"What the fuck is this?" Eponine shouts. She holds in her hand a clear plastic baggie, the kind spare buttons come in. She found it in her sock drawer.
Montparnasse pokes his head out of the bathroom. "What?" Steam curls up around his head from the crack in the door (he always uses up her hot water).
"What the fuck," she repeats, enunciating clearly and shaking the baggie, "is this?"
"Oh. Sorry. I forgot I left that here." He steps toward he to take it, his towel (her towel) slipping down around his hips, leaving his rippling abs naked and dotted with droplets of water.
She snatches the baggie away from his reaching hand. "Is this cocaine?"
"Chill," Montparnasse says. His voice is lazy, already as bored with her outrage as he is with any of the other emotions she's ever shown him. "It's fine."
"It's not fine!" she hisses, smacking him in the chest. "You can't bring this shit to my apartment!" Eponine hears herself shrieking, but she doesn't care enough to stop. "What in the name of all that is sacred on this earth were you thinking?"
"Sorry," he says. He doesn't sound sorry. He sounds annoyed with the implication that he should be.
Eponine always accepts these fake apologies because it isn't like it's a surprise that Montparnasse is a dick. But this one she just can't let slide—as long as she has the option of tearing the flesh from his bones, it's going to be more appealing than 'forgive and forget.' "What if Gavroche found this?"
"He didn't." He moves closer. "Relax, baby." He actually tries to kiss the top of her head while he reaches for the baggie.
She almost punches him in the chest (the slap hadn't really covered it). She really does. But his pecs are hard and sculpted, and her fists are ineffectual at best and laughable at worst. She closes her fingers around the baggie and darts out of his grasp and into the bathroom.
He runs after her, either intuiting what she's about to do or simply for the joy of the chase. He's fast but she's faster; she has the door locked before he can twist the knob.
"Eponine," he growls, his voice on the thin edge between dangerous and seductive, "come on." She can tell he's leaning against the door.
She doesn't respond. She just flushes the baggie down the toilet.
Montparnasse knows immediately what she's done. "You fucking bitch," he screams, and he pounds on the door. "That was mine!"
"You shouldn't have brought it here, then," she calls back, laughter a hysterical edge in her voice. She pushes her hair behind her ears and realizes her hands are shaking. She's afraid of Montparnasse; she's always known she should be, but she's never felt it until now.
She loses track of how long he hollers and hammers at the bathroom door. She stops answering him, partly out of fear and partly because she just doesn't have anything else to say. She's used up all her responses to "fucking bitch" and she has nothing else to say to Montparnasse. Nothing at all.
Eponine hears him raving and smashing things after he gives up at the door. She keeps her few valuables locked in her desk when Montparnasse is over, but she hears him rifling through her drawers and knocking over what she assumes, based on the crash, to be the vase on her kitchen counter. She flinches. It was cheap and it had a chip in the opening, but she'd liked it.
He finally storms out, and she tiptoes around the broken glass to close the door behind him. "And don't come back!" She yells after his leather-clad back, and she slams the door and does the locks before she has time to find out whether he turns around.
"What?" Cosette pulls back from Marius.
He follows, ever so slightly, like his lips are magnetized to hers, but he stops himself short of going in for another kiss. "I said," he says, ignoring the nervous way his stomach turns over, "that I want to meet your father."
"Why would you want to do that?" Cosette looks suspicious, dark gold eyebrows knitting together over clear blue eyes.
"He's important to you," Marius says. He pulls his eyes away; he can't stand to look at the shape her lips are making while she disapproves of him. "It's weird that we've been seeing each other for three months and I haven't met him."
Cosette frowns. Her lips are a dark reddish-brown today. "It hasn't been three months."
"It's three months today," he says. "It's in my calendar."
She tilts her head. It's a gesture that he's learned means she's considering whether or not to smile, and it often precedes kisses. "You put our anniversary in your calendar?" She bites her lower lip now and, come on, that's not fair, he's trying to have a serious conversation.
"I put important things in my calendar," he says. He doesn't return her smile.
Cosette sighs. It's a very really, you're going to make me fight with you kind of sigh. Marius has never heard Cosette sigh like this at him before, but he has heard her do it to the others (and he's heard it from plenty of other people in his life). "It isn't weird to date for three months and not meet the parents. I haven't met your grandfather."
"My grandfather lives in Nebraska," he points out in what he believes to be his most reasonable tone. "You live with your dad, and you only let me come by when he isn't home."
