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Trying to Leave the Ground

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It's funny, Grantaire thinks, what you can learn about a person through semi-regular sex.

Oh, sure, there's the obvious stuff: the way Enjolras looks with his mouth around Grantaire's dick, his cheeks hollowed and his hair a savage tangle from Grantaire's fingers digging into it. Or the way Enjolras looks at him when he's on his knees like that, his gaze so fierce that Grantaire might mistake it for anger were it not for the palm he presses against his own hardness, as if Grantaire's taste on his tongue were enough to set him off. His tone when he tells Grantaire what he wants, somehow imperious even when he's naked and panting, haughty and wanton at once. Or his eyes when he's really gone, when he can't tell Grantaire anything at all -- when it's Grantaire telling him what to do, taking control so that Enjolras can give it up, even for a moment. The shattered, rapturous noises he makes when Grantaire is finally inside him.

That's all well and good (better than good, Grantaire's mind supplies, it's fucking great), but there's more to it than that. You learn things about another person from sharing a bed with them -- even if it is only on a semi-regular, painfully casual basis. Grantaire knows their friends all worry how this will turn out, and it's true that his feelings for Enjolras are basically the only thing in his life that's not casual. But he doesn't mind it, really. He's honestly a little scared of what might happen if they ever tried something more than this; he's not sure he could withstand the tectonic force of Enjolras's constant attention. He'll take casual, for now.

Especially since even a casual residency in Enjolras's bed has revealed to Grantaire his favorite piece of Enjolras trivia: he hates getting out of bed in the mornings.

The first time they fucked in Enjolras's room, Grantaire had noticed the books and papers: covering the tops of both nightstands and the dresser, stacked in piles across the floor. It's a wonder he hadn't tripped over anything, but Enjolras had pushed him back, guiding with sure steps until the backs of his knees bumped against the bed -- and then kept pushing, toppling Grantaire backwards over the mattress and pushing him down with his body.

Grantaire didn't think about the papers again for the rest of the night.

It was only weeks later, the first time Grantaire spent the night (snow accumulating on the windowsill and the flat of Grantaire's tongue against the paper-thin skin between Enjolras's balls and his entrance and Enjolras pleading for it, telling him he'd do "fuck, anything, R, just -- please, I need, I need," and really, permission to spend the night was the least of the things he could have asked for and gotten, just then) that he saw Enjolras's system in action.

He woke up to an unfamiliar weight on his legs, and reached a hand down to touch it, thinking that it was Patria. (The fact that Enjolras would be unable to walk past a Humane Society Adoption Van without adopting a cat never surprised Grantaire -- nor, really, did his need to pick such a fucking pretentious name for her. The only part he hadn't expected was the degree to which Enjolras pampered the thing, with gourmet cat food, expensive litter and toys that were supposed to stimulate feline critical thinking, whatever the fuck that meant.) Instead of soft fur, however, his fingers closed around the corners of a book.

"Don't lose my place," Enjolras said.

Belatedly, Grantaire opened his eyes. Enjolras was sitting next to him, his shirt still unbuttoned to the waist from last night's activities, but now he wore a pair of black rectangular glasses that somehow made him look even more handsome than usual. He was reading a book, his laptop balanced on his knees.

Grantaire shifted, and Enjolras's hand brushed his hip. Grantaire smiled, but then he looked down and saw that papers were balanced down the length of his side. In fact, every available surface of the bed was covered -- Grantaire could see yellow highlighting marks along with Enjolras's small, precise script in the margins.

"Are you some kind of nineteenth-century invalid?" Grantaire asked.

Enjolras didn't look up from his book, but his cheeks pinkened. "It's cold," he said. "And I work just as well from anywhere."

Grantaire was well-versed in Enjolras's work habits, having spent several months manufacturing extra school assignments just to have a reason to sit perched on the edge of a coffee shop couch to "study" together. Usually, he was like a tightly wound spring when he worked, his posture stiff as a soldier's and his face pulled into a stoic grimace like before a battle. But ensconced in blankets, with no less than three pillows behind him, he looked different. Softer on the edges, maybe, even with the glasses perched on his nose and his fingers smudged with pencil graphite. He was even humming slightly as he highlighted a passage in the book, then tucked the highlighter behind his ear.

Grantaire watched him quietly until his body's protests grew too loud to ignore. With no small regret, he said, "Can I go to the bathroom, or will it ruin your system?"

Enjolras's gaze swept across his form. Grantaire's chest thumped in a decidedly un-casual way. "One second," he said, and set his book down to retrieve all the books and papers from Grantaire's body. Grantaire was almost certain that his touch was more tender than the action required, however much Enjolras respected the printed page. "Watch you don't knock anything over."

