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this is how i destroyed you. and this is how i kept you alive.

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Grantaire meets Enjolras for the first time on a Wednesday night

He's standing on the Alexander bridge, feet curling over the edge, and his hand gripping the pillar to hold himself steady. He blinks, twice, eyes lifting to gaze at the stars painted above his head, and takes half a step forward, teetering closer to the murky water below. It's late, too late for anyone sober enough to care to be out, and that's exactly how he wants it, how he timed it. 

"Are you going to do it?" A voice questions from his right, and Grantaire startles, jerking back and to the side, his right foot sliding off and dangling mid-air. The hand gripping the pillar is the only thing that keeps him from falling. His heart is in his throat, pumping double time, triple time, and this is the kind of excitement he never got from a fight or a bottle of jack. 

He raises his gaze and sets his eyes upon a man that looks younger than himself, and much brighter, with blonde hair, braided and thrown over his shoulder, a sharp jaw that leaves Grantaire's hand itching for a pencil, full lips pursed in apparent distaste - never worry, he later learns - and an single arched eyebrow over a pair of dark eyes. The boy, and really he can't even be eighteen, is almost too pretty to look at, except.

Except Grantaire can't pull his eyes away. 

He drops his gaze back to the water rushing below his feet, lips splitting in a smile, and shoulders lifting in a careless shrug. "I shall drown one way or another. I think it only fair I get to decide which way." 

(It's been four days since Grantaire last had a drink, and his veins are burning him from inside out, his throat constricting around the air in his throat. He doesn't have a problem with alcohol, but he does with a lack of it.)

The boy tenses, taking half a step forward, and there's something in his eyes, something a little angry, so Grantaire takes half a step back, smiling at their little dance. "Aren't you going to tell me that you can help me? That I don't need to do this?" His words earn nothing but a blank stare, and Grantaire's smile widens. "You're not very good at this."

Grantaire isn't sure if he wants this stranger to whisper promises about salvation, not when he looks as he does, burning bright and golden in the dark night. Grantaire doesn't need to be saved, doesn't want to be saved, and he won't let some pretty little school boy fault himself for his inevitable fall. 

"Isn't it a bit late on a school night for you to be out?" He says, glancing up at the boy just in time to see his lips contort into a grimace, "Won't your parents be worried?" 

The boy scoffs, says, "I'm old enough to be out alone at night. Older than you, I'd say. Surely less reckless." His eyes drop purposely to where Grantaire's feet are half hanging over the edge of the bridge. 

Grantaire turns his back to the boy again - man, he supposes - and feels the smile on his lips fracture into something a little bloodier. He has no plans to jump from this bridge, never did, never will, but his heart had been beating a painful tattoo against his chest these past few days, and he had wanted air, had wanted to breathe in the beauty of Paris from the edge of her, because as much as he speaks with disdain he loves Paris as any man or women who has been raised in her dirt and grime does. 

"I could let go, right now, and no one would even care." He says, and releases his hold on the pillar, stretching his arms out before his body, fingers reaching for the stars. 

"I would," the man replies, closer to Grantaire's back now, "Can you imagine the therapy bills?" 

And that shocks a laugh from Grantaire's throat, raw and constricting, but honest nonetheless. He turns and settles his eyes upon the man again, much closer and with the ghost of a smile pulling at his lips, and feels his heart follow his laughter out of his throat and into the hands of the man - boy - before him. 

"Come to Café Musain tomorrow at five. Three streets from here, by the college." 

He's gone then, and Grantaire is left staring at his retreating back with the taste of copper heavy on his tongue and air that won't quite make it past the trace of laughter still lodged in his throat.