"I didn't know you were the kind of guy who'd want to have sex while my father was home," Cosette says, raising an eyebrow and making a terrible mockery of the reasonable tone.
"Not even to pick you up!" Marius wants not to be whining, he honestly does, but his tone falls somewhere short of adulthood. "You act like you're so scared of him running into me that you have to protect against it all the time."
Cosette bristles. Her spine stiffens and her eyes blaze and he knows at once it was the Wrong Thing to Say. "I'm not scared."
"What is it, then? Why can't I meet him?"
"Because," Cosette says, "the whole world isn't about you."
It's so unexpectedly sharp that Marius doesn't have any words at all. His entire brain is a conversational blank space. This happens to him sometimes – he could go on for hours about political allegory and social justice symbolism in the Hunchback of Notre Dame but is at a loss for a single normal sentence. But he's past this with Cosette, or he thought he was.
"Look," she says, and he can tell she's trying to be gentle but she isn't quite succeeding, "things are weird with my dad. I just… I don't think we're ready for that."
"You mean you don't think you're ready," he says. "I've been ready."
"Don't do this," Cosette pleads.
"Shouldn't we be able to talk about what's bothering us?"
"Not when you're being completely out of line," she says. "He's my dad, and it's my call, not yours."
"Okay," he says, reluctantly conceding the point, which seems sound even if he feels less inclined to follow her than he ever has. "But why are you hiding me from him? Doesn't that seem a little childish?" He regrets this before it is all the way out of his mouth.
"Not to me." She stands up and grabs her purse from the floor.
"Let's talk about this," Marius pleads. "Please? I'm sorry I snapped at you."
Cosette shakes her head, waves of hair covering her face. "You don't get it," she says, "and you never will."
The door slams behind her and Marius is left wondering where his night—and his life—got off track.
"What's this?" Courfeyrac looks up from the card in his hands, green eyes sparkling under raised eyebrows.
"Invitations to graduation," Grantaire replies matter-of-factly, dropping another in front of Joly.
"They let you make the invitations?" Bossuet doesn't mean to be a jerk; he wouldn't know how to be mean on purpose. He's honestly surprised. Grantaire is great—Bossuet loves him, but even if he didn't, he'd still say Grantaire's art is exceptional—but Bossuet knows better than most that schools don't usually highlight the work of sixth-year seniors who've come within spitting distance of failing out more than one time.
Grantaire isn't offended, even if Bossuet has been unintentionally jerky; his lips purse up into a squiggle that tries very hard not to be a smile. "No, they use the same boring ones all bureaucracies pick to avoid offending grandmothers." His grandmothers get no invites either way—one in her grave and the other, sadly, still living, but no one he's interested in seeing in any context outside of her own funeral. "I didn't like them, so I made my own. I thought it would be nicer than just shouting at you." Besides, the ugly invitations were expensive.
"These are really good," Combeferre smiles. "Personal."
He's done a special one for each of them—Combeferre's has a giraffe with glasses and a white coat handing a lollipop to a baby elephant, with his name in script over its head. They all have the date and time of graduation, which is only ten days away now.
"A bit late for invitations, isn't it?" Courfeyrac asks, face a mask of perfect smarminess. (They probably teach smarminess at those fancy prep schools along with which knife is for the fish course, and it's probably the only class Combeferre has ever failed.)
"I believe in living dangerously," Grantaire shoots back, sliding Jehan's card (raindrops on roses) across the table.
"Do I get one of those?" Enjolras smiles as he slides his arms over Grantaire's shoulders.
Grantaire turns. "Hello," he murmurs, lips on the warm skin of Enjolras's cheek. "This one's yours." It's very simple, just a watercolor of a tricolor cockade and a cursive E (an act of cowardice—Grantaire's heart had pounded unbearably at the thought of penning the full name, which is far too significant for his hands).
Enjolras sits next to him, eyes still taking in the card. "Can I frame it?" he asks.
"It's yours to do with as you please," Grantaire laughs. "I'm glad you like it."
"It's nowhere near as cool as a velociraptor," Courfeyrac says, holding up his own card, which depicts a dinosaur juggling brightly-colored balls.
"If you say so," Enjolras chimes, slipping his invitation into his bag.
Cosette types Men suck without a clear idea who she's going to send it to. Grantaire, as her closest and most negative friend, is usually the person her gripes go to, but he's not been in much of a position lately to agree that men suck.
Eponine is the obvious choice. Her response is typically world-weary: Tell me about it.