Grantaire untangled himself from the bed with a minimum of disturbances and thrust his hands in the air, like a gymnast after a triple-handstand-backflip-whatever from a balance beam.

Enjolras made a not entirely convincing sound of protest when Grantaire dipped his head to kiss the side of his mouth.

"You smell like coffee."

"There's some in the kitchen," Enjolras said, turning back to his book.

"I thought maybe you had a Mr. Coffee plugged in next to the alarm clock for easy access."

For a brief, glorious moment, Enjolras looked like he was really considering the idea. When he caught Grantaire trying to suppress laughter, he blushed and he turned back to his book. Grantaire reached over for Enjolras's mug to refill it, too.

The apartment was cold, but then Enjolras let him come back into bed when he was done. He lay there, his head against Enjolras's hip, Enjolras's fingers sifting through his hair every so often, for a while longer.

--

Ever since that morning, Grantaire has treasured the memory of Blanket Monster Enjolras. He never tells anyone about it -- talking to the others about what they do together feels presumptuous, even if they all definitely know. Beyond that, he suspects that maybe Enjolras wouldn't like people to know what he's like sometimes. Everyone jokes about Enjolras's superhuman work ethic, his passionate commitment to improving society. Hell, it's one of the reasons Grantaire finds him so mesmerizing.

But he's beginning to see how the assumption of perfection weighs on Enjolras, the pressure that comes from expecting so much of himself and allowing the others to in turn expect so much of him. Enjolras never allows himself to give up that burden for very long (although Grantaire works on stripping him of it whenever he can, along with his clothes and his ability to form full sentences), but it seems as though being in bed allows Enjolras to deflect it, somewhat, for a time. It's a little thing, then, to give Enjolras his quiet mornings, even if Grantaire thinks the others would find endearing.

Besides, it's something he knows about Enjolras that no one else does, something sweet and human, and Grantaire is selfish enough to want to keep it for himself.

--

Sweet and human, if sometimes distracting.

Grantaire hears the bathroom door open from inside the shower. He and Enjolras might be casual, but Grantaire is in a serious, committed relationship with Enjolras's shower. A double shower head with three settings of varying water pressure, a dial that adjusts the temperature perfectly with the slightest touch, a dozen different kinds of shampoos and conditioners and body cleansers that make Grantaire's entire body feel fresh and smell, hauntingly, like Enjolras for the rest of the day…. More than once, he's thought about trying to establish squatter's rights in here.

He woke up fifteen minutes ago to the tinny cheerfulness of morning radio -- followed by a loud thump as Enjolras slammed the snooze button. Grantaire's still not sure how Enjolras managed to get a hand free, since during the night he'd gathered all the blankets around himself, wrapped up tight like a handsome boy burrito. By the time the alarm went off, all that was visible of him was a shock of blond hair spilling out across his pillow. Grantaire had given a corner of the blanket a half-hearted tug, but when it didn't budge, he just planted a kiss where he thought Enjolras's shoulder might be and swung his legs over the side of the bed.

"Flush, and I'll bite your dick off!" he calls out.

He goes back to selecting haircare products. What, exactly, is the difference between a conditioner and a conditioning rinse? Grantaire is thumbing open the cap of one of them to smell it when the glass door pulls back and Enjolras huddles in behind him.

"I'm late for a thing with Combeferre," he says, as if to preempt a smart-ass comment from Grantaire. (To be fair, he'd thought of several, but they all flew out the window when Enjolras gripped his fingers into Grantaire's side to steady himself.) His voice sounds thick with sleep, resentful at having to be awake.

Enjolras reaches out, plucks a bottle from the shower caddy -- smoothing shampoo with argan oil, whatever that is. His dick slides against Grantaire's hip, and even though he's not hard it still sends a shock through Grantaire.

Grantaire turns around, his back to the spray. Enjolras is fighting a battle on two fronts: against his mutinous eyelids that keep threatening to droop shut, and the shampoo bottle that refuses to open. He hasn't gotten his hair fully wet yet, only the ends where the water splashes up from hitting his shoulders, but the steam has coaxed up curly golden flyways at the crown of his head like a halo on a painting of a medieval saint.

"Let me," Grantaire says, taking the bottle from him.

"No funny business," Enjolras warns, "I told you, I'm late." He doesn't move to take it back, though, and when Grantaire guides him directly under the water's stream he ducks his head obediently.

Grantaire pops the shampoo cap, squeezes about a quarter's worth into his cupped palm. He remembers watching Enjolras do the same motion last night with lube, coating his own fingers before reaching back and opening himself up for Grantaire.

