A/N Welcome to the final installment of The Cynic and the Believer! Thank you so so much everyone who has read and reviewed and everything. It makes me so happy that people like my story since I've had fun writing it and might miss it a little. Please tell me what you think of the conclusion, and I would also love some constructive criticism for next time (requests too). Thank you!

SarahBob: Thanks

TotaltotheMax: He is rather isn't he? And thank you, I have fun writing those bits.

"Courefyrac! I need you and Feuilly to move the gunpowder stocks inside, it's starting to rain."

The two of them ran over to Enjolras from where they was crouched beside a chair with splintered legs and together they moved the stocks into the wine shop, and where just emerging when they heard the second gun shot and the beginning of the skirmish proper. They glanced at each other and ran back out to the barricade their friends were climbing and starting to shoot from. They followed suit and as they reached the top, it was to see a line of advancing National Guards. Courfeyrac took a deep breath, cocked his musket and shot into the middle of them.

Enjolras had ascended the barricade for a second time after issuing the order to Courfeyrac and Feuilly for the single purpose of eliciting an end to the tense waiting. He had ordered Combeferre's team to start shooting after the next gun shot and simply sticking his head above the line of the barricade had the desired result. The bullet was closer to his head this time, but he was already ducking when it was fired so, as he crouched there, breathing hard, and listening to the shots and yells already being exchanged, his one thought was 'I'm not dead yet'.

He stepped back up and took a moment to look from left to right, his friends were all up there beside him, fighting in the revolution he'd incited. He didn't have time to feel anything quite yet, and turned his attention to the problem before him. He brought his carbine up to his shoulder and fired off a few shots in quick succession, allowing himself brief moments of grim satisfaction as each one hit a target and slowed the onslaught of soldiers. Not by much however. The ones on the front line had almost reached the barricade, if they didn't stop them now, their fight would be over before it had begun.

"Concentrate on the ones in the front line!" he yelled, trying to contain the desperation he felt, lest it be conferred to his men. "Don't waste shots in the middle, we need to slow them down!"

He feared he wasn't being heard over the deafening noise of conflict but in the next minutes, the revolutionaries' fire was mostly hitting the intended targets and they were forced to fall back slightly. However, not enough. They had reached the barricade.

Enjolras ducked down under it and ran to Combeferre. He grabbed his arm and dragged him below the line of the barricade to speak urgently to him.

"Contingency plan. Now."

Combeferre nodded tersely and Enjolras released his arm. They both crested the barricade and Enjolras picked up a piece of flint and steel he had left there for this purpose and lit a torch. Combeferre moved a piece of a chair off of a barrel of gunpowder formerly concealed inside the barricade. Enjolras and Combeferre exchanged a glance and Enjolras stepped forward. The National Guards were now climbing the barricade from the other side, not an easy feat from the way they'd built it, but in any case, were now only feet away.


Surprisingly, whether it was because of the lugubrious majesty of the figure holding a flaming torch silhouetted against the dying light that lit his golden hair, creating a halo of sorts around his head, or more probably because the Amis heard and ceased shooting and because the artillery sergeant deduced the plan and echoed Enjolras' order, the barricade was plunged into silence as all those on it lowered their weapons.

Enjolras held the flaming torch over the barrel of gunpowder and issued the ultimatum:

"Fall back or I shall blow up this barricade" his voice was soft and all the more menacing because of it.

The artillery sergeant elbowed his soldiers aside to step up to the barricade and address Enjolras directly.

"You would kill yourself and your friends" his tone was mocking, but underneath that lay thinly-veiled anger. This man, this boy had embarrassed them enough today but there was no doubt in his mind that he wouldn't have the courage and sheer stupidity to follow through.

Perhaps Enjolras saw this for his eyes were hard when he lifted his chin imperiously to stare down his enemy.

"And kill myself also."

The artillery sergeant scoffed, empty threats, he was sure of it. A small smile touched his lips.

"You would not."

Instead of answering, Enjolras lowered the torch towards the gunpowder, close enough that even Combeferre couldn't help but flinch slightly. Enjolras didn't notice however, his eyes were fixed on those of the artillery sergeant so he noticed the first flicker of doubt flash over his steely gray eyes. The artillery sergeant hesitated for a second before throwing his hands up in disgust.

"Fall back! That's an order!" He bellowed before turning and preceding his soldiers back down the Rue de la Chanvrerie and away, at least for the moment, from the barricade.

The moment the last of them were out of sight, Combeferre gently pried the torch out of Enjolras' hands and put it out with his coat. Enjolras stared after the guards a few moments longer, but finally wrenched his gaze away and smiled slightly in relief at Combeferre before dismounting the barricade.

The rest of the night passed slowly, although there had been no causalities, they all felt the weight of danger heavily and of course none of them could sleep.

No one was more restless than Enjolras, despite coaxing from the part of Combeferre and Jehan, he refused to sit with the rest of the Amis in the wine shop, instead choosing to pace incessantly, his mind clearly racing and tearing itself apart, chafing at the inaction. He just needed to do something, to engage his mind, to talk or debate with-

"Courfeyrac" he stated sharply, causing Courfeyrac to look up quickly. "Where's Grantaire?"

Courfeyrac bit his lip but forced himself to meet his leader's gaze.

"He's uh... in the cellar." Enjolras raised an eyebrow.

"Passed out" Joly supplied helpfully. Enjolras sighed forcefully and ran a hand through his hair in agitation. Of course, back to the drink like nothing had even happened, just when- no he couldn't think of it.

"I'm going to do some reconnaissance" he announced abruptly and before the rest of them could formulate a reply, he had swept out of the café. He shed his red jacket and left it hanging on the side of the barricade the formed a door of sorts to the only passage that led out of the barricade, before ducking out.

