"So," says Courfeyrac, plopping down on the chair beside him. "Our annual New Year's party is going to be held in your flat this year, right?"
Enjolras blinks at his textbook, before looking up at Courfeyrac. "It's that time of the year already?"
Beside him, Combeferre coughs, trying to hide a laugh. Courfeyrac rolls his eyes.
"How have you not noticed the sudden abundance of Christmas lights?" He asks. "The world is bright, wonderful, and will have to pay for a huge electricity bill come the New Year."
Enjolras scowls. "It's not that I didn't notice," he says, closing his book. "It's just, aren't there more important things to do than throw New Year parties?"
"Nope," Courfeyrac answers cheerfully. "We have to welcome the New Year with a bang."
"He's dead set on this New Year's party thing," Combeferre interjects peacefully. "You can't shake him from this matter.
Courfeyrac nods seriously, like this is an extremely serious matter. (It's really not an extremely serious matter.)
"You don't skimp on hosting duties, Enjolras," Courfeyrac says solemnly, like he's preaching the Bible. "Besides, you won the games last year, therefore, rules dictate that you hold it in your flat.
Enjolras groans, and flops his head onto the table. It's not as if he meant to win the games. In fact, he tries to actively not participate in whatever shenanigans his friends get up to, content only to watch them from afar.
But last year was different.
Apparently the games last year consisted of: 1) Who will arrive at the party the latest? 2) A really drunken game of Twister. 3) An even drunker game of Monopoly.
Enjolras really wasn't actively participating, but then he'd been the last one to arrive at the party in Bahorel and Feuilly's flat, due to being stuck in traffic. Courfeyrac, already drunk off his ass, had declared him the winner of the first game.
As for the second game, he again tried not to actively participate, but someone must have spiked his drink and he found himself against Combeferre of all people, playing Twister. Combeferre won that game, because Enjolras had lost his balance, despite being crazy flexible due to Yoga.
As for the third game...
Well. Enjolras is a beast at Monopoly, especially when drunk. Which is ironic because monopoly is all about capitalism and Enjolras hates capitalism. He's just very competitive, with board games, okay?
And therefore, he was declared the winner of the New Year Games and what followed was the most embarrassing awarding ceremony Enjolras ever had the pleasure of being a part of. It doesn't help that they'd tried to copy the Oscars, asking him to make an acceptance speech for a piece of crumbled up paper they tried to make look like an Oscar. It was horrible. Drunk Enjolras wanted to give it to Leonardo di Caprio to right an injustice in the world.
"Enjolras," Courfeyrac says. "I love you, but you aren't getting out of this one."
Enjolras sighs and someone pats him on the head. Probably Combeferre. The traitor.
It's not that Enjolras has to do much, as a host. He just needs to provide the place, pick the three games, and provide the food and then later, coffee. Courfeyrac tends to do the decorating, and everyone else just brings the booze.
But he doesn't want to. They've been doing this for three years, and something always, always happens to the flat or to the people.
On their first year, at Marius and Courfeyrac's flat, someone (probably Prouvaire) had accidentally set fire to one of the curtains, and what resulted was a really embarrassing encounter with the firemen. It doesn't help that they were all mostly naked, save for Combeferre, because they were playing strip poker and Combeferre is really good at poker.
On their second year, at Combeferre's flat, Combeferre and Courfeyrac were both arrested for public indecency. Yeah, Enjolras doesn't know how that happened either, considering they were both supposed to be inside the flat, not running around in the park doing God-knows-what.
On their third year, at Bahorel and Feuilly's flat, Bahorel, Feuilly, Bossuet and Joly all fell down the stairs and they all had to be rushed to the ER, save for Joly, who emerged unharmed.
Enjolras doesn't know what's going to happen this year, but he prays to any deity listening that it won't be so bad.
"Are you building a barricade with your books?" A voice asks, and Enjolras looks up from his notes, startled. "Because if you are, from an artistic standpoint, it's not a very effective barricade."
Grantaire is looming over him, smirking, a cup of coffee in each hand. He passes one to Enjolras, he accepts it gratefully, before plopping down on the seat across from him.
Enjolras takes note of the dark bags beneath his eyes, the mussed up hair, and the paint on his hand as he raises his cup to take a drink of coffee.
"Finals?" Enjolras asks.
Grantaire makes a noise. "Final Portfolio, more like. And I'm done, praise any being in existence. I'm even done with my Greek and Roman Classics final, and it's glorious. I'm free."
"Congratulations," Enjolras says, a slight smile on his face. He abandons his books and leans back on his chair, figuring he's worked hard enough to at least merit a break. "I've still got about four finals to go," Enjolras says glumly, looking at the stack of books.
"That's all your fault, Alexander the Great," Grantaire says dryly. "You're the one who decided to take all those classes. I'm not going to feel sorry for you."