He combs his fingers through Enjolras's hair, distributing the product evenly through his roots and down into the curls. The scent is a strange combination of fruity and earthy -- it fills up the shower along with the steam. He uses the pads of his fingers to massage Enjolras's scalp, drawing tiny circles with a hint of pressure. When he drags his nails in the same random patterns, Enjolras actually shivers. Grantaire can feel his dick stirring against his thigh.

They don't really do this, during the daytime. It's just not how they work. After a night out with their friends and a shared cab, or a text message promising takeout and The Colbert Report, there's space for them to tangle together and for all sorts of things to happen. For Grantaire to take everything he wants, and for Enjolras to give it to him.

Maybe it's the same now, Grantaire thinks. Maybe Enjolras's morning weridness has carved out this moment for them, as if held over from last night or borrowed from tomorrow.

"Tilt back," Grantaire says, and Enjolras does as he's told, letting Grantaire rinse out the rich lather until the water runs clear through his locks.

"Which conditioner do you use?" Grantaire asks.

"You pick." Enjolras's voice has gone small, and he sounds like he does in bed, sometimes. His voice still a bit dopey from sleep, strangely docile. The water droplets that slide down his profile to pool in the hollow of his clavicle draw Grantaire's gaze down over his defined torso, his straining dick, the shapely musculature of his hips and thighs.

"When you say late," Grantaire says, "do you mean, real-late, or Enjolras-late?" He tugs on the curls at the nape of Enjolras's neck, just to see what will happen.

Another shiver, this time with a little laugh behind it. "We're meeting in forty-five minutes."

"I knew it." Grantaire grabs a bottle at random -- conditioning rinse, all-organic. Coconut scented. He manhandles Enjolras to stand in front of him, and he has to swallow when Enjolras doesn't resist for a moment.

When Grantaire puts his hands back into his hair, Enjolras sighs. Grantaire works methodically, keeping his touches professional and maintaining the space between their bodies. Each time he pulls his hands away, Enjolras sways, a little, as if trying to follow him, to keep the contact.

"I think they've got you all wrong," Grantaire murmurs, smoothing his hands through Enjolras's hair to help rinse out the lather. "You're not Apollo; you're Samson. I should cut your hair off in your sleep, take your powers."

"You wouldn't dare," Enjolras says. It's more than a little breathy, though, since Grantaire has moved his hand to encircle his erection. His fingers are slick with water and the leftover traces of conditioner, but with his front flush to Enjolras's back, Grantaire can work his dick the way he would his own, with the same pressure and speed that he's used alone in the shower countless times, thinking of Enjolras

"I wouldn't," Grantaire agrees. He presses his face against Enjolras's shoulder. His dick brushes the crease of Enjolras's ass, and he bites down on the strong muscle that flows up into the base of his neck. The faintest taste of coconuts.

"Oh, fuck." Enjolras slaps a hand to the tile wall, steadying himself. "R -- we can't, we don't have --"

Enjolras losing his words hits Grantaire's pleasure centers like some drug that's so new it doesn't even have a name. He rocks up on the balls of his feet, bare cock rubbing up and down against the tender skin between Enjolras's cheeks, but he wouldn't dare push inside without a condom. Not if Enjolras didn't want that.

"I know," he murmurs. "It's okay, I won't. Just." He takes his hands off Enjolras and Enjolras makes a sound of displeasure, but then Grantaire is maneuvering him again, pushing his legs until Enjolras gets the idea and stands with his feet together.

"Lean forwards a little," he says, and Enjolras rests his other hand against the wall.

Grantaire pulls away again to grab the conditioner. At the snick of the cap opening, Enjolras peeks over his shoulder.

"Really?" he says, and apparently he's not too far gone to give one of his patented disapproving looks. Grantaire will have to work on that.

"One hundred percent organic," Grantaire says, and slicks up his dick.

At the first press of Grantaire's erection between his thighs, Enjolras clenches so hard it's almost painful. He eases up a little when Grantaire gets his fingers back around his dick, makes a soft sound and presses his face against his arm. Grantaire tries to create some kind of rhythm between his hand and his thrusts, but Enjolras's muscles are just tight enough and everything is so hot -- the water pounding on Grantaire's back, Enjolras's velvet hardness in his palm, the cradle of his thighs that just envelops him and doesn't let go.

"Don't stop," Enjolras manages; his voice slurs the words together.

"Wasn't planning on it," Grantaire grits out, and snaps his hips up harder, fucking into that heat. The head of his dick rolls against Enjolras's balls and Enjolras's whole body jolts like a live wire. Grantaire anchors his other hand around Enjolras's chest to stop them from toppling over and then does it again, thumbing the slit of Enjolras's dick. His teeth snap against Enjolras's earlobe and some of Enjolras's hair gets in his mouth but he doesn't even care, just works his tongue to spit it out and bites down harder, tugs on that soft bell-shaped bit of flesh, his nose against Enjolras's temple where he can feel his pulse.

