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Grantaire’s leaning into Éponine, who's supporting him. They’re walking away from campus, and even though Éponine has a class right now, she’s taking him home.

Grantaire’s busy hiding his face in her shoulder; he can feel the warm wetness of tears on his cheeks and her jacket, and he can’t shove down the dull throbbing of his heart.

He’s just rejected Enjolras. He can’t quite believe it.

All of a sudden he can’t walk, either, can’t move. Feeling his resistance, Éponine stops too. They stay there on the street, Grantaire hiding his face in her warmth, Éponine holding him, rubbing circles on his back.

They’re both silent, and Grantaire is thankful for that.

After a while he shifts, feeling like he’s overstayed his welcome in Éponine’s shoulder, lifting his face.

“Ready?” she asks, surprisingly gently for Éponine. He shrugs, and she shifts so she’s supporting his weight as they walk, pushing him where she wants to go. Grantaire is speechless and so, so grateful that Éponine is leading. Because while he could pull himself up and walk somewhere, that somewhere would more likely than not be the bar at the Musain. That isn’t altogether unwelcome, but it’s probably not what he needs right now. Leave it to Éponine to know this about him.

Instead of taking him to the bar, they’re inevitably going to their shared apartment. Their apartment is, admittedly, shitty, but it’s also more of a home than either of them have ever had before. Inside, Grantaire’s art supplies have been spread literally everywhere; the electricity always seems to be out, and there’s a huge floral carpet covering the floor. It fills up most of the floor space; Jehan noticed how cold their floor was and felt the need to give it to them, and Grantaire was somehow unable to say no to the impossibly hopeful look in Jehan’s eyes. So now they have the warmth it brings, a certain atmosphere in the tiny place that neither Grantaire nor Éponine can place exactly, but neither of them want gone.

Grantaire curls up on the couch. His whole body feels vaguely numb, and while he’s not sure he can handle not doing anything, there’s also not anything he wants to do besides lay here and stare absently at the wall.

Before he can call the wall thoroughly stared at, however, he finds that a fiercely glowering Éponine has entered his line of vision.

“Ép, move it, I was busy.”

She sighs at him, pointedly, like most things she does. “I’m sure whatever you were doing was very entertaining, but I’m forcing you to get up now.”

Grantaire doesn’t protest, just allows himself to be dragged off the couch.

“Ok good, now you have three options,” says Éponine.

“I’m all ears.”

“What the fuck kind of expression is that. You must be really heartbroken, sheesh.”

“Me? Heartbroken? That’s not a thing. Pining, sure. Always pining, sure. Really fucking pining, sure. Not heartbroken. Never heartbroken.” He smirks. “Could I have a drink? Or something. I kind of need one.” Because apparently Éponine has become his caretaker.

She ignores him. “Like pining doesn’t break your heart just as much as actual heartbreak.”

Grantaire ignores her in return. “You were giving me options? I’m waiting.”

“Right. You can make us food because I’m starving. You can go paint something. Or you can watch “Top Gear” with me and wallow in your own misery, completely alcohol-free and also drug-free.”

“What the hell, Ép.”

She shoots him a glare. “No bad decisions.”

“Hypocrite.” He returns her glare unused.

“We’re not talking about my life choices here. We’re talking about abstinence from Enjolras, and everything else toxic.”

“Like “Top Gear” isn’t toxic.”

“It’s literally some old dudes driving painfully expensive cars way too fast. Basically as harmless as me skipping class for you,” she reminds him. Grantaire’s throat clenches, and he relents. “I hate you.”

She smiles then, loose and quick. “Love you too. Hand me my laptop.”

They’re watching “Top Gear” on Éponine’s laptop and she’s grinning stupidly while Grantaire’s groaning when there’s a knock on the door. He looks pointedly at her, and she knows his I-Really-Don’t-Want-To-Talk-To-Anyone-Right-Now look well enough to know that she shouldn’t fuck with it.

“Jesus fuck,” says Éponine, after she’s opened the door and closed it again. Grantaire looks up. She’s taking a deep breath against the closed door, whispering at Grantaire, “Enjolras,” before she’s stepping out into the hallway and closing the door behind her. Grantaire hears raised voices, and he’s busy debating ditching University, moving abroad and becoming a pawnbroker so he never has to face Enjolras again, when Éponine lets herself back into the apartment. She doesn’t look significantly shaken, but that’s still no judge of what actually happened.

