[A/N] Every time I listen to a musical, I think to myself, "You know what would make this song better? If it was a Les Mis crossover, and Enjolras and Grantaire were singing it to each other." And then I thought "Why not just write those scenes? It's not like you have a twelve-page paper due next week."
(Which I do. I have a twelve-page paper due next week.)
Anyway, that's how I got here, flinging unrelated musicals together like it's a showtunes-themed episode of Chopped. I have six or seven of these sketched, which hopefully I'll flesh out and add periodically.
First up: Rent. In which the part of Maureen will be played by Grantaire, Joanne by Enjolras, and I guess Roger by Combeferre?
"Take Me or Leave Me"
"Seriously?" Grantaire demanded. He stood up from the futon and passed the joint to Combeferre. Ferre took it with equal parts gratitude and apprehension, like an Aladdin who knows this unexpected fourth wish will come with terms and conditions. "You're gonna do this now?"
"It's not me, the one doing it," Enjolras said. He closed the door behind him, dropping his keys on the table.
That was debatable, Combeferre thought. If it was a word that here meant entering your apartment with a death glare in your eyes and saying "Grantaire, why is the doorman wearing your pants," then Enjolras was definitely the one doing it.
"Oh, come on," Grantaire shouted. "It's not like I can help it."
"You could if you tried." Enjolras' voice never rose above conversational volume. Still, Ferre thought from his observational position on the couch, it was the wrath of the young lawyer that sparked the fear of God in you.
This was what he got for trying to have a chill Friday night. You come over to see your friends, smoke some weed, watch a shitty movie, and all of a sudden you're Switzerland, with World War II whizzing past over your head and no damn idea what just happened.
The two men stood on opposite ends of the room, as if unable to decide whether they wanted to be on separate continents or at one another's throats. Though it was nearly nine o'clock, Enjolras had come straight from the office, judging by his clothes: tailored trousers, gray waistcoat, white oxford shirt. He looked like a model who'd gotten lost on the way home from Fashion Week, if that model had also harbored homicidal impulses. His blue eyes were cold enough to kill. Grantaire, squaring off against him, had likely not changed his clothes since Tuesday. His hair was a wreck, his beard had begun to grow in again, and he wore a Rolling Stones concert tee over an alarming pair of leather pants.
They reminded Ferre, who indulged an artistic turn of mind when high, of Giotto's portraits of vices and virtues. Symbolic polar opposites. Showing here, fortitude, doing battle against inconstancy. He almost laughed at the allegory—or maybe that was the weed again.
"Should I…" he began, standing up and edging toward the door.
He might as well have stayed silent. Neither Enjolras nor Grantaire were listening to him.
"Normal people say 'hello,' you know," Grantaire said.
"Normal people don't spend their Friday afternoons fucking the doorman."
"I'll just go then, shall I," Ferre said.
"Yeah, maybe," Grantaire and Enjolras shouted in unison.
Ferre raised his hands in sarcastic apology and picked up his coat from over the back of the futon. He took the joint with him as he left. It was a mark of the heat of the argument that Grantaire didn't even protest.
Enjolras turned his back on Grantaire and entered the half-kitchen, just off the door to their studio. "If you could control yourself for fifteen minutes," he began.
"Apollo, come on," Grantaire yelled—really yelled, surely the neighbors could hear. "Don't do this. It's who I am."
"Who you are?" Enjolras repeated. He whirled back around to face Grantaire. His expression might have been carved from marble.
"There will always be hot doormen flirting with me!" Grantaire spread his arms wide like a Christ in need of a shower, dripping persecution.
Enjolras stared. Words seemed to have failed him. Despite his anger, he couldn't help but wonder what the neighbors had thought of that. He turned his back on Grantaire again, reaching a hand toward the top cabinet. He never drank unless fighting with Grantaire, which always left him with a sharp and urgent need for gin.
His hand hadn't even made it to the handle before Grantaire caught him by the wrist. How he'd crossed the room so fast, Enjolras couldn't fathom. Weed usually made him slower, but anger must have counteracted it, and the apartment wasn't so big to begin with. Enjolras tried to pull his arm free, but Grantaire did not release his grip. He spun Enjolras away from the cabinet to face him. The distance between them had collapsed into nothing. Enjolras could feel the motion of Grantaire's chest against his own, rippling with his breath.
"Let go," Enjolras said. His voice was so low Grantaire could barely hear it.
"Not until you listen to me."
"R, you're drunk," Enjolras said. The remark wasn't accusatory, but cruel in its lack of surprise. "Listen—"
He tried to break away again, again unsuccessful.
"No, you listen," Grantaire said. "Monsieur Grandes Ecoles, Monsieur Junior Councilor, you listen. Don't pretend like this is on me. If you weren't such an anal-retentive, elitist, frigid piece of shit, I wouldn't have to."
"So this is my fault," Enjolras said. His blue eyes never moved from Grantaire's.
