Thanks so much for the support! About to mix in a bit of drama, but...hey, considering the fandom we're in... (French translations at the end.)


Evenings at Grantaire's favorite Greenwich Village cafe were always fun – it wasn't the Cafe Musain, but it would do. Some nights, he talked Enjolras into joining him; it wasn't hard to get an audience for social justice in this crowd. Nor did they attract any attention when Grantaire crawled into his boyfriend's lap to steal a kiss or two. Enjolras was still a little uncomfortable with public displays of affection, but he was getting used to it. Besides, this was New York, where couples of any sort could be seen making out just about anywhere you turned.

This time, Grantaire was alone. Joly was working the evening shift at his internship; he got off at 11 pm. The hospital wasn't far from the Village, so Grantaire planned to swing by and pick him up on the way home. He'd borrowed Marius' car for the purpose; Joly was getting better, but he hadn't psyched himself up enough to brave New York City's public transit system yet.

When he was on his own, Grantaire often picked up a few bucks selling sketches. Poetry readings were especially good for picking up commissions; starry-eyed lovers jumped at a chance to have a handmade memento of the night.

Since he had the car, he couldn't drink too much – though he drove better drunk than most Manhattan residents did sober. But he sipped at a specialty cocktail, drawing lazy lines in his sketchpad that might become something someday. The drink's recipe was a house secret, so he had no idea what was in it, but he suspected it would be easier to list what wasn't. And that was just the way Grantaire liked it. He always took precautions to make sure nothing was added to his drinks after the fact – a lesson learned the hard way, back in Paris; it was another memory he drank to forget. But he was a regular here and he trusted the bar staff, so he let them surprise him with their concoctions entirely. "As long as it's at least 40 proof," he always told them laughing. "Anything less than that is just a waste of money." At least when paying Manhattan bar prices.

Usually, Grantaire helped close the place down, joining in drinking songs – and contests – with drunk Australian tourists from the hostel across the street. But tonight he had to get Joly, so he kept an eye on the time. He let his pencil wander across the sketchpad, lines becoming curls as the picture started to take shape – his favorite subject, Enjolras . Grantaire had never believed in love until he wandered into his favorite cafe one night and found a blond god of a student speaking to the crowd, who sat transfixed. It had taken a long time and plenty of effort – and a little help from Courfeyrac and Jehan – but, finally, Grantaire had his moment alone with his idol. And there was no point in wasting time with words, so Grantaire had grabbed Enjolras and kissed him, ready to let go at the first sign of resistance...but there had been none. Enjolras had been surprised, but he had been the one to take things further, and the night had ended back in Enjolras ' bedroom. Combeferre, who'd been sharing the flat with Enjolras at the time, had been happy to temporarily vacate the premises.

The exchange program had been Marius' idea, which Enjolras jumped on, eager to right the wrongs of the world from any location. Grantaire would have been perfectly content to stay in Paris, but the thought of a year away from Enjolras had convinced him. They'd worked together, pulled strings, and managed to get themselves assigned to the same rotation. If Les Amis were to be separated, it might as well have been done at one time. And, frankly, Grantaire would have taken a year off and found some way to afford moving to New York for a year before letting Enjolras go alone. He was the sun, the center of the universe, always drawing Grantaire to his side. Jehan found it quite romantic, but that was typical Jehan. Always in love with love – well, that and Courfeyrac.

Grantaire threw his supplies into his satchel and finished off his drink before heading out into the night. He'd learned the ins and outs of city parking. There was no way Grantaire paid full price, or any price, if he could avoid it. He had a friend a few blocks away who had a space that came with her apartment, but she didn't own a car, so she let him park there when he had the car in exchange for the occasional sketch. It was a perfect arrangement – because, really, who had the money to spend thirty dollars to park in a public garage?

The night wind nipped at Grantaire's ears, and he pulled his hood up as he walked back to the car. As he turned the corner, someone tried to grab his bag. He shook them off and held the bag close, scanning the area for possible makeshift weapons. Grantaire didn't go looking for fights, certainly not the way Bahorel did, but he'd been in more than a few and he could hold his own.

"Don't be stupid," a voice snarled from the shadows as a man stepped into the dim light. "Give me the bag, Arnold." His fingers were curled around something that looked like a knife.

Grantaire blinked, adopting the most innocent air he could. "Pardon?" Clearly, this was a case of mistaken identity, and Grantaire had no problem pretending not to speak English if that helped him out of a jam. "Je ne comprends pas."

The other man made a derogatory noise. "Oh, you think it's cute, speaking that nonsense now?"

Grantaire would have been insulted at the slight to his native tongue if he'd thought this thug's IQ was higher than that of a turnip. He took in his surroundings – and, seeing an opportunity, made a run for it. Under other circumstances, he'd have just handed over the bag. But tonight, it held more than his art supplies and money; he'd picked up something special for Enjolras . And his ID was in there, with his address, and there was no way he was just handing that over to a criminal. He had to protect Enjolras and Marius.