Grantaire raises an eyebrow at her.

“Shut up,” Éponine snaps.

“I didn’t say anything,” Grantaire reminds her. She looks about ready to break something, so he goes to make her some ramen. “So,” he says, testing.

“So, yourself.”

Alright, so Enjolras had made her angry. Not surprising.

“What a dick,” Grantaire says, as vehemently as he can muster. There’s not much else he can say without actually knowing what had happened, which he obviously isn’t going to learn anytime soon. Éponine growls vaguely in response.

Grantaire shoves ramen at her. “Eat.”

“Why are you fucking taking care of me, Mr. Heartbreak. Take care of yourself for once.” She shoves the ramen back at him, and goes to make some for herself.

***

Éponine has another class that day which she doesn’t ditch, while Grantaire keeps his mind off of Enjolras through a distinct alternative to getting mindlessly wasted. This turns out to be showing up without any warning whatsoever at Jehan’s apartment. This is something that Grantaire does a bit too often to be entirely welcome, but Jehan doesn’t seem to mind too much, so it keeps happening.

Jehan’s playing the flute when Grantaire lets himself in, and they barely look up for a bright “Oh hey!!” before going back to the sheet music they’re poring over. Their apartment is a colorful mess, and it feels warm—something Grantaire loves about the place, something Grantaire loves about Jehan in general. The carpet is huge and floral, like Grantaire’s, and there are lavender curtains on the windows. The walls are bright orange, there’s a ridiculously soft black couch along with a neon pink bean bag chair, and mardi gras beads are hanging from all of the lamps, sparkling in the light.

Everything in the apartment seems to be distinctly out of place, but also perfect exactly where it is. It makes Grantaire feel slightly overwhelmed and strangely comforted; he told Jehan this the first time he saw their apartment, and they had laughed and tossed Grantaire a strand of mardi gras beads, told him he could fit right in with the lamps if he wanted to. 

Grantaire pulls out his computer and tries to Be Productive while Jehan keeps playing bits of music over and over on the flute. It’s beautiful, too—Jehan’s quite good at it—and it makes Grantaire feel less like getting high off his ass, which is probably a good thing.

***

Grantaire and Éponine are both back at their shitty apartment that evening when she shoots an idea at him. Éponine is painting her nails a deep crimson color while Grantaire is experimenting with oil pastels, and there are candles covering pretty much every available surface, because the electricity is out again.

“You should do a detox,” Éponine says, looking entirely serious.

There’s a bottle of cheap red wine between them that they’re sharing, and she takes a swig. Not only does her idea not make any sense, but it’s completely hypocritical.

Grantaire looks up from his work, narrowing his eyes, and says as much. “What the hell, Ép? I can take care of myself.”

Éponine’s shaking her head, a little listlessly. “No. That was bad wording. I mean, from Enjolras.”

This makes a lot more sense, and to celebrate that, Grantaire takes some wine.

“How am I supposed to do that.”

It isn’t a question so much as it’s a complaint; if there’s some petulance in his tone, well, so be it. His head feels leaden and full from all of the Enjolras that’s been jumped on him today.  

Picking up a shiny gold oil pastel, he streaks a glow through the dark clouds he’s drawing. He’s trying to fabricate the image of someone against a night landscape; so far, the empty silhouette has stars in their hair and there’s a faint violet tinge to the sky.

When he looks up, Éponine is preoccupied, tracing a circle on the table with a finger. At his glance though, she sighs and speaks. “He wanted to know if you were okay. I told him you’ve never been better, and he needs to fuck off. I seriously can’t believe his nerve,” she adds with venom. Her eyes are hard things, sharp in her face.

Grantaire scoffs a little bit. “He always has a lot of nerve. Like, maybe too much nerve.” He angrily uses a pale blue oil pastel to color two stars like eyes on the person in his drawing. “I fucking hate it.” He knows he doesn’t, though, so he absently picks up a crimson oil pastel, starts to swirl color into the person’s midriff.

Éponine takes another long drink of wine, goes back to painting her nails. “Wish he’d leave you alone.” Her voice is quiet, gentle, sad. This gentle side of Éponine is one she doesn’t show a lot; Grantaire reaches around the wine to hug her, before picking up a soft yellow pastel to shade some hair onto person in his drawing.

