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To Brighten Up Even Your Darkest Night

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“Can we keep him?”

Musichetta sighs at them. “He's not a stray cat. And tell me you don't want to keep him because of the pun.”

“We don't want to keep him because of the pun,” says Joly, and frowns at their bed, where their new friend is passed out on his stomach, curled up protectively around Bossuet's stuffed elephant. “I don't know. I like him. I know everyone else has their reservations, but he's ...”

All three of them look at him. He's beat up and scruffy and argumentative and smells like a distillery and he's incredibly, unexpectedly, sweet. He paid Feuilly's bill and pretended he didn't, offended Enjolras in under three sentences, and drew a beautiful picture of Musichetta on a bar napkin that she sort of wants to frame.

“He's our kind of person,” says Bossuet. “And he's already in our bed, so clearly this not-argument is moot.”

Musichetta sighs again and turns around to start finding something to sleep in. She's not used to having bed company besides her boyfriends. Grantaire probably doesn't want to spend a night being spooned by a strange naked woman. “We'll take him out for pancakes in the morning and ask him to be our best friend then,” she proposes, and finds them both beaming like excited kids when she turns around with a t-shirt and a pair of Bossuet's old boxers.

*

“C'mere, tell Auntie Musichetta what's the matter with you.”

Grantaire flops into bed next to her, body fitting easily against hers, and Musichetta manages to summon enough energy to play with his hair, because R melts every time anyone does and it's easier to get him to talk when he's off guard. “I'm going to die as a starving artist alone in my garret, which sounds really awesome for nineteenth-century novels but seems like it would kind of suck in real life.”

“Oh, shut up.” She shoves his shoulder until he looks at her. “If you can't make a living off art, so what? Plenty of people don't and enjoy making art anyway. And you're a carpenter and a certified martial arts instructor and I'm pretty sure you could get your hairdresser certification too, you could live a very interesting life if you wanted to.”

“You're supposed to coo and sympathize and tell me I'm going to be a great artist.”

“You would have waited for the boys if you wanted cooing and sympathy.” She keeps petting his hair. “Tell me what Le Gros said this time.”

By the time Joly and Bossuet have come back from class, Grantaire is a little more cheerful, talking about helping Irma with her gallery showing and telling her art department stories, which are the weirdest and best stories (which is saying something considering she lives with a doctor and a lawyer in training).

“Oh, cool, are we cuddling?” says Joly, which is one of the many reasons she loves him. He knows when not to press, when to strip off his jeans because jeans are horrible for cuddling in and spoon up on Grantaire's other side, Bossuet following to get on Musichetta's other side, all of them suddenly becoming a tangle of limbs.

“You were telling me about Irma and the dick who can't light her pieces right,” Musichetta prompts, and all of them settle in for what promises to be one of Grantaire's more entertaining rambles.

*

This is the best blanket fort Musichetta has ever been in.

“This is the best blanket fort I have ever been in,” says Joly, staring up at the star sheet Grantaire placed over their heads as the final touch. It glows in the dark. “Grantaire, you can move in and sleep in the bed, I am going to live in this blanket fort.”

Grantaire, sprawled on his own sleeping bag at the edge of the fort, laughs. “You think maybe your girlfriend and boyfriend would object to our switching places?”

“No, we'll all stay out here,” says Bossuet. Musichetta can't really object. It's a soft, warm room full of the people she loves best in the world.

“Nice. I get the huge comfy bed?”

Musichetta stretches her arm over Joly to put her hand on Grantaire's chest. “Maybe you can stay here with us. We're all built in here, you know? We can just stay.”

“Forever, if necessary,” says Bossuet.

Joly hums quietly and looks around the fort, empty of everything but them. “Eventually someone's going to have to leave for snacks.”

*

“Oh, fuck, you really weren't kidding about being amazing at this.”

Musichetta is happy in bed. She never has sex without laughing, anymore, without two people who care about her and want her to get whatever she needs out of the sex, whether it's an orgasm or three orgasms or just a hello at the end of a long day.

Or tonight, three people who care about her, and each other, and as it turns out, Grantaire fucks like it's an art form, like it's his cartoons or his paintings.

And he's laughing too, and that makes it better, as he lifts his head out from between her legs and presses his face into her hip. “Stop saying nice things about me, I'll get all smug and won't feel the need to work for your orgasm.”

“Second orgasm. He's hogging them,” says Bossuet reproachfully.

“I could hog yours too,” Grantaire offers.

“Did you know,” says Joly dreamily, in a post-orgasmic fog, “that a hog's orgasm lasts thirty minutes? That sounds both exhausting and awesome.”

“Oh God, just come up here before this becomes science facts instead of sex,” says Musichetta, pulling on Grantaire's hair until he obliges.

Grantaire grins and then kisses her on the forehead. Which is a little weird given where his lips just were, but she's willing to forgive it. “We could do sex and science facts, if you want.”

Within an hour, Musichetta knows way more about the science of sex than she ever thought possible, everyone's had more than enough, and they're all lumped together in a comfortable heap.

Musichetta pats Grantaire on the chest. “For the record, as far as I'm concerned, you're welcome back any time you like.”

“I mean, next time Joly may tell us about the sex lives of elephants, I couldn't miss that.”

“Many elephants are socially homosexual,” Joly says sleepily. “Or just homosexual in general. I don't like applying human sexualities to animals.”

There's nothing better than a bed full of her favorite people in the world, Musichetta decides.

*

“So, how was it?”

Grantaire looks suspiciously around at all three of them, but it's too late, he should have realized sooner that being in the middle means he can't escape. Musichetta and the boys planned this very well. “Is this an ambush?”

“It's not much of an ambush,” says Bossuet. “You had to know we would be curious.”

“It was ...” Grantaire frowns, thinking, and props his chin on Joly's head. “It was good. We didn't fight. That's a start, right?”

“I'm pretty sure the start was when you two started texting nonstop,” says Musichetta. “He likes you, R. You can trust that.”

“I know he does.” And she could hug him for that, for how easy it is for him to say it when he wouldn't have even begun to think it a year ago. “Maybe I'm just not quite ready to leave this bed quite yet, you know?”

Joly is the one to kiss him, which is quite right. Joly was the one who found him in the first place, after all. “You're always welcome here, you know that. To just sleep, to have sex, whatever. You're our friend. Our very best sex friend. Enjolras gets that.”

Enjolras actually had a hilariously Medieval conversation with them asking if he was invading a closed polyamorous relationship asking Grantaire out, but Musichetta doesn't think it's quite time to bring that up yet. “For tonight,” she says instead, “nothing at all has to change. You can stay here and we'll have a slumber party and maybe we'll find an ice cream flavor that will make you talk about the date.”

“It wasn't a date,” Grantaire insists, but he settles a little easier in their arms and he smiles.

“We'll take you out for pancakes in the morning,” Musichetta decides, “and we'll figure it all out.”

Grantaire grins at her like maybe he knows that's what she said that first night, when he was still a charming stranger from a bar and not one of the people all of them love best. “Sounds like a plan to me.”