Grantaire blinked. The total lack of emotion in Enjolras' question had startled him out of his own rage. The room came into focus again. He stood in their efficiency kitchen, a death grip on Enjolras' wrist, shouting at someone three inches away from him. Grantaire released his hand immediately and stumbled backward, hands up and spread wide. If Enjolras was in pain, he gave no sign of it, save one. Without looking away from Grantaire, he massaged his own wrist with his left hand.
"I'm sorry," Grantaire said. "I'm drunk…"
He was. And high, too. He hadn't realized it until now. Enjolras turned away from him, sweeping his keys back up from the table. Grantaire felt the distance widening behind him, and had no weapon to fight back with other than his own useless words.
"I'm scum, I'm shit, I'm sorry—"
"Don't be melodramatic," Enjolras said. He tucked the keys into his pocket, still not looking at Grantaire.
"I just…You don't want me. You don't ever initiate. Anything. Ever. So what am I supposed to do?"
Finally, Enjolras turned back to face him. He was standing near the door now, seconds from leaving. His blue eyes leveled accusation at Grantaire like javelins. "We've been over this," he said.
They had. Many times.
On paper, they made no sense. As a rule, Enjolras' libido was just below sea level, whereas Grantaire's was perched on top of Mont Blanc, horny as hell and wondering what took him so long to catch up. Enjolras made lists in his sleep. Grantaire had never met a rule he wouldn't break. Enjolras was anxious, jealous, disciplined, inexpressive. Grantaire was insecure, flirtatious, chaotic, often drunk. Their collective level of disaster was meteoric.
Sometimes, Enjolras wondered why they tried so hard.
"I'm doing my best," he said. "I need you to do your best too."
The unspoken second half of the sentence landed like a blow to the face. And you aren't. Not even close.
"I am," Grantaire said. "I can't do better. Take me or leave me, Apollo. Those are your choices."
"You've reached Michel Enjolras. If this is an urgent legal matter, please call my office. If not, leave a message after the tone."
"Apollo, pick up the phone. I know you're there. Are you OK?"
"Listen, I know. I fucked up. You fucked up. Shit. That's not what I meant. I mean, I did. Me. Mostly. Will you just pick up? We can work through this. We always do."
"It's been two days. You have to pick up."
"…leave a message after the tone."
"Come on. I don't want to beg. But I will, OK, if that's what you're waiting for. Call me."
"…leave a message after the tone."
"Seriously. Come back home tonight. Please. I'm here. I want to talk."
"…leave a message after the tone."
"Fuck's sake, Apollo, answer the phone. Tell me what you want, and I'll do it. You want me to stop drinking? I haven't had a drink since you left. Really. You want me to say it's my fault? It is. I lose control. I freak out. I know that. Tell me anything you want, and I'll do it—"
"That might work. But keep going."
"Son of a fucking bitch—"
Grantaire dropped the phone. It landed hard against the linoleum floor, facedown. Probably the screen was shattered. He didn't give a damn. He wheeled around to face the apartment door, which must have opened midway through the voicemail.
Enjolras was leaning against the doorframe. He'd folded his arms over his chest, and his head was tilted to one side in a parody of relaxed curiosity. In one hand, he held his phone. On its illuminated screen, Grantaire's name displayed as an incoming call.
"Don't do that, asshole," Grantaire shouted, rattled. "How'd you get in here?"
"I have keys," Enjolras reminded him. "I pay our rent."
Grantaire swallowed his anger. There would be time for that fight later. Right now, he had to focus on the feeling beneath the anger. The incredible, powerful rush of relief.
"Listen, Apollo, I'm sorry about—"
"I heard," Enjolras said.
Grantaire could not read his expression. "You heard?"
"I heard." Enjolras raised the phone, then, as an afterthought, ended the call. He pushed himself off the wall and entered the apartment. Without looking, he nudged the door shut with his heel.
Grantaire watched him. This could go one of two ways. One would save his life, and one would kill him. Now, more than ever, Grantaire wished Enjolras were better at making his face match his feelings. It was like trying to gauge the emotional state of a lamppost.
They stood together in the kitchen. The foot of empty air between them could have been half an inch or ten miles.
The silence would stop Grantaire's heart if he let it continue another minute. "So?" he said. "I mean, you have to say something." He was rambling, but knowing you were rambling and knowing how to stop were two different things. "I can't just keep waiting for you to say something, I want to—"
"Do me a favor, R," Enjolras said. He was smiling now, and Grantaire's heart leapt with it.
"Stop talking," he said, and kissed him.
Grantaire couldn't remember the last time Enjolras had kissed him first. It made him feel like a god. Knowing that this man wanted him, and would do what it took to have him. His brain told him to let Enjolras stay in control, move slowly, ride this out as far as it would go.
His body had other ideas.
Enjolras' shirt fluttered to the kitchen floor, landing on top of the phone. Grantaire's was soon to follow.
"We're a disaster," Grantaire whispered. His breath brushed against Enjolras' neck, and he smirked at the shiver it engendered. "A total disaster."
"Yeah," Enjolras said, breathless, as Grantaire fingered the fly of his jeans. "I know. For fuck's sake, hurry."