"Thanks," Enjolras answers, rolling his eyes at the nickname.
Grantaire, the first time they'd met, had waxed poetic about Enjolras' allusions to Apollo. It had annoyed Enjolras, and at the end of the night he'd snapped "I'd rather not be compared to a Greek god, thanks."
Combeferre, who'd been nearby, chimed in, "Besides, Apollo's not a suitable name for him."
Grantaire had blinked, the haze of drunkenness disappearing from his eyes, before turning to Combeferre and discussing each Greek hero, trying to come up with a suitable nickname for Enjolras. So now every time Grantaire sees him, he's got a new name to call Enjolras. Enjolras just doesn't comment on it anymore.
"I am, however," Grantaire says, grinning, "going to feel sorry for you because I hear you're going to be planning the New Year's party this year. Courfeyrac's going to be insufferable."
"As if he isn't, already," Enjolras answers, grinning back at him. "I don't even know why I put up with him."
Grantaire shrugs. "It's because he's a lovable fucker, the idiot." He steals one of Enjolras' notebooks and groans in frustration. "How is your handwriting so neat? Mine looks like chicken scratch as compared to yours."
Enjolras watches him as he flicks through the notes, reading, his tongue poking out of his mouth. He doesn't know why, but it reminds him of last New Year's party, of the snow, bright lights, and the taste of smoke on his tongue, and Grantaire's eyes had flickered then, gazing at him with so much--
Grantaire lifts his head, about to say something, but Enjolras doesn't hear him, too busy staring at Grantaire's eyes. They are so blue, he muses to himself. They're blue now and they were blue last year, before--
Enjolras suddenly snaps back and finds Grantaire gazing at him, amusement in every single one of his features.
"Sorry," Enjolras offers, hoping he sounds nonchalant. "I just got lost in my own thoughts."
Grantaire's lips quirk up in a small smile, and he stands picking up his coffee from the table. "I think I've bothered you long enough. Better get back to studying for your finals, Enjolras. I'll see you whenever."
And with that, he's walking out of the cafe, and Enjolras watches him go, trying to convince his heart to stop running.
"What games do you want to play this year?" Courfeyrac asks him, voice crackling over the phone.
Enjolras pinches the bridge of his nose. "I don't care. And what part of 'Do not disturb, I'm studying for my finals' do you not understand?"
"Finals are boring. Besides, you could've always just left your phone to ring."
"You called five times in the last five minutes, I thought it was an emergency," Enjolras says, at the edge of his patience. He just wants to study for his finals. He did not ask to get thrust in all this party planning business. Someone save him.
Again, he didn't even mean to win the games. Stupid drunken mind. He's never drinking. Ever.
Courfeyrac sighs impatiently. "You have to pick, it's in the New Year's party constitution. 'The winner of the games of the previous year must decide upon the games of the incoming party.'"
"There's a New Year's party constitution? No, wait, never mind, I don't want to know. I'm studying for my finals, Courfeyrac."
"You're only studying for finals because you're an idiot who decided to take too much classes."
"I'll text you a list--"
Enjolras hangs up, and decides to lock his phone in a drawer. He's been distracted enough, he doesn't need people calling him for trivial things that he doesn't even want to be a part of.
"Why are you so against the New Year's party?" Combeferre asks him calmly the next day, as they sit in his flat, surrounded by books.
Enjolras sighs, and rubs his eyes. "It's not that I'm against it," he explains wearily. "It's just that there has to be other ways to celebrate the New Year."
"There are," Combeferre answers. "But our friends celebrate it like this, and it's tradition."
"It's only been around for three years, it's hardly tradition." Enjolras bites back.
Combeferre looks at him. "Did something happen last New Year's party?"
"No," Enjolras denies vehemently, but he can suddenly feel himself blushing. Stupid anatomy.
"You're not a good liar," Combeferre tells him kindly, choosing to open his book instead. "It's okay, I won't pry."
Enjolras shoots him a small smile, which Combeferre returns warmly. Combeferre's been his best friend since they were both four, and because of this, Combeferre knows when Enjolras needs space.
Enjolras is grateful for Combeferre, he really is. Combeferre knows what it's like, to be thrust in the middle of a hurricane that is Courfeyrac planning a party, and had survived through it. If anyone understands how Enjolras is feeling right now, it's Combeferre.
"You're hosting the party this year?" Cosette's voice comes excitedly through his phone. "My little brother is growing up!"
Enjolras sighs, as he abandons his schoolwork to get a cup of coffee. "I'm older than you," he says mildly. "And I am hosting it in our flat, since we live together. Also, just a reminder, not everyone is done with finals."
"Everyone is done except for you and Combeferre," Cosette shoots back, and, okay Enjolras has to give her that point.
