There’s an incoming Skype call, and Grantaire really wants to kill his boyfriend for it. But he clicks the accept button, closing out of the fancy video editing program he’s stolen from Feuilly.
“I may be awful at math, but I’m pretty sure it’s three in the morning there, E,” Grantaire says, the cheeky grin on his face feeling tight. It falls away completely when he sees the dark circles partially hidden under those wonderfully hipster glasses Enjolras loves.
“Shit. Time differences,” Enjolras mumbles, and Grantaire can see the gears turning in the idiot’s head.
“There, E. It’s like 9 am here.” There’s definitely something wrong if the math teacher’s brain is short-circuiting about addition. “What’s up?”
“I couldn’t sleep. And I miss you.” As he says the words, Enjolras buries his face into his (their) bed, embarrassed.
“You’re a dork.” The words are said fondly, but Grantaire feels the familiar ache that’s been there the entire ten months he’s been gone reappear with twice the force. He loves touring and playing concerts and the people but he hates the fact that he’s so far away from the nerd on the other end of the Skype call.
“You’re in Berlin today, right?” Enjolras still hasn’t picked his head up, so Grantaire just sighs and tries not to think about how much he wants to run his hands through the wild, dirty-blond curls.
“Yes. And then Rome, Paris, London, and Chicago.” Enjolras picks his head up just long enough to smile widely at Grantaire. “How were parent-teacher conferences?”
“I hate so many parents. All of the kids are amazing—“
“Except for Colton,” Grantaire cuts in, knowing how much shit that teenager gives Enjolras. Despite the fact that Enjolras is one presentation of one paper (that’s 352 pages of nothing Grantaire understands) away from a doctorate in math, he makes it a point to teach all levels of math, from AP Calculus BC to Algebra I. Of course, Colton falls in the latter class.
“Even Colton, though he is a little shit. Their parents are so frustrating and don’t understand that even if their kid isn’t the best at math, there are some things they’re amazing at. I just… I just…” Enjolras throws his face back into the pillow, his scream muffled.
“Easy there, E,” Grantaire says, and knows he’s going to have to text Courfeyrac and Combeferre again. They text a lot anyway, because Grantaire is in love with their best friend, but this is different. Because Grantaire isn’t there, they have to be (fuck Grantaire hates admitting that).
“Even Pippa’s parents. I told you about Pippa, right?” Enjolras is sitting up now, and he shifts the camera. Their bedroom is a mess; papers are everywhere and the number of mugs and empty energy drink cans is at least in the teens. Quickly, Enjolras diverts the camera away from the mess, glancing at his boyfriend guiltily.
“I fucking saw that and you know it. If it weren’t three a.m. I’d call C-squared right now… but yeah. She’s the one who’s really smart, yeah? In your AB Calc as a sophomore?” Grantaire gives Enjolras his best stern look, and watches Enjolras look down at his hands.
“Her parents are harsh. She has the most intuitive understanding of math, and yet they’re convinced it’s not good enough. She’s gotten B’s on a few quizzes, yeah, but that’s because of small mistakes. They don’t get it and it’s so frustrating.” Enjolras runs a hand through his hair, and Grantaire can’t help but smile a little at the small tattoo on the inside of his forearm. All it says is “Geronimo”, but it’s in Grantaire’s messy handwriting and it’s the first thing he ever said to Enjolras (long story).
“When is your review meeting for your thesis?” Grantaire asks, as Enjolras pushes his glasses up his nose a bit.
“It’s on Thursday, R,” Enjolras says, looking down. That’s the day before Grantaire gets back.
“I’m not going to be there. Shit, Enj—“
“It’s not your fault. I tried to get them to move it back, but they didn’t want to wait. I don’t know if that’s good or bad,” Enjolras explains, looking down and twiddling his thumbs a little.
“I should be there.” Grantaire’s voice breaks. “Please look at me, E.” Immediately, Enjolras’s head snaps up, and once he sees the hurt in R’s face
“No. It was just poor timing; it’s not that big of a deal anyways. It’s just a meeting and—“
“It’s a damn important meeting. You’ve worked on this dissertation for years--“
“You’ve wanted to tour again for a long time, too, and you’ve worked so hard for this, R. I was going to tell you after you got home, because I don’t want you to get upset about this.” Enjolras doesn’t raise his voice, but his grey eyes pierce Grantaire and he can see the truth in Enjolras’s words.
“You’ve worked so hard, too. But you need to sleep.” That’s it. Grantaire’s putting his foot down. It’s almost four a.m. where his stupid boyfriend is and that’s already way too late, considering he has to teach the next day.
“Stay on with me? I don’t like sleeping alone.” Enjolras really tries not to sound needy, but he could kick himself for asking that of his boyfriend.
