The bass was heavy, a deep thrum that settled into the space under Enjolras' rib cage and beat hard against his heart with every breath. It was pervasive, beating through the floor he weaved unsteadily across, the bar stool he caught himself on when he nearly fell, even the overly loud voices screaming after him, asking if he was all right. He wasn't all right. He couldn't feel anything but the bass.
When Enjolras made it to the door, pushed his way out into the crisp night air, and gained a little distance, the bass released its hold, finally allowed him to draw breath without interference. Its absence was an almost palpable presence, as though he'd been walking hard against a wind which had abruptly stopped.
"Whoa, there! You don't look so good. Need a hand over to the wall?"
In the sudden silence, the words made no sense and Enjolras raised his head dumbly to stare at the one who had spoken. Dark hair, curls plastered to his forehead with sweat, blue eyes, and a once 5 o'clock shadow which had long since grown up into a 10 o'clock stubble. Enjolras gasped out a name, clutched at the worn green flannel under his hands and was immediately hushed.
"That's right. Right over here. If you're going to puke, please try to avoid the sneakers. You know how I hate having to replace a nicely broken in pair."
As though those words had been a prediction, Enjolras felt his stomach roll, marveled at how the entire street dipped and rolled along with it. He clutched harder at the green flannel with one hand, caught himself on the brick wall of the club with the other. He panted out a question, but when no answer was forthcoming, he was unsure if he'd even been heard much less understood.
There was a tangle of other voices then, coming from behind them, in front of them, and to the side, as well. Enjolras couldn't make heads or tails of what they were saying, but the tightening of muscles underneath his hands told him that the one who held him could understand… and what he'd understood was nothing good. He bent low towards Enjolras' ear. "We're in a bit of a pickle here, Enjolras. I know it's not your strong suit, but you're going to have to trust me if you want us to get out of here with our skins intact. So, you tell me. You think you can trust me that far or should I be dumping your ass in the dirt and getting myself out of Dodge?"
Enjolras looked up into those eyes, winced as they hardened right in front of him, closing him out as though their own was already gone. Enjolras shook his head, relieved beyond measure when he was finally able to form words and force them out of his tongue-tangled mouth. "I may not always like you… but I do trust you, R. Get us home."
R's eyes closed briefly before opening again in a wry smile. "One short-order miracle, coming right up." Before Enjolras could so much as register R's intent, he was caught up in strong arms and pressed insistently back against the brick of the wall. The bass leeched through, set back up in his bones… and itched. He pressed a hand to his chest, fought the feeling that he was drowning in sound, cursed the knowledge that were it not for R's hands he'd be crumpled on the ground, unable to stand. R soothed him again, words that Enjolras couldn't make sense of, but accompanied with a gentle hand against his face, his chest, his hip, his brow -- as though R would map him by touch alone. He relaxed into it, whimpered again as the steady stroking soothed the itch of the bass in the pit of his stomach. When he finally pried his eyes open again, it was to see a field of blue bearing down on him… just before a warm pair of lips closed over his own.
Enjolras was too stunned, too unsteady to do anything more than stay where he'd been put, flat against the wall, pinned by lips and hands and eyes… and the steady thrum of the bass inside him which made him yearn for something more. The voices receded, following the sound of unfamiliar footsteps past them into the club, and Enjolras finally let himself relax, giving in to the white noise in his head and the bass thrumming in his bones. R's soft words were the last thing he knew before he let the bass pull him under.
"You're safe, now. I've got you. You're safe, now. I've got you. You're safe…"
"God damn it, R! What the hell happened tonight?"
R jumped, his heart momentarily leaping into his throat before returning to its normal location. He'd all but forgotten Courfeyrac was even in the room. Pausing in his ministrations, he turned to face the furious eyes now glaring daggers at him. After a moment's careful scrutiny, R noted the downturned lips, the sheen of wetness gathering in the corners of Courfeyrac's eyes, the slight tremble in his hands -- signs that gave away another emotion lurking underneath that anger.
Courfeyrac wasn't angry at R… he was afraid. He was afraid that all the work they'd put into this operation, the months they'd spent cultivating contacts, the resources they'd spent… the people they'd lost… would be for nothing. And they wouldn't know until Enjolras woke up, until he told them for sure if he'd been made or if they still had an operation left to go back under with.
R acknowledged that fear with a short nod and lifted his shoulders in a silent shrug. Courfeyrac stared at him for a moment, finally threw his hands up and jerked out of his chair, kicking at it half-heartedly as he rose. Moments later, he had his hands buried in his hair and the force with which he pulled at his already disheveled curls left R wincing in sympathy for his abused scalp. Finally, he sighed, waved a hand towards the still figure beside R on the bed. "When he wakes up, I need to know what happened. I'm not sending either of you back under until we know it's safe. I won't lose anyone else. Especially not you."