Cosette, to Enjolras' endless annoyance, is a part of their friendship group because one day, Marius wouldn't shut up about the blonde beauty he'd seen reading on the campus green. Grantaire had encouraged him to look for her, and when Marius had showed up, Cosette in tow, Cosette had screamed "Little brother!" and jumped onto Enjolras, who at the time didn't know if he should glare at Marius for daring to date Cosette or reprimand Cosette for choosing to date Marius.
Of course, that instantly made everyone fall in love with her and as of that day, Cosette was considered an honorary member of Les Amis.
"So," Cosette begins excitably. "What party games did you pick?"
"I don't know yet," Enjolras answers, watching the coffee maker do its magic.
"What food did you choose? Are you going to get a caterer? What decorations? What--"
"Cosette," Enjolras interjects meekly. "Talk to Courfeyrac. Also do I need to get a caterer?" Enjolras had figured he'd probably just order pizza or something and be done with it.
"No caterer?" Cosette asks, sounding sad, but Enjolras knows her well enough to know that she's just acting.
"Nope," Enjolras says. "And for the rest, talk to Courfeyrac about it. Unless you want to be the one in charge of it?"
"No way," Cosette says. "You were our honorary winner last year, you get to do the planning."
"Okay, well, I actually have to go and study now, so, you're spending the night at Eponine's, right?"
"Yep," Cosette answers. "We're having a sleepover and gossiping about horrible boys like you."
Enjolras rolls his eyes. "Make sure you don't get into a lot of trouble."
"You sound like Papa," Cosette complains, before hanging up.
Right after Enjolras finishes his last final, his phone buzzes with a series of texts from Courfeyrac, claiming that he can no longer procrastinate on party planning duties because all his finals are done. As if finals weren't a legitimate excuse.
He also sends Enjolras a list of the party games, and Enjolras spends the entire time on the queue to caffeine wondering what the hell "Honey If You Love Me" is.
He has a coffee in hand and is on his way out the coffee shop when someone bumps into him.
"Sorry," someone says, and his gaze finds Grantaire.
Enjolras yawns, and rubs his eyes. "Oh, hey Grantaire," he says, and when he looks again, Grantaire is gazing at him with so much....emotion.
Grantaire seems to snap out of it though, because he smirks (even if that smirk doesn't really reach his eyes) and asks "Done with finals?"
"Yeah, finally," Enjolras says, and he can't help a laugh when Grantaire groans.
"Horrible, that was horrible," Grantaire says, but there's a smile tugging up the corner of his lips.
"Sorry, I'm not exactly at my best right now," Enjolras shoots back. "I'm exhausted. I'll come up with a better one tomorrow."
"I'll hold you to that," Grantaire says, and then he winks. "But should you really be drinking coffee right now? I think you should go to sleep. Also have you seen Cosette? I need to ask for a favor."
"I think she's at home," Enjolras says. "Since she's been done with her finals since two days ago. Come with me, I'll take you to her."
Grantaire thinks about it, nods, and falls into step with Enjolras as he makes his way home.
They argue on the way to Enjolras' flat, the topics ranging from the Rights of Man and the merit of Lord of the Rings. Enjolras actually finds himself enjoying, despite the constant bickering and "no, seriously, no, Enjolras," he gets from Grantaire.
If Grantaire looks at Enjolras for far longer than necessary, well, that's nobody business now, is it?
Cosette, as predicted is home, and is sitting on the couch, eating ice cream and watching Love Actually, like she always does every Christmas time. She knows every single line.
Grantaire walks over to her, sits on the couch, and whispers something in her ear. Cosette pinches him, and Grantaire begins to braid her long, blonde hair without prompting.
Enjolras rolls his eyes. He's used to this, the closeness between Cosette and Grantaire. Courfeyrac had called them 'platonic soulmates', and compared them to Marius and him. Enjolras just gives up trying to understand the quirks of his friends.
He decides to read a book, getting lost in the words and paragraphs. By the time his stomach reminds him that he needs to eat, two hours has passed, and Cosette's movie is long done.
He ventures out to go to the kitchen, and stops short when he sees Grantaire on the couch, scribbling on something.
"You're still here?" Enjolras asks, and Grantaire jumps, before turning to face Enjolras.
"Yep," he answers, scratching the back of his head. "Sorry. Also, Cosette went out."
Enjolras shrugs. "It's no problem."
Grantaire looks at him strangely, and it makes Enjolras' heart beat faster. The events of last year's party are suddenly in his mind, as clear as day. He remembers snow again, bright lights and smoke and no, he was drunk, he shouldn't remember this, it wouldn't do well to remember this, Grantaire himself doesn't seem to remember this.
Grantaire is stupid.
No wait, he doesn't mean that.
Emotions are stupid. Especially emotions pertaining to Grantaire.
Why, why, why does his body betray him so.