A half hour later and Éponine’s left to take a shower. Grantaire’s still sitting there finishing his drawing, smudging color around crisp, even lines. He’s shading the grey blurs in the sky, filling in the clouds of earth rising up, accentuating the stark way the person shines like silk.

It’s only then, when he’s adding the last glint to the stars and a pale, pale moon, that he realizes it.

He’s drawn Enjolras.

***

He doesn’t burn the drawing, even though a part of him wants to.

His desk has three drawers. He puts it in the bottom one.

This is the drawer where he keeps all of the things that he can’t seem to get rid of, but doesn’t use or need on a day-to-day basis—birthday cards from friends, grocery store receipts, little sketches. The occasional broken pen he considered a faithful friend. Old calendars. Magazine clippings.

Now, there’s a picture of Enjolras that he’s accidentally drawn, one that he can’t stop thinking about. And he hates himself for it.

***

It’s a week until he interacts with Enjolras again. He’s skipped the class they have together (“Political Movements of the 18th Century”) twice; the first time the professor had been out sick, so he decided going wasn’t worth it anyway, and the second time he’d gotten the notes from the amazing, thoughtful Joly. But the midterm’s coming up soonish, and while he doesn’t entirely question his ability to do well on the test without actually going to class, he can’t ask Joly for notes for the rest of the semester (poor Joly, honestly). He’s going to have to go back some time, it might as well be now.

He doesn’t curse himself for taking the class, he really doesn’t. It’s kind of refreshing, and he gets to talk about his ideas on the state of the world in relation to the politics of the 18th century; and not only does he love looking at the way things have changed since then, but he loves thinking about the individuals who cared so much that they were willing to lay their lives down for the sake of progress. For what exactly these individuals cared for, he can’t figure out—the world? Humanity? Their friends? Grantaire has no idea, but the fact that they believed in something that much inspires a kind of reverence in him.

It’s the same sort of reverence that draws him toward Enjolras. Because Enjolras, he’s like the sun—it’s really the only way to put it. He’s magnetic, awe-inspiring, makes Grantaire believe in his belief. He’s self-assured and all-consuming, and he’s necessary.

Grantaire really doesn’t curse himself for taking this class, or being half in love with beautiful things at large. But he does curse himself for loving Enjolras. Because being in love with Enjolras is, well, like being in love with the sun. He’s burning, and unattainable, and ridiculously painful, and all Grantaire can do is orbit.

He’s had enough, and he’s marginally proud of that realization.

Grantaire’s in class at his usual seat on the other side of Joly, far enough away from Enjolras to ignore him. His presence still burns in Grantaire’s peripheral vision, but that’s to be expected. Amazingly, he doesn’t make any attempt to talk to Grantaire, either. When class is over, Grantaire bolts, and both Enjolras and Joly let him.

It gives him a bit of hope that Enjolras is just going to let him do this the easier way. As it turns out, he’s wrong.

***

It’s been a month of his Avoiding Enjolras kick; Courfeyrac’s throwing a Courfeyrac Party ™, and as fun as playing drunk charades sounds, Grantaire resolutely doesn’t go—though Enjolras is admittedly not big on parties, he’s likely to be there. Éponine does go, though, at Grantaire’s bidding for her to have fun, and so Grantaire’s left alone. And even though the whole point of this is to avoid Enjolras, to forget Enjolras and move on with his life, images of him keep flooding Grantaire’s vision, and he can’t do anything but think about him, can’t do anything but miss his sharp words just as much as his soft ones.

Right now, as most of the time, Grantaire’s fingers are itching to paint something. And it’s unavoidable, really, that when he indulges that particular urge, his traitorous fingers swirl together oranges and reds and golds and end up creating a constellation that looks alarmingly like Enjolras. As he washes the fiery paint off his brushes, he accidentally starts crying, and then he can’t stop, can’t stop until his eyes are blurry and he’s stumbling over to where the wine is kept. He’s looking for something stronger, sharper; anything to numb this, to numb him and put a different kind of fire in his chest, replacing the absent Enjolras with the burn of alcohol.

He doesn’t know how much he has to drink, either; he just knows that he manages to pass out and when he wakes up, he’s lying next to the couch, face smushed into the flowery carpet. His blurry eyes find, with some difficulty, the clock on the windowsill, and it tells him that yes, it’s the middle of the night, and no, the party isn’t over yet.