The man pursued, and Grantaire noted details as he dodged and weaved through the alleys, knowing the police would want a description. Caucasian male, late twenties, short and thin, dark hair, very little attention to personal hygiene. Well, maybe they didn't care about that last part.

Grantaire had the disadvantage and he knew it; he didn't know these streets as well as his attacker. He ended up cornered in a dead-end alley, fumbling in his pocket for his phone. He could call 911 and leave the line open; they would track the signal. But he didn't have time for even that as the man closed in on him. Grantaire raised his fists, ready to defend himself. He dodged the first blow thrown and managed to land one of his own. The thug shoved Grantaire against the brick wall behind him, causing him to hit his head. Grantaire was momentarily stunned, just long enough to stumble forward – and feel a sharp pain in his side. He clutched at the area, feeling blood as he stumbled forward. He couldn't get enough air. He couldn't fight as his bag was snatched – but the strap of it was still over his shoulders, and so he was jerked along with it. Rather than untangle the two, the thug snarled and began to rifle through the bag. Grantaire couldn't see what he took. He had no strength to fight back; everything was reserved for trying to breathe. He felt himself being shoved roughly, kicked several times, and he heard the guy screaming at him to produce the meth. Freaking figured. Grantaire had experimented with many things in his time, but meth would never be one of them. To be attacked by a bum wanting alcohol would have been ironic, almost poetic. This just sucked.


Enjolras was settled on the futon with his laptop, working on a paper. Marius was slouched beside him, lost in a text conversation with Cosette. Enjolras distractedly grabbed his phone when it chimed with a text message.

Courfeyrac: Fucking Jehan.

Enjolras frowned. He was not the go-to person for relationship problems, but he did care about his friends. He sighed, hoping this wouldn't take too long. It was five-thirty in the morning in Paris, so something had either started early or gone late. What'd he do?

The response came quickly. Nothing. I'm just fucking Jehan. Thought you should know.

Enjolras rolled his eyes and tucked the phone away. He considered replying, but...no, he wasn't going to give Courfeyrac the pleasure. When the phone chirped again, Enjolras sighed. He really wasn't in the mood for games; he had work to do. But it wasn't Courfeyrac.

Joly: Have you heard from R?

Enjolras sighed, deeper this time. What, hasn't he picked you up? Grantaire was supposed to have gotten Joly a half hour ago, and despite the outer reputation Grantaire had tried to cultivate, he was dependable when it came to his friends. He wouldn't have gotten drunk, knowing Joly was waiting on him.

Joly: No. He's not answering his phone. I'm worried.

Enjolras was, too. Sure, Joly worried about everything, but this wasn't like Grantaire. He might have disappeared for hours at a stretch when he wanted to, but never when he had someone depending on him. Enjolras tried to call Grantaire as well, just to say he'd done it, but it flipped over to voicemail. He returned Joly's text. I'm sure he's fine. It was a lie. Enjolras tried to remember where Grantaire was hanging out that evening; he'd mentioned it, but Enjolras was distracted with his paper. There were several places Grantaire frequented. Dammit, which one was it? Enjolras sighed, checking Facebook to see if Grantaire had checked in, as was his habit. And, perfect – he had, and clicking the link gave Enjolras the address and phone number.

Joly replied in the meantime. Come on, Enj. You know this isn't his style.

It wasn't, but Enjolras didn't know what to say. He tried calling the cafe first; they confirmed that Grantaire had been there, but he'd left an hour ago. Which would have put him right on schedule to get Joly. Enjolras frowned, steepling his fingers. Something wasn't right. He sent Joly a message. I'll have Marius get you. Hang on. "Marius." Marius didn't respond, absorbed in his conversation with Cosette. Enjolras had no patience for this at the moment. He nudged his friend. "Marius, wake up."

Marius looked startled. "What's wrong today?" From Grantaire, that would have been a baited, sarcastic question, wondering what cause Enjolras was pursuing at the moment. But Enjolras knew Marius was just snapping back to the world that existed outside of Cosette.

"Something's going on." Enjolras reached for his coat. "Come on, we're taking a cab to your car."

Marius frowned. "'Taire has my car."

"I know." Enjolras would fill Marius in on the way; he didn't want to waste time. "He never got Joly. We need to find him."

"You don't think something's happened, do you?" Marius asked, looking worried.

"I don't know." Enjolras headed for the door and down the staircase to the street, Marius hurrying behind him. "We'll get your car." He did at least remember where Grantaire typically parked. "You'll go get Joly; I'll find Grantaire."

"What if the car isn't there?" Marius didn't look convinced as Enjolras flagged down a cab. "Do you think he's all right?"

