The first time Grantaire sees Enjolras is in the Cafe Musian.
Grantaire tries to never stay in one place for too long, he's interested in neither reputations nor familiarity. He does, however, often frequent the Cafe Musian. It's a quiet place where people go to talk rather than to get drunk; Grantaire sticks out like a sore thumb and he loves it.
So imagine his surprise, when one day a young Apollo shows up in his favourite spot, giving a speech with a passion Grantaire has never seen in anyone before. He's like the sun in every way possible, painting the cafe red with his vibrant words, warming every fibre of Grantaire's body with a single glance.
Naturally, he barely notices Grantaire. After all, how could someone so beautiful even think to mar his vision with something so plain as a simple drunkard?
The entire night, and every night after that, Grantaire sits in a corner, trying to get himself noticed by the Apollo, whose name he soon learns to be Enjolras. He'll yell nonsensical answers to Enjolras' questions, getting steadily angrier and more incoherent as the night wears on, until he eventually passes out and gets hauled home by some kindly stranger.
He even manages to make some friends during his long stints in the cafe, Joly and Bossuet, two of Enjolras' friends and followers, take a particular liking to him. They'll often join him in the corner, drinking and lovingly heckling Enjolras as they drink together.
"When did you decide to overthrow the state, Grantaire?" Joly jokingly asks one night after one of Grantaire's particularly long outbursts.
"I didn't, I don't really care either way."
"But the government is corrupt, we need to bring change-"
"But we can't," Grantaire shakes his head sadly, "I've seen it too many times: you plan, you fight, you fall."
"But this time it's different, we can do it, we know exactly how to-"
"You're planning, like I said, soon you fight, then you will fall."
"You're such a pessimist!" Joly laughs, taking a nervous sip of his wine.
"You've got me there, I can't name a single thing I believe in."
"Not a single thing?"
"Not a single thing."
Months later, despite being almost fully accepted as a member of the ABC, Grantaire still rarely speaks to Enjolras. Most of their exchanges are heated debates which usually ended in a chilly silence.
But tonight is different. They need a spy, someone to pose as an artist.
"I have no one." Enjolras cries, exasperated.
"What about me?" Grantaire asks, raising his hand, "I'm here!"
"You?" Enjolras curls his lip in disdain, looking Grantaire up and down.
"Are you good for anything?" Enjolras sighs, rubbing his eyes and sitting down wearily.
"I have a vague ambition in that direction."
"You don't believe in anything."
"I believe in you!" Grantaire stands up, dropping his bottle as he slams his hand down on the table.
"Will you do me a service?"
"Anything, I'll black your boots."
The cafe falls silent with the implications of Grantaire's words, a few share looks with each other, whilst a ripple of whispers descends on the room.
"Go sleep of your absinthe, Grantaire, we need you to be sober." Enjolras says quickly, his eyes downcast.
"I feel as though I'm more productive when I'm drunk than when I'm sober."
"Go, just go." Enjolras throws his arms out in surrender, "You have one chance."
Grantaire smiles broadly, slipping on his coat and grabbing his hat. Before leaving the cafe, he walks towards Enjolras and leans forward to whisper in his ear.
"Be easy." He says before stepping outside into the cold night air.
Not quite sure what to do, Grantaire immerses himself in a game of dominos with some strangers. By the time he's lost a sufficient amount of money it's almost dawn and time to go home. He leaves the smoking room, waving goodbye to his newfound friends before once more surrendering himself to the streets of Paris.
"Grantaire." A familiar voice startles him, and he whirls around to see Enjolras leaning against a wall.
"Apollo, nice of you to join me." Grantaire grins, stomach churning as he stares into Enjolras' unreadable eyes.
"Grantaire…" He says again, a little quieter now, stepping so close that their faces were almost touching.
"Did I do something wrong? I'm sorry, but I did actually try to get information but-" Enjolras stoppers his mouth with a nervous kiss, his dry lips pressing against Grantaire's wine-soaked ones before he pulls away.
"I'm sorry." He says, stepping backwards.
"We can't, I can't, it's not right-"
"I understand." Grantaire's heard it all before.
Maybe in another century. The timeless words that mean less every time they're said. Maybe in another century, maybe not. All that matters to Grantaire is the here and now.
The two of them can barely look at each other after that. Enjolras throws himself even further into planning the revolution, whilst Grantaire throws himself into alcoholism, drinking more than is healthy on a daily basis.
The next time they speak to each other is at the barricade, to which Grantaire arrives as drunk as ever.
"Grantaire." Enjolras shouts when he spots him with his bottle, "Put that bottle down, this is a place for enthusiasm, not drunkenness!"
Grantaire smiles sadly, leaning his elbows on the table before speaking, his words coming out slurred and unintelligible.
"Let me sleep here."
"Go sleep somewhere else!" Enjolras says angrily, confused by Grantaire's stubbornness.
"Let me sleep here…" Grantaire deliberates, "Until I die."
"Grantaire…" Enjolras hisses, "You are incapable of believing, of living, of willing, and of dying."
"You will see." He smiles, feeling himself drift away, letting his head fall to the table.
How he wishes he'd done something else.
When Grantaire awakes, all he can hear is a deathly silence. He raises his head, trying to shake himself from his drunken stupor.
What he sees before him is his worst nightmare: Enjolras, stood with his back against a wall, holding a flag aloft whilst defiantly staring down the soldiers and guns before him. He looka just as radiant as when Grantaire laid eyes on him all that time ago in the cafe.
Shakily, Grantaire gets to his feet, stepping blindly over his friend's bodies as he walks forwards towards his Apollo.
"Long live the republic!" He says weakly as he reaches Enjolras' side, smiling gently whilst placing himself in front of the guns.
He is reminded of the words he'd said to Joly when the rebellion had been nothing but a distant dream: you plan, you fight, you fall. Now he is falling.
"Finish us both in one blow!" He shouts, facing the soldiers, trying to push Enjolras behind him.
"Grantaire." Enjolras whispers, the word barely passing his lips.
"If you'll permit it?" The last words he'll ever speak.
Enjolras smiles sadly and takes his hand, pulling him in so close their faces are almost touching.
There is no more time to say anything else. The gunshots sound without warning, piercing them both where they stand. Enjolras takes eight bullets, and is pinned to the wall as Grantaire falls at his feet, as though in prayer.
Maybe in another century.
Maybe in a time when death isn't constantly looming, when being in love couldn't have them killed or sent to rot in prison.
Maybe in another century, maybe not. All that matters to Grantaire is the here and now. And now he doesn't even have that.