The conditioner washes down the drain, and pretty soon it's nothing but water and friction between them. If they were fucking for real, if Grantaire was inside of him -- he can't even imagine what that would be like, to feel the most intimate contours of Enjolras without anything between them. He'd lose his mind; he wouldn't be able to stop himself from taking Enjolras apart, from fucking him so hard and so deep that Enjolras would feel him for days.

It's only when Enjolras turns his head and bites off a moan against his own bicep that Grantaire realizes he's been saying all of that aloud, a filthy stream of conscious narration directly into Enjolras's ear. "You feel so fucking good when I'm inside you," and it's like the back of Grantaire's brain has hijacked his mouth, "smooth and tight and, god, I think about fucking you just -- all the time, I'd never stop if you let me, and you just, you just take it, don't you, I can't even, fuck -- " and Enjolras spills over his fist, sobbing. His whole body tenses up as orgasm rips through him and that's it -- Grantaire is coming, too, his hand scoring long marks across Enjolras's chest.

Grantaire's legs feel like they're made of jelly. He eases them both to their knees. Enjolras turns around in his arms and they're kissing, water pooling in their mouths and washing away the mess they've made.

Grantaire could stay like this all day, and that's why he pulls back first. "Gonna be late for real if we don't get out of here," he says.

Enjolras blinks slowly. He watches Grantaire's lips. Sometimes he gets like quiet like this, after they fuck. Grantaire always thought it just meant he was tired, that same morning softness, but now he wonders if there's there's more to it. It's as though Enjolras gets stuck in that open, vulnerable place Grantaire sees him go during sex. He nods belatedly, but doesn't say anything else.

Grantaire reaches up to shut off the water. "Here," he says, and guides Enjolras to stand.

It's not the easiest thing in the world, to reach over and grab two fluffy towels from the rack above the toilet with one hand, but Enjolras doesn't seem to want to stop holding the other one, and Grantaire doesn't make him. He slings one towel around his waist and uses the other to dry Enjolras off. Enjolras's hand fits around the knot of Grantaire's towel, just resting there. His eyes are dark and serious as he watches Grantaire work.

Grantaire wraps him up in the towel when he's done, and smiles at the image -- another handsome boy burrito. On a whim, he leans forward and kisses Enjolras's forehead.

When he pulls back, he sees that Enjolras's eyes have fallen shut. Grantaire takes his hand again, and squeezes.

They walk back into the bedroom together, Enjolras tucked against his side. Grantaire steps on a cat toy, and Enjolras laughs at the squeak. He sees that Enjolras has already laid his outfit out for himself. He wonders if he should offer to help, if this fragile stillness extends that far. He tries not to feel disappointed when Enjolras goes to dress himself.

His own clothes lie in a trail from the door to the bed. He retraces their steps from last night, winding around the stacks of books, like a forensic investigator at the scene of the crime. The only thing he can't find is his socks, but he knows where Enjolras keeps his own.

"Okay?" he says, going for the top drawer of Enjolras's dresser.

Enjolras smiles at him, and nods.

By the time they're both dressed, Enjolras is looking more like himself. Grantaire watches him cross the room, picking up his messenger bag and putting three books inside. With the addition of every item that Grantaire associates with Enjolras's life, the moments in the shower and after seem to retreat further into the past and their normal, casual life reassembles itself. Enjolras's iPhone chimes a new message alert -- he grabs it off the nightstand, frowns at the screen, then tucks it into his back pocket. Grantaire feels a flash of irritation at Combeferre, at the whole universe outside, really, but he swallows it back. It doesn't matter.

"All set?" he asks.

Enjolras startles, as though he's already forgotten Grantaire was here. He looks at Grantaire strangely. "Almost," he says.

"I've got shit to do today, so." Grantaire sucks on the inside of his cheek. He doesn't remember biting it, before, but it's raw, so he must have.

"Okay." Enjolras is still staring at him, and Grantaire feels needles under his skin. He makes for the door.

But then he's being pressed against the doorframe. Enjolras's hands cradle his face as he kisses him. He smells so strongly of coconuts that it makes Grantaire gasp against his mouth.

Enjolras pulls back. His thumb sweeps over Grantaire's bottom lip.

"Come back tonight?" he says, and there's something of before in his tone, in the way it takes him a second to meet Grantaire's eyes.

Grantaire kisses the pad of his thumb, and nods.