Grantaire stands, and offers him a smile. "I'd best be going, Alexander," he says. "Got a bottle of vodka with my name on it."
And he's sauntering out the door, and Enjolras can do nothing but watch.
He shuts the door behind Grantaire, before turning around, immediately catching sight of the corner of a notebook, peeking out of the sofa cushion. It's one of the notebooks for his English class, one that he'd accidentally left on the coffee table while studying for his finals.
He picks it up, flicks through the first few pages of his notes about literature, poetry and John Keats, and stops.
On a blank page, Grantaire had written a quote. Except, no, it wasn't written. It was a quote rendered beautifully in typography, each letter decorated to perfection.
Ce qui embellit le désert, c'est qu'il cache un puits quelque part, it said.
Enjolras has no idea why he wrote this specific quote.
He tears the paper and sticks it in between the pages of the book he was reading, though.
The thing last New Year, that wasn't meant to happen.
He'd been drunk then, drunk on something, he's not sure, he can't remember. He'd just won the drunken Monopoly game and he was happy, he was so fucking happy that he was sure he could fly.
The rest of his friends were seated around Bahorel and Feuilly's living room, playing a game that involved series 7 of Doctor Who and a whole lot of tequila. Enjolras can't remember the exact rules of the game anymore.
All he clearly remembers that he had gone out the balcony because he knew he needed to sober up a bit, and ran into Grantaire.
Who was smoking.
"You're smoking," Enjolras had said, because his brain was swimming in alcohol, and it wasn't functioning properly anymore.
"Astute observation," Grantaire had answered, taking a drag of the cigarette. Enjolras had watched, fixated at how the end of the cigarette flared.
"You're smoking," Enjolras had said again, because he was drunk and an idiot.
Grantaire's lips had quirked up in a smile.
"You should stop," Enjolras had said. "It's not healthy."
"Tomorrow," Grantaire had answered.
Enjolras had wanted to say something about how he should stop now, because it's the new year, but it consisted of far too many words and his head wasn't working properly.
Grantaire had leaning against the balcony, his arms on the railing, and Enjolras remembers deciding to copy him, so that they were side by side, staring at the cityscape, covered in snow.
"I would give you Paris," Grantaire had said then, and Enjolras had listened. He doesn't know why he didn't interrupt, but at that moment, Enjolras had fallen silent and listened. "I would give you Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux, if you wanted. If I could, I'd give you the whole France, because I know how much you love France, how much you love the people, and how much you would give up for each of them."
He had taken a drag of his cigarette then, and Enjolras had watched, eyes wide, like a child who'd just seen fireworks for the first time.
"I would give you the world on a silver platter, if I could," Grantaire had said, looking at the night sky. "Because I know how much you want to free it, how much you want to elevate the status of man, how much you want to give everybody equal opportunities. I would give you all this and anything you ever wanted, if I could."
"Why?" Enjolras had asked, still staring at Grantaire.
"It's the only way," Grantaire had said turning to gaze at Enjolras.He drops his cigarette on the floor and crushes it beneath his shoe. "It's the only way I can accurately summarize how I feel for you."
Around them, the city began to countdown the ten seconds to the New Year.
Enjolras doesn't know what happened, all he knows is that his hand had found its way onto Grantaire's face, snow had began to fall around them, and Enjolras' mouth was running away from him, whispering. "Can I?"
Grantaire's eyes had flickered then, filled with something he couldn't decipher, but his words were sure.
"You never have to ask for anything from me, my wild Antinous."
Enjolras had closed the distance between them and kissed him gently, tasting snow and smoke on his tongue. Grantaire had pulled him closer.
They had stayed like that, surrounded by snow, bathed in the different colors of the Christmas lights for a few stolen moments.
But they never spoke of it after.
They hold an informal Christmas Party at the Musain. They don't call it a Christmas Party, because having a Christmas Party and a New Year's party is a bit excessive for everyone except Courfeyrac. Instead they just gather around, drink a bit, laugh, talk and exchange gifts (they do Secret Santa every year).
Enjolras sits quietly, listening to Combeferre and Courfeyrac discuss the French Charter of 1814. Although he often plays a big role when it comes to Les Amis planned protests, rallies, and fundraisers, he's silent when it comes to actual social situations, preferring to watch his friends.
"The Charter is stupid, Combeferre," Courfeyrac says, a photocopy of the Charter in his hand. "It was made to benefit the king, to give him power over other goverment officials, and to give him a huge influence on legislative power, so that he will be able to pass any law he wants to."
"I'm not saying the Charter is flawless, Courfeyrac," Combeferre argues kindly. "I'm just saying that for all its flaws, it actually has some merit. It declared equality before the law, due process rights, religious toleration, freedom of the press, etcetera. You have to admit that they had some pretty good points."