Marius and I had a fight. She feels unbearably dramatic just typing it.
Eponine has the leg up on this one, though. Monty and I broke up & he trashed my place.
Oh my god are you okay?
Just pissed. Cleaning up my broken dishes.
I'll be over in fifteen minutes.
She's glad she's wearing jeans. They're much better for sweeping broken things into garbage bags than lace minidresses.
"Men suck," she grumbles, as she fishes Eponine's loose earrings from the bottom of the closet. (Apparently one of the symptoms of a childish tantrum is throwing the jewelry box.)
"Montparnasse sucks more than most," Eponine says, stripping disturbingly urine-scented sheets off the bed, her hands safely wrapped in kitchen gloves.
"Do you really think he pissed on your bed?"
Eponine grimaces. "It's that or I really need to talk to my landlord about the water quality."
"Gross," Cosette groans, sitting back on her heels. "Do you think he'll come back?"
"I don't know," Eponine sighs. "He was really mad about the coke."
Cosette stands up and stretches. She rests her head on Eponine's shoulder. "I hate Montparnasse," she whines.
"I hate him too," Eponine assures her. "I'm never going to feel clean again." She picks the laundry basket up and departs for the laundry room.
"You know what this calls for?" Cosette calls after her.
"Booze?" Eponine asks, leaning her head back into the room.
"A metric shitload," Cosette confirms, uncapping the black marker she's about to use to write DICKFACE on the List of People Who Are Fucking Kidding Me. "Don't worry, I know a guy."
"I think I have to go," Grantaire says, frowning at his phone.
"Is everything okay?" Joly asks, fidgeting with his invitation (a ferret with a stethoscope). (Enjolras's hand lies at Grantaire's waist, warm and natural, asking the same question.)
"You know, I don't think so," Grantaire replies. "I've been summoned to Eponine's. I'd take you with me," he says to Enjolras, "but I've been informed I'll be relieved of some of my most prized body parts if I pull any couple shit. And that's Cosette talking, and she and Eponine are neither one too shy to follow through on their threats."
Enjolras squints at the screen Grantaire holds out. "Coming from Cosette, couple shit is a pretty serious allegation," he says, wrinkling his nose. "It must be a bad situation."
Grantaire kisses Enjolras on the hard knob of his jaw. "I'll call you?"
He gets a smile in return. "Sure. Tonight?"
"If it's not too late. I don't know how long I'll be on friend duty." He kisses the corner of Enjolras's mouth.
"Sure, you never do couple shit at all." Courfeyrac rolls his eyes. Courfeyrac, of all people, who once ate caramel sauce out of some girl's cleavage. (No, she wasn't a stripper, and, no, Grantaire has no idea how Courfeyrac got her to agree to it—it must be something about the hours he spends grooming his curls to flop over his forehead that women like, because it certainly isn't his personality.)
"Bite me," Grantaire snaps, holding up a specific finger in Courfeyrac's direction.
But it's Enjolras who bites, diving in for a much less chaste round of kissing that earns a whoop from Bossuet and a gagging sound from Courfeyrac (Combeferre clears his throat and ducks behind his emergency book).
That'll teach them to complain.
"I thought I told you to bring alcohol," Cosette's voice filters through the door once she's verified his identity and his empty-handedness with a peek in the peephole.
"I don't have to bring alcohol," he says. "Will you just let me in?"
He hears the chain slide off the door and then her feet walking away; apparently his punishment is having to open the door himself.
"Lock it behind you," Eponine says from a mound of pillows on the couch. "He might come back and I don't really feel like the two of you going at each other today."
"I could take him," Grantaire says breezily, but he locks the door anyway.
Cosette rolls her eyes. "I know you think you're a good boxer—"
"Fuck you, Fauchelevent, I beat Bahorel—"
"—but Montparnasse is, like, a hardened criminal, and he's ripped as fuck, so even if you won it would be a pyrrhic victory." Her eyebrows dare him to defy her, so he doesn't, just to be unpredictable.
"Booze," Eponine whines (Cosette strokes the glossy dark waves where they're spread out across the cushions). "I was promised I wouldn't have to be sober for this." She props herself up just enough to level a baleful glare at Grantaire. "You were supposed to fix this. You're a terrible friend."
"Hey." He holds his arms out wide in a gesture of indignation. "Did I say I wasn't going to get you drunk? I didn't bring anything because I didn't have to. All I need is a chair to get to my stash."
Eponine frowns. "You keep a stash at my apartment?"