"We'll deal with that when we come to it." Enjolras was on a mission now and nothing would stop him.


Marius' car had been right where Grantaire usually parked it, and Enjolras could tell Marius was reluctant to leave without knowing Grantaire was okay. But Enjolras hadn't become the leader of the group for nothing, and Marius nodded and reluctantly left for the hospital to get Joly. Enjolras had tried to call Grantaire several times more, each time leaving a more stern message to return his call. He tried again, this time just snapping, "Appelez-moi, connard!"

Enjolras walked through a dark alley – it made him a little uncomfortable, but it wasn't much worse than the slums of Paris. However, he was known as an ally in the slums of Paris. A blue nitrile glove caught the light, and Enjolras glanced at it absentmindedly, noting the discarded medical supply wrappers around it. Something had happened here, and that suggested to him he might not want to linger. There was blood, now that he looked for it, and Enjolras checked himself to make sure he hadn't stepped in any. He wasn't paranoid like Joly, but it seemed a modest precaution.

"Rich white boy like you better get on out of here," a voice scolded, approaching him. It was a haggard-looking old woman. "Police be coming."

Enjolras first thought to protest that he wasn't rich, but that really wasn't important. He did wonder why the place hadn't been marked as a scene of investigation. "What happened? Did you see it?" Enjolras was not one for gut feelings, so he told himself his unease was just due to being out of place. He was only thinking of Grantaire because of the smell of stale alcohol coming off the woman. He kept telling himself that.

A squad car rolled up, siren screaming, and Enjolras jumped. He'd been arrested a time or two in his life and had no desire to repeat the experience. It wasn't his fault that law enforcement had a hare trigger when it came to protesters. The officer rolled his eyes, seeing the woman. "Get out of here, Marta; you'll disturb my crime scene." His eyes narrowed on Enjolras . "Who the hell are you?"

"I'm sorry; I was just looking for my friend." Enjolras began to back away. "I wasn't aware-"

"He's right, he just showed up," the woman – apparently named Marta – volunteered.

The officer consulted someone via radio, then muttered gruffly. He took a statement and Enjolras ' information, checked him out, took his fingerprints "as a baseline," then dismissed him. Enjolras was rather surprised not to have been a prime suspect in whatever had happened – of course, the officer wouldn't tell him. But this was bloody and he was clean, and based on the officer's interactions with Marta, she was known in this area. Enjolras followed her as the crime scene tape was put up and they were shooed away.

"Cops usually right on it," Marta commented, "but, boy, they were busy tonight. Medics got out of here with that one before they could show."

"I see." Enjolras pulled twenty dollars from his wallet and offered it to her. It didn't exactly help dispel her notion that he was rich, but it would hopefully buy her some food. "Here, make sure you get something good to eat."

Marta snorted. "If you got questions, just ask. Cops don't like it when you pay to play."

"It's a gift," Enjolras insisted, pressing it into her hand. "Though I would appreciate your telling me what happened."

"Some kid got shanked," Marta said, shrugging matter-of-factly. It was probably something she saw a lot. There were streets of nothing good between the nice areas of town in any city, it seemed. "Mikey was after him; that's all I know. Probably the one that screwed Mikey over Tina."

Enjolras relaxed a little – as far as he knew, Grantaire didn't know anyone named Mikey or Tina. His phone vibrated in his hand, the ringer drowned out by the ambient noise. Enjolras noted he had three texts waiting and a missed call, but it was Joly calling, so he answered it. "Allo?"

Joly was panicked, and Enjolras could hear Marius trying to calm him in the background. Enjolras ' heart sunk just a little bit. This couldn't be good. "Where are you?"

"L'hopital," Joly replied. "They just brought him in."

Enjolras didn't have to ask who "he" was. "Where is he?"

"Trauma suite," Joly said. "We're in the waiting room; no one's told us anything yet, but..." He sighed. "It looks bad, Gabe."

"Merde." Enjolras muttered. "I'm on my way." He nodded to Marta. "Thank you for your help. I wish I could do more for you."

"Well, don't you just come out of a Regency novel," Marta murmured to herself as she moved along. Enjolras didn't look back as he headed for the nearest subway.


I normally don't ask for reviews, and I'll never hold a story hostage for them. But if you're enjoying the story, I'd love to know! :) I've been having fun researching this story and dusting off my French...I've happily learned it's not that uncommon for young people in France to switch back and forth between French and English. So my head-canon for the AU actually works with real life! Score! And, why, yes, I do love driving Enji to the point of"I hate you all."

Translations:

Pardon? Je ne comprends pas. – Excuse me? I don't understand.

Appelez-moi, connard! - Call me, asshole!

Allo? - a French/English mashup of "hello."

L'hopital – The hospital

Merde – Shit.