"Even so," Courfeyrac answers, getting worked up, "the Charter was made for the king, to further his power over the public. No one should have that much power. In order for the law to be upheld, the law must be flawless, and this Charter is definitely not. 'A charter is a mask; the lie lurks beneath it. A people which accepts a charter abdicates.' So, really, Combeferre, it has merit, but no. No."
Enjolras watches as, in a fit of passion, Courfeyrac throws the photocopied Charter into the fireplace. They watch the fire crackle silently, enveloping the copy.
"You know," Combeferre says weakly, after a few minutes have passed. "You can't just burn everything you don't like."
"I don't burn everything I don't like," Courfeyrac answers. "Just the stupid things."
"HEY!" Feuilly calls, from the other table. "Did you just burn my copy of the French Charter of 1814?"
"...Oops?" Courfeyrac says, embarrassed.
"Why are we even talking politics," Bahorel moans from his seat beside Feuilly. "It's Christmas!"
Grantaire orders another round of drinks for everybody, and all discussions about politics are promptly forgotten.
A few hours later, Enjolras feels tipsy on spiked eggnog, and his friends are no better. Courfeyrac is leaning on Combeferre, pressing light kisses to his neck. Prouvaire and Bahorel are in the middle of an arm wrestling match, with Feuilly, Joly and Lesgles watching. Marius is sitting in between Eponine and Cosette, the two girls trying to braid his short hair.
All of them are present except...
Enjolras stands, puts on his coat and red scarf (his Secret Santa gift from Prouvaire), before making his way out of the Musain. Outside, the night air sobers him somewhat, and he shivers, before stumbling straight into Grantaire.
Grantaire catches him, his arms coming around to support Enjolras.
"Steady there," he says, taking most of his weight until Enjolras can stand on his own two feet. "You okay?"
Enjolras nods, and smiles brilliantly at him.
"Drunk then," Grantaire mutters, mostly to himself. He barks a self-depricating laugh. "What are you doing out here?"
"You weren't inside," Enjolras answers, "So I went looking for you."
"I'll go inside soon enough," Grantaire says. "It's just a bit..."
Enjolras shrugs, before moving to stand closer to Grantaire. Their arms are brushing, and the moon shines brightly above them.
It's similar to last New Year.
"Fuck it all," Grantaire says suddenly. "It's not as if you'll remember this."
"What?" Enjolras asks, confused.
"You don't even remember last New Year," Grantaire continues, as if Enjolras hadn't spoken. "I hoped you would. I bared myself to you that night, I told you how I felt and you, you didn't even remember. You made no mention of it, and it was horrible, I'm pathetic, I was so pathetic because it was the best night of my life and you don't even remember."
His voice sounds ragged now, like he's about to cry, and Enjolras doesn't want him to cry, but he has no idea what Grantaire is talking about. His mind is churning each word slowly, trying to make sense of what Grantaire is saying.
"I'm sorry," Grantaire says, and Enjolras doesn't know what he's apologizing for. "I'm so sorry for being pathetic."
And before Enjolras can react, Grantaire turns to him, takes his face in his hands and kisses his forehead. It's gentle and warm and filled with so much reverence that it breaks into the fog in Enjolras' mind.
"Merry Christmas," Grantaire whispers, before turning and walking back into the Musain. Enjolras takes a few deep breaths before following, trying to make sense of what happened.
He doesn't see Grantaire in the next few days.
He and Cosette go home for the Christmas holidays.
"Did something happen?" Cosette asks, worried. "You've been weird ever since that night at the Musain."
Enjolras wants to say yes, something happened, and I'm not sure what, exactly that was, but he doesn't know how to explain it. He doesn't know how to explain to Cosette the weird feeling he gets in his chest everytime he thinks about Grantaire, the way his heart beats fast and his lungs simultaneously loses all air and leaves him breathless. He doesn't know how to tell the story to Cosette, starting from last new year until now, doesn't know how to put into words what he saw, what he felt...everything.
He doesn't know how to put into words the way he just wants to hug Grantaire, kiss him, cuddle with him, and it terrifies him, just thinking of these things. He doesn't know what they mean, doesn't know what they could possibly entail.
Well actually, he does know, but--no.
It makes no sense. He's not supposed to think of Grantaire this way. Grantaire is annoying; he's a nuisance, he's an irritant, he's a cynic, a nihilist. He mocks every single one of Enjolras' beliefs and he smirks and he makes Enjolras snap and he crawls under his skin. He makes Enjolras scream in frustration; he's a puzzle, a complex puzzle that Enjolras can't seem to solve and Enjolras just wants so desperately to understand him. He wants to understand him and kiss his scars and cuddle him and trace the lines of his body with his fingers, and there it is, that thought again and Enjolras is terrified because he doesn't know what to do with all these feelings. If Grantaire is the sea then Enjolras is drowning, drowning in him, but how does he describe this feeling, where's the words, he can only think of one and it doesn't make sense, how, how how, how---
So instead he says, "I'm fine. Really." and hopes for the best.