He shrugs. "Sure. I know it's safe here when I need it."
"Does everyone keep a stash at my apartment?" She sighs. "I'm going to have to have a serious talk with everyone I know. This is ridiculous."
Grantaire bends over the back of the couch to kiss the top of her head. "I'll get the drinks."
He lifts a chair from the kitchen table in his arms and waddles it into the bathroom.
Cosette trails after him. "I think Montparnasshole stole some things on the way out," she mutters. "Are you sure your stuff's still here?"
"Montparnasse would never think to look here," he says, climbing atop the chair. "I'm an excellent hider and he's a Neanderthal." He pushes the spare blanket aside and examines the bottles stashed behind it. "Bourbon or vodka?"
"The classics!" Cosette sighs. "Both. Behind the blanket in the top of the closet, really?"
"It's scratchy. No one has touched it since she moved in." He passes the bourbon down to Cosette and holds the vodka up. "Are you sure you want to drink vodka straight?"
Cosette raises her eyebrows. "She has cranberry lemonade and Diet Pepsi in the fridge. I did triage before you got here."
"Smart lady," Grantaire says, tucking the vodka under his arm and stepping off the chair. "Is she okay?"
She shrugs. "A little shaken up, I think."
He wraps his fingers around the back of the chair and tugs it after him a step. "And you?" He nudges her with his shoulder.
"I'm fine," she says. "It's nothing."
"It's not nothing if it's made your face like that."
She looks at the ground and tucks her hair behind her ear. "Marius. Wants to meet my dad. I think I overreacted a little."
Grantaire slings an arm over her shoulders. The vodka dangles from his fingers. "You'll work it out."
She makes a low humming noise in her throat. It doesn't sound very optimistic. She snatches the vodka from his hand.
He laughs and drags the chair back out of the bathroom.
"Pick it up," Eponine calls. "If you ruin my floors, you're paying my security deposit with your skin."
Cosette flops onto the couch next to her and unscrews the vodka cap to pour some into a cup.
"I brought presents!" Grantaire says, opening his backpack to pull out three more of his cards. "This one's yours," he says, handing one to Cosette (a featureless female figure cut out of starry sky), "this one's for you," (Eponine's, a rainy beach scene), "and this is for Gavroche, when you see him." (The final card has an elephant dressed as a ninja, complete with throwing stars.)
"Graduation invitations?" Cosette beams.
Eponine regards hers lazily. "I don't have to get you anything, do I?"
"Like I'd accept presents from you," he scoffs.
"Then I'll be there."
R: I think I'll stay here tonight. She doesn't want to be alone in case he comes back. You free tomorrow?
Enjolras turns away from the table so his body hides his screen from the others at the table. Sure, he types, and then adds Don't get any bones broken.
R: I'll stay free of any bone-breaking situations. Especially my pretty face.
His first thought is to say Good. He thinks about adding I like your face but it feels excessive and silly and he's been rather excessive and silly enough for one night. Instead he types Marius is here.
R: Perfect. Could you kick him in the balls for upsetting Cosette?
Enjolras darts a look at Marius. They're not close; they're friends in name only, and mostly because Marius follows Courfeyrac everywhere. Well, he did follow Courfeyrac everywhere, until Grantaire started bringing Cosette around, and now Marius follows Cosette everywhere, which has roughly the same effect, since Cosette and Grantaire are practically inseparable. So Enjolras and Marius spend a lot of time in the same room. But they don't talk; when they do, it usually ends with anger on one side and confusion on the other. If Enjolras tried talking to Marius today, there would probably be tears.
Marius looks near tears already.
Another text comes in, even though he didn't answer the last one.
R: That was a joke. Don't assault Pontmercy. I don't want to think about what you would do to the other inmates in prison. I'm not actually sure their fight was his fault.
He pretends to be coughing instead of laughing, but he's already attracted Courfeyrac's attention.
"Naughty naughty," Courfeyrac sing-songs. "Does your boyfriend say anything you feel like sharing with the rest of the class?"
Enjolras shakes his head and tucks his phone into his pocket. (He ignores the word boyfriend, which he supposes is accurate enough even if it is a word he has never favored.) "He just wanted to know could we move our plans to tomorrow. He's, ah, a bit busy tonight. Friends in crisis."
Marius's eyes flick toward him and then away again.
Combeferre lays a gentle hand on Marius's back.