“Of course. Sleep well, and I love you.”
“I love you, too.” Grantaire doesn’t hang up until Joly says they have to go to the venue. Oh, he can’t wait for Enjolras to see what he’s been working on.
“I swear to God your self-preservation skills will never mature past that of a toddler’s,” Courfeyrac says, as Enjolras slowly turns away from the makeshift desk in the bedroom (he’s actually just sitting on the floor with a shitton of tests around him). “Grantaire had said he was worried, but this… you’ve outdone yourself, Enjolras.”
“It’s not that bad. I slept on Monday night,” Enjolras defends himself, even as his two best friends haul him to his feet. When stars blink in front of his eyes, he doesn’t fight them gently pushing him onto the bed.
“That was two hours, you idiot,” Combeferre mutters, as both he and Courfeyrac work to clean up some of the mess.
“He called you?” Enjolras asks, his voice small. He hasn’t called Grantaire since that Skype, because there’s been too much going on with the impeding fear of the future.
“Of course he did. You’re not nearly as covert as you think you are.” Combeferre’s voice is a strange kind of fond, but also tense with worry. “But that doesn’t matter. You’re going to sleep because you look like hell and then you’re going to wake up and crush that doctorate interview and then R will be home. It’ll all be better after you sleep.”
“I can’t. I still have tests to grade and notes to review and—“
“You miss your boyfriend.” It’s not what Enjolras was going to say, but somehow Courfeyrac still speaks the truth.
“Luckily, you’re going to have a little help from the melatonin pill you should’ve taken days ago.” Combeferre sounds cheery, and Enjolras reluctantly accepts the pill and water held out to him.
He’s out within minutes, and that’s when Courfeyrac breaks out the camera again. There’s just one bit of footage he needs to send R for his little project. And it’s definitely not Enjolras curled up in a ball with one of the shaming signs he sees all the time on Buzzfeed about dogs.
(I don’t sleep unless R is home.)
“Actually, it’s Dr. Enjolras.” Enjolras remembers the hell of the board meeting, and walking out, smiling wider than he has since R left, straight into Courfeyrac’s camera. Then there had been a lot of hugging and congratulations and Enjolras’s hands wouldn’t stop shaking.
There’s a collective cheer from this class, which happens to be one of his two geometry sections.
“Because you had to do all that stuff, does it mean you didn’t grade the tests?” a student asks hopefully, but Enjolras just chuckles.
“As it so happens, I have them right here. We’re going to go over any questions in class today.” Enjolras manages to stay focused until the last fifteen minutes of class; they’d done very well on the test, so he decides to let the conversation stray.
“Oh my gosh I’m so excited for tomorrow,” a girl gushes, and Enjolras rolls his eyes. He knows what’s coming. “I’m going to the Grantaire concert.” Really, Enjolras should know that’s when the conversation would turn back to him. Generally, people are really quite good about letting Enjolras live his life in relative peace, but as always, students get curious about personal matters. Even more so when those personal matters happen to be famous.
“I’m excited, too,” he says genuinely, and there’s a little bit of “aw”ing from some freshman girls.
“Did you see what he posted on twitter a few days ago?” someone adds, already pulling up the app.
“You guys know I don’t do social media.” Enjolras’s voice is calm, but it’s true. His Facebook is literally just Courfeyrac tagging him in things (and it’s on the highest security settings) and the character limit on twitter deterred him before he could even start.
“But it’s so cute.” In a matter of seconds, the phone is shoved under Enjolras’s nose.
@peRpetuallydRunk twenty-four hours. twelve songs. six flights of stairs. three projects. one person.
It doesn’t make any sense to Enjolras, but he knows it’s going to.
“Shit, I’m running late and I’m so sorry. I got pulled into this goddamn meeting and the next train’s not for half an hour and it’ll take even longer in this traffic for a cab. I’ll get there, I promise, but I just… fuck. I fucked this up.” The panic takes Grantaire by surprise.
“Hey, it’s okay, E.” It really is. They haven’t spoken for a few days, apart from the five minute phone call after Enjolras’s dissertation is approved. Grantaire remembers the choked tears of happiness, of freedom from a four-year project.
“No it’s not. I wanted to see you before because I fucking miss you but I can’t. I won’t even make it for most of your concert.” Enjolras’s voice cracks and wavers like crazy, and Grantaire can just imagine him sitting on the bench, still in his stupid nerdy suspenders and tie and collared shirt and looking perfectly nerdy.
“I fucking miss you like crazy, too.” Now Grantaire’s crying too, because it’s been too fucking long and all he wants is Enjolras. Fuck the last concert, fuck everything.
“I’m sorry.” Enjolras’s breath hitches and then there’s static and muffled swearing. “I dropped my phone.” Enjolras manages a laugh. “People are looking at me like I’m crazy.”