He doesn’t go, of course, but he does stand up, telling himself that this is getting ridiculous. He needs to paint something that isn’t fire or Enjolras; actually, even fire would be good at this point. Fuck, he needs to stop thinking about him, maybe he should write something—

And then a knock on the door completely derails Grantaire’s train of thought, because who the fuck would be knocking at this time of night, who would even be coming here besides Éponine?

Grantaire washes his face and goes to chug some water, because the world is still a little blurry and distant; and when he answers the door, he wishes he hadn’t.

It’s Enjolras, of all people.

Grantaire almost slams the door in his angelic face. But he doesn’t, because Enjolras starts talking before Grantaire can do anything. He’s talking quickly, earnestly, like a lot depends on the words he says. Which, Grantaire supposes is true.

“Look, I’m sorry I’ve been an asshole to you, and you don’t have to forgive me, but please just tell me what I can do to fix this. Please, I can’t…I’ve been thinking, I get this more. Like, I get myself more, and I know that sounds stupid or whatever, especially because I know I’ve treated you really badly in the past…but like. I just. Can we at least be friends again?” And Enjolras is so hopeful, and there’s that light in his eyes, and Grantaire is blindly angry at the world, angry for how gorgeous Enjolras is and how he can’t resist it, but isn’t worth it anyway.

“No, we can’t,” Grantaire says in response, and the gruff distance is clear and sharp in his voice, just how he wants it to be.

But Enjolras isn’t done. “Why, Grantaire? This is stupid. And painful. And yes, I haven’t been the nicest to you, but I already said I’m willing to change that.” He’s begging, and Grantaire’s fuming.

“Because you love me, and we can never work,” he snarls. “I’ve been trying to forget you, and in the long run that’s better for both of us. You can leave now.”

“Is it something I did?” Enjolras is obviously grasping at anything he can find, and he’s vulnerable, and earnest, and far too alluring. Grantaire scoffs at him, and then finds he can’t take it anymore.

So he surges up and kisses Enjolras, and he puts all his anger, all his hopelessness and fire into the kiss. Grantaire presses Enjolras back against the wall, pinning him there, making sure he can’t move, making sure that he feels all of Grantaire’s frustration. He draws it out as long as he can, pouring every ounce of his being into the kiss, because he wants Enjolras to reel from it, wants Enjolras to understand all the things he can’t quite say—the self-hatred, the fear, how easy it is to be in love with Enjolras, and exactly how terrifying that is.

When he finally, finally pulls back, Enjolras just stays there, breathing heavily, leaning against the wall. He looks like someone’s just slapped him in the face, and he keeps touching his mouth like he can’t really understand what just happened.

Grantaire doesn’t wait for him to catch his breath. “It isn’t anything you did, darling, it’s you,” he snarls, and then he can’t stop, so he keeps going. “You’re gorgeous, and you’re basically the sun, and I’m going to burn myself permanently if I get any closer to you than I already was. Leave, before I call the police.”

Still looking entirely lost for words, Enjolras leaves.

***

Grantaire doesn’t think he can ever go back to his class, after that. He’s decided he can’t ever see Enjolras again, actually. He skips class two more times, apologizing copiously to Joly, who just looks kind of secondhand sad as he hands over the notes. Grantaire can’t ever stop thinking about Enjolras, either, and really, it’s getting almost worse than it was before all this started—before Enjolras felt the need to go and confess his love, before Grantaire actually told him he loved him back—and Grantaire feels like a huge lovesick idiot. He’s always halfway between drawing and drinking, and the things he’s drawn in the past week—Enjolras and rose petals, empty glasses that are mirrors and Enjolras, fire and sun-baked concrete and broken bottles bleeding dark wine and Enjolras—have been too heavy, too blurry.

But no matter how much he pines, the bottom line is that Enjolras had confessed his love, and that—that’s not the kind of thing that happens in real life. Enjolras doesn’t just confess his love to Grantaire, of all people. Grantaire, the constantly angry, constantly tired, constantly thoughtless. Grantaire, who’s always either drinking or craving one. Grantaire, selfish, pessimistic, cynical—not that he thinks these aren’t redeeming qualities—but they’re not what Enjolras needs in his life. He can’t be what Enjolras needs, and he knows it.

***

Grantaire’s in a huge, open field, and it’s completely dark all around him. He can barely see anything, and he looks frantically for his hands, which he knows he’s waving in front of his face. It makes him feel like he doesn’t exist.