"I can't sit in this apartment anymore," Eponine says. She's become livelier after two and a half bourbon and Diet Pepsis on the rocks. She always gets active and restless when she drinks—she was made to go out dancing, not sit still—she and Cosette are well-matched this way—but today there is an extra edge to her; every time a door opens or closes, every time there are footsteps in the hall outside the apartment, she startles and looks toward the door or the fire escape. "Let's go out," she says.
Grantaire leans back in his chair. "Could use a snack," he says finally, eyes never leaving her. "What do you think, Cosette? Want an outing?"
Cosette sips at her cranberry lemonade and vodka mixture; he has no idea how strong it is since she insisted on making it herself, and she's only halfway through her first. "If you want," she says. Her voice betrays how little she wants to, but she's a good sport. She'll go along if Eponine wants to get out for a while. Those are the rules of friendship.
He grins at her to thank her—he recognizes her sacrifice—and tosses back the end of his bourbon. "Okay. Where to?"
They end up at the Musain because it's the best combination of open, affordable, and edible.
Which is fine except the others are still there.
Cosette freezes at the sight of Marius—for all her talk, she's just as scared of talking to him as he is of her—and Grantaire has to nudge her toward the bar.
"You don't have to talk to him," he says.
"I do," she replies, and takes a deep breath. When she opens her eyes, she looks taller and more confident.
She walks over to Marius (who watches her approach with the saddest mixture of hope and terror in his face) and says "I'm sorry."
"I'm sorry," he says at the exact same moment.
Courfeyrac, behind them, rolls his eyes in Grantaire's direction.
Eponine snorts into the plate of red onion sliders she's acquired from Combeferre.
"I shouldn't have pushed you," Marius continues. "It was wrong and if you aren't comfortable of course we'll wait, I just—"
"—but I shouldn't have been so weird about it," Cosette shakes her head. "If it's important to you we can talk about it. He's just really protective and things have been going so well with you that I didn't want to mess it up."
"Nothing could mess this up," Marius says, eyes shining as he cups her face in his hand.
And then they're kissing, hands and tongues everywhere. Eponine heaves a sigh to Grantaire's left, Bossuet cackles merrily to his right, and across the table Enjolras looks half appalled and half amused. Courfeyrac waggles his eyebrows suggestively from behind Marius. Jehan looks on starry-eyed. Combeferre doesn't look at all; he's still wrapped up in his emergency book, which he's made at least sixty pages of progress on since Grantaire left them for Eponine's.
"I hope they brushed their teeth," Joly says, wrinkling his nose.
"Doesn't matter. They share a toothbrush," Courfeyrac tells him.
Joly makes a high-pitched noise of distress, and only Bossuet's hand on the back of his neck calms him.
Grantaire's eyes connect with Enjolras's and he can tell they are having the same thought: no matter how much I like you, I am never using your toothbrush. He feels heat rise in his cheeks and he has to look away. It's nice, being on the same page with someone.
"Looks like it's down to you and me," he says, nudging Eponine with his knee. "I think we've lost one to happy coupledom."
"You mean it's just me," Eponine says. "You should go home with your boyfriend. He's been making eyes at you since you came in." She jerks her head in Enjolras's direction.
Boyfriend. Grantaire likes the sound of it, and he's sure he doesn't keep the thrill of its association with Enjolras off his face. "You sure?" he asks. "You shouldn't be alone."
"I won't be," she smiles. "I'll hang out with the boys and spend the night on someone's couch. It'll be fun."
His brow creases. "I'll stay with you a bit longer," he says, "in case you change your mind."
He smiles at her. "You're a class act, Eponine."
"This isn't a sad night," Eponine says. She must read the could've fooled me on his face, because she says "Really. It's a celebration. I'm so much better off without that fucker in my life."
Which, yeah, she is.
It takes hours for her to convince him she's fine without him—by then Enjolras has gone home, but he's gotten surprisingly tolerant of interruptions. He kisses her on the cheek and tells her four more times to call him if she needs company, and then he leaves.
Grantaire doesn't know why he expects Enjolras to be asleep. In retrospect, it seems obvious he wouldn't be. Enjolras hardly even sleeps when he sleeps; he moves constantly and wakes every few hours to make a note for the morning. Plenty of nights he waits far too long to even try, like this one, which finds him at his desk with the computer open in front of him.
Enjolras gives his shoulders a frustrated stretch. It's the sort of thing Grantaire is used to seeing him do after a few hours in front of the computer, usually when the work isn't going well.
"All right?" Grantaire asks softly.
