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No matter how much sweat, effort, or errors went into his art, someone else's was always better. No matter how many tears of frustration, or hand cramps went into his paintings, abstract art always sold better. 

Grantaire wiped the back of his hand on his forehead, smearing sweat and paint onto his skin. He backed up to marvel in his good work. All sorts of angels, demons, gods and goddesses hung around the room. Every single painting had the finest detail engraved in the canvas. Everything put into the paintings had been a part of him; a piece of him he had yet to find. 

There were eight paintings he considered most dear to him. Aries*, Momus*, Asclepius*, Plutus*, Eros*, Hermes*, Athena*, and Apollo*. Aries was short and stout, muscles prominent and beautiful. Momus had flowers in his hair, pencil and paper in front of him as he lay in a field. Asclepius wore a pair of scrubs and carried hand sanitizer in his pockets. Plutus was shown gambling (and losing). Eros was placed next to Momus, admiring his beauty and showering him with compliments. Hermes had a pair of spectacles on, teaching a class full of lively students. Athena was portrayed as a man, guiding the rest of the Gods with him. They were all beautiful in their own special way. 

However, none of them came close to rivaling Apollo's beauty. 

Apollo was the best of his works. Sure, Momus was pretty and Aries had the demeanor of a badass, but Apollo was his treasure. His face was boyish, but you couldn't possibly be fooled. His eyes were fierce, the kind of fierce that would tear you apart. Freckles dotted his face. His skin was fair, eyes as blue as the sea and hair like honey. He was wrapped in a red toga, curls falling over one of his eyes. Upon his head lay a crown of golden leaves. He was a truly remarkable specimen. Grantaire had no idea how he had pulled such a beauty off. 

"Too bad they don't sell." Grantaire grunted as he checked his watch. His shift started at 4:15, and it was now 3:43. Cursing his hard work and lack of shits to give for his job, he quickly ran out of the spare painting room to his own to get dressed for work. 

Pfft. Work. 

To be honest, as long as he was near the alcohol all day, it was totally worth it. 

Grantaire didn't even bother washing his hands or face as he rushed out the door to hail a cab to the Musain, where he served as a bartender. Although he could usually walk, today was a cold and rainy day in Paris. Since Grantaire's immune system relied solely on alcohol and cheap pizza, he wasn't willing to risk getting sick. He'd miss work, which meant he wouldn't be able to pay the heat that was past due. It was the middle of winter. He couldn't afford to be sick.The city of love was a cold and miserable pit.

Pfft. Love. 

Grantaire rolled his eyes. "Fuck love." 

Chapter Text

While wiping down the counters, Grantaire looked up as a kid sat down in front of him. He was about sixteen and couldn't possibly be older than seventeen. He had a scowl on his face and money clutched tightly in his hands. 

Grantaire didn't want to say it, but he looked just like Apollo. 

He smirked lightly. "What can I do ya for, kid?" 

He scowled harder. "I'm not a kid. And I want a shot of the hardest stuff in the bar." 

Grantaire snorted. "Dude, how old are you? You look like you've never taken a sip of alcohol in your life. You need to go home or something."

"No! I -" he stopped, shutting his mouth quickly. "I can't go home." 

Grantaire stopped what he was doing to look the kid up and down. He had on a red blazer, tightly fitted to the white button down shirt he had on under. He couldn't see over the bar very well, but he couldn't miss the tan color that were khaki pants. His hair was trimmed and neatly taken care of. His fingernails were lightly groomed without flaws. This kid definitely came from somewhere where he didn't need to do a damn thing in his life. His face was scrunched up, worried like and terrible. 

He looked like a privileged train wreck. 

"Kid, I dunno if you know how lucky you are, but really, your mommy and daddy will be missing their darling boy by now. Go home." Grantaire said as he went back to grab the broom. 

"Excuse me, sir, but I am fully aware of the advantages I was born into. However, I didn't chose to be like this. I don't want to be like this! I didn't do a damn thing to earn it. I can name so many other people more worthy of my advantages than I, so if I could buy a drink with my money, that'd be great." 

Grantaire turned around, eyebrows raised. "Didn't think you'd fight for it that hard. Nice mini-soliloquy." He set the broom down, grabbing a chilled glass and a coke. "Since you're a newbie, this one's not gonna be so strong. I'm not about to clean up some drunk sixteen year old puke." 

"Whatever," the kid said, unamused. "How much do I owe you?" 

Grantaire considered for a moment. "You owe me your story." 

The kid blinked. 

He rolled his eyes. "I wanna know why you're here disappointing your parents. What the hell happened, kid? Daddy and mommy put you in the wrong boarding school or-" 

The kid deadpanned. "My life has always been pre-meditated for me. I'm tired of it. I want a drink." 

Grantaire shrugged his shoulders. "Good enough for me." He filled the glass 1/4 of the way full with vodka and the rest with ice and coke. "Enjoy." He muttered as he walked away to finish sweeping. 

"I'm not going back." He heard the kid say right before he let out a series of strained coughing. "What's in that?" 

"What do you mean you're not going back? Where are you going to go?" Grantaire swiveled around, a look of confusion plastered on his face. 

The kid shook his head. "I don't care where I go as long as I don't gotta be round them. I'm tired of living like this." He took a bigger drink, growing bolder. "I'm tired of everything being chosen for me. I'm tired of being a trophy son. I'm tired of being better than everyone else!" He shouted the last part, finishing the drink in one big gulp and angrily tossing the glass back. 

"Woah, kid! Goddammit, you gotta pay for that! My boss is gonna kill me!" Grantaire yelled frantically.

The kid's eyes widened. "I'm sorry. Please, let me help clean up-" he jumped over the counter, long legs getting him to the broom before Grantaire could get there. "Here, I'm sorry, I didn't mean for this to happen. I got carried away, I'm sorry-" 

Grantaire put his hands on the boy's shoulders. "It's fine, kid. I get it. I've walked your way before. No hard feelings, okay? The glass is on me." 

The boy sniffled, shaking his head in distraught. "I don't know where to go or what to do." Tears began forming in his brilliant blue eyes. 

"That's okay, maybe I can help. You got a name? Any family or friends?"

"I can't tell you my name. Trust me." The kid sniffled, rubbing his eyes. "You'll definitely return me once you know." 

Grantaire nodded his head. "Alright. Well, I gotta call you something… how about Apollo? Is that okay?" The kid shook his head. "Alright, Apollo. How old are you? Seventeen?" Apollo nodded again. "Okay. Look, I got a couch that's insanely comfortable and a killer spare pillow for the night. I know I don't know you too well, but I've been in your place before, and I sure could've used someone to help me. How about it, kid?"

Apollo shook his head. "Thank you, what do I call you?" 

A charming smile crossed his face. "Call me R."