“That’s because you are.” Now Grantaire chuckles, a watery thing that has Feuilly looking up nervously. “It’s only another hour or two. What’s an hour or two more compared to a year?”
“All infinities are equal. That Fault in Our Stars line is bullshit.”
“You’re such a nerd.”
“But I’m your nerd.” That’s all it takes. It’s unspoken, but they know they’ll be okay.
“I love you.” Enjolras sniffs a little, and Grantaire knows he’s wiping his eyes, and definitely smudging his glasses.
“I’ll see you soon.”
“Hey, guys, we’re going to take a little break, alright?” Grantaire asks, grinning as he hands off his electric guitar for an acoustic, and grabs a stool and a mike stand. The side screens and huge ass one behind him go largely black, and he waits for the cheers to die down before he continues.
“Now, I’m sure you guys know that this is my last tour performance. And while I am so grateful for the amazing opportunities and experiences, I’ve missed home. I’m not that great at words, but I have been told I’m a decent singer, so I’m just going to shut up and sing. Because you’re my home.” The roar has peaked, but Grantaire just nods to Feuilly, who starts the video. And Grantaire tunes his guitar as it starts.
There’s a rough voice floating over the sound system, one that’s not harsh but gentle, simple chords accompanying the voice that Grantaire so desperately needs to hear in person. Enjolras isn’t great at guitar, but he does it for moments like that.
“Caterpillar, in the tree, don’t you wonder who you’ll be…” Enjolras is singing with his niece, but then his voice drops to almost whispering the words and the angelic, innocent voice of Cosette’s daughter floats in. The crowd awes in unison at the cuteness, even as it fades out.
“I hope you guys like Taylor Swift, because I know he does. This one’s for you, E.” That’s all Grantaire says into the microphone before he starts playing the song that he knows will result in a barrage of texts from the original writer. Even though he doesn’t look back, he knows all of the pictures and videos as they time with his voice.
Elevator buttons and morning air… Enjolras gives Grantaire a peck on the cheek and a smile as he gets home from a gig and Enjolras leaves to go to school.
Strangers' silence makes me wanna take the stairs… If you were here we'd laugh about their vacant stares… But right now my time is theirs. Grantaire is using footage from tour—signings, press stuff—while he’s using Enjolras footage from that one time Courfeyrac filmed one of Enjolras’s classes for a bit on the news. Near the front, he hears two girls figuring out that it’s the back of their heads in that video, and he gives them a smile. His eyes stray to Combeferre and Courfeyrac, who are holding each other and grinning… Courfeyrac looks like he’s going to start crying any second.
Seems like there's always someone who disapproves. They’ll judge it like they know about me and you. They’re in the park with their friends, and Grantaire is attacking Enjolras with water balloons, before he’s there and his arms are around Enjolras’s waist and they’re both laughing.
And the verdict comes from those with nothing else to do. The jury's out, but my choice is you. They’re skyping on Enjolras’s birthday, and then they both open up their gifts on their anniversary (Enjolras got Grantaire his favorite type of Ghirardelli chocolate and his favorite red wine, and Grantaire had sent Enjolras good Hungarian paprika and a keychain from everywhere he’d been thus far.)
So don’t you worry your pretty little mind; people throw rocks at things that shine. Enjolras and Grantaire are imitating statues in the National Art Gallery.
Life makes love look hard. Grantaire’s leaving at the airport. After Enjolras finally pries himself out of Grantaire’s crushing hug, he just watches his boyfriend’s retreating figure.
The stakes are high. The last minute addition of Enjolras passed out with the shaming sign is right next to the one Feuilly had done after an awful run of straight shows for Grantaire.
The water’s rough, but this love is ours. They’re kissing on New Year’s, right after Grantaire had played a duet with Taylor Swift herself.
There’s another verse and chorus, where more pictures of their separate lives, and little clips of their video chats or Courfeyrac’s wonderful camerawork appear. Grantaire’s voice quavers a bit, but the crowd is apparently loving it. Grantaire just wants to see Enjolras. But now it’s his favorite part, the lyrics that he changed.
'Cause I love that chip on your front teeth. And I love the math that you teach . And any snide remarks from our friends about those Skype calls will be ignored... 'Cause my heart is yours
The song finishes out with a few more clips (Enjolras after getting his doctorate, Grantaire on tour) and Grantaire grins his way through it.
Enjolras is going to kill him for this, in the best way possible.
Enjolras has no fucking clue why Eponine is forcing him up into the catwalk, but he’s too strung out to fight. Out there, singing to a sold-out stadium, is Grantaire. In the flesh. Even being this close makes his heart flutter.
