire night until Combeferre and Courfeyrac return, and god only knows when they’re going to get back. It’s not good to stew in your own emotions, trust me. Just… let it out, okay? I’m not going to say anything to anyone about it, I won’t judge you, I—“
“I know you won’t,” Enjolras said softly, looking down at his lap. “I just… feel really, really stupid doing this in front of you.”
Grantaire raised a brow, staring at Enjolras incredulously until he kept speaking.
“You know,” Enjolras said, waving a hand at his face. “Showing emotions, okay? I feel stupid showing emotions like this in front of you.” He got one look at Grantaire’s face, at the hurt that flashed across it for only a few seconds, and he squeezed his eyes shut, shaking his head.
“That came out wrong,” Enjolras clarified. “I meant, you just… you have this opinion of me, you think so highly of me. That I can do no wrong, that I’m made from stone, and I…”
“Where are you getting these ideas?” Grantaire asked, although he thought he already knew. Some sick part of him wanted to hear Enjolras confirm it, though.
“You say it to me all the time,” Enjolras mumbled. “You know, when you want to tell me how wrong I am.” He sighed shakily. “Why are you even here? You probably would rather be back at the club with Jehan or Joly or—“
“No, I’m fine right here,” Grantaire told him. A thought was forming in his brain, just a tiny little thought, but it was growing exponentially with every word that Enjolras said. “Just… just tell me what’s really going on.”
Enjolras seemed to deflate against the couch cushions, lifting his legs up to tuck his knees against his chest. “Professor Lamarque had a massive stroke,” he said, his voice a whisper in the silent room.
Grantaire’s heart sunk into his gut.
“He had a brain hemorrhage,” Enjolras continued, his eyes filling as he spoke. “His wife brought him to the hospital, they were going to operate, but it—he… he didn’t make it.” His voice broke. “Combeferre was working when Lamarque was admitted, that’s how I found out.”
There was no hesitation this time. Grantaire held his arms out, and Enjolras collapsed into them, sobbing openly. It broke Grantaire’s heart to see Enjolras like this. He knew how close that Enjolras and his professor were—Lamarque had been the first father-like presence in Enjolras’ life. The man had been Enjolras’ confidant, advisor, and friend from his first day at the school, when Enjolras had stood up in the middle of one of Lamarque’s lectures and contradicted him on a point that he’d made. They’d spent the rest of class debating it, lecture forgotten, and from then on Enjolras found himself with someone who he could go to whenever he needed anything.
And now, that person was gone, and Enjolras felt alone. He knew it was stupid to say that; he knew that he was surrounded by his friends, friends that loved him more than anything else in the world, but he’d lost someone that couldn’t be replaced. He would have no one to talk to about things that his friends didn’t care too much about, he’d have no one to go over his latest paper with, he’d have no one willing to debate about current events for hours at a time, and he felt lost.
It was only when Grantaire shushed him softly that Enjolras realized that he was saying this all aloud, in a voice altered by his tears and thick with emotion.
“You’re fine, it’s going to be fine,” Grantaire said quietly. “It’s going to be hard, I’m not going to lie to you. Losing someone close to you is horrible, it aches, it feels like your heart got ripped out of your chest—but you will heal, Enjolras. You will be okay, it will take a while but you will be okay.”
Enjolras pulled back, wiping at his cheeks with the palms of his hands. “This is embarrassing,” he mumbled. “I didn’t want to—I didn’t want to inconvenience anyone tonight.”
“What would make you think that this would inconvenience me?” Grantaire’s thought was growing again.
“I just…” Enjolras’ shoulders twitched. “I never… I didn’t think you liked me very much, is all.”
There it was. Grantaire’s idea, come true. He couldn’t believe it, couldn’t believe that Enjolras would think that Grantaire could hate him. And here he’d thought that he was making his “schoolgirl crush”, according to Jehan, blatantly obvious.
Enjolras blinked. “I… didn’t think you liked me?” he asked, more than said, again, quieter this time.
And Grantaire couldn’t help but laugh, hard enough that his own eyes were growing damp. He knew Enjolras was sitting and staring at him like he’d grown another arm, but he couldn’t help it.
“What?” Enjolras’s look had shifted. It was subtle, but Grantaire could no longer see the embarrassment. Instead, he saw curiosity behind Enjolras’ eyes.
“You must be blind, Enjolras,” Grantaire said with a shake of his head. “Why else would I stick around? I’m not an idiot, I wouldn’t come to every meeting if I didn’t like the person in charge.” And you haven’t seen me staring at you the entire time? Really, Enjolras, you must be daft. Grantaire couldn’t say that to Enjolras, he wouldn’t. But he thought it, looking at Enjolras as though Grantaire could transmit the thought into Enjolras’ skull.
“…oh.” Enjolras looked down. “I just… you always argue—”
“Because some of your points are downright stupid.” Grantaire rolled his eyes. “If I explain to you why, you’d start arguing with me. And while yes, that would take your mind off of the current predicament, I’m not too keen on it right now.”
Enjolras nodded, swallowing as he stared at his hands, clasped together tightly in his lap.