Then the world around him changes to match that feeling; the field is gone and he’s falling. Well, theoretically, that is; it’s still dark, but he can see that there isn’t a ground beneath him, he’s floating through nothingness, and his descent is slow. Little orbs of fire—stars, presumably—brush past him, and they burn near his ears, near his toes, near his fingers which he can finally see.

And then the wind gets loud in his ears and he starts to fall faster, toward what he doesn’t know. All he knows is that he’s going toward his doom, and it’s terrifying, and his stomach is lurching. He feels his heart drop out of him. A ground suddenly materializes, and it’s rushing toward him, and he closes his eyes, waiting for the impact—

Nothing.

He opens his eyes and he’s face to face with one of the stars he was brushing past, an orb of light—wait—

That’s Enjolras. He’s face to face with Enjolras, who’s telling him, “Grantaire, you’re safe, don’t worry,” and then he’s enveloped by a warmth that feels like chocolate bars and Jehan’s apartment and he knows Enjolras is hugging him because there’s fire enveloping him and he can’t help but hug back. And instead of burning him to a crisp, it just feels like he’s coming home, and that’s the weirdest part.

But then his stomach drops out from under him again because Enjolras has let go and he’s falling, falling, falling, and if he just curves up his arms maybe he can fly, but it isn’t working, and then—

He’s cold, and his bed is around him. He takes a moment to blink tentatively, to breathe a bit. There’s light through the window, but as his clock informs him, it’s way too early for him to be up.

He sits up anyway, blinking through the cold air. The sense of loss is kind of overwhelming, and it takes him a few breaths to realize what exactly he’s missing. When it registers, he wants to go right back to bed—Enjolras, he’d hugged him in that dream; he’d saved him, and hugged him, and it had felt nice.

It feels like a piece of Grantaire’s heart has been chipped off.

Slowly crawling out of bed seems like the logical next thing Grantaire should do, after waking up and reminiscing about his dream. So he does that, then goes to raid the fridge in his apartment’s kitchenette. There are three things in there: alcohol, milk, and an avocado. He pulls out the milk and goes to find some cereal, make some coffee.

While he’s doing that, Éponine shows up yawning, asking, “Yo, ‘Taire, any food I can eat?”

He shoves the cereal box and the milk carton at her. “Why the fuck is there an avocado in the fridge?”

“It’s healthy,” she says. She’s still yawning, so Grantaire doesn’t push it, even though Éponine has, in the past, specifically avoided food she deemed healthy in order to make a point to someone, possibly Joly, about how it’s possible to be unhealthy and happy. Grantaire doesn’t think she’s the epitome of happy either, but during the whole avoidance-of-healthy-foods kick she didn’t roll over and die, so. Point proven, maybe.

Grantaire feels like there’s either a gaping hole or a cinderblock sitting in his chest, and he’s kind of annoyed that the feeling hasn’t gone away yet. It makes him feel lost, disoriented, and really all he wants to do is hear Enjolras’ voice saying, “I’m in love with you,” over and over again, and see Enjolras and—and that urge, it’s dangerous, and more problematic than it’s worth—

He must have inadvertently sighed, or something, because a very tired Éponine is looking at him over her cereal and coffee and asking, “You okay?”

Before he can catch the words, they’re tumbling out of his mouth, and he’s telling Éponine everything. More than she wanted to know, probably.

He’s saying, “yeah I’m fine, I just, in my dream Enjolras hugged me, and it was… Ép it was so nice, like, it was almost as though I needed to be right there hugging him, it was…It was awful. And I miss him so much, and I can’t stop thinking about him and I hate this, I hate it, I hate him. I keep drawing and painting him, Éponine, not even on purpose, my fingers just do it. It’s absolutely ridiculous how fucking stuck I am. I need to get over him, this is worthless, and it just isn’t working, and I hate knowing that he loves me and I just…It’s too early for this.”

He puts his head in his hands, stares at his coffee for a bit. It seems like the natural thing to do, after ranting about being lovesick. 

After a while, he looks at Éponine, because while he doesn’t expect her to be fully awake yet, it’s surprising that she hasn’t responded by now. She’s absently stirring her cereal around in the bowl, thinking.

“Grantaire, he told you he loved you? That’s what he told you that day?”

The question takes him by surprise. She’s right, though—Grantaire had just sort of overlooked telling her this—and he hadn’t realized it. He nods miserably at her in response.