When they return from their parents, Courfeyrac immediately comes bounding into the door, demanding he prepare for the New Year's party.
"Do you have food in mind yet?" Courfeyrac asks, excitedly, and Enjolras shrugs.
"I'm just going to order pizza," Enjolras answers, a bit lost in thought.
Courfeyrac gasps, mock-affronted. "You cannot 'just order pizza', Enjolras! Do you want us to eat pizza for the rest of the year?"
"No?" Enjolras answers, not exactly sure what the right answer is.
"Ergo," Courfeyrac says, like he's some sort of prophet. "You cannot just order pizza. You have to order real food."
"You let Combeferre get away with it two years ago," Enjolras protests.
Courfeyrac rolls his eyes. "Well, that's Combeferre. He's special."
Enjolras narrows his eyes. "Did something happen between the two of you?"
"Ah, ah, ah," Courfeyrac says, wagging a finger. "Do not stick your nose in other people's business. Besides, don't you have a party you have to be preparing for?"
Enjolras smirks, because Courfeyrac is blushing, but he lets Courfeyrac chatter on about the party.
"Are you okay?" Combeferre asks, as they try to set up for the party. Enjolras is too busy trying to decide where the big disco ball is going to go, where do you even get a big disco ball, what the fuck Courfeyrac.
"I'm fine," Enjolras answers distractedly.
"Something's off, Enjolras," Combeferre says, refusing to drop the subject. "I don't know if it has something to do with last New Year or it's something else, but there's something definitely off about you."
Enjolras freezes at Combeferre's words, but tries to return to his actions with a forced nonchalance.
"I'm fine, Combeferre, seriously." Enjolras answers.
"You're not," Combeferre says, not unkindly. "Look, Enjolras, you're my best friend, and usually I don't force you to reveal things you're not comfortable with, but you've been off these past few days, and I'm worried about you."
"Will you tell me what's going on between you and Courfeyrac?" Enjolras asks, before he can stop himself.
Combeferre stops abruptly. "There's nothing to tell," he says, but his words are guarded.
Enjolras shrugs. "I'm not blind, you know."
"What do you think is going on between me and Courfeyrac?" Combeferre asks cautiously.
"I have my suspicions, but I'd rather hear it from you." Enjolras answers, before shaking himself. "Forget it, it's not important."
"Enjolras," Combeferre says calmly. "Is that what's bothering you?"
"No," Enjolras says, because it really isn't bothering him. If his two best friends want to go off and...do whatever without him, it's fine. Enjolras will be their biggest supporter.
Combeferre studies him for a moment, and nods. Enjolras breathes a sigh of relief.
Except that sigh of relief is premature because suddenly Combeferre is speaking again.
"Courfeyrac and I, well--"
"Combeferre, look, I said it's fine, I'm really not bothered by it." Enjolras interrupts.
"I know you're not," Combeferre says. "I just thought that maybe if I shared something, you'll share something with me too." He takes a deep breath. "Courfeyrac and I, well, we decided we'd like to try a relationship with each other."
Enjolras smiles at him. "I was expecting this news for, about two years now?"
Combeferre blushes. "How did you know?"
"Why else would you be arrested for public indecency in the middle of the park?"
Combeferre turns even redder, but laughs, and Enjolras grins at him. It really doesn't matter if Combeferre is dating Courfeyrac or whoever, because Combeferre will always be Enjolras' brother in every way except for in blood. Enjolras will always, always support him in everything.
"So," Combeferre says, still grinning. "I've said my peace, it's your turn."
Enjolras sighs, the exhilaration dropping almost immediately. "I don't know," Enjolras says, sadly.
"Does it have anything to do with Grantaire?" Combeferre asks, and Enjolras stares at him, eyes wide.
"How did you know?"
"He disappeared the exact same time you started acting strange. No one knows where he went. He's back now, but he refuses to see anyone." Combeferre says, a rueful smile on his face.
"I don't know, Combeferre," Enjolras says, and he really doesn't know anymore. Feelings are stupid. "I kissed him."
"When?" Combeferre asks, calmly, and it reassures Enjolras. Combeferre has always been the most calming presence in his life, the constant in the hurricane that is life.
"Last New Year's party. I was drunk--no, I was tipsy, and I kissed him. And then I never spoke of it again."
"What's wrong with that?" Combeferre asks.
"Everything," Enjolras groans. "When I think about it, I just...it's like the air from my lungs suddenly disappears, and my heart just beats fast, and I just want to be near him at the same time run as far away from his as possible, and I'm not stupid, I know what this means Combeferre, I just..."