When the video starts and he’s singing with Victoire and then Grantaire’s singing (to him, Grantaire is singing just for him and it’s one of his favorite songs), the tears start falling uncontrollably as he laughs along with the embarrassing video collection.
He’s missed this asshole, and even though the tears don’t stop Enjolras can finally breathe.
“Dude, Eponine has the video of Enjolras during that song. It’s so fucking cute—“ before Grantaire had pushed past. And then Enjolras said “hey”.
“You’re such a dork.” The gap between him and the blond-haired mess in front of him is gone in seconds. Then his arms are around Enjolras for the first time in a year, and he just buries his face in Enjolras’s shoulder, breathing in the smell of Enjolras’s citrus shampoo and his aftershave and, faintly, expresso, and just remembering how it feels when their bodies melt together like two halves of one being. Grantaire knows he’s shaking, and he knows that his boyfriend is too, but they just stay that way for a while.
That’s when he cards his fingers through Enjolras’s hair, who just looks up at him with tear-filled eyes before he kisses him. Enjolras’s glasses are knocked into an awkward angle in seconds, but they don’t care. The kiss is hot and frantic and so perfect because even though Grantaire smells like stale sweat it’s Grantaire and that’s all Enjolras needs.
“Enjolras…” Grantaire breathes, because he needs to focus even though all he wants to do is hold Enjolras right now. He moves his hands from around his boyfriend to on his shoulders, before he remembers what’s in his pocket. His hand immediately digs around, and Enjolras face is going rapidly pale as he tries to put together what’s going on. Finally, Grantaire feels the little box. There, in front of all of their friends in the concrete hallway below Solider Field, Grantaire drops to one knee and opens the box he bought.
It’s a simple, silver band, but the outside is stamped with the latitude and longitude marks of this exact location.
Right then and there, Enjolras’s hands go to his face and he starts crying. Flat out, unabashed crying, and Grantaire just waits a second before grabbing the closer hand, and a second more for Enjolras to look at him again. Dammit, now Grantaire wants to start crying, but he just smiles at Enjolras who is smiling back and he knows Courfeyrac is filming this so better get the question out before he starts crying, too.
“I fell in love with you the first time I saw you.” Grantaire takes a shaky breath when Enjolras lets out a watery chuckle; Grantaire had dropped all of his rejection letters out of his apartment window, yelling ‘geronimo’, and he hadn’t realized Enjolras had been walking beneath them. “I didn’t think I stood a chance, but then you asked me out. I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you that night on Navy Pier, but it wasn’t until I was away that I knew I couldn’t… I couldn’t face the possibility of not being with you. You inspire me everyday, and I didn’t know how beautiful math was or how important teaching was until you. I love you, E, more than anything.” Enjolras is nodding and crying and Grantaire has so much more he needs to say but he can’t. His voice is shaking but he’s going to do it.
“Charles Peter Enjolras, will you marry me?” There isn’t even a split second before Enjolras is nodding.
“Yes,” he gets out, and then Grantaire is slipping the ring on Enjolras’s finger (thank you, Courfeyrac, for taking the measurements while Enjolras was sleeping) and then he’s on his feet and Enjolras is hugging him and their lips are meeting and they’re both crying but he can’t ever remember feeling this happy because he is going to marry Enjolras.
When they finally break apart, they realize that all of their friends are there.
Their kiss is soft, and it’s complicated by the fact Enjolras is grinning—his glasses are knocked askew despite their best efforts (they even practiced this). It’s not as big of a group as people expect of Grantaire, but his close friends in the industry are there… including Taylor Swift.
“Let me fix that for you, husband,” Grantaire cheekily says as they start to make their way down the aisle.
“Be my guest, husband.”
“It’s time for the first dance, guys. And I’m so thrilled that I get the honor to sing the cover Grantaire mentored me on for Idol.” The singer grins as the crowd clears, and Enjolras walks up to his husband. (God, he loves being able to call Grantaire that.)
“Wise men said…” he starts, and Enjolras just smiles as Grantaire pulls him close. Time seems to slow down, and Enjolras just relishes in the flecks of emerald in Grantaire’s hazel eyes, in his dimples, in his rough voice as he sings along. Grantaire’s head is in Enjolras’s neck, and Enjolras wishes that this song never ends. He wants to cry, because this moment is beautiful and and the song is beautiful and he knows how much this kid singing it means to Grantaire.
“And I can’t help falling in love with you.” Enjolras sings the last words of the song, and Grantaire gives him the softest, most loving grin Enjolras has seen, before his lips meet his softly.
“I love you.”
There’s a pause, and Enjolras takes a moment to look around at the lights and the people and this wonderful man who’s talented and beautiful and loving and so, so good. It’s like the first breath outside on a crisp winter morning; startling but pure, clean. His next words feel like an exhale.
“I love you, too.”