Author's note: this fic comes with some content warnings and a preemptive apology. First thing's first: this fic contains major character death, depression, and alcoholism. It came from a promptmeme on tumblr, for which I accidentally minificced instead of just summarizing the fic I would write based on the prompt. So this happened. And I'm sorry. Mostly.


On the sixth of June Grantaire doesn't wake up.

He lies slumped in one corner of the Corinthe, ignored by the guardsman and forgotten by those who come in to take away the bodies when it's all over. He finally comes to sixteen hours later, wakes up with a blinding headache and thinks for a single shining instant that he dreamed the whole thing. And then he sees the bloodstains still on the floor, the ones no one's been able to scrub off completely yet, not when there's debris to remove and cobblestones to put back in place and bodies to identify. He smells the lingering acrid scent of gunpowder, just perceivable over the stench of sweat and wine coming from his body. He loses his fight against reality. The truth washes over him in a landslide of hurt and anger and despair and he wants nothing more than to hope that this is the dream, that he's still in the middle of the fighting, that he still has a chance to die with his friends. But it's not and he didn't and he's sober now. He staggers to his feet, sways, and abruptly changes his mind. He might not be able to do anything about having suddenly woken up in Hell, but he can absolutely do something about not being sober. He drinks.

They find him there at last. His appearance terrifies Matelote as she comes up to clean, but he's too solid to be a ghost, too vivid to be a hallucination, and he's not coordinated enough to flinch back before she can touch him. Her face is almost kind as she helps him downstairs and hails him a carriage to his rooms. He doesn't want to go, but he's too drunk to protest, too numb to find words. He finds his door unlocked but his wine is still there and that's all he cares about. He passes out at his kitchen table.

It takes him a long time to stay sober long enough to think that the very fact that he out of all of them made it out just proves that he was right all along about the inherent cruelty of the universe. It's not a comforting thought, not when it brings to mind Bossuet's smiling face telling him about the kindness of strangers or when he hears Bahorel laughing and saying that any world containing so many different ways to cause mayhem can't possibly be entirely cruel. (Not when it reminds Grantaire of him, and when Grantaire catches himself thinking the name he reaches for the bottle again and doesn't stop.)

It doesn't get better. It doesn't really get worse, but he couldn't go much farther down to begin with so that's cold comfort. When he's feeling at his worst he goes to the Musain and stands in front of it, sometimes silent, usually yelling insults at fate and at history and, once, at Enjolras. People have long since started avoiding his company; he's so wrapped up in his ghosts and his misery that he barely even notices. He never goes back to the Corinthe. He never talks to anyone he knew. He rarely talks to anyone at all save the ghosts populating his mind.

In his more lucid moments he knows that he does not have a right to those ghosts. He knows that he brought this upon himself and should not drag his friends into his hell for sins they did not commit. In his more lucid moments he hears an angel's cold voice asking who he thinks he is, cynic and unbeliever that he is, to be sullying their memory in this way.

He takes care to have as few lucid moments as possible.

After all, he has always been more selfish than wild.