Combeferre doesn't say anything, choosing instead to place a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "You just what?" He prompts.
"I just don't want to hurt him," Enjolras answers, and he feels small, like he's a child again, hiding behind the huge chairs in his father's office. "I'm horrible for him. All we do is argue and argue, and I say horrible things, and he says horrible things back and I'm not good for him Combeferre, he's so fragile, he's in a fragile state of mind, but he's perfect, and I want to kiss his scars, wipe his tears, at the same time run as far away as possible from him, because some of them I've caused, and he doesn't deserve this."
He falls silent, and Combeferre squeezes his shoulder. They stay like that for a few minutes, Enjolras lost in thought, grounded by Combeferre's reassuring hand.
"What do I do?" Enjolras asks sadly.
"Tell him," Combeferre answers. "Put it in words. Write a speech about it. Grantaire will be the one to decide for himself. I promise you, Enjolras, it won't be so bad."
The party, in full swing, isn't so bad. Enjolras actually finds himself enjoying, watching his friends do really stupid things.
Honey If You Love Me, as it turns out, is hilarious to watch, and the drunker their friends get, the funnier it gets. Everyone goes around trying to make others laugh, either by seduction or by just being plain hilarious, and it isn't long until they find out the Prouvaire is amazing at this and he wins the game.
Feuilly wins the second game, which is a really drunken game of Pictionary, and Bahorel cries into Feuilly's shoulder because he is so, so drunk.
"Feuilly, no," Bahorel sobs into Feuilly's sleeve. "We just hosted the party last year, I don't want to host it again. I don't want to fall down the stairs again."
Feuilly frowns at him. "I didn't mean to win, I tried to not make it look like a horse, see?" He raises his last picture, which looks exactly like a horse; Enjolras doesn't know why artist doubt themsleves so.
Bossuet, in a stroke of luck (or bad luck, depends on who's asking) wins the last game, the classic Charades, except that everyone's falling down drunk when they play it. Nobody knows how Joly had managed to get the word 'torpedo' when all Bossuet did was fall down.
"Tie-breaker time," Courfeyrac declares solemnly, even though he's just as drunk as everyone is. "You each have to kiss on the lips, the most number of people before the New Year arrives. Strangers are allowed. The one who kisses the least number of people.....wins, and will therefore have to host the New Year party next year."
Bossuet, Jehan and Feuilly scramble around, in a mad dash of trying kiss everyone. Joly screams about herpes and all the other diseases you can get from exchanging saliva with each other, but Jehan, Feuilly and Bossuet descend upon him, kissing him on the lips for three seconds each.
Enjolras scrambles away from the commotion, choosing to exit to the balcony, and runs into Grantaire. Again. They seem to both have an affinity for the cold, night air.
But it's different, this time. Because Enjolras has something to tell him, something that is too loud, louder than the way his heart roars in his ears, louder than the way the fireworks explode in the sky.
"Orestes," Grantaire says, when he turns, and Enjolras takes a deep breath, holds it, and lets it out. He can do this.
"What are you doing here?" Grantaire asks. "You're missing the party."
"So are you," Enjolras shoots back, and shakes his head. "Actually, that's not why I'm here."
Grantaire arches an eyebrow at him. "Then, why are you here?"
Enjolras takes another deep breath. "I just, okay. First, I want you to know. I'm not drunk. I'm really, really not drunk. I have not had a single drop of alcohol this evening. At least, to my knowledge. I don't know if someone spiked my drink. But, okay, not the point. I'm not. Drunk."
"Okay?" Grantaire says, sounding unsure. "What does this have to do with me?"
Enjolras closes his eyes, clenches his fists and says, "I'm in love with you."
He didn't use the word before, but once he says it, he knows it's the right one.
He wants to line his body up with Grantaire's, trace every single bump and scar and kiss his pain away. He wants to bury himself in the lining of Grantaire's skin, wants his smell enveloping him, wants to be able to press his nose to the junction between shoulder and neck, where his head fits perfectly. He wants to run his hands through his torso, fitting his fingers where he can. He wants all this, and so much more.
He's terrified, really terrified at the strength of his feeling and the passion flowing through his veins. It's not unexpected, though, because Enjolras has always been a really passionate person, and when he does something, he throws his whole being into it. Loving Grantaire will be no different.
"You...what?" Grantaire says, his eyes wide. "Enjolras, don't....is this some sort of joke?"
"It's not a joke," Enjolras swears, shaking his head furiously. "I'm not drunk, it's not a joke, and I'm in love with you. And I know I'm going to be horrible for you, and I might hurt you, but I just wanted to let you know."
"No," Grantaire says, panicking. "No, you can't love me. Why would you love me? I'm broken and damaged and horrible--I'm pathetic, Enjolras, I'm not a whole person and why, why would you want me?"