He moved stealthily through the deserted streets, keeping to the shadows and visited the other barricades one by one. He was met by the same scene at each: national guards all over, pulling the bodies of insurgents into rows, arresting others, laughing amongst themselves at the would-be revolutionaries and the ruins of their barricades. Blood ran into the streets and small cries of the wounded could be discerned from where Enjolras observed, far enough away that he wouldn't be noticed. His spirits sunk even lower as he made his way around the barricade district and seeing scenes of only destruction and pain. It was only as he was making his way back that the reality of what was happening finally hit him.

He stopped and all but fell to his knees on the hard cobblestones that lined the Rue de la Chanvrerie and pushed the heels of his hands into his eyes as though that could erase the images in his mind of his friends lying dead, their blood soaking into the street. He tried to swallow but ended up leaning over to dry heave, blinking tears from his eyes, taking deep breaths to steady himself as the images finally receded. In the next second, the abject hopelessness of the situation sank in and he buried his face in his arms. They were all going to die, and they would have achieved nothing. Theirs was the last barricade left. The king would remain, the people would continue to starve and live in terrible inequality, dying on the streets while the rich stayed selfishly in their grand houses, caring nothing for their fellow man.

And he, Enjolras, would return to lead his friends to their deaths, they who trusted him, they who would be loyal to him to the end, they who loved… Enjolras' mind, as it was wont to do these past few days, returned to Grantaire. He would die too, for a cause he barely even believed in, because of Enjolras himself, it was too much to hope the National Guard would not search the cellar when they took the barricade. A wave of terror passed through him and he blinked in surprise, and drew his head up. The entire notion of Grantaire loving him was absurd. He had always come across as cold and unapproachable, he remembered a girl he'd met told him she was convinced his heart was made of stone. He's always secretly agreed. He was admired yes, but for his ideas, his passion, not himself. So what could the self-proclaimed cynic see in him that others didn't? He supposed it didn't matter really, he was incapable of loving him back, it is true he had developed a certain fondness for him now that he didn't drink (or so he thought) and actually started to believe in the cause that was so close to Enjolras' heart, but that was the extent of it. They would both die within a few hours anyway and it's wouldn't matter, he decided and so tried to put the matter out of his mind. For now, it was his duty to return to his barricade and shatter his friends' hope just as his had been shattered. He forced himself up and rubbed at his face with his shirt sleeves in an effort to destroy all evidence of weakness. As a leader he needed to be strong in the face of defeat. He owed that much to his friends.

It never occurred to him that he could simply leave and keep his life.

Bahorel and Bossuet were engaged in a fiercely competitive game of cards when Enjolras. He seemed to Combeferre to be ten years older than he been that evening when he told them they were the only ones left. The Amis exchanged sad glances but refused to show any signs of fear, if they were to die, they would go out with dignity. And, as Bahorel pointed out, they would take as many of the National Guard with them as they could.

They didn't even have to wait for the sun to properly clear the horizon before the second attack came. This time, they ran outside to see the National Guard on the barricades. They tried to force them back, but they had lost the advantage and they were falling as they charged them. Bahorel was the first of the Amis, run through by a bayonet as he attacked, fearless to the end, Feuilly was next, shot by no less than five bullets as he tried to avenge his best friend. And suddenly through the haze of gun-smoke and screams, Enjolras saw the artillery sergeant emerge over the top the barricade. Time seemed to slow as their eyes met and they both aimed their guns, Enjolras shot first and allowed himself a small moment of morbid satisfaction as he toppled slowly off the barricade, dead instantly. This moment however, cost Combeferre his life, Enjolras let his guard down and a soldier saw his opportunity. Combeferre pushed Enjolras out of the way of the bullet and in doing so took it in the chest. Enjolras looked at him in horror and, catching him as he fell, was only allowed to meet his eyes briefly before the light in them went out. He kissed his brow before letting his body fall to the ground.

"Fall back! To the wine shop!" The three who could obeyed the command and ran for the wine shop. Jehan and Courfeyrac both fell before they could make it however, leaving Enjolras alone, with his back pressed against the wall when the National Guard advanced in.

He threw aside his gun, expecting the shots that did not come.


Grantaire came to groggily, the room spinning disorientating as he tried to remember where he was. He sat on the cold floor of the cellar for a minute more, confused, before the memories (and a pounding headache) hit him and he stumbled to his feet, finally recognizing the sounds that had woke him as being gunshots.

He slowly climbed the steps up the front room of the wine shop, and the shock of what he saw cleared his head. Enjolras, backed against a wall, facing twenty of so National Guardsman, alone and unarmed.

"Did you kill the artillery sergeant?" demanded one of the soldiers.

Enjolras smiled humorlessly at him. "Yes" he answered simply. The soldier's expression hardened and he lifted his gun, as did the others.

"Wait!" The cry came from the other side of the room. Enjolras looked up sharply. Grantaire walked determinedly across the room and stood by Enjolras' side so that they faced death together. He addressed the guardsman who had questioned Enjolras.

"You may execute us together" he declared before frowning slightly as if he had remembered something. He turned back to Enjolras.

"Will you allow it to be so?" he asked gently. Enjolras' mind had recovered from the momentary shock and yes, joy at Grantaire's arrival, to arrive at a rather startling conclusion.

"You too!" he blurted, before taking a deep breath and looking Grantaire in the eyes. "I love you too."

Grantaire's eyes widened slightly before he broke into a grin. Enjolras returned it, albeit a little hesitantly, before Grantaire, acting on an impulse, leaned forward and pressed his lips to those of his marble leader.