Enjolras doesn't startle, although he does look a bit annoyed. "Headache," he says, turning back to the computer. "You were busy, so I thought I'd catch up on work."
"It's late," Grantaire says, laying his hands on Enjolras's shoulders and digging his thumbs into the stiff muscles on either side of the vertebrae. "You're tense. No wonder you've got a headache."
"I'm lecturing on Marxism on Wednesday," Enjolras explains, voice wavering a little as he relaxes under Grantaire's agile hands.
Grantaire laughs. "I know that'll be tough for you. Undergraduates and their disparaging comments." He runs the heel of his hand up Enjolras's neck.
Enjolras lets out an involuntary whimper of comfort. "I'm not a Marxist."
"But not because you're fond of capitalism." Grantaire presses into a knot behind Enjolras's left shoulder blade. "You've got days to work on this. Come to bed."
"I don't remember the basics as well as I should," Enjolras protests, but he's already half out of his chair to follow Grantaire and his magic hands. "I need to do this research."
"Tomorrow," Grantaire promises. "Tonight you relax."
Courfeyrac wanders off to the corner to play pool with some bikers (poor things have no idea he's a shark), and Bossuet has Joly on his lap to watch. Jehan starts chatting up some muscular guy in tiny shorts. Eponine, finding herself alone, slides into the seat next to Combeferre, whose beer has gotten warm while he reads.
"Just you and me now," she says, tugging the book out of his hands. "You look like you could use a drink. I'm buying."
He looks up. "No, let me."
"Don't deny me the simple pleasure of giving," Eponine scolds. "What's up? Are you all right?"
"Shouldn't I be asking you?" Combeferre asks, frowning. "You're the one with the crisis."
"I have crises all the time," she says dismissively. "But you don't usually do this," Eponine says, holding up the book. "At least, not in a bar late at night."
Combeferre huffs. He holds out a hand for the book. "It's been a hard day," he says.
Eponine raises her eyebrows and hands over the book.
He tucks it into his bag under the chair. "You don't want to hear about my problems," he says. It almost sounds like a question.
"Why not?" She shrugs. "They'll make a nice break from mine." She motions to the bartender. "Another Scotch and soda, and… what're you drinking?"
Combeferre tilts his head to the side. "Same for me," he says. It sounds like why not? "I failed an exam," he says quietly.
"You must be thinking of someone else," she says. "You don't fail exams."
"Not usually, no," he says, looking away with a pink flush over his cheek bones. "But it's happened, all the same."
She lets out a low whistle. "What're you going to do about it?"
"There's a retake next week," he says. "I'll just have to pass it."
Eponine laughs, rolling and sensual in her throat with her head thrown back. "I didn't realize it was so simple," she says, smiling at him. He realizes, looking at her smile, how rarely she smiles for real.
"Sometimes," he says, and then he does something that isn't simple at all: he smiles back.
Enjolras melts into Grantaire's side, warm and pliant after his massage. "Can I ask you something?"
"You can do anything you set your mind to," Grantaire says. "Surely you know that."
"Are you going to miss art school?"
Grantaire laughs. "Why would I?"
Enjolras twists his fingers into the hem of Grantaire's t-shirt. "You've been there forever—"
"—yes, rub that in—"
"—and we've never talked about what you'll do next, and those are your, you know, art people." Enjolras shrugs. "Don't you like talking to people about art?"
"Not art people," he says. "The only people I dislike more than art people are political activists."
"You love political activists," Enjolras says, nestling under Grantaire's arm with a smile.
"No," Grantaire says, smiling back, "I love you. The political activism is a side effect."
It takes less than a second for him to realize what he's said—half a second, maybe.
His heart feels heavy and sick. "Shit, I—I didn't mean—"
"I know what you meant," Enjolras says, looking at him with clear eyes. "It's okay."
"Yeah. Me too." And then Enjolras closes his eyes and tucks himself into the pillows, leaving Grantaire alone with his thoughts.
Thank you very much for reading! As always, comments are welcomed and will be responded to, because who has too many friends? Not me.
My very dear friend and sometimes-beta fish (Re_repeat on AO3) deserves a little credit for a few upcoming plot points, which I agreed to incorporate because I owe her (and also because I fell in love with them while she was trying to convince me). Being a beta fish to me is a pretty thankless job because I basically ignore 98% of all suggestions, so her patience and support are super admirable and you should all love her. She has posted a hilarious story for the Harry Potter fandom, which interested parties can find at archive of our own dot org slash works slash 784774.