She breathes in through her teeth. “What the fuck? What’d you say back?”

“I told him I loved him back.”

“Then why the fuck aren’t you two together?” She’s practically fuming; a half-awake Éponine truly is one of the angriest kind of Éponines.

“Ép…” His head just kind of melts in his hands; he can’t face all the reasons he’s not with Enjolras, and he can’t face not being with Enjolras.

But Éponine is amazing, and understands Grantaire on a level that gets to be kind of borderline creepy sometimes, and she just knows why. “Do you seriously think you’re not good enough for that asshole?”

There’s a silence. Grantaire avoids this by digging his head deeper into his hands, like maybe if his face isn’t visible, it’ll disappear.

Éponine doesn’t say anything else, but when he looks up at her, she’s chugging her coffee, and there’s a steely glint in her eye. She’s very obviously entered Bitter, Angry and Determined Éponine Mode™, and a feeling of distinct foreboding settles somewhere around Grantaire’s shoulders.

***

Éponine’s been gone nearly an hour before she calls him. He doesn’t pick up, partially because he’s not feeling the whole talking thing, partially because he knows it’ll make her mad. She texts him right after, though, which he does look at.

Éponine (8:48 am): Come to the Musain right now or i will personally hunt you down and shank you. Not that you’d be hard to find

Éponine (8:48 am): “Éponine, she knows her way around,” and all that

Éponine (8:49 am): Love you

Me (8:49 am): Oh my god. I am not meeting you and Enjolras at the fucking Musain for a long deep heart-to-heart about my personal shortcomings and how I could move past them in order to be his boyfriend.

Me (8:49 am): Seriously Ép

The fact that she doesn’t respond seems alarming.

***

As predicted, he’s correct in being alarmed.

Due to this feeling of alarm, Grantaire has dressed as well as engaged in personal hygiene, but all of these significant achievements still don’t entirely prepare him for the shock of Éponine’s arrival.

Because—and it really shouldn’t be a surprise by now—trailing in after her is an exhausted-looking Enjolras. And—this shouldn’t be that surprising either—he’s being pushed into the apartment by Courfeyrac.

Enjolras hovers awkwardly (yet beautifully?) by the door with Éponine, while Courfeyrac joins Grantaire on the couch.

“So, my dude,” he says, looking positively delighted. Grantaire swallows.

“What we have here is a classic case of you denying yourself what you really want,” Courfeyrac continues, settling himself further into the couch. “And this would be just peachy keen, except the thing you want, wants you back. Furthermore, you’ve given yourself a very low rating. Unfortunately for you, my dude, you don’t get to rate yourself, that’s just ridiculous. So, we’ve brought someone to do it for you.”

“Also, this someone is on your level in the Amazing department, but also on your level in the Stupid department,” Éponine interjects helpfully. Courfeyrac smirks. “Right then, amigos, we’ll leave you to it,” he says, and he’s standing up brightly. “You don’t have to sort your shit out, but at least have a conversation so both of you can stop moping.”

Before Grantaire can grab his arm and chain him to the couch, Courfeyrac is leaving the apartment with Éponine, closing the door soundly behind them.

Grantaire looks at Enjolras, who’s flushing, and considers his options.

He could leave the apartment and run for his life from Courfeyrac and Éponine, who are most likely in the hallway guarding the door. He could jump through the window. Or he could sit through this conversation with Enjolras, who looks about as terrified as Grantaire feels.

Grantaire realizes suddenly that he’s in the same room as Enjolras for the first time in too long.

It feels like the air is burning around him. The distance between them is vast. And finally Enjolras is looking at him, blue eyes filling the space, holding Grantaire in limbo between fear and wonder.

“We don’t have to do this,” says Enjolras, very softly. “You already rejected me.”

Grantaire can’t say anything, so he doesn’t; he just watches Enjolras, taking in the dark circles under his eyes, how flushed he is, how his hands keep running through his already mussed curly hair.