Blue eyes met hazel and R nodded once to show he understood. Neither spoke the word, neither had to, but it was on both their minds and hung in the air between them like a ghost. Normally they two never spoke of it -- neither was eager to prod at the other's scars more than absolutely necessary -- but they'd almost lost Enjolras tonight. They were both feeling more than a little raw and exposed over it and weren't as careful as they should have been.
Courfeyrac inclined his head, nodded once in return, turned on his heel and left the room. R turned back towards Enjolras and gently stroked a sweat-soaked lock of blond hair from his forehead, tried to ignore the way that forehead was creased, the way his eyes were squinted closed, even in sleep. Taking his partner's hand in his, R cradled it close to his chest… and waited.
"You're safe, now. I've got you. You're safe, now. I've got you. You're safe…"
Hot. Sticky. Heavy.
Enjolras was having difficulty picking an adjective. They all applied. He groaned, tried to push himself into a sitting position, collapsed back on the bed after the attempt quickly yielded a harsh failure. Something was weighing him down. Glancing down at his chest, Enjolras saw nothing but a sea of wild, dark curls. Tentatively, voice hoarse from disuse, he guessed, "…Courfeyrac?"
At the sound of the name, those curls shifted, the person they belonged to groaned, and burrowed deeper against him for a moment before lifting away completely. This revealed blue eyes, a too-large nose, and a face full of stubble that now had delusions of beard-dom. There was a wry smile on those lips as he released Enjolras' hand and sat back. "Heh. No such luck, partner mine. Nobody here but us chickens." When Enjolras failed to respond, R rolled his eyes and briskly stood. "You need a bucket or are you gonna make it to the bathroom to puke your guts out?"
Enjolras' eyes narrowed as he levered himself into a sitting position, at last. "What makes you think I'm going to be sick?" The words had barely left his mouth when Enjolras' eyes widened, and he abruptly clamped a hand to his mouth, fighting down a surge of nausea. Shouldn't that have passed by now? R simply smirked as Enjolras fought his way free of the blankets and stumbled into the room's small toilet, where he was abruptly and thoroughly sick. Once Enjolras was finished emptying his stomach -- eyes tearing and body shaking against R's as R held him up and gently stroked his hair -- he finally got his answer.
"The emetic Joly gave you the second you started waking up. Whatever they slipped you was nasty, Enjolras. We had to get it out of you."
Before Enjolras had a chance to formulate a proper answer, another voice interrupted from the door to the toilet. "So, Sleeping Beauty has finally awoken from his slumber. Glad to have you back with us. Now, maybe we can find out what the hell went wrong."
Enjolras groaned, put a hand to his head as R helped him to his feet and maneuvered him out of the toilet and towards the room's only chair. Once settled, he looked up at R, frowning. R shrugged, nodded towards Courfeyrac. Enjolras frowned harder as he turned around. "Why didn't you ask R? He was there. He knows as much as I do."
Courfeyrac's eyes widened; his mouth opened, then closed, before his eyes briefly followed suit. He winced, murmured more to himself than to Enjolras, "Joly warned us that memory loss might be a side effect of whatever it is they gave you, but I didn't think…" Courfeyrac took in a deep shuddering breath before continuing. "Enjolras…"
Enjolras held up his hand, then, fought against it as his breath began to come in short, panicked bursts at the too gentle look on Courfeyrac's face. Whatever Courfeyrac was about to say, Enjolras was suddenly sure that it was bad. It was bad, and he didn't want to know it. He didn't want--
A gentle hand dropped onto Enjolras' shoulder, and Enjolras turned, eyes wide, pupils halfway blown in panic. R gave him a brief squeeze for reassurance, his smile soft and full of understanding. Enjolras didn't want his understanding. He didn't want his sympathy, didn't want anything to do with that knowledge R and Courfeyrac shared and he did not. He wanted to reach up, to grab onto R's hand and beg him to leave it be. He didn't want to know.
R eyes shone with a bitter sympathy at the aborted movement and Enjolras forced himself to keep still, to not interfere. If R was strong enough to live with this knowledge, if Courfeyrac was strong enough to live with this knowledge, then Enjolras owed them his own strength to carry it, as well. He was not one for abandoning his friends to bear their burdens alone. So, he stayed silent, allowing himself to do nothing more or less than watch as R pulled down the collar of his turtleneck. And beneath it… Enjolras swallowed hard, staring in horror at the ragged scar that ran across R's neck, at the ugly mess of it, the whorls and ridges of a terrible wound which hadn't healed correctly, which had to have left damage far deeper than skin… a scar that Enjolras didn't remember having seen before.
This time, Courfeyrac did say the word, sadness and guilt giving it more weight than it could ever have had in another's mouth.
"Enjolras… I think I need to tell you about Philadelphia."