It concerned Grantaire how unlike himself Enjolras was acting. Death, he realized suddenly, must be the one thing that could knock Enjolras out of kilter. “Come on,” he said, “let’s get you in bed. It’s late, you should get some sleep.”
“It’s barely eleven,” Enjolras protested, although he had already begun standing up. “Besides, I can do it myself. You don’t need to stay and look after me. I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself.”
Grantaire raised an eyebrow. “Back to your old self, I see,” he commented, unable to help the feeling of rejection creeping up from deep in his chest.
“Unless you… um.” Enjolras frowned, and then tried again. “I just. It would be nice not to, uh… be alone, I guess. If you… um, if you want to stay, we could watch a movie?”
Grantaire’s second eyebrow joined his first, so high up that the tangled curls hanging over his forehead hid them both. Enjolras seemed to have suddenly lost his eloquence. “I… yeah, I guess I could stay a bit,” Grantaire said, unable to keep the smile out of his voice. “Which movie?”
“You pick,” Enjolras declared as he grabbed the thick blanket hanging over the back of the couch. He shook it out and wrapped it around himself, and then padded off towards his room.
Grantaire stared after him, looked at the television in the room right in front of him, and then sighed. Enjolras wasn’t going to make this easy for him, he already knew it. There was a massive rack of DVDs leaning precariously against the wall near the television, and so Grantaire rifled through them until he pulled out Inception. He’d seen it before, a thousand times, but he had always enjoyed it.
Enjolras, however, hadn’t seen it before. “What’s that?” he asked as Grantaire walked into his bedroom, holding up the DVD case to show Enjolras. “That’s one of Courfeyrac’s, I meant to pick from in here—” He extricated one of his hands from the blanket he’d buried himself in and pointed to a shelf close to his own television.
Grantaire skimmed the rack. “These are all documentaries, Enjolras,” he said. “And not interesting ones, either.”
Enjolras pouted. Pouted. “That one,” he said, gesturing to the case that Grantaire’s fingers were resting on, “is on political unrest in Eastern Europe. You can’t tell me that’s not interesting—”
“It’s not, Enjolras,” Grantaire interjected as he turned the television on and put the DVD in the player. “Documentaries on solitary confinement are interesting. Documentaries on mummies are interesting. Documentaries on pirates are interesting. Documentaries on politics are informative, yes, but not interesting.” He started the film and then turned, staring awkwardly.
Enjolras had wrapped himself up like a hot dog in the blanket, stretching out to take over almost the entire bed. It was a large bed, and Enjolras was skinny, but he was tall. It was either climb on to the bed and hope that Enjolras would shove over, or sit down on the floor in front of the bed and lean on it. Which is exactly what Grantaire did.
The moment his ass hit the floor, Grantaire heard Enjolras make a sound of discontentment. And then, a moment later: “Why are you down there?”
“You’re taking up the entirety of the bed, Enjolras,” Grantaire called out, eyes on the television. “If you want me to sit up there, you’ll have to move.”
“…oh.” There was a shifting sound from above him, and then Enjolras spoke again. “Uh… sit up here.”
Grantaire pushed off of the floor to stand, and he couldn’t help but chuckle. Enjolras had scooted to lay on the very edge of the bed, so that there would be more than enough room for Grantaire.
“I wasn’t sure how much room you wanted,” Enjolras explained, his cheeks going pink again as Grantaire clambered onto the bed, flopping down to lean on the headboard.
“It’s fine, Enjolras,” Grantaire said with a chuckle. And it was. It was… cute, this entire thing. Enjolras next to him, only his head visible as he watched the movie. Grantaire could see the interest in the film play across his features, and when Mal pushed herself off of the ledge Enjolras actually gasped. Besides that, however, the film went mostly without incident until the very end as the credits began to roll.
Grantaire was about to stand, when he felt pressure on his shoulder. He turned, eyes lighting on Enjolras, who had fallen asleep at some point. His temple was pressed to Grantaire’s shoulder, eyes shut as he snored softly. His hair tickled Grantaire’s neck, and he had to fight the urge to scratch it.
He was royally fucked. It wasn’t the fact that Enjolras was asleep on his shoulder, because he could handle that. It was because Grantaire was falling asleep himself, his eyelids growing heavy. He knew he could play it off that he’d innocently fallen asleep next to Enjolras, and that when they woke up it would just be another awkward moment to add to the list.
No, he couldn’t do that. He began slowly slipping towards the edge of the bed, just far enough so that Enjolras’ head was barely touching his shoulder. Another few inches and his head would fall from Grantaire’s shoulder to the soft and comfortable pillow beneath, just a few more seconds— And then Enjolras reached out his arm, wrapping it around Grantaire to tug him close. With an oomph, Grantaire fell back, eyes widening as Enjolras burrowed his face in the nape of Grantaire’s neck.
“Don’ leave,” Enjolras murmured, still mostly asleep and entirely not in control of his speech. “Stay.”
Grantaire stared up at the ceiling, taking a few moments just to breathe. In, out. In, out. And then, with a sigh, he shut his eyes.