“Courfeyrac’s just trying to make everything work, but I understand if it doesn’t,” Enjolras continues. He’s not looking at Grantaire anymore; instead, he’s looking steadfastly at the floor, and he doesn’t seem to know what to do besides talk. “I mean. I know I’m being stupid, it’s obvious you don’t want to be with me. I’m sorry for all this. And sorry I told you, too. That was a mistake, I never meant to make you uncomfortable. Especially since you obviously don’t want to be with me. And if it’s true, that you don’t think you’re good enough for me… that’s just so, so wrong. You. You’re absolutely amazing—multi-dimensional. I dunno. But who am I to convince you of that. I’ll just. I’ll go now. Sorry.” He laughs a little bit, a puff of air in his cheeks, the ghost of a smile. He’s turning toward the door, and before he knows what he’s doing Grantaire is standing up, striding over to him, grabbing his arm.

“Wait.” It’s the first thing he’s said to during this whole interaction, and he surprises himself with how gruff his voice is. Enjolras is surprised too, evidently, because he stops looking at the floor and his eyes lock onto Grantaire’s, startled, blue, beautiful.

Grantaire takes a deep breath, lets go of Enjolras’ arm. “I’ll be right back. Wait here.”

He doesn't know what inspires him to do this, or if it’s a good idea at all, or even if Enjolras will still be there when he comes back. But he finds his desk, pulls out the bottom drawer, finds the oil pastel drawing he stuffed in there weeks ago, picks it up carefully.

When he comes back, Enjolras is sitting on the couch, propping up his head with a hand. Hoping against hope that this is an okay thing to do, Grantaire shoves the drawing at him.

“I drew this by accident, the day you told me,” he says. “I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you.”

Enjolras looks startled, and for a second Grantaire is scared that this was a mistake. But then Enjolras is breathing, “Grantaire, really?” and looking at him like he’s the best thing that’s ever happened. And Enjolras is gingerly setting aside the drawing, pulling Grantaire down onto the couch and hugging him, and this is okay, this is more than okay, his heart has suddenly stopped aching—

“Was that okay? I—sorry...” Enjolras looks incredibly embarrassed, and Grantaire is reminded rather obscenely of when he’d aggressively kissed him, not asking if it was okay. He laughs a little bit. “Yeah, Enjolras, it’s okay. And it is your turn to give me aggressive affection.”

“You’re talking about when you kissed me that night?”

Grantaire just laughs at him in response.

“That didn’t feel like affection, that just felt angry.” But Enjolras is smiling.

“I could do it again? More affectionately this time.” Grantaire’s heart is pounding in his ears; he doesn’t know what he just said.

But Enjolras is flushing, and of course he’s nodding. Grantaire moves toward him, head ducking in to find his lips, hand moving onto his jaw. The kiss turns into something soft and quiet, something sweet and easy and it feels like breathing. Enjolras’ hands are on his shoulders, and the pressure is grounding.

When Grantaire pulls away to breathe in actual air, he leans their foreheads together. The air between them is warm and comfortable, and it feels like the world has ended and then started again.

After a while of just sitting there holding each other and breathing the same air, Grantaire says quietly, “Enjolras, this is going to be hard.” Because it’s true, and it’s something that Grantaire needs him to know—that Grantaire is going to mess up, that Grantaire is so scared of losing Enjolras that he was willing to cut off their relationship before it even began.

“If it wasn’t going to be hard, I probably wouldn’t be doing this,” Enjolras laughs a little. “I’m kind of ridiculous that way. I like hard things. I like you.”

A little shiver goes up Grantaire’s spine at his words, and he can’t help but smile. He sighs into Enjolras, head going into the crook of his neck, and he feels Enjolras’ arms wind themselves around Grantaire.

It feels like Grantaire is exactly where he needs to be; it’s a new feeling.

“Sorry I like, avoided you. And tried to save you from me. And stuff.” He says sheepishly.

“You’re so eloquent.”

“Hypocrite.”

***

What’s probably a few minutes pass until the door opens and Courfeyrac and Éponine let themselves curiously back into the apartment.

“Good,” breathes Éponine. “We were wondering if you two had killed each other yet. Glad to see you haven’t.”

Enjolras is laughing at her, arms still around Grantaire.

Courfeyrac is beaming at them so hard he looks like he might explode, or start jumping up and down and clapping. “Fantastic,” he says, whipping out his phone. It’s likely that everyone who knows either Enjolras or Grantaire even a little bit is being made aware that they’ve finally got their shit together; this hypothesis is backed by evidence once Enjolras’ phone starts buzzing incessantly in his pocket, and he’s forced to untangle one of his arms from Grantaire in order to check it. Grantaire’s phone is far away in his room, but he doesn’t want to move.

He’s not sure he’s ever felt more complete than he does right now.