Enjolras shakes his head, because he's not getting it. Grantaire isn't understanding it, and he doesn't know how to make it clearer.
"You're not damaged, Grantaire," Enjolras says firmly, stepping closer to him. "You're beautiful and wonderful and fragile, yes, but you're not damaged. You're smart, fantastic, incredible, and why wouldn't I want you?"
"But," Grantaire says, still as argumentative as ever. "I'm not worth anything, Enjolras. I'm as destructive as a minefield, as...I'm like a desert. A huge wase of space."
Enjolras reaches out and touches his arm, and hopes. He hopes that Grantaire will understand.
"Ce qui embellit le désert, c'est qu'il cache un puits quelque part," he quotes firmly. "You're not a waste of space, Grantaire. You're wonderful and whole and human and I love you."
Around them, the countdown begins.
"You love me," Grantaire says, eyes wide.
"I do," Enjolras says. "And I'm sorry if you don't feel the same way."
"What the fuck, Enjolras," Grantaire says. "I've been so pathetically in love with you since forever. I bared my heart out to you last New Year."
Enjolras leans closer, places a gentle hand on Grantaire's face. "I thought you didn't remember. Or rather, I thought it was the alcohol speaking. Not you."
"You idiot," Grantaire says, and finally, finally, he smiles brightly. "I would give you anything you wanted, if I could."
Enjolras feels his heart soaring. His palms are sweating, despite the cold air around them. He leans forward, lessening the distance between them.
"Can I?" He asks.
"You never, ever have to ask for anything from me, Enjolras," Grantaire swears, he literally swears, and he closes the distance between them.
And suddenly, there are fireworks and there are shouts and exclamations of 'Happy New Year!' but Enjolras doesn't care, because Grantaire is kissing him and his heart is beating so fast it will probably burst. This is the most cliche moment of Enjolras' life but he can't bring himself to complain because it's perfect, every single detail of it is perfect. It's wonderful and happy and something straight out of a rom-com.
When they separate for air, Grantaire smiles at him brightly, lovingly, and Enjolras feels like he's about to melt.
"Can I go home with you?" Enjolras asks. "I'd suggest we stay at my flat, but our friends are drunk and we wouldn't get any privacy."
Grantaire blinks at him, and Enjolras is sudenly worried he might have pushed too far. He's about to apologize when Grantaire intertwines their fingers, presses a loving kiss on Enjolras' knuckles, gazes at him fervently and says, "Okay, yeah, let's go."
They don't get to Grantaire's flat fast enough.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!! WHERE ARE YOU
I'M SERIOUS ENJOLRAS WHERE ARE YOU I NEED YOU
FEUILLY KISSED THE OLD LADY IN THE FLAT BELOW YOURS AND SHE HIT HIM WITH HER CANE. HE IS CURRENTLY BLEEDING ON THE HEAD AND MIGHT BE SUFFERING FROM A CONCUSSION AND THE OLD LADY WANTS TO TALK TO YOU OR ELSE SHE'LL CALL THE POLICE
WHY AREN'T YOU AT YOUR FLAT
WE'RE TALKING ABOUT FEUILLY HERE, YOUR MAN CRUSH. WHERE ARE YOU PLEASE HELP HIM.
This is Combeferre, and Feuilly is not suffering from a concussion. Courfeyrac's just being dramatic. But seriously, where are you?
ARE YOU GETTING LAID
WHO ARE YOU GETTING LAID WITH I DIDN'T KNOW YOU HAD A SEX DRIVE ENJOLRAS
I'M HAPPY FOR YOU BUT PLEASE PLEASE HELP
sorry, enjolras, the idiot, has abandoned you and is currently asleep on my arm. i can't feel it anymore, i'm pretty sure it needs to be amputated. and i don't really want to wake him, he's adorable like this. solve your crisis on your own. -R
("Hey," Enjolras murmurs, from where his head is resting on Grantaire's chest. He squints a the phone screen, trying to see the words from the haze of his eyelashes. "You can't call me an idiot while using my phone."
"Shut up," Grantaire says gleefully. "I can call you anything I want to. Especially when you're half asleep, lying on my arm, in my bed." He pauses then adds. "Pookie."
Enjolras yawns, lifts his head from Grantaire's chest, and glares at him sleepily. "No," he says, before lying down on Grantaire's chest once more and snuggling closer to him.
"No," Grantaire agrees. "I don't know why I even suggested it.")
HOLY SHIT DID YOU FUCK R LAST NIGHT
I NEED TO KNOWWWWWW TELL ME OR ELSE I'LL GO INSANE
DID YOU MAKE A MOVE BEFORE OR AFTER NEW YEAR???? THERE IS A WHOLE BETTING POOL DEDICATED TO THIS I DON'T WANT TO LOSE MONEY.
ENJOLRAS WE'